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.
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» Saturday, April 30, 2016Flittering...
We both awoke a little past eight, without being artificially roused (unless a bladder alarm can be considered artificial), and found more sleep was not forthcoming. So we rose and I gave Tucker a good walk, then we set off for Sam's Club after picking up some breakfast at Burger King. I found out if you order their oatmeal "plain" it does come pre-sweetened, but with no fake fruit on top, which suits me just fine. It was already very warm by the time we set off, but at least not raining. Came via the Cobb County Civic Center, which finally seems to be finished after being remodeled for what seemed like a century.
We did a sweep of Sam's, enjoying some of the electronics and the books before getting down to serious shopping. Goodness, you should have seen the rows and rows of adult coloring books in the book department! We bought fixings for a chicken salad tomorrow night, milk, onions, Skinny Pop, packets of peanuts for low-cal snacks, and Chex Mix. On the way home we stopped at Bernhard's Bakery and bought a couple of desserts each for next week (Florentines for me, of course) and I also bought a nice little bun.
Brought it all home, put it all up, then took up our tablets and headed out again, having decided to have our big meal at noon rather than tonight, and drove up to Acworth and the Longhorn next to Books-a-Million. We both had a Renegade and a salad instead of a potato side, and when our steaks were finished, we both eyed that nice savory juice left in each plate and had the same thought: grab a slice of the multigrain loaf and "zoop" up the juice! A perfect coda to the meal—yum!
I "drove" the power chair over to Books-a-Million while James moved the truck so we didn't have to mess with the lift. Did it on the "4" setting...wheeeee! Had to watch out when crossing the "street" between the Longhorn parking lot and the rest of the lot, but otherwise had no problems. Then we spent an hour or so perusing the books. James picked up Ready Player One, which he's reading for a panel he's doing at DragonCon, and I spied a new FAQ book on M*A*S*H which just came out Tuesday. I thought I might save it to buy with a Barnes & Noble coupon, so looked up online to see if any of the stores had it and couldn't find it! So I bought it there. (Found out later B&N has it listed under M.A.S.H. FAQ, not MASH FAQ as on the cover, and that's why I couldn't find it.) It covers the original book, the sequels, the film, the television series, and the sequels.
James stayed in the truck while I ran into the Super Target to see if they had any of the Litehouse "Salad" sprinkles that we had to go out to Hiram to find last time. These are small minced bits of garlic, shallot, onion, parsley, chives, and dill. I like to use them when we have chicken and James has used them on pork as well. I bagged two and then we were off across the street to Michael's with our coupons. James bought some colored pencils and I bought a new embroidery scissors as it appears I have lost my good one. ☹
We wandered over to the Petsmart next door just for a few minutes where they were just finishing up doing pet adoptions. There was the cutest little chihuahua/rat terrier cross in a brindle color. If we had been dogless, I would have seriously considered taking him home. Yow! Adoption fee for this outfit is $300! There was also an adorable brown shorthaired puppy next to him, large-footed but not gigantic. Looked like he might have grown up Leia-sized. Hope they find someone to love them.
I had a Hallmark coupon expiring today, so we looked up the nearest store and were amazed to find out it was the one on Dallas Highway, which at least was on the way home. James stayed in the truck and I went in, looked around, and picked out a nice Mother's Day card. The print copy Dreambook was out and I grabbed one of those as well. I found the digital one online earlier in the week and they had one ornament that sent me down memory lane: a little two-keyboard organ just like the one we had in fifth grade, with stops instead of programmed buttons. I'm going to have to get it! Some cute ones. This year's planes are a Lockheed Vega and an F-16, which interest James, of course!
And since we were going past it anyway, we stopped at Publix to finish the grocery shopping: we got twofers on chicken thighs, granola bars, couscous mixes, instant oatmeal; got more rice and noodle mixes, including mushroom, because it goes with anything; and two more packs of Brawny paper towels since they were on sale. Now tomorrow we can "play" (we're planning to go into Buckhead) with a clear conscience.
Took a while to put that all up, but then I could get into a blessedly cool tank top and shorts and checked out the two used books I'd bought online, Francis X. Weiser's Easter Book, which previously I had not seen for less than $50 (this was only about $4) and 1001 Christmas Facts and Fancies. I figure I can read the Weiser book now since Easter really isn't over until Pentecost. ☺When suppertime rolled around I took the bun from the bakery, put some butter on it, and had it with a glass of milk, and later munched on some Triscuits. That will keep me. Watched Rosemary and Thyme (the one with the adorable three-legged dog), Father Brown, an episode each of Rick Steves' Europe and This Old House, then the second part of Royal Cousins at War before I got tired of the idiot box yapping and put some music on instead.
» Sunday, April 24, 2016Forecast: Busy, Followed by a Period of Calm
Boy, I didn't want to get up this morning, especially after being awakened by James' alarm. He had to work today, but did have permission to work at home.
I finally struggled up after 9:30, got dressed, walked the dog, and then struggled fruitlessly for a half-hour looking for the Sav-a-Lot coupon before remembering I left it in the car so I wouldn't have to look for it today. I guess I did need more sleep.
I managed to zoom through the store and get home in 45 minutes, and no, I didn't speed either way. It's not a big store. It's kinda like an Aldi, really, with store brands along with a few national brands. I got bottom round beefsteak, boneless pork chops, two gallons of milk, two bottles of juice, tomatoes, bologna, and three bottles of shampoo, just enough to end up over $30. Had $10 off $30. Score.
Put everything up, grabbed my Civita bag (basically a little backpack), donned my hat, and went off to the Jonquil Festival, apparently bagging the last parking space behind the library. Walked around, saw all the booths, sampled the dips, admired the jewelry. Bought some buttons from The Button Girl, a bottle of blackberry honey, and an old kids' book about a girl who becomes a pony trainer from the library sale (sort of short commons this year), and spent about my limit of time in the sun (a few minutes over an hour).
Came home to put cooler clothing on, had a peanut butter and blackberry honey sandwich, and settled down to read a new Hamilton Books catalog and the rest of my Beginner's Guide to Photography. It was a nice slow afternoon, which was good for me and bad for James, but...at least he was at home. :-)
The chicken and dumplings made a yummy supper, then we had America's Funniest Home Videos, then Call the Midwife (with an affecting story about another thalidomide birth and Trixie finally "making things right").
