Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.

 Contact me at theyoungfamily (at) earthlink (dot) net

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» Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Different Kinds of Pain
It was another case of good day, bad day yesterday.

When Mom got dressed in the afternoon, I said, "Let's go to Borders." This wasn't just because of the books, but because I know there are chairs there where she could sit down. We planned to go have ice cream afterwards.

Mom sat in the cafe looking at some books on New Mexico someone had left on the table, and when I came back with my purchases, she said, "Let's go have ice cream at the mall instead." My philosophy now is, if she wants to go, she goes, so instead of having the ice cream at Garden City, we drove to Warwick Mall. It was warm, so we stopped for Del's frozen lemonade and some popcorn and parked under a nearby tree until we were done.

Then we went to the mall. Mom insisted on walking it end to end (Warwick Mall isn't that long) and I stopped in Waldenbooks and we went into CVS (gawd, I haven't seen a drugstore in a mall in a dog's age). We got ice cream before we left and had a nice ride home, watched some television, and then my godmother came over from next door to talk with Mom for a while.

Near the end of the conversation she started complaining about the eye hurting and both my godmother and I tried to talk her into the pain pill, even half of one. After Padina left, I made some soup and egg noodles with shredded chicken breast in it. Mother ate it but was whimpering in pain during the entire procedure. I made a cold compress for her eyes and that seemed to help during the evening, but after Leno was over she started crying again. I finally talked her into half a Percoset with some toast and she settled down to sleep, murmuring until she fell asleep. I tried to stay in the chair near her but couldn't fall asleep there and settled for going into the bedroom and leaving the door open.

The hospice nurse has just been here and has called for a new pain patch prescription, talked to our family doctor, and asked Mother's oncologist if they can't at least prescribe something for the outside itch of the eye. I have put another cold compress on it and she says that helps.

I wish I could open the front door; she says she feels cold but I'm so smothered...


» Monday, May 30, 2005
Thoughts in the Afternoon
We're having a bit of a quiet time now. I did manage to get Mom to eat more than Boost: she had an apricot cut up with a little sugar on it to cut the tartness and a small bowl of Rice Krispies. She's sitting with the heating pad now but does want to go out a little. (I said "ice cream" and she looked definitely interested.) But as I sit here watching her dozing I wonder if I have any damn right to be doing this at all. Her body was definitely starting to shut down last week and between Debbie, the nurse and I, we dragged her back.

It's very obvious that the cancer is spreading (I found two moles on her torso that I know have never been there before) and the eye is always hurting her; the only time it doesn't hurt is when she's asleep. She has Percoset for the pain and won't take it, even a half, because she's afraid of getting "used" to it (like it matters right now) and because it makes her "feel funny." (And I can't blame her about that. Last year after surgery when they took me off the IV painkiller they gave me a Percoset. In ten minutes I was so spacy it scared the daylights out of me. I told the nurse I wanted something else next time and she said it wouldn't kill the pain as well. I told her "I don't care, I'd rather hurt than feel that weird again." I think people who take this stuff to get high are absolutely out of their minds.)

So I keep wondering, as I watch her sleep, did we have any right to do this? Did we do it for her, or did we do it for us? There are times when she is okay, like last night she even felt well enough to read a little of the Enquirer and we mostly watched a CSI, and in the afternoon, while she lost track of the plot a bit—actually, I can't blame her because I found it hard to follow, too, and I'm used to British accents—we did enjoy the "Inspector Lynley" episode we found on Mystery.

But I do keep wondering, because the only one who has the right to play God is Him Himself...


» Sunday, May 29, 2005
The Parade of Life
Hard to sleep last night. I really want to be here, but I'm miserably lonesome as well: I miss James and Pidgie and Willow something terrible. It's hard to be the cheerful cheerleader in those circumstances.

I had completely forgotten about an annual event (and I didn't think, afterward, that it was done on Sunday) until I heard drums rolling and looked out the front door to wonder why there were numerous cars parked outside. I said to my mom, "I hear drumrolls; are they doing something at the stadium? It sounds like a parade." (On clear summer nights you can hear baseball games all the way from the stadium half a mile away.) She looked at me funny. "It is the parade; it starts over at the school, remember?"

Well, we haven't ever been back for a visit around Memorial Day and I had forgotten: there's always a Memorial Day Parade here in Cranston, and it starts in the back of Hugh B. Bain Middle School, one block down and across the street (my old junior high). It marches down the short remainder of Gansett Avenue, turns left on Park Avenue, and continues until it gets to City Hall, which is next door to my other alma mater, Cranston High School East.

I said hurry, we can go see it, but she was still getting dressed slowly, so she told me she would stay put and I should go if I wanted to. So I went down to the corner of Gansett and Trainor and watched the parade kick off: your lovely almost small-town type patriotic parade, with the color guard leading and then the fire engines and the police cars, and then the rest: various ethnic clubs (Greek, Bolivian—these had beautiful crimson outfits with silver trimmings, another Spanish group with beautiful filmy multicolor clothing, Portuguese, and the St. Mary's Feast Society representing the Italians), a couple of dance studios, some Rhode Island guy who is a finalist on The Contender, a recycling truck, a fire truck from Pascoag, a North Tiverton band, the band and the majorettes from Bain, the Cranston High School East (yay alma mater) group, two count 'em—Elmos from Sesame Street and a Winnie the Pooh, parade clowns, a Portuguese band, the Boy and Girl Scouts, the Junior ROTC, even a group of little kids dressed up in camo and called the Young Marines.

One of the spectators brought what looked like a little West Highland White Terrier with an undocked tail, which curved over his back like a long fluffy boa. He was interested in everything. Then his people brought him across the street, where someone had a very large Boston Terrier which was twice the size of this little guy. That didn't keep the Westie from barking sharply and leaning on his leash trying to get at the interloper in his territory. That's a terrier for you!

We just stayed in this afternoon: we watched Undercover Blues,, which I brought with me ("My Muerte!" "Hi, Morty!"). For supper we went to Boston Market, but it was rainy so we came straight home. Spent the evening watching PBS (WGBH Channel 2): the National Memorial Day concert in Washington, DC. They did several lovely tributes and I spent half of the show in tears. Mom has alternated between being tired this morning and more lively tonight (like me she's a night owl; you can tell where I get it), but when they asked the members of the audience to get up when they sang their appropriate service song, she got up when they sang the Army anthem, in my dad's place, and we both were singing "Let There Be Peace on Earth" and "God Bless America" at the end. Afterwards WGBH repeated the National Geographic special about Arlington National Cemetery.


» Saturday, May 28, 2005
Another Day
It was better today. We both slept late and while Mother didn't want her muffin, she did drink some Boost. The nurse came today and showed me how to change out the pain patch in case someone didn't come to change it tomorrow.

Afterwards we sat at the table and Mother signed six checks and I made them out. I had forgotten how much I despised making out checks to pay bills. I get my online bill pay free now, but even when I was paying $5.95/month for it it was worth every penny.

Then Mother got dressed and we went out to mail the bills. We also stopped at Walgreen's for a few things, and when we got done Mother said she hadn't really been out in a week and could we take a ride? So I drove up to Roger Williams Park and we just drove around for a little while. It has been cold up here and today was the first warm day. Everyone was out having picnics, riding the carousel, just lying in the sun, jogging, playing ball, or going to the zoo. There were several married couples taking pictures at what used to be called the Japanese Gardens. We particular saw one couple who was right near the road posing before a brilliant azalea. (After we got home tonight the news did a feature on people at the Park and they showed that same couple we had passed by!)

We came out of the Park via the Broad Street entrance, which I'd never used. I asked Mother which way to go, she said left, and we ended up near downtown Providence. No biggie: just got on I-95 and headed south. It was only five o'clock and I asked her, since it was warm, if she would like some Del's frozen lemonade. Sure, she said, and we were heading there when the car started making a funny noise. I pulled over to the side and sure enough, the right front tire was flat.

Luckily Mother has AAA, so we called them and they said it might take up to two hours (understandable, being a holiday weekend). I did tell the dispatcher that my mom was elderly and a bit frail. Ten minutes later the AAA truck drove up, the guy got in the trunk, got the spare, and had the tire changed in five minutes with us still in the car.

We ended up just going home. Had pork chops and Rice'a'Roni for supper, which I managed to ruin by scorching the vermicelli, dammit. Serves me right trying to cook both things at once. I'm not James and handy at multitasking at the stove.

Television was terrible. We ended up watching one of the DVDs I brought, the third season of All Creatures Great and Small (I have first and second season in Region 2 and they won't play on her player).


