Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.


 Contact me at yetanotherjournal (at) mindspring (dot) com

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» Thursday, April 30, 2009
Hogging the News
Are people just getting more stupid? I remember the first swine flu alert. It was a bit of a debacle as a lot of people had reactions to the preventative shot, and some of them died. I was one of the people who had reactions, although mine was atypical: fevers were the norm; my temperature took a nosedive to 96°F and I wrapped myself in a blanket and shivered even in bed.

But I don't remember anyone back then thinking that "swine flu" was caused by eating pork! Is it just because these dopey rumors spread more quickly on the web and, of course, everything on the Internet is true, right? Gah.

Seriously, this flu is no joke, but staying alert and simple precautions will help a lot. Here they are on television again: cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze; wash your hands; don't touch your face after touching things in public. Avoid people who are sneezing/coughing. And if you're sick, for God's sake, don't go to work!

Not to mention that if you went to Mexico for spring break, you might want to be checked out by your doctor. It's definite now that the vector was in Mexico.

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Quiet Day
Fielded more questions on the last-minute project, did some orders, asked more questions, did more payment authorizations. The latter accompanied an arthritis-borne headache—ah, numbers and pain, things that go together.

Also swept the kitchen, foyer, and downstairs hall, washed the sheets, vacuumed the stairs, and cooked chicken thighs and Rice'a'Roni for supper. Exciting, no?

Sadly, both the Annie Oakley episodes I DVR'd this week were repeats of episodes which had shown a month ago. Did dub off Castle tonight and watched Ellen.

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» Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Chillin' Out
What a relief it was to telework today after spending two days hunched over a fan to be able to survive the 80°F cubicle. (Okay, by 4 p.m. yesterday it had dropped to 79...cold front! Wow!)

Today would have been much pleasanter, however, had I not woken up with a sore throat and my nose absolutely stuffed after having not slept well at all. So it was a bit of a long day, too.

The best part of the past three days was last night. I have a friend who collects television series and who sent me an uncut multipart story from a series I used to be very fond of. I hadn't seen the story uncut for about 40 years. James was watching something else on the television, so I sat very happily watching the entire thing on my computer. It had the ability to take me back into time, to a rectangular living room and a 19 inch black-and-white Magnavox television I never liked very much, an old grey carpet underfoot and a big plush red sofa to sit in.

Quite nice.

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» Tuesday, April 28, 2009
An Article for Jen
:-)

Maybe an Asteroid Didn't Kill the Dinosaurs

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» Monday, April 27, 2009
Heat Wave
I understand that it is costly, energy inefficient, and just plain stupid to leave the air conditioner on in a building not being used all weekend.

But damn, can't they get some type of timer that turns the thing on at least a few hours before we early birds get in? It is 84°F fripping degrees in my cubicle, and must be 90 in the ladies' room.

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On the Dotted (and Dashed) Line
Love Google's tribute to Samuel Morse today!

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» Sunday, April 26, 2009
Birds and Shopping Bags
The Smyrna spring Jonquil Festival was this weekend and we decided to go today just as it opened (noon), so it would be at its coolest. It was only in the mid-70s and we both wore our hats, but after 45 minutes of walking around to the different booths, having an ear of roasted corn, and watching little bits of the puppetry show (with a "juggling" rabbit and a "break-dancing" skeleton), my hands were swollen. James stopped to get a sausage sandwich and I put a hand into the ice water which was keeping the sodas cool. How good that felt!

James also bought two jars of home-made, sugar-free jam, and we got the first Vidalia onions of the season, which they were selling for charity. There were two dog rescue groups there, Australian shepherds and greyhounds. There was the prettiest brown shep puppy whose lovely tail had not been docked and it fluttered out behind him like a feather boa. I petted a sweet white greyhound who would have leaned on me had he not been on a leash being led away.

We made a brief stop at Love Street, enjoying standing over the air-conditioned goodness of the registers. As we emerged, a mockingbird was in full-throated song overhead. At first we couldn't see him, then he burst from the trees to swoop to some telephone lines, flashing brilliant white under his grey wings and displaying himself before he settled and burst into song again.

Then we got into "deep shopping mode" and drove to Akers Mill Road. We are assembling Colin's graduation gift and I had a Really Good Coupon. We also stopped at the mall to hit the Hallmark shop (graduation card and Mother's Day card—with coupon!). We, amazingly, found a parking spot under a tree, from which a crow was croaking. Tilted my head upwards, and there he was, swinging on a branch. I cawed at him and he cawed back.

From the mall, we made our way back to the house, briefly stopping at Family Dollar (where I found a big-brimmed straw hat for just $3; my boonie hat is okay, but the brim just isn't big enough when it's this bright), and finished at Dollar General for a few more "stocking stuffers" for Colin's gift and Food Depot for sugar-free ice cream bars.

By the time we got home, it was James that had the raging headache, rather than me, and we settled down for some cool and him with some ibuprofin and watched today's Clark Howard Show as well as two Ellen shows I missed.

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» Saturday, April 25, 2009
Have I Mentioned Lately How Much I Hate April Fools
It's fine for schoolchildren, but in real life it really sucks.

I had been following some exciting news from a reputable historical site that a film that was not yet out on DVD would be released sometime this year.

It turned out to be an April Fools joke.

Excuse me if I'm not laughing. This stuff is cute on someone's personal blog or website. It should not be used on a business web site.

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Ben's Legacy
Majorly cool!

Forgotten Franklin Letters Offer Glimpse Into U.S. History

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Suppertime...and The Livin' is Easy
James came home quite chuffed...he won Model of the Month.

They had a funny thing at the IPMS meeting today. There's a member who usually disses rocket models, so two years ago they played a joke on him and everyone built a rocket kit for that meeting. Well, they decided to do it again this month. This year they not only built a rocket, but the same rocket, sort of a generic rocketship with a central body and four boosters.

James actually built two. One was his conception of the "Silver Star," the spaceship of Rory Rammer, Space Marshal, in Ron Butler's Atlanta Radio Theatre Company stories. The other was a "kit bash" (their term for modifying a model). He extended the body with some PVC piping and made a "Gunstar" from The Last Starfigher. This is the one that won Model of the Month.

While he was out I designed a blog page for our homeowners association.

We had dinner at the IHOP on Cobb Parkway (near Best Buy). What a difference in service here and at the IHOP on the East-West Connector. The latter aren't really rude, but they always seem to be in another world. When I dine there I always feel ignored. Tonight our waitress must have asked us if we were okay a dozen times.

Stopped at Costco, but all we bought was BreatheRight strips. For dessert we had ice cream at Brusters then, came home to watch backlogged Jeopardy eps.

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Summertime Already
Gah. It's 83°F out and supposed to hit 85. Maybe more.

Hate summer, hate summer, hate summer. (I know it's still spring, but it feels like summer.)

We had a call from Kroger this morning saying James' prescription was ready. This was weird since he didn't know he had a prescription waiting. :-) But we were headed there anyway as he had another that needed refilling and we also needed wild bird seed. Turned out the little bags weren't on sale any more but the large ones were, so we got 20 pounds of basic bird seed and a small bag of finch food, which is finer and looks more like Schuyler's seed. Also got some new corn holders, bananas, and a couple of other things.

The biggest thing we came out of Kroger with was stuffy noses. I wasn't 20 feet into the store before I sneezed...and sneezed, and my nose swelled up. By the time we left I felt like I was smothering. They are reconstructing in the deli/produce area and all I can think of is that they raised a lot of dust and maybe even some hidden mold. James was sneezing, too, and we were very glad to get out of there.

