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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» Sunday, February 27, 2011
Sultry Sunday
After a quick breakfast, it was off to Costco this morning; it was the cheapest we could get gasoline. The lines were as long as they had been when I went, but we lazed away the time listening to last week's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me." It was quite warm already at 11:30 a.m., but at least it was partly cloudy and the sun wasn't so strong. We had a nice breeze as well.

Costco is kitted out for summer already: folding chairs, coolers, beach blankets, hose containers, and more. We milled around the books and DVDs and got a few samples, including dark-chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds. None of that delicious artisan bread today, though.

We brought the things home and then went to WalMart; unfortunately they were out of what I wanted, but we were able to get some other things we needed. Then we arrived home, and since there was nowhere else to go and nothing else needed to buy, we settled in for the afternoon. I did a small bit of cleaning in the bathroom and we listened to yesterday's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me." Once that was over, I put on one of the reports Leo LaPorte did from the Consumer Electronics Show. Boy, the "swag" from that show must have been great. One of the things Victorinox gave away was an "airplane safe" Swiss Army Knife (with no knife) with a 32GB thumb drive!

About halfway through this, James decided he needed to start dinner. So I got the baby monitor we bought when Mom was sick so he could hear the show out on the deck while he was grilling. The sound is terrible, but he could hear it.

In any case, we are baaaaa-dly lambed out. :-) Yesterday when we stopped at Publix, we found some lamb shoulder blades for a halfway reasonable price. James marinated them in herb and garlic marinade and grilled them, even though we had lamb yesterday (thank you, Phyllis!). We ate them with ramen noodles, with chocolate angel food cake for dessert. Delicious; nice and juicy! We have to pick up lamb shanks or something like it more often.

We have been watching World War II in Color tonight. We first saw this when we were in Rhode Island cleaning out Mom's house, so between this and Mom's own history, it always reminds me of her, especially when there is film of young women wearing the same hair style as she did back then.

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» Saturday, February 26, 2011
S for "Saturday" and for "Sleepy"
We had to get up early today for Hair Day because Sheri (our hairdresser) had to leave early for a funeral. I'm not my best at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday. :-)

Surprisingly, I discovered Chik-Fil-A has something I can eat for breakfast. (Chik-Fil-A is a Southern-based fast food place with mostly fried food or other Southern comfort food, like chicken and dumplings.) They have a whole wheat bagel with cream cheese and a fruit cup. I had it with milk, of course.

Had a nice time, discussing the situation in Wisconsin, Pat's new web site, and various and sundry. Phyllis cooked a leg of lamb for lunch which we had with mint jelly, the corn James brought, Charles' cheese dip, Lin's Asian salad, fruit salad, and more. It was filling enough that we didn't eat anything again until nearly 8 p.m.

Not much else happened. We went to the hobby shop where I listed to the America's Test Kitchen radio broadcast on my phone, then we went to MicroCenter, where we bought nothing, and Publix, where we bought some things. Still don't have milk, so we'll have to go out again tomorrow.

Watched This Old House and a documentary about the people displaced for the Blue Ridge Parkway, and fell asleep for an hour because I was just so darn sleepy. We had supper after that and watched the Britcoms and a documentary about Apollo 17.

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» Friday, February 25, 2011
Mess No More
Well, yesterday I finished the second wooden tray. It's actually almost identical to the first, as I used the same scrapbooking paper after all. The Modge-Podge dries quickly, especially under the ceiling fan, but I wanted the finish to cure a bit more. So this morning before I started work, I wanted to set the trays in the window of the craft room to get the air. But the roller shade was stuck, and then one of the nails—they are tiny—holding the mount fell out. So I took the shade down, re-rolled it, and stuck the nail back in with glue.

Not for the first time I looked around the room in disgust. I had cross-stitch magazines that wouldn't fit in the cupboard piled in front of the cupboard, a bag of discount Christmas cards next to the loveseat, the laminator I got from Amazon Vine in the middle of the floor, a box next to the closet was overflowing with bubble wrap that I use when I send packages, etc. Plus I still hadn't put up my "original Alice," the painting of Gregory House Alice had given me for my birthday, because I needed to move the Lassie poster over to do it.

So at lunch time, and then after I finished work, I took care of that. The Christmas cards are now piled all together on the top of one cupboard (I have enough for five years, so I really don't need any Christmas cards for a while). I took the cross-stitch books from the second cupboard and put them on top of the cupboard, so now all the magazines fit in the space. I tossed a few things away, stored some others, vacuumed the floor, and now had room to put the laminator next to the loveseat. I also moved the Lassie poster over about six inches and put the House painting to its right, with the Kai Owen poster I got at DragonCon underneath.

I also took a little metal tray I had bought at JoAnn—it is a little country scene, with a house and a barn—and put it up on the wall with clear mounting tape. Now I can use the little "Owly" magnets I got last year at DragonCon to mount things on it. I put up two photos of my folks at Christmastime, a newspaper clipping of a little boy reveling in autumn leaves with the legend "It's Wonder-fall!," and one of my favorite cartoons, one from National Lampoon, where a collie is standing in front of a woman, holding a severed arm in its mouth. The caption is "What's the matter, Lassie? Is Timmy in trouble?" LOL.

I even put the pants I'm supposed to hem on hangers so they're not lopping over the back of the loveseat anymore. Maybe some day I'll actually hem them...

Well, my drafting table isn't clear yet, but the floor is pretty clear, what should be on the wall is, and it all is neater. Someday I'll find a place for everything.

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» Wednesday, February 23, 2011
There Be Modge-Podge Here
Spent the day working through new orders; still having trouble getting an older one to complete. At one point I went to the bathroom and heard—because the windows were open—a truck outside. It turned out to be the TruGreen guy, who was just finishing the front and hadn't bothered to knock on the door. So I went out and opened the gate for him so he could do the back yard.

