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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» Monday, January 31, 2011
Pay Attention! Be Polite!
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011They have just been talking on the news about a "HERO" driver who was killed today while helping a motorist. (These are trucks that stop and help stalled motorists; they're called different things in other cities, but here in Atlanta they are "HERO trucks.") They commented that this is why Georgia passed a law that you should move over when seeing any type of emergency lights, HERO trucks, police, fire, etc.

Now if everyone would do so. Today I was driving in the next-to right lane when a police car came flying off the ramp of GA400, sirens and lights flashing. I immediately put on my left blinker and prepared to change lanes—until, of course, the inconsiderate lout coming up in that lane sped up so I couldn't get in front of him.

The police car had plenty of room to go around me on the right, but that wasn't the point. Idiot.

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» Sunday, January 30, 2011
A Middy Life
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011I'm not a "clotheshorse," but this site about vintage clothing has some neat sections, including, under "Perfect Pieces," a history of the middy blouse. Hildegard Frey's Camp Fire girls are almost always in middies, so the subject caught my eye.

Fuzzylizzie Vintage Clothing Fashion History

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A Workday Sunday and a Reward
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011A nice sleep-in and breakfast, and then we had the tiresome job of going back to Lowes to return the shade and get another one before we could head to Kroger to do some grocery shopping. We found clearance dumps all over the store and got drinking glasses for a quarter each (two snowmen, two holly), candy canes for 20 cents (the peppermint is good for upset tummies, or they can be saved to accompany Christmas gifts), and other odds and ends beside the milk, bananas, and sandwich bread we went there for.

It was already 61°F by the time we left the house at eleven, and by the time we got the groceries home, it was warm enough to take my jacket off. We went to and from Kroger via the park, and everyone was taking advantage of the warmth and the sun to go walking. Despite the temps getting up to 70, the sky remained a nice, vivid winter blue, and this did give us an opportunity to open up all the windows and get some fresh air through the house rather than just in the bedroom.

Once the groceries were put up, I had to get to work. My first priority was to mend my work pants. Since I had the iron out, I also ironed the fall and Christmas runners for the dining room table so I could put them away. Then I needed to wrap a gift. Finally I sat down to do the taxes. These were complete before 4:30, and the federal e-filed. We owe the state, so I put an alarm on my calendar to send the paperwork about April 1.

James, in the meanwhile, put the shade up. We had this one up backwards, in an experiment that I no longer remember why we did, so he swapped the mounts. This was easier said than done because although both of us measured the window, the shade was not wide enough. We had both measured 34 3/4. When I pulled down the shade later, I realized why: although the frame flush with the wall is 34 3/4, the window opening where the hardware is mounted is a little further apart by at least 1/8 of an inch. Bother. The old shade fit perfectly; we should have measured that. Anyway, James had to make a shim to put under the mounts so that the shade would fit.

He also replaced the air intake filters and the batteries in the smoke alarms, so it was a good day's work after all.

Now, I had left WPBA (Channel 30, the Atlanta PBS station, as opposed to GPB, Channel 8, the Georgia PBS station) on for Schuyler when we left the house, and had been paying scant attention to it. At one point Rick Steves was on and I glanced backward a time or two at his show about the Basque country (I didn't realize that's where Guernica was).

Well, I finished the taxes, and James finished the batteries, and he took Willow outside. And it was then I looked, really looked at the television screen as I started to change the channels.

I think I've complained about it here before, but Dish Network has not previously been showing both the local PBS channels in high-definition. All the local channels are in HD and shown in HD on Dish except for those two. Occasionally we would see a widescreen picture, but it would be in the center of the television with a black frame around it. Most of the time we would see a widescreen picture that filled the screen, but had the right and left sides lopped off, so that not only the picture, but words would be excised. For instance, if you watched Antiques Roadshow, the scroll at the bottom of the screen when they revealed the object's value would have the left part of the words chopped off.

I sent Dish a note about this and they told me that GPB and WPBA had to "authorize" them to show the channels in HD, even though the two stations were already broadcasting in that format. I don't know what "authorize" means, but I suspect money was involved. <wry grin> So if we wanted to see something HD on PBS, like Sherlock, I would mess with the antenna and we would watch it over the air, at least on WPBA; GPB is a pain in the neck to get with antenna and pretty much only comes in when it rains. (Yes, when it rains, not the other way around. I said it was a weird signal.) Otherwise we watched stuff like This Old House with the sides lopped off.

It was while I was channel changing that I noticed that the last scene I had seen on the television filled the entire screen. The rest of the previews were all full screen, and the next program was one of those "bordered widescreen" presentations. (I suspect this is the difference between "anamorphic widescreen" and "letterboxing" that Rodney has attempted to beat through my head for the last year or so. <g>) So I went to the "All HD" listing on the Dish menu and, sure enough, both GPB and PBA are now listed as being in HD.

