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, April 30, 2005
Home ... Free
Well, not totally. We still owe Northside the copay.

James had a CT scan at noon and whatever the fuzzy thing was on the x-ray it didn't show up on the scan. The doctor mentioned they did spot what looked like a couple of calcidified nodules, very small, in the upper and lower lobes (can't recall which was on which side). The radiologist's opinion was it was an old fungal infection (nice guess, Jerry) and wasn't any problem, but advised James have another scan in three months just to make sure it isn't.

His labs were clear except for the slight elevated white count, so all the doctor can figure is that he has some sort of atypical infection and unless things get severely bad—cramps, diarrhea, severe headaches, etc.—it's probably just going to be one of those things he has to ride through. His labs this morning were better than the labs yesterday, so it's probably that the IV antibiotics going straight into him rather than going by the stomach, kidneys, and liver did a world of good. He has the rest of the antibiotic tablets to take and he's supposed to stay home until Wednesday and has a followup with his regular doctor.

So we walked in the door and he decided not to make any noise until I opened the gate and let Willow downstairs. She was pathetically happy to see me, ran for the door, and did a sharp left when she saw James and then went wagging into "daddydaddydaddydaddy" mode. The first thing he did was take his stuff upstairs, undress and get into the shower—they didn't let him bathe at all yesterday—and she sat outside the tub crying as if she were afraid the water would kill him! We had to open the shower curtain twice to show her he was all right

Check his blog and see if he decides to write about his ordeal with "the roommate from Hell" (or rather "the roommate with the television from Hell").


It's about 1 a.m. and I just talked to James. Yes, he's still up. His roommate seems to have decided to watch TV all night. Loudly.

I know nothing about this guy. He's on nothing by mouth so maybe he's having surgery or a horrible test tomorrow and maybe he's scared. I remember when I was in to have my thyroid removed I could not sleep after the surgery at all, for six whole days. I catnapped, probably, but the nights were one long endless agony and I did have my TV on most of the time, but it was on very, very low, like the ticking alarm clock in the puppy's box, so not to disturb my roomie, who was in pain all the time and moaned loudly.

But being in the hospital's sorta like being on a lifeboat; sometimes you ought to consider the other guy...


» Friday, April 29, 2005
Friday Five

1. You have the summer and plenty of money to travel abroad. Where all would you go?

Somewhere cool! My ultimate fantasy is to be so filthy rich that I could have two homes, one in the northern hemisphere, and one in the southern one. When April came I'd be hightailing it to where it was winter until October.

2. What foods would you be sure you got to eat?

I don't care as long as they aren't spicy and don't give me indigestion. (Which basically leaves milk, oatmeal, and bread.)

3. What landmarks would you be sure you got to see?

Well, sounds like we'd be heading down to New Zealand. I hear it's really pretty down there (and looks pretty, if "Hobbiton" is any indication).

4. What airline would you use?

Air New Zealand? Qantas? Who knows?

5. Would your knowledge of other languages influence where you went? (i.e. would you be more likely to go to France if you spoke French?)

Yes, I'm poor with other languages, which is really a shame. Kids should be taught languages when they are young and "sponge-like."


As We Feared...
...the doctor took another set of x-rays this afternoon and was worried enough about a fuzzy spot on the lower right lobe of the lungs to have James admitted to the hospital. They didn't have any beds when he called, so we came home, packed some things, and then went to Northside. Didn't have to wait long to be brought into the back, but it took a while to get a room. We asked for a private and had to settle for a semi. The room is dreadfully warm for both of us (James didn't even have a fever when he got there) and I ended up getting a bowl of ice water from the little kitchen they have there and putting a facecloth near it so James can dip it in and bathe his face and neck if he is hot.

The ward was very, very busy, people flying about and doing everything. Because we were admitted so late, James' supper was in the cart they brought up but it never got brought to him. I asked a nurse and she handed me out food which I brought back to the room; I also went into the little kitchen and warmed up one of the tiny cans of Campbell's noodle soup for him.

It was funny; once he got in the room everyone was suddenly there. The girl was in the middle of doing the admitting stuff when the two techs showed up with the...well, I don't know what it's called, but they run it over your legs to make sure there are no DVTs (blood clots). (Both doctors seemed somewhat concerned that this could be caused by a blood clot; I didn't know blood clots gave you intermittent fevers, so I guess you learn something every day.) Then a doctor came in. I suddenly felt as if I were in that Marx brothers movie...what is it, the one where they have the stateroom on the ship and suddenly a million people are in there: Groucho, Harpo, Chico, the manicurist, the guys to fix the heat, etc?

Because of the semi thing, I couldn't stay; heck, I would have had to sling a hammock from the ceiling to fit. I've had an allergy attack all day and been miserable, and the hot room was making my headache worse (I can't believe it's so hot in there; all the other times I've been in it's been freezing in there to keep down the germs). I kept wondering why I felt so weird: then I realized this is the first time I've been at Northside and not been the one in the bed!


» Thursday, April 28, 2005
James' mercurial fever continues to perplex. Last night about 8:30 I turned to look at him—he was sitting in the recliner—and he was as red as an overripe strawberry from his hairline to his neck. When I touched him he was hot. I ran to the kitchen, got a container and filled it with cold water, dropped two ice cubes into it, and grabbed paper towels so he could cold compress himself. A half hour later he was cool again and actually clammy.

While he was taking his shower I asked him how he felt and he said right at that moment he didn't feel bad. Six hours later, in bed, he woke me up because he was shaking so hard (and our new mattress has baffles in it so you don't feel the other person when they climb into bed!) and he was hot to the touch. An hour later, downstairs, as I was preparing to leave for work and he was eating because his sugar was low, his forehead felt no warmer than mine.

What the hell is going on????


Phantom HTML
It seems every time I update a web page lately some bits of code get into it that I didn't put there. I don't know if I'm accidentally clicking a wrong button or what. A day or two ago when I was adding and correcting things on my "Lassie Facts" and "Lassie FAQ" pages, somehow code for ordered lists were inserted before the <HTML> code at the very top. (Your very first code in a basic HTML page is always the opening <HTML>.) I didn't even go to the top of the page that I remember; I was fixing something lower down.

This morning I looked at my Addie Mills page and there's a horizontal line at the top. I checked the source code from the browser and sure enough there's a <hr> at the top before <HTML>.

Wicked bizarre I tell ya...


Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Sex... When did you learn about sex? Was it through those films at school? Word of Mouth? Your parents?

I wasn't one of those kids who always asked. Once I asked my mom where babies came from and she said "God brings them" and that was satisfactory. In fifth grade they had a parents' meeting where they sold some books about sex and Mom bought the fifth and sixth grade ones. She had to tell me early because I got my period the October I was in fifth grade (I was ten). She let me read both books except for two pages in the sixth grade book that she put a paper pocket around and asked me not to read them yet (this was a description of the actual sex act). And I didn't until sixth grade and she said I could. I really didn't care.

Twosome: ...Lies-- you believe little white lies are all around us? Or do you prefer only the truth even if it hurts someone's feelings??

Trust me, little white lies are the way to go. I tried being totally honest to someone once and a comment that I made being totally honest (although not insulting or critical or even negative) was taken as being an insult. There are lots of times you have to lie, if even just a little.

Threesome: and Videotape-- you buy movies on Video and/or DVD? Or do you prefer to rent? What kind of movies do you add to your collection?

I won't rent videos anymore after what I heard strange tapes do to your heads. I will rent DVDs, but actually never have, although I've purchased many "previously viewed" DVDs; they don't have to be brand new like the videos.

As for what kind of movies, my taste is very eclectic. I have some SF, some fantasy, some biography, many comedies, Disney, dramas, adventure, animal movies, film classics, even a few Westerns.


» Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Sick, Sick, Sick...
James is still sick. His fever is very peculiar. When he woke up this morning at 9:30, his temp was 100.8°F. When he finally saw the doctor at 11:30, it was 97.1. Now I'm not sure what it is up to, but he is scarlet and hot even after having Advil an hour ago and he's putting cold compresses on his forehead. If we were in Africa, I would suspect he had malaria the way his temperature slides up and down like a trombone.

The doctor has no idea what is wrong with him, but sent him for more blood tests and a urinalysis, and wants a stool sample. He even went over to Northside Hospital for an echocardiogram. He thinks it is something in his chest, even though the x-ray is clear, but keeps asking questions that makes me think he suspects it might be a kidney or urinary tract infection.

In the meantime, I am stuffy, my right ear is ringing, and I'm coughing. I have, in fact, most of the symptoms the doctor was asking James if he had. Except I don't have a fever. I didn't actually see the doctor, since they had no appointments today, but Kaiser won't give me a damn thing anyway unless I have a temp or if I have these symptoms for over a week, so I have to suffer till the weekend. The doctor did suggest a cough medicine that shouldn't mess with my heart and I'm taking the Afrin that I used for my cold in January (I didn't have a temp then, either), along with Advil and copious amounts of hot oatmeal and chicken soup.

Life seems such a disaster area right now.