A couple of years ago I bought some unpainted wooden trays at Michaels, intending to use them in the living room. James buys magazines and tends to put them on the ottoman for the rocking chair, and then if you want to sit in the rocker, you have to pick up this pile of magazines (and books, and model boxes, and coupons...), which then, of course, promptly topples over sideways. So it's easier to have them on a tray. I have a metal tray there now, but it has no sides and is not very sturdy.

Anyway, I'd gotten as far as painting the outside of one of the trays with barn red paint, and there it sat for ages. Today during lunch I got a wild hair and decided to do the rest of it. I took some autumn-themed scrapbook paper and cut it to fit the flat interior of the tray, then glued it down with Modge-Podge, which is a découpage liquid. It looks like Elmer's Glue, and glues, seals, and glazes all at once, but oh-my-golly, does it smell bad. I'm glad the window was open and I had the ceiling fan on! And still a couple of times there I thought I was going to lose my lunch. Now the tray looks like a "japanned" box, with a shiny surface, and the paper is sealed. I also painted the outside of the second tray (barn red again, but I'll use different scrapbook paper).

James brought home grilled chicken from KFC for supper, and after the news and Jeopardy I put on the Blu-Ray of Star Trek IV. It looks lovely, and as many times as I've seen it, I noticed little details I've missed before. There are some great extras on it, too.

Found this on YouTube: Star Trek IV Bloopers

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RIP to the Brigadier
Nicholas Courtney--1929-2011

One of my favorite Doctor Who characters, a man who had some of the best moments in the series. We'll miss you.

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» Tuesday, February 22, 2011
The Simple Woman's Daybook
The Simple Woman's Daybook
 
FOR TODAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2011
Outside my window...
I see darkness. It has been a busy day and I have finally had a chance to sit down to write. After dinner I started watching the film Driving Miss Daisy and was immediately drawn into its world. This is such a sweet, charming film, and, as always, I was in tears by the end.

I am thinking...
I wish I could sleep late tomorrow. I know that sounds terribly prosaic, but I got little sleep last night because it was so warm (despite a ceiling fan and two smaller fans).

I am thankful for...
it being cooler tonight. :-) Spring is coming entirely too quickly for me.

From the kitchen...
James made a delicious supper tonight, despite not feeling good (he has a low-grade fever), cubes of pork with diced tomatoes, mushrooms, and a little bit of wine. On the side we had whole wheat rotini, and for dessert more chocolate angel food cake.

I am wearing...
"Mutts" pajamas and white socks, my lounge wear for those times between sweatsuit and tank-top and shorts.

I am creating...
I'm in a lull in creation just now, although there are always cross-stitch projects I haven't finished. The Christmas wreath I began before the holiday is still unfinished.
[Update 2/23: I felt like a sloth writing that, so today during lunch I finished one of the two wooden trays which have sat unfinished for several years. These are unpainted trays from Michaels. The handles and sides are painted barn red, and on the flat "serving" surface I have put autumn-themed scrapbook paper, using Modge-Podge to glue it down and then seal it. M-P makes a nice seal, but I'm certainly glad the windows are open, because boy, does it stink when it's wet.]

I am going...
to cope with a couple of problems tomorrow at work. They were a thorn in my side today, so I want to get them completed tomorrow. It's a good thing my car is not an animate creature, or it would have kicked me out for all the complaining I do to it after work!

I am reading...
Side Jobs by Jim Butcher, a collection of almost all of the Harry Dresden short stories. I've been reading all the Dresden books since the first, Storm Front, came out umpety-ump years ago. The newest book is due out in paperback next week. I already know the shocker ending, but I can't wait to read how we got to that point.

I am hoping...
James will feel better. He's been having problems since the fall; I am pretty sure his CPAP machine is no longer doing the job properly. It took him until this month to get an appointment with the sleep clinic, and now he doesn't get another machine to test with for another ten days. Something's got to give, as he's not sleeping properly.

I am hearing...
the local news while waiting for the weather report.

Around the house...
It needs tidying. Again. It's like the "old Amish saying," "The hurrier I go, the behinder I get." The more I tidy, the more another mess seems to take its place.

One of my favorite things...
Just finished watching it: the television series Castle. Ironically, I wasn't one of the fans of Firefly who came to this series because of Nathan Fillion; we have the Firefly DVD set, but have only watched a few episodes, which we have enjoyed. But a series about a mystery writer who gets involved in real crimes? How could I resist? And I'm simply envious of Molly Quinn...I would have killed to look like that at her age, and I've always wanted red hair.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Work, after a four-day weekend. Well, we have "Hair Day" on Saturday, but still haven't decided on what we will bring. The main course is lamb. I suppose there's always mint jelly. :-)

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...


I know some folks are still having "too much winter" and are already sick of it. I doubt if I could cope with a foot or more of snow any longer. But this photo looks so warm and cozy. I love winter because of the warm arms a winter home wraps around one. The brisk breezes of autumn and the cold air of winter awakens me, and it is sad to think of going back into torpid, miserable summer temperatures, when I feel half asleep and half aware, with nothing to look forward to but bugs, perspiration, and headaches from the sun. This is a photo I could walk into and be happy.
 

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» Monday, February 21, 2011
Sunny and Warm...Just Another February Day
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011I'd like to say I accomplished great things on my holiday, but that would be such a lie. :-) Intended to get up earlier, but you know how that goes. I would be much happier if I could go to bed at 1 a.m. and get up at nine. I'm never sleepy at eleven. Night owls'r'us.

The temperature was already climbing out of the fifties at ten o'clock, so I decided to go out while it was still cool. I left Schuyler watching Kathie Lee and Hoda, although I'm convinced it's going to destroy her brain—do you know neither of them knew that Abraham Lincoln's birthday was February 12? I realize you don't have to be a genius to do what they do, but honestly...elementary school stuff, guys.

