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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» Saturday, October 30, 2004
New post in Holiday Harbour.


"Sam, You Made the Line Too Long..."
I didn't go vote after work yesterday after all. I came prepared: a thick book, a camp stool, two brownies and a granola bar. But when I got there the car was sucking on fumes (since I'd had to drive down there yesterday and fetch James, who had locked his keys in his car) and there wasn't a parking space anywhere, the sun was coming out (I'm not supposed to be out in the sun with my meds), and I was dog tired. It's been so warm I haven't had a good night's sleep for over a week. Instead I went home and slept for two hours.

(In retrospect, I may have a "bug"--I got sick on dinner last night and was dizzy this morning even after eating and had come home after breakfast to get more sleep--or there may be something else wrong. If there is such thing as post-traumatic stress syndrome after a car accident, I think I have it. I've been extremely nervous lately, any little thing going wrong makes me tear up, food isn't sitting well, and I have feelings of impending doom. I used to get this way every month--but I don't have that problem any longer.)

So we'll try it again on Tuesday. I'm thinking about going to the poll early--we're only about a mile from the polling place. I'll see how many people are there when I get there 40 minutes early and then decide.


» Thursday, October 28, 2004
Thursday Threesome

::Rolltop Desk::

Onesome: Roll-- On a roll lately? What have you been up to where things just keep falling into place (maybe you're a Red Sox fan)? Yeah, what's working (even if it's just the TV)?

Actually even the TV needs looking at: if you slam the door the picture gets fuzzy and you need to nudge it to make it clear up. We think it's the tuner because the component and video feeds are flawless. As for other things, hell, no. My mom's cancer is advancing. The house needs several big repairs we can't afford. Even the minor things are depressing: here's the glorious autumn I was planning to enjoy with my sunroof and I'm back in a Neon, and it's impossible to enjoy with the lousy weather lately, temps back up in the 80s.

Twosome: Top-- Top of the world? What's the highest point you've ever been? No, the airliner doesn't count, I'm talking about standing somewhere . Have you made it to the roof? ...the Eiffel Tower? Mt. McKinley? How high is high for you?

I've been through the Eisenhower Tunnel in the Rockies twice. That's at an average of 11,112 feet.

Threesome: Desk-- Hey, what type of setup do you have for your computer work? Are you working from a laptop while sitting on the couch? ...or maybe you have a high tech workstation/hutch combo with mood lighting and soothing music? No? How about the kitchen table? Where do you post and work from?

I have an old Sauder computer desk that is pretty battered by now. I think it's about 12 years old. It has a monitor shelf on one side and an open space with a closed cupboard on the right. I keep software in the cupboard and the CDs in the open space, and on top are lined all my HTML/WordPerfect/graphics programs books. James has a nice high-tech desk he got from Office Max, a small corner unit. It looks pretty spiffy compared to the old adjustable table he had.


And So Endeth the Curse...
I love this morning's's headline:

Pigs can fly, hell is frozen,
the slipper finally fits,
and Impossible Dreams really can come true.
The Red Sox have won the World Series

The Hub will run riot today. :-)


100 Years Underground
New York Subway System Turns 100

"New York, New York, what a wonderful town,
The Bronx is up and the Battery's down,
The people ride in a hole in the ground..."

But the "T" is still older. :-)


» Wednesday, October 27, 2004
OTR Blog
Well, here's something cool: a blog devoted to old-time radio.

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear


New post in A Cozy Nook.


Preying on Old Ladies With Pensions
I'm fit to be tied since I called my mom. She's been having a problem with a blocked sink drain and finally called someone. (I won't say who she called but they are a big national company with a cute name and a cute commercial jingle. "Get it?" "Got it." "Good.") This git tried to sell her $8000 worth of plumbing repairs just to unblock her drain! What kind of schmuck tries to graft $8000 from an 87 year old lady who's living on social security and a pension from a late husband who worked in a factory? Like he couldn't tell what her income was like from that tiny little house and the shabby little car in the driveway. Jerk.


Stupid Microslop Products
This is so frustrating. I'm stuck with IE and Microslop Word, which are supposed to be so great.

Today I surfed by the domain to see how the new pages I uploaded look on a larger monitor. Surprise, although I know I uploaded the new pages because I tested them on my browser at home last night and because I looked up the versions in the website console, I'm not getting the updated versions here. I can reload, and reload, and reload until my face turns blue and the old page still comes up. This used to happen all the time before, but on the computer they replaced, I had a Netscape browser as well. When IE pulled this trick on the old unit, I would go into Netscape, pull up the old version of the page, reload it, get the new page, then go back into IE and reload and the new page would come up. I still don't understand this, since Netscape and IE have two different caches for visited web pages, but "priming" the IE page with Netscape first always worked.

As for Word, I've gone into "Options" every day this week to unclick "Always create backup copy." It lasts through the day, but when I get in next morning, there it is, like a witch's curse coming back to haunt me. How do I get the frapping thing to shut off for good?


The body shop is now saying two more weeks!


» Tuesday, October 26, 2004
I'm In Trouble Now... :-)
On Memorial Day, 1971, my best friend Sherrye and I decided to go to a movie. We were both fourteen and, being the type of kids we were, we decided to go see the film version of Michael Crichton's germ thriller The Andromeda Strain. Her dad drove us to the theatre. Nearly two weeks later we asked my dad to take us to see it again. He was aghast--my dad was very thrifty and paying to see a movie a second time was completely alien to his nature. But it was our dollar (the bargain matinee price back then) and he did take us (the movie theatre was next to the bowling alley where he'd be Saturday afternoon anyway).

I bought the book as well, and two months later, I managed to see it again by talking my parents into it by saying they hadn't seen it yet. When it was broadcast on TV I audio taped it. When VCRs and HBO appeared I had my own copy. And it was one of the first DVDs I bought.

Get the feeling I like this movie? :-)

Anyway, there's a new DVD version out which I'd planned to skip until I discovered there is a 30 minute "Making of" short on the new pressing that has gotten an excellent review. Damn... Ah, well, there's triple points at Media Play this week anyway. :-)


Tuesday Twosome

What is more annoying...

1. Having to look at someone who has food stuck in their teeth or spittle in the corner of their mouth?

I wouldn't say either is annoying, but I would be worried about the latter. Might they not be feeling well?

2. People who don't wash their hands after using the restroom or don't flush the toilet after using it?

Definitely the former. A co-worker and I were just talking about this last week. You can always walk in afterwards and just flush the toilet. But you might have to shake hands with the person who didn't wash them. Ugh.

3. People who take your parking space that you have been waiting for or cutting in line at the store?

This is a hard one. It's all "cutting" and didn't we all learn in elementary school that cutting in line is rude?

4. Getting an unimportant phone call in the middle of the night or having to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night?

The latter. When you're older, it happens a lot more often...

5. Staying home on the weekend because you are dateless or going out on a date with an obnoxiously annoying person?

As somone who has been on a date with the obnoxiously annoying person, staying home with a good book is infinitely preferable. I went out with the guy not to hurt his feelings, not because I didn't want to be dateless on the weekend. I couldn't care less about that.


» Monday, October 25, 2004
Early Color Film
Here's a site talking about early color film as I mentioned in the previous entry "A Colorful Past": Old Color Films. This covers early two-color Technicolor as well, but what was being shown was 20 years earlier, probably Kinemacolor or Gaumont issue. Click on the two entries after "hand coloring" and you can see how the different processes look.


Cool Thunderbirds site!

Speaking of birds--but of another feather--did everyone see the Nature presentation on Pale Male last night? Was I cheering when the fledgelings finally flew! Pale Male even has his own web site. and here's an article about him.


The Friday Five

Late because it wasn't up Friday morning.

When you were a child...

1. what did you want to be when you grew up and why?

LOL. At which stage? Like every other little girl in 1960, I wanted to be a nurse. Then I wanted to be a vet, but it turned out (a) I was allergic to dogs, cats and horses, and (b) I found out I'd have to put them to sleep. Then I wanted to be an elementary-school teacher. Ironically, in an age when they are begging for teachers, people may find it hard to believe there was a glut of teachers on the market back then. My guidance counselor talked me out of it. I'd also wanted to be a reporter but I realized I was too shy to do interviews.

2. who was your favorite person to do things with (excluding your parents)?

That's a hard one because all of my friends as I got older generally had to go right home from school. Either their moms worked or they had chores to do. So most of the time the people I did things with were my parents.

3. did you love school or did you hate it? Why? Did that change as you got older?

I always loved school except for math and gym. When we hit algebra I was lost, although I enjoyed the heck out of plane geometry. I didn't like biology much due to dissecting things and raising fruit flies, and the teacher was terrible. She acted like she was teaching college-age students and most of us were over our heads half the time. My favorite science class was "Earth science" (hi, Mr. Plummer!). We studied geology, made contour maps and sundials, and studied my two favorite science subjects, anthropology and archeology. I still have several of my favorite anthropology books.

Gym was just painful. I'm not coordinated much at games and wasn't able to climb ropes or turn over on the rings. I did love jumping jacks and other exercises.

I loved English and history! Even "homemaking" (as we called it then) wasn't bad as long as we weren't sewing or making (ugh) casseroles.

4. Was your family close? What were your favorite family traditions?

We're Italian, of course we were. On holidays (except Thanksgiving) we would all get together at Papa's house and eat a big meal around the huge table (in the cellar) covered in oilcloth, lasagna and spaghetti and later cookies and coffee. Everyone would get together and play a few games of Pokeno, then the men (and some female cousins) would play poker and the women would talk and we kids would play.

