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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» Thursday, July 20, 2017
Under Pressure -- And Loving It
So I mentioned last weekend that I had purchased a pressure cooker on Prime Day and on Saturday I made gravy with it (that's spaghetti sauce for you Medigones in the audience 😀 ). But we hadn't used it for its primary purpose.

I have to admit I was a bit in trepidation about having a pressure cooker. My total experience with pressure cookers comes from sitcoms and a Lassie story with Jeff, "The Watch," all in which they explode and get food everywhere and break things.

James has been having some major problem with his knees, and he was up most of the night in pain. So he was home today and feeling marginally better by dinnertime. Earlier he took some boneless skinless chicken thighs out of the freezer to thaw. At dinnertime he used the saute feature to brown the chicken. Once that was done he put in a cup of unsalted chicken broth and a can of cream of mushroom soup (which had quite enough salt in it, thankyouverymuch), then pressed the "poultry" setting and let it cook for fifteen minutes. Upon opening it, the chicken was about 200°F inside and nice and tender. The broth was a bit soupy, so he put it back on saute and thickened the liquid with cornstarch. Then we had it over rice. Oh, yum! Now want to try other things, like pork loin and beef with teriyaki.

The nice thing about pressure cookers, I understand, is that you can use cheap cuts of meat and have a nice, tender result. Looking forward to finding out.

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» Sunday, July 16, 2017
Routine Sunday

I guess I slept better than last night. Except it was filled with bad dreams. It's either one thing or the other.

We were up early enough to get to Kroger ahead of the crowds, walking the dog, but abandoning breakfast, so had a leisurely shopping experience, checking out the fruit and the meat managers' specials and some sales along with our list, and were home about 10:30. Once we'd put all up and had breakfast, we hopped out for just a little while again to pick up a few other things: tea at Nam Dae Mun, a chair cushion for James at Bed, Bath & Beyond, and then gasoline for the truck at Kroger. James has been having terrible trouble with his knees since he sat on a bad chair at work, and today he was just miserable, so we simply headed home after finishing.

Spent the afternoon doing chores: sorting pills for the week, cleaning the bathroom, getting clothes ready for work, cleaning out the kitchen sink, the usual junk. James made more breakfast burritos. I washed the towels and took Tucker outside and read "Blue Ridge Country" (looks like there are a lot of eclipse get-togethers planned in the area of totality).

Barbecue pork and roast potatoes were the supper du jour, and we watched America's Funniest Home Videos, America in Color (the 1940s tonight, with the scenes of the Japanese internment camps just making me angry and sad all over again), and now I have found a show called This Old Horse where a filmmaker is talking about movie horses, starting with John Wayne's horses.

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» Saturday, July 15, 2017
Bring on the New

It's always the same. If we don't need to get up early, we sleep, and sleep, and sleep. But when we need to get up early, we're tossing and turning in bed all night as if we're bopping along to Chuck Berry. So since we had to get up at 6:45 a.m., guess what we did and what we didn't do. Never mind; we made it there, even if we didn't make it at opening of Betsy's Hallmark. (Yes, it's already Ornament Premiere Weekend.) It wasn't very crowded, and we were able to get the ornaments we wanted. James picked up the new airplane (a "Mystery Ship"), Duck Dodgers, and Marvin the Martian. I got two mini ornaments (the cardinal in the pine cone and the Hallowe'en owl), the Hallowe'en raven, Judy and Nick (of course, since there's no such thing as a Betty Roberts/Scott Sherwood ornament), the swan in the 12 Days of Christmas series, Willy Wonka for the library tree, and the beautiful Los Tres Reyes Magos (the three kings), which I thought would go well for Epiphany with my La Befana.

I just realized I forgot to look for the new Marjolein Bastin ornament. Oh, well, those don't usually sell out.

