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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» Saturday, March 31, 2012
High-Life on Saturday
It will amuse you to know that we were done with our day by 3 p.m. Ah, such exciting lives...

I wish I'd had a quieter night's sleep...

We had a nice trip to the Farmer's Market this morning. We enjoyed our breakfast so much last weekend that we decided to do it again this week. We strolled through the market, but decided not to buy anything until we were finished. This morning we had breakfast at the Sweet Cakes Patisserie. The service was a little bit slow due to the crowd, but the food was worth the wait: I had a light, fluffy waffle and syrup with homemade bacon and a fruit cup on the side. James had an omelet with mushrooms, onions and other goodies and also a fruit cup.

Then we strolled the farmer's market, laughed over the attending dogs, including a brace of three long-haired dachshunds, bought some chicken salad and sampled some salmon, and stopped as we were leaving to watch three artists painting the market scene. It was interesting seeing each of their styles, the colors they used—one had a reddish cast, one looked more impressionistic, one was very detailed—and the smell of oil paint made me positively nostalgic. I love the smell of oil paint!

We mailed our Easter cards and tax payment, and, since it was still too early to go to the hobby shop, we stopped at Sam's. Picked up some Mandarin oranges and also found a multipack of no-sugar-added applesauce, a book, and two sleep shirts (no pockets) for James.

Spent about an hour at the hobby shop. I finished up a novel called The Grand Mirage, about a British agent trying to foil the German plans for empire expansion in Turkey. It was quite a good free Kindle book!

We stopped at MicroCenter on the way home (I bought a capacative stylus; it's good for tapping, but not as good for sliding) and Publix to get something for supper (it was disappointing; I'll say no more about it). A clerk was giving samples of Nutella on cinnamon swirl bread. OMG... Finally James got gasoline at Kroger and we came home for the  evening  afternoon.

However, we had goodies to watch. James took a snooze in his chair while I watched something I taped back in December, Ghost Bird, a documentary about the reports of ivory-billed woodpeckers still surviving in Arkansas. It was also a portrait of a dying town and the people who hoped the bird-watchers would help their economy, and an ecology lesson: it was so depressing seeing them open drawer after drawer of dead extinct birds: Carolina parakeets, passenger pigeons, some type of warbler, Eskimo sad.

We also watched episodes three and four of the "Barrington Project" on This Old House (with a killer sunset over Narragansett Bay at the end of part 4) and Nuvo TV's latest episode of Hill Street Blues. What with this and that, it was suddenly time for Too Cute, which is where we are now. This week: bullmastiffs, Portuguese Water dogs, and three of the cutest Jack Russell terriers you've ever seen.

Wait, cute Jack Russells...that's redundant, right? :-)

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» Friday, March 30, 2012
Shop Till You Stop
A fair sleep-in, the usual breakfast, then off to Publix to score some twofers. A treat this week is a coupon for two-for-one Hallmark cards, party supplies, or gift wrap. I got two things I can use later this year. Unfortunately I bought something refrigerated, so had to return home before I could go to Kroger, pick up my prescription, and finally get off to business.

I stopped at Michaels for something else, but ended up with some clearance products, including something for [mumble]. :-) From there I went to Costco for another reason altogether, and found omeprazole on sale. Score! (This is how you know when you're getting old; you get het up when your medications are on sale...LOL.) I also bought a package of Forever stamps, since I was about to max out the remainder of mine.

And finally I did get what I needed at Office Max: a tray to corral all my sticky notes and tabs for work. Bought a new pen and paperclip holder as well and messed around with the Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet.

Came home by the Publix near our Kaiser office, and bought two more cards, graduation cards for Aubrey and Jessie. I was going to get some soup from the deli, but they didn't have anything in a chicken flavor that I liked. I did find lamb shanks on sale and scored two of those, and bought a surprise for dessert Sunday night since James has to work.

My final stop was at the Publix on the East-West Connector. This one had some appetizing chicken and wild rice soup which was so thick it was practically stew. I bought a couple more cards, then was teased by the enticing soup odor all the way home. I had it with some milk and a piece of the baguette I had bought during the first Publix stop—an excellent lunch!—while watching a cute movie I had recorded at Christmastime.

Margie is the cute story of a teenage girl growing up in 1928 middle America (the movie was actually filmed in Reno, Nevada), within the framing story of a mother telling her bobbysoxer daughter (the film was made in 1946) the story of the bloomers and the chain found while cleaning the attic. Margie's mother has been dead many years and she lives with her grandmother; her reserved father is an undertaker and visits her on Wednesdays. Like everyone else in school, she makes sheeps' eyes at "Jonnykins," the coolest guy in the school (with the porkpie hat and the raccoon coat), who's played by Conrad Janis, the actor who played Mindy's father on Mork and Mindy, and is befriended by Roy, who writes poetry (Alan "Wilbur Post" Young in his first screen role). Then, like all the other girls, she develops a crush on the new French teacher.

This is a fun movie, with a great soundtrack of 1920s songs. Margie's grandmother is atypical for movies of the time as she was a suffragette (thus the chain stored in the attic) and encourages Margie in her role on the debating team and hopes she will some day become the first woman President. There's a running gag about Margie's bloomers (she's a bit careless with her clothing) and also the subplot about Margie's dad discovering that his daughter has grown into an intelligent and vivacious young lady whom he should visit more often.

Didn't get much else done since I had a bee in my bonnet about sending some Easter cards this year. So I sat down and wrote them out, and then realized I had no Passover cards. Well, rats. Luckily James got out early, and he had to go to Cumberland Mall to pick up his second pair of glasses; the first pair came in earlier this week. While he was at VisionWorks, I walked down to the Hallmark store and bought the cards I needed.

Then we had to struggle our way northbound. It's the Friday before spring break and traffic was an appalling snarl everywhere; at 4 p.m. there were four traffic accidents in a seven-mile corridor on I-75 North. We completely abandoned not only the freeway but US41, and wound our way through surface streets (with only Powers Ferry being a slowdown) to get to Williamson Barbecue on Roswell Road where we were celebrating Ken Spivey's birthday. We sat with the Boulers and discussed books and e-Readers, ate yummy barbecue, traded talk with other tables, and watched Ken open his gifts. On the way home we used our last Baskin-Robbins coupon on dessert.

So now we have a nice pile of cards to mail tomorrow. Going to pop the $20 we owe to the State of Georgia in the post as well.

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» Tuesday, March 27, 2012
The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window...
...the sun is just, just rising, everything else still dark, but the eastern horizon which glows a yellowish-white. The trees are sketched dark against it. I can't believe how fast the trees have leafed! I had to call our lawn fella and ask him to cut the grass this week; the grass under the bird feeder must be over a foot high! ThuGreen is coming [again] Thursday as well.

