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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» Friday, February 28, 2003
Friday Five

1. What is your favorite type of literature to read (magazine, newspaper, novels, nonfiction, poetry, etc.)?

Hmn. Novels, I guess. I'd like to say I read anything with print on it, but I loathe fashion magazines, trendy magazines, anything with numbers in it, and most bestsellers. I do read more fiction than nonfiction, but sometimes it's close.

2. What is your favorite novel?

One? One book? You want me to pick one book? This is like asking Olivia Walton which of the seven children is her favorite. I can list some of my favorite books: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Red Sky at Morning, Little Women, Addie Pray, A Christmas Carol, Call of the Wild, The Open Gate, The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, The Last Enchantment, Eight Cousins, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Black Beauty, Beautiful Joe, Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, Harry Potter, Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy, and anything Madeleine L'Engle ever wrote.

3. Do you have a favorite poem? (Share it!)

"Curiosity" by Alistair Reid -- right at the top of the page.

4. What is one thing you've always wanted to read, or wish you had more time to read?

All those new historical books coming out. I've at least gotten to read John Adams and Theodore Rex lately.

5. What are you currently reading?

Blink. All of them? Well, okay. Lyddie by Katherine Paterson. Circles and The Knowledge Web by James Burke. Spider, Spin Me a Web by Lawrence Block. The Origin of Everyday Things (Reader's Digest books). Reporting World War II (anthology). Enigma by Robert Harris. Summer Knight by Jim Butcher. Meet Me in St. Louis by Sally Benson. Rise to Rebellion by Jeff Shaara. The WPA Guide to New York City. Album of Memories and The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw. Gracie by George Burns. And the November 1905-April 1906 bound volume of St. Nicholas magazine.


» Thursday, February 27, 2003
Thursday Threesome

Onesome. Big. Anything "big" happen to you lately? Come now, what's the biggest thing in your life these days?

This morning I had a premonition that there was going to be a "Thursday Threesome" question I wouldn’t want to answer about something that had happened lately.

You can read my listing for February 25, 2003. Otherwise I don’t want to talk about it.

Twosome. Band. I didn't do the band, but I did choir when I was in school. Tell us: what kind of extracurricular activities did you do when you were in school?

I didn’t. I preferred going home and reading to spending time with my peers.

Threesome. Music. Our topic of the week is music, so why don't you share little about your personal tastes in music. Favorite band? Favorite song? Have a song you love to sing along with but hate to admit it? Now's the time to fess up!

My favorite song is “The Impossible Dream.” My favorite singer is Rupert Holmes. I also like Bing Crosby and Perry Como. Oh, Daniel, and Barry Manilow. :-) I love George Winston’s piano music. David Huntsinger’s “New England” music. Big Bands. And Christmas music, as long as it’s not loud and obnoxious (read “TransSiberian Orchestra”). I have about 50 Christmas CDs. Yuletide wins.

I can sing the entire librettos of Annie and 1776. So I guess that’s my confession.


» Wednesday, February 26, 2003
I hadn't listened to my Big Band compilation CD since last week, so it seemed odd that when I woke up this morning I had the plaintive "We'll Meet Again" running through my head.

Then I realized the singer's voice was female and the version I have is done by the Ink Spots.

I'd like to think that Dana, who was the consummate lover of 1940s music, was trying to tell me something.

I guess what happened today was aftershocks; I did sleep last night but when I got to work I felt chilled and disoriented. Normally my officemates are quiet folk; today they seemed excessively happy, loudly chattering about exercising, one person's clothing and hairstyle, the weather, etc. I didn't say anything--why should they be unhappy simply because I was?--but the result was that every word and every laugh was like a fingernail on the blackboard. I couldn't get warm (but that wasn't surprising because it was 45 degrees out and they still had the A/C running...) and finally, after getting as much done as I could, retreated home away from the noise. I stretched out on the futon in the spare room, which is nice and quiet, and was out like a light for the next four hours. Sometimes all you need is to sleep...


» Tuesday, February 25, 2003
"Life's Like a Movie...Write Your Own Ending..."

I've always loved the first few lines of this closing song from The Muppet Movie. It's always nice to think you might be able to write for yourself, if not a fabulously fantastic ending, at least a happy ending where everyone is happy and healthy.