I'm intensely curious now about what they are going to do next year for the 12 Days set. The first seven ornaments, as in the song, are birds (no, I'm not forgetting the "five golden rings"—it has been long believed that the "rings" are actually ring-necked pheasants, and that's how Hallmark portrayed the ornament). I had hoped the fourth day bird would be black—the original song which I learned in elementary school called them "colley birds," not "calling birds," in other words, blackbirds—but I guess they didn't think that was Christmasy. But now we are getting to people: the eight milkmaids, the nine drummers, the ten ladies dancing, the 11 lords a leaping, and the 12 pipers piping (or whatever order they have the last four in; it changes in different versions). Could they somehow stick with birds? The milkmaids could be cowbirds, the drummers ruffed grouse (they "drum" with their feathers when mating), and the pipers could be sandpipers. But what birds dance and leap? So this mystery won't be solved until next year's Dream Book gets released in April.

We decided to try Goldberg's Deli for breakfast because it was the nearest spot open. This was quite good and we had a great waiter (Jake). James was going to have lunch with the guys, so he had only a bagel breakfast biscuit with egg and turkey sausage. He said even the bagel was quite good and he'd like to try an omelet next time. I had challah bread French toast. Oy. Very filling, but excellent.

I hadn't mentioned, but we were in separate cars, since he was heading for lunch and his club meeting. So after Goldbergs we separated, but still went the same way: Roswell Road to East Piedmont, which eventually turns into Barrett Parkway. He went on to Hobbytown whereas I stopped early at Barnes & Noble (I checked out CD Warehouse, but...nothing really). I found the new "Blue Ridge Country," which has an article on the upcoming eclipse, and also picked up, with a coupon, The Stolen Pearl, which is Elizabeth Wein's prequel to Code Name Verity, featuring Julie. Also found a hardback copy of One Hundred and One Dalmatians and a trade paper of Swallows & Amazons at 75 percent off.

I stopped at Academy Sports looking for something, didn't find it, and went on to the Dallas Highway Barnes & Noble because it was on the way home and I wanted to check out their clearance; nothing there. Oh, well.

When I came home I started a different project. This past Tuesday was "Prime Day" on Amazon, sort of a Black Friday sale but in July. The pressure cooker we bought in Helen hadn't worked out (it's possible it just needs a new seal, but it never builds up to pressure), so James was still looking for one. One of the featured buys on Amazon was an InstantPot, a big pressure cooker that was also a slow cooker, rice cooker, oatmeal maker, and it could saute meat before you cooked it in the same pot. I thought it would make a great early birthday gift and ordered it (I also ordered him an early anniversary gift and also a card reader). It came on Thursday and I decided to try it out today just for something basic like slow cooking. I had boneless pork ribs thawed in the refrigerator, pulled them out, and, consulting the manual, set the unit to sauté. I put a tiny bit of olive oil in the container and then browned the pork all over. (Next time I will put the temp on low instead of normal; it started to sizzle and stick the moment the meat hit the metal, but I flipped them over quickly and nothing burned.) Then I shut off the sauté (the manual says the most important button on this unit is the "cancel" button 😀), pulled out the pork, put a teeny bit of water in the bottom to loosen the fond, poured in a small bottle of tomato and basil sauce, put the pork back in, put more sauce in, and left it on "normal" (which is supposed to be low temperature on a slow cooker and is equivalent to 190°F).

The only funny thing about this is that I am so short and the pot is so deep I could not see all the pork while I was sautéing it. So there I was, standing on a stool like Sally from "Dick and Jane" in the kitchen fixing a treat for her dolly (with "Spot" at least looking on).
 
Did a couple of tidying-up items, and next thing I knew it was dark outside and raining. Turns out James' meeting was short and he just beat the rain in covering up the power chair. By the time he got home from Town Center, it had stopped.
 
For supper we went up to Fried Tomato Buffet for the chicken and dumplings and the barbecue pork ribs (well, that's what I went for). We came directly home after that.
 