Next we went to Walmart again. The green T-shirt I bought yesterday didn't fit, so I exchanged it for a new one. James decided to get a pair of new pants and we found such nice ones that he bought two and I bought him a third pair as well as two pocket T-shirts that were only $5.50 each! They're Wil's and Skye's Father's Day gift to him. :-)

I was thinking of yesterday's Today show; I just happened to peek at the television while "Hoda" was talking about throwing away clothes. To be "green," she said, you should never throw away clothes—have a clothing exchange party with friends! I was laughing so hard. Honey, any clothes we finally throw away here aren't fit for another human being to wear, unless they are desperate. I throw clothes away only if they have holes in them, ditto James. He wears his T-shirts until they are not fit to be seen outside anymore. Then he wears them inside only. When they get holes he converts them into rags and takes them downstairs to use when he models. We keep one raggy shirt for when we have to board the animals. He sleeps in it a couple of nights so it has his scent and then he leaves it with Willow to comfort her. As I said in a previous post, I have sleeveless shirts that I bought for Magicon, which was 1992. I finally said the heck with it this year and bought new shirts because these just don't fit around the TFH anymore!

Around our house the motto for clothing is the old one: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." If we have a particular piece of clothing that is still good looking, unstained and stylish, it goes to Goodwill. I never take raggy clothing to Goodwill. I've heard people bragging about doing this. How gross!

By the time we got out of Kroger it was boiling hot. Gah. From Walmart we stopped at Lowes on the way home to get safflower seed and more suet. We mixed all the seed bags into the bucket immediately and then James went off to his IPMS meeting. I took Willow outside and the moment she was back in the house she raced around looking for James. When she finally realized he wasn't here, she sacked out in a depressed heap under the fan.

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» Friday, April 24, 2009
And the Heat is On
Or as we always say "Who let that sun in without a badge?"

Obviously it "don't need any steenkin' badges." Heh.

I was in a funny mood today, very restless. I kept having to make myself sit at the computer, answer all the e-mail about the order that's out for bid, and finish the few orders I could do. I worked off some of my "itchiness" taking down the Easter decorations at lunchtime. Outside the sun blazed and the temps inched up over 80°F. The fat carpenter bees buzzed lazily around the windows. Schuyler demolished the rest of her birthday sprig of millet. Willow moped.

And the scent of lilacs filled the house from my lilac blossom Yankee Candle. Lovely.

We had supper at Shane's Rib Shack tonight. I usually have a pork plate and James has the sampler. It was cool enough to eat outside, so we did, right along the sidewalk of Atlanta Road where we could see the trains go by. I think we ate at rush hour: at least four trains went by.

Then we went to Walmart. Somewhere up in Heaven my mom is looking down and saying incredulously, "She's buying clothes two weeks in a row." I just bought a couple of pairs of shorts to wear in the house; the ones I have are at least ten years old. Another tank top to wear inside. And a green t-shirt to go with the green "Mutts" pajama bottoms I bought last week.

The grocery prices were as good as last week, so more milk and more yogurt were added to the cart as well. If someone's going to sell me skim milk for $1.98/gallon I'm going to take it! (The half gallon is $1.76!)

Had a nice drive home with the windows down and the 60s channel on: as a bonus we even got "our" song, Petula Clark singing "My Love."

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» Thursday, April 23, 2009
Marching Through Georgia
It was immediately evident this morning that it was going to be a warm day. Sure enough, the temperature crept up slowly but surely. As the day progressed, I opened more windows and then turned on more fans. Work was leaving me slowly simmering as it was and the temperature didn't help. The one highlight of the day was burning the "roasted coffee" tealight I bought on Sunday. It doesn't have the strong scent of the cafè au lait, but it's very nice.

At six o'clock it was almost 80°F in the house. I threw in the towel and turned on the air conditioner.

By the time evening arrived, I was in a poisonous mood. I had planned to see if I could hitch a ride to the association meeting with Susan, but I didn't think I was fit company for anyone. By this time I didn't feel like eating much, so I had some ricotta and Wheat Thins, and drove myself to the city offices where the meeting would take place. James picked me up a baked potato on his way home from work and joined me there.

Another pathetic meeting. Six (including us) households showed up. Since we didn't have a quorum, we couldn't do anything. We discussed this year's problems, like finding a less-expensive landscaper to care for the front of the complex and the retaining pond, arranging a neighborhood watch, putting in a speed bump, etc. Then we arranged for another meeting. At the second meeting, we won't need a quorum and can vote on things.

It had been cloudy with the sky rumbling when I took Willow outside. Now as we started the meeting it began to thunder and rain. A short while later, before James even showed up, the tornado siren went off right outside the door to the meeting room. While we were there, it poured copiously, including several iterations of "Georgia Monsoon Season," there was one blast of thunder that sounded like a cannon going off, and we had some hail (at least there was hail in front of the complex, where James parked; I didn't see any when I left).

As I pulled out of the parking lot to head home, there was a blazing sunset to my left, and to my right it looked like all the Hounds of Hell were ready to descend on downtown Smyrna. I zigzagged through the streets (and the Walmart parking lot to avoid the dead light at Floyd Road) while watching a spectacular lightning show before me, including one triangle-shaped multi-strike. Whoa.

The storm soon passed over. We watched a complex Waking the Dead called "Walking on Water." I was musing last night about what would happen if you put Detective Superintendent Peter Boyd in the same room with Doctor Gregory House. Boyd would start bellowing and House's voice would get lower and more insulting. One wonders who would out-sarcastic the other. :-)

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Birthday Girl
Schuyler's birthday

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Grotesque
Just dubbed off this week's Castle...wow, they have the most gruesome killings on this show. (Not that murder's not gruesome enough, but–)

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» Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Sleigh Bells in April
Guess what came today!

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Wow--
Wish I'd been in the audience at The Ellen DeGeneres Show today! There was an Earth Day theme and each of the audience members got an Energy Star Eureka vacuum cleaner, an energy-saver hair dryer and hair curler, a recycled water bottle, some no-chemical cleaner, a bicycle, some recycling kits, an all-cotton T-shirt, two tickets to Disney's Earth, and a "Best of Chicago" CD (they were the musical guests).

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Fresh Air
It was so wonderfully breezy yesterday that I regretted not having a kite with me! Especially when I came in from lunch, the trees were dancing in the wind and discarded blossoms swirled about. The scent of the pansies planted near the front door of the building was carried far beyond its usual limits.

There's still a breeze out there, but not gusting like yesterday. In fact, at this point it's only in the low 60s out and the house temp is still hovering around 64...heaven! I am nestled in sweats and quite happy with it, not suffocating like yesterday with my cubicle temp standing at 78 degrees. I am trying out one of the two scents of candles I bought Sunday at the Yankee Candle outlet, "Fresh Mint." It's a delicate spearmint odor that I find quite pleasant.

Work is...frustrating. I have a last-minute item taking up all my time.

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» Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Oh, My Goddddddd!
Walt Disney and the 1964 World's Fair

It's got the Carousel of Progress, my favorite Disney ride of all time!

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» Monday, April 20, 2009
Home Sweet Home
An Abundance of Culture, History and Food Awaits in Providence

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Going Green and Other Monday Morning Tales
When we left last Friday the leaves were still unfurling in the trees in our backyard. It made a nice haze of green back there, but the slightly decrepit brown trailer in view at the trailer park behind us was still pretty much in view.

What a difference three days has made! It's not yet the deep green and thick cover of high summer, but those leaves certainly had a growth spurt. The trailer is beginning to disappear behind the veil.

I caught a disconsolate brown-headed nuthatch pecking at the suet this morning and immediately scooped some seed in the feeder. I was going to fill it Friday morning, squirrel or no squirrel, and just forgot. I need not worry about the birds, as there are insects galore now for them to feed on, and fresh seeds everywhere.

I decided to work at home today because my system was apparently still suffering ill effects from the weekend. Now that I have eaten my usual meal items (oatmeal, yogurt, some Chex for a little salt fix), things "down below" seem to have calmed down. It's possible everything was a combination of unfamiliar food, different water, and sun, the latter which always affects me badly. We spent some two hours wandering about downtown Helen on Friday in full sun.

