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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» Wednesday, June 29, 2011
The Simple Woman's Daybook
FOR TODAY, JUNE 29, 2011

Outside my window...
...the air is clear. We had a "cold" front go through, sweeping the humidity away. Yesterday it looked like someone turned down the contrast button on the television. The air blurred everything. It will still get hot today, but hopefully will not be as sticky. I went out to fill the bird feeders a few minutes ago, and it was delightfully cool, with a breeze. This is rare during a Georgia summer, when it's usually smothery, even early in the morning.

I am thinking...
...very un-peaceful thoughts about the squirrels. I bought a little window bird feeder, hoping to enjoy seeing the little fellows eating, but no matter where I put it on the window, the squirrels can get to it. Yesterday they tipped it over. I'm already annoyed with them because they still manage to leech out of the squirrel-proof bird feeders, using one claw to get a seed at the time. If I wanted to feed squirrels, I'd have a squirrel feeder, and they get plenty of gleanings from what the birds, who are messy eaters, let fall to the ground!

I am thankful for... class being over and being back to work. I still have the thorny problems that prevented me from posting my Daybook last week. Thankfully, the class was interesting because of the teacher, who was very animated and punctuated his examples with occasionally humor.

From the learning rooms...
...well, I hope I learned a little bit more about Appropriations Law this week. Points of it sound more akin to counting angels on the head of a pin.

One thing I did learn was that, when a government shutdown threatens like it did this spring, do not worry about social security payments. They are paid from a totally different budget and are not affected by government shutdowns at all. That part of the Federal government would remain working. So no retired persons or disabled persons would be without their money.

From the kitchen...
...nothing. It's potlucks tonight and I have leftover pork fried rice from Dragon 168. Maybe I'll light a candle later. I had one of my screaming nightmares on Monday evening and spent much of yesterday feeling anxious. Sometimes my sense of smell goes out of whack when that happens. I have a Yankee Candle "Sun'n'Surf" air freshener in my car that has the scent of Coppertone suntan lotion, a scent I love. Yesterday it smelled to me more like bug spray.

I am wearing...
...(all together now) blue tank top, aqua shorts, and blue terry scuffs.

I am creating...
...purchase orders later on, I hope. I have one that's ready to go and two that have come off advertising. One received a response, though, which must go to the appropriate person.

I am going... further than my desk (and the washing machine and dryer today), I hope! I have tons to do after the class.

I am reading...
...coming to a close on A Boston Miscellaney, halfway through Trolls in the Hamptons, still working on Here on Earth and a book about women's stomach problems, and am reading, as an e-book, A Discovery of Witches.

I am hoping...
...the weather will change for the better this weekend, but it seems there's no such luck. Sunday it's supposed to be 95°F! Ugh. I can't believe it's already Independence Day weekend coming up!

I am hearing...
...nothing yet. Plan to put on BBC Radio 4X for more of Five Red Herrings soon, and then more Sherlock Holmes. The A/C is off, Schuyler is grumpy because I haven't put on "the teevee," and Willow is lying in the path of the dining room air conditioning vent. Even the birds are quiet.

Around the house...
...complete chaos as usual. I feel so unambitious in summer when it's warm. I want to hibernate until winter. Books everywhere, the carpet needs vacuuming again, and I never did manage the stairs last week. Plus two loads of clothes to wash!

One of my favorite things...
...I was thinking of an old one this morning: a parking meter. I know that sounds funny. When I was in college, I frequently had classes only in the morning, or in the afternoon, or with great gaps of two or three hours between classes. So I would head to downtown Providence. Several years ago now, they restored the course of the rivers near Providence and made a feature called "Waterplace Park." But before that it had been a marsh cove that was filled in and had been turned into a very scruffy parking lot between the Rhode Island State House and the old Union Station, where the trains departed for Boston or New York City. Nevertheless, it was my favorite parking lot because it had meters rather than one big fee. You could park for up to four hours for forty cents, when all the other lots were a dollar or two. However, there was one parking meter that was my favorite, because if you put the change in it in the correct combination, it would give you four hours for only 25 cents. I think you had to feed a dime first, which gave you one hour, then a nickel, which would give you 2 1/2 more hours, then the other dime. Back in 1975 and 1976, operating on short spending money, believe me, 15 cents was still a big deal! There were still some places where you could buy a drink or an ice cream bar with that sort of cash!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Nothing major for this week: finish purchase orders. Wash clothes. Vacuum. I am expecting a new book from Vine, so I'm not starting anything else until it comes.

Here is a thought I am sharing...
Well, here is where I always get stuck. I don't have anything this morning, I'm afraid, as I'm just too anxious to get on to my work. Will try to do better next time.
If you'd like to participate, check out The Simple Woman's Daybook



» Sunday, June 26, 2011
A Matter of Many Things
Been trying to relax this weekend because of a busy couple of work days coming up. I think we managed it in conjunction with errands that needed doing.

Friday evening we rather lucked out. James was jonesing for the new specials at Red Lobster. We'd no sooner arrived than the clouds opened and we had Georgia Monsoon Season. This subsided, then roared to life again, but when we emerged it had stopped once again, so we were able to stop at Lowes to buy the last of the birdseed (the thistle seed blend) and Food Depot to pick up some yellow rice for Hair Day. And then we came home since without Borders there really isn't anywhere else to go.

Saturday we pretty much were busy until suppertime. First we hurried through the Farmer's Market, and next spent a fun three hours at Hair Day. Juanita brought some outstanding barbecue chicken legs, Mel and Phyllis brought corn, James had made the yellow rice (with veggie flakes), and Lin made Paula Deen's Asian salad, which is supremely yummy. Charles brought fruit and Ben and T chips, and the Taylors brought mini-ice cream sandwiches for dessert.

Next was the weekly visit to the hobby shop. The guys model-neeped while I read James Potter and the Hall at Elder's Crossing (not bad for fanfic, although Lippert doesn't quite have the mischievous sense of humor Rowling does).

