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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» Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Hurricane Relief

::big sigh::
Stayed late at work today because of end-of-fiscal-year. We had a lot of activity because we are making emergency purchases to send for hurricane relief. (We found out with incredulity that Walmart, of all places, will not accept a government credit card. A government credit card check, yes, but not a credit card. My supervisor was there with a credit card with a $100,000 limit on it and they wouldn't take it!) By the time I got out the traffic was horrendous. Took me 90 minutes to get home via surface streets and I think the back-up on the freeway would have been faster. Half the blockage was due to cars spilling out in the street from the gas station lines. I was fuming [pun not intended] because I was wasting gas.

Stopped at Advance Auto Parts just in back of a guy who was looking for a locking gas cap (of course they were all out). I just wanted one of those wire coils that you put down the filler pipe so no one can siphon the gas. I had one during the energy crisis in the 70s. They've never heard of them. Don't they make them anymore?

Then I get home and get the happy {cough} news that the death certificate is wrong. It listed Mom's place of residence as Georgia so the probate in Rhode Island can't handle it. Arrrgh! There was a poor guy who needed the car to get to work and now he can't have it. I don't even know who to call.


» Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Katrina's Long Fingers
Helen, the town a bunch of us go to annually, was touched, and not gently, by the storm:

Georgia Tourist Town Battered By Tornadoes


Reminder of Great TV Programming
Fox. Tonight. 9 p.m. They are rerunning "Three Stories" on House, one of the most extraordinary pieces of storytelling ever on the box.

Season 1 set of House is out today as well.


Sirius Redux
I thought when I got the satellite radio that my favorite station would be Radio Classics, or Swing Street, or maybe 60's Vibrations, the latter which we play sometimes in the evenings (Dish Network picks up the Sirius music channels).

I do love both Radio Classics and Swing Street, but I find myself most often on Standard Time, which plays all the music I grew up with: Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Robert Goulet, Dean Martin, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Frank Sinatra...Jerry Vale and Al Martino may be in there, too, but I haven't heard them. Plus folks like Patti Page, Rosemary Clooney, Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis, Judy Garland...great stuff. (There's too much Sinatra, but what the hell.)

Their traffic reports aren't bad, either. Every four minutes, alternating with Boston. I not only know what's coming up for me, but I can envision all the places delayed in Boston. ("Egads! Not another accident in the Callahan Tunnel...")

Lately I've been amusing myself by listening to Jerry Doyle on the way home, too.


» Monday, August 29, 2005
Coming Down Off High
I didn't mention the rest of yesterday afternoon.

After the heady visit to Ikea, we were on our way home when we saw some development signs for houses actually in an affordable range (these days those words mean between $150,000 and $200,000; I remember when a starter house was $50, wasn't that long ago). So we went there. Surprisingly, it was right nearby, in fact closer to where we used to live in Smyrna. There were already several finished houses with residents, more in the stick phase, one just getting its drywall.

To state it in brief, we fell in love. We can see a place for everything: James' hobby room, a room just for the books, a place for a hutch for the dishes...everything. The yard is small, it has a little deck, a small fireplace, a two-car garage with storage for garden things inside. Even an outside plug in the front of the house!

But even after the sale of Mom's house, I don't think we can afford it, unless we could unload our own house promptly. And Mom would have been overjoyed for us to find a new house. She never liked the backyard or the front lawn and was becoming more and more worried about the neighbors, especially when she heard about the gunshots from the apartment complex behind us and the drug dealers that were across the street two years ago (not to mention the registered sex offender down the street). I don't know anyone who'd want this house. Rentals were going great guns on this street, but now we have two homes for rent and another that has been for sale for three months now.

Sigh. Sometimes it's just too hard to dream. The comedown hurts much too much.


A Small Ikea Product...
...sampled in Holiday Harbour.


New Orleans Being Clobbered
Hurricane Katrina damage; apparently part of the Superdome roof has come off. It was being used to shelter evacuees.


I hope everyone in the path of this monster stays safe.


Monday Madness

1. Do you own a dishwasher (and if not, do you even want one), or do you have to do your dishes by hand?

Love dishwasher. Dishwasher good! Of course wash a few things by hand once in a while, but nearly all of the meal dishes go into the dishwasher.

2. Do you put your dishes away immediately after washing them?

::snort::snicker::guffaw:: No. Most basically stay in the dishwasher and we take them out as we need them until we need to fill it again. Then we put them away.

3. In the warm weather, do you like hanging your laundry out on the clothesline to dry, or do you prefer a dryer?

I don't go outside in warm weather if I can help it. I wouldn't hang out clothes in the backyard we have now anyway. They'd have tree sap and bird droppings and insect crap all over them.

4. How many loads of laundry are done in your household each week?

At least two. Three about every other week. I keep wondering how two people make so much laundry!

5. Do you own a pet? If so, do you buy them presents for holidays? Do you consider your pet(s) spoiled? If you don't own one, do you think you will one day?

Of course Willow and Pidgie get Christmas presents. They're part of the family. But it's nothing ostentatious. The bird is satisfied with a sprig of millet and more "flying saucers" to toss. Willow gets dog "cookies," maybe a new squeak toy.

6. It's Friday evening and you're planning your weekend. What's on your agenda?

Check the coupons so we can eat out somewhere two for one and then go to BJ's for milk.


Sleep Tight
BTW, this is the bed I fell in love with at Ikea yesterday:


James said "But it's got no storage under it." I said, "Well, you put it somewhere else."

We were both wrong: yes it does.


» Sunday, August 28, 2005
Swedish Stars in My Eyes
The "new" had worn off, so we went to Ikea today. I've heard so much about these places, but have never, ever seen one.


We wandered about for four hours with stars in our eyes and awe in our hearts.

A lot of what's at Ikea is modernist and neither of us like it.

A lot of what's at Ikea is really, really nice and I want all of it. James said he could easily drop $20,000 on just furniture. I don't think it's quite that much, because as furniture goes, Ikea is also not expensive, but it could get up there.

I feasted my eyes especially covetously on what they call a "Billy" bookcase. My main complaint with bookcases is, that unless you pay $$$ like we did with the three 84-inch cherry-finish bookcases in the library (luckily Office Depot had them on sale, but now they don't carry them anymore) is that they're too short. Seventy-two inches high is the norm. Ikea's "Billy" is 80 inches high...and you can buy extenders to put another shelf on top. Aieeee!

They also had a nice dish hutch for only $249. Heck, they had all sorts of hutches for good prices.

The stores also have a plan. You come in at the top. There is the restaurant, where they serve Swedish meatballs (of course) and a few other dishes and some desserts for reasonable prices. Even the drinks are only 75 cents. Then you go through the showroom. They have standalone furniture along with mockup rooms and they tell you exactly how much the entire room would cost, plus how much the various setups cost alone. (I understand a lot of European homes do not have closets, which explains the different and huge wardrobe setups.) They have living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, kids' rooms, bathrooms (we saw the perfect narrow sink that would be much better in our downstairs bath than the full-size one that is there now), and dens. They also have five "small space" setups: a 237 square foot living space, a 287, a 300-something, a 500-something, and a 734 (or something like that) to show you how you can use Ikea products to live comfortably in a small area.

From the top floor you go to the next, where all the small stuff is: lamps, clocks, rugs, bedding, anything you'd need to complete the house. James found a nice cleaver. Then you go through the warehouse where you'd pick up your large furniture, and there is a "scratch and dent room" and also a little snack bar (since presumably you've been wandering around there for hours like we were and are starved) and a little Swedish grocery store. They sell 2 1/2 pounds of pre-made and cooked Swedish meatballs for only $6.99. (All I can think of now when someone mentions Swedish meatballs is the dialog from Babylon 5 between G'Kar and his guest, Na'kal:
"Breen! You've managed to import breen from Homeworld. How?"
"It .. isn't actually breen."
"But the smell, the taste..."
"It's an Earth food. They are called Swedish meatballs. It's a strange thing, but every sentient race has its own version of these Swedish meatballs. I suspect it's one of those great universal mysteries which will either never get explained or which will drive you mad if you ever learned the truth."
James and I refer to Swedish meatballs as "breen" all the time.)

You know, if you had an Ikea and a Fry's next to each other, with a two-story Barnes & Noble on one side and a two-story Border's on the other, it might be the closest thing to Heaven that will ever be seen here...

(If nothing else, it would be somewhere nice to spend a weekend. Just put a Drury Inn next to it and you're set!)


» Saturday, August 27, 2005
So everything got vacuumed, the floor got scrubbed, we space-bagged some stuff and corralled others for taking to Goodwill, and, oh, yeah, we did what we were supposed to do today: clean out the closet in the spare bedroom. My God, there was a small box in there that hadn't been opened since we moved in the house ten years ago. It had bank statements and some odd photos in it.

My back really, really hurts and I'm really, really tired.

Oh, and the First National Bank of Willow is officially closed.


Yet Another [Damned] Diversion
Here we go again. I got up this morning intending to scrub out the master bath surround and bathe the dog. With that in mind I headed downstairs to vacuum (because she rubs herself dry on the carpeting) and also sweep the kitchen. When I reached down to move Wil's food dish to swiff...guess what. Yes, the patter of tiny ant feet again. Of course we hadn't sprayed since July 22 (but I do take umbrage to Ortho's claim that the spray lasts "all season"; they are either somewhere with a real short season or it just doesn't hold up with all the rain we've been having—I suspect the latter).

It's a good thing the dog dish is blue. At least I can see the ants on it and get fair warning. The "earth tones" floor is the same color as the ants and I have to squint to see them.

