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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» Friday, October 31, 2008
All Work and Some Play
Sleeping until ten was very welcome this morning! But it was immediately busy as I popped into the car and took it to Carnett's for an oil change and an emission inspection. This came with a free car wash and I was afraid it was going to take hours, so I took the laptop with me and worked on a story. But they were done in a trice and now I don't have to worry about my inspection as I did last year. This will be James' first year having to be inspected again, and we'll need it done before December.

Because I was early, I had a chance to stop at Borders. Susan Conant's newest mystery, All Shots, was out in paperback, and I also got a new cross-stitch magazine. I also stopped at Hobby Lobby, which was probably a bad idea, but what I bought was on sale: some ornaments for my little woodland tree and I found a topper for the library tree (it's going to be The Gingerbread Boy). Also got a ceramic leaf-shaped plaque painted with autumn flowers.

Then it was back to work and off to Kroger.

Well, all I ate for breakfast was a Meal Bar, so when I got home at two-thirty I was ravenous and had a screaming headache. I had bought a little baguette, a little larger than the six-inch sandwich roll at a Subway, and put some of the Trader Joe's chicken salad in it. Man, I don't know how people eat 12-inch long stuffed Subway sandwiches; just this filled half as much was wayyyyyy too much.

It didn't help the headache, which probably came partially from the sun, so I had to take some aspirin and lie down for a while. Then I scrubbed out the bottom of Schuyler's cage, which was another item on my things-to-do list today. Then I had only a few minutes to walk Willow before I had to get ready for the trick or treaters.

This is fun for them but really not for me. Because of the non-time change I had a chance to watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown before I had to go "on duty." Then I put the candy bowl on one of the little plant tables we have from Ikea, and sat on the stairs and plugged in the laptop on the landing. Watched the For Better or For Worse Hallowe'en story, "The Good-for-Nothing," then James arrived home with my dinner (chicken from Boston Market), and I sat there alternating reading my Yahoo groups and giving out candy. Lots of cute little kids—a SpongeBob, several Spidermen, a new Batman and an old one, Superman and also Supergirl, a Snow Queen, various skeletons and ghouls, a darling toddler in a bumblebee outfit, witches, etc. The little girl next door came as Elastic Woman from The Incredibles and her mom was dressed as a witch. The one outfit that really blew me out of the water was a little African-American boy dressed as a pimp. I don't understand why his parents would want to perpetuate that negative stereotype. :-(

This daylight-frippin'-savings-time a week later really sucks. Previously I could start at six and be done by eight, latest eight-thirty. Kids didn't start coming out tonight until almost seven—I mean, who wants to trick-or-treat during daylight?—and we had the last couple after nine. However, there weren't as many kids as last year, and there wasn't a racket afterwards in the distance as there usually is.

Anyway, right now I'm making up for neglecting Miss Schuyler earlier by having her cage near me while we watch Jeopardy and What's My Line? She is sitting all fluffed up, with one foot up, contentedly grinding her beak. Mike Romanoff was just on WML. I have heard about this guy for years—he's even referred to in the original Miracle on 34th Street!—but I'd never seen what he looked like.

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» Thursday, October 30, 2008
Waiting for Tuesday
Phone calls, flyers, endless mud-slinging television ads, news reports...make it stop! make it stop! make it stop!



What's With Willow?
Absolutely bizarre behavior from her yesterday, after she flipped me out Tuesday afternoon by pushing the gate open and wandering off while I was trimming the saplings. (When she quit barking I really got panicked; eventually she came running back—had been three houses up the street heading for the busy main road and didn't want to come back until I said loudly, "Is Daddy home?" and she came racing back to check.) We emerged from the bedroom Wednesday morning to find she had wet the carpet. After James left she clung to my leg like that proverbial leech. Even after I accidentally trod on her paw when I backed up did she not let up this behavior. I wondered if during the course of taking her out that morning or last night, James had let a fly in. But she wasn't walling her eyes as she usually does with a fly, and I could shoo her out of the bedrooms without her cringing.

In the afternoon she let up on me a bit. I was working and my alarm went off to check my messages. I turned to go to the phone and there she was sleeping on the sofa! She's never been allowed on the furniture except on James' recliner when he sits there. I shooed her off and gave her a time-out in her crate. After a while I let her out.

Three hours later I turned around and there she was on the sofa again! This time I time-outed her until it was time for me to take her outside.

Today she is her usual places—at the top of the stairs, in her crate, lying next the kitchen wall of the dining room—and I never saw a fly, so I'm not sure what was up.

In the meantime, I tried offering Schuyler an orange slice yesterday as I did with the apple on Tuesday. No go. Capricious is our Miss Schuyler.

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» Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Traveling in Place
We're watching A Ride Along the Lincoln Highway, the newest special by Rick Sebak, which was being filmed at the time of the writing of the linked article.

I love these specials. I have three of them on VHS and want to collect the rest (even the cemetery special, which is a bit creepy <g>).

Darn. Now I want both the books!



A Piece of Apple
I think I've explained the back yard before. You enter and there is a high part on which the deck is situated. It is as wide as the deck (10 feet). It then dips at least a foot into a grass sward. I'm terrible at judging distances...maybe this is about ten feet wide? And then there is a stand of trees...again the distance thing...ten yards maybe? Fifteen? Bother.

We have a variety of trees out there: big old pines, a couple of maples, I think a sweet gum, a few others I can't recognize (I need a tree book and should hunt up a Golden Guide; the encyclopedia has some tree identification pictures, but not all that is in our yard). Each summer they cast their seeds and we have saplings growing up between the trees everywhere, mostly maples.

Well, I love the trees, but I don't want the ground to be crowded out by too much brush. So yearly I take the lopper back there and cut down the saplings, except for a couple that I want to keep. I daresay it would be easier to wait till the leaves fall, but then it is harder to tell which of the half-dozen saplings I want to keep and which are to go. After the leaves fall they are all just sticks.

So yesterday and Monday I went out to the yard with the lopper when I walked Willow after getting home from work and crunched from sapling to sapling, cutting them down.

Monday I did this straight from coming in, which was a bad idea. I hadn't eaten since eleven except for a banana and a low-sugar granola bar, and by the time I got in I was lightheaded. (I'd been in the bathroom half the day, which didn't help; I was probably dehydrated, too, despite all the water I drink at work, because the building is hot and dry; despite the cold outside, it was a constant 75°F in my cubicle both days.) I didn't really feel better until after James had cooked supper and we had eaten.

But the last thing I wanted to do was come home and gobble down something fattening, so yesterday before I went out, I peeled one of the yummy Granny Smiths from Ellijay and had that with a heaping teaspoon of peanut butter. (That worked better. My hands still shook when I came inside—this is normal; they've done it since I hurt my elbows back in January of 1999—but it wasn't as bad and I didn't have that awful woozy feeling.)

If I hadn't mentioned it before, Schuyler is comfortable with us in all but being finger tame. She didn't turn a hair on the way to the vet in April, or on the trip to Owensboro. Lots of nights I will push my TV tray over the sofa and put her cage on it, and she will happily watch television with us. She is fascinated by gadgets, and leaps to the bars of the cage whenever she sees my cell phone.

But she will not sit on our fingers and dislikes the hand in her cage. She's not badly frightened, it seems—if she was she would flap—but she actively avoids it...jumps, sidles, or climbs away. If I leave the hand in there long enough, she will circle around it and peck bravely at my arm as if to say "Leave now! Please!"

This wariness extends to food. She knows what food is. When I sit here teleworking and I am having breakfast, she leaps against the bars craning her little neck and staring at my meal. I have offered her oatmeal, which she bites at, but withdraws.

However, I have been giving her things she can eat for quite a long time: apple pieces, bits of Mandarin oranges, grapes, big bits of Special K, etc. She will accept them if I put them in the millet clip, but would never take them from my hand, even if it was a long piece of fruit and my fingers were two inches away from her, separated by the cage bars.