Then we went on to Borders. The new "Yankee" and "Early American Life" were out, and I went ahead and bought The Bucolic Plague, which looks amusing. I still can't find Grace Interrupted, so figure I need to order it online. Since I'm a Border's Plus member, I can order it for 40 percent off and get it shipped free. Can't beat that.

Stopped at Trader Joe's on the way home. James got some roast beef and a demi-baguette to have a sub-type sandwich for supper—after that lunch neither of us was that ravenous—and I got a mixed package of Italian meats and had a proscuitto sandwich.

We'd watched Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets last night, so we finished up with all the extras Saturday evening, then watched a few more episodes of The Tower, a documentary about the Tower of London that is presently streaming on Netflix. I had forgotten the brouhaha with the router and was initially surprised when it said it couldn't connect to the internet. Well, of course it can't.

A slow chat night, and one of the members soon signed off, having been afflicted with poison oak. That brings back memories, none of them good. We at one time had a poison ivy bush in the corner of our back yard. Neither Dad nor Victor next door could dig it out, as the moment they got near it, even with protective clothing, they got poison ivy. Me, all I had to do was get downwind of the stuff; if I was perspiring it was pretty much a given that I'd get it. The only thing to soothe it would be a cool shower and an all-over coat of Caladryl, which dried off and left an ungodly mess of pink chips all over.

No, I don't miss poison ivy.

The usual trip to Kroger this morning, then we went to Costco to buy a few more necessities (BreatheRights and granola bars), where we also managed to eat a nice lunch from the samples—turkey and cheese sandwich samples, lobster and crab spread, chips and salsa, pretzel flats, sweet bread . . .

We also spent an hour sharing a double chocolate chip cold drink at the Starbucks at Barnes & Noble. I'm 30 pages from finishing Billy Boyle, but my hour ran out. :-)

It was still early when we got home, so I put on The Last Starfighter. Beside this being a fun film, this movie has special significance to us: it's the first film James and I saw together. Later I put on Romancing the Stone, which we saw the very same year (so it's been like 1984 all over again here tonight...LOL). Watching the extras now, including the missing scenes. Was quite surprised to discover that Joan's original agent was a man!

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» Friday, June 24, 2011
Where Has the Week Gone?
Really. I didn't even get to do Simple Woman's Daybook this week. Work isn't I'm-drowning busy, but it's steady and I've got one old order going spare, another that gained criticism for the advertisement I did for it, and just general frustration. I was writing a lot of e-mails. And, sadly, I don't have high hopes for the one order that's going spare. Bother.

Otherwise I have just been gazing dully nightly at either the idiot box or a book. James had a doctor's appointment Tuesday. We had Dragon for supper Wednesday night (otherwise known to Mr. Shreve as the place that makes real fried rice). Watched the next disk of Murdoch Mysteries last night.

Everything's redone, I believe, on the laptop, except setting up WS-FTP and that isn't as critical now that you can update photos in Blogger or Facebook rather than having to link Blogger photos from a static site. Oh, after doing 356 basic Windows updates and having to re-download Service Pack 3 in the wee hours of Sunday morning, Windows still dropped something like fifty more updates on me on Sunday afternoon. Wow.

Today I slept a bit late, had breakfast, then went to Walmart via the library to return Treason at Lisson Grove. I needed mostly small things at Wally World, but was also looking for a new broom for upstairs and a new rug for in front of the deck door; they had the former, but not the latter. Also got bananas, since apparently Kroger (at least the Kroger we go to regularly) is incapable of carrying anything but green ones.

Did gasp a bit looking at the Yoplait in Walmart. 66 cents!

My jaw dropped completely when I stopped at Publix to check out the twofers (all they had good was Chex mix, but I did get enough lamb to make a meal and a baguette to go with my lunch). The Yoplait, which was 10 for $6 two weeks ago, is now 8 for $6.00. It's gone up 15 cents a container! Is there a shortage of yogurt???

I didn't stop at Kroger to see the grim truth, but I did get gasoline there. I was nonplussed when I scanned my own Plus card and it said "Do you want to use the 30 cent a gallon bonus?" I didn't even know I had one! Get gasoline for 3.159 a gallon? Oh, twist my arm! twist my arm!

I had no sooner arrived home and had lunch (vegetable soup, some of the baguette, and one of the nice crispy peaches I got at Walmart) that I had to run outside to refill the bird feeders.

When the titmice start flying at the window trying to get your attention, I think they're hungry!

This was a bit nasty since between the last time I'd filled the feeders and now, it had rained quite hard, and the seed that was left in the cup of the feeder was black, stuck together, and sprouting. Had to scrape it all out before I could refill. Yuck.

And now I'm listening to a Mugglecast and nursing a headache from being out in the sun ten entire minutes.

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» Sunday, June 19, 2011
Weekend With Chips
Not "fish and..." It was Kelley and Matt (and several others) who had those. :-)

No Farmer's Market this morning; we had veggies already and felt like sleeping in. Plus we had a busy afternoon planned: it was the June edition of the [Dragoncon] Brittrack Meet'n'Greet at the Marlay House, the Irish pub in Decatur. So we went to the hobby shop for a little while, then headed for Midtown and the pub. We were very early and tried to sit outside until someone showed up, but it was smothery hot and unbearable outside. Instead we sat at the bar where we sipped water and read our Nooks until folks started arriving: Matt and Kelley Ceccato and several other folks whose names I sadly have jumbled. One woman had just gotten back from a two-week trip to Great Britain and had her photos done in a lovely album from Shutterfly! It was gorgeous. She had also gone to the Doctor Who exhibition and had more of those photos in a separate album.

The neatest part was that her trip coincided with the appearance of David Tennant and Catherine Tate on stage in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing; she had lovely photos from the stage door and had her photo taken with both David and Catherine. What a memory of a lifetime in so many ways!

