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

. . . . .
. . . . .  

» Thursday, November 29, 2012
A Sunny Day With a Special Guy
Since James worked last Saturday, he had a day off coming this week, which was today! And we were able to "sleep in," all the way until 7:30! Then we drove over to the NAPA Auto Center using both vehicles. James was dropping the truck off to get two new tires; the left rear is very badly worn and the right rear has a slow leak—we have had to pump it up every few weeks either at the QT (where air is free) or with the bicycle pump. We also had his vehicle inspection done, and they did mine right away, so we could leave after James gave them his key.

We stopped for breakfast at Dunkin Donuts—yum, bagel!—and then headed for the freeway. It was a bright—very bright; the sun bugged us all day—blue day, chilly when we left. We listened to the latest "Splendid Table" on the way up.

Our friends Matt and Kelley are always talking about a used bookstore called McKay's in Chattanooga, so we finally decided to check it out. It is in a stand-alone building just northeast of the Hamilton Mall complex. Kelley said it was big, but we were very surprised when we walked in and found out just how big. It's as least as big as a good sized Barnes & Noble, and has a balcony all around the store which holds CDs and records! We were there over two hours and I never did get upstairs to the balcony! James bought a few books as well as some interesting CDs, including the Boston Pops playing Celtic music and a Celtic Christmas music album.

I was really surprised at how many used books they had that were practically brand new, so I was able to pick up six Christmas gifts in one fell swoop!

My own haul:
• Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage, which was my seventh-grade English teacher's favorite reference work. This was only 75 cents!
• One of the Holly Beth Walker "Meg" Whitman mystery series, Mystery of the Witch's Stairway
Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female With Mass Media (this was in bad shape, but only 75 cents, too)
Quirky QWERTY, about the typewriter keyboard
Seasons on Harris, about a couple on the Hebrides
• An unfortunately uncovered copy of The Happy Hollisters and the Haunted House Mystery
• Another travel book, A Walk Through Wales
When Television Was Young

Oh, plus a nice Blu-Ray copy of Arthur Christmas, for only $11.

We finally headed out about 1:30, looking for something to eat. We found a Hibachi Grill and had a nice buffet; this one had pork loin and also coffee ice cream in the ice cream case. No coffee-flavored chocolate cake, though; just strawberry. Next we fed the car, because gas was ten cents cheaper a gallon in most places in Chattanooga, then we drove past the mall trying to find what sounded like it might be a stitchery shop, but it seemed to be gone. We did find out what replaced my lamented A.C. Moore (ironically a JoAnn Crafts) and the Books-a-Million (a Big Lots).

Finally we checked out Chattanooga Hobby Depot, which is mostly a train store. (I wandered around thinking that Sheldon Cooper would have loved it.) They had a cute Christmas train in the front window, with a locomotive with a red headlight and antlers (yes, it was labeled "Rudolph").

Headed home about 3:30, with rush hour already starting in Chattanooga, listening to another "Splendid Table." We had enough time to stop at Office Depot on the way home to pick up James' new printer. (It's a hell of a thing when it's cheaper to buy a new printer than to buy printer cartridges for it!) Then we went by the NAPA place to pick up the truck. James' credit card went "squeak" because while we were at McKay's they called him to say that squeak he heard when he hit the brakes was trying to tell him that they were shot. He had all four done. Ouch.

Since we had a big lunch, we had pot lucks for supper, and relaxed. Big Bang Theory was new tonight, and we had a surprise when we watched Tonight for "Headlines": Jim Parsons was a guest! Also watched an Extreme Couponing, and part of The View which had a performance from the new musical version of A Christmas Story, which is being produced by "Ralphie" himself, Peter Billingsley.

Only two more gifts to buy!!!!

Labels: , , , , ,


» Sunday, November 25, 2012
Shopping is Never Done

That's because Sunday is grocery day.