The gravy was finished in seven hours; it tastes exquisite despite the sugar they put in the base tomato sauce now. (Damn you, Classico!) We will have it for supper some time this week; by then the flavors will have deepened even more.

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» Friday, July 14, 2017
Colonel McKean, Please!...It's Too Hot

Since everyone knows that I sleep late on my day off (well, if I have nothing else going on), I'll skip that part, and the inevitable breakfast and dog walk.

But it was going to be hot, so after that I got dressed and went out as quickly as possible.

First I had to pick up two prescriptions at Kaiser. I read the free "Points North" magazine in the waiting room (neat article about Airstream trailers), so that was soon completed. Then I went to Barnes & Noble in Buckhead since it's been a month and I was hoping on a new "Best of British." Found one, too, and a new "Project Calm" with a seashore theme. At the end of one row I found the magazine "The Horn Book." If you've never heard of this famous magazine, it was founded in 1924 and is the magazine for children's/young adult book reviews. I'd never seen one and picked it up, and it opened immediately to a four page tribute to one of my late online friends, Peter D. Sieruta, who died--is it that long now?--five years ago after complications from surgery. I never met Peter, but I followed his blog, "Collecting Children's Books," and his personal Facebook page, I remember he was just discovering the joys of new home ownership when he passed away. Peter used to write for "The Horn Book" and had just completed co-authoring a book when he died. Weird how it opened at just that place.

It was warm in the store, so I was happy to get in the car and pump up the A/C to drive back to Akers Mill and have lunch at Tin Drum.

Finally I went by Publix and did the twofer thing.

It was not a productive afternoon. I put some things away, but ended up with a sinus headache and finally retreated to the futon for an hour, then got dressed again just in time to take Tucker outside and then wait for James to show up. That few minutes out in the sun with the dog were horrible. It was about 93 and unless you were in the shade, the heat seemed to take the oxygen out of the air. By the time we went to dinner, I was sorry I'd make that choice. All that Chinese food just made me queasy. Brought me back to summer nights when I was a kid and it was so hot in the house I couldn't eat. I'd have a chicken wing or a couple of slices of cucumber and just drink lemon-lime Zarex syrup and water or milk all night.

Been keeping cool tonight and will be in bed soon to be up early tomorrow for the Hallmark Ornament Premiere.

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» Sunday, July 09, 2017
Strong and Weak-End

Friday tipped back and forth between being good and bad. Good was that I got an order done, but by the time I got it done Puli had left. I could have finished earlier if I'd sacrificed my usual lunch hour and took it later, but by noon I had a pitiless migraine and I spent my lunch hour in a dark room. The rest of the evening wasn't bad: we went to Fried Tomato Buffet (mostly for the shrimp) and then James dropped me off at JoAnn with three coupons. I got two more Command containers (which are always useful) and a plug I can use with USB plugs instead of prongs. They also had autumn decorations out. I wasn't fond of most of it, but there were pumpkins covered with feathers (looked like pheasant-type feathers) and also pumpkins made of twisted, fall-colored raffia. Interesting.

We were going to stop by Bed, Bath & Beyond with a coupon, but a huge black cloud had built up while we were at the buffet. The rain started falling while I was in JoAnn (luckily James had decided to cover the power chair while I was shopping), but we skirted it going home and saw a lovely partial rainbow in the process.

Saturday we had a full plate in the morning/early afternoon. James was looking for a model base, so he dropped me in Michaels. Passed by their autumn decorations to check out the wood. The piece was so inexpensive it wasn't worth using a coupon on, so I went over to the jewelry area to buy a fine chain for a project. (It looked like gold in the store, but when I got home I realized it was silver. I'll have to rework the project.)

We finally reached Bed, Bath & Beyond. We decided to invest in one of those carts with the three wheels, because sometimes it's a stretch getting the groceries up the stairs. (I'm going to try using it with the laundry, too. The clothes are pretty heavy.)