But yesterday I was standing eating the apple next to her cage and she was begging so desperately that I broke off a small slice and offered it to her. To my surprise she started nibbling on it. I know she loves apple, so I broke the bit into a smaller bit, then put my hand in the cage near her back perch where she retreats, and just held it still there.

It flummoxed her. She wanted that bit of apple so much. She paced back and forth to one side of it, then the other, climbed behind it, pecked at her swing vexedly. In the meantime I continued eating the rest of the apple while coaxing her gently. She came to the bars, begging for the parts I was eating. I just talked softly.

And finally she just went back there, sat on the perch, and nibbled on the apple piece in my hand. She would occasionally step back, then come forward, take another bite; most of the time she stayed put. I let her eat until she looked like she was getting bored with it, then withdrew the piece, not putting it in the millet clip.

I'm not sure if I should consider this a breakthrough or not, but it was certainly heartening.

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» Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Baby, It's Cold Outside
For Canada, no, but for Georgia—30s at night in October? That's cold. They're even talking about a hard frost tonight, which is incredible.

My attitude: And loving it!

How strange, going from using the air conditioner not quite two weeks ago to having the heat on...and having to nudge it up to 67°F last night because even James was chilly!

The purchase orders march on. In between I'm watching the Annual Ethics Training videos/powerpoint combination. Someone has a sense of humor this year and has inserted the occasional humorous animated .gif into the text. The presenters also don't look like deer caught in the headlights and are not speaking in halting tones, but conversationally. They don't look as if they're reading off a teleprompter, either, although I suspect they are. (It helps that you can speed the videos up a tiny bit, too!)

I always wonder if Congress has to take Annual Ethics Training... ::heh::

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» Monday, October 27, 2008
Listen! the wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves;
We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves

                                                                               -- Humbert Wolfe
Don't know about October "eves," but it certainly was a wild October morning. The windowshades were slapping softly against the windowsill when I got up. Outside the wind made leaves scatter past my car headlights like dozens of lemmings racing across the tundra, and when I reached the left turn at Atlanta Road the car was shook by the wind like a giant dog worrying it.

There was an accident at the Brookwood interchange this morning which left traffic at a near standstill: looked like the Hero Truck stopped to help a pickup truck with a trailer and something else happened. The traffic warning signs said only "car stalled," but there were three police cars there and, as I was just rounding the curve, rescue vehicles in my rear-view mirror. I hope no one was seriously hurt. I wouldn't put it past some dingbat coming around that curve too quickly to have hit the Hero worker who was changing a tire or something like that.

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» Sunday, October 26, 2008
Sunny Sunday
Another lovely morning cocooned in blankets. Tomorrow will be chillier and it's going to be downright hard to get out of bed at "o'dark thirty." :-)

Today, however, was nice, even if the sun did get a bit strong in midafternoon. James made biscuits for breakfast, which we ate to the accompaniment of Ask This Old House. We made a really quick run (ten minutes) to Food Depot to pick up sugar-free ice-cream bars, then went to the Jonquil Festival. This is very small, but we spent a very nice hour wandering about the booths. Lots of children's clothes or ornaments, like hair scrunchies. We bought two jars of local jelly, including some ruby-red kudzu jelly which will be perfect as a natural glaze for pork or chicken. (I told the farmer I didn't know kudzu had berries; he said it doesn't, that the jelly is made from a tea brewed from the flowers.) James got a privately-published book about the veteran pilots of B-17s. We also bought a couple of Christmas gifts and James got himself a Moody Blues concert poster, and at a craft booth I found the cutest "Christmas tree" for just a dollar: a huge pine cone that had been strung with a chain of red beads and some gold tinsel cord strung with little plastic ornaments that look like frosted cookies, and dotted with round balls, a candy cane, and a gift as a topper. The base is surrounded by wide red-and-green ribbon.

After the good times come the errands: from Kroger to Publix to BJs for necessities. By the time we got done it was time, if we wanted to, to go to Michaels for the Hallowe'en Madness sale, but it wasn't much of a coupon and we decided not to go. By the time we got everything put away, it was nearly time for supper anyway. We had found some thin-cut steaks on the "remainder shelf" at Kroger and James cooked them up along with some of the Thai ginger carrots from Trader Joe's, and we had steak sandwiches while we watched the McBride film Fallen Idol. Yum!

Now we're watching a Nature presentation about predators on Ellesmere Island: white wolves, white gyrfalcons, and snowy owls, all raising their young. We also see arctic foxes. Also arctic hares, lemmings, ducks, swans, and musk oxen. Bleak but beautiful folds of hills. What lovely faces on the young gyrfalcons!

Upcoming: When Weather Changed History does the Hindenburg.

(Oh, GOOD! There's a new Rick Sebak [An Ice Cream Show, A Show About Unusual Buildings, etc.] special on Wednesday, about curiosities along the Lincoln Highway!!!)

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» Saturday, October 25, 2008
To Fry's and Back Again
Woke up at 7:45, realized it was Saturday, and went blissfully back to sleep. I love Saturdays!

A bit after nine I was more in a frame of mind to get up, although I have to admit the phone call with no one at the other end influenced the decision. We had breakfast, made a stop at James' bank, and then were off to the wilds of Alpharetta.

(Oh, there was a Neat Thing on the way to the bank. We were driving through the neighborhood approaching downtown Smyrna and were passing a house that had one of those porches with a little peaked roof. I noticed what looked like an owl sculpture on the little roof. People sometimes buy them to keep pigeons from roosting on their house.

Then the "sculpture" moved! It was a young hawk with a speckled chest! How lovely!)

On the way we stopped at Hallmark to pick up my Ornament Club ornaments (I got the kids' bookshop for the library tree and the snowman, the latter which has a stocking I can remove so it can go with my winter village). I confess I joined the Ornament Club this year solely to get the Canadian Santa Claus, which will be out November 8.

While we were there, I noticed they had select scents of Yankee Candles on sale and got the cinnamon spice. The cinnamon and sugar was just too sugary-smelling. No café au lait there, sadly.

We stopped at Hancock Fabrics when we passed it to get me one of those pincushions you put around your wrist when you sew. Hopefully this will take care of needle problems. :-)

There was a cute surprise as we approached the outskirts of downtown Alpharetta. They were having a fall festival and apparently there was some type of contest building theme scarecrows, because lined up against telephone poles into town from either side were these scarecrows in all sorts of costumes: we saw fat Elvis, Indiana Jones, Neil Armstrong, Pocahontas, several other Native Americans, younger and older George Washington, Ben Franklin, a nurse, Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, the Headless Horseman, Hobbes (of Calvin and) in a spacesuit, and dozens more.

We had lunch at Fry's, which was a mistake. The service was slow and the sandwiches overpriced. I didn't want the clam chowder because last time it was the consistency of glue. The tuna salad wasn't bad, but no great shakes, either. We walked around—since Fry's is so big a walk around it constitutes good exercise—and I picked up a clip-on gadget that holds paper when you are typing. I'm actually going to use it to hold up the pattern book for my cross-stitch. I saw sixth season of Make Room for Daddy, but did not buy it. (I can't believe it! There on DVD is Mickey Rooney's old 1950s television series, Hey, Mulligan! that almost no one remembers...but is Remember WENN out on DVD? Noooooooo...)

On the way home we stopped at Borders at the Avenue at East Cobb. The shopping center was swamped because they were doing some type of Hallowe'en thing with kids in costume. Lots of tiny girls in fairy costumes! But the crowds were unwieldy because we were in a hurry; we'd browsed too long at Fry's and now James was worried he wasn't going to make it by the hobby shop before they closed for the day. But I did find the book I wanted, plus the December Early American Life, Bliss Victoria, and Victorian Homes (I usually skip the latter during the year because I don't like the frilly Victorian they delight in, but the Christmas issues are wonderful, colorful treats).