I am thinking...
...of the work I want to get done today! I have one order that's almost finished, and at least one I know I can do. Hope there is more. It's March and we're already getting backlogged.

I am thankful...
...for teleworking today. It is cool right now and I can open the back door and get some air in the house to keep it cool for the afternoon. I'm also planning to dub off an episode of Castle at lunchtime. And take down the St. Joseph's altar. I guess I'll put up the Easter things some time this weekend. I feel so uncomfortable putting up Easter decorations before Easter. It doesn't seem quite right their being up on Good Friday.

In the kitchen...
...dark. Just finished boiling the water for my oatmeal and now it is quiet again.

I am wearing...
...a black tank top and shorts and purple-flower scuffs.

I am creating...
...cleanliness. Before I start work I am going to tidy up my desk a little. Horizontal surfaces around here collect so much junk. I have too many things on the desk that are just being stored there: an old cassette, a voice recorder we received as a gift, instructions for assembling a Lego snowman, etc.

I am going... have to get a tray to keep all my post-it notes corralled. I use many different kinds during my work: tabs, lined notes, tiny notes to indicate which of my orders have 653 forms and what the status of that form is, super stickies, etc. It's getting hard to keep them corralled.

I am wondering...
...what James and I can do to sleep better. I'm not sure which of us is the more restless sleeper! In any case, I can't wait until pollen season is over. I'm tired of the perpetual headache. (Of course I'm not sure I can wait until October.)

I am reading...
...How the States Got Their Shapes Too and Parish the Thought, as well as the advance reading copy of a book about bird senses, called [surprise!] Bird Sense. Yes, I was reading those last week. I keep getting interrupted by magazines and Hamilton Book catalogs.

I am hoping...
...I get everything I want off the DVR before the fool thing fails. Every time it updates it doesn't. It is scheduled to update every morning at 6:20 a.m. Yet every other day if I go to look at what's on the schedule ahead four or five days, it tells me the information is outdated, even though it may have "updated" six hours earlier.

I am looking forward to...
...LOL...not having to wash the dog this weekend.

Around the house...
...a little chilly as I booted up the computer this morning. I was up early enough to run the vacuum cleaner around my workspace and that warmed me up. :-) Schuyler staring sleepily at me. Willow got out of the chair to give hell to the vacuum cleaner and has now returned to her slumber.

A favorite quote for today...
"Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night." ~Rainer Maria Rilke, "Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke"
Evidently Herr Rilke didn't listen to the birds. "Unbelievable shrieking" is right. As well as a woodpecker drumming on the gutters to get the maximum vibration out of it.

One of my favorite things... merle collies...I love the silver and black combination! Sometimes they come with blue eyes.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
More purchase orders, more 653s...not sure what I'm doing about Friday. Goodness! Maybe I'll actually sit down and cross stitch? (But more likely I will end up cleaning the it goes.)

A peek into my day...
As usual, I've waited to do the photo until later. But my day's about a peek at this little cutie instead?

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



» Sunday, March 25, 2012
The Weekend Whirl
We had a treat yesterday morning.

We usually just go to the Winter Market and come home, but we wanted to go to the Corner Shop, which doesn't open until eleven. So we wandered the marketplace, enjoying the scents of bacon and shea butter and other savory food. There is a vendor who sells nursery items, and today they had lilacs. The vendor told me these are southern lilacs, which will do well in this climate. Most lilacs have to have certain days of frost to grow properly, and our climate does not provide for it, but these have been bred specially for the South. I would like to have one of those some day. I remember the lilac bush at the back of our yard, growing insistently through the fence from Charley's yard, in May thick with fragrant pale violet blossoms. I would bury my nose in them (and pay, courtesy my stinky allergy, later) and drink in the sweet scent with delight.

Shillings has breakfast specials, so after picking up some homemade dog biscuits, we crossed the street. There in front was a big sign saying the Saturday breakfast began at 9 a.m., and the door was wide open; however, when we walked in there at a quarter to ten, a rather disheveled looking man told us they wouldn't be "open" for 20 more minutes. Fine. We walked past Glover Park and went to the Australian Bakery instead. It took a while to get served, but we just busied ourselves with an Australian food catalog and our Nooks, and had a delicious breakfast. James had something with egg, ham, and potatoes, and I had a bowl of yummy oatmeal and a bagel with cream cheese.

Just at eleven we strolled over to the Corner Shop and wandered among the British Easter candy. James got some sale orange and mint creams for desserts, picked up a couple of pasties for lunch and some bangers for us to have for supper, and I picked up a few of the heavenly Fry's orange cream bars. We split a bar once we got back to the truck; these are exquisite, with a very orange-tasting filling with plenty of zest so you have an aftertaste of dark chocolate and sharp orange in your mouth for some minutes afterwards.

We came home to put the bangers in the freezer and the rest up, then went to the mall to price eyeglasses. James had his eyes examined on Wednesday and found, though he has no damage to his eyes from diabetes, his prescription has changed radically again. He used to be very nearsighted, then a few years ago it developed that only one of his eyes was very nearsighted, and the other was near normal. That was four years ago. Now presbiopia has done its work. His very nearsighted eye is now only slightly nearsighted, and the formerly slightly nearsighted eye is now farsighted!

(James was a bit worried about a visual problem he had occasionally: a "sparkly" circle effect in one of his eyes which he explained in detail. The opthamologist asked him when this happened and was told it was chiefly at work; the doctor told him these were a visual migraines, probably caused by stress!)

First we went to Lenscrafters where we were helped very efficiently by a young woman. He found some frames on sale that would do, and got a quote for those. Then we went downstairs to VisionWorks. Well, they had a twofer deal, and frames that he just loved, and ended up ordering them. They didn't cost any more than the last two pair I bought, so I thought it was a good deal as well. I need to go have a checkup myself, but in looking at the same brand of glasses he had, the ones I liked best were pinky-purple. Yuck! I have so much trouble finding glass frames. I hate the little narrow metal "John Lennon" glasses or plastic "David Tennant" glasses everyone seems to be wearing now, and I especially don't want plastic. My complexion is still greasy enough that I'd have the same problem I had in school, my glasses always being slimy and sliding down my nose.

From there we decided to go to Micro Center. I'd had an idea to do something, but it wasn't going to work out. However, we did talk with one of techs and decided that we did need a new router, as the computers are having dropouts from the wireless connection. We found a Linksys on sale, which was at definite advantage to our budget.

Spent some time at the hobby shop; I mostly read The Grand Mirage while James shot the breeze with the guys. Then we drove home via Dragon to pick up some supper for ourselves.

