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 theyoungfamily (at) earthlink (dot) net

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» Tuesday, April 30, 2002
Frontier House parts 1 and 2 (I only saw part 1, preparation and the journey to their first stop)

Anyone watching this series? Georgia Public Television has it on this week. Your times may vary.

I got a kick out of the original idea, 1900 House, which was a British production. A family had to live in a house furnished as it would have been in 1900, dress the parts, work in the household as if it were 1900, with no modern conveniences, etc. 1900 House got to be very funny (and occasionally annoying) because the family said they knew right out what the inconveniences were and they were "go" to live without them nevertheless, and not a month later the woman of the house is whining about how greasy her hair is and how she can't take a shower.

The Brits also did something called 1940s House where a family had to live with food rationing and other WWII inconveniences, but I haven't seen that shown here. I wish they would!

Frontier House is an American production. Three families will live on the Montana prairies as pioneer families would have circa 1880 for five months. They will have livestock to care for, food to cook in a cookstove or over a fire, an old-fashioned privy and old-fashioned hygiene to contend with, water to fetch, crops to grow, winter to prepare for, etc.

Now I know if the producers of either 1900 House or Frontier House had picked those who do recreationist events (SCA, Civil War, Victorian, etc.) they would have had some saavy people doing these projects, but it probably would have made for a duller viewing experience (at least by their standards). I think they both deliberately picked people they thought would cope eventually, but who did not have a full clue of what they would have to put up with.

Frontier House shows that clearly. For instance, no pioneer kid or recreationist kid would have whined the way the one little boy did about his "bad day." Little boys of that day took adventures as part and parcel of what life was all about. Granted, the runaway wagon would have been upsetting even to a real pioneer boy. But he certainly would not have whimpered by the end of the day that "this was the worst day of my life." Poor child! The wagon ran away with him, he lost the worm on his fishhook, and the neighbor's dog snapped at his heels (the skin wasn't even touched, although the kid broke into tears; the dog was an Australian heeler and was probably trying to "herd" him). Geez, kid, quit whining, get another worm, and try again.

The part that flabbergasted me the most was the attitude the women had to giving up!!! Having to wear a homemade sanitary belt and rags instead of tampons didn't seem to faze them as much as having to get along without lipstick, blush, and mascara! All of them except one girl tried to smuggle makeup with them. Even after being told that women in those days who wore "face paint" were either actresses (undesirable people) or whores, one of the women was disappointed because she was not allowed to wear makeup when they took their "going West" photos. One of the teenage girls had to put mascara on one last time before they left because she couldn't stand the thought of not wearing it. The other woman said she didn't mind not wearing makeup because "I'm only going to milk a cow, not meet my friends." Oh, and you have such shallow friends that you feel you must wear makeup when you see them or they won't accept you? What kind of people are so insecure that they don't want to go out in public without glopping a lot of artificial junk on their faces?

I did get a big kick out of the story of the trouble they had getting milk cows, the story about the breeder who told them she'd give them her husband or her kids before she let them have one of her prize cows!


Willow Thinks It Through

Our terrier-cross likes to pretend occasionally that she's dumb as dirt. Hah.

She knows dozens of words, including "Daddy's home!" and "cookie," her two favorites. She knows that to go outside Bandit must be in his cage--and she will monitor him until he goes in. If she is bad and you recognize it, she will often go into her crate--her "time out"--without being told, tail tucked between her legs. You won't even have to say "bad dog."

Last month as I prepared to take the two of them to the vet to board before we went to New York for the weekend, I had a plan of how to put them in the car in an orderly fashion, no hurry or fuss. Until I made the mistake of saying to Willow as I sat down to tie my shoes, "Do you want to go see Daddy?"

Willow didn't give me a moment's peace after that. She whined, she cried, she jumped at my feet. She was so hyper I had to put Bandit into the car first and take her out last.

Granted, perhaps she somehow made the correlation between "Daddy," "go," and my shoes. This doesn't explain how she knew, once brought outside, to go to the passenger side of the car and jump at the door!

