Yet Another Journal

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

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

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» Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Is This the End?
Missing in A Cozy Nook.


Urban Legends, "Mis"-beliefs and Other Things
Dish was doing a free Showtime preview this weekend and we had an opportunity to see two episodes of the Penn and Teller series, Bullshit! While I do wonder if there has to be quite so much profanity, I did find it pretty funny. The "Numbers" episode was especially pertinent since I had just finished reading Freakonomics, another text about how people use words to manipulate numbers so that they support what they advocate. I was particularly amused when the gentleman pulled the change gag and the wallet gag that Joe David Brown illustrated so vividly in Addie Pray (a.k.a. Paper Moon). The "Manners" episode was quite amusing, especially watching the "etiquette lady" rebuke her class for every tiny quirk in their table manners and the gentleman who was bothered by just about everything, including a perfect stranger walking by him on the street talking on her cell phone. I'm surprised he didn't start ranting about people breathing the air in his personal space.

Wonder if Netflix carries the DVDs of this series. Might be worth renting, along with other things people have recommended but we haven't wanted to buy, like Firefly.

Official Home Page of Penn & Teller: Bullshit!


Miserable summer weather has already set in and it's still three weeks to the equinox! The respite we had over a week ago is truly over, and temps are soaring into the 90s. The sun on the concrete and the sides of homes dazzles my eyes and makes them ache.

Ivan talks about not having put the air conditioning on until this weekend. In Savannah yet, where they have "air you wear." Ye Gods. Talk about slow broiling on a spit.

We have found that the downstairs stays cool and have not turned the A/C on there yet. While it has been in the 90s outside, it is about 74°F down there, a bit warmish for my taste, but not bad. I think once we get the ceiling fan up in the library (we bought three this weekend, with help from that nice Lowe's gift card from the Butlers—thank you!!!!) and in James' hobby room and put up the curtains and shades in his room, it will help a lot. James is still arranging how he wants things to be down there and access to the windows is problematic.

Not having to A/C the downstairs should help on the electric bills. The new house is 600 sq. feet larger than the old one and downstairs is at least that, probably more. So in actuality we're A/C'ing less area.


Tuesday Twosome

Think of two words that describe...

1. The smells of summer:

Hot concrete and hot swampy vegetation (especially in the parking lot at work, which is at the edge of a wetlands).

2. The sights of summer:

Glare. (Can't see much else because I'm squinting into the sun. )

3. The sounds of summer:

Cicadas and birds.

4. The touch of summer:

Sizzling hot steering wheel (now I can't feel anything, either).

5. The tastes of summer:

Frozen lemonade and watermelon.


» Monday, May 29, 2006
Fun Shopping
There's grocery, clothes, or necessary things shopping, and then there's fun shopping, which we did today. Michael's has 50 percent off coupons on holidays so I bought a matte cutter (you wouldn't believe what framing places want just to cut a matte) and some Zweigart evenweave. Their "Mediterranean" topiaries were half off, so I got an apple topiary for the top of the Expedit divider.

James also took me to Old Time Pottery. Last night while I was looking for something for Willow, I dropped one of the decorative tins and it hit the top of the cute ceramic "cow chef" figure I had bought there and broke its chef cap. We were hoping they had another one, but all we found was the companion cow, which looks like it was meant to hold a wine bottle. I bought it anyway. I went looking and think I have found all the parts of the chef's cap and am going to attempt to reassemble it with Superglue.

We also discovered the old Apex, our original DVD player, seems to have given up the ghost. It wouldn't load discs yesterday, but kept skipping, and did so today only with the greatest of difficulty. So we went by BrandsMart to get another DVD player for the guest room, just a simple Cyberhome like we have for our Region 2 player in the living room. Surprise! they are on sale for $18.88! Got it home and hacked it to Region 0 and now it "transposes" from American to British and back with equal aplomb.


» Sunday, May 28, 2006
The Creature Lives!
A minor bobble (an unplugged plug) but James' computer seems to be working okay.

We are watching Thunderbirds on one of the HD channels. You should see the depth and the color on the picture.


It Always Makes Me Cry
All the way through the Memorial Day concert.


That Holiday Feeling
James has finally Had Enough. When his computer locked up for something like the fifteenth time today (and we got up at eleven and went out this afternoon!), just now, he unplugged everything and is now going to install the new motherboard and processor and memory. I'm crossing fingers for him.

Willow is now nervous. She knows when Daddy works on the "not-a-walk" he usually yells and she's afraid he's angry at her.

This is James' first three-day weekend since Christmas and we're trying to chill during most of it. We did do the monthly WalMart trip because we needed some things and he has to work on Saturday. Wil went to the vet yesterday and they did another blood test. The vet gave her some anti-inch spray; thankfully, she doesn't seem to need it as much this weekend. The vet seems to think she was bitten by a flea and is allergic to fleabites, as he has seen this syndrome before. Since she stays in the house most of the time and we don't have any fleas, we're trying to figure out when it happened and where the fleas came from. Does the Lhasa apso next door have fleas?

We went to Lowe's to return the parts the salesman told us the garage door installer would need (apparently we have good solid doors because he didn't) and James saw the coolest ceiling fan. He has his eye on one called an Aero which has a big light and blades that look like propellor blades. But there was a new one today with the flat light in the middle and two small fans on either side. It rather resembles a small propellor airplane with a big headlight in the middle. The blades are silver on one side rather than a white or off-white, which contributes to the industrial look.

