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

. . . . .
. . . . .  

» Sunday, January 31, 2010
Shopping on Sunday
I emerged from the bedroom this morning to find James making biscuits, a treat on a cold day at the very end of January. Had them with Smart Balance and offered a bite or two to Schuyler, then tended to my FarmVille field. Hung about until one, watching Clark Howard, and then got dressed to go out on our errands.

Our first stop was to visit our friend Juanita, who had surgery on her foot on Thursday. She had an accident with her right foot some years ago and the joint has been degenerating slowly. However, recently the deterioration had increased and the doctor finally told her she needed the surgery immediately. She found out on Monday, so there wasn't much time to dread. She will have a long convalescence: three months before she can even put weight on the foot. And the surgery was quite painful.

She told me she liked reading inspirational things, like the Chicken Soup books, so we bought her a couple over the weekend, plus two scrapbooking magazines. Today I packaged these with a card and we visited for a short time.

From there we stopped briefly at Borders to return the book I'd bought yesterday, then went on to Goodwill to drop off a donation. Finally we went to Kroger. I have been reading the "Coupon Mom" book and realized we have been not been doing a lot of couponing. We needed some staples and also laundry detergent, and decided to also get some nonperishable things with the coupons, like "Finish" (formerly Electrosol). We discovered that Kroger had a special, various items that, if you bought any ten of them, you got a discount. We already had three of the ten, so we bought a bunch of Goldfish, different flavors, for Atomicon and parties, to get the discount. We also had a $2 off coupon if we bought $10 worth of meat, of which we already had $3.84 of. So we bought more pork on discount, and also some ground pork.

Now, when we stopped for gasoline, we discovered that we still had BJs coupons in the car that expired today. These were good coupons, for things like granola bars, toothpaste, and oatmeal, so we turned right instead of left to go home, and went back to BJs. On the way toward the cashier, we passed the omeprazole, which I have been buying at Costco because it's the least expensive there. When I saw the price, I goggled. $20? With an immediate $5 rebate? This made it $3 cheaper than Costco! I said to James, "When does it expire?" "Today," he answered. "How many do you want?" I got two, which is about a three-months supply.

So by the time we got home, it was suppertime. We had bought some Campbell's "Healthy Request" tomato soup, James added basil, garlic and Italian spices to it, and we had chicken thigh cacciatore for supper. Yum! Afterwards we watched a Dateline special about residents at the Arkansas Childrens' Hospital, and then Ken Burns' documentary about Thomas Jefferson.

Incidentally, when I had PBS on last night, they showed a commercial I love that I hadn't seen in a long time:

PBS "Big Bird"

I especially love the piece of music that goes with it, which I understand is from The Cider House Rules. I love PBS. Heck, I loved it back when it was

this. :-)

NET ended in 1970, after showing hours of classroom television...and that's what it was, a teacher, a blackboard, maybe some photos held up to the camera, and a lecture, fifteen minutes of a language, or English grammar, or art. There were some kids' programs like The Friendly Giant and of course, Misteroger's [sic] Neighborhood, and at night there were things like NET Playhouse and a series I remember with fondness: The Toy That Grew Up, in which silent movies were shown.

Hey, remember the old PBS bumper?

Labels: , , ,


» Saturday, January 30, 2010
Trivial Things
You should have seen the birds at the feeder this afternoon! At one point we had four bluebirds crowding around the suet, a male and three females. Later, another male appeared, but only when only one of the females was there. At one point, the male looked straight at me. Plus the usual gang of titmice and chickadees, and a very brilliant pine warbler.

Earlier in the morning the yellow-rumped warbler was back. The yellow was not very bright, but quite definitely yellow and not white or beige.

We left the house about 2:30, which was unfortunately too late when we got to the hobby shop—the cleaner was already closed. I sat in the meeting room and read the new Flavia de Luce book which I got from Amazon Vine this month, feeling distinctly cold and a bit uncomfortable. Since it would be four hours until dinner, we stopped at Wendy's for a burger when we got finished.

Stopped at Borders on the outbound leg to pick up a book I had been looking for [after I looked at it, realized one of the names in it was familiar and later found the book downstairs; will have to return it]. James found a CD of the best of the "Thistle and Shamrock" musical show on the radio, so we played that out to Alpharetta, where we would be playing trivia tonight.

Of course we stopped at Fry's, as it was directly on the way. :-) James found a birthday gift for someone, and I was looking around to see if there were any little stands or something to put the antenna on top of the television. I ended up with a plastic bookstand that looked like it might work if put on the television upside down. [It works, too...except if I move the silly antenna one inch to the left, the picture breaks up. I messed with it so much that I cracked one of the aerials and had to tape it. It's finally sorta coming in...still some pixilation occasionally.]

When we came out of Fry's, it was snowing and continued so for about five minutes. That's all the snow we got.

Trivia was at a place called Mulligan's Grill. Had a French dip; not bad except they used deli roast beef rather than the real thing. We had an appetizer called "Irish Nachos," either french fries or tater tots with cheese and bacon. James picked the tater tots. Tasty. Had a great first half, then a bad second half and failed quite spectacularly at the end. We had the right answer, but were not sure enough of it to put points on it.

Labels: , , , , ,


Saturday in the Rain
Just finishing watching the Newton Centre Dutch Colonial project on This Old House. Golly, look at that kitchen! And the hardwood floors—drool! Plus the next project starts next episode (YAY!); they're really rehabilitating an old house, a duplex in Roxbury, which is in dreadful shape, even worse than the row house in Brooklyn was.

Had a leisurely breakfast of oatmeal and yogurt and milk while watching the preceding Ask This Old House, and, before that, the end of a History Detectives I don't remember seeing.

The last was on the GPB "sub-channel" 8-3, GPB Knowledge. Since we've gotten the rabbit ear antenna balanced and aimed to get GPB, a lot of times if we are just going to watch network or PBS, we don't even bother putting the satellite box on. This way we get to see the full HD on GPB and WPBA, which Dish Network doesn't carry.

Of course since a flat-screen television has no "shelf" on top, the rabbit ears are rather precariously balanced, half the base on the narrow top of the television, and the other half resting on a stuck-out DVD case from one of the Disney "True-Life Adventure" sets. I have a little poster tape keeping the base stuck to the television and a piece of balled-up foil keeping one of the stretched-out antenna aerials from lopping down behind the television. (The aerials of the antenna, aimed to get GPB, look like the legs of a ballerina doing the split, with the loop portion pointed directly west; that's the only way we get Channel 8.)

Anyone know of a little "shelf" that can be set on top of a flat-screen television? 'Cause I'd really like better access to those True-Life Adventures. LOL.

