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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» Saturday, April 30, 2011
The Eternal Sunshine of the Cloudless Sky
 
We actually went to bed early last night, after I played James the "Readers' Digest condensed version" of the wedding, skipping the talking heads and concentrating on the scenery (well, and those hats, too—I felt like Curtis in the eponymous comic strip viewing the church ladies in their flamboyant hats). So many beautiful shots of London and the beautiful historical items in the Abbey, like the medieval mosaic flooring!

So we were up early to go the farmer's market. It went down to the high 50s last night, so it was very nice walking about, the temps around 60, even if there wasn't a cloud in the sky and the sun was like a brassy disk. We'd filled up our Paul's Pot Pie card, so we got a free pot pie, more veg, some chicken salad, and breakfast before leaving.

We've discovered how to handle the Smyrna Jonquil Festivals: we go to them early. So from Marietta Square we meandered down Atlanta Road, stopping at the bakery to pick up some dessert, and arrived at the Jonquil Festival early enough to get a parking space behind the library.

We began walking around and almost immediately discovered a booth selling homemade jellies. They had two that were very unusual, garlic, and balsamic vinegar with onions. James liked both of them, but we had enough money left just for one. And then we found a booth with some hair fasteners...

So we walked down to James' bank, which was only a quarter of a mile down the road, then came back, hugging the shade as much as possible. It wasn't really that warm—unless you were walking in the sun, so we were very glad to get back in the shade, especially of the buildings where it was lusciously cool. (Have I mentioned lately that I love my new hat?)

So we bought the garlic jelly as well (the folks who make it have suggested recipes, and James is already plotting a pork roast, or some steak on the grill finished with the balsamic vinegar and onion) and more "normal" cherry-flavor, too, and the hair fastener, and also some fresh Vidalia onions. Looked through the books and got a library bumper sticker, petted a very shy Australian Shepherd at the AS Rescue booth, and had an early lunch, having been seduced by the Williamson Barbecue side of the force: nice, moist hunks of barbecue pork on a bun. Sadly, the lemonade we shared was Country Time, but you can't have it all. :-)

We brought the food home and put it away, then went to the hobby shop. I finished Atlantic and played a couple of games of Jewellust Christmas edition while the guys shot the bull. Then, since we were halfway there anyway, we went to Borders. I got Affinity Bridge with my coupon and a couple of books from the clearance boxes, an A.J. Jacobs book and a story about Queen Victoria as a princess. Also found something for James' mom.

By this time it was around four and after our early lunch, hunger came calling. So we headed home, both a little bit worse for wear after being out in the sun. (James takes medication that makes him sun sensitive, and I've been sensitive since the radioactive iodine treatments. Not to mention that the warm weather makes my fingers swell. Very uncomfortable.) So we drove home, had dinner, watched Color Confidential and Drew Carey, until it was time for Doctor Who. All these time-streams are making my eyes cross.

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» Friday, April 29, 2011
The Bishop's Sermon
I guess they don't call it a sermon, but it was particularly nice.

Address Given at The Marriage of HRH Prince William of Wales with Miss Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey

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All Flags Flying!
 
Been up since five watching the Royal Wedding!

Oh, I know the killjoys have been out there making raspberries. Don't care. Miss all the historical pageantry? The sights: Buckingham Palace, the Victoria monument, Westminster Abbey, Whitehall, Big Ben in the distance? Not me! (And all in HD? Miss it? Are you mad?) I watched Charles and Diana's wedding as well.

I came in as the foreign royals were arriving, followed by the family members. Westminster Abbey looked even more lovely with the trees that had been brought in, like the processional walked down a long avenue. Prince William wore a scarlet Irish Guards uniform, with big shamrocks on the high collar. Kate Middleton had a very nice wedding dress, lace at the collar and sleeves, not overdone, and a simple veil. Prince Harry was in a Household Cavalry uniform. Queen Elizabeth was in primrose yellow. And of course all the ladies were in hats, some extraordinarily round! A young lady behind the Queen had a very unusual hat, like a big bow standing up vertically from her brow!

The recessional was to a Sir William Walton piece (which I recognized immediately from numerous viewings of Battle of Britain...LOL), "Crown Imperial," with trumpets and everything. (I loved the occasional shots from the ceiling of the abbey!)

William and Kate rode back to the palace in a landau originally built for Edward VII's coronation. As they made their way back to big cheers, the sun came out!

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» Thursday, April 28, 2011
The Simple Woman's Daybook
 
Hoping better late than never...
FOR TODAY, APRIL 28, 2011

Outside my window...
...after all the wind, rain, and weather radio storm warnings of yesterday, it is 60°F, breezy, and sunny. The leaves are bobbing, the sun dancing between them, the birds are at the feeders, as if the potential doom of last evening never existed.

I am thinking...
...this was a better day for posting. Yesterday was a bit intense: portents of the storm had been all over the news, then when I uncovered Schuyler I discovered she had been sick earlier (she was spitting up brown mucus) and looked quite miserable, that made me so nervous I got sick, then all the wind and terrible devastation reports from Alabama on the news.

I am thankful for...
...no damage done in our neighborhood and few people harmed. There are folks who died during the passage of the storm and others who have lost all they had. There are no words that are adequate to the tragedy.

From the learning rooms...
...well, bits of trivia about New York City from Inside the Apple!

From the kitchen...
...we're having an interesting meal tonight. Because we were having our homeowner's association meeting last night, James stopped at Jersey Mike's for sandwiches. He had a coupon for buy two sandwiches, get one free. Well, he brought home three ginormous sandwiches, including mine, which was a foot long and stuffed with real roast beef (not that fake stuff Arby's uses), and cut into quarters. I was only able to eat one quarter and half of another quarter before I surrendered. Honestly, there is enough roast beef left for a meal, so that's what we're having for supper tonight—James will warm it up and make some gravy to go over it. We have leftover rice as a side and can have a salad as well.

I am wearing...
...a royal blue tank top, aqua shorts, and white socks (because it's still a bit chilly), with my blue flip-flops.

I am creating...
...more purchase orders, as always.

I am going...
...to watch the royal wedding tomorrow. I can't wait to see all those beautiful historic sites in HD! I got up early to watch Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding in 1981, too, which was quite beautiful. I hear I need to be on the lookout for Camilla's hat, as she apparently wears some extraordinary ones.

I am reading...
...still reading through Simon Winchester's Atlantic and Sharon Levy's Once and Future Giants, not because they are bad, but because there is so much else I wish to read. I have just begun The Wilderness Warrior about Theodore Roosevelt. I'm also still reading a story or two intermittently in The Mammoth Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories.

I am hoping...
...to get to sleep early tonight! Not sure whether to bunk Schuyler down in the spare room or not. It might scare her. But I don't want to wake her up early, either.

I am hearing...
...birds chirping! And that's about it, they're pretty loud. It's too cool for the A/C to have lit off.

Around the house...
...Schuyler's eating (I think she's feeling better; I'm hoping she was just feeling bad from the draft she was getting Tuesday night from a combination of the ceiling fan and the A/C), Willow's sleeping on James' chair, the television's on low for Schuyler, and I'm surrounded by my work desk and tray.

One of my favorite things...
...I'm about to listen to when I get done with this: the radio series "A Way With Words," about, what else, words! This is hosted by Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette and produced by American Public Radio.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Well, the royal wedding. The Smyrna spring Jonquil Festival is this weekend as well. If we go, we'll probably do it right after we get done at the farmer's market, when it will be cool.