I am at present reading Freakonomics, which I borrowed from the library. Some of the theories are downright interesting, such as the drop in crime being caused by Roe v. Wade. Unlike your high school economics book, it's also very readable.

While we were at BJ's stocking up on the week's supply of milk we splurged and bought a couple of T-bones, one to grill out tonight. It is at present marinating in teriyaki sauce while American Experience, "Victory in the Pacific," runs on the television. This will be followed by the National Geographic special about Arlington National Cemetery and then it's the National Memorial Day concert. I watched these last year with my mom and the memory makes me rather triste.

We fulfilled one of my dreams and ate breakfast at the table this morning while reading the newspaper (this is one of my cherished Sunday morning memories after Mom and Dad decided we would go to Mass on Saturday nights once St. Mary's started that practice; unless we were going on a picnic or to one of the concerts at Diamond Hill, it was a lovely Sunday morning at the Lanzis, Mom and Dad having coffee and cereal while I munched my way through toast or Special K, with a nice fresh eggnog made with eggs direct from Stamps Farm—or Almacs, depending on if Daddy had wanted to truck all the way out Scituate Avenue or not; it's all housing developments out there now). Pidgie had a glorious time wandering about the table sampling whatever we were eating: my oatmeal and toast, James' Bagel Bites and egg rolls.

Now James is using the table to assemble Frankenputer Mark Whatever (I've lost count)...


» Friday, May 26, 2006
Friday Five

1. How many places have you lived in your life?

Nine. Eight of them in the last 22 years.

2. Which was your favorite and why and what street was it on?

That's between the new house now and the house I grew up in, which was small but it didn't matter; there was love and fun there. That was on Appleton Street; there were four parallel streets named in alphabetical order (Appleton, Berkeley, Crawford and Doane, except for some reason Doane came before Crawford...).

3. If you could live anywhere for the rest of your life, where would it be?

New Hampshire. Because it's cold there longer. (In summer I'd live in New Zealand, where it's winter.)

4. What would your ideal home have in it?

I'm living in my ideal home. James would probably want a gourmet kitchen. And then there's those hardwood floors we never got. Oh, well. The hardwood in the foyer is already scratched. They don't make 'em like they used to.

5. Can you describe your current crib?

"Split foyer" is what they call it. Upstairs to combo living/dining (L-shaped), kitchen, master bedroom with bath and closet, hall bath, two small bedrooms, deck, downstairs to laundry room, bonus room, extra bedroom and bathroom, and the garage.


Had been looking at the calendar yesterday, realizing that today—tonight, actually—is just a year from that long, long night when Mother wouldn't answer the phone and our last journey began together. I dreamt about her last night: not in her house, but in some strange large place with nooks and crannies and huge closets. We (although I don't remember who the other person was; it was a woman, though, not James) were waiting for someone to bring Mom home and for some reason couldn't call them to find out when, or even tell them we were there. It must have been winter outside because when Mom did show up, with a walker, she and whomever gave her the ride were in coats, but inside we had one of those big middle-of-the-room portable air conditioners going. [wry grin] I knew it was a dream: I haven't been able to wear flannel pajamas for the past two years because of the hot flashes, even in winter with the windows open, and here I was wearing them again.

Just as I was about to meet Mom at the door the dream ended. Damn...


» Thursday, May 25, 2006
Thursday Threesome

::Last Day of School::

Onesome- Last: What's the last thing you do each day before heading to bed? Do you sit down with a cup of herbal tea? Read a bit? What's your evening routine? Do you settle in early or are you a night owl, winding down long after the rest of the household is in bed?

:-) Cover the birdcage.

That's not fair, though, because I always forget something: the book I'm planning to read for a few minutes after my shower, shutting the hall bath door so the bedroom door can stay open without light coming in, putting my PDA on to charge, checking the weather...

If I had my druthers I wouldn't go to bed until wayyyy late, one or two, and sleep until ten. I sleep better after six (which, of course, is when I have to get up on weekdays!—typical!).

Twosome- Day: How do you start off your day? Do you stumble to the kitchen and turn on the coffee maker in a sleepy haze? Or do you wake up refreshed and rarin' to go? Maybe somewhere in the middle?

Refreshed? I wish. Don't get much refreshment out of a night's sleep anymore. After dressing on weekday mornings, I go assemble things for my lunch bag and then check the weather and the traffic before leaving.

Threesome- of School: What's your fondest school memory? Whether it be from childhood or college, let us know!

All of ninth grade. Ninth grade was swell. We had great teachers—Mr. Abosamra was our English teacher and he was fabulous!—and we were the Big Kids on Campus. (Remember, this was back in junior high school days. Ninth grade was the big year, not eighth.) I didn't have half the fun in my senior year of high school than I did in ninth grade. In fact, 12th grade was a big letdown.


You've Got to Weigh It All Carefully
"Healthy" Foods Can Be Pitfall for Dieters

Um, you'll learn this really quickly living with someone with/having diabetes. Grape juice is better for you than Coca-Cola, right? Nope, it has more sugar! And boy, there's sugarless candy, right? True, but it still has calories.


Harry, Harry, Harry!
And not Potter.

Jim Butcher's Dresden Files Books Come to TV

Well, cool, I've been reading this series since it began.

Speaking of Harry Potter, I think I've read the books too many times. XM Radio has had numerous ads for World Cup soccer...and all I can think of is how much fun it would be to see the Quidditch World Cup competition.


» Wednesday, May 24, 2006
The Hissing Post
Um, why is this cat running loose? Don't they have "leash laws" in Connecticut?