It's been quiet around here because I've been (a) recovering from the fall and (b) playing catch-up at work. I got four orders and a modification done this week, and finally solved the problem of why an invoice wasn't being paid. (Sigh...why couldn't they have told me that earlier?) Tuesday I was mostly worried about my legs, especially the right ones, which hurt terribly when I walked on them. My big problem Wednesday was my left arm, which was downright in pain. I couldn't lift it higher than my head nor brush my hair comfortably, and I even had to ask James' help in feeding Schuyler because her food dish is wedged between the bars of the cage so it won't fall, and I have to use my left hand to hold down the cage while I pull out the dish with my right. Swallowed lots of ibuprofin and Tylenol and typed quietly.

Anyway, it looks like we missed the "winter storm"—just got rain. They were showing snow and ice on the road as far south as Dalton last night; looked rather nasty. It's still dreary and awful outside: 34°F and drizzling. Yuck. I'd rather have snow. I can't think of anything more depressing than winter rain.

And I'm tired of the weather reporters on the news whining about the cold. It's winter. It's supposed to be cold. Go live somewhere warm and inhospitable, like Acapulco, if you can't deal with it.

We had Captain D's for the first time in ages yesterday, due to the coupons. Sorry to say I tasted fish and coleslaw all night. :-) We also went to Costco to see if they had an inexpensive radar detector which got rather good ratings. While we were there got milk and granola bars and walked about a bit. Found a big bag of shelled almonds, which will be good for treats when I get the urge for a nosh.

Labels: , , ,


» Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Skeleton Freeze
Once they made the change to digital, the local channels ended up with these little "side-channels" or "sub-channels" that had other programming on them. WXIA, Atlanta's NBC station, has two of these sub-channels. One is a silent local radar, with temp and forecasts, the other is Universal Sports. Most of the time that I've surfed by, they seem to be broadcasting bicycle racing (occasionally swimming), but now that winter is here and the Olympics are upcoming, we are seeing snow sports: snowboarding, skiing, etc. Today during lunch they had women's skeleton, which means you like prone on a specially-made board the size of a serving tray and hurtle downhill head first along a twisting chute made of ice at speeds that go up to 75 mph by the time you reach the bottom of the chute.

May I be the first to say "barf ride"? :-)

But it's fun to watch. I love watching winter sports. Can't wait for the Winter Olympics. Last time we had a Winter Olympics we were moving, so I hope we can enjoy watching more this time.

Labels: , ,


» Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Two Days, Two Problems, Too Much
Gah. What a couple of days.

Sunday night I went to bed feeling unwell. Monday morning was no better. I was late leaving the house due to having to use the bathroom, and had a miserable ride in, only to have to duck into the ladies' room the moment I got there. I was also feeling queasy most of the morning. You know things are not right when oatmeal and yogurt upset your stomach.

By lunch time I was spoiling for a migraine. Unfortunately there's no way to treat it at takes total quiet and a fairly dark room. But I had so many things I wanted to get done...I ended up skipping lunch hour and ate at my desk, just to keep going. Finally, when all that I needed was done—it was about two by then—I gathered everything up, placed some things in signature bins, and asked permission to go home.

The drive home was a trip in itself. I kept my eyes on the road in front of me trying not to be distracted by my headache, so I wasn't sure quite what was going on when smoke started billowing from the left lane as I approached Riverside Drive. Then I heard that distinctive "whoomph" that happens when two half-plastic modern cars slam into each other. A bright blue pickup truck spun into my line of view, skidding backward toward the right lanes, its side bashed in and its windshield crazed. I immediately slowed down and nudged the car safely toward the breakdown lane, but the truck stopped well away from the far right lane I had been in. For a moment, I looked at the truck, then, as people started passing me, I inched back into the lane to get past the accident scene, then pulled over again to call 911.

Man, I hope no one was too badly hurt. I didn't see the other car, but the blue truck was a mess.

By the time I got home, it felt like Ricky Ricardo was beating out "Babbaloo" on the left side of my head. I took two extra-strength Tylenol and retreated to the spare room with a fleece blanket over my head.

We had a quickie supper and later watched Antiques Roadshow and then House off the DVR, and finally Castle. Was everyone else's opening scenes on Castle messed up, or was it just the Dish Network feed? It was all background music and no dialog. I thought they were just doing the opening differently until no one was talking in the opening scene where the couple with the little girl comes home to find a dead man in the daughter's bed.

After yesterday I was anxious to get off to work this morning and finish up what I started. Not to be.

For most of her life, we have confined Willow to the kitchen/dining room area at night. She has her food and water there, and she sleeps in her crate, which is left open. But since October she's been waking us up in the middle of the night with these short, sharp "lonesome" barks. She's not barking at anything, just because she's alone. Anyway, we discovered quite accidentally when we didn't put up the gate one night that she does not bark if she's allowed free run of the entire floor. So what we've been doing is tossing books and things onto the sofa (so she doesn't try to sleep on the "warm soft puppy bed" where Mama sits; it's okay for her to sleep on "Daddy's chair," and we've found her there many a morning), putting up the larger gate at the top of the stairs so she doesn't wander downstairs, and putting the old baby gate that we used when she was a puppy across the arch to the hall that leads to the bedrooms.

On the days when we both get up together, James leaves the bedroom first. He usually puts the gate aside, but this morning, absently, he put it back in place. A few minutes later, when I came out of the bedroom, I had my hands full with my big purse, my accordion folder which is full of the hard copies of my purchase orders and all their printed backup, and my shoes (I put them on while booting up the computer to check the weather and traffic). With all that in front of me, I couldn't see that the gate was still in place. So I walked right into it, got my feet tangled in it, and fell flat out onto the floor in front of Schuyler's cage, arms still clutching bag, portfolio and shoes.


Unlike James' fall a few months ago, I didn't scrape or break anything. But boy, did I raise an immediate and huge "goose egg" just under my right knee (of course it's my right leg; it's always my right leg). It had struck the metal piece that adjusts the width of the baby gate. James got me a bag of ice before he left for work and I plumped it on the spot immediately; still, it spread until it was between the size of a dessert plate and a dinner plate. I kept ice on it, 15 minutes on and 15 off, for about two hours, and swallowed some ibuprofin, but the pain was pretty intense and it hurt to walk for a while, although I kept moving just so not to get stiff. Finally I just gave in and stretched out on the futon for a couple of hours, and fell asleep.

To my surprise, when I got up I could walk normally, although the bruise was rapidly purpling and it hurt when the fabric of my pants touched it. I was very encouraged. It looked like I had dodged the bullet.

Alas, the approaching evening has not been kind to my body. Now my left leg, especially the knee and below, hurts, in tandem with my right, as well as my left shoulder and elbow (the arm I was clutching my purse and portfolio in), and just under my right wrist where it appears I barked myself. Both ankles are stiff and I have a sore spot just under my left ribcage.

Basically I feel like the time I fell face-first on the concrete floor in the shipping room at Trifari. At least this time I didn't break my nose!