Being a Responsible Adult
I am at my mom's right now. Thursday night I had a big scare. I called Mom late because we were watching Hidalgo. Her line was busy for 25 minutes at 10:15 at night. She doesn't talk to anyone that time of night that long. So I called my godmother, who had to go pound on the door to wake her up. She appeared a bit unbalanced to my godmother, but she said she was okay and my godmother went back home. So I was talking to her and suddenly she quit talking. I kept talking but had James call my cousin, who rushed over there. She was okay but still very unsteady and did not even remember she had been talking to me on the phone. So Debbie stayed with her overnight.

It turned out she had been mostly asleep all day, had not eaten, and had not taken her medication Wednesday or Thursday (she has pill sorters and you can tell).

I had been putting together plans to come up anyway after talking to her doctor, but the first step I had to take was getting my prescriptions refilled. I haven't been able to get an appointment for a checkup so I have no more refills and the pharmacy has to get approval for the refills. I had been pissed when I stopped by Thursday afternoon and they had refilled one and not the other.

So Thursday night I was up until past one washing clothes and the moment nine o'clock came I had called up Kaiser and told them I needed the other prescription immediately because I might have to "bug out."

Then I talked to the hospice nurse. They had made the decision that Mom couldn't stay on her own. I either came up or they would take matters in their own hands and stick her in some nursing home.

This was about ten o'clock. By eleven I had plane reservations (at an amount that merely made me scream) and James was on his way home and was stopping at Kaiser for me to pick up the prescription, which I had been called about an hour before saying the prescription was ready and I could pick it up.

James called up then, frustrated. They said they didn't have any prescription. Turned out it was still on the fax machine, waiting for someone to come pick it up. I heard James raise his voice. James never raises his voice. It was an awesome thing. They got the prescription ready for him, you betcha.

So by 1:30 I was at the airport and by 2:45 winging my way to Rhode Island. To cut to the chase: Mom is sorta okay. She had some chicken and mashed potatoes for supper and a few apricots (but I didn't know and didn't pick ripe ones) and has managed to wash tonight, where she wasn't up to it last night. But she still falls asleep a lot and seems to be having trouble concentrating.

I am at my wits' end and holding on by a thread so thin that it makes monofilament look fat.

BTW, you can say what you will about the TSA...I know there are some bullies there. But when I got to the gate the lady inspecting the tickets asked me what was wrong (I had just said goodbye to James and was in tears). I told her my mom was sick and she said she had been there and to hang on—and then she said "Do you need a hug?" I said yes, and she hugged me.

So somewhere out there tonight is a TSA employee who wears a halo. Bless you.


» Friday, May 27, 2005
Friday Five

1. What was your favorite breakfast cereal when you were a kid?

Special K. (I like Frosted Flakes, but I was never allowed to eat them regularly.)

2. What is the best toy/prize you ever got in a box of cereal or because of sending in UPC’s?

Never sent for any.

3. How do you take your eggs (scrambled, over easy, egg beaters)?

I hate eggs, except in eggnog.

4. What is your favorite breakfast meat (bacon, ham, sausage)?

Ah, you have me there. It's bacon. I have it very rarely.

5. What is your favorite spot (local or chain restaurant) for breakfast and where is it located?

It's the breakfast bar at Golden Corral on Austell Road.


» Thursday, May 26, 2005
thursday Threesome

::Comment and Trackback Spam::

Onesome- Comment: Are there any blogs you regularly read and comment on? Is it just to say "hi, how are you?" or is there one site that just makes you have to join in the conversation?

Oh, there are many blogs I always read; they're listed over there on the right. But I'm not a frequent commenter. I'm more likely to link than comment.

Twosome- and Trackback: Does anyone actually ever really use this function of their blog?

I don't. I don't even know how you would do it.

Threesome- Spam: We all hate it! Anyone have any clever ways of dealing with it? Share it with us, please.

Nope, afraid not, although I did do some rather clever filtering, IMHO, two years ago to get rid of the deluge of spam we got that finally made me change our main e-mail address. (Note to anyone who hasn't gotten it through a head as thick as mine: do not use your real address on Usenet!) I just delete what we get now. I do have some automatic filters, and when the spam comes it's immediately transferred to trash with a sound bite I culled from a radio show. It's Marian Jordan from Fibber McGee and Molly saying "'Tain't funny, McGee." :-)


Now For a Word from Brent
Brent McKee's "The Best New Show On TV", a nice piece of commentary on House, M.D.


» Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Things Taken Care Of
They're done; took them eight hours. (Well, actually it took Curtis eight hours. Barry left after installing the compressor and doing some other things to help out; he was here about seven hours.) The new compressor is half the size—wow. I was shown how to use the electrostatic filter and shown how to run bleach through the outtake hose (to keep grotty stuff from building up in it).

Anyway, the fool thing is costing $$$$$, but it is covered for the next ten years (the unit itself, labor, and parts). The furnace portion is covered for 20 years. And it is nice and cool in here, but it's not a fair test since it's not really hot outside. We'll see what happens when it gets up into the 80s and (gulp!) 90s.

They cleaned up after themselves, but of course I had to vacuum where my dirty shoes touched the carpet. Also washed the parquet in front of the door and the floor of the furnace closet while it was bare. My back is screaming, but it's cleaner.

Took care of a bunch of little things while they were working (feel free to skip this paragraph!): started a folder for 2005 deductions, got rid of all the old house insurance policies and put the new one in their place, got rid of all the maintenance receipts on the old HVAC unit, put up the papers for the HVAC unit in a clearly labeled envelope, cleared out around my computer desk a little including throwing some unneeded receipts away and picking up some CD-ROMs that had fallen down, shifted around some videotapes and documentary DVDs, made labels for some DVDs I had made, wrapped a gift for a friend who's just retired, swept the kitchen, made the bed—oh, and finally took down the Easter tree, which was long overdue since it's already past Pentecost.

Curtis had no sooner left and I was sweeping outside the door than Steve showed up to do the lawn. He is hoping to be able to clean out our back yard after Memorial Day sometime. Goody.

Plus I made an appointment for the car to have its oil changed and called the credit card company to nag them to send my Borders rewards coupons again. The February billing was lost in the mail along with other important things like our 1099  form for taxes and I didn't get $10 worth of credit. If the credit card company thinks I'm going to forget book coupons, they have another thing coming.

Most importantly, I got a call from a nurse from the hospice service in Rhode Island. My cousin Debbie, bless her, contacted them to see if they could get my mother more help. They're going to be sending someone around to talk to her, see if they can talk her into getting Meals on Wheels, maybe get someone to do the laundry since the stairs are so steep, etc. I want her to be able to stay on her own as long as she can. She has always been fiercely independent and really doesn't want to leave the house she and my dad so loved.


Well, They're Dismantling...
...the creaky old thing as I speak (uh, write). The darn thing is held together with foil (and probably spit and bailing wire, too).

I just realized something. The technicians are named Curtis and Barry.

(If you read the comic strip "Curtis," you'll understand.)


» Tuesday, May 24, 2005
House Call
Good episode. But very depressing.

(Speaking from a hormonal point of view, the pic on Fox's House website, squidgy. I suppose it cheers me to know that, despite having a complete hysterectomy last year, I actually do still have hormones to respond... <wry grin>)


DVD Transfer Diary
I transferred something off a little different last night: does anyone remember a very limited (6-episode) series produced by John Hawkesworth (Upstairs, Downstairs) and starring Sam Waterston called Q.E.D.? This was an adventure series following the exploits of Quentin E. Deverill, a brilliant American scientist and inventor who, in 1912, had moved into an English country house. He purchases the taxicab of a streetwise Cockney named Phipps, who becomes his butler/valet/all-purpose dogsbody, hires a pretty secretary named Jenny Martin (played by the luminious Caroline Langrishe), and spends much time trying to avoid American international wireless reporter Charles Andrews (A.C. Weary), who has his eye on Jenny and a scoop about one of Deverill's inventions, not always in that order. The plots usually pitted Deverill and his team as well as one of Deverill's prescient inventions (wireless remotes, nerve gas, etc.) against bad guys who want to use the devices for bad ends. Deverill's semi-regular nemesis was the oily Dr. Stefan Kilkiss, played with his usual delightful nastiness by Julian Glover.