I put on a "Travels with Rick Steves" podcast about traveling while being respectful of local ecosystems, and went out to the Borders at East Cobb, hoping to find the new Yankee, but it's not out yet; neither is the new Early American Life. Nice to go into a Borders that isn't closing. Finished the eco-cast on the way back and started another about musical travel in Europe, a godsend waiting in line for gas at Costco, where it was 15¢ a gallon cheaper than anywhere else. At least eight cars in each lane (six lanes). Finished this at home and also listened to a "Tech Guy" podcast.

Had a can of salmon for lunch. This was less than satisfactory; smelled like tuna but was bland and fishy all at the same time. I know fish is good for you, but, God, I really hate the taste. Later on cooked turkey thighs for supper, and made a rice dish we bought at Aldi, apple walnut flavor long-grain and wild rice. This had an odd scent, but tasted fine.

We have a busy night tonight: it's Monday again. Once again we'll watch House and DVR Antiques Roadshow to watch at nine. Then Castle and Hawaii Five-O will DVR while we watch Harry's Law via broadcast television.

Nice to know that today when you miss a television program you can find it online! There was a notice on WENNlist that both Kevin O'Rourke and John Bedford Lloyd had been on an episode of Blue Bloods. So I hitched the computer to the television, found the episode on CBS.com, and played it. The obligatory ads were very badly placed, but we were able to enjoy it. James and I even wondered if the Commissioner's shooting was a red herring and that Kevin O'Rourke's monsignor character was the real target. John Bedford Lloyd looked like a Marine; I knew it was him by that lovely voice, however!

Since everything was hitched up already, I played the last of the History Detectives that GPB never showed last summer.

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Finally Identified
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011Unnamed Triangle Waist Company Victims Identified - NYTimes.com

This is a harrowing relict of history. Triangle: The Fire That Changed America is an excellent account of the incident.

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» Sunday, February 20, 2011
Underdriven
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011Went out for bananas and eggs. Spent $69 after really good coupons. :-) How'd that happen?

We bought another of the Kroger chocolate angel food cakes. This makes a good dessert with a tiny splotch of Reddi-Whip on top, only 130 calories for 1/8 slice, and the chocolate flavor is very intense. I want to try sprinkling some cinnamon on it, like they do to the chocolate cake at Copeland's. That is an excellent taste!

Then read the paper, finally disposed of the remains of trimming the bushes out front, and am defragging the backup drive in preparation to do a hard drive backup. I have a folder marked "ALL FILES" which contains anything I want to back up (yes, I know Microslop gives you "My Documents" for this reason, but why should I follow Microslop like a sheep?), plus I back up my Eudora mailboxes, which can be read as text files if need be.

Have you backed up your hard drive lately? :-)

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Presidents' Lament
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011Usually Sunday's "Gasoline Alley" is some blather between Joel and Rufus, but this one is actually quite funny:

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» Saturday, February 19, 2011
70 in February; Could Hell Be Far Behind?
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011Okay, I'm joking; it was really a nice day, for all that it got up to 73. The sky is still winter blue. Wish there was more of a breeze—too darn warm when you're in the cab of a truck!

Woke up from an extraordinary dream where we were covering up a murder (for some good reason), and I realized there was one tiny clue left, a cup hook left in the wall. I was debating whether to remove it and risk being found when I read the policeman's note saying he suspected me! Wow.

After breakfast, we went to the Post Awful so I could pop something in the mail, one for Emma and one for Jen, and then went on to the hobby shop. I sat reading the new Jean Auel book while James chatted with the guys.

Then we tried something new. I had seen something in the paper ages ago about an Italian market close to downtown Atlanta. So we went there. It was off Howell Mill Road where it intersected with Marietta Street, Toscano & Sons Italian Market. They have a little bit of everything: pastas, wine, olive oils, canned goods, some frozen stuff, desserts, and also have panini sandwiches. James had something with roast beef, fontina, and arugula, and I had the pork sandwich without the cheese, which turned out to be warm proscuitto. Yum! I loved the bread, a flattish loaf, with a crisp, crunchy brown crust and a soft interior—they had bigger loaves, but I would have loved to have just bought the sandwich-sized bread. I imagined taking it home, cutting it in half, and grilling it a bit in the grill pan, and then spreading it with fresh, real butter. ::drool:: That would be better than chocolate!

I also bought a small dark chocolate bar, which we split, and a bag of chocolate pizelle. We tasted one and decided they would be perfect as the "bread" part of an ice cream sandwich. Especially with coffee ice cream. [Excuse me while I get a towel for the drool. LOL.]

We also tried to find what was listed as an Italian bakery, but once we got near it there was no available parking, and it mostly looked like a pizza place, so we wound about on Moreland Avenue, trying to avoid I-75 North; traffic was terrible both ways, and into the city. I went looking on my Droid and found out the circus is in town; that explains why all the routes to Centennial Olympic Park are like parking lots. So we came home via I-20 west and I-285 north, stopping just briefly by the Parkway Pointe Borders. The books are only 20 percent off right now.

Before going home, we stopped at Aldi. Got something to warm up for dinner and a few other things, including milk and juice. Ended up watching America's Test Kitchen and then wandered into something called Riverdance on Ice, dance performances alternated with skating. Neat.

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» Friday, February 18, 2011
Another Restaurant Off the List
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011We went to China King for supper, the new place near Food Lion. It was one of those "storefront Chinese" restaurants, like Dragon, just space for a few tables and the rest a kitchen with a restroom on the side. We were eating our food when a rather blowsy looking lady came in. The two younger women who worked the counter were chatting and one of them said something to the effect of "he was acting like an asshole." The owners' children were there, working on crossing a line off the menu, and the woman immediately said, "You shouldn't talk like that in front of the customers, especially the children." They apologized.