I checked out what Schuyler was watching just a few minutes ago and to my surprise saw Ralph Waite appearing as a priest on Days of Our Lives. According to the IMDb, this is a regular role. Kind of a smile, as Waite is actually a man of the cloth; he was at one time a Congregational minister.

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» Sunday, April 19, 2009
Back to the Real World
Well, my problem had not abated this morning. Or not, really. I did get a good night's sleep, I was not sick to my stomach, or nightmarish, so that was quite different from Friday night. But I went through about five Pepto Bismols and several bathroom visits by the time it got under control. I ate nothing yesterday that was a duplicate of Friday, which means any theory of what caused the problem in the first place was useless.

We both slept quite late compared to Sunday on previous visits to Unicoi; it was 9:30 when I had to get up and James was still in bed. By the time we got going, I decided it was best I stay behind and James went alone to the lodge for breakfast while I had some peanut butter on plain bread. Unfortunately they quit serving breakfast at ten, so he was back for a similar meal.

This is pack up time, and slowly people began to collect the things they had brought for the common area and check out. It's so easy to check out now; you just turn in the cards. Years ago there was a long procedure and there was always a line.

I must, must make a note next year to buy a plastic soap box and bring our own soap. Unicoi converted over from those little hotel soaps to shower gel dispensers some years back. First, we both hate shower gel. You have to pump out some for each arm, some for the torso, some for each leg, some for "the naughty bits," some for your face, and each time step away from the shower stream because the dispenser is on the opposite wall from the shower head, instead of just rubbing yourself down with the soap as you shower. It means the shower takes longer, wasting water, just not to have paper trash. Worse still, the shower gel has a very sharp, pungent scent. I'm not allergic to highly-scented stuff, but I know a lot of people are. It's really not safe to put such things in hotels. For our part, the gel smell is very off-putting.

Anyway, soon we were off to Picnic Shelter #6. The sky was very low and threatening, and we did get sprinkles of water off and on during the picnic, but it turned out to be cool and very nice. They had installed a huge new grill next to the shelter and Ken was able to cook hamburgers and then hot dogs and other items in a trice. The kids ran around near the creek, we sat and talked or stood and chatted, people took photos, and later the kids had a marshmallow roast.

We left about one, with the windows open. We were both pretty quiet; the weekend always goes by so quickly! We always intend to go up on Thursday, too, but never do. For the last time we enjoyed the rolling countryside with the mountains at the horizon, the farms between the commercial areas with cows grazing in the fields and the occasional horses enjoying the forage, the delicate shades of green of the different trees leafing (with some orange and yellow leaves appearing occasionally and of course the irregular spotting of dogwood flowers), the antique shops housed in old stores and homes, little country churches, and all the other pleasures of north Georgia.

In Cumming, we stopped at the big outlet mall that sprawls on the west side of GA400. I wanted a packet of new socks and also some new underwear, so we went to the Leggs/Hanes/Bali outlet. We also stopped at Kitchen Collection and got James two new spatulas, at the vitamin store and got me some soy isoflavones since they're so darn hard to find/expensive, and at the Yankee Candle outlet there, and while I didn't find cafè au lait tealights, I did find something called "roasted coffee" and also a mint scent. I also found a gift to put away.

Then back to the long dull drive to the vet, with a short detour to Kroger to get a couple of things and a paper so we would not have to go out again. Willow came charging out first. She has a slight infection and has some pills to take. She needs to lose weight. Schuyler was shivering for a few minutes, then started making some new noises. Turns out there is a grey parrot there that does multiple imitations and Schuyler learned some of his repetoire (once we got her home, though, she reverted to her whistles, kisses, and squeaks). She is fine.

(Oh, the vet bill...with two checkups, shots for Wil, Schuyler's shot, claw trimming for both, Wil's flea and tick meds, and the boarding...was over $700! So much for our tax return.)

After a stop for gas for the car, we were finally home. It was almost six o'clock! We put everything up first so we could eat supper and then relax in peace.

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Dinner and Dessert
We had dinner at the lodge with a genial crowd of eleven (with us). Several other members of the gang were at a separate table. I played it safe and had a little rice along with the London broil.

At least I think it's safe. Who knows?

Read, chatted, and then played games...James and I tried out Doodle Dice together and then we played Chronology.

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» Saturday, April 18, 2009
Travels with Twilight
Despite the bad evening, we finally hopped in the car and went a'sightseeing. I had routed two different ways, a shorter distance but a longer time, on a two-lane road, and a longer distance but a shorter time, on what might have been mostly four lanes.

We took "the blue road" tour and enjoyed it. This involved heading through White County farmland and foothills to Barnesville, where we went left. This climbed and then descended in some switchback curves, eventually taking us past Lake Burton, which is a man-made lake with a busy little marina and many homes and covered docks on the edge of the lake. We also passed a little cluster of cabins where crafts are sold.

Then we ascended again, past a condo area called the Waterfall (and there indeed was a waterfall there), and then to the town of Clayton. We spotted a little bookstore there and decided to stop on the way back.

We went all the way out to the town of Dillard, which is in spitting distance of that little arrow of North Carolina that pushes into Tennessee. We were going to the Christmas shop there, which is connected (in the same building) with a General Store. Walked around here for a while, bought a refrigerator magnet and a card for a friend, went downstairs into the antique mall and enjoyed looking at the occasional cast iron stove and Hoosier cabinet, then finished in the Christmas shop.

Ironically, the thing that attracted us most was a squirrel-proof bird feeder! They had a funny video of a squirrel thwarted by the gadget, being tossed off as it revolves. Unfortunately it's $190.

I did buy a little ornament that was birds at a bird feeder, and also a St. Francis ornament.

On the way back we stopped at a Wendy's in Clayton for lunch, then tracked back to go to the bookshop. This was just a little neighborhood place, complete with a bookstore cat, who was sound asleep when we arrived and still when we left, so we didn't bother him. It was a very small place, and although we enjoyed looking about, we didn't buy anything.

We had noticed that the Clayton Pharmacy had a soda fountain, so I offered to treat James to ice cream since he'd been driving all day. Well, turns out they had a grill too—wish we'd known that or we could have had lunch there. A grilled cheese sandwich would have been a lot better than a plain junior burger.

On the way back we stopped at one of the antique stores we had seen. It was emblazoned with a sign that said "Antiques—and man things, too!" James got such a chuckle out of that that we stopped for a picture, but had to go inside. They had real antiques, not replicas, from cast iron stoves to tombstone radios, old books, baking implements to stoves to scales, toys, old screen doors that once graced variety stores, hats, bookends and old containers, and more. You could barely get between the tables.

The ride back was uneventful and when we got back to the complex we lay down for about an hour, although the clouds had thickened a bit and it wasn't as glaringly sunny as it had been this morning.

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Report from Unicoi--Long Night's Journey Into Day
I am so disgusted. We were up chatting until 1:30, then went to our room (which is only a few steps from the common area, so that was easy). My neck was feeling rather stiff and it got worse, believe it or not, in the shower, because the flow is so restricted that it's hard to rinse off.

By the time I got into bed, my neck was aching and stiff. I couldn't get comfortable and was, astonishingly, cold. I finally got warm and fell asleep, only to wake up an hour or maybe two later with terrible stomach cramps. I was in the bathroom for what seemed like hours, getting colder and colder. When I finally got back to bed I could not get warm. I kept still so I wouldn't wake up James, but it turned out he was awake because he was cold. So we got up to put more things on (me) or get the other blanket (him).

I actually didn't really fall asleep until James just got up as it started to get light out and I pulled his blankets on top of me.

Still have vague stomach aches this morning even after Pepto Bismol. James went to the buffet, but I stayed behind and just had some peanut butter on bread and James brought me a skim milk for the buffet.