Although I loved Waterston in this show, especially with his beard, which I thought made him look particularly attractive, the main draw on this series was the long-suffering Phipps, played by the inimitable British character actor George Innes. Poor Phipps could be counted on to do all the dirty work, like digging holes and pedalling a stationary bicycle to supply the professor with electrical power, besides doing his manservant chores. He was brilliant with motor engines and had several other skills which often came in handy on their adventures. And although he was often put-upon by Deverill, he was quite proud of his elevated station in life, having gone from hack driver to trusted assistant. While the entire show was fun, it was Innes who was the one to watch. And the 1912 sets were wonderful; no one can beat the British doing these period pieces

Of the two eps I have, "Infernal Device" is about an English nobleman who is mixed up with revolutionaries (mainly to piss off his imperious father) and who helps get Jenny kidnapped so that Deverill will do his comrade's bidding (thereupon earning him the eternal enimity of Charlie). Ian Ogilvy is the guest star. The other ep, "4.10 to Zurich," guest stars Paul Freeman (Belloq from Raiders of the Lost Ark) as a good guy, a fellow scientist who thinks Deverill has sold out to the enemy. Poor Langrishe—once again Jenny is the victim of a kidnapping attempt (although Phipps foils this one); although she was exceedingly spunky, Jenny seemed to exist to be kidnapped, scream, or cry. She did it beautifully.


Tuesday Twosome

I can't do this week's because the only shows I watched this year were House and Monk. Monk didn't have a cliffhanger ending. House has its season finale tonight and don't know if it will be a cliffhanger.

I hope it's not, really. I'm bloody tired of the things. Back when they first started to do them, they were fresh and interesting. Now everyone does them, to the point where situations are contrived to shoehorn one in. Yawn.


» Monday, May 23, 2005
Memorial Day Show
Just to remind folks in the Atlanta area or who will be in the Atlanta area this coming weekend, the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company will be having an appropriately-themed show at Memorial Hall at Stone Mountain Park on Sunday, May 29 between 3 and 5 p.m. No charge; you just have to pay the park entry fee. There will be a "Bumper's Crossroads" episode and other presentations.


DVD Transfer Diary
Could have done more yesterday, but I kept getting distracted. But I did get two Doctor Who stories done, my favorite, "The Deadly Assassin," and Robert Holmes' tax satire, "The Sun Makers," which has the added bonus of having Michael Keating in it. I believe, although I'm not sure, that Keating was cast as Vila Restal in Blake's 7 because of his role in this story.

I just noticed, in fact, that series 3 of Blake's 7 will be released in Region 2 on June 20. I've been avoiding buying the B7 DVDs because (a) damn, they're expensive, and (b) I've been hoping someone would release them in Region 1, but I really do have to get the series 3 set if I can. That season has all my favorite episodes (except for "Gambit"): "Rumours of Death" and "Sarcophagus" and my all time special favorite, "City at the Edge of the World," which is about Vila.

Anyway, here are two Doctor Who websites I've never seen before which are nicely laid out and seem to have tons of information:

Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel)

Doctor Who Reference Guide


Monday Madness

1. ...ridden on a rollercoaster?

Exactly once; it was a junior roller coaster and I swore I'd never, ever do it again. I do not like "barf rides," i.e. rides that drop.

2. ...performed (in any area of the arts) onstage?

Sure. I had roles in a couple of ARTC productions, before it got impossible to get across town to Bill and Caran's house for rehearsals. I was an Eloi in "Island of Dr. Moreau"; I even had a line!

3. ...planted a garden?

Twice. We planted wildflowers when we first moved into the house. It was too much work and there were too many bugs.

4. ...ever had to reformat your hard drive due to a virus/spyware?

No, we managed to get it off as I remember.

5. ...written a book? A poem? A song?

LOL. Several books, just never have gotten them published. Several poems, including a couple printed in fanzines. Well, filksongs...

6. ...sang karaoke?

Only in front of the bird.

7. ...been interviewed by a local tv station/newspaper?

Yep. Twice. Jack Major interviewed me in 1973 for one of his TV columns in the Providence Journal after I sent him a television survey I had done as part of my eleventh-grade journalism class. The Marietta Journal interviewed me in 1998 about my Remember WENN webpage.

8. ...witnessed a tornado/earthquake/hurricane first-hand?

I never, ever want to witness either of the first two. I've been through at least a half dozen hurricanes, including Hurricane Donna in 1963 (??) when the power was off for three days.

9. ...participated in a photo scavenger hunt?

A what? No.

10. ...traveled to another country?

Physically, yes, I've been to Canada several times: Quebec, Montreal for Expo67, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Canada's Wonderland north of Toronto.

Also many times in books!


» Saturday, May 21, 2005
Luckily It's Cool Tonight...
The air conditioner, after performing pretty flawlessly for 28 hours, conked out again about 9 p.m. tonight. I was near the den vent when I thought I heard it hissing. Sure enough, instead of popping the breaker this time, the fan wasn't spinning. The compressor just hums. It's done this before; you can tell the moment you get near the vents—they hiss. We think the compressor unit was making some kind of weird noise as well, because Willow was up in the kitchen barking at something.

Well, I guess it doesn't matter much: we bit the bullet and bought a new system this morning. It's a 2-ton Trane with a SEER rating of eleven. The furnace unit will have a variable speed motor that is supposed to equalize the temperature between upstairs and downstairs. Oh, and it has a .01 micron filtration system to help cut down on the dust. They say they may be able to install it as early as Wednesday, although they're going to look into getting it for Tuesday when James will be off from work.

I hope it makes the electric bill a little lower like they claim!


» Friday, May 20, 2005
Cool For Now?
The repairman showed up about 4:30, checked the compressor, determined that it needs another motor. Again. This is number three since 2003. I asked what was wrong with it and he said it is not running up to speed, so it's using more amperage. When it does so, like it's supposed to do, the breaker shuts off.

So he says he needs to order another motor. He turned on the unit and it "broke" after about ten minutes. He turned it on again before he left.

As of this very second, it's still running. Don't know how or why, but it is.

We're still going to talk with the guy about getting a new HVAC unit; he's coming tomorrow. Trane is giving rebates up to $1000 and they will double whatever Trane gives. I really didn't want to replace the unit now. They will have to take the old unit out, and bring the new unit in, leaving the door to the den wide open and letting flies and mosquitoes in. If this was in our garage, or the basement, it would be different; we could just bug bomb or spray and let them die. But they'll be buzzing around the room we use most, and the room Pidge lives in, instead.

Sigh. Don't know what to do. Was hoping to nurse the unit through until it got cold enough to freeze the little bastards—and then there's that rebate. Knowing the cost of this thing, we can certainly use it.


Friday Five

1. What made you happy this week?

This week's episode of House.

2. What made you sad?

Knowing my mom isn't ever going to feel better.

3. What made you angry?

The stupid A/C dying again.

4. What are you looking forward to in the next week?

Um, the season finale of House?

5. What are you not looking forward to?

James working on Sunday.


...for the A/C repairman, who is supposed to come between 1 and 4; if he's late because it's raining he could at least call or have someone call me. They said he was on his way over a half hour ago.

I actually missed having him arrive earlier; I ran out to Kroger to get a few things at 10:30 and missed a call that they had a cancellation. I have called back and given them my cell number instead. I usually have it with me and if I know they are going to call I will make sure to have it with me.

I'm already tired from the heat and it hasn't even gotten very warm. I got up just about the time James left for work, vacuumed all the rugs and the stairs while it was cool, and got the clothes together to wash. Those are now done and are drying and I'm also washing some dishes and have mopped the kitchen floor. I need to clean off the counters so hopefully we can put the dish drainer back where it belongs. I wish we could get rid of the fool thing. It just blocks the counter


» Thursday, May 19, 2005
Thursday Threesome

With apologies to John Fogerty,
::Full Moon Rising...::

Onesome: Full-- Full? What meal fills you up the most during your day, breakfast, lunch or dinner? ...or is it the ice cream you're digging into as you wander around the blog world long past when you should be asleep <g>?

Supper. I don't eat much at breakfast during the week (milk before I leave, a packet of Quaker oatmeal at work) or lunch, either (a plain sandwich and a banana for my potassium levels). On the weekend we like to have our big meal in the afternoon, when it's better for you.

The only ice cream we eat are Blue Bunny sugar-free ice cream bars, and only if there isn't some fruit for dessert.

Twosome: Moon-- Do you really think there's any truth to the popular idea that "things" happen when the moon is full? Come on, it's just us here...

I've heard a lot of these stories, but I've also heard news stories disproving it. People just pay attention to it more because it's a full moon. It's the same with suicides increasing during the Christmas holidays. I have read several medical stories asserting this isn't so.

Threesome: Rising-- ...and shining? : What is your normal wakeup time on Thursday mornings? ...and can you be described as a "Morning Person" or not?

