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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» Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Getting a Start
I wasn't sure what type of day it was going to be today. When the alarm rang, I blinked, only to realize that my right eye felt sore. It was even sore to the touch. I took some ibuprofin and lay down for another 20 minutes, and it was a little better when I arose the second time, although it was still moist and watering, something that eventually abated. I noticed it was hurting after driving home yesterday. My car had been covered with fine yellow pine pollen, giving it a golden glaze. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the grains came through the vents and irritated my eye. The news reports are going crazy over the high pollen counts.

At lunch time I got a little inspiration from The Happiness Project. I cleaned out the plastic drawers that are in our closet to keep my sweatsuits and work clothing. I kept one pair of "gardening" pants and a grungy short-sleeved sweatshirt and the shirt James ruined with ink that I used to use at the old house when I used insect spray, and tossed everything else that was holey or worn, including my loved-to-death WordPerfect sweatshirt. I also moved some things around, and gathered at least five things for donation, including two pretty sweaters which I washed before tossing in the bag, and a bathrobe that I've never worn. I put all the Space Bags in one bag, and combined other things. When James arrived home early, I had him finish up by rearranging the clothing he keeps on the shelf. Moving things meant the coats could go back in the other corner.

I also cleaned out the drawers and the cubbies in the chifforobe, packing away the 9/11 newspapers that have been sitting in the bottom cubbie for ten years and tossing out a few other old things. James has agreed that we need to donate the old air purifier; it was too small for our old bedroom and we haven't even used it here. Getting that out of the cubby means we have a storage place for James' electric throw that he uses in the winter.

In the meantime I chilled out as I worked listening to instrumental Christmas music in the morning. Did finish up "Paul Temple and the Alex Affair" on BBC 7 this afternoon.

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"Understood Completely"
My Bookstore is on Death Row

I have every e-reader app that exists on my phone. I've been reading e-books since 2002 and I got my PDA. I can't buy some of the old books I've been able to get as e-books, and I haven't yet paid for an e-book. Frankly, I think e-books are overpriced. I can see paying $25 for a hardback (even if it is expensive, I usually don't). You have the paper, the printing, the binding, the artist paid for the cover, the dustcover, and the enchanting smell of book print. Nothing smells better than a bookstore. But why pay $19.99 or even $12.99 for an e-book? It's just bits and bytes. It doesn't have to be printed: no paper or ink or cardboard or gloss paper needs to be purchased, no press needs to be run or page cutter needs to be used. No one needs to pack the books in boxes to send to warehouses or to bookstores. So why are they so damn expensive? All you're getting is a copy of the equivalent of a PDF file or a word processing document that's been formatted for a specific reader. If I was assured the author would get 90 percent of the price, it would be different, but I know they don't. So the publisher gets the lion's share—for what? Having some poor schlub of an IT employee format it, and the bandwidth and storage space?

Plus if you end up not liking the book, you're stuck with it. You can't donate it and get the tax credit, or sell it at a used bookstore. If your Kindle dies and you decide to get a Nook, or vice versa, you lose all your Kindle books.

I noticed some of the commenters to this article complained that it was fair, that Borders put independent bookstores out of business. Well, maybe where they lived. In most of the places I have lived, Borders was a godsend. At one point, the only bookstore left in Providence/Cranston/Warwick was the Waldenbooks at Warwick Mall, the paperback bookstore and Read-All in Providence having been wiped out and Dana's used books having been destroyed by water damage from a fire upstairs in their building. The only other bookstore "nearby" was Readmore, a half-hour's drive away down Route 44 on the outskirts of Taunton, Massachusetts, and then they didn't carry everything.

When I moved to Georgia it was nearly as bad. At least there was Oxford Books, but the owner drove himself out of business by expanding too much. Otherwise, all there were initially were the mall bookstores (Waldenbooks owned by Borders and BDalton owned by Barnes & Noble). Yes, there were a few used bookstores. Used bookstores can be a goldmine—Oxford Too, for instance, had many gems, and I've found some nice stuff at Atlanta Vintage Books—but the majority of them are busts: repositories for hundreds of broken-backed romance books and novels I wouldn't have bought when they were released. I take care of my books and when I donate them they look new. I don't want to buy raggy books.

So for those of you who actually lived in areas that had cool independent bookstores, I'm sorry you lost them. Forty years later I still miss the paperback bookstore in downtown Providence. But Borders was the best. They've always had the best coupons—I've seen Barnes & Noble coupons; unless they've changed, they tend to be for bestsellers and "celebrity" crap—and the best remainder tables. If I have to buy from Barnes & Noble full time, I will identify the book there and buy it at Amazon; full price is too rich for my blood.

I do agree with the commentary about people who sit in the bookstore cafe and read the magazines and don't buy them, and use the regular books for reference and then put them back on the shelf. There's a place to do reference; it's called a library. You pay taxes for it. Go there and quit dirtying the books in the bookstore. You can read magazines in the library, too. Don't carry your magazine? Then buy it, don't put your germs back on the shelf for someone else to buy. Freeloaders. Whose fault is it the stores are closing? Maybe it's yours, you cheapskate.

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The Simple Woman's Daybook
 
FOR TODAY, MARCH 30, 2011

Outside my window...
...it is a grey, drizzly day. A few weeks ago we had a rain deficit of three inches, now it is all made up and we are having more rain. I hope the normal rainfall keeps up for the year so that it will be somewhat cooler. Last year it was steadily over 90°F from June through September. Talk about a taste of Hell! Despite the drizzle, the birds are still darting in and out to the feeder; I've seen the female red-bellied woodpecker, a titmouse, and a male house finch so far.

I am thinking...
...that it's so nice to have instrumental Christmas music to listen to on a grey, drizzly day. It cheers me better than anything. We have had 40s-50s temps in the last couple of days, which was a nice respite from the warm weather we'd had the week before. A cafè au lait candle completes the mood; perfect atmosphere to work in.

I am thankful for...
...being able to sit at my computer this morning. When I woke up, my right eye was sore and watering. I took some ibuprofin and it is some better. It started yesterday, after I emerged from work to find my car finely sifted with yellow pine pollen. Probably a grain or two has gotten into my eye to irritate it. The news reports are full of stories about how early pollen season is this year, and how bad it is. Allergists are swamped with calls.

From the learning rooms...
...I am trying to take some pointers from Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project. Rubin seemingly "has it all": wonderful husband and kids, good job, nice home in New York...but she finds herself discontent anyway. The book is a chronicle of her year-long "happiness project." I too have found myself restless and discontent for no reason.

From the kitchen...
...James made gingerbread the other night, since it had gone back to "gingerbread weather." I can sniff it if spring gets just too much, but it's for dessert, not for snacking.

I am wearing...
...Mutts jammies and white socks, which is what I wear around the house this time of year. It's the in-between outfit set in the middle of sweats or tank top/shorts.

I am creating...
...still working on the picture frame. Should start the easy "Dreamscapes" cross-stitch I bought a few weeks ago, but have been too busy reading.

I am going...
...to make a list of things I really need to do this weekend. My watch has needed a battery for months; I keep forgetting to take it somewhere to get the battery replaced. The living room looks like a bookstore exploded in it, as does our bedroom. At least I have gotten all the jackets, scarves, and hats washed, and half of them put away.

I am reading...
...still working on Coming into the Country (it's a plump book), also Once and Future Giants, the aforementioned Happiness Project, and am on the last half of Mistress in the Art of Death.

I am hoping...
...to get some tidying done this weekend, and hope to persuade James to help. He is still having trouble sleeping, though the new machine and the Breathe-Rights are helping. He pretty much has some of the same problems I do, getting hot and then cold. Not to mention that last night it thundered, which made the dog bark, and both our phones sprang on at 5:18 a.m. Why they do so randomly in the night is a mystery.