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» Friday, April 17, 2009
Greetings from Unicoi, Part 2
We ate supper at the lodge restaurant with Jerry. The food's not much, but we didn't feel like driving anywhere. We had the cabbages and kings talk: just about everything, television, books, electronics, life (the universe and everything). I didn't eat much, as it was either breaded/fried or barbecue. Instead when we came back I had the extra little "bun" (that's what we called them in Rhode Island; the deli called them "rolls," and they look like mini loaves of Italian bread) with some butter from the restaurant. That was good!

The lodge has four clusters, 20 rooms to a cluster, in a v-shape with a central area. There is a lower area around the fireplace with sofas, and then an upper area with a sofa and a bunch of chairs. We add tables and put all sorts of snacks, fruit and drinks on them. Someone usually brings peanut butter and jelly fixings and bread. And here we all sit and talk. James and I are on our netbooks and Jeff is working on his laptop. Jake is stretched out on a sofa reading. Ben and Rocky and Rocky's friend whose name I don't know are playing dominoes on the top of a table. Mel is talking to Ken's parents and sister. Claudia and Phyllis are chatting and Ron is reading a book while Lin and Colin and Laura hover behind. Amanda is showing smocking to Juanita, Oreta, and Terica. Jaime and Jerry are sitting near James and I talking with us.

Oh, look, Oreta's brought Chronology. I have several games in the room...maybe I ought to get them...

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Greetings from Unicoi
We're in the North Georgia mountains for our annual visit/convocation with friends.

We slept until nine, had breakfast. We'd loaded the car last night, and while James had Willow out for a walk, I put the netbooks and the camera in the car, so all we had to do was load up the animals. Schuyler was wide-eyed for a moment, then settled down to chirp. Willow cried for a few miles then looked worried the rest of the way.

Poor Willow. She's been doing this for ten years...no, actually nine, since we didn't go to Atomicon the year my mom died...and she still has to be carried into the back, trying to get away. Schuyler actually chirbled a little to the attendant who took her back.

By this time it was nearly lunchtime, so we stopped at the 42nd Street Market for an Italian lunch. I had a proscuitto, mozzarella and olive oil sandwich—without the mozzarella and olive oil. Just bread and ham. Really good bread, too! We split an eclair for dessert; it was covered with chocolate rather than just having a bit of it dribbled on the top.

It was sunny, in the high 60s, with a nice breeze, and we had a lovely ride. No one was in the complex when we arrived, so we dumped our stuff in our room and went out to walk around downtown. We stopped at a neat store where they sold clocks and Scandinavian things, and James bought me a new Swiss Army knife because mine was partially broken. We also found a present for someone for Christmas.

Saw some beautiful quilts, went in and out of gift shops, had some frozen lemonade (not as good as Del's, but nothing ever is), walked over the bridge spanning the Chattahoochee River, and watched a mallard duck hen cadge food from the diners near the water.

Now are back in the lodge common area chatting.

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» Thursday, April 16, 2009
Deals and Dealing
Started out the day with a bobble. We had gotten some Windows updates recently on all the computers except for "the Mouse," which is what I've been calling the netbook, so I turned it on this morning to download them.

Except, after all the testing I had done on it, taking it to other wireless locations and then taking it home and reconnecting to the home network—now it wouldn't connect! I didn't have time to mess with it just then and abandoned it after trying to reconnect using a new connection, which was rejected.

But had a great lunchtime visit to WalMart...and I hadn't even intended to go there. I was planning just to run to Kroger for something we needed, and then decided to go to Wally World. I have been looking for something in weight between a sweatsuit and sleeveless top/shorts for lounging around in the spring and fall. I found some adorable "Mutts"-based sleepware ("flannelette" rather than flannel), two pants and a top (a t-shirt would even do for the second top) on discount.

I went by the groceries just on a whim and my jaw dropped: boy, did they do some "price breaks"! I grabbed my yogurt at 40¢ each, milk at $1.95 a gallon, omeprazole only $17 for 42, etc..wow.

I still had to go to Kroger and as I passed Carnett's on the way I noticed they were nearly deserted. So I went in, had my oil changed and my car washed. All that nasty pollen on the car is gone, gone, gone.

This barely took 90 minutes and I was pleased with the results!

Also got two loads of laundry finished and did a spring cleaning on the bottom of Schuyler's cage. She was so funny—I removed her millet clip to wash it, and it proved a little recalcitrant. As I struggled with it, Schuyler clambered on the bars and made her way toward my hand. It was too much to hope that she was coming to sit on my hand, and she didn't: instead she pecked at my hand as if to say "Get out of my house!" Too cute!

Next I turned my attention back to the netbook. I paid more attention to the message about it not connecting because of the IP address. Now, I had noticed earlier that the IP address was different from what it was supposed to be. I could have sworn James had given the unit a static IP address, but if he had, it had gone by-by. So I looked at the network connection on the main computer (James's), noticed which IP addresses were already taken, and typed in one that wasn't already in use in a screen that looked vaguely familiar...I remember having to do this with the laptop, too.

Wow, it worked! Well, sort of. The connection to the network was restored, but I still couldn't get the internet to work.

Wait...I guess I needed to put those DNS numbers in there, too.

That worked! I also had to reset the network name. But it works again. I fixed it myself...I'm really chuffed!

Finally, there was a surprise in the mail: in "A Cozy Nook to Read In" I mentioned that I discovered that there were sequels to the Paul Berna book The Horse Without a Head, which I had seen as a Disney movie and also read in the school library. I hunted around e-Bay and found two of the three sequels really cheap...in fact, I got a hardcover copy of Horse Without a Head and another Berna book with the third sequel, all for $4! Those came on Monday and I received the second sequel today.

The third sequel looks like it's a hard find. I couldn't even find it in a United States library, so I guess there goes my chance of even getting it through interlibrary loan.

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» Wednesday, April 15, 2009
A Workweek Countdown
Oh, I've been counting down the days this week. Finding the story about Johnnie was the highlight of Monday, since with the rain I came home nursing the sinus headache from hell. (It was a pain in the neck for others as well; I found out Tuesday that my supervisor had been out Monday because of sinus troubles.) I'm not sure how I managed the last six miles home, although I was incredibly lucky and made it home in 35 minutes. I walked the dog and then retreated to a nice soft pillow after ingesting nice solid ibuprofin tablets.

Thankfully House was calm compared to last week. An unremarkable Antiques Roadshow and a compilation Animal Cops.

Tuesday began with rain and thunder accompanied by dog barks in the wee hours of the morning, and a nice cold front coming through, but ended in surrender. The Ranitidine has been a dead loss as a sole remedy for the acid reflux. I had spent Tuesday and the last few days being utterly miserable with my esophagus burning almost constantly. I simply must have something to cut the excess acid. I took a Prilosec before Tuesday's dinner and went back to my usual dosage today, and I'm burping again but at least not in pain.

The doctor did say it might not work, but I'm bummed.

Today was frustrating. I did get some mods and some orders done, but couldn't complete one because the vendor's CCR registration (required for award) had lapsed and a quote had expired on another. On a positive note, I got all my payment authorizations finished, but only after thoroughly confusing numbers in the followup e-mails. Gah. I hate numbers.

We had the grass cut today for the first time since last fall. I ended up calling the lawn service from last year. We had considered hiring someone else, but they had given up doing lawn service. We had also considered looking into hiring the company that does the complex landscaping as well as cutting the lawns of some of the neighbors, but I couldn't catch up with the guy this morning when he came to cut the lawns. Instead I spoke to the guy who did the existing service about the problem we had last year: the riding mower.

Look, I loathe cutting lawns. On my list of things I'd rather do than cut the lawn, I'd rather have menstrual cramps or do algebra. It doesn't help that I'm allergic to everything out there. So I can't blame anyone for buying a riding mower. The trouble is that dip that is in the lawn between our house and the one next door; it holds water every time it rains and when you drive a riding mower through it, the wheels tear into the wet ground and leave mud.