James' day off this week happened to fall yesterday. Traffic on Monday is usually light unless there's an accident, so I made it home from work on time to see him off to his last week in A+/Net+ class. I tucked Bandit in his little carry box and put Willow on her leash--we could get some fresh air while seeing James off.

Willow whined and whimpered as James got in the truck, backed down the driveway, and turned into the street without her, then drove off. Once he was out of sight, I quit snubbing up the flexileash and let her have her head.

No, she did not run down the driveway and try to chase him down the street. She ran to the passenger door of my car and danced there, looking back at me, the expression on her face clearly, "C'mon, Mom, we can catch him if you hurry!"

And people say Lassie understanding all those words and concepts is impossible!


Pet Peeve [Indefinite]: People who send print jobs to a communal printer and then do not monitor them. It's fine to leave your printing for an indefinite time if you have your own, but on a shared printer it's downright rude. Today I sent something to the printer and got up to fetch it immediately, only to find out someone was printing letters and the machine had run out of letterhead. Not a soul appeared for five minutes; I just replaced the letterhead myself. Ten minutes later the letters were still sitting there.

Of course I should be surprised. I have found printouts at that machine that are at least a week old. One day there was a pile of paper at the printer almost two inches high. By the end of the week, the pile had only decreased about half an inch!


» Monday, April 29, 2002
While I was doing the weekly shopping at Sam’s Club on Saturday I noticed some videos my mom would like and bought them for her for Mother’s Day. She’s just turned 85 and the books I used to buy her before now make her nod off, so I buy her videos instead. Most of the videos are Westerns. She's always been a big "cowboy movie" fan and used to read Zane Grey in her youth.

Buying Mother's Day presents has made me think of what I call the Ultimate Mother's Sacrifice that involves my mother. It's not really "ultimate." She didn't endure fire or abuse or anything horrific to do so. On the other hand, she...

Let me tell the story.

I don't think I fall into the "picky eater" category, but I do have a list of foods I don't like. Cooked green vegetables are at the top. I'll eat salad veggies any day, but boil those suckers and turn 'em limp and you insult my digestion.

In any case, I tell people I was the only kid in school who hated weekends. Religiously obeying my pediatrician, I had to eat the three foods I hated most in the world on Friday and Saturday (always those days because my dad loved routine and we ate the same kind of food on the same day of the week all the time).

Friday night was fish. Now, I'm not a big fish fan. Crab I'll eat until I'm stuffed. I love steamers, clam chowder, scallops broiled in butter, shrimp scampi, and tuna fish. I've even been known to eat a few bites of salmon steak if it's been cooked nicely. But I hate your run of the mill freshwater and saltwater fish. Worse, the only way my parents would eat fish was breaded and fried. I hate foods with coatings, whether it's battered or bread crumbed: fried chicken, chicken fried steak, those appetizers at Scalini's, etc. When I eat a food, I want to taste the food, not this noxious grainy coating that too often has that even more noxious condiment, pepper, in it.

I'd sit there on Friday nights and try to pick the middle out of the breaded fish, but Mom had always breaded 'em too well. The bread crumbs were well mixed into the flaky fish flesh.

Saturday afternoon was scrambled eggs. Remember, this was the 1960s, back in the days when no one worried about cholesterol and eggs were "good for you." You were supposed to eat one or two every day.

As far as I'm concerned, eggs belong in cake batters. Mom got around this dislike by having me drink an eggnog every morning. This was also back in the days when no one made a fuss about salmonella in chicken eggs--we got our eggs fresh from Stamps Farm--and she could make me a real eggnog, not those gloppy, thick, oversweetened concoctions that show up in cans and bottles before Christmas. She beat one egg, one cup of whole milk, and a teaspoon of sugar, and I drank the delicious beverage without a quibble. On frigid winter mornings when the thermometer barely rose to double digits, totally supported by the same pediatrician mentioned earlier, she would put a tablespoonful of brandy into it (can you imagine a doctor doing this today for an elementary school kid???).

