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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» Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Raining On Our Parade
It's a good thing it was a short parade. :-)

James was off today due to working Saturday. He went out early to get blood taken at Kaiser and to get his car inspected. In the meantime I cleared out the foyer and washed the floor. (I considered not washing it today because the weather report was extremely liquid—but then, if you didn't wash the floor because it would just get dirty again, you'd never wash it at all...LOL.) Also wielded some Pledge at various bits of furniture, and presto, by the time I was finished, so was James.

Off to Walmart! When we met, James was always warm and I was always chilled; now that we've hit middle age I've got my own heating system and he's the one complaining he's cold. And he has only one "hang around" sweater, so we got him a few sweatshirts and a couple of T's, too—and found a lovely gift for James' sister.

We went to the hobby shop for a few minutes, then went to Target. I was looking for a piece of furniture and wanted James to see it. We found it and would have bought it, but this Target didn't have one except for the display. Never mind. Now that I know it works for James, I can get it at any other Target.

It has been cloudy with just a bit of drizzle at WallyWorld and the hobby shop; cloudy and infernally warm when we left Target. While we were in Lowes trying to get a new battery for James' drill (no dice; we had to buy a whole new drill as they don't make those batteries anymore), it began to rain in earnest and it was still pounding away when we went to Publix.

Hindsight is always wonderful, and today's was a doozy—I am so glad it was today I had chosen to be off. The rain came down in gallons and buckets and bathtubs and container ships and all and sundry huge liquid containers. The freeway flooded and they had to shut down a ramp from I-85 to I-285 because the water had collected so deep. Worse, a storm ripped through a little neighborhood in Buford and took off roofs, sides of houses, aluminum siding, and garage doors, and tore apart trees. Wow. Apparently no one has been hurt, thank God.

We had a less perilous evening, eating peanut pork, watching the chaos on the news, and later The Real Story of Christmas. Now have a DVD in: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, of course.

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» Monday, November 29, 2010
Creating a Blank Slate
I can't really say I've been getting ready for Christmas; it's more like I was getting ready to get ready for Christmas.

That means I basically spent the day taking Thanksgiving and then the daily fall decorations down and put away. First I took all the fall decorations from the porch, swept it clean, and put up minimal Christmas: the big wreath, the St. Nicholas banner, and the greens basket, and the three stakes in the beds out front (Rudolph, the candy cane, and the "welcome" jingle bell), and put on the mailbox cover (this is a design of three winter birds each on a postage stamp).

Next I filled the Thanksgiving decoration box, and put some extra fall decorations on top. Then I did some minor repairs to the temporary storage boxes (four 11x14 copy paper boxes) and packed those: the mantel decorations and other items that will be replaced during Christmas. Those were labeled and put into the laundry room.

I did put up one other decoration: the "shadow box" that goes in the kitchen to replace the apple/cooking one during the holiday. Otherwise everything looks very bare. I want to dust and/or polish things, and wash the floor in the foyer, before I put anything else up.

Burned a gingerbread candle and listened to some Christmas CDs during the day, along with a Travel With Rick Steves podcast that was half about a polar bear photographer and half about talking to locals about Christmas in Rome and in London. Goodness, that's when I'd love to go to Europe, before Christmas! And go to a Christkindlmarket! Also listened to a "Tech Guy" podcast.

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» Sunday, November 28, 2010
Split Personality
It's been a quiet Sunday. We slept in because we were up late on chat. When Willow started to bark, we knew it was time to get up.

We had some good coupons at BJs, and I didn't have any bills on this paycheck, so we stocked up on various things, including new containers for bulk foods. James also found a weather station on deep clearance. It has a anemometer, a rain gauge, a wind vane, and a hygrometer. He set it up on the porch tonight, but in temporary fashion since he wants to get a pole to mount the vane and anemometer on.

We're both off on Tuesday, so we put off getting milk until then. Spent the afternoon transferring contents to the new containers, reading the paper, watching the Cool Tools special on HGTV, and, finally, putting up a few Christmas decorations.