We had a detour this morning, though, because I had told James they had real vanilla at World Market. So we stopped there quickly, but were unable to go to Aldi for milk because they weren't open yet. So we just hit Kroger, where we found some chicken drumsticks for supper, too.

Brought the perishables home, then went to Sam's Club again, via Walmart so James could get another $10 OneTouch mini for his pouch. I thought we could find Brawny paper towels at Sam's, but I was mistaken, so we left empty-handed and went to Publix for twofers and a newspaper.

And, yay, then we were done! so it was a nice quiet afternoon at the Young house. Watched last Monday's Hawaii Five-O and the First Sunday of Advent segment of Feasts and Seasons.

The drumsticks were prime, and we tried some new low-carb pasta, with a slice of pumpkin pie as a chaser. Been watching Christmas specials on the Travel Channel all evening.

Labels: , ,


» Saturday, November 24, 2012
Alone on the Range

Unfortunately, it was only half a weekend for James, who had to work today. He was out of the house before 7:30 and I was up not long afterward.

Yesterday I had seen some fall items at half price at Cost Plus World Market, so I went out early when they opened because I had other things to do this afternoon. Then I headed up to Town Center because I wanted to stop by the Barnes & Noble to check something else. On the way there I found a Five Below discount store near the old Borders (yes, I sniffled when I saw the building). I found a nice small gift for someone which was later joined by something else from B&N, and a holder for my backup hard drive so I don't have to swath it in flannel.

On the way home from B&N I stopped at the Farmer's Market. Alas, the chicken salad guy wasn't there. I did get James some boiled peanuts.

Spent the afternoon updating the new phone. We had supper at Hibachi Grill and stopped at the Barnes & Noble at the Avenue at West Cobb. We both got Christmas books: James a book full of science fiction/fantasy stories and me a Chicken Soup for the Soul. Had a good time noticing all the houses decorated already for Christmas. I won't start till the first weekend of Advent.

Plus a nice chat later. Only pain in the neck was remaking the bed (I changed and washed the sheets this afternoon). That mattress gets heavier every time!

Labels: , , , ,


» Friday, November 23, 2012
Thanksgiving and Beyond... Holiday Harbour.

Labels: , , , , ,


» Thursday, November 22, 2012

Labels: ,


» Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Thanksgiving Eve
What a luxury sleeping late is. An even better luxury is not having a strict rising time, so that when your back aches you can take some ibuprofin to go back to bed for twenty minutes.

Once again last night I had a long, involved dream: this is three within four days. The first one, Sunday night, was almost a murder mystery; Monday was akin to Buffy the Vampire Slayer; and last night it involved some sort of celebration and a co-worker who towered over me. Weird...

So I had breakfast and hied off to Publix, after calling BJs and confirming that they no longer sell a no-sugar-added pumpkin pie. I remembered that Publix also sometimes stocked no-sugar-added pies.

Well, they do, but they didn't have any then; they were just starting to bake them. So I put in an order for one, picked up a couple of other things, and went home. It seems the year has just flown by; I was supposed to write out and mail my Thanksgiving cards on Saturday, but we had hair day and a trip to the hobby shop and the Timegate seems lately that I am always the proverbial "day late and a dollar short."

Well, no matter. I gave poor Schuyler her eyedrop, and then left her cage open as I wrote out the Thanksgiving cards. (I thought I had a surfeit of them and found out to my chagrin I should have picked out about three more at Publix. No matter. I would take the pen and my mailing list with me when I went back for the pie and buy and make out the cards there.) She did not respond to the invitation. Her eye almost looks worse after the eyedrop; it was wider open this morning! Poor little birdie.

I also cleaned out both toilets (ah, how prosaic!) and tried to tidy up a bit. At about 12:45 I gathered up the cards, the pen, and the list and went back to Publix. My pie was ready, I had a few more cards, and I mailed them at the post office before coming home.