Here is a thought I am sharing...
I've already posted it, but I think it significant enough to reprint. From Robert Fulghum:
Meanwhile, the trucks of fate roll by.
The trick is not to get run over by one.
The trick is to be there, alert, by the side of the road, with your thumb out. So that if the truck with your number on it just happens to come along, you will know. And you will get in and go. And the ride will be as long and as lovely as you always imagined it might be.

 
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» Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Beep-Beep!
"Coyote Falls"

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» Monday, April 25, 2011
Togetherness
 
So...in honor of the royal wedding we took Easter Monday off.

:-) Actually, James got today off for working Saturday. I just took today off so we'd have a two-day weekend together. We slept in, had breakfast, then went to Walmart by way of the library, where we dropped off a photocopy paper box full of books we didn't want. James likes the Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches, but only Walmart carries the ones where the meat is turkey (he dislikes the turkey-based egg-white only ones, which the other stores do have). We also picked up a few other things, including the one-disk Blu-Ray of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part one), and my favorite Lean Cuisine dinner, the bow-tie pasta, which no one seems to carry but Wally World. We also went to Bed, Bath & Beyond with some coupons. James needed a new grill brush and we picked up a couple of other things.

Finally, we headed back to downtown Marietta. James wanted to go into the British store on the square; we always seem to miss when it's open otherwise. We had stopped earlier, but there were no parking spaces as it was lunchtime. James decided to try a steak and kidney pie (although I know it won't taste like one made by Henry Crabbe...LOL) and also got a pastie, and we also bought some scone mix and clotted cream for a Sunday breakfast one week. We were in line behind a woman who was having friends over to watch the wedding on Friday and was picking up traditional British treats.

We stopped at the little ice cream shop, Sweetreats, a couple of doors down, and had a cup of their ice cream. It is like Cold Stone Creamery where you pick out a basic flavor (they have chocolate and vanilla) and then they add things to it. We just had dark chocolate chips. This was delicious, but the adult portion is very large. I will definitely get a kid's portion if we every go again.

It started to spritz, then rain on the way home, and we heard at least two claps of thunder. But it didn't last long. As we walked into the house, we were met by a heavenly odor. This morning James put the sale pork loin we found at Kroger in the crock pot and cooked it according to this recipe we found on Elaine Normandy's blog. Thanks, Elaine. This is outstanding.

We cooked a four-pound roast about six hours. It was on high for the first hour, at least, I think. The last step in the process forms a crusty glaze over the roast, which makes it look more photogenic, but if you are saving calories, I think this step can be skipped. You could also use the Splenda brown sugar to cut a few more calories. It was sooooo tender...by the time we got it out of the crock pot you could flake it off with a fork. Thicken the remaining juice with a little cornstarch and you have a nice little sauce. We also have enough for two more meals.

Anyway, Willow appears to be feeling better. This morning, James took note of anything wrong when he took her out, and I fed her plain oatmeal, most of which she didn't eat. Tonight James warmed up the remainder of the oatmeal with a tiny bit of pure, cooked meat juice and placed about a quarter cup of her regular food in it. I think she inhaled it she was so hungry.

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» Sunday, April 24, 2011
Too Much Egg-Citement
 
Well, we shut off the alarms and tried to sleep late, but Willow started barking about nine o'clock and James got up to take her out.

We had absolutely no plans. James made buckwheat pancakes for breakfast. I put on the Addie Mills story The Easter Promise, then Easter Unwrapped. Then we had to run to Kroger to do the weekly shopping.

After we had the groceries finished, I sat down to watch Here Comes Peter Cottontail. About ten minutes into it, I saw Willow lie down on her bed, looking a bit ill. We had offered her a treat and she didn't want to take it. So I went down to sit next to her and pet her...and she threw up. (Not on me, thank God.)

She threw up again three other times, once on the stairs and twice in the dining room. So we made her rest for a while and are now keeping an eye on her. We're not going to feed her until tomorrow and then see how she feels. She was hungry again by suppertime, so perhaps it's just an upset tummy. But it was pretty yucky to have to clean up, and now there are big patches on the carpet that are wet with little dots of paper towel on them to remind us not to step on it until it's dry.

We bought a very small bit of uncured ham (four pounds) at Trader Joe's yesterday. James marinated it in pineapple juice, pineapple bits, a little mustard and brown sugar, and it came out exquisitely. We had it with potatoes, with a little cup of Edy's slow-churned ice cream as a chaser. Yum.

Been dubbing off things all afternoon: Nova's "How Smart are Animals," and also And Man Created Dog. Then watched R5Sons Alaska and a Drew Carey's Improv-a-Ganza. The latter runs hot and cold; some of them have been very funny, others have been deadly. Now watching an old favorite: The Dream is Alive, which shows regularly on Documentary Channel.

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» Saturday, April 23, 2011
From One Night to Another
 
Had to enjoy James last night as he had to work today. So we had supper at Ken's Hometown Grill (pork chops! tomatoes!) and then drove out to East Cobb. Yes, to go to Borders. James was looking for the new Eric Flint book and I was stalking the wild April British "Country Living" (and scored by also finding the new "Yankee" and the new "Early American Life"). Found A Lion Called Christian on the remainder table and bought the newest "Sisters Grimm."

We also stopped at Trader Joe's to stock up on goodies and a ham for Easter. Found something for dessert called a "Rockin' Chocolate Chip Chocolate Cake." Wow. Tastes like a brownie. Really, really dense and chocolaty.

So James went off to work this morning and I groggily slapped the alarm when it rang and went back to sleep. Haven't slept late since the Farmer's Market started and it was no fun going alone.

Ended up not going out at all (well, except to take Willow out and then rinse the damn pine pollen off the front porch, which means I came in drenched because the connection between the hose nozzle and the hose is leaking like a Super Soaker), but dubbed off Walt: the Man Behind the Myth. Looks like CNBC chopped a good half hour out of it. You'd think the cheapskates would have scheduled it in a two-and-a-half-hour timeslot so we could see most of it, but nooooooo. Also copied off Cloud's Legacy before James got home, tidied the kitchen a bit, vacuumed (again), and finished reading Inside the Apple.

When James got home, we took Willow with us to pick up Chinese (a.k.a. Real Fried Rice—hi, Ivan!), and then had supper to HGTV until Doctor Who, Rewind came on. This was a recap of last season with commentary. And then...tada...

Convoluted in the usual Moffat style. Cool Edsel. Really creepy alien. Someone, thank God, playing Richard Nixon straight. Alex Kingston, as always, looking as if she's having a hell of a time. And Amy's interesting secret. (Er...someone look at Amy's cellphone, okay?)

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» Friday, April 22, 2011
Good Friday
I'm not sure I've collected my thoughts enough for this entry...they're rather scattered. But I was definitely thinking about my mom: how on Good Friday she would shut off the television between noon and three—per the Bible verse: "At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon"—and say her Rosary or read her prayers—she read daily from the Sacred Heart pamphlet, and the Infant of Prague. We were always taught that we should be as still as possible between those hours on Good Friday.

This year I thought it might be helpful to be a bit meditative myself, which is why I had the daily Mass readings app on my Droid during Lent (until, of course, it abruptly vanished and I had to go search out the site the feed was coming from; that worked as well). And I decided to take this afternoon off.

When I woke up, it was cloudy and quite dark. I tick-tapped the keyboard as I worked this morning, through the gloom, and then turned away from the computer at noon and put some low music on—I have no Easter music, so put on "Renaissance Holiday" and then the 2-disc set of carols from King's College, and sat to read: today's daily Mass readings, the the Lenten and Good Friday chapters from Madeleine L'Engle's The Irrational Season, and finally Robert Fulghum's What on Earth Have I Done? in which he talks about "the Mother Questions": "What on earth have you done?" "What in the name of God are you doing?" "What will you think of next?" "Who do you think you are?" When Mom asks them, daunting enough...but in reality, questions to ask yourself for all time.