Never, ever, ever in a million years. I hate mornings, I like night (when it's dark and I won't fade <g>). I've been up since six and I feel like it, too.


Cubicle, Sweet Cubicle
Well, I guess I'm all moved in. I have one filing cabinet more than I need and I wish they'd move it out, but it's off in a corner at least. I'd rather have a chair there, so when vendors come by I can offer them a seat rather than dragging them into an empty conference room. This is an empty space 9 feet square between the two file rooms. I'm a minute's walk between either of the printers, and more like a two-three minute walk to a fax machine, so this will be good for exercise, anyway!

As I sit in it, facing the corridor, the left side of the cubie is silver-grey office furniture with overhead bins, where I keep reference material and also my breakfast stuff. The doors to the bins are metallic, so I have magnets holding up some old Linda Nelson Stocks calendar pictures up (they're seasonal and at the moment summer is up) and various favorite things, like the interview the Marietta Journal did of me about my WENN webpage and a Pittsburgh Gazette interview of Rupert Holmes. Some memorabilia, too: a pretty colorful birthday card given to me by a supervisor before she retired, the little card from Diane Johnson's funeral (this coming Sunday will be 10 years that Diane passed away), and a little pic of a co-worker's little girl when she was a baby.

In front of me (thankfully), is a partition to keep some of the hall noise out. It doesn't go all the way across (or I wouldn't be able to get in <g>) and it has a low wall on the side that finishes the L shape of the desk assembly rather than a tall one (I can take care of that with some foam board from Michael's). The little corner that is closest to this "door" is my chill-out corner: I have a little vase of seasonal flowers, a photo of James, and a cross-stitch of seasonal flowers surrounding the Bible verse "To every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heavens..." On the facing partition wall I have my New England calendar I got on vacation, another calendar photo of a harbor at sunset, a calligraphy piece that I got long ago at the Ren Faire which says "This is not Fantasy Island; please keep your requests to within a reasonable limit," and my "keep cool" picture, a photo from one of my old Boston calendars of a row of snow-blanketed brick row houses bordering on the Boston Common.

To the right of me are a four-drawer black metal file cabinet and a five-drawer grey one. I have all my training books and file folders in the black one. On top I have seasonal artificial flowers (right now it's a purple and a red-violet hydrangea filled in with some babies' breath in a purple vase; I much prefer the other season decorations: in the fall branches of brilliant autumn leaves, at Christmastime poinsettias, for the winter snow-flocked holly. This is seated on a little dishcloth my mother embroidered when she was a girl and I also have some of the little stuffed Babe figures a co-worker gave me, my nameplate, and my ten-year pin.

Since I have an actual wall to the back and side of me now rather than more cloth cubicle dividers, I have my pictures hung up on brads rather than on cubicle hangers: my "nostalgic" photo collage (it has pics of my mom back when she could still visit, Leia, Bandit, Merlin, and a group shot with Diane in it), my ten-year certification, and my 1993 CDC and ATSDR Honor Award "for outstanding contributions through the innovative and creative use of available techology to solve administrative problems and reduce backlogs" (back in the days when I actually did get the chance to do "innovative and creative" things like create forms and databases...sigh) along with my photo taken with the award with Dr. Roper, then the director of CDC.

I am finally facing forward toward anyone who will be speaking to me for the first time in seventeen years. This is a big thing because I've always hated not facing people. In most of my time here I've been in a service capacity and it always seemed so darn rude to have them come in my cubicle and be greeted by my back!


From Ivan's blog:

You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.



Cultural Creative














What is Your World View? (corrected...hopefully)
created with


» Wednesday, May 18, 2005
When It Seems Life is One Disaster After Another
Had to move to a new cubicle again today (yes, I just moved to a new one in March; they want all the people in each of the different branches to be close to everyone else in their branch, which is sensible, but I wish they had moved everyone all at once). This cubie is a little smaller, but I have more privacy and for the first time in my entire CDC career my computer is facing forward, so I can actually greet and speak politely to people when they walk up to talk to me! I had to move two rolling cabinets to the "new place" and roll two back as replacements, and between that and lifting all the training books out of one drawer and putting them into another, my back was screaming at me all afternoon. By the time I went to lunch it was hot and I was so sweaty I broke out in a rash.

On the way home I believed the wonderful electronic traffic map which said there was "a low impact stall" on I-285 West blocking one left lane. Since I ride in the right lane all the way home I figured I would live through it.

It took me two hours to go about 12 miles. By the time I reached alternate routes, I knew the alternate routes would be backed up with commuter traffic.

And it evidently wasn't any "low impact stall," either. An ambulance came roaring through about halfway through the ordeal, and when I finally got past the site there were at least a half dozen DOT trucks plus other construction vehicles doing some sort of patch on the road.

I got home and decided to take care of the line of ants that have been running across the "crack" (the dividing between one slab and the other) in the driveway midway between the street and the house. So I went inside to get the dog to walk her first and the den was warm. Ran upstairs and sure enough the blower was going, but not the compressor. I swore a lot, walked the dog, then ran outside to do the spray. Before I went back upstairs I checked the breaker box. Sure enough the circuit breaker for the compressor had gone off. I turned it back on, turned the A/C back on. It worked for about three minutes and tripped the breaker again. So I called the repair, but they charge $125 to come out at night. They couldn't repair it anyway; we don't have a good light in the back yard.

James was home by this time and we opened all the windows. Five minutes later an ant came strolling across the kitchen counter. Granted it was staggering because it would have had to have gone through the insecticide, but still...I know they eat ants in some countries and they're considered a delicacy, but I'm sorry, I don't care to have them in or with my food.

I'm about to scream. I'm trying to put aside money to fix things, and then other things go wrong. We need a new HVAC but it would just about empty my savings to get the unit. And we need new windows; already two are being propped up with sticks.

At the moment the ceiling fans are whirring, the attic fan is roaring, the bird is singing, and I'm casting a jaundiced eye on this really boring special on Discovery called The Science of Star Wars. Did Lucas pay them to do this or did they pay Lucas to do Star Wars plugs? Whomever paid whom, they need to get their money back. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.


"The Riddler" Frank Gorshin Dies at 72

We were privileged to meet Mr. Gorshin backstage in New York after a matinee of Say Good-night, Gracie, a stunning, funny, marvelous performance. I just watched him recently in one of his more sinister roles, as Iggy the bank robber who wants to kill the bank teller hostage in That Darn Cat. And of course who could ever forget "the Riddler," perhaps the best Batman series villain?


» Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Wow, Wow, Wow...
I don't know who wrote tonight's episode of House, but they should be handed an Emmy Award now. What a symphony of intertwined stories! James and I were slack-jawed in admiration by the last scene.

Looks like Currie Graham (Lt. Bale from the final year of NYPD Blue) will be on next week.


DVD Transfer Diary
Well, did the last America when I got home. As an indication of the regard I have for this ep, I did it at SLP (EP) and it looks it—smeary picture and pulls all the way through—as no other recording I have at that speed looks. It's appalling, but there.

I found something to fill the other hour: a nostalgia special I'd completely forgotten about, from PBS and hosted by Mickey Rooney, called Remember When, which talks about Burma Shave signs, milkmen, soda fountains, cars with fins, steam locomotives, and other wonderful things. Will copy it when I have time, maybe after House, maybe tomorrow.

To fill the half-hour left after "The Mystery of Edward Sims," I popped the one episode of Danger Bay that I kept. DB was a neat kids' series that was broadcast here in the States on the Disney Channel back in the days before "Zoog Disney," commercial interruptions, and big "bugs" at the bottom of the screen, so even at SLP it looks delightful. Danger Bay was produced in Canada, the story of Grant "Doc" Roberts, who worked at the local aquarium, and his two children, Jonah and Nicole. (Nicole was played by pretty Ocean Hellman and I would have paid millions to have gorgeous eyes like hers.) I don't mind confessing I watched the series for Donnelly Rhodes, who played Grant (another in a long line of "Canadian leading men I have loved," along with Colin Fox).

The episode I kept was "One Black Dog," about—natch!—a dog, a lovely mixed Newfoundland/collie whom Doc refused to believe was psychic, until some odd events convinced even him.


DVD Transfer Diary
Well, I have all of the available America eps done except the last one, which I hope to do tonight (barring disasters and ant invasions). I got "Money on the Land," "The Huddled Masses" (with its great sidebar on burlesque), "The Promise Fulfilled and the Promise Broken," "The Arsenal," and "The First Impact" (my favorite; Cooke talking about his favorite first impressions about the U.S., including a fascinating look at the Mayo Clinic) done last night.