» Saturday, April 23, 2016"Everyone Needs Some Friends Along the Way and We'll Have One Another..."
It was Hair Day, so we were roused from bed by "Gladys" once again. I walked Tucker and then we gathered the container of yellow rice and were off. It was a pretty day, sunny and blue, and at this point still cool.
It was a lovely morning and lunch. Terica and Juanita and I started out the morning discussing retirement as we nibbled on apples and cheese. Lin showed us some cool artwork they bought at Treklanta last weekend. Pat told us about Alex's adventures: he's having to substitute for the striking Verizon workers and is in the Bronx climbing telephone poles after having a quick training course! (Ordinarily he's a computer programmer.) For lunch Phyllis made barbecued lamb. Oh, gosh, what a feast. We also had yellow rice, garlic potatoes, homemade mac and cheese, and fruit, and Lin's Asian salad, which is made with bok choy, almonds, mandarin oranges, and toasted ramen noodles, and other yummy things. I told her they could make that the main course any time and I would be happy! (Actually, it wouldn't be a bad meal with some sliced roasted chicken thigh in it.)
We left about two (with a brief stop at Kroger for me to grab sandwich buns for work and low-carb ice cream for James) hoping to get to the Spring Jonquil Festival—we thought about going there before attending Hair Day, but we would have had to rush, and would have missed all the early chat—but the crowds were enormous: we barely could get up the road going toward the community center/library because people were parked on one side of the street and it wasn't wide enough for two lanes of moving traffic. We couldn't even get near the library to see if the handicapped parking spaces were available and there was no parking available in the far lot behind the church; everywhere else was so far away that by the time I'd hiked it I would have been little disposed to then walking around (James just needed to ride it out in the chair). If it had still been cold, I might not have minded the hike, but by that time it was in the high seventies and the sun very strong.
Instead we went to Hobby Lobby, where I found some items to use for a gift, and James bought a leather punch for his belt. His appetite has been so bad due to his sinus infection and that medicine he had late last year that he has lost a bunch of weight and run out of holes on his belt! When we got home and after I walked the dog I could finally look through my books that had arrived earlier. I put in an order mainly to get some gift books to put away (there's five taken care of), but of course ordered a few for me since they were so inexpensive: one on Orson Welles' War of the Worlds broadcast, one about the development of American English, a new fiction collection of Sherlock Holmes stories, and a beautiful book about Britain during the Great War, as told through British magazines of the time. This was originally valued at £25 and I got it for $5. I love Hamilton Books! (I wish I could find a book about the American WWI homefront like this.) Also bought a book of cross-stitch card designs.
By the time we got home, it was suppertime, but we were still quite full and didn't eat until several hours later, after James had cleaned out a cupboard looking for some soup and I walked Tucker and did a backup on my hard drive. I settled for some bread and butter later on with a side of milk, and some pretzels for a snack. James had some soup, having identified which can he wanted to eat! Watched Father Brown, Rosemary & Thyme, "the crazy lady" as my mom used to call Hyacinth Bucket, and a As Time Goes By I had never seen!
» Friday, April 22, 2016Rainstorms Are Go!
Now I know I was tired this morning: I was nearly an hour sleeping through or ignoring "Gladys" telling me it was "time to get up."
I arose to a grey morning. James had gone into work simply because the weather report said it would be raining in the late morning and early afternoon, but not touch commuting time. It was not yet raining when I finally walked Tucker, but it had begun by the time I backed out of the driveway to head on my errands. I started at Lowes, where I checked out LED lightbulbs and stoves, then bought an electrical timer and some hardware to put additional support on the shelves in "the Christmas closet."
I didn't want to, but I stopped at Walmart for some underwear I needed and bought a couple of flowered tank tops on clearance. As always at Walmart there are a dozen people waiting and only two lines open. Why in the heck do they bother having twenty checkout counters if they never have them open?
Then it was off to Sprouts. The bad news: here it was Friday and no clam chowder. The good news: they had chicken and dumplings instead. Score! Sunday night supper! Got other sale goodies: grapes, a green pepper, cucumbers, and beef bits. I popped this in the insulated bag and went across the street to Publix for Those Damn Bananas, a few yogurts, and the twofers. Really bummed as Kraft has quit selling Asian sesame dressing and apparently so has Wishbone. I didn't see any Asian dressings at all except in the expensive varieties. [Just went on Kraft's website and they say both Publix and Walmart carry it. Haven't seen it in Publix.]
On the way home, dropped my old Samsung tablet in the mail to Gazelle. Barnes & Noble had their Galaxy Tab 4 10 inch units on a super clearance (the new units are 9.7") and I bought one last week. The old tab had become very slow to respond. Gazelle will give me Amazon credit, which suits me.
It had rained and drizzled and dripped the whole time I was out, so naturally it started to clear up the moment I got home, which was when I realized I forgot to pick up yellow rice as our side dish for Hair Day. Dammit. Now I had to go out again. But before that, I ate my lunch, which was absolutely essential since I never had breakfast. I had eaten the two leftover chicken cacciatore drumsticks for supper last night and saved a sandwich-portion of meat plus the sauce. I cut off a nice hunk of the baguette I got from Publix, spooned warmed chicken meat on one half and zooped the other half in the remainder of the sauce, and didn't I have a feast!
As I was picking up to go back out, James called. He'd been looking at the weather and apparently there was another bout of weather coming in around the time he'd be coming home. He was going to finish the workday at home. So I headed to Kroger; picked up the yellow rice, plus got James more burritos. I'm going to have to go out again to use the Sav-a-Lot coupon we have, but I had no idea if they had those specific burritos (we know Publix doesn't carry them), so I got them at Kroger.
Three grocery stores in one day is two too many. (Heck, it's three too many as far as I'm concerned.)
(Now hopefully in the new series John can come out of that space station once in a while. Poor guy must be stir-crazy.)
We watched about four of the stories and then went to dinner at the West Cobb Diner, then went to Barnes & Noble on Dallas Highway for a while, and finally came by Baskin-Robbins for dessert. Saw an absolutely fabulous sunset with a clear line of purple at the horizon; does this mean Prince has made it up to the clouds?