This is the time of year when the house looks a bit split personality. It takes a while to go from fall/Thanksgiving to Christmas. Today I put up the window candles and inside door decorations (except for the wreath that goes on the door to the deck, which says "Every birdie welcome"). Tomorrow's the day to get out the big guns and put all the Thanksgiving things away so they can be replaced with Christmasy goodness.

And just to muddy the waters further, I'm still talking about Thanksgiving books in Holiday Harbour. :-)

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» Saturday, November 27, 2010
Return From Thanksgiving-Land
Compared to The Holiday Whirl (as narrated in Holiday Harbor), today was almost relaxing! James had to go into work, but I made up for the sleep I lost on Friday, then did a load of laundry, cleaned the master bathroom, and spent the morning doing backups on my computer (photos on the new 16GB thumb drive and backups of all files on my old hard drive). Tidied up other things, put some away, and watched more Ellery Queen.

Wednesday when we went to the Town Center Borders I picked up a series I'd never heard of, the animated The Legend of White Fang. This was a series done by Cinar in the early 1990s. Surprisingly, although one villain is a base stereotype (he even has a Snidely Whiplash moustache) and the other is as dumb as a post, with a supposedly deadly but comic-relief bulldog that looks like it came out of a Warner Brothers cartoon, and that this is definitely for kids, it's not all that bad. In this outing, White Fang the half-wolf, half-husky is the pal of little Wendy Scott, daughter of widowed newspaperman Weedon Scott (Weedon Scott is the man who rescues White Fang in the original novel). He "speaks" to his fellow wolves and other animals, and to his "spiritual advisor," a Native tribesman named Raven Wolf, but not to any of the other human characters. The animation is limited (and badly monitored—the villain de Lazlo has a coat that changes color from red to purple and back in the first episode), but the "lesson" of the episode isn't bludgeoned into the kids and there is adventure with limited violence. I'm impressed.

Had dinner at Ken's Grill tonight (pork chops!) and went to Hobby Lobby. Ended up watching Twister when we got home, and then a documentary about Industrial Light and Magic. Now watching HGTVs 25 Great Holiday Ideas. One woman is evidently not a Southerner: they showed her having packages under the tree wrapped in recycled grocery brown bags. Hello! Those have roach eggs in them down here!

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» Monday, November 22, 2010
Where Were You...
...November 22, 1963?

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» Sunday, November 21, 2010
On Weekends We Seldom Sleep
Friday proper was involved in tasks that are covered in Holiday Harbour. I worked until James got home from work, then we went to dinner at Fresh2Order, since we had a twofer coupon for our anniversary. They had not had my favorite, the Creamy Chicken Vegetable Soup, during the summer, so I happily enjoyed a bowl with dinner. This is a thick, delicious soup full of chicken, carrots, and other veggies, very filling, so I ended up taking 3/4 of my dinner home.

We also went into Buckhead to the big Borders, cutting through the "ritzy" homes on Mt. Paran Road and the others north of Chastain Park. "Mr. Inflatable," the guy with the myriad inflatable seasonable decorations, must have gotten read the riot act by his neighborhood association, because while he had his yard and house strung everywhere with Christmas lights and also had an illuminated Santa Claus, there wasn't an inflatable in sight. (I don't like the things anyway; they look cheap.) James had some $10 credits and wanted to go to the largest store where they had the most choice in the history section. Alas, the history section has been denuded; the book James wanted was not there. I fared better: two magazines, a Windham Hill Christmas CD, and two books, one about philosophical discussions about Christmas (such as telling children about Santa) and the other S.J. Rozan's newest Lydia Chin mystery. (I don't usually buy a book without a coupon, but Rozan's books are so hard to find I wouldn't leave that behind, and the Christmas book was nothing I'd ever seen before, so I got both, plus the newest Entertainment Book. We may need the Atlanta History Center coupon for the Candlelight Nights, anyway.)

Had dessert at Bruster's—James had peppermint stick ice cream, which tastes like a soft candy cane, but I would like it better if the base was chocolate instead of vanilla!—and came on home.