It was lunch time by then and we ate at the Corner Bakery Cafe, which is kind of a Panera clone without the bread. They have a "pick two" system as well, and I got a cup of soup (good, but not like Panera's) and some cavatelli in marinara sauce. Great cavatelli, but the tomato sauce is so sweet you could spread it on bread with peanut butter.

Finally we stopped at Barnes & Noble for a little down time. I found a humorous book about decluttering, and James found a new "1632" novel and a magazine. Then we headed home to get cool and assemble a couple of gifts.

At six o'clock we arrived at Longhorn for a nice dinner with friends. Phyllis and Mel Boros' son Robb was in town with his two daughters, Sophie and Ziva, and we were helping them celebrate. We met Robb's friends, a nice couple, the wife who had lived in Warner Robins, and enjoyed a good dinner. We were also celebrating Charles Rutledge's birthday and had cake for dessert.

I had also brought Juanita's birthday gift with me so she could have it for camping. It is a little pouch in the Cunningham (her maiden name) tartan with an angel pin with her birthstone on it. Inside I put a little travel size adult coloring book of wild animals, colored pencils, and a sharpener. She was thrilled, which made me happy; I'd been so chuffed when I found the Cunningham bag. Birthday gifts sometimes are hit-and-miss; at least this was a hit.

As the party was winding down, we noticed clouds gathering outside the window. Radar showed a squall coming, so we hurried out and drove home, relieved to see the sun. Except that the moment we pulled in the garage we heard a "boom" that sounded like a cannon simultaneous with a flash of light. The next thing we knew, it was pouring, the wind gusting out of the north and the water sluicing down the street.

Went to bed relatively early for a Saturday, which brought us to this morning. I had a strangely restless night, waking once because I was cold enough to use the spread (really odd!) and another time to use the bathroom,  having weird dreams I didn't remember. So we both were up rather early and rushed through breakfast to go to Kroger before the next wave of shoppers came. We managed pretty well and were home before 11:30.

While I'd like to report we did something exciting during the afternoon, well...no.  We sorted our drugs for the week and otherwise got ready for work tomorrow. I washed the towels and made the bed. James cooked up some ground turkey and beef for breakfast burritos. I watched a few episodes of Doctor in the House (yes, this series is very old-fashioned and no longer politically correct, but it's still very funny; a shame Barry Evans died so young) and the "Gone West" episode of America. Took a short nap and then James made oriental chicken salad for supper. After the news and a "Grandma and Grandpa" Guy's Grocery Games, we are watching America in Color: the 1930s and are waiting for the new Amelia Earhart special.

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» Tuesday, July 04, 2017
Pops Go the Fourth!
It was a quiet day here at "the Hollow" (well, except for the pops, bangs and twizzles that have been driving poor Tucker mad all day). James teleworked and got about three calls; he got double time for it and built up a little karma (and made up for his doctor's appointment yesterday, too). I slept late and woke up sick, so that Tucker had to wait for his walk.

Things settled down and I was finally able to watch "Making a Revolution" from Alistair Cooke's America (watched the first two episodes last night). About one-fifteen put on 1776 and had a good time singing along, although even after all these years I miss "dancing" with Bandit to "He Plays the Violin." This is the new Blu-ray release and it looks spectacular. You can almost walk right into the picture and be part of the action. After 1776 went back to America for "Inventing a Nation."

Managed to get Tucker out late in the afternoon with a combination of treats and tugging. There were some pretty big pops and booms by that time, and I gave him a little treat each time he stood his ground.

We had our ribs tonight, but were originally in despair of getting them to cook in a reasonable time. James wanted to do them in the oven, but according to all the recipes this takes over two hours, and he didn't "get off" until five! Eventually he did them over the grill on the stove, having done a rub on them last night. Not too bad. Next time we need to do them at lowest temp, longer, with a better foil tent to seal in the flavor. Still moist and juicy. As a side we had gold potatoes with a thin coating of olive oil oven roasted. Forgot completely about the sweet corn, but my teeth probably wouldn't have taken it.  For dessert we had Marie Callendar chocolate satin mini-pies.