Owner Goes to Court to Save Attack Cat


About reducing noise in hospitals to help people heal more quickly: Patients Get the Silent Treatment.

Gee, remembering James' roommate in the hospital last April, maybe they can also give the nurses authority to turn off loud televisions on all night????


» Tuesday, May 23, 2006
A Home for House
Oh, boy! Check this out: House M.D. Guide

With--wow!--a Suzan Lovett House/Holmes artwork. I think I've just found new Windows wallpaper!


Highs to Low
It was quite a weekend...except some of it wasn't exactly pleasant.

We had our housewarming party on Saturday night and it was a lot of fun—although we missed a lot of you guys...where were you? I know one person had car trouble and two others were at a graduation...anyway, we did miss you!

The only fly in the ointment was Willow, who is becoming increasingly more nervous every time we have people visit—she barked a lot and I know she annoyed several people. I apologize. The only cure for her, I think, is to have people over more often, perhaps in smaller groups until she's more comfortable. Of course then they have to endure the Ritual Barking of the Dog. I'm glad she's finally off that troublesome antibiotic, which has left her very itchy and she has lost hair around the base of her tail in a crescent-moon arch. It's not exactly bare, but the hair left there is short and brittle and feels odd. She has no skin irritation, though, that we can see: the skin is pink and healthy-looking.

Anyway, about the time we were saying farewell to the last guests, I developed severe stomach cramps. Without going into detail, let's say that I was very attached to the bathroom for about three hours and my stomach was upset. I stayed in most of the day on Sunday and James fed me bland food; we had very lightly-seasoned turkey for supper with plain potatoes and I figured I'd be okay by next day, but was up most of the night, restless and with roiling going on inside. At 6 a.m. I just flat shut off the alarm and ended up sleeping until almost two in the afternoon. I had a slight fever about 8 a.m., so I swallowed ibuprofin for the day and kept my nose in a book between bouts of nodding off. Today my digestion is still a mess, even after the daily Prilosec and oatmeal for breakfast.


Yo, Adrian!
New Monk episodes beginning July 7 at a new time, 9 p.m. Eastern.

I caught a bit of the "elephant" episode over the weekend and realized I still do miss Sharona, for all that I like Natalie as a person.


» Friday, May 19, 2006
Screened and Sharpened
Interfaces to outdoors and other matters in Autumn Hollow.

Can you see the door?


» Thursday, May 18, 2006
Thursday Threesome

Fun with numbers!


Onesome: 303-- In what household product line is this number used as a size? Can you guess, or will you have to hit the link?

Twosome: 451-- Where is this number used in a title? Bonus: without Google, what is the significance of the number?

Threesome: 501-- Where is this number used to denote a style? Ah, you should know this one <g>...

Okay, I flunked this one good. I should have at least known the second one, but I confess that I've never read the book. Living in a future where books are burned and banned is almost too horrible to contemplate. Should have noticed which word was emphasized in #1, but really, who thinks about numbers in can sizes? I know in old cookbooks they'd say "use so many cups of cooked peas or a #3 can of peas," but I've never seen that used today. And the last—I've never worn that brand of clothing in my life and I don't listen to commercials. So the number means nothing to me.

Numbers that I do find significant: 132, 86, 99, 222, 51, 26809, 100, 32, and 38. You can try guessing them if you like. :-) A couple, though, only family or Rhode Islanders might know. (Maybe Bostonians--which is a hint for one.)


» Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Restoring something old in Autumn Hollow.


This Again?
Early Viewers Pan Da Vinci Code

Guys, it's just a story. It's not even worth all the fuss. (Granted, it was better than the first Robert Langdon book, Angels and Demons, but that's not saying much.)

Note the last two paragraphs: Was I the only one who read this book and rolled eyes...not another evil albino character! At least Foul Play is played for laughs.

The best thing DaVinci Code has engendered are some interesting specials about the book and speculations about the life of Jesus that we don't read about in the Bible. The one I enjoyed most was The Real DaVinci Code with Tony Robinson, who is best remembered as Baldrick on the Blackadder series. He narrated the special in fine James Burke style and debunked all the books "facts" while being entertaining as well as informative.


» Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Tuesday Twosome

Not deep, not shallow...

1. Do you think you were born into this world for a specific purpose, why or why not?

No, not if there's actually free will. If there's some sort of a purpose, it should simply be to be the best and kindest person you can be (without acquiesing to everything, however).

2. Do you have an old resentment or unhealed hurt? How has it affected you?

Besides the fact that I hated my allergy because it meant I couldn't have a dog? Not much I could do about that. Made me glad that there were medicines today so I can have a dog in the house. (It's still a pain, though, because I can't hug or cuddle Willow or have her lick me and have to wash my hands every time I pet her.)

3. Describe the perfect spring day. Tell about an activity you would do on that day.

The perfect spring day would be cool—in the 50s so I could wear comfy sweats and a light jacket—with a nice breeze. It wouldn't be overcast but there would be lots of clouds so the sun wouldn't glare and give me headaches. If I was still living in Rhode Island I would do what I used to do when I was in college: after class I would go to Roger Williams Park and walk around the zoo (it was free back then) or go to the museum. I guess here I would just take a walk around the neighborhood. (Be a nice day to walk around the Atlanta Botanical Garden or the Tullie Smith/woods area at the Atlanta History Center...)

4. Name two people who are alive today you would love to meet and describe why:

Well, I'd love to meet Hugh Laurie; I've seen him on several talk shows and he sounds like a hoot. Otherwise, I dunno.