I let out a whoop that James heard from out in the back yard. :-)

And now that I think about it, Rick Steves was also in HD and filled the screen; I must have though James had the television on through the antenna, not the satellite. What fooled me is that they must have "turned it on" sometime today, because the This Old House we recorded yesterday still has the sides chopped off. I am really sorry we did not see this latest season of TOH in HD, because the house they fixed had a lovely vista of the Charles River out the back window.

So, cool beans! A nice reward for an afternoon's good work.

So we ended up watching the Western episode of Pioneers of Television again; really, the difference in HD is quite noticeable! And I didn't realize until I saw it widescreen that the producers have cropped the top and bottom of the old television episodes so they appear widescreen on the series.

We had some leftover chicken stir-fry for supper with noodles, watched the news, and have now gone back to what's on DVR: Flying Wild Alaska. Probably Law & Order: UK after that or This Old House or both.

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» Saturday, January 29, 2011
A January Thaw
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011A long day today, but a good time. We had to go to the bank and deposit some checks, then stopped by Lowes to buy a new shade (which turned out later to have a broken spring...hissssss!) and found a cute gadget to put away as a gift for Christmas.

Then went to the hobby shop for a little while. Not sure how long we were there because I was reading David Crystal's Walking English, which is like a chocolate box for a linguistics/history/geography lover. From there we drove out to Roswell/Alpharetta for the day: stopped at the CD Warehouse just outside Roswell, but didn't find any good CDs or DVDs, then went on to Fry's. I found a lovely Blu-Ray DVD of fall in New England which I played later on. Wish they'd found a more spectacularly colored fall, but it was still pretty: changing trees, ponds, a few barns and churches, streams, clear blue skies, ducks and even an eagle, all accompanied by piano and flute New Age-type music.

We spent a few minutes looking at the solar panels they have. Boy, I wish we could afford to put solar panels on the roof! Might as well put that wretched sunlight to work, especially in the summertime when it's so strong it's fading everything (we were noticing this morning how faded our black mailbox is!).

By the time we were finished it was suppertime, so we drove directly to Giovanni's. We want to patronize the place more, especially now that BJs has closed. He said business has been down a little, but not as bad as he feared. I had the penne with sausage and ate my fill and still have enough left over for two lunches. Just wish it didn't make me so sick to the stomach afterwards. Wonder if I can take three Prilosec on a day I eat pasta?

We started out wearing light jackets this morning, and finally discarded them—it was so warm today, up into the mid to high 60s!—but by the time we got to Giovanni's it was back to the jackets again. I don't mind too much when it gets warm in the daytime as long as it stays cool at night. It's so hard to sleep when it's warm at night.

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» Friday, January 28, 2011
A Workmanlike Week
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011That's been my week: work. Finished over a half-dozen orders, including one that had to be in place by Monday. Got other things done on other orders. Attended an afternoon class on small businesses on Tuesday. Listened to this and that while teleworking: five episodes of Strong Poison, two episodes of a dramatization of The Secret Garden, readings of 101 Dalmatians, an episode of Doctor in the House and one of Jeeves and Wooster, and A Dewey Decimal and The Parrot Sketch (the latter about talking parrots), all on BBC Radio 7, and more episodes of "The Tech Guy" and "This Week in Tech." The latter had Jerry Pournelle on; his shows are always fun.

I was occupied during most of my lunches with the new Maisie Dobbs book, A Lesson in Secrets, which came from Amazon Vine. I also painted the underside of the two new corner shelves I am working on, but could not finish the tops without buying a new bottle of gloss "Real Brown," which I did tonight. After supper we went to Borders and I found Christmas cards at 75 percent off. Got two different styles. Good deal!

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» Thursday, January 27, 2011
Voice of the United States
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011I'm just finishing reading The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, and we just had the "State of the Union" a few days ago. From FDR on, US presidents were covered so much by the media that we are familiar with their voices. But here are some voices that are not so familiar:

Voice of Benjamin Harrison, 1889 (earliest recording of a man who had been president)

Voice of Grover Cleveland, 1892

Voice of William McKinley, 1896

Voice of William Howard Taft, 1909

Voice of Theodore Roosevelt, 1912 (I think it's 1912)

Voice of Woodrow Wilson, 1912

Voice of Warren G. Harding, 1920

Voice of Calvin Coolidge, 1920

Voice of Herbert Hoover, 1932

(Boy, Coolidge did have that old fashioned New England accent!)



» Sunday, January 23, 2011
Not Pretty, But It Works
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011Had a rather unsettled night; we didn't get to bed until almost two and just as we were falling asleep our neighbors arrived home and were speaking very loudly outside. Since we sleep with windows open and our windows are in the direction of the front of their house, it did wake us up.

So we were up past ten and didn't go out grocery shopping until eleven. We ended up just going to Publix, since they had twofer oatmeal and omeprazole (but the latter was gone). We didn't need much else, so we just got milk, bread, bananas and the newspaper there and came home.

