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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» Sunday, February 28, 2010
Another Day, Another Sniffle
James was up early for work today (he started at noon), so we were able to go to Kroger together for the usual weekly groceries before he left. We got two nice sale pieces of meat that we won't have to defrost, milk, and all that.

We got the groceries home and he left for work, and I started the towels, then went back to BJs to get another Loretadine (the coupon was too good to pass up) and another omeprazole (ditto). Stopped briefly at Borders and found the new Yankee, then had the GPS on the phone direct me to the Sweetwater Library. I didn't know there was a library in that direction and was curious to see it.

Alas, even though the library website states it's open on Sunday afternoons, it was shut tight; a man showed up with his little boy, so I wasn't the only one misinformed. This is over in the old Threadmill complex, which opened several years ago, a repurposed (surprise!) thread-spinning mill, as a mall of sorts. I remember it had a pet store and a several other shops. (If you are from Rhode Island, think the old Davol Square project.) It didn't do very well, and when we went back not more than a year later, it was a weird conglomeration of junk shops and cheap jewelry sellers. There are still a couple of jewelry places there, some of them repair shops, some lawyers, and the library. Oh, well.

Came home to read and nurse my abused sinuses. Finally had enough energy to take the Valentine decorations down from the porch. Fed the dog, had some soup, watched the end of the Canadian/US hockey game (Canada got gold). Very soon, closing ceremonies. Have enjoyed this year's Olympics.

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» Saturday, February 27, 2010
I Surrender
I've got to call and get a doctor's appointment. This apparently isn't going away on its own. I've done the saline spray, the analgesics, the rest, and the soup. I still have the headaches, the clogged nose (although it isn't runny anymore), the sinus pressure, and the blahs. The mucus odor is getting worse, too. Tired of hurting, and I'm having trouble concentrating at work, which is frustrating and annoying. I must have a sinus infection or something of that ilk.

Of course then we'll have to go through the song-and-dance on what I can take. I miss the days I could just take amoxicillin and it would solve everything. It's like the hysterectomy changed my entire body chemistry. I was never allergic to anything but plants and animal dander before the surgery. Bleah.

So I've been watching curling, which is about all my brain can stand.

Incidentally, we went to BJs last night, with coupons, and found even more coupons at the store, including $5 off omeprazole, which brought it down to $14 for 42 pills, and one third off a bottle of 300 Loretadine, which we both take for allergies. May have to go back and get another bottle at that price, since the pills don't expire until April 2011. Taking one each every night, we'll definitely use up two bottles before next April!

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» Thursday, February 25, 2010
Not Out of the Cold
Honestly, the "cold" portion is gone. But the "sinus" follow-on is still annoying. Right sinus still feels clogged, and I wake up snurgly in the morning. The advice nurse wasn't kidding when she said it would take a while for this sucker to go away. :-)

Trying to make headway at work. Many difficulties on many orders. A little discouraging.

Did get a nice surprise today: it was "leftovers" day on Amazon Vine and what should turn up but The Mapping of Love and Death, the new Maisie Dobbs mystery which will be out officially in April. Also found an interesting book about the training of a search-and-rescue dog.

Plus my copy of Camille Bacon-Smith's Science Fiction Culture showed up today. I have Enterprising Women, her book on fanfiction (bought both it and Jenkins' Textual Poachers, also about fanfic, at Magicon in 1992), but hadn't ever seen this one, published in 2000. I was just paging through it and saw interviews with Ed Kramer (founder of DragonCon) and Samanda Juede (from Electrical Eggs), and then several pages about the SFRT bulletin boards on GEnie! Those used to be such fun!

Up a lot later than we should be watching the finals in the women's figure skating...

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Fears Realized
Missing Actor's Body Found in Vancouver Park



» Wednesday, February 24, 2010
DVD Releases
Announcement for Tales of the Gold Monkey - The Complete Series

Well, cool. Now when do we get Ellery Queen and (at least) the first season of The Mothers-in-Law?

ALWAYS a reminder: AMC? How about Remember WENN??????

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» Monday, February 22, 2010
Up Half the Night and Not Even Willow's Fault
I can't say I haven't been pleased with this winter; it's been steadily chilly, and on the odd one or few days it got warmish it was only high 50s or low 60s, not like that horrible winter of 2001-2002 where it would be 40 one day and 70 the next. Considering the average for January and February is supposed to be mid-50s, we've done really well. Heck, by now the trees are usually blooming, but we've only seen small signs this year, like the buds on the Bradford pears and the phlox in bloom on someone's retaining wall.