So I asked if he would use the regular mower, just on that spot, and it looks as if he did. It's still muddy, especially since in the back we left the pile of leaves where it was and now it's a patch of dirt where the mower skidded last year. TruGreen will probably want to reseed it and I'll let them.

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Was Abraham Lincoln Terminally Ill?
This is fascinating. Was Lincoln's gauntness before his death—and indeed some of his physical characteristics—due to a rare cancer?

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Well, Here's a "Duh!" Moment!
And this surprises people...how?

Small Cars Get Poor Marks in Collision Tests

Is this what the government is wasting our money on?

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Susan Boyle
Unlikely Diva's Talent Wows Global Audience

Isn't it sad, however, that she was so prejudged? People sniggering about her because she didn't fit the "slim, young and beautiful" mold? Isn't it time we stopped making value judgments based on how people look?

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» Monday, April 13, 2009
For Fans of What Katy Did and Its Sequels
The "long lost" story of Johnnie's visit to Inches Mills.

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» Sunday, April 12, 2009
Religious Differences
I couldn't finish Easter day without posting one of my favorite cartoons:



This is significant because, sadly, James and I have opposite issues about chocolate rabbits.

Yes, he eats the ears first and I eat the tail. Polar opposites.

But we survive. LOL.

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The Geek Makes Good
Series 3 of Waking the Dead was next in my Netflix queue, but there was a minor bobble with availability, so they sent The Librarian: Quest for the Spear instead. I had added it to my queue on a whim after seeing Noah Wyle talking about the films while discussing the end of E.R.. I had missed the films when they first aired on TNT.

The reviews of this one varied wildly from "fun" to "stupid," but I found I enjoyed it a lot, as did James. It helps if you leave your reality check at the door, or you'll be asking lots of questions like "How come the book Flynn is carrying in his bag doesn't get wet when they land in the river?" If you can suspend your disbelief, this comedy-adventure about a perpetual student (Wyle) who is forced to chuck his studies and job hunt, and who ends up interviewing and getting the job at a very unusual library is a romp. Bob Newhart and Jane Curtin play Flynn Carsen's quirky employers (Newhart especially is a hoot, especially in an action scene at the end), Olympia Dukakis is amusing as Flynn's mother who despairs of her son ever meeting a nice girl and settling down, and Sonya Walger is the cynical, ever alert bodyguard sent to protect him. The plot, involving the theft of the spear that pierced the side of Christ, is preposterous, putting one in mind of Disney's vintage In Search of the Castaways, while the story has riffs of the Indiana Jones films and Romancing the Stone.

This is a television movie so most of the special effects are average, although there's a nice sequence with a rickety bridge. There are quite a few scenes, though, that are obviously green-screen. But after all that, I enjoyed this much more than the overblown hit The Mummy, with its technically stunning but overwhelming SFX and Brendan Fraser's endless mugging.

I'll be interested in seeing the two sequels. I don't expect the plots to make any more sense, but they should be fun to watch.

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A New Type of Sculpture
Way cool!

Swedish Church Unveils Lego Jesus Statue for Easter

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In Spring the Easter Bunny Never Sleeps
For James having to be away all day, I haven't had a bad time. A good sleep-in was first. Then I finished a birthday card for a friend and packed it up in a box with the gift. While I was working on the card, I burned a DVD that I was planning to send to my cousin Debbie. To my frustration, I couldn't find her address anywhere. She moved not long ago and I only had her old address in my mom's address book. Finally I went searching for her husband's name on Google and found the address of their shop. I addressed the DVD there. Fuss and botheration!

So about 11:30 I was tooling my way to the post office with the radio playing XM Pops and enjoying the scenery. When it's nice the way it was this morning, the temp in the low 60s with a little breeze, I can almost forgive spring for coming: the dogwoods and the azaleas in full bloom, the leaves still pale green. Almost every yard had a flowering tree, some of them two, and/or azaleas in pink, red, magenta and the occasional white, all accompanied by Vivaldi and Mozart and Pachebel. One yard, on Old Concord Road, has a dogwood tree that was evidently grafted, as both white and pink branches twine together into one large tree.

It was so nice at that point that I didn't go straight home, but stopped at Walgreen's for a moment. A couple walked in with a tiny dog: the man had it in his hand, a little black Chihuahua puppy, not two pounds yet! He was so cute; his little paws were the size of my thumb-tips! Then I drove home via downtown Smyrna.

I kept busy all afternoon. First I had the rest of my fried rice and watched The Easter Promise. Now knowing its technical faults, I tried to look past them and did get a little more involved in the story. I do love the sleepover scene with Addie and her friends (and the subsequent scenes when they are decorating the Easter eggs and teasing Terry), and also the scene on the worksite where Addie brings her dad the cake and lemonade and they talk about Constance's father.

Over the course of the afternoon, I tidied up the craft room and vacuumed, and put up a small French bulletin board for photos we have collected, so now Nicki and Neil and Colin are smiling at me from next to the bookcase. Also used some wire shelving to restack my floss containers so I don't have to pick up all of them to get to one.

In the spare room I got rid of the box with some things in it to donate, and tucked the bag with our low-fat vacation snacks in a corner. It really should go in the closet, but can't fit. We really need to get rid of all those Xerox paper boxes full of floppy disks of computer programs we no longer use! All that's left in the middle of the room now is the JoAnn bag full of cookies and crackers we are taking to Atomicon, and the basket I need to return to Alice and the Lawsons' Christmas gift, since we didn't see them at Christmas.

I also hung up a metal decoration I got for the gate to the back yard. It's a leaf green and doesn't show up as well against the fence as I hoped. Downstairs I finally hung up the vintage reading poster that Rodney sent to us months ago. I also found something to do with the beautiful autumn wreath that I bought for a song when Linens'n'Things went out of business. On the cut corner where the plant table and the candle is (where James' airplane tree was at Christmastime), the wall was bare above. I thought about buying another Ken Jenkins print the next time we go to Gatlinburg, but then I looked at the wall, and the wreath, and put them together. It is a fall flower and twig wreath, rather than one dominated by autumn leaves, and is scarlet, orange, and brown with slight yellow highlights, and looks lovely above the little colonial candle with its tiny lampshade.

Also took Willow out and said hi to our neighbor, who is a minister. He looked as if he had just come back from services.

And then it was time for Here Comes Peter Cottontail. "You've never heard of Peter Cottontail? Great chattering chick-chicks!" This is a 1970 Rankin-Bass special with some wonderful songs, including my favorite, the optimistic "The Puzzle of Life," and also "Improvise," which I love to sing when I'm making something work "outside the box." It's the story of Peter Cottontail, about to take over the stewardship of Chief Easter Bunny from Colonel Wellington B. Bunny, when an embittered rabbit named January Q. Irontail challenges him. Irontail uses trickery to gain the post and turns April Valley, the home of the Easter Bunny, into a muddy morass. Seymour K. Sassafras, a traveling peddler, gives Peter the means to go back in time to win the contest, and the remainder of the story chronicles Peter's odyssey through the rest of the year's holidays along with the pilot of the "Yestermorrowbile," a caterpillar named Antoine. Sassafras, Antoine, and Col. Bunny are all voiced by Danny Kaye, who is delightful, especially as the offbeat Sassafras, but the star of the adventure is the villainous Irontail, played with relish by the late, great Vincent Price. In a great inside joke, Irontail's henchman is a bat named Montressor, also the name of the protagonist in Poe's short story "The Cask of Amontillado." Price played in so many films and adaptations of Poe short stories that having a Poe name involved in Irontail's machinations was especially fitting!

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» Saturday, April 11, 2009
Saturday on the Move
A cloudy cool morning, just right for sleeping...well, when the dog isn't barking. :-) Sometimes there are advantages to a dog door.