Sometimes life isn't like a movie. At least what happened today isn't the ending I would have chosen for this particular movie. The birth of a baby should be a joyous time, certainly a happy ending--except when the baby's mother, already ill, doesn't survive to see her own child.

I lost a friend today. Her name was Dana Sherman. She was funny and smart, and enjoyed talking about the 1940s and English royalty and books . We had some great times talking on chat and a few times in person. And now she's gone and I don't know what to say or even how to cope.

Except that I'd give anything to rewrite that ending...


» Friday, February 21, 2003
Friday Five

1. What is your most prized material possession?

Well, okay, this depends on whether you consider a pet a material possession or not. To me Bandit and Willow are the "fids," "feathered and furred children." We "own" them, but not in the way you own a car or a house. They're family.

So my most precious material "possessions" (I can't pick just one) are my books. However, if you view a pet as a material possession, Bandit is "it."

2. What item, that you currently own, have you had the longest?

Hm. Hard one. It's one of the books, certainly. Probably one of the Lassie Whitman books.

3. Are you a packrat?

Unfortunately. I inherited it from my grandfather. He had an entire barnlike garage full of junk. Gardening junk, mostly; he was Italian--gardening was his "thing." Mine is paper.

4. Do you prefer a spic-and-span clean house? Or is some clutter necessary to avoid the appearance of a museum?

I would like a "tidy" house. I would like to say to friends, "Hey, c'mon over and play some Scrabble" without having to do a mass vacuuming and repositioning of books and magazines. I would like to quit stumbling over Michael's bags, model boxes, computer parts, dishes, and dog toys in the middle of the floor.

On the other hand, one of those overly clean Martha Stewart looking homes would drive me mad. They show them on HGTV. Where are the books? Where are the magazines? Where are the stuffed animals? Where are the cozy throws? Do these people do nothing but sit up straight in chairs and sip tisanes from china cups?

5. Do the rooms in your house have a theme? Or is it a mixture of knick-knacks here and there?

Ideally they all will some day, but not so rigidly as to become a cold place. The master bath already has a "garden" theme. (It has a pseudo-outdoor-tile vinyl floor and is painted a summery sky blue, so I added clouds, hummingbirds, little topiary trees around the baseboard, and a "Tuscan window" wall treatment on one wall. It's our own little Italian garden.)

The spare room is yellow with sunflowers, blue and brown accents. It's supposed to look country. The kitchen is decorated with mostly apples and some cute cows. Someday we want it mint green with apples and cows around the soffits. The hall bath is developing a lighthouse theme. A pale blue-grey paint is sleighted for that room. (Anything to tone down those salmon pink...ugh...tiles.)

And the living room cum library is our retreat room, so naturally it's done in shades of autumn: reds and browns, autumn leaves, acorns, and foliage to trim. I'd like to paint it a pale orange someday to continue the theme. (Hmn. Having gone seasonal, maybe we could manage a wintry theme for the bedroom...mmm. That would be [pun intended] cool...)


Thursday Threesome: the Late Edition

Onesome: New- Hey, it's close enough to spring (even though the East Coasters have been getting hammered) to ask what's on the "to do" list for March. Do you have plans for changing anything around in your home or apartment? ...or are you ready to just get out of the place once the weather clears?

Ideally I’d like to change things. It’s the prep work that makes it hard. For instance, I’m dying to redecorate the kitchen and hall bath, but that involves removing the wallpaper first. However easy chemicals can make it--DIF and cheap fabric softener having been recommended for removing wallpaper and the resultant glue--even the small wall area looks daunting. (Not to mention I worry about any fumes around the budgie.) Also would like to “do something” with our bedroom. It was thrown together seven years ago and hasn’t improved in the least. A closet organizer would be nice; we have just the thing picked out at Lowe’s. Again, it’s getting it home and getting it in...

Twosome: Paint- ...any refurbishing or refinishing projects just waiting for the warm weather? That trim that needs painting or that one room with that horrible carpet? ...or do you have something you just dream about doing?

What needs doing is the porch. It needs to be sanded and painted. We have the paint, we have the sanders, we have the primer. All we need is the “go” to get it done. We wanted to do it when it was cool. We have little use for working outside when it’s too warm to breathe, especially with the mosquitoes doing a war dance around us.

Threesome: Smell- ...and lest we forget the gardeners out there: what spring madness do you have planned in the plant world? New flowers for the windowsill? How about that garden where the snails took over last year? ...or does a quick dusting of the artificial ficus cover you for another year?