There were about seventeen of us finally, I think, and we had a great lunch and conversation. Sadly, the lamb stew I was craving is considered a winter dish. We had brisket of beef marinated in Guinness and real mashed potatoes, chunks and all—Clay would have loved them.

On the way home we stopped at the Borders in midtown for James to return the book he ordered (he ordered the wrong title) and found a couple of good things on the remainder shelf. I can't believe they kept the midtown Borders and closed the Buckhead store! This store isn't a patch on the Buckhead location, which had more magazines, varieties of books, and was just a better looking and more comfortable store. The Buckhead store wasn't on the original closing list, either, so I always wondered what happened. But it sure was a sucky choice.

While we were in Borders the clouds clotted, boiled, and finally exploded with rain. We drove home in damp gloom, the clouds so low and dark it gave the impression of twilight. Later on we got on chat; Daniel showed up again, and we had a late visit from our new E3 petty officer, Jen!

Today we went grocery shopping and that was it. Have spent yesterday and all this afternoon watching my DVD of The Snoop Sisters, which arrived Friday. I had it ordered from when it showed up on Amazon. A couple reviewers complained it was too expensive, but with the wonderful memories this conjured up for me, it was worth it: back in 1973 this was my third favorite television program (after The Waltons and Faraday and Company). Helen Hayes is mystery writer Ernesta Snoop and Mildred Natwick is her widowed sister Gwendolyn "G" Snoop Nicholson, who takes dictation, keeps continuity, and otherwise assists Ernesta in her writing. Their nephew is New York police detective Lt. Stephen Ostrowski, and the ladies are chauffeured around town (and kept tabs on) by a gentleman named Barney. Of course, they become embroiled in mysteries which, while serious, are on the lighthearted side in the treatment, in some stories more than others.

The Snoop Sisters was made for the rotating NBC Wednesday (later Tuesday) Mystery Movie, along, originally, with Faraday and Company, Banacek, and Tenafly, and it was the best choice for all of these series, which really wouldn't have carried in weekly doses. The series was produced by the late, great Leonard Stern, and I noticed that Alan Shayne was listed as the series creator; he had worked a year earlier with Mildred Natwick in The House Without a Christmas Tree.

In the pilot movie, Stephen was played by Lawrence Pressman and the long-suffering Barney was a retired beat cop played by Art Carney. While I was always a fan of Art Carney, I really liked the change they made in the series. Bert Convy took over pretty convincingly as Stephen, but I adored the twist with Barney, who was now a younger ex-convict (petty theft type stuff) played by actor and director Lou Antonio. Barney wavered from comic relief to helpful accomplice to occasional defender as the sisters snooped into each crime, but he always cared about the pair.

(A year or two after this series aired I did a paint-by-number set of three little Yorkshire terrier-type dogs. Two were bouncing across the canvas and one was sitting looking tired, with his tongue hanging out. I named the two active dogs "Ernesta" and "Gwen" and the panting one "Barney." <g> Sometimes he never could keep up with 'em.)

I also watched some episodes from The Best of Password DVD I got off Hamilton Books...I really loved this game. Allen Ludden enjoyed being host and it showed, and the panelists had a lot of fun. The later version was flashier and also fun, but these quiet early episodes are definitely the favorites.

I was keeping myself amused with all this media while I completely made over my laptop. At three years old, it was becoming cranky. Speed wasn't a problem, but connectivity was. When I first bought it and set it up, it connected promptly with any wireless and also with the home network. After about a year it started getting cranky. For instance, I used to be able to use the laptop to correct my cross-stitch magazine database on my desktop. Suddenly I could pull up the file (or any other file) and correct it, but had to save it under a new name. After we went to Pennsylvania, it quit seeing the home network at all, and all my efforts to reconnect went spare.

Also in Pennsylvania, it wouldn't connect to the wireless network at the hotel. Good thing I'd brought a cable. The cable connection worked fine. Pretty soon the wireless connection didn't work and I was operating with a cable in the house. This meant I couldn't do things like catalog my books downstairs. Then on Wednesday when the thunderstorm fried James' network card, the laptop (which wasn't even plugged in or on) quit talking to the internet connection completely.

There was only one thing to do. I copied off all the files (especially the chat logs) and went into Lenovo's Repair and Recovery setting, and knocked it down to factory settings. I started at 9 p.m. and finally finished around 3 a.m. The actual re-do didn't take all that time; it was all the frippin' Windows updates since 2008! There were 78 malicious software removal downloads and 78 security updates. Then Windows rebooted and I took Norton off and put on Microslop Security Essentials. At least I tried to. It said it wouldn't go on until I downloaded Service Pack 3! Well, why in the wide, wide world of sports didn't you download Service Pack 3 when you downloaded all the other updates??? That download took so long I was able to simultaneously download and install Firefox 4, Chrome, Internet Explorer 8, and Audacity, and chat at the same time.

Today I loaded
HTML Assistant Pro 2000
WS-FTP (it's not set up yet, though)
Microsoft Photo Editor
Paint Shop Pro 5
Word Perfect 9 to write with
Word 97 to read documents from people who don't have a superior word processing program :-)
and set up Microslop Outlook Express to read my Christmas discussion group.

And now I'm pretty much computered out. Instead I think I'll read a book. Many thanks to Ernesta, G, Barney, Stephen, Allen Ludden and the members of the crew, the chat crowd, and James, Schuyler and Willow, who made the do-over bearable.

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» Friday, June 17, 2011
Finally Cool Again
You know, after Wednesday I thought I'd never be cool again.

I usually telework on Wednesday, but we had an all-hands meeting in the afternoon and I already had a bunch of orders ready to go out. It was sweltering in the building; if it was 80°F in my cubicle, it must have been 90 in the bathroom. When we got into the Chamblee building for the meeting, the hallway was blessedly cool, but the meeting room itself was suffering from too many 98.6s. It was so warm and stuffy I had to keep myself from fleeing in a claustrophobic sweat. I headed home to finish up for the afternoon and was never so glad to get changed in my life; everything was sticking to me. Yuck.