On Thanksgiving the three of us went to a restaurant. This was a big deal--we didn't go out and eat much at all except grab a quick hot dog or hamburger on a summer day. This was a nice restaurant, too, with a hat check girl and a cigarette girl and a real piano player. My Dad's paisano owned it.

There was one tradition I always enjoyed; when my Papa was still living, Dad would go over every Saturday morning to visit him and especially when it was warm I went with him. We stopped at the chicken market to get a fresh chicken and then we went to the house. If it were any season but winter Papa would probably be working in his tomato garden. Papa kept his own garden and one for his daughter next door and his son across the street. When we had talked with him, we would go inside and talk with Aunty Margaret, who it seemed was always cooking, and her husband John (his nickname was "Johnnie Myers" after a famous baseball player). Then we would go next door to visit my Aunty Lisa and her husband Ralph (he sold cars and we got all our cars from him) and my cousin Kathy, and sometimes across the street to see Uncle Brandy and his wife Alice. (Actually, her name was Liberata but everyone called her Alice.)

5. did you think that being an adult would be cool?

Nope. I wanted to stay a kid as long as I could. Most of my relatives and friends' parents had blue-collar jobs. They mostly worked in factories. My godfather was our oil man. I saw Dad and Padine Angelo and all the men in the family come home tired and grimy. Our moms worked hard keeping the house clean and doing the shopping and washing. Being grown up meant going to a job you hated and having to do things like housework and cooking that took away time from reading and drawing and writing stories. You had to pay taxes and (ugh) cut the lawn. Who wanted to be grown up? As a kid all you had to worry about was school.


» Sunday, October 24, 2004
A Colorful Past
I can't believe what I'm watching right now: a six-part series on the History Channel of color war footage. I've been amazed in the last few years watching all the color footage that is coming to light from World War II.

But this is World War I footage! Six hour-programs' worth, interspersed with historian interviews and talks with surviving veterans. Oh, it's not "glorious Technicolor," but it is color, footage of Kaiser Wilhelm; Germany, France, England, and the United States figures and landscapes; troops and horse artillery and the Paris taxicabs taking the troops to the front. It's positively mind-blowing.

With research, I found some color photographs from World War I on the web. These were created by film pioneer Louis Lumière using grains of potato starch. The process was called Autochrome and an exhibition of these photos was recently held.

Here are the color WWI photos (warning, they take a while to load on DSL; not sure how long dial-up will take!).


» Friday, October 22, 2004
In Step With the Crowd
Sigh. Room by Room has gone the way of the other decorating shows, including, now, Decorating Cents. They used to have funny little theme shows as they did different rooms. Now they chat to the homeowner first onscreen.


» Thursday, October 21, 2004
Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Lights!- What do you think of the trend to light up houses for *every* holiday? It used to be just Christmas and maybe Halloween, but lately the stores have been full of Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day lights. Oh, and Thanksgiving/Autumn and...

Easter lights. Well, there's certain holidays that go along with lights, even if it seems kind of silly. Easter, Valentine's Day...okay, although the latter used to be a lot more fun holiday. People used to make Valentine cards for the people they liked, and write verses and have parties and really express how they felt. Now it's just cards and candy and flowers. Despite the eggs and the rabbits, I still see Easter as a more religious holiday. Candles might be appropriate, not strings of lights. I can't see lights for Thanksgiving, either. Candles again, but not strings of lights. St. Patrick's Day--gah. Taken a perfectly good Saint's day and turned it into an excuse for getting drunk (as if the sort of people who get drunk on St. Paddy's needed an excuse anyway).

Hallowe'en lights are absurd. Hallowe'en used to be a fun holiday where folks had parties and did fun rituals to predict the future. Kids ran out and did mischief, but except for the odd troublemaker, nothing that couldn't be corrected the next morning. After World War II trick or treating started. Now people have lights everywhere and go overboard the way they do for Christmas. A couple of Jack o'Lanterns, cool...but strings and strings of lights? Hallowe'en's a holiday of the dark, not the light.

Twosome: Camera!- What's your preference? Digital or film, black and white or color, portraits, candids, or just whatever catches your eye?

We have two digitals. (Our film cameras are broken. We both had real 35mm cameras, but the main lens was broken on mine several years ago, although the telephoto lens still works. The shutters don't work at high speed. We had them fixed and not six months later the problem returned.) I think black and white shots are cool, but they take a certain artistry. I enjoy candid photography. I love taking pictures of people just having a good time or doing what they're supposed to be doing, not posed stiffly.

Threesome: Action!- Do you have a favorite sport? Do you follow the local high school or college team, trek to the kids' games each weekend or are you all about the pros?

You mean like competitive team sports? Never did get into that, not even at World Series or Superbowl time. I thought the point of playing a game was to have fun. If dog agility trials are a sport, then I like that best. It's also fun to watch horse jumping.


» Wednesday, October 20, 2004
After a couple of months of not watching anything on PBS--since "Foyle's War" was broadcast with such [sarcasm alert] sterling quality [end sarcasm alert] by Georgia Public Television (who didn't even have the courtesy to show the last part)--things changed on Sunday. There have been some great programs on this week and at least a couple next week I want to see as well.

Sunday Masterpiece Theatre showed part one of The Lost Prince. This is the story of Prince John, the youngest son of George V, who died in his teens after having lived a childhood apart from that of the usual royal child. John was epileptic and was thought to be mentally retarded. Today we would most likely classify him as an autistic child, and he would probably be a spokesperson for epilepsy or autism, his seizures controlled by drugs. Back then, for rich or poor, it was embarrassing to have a child "not quite 'right'," and "Johnnie" was sequestered most of his life in the family's small country home in the care of his devoted nurse Lalla, defended by his older brother Georgie, to tend his beloved garden. John was eyewitness to pivotal pieces of history, including the outbreak of World War I and the news of the assassination of his favorite cousins, the Romanovs, and the narrative is primarily from his POV. This fascinating story concludes next Sunday.

(While research paints John as the forgotten member of the royal family, I had made his acquaintance years ago, mentioned in Katherine Kurtz's absorbing novel Lammas Night, a cross between a WWII military/spy novel and occult fantasy. One of the main characters in the book is Prince William, who is the fictional twin brother of John. Kurtz paints William as such a realistic character that I had to go pull out a reference on the British royal family to make sure there hadn't been such a person.)

Monday night American Experience, my favorite PBS show, did "The Fight," a piece on the Joe Louis/Max Schmeling bouts. I missed a third of it, but what I did see was an absorbing documentary about the 1930s boxing world and the unfortunate racial prejudice of the time. Last week the AmEx offering had been "Transcontinental Railroad," which not only went into the politics of the effort, but talked about the hardships faced by the workmen, especially the Chinese who faced bigotry and myths about their stamina as well as the weather and the working conditions. Next week's presentation is "The Crash of '29." My mother was twelve when the Depression began, and my dad a few weeks short of his sixteenth birthday, so the period has always fascinated me.

Last night the first part of Broadway: The American Musical aired. The second part is on tonight, the third part on Thursday. This is a fabulous special narrated by Julie Andrews and the first part was filled with the old photographs and silent films I so love and showed Times Square back when it was still Longacre Square and footage of luminaries like George M. Cohan. Interviewees included an actual Ziegfeld Follies girl from the 1920s! There was also a good deal of material about African-American Broadway performers such as the legendary Bert Williams and how they took the stereotypical shuffling blackface character that they were forced to portray and turned him a commentator on the mores of the day. I can't wait to see the rest.


» Tuesday, October 19, 2004
"Return" of the Crazy Pair
Well, here's a surprise: I hadn't seen Room by Room on HGTV this season and thought it had been cancelled. No, HGTV's just showing the new episodes at 10 a.m. Fridays. (Hello? Working people watch this show, guys...) Surely they can make some room in primetime for new Room by Room shows and get rid of one of the multiple showings of Divine Design. Candice Olsen is fun to watch, but she's on three times a week. Basta!

Anyway, Matt Fox and Shari Hiller have a new website--Matt and Shari--and a book coming out for Christmas, Real Decorating for Real People (which for some reason is not on but is listed on Barnes & Noble's website).

I wonder if that title is twitting shows like Designer's Challenge, which features some gorgeous rooms, but the budgets make me gasp. They've redecorated a teenager's room for $25,000--imagine 25 grand for a kid's room?--and other rooms for an average of about $35,000. My gosh, that's just half of our gross yearly income. I get dizzy thinking of what I could do with $35,000 in the whole house: new vinyl flooring in the kitchen, Pergo flooring everywhere, maybe someone to remove the old wallpaper in the kitchen and hall bath for us instead of having to do it ourselves, or new kitchen counters. And new windows! $35,000 for one room. Wow.


From the Postbox
Yesterday’s mail was rather a bonanza of the good and the bad:

I never will hear the end of the accident—there, exactly a month after the fact, was the bill for the rescue squad. Besides a flat fee to take me to the hospital, there was a mileage charge, so many miles at $6.50 per! Oh, well, it gets copied and sent off to the other insurance’s claim office.

My CD came from Amazon: this is “Christmas at the Almanac Music Hall,” produced by the Farmer’s Almanac/Yankee Magazine people. It’s “...eclectic combinations of sleigh bells, chimes, a swinging cornet, a rousing fiddle, and an old upright piano performing familiar Christmas songs and carols...” The featured artist is cornetist Peter Ecklund, who has performed on Prairie Home Companion and in the Ken Burns’ series The Civil War, Baseball, and The American West with the Howard Fishman Quartet. The album description on Amazon says “Rousing retro-acoustic swing renditions of Christmas classics - as if you were at a Christmas party at a VFW Hall in the 30's or 40's.” You can hear examples of the songs here.