Well, before I left I found a little surprise on the stairs: Willow had left a little deposit! She hadn't barked to get my attention, so I was a bit wrathful. I had cleaned up the solid part, but it was wet and had left a stain, so when I got home I had to get the Resolve and dab and scrub. Once I was finished Willow needed to go out and it looks as if she had a bit of a stomach upset. I called James to see if he had fed her a leftover that might have bothered her, but he said no. So no idea what the problem was.

Incidentally, I am so glad I took today off. Just the traffic in the neighborhood was horrible and tiring, and it was so bloody warm: it was 71°F by the time I left Publix the second time. Ugh.

On the other hand, I did order James' Christmas gift and ordered a birthday gift for myself: Sullivan Entertainment has the restored, widescreen versions of Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Green Gables: the Sequel on sale for half price through sometime tomorrow. You can't find them on Amazon, and they are something like $45 each on Of course the wretched postage is almost as much as the sale price of one DVD!!! I am so very spoiled by Amazon Prime.

Later in the afternoon I sat down to watch my favorite Thanksgiving story, the Addie Mills special The Thanksgiving Treasure, which is addressed here. James came home at the usual time and we had our supper. We spent the evening watching Thanksgiving specials: Thanksgiving Unwrapped, The Secret Life of Thanksgiving, The History of Thanksgiving, and New England Thanksgving. (I swear somewhere I had a Thanksgiving special with Al Roker, but I can't find it.) Now I'm watching the "Home from Home" episode of Alistair Cooke's America.

Labels: , , , , , , ,


» Sunday, November 18, 2012
A Week Later

Yeah, it's been a while.

In the meantime, I've gone to work four days and came home four days. And before each of those days and after each of those days, I've had to grab the squirming body of a highly indignant, squawking budgie and try to drop one drop of medicine in her eye.

How hard could it be? She's so small and I'm so big. Yes, that's the problem. I have to hold her firmly enough, but not so firm as to hurt her. She's as slick as an eel with shoulders like Schwartzenegger and in the time that I get the tiny medicine bottle flipped over (having taken the precautions to uncap it first) and squeeze it (it's a firm bottle and with the arthritis in my hand, awkward.), she either has flipped herself over or tightly clamped her eye shut. I have applied medicine to her head feathers, her ear, and her beak as well as her eye, so it's a mess on the right side of her head, even though I've tried to wash the feathers there.

Her other health signs hasn't changed much. She's still eating, drinking, checking out treats. And finally, for the first time in her life, she sits on my finger. She'll sit on it while I sit talking to her, and I can take her into the living room to talk to James or check out what's on the television, and she'll mostly sit without looking like she's thinking about flying (or flopping at this point, since her wings are clipped). It's sort of "Be careful what you wish for," because I've wished for this for years, but she's not doing it because it's friendly, just because she does. Because, you see, she's pissed at me. She won't play with her bell with me, won't eat oatmeal if I offer it to her, turns her back at me, won't chirp when I call her when I walk in the door. This morning she finally accepted some oatmeal and pecked at the bell when I rang it rather than snubbing me.

I wouldn't mind this at all if it looked like her eye was getting better. Wednesday I thought she had it a little wider open, and so did James. By the time I got home from work, the squint was back to where it was on Election Day and, of course, it looks worse because the feathers around it are dirty. I thought there might be

So I've been depressed most of the week. Not to mention work's been frustrating because I have been contacting vendors and not getting calls and e-mails back. I couldn't submit an order for signature because it's taken so long to get a form back. I hope it's there tomorrow. And right now I feel like crap. I have a sore throat so bad it's hard to swallow and another sinus headache that's so annoying I have to have a pad of Kleenex between my glasses and my nose to be able to do anything else but retreat into a dark room.

We did have a good time yesterday, though. In the morning it was Hair Day. "A good time was had by all," as always, even if the conversation did turn to Twinkies. <wry grin>

Next we made a last stop at the hobby shop. James will be working next weekend, unless he gets off early.