Now, granted, if you have to eat an egg, scrambled is the way to go. But even that she got down me only forkful by desperate forkful for Saturday lunch.

Saturday supper was the worst. If the spinach I had to eat wasn't bad enough, she cooked it Italian style. This mean you sauteed the wretched stuff in olive oil until it was limp and saturated with this greasy warm coating. Even with the oil poured off it was slimy and nasty. But this was the way she had been brought up to cook spinach and the way my dad enjoyed it.

(Many years later I figured it might have been the oil that I hated, not the spinach, so one day when a salad bar was offering spinach salad, I gave it a try. No dice. As far as I'm concerned, the taste of spinach is as bad as sucking on the monkey bars in the schoolyard.)

Anyway, I ate this wretched concoction for years, through three presidencies, hippies, Vietnam, changing mores on TV, the decline of Downtown Providence--you get the idea. (Cue film montage...)

One Saturday evening when I had just turned seventeen I was sitting at the table. Mom had just started to get the utensils out for dinner and I was considering setting the table; it was a little early but I might as well get it over with. And we were talking.

She took out the saucepan she used for the spinach and I said, "You know what? I can't wait until I turn eighteen."

She laughed. "Are you going to go out on your own and leave us?"

My parents and I got along very well 99 percent of the time and I shook my head. "Of course not. But at eighteen I'll be an adult and be able to make some of my own decisions." Now, mind you, I tried not to swear in front of my mother. But I had to make my point. "And then I won't ever have to eat that goddamned spinach ever again."

She put the saucepan down and blinked at me, not even scolding me for "that word." "You really don't like it that much?"

Heavens, parents can be so dense sometimes. "I hate it, Mom. It tastes awful and greasy and nasty and it makes me sick to the stomach."

At that time I took vitamin supplements. So she sighed and said, "Well, you're healthy enough. Okay, you don't have to eat it anymore."

If I wasn't flabbergasted enough by that, she added, "Good, then I won't have to eat it any more either. I hate spinach."

Blink. "You what?"

"I hate spinach. I've always hated it, but the doctor said it was good for you, so I ate it, too, to show you a good example."

My mother ate something she hated for sixteen years every Saturday night just to show me a good example.

If that ain't Mother Love, I don't know what is.


» Thursday, April 25, 2002
Pet Peeve Billboard: on the right is a photo of a bottle of Jack Daniel's. Caption to the left says "The invite said to bring a friend."

Well, hey, there's a real winner, right? His/her only friend is a bottle of liquor!

Ye Gods! who thinks these things up?


» Tuesday, April 23, 2002
Arrrgh! They killed The Lone Gunmen! Those ...

Well, you get the idea.


» Monday, April 22, 2002
E-books again

Been reading my way through some of the e-books I have downloaded.

Finished In Search of the Castaways last week. At times it was more a travelogue than an adventure novel. I did get irritated with Verne’s women: they were basically good, noble, honest, feminine figures stuck on a pedestal and described only in the most fulsome of tones. To tell the truth, everyone was pretty two-dimensional except Paganel the geographer, who was the only character whose personality was allowed to bloom. I was very amused by the ending which, of course, would have never made it into the Disney version.

Also finished one of Lucy Fitch Perkins’ Twins books. These were written between the 19"teens” and 1930 and, as the description indicates, featured a set of twins (always a boy and a girl except in one book). The twins either lived in another country or in a certain historical time. A used bookstore had these when I was a teenager and I glanced at them covetously, but could not afford the $20 price tag. Blackmask Online had seven of these adapted as e-books, and my first was The Belgian Twins. Jan and Marie, age 8, are separated from their parents as the Germans march through neutral Belgium in World War I. A web site I found about the books commented that the author was fairly free of the sexual prejudices of the times and when a culture did demean women, she usually had something to say about it within the text. Indeed, while Marie was quite the little housekeeper, she was not the usual sort of fussily feminine character that showed up in those days. She neither screamed nor fainted nor shrank behind her brother and while she could cook, she could also work in the fields to help with the harvest. Quite refreshing.