And then I walked Tucker so I could finally sit down for a while. About ten o'clock, the weather that was supposed to cause James trouble with commuting came roaring in, clattering on the chimney cap and roaring up the street. Although I had seen lightning in the north when walking the dog, there was no thunder at all.
[Okay, I gotta agree with the British newspaper that said the photo of the Tracy guys lined up (above) makes 'em look like a boy band. Yeah, figured they had to make them "pretty." But, really, the stories aren't bad, and at least it's not that horrible squeaky-voiced animation you see on every single kids' series these days. I came home on Friday to find Snowy watching one of these awful "educational" things on WXIA. I'd almost rather have him watch Dr. Phil (and the Mutants).]
» Sunday, April 17, 2016Just Another Short-Time Sunday
Beats me how it happened, but we were up until almost 2 a.m.! I know I sorted the crayons—and there are too many pinks and pink reds and not enough browns and blues! Bring back raw umber!—but, wow, time got away from us. So it was natural that we didn't get up until eleven and didn't go shopping until after noon. At least we didn't have to go to Kroger; we just went to Publix. I like going better on my own; James likes to shop around in grocery stores—I go in, get what's on my list, and am outta there.
We brought the perishables home and then went out to do a couple of other errands: drop by CVS to spend a coupon (got more BreatheRights and some other things for James) and Bed, Bath & Beyond for a new cylinder for the Soda Stream. Then a chance to relax at Barnes & Noble. James got a new David Weber book and some magazines; I noted a few books I might want, but am waiting until the coupons get closer to running out before making a decision, as there may be something else published in the meantime. I did buy a simple photography book that was on sale. I'd like to take a photography course after I retire.
By the time we got home, it was suppertime. James warmed up our soup, which we got from Costco. They make a thick, noodle, carrot, celery, and chicken filled soup from the rotisserie chickens; it's almost more stew than soup. While he was doing that, I walked Tucker, so when I got back in, supper was all ready. I changed clothes before I ate—sadly, it's suddenly time to go from t-shirt and pajama bottoms in the evening to shorts and a tank top. It was 74°F today and will be 80 by tomorrow. Barf-o-matic.
Spent the evening watching a rerun of America's Funniest Home Videos, then another very sad Call the Midwife (odd, if that's all they did for the typhoid carrier was tell her to wash all the time, why was it so much of a problem for Ruth Warner on Doctor Simon Locke?), and finally a special about why dogs look the way they do.
» Saturday, April 16, 2016The Walmart Expansion
James and I were both exhausted by the time the news rolled around last night, so we were in bed fairly early for a Friday night, and thus awoke without alarm about 8:30. It's so nice to awake naturally.
We had some breakfast and I walked Tucker. It was nice and cool this morning, but it's going up to 70 this afternoon. So much for nice weather! Presently James left for his club meeting (clad in his new "I don't stop and watch airplanes...oh, wait, I do" T-shirt) and I collected my things and headed out. First I returned my library books, then I went to Walmart. I was looking for Crayola's big set of 152 crayons. Unfortunately, when one walks around Walmart one always finds more things one needs to buy.
I came out with: a new hose (the old one is leaking), a new nozzle for said hose (since ours is cracked), two different jewelry findings for crafts, some Gold Bond medicated powder, a desk lamp, a 40-watt-equivalent LED bulb and also a 60 one, a birthday card, some compression socks for James, the Blu-Ray of Inside Out (because everyone raved about it), and a two-pack (for only $7.50, which is much cheaper than anything online) of the first two movies of The Librarian series (I picked out the third on Amazon later on). And I did get the crayons, and tried a different kind of sugarless spearmint gum. I hadn't chewed gum in years until vacation, when I needed it to keep awake while driving, and I've been chewing it occasionally, buying Orbit again like I did in Norwood. I like the new gum (Equal?) because it's in sticks like regular gum, but the flavor isn't as good. It isn't as spearminty, just minty, and leaves an aftertaste. Pity.
From Walmart, I zipped down the East-West Connector to Cumberland Mall, which, by that time on Saturday afternoon, looked like an anthill. I stayed there long enough to get gas at Costco, then split for Barnes & Noble, mainly to use the bathroom, but I picked up an anti-glare screen for my Nook tablet and looked around at the books to see what I want to come back to buy when James comes along. I am still looking at the book about the NYPD cop and also a fantasy novel. The coupons don't expire until Mother's Day, though, and I may just wait, since it's not like I don't have anything to read. LOL. (I did buy a couple of adult coloring books, one a mini-periodical and one of English farm scenes.)
Finally I had lunch at Tin Drum (no, not over that obsession yet), then came home. I had plans for the rest of the afternoon. First I gave Tucker a walk, then I pulled out the vacuum cleaner. I was determined to finally clean off my drafting table, which I bought way back in the late 1970s to do artwork on. It has become a horizontal storage wasteland for a couple of years, covered with various items including a basket of notecards (from when I was writing to Jen when she was underway), a pretty glass trencher of birds I was given (it should be out where people can see it), the autumn decorations for the dining room that got put away when Christmas came (now that spring is waning, I can put them back out so we can ignore, inside anyway, summer completely), and just general junk. I vacuumed and dusted underneath, polished the work surface (it's solid wood), and then put the new desk lamp in one corner of the desk and my Ott light at the other corner. I also put away some Christmas cards on top of the cabinet where I store them between Yuletides. I haven't paid full price for Christmas cards in years! :-)
Everything isn't really put up yet, but the desk and surround is clean, and I tidied the craft table by the simple expedient of putting projects together. Meanwhile it was getting later and later. I had already made my way through two gifts and was working on a third when James finally got home; and men say women talk a lot!
We had supper at Giovanni's and had talked about going to Barnes & Noble tonight, but it was almost already 9 o'clock. Instead we came home and I finished that third gift and also a fourth after I took Tucker for his final walk of the night.
(I used the 40-watt equivalent in the desk lamp. The 60-watt made it downstairs in the lamp in the library. I hope it lasts. The regular light bulbs keep burning out. Now that I have watched the lights for a while the "soft white" isn't really equivalent to a real light bulb; there is still an odd whitish glare to them, but it will have to do. I ended up using the Walmart findings in my gifts, too, so I'm glad I went. No, I haven't used the crayons yet. I have to put them in order. No, I can't color without putting them in order. It would Just Be Wrong. I'm OCD that way.)