A few minutes later she demanded to see the owner. The owner wasn't "in residence," so she finally asked for the manager. A very short young man said he was the manager, and she said, "Why, you're just a kid!" We were leaving by then, but saw her come out and say to the next folks coming in that she would never come there again because the workers weren't wearing hair nets, or gloves, etc. (Good heavens, no one ever does that at these storefront places. Or the carts they put out to fundraise, like the hot dog/hamburger carts in front of Publix or Harry's.) But she took the food home anyway!

Anyway, the food was okay. The fried rice was quite eatable, but still had peas and carrots in it; it didn't have that awful sweet taste some fried rice gets when it's cooked with peas and carrots. I had cashew chicken which didn't come up on me, but it didn't have any cashews in it, either, just celery, carrots, and big pieces of mushroom. It had a good taste, at least, and the egg rolls weren't bad.

However, later on...well, let's say we aren't going back there anymore. <wry grin>:

I spent most of the evening reading my new Best of British, but we did watch Flying Wild Alaska.

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Running Warm and Cold
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011So after breakfast errands commenced: return the library book, go to Walmart for soy isoflavones and yogurt, then, if I felt like it, go up to JoAnn to exchange the battery-powered candle bulbs I accidentally bought.

The library book was easy, but I ran into a snag at Walmart: I saw something I thought a friend would like as a gift. I tried to call another friend to consult, but it turned out I did not have the cell phone number. This wouldn't be so aggravating except that I have put it into my phone two different times (two different phones, in fact!) and for some reason it never "takes." Okay, I've got the cell phone number of the person who I want to buy the gift for. I will call that person, to ask for the phone number of the other person. Arrrgh! That phone number doesn't work!

Oh, well, I know where it is.

Also discovered when I got home that I accidentally picked up a container of vanilla yogurt. Bleah. Have despised vanilla since I was a kid. Maybe I'll squirt some coffee syrup in it to kill the vanilla taste.

I did go up to JoAnn to return the candle bulbs, only to find no electric bulbs available with the candles. Shrug. Bought some refills for the Scotch tape gift wrap dispenser, found some unusual glitter on clearance, and then did find a package of electric bulbs on one of the end caps.

From JoAnn went to the Kennesaw Borders, one of the three that is closing. The coffee shop was already closed, and, although they did not have a "closing" sign up, the employees were pulling all the regular signs down (the "buy one, get one half off," etc.), presumably in preparation. There was melancholy music playing over the sound system and it sure made me blue. Heck, I still miss Media Play, and they closed how long ago? Gaw, it's five years.

Anyway, home in time for lunch: had a bow-tie pasta Lean Cuisine and then cleaned out that stupid drain in the master bath again. Actually put vinegar and baking soda down both of them. Much better. Have the bedclothes washing and the mattress and pillows airing in prep for changing the bed. Had Walt and El Grupo on (the story of Walt Disney and some of his workers visiting South America as part of the Good Neighbor Policy, after which they made Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros), but spent most of it doing the sinks.

Finally put on something I had recorded ages ago, Robert Flaherty's Nanook of the North. Although this was released in 1922, the opening notes indicate it was filmed between 1912 and 1919, which means parts of this are nearly one hundred years old. I'm not sure if this is the first documentary ever made, but it was one of the first, and amazingly Flaherty managed to make it without so many of the value judgments that popped into literature of those days, about the Eskimos being savages or having "queer ways." It is simply a filmed record of the way of life of a band of Eskimos on the northeast side of Hudson Bay near the opening of the last century. I had always heard of it—the film had passed into everyday parlance by the time my mom was a kid, and if I was bundled up for cold weather she would say to me "You look like Nanook of the north!"—but it was fascinating to see it: Nanook and his companions hunt, kill, and skin a seal and also a walrus whose mate tries to rescue it, visit a trading post, fish using nothing but two ivory hooks, and, most fascinating of all, build an igloo, complete with a sheet of ice used for a window! They also show the sled dogs, very wolfish, fighting each other for dominance and almost attacking them for food. Simply fascinating from beginning to end.

Apparently several things are staged in the film, including the Eskimos hunting the "old time way" when they at that time used guns, but it still seems pretty impressive as they didn't gimmick up the film with cutesy things like in some documentaries. The closest they got to "cute" was the scene at the trading post where one of Nanook's children supposedly eats too much and is given a dose of castor oil, which he enjoys because the Eskimos are used to eating seal and walrus oil. There are some cute, but not cutesy, moments with Nanook's small son learning to use a bow, the baby posed with husky puppies, one of the puppies pulling a tiny sled, and the kids coasting down the hills without sleds, just like seals.

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Great Backyard Birdcount 2011Apparently the birds know what weekend it is, because all I've seen at the feeder is one goldfinch. I guess they avoid the census, too. Gee, thanks, guys. <wry grin>

Watching Walt and El Grupo...OMG, there is some color footage here!

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» Thursday, February 17, 2011
"Sumer is Icumen In"
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011Yes, and it's only three days after Valentines Day! It's supposed to be 72°F tomorrow and 71 on Saturday.

Granted, we've had enough warning. The birdsongs have been changing for at least two weeks—if you don't watch or feed birds it might not sound any different to you, but it does to me. More birds are singing, and different songs, and the woodpeckers have started to drum. A year or so back, I saw one canny woodpecker drumming on our gutters; it magnified the sound and made him sound like the world's sexiest male. :-)

Making sure I have the feeders stocked so that I can have some good viewing this weekend!

Working and listening to BBC History Magazine's January podcast, having already listed to a "Tech Guy." Think I'll do a Mugglecast next.

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» Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Stuffy Day
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011Bah! Woke up at 12:30 after a nightmare in which I was lost and had lost my phone. Then woke up long before James' alarm went off with my nose completely blocked up. I see that wretched groundhog was right. (And the birds' songs have changed, too. I should have known spring—and pollen—was just around the corner. Wish Florida would keep its damn warm air to itself!) Compounding the wretched weather was the wretched news about Borders. They would get every one close by.