Still reading American Notes by Rudyard Kipling--quite critical of the American style, but in an amusing way, although his remarks about other races are about what you would expect for the time. Also am in the midst of Penelope’s English Experiences by Kate Douglas Wiggin of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm fame. This is the first of four books about Penelope, an American girl traveling in Great Britain, and also on "the continent" in the final book. It's pleasant fluff with a feeling for what a young woman traveling abroad during that time would be interested in. Unfortunately while I can read Penelope's Scottish adventures, her Irish and European stories didn't transfer well to Microsoft Reader; the files I downloaded have errors. I will have to finish her travels on the web.


» Monday, April 15, 2002
One reason I'm always creebing about the air conditioner being on is that for our budget's sake in the fall, winter, and spring we manage to keep the bill down to around $60-$70, despite having the television on all day for Bandit. Certainly our house doesn't present that glowy Thomas Kincade look! At night unless someone's using another room, the den is what's lit up. But once the A/C goes on the bill triples. So it's really a relief not to have to turn the thing on until early May and a big relief to switch it off in late September.

We'd planned this year to turn it on for the two/three weeks jokingly known as "the Atlanta Pollen Festival," specifically while the pine trees were breeding, since with the attic fan on all that nasty yellow dust gets sucked right into the house. Instead...well, we've had to turn it on because it's too bloody hot!

It isn't the day temperature that's the problem, either, although to me anything over seventy is pushing the limits of sultry. It's the night temperature: if it isn't under 60 degrees it's sultry and still in our second-floor bedroom. And although the Weather Channel keeps claiming it's going under sixty for the past two weeks, I haven't seen one night where it was cool enough to be able to sleep without the attic fan roaring like a department store cooling system right outside our bedroom door.


Hurrah! The master bathroom is finally finished! I caulked the bottom of the tub (doing a rather ratty job) last Monday or Tuesday, used Plaid GlassArt paints to color and frost the window on Saturday, and on Sunday James swapped out the shower massage head from the hall bath and that was done.

After five years of not being able to shower in the master bath, we'd forgotten the unit was narrower than the one in the larger hall bath. But that's easily gotten around. Just have to find somewhere for the shampoo bottle. There's not much ledge space. But I really don't like those hanging shower arrangers; they get dirty and gummy so quickly.


» Thursday, April 11, 2002
I could fall sideways here in my chair and just go to sleep.

I never seem to get enough sleep, and since my best sleeping hours are between six and eight a.m. and I have to get up at six, you can imagine the results. I feel like Hawkeye Pierce when he told someone the first thing he was going to do when he got home from Korea was take a nap for six months--then he was going to turn over and get some sleep!

How can you not feel kinship with a man who says "No wonder they shoot people at sunrise? Who wants to live at six in the morning?"


» Wednesday, April 10, 2002
*sigh* Just found out yesterday that one of our windows is broken--it will go up but not stay up. Since this is the spare room window at the front of the house, we've usually counted on it to give us a crossdraft during the fall and spring. I suppose we can prop it with something.

The windows need replacing, really; the seal between the double panes has broken on some of them and they're getting foggy. The screens certainly need replacing; once an insect gets past the screen there is no barrier to keep them out of the house, as the top and bottom sash seem to have about 1/8 of an inch gap between them when closed. The flies are bad enough, but the wasps scare me since James is allergic.

People rip the previous month's page off the calendar and look forward to what's going to happen next month. All I do is anticipate what disasters can happen...


» Tuesday, April 09, 2002
Didn't mention the master bathroom was now finished, save for some caulking between the tub and the linoleum. I put the topiary, cloud, and hummingbird "Wallies" up last Thursday, the "Tuscan window" decoration up on Saturday, and James fastened up the shelving/towel rack on Sunday. It looks lovely.

Of course with the sky and the clouds I told James it looked like the perfect day for a rocket launch. So he's going to try to find a rocket decal we can use...