But it was time to get up anyway. I decided that I would take care of the state tax payment today instead of waiting until the 15th. I've no great nostalgia for those days before we bought a house and were paying in $800 in Federal taxes and $600 in state taxes every year, and joined the parade at the post office the evening of April 15 to drop checks in the slot.

It's been so long that we've done anything but file electronically and then get a refund that I kept consulting the printout that TurboTax produced to make sure I had everything! Strange how we got a $400+ refund last year and have to pay in $88 this year. Anyway, copied, stapled, tucked, and stamped, and at last the envelope was ready. We also finally arranged to mail a very late Hanukkah gift—first we had to find a mailing tube, then we kept forgetting it, and then it turned out we didn't have a home address, so we used a work address instead.

Then the shopping portion of our morning. ::snore:: As I guessed, our Publix does not stock the small whole wheat low-carb tortillas that I had seen up in Kennesaw. We are going to try a couple of other Publix stores on the way out to Trader Joe's and can probably hit some different ones on the way home, as there are Publixes everywhere these days. Got some twofers and more of the paper towels because they are such a good deal and we use less with the pick-a-sheet. Also got the usual stuff at Kroger (yogurt, as Publix doesn't carry my flavor, and the bananas) since James had to pick up a couple of prescriptions.

And we did the post awful as well and were finally free.

The clouds continue and there is a nice breeze rather than the wuthering wind of yesterday. Very nice for riding! Unfortunately the rest of the day became a bit tiring. We had to go to three other Publix stores to finally find the right tortillas. In the meantime we went to Trader Joe's and got more of their wonderful three-nut and flake cereal, and various other things we can't get at the supermarket.

Also made brief stops at Michaels and Fuzziwig's, and by the time we were done, we were knackered. Came home to leftovers (me) and some wings (James) and watched another Doctor Who we missed when the satellite box died ("The Sontaran Strategem").

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» Friday, April 10, 2009
And When the Sky Was Opened...
We had a twofer coupon for Ruby Tuesday, so we went there for supper, listening to the weather report as we drove. We were hearing reports of hail and at least one tornado touchdown.

Tell me again why I'm supposed to enjoy spring?

We had a quiet supper watching the banks of dark clouds descend and raise, with faint flashes of lightning popping off eventually, but as we exited the restaurant, both the Marietta siren and the Smyrna one were going off, as if echoing each other. We drove toward home, only to finally determine from the radio that it was only a severe thunderstorm warning, not a tornado warning, that had set the sirens off. So we went on to BJs.

It was quite a spectacular storm, bright forks of lightning, thunder, glowing clouds, and big gobs of cold raindrops as we ran into BJs. Luckily "Georgia Monsoon Season" happened while we were inside. We had three or four rumbles of thunder as we towed the damp items upstairs and then as I ran around wiping off the windowsills, and it was finally over.

Still chaos east and south of us...watching radar as I post.

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High Wind Over Georgia
We are expecting some storms and there is even a tornado warning in Floyd County further north. I have all the windows open and the wind is whistling through like it's a winter night on the moors. The gusts are quite noisy; Heathcliffe and Cathy would feel right at home! When I took Willow out for her walk, all the little stuffed animals and some of the eggs on the front porch had tumbled down and had to be reseated. The wind has also knocked over and broken the plastic spray bottle that James keeps near the grill. Oddly, this is the first time that bottle has been knocked over all winter despite some windy days.

It rained briefly earlier this morning, but I was able to fill the bird feeder and watch it patronized by the cardinal couple, the usual little nuthatches and chickadees and titmice, and the male downy woodpecker even came by.

Work was quiet today. I got an order done early but mostly spent the day corresponding with people to get updated information or forms. I have one order that I was just assigned today that is a corker: another last-minute one. It has to be awarded by mid-May and because of the price has to be publicly advertised for at least two weeks.

It's very spooky out there. When the wind stops it gets almost totally silent. Even the birds have quit singing. There is a nuthatch on the deck, but he's just sitting there looking around. Makes me nervous. (Wait. More birds and they're eating; that's better. No sirens yet.)

I spent my lunch hour dubbing off this week's Castle and am now clearing off the DVR again. I've really let it pile up because I knew GSN was stopping the What's My Line? broadcasts on April 1 and wanted some to watch later. But it's really not good to keep everything piled on it, either.

Had a disappointment and a surprise today, video-wise: I had the DVR programmed to record the lovely Christmas movie, Come to the Stable, with Loretta Young, from Fox Movie Channel this morning. Unfortunately I forgot that the box does updates daily at 7 a.m. and this took place in the middle of Stable, so I only got an hour of it. Bother. No upcoming broadcasts—in the next week anyway.

However, the DVD I ordered from Amazon Marketplace came in the mail today, after only four days! This is a Disney Movie Club exclusive that someone was selling at a price equivalent to one in a store, taken from a three-part television story, one of my favorites, Atta Girl, Kelly!, the story of a Seeing Eye dog. She is raised by a little boy as a 4H project, then must transfer her allegiance first to her trainer, then to the blind gentleman she must guide. I remember Arthur Hill being Kelly's eventually owner, but I had forgotten that his roommate at the Seeing Eye guide dog training school was played by James Olson, whom he would co-star with four years later in The Andromeda Strain.

I'm still struggling with the new medicine; not feeling sick, exactly, but it's still bothering me. Had a stiff neck this morning, but ad had trouble sleeping and tossed and turned, so it was to be expected.

Oh, yeah, I did two loads of laundry, too.

Willow's starting to cling to me. That's not a good sign.

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» Thursday, April 09, 2009
On Thursday
Well, finally put the Easter decorations up. I had a Swiffer duster I needed to toss out, but before I disposed of it, I "swiffed" off the porch. Gah, all the pollen dust! Everything went up on the porch but the flag with the cross on it. I don't feel right putting that up before midnight on Saturday.

Meanwhile, there are Eastery flourishes everywhere: the china cabinet, the table, in front of the television, on the tape console, and of course downstairs in the foyer, where the Easter tree holds court. I had forgotten the cute little "footed" egg cups I bought, two tiny rabbits, and the two mini "basket stuffer" Beanies: a rabbit and a lamb.

Plus I vacuumed upstairs, and the stairs—all this and a day of work, too.

This was my first day on Ranitidine (Zantac). I did pretty well until suppertime, when we had turkey thighs. I stripped the skin off them and sprinkled only some mint and parsley flakes and a little sweet sauce on them, and didn't use gravy when I ate it, but it's still making me burp. But I know it takes a while for the medication to get into your system. I remember when I started taking Claritin it didn't work well for the first week. So I'm crossing fingers.

Speaking of food, the farmer's market on the square reopens May 2. Cool! Fresh sweet corn soon!

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» Wednesday, April 08, 2009
What an Apt Reminder
Today's "Shoe":

Shoe: Need to Back Up Hard Drive

Something for folks to stick on their computer drives. LOL.

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» Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Illumination
'ware spoilers for those who DVR'd:

House: The Shocking Story Behind Last Night's Big Death

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Watch the Ping-Pong Ball
So it was around 70 on Sunday.

The forecast for Thursday is 71.

And ten minutes ago it was sleeting outside.

O-kay...

(But it was sooooo nice to sleep last night!)

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» Monday, April 06, 2009
Tonight's Episode of House
Holy cow! I didn't expect that!

Damn. I know it's only a story, but that hurt.

I guess that's how you know when it's a good story.

Damn.

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::swelter::
Since it's 46°F outside, with the wind at 13mph gusting to 27, I thought the only sensible thing to do was wear long sleeves.

"Sensible" apparently doesn't apply to my office, since it's 79 in my cubicle right now. ::pant::

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Amen, Brother!
2009 Movies/TV: Stop the Inanity!

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Vetted
I ran out of refills on my prescription for Levothroid because I was stupid: I forgot to call in before the expiration date of the prescription in January (I didn't need the pills at that time and forgot to request the refill online). So this morning I had to go to the doctor. I haven't been in a while and was totally unsurprised when they asked me to have a new thyroid blood test taken.