Also stopped at Michael's. Bought a tree with a burlap-covered base, some berry garland, and some rustic-looking ornaments (mostly-twig type, but also a rough-painted oval of a snowman) to go with my Pelznichol that I bought yesterday. Where I will put the display is another thing altogether...

We did make the hobby shop and James went in and schmoozed with the guys—we were halfway there when he realized he had completely forgotten there was a club meeting today!—while I sat out in the nice cool truck and read. Yesterday and today couldn't be more different: yesterday grey, damp and chill, today warmish but breezy, with a blaring blue sky overhead.

Had leftovers for supper (salad for me, Chinese vegetables with canned turkey for James), watched What's My Line? and The Name's the Same, and then, since nothing else was on, House reruns on USA. I didn't particularly care what was on anyway because James was watching 12 O'Clock High on the computer and I was finishing up my cross-stitch project. It is an embroidered bread cloth for my team lead. She's been a tremendous help to me this year and I wanted to say "thank you" somehow.

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» Friday, October 24, 2008
So There I Was... JoAnn, the place about to close in ten minutes, with five 50 percent off coupons. And of course all the Christmas and fall items are already on sale.

We ended up with some candy for our Twelfth Night party, two Aida breadcloths, and more gold needles (since if I'm going to keep dropping them I will need more...<wry grin>). I also got the prettiest rustic-type Santa; more an old-fashioned "Pelznickol" or "Belsnickel," the German "Nicholas in furs." He has a patched, fur-trimmed robe and carries old-fashioned brown-paper gifts and a walking stick. I'd had my eye on him since he was full price.

We also went by Bed, Bath and Beyond to peruse their Yankee Candles. The cinnamon spice seems too intrusive and the cinnamon sugar too light; they didn't have the new café au lait scent. I can't believe Yankee Candle doesn't have a gingerbread scent, but I looked on their site and didn't see one.

Since I was indecisive about the candle, we bought James a pair of slippers instead.

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Rainy Days and Fridays
As promised, it has rained today, a chilly, steady (if not hard), soaking rain, although as of now it seems to have stopped and the chickadees and the brown-headed nuthatches are busy plucking damp seed from the bird feeder. The heat must have gone on, as the temp in the house has stayed a steady 64°F, but I haven't heard it, as it is so much quieter than the air conditioning!

On a grey, wet day it is almost foregone you will want to sleep late, so I was roused quite reluctantly from my warm bed to take my place at the desk and do purchase orders and payment authorizations. But the house is more convivial than the office for the task, as I watch Schuyler preen herself and take a nice afternoon nap. (Willow, however, still wanders about like a lost soul—well, until I am through with my lunch dish, that is!)

The only thing annoying today was the leftover scent of last night's dinner. James made Italian sausage last night and this batch (from Weinerz, the German butcher shop) seemed a bit strong compared to the last. The scent of it hung over the house like...well, like last night's dinner. LOL. In desperation, I finally pulled out my lilac-scented Yankee candle. I don't particularly trust candles, even if I put them on the most stable shelf in the safest place and watch them like the proverbial hawk, and the last time I lit this one I was quite disappointed in the scent dissipation. But I set it up on the stove, with a piece of Reynolds Wrap under it and no combustibles within a foot to either side and lit it up, and was surprised at the scent of lilac all through the living area.

There's only one thing wrong: the scent! This is the time of year for a gingerbread-scented candle or pumpkin pie...the lilac seems all wrong. I swear the last time I was at a Yankee Candle store I saw a coffee-scented candle; I should really get that one. Brewing coffee is one of the most wonderful scents in the world, even if I can't drink the stuff! (If Yankee Candle ever manages to make a candle that smells like Italian bread baking, I'm done for...LOL.)

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» Thursday, October 23, 2008
In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Daytime
We had two warmish days at the beginning of the week; not hot, but enough to make it comfortable to nap in the car without being hot or cold. I really needed to nap on Monday, as I had experienced one of my screaming nightmares in the wee hours of the morning. I was being smothered by large quantities of cloth—not only cloth, but of that horrible chartreuse green color that appears to be popular for Christmas this year. Thankfully, my Monday night's sleep was much less disturbed.

The weather forecast, however, was a delight. Yesterday was at least 10 degrees cooler. I can't say it was a flawless day, though: I got assigned two rather hairy orders (one of which I was able to do today). Then I sat down at lunch to start a cross-stitch project.

I dropped the needle on what I thought was the sofa as I changed threads and knew I had to find it or I would be sure to sit on it. So I got up...

...and you guessed it, I stepped on it. It went right into the flesh of the arch of my foot, not really deep, but enough when I pulled it out I could feel resistance and the blood came flowing out. What fun. ::snark:: A few minutes of pressure did stop the bleeding and I limped to the bathroom to apply alcohol and an antiseptic Band-Aid. Who would have thought such a little needle would hurt so much?

I was waiting for James to come home last night because I recorded a surprise for him while I was watching Iditarod on Discovery Tuesday night: HDNET showed Thunder Over Louisville, an air show that is held before the Kentucky Derby. Fantastic hi-def photos of jets doing maneuvers over the Ohio River! It looked like a lovely day for an air show, too—it was cloudy; in fact, it looked downright cold, as people were bundled in heavy jackets and coats with hoods up.

Today's weather was better yet: partly cloudy with the sun peeking out only occasionally. By noon I had all the windows open but I closed them again by dinnertime as it was in the fifties outside already and, although I'd turned the heat on, I have the thermostat set to 64°F and actually don't want it to come on unless it gets really cold. It may come on tomorrow, as we're supposed to have one of those damp, rainy days, with the temps not getting out of the fifties. The wind was certainly up today, though; when I took Willow out at six I had to wear a jacket and it was so pleasant outside putting up the Hallowe'en decorations on the porch.

I spent the late- and post-work hours listening to the O'Neill Brothers Christmas CD set I bought last month. I'd previously listened to it only at work and of course had to play it very low. The beautiful arrangements were more enjoyable at a little louder volume, especially a piece that blended Pachebel's "Canon" with a leisurely version of "Jolly Old St. Nicholas."

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» Monday, October 20, 2008
Laura Ingalls Wilder Turns Over in Her Grave
Lawsuit Filed Over Little House Museum in Kansas

[eyes roll]

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Arrrgh...Not a Sans Serif Font!!!!
You Are Andale Mono

You are a geek, pure and simple. You spend a lot of time online.
In fact, you probably love the internet more than anyone you know.
You are picky about design, mostly for readability's sake.
You are the type most likely to be irritated by a bad font.

I mean, this is true, especially about being irritated by bad fonts (or large colored fonts within magazine and book text as if I am a baby and need to have all pertinent points emphasized for my understanding).

But did it have to be a sans serif font? I hate sans serif fonts...



» Sunday, October 19, 2008
The Apples of My Eye
Eight o'clock was much too early to be up this morning. LOL. It was another cool night and marvelous for sleeping, although I had a dream that the house was all cluttered and I couldn't move without knocking over something.

We were on the road by nine and arrived in Ellijay for the Georgia Apple Festival at ten. This year we parked on the opposite end of the field. James was still limping from yesterday, but soldiered gamely on.

I saw lots of little things I liked, and a couple of times intended on going back for, but in the end bought very little: a few squares of Ginny's fudge, a small jar of mint hot fudge, a matted photo print of a fox in the snow (I could have bought a dozen of this guy's wildlife photos, including a fox cub popping his face out of a den, a buck peering from behind two snowmen, a lively tufted titmouse, etc.), and another photograph of a mountain valley at peak color (this fellow's photographs were also beautiful, and he had the most amazing bird shots), and a peck and a half of Granny Smith apples. I've been dreaming of these darn apples all year; I was going to get enough of them!