I’m waiting for everyone to go to lunch so I can play it without someone asking, “Christmas music already?” :-)

And there was a third Michael’s flyer with the ads (we got two with the double Sunday paper deal), so now we have three more coupons. James and I are working on a Christmas project. One of his hobby shop acquaintances was sent to Iraq and he has asked to have modeling supplies and models sent over to the guys for something to do while off duty. Last week we got three different paint sets with the coupons and also some paintbrushes; this week we’ll get some X-acto cutters and I guess some glue. James has some duplicate models in his collection so we’re going to pack up at least one photocopy paper box of models and supplies and send it over. We should stick some other things in as well: as if being under enemy fire isn’t bad enough, the weather out there is hot, dry, and horrendous. One of my co-workers is also in Iraq and we shipped her three boxes of goodies, including lots of skin moisturizer.

Oh, and there was another flyer for one of the political candidates, a Pat Dooley. This woman’s re-election committee has sent us one flyer a day for the past month (at least), plus more a couple of times weekly during the summer. Sorry, Pat, I’m not voting for anyone who wastes our natural resources like this—how many trees died to print up your stupid flyers???


Tuesday Twosome


1. Do you take vitamins and if so, what?

I take a multiple women's vitamin and a potassium suppliment (last checkup my potassium was low) once a day, and a soy isoflavones tablet tablet twice a day (the women's vitamin also has a small portion of soy isoflavones) to help with the hot flashes.

2. Do you make an effort to eat healthy, or you eat whatever you feel like eating?

I try--and James makes dishes with onions, mushrooms, carrots and celery in it to help--but I'm not much of a vegetable eater. I like salad vegetables, the ones named above (well, mushrooms aren't a veg, but you known what I mean), sweet corn, and butternut squash and that's about it. I will eat peas, but only if they're fresh in the pod. Never have liked squishy cooked peas. James is the "veggie monster." He likes everything except collard greens and cauliflower.

3. What two types of food do you have a hard time staying away from?

Dark chocolate anything and bread. (There was an SF button that was very popular years ago that said "Migratory lifeform with a tropism for books." I have a button that says "Migratory Italian lifeform with a tropism for bread.")

4. What are two food items you refuse to eat?

Only two? :-) Spinach and cauliflower.

5. Are you pleased with your daily diet or do you think it could be better?

It's gotten better since James' diabetes diagnosis (but I know could be better). We never ate big desserts before, especially big sloppy ones dripping with icing (ugh...I hate sugary "ick" on things) but now the after-dinner treat iis a small sugar-free Blue Bunny ice cream bar. I'm having oatmeal for breakfast and now that we have the apple peeler we have apples for treats if we get hungry. I have a quarter of a cup of nuts when I get home from work instead of a slice of bread. (I can do that now since the Protonix keeps me from getting indigestion from the nuts.)

I never did get an appetite for sugary stuff. The only sweet I was allowed as a kid was chocolate--no rock candy or candy sticks, things like that. (There was the occasional Life Saver or Reed's spearmint candy, and I did used to sneak candy buttons occasionally when I had a few cents at the superette, but I preferred Squirrel Nuts and Mint Juleps if I was buying penny candy.) Mom cut down sugar in all her recipes (her wine biscuit recipe only has 2/3 cup of sugar, for example; the original recipe had 1 cup) and she never frosted her cakes. So now when I see people eating Krispy Kreme doughnuts with all that sugar icing or Danish I get a little queasy! As a kid I picked raisins from oatmeal cookies because I thought they were much too sweet (same thing with commercial apple pie filling; I preferred the crust). My big problem has always been starch: specifically Italian and French bread. I've been known to prefer a nice warm chunk of Garzilli's Italian bread (alas, no longer made), strictly plain (not even buttered), to a piece of chocolate cake.


» Monday, October 18, 2004
All in Lincoln Green
Remember the 1950s British series The Adventures of Robin Hood with Richard Greene? Here are two nostalgic sites:

The Whirligig site also has a small piece about The Buccaneers, the seagoing adventure show that figured in one episode of Gary David Goldberg's wonderful Brooklyn Bridge series.


Monday Madness

1. I have reformatted my hard drive about 0 times. -- this computer, right now, no; we did reformat the previous hard drive.

2. I usually reformat my hard drive about 0 times a year. -- not if I don't have to.

3. When I'm working in a document, I save about every ten minutes. -- sometimes more; since I almost lost a story I was working on for five months several years ago, I'm paranoid.

4. I've upgraded my computer by adding new processor and 20GB hard drive. -- it's still pretty slow; James talks about getting me a new processor and motherboard; but then I have to get new memory and a new video card, too, dammit.

5. I've got about a gazillion CD's/floppies with info on them and about 10 of them aren't labeled. -- they at least have something scribbled on the CD!

6. Since I've been using my computer, I find the easiest way to organize my files is to place them on partitioned hard drives in appropriate folders. (Looking for suggestions!!)

7. I have um...are we counting just mine or ours? Just mine...eight, I think... email accounts.

8. Whenever I have a computer-related question, I usually call James--he's the one with the A+ cert!

9. I usually use a search engine when looking for everything!

10. My computer is about six years maybe? old. -- I'm too busy using it to remember!


» Sunday, October 17, 2004
Nicely Vetted
I'm glad we went out to play miniature golf yesterday; it's gotten warm again and will be in the high seventies and even up to 80°F all week. Had to go into the shed to put the new rake away and was surrounded by mosquitoes. I think I know one of the reasons; as I was shutting the gate I got a peek into the next door neighbor's yard. She has a big container out there full of scummy water; it's probably breeding mosquitoes. She can't care for her yard any longer because she had a stroke earlier in the year.

This new rake is rather cool. It's an interchangeable system by a company called Wolfgarten. You buy a handle and then the "business part" clips on. We got a rake head to go with the five foot handle, and also a narrower rake head; you can also get a garden rake, brush, hoe, weeder, etc.. You can even get a tree lopper for use with an extensible handle. We were looking for the extensible handle and drove all the way up to the Lowe's in Acworth which we were told had them in stock. Turned out someone had inventoried the wooden handle as the extensible handle. And they won't have any more in until they get their spring stock. How odd! Don't they sell rakes in the fall because of the leaves?

Had a treat tonight: found a used copy of season three of All Creatures Great and Small at Media Play yesterday. I had forgotten how much I loved this series when it was shown on PBS many years ago. I do have a copy of the Christmas episode on tape because it's so enjoyable. I'm hoping to get copies of the first two seasons; the other four seasons are good, but lack the sparkle of the first three seasons. I also thought the series lost something when Lynda Bellingham took over the role of Helen.


» Saturday, October 16, 2004
Preventive Steps
We went out this morning spraying the doorframes with Ortho and sprinkling ant granules around all the doorways. Hopefully this means we won't have any little visitors creeping in the house in November like we did last year. But I won't guarantee it.

I had to laugh: my Weather Channel page, for the past week, has had a big ad from Ortho plastered on it, saying that now that it was getting cold bugs would be heading inside homes and that spraying was in order. That's fine if you already have bug spray, which we do. Heaven help the person who goes out now to try to find some. All the bug spray in the garden shop at Walmart, Lowe's and Home Depot has been replaced by Christmas decorations!

I also bought new boots. Last weekend when we cleaned out the closet, I tossed the old boots I had--they were still brand new, although I wore them on our honeymoon 14 years ago (we took our honeymoon in December, in Boston; who wants to go somewhere warm?)--into the Goodwill bag.

I have a terrible time buying shoes because I have a small but wide foot. I wore a 5 1/2 wide for years and still actually take a 6W. But the shoemakers have decreed that no woman with such a small foot has such a wide foot, and no one makes 6W. I have to get 6 1/2 M and they still hurt. My Reeboks are actually boys' shoes which are properly wide enough.

So buying boots, which are usually made wider unless they are dress boots, was annoying, but not as bad as buying shoes. The one thing I found aggravating is that the boots they are making for women these days, unless they have high heels, don't seem to have any arch supports! I'd tried on two different brands of boots at Target, one that was grey and more dressy, others that were like suede calf-length moccasins. Both soles were just flat on the floor, no arch support at all. I finally got a similar pair to the suede boots at Kmart, but the sole seemed to be a bit thicker and more supportive. I bought a set of Dr. Scholl's pads to supplement the soles.


» Friday, October 15, 2004
Small Letdowns
We went to an old favorite restaurant tonight, an Italian place we were recommended to several years ago, My Cousin Vinny's. (There really is a Vinny cooking.) We hadn't been to the new restaurant since they moved last year.

Vinny's used to be a smallish, but nice little place. They had a bar area, a waiting space, and a long narrow dining room. When it was warm you could eat on the "terrace," and on certain nights they had live music. You would have thought if they moved, they would go somewhere larger.

Instead, they are basically in a small storefront and, although they still have the same great food, the menu is now only two pages and they seem to be specializing in pizza instead of Italian food in general. The pizza "bar" is in the same small dining room, which only holds half a dozen tables. It was a little chilly, but we had jackets on and sat out on the "terrace" (which is basically just the sidewalk in front of the building) which was walled in with plastic.