At one point, the King's College Choir was singing "O Come All Ye Faithful" so sweetly that I had to raise my head from the book to appreciate how beautiful it was.

How odd then that right after three, after all those hours of darkness, the sun came out again.

I had to bookmark this bit by Fulghum, I liked it so:
     Meanwhile, the trucks of fate roll by.
     The trick is not to get run over by one.
     The trick is to be there, alert, by the side of the road, with your thumb out. So that if the truck with your number on it just happens to come along, you will know. And you will get in and go. And the ride will be as long and as lovely as you always imagined it might be.

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» Thursday, April 21, 2011
The Simple Woman's Daybook
 
FOR TODAY, APRIL 21, 2011

Outside my window...
...a rather watery sunlight. It did rain last night as they predicted, and smells moist and cool outside. First thing I had to do this morning was chase one of those flea-bitten squirrels off the bird feeder. They can glean all they like from the ground—quantities of seed are dropped; all the birds are "messy eaters." No need for him to climb on the feeder poles and scare the birds. Now a tufted titmouse is industriously dismembering a safflower seed.

I am thinking...
...well, I mustn't think what I'm thinking. It isn't simple, or restful (technically), and it costs money. :-) Heaven protect me from "scathingly brilliant" ideas.

I am thankful for...
...quiet, circulating air, and no stuffiness. Oh, and after Monday and Tuesday in the office: fresh, clean water!

From the learning rooms...
...just finished the March issue of "BBC History Magazine." Nice article on the King James Bible, and also on the Battle of the Atlantic.

From the kitchen...
...just the scent of a "roasted coffee" candle from Yankee Candle. I love the scent of coffee; it reminds me of Christmas and Easter and family get-togethers and my mom brewing a pot in the morning for herself and my dad. I slept right next to the kitchen and it was always a heavenly odor to arise to.

I am wearing...
...turquoise blue shorts, a royal blue tank top, and white socks (well, it's not quite that warm...yet).

I am creating...
...more purchase orders!

I am going...
...to cut out the coupons at lunchtime. It's trash night tonight as the garbage men will be coming tomorrow. Very mundane. When I get through writing this I will listen to more of "This Week in Tech," or "The Tech Guy."

I am reading...
...A Rather Lovely Inheritance, which is chick-lit for sure, but, honestly, makes me want to run off to France (and I've never wanted to visit France!). Also still reading Simon Winchester's Atlantic, and enjoying the March British "Country Living."

I am hoping...
...to have a quiet Saturday with James at work. I have some serious dubbing off to do; the DVR has only 13 hours of recording time left on it. I have to get off Walt: The Man Behind the Myth which will be ticky because it aired on MSNBC or CNBC or whatever, and commercials are stuck in it willy-nilly. I know commercials pay the bills, but they could at least be neat about it, and have decent fade-outs.

I am hearing...
...birdsong! They are everywhere, giving little chirps of delight at the feeder, and perching on the chimney, their voices echoed by the shaft, declaring their territory.

Around the house...
...it's a mess. I have to still look through the Sunday paper, cut the coupons, and vacuum.

One of my favorite things...
...my lovely Droid. I listen to podcasts or music, read books (I have the Kindle, Nook, Borders and Google apps, plus Aldiko), play the odd game of Jewellust Christmas edition or others, set timers, pull up coupons, check the traffic report or the weather report, get directions, find out what's the bright star (love Google Sky!), take quick pics or movies, keep a calendar and task list and birthday reminders, find a hotel or a place to eat, figure a tip, look up calories on something, read the news, keep my Christmas gift list, use the calculator...

Sometimes I even make phone calls. :-) (I make very few phone calls on it, and mostly for work—we had to get a certain plan, at a certain price, and I already had a plan with a lot of calls on it from back when my mom was alive, so I could call her as much as possible for "free." All that time's still on there, so now I call long distance while I'm teleworking.)

A few plans for the rest of the week:
I have tomorrow afternoon off. It's Good Friday, so I want to spend it quietly. I've officially finished my Lenten reading (The Year of Living Biblically and Chicken Soup for the Soul Living Catholic Faith; Rubin's Happiness Project was also thoughtful in that vein), but I do have others I can dip into.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing...


This was the title I first read it under, in the junior high school library. It's now pretty much universally republished under its original British title, Cider With Rosie, although I am fond of the American title. "Edge of Day" sounds as if the whole world was spread in front of you, just as Laurie Lee's was. Tremendous book, prose written with such a poetic touch. I had never read a book like it. When I found it a few years later in a used book store, I grabbed it; also a book of essays of his, I Can't Stay Long. I was reminded of it the other day in the Hamilton Books catalog. Lovely book, well worth your time.

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

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» Wednesday, April 20, 2011
A Sweet Tribute
Tom Baker Newsletter | Latest news | Lis Sladen | Sarah Jane

(with thanks to Kim)

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» Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Oh, My Goodness!
The always plucky Sarah Jane Smith...

Doctor Who's Elisabeth Sladen Dies Aged 63

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Someone Had to Say It!
Parents, Don't Dress Your Girls Like Tramps

A-men, brother! Little girls are supposed to play with toys or dolls or race cars, ride horses, train dogs, jump rope, compete in baseball or soccer or baking contests, grub in the dirt or twirl a baton—not look like sluts!

(In a lesser way, I also hate the Disney Princess crap: one hundred years of suffragettes, battles for women's rights and votes, feminism, equal pay for equal work—and what's the thing that's still pushed on little girls? Deck yourself in a pretty dress and get the handsome prince! Sheesh.)

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» Monday, April 18, 2011
Happy to Balance The Bad
Bad day. Really. Was in and out of the bathroom most of the day. Hate being distracted from my work that way. Could have done a lot more. What caused it? Can't prove it, but I try to drink at least 32 ounces of water at work. Filled my pitcher this morning. And about noon suddenly all the water in the building turned icky brown and we weren't allowed to use it for the rest of the day. Wonder what else I ingested besides good ol' H2O...

(This, of course, left me using hand sanitizer. I despise the stuff. I never feel clean after I use it, no matter what they say.)

On the way home, I made the turn from Old Concord Road onto Smyrna-Powder Springs Road. The road takes a dip, then begins to climb again; halfway into the incline is a street at left, with a stop sign. Just beyond the stop sign is a home where the lawn care isn't all that stellar. Straggly grass on the front lawn was about ankle/calf high. As I approached the stop sign, I could see the heads and necks of a pair of Canada geese as they waddled their way across the lawn.

And then I saw something else, and slowed to a stop, and stared out the passenger-side window in pure delight. My forefinger went out and I counted between Mama Goose and Papa Gander...one, two, three, four, five, six, seven adorable, fuzzy, grey goslings, obediently following the leader!

Who knew Fred Kwan would be right? "It's the simple things in life that you treasure." :-)

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» Sunday, April 17, 2011
So, Where Was I?
Ah, yesterday. About dinnertime. Now, we were supposed to have a tea, hosted by John, and the person who came in the best steampunk costume would get a prize. Alice had found a brocaded dress in Goodwill that was just perfect as a "steampunky" look. She matched it with a motoring cap and swim goggles and a pair of boots. She was the only one that came in costume and won the prize, a little glass teapot.