Saturday morning started early because it was not only the last Farmer's Market of the season, but it was Hair Day to boot. We got salad veggies and some green pepper, stocked upon homemade dog biscuits for Willow, bought jalapeno pimento cheese to take to Hair Day along with the sun goat pesto and crackers, got some chocolate chip cookies for dessert and a turkey pot pie for Monday supper, and James stocked up on boiled peanuts. We got stuck waiting for the train, but did get out of downtown eventually.

When we go to Ron and Lin's house from the Farmer's Market, we cut cross-country behind Whitlock Road via Polk to Dallas Highway, then go diagonally through Villa Rica Road. Most of Villa Rica is country-like, with horse farms or acreage, and it was like an autumn impressionist painting come to life, all soft edges and lovely colors. You would never think it looking at the Bradford pears in the spring, when they're all fluffy with white blossoms, but they turn extraordinary colors in the fall, from green to saffron to orange to scarlet shading all the way to maroon on one tree. Some of the maples are like molten butter in the sun.

We had a great time at Hair Day. Ron had told everyone Juanita was bringing lunch, but actually Andrew was bringing it, with a birthday cake for his wife, Shannon, and she was coming along later. There were birthday banners strung all over the house, and when she walked in the door and we yelled "Surprise!" she clapped hands to her face in a reproduction of Kevin in Home Alone. LOL.

A little after one we moseyed along home to put up the spoils of our final trip of the season, then went out to the hobby shop. I suggested to James that perhaps the Borders at Perimeter Mall might have the book he wanted, as they have always had a good history section, so we headed in that direction after our visit. We enjoyed our ride through the "ritzy" part of town, then stopped at the Container Store on the way there to buy a few organizational odds and ends.

Alas, when we got to the story there were big yellow banners outside screaming "Store Closing." Son of a bitch! You never see any of those wretched endless shoe stores closing. Looked around, then came home.

Glory be! Jen was on chat! She found a spot in her barracks that accessed the wi-fi in the galley and sat talking with us until very late. (The watch passed her twice without reprimanding her, so I guess it was okay.) She thought she would have a late school start, but there was a sudden opening, so her A-School begins on Monday! So needless to say we were up rather late and didn't get up until ten this morning. Had to go to Publix (good twofers this weekend) and Kroger, then came home to put the perishables up and went to Ikea for the afternoon. We hadn't been in...ages. I can't even remember the last time we went. Had lunch in their restaurant, then walked around. I am looking for a comfy chair to replace the old papasan downstairs. It's been a good old chair, but it's too bulky and it creaks and crackles when you sit in it anymore. I'd love a wing-back, but those are terribly expensive. I just want a comfy, sturdy chair, one you could sit in to read.

I also would love to replace that totty old microwave cart in the dining room. It's doing china cabinet/cup duty and I've always wanted something prettier. But the only thing small enough would be the buffet, which doesn't have a top half. We'd have to put up some shelves or a small cabinet. Not sure I want to mark up the wall like that.

On the way home, checked out the Brookwood Borders. James found a historical book he wanted, and also a collection of short stories, but we had to go out of our way back to the Buckhead store to get the book I wanted, the newest of the Bryant and May books. I'm really loving these, especially the little esoteric details about various London things like the courses of the river or the Underground.

And of course we enjoyed the splendid autumn color in all the older neighborhoods like North Druid Hills Road.

Listend to "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" on the way home, and a couple of "Splendid Table" installments, including a Thanksgiving edition where they talked about turducken. Later we had turkey soup for supper with whole-wheat egg noodles and watched this week's This Old House and two R5Sons Alaska episodes.

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» Friday, November 19, 2010
In Autumn More Than the Leaves Fly
The days have my permission to slow the hell down! Summer, that fat hot slug of a season, went by with the speed of a sloth having a nap, producing roasted people as collateral damage. You might as well have tossed us on a gas grill.

Now that the temperatures are at least bearable, the days are flying by like a spinning jenny being driven by Niagara.

I haven't even the excuse of being busy at work for not having been busy here (although I have spent odd moments getting ahead on my St. Nicholas website; it fell behind last spring since I simply didn't have time for it), because we are having a welcome fall lull until the budgets come in, with just a few orders to occupy us. This is good because (a) we have a sheaf of mandatory training courses we have to do every fall, like annual Ethics training (how come we have to take Ethics training and Congress doesn't?), Green Purchasing training, security training, etc. and (b) now I have use-or-lose annual leave to happily work through. It has to be used before the end of the leave year, which is right at New Year, hence use-or-lose.