In the midst of an analgesic afternoon I decided to watch a couple of things I'd recorded months ago and never seen. The first was a History Channel special based upon a book I've thought about buying, Ship Ablaze!. This was the story of the side-wheeled excursion boat General Slocum, which caught fire in the East River on June 15, 1904, with a Sunday School picnic group of German-Americans aboard. All but about 300 people of the 1,300 folks aboard died because the crew was untrained in firefighting and the hoses did not work, plus the canvas life belts had rotted and broken apart, and the lifeboats were tied down. In the end, the only person who paid a price was the captain, who did the best he could to save the passengers!

What was really interesting was that there were two elderly women in the special who were children who survived the disaster. One woman died soon after she was interviewed for the documentary, in 2002, and the other, who was just a baby at the time, but remembered her mother's burn scars growing up, passed away in 2004.

Also watched Remember 1929: Year of the Great Crash, which was a British-made documentary about the "Roaring '20s" and the inevitable result. Some really nice film footage that I'd never seen before, starting with World War I battlefield scenes, including Calvin Coolidge speaking (and he really had an old time Vermont twang!) and street scenes in Harlem at the time of the Renaissance, with a super 1920s music score, from jazz to Crosby singing "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?"

Labels: , , , ,


» Monday, January 25, 2010
Pernell Roberts, Bonanza and Trapper John Star, Dies

Used to be quite a fan of Trapper John, MD.



» Sunday, January 24, 2010
Rainy Sunday
We don't like to sleep too late on Sundays since it then makes it hard to get to sleep Sunday night. However, the rain had blown in during the night and it was just a perfect day to roll into the arms of Morpheus—so we did. Then I had James make me some "cheese things" after last night...take a low-carb tortilla, put cheese slices in it, fold it over, and grill it. "Cheese things." Nice specific term. LOL.

Went out a little after noon to pick up the eggs James forgot to tell me he needed yesterday. It was Georgia Monsoon season by then. In the two hours we were out the temperature went up six degrees, the rain poured, and it was just generally miserable. So we came home and watched snowboarding and then figure skating.

Pork chops for supper, ice cream for dessert, laundry for a chaser. I changed the bed this morning and washed the bedclothes this afternoon, and am still trying to get the blankets dry. Gah.

We are having a lovely time re-watching and commenting on Remember WENN episodes in the Yahoo Group. So if you're a WENN fan and miss the series, c'mon by:

Labels: , , ,


» Saturday, January 23, 2010
Shopping Ramble
Yesterday was my compressed day off and today James had to work, so I've been pretty much on my own for two days. I can't seem to catch up on sleep since Christmas, so Friday I was slug-a-bed until after nine.

I had two essential errands, however; I had to go to the bank and I had to hunt down vacuum cleaner bags. The first was quick and painless, the second was aggravating. Since we have a Kirby, we just can't get bags any old where. The closest store is on the way to Buckhead, so I went there. Aieeee! Next time I order the bags online! Even if I have to pay $7 postage, the cost per bag goes down from $3.50 each to $2.50 each.

I had read about a book on a book blog that I thought I might like to buy, but Borders only had it at Buckhead, or at Perimeter. So I was originally going to go out to Perimeter, but since I was halfway to Buckhead already I changed directions, stopping at the Container Store first.

Ironically, once I looked through the book, I decided I didn't want it, found out Temple Grandin's latest book was out in paperback, but ended up not buying it there after all, since a linguistics book caught my eye. The Buckhead Borders has the most choices, although I'm massively annoyed about how they've swapped out the history and the biographies. There are fewer history books now. Grrr.

Came home to do laundry, run the vacuum a little. We had supper at Fresh2Order since I had a twofer coupon, then we went to pick up the Temple Grandin book, of course.

Incidentally, at Buckhead I went rummaging in the bargain bins and found the novelization for the Star Trek film. Haven't read it yet, but just opening it solved one mystery already, why little Jimmy Kirk wanted to get that car wrecked so badly.

Since it was Saturday and I wanted to go to JoAnn before the mob appeared around Town Center Mall and spilled out over Barrett Parkway, I didn't have the luxury of a sleep-in this morning. I stopped briefly at Hobby Lobby first, bracing myself for the assault of pink that overwhelms Valentines Day decorations. Gah. The summer stuff is out already. I restrain myself from screaming.

I'm on the lookout for a new spring wreath for the front door. The other was getting pretty grimy, and the flowers were starting to shed, so I dumped it. I saw what might have been a likely wreath if the house did not face west; it had a lot of artificial berries on it. One month in the sun and half of them would be split open to reveal the white styrofoam/plastic/whatever inside. So I keep looking.

Came home by Publix and Kroger for some serious grocery shopping. Ironically, the Quaker oatmeal on sale at Kroger was cheaper than the twofer oatmeal at Publix. But they did have sugar-free tapioca pudding at Publix. And Uncle Ben's rice. And there were cherries...

I was mostly reading when I got home (and messing with Farmville), but I did finish a longstanding craft project. Many years ago my mom gave me, via my Cousin Anna, an Avon snowman. It's a transluscent white plastic form on a base with three C-7 flasher lightbulbs. The snowman was kitted out for Christmas, with red-and-green scarf and a top hat with holly on it. But I never used it at Christmas since I had so many decorations, but saved it for winter (left the blue flashing bulb in there, and replaced the red and green flasher bulbs with another blue and a clear bulb), and have been saying for years I was going to change it to make it wintry. Today I bought a peacock blue piece of felt, cut a strip for the scarf, fringed the end, and put it around the snowman's neck in place of the striped job, then cut a slimmer strip to cover the red band around the top hat (I cut the holly off). I then affixed some silver and white snowflakes to the top hat. Last week I also fixed his broomstick; I had it repaired with Scotch tape for years...looked horrible. Now it's superglued. Tucked some snowflakes in that, too!

Just ate supper at Ken's Grill. Mmmm. Pork chops. Managed to make Pandora Radio sound enticing enough that James downloaded it to his Droid, too. He's now down in the "man cave" listening either to Scottish marches or the Moody Blues. I managed to make a rather nice station this afternoon by specifying "John Philip Sousa." Got not only marches, but "Le Marsellaise," John Williams doing the Olympic fanfare, the "Toreador" song from Carmen...

(Awww, dang it, all that bookstoring and I forgot to look for Torey Hayden's latest when I was at Kennesaw today...)

Labels: , , , ,


» Thursday, January 21, 2010
The Leno/O'Brien Thing
NBC Confirms O'Brien Exit

My thoughts:

• Although I am fonder of Leno—wish he'd give his guests more opportunity to talk, though; f'God's sake, Jay, shut up—than of O'Brien, Conan O'Brien was robbed. Screwed through and through. NBC promised him that slot five years ago and now they're reneging. Hope he gets a nice fat breach of contract settlement. Particularly feel bad for all the members of his staff who relocated.

• I never thought Conan's brand of humor would work at 11:30. If you're up after 12:30, you have a different mindset than the crowd that's still up at 11:30. I also think the show lost something by transferring from New York to Hollywood (Burbank, whatever...). There's a different, edgier feel to a New York show with guests in New York. YMMV.