Both of us spent some time last night privately contemplating that set of shelves. We'd already sunk so much money in them I didn't want to abandon them. So we emptied most of the closet, except what was on the old DVD stand and on the narrow shelves mounted on the wall, then walked the shelves in. James made a valiant attempt to secure them at the bottom and then flex them to be even at the top, but there was no stud near either vertical to secure the shelves to. Finally he unsecured the bottom and we secured the top to the one stud we could find. It sits square fine, it's just a bit cockeyed because of the warped board; the left side (as you face it) pushes out about two or three inches from the wall at the botton, compared to the right side which is flush. It holds all the food just fine, even the extra we bought at BJs.

Came upstairs to relax and read the paper, then had leftover crock pot roast beef and wheat rotini for supper and watched Stossel and R5 Sons Alaska.

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» Saturday, January 22, 2011
Best Laid Plans
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011We slept in this morning, then went out to the hobby shop.

From there, we went to Lowes. We had both noticed that the shelving we had in the coat closet that we are using as a pantry was too small for the food we had stored there. So we thought we would build a larger unit to fit in the space we had. I measured everything earlier and we bought the supplies and came home and...

...well, we noticed that the larger board we bought, the 12 footer we had cut in half, had a slight warp in it. We figured once we put it together and fit in the shelves the support would straighten out the warp.

We were wrong. Granted, every shelf we put into the thing made it a little straighter, but it's still lopsided.

James went to Lowes to get some angle brackets, and it turned out they didn't carry any, despite the fact we bought the one we still had at Lowes. James got some at Home Depot instead. We installed all five and it looks like we will need more.

These are turning into the most expensive "rough shelves" ever.

By the time we'd used up our options, it was dinner time. Neither of us felt like going out, so we ordered a pizza. Now, Papa John's has always done a "peculiar" pizza for us. We get a large thin crust, and half is the "Works" with no green pepper for James and half is black olive and bacon with no cheese for me. (I can't help it. I loathe mozzarella. As far as I'm concerned it both looks and tastes like mucus.) Well, when it showed up it had cheese on both sides. I called up Papa John's to complain and they told me they couldn't do no cheese on one side, and no one should have been doing it for me in the past. According to them, if they put cheese on only one side and some bled onto the non-cheese side, and a person who was allergic ate the cheese and had a reaction, they could sue Papa John's. Say WHAT? Anyone who was allergic wouldn't take the risk in the first place; they'd order a separate pizza with no cheese! So why does Papa John's advertise "pizza your way" if you can't have the pizza "your way"? What a bunch of hypocrites! (And that damn freaking cheese is coming up on me and making me sick to my stomach!)

In better news, GPB is cramming episodes of This Old House into its schedule as fast as it can go in order to catch up after their endlessly repeating fundraising schedule. We had two episodes this morning and another this evening, and look to be caught up. There are only two episodes left in this sequence.

Watched a couple of Britcoms tonight and then messed around with Netflix Instant Play. Played the first Jon Pertwee Doctor Who, "Spearhead from Space," which looks quaint next to the frenetic new series, but Pertwee's charm is immediately apparent! Also put on "School Reunion," the Sarah Jane Smith/reunion with the Doctor episode with David Tennant. [Later: Now watching "Secrets of the Sun" from The Universe.]

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» Friday, January 21, 2011
Ship-Shape Shopping
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011It was time. I'd been putting it off since before Christmas. But it had to be done.

So I went to Walmart.

I actually ended up going to two of them since the first didn't have everything I needed. I was looking for soy isoflavones and a new US flag for the porch; however, the first Walmart struck out on the soy. Other things did present themselves: yogurt on sale, cellophane for wrapping gift baskets, other assorted groceries. But I did have to go to the other for the soy. Walmart is the only place I can reliably find soy isoflavones; none of the drugstore or supermarket vitamin shelves have them. I also found the Lean Cuisine bow tie pasta there; I haven't seen them in a regular supermarket for months.

Once this all was home and stored away, I went to the library to return my interlibrary loan, then went to Sam's Club for gasoline, and inside the store for omeprazole, since I didn't have enough to last through next week. (This was before I found out Publix had them on twofer, which would have made two boxes of 42 three dollars cheaper. I'll probably get some anyway.)

I spent the afternoon listening to the final part of Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club and the first part of Strong Poison on BBC Radio 7, followed by an episode of "The Tech Guy" while working on a piece of fanfic, or rather recreating the first part of it, as it was lost when my thumb drives disappeared. When James came home, we went to Ken's for supper, then went into Buckhead to the Borders store.

I particularly wanted to see if they had the next issue of "Best of British," and, sure enough, I found it amongst the travel magazines. (It's actually a nostalgia magazine, but I won't argue about where Borders keeps it as long as they keep carrying it. ) Now the kicker to this was that on Monday I had thought about driving into Buckhead on my own, but didn't want to do it for nothing, so I had called up and asked if they had "Best of British." After a few minutes the person I talked to came back and said, "Oh, we don't stock that." Ah, well, I'll keep buying what you don't stock anyway.