I always say I am going to take more time off in the winter, but it never seems to work out; and last year was just slammed with work because of the Recovery Act funds. By April I had no time to take time off. And there's no use in taking time off from April onwards anyway; the weather is so warm and miserable—who wants to be out in it? Might as well keep busy with work. Fall and winter are the fun times of the year anyway.

So I had today off, and worked on crafts and listened to podcasts, which was nice. The Travels With Rick Steves files go back five years, so I have a nice collection of European/International Christmas broadcasts downloading for my listening pleasure in December.

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» Sunday, November 14, 2010
A Weekend of Surprises
We loaded the truck Friday night so we didn't have to get up any earlier than necessary Saturday morning. However, James woke before the alarm, so we were early getting to Jim Miller Park and directed into the queue. So we went to Martin's to get James some breakfast, and by the time we got back there was no line at all.

You see, today was Free Electronics Recycling Day. You can always recycle electronics on County Services Parkway, but you have to pay. One day a year they take it for free, unless it's a television, which you have to pay $10 to dispose of. We had at least two years' worth of junk that had died, most of it not replaced, like James' old computer (fifteen years old), a boom box he bought used to play CDs, but the radio didn't work, my old keyfob which they told me I could just throw away, mice, keyboards, etc. We left behind the television (also from the pawn shop and fifteen years old, which just up and died during the summer) because Alice posted something on Facebook from Clark Howard's website, that Best Buy takes TVs for recycling. You have to pay $10, but they give you a $10 gift certificate.

Then we came home. Now that all that crap was out of the garage, we could rearrange. The plastic boxes that were formerly on the wire shelf that collapsed are still in a pile near the little "closet" that the water heater is in. They are in the way. By rearranging, partially with James' help and partially after he left, I was able to wheel them against the wall and still have room for the shop vac and the seeder. The wire shelf was lying edgewise on the floor, and we managed to get that up and out of the way, pinning it over the extension ladder with the bent supports that are still fastened to the wall. The bikes are parked in front of the containers and the shop vac, and the old electronics box is now up against the wall, ready to fill again, although I think we've gotten rid of any extraneous junk.

James left for work, and since I was out there, I got out the hedge clipper and trimmed the bushes in front of the house. I know this isn't the proper time of year, but when Paulo or Alex trim them, they do them nice and straight, but never clip the bits overhanging the sidewalk or crowding the stairs. So I trimmed just that. Sadly, the bushes are all stalky inside, no leaves. When February comes I need to trim them down good, cut back the front, and then the top, so you can see St. Francis better again. I used the pruning tool to get any odd branches and trimmed the larger of the two bushes next to St. Francis.

Came in, cleaned myself up, then had a peanut butter sandwich before going out. I stopped at Hobby Lobby for more light bulbs, then stopped at Lowes to look for a figure for my Christmas village. I am looking for a cheap, single figure that would not look out of place in a 1940s town, cheap especially because I intend to cut the feet off the figure. I want to put the abbreviated figure in the subway entrance, back facing outward, so it looks like it is going down the stairs to the subway. So far I have either found too many figures at too high a price, or unsuitable figures, like women in pants or Victorian-era figures. (I know women did wear pants occasionally back then, and they wore overalls to the war plants, but to me it would just not look right.) Unfortunately Lowes had very few figures, and those that were in the right time period—their It's a Wonderful Life figures and buildings—had a ceramic finish and didn't match the resin ones.

So I went on to BJs, bought gasoline, then stopped at Food Lion for groceries since I had a coupon. Then I went on home, to the odious task of unblocking "my" sink (the right-hand one) in the master bath. It gets clogged up frequently with soap scum and errant hair. This actually cleared quickly and I didn't even have to use baking soda and vinegar.

By this time it was nearly four o'clock, so I started some rice to have with soup, walked Willow and fed her, and ate supper while watching the most recent version of The 39 Steps. I read the book several years back; they've made the female lead spunky and not a shrinking violet, but I don't recall any of the other changes.