So James—who was on his way to the monthly IPMS meeting—dumped out the dog food dish and made sure of strays and got me the Ortho so I could spray around that damned sliding glass door yet again. (Got behind the cupboard they invaded last year and behind the fridge and near the dishwasher Just in Case.) He went off to his meeting and I slathered Skin So Soft on my arms to keep off the mosquitoes and plunged into the back yard to spray the sliding glass door on the outside. No bunches of pine straw on the roof or branches looks like. But I don't see ants on the other side of the door, which puzzles me sorely.

Since I was out there anyway I sprayed all the other doors and the kitchen window and at least the foundation under there, then did the edge of the whole driveway and the cracks. I hate doing this in the sun. After a while I can feel my pulse beating hard at the back of my head and it bothers me.

Showered and am now doing what I started out to do this morning: vacuum. I'm knackered already and it's only one o'clock.


» Friday, August 26, 2005
Futon Reborn
When last we met...I'm being flip because this is hard to write about. Mom was sleeping on the spare room futon, which we had covered with a nice comforter we'd been given as a wedding gift; it was mostly pale yellow and pale blue. We even painted the room to match it a bit: the yellow (a bit stronger than we wanted), with blue and brown trim and yellow sunflower Wallies. There were bedclothes under the comforter, but Mom never quite realized it actually flattened out into a bed, and I wanted her to be able to lie down or sit up without a lot of fuss. So she was using a fleece and an afghan, with an extra blanket if she got cold (and as warm as it is upstairs in the summer, she was still cold a lot).

About the week before she passed away, I was thinking about getting the hospital bed, but by the time I would have gotten around to telling the nurse to order it, Mom was pretty much bed-bound and I couldn't even touch her, like shifting her legs or raising her head, without her being in terrible pain.

As I said the day it happened, I knew when someone died that they void themselves. I just didn't realize it would be so bad. The odor was the worst. James almost threw up when we had to go in there to clean. Even with a plastic mattress cover under the bedding, nothing was salvagable except the futon mattress itself and when we left here on the Saturday we were afraid that when we got home we would have to dispose of that as well. We left the room with an odor absorber in it, and what turned out to be a quarter of a vacuum cleaner bag worth of baking soda all over the floor and on the futon mattress. We also sprayed on some biological stuff you're supposed to use when the dog wets the carpet.

Well, the futon mattress did survive. Today I went out to find some new bedding. We had brought a pretty set of full-size pansy sheets and pillowcases home with us, as well as the flannel mattress cover. Linens'n'Things was having a tremendous clearance sale and I got a new egg-crate foam pad and two pillows for $20. I thought I had found a comforter in a "bed in a bag" set that was perfect, but it turned out it was the other pattern that was on sale. It was the right colors, but all neon shades and too loud! So I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and there found a king-size quilt on sale: done as a patchwork, blue and an orangy-type yellow, with roses instead of sunflowers, but it pretty much matches. Only $40 and it came with pillow shams.

Now that it's all put back together it doesn't look bad.


» Thursday, August 25, 2005
Missing...Darn It...
I realized that one of the things I did not find in the attic was my copy of Jerry Robinson's True Classroom Flubs and Fluffs. I used to have two of his books, a regular paperback copy and another paperback in a Scholastic-type format (I checked Bookfinder; there were two, one done by Fawcett and one indeed done by Scholastic). The contents were totally different.

I loved these books: Robinson would take a classroom blooper and illustrate it. My favorite was the rather drunken looking big black dog with a sink in its mouth, accompanying the caption "A big black dog used by hunters is called a lavatory retriever." Going along with the statement "A spine is what keeps people from being legs all the way up to their necks" was a funny/grotesque drawing of people with long legs stretching under their chins. They were absolutely hilarious.

I'd left the Scholastic book back at my Mom's; the Fawcett book had disappeared when we moved into the house. I don't think it was lost in the move; I think it was actually stolen earlier. I found out very late in our apartment stay that during the summer one of the maintenance men used to bring his two kids along with him when he did his repairs. This wouldn't bother me except—what did the kids do while dad was working on the sink or toilet or whatever? and that several of my kids' books from our bedroom had disappeared: the aforementioned Flubs and Fluffs, my MAD Sampler with the Lassie spoof in it, and my copy of One Hundred and One Dalmatians with the original illustrations.


You Dirty Dog!
One of the things we brought back with us was my big stuffed collie dog, Corey. I saw him in one of the toy stores—I think it was Child World, where I bought all my Trixie Belden books—back when I was working for Trifari, which would have been between the end of 1977 and the beginning of 1981.

I basically left Corey with Mom when I moved to Georgia; especially after my dad died. This dog looks so realistic at a first, fast glance that I can't tell you how many people have started, thinking he was real. Always hoped if a burglar peeked in the front window, he'd see this big stuffed collie there and figure there was a real dog in the house.

Unfortunately what's happened over the past 25 years is that Corey has become rather grimy. I used to keep him brushed—used to drive my mother crazy because I'd brush him with my own hairbrush; well, heck, I washed it after I brushed him!—regularly (he actually came with a little plastic brush, which was lost eventually) and he didn't look that bad. I think Mom used to brush him, but it was obvious he hadn't been cleaned in a while.

So anyone know how to clean stuffed animal fur? The brown doesn't look too bad, but the white is very greyish now.


Thursday Threesome

:: Drop Gas Prices! Please Read ::

Onesome - Drop - Have you ever dropped something that you can't believe you did? Was it a priceless item or that big secret?

I think everything I've dropped I've almost expected to drop. I did drop my PDA once, out of my pocket, but so far it seems to be okay, thank God. Now James did manage to break yet another cobalt blue vase right after I told him we didn't have a complete set of the vases because my mother had broken the others!

Twosome - Gas Prices - How much is a gallon of gas going for where you are?

2.519 is what I saw at the QT this morning.

Threesome - Please Read - What's that latest item you're reading? Is it for pleasure or are you required to read it?

1776 by David McCullough; I reserved at the library two months ago and it just came available.


A New Home
The rest of our stuff is here; it arrived this morning and is in the storage room now. I took the boxes with the coats and the new pants home, and the records and the books/DVDs are in my car because they are too heavy to lift. I had them put the photographs box aside, but then it mistakenly got put back in the room; we have to go fetch it. I'd like my scrapbooks, too; they have all sorts of cool television articles and magazine clippings I have been saving since 1965; the oldest is a full page article about Don Adams from the Providence Journal.

Of course now I'll have to buy one of those retro phonograph/CD/cassette combinations if I want to play the 78s.

The furniture is in good shape except the top of the tier table has come loose. No use in claiming on it; we have a $500 deductable and it won't take that much to fix. It looks like it simply needs some good wood glue.


» Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Would Love to See One of These One Day
Stone circles.


RIP Brock Peters
Best known for his role as Tom Robinson in the film To Kill a Mockingbird.

Brock Peters Dead at Age 78


I see the nightmares are back. Last night I woke up James not knowing where I was. I'm so tired now. My back hurts and my eyes are already itching.


» Tuesday, August 23, 2005
I Love a Record (Not!)
The fellow on Sirius' Atlanta traffic and weather channel was saying this morning that if the nightly low does not dip below 70°F tonight that it will be the 46th consecutive day of temperatures not below 70°F 24/7 and will tie the 1991 record.

I'm so thrilled...


Tuesday Twosome


1. Name two things/events that may cause anxiety in your life: Explain:

Driving to work and feeling sick. The first is self-explanatory, isn't it? Traffic here sucks and public transportation doesn't go to my job unless I want to take about three buses and leave the house at 5 a.m. and return at 6:30 p.m. The other—well, after the thyroid cancer surgery I'm always afraid to go to the doctor.

2. Name two ways you deal with your anxiety: Explain:

Read and sleep.

3. Name two times you have been the most anxious: Explain:

When Mom was dying and when James was sick in April. James never, ever gets sick that long.

4. When you are anxious, does it affect your health, and if so, how?

Yes, I get an acid stomach and it hurts, migraines, diarrhea, and indigestion.

5. Do you become anxious very easily or are you basically a calm person?

Are you kidding? Sometimes I get upset when James is more than ten minutes late getting home from work (and then it turns out it's because he stopped to talk to Harry).


At Least I Wasn't Saddam Hussein
From Brent's blog:


» Monday, August 22, 2005
Back to the Memes
Monday Madness

1. When putting groceries away, do you rotate your food so your newest items (cans and such) are in the back, and older food in the front?

Um, no. Perhaps occasionally. But not rigidly on purpose.

2. Do you own a digital camera? If so, how long have you had one? If not, do you plan to purchase one soon?

Yes, had one for...gosh, I don't remember anymore. I got the Sony Mavica when the feature came out that let you record MPEGs. I have lots of nice movies of Bandit and Willow. Maybe...1999?

3. How do you store your precious photos?

LOL. The old ones are in albums. The new ones are just tossed in boxes. I should really do scrapbooking, or at least some albums again.

4. It's 6:00 a.m. and you've just lost power due to a severe thunderstorm; they say it will probably take at least 12 hours before power will be restored; what do you do?

At 6 a.m.? Go back to sleep, of course!!! If it's summer I will have to open the windows, dammit.

5. How many times a year do you (or does someone dear to you) wax your automobile?

Wax? Wax the car? Heck, I've had it done once.

6. Gas prices; what can we say except they've reached an all-time high. How are you dealing with this?

I have a 28-mile one-way commute to work. I either drive or I don't get paid. Not much, just fork over the money.

7. Have you ever purchased a book or CD twice, forgetting that you already had it?

With all the books I have? Yes. But not as often as you might think.