When I went upstairs I found one of Carola Dunn's Daisy Dalrymple mysteries in stock. I have come rather late to this series—it now consists of eighteen books!—but found the first three British paperbacks very cheaply on Hamilton Books. I really enjoyed the 1920s atmosphere of the first one. However, it's very hard to find any of the other ones in bookstores except for the latest. So I picked this one up, then it occurred to me to check to see if Caro Peacock had a new Liberty Lane book out. Surprise! Okay. I'd use the coupon that one.

Fatally, I made the mistake of going by the linguistics books and found David Crystal's Walking English, described as "[s]tarting in his home of Wales and moving from England all the way to Poland and to San Francisco, Crystal encounters numerous linguistic side roads he cannot resist exploring." Needless to say, I couldn't resist exploring it, either. :-)

(Not to mention being terribly tempted by something called The Athiest's Guide to Christmas, but I managed to resist that one.)

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» Thursday, January 20, 2011
This Week
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011Quiet. I've worked steadily. Finally got a modification done that has needed completion for some time, but there was a bobble with the contractor registration website. (However, my driving Charlene crazy yesterday with it was not fun for her!)

Listened to a variety of things while working that have kept me happy and productive: several "Tech Guy" and "This Week in Tech" broadcasts, a "Mugglecast" and a "Podshock" (I am going back and listening to old ones of the latter, so it is fun to listen to them speculate what "The Christmas Invasion" is going to be like). I've also had a great deal of fun listening to the radio shows on BBC Radio 7. I listened to another Doctor in the House, "On the Wards," and an episode of The Brothers-in-Law, also with Richard Briers, plus four episodes out of the six of The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club and even two chapters of Just William, which were quite amusing. Schuyler got her feathers ruffled when I turned off Today on her yesterday to listen to podcasts instead, but I couldn't help it—the Kardashian sisters were on, and I don't want Schuyler's mind destroyed. :-)

This afternoon at lunch I hitched the computer to the television and played History Detectives at lunch. I missed this year's entire season because neither of the Georgia PBS stations showed them when they premiered, and then when one of them did show it, the DVR never picked it up. Besides, Dish presents both GPB and WPBA with the sides of the widescreen picture lopped off. It looks dreadful. Online I can see them in HD. I also watched "Elsa's Legacy" over in widescreen, and, after Jeopardy, I hunted up the Masterpiece presentation, Framed, with Trevor Eve and Eve Myles. This apparently aired at Christmas, but I have no idea if it showed here. Half of November and almost all of December both of our PBS stations were showing endless fundraising programs, showing each of them three, four, and five times. I don't know how many times the same Celtic Thunder, Celtic Women, Wayne Dyer, etc. programs showed—and of course they ran Anne of Green Gables and all the sequels again. Good heavens, enough! Framed was goofy and funny and a bit sappy, but I did enjoy it. The children were adorable. I loved the police officer's doom-and-gloom child...too funny!

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» Sunday, January 16, 2011
Downs and Ups
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011So Thursday I coughed and sniffled, and Friday I felt wiped out—and early Saturday morning the bug apparently migrated south. Which is how I found myself sick in the wee hours of the morning. It would have been a good reading opportunity, but 80 watts at 4 a.m. might as well have been laser beams burning out my eyeballs. Instead I watched "Captain Kirk v. the Giant Amoeba" (ooops, "The Immunity Syndrome") via on my Droid. (Let's hear it for technology!) I didn't get back to bed until 5:30, and then couldn't get to sleep because I was so cold, despite having been bundled in fuzzy bathrobe and slippers.

So when the alarm rang at 8:30, I'd had about three hours sleep. So I sent James off to Hair Day on his own, had oatmeal and yogurt and milk, and then crawled onto the futon and slept for 2 1/2 hours. He brought me back a roast beef sandwich and some fresh fruit (and a small slice of key lime cake), which in total left me feeling human enough to go with James to the hobby shop where I sat reading The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt as James and the guys model-neeped.

We also went to MicroCenter, where I got a little case for the Flip.

We had supper at Fresh2Order, which was just what my tummy ordered; I had the big bowl of creamy chicken vegetable soup, with lots of chicken chunks, some celery and onions, and many still-crunchy carrots. Then home to relax and get on chat, and, after that, a lovely night's sleep.

We did some stock up shopping today, from bath soap to bread to chicken legs for tomorrow's supper. Once that was put up, I did a quick scan through the newspaper ads and found two different places with TurboTax on sale (yes, it's that time of year again). So we went to Office Max, and brought Willow with us. There was a method in our madness—after I picked up the software (after bumping into the Butlers exiting the store as I was going in), we went to the new Petsmart a few doors down to get Willow a new collar and leash. Her purple leash was her original (almost 14 years old) and the collar was a few years younger. Surprise! Purple is not a popular dog-collar color any longer!