The lodge restaurant had prime rib and shrimp in cream sauce on the buffet, so we went there for supper along with the Lawsons. We had a funny waitress who kept joking with Aaron. I discovered after I had helped myself to several slices of the prime rib and a big spoonful of the shrimp that they had chicken rice soup. Had I known I would have taken less beef and no shrimp (I was wary of eating it, as one year it had made me ill). The soup was excellent, and I'd rather eat good chicken rice soup any day over prime rib or shrimp.

Back to the commons area; a bunch of folks had gone into Helen to eat, and when they got back and everyone settled down, about nine o'clock four of us—Juanita, Shari, Alice and myself—started a game of "Cutthroat Uno." (In this version, if you pull a Draw Two, if the next person to have a turn has a Draw Two, they can put it down instead of drawing two cards. The Draw Two cards can pile up until the next person who doesn't have a Draw Two has a turn. That person has to then draw as many pairs of cards as there were Draw Two cards. Yowch! Same with the Draw Four card.)

After a few games Sue and Caran joined us.

We played until after midnight, and it was a barrel of fun! Sometimes we were laughing so hard we were crying, even Juanita and Shari, who had broken ribs and a bad back, respectively (Shari was sitting with a heating pad). Around us, people used laptops or phones, talked, read books, talked more, and the younger members of the gang were in the "ops" room watching videos. Even after the game broke up—we looked around bewilderedly; half of everyone else had gone to bed!—we were still sitting down there talking.

Unfortunately James and I had another restless night (bed too small and too soft!), and were woken too early by the sun coming into the skylight. I guess they think people will come here and always get up early. It is full daylight in the room by seven o'clock, and the skylights (well, really upstairs windows) really need curtains.

We had breakfast at the lodge and then gathered up all our things and decamped to the common area. Some folks were eating bagels or bread with peanut butter in lieu of breakfast. We cleaned up the common area, disassembled the foodstuffs and the appliances, checked out, and then drove up to Picnic Shelter 6. (Well, all except for Shari, who had to leave early. She's from Birmingham, and had to get past the Talladega Raceway before the morass of Nascar fans emerged after the race.)

We have had the gamut of weather this weekend! Friday it was dark and overcast and humid-damp, yesterday it was sunny but windy and cool and absolutely lovely, today it was sunny, starting out cool, but getting very warm by the afternoon. Nevertheless, early in the afternoon was perfect for a picnic, neither too warm or too cold.

Ken took over grill duty and produced burgers (beef and turkey) and hot dogs. We ate, talked, walked the several dozen steps down to Smith Creek and took photos or just contemplated the beauty; several of the kids waded in the water (but we are finally past the falling-into-the-water phase) and some folks sat down at the picnic tables closer to the stream. At one point we saw a bright green little inchworm working its way down a cardboard box and I coaxed it onto my finger and showed it around before I placed it on the bark of a nearby tree.

It was a nice few hours, but as always it came to an end. We packed up and drove down to Cumming listening to "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me," stopping at the outlet mall. We went into the Hanes store for a few things for James, and I found great sale prices on sweatpants/shirts: they were already on sale for $6, but were then half price! So I got two pairs of sweatpants and a sweatshirt to wear around the house next winter for $3/each!

Also stopped at Yankee Candle for some coffee-scented candles.

Then it was off to the vet to pick up the fids—Schuyler had learned to speak a few notes of "hairdo bird" [cockatiel] over the weekend—and come home. No sooner had we brought everything in than we had to run to Publix for the necessities of life (milk) and a few other twofers. When we got home, I stuffed the dirty clothes in the washer before bringing the suitcase upstairs. We didn't take much, so unpacking and putting up was easy, we were soon ready for work, and we sat down to watch Extreme Makeover Home Edition and Holmes Inspection.

Another Atomicon is at an end. :-(

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» Saturday, April 16, 2011
Saturday Happenings
That's a misnomer. Nothing really has happened of earthshaking proportions, unless you count not being about to sleep well this morning. We got in our reservations too late to get a downstairs room. The upstairs rooms have lofts for extra people, and skylights. By seven o'clock it was really, really bright.

So we were up before nine, having gone to bed at two, and a bit shell shocked. We had breakfast at the lodge with Jerry and Charles and his mom, which was fun.

We didn't have any plans for the afternoon, which was a good thing, becaushttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gife we basically spent the time in the common area of the lodge building talking to everyone. Ron and Lin were showing Shari the latest video that Neil had done for film school, and from there we started pulling up all sorts of funny things from YouTube: "Men's Brains vs. Women's Brains" with Mark Gungor, College Humor's "Font Conference," Jeannie Robertson talking about sending her husband shopping, etc.

So we ended up really only going out for a couple of hours. We went to the reopened Mt. Yonah used book store, which is in an old railroad depot near a bit of leftover railroad track with an old tank engine on it. The new folks are very nice, and have a sweet grey-and-white cat named Daisy. I found a book about old New England memories and also a Holmes pastiche. James got a couple of aviation books, and we found a book about becoming a private pilot for Aaron, who has become interested in doing so, and has even had a few flying lessons (he's 12).

We also stopped at the trading post, which has a lot of bear-oriented gifts and local books, but I also found a book about local children's show hosts, alà the recent Pioneers of Television segments.

Now we are back at the lodge, chatting with friends again.

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» Friday, April 15, 2011
A Rainy Night in Georgia
Well, this is the second Atomicon (not in a row) where we are sitting around watching the Weather Channel. We've had several days where they have been warning us about big storms coming in from the west, and they're arriving right now.

We wandered about downtown Helen for about two hours, going in and out of the shops, looking at T-shirts, blown glass, quilts, etc. The sandwiches we had weren' t much; we should have eaten at the Blimpie.

I did buy a pretty thing in the Christmas shop: a little resin statue of St. Nicholas. It's actually St. Nicholas fading a bit into Santa Claus, as his face is chubby and smiling rather than the dour expressions in icons of Nicholas.

We came back to the lodge, to almost immediately make arrangements to go out for dinner before it began to rain in earnest. The lodge buffet on Friday is heavy on fried fish (with some barbecue ribs tossed in). Almost everyone was planning to go to a Mexican restaurant, but I can't each much there. Nevertheless, I decided to try and was pleasantly surprised, as they had a broiled chicken breast with onions which was just the ticket. So we had at least a dozen people at dinner, and "had a jolly time" as they would say in old British children's novels. Both Shari, our friend from Birmingham, and Sue, who we don't see very often because she lives on the opposite side of town, were able to come for the weekend, and were at dinner.

And now we're back at the lodge, watching the Weather Channel.

We're a bit nonplussed by the condition of the hotel this year. The paint on the doors of the rooms are peeling, the wallpaper is curling up, there are bits chipped off the fixtures, etc. Really sad.

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About and Away
So here we are sitting in a little hole-in-the-wall grill in Helen, waiting for our lunch to be finished. It's getting steadily more overcast this afternoon, and the weather map of Alabama is bright with reds and greens which are all coming our way. What fun.

Willow and Schuyler are safe at "camp," which unfortunately means each of them gets a checkup and at least one injection (Skye gets a polyoma shot). Willow gets her 3-year booster this year, which means our tax refund is just about shot. :-)  The vet also has to check a lump at the back of her neck.

She was such a good dog at the vet; usually she pulls backward all the way to her kennel, but this time she trotted most of the way there. Skye looked puzzled when the tech came to take her cage and her bag, but she's a game little bird. I told them if she gets sad to play her the theme to Doctor Who. It works every time.

More later...need to finish grilled cheese.