» Sunday, August 21, 2005
Blasts from the Past
Folks who have visited my "Nostalgia Place" will recall my essay about the weekly visits to my grandfather's house in the Silver Lake district of Cranston, RI. Part of Silver Lake is also in Providence, and includes Neutaconkanut Hill, at the foot of which is now a park. Several months ago, I received an e-mail asking me about a former ski lift on Neutaconkanut; I didn't know such existed.

Today I was chilling out reading one of my bound volumes of St. Nicholas children's magazine, this one from April 1900, and came upon this in the section "Nature and Science for Young Folks":
Big Boulders and Little Boulders

On a Rhode Island hillside, high above a valley, is perched a boulder so balanced that it looks as if the slightest push would sent it rolling down the hill. There are houses below it. Were it to fall on them they would be crushed like egg-shells, for it is as large as a house.

Before the white man lived in the valley the Indian hunted there. He climbed the hill and give to this wonderful rock the name "Neutaconkanut." Long before the Indian found it, even long before history began, the rock stood there like a gigantic sentinel guarding the valley.

How came this immense boulder there? It is certainly not the work of man. It could not have dropped from the heavens like a shooting-star, and remained balanced there, because it would have been crushed in striking.

[article then goes on to explain about the glaciers and glacial rock left behind after the last Ice Age.]

The balanced boulder was one of these rock fragments. It, too, was torn from some northern mountain-side and borne southward by the ice. When the ice melted it was left balanced high on the brow of the hill where to-day it stands undisturbed, a monument to the long ago departed ice age.
Wow. I wonder if the rock is still there, but I think not, as I'm sure if such a wonder existed my Dad would have taken me up to see it. So I wonder what did happen to it? Did someone dislodge it when they built the ski area? Or before? Did it finally simply erode and fall on its own?

I went searching about and found nothing about the rock, but here's a web page about the former ski area.

This is a history of Silver Lake; I didn't realize it had once belonged to the town of Johnston.

Here's a close-up of an old map of Johnston which apparently is in the town hall; you can see the houses at the foot of Neutaconkanut Hill as mentioned in the St. Nicholas article.

And this web page is "Pleasant Places in Rhode Island," a wonderful article from an 1893 Providence Journal describing the western countryside of Foster and Scituate, which includes an account of traveling by stagecoach from Danielsonville, which mentions Neutaconkanut and the old King estate.


Not Running On All Cylinders
I wish I had a week to rest. I'm exhausted. Plus last night I had a very active dream—I think I still believed that we were back at my Mom's house sleeping on the mattresses on the floor, because I was looking for something in the dream and ended up taking a header off the bed. This wouldn't be so bad except our bed is at least 28 inches off the floor. I guess the carpeting I hate so much came in handy this time. My right wrist still hurts a little when I type, but everything else seems to be okay. I'm still very sleepy, though, and still have a rash and elimination problems. Times like these I believe I'm going crazy. I hear this is common during menopause. Oy.

I said the hell with it and cranked the thermostat down to 70°F like I said I would. We are nice and cool now, after a tiring trip to WalMart for staples and a disappointing visit to the computer show at the Civic Center. Only the bottom level was in use. I remember last year we swore we would not go to the summer shows, especially the August one, anymore; they are sparsely stocked.

I am seriously in the market for a new computer. James said he can build me a new one so it will fit into my old desktop case; otherwise the CPU will have to go on the floor and it's dusty being near the entry door, so I don't know if I want it to be down there. I want to be able to play DVDs properly and not get the occasional blue screens of death when I have several windows open, especially when I'm running graphics software. "Victor" is an old computer, not even a Pentium II, I believe. James bought a new processor for it, but that only cranked it up to about 375MHz and I don't even have 256 in memory.


Cool Links
Nice website about Johanna Spyri's Heidi:

A Swiss site about Heidi: If it is in German just click on the American flag and it translates to English.

And this fun site,, about those great children's films we baby boomers grew up on.


» Saturday, August 20, 2005
Odds and Ends
If anyone was even interested, Robin and Marian recorded fine, but The Prisoner of Zenda was missing the end. Sigh. Why isn't this movie on DVD anyway? It's a classic, and it's Ronald Colman. To me this is the equivalent of keeping Gone With the Wind off DVD.

Noticed with some awe that gas prices here are around $2.569, which is the same as they were at the little convenience store on Dyer Avenue (a Sunoco station). Gas is no longer cheaper in Georgia, that's for sure. The cheapest gas we saw on the route was $2.499 in South Carolina and also on...believe it or not...the Jersey Turnpike! Things are upside down if gas is now cheaper there!


Life Is Good
Even if it's too darn hot outside. I think the heat index is 106°F.

But the house is cool.

We have been to the bank to deposit some checks, had lunch (barbecue shredded pork!), gone to BJs, finally gotten to the vacuum cleaner store for more bags (we have a Kirby; bags are very hard to find for it), dropped in at the hobby shop to say hello to everyone, and right now James is assembling a new desk chair we found on sale at Office Max. (James' old chair was ruined by Willow, who one day ran into his lap at top speed and hit so hard she pushed him backward and broke the chair.)

I have had 15 ounces of milk and a KitKat triple-chocolate bar (they still have them at BJs) and feel...contented.

Now if only the darn hot flashes would back off. I didn't take my soy at all while we were away; I put my vitamins in the medicine cabinet and of course since they were "undercover" I forgot all about them (or when I did remember them, had not had anything to eat yet). So now I'll have to start all over again.


» Friday, August 19, 2005
The First National Bank of Willow
Now that we're home, I can confide a little secret.

When we started looking through the house we found some money Mom had left behind in case of emergencies, plus Joe paid us in cash for the bedroom set. We've been living on this money for the past month. But I didn't want to carry it around with me all the time, so we had it in an envelope which I at first had under Pidgie's cage. But that was sitting on a metal TV tray and wasn't very stable.

So finally we stored the stash under Willow's crate and would take out some when we needed it. We used to joke about "going to the First National Bank of Willow" when we went out.


Well, We Made It
The day was fine until late this afternoon. I drove until lunchtime, then we picked up food at Wendy's and drove to the South Carolina Welcome Center to eat it.

As James drove in the afternoon, I wasn't feeling very well. I had a headache and was a bit queasy. Finally, we arrived in Anderson, SC, and stopped at the Russell Stover outlet to get more sugarless candies. I went in to make my selections and as I was waiting to get an indulgence, a quarter pound of dark-chocolate coated orange creams, I started getting a bellyache.

Not to go into hideous details, I had the runs and nausea and a headache that would kill a horse. I was in the bathroom about 20 minutes. James made his selections, then we headed south, after I'd taken both Pepto Bismol and two extra strength Tylenol. It had gotten overcast and started to drizzle and/or spatter, and when we were closer to downtown we...all together now...ran into traffic because it poured.

We were just north of Suwannee when it all started again. We stopped at a QT station and I was stuck in there 20 minutes, came out to let James use the bathroom, and had to call him to come back because I needed to go again. I gobbled more Pepto Bismols and felt ill the rest of the way home.

It is good to be back, even though I found what looked like little worms in the master bath toilet (???? maybe fly larvae, as we seem to have these little flies in that bathroom all the time; they are not houseflies, but little flying creatures that look like a child's drawing of a fly) and there are dead bugs in corners of rooms without carpeting.

We have both had showers (oh, that feels good! it's so nice to have the shower massage to be able to direct water to certain parts!), unpacked the suitcases, started a load of laundry, sorted the mail and looked at the condolence cards (ahem! thank you, Rodney!), discovered with some delight that we have not missed the computer show at the Cobb County Civic Center, and ordered Chinese food. Pidge has gone crazy flying around the den, and darn, the television is so big and bright.

I haven't checked to see yet if Robin and Marian and The Prisoner of Zenda recorded properly.


Breakfast in Carolina
Have I mentioned lately how much I love the Drury Inn???? :-)

When I was a kid and wanted to go on vacation at all cost, any old motel would do, as long as it didn't have little critters running around it. Due to our budget, the same went for my parents.

But now I understand why so many people are picky about where they stay. A good bed, a good room, quiet, dark, and breakfast ready when you get downstairs. Sweet.


» Thursday, August 18, 2005
I've showered and washed my hair and feel sorta human again. I have little red pimple/rash outbreaks on my arms, legs, chest, back, and really itch, even after washing. My eyes hurt and I feel woozy (but then there is a fluorescent light in the bathroom; I always get lightheaded under fluorescent lights anyway). James and I are both slightly sunburned. He looks paler since he showered, thank God.

Willow has retreated to her box. We have finally exhausted her with new things. She has no idea what to make of the elevator (we're on the second floor). It's this box that moves. She loves the balcony; the hall outside our room is an atrium and overlooks the lobby. She sticks her head between the railings and looks down, eyes wide.

Pidge has had a burst of energy and is now back in his cage looking sleepy.

Damn, I'm itchy. (And yes, I was before the shower, so it's not the soap.)


The Good With the Bad ("On the Road Again" Series)
"Yesterday was plain awful."
"You can say that again."
"Yesterday was plain awful. But that's..."
"...not now..."
"...that's then..."

                      "I Don't Need Anything But You," Annie
It wasn't totally awful, since we had two very nice meetings, but most of yesterday plain stunk.

It started off badly: Neither of us had slept well, and then James was out packing the car when a sparrow smacked into one of the car windows. He picked it up and it did squirm, so he placed it out of cat reach in a bush, but he said it was still there when we left.

We stopped by the post awful and after I waited in line for 15 minutes, we got one piece of junk mail for our pains. Also, the guy at the desk would not let us speak to the carrier for the street, as we had been advised to do yesterday. I did fill out a change of address form, but the lady I brought the form back to said some mail might be delivered to the house today. I planned to call my godmother later and ask her to check.