Later on watched Vicious on WPBA, then Sinking the Lusitania and this week's This Old House. The latter, where they are building the kit house, is actual kind of boring. I like it better when they renovate old homes.
» Tuesday, April 12, 2016Pass the Draino and the Snake
[Some medical chatter, nothing really graphic. Feel free to wander on if not interested.]
So I had my colonoscopy today, and I pretty much think I had to have it because I fouled up the fecal sample test Kaiser sends promptly once per year. I figured they'd just make me do the test again. My bad. Next time, all clean and sanitary and no trying to do it too fast.
Most people will tell you the prep is the worst part on these things. You can only have a clear liquid diet the day before (coffee, tea, juice, soda, popsicles, Jello, etc.) and nothing red or purple. I got apple juice, white grape peach, and white cranberry peach. The last was the best because it wasn't that sweet, but of all the juices I've had lately I prefer cranberry pomegranate because it's barely sugary at all. Unfortunately that flavor is dark red. I also had Campbell's chicken broth and some vegetable broth, and made a bowl of lime Jello. I don't want to taste juice again until Timegate.
(You may not know it to look at pudgy old me, but I really am not a sweets person. I like dark chocolate [milk chocolate is too sweet and I only eat it if there is no other chocolate available], the all-fruit blackberry spread we get in Ellijay, watermelon candies, gingerbread in fall and winter, cinnamon rolls/sticks if they don't have "ick" (icing) on them, and the occasional chocolate-frosted or old-fashioned doughnut (if we have doughnuts four or five times a year, that's a lot; we usually have a couple in the fall and then one on the way to Atomicon). I don't like jellybeans or other sugar candy, Danish, or gooey pastries, and a small piece of baklava is enough to last my honey sweet tooth for a year—as far as I'm concerned, even raisins are too sweet. Those big thickly-frosted cakes and cupcakes they have on baking magazine covers hold no appeal for me at all. And let's not even talk about Krispy Kreme doughnuts with all that nasty sticky stuff on it; a pity because the doughnuts themselves are raised and very light. Bread and the dark chocolate are my downfalls. (And I would kill to have a bran muffin from Ranaldi's one more time, but they went out of business years ago.)
Then you have to drink this stuff that's mostly antifreeze (prophelyne glycol?), plus salt, bicarbonate, and some other awful damn thing. The Kaiser nurse said to dump the flavoring that comes with it and put Crystal Light in instead, and I put in a packet of KoolAid as well (just the packet, no sugar). Compared to the orange-flavored stuff I had to have when I had the CAT scan to spot the now football-sized ovarian cyst I had in 2004 (nasty), this stuff was a walk in the park. The salt taste in the background was pretty foul, though, kind of like when you have a headcold and post-nasal drip. I had to drink half a gallon between six and eight p.m. and then drink the rest of the gallon six hours before the test (which means I had to get up at 4:20 a.m. to start chugging by 4:30). The prevous stuff from before the hysterectomy actually was very painful to take. This did not cause me any stomach cramps, but when it started working it was like urinating from the wrong orifice. And later it turned green from the KoolAid. (And that's all I will say about that.)
I worked my way through Susan Kandel's H for Hitchcock during the evening and read Facebook and started The Twilight Zone FAQ, and about 12:30 the "initial action" stopped and I was able to shower and get three hours sleep. Got James up so he could eat breakfast and walk Tucker, as I was leashed to the bathroom until we left.
The waiting was endless, and everyone was very nice. They took me back into a prep area with lots of other people, some in for the same procedure, where you got changed in a curtained cubicle with a bed and monitoring equipment. I was very honest about being nervous to everyone, and just happened to say I was worried about "not waking up" when the anesthesiologist walked in. Sigh. I seem to have two halves of my brain, the sensible half saying that I would just go off to sleep and then wake up (goodness knows I needed the sleep), and the other half which is like Snowy when he sees a hat: he's ready to run for it. I did pretty well until they started wheeling me to the procedure room; my mouth was so dry by then I felt like I couldn't breathe and I started hyperventilating and calling for my mom. The doctor came over and held my hands and lulled me down again, then the anesthesiologist tried to put the little clear oxygen canula in my nose. I am absolutely petrified of anything over my mouth and nose ever since I had the ether mask back when I had my tonsils out and started thrashing again. So they started running the anesthesia to calm me down a little and I guess they put in the canula and turned me on my left side after I zoned out, and, sure enough, the next thing I knew I was back in the little curtained cubicle with a female nurse, and very soon James could come back to sit while I came awake, which was pretty quickly.
The doctor said they found one polyp that they removed and will test, but she was pretty sure it was not cancerous. I also have a few diverticular pouches, which I wasn't surprised at because both my mom and my dad had diverticulitis at one time or another. She also said to make sure to eat fiber.
I was back on my feet a lot sooner than I expected. I don't think it was even a half hour from when James arrived to when they took me out to the truck. By the time we got to Panera for some food, glorious food, I didn't feel much worse than I do when I get up at six for work. Had the chicken soup with a baguette and just a glass of water, and James and I split a cookie. Came home to read more in the TZ book and eventually fall asleep on the couch for a couple of hours.
James made beef bits with wheat noodles for supper and we had a Russell Stover peppermint bark snowman each for dessert. Later on watched 10 Parks That Changed America and got back to the routine of walking Tucker.
» Sunday, April 10, 2016A Last Turn Before The Twilight Zone
Since Monday and especially Tuesday are going to be stressful, I wanted to chill out today after I finished going to Kroger. I just wish I'd slept better. I didn't understand why I hadn't slept properly until I realized I forgot to take my pills last night. This explains why my heart was so jumpy when I got up.
After breakfast and the morning dog walk, I went to Kroger. It was chilly this morning, a jacket day to start, and I had a hat on when I took Tucker out, but by the time I got to Kroger just the jacket sufficed. I got the usual things—bread, milk, burritos, Those Damn Bananas—plus the stuff I needed for tomorrow: juice and Crystal Light to put into the "antifreeze." Once that was finished, I could go and have some fun, so of course I went to the bookstore. Picked up something I was looking for, plus a fat cross-stitch magazine compilation with a beautiful owl pattern in it, a Sherlock Holmes book off the remainder shelves, and, with a coupon, The Twilight Zone FAQ. Didn't even know this was out. Made note of a new book about the daily life of a NYC police officer, a real NYPD Blue, as it were.