Sniffled through putting a purchase order together, asked about some quotations, noted I have yet another meeting to get quotes on. I always wonder why they can't hold these meeting things at our facility instead of hotels. I mean, building 21 (I think that's the building I had the Green class in a couple of years back) is huge. I wonder why they can't hold them there. Whatever.

Listened to the rest of the BBC's adaptation of Good Wives. Buffy Davis did such a good job as Jo in the first part, but all of a sudden she was using a cornball almost-Southern accent as the story went on. It really detracted from the stories if you were American! Listened to three episodes and a mini-sode of A Way With Words during the afternoon.

My nose seemed to ease this afternoon, then started getting stuffy again after supper. Pffft! We spent the evening watching "Watson" compete against Ken and Russ on Jeopardy, then Pioneers of Television about late-night television and Monday night's Castle and Hawaii Five-O. I figured that one person was in on it because I recognized one of the kidnappers' lips. :-)

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Figures: None of Those Crap Clothing and Shoe Stores Seem to Close
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011Borders Files for Chapter 11; Buford and Suwanee Stores to Close

Well, we knew it was coming. Nor am I surprised that the store in Austell is closing: last year they pretty much cleaned it out and put very few books back, and half the store is stationery/kids' toys/games/dopey decorations. You can get cards and decorations at Hallmark, toys and games at Toys'R'Us. Borders is a book store. Gaw. Maybe they should have stuck to the Tuxedo store (the original Borders in Atlanta, on Roswell Road) and been done with it.

A little surprised to hear about Kennesaw...that place is always busy. I hope they don't get the East Cobb store; it has the best history section. I'm thinking the big store near Lenox will survive (at least I hope the big store won't go, since they're finally carrying Best of British again!), but the one near the train station will probably go, maybe the store on Ponce (I've never even been to the store at Ponce; didn't even know there was one until a few months ago). Wonder if Parkway Pointe is considered Atlanta or Marietta?

And maybe Borders wouldn't be in trouble if the people going there would bother buying stuff from the store. I get mad as hell when I go into the cafe and see people using the books for reference and reading the magazines, then putting them back on the stand when they get done. Absolutely rude, piss-ant behavior. It's a bookstore—if you want to use something for reference, go to the freakin' library.

[Later: Blast. They are closing Parkway Pointe. That means the closest Borders will be 20 miles away, in East Cobb.]

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» Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Something New

Great Backyard Birdcount 2011The Simple Woman's Daybook
 
FOR TODAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2011

Outside my window...I can see the bird feeders. The occasional chickadee, titmouse, and brown-headed nuthatch are flitting about the tubes (they are squirrel-proof feeders), helping themselves to seed. I love the smallest birds the best. The nuthatches are especially fearless; I have had one watch me not fifteen inches from my face while I refilled the feeders.

I am thinking...that it is nice to have the afternoon off. James was off today to go to the doctor; we met at the Borders in Buckhead, stopped for lunch at Nathans, and then came home to watch the first night of Westminster, which I had to record because almost everything we watch on television is on Monday night!

I am thankful for...making it home! The traffic here is...daunting, to say the least! When I go into work I am dashing there and back at 70 mph. If there was no gravity we'd go hurtling pell-mell into space.

From the learning rooms...I kept this in particularly because I always like to learn things, especially from my reading! And it is especially appropriate because I had a training class this morning about writing negotiation memorandums. (This mainly applies to contracts, but everyone in purchasing attended, even my supervisor, who probably knows more about negotiation memos than almost anyone!)

From the kitchen...not much. I don't cook if I don't have to. James is the culinary artiste in the family. Last night he took some cubed pork we found on sale and stir-fried it with the leftover rice pilaf we had from Red Lobster, along with bean sprouts, cashews, onions, and mushrooms. Perfecto.

I am wearing...my ratty old WordPerfect sweatshirt Alice made for me, and gas-flame blue sweatpants and the usual Hanes white ankle socks. All very comfy.

I am creating...this blog? Nothing at the moment. I just finished painting two corner shelves that will go up in the spare bedroom, and a small shelf that I will put up in the hall bathroom to hold a clock and the pretty glass lighthouse James got me for Valentine's Day (the bathroom has a lighthouse/seashore theme).

I am going...to put up those shelves on Friday, unless I have some time tomorrow or Thursday at lunch.

I am reading...several things, but this is primarily absorbing me:



The protagonist is Abigail Adams, who must solve the mystery of the death of an unknown woman after husband John is suspected of the crime. I am only a few chapters in and am already enjoying the picture of Colonial Boston that Hamilton is painting.

I am also reading a history of New York City as told through landmarks, and a history of the King James Version of the Bible.

I am hoping...we will continue to have some cool weather. It doesn't need to be cold (except at night, so I can sleep better), just so long as it is not hot!

I am hearing...the commentary and narrative of the Westminster dog show. We look forward to this every year, watching all the lovely dogs!

Around the house...it's looking rather untidy, at least in the living room, books, magazines, and my Valentine card scattered across the coffee table. The carpet definitely needs a good vacuuming!

One of my favorite things...is the magazine Best of British! I've just begun finding it at the Borders store in Buckhead again, after it disappearing from every bookstore magazine rack in Atlanta in 2005. I found my last one in Rhode Island during the summer of 2005. It's a British nostalgia magazine; I love reading about memories of World War II, the Depression, first jobs or cars, old-fashioned things like breweries and thatched roofs, etc!

A few plans for the rest of the week: I mentioned that: shelves. I also need to run to JoAnn, as, while fixing my pants yesterday, I was reminded quite pointedly [pun intended] why I need a thimble!

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...


I love these little guys; even on the coldest day of winter they appear plucky and upbeat. In truth, I admire the way the birds always make the best of their situation. Certainly Mr. and Mrs. Chickadee put up with all sorts of weather, while I suffer so in the summer. And the brown-headed nuthatches are certainly braver than I am!