I’d dust the ficus. I hate yard work. I despise yard work. I loathe yard work. (Have I made my point yet?) Add to that an equal dislike of insects and the fact that, as “the mister” puts it, “If it’s green and it’s growing, she’s allergic to it.” (I have to trim the grass with a mask on, which makes it very hard to breathe.). And I’m afraid of worms. (I know all the logical things about worms: they are harmless fellas who are actually good for the soil because their holes aerate your soil. Their little wiggly slimy bodies still make me queasy. I hate spring rainstorms...)

I told James that the moment he made more money, I wanted to hire someone to cut the lawn. I don’t need the Scott’s Miracle-Gro man coming around every two weeks with fertilizers and aerators and all that nonsense. I just want someone with a lawn mower and “weedeater” to keep it cut and trimmed. Period. Screw it. It’s a lawn, not a baby.


» Monday, February 17, 2003
Things Are Strange...

You know, I understand some things just don't get sold anymore. Their popularity wanes, they get overtaken by new technology, they're just not needed any longer. But why do some things that are still needed disappear?

"The mister" wears high-topped boots (shoes) that support his ankles, partially because he likes supportive shoes, partially because of the osteoarthritis in his ankles. As anyone who wears boot-type shoes knows, they can often be difficult to get on, something that is helped considerably by purchase of a shoe horn.

That is, if you can find a shoe horn. Do you know shoe stores don't sell shoe horns anymore? I was in the mall over an hour, checking shoe stores (including ones that sold high-top or boot type shoes) and shoe departments. One did have an itty-bitty shoe horn, flimsy plastic and not even five inches long, scant use for this size man and this size shoe.

I finally found a long metal shoe horn -- at a shoe repair shop. Sheesh.


» Sunday, February 16, 2003
"This is My Family..."

While tooling around yesterday we stopped at the big book sale place, Kudzu. The Wherehouse Music store next door was going out of business, so of course I went in looking for DVDs, which were 20 percent off. This had also been a rental store, so I concentrated on finding something good from the rental racks, since you don't have to worry about a used DVD the way you're wary about a used video. Hit the jackpot and found four, total under $35.

One of the movies I found was Lilo and Stitch, which we had missed in the theatres (easy enough--we saw only five movies last year). Everyone recommended it, so I wasn't hesitant in buying it.

Needless to say, we loved it. Two thumbs up and all that...oh, and it made James cry...twice. Now there's a good movie!


Be My Valentine...

At the least we always go out and eat for Valentine's Day, but the choice seemed hard to make this year. It's gotten to the point where, although we love the more expensive places that serve things we don't eat often, we start thinking that once it's eaten, it's gone. You had a nice two hours and now you're out $40 and all you have to show for it is...well, to put it delicately, a trip to the bathroom.

And, as the week wore on, I kept envisioning waiting interminably behind all those other folks who treated themselves to dinner as well. It seemed so ... crowded.

Valentine's Day this year coincided with my compressed day (I work 9 hours a day and have 1 day every two weeks off) and on Thursday night I had an idea. My mom had sent us some money and I'd also bought myself one of the thrice-yearly Small Room Decorating magazines and come upon a story about how one didn't have to always eat in a dining room.

"The Mister" came home to find our own private "bistro." I had bought one of those small, decorated cookies at the mall, then stopped at Ryan's on the way home to order two T-bone steaks to go and stowed them in the fridge until dinnertime. In the meantime, I covered one of those little decorative tables (the ones with the three legs you screw in) with a cloth, set it for two, and put it with two of the kitchen chairs in front of the living room fireplace. Turned on the gas log, put a classical CD in the stereo, set our gifts to each other on the hearth, and poof, romantic dinner for two.


Friday Five (only 2 days late)

1. Explain why you started to journal/blog.

I was laid up with torn ligaments in my foot last January. A couple of my friends had blogs, and since I've been keeping a diary since the age of 12 it just seemed natural.

2. Do people you interact with day to day or family members know about your journal/blog? Why or why not?

Well, I don't blurt out to everyone I talk to every day, "Hi, how're doing? I have a blog have you read it today?" But I don't keep it a secret, either.

3. Do you have a theme for your journal/blog?

It's right there at the top: "Nostalgia, books, e-books, television, fandom, good news and bad, budgies, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of."

