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, February 29, 2012
Flower Faces
Okay, I was going to pin this in Pinterest, but Jane Brocket asks that you not use her photos without permission, so here's the link to the post:

http://yarnstorm.blogs.com/jane_brocket/2012/02/bff-pansies.html

I love pansies almost as much as I love lilacs, because their cute little "faces" remind me of budgies or owls. These two little guys "posing" are so appealing!

I love Brocket's blog; it's always so bright! I bought her Gentle Art of Domesticity book not because I like to knit or crochet, or cook, or garden, but because I couldn't resist the bright illustrations, especially those given patterns and textures: rows of yarns, quilt patches, threads. I've never gotten over my childhood love for rainbow colors, whether on Christmas trees or in fireworks.

(And really, really, really Brocket publisher, you need to put Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer back into print because I can't find it for less than $60 and that is ridiculous. At least put it into PDF format and sell it as an e-book! ::grump!::)

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» Sunday, February 26, 2012
Shop, Chop and Flop
 
::sigh:: Why must the dog bark fifteen minutes before the alarm goes off?

But indeed it was the time of arising, if after arising one wants to watch Rin Tin Tin with your breakfast. :-) Today's two episodes had Rusty become blood brothers with an Apache boy and then believe in the innocence of an outlaw—a little bit too much. The outlaw was played by Dean Fredericks, who would later play straight arrow Steve Canyon in the series by the same name.

We went out shopping afterwards. Are trying some new sugar-free ice cream bars for dessert, these from Eskimo Pie. [Later: pretty good. Not sure if they are as good as Blue Bunny; we've had so little freezer room we haven't been able to buy them for literally a couple of years.] Sort of an aimless grocery run, and no "scathingly brilliant ideas."

James had forgotten to get gasoline before we bought ice cream and milk, so we came home to put it away, and page through the sales papers to see if there was anything we needed. There wasn't, so we just went to the Village Store, which still has the cheapest price in the neighborhood. James went inside, and I stood looking at a stand of trees to the back of the store. A chickadee was loudly proclaiming his "dee-dee-dee" song insistently...and then suddenly came the "pheee-bee" call of the courting chickadee. I guess they found each other! :-)

James wanted to find some gold foil, so we went to Michaels. Unfortunately we'd walked out without the coupons, and both of the things we saw were quite pricey. So we left it for later in the week. PetSmart next door was doing adoptions. I felt bad for the Australian shepherd mix who had been abandoned by two families who couldn't afford to keep her. There was also a poor Jack Russell bitch who had been rescued from a fire at a puppy mill-type setup. I have never seen a Russell so quiet; James talked to her soothingly and she still flinched each time he gently extended a hand. Poor thing.

We came home by Walgreens, and then came home to do a dirty deed: clip Willow's claws. She hates this, although I try to pet and soothe her. Unfortunately, her claws have really become too long, and I think it was influencing how she walked. It took a while, but I talked to her all the time, uselessly trying to explain to her that Human Women actually pay to have this done! One by one, I did get the claws trimmed, including those curving dewclaws, and indeed one was curling back and starting to approach the pad. No quick was cut and most of the time she just lay there looking like Camille in her death throes, but she was fine, and I gave her a treat afterward without her having to do a trick for it. I also trimmed the hair around her paws so they don't get so dirty when she goes into the yard when it's wet, and between the pads so that she will have better traction on the kitchen floor.

And after that I was pooped! I had to change my clothes because I was covered in shed fur and nail clippings, and then I vacuumed up where I had done the trimming. Read the rest of the paper, watched Lassie and then a cute Food Network special with Mo Rocca learning how to cook like a grandmother. Now I'm dubbing off Best Defense for James.

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» Saturday, February 25, 2012
A Brief Respite (Temperature-Wise)
 
Woke up yesterday morning to find it still seventy degrees! Thankfully, it wasn't raining—Atlanta traffic is bad enough without the "liquid stupidity" falling down. It was an average day, with lots of work, and a too-short nap, but the drive home was civilized. It got very dark during the noon hours, but I don't believe it ever rained.

I had a surprise when I came home: my order from PBS came! Most of these are DVDs sleighted as gifts for James, in his various interests, of course. I only bought four for myself, the Ric Burns film "Coney Island," which I have adored ever since it appeared on American Experience; a 90-minute film, The Blitz; the Trevor Eve/Eve Myles comedy-drama Framed; and the Blu-Ray (it was the same price as the regular DVD) of "Elsa's Legacy." Born Free was my favorite novel when I was in fifth grade, and I read it until my copy fell apart.

We had supper at Hibachi Grill, then went to Walmart. James wanted a few more of the camo pajama bottoms for comfy lounging, and I needed padded envelopes. We also picked up a new rug for the foyer; the old one having major snags in it. Then we came home and I put on "Coney Island." This is the extended 67-minute version, which includes more of the Al Lewis narration (yes, Al Lewis as in Grandpa on The Munsters; he used to be a carny at Coney Island) and also some color footage and commentary from people who went there postwar. I love the old footage, even the slightly creepy film of the elephant being killed via electrocution.

Stayed up too late reading a "Country Living" and was distinctly not happy when Willow started to bark this morning. One of the things that had happened yesterday as the storm passed through was that the temperature dropped like a rock. From 70°F at six a.m., it was 57 when I drove home, and the wind had a distinct edge. So it was a wonderful evening for sleeping!