I didn't see my regular doctor, though, and had another woman, who I really liked and am considering changing to as my primary care physician. The doctor I have now is fine, but I seem to have difficulty talking to her. This other doctor I felt at ease with—perhaps it was because she reminded me of my cousin Debbie and her family; her face had a similar structure. It was very surprising. She also asked a lot of questions, including why the heck it said on my chart that I had hypertension. I noticed that, too, when I looked at my online record. My blood pressure is 100 over 70 and she said that the dose of atenolol I was taking, although it is a hypertension drug, would not make my blood pressure that low if I actually had hypertension. All I can think of is that someone saw I was taking atenolol and assumed I had hypertension because I was taking it.

The freaky thing is that my health record also said I'd had a heart attack. Er, no, or I'd have been seeing a cardiologist. They did initially think when I had the palpitations back in September 2002 that I might have had a blockage, but they did a whole battery of tests which turned up negative. The cardiologist and the attending differed on what might have caused it: one said it was possibly stress or incipient menopause (I was already getting pre-menopausal symptoms back then) and the other said it may have been the acid reflux (as at that point I was taking about one Tums an hour). That's how I was prescribed the atenolol and also Protonix, which Kaiser later took out of their drug formulary and replaced with Prilosec—which even at two a day don't work very well. :-(

She asked if there was anything else wrong, so I told her about the Protonix/Prilosec thing and asked if I could try Zantac and she said yes. A friend of ours has GERD as well and says the Zantac works perfectly for her; it may not work for me but I would at least like to try it. It's getting so that the only things that don't come up on me are plain bread, milk, and oatmeal. Even fruit makes me burp and feel uncomfortable. I remember having the grilled salmon at Ikea a few weeks ago and tasting fish for the next twelve hours. Ugh.

When I got done with the doctor I had to go to the pharmacy (where I got my prescriptions so fast my jaw nearly dropped) and then drop by the lab (where I was taken immediately). Very surprising for a Monday as they are usually very crowded with people who have felt ill all weekend and are coming in just now to see the doctor. I expected to be a lot longer with a 9:40 appointment, but was at work just a little past eleven.

(Will ya tell me why the dickens I get a headache after I have blood taken? It's not like they took a lot. Or why the elbow in the arm I have the blood taken from hurts afterward?)

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» Sunday, April 05, 2009
A Variable Sunday
We had a good sleep and then did our grocery shopping in a leisurely manner. Since we needed sugar-free pudding and the refrigerated case where our usual Kroger used to keep the pudding hasn't worked in almost six months (meaning they stock very little of it any more), we went to the Kroger on Whitlock Avenue instead, where we were tempted by a "rotisserie pork roast" rather than a chicken. We bagged it for supper, along with the usual stuff: bananas, yogurt, etc.—and the pudding. It wasn't until we were almost home, having taken our weekly drive past Jim Miller Park to wonder What in Tarnation They Are Doing (half the park is dug up, including a ditch big enough to float canal boats in), that we realized we'd forgotten the one thing we do get every week: the newspaper!

However, we had to go out again anyway because I'd forgotten to get gasoline on Friday. So we drove by our usual Kroger to use their gas station (we had enough credit points to get gas 10¢ a gallon cheaper) and snagged a paper there, then made a brief visit to Party City. James needed some clear colored plastic for a model project and swizzle sticks would be the ideal size. We hadn't seen any in either supermarket, so that was our next plan of attack. We found just the color he needed.

We didn't have any other plans, but stopped at Borders for a little while just to walk around, then came home. The weather was operating in fits and starts: it was mostly cloudy today, and we had rain during both grocery store trips. Thankfully this rinsed most of the pine pollen off my car—you should see the "drifts" of pine pollen on the open windowsills. I haven't put up my outside Easter decorations because I don't want them covered in this nasty grit.

Despite the rain, the sun peeked out a couple of times, sometimes at the same time! It didn't appear to have gotten into the low seventies as the forecast said, as at times there was a sharp breeze, but it was still warmish. The weather report is astounding: it's still in the high 60s outside as I write this, but we have a severe thunderstorm warning south of us, and the low tomorrow morning is supposed to be 46°F—and they are talking about snow flurries tomorrow night! Wicked bizarre!

I finished the afternoon by drowning the dog (from her point of view, anyway), and sweeping out and tidying the master and hall baths, then reading the paper. James made potatoes to go with the pork roast and we both have leftovers for lunch. We also made the rather annoying discovery that one of our milk jugs was leaking around the handle, so had to pour part of the milk into another container.

Watched a great Nova tonight about the extinction of the mammoth, as well as a new documentary based on the story of Christian the lion. I am amused at this new interest in the subject due to a YouTube clip, because I remember seeing the Christian film back when it was first broadcast on television in the early 70s.

If you've been media-less in the last few months when this flurry happened, the story of Christian began in the late 1960s, when Harrods in London was still allowed to sell exotic animals. Two young men from Australia had moved to London to take part in the "hip scene" back in those days and had purchased a lion cub they saw there. They raised him in their apartment building, but as he got larger and more powerful, they realized they could no longer keep him as a pet but did not want to send him to a zoo or a circus. Then Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, who had starred in the film Born Free about the releasing of Elsa, the formerly tame lioness, into the African bush, visited them. They arranged to have Christian taken to Africa to be released to the wild by George Adamson, who, with his wife Joy, had raised and released Elsa. Christian did manage to be released into the wild and George sent the two young men periodic reports on him.

A year later they decided they wanted to see how Christian was doing and flew to Africa. A film was being made about their experience and the camera was running the day Christian first saw them again after being a wild lion for a year. At first he sniffed and approached them cautiously, then, excited, they called his name. At that point he realized who they were and ran to them, greeting them joyfully, but not once injuring them. Someone posted this reunion on YouTube just recently, and the resurgence of interest in Christian's story had brought about this special as well as a reissue of the book written about his story.

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» Saturday, April 04, 2009
Sun on Saturday
Explain to me why I'm supposed to like summer again?

We were up fairly early for a Saturday because it was Hair Day, even though James had baked the cornbread and steamed the vegetables last night. We had a good time, found out a friend is about to become a grandmother, and got disappointed: our hairdresser's husband is a landscaper and we were going to ask him to do our lawn. Except he's not landscaping any longer. Dang it.

We came home to fetch the JoAnn coupons—they had a 20 percent off coupon on everything, even sale items—and on the way out saw our neighbor across the street and stopped to talk to her about the house next door to her, which is for sale. We had been under the impression that the family that had been living there were renters, but they were the owners. They disappeared around Thanksgiving, after apparently loading all their things in a school bus with no seats. Well, they not only packed "all their things," but they stripped the house as well! They took the fixtures, the upper-level cabinets in the kitchen and the doors off the bottom level cabinets as well, plumbing fixtures, and at least one bathtub! Now the bank is trying to sell it as a fixer-upper.

(Also, I remember last summer we kept hearing a rooster crowing and I thought it was from the trailer park behind it. No, the guy was keeping some chickens! Even after he was told to get rid of them, our neighbor thought they were still keeping them in the house. Of course I remember how they planted tomatoes in the front of the house so they could have flowers, since vegetable gardens are exempt from the watering ban. Of course the lady violated the watering ban a lot!)

Anyway, we were out there talking for about half an hour and even though I shaded my eyes with the large JoAnn coupon, the sun did its usual number on me. We went to the hobby shop in its new digs—gosh, the place looked small, but it's huge; goes wayyyyy back, with a nice little office and a meeting room, hall for storage cupboards, storage closet, rest room, and a back room—and the longer we stayed, the worse my headache got. By the time we left it felt like someone was driving a long nail from one temple to the other. I cadged some Tylenol off James and we picked up a drink at Wendys and I closed my eyes until we got to JoAnn, where the headache had diminished to a low throb. I bought a few little things for the yard, a clip art book, more magnets, a metal tray for a project, and some other odds and ends.