Yesterday I ended up juggling several problems, least of which was the internet connection. Wednesday night we had a thunderstorm, a big, screaming affair which made the lights blink twice and at one point sounded like a cannon going off over the house. Despite three UPS units, one on each computer and one on the router and modem, James' network card blew out and we're pretty sure the router as well (since we didn't reload it, we don't know for certain). The modem did come back up, so we had to take turns swapping out network cords to use computers. Thursday night James brought home a new router, which stymied him for about a half hour. The instructions were pretty bad, and the router itself automatically tried to set you up for a PPPoE connection. It appeared, the way the instructions worked, that the only way you could set up a DCHP connection (what we have) was to put in DNS numbers. But Earthlink's never given us DNS numbers. James was fit to be tied and sat down to think. I sat down to look at the silly thing and wondered, "What happens if you click the button without putting any numbers in?"

It connects, of course. Thanks, guys. You could have said that.

After that, everything was easy. Except for the laptop, which does not play well with others. I've pretty much decided I need to strip any files I want kept, like my chat files, off the thing and restore it to factory settings.

Which brings us to today. Revised an advertisement, wrote another one, worked on an order, let an end user know why I needed certain information, asked a vendor for confirmation on stock and delivery—another words, the usual stuff. Listened to various things off BBC4X: another part of Unnatural Death, Who and Me by Barry Letts (former producer of Doctor Who), and more Sherlock Holmes. These latter episodes are part of a multi-year project in which the BBC did radio adaptations of every single Holmes story in the canon as well as...I think I remember them saying all the books, but at least Hound of the Baskervilles. Clive Merrison is Holmes and Michael Williams is Watson.

Since we ended up not having supper last night, I cooked the chicken thighs tonight, baked, with mint and a bit of kosher salt, with fresh Yukon Golds from the Farmer's Market on the side. Most of one of my thighs went for a sandwich for Monday. Mmm. Chicken sandwich.

Later we drove to the Barnes & Noble at Akers Mill to have dessert and read on our Nooks. You can read any e-book free for an hour at B&N, so I am working on Billy Boyle, a mystery story about an Irish Boston cop assigned to England during World War II. He's related to Mamie Doud Eisenhower on his mother's side of the family, so he ends up doing what might be seen as a cushy job with "Uncle Ike." Instead, Eisenhower plans to use him to investigate situations which he wants kept under wraps: in this book, a spy within the Norwegian refugees who accompanied King Haakon to England. Billy is rather full of himself, which doesn't sit well with his English hosts at first.

We split a chocolate cupcake and something called a "double chocolate chip," a "creme" drink at the Starbucks. The latter was like the "iced hot chocolate" at Dunkin Donuts, only much better tasting.

When we emerged from the store there was an absolutely fabulous sunset spread out before us: there were just enough clouds left from the late afternoon rain we had to make a magnificent palette for the setting sun: yellows, oranges, dark greys shading to purple, a few red edges, a pink glow on the higher clouds...lovely. Sunset always reminds me of my dad. He'd be sitting in the living room watching the news while Mom washed the dishes, and the picture window and front door faced northwest. If he saw a beautiful sunset, he'd tell my mom to drop what she was doing, and they would watch the sunset together.

So we drove home through the purply-grey dusk edged in scarlet, the "purple dusk of twilight time" that my car is named after, with the windows down as the air was still cool from the rain shower we'd had around suppertime. (I went out to fill the bird feeders just before it started. The temperature dropped ten degrees in the five minutes I was outside doing the refilling.) As we passed by tree-draped home lots and backyards, fireflies winked among the long grasses, and I basked lovingly in the cool air.

Sometimes summer evenings can be pleasant after all.

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The Simple Woman's Daybook
FOR TODAY, JUNE 17 (very late this week; crises at work and at home)

Outside my window...'s actually cloudy, but I don't believe it will keep it from being warm. In fact, it will only make it humid. Dry heat is annoying, wet heat is almost unendurable.

I am thinking...
...wildly scattered thoughts; had several emergency matters at work this week, a simply annoying day on Wednesday thanks to heat, clothing, and finally storms that killed James' network card and presumably our router (we didn't try reloading the latter), despite both units having the advantage of a UPS unit. Also that I'd really love a nap, and that I wish they made squirrel baffles for deck posts!

I am thankful for...
...James being able to get a new router and set it up so quickly, despite the bobble we had. It was not connecting and it turned out it was because the unit was automatically directing us to PPPoE. We operate under DCHP, but the router instructions were not specific in directing us to that option; I pressed the correct button only by accident. Anyway, it worked.

From the learning rooms...
...DCHP, DCHP, DCHP...not PPPoE... :-)

From the kitchen...
...I'm going to cook tonight! (Don't faint.) I was supposed to cook chicken thighs last night, but got involved in work and forgot to take them out of the freezer to defrost. James had to buy the new router, so my cooking will save him some money rather than going out to eat tonight. We don't usually spend a lot of money (we eat a lot on newspaper coupons), but it will help.

I am wearing..., blue tank top, aqua shorts, and powder-blue scuffs. This won't change until the end of September. (I'm utterly appalled looking at the weather report. 97 on Tuesday? Why? Why?)

I am creating... this point, letters on a page. I have not felt a muse to go craft.

I am going...
...a nap at lunchtime might be nice...doesn't that sound unambitious?

I am reading..., let's see: Rebirth of a Nation (1880s-1920s in the US), still doing bits at a time on The Wilderness Warrior and Once and Future Giants (I really need to finish the latter; I'm reading it so sporadically, but I love palentology and really am enjoying it.)