We had a leisurely breakfast and headed out about noon. Went to the hobby shop and then drove out to the Marlay House for the February edition of the BritTrack Meet'n'Greet. It started out with a small group in the snug and a little bit after three the population doubled; there were at least a dozen by the time the "party" broke. The conversation was as varied as the participants, from Doctor Who to Sherlock to bits of anime and British comedy and recommendations of what to see. I was disappointed because they did not have lamb stew today; had chicken rice soup with their wonderful French bread instead, and James and I split a brownie.

After a great afternoon, we had a rotten time getting home: we went east to I-285 like last time, instead of braving the traffic through downtown again, but they were doing roadwork and traffic was backed up into forever. So instead of continuing, we got off at LaVista Road and took Briarcliff and Shallowford to get back to I-85 south and then to I-75 north. Since these directions are actually south-west and north-west, we had the sun in our eyes all the way. Ugh.

Had cereal and, later, goat cheese and crackers for supper. Put on The Blitz and it turned out I had never seen this one. It was produced in Britain and followed the story of several people on the night of December 29, 1940, the night of heaviest bombing, and one in which the Germans used incendiaries, with magnesium in them. Had the Germans sent the second wave of bombers, as they intended, the firestorm might have eaten up the city of London. Even St. Paul's Cathedral almost caught fire. One man that they spoke to lost his father, mother, and sister when they were buried in an air raid shelter. Another sister and his brother survived, but the brother was never "right" again; he never had any friends and lived alone for the rest of his life.

Had to catch the newest episode of Too Cute! on Animal Planet. They followed the puppyhood of three litters: a Rottweiler litter of eleven, three little pugs, and six miniature Australian shepherds. They were truly too cute! LOL. I loved the little Aussies best, but then I am partial to anything that looks like a collie.

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» Thursday, February 23, 2012
The Simple Woman's Daybook
 
FOR TODAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2012

Outside my window...
...I am writing this rather later than usual (hour-wise as well as day-wise), so it is sunny out, a bit watery sunlight, as there are still clouds. Later this evening we are supposed to have bad weather, but right now it is warm—72°F within and without. Crazy weather for February.

I am thinking...
...how time flies! I have been looking at Willow and keep realizing with a jolt that she will be fourteen next month. You can see an arthritic step more often, a dulling of the senses (except when one says "cookie"), how she can't dance on her hind legs the way she used to.

I am thankful...
...for our having had her for so long. We lost Leia much too soon.

In the kitchen...
...bare except for a dishwasher that needs loading. James was on a furlough day yesterday, so he cooked then and we are having our usual potluck today instead. This means I need to cook some rice later on.

I am wearing...
...the exterminator was due today (he came a couple of hours ago), so I am in light blue scrubs pants (great outfits for wearing around the house) and an old Kelly green top, and purple socks. I look like a demented Easter egg.

I am creating...
...since I've finished the gift for [mumble] and the other gift for [mumble], I'm between projects. I need to look in my Christmas boxes and within my crafts to see if I might work up useful or pretty gifts this year. We already have a couple of gifts tucked away for this year!

I am going...
...to do a little more decluttering soon. I have some stuffed animals who are not being loved; I will clean them and donate them to some child who will hug and love them the way I did my own animals (rather than those everlasting tiresome dolls). Should probably clean out some crafts I don't intend to do—or do them!

I am wondering...
...if we'll have another scorcher summer like the last. The very thought makes me tired. It has been such a depressing winter—hardly cold at all. All too soon it will be A/C time, running from one hermetically-sealed building to another just to escape the heat. Such a weary, miserable time of year.

I am reading...
...Names on the Land still, a nice thick information-filled book. Did you know Dayton, OH, was named after a man who was disgraced after he sided with Aaron Burr?

I am hoping...
...for a cooler weekend. The forecast is for only 52°F on Saturday, which should make it comfy in the "snug" at the Marlay House...yes, it's time for another Meet'n'Greet! Hope they still have the lamb stew!

I am looking forward to...
...wait, I just said that. LOL. And Atomicon and the World War II concert at Ragamuffin.

I am learning...
...LOL...wish I was learning not to want expensive gadgets. At least I haven't bought them.

Around the house...
...fairly quiet. Schuyler is alternately kissing me and preening. Willow is lying down nearby. The windows are open because of the incredible temps and I can hear all manner of birds declaring their territory and the tinkle of the wind chimes in the yard, and the whoosh as the wind gusts in the trees.

I am pondering...
...where to go on vacation. Yeah, I know that's in October, but I'm already restless and wishing for fall.

A favorite quote for today...
“The open road is a beckoning, a strangeness, a place where a man can lose himself.” – William Least Heat Moon
(Or as the Partridge Family song put it: "Nothing I know beats this feeling of not knowing where you're going and what you're going to find.")

One of my favorite things...
Foyle's War! If you've missed this British mystery series starring Michael Kitchen and Honeysuckle Weeks, you've missed a treat. Takes place during World War II, although in the final episode the war had ended. There has just been news that there will be another set of three episodes next year. Hurrah!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Work, mostly! A chance to air out the house, then a gathering with friends. And the usual grocery shopping. And Vine this afternoon!

A peek into my day...
How about a peek into a craft? Here's Mike and Jen's wedding gift: they went camping on their honeymoon, on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This little shadow box was made as a remembrance for them, with parts from the nice folks at Country Pickins'. Click on it for a closer look.



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

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» Monday, February 20, 2012
Last Monday Holiday Until May
The Great Backyard Bird Count 
I didn't want to sleep late. Alas, my body betrayed me. At least it was only until 8:30. After breakfast, it was vacuuming time; I even did the kitchen. Put the Christmas magazines downstairs until I have time to tear out the pages I want to keep. Cleaned off the floor in the craft room and put some things away. Backed up my hard drive and e-mail boxes. Refilled the bird feeders, of course, and watched off and on all day for the bird count.