Unnecessary Intimate Redundancies: That Book Meme

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?

Kate Seredy's The Open Gate, which I adore and which no one has ever heard of.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

In a, that's a hard one. Maybe Johnny Tremain? I could easily have a crush on Ray Sherwood in Swing. If you asked me about television now, that would be easy: there was Maxwell Smart and John Monroe and Jim Hutton's version of Ellery Queen and Mark Venture and Al Calavicci and Dr. Benton Quest...

What are you currently reading?

Betty MacDonald's The Egg and I, Gladys Taber's Stillmeadow Seasons, Henry Beston's The Outermost House, the Dr. Who book Who Killed Kennedy?, the mystery anthology Death by Dickens, and a 1905 bound volume of St. Nicholas.

The last book you bought is:

The Stories of English by David Crystal. It hasn't arrived yet. The last book I bought that I actually have in hand is Suddenly Silver by Lynn Johnston.

The last book you read:

Suddenly Silver

Five desert island books:

The Open Gate, Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy (which I have as one book), Wyoming Summer by Mary O'Hara, Little Women, and Have Spacesuit, Will Travel by Robert Heinlein.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?

Won't "stick" anyone with it, but interested to know what Emma and Ivan and James will have to say.


» Tuesday, April 26, 2005
The Scent of Spring
One of the things I was so glad to see when I stayed with my mom is that the old lilac bush is still there. The neighbor on the other side of the fence has big plans for his yard, including putting up a stockade fence, and it shouldn’t touch the lilacs; at least I hope it doesn’t. Dad was the tidy yard type and used to rail against Charlie for not keeping the bush trimmed, but it was one of the joys of my childhood when the little dark purple pyramids of tightly-closed lilac buds began to grow and bloom. Despite my allergy I would bury my face in the soft lavender-colored blossoms and breathe deeply, a pleasure that came with the penance of allergy pills that knocked me out cold for hours. But it didn’t matter, and when they were in full bloom I would cut several of the big heads and set them in a glass on the porch (since they couldn’t come in the house because of the allergy) and enjoy the scent at a distance.

Reading Gladys Taber’s Stillmeadow Seasons at lunch and she brings it all back:
         Of them all, the lilac is the loveliest. There is enough beauty in a lilac for a lifetime. The shape of every tiny flower is delicate, and the whole cluster a pointed spear of exquisite loveliness. Then the leaves themselves are wonderful, polished and dark and smooth in texture. And then there is the dark, cool fragrance to enchant the senses.
         We have amethyst, and blue, and deep winy purple, and white lilacs. The double and fancy lilacs are elegant, but the ordinary country-yard lilacs are my favorite…[i]n Northern Wisconsin we used to see them growing where houses once had stood, lifting their splendor by a blackened chimney or above fallen beams. Wherever an old cabin had been a home, lilacs remembered.
I remember, too...


A Good Spell
Well, I see Disney finally noticed that their DVD covers for Summer Magic and That Darn Cat! had misspelled "Haley" Mills' name in big red letters and they've been fixed. I swear I could hear Walt spinning in his grave; of the actors who had appeared in his films, Hayley Mills was one of his favorite performers.


Meme from Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
“Burning Meme-ries…"

Waving at Ivan...

1. What time did you get up this morning?

The usual: 6 a.m. (Shall I quote the Hawkeye line again? "No wonder they shoot people at sunrise. Who wants to live at six in the morning?")

2. Diamonds, pearls or silver?

Diamonds? Ugh. Hate the ugly, colorless things. One of the DJs here is always shilling for a $2000 diamond tennis bracelet from a local jeweler. I told James, "If you bring home something for me that costs $2000, it better be in a big box that says 'Dell' on the side." Of that batch I will take silver, but what I prefer are opals, especially the nice blue Australian ones with the nice fire inside.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?

My answer is almost the same as Brent's, only it was Return of the King.

4. What is your favorite TV show?

LOL. I like Ivan's reply: "There’s not that much bandwidth in the world to answer this one." If they mean recent TV, I would say House, followed closely by Monk, which has degenerated (no fault of Natalie) but is still fun. Past? Lassie, Get Smart, Remember WENN, Ellery Queen (1975 version), Faraday and Company, Fury, Rin Tin Tin, The Littlest Hobo, The Waltons, My World and Welcome to It, Alistair Cooke's America, From the Earth to the Moon, Flambards, Gallegher (on Disney), Star Blazers, Brooklyn Bridge, St. Elsewhere... and another cast of thousands, and last, and not ever, ever least, the incomparable, irreplaceable Ask the Manager.

5. What did you have for breakfast?

Maple and brown sugar Quaker oatmeal.

6. What is your middle name?

Maria. (I'm Italian. Almost all Italian girls have "Maria" somewhere in their name.)

7. What is your favorite cuisine?

Mmmn. Chicken cacciatore, I guess, making sure it has a nice loaf of Italian bread on the side to "zoop" in the sauce. That's the best part. :-)

8. What foods do you dislike?

Green, cooked vegetables, especially spinach. I will eat salad greens until they come out of my ears, but not with fresh spinach in it. Broccoli, cauliflower, okra. Almost any kind of frosting on cake, but especially the icing on Cinnabons and on Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Coconut unless it's either fresh from the shell or in a Mounds bar (too sweet). Fig bars other than Fig Newtons (too sweet). Raisins (too sweet). White chocolate (which isn't really chocolate anyway).

Oh, and liver. Liver smelled so good when my mom used to cook it on Saturdays for my dad. She wrapped it in bacon and you could drift away to heaven on the scent.

Until she let me taste it. Ewwww.

9. What is your favorite chip/crisp flavor?

Sun Chips! Original flavor! They were one of the choices on the plane, instead of peanuts. It almost made waiting a half hour in the security line worth it.

10. What is your favorite CD at the moment?

Um, probably the one in my car with .mp3s of Fibber McGee and Molly on it. Music? Always George Winston and Rupert Holmes and David Huntsinger's "Autumn in New England."

11. What kind of car do you drive?

A purple PT Cruiser, my dream car. I decided to have my mid-life crisis the sensible way.

12. Favorite sandwich?

Jif peanut butter and seedless blackberry jam on a "demi baguette" (at home we call them "buns") from Harry's.

13. What characteristics do you despise?

Those held by bullies, dictators, and child molesters, not to mention torturers of innocent animals.

14. Favorite item of clothing?

Big, comfy warm sweatshirts and pants (another reason I despise warm weather).

15. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?

Anywhere in Great Britain. I want to see the Downs and the Dales, Sherwood Forest and the New Forest, and all those places Kurtz and Harris talk about in the Adept novels. Like Helene Hanff, I want to see the England of literature. I have two big British road map books and I love to pore over them and recognize places I've read about in books.

16. What color is your bathroom?

Which? The master is my favorite, a summery light blue with "wallies" of clouds, hummingbirds, and topiary trees (it's supposed to be an Italian garden). The hall bath has some ugly pink flowered wallpaper. I would like to get it down and paint it blue grey and white (to tone down the ugly pink tiles around the tub) to give it a sea theme; I have lighthouse and sandpiper prints in there already and a painted wooden anchor with pegs to hang things on. The downstairs bath is pink, too, with blue roses on a wall border. Want to paint it cream color and stencil it with country tulips in navy and burgundy to match the vinyl flooring.

17. Favorite brand of clothing?

Brand? Whatever I need that they sell at Sam's Club, BJs, Costco, "Wally World," and Kmart.

18. Where would you retire to?

New Hampshire!

19. Favorite time of day?

At night when I'm not at work.

20. What was your most memorable birthday?

Um, whatever it was in 1980 (25th). Because I'd fallen facefirst on the concrete floor at work and had to have stitches on my nose. I had to go to Trinity Square Repertory Playhouse to see A Christmas Carol (Mom's birthday gift to me) with a big white bandage on my nose.

21. Where were you born?

Providence, Rhode Island (in "the Lying-In," which is now "Woman and Infants Hospital" (how dull).

22. Favorite sport to watch?

Dog agility trials.

23. Who do you least expect to send this back to you?

LOL. Rodney. But he doesn't have a blog.

24. Person you expect to send it back first?

Emma, of course.

25. What fabric detergent do you use?

All. 'Cause my mom did. (I remember when it was called "Cold Water All.")

26. Coke or Pepsi?

Ugh. Neither. I despise colas. I hate carbonated drinks, period. The only one I could marginally stand was Warwick Club lemon-lime. And it has to be in a bottle. The canned stuff tastes horrible.


Tuesday Twosome

1. Do you have any phobias/fears and if so, what are they?

Geez, do you want a book? I'm hideously claustrophobic, to the point I won't ride on the elevator at work anymore because it takes what seems like years to get up and down three floors (and there's no fan inside) and the doors open sooooooooooooooo slowly and scrape while they do. (Yep, folks, this is the "cushy padded lifestyle" of your average Government employee slob. Only the politicos get those shiny new buildings with the amazingly swift glass elevators.) I couldn't even hide in closets playing hide'n'seek as a child. I also get queasy when I see worms and generally scream at a lot of bugs and snakes. I won't even read the "snake" and "worm" articles in the World Book.