Meanwhile we went west via Route 6 and I-84, and stopped at Countdown Hobbies in Bethel, Connecticut. We ran into the same road construction on the way, and when we left Bethel, we got stuck in lunch hour traffic in Danbury and then more road construction getting back to the freeway.

This was the lietmotif of the day, being stuck in traffic (or taking the wrong turn, which we did at least twice). I rather expected the congestion on the Garden State Parkway; nevertheless the stop-and-go traffic was horrendous. Even worse, there were traffic jams on the Jersey Turnpike. I've traveled the NJT Turnpike for 30 years and I've never seen traffic like this on that road.

Even worse, while we finally stopped at one of the service areas for something to eat because it was so late, my cell phone rang while I was juggling two Nathan's hot dogs and a large lemonade. It was my cousin Debbie. She had gone by the house, guessed it...guess what she found in the mailbox. Yes, the death certificates had been delivered after we left, after we spent all that time waiting for them!!!!! Thank God we had talked to Jeff (our lawyer) last night and given him the key to the safe deposit box, etc. Debbie was going to call him and ask him to pick up the certificates. Of course now he has to send some to us so we can cancel some services and cash in the insurance policy. Arrrgh! Why couldn't this have happened during the three and a half long weeks we were there??????

Doggedly we continued. We took what we thought was a "shortcut" to our Motel 6 off I-695 south of Baltimore, but the Harbor Tunnel Freeway told us we had to get on I-695 East. Except there wasn't an exit for I-695 East. So we had to go to I-95 and turn around, which means we could have gone through the other tunnel and gained the same results. Then we almost couldn't find the motel because our instructions didn't include the fact that the road the motel was on was off the road the exit dumped you on. By the time we got to Baltimore we had been enroute twelve hours and were tired and cross (plus I have a heat rash—or something—nearly everywhere and itch like crazy).

On the other hand, we had some lovely visits to balance out the frustrations of the way. When we were in Bethel I got phone calls from both Rupert Holmes and Rodney Walker. We stopped at Rupert's home and had lunch (we had sandwiches with us, made from leftovers we had at the house) in his backyard. Willow got to explore and barked furiously at the dachshunds next door. We were there for about two hours and had a long chat, most of which I was very fuzzy about because I was so tired. He did tell us that Kevin O'Rourke had a new play which is going to be in Atlanta. Also that TV Land had commissioned an outline for a half-hour pilot for the series Art in Heaven, which is presently online at Kevin O'Rourke and—he hoped—Chris Murney would still star in it and he hoped to include all the Remember WENN cast if it became a series. Cool, eh? We also got to say hi to Rupert's dad who we used to talk to on chat when Remember WENN was still on the air.

Rodney we met for dinner after arriving in Baltimore. It was, as I said, after nine when we got in and Olive Garden, which was about 14 miles away, closed at ten. I got there in somewhat less than 25 minutes. It was a fun dinner even if I was half asleep. Damn right we had the black tie mousse cake for dessert. After today we deserved it.

Note to self: want to eat a fast meal at Olive Garden? Go before they close! We were served immediately.

We were so pooped when we got back from supper that, although it was only 11:30, we showered immediately and went to bed.

Today, on the other hand, was rather nice except for overextending ourselves this afternoon. We left south of Baltimore a little after eight. After our horrendous time on I-95 yesterday, we said "screw it" and headed west on I-70 to I-81. Eastern Maryland, the little sliver of West Virginia, and Virginia were all lovely to drive through: beautiful rolling countryside and lots of farms. Even better, south of Harrisonburg it became cloudy and cool and even spattered a bit but never really rained.

It was so cloudy and cool I handed James a flyer I'd picked up in the Virginia Welcome Center and said, "Can we go?"

So we did. When we got to Staunton we went east on I-64 to Charlottesville and then turned south on Route 29 and went to the Waltons Mountain Museum in Schuyler. I'd wanted to go here for ages. And this is where the "cool and cloudy" really came in handy: we could leave Wil and Pidgie in the car near a tree with the windows open halfway and they would be comfortable.

When Earl Hamner says he grew up in a small town in the Virginia backwoods, he means "small town." You turn on progressively smaller and smaller roads, three in all, to get to Schuyler, which consists of a church, a post office, about three houses, a souvenir store, the soapstone quarry down the road, and the old elementary school, which closed in 1992 and is now the Waltons Mountain Museum. It's a lovely old school: you walk in and are immediately in what used to be the auditorium (I think some rooms have been removed up front) and the different exhibits are in the old school rooms. First you see a film about Earl Hamner, his books, the movie Spencer's Mountain, and then the special The Homecoming and finally the series. They talk to each surviving member of the cast (since the film was made Ellen Corby, Mary Jackson, and Helen Kleeb have passed away).

Next, the other rooms: there is John-Boy's bedroom, which also has books and magazines with The Waltons on them, the Living Room where the actual radio used on the show plays old radio programs, the Kitchen, a library that has all of Earl Hamner's manuscripts, a room talking about the soapstone quarry with models of the Walton house and Ike Godsey's store made by fans, a room that did not have the actual "Recipe machine" but did have an actual moonshine still that was confiscated by the Feds along with a history of moonshining, and finally "Ike Godsey's store," the gift shop (of course we went in; it's a state law). All I bought was a magnet for our fridge, but I will have to order Earl Hamner's bio from Amazon. It really is neat and has material on The Homecoming and The Waltons along with Earl's story.

We did find out that Earl had been in town as late as three days ago; he had a book signing at Polly and Jim-Bob's Bed and Breakfast and Gift Shop last Saturday, but stayed over Sunday and Monday.

Well, here's where we, stubborn (and no, I can't blame this on James). Two different maps we had suggested that the road that goes through Schuyler (617) went back to Route 29. We wanted to go back that way and south on 29 because there had been a horrendous traffic accident on I-64 Westbound as we came in: looked like an entire mobile home had turned over and smeared all over the road. Traffic was backed up for at least five miles. So instead of going back the way we came, we went in the opposite direction. We now understand why you have to go the way you do: (a) 617 eventually becomes a one-lane gravel road and (b) it doesn't go directly to Route 29. So we spent at least an hour driving the backroads of Virginia, long stretches of trees and fields with occasional houses dotted among them, with locals who drive much too fast for these narrow roads! There must be hundreds of these little roads, all known by numbers. We finally managed to get to a main road by guess and by golly, and back to Route 29 and headed south, only to run into rush hour traffic in Lynchburg, which wasn't bad, but James had been driving for hours and we had never eaten lunch.

Other than the traffic in Lynchburg, however, Route 29 is a nice parkway, four lanes with a grass median between the two pairs. The southern part, at least, is going to eventually become I-785. So we stopped just south of Lynchburg, had something to eat at Hardee's, and swapped off, and I drove the rest of the way to Greensboro, NC.

Oh, and God sent us a miracle: we got into town and at the I-85/I-40 split, I had headed for I-85 when James saw a sign for a Drury Inn on I-40. There was a Motel 6 on I-85 before us, but I got off at the first exit to turn around and found out the road led to I-40 anyway. So we are happily ensconced in a nice comfy Drury Inn that doesn't mind your pets and has a recliner so Wil can sit in James' lap for the first time in a month and a nice big king size bed that I could just topple over into if I wanted, and we have the prospect of a nice free hot breakfast tomorrow with eggs, cereal, fruit, muffins, toast, and milk, milk, milk (I haven't had any all day; every place we went to was out of it).


» Wednesday, August 17, 2005
On the Road Again
We're just packing up the car and locking up the house.

Thanks to everyone for the comments and encouragement.


» Tuesday, August 16, 2005
End of the Road
Not much time to write...we tried to sleep late but got up instead to start packing...did a couple of things for ourselves, including visiting Darlington Hobbies in Pawtucket and having a nice chat with the owner and going out to Wright's Dairy Farm for a couple of bags of hermits...had a last lemonade and a last meal at T's (chicken soup, of course)...more packing and laundry and some tearful to go see if the dryer is finished...


» Monday, August 15, 2005
Linda Waves Hi to Nancy
I think of you every time they advertise an upcoming pow-wow, the Schemitzen, the Green Corn Festival. The festival is being celebrated by the Mashantucket Pequots, who run Foxwoods Casino. (The other tribe in Connecticut with a casino are the Mohegans, who run Mohegan Sun.)

The Narragansetts here want to start a casino, but people complain that then people will go gamble and their children will starve. Connecticut's only an hour's drive away. I don't think it's going to keep idiots from gambling, and Rhode Island might as well get the income, since they're going to have to help the children of idiots who spend their salaries all on gambling anyway.


Sciolto's will carve the year on the tombstone sometime in the next four weeks (weather permitting).

We tried to find a hobby shop but both of us had forgotten how to get there and we hadn't mapped it out first. So we went back down I-295 and went to the malls.

Rhode Island Mall is just plain sad. Three quarters of it is empty and what's left isn't much. This was the first mall that opened in RI, under the name "Midland Mall," with Sears and Shepard's, one of the big downtown department stores, as anchors. When Shepard's went out of business in 1974, G. Fox from Connecticut moved in. They eventually went out of business, too.

I remember when they opened, they had a funky place that sold glass flowers and other Sixties looking junk. (When that closed down, the Impulse store moved in; they sold only Panasonic products. I got my first VCR there in 1980—it cost $800!) Across from the escalators was a country store with horehound candy. And down on the hallway near Sears was one of the old Docktor's Pet Centers that got in such bad trouble for their treatment of animals and puppy mill puppies. None of the clerks knew how to handle the birds. It always upset me. After I learned to drive my Mom and I went there almost every Friday night. We would come in through Sears so I could play with the touch lamps. :-)

However, we did find a store still open there called The Toy Vault that had all sorts of action figures (Star Wars, Star Trek—including a scene of Picard and Kirk on the horses from Generations that I'd never seen before)—and other SF material, plus sports action figures and models. There was a bobble head doll of Rudy Guiliani. Also collectors' cards—they still had card packets with the stick of Topps bubblegum in them!