Ah, but before that could be happily eaten, there was one more chore to get through. We had a very grubby dog, and, having found a surprise on the doorstep when we arrived home, it was time to do something about it. So first I stripped the old recliner cover off the recliner and happily threw it out. We've had the old one for years and it's a bit threadbare. The problem was remembering where we bought the first one, especially as it showed up for a year or so at the As Seen on TV Store, but was now gone again. I knew it was either at Lillian Vernon or Harriet Carter, and last week I was successful in finding it on an internet search and bought a new one, which arrived in Saturday's mail.

Next I vacuumed the recliner...and vacuumed...and vacuumed...well, all the dog hair never will come out, but I got the worst of it, and also collected any crumbs. Then I gave it a spray with Febreeze and some Lysol and left it to rest. James later used a towel to sit on it as we ate supper and the arm covers and headrest that went with the chair were washing and drying.

And then I drowned the dog.

Well, that's the way she sees it. I gave her a bath and she whined her way through it, but she came out looking fluffy and a shade lighter. Not soon afterward we were able to put the new recliner cover on. Later I got on chat and had fun talking with Jen, Emma, and Mike.

This morning we were awakened by barking, but it was only a few minutes before the alarm. Breakfast was accompanied by Rinty and Rusty: "The Legacy of Sean O'Hara" and "The Barber of Seville." Next was a trip to Kroger for the usual weekly items.

Once these goodies were put away, we gathered our two coupon books and headed out to BJs. We had some good coupons for fruit/vegetables/nuts/toothbrushes/soap, etc. which could be stored away.

On Wednesday I had, on the way home from work, begun listening to a Rick Steves program about Scotland and Wales. I was enjoying it so much that I never finished listening to it and instead played it as we drove up to Woodstock. Rick talked to a woman from Scotland and a man from Wales about tourist traps [cough...Loch Ness], natural beauty, the difference between Welsh Gaelic and Scots Gaelic, and all sorts of delightful subjects. The BJs trip was a nice stroll around the store; I even picked up a 16GB thumb drive on sale.

On the way home we stopped at a little bookstore in a strip shopping center less than a quarter of a mile down the road from BJs, the Book Browser, mostly used books and a few new ones. Found a lovely book called Our Mothers' War, about women during World War II and also picked up a "Dear America" about a frontier schoolteacher. And then I found something I'd wanted since I was a kid but my folks couldn't afford it, the Walt Disney's Story Land book. This is a book of stories based on Disney's animated features and shorts. The stories based on films are either just an excerpt from the movie (Alice in Wonderland is just the tea party, for instance, and So Dear to My Heart has just an animated sequence with Danny the lamb at the fair) or the whole story (Dumbo is the longest, telling the whole story in detail, but there are more abridged versions of Lady and the Tramp and 101 Dalmatians among others). It even has the full text of the Scamp Little Golden Book. The other stories are based on cartoon shorts, from Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck to stories from the compilation films ("Once Upon a Wintertime" and "Johnny Appleseed") and even "Ben and Me."

We finished Rick Steves on the way home and then listened to the end of an A Way With Words that I wasn't able to finish because of telephone calls I needed to make on Thursday.

And then we had a nice late afternoon reading the paper. I got a few things off the DVR and James cooked some pork chops for dinner. There was enough left for me to have a pork sandwich and have leftovers for a lunch as well. Watched the new Frozen Planet and the season premiere of Mythbusters (Adam and Jamie surviving with only duct tape), with an intermission of going outside to see a stellar show: Venus, Jupiter, and a tiny gondola of a crescent moon hanging in the western sky. Even with the streetlight it was beautiful. I tried to snap a few photos, but they were totally inadequate to what was seen.

As a nice capper to the evening I found out the newest Bryant and May book is on its way to me; I've had it pre-ordered for a while. It was bad enough they published it last October in Great Britain and I've had to wait all this time for the American edition!

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» Friday, March 23, 2012
Things to Do, People to Call
Well, the thing I took leave for today actually took me the shortest time to accomplish. I thought I was going to get more of an argument. You see, I needed to have a little talk with TruGreen. First, they keep forgetting to telephone before they come, so sometimes they show up, no one's home, and the back yard doesn't get treated. Last week they did this again. So I had to call to ask them to come back. I also needed to address the accidental overpayment. Last November James accidentally paid them the payment meant for the exterminator. But it turned out we do have a credit. We don't have to pay the bill for the last treatment or the next and the one after that will be discounted.

However, I still had to address the aeration problem. In 2009 I paid in advance to have the back yard aerated. I was told this would happen in mid-autumn. Well, they telephoned three times, twice in October 2009 and then at the beginning of November, and said they were coming next day, but then never showed up, even though I teleworked all three days and would have been here had someone knocked on the door. We went on vacation, then when we came back, we still hadn't heard from them. Surprise! Monday the 30th they showed up without calling first and, of course, couldn't get into the backyard. I still have the note; they said it was too cold to aerate anyway; they would contact us in the spring of 2010. The lawn still hasn't been done, despite my having complained about it in the fall of 2010 and last fall as well. So the woman I talked to made arrangements for the service manager to call us to arrange for an appointment for the aeration.

If I don't hear back from him it will be another phone call. Really...what is so hard about this?

But I started out the day doing what was supposed to be a fun thing. It turned out well, but into a weight-lifting event: I went to the Cobb County Library Book Sale. That trip is chronicled in my book blog; let's say I came home with two reusable grocery bags of books...all for the bargain price of $29!

I also went up to JoAnn. This weekend they are having a 25 percent off everything sale, even clearance and sale items. I hoped to pick up several things, but at least one thing I hoped was still there was gone, and and I could not make my mind up about a floral decoration for the front porch. All of the less expensive items were springtime only, and I just want something out there that will last from March through August, as summer isn't welcome around here. The arrangements more suited to spring and summer were twice the price.

I did get a few nice things to use as gifts for [mumble] and [munble], bought a nice storage box with adjustable compartments, and found a British cross-stitch magazine with designs for different seasonal holidays. Two of my favorites are the designs featuring Nelson, a cute kitten, and Tibs, a little blue bird. Adorable!

By the time I finished at JoAnn, it was almost one o'clock, so I instructed Tinker to find "Panera Bread near me," and there it was, up on Chastain Road, all right turns except the last. I had a bowl of chicken soup with a baguette with butter on the side, with some water, a dandy lunch!