So it was a shock that it was so warm last night (still in the high 50s when we went to bed). Usually when my arms start feeling warm or my legs get hot I can shift them to a cooler part of the bed. Took a long time to fall asleep.

In the middle of the night I was awakened by my knees aching, followed by three blasts of thunder. Willow, asleep in James' recliner, didn't start to bark until the fourth clap, and we reassured her and she fell back to sleep.

I woke up yesterday and today with my nose reasonably back to normal, but it's stuffed up rapidly from the warmth and dryness in my cubie. Should have remembered to bring the saline spray.

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» Sunday, February 21, 2010
Hot and Cold
Woke up yesterday feeling minimally better. My nose is still massively stuffy but blowing it helps. But, dang, I'm still tired. Exhausted at times even.

Like this: Hair Day is easy. You spend three to four hours having a blast sitting, talking to friends and having whatever the designated lunch provider brings to eat. Today we detoured to give Juanita a ride, but that was nothing. James drove most of the way, and all we had to bring were trimmings for the burgers and the "tea sandwiches" we made last night. (At Kroger yesterday I asked James if he needed his bread—9 grams of carbs—and he said he did. When I got home I found another complete loaf of bread. So we picked up some spreads at Publix (chicken salad, Neptune salad, and pimento cheese) and made little crustless finger sandwiches. They made great little appetizers along with grapes.

We had a big crowd, and Elayna even came along with her new baby, Chance, who is 3-months-old. What a cutie! He's already trying to sit up. Sarah brought her new boyfriend. Ron cooked burgers, hot dogs, chicken, and salmon on the grill, and all was yum.

Still, by the time we left at one, and delivered Juanita back home, I was tired out. James brought me home and I slept from two o'clock until he got back at 4:30 from the hobby shop. Then we had supper at Longhorn with Juanita, Alice, and families before heading home for the evening, where I later had a nice time on chat and James took the opportunity to descend to "the man cave" and work on a couple of Corsairs.

This morning was a bright blue day, and temps got up to the high 60s in the afternoon. I was fine until I got up and then had a sinus headache all morning and through our trip to Borders. Breakfast didn't help. I tried mixing a packet of the Lower Sugar Maple and Brown Sugar oatmeal with the Lower Sugar Apple and Cinnamon. The flavors almost canceled each other out, but either Quaker is using a really awful apple flavoring or the apple they're using is Delicious (which I don't think deserve the name—major ugh), because the apple taste definitely still overwhelms.

Heh. With Borders Bucks from e-Rewards and a 40 percent off coupon, I got Connie Willis' Blackout for 64¢!

Then went to Costco. Have lots of paper towels now. (Had coupons, and also got some at Publix yesterday.) Not as good for food samples today, but the salmon and salmon spread was great. Also got more granola bars, so are completely stocked up for Atomicon: various cookies including Chips Ahoy and Oreos, granola bars, Goldfish, Triscuit and Wheat Thins.

Came home, opened windows, watching birds at the feeder and listening to them chip and chirp, and a couple of Colour Confidential episodes as well as a few 10 Grand in Your Hand. James is back in his cave. Fresh air is making me sleepy...or is it still the cold?

Would love to feel even better for work tomorrow...

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» Friday, February 19, 2010
I grew up on Albert Payson Terhune and his collie stories...I loved his florid vocabulary and his heroic dogs. Lad, Grey Dawn, Bruce, Treve, and the rest, and Terhune's home "Sunnybank" in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, were like a second home to me. So seeing this film is like seeing long-lost family. We also see Anice Terhune ("the Mistress") and even Tippy the Persian cat.

Albert Payson Terhune Home Movies

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While Wandering About You Tube
Wonder what the smartphone generation makes of these films?

How To Use A Telephone (1927)

Remember Jeff and little Timmy "cranking" the phone to call Jenny? Wonder what happened to Jenny when dial came along?

How to Dial a Rotary Phone

"Dial Comes to Town" part 1 and part 2

Finally, here's a film about being able to...gasp!...dial long distance directly without need of an operator! I remember in the "long ago" days of the early 60s of my dad calling the operator to speak "station to station" with his brother in Beverly or his sister in Peabody ("person-to-person" was more expensive). (Even earlier in long distance history, you had to call the operator to arrange the connection for your long distance call; once she established the connection, she would call you back.)

Nation at Your Fingertips



YouTube - Coney Island Nostalgia
Coney Island of the 1940s (comments state it's actually 1930s).

Coney Island, USA, a 1952 film.

Someone's home movies in color of Coney Island taken in 1944.

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Linda and the Annoying Cold
I think I'm feeling better, but it's been a long, annoying week.