By then it was suppertime. We picked up dinner at Dragon—yum! pork fried rice! (yes, Ivan, with no peas and carrots; it's civilized fried rice)—and watched the last New York This Old House. Kinda disappointed we didn't get to see the basement apartment, but I suspect it was a duplicate of the third floor one. This one was just too short!

Then we watched one of the Doctor Who episodes we missed last year when our satellite box died (twice), "Planet of the Ood," and finally the dog show on Animal Planet.

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» Friday, April 03, 2009
Keeping Contained
I made up for several sleepless nights this morning; by the time I got up, it was 11 a.m. I had the usual breakfast and a conflict with myself: there was a book I wanted, but it was only at the Borders in Dunwoody, near Perimeter Mall. I didn't mind the drive, but it was lunchtime and Perimeter is full of restaurants that are patronized by nearby office workers.

It was a nice day: high 50s, very low 60s eventually, with a sharp wind blowing. The wind was both a blessing and a curse, as it kept it cool, but it was tossing around the gritty pine pollen that has turned the streets, sidewalks, and any other horizontal—and in some cases vertical—surface into yellow-sheened dustiness. You can taste it in your mouth. Yeech. The dogwoods are now in full bloom and deserted lots are more than likely to be overgrown with wisteria, plump collections of purple blossoms draping over skeletons of trees, chain link fences, and other vertical structures.

Surprisingly, Ashford-Dunwoody Road nor its exit were backed up at all and I was able to go in and out of Borders with no trouble. Since I was there I thought I would stop at the Container Store. Then I hit a problem: Perimeter Center West was a solid block of traffic since they had the right lane shut down for most of its length. So it took me a good fifteen minutes to inch a very short distance before I got to the shopping center. So I ducked into Barnes & Noble to use the bathroom and came out with two bargain books. LOL. This is not hard: I am always constantly surprised on how many more books B&N has than Borders! But you have to pay for B&N's book discount program and Borders is free, so I continue shopping at the latter. Anyway, I bought The Great Upheaval: America and the Birth of the Modern World, 1788-1800 by Jay Winik and Beppe Severgini's La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind (which has terrible reviews, but I thought I'd try it out anyway).

In the Container Store I got two two-level wire shelving units. One will replace the wire shelf under the hall bathroom sink. When we moved in I just tossed everything from under the sink in the old hall bath under the sink in the new one, and it was rather a dog's breakfast down there. This will sort all the little bits of things better: Therma-patches, wipes, nightlight bulbs, etc.

I made my break out of there by 2:45, not wanting to face Friday rush-hour, which was already starting (traffic was a mess tonight anyway from people leaving on spring break—joy, that means I won't get a darn thing done next week because almost no one will be in the office). I had planned to go to the Michaels in Dunwoody, but the only way there was through the road that was still backed up. Never mind. I went to the one closer to the house and got things to finish James' mom's birthday/Mother's Day gift.

Also stopped at Publix. Not much going with twofers this week, but they did have the Brawny pick-your-own-size packs on sale. I like the pick-packs since you don't need to use a huge piece of paper towel to do a little task. Plus I got a baguette, which came in handy later on.

When James arrived home we went to Fresh2Order and picked up some supper to bring home, as he was going to cook some things for Hair Day tomorrow: I had the full bowl of the creamy chicken vegetable soup, which is so thick it is more like stew, so it was quite a hearty meal, especially with a nice piece of baguette to dunk into it. We found an HD program about dogfights on tonight, so James was baking cornbread later than he intended. Great graphics, and the pilots were flying actual World War II aircraft (a Wildcat and a Zero) in re-inacting the dogfights, rather than using CGI as on the series Dogfights. Pretty cool.

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» Thursday, April 02, 2009
Computer User Tales: How I Assisted on Surgery on a Laser Printer
James bought a Samsung color laser printer at a Really Good Price awhile back. I was interested in having one anyway to print out photos once in a while, as well as do things like printing out color Christmas labels, and he had bought laser printer decal paper to print decals with it.

Well, so far it's been a dead loss for any of those things. Before Christmas I tried to print out return address labels on it and it failed miserably; the ink did not fuse to the paper. I thought it was because the labels were cheap (I had bought them in the dollar bin at Michaels), so used some Avery labels that specifically stated they were for laser printers. Still no luck. We tried printing out a dust jacket for a vintage book we were giving a friend as a Christmas gift on cardstock. The black didn't fuse properly and flaked off, so we had to use regular printer paper.

Tonight was the worst. James is making a special model for the April model meeting and wanted to print out the decals for it. First the thing stuck, then the design printed off the paper, then the final time he tried to print the paper wound its way around the print roller and stuck fast. He had to dismantle part of the print roller assembly and eventually the job needed four hands so I ended up on the floor with him. No wonder they charge so much to repair these damn things! Finally we got the print roller to turn, and began peeling the paper off it inch by inch, only to discover that the final layer had fused to itself and was stuck fast. We had to score it very lightly with an Exacto knife and then get a fingernail under it to tear it apart bit by bit.

Then we had to put all the screws back in, using a forceps to hold them so they wouldn't fall inside the unit. Gah.

It still prints, but all it will print is plain old 20-pound paper. So much for my buying photo paper. I expect I would experience similar "success." Probably better to take a memory stick to Walgreens and have them print it out.

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Yet Another Rainy Day
In the middle of the night came a volley of thunder, preceded and followed by a volley of dog. :-) It remained rainy and squishy all day (squishy as in taking Willow into the back yard).

Felt like I worked all day but didn't accomplish anything, even though I got two orders done.

Made minor cosmetic changes on the graphics on my nostalgia site. Watched Ellen and Annie Oakley, which runs on Channel 57 on Thursday afternoons. Another great series that I loved as a kid!

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In the News
I always remember Leia during pollen season at the apartment—she would get halfway up the metal stairs and half to stop and cough and take deep breaths before she could finish the rest of the climb:

Pets, Owners Challenged by Increasing Allergies

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» Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Natural Food
Martha Stewart featured this vintage video today on her show. She has actually imported a couple of the trees shown here and harvested them on the show—it was fascinating! I bet they're pretty high-priced, though; I'd love to import a couple myself.

BBC Report

The announcer's voice sounded familiar; I believe it was the famous BBC news presenter Loof Lirpa.

[Heh. And they say the British have no sense of humor.]

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Weather and Work
It's been cloudy or it's been rainy. I went to work and came home. It rained during lunch yesterday when the weather reporters swore it wouldn't start until after seven. House was good Monday night, reminiscent of the M*A*S*H episode "POV." Haven't watched Castle yet. So that was the last two days, except for being sick to my stomach yesterday afternoon. I think what I had for lunch was spoiled, so out that will go, and I'm not having any more of it for a while.

Yesterday at some point when I was cleaning my glasses I knocked off one of the nosepads. I'd hoped to let it wait until Friday, but the headache I got last night from having crooked glasses convinced me not to. I decided to wait until the mall opened and take an hour's leave to go get them fixed (especially since after two hours of having them on my nose they were already hurting). I figured this would take an hour since we are only six miles from Cumberland Mall. Yeah, right. It took me 20 minutes to get there and even longer coming home having been stuck behind everything from a bus to someone doing ten miles an hour under the speed limit, plus I had to wait at the eyeglass place, so it was more like 90 minutes. When I got back I logged right back into my computer intending to get back to my orders, and instead spent over a half hour on the phone trying to resolve a problem that wasn't mine to resolve in the first place. I did everything I could to track down the cause, but there was no way to resolve it because I didn't know what caused it. The people who would know better to solve it shunted it off on me. By the time I got done what I really felt like doing was throwing the kind of tantrum my parents never allowed me to throw as a kid.

Instead I got another glass of water and put a couple of things away. Sheesh!

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