At home I put the craft things away and arranged the books in stacks; it turned out I did have one of the ones I was uncertain about, but it was only a dollar, so it wasn't much of a loss. I took Willow out, got the mail, and then attended to TruGreen, and have just finished fussing over the DVR, which is not updating properly. I need to get all the recordings off it and then phone Dish and make a fuss. I was looking at their "Hopper" today: it's a DVR that records up to six things at once, and, with a gadget called a "Joey" (the Hopper is represented in advertising by a red kangaroo), will also provide cable wirelessly to another television in the house. I bet that little rascal is expensive; nothing Dish comes up with is cheap.

(BTW, I think it's very funny that I'm discussing this just as Skippy the Bush Kangaroo is playing behind me!)

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» Thursday, March 22, 2012
The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window...'s still dark; with DST the sun won't be up for another half hour. It makes me very sleepy. :-) It's supposed to be another scorcher today, 84°F! In March! It's been so warm all winter we have pine pollen about three weeks ahead of schedule. Everything is tinted yellow and the pollen blows in little drifts like sand. You have to keep your windows tightly shut or it's like the dust bowl.

I am thinking...
...since it's spring, I'm already thinking about vacation. Probably because that comes in the fall. :-) Really want to go back to Washington, DC, to see the remodel of the American History Museum, to see the American Indian Museum and the Post Office Museum...and I've never been to the National Zoo! I'd love to go there.

I am thankful...
...for a better night's sleep last night, although I did wake up several times. Yesterday I arrived at work with a headache from the fourth night in a row of not sleeping properly; the headache was so bad I was sick to my stomach. I had to take four ibuprofin to even get it to lessen; part of a candy cane thankfully took care of the nausea. God bless peppermint!

In the kitchen...
...quiet and dark. James has some chicken marinating in the fridge for dinner tonight.

I am wearing... tank top and aqua shorts and flower-print scuffs. It's too warm for anything else.

I am creating...
...I'm in the middle of a cross-stitch, but it's a gift, so I can't discuss it here. I bought the magazine just for the kit!

I am going...
...slightly crazy. I keep running into obstacles on my purchase orders. Numbers are wrong, part numbers can't be found, things don't complete in ICE, or vendors aren't in the system. Plus having the A/C on is already making me feel closed in and trapped.

I am wondering... on earth people manage to text and drive (because you know they're still doing it despite the admonitions on radio and television) and survive! All I had to do yesterday was turn on a Rick Steves podcast and then put my map on, with the phone on a holder right in front of me, and I had to stop to be able to do it without running into someone. How you would type coherent words is beyond me! And why you would want to do it as well.

I am reading...
How the States Got Their Shapes Too by Mark Stein and a memoir about growing up Catholic, Parish the Thought. This latter was published by Pocket Books and the typos are terrible; mostly homonymns, which the automatic spellchecker will not catch. Does no one proofread books any longer?

I am hoping...
...this will pass and we'll get more appropriate spring weather soon.

But I am not holding my breath. (Oh, wait, I need to hold my breath because of the pollen. I've seen more than a few people walking around in medical masks.)

I am looking forward to...
...Atomicon! Perhaps with all the flowering happening at the same time, even up north, the air will be a bit more clear at Unicoi.

Around the house...
...just waking up noises: Schuyler crunching birdseed, Willow's collar-tags jingling as she turns over on her chair, the hum of the computer.

I am pondering...
...why I never finish these things on time. It's now Thursday, March 22.

A favorite quote for today...
"Spring is sprung,
the grass is riz--
I wonder where
da boidies iz..."
(recite it in a Brooklyn accent and you will get the effect originally intended; in my case I know exactly where da boidies iz: they're shrieking outside!)

One of my favorite things...
...Christmas! "Rudolph Day" is coming up on the 25th and I am reading the book James bought me, Christmas Wishes. I will put a review of it in Holiday Harbour, but I can tell you right now it is delightful!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
We need to make a trip to BJs. Vine Day is today. Ken's birthday gift should show up today.

A peek into my day...
A scene I see a lot on summer mornings: sunrise from my car, on the way to work. (This is about 6:20 a.m. in August.)


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



» Sunday, March 18, 2012
Sunday on the Road and in the Cold
So this morning, we can sleep.

Well, sorta. James forgot to shut off his alarm. I forgot to shut off my alarm. So by the time the real alarm went off, we weren't alarmed at all, just annoyed.

After breakfast and The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin (really, the substitute music is too annoying; not period and too loud, sometimes overwhelming the dialog—how I hate the RIAA for making this necessary!), we drove out to Fry's. Although it was sunny and felt pleasant initially, we weren't down the road and under the sun fifteen minutes before we decided the A/C had to go on. Spring was in riot: although the Bradford pear trees are already leafed, the purple-blossomed trees were in full color and the dogwoods, which usually don't bloom until April, are already unfurling their moonshine white petals.

We don't usually go out that early, so the first thing that delayed us was the after-service traffic coming out of the big church on Lower Roswell Road. There were also a lot of "Sunday drivers" out, and a half-dozen motorcyclers who made passing difficult. Traffic was pretty thick until we got out of Roswell.

We had lunch at Fry's. I keep reminding myself not to do this. As usual, they had no soup, so I went with a tuna salad sandwich with only tomatoes on it. Good thing, too, as there were enough onions in it already to choke a horse.

Shopping, however, was successful. I needed some DVD-R disks, and they had a good price. They had the new "Cross-Stitch and Needlework" on the magazine stand, and I also found the entire series of Land of the Lost for $15 (I hate season 3, but the entire series was half the price of seasons 1 and 2 separately). Also discovered they had a 16GB SD card at an excellent sale price. Plus I did get a new set of headphones, one level up from the ones I had. These come with a volume level and a stereo/mono switch.

By the time we got home, we had a Sunday paper and headaches from the sun. James put our lamb chops under marinade and we spent the afternoon watching Wild Russia. The lamb chops were luscious later on, finished with balsamic onion sauce, pieces dipped in mint jelly, with stroganoff noodles on the side. I only had a small spoonful of these, choosing to have a long slice of French bread mopped in the juices of the lamb chops. Yum...better than filet mignon any day.

Tonight was the premiere of Frozen Planet, which is being multicast on Discovery, Animal Planet, the Science Channel, and God knows what else. It's marvelous, switching from north to south poles and back again, showing not only arctic and antarctic animals, but snowfields, trees burdened by snow, exquisite ice crystals and snowflake formations, icepack breakup and glacier movement...lovely!

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» Saturday, March 17, 2012
Out and About
James went off to work this morning, and I finally had the relief of a good sleep.

The one thing I had to do this morning was get a rebate form in the mail. I have been used to, in the past few years, of doing rebates on line, but it appeared that this one had to be mailed in. So I fixed breakfast and started to fill out the form.