Wednesday I slept in, then sat in front of the computer intending to work. It was hard slogging. I couldn't seem to concentrate properly and the light from the screen really made my eyes hurt. By one o'clock I was going to take some aspirin and lie down. So I did so and noticed the water wasn't getting hot when I washed my hands. I trotted downstairs to check the water heater and heard water running.

OMG. Just when I got up I turned the water on in the shower. I had intended to turn the computer on, get everything ready to work, then go back in the bathroom and use the Mr. Clean brush to do a quick ten-minute cleanup on the shower floor, which was showing water stain. My mind was so muddled by my sinus pressure and the aggravating cottony feel in my head that I had left the water running for three freeping hours. I shudder when I think about the next water bill. How many gallons a minute does a shower use? Times 180 minutes? Oh, my lord...

I decided I did not want to make any stupid mistakes like that at my work. Running water is one thing, Federal funds are another. I quit for the day, but resumed Thursday morning. I made it through the day, but still had that rotten cottony feeling in my head, ears ringing, sinuses burning, all the stupid cold stuff. Instead of eating lunch, I took three ibuprofin and lay down.

I did end up calling the advice nurse, who told me that I was doing all the right things (drinking, analgesics, saline for my nose, nutritious food—not eating much anyway; everything tastes bad). She told me not to take any OTC meds, except that I could take plain Robitussin if I got a cough. As I expect.

Oh, she also said that "colds today don't go away as quickly as they used to." Gee, that just made my day.

I got up this morning feeling sorta human. I wasn't quite as fuzzy as I'd been, although I'm still croaky and my right sinus feels like someone's scraping it out with a spatula. I had to get gasoline, so I went to Kroger (ow, did that sun hurt my eyes), where I got stuck in back of a woman who took ten minutes trying to pick out some cancer sticks. Gah. Why not just have "Death Kiosks" at the supermarket for people who want to pick up their cigarettes?

Went into BJs to get some Chex mix and picked up the first season of Night Court for $10. They had samples today and I had a Swedish meatball without sauce and a little bit of Nissan Cup-of-Noodle soup, plus a tiny cream puff and a new "Milky Way caramel," which is just the caramel center of a Milky Way coated with milk chocolate. Eh. Dark chocolate would have been better.

I also stopped at Borders for the February issue of the British Country Living and found a Steven Pinker linguistics book with the bargain books. I have The Language Instinct and didn't like it, but the text of this one looks a little more accessable, so I thought I'd try it, especially as you can use coupons on the bargain books. This way it was only $3.

The soup sample roused my appetite a bit and we had a Maruchan cup-o' noodles in the cupboard. I ate it while watching Colour Confidential and enjoyed it, but later kept burping it up. So I had a fairly bland dinner (bread and butter and some cereal) while James had orange chicken wings from Publix.

Shaking head over The Olympic Skating Thing. I stayed up last night to see Yevgeny Plushenko. His performance had no fire to it. It's not just jumps, it's style. James says he's like an ice man. Exactly. No passion to him. Even the Japanese fellow who did the Chaplin-inspired routine put more passion into his skating.

Temps are headed up this weekend—62°F predicted by Sunday. Considering average winter temps around here are in the fifties and we've been having 40s and even 30s, it's been a pretty chilly winter. Supposedly it's going back into the 40s by next week, but spring is a'headin' our way: on the way to Kroger I saw definite green buds on brush by the side of the road. Usually by the end of February we already have trees budding, the flowering plums (I think; they're purple anyway) and even the Bradford pears. I think these were Bradford pears.

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Sorry for the dearth of posts; most would have just been about my cold. May be better, but am still sleepy and sinuses still hurt. Must go out to get gasoline.



» Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Testing--1, 2, 3...

[aha! can blog from Droid without going into]



» Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Headcold 2, Linda 0
Well, phooey. I did get to sleep last night, with only a few wake-ups.

Didn't make me feel any better. So I've been swilling analgesics, water, the usual oatmeal and yogurt. Used lots of Kleenex. Even cold water hurts my throat.

Got an "IM" from a Facebook friend who's also a co-worker. She's sick, too—so sick she was sent home.

James made pork bits and yellow rice for dinner, which I barely could taste. Let's hear it for post-nasal drip—NOT!

Last night of Westminster, and a devastatingly cute Scottish Terrier won Best in Show. Hard to pick, because the silver-grey and white whippet was also quite nice.

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» Monday, February 15, 2010
Headcold 1, Linda 0
Ugh. General feeling of ugh-ness.