A few months back one of our friends did us a favor; at this store I saw something that figuratively screamed "Buy me for Charles Rutledge!" So I did. :-)

Then we abandoned the ghost town and went across the road to Warwick Mall. We had ice cream at Newport Creamery and strolled Waldenbooks and the FYE (DVDs, CDs and tapes) store. I am becoming increasingly morose about having to leave. I can always come back to visit, but it will never be home again.

::sigh:: Time to have dinner.


Cooling This And That
A thunderstorm rumbled through last night...and brought with it blessed cool! It was comfortable with one sheet when we went to bed and by the time morning came I had to double the sheet and wrap it around my feet. Since "da feets" has been hanging out the entire time we've been here, that's quite a difference. Actually had to shut some of the fans down so Pidge wouldn't get a draft. Tonight the low is supposed to be 63°F! Heaven. It's overcast and there's a breeze, and I haven't seen the temp go over 75. Why couldn't it have been like this all the time?

I hate summer.

The movers came this morning about 10:30, tagged everything, and had all forty-three pieces out of the house before Regis and Kelly was even over. James said he was afraid the bottom was going to fall out of the trunk because it was so old. When they brought it upstairs we noticed there was still an old freight (express) sticker on it. It's very brown and grimy, but we could make out that it was stamped in Wheeling, West Virginia (the "big city" for Grandma and Grandpa when they lived just over the border in Lafferty, Ohio) and that it weighed 65 pounds with whatever was in it. I'm pretty sure it weighs at least that now, with all the linens in it.

We ran to the post office, got more junk mail, had lunch at T's again (of course I had the chicken soup and a salad!), then went to Nardolillo's. Robert called the folks in Georgia who said the death wasn't registered until August 5 and not mailed until August 10. Still, it should have been here by now! What did they do, send it fourth class mail?

We also asked Robert about the date on the monument, but he said they didn't handle that. So, I wanted to put some of Mom's roses on the grave anyway, so we took them out to the cemetery and I peeked at the monument tag. Ut-oh. Turns out the monument company has gone out of business. We're going to have to ask someone else to do it, probably Sciolto's on Dyer Avenue.


» Sunday, August 14, 2005
Seduced by the Sirius Side of the Force
Jerry did it to us. :-)

Actually, it was BJs; we went back there for pants and James noticed a Sirius universal kit with a car mount, home mount, antenna, and power source for both home and car. The unit itself, an XAct "Stream Jockey," is about the size of a PDA. It was not only a better price than I'd ever seen at Circuit City or Best Buy or Fry's, but there was a $30 rebate on it as well. I thought of the trip home, although we have a bunch of radio shows with us, and grabbed one.

Then James grabbed one, too.

We already have them activated and now have to install mine on my car. I found to my delight that it has a traffic and weather report on it, and it reports every four minutes. Ironically, Atlanta shares the same broadcast band with Boston. Oh, good, now I don't have to listen to Kim Petersen just to get the traffic report! Most of the time "The Kimmer" is acceptable only in small doses.


Hot, Sticky, Hot, Sticky
...trying to pack other two boxes: have used the coats as padding for some things...figuring out how to pack Mom's ceramic rose, which we figure can ride during the day in Pidgie's cage...wrapped up the mirror to the dresser like the movers, sticky, hot, sticky...I think it's time for lemonade...


» Saturday, August 13, 2005
Toasty Warm
I forgot to mention the really ironic thing we did today: buy winter coats! There's no sales tax on clothing here. Back when we first got married Mom bought James a nice thick "Members Only" jacket which did get used that one month of the year it actually gets really cold in Georgia, and was also suitable for winter visits. Well, the jacket was finally starting to fray and last year we looked around for a replacement, but none of the jackets we could find sold down there was actually heavy enough. So we went to Burlington and he found something and I did, too, since my old winter coat no longer fit. The new one is brown and I look like a stout sparrow in it. :-)

We also found...hurrah...some likely-looking pants that actually fit me at BJs. Bought one pair and want to go back tomorrow for a couple more. The warehouse stores usually have the best prices on pants—that's where I got the ones I'm wearing now which are falling to bits—but alternatively they are very hard to find. Most of the time the Sam's/BJs/Costco in our area stock men's pants, but only shorts for women. I've looked around in various stores for pants but it just drives me nuts; it's like that scene in Moscow on the Hudson where Vlad goes to the grocery store for coffee for the first time: simply too much stuff to look through and I get a headache and then grumpy. (This does not apply to books. The more, the better.)


We Set a Record
98°F was the previous record for today, set in the 1940s. 100°F is now the new one. I'm so glad I was here for it.


Meanwhile, as we sit here with three fans blowing hot, steamy air on us, the news is broadcast that there is no air conditioning at the prison. My heart bleeds.

Also not.

We had an absolutely yummy dinner with my cousins Donna and Steve: antipasto, lasagna, and two kinds of pie. It was nice and cool there and we almost took the critters with us; but we figured the shock of the hot to the cool and then back again would not be good for Pidgie. So we left them in the kitchen (shady side of the house) with two window fans, the floor fan, and the ceiling fan and the radio playing for Pidge.

Oh, we saw the neatest thing on the way home: the half moon. It is so hazy that what is showing is the same color as a new penny.


It's Too Damn Hot
It's 100°F. With heat index, 105°F.

I'm dreaming of snow...


» Friday, August 12, 2005
No Solutions...
Our lawyer says we can try to cancel the forwarding at the local post office and hope it works. I should have never followed the post office's advice about the mail hold. I should have canceled the forwarding and then reinstated it when we left. Twits.

It is thickly hot and sticky, even at this time of night. We went out for ice cream—more "chocolate therapy" from Ben & Jerry—and then played a game of miniature golf at Mulligan's Island, a pitch'n'putt/driving range/batting cage/minigolf course near the ACI (a.k.a. the prison). It has not made us feel better. Despite all the work we have done, it feels like we have been sticking around here for nothing. Nothing can start until we get those death certificates and now it's almost time for us to leave because James has to be back within 30 days. I am supposed to be mourning my mother and instead I have to go through this song-and-dance via the State of Georgia combined with the post office. Just ducky.


And Boy, Did I Need the Snoopy Dance
My cousin Debbie came by with her kids and nieces and nephews in tow and took all the things we had collected to Big Sisters. It was done in a trice. I hope Mom's things give many people a new start. I think she would have liked that.

Once Debbie and her efficient whirlwinds were gone, James and I had lunch (more soup and salad at T's; I'm downright addicted to them) and then went to the post awful again.

There was nothing in the mail today. I was so hoping to be able to sell the car, cancel the cell phone and the car insurance, cash in the insurance policy, and get into the safe deposit box before I left, but without those death certificates I am helpless. (It's possible I can get into the safe deposit box, but as I remember, don't you have to sign something to get access to the box? I've never had a SDB, but every time someone goes to one on television or the movies, you have to sign a sheet in and out.) I can't believe it took Cobb County or the State of Georgia so long to issue a death certificate! The gentleman at Nardolillo's Funeral Home was told last Friday that they were "on their way"—did they go by slow boat via China?

Not only that, but the folks at the post office are starting to get twitchy about my being able to hold the mail and then have it transferred back to our address when we leave. The clerk said we needed to talk to the supervisor and that we needed a power of attorney, which I don't have. But if I don't get the mail, someone will have to go to the trouble of collecting it, and I won't know how much the bills are unless that someone calls me every time one comes in. That's how I've been paying all the bills associated with Mom's accounts, by having the mail come to us and paying it out of her account with online banking. We did get that much transferred before she was too out of it to sign things.

That and the heat has just "made" my day. Summer is such a torment I wish I could sleep through it. Its chief "delights" for me include breathing problems, a constant rash, scalding sweat trickling down my spine, headaches from the sun, lightheadedness, insomnia...this I'm supposed to enjoy? Sorry, no masochistic tendencies here. When I saw the news report the other day about the first snow that had fallen in Australia in fifty-one years, I said to James, "That's it. Pack up, we're going Down Under."


Snoopy Dance!
Get Smart - Running This News Will Mean We'll Be in Constant Danger...AND Loving It!

(Thanks, Ivan!)

As for extras, I know this one would be a real long shot, but I'd love the 90-minute interview David Frost did with Don Adams and Don Rickles sometime during the run of the show. It was hilarious, and I believe they showed some outtakes.


Hasn't This Anti-Germ Thing Gone Far Enough?
Granted, there is no substitute for washing your hands when around a sick room—and it doesn't have to be anti-bacterial soap, just a good washing with soap and water will do it. It's the simplest way to keep colds from spreading.

But I was watching a new commercial with incredulity the other night, about antibacterial wipes you can carry around to wipe off doorknobs, shopping cart handles, etc. I noticed several grocery stores, like Shaw's and I think Publix, now have a container of anti-bacterial wet wipes at their door for the convenience of their customers. Give me a break. How many years have people gone around touching shop doors, grocery cart handles, and other stuff handled in public? No epidemic ever started because someone shared the handles of a shopping basket.

Cleanliness is a great, good thing. One only has to look at how mortality rates and tallies of filth-borne diseases like typhoid and dysentery tumbled after water was purified, slaughterhouses were cleaned, outhouses were kept away from water supplies, doctors washed before surgery. But aren't we overprotecting ourselves here? No wonder kids have weird allergies; their immune systems have nothing to do. Not to mention the frightening specter of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. If someone has not been polite enough to clean up after a gob of wet mucus or baby barf on their shopping cart handle, that's one thing, but constantly disinfecting everything from door handles to playground equipment strikes me as overkill.