Not...quite! You had to fill out the rebate forms and register online! If you didn't register online, you didn't have the address to send the paper copy to. Along with that, I had forgotten to scan my copies, so had to drag the scanner out before I could even put the copies in the envelope. What a pain, and it meant I didn't leave the house until 10 a.m.

I first went to the Farmer's Market, picking out some goat cheese for myself and chicken salad for James. I then walked across the square, taking some photos of the spring flowers, but the Corner Shop didn't open until eleven. So I went on, dropping the rebate envelope at the post office.

I had one very delayed errand I wanted to do today: get some batteries for the Cyberhome remotes. The one in the spare room has been dead since before the Twelfth Night party. So I pocketed the dead one before I left the house; it's one of those round, nearly flat ones, and you can't just pick them up at Wally World.

This was accomplished in five minutes once I'd gotten to Cobb Parkway and Batteries Plus. Next I drove to Publix and picked up a few things at two-for-one before going to Kroger and finishing the weekly shopping. I managed to find some lamb chops and some nice steak on the manager's special rack, and found some of the little key-lime pies James likes. Now hopefully we can enjoy ourselves tomorrow instead of worrying about groceries!

All this took me only two hours and ten minutes, including putting up the groceries. I was quite chuffed!

I had two other jobs to do today, but first I availed myself of lunch, taking some slices of the French bread I had bought and having it with the last of the previous batch of goat cheese and a glass of milk, while watching part of the Lassie episode "The Dogcatcher." This was definitely partially filmed on a real set of city streets; Gramps shops at a seed and feed whose name is cleverly blocked, and you can see a portion of a window of a drugstore which reminded me so much of DiLorenzo's Drug Store on Cranston Street, or even Dolan's on Park Avenue when I was very small, including a big placard for Bactine!

The first thing I needed to do was put my new fan up. A cinch, right? Unplug the old, replug the new. Um. No. You see, the fan is plugged into a receptacle that is in back of my twin pile of to-be-read nonfiction books (yes, the ones that are about breast-high—let's say Borders' bargain bins and Really Good Coupons, plus a few things from remainder book shelves at Books-a-Million and B&N have been very good to me). So I had to take the piles down in sections, rearrange them a little so that books I want to read first are at the top, and then pile them back up carefully once the fan was plugged in and going. They have to be very carefully stacked so they lean back against the wall and are only minimally capable of falling over.

Once that was finished, I headed downstairs for the bigger job. The last Friday I had off, I bought three plastic crates at Walmart. They were still stacked in the hall downstairs. I went into the pantry closet and pulled all the stored vegetable and fruit containers away from the wall and into the hallway, then put the three crates back against the wall, one at a time, putting the heavy cans of vegetables and fruits on the bottom, then another crate into which I put less heavy pasta (elbow macaroni and mac'n'cheese), and finally the third crate on the top, into which went still lighter things, plus a few things on top of it. I was then able to stack soup cans and diced tomato cans on the shelf where the elbow macaroni and mac'n'cheese had been. There's still only room for James' pineapple cans on the floor.

Oh, well, you can pretty much get to everything, and the "bunny bag" is helping. At Publix, I bought one of their reusable shopping bags with a spring/Easter rabbit motif, and put a stack of Ramen noodles and then all our packets of Rice'n'Sauce and Pasta'n'Sauce into it. You need only lift it to get it out of the way to look at the supplies in the crates. Once I wash the heavy jackets, they can go on the little bit of hanging space that's left.

And I worked it so the Pet Rider for the back seat of the car now hangs up. Yay.

After that workout I was ready for a nice respite. I sat down to watch a few more episodes of Edward the King ("Alix," where Bertie is urged to be married and Prince Albert dies, and "A Hundred Thousand Welcomes" about Bertie and Princess Alexandra's wedding and early days of marriage). There is one scene early in "Alix" where Queen Victoria asks Princess Alice to go get her father, and Alice must curtsey to her. Imagine curtseying to your own mother! In a later scene in "Welcomes" all the adult children and the smaller ones, too (Prince Arthur and Prince Leopold) must bow or curtsey when the queen comes in the room.

[Later: Was watching 1930s "Superman" cartoons when James came home. We went to Hibachi Grill for supper, where we saw a magnificent cloud backlit by the sun on our way out. Also dropped in to the Barnes & Noble at the Avenue at West Cobb. I'm incorrigible...I bought another book; it was The Monuments Men and only six dollars. Came home to watch Too Cute (more kittens) and—finally—the second part of the Barrington project on This Old House.]

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» Friday, March 16, 2012
Sears, 0; Linda, 0
Second night in a row not sleeping properly. How annoying.

My first goal this morning was picking up the headphones I ordered yesterday. Several years ago, we both received a nice pair of Sony headphones for Christmas. I use them occasionally at night to listen to BBC radio, and when I do that, hang them from the remote holder. Between Willow passing back and forth on that route and my own restless legs, somehow one of the earpieces was broken—it won't stay in place over the ear anymore. I've really liked these 'phones and went looking online for them, and found them for a really good price at Sears. You could order online and then pick them up at the store. I had to go that way anyway this morning, and did so.

Well, they gave me the wrong headphones, although I didn't discover it until after I went to the bank and to Bed, Bath & Beyond to get a new Vornado for next to the bed. My fan stays going constantly. The one I have is working fine, but it fell out of the window after a gust of wind from a thunderstorm that came roaring through and has been rattling ever since, disturbing my sleep, unless it is pointed straight up. I'll take that one to work, and get rid of the fan I have there, as that one makes a holy racket when I turn it on in the morning (the bearings are shot). It was so noisy last week Cherie came out of her office to see what the dickens was going on!

Anyway, I looked at the headphones at a red light and said "What the heck..." They definitely weren't the same. I took them back to Sears and the woman in electronics said she's had this happen before. She said they had some in stock at Town Center. I hadn't intended on going that far, but I figured I could check out CD Warehouse at the same time.

The latter was a winner. I bought used Blu-Ray versions of Lady and the Tramp (which is my favorite Disney animated feature along with 101 Dalmatians), Beauty and the Beast, and The Adventures of Tintin.

Sears was a big fat duck egg. They had the same pair of headphones at that Sears. The guy even pointed to the photo on the website and said "This is the same pair!" Uh, no. There are no markings on the earpieces that label "Left" and "Right," they don't rotate, and the pin end is L-shaped, not straight, and it doesn't come with the full-sized adapter. It's not the same headphone. Sears is showing a photo of what I want but selling another set in their place.

So I came home rather grumpy. I did do some research and found out what Sears is selling is a newer model, which is what the salesman at Town Center suggested. That's fine. But their website should not show the older pair and imply you are going to get those, and then give you another kind. The newer model does not have as good a rating as the old ones.