Up multiple times during the night since the only way I can breathe is with my mouth ajar. The moment my throat dries out, I'm awake gasping for air. I had a glass of water close to the bed and still had to get up in the middle of the night, to get more water and swig some analgesics. Neither Tylenol or ibuprofin is helping; I've had the same headache all day.

It was warm (high forties) when we went to bed last night, so the predicted snow never showed up. By the time it got cold enough (and the front coming through was obvious, rattling the shades), the clouds had cleared.

I spent the day on the sofa trying to breathe. Dubbed off some leftover Christmas things (Prep and Landing, Most Christmasy Places in America, Holidays in New York), a couple of Colour Confidential episodes, and finally watched Daughter of the Mind, a mild but not bad made-for-television thriller from 1969 about a cybernetic scientist who suddenly begins seeing the ghost of his daughter, killed in a car accident some months before.

To tell you how bad I feel, I completely forgot tonight was the first night of Westminster. Good thing I had the DVR set to change channels automatically. As it has been for the last couple of years, we had to change channels after the first hour because USA refuses to pre-empt wrestling for one week. At least this year CNBC (the alternate station) is in HD. The picture was horrendous last year, not only not HD, but there was interference in the signal.

Anyway, nice bunch of dogs this year, as always, with two new breeds, a Pyrenean Shepherd and the Norwegian Buhund, both herding dogs. The "Pyr Shep" that was in best of group tonight looked almost like some type of terrier, while the Buhund is very Spitz in its looks. There is another new dog tomorrow night, the red-and-white setter, also from Ireland like the Irish setter, but an older breed recently (1920s) revived. Both the rough collie and the Shetland Sheepdog were blue merles. I thought the collie was lovely, but he didn't make the first four.

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» Sunday, February 14, 2010
Happy Valentine's ... Cold
All I can say is that it's a good thing we didn't have anything planned for today.

I woke up at least two days last week feeling a little ragged out, with my throat a little sore. Oatmeal and work mostly took care of it.

Friday night before the Olympic opening ceremonies I gave Willow a bath. As always, it wasn't a pleasant experience for either of us. And yes, as always I remembered to take my allergy pill. After opening ceremonies we went outside, and, since in this climate we keep no snow shovels, we cleared the accumulated snow/slush off the driveway with a combination of the push broom and a garden shovel. There was about three inches all told, if the level on the deck was accurate. I had gone out there every few hours from when it started to snow, sweeping off the front steps and walk so they would be clear for game night on Saturday.

I woke up yesterday with a stuffed nose and a sore throat that would have killed a giraffe, having already woken up at least six times during the night with a raw, dry throat and not able to breathe through my nose. At eight o'clock I took three ibuprofin and went back to bed. I still needed to vacuum and tidy up a bit more before game night; I did the tidying and the vacuuming upstairs, and then we went out for a little while in early afternoon to the hobby shop, where I read a "Birdwatching" magazine, and to Publix. James left his prescription sunglasses at the hobby shop, so we had to go back, which means we got back to the house late. I was feeling wretched and wanted to lie down for a while, but managed only about eight minutes after I got the stairs vacuumed and the foyer swept because it was time to get the food warm and put out the snacks.

Ibuprofin, milk, and good company made it a good evening. The sun had done its work and the driveway was completely dry (as was the street itself) except for the dip right before the garage doors. James found the bag of sand that he had used to fill the fireworks-launching bucket last July and spread the remainder of the sand on that wet spot, so no one had trouble getting in. Juanita was happy to be among friends after her foot surgery, and yes, she did make it up the stairs. She has this cute little wheeled gadget called a "kneelchair"; she puts her bad leg on it and then scoots around pushing herself with the other leg. Very easy to maneuver.

It ended up being a different sort of "Games" night as I had the Olympics on the television, so all we played was about three games of Chronology. It was Sue's first time playing, so that was fun. Most of the time we just gabbed! The three teenage girls in the crowd at first went downstairs and...did whatever teenage girls do these days...LOL...and for a little while took over the dining room table and played Uno and Jenga.

Willow, of course barked at everyone until she noticed people were offering her food.

By the time everyone left, I was wiped out, though. We'd used paper and plastic, so cleaning up was easy, and I left vacuuming until tomorrow and just got on chat. James brought me nice cool water for my throat, so there was the nice bonus of two great get-togethers with friends in one evening.

Another partially sleepless night last night, with dry, sore throat, and weird dreams for the second night in a row. Vacuumed upstairs again, put things back in their place, then went to Kroger and BJs. I bought TurboTax, but was feeling much too awful to do anything with it. Gave James a home made card with an original poem inside and two nonfiction books about World War II for Valentine's Day. The "fids" gave him a book on grilling. :-) James hadn't any time to go shopping, but he picked up what I wanted at BJs: season one of Sergeant Preston on DVD.