• I wish people would quit blaming Leno. Way back when NBC said "Hey, we want you to give up Tonight in 2009." Leno's the type of guy who loves being "on"—you can tell watching him; okay, it's mostly ego, but that's his thing—but still said okay. Then, since he still had good ratings in 2009, something they didn't count on, they get this harebrained idea to stick him at 10 p.m. to keep him from wandering elsewhere. They said they did research. I don't know what kind of ditzy research they did, but a Tonight format just doesn't belong in prime time; anyone with the sense God gave a goat could have seen that. So Leno takes the slot and bombs. To paraphrase Bill Cosby: "And these brain-damaged people have the nerve to look surprised." So they ask Leno to go back. Would you have said no?

• And the half hour show that NBC thought might work? Pardon my language, but WTF could anyone do with a half-hour show in late night? Prime time shows are already down to 21 minutes of plot in a half-hour slot. With all the damn commercials they cram into late-night TV what would be left, fifteen minutes?

The big question as always: do television executives actually live in the real world?



In the Dark, Dark, Dark of the Daytime
We are having another one of those rainy days—here it is nine o'clock and it's as dark as twilight out; so dark, in fact, that the two sensor-driven dusk-to-dawn candles in the front windows are both on. If we had the Christmas lights still plugged in, no doubt they would be on, too. There's a rather daunting little brook running between our house and the one next door. Sadly, I see some type of French drain in our future which will cost several thousand dollars.



» Tuesday, January 19, 2010
History in Your Own Backyard
Well, former backyard, anyway: I printed this some years ago in one of my "Nostalgia Place" essays:
...a series of soft-backed pictoral books called "Images of America" took my interest. There were several dozen of them published about various Rhode Island towns, neighborhoods, and institutions, and although they were rather pricey, I purchased three, one about two places close to my heart: Knightsville, where our church, St. Mary's, was, and Silver Lake, where my dad grew up...[a map of t]he neighborhood where I grew up was represented by a blank field with an oval drawing, and the legend "Narragansett Trotting Track."

How I laughed to think that the always sleepy little neighborhood had been so long known for speed--and how it brought me back...

When I was small, growing up in the late 50s and early 60s, there was a succession of neighborhood stores with the prefix "Speedway." My dad went to the Speedway Barber and bowled at the Speedway Bowling Alley. When I got old enough to understand more of the meanings of words, one of the first things I asked was what "Speedway" meant.

Daddy pointed outside and told me that before the land had been sold for housing tracts, the ground on which our neighborhood stood used to be a car race track. Drivers as famous as Mario Andretti and Al Unser were in my youth raced there in the early years of the 20th century, people like Barney Oldfield, who pushed the cars of the day to the "daring" speeds of 50 and 60 miles per hour!

When there weren't races, Daddy added, they had fairs and shows. When he was a little boy, probably around 1920, he was taken to see a Wild West Show on that site.

Then he gestured into the backyard at the rusted chain link fence that separated our house from the backs of the homes on Fiat Avenue. That fence was all that was left of the race track.
I noted the "death" of what was left of that fence in a 2005 post.

The trotting track had originally been built so that Governor Sprague (he of the Sprague Mansion a mile or so away on Cranston Street) could exercise his prize horses. Later, the place was called "Narragansett Park" (hence it being on "Gansett Avenue"—I noted on an old map once referring to it as "Narragansett Avenue"—and not to be confused with the race horse track that used to be out in Pawtucket) and that same "Images of America" book had a 1924 photo of Park Avenue going toward Johnston, with the old John W. Horton School on the left and the big board fence that surrounded the park on the right. The streets within that area which had been sold as a housing plat were all named after cars—some still recognizable like "Fiat," "Packard," "Cadillac," "Overland" (Overland later merged with Willys and made jeeps during World War II) and some lost to the annals of car history like "Jordan" and "Chandler" and "Peerless."

When we went to clean the house out after my mom died in 2005, I was talking with my godmother, who lived next door to us. She had a few other stories that I hadn't known.The "Images of America" book stated that the racetrack had been unpaved until 1928—but I found this on a car racing site:
Narragansett Park Speedway was the site of two different 1 mile ovals. The first was a flat 1 mile horse track, and the second was a 1 mile paved, high banked oval. The location was Cranston, Rhode Island. Banking of the paved oval was approximately 20 degrees, and it was almost certainly the first true Super Speedway in North America.

Narragansett Trotting Park was the site of the first oval race in the United States on September 7th, 1896. Races were held on the flat dirt oval until 1913. In the meantime, the horse track folded and the site was taken over by the state for use as the Rhode Island State Fairground.

The paved oval was built in 1915. The Super Speedway configuration was extremely novel, as paving and banking were both entirely new concepts in oval track racing. The track was sanctioned by AAA, with a first race on September 18, 1915, which was won by Eddie Rickenbacker. The track operated through 1924. The site is now a housing subdivision.
Holy cow, Eddie Rickenbacker—the Eddie Rickenbacker!

Anyway, the Speedway plat was cleared and erected in 1929. In the meantime my godmother's family, the Danellas, had bought the parcel of land that is now on Appleton Street and also later included our house and the house across the street. They moved in just in time for my godmother to attend the very first classes at the brand-new Hugh B. Bain junior high school (now middle school). She told me that back then, when the trees were a lot smaller, they could sit on what is now the front lawn of the house across the street and watch the fireworks shot off several miles away during the St. Mary's Church feast weekend.

Anyway, what brought me back to this subject was that I am reading the book Crazy Good, the story of the famous "Dan Patch" the harness racing horse and the first racing superstar—a pacer, not a trotter!—and have just reached the portion of the story where Dan runs the "Grand Circuit" of harness racing for the first time. What is one of Dan's stops on the Grand Circuit? Why, Narragansett Park, of course!

(Interestingly enough, the ancestors of the pacer included a now-extinct 17th century American horse breed called the Narragansett Pacer. I believe this breed also formed the root stock for the Tennessee Walking Horse.)

So I used to live near where greats like Dan Patch, Eddie Rickenbacker, and Barney Oldfield once tread. Wow.

Incidentally, the author notes that most modern folks have never heard of Dan Patch and think the first big horse superstar was Seabiscuit. Apparently he didn't grow up on the classic Disney films, because anyone who's seen Disney's lovely So Dear to My Heart knows exactly who Dan Patch is! In the opening scene of the film, the famous horse makes a water/exercise stop in the village where Jeremiah Kincaid is growing up and the little boy is so dazzled by the appearance of the famous pacer in his specially-fitted and painted railroad car that when a black lamb is born on his Granny's farm he names it Danny after Dan Patch. (The author doesn't seem to be aware of the film, from what I can tell, only about The Great Dan Patch, which appears to have the same verisimilitude as another highly-fictionalized race film that premiered that same year of 1949, The Story of Seabiscuit.)