Anyway, I wanted to check out the As Seen on TV store, which turned out to be at the opposite end of the mall from Sears. The walk was nice, but the mall is such a bore now. I haven't been here in a long while; the Waldenbooks was still open the last time we went. The Waldenbooks is now store. Like malls needed more of these. The most interesting store left is Brookstone. The Lindt store was replaced by even more overpriced chocolate, Godiva. I don't see the appeal; it's really not better than any other good chocolate. The Yankee Candle is still there, Bath and Body Works, GNC. a Game Stop, a Hallmark somewhere...and the rest appears to be clothes, shoes, and clothing accessories. Yawn.

I was surprised to see a Disney Store still there. I thought it had closed. That's mostly clothes, too, and that horrible "Princess" crap. The stuffed animals are now stuffed in the back.

Anyway, came home from there; found Schuyler watching Rachael Ray with Peewee Herman as guest. Was too hungry and headachy from the sun—I'd stayed out a lot later than I expected, and the sun and the heat had done a number on my head—to change the twaddle.

James got home early after working overtime two nights in a row. For supper we went to Sweet Tomatoes. We used to go here quite often in the past, but I kind of became disenchanted with it when they got rid of the rice on the tortilla bar. I used to get the rice and put it in the chicken soup instead of the big noodles. Well, we were less enchanted now. They have removed several vegetable choices from the salad bar and replaced it with a $2.50 extra section. I can see them charging extra for chicken or other meat to put on your veggies, but...$2.50 for mandarin oranges? or almonds? You're kidding me. One of the staff was unloading the soup dishes to a huge cart right in the middle of people trying to serve themselves, they were out of a bunch of the breads; later they refilled those and the focaccia was gone. It was really pretty poor.

We went to JoAnn because James was looking for a new swing-arm lamp; the switch has failed on his old one, which we had previously purchased at JoAnn. Well, since JoAnn remodeled they have nothing but Ott Lights and "natural light" fixtures, expensive lamps. I didn't want to waste those nice half-off coupons, though, so I bought some Command hooks for the back of the bathroom door for use of guests, and some Post-It notes and tabs for use at work.

We did stop at Staples at the way home, and they had a very nice swing-arm lamp, a not-so-expensive lamp. :-) That worked out at least.

Still pissed at Sears, though.

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» Tuesday, March 13, 2012
The Moving Finger Writes...
...seasonal change in Holiday Harbour.

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» Sunday, March 11, 2012
A Cat Flap Day
It started early, too—I was awake and asleep and awake again. Willow finally barked about a minute or two before the alarm went off to remind me of Rin Tin Tin. Today's episodes: "Rin Tin Tin and the Medicine Man" (patent medicine, that is, featuring Frances Kareth, the older sister of Kym "Gretl von Trapp" Karath) and "The Babe in the Woods."

From there we went to Publix for twofers, and then to Kroger. After taking that home, we went to Aldi to get a couple of things, and then went to Petsmart. They were adopting dogs, as always on weekends, and there were several intriguing-looking ones, including one that was a pug crossed with some type of minipin or Manchester terrier type dog with a pug coat, curled tail, and the black nose, but it was slim, had long legs and a longer nose, if still with an undershot jaw. There was also a chocolate brown Chihuahua cross, which looked like it was crossed with a dachshund. Its legs weren't all that short, but he was longer than usual and had forelegs like a dachshund.

Inside was an adorable litter of kittens awaiting adoption, including a grey tabby that had not a particle of brown in the grey; it was a mix of smoke grey and silver, with the perfect tabby "M" on her forehead, and the most darling kitten face. And a small conure hanging from the top of its cage using one foot. Look! upside-down birdie! A small child was delighted by the gymnastics. One bag of budgie seed later, we returned home... go out onnnnnnnnnne more time, but to say where we went might reveal the nature of this newest "project." So "mum's the word." [Cut to Thermians looking confused and murmuring "Mum...mum..."]

By the time we got home it was way after three. Time to settle in and read the paper. Watch the National Geographic Channel. Find cute videos on YouTube ( least a dozen adorable budgie videos...wait..."adorable budgie" is redundant; just ask Schuyler). Thai ground pork for supper, with non-Terry's orange ball slices for dessert.

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» Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook
I haven't done one of these in over a week and thought I would indulge.


Outside my window...
...night is dark and velvet outside. It is the Eve of Daylight Saving Time, not my favorite time of the year. I prefer it bright and light when I go to work and dark and still when I wish to relax after work.

I am thinking...
...of another summer coming. I do wish I could be happy about the coming of summer, but it simply means ill health, stress, and eternal running from one air conditioned building to another, trapped behind closed windows. It's not like my opinion has ever changed! In junior high I wrote a poem in favor of having school in summer and vacation in winter, when it's more fun outside anyway!

I am thankful...
...for a lovely day. We had a great time at Hair Day this morning, and had some great news about a friend's new job. Juanita and David also announced their upcoming wedding date—the same as ours!

In the kitchen...
...dark and quiet.

I am wearing...
..."Mutts" pajamas and white socks. It will be back to tank tops and shorts soon; the forecast is for the 70s all next week!

I am creating...
...I'm actually working on a little cross-stitch kit.

I am going... go to bed as soon as what I am watching is over, although it is still standard time right now. Might as well get into the habit now.

I am wondering...
...if it will be a cooler summer than the past two. It would be a relief. I remember one summer when it didn't get over 90°F more than three days. That was a good summer.

I am reading...
...Nancy Drew and Her Sister Sleuths, a series of essays, Bird Sense: What It's Like to Be a Bird by Tim Birkhead, and The Traitor's Gate by Avi.

I am hoping...
...for a better week at work. I definitely did not get all accomplished that I wanted to this week.

I am looking forward to...
...nothing for a few weeks, really. Okay, my Rick Steves DVDs showing up. They had a stupendous sale, so I bought the whole set.

I am learning...
...several interesting things about birds, including the mechanism that makes some birds of prey have such excellent eyesight.

Around the house...
...James is downstairs in the "man cave," breathing plastic, Willow is asleep in his chair, and Schuyler is looking grumpy. :-) Oh, yeah, and there are books everywhere, but so what else is new?