Checked in Toys'R'Us for a few minutes (not much to be found there), then ate a teriyaki bowl with steak at Tin Drum. This is my last meat until Tuesday night. Arrived home after noon, intending to put the groceries away and then do a little cleaning. Instead spent most of the afternoon chatting with Jerry about our router problems.
Just had rice and soup for supper and finished Alex Bellos' The Grapes of Math. The news was followed by 10 Homes That Changed America and a three-hanky episode of Call the Midwife (which I thought was a bit manipulative). I will miss Sister Evangelina; she was my favorite of the nuns. Finally, there was the "two-hour event" Elementary, in which Joan meets someone she didn't know existed. Unfortunately this didn't end until 11:30, probably due to some ridiculous sports event that pushed everything back a half hour, so we were very late going to bed.
» Saturday, April 09, 2016"Let's Light This Candle..."
I didn't particularly like getting up early this morning, but it was either that or run into crowds at the Farmer's Market. We hadn't been in ages and figured we'd go. Tucker was so wild to come with us that he wouldn't even pee before we left. He wanted in the truck instead.
It was a nice clear morning, but astonishingly brisk for April. Usually it's already in the 80s in the afternoon by now. It was 42°F this morning and there was a breeze that made the banner flag snap out flat as we loaded the power chair on the truck. We were actually in jackets. The cold must have held off a bunch of others, because although we arrived a little after nine, there were still parking places in the lot off Powder Springs Road. Wimps. :-)
Tucker had a grand time sniffing noses with all the other dogs, including a Great Pyrenees. He seriously gives my left arm some strength training. :-) He dragged me to enough trees that I laughed. It's a dog's version of Facebook. We bought some cucumber, two pastries for dessert and some scones, more dog biscuits, and James got some tamales. The guy who used to sell the chicken salad was subbing for Diana, the lady who sells the salmon and trout, so we caught up with him, and talked with the "Big Daddy" dog biscuit lady.
On the outbound leg a cute little Jack Russell bitch and Tucker greeted each other, and then she growled at him. We continued following behind and stopped for a sample of goat cheese at the same time the Russell's owner did. He gave his dog a treat and asked if Tucker could have one, too. I said yes and Tucker's eyes got really big when he smelled it and gobbled it right down. So I asked what it was and where he got it. Freeze-dried duck hearts! From Dog City, which is near Penzey's Spices. He gave Tucker another and I think Tucker would have followed him home had we let him. Which is really funny because he's not that food-driven, at least not like Willow was. He's turned down eating, even a cookie, to go out on the deck.
We brought him home, came upstairs and had breakfast, and set out on our errands. First we went to MicroCenter for new DSL filters. We've been having a problem since last fall with the DSL signal dropping out when the phone rings (it comes right back after the caller hangs up). As it gets closer to the election it means we're going to get more annoying calls than ever and it will be knocking out the signal. Unfortunately MicroCenter doesn't stock them any longer. Phooey.
Returned the candle to JoAnn, got another in return, and bought an additional one since the second candle is staying on all the time, not turning off at dawn. The customer service lady tested them both for me before ringing them up. Plus bought a few more charms and a chain for the gift I bought yesterday. Stopped next door at Michael's and bought a new calligraphy pen and found something cute as a gift. Then we went on to Hobbytown where James went inside and I sat in the car with the windows open and read a free Kindle mystery, although the fresh air was putting me to sleep by the time James emerged.
By that time we were both ready for lunch. We ate at Twisted Kitchen again. I had Asian noodles again, with some grilled chicken in addition to the grilled steak. James had a bacon cheeseburger noodle dish. When we finished up we went to Barnes & Noble. I got a couple of things off the clearance table (a book about calligraphy and a back scratcher—wish I'd had one when I had the rash!) and James picked up a "Cook's Country." Finally it was on our way home.
Got the candles set up in short order. We don't have a front window that's our living room; that room simply overlooks the foyer. The two small bedrooms have the front approach, so I have a small candle with blue bulbs in each. This started way back when we were in the apartment. The front of the apartments faced a rectangle of grass; you parked and came in through the kitchen. One Christmas I put a single candle in the kitchen window and after the holidays were over James said he missed it because the little candle looked so welcoming. So I had a candle in the front window of the old house that he could see when he came in at night, and now we have the two at front.
Had my leftover shrimp scampi for supper with the second of my two Chicago rolls with some Kerrygold butter. James had picked up some Jamaican on the way home and he ate that, and we had the chocolate-filled pastries for dessert. Excellent! Watched the first three new This Old House episodes where they are building a kit house (like the homes Sears sold for thirty years). These are made in Vermont. We also had two different Ask This Old House segments to watch, plus this week's Big Bang Theory and, finally, Castle. Sadly, I'm getting a bit tired of the last. Now Castle and Beckett are sparring with Castle's Amazon-Echo-type gadget. I wonder if there is a payoff to this storyline, like they're being spied at through "Lucy."
» Friday, April 08, 2016"It's a Beautiful Morning..."
Really, it was. Flawless blue sky with lots of puffy, snoozy-looking white clouds, started out at 49°F and then became a nice 63, with a good brisk breeze to flap all the pine pollen out of the air. Slept until I woke up (ah, a dream situation!), got ready and dressed, ate breakfast, gave Tucker a nice long walk, and then gathered my coupons and set out on my odyssey.
I had some goals today, and therefore headed up to Town Center set on achieving them. My first stop was Office Max for padded envelopes. I usually use these to send books as gifts. Yowch. When did they get that expensive?
Next I went next door to the Best Buy to see if they had the Fitbit Alta out. Since I accidentally tipped my Fitbit in the basket when I was doing the whole swollen wrist thing and couldn't wear it, I find I miss it. But I'd like to get one with a watch feature. The starters are either the Charge or the new Alta, both the same price. The Alta does some new things: it automatically tracks sleep, which I like, since I was forever forgetting to tap the old one to sleep and then wake it up, and it also reminds you to move once an hour. Of course I keep thinking: if I'm going to spend that much for a Fitbit, shouldn't I just get a smartwatch and be done with it? It is a puzzle.