Finally we went home, took Willow out and made sure Schuyler was okay, then went to the Timegate gathering at the Elks Lodge. Next year is the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, and this was sort of a one-year "countdown" to the anniversary as well as a wind-up for next year's Timegate on Memorial Day weekend, which will feature a Doctor as a guest: Colin Baker will be attending!

We had fun, although the sound system was pretty bad and in most of the "panels" (this was held all in one big room) we could hardly hear the speakers. People talked about their favorite moments in the past fifty years, the Earth Station Who podcast people spoke, and several episodes were shown, including part four of a Colin Baker story and part three of "The Three Doctors," with one of my favorite Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart lines when he walks into the TARDIS for the first time: "So this is what you've been doing with UNIT funds!" LOL. They also served snacks and had a hot dog/hamburger supper with a killer salad on the side.

We stayed through the performance of the Ken Spivey Band, then gave our friend Sue a ride home rather than her having to take the bus—why would we leave a friend hanging out at a bus stop on a cold Saturday night? At home we had a nice chat with Jen, Mike, and Emma.

This morning we went grocery shopping, then went to Hallmark. They have a Linus to go with the "Peanuts" band from last year. James got the Star Trek ornament and I found a cute set of turkey salt and pepper shakers really cheap (having forgotten I already have similar pair; oh, well, one can never have too many Thanksgiving decorations). We also stopped at a new British shop in the same shopping center with Betsy's Hallmark (Merchants Walk) called "The Queen's Pantry." Bought a Scottish calendar for the guest room and James sampled some ginger beer.

On the way to "The Corner Shop," the British store in Marietta, we stopped at Book Nook. I usually don't buy Christmas books with recipes, but this was a book written by Ruth and Skitch Henderson (Skitch used to be Johnny Carson's bandleader) about their farm in Connecticut with lovely pictures of the snowy countryside and rustic decorations. I also got the third volume in Eric Wiggin's retelling of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, which is totally new except for the adaptations of two chapters from New Chronicles of Rebecca. It's more simply written, but I've always wanted it, and it was discounted. Also got a $3 DVD called A Scottish Christmas filmed at various Scottish sites.

Watched Lightmares tonight, a DIY production about two clueless pairs (a son and his mother, and two brothers) putting up Christmas lights, last night's Flipping Boston, and Thursday's Elementary. Waiting for Ken Burns' The Dust Bowl.

And now I'm going to take some ibuprofin because my throat's being a wretched bore.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,


» Monday, November 12, 2012

I had one goal today: get the spare room back to rights. Otherwise, I slept late, still feeling a bit down after our active weekend and tussling with Schuyler.

I had some nice coupons for this morning, though, and a glance at the radar showed me that the rain was coming in sooner than later. So, after breakfast and dosing Schuyler's squinty eye—and this time I know I got the drop in!—off I went with my coupons.

Stopped at Petco to see if I could find a new forked perch for Schuyler, and did find something. It's a bit bigger and James will need to cut it down. We'll see if it works.

James needed a new bottle of "Coke Zero" syrup for his Soda Stream, so I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond for one. There was a real find amongst the clearance items: the display model of one of the larger Vornado fans, the 12-inch diameter one. We love these fans and have two of the smaller models in our bedroom, one on my side of the bed, one on James'. They cost more because they are super-quiet, perfect for the bedroom, so finding this one at half price was a delight. We have been talking about getting a larger fan to pull the always cooler air from the bedrooms into the living room, and this opportunity dropped into my lap.

My next two stops were at Cost Plus World Market and Michaels. By the time I was done, I had taken care of three Christmas gifts, finished off two more, and gotten a start on another, thanks to some very nice coupons. And I made it into the car just before the rain started.

Work was slow, so James was out early, arriving home about 1:30. He spent the afternoon in the "man cave" after helping me finish closing up the futon after I completed making it up. I finished watching Call the Midwife, which I had completely forgotten in the tumult of vacation, still with three episodes to go. Stories four and five were heartbreaking. Oh, but I do love "Chummy" and was so glad she defied "the Mater" to marry her policeman!