Plus the dining room used to be lined with photos of Italy (I used to like sitting under the one of the Palio in Siena) and now it only has a few generic black-and-white shots. The music playing used to be all the old Italian favorites I grew up with--Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Al Martino, Lou Monte, Jerry Vale--now it's just modern pop.

Good meal, but ultimately disappointing.

We stopped at Barnes & Noble afterwards and as a treat, James bought me a dark chocolate Godiva bar. I shared a bit with him. As expensive as these things are, I can't imagine why people go so crazy over them--or why they pay so much for Godiva! We both found it inferior to the Lindt bittersweet chocolate bars we have gotten at Harry's Farmer's Market and Publix for years. It was slightly dry, crumbly, and, at least I thought, had an unpleasant aftertaste. The Lindt chocolate is sweetish but not too sweet, creamy, and leaves a nice taste in your mouth afterwards. Even the Ritter Sports bars that Harry's used to stock were better than the Godiva we had tonight.


"...And May Your God Go With You."
After the success of Monty Python’s Flying Circus back in the late 70s, television station owners went casting out for more British comedies. That’s how we saw things like Good Neighbors and Man About the House (the original of Three’s Company and much funnier) and others. One of the biggest hits was Benny Hill’s bawdy sketch comedy show. Water cooler talk soon included Benny’s latest risque antics.

The lucky stations, including WSBK 38 in Boston, got another sketch comedy, the BBC’s delightful Irish storyteller Dave Allen. Between skits, Dave would sit onstage with no props except a smoke and a glass of his favorite libation and tell the most hilarious stories. His signature line at the conclusion of his series Dave Allen at Large was “Good-night and may your God go with you.”

Prim and proper Boston was shocked—unlike mischievous Benny Hill with his naughty jokes, which were bad enough, Allen not only touched on the risque, but made fun of the Catholic church and ribbed the Irish, apopleptic stuff in some areas of the Hub. Church groups complained; I still have the Forum 38 that Allen appeared on, calmly fielding questions from audience members who didn’t like his irreverent style.

In 1981, Allen appeared onstage at the Wilbur Theatre in Boston. I went with two friends and it was a fun night. We even stood by the stage door and were invited in to get autographs. Mr. Allen was not only happy to chat with us, but he discovered that Liz worked at the Witch House in Salem and was delighted. He’s a devotee of supernatural stories and he had been hoping to visit the Witch House.

Anyway, just found out today that someone’s finally releasing some Dave Allen on DVD—Region 2 of course, but no problem. Dave Allen...On Life is scheduled for release on October 25, 2004. It’s about time...Benny Hill has been out on DVD for ages.

A Fan Page

BBC's Dave Allen at Large listing

Nostalgia Central remembers Dave Allen at Large


Persistence of Smoke
Well, "the Annoying One" is gone.

That's what we nicknamed the Ford Focus I had as a rental for the past three weeks. Enterprise finally found me a Neon, which I'm a lot more comfortable in. The only problem is that it was driven by a smoker and reeks of cigarette.

This happened because I asked the Enterprise folks for a car where the "cigarette lighter/power supply" actually worked; it had been disabled in the Focus. I wanted a working power supply so I could play my .mp3 player on the way home--it's at least an hour commute at night and I'd previously been listening to episodes of Fibber McGee and Molly before the accident--or charge my cell phone or PDA. The Enterprise folks told me that in nonsmoking cars they have it disabled so people won't smoke in the car.

Huh? They must know different smokers than I do--and there have been a line of them, mostly aunts, uncles, and older cousins "way back when," but I still have relatives who smoke. The few friends and co-workers I knew that smoked have in majority stopped, but there are still the dedicated ones who park themselves out by the back door of the building, puffing their cancer sticks. The fact that a cigarette lighter was disabled in a car would not have made one whit of a deterrent--they would have just brought along matches or a lighter.

Which of course increases the likelihood that the car will be damaged by some type of fire.

It doesn't make sense, but there it is...


The Friday Five

1. What was the last dream that you had about?

I usually don't remember details about most of them; all I know is that many are scary--I'm in the dark and I don't know where I am. I usually wake up screaming with my heart pounding. Poor James has to live with this. When I was a kid I used to walk in my sleep. My mom would find me near their bedroom door, softly calling her name, but I would be asleep and not remember anything in the morning. She'd walk me back to bed and that would be it. Other times I wake up exhausted because I've either been doing something tedious like cleaning the bathroom or typing things in a database that doesn't save after I've done all that work. I used to have dreams about running through complicated tunnels with a lot of stairways at either a train station or a subway station, but I haven't had one of those in a while.

2. Does it hold any significant meaning to you?

Just sounds like I'm frustrated by doing things over and over and never getting anywhere.

3. Do you dream in color or black and white?

Oh, the dreams I do remember are usually vividly in color.

4. What is the most frightening dream you ever had?

Someone killed my budgie and then made a stew of him and fed it to me.

5. Is there one dream that stays clear in your mind despite the fact it was more than a few years ago?

I have one from childhood I remember; I must have been eight or nine. It was a story about Dino from The Flintstones. It was in bright, bright color (which was funny since we had only a black and white television at the time) and even had an ending that said "the end," just like a movie, with multicolor balloons coming up and covering the "screen."


» Thursday, October 14, 2004
Buzzing Budgie
Last week I was worried because, although Pidge appeared fully fledged, he was still not able to fly, but kept landing on the floor.

That'll teach me to waste worry beads on the wrong thing. :-) He can fly now. Oy, can he fly now! The problem at the moment is that he's still trying to navigate the vertical. The den has crossbeams and he keeps fluttering against them and doesn't seem to know what to land on, with the result that he spins about the room until he runs out of breath and then lands on the rug, the sofa, the computer keyboard, or whatever other surface is handy.

None of it seems to faze him, thankfully. He catches his breath, then proceeds to his next bit of mischief. The first time he made the circuit of the room, he hopped back into his cage and up to the mirror and shrieked to it with delight, presumably the budgerigar version of "Did you see me? Aren't I the cleverest thing?"


Thursday Threesome

::Kitchen Gadget Store::

Onesome: Kitchen- What's your favorite room in your place? Do you migrate towards the kitchen, or prefer to cozy up in the living room?

Two different answers: the room we're mostly in is the den: comfy sofa, home theatre system, computers, and that's where Pidge lives. However, my favorite room in the house is the old living room, which is now our library. There are seven tall bookcases and my stereo system (no television allowed; it's our quiet room), and a big fieldstone fireplace, and the room is decorated in an autumn motif year round. James is the one who presides over the kitchen; he's the cook in the family, not me. He isn't quite Emeril, but he can concoct the most delicious low-carb meals--and even get me to eat vegetables with it. Last week we had boneless pork chops with a wonderful apple garnish. Yum!

Twosome: Gadget- What's your favorite gadget type item and why?

My PDA. It keeps my addresses and phone numbers, my gift list, my grocery list, my list of upcoming DVD releases, my upcoming book list, and my reminder alarms, plus I can read e-books on it, play .mp3s, keep a photo album, and play games. And with the modem I can get online when we're traveling, surf the web, read e-mail, and even get on chat. [Waves to Rodney, Mike, Daniel, Emma, and Rita!]

Threesome: Store- What's your favorite store, even if you never actually buy anything there?

Borders. :-) (Although I think Fry's has it in a tie.)


» Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Welcome, Equinotical Winds!
I simply had to go for a walk this afternoon at lunch! The weather simply surpassed last weekend's, which was a daily overcast--it didn't rain, nor was it damp, and was bright enough without the sun blinding you--with temps in the low 70s. Today the clouds are back, and it's in the mid 60s, with a nice stiff breeze coming out of the west, the sort of day you could walk all day without the heat sucking energy from your body. Makes me long to grab a kite and hustle outside!


One-Year Wonders
There's a fun thread going on at about one-season-only television series that people liked. Some folks remembered a few of my favorites--Voyagers!, the 1975 incarnation of Ellery Queen, Hot l Baltimore, Tales of the Gold Monkey, Bring 'Em Back Alive--and I tossed a few more in: He and She, Faraday and Company, The Snoop Sisters, My World and Welcome to It. Lordy! Someone even mentioned Search--anyone remember this one? Security agents travel around the world looking for valuable items or seeking out industrial spies while being constantly monitored at a control center via miniaturized equipment (years before wireless minicams in homes became feasible). Stars were Hugh O'Brien, Tony Franciosa, and Doug McClure, supporting cast including the inimitable Burgess Meredith.

A bit rough but comprehensive Search site.

TV Party's take on Search.

Hmmm. No one's brought up Shadow Chasers yet, I see.


Liquid Matter
Which Biological Molecule Are You?

You are water. You're not really organic; you're
neither acidic nor basic, yet you're an acid
and a base at the same time. You're strong
willed and opinionated, but relaxed and ready
to flow. So while you often seem worthless,
without you, everything would just not work.
People should definitely drink more of you
every day.

Which Biological Molecule Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Apparently Eddie Haskell would think I was a drip. :-)


Summer Won't Let Go
Found two mosquitoes in the house last night and one in the car bit me this morning. And a hard freeze is some weeks away, darnit...

(Help's on the way--the Weather Channel says 48°F tomorrow night.)


» Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Tuesday Twosome


1. What two things in your life do you worry about the most?

My mother's health and driving in Atlanta traffic.

2. What two things in your life do you worry about the least?

My "status" and fashion sense.

3. Does worrying cause you physical pain or not? If yes, what?

Yeah--I'm sure my acid reflux is caused partially by fretting over things.