4. What direction would you like to have your journal/blog go in over the next year?

If nothing else, I'd certainly like to be able to write that no friends or relatives died or were seriously ill.

5. Pimp five of your favorite journals/blogs.

Well, sheesh, that's "polite." I enjoy the blogs of my friends: Daniel Taylor, Jerry Lawson, and Mike Rogers. I also enjoy reading James Lileks.


» Thursday, February 13, 2003
BTW, the Thursday Threesome gang at the Other Side of Glen Road refer to Valentine's Day as a "Hallmark Holiday." Under that definition all holidays are "Hallmark Holidays." A real Hallmark Holiday is a day that has been created specifically by Hallmark for the sending of greeting cards and remembrances, like "Sweetheart's Day" and "Grandparents' Day" and "Boss's Day" and "Secretaries Day" (now "Office Assistant Day," I believe). Good old St. Valentine and the practice of sending cards has been around much longer than Joyce Hall and his little Kansas City stationery shop.


Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Three- Hmmm... There's a three day weekend coming up for some people. Do you have Monday off and have some special plans? ...or is this just another weekend (or maybe one with two Sundays)?

If I'm lucky I'll get to sleep. I've had a stuffy nose all week and can't breathe well out of it, and if I breathe through my mouth, it dries up due to the antihistamine and I wake up gasping. What fun, eh? You really wanted to know that darling little health detail. :-) But various household chores, I suppose. Seeing if there's a sale at Michael's. Editing a web page I'm designing for a fanzine. Stuff like that.

Twosome: Blind - It's holiday time once again (tomorrow silly!). Do you have to turn a blind eye to anything when these days come around? ...or are you surprised at what shows up?

I'm not sure I know what you mean about turning a blind eye. You mean away from inappropriate behavior on Valentine's Day? Or ignoring it? Weird question.

Threesome: Mice - Enough mousing around! Are you ready for tomorrow? ...or are you stopping by the pushcart people on the way home (I'm betting the guys and gals have really different answers on this one).

Tsk tsk. As Daniel Taylor pointed out, this is presupposing men forget Valentine's Day until the last minute. (I don't see how when so many women hint so broadly about it.) Well, both "the mister" and I are ready for tomorrow. In fact he had my gift before I bought his. I know because I hinted very broadly at what I wanted and he bought it right in front of me. I'm sorry if that sounds so-not-romantic, but we've had some long discussions about the useless junk we keep bringing into the house and decluttering in general and are trying to buy each other items we want, not things that are going to be shipped off to Goodwill eventually. We have chocolate in the house (much too much of it as our figures will attest) and I'm allergic to flowers (and what florist sells lilacs anyway?). I wanted the Behind the Scenes at the Disney Studios DVD (one of the new "Disney Treasures" line) and that's what he bought me. I bought him something he told me several times that he liked (hint: there was a sale at Media Play a few weeks back) and something else that he admired when he saw one of our friends with it.

Sigh. If only it had been Strategic Air Command on DVD. Now there would have been the gift for him. :-)


» Monday, February 10, 2003
That Quizno’s Ad

I had surfed around and found out that I wasn’t the only one freaked out over the Quizno’s “dead budgie” ad--apparently a parrot protection group also made a stink about it. All the news stories I read treated it as a joke and it made the weekly "PC idiocies" column. Like everyone else who wrote to Quizno’s I got the same stupid stock e-mail informing me that this was “just a humorous way” to portray this dork’s (his name is “Chef Jimmy,” apparently) obsession with making subs and that “it wasn’t a real bird.”

I found the letter almost as disgusting as the commercial. Of course it wasn’t a real bird, you dimwits. I’m sure whomever filmed the commercial didn’t want to really kill a bird--or get in trouble with the Humane Society. No one thought it was a real bird. It was the point that a dead pet is not something humorous. Also, I notice the ad folks didn’t use a dead dog or a dead cat...that would have been too gross, right? Geez, folks, why not go all the way with the theme? Why not show Chef Jimmy forgetting to feed his child? Think of the “humorous” image: a dead baby lolling in his high chair, his mouth fallen open, his little spoon fallen out of his hand and his empty bowl in front of him! Hey, hilarious, right?

A bird is not a child. However, as a pet it is a responsibility you take on. By bringing an animal into your home, you take away its ability to care for itself. You therefore take on that responsibility. Chef Jimmy can forget to wash himself and die from cancer by neglecting a tumor growing on his leg in favor of making sub sandwiches for all I care. All he’s hurting is himself. But allowing a pet to starve to death?