I am pondering...
...any logical reason for the time change. If standard time is good enough for the Earth, it's good enough for me. :-)

A favorite quote for today...
"Daylight Saving Time is like cutting off one end of a blanket and sewing it to the other end to make the blanket longer." :-)

One of my favorite things...
...I'm watching via Netflix: Edward the Seventh (or Edward the King), which I first watched back in 1983 on WSBK-TV38. This is from 1975 and stars Annette Crosbie as Queen Victoria, Robert Hardy as Prince Albert, Felicity Kendal as Princess Vicky, and, right now, Charles Sturridge (now a director) as the young Albert Edward (Bertie). Later he will be portrayed by Timothy West. The first three parts paint a pretty grim picture of Bertie's childhood; while his brothers and sisters got to have a modicum of fun, he was a prisoner of his father's obsession to train him to be the best ruler in the world. He was not a stupid boy, but he didn't have a studious mind and would have preferred an Army career. Instead his mother denied him any responsibility as he grew up and then complained when he spent his time in frivolous pursuits! It's stagy like all British drama of the 1970s, but I'm enjoying it once again.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Next week by now. More work. Maybe I can get a company to finally call me back! Maybe I can get a couple of quotes out of another company! Really, the lack of response is provoking.

A peek into my day...
Here's the cute little kid from the Winter Market this morning: a one-month old Nubian goat. She's being bottle fed, so the "Goat Cheese Guy" brought her with him. She bleated pitifully until he brought her little enclosure out where she could see people.


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



» Friday, March 09, 2012
That Was The Week That Was
Aside from work...what? Did finally get connected with Netflix streaming again, but had to use a cable. Picture was better, though. On the way home I had been listening to a "Travel With Rick Steves" about "the Monuments Men," part of the Allied movement in World War II who helped retrieve and restore the great art treasures of Europe that the Nazis confiscated. He was talking with the author of Rescuing DaVinci, but they also discussed the book and film The Rape of Europa, which I found on Netflix.

Super film! With footage of warehouses and hiding places full of paintings, sculpture, furniture, etc. (even the little belled finials that go on the Torah), looted from the Louvre, Berlin museums, private owners (especially from Jewish owners), and any other place that displayed art. Photos of Hitler with his model of the city of Linz (his birthplace), where he planned to build "the Fuhrer's Museum" with his collection for all to see. And terrible stories of the "deviant art" from people like Picasso and Matisse and more that were sold off, and sometimes destroyed, by the Nazis. And examples of restoration still going on today after the damage done by bombing, like frescos in Pisa, Italy.

This evening was a welcome respite from the week. We had supper at Golden Corral, looked for socks in REI for James but were unable to find them (he likes the 20 Below, or whatever they call them, to keep his feet warm at night), and then went to the Coupon Commotion at JoAnn. Got Scotch tape and embroidery thread and other little crafty things.

We also stopped at Barnes & Noble, where James got the new Honor Harrington book and a couple of magazines; I got only magazines: the March British "Country Living," the "Country Sampler" 2012 homes tour, and the new "BBC History Magazine."

The sky is particularly pretty tonight. Most of it is clear and in the west Venus and Jupiter are forming a diagonal line, like two tiny, bright jewels against black velvet. But in the east the full moon is rising surrounded by thin clouds that drift by it like gossamer. I tried to take some photos of it, on the deck, and succeeded in locking myself out there. James was in the bedroom changing his clothes, but Willow heard me rattling the doorknob and came to check me out, and started to bark, running to the bedroom, then coming back, until James came out and rescued me. Willow romped as if to say "I'm Lassie! I rescued Mommy!"

Sleepy now. James is cooking yellow rice with veggie flakes for tomorrow and the smell is exquisite.

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» Sunday, March 04, 2012
No Rinty this morning, but a Monkees marathon in honor of Davy Jones. "Understood completely..."

Went out shopping about noon, Publix for twofers first, then to Kroger for milk, bananas, and other little things. Yes, they'd refilled the yogurt, so I'd reacted for nothing. But better with yogurt than without.

Came home, put the groceries away, then went out in the wind to refill the birdseed container. Oh, it was a "wild October day" transferred to March, a perfect blue sky, feathery clouds, and nice and cool in the 50s, with a brisk breeze. The dead leaves swooped and dashed and played tag as we mixed the seed. There's still about two inches left in the can, so perhaps another bag of safflower, or another bag of finch food next time. We were no sooner inside than a hungry horde of windblown sparrows showed up to take every seat (there are a dozen perches) in the house.

Now I time how many days it takes to empty! If only that red-bellied woodpecker wasn't such a sloppy git when he eats.

We had other things we should have done this afternoon, but just read the paper while I finished up my project for [mumble]. It's nice to know it will be going out soon.

Soup is good on a cold night, and that's what we had, James with corn English muffins, and me with a few slices of the boule we bought at Kroger to dip into the soup. Had The Seven Little Foys on this afternoon, followed by the least objectionable program, which turned out to be [groan] House Hunters (since frippin' PBS is fundraising again). Read the paper. Watched Holmes on Homes.

Now that the project is finished, I'm about to attack a linguistic book. I picked it out of the pile and discovered a Borders sticker on the back. [Deep, deep sigh.]

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» Saturday, March 03, 2012
After watching weather reports until the wee hours of the night (and watching Bruce Springsteen on Jimmy Fallon's show), we were up quite late this morning. By the time we ate breakfast and got ready to go out, it was after noon. It was a lovely day, though; the cold front was on the heels of the thunderstorms last night and it was a nice, comfortable 50s, starting out sunny and ending up cloudy with a nice breeze: my favorite!

We mailed my parcels first of all, then went out to Merchant's Walk. This was near the Home Depot that got messed up in the storm last night, but the rest of the area seemed to be unscathed. We stopped at Hallmark, where I bought Easter cards and a couple of gifts. From there we made the mistake of stopping at Whole Foods because I wanted some Yukon Gold potatoes. Haven't seen them anywhere else in weeks. We always spend too much at Whole Foods. But I bought Schuyler a treat: hulled millet!

We also stopped at Trader Joe's for the necessities of life (chicken salad, chocolate-dipped pomegranate seeds, stuff like that—LOL), then stopped at the hobby shop for a while, then finally made a brief stop at Book Nook before going for Italian food at Giovanni's.

Have spent the evening at home fighting a headache and watching the Lassie episodes I couldn't watch last night because I wasn't feeling well. We went from a sixth season episode ("The Space Traveler," with Vasquez Rocks as the picturesque backdrop) to a sixteenth season episode I don't think I've seen rerun in years, if at all, "The Chase," where two dimwit snowmobilers run a deer until it collapses "for fun." The credits had the Campbell's Soup logo in the right-hand corner! Could these be original network prints? Cool...

Irritated elsewhere television-wise: HGTV seems to have been taken over by House Hunters and its other house-search brethren like Property Virgins. Why don't they just rename it "House Hunters TV" and be done with it? I miss all the old decorating shows with Matt and Shari, Joan Steffend...God, I'm up to the point that I miss Joanne Liebler!