I spent the afternoon and the evening on the sofa feeling quietly wretched. James made beef tips in gravy for supper, with a side of potatoes. He made them in a new way, cutting them up with the apple corer, and then slicing the leftover core, and lightly sauteeing the fork-sized pieces with onions. Very nice. Been watching figure skating and men's mogul tonight.

My nose is running, I'm hot, occasionally I sneeze, and my throat hurts. Bleah.

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» Friday, February 12, 2010
O Canada (and Everyone Else)!
Just finished watching the parade of nations in the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics. This was preceded by a tribute to the four First Nations tribes of the area around Vancouver, followed by representatives from all of the Canadian tribes. So many strikingly beautiful costumes!

This is a far cry from the last Winter Olympics, when we were still in the process of packing and moving. At this point four years ago,, we were five days from the "official" move, but had been moving things into the house for over a week.

So I've been looking forward to this—not just all the great snow sports, but the fact that it's up in Canada. I love Canada, and I've only seen a very small part of it: what was left of Expo 67 in 1969, twice in Quebec (driving the flat route from Montreal to the city of Quebec and once south to Maine), the lovely little village of Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Canadian side of Niagara/Horseshoe Falls and the farmland in between, and Canada's Wonderland. Would love to go to Vancouver; the opening scenery tonight alone is to die for.

Very sad hearing about the Georgian luge participant who died today. Both luge and skeleton, not to mention bobsled, look terrifying; I've been watching them for weeks on the Universal Sports Channel. Apparently the chute they are using in Vancouver is especially slick. They showed the accident at the beginning of the broadcast. No chance to save himself at all. The Georgian team still marched tonight, faces sober and tense.

[Later: For months we have heard speculation about "What can they do to outshine Beijing?" Now I enjoy these opening and closing ceremonies, but they have gotten increasingly spectacular year after year. Heck, I can remember when there were a couple of speeches and a parade of athletes and that was Opening Ceremonies. I know the Olympics are about competition, but I don't see why there are some who expect that every Opening or Closing has to outdo the last. All that is required is to give a good show. And with projectors, light, dance, music, colors, three rings of fabric, and hundreds of stunning performances, they made Magic. Loved the aurora borealis, the whales, the aerial prairie ballet, and the jagged mountains that transformed into skyscrapers, but mostly those wonderful maple leaves. Merci beaucoup, thank you so much!

Cool ice-crystal torch, too! Fire and ice.

Only complaint: look, NBC, I know this costs money. In fact, I understand you lose money on the Olympics. But, dang it, can't you find some sponsors with pride who don't insist you interrupt the proceedings abruptly So Damn Often?]

Snow ended about nine o'clock, by the way. It's an ice-crystal world outside, too. :-)



Snow Day
This was 1:40, just as the snow had started—those poor woebegone goldfinches. About an hour later when snow was accumulated on the deck, I heard a bird scolding outside. Sure enough, it was one of the goldfinches, holed up under a deck chair.

Out in the snow, of course! Delayed shutters are great things. All the rest of these photos were taken about 3:15 p.m.

Willow is not a snow bunny; a true "Dixie chick," she spent half the entire five minutes I tried to take photos of her in the snow trying to get back inside. :-)

Facing south:

Facing north:

Back yard:

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How Weather is an Inexact Science
I've looked at three radar maps now and each tells me something different! According to one, we have a wintry mix outside. Linda holds hand out door to the deck and goes "Huh?"

All I do know is that something is coming, since the sky is that white-grey it turns before a snowstorm. (The Georgia sky isn't a true indicator of snow. A snow sky is completely different in Rhode Island, whiter, and there's this silent hum in the air—if that makes any sense. It's like you have partial earmuffs on; sounds are muffled.) Plus CDC is spooked enough to have given us a release date of 2 p.m.

The news is showing snow somewhere, big pillowy flakes, but I missed where it was because I briefly nipped outside to bring the trash barrel in.

Maybe the birds know something, because I have seen two, count 'em, two birds at the feeder all morning: a wren and a yellow-rumped warbler. Not an auspicious day for the first day of the Great Backyard Bird Count.

Oh, well, I'm just going to work through until two and take my lunch then. No use wasting the time. I can use the extra time to vacuum and tidy up for Game Night tomorrow. I want to make sure I'm done in time to sit down for Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics. Woot! Winter Olympics!


[1:40 P.M. Two very puzzled looking goldfinches, one on the small squirrel-proof feeder and one on the large one, just sitting out there in the snow. "Obviously we didn't fly south enough..."]