So we got her a spiffy new red collar, a matching 6-foot red leash, and a new red ID tag. The engraving on her five-year-old tag was mostly worn away due to it clanking against her rabies tag, and the new tags make provision for this: there is a clear plastic protector you now put over the info after you have it engraved.

Came home to read the paper and discovered we were just in time to watch the broadcast of Monday's Castle on WSB, since it had been pre-empted for snow coverage. The DVR picked it right up, thankfully. We also watched two episodes of This Old House that GPB is frantically catching up with after spending what seemed to be half of November and most of December doing fundraising. I looked at This Old House's website and we've still missed at least two episodes out of this sequence due to multiple repeats of Celtic Women, Celtic Thunder, Wayne Dyer, old music specials...and we still never saw the Masterpiece presentation of Framed with Trevor Eve (or if they showed it, they squirreled it away somewhere where I couldn't find it). Play the regular programming, guys! Yeesh!

Then we watched some figure skating, and had meatballs for supper.

The newspaper had an eight-page photo section about the snow and ice, and there were numerous articles and editorials in the paper about the ice, the problems with the streets, people who didn't know whether to go to work or not, business lost, etc. Look, I had it easy: I got to telework. James and others like him had to go to work, inching over ice-coated roads that were mostly never sanded and which remained ice-coated for days. Buses didn't run, the airport and the Greyhound station turned into dormitories, grocery stores didn't get deliveries, it was hard to get ambulances to the hospitals.

With all these big things going on, I was absolutely astonished by news reports about people who after two days were "going crazy," "getting cabin fever," etc. Say what? Granted, I had work to do, and when there wasn't work, Christmas decorations to take down and put away. I also wasn't home with kids who were out of school. But don't people have hobbies? Sewing? Cross stitch? Reading? Doing crafts? Board games? Heck, if I was home in a storm that long my mom would have put me to work. There was daily dusting and dust-mopping to do, making (or changing) the bed, clothes to iron, bureau drawers to clean out...she would have been doing the same thing, plus washing clothes and dishes, cleaning the bathroom, etc. I would have kept my mouth closed about being bored. I had books to read, stories to write, pictures to draw, paint by numbers, word search puzzles...if nothing else, there was the idiot box with Jeopardy and Mike Douglas and Merv Griffin, Lassie reruns, and "Talk Back" on WJAR (later on WHJJ) radio with Dick Pace and Jack Comley and Sherm Strickhauser. Mom might have done some sewing, or crocheted, knitted, or tatted. Heck, had I not had to work and divest last week, I could have read, cross stitched, worked on some crafts, and, by Wednesday, picked my way around the slick patches to take a walk. Can't imagine "cabin fever" unless I was confined to bed.

There were also people complaining about the roads, not because they were having difficulty getting to work or due to emergencies, but because they didn't have enough food in the house and couldn't get to the supermarket. Er? Didn't you stock up before the storm? Don't you have emergency food? I grew up in a house less than 900 square feet; we did have a basement, and one corner of it was used for extra groceries and paper products, and the kitchen closet was crammed with cereal, bread, rice, etc. When I first moved to Atlanta, I was living in a tiny studio apartment, but I had at least two weeks' worth of soups and other canned goods, pasta, spaghetti sauce, and a small freezer compartment packed full of meat. Yeah, I would have been out of milk after a while, which would have made me loopy, but I wouldn't have starved. There are all sorts of places to stash food even in tiny apartments: under the bed, behind chairs, in back corners of closets, etc. What if you get sick? What if you can't get out of the house for any reason? You should always have a small stash of food.

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» Friday, January 14, 2011
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011Wishy-washy malady here...just a little of everything...throat a little bit sore, coughing a little bit, nose slightly stuffy, a little run down...but mostly sleepy. Just an overwhelming urge to curl up in a ball and snooze; very envious of the dog asleep in James' chair. Persisted in working during it all, but it was hard slogging.

Hoped getting out finally tonight would help, but even with a nice supper (soup and French toast at the IHOP) eyes were heavy. Reading the new "Yankee" and "Early American Life" to stay awake until bedtime.

(Heh. Keep thinking of Hilary Booth in "If I Die Before I Sleep": "I was having such a wonderful dream...that I was asleep.")

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» Thursday, January 13, 2011
Deja View
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011Back when I first moved to Georgia, I would always go home for Christmas, and I usually came back with a cold at minimum, but more often bronchitis. Not sure whether it was the change of climate, or something I would catch on the plane, or if I was just running myself down. One year I was sick even before I got home, and Mom took me to a "Doc in the Box" to get something for my cough.

It happens much less often now, but it does still happen. I think it's happening now, in fact, since I've been coughing all day. It may be due to the emotional letdown after Christmas. Whatever. Something hot and some ibuprofin sound nice right now.