That Was Nice
The fellow who used to fix my Mom's television just came by to pay his respects.


» Thursday, August 11, 2005
Letter from the Gates of Hades
All that keeps running through my head are all the lines of dialog and song lyrics from 1776 complaining about the heat. And these were men who wore linen and/or woolen clothing in high summer! But then we're wimps, or the weather was much cooler then. When we were tramping around the Orchard House property yesterday, we went up the hill a dozen steps to the "little red schoolhouse-size" edifice in the rear that Bronson Alcott had built to house his School of Philosophy. It was windowed on all sides, under trees, and still hot and stuffy, and I'm sure Alcott and his transcendental comrades, all in long sleeves and suit jackets, still sat and argued "angel on the head of a pin" questions in the simmering summer.

Anyway, we went by the post awful to check the mail, only to find one piece of junk mail, and the postal clerk put on an attitude and chewed us out for coming again the second day in a row. He says when you have it on hold you're only supposed to call for it once or twice a week. I guess they want us to get a PO box. Yo, idiot. We're not here for that long; when we leave it gets forwarded again. And don't get on your Federal Employee high horse with me. I'm one, too.

How did Cobb County send those certificates, by homing pigeon?

This pissed off James to no end and he was grumpy as we headed for Newport. I wanted one trip while we were here and I sure wasn't going to drive out there on a weekend during tourist season! I chose to go through 114, through Barrington, Warren, and Bristol, like I did back in April when I was here after Mom's surgery. Apparently everyone and his mother drives 114 at lunchtime; the ride was quite aggravating although the main street of all three towns looked lovely: lots of hanging flower baskets scattered around the old-fashioned wooden storefronts, and interspersed between towns were salt-water inlets full of white-sailed boats and the occasional cabin cruiser.

As it was hot—the high around 95°F—the bay was very hazy. It looked as if someone had turned the contrast button down. Still, the bright blue water was picturesque with sailboats and cabin cruisers churning up V-shaped wakes behind them.

The roads seemed full of endless pockets of construction, and we gave up for about an hour and had lunch at Newport Creamery in Middletown, where we didn't get much relief because the air conditioner simply couldn't keep up with all the 98.6 temps inside, before proceeding on to Brenton Point. This was the only place that was actually cool, and you had to either walk on the WPA-era concrete sea wall or the rocks below to get the benefit. Even the graveled parking lot across the narrow two-lane road was hot. We purchased Del's Lemonade from the van in the lot, then walked down a length of sea wall, absorbing the cool sea air (which unfortunately came with the stink of rotting seaweed for a while) and watching the sea birds—seagulls both white and brown, brightly marked black-brown-and-white sandpipers (I guess), and a zooming swallow doing a figure eight slalom parallel to the edge of the sea wall—until we found the last remaining flight of concrete stairs (the rest have rotted away and fallen in bits onto the shingle, and this set is already crumbling on one side) and clambered down on the rocks.

I've been hopping around these rocks since I was "knee high to a grasshopper" in my Hush Puppies that I wore everywhere. They are weathered, scarred black-and-grey outcrops of layered sedimentary (or maybe metamorphic) rock thrust above the surface of the ocean at odd angles, cut with grooves in which tide pools form, splashed with seaweed, guano, and high tide. I walked out, arms spread to greet the sea breeze like an old friend, as close as I could without getting wet, watching the rising tide strike the edge of the rocks and spume upward as white geysers. A small flotilla of sea gulls bobbed nearby, rising and falling with the waves, and out against the haze were schooners and sloops and even a big barque with scarlet sails. It was so hazy that Beavertail, the lighthouse south of Jamestown, blinked from the opposite shore. But despite the haze and the driven salt air that fogged our glasses, it was quite beautiful.

We stopped at the old gatehouse, now restrooms and ranger headquarters, and then tramped out through the remains of the old garden and the grounds choked with wild blackberry, wild roses (or actually the plump red rose hips, the roses having bloomed and died), Queen Anne's lace, and other weeds to see if the old stone stables are still there. Yes, still surrounded, as it has been for several years now, by a chain link fence marked "Danger." (Gang members still climb over and deface the building anyway.) The roof is gone in many places and now the trees are starting to grow through the tiles that are left and poke through the glassless windows. It looks like something under enchantment that has rotted for years.

Drifted home past the mansions and the Newport beaches. Traffic was much better even though it was rush hour, and we went home via Warren to see if we could stop at a hobby shop we had seen on the outbound leg. We made it there 20 minutes before closing time, but there were no places to park around it, and the street, where you were allowed to park, was full. Finally, as we circled back, I had an inspiration: there was a Dunkin Donuts across the street and a couple of storefronts down. We parked there and I went inside and bought something while James strolled to the store.

Got home to find the house expectedly hot and stuffy despite all five fans and ceiling fans operating on high. We tossed up the rest of the shades, threw wide the front door, and called out for pizza. This is a new place called Pier Pizza, and, thinking of the large pizzas we order from places like Pizza Hut or Papa Johns, ordered a large. This wasn't large, this was huge. Even James couldn't finish more than two pieces. My defining praise on pizza is the crust. The crust was great. I could have eaten that alone and been happy. I wished there had been more tomato sauce on it, though.


Bunny Genes
Okay, we were changing channels and came upon the series Postcards from Buster, which is a travel show spun off the PBS Marc-Brown-books inspired Arthur, which I'd still rather watch than most of what's on prime time. Postcards features Arthur's buddy Buster traveling around with his dad, taking video of various parts of the United States (these parts being live action). Today's story is about an African-American ranching family in Houston, Texas; pretty cool stuff.

But, um, why is Buster's dad a human with rabbit ears rather than a rabbit like Buster and his mother? Weird.


The estimator from the moving company was just here. Eeek. $1800. (But that's just what the U-Haul and the car carrier would have cost.) All they want us to do is wrap the mirror. Well, we have lots of bubble wrap! (You know, considering the cost of real wood furniture these days, the dresser and the bureau are probably worth the money alone.)

We have to go pick up the mail. Maybe the death certificates are finally here. Hope they come before we leave.


I See That...
...Chi McBride has a new series in the fall. Good for him. Anyone who could make me hate a character so much has done a great acting job.

And this means Vogler probably won't show up on House again. Sweet. :-)

Does anyone else wish that Stephen Fry would make a guest appearance or at least a cameo?


It's Back...
James said I had a screaming nightmare last night. I don't think I've had one in a long while. I was too busy thinking about Mom, I guess. Ironically, after I got to sleep it was actually nice for sleeping; my feet even got cold and that's rare at night lately.

I have had to take Pidgie's string toy away from him. He was sitting worrying at it all day and not eating. When he ignores a sprig of millet for string it's not good. He was even playing with it during the night. Last night I made sure he slept and now he's going hell for leather with his other toys.

James is eating a breakfast sandwich right now. Willow is staring at him trying to persuade him she is starving (she is; she hasn't eaten in fifteen whole minutes).


» Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Road Trip
Had a lot of trouble sleeping this morning. ::sigh:: We had breakfast and then it was time to call the storage company. (ALICE! WE FOUND IT!) We now have a cube close to the entrance. And I called the moving company and gave them the name. Finally we went to the post office, but all that was there for this address was junk mail (more address labels! and they spelt Mom's name wrong!). So we took the day off. I was hoping the death certificates would come so we could go to the bank and get the things out of the safe deposit box. Stupid mail.)

When I was a little girl and we would drive to my uncle and aunt's house in Peabody, Massachusetts, one time my uncle took us to a big ice cream place where you were given the ice cream part of your sundae and then could have your choice of toppings from a big buffet table. Well, while going through a travel book, I found what sounded like the place, Hebert's Candy Mansion in Shrewsbury, off route 20. Well, we headed up there today. There are two other Hebert's in the state, so maybe that's where Uncle Petey brought us (I remember the place being white, but I was young at the time and I could be misremembering, too), but this definitely was the correct ice cream bar. Oh, it's changed: I recall clearly the ice cream being in glass sundae cups, not paper ones, but the ice cream is still fine! I had a "mud pie" ice cream, which was coffee-flavored with crushed up chocolate cookies and a fudge swirl, topped with bittersweet sauce, chocolate jimmies, walnuts, and the whipped cream, of course. Yum.

Then we drove further on route 20 to go to Spare Time Hobbies in Marlboro, a little hole-in-the-wall place just stuffed with plastic models and roleplaying material that we'd hunted down on our way to the Vermont Country Store last November, and from there cut north up to Concord and visited Orchard House, one of the homes of Louisa May Alcott—the home in which she wrote Little Women. I've always wanted to go. It's a nice tour; there are many tidbits about the Alcott family, most of which I knew because I've read a lot of Alcott bios, but there was one I didn't which was a corker:

Alcott's youngest sister, like Amy March in Little Women, was very artistic and her drawings were all over Orchard House, including her bedroom walls. May Alcott eventually studied in Europe and had her art exhibited in Paris, and also taught art classes. One of her students was an enthusiastic boy who was so crazy about sculpting that he carved images out of vegetables. May gave him his first sculpting supplies and in return, this boy sculpted a bust of Bronson Alcott for the family. His first big project was sculpting the statue of the Minuteman at the Concord Bridge where "the shot heard round the world" was fired in 1775. He eventually sculpted the statue of Abraham Lincoln that sits in the Lincoln Memorial. Yes, May Alcott's precocious student was Daniel Chester French! Wow.