5. Make up two new words and then give them definitions:

Ahhh, sniglets!

"Snodding": The half-snooze you develop at your desk staring at a computer screen after you close your eyes because they hurt due to the glare from the fluorescent light; the minute your head nods you come back awake with a jerk.

Can't think of another.

My favorite sniglet was always "roverflow," the bits of dog food that your canine companion leaves dribbled outside his dish.


» Monday, May 15, 2006
Monday Madness

Fill in the blanks...

1. If I could change ONE thing from this past weekend, it would be ________.

My mom would have been here.

James was good about keeping me busy yesterday so I didn't have to think too much. I think he went to a couple of places he didn't want to go just to keep me occupied.

But I couldn't escape it all day. I did eventually retreat into the guest room to have a cry. Willow came in to see who was in there and stayed to "guard" me.

2. One of my favorite recipes includes chicken .

Since it's chicken soup. Comfort food and all that.

3. If things don't go as originally planned, I tend to get upset .

4. My daily routine is very dull until I get home from work .

Of course when I finish this I'm off to clean the bathroom. It's still pretty tame. :-)

5. The one television show I will probably miss, since the season is coming to an end, is House! .

Season finale is a week from tomorrow.

6. I have a calendar hanging/sitting on my desk, right in front of me .

It's a small lighthouse calendar has both our paydays marked and what gets paid on that payday. Mine is coming up Friday and it will pay the fridge, washer, and dryer.

There's also a wooden calendar on the dining room wall, with the little tiles so you can change it month-by-month and with special tiles for holidays, and a dry-erase calendar on the refrigerator with the days I'm off, any weekend day James works, dates of things coming up like "Hair Day" or a game night, and a list of what meat for which night to remind James to take something out of the freezer.

7. I'm really good about changing the calendar when the day/month changes.

Since we really use them all!


Sweet Sky Blue
I'd forgotten to mention how wonderful the weather has been; it's like late May or early June in New England (without insane heat waves like last year's). Yesterday the sky continued to be winter blue and there was a brisk breeze. Even in late afternoon when it got warm you could stay cool by driving through the trees. According to the forecast this will last through Thursday; pity it can't be like this on Saturday for the party, when it would be nice to have all the windows flung open and fresh air filling the house as everyone sat around and chatted.

The old house was terribly compartmentalized and not built for air circulation unless the attic fan was set roaring to life and physically dragged air through the house. Each breeze ran into a wall upstairs. In the kitchen/living room this was partially our fault for not having the sliding glass doors fixed so some type of circulation would exist between the open front door and the back yard, but we both hated that door and were holding out for french doors. Besides, if left open it seemed no matter how we treated the ants still came waltzing in.

The den only had one small window, the one that existed when it was a garage and very little air came into the room. It was a pity because otherwise the den was very comfy.

In the new house all I have to do is open all the windows—the doors don't count right now because they don't have screens—and if there is the slightest breeze it will come in and move delightfully all over the main floor. When it's warm I can supplement this with fans. It sure was nice yesterday!

The only trouble with fresh air is that it makes me sleepy! I get envious of people who say warm spring air invigorates them. From when I was small my mom discovered that the best way to make me sleep was to put me out in a warm breeze. ::click!:: I was off like that proverbial light. Today I still nap better in the car than I sleep at night. (This is probably because I'm simply not sleepy at the time I need to go to bed to get up at 6 a.m. It is quite a chore to get to sleep early.)


» Sunday, May 14, 2006
Just Keeping Moving
It helps if I don't think...

We had to drive out to Dunwoody to the vet to get Willow new meds—the penicillin was making her itchy—so we just went a little further and had lunch at Fry's. Wasn't looking for anything in particular. We did find the Fury and Sky King DVDs that Alpha Video has put out. I have three of the four episodes of Fury available, but I wanted the fourth. I enjoyed Fury almost as much as I loved Lassie and wish the entire series would come out in DVD. Sure would be better to watch than reality TV and the latest sitcoms!

We checked out the JoAnn Etc. nearby—the one at Town Center has been darn slow in ordering new stock!—and also stopped at the Barnes & Noble nearby: woohoo! I finally found my favorite cross-stitch magazine, Quick & Easy there. I haven't seen one in months; the store at Town Center seems to have just quit carrying it. I wish all B&Ns carried the same magazines! I've found Quick & Easy in Harrisonburg, VA, and in Warwick, RI, but it's like pulling teeth to find here.

(There is the funniest article in Q&E: the last pattern in the magazine is always a head shot of some favorite pop star or actor. Last July it was Christopher Eccleston, who starred in the Doctor Who revival. There's a story by a woman in this issue who is friends with Eccleston's mother; the moment this woman saw the pattern she showed it to Mrs. Eccleston, who was delighted and asked the woman if she wouldn't work the pattern for her. So the woman did so and Mrs. Eccleston loved it. The article has a snapshot that Mrs. E took of Christopher holding his cross-stitch portrait. It was quite adorable!)

(I found a number of cool books on the remainder racks, too: George Carlin's When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?, a book of the best of Eleanor Roosevelt's "My Day" columns, and a fascinating book called The Keystone Kid about a gentleman who was a child actor in the Keystone Kops silent comedies.)

We'd picked up a steak when we stopped at Food Depot for a paper this morning and James grilled it. Yummy with Yukon gold potatoes! Just finishing laundry and watching a special about "the real DaVinci code" narrated in rather James Burke style by Tony Robinson, who most people know from playing Baldrick in the Blackadder stories.