We had lunch at the Elks Lodge on the grounds: barbecue pork, beans, cinnamon apples and a biscuit (James had cornbread instead and brought half home to Willow, who adored it). There were some things I couldn't possibly afford: net swing chairs, baskets made of oak burls, Santa figures made of soft material. Not a lot of quilts this year, although there was a quillow booth. One thing I could have afforded that I completely forgot to go back for: a little kitchen angel soft doll, only $5.

Oh, and the vendor I bought my new little feather tree from (at a Blue Ribbon Affair) was there and had two more of them. I was sorely tempted, but I hardly have room for the one I bought!

We left about one—with me munching one of those delectable apples!—and went directly to Costco to get milk. I picked up a copy of the newest Indiana Jones movie as well. We had 20 percent off total purchase coupons for Michaels, so we went there next; these coupons are good for those little inexpensive things like those in the dollar bins, so I got very small things for little projects.

Finally we went to Bruster's for some ice cream. There was method in James' madness: we got there just in time to see the Thunderbirds perform again. Here we were able to sit in the shade and watch them maneuver.

At last, home! The glorious cool fall air (it barely got into the sixties) is wonderful to breathe, but boy, does it make me sleepy! Found Jurassic Park on USA; looks quite splendid in HD. Later we watched a special about the space shuttle "Columbia," Antiques Roadshow, and then When Weather Changed History about the Titanic. Still was so full from lunch and just had some Grape Nuts and another half of an apple for supper. I have given a bit to Schuyler and she is trying to get every morsel!

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» Saturday, October 18, 2008
An Elevator Day... it started out good but went way, way down before climbing a few floors again.

James was up bright and early for the "Wings Over Marietta" air show. It was supposed to be sunny today, but cool, so he put on a light long sleeved shirt against the sun, then loaded up with my camera, a water bottle, and his hat. I searched for the suntan lotion, but it seems to have disappeared. He left without it, which worried me.

I went back to bed and had an unbelievable problem: I was cold. I finally had to drag James' blanket over me.

At which point the aircraft from the air show started practicing over the house. Sigh. I did manage to doze for another hour, nice and warm rather than perspiring.

It was so chilly when I got up (the temperature in the house actually dropped two degrees from when James left the house) that I put on my fall sweatshirt and went off to the Mistletoe Market. This is an annual craft show run by the Junior League. Mostly it's a lot of cutesy clothing and toys for kids, but there were several craft booths and some soup/dip mix booths. I got a couple of bacon dips since the bacon was so popular at Hair Day and a couple of garlics (should have bought a garlic and an onion, but, oh, well). I also found some winter magnets among all the Christmas decorations, a turkey made from jingle bells, and the one unexpected purchase: a little standing polar bear figure with a hollyberry wreath around his neck. I don't usually go for polar bears, but this little fellow was too cute.

I then went to Lowes for a new bird feeder (the old one is encrusted with mold), some safflower seed, a suet cake, and the October Birds and Blooms, which has fabulous autumn photos and at least half-a-dozen photos of birds that we have at our feeder. Borders is next door, so I dropped in and did find the newest British Country Living.

I arrived home around three. I didn't expect James until at least 5:30 (the last exhibit was at 3:40), so I reluctantly did my sewing project. I had to hem sleeves on two shirts. I loathe sewing and although this was an easy job once I made sure my measurements were correct (it was just blind stitches after that), it was still annoying. The arthritis made my hands cramp.

All I can say is that I would be a dead loss as a military wife or a police/fireman's wife. I talked to James about 4:40 and found out he had been waiting for the bus from the airfield to the parking lot for over 40 minutes and there was no bus in sight. I went to this same air show four years ago and the bus service was exemplary; sure we had to wait, but it was fairly efficient. James told me they could see buses going back to the parking lot almost empty because they were not lining up people properly. He also said he was out of water and the bone spur in his heel was starting to hurt, but said he would call me when he got to the truck.

I told him to take care of himself and went back to my sewing. A half hour later he still had not called and I was getting concerned, so I called him back. They were still waiting, and the crowd sounded like it was getting ugly. I heard yelling in the background. That didn't bother me as much as the thought of James standing out there in the sun (no matter how cool it was and having the hat) with no sunscreen and no water. I also figured it was probably four or five hours since he'd eaten. What if he crashed? If the idiots couldn't form a bus line properly, would they know what to do for a guy with diabetes?

My agitation increased as the minutes ticked on. I called him again and could tell his blood sugar was getting low and he was dehydrated because he was on edge.

Anyway, to make a long story short, he waited in line two freakin' hours for a bus. I was going to call for a pizza, but figured it would be faster to get food and a drink into him if he just stopped at Wendy's on the way home. And then as he finally walked in the door as the clock was ticking its way past 6:30 (he'd actually gotten in the bus line at 3:40 and watched the Thunderbirds perform from the bus line), Willow frantically met him at the door, he stumbled over her, and scattered his Frosty all over the downstairs hall.

Willow helped me clean it up—that dog is so self-sacrificing! LOL!—but it was still ten more minutes before the poor guy could get anything to eat and drink. His face was scarlet from the sun. I could barely eat because I had been so worried about him I was about to be sick.

James' complexion has lightened a bit and he had ibuprofin and put his feet up, and it all turned out okay, but I'm worn out from it all. Sigh. The weather report at least made me smile: forties tonight, and the same for some nights! Goodness, two days ago I was wearing a sleeveless top and shorts and now I am in sweats!

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» Friday, October 17, 2008
The Vote Is In: It's for "Cool"
I should have gotten up at 7:14 when I needed to use the bathroom. But I was warm last night, tossed much too restlessly, and desperately wanted that extra half hour of sleep. So I got up when James did at 7:45, dressing, eating breakfast, and cleaning my glasses all in a combination of movements. I had a book ready and took an orange cup with me and a small square of gingerbread and was off in the drizzle.

Unfortunately my alternate route was no faster than the straightforward one and I arrived at the Cobb County office to find the parking lot packed full. On my second orbit I was seriously considering coming back another day, and then a space opened. It was providential: another day the sun might have been out and it would have been hell waiting outside, even under a building eave, for 130 minutes.

The book I brought with me was Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy, and I spent most of the two hours immersed very happily in 5th century England. I ate the fruit cup when I got there and the gingerbread a little after ten, and it held me until 10:50, when I finally got to the door. The rest of the proceedings only took about twelve minutes, since I had plenty of time to study the ballot! I then took my first break—in the ladies' room!—and then was finally off to Town Center. (I didn't have anything to drink this morning except for the bit of water I took my Prilosec with, and just little sips out of my water bottle carried at my hip, so that definitely helped!)

I hit JoAnn twice, went to Linens'n'Things (nothing worth buying since most of their liquidation is only 10 percent off and they aren't taking the coupons anymore; I hate the idea of Linens going out of business—Bed, Bath and Beyond has similiar stuff, but I like the different products in both places), found a cute "cook Santa" figurine for James after a brief foray into HomeGoods, then drove out to Merchants Walk so I could go to Trader Joe's (and to Michael's, of course).

I also stopped at one of the few Hancock Fabrics left in the area. I was looking for a pretty iron-on design for a shirt, but everything was either babyish or not my taste. However, I did finally find some fusible interfacing, which is used on the back side of cross-stitch projects. For some wild reason known only to craft stores, you can buy cross-stitch patterns and kits and threads and fabric there, but the fusible interfacing, which you use to finish the project, you have to find in a fabric store (and there are precious few of them around here). Goofy.

Stopped at the Heritage Pointe Michael's on the way home and finally had a chance to eat 3 p.m. Mmmn! More Trader Joe's chicken salad.