At lunch time I went out to get gasoline for the car. I passed up the Village Store, at 3.459 to go to the QT on Austell Road, only to stare open-jawed at 3.559 on their signboard. Passed it up and went to Lowes for an HVAC filter and a couple of 3-foot extension cords to replace the ones I put up with the Christmas things. I also nipped into Office Max and bought a multicolor pack of Bic pens which will be good for cards.

More time watching birds and working on a project that's almost finished. This has been a disappointing bird count year. I have seen no goldfinches, although some were hanging around last week, and no mourning doves. Mrs. Cardinal finally showed up today, but no sign of Mrs. Downy [Woodpecker] like last week. I have not seen a lot of doves at all since the hawk set up housekeeping in our neighborhood. It appears to be keeping the squirrels down, but I think it's also noshing on the doves. I remember during a storm one year having eighteen mourning doves sitting on the deck railing, and there have always been a few sitting out in the tree or courting on the rail.

Steak and potatoes for supper, and am now watching Antiques Roadshow while House records (well, it had better be recording!).

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» Sunday, February 19, 2012
Lazy Sunday
The Great Backyard Bird Count 
A chill, drizzly, mizzly, grey, dismal day. Started off the day with breakfast and The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin. More of the awful dubbing again, and the tinny music is annoying. Not sure why they've committed such barbarities against the series. I'm sure the RIAA had something to do with the music. Gits.

Then, since there wasn't much else to do, I finished reading The Garden Intrigue while James surfed online and continued reading Harry Turtledove. Had The Revolutionary War running in the background.

When I'd finished the book we went out to Publix to get a newspaper. Bought something for dessert, and bought some aloe gloves and socks for myself. By the time we got home, our supper, the little pork loin cooking slowly in the crock pot with teriyaki and black sauce, was approaching completion, but still had a bit to go. So I pulled out the envelope that's been collecting all year with tax receipts and started up Turbo Tax and did the taxes. Not much different than last year; we never seem to have itemized deductions that outpace the standard deduction. I'm going to quit buying Turbo Tax and do it all online. Phooey. We owe the state $20, which, of course, I will pay as late as I can. And when I was finished, so was dinner.

We had the luscious pork with teriyaki noodles and watched more Pie in the Sky. Will really be sorry when this series is over.

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» Saturday, February 18, 2012
Outrunning the Weather
The Great Backyard Bird Count 
The meteorologists have been predicting gloom and semi-doom for the weekend for days now, so when we were discussing the weekend shopping earlier in the week we decided we would go to Kroger Saturday morning rather than risking a downpour on our usual Sunday. Well, we got up fairly late (after 9:30) and James made himself breakfast, so I figured he wasn't interested in going to the Winter Market. But he was, and after a circuit looking for a parking space, found someone just leaving.

It was a fortuitous attendance, because the Goat Cheese Guy was there! (There is a very nice lady who sells goat cheese, but I don't like her flavors as well; the guy who sells the goat cheese, from goats in Carrollton, GA, has an onion and chive that is my favorite.) James got more chicken salad, too, and we bought a jar of honey, then crossed Glover Park to visit The Corner Shop (a.k.a. the British store). James got a few more pasties and pies, and we bought a Fry's orange cream to split. This is filled with strongly orange flavored cream—you even get an aftertaste of oranges—in a smooth dark chocolate coating. Better than most box chocolates, and the closest thing to a Sweenors orange cream than I can find anywhere else.

So we went to Kroger from the Market to get the usual things (bananas and yogurt, since we'd already bought milk at Costco) and found they had small (1 to 2 pound) pork loins on sale. I had a brainstorm, and we bought one about 1.5 pounds. Tomorrow James will cut it as much as it takes to get it into the small crock pot along with teriyaki sauce and perhaps some pineapple. Viola!, as Snagglepuss used to say: Sunday dinner!

We brought all the stuff home and stowed it safely away, then went to the hobby shop for about an hour. I was surprised to hear two of the guys talking so enthusiastically about The Hunger Games! I know it's a book equally liked by adults and young adults, but I thought more women and not many men were reading it. Wrong I was. Me, I was reading about Charles Dickens.

It was almost three o'clock when we finished, so we went past Krystal for a small bite of lunch since it was nearly suppertime, then went to Publix (we had a couple of coupons for items that were on twofer) and then to MicroCenter, where I bought a separate sound card and video card for my computer, as I'm getting annoyed with the integrated sound and graphics. (RealTek is especially annoying; I got a good ol' Sound Blaster to replace it.)

Finally at home we warmed up the soups we bought at Kroger and ate them while watching This Old House (the penultimate part of the Bedford project, which we already watched online). I spent the rest of the evening feeling distinctly achy. Funny, I had expected to hurt this morning after all that manic housecleaning yesterday, but I was fine; the stiffness came upon me gradually instead, starting with my legs. Feeling a little queasy, too. Funny—must be the weather, as it started raining not soon after we got home. I didn't even have time to top off the bird feeders.

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» Friday, February 17, 2012
Youngs at Work and Play
The Great Backyard Bird Count 
James said he didn't have any plans for today, but I knew a few things that needed doing. Unfortunately, none of them was fun.

But we did them anyway. <wry grin>

The bathroom needed much more than the cursory cleaning I've been giving it for weeks, especially the shower compartment. Trouble is, our water is slightly hard and leaves really nasty orange and brown stains on the stall. I hadn't been keeping it at bay enough because the job really hurts my back and my joints. I was using Mr. Clean pads and their extendable scrubbing pole, but they quit making the pads. My only recourse this time was to turn to the Scotch Brite scrub pad and extendable stick. Of course the stupid bugger won't stay extended. It's fine if you just extend it, but any pressure on it makes it telescope in. Grrrrrrrr!