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» Wednesday, April 13, 2011
The Simple Woman's Daybook
 
FOR TODAY, APRIL 13, 2011

Outside my window...
...it's sunny with a little breeze, not like the brisk wind we had yesterday. At one point I had to fight with the gate to the yard to get it open, as the wind was pressing it closed as hard as I was trying to open it up. I would not have to look out the window to see that the birds are already at the feeders, because I can hear their twittering.

I am thinking...
...happy thoughts about the weekend. We'll see a friend we haven't seen in...goodness, I believe it's almost three years! We usually drive to Birmingham for her wonderful Christmas parties, but in 2009 there was a wild rainstorm that night, and last year I just couldn't face being in a house with cats twice in one day. I love everyone's cats, but my allergy doesn't, and we drove home from her party in 2008 with my nose swollen, my eyes streaming, and my lungs rebelling.

I am thankful for...
...being able to see Shari and most of our friends this weekend!

From the learning rooms...
...I think this will be covered in "I am reading" this week, but I did listen to a "Travels with Rick Steves" where Rick spoke to a Turkish Muslim woman (one of his tourguides) and an Italian Jewish woman. I enjoyed learning about the Five Pillars of Islam and also about the long history of the Jewish faith in Rome.

From the kitchen...
...leftovers. We're having the remainder of the "light" chicken cacciatore tonight.

I am wearing...
...Mutts pajamas and white socks. It went down to the forties last night and is nice and cool in the house.

I am creating...
...in a few minutes, a purchase order. Voilà! (And hopefully another, and another.)

I am going...
...to be listening to more radio drama on BBC Radio 4 Extra today. There's a new episode of Torchwood, another adventure with Doctor Who, and perhaps some comedy.

I am reading...
...The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs. It's a tongue-in-cheek narration of what happens when the author attempts to live strictly by Biblical principals, eight months from the Old Testament, four from the New, for an entire year. He grows a beard (but doesn't trim it), has his clothes vetted so he's not wearing garments of two different fibers together (note: there's no problem with cotton/polyester, it's linen/wool that's the sticker), etc. It's humorous, but at the same time insightful, as Jacobs really does attempt to learn from the experience, rather than just being snarky all the time. I'm reading this as something spiritual for Lenten reading, and it does make you think.

I am hoping...
...well, I was hoping it would be cooler this weekend, based on early weather forecasts, but it seems it's not to be...low 70s. Thank goodness for my hat!

I am hearing...
...nothing, since it's not cold enough for the heat to have kicked in or warm enough for the A/C to be running. Schuyler is always quiet right after I wake her up...she wants her "teevee." She won't be happy if I listen to the BBC or podcasts (although I do believe she's getting used to Leo LaPorte's voice!).

Around the house...
...laundry baskets, readied to go downstairs to the laundry room. I wash clothes, then towels, on Wednesday.

One of my favorite things...
...is the PBS series The American Experience. They had a fascinating show last night called "The Great Famine," about the Volga River basin post-World War I. Herbert Hoover, who had orchestrated the Belgian relief during the war, and who later became the villain of the Great Depression, arranged to have American representatives move supplies of grain and other foodstuffs to the starving residents of the area. The photos were horrifying, matching the worst photos from the concentration camps in World War II. The documentary told the story of the American representatives and their encounters with the Russian people, and, amazingly, they even had a survivor of the famine, a man who was three years old at the time, but still remembered the condensed milk that was distributed. A great combination of old newsreel footage and modern recreations.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Work, work, work—and them coming to cut the lawn tomorrow. The front lawn is just beginning to get scruffy, but the back lawn...you should see where the birdseed falls! The grass growing there is knee-high! Well, that shows that the birdseed is viable. :-)

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing...
Well, a memory, really:


It's the Minne-ha-ha steaming her way across Lake George. My parents and I first went to Lake George in July of 1968. If there was ever someone hooked by a place, it was me by Lake George. I have memories that make me smile, diary entries, photographs, and even my little china collie trio, Lad, Lady and Wolf, all from happy days by the lake.

Like Kermit, I'd like to go back there some day...
 
If you'd like to participate, check out The Simple Woman's Daybook

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» Tuesday, April 12, 2011
A Pain in the Neck Nose
The last two days have been rather painful. The pollen is making my old nose injury hurt; it's not just an irritation, but a sharp pain whenever I have the pressure of my glasses on my nose. When it gets bad enough it creeps into my right temple and makes my teeth hurt. When I come home I can place a gauze pad between the nosepieces and my nose, and that really helps the problem, but in the meantime I just have to endure it. Will be glad when pollen season is over.

Yesterday something welcome arrived in the mail: two 10-ounce containers of vegetable flakes! We used to buy vegetable flakes all the time off the spice racks at the outlet kitchen stores (Corning Revere Outlet and Kitchen Collection), then they vanished. We liked to add them to soups and other foods in order to add a little crunch and veggie goodness. For years I've been intending to search some out online, and I finally ordered the two bottles from Amazon.com. James' eyes lit up when he saw the catalog that came with them; these folks (Harmony House) also sell individual containers of dried veggie flakes, plus chunk and regular TVP.

Oy. And the grass is finally long enough that we need to have it cut. They're coming on Thursday.

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» Sunday, April 10, 2011
Show Me The Way to Get Home
 
James went into work this morning. I slept in and regretted it; lots of tangled, disturbing dreams, fear and confusion. I forced myself awake to get away from it all. Breakfast was...breakfast, not much help.

So I popped on my broad-brimmed hat, slung my pack on, and went out. At the least I had to get gasoline for the car. Near the house gas is 3.699; closer to Costco it was 3.619.

Costco was 3.499. I'll wait. While I waited I listened to a Rick Steves' "Travel" about religions: he talked to one of his Turkish tour guides who is a Muslim—I now know what the five pillars of Islam are—and also to an Italian Jew.

When I finished there I decided to go into Buckhead (I'd thought about going last Friday, but Buckhead during the week is like a low-level New Year's Eve at Times Square). For a different route, I went through Powers Ferry Road; like Mount Paran Road, this is the sort of neighborhood where the homes are sold by Sotheby's and Harry Norman, large homes with curved driveways and immaculately manicured lawns dotted with ornamental flowering trees, neatly trimmed azaleas, and squared hedges, set on hilly slopes overlooking the pavement. The road curved through Chastain Park and past the stable area, where I turned left and headed on West Wieuca to Buckhead.

I'd intended just to buy a couple of books I was already going to purchase, the next in the "Mistress of the Art of Death" series, and the 97 Orchard book about life in a tenement house. Well, that was the plan, anyway. :-) I found the next book in C.A. Belmond's series, a Dover reprint of an 1896 book Home Life in Colonial Days, a linguistics book (The Lexicographer's Dilemma), a Richard Schenkman book I didn't know existed (Legends, Lies & Cherished Myths of World History—I love his U.S. History book), and a neat-looking book called See You in a Hundred Years, about a New York family who moved to the country and lived a year as if it were 1900.

Of course the magazine deliveries have already been halted. No more "Best of British." Dang it. I noticed certain sections were sparser than others. If you want business books and cookbooks, this is the time to get them. Many religion books still left as well.

Well, if there's any good to come of this, it means there's no need to go to Buckhead any longer. Oxford Books and Oxford Too are long gone along with Wolf's Den, Fantasyland Records is gone, so is Pearl crafts, and if I need to go to the Container Store, I can visit the one at Perimeter Mall. There's nothing remotely interesting at Lenox Mall and Phipps Plaza any longer. At Christmastime I'll drop in at Richard's Variety Store because of the Woolworths memories it brings back, but that's all.

So the simplest way to get home (with a stop for a newspaper on the way) was to go down Roxboro Road, to North Druid Hills Road, to the freeway. Simple.