James got home a little before nine, and we spent the evening watching the latest This Old House and R5Sons Alaska, and finally accumulated Law & Order: UK.

And then Jen showed up on chat! She graduated boot camp yesterday and has the rest of the weekend to spend with family and friends (her parents and sister and brother-in-law and our friend Mike) as long as she checks in every morning and evening. So we were up very late "reunioning" and did not get to bed until after two.

Of course we read before bed, and my current book of choice was a new book, Thanksgiving: The Biography of An American Holiday. I'm constantly on the lookout for books about Thanksgiving that aren't about recipes or entertaining, as most adult books about the holiday are (kids' books have more variety: they can be about the holiday, about giving, retellings of the Pilgrims-and-Indians story, etc.), and this one came up the last time I searched. It's part of a new series of books called "Revisiting New England" on all types of subjects like regions, ethnic groups, events, etc.

I had read a few pages, then decided to stop, but before I did, I thumbed through the rest of the book and the footnotes (yes, I'm one of those people who reads footnotes). I was suddenly arrested by a URL that was familiar—familiar because it was one of my URLs. I turned back to Chapter 9 and found the author had quoted something about televised holiday parades that I said on my Thanksgiving web page! Like...wow!

So we were up after ten this morning, and shuffled around for a while before going out.

After the great Kmart/Sears merger, Kmart pretty much disappeared around here. The one near the hobby shop became a Sears appliance store. The one at Brookwood had vanished even before Kmart declared bankruptcy. The one at East Cobb is a Sears. Needless to say, neither of us have been to a Kmart in years. However, there is still one left, near where Floyd Road turns into Mableton Parkway, in Mableton, and we went to that one today, on a tip from someone in my Christmas group. While I didn't find what she mentioned, we did find some small goodies, including a heavy-duty timer we can use for the space heater in the master bath, a "tin" airplane from Country Living's line of retro metal Christmas ornaments (they also have an ocean liner, a Zeppelin, a dog on wheels, a trolley car, etc.), and...ta-da!...a figure for the Christmas village. It is a man in nondescript, 20th-century clothing carrying a toolbox. I can dry-brush a little white on his hair, to depict an older man working at a war plant.

We stopped at BJs to get gasoline for the truck, and walked about inside. This was both good and bad, because I found The Christmas Vault, a book someone on the Christmas list had mentioned last year. This is one of those volumes that has little inserts in it, like cards, letters, booklets, etc. that enhance what you have read. (There are other books in this series, on World War II, Star Trek, Star Wars, D-Day, etc.) The source material seems to have come almost entirely from the National Christmas Museum we visited last year; there's even a blurb on the final page to visit the museum. Anyway, it is sooooo cool.

Then we decided to have a treat and stopped at Borders for a small cocoa trio apiece and a slice of chocolate peppermint loaf. Finally we picked up a newspaper and came home.

So James is making breakfast for supper: buckwheat pancakes and the naturally-cured bacon we bought at the farmer's market. Yum...

[Later: Schuyler likes buckwheat pancakes!]

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» Friday, November 12, 2010
Friday Night Out
They had a Christmas Open House on the square in Marietta tonight, 5:30 p.m. through 9, so we decided to go. Wondered if we would have trouble finding parking, but we got there at 5:35, and there was plenty of space at the lot we usually use for the Farmer's Market. We had a nice supper at Old Ephraim's, a mostly barbecue place right on the square (they also have sandwiches and a few steak and seafood dishes). James was very impressed with their barbecue beef brisket; he said it was very tender. I had filet mignon tips, also good.

Then we walked around the square for ninety minutes. Most of the little shops downtown were open (except, sadly, for the little British shop we had passed on the way to the restaurant!), and most of those had little treats out, so dessert was provided. These are either little boutiques, or places that sell antiques, and they were all decked out with Christmas decorations as appropriate to what they sold, contemporary in the boutiques and more standard in the antique places. Pleasant, pretty effects were achieved with simple resources: glass ornaments in a clear glass bowl, a Christmas ribbon around the neck of a deer statue, bottle-brush trees dotted on shelving. Many people came out for the event and we were soon dodging folks coming in and out of narrow doorways. We didn't buy a thing, but it was a lot of fun.