If it is a cold, I'm glad I didn't go into work this morning. We had a late opening, and I'd considered going in, even though I really didn't have much cooking—I thought I had something I could award, but it turns out I will need a replacement purchase request unless I can talk to the vendor, and I can't do that because he can receive my e-mails but I can't receive his back (this happened last year; IT said it had something to do with DNS settings?)—until I turned on the television and saw that the freeway was still a complete wreck. Only a few lanes were open and people were still spinning out on icy spots; it looked like it would take me two hours to get the 24 miles, then I would almost immediately have to turn around and come home when the temps started their evening downturn. My fears were confirmed by two e-mails, one which said that several of the buildings in the complex were closed due to various weather-based problems (these all were on parts of the property with copious shade), and the other from our branch chief, who said that anyone who had teleworking capabilities should go home and work from there, and those who didn't should leave early. At 2:30 he asked that anyone still in the office go home.

(Some of the traffic reports were jaw-dropping. In Buckhead, Lindbergh Road at Peachtree Street was a sheet of ice even at eleven a.m.; there is a slight slope up to the intersection, and almost every other car was sliding backwards as they braked to a stop. Reports were coming in all day of accidents, and there are still news reports of ice-clogged main streets, ones that were never even cleared. One man was killed this afternoon, when the temps had risen over freezing, on the way to pick up his wife from work. School is canceled again tomorrow in most places, the fifth day in a row.)

I made some good progress today in setting up new orders and requesting quotations and supporting documentation. At lunch I went downstairs and got the box with all the things for the mantel and put those back in place. LOL: I've just gotten used to looking at the media shelves for the time; now I have to get used to looking for Mom's old clock back on the mantel shelf again.

By the time James came home my throat was sore from coughing. I don't have a stuffy nose, but my colds have always been perverse, starting in my chest and then roaming upwards. Cross fingers it's just a quicky thing.

We had a nice supper; James made steak with penne on the side. I was listening to Leo LaPorte podcasts all day, and then found part one of The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club on BBC Radio 7, starring Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter Wimsey. Good dinner listening. Later, more snow news, "Headlines" with Jay Leno, and Law & Order: UK.

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» Wednesday, January 12, 2011
R.I.P. David Nelson
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011David Nelson, Last of TV's Ozzie and Harriet, is Dead

David was always my favorite Nelson boy.

I watched Ozzie just recently in the episode he did of The Mothers-in-Law. He played "Ozzie Snick," the big band leader Kaye Buell always bragged she sang with. (Of course, this being Kaye, the truth was a little different from the story.)

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» Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Ice Isn't Nice
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011CDC was closed again today, with teleworkers expected to log on, but James was expected live and in person. After I tossed ten of our emergency water gallons in the back of his truck, James hefted in the big bucket of sand that we use when shooting off fireworks, which gave him some weight back there. Still, I had my heart in my mouth when he backed out, for the truck skidded the moment it hit the street; when he put it into forward his back wheels spun, then caught hold.

He did make it in, and early, too; the building didn't open until noon—but I was fidgety until he called. Work was very light, mostly setting up some new orders and trying to resolve something about an invoice. Spent lunch taking down Christmas decorations. Putting them up is a happy task that takes a long time; taking them down is an unhappy task that at least doesn't take that long. As I'm taking them down, I'm making notes of what I need next year, like new garland if I want to do up the stair railings again.

We never saw the sun today, but the wind did its work and the street was fairly clear by late afternoon. When I took Willow out, the yard was a mess, though: the marks of our footprints now filled with red-mud water and edges with ice, and the ground all soggy. Once it dries, it's going to look dreadful, as if it doesn't already. We had two brief flurries of snow, one very light and only minutes long, another one that looked as if a full-fledged snow was starting, but the wind was blowing briskly, and I even saw a glimpse of blue sky as the grey-and-smoke clouds hurried by.

Meanwhile, the birds were eating apace at the feeders today! I even saw a slate-colored junco. Hadn't seen one of them since the ice storm we had years ago, when we were still at the other house!

James brought home something from Wendy's since he didn't know I had taken some sausage out. We'll have that tomorrow. I was idling around BBC7 and found them rebroadcasting a 1968 episode of the radio series of Doctor in the House. Rather than have the characters of the television series (Michael Upton, Duncan Waring, etc.), the radio series uses the original characters from the book. Richard Briers is Simon Sparrow, the feckless young medical student with a penchant for wandering into trouble. This was the "Anatomy" episode, quite funny! The original "Dick Stuart-Clark" character is even lazier than his television counterpart.

I also listened to the first part of a three-part adaptation of The Prisoner of Zenda, which is one of my favorite books. (And then there's the 1930s movie version...mmmmn, Ronald Colman...)

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Ooooooh! Want!
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011Anne of Green Gables - Digitally Remastered Widescreen Edition

(Thanks for the link, Amanda!)