Best Buy at Town Center is like Disneyland for geeks. You walk in and are immediately assaulted with tablets, phones, more tablets, more phones, bright lights. I was passing the Samsung phones and there was an Oculus VR device you could try: first a 360° of the Strip in Las Vegas and then one of San Francisco just over the Marin exit of the Golden Gate Bridge. Made me dizzy, looking down like that. However, also noticed it was very grainy, so not quite realistic yet, so I can't say it's a totally realistic experience. Made the mistake of looking at the newest 10-inch Galaxy Tab, which is 2048 by whatever resolution. What a picture! And what a price! For a tablet I just use to read magazines on it would be totally overkill, but I enjoyed looking at it. The Galaxy Note in silver is also a looker, and I love the stylus.
They had Altas, but didn't have them out, so I couldn't see how it fit. They also didn't have the slate blue one I like. If I do buy it I might as well buy it on Amazon where I get triple points on my Amazon credit card.
I stopped in Michael's to see if they had electric candles. One of the two in our front windows is no longer working. We've had these for ages in whatever front window we've had because James said it made him feel happy to see those lights waiting for him when he got home from work. Michaels didn't stock the kind I wanted, so I used my coupon for a new calligraphy pen instead and went on to JoAnn. All their beads and charms were on sale half price and I had a fifteen percent further off coupon that was good on sale items, so I gathered some fixings for bookmarks and jewelry. I even found something special for someone. Plus they did have the candles here; I get the ones that are photosensitive and turn on at dusk and go off at dawn.
And I was bad and had a Milky Way dark, as it was now after noon. It held me over, so I just headed to Barnes & Noble instead of stopping for lunch as I planned. I have coupons, but wasn't particularly hunting up anything to buy today. I did find a couple of things in the clearance bin, including a Doctor Who t-shirt, plus bought a cross-stitch magazine and the new "Country Sampler" annual tour of homes magazines.
And then I headed to the mall. I wanted to go to Footlocker for another set of shoe inserts (and then I didn't buy them). Town Center's pretty much like the other malls these days, clotted with clothing and shoe stores and not much else. I pretty just wandered about checking out a couple of things: the Book Warehouse on the far end of the mall, which is just a collection of tired remainders, but I did buy a cute-looking book about a woman raising a flock of pet chickens. I also checked out the Disney Store to see if they had a stuffed Judy Hopps. They had two and the larger one was very stiff and not cuddly at all, and the second one, I guess, was Judy as a child, in a skirt and carrot-imprinted top. Most of the front of the store was crowded with Star Wars items (and a lot of Frozen things, too, so I guess that's still on).
I had to laugh when I was passing Abercrombie & Fitch because I just finished a collection of poetry and essays by E.B. White and he had written a funny poem about going there, back when it was still a store for camping and fishing enthusiasts and sold rifles and rods and reels along with tents and outdoor clothing, and I had to wonder what he would think of it now with its trendy teen clothing and tubercular-looking models!
By this time I was getting hungry because it was after three, but I didn't want to eat a whole meal as it was getting close to suppertime. All the restaurants at the food court had full meals; you couldn't even get a single slice of pizza for a dollar or two. Then, just what I wanted: Tokyo Express had something called "a skewer": chunks of teriyaki chicken thigh...yes, on a skewer, for $1.50. The right price and just enough to tide me over. I'll have to remember that they do such a thing.
Came home by Publix and did the shopping there; lots of good twofers and then things that needed restocking: "spots" for my nose and Pepto Bismol and maple syrup, among others.
The final stop was at Staples, to get new dry-erase markers for the calendar on the refrigerator. They dry up so quickly! Found a sale on Sharpies with two sets of different colors, so that was cool as well.
I pretty much got home just in time to put up the perishables, walk the dog, make the bed, and have some milk before James got home. We had dinner at the West Cobb Diner and then went to Baskin-Robbins for dessert. Spent the evening listening to "Shamrock and Thistle" on WABE and then some blues, and finally two episodes of Rosemary & Thyme off Acorn TV. Such a pity they never did more of these. Pam Ferris and Felicity Kendal played so well off each other. I wonder what Pam Ferris will be doing now that she's not on Call the Midwife any longer.
Oh, and the new candle I hunted so hard for? It doesn't work and we will have to take it back tomorrow. Well, James wanted a trip to Hobbytown anyway...
» Sunday, April 03, 2016Our Last Bow
Well, damn, it is Sunday already. How fast the weekends go by!
This morning was a repeat of yesterday: up at eight, dressed, dog walk, sandwich out of the fridge, and then driving off to breakfast. Had great service from Yolanda once again and wrote a little positive note for her on my receipt.
The first panel was "Holmes Through the Years": from William Gillette all the way down to the amateur web series like S(her)lock. We discussed the well-known (Rathbone, Brett, Cumberbatch, Miller) and the not-so-well known (Nicholas Rowe, the two Russian Holmeses, etc.) and played a nice game of Six Degrees of Sherlock Holmes with one actor connected to another. One of the panelists, Kathleen, used to go to Williamstown, and got to see Frank Langella do Sherlock Holmes there! Oh, be still, my beating heart!
The next panel was the Baker Street Babes' live podcast, which was an interview of the convention guest, David Nellist (Stamford in Sherlock). He was a great and genial interviewee who told a funny story about how someone tweeted with excitement because they had seen him at breakfast. His daughter wondered what was so great about that; she saw Daddy every morning at breakfast! :-) The inevitable question arose: what Shakespeare would you like to do? King Lear. (Or at least Lear's fool.)
I remained in the room for the Writing Dilemmas panel. This was supposed to be a roundtable discussion, but instead it was the panel of both fanfiction and published authoris just sharing writing advice with the audience. I thought it went pretty well. The biggest advice as always: just write! Don't doubt, just keep going. Maybe the story will turn out bad, but you will have learned something from writing it: how not to do it. Lots of recommendations for Scrivener...oh, should I?