The first thing I actually did was to unplug my sink. Every so many weeks it starts to back up; sometimes it's soap scum. So I plunged it (it turned out to be hair this time), then put baking soda and vinegar down both drains, and then also cleaned James' sink and the whole countertop and accoutrements, and gave the toilet a going-over.

James commenced to cleaning off his dresser while I was scrubbing. It collects a tangle of coins, receipts, tags, model parts, and other paraphenalia and needs scooping off occasionally. He came into the bathroom to hold the glass door to the shower compartment while I scrubbed it hard. I wanted to do a good job and it took a while. I also put baking soda down the shower drain with a white vinegar chaser.

The last thing I did was put the shower head in a Ziplok bag filled with vinegar to remove the soap scale. (It sat there all afternoon and later I scrubbed it with a brush and some Dawn. Much better.)

In addition, I stripped the bed and washed the sheets and blankets, and also the bureau scarves, which were quite dusty, and polished the dresser and the bureau. James also gave the kitchen a good scrub and washed all the leftover dishes. He had to "sweep" the counters because when he separated the rice noodles in their package last night, little shards of them went everywhere! We were walking on rice noodle bits this morning that we couldn't see on the floor last night.

Anyway, with the bathroom almost clean and the kitchen done, it was time for a break (and about time, too, since it was after one). The shower head needed to soak and I couldn't put stuff back on the bureaus until the scarves were dry. So we picked up our Ruby Tuesday coupon ($5 off $15) and went out to lunch! James had some turkey sliders along with the salad bar and I had the sirloin slices with broccoli and mashed potatoes. It was served in this enormous bowl which dwarfed the food...it was so funny!

From Ruby Tuesday we went to Michaels with some coupons; we needed more Command hooks. I bought some clearance items as well. Then we went to Costco, James filled up the truck, and we wandered around the store for awhile, checking out the books and the DVDs, buying some Breathe Right strips and milk. James bought the DVD of Atlas Shrugged. We were home by four.

Alas, our cleaning day wasn't over yet. I retrieved the shower head from the bag of vinegar and scrubbed it. Put the bathroom to rights and hung up two new Command hooks there. Put the bedclothes in the dryer, and ironed the bureau scarves, then ran the vacuum cleaner in the living and dining room. Next I dusted off the things that went on the bureaus and put them back, and followed that by vacuuming the bedroom floor. James helped me change the bed (the mattress is so heavy we have to do it together) and then we folded the clothes, which had been sitting in the dryer since Tuesday.

Of course, all this meant we didn't eat until 8 p.m., but it was all done...hurrah! I had some Kashi Go-Lean cereal for supper while we watched Alaska Wing Men.

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» Thursday, February 16, 2012
Be[lated] My Valentine
The Great Backyard Bird Count
When Valentines Day falls in midweek, our celebration is always a bit lukewarm. I don't like to go out during the week due to both of us having to get up early; I'm exhausted when I get home anyway without having to truck over to some restaurant and wait to eat. Occasionally we have a special dinner, but this year the day was quiet: we exchanged cards and small gifts (I bought James two DVDs, one of warm films and the other the best of Stormchasers, and he got me the newest Daisy Dalrymple mystery in paperback) and had a potluck supper.

However, he had worked on Sunday with today as a compensatory day off, so I took today off as well. (He has a furlough day tomorrow, which is my compressed day off, so it ends up we have four days off in a row together!) Left to our own devices, we will stay up late, which we did last night, which means we were up late this morning. We had a hurried breakfast, then headed east on I-285.

There's a column in the Sunday paper called "Where Can I Find It?" Invariably there is a question from someone who has moved to Atlanta from a foreign country, or from a person who has lived in a foreign country who came to enjoy the food there, and they ask "where can I find so-and-so?" The answer is, 99 times out of 100, the Buford Highway Farmers Market. This has piqued our interest for months, but we hear the place is jammed on weekends, so we decided to go there today.

It was a mizzly, drizzly day, if warmish enough that a jacket was eventually too much, but we had a nice drive there. The store did not disappoint. It's in a large strip shopping center and was one time in the past a neat computer store we used to go to. I think back before that it was the old Kmart before it moved across the street (it's now closed permanently). So it's a fairly big store and it is jammed full of aisles of food that have shelves taller than James' head. We have a small "Farmers Market" near us, on Spring Road, but they chiefly cater to Asian and Hispanic foods. This market has all that and more, including Eastern European foods and the Asian foods divided into Japanese/Chinese/Korean/Thai/Indian sections. We wandered happily through the store picking up interesting things as well as some meat and some vegetables. We bought three types of noodles: rice, sweet potato starch, and bean, and also some homemade chocolate rugulach for dessert.

On the way back to Cobb County we stopped at the Perimeter Mall area to go to the Container Store. Just bought a few little useful gadgets, then went next door to Barnes & Noble to peruse the books and magazines. We were both a bit peckish, so we got a cup of potato soup apiece and split a chocolate cupcake, just having water to drink. We were there long enough that 3 p.m. came, and it was Amazon Vine Thursday. But not to fear: I had my Nook with me! I got a book and a charger/adapter. I picked up the new "BBC History Magazine," which had an article on George VI, the first of the Candy Holliday Maine mysteries, and a book about spirituality by the Monks of New Skete (something for Lenten reading).