We actually drove down to the Bridge, but the area was closed: winter had taken its toll on the structure and they are rebuilding it. (It's not the original bridge; that hasn't been there since the late 1700s. In fact, roads were rerouted and there were no bridges there for 84 years. The bridge was rebuilt for the centennial of the event in 1875.) We walked across the field to The Old Manse, which was the home of Ralph Waldo Emerson and then Nathaniel Hawthorne, but the building was hot and James' numbers were down, so we went in search of food instead, after stopping at the wonderful Visitor's Center first.

Just walking across the parking lot to the bridge, then to the Manse, then to the visitor's center gave me the headache from hell, so I was glad when we got to Waltham for supper at Friendly's. We then had to battle our way home through rush hour traffic, but I'm used to driving in that. (We tried to go around it, but always got held up anyway, so we stuck to Route 128 and then to I-95 South.)


So Much Stuff, So Little Time
Well, the moving company has all the info and someone is coming tomorrow to "size up" the things. The storage room is arranged for.

But there are a few things left to pack, and much stuff to be donated, and still so much extra stuff. Someone is just going to have to call the Salvation Army after we leave and see if they will take it, or have those 1-800-JUNK type collectors come over. The dollar signs keep ringing up.

I'm feeling increasingly lost, as if I'm in a hot-air balloon and each of the ropes is being tugged away from the earth. When the last one goes I'll be free...but the safety of the ground and "home" will be gone, too. I don't like it; I'd rather be at anchor.


» Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Packing It In
God, what a day. We were up by 8:30, had breakfast, went to Miller Box for a few more square boxes and some bubble wrap. Came home, changed into grubbies, wrapped the blue glasses, and the few other glasses we are keeping. Wrapped the horse lamp. But ran out of bubble wrap for the mixing bowls. How aggravating.

By this time it was almost two o'clock and we hadn't had lunch. T's closed at three, so we went there first, had more of that wonderful chicken soup. Then we went back to Miller for more bubble wrap and packing peanuts because we still had to pack things like the records (Mom had several dozen old 78s from the 1940s) and the photo albums. Then we stopped at A.C. Moore one more time because I loved some of their fall stuff which Michael's (which we also stopped at) didn't have. They actually have candle rings, which I use for small wreaths and which I haven't seen at either Michael's or JoAnn in over a year.

I also got a tall glass "apothecary jar" for a project I worked on this afternoon just to get some things out of the way. All Mom's Christmas things were downstairs. I tossed out all the clear plastic ornaments, salvaged some long ones, kept the ones I made and the 1950s plastic ornaments, and wish some of the glass ones that were left, made a "memory jar." This is actually something I found in Country Living magazine: what to do with ornaments that are too tarnished to go on the tree. You put them in a clear jar—and you can even use ornament fragments—with tinsel, tiny ornaments, anything else Christmasy you have until the jar is filled, put in multicolor glitter, and cap it all up and put some Christmas ribbon around the lid of the jar. So I did that with the glass ornaments that had flocking on them, plus added little balls, an angel, a flat nativity scene, two "pine" branches off the artificial tree, a tree bulb, and a little fuzzy bird. Dropped different glitters in it, and also did a pattern of glitter on the lid, and tied it with thin red and green ribbon.

We stopped at Anna's on the way home and presented her with the yarn from the attic (and knitting needles), and also some beautiful fall flowers I'd found at Moore's in a white glass vase from the attic.

Then we came home and packed, and packed, and packed and taped, and marked, and finished about 7:30, just in time for Jeopardy. I'm tired, hot, thirsty, and we're going out for Del's Lemonade.


Hell's Bells, It's Humid
All you have to do is move and a sweat breaks out. It was hard to sleep last night, even with another fan in the room (James appropriated the one from the other bedroom). The heat has done a number on my "waste disposal system," if you get my drift, and I was sick and nauseated all last night. (It's not just the heat. It's thinking of time running out and having to leave and knowing it's the last time it will be mine again. ::sigh::)


» Monday, August 08, 2005
China Clippers
Well, we came home, but we didn't rest: I started calling up various movers. One said they could only give me an estimate by seeing the stuff, one didn't answer, one said their sales staff was off for the holiday (it's VJ Day here; the only state that celebrates the holiday). Only the local rep for North American Van Lines gave me a rate per weight. We figure we probably will go over 1000 pounds with the dishes and the furniture being solid wood. 2000 pounds was a little over $1400. This is with the movers coming in, wrapping the furniture, carrying out all the boxes, and then offloading them in Georgia.

Whew. Just for the heck of it I called up U-Haul to see the rate they would charge to rent a truck with a trailer hitch, and the car carrier. Holy cats! They wanted $1488 just for the rental of a 14" truck (anything smaller will not handle the trailer hitch), no one to load it, and the car transport was $300 more. So I called the lady back at North American and told her to do the deal.

Of course now we need to have everything boxed up by the time they come, which can be anytime between the 15th and the 18th. (If we want to fix a date it will cost more. James thinks we ought to fix it. I'm starting to think so, too. I'll see about that when the rep calls back tomorrow.)

This gave me the incentive to go upstairs and continue packing the dishes. James came along and set the fan up (since it was cloudy it was sorta bearable) and we unpacked Mom's china and repacked it in the dish boxes from Miller folks. It turns out this is a service for eight (!!!) and we ran out of bubble wrap—which we started calling "the doohingus" between the dishes and wrapped the remainder of the cups and finger bowls (honest) in fresh newspaper. This fitted in two boxes. Then we realized we still had to wrap "the blue glasses." This is a set of cobalt blue glasses and dishes (with a pitcher) that Mom has had forever; from the moment I saw them I said "I want those." She used to use the blue glass vases that came with them and would break one and then get another. There were only two left and James reduced that to one. But the rest are okay. We have already wrapped some in newspaper but will go back for more bubble wrap tomorrow.

And then we really were done because it was getting on to suppertime. James started the last of the chicken legs that were in the freezer and then we towed out the next set of garbage bags out front: there are 28 of them, plus a recycling bin each of glass, plastic, and paper, and the garbage can that has just what trash we have accumulated ourselves this week.

Finally we were able to sit down and eat. Television was terrible—we'd already seen all the good fundraising stuff on one of the other PBS stations (we get three here)—so I put Star Trek IV on.


Ducks Lining Up
We're starting to get our ducks in a row. We emptied the cupboards today of...all together now...MORE GLASSWARE. The "company" coffee-cups. Apertif glasses (that we never used). Brandy snifters (that we never used). Lots of shot glasses (only one of which we ever used). I guess wedding gifts ran the gamut of Darrin's bar on Bewitched back then. Plus the remainder of the old set of dishes (the remainder of the newer set of dishes are upstairs). Pots and pans. Some cutlery. Serving spoons and forks that were given as favors at showers or weddings (I forget which); I swear there are a dozen. Got more of my stuff in boxes (like the MADs and comics, and the old trip souvenirs and brochures). There is surprisingly little considering (but enough as far as moving them goes).

The fiberglas insulation started making us very itchy, so we decamped and went for showers. Our first stop was Debbie and Richard's shop. Debbie's going to help us get the glasses, dishes, and other assorted stuff to Big Sisters on Friday. Then we had lunch at Harriett's (the lunch place with the terrible pain scheme and the wonderful food <g>).

Then we went by the post office, took the two bills and one sympathy card and trashed the "send funds to our charity" ones, then drove out to the Miller Box Company for packing boxes for dishes and some bubble wrap and more tape. We can do the china tomorrow morning. Next a stop at A.C. Moore for some more "surprise" fixings and finally...more Del's Lemonade!


» Sunday, August 07, 2005
Just Stuff...
We were laggy at getting to work this morning. This is because we have basically gotten to the last of things and are wondering "what on earth do we do with this?"

James tested all the radios we found and we tossed ones that didn't work. The flowers from the funeral had died, so we packed them up. We sorted some stationery and pen items as a "back to school" kit for the kids. James took photos out of frames, which we will donate; I can scrapbook the photos.

Then we went into the attic and sorted through all those darn glasses. Only a dozen of them might be antique: some ice cream cups and four cups/saucers that look like Jadite. The rest were just old drinking glasses, or glass baking dishes; got four cardboard boxes of them. We did get the nostalgia items packed up: newspapers about the Kennedy assassination, the "hurricane book" the Providence Journal published after Hurricane Carol in 1954, my first Communion prayerbook, etc. And we have separated more dishes from things we want to keep; there is an old set and a new one. The only thing we didn't pack up were the MAD magazines and the 1970 Superman comics.

And of course we had more bags of trash, which James put out in the back yard. There's no longer anywhere to store them on the porch. See what I mean about wanting the trash to be collected more often???? James thinks we will beat the 25 bags we had last week.

We quit a little after two. Showered, went for lemonade, then stopped by A.C. Moore to get a couple of supplies for a surprise I'm working on, and then groceries. There was still a steak in the freezer, so James cooked it for supper.


Crew Safe After Mini-Sub Rescue

Well, good!


...WSBK-38 is still showing the Three Stooges shorts. I can hear Dana Hersey reading those letters about it now.


» Saturday, August 06, 2005
Stuffed, Dazzled, and Set Afire
The nap was just what I needed—but if we hadn't been going anywhere I would have tarried!

We parked at the mall (note: they don't validate parking anymore; you're stuck paying) and had a grand time walking around. Providence Place is three stories, with a Nordstrom at one end and a Filene's at the other. (I took a photo outside of the Filene's; like Rich's in Atlanta, it's about to be absorbed by the Macy's name. Jordan Marsh is gone, and now so is Filene's. Farewell to the last of the big Boston department stores.) First place we wandered about was the Thomas Kincade gallery where I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful Christmas music boxes; they are only $60.

But I fell in absolute love in Sharper Image: they have a keyboard that actually rolls up and fits in a pouch: the Play'n'Roll Electronic Piano. It mimics 100 instruments. And look at the price! I want.