4. What are two things/ways do you use/do to ease your worries?

Hobbies and Pidge's antics.

5. What are two things you would give up in your life just to be worry-free?

Well, since I won't give up my mother and I can't give up my job (like most folks I like having regular food, shelter and medical insurance), that isn't going to happen. Besides...what kind of Italian woman would I be if I didn't worry? :-D


» Monday, October 11, 2004
Closet Project Coda
Bought a smaller storage box, four plastic shoe boxes, and a collapsible mesh hamper. The memorabilia is now in the storage box, shoe boxes hold our dress shoes and a heat massager,the collapsible hamper is for James' dress shirts, replacing a bulky blue plastic laundry basket he's been using. All extra hangers are sorted: a third went into the trash, a couple of the heavyweight ones are decent and will go to Goodwill along with the clothes, a third stay here, and all the cheap white wire hangers go back to the dry cleaner whence they came.

And so it goes.


Monday Madness

Name 3 things....

1....your ideal salad has on it.

Just on it? The oriental dressing they use at Rockford's. We love it. Croutons are okay, too. In the ideal salad are baby greens, especially Chinese endive. Or if it's all lettuce, a chicory salad. Delicious. do religiously in the morning.

Wash, brush, and dress! :-) look forward to doing in your spare time.

Reading, constructing web pages, and spending time with my family.'ve never done before, but think you will at some point in your life.

I don't know if I will, but I'd like to drive cross-country again, go to Great Britain, and see Canada again. love to do while on vacation.

Go to historical museums, walk along the seashore, see the mountains. took pictures of in the last month.

LOL. Our closet. Pidge. And Willow. have to do before the end of the day.

Feed the dog and bird, clean the kitchen, get lunches ready for the next day. like about your best friend.

Intelligent, non-mundane, and humorous.


» Sunday, October 10, 2004
New post in Holiday Harbour.


Closet Project Part 4
It's pretty much done. We both ended up sorting clothes this morning, me because I couldn't sleep because the arthritis was bothering my knees, then James doing his portion. We tossed a 33 gallon garbage bag full of nonfitting, too worn and/or spotted old clothing. We have another 33 gallon garbage bag full of perfectly good, clean clothing that simply doesn't fit any longer; off to Goodwill it will go for someone else to get use from--so sorry I had to give up the pretty blue-and-white Cheryl Tiegs ski sweater James got me one Christmas! Once we restocked the closet, we could see other organizational things we could fit and we bought a narrow vertical three-shelf arranger (31" tall and 11" wide), a wooden step-stool that was on clearance (so shrimp-short me can reach the top shelves), two brass hooks for James' belts, and another of the plastic drawer units that JoAnn stocks (I like these because they stack and the drawers do not stick like most plastic organizer drawers.

We put several things in space bags and compacted them, including the beautiful cloak James used to wear to SCA events and some high-school clothing of his (he was a member of the "Gator Guard" in high school; they "guarded" the team mascot). Unfortunately the third bag did not seal properly, so we simply boxed some convention t-shirts that had sentimental value and my wedding dress (which is a simple blue gown and not one of those several-thousand-dollar white confections). We can get more space bags, if we like, on a coupon at Linens'n'Things or Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Everything's now stacked neatly, all the suitcases and other travel bags off the floor, and we actually have room on the floor for slippers and shoes! I have to get shoeboxes for the dress shoes and a bit larger box for the items we couldn't space bag, but that's about it (a trip to Dollar General ought to do it; if not, to Michael's).

I do have to sort out an enormous number of hangers! I swear we have enough hangers to stock an orphanage. About half of them are those cheap white wire hangers they give you from the dry cleaner; when we take in James' dress shirts next weekend, we'll give them to the cleaner folks with pleasure.

I don't have a "before" shot of the closet. Suffice to say that it was the usual deal: rod across with a shelf mounted on top of it. On top of the shelf we had a four-compartment wire organizer to keep such things as winter clothes in the summer and vice versa. The suitcases were all stowed on the floor on the righthand side.

The shot below sucks: I should have used a flash. But you can see all the organizer, except for the top shelf on the right side, and that silly-looking slightly-bowed vertical on the right of the center section.

closet with Closet Butler in it

Now it's still pretty full, but it's nowhere near as crowded as it was. It also contains the overflow that was in the spare room closet: my flannel and terry bathrobes, some bulky winter shirts, etc. Suitcases are almost out of sight, top left. You can see the useful plastic drawers from JoAnn center bottom. The spacebagged stuff is out of sight on the upper right hand shelf.

full closet


Our Kind of Weather
"Arlo & Janis" for October 9


» Saturday, October 09, 2004
Closet Project Part 3a
Not much more of interesting detail to add...the unit we got was a "Closet Butler" from Lowe's--they've since discontinued selling it and we think we know why. We were going to get the Closet Maid wire units that James used in his hobby room, but this was wood and looked much nicer and came with shelving included (you had to buy the Closet Maid shelves separately) for only a little more money. When we finally got it out of the box today we discovered that one of the vertical support halves (two of them fit together to make the requisite full size unit) didn't have the holes it was supposed to have in it to connect it to its partner. And the two vertical halves that did connect were very insecure. So we had to get two "mending plates," about an inch wide and four or five inches long, to permanently bolt both verticals together.

When we finally looked at them complete we were aghast. One of them is very slightly curved on one of the vertical parts, so it looks lopsided. Never mind, it matches everything else in the house, which has no two corners square. Good ol' 1980s home construction quality strikes again.

But the unit all together seems fairly sturdy. We worked it so at least one of the supports on each of the three main shelves is screwed firmly into a stud. That should help a lot.

Tomorrow, the reload. We'll start with James' clothes first because I'm home for Columbus Day. Once we start getting some things inside, we'll know what else we can fit and perhaps buy a few more organizing containers at Linens'n'Things (I have coupons that run out Monday and also on Tuesday).


Closet Project Part 3
The organizer is in. Took us about six hours because we had to run to Home Depot for something to reinforce the vertical posts. What they had wasn't adequate. Real bear to get in, but the oak looks nice against the freshly painted white.

More later, but we need to get to trivia right now...


» Friday, October 08, 2004
The Friday Five

1. What is something that you used to believe, but are glad you don't believe anymore?

That there can be such thing as an honest politician. (Eddie Beard, we hardly knew ye.)

2. Is there something you wish you still believed? What?

That there can be such thing as an honest politician.

3. What experience or person taught you the most about life?

My mother. She had a tough life. Her early years were spent in a coal-mining camp. My grandmother had "coal-dust lungs" and Mom had to quit school in 11th grade to take care of her. She nor my dad never had a lot of money, and they both had to work in factories all their lives, but they got a lot of fun out of life and she taught me to appreciate what we had. She gave me my love of books and dogs, cats and budgies--and even took me to my first science-fiction convention.

4. What area of life would you like to know or understand more about?

Area? I dunno. I've gotten along on little money and gotten along on enough money, experienced life in different parts of the country, coped with disaster and coped with good times. I do wish I knew why "bad things happen to good people." My mom never hurt anyone in her life; she doesn't deserve cancer eating at her head and face. My cousin Anna and her husband Anthony are the two hardest working people I ever met--now she's debilitated with cancer and he has Parkinson's disease.

5. What is your most valuable lesson about life so far?

Don't fall in love with someone who doesn't love you in return.


Closet Project Part 2b
Closet is painted--the inside was that innocuous eggshell color they paint the interior of new homes; it's now a nice clean bright white that will reflect light better--we've had pizza, the painting things are all washed and put up, Pidge is tossing his new toys off the roof of his cage, and Willow is happy that the humans are back.


Closet Project Part 2a
I'm back. Bought half-priced fall things and now the small table in the den has an autumn motif. The new issues of Best of British and Period Living and Traditional Homes were at Borders; also picked up the paperback copy of Exile's Valor, which is supposed to be the last of the Valdemar books. My Reminisce was in the mailbox when I got home--hurrah! Pigwidgeon is merrily playing with his new toys.

The doctor says it will be four to six weeks from the date of the accident before I should be totally recovered and that I should still be taking the muscle relaxants at night. Gah. So "Twilight" and I should be "well" about the same time. I hope. The rental company is still looking for a Neon for me.

I think I'll check the weather report, take the dog out, and maybe start on the painting...


Closet Project Part 2
It's "part 2" without "part 1" being in sight because James started it yesterday. He worked last Saturday so this Thursday was his weekday off. He had his annual doctor's checkup for the diabetes, swapped some tales at the hobby shop, then came home to do what I'd asked him, remove his clothes from the closet, which we are going to paint and then install a Closet Butler organizer (I asked him to sort out any he didn't want; he missed that part, but oh, well, it can be done on the "restock" of the closet anyway--I have two bags out, one for clothes and items good enough to donate to Goodwill, another for trash). He said what the heck, removed all my things, too, and pulled out the rod and the shelf and the supports for them. Viola! (as Snagglepuss used to say) empty closet.

In the last two hours I've vacuumed out the closet, vacuumed down the walls, spackled the holes the supports were in. I tried to pick up the spackle bits on the floor, but they were smearing on the #$#@$!$! carpet in there (I hate carpet), so I left it. They have ethelyne glycol in them, so must be vacuumed up carefully.

I also did the fall clean on the ceiling fan. I keep it dusted with a fan duster through the year, but it's no use. Our room is always dusty because of James' C-PAP. Machine. I could theoretically leave the spare room without dusting for six months and you wouldn't find nearly the amount of dust in there after that time as our room accumulates in one week. Apparently there's something in the C-PAP that attracts dust.