I am hearing...
...hammered dulcimer music. I have one of my Marcielle Wallis Christmas albums on. A few minutes ago a wren was warbling on the chimney. You can always tell when a bird is perched on the chimney; their voices are so amplified!

Around the house...
...a bit of chaos. Things not put away. I'll get to some of them at lunchtime, but it makes me restless.

One of my favorite things...
...instrumental Christmas music, for any time of the year. It's especially welcome on hot summer days; makes me hopeful that more acceptable weather is coming as the year rolls around.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Watch battery. Return of library book. A stop at Bed, Bath and Beyond before the coupons run out. And Ken's birthday dinner!

Here is a thought I am sharing...
Actually, it's a video that one of my Facebook friends linked. I'd seen this before, but it's always a good reminder of what a joy friends are—whatever shape a friend comes in:

CBS Assignment America: Dog and Elephant Friendship
 
If you'd like to participate, check out The Simple Woman's Daybook
 

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» Sunday, March 27, 2011
Sunday Under the Clouds
 
The rain had vanished by the time we woke up, but the day was still overcast from one end to the other. When we drove out toward Town Center, we couldn't even see Kennesaw Mountain; a silver mist draped it as well as the sky.

After breakfast James wanted to go to REI, to get two more bottles for his lunchbox, one for tea and the second for juice. While we were there we both bought hats: James got an Aussie hat in khaki and I got a new straw hat. (My other big-brimmed hat is fine, but it's actually made of paper that looks like straw, so it's useless in the rain.) Then we cut through the back and went to Merchant's Walk. I wanted to stop at Fuzzywig's for more watermelon Jolly Ranchers and go to Trader Joe's for chicken salad and chicken sausage.

Alas, someone had gotten to the Jolly Ranchers before me. All that was left were apple, grape, and (ugh!) raspberry. We did walk over to Border's since there was a 40 percent off coupon this week. I got the third book in the "Mistress in the Art of Death" series and found the companion book to Meerkat Manor for only $4. Then did some shopping at Trader Joe's and got the usual groceries at Kroger, and headed home.

We spent the afternoon and evening watching Back to the Future, parts two and three, and all of the extras on two; there just wasn't time to finish the goodies on three. Number two is very inventive, but I don't watch it much because it's so dark. I'd forgotten quite how frightening Biff is in the second film. He's a bully in the first movie, and a dangerous idiot in the third, but he's downright creepy in the second film, especially when he's abusing Lorraine and Marty.

(We did watch the Back to the Future ride sequence. Yow! I can't believe it's nearly nineteen years since we've seen this! We rode it Labor Day weekend of 1992, when we were down in Orlando for Magicon, the 50th World Science Fiction Convention.)

In between films we had one of the London broils we got two for one at Food Lion last week. James crock-potted it in brown gravy and a little bit of teriyaki, and we had it with a cucumber salad. Quite delicious, and there is enough left over for another meal.

Arrrgh! It's going to rain tomorrow!

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Suddenly Spring (and Stateless)!
 
I was so sleepy last night and busy on chat that I didn't note in yesterday's entry the one thing that struck me the most on the way to the Marlay House—spring has sprung. I don't get out much during the week, except when I drive to work, and then it's pitch dark. On the way home I usually have a headache from the fluorescents and I need to keep my eyes peeled to the road anyway because of the sheer idiocy of commuter traffic. I have noticed an increase in flowers, if nothing else because of sneezing and itchy eyes!

But going into DeKalb County...holy smokes, wisteria everywhere! You couldn't turn more than two corners without seeing wisteria vines spilling from the sides of overpasses, or draped over dead trees, down the sides of freeway cuts, on old fences, a wash of violet and green. And the dogwoods are out! They have a different white color from the flowering cherry trees; the cherry blossoms look a purer white, but the dogwood blossoms have this odd luminosity—during a full moon they almost glow.

Not to mention the azaleas dotted everywhere: rich magenta, carmine red, pink, white, salmon.

A funny: we hadn't been in that neighborhood in ages, so I plugged the address into my phone. It kept searching for GPS, kind of silently "popped" and suddenly I was in North Carolina, or, rather, it said I was in North Carolina. LOL. Google Maps sometimes freaks out like that. So I plugged the address into the GPS and we went on; in the meantime I rebooted the phone and then I was back in place racing down I-75 southbound. The GPS and the phone indicated two different routes; the phone wanted us to get off the freeway one exit further down (Freedom Parkway). Traffic was backing up, though, so we took the earlier exit (North Avenue), but turned left where the phone told us to (Piedmont Road) rather than turning left at Peachtree (the GPS route) which was backed up (apparently something was being held at the Fox Theatre). It was funny hearing the two navigation systems talking; the GPS pronounces things better—you should hear the Droid GPS do "Smyrna"; it comes out as "Smy-er-na"—but it pronounces Ponce de Leon as no one in Atlanta does. To everyone here it's always just "Poncey."

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» Saturday, March 26, 2011
Rainy Saturday in Georgia
 
At least it has washed the pine pollen out of the air. Oh, what a mess! When it had rained an hour or two there were yellow-outlined puddles in the driveway, yellow streaks on the vehicles, yellow outlines filling in the grooves of the sidewalks, yellow stains on fences and brickwork, yellow splashed on your shoes and pants. It pretty much rained all day.

Unfortunately, it came on quickly enough so that I didn't have time to refill the bird feeders.

We went out about noon to the hobby shop, then went across town to the "Meet and Greet" hosted by the Brittrack folks from Dragoncon, Rob Bowen and Caro McCully. (Rob looks so great—he cut out junk food and fast food and lost forty pounds.) There were about a dozen of us in a snug at the back of The Marlay House, an Irish pub in Decatur, and we had a lot of fun gabbing for three and a half hours. I had a lamb stew that was quite delectable: big pieces of lamb, red potatoes, pearl onions, and barley in a nice gravy, with an oatcake [I think] on the side, and James had shepherd's pie.

On the way home we stopped at the midtown Borders. Well, it's better than Austell was, about the size of East Cobb, with a magazine stand about the same (a few more types, but, alas, no "Best of British"). The shelves are still higher than a tall man's head, which is always a good sign. :-) You should have seen all the people in there using the wifi in the cafè. Was anyone buying books? (Okay, I did. I bought The Happiness Project.)

We missed Georgia Monsoon Season while we were in the bookstore, and were able to make our way home through lighter rain. There was a brief glimmer of sunshine from the west, then the clouds closed in again.

We spent the evening at home, listening to the pounding of the rain on the chimney and the rumble of the thunder. After supper (leftover pork fried rice) and James called his Mom to wish her a happy birthday, I put on 7 Faces of Dr. Lao. Have loved this film from the first time I saw it on network television. Tony Randall has such fun with all the multiple roles, and he's quite sobering as Apollonius. The scene with Barbara Eden and Pan was quite sensuous for the era! When that was over I put on a couple of episodes of the old Addams Family television series via streaming Netflix. They are still so hilarious after all these years! Loved John Astin's wild-eyed look!

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» Wednesday, March 23, 2011
A Breeze for A Spring Day
James got to sleep in this morning, since he was headed off for an early doctor's appointment. To help him I walked Willow; it was a morning wonderland, breezy, cool, with an after-dawn chorus of birds that had to be heard to be believed. Every male bird in the neighborhood was staking his claim! On the way out of the house I noticed a very loud song coming from above, which meant there was a bird on the chimney, his voice amplified by it. Sure enough, there he was when I looked up. Next door on the ridgepole a wren was singing his little heart out, and two doors down the other way was another bird on the ridgepole as well. From across the street came the sound of a woodpecker industriously drumming.