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» Monday, February 14, 2011
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011



I wish they still sold Valentines like these! Again this year I tried to find some Valentines to just pass around at work, as a cute thing, but everything is media-oriented, Cars or Hannah Montana, or that sort of thing. No fun anymore.

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» Sunday, February 13, 2011
Movie Night
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011Took a peek at the bushes when I went out to walk Willow. Now that the sun was out front I saw clearly a few places I should have pruned, but I couldn't find the pruning shears. Stupid because I saw them just recently, surely on the day we built the shelves! It's those darn blue guys again!

I usually wait until I have five Castle episodes, which fill up a disk, to copy them off, but I wanted to do it today. There were only four, so I did those, plus transferred off the Hugh Laurie interview from last week's Tonight and part one of the wonderful Waltons Family Reunion that the Inspirational Channel showed before Thanksgiving, in what space was left on Castle disks. When I get the next Castle I can copy off the second half. It was a wonderful special, with the entire cast available; even Richard Thomas spoke from New York.

While this last was going I was cooking turkey legs and slicing and boiling Yukon Golds; we had a drumstick each and some buttered potatoes for supper, and part of another drumstick will make a sandwich for me tomorrow. Yum!

During supper we watched the Blu-Ray of Apollo 13. The picture is wonderfully sharp and the sound is extraordinary (when the Saturn 5 blasted off, even Schuyler watched!), but this has to be the most frustrating DVD I have ever encountered! You put it in and it has a loading screen, which takes forever, then you have to pick what language you want, and it goes through more fol-der-ol and the FBI warning, then you get something that asks if you want to connect to a social network (so you can do a review or leave comments), and then finally you get to the movie! Worse, we paused it so James could go get dessert (chocolate angel food cake!), and he was gone long enough for a Universal screen saver to kick in. When I hit play again, the stupid screen saver wouldn't go away! I finally had to stop it and re-start it (going through all the loading and the language and the social network crap again!) before I could get back to where I had paused. To paraphrase Tawny Madison: "Whoever programmed this DVD should die!" Failure was apparently an option on this one.

Now we're watching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Good heavens, who needs 3D? The picture is so crisp you can darn near jump into it!

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[Non]Still Life With Hedge Clippers
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011Our neighbor Susan told me once that if I wanted to trim the bushes at the front of the house, it would be best to do it in February when they were dormant. I meant to do it last week, but I was either busy with work, the car, or it was wet. I checked them Friday and there was no sign of new shoots, so after I had breakfast I went out with the hedge clipper and did the deed. They look terrible now—there was nothing really inside, all of it was on the edges—but they should leaf as it gets warmer.

And that's going to be soon. I went out there in a sweatsuit and a fleece vest and had to strip the vest off after fifteen minutes.

Saw the hawks wheeling about about halfway into the job, their calls of "ca-ca-ca-ca" echoing above. A few minutes earlier a woodpecker had been beating a merry tune on a tree west of the house; after that, all was silent for a while.

The bushes on the right side of the walkway are still tall. I don't mind them being tall on that side, and just trimmed them so that they are away from the front steps. But now in the front you can see St. Francis again, and the little resin animals: Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle the hedgehog (after Beatrix Potter), Cinnabar the fox (after Marguerite Henry), and Gertrude the duck (after the film of Journey to the Center of the Earth).

Now I'm dubbing off Castle episodes. At 4:30 or so I'll start the turkey so it will be ready when James gets home from work.

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» Saturday, February 12, 2011
Part of a Half of a Valentine Weekend
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011James has to work Sunday, and had his IPMS meeting today, so we were busy this morning going grocery shopping. Publix had Chips Ahoy on twofer, so I stocked up for Atomicon.

James went off to the meeting about one, and I started to put the cookies up in a JoAnn shopping bag. Except I had put the bag back in the car. When I went down to the garage I decided to make sure that the car wasn't leaking again. So I backed it out. Yay, no leaks. Well, by now it's out of the driveway, so why not go out and look for a Valentine card? So I ran back inside for wallet and phone, locked the doors, shut the garage, and went on.

For some harebrained reason, I headed for Cumberland Mall, but didn't stay long. Everyone and his mother was there, partially because of Valentines Day, I think, and partially because it was bright, sunny, and heading up into the high fifties. So I turned tail and went to World Market instead. I had a nice coupon and made a good start on two Christmas gifts. Also stopped at Michaels to pick up something to work into a gift and some small magnets.

On the way, got a little gasoline.

And I did get a Valentine card, and started the bag for Atomicon. In fact, I think we already have enough cookies. Will get some Triscuit and Goldfish to finish off the bag.

We used a twofer coupon at IHOP for supper (mmmm...pork chops), then came home. Waiting for folks to show up on chat and dubbing stuff off the DVR.

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» Friday, February 11, 2011
That Was the Week That Was
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011(Anyone remember that show? I remember it, but I never got to watch it; it was on after my bedtime. Classic news/events satire show from the early 60s, featuring David Frost.)

So it's Friday and I have my car back, hopefully sans transmission fluid leak. I had to take it Wednesday finally after experiencing on cold mornings the car not slipping into gear readily; I would back out of the driveway and then rock back and forth between reverse and drive a couple of times before I felt it shift into drive. Once the engine got warm there was no trouble, and every time I checked the dipstick, it was never on "add," but...well there it was. Turns out I had two leaks, one in a coupling or cylinder or something, one in a hose. Both were covered by my extended warranty, which un-extends in July, so I needed to get it done anyway. I was also getting an odd sound when I made corners when it was cold, so I had them do a flush and fill on my power steering fluid; oh, and I had an oil change. I'm sure being a dealership they overcharged, but since the car was there...