» Monday, January 10, 2011
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011It started raining last night, early in the evening, and then rapidly turned to a steady snow. Most of the time when we have snow, the flakes are either uniformly large or small, but last evening the flakes were mixed, tiny, medium, even the large blowsy ones all together, swirling with what must have been bits of sleet or ice, as it looked as if large bits of glitter were flashing and sparking. Under the porch lights everything sparkled. And it accumulated quite quickly; by the time we went to bed at midnight, there were at least four inches on the deck (measured onsite via ruler!).

Just before I took my shower I called the CDC Emergency line, and learned today was a...

...snow day!

James had also taken one look at the forecast and called in to work. I would like to say we spent a productive day, but we took that at its word: it was lazy and wonderful. We slept until ten, then James took Willow outside and she refused to go near the back gate. Instead she made random little paw-prints in the snow as if she were Billy in the "Family Circus," then just did her business out front. James disposed of the evidence. :-)

Last night when he realized we would be home today, he started some oatmeal in the slow cooker. The recipe called for steel-cut oats and cream, but we didn't have the latter and he couldn't find the former. He used rolled oats instead, and butter with our skim milk, and it was still soupy this morning, so he had to make another batch of oatmeal to make it thick enough. It was pretty good, nevertheless, and I had a nice bowlful, maybe even a little more, but he had put dried cherries in it. I really don't like fruit in my oatmeal; I prefer the real thing. Plain maple would have done me just fine.

Animal Planet seemed to be having an "Animal Cops" marathon, so we had that on most of the morning and early afternoon. I read Albert's Tale of Applebeck Orchard and was endlessly entertained by the birds at the feeders. Yesterday before it snowed I mounted the window feeder I bought before Christmas. I didn't expect any of the birds to find it with the feeders full, but the two titmice spotted the black oil sunflower seeds in it and were flitting back and forth all day plucking them one by one from the tray and then flying away. The feeder is almost all clear lucite and at one point the titmouse tried to get the seed from the bottom, frustrated by being able to see them, but not get them!

At one point there was a chipping sparrow on each perch of the squirrel-proof feeders, plus two more hopping on the ice-coated mounded-snowy railings, so we had fourteen out there, plus a pine warbler. We saw the yellow-rumped warbler at the suet, and also had the usual contingent of nuthatches, chickadees, the red-bellied woodpeckers, the male cardinal, and even a couple of bluebirds. Ground-foraging on the snowy grass we saw more of the same, at least one blue jay and what looked like a female Eastern towhee (brown on the head and wings, the very center of the chest and torso white, surrounded by red).

There was nothing on television except for snow coverage. There was one perpetual accident with 18-wheelers after the other, jackknifed in the middle of the road, against concrete abutments, at the edge of the road. Very few cars, but of the ones that were out, many of them were sliding backwards down hills, even big heavy SUVs, or skewing off sideways over curbs and into bushes.

About three o'clock I pulled on a hat, shoes, and another sweater and went out to refill the bird feeders. By the time I did the second one my hands were in massive pain; I had to chafe them continually to finish. I thought about replacing the suet, but I couldn't have managed it.

A little after four I went into the closet and rummaged until I found my boots. I tried putting these on last year and couldn't pull them on because of my damn instep. This time I tugged and grunted and actually did get them on. So I bundled up in my heavy hat, James' scarf, and my nice Rhode Island-weight winter coat and took Willow outside, grabbing the nice ski-pole-like walking stick Juanita bought for James back when he had his knee surgery.

This worked pretty well. As I discovered when I went out on the deck, the 4-plus inches of snow is now covered by an icy crust. Using the pole I didn't have any trouble getting to the gate, and James had covered the lock with heavy-duty foil, which worked nicely. But poor Willow, tramping behind me, had hard slogging. She was just heavy enough to break the crust on the snow, and she insisted on going to the very back on the lot to do her business. The expression on her face as she broke through and stepped, broke through and stepped, broke through again, was comical and sad at the same time.

I let her back in and then tried a short walk of my own, from our driveway to the edge of the cul-de-sac, a distance of two homes. The stick helped, but I still almost fell. The top of the driveway was literally a skating rink, and it was slick all the way up and back. Some of the young adults further down were sliding on the gradual slope of the street, and I saw two kids up on the corner taking pictures of the cars sliding their way down the main road.

James made some chicken for supper and we had that while watching the Nature special about Born Free and the impact it had on the world and people's concept of lions (and other predators). I remember seeing Born Free at the Majestic Theatre when it came out in 1966. I had the Bantam copy of the book which I carried to my fifth-grade classes for weeks and read so much that I eventually had to get a new copy of the book as an adult; the pages were falling out. I had all of Joy Adamson's sequels, and watched the television specials, including the now-famous Christian the Lion, and there is of course an "Elsa" on the library Christmas tree.