So the fan blades are now vacuumed and polished with Endust in a futile gesture to keep the dust from building up, and I did the semi-annual good dusting of the stuffed animals as well. Again, these get dusted regularly but you'd never know it. After two or three days they already have a fine coating of dust on them. (And yes, we have an air filter in the room! We're just not using it right now while the windows are open.)

I seem to have accumulated Beanie Babies--I have about a dozen. I don't "collect" or "swap" or "trade" them (you know, that's how E-Bay was started; a woman wanted somewhere to trade her Beanie Babies--who knew?). I wanted a couple, the collie of course because of Lassie, and the crab because of the unusual patterning and also because I'm from the shore, but there was this sale at the restaurant in Helen one year, and I accumulated a few more. I also have the two stuffed Lassies, one from the New Lassie series, and the other one that came out in the 1990s when the new movie did, a Dodger and Figaro from Disney World, a small Tramp, a fox named Michael after Michael Keating (Vila on Blake's 7), and a lamb that my friend Ann always calls "Linda Lambzi" as a play on my maiden name.

Anyway, I'm burning daylight--I'm off to Petco at Town Center to see if they have any of the tiny toys Pidge likes left. And I have Michael's coupons.

Might start painting when I get back, but have to leave for the doctor at three so I might not have time.



» Thursday, October 07, 2004
Fall on My Mind
The air conditioner is off--hopefully until mid-May. According to the weather report, it's even going to be cool and damp on Monday. Truman Capote's cousin Sook had her "fruitcake weather." Here it's getting to be "gingerbread weather" and "gas log weather." The combination sounds delightful.


New post in A Cozy Nook to Read In.


Thursday Threesome

::Wild Blue Yonder!::

Onesome: Wild-- Whoa! ...wild times lately! Florida and neighboring states have been blown away; the Northeast has been deluged; California is shakin' again; and the Pacific Northwest is getting ready to erupt. Okay, what's too wild for you? What will you live with and what do you want to stay far, far away from?

This is funny; James and I were discussing this last night, about how every part of the country seems to have a downfall weatherwise. (Earthquakes and volcanoes aren't weather, though; maybe the descriptive is "natural" downfall.) I've been from one end of this country to the other and pretty much north and south; I still prefer a cooler climate even if it does have snow in the winter. I've never been good with heat--I remember all those sleepless summer nights lying upside down in the bed hoping for a breeze from one of the two windows--and it's worse now because of the hot flashes. As I get older, I'm also having more and more trouble breathing when it's too warm; yesterday there was no A/C in my office (which is about the size of our den with six people and six computers all giving off heat) and trying to breathe without some sort of air circulating was difficult.

So, yeah, I'd prefer to take my chances with the nor'easters and the occasional hurricane (Northeast) than tornadoes and floods (Southest) or earthquakes and mud slides and wildfires (California) or tornadoes and more tornadoes and blizzards (Midwest) or hurricanes and giant bugs (Florida).

On the other hand, I don't really have a choice. One needs a job and you have to be where the jobs are. Luckily good friends come along with the combo.

Twosome: Blue-- Blue Delft? Off the wall: What color are your day to day dishes. ...and does anyone in this crowd have some really nice stuff you like to break out for the upcoming holiday dinners?

Actually, we're still using the same stoneware set I got from Zayre's when I moved into an apartment on my own. We also have smaller plastic plates (Rubbermaid made some great small plastic plates at one time, but we're down to only two of them) so that we eat smaller portions. I've thought about getting new dishes, but it's not a priority.

Thank God I don't know any snooty people who actually care if I have good china or not! All we care about when getting together is having a good time, not critiquing what each other owns.

I think I get this from my mom. She got "good china" as a wedding gift. We always ate off plain white porcelain plates. The china's still in the attic, in a brown box tied with twine. I asked her a couple of years back what the dishes actually looked like. She said she didn't remember! I suppose next time we're there, since it will be cool enough to trek into the attic, I ought to go up and look. Now that I think of it, I seem to remember that once when I was a teenager I did untie the string and look at the dishes. I'm pretty sure they have roses on them, which would follow: they're Mom's favorite flowers.

Threesome: Yonder-- Oh, man, science fiction is reality: the private sector has reached space and is getting set to visit on a regular basis. Would you like to go out yonder? I mean, if the group with the five-seater offered you a suborbital flight, would you be up for that?

I dunno. I've been claustrophobic since I was a kid; I couldn't even play hide'n'seek by going behind the clothes and closing the closet door. So space travel seems to be out for me until it's in something the size of a commuter plane. Can't do roller coasters, so that would be a probable out, too. If trained astronauts toss their cookies in space, I don't have a chance.

James, on the other hand, loves barf rides and will go the minute it's affordable (which at this rate he'll be 85 when it happens, but...).


» Wednesday, October 06, 2004
The Car Report
The rep from the Chrysler body shop called. They finally have my PT on the hoist and apart. The total estimate to repair: $10,666.58. They needed my okay to start work.

Despite this, astoundingly, the frame is still basically sound. The suspension took the brunt of the impact. And because the left wheel was knocked off before it could do any damage to the transmission, the transmission is undamaged. "Wicked bizaahh" as they'd say at home. [wry grin]

He figures it will take at least 3 weeks more to fix now that they have my go-ahead (there's 70 hours of body labor alone). If I'm going to be driving a rental that long, I'm going back to the rental car company and demanding a better car--I'm tired of being without a power source and a properly working dome light. (Clark Howard--local consumer activate guru--says you should get a car close to what you were driving. Wonder if they have any PTs? I don't want anything larger. I'd settle for a nice solid Neon like I had for six years.)


Without Reservations
I shouldn’t be surprised that I’m having trouble finding a pet-friendly hotel in the Washington, DC, area. Some people are utterly heedless with their animals and the responsible and the petless suffer for it. Our former neighbors had a tomcat they allowed to run loose and mingle with the feral cats that the county refuses to collect—not only could you clearly see his “mark” on several litters of kittens, but God knows what kind of diseases he was exposed to.

My mom and my godmother have a similar problem: across the chain link fence from their yards there’s a big dog tied outside all the time. The owner interacts with the dog about a half hour a day (his girlfriend doesn’t want it in the house). He doesn’t clean up after the dog, so the yard is noisome as well as noisy, since the animal is lonesome and barks. (I remember Victoria, the maiden lady who owned that house and kept it and the yard spotless. She’s probably spinning in her grave.) I know darn well why Mom or Padina haven’t reported him to the health department or animal control: they’ve heard as many stories up there as I have down here, about nasty neighbors who take revenge. A couple of elderly ladies don’t want to take chances. Ironically, despite the mess, they’re still worried about the dog--Monday Mom was telling me that she and Padina had both seen him chowing down on a sponge and she was wondering if it would make him sick.

Anyway, no surprise that so many establishments don’t want animals (or rather their owners).

Anyway, I know Motel 6 accepts pets--even good ol’ Tom Bodett will tell you so--and was set to make reservations at a place in Camp Springs. But the published policy says “animals supervised at all times”—does this mean they will not allow Willow to stay in the room locked in her crate? It would make hash of us taking a few hours off to go see the new Air and Space Building at the Smithsonian. I can call for reservations instead of doing it online and ask pertinent questions, but I thought I’d line up a few alternatives in case.

I found a Days Inn in the same area that indicated “crated” pets were okay and it had a AAA rating of two diamonds, which means it’s a nice serviceable place with a few extra amenities. That looked promising until I noticed that the Days Inn website had ratings for the place. All of them were recent and all of them were bad; not folks whining about trivial junk like the place not being the Taj Mahal, but legitimate complaints about dirty rooms, bad smells, surly staff, and non-working items in the rooms.

I cast about at the more expensive digs. I found a Holiday Inn in Chevy Chase that supposedly takes pets. ("Supposedly" because the pet-friendly hotel site said they did, but when I did a search on Holiday Inn’s site with the criteria of “pets accepted” checked, no results came up.) Yow! even this place had bad reviews of the same type as the Days Inn.

Man, when I was a kid, Holiday Inn was like...well, the Taj Mahal. The Plaza Hotel of motor hotels. We took innumerable car trips, including two cross country from RI to California, another to Florida, and several sorties into Canada. We stayed at a “name” motel (Howard Johnson) only once in all those hundreds of overnights and never once got burned. Some of these “generic” motels were strictly utilitarian, with painted cinderblock walls and no pools, but they were clean and well kept. Our favorite motel at Lake George was not a big flashy resort motel, but a little place called Lee’s, with cottages and flowers. On dad’s and mom’s factory salaries, we could only dream of what superior rooms awaited at the chain places like Holiday Inn.

A Holiday Inn rated as being dirty and smelly…wow. Have things changed so much?

I’ve found a Howard Johnson’s just north of DC that merits looking into as well. It’s a decent price for the location and has a shuttle to the Metro station. Still, its customer rating is 6.2, which puts it into the “good but unimpressive; if a better place comes up, take it” category. That one Howard Johnson’s we once stayed at was practically hotel quality next to our motel forays, so to have a HoJo rated so low is eye-opening.

What I wouldn’t give for a good Drury Inn up in DC; the one we stayed at in Charlotte was superb.


Here's Your Sign
I don't usually comment on this political stuff; my opinion is they're all a bunch of crooks who lie constantly and instinctively, the way cats stalk birds. Why then debate which one is the best? If someone new gets in, this year's graft will just be surreptitiously going to that electee instead of the previous one. But we had our annual work picnic yesterday, which means I took a different route home than I usually do, and I noticed something amusing.