We also wandered with glazed and covetous eyes through the Sony Store. I remember the old Panasonic stores, Impulse, and this was even better. The LCD screens were gorgeous, and there were two wonderful little notebook computers (unfortunately both over $2,100). Gah.

We had supper in the food court and then tried our first cone of Ben and Jerry's ever. We both had something called "Chocolate Therapy." Oh. My. God. Dark chocolate ice cream with chocolate pudding and chocolate cookie bits. Todiefor.

Just about sunset we wandered out to Waterplace Park and perched on the side of a staircase waiting for the Waterfire to start. With as many people as there were you would have thought the Pope was speaking. As it darkened, the "firemakers" who start the fires in the 97 baskets along the rivers and in the basin began sailing about, lighting each one. The woods are scented and send a delightful odor over the basin. After the fires are stoked, a small excursion boat and the gondolas ply their clients through the water and among the flames. And the music begins.

James was a bit disappointed. I thought myself there were fountains or something among the fires; there aren't. Also, I noticed on the web page that they had a jazz concert; I thought that was the music for the Waterfire itself. Actually, they used a combination of different music, much of it that sounded "new age-y." I like new age, but some of this sounded a big lugibrious. (The website says much of it was Eastern European church music.) I would have preferred the jazz. But I did enjoy sitting with James and watching the fire and the crowd and the boats sailing between the flames.

We left about 9:30 and came home to throw all the shades open—how this house does hold heat!—and watched the second disk on The High and the Mighty DVD, which I had bought for James at the Borders at Providence Place. We had seen the movie on AMC at home, but the second DVD is almost better than the movie: profiles of John Wayne's Batjac productions, Dimitri Tiomkin, William Wellman, Ernest K. Gann, and other cool bits. (A funny note: one of the highlights of this movie is Tiomkin's "High and the Mighty theme," which is not only played, but John Wayne whistles throughout the film. The whistling is actually done by Muzzy Marcellino, who did the classic Lassie whistle theme. This wouldn't be so funny except that appearing early on in the movie talking to John Wayne about his whistling is George Chandler who played Uncle Petrie on Lassie!)


One If By Bag and Two If By Box
We should have taken the bed apart and put the mattress and spring on the floor a long time ago! Oh, the mattress is still too thin and soft, but now we have the floor as a backing and our "bed" no longer creaks and groans each time one of us moves.

Despite being more comfortable and blessedly cool, I couldn't sleep (Mr. Bladder is an overachiever these days) and by nine James and I were down in the basement. Since Big Sisters wants the clothing and other donations in waterproof bags (they pick them up from in front of your house in the early morning), I put James to work transferring Mom's clothes and the quantitites of blankets, spreads, and curtains into garbage bags. We bought labels and a Sharpie yesterday and labeled what was in the bags. Unlabeled bags are trash and I think we generated at least eight more today. (This joins the eleven on the porch. I wish they picked up the garbage more than once a week!)

While James was doing that, I went through my old notebooks with all my stories in them. The "magazines" I used to do monthly I just trashed (these were really short stories with things like TV previews and drawings between them). The alternative was sitting there ripping the good stories out and it wasn't worth my time. I did keep the longer stories in the composition books and mini notebooks.

Also packed up my diaries from 1968 to 1982 (1973 was missing, which I don't understand), my old TV Guides—to show you my mentality these days, I laid greedy eyes on the old Lassie covers and articles and a My World and Welcome to It cover and chortled "More stuff for my website!", the first sixty issues of Starlog (I have a genuine number one, not the reprint they did many years afterwards; I remember buying one for me and one for Sherrye), and all the gum cards: Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Star Trek: the Motion Picture and even some M*A*S*H ones.

I also put all the "textiles" back in the steamer trunk; what better place to store them? The trunk can just be moved with all the other stuff.

One of the things I found downstairs was something my mom saved: it was an Easter page from the Providence Journal from 1961. I turned it over and was regaled by a Grants ad of "Easter values for the family."

The Easter specials in 1961 included seamless (!!!) nylons for 69 cents a pair (heck, my first pair of nylons in 1968 had seams in them), boys' and girls' Easter shoes at $3.99/pair, schoolgirls' "spring toppers" (a light jacket) for $4.80, boys' felt hats (remember when boys dressed up for Easter in miniature hats like Dad's?) for $1.48, children's straw hats for $1.48, boys' sport coats for $5.80, women's Easter blouses for $2.99, women's Easter hats from $1 to $2.49, little boys' 2-piece sport suit for $3.90, Easter dresses for girls at $2.21. Next to the Grants ad was a smaller one for "The Falstaff, Restaurant -- Cocktail Lounge." Easter Family Dinners were from $2.50, with special prices for children.

The articles on that page included "High-Flying Pilot Tells of Mysterious Buffeting," and was about pilot Joe Walker taking the X-15 to a "new unofficial world altitude record" of 31.25 miles.

(Another thing we found downstairs was an old Table Talk pie plate: this was not only so old that the pie plate was a thick aluminum, but the price on it was 5 cents! It says "New England Table Talk, Flaky Crust Pie." In the magazines people are always mounting these on their walls "as is." I think we shall, too.)

I thought I would never see the day when the cellar was warmer than the attic, but eventually we had to decamp to the attic because downstairs was so stuffy. Upstairs we had the fan running and the windows open and for a while there was a breeze, so it wasn't too bad. James bagged up more clothes, housewares, and handbags for the Big Sisters and I sorted through more of my stuff. Tossed out a lot of stuffed animals and other geegaws that had once been on my bureaus; Mom had wrapped them, but they still had gotten dirty. i did keep my Breyer horses and all my collie statues, and my articulated Lassie action figure.

I don't consider tossing or donating most of this stuff as tossing memories. I've never been much attached to things like clothes or curtains. I did shrug when I put the chickadee spread and curtains into the donation bag, and sighed when I came upon the blue dress mom wore to our wedding. I have her wedding dress, but the veil was a dead loss, and the cake topper and corsage were too dirty to bother with. Most of my memories are hitched to those photos downstairs, the old black and white ones which I loved to pour over as a kid, and the box we found upstairs with all the souvenier pamphlets, postcards, and brochures from our vacations. Everything coming out of those bags was a memory: the paper placemat from some place in Nebraska, the folders for Bryce Canyon and San Simeon and Universal Studios, the Disneyland memory book, etc. I almost cried when I found the bag from the 1964 New York World's Fair: Dad wouldn't spend the money on the then fifty cent Fair guidebook (I bought one for $30 the year we went back to the fairgrounds with Dana and the rest of the Remember WENN gang), but gladly shelled out a dollar for the special book for his favorite ride at the Fair: It's a Small World.

We finally quit a little before two when it was getting stuffy up there despite fan and windows. We showered the grime off and are going to rest and eat and then head downcity for the Waterfire tonight. If nothing else, we can hang around at the Providence Place Mall in Borders...


» Friday, August 05, 2005
Running Hot and Cold
The heat increased as the afternoon wore on. Willow was barfing again. I think it is the heat crossed with being anxious; everything makes her bark. Finally James plunked her into the bathtub, gave her a bath and a cold rinse.

Joe and his helper showed up. It felt funny watching them take apart the bed and cart the furniture out of the house. I keep wondering if this is what my mom would want. Plus I keep seeing things and thinking "I have to tell Mom..." It happened when we went out. First we stopped at the Miller Box Company. Their boxes were half the price of Office Max's and they threw in a roll of strapping tape. Then we were hungry (by then it was after two) and we drove out to Oakland Beach. It's in a cove off Narragansett Bay and at the "opening" on a clear day you can usually see both the Newport and Jamestown bridges (ahem! the Verrazano and Pell bridges...sheesh). A popup thunderstorm was rolling in as we drove up and the horizon disappeared, lightning dancing on the horizon.

We went into Iggy's and had lunch and the storm continued to approach. Everything had vanished except the water closest to the beach and the wind tossed the trees so that the leaves hissed and rattled. The sky opened and the little sparrows cadging crumbs at Iggy's overhang vanished for the few minutes that it rained. Oh, how we enjoyed the breeze! But soon it was over, the sparrows came back, and it got hot again. I kept thinking about telling Mom about the sparrows, and the roll of fog.

On the way home we drove down Warwick Neck. I wanted to show James where Rocky Point Amusement Park used to be, but the whole thing is gated and chained off. A shame, because it's a beautiful view. Even after the amusement park closed, the Shore Dinner Hall was still open for a while and you could drive along the shore. I guess they had too many vandals rummaging among the crumbling remains of the House of Wax, the Tunnel of Love, the midway, the miniature golf course, and Kiddieland. ::sigh:: These creeps always have to ruin it for everyone else.

Stopped at the new Shaw's supermarket on the way home. This is an unremarkable event except that the new Shaw's and the new development "Chapel View" next to it are built on what used to be the scariest sight for West Bay youngsters: the dreaded Sockanosset, the "bad boys and girls school." Yep, they are making a condo/commercial development out of the old reform school. When you hit your rebellious youth, there was no threat worse than "I'll send you to Sockanosset." The multi-story buildings were of grey stone and forbiddingly set on a corner of what was then mostly country and across the street from a coal tipple; down the road was the state prison. Even the chapel for which the development was named was made of this same unyielding grey stone; you did not expect a merciful God in its shadow. Charles Dickens would have felt the familiar loom of old London from the old site.

The house was roasting when we came in, but in a few minutes the front finally came through with great gusts of wind, some thunder, and a spatter of rain. (We were lucky. Places like Burrillville and Brockton, Massachusetts, had wind damage.) It did get cool but the breeze vanished as well, so the fans are still needed to drag the air into the house.