The last episode is only interesting inasmuch as it covers the Civil Rights movement; the rest of it is about the late 60s and hippies and all that—blah. I would have preferred a much different episode, one that intercut Civil Rights in with the other changes in society in the late 50s, especially the rise of the teenager as a consumer icon. Oh, well. It was Alistair Cooke's personal history and not mine.

Thinking about what to tackle next: possibly Me and the Colonel, so I can finish the disk I started with On the Double. That leaves 39 minutes on the disk and I'm wondering if either of the two Danny Kaye documentaries I have will fit. I have something AMC did and also, I'm pretty sure, an American Masters.

I also need to finish the disk "Mystery of Edward Sims" is on now that I finally got it to record. I don't have anything that's really 30 minutes and Disney. Maybe I'll put on the Danger Bay episode "One Black Dog," which was at least broadcast on Disney. Trying to keep these things together thematically is turning into an interesting puzzle!


Tuesday Twosome

Doing without...

1. If the cable/dish is out of service, what is your reaction and why?

The only time our dish is out of service is right before a thunderstorm and not for long, so I don't sweat it unless I'm actually recording something. It's a sad fact that thunderstorms seem to stalk on the night I'm archiving something that hasn't been shown in at least six months!

2. If the electricity is out of service, what is your reaction and why?

Annoyed. If it's at night James can't sleep. If it's in summer, the A/C doesn't run, and if it's winter the heat doesn't come on (gas heat still needs the electric blower to run).

3. If the phone service is out of service, what is your reaction and why?

Arrrgh! No internet access!

4. If your cell phone is out of service, what is your reaction and why?

If both phones were out of order, I'd be worried. What if my mom needed to call me? Or if we needed to call 911?

5. How dependent on a scale from 1 to 5 (5 being extremely dependent) are you on the four items/services that were just mentioned and do you think it is a good or bad thing?

Dependent on three of the four and it is a bit of a bad thing, but James needs the C-PAP to survive. We've known for a long time that even if we wanted to, we couldn't move out to the wilderness and survive with kerosene lamps and oil stoves.


» Monday, May 16, 2005
Cheap! Cheap!
The price at the Racetrac gas station on the South 120 loop near the Cobb County Civic Center was 1.699 this morning. It was so crowded they had employees directing traffic! Dunno if this was a morning special or some odd anniversary thing or what. It sure was racking in the business!


Monday Madness

How much do you think is the most you would pay for...

1. ...a loaf of bread?

A loaf of bread? Whatever Food Depot charges--99 cents, I guess. I don't get loaves of bread, I get the Italian sweet rolls at Kroger which are $2.49 for eight. Lunch is so lousy I want something that tastes good.

2. ...a gallon of gas?

Whatever it takes. I have a 56 mile round trip commute to work and if I don't go to work, I can't buy gas.

3. ...a pair of jeans?

0. I don't buy jeans; they never fit me properly. If I'm lucky I'll get pants at Sam's or BJ's for under $20.

4. ...a computer?

About $600. Unless I win the lottery. Then I get the one with all the bells and whistles and pay $2000.

5. ...a camera?

Huh! I paid $800 for my Mavica. Take that as a sign.

6. ...a pair of shoes?

Whatever a pair of Hush Puppies cost these days. Ugh. I hate buying shoes. No matter what I buy they are never wide enough and always chafe my feet. I go down to the Reebok outlet and buy boys' shoes.

7. ...a television?

Probably about $2000, but less is preferable.

8. ...a recliner chair?

$300, which is what we paid. :-)

9. ...a month of 'lightening speed' internet service?

Oh, I dunno. We're paying $51 now. Probably more if we absolutely had to. I'd cancel the satellite service before I cancelled the internet service.

10. ...a cell phone?

I didn't intend to spend more than $50, but I paid more (but it was buy one get one free, so I really only paid $40 a phone).


» Sunday, May 15, 2005
DVD Transfer Diary Coda
Four eps of America finished, 3-6, "Making a Revolution," "Inventing a Nation" (Cooke gave a better overview of the three branches of government than any of my history teachers!), "Gone West" (my favorite, along with Cooke's personal reminisces in "The First Impact"), and "A Firebell in the Night." James is going to watch a special about the excavation of a Hawker Hurricane from outside Buckingham Palace at nine, but perhaps I can get "Domesticating a Wilderness" before it's time for bed.


DVD Transfer Diary
Well, there's good news and bad news. "The Mystery of Edward Sims" (see post from earlier today) dubbed to DVD fine.

But the first episode of America was another story; it still comes to a grinding halt.

In 1972, as an early celebration for the Bicentennial, Alistair Cooke, the BBC and Sir Denis Brogan produced a 13-part series called America: A Personal History of the United States. This was a splendid series, engagingly written and narrated by Cooke and supplemented with location footage, old documents and films, and even period music. It was sponsored by Xerox, who agreed not to interrupt the episodes with commercials (imagine that happening today!). I've been a history buff all my life and this then eleventh-grader fell in love with the show immediately. When VCRs came about and movies started being released to videotape, I would have given my eyeteeth for a copy of America.

In 1985, I began working at a place whose library had the series on videotape. At that time, the series was only for sale to public libraries and educational institutions. None were ever made to be sold to the public. I was wild to own it, so, one by one, I borrowed the tapes from the library and dubbed them off, not feeling guilty as I did so: had the series been for sale, I would have bought it!

Unfortunately, I was very, very stupid on the first tape: I didn't punch out the little tab that keeps a videotape from being recorded over. I was watching America one evening while James was working late, forgot to take the tape out, and scheduled something to record after we went to bed. Sometime after midnight I woke up out of a sound sleep, screaming about my tape. It wasn't soon enough. I lost the entire first episode, "The New-Found Land," and about ten or so minutes of the second, "Home from Home."

Luckily there were copies in the local library and I remade my copies. But these library copies were heavily copyguarded. And the copyguard signal transfers to the copying videotape and therefore signals the DVD recorder to shut off.

So I'm stuck. The original copies from the other library seem to be dubbing off fine (I just started with episode 3, "Making a Revolution"—dunno if it will keep going). But those two first episodes are a sticking point and I don't know what to do.

I'm thinking of two alternatives. I'm wondering if a friend (HI, ANN!!!!!!) could check that library, which she still has access to, and see if they still have "The New-Found Land" and "Home from Home." If she could borrow them just before the next time she and her husband come up this way, I could copy them and get them back to her to return.

My other alternative is to find someone who is dubbing off their videotapes to DVD via their computers. I think the DVD burners on computers can override the copyguards (Rodney? Is this so?). I could then send the tape to them and see if they could do me the DVD of those first two episodes.

It's a lot of work to go through for a TV series...but this series was worth it.


DVD Transfer Diary
Last night I transferred off my copy of On the Double, with Danny Kaye playing two parts, that of hapless American private Ernest Williams (who has one bad eye and is "...on a salt-free, fat-free, high protein, low calorie, low cholesterol diet") and also British general Lawrence MacKenzie-Smith (a swaggering pompous philanderer). MacKenzie-Smith is on the D-Day planning group, so while he's off on a secret mission, Pvt. Williams (in lieu of being courtmartialed for imitating the general) is pressed into service to be a decoy. What he doesn't know and what the general's wife (the lovely Dana Wynter) swiftly informs him of, he's marked for death. It's the usual Kaye melange of music (although there's only two songs), slapstick, and romance and although it's not as good as The Court Jester, it's amusing and engaging.

I discovered my AMC copy (the real American Movie Classics, before they Darth Vader'd themselves) is pretty sad, but this Kaye classic is, surprisingly, not even on videotape. So I'm glad I have a copy of whatever quality.

This afternoon I'm trying a new trick. Several months ago I was copying off all my episodes of Disney's "Gallegher," based on the Richard Harding Davis story about a newspaper copyboy. Unfortunately, when I tried to dub off the final story, "The Mystery of Edward Sims," which I didn't record off the Disney Channel myself but someone sent me a copy of, I had a problem. The Panasonic recorder is programmed to shut off immediately if you try to copy off a copyguarded tape. The "Edward Sims" story had a signal dropout about 22 minutes into it, direct from the cable, and when the picture finally returns to its clear state, it has a sort of shimmy in it for a few minutes. The unit apparently interprets this as a copyguard signal and shuts off the unit, scolding you for trying to clone a copyguarded tape.