» Saturday, May 13, 2006
Road Trip; or Shoes 1, Linda 0
We traveled down to visit James' mom for Mother's Day. Dark clouds had come rumbling in while we were getting gasoline and we fought rain on and off as we drove south. We stopped at the flea market at Exit 221 so James could look for leather belts; he found them, too—much better quality than the usual ones found in department stores and a lot cheaper, too! Two vendors were selling puppies and we smiled over the antics of two Chihuahuas and a pretty red Pomeranian was very tempting!

We also stopped at Books-a-Million and I not only found the Reminisce I missed due to not advising the Reiman Publication people that we'd moved, but the latest issue of Variety Crosspatch puzzles! Yeehah! They didn't have any the last time we went and I figured they'd quit carrying them too. I love crosspatch (also known as crisscross) puzzles and Books-a-Million, now that the newstand on the South 120 Loop has closed, is the only place that carries them. Everyone has fill-ins, which I loathe, but nobody has crosspatches. There used to be several different crosspatch magazines and Variety's is the last one left.

I also found a Password game—many sweet memories of watching this game show with host Allen Ludden.

Before we went to the house we stopped at the cemetery to put some Memorial Day flowers on James' dad's grave. I had made a little arrangement from red-white-and-blue carnations, a red-white-and-blue mini bucket, and a little flag froufrou we had purchased at Michael's and James also got a red-white-and-blue pinwheel to put at the grave because James' dad loved pinwheels. (We found out from his Mom that it probably wouldn't stay there because the cemetery people have been throwing away all personal memorabilia left on graves, even little dolls and teddies left on children's graves! They said it looked "messy"! Well, excuse me. I guess it's more important to have a picture-perfect cemetery than help people assauge their grief! So much for the fake sympathy the cemetery people pass along when your loved one dies. Once they have the money, there goes the sympathy!)

We were supposed to stop at the Tanger Outlet Mall on the way down, but the jerk in the right lane wouldn't let James get over. So we hit Tanger on the way home, picked up the required underwear, and then I went into the Reebok store.

I absolutely loathe shopping for shoes and this was just frustrating. I like the classic leather Reebok. But the women's version that is actually my size is too narrow. I tried on a 7 with some sort of weird forlorn hope that perhaps as I'd grown older my foot had increased in size lengthwise. The 7 not only fell off my heel, but it was still too narrow.

What I have been wearing for years has been what was called a "boy's shoe" and is now called a "kid's shoe" (I guess "boy's shoe" was sexist or something?) in a size 5 1/2. Last time we were there I wandered fruitlessly around the store for nearly an hour, then James found where the Classic style kids shoes were being kept and I bought three pair (it was buy two get one free).

This time I found one, count 'em, one Classic in the kids' size in white, which I didn't want, and when I went to try it on, it was still too narrow. We finally walked out and I am furious. My white weekend shoes are shot from when we moved and I need new ones, but I'm not going to buy uncomfortable shoes just to have new ones.

I can't see why anyone sees buying shoes as a pleasure. Maybe it is when your foot is a standard size like James' feet are and you can just waltz into a store and buy a size and not even have to try them on because you know they will fit, but all it is is a misery to me.

As a bit of a respite I found the cutest book in the remainder store. Apparently when Elizabeth Taylor was a teenager she had a pet chipmunk named Nibbles. She wrote a little book about it and it was illustrated with her own drawings of the chipmunk. This little book, Nibbles and Me, was reprinted with her text and drawings, and several photos of her from the movies she was doing at that time (Courage of Lassie and also one from National Velvet. It's an adorable book.

James also bought me a Mother's Day gift from the fids: the Trivial Pursuit Book Lover's edition, which has special metal game tokens: a typewriter, a pile of books, a book bag, and a coffee cup!


» Friday, May 12, 2006
Three Chilly Saints
I have before me my Ben Franklin's Almanac of Wit, Wisdom & Practical Advice, published by the Yankee magazine folks, and reading May 11th's "Lore & Legend" entry: "May 11, 12, and 13 were known collectively to old-time almanac makers as the Three Chilly Saints, named for three early Christian martyrs whose feast days occur now. These days are traditonally cold."

Well, not usually in Georgia. It's around Mother's Day when we usually give up the ghost and pop on the A/C, after the temperatures at night go over 60°F, when we find it too warm for sleeping on the second floor. But on Wednesday we had a day of dark, damp, dreary rain and when yesterday came, everything had been washed clean and cool and there was a brisk wind. I came home yesterday and "threw open the sash" like Clement Moore's protagonist, not to face snow but waving trees and refreshing breeze.

This morning the sky bloomed to an intense, almost December blue, with none of the yellow scum on the horizon that accumulates when it is warm. When I left work early it was almost chilly in the shade, and, although the day warmed up considerably, after the installer left and the laundry was done and I sat to cross-stitch in my rocker, the breeze playing over me almost had me wishing for a fleece blanket. (It was behind me but I resisted the impulse; if I'd put it on there would have been a "power surge" for sure.) (The joke about hot flashes is "My inner child is playing with matches." Matches, hell. My inner child carries a frappin' blowtorch!)

Tomorrow is going to be equally cool; too bad it won't stay this way for the housewarming. By then we'll have the door screens up and will have some lovely cross-drafts!


Ups and Downs By Remote...
...the garage door openers and other tales in Autumn Hollow.