I am hoping...
...we get more rain, but unaccompanied by the thunderous stuff we had on Wednesday nights. I've always enjoyed thunderstorms as long as they kept their distance, but they appear to be getting louder as I get older, as opposed to everything else. It's amazing how much everyone mumbles after you get into your 50s. :-)

I am hearing...
...the low voice of the radio, the hum of the everlasting fans, the faint jingle that means Willow is stirring, the faint birdcalls outside.

Around the house...
...well, it needs a vacuuming. Books lie everywhere, as well at the remains of the router wrappings. The bed will be made later after it airs out, but thankfully the laundry is done.

One of my favorite things...
...Sherlock Holmes! I'm planning to listen to more BBC radio adaptations this morning. One of the newest ones up on Radio 4X is "Silver Blaze," from which comes the comment about the mysterious behavior of the dog in the night-time. I'm happy to hear there are three new episodes of the modern-day Sherlock coming up. It's a very enjoyable series.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Brittrack get-together on Saturday! Good company and...more lamb stew! Plus the usual grocery shopping on Sunday, I suppose.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing...

I was dreaming of autumn, and found this and other lovely pictures on GeniusBeauty, but this was the one that appealed so much. I want to stroll down that road and drink in the color, and feel that lovely cool mist! I want jacket weather. I want summer to back off...


If you'd like to participate, check out The Simple Woman's Daybook



» Sunday, June 12, 2011
Keeping Cool on Sunday
Grocery shopping is an ordinary part of Sunday.

James being seduced by the Nook side of the force is not.

But he was.

So he's been setting that up this afternoon, while I dubbed off the rest of How The States Got Their Shapes. I hope this series goes on for another season (and this season's not even over yet; it still has five episodes to go). I guess the original special did very well for them to have developed a series around it. Certainly I'm enjoying it!

We had an Asian supper of chicken potstickers and beef lo mein, and then I put on the first disk of The Murdoch Mysteries from Netflix. This is a Canadian series about a police officer in Victorian Canada. It has a vaguely steampunk air about it, but is more like a Victorian CSI, with Detective William Murdoch and his team using the latest scientific methods to track down crime: "fingermarks," "tracing" telephone calls, forensic evidence from autopsies, etc. Murdoch is highly interested in science, so these new methods appeal to him. The coroner is a woman, about which nothing is said, which I found really unusual, as it wasn't a common profession for women at all. (She also plays music while she does autopsies, like the modern pathologists shown on mystery shows; who does she get to change/flip the records, I wonder, since 78s run out in three minutes? It's not like they had LPs back then, where a side would have lasted about 15 minutes. Surely she doesn't do it herself...ugh...) It's almost as if it's in an alternate universe.

However, it's still a neat show. Nicola Tesla is a character in the first episode, demonstrating not only wireless, but recording of voice, and together with Murdoch he talks about transporting images through the air, thereby inventing "tele vision," as Tesla calls it. There are other little hints of the future included, like Murdoch commandeering a motorized bicycle (thus becoming the first "motorcycle cop"). (Arthur Conan Doyle turns up in a future episode.) But it's the same old world, too; in one episode it's evident Murdoch will be turned down for a job because he's Catholic. It's not in the same league as Garrow's Law or Waking the Dead, but enjoyable nonetheless.

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» Saturday, June 11, 2011
"Doggedly, She Continued"
Well, only one state got "shaped." LOL. By the time the second came along I turned off the recorder and tried to nap instead.

When James got home, he suggested we go to Fry's. Oh, oh, twist my arm, twist my arm!

On the way there, we stopped at the IHOP just between Roswell and Alpharetta to have dinner. Service was okay, but the kitchen got our potato soup wrong (put sour cream in it) and when the replacement came back, it was lukewarm. James got the new crunchy tortilla scramble with steak, which wasn't crunchy and the taste was scrambled rather than the tortilla. My sirloin tips were okay, but a bit tough.

Fry's was better. I found a Class 10 16GB microSD card. Reports on what happens to it later. I also found PaintShop Pro X3 half-price, with a $20 rebate off the sale price. PSP is my favorite graphics program and I just couldn't resist. Jewelry? Naw. Clothes and shoes? No interest. But software—that's the ticket.

On the way to Fry's it had been oppressively smothery, but a big thundercloud hung in the west. We saw a few spatters on the windshield, but that was it. But evidently it brought some cool air with it, because when we emerged from Fry's it was cool! (Only in the summer would I consider 74°F cool...) With a breeze! We drove home with the truck windows down enjoying every particle of cool breathable air, with an absolutely spectacular sunset burning in the west, all sorts of oranges and yellows, with bits of pink and purple around the edges, like something ordered by Natalie Kalmus to test out the Technicolor process.

We passed by Ragamuffin where we took Rodney last week—if it had only been like this last Saturday night!—and as we sped by I thought I could see Louis Robinson performing through the window (it wasn't him; he said he was on later). We'll have to go back there again; it was a lot of fun.

Home again. I was already on chat on my Droid before we hit the door. Ignored Doctor Who since we haven't seen the previous episode yet, but watched Ice Pilots instead.

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Too Early, Too Hot
It was our own fault. We probably didn't get to sleep until after one because we watched both backlogged episodes of R5Sons Alaska. So it was reeeeally hard to get up this morning at 8 a.m., and indeed we dawdled so much we couldn't park where we usually do.

Even at nine o'clock it was already oppressively warm, like the weight of an unwelcome throw resting on your shoulders. We bought vegetables and some chicken salad (I like the chicken salad at Trader Joe's; James likes the chicken salad from the farmer's market) and a pot pie. Bernhard's booth was quite busy, so we just left and went by the bakery itself instead. More Portuguese rolls. Yum.

Came home and mostly sat about sleepily. I had a half sandwich with one of the rolls with the blackberry spread from Panorama Orchards. This is just blackberries, fruit juice, and pectin, and should be listed as one of the foods served in Heaven. The other half of the roll I ate with mint jelly.