Labels: , ,


» Sunday, November 11, 2012
Nuptial Madness (A Weekend Saga)

It's been quite a weekend.

The weekend frolics began a bit on Monday. I noticed on Monday night that when Schuyler was relaxing, she looked as if she were falling asleep, with her eyes squinted. It was after nine and she had a right to be sleepy.

Tuesday I got up at six a.m. to go vote. It was a miserable, chilly, rainy morning—given the choice between 44 degrees with rain and snow, I'll take the snow; it's drier!—and I huddled in line with about one hundred people in front of me and fifty behind after about twenty minutes in line. I had my umbrella propped up and was reading the first Falco novel on my Nook, but the umbrella of the guy in front of me kept dripping on it and finally I closed it. The poll opened promptly at seven and I was out of there by 7:30 to get home and start work.

When I got in Schuyler was full of beans. She raced back and forth at the bottom of her cage, chirped, sang, and bounced around most of the morning. I, on the other had, was miserable: the chilly rain had seeped into my bones and I couldn't get my feet warm. I was cold and headachy, and at lunch took a nap. Before I got back to work, I walked past Schuyler's cage. That right eye...she looked like she was squinting. But the left eye was fine. Hmn.

On Wednesday I was in the office at "SURGE" training (a team-building exercise that highly puzzled me, since it assumed—to my perception, anyway—that we as an office didn't get along; there were these long lessons about politeness and talking to each other and consideration...say what? do other branches have this problem? ours doesn't!), but James was home and I asked him to keep an eye on Skye between his errands. He said she was still squinting, but otherwise seemed healthy.

That night, however, she just suddenly had a bout of uncontrolled scratching under and near that eye. It was like a fit; she didn't want to stop. I finally had to take her into the spare bedroom, half cover her cage, and keep the light low. I read to her from the "Looking Back" issue I was reading and was quite upset, even though she calmed down quickly and sat sleepily, squinting at me. Finally we just all went to bed. On Thursday she didn't do any relentless scratching, but she was still squinting—I started making jokes to her about being a pirate—so I called the vet, but couldn't get an appointment until Friday.

Well, Friday already had plans around it. Our friend Juanita, who has been a widow for about fifteen years, had finally found herself a nice new "feller," David Gibson, and they became engaged at the beginning of the year. On Saturday, the 10th (our wedding anniversary!) they would be married! Our friend Shari, who is a superlative baker, was asked to make the wedding cake. Problem: Shari lives in Birmingham, Alabama. No problem: Shari could stay with us!

Shari was coming in on Friday, with the baked segments of the cake with her. She wanted to go to the DeKalb Farmers Market before arriving at our house. I told her traffic was bad on Friday and she needed to leave there before rush hour and all Hell broke loose. So she was planning to arrive some time in the morning, drop the cakes off at the banquet hall, and then go on to DeKalb, then come back to our house. I wanted to get the car "vetted" to remove the vacation remains (crumbs, dog hair and the like), but was otherwise planning to be home. Instead, I had to take Schuyler to the vet at 10 a.m.

Nothing was seriously wrong with her, thank God! They stained her eye to make sure she did not have a scratched cornea, and that was clear, but she had conjunctivitis in that eye. I will have to put drops in her eyes for the next ten days. Oy. The vet clipped her wings to facilitate this and she came home looking gloomy and depressed. While I was there, a gentleman came in, upset. He had an injured hawk in his trunk. It had run into him on the road and before he could get out of his car to look at it, another car had hit it. He wrapped it in a cloth and put it into his trunk and called the fish and wildlife people, and they told him to take it to our vet, who is an avian specialist. I left Schuyler at home half covered so she could sleep and watching television and went to take care of the car, which was done before I'd even finished filing my nails.