» Thursday, May 11, 2006
Thursday Threesome

::Moon River::

Onesome: We're after the same rainbow's end- What's your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Happiness, true friendship, money?

Good health, good friends, and lots of books. :-)

Twosome: Waiting around the bend- Anything interesting coming just 'round the bend for you?

Well, we are having a housewarming on the 20th!

Threesome: My Huckleberry friend- Huckleberries, what are they anyway?? Seriously though, what's the strangest fruit you've ever eaten? Did you like it or hate it?

Actually, I think they're a type of blueberry...or something like that. I think the strangest fruit I ever ate was a pomegranate. They're pretty messy. My mom liked them, but didn't get them often because they were so messy. She also liked prickly pears, but didn't buy them often because it was so difficult to get all the stickers out. My favorite "odd" fruit isn't that odd: coconuts! The ones you have to break on the basement floor. I can't stand coconut frosting or filling, but I love fresh coconut!


» Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Danish Collies
While looking for Lassie images I stumbled upon a Danish site called "Kennel Lassie" ( and an entire page of photos of collies and their puppies. Lovely!


A Return to Gull Island...
...and discovering the pink has been turned down a little in A Cozy Nook to Read In.


Speaking of Birds...
...happy birthday to Pigwidgeon, who is two today.


Over the weekend there were flocks of them: two pair of cardinal couples, at least one chickadee and some type of tufted titmouse, a big red-headed woodpecker and a smaller one with just a spot of red on the back of his head, and even a male bluebird.

Not one of them did I see last night.

The suet cake is finished and the birds are simply turning their noses (?) up at the seed. This is the same bird food we've always bought and the birds flocked to it.

I remember once that I complained to the vet that Merlin wanted to gobble the millet and not eat his seeds or pellets. She replied, "Well, if you had a choice between candy and vegetables, which would you eat?

She had a point. :-)


» Tuesday, May 09, 2006
No Clan of the Cave Bear?
Neanderthals and Modern Humans May Have Never Met


» Monday, May 08, 2006
Friday Five

Late because I was busy on Friday.

1) Do you like your birth-name? Why?

No, not particularly. "Linda" was the big name back then. I had a cousin Linda a few years older than me and also was in the same grade with two other Lindas.

2) If you could change your name to anything else, what would it be?

I don't really know. There's not a particular name I "feel like," either.

3) What names would you consider giving your children?

If we had had children a boy would have been "James Michael" after his father and my father, and a daughter would have been "Christina Kathryn" after Christina in Flambards and Kathryn because James likes the name.

4) If you had a band, what would you name it, and why?

Never wanted a band. Why is there always a question like this lately?

5) Is there a name that you completely hate? Why?

Oh, gosh, lots, but they all belong to someone and most probably belong to someone who likes them. Why should I be insulting?


» Sunday, May 07, 2006
Just Plane Busy
A couple of new photos up at Autumn Hollow.


A Good-Humored Man
If you noted my cousin Donna's comment a couple of posts ago, she just carried the news that my cousin Raymond had died.

Raymond was this mythic figure when I was a little girl. He was my uncle Ernest's (my mom's second oldest brother) son. He was stationed in Northern California during World War II and fell in love with the place. As soon as the war was over and he'd come home to his mother and father, he returned to settle there, get married, and have five children. To a child like me who was in love with television, anyone who lived in the "magic land of California" was awesome.

In 1975 my dad finally followed through on one of his dreams: the three of us drove out to California. Of course Mom wanted to visit her nephew so we contacted them.

Raymond was one of those people who was even more fun in person than he was to wonder about. I suppose in the day-to-day scheme of living he had sad days and lost his temper like anyone else, but when we visited there he was always smiling. He adored my mother—she was close to many of her nieces and nephews, most of whom she had cared for when they were younger—and he was always giving her an affectionate hug and calling her "sweetie" or "my girlfriend." We had a lot of fun during both of our visits—we went to downtown San Francisco (Dad even drove down Lombard Street), rode the cable cars, went to Muir Woods. The second time we visited Ray's eldest son Bruce was getting married. Ray was the proud papa in his natty tuxedo. We had a grand time that day.

Eventually he and his wife Joyce came east to visit the family several times. He was always crazy to come see "Aunty Mary" and when we cleaned out Mom's photos last year we found dozens of snapshots that Ray and Joyce had taken on their visits and sent copies of to Mom. She loved their visits and would also phone them once every couple of months.

Several years ago Joyce died from cancer and Mom called me afterwards to break some other troubling news: apparently Raymond had been suffering from symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease, but Joyce had been covering up for him. Without her he wasn't able to function on his own and his kids made the difficult decision to place him in assisted living. When Mom passed away last year I managed to find my cousin Terry (Ray's youngest daughter) to let her know and pass on the news to Bruce, Steve, Cindy, and Denise. She told me all the kids got together with Ray several times a week and he still had that sense of humor come though occasionally.

Somewhere tonight I know Mom and Ray are together again. He's got his arm around her and is calling her "sweetheart" and Aunty is together with one of her favorite boys once more.


» Saturday, May 06, 2006
Mystery Solved
James figured out what the DVD receiver box left on our porch was for. We are leasing the new HD receiver. If we ever drop Dish, they get the receiver back. The box is supposed to be for us to send our old receiver back to them.

Except we didn't lease our old receiver from them, we bought it at Sam's Club.

So they can't have it. Nyahh.


» Friday, May 05, 2006
The plastic-wrapped Dish Network box on the front porch contained...two styrofoam pads, an instruction sheet, and a piece of cardboard. It was sealed shut.