(I was thinking today that I've had my Nook for nearly a year, and, unlike my phone, I'd never given it a name. Today it occurred to me that it should be "Tucker," since I just tuck it under my arm and take it everywhere. <g>)

By the time we got home, I was awash in books, because two books I'd ordered cheaply had arrived via post. One was another Daisy Dalrymple mystery; I'm afraid I got into this post-World War I series late and am now gradually accumulating the previous volumes in used form. I also got To a Distant Day: The Rocket Pioneers, part of the "People's History of Spaceflight" series. This begins with Kepler and continues through Chinese rockets and William Congreve, Sergei Korolov and of course Robert Goddard—there is even mention of the "Colliers" space series and the films that Disney did.

James made a delicious supper by stir-frying boneless/skinless turkey thighs along with carrots, celery, onions, mushrooms, and cashew nuts, and served them on some of the rice noodles. Yummy! Later, watched backlogged episodes of Lassie (inexplicably, after showing weeks of Timmy or Jeff episodes, they showed "Track of the Jaguar"!), Sunday's Pan Am (well, no wonder we didn't remember Laura posing nude for photographs; this was the episode she did it in and they showed it out of order), and Hawaii Five-O.

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» Tuesday, February 14, 2012
The Simple Woman's Daybook
 
FOR TODAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2011

Outside my window...
...it is grey, rainy and chilly. Not as cold as it was over the weekend, or as dry.

Tomorrow it's going to be 65°F. If you don't like the weather in Georgia, wait a minute.

I am thinking...
...mostly about work. Couldn't do a couple of orders yesterday because they had not been completed in the system (there's a glitch and we can't do them ourselves anymore) until just before it was time to leave. I can finish them tomorrow, and have two more I can do today.

I am thankful...
...that I am not driving to work today. Rain in Atlanta is just "liquid stupidity." Regular traffic is bad enough; yesterday two people passed me on either side on I-75...I was doing 70MPH, so heaven knows how fast they were going. Then I had to get into the left lane to go through the Brookwood curve—a pickup truck behind me (with only one occupant!) used the HOV lane to pass me, and then cut right two lanes in front of me to get back in the I-75 South lane. Maniacs.

In the kitchen...
...quiet and dark. I've just finished mixing my oatmeal and there's a nice maple scent coming from the bowl. Every time you pass the dining room table you get a faint whiff of the container of crushed peppermint leaves that we bought at the DeKalb Farmers Market.

I am wearing...
...my green Myriad sweatshirt and gas-flame blue sweatpants and pink socks.

I am creating...
...does having finished something count? But I can't talk about it because it's a gift I haven't delivered yet.

I am going...
...to hopefully enjoy this weekend: we have a long one. James has Thursday off for working Sunday, and has Friday as a furlough day.

I am reading...
...Names on the Land, a 1944 book about how places in the U.S. got their names (it was updated in the late 50s to include names in Alaska and Hawaii), plus doing a chapter or two in December 1941, and for my Rudolph Day reading I'm reading an ethnobotany of Christmas called Pagan Christmas.

I am hoping...
...to make some new discoveries this weekend. Perhaps we can go to the Buford Highway Farmers Market. We keep reading about it in the newspaper every time someone is looking for an ethnic food or spice.

I am looking forward to...
...five days off in a row! And hoping to talk to someone I haven't spoken to in a while.

And the Great Backyard Bird Count this weekend!

I am learning...
...about the place names: did you know "Platte" and "Nebraska" come from the same root source? That Wheeling, West Virginia, isn't named after the wheel, but is a Native American language name for placing a head upon a pike?

Around the house...
...still mostly dark, except where I have a light on. I won't describe the books everywhere this time. LOL.

I am pondering...
...why celebrities are so unhappy that they take drugs or drink to excess. :-( I don't get it myself.

One of my favorite things...
...curling up under blankets in the wintertime and having a good sleep. I sleep best when under covers, which explains one of the reasons summer is such an ordeal. If I have light blankets or it's too warm for any at all, I do not feel cozy enough to sleep soundly. I hear Dr. Oz recommends getting your room as cool as possible to help you sleep, even if you have to turn the room temp down into the mid-60s. Just wish I didn't have to do it with the whole main floor!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Hangin' out with my sweetie for four days. We aren't doing much for Valentines Day. I bought him a couple of DVDs and he bought me a book. I'm allergic to flowers and candy is fattening.

A peek into my day...
...very simple: me, sitting in front of a computer, filling in blocks, answering e-mails, squinting at small print, and listening to "The Tech Guy" or "A Way With Words."

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

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» Sunday, February 12, 2012
A Bookish Sunday
The Great Backyard Bird Count 
James went to work, I tried to sleep late. Ate breakfast and watched Circus Boy for the very first time. I've heard of this series for years: Mickey Dolenz (back when he was billed as "Mickey Braddock") as young Corky, the ward of an American West frontier circus (his parents were aerialists who died during a performance). His guardian is Joey the Clown, played by Noah Beery Jr. In this episode, they are performing in Louisiana, where they befriend a young man who is the descendant of Jean Lafitte. Not a great episode, but not a bad one, either...not as good as The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin or Lassie; miles better than Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion.

Following were two Rin Tin Tin, "The Education of Corporal Rusty" and "Rin Tin Tin, Outlaw." Still inexplicable dubbing bits, although not as bad as in the "Raging River" or "Big Cat," with occasionally bad incidental music. Pity these aren't originals, although the prints themselves are excellent.

Went out in search of a special dessert for Valentines Day...four Publixes and never found it. Also spent some Barnes & Noble coupons: The Great Silence: Britain from the Shadow of the First World War to the Dawn of the Jazz Age by Juliet Nicolson, The Great Depression: America in the 1930s by T.H. Watkins, and Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by Fiona, Countess of Carnarvon. (Swelp me, I didn't realize the inspiration home was the one belonging to that Lord Carnarvon, the one who discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun along with Howard Carter.)(Ironically, I haven't seen any of Downton Abbey yet.)