We have a Sharp VCR we were ready to cart off to Goodwill; it still works fine but I prefer Panasonic and the Sharp has quirks that annoy me. It occurred to me that perhaps it's the Panasonic VCR that has the copyguard sensing in it and is signalling the DVD recorder to stop. Perhaps if I plugged the Sharp into the Line Port and tried to record from that unit, it might not pick up that signal and would record straight through.

I tried it on the DVD-RAM and it seemed to tape through the part where it shut off the first time, so I'm hoping the whole thing will be okay. If it works, I might be able to dub off my America tapes as well.


» Friday, May 13, 2005
DVD Transfer Diary
More of The Secret Life of Machines: the sewing machine, central heating, the vacuum cleaner (a fascinating show showing all sorts of old "pump" carpet cleaners that were so hard to work it was easier to pick up the carpet, take it outside, and beat it!), the automobile body, and the telephone before dinner.

After dinner, continued with the radio, the quartz watch, the VCR, and finally the internal combustion engine. The office sequence includes the lift (elevator), word processor, photocopier, fax, and the office itself. I am missing the electric light episode. Oh, well.


Still Waiting
The doctor didn't get back from the hospital in time to call me. This is only a respite...


While I was out at lunch my mom's doctor called. I called him back and am waiting for him to call me back.

I don't need to know what he's going to tell me...I already know. Now it's more a matter of...when. Sort of like the few hours before surgery. You know something bad's got to come out and you might as well get it over with.

I've been itching madly all day. Don't know whether my car or my cubie is infested, if I'm finally having some type of weird allergic reaction to the penicillin, or, as James thinks, it's just stress.

I'm not generally superstitious, but, looking at the figures...


MediaWest*Con 2005 Programming
Whine...they have a pet birds panel. And a House panel and a Monk panel and of course Biz is doing the annual Remember WENN panel.

Someday I'll get a chance to go again...but right now there are other pans in the fire.


Thursday Threesome:

::Are we there yet?::

Onesome: Are--
Are you planning on heading out this Memorial Day? ...or is it a 'stay at home and chill' kind of holiday for you?

LOL. Can't afford to go anywhere and we have no vacation time. Be nice to go somewhere cool. Or MediaWest*Con or both. Sigh. As always I think "Maybe next year." It's been 24 years since my last time.

Twosome: we-- ....and who is 'we' when you go traveling? Any preferences that you can state here in blogland ?

Well, "the Mister," of course. Also Willow and Pigwidgeon if they are welcome.

Threesome: there yet?-- ...and when you get there, what are you going to do? ...or if you're staying in, what's on the menu? Are you cooking out or just opening a can of tuna?"

Go out to eat on the weekend as usual. We have lots of coupons. Not sure if there is trivia Saturday night—don't know if Rockford's has finished moving yet.


» Thursday, May 12, 2005
DVD Transfer Diary--Back Again
Apology in Advance: I know by mentioning the videos I have I run the risk of getting e-mail from folks asking if I can make copies. I'll have to disappoint you; I can't.
I got back to the dubbing business tonight by transferring the six episodes of My World and Welcome to It I managed to get off WGN many years ago. Don't know about this series? Check here.

Following I started transferring off a quirky British series from the late 1980s/early 1990s, The Secret Life of Machines. This was done in three series of six each for Channel 4 starting in 1988. Host Tim Hunkin and his faithful assistant Rex Garrod showed us how different machines worked, using cutaway units and funny hand-drawn illustrations. Hadn't watched this one in years and was still enthralled by it. Tonight did the "Washing Machine," "Refrigerator," and "Television Set." I am missing one episode of the third series and now I realize I don't know which. I thought I missed an episode on the typewriter (third series is all about the office) but discover from an episode guide that there is no ep about a typewriter. I'm thinking I'm missing the electric light one instead, but I won't know until I watch. I'm pretty sure I did get the one about the word processor; now that would be ironic if I didn't!

Here's a nice Secret Life of Machines website. Check out the links page, which connects to other Secret Life pages and also to Tim Hunkin's web site.


Suffocate for Health
They have a health gathering planned today for work: a several-mile walk, blood pressure check, etc.

It's 11:36 a.m., already 80°F out, and there's a smog alert. Why don't they schedule these darn things when the weather's nice for walking, like in February or March (or November) when it may be in the 50s? I went out there for only five minutes and I'm wringing wet, and there's no air to breathe out there. ::wheeze::


Nice Article on the Sherman Brothers
They Wrote the Songs That Made You Sing

Love the apology for "It's a Small World." :-)


Intruding Pilots Released Without Charges

Not sure I'd want this guy teaching me to fly. They were navigating by sight and the pilot couldn't tell it was Washington, DC coming up? The "city of wedding cakes," as Alistair Cooke quoted? I can spot NYC from more than 3 miles away from the window of a commercial jet "hanging a right" before Long Island and a trained pilot couldn't tell he was near DC? I dunno.


» Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Well, That Explains It...
...they aren't doing the home warranty anymore; just maintenance agreements that get you discounts. That's not good.

So, anyone in our area, got a home warranty service you recommend? We found some national ones online, but don't know if they're any good.


Well, That's It...
...I turned on the air conditioner this morning. I think it's working okay—at least I hope it is for Pidge's and Willow's sakes. I tested it out yesterday afternoon, and the first couple of times it didn't seem to come on properly. Of course it's been sitting there for six months with nothing to do but absorb pine tassels and pine straw and whatever other gunk falls out of the trees. (I know; we should cover it up in the winter. Just have never gotten around to doing it.)

(Not to mention that the darn thing is about ten years older than God...)

Our decision to put the A/C on springs not from the daytime temps—I set the thermostat to 79°F during the day to save energy—but the nighttime ones. The moment it gets up over 60°F at night it is unbearable to sleep upstairs without the attic fan on, and since we have to keep the bedroom door open to get the benefit and I then therefore sleep (or try to sleep) next to the rumbling, vibrating thing, it's a problem. James and I both like it cool when we sleep.

I need to call to have the spring inspection done. Had I not been so worried about James, I would have had them come while he was home sick. Now I either have to take more time off (which I don't have) or wait until next Friday (if they can come next Friday, of course).

I'm a bit confused because I got the renewal for the twice-yearly inspection, but not for the home maintenance contract, which expired at the end of last month. They usually nag me a couple of months about it. But then we lost mail at least once: we didn't get our 1099 and one of my credit card bills didn't come as well; it might have been in that set of mail.


» Tuesday, May 10, 2005
The Past Through Pages
I don't usually buy the magazine Early American Life except at Christmastime, when I love the photos of restored colonial homes dressed simply for the holidays with feather trees, homemade ornaments, and traditional baked goods. However, the June issue caught my eye because they had an article on the House of the Seven Gables in Salem, MA, which I visited long ago, and another on lilacs. I simply couldn't resist the latter.

Well, I lucked out because the June issue is packed with great historical articles and only one is about a house (a Cape Cod with "bowroof" and not as interesting, IMHO, because it is a new construction and not a restoration). Their "Eye on Antiques" feature is about maritime navigation equipment, including astrolabes and sextants, and "Life in Early America" features the "wreckers" of Key West, Florida, who used to salvage the shipwrecked vessels of a century ago. (I've been fascinated for years by the stories of the old lighthouse keepers' and surfmen's families.) There's also an article about Westville, Georgia, a recreation of a 1850s Southern small town which emphasizes the life of "real" people rather than plantation owners, and a fascinating story about "floatwork" coverlets (woven of cotton or linen but made "three-dimensional" by an extra layer of wool that created beautiful patterns), which came into being because of George III's duties on wool.

If you're interested in Early American history, this magazine should be just your cup of tea, but this is an outstanding issue besides.


A Sound Like Cannons
It's been "interesting times" in the Chinese sense since midnight last night. All I can say is that Pidgie's birthday has started on a lively note.

We left the attic fan on last night in a last-ditch effort not to have to start the A/C. It was still so warm we were both reading until almost midnight, but when the lights were off I, at least, dropped off quickly.

A little after one there was a flash, a roar like artillery...and the power went out. There was a resounding crash of silence after the shutters on the attic fan clapped shut.

I went running out of the room with a flashlight moments later, as both James and I had smelled something burnt immediately after the crash. However, the scent dissipated quickly and the house seemed okay. But down in the den, since we can't keep the window open, it was as breathless as a newly-opened pyramid. I couldn't leave Pidge down there with no air, so I brought his cage up to the spare room and fumbled for a few moments with a large-enough small table to put it on. He clung to his swing the entire time, with a big-eyed look that convinced me he thought he was having a bad dream.

I let Wil run upstairs while I did that, but as the thunder disappeared as fast as it had arrived, she was sent back downstairs to her bed.