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Great Backyard Birdcount 2011That is all. :-D

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» Saturday, January 08, 2011
"The Moving Finger Writes, and Having Writ, Moves On"
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011Not much to write about the last two days. Cleaned house and went shopping. Went to BJs last night; if as many people had shopped there as were at their closing sale, the place wouldn't be closing. We waited an hour in line because people had never been there and didn't know how to scan their stuff. Plus the scanners have always been balky anyway.

Had fourteen guests at our Twelfth Night party tonight. Much fun, food and conversation was had by all. We had the Saints/Seahawks game on for the football fans, plus much neepage and catchup conversations, and the teenagers amused themselves in the spare room until a fox attacked Aubrey's laptop. (Don't ask. Except it wasn't a fox, it was Scott, my stuffed wolf.)

When the last guest left just before midnight, I walked around to all the windows and shut down all the Christmas lights.

The party's over.

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» Thursday, January 06, 2011
Moppin' and Movies...
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011...Holiday Harbour-style!

Something odd happened this afternoon. While I was watching The Perfect Gift, I was eating two wine biscuits. I had just chewed the last bite of the second one when a salty, bitter, really nasty taste filled my mouth. It was so horrible I had to run in the bathroom, spit what was left over into the sink, and brush my teeth and tongue hard! I have no idea what happened! (No, they don't spoil. Maybe some of the salt didn't get totally mixed in in this particular piece? But...ugh!)

Holy cats, they are talking snow again...

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» Wednesday, January 05, 2011
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011...Christmas music in Holiday Harbour.

Just found out the BJs nearest us will close. I'm bummed, but not surprised. We always went on Friday nights and there were never any more than three dozen cars there. Went once on Sunday about a month ago, and there were forty or fifty cars; that was a lot! The BJs in McDonough will close as well; I think that was the first one or one of the first ones around here. James will remember that we saw our very first plasma TV there. It was $10,000 (!!!) and had the most beautiful picture we had ever seen. During a later stop, they had one of the Shrek movies on, or rather the menu. I said to James, "Look, that pig is breathing." Not only was the picture so clear that we could see that all the animals were breathing, but they were not breathing in unison, but in their own individual breathing patterns.

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» Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Keeping It in the Family
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011Just heard the news: David Tennant (Doctor #10) is engaged to Georgia Moffett, daughter of Peter Davison (Doctor #5 as well as "Tristan" in All Creatures Great and Small). Always wonder why Peter changed his stage name to Davison; was there already a British actor going by Peter Moffett? At least now he wouldn't have people referring to him as Peter DaviDson!



» Monday, January 03, 2011
Well, That Was a Surprise
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011As I turned into the office park this morning, the "Koger" sign was gone. It's now "University Office Park" (since all the buildings are named after universities).

It was not a good day. Despite doing all I could last night to conducive sleep—relaxed the last hour, went to bed on time, was sleepy when I turned out the light—I was awake at two, had to use the bathroom at five and never did sleep that last hour. Forgot to drink my milk this morning, so got into the office ravenous. 75°F in my cubie; since the house is kept at 67, that is very smother-y to me. Between that and the car being warm on the way home, made my skin burn. Arrived with a headache, which came back on the afternoon drive; I hate afternoon sun!



» Sunday, January 02, 2011
A Shifting of Gears
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011Just a leisurely day today. We slept in late, but not late enough that it made getting up tomorrow a problem. Had oatmeal and yogurt and milk, and James had his breakfast, and then about eleven we went out to East Cobb with the 50 percent off Borders coupon. They had the fifth Cece Caruso book in stock, and I got that as well as a bargain book. I had Borders Bucks, so I didn't pay a thing.

James got a war strategy game, but wondered if he could find something else at another store, so we went through the back (Sewell Mill Road to Piedmont, which turns into Barrett) to the Town Center Borders. He didn't find anything, but I decided to get Alison Arngrim's book because I enjoyed it so much. There's a gutsy lady who uses humor to get over emotional pain.

Stopped at Kroger on the way home to buy milk, bananas, and onions. As always came out with a lot more: drinks and goodies for the party on Saturday, something for dinner tonight since neither of us remembered to take the sausage out of the freezer, even some sale turkey legs for later in the week—so much for eating out of the freezer to clear it out! :-)

Came home and chilled out listening to Christmas music (Sirius has dropped their Christmas channels, but Dish still had theirs up; I really have enjoyed their instrumental channel, which was all cool jazz) and reading the last few of the Christmas magazines I had stashed: "Early American Life Christmas," "Victorian Homes," and "Cape Cod Home." No fear for the rest of the Twelve Days of Chrismtas, I still have the British "Country Living," "Country Sampler," and "Ideals Christmas" before I get to the winter magazines. :-)

Must leave one note in reminder to myself: always remember why Addie gives the Christmas tree to Gloria Cott. [wry grin]

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» Saturday, January 01, 2011
Rainy Days and New Year Always Get Me Down...
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011...especially on long, lonely rainy days.

But that's life...

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Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy 2011!