Labels: ,


» Monday, January 18, 2010
!@$#!$!$ DVR!
Wouldn't you know it would lock up smack in the first ten minutes of tonight's Castle when I'm stuck in the wretched bathroom?



A Day Patched Together
Nothing's better than getting to sleep late. Makes up for all those Saturday mornings I was up early to watch Lassie reruns. :-)

My first mission today was a crucial one: fix my jeans. I bought four pairs of jeans the last time I was in Rhode Island and they are still in great shape, since I alternate wearing them and don't wear them in the winter, except for the usual area that needs patching. I really love these jeans because not only do they fit nicely, but they fit nicely vertically. I can almost never find pants that are the correct length, and I loathe hemming pants the way I despise cooking. Apparently "average" women's pants are made for giants. I was so surprised when I found these Gloria Vanderbilt jeans for a reasonable price, in four different colors, in three different lengths, and the "petite" fit perfectly, which is why I bought one of each color.

Ironically, I bought these in the BJs on Hartford Avenue, and they came in three lengths, but when I found them again at BJs in Georgia, they just came in one generic size.

So I patched the two pair I knew about, then went to check the third pair before I put the iron up, the blue ones, only to find out they needed repair, too. The beige ones are okay, since I don't wear that light color as much. The blue wash and the brown are my favorites; I've been wearing the black ones to work because I bought two new pair of black pants for work and...all together now...they're too long. Sigh...

Since the ironing board was now put up, I used the opportunity to tidy the craft room, pack up one Christmas project I didn't get to this year (I'm planning to finish another) and a little white tree I'm planning to bring to work for next year. I also fixed the dust cover of the big Reader's Digest coffee table book, Our Glorious Century, that I bought at Atlanta Vintage Books at the end of last month. The book itself was nearly pristine, but the impressive blue-and-silver cover looked like it had been jammed on a shelf or in a box, and had a "skid mark" of a darker color, plus a torn spot and a divot torn out of the back. I figured I would just patch it with acid-free tape when I got home, but the owner noticed the torn cover and before I could say anything, he whipped out a roll of plain old tape and fixed it rather badly. Ooops. Well, at less than $6 I couldn't quibble.

So today I took off the errant tape, sadly damaging the cover a little bit more, and patched up all the rips. For the divot and the hole now on the front cover, I put tape on the front, then filled in on the sticky back with a silver paint pen and then put tape on the back side, covering the paint. I also managed to get most of the "skid mark" off with a scrubby sponge. The cover doesn't look perfect, but it does look a lot better.

Also vacuumed the stairs, swept downstairs and the foyer, put a few other things up in the holiday closet, did a load of towels, had some cheese and crackers for lunch, and spent the afternoon watching the first three episodes of the first series of Jeeves and Wooster. I don't think James would have liked this. I thought it was cute, but I'm not much of a Wodehouse fan. I do have the first Jeeves book on my book reader on my phone. Will dip into it and see if I like it better. Hugh Laurie does play a twit quite well, and Stephen Fry is perfect as Jeeves (although I understand many folks think he is too young for the role).

Mmmmnnn...turkey thighs for supper...

Labels: , , ,


» Sunday, January 17, 2010
Someone Who Remembers One of the Best Series of All Time
Under the Radar: Remember WENN

[From Dani via Biz...thanks!]



Deck the Halls With Boughs of Snowflakes
After-Christmas is a strange season. For me, as a Christmas lover, it's hard to let go of the holiday. I've always loved the lights, the color, the music, the idea of giving gifts to friends and family, the beautiful Nativity story, reading of the customs in different cultures, the tales of the season.

Plus Christmas is the culmination of what I think of as our "social season." It starts slowly, with James' birthday in conjunction with DragonCon, then segues into the fall events: Yellow Daisy, Blue Ribbon, Apple Festival, what little we put into Hallowe'en along with our vacation usually being in the fall, and Thanksgiving. Then it ramps up into my birthday/Christmas/New Year's/Twelfth Night and the various gatherings that go into it (Christmas with the Butlers, Christmas with James' family, gift exchanges with various friends, Bill and Caran's party).

Frankly, now it's all downhill from here. Oh, there will be some fun things: we want to have a game night, there's Valentines Day, and James' mom's birthday, and Atomicon in the spring...but there is that specter of spring...and the warmer temperatures...if it must get warmer, there's just not enough of open window weather. From May through September the house is shut up and air conditioned to keep us from suffocation and suffering. It's depressing.

In the meantime, the house holds dual personalities, but both of them I like. There are winter decorations on the porch and in the foyer, in the dining room, around the doorway to the bedrooms and the door to the deck, and on the divider and on the hearth and a few winter things dotting near the television. Everything else has gone back to its fall persona, and once winter is over, it will all migrate back to fall except for the small seasonal touches: the blue table in the foyer, seasonal decorations in the dining room...until summer, when it all goes to fall to remind us during hideous summer that there are civilized seasons waiting to come again. :-)

James toted the Christmas tree downstairs this morning. It's as annoying as getting it upstairs; even though it's a slimline tree it's a tough squeeze down the stairs and even worse trying to fit it through the closet door—they're so narrow! Before we put it into the closet, we had put up the boxes that belonged on the shelves, and then we put a red translucent cover over the entire tree and "back it in." The long shelf that goes on the fireplace mantel to fit the entire village is wedged next to the tree, then the five big clear storage containers go against the other wall next to the steamer trunk—the library/woodland/airplane tree container, the village one, the porch/divider one, the Thanksgiving one, and finally the Hallowe'en fall one. The box with the tree ornaments and the box with the manger set is on top of the trunk...and that's it. Vacuum where the tree was, put the glider rocker back...

...golly, it looks empty!

Put the fall things and Mother's little clock back on the mantel, too.

The stairs are still dotted with artificial tree needles...I'll need to get that tomorrow. We spent the afternoon grocery shopping: Kroger where we found meat on sale, BJs for Chex and "particle board bars" as James calls 'em, and Lowes for more safflower seed to go with the birdseed, finch seed, and thistle seed we bought on sale at Kroger. By the time we were done, it was after three, so we went home, dismembered a chuck roast into beef bits, and I put on The Wizard of Oz.

We had salad and egg rolls for supper and watched the news, and now are whiling away time watching HGTV—for me at least until the second half of Return to Cranford comes on. I do like the little village of Cranford, with Judi Dench as sweet Miss Matty. Very funny last week when Miss Pole made a cage for the parrot that Peter Jenkyns gave to her, and didn't realize it was a set of hoops for hoopskirts! I found the book on (the book Cranford itself is only part of the television story; adapted into the Cranford saga also are two other Elizabeth Gaskell novels of the same vintage, My Lady Ludlow and Mr Harrison's Confessions) in e-book format and am reading it in odd moments—odd, perhaps, reading about a small 19th century English village that resists change on the latest technology?