As anyone who reads this blog knows, we have been watching the broadcasts of the Boston Pops concert on (and off) television on the Fourth for years. Originally we watched on A&E, back when A&E was about arts and education rather than sleazy reality shows. This was broadcast in conjunction with WCVB-TV in Boston and hosted by Jack Perkins from A&E and Mary Richardson from WCVB. It took them a year or two to work out the kinks, and then it was aces from then on.

Then the sponsorship changed and went to WBZ (which was an NBC station when I was a kid but is now CBS), and most years there has been a simulcast nationwide with CBS—but CBS only showed the last hour, joining in progress the very end of the Pops' famous "1812 Overture" performance and changing the order of the concert performances to plug the latest pop stars and their new albums. Even the year or two they showed the whole concert the Pops themselves were downplayed to promote This Year's New Singing Sensation. Last year's broadcast was probably one of their worst, with the pop music loud, discordant, and intrusive. The only really good broadcast we saw was the year CBS dropped the showing and it was streamed live on the internet.

The sponsorship ended last year and we were faced with a drought of Pops once more, but some investment company stepped in to fill the gap. For the next three years the broadcasts will be on Bloomberg Television, and also streamed live on Bloomberg.com.

Well, so far Bloomberg has blown CBS out of the water (of course, given CBS's dismal coverage, that wouldn't be hard). Everything is back where it belongs and the pop star they had on (Andy Grammer) actually sang some good songs. Guests included Brian Stokes Mitchell, who sang a brand new Alan Menken song, Leslie Odom Jr from Hamilton, and Melissa Etheridge.

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» Sunday, July 02, 2017
In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the A/C...

We really slept in this morning, arising at ten. So much for going to Costco early. Never mind, ate breakfast as always, took Tucker for a walk after letting in his new harness all the way. The old one, a small, was let out all the way; I had to snug this one, a medium, all the way. So he's a big small or a small medium, whatever that means.

We went to Costco for milk and Clorox and came out also with toilet paper, mushrooms, ibuprofin, and Skinny Pop. Tasted "watermelon water" (wish they'd left out the lemon juice), franks and beans, and some type of potato salad which was good but too sweet, and I prefer my potatoes hot and buttered, thanks.

On the way home James stayed in the truck and kept the milk cold while I ran into Dollar Tree for some washcloths, sugarless candy, and more Pears soap. The cashier shut down the register after me, and I asked if it were her lunch break. She said no, it was time for her to go home! I hope I was a good last customer of the day.

We didn't buy much, but it seemed to take hours to get it into the house with the heat climbing into the 80s. I think I took no more than ten minutes sticking a couple of Independence Day stake decorations out front, putting up the flag on the front door, and putting a couple of "Uncle Sam" prim figures on the porch, and by the time I got inside I was lightheaded and badly needing some air conditioning and a drink.

So we spent the rest of the day in the cool, cool, cool of the afternoon; I did the July calendar on the whiteboard on the refrigerator, cut open the cards they were on and put James' iron pills in a bottle for him, made the bed, finished Bright Earth, and watched mind candy in the form of Storage Wars. For supper we had the chicken and wild rice soup.

Today I had some of the cherries I bought Friday. Will  you tell me what in the name of God the cherry growers of the United States have done to the beautiful Bing cherry? As a kid I would wait in anticipation for cherry season—they are my favorite fruit—and then we could only afford a paltry half or quarter of a pound, so I would have to savor those wonderful cherries when I could. I swore that when I was grown up I would buy all the cherries I liked. And until even as late as fifteen years ago, when Harry's Farmer's Market was still Harry's and not a stupid Whole  Paycheck Foods, and I could pick the best cherries out one by one, always the darkest, firmest of the bunch, they were sweet and heavenly, the sort of thing angels sang hymns about.