Worked on various things during the day, and spent lunch doing a last cruise of the Borders in Austell. I was wondering what one of the clerks was going to do with himself now that he was being laid off and he was remarkably upbeat about it, despite a customer who was being negative. He was looking at it as a chance to make a career change, plus to work on his writing.

James was let out early and arrived home with supper for tonight—yay! pork fried rice from Dragon! (yes, Ivan, no peas and carrots)—and dozed off in his chair while I finished up work and listened to Radio 7. At five I logged off and put everything away and we had dinner.

Later on, when the sun was gone from the deck, we brought the birdseed we bought upstairs and refilled the can, which I had emptied this morning. There was a delightful breeze and it was so warm out that we sat out there and I brought Schuyler's cage out. It's the first time she's ever been on the deck, believe it or not, and she was wide-eyed at the big fat bumblebees hovering overhead. A couple of birds, a house finch and a brown-headed nuthatch, felt courageous enough to visit the feeder while we were out there, but Schuyler didn't seem to twig that they were real birds. She probably just thought it was another kind of "teevee"!

Finally we came in to watch Jeopardy, and put on Monday's Hawaii Five-O (was that a real science-fiction convention?), the episode of R5Sons Alaska about Clay's airplane, and Saturday's Colour Confidential (wow, what a dining room—red walls and a brushed metal silver-grey ceiling and black/silver/white trimmings; very arresting yet not overdone).

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The Simple Woman's Daybook
 
FOR TODAY, MARCH 23, 2011

Outside my window...
...it is sunny with a few clouds. The birds are calling at the top of their lungs. I just finished walking Willow this morning since James had an early doctor's appointment, and they were in high song. I had heard a bird calling loudly on our chimney, and there he was when I took Willow outside, and more birds, at least three others, on the peaks of three other roofs. One was a Carolina wren who was pouring his heart out! Somewhere close a woodpecker was drumming briskly. There was a lovely breeze!

I am thinking...
...that I wouldn't mind spring so much if it didn't get so warm. I don't mind it into the sixties, especially if there are many clouds and a nice breeze! This morning was quite nice.

I am thankful for...
...James' appointment this morning going well. He has a problem occasionally when he eats, which he believes may be caused by a hernia. But when he asked the advice nurse about it last week, they completely misinterpreted what he was trying to explain and had him hurry in to the office, and then said he had to go to a cardiologist. He went there this morning, and the doctor said the problem does not sound heart-related, although they have taken some tests to make certain.

From the learning rooms...
...I'm reading an absorbing history book called The Vertigo Years: Europe 1900-1914. Had you thought this era was simply a Gilded Age of rich Edwardians and poor commoners, with little social change except for a few suffragettes, and that the "fires" of Europe didn't ignite until assassins struck in Sarajevo, you would be very wrong.

From the kitchen...
...it's untidy. I'm avoiding it. :-)

I am wearing...
...a blue tank top and blue shorts. It's been quite warm, over 80°F yesterday. In fact it was as warm in my cubicle as it was outside.

I am creating...
...a birthday gift, but I can't post about it because the person who it's intended for may read this.

I am going...
...to give Willow a bath. I swear. I just have to gird my loins up for it. :-)

I am reading...
...the book I mentioned above, still working on Coming Into the Country and Once and Future Giants about extinct large animals. I just finished Mother Was a Gunner's Mate, the story of a WAVE during World War II.

I am hoping...
...to repair the gazebo that goes with my winter village. It was broken when I took it out of the box this year, and have not "attacked" it all winter. It will take several sessions to get it fixed, as it's fiddly bits.

I am hearing...
...a cardinal going "chip-chip-chip" outside. The birds are hungry; I need to go refill the feeders.

Around the house...
...I really must get all those things off the dining room table! How horizontal surfaces do collect junk! I remember the dining table in our old apartment; we could never use it, as there were always newspapers to be recycled and other junk upon it.

One of my favorite things...
...is eating her breakfast as I type: Schuyler, my budgie. She's quite put out that I cannot take time out while I'm working to come talk to her. If she would sit on my finger she could come out of her cage, but she views any fingers as suspicious and refuses. Oddly, she's not afraid of them, she just wants them out of her cage.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
We're supposed to go to a British fan gathering on Saturday. Looking forward to it!

Here is a thought I am sharing...
...I wrote the rest of the entries early this morning, and really did not know what to put here until I nipped off at lunch time and took a last stroll around the Austell Borders store.

One of the clerks at Austell has always been very chatty and interested in all the customers. He'd always have a comment about what you bought, whether it was interest in the book you bought or telling you he had read that one and enjoyed it. So I was wondering what he would be doing when the store closed. Well, as I was standing in line I heard him talking about it to the person in front of me. In short, he was using it as a positive experience: he was going to look for a different retail job, while working on his writing. When I got to the counter he was a bit dismayed at the negative spin the woman was putting on his fate.

So I suppose the thought I am sharing is that in life it is probably to have an attitude more like this particular clerk (and not like Eeyore!).

(Oh, what did I buy? A Yahtzee "Hands Down" card game, Tasha Alexander's newest book, the "Dear America" book about the Japanese internment, and Scout, Atticus and Boo, an anniversary tribute to To Kill a Mockingbird.

 
If you'd like to take part, check out The Simple Woman's Daybook
 

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» Sunday, March 20, 2011
The Search for Soup (And Other Sunday Tales)
 
Grocery-shopping day!

Okay, that makes it look a lot more enthusiastic than we felt. LOL. But it was a nice day to do it, cloudy, only in the 60s, with a wonderful breeze. We had to go to Kroger because James needed prescriptions, so we got the staples we needed. I was feeling out of sorts at this point: despite turning on the air conditioner last night, my eyes itched, watered, and felt like I had sand in them, plus my stomach was giving me fits (which was strange because the most "irritating" thing I'd eaten yesterday was a salad with basalmic vinegar dressing). So it wasn't a pleasant shopping experience. On the way home I took something for it and gradually began to feel a bit better.

We had the groceries home and put away, but I still needed to get gasoline. I'd just had oatmeal and milk for breakfast, so I picked out a Campbell's "Soup in Hand," the vegetable with mini noodles, and had that as we went out again. Now we have been wanting to get more of the "Soup at Hand" flavors, but both Kroger and Publix seemed to have the same three or four kinds, chicken and stars, chicken with noodles, and tomato soup (occasionally creamy tomato). So we went to Walmart, which had a couple of extra flavors (creamy chicken and the creamy tomato), but not what we wanted. We did pick up a few things, like shoelaces and some vegetables that we had forgotten at Kroger, then went to get the gasoline.

On the way home we stopped at Food Lion, and they did have a bigger variety of flavors, including the one James was looking for, vegetable beef. We also got more of the vegetable with small noodles. Unfortunately it looks like they quit making the "Soup at Hand" version of the Italian wedding soup. (They have a larger variety of several types of products at Food Lion; we must keep this in mind.)

We stopped at CVS, but I never did find the other thing I was looking for, the new "Entertainment Weekly" with Nathan Fillion. Who knew it would be so hard to find an EW? We looked at Kroger, Walmart, QuikTrip, Food Lion and CVS!

Then home to read the paper, and I put the BluRay of Back to the Future on. We didn't even have to get to the movie; I looked at the quality of the images in the menu and my jaw dropped—wow! The sound was equally good. I'm not sure the quality was that good in the theatre in Warner Robins when it was released.