With everything finally put up, I finally took an opportunity to relax. I was supposed to be reading my new cross-stitch magazine, but I was pretty much glued to the recent Discovery Channel special Black Blizzard, about the Dust Bowl. Tim Egan, who wrote The Worst Hard Time, which I recently finished, was featured in the documentary and took part in re-enactments of dust storms (using movie fans and similar fine soil) and static electrical charges spawned by the friction of the dust. Several people who were children during the era also talked about their memories, and one man wept over the "dust pneumonia" death of his little sister.

What is really awesome and terrifying is that dirt from Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas and Texas actually blew 2000 miles across country at least twice, to black out Chicago, then Washington DC, New York, and Boston. Ships out in the Atlantic even had a quarter-inch layer of dust on them from these storms.

Anyway, through all my waiting and then "travels" this morning and afternoon, it rained steadily. I had my umbrella when I arrived at the polling place, but abandoned it soon after; I hate carrying an umbrella...I'd rather be wet. This was no trouble most of the day, as the rain was fairly warm.

Something changed, though, while I was in Trader Joe's—when I came out, the rain was cold and the wind was up a bit. So when I got home, I threw open all the windows wide. Oh, yeah, and I put a sweatshirt on! Woohoo! (It's still a bit warm for it inside, though, but I won't remedy that by turning up the ceiling fan; I don't want Schuyler to get sick. The poor dear is moulting and looks a mess with all those pinfeathers.)

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» Thursday, October 16, 2008
Entertainment Losses
Game show host Jack Narz. I remember him from several game shows, including Video Village. His brother was Tom Kennedy, who did, among other shows, You Don't Say.

And Edie Adams whose episode of What's My Line?, with her husband Ernie Kovacs, aired just recently.



When Colors Go Wrong
Last night, while I was finishing up the painting on the ceppo, I also did another tiny project. I bought one of those sensor nightlights for the hall downstairs so we can see when we come in at night, the other having burnt out. This one is an LED and throws that disgusting "fluorescent" bluish-white screamingly glaring light. I brought it upstairs and painted the lens "sunny yellow" with glass paint. It was dry this morning and I just took it downstairs to plug it in.

Now it throws a sickening greenish light. Ooops. Good thing the glass paint just peels off. LOL.



Yo Ho Ho and a ::snurgle::
As you might have gathered from yesterday's post, I'm finally feeling a bit better, although yesterday morning I wouldn't have thought so. About lunchtime it was as if a strong breeze came through and swept most of the gunk from my head. Nose is still snuffly and there's still an edge of sore throat, but the muck seems to have vamoosed.

Since we both spent some days being sick I decided last night was a good time to change the bed and get all the nasties out. Mattress and pillows were sprayed with Lysol to boot. Take that, you germs!

I'm now on the detail part of the ceppo project mentioned yesterday. And work is pretty steady. I had to do a modification this morning so we could pay someone (the DUNS number on the invoice didn't match the one on the purchase order) and I'm trying to straighten out an e-mail problem: some of my vendors cannot seem to e-mail us. I suspect it's a spam block gone wrong, as for the past month I have been getting multiple spams from a certain company I've never dealt with and now they have disappeared. I think the filter has possibly killed the legit messages, too, although other promotional e-mails seem to be getting through just fine. Heaven save me from more stupid commercials.

Speaking of spam, I noticed we have received very few election flyers this year. That's fine with me. In the 2004 election, there was some city councilwoman who was sending a flyer every three or four days from August through November! I didn't care if she was a god come over the mountain to save us; I refuse to vote for any idiot who killed so many trees to get elected. I want to go vote tomorrow and I'm having a cow because James voted on Tuesday and it took him two hours to get through the line. I don't mind being in line that long to vote, but I don't know if I could go that long without a bathroom visit!

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» Wednesday, October 15, 2008
It's Not Too Early...
...for Christmas projects...see Holiday Harbour: Operation Ceppo.

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» Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Fifth Verse, Same as the Others
Stupid cold. Won't bore you with the details.

Super episode of House tonight. Very telling when House is stating all the negative things about his father, he is describing himself as well! Not to mention House and Wilson's very Thelma and Louise-ish road trip.

Also have finally gotten to see the whole of When Weather Changed History's episode about the Chicago fire. I'd recorded the initial broadcast and thought the DVR had screwed up when it only turned out to be a half hour. So I found the next broadcast and DVR'd that, only to find a half hour broadcast again...we watched it and it was the second half-hour of the story. So either it was done in two parts for some weird reason, or the original broadcast was screwed up. Anyway, the complete version was on tonight.

(This is a great series, but the constant commercial breaks give me hives. Especially the ambulance-chasing-lawyer variety.)

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» Monday, October 13, 2008
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
I had an absolutely miserable night. This is the strangest cold/infection/whatever: my nose is stuffy, but I am not sneezing constantly—although I do sneeze periodically—and don't need Kleenex. I have a bit of pressure on my right ear and my right sinus hurts. The real screaming sore throat pain is gone, but my throat is still sore. The big problem now is when I do any type of exercise; I feel like I can't breathe well. Not that I can't breathe; I just feel like I can't, especially through my nose. I have no chest pressure and no cough, but I feel like I have a cough. My glands aren't swollen—but I seem to be developing a fever.

I did get to sleep late, and after a mostly sleepless night (in which I woke up James, which I hated to do) it was quite welcome. When I woke up I didn't feel perfect, but felt well enough to get my 50 percent off coupon and go to Michael's. I was only there a few minutes, then went to Border's to pick up a neat-looking book I had seen there on Saturday. This is called Christmas Curiosities and is about the beliefs and images connected with Christmas over one hundred years ago, such as Santa Claus' companion Krampus, who stuffed naughty children into a sack and took them away, or Santa himself delivering switches to those who were bad, or what we would think of as very non-Christmas-like images associated with Victorian holidays, such as naked nymphs, children in bathing costumes, and dead birds! (I've read about the dead birds, but I'd never seen any of the actual images!)

While I was there I also found a stocking stuffer for James and a book of trivia about Christmas carols and songs.

I was only out about 90 minutes, but felt wiped out when I got home. I ate half of the potstickers I didn't eat on Friday evening along with a little piece of gingerbread and some milk for my lunch, and finished two tiny craft projects. Then I started off dubbing off episodes of What's My Line? again (I'd fallen off in the past few weeks), and finished two books I had started. I would have thought all this enforced leisure and alternating Tylenol and ibuprofin would have made me feel better, but I have felt progressively worse all afternoon, and now it seems my temperature is going up. And here I've been thinking it was my allergy!

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» Sunday, October 12, 2008
For Worse or For Better
My throat has improved slightly, but now my nose is stuffy and I'm feeling like it's hard to breathe. I'm desperately trying to avoid the dreaded cough!

Due to the nose problem, I slept very, very badly, so we were up in time to have breakfast at Sweet Tomatoes. They must cook their oatmeal in a metal pot because it has a very heavy metal aftertaste; I couldn't finish it. Ugh. Afterwards we went to JoAnn, where I bought some thread to match some shirts I need to mend, a nice autumn-leaf fleece throw for the ugly old loveseat sofa-bed in my craft room, a discount standing scarecrow for the front porch, the October Southern Living and the annual Better Homes and Gardens Cross-Stitch Christmas ornament issue. I had forgotten that these also contain the designers' family memories and simple recipes. We also made a short stop at Hallmark.

We had to stop at Kroger on the way home, and then BJs, and finally the QT on Austell Road where gas was $3.08/gallon! Finally home to relax and nurse my throat and nose, although I did work on some minor craft projects and tidied the kitchen. Another nice salad for supper, accompanying What's My Line and two episodes of James' anniversary gift (yeah, it's early). He found a complete set of the television series 12 O'Clock High online. I remember my mom and dad watching this show back in the early 1960s. One of the episodes we watched had one of my favorite character actors, Lou Antonio, as a guest star. Antonio is now mainly known as a director, but he was always one of my favorite supporting actors. Loved him in The Snoop Sisters!