Labels: , , , , , ,


» Thursday, January 14, 2010
[sticks hand up from amongst tinsel]
I'm here...when I'm not busy with work I am taking down Christmas decorations...what took three weeks to go up does not take one day to come down, and I'm behind because the party was so this rate I'll be taking the tree down on MLK Day. But I have the small decorations clear (bathroom, guest room, what little we put up in the bedroom, the Rudolph tree in the hall—which I just bubble wrap at the end of the season and end up fixing when I put it back up), the candles out of all the windows upstairs (the library tree is in the way downstairs and it's been so cold down there I've been reluctant to go work), the porch decorated for winter even though the lights are still up, and at lunch today I cleared all out of the dining room and kitchen (just have the Santas to wrap up—I had to glue one that broke when it fell, so I want to make sure the glue is dry).

Labels: , ,


» Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Don't Be a Victim of the "Senses Taker"
(sorry...Phantom Tollbooth joke...)

This was passed around at work. Some good advice for a census year, since you know those spineless, lazy, cheating hacker bastards and criminals out will try to take advantage of people:
WARNING: 2010 Census Cautions from the Better Business Bureau
Be Cautious About Giving Info to Census Workers

With the U.S. Census process beginning, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises people to be cooperative, but cautious, so as not to become a victim of fraud or identity theft. The first phase of the 2010 U.S. Census is under way as workers have begun verifying the addresses of households across the country. Eventually, more than 140,000 U.S. Census workers will count every person in the United States and will gather information about every person living at each address including name, age, gender, race, and other relevant data.

The big question is - how do you tell the difference between a U.S. Census worker and a con artist? BBB offers the following advice:

• If a U.S. Census worker knocks on your door, they will have a badge, a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag, and a confidentiality notice. Ask to see their identification and their badge before answering their questions. However, you should never invite anyone you don't know into your home.

• Census workers are currently only knocking on doors to verify address information. Do not give your Social Security number, credit card or banking information to anyone, even if they claim they need it for the U.S. Census.


While the Census Bureau might ask for basic financial information, such as a salary range, YOU DON'T HAVE TO ANSWER ANYTHING AT ALL ABOUT YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION. The Census Bureau will not ask for Social Security, bank account, or neither credit card numbers, nor will employees solicit donations. Any one asking for that information is not with the Census Bureau.


No Acorn worker should approach you saying he/she is with the Census Bureau.

Eventually, Census workers may contact you by telephone, mail, or in person at home. However, the Census Bureau will not contact you by e-mail, so be on the lookout for e-mail scams impersonating the Census.

Never click on a link or open any attachments in an Email that are supposedly from the U.S. Census Bureau.



She Saved the World a Treasure
Miep Gies, Anne Frank Protector, Dies at 100



» Monday, January 11, 2010
Sigh...Wouldn't This Be Cool to Attend?
10 Cool New Toys From CES

I miss Comdex...



» Sunday, January 10, 2010
Simple Sunday
Slept better last night, thankfully. As cold as it was last night—it was so cold I actually put the window down (not all the way, but almost closed)—and I did feel a bit warm at times!

We had a slow Sunday. James washed up the rest of the serving plates and I cleaned off the table and the chairs, then vacuumed the entire area, also cleaning off the coffee table. We put up the leftover cups and plastic silverware, got the kitchen back to normal, and I washed the Christmas dishtowels preparatory to packing them up.

I came out of the bedroom after getting dressed and found Willow lying in James' chair. She gets really anxious when we have company, but we must have really wigged her out last night. She doesn't usually get up in James' chair!

About eleven thirty we went out to East Cobb. Stopped at Trader Joe's to get a few things, and at Fuzziwig's to get more Jolly Rancher watermelon candies. Went into Borders and found the new British Country Living and Shop Smart. Discovered a book by Jerry Doyle. I miss listening to his radio show, even though sometimes the rants got a bit much.

On the way home we stopped at Publix; they had K cereal twofers, and I had coupons, so basically I got four boxes for $1.50 each. Good deal.

No days off this week so it will be a slow slog getting the Christmas things down. However, this morning I removed the candles from the front and back windows and put the regular candles back in the two front windows. (They are on dusk to dawn and are cheering when you leave for work in the dark!)

When we got home I took the Christmas banner down, took down the Santas, the Christmas signs, the Christmas basket and the wreath off the porch, and put the metal Christmas decorations and the two log reindeer away and put out the winter wreath, banner, and two snowmen, plus shut the porch lights off for good. I can't do the rest of the winter porch decorating until James takes the lights down and it is much too cold right now (plus he'll have to get the winter boxes down for me; they're too heavy). The rest of the lights I shut off, except for the main tree. It can be pretty until I get to it. :-)

Watched the newest This Old House, the rest of a Underdog to Wonderdog that James got interested in last night at bedtime (a woman so severely afraid of dogs that she had a panic attack when she saw a small six-month old puppy), and then had more of the vegetable ham soup for supper with a demi-baguette we got at Trader Joe's. Also saw a Dateline about the Christmas Eve bomber.

Now we are just finishing watching a fascinating Nature about hummingbirds. Types I've never seen before, with long beaks, or fancy tails, or one that looked like it was wearing white feather bloomers. How lovely!

Labels: , , , ,


» Saturday, January 09, 2010
Clean, Clean, Clean...Then Party, Party, Party!
That's what I did all day Friday: clean house. Scrubbed the hall bath, got the spare room ready for company (sadly, Shari decided not to come due to the age of her car vs. the intense cold, but I invited her for another weekend, perhaps one where we had a game night) and dusted, neatened up the craft room so all the extraneous stuff (read "vacuum cleaner") could go in there, cleaned the master bath, gave the initial vacuuming all over the main floor, did the deep clean vacuum to the stairway, swept the foyer, checked downstairs (I had already cleaned the downstairs bath, vacuumed the library, swept the downstairs hall and the laundry room), and dusted the living/dining room. James brought home Wendys, and then I rearranged under the tree, and, after James finished stuffing the dishwasher and cleaning the kitchen, washed the floor in the kitchen. At 10:30 James took Willow out for the rest of the night, then I gave her a bath.

This meant all I needed to do Saturday was clear off the coffee table, then do a quick vacuum of the main area and the stairs again, move Wil's dog bed into the bedroom and her food and water into the kitchen, and put the laptop away, and all was ready.

This would have been fine, but I slept really badly Friday night. I had a terrible nightmare about having moved to some horrible place that looked like a loft with ceiling fans that didn't work and saying to James "Why did we do this? I want to go back to the house!" It was one of those dreams you couldn't awake from, either, so when I got up I was disoriented, depressed and utterly nauseated. So it look us longer to do our shopping at Kroger and BJs.

James ran off to the hobby shop and took his shirts to the cleaner for about 90 minutes; I was planning to tidy just a few things up and then lie down for at least a half hour, but my breakfast was sitting so badly on my stomach that I had a big air bubble pressing on my throat and I couldn't relax.