Shari, by this time, was having her own problems. It turned out the banquet hall was suddenly rented out for Friday when they had told Juanita there would be room for Shari to assemble the cake onsite on Friday. After it took her four hours to drive here from Birmingham (it's normally a two and a half hour drive), she had to change gears and take the cake parts to David's house where they had refrigerator space. Later the cakes would be transported to the banquet hall and Shari could decorate them. So she had gone off to DeKalb.

In the meantime work was slow and they sent James home early. He'd already eaten, but I hadn't, so we went to Panera. We were going to stop at Barnes & Noble, but Shari called; she was on her way to our house but had made a wrong turn. So we headed home while giving her the correct directions. We spent the rest of the afternoon settling her in and relaxing. It turned out she would not be able to go decorate the cake tonight after all because of the event that was planned, but would have to go there early tomorrow instead.

We could at least have a good evening: we took her to Giovanni's for supper. She really enjoyed the food there; she had a lasagna. James had pork marsala and I just had pasta with sausage. We all had leftovers. Afterwards we went to Kroger to get a couple of ingredients Shari needed for the cake frosting. We also located the hall.

Schuyler was a bear to treat. You wouldn't believe this tiny bird has such strong shoulders. I'm not even sure any antibiotic got into her eye! So, needless to say, worrying about doing this for another nine days, I didn't get a lot of sleep. James was really restless as well.

On Saturday Shari hoped to have an early breakfast before she commenced to cake decorating. Accordingly, we were up at seven. Our old neighbor Susan Robinson had often urged us to go to the little French bakery off Atlanta Road, Douceur de France, located in a tiny house at the corner of a side street. In the time that we never took to go there, Douceur moved to Powder Springs Road, closer to downtown Marietta. We pass it on our way to the Farmer's Market on Saturday and it is always crowded, so that was the other reason for getting up early, getting there before the crowd.

Well, it was fabulous. Shari and James both had eggs, which they said were wonderful (she had scrambled, he had an omelet), and Shari loved the coffee. James and I both had hot chocolate, which was very chocolaty and not overly sweet, a big plus! We both hate sugary cocoa. I had a fruit cup with a nice variety of fruit, bacon, and a baguette. Oh, this baguette! Angels smiled over this baguette! To my cousin Debbie: think of Garzilli's bread. Oh, my! With butter, just perfect!

Then Shari was off to assemble and ice the cake. We went to the Farmer's Market and I finally got some goat cheese; we got a pot pie for Sunday supper and James picked up some boiled peanuts. We dropped off the food at home and snatched up the coupon for Books-a-Million we thought we might need, and headed up to Acworth for their 20 percent off sale (we were hoping to score some Christmas gifts).

When we got there we walked down to the Petco first. Schuyler needed a new sand perch and the vet says she has too many bells and not enough enriching toys. We didn't find much in the latter category. While we were there we had to get someone to rescue a cockatiel who had one of his legs caught between the bars of the bottom of his enclosure. His leg was bleeding by the time they got him out.

We scored mostly stuff for ourselves at BAM, sorry to say: a Big Bang trivia game and Uno game, a bunch of $5 DVDs. No books, actually! And we took a short enough time there to be able to go down to the hobby shop for about a half hour.

AAA Hobbies is closing Thanksgiving weekend. They are just losing too much money. People come in there and look at models, then order them online. So today is probably the last time I will sit in the meeting room and read whilst James model neeps with the guys. Next week is the one-day Doctor Who event at the Elks Lodge and then James has to work after that. So...farewell...sometimes it was boring for me, but lots of time I had fun. The guys were always polite and funny, and apologized to me if they cursed. Shucks, you haven't seen the way I talk to my computer at work.

Or traffic on I-285. :-)

We made sure to be home by one so James could shower and we'd have plenty of time to dress. James was going to have a Wendyburger and I was planning on some Soup in Hand and cibatta bread when Shari called. She was doing a basket-weave pattern on the cake, still needed something to finish and was waiting on someone to get it to her and could we bring her her clothes and makeup so she could get dressed there?