While the car was there, I cleaned the spots off the driveway, so if it leaks again after the repair, I can take it back posthaste.

Did some viewer's juggling on Monday, which seems to be the one day we watch a lot of network television: House, Antiques Roadshow, Castle, Hawaii Five-O and Harry's Law. We got lucky the first few weeks of Harry since either Castle or Hawaii Five-O were reruns. On Monday they were all new, so we DVR's the latter two and watched Kathy Bates and Co. via antenna. After this week's episode I'm not sure if I still want to bonk Tommy Jefferson over the head or be relieved he's human—he's such an annoying SOB. Oh, and I've been paying so much attention to the interaction of the characters that I didn't even notice that Harry's secretary was played by Brittney Snow, who was "Meg" on American Dreams.

Next Monday will be a real juggling match since not only are Harry, Castle and Hawaii all new, but it's the first night of Westminster! Since USA repeats opening night on Tuesday morning, I'll DVR that instead and we will have to forego the news so we can watch part one before part two.

Besides cars and [broadcast] conflicts, work goes on, podcasts get listened to—did some Rick Steves this week, Leo LaPorte, and Mugglecast. Mugglecast changed feeds last spring, something I noticed a couple of months ago when there were no new downloads, but had no time to do anything about. I found the new feed, but by the time I did, eight of the intervening Mugglecasts were no longer on the feed, so during lunch yesterday I downloaded them from Mugglenet's website. They will play through the music player on the Droid. Cool. Also listened to a BBC Radio 7 dramatization of Little Women. Quite good!

Stopped on the way home from getting the car to get a bit of lunch. My first thought was soup from Fresh2Order. Yipe! the line! Stopped by Subway. Not sure if this little place on Spring Road just doesn't do the soup because it is so small or the soup was an experiment that didn't work. So I went a few doors down to Lucky 13 pizza and got a slice of barbecue pizza. Nice crust!

And now that the pizza is done, so is my lunch and this post. :-)

[Later: This afternoon I listened to Good Wives on BBC Radio 7. The British always entitle the second part of Little Women as Good Wives. They did a nice bit to avoid the narrative summary in chapter one, having Jo run into Miss Crocker, the garrilous lady who witnessed her disastrous luncheon in part one, just before Meg's wedding. I noticed they also put more hints in about Laurie and Amy, and Mr. Bhaer's affection for Jo. Well done!]

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His Final Journey
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011Majorly cool discovery off the coast off Hawaii:

In Pacific Discovery, Traces of Nantucket and Moby-Dick

This is the ship George Pollard captained after the disaster of the whaling ship Essex (she was destroyed by a whale and only a handful of her crew survived, including Pollard) which served as inspiration for Melville's book.

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» Sunday, February 06, 2011
A Super Sunday
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011Many S's today, the first being Sleeping (late, that is). The next was Shopping—I didn't particularly want to go to the supermarket on Super Bowl Sunday, but we needed eggs and the crowd wasn't too bad. I guess everyone did their big shopping yesterday. :-)

When we got home James started the brownies we were taking to Ron and Lin's house for a Stupor Bowl party. Since the main dish was chili, he made "Mexican" brownies: put cinnamon chips and also some cinnamon in the batter. They tasted neat: a chocolate taste, with a burst of cinnamon, then the chocolate aftertaste. Following that, James made Mexican cornbread (it has Rotel and chili powder in it).

We also Stocked the freezer by wrapping the meat we bought yesterday. We got eleven pork meals and ten beef meals out of it. And then had to Swab down the kitchen, of course.

I also put the first two coats of "Real Brown" on the two new corner Shelves for the spare room. Just in time, as I need someplace to put the quartet of stuffed songbirds I got for Christmas (you squeeze them and they give out the actual call of the bird).

Have discovered it's just as much fun watching the Puppy Bowl with the sound down and listening to something else ("Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me"). :-)

We left for Ron and Lin's about 4:30, stopped for gasoline and a paper, then spent the next four hours chatting, critiquing the commercials, and even occasionally watching the game. I'll tell you, if I were a football fan, I'd be seriously pissed at this game. There would be three minutes of play, a gallon of commercials, four minutes of play, more commercials, three more minutes of play, etc. The Black-Eyed Peas did half time. I'm not impressed, although the guys with the light-up suits were kinda cool. James commented that the guys were all dressed like Griff and his gang from Back to the Future II. Much preferred the Kitty Half-Time Show at the Puppy Bowl. :-)

Of the commercials I saw, some were cute, but I didn't see anything I thought was totally spectacular. The Western theme Budweiser commercial didn't get much better than cute, and usually the Budweiser ads are corkers. All the horses did was pull the stagecoach and rear when the singing started. Yawn.

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» Saturday, February 05, 2011
A Profitable Saturday
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011We decided this would be our day to go up to BJs, renew our memberships (because BJs cancelled them when the East-West Connector store closed), and stock up the freezer with beef and pork. So, after we had breakfast, we headed up to Woodstock. It was a pretty, sunny day by the time we left the house: big fluffy clouds against bright blue.

There was no one in line at customer service, so the new cards took a trice and we wandered about the store. Picked up a gift for James, some sweet onions, and a few other things, sampled some food, and waited at the meat department to get our pork loin and round steak haunch cut into steaks with another couple who seemed to come there often. Then we packed all in the insulated bag and went on our way.

We stopped at JoAnn on the way home so I could pick up some candle bulbs, Command hooks, and dispenser tape (but I picked the wrong bulbs and will have to take them back, drat it), James went into Hobbytown, and then we stopped at Borders before going to the hobby shop.

On the way home from there we stopped at Publix to get a few things. By this time it was nearly suppertime. We still had some pizza rounds and the sauce from a DIY pizza kit. One of the things that we got at Publix was very lean ground beef, which James browned and put on the pizzas with some old proscuitto, diced onions, and shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese. Yum!