But didn't do the taxes. Put up a few Valentine decorations; seems a waste to put everything up when it's just us. Wrapped James' Valentine gift. Finished Christopher Fowler's Bryant and May on the Loose—love these guys. The newest book is being released next month.

(More about Bryant and May and the PCU here.)

Chicken soup for supper accompanied by Alaska Ice Men and the first part of the Barrington, RI, project on This Old House. Narragansett Bay has never looked lovelier in HD.

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Flourish

» Saturday, February 11, 2012
Fr 0 zen
The Great Backyard Bird Count
We've had a warm winter; maybe not as warm as the winter of 2001-2002, when it climbed into the 70s every three or four days, but still warm enough that trees started blossoming a week ago and there are daffodils all over the place.

But this weekend we're having a blast of cold air, and it's not the high 30s and 40s of past weeks! We went to the Winter Market this morning and the poor vendors could barely keep their pop-up tents from blowing over in the wind, which had an icy edge that crept up any gap in your clothing. They set up on Mill Street in the winter, and the wind was coming in just the right direction to make a big funnel of cold air up the street. We bought a pot pie for Monday and some chicken salad and cheese, then walked over in the lee of the buildings to the Corner Shop, which is a British store. They have various British candies and foods, and some souvenir type things like royal wedding memorabilia. We were chatting to the British owner about the cold.

We came back home by Bernhards bakery and got a couple of desserts for next week, and also some sausage from Weinerz next door. By the time we got home we had a good glow, especially after hauling upstairs the birdseed I bought last week and refilling the can—the breeze was pretty brisk on the deck, too. I had it cleaned up and turned upside down because I found moldy seed at the bottom. Forty-two pounds of birdseed still doesn't quite fill it. I probably could have gotten another bag of safflower. Later I was rewarded by seeing fluffed sparrows and titmice chowing down on fresh seed.

James was soon off to his club meeting and I stayed in to condense some computer files which were every which where on my hard drive. I was having some trouble using more than three USB ports; if I plugged the Nook into the computer, my thumb drive wouldn't work. Is there some rule limiting the number of USB ports you can use at one time? But now I have all my downloaded e-books in one place.

By the time James got home I was ready for supper. We had a coupon for Ruby Tuesday, so ate there, then did the grocery shopping. Thankfully, we needed little, and James picked up a prescription. By the time we emerged, the wind was cutting an icy swath down that big parking lot outside the new Kroger. I should have worn my coat: it was down to 29°F by then (about 7:30), 17 with the wind chill!

Back at home, I hitched my backup disk to the computer and did a backup of my hard drive (I hadn't done one since July, which really amazed me), and James and I sat down and watched the first disk of the last series of Pie in the Sky. DI Henry Crabbe is being punished in this last season by being assigned to a police squad for hire by the public, and paired with two fledgeling police officers. Thankfully, neither is comic relief as they would probably be in an American series. Crabbe's supervisor Freddy is just as much of a jerk as ever. I'll be very sorry when this series is over.

I made another fruitless effort to connect the Blu-Ray player with the internet connection again. I was really enjoying watching the Christopher Eccleston Doctor Whos over, and things like The National Parks, which we didn't see in widescreen because Dish wasn't showing PBS in HD back then, but the moment James swapped out computers the internet connection quit working with it. I thought I had it tonight—I looked at amazement at the IP settings, which were completely wrong for the router, and set them up manually...and it said it connected! But when I tried to get on Netflix, it still told me that the wireless connection was fine but the internet connect failed. Bother. I watched an episode of Lassie instead. I'm seeing some familiar names in the credits of the Jeff episodes: one had Wilton Schiller as the writer; he went on to produce my favorite "bad" series, Dr. Simon Locke (and its boring sequel, Police Surgeon). A few nights later the writer was David Dotort, who created Bonanza.

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» Thursday, February 09, 2012
The Simple Woman's Daybook
 
FOR TODAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2012

Outside my window...
...pitch dark. Didn't have time to do this yesterday or this morning, and, sorry to say, didn't feel much like doing it, either.

I am thinking...
...too damn much, which may explain why I couldn't sleep last night. Or maybe it was just that my allergy is bothering me already. It's been so warm we have trees budding and flowers blooming, and I'm waking up with a stuffy nose and a headache, and my knees wake me up in the middle of the night. Plus today would have been my mom's birthday. That always makes me depressed.

I am thankful...
...for being able to have worked my schedule the way it did on Wednesday. I have not been feeling at all well this week, run-down and headachy. Since my eyes are itching, I think it may be from my allergy. And folks ask why I want winter to last!

In the kitchen...
...James has put dinner away long ago so Willow would keep from begging for the leftovers. So it's all quiet on the western front.

I am wearing...
...a purple sweatshirt and socks, and grey sweatpants. I've had chills part of the day, so it feels good.

I am creating...
...nothing much now. I did fix a picture frame which fell off the wall (the hangar device is made of cardboard and had split through). It's too pretty a frame to give up on.

I am going...
...well, sometimes it seems like I'm going nowhere. Still spooky talk of reorganization at work. Don't like that at all.

I am wondering...
...what I'm wondering won't do me any good. You can't make things happen just because you want them to.

I am reading...
...Names on the Land: A Historical Account of Place-Naming in the United States by George R. Stewart (a reprint of a classic book written during World War II) and Bryant & May on the Loose, the next in the Peculiar Crimes Unit book series. Just finished A Marked Man by Barbara Hamilton, second in the Abigail Adams mystery series.