James finally went off to his IPMS meeting, and I took the car out to get some gasoline. The sky was high overcast and while I was filling up the tank the thunder did rumble ominously, and there were some spits of rain, but nothing really ever came of it. I drove home via CVS, wanting to get a new container of wipes for the truck. Success! Found large bobby pins, which, I discovered, are called "roller pins." This new batch seems to be made of thinner metal. Well, I have some until I find better.

Came home and did things that were neglected for Timegate and Rodney's visit: put up the spring decorations properly, put the "think geek" and "Italia" stickers on my car, put away the Bounty paper towels I bought when I couldn't find Brawny. Huh! Some "bounty" they are: their "mega-rolls" are miniscule, the size of a Brawny regular roll.

Now, finally, I'm working on How the States Got Their Shapes.

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» Friday, June 10, 2011
No Fuss and Feathers
But definitely a sleep-in on my compressed day off. I actually got up when I woke up, rather than responding to the tyranny of an alarm. Ate as quickly as possible to get out before it really got warm (no chance as it was almost ten). I wanted to go to Trader Joe's, so went out to Border's first to pick up Victoria Thompson's newest in paperback, and also found the June British "Country Living." Did notice that The Disappearing Spoon was finally out in paperback. Yay!

Was looking for a different book, but noticed one called Nerds, basically what I have been complaining about for years, how our society devalues the intelligent, calling them "nerds" and "geeks," while pandering to the "beautiful," the "athletic," the "popular," and glorifying stupidity.

Also keep drifting back to The Reading Promise, but I don't usually buy hardbacks. Wonder if the library has it. (Yes, they do. I have reserved.)

It was already sweltering when I emerged from Borders, but I wanted to stop at Bed Bath & Beyond. I'm approaching the point where I need new pillows again, but I want good pillows, and that was forcibly brought home as I checked out the cheaper feather pillows ($14.95 to $25.00). I took each different kind from its plastic bag and plumped them. In each case, little puffs of feathers came through the pillow ticking, along with bits of thread. Not a good quality pillow. If I want a good pillow, it's going to be about $60. What I expected, but I'll have to do it 20 percent off coupon by coupon. The ones I bought last time were pricy, too, since they have hypoallergic covers, and I wish I could get them again; unfortunately they were from Linens'n'Things. Can't hurt to check Kohls and other places, too. I did see, however, some affordable new pillows for the spare room.

Then it was time for Trader Joe's. Had a sample of strawberries, bought chicken salad and some other goodies, and headed home by way of Microcenter to buy a 2GB micro SD card for the Nook (I realized, when I got home, that I already had one—duh; from my old cell phone). I was planning to get a larger one, but I need a class six or above and they weren't sure they had any. This means a trip to Frys. Ouch! Ouch! Twist my arm! :-)

Came home planning to do some crafts and ended up listening to the rest of Whip Hand and the Agatha Raisin adaptations on BBC4X. Never did get to Sherlock Holmes before James got home.

We had supper at Sweet Tomatoes. Bleah. They only have vanilla soft serve for dessert now, no more chocolate. Vanilla. Bleah. Blech.

Stopped at Hobbytown, then went to Barnes & Noble, stopping by CD Warehouse first. Got The King's Speech and Voyage of the Dawn Treader for ridiculously low prices. Buying used is cool!

Tried out the "read in Barnes & Noble" feature. You can go into any store with your Nook and read any book that has an e-book format for an hour for no charge. I pulled up Billy Boyle and read a couple of chapters between looking at the books and magazines. I wish I'd caught this when B&N gave it away on "Free Fridays"! It's a mystery story set during World War II; the protagonist is a Boston cop who got an officer's commission because he's related to General Eisenhower. When he arrives in London it's obvious his illustrious relative plans to use him for intelligence work.

And then home to watch Colour Confidential and R5Sons Alaska.

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» Thursday, June 09, 2011
Harry Potter and the Periodic Table
Daniel Radcliffe on The Graham Norton Show singing Tom Lehrer's "The Elements":

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» Wednesday, June 08, 2011
The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window...
...sunny...again. It's going up to 92°F today, so sayeth the Weather Channel. June is starting off as terribly as last year. The storms have been holding off, which means the rain has as well.

I am thinking...
...of the work I need to do today. I have an order ready to go and am hoping three others that I can do. Many of my orders have been delayed by the late funding we received due to Congress not passing our budget until this spring. And fiscal year began in the fall! So anyone who did send their order with funding was actually spending money they didn't have. When ordinary folks do that, it's called bankruptcy.

I am thankful for...
...feeling better than I did yesterday. I woke up with my eyes itching, my throat sore, coughing, and not having slept well. Deciding I would be a danger on the road, I called in to work, took something, and went back to bed. I never did fall back to sleep, and when I arose at nine, I felt just as badly as I did at six. So I called in sick for the rest of the day. Swilled lots of water and some ibuprofin, although I think it was my allergy. When I was out at lunch yesterday, the groundskeeper came right by my car window with the leaf blower blasting. I probably got a face full of allergens, since I almost immediately got a sore throat.

From the learning rooms...
...the weekly dose of How the States Got Their Shapes last night. Despite its flip tones, I always learn something from this series.

From the kitchen...
...empty, empty, empty. It's potluck night anyway.

I am wearing... tank top, black shorts, and blue terry cloth scuffs. Not going to see much change in this (except in color) until October. :-) I don't dress up to telework.

I am creating...
...I still have craft projects sitting on my table, all sleighted for Christmas gifts. I finally have put up the spring decorations, although they are not back in their proper container.

I am going... be on my own Saturday afternoon. Might be a good time to dub off the first five How the States Got Their Shapes. I am still waiting for ABC to repeat the last five Castle episodes so I can copy them off.

I am reading...
...still working on The Wilderness Warrior, Demon Ex Machina, started (and shouldn't have) Nicola Upson's Angel With Two Faces, plus Trolls in the Hamptons, and am also reading the e-book of "James Potter," a Harry Potter fanfiction sequel novel.