We'd picked up some thick pork chops on discount at Kroger and had marinated them all afternoon in herb and garlic marinade. At six James grilled them and we had them with a cucumber salad. Had enough left over for a sandwich for tomorrow, too! After supper we watched all the extras on the disk, which including new features done for the BluRay release and old features done for the original trilogy release, the latter which included a bit from an NBC special which appeared in the commercial breaks of a broadcast that was on television just before the second part came out.

(Golly, I can't believe they wasted three DVDs just on digital copies...)

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» Saturday, March 19, 2011
Too Hot on Saturday
 
But at least it was cool enough to sleep until Willow barked to be let out.

Had a leisurely breakfast and then set out to the hobby shop by way of the library and Sam's Club. The library visit was a bit of a bust in one way—I wanted access to the NetLibrary referenced on the library web site to read e-books; it was just a matter of signing up, but it turns out the books can't be downloaded, just read on the web—but I did find a book called Mother Was a Gunner's Mate (Jen, you might get a kick out of this book!), written by a woman who served as a WAVE in World War II. I've already started it, and it has a breezy, nice style.

We stopped at Sam's with the simple purpose of looking to see what they had in groceries and what they didn't. We walked in and out of each of the aisles, noting what kind of vegetables, fruit, cereals, etc., that they stocked. Came out with toilet paper, mandarin oranges, and other products, plus the BluRay of the Back to the Future trilogy. It should look spiffing.

Hadn't time to do my Mass readings on Thursday and Friday, so read three of them in the meeting room while James wandered the hobby shop and schmoozed with the guys. There was a Second Reading for St. Joseph's Day today. I'm also reading a great book called The Vertigo Years, addressing Europe between 1900-1914.

By the time we finished, it was almost 3:00 and we hadn't had lunch. After a stop at Bernhard's to pick up something for dessert, we went to Longhorn and had lunch. I figure we really should start having our big meal for lunch on weekends. We each had a Renegade and brought half home for lunches, then walked around Hobby Lobby for a post-prandial stroll, since it's 81°F outside with a miserable, blazing sun, and no weather for walking. I found one of the pretty "Daydreams" kits of a bird, and used a coupon for it. This is a pretty cross-stitch kit that comes with a pre-printed frame and a glass cover, and you only cross-stitch the bit in the center. Here's the kit.

Now we are home and listening to BBC Radio 7: the first part of their Professor Challenger radio adaptations, with Bill Paterson as the irascible Challenger, a Doctor in the House, and the rest of Paul Temple and the Jonathan Mystery.

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» Friday, March 18, 2011
Surprise on Friday
 
Ahhh...sleep! Isn't it funny how we spend our childhoods trying to get away from naps, and when you become an adult sleep is the thing you crave the most? Frankly, I had a hard time getting to sleep last night, so the extra time was welcome; the acid reflux was doing a dance in my throat and when I finally got settled, it smelled like someone had made a fire. A fire! In 60°F weather! I had to wander around the house until I confirmed the smell was coming from outside.

This morning I had to pick up a prescription, then had an errand across town: I mentioned James had a new C-PAP machine because his old one was not working properly anymore. Well, it also came with a new water tank (to add moisture to the pressurized air), but because James got a replacement water tank just recently, we would have to pay for it in full. I figured there's no reason we can't have the whole package; the tax refund can finance the tank. So I went to the sleep center to get it. I was heading in that direction anyway because a month has passed and it was time for the new "Best of British."

It headed up to 82 eventually today, and it was already warm at 10:38 when I got to the sleep center. I particularly paid attention to the time because if I got out in 20 minutes or less it was free to park. And I made it by one minute! A funny: when I got on the elevator, the woman already on with her daughter said "Women's lingerie, 3rd floor," and we started reminiscing about elevator operators and the cage doors they had to close and all that. She says they still have elevator operators at Bergdorf's in New York.

From there I went to Borders where I picked up "Best of British" and the newest British "Country Living," along with a new mystery (in paperback) about Nellie Bly solving a mystery in Paris with the help of Jules Verne and Louis Pasteur.

At this point I made a frustrating detour to go back to the Container Store for a couple more narrow bins. This meant going past the twin traffic traps of Phipps Plaza and Lenox Mall, then having to make a U-turn because I missed the only left turn. But did pick up the bins, then decided to get out of Buckhead posthaste. I cut through Piedmont Road, which is considerably more clogged now than when I used to go that route during lunch hour at work to get to the original Borders Atlanta store, and was dismayed to discover that Pearl Arts and Crafts has closed. I always loved this store; it smelled of tempera paints, pencil leads, and sweet paper.

So I came home through Chastain Park. Everyone seemed to be out, even though it was a workday.

Just as I pulled in the driveway, my cell phone rang. It was James, saying happily, "I'm on my way home; you want to do something?" Turns out they were overstaffed and sending folks home. I told him I was heading inside to eat my lunch! So I did that, and he arrived home, and then went out to Lowes so he could get a new Swiss Army knife.

Well, we stopped at the Austell Borders...

Yeah, I was bad, but they had good stuff left: a steampunk/magic novel, Court of the Air; a cute-sounding fantasy romance, Trolls in the Hamptons; two of Titan Books' Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, one with Theodore Roosevelt and the other about Jack the Ripper (I believe this is one of the books Louis Robinson talked about); Death and the Running Patterer, an Australian mystery; what looked like a fun biography (biographies were 60 percent off) about a guy who grew up as a Star Wars fan; and two scrumptious-looking history books, A Renegade History of the United States and Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression. Also grabbed a Jill Oxton cross-stitch magazine at half price, the first season of Shaun the Sheep on DVD, and the DVD of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown—this last for five dollars!

So we came home, had pizza for supper, and tried to stay cool. It was so warm that the air conditioner finally turned on. Plus I made arrangements for Willow's and Schuyler's yearly checkups, so there goes the rest of the tax refund...it's time for Wil's three-year shots.

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» Wednesday, March 16, 2011
The Simple Woman's Daybook
 
FOR TODAY, MARCH 16, 2011

Outside my window...
...it is overcast, and still a bit chilly outside (for now, so I will enjoy it, even though my toes are cold). It's supposed to get into the high 70s on Friday. I do not like temps over the 60s, so I'm not looking forward to it. There is a white-breasted nuthatch eating upside down on one of the feeders.

I am thinking...
...how much better I feel than yesterday. Evidently the tuna I had at lunch disagreed with me, but since it's the only type of fish I like, I need to eat it. I also need to find a quiet time to read my Mass readings for the day. I found an app for my phone that has daily readings and a reflection. You can also use it to pray the rosary, do the Stations of the Cross, and read the Bible. I thought I would at least do this for Lent.

I am thankful for...
...being at home working, where it's quiet. Actually, right now it's too quiet, as I have been listening to BBC radio shows all morning, the next two parts of Paul Temple and the Jonathan Mystery, a very funny piece about being a Doctor Who fan, and also an adaptation of Anne of Green Gables (their Anne is a bit too shrill, though).

From the learning rooms...
...I am reading The King's Speech and enjoying it very much. I had read that George VI had a stammer, but have heard speeches by him with no trace of it, so it is quite interesting to learn the work he went through to be rid of it. The book also contains some nice historical bits about the British royal family, Australia, and the events leading up to the second World War. I already have the film in my Netflix queue for when it is available.

From the kitchen...
...not much, since it's pot lucks on Wednesday. I think there's enough rice left for me to have soup; else I will have to cook more.

I am wearing...
...a green t-shirt, a pair of green "Mutts" pajama bottoms, white socks, and blue scuffs. By the end of the week I will be in a tank top and shorts. "Ain't that a revoltin' development!" as Chester Riley used to say.