Well, almost. The ramp at what we call the "whiparound," to I-75 north, was closed. Had I known, I would have gone back the way I came.

So I got off at 17th Street and turned right to cut through Atlantic Station [yuppified apartment/shopping/entertainment neighborhood] to Ikea and Northside Drive. I could get to I-75 North from there.

Except the freeway entrance is a HOV only.

Sheesh, guys, I only want to get home already. :-) I'm not on a time schedule, but after a big glass of milk and half a bottle's worth of water, I was a bit uncomfortable. The ladies' room at Borders had been out of order. And here I was, hitting every red light in creation between Buckhead and home.

Finally got to Spring Road, picked up a paper, and made it home. It took me over an hour to do what should have taken me 40 minutes.

So I had some vegetable soup for lunch, got some cleaning done, made the bed, read the paper—and cooked dinner much too early. I thought James was getting out at five, not six. But I kept it warm and it was quite good. Plus the first watermelon of the season for dessert.

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By Request
 
From James:

"Light" Chicken Cacciatore

Ingredients:

1. 1 lb Boneless, skinless chicken thighs or Boneless pork loin
2. 16 oz can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
2. 1 med-large sweet onion
4. 4 oz can sliced mushrooms (drained)
5. 1 tbsp Olive oil
6. Instant chicken bullion
7. Italian seasoning
8. Granulated garlic

Prep.

1. Peel and dice onion as desired.
2. Cut meat up into 3/4-1" bits. (The chicken thighs will break up into smaller bits as you cook)
3. In a large skillet, heat the oil to shimmering and spread over as much of the bottom of the pan. (This is essentially an Italian stir fry.)
4. Dump in the meat and add Granulated Garlic, Bullion, and Italian seasoning to taste.
5. Stir then meat around so the seasonings are well distributed and brown on both sides.
6. Add the onions and cook until they start to go translucent.
7. Dump in the mushrooms. Mix in well and let everything simmer for 4-5 minutes.
8, Add the tomatoes and juice. Adjust seasonings to taste and let simmer for as long as you can stand.

Serves 3-4.

The sauce is very tomatoey and will be thin. It goes well with rice, potatoes, crusty bread, or anything that can absorb some of the sauce. It will slide right off pasta.

You can add sweet pepper, white wine, red pepper flakes or other seasonings if needed. Will also work with boneless skinless turkey or even chicken breast, if you must.

[Note from Linda: This recipe absolutely improves if you cook it the night before and then let it sit in the fridge. The chicken absorbs the tomato/other flavors and the taste deepens.]

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» Saturday, April 09, 2011
Evening On
 
James came home from his meeting and we went out to the Avenue at West Cobb. If we don't go to a bookstore once a week we get withdrawal symptoms. LOL. So we went to Barnes & Noble. I found a couple of books on the remainder table, and one to put away as a gift, and also bought the latest "BBC History Magazine." Saw a new young adult series authorized by the Doyle estate, Sherlock Holmes solving mysteries as a teen.

We needed to go to Kroger, so we stopped at the one across the street from the Avenue. Boy, was that a mistake. Very badly laid out Kroger, frozen food broken up into sections aisles away from each other, no aisle index for aluminum foil, hardly any bread in the bakery. Yuck. Not going back there again.

Stopped for dessert before dinner (Baskin-Robbins), and came home through Cheatham Hill Road and the edge of the park, a pretty ride in the spring. When we got home there was a request for the "light chicken cacciatore" recipe in e-mail. I guess it was a hit. :-)

Ended up watching a new It's Me or the Dog tonight, followed by Cats 101. Oh, gosh, the kittens...

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Fresh Air, Fresh Veg, and Fine Friends
 
It was rather a routine week except for waiting for "the other shoe to drop" about the budget. I had a clot of purchase orders, some being the obstreperous sort, a few complications, and a migraine caused by my own stupidity (I'd forgotten to take my Claritin before bed and woke up with a virtual drill trying to make its way through my left temple). During lunch one day—which day is problematic, as they all seem to blend into one another during the week—I actually found something that I had been missing since early November and which I believed had inadvertently fallen in the trash basket: my three thumb drives, the largest of which held the second backup of our photos (the first being on disk in my desk at work). The smallest, however, was the one I missed the most: I had a story begun on it, a fanfiction, and a piece I would like to offer to Reminisce magazine. I thought I had it backed up on my desktop, but couldn't find the manuscripts. I found them later, backed up on "the Mouse." In any case, I had gone out on Black Friday specifically to replace them.

Well, there they were, behind the rolled-up keyboard on the shelf with the drama DVDs. Why on earth I placed them there I have no idea.

During the week I also received the Bluetooth keyboard I'd ordered for the Droid from Amazon.com. I had discounts coming and thought I'd try it. I'd read all the reviews and knew it didn't work with the Evo; otherwise the reviews were not bad. One reviewer on Amazon, "Daniel," had done a thorough job not only reviewing the keyboard, but telling you how to pair it with the Droid and linking to an instructional video. So, after a minor bobble (I downloaded the wrong driver), I did get it to work. This morning I had to figure out how to start it up again after shutting it off. :-) Had to mess around with the proper "booting" sequence, but did figure it out after several attempts.

Would have loved to have slept in, but it was not only time for the Farmer's Market, but it was "Hair Day." We'd eaten at Fresh2Order last night and then walked to Costco, where we bought the main dish, boneless skinless chicken thighs, and James spent about two hours on Friday evening cooking up what he calls "chicken cacciatore light," the chicken thigh sautéed with onions, mushrooms, and diced tomatoes, with a bit of Italian seasoning. He cooked it up and placed it in the crock pot, and cooked an extra portion and placed that in a storage container, and all went into the refrigerator.

This morning we wandered about the Farmer's Market, sampling jellies and pot pies, buying more veg. They are now also having an Artist's Market (not sure if this will be every week), which was set on Mill Street, between the railroad tracks and the square, and we had a chance to peruse the small exhibit as we walked into the square and then out again. It was very warm even at 9 a.m., not even a jacket needed.

Then came my favorite part of the drive. On Hair Day during Farmer's Market season, we go through Polk Street, which is an old residential street. The first few small homes are from the early part of the last century, with big porches with vines trailing along the roof and down the supports. Then you pass the school and the houses afterward are neat little homes more from the 1950s and 1960s, still with pretty yards full of flowering trees.

For a while we turn onto Whitlock Avenue and commercial sites, and then finally we make a right turn onto Villa Rica Road. This runs through some pretty countryside, a set of apartments near a new rotary (they're starting to put rotaries in the area, acting like they're something new...it's very amusing) to dissolve into small farms. It was still early enough that there was a slight haze hanging over everything so that the horizon was in soft focus over hayfields and horses grazing; we also pass a tiny country church with a little cemetery behind it, a horse farm where some children's eventing seemed to be taking place, with kids in hacking jackets and hard black caps, riding horses and ponies, and scores of dogwood trees and blooming azaleas everywhere until we reached Macland Road. I'm always disappointed when this part of the ride ends.

So we had a lovely time at Hair Day. Phyllis brought a luscious home-made fruit platter and we picked our way through that until lunchtime. The chicken was well-received; we brought some home for another dinner, but left most of it there so folks could have second helpings—we needed to leave by 1:20, so James could get to his club meeting.

I did some vacuuming while he was out, typed this, and listened to some Paul McGann/Sheridan Smith Doctor Who audio adventures, "The Beast of Orlok" and the first part of "The Scapegoat."

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» Thursday, April 07, 2011
Mel, It Works!
Of course, you don't read my blog, but if you did you would know the Bluetooth gadget I mentioned on Saturday does work.