James got home a little after three and it seems we were immediately going again. All the frozen stuff had to go in the oven, or in the microwave, the table had to be cleared, I had to make the dip, the bowls had to come out of the closet, etc. We were almost finished when the first guests started to arrive.

It was a great party. Ann and Clay came up from Warner Robins, and Daniel and Clair from across town, and John Campbell even showed up for a couple of hours (there were still icy roads between his downtown location and our house). We ate and chatted and exchanged a few gifts and talked more, and compared job notes and vacation stories and jokes, and had a dandy time for almost six hours.

So now Christmas is officially over...and it's time to take everything down...::sob!::

Labels: , ,


» Friday, January 08, 2010

Your result for The Fan Fiction Personality Test...

The True Fan

OOC is blasphemy, canon is everything.

Once you fall in love with a movie, book or TV series, you are loyal like an old dog. You take fanfiction quite serious and use it as a substitute after the canon ran out.

You are probably a walking dictionary of your favourite fandom and you are picky about what you write and read. The closer to the "real thing" fanfiction is, the more you like it.

You rather explore a character in all depth, see new sides and learn more about them than creating new characters or mix up the situations they are in.

Take The Fan Fiction Personality Test at OkCupid

Have a fake e-mail addy available; they ask nosy questions.

Nicked from Biz.

Labels: ,


» Thursday, January 07, 2010
"Raising Duncan"

Labels: ,


Movement in the Air
How glad I am that I bought the space heater for the bathroom! Last night when I went in there to take my pill it was 54°F...James turns it on low about 10 p.m. and by the time we take our showers it is in the low 70s.

I had it on this morning, too, as it was about 27 out. Unfortunately, I couldn't take it out on the deck with me to refill the bird feeders (well, at least not and get the full effect!). I had a "hatband" on, and a scarf, at least, and by the time I'd refilled feeders, could barely feel my hands. I refilled the suet feeders, too; the birds do not like the new brand of suet Lowes is selling, so I'm glad I stocked up at Bass Pro. I put out the woodpecker blend and the apple blend.

The birds have rewarded me by turning the feeders into a thriving business; all the usual customers are there, even the wren, and even a yellow-rumped warbler showed up. The flash of yellow on the rump was bright and clear!

The pine warblers sure like that apple mix suet, too. Wish the red-headed woodpecker would check into the woodpecker suet, not the seed. He's such an untidy eater; tosses half the seed on the ground.

Not feeling so swift this morning. Had a little popcorn last night, to the usual result. As the clouds build up my headache is getting worse. The edge of the storm is almost upon us...looks like rain, followed by "wintry mix," followed by snow on the radar. The dang rain can take a time-out for this one, thankyouverymuch.

Have plugged my phone into the nice little MP3 speaker/radio gadget the Lawsons gave us for Christmas. Pandora has found an outstanding collection of instrumental Christmas songs to stream. Have the tree on; since we won't take it down until after the party, I might as well enjoy it. After Epiphany I make myself officially Scandinavian—everything up until St. Knut's Day! :-)

Labels: , , , ,


» Wednesday, January 06, 2010
By the Fire
So here it is the festival of the Epiphany, and we are awaiting snow.

Okay, I know it's Atlanta. But honestly...only an inch of snow is predicted, and, at least at this point, no rain beforehand, and starting at 4 p.m....and half the schools in the area are already announcing they're going to close early.

Everyone's already flummoxed over the weather. We usually have a cold spell in January, it drops down to the teens for a few days, then rebounds to the normal January temps of 50°F. But it's been 30s here for several days with lows in the 20s (and that's not counting the wind chill factor), and the next few nights it will be in the teens. It's like January in Rhode Island, so I have no problem; my winter coat keeps me snug. I've had to inch the thermostat up to 70 (it's usually on 67, or 64 earlier in the season) for an hour or two to take the chill off the house, although this afternoon I used the natural method instead and lifted the shades in the living room, painting sun patches on the floor, something Willow really loves.

I've left the water dripping downstairs and we've had the gas log on the last two nights. I've also had to put a bowl of water out—it's so dry in here. Golly, I miss hot water heating; at least everything didn't snap, crackle and pop every time I walk. I didn't even wear my slippers today, just two pairs of socks, and I still raised sparks on nearly everything: the corners of the doors that are sheathed in metal, scissors blades, the screws that hold the light switch covers on the walls, the metal side of the tape player—I'm terrified I'm going to fry a computer. I can't go near the Christmas tree without the tinsel rising up to touch me. It's eerie.

I downloaded Pandora Radio for the Droid today and amused myself with playlists. I searched on "Bing Crosby Christmas" and got a nice assortment of Crosby, Como, Mathis, Cole, Sinatra, the Canadian Brass, and the Pops, and at least one Carpenters selection. "Instrumental Christmas" got me more neat selections: guitar and harp and piano. The other was "Big Band" and I got Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, etc.

Labels: ,


» Monday, January 04, 2010
Life's What Happens...Second 2010 Installment
Turned out to be a bust of a day for getting things done. By the time I picked up James from work, he got the tire pumped up, and we went to the repair place, it was time to go to the doctor. It seemed like we were there for hours. By the time we got home from the doctor, it was three o'clock and we hadn't eaten lunch, so we both had a small Wendyburger and got changed. We'd barely gotten changed when the car place called. Yes, they finally had to replace the tire.

By the time we got back from the tire place, it was after four. It's amazing how long it takes to drive back and forth places.

We watched Schuyler's favorite program (Ellen) and Dr. Phil with Steve Harvey, James made beef bits with brown rice for supper, and there was a new (season premiere) of Antiques Roadshow tonight. Meanwhile, I have been growing more nauseated as the night wears on. Bleah.

It's been a frigid day, with a bright blue sky that slowly clouded over as the hours progressed, and didn't climb out of the mid-thirties. I pulled out our winter coats this morning—our real winter coats, the ones we bought in Rhode Island—and we wore them gratefully. And apparently that's what it takes for the temperature in my cubicle to go under 70°F...twenties at night!

Even more astonishingly, they are predicting snow for Thursday night...real snow that, if it falls, might stay around because the next day will be in the low 30s instead of the mid-50s, which is usually what happens when it snows around here. Wow.

But I won't hold my breath!

I finished my annual read of Sleigh Bells for Windy Foot—that's how long it took at the doctor! I've loved this book since childhood: warm, wonderful tale of a Vermont farm family (dad, mom, oldest boy who owns the titular pony, little sister, littlest brother who loves to create rhymes, plus the hired man who might as well be part of the family) who welcome a horse-loving girl who has ambitions to be a surgeon (in 1948, when the book was published, this was still a fairly novel idea!) and her widower horse-trainer father into their home for the holiday celebration. They ski, snowshoe, gather winter greens for decorations, go sleighing, take part in a community carol sing, shop at the general store...a cocoa-and-warm-hearth sort of story just perfect for Christmas.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention something neat I did with the Droid today. At the beginning of the season, I found an app called "Christmas Radio," multiple internet radio stations playing Christmas music, mostly listening to "Christmas Vinyl." I've been plugging the phone into the car charger and listening to the music that way, since all the Christmas music is gone, even on Syrup...I mean Sirius...XM. But last night I grabbed the old cassette insert I used to use with my CD disk player (it unfortunately broke after I dropped it) and plugged it into the headphone jack on the Droid. Viola!, as Snagglepuss used to say: I can now listen to the music through the car speakers, which are much better than the Droid one. :-)

Labels: , , , , , ,


Life's What Happens...First 2010 Installment
Well, this is a great start to the work year. James left a few minutes before me, so I was coming down the stairs as he backed out of the garage and happened to look out the sidelight. His left rear tire, the one that was fixed last month, was flat. And there he was, in his good clothes, in 18°F, prepared to put the spare on...oh, jeez Louise...