I am hoping...
...to feel better tomorrow. I have at least a half dozen new purchase orders I haven't printed out yet, and at least two to get moving tomorrow, four if ITSO actually completed the other two (we have some new classification codes that haven't been added to the system, so we can't complete our own orders; the IT folks have to do it for us). The hamster wheel never ends.

I am looking forward to...
...a date in April (yeah, even if it will be hot as hell by then)! They are doing a World War II music retrospective at Ragamuffin Music Hall on April 21. Sounds sooooo cool.

I am learning...
...to live without something that used to make me happy. Can't be helped.

Around the house...
...books everywhere, as always. No room in either pantry or the cupboards for the couscous and other grains we bought at DeKalb Farmers Market. Or the Kashi Go-Lean. So they are cluttering up the kitchen table, dammit.

I am pondering...
...sleep. I haven't gotten more than six hours sleep any night this week, even when it was available. I'm exhausted.

A favorite quote for today...
For today? From a M*A*S*H episode: "No wonder they shoot people at sunrise. Who wants to live at six in the morning?"

One of my favorite things...
...the British series Pie in the Sky, with Richard Griffiths as police detective and gourmet Henry Crabbe. We just got the first disk of the final season from Netflix. Maybe we'll watch it tomorrow night.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Not much week left. Some Pie, perhaps. Oh, and maybe doing the taxes.

A peek into my day...

(Naw. Won't do that to you. <wry grin>)

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

Flourish

» Sunday, February 05, 2012
Weekendin' With Friends and Fids
The Great Backyard Bird Count
Ah, sweet Saturday of sleep-ins! Our late sleep-ins, back in the apartment days (pre-1995) are long gone, though. I remember sleeping until eleven or later on Saturdays. Now if an aching joint or two hasn't woken one of us around nineish, Willow's yips or a call of nature will.

We spent about an hour at the hobby shop a little after noon, where I annotated the list that I spent the morning working in front of the computer; it will accompany a gift. [There, that's cryptic enough. Heh.] Since we had nothing else to do before evening, we went home, where James began warming up the little "smokies" we were taking to a combined game night/late Christmas gift exchange with the Lawsons, and baked some sugar-free brownies. We were due at the Lawsons at 5:30, so we left a little early so we could hit the nearby Trader Joe's for some supplies: chicken salad and sausage, something for James when he has to work next Sunday, popcorn, etc. We arrived on the dot at 5:30.

Had a great time! We ordered pizza, and Jerry even got me a bacon and black olive without cheese. Unfortunately it appears Domino's uses pepper in its tomato sauce, so I only ate three small slices. There were baked chips and a veggie tray, as well as our smokies and the brownies, which weren't bad, just a bit overcooked on the edges. We played two games: Five Second Rule and Origins. The first was fun (you must name three like things within five seconds, like three Big 10 colleges or three state capitols), but our middle-aged brains aren't made for quick five-second answers anymore! With Origins you had to concoct the origin of an expression (like "baker's dozen" or "a stitch in time"). We were about to play Scattergories when it was time for the gift exchange. The Lawsons always give a neat smorgasbord of gifts in some type of reusable bag. This year was no exception: some science or SF DVDs, a nifty pair of gloves, a book of Naval trivia for James, and other neat things. And the bag itself is waterproof and zips (another Ikea find)!

We came home about ten o'clock and then had a pleasant few hours chatting with Jen and Emma. While we were chatting, I put on a 2010 movie called Sherlock Holmes—not the one you are thinking of! This movie stars Gareth David-Lloyd of Torchwood as Dr. Watson and Ben Syder as Sherlock Holmes. James sat down to watch with me. My gosh, what a howler! I can't even list all the howlers...take the one scene where Watson goes for a morning constitutional and Holmes accompanies him. Within short walking distance from 221B Baker Street, in the very center of crowded, cobbled metropolitan London, apparently there is an extensive overgrown—and I mean overgrown!—wood with some deserted outbuildings! The film also involves a sea serpent, a dinosaur, and what looks like a copper robot, plus a clockwork human and Sherlock Holmes' older brother (not Mycroft Holmes) who is a former police detective. Not to mention that the actor who played Holmes was shorter than everyone else in the cast (Doyle's Holmes is quite tall) and played the role in such a colorless manner that he pretty much faded into the woodwork! Was this because the more well-known Torchwood actor was playing Watson?

When it was finished, James said "Well, there's over an hour of my life I'll never get back." LOL.

The most entertaining factor was that, even with his heavy moustache and thick curly hair, Gareth David-Lloyd was almost a dead ringer for Robert Sean Leonard as Dr. Wilson on House (who is, of course, based on Dr. Watson).

It was warm all day Saturday (almost into the 70s; I almost didn't wear my new pink sweatshirt with the heart on it) and it was still positively tropical by bedtime; was quite afraid I wouldn't fall asleep. However, I was quite soundly asleep at 9:30 this morning when Willow started to yip. James got up, but I snuggled a few more minutes until I absolutely had to get up.

I found out about a week ago that AntennaTV has been showing The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin on weekend mornings. I thought it was on Saturday, and was irritated to find out it's actually Sunday, since I missed it last week and they showed the "origin" first episode, where they mention how "Corporal" Rusty and "Private" Rin Tin Tin came to live at Fort Apache. This morning I was determined not to miss it.