2. Do you believe that everyone is a little prejudiced or that there are some people that are truly "pure in heart"?

I think people who are not prejudiced a little at something are very, very rare. It can be something as innocuous as favoring your home town or country. Yes, there are some people truly "pure in heart." They get beatified and then become saints.

3. Do you have any insecurities and if so, what are they?

Most of them are wrapped up with the fears up there.

4. Are there things in your life you are proud of and if so, what are they?

I think I can write pretty well, and I'm nice to animals. And that I don't follow the crowd in a sheeplike manner. (If I did I'd be using Microslop Word for all my word processing. Ugh.)

5. What do you hope for your future and explain?

To stay healthy. Period. I don't think that needs explanation. (I'd like a more interesting job, but one can't have everything...)


» Monday, April 25, 2005
Oh, Geez...Can't Even the Little Things Go Right?
I've been excited since February when I found out that TCM was going to show one of my favorite movies, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution. I'd thought about getting the DVD, but (a) it's out of print and (b) the stupid transfer is in full frame. So when I saw it on TCM's April schedule, in letterbox, I was overjoyed. I set the timer last night and watched the first 45 minutes with the same interest as when I saw it back in my college days.

Tonight I checked the DVD and noticed that there was too much time left on the disk. I couldn't believe it. I clearly remember setting it to shut off after 12:15 a.m.; I recall thinking that I could have done something else with that half hour that would be left on the disk. But no, the movie is missing the last 13 minutes!

God only knows when (or if) TCM will show it again. What a disappointment.


The Latest War Medical Report
Talked to James at the doctor. X-rays show his chest okay, but his white blood count is still high. They want him to stay out until Thursday, come back in on Wednesday to be checked out, and, along with the antibiotic, take Mucinex and nasal spray. Sheesh. This is one tough cookie of an infection.


Speaking of James...
He's still in bed and going in to the doctor at eleven. He had gotten better and was even well enough to go to "Hair Day" on Saturday and attend the IPMS meeting (which was actually switched to next Saturday but he didn't get the e-mail on time) and go to trivia. None of these events was any kind of exertion: I did more work vacuuming the house Saturday afternoon. Nevertheless, he was pale and headachy yesterday and despite rest, hot soup, and aspirin—not to mention still being on antibiotics!—now has a fever again, 100.5°F.

This isn't good. I've known James 21 years and he's never been sick this long. Heck, he didn't even have a temp this long after his sleep apnea surgery.

The pollen is killing all of us: Willow's been snuffling and Pidgie was so listless on Saturday I wondered if I was going to have to take him to the vet (he's going through his spring moult and looks like a scarecrow; moulting lowers their resistance and I have to be careful). And now I'm coughing, which if I don't watch out will turn into my biannual spring bronchitis (I seemed to be wheezing last night when I went to sleep).

If that cheerful litany wasn't enough, my cousin Anna called me yesterday to tell me what my Mom hadn't about the doctor's appointment she has this week: she's having a CAT scan (which I knew) to determine if the cancer has spread (which I didn't know). If it has spread the doctor is just going to stop treating her because there's nothing else he can do.

I've been trying to prepare myself for months for this. It's still clobbering me between the eyes.


Monday Madness

1. What season are you in right now?

Spring, dammit. The trees are tossing pollen into the air as fast as they can and the pine trees are still shedding yellow grit, despite a rainstorm and the wind blustering over the weekend. It was a particularly lovely weekend as it was in the high 50s during the day and waaaaaaay into the 30s at night. James joked that we should call it "Indian winter" (if Indian summer is a hot spell in the fall, it would follow, but apparently there is a term for it, a friend told us, "blackberry winter"--per the dictionary: "A blackberry winter is a cold snap in spring, after winter should have been over, that coincides with the time when the blackberries ripen; also called a 'dogwood winter'").

Learn something every day. Of course, when you quit learning things it means you're dead.

2. Do you celebrate anything special this time of year?

Easter? Actually, I've always considered spring a time of mourning; it means summer is coming.

3. Name 3 things that come to mind when you think of spring (or your current season)?

Lilacs, hyacinths and allergy attacks.

4. In the current season, about how many hours of the day are daylight hours?

Too many. We're already on bloody Daylight Saving Time.

5. Do you do any 'spring cleaning?'

The pulling the house apart kind? No. I try to keep it clean all the time, with projects in between. Ironically I think the project James did while I was away is what made him sick. We never could get those blinds he took down clean. I will bet you dollars to doughnuts that they had mold on them.

6. Do you wash your own car or take it to the car wash?

Used to want my own home so I could wash my own car. Ironically, now my back problems preclude this. I take it to the car wash a couple of blocks down. It needs to go. I haven't had it washed since vacation and now since spring came all those pine tassels are everywhere; they're even in the door hinge area.

7. Do you hang your laundry out on a clothesline on nice days?

This would involve going into the back yard, which we avoid doing. It's mostly trees and needs a good cleaning out. The fellow that does our front lawn said he would do it, then realized he couldn't get his riding mower through the gate. I don't think it would be any use to him. The back yard is half covered in trees and on an uneven slope.

Had we known the Ground Force people would actually cross the Atlantic, I would have written to them in the most heartfelt plea I could have mustered. I would have loved to have seen Alan Titchmarsh, Tommy, and Charlie make hash of the mess. (I would have told Charlie "no water feature," though. We have enough problems with mosquitos from the creek across the street. Heck, I keep wondering if James has malaria...)


» Sunday, April 24, 2005
James seems to be having a relapse.


Small Aggravations
TV Land is having a marathon this weekend to celebrate Lassie's 50th anniversary on television (seven months late, but better late than never) and Lassie has been on a couple of shows this weekend to publicize it. Friday night's appearance was on CNN Headline's Showbiz Tonight.

I hadn't watched ST for years, ever since CNNH did that weird thing that made it look like a web page with too many frames: there was a stock ticker running at the bottom, other crap at one side, something else on the top, and the actual picture off in the corner somewhere. They've correct that, thank God. On the other hand, Showbiz Tonight is dreadful now. It's full of singing-dancing graphics, too many previews and not enough show, and commercials, commercials, commercials. Lassie was on for about five minutes, and during half the interview, they were using the "shakycam" to tilt the picture from one side to the other. Look, it worked on NYPD Blue, but is not suitable for an interview show.

The TV Land rep made a big show of saying how they went through all the episodes picking out appropriate ones that represented the series. I nearly fell down laughing. All the episodes being shown are either on the 50th Anniversary DVD set or on one of the other five DVD sets Sony Wonder released. Also, everyone seemed to dance around the fact that Lassie is actually a male dog. Guys, people have known this since the first movie in 1942. What is the problem?

Lassie was also on NBC's Sunday edition of Today. I missed it. I made the mistake of going to NBC's website to see when it was on and scheduled my VCR according to that. I hadn't reckoned with the good ol' Atlanta scheduling, which frequently pushes network programming to a different time. What I got was an hour of Atlanta weather and news. The NBC offering was on an hour later. Thanks, idiots. What I wouldn't give for a dedicated network feed instead of these frappin' local stations. If I never saw another of WSB's "Famiy 2 Family Specials" it would be too soon. I can't count how many times we missed Whose Line is It Anyway for this twaddle.


» Saturday, April 23, 2005
Yes, But I Have a Headache Now...

You Are Pretty Logical

(You got 63% of the questions right)

You're a bit of a wizard when it comes to logic
While you don't have perfect logic, you [sic] logic is pretty darn good
Keep at it - you've got a lot of natural talent in this area!


Oh, Good, the Fluorescent Lights Haven't Turned My Brain to Mush Yet
You scored 100% Beginner, 100% Intermediate, 100% Advanced, and 73% Expert!
You have an extremely good understanding of beginner, intermediate, and advanced level commonly confused English words, getting at least 75% of each of these three levels' questions correct. This is an exceptional score. Remember, these are commonly confused English words, which means most people don't use them properly. You got an extremely respectable score.

The Commonly Confused Words Test

Answer key here:


» Friday, April 22, 2005
I Expected That
The news about Mom isn't good. She has to go for more tests next week and another biopsy and then says there will be more surgery and "it won't be nice." I sighed and said "I had a feeling about that," and she said, "Did someone talk to you?" I didn't have to have someone talk to me. If she didn't see the look on the doctor's face when he walked into the office, I did. And it wasn't a pleasant expression at all.


E-Mail Makes You Stupid?
E-mails "Hurt IQ More Than Pot"


Friday Five

1. What is the first record/tape/CD that you bought?

The soundtrack album to the television miniseries QB VII.

2. Who is your favorite all time band/singer?

Rupert Holmes.

3. What have you been listening to lately?

A really cheap New Age tape, "Winter Reflections," I got for 25 cents at a bookstore going out of business. It's pretty unremarkable, but the Christmas piece is nice and the "Winter Storm" track sounds like the dissonant music from Twister. The winter dance song isn't too bad, either.