Then I tried to get back to sleep, but for a while that was impossible. James has to sleep with a C-PAP to breathe at night, so he was wandering about like Hamlet's father's ghost. I did get him to lie down once, he did fall asleep (I could tell; he snored) but jumped up and said "I can't sleep!" and went peripatetic again.

He did call the power company and got through because this was a very localized outage: we could look across the back fence and see that the apartment complex still had lights, and if I looked out the front window, you could see the streetlight from down near the condos, but our street and the one behind it were velvet black in complete silence.

I apparently dozed occasionally until the power came back on at 4:12; I reset the alarm and both of us fell promptly to sleep. When the alarm buzzed at six I knew I couldn't drive with three hours sleep so I reset it for seven. My head hit the pillow again and next thing I knew the damn alarm was going off again. ::groan::

So Pidgie's back downstairs, James is off to his first day of work since April–14, and we're all blinking like stock owls in a haunted house feature. Pidge and Willow can at least go back to sleep!


» Monday, May 09, 2005
Celluloid Placebos
Cross fingers, looks like I have another chance at The Seven-Per-Cent Solution on Turner Classic Movies at the end of July. In July TCM also has Robin and Marian (yeah, I know there's a DVD out, but who wants to pay that much for no extras?) and...woohoo!...the 1937 Ronald Colman version of The Prisoner of Zenda. Next month they will have Forbidden Planet (don't like it enough to pay for it) and also the wonderful film It's a Dog's Life with Edmund Gwenn and Dean Jagger and starring a bull terrier named "Wildfire."

Yesterday I recorded the great Irene Dunne film I Remember Mama, based on the Kathryn Forbes book.

Also in June, TCM is having the film Jack Benny always ribbed himself about, The Horn Blows at Midnight. I don't think I've ever seen it. Is it truly as bad as Benny made it out to be?

In checking out the Fox Movie Channel schedule, I was reminded of a question in one of the memes some time ago asking if there was a remake of any movie, what would you like it to be. I'd say Daddy Long-Legs...and do the real novel by Jean Webster, not a musical version that doesn't stick to the plot!

BTW, I noticed will be cheaper for The Thin Man collection than Deep Discount DVD. Whoa, how'd that happen?


» Sunday, May 08, 2005
Damn, damn, damn, damn. I had tons of other things I could have done Friday morning: vacuumed upstairs, cleaned other places, no, I was outside spreading ant granules and spraying all the orifices of the house.

And what's on the kitchen counter this morning? Another wretched ant. Actually found two total when I cleaned off the counter, which, yeah, isn't many, but two is too many on the kitchen counter. Couldn't figure out where either of them came from. So sprayed around and in back of the fridge and around the window frame and down the gap between the counter and the backsplash (which means of course I had to come back later after it dried and scrub where it spattered on the counter, plus wash the floor—at least I'd already planned to do that—because I sprayed in back of the freestanding cupboard where they got in last year as well). Later I found a third ant on my duster as I was eating supper; since the only place I leaned on was the stove, I'm guessing that's where it came from. Great. I don't want to spray around the stove. I don't trust gas that much.

Again, what hacks me off most is that I did all that work and was lame for the rest of the day, and the stupid things still got in. I wonder if it's because I cut the branches on the privet. Last time we did that we came in and found ants all over the refrigerator door.

And it just occurs to me that although I was out in the backyard for an hour, I didn't check the roof again. The shed roof is covered with dead pine tassels and other detrious from the rainstorms we had last month. I hope there isn't more crap on the roof; I don't want James to have to get up there again, even if we do have the extendable rake handle now. Sigh.

We have got to find someone to clean out our back yard. It's horrible. Neither of us can stay out there too long because of the sun and various join problems. I was willing to pay Steve $$ to do it: the branches have to be picked up and put at the curb and leaves raked and bagged. Where do you find someone trustworthy who's looking to earn extra money?


Blogging for Animals
I found a link on the Blogger main page for a very cute, funny dog's blog. I keep thinking if Willow had a blog.
Thursday May 5, 2005:
I'm hungry. Daddy gave me some dog food. But I want real food...Willow, 8:00 a.m.
I'm hungry. I've eaten some of the dog food...Willow, 9:00 a.m.
Been sleeping all day. Now I'm hungry again...Willow, 5:30 p.m.
Daddy and Mommy eating. Tried to cadge food from Daddy. He said go eat your dog food. Tried to cadge food from Mommy. She said go eat your dog food...Willow, 7:15 p.m.
I'm hungry. Ate more dog food...Willow, 8:00 p.m.
Played "grrrr" with Mommy. Thought afterwards she might give me some food...Willow, 8:30 p.m.
Daddy gave me a cookie! I am going to beg for another one...Willow, 9:00 p.m.
I'm still hungry. Maybe a little dog food will help...Willow, 10:00 p.m.
Mommy refills Brother's food. I'm so hungry I go looking to see if there are any sunflower seeds...Willow, 11 p.m.
Bedtime. I'm still hungry...Willow, 11:15 p.m.

Friday, May 6, 2005:
I'm hungry. Daddy gave me some dog food. But I want real food...
Thursday May 5, 2005: Woke up...Pigwidgeon, 6:30 a.m.
Just woke up again...Pigwidgeon, 7:30 a.m.
Ate while Daddy ate...Pigwidgeon, 8:00 a.m.
Watched teevee and birdnapped all day...Pigwidgeon, 5:30 p.m.
Ate while Mommy and Daddy eat...Pigwidgeon, 7:30 p.m.
Annoyed Sister while she was sitting with Daddy...Pigwidgeon, 8:00 p.m.
Ate more seed...Pigwidgeon, 8:30 p.m.
Sang...Pigwidgeon, 9:00 p.m.
Made love to my green toy. Sang her my sweetest song...Pigwidgeon, 8:30 p.m.
Birdnapped...Pigwidgeon, 9:00 p.m.
Chased Sister around the floor and she chased me back...Pigwidgeon, 9:30 p.m.
Ate more seed...Pigwidgeon, 9:00 p.m.
Talked to Grandma on the little silver thing...Pigwidgeon, 9:30 p.m.
Tried to mate with Mommy's hand...Pigwidgeon, 10:00 p.m.
Sang again...Pigwidgeon, 10:30 p.m.
Bedtime! Sister is after my seed again...Pigwidgeon, 11:00 p.m.

Friday May 6, 2005: Woke up...


» Saturday, May 07, 2005
Dollars to Dogs
We took Willow to the vet today for her checkup. Ye Gods. It cost nearly $400.

For one thing, they are pushing these new three-year vaccinations, which cost more, but in the end you do save. So from now on she will be getting her rabies and distemper/whatever else shot every three years. The bordatella (kennel cough) shot and deworming and heartworm tests are still yearly. The flea/heartworm/parasite meds (Revolution) alone cost nearly $100.

Plus last year she had a reaction to the shots and got a big lump where the needle went in. Since we have a friend whose dog died from an antibiotic given at the vet, I was very careful to mention this had happened. So they gave her an antihistamine before they gave her the shot. $40 worth!

When she got to the office they kept trying to take a good picture of her (yes, camera-type picture) and I wondered why. Well, when we got back to pick her up (she had to stay because of the antihistamine) they handed us a packet with her photo in it. We got an 8x10, nine smaller pics, and a tenth small pic in a keychain. It was like Photo Day at school.

(Darn, now I wish I'd been feeling good enough to take her last Saturday; we could have stuck two of the small pics in the Mother's Day cards.)

She moped about limping a little this evening, from about four until we left for supper at six, but seems better now.


Goblet of Fire Poster
Goblet of Fire Teaser



» Friday, May 06, 2005
Friday Five

1.) Do you believe in love at first sight? Why or why not?

I think it can happen, but I don't think it happens as often as books and movies would have you believe.

2.) What physical feature attracts you the most (romantically) to another person?

With me it's eyes. (Then voices and hands.)

3.) What do you think is the biggest benefit of being in a romantic relationship?


4.) Biggest downside?

You're not as free as you used to be, but most of the time it doesn't matter.

5.) Has your idea of love and romance changed? If so, how?

Yes. When I was younger I had no interest in getting married. I wanted an apartment in Boston and nothing in my future except writing. I mean, men are so labor-intensive. You have to feed them both physically and psychologically, clean up after them, and put up with their bizarre hobbies like watching team sports and lusting over cars.


That Time of the Month
No, not that. I got rid of that troublemaker last April.