What in the hell...


...Nor Snow Nor Dark of Night"
But a dead battery would do it.

After the guy came about the screens I headed out—it was after noon—did some errands, went to the bank to get the safe deposit box they said I could have for free (it's really not free, but it's only $5 a year). The staff seemed after-lunch lethargic; the guy helping me could barely keep from yawning. He was so slow I didn't even bother asking him about getting a CD; I hadn't had lunch and was feeling definitely queasy.

When I got home there was a big box with a picture of a receiver and a remote on it from Dish Network on the front porch! Except I picked it up and brought it inside and it weighs barely anything. They don't make them that light these days, do they?

Anyway, I finished more housework, then was taking Willow outside when the post office van stopped outside the door. Looked like the carrier had my batik floats from the Vermont Country Store.

She looked rueful and soon I understood why: her battery was dead and she'd just shut off the engine to bring me my packages. Someone at another location had just jumped her off and told her not to shut off the engine, but force of habit had been too strong. Plus her cell phone was dead. I don't have any jumper cables, but I let her borrow my cell phone and she must have called her emergency number two dozen times; it was busy the whole time. She finally didn't want to use up any more of my minutes, so I told her to go up to the sales office. It didn't look like any of the work crew was still there, but I couldn't see the whole driveway (our neighbors with the half dozen cars blocked the view) and it was always possible Gwen or Elizabeth might have some jumper cables.

Soon she came back, got the rest of her mail and delivered it on foot, then went to sit in her truck (she got there just in time to avoid a downpour). Evidently she finally got ahold of someone because they just brought her a new truck and towed the old one away.


Well, Snellfrocky...
The folks from Dish can't come over because the technician's truck broke down.

They don't have another truck?

So I've had to postpone the HD for two weeks, since that's the next time I'm off.

Pffft, Dish!


» Thursday, May 04, 2006
You Asked for It
More pictures at Autumn Hollow.


I've seen Speed Racer show up on VH1, live-action series on Cartoon Network, schlock movies turn up on the former "American Movie Classics" and Turner Classic Movies...but can someone tell me what in the wide, wide world of sports Law and Order is doing on the Sci-Fi Channel??? Maybe they think cops who actually do their jobs are something out of science fiction?

What's next, bull riding on Lifetime?


Mom's Work Is Never Done
I saw the funniest thing going out to lunch: I was walking on the grass between the building and the stand of trees at the back (actually it's the front of the building, but everyone thinks of it as the back). On the pine straw scattered at the edge of the grass and into the trees I saw three squirrels looking for food. As I came up, the one furthest away from me decided I was a threat and made a bound toward a nearby bush.

Swoop out of one of the trees came a mockingbird. It dive-bombed the hapless squirrel and it fled in terror into the bush. The bird followed the squirrel, raspily scolding and flapping and pecking. I wondered what the "furry-tailed tree rat" had done to make it so angry until I got a few steps closer to the bush the squirrel had run for. There under the bush were two of the cutest, big-eyed mockingbird fledgelings I'd ever seen. They looked at me curiously and I looked back. They're so adorable at that age, with no tails. It's possible today was the first day they'd left the nest and Mama Mockingbird was taking no chances with those unreliable squirrels!

I didn't stay looking at them too long. I didn't want Mom angry at me, too!


Thursday Threesome

::Wuthering Heights (and lows)::

Onesome: Wuthering-- What kind of word is that anyway? Do you have a word you think is just strange? "Kangaroo" comes to mind <g>...

Goodness, who could list them all? How about the word for fear of the number thirteen? "Triskaidekaphobia." Now there's a weird word.

In a related question, have you ever stared at one word so long that it starts to look weird? It can even be a simple word, like "louse" or "silver."

Twosome: Heights-- Are you afraid of them or can you dance along the rooftop coping like a character in a movie?

No, I'm afraid of heights, but not to the point where I can't go up somewhere high as long as it looks like there is support. I hate getting up high on ladders, for instance, because then the rungs are below me and it looks as if I just tip backward a bit and I will fall. But I have no trouble going up on places like the Empire State Building or the John Hancock Tower and looking down; in fact it's fun. I have the floor under me and in back of me and it's okay.

Threesome: (and lows)-- What kind of insect or bug sends you low and scurrying? Do spiders do that to you? Wasps? ...or do you just squish everything that "bugs" you?

I'm not scared of ants as much as I just don't want the little buggers in my house. Roaches, on the other hand, are just creepy looking. Wasps scare me because I've never been stung and because James is hideously allergic to them; he carries a sting pen he has to jam into his thigh if he ever gets stung by a bee or wasp and then it's call 911 ASAP. What really grosses me out are worms. Yes, I know, worms are perfectly harmless. They aerate the soil and help things grow better. They don't bite or sting. I still think they are nauseating to look at. I put on Farmer's Almanac TV last night and they were showing little kids in a nature class learning about worms. I had to turn it off. At that age I would have gone screaming inside to my mother.


» Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Too Soon
I'm glad Texas Ranch House is on this week. It keeps me watching PBS and almost nothing on commercial television—the Mother's Day commercials are getting me a bit down.


No Bare Walls...
... our way in Autumn Hollow.


Yippee Ki-Yi No
Anyone watching Texas Ranch House, the newest saga in the "modern people living in the 'past'" reality series that started with the British 1900 House?