4. What is your favorite radio station, what do they play, and where do they broadcast?

I don't listen to the radio much. I put WGST 640 AM on on the way home for the traffic reports, but mostly the Kimmer (Kim Peterson) is too manic for me. Sometimes I listen to WABE, the local Public Radio station, when they have music on. The news gives me hives.

5. Can you recommend a good song or CD that everyone should listen to?

Well, Thomas Newman's soundtrack to Little Women is superb, as is Basil Poledoris' Lassie soundtrack. Mostly I would recommend George Winston, especially "Autumn" or his "Linus and Lucy" if you like jazz.


» Thursday, April 21, 2005
I'm Not Logical At All
I took one look at the logic test linked on James' site and backed out. Ewww. Math problems.


Thursday Threesome

::Domain Name Renewal...::

Onesome: Domain--Hypothetically, if you could own any domain name you wanted, what would it be and why?

I dunno. I've always wanted a domain name for both my Lassie pages and my Remember WENN pages, but I've never wanted to pay the domain fee. :-)

Twosome: Name-- Are you called by something other than your legal name? If not, have you ever had a nickname? Or done something weird with your name, to try and stand out? Like an odd spelling or a slightly different pronunciation? Or just flat out wanted to change your name? To what?

No (well, except for pet names from James). I always hated my name, though. Everyone seemed to be "Linda" when I was a kid. There were two other girls in my first grade class named "Linda." I have a cousin Linda and once had a sister-in-law named Linda. I never felt like a "Linda." "Linda" was the little girl on Make Room for Daddy. But if you ask me what name I did feel like, I couldn't tell you.

Threesome: Renewal--Do you have any magazine or other subscription that is an absolute 'must renew' whenever you get the notice?



Banned from Disneyland?
Blogger Banned from Disneyland

Jim's Site.


» Wednesday, April 20, 2005
35th Anniversary of Apollo 13
Apollo 13, We Have a Solution


SF Classic Online
Most SF fans know of The Day the Earth Stood Still, the classic film starring Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal, and of the famous phrase “Klaatu barada nikto” that a terrified Neal uses to command the robot Gort.

Day was based on a short story called “Farewell to the Master,” which is now posted on The story and the movie resemble each other minimally (there is an extraterrestrial visitor named Klaatu, a robot, and a spaceship, but that’s about it) and is quite interesting to read. Check it out here.

Also of interest on Blackmask, Abraham Lincoln’s narration of a “murder mystery,” The Trailor Murder Mystery.


» Tuesday, April 19, 2005
James has been having chills and fever for the last two days, despite pain relievers and copious amounts of chicken soup and liquids, so this morning when he took his temperature and it was 101.5°F, he knew it was time to call in the Marines. Because of the fever and his looking decidedly unsteady at points last night, I got off early and took him to the doctor.

Well, joy. He has the flu and the beginnings of pneumonia, and now has antibiotics and doctor's orders to stay out of work this week.


Tuesday Twosome

1. Mail-in rebates: A pain to deal with or worth the wait to get money back?

Oh, worth the wait especially if it's enough money. Which reminds me that I received my rebate on the DVD recorder and the telephones, but not on the printer, and it's been about 12 weeks now. Instead of copying the receipts we scan them and then they can be printed out.

2. Warranties: Take a chance without them or a must have when buying high-priced items?

Most of the time the warranty is a waste of money. I got a warranty on the Dirt Devil I bought because I burned out the first one after a month (the stupid carpet in the den is so cheap it has strings on it, which wind around the beater bar and burn the motor out) and then Service Merchandise went out of business.

I did get a warranty on the television because it was the floor model (and still haven't called them to come look at it; the tuner doesn't work properly).

3. Product knowledge: Research before you buy or rely on salesperson?

Research. Reading reviews like crazy.

4. Word of mouth: Base purchases on what your friends say or disregard because you know what you are doing?

Oh, I always take recommendations from friends, especially if they know what they're talking about!

5. New Versions: Must buy the latest version right away or wait for a while?

I usually stick with the old versions if they work. I upgraded to WordPerfect 7 only because I liked the visible margins (and I got a copy of v.9 because I liked the publish to PDF feature, but I use v.7 most of the time). Most of the new versions add pretty icons and dopey junk like that.


» Monday, April 18, 2005
Monday Madness

Let's Go Digital!

From the time you get up in the morning until the time you go to bed at night, how many different digital/electronic devices do you use on any given day? Please consider listing them, as it would be interesting to see what everyone comes up with!

Well, I wake up to the alarm of a digital clock—does that count? Once I am downstairs, I check the weather and the traffic on the computer, then shut it down. When I get to work I boot up that computer. At 8:20 my PDA rings so I can call James before he leaves for work. I work on the computer all day. If I have a "sit down job," I take the PDA in the bathroom to read an e-book during the "unavoidable delay," as Frank Gilbreth would have called it. The PDA rings again five minutes before 4:30, quitting time.

On the way home I may listen to Fibber McGee and Molly on my .mp3 player. When I get home I may be dubbing off a VHS tape to DVD, and we may watch a DVD later on that night. I will check e-mail when I get home and read a couple of newsgroups; that evening I may work on a web page. At 9 p.m. my PDA rings to remind me to take my Atenolol. On Mondays the PDA will ring again at eleven to remind me to set up to record The Tonight Show in case they do "Headlines."

...and an optional random question, because I just cleaned my mouse...
How often do you clean your mouse?

Whenever it seems to act weird. I try to keep it clean because of all the dog hair and dust around the computer.


I hadn't mentioned what we did yesterday: drove out to Wright's Dairy Farm (off Route 146A in North Smithfield) to buy some goodies for my godmother and for Anna. This is a working dairy farm which not only sells its own milk, but baked goods from cakes to pastries to hermits, which are an old-fashioned soft spice cookie with nuts and raisins. Mother got herself a big cream puff filled with the lightest whipped cream and I had one filled with chocolate cream. It was decadent, but I didn't eat much else of anything yesterday—cooked foods have been making me sick to my stomach all week.

It was a nice, sunny day—got to 73°F with a nice breeze out of the north. We went up through I-95, where we could see the construction on the new bridge for I-195 heading out to Seekonk and thus to the Cape. They're trying to fix it so that the freeway doesn't cut off the Providence waterfront from the rest of the city. It almost looks as if the new route will take you over or in front of the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier. I don't know if the old Washington Bridge is still incorporated into the route. I drove that way 3 1/2 years (and one summer) to work (and go out to Taunton and the Readmore bookstore that way), so it's always a nostalgic trip.

We came home through I-295, which I used to zip up and down a lot while I was in college. It was my preferred route up to Lincoln Mall and the wonderful little restaurant The Roast House, which had something called "The Turkey Sandwich Special," turkey (even dark meat) cut right off the bird in a kaiser roll dipped in turkey gravy, turkey soup, and a drink (in my case, a nice big coffee milk). I remember I had to haul all the way up there to see The Nude Bomb, which truly lived up to half its name, but it had Don Adams in it and made up for a lot.

On the way home, since it was warm we stopped for Del's frozen lemonade, and we spent the rest of the time waiting for airport departure time watching the DVDs I had brought of Make Room for Daddy. Where I've never cracked a smile at Friends or Seinfeld, Danny Thomas and Co. can still make me laugh aloud.


Your Linguistic Profile:

55% Yankee
25% General American English
10% Dixie
10% Upper Midwestern
0% Midwestern

With thanks to Nicki...


» Sunday, April 17, 2005
Shakespeare Was Wrong
Parting is total sorrow.


» Saturday, April 16, 2005
A Sunshine Day
After the brief stop at Office Max, we went out to Oakland Beach in Warwick. This is a little cove along Narragansett Bay. Many, many years ago it had a small amusement park with a roller coaster, dodge'em cars, a house of wax, a carousel, and a couple of other attractions. (It was the small cousin to Rocky Point Amusement Park, just "up the bay apiece.") Unfortunately it was all wiped away by the Hurricane of 1938.

One of the buildings that did survive was a little clam shack called Gus's. This was the place I remembered from my childhood: we'd go there on summer Sundays and get in line for the doughboys (fried dough, elephant ears, or whatever you call dough shaped like small thick pizzas fried to a golden brown and sprinkled with granulated sugar) and a bottle of Warwick Club soda: they were one of the few places that stocked the lemon-lime flavor that was the only kind of soda I ever liked.

In 1989, one of the employees bought out Gus's and renamed it Iggy's (check out the whole history here). They also added a glassed-in small dining area (that's it there on the left with the big windows; the other part is the original beach stand). The crowds that lined up long minutes and maybe even an hour for doughboys, clam cakes, and chowder remained. (In fact, Iggy's now sells T-shirts that say "I survived the line at Iggy's Doughboys and Chowder House.")