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» Thursday, February 11, 2010
Artistic Endeavors
While I was finishing up my work this afternoon, I thought of something cute to do for Game Night. I made each family attending a homemade Valentine card using a Valentine card kit I bought last year at Michaels, and some animal stickers. They're nothing fancy, but I had fun making them. I felt like Addie Mills surrounded by my paper and scissors and adhesive.

When I finished with that project, I made James a Valentine, and then put together the wreath I bought for the front door. I fastened a little goldfinch and a nest to the "bottom" of the inner part of the ring and then cut the gas-flame blue ribbon in graduated lengths and attached it to the upper part of the inner part of the ring using gold floral wire, the remainder of which became a hanger for the wreath itself.

Goodness, that was fun! I should do things like that more often.



Ripplin' Sky
About a half-hour ago, the TruGreen guys came by. I had to grab my jacket to let them into the back yard and spotted this sky in the south:

Made me think of the John Denver song..."Got ripplin' water to wake me..." only this time it is sky, not water.

To the west (maybe west northwest):


Before I shut the camera and ran inside, I heard the hawk scolding; tracked the sound and just clicked quick, with no chance to zoom in:

Pretty opening to a less than auspicious morning. Slept really badly last night; still don't feel all that swuft. Think I need hot soup for lunch.

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» Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Inside in the Cold
Been just slogging through orders for the past three days. I am desperate to get some done rather than just solving problems or asking for information. I had one order ready to go on Monday when I got some new information on it. What a good thing it had not been awarded online! I can just change the wording and send it.

In the meantime it has been cold, with an interruption yesterday for rain. It was not as much rain as they said there would be, and it was not raining during rush hour either end, which suited me fine, because after that nightmare ride home during the flooding in September, I'm not really eager to be commuting during a rainstorm anymore.

Last night after the rain cleared out, the wind picked up and the temperature dropped. The gusts of wind were so bad last night that I took down the banner and the flag from the front porch, because you could hear the banner flapping outside even through closed doors and if you watched it, the pole was rattling about. It's mounted to one of the columns and I don't want the column to be ruined if the pole mount works loose.

Today the wind squeezed the very last bits of moisture from the scattered clouds and throughout the morning there were snowflakes randomly floating here and there. I thought the first one was a feather, it was swirling about so leisurely in the wind.

I did something different tonight: watched a television episode instantly on Netflix. I had watched a movie previously (North Station, which is only available instantly), and decided to watch this to fulfill my curiosity.

As I've written before, I was a big fan of the 1975 series Ellery Queen with Jim Hutton and David Wayne. It was sad when it was canceled because it was actually due to be renewed, and then another series that NBC wanted became available and Queen was discarded for it. So several unproduced scripts existed. Some, according to, were used by the Eddie Capra Mysteries series, but one was actually produced as a period piece on Murder She Wrote, back when Angela Lansbury was feeling under the weather and only introduced many episodes, which were told as stories. The script story "The Adventure of the Grand Old Lady" became "The Grand Old Lady," still taking place in 1947. A murder takes place aboard the Queen Mary just before she docks. The Ellery character is changed to Christopher "Christy" McGinn, a young, rather nerdy composer of crossword puzzles who aspires to be a newspaper reporter, but who turns out to be a better amateur detective. His father is a police detective, and the story even included a Simon Brimmer clone, played by Robert Vaughn. Also aboard ship, and helping Christy is a famous British mystery writer who, I'm pretty sure, was supposed to be a thinly disguised Agatha Christie.

The story, involving repercussions from World War II, was pretty interesting, but the substitute characters for Ellery, Inspector Queen, and Brimmer were pretty colorless. Even veteran Vaughn couldn't recapture the wonderful irritating personality that John Hillerman had nailed perfectly. Also, when I was watching Queen, I felt like I could walk through the screen and into 1947, the set dressing was that good. I never got a forties feeling from this story, despite appropriate clothing and props. It was all rather blah...but what was most depressing was knowing how the original Ellery Queen team could have made this a winner. Think of Ellery teaming with "Dame Agatha" would have been great.

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» Sunday, February 07, 2010
Hearts and Heartstrings
Not much of a day. We went to Kroger this morning for groceries. I expected it to be more crowded, but I guess everyone did their party shopping yesterday. It was like "night and day" going out: sunny and cloudless compared to the low slate-colored clouds and scattered snowflakes of yesterday. Later some light clouds came in.