Oh, goodness, this threw us into high gear. We thought we had everything ready, but it turned out my high heels no longer fit, and neither did my dress Hush Puppies. Once James had a shower I knew his hair really needed trimming—he's missed Hair Day two months in a row due to work and didn't have a chance to hit the barber—so I did that. James then realized he'd never taken his shirt out of the pins, so I had to do that and iron it, so I also touched up my blouse and the shoulder scarf. Then I had to run downstairs and get my mom's jewelry that I wanted to wear. And James couldn't manage to tie his tie. I called Shari; she does plays and knows a lot about costuming. My frantic question: "Can you tie a man's tie?" "I think so."

Zoom, we were off! Oh, what a comedy of errors! And then, when we were finally fleeing the house with Shari's clothes and makeup, at 2:30 (the wedding was at three!) I realized halfway there that I hadn't turned off the iron! So I had to drop James and the clothes off, hoping one of them would manage the tie, and he rode to the church with Shari while I doubled back to the house to turn off the iron. So I was five minutes late to the ceremony, but tried to arrive composed despite having to fight Saturday traffic and people dreaming at traffic lights. Bless Twilight, he's light on his wheels and quick to move.

It was a wonderful ceremony. I cried through most of it. The church was beautiful, all white inside with splendid chandeliers. They did something unique: did a "braid" called the Ceremony of Three Cords. The gold cord was God, the purple David the groom, and the white Juanita as the bride, braided together as one. They also both lit a Unity Candle in unison. They exchanged vows and also words they had written themselves. Simply lovely. Juanita's daughter Jessie and niece Kim and David's daughter Jen all looked lovely in burgundy gowns.

And then finally we could relax and head leisurely for the hall and have a good time with our friends and celebrate Juanita and David. But I had one more surprise today.

Back when I started walking at CDC, Marty Hirsch was my branch chief and the assistant branch chief was Andrea Stokes. "Andy" always followed the rules and was strict, but sweet and gentle at the same time. I knew she kept in touch with Juanita and Betty, and I wondered earlier if she had come to the wedding.

And when we walked into the banquet hall there she was! My gosh, I must have hugged her about ten times. It was so nice, especially with the reorganization plans going fast and furious and that perplexing SURGE class, to see a friendly face from the past when PGO was such a simple, straightforward organization!!! It turns out her husband Jack died three years ago, but she still lives in the old house in Buckhead. I told her we still have her wedding present, the Bullwinkle counter clock that we had top of our wish list, and that we were so surprised she bought. And she looks so good!!!! I told her she must have a picture in her closet!

We ended up sitting with Juanita's nephew Michael's three youngest kids, Grace, Noah, and Anna. The girls were a little shy, but Noah was a little gentleman, asking me how we knew Juanita, and what my name was. It was obvious the kids were a little bored, but they were quiet and polite and well behaved. They were a joy to have at the table with us. Later John Bouler's sister Carol came to sit with us as well.

It was a swell reception. Juanita did a series of dances with all the members of her family, and there was much snacking and schmoozing and chatting and hugging, and photographing! Shari's cake was lovely, for all that her hands were cramped with arthritis for the rest of the weekend, with a light crumb and a delicious frosting (I usually hate frosting; most of it is too sugary).

And finally after the sun was just set we saw them off with bubbles and finally made our way home, getting into comfy clothes. Shari wanted to get some liquor for baking, so we went to Mink's, and then we stopped at Subway so that she and James could get some supper (the reception had just been "finger foods"). I opted for oatmeal and yogurt, and we sat and relaxed watching Too Cute. We were all so exhausted we were in bed by eleven.

Still wrestling with Schuyler...

This morning we slept in. James made biscuits, and cooked bacon from the Pine Street Market, and we had breakfast at table.