You might have noticed that in my last post I mentioned Bandit's leg being possibly "sprained" and wondered about it, as I mentioned he had breathing problems, not sore limbs.

At the moment the panting problem seems to have alleviated. I kept him warm and as calm as possible (since half the time he will hop up on the bars of the cage when I walk by) and on Easter Sunday allowed him certain small flights. He has flown since then, from the cage to me and back again, or from my head to James' without any appreciable loss of breath or gasping.

Easter Sunday, though, I noticed he was favoring his right foot a little, and by the next day he was obviously favoring it.

He isn't using it much, although he can still climb and still scratches with it, but then holds it up afterward. He can bear a little weight on it, but prefers not to, and balances by carrying his tail low and sitting with his little breastbone resting on the perch or my finger.

On the other hand, he doesn't seem to be in severe pain, although he's resting a lot. He chirps when uncovered in the morning, makes love to my thumb, eats and drinks and eliminates, talks--just nothing as much as he did when he was completely well.

When I spoke to the vet last no further diagnosis could be done without stressful tests, which I didn't feel as if he were strong enough to take--and even if he was strong enough, would he be able to endure it anyway? A budgie is all ego and looks like the strongest little fellow in the world--I've always said Bandit is as tough as old boots; nothing fazes him and it's Willow who's the bundle of neuroses--but is he truly? And came the diagnosis, what then? One thing might be treatable, but it included a diet change. I can't even get him to eat pellets without his getting frantic with hunger. But the vet did tell me I had to make a choice--I, not she--and one could be just to let him be.

There's the part of me that wants to do anything to hold on, yet it can't be me I'm concerned about, it has to be Bandit. Somehow I can't conceive of this sweet little gallant bird being poked and prodded any longer if there are no guarantees it will help. He's seven and a half years old, and even though they have been known to live up to 15 years, he's pretty well on in years for the average budgerigar. Maybe the kindest thing to do, as long as he's not hurting, is to let him slip away at home, where he's safe and warm, with "Daddy" and "Sister" and his teevee and his "'puter," and silly "Mama Hen" making soft noises at him.

It's a rum old world, isn't it? The place where James worked had a "store budgie" who never went to the vet, got the cheapest seed in the supermarket, and didn't have her cage cleaned every day, while Bandit's had regular checkups, the best food Petsmart can supply, scrubbed perches, and fresh air, and yet Adrian lived until thirteen and Bandit's failing at half that age. Hard to understand, too.


» Thursday, April 04, 2002
James is now in the midst of his second week of A+/Netplus training at AmeriTrain, three nights a week after work. Needless to say, Willow is depressed.

I had a great many projects planned for this time alone to keep me from noticing the quiet, but so far haven't really carried forth on any except for beginning the painting of the accessories for the master bath (a bin to hold soap, a towel rack, and another small shelf that may or may not fit). I'd planned to put up the smaller of the decorative Wallies last night, but the forecast said rain and clouds were scudding in as I arrived home; I didn't want them drying on in the damp. I should be so surprised; of course it never rained.

I also want to spend a little time with Bandit and at the same time keep him calm so that his leg, if sprained, can have a chance to heal. Bandit will have none of calm. He wants to fly freely back and forth to his cage (which he did manage without panting last night), dance on the computer keys as always, and declare sweet nothings to my thumb, which he is spiritedly courting. It's only when he tries to put weight on the foot that he realizes it's still sore.


They ought to post signs down here at this time of year: "Welcome to the Annual Pollen Festival. Please hold your breath."

This is the time when you wake up in the morning gasping for air. Your joints hurt, your sinuses hurt. You swallow allergy pills, use nose spray and even take aspirin as the symptoms are darn near like the flu. Even the dog sneezes after she sniffs the ground. (One year the "Pollen Festival" got so bad our previous dog, Leia, couldn't make it up the steps to our apartment without stopping halfway to wheeze and sneeze.)