I had talked about possibly going to Ikea today, just to walk around, but I was having some difficulties this morning, so instead we just went to MicroCenter. I needed a new battery charger for my cordless mouse anyway. I remember when I got the thing it said that two triple-A batteries should last three months. ::snort:: I was lucky if they would last three days. I just used my Michaels coupons and bought a half-dozen rechargeable batteries, plus the two that came with the original charger. Last week I noticed I was only getting about one day out of a charge. Then I noticed the red light on the charger wasn't coming on, and the batteries weren't warm in the charger (they were always warm coming out). Just won't do.

Came home just as the first quarter of the Puppy Bowl was ending, and settled in happily to watch two hours (since we watched the first half hour over on the repeat) of adorable puppies tumbling over each other. The "MVP" (Most Valuable Puppy) was a sweet chihuahua/pug cross named Jake who literally raced up and down the "field" as if he were the biggest dog in the room. One of the dogs was very striking: part husky, I believe, a pale color and white with black markings on the ears and head, and brilliant blue eyes. Her name was Chamomile.

I had to laugh during the "Kitty Half Time Show." When the confetti came down at the end all the kittens had this "what the heck?" expression on their faces. Too funny.

Two lop-eared bunnies who personified the word "bored" were the "cheerleaders," and a "blimp" run by hamsters gave us a view of the "field."

James made pork chops for dinner, and afterwards I spent about 75 minutes putting up the Valentines Day decorations. About half of these were on the porch and it was a bit chilly out there. :-) Our neighbors across the street and one house down were quite obviously having a Stupor Bowl party.

I also took a few minutes to sit down at the computer to do something I thought would be fun. I created an alarm for my phone using a vintage recording of Gladys Stevens, 63 years old, who lives in Omaha, and makes her living taping messages for voice reminder systems. (First person who gets the joke...well, gets the joke. LOL.)

Finally ended up watching the last half of The Sound of Music (from when Georg is singing "Edelweiss" after coming home with the Baroness). The picture on ABC Family was dreadful. It said "HD," but not only wasn't the picture HD, but it kept fading in and out to an even worse picture with lots of artifacts in it.

Whoa! The Saints won the Stupid Bowl. Cool! Yesterday when we went to Books-a-Million they asked you to pick a team. If the team won you would get a coupon for $5 off. I picked the Saints just for the heck of it (because John Larroquette and Ellen DeGeneres are from New Orleans). So now I have a coupon.

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» Saturday, February 06, 2010
Feelin' Flaky
Another lovely morning for sleeping in. Even James was somnolent this morning; he usually gets up before me.

There was a racket coming from the deck when I finally went into the kitchen. It turned out to be the wrens. One of them, probably the male, sits at the corner of the deck near the grill and just "bellows" his little birdie heart out in something that sounds like chip-chip-chip. Usually he's by himself, but today a smaller wren was nearby. Maybe "the missus"?

We got up just in time to see the first episode of the newest This Old House sequence. They are fixing an 1870s duplex in Roxbury, and the place is a wreck. There is even rotting wood on the first floor because of a leak on the roof over the second story.

It took us a while to go out into the chill gloom; we bundled up, and a good thing, too, as the wind had a raw edge to it. It had been flapping the window shades in the bedroom earlier. So we made a brief stop at Publix, and then went out to the hobby shop where I sat happily reading Silent on the Moor while the guys talked guy talk.

When we came out of the hobby shop, very fine snowflakes were flittering down like salt crystals coming out of a shaker. Never amounted to anything, but it looked neat (and non-accumulative). Then we picked up a Wendyburger and went up to Brandsmart. I was looking for something else, but they had none in stock. We did buy a new food scale.

[When we got home I looked at the instructions for the scale and had to laugh. Here, verbatim, are part of the instructions (emphasis is mine):
Place the item to be weighed on the center of the platform. The weight will display. As you add weight, the weight displayed increases. When the weight is removed, the display will return to zero.
Golly, imagine that.]

We came home the long way around, going up to Books-a-Million. Grabbed a new Reminisce Extra since my subscription has retired and, in the bargain bin, found the sequel to a book I had purchased at DragonCon. Also stopped at Michaels and I did find a new spring/summer wreath for the front door. I bought a little bird and a nest to mount on it as well, and some discount ribbon to trim it.

I just wanted something simple for supper, like some chicken soup. We had bought some Italian-wedding soup at Publix, so I had that and James had a frozen dinner and some soup as well, and we watched Dirty Jobs and then the dog show on Animal Planet. A lovely Scottie won, but one of the finalists was a beautiful blue merle collie.

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Return to the Past
While I find this fascinating,

Living in a Time Warp

the history student in me would like to remind them that many of those "civil" Victorians allowed the poor to live in squalor, separated families in workhouses, and treated those who were not white Protestants with scorn.