Now I had heard that there was a set of these episodes on DVD in Great Britain, and there were several comments about how the score had been changed to something more modern, including a new march theme for the opening and credits, and some voice dubs. Well, this is the version they're showing on AntennaTV. Of the two things, the score is the least irritating. You can tell it's not original as the fidelity is different and doesn't fit the background scores of the time. But the dubs are absolutely awful. I'm not sure why it was done. You can tell looking at the moves of the characters' mouths that they're saying the same words. And whomever they have dubbing Rusty's voice is dreadful. It's very obvious this is an adult miming a kid's voice (possibly even a woman doing the voice) in a terrible nasal tone.

Ironically, the print is gorgeous compared to some 1950s series that pop up these days! It would have been quite enjoyable along with a Sunday morning treat—James made biscuits!—if not for those changes.

Okay, now this is the type of grocery shopping I like! We left the house at 11:10 a.m., went to Publix for twofers (including shrimp platters for "the big game" which we shall use for dinners instead), then went the few miles down South Cobb Drive to the new Kroger and bought the weekly supplies (milk, yogurt, bananas), plus a pork and a beef package from the "managers special" shelf for Tuesday and Thursday dinners. We were home by 12:25; two stores in 75 minutes!

Once we had everything put away, James decided he'd like a hobby room day. Fine with me! I indexed all the cross-stitch magazines I bought since November, used the two new crates to make extra storage space in the pantry closet, brought Willow's new bag of dog food upstairs, cleaned some in the main floor bathrooms, made sure all the reusable shopping bags were back downstairs, and gathered the trash. We had also already read the newspaper, and I had even cut out and put away the coupons, something I usually put off as long as possible (which means Thursday, when the trash goes out).

So it was a nice quiet afternoon in which I read my book (The Tale of Oat Cake Crag) and popped on Facebook occasionally.

We had soup from Kroger for supper (and James also had a small deli sandwich) and watched the final three episodes of season two of Murdoch Mysteries. Two were nicely done episodes in which bigotry figured, without heavy-handing moralizing which writers of American shows appear to find mandatory. Bravo!

Oh, and wasn't that a great game! Some terrific touchdowns, super action, and fun commercials. My favorite player was Australian, and unfortunately did not get voted MVP, but he was spectacular on the field.

Well, yes, of course he could be Australian. I was talking about the Puppy Bowl—darling little white (with tan ears) Australian sheepdog mix named "Aberdeen." His sister "Abilene" was also in the game; she was almost all black. Loved the cockatiel "tweeting" the results!

Wait, you mean there was another game on today? :-)

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Flourish

» Friday, February 03, 2012
Hunting the Wily Extension Cord
The Great Backyard Bird Count
I apparently put all the three-foot extension cords away with the Christmas things.

So this was on my mind this morning when I went to Walmart to return the headlamp for James' truck that didn't fit. Amazingly, there was no one at customer service when I arrived. So I was technically there looking for extension cords, but the first thing I bought was birdseed, as Schuyler's wild cousins have gobbled their way through another half-bucket of seed. I bought 42 pounds of birdseed, mostly the coarse kind, but ten pounds of finch food, five pounds of niger seed, and seven pounds of safflower as well. The little "brownies" [brown-headed nuthatches] will have a feast!

By dint of wandering around the whole store several times, I bought soy isoflavones, two cute light nightshirts (one with Eeyore on it, and other with "Pussyfoot" from the Looney Tunes cartoons), a gift for James for Valentines Day and also two pairs of diabetic socks that he needed as well as a clearance Christmas shirt which says "Nice Until Proven Naughty," a gift for his Mom, some nightlight bulbs, and even two books on clearance, Clara's Kitchen (Clara, the Italian lady who cooks frugal foods and has her own cooking "show" on YouTube) and Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul.

I had lucked out! I was approaching a cashier who had no other customers! Then it occurred to me to look at my list. Arrrgh! I'd forgotten the 11x14 picture frame which I've needed practically since we moved in the house. So I went back for it. And, you guessed it, by the time I got back that cash register was closed and I had to pick my line.

And I forgot to look for extension cords. Grump.

Had some Kashi Go-Lean cereal for lunch—yum!—and spent part of the afternoon working on a craft gift while watching episodes of Lassie off Angel Two. They are finally showing new ones again instead of repeating the last ten they showed, except that they've gone back to the Jeff episodes. Saw "The Tractor" and "Goats" while I was working. The gift still needs a small fillip, but it's essentially done. Boy, did it shed, though. I had to vacuum when I finished.

James got home early because he worked overtime earlier in the week. We ended up both dozing off in front of the television.

Went to the new Chinese buffet for supper; this is near our old house. Since they closed the Food Depot in that shopping center, the place is mostly deserted and so dark I fear getting mugged. The buffet is okay, no better or no worse than any other Chinese buffet.

I told James the Walmart had some sweatshirts and pants on clearance, so we went back and he got a couple of different color shirts and one pair of pants, and some lighter flannel pajama pants (in camo) for at night. I bought a couple of gifts, and...well, something surprising for me: a Valentines Day sweatshirt. In pink. Anyone who knows me knows I loathe pink. But all the red and black sweatshirts were slightly salacious, and this was at least a nice pink with a bluish tinge, with a red heart pattern on the front.

If I'm lucky, it might even be cold enough on Valentines Day to wear it to work. But I won't hold my breath.

Oh, and we did check out the extension cords, only to find that Walmart doesn't carry 3-foot ones. We did find one small set of shelves with Christmas clearance, mostly cookie cutters and those cheap thin wire hooks they make today, some badly picked over picks, a few gift sets, mounting hardware for lights. Oddly, they still smell like Christmas. ::sigh:: Wish it was still Christmas...

And then off to watch Alaska Wing Men.

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