I am creating...
...work right now. Have to advertise an order now that I have a statement of work. I can start my gift project now that I have paint, but I haven't begun it yet.

I am going...
...to start washing clothes as soon as lunchtime is here. I still don't understand why we are up to two loads a week; there's only the two of us. It must be the extra James has been wearing because he is cold.

I am reading...
...still reading Inside the Apple, Coming into the Country, the Mental Floss History of the United States, and also the second Daisy Dalrymple book, The Winter Garden Mystery as well as Murder My Darlings (sleuths Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley are trying to clear a youthful William Faulkner of a murder charge).

I am hoping...
...James' new C-PAP machine will help his sleeping! He is picking it up this afternoon.

I am hearing...
...nothing but the hum of the computer and Schuyler kissing me at the moment.

Around the house...
...it needs a vacuuming, as always, and the laundry baskets are arranged in a tidy row waiting to go downstairs. I am a quarter of the way getting the winter decorations down and have no heart for it.

One of my favorite things...
...is listening to those BBC adaptations! I think it's a crying shame American radio doesn't do radio stories anymore.

If you'd like to listen, go here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio7/programmes/a-z/player

These are all the shows available on their iPlayer right now.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
I need to check in the craft room to see if there is anything else I need while I have JoAnn coupons and Michaels coupons. I need to go by Kaiser on Friday and pick up a prescription.

Here is a thought I am sharing...
Nothing else but to keep the Japanese people in your prayers or good wishes.
 
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» Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Minor Yuckiness
Daylight Savings Time did a number on both of us Sunday night. Gah. If I got four hours sleep I was lucky. I know I was still awake after 12:30 a.m. and woke many times during the night. Fought valiantly with Mr. Sandman until lunch time, when I was able to have a nap in the car.

Last night I slept so soundly I was only awakened by Willow barking (possibly at thunder) right before the alarm went off. It's almost worse waking up from deep sleep than getting little sleep; you feel logy all day. Still, proceeded through the orders, had a nap at lunchtime, then went to our All Hands meeting. We had a special segment about cyber crime, which was so classified they weren't even allowed to Envision it to the CDC field offices. Some eye-opening figures about how often CDC is attacked by hackers and how they try to get into the systems. We were also treated to an informative and slightly humorous film made by the field offices (Spokane, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Morgantown) about what they do. (The head of the Pittsburgh office had a big plaque on his bookcase that said "I [heart] PGO" with a photo of our director next to it. LOL.)

All the contracts folks stayed after the main meeting for some extra information pertaining to us. It was near the end of the meeting that I found myself feeling distinctly uncomfortable, with a terrible stomach ache. After the meeting was over, I came directly home, except for stopping to vote on the special referendum. I think part of it was that I was hungry, because supper did help. (Oddly, there were no other symptoms, besides being terribly cold, which is unusual for me.) James made what he calls "chicken cacciatore light," which was chicken thigh cooked with diced tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms, with saffron rice on the side. I just ate the chicken and that, combined with the milk, did the most to help. James figures to make this for Hair Day, seeing that it was good tasting as well as easy to fix.

(I've been listening to "Travels With Rick Steves" podcasts on the way home; they seem a perfect fit for driving. Today's episode about Catrona in Italy as well as a man who does fear-of-flying classes took my mind off feeling bad—almost.)

After Jeopardy, I got bored with the television (and I was reading at the time, which shows you how bored), so I put on the Netflix instant feed and watched an old IMAX film, The Magic of Flight. IMAX looks really weird on a regular television. :-) Then I found a film I'd never heard of before, The Wonder of It All, which is interviews with some of the astronauts who went to the moon, including Alan Bean, Buzz Aldrin, John Young, Charlie Duke, Gene Cernan, Jack Schmidt, and others.

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» Sunday, March 13, 2011
Warm March Sunday
Sunny and 70s...I am so not ready for this. My fingers are already swollen from the heat.

We were up early to take advantage of twofers at Sweet Tomatoes. They had some new things on their breakfast menu, so they advertised. I just had the oatmeal, a waffle, a slice of French toast (made with French bread, a plus), some GrapeNuts, and some cinnamon apples. I tried a bite of the new doughnut muffins, but they were just too sweet for me, but then I find much restaurant breakfast foods too sweet. I wish they'd had more sliced fruit, like cantaloupe and strawberries, too.

From there we went to Costco, looking for BreatheRights and juice for James. We'd also planned to buy the rest of Pie in the Sky, but Costco at Kennesaw didn't have them. We did, however, find the second set of Tale Spin and also the short-lived series Quark. I also found the book upon which the movie The King's Speech was based!

Came home through Kennesaw Battlefield Park, where it was obviously a great day for those who love the sun! We still wanted our Pie, so we dropped off the juice and other things, picked up something I needed to return, and drove to the Costco at Cumberland Mall, where we finished our errand and tried some of the numerous samples. We had steel-cut oats (yum), all three of the seafood spreads (crab, lobster, and salmon), chocolate covered almonds and raisins, and an anti-oxident drink that wasn't bad.

When we got home I had James take the winter boxes from the closet and took most of the decorations in the dining room down. I didn't finish, but cleared enough to put up my St. Joseph's altar; about time since St. Joseph's Day is Saturday! I was just puzzled because I could not find a couple of things: the fall-themed ceramic "Friends" plaque, the fall-themed "Peace" cross, and the little Blossom Bucket "Kiss the Cook" I bought for James. I usually put them in the china cupboard during Christmas and winter, but they were not there. I was pooped from only six hours sleep, so finally just sat down on the sofa, pulled out a pillow, and dozed off for about an hour. Just as I was falling asleep I realized where everything is: down in the laundry room in one of the Xerox paper boxes that store the regular decorations during Christmas and winter.

James grilled out for the first time this season; we found some chuck steak at Kroger yesterday which he marinated all night in herb garlic marinade. Served with julienne potatoes it was a nice supper eaten along to various house-selling series on HGTV. At seven I put on our offering from Netflix, Red, which is an action-comedy starring Bruce Willis as a retired CIA "black ops" agent who gets put on a hit list and goes to some old friends for assistance, including Helen Mirren as an aristocratic homebody specializing in "wet work" (assassinations), Morgan Freeman as an unflappable cancer victim, and John Malkovitch (hysterical) as the paranoiac of the bunch. Karl Urban was also good as a CIA agent trying to stop them all. It was absurd, but fun.

We also used the Netflix online feature to watch an episode of Shaun the Sheep. Shaun was first introduced in the "Wallace and Gromit" short "A Close Shave," but now stars in an Aardman Animation series of his own. I love these! Like the "Owly" comics, there is no dialog, but with the story perfectly shown via action and sound effects. In this particular episode, a goat terrorized the barnyard, four baby chicks imprinted on Shaun, and the farmer got sick and lazy Bitzer the sheepdog got the sheep to do all the farm work.

And now it's almost bedtime and time to sign off...ta.

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» Saturday, March 12, 2011
Happy Dance!
The Snoop Sisters DVD news: Release Date for The Snoop Sisters - The Complete Series in the USA | TVShowsOnDVD.com

Please, please, please, can we have Faraday and Company, too?????

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Afternoon Out
Went to bed a lot later than expected last night, so we slept in this morning. Hopefully it will make up for the hour we lose tomorrow! Goodness, I hate Daylight Saving Time. I hate getting up in the dark and driving to work in the dark. Light is for morning and action, dark is for evenings and relation/sleeping.

Mucked about on the computer until James left for his club meeting, then corralled all the coupons and went up to Kennesaw, stopping at Krystal first. I don't usually buy lunch out, but since I only had the oatmeal and milk, I was already hungry. Bought two plain pups (small hot dogs) and a pint of milk.