Plus back in December both our PBS stations pre-empted This Old House endlessly for fundraising. They finally caught up with the last season of TOH during the end of January and February. Now that they've started a new season, showing the remodel of the house in Barrington, RI, guess what...yes, they are pre-empting it again...for more fundraising. Guys, did you ever think if you actually stuck to the regular programming on a long-term basis, people might be more inclined to pledge? For my part, if I see Suze Ormand, Wayne Dyer, Celtic Woman, and all the other pledge programming that is run endlessly one more time, I'm gonna barf.

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» Friday, March 02, 2012
The Heat is On
Yeah, I slept late. Wanna make something of it?

When I got up at nine, it was the same miserable weather as yesterday, in the mid-60s climbing its way to the 70s. At the beginning of March! We put the air conditioner on last night because it was nearly 80 in the house.

I wrapped a couple of packages that I want to send, but decided not to get them out today (later on I realized I could have mailed them, since I can't finish the other two until Sunday...sigh). About 11, I went to Walmart, since we are soon to need wild birdseed again. I bought the same as last time—20 pounds of coarse seed, 10 pounds of finch seed, 5 pounds of thistle seed, but 14 pounds of safflower seed instead of 7. If this still doesn't fill the container, next time I'll get 20 pounds of the finch seed. Also got three more crates to use in the pantry closet.

On the way home I stopped at Hobby Lobby and was distracted by the cutest little spring sheep. But it was a $4 piece with 40 percent off, and purchased along with a Command hook on a 40 percent off coupon.

Walked through Dollar Tree and got a few more coin roller bags and a bar of Pears soap I want to try as facial soap. Pears' soap is over 100 years old, has a Pear-less reputation (sorry, couldn't resist), and I'm always coming across advertisements for it in "St. Nicholas." [Later: Wow, that's an...interesting scent! I would have expected a milder scent from a translucent soap such as this.]

Oh, yeah, and I now have Juanita's birthday gift. :-)

Came home and immediately filled the bird feeders, as the sky had been dark all morning although these are still cumulus clouds. Looks like I bought birdseed just in time because when I tipped the enamel cup in I scraped the bottom of the container. I thought I felt a spit of rain, but nothing else happened. I then had my lunch and worked on a project for about a half hour, then went out to get gasoline. The Coupons App claimed the new Kroger had gas for $3.33, which was a lie, but I used our points and got a little discount anyway.

I didn't plan to go inside, but an excellent parking space presented itself, so I claimed it. They had soup on sale, so I bought some of that, and, because they had so little yogurt, I grabbed what they had, and bread for lunches, and a couple of other things.

Then back to the project until James got home. We had supper at Panera, keeping a wary eye on the sky. The weather report was growing more and more ominous, relating the tale of two tiny southern Ohio towns, one of which has apparently been completely obliterated by a tornado, the other badly damaged. We also went to Michael's and had dessert at Baskin-Robbins via a coupon, then came home and pretty much watched the weather reports all night. The tornado sirens went off several times, and there was word of a tornado heading for downtown Marietta, but we had nothing more than a few spatters of rain with lightning in the distance. One of our friends even called us to see if we were okay. This storm moved its relentless way east, wreaking havoc at the Home Depot on Roswell Road (near Trader Joe's) and then heading northeast toward Commerce. Once it had passed Johnson Ferry Road we called up the Lawsons to see if they were okay.

The news was upsetting, one county over, in Rockmart, a man barely pulled his parents into a downstairs closet in time before a tornado ripped off the front of the house: they showed the table in front of which his parents were sitting just moments before he dragged them downstairs—it was now at the very edge of the open front of the house! Another man and his wife would have usually been home and possibly in bed (she works third shift), but went out to dinner and when they came home a tree had fallen on their roof and there was timber and debris in their bed. Another house nearby had its entire roof ripped off.

Everyone says, "Oh, warm is nice! We don't want it cold, let's have it warm!" Well, folks, this is what happens when you have it warm! Put a sweater and heavier socks on, because we don't get freakin' tornadoes when it's cold!

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» Thursday, March 01, 2012
Potter Parables and Peter's Part
I was listening to podcasts while working today and happened to listen to Pottercast #227, "Pundits Play the Name Game," which I had just downloaded at random from what was available. This the podcast put on by the fan site "The Leaky Cauldron" and the broadcast was three of the regulars analyzing the names Rowling used in the series.

This was particularly interesting because one of the panelists was John Granger, who has written several books about meaning in the Potter series, but is most well known for Looking for God in Harry Potter. Granger is a practicing Christian who initially forbade his children to read the books, having been turned off by the witchcraft themes. However, he didn't feel he could forbid his children to read them without reading them first to be able to tell them why they were unsuitable. Upon reading the books, he was pleased and surprised by the good v. evil themes in the books and changed his mind about them. I saw Finding God several times in Borders, but never bought it.

This was a delightful show, as they examined the literary derivations of the names, which they noted came heavily from Dickens and Victor Hugo, and even Thackeray, not to mention Latin derivations and inside jokes. Of course Harry's sacrifice parallels that of Christ and Voldemort is a clear Satan-figure (he even parallels Lucifer as being rather a "fallen angel," rescued by Dumbledore from his sterile orphanage and shown kindness, being elevated to prefect and a promising future only to betray those who helped him)—these are all rather obvious. I was, however, surprised when they noted things like the names of the other players on the Quidditch team were all related to churches. When they explained it I was quite amused: [Katie] Bell, Angel[ina] Johnson, [Alicia] Spinnet (piano), and [Oliver Wood] olivewood! Plus the game has a "seeker" who must attain "the light," a.k.a. The Golden Snitch. There were dozens of fun or thoughtful analyses of this type, and it was great fun to listen to.

I also had on BBC 4X and was listening to their adaptation of Gaudy Night. I became aware that Ian Carmichael's voice sounded rather husky and older, so checked out the production. Carmichael had recorded almost all the Lord Peter Wimsey stories in seven- and eight-part radio productions back in the 1970s, about at the same time he was doing the television versions of five of the books. They had done at least three of the Harriet Vane stories, but not the Oxford story, Gaudy Night, about sinister goings-on at Harriet's university reunion. But Ian Carmichael had always wanted to do that one, to complete the set as it were, and in 2005 BBC audio books recorded this five-part adaptation. Ian Carmichael was 85 when he did the story; it's no wonder he sounds older!

It's a bit of a static production, as a lot of it is Harriet's narrative, but so good to hear! Hopefully they do the end properly!

[Later: they did! Oh, and Lord St. George is in the story, too, unlike the Petherbridge/Walter version.]

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