(Rodney, it works!)

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» Wednesday, April 06, 2011
The Extreme
TLC is starting a series called Extreme Couponing tonight, and preceding it they showed a special by the same name. I've read stories about some of these extreme couponing folks and I also had the Coupon Mom book, so I was intrigued when they mentioned this series last Saturday on "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me."

If you want to have a life aside of couponing, it looks like you need to be a stay-at-home parent or retired or otherwise not have a job, since it's a full-time job in itself. It certainly saves a ton of money and I admire all these folks, but I wouldn't want to spend the rest of my life in a grocery store! (Nor do I want to dumpster dive in the recycling bins.) Frankly, both cutting coupons and grocery shopping is boring to me. Maybe after I retire this might be more appealing...

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The Simple Woman's Daybook
 
FOR TODAY, APRIL 5, 2011

Outside my window...
...it's a chilly but sunny morning. The weather is like a seesaw—83°F on Monday, then terrible storms, barely up to 60 yesterday. It's supposed to be 70 today, going up to 80 again over the weekend. not my favorite, but to think positively, at least my toes won't be cold like they are now. The trees are almost fully "leaved" and the lawn is spiking with weeds despite overwinter treatments by TruGreen. The birds are flittering about the feeder; when I went to get my breakfast I was treated to a house finch in the window feeder. How sleek he looks! He won't look that good in late summer, after raising a couple of clutches of eggs.

I am thinking...
...that we haven't been to Tanger and the flea market in a long time. It just popped into my head as I was lying down half-asleep. I think it was prompted by the news story about the other flea market that had a fire the other night. Very sad as many vendors lost their living. It's nice just to walk around, and we occasionally find a goodie. My purse is from the flea market down in Jonesboro.

I am thankful for...
...no damage from the storms on Monday night in our neighborhood. The news reports yesterday were frightening. The saddest story was about a young man who was driving to a friend's house after the storm. A tree fell directly on the front seat of his car, killing him.

From the learning rooms...
...I'm learning all sorts of fascinating things about New York City via Inside the Apple. Just finished the section about how Longacre Square became Times Square.

From the kitchen...
...deserted at this time of day. James made steak and corn on the cob last night, our first corn on the cob of the season. It was good, but not quite up to snuff yet.

I am wearing...
...a green T-shirt, "Mutts" jammie bottoms, and white socks. I had to go out like this to open the gate for the TruGreen guy. :-)

I am creating...
...nothing at the moment. The homemade gift is still half in progress.

I am going...
...to be busy the rest of the week. I've had a great influx of purchase orders.

Of course I may be less busy next week if Congress doesn't pass a budget...

I am reading...
...the Chicken Soup for the Soul Living Catholic Faith, Rozan's Shanghai Moon, and the companion book to Meerkat Manor, along with the aforementioned New York book.

I am hoping...
...to keep moving along on my decluttering project. I need to get rid of the cases of programs on floppy disk in the spare room closet. They've been stuffed in the closet since we moved in; we're never going to use them again.

I am hearing...
...nothing at the moment, but in a bit I'm going to listen to the new Torchwood radio story on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

Around the house...
...it's blessedly quiet. No fan whirring. No loud voices in the corridor.

And no fluorescent lights. A true blessing.

One of my favorite things...
...will happen on Saturday: it's Hair Day; a nice morning and noon hour with friends. James is making the centerpiece luncheon, "light chicken cacciatore."

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Work, work, work! And now that I have five Castle episodes, I need to transfer them to disk. Maybe Sunday whilst James is at work.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing...



Real life was never so perfect, but...how about exercising your imagination like these folks? Turn off the idiot box and listen to some old-time radio (there are several websites where you can find OTR, and SiriusXM has an OTR channel), modern radio drama (try BBC.com and ARTC.com; more is out there), or borrow or buy an audio book!
 
If you'd like to take part, check out The Simple Woman's Daybook

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» Monday, April 04, 2011
I'm With Ya, Hi...

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» Sunday, April 03, 2011
Seeking Happiness by Decluttering (And Other Sunday Tales)
 
Yep, it's spring cleaning time again, but first we had a few errands: to Goodwill to donate a few pieces of clothing and two small purses and a couple of small appliances we don't use any longer, the post office to mail a birthday gift, the library to return Mother Was a Gunner's Mate, and finally gasoline for the truck at Kroger. We also stopped at Lowe's for a few things and James ran his hands covetously over the new grills.

This was proceeded, however, by breakfast: prepared French toast from Trader's Joe's, and some of the bacon we bought at the Farmer's Market yesterday. The toast was okay, nothing special. The bacon, as always, was fabulous, and with very little grease.

Back home we started on today's project. First James put his old C-PAP machine together in its carry bag for an emergency spare and put it away in the closet. He also put these on the back of the closet door. I use them in my craft room to hold sandpaper packages, iron-on patterns, and anything else light that can be stored in a plastic bag which can hang on the hooks. I put all the different tote bags on these hangers, and also some extension cords, which were formerly hanging under a shelf and looked cluttered.

The big project was emptying James' big 23" inch Billy bookcase (the size they don't make anymore) and re-arranging it. He has one shelf for some favorite books, but the rest are supposed to be reserved for to-be-read volumes. But he's been putting the finished books back on the shelf instead of downstairs, and now it was jammed full, and two Pisa-like piles of new books in front of it. Every time I vacuumed it tilted, and it was hard to dust, so that there were little dust bunnies everywhere that I just couldn't get rid of. Also, we had an extension cord going behind the bookcase which we used to use for James' fan. I worked it so the fan is now plugged in somewhere else, so we wanted to switch the extension cord's course (it had to be there, unfortunately, because the bookcase covers the plug) so that it comes out near the foot of the bed, where James needs it for his heated throw during the winter.

This basically meant moving the books on the floor and emptying the bookcase, dusting each book and each shelf as we went. There was over a full shelf of books that he had completed and could go downstairs, plus we were evicting the pile of magazines, so, after vacuuming the dust bunnies, polishing the shelves, moving the extension cords, and sorting the books (fiction from non-fiction, then non-fiction into smaller categories like World War II, space program, weather, and what I call "snark," plus putting the paperbacks all on the narrowest shelf), we re-stocked it. Voilà, no more book pile on the floor. Then James brought the completed books downstairs and shelved them, and I vacuumed again.

I also took our old cell phones and accessories and threw them in a bag and put them downstairs. I've had them still plugged in because if you don't the batteries start to whine after a while. I know there's a place you can mail them to a soldier, but I just haven't done it. In the meantime, I wanted them out of the electrical plugs.

We have a full box of books to donate to the library as soon as we get a minute, too.

For supper we had the soup I bought at Fresh2Order on Friday, and James had the other half of his sandwich from Fry's. We each had a square of gingerbread for dessert, and now we're watching America's Funniest Home Videos. Many cute dogs tonight!

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Early Morning, Late Night
 
So we had supper at Pasta Bella for Ken's birthday; over a dozen folks around the table and "a good time was had by all." James filled up so much on soup and some appetizers that he brought nearly his whole dinner home, and I was served two enormous pork chops in marsala sauce, ate one and have the other for a lunch, with angel-hair pasta for a side. The portions here are enormous—we saw a slice of cake go by that was so big it looked like a prop!

Ken's brother-in-law Jesse had his new toy with him, a color Nook. The neat thing about it was that he had some sort of programmed SD card in it, which launched an Android platform, so he could use it as a tablet, too. Hmmnnnnn...