I am hoping... get some of that crafting done this week. It's relatively easy; I just need to pull myself away from my books to do it.

I am hearing...
...the hum of the computer and the click of the keys. The A/C hasn't kicked in yet this hour of the morning.

Around the house...'s quiet right now. In a few minutes I will start work and have to turn on the printer, and I shall put on a podcast.

One of my favorite things...
..."the funnies"! First thing in the morning, I must read my comics. I have some set up at GoComics, some at Setting up the new GoComics was a bit of a pain, but it's a lot easier now that my comics and GoComics strips are together. And, of course, I read "Kevin and Kell."

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Well, I have Borders Bucks, so hope the new Manor House mystery or the new Gaslight mystery is out. Need groceries. James has his club meeting this week.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing...

Saturday night at Ragamuffin with Rodney. A fine memory. Good times with friends are the best.

If you'd like to participate, check out The Simple Woman's Daybook



» Sunday, June 05, 2011
A Weekend to Remember
It was an eventful weekend even if we've been taking it a bit easy today.

James had to work yesterday, so I got up and finished the housework that got behind after Timegate last weekend, plus I had to whisk the spare room into a bit better order since we were having a houseguest that evening. When I was finished with the final task, vacuuming Those Damn Stairs :-), I went to Costco to get some paper towels and also bought milk, looked into getting a couple of other things including a outdoor rug for the deck and a copy of Tangled, but that can wait for the next paycheck. Not much in the sample department in the mornings.

Made it home by one o'clock, put some other things away, and cleared off the rocking chair so it could be used as an extra seat, then sat down for the afternoon to complete my May book reviews and listen to Agatha Raisin on BBC 4X. I've never read the Agatha Raisin mysteries, but Penelope Keith is playing Agatha in the radio adaptations and that's good enough for me! I'd started the first episode of a 12-episode Sherlock Holmes series with Clive Merrison as Holmes when the internet crashed. So I took Willow outside and fetched the mail, and by the time I got back in the DSL modem had rebooted and I could restart it.

By the time Sherlock was approaching the three-quarter mark, our evening guest arrived!

Our friend Rodney asked us a few months ago if we would be home on June 4, and if so, could he stay overnight? Well, sure! He didn't say why he'd be in the area, so we've been speculating for weeks.

Turns out he was on his way back from having taken a cruise to Mexico and Belize! He's been busy for several months working overtime and reorganizing his home, and he figured after all that he deserved a vacation! So he'd driven down and spent some time with a friend, drove to Port Canaveral where he boarded his ship, and, on the way back, had stopped by for the night. So until James got home, he told me about the trip, going to see Mayan ruins, etc.

I had an idea for the evening, but only if everyone wanted to do it. Louis Robinson posted on his Facebook page that he was appearing at a music venue, Ragamuffin Music Hall, in Roswell on Saturday night with some other musical artists. I'd never heard of the venue, but Rodney has eclectic taste in music and James and I always enjoy Louis. So I called to see if they still had seats (the place only seats fifty) and they did.

We had a humorous, minor bobble before leaving. Rodney had been low on fuel on the way to our house, figuring he would fill up with gasoline when he left this morning. He parked backwards on our driveway, which slopes downward, in front of the garage door where I needed to get my car out. When he tried to start his car to move it to the opposite side of the driveway, he was so low on gasoline that it wouldn't. James finally got our gasoline container and went out to the closest gas station to get enough to get him going again.

We didn't really have time for a sit-down dinner, so, by means of my restaurant advisor (Google Maps on my Droid), we found Firehouse Subs on Johnson Ferry Road. Yum! I had a plain beef brisket sub (not even cheese) and it was quite good. I would have enjoyed the place more had it not been so warm in there, though! It went up to 94°F today and their air conditioner obviously couldn't keep up.

At this point we were only five miles from the place, which is on the corner of Roswell Road and Atlanta Street, across from the Roswell Mill. It looks like at one time it was a realty office or some sort of store. On the left is "backstage," while on the right is a tiny cafe with drinks and some snacks, plus CDs you could purchase. The middle section was the performance venue, very informal and comfy, with the rafters exposed and all sort of interesting things hung up there: a paper hot air balloon, big stars, a chandelier, and other things.

There were a last few seats available around a table in the corner, so that's where we sat. And we had a grand time. Tonight's performance was "Ashley Harris and Friends," with one of the performers being...surprise!...Ashley Harris, the owner of Ragamuffin. :-) Ragamuffin is also a music school, and at least two of the younger performers were students from the school. I'm sorry to say my memory is utterly terrible and I don't remember all the names or all the songs, and I apologize to the performers. There was a young man (James, I believe his name was) who played several songs, including the anthem "Alleluia" on piano; a young woman, Kailie (sp) did guitar duets with a young man with a banjo; another gentleman (Nick, I think) did several songs, including "At the Beach" and "I Love Trains" (the latter made me smile; I do, too); and Ashley closed the show with several songs including "Unfinished Woman."

Louis did four songs after the intermission: "All in All" by Pat Walsh; a wistfully sweet song written by Amanda McBroom (who composed "The Rose") about her dad (actor Donald Bruce) entitled "Errol Flynn"; the song he played at the Timegate cabaret, "For Ireland"; and "Those Were the Days." So we had a great variety of music all together: folk, a bit of rock, bluegrass, country, ballads...quite nice.

I liked doing this on the spur of the moment. We have to find more of these unexpected things to do in the summer, as long as they involve being inside, since neither of us can tolerate the heat. We pretty much hibernate in summer. There's a Brittrack Meet-n-Greet coming up soon and I want to go to that, barring emergencies, and I'm hoping we can have a "gang-movie night" when Deathly Hallows part 2 comes up.

We did get on chat when we got home, a small crowd with just Emma. She'd found some neat records at yard sales, so we were chatting about them a lot.