I have no idea how I'm going to sleep tonight. I feel quite wretched.

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» Saturday, October 11, 2008
Sickness on Saturday
My throat was on fire when I woke up this morning. Heck, my whole mouth. Ugh. Swigged some ibuprofin and had some hot oatmeal and mandarin oranges.

It was so cute; I had already started eating the oranges and Schuyler noticed. She jumped up on the bars of the cage and was craning her little neck at the cup. But I couldn't give her an orange out of the cup; she might catch whatever germs I have. So I washed my hands, opened a new cup, extracted half an orange wedge and put the rest in the fridge, and placed the wedge in her millet clip. She immediately came down to have a nibble.

Anyway, I went to the semi-annual Cobb County Library Sale. It was pretty slim pickings. I usually find a Bennett Cerf book in the humor section and they didn't even have that. I did get a small book of Christmas stories, three old Christmas Ideals (I don't usually like the old ones due to the creaky graphics, but they did have some nice essays and they were only a quarter each), and Michael Korda's Country Matters, about his city family moving to the country.

I came home and decided I was feeling well enough to go to Hobby Lobby, so I did. I found some small fall magnets for a dollar each, another small pumpkin for the front porch, and a scrapbooking magazine with fall and Christmas ideas. I also popped over to Border's and bought the first Robin Paige mystery and also the first Renaissance Faire mystery.

Stopped at Home Depot on the way home just to see their Christmas things, and also stopped at Fred's discount store. I bought a cheap sampler of Night Court episodes, the last of the Hallowe'en candy, and a bag of bird seed. Minding what had happened the last time I bought birdseed at Fred's, I had the cashier bag the latter and brought it directly through the house without touching anything. :-) It went directly into the birdseed tin and I tossed both bags into the yard to be collected later, so if there are any little crawlies in the bag this time they are outside. So there.

I sat down intending to watch all of Night Court, but after two episodes I was so sleepy I just abandoned it and stretched out on the sofa for two blessed hours. By then James was home from his Saturday work and we went to Fresh 2 Order for supper, had BOGO ice cream for dessert at Baskin Robbins, stopped at Michael's, and then went to the mall to check out the new Hallmark ornaments since I hadn't made it to the Hallmark store today. I love the jukebox!

I've just finished some milk to soothe my throat and James has made some gingerbread; the spicy ginger should feel good on my throat, and we are watching What's My Line?

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» Friday, October 10, 2008
A Big Bowl of Wonton Soup Later...
...I still feel as if someone ran large-grit sandpaper over my throat. Ugh.



Sandpaper Gullet
Gah. My throat is getting worse. Not hot soup for lunch nor cold milk and water have touched it. I told James I want some nice hot wonton soup tonight for supper.

I had a Campbell's Soup to Go (Italian wedding) on a short lunch trip to Big Lots since I had a 20 percent off coupon. Quite a good trip! I bought a metal fall sign which I'm presently repainting, a computer-y gift, some granola bars, a Healthy Choice soup bowl, two new apple-theme dishtowels for the kitchen, and an apple clock for the dining room. The latter is about six inches wide and fits perfectly between the two windows.

On the way home I found gas for $3.29/gallon. Woot!



Into the Woods
I've a pretty bad sore throat this morning which I have been soothing with hot oatmeal and cold milk; not sure whether I am catching James' cold or it was just all that leaf mold yesterday.

But yesterday was fun, and if it is the leaf mold, it was worth it.

We had our branch picnic yesterday and it was a perfect day for it. It had rained earlier, but just a bit of water, and was cloudy until late afternoon, although the sun tried to peek out at times, so it was cool and perfect, with no glare in your eyes.

I didn't go to last year's picnic due to an appointment, so I had not seen the new park that we are using. I had liked the old park, especially the nice walking trail, and it was close by the office, so I was annoyed at having to make my way through traffic to this one. It was less than 10 miles to get to, but it took me over a half hour to get there, since the direct route, via the freeway, was blocked and I had to backtrack down Chamblee-Tucker Road and then up Peachtree Industrial Boulevard to the 141 split, then left on East Jones Bridge Road at a horrendous traffic light that took ages.

However, the park is wonderful. It is right on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, so we were afforded some lovely scenery. Our picnic pavilion was right near the old bridge that the park and road are named for.

Jones Bridge plaque

Thought it interesting that they think the half of the bridge that was missing was used for scrap during World War II.

I took a photo of the bridge through the trees, and I suppose if you squint you can see it. :-) It's about center, those rusty-red uprights.

Jones Bridge

I didn't take my camera, just my phone, and I neglected to clean off the lens, so I suppose I am lucky the few photos that are presentable came out as well as they did!

There was a graveled, rock lined path and stone steps down to various points of the river directly next to the pavilion, so I was able to gather these photos after our "all hands" staff meeting held before the festivities started. You can see from several of the photos that the fall color is just, just beginning here.

follow me!

(Doesn't that path just scream "Follow me!"? LOL.)

branches frame river

River rocks

Color overlooking the river

Color along the river

The park was teeming with wildlife: I saw squirrels, chipmunks, mallard ducks, and Canada geese, and, during my walk, a beautiful red-tail hawk, but the only half-presentable photo is this one of the geese on the rocks. :-(

Geese on the rocks

(I was also using the zoom on the camera, which doesn't work well at a distance.)

Here's a pleasant cove with a bridge overhead:

watery cove

Looking at the next view, I understood why Huck and Jim enjoyed living on the river so. Doesn't that just make you want to find a raft?

Huck and Jim would love it

The picnic fare was quite varied: they served hot dogs, hamburgers, barbecue ribs, baby green salad with tomato and cucumber, potato salad, cole slaw, and some supermarket cookies for dessert. I just had a plain burger, two ribs (amazingly with barbecue sauce that didn't make me sick), some salad and a cookie, and sat with Steve, Janet and Tamara, where we ended up talking about old times: the building in Buckhead, the fish fry at that stiflingly hot little park off Buckhead Avenue, the razing of all the buildings we knew.

After lunch I headed off for a nice hike in the woods. Steve and the others headed off on the path, but I found a nice little trail heading over a bridge and right into the woods. I love walking in the woods, even if it does make me homesick for Queechee Gorge and going to the Scituate Reservoir property when the leaves turned. The path went right and left, but there was a fainter trail directly up the hill and I tramped over tree roots to end up at another clearing for a pavilion that wasn't being used. This one was next to a tennis court, and as I walked out of the woods a big red-tailed hawk flew by and perched on the chain-link fence around the court. I took a photo of him, but it was very dark. I got closer and boosted the brightness on the phone, but he chose that moment to rise into the air and fly past me, almost right overhead. A big bird, the size of an owl.

I crossed to the parking lot and found these trees about to burst into fall loveliness:

Fall trees

vine growing up treeI then crossed the street to a park outbuilding and found these vines climbing a tree next to a culvert. Almost at the foot of this tree were a patch of flowers (another aborted photo, alas) that looked as if they were yellow violets. Since violets are usually a spring flower, I'm not sure what they were.

From the road I cut back into the woods. I was walking nearly an hour, just going from one leaf-strewn path to another, crossing over little creeks that fed into the river, some of them choked with bits of branches and only a trickle of water making its way through to the next level. On nice days like this I am almost reluctant to emerge and come back to reality. Being in the woods is almost like traveling back to another time and place. Was the path like this for Robin Hood and his men in Sherwood Forest—or even Lassie with Jeff or Timmy? Or similar—with some tropical deletions—to the paths Jody trod with Flag at his heels? I am reading Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy again and thinking of the woods path that Merlin follows in the book: near the Welsh cave that he considers his home, in the woods in Brittany following Belasius, or in the Galava forest right before he meets the young Arthur.