So I took him to work and will have to pick him up. The trick is that today is his followup appointment with the hand specialist, so I have to get out early, and take him to the doctor if we can't get the tire changed/fixed by that time. We're going to try and see if we can pump it up temporarily like we did last time to get it to the tire place and see if they can at least put the spare on, since they don't stock that type of tire if he needs a new one.

The mysterious thing about this was that we thought we had a flat in that tire on Saturday. James wanted to make a dipping sauce for the pork rolls we were bringing to his mother's, so we stopped at the Food Lion on Watson Boulevard. Just as we turned into the parking lot, we heard a "pop!" and "flap! flap! flap!" coming from the right rear. Thought for sure we had a flat, but the tire was fine. It was fine when we got out of Food Lion, in the driveway at his mom's, and all the way home, and yesterday when we went to Kroger. So maybe what actually happened to it happened in the Kroger parking lot—the builders around here are not careful with nails; I got two flat tires in five months when we were first coming out to the development in 2005—since I went back down to the garage a couple of times in the afternoon, but don't remember looking at the tire, so it could have been going flat yesterday afternoon.

But if it did start to happen on Saturday, all I can think of is that we have to thank God it didn't happen fully on I-75 going 70 m.p.h.!

[deep sigh]

Labels: ,


» Sunday, January 03, 2010
C is for Christmas Cold and Comfort
After a 17-day break, it's time to get back to the routine. But on the last day of a break, one needs to make it special. And so it was, in an ordinary way...we slept in, had some breakfast, then went to Kroger. I pulled out our heavy coats and hats to do so, because it's downright frigid out there. It would be cold even by Rhode Island standards: 20s with the windchill driving it down to the teens. And in the evenings for the next few nights, it will be in the teens. Nevertheless, it was a bright blue day with patchy white clouds, almost the same color as Schuyler.

We were lucky to pick up some pork chops at Kroger, along with the usual things—milk, bread, bananas, orange juice—and even my oatmeal on sale! That was quite nice.

And then we spent the day together at home. I ended up doing a bunch of chores on and off—washing and drying the towels, sweeping the bathroom, refilling the water bottles for the car (before we went to Gatlinburg last year; ooops, in 2008, I mean, we got a 24-pack of bottled water and now we just refill the bottles from the water dispenser on the fridge), rearranging things in the truck and tossing some useless things away, sorting the magazines and putting together some to drop off at work—and I even did some brief craft-y items.

James was busy in the kitchen much of the afternoon. Juanita had given us not only a second turkey carcass, but also a spiral ham bone, so James started another stock pot of turkey soup, then went online and hunted up a ham bone recipe. He put the bone, a couple of cans of chopped tomatoes, some celery and onions, and some wheat berries in water and cooked up a soup which is rather like minestrone. James tossed some extra elbow macaroni in it, and we had it for supper.

In the meantime I sat and read the novel version of The House Without a Christmas Tree by Gail Rock and Kathryn Lasky's Christmas After All. These are two of the Christmas books I read every year. Christmas Tree has enough minor differences from the television version to make it all new again, and the Lasky book is just lovely: an Indianapolis family trying to survive the Depression. If there's any one thing I don't like about it, it's that the ending is a little bit "fairy tale" with the radio program becoming a big hit. Otherwise the characters are vivid—probably because Lasky based them on her own family—and the hardships of the Depression are realistically portrayed.

After more laundry stuff, we settled in to finally watch "The Waters of Mars" and the specials that accompanied it. Yeah, we're that far behind. I was having Doctor Who dreams that finally goaded me into it. "Waters" is a nice scary "monster tale," a bit like "Seeds of Doom" with the Doctor electing to play God at the last moment and getting "bitten" for it.

We'll have to watch the remainder as the week goes on (in between cleaning for the party...LOL).

Labels: , , ,


» Friday, January 01, 2010
The Tournament of Roses Parade had just ended with a blast of F-18s—a parade full of birds and airplanes, quite appropriate since "Sully" Sullenberger was the Grand Marshal, and I'm sitting on the couch watching more airborne action, as the birds are fluttering thick and fast at the feeders: both nuthatches, titmice, that messy red-headed woodpecker, and lots and lots of bluebirds! One tried to land on the diamond-shaped bird wreath on the door to the deck.

So now I've switched channels and am watching the parade replay on the Travel Channel, with Bob Eubanks, Stephanie Edwards (she sounds so much like Betty White to me), and company giving more facts than the HGTV folks did (but there are commercials). I had it on the Hallmark Channel, but the picture was soooo bad compared to the HD feed. I notice Encore Westerns channel is running the series The Virginian today, Have Gun, Will Travel tomorrow, and Gunsmoke on Sunday. Unfortunately, they aren't showing my favorite Virginian, the story about Elizabeth and the white stallion Aladdin. (Looks like it's called "Beloved Outlaw.") I'd love to see that one again...

Never got the nap yesterday. Had turkey soup with crackers for supper and then about eight got prepared to head to Bill and Caran's party. But first—we put the 2010 tags on our license plates. We've only had them for three weeks.

As we were leaving, a sports car drove down the far cul-de-sac, then came back up the street, circled the cul-de-sac near us, then parked there with its lights on. Made me uneasy. I finally called one of the neighbors and let her know. I think it sucks that you have to be so careful. They were probably just lost.

Anyway, great party as always. Had a little of everything, talked with folks, got up-to-date on things, snapped some pictures, sat or stood as needed, and had a great time. I wore the Time Turner James got me for Christmas and got some nice compliments on it. At midnight we kissed, and then got to wish Mike and Jen (and later Rodney) a Happy New Year via the chat app for the Droids. Ain't technology wonderful? There we are at midnight, wishing a good new year to folks thousands of miles away.

Didn't make it to say Happy New Year to Jen, though; just too tired. Gave Schuyler a kiss and James took Wil out, and we went to bed and didn't get up until after ten.

Gosh, I love the horses in this parade: Shires, Appaloosas, the Anheiser-Busch Clydesdales, saddlebreds, Haflingers, miniature horses, mustangs (ridden by Marines), palominos, paso finos, paints, chestnuts, and more.

Labels: , , ,