The monthly pre-emptive strike is finished; it's not so bad at this time of the year when it's cool in the morning. I got up early and donned my patched-up yard clothes and swept and raked the tree tassels away from the back step, sprayed around the sliding glass door, applied ant granules three feet (at least) out from the door and also around the dryer vent and damped them down. Also cleaned and sprayed the side door, and sprayed the kitchen window, front door, and around the glass doors.

While I was out there I noticed that several branches of the privet (tree) were inching toward the roof so I got out the trusty extendable lopper and knocked off a few branches; also from the maple (sycamore?) tree in the back yard and one dogwood branch. James tends to get the lopper away from me, but I love doing all that pruning.

(Which reminds me we need to go to Lowe's because my hand pruning shears seem to have done a bunk. And we need more Ortho for the rest of the...gag...summer. James and I were so pissed over the weekend; there it was, nice and cool and we were both too sick to enjoy it. Now we're feeling better and the temps will be inching back up into Fry Meter season.)

While I was outside James cleaned up the kitchen; call me weird and I really hate working in the yard, but I prefer being out there to cleaning the kitchen, I tell ya...

Now that my back hurts and my knees ache, I'm about to relax and go to Barnes & Noble to see if the new Quick & Easy (cross-stitch mag from England) is out. I haven't been in a bookstore since Sunday and am getting withdrawal symptoms. :-)


» Thursday, May 05, 2005
The House Drinking Game
Just for fun. This is the non-alcoholic version: the last person to have to go to the bathroom wins. :-)

Take a swig every time:

...House insults Cuddy
...Cameron looks insecure
...Foreman looks exasperated
...Wilson looks exasperated
...Wilson mentions something wrong with his personal life
...the main patient has a seizure
...the main patient has an MRI
...they show the main patient's "innards" in one of those "CSI effects"
...a clinic patient lies
...House avoids his clinic duty
...House pops some Vicodin
...House insults one of his staff
...House is watching TV
...House is playing a video game
...House gets that "aha!" look on his face
...Vogler's donation is mentioned

In the Vogler episodes, a sip every time:
...Vogler tells House he has to fire someone
...Cuddy sticks up for House
...your blood pressure rises when Vogler is onscreen


Thursday Threesome

::This, and a day...::

Onesome: This--
is the one thing you need to get finished today! What would that be?

The day itself. I'm not feeling as well as I did yesterday.

Twosome: and a-- project you'd like to get started on this weekend would be?

Sigh. Need to spread ant granules in the back yard again. I can see an anthill. It's more than a foot from the door, but even that's too close. And we need to take a couple of things to Goodwill.

Threesome: Day-- Scenario: tomorrow is suddenly 'your day'--school is out, the kids are covered; you're shift is handled at work; you have no obligations! ...and you have gas and spending money. What are you going to do with your time?

I suppose I'd drive up to Helen, since we missed going up there three weeks ago.

But a nap sounds awfully nice, too. Sigh...


» Wednesday, May 04, 2005
More for House Addicts
Devoted to Hugh Laurie

The House page itself has a nice sound commentary by Hugh about how he views the character.

(Ah, I know the series has "arrived" in fandom. What is it, six months old? And there is already House/Wilson slashfic out there...)

Meanwhile I'll do a Snoopy dance because Vogler is still "dead."


» Tuesday, May 03, 2005
[insert head-banging here]
While channel-surfing this afternoon came upon the children's "educational" series Timeblazers. The theme was "revolutions" and I came in on a scene of Paul Revere galloping through the empty Massachusetts countryside shouting "The British are coming! The British are coming!"

Oh, for crying out loud, people, if you're going to have an educational program, you can at least get your damn facts straight. First of all, Revere didn't go shouting anything until he got into an area where there was someone to hear, i.e. hamlet, town, wayside inn property, etc. not in the middle of the woods! More importantly, he didn't shout "The British are coming!" We were all British then, you idiots. He might have shouted "The redcoats are coming!" but what they believe he shouted were "The regulars are coming!" warning the townspeople that the troops were approaching.

Granted, some of the kids watching might not know what "regulars" referred to, so why not use "redcoats"? But "British" is simply stupid.

No wonder kids have such a bad knowledge of history these days. No one can even take the trouble to teach the correct things.


How Many Bananas?
Surfing channels just now reminded me that yesterday at Kaiser, waiting for our prescriptions, we were submitted to some of the most insidious torture known to adults. Although everyone in the pharmacy was an adult, the television in there was set to Nick Junior or something and while we waited we were treated to an entire episode of Dora the Explorer.

I'm aware this is considered one of the better shows for small children, that Dora is very popular and has lots of merchandising around her, small kids love her, and we were not the target audience for this program. But as a child brought up on the gentle instruction of Captain Kangaroo, Ding-Dong School and Romper Room and the wonderful adventures of Fury, Sky King, Roy Rogers, My Friend Flicka, Sgt. Preston and Lassie, the entire thing was so repititious and peruile that we wanted to barf.

The story was that Dora was helping to make a Mother's Day cake and had to find the ingredients: ten bananas, six nuts, and some chocolate from...get this...a chocolate tree (not a cacao tree, a chocolate tree). The endless litany of "ten bananas, six nuts (they were actually acorns), and chocolate from the chocolate tree" bored into our brains until we were addled. I'm glad I didn't have to grow up watching this awful stuff.


You're Only as Old as You Feel


I can't remember what comedy series that was from, but it is sure appropos now. Anyway, according to this thing:

You Are 25 Years Old


Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.


Like Ol' Man River...
...this just keeps rolling along.

I had James make me a lunch last night, but when the alarm woke me up at six, after not falling asleep until after 12:30 and waking up religiously about once every hour, I didn't feel capable of hitting the interstate at 75 freakin' m.p.h. and keeping myself and anyone else I'd hit alive. (The Federal Government continues to press for telework, but CDC seems to be an entity unto itself. There are many days I have not gone in because I don't feel capable of driving but could have actually sit here to make phone calls and send e-mails.) So I called in sick—I really do need a day to let the amoxicillin work without being stressed out over traffic and the fluorescent lights—and went back to bed.

And, except for waking briefly when the alarm went off at 9:15 and James went downstairs, slept almost solidly from 6:30 to 11:30. Will you tell me why I can't sleep like this during the night??? I know I'm a night person, but this drives me nuts.

I really wanted to stay home for another reason: I was afraid yesterday afternoon that I had had some type of reaction to the amoxicillin. I have never had any problem taking any type of drug until I got ahold of something called "Bactrim" about eight years back. It gave me hideous muscle cramps. But I'd never had the hives/itching/impared breathing on anything.

Yesterday about a half hour after I took the first antibiotic I noticed my right arm was itching; there on my shoulder was a welt (just one; I didn't break out in hives like I did last year after my surgery when I guess my pain medication interacted with my supper). I also felt odd for about five minutes; I can't explain what happened besides my nose and my cheeks felt cold. Of course I became upset immediately; I know what happens to my friend Juanita when she has allergic reactions. First thing I did was rush into the bathroom and make sure I could still swallow water. I could, and the feeling passed.

Last night when I took the amoxicillin again I seemed to do fine. I've had another now and am okay. It's actually hard to tell whether I am "itching" or not because, due to my allergy, I'm almost always itching one place or the other, and I still have acne despite nearly being fifty, so pimples pop up regularly. (Plus the doctor took me off Claritin until I'm feeling better and gave me Nasorel instead. Gawd, this stuff smells and tastes awful. Anyway, I don't think it's covering the allergy as well.)

The welt could have been a mosquito bite: there's a creek a house distance across the street from us and we've had mosquitoes off and on since the beginning of April.


» Monday, May 02, 2005
Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, It's Back to the Doctor We Go
My turn.

Been coughing and sneezing since last week, no temp. (In fact it's been sitting smack at 97.1°F all week.) At least three nights last week when I lay down I was wheezing. Tried to get a doctor's appointment on Wednesday and they had no slots open, then things went to hell in a handbasket with James, so I soldiered through the weekend. Yesterday after 12 hours sleep I still felt dreadful and determined to go to the doctor this morning.

Got an appointment to go in at eleven, but we had quite a job getting there: all the routes across town were blocked by police cars. We had no idea what was going on until we tried a third route and went past a school with "Welcome V.P. Cheney!" on its bulletin board. Thank heaps, Dick. So we had to go waaaaaay around through the back.

So I have an upper respiratory infection (like I couldn't have figured that out) and some nice penicillin, cough medicine with codeine, and Nasarel to take in place of the Claritin until this is bye-bye. Oh, and I'm supposed to continue with the Mucinex, too. Pharmacopea'r'us.