And how can I keep from thinking of Robert Frost, although it's not quite a "yellow wood" yet and certainly not a snowy evening, when I'm walking down something that looks like this:

Woods path

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."

On the way home I stopped at Borders at Perimeter; whew! Have they cut down on their stock. It was quite disappointing. I also made a brief stop at The Container Store and at the Perimeter Barnes & Noble, where I found the Christmas issue of Early American Life.

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I Want to LIVE Here!
James just passed this link along:

Jay Walker's Library


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» Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Raining Pitchforks and Little Fishes
So much for the hard rain and the thunder not starting until around 6 p.m.! Good thing I ran out about a half hour ago to take Willow for "an airing" while it was just drizzling and got the mail as well.

(Woot! Check out the cover of the new TV Guide—House and Wilson goodness! <g> )

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Online Goodies
A week or so ago I found some bound volumes of St. Nicholas magazine online and linked them at Cozy Nook. Well, I hit the jackpot during lunch: many, many more have been digitized. So here's all of them (including the links I posted previously) here, instead of in the Nook.

So many wonderful historical things in these magazines! For instance, take this link:,M1

If you watched the Masterpiece Theatre presentation of The Lost Prince, about George V and Queen Mary's youngest son, the epileptic and possibly autistic Prince John, this is a photo of the real "Johnnie" and his brothers and sister.

Anyway, looks like 39 volumes in all.

St. Nicholas, November 1878 through November 1879

St. Nicholas, November 1893 through April 1894

St. Nicholas, May 1894 through October 1894

St. Nicholas, November 1897 through April 1898

St. Nicholas, May through October 1898

St. Nicholas, November 1898 through April 1899

St. Nicholas, May through October 1899

St. Nicholas, November 1899 through April 1900

St. Nicholas, May through October 1900

St. Nicholas, November 1900 through April 1901

St. Nicholas, May through October 1901

St. Nicholas, November 1902 through April 1903

St. Nicholas, May through October 1903

St. Nicholas, November 1903 through April 1904

St. Nicholas, May through October 1904 (this states that it is uploaded, but I cannot actually find it)

St. Nicholas, November 1904 through April 1905

St. Nicholas, May through October 1905

St. Nicholas, November 1905 through April 1906

St. Nicholas, May through October 1906

St. Nicholas, November 1906 through April 1907

St. Nicholas, May through October 1907

St. Nicholas, November 1907 through April 1908

St. Nicholas, May through October 1908

St. Nicholas, November 1908 through April 1909

St. Nicholas, May through October 1909

St. Nicholas, November 1909 through April 1910

St. Nicholas, May through October 1910

St. Nicholas, May through October 1911

St. Nicholas, November 1909 through April 1910

St. Nicholas, May through October 1912

St. Nicholas, November 1912 through April 1913

St. Nicholas, November 1914 through April 1915 (this contains all the vintage advertisements)

St. Nicholas, November 1915 through April 1916

St. Nicholas, November 1916 through April 1917

St. Nicholas, May through October 1917

St. Nicholas, May through October 1918

St. Nicholas, November 1919 through April 1920 (this has at least one color front cover and some vintage ads)

St. Nicholas, May through October 1920

St. Nicholas, May 1921 through October 1921

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The Dark at the Top of the Morning
Except for certain times after the clocks are back to real time in the early spring and late fall, I am used to driving to work in the pitch dark. (I hate it, but I'm used to it. <wry g> ) But on telework days I am used to awakening to rising sun and bright light filtering through the leaves visible (only blurrily, since I am sans glasses at this point) from the big window in the bathroom.

Since rainy days have been in short commodity since the drought began, it was quite a surprise when the alarm went off at 7:30 and it was still pretty dark. It's still grey and gloomy out. I've tossed open the windows since the high is only supposed to be between 65-68°F—depending on which weather report you consult—and as I sit at my computer checking e-mail and phone messages, can listen to the wind hiss and rustle within the leaves on the trees waving gently back and forth outside, a bird croaking in the distance, and the rain percussioning its way down the gutters to the ground. The rain is falling harder now than it was this morning, steady threads rather than occasional drops.

It seems every time I peek outside I can see a few more leaves that have decided the equinox has passed and are turning colors. The trees in our yard mostly turn a golden yellow color, but next door there is a tree whose leaves shade from ruddy orange to pale orange, and some of our low brush is also spotted with reddish color. Fallen yellow and brown leaves already liberally dot the lawn out back.

Here's fall mood for you: an arrangement fashioned from flameless candles and other bits bought on coupon and sale at JoAnn, Hobby Lobby, and Dollar Tree:

Fall candle arrangement

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» Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Summer's Long Arm
Well, that's weird. I didn't receive a mosquito bite outside the office all summer.

Today I got two!



» Monday, October 06, 2008
Not mine. James had gone in for training yesterday despite a sore throat and feeling feverish, and did not improve last night despite applications of soup and ibuprofin. I was teleworking today because Thursday is our annual work picnic (it looked like almost all the office was teleworking, actually) so I had him dozing in the background while I corresponded about continuing an order.

Unfortunately it got warm enough today that by afternoon I just gave in and put the air conditioner back on. It was so warm last night that neither of us slept well, which probably didn't help James' cold.

It's supposed to rain on Wednesday and perhaps be showery on Thursday. I'd love it if it were cloudy for the picnic. The best picnic we ever had was a few years back; it was cloudy and in the mid fifties. Very pleasant for being outside for hours and I took a nice walk using the hiking path around the perimeter of the picnic area. We're at a new park this year, too (actually, it was a new park last year, but I had an appointment and didn't get to go). Hope it's shady!

Anyway, we had a simple supper tonight, watched an episode of The Last Detective, this morning's What's My Line? (very funny segment with Bennett Cerf and John Daly sniping at each other and a wonderful bit with guest panelist David Niven and a Scottish contestant), and a new Animal Cops Philadelphia.

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» Sunday, October 05, 2008
No Rest for "Martha"
So James was up early to go to his training class. I didn't sleep much later, as there was something I have been dying to do and I could only do it before 10 a.m.

You see, we're on "drought level 4" water restrictions. You can only hand water 25 minutes a day between the hours of midnight and 10 a.m., and then even-numbered addresses only on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, and odd on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Well, I'm not concerned with watering the lawn and we don't have flowers, only bushes that seem to be doing fine. As far as I'm concerned, if God wants my lawn to grow, He will send the water to do so.

But the front porch was grubby, despite my sweeping out there. There was leftover pine pollen in the cracks, dust everywhere, and a big raggy cobweb sagging from the upper corner, out of reach. I'd been intending to pop out of bed early on a Thursday or interrupt chat some Saturday night and wield the hose for ten or fifteen minutes, but it hadn't happened. And I wanted to finish putting the fall decorations out on the porch, but not while it was so dusty. So this morning I was out there at nine, blocking up the front door and hosing it all down, top to bottom, whisking away the dust and web, and leaving it a shade brighter.

From there it was get dressed and off to WallyWorld. We were low on low-carb wheat tortillas again, and James was running low on Calorie Countdown chocolate milk. I found the former, but alas, now WalMart has quit carrying the latter, too (Kroger has the white milk, but not the chocolate). The man stocking the dairy case said he was going to see if he could talk them into getting it again, as I was not the first person who had asked for it.

WalMart is clearly trying to gentrify. I was looking for an inexpensive seat cushion and couldn't find one of the thickness I wanted for less than $20. It's Martha Stewart this and Better Homes that, and they have fewer items for a higher price. I mostly restocked the larder with staples, but did find two nice shirts in colors you usually don't see, a sage green and a light purple.