As Marian Jordan used to say, “Tain’t funny, McGee.”


» Friday, February 07, 2003
Friday Five

1. What did you have for breakfast this morning? If you didn't have breakfast, why not?

A glass of milk before I left the house. A cup of AlphaBits when I got to work. I’m hungry again already--did you have to be talking about food?

2. What's your favorite cereal?

I bet you figured I’d say AlphaBits. Nope. Special K. I’ve been eating Special K since I was knee high to that proverbial grasshopper.

3. How often do you eat out? Do you want that to change?

At least twice a week, on the weekend. I don’t know. Certainly it’s nice not having a kitchen to clean up. On the other hand, James is one heck of a cook and there’s certain things a restaurant can’t beat of his, like his biscuits, and frankly, I like to change into comfy clothes when I get home and relax with the budgie snuggled up on my shoulder, not sit in a restaurant.

4. What do you plan on having for dinner tonight? Got a recipe for that?

It’s Friday. We’ll probably go out. James was talking barbecue...mmmmnnnn.

5. What's your favorite restaurant? Why?

Used to be 57th Fighter Group, but we haven’t gone in ages and I was told the food had gone downhill. Of course I was only going there for the all-you-can-eat crab legs and the cappucino anyway. That is a hard one. Probably My Cousin Vinny’s, the Italian place. At least they can cook spaghetti al dente properly. Olive Garden isn’t bad, either.

<g> And Bassett’s Inn on West Shore Road in Warwick, RI. (I miss The Empress of China restaurant on Atwood Avenue in Johnston, RI. They make fried rice the way I like it, dark, with only bean sprouts, onions, and whatever meat you’re having with it. No peas and carrots [ugh!] in it the way it’s done here. When we go to visit my mother we always go to the Empress at least once and I have a nice big serving of pork fried rice. When my mom was well enough to fly down and visit she always brought me one of those big paper Chinese food containers full of pork fried rice from the Empress. Mmmmmnnnn.)


» Thursday, February 06, 2003
Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Shower- Shower or a bath? Which one works best for you? ...or do you have uses for both?

Never liked baths. I would take a sponge bath during the week and a regular bath on Saturdays when I was small. My mom always said I "ran the water too cold" and "was going to catch pneumonia," so she'd run the water for me. It was always hot enough for her and too hot for me. I remember having to wrap a facecloth around my toes because the water was so hot. Ironically, as I got older, I didn't like baths because the water always got too cold too quickly for me. For some reason I suddenly started taking showers in my late teens and have ever since–and "the mister" thinks I take them too hot!

(Now if we had a nice jacuzzi that would be different. It would feel sooooo good on the bad muscles in my right shoulder.)

Twosome: Shave- How often do you shave? Ladies, what do you consider shave-worthy? Come on, you know what I mean ;) ! ...and guys: how about you? Any facial hair?

Urgh. Let's say I don't shave my legs that often since I'm always in pants anyway. The electric razor never shaves close enough–I have stubble by the end of the day–and I always cut myself with a regular razor. However, last fall I finally found a razor that did not slice and dice me. Hasn't made any difference, I'm afraid.

Threesome: Style- How much time do you spend in front of the mirror in the morning, fixing your hairstyle (and face, for the ladies).

I brush my hair back and fasten it with a barette, then wash my face with Jergens soap.


I don't know what it is I've caught, but it dealt me an underhanded blow and hit me below the belt.

I managed to make it to work today, but it's a hard slog and I've spent half the morning in the bathroom. I have stomach cramps, but not any other symptoms of some type of "stomach virus" besides a very faint queasiness. All I know is that not only do I hurt in front, but my back also aches from the pain. Yesterday was...interesting. When I wasn't in the bathroom I was dead asleep, despite an interest in both books I was reading, the conclusion of John Adams and the beginning of Theodore Rex.

Sigh. This is sure a "rex" of a bug...


» Wednesday, February 05, 2003
Just finished David McCullough's John Adams. I enjoyed McCullough's writing style; he writes as he narrates, one of my favorite parts of The American Experience.

On the other hand, he doesn't seem to think much of Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin!


» Saturday, February 01, 2003
R.I.P. Columbia

Please, God, not again...