When we got home, we loaded the truck with all the electronics/electric junk that has accumulated in the garage for the past two (or is it three?) years, preparatory to taking it to electronics recycling day tomorrow. We'll have to get there early so James can make it to work on time. And, hurrah, the mailman had finally come (he hadn't by the time we left the house at 5:20) and we had a letter from Jen. She graduated boot camp today!

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Nature Girl
I was up at eight promptly intending to go out early, but instead was distracted by the new bird feeder. The birds had emptied the other two squirrel-proof feeders, but the copper one was still full. They only eat from it if there's nothing else there. Plus it's come unglued from its base; it was time to replace it.

The feeders are hung from a central pole on three arms; two straight poles that stick out at 45 degrees with hooks at one end, and a hangar like a shepherd's crook with a hook at the end. The copper feeder was on the crook hanger, the lowest one on the pole. This meant the new feeder would have dangled right across from the deck rail, in reach of the squirrel.

So, because I am a shrimp, I pulled the stool outside and rearranged the hooks; the crook is now at the top of the "stack." Now, while I was out there doing this, and filling the feeders, I was whistling like I always do, to let the birds know. I could see them fluttering in the trees, chirping to each other, and one occasionally would fly to the feeder, see me, and do a mad manuever to reverse course.

I was still on top of the stool, just having positioned the pole in place, when one of the brown-headed nuthatches flew to the topmost feeder. I froze in place. We were not more than eighteen inches apart, blinking at each other. A second nuthatch flew up, grabbed a seed, stared at both of us, flew away, but the first guy remained, looking at me, finally taking a seed.

Well, I couldn't stay there forever. I moved my head, the brave nuthatch flew away. But as I got down off the stool more of the birds came zipping by, so I finally retreated to the door (about ten feet away), and then everyone did come: more brown-headed nuthatches, the white-breasted nuthatch, sparrows, the titmice, a chickadee, even the male downy woodpecker. What fun to watch them run riot over all three feeders.

I had to go to Sears to finally get some new nosepieces for my glasses, so I did a couple of other errands, including stopping at Wender & Roberts to get James some compression socks (boy, what a nightmare that parking lot is) and driving down to the Atlanta History Center, where I knew I could get a copy of "Atlanta Now" (a "what's going on around town" publication) for November and December. This meant I had a very pleasant ride down what was the only good thing about working in Buckhead, West Paces Ferry Road. This is an old-money road with old-growth trees, and since the frost last week they had all "bloomed" pleasantly into lovely colors. One big maple tree at the edge of the grounds of the Governor's Mansion was layered dark scarlet and maroon, and there were gold and yellow trees dotted here and there. All this combined with classical music on NPR! Pity it was so warm...another day where it edged back into the 70s.

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» Thursday, November 11, 2010
A Day of Liberty
I was able to sleep late this morning, had the freedom to travel anywhere I liked in any wardrobe I liked, and to express any opinion I liked, because someone volunteered to get up at ungodly hours, go to unsavory places in a uniform, and defend my right to do so. Thank you to the men and women of this country who serve it by leaving home and family so I can enjoy my own. You can never be repaid.

And I did enjoy sleeping late, no alarm (even if it's people talking on NPR) yammering in my ear, and having a leisurely breakfast of milk, oatmeal, and yogurt, after which I headed eastbound. I was in East Cobb today to exchange the "Home for the Holidays" Hallmark ornament for another one as it did not work properly. Schuyler has been fascinated with it since I brought it home! I also went to Bird Watcher Supply to buy a little dish that mounts on the feeder pole. It's supposed to be for mealworms, but I put water in it instead.

I had an e-mail this morning that I had $10 in Borders Bucks, so I went to Borders and picked up the November British Country Living with its cheerful fall cover. I didn't intend to buy a book, but I made the mistake of wandering into the history department and saw The Vertigo Years: Europe 1900-1914. Just my period of history! Also noticed that the newest Jade DelCameron book is out in paperback.

I had a 20 percent off everything Michaels coupon and raided the 10 for $10 bins: little notecards, gift bags, Thanksgiving cardmaking scraps. Also got some decorative paper for cards as well.