We bought a dozen doughboys and walked back down to the concrete seawall that overlooks Narragansett Bay. Mom had a jacket on with a sweater under it, but the breeze was a little brisk, so I took the blanket out of the car, wrapped her in it, and we tied down her little "Gorton's fisherman" hat with a scarf and sat on the wall and enjoyed the breeze and the sun and all the people walking on the beach and the seagulls wheeling about waiting to cadge goodies. Despite it being only in the high 50s, there were still a couple of young girls lying on the sand already working on their tans.

The view was just spectacular. It was a true "blue-and-gold day," and you could see all the way down the bay and both the Newport and the Jamestown bridges. (You can check the gallery on Iggy's website, but I can't get the "larger" images to link, darnit.) I took a picture with my cell phone but it was so bright I couldn't frame it properly.

Later on we stopped at the cemetery to change the flowers on my dad's headstone, then went to church. St. Mary's in Cranston just underwent a $1M renovation (and I mean "just"; you can still smell the fresh paint!) and looks very beautiful inside: the painting of the Assumption in the altar area has been cleaned and the walls painted a combination of brown tones with gold trim. The Stations of the Cross have all been cleaned and the interior columns painted in a faux green marble effect (isn't green marble called chalcedony?). You can't tell they're not the real thing unless you sit close to them.

Had Chinese—pork fried rice, of course—and came home and I used the new Swiffer and the wet cloths to wash the kitchen and bathroom floors. Afterwards my cousin Skippy and his wife Evelyn came to visit for a little while. (Skippy is named after his dad, John, but has always been called Skippy after the Percy Crosby comic character from the 1940s.) He took the glass insert out of the front storm door for my mom (this is a big heavy storm door that my dad bought after the school kids coming home from Bain kept messing with the old door and I couldn't figure out how to get the window out). Now that it's getting warmer she can get some air.

The sun hasn't washed yesterday away, but nothing can. This can't get better, but can only get worse.

I was lying on "my" bed (and it's still mine, it's still the same old squeaky mattress/box spring set I got in junior high) this morning wishing I could go to sleep in it and wake up sometime long ago in a world far away. Fifth grade would do. Who knew back then when I was tussling with fractions that I would want to go back there?


We Slog Along
It wasn't a happy rest of the day, as you can expect.

But we did a bunch of grocery shopping to keep Mom in stuff for a while, and I also cooked her up some pork chops and rinsed and wrapped the rest of the ribs from Applebee's to go in the freezer. I have also decided to go home tomorrow as planned, since I'm probably going to have to come back. I can apply for advanced leave via the Family Leave Act when I need to.

We must have done too much yesterday with the shopping, but Mom was dying to get outside after over a week of being cooped up in the hospital. About 10:30 she called Cousin Anna to see how she was and complained that the eye and the incision were "aching." We were both sufficiently upset that we called the advice nurse, who told us to monitor her temperature and make sure the incision wasn't swelling, etc. It wasn't, and her eye did feel a bit better after my bathing it and putting fresh cream in it, and also her taking some Tylenol, but Mom ended up spending the night on the chair in the living room and I stretched out on the couch next to her.

It is better this morning which is why I suspect we overdid it yesterday. Today we are just going out for fresh air and not a lot of walking, although I am going to stop at Office Max/Depot/whatever to get her some organizers for her papers. She has bills mixed up with hospital instructions and phone books because she wants them all near the phone in case of emergency. Having papers that way drives me wild.


» Friday, April 15, 2005
Black Friday
We got three good days before getting into the bad.

Mom had an appointment with her doctor this morning. He came in the room and pretty much stopped in his tracks, looking at her. But he wasn't just looking at the right side of her face.

I have to describe what was wrong first: Mom has scalp cancer. It started at what looked like a bruise on her head seven years ago. Since then it's been creeping downward. When we were here in November she had a black growth a couple of inches from her right eye. It was this growth they tried to zap with radiation back then. (Actually, they goofed badly; she had the radiation treatments too close together—'she should have had one or two a week; instead she was having them every day. It was this that messed up her eye and made it perpetually tear.) Last week she had the growth off. This made a horseshoe-shaped incision next to her right eye. The doctor also took three biopsies, one from her eyebrow, one from under her eyes, one from her right cheek.

The one from her cheek was negative, but the other two are positive.

If he has to remove the other two, she will lose the eye as well.

If that wasn't worrisome enough, he was also looking at the left side of her nose, where the tear duct meets the nasal bone. It was a bit dark there, but she has been rubbing at it since she came home from the hospital. I thought it might be irritated. It also doesn't seem to have changed since she came home from the hospital, at least to me. But he said it looked "different" from when he saw her in the hospital on Monday and took a biopsy for it there at the office. She has to go back next Friday for the tumor clinic as well.

We stopped on the way home to see my cousin Anna. We found her crying; her husband, Anthony, had a fall a few days ago and is still unconscious in the hospital after having surgery to take pressure off his brain. Anna is always the one who has helped take care of Mother and taken her to the doctor. But now she is at the hospital all the time. And she's in bad straits herself; she has colon cancer and it has probably spread.

And here sit I, stuck between a rock and a hard place. She needs someone to help her. If the eye goes, she won't be able to drive anymore. She can take the Transvan shopping, but basically will have to remain a lot of the time alone. In the house she can putter around, but she's still alone and it will become too much for her. But I don't want to have to leave her in a little "rat trap" apartment like my Aunty Terry had, a single room in a tall building, even more alone than if she had been in the middle of the wilderness.

So what do I do? My job is what supports my own medical problems and James'. There are no comparable places here, and what medical insurance is going to pick up the two of us, with past cancer, dicky hearts, allergies, acid reflux, diabetes, arthritis, and sleep apnea between us? (And who would buy that fool house? The HVAC system is dying and we already have two windows that have to be propped up with sticks.)

I'm stuck. She needs her doctors. I feel like I'm standing on the top of Everest and being asked to step off into space.

Nobody can tell me what to do. But what I need to know is what I can do...


Friday Five

Damn, damn, damn. How did they know?

1. How often do you get sick?

Stay at home sick for a week or just feeling sick a day? Stay at home, maybe twice a year. But I have my odd crash and burn days. I don't sleep well and half of what I eat makes me sick. (The Prilosec doesn't work very well. The Protonix was better.)

2. Do you take a lot of over the counter medicine?

Yeah, because Kaiser has phased out some prescription stuff and is using OTC instead, like my Loratadine and the Prilosec.

3. Have you ever been in the hospital for an extended period of time?

Thrice, twice for ovarian cysts and once for thyroid cancer removal. I've also had my tonsils out.

4. Are there any diseases that run in your family?

Rheumatoid arthritis on my mom's side.

5. What is the best remedy for the common cold?



» Thursday, April 14, 2005
Speakin' O' Books
Padina Lillian took us to Applebees; we all had ribs. Wow, I can't believe how many ribs you get for $10.99. Padina got the small portion and still couldn't eat all hers, and I certainly couldn't, so now Mother has a bunch of barbecue ribs to put away for supper.

After we came home we took the car and went to Borders. Mother had a gift card she gave to me because I'd brought her a bunch of movies when I came up. So I got a big Paint Shop Pro book, an SFX magazine special about Doctor Who, and—ta-da!—a Best of British. I haven't seen the latter in months; only the Borders at Akers Mill had it anymore and there hadn't been one since January.

I don't usually buy SF fannish magazines anymore; I even had a complete collection of Starlog from the beginning and quit getting them years ago because I wasn't reading them. But I couldn't resist the Doctor Who magazine; I fell in love with the series when it was broadcast on WGBH/WGBX in 1974 and have been a fan ever since. I hear the new incarnation with Christopher Eccleston is pretty good (even if he has gone insane and quit after one season!).


Thursday Threesome

This Week's Feature!

Onesome:This--is pretty much the start of Spring (regardless of the snow in the east and midwest last week!); what's on your to-do list for the next few weeks to transition away from this long Winter we've been having?

We've already transitioned. At the beginning of March James cleaned out the gutters and we raked the dead leaves off the roof so the ants wouldn't nest in them and pruned down the privet bush which is now a privet tree. I changed all the winter decorations in the house for spring ones. The Easter tree is still up; I'll take it down when I get home. And Steve cut and trimmed the lawn last Saturday—thank God; I had called him up and said, "Please come. Our yard looks like a vacant lot." It did; the weeds were taller than the dog!

Twosome: Week's-- What is this week's reading assignment for you? Is there a new book on the night stand? (Students, we're not talking the Chem 104 book either <g>!)

Reading assignment? I don't have to be "assigned" to read—it's like breathing to me. The problem is making me not read. Anyway, we stopped by a store called "Buck a Book" yesterday which is going out of business. Not much left but I got the little gift edition of A Christmas Story, which is all the stories that were incorporated to make the movie, and a copy of Jane Killick's fifth season Babylon 5 guide. I've read those both and am reading one of the books I brought with me that I purchased at Kudzu last Saturday, Betty McDonald's The Egg and I.

Threesome: Feature--What feature would you like to have on your web site that you currently don't have? ...or is there something you do have that you'd like dialed in just a little bit better? Just curious...