Stopped first of all to buy Schuyler more birdseed. The Petsmart was having dog adoptions today, and oh, there were so many, including three adorable schnauzer-cross puppies that were tricolored. Some of the adult dogs were also appealing, including a big brown part pit bull cross who was soooo friendly, and a little spaniel cross who reminded me of my cousin Kathy's dog Muskie so long ago.

When I came out of Petsmart swinging a big bag of seed, I looked directly ahead at where Linens'n'Things used to be and stopped, flabbergasted. They are putting a Michaels in that space, just one shopping area down from JoAnn one way, and one down from Hobby Lobby the other way. Holy cats! (I wonder if that means the Michaels is moving out from its present space closer to the mall.) Well, that ought to make it fun competition.

Stopped at JoAnn. They were having a "coupon commotion," so I stocked up on iron-on patches, bought more spare candle lamp bulbs, a new bottle of super glue, a bottle of paint for my frame project, a package of camel-hair brushes since I used my big one for the Modge-Podge, two rolls of cellophane for wrapping gifts, and the cutest little ceramic sheep.

From JoAnn went to the Kennesaw Borders that is closing. Didn't buy anything I could get with a coupon elsewhere, but Kennesaw has always had the best selection of science books, so I got John McPhee's Annals of the Former World, a geology text, plus two almanacs at half price.

Then girded my loins and filled up the car: $45 for thirteen and a quarter gallons. Yike! Had a nice breezy ride home—it's sunny and in the low 70s—although the sun gave me a headache. When I got home I sighed and got it over with: took the winter flag and wreath off the porch and put up the purple flowered spring wreath with its goldfinch and nest, butterfly, and honeybee trims, and the spring flag, which is badly faded, and the purple flower bouquet that goes on the porch table. I put the cute little sheep I bought in front of the bouquet, and that was done.

Now I have to put the rest of the winter stuff away; I really hate it because it's a puzzle box type of thing where everything must fit just right for it to all go in three plastic boxes (and one Hallmark bag). Ah, well.

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Just Another Week
Except for the pieces I wrote in "Cozy Nook" for "Read and E-Book Week" and the Simple Woman's Daybook, it's been quiet around here. I pretty much spent most of the week working, doing housework during lunch—gah, all the little bits of leaf mold on the stair carpet!, and we have special shoes to wear in the back yard!—and reading/watching a few things on "the idiot's lantern" (Monday's House was a shocker...their you-know-who spoof very timely, however).

I started orders, finished orders, tried to contact one vendor who simply refuses to be contacted, advertised one, prepped another, and received yet another conference support requirement. Wednesday I listened to podcasts all day: a couple of Mugglecasts, a Tech Guy, a This Week in Tech, a Doctor Who podshock, and A Way With Words. Yesterday and Thursday my listening was more sporadic because I needed to concentrate on the advertisements and juggling the different conference supports, but I found a BBC mystery serial from 1963, "Paul Temple," apparently reproduced from the original broadcast in 1951 and listened to the first three parts of Paul Temple and the Jonathan Mystery. Also found the last three parts of Paul Temple and the Margo Mystery from 1961. Paul Temple is a mystery novelist and amateur detective, married to fellow writer Louise, whom he calls "Steve" (her pen name is "Steve Trent"). Steve, thankfully, is more of the Harriet Vane school of women mystery characters, and sometimes takes active part in the investigations, instead of just screaming or having the Doctor Who early companion's role of being there for expository dialog. Found this very enjoyable. Also found a one-hour reading/limited dramatization of Black Beauty; damn, I know what happens to Ginger, and I still was choked up.

It has been "goldfinch city" around the bird feeder this week: one day three male goldfinches in various states of molt, including one that was almost complete, looking like a pinto canary, along with an assortment of females and the rest of the regulars: titmice, brown-headed and white-breasted nuthatches, chickadees, and the female red-bellied woodpecker, plus the male cardinal at least once, "chip-chip-chip"ing his way through his meal.

We visited one of the closing Borders stores last night. The pet books were at 40 percent off, so I bought a book by Stanley Coren about his Cairn terrier, and also picked up the newest Madelyn Alt in paperback (yes, I caved, although I hear the plot isn't much) and also The Mental Floss Guide to World History because I am enjoying the US edition so much (although I found at least one minor but glaring error, which makes me wonder how many more there are).

I'm fifty-fifty on the new yogurts I bought to try last week. I feel I could tolerate the blueberry once in a while. At least it has blueberries in it; Clark Howard had done a report a night or two before about foods containing blueberries that are really blueberry-flavored pears or other simple flavorings. I opened up the "cinnamon roll" this morning and my fears were promptly confirmed: it smells overly sugary despite only being 100 calories, and has the color and consistency of yellowed library paste (or a little thicker Modge-Podge...ugh). I tasted it, then gave some to the dog mixed in with her dog food. She cleaned it up. They could have at least put some brown coloring in it. Yuck.

Yesterday I turned on the computer to all the chatter about the earthquake in Japan. The videos are...frightening and sad, and the death count mounts hourly. Half a world away, it is almost too much to take in. Next to that, bad yogurt and closing Borders are less than nothing. And wishing condolences and prayers seem so little.

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» Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Amazing!
I didn't know that birds other than psittacines lived this long—especially in the wild!

America's Oldest Wild Bird is a New Mom

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The Simple Woman's Daybook
 
FOR TODAY, MARCH 9, 2011

Outside my window...
...it is grey, gloomy, and raining, perfect for our rain deficit, but not fun for commuters. A few minutes ago I went to get some water and saw three male goldfinches amongst the other birds, in various stages of spring molt. One of them was pretty much finished, with only a few spots of olive in the bright gold.

I am thinking...
...about the advertisement I need to write next. The order is over $25,000 and not on GSA schedule, so it is required. The hardest thing about it is typing all those long serial numbers.

I am thankful for...
...not having to go out today. Really, I'm as bad as a cat. But then I've never liked the rain, except on a warm day in the summer; snow was more my speed. You couldn't keep me out of the snow when I was a kid—I'd go out in the yard and kick paths in the snow, then get my stick horse and pretend I was riding from place to place, like Trixie Belden on the bridle paths between Crabapple Farm and the Manor House.

From the learning rooms...
...I'm reading John McPhee's Coming into the Country about life in Alaska, which was written in the 70s. Just wondering, with the proliferation of anti-fur groups, are there still trappers out by the Yukon? How do they make their living now, if not?

From the kitchen...
...it's dark. James gave it a good scrub last night, so it looks tidy, and the stair-step "spice rack" that I put in that useless corner is doing good duty holding cans of Pam and a bottle of Worcestershire sauce, a cow napkin holder that holds a scraper and a cow measuring spoon holder and the bread knife.

I am wearing...
...my WordPerfect sweatshirt, gas-flame blue sweatpants, white socks, and my blue scuffs (goodness, blue and white with black trim, I'm the same color as Schuyler).

I am creating...
...nothing right now. Still intending to work on a Christmas gift. Still need to find a TARDIS charm. I don't mean a phone charm! I got one of those for Christmas, but they don't work with my Droid. I mean a charm as goes on a charm bracelet. When I look up "TARDIS charm" on Google, all I get is phone charms. [eyes roll] You mean no one's ever made a TARDIS charm for a charm bracelet? Weird.

I am going...
...to go back to work as soon as I finish with this break. Have the advertisement, some research, a stern e-mail, and something to forward.

I am reading...
...well, McPhee...The Mental Floss History of the United States and the new "Yankee" magazine. Just finished Caro Peacock's A Family Affair.

I am hoping...
...to take a trip to Ellijay soon. I could do with a proper apple pie. The no sugar added pie we bought at...Costco?...was disappointing, very dry crust and the apples mushy.