Either the franchise is just wearing thin or this one is particularly boring to me (I've never been much on Western living, although there's several cowboy films I enjoy). All the people involved seem pleasantly nondescript. As usual, they are acting out of character due to their own 21st century mores and restrictions put on them by the production. For instance, the cowboys were complaining about their monotonous diet of dried beef and beans. On a cattle drive, that's might be all real cowboys got to eat, but certainly at the ranch the cook should have had more supplies—I know from my reading that these cooks were capable of producing biscuits, pies, and stews with the correct supplies (the ranch owner seems pretty parsimonious to the guys who are doing the work for him!). To supplement their diet real cowboys would have gone hunting after their chores were done and brought back rabbits, prairie hens, squirrels, etc., but of course these guys are not supplied with guns (I'm certain mostly for safety's sake as none of them have any training, but of course because We Can't Do That as well).

The cowboys have been shown not being openly rude, but still being rude to the "womenfolks," which was a big no-no in those days. The ranch foreman was criticized (and finally left) for making his cowboys work—the guys thought they were there for ridin' and ropin' and workin' the cattle and, horrors, they find they have to build corrals and do chores. Well, duh.

At least the ranch owner's girls are not whining about not being able to wear makeup like the last bunch!

I wasn't sure whether to feel bad for the recently fired cook or not. Certainly he was not getting the support a good cook in those days would have received. A cook on a cattle drive could make or break the deal. The guys needed good sustaining food to keep them going on the long days of work and he certainly wasn't getting the supplies to provide that type of food and he was short an assistant as many of these frontier trail-drive cooks had. On the other hand, this guy had an attitude—the way he snubbed the ranch owner's wife on her tour of the ranch was just plain rude. God knows what they would have done to someone back then who did that. I was also "grossed out" when the women cleaned out his food prep area: granted this guy was overworked, but the spoiled food and other unsanitary conditions they found were appalling. No wonder the cowboys came down with a case of "stomach flu" at one point! What makes it worse is this guy was actually a real chef!


Paging Dr. House!
That's our guy: The Most Difficult Doctor on TV

I was getting the creeps during last night's episode: imagine being confined to a room with someone going through violent pain, knowing that in a few hours you may be facing the same ordeal. ::shudder::


» Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Cool Site!
Television Obscurities

Hey, I remember Accidental Family!


For Those Times You Just Need It

Listen carefully when you click "Fresh Sheet." LOL. If you click on "Maniac Mode" all you have to do is mouseover instead of click.

Thanks to Juanita!


"Doin' What Comes Naturally..."
When animals behave like...well, animals: Next on Animal Planet: Horse Flatulence, an amusing conversation with Maureen Smith, executive vice president and general manager of that channel.


Leave it to Clear Channel to screw something up. I put on "Sunny" both yesterday afternoon and this morning; damn the commercials, full speed ahead.

They've changed the playlist. It used to be a majority of instrumentals of both standards and even rock songs, with the occasional low-key vocal. This morning I heard one instrumental, of "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly." This is "sunny"? And they had mostly country-western songs or songs with country-western arrangements. Ugh. I don't mind country in the proper venue, but this wasn't the venue I wanted it in!

Bother. I'll have to check whether I want "Escape" (the Easy Listening channel) or Fine Tuning (the eclectic channel) to replace it. But it won't be an even swap.

@#$%!$!%!#$! Clear Channel anyway...


Tuesday Twosome

1. What were your two favorite TV and/or radio programs as a child? Tell about it.

Well, Lassie, of course. I read somewhere that one of the reasons there was always a child on Lassie was that they thought the child in the audience identified with the kid. They changed to an adult (Corey Stuart) only because they found out children actually identified with Lassie. Well, why not? When kids pretend they are something, it's always someone strong and resourceful and self-possessed. They pretend to be superheroes or the dashing and/or clever lead in their favorite series. Who would want to be Jeff or Timmy who always had to be rescued? You would want to be Lassie to do the rescuing, dashing through forest fires, leaping into the lake, galloping down the road at top speed to save the day.

Don't remember what was my second favorite. Maybe Fury or Rin Tin Tin. I remember such wonderful shows back then: Captain Kangaroo, Magic Land of Allakazam, My Friend Flicka, The Roy Rogers/Dale Evans Show, Annie Oakley, National Velvet...

2. If you could follow someone around for one day (unseen), who would it be and why?

Gosh. Rupert Holmes, I guess.

3. What are your favorite and least favorite times of the day? (waking up, driving to work, etc.)

Rising. Weekdays. Time to quote Hawkeye Pierce again: "No wonder they shoot people at sunrise. Who wants to live at six in the morning?" Bedtimes during the week and especially on Sunday night. Because I'm just not sleepy at 11 p.m.

4. Name two things in your freezer:

Well, chicken and pork. Also beef and turkey. And egg rolls and Hot Pockets and...

5. What two things sets [sic] you apart from the crowd?

Well, I proofread meme questions. :-) Is there anything? I've spent my entire life trying to blend in with the woodwork.


» Monday, May 01, 2006
Monday Madness

1. Sleeping in for me means sleeping until 10:30, which is what we did yesterday.

I don't sleep worth a damn at night. But on weekend mornings—after 7 a.m. I could sleep for hours.

2. Staying up late means I don't go to bed until 2 a.m..

3. I probably spend more time picking things up that I dropped than I would like.

And it's quite tedious, too. Dammit.

4. And I don't spend nearly enough time sleeping at night.

Didn't we just discuss this? LOL.

5. I have zero tolerance for ants in the house.

6. I have a lot of patience when it comes to Pidgie!.