In this bag at least a third look perfect and feel perfect, and when you bite into them they are so insipid I want to cry. Is this a plot by the cherry growers to get everyone to buy the more expensive Ranier cherries? Whatever is going on, it's horrible.

Tucker has been on the "tranquilizers" two days now and nevertheless we still had to coax him downstairs tonight to go out. There were "poppers" going off that we couldn't hear and thunder and lightning on the horizon. We met one of the neighbors and their new puppy, which looks like a black and white Pomeranian. Tucker walked up to him whining and rapidly wagging his tail, and the puppy's reaction was to jump backward, yipping and growling defensively. They finally touched noses, but when Tucker tried to sniff him a second time, he went back into defensive mode. Too cute.

(Speaking of cute animals, remember the cat I mentioned in last weekend's entry, the one Jessie and Aubrey found in back of the funeral home? Jessie has adopted her. Her name is Fiona.)

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» Saturday, July 01, 2017
Big Bang Weary

Very strange dream last night, or actually this morning; our friend Jen's parents dropped by our house to drop off some of my mother's clothes. What the hell? We have never met Jen's parents, and we did not know her when my mom was alive. Yet they had met my mother; she'd stayed at their house and left some clothes behind. I recognized them, too, especially one of her cardigans. How bizarre is that? Plus in this dream, we had just moved into another house with a small enclosed porch on the front and I was thinking "I can decorate this for Christmas!"

We didn't have any plans for today except going to Petsmart to get Tucker a new harness. The old one was bought when he was younger and now is a little too small. We did this around noon. They were adopting cats today, but Tucker was too interested in the other dogs to pay much attention (face to face with two cats in a crate, he seems a bit astonished). We ended up getting a purple harness and buying a purple collar to match (like Londo Mollari in Babylon 5, he's now "stunning in purple"). Not getting him the whole kit, though; the red leash can stay. Also got some seed for Snowy, and, while James kept Tucker company in the truck, ran next door to Michaels to pick up some Command hooks. To my delight they had fall stuff out! Pumpkins, autumn flowers in different muted hues, containers referencing falling leaves and Thanksgiving, owls and foxes and squirrels made out of brushy stuff.

We took Tucker home and, not wanting to veg all afternoon, decided to have our big meal at lunch and just graze at supper. Thus we drove out to Acworth and had lunch at Longhorn: six ounce Renegades with salads as sides, and bread as a chaser. When we emerged from the pleasant gloom of the restaurant the sky was still mostly cloudy, with the sun peeking around the edges. I "drove" the power chair across the parking lot to Books-a-Million while James followed in the truck, and then we swapped off. Several minutes later James was looking at the magazines, and I was looking at the books when a too-familiar sound came from overhead: the sound of rain pounding against the roof. Looked outside in disbelief to see Georgia Monsoon Season in full swing, an almost solid curtain of rain drumming on the pavement like Ringo Starr at a big concert. It faded out and came back several times, so we just browsed at leisure and shared a frozen hot chocolate as a dessert.

Stopped at Kroger on the way home to pick up a few necessary things, like bread for work.

It's been a quiet evening figuratively: watched part of a Wild Wild West episode, a new Father Brown, and a series about forgotten American history on the American Heroes Channel. However, outside all hell was breaking loose: we could hear fireworks from several directions and thunder was rumbling in accompaniment to lightning on the edges of the sky. Tucker's eyes got very large and, although he did come out with me, he kept stopping and staring, transfixed, in the directions of the noise. When he would do this instead of trying to run back to the house, I would praise him greatly. Not sure if the tranquilizer pills I got him yesterday are having any effect (they're not real drugs, but stuff like chamomile and melatonin). The noise, however, didn't keep him from wanting treats. Afterwards I slipped outside; someone on the other side of the development, I think on Landmark Street, always has these big fireworks. Some of them sound like mortars! And of course they had roman candles, so I enjoyed a short show.

Tucker, though, just curled up in a tight ball on James' recliner and tried to ignore it all. Poor puppy.

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