All my life I've been told "Republicans are (for the) rich and Democrats are (for the) poor." My parents voted chiefly on non-partisan lines, but they were Roosevelt Democrats at heart. Even though their favorites--FDR and JFK--were rich, my folks earnestly believed that they were for the poor and that FDR saved the working class during the Depression (something my Libertarian acquaintances will be delighted to debate that he didn't do), and that the majority of Democrats are just hard-working working class people like themselves while Republicans are all rolling in dough

So I found it funny that as I drove from middle class to swank neighborhoods--especially West Paces Ferry Road, where the Governor's mansion is, where the property values are easily $1 million per house and there are "homes" that are the size of rich old Mr. King's mansion in Five Little Peppers and How They Grew--and back again, the majority of Kerry/Edwards signs are on the swank lawns and the majority of Bush/Cheney signs are in comfortably middle class yards.

I guess it's time for another old stereotype to die.


» Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Tuesday Twosome

Time management...

1. Two things your procrastinate the most about:

Bathing the dog and going to the doctor.

2. Two things that take priority in your time management:

Making sure the bird is fed and that I have enough gas to get cross-town every day.

3. Do you usually arrive on time or late?

On time.

4. Do you get annoyed when other people arrive late or you really don't care?

It depends on what the schedule is. If there's something going on afterward, yeah, I'd be a little irritated.

5. What two things would you change/delete about your daily schedule in order for you to have more "down" time?

Mostly I'd love to have a short commute. These "40 minute minimum" drive times are killers. And I could sleep later.


» Monday, October 04, 2004
200 Things
Whew. Well, something to do while I was listening to That's Entertainment. Gotta get the DVD set!

01. Bought everyone in the pub a drink--I don't drink.
02. Swam with wild dolphins--I can't swim, either. But dolphins are cool.
03. Climbed a mountain--Does Diamond Hill in RI count? :-)
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive--Not interested in sports cars.
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid--Never been to Africa. Rather read about pyramids, actually.
06. Held a tarantula--No thanks, even though I know their bite isn't deadly.
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone--Not candlelit.
08. Said "I love you" and meant it--You mean "I love you" as in loving someone (spouse?) only--yeah, twice--but that leaves out my mom, my dad, all my birds, Willow and Leia, relatives, etc.
09. Hugged a tree--Well, sorta. When I was a teenager we had a mimosa tree we were trying to raise; I couldn't have a dog so I made a pet of the tree--her name was "Fluffy" but she didn't survive transplant.
10. Done a striptease--Only for my hubby.
11. Bungee jumped--I'm afraid of heights, too; besides, why?
12. Visited Paris--No. I'm Italian and more interested in seeing Italy.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea--Yeah, it's beautiful. I miss the ocean.
14. Stayed up all night long, and watch the sun rise--Never quite made it.
15. Seen the Northern Lights--No, but I'd love to.
16. Gone to a huge sports game--I hate sports. But yeah, I went to a Braves game once. I'm glad I brought a book.
17. Walked the stairs to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa--Haven't been to Italy. Probably couldn't make it up the stairs with my bad knees.
18. Grown and eaten my own vegetables--Not myself. My grandparents and mom and dad did. I hate bugs.
19. Touched an iceberg--No. That would be cool. As long as I wasn't on the Titanic II. :-)
20. Slept under the stars--Not really.
21. Changed a baby's diaper--No.
22. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon--No. I'm afraid of heights, remember?
23. Watched a meteor shower--Yes, once. Also went to a park to look at Hale-Bopp.
24. Gotten drunk on champagne--Ugh. Nasty stuff. If I'm going to get drunk, I'll do it on Kahlua and milk.
25. Given more than you can afford to charity--No.
26. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope--Yes.
27. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment--Thankfully, no.
28. Had a food fight--Nope. It's a stupid waste of food.
29. Bet on a winning horse--No, but my aunt and I bid on a winning dog once, down in Florida.
30. Taken a sick day when you're not ill--Not during my work life. I did once in school so I could see the Apollo 12 moonwalk (and we all know how that turned out!)
31. Asked out a stranger--Nope.
32. Had a snowball fight--I've thrown snowballs, but never had a snowball fight.
33. Photocopied your bottom on the office photocopier--Our copier is in a very exposed place. No way.
34. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can--Every time I see ants.
35. Held a lamb--Only a stuffed one.
36. Enacted a favorite fantasy--Yes, I've been to a Broadway show!
37. Taken a midnight skinny dip--Once at an SCA event.
38. Taken an ice cold bath--Washed in cold water when the water was off last year, that's about it.
39. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar--No.
40. Seen a total eclipse-- Several times, I think.
41. Rode on a roller coaster--Once was enough. Barf ride!!!!
42. Hit a home run--I can't hit the broad side of a barn. I hate sports.
43. Fit three weeks miraculously into three days--Well, our vacations seem like they only last three days.
44. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking--Yes, at Jerry's wedding.
45. Adopted an accent for an entire day--No.
46. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors--No, still haven't been to Italy.
47. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment--Yes.
48. Had two hard drives for your computer--No, one was enough trouble.
49. Visited all 50 states--Not yet. I'm into the thirties somewhere.
50. Loved your job for all accounts--Never, ever.
51. Taken care of someone who was shit faced--No.
52. Had enough money to be truly satisfied--Not quite. We still need new windows, new carpeting, new linoleum.
53. Had amazing friends--Yep. Especially one guy in New York. :-)
54. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country--I've never danced with anyone in Canada and that's the only foreign country I've been in.
55. Watched wild whales--No.
56. Stolen a sign--No. What for?
57. Backpacked in Europe--Never been to Europe.
58. Taken a road-trip--Lots. We're taking one in the future, all four of us. :-)
59. Rock climbing--Have I mentioned I'm afraid of heights?
60. Lied to foreign government's official in that country to avoid notice--Never lied to anyone in Canada. Went the wrong way on a one-way street in Quebec once...
61. Midnight walk on the beach--Yes, but not for a long time. We haven't been to the beach since Merlin was a baby (1990).
62. Sky diving--How many times do I get to say I'm afraid of heights? :-)
63. Visited Ireland--No. I'd like to. It looks pretty.
64. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love--Yes.
65. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them--No. But I might if we go to Durgin Park on vacation.
66. Visited Japan--No.
67. Benchpressed your own weight--I can barely lift the birdcage.
68. Milked a cow--No. But I do drink milk.
69. Alphabetized your records--Yes, and my books, too.
70. Pretended to be a superhero--The only superhero I wanted to be was Lassie, and I don't think she counts.
71. Sung karaoke--No.
72. Lounged around in bed all day--Ah, yes, my dream holiday. When can we go back to the beach?
73. Posed nude in front of strangers--No. They'd laugh anyway.
74. Scuba diving--Um, remember I can't swim...
75. Got it on to Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye--No.
76. Kissed in the rain--And in the snow.
77. Played in the mud--No, I hated mud. The first time I was taken to a beach, I touched the sand and told my mother it was dirty.
78. Played in the rain--Yep, especially after a hot spell.
79. Gone to a drive-in theater--Yes, and I still miss the Cranston Drive-In.
80. Done something you should regret, but don't regret it.--Probably.
81. Visited the Great Wall of China--No.
82. Discovered that someone who's not supposed to have known about your blog has discovered your blog--Dunno.
83. Dropped Windows in favor of something better--No.
84. Started a business--Not yet.
85. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken--No.
86. Toured ancient sites--How ancient? I've seen Indian relics.
87. Taken a martial arts class--No.
88. Swordfought for the honor of a woman--Um, no.
89. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight--I tried role playing. I'd rather write stories than pretend to be in them.
90. Gotten married--Once.
91. Been in a movie--Does a fan-filmed spoof count? Ours was called "Brad and Brad at the Video Room."
92. Crashed a party--Nope.
93. Loved someone you shouldn't have--Probably.
94. Kissed someone so passionately it made them dizzy--I don't know. Sweetie...?
95. Gotten divorced--No, thank God.
96. Had sex at the office--No.
97. Gone without food for 5 days--I'd throw up if I did that.
98. Made cookies from scratch--Yes, every year. I make wine biscuits for Christmas.
99. Won first prize in a costume contest--No. But I had a cool Dr. Who outfit once.
100. Rode a gondola in Venice--No. I keep missing riding the ones in Providence. They're from Venice.
101. Gotten a tattoo--No.
102. Found that the texture of some materials can turn you on--I find flannel very arousing. :-)
103. Rafted the Snake River--BARF RIDE!!!!!
104. Been on television news programs as an "expert"--Even television news isn't an expert anymore. Can you say "proportional type"?
105. Got flowers for no reason--Yes.
106. Masturbated in a public place--Um, no.
107. Got so drunk you don't remember anything--I've only been tipsy once, not really drunk. And my parents were there.
108. Been addicted to some form of illegal drug--No.
109. Performed on stage---Yes, with the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company. Also a couple of school things. Remember Veteran's Day programs? And I played the organ on stage once at school.
110. Been to Las Vegas--Yes, twice, with my folks.
111. Recorded music--No.
112. Eaten shark--No. I don't like fish.
113. Had a one-night stand--No.
114. Gone to Thailand--No.
115. Seen Siouxsie live--I don't even know if it is alive.
116. Bought a house--Yes. Once was enough.
117. Been in a combat zone--Only if East Boston counts.
118. Buried one/both of your parents--Just one. I don't want to think about it.
119. Shaved or waxed your pubic hair off--For surgery only.
120. Been on a cruise ship--No. It always seems such a lot of money to spend eating all the time.
121. Spoken more than one language fluently--I can speak a little Italian and know some Spanish words from their Italian counterparts and I can understand enough French to get around in Quebec.
122. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone--No.
123. Bounced a check--No, thank God.
124. Performed in Rocky Horror--I don't think I've ever seen it all the way through.
125. Read - and understood - your credit report--Yes.
126. Raised children--Only ones with fur and feathers.
127. Recently bought and played with a favorite childhood toy--Not lately. But I have Legos still.
128. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour--He's not on tour anymore.
129. Created and named your own constellation of stars--No.
130. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country--No, but around England sounds nice.
131. Found out something significant that your ancestors did--Well, yeah, they came into the US through Boston and not New York.
132. Called or written your Congress person--No. What good would it do?
133. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over--Yes.
134. ...more than once? - More than thrice?--Twice.
135. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge--Just driven over it a couple of times.
136. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking--Yes. LOL.
137. Had an abortion or your female partner did--No. I don't believe in abortion.
138. Had plastic surgery--No.
139. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived--No, thankfully it wasn't that bad.
140. Wrote articles for a large publication--No, just fanzines and web pages.
141. Lost over 100 pounds--Well, if you total 'em up over the years...
142. Held someone while they were having a flashback--No.
143. Piloted an airplane--No. But I know someone who has. :-)
144. Petted a stingray--Over my dead body.
145. Broken someone's heart--Once.
146. Helped an animal give birth--No.
147. Been fired or laid off from a job--Yes. Curse you, Dennis Charlesworth at Hallmark!
148. Won money on a T.V. game show--No. I still want to be on Jeopardy, though.
149. Broken a bone--Yes.
150. Killed a human being--No.
151. Gone on an African photo safari--No. Too many bugs in Africa anyway.
152. Rode on a motorcycle--No, but I have ridden in a motorboat.
153. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100 mph--Aieeeeee! 90 mph on the freeway is fast enough.
154. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced--Only by surgeons.
155. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol--Yes, at shooting ranges, several times, including the pistol my dad brought back from WWII, a Garman officer's pistol. It's uncomfortable to shoot; I'm better with a 22 Ruger. One of our friends is a State of Georgia firearms instructor. He says I'm not bad.
156. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild--No. My grandpa used to know how to tell the good ones from the toadstools, but he died long before I could ever eat anything he gathered.
157. Rode a horse--Yes, my cousin Terri's horse, Gidget, back in 1978, in San Rafael.
158. Had major surgery--Several times, including last spring for ovarian cysts; I've actually had that surgery twice. I've also had my tonsils out--oh, yeah, and had thyroid cancer removed. :-(
159. Had sex on a moving train--I haven't been on a train since 1981...
160. Had a snake as a pet--Um, no. My friend Cindy's daughter had one named Otto, though.
161. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon--No. Thanks to my dad not liking to make reservations ahead of time, I spent about a half hour at the Grand Canyon.
162. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing--No. I like flying.
163. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours--Yes, I was really sick once. I was so sick I turned down Italian bread.
164. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states--No. Only been to Canada.
165. Visited all 7 continents--No.
166. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days--Don't do canoes. Remember? I can't swim.
167. Eaten kangaroo meat--No. I'd like to go to Australia and see wild budgies, though.
168. Fallen in love at an ancient Mayan burial ground--No.
169. Been a sperm or egg donor--No. I don't have any more eggs anymore anyway.
170. Eaten sushi--Ew. I still hate fish.
171. Had your picture in the newspaper--Yes. Back in 1998 the Marietta Daily Journal did an article on my Remember WENN website. I was on the front page of Section D. Bandit was sitting on my shoulder. He looked so cute!!!!
172. Had 2 (or more) healthy romantic relationships for over a year in your lifetime--No.
173. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about--Well, James didn't like budgies before he met me. He thought birds were stupid.
174. Gotten someone fired for their actions--I hope not!
175. Gone back to school--Yes, for a year. I should go take some web courses, but the idea of the fluorescent lights makes me cringe.
176. Parasailed--No. I can't...never mind, you know the drill.
177. Changed your name--No, but I've wanted to.
178. Petted a cockroach--Squish those buggers. Actually, the dog catches and kills them. Yea, Willow!
179. Eaten fried green tomatoes--No, I try not to eat fried foods.
180. Read The Iliad--No. Unfortunately the only Homer I'm familiar with is Simpson.
181. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read--No. I'd still throw Joyce Carol Oates across the room, too.
182. Dined in a restaurant and stolen silverware, plates, cups because your apartment needed them--No.
183. ...and gotten 86'ed from the restaurant because you did it so many times, they figured out it was you--No. Who writes these questions?
184. Taught yourself an art from scratch--Cross-stitch.
185. Killed and prepared an animal for eating--No.
186. Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt--No.
187. Skipped all your school reunions--So far. But one's coming up when I'll be home. $50 a plate? Are they nuts? And we can't even go to Rocky Point!
188. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language--Well, there's Pidge...
189. Been elected to public office--No. Politicians are pond scum. Why would I want to be pond scum?
190. Written your own computer language--Only Word Perfect macros.
191. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream--No.
192. Had to put someone you love into hospice care--I don't want to think about it.
193. Built your own PC from parts--No, but James did, several times.
194. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you--Yes, at Omnicon back in 1983. I sold four pencil sketches.
195. Had a booth at a street fair--No.
196: Dyed your hair--Not yet. But I've always wanted to be a redhead.
197: Been a DJ--No.
198: Found out someone was going to dump you via LiveJournal--No. Who writes these things?
199: Written your own role playing game--No, I don't like role playing much.
200: Been arrested--I got a speeding ticket once, and a ticket for failure to yield right of way (which I couldn't do because I didn't see the person coming toward me because he didn't have his lights on, but the policeman took his word because he was an Air Force officer).