Rodney was leaving early this morning, about 7:30, but I figured the dog would start barking when he started to move around, so I didn't set an alarm. Willow, who barked up a storm when Rodney arrived, snoozed through his entire awakening and taking his backpack downstairs and opening the garage door. I guess she'd accepted him into the pack! I thought I heard his alarm go off, but figured I was dreaming until I heard the garage door go up (he'd stowed his big suitcase inside for the night). So we have a last picture with us that I took, but James and I look very rumpled and baggy, being in hastily tossed-on clothing with "bed hair." LOL. Rodney asked Ashley to take a better one of us at Ragamuffin last night, so hopefully we'll have that as a neater remembrance. Not sure why I didn't take pictures; I think I was just enjoying the moment.

He had a long drive ahead of him, so I've felt vaguely guilty all day really not doing much! We went to Kroger to get a few things including something for supper, stopped at Food Lion for a few more things (including cucumbers, which Kroger was out of), and then came home. I looked at the sale papers, but there wasn't anything we needed all that badly to go out in 90-degree heat again. I did change the bed in the spare room and fold up the futon again, and put most of the things we store in there (the vacation snack bag, the party bag, the vacuum cleaner, and the extra seats) back.

For most of the afternoon we watched the BluRay of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (completely forgetting we hadn't watched Chamber of Secrets yet). Excellent picture, but again, annoyance with the BluRay. If it has a main menu, I have yet to find it. When you start it, it goes directly into the movie. If you press "top menu," it goes into the extras menu, which is another level of futility. Usually there is a different color font, or a little pointer or symbol, to show you which extra you are on. We couldn't see any pointer or any different color font, and basically blundered through using the arrow keys until we'd seen everything on the menu. Finally, right at the last couple of features, we noticed there was a different color font for the selected item, but it was such a pale blue it was indistinguishable from the white font. Way to go, guys. However, the extras were all worth watching, especially the cast and crew interviews, even if they did get cutesy and have the talking shrunken head from the Knight Bus helping do the interview [eyes roll].

Now James is watching a BluRay DVD of air shows which he bought at Costco. Wow. The picture is so bright and sharp it makes your eyes hurt. Nice quality, if the narrative is rather careless.

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» Friday, June 03, 2011
RIP James Arness
Gunsmoke Actor James Arness Dies at Age 88

We loved you well, Marshal Dillon...we'll be waving farewell as you join Doc, Chester, Festus and Miss Kitty down at the Longbranch for a reunion.

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» Wednesday, June 01, 2011
Timegate Performances
Don't you want to come next year? :-)

Ken Spivey Band: "Amy's Got a New Boy":

Ken Spivey Band does three songs: "Companions of a Time Lord," "Bring Gallifrey Back," and "The Dalek Dance" (the latter totally silly and a total blast). The sound's a bit iffy:

Sophie Aldred sings an old music hall song taught to her by her dad, and is accompanied by Louis Robinson for "The Skye Boat Song":

Louis Robinson's lovely "For Ireland":

Via the Timegate folks, and for heaven's sake, go to and look at the cool pics from previous conventions! We've already got our memberships for next year.

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The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window...
...a sullen, leaden sunrise. It has been in the 70s during the night, heading up into the 90s today. [later: it got to 95] Even the birds are reluctant to come out. I miss it being cooler and being able to hear the birds chirping through the open windows. I wish summer didn't have to be so brutal.

I am thinking...
...of the things needed to do before Saturday night. Since we were at Timegate the normal housework didn't get done, plus we are having an overnight guest. So my lunch hours are quite taken for the week! Today is laundry day as well.

I am thankful for...
...the lovely weekend we had at Timegate! Even with the hotel room problems it was a blast! Andy Runton, Louis Robinson doing Holmes and codes, the fun Doctor Who songs by the Ken Spivey Band, seeing friends, other great panels...a great package in three days!

From the learning rooms...
...LOL...I'm on vacation this week.

From the kitchen...
...something tempting is in the refrigerator for dessert tonight. We found some chocolate cake shells on discount at Kroger for 49 cents. James made pudding last night and filled the shells. Tonight we'll have them with a little whipped cream on top.

I am wearing... tank top, aqua shorts, and powder blue terry scuffs. The usual in summer.

I am creating...
...later, purchase orders, but right now, breakfast. :-) The usual: oatmeal, yogurt and a nice glass of skim milk.

I am going... take down the spring decorations today. The sole sign of summer will be in the foyer, where the little table holds seashells, lighthouses and ships. Otherwise it's fall forever once more. In this way we'll survive the summer.

I am reading...
...a Chicken Soup for the Soul book, A Dog's Life, A Boston Miscellaney, and more of The Wilderness Warrior. I just got an Amazon rewards coupon and pre-ordered the new Time Unincorporated book, as well as the new Julia Grey novel. And I have Borders Bucks! Yay!

I am hoping... get my monthly book reviews done tonight; wish me luck! I was reading a lot in May, so there were many books to get through. I still have four to go.

I am hearing...
...the very low sounds of the fans beating perpetually. It always beats me when I watch decorating shows and the first thing they tear out is the ceiling fans! How do these folks keep cool in the summer, just turn the A/C down? That seems very wasteful!

Around the house...
...signs of disorder need to disappear! I need to be firm with this: things are starting to appear on the dining room table again. Horizontal surfaces do gather clutter so!

One of my favorite things...
...a special memory about this day. When I was a girl my mother bought an LP called "Songs of Summer." One of the songs was "June is Bustin' Out All Over," and every year, on June 1, I would play this song. It meant school was coming to an end for the year, and soon it would be vacation time. I inherited the record, but I don't feel like celebrating June any longer, especially when it's 90°F!

A few plans for the rest of the week:

Here is a video for thought I am sharing...

Timegate being over suddenly reminded me of this song. I think it was the chorus: "Happiness is anyone and anything at all—that's loved by you." Ain't it the truth?

If you'd like to participate, check out The Simple Woman's Daybook