The most visible is the bright yellow pine pollen, which at times is so thick it forms thin drifts on the street and the hoods and roofs of cars and swirls when the wind blows. Anything outside for a period of time develops a yellowish cast. According to the allergists, since the pine pollen is visible, it's "too big" to affect allergies. Yeah, right. It's dust, isn't it? It may not be affecting you as pollen does, but it's sure doing so as dust does.



» Wednesday, April 03, 2002
EBooks, Inc.

Found a bunch more e-books of old children's/young adult fiction on Blackmask Online, including things like "The Outdoor Girls" and "The Motor Girls"--they had Tom Swift, too, but I left those for later--and also some other of Kate Douglas Wiggin's and Eleanor Porter's novels.

At the moment I am reading in e-book format Jules Verne's In Search of the Castaways, which I loved as a Disney film. Of course it has been "Readers Digest condensed" for Disney and tweaked to provide a showcase for Hayley Mills, as the Mary Grant novel character so far has done nothing but stay on shipboard and fall in love with the ship's captain. (The novel's Jacques Paganel is also younger, as opposed to Maurice Chevalier's aged sage in the Disney flick.)

The one thing that has amused me reading the book is remembering a movie critic's scathing comment when the Disney movie came out that "they spend the first half of the movie having improbably adventures in South America and then suddenly realize that they are on the wrong continent altogether," blaming this defect on bad moviemaking by Disney. I assure that long ago critic, if he is still alive, that this wasn't Disney, but pure Verne! The travelers do indeed spend the first part of the book wandering South America having misinterpreted Captain Grant's message, and while they do not have a "toboggan ride on a rock" down the mountain after the earthquake (another thing the critic made fun of), the company does survive an even more "improbable" vicious landslide (and Robert does indeed get carried off by a condor!). Blame Disney if you must for toning down the violence of the landslide, but render unto Verne what is Verne's!


I've not yet talked about our trip to New York, which was almost three weeks ago, mostly because of Bandit's problems and the now-finished bathroom occupying most of our time.

It was sheer folly to go to New York for a weekend on our budget, but we did so anyway. What is it Mrs. Brown says in National Velvet?--just once everyone should have a breathless chance at folly? Besides, Delta made us an offer we couldn't refuse: $115 for round trip tickets.

This was the first time we'd flown since September 11; James said he wasn't nervous, but we ended up being like kids on Christmas Eve and only getting about one or two hours of sleep the night before departure. Our airline experience was in general, good. The one tiresome thing was that James got caught in the "take your shoes off" line in Newark on the return trip, which wouldn't have been that bad had he not been proceeded by three Indian ladies, one with a baby. They were wearing their traditional jewelry and of course set off the sensors repeatedly. I was also wanded in Newark, which was painless.

My sum total of knowledge of Nyack, New York, consisted of the old song "Let's Get Away from It All," with its line "let's take a kayak to Quincy and Nyack." (James wasn't even familiar with the song!) To our delight it was a lovely small town, truly directly on the banks of the Hudson River (Main Street ends at the marina), and, to my own happy surprise, the houses were of the vintage of those in my dad's old neighborhood, so I felt right at home, especially after we eschewed the usual fast food places and ate at one of the little restaurants, an Italian bakery and deli, that dot the main street. Long ago, I could tell, these stores had been shoe shops and pharmacies and small groceries and dress shops and five-and-tens; now antique shops are sprinkled liberally in the old storefronts.

(Funnies: we saw two amusing restaurant names: a delicatessen called the "Hello Delly!" and a sandwich shop called "The Kayak in Nyack.")

For supper, we chose a Japanese place, Ichi Riki. It was truly outstanding: the beef teriyaki was tender and sweet and James had a surfeit of delicious sukiyaki.

Across from Ichi Riki was the Helen Hayes Performing Arts Center, our goal for the evening. Rupert Holmes' new comedy-thriller, Thumbs was appearing there from March 9 to 24, starring Kathie Lee Gifford and Diana Canova. While we were intrigued by the stars, the real draw for us, aside from its authorship, was that a prominent supporting role was played by Tom Beckett, the delightful actor who played Mr. Foley, the sound effects man, on Rupert' series Remember WENN for four seasons.