It was not yet noon and I was racing the sun, so I put everything away except the newspaper, then briefly ran to Food Depot to pick up some Blue Bunny sugar-free ice-cream bars and get a money order to buy James an anniversary gift. And then finally I was home in time (which means before the sun hit the front porch and turned it into a brick oven) to place the scarecrow and pumpkin and foliage outside.

I'd also stopped at Lowes to see if I could find something to mount the metal leaf sculpture I bought at the Yellow Daisy Festival on the bricks outside. The sculptor told me there was an easy adhesive, but all Lowes could recommend were masonry screws or permanent adhesive. I settled for some outdoor mounting foam, which I hope will work. The sculpture is feather light and small, and since rain doesn't hit that part of the porch, I am hoping the adhesive will hold up. I had some of it holding up two wooden buttons which held a leaf garland and that has lasted a year.

James was right; it's small and does look a bit lost out there. Oh, well, it's all I could afford. Maybe next year I will buy it a "friend." LOL.

Oh, and you can tell fall is here. There are little spiderwebs dotting the ground everywhere, and this morning I stared out the kitchen window to see a big spider almost an inch long sitting comfortably in a web built inches away from the screen! Hopefully I won't find one making itself at home in the back seat of my car as happened a few years ago. I wish I had a photo of that; it was so funny.

Finally it was time to relax. Read and dismembered the paper, made the bed, and now I am watching Alistair Cooke's America.

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In Celebration of the "Smoot"
One of those Boston landmarks:

MIT Celebrates All Things "Smoot"



» Saturday, October 04, 2008
Long, But Fun Day
Another nice, snuggly sleeping night, but a warm day was approaching. It did get pretty warm. The house has just gotten cool enough after having both the doors open and the fans at high tilt. Actually, it's nice and cool now, because I'm in shorts and a sleeveless shirt, sitting on the sofa with all the lights off except the one on my laptop that shines on the keyboard (well, the candle is on in the dining room and the lamp in the foyer is always on very dimly—it's a 25-watt bulb—and I still have the two little houses on the mantelpiece lit up, but it's still pretty dark in here). James has gone to bed because he has to be in tomorrow at 8 a.m. for training on a new system (if this isn't bad enough he doesn't get a day off to trade for it and he has to work Saturday).

We were out doing errands from eleven to three-thirty and then had some folks over for an impromptu game night, so I'm kinda tuckered (although it wasn't especially hot, the sun was blazing overhead all the time we were out and I daresay we both got more sun than we can tolerate; James was just complaining of a sore throat and he is very warm to the touch). We went to Bed, Bath and Beyond with two coupons that expired today. I was hoping to find another folding table like the one I have in my craft room, but they didn't have one; we ended up getting a slipcover for James' computer chair instead. Also stopped at Costco for a few things, then went to the hobby shop, Kroger, then to BJs for gasoline and finally home. Even had time for a bit of a sit-down before the Spiveys arrived.

We served Swedish meatballs and French bread for supper and had some cookies and chips on the side, and they brought a veggie tray and a fruit tray. We played James' "Storming the Castle" card game (from Princess Bride) and then Uno, and also showed Alice and Ken most of the first part of John Adams, since they were wondering if they would like it.

Meanwhile, Willow is yipping and barking because a small green flying insect has gotten into the house. Before she finally retreated into her crate for the night we found her hiding out in my craft room.

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» Friday, October 03, 2008
The Cleaning Thing
Chinese for supper, then it's vacuuming time. Stairs, then carpet while James is drying off the dog. I have to vacuum right before or right after I bathe Willow because she tends to rub herself off on the rug. This time I washed her with the soap sample I picked up at the Yellow Daisy Festival. It is good for the dog's skin and the claim was that when you got done there was no "wet dog" smell. As I washed her I thought I caught the faint smell of oatmeal, which I know is good for human skin. Well, I rinsed her off and James dried her and indeed she does not have that "wet dog" smell. Their card is still in the truck; I guess we should order some of it.

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Sleepy on Friday
All right, I admit, we stayed up late to see "Jaywalking." This time it was asking people to finish famous cliché sayings. Naturally we saw the folks who didn't know jack about any of them, except for the young lady who completed the saying "Why buy a cow..." correctly ("...when milk's so cheap?") and then added, "My momma says that to my boyfriend all the time." Jay Leno asked, "How long have you two been going together?" She responded, "Five years!"

Fella, I think it's time for that ship to sail, don't you? :-)

Anyway, I slept until nine, and I thought I'd had a good night's sleep, but I was feeling fuzzy all morning long, as if I'd only slept four or five hours. Worse, I'd walked out of the house having had just a packet of oatmeal and a glass of milk. It was soon evident my little breakfast and my sleepiness was catching up with me.

I'd also discovered that the coupons I thought were tucked into my pouch weren't there, so I couldn't complete the errands I'd specifically gone out to complete. I did buy the finishing touch for my little feather tree at Michael's and found the new Country Sampler and a cross-stitch magazine with some pretty autumn patterns at JoAnn, but couldn't go to Linens'n'Things or Bed, Bath and Beyond. Phooey.

Came home past Publix; didn't find many BOGOs, but did get some grapes to snack on until I got home. I had to get to BJs at least since we are hosting a game night on Saturday and we are planning to serve Swedish meatballs. I also restocked on lean pork, bought the inevitable omeprazole, but was thwarted when I tried to restock the Mandarin orange bowls. BJs doesn't sell them anymore, just servings in cans. Phooey.

At least they had gasoline. The gas thing finally seems to be easing; most of the stations had regular today.

The grapes had seemed to help the fuzziness, and I needed the assistance, since I now had to get an insulated bag with fourteen pounds of pork and a gallon of milk up the stairs. (The salad greens were in there, too, but they didn't add much to the weight. LOL.) But now we have boneless pork chops for a while, as well as some boneless ribs for the crock pot.



» Thursday, October 02, 2008
What A Lovely Day!
Chilly this morning, just right all day! No perspiration at all although it got up to 71°F. If it had to stay at a warm temperature all year round, today would have been it.

I spent my lunch hour washing the floor in the foyer and in the downstairs hall, and also used the extendable duster to clean the walls and the joins between the walls and the ceiling, as I had seen a couple of cobwebs forming. This is very long and reaches to the top of the cathedral ceiling in the living room.

The one thing I couldn't do was clean that wretched hanging lamp in the foyer. It's all dusty and I can't do a thing about it. I tried to get the duster inside and it caught on the ornamental work at the bottom. I thought I was going to have to wait till James got home to get it disengaged, but I worked it out. Really need to go buy the three-fixture lamp we have picked out at Lowes; I'm just reluctant because I know the installation will cost more than the fixture (it's $79.00) because the darn thing has to be hung seventeen feet up! But it will be dustable and we will be able to change the light bulbs in it because they face downward and the light bulb changing attachment on the extendable duster pole can be used. Right now there's no way to change the candelabra bulbs in or clean this ugly thing unless we get a fifteen-foot ladder!

Work is quiet now that fiscal year is over. We'll probably have some orders coming over, but they will be unfunded since we don't have a budget yet. We usually don't have one until sometime in early November, and we've stayed on via continuing resolutions until December some years. I had one call today and only one e-mail that required action (and not by myself). Everyone's still upset by what happened to Dorothy.

Right now I am watching The Magnificent Voyage of Christopher Columbus on PBS. An expedition of mostly Spanish men are sailing westward in three replica ships. Cool stuff.

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» Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Commercials Drive Me Crazy
Every time I see the Swiffer wet-jet commercials I get movie flashbacks. In this ridiculous one, a woman's sponge mop is trying to lure her back by sending her flowers and candy.

Every time the delivery guy rings the doorbell and announces "Candygram!" all I can hear is Cleavon Little saying "Candygram for Mongo!" :-)

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Cold Front
Let's hear it for Canadian air! Woohoo!