From there I went briefly to Trader Joe's. Yay! Christmas food is out. Got some organic turkey broth for James to use in cooking, another pumpkin tart (which we will keep in the refrigerator, since it has so little preservatives in it that it molds after two days), and some almond bark.

I hadn't been to Abecedarius (which I think is the only cross-stitch store left in Atlanta) in a while, so stopped there on the way home. A pretty orange and white longhaired cat was wandering the store, miaowing with a little trill in its voice. I love when they do that!

Anyway, I bought three wonderful little patterns, a fall, a Thanksgiving, and a Christmas. The Thanksgiving one is from Trilogy, a little sampler with a turkey on it. The other two are JBW "French Country" designs: Pumpkin and Wreath. From a distance they look scrolled within, but if you look more closely, there are little figures within the design: cat, squirrel, basket, owl, dog and more within the pumpkin and hearts, reindeer, stars, trees, etc. within the wreath. All of this line are like this; they are adorable! The dog has different little dogs within him, the rooster has chicken and farm motifs, etc. There are lambs and Christmas trees, other animals, even a Christmas purse.

My last stop was Book Nook, but didn't see anything, so headed home.

Out and back I listened to the podcasts from BBC Radio 4's A History of the World in 100 Objects. These are 15 minutes each, just perfect for short trips. I had to laugh at the opening of Installment 16, about the "Flood Tablet" from Northern Iraq (700-600 BC): "When you think about rain that falls for forty days and forty nights, you might just be considering the prospect of living through yet another summer in Britain."

(Still, I'd take 40 days of rain over 40 days of 90+°F any day...)

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» Sunday, November 07, 2010
Sunday Excursions
Good thing we had an extra hour. Problems again last night.

Another pretty day, cold at night and sunny and blue and cool all day. Only around four did it start being a bit uncomfortable in long sleeves.

Grocery shopping this morning as always, and then an afternoon out: we stopped at JoAnn to get the cross-stitch magazine I've been waiting on, with some cute patterns of Christmas robins. I also found some neat stocking-stuffers. Then we went on to Harbour Freight. James is looking into getting a generator and is scoping out prices.

On the way back we stopped at Cracker Barrel to check out the gift shop. Last year they had the lighted turkey that is sitting in our foyer, this year they have a lighted owl. No, I didn't buy it, but I did get a nice decorative Thanksgiving plate painted with a sheaf of autumn flowers and leaves.

We also stopped at Garden Ridge. I am looking for one last figure for my Christmas village and haven't seen what I liked in Michael's, so I figured Garden Ridge might have one. To our surprise, no Christmas or fall villages at all. Perhaps Lowes has something, or maybe Home Depot.

We listened to a backlogged "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!" on the way out and back, then finished the other two at home. For supper we had a pot roast pot pie and salad, and later we watched the final episode of Sherlock. Um, why did Jim Moriarty remind me of the Master? Even has that crazy look and speech pattern.

Looked up the show on the IMDb; noticed that Martin Freeman (Watson) will be playing Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit.

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» Saturday, November 06, 2010
Coolness!
Peeked out the window this morning and there was frost on the grass!

Needless to say it had been a good night for sleeping and it was very hard waking up. But there are only three more weeks of the farmer's market and we wanted to go. We decided to take Willow with us and I think she had a good time, despite the fact that she was "assaulted" by a miniature dachshund who wanted to sniff her. (She got on better with a golden retriever. The rescue greyhounds were so tall she didn't even notice them. They noticed us, though; by that time we had a paper bag with a cinnamon bun and a bearclaw in it and two big noses and four bright eyes looked at us with hope which was dashed in a minute.) How people laughed when she would stand up on her hind legs to sniff at each booth! We gave her little bits of food we were sampling, which she definitely did enjoy. :-)

We had a nice afternoon! Went out to East Cobb. Dani had mentioned in her blog that Rose Melikan's new book was out, and the East Cobb Borders was the only one that had it. Also found the Christmas "Victorian Homes" and the fall "Birds and Blooms."