I am hearing...
...indistinct sounds from outdoors, the hum of the computer, Schuyler's occasional chirp, and the October 10, 2010, episode of "This Week in Tech."

Around the house...
...it's pretty dark, because of the rain outside. Usually the sun is still streaming in the windows. I need to take the winter decorations down. Sigh. I need to take the winter village down so I can put up my St. Joseph's altar.

One of my favorite things...
...is almost over: winter, when it's cold and I can breathe better. When I got into work yesterday I was so disappointed, because it was much too nice to go inside, partly cloudy, breezy, in the forties; the air just smelled so good!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Work. It's my full week, not my compressed week. Return a DVD to Costco (we already had it). Maybe buy the rest of Pie in the Sky...that is such a lovely series!

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...


My dad would always be in the living room, which faced northwest, while Mom was cooking dinner or cleaning the kitchen or washing dishes. Some nights he would call to her: "Come see this sunset!" At first she saw this as an interruption, but soon she began to enjoy this time together. After Dad died, one of the things she remembered most were those sunsets.

Watch sunsets with someone you love.

(This is a photo by Timothy Hamilton of sunset at Zion National Park in Utah.)
 
If you'd like to take part, check out The Simple Woman's Daybook
 

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» Sunday, March 06, 2011
Cold Snap
It continued to rain and drizzle during the night, and was cool and grey when we woke this morning, nicely cocooned in blankets. I love cocooning weather! After breakfast, we went to Walmart; alas, their yogurt has gone up in price, and they didn't have a full two weeks' supply either. So I got a cinnamon roll, which I suspect will be too sweet, since all of these are; a blueberry, because of all the fruit-flavored ones the blueberry is usually the least sickly sweet; and a plain vanilla which I plan to spike with coffee syrup.

But I did find a gift to put away for someone, so that was a plus for the WallyWorld trip.

It was barely noon when we came home, so I wondered if James wanted to go to the Container Store in Buckhead. I was looking for two things, what they call "spice shelves," little triple risers, to consolidate some things on the kitchen counter, and a magnetic cup to fasten to the file cabinet in my craft room. I have one, but my paint pens have overrunneth it. He wanted to get a couple of small things, too, so we trucked out there via West Paces Ferry Road. It was an odd day, had all the atmosphere of a late November day, several kinds of trees with dried-out leaves upon them (the American oaks do this, and another type of tree which I don't know—they have leaves as a child draws them, which turn a pale brown, almost a faded matte copper), and piles of leaves still upon the ground, but trees blooming everywhere and daffodils popping up here and there.

The Container Store is like a giant trap. :-) I found the spice shelves there, and a wire cup, and also got more wire clothespins, which are great for keeping bags shut, some vertical holders, and another long-handled dishpan and brush set for downstairs.

We went to Borders afterwards to have a cocoa trio and peruse the books. Evidently everyone else had the same idea; there was not a free table in the cafè. Half of them were covered with laptops. Some folks were even sitting in chairs in front of laptops, asleep. Anyway, I found something cool: The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons.

We listened to "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" on the way out and on the way home, followed by "The Splendid Table," which we continued listening to at home, followed by another episode.

James made some chicken thighs in what gravy was left over from yesterday's party in the crock pot and we had that for supper and later we watched Pie in the Sky.

(Oh, and I'm writing about Read an E-Book Week.)

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» Saturday, March 05, 2011
Party Down!
We had a busy day today.

Our first stop was Costco, just as it opened, and, boy, we ought to go to Costco this early all the time. We got gasoline and got our things all in a half hour.

We'd ordinarily do this on Sunday, but we were picking up honey barbecue chicken wings for the big reception Juanita was having for her mother, since Juanita doesn't have a Costco membership. We also got milk and bought the first two seasons of Pie in the Sky because we've enjoyed them so much, but the main reason for the Saturday trip was the wings.

Juanita's mom turned eighty a few days ago. Last year we weren't even sure she would live. She had a massive stroke, one so bad she could only communicate by blinking at first. And now she is walking with a walker and is talking again, hesitantly, but she talks, a huge milestone from last year, so this was an especially heartfelt party. Juanita's brother and sister were all there, and nieces and nephews, and us and a bunch of her other friends who know her mother, and we had a nice party this afternoon at the Hollydale Methodist Church Hall. We helped bring the food and things we were providing—cookie sheets to warm up the wings, foil and Pam for the cookie sheets, our crock pot, and the gravy James made last night for the Swedish meatballs—over to the hall, and then cut out for a few hours. Since it was payday I stocked up on omeprazole at Sam's and got some huge California navel oranges, and we visited the hobby shop for a few minutes, then went back to the hall to warm up the chicken wings. Anyway, it was a bright spot in a very grey day, an even drizzlier grey day than yesterday.

(I found a whole set of "The Bible Story" in the church library...wow, that brings back memories. The first volume was in every single doctor's office when I was a kid; I think the publisher gave them away for free. It made the Bible story very understandable, told in an avuncular way. They also had a bunch of "Happy Hollisters" books!)

We got home about 5:30, and after all the nice chicken and things just had cereal and oranges for dinner, and watched Law & Order: UK and a new episode of Colour Confidential—I didn't realize there were new ones made recently. Great show to watch!

(Also discovered there's a Bryant and May website. That's posted about in Cozy Nook. I just finished #4. Love these books!)

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» Friday, March 04, 2011
What's Grey and Grey and Grey All Over?
Today. :-)

I made sure I did not oversleep this morning, as I had a couple of things I wanted to do. After a row of days where the temps were in the 60s, today was a nice surprise: only in the high 40s and cloudy. There's supposedly a whopper of a rainstorm on the way. They said it was supposed to go up in the low 50s, but the temperature never budged from 47°F from the time I left to the time I got home.

After breakfast I headed for the book sale, most of the particulars which are told here. So many people were there I had to really hunt around for a parking place; I even went down to the opposite side of Jim Miller Park, but they didn't have the gates open.

From the book sale I headed up to the Barnes & Noble at Bells Ferry, which still has the best magazine selection in the area. I bought "Just Cross Stitch" and Stony Creek's magazine, which both had some nice band samplers, and also found the new "Early American Life." I did not find the new "Yankee," so after wandering about in the stacks and then checking the DVDs at CD Warehouse three doors down, took the shortcut to East Cobb through Piedmont Road and Sewell Mill. Stopped at Michael's to get some poster tape (I started my last roll while re-hanging the Lassie poster last week) and found a very nice something to put away as a gift and some artificial butterflies to brighten up the spring/summer wreath.

At Borders I did find the new "Yankee," plus the new "Country Sampler Home Tour Edition." Now, I only usually buy "Victorian Homes" at Christmas, but I had to pick up the newest issue because they featured a "steampunk" home. I laughed aloud when I saw the cover, since it's the last thing I thought VH would have a story about!

Anyway, I was able to pick up the new-in-paperback Harry Dresden book, Changes, and with a silent whoop of delight found another gift, a book I had read that would perfectly suit a friend whose birthday comes up soon.

I also stopped briefly at Bed, Bath and Beyond to check on something else, and found two brand new 8x10 picture frames for 99¢ each! They were apparently part of a set which had gotten broken up. Very nice, plain black frames.

My last stop was Trader Joe's for more chicken salad and oyster crackers; also bought cereal and dark-chocolate coated edamame and pomegranates. We tried the latter last week at Costco and they were pretty good. I suppose if I'm going to crave dark chocolate, I might as well have it with something that's nourishing.