» Friday, February 05, 2010
We tried a Friday night trivia game tonight at a place just down the road, Blue Moon Pizza. Good food, okay game, but God, that place was noisy! It's got a tall ceiling made of metal and the place is very popular so there were lots of people, all talking loudly to be amplified by bouncing off that metal ceiling. Yow!



Rain and Gloom and Gloom Yet Again
Had a sleep-in this morning; nothing is better on a cold, wet day than snuggling in warm blankets and feather pillows. Ah, yes, 34°F and rain. Lovely weather.

Had nowhere to go today, and who would have wanted to go anyway? I vacuumed upstairs, tidied the kitchen and swept the floor, and vacuumed the stairs. Spent a bunch of time watching the birds. When it was raining heavily they were still out there eating, sopped to their little birdie skins. Kept wishing I could run outside with a towel and rub their little bodies dry.

The first of the amazing things that happened was finding a mockingbird scrounging at the feeder. He must have been desperate; I never see mockingbirds at bird feeders. At the old house we had more cardinals than we do here, and no brown-headed nuthatches, but never mockingbirds. Our feeders are set up mostly for small birds, but he did grab some seeds out of the largest feeder.

Later on we had a flock of goldfinches, all in their dull winter coats, but very recognizable from their white-barred black wings. I've seen one goldfinch occasionally, but never this many!

I found out this afternoon that someone that I knew had passed away. It's funny, I woke up yesterday morning thinking about Mary Bloemker, and now this.

Finally dubbed off the final two Monk episodes. No sooner did I decide to do so than the satellite box wouldn't come on. I pressed the reset button and that didn't work, so I had to do a hard reboot: pull out the plug and wait ten minutes. Felt a lot like this morning, when I discovered the DSL modem was down (James said after all the rain we had, he wasn't a bit surprised).

Once that was all reset, committed "Mr. Monk and the End" to DVR, and blubbered through the final song. I needed a good cry anyway.

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» Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Little Boxes in the Mind
The shorter version was linked by one of my friends on her Facebook page. Very funny.

Mark Gungor - Men's Brain, Women's Brain

Dang, I think I knew that nun...



» Tuesday, February 02, 2010
The Longest Day of the Week
Everyone complains about Mondays.

Oh, well, I creeb, too. Getting up early has been against my nature since I was a small child. If I had my way, I would go to bed at one and get up at's just the way my body works. I get my best sleep between six and eight a.m. But the real world doesn't work like that.

But it's Tuesday that's the longest day of the week to me. I will feel I've been working for hours and look up to see it's not even 90 minutes later. Frustrating. But I did get some things matched up today. We also had a refresher class on 653 forms (if you don't award an order to a small business you have to get a waiver from the Small Business office). Allyson kept the class light but informative.

The day stayed overcast, so good ol' General Lee the Georgia groundhog is officially forecasting an end to winter. Whatever. No matter what he says the air will be thick with pine pollen at the beginning of April.

The nicest part of the day was eating my chicken cacciatore sandwich. If there's any nicer sandwich on earth, I don't know what it is. Spent the afternoon after the class printing out support documents and listening to a New Age channel I pulled up on DroidLive.

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» Monday, February 01, 2010
Fun With the Droid
Found a totally useless app: Fireworks. You pick a skyline and tap at the screen. A firework shoots up to that point and explodes. If you move your fingers quickly enough, you get a fireworks finale.

Found several timer apps: I replaced the nap timer with a simpler one. The old one seemed to reset itself at odd times. I also found a sleep timer. You set your music (in this case I picked Pandora), then tell the timer in how many minutes you want it to shut off. It even fades out. Plus an app that will shut the phone ringer off for a set amount of time and then turn it back on. Have an hour meeting or something else where you don't want to be interrupted, but want to make sure your ringer is back on afterwards? This works.

Something called Aloqa looked interesting. It homes in on your GPS signal and then tells you what's around you in various categories: restaurants, hotels, tourist attractions, pet-friendly places, kid-friendly places, concerts, plays, movies, etc. Looks neat.

Also found another music app, DroidLive Lite (Lite because it has ads). This finds all sorts of online radio stations. I found at least three 1920s/30s/40s stations, Christmas music, cool jazz, a dozen stations playing OTR (including one just for detective stories and one for comedies), Celtic music including one stating it was direct from Ireland, and even WGBH radio from Boston. Sweet!

(Incidentally, had a nice set of Celtic music coming home tonight on my "Gaelic Storm radio" station on Pandora. One was by the group Aureole, whose Christmas music I loved so much on "Holiday Traditions" on XM that I bought the album.)

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