Eh. Not really. I would like to be able to do my graphics a bit better and occasionally I wish I had more webspace so I could put some sound files up, but more space would cost more $$$. It's okay. I don't need my pages to sing, dance, and run a temperature. I pass on info to folks who like the same subjects I do.


The Greeks were a more relaxed and artistically refined sequel to the civilizations of Mesopotamia.  Yeah you're cool, but it wouldn't hurt to shut up once in a while.
The Greeks were a more relaxed and artistically
refined sequel to the civilizations of
Mesopotamia. Yeah you're cool, but it wouldn't
hurt to shut up once in a while.

What is your ancient civilization?
brought to you by Quizilla


Sillie Billie
The visiting nurse has been here. Duh. When I picked up Mother's prescriptions from the pharmacy—an antibiotic pill and antibiotic cream—the pharmacist said, "Did your mother have this medication at the hospital?" She had told me yes and I said yes and figured she knew how to use them. When I've been doing her eye for the past two days I have put the cream on the incision and washed her eye out with the Artificial Tears.

Today the nurse actually had a chance to look at the antibiotic cream (Mom showed her the one from the hospital last time) and it's supposed to go in her eye. That's why only certain people get to be nurses; I would have been jumping up and down in frustration had someone told me that. So it's a big "duh" to the side of my head.

The eye looks good; it is not infected, just swollen shut, so I hope I haven't done any harm by not putting it in the last two days.

But the thumping sound you're going to hear for many days is me kicking myself.

I also made hash of putting up a paper towel holder in the bathroom; the screws were too short and I should have known it. The top screw has already come loose, although the bottom one is in there fast. I figured since these are real plaster walls instead of crumbly drywall they would hold.

Ah, but I'm used to having James and/or the handy dandy cordless power drill. James doesn't trust anything to those little baby screws they give you; his favorite construction pieces are two and three inch deck screws. When those darn things go in wood, they stay in. James' deck screws will be in our house long after it's fallen apart. :-)

Anyway, got to git: my godmother is taking us to lunch at a barbecue place at Garden City Shopping Center.


» Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Afternoon Excursion
We had lunch at Harriet's, which is a little breakfast/luncheon place on Atwood Avenue. The food is so good that I can forgive the decor, which is done all in pale pink and teal, two colors which I dislike intensely. Mother got a huge Western omelet which was the width of the 10 inch plate and about seven inches wide and an inch deep. She was satisfied with a third of it and brought the rest home for a yummy meal.

Stopped at the hardware store (again) for a new stepladder (the last suffered from metal fatigue) and other assorted things, including a spare set of keys for the car. Also found, to my surprise, a screen patch kit, which I've been searching for for ages in Lowe's and Home Depot.

Also made a Kmart stop. It was a wonderful day to be out. The sky is so blue it hurts to look at it, and it was a nice cool, breezy day, temp finally about 55°F.

Came home to watch Remember WENN episodes.


I'd forgotten how nice it was to clean floors using a dustmop and not having to drag out a vacuum cleaner!

Wheeee! The stuff I record on my DVD recorder does play on Mom's DVD player.


Another good night's sleep. Eyes still hurt; I've either strained them under those #$!@#$! fluorescent lights at work or something is blooming down here. The trees still look like skeletons, but the rose bush has small buds, as well as the azaleas. It's 45°F right now, with the high expected to be 50°F. Heaven...


"Life...Don't Talk to Me About Life..."
A tip of the hat to Alice:

Take the quiz: "Do you know where your towel is? (Which Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy character are you?)"

Marvin (the paranoid android)
Man do I feel sorry for you. You are one seriously depressed robot, whose brain is to big for the universe to cope with. You are constantly tormented by other people's stupidity which is probably the reason why you hate every damn thing. I prescribe some major anti-depressant pills or some new friends.


» Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Out in the World
Mother finally got out this afternoon!

I did some grocery shopping this morning and after I got home the visiting nurse arrived. She agreed that Mom should go out for as long as she felt up to it, if just outside for a short walk for fresh air, but to keep germs out of her eye, and to cover it with a gauze and then either get an eyepatch or cover up the lens of her glasses with something soft. We didn't have an eyepatch, but the nurse said they were available at drugstores. So we did the gauze and covered the lens and went to Brooks Drugs. I didn't realize they actually did sell black eyepatches like you see in the movies! I am joking with her that now she will really look like a pirate.

During the trip we found out the creeps who stole the car (twice) also broke the latch to the passenger-side front door. I wonder if it's too late to put the evil eye on them.

We also went to a couple of other drugstores and finally went by Solitro's for a treat--this is one of the few neighborhood bakeries left, and still always crowded on Sunday mornings and before holidays, a plain, old-fashioned place still using the same display cases and scarred wooden tier shelves as I remember from forty years ago. They still had St. Joseph's Day zeppoles and Mother got two for herself and one for my godmother.

In the meantime I no longer want to defenestrate Edward Vogler on House. Running him over with a subway car would be more appropriate.


Tuesday Twosome


1. When you update your blog, do you "plug" commenters? Why?

Not usually, but I should. Jerry, for instance, does some good political commentary. Ivan has a super blog about OTR and movie serials. Rodney doesn't have a blog, but I would recommend his if he did: he has varied media interests that I would enjoy hearing about.

2. When you receive comments from "hostile" people, do you ignore the comments or respond in a follow-up blog? Why?

It depends on what the hostile person says. If someone doesn't agree with me and is civil, I'll talk back to them. But I won't respond to people who just post junk to get a rise out of you. These folks are everywhere from newsgroups to e-mail to discussion groups. They have nothing better to do with their lives than make inciting comments.

3. When you learn that someone is stealing from your site, whether it be bandwidth, content, graphics, etc., what is your initial reaction? What do you do about the theft?

I've never done anything about the at least two sites that have swiped episode and movie descriptions off my Lassie site. They claimed the descriptions were from TV Guide, which mine never were.

4. How do you come across "new" websites? Do you comment if you like the site?

Other sites, links from blogs, just surfing or Googling, or occasionally recommendations. Oh, sure, I will comment on them.

5. What type of sites do you enjoy surfing? What type of site do you dislike?

Oh, anything interesting: Christmas, animals, birds, OTR, television. I will even read sites where people dislike what I like if they are reasonable and explain, especially in an amusing manner, why they don't like the particular thing. Something that really turns me off are very badly mispelled sites or those so grammatically incorrect that they become unintelligible. Everyone makes spelling or syntax mistakes occasionally, and I will be more forgiving of children, but I can't stand to read adults who express themselves so badly. Not interested in political sites, including the Bush/Kerry infighting stuff. All politicians are crooks. Don't like hate sites. Pornography is boring.


Monday Madness (late)

1. On what day of the week were you born? (If you need to find out, click here.)


2. Were you born in the morning, afternoon, or evening?

...night at 11:30 p.m.; I missed being born on my dad's birthday by a half hour.

3. How many siblings do you have? Brothers or sisters?

I'm an only.

4. Do you (or did you) ever wish you were an only child? And if you ARE an only child, did you ever wish you had brothers and sisters?

I used to wish I had brothers so I could play with their toys--I hated dolls and tea sets and wanted Lego blocks and Tinkertoys, which my aunts said were for boys. But after hearing what people say about having brothers who looked in their diaries or messed with their stuff, I'm glad I didn't have one after all. I would have hated it if someone messed with my journals or stories. (And he would have hated me getting into his toys, too!)

5. Did you (or do you) dream of having a big family of your own?

When I was a kid (of course) I wanted a dozen kids, just like Lillian and Frank Gilbreth. I realize now it was because I wanted to use all my favorite names on them. :-) I always hated my name.

6. In your opinion, which is (or would be) easier to raise; boys or girls?

Oh, boys are more active; most books say they are more trouble. But I think I could stand a boy who liked sports rather than books and computers much more than a girl who liked looking pretty and buying clothes more than books and computers. I loathe buying clothes and would rather even watch football or baseball than trail around a store cooing over "cool outfits" and "cute tops."

7. In looks, do you favor your mother or your father?

Both! From the nose up I am my dad and from the mouth down I am my mom.


Joggin' Along
Slept late and fairly good (only woke up twice), so I actully may have gotten nine hours sleep.

Mom's visiting nurse came for the first time today (actually this was the alternate nurse as the regular nurse who will be coming is off today) and did the medical history, etc. business. She was very personable and funny.

I went to the grocery store to pick up some odd things, including my oatmeal, which I ended up not eating because it was lunchtime before I got home and I had some lavash (flat bread) and mortadella instead, with mandarin oranges. The lavash was very dry but good for me. Unfortunately I forgot to take my Prilosec this morning and now I have indigestion like anything.

It's quiet in here and it's making me sleepy. Mom is getting dressed so we can at least go outside for some fresh air. She does not feel up to walking and I can't blame her, but she needs at least some air. Except for my bedroom where I had the window open, it is stuffy in here, at least for Menopausal Me.


» Monday, April 11, 2005
Day is Done...
It's been a long day.

It was a nice flight, althought I dozed through most of it. Good grief, the next time we fly together, James is going to have to get a seat on the aisle. Anyone who knows me is aware I am short and short-legged--and I had scarcely five inches between my knee and the seat in front of me!