I must aside that I heard several snide remarks and nasty comments about the star of Thumbs from the moment she was announced. My sum knowledge of Kathie Lee Gifford was watching an episode of Regis and Kathie Lee (Sam Neill was on). Oh, and I bought a couple of "her clothes" from WalMart for a job interview. I had heard many jibes about her, but I was certain if she was chosen for the role of Marta Dunhill she was capable of playing it. Frankly, the snide remarks annoyed me. How can you judge a person having not seen them perform?

An extra perk on this trip was that we were meeting a fellow Remember WENN fan and attending the performance with him. Rodney Walker has been a regular in WENN fandom for many years now and has a great website with media clips and episode analyses. He lived only a 4 hour drive away and had indeed arrived the night before.

As the song goes, it was truly "one enchanted evening" (despite the gloomy weather; James and I rather reveled in the chill, as it was 70 nasty degrees back in Atlanta). Dinner, as I mentioned, was superb, and we had a surprise guest during the meal--Rupert himself, who hadn't been able to join us due to being backstage before the performance, but who stopped to say hello for a few minutes.

The play itself was funny and suspenseful. Kathy Lee Gifford did a superb job in the role of Marta and Diana Canova was hilarious as the folksy yet shrewd Sheriff Jane Morton. Tom Beckett was priceless in the role of Deputy Wilton Dekes, "a few fries short of a Happy Meal," and supporting actors Brad Bellamy and Brian Letscher fit their roles to a T. There was also a gorgeous set to accompany the production.

After the performance we were meeting Rupert and his production assistant Teressa Esposito at a bar across the street (yes, we went into an Irish bar on the eve of St. Patrick's Day; they even had bagpipes!), but first we had to fetch our car: the complimentary valet parking closed directly after the show. It was quite nippy outside waiting "on line" for our keys, but Teressa, suffering from a bad cold, was sweet enough to ask Tom Beckett to come outside to say hello to us. We were so overwhelmed we even forgot to ask for a photo (but all of us probably would have been blurred from shivering so hard).

The next two hours were marvelous; our only wish was it could have lasted longer! We sat at the back of Walsh's munching on finger food and talking with Rupert and Teressa about the show, Remember WENN, and anything else we could think of. Alas, midnight struck and the ball was over.

On the way out we had a surprise: Rupert walked up to a three-story building next to the Italian place James and I had eaten at earlier in the day. It turned out this building, which now houses a wraps place, was the place his immigrant grandfather had started his dry-goods business, and the family had lived in the rooms above! Across the street, in what was now the parking lot of the theatre, had once stood the school Rupert had gone to, and which he had written a song about, "The Old School" (a piece I still can't get through without tears in my eyes).

Sunday I think we all felt a little like Cinderella after the ball. The three of us had breakfast at the hotel, did some photos downtown, and then Rodney was off to home. James and I walked around a little downtown, visiting a music store and a bookstore, then went to the huge local Palisades Place mall (I've never seen a mall with a Home Depot and a Target in it before!) for a Chinese buffet lunch, which, after the fine food the day before, was a bit of a letdown. In retrospect, we should have eaten in Nyack again--there was a Chinese place just off the square.

Here's hoping someone finds that glass slipper soon...


BTW, we have apparently broken Willow of her fly fear.

I had a cousin who was terrified of loud noises, even fireworks, which I adored. The only loud noises I had any type of problem with was one of those massive summer thunderstorms when it sounded as if the sky were falling to bits. However, I soon came to enjoy them after my mom told me it was "the angels bowling." (My parents went duckpin bowling for fun on Saturday nights and were in a league on Sundays.) A particularly loud clap was a strike.

We turned catching the flies into a game by inviting an at-first reluctant terrier to help us find them. Now when she hears a smart smack of anything she comes running to see if we have killed a fly for her. (It sounds gross, but she finds them delicious.) And if she sees one she begins barking for us to come chase it for her. If it happens to get in her range she will snap at it herself, but she seems to have more fun being a "pointer."