We stopped at Bed, Bath & Beyond to get a dish drainer cloth. I am tired of that big bulky dish drainer in our kitchen. We really only use it for draining the plastic that comes out of the dishwasher, since we don't waste energy drying the dishes. I'm hoping we can replace the drainer with the cloth. We'll see.

The last stop in East Cobb was at Betsy's Hallmark for the last of the ornament premieres. I had some credits, a Hallmark coupon, and a store coupon. Got three ornaments, a gingerbread man shaped dish, and two cute sparrows that are skating, plus a free gift bag.

We came home by the hobby shop, and then really didn't have anything else to do, so we were in for the night. I put on How to Train Your Dragon, which was a lot of fun! When Hiccup first petted the dragon I was reminded of the similar scene in The Black Stallion.

One thing we bought at the farmer's market was homemade pasta from Costa's, beef tortellini. James cooked it up for supper and we had it with spaghetti sauce and a cucumber/tomato salad, and watched four more episodes of Ellery Queen. Now I'm watching The Mothers-in-Law again. The later episodes are really lame.

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I'm With Archie...

...a dreary, cold, wet day is definitely preferable to algebra.

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» Wednesday, November 03, 2010
So You Can Read About Today's Chill in...
...Holiday Harbour or peruse last month's book reviews in A Cozy Nook to Read In.

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» Monday, November 01, 2010
All the Way to Ellijay (And Back)
When James works a weekend day, they give him a day in the following week. His day off was today.

I'm at the time of year when I need to work off my leave. We're only allowed to bank 240 hours at the end of the year and I'll have over 380 when January 1 rolls around, even after taking a week's vacation. I try to take some of James' days off, but if he's going to the doctor on that day, which he usually has to do since he only gets one sick day a year, there aren't many of them. And there's no use in taking any time off after March since the weather is so wretchedly hot by that time.

This year there wasn't even time for that, since once the Recovery Act money came in we were "going like sixty" as they say in those old books I find on Munseys.com. By June we already had a fourth quarter workload.

I spent one day last week juggling numbers, and had originally intended to take this Friday off when this date came up, so I scheduled it instead.

And since we didn't get to go to Ellijay for the apple festival, we went today. It was sunny with a light tracing of cirrus clouds all over the sky, sunny enought that we both got an overexposure to sun. My cheeks look like strawberries.

But it was a lovely day. First we stopped by "Mr. Clean" to get the truck washed and oil changed. From there we hit the road, listening to old podcasts of "The Splendid Table."

Our big stop was at the Panorama Farm Market. We bought a peck of apples, an apple pie, a little bag of peanut brittle (yes, the peanuts predominate...LOL), some fruit only fruit spread (blackberry and cherry), barbecue-flavor apple butter, and goats' milk lotion and soap for the dry skin I get on my hands during the winter. We also hunted down, despite the bad GPS directions, something called Cowan's, a book and gift shop. I found the cutest bird book, all about chickadees, full of darling photos, and also a Jim Shore Christmas Nativity Angel. I hadn't seen this one before, and no wonder, as it is brand new. It's lovely; she's holding garland with a star in the middle, positioned directly over the Holy Family and a shepherd.

Between the farm market and the bookstore we also stopped at Ingles. Both Kroger and Publix have quit carrying Willow's favorite dog food, Lassie Natural Way, and we've tried several other foods, including the one I think made her sick a month or so back. I recently found out that Ingles still carries the Natural Way, but there's none left in the area. Sure enough they did have it, and we bought a large bag and two small. Should last her for a while, hopefully until we find a closer Ingles!

We also visited a farmstand at R&A Orchards and had lunch and bought some fresh apple bread.

Goodness, if Georgia had the color New Hampshire had, this ride would have been glorious, purple hills in the distance, and a ride along the Cartecay River with trees bowing over the water. It just hasn't been a good year for leaves down here; while there are a few pretty maples here and there, it's mostly like someone took a fall photo and turned down the saturation in a photo-editing software. And there are too many pine trees. Nevertheless, the countryside was pretty, especially the short ride along the river.

We were home in time for a simple supper and Jeopardy, before which I pulled down the Hallowe'en decorations on the porch. On to Thanksgiving!

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