I woke in time to see New York City ahead over the wing (I was portside), from the dot of the Statue of Liberty to the length of the island of Manhattan with Central Park sprawling north, and along it, the vast length and breadth of the Hudson snaking toward the Adirondaks. There the plane turned east and we flew the rest of the way along the barrier edge of Long Island. The sound was a beautiful blue, not the color of the sky, but a deeper blue with teal overtones with swirls of lighter eddies. We moved into Narragansett Bay by going directly over the Jamestown Bridge, and when we turned again over land I noted that most of the trees had not started to leaf yet; indeed when I got off the plane the jetway itself was cold and crisp. Yesss!

I got into the airport only to find my godmother had already arrived outside before I even got to baggage claim. Luckily I had the quickest turnaround at baggage claim at Green Airport ever; I think my suitcase was the fourth or fifth out!

"Padina" (that's what Italian kids call their godmothers) took me to lunch at the Rocky Point Chowder Shack on Post Road, all that's left of the famous Shore Dinner Hall from the now-closed amusement park out in Warwick. We had clam chowder and clam cakes (which came up on me, but then everything does).

When I got in--no one was here. I called the hospital; my mother had been released, but I didn't know where she was. Called around, then sat and waited until my cousin Richard delivered her to the door.

Quieted down a little after that: I cooked [don't faint] pork chops for supper and then I walked to Cousin Anna's, where the car has been living since it got stolen twice. I was back in sweats and had to button my jacket since the breeze was so brisk. Lovely. I drove to Walgreen's and got Mother's prescriptions filled (I also got some milk; I was having withdrawal symptoms), then came home and figured out how to install The Club that Richard had bought on the steering wheel. (Mom had the car parked at the bottom of the driveway because she pretty much uses the front door exclusively. I parked it all the way to the back, installed The Club, and left the porch light on. I don't know if that will stop the little bastards, but I'm crossing my fingers.)

Watching the program about laying the first transatlantic cable on American Experience right now and looking at the card James bought me; he secreted one for each day in my suitcase. This has a little white terrier on it that looks a lot like Miss Wil.


"Here we are...back in the car."
"At least we're not in the tree..."
                  . . . Jurassic Park
And me, I'm back at the airport.

James dropped me off about 8 a.m. with many tears on my part and then zipped off to work--he made it in with ten minutes to spare. I had already checked in online--handy thing that--and after depositing the bigger suitcase at baggage check trundled with my carry-on and "the Baby" (a.k.a. the laptop) to security. Believe me, I made sure I stopped at the bathroom first; the line was so long I couldn't see the end of it for at least three minutes. But it actually went fairly quickly.

My flight didn't leave for two hours, so I took my time getting to the gate. Had carried the granola I bought on Saturday with me--man, they really are cutting costs; we don't even get drinks on this flight!--and paid the usual exorbitant sum for a pint of orange juice from Starbucks to go along with it. The Burger King here doesn't have cinni-minis,but packets of Cinnabons already frosted in ick. I'd rather go hungry. Sugar frosting. Shudder.

As always I have found me a friendly electrical plug so I can merrily type away not using battery power. I have some el-cheapo magazines to read on the flight: the latest Woman's Day, Family Circle, and this week's Woman's World that I can toss out when I get done with them. (If I can wait that long, I have something yummier for the route back: two Country Living issues and a Cottage Living, which I don't particularly like but which is more fun to read than scrapbooking magazines--I got them all at JoAnn with 40 percent off coupons.) And I have a St. Nicholas, of course.

Well, getting close to time to board. Need to finish the juice and use the facilities. More later from your roving correspondent.


» Saturday, April 09, 2005
"My Time Grows Short"
The weekend is ticking down. Unfortunately James has to go to work tomorrow so we won't even get to spend our last day for a week together.

We had a nice day today. After we turned his shirts in to the cleaner and went to the hobby shop, we played a game of miniature golf at Mountasia and then went to Bruster's for ice cream. We also left for trivia early and stopped at the little shop "Taste of Britain" in Norcross, where I had a literary treat.


The Friday Five (I'm late, I'm late...)

1. What is the one book that you reread over and over again?

I think this is going to be the same answer as last week: just one??? I can try to make a list of books I read over and over: Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy, the Harry Potter books, Mary O'Hara's Ken McLaughlin trilogy (My Friend Flicka, etc.) and Wyoming Summer, A Christmas Carol, Addie Pray, Time and Again, Red Sky at Morning, Huckleberry Finn, The Cottage Holiday, The Open Gate, Life is a Banquet, The Family Nobody Wanted, Lassie Come Home, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, A Wrinkle in Time, A House Like a Lotus, Beautiful Joe, Black Beauty...

2. What is your favourite genre?

Cozy mysteries and old children's books.

3. Do you usually buy your books or visit the library?

Buy, as all the books in the house attest. I sometimes "test drive" books I am thinking about buying from the library.

4. Who is your favourite author?

Madeleine L'Engle.

5. What book have you read that you absolutely hated?

Just one? I threw Joyce Carol Oates' Wonderland against a wall; I think that may count as the worst one. Most of the "required reading" in school. We got stuck not reading Huckleberry Finn in ninth grade to read William Saroyan's My Kind of Crazy Wonderful People, which was a snooze. Also Treasure Island and Ethan Frome. Most recently there was Angels and Demons. Gah, it read like a turn-of-the-century boys' adventure novel with sex, violence and mysticism tossed in. I tossed it into the donate box the moment I finished with it.


» Thursday, April 07, 2005
Ticking Over
Just spoke to my mom before they shut the phones down for the night, and she sounds reasonably okay for someone who had surgery at eleven this morning. That's a relief. Hope it keeps going okay.


Mom... probably being prepped for surgery right now; she told me last night she was scheduled for 11.

Ironically I had surgery last year on this same date. Funny the way things work out.

I hope someone calls me when they're done. I don't have anyone's cell phone number and know they won't be at home.



House Work
A friend commented on my "why Chi McBride on House" post last week by asking why I liked the show seeing that the plot is always so repetitive. Well, it is: patient has severe symptoms, doctors try out treatment, it doesn't work, make diagnosis, it's wrong—until at the eleventh hour they figure it out. The patients themselves add certain quirks to the storyline, but it's pretty much always like that. Also, the patient almost always has (a) an MRI and/or (b) a seizure at some point.

Well, I don't watch House for the plots, I watch it for the interactions of the characters. If I wanted to watch a medical show with a plot, I understand Medical Investigation is better. But if House was just a medical show, I wouldn't be watching it at all; I'm nearly fifty, have several existing medical conditions myself, and really don't want to be reminded of hospitals or my own mortality. It's grumpy, grungy Greg and what he's going to do or say next that's the appeal.

Speaking of House, here's an article that talks about Hugh Laurie and the conception of the series. I love the first line: "Hugh Laurie isn't a bastard, but he plays one on TV." ::snort::


Thursday Threesome

Bluebonnet Days

Onesome: Blue...
Blue birds singing...what kind of birds say "Spring" to you?

:-) The usual...robins! Of course there are robins around here most of the year, but in spring they come in multitudes. I was driving home from work about a month ago, and on the grass verges on either side of the road there had to be at least four dozen robins looking for food—perhaps more; there were too many to count as I waited at the stop sign.

Twosome: ...bonnet-- ...what causes get a real "bee" in your bonnet

Child abuse and pornography. I wish we could do more about getting rid of thse horrible perverts.

Threesome: days-- ...and what do Spring Days bring and mean to you?

Allergy attacks? :-) Aw, I can't be Gregory House all the time. The flowering trees are beautiful. There is one patch of trees and bushes next to the freeway that I love to watch every spring; it's where 285 branches off from I-75 South. There are at least a dozen different types of trees there and they all bloom in a different way; during certain weeks in late March and early April there are the palest greens (different shades), pink, magenta, pale red, lavender, and white on that bank. It looks like a painting by Monet.

(The cars whizzing by kinda ruin the effect, though. <wry grin>)


» Wednesday, April 06, 2005
The Dusty Days of Spring
This entire area of Georgia used to be "piney woods" and there are still pines in evidence everywhere. They are tall, thin trees, like legions of wooden basketball stars, that sway and wave in the breezes as if they are onstage performing in Swan Lake.

The pine trees also, at this time in April, have big yellow tassels that shed pollen dust copiously over everything. The allergy reports on television, radio and the web steadfastly insist that these pollen grains do not affect allergies because they are "too big" to invade the nostrils and set off allergen alerts.

Maybe so, but anyone sensitive to dust—which describes most folks!—will still sneeze and have itchy eyes after minimum exposure to this gunk fouling up the air. My purple car looks as if someone sprinkled it copiously with yellow powdered sugar; the pollen grains clump around anything that leaves a greasy residue, like fingerprints, giving the cars a weird mottled effect. If the pollen falls after a rain, the effect is more like dozens of cats having walked on your car with dirty yellow pawprints.