We munched on this while watching the last This Old House from the Charles River House as well as the newest renovation, on a 1933 Spanish-Style home in Los Angeles. It's a lovely house already, but while the kitchen is delightfully quaint, it's also un-delightfully awkward to use. I'm sure they'll be stripping the thing—a pity, but I wouldn't want to work in that kitchen either!

For dessert we both had a goodie from the bakery: James had a blueberry square and I had a Florentine. I love these things. It's a little bit more than three inches in diameter, and not more than a centimeter thick. The filling is sliced almonds fused with a lightly sweetened syrup, and on the bottom of the cookie is a thin coating of dark chocolate. Mmmmnnnn...

We are watching something that aired on CNBC (!!!!), a film made several years back (2001) called Walt: The Man Behind the Myth. I'd heard of it, but never seen it (I do have the book). I am absolutely agog at the film footage. There is some neat stock footage, but there is even more personal footage film from Disney: Roy and Edna Disney's wedding, Lillian Bounds Disney when she was a bobbed-hair cutie working in the Ink-and-Paint Department at Disney Brothers Studio, Diane and Sharon Disney when they were babies and then girls, Walt and Lillie on a cruise and skating, Walt riding bikes with the girls at the studio...wow, wow, wow. Love it.

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» Friday, February 04, 2011
Friday Follies
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011Nuts. Two a.m. call of nature means I spent another hour afterward trying to get warm. Woke up with a stiff neck from trying to curl up in a ball. Pfft!

It was a dark, dank, damp, drizzly, dreary day. By the time I left the house it was still barely over freezing, with a cold rain falling steadily. I wore my winter coat and my thickest hat and slogged out into the misery and went to Costco to renew our membership and get a new card. (I still can't figure out what happened to my Costco card; I know the guy at BJs forgot to give it back the last time I used it alone, but I hadn't used the Costco card in months.) Well, surprise! Our membership doesn't end until July, which explains why we were still getting coupons. I think it was because of the lawsuit they went through. Anyway, I sampled some wings, a bit of pizza, some cheese, some super artisan breads, and hummis with pine nuts, and got paper towels and various other supplies. Milk was $1.88/gallon! Zowee!

Since I didn't have to worry about the milk getting warm, I moseyed over to Borders. Guess what happens when you buy a Harry Potter Blu-Ray with a 40 percent off coupon and $15 worth of Borders Rewards! That's right—nothing (as in you pay $0)!

By now the weather had given me a screaming sinus headache. I stopped briefly at Michaels to buy a hook for the bathrobe we keep in the master bath, then drove home and retreated into the spare room after gulping three ibuprofin.

By the time James got home I was a bit better. We ate at IHOP and had Cocoa Trios for dessert at the Borders, then arrived home to watch Flying Wild Alaska and Law & Order: UK.

Must go: Hugh Laurie is on The Tonight Show...

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» Thursday, February 03, 2011
The Week in Revue
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011It's just gone dancing by. :-)

Had managed to get four more orders out Monday, then things slowed down as I had to go through the everyday backwork done on the remainder. Tuesday was a miserable, cold, damp day; to keep myself occupied in traffic I listened to a Rick Steves' podcast on the way home, about the British royal family, with a segment with Princess Martha Louise of Norway. She spoke flawless English with an American accent; you couldn't even hear any type of accent.

Woke up on Wednesday with a sore throat and my nose stuffed; just took some Ibuprofin and kept going—what else was there to do? At least I was home and could stretch out someplace warm during lunchtime, and kept myself happy listening to The Secret Garden, 101 Dalmatians, Little Women, and Doctor in the House, as well as one episode of a series with David Tennant (Double Income, No Kids Yet) on BBC7, plus some of Leo LaPorte's Tech Guy broadcasts.

Today during lunch the termite inspector showed up. While he was doing his work, I took a rake and pushed the piles of leaves on the grass in the back yard into the woods. This will give what grass is left a chance to breathe. I also raked out the spot where we have the lawn chairs. It had gotten pretty bad looking in the past year. I cleared the space and put all the surrounding stones and decorations—there are stones with inspirational sayings on them, a Chinese dragon, a spaniel, a couple of gnomes, a green man, and just plain large rocks!—in proper order.

Anyway, our initial termite protection has expired. The liquid they originally treated the ground with will start to degrade. We are going to have to choose between the liquid treatment, which will have to be renewed every eight years (a trench dug around the house and the liquid put in), or the Sentricon, which is more expensive, but basically we have the bait stations installed, but as long as we pay the quarterly bills, it's taken care of until whenever.

Had a bumper crop of wonderfulness from Amazon Vine this week! Last week I had received the new Maisie Dobbs book, and, at the last minute, I also sent for a laminator they still had available. James had expressed his desire for a laminator and I always thought it would be cool to have one. Then, last Thursday, it was "remainder day." I scored Jean Auel's final "Earth's Children" book and also a book about the King James version of the Bible. These all came on Wednesday. Yummy!

Got a nice surprise on Dish Network as well: Starz is celebrating their 25th anniversary, so we will be seeing Starz and its sister stations (Starz Cinema, Starz West, Starz Kids, etc.) free until next February! Isn't Starz supposed to broadcast the new season of Torchwood? I also noticed that we have about three new movie channels, including the Sony Movie Channel. Mostly the same old junk, but I did find out one of them (not sure which, but I have it programmed nonetheless) is showing Walt and El Grupo, a documentary about Walt Disney's tour of South America in the 1940s to help cement "the Good Neighbor Policy." This led to such films as Saludos Amigos. One of the channels is showing Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius next week. Another of the channels is showing old Westerns like Maverick and Cheyenne.

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» Tuesday, February 01, 2011
Comic Relief
Yesterday's "Family Circus." Heck, I feel like this every weekday.



I believe the Forth family lives near Atlanta, judging by this forecast:

You mean cockroaches aren't already in political office?

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