I'd intended to go to the Pastiche panel, but instead I did another turn around the dealer's room, bought the book The Unlikely Death (a science fiction version of a Holmes mystery taking place in space where a dead Holmes solves his own murder through a still living John Watson) and a cute postcard "221BB8," yes, BB8 dressed as Sherlock Holmes. It's adorable; I couldn't resist. Then I went to sit in the computer center and ate my chicken salad sandwich, drank my juice, and read "Consumer Reports" until the next panel, which was basically "what little we know about Sherlock, season four." We don't even have the usual three words from Mark Gatiss or Steven Moffat that are always clues to the upcoming episodes this year, just that the season will be about "revelations" (and, the panelists suspected, "consequences"). Apparently there was also a one-day casting call for a newborn baby for a "popular drama" just about the time Sherlock began to film, so suspicions are rife that John and Mary are parents. Also some theories that there will be a death this season, and guesses that it will be Mycroft so that Sherlock can fulfill his destiny.
And finally the always-popular (at this convention, anyway) Cabin Pressure panel. Since the series is now over, most of the discussion was about what people think happened to the characters after the ending. And do they ever have another Burling Day?
All good things come to an end, which means the final panel is "Our Last Bow," the convention wrap-up. I put in a good word for Yolanda (to which several people piped up), inappropriate room sizes were discussed, the lower attendance was explained (real life interfering in some of the regular attendees' plans), and we finally took a group selfie (can there be such an animal?), and it was over.
Came home to a nice supper of Sprouts' Italian wedding soup, with a yummy Florentine from Bernhard's Bakery for dessert, and then an even better dessert with the season premiere of Call the Midwife. Trixie is working through alcoholism with exercise, Patsy almost loses Delia again (but doesn't thanks to Sister Julienne), and in a three-handkerchief plotline, the first of the Thalidomide babies are born, with her father initially rejecting her. I know how it was back then, when handicapped children were born, and couldn't see the father as a monster, but oh, how it hurt seeing him against a poor little child whose only "crime" were flippers for hands and feet. This is going to be a continuing storyline this season for Dr. Turner and, knowing how he cares about his patients, it will be devastating for him knowing he gave them the very drugs that caused the deformities.
» Saturday, April 02, 2016From Gillette to Cumberbatch and Miller
Alarm! Alarm! Yep, had to get up and hit the ground running this morning: face washed, dressed, packed my lunch, tucked up my tablet and my Sherlock silhouette cross stitch, and was off. Arrived at the hotel at nine for the "bargain buffet" (you don't get the omelet bar and they went chintzy and didn't let us have any cereal, either, so no endless milk, either). Instead had to get a tiny juice glass which cost $2. Boy, what a rip-off. Otherwise they had eggs, bacon, potatoes, different kinds of fruit, bread for toast (they had bagels but apparently "forgot" to restock), and make-it-yourself waffles. I skipped the nasty eggs, and appropriated two slices of bread and some jelly for a sandwich for the afternoon, and had bacon, potatoes, fruit, toast, and some pecans meant as waffle toppers to fill me up. Seats were at a premium, so I shared my table with a nice lady from Minnesota. She's a cosplayer (and likes cosplay enough to sew, which I don't) and likes Deep Space 9, which she recently binge watched. Also a fan of the Edward Petherbridge Wimsey stories and recommended the Roderick Allyn stories to me.
My first panel was about fanfic (and there do seem to be an inordinate amount of fanfic panels this year). Again, most of the conversation is about "Johnlock." I don't despise this subject, or make light of it, or think anyone who writes/reads it is stupid or weird. But I wonder why that is all some people want to read. There are so many here to whom Holmes/Watson is all about the relationship, and it seems (am I perceiving it wrong?) nothing else. What about the mysteries? the adventures? the detection? the glimpse of the past? I'm happy to read good 'shipping stories. But I want to read all the good stories, not just the 'ships at sea, so to speak.
I'd intended to go to another panel, but ended up at Bonnie MacBird's panel about her new Sherlock Holmes novel Art in the Blood. This is coming out in July in paperback and I'm looking forward to reading it. She talked about living in London and in Paris to do research for the book (it took her four years from start to publication) and having actors pose for the Sidney Paget-like illustrations and the custom drop caps, and how she ran the manuscript past two Sherlockians to make sure it sounded like Watson and a British scholar to make sure it didn't have any Americanisms! I'm really looking forward to it now.
Next I went over to the fan crafts room which was just folks doing some participatory crafts (garlands) and chatting. I sat down to do my cross stitch and the lady next to me was doing a crocheted water bottle holder and the ladies across from me doing some sort of crochet and a doll's baby blanket. We just talked about all sorts of different things and one of the garland people put on the soundtrack to Hamilton! which is a big thing at con this year: a singalong today and one tomorrow. Wasn't too bad! One of the women had a job that had something to do with Federal judges, and she was talking about how when they got to that level of judiciary they basically can do anything they like. One had his collection of Native American art in his office, another all his cat rescue photos (and presumably a cat or cats, since there were litter boxes and cat food), and one kept bees with a hole out the window so the bees could go outside and gather pollen!
The next panel was about adaptations of the canon. Radio was briefly mentioned, but they mostly talked about the most popular television and movie incarnations (not much discussion about Robert Downey Jr these days!). Sherlock and Jeremy Brett pretty much held sway here. There was some great chatter about the long-lost William Gillette film that was recently found and restored and released to DVD.
The Elementary panel was in the tiny Tyler room, but it was a full house and full of excited chatter about the new season, Morland Holmes, Fiona's introduction, and the bits of canon that have been inserted into the stories this year (like the wonderful reference in the recent "comic book" episode where Sherlock is reading through the entire run of The Midnight Ranger, and Sherlock says that his personal favorite was when the hero died falling over a waterfall in the embrace of his greatest nemesis). And what a great character Joan Watson is (except for that one weird thing with Mycroft). And that the police officers aren't portrayed as idiots.
Next, a great double bill from the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company! The first was a dramatic adaptation of a Naomi Novick short story in which Irene Adler finds out about Holmes' death at the Reichenbach Falls—and of course realizes it was all a hoax. The other was the very funny steampunk takeoff about the famous detective Grimpen Mire and his faithful companion Dr. Rosemarythyme. By the time they hit the Neapolitan of Crime joke I had completely lost it.
The next panel was called "Only in Fandom"—why are some of the most popular things done in fanfiction (crossovers, etc.) not done in mainstream media? Well, I can tell you why! Because sure as hell CBS ain't crossing over Elementary with something on another network, and neither is the Beeb! Not to mention that they would only go with the safe chances. In fanfic you don't have to please your financial investors; you can write what you like. Nevertheless, it was a good discussion (even if several of the panel members were still astounded about the Bones/Sleepy Hollow crossover—which I really hated).