On the way home, I listened to the rest of a "This Week in Tech" I started yesterday. The guys were talking about how all the applications now are for telephones and tablets; you hardly hear about desktop computers or even laptops anymore.

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» Thursday, March 03, 2011
Sleepy in Situ
I am so struggling to stay awake today.

James was diagnosed with sleep apnea about 24 years ago. It got him into a lot of trouble at work, because his idiot boss believed he was staying up nights drinking or some fool thing. The first thing he tried was the surgery, in which they remove your uvula and tighten the tissues in your throat (the collapsing of these tissues causes the apnea). They also moved his jaw forward something like a quarter of an inch to enlarge his airway. Unfortunately the surgery back then had a fail rate of 75 percent, and by 1990 his had failed. He started nodding off at work again and his boss refused to understand because "you had the surgery; you should be cured." He didn't understand that James could sleep twelve hours and would still be nodding off because he was waking up multiple times a night.

(I remember our honeymoon trip—the honeymoon was wonderful, but the drive was a nightmare. When I was driving, he would get in the passenger seat and fall asleep. When he drove, I couldn't sleep; I had to keep up a running patter or give him fruit or snacks or a drink to keep him awake at the wheel. He did actually fall asleep at the wheel at least once—thank God we were at a stop light at the time.)

So the CPAP machine was a godsend; the next trip we took in 1991 was like night and day.

Recently something has gone wrong; it started gradually around or after vacation, but James is now exhibiting the same symptoms he had back in the 80s and the early 90s. He can't sit in his chair without falling asleep, he can't sleep at night, and he just looks bad to me. He had to wait until last month just to get an appointment at the Sleep Clinic, where they told him the machine he has was working fine, so it couldn't have been damaged on the trip (besides, we had it as carry-on, unless the stupid TSA broke it when they had to take it out and turn it on), and then not until yesterday did they do something about it: they gave him a loaner machine that was supposed to measure what pressure he needed, and it even had a finger clamp, I guess to measure his pulse and maybe his blood oxygen.

Damned if I know how it got any readings on him at all; it felt like we were up half the night. The mask seemed better, but there was some other gadget with a light on it. James turned it upside down on the headboard of the bed, but it got turned over during the night and was always blinking. The mask also had a chin strap to keep his mouth closed, but it slipped right off his head (really stupid design). He has to bring the loaner back this afternoon and God knows what will happen after that, but it needs taking care of now. Every night he doesn't sleep properly isn't good for him, and it breaks my heart seeing him so groggy and struggling.

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» Wednesday, March 02, 2011
The Simple Woman's Daybook
 
I have decided that it is simply impossible to do these on Tuesday as designated; by the time I get to sit down on Tuesdays, it's evening already with no time to give this the reflection it needs. Wednesday is more suitable to the task.

FOR TODAY, MARCH 2, 2011

Outside my window...
...the sun is streaming into the dining room and the kitchen since the windows face east. It is sunny but cold outside, in the 40s, just perfect for sleeping last night.

I am thinking...
...about starting to work in a few minutes. I have several orders which I can do today, which makes me happy, as I had a bottleneck of them last week.

I am thankful for...
...it getting cool again. It is difficult to sleep when the temps are over 60 at night. Our bedroom is upstairs and, despite the better insulation on this house than the last, it is always too warm in the bedroom even with a ceiling fan going constantly and fans next to the bed. I linger in delicious sleep when it is cool.

From the learning rooms...
...I just finished a small book called How Shakespeare Changed Everything, chronicling how our language, literature, even our lives have been enriched by Shakespeare's plays. One thing that wasn't enriched was our atmosphere, as it was a Shakespeare fanatic that introduced the starling to North America, wishing to have all birds mentioned in the plays in the United States. The starlings destroyed many native American bird populations' nesting grounds.

From the kitchen...
...you'll rarely find that contribution here; hubby is the cook in the house. He loves to experiment, and most of his turn out lovely! Occasionally he cooks something I won't (or can't eat) and once an experiment turned out so badly that not even the dog would eat it. :-) That was definitely bad.

I am wearing...
...the old white WordPerfect sweatshirt Alice made for me, blue sweatpants, and white socks. My feet are cold; I need slippers but if I put them on, it makes static electricity which plays hob with the computer.

I am creating...
...nothing at the moment, but have another decoupage project planned (yes, more smelly Modge-Podge). I can't post it here because it's intended as a gift.

I am going...
...to the Cobb County Library sale on Friday, knock on wood. I really don't need anymore books, but have found the occasional gem there: several Christmas books last year, including Marjorie Holmes' classic When the Heart Finds Christmas, The Next Exit, a book that tells you what is on each exit of every interstate highway, etc.

I am reading...
...several things: Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City, John McPhee's Coming into the Country about living in Alaska, a Bryant and May mystery by Christopher Fowler, and Murder Your Darlings, a mystery story starring Dorothy Parker.

I am hoping...
...my sinus headache goes away. I forgot to take my Claritin last night, and the pollen count has left me with stuffy nose, itchy eyes, and pain in the front of my face.

I am hearing...
...birds chirping outside—they sit on the chimney and chirp, and the sound is magnified by the hollow of the chimney—and Schuyler chowing down on some bird seed.

Around the house...
...it badly needs vacuuming, especially the stairs. We could wipe our feet (and the dog's feet, which we do each time she goes out) for five minutes and still manage to drag leaf bits, stray grass, and Georgia red clay on the stair carpet.

One of my favorite things...
...is listening to radio programs on BBC Radio 7 via the internet. This morning I think I am going to listen to Tom Baker read Doctor Who and The Brain of Morbius.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
A party! Juanita's mom is going to be 80 years old. She is a tough, determined woman—last year she had a stroke so bad she could only communicate with her eyes and some grunts. Six months later she was talking again, albeit slowly, and walking with a walker. She really embodies the spirit of not giving up!

Here is a thought I am sharing...

"Happiness hangs by a hair." ... Mary O'Hara in Wyoming Summer

Things happen in a split second. Live every moment you have. Kiss your spouse, your parents, your kids. Hug your friends, breathe the air, go somewhere and do something. Tell someone you love them (even if it's a pet). Life's too short.
 
If you'd like to take part, check out The Simple Woman's Daybook for instructions. 

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» Tuesday, March 01, 2011
Night and Day
Those who say "what a difference a day makes" ain't kidding. Yesterday a perpetual grey gloom hung overhead, occasionally interrupted by a peep of sun suddenly swallowed by cloud again. The air started out warm, in the low 60s, and was eventually into the sultry mid-70s, with a not just warm, but heavy feel, relieved only by a breeze. By suppertime it was spattering, then pouring, the sky booming for a few minutes, but nothing close and no power loss. (Other folks weren't so lucky; one tree missed a woman sitting in her living room by 10 inches—she still got a huge bruise on her left arm—and lightning set another house afire; mother, daughter, and the family dog emerged unscathed, but the cat hasn't been seen since.) Immediately there came the relief of cool air; windows were opened and fans set to pull it inside.

(Thankfully, I had long enough this afternoon to pull the winter decorations off the porch. Some of them are stuffed snowmen and they would have been sopped clear through. I left up just the silver wreath and the snow flag, and put all the little ceramic and resin sheep and cows back.)

This morning the air was bright and chilly. Absolutely spectacular view in the southeastern sky as it turned from black to a lush, purply midnight blue: the bright crescent moon with its "cup" facing the bright dot that is Venus, as if someone tossed the planet in an arc that would land it in the moon's mouth. The big snowy puffs of newly-blossomed Bradford pear trees glowed white under streetlights and headlamps. A row of around thirty of them line the access road between Shallowford Road and the office park, a wall of sheer white shutting out, momentarily only, the rush of the freeway on the opposite side.

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