The Upside Down Map Page
As someone who always thought being a cartographer would have been a cool job:

Follow the links. There's even one to the SCA, where I was amused to learn that Rhode Island is the Barony of the Bridge.

A tip of the hat to Daniel.


Carry On Pidge and Other Projects
If I’d worried about Pigwidgeon not wanting to go near his carry box, it was for naught: he’s as curious as that proverbial cat. I set it on the bookcase next to his cage and he eyed it warily a bit the first day, but that was about it. I placed two dishes inside, a few perches, and two toys and he was immediately attracted by the latter. Now I leave it open when he is out of the cage and he tosses his mini-barbell and flying saucers into it and goes inside and plays with the dangling mirror toy.

To make it ready for vacation I still need to cut the styrene plastic that will go around most of the bars of the carrier to keep the draught out. Before the trip I plan to buy a box or two of Therapatches. They will do for any emergency heat.

I’m looking forward to seeing my mother but am a little afraid, too. Apparently the cancer has started to disfigure her face some. I’m afraid it will upset me and I may start crying and then upset her, which I don’t want to do. I want this to be the happiest visit it can be. I’m hoping she’ll be well enough that we can take a drive up to Vermont; these days she just goes out to the supermarket or the doctor or to church. I would think Woodstock would be nice at that time of year, with all the Christmas prep in the little shops. And maybe we’d catch some snow!

If not I will settle for the usual places: Newport and Boston and maybe New York.

We’re planning to stop in DC on the way and see the new Air and Space Building and take some photos of the WWII memorial. We also want to have supper with a friend and see his new townhouse—the “I paid a quarter of a million dollars for a freakin’ townhouse” as he refers to it. :-)

Meanwhile, I keep wondering when I’m going to get my car back. Our friend Alice had her PT rear-ended about a week before someone T-boned me, and hers was taking two weeks to fix. I can’t imagine how long it’s going to take to fix a left front wheel that is completely disengaged from the steering mechanism! I want time to “wring the car out” before vacation and make sure it’s properly repaired. Perhaps a ride up to Helen after “Oktoberfest” is over, as we did last year.

All these years I’ve been driving Atlanta’s crazy freeways and feared I was going to “get it” there! I never expected to get ambushed on a quiet road leading into an office park.

This weekend we’re supposed to refurbish our closet; it’s a leftover project from last spring when it got to be A/C weather waaaaaaay too fast—I want to paint inside and the windows need to be open and the upper story ventilated for that, especially now with Pidge in the house. We have a smart wooden closet organizer and I really want to do a Mission: Organization type toss. If we stretch out the job just right, we can work and also go to trivia on Saturday night

Trivia’s something we’ve been doing since Bandit died; before that I didn’t want to leave him. It’s at a place called Rockford’s and the food isn’t much, but the evening’s fun anyway. We have the most trouble on modern films and music because we’re all in our 40s and 50s; heck, my music knowledge ends with Big Band, George Winston, Bing Crosby, and Rupert Holmes—and don’t ask me about modern movies; I don’t even like George Clooney and Adam Sandler. They asked a halftime question about who won what Emmy awards this year. I watched the entire show and could barely remember one—although I’ll admit the only reason I was watching at all was to root for Tony Shalhoub.


Monday Madness

Using the letters in the word 'AUTUMN' describe your favorite season.

A nticipation of holidays!
U nder beautiful blue skies!
T asty (as in fresh apples and pumpkin and squash pies)!
U nbelievably colorful!
M arvelous!
N aturally cool!