Came home, drove the dog nuts with the scent of leftovers. Soon it was time for chat, James finally decamped downstairs to the "man cave" and I found a cool documentary about Edward VII. There was a lovely photograph of him; I guess it must have been hand-colored, but it didn't look it and was quite natural.

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» Saturday, April 02, 2011
"Ear-ly One Mor-rning Just As The Sun Was Ri-ising..."
 
Okay, it wasn't that early, but it seemed like it when we walked into the bathroom with the sun flaring into our eyes..."the light! it burns!" I often feel like a refugee from a Twilight novel when morning comes 'round.

Okay, warm weather coming is a drag—however, spring is good for one thing:

Marietta Square Farmers' Market

"Yay!" and all that, even if we had to be up at 8:15 to get there as it opened. Naturally, we forgot our brand-new hats, but James popped on his boonie hat and I had on my foam visor, so we made out okay.

Poor James, here he is at the Farmer's Market, all the delectable samples—pot pie, lasagna, fruit spread, jalapeno spread, bits of candy, slices of tomato, etc,—and he can't have any. Several weeks ago he went to the doctor, who neglected to tell him he wanted bloodwork done before the appointment, so James had already eaten, so he needed to go by Kaiser to get blood taken. He can't go on the weekday without being 90 minutes late to work, so for the last few weeks we were supposed to go out to Glenlake on Saturday morning (since they are now the weekend facility) to get the labs done. With one thing and the other, we forgot.

So as we orbited the booths and did our shopping—cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet corn, and a bell pepper, a turkey pot pie, organic bacon, something for breakfast later from Bernhard's German bakery, garlic cookies for Willow, chicken salad and jalapeno cheese—I tucked a few non-messy samples enrobed in napkins in his shirt pocket (a slice of salami, some granola bar, some fudge).

Naturally, we finished our shopping and arrived at the railroad tracks a scant second before the gates came down and a freight came thundering through. It was a pretty morning to stand there, though, still a bit chilly (high 40s) and with a brisk breeze that kept up all day and made it nice rather than hot. We had brought a cold block with us, and the guy packed the cheese and chicken salad in ice, so we put all the perishables in an insulated bag with the ice block and put that inside the insulated Sam's Club bag. You betcha it stayed cold!

Glenlake is halfway across town, a little bit more than halfway to my work, and we had to skirt roadwork on I-75 south to get on I-285 east. When we reached the exit we got turned around because when James goes to Glenlake he usually approaches it from the opposite direction. Voilà—I grab the Droid (last week's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me is already playing on MyPod) and ask Google Maps to find the Glenlake office. Damn, I love this thing; good thing, too, because not eating for twelve hours has left James feeling nauseated.

The place was nearly empty, and he was in and out of the lab in a trice. I was waiting for him with a cup of unsweetened applesauce that I had brought with us (I'd already eaten mine), and nibbling on the samples in his pocket made him feel better until we could get back to the truck and the ham and cheese croissant from Bernhard's Bakery.

Since we were already halfway across town anyway, we decided to go to the original Fry's in Gwinnett [County]. On the way there we stopped at the Aviarium and went into the bird room to chat up the babies: a big scarlet and gold macaw, several sun conures, various other conures and parrots, an African grey, four budgies, a cockatiel, and lots and lots of finches of various denominations. The macaw wouldn't talk to our face, but every time we turned our backs we heard him squawk "Hello!" We also perused the fish tanks at the other side of the store—Jen! they had lionfish!—and I bought Schuyler a new bell toy, a new millet clip, and some oats and groats.

We wandered around Fry's about two hours, which included lunch; the soup of the day was chicken noodle. I had it in a bread bowl and James had his with a roast beef sandwich, half of which we brought home. I found James an "Easter bunny gift" (the BluRay of Excalibur), a $4 disk of four Topper television episodes, and a gift to put away for a friend. James got a quartet of war films, and also the fourth season of Rocky and Bullwinkle (fifth season was a bit rich right now). I didn't realize they have gotten as far as third season with Barney Miller, but I am still debating it.

Also saw a cool-looking but rather expensive book called Cooking for Geeks, but passed it up.

Traffic was miserable on I-85 south on the way back, due to an accident, and was backing up as far north as Beaver Ruin Road. Up came the Droid again (by this time we'd finished with Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me and were listening to a February installment of The Splendid Table) and we discovered we could just continue on Beaver Ruin until we got to Buford Highway and go south again.

We ended up at the hobby shop for an hour and then came home via Bernhard's to pick up a few night's worth of desserts: a couple of Florentines and a couple of German gingerbreads, and some spelt-flour chocolate chip cookies. Having washed and dried the bell toy, I have left it is hanging on the outside of Schuyler's cage, where she can give it the fish-eye to her heart's content and get used to it. Occasionally I come over and make it jingle, and I've caught her near it once, examining it ("Are you going to eat me?"), but mostly when I ring it, she retreats behind Swing for safety.

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» Friday, April 01, 2011
Stream-O'Consciousness Friday
 
Sounds of NPR...followed by sounds of water (accompanied by soundless soap)...followed finally by sounds of Today (Schuyler can watch Kathie Lee and Hoda and be happy)...mmmmn, oatmeal, milk, and blackberry yogurt that was actually not bad (at least not cloyingly sweet)...where are all those coupons?...I'll bring this stuff downstairs first...doorbell?...ah, exterminator needs me to open the gate; glad I hadn't left yet.

Still nice and cool...house was 61°F when I woke this morning...pity it's going into the 70s by Sunday...tootle along to my usual parking space at Cumberland Mall, on the middle deck of the garage that's nearly empty even on Christmas Eve...need a watch battery...stand waiting at least two minutes while clerk at jewelry counter/battery place makes personal phone call...but at least my watch is alive again (pain in the neck resetting all the clocks when DST rolled around without a working watch)...walked the length of the mall and discovered to my dismay that there still is an It's About Time store at Cumberland; I would have gone there for the battery instead...aha, that accounts for the picked-over look at American Greetings last time we were there; it's gone...went into Hallmark, got some birthday cards and a little "Blossom Bucket" figurine that says "Faith" with a sheep on it...now to stroll in the opposite direction...stopped by Fresh2Order and bought two bowls of soup for tonight or later this weekend...mmmn, chicken vegetable...

...must go to Borders...

No, there's nothing left.

Barnes & Noble...not sure what I was looking for, but did get cross-stitch magazine with cute rabbit designs...spied a new "Chicken Soup" book about Catholicism...grab it...and something else...buying books without coupons...what will I think of next?...store filled with people using the wi-fi...

...must go to Borders...

No, there's nothing left.

Bed, Bath and Beyond, accompanied by coupons...more heavy coat hangers...Plinks...another set of purse hangers, for use on the back of the bedroom closet door (that won't be used for purses)...neat gadget: sits in saucepan and stirs your gravy or sauce automatically...James? useful?...

...must go to Borders...

Hmn, how'd I get here?...must have been the call of the wild (a.k.a. fifty percent off)...found stuff, too: a history of Ellis Island...memoir of a man who lived in the wilds of Maine for a year...memoir of a family who chucked the rat race to run a blueberry farm...Heather Lende's next book about Alaska...Caleb Carr's The Alienist..."Curse of the Hellmouth" DVD with some outstanding Buffy episodes, including "Hush" and "Halloween"...My Boy Jack DVD...and a birthday gift...boooooooks...

Home...vacuuming...laundering dog towels...walking dog...good heavens, is it time for James to come home already?...Shane's for supper (lunches left over for both of us!)...our exciting Friday night: twofers at Publix and twofers at Food Lion...however, shopping is done!

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