I just had to clean my black shoes off a while ago; they were covered with this yellow dust just from walking back from the car at lunchtime. I got the surface dust off with the paper towel, but the saffron color is still deep in the creases made by wear and in the stitched seams. For all anyone knew I had taken a half hour walk in the woods rather than taken five or six steps across a pine-straw scattered verge between parking lots!


Hometown Heroes
Series books and World War I in "A Cozy Nook."


Leavin' on a Jet Plane
Well, I made the reservations last night. I'm leaving Monday morning and coming back the evening of the 17th. Even though I am concerned about my mom, my heart aches already. I was looking forward to "Atomicon," but more I'm going to miss James and Pidgie and Wil. Pidge can always make me laugh no matter what.

I have the laptop to keep in touch (even if I didn't, I could get online with the PDA, clever thing that it is). Will probably take Swing with me so I can read it again and a St. Nicholas.

I had a dream last night that I went and had forgotten to pack all my clothes. I got there with the laptop and a book and my medications and that's it. I guess you could classify it as a nightmare because I hate to buy clothes! I would just buy some sweats anyway. It's still a nice temp down there—in the 50s—for sweats.


» Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Tuesday Twosome

Just Wondering...

1. What is your reaction when a "famous" person passes away, and why?

Depends on the person. Are we talking “famous” as in actors and other celebrities or people like the Pope? Anyway, it is usually “what a shame,” especially if it is a nice person. I probably wouldn’t be very sympathetic, though, if they did something stupid like taking drugs or bungee-jumping.

2. Do you believe there is a heaven and/or hell, and why?

I believe in both, and that you can make both of them on earth as well (or someone can make them for you). But I don’t think it’s like those goopy pictures with angels and clouds like Bil Keane draws in “Family Circus.” I would like to believe in Rainbow Bridge. I can’t imagine anything happier than being reunited with all the animals I have loved.

3. Do you think many people will miss you when you have gone, and why?

I hope so. And then I have dark days when I feel like if I dropped off the face of the earth no one would miss me (usually during the week when something at work had been aggravating).

4. What are the two most important reasons you would like to be remembered for?

??? That’s an odd way of phrasing it. I dunno why I would want to be remembered.

5. Who are the two most important people in your life (if you have several children, count that as one choice)?

Mother and James.


» Monday, April 04, 2005
Willow's Home!
She emerged from the truck with a huge smile and has been smiling most of the night. She's barked at Pidge and snuggled with "Daddy."

The only thing she has not had is a snack, although she's definitely cadged for one. She has special food to eat for the next four days before we can mix it with her regular food.


How Much Is That Doggie at the Vet's Window...
I won't even say. Suffice it to mention that non-dog lovers would flinch and wonder why we cared so much about a "mutt."

James is going to have to pick her up during rush hour traffic. Oooh, what fun.


I tried to get them to spring her early, but they want to observe her till the last possible minute.


Raging Against the Daylight
Daylight Saving Time has annoyed the heck out of me ever since I can remember.

Granted there was a time when the long summer nights were kinda fun; I was old enough to go through the gate that was next door in my godmother’s yard to go sit on the retaining wall at a friend’s house and hang out with Penny and her sisters and a couple other of the neighbor kids. But as long as my mom knew I was there and nowhere else (she’d walk over herself sometimes, to talk with Penny’s mom and grandmother) I could stay long after dark anyway, sitting under the streetlights. Overland Avenue was a fairly quiet street and you could see the cars coming either way very well. It was cooler in the dark as well; we were kids of open windows and roaring fans (if you even had one) in the summer, waiting for those cool evening breezes.

On the other hand as long as the wretched sun was out there I was expected to “go out and play because it’s good for you” when I really preferred being inside nice and cool in the cellar with my books. The sun has always given me headaches anyway, making everything dance up and down in front of my eyes until I couldn’t stand the pain any longer and had to crawl into a dark room somewhere.

As an adult, DST is just a pain in the ass.

The clocks take a while to push forward, but that’s a minor annoyance. For the past couple months I’ve been able to get up for work in the daylight and drive to work. Now it’s bloody dark again—who wants to get up when it’s nice and dark outside to go fight traffic; rolling over and getting more sleep is preferable.

DST was useful when it was first initiated, during World War I. Factories didn’t have halogen and fluorescent lighting to illuminate work areas. If you see old factory buildings you will notice their sides are covered with enormous paned windows. This augmented the inadequate incandescent lighting (and, going far enough back, gas and kerosene lamps) inside, ensuring there was enough light so mistakes were not made (the workers’ eyestrain would not have been called into account). That extra hour of daylight meant war workers could produce another hour and farmers could farm another hour. The same was true for World War II, where “War Time” became a catchphrase.

It’s not wartime anymore, folks, and the factories don’t need the help.

Besides, it’s Morning. It’s supposed to be light in the morning, not pitch dark; conversely at the other end of the day it’s Night and it’s supposed to be dark. The days are already getting longer; why do we have to go through these marathon daylight hours to go with it? Kids are still going to play under the streetlight (if they haven’t been already in doing homework or playing videogames), the joggers and we dogwalkers still go out (nothing keeps joggers down), and sports fields are all halogen-lighted and spreading their pollution everywhere. Granted, it’s true that should night fall earlier, the lights would have to be on an extra hour.

But I can’t believe having not to put the lights on saves any energy, even despite the studies I understand have taken place. When the lights aren’t going, the air conditioners are. More and more people get air conditioning every year, whether it’s purchasing a house with a central unit or buying a single unit to make sleeping and/or eathing more comfortable. These monsters gulp up tons of energy while most lighting systems are getting more and more efficient in terms of power usage, and while the sun is up and it’s still hot, no one will be turning those units down. Surely an extra hour of A/C costs more than an extra hour of lights?


Monday Madness

Where you live...

1. ...did you have to turn your clocks forward one hour this weekend?

Sorry to admit that yes, we had to do this obnoxious thing. Daylight saving time was a boon in World Wars I & II. Factories did not have adequate lighting and farmers could work later in the evening to provide the foodstuffs we need. It was even useful during the 1950s and 1960s for evening sports. But now all fields are halogen lighted. We are wasting energy running air conditioners for an extra hour every day.

2. ...what is the price of gasoline?

I got gas for $2.019 this morning.

3. ...which natural disasters, if any, do you have to worry about?

Tornadoes mostly around here. Those on lower ground have to have flood insurance.

4. you have a local newspaper, and if so, do you subscribe to it?

Yes, and no. We get the paper only on Sunday, for the coupons. (Except lately James has been getting a Friday paper for the big Fry’s ad…)

5. you subscribe to a local cable company for television viewing?

No siree bob! We quit that annoyance years ago. We have Dish Network. We chose Dish over DirecTV because (a) James once worked for them and they treat their employees horribly and (b) at the time we were watching Buffy and they didn’t carry the WB.

6. ...what is the speed limit on your road/street?

There’s a speed limit? It’s a small residential street, so I guess 25 mph—not that the jerks with their booming stereos and muscle cars obey it of course.

7. far do you have to drive to the nearest post office?

About three and a half miles. It’s a pain in the neck because there’s never parking.

8. ...what is the average temperature in April?

Too damn hot. About 70°F, I think, although it’s warmer than that now.

9. ...what is the average temperature in December?

Not cold enough. In the 40s, maybe?

10. ...are your four seasons drastically different from one another?

I suppose so. In the summer there’s no air, in the spring it’s full of pollen, in the winter it’s nice but it doesn’t last long enough, and in the fall it’s full of mold. :-)


» Saturday, April 02, 2005
Willow Report
She's still in the hospital. Her blood test does not yet satisfy the doctor. They're taking another tomorrow and hoping we can have her Monday or Tuesday.

Even Pidgie misses her. He has no one to chase around the floor.


High Wind in "May-retta"
Wheee! A last respite before the Fry Meter starts! It's only going to be 54°F today and the wind is blowing to beat the band.

Going out to enjoy it!


» Friday, April 01, 2005
Friday Five

1) What's the one movie you've seen more times than any other?

I don't know which one it is; I've seen many movies many multiple times: The Andromeda Strain, Spaceballs, Jurassic Park, The Court Jester, Auntie Mame, The Right Stuff, Cheaper by the Dozen, My Favorite Year, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Big Jake, Little Women, Twister, The Poseidon Adventure, Airport, The Hunt for Red October, Airplane, Star Trek IV, A Christmas Story, The Homecoming.... But the story I've seen the most times isn't any movie: it's "Lassie's Odyssey."

2) If you could turn one book, comic book or other print story into a feature-length movie, what story would you pick and why?

I'd like to see someone do a faithful version of Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy. I was hoping the Merlin miniseries with Sam Neill would be some like it. Unfortunately, it wasn't.

3) Whom would you cast?

Hard one. I don't know much about these new actors. Sam Neill is too old for the younger Merlin now.

4) What one movie would you like to see "updated for the year 2005"? (Ie, a remake)

I usually hate remakes. It would have to be a movie that was done badly in the first place.

5) What one movie are you most looking forward to this year?

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.