"Dr. Watson's Medical Practice" was a super-interesting panel. The two panelists were "medical geeks" (one was a dermatologist) and they actually did research about what Watson's training would have been like, where he might have trained, what books he would have studied (you can find at least one of them online, which lists the drugs he would have used on which illness and how they were prepared). They also researched what his responsibilities as an Army surgeon would have been (not just treating illness and doing surgery, but camp sanitation, feeding and housing the hospital workers, etc.).
I didn't have a panel planned for six p.m., but ended up going to one of the discussion panels they have every year for some of the stories in the Holmes canon. These always have a theme, like colors ("Five Orange Pips," "Blue Carbuncle," etc) and this year's theme was body parts, so they did "The Man With the Twisted Lip," "The Engineer's Thumb," "The Devil's Foot," "The Yellow Face," "The Crooked Man," and "The Creeping Man." Summary of story, then was it a good Holmes story and why. Very enjoyable!
Then there was a bit of a kerfluffle. The next panel was one I was very much looking forward to, about female detective authors and their detectives. I was hoping for some discussion about Dorothy Sayers and Lord Peter Wimsey, and of course there are the classics: Agatha Christie and both Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple, Margery Allingham and Albert Campion, Ngaio Marsh and Roderick Allyn, and newer writers like Ellis Peters and Kathy Reichs, Sue Grafton, etc.
Well, not one of the panelists showed up. I think this was rude. For all I know, there was a good reason; maybe they went out to dinner and couldn't get back in time—but they were scheduled for a panel and should have made sure they were back on time. I suggested maybe the audience could just discuss their favorite female detective writers among ourselves, but most people wandered away in search of another panel. Eventually all that were left were a gentleman I've seen before at conventions, and a woman I call "New York Lady" because I don't know her name and her friend, who are big Sherlock Holmes and Elementary fans. NYL was already a bit upset because she had planned to buy something in the charity auction and it had been pulled from the auction before she had a chance to bid on it, and the fact that the panel members had not fulfilled their obligation just bothered her more. She said (and I agreed) that it was rude to the convention itself and to the people who had wanted to see the panel. We ended up talking—as all older people—about the intensity of the younger con goers to identify the Sherlock and John characters seemingly only through their sexuality. Again, I don't understand this. Certainly it's a part of their identity, and it's interesting to explore all the sexual options for the characters which couldn't be explored in Victorian fiction (at least mainstream fiction; the Victorians still indulged—it was just kept under cover), but why does it seem to be a preoccupation with so many people?
The last panel was a roundtable with a moderator who does studies of all types of fandom: we (all women) all sat in a circle and talked about how we got into fandom. One other lady and I were the oldest in the room; I started on Get Smart and she started on Dark Shadows, and then the ages stepped down from us all the way to the teenager in the room. One lady's first fandom was V (the original), another was Doctor Who, another was Young Riders, etc. One of the younger members was German and learned English from watching her favorite fandoms on her iPod! One young lady started at age 2 with Blue's Clues. Finally it was down to an older lady who said she wasn't really a big fan of anything, but she worked all types of conventions, from this one to DragonCon to horror conventions. She never intended to watch any horror movies, or participate in some fandoms, but she enjoyed hearing everyone talk about their particular fandoms. The whole thing was a lot of fun!
Came home to find James just settling in after having gone to supper with everyone to celebrate Colin's 25th birthday. Sorry I missed that, but I told Lin to give him a birthday hug from me.
» Friday, April 01, 2016Elementary Actions
Well, 221B Con weekend has finally arrived. I celebrated it first by sleeping late, although I hadn't intended to. I slept badly after going to bed hungry, woke up with a headache, and then the alarm on my phone went off so softly that I managed to not hear it.
James was working at home due to the rain, so I wandered about tidying up. Spent about a half hour shredding old bills, and actually found something I was looking for, but alas, not what I really wanted to find. I gave Tucker one long last walk, then left about 1:15. Had lunch at Tin Drum instead of Panera because when I was hungry last night all I was fantasizing about was a teriyaki bowl. I actually had the Peking Short Rib Noodles for lunch because I had some bread with me. If I thought the Akers Mill restaurant serving of this was spicy, it wasn't a patch on Perimeter's! I managed to get through it between the cold water and the bread. I got the teriyaki bowl to go and ate it for supper.
Next I stopped at the Container Store to pick up a few little things, and then went into Barnes & Noble mainly to use the bathroom, but to also to check out any new magazines. They had clearance items, but nothing all that appealing.
I was back at the hotel at 3:30 for registration. This went fairly quickly, so I checked out the charity auction items, scoped out the meeting rooms, said hi to John Campbell, Naaman Taylor, and Anthony Taylor (no relation), then rode up to the con suite to nosh on a few Goldfish. They had a table full of freebies. Took a rubber brain eraser, some Sherlock Holmes "paper dolls," and a book of commentary on A Study in Scarlet.
Went to five panels this evening: "Alternate Universe and Crossover" (in fanfiction of course). There are so many variations these days, like Fusion. And there's such a thing as Tunalock. A whole set of fanfiction where Sherlock is a fish. I looked at it and it's actually well-written. Just quirky.
The next panel was devoted to little Wishbone, due to the two Sherlock stories that had been done on the show. We chatted about different episodes and would we like to see the series back, and what stories could they do.
The next panel was supposed to talk about turning traditional Sherlock fans on to the newer aspects of fandom. I think we decided they didn't need it. More Sherlock Holmes fans are...more Sherlock Holmes fans. It turned out the newer fans wanted to know about the older rituals of the traditional fans!
The penultimate panel was a discussion of the Sherlock Christmas special "The Abominable Bride," which I really enjoyed, but now I'm going to have to watch it again because they pointed out more parallels and inside jokes I completely missed.
The last panel was "Fandom Generations" wherein the older fans on the panel (and those creaky old buggers like me in the audience) talked about the good ol' days...before the internet, before VCRs ("Remember recording shows on cassette tape?" I chirped, and they certainly did), back in the days of mimeo. There were some very funny recollections about MediaWest Con. Wish I'd gotten to go to more than one! :-)