Today we took Shari on the food-lover's tour of Atlanta. :-) We started at the Buford Highway Farmer's Market. As expected, she was intrigued. We had a leisurely two-hour walk around the store, checking out all the cool stuff: sugar loaves from South America, Russian chocolate, Polish canned goods, noodles from Japan (and Korea, China, Indonesia), sauces, fruits, international sodas, Turkish Delight to lamb steaks, sushi to Irish butter. We got some lamb steaks, goat pieces to crock pot, and potstickers to steam, plus odd groceries.

Shari had expressed an interest in seeing a Trader Joe's, so we stopped at the one in Sandy Springs. As we drove in the parking lot, we saw a new store, Penzey's Spices. Yes, an entire store filled with just spices, like you read about in old books! Each spice had a sample container you could sniff, and oh, what a lovely scent the store had. They even had different kinds of spices, like three kinds of cinnamon (the Vietnamese was really strong) and smoked and sweet paprika. Both Shari and James bought some paprika!

Finally Trader Joe's and I was able to get some chicken salad for lunch. Also replenished my chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds. We'd recommended the apple chicken sausage to Shari, but they didn't have any. Phooey. No Christmas goods out yet, and no pumpkin tarts!

But finally we had to get Shari back to the house so she could leave for home. We thought we had all her stuff loaded in her car, but she forgot some of the butter she bought at DeKalb as well as some baked goods, and her leftover lasagna. :-( I know she was enjoying that butter!

Meanwhile, we went to Kroger for milk and a newspaper. James had some soup and I had some of the baguette from Buford...good, but nowhere as good as the Douceur loaf yesterday. We bought salad greens at Buford and chicken strips at Trader Joe's and decided to have that for supper instead of the pot pie. James chopped up the rest of this morning's bacon, and we had that and chicken strips with the greens, mandarin oranges, almond slivers, and chow mein noodles while watching episodes five and six of the Cambridge project on This Old House. We also watched a goofy little Cooking Channel special called Back in Time for Thanksgiving, where two comedians, a man and a woman, learned how to cook and tasted the real foods the Pilgrims would have eaten at "the first Thanksgiving." They liked the turkey and the lobster, but the stewed pumpkin (no sugar nor flour to make pumpkin pie back then!) got a screwed-up face from both of them. They also ate venison, succotash, spinach, and eel pie. Oh, and the latest episodes of Doomsday Preppers and Alaska the Last Frontier.

After all the excitement of the weekend, I'm feeling rather down. I even had Christmas music on while James was cooking. Schuyler has spent the day mostly asleep. I am rapidly using up her medicine because she squirms so! The vet called for a follow-up and says they will give me more if I need it. I want to make her well now! We did play "Olympics" a little with her bell and she has cuddled with Red Bell and pecked at her swing, and she has eaten and drunk, but she doesn't seem happy. I want her to be happy.

Something astonishing happened this morning, though, after we had this morning's tussle over the medicine. A frowsy, fluffled Schuyler was cupped in my hand, and I gently transferred her to my finger. She stayed there. Stayed there long enough for James to come out of the kitchen to see her before she started to look restless and I walked her back to her cage.

The vet said maybe she's "turned over a new wing." Maybe. You don't know my Wild Child. She's a stubborn girl.

But damned if I'm not fool enough to hope so...

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,


» Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Yes, Indeedy!



We Pause Now...

Then come back and read.

Some jotted-down thoughts about books that influenced you as a kid in A Cozy Nook to Read In.

I remember that, when the voting age was still 21, I would have been of age one month after the election, and was happy that they changed it to eighteen. I've voted ever since, including one day when I was so god-awful sick that James went off and got hot soup for me for when I got home. (I think it was a two-hour wait that day.) I'm glad today it was just rain!



» Sunday, November 04, 2012
An Eventful Sunday

Perhaps it's being off that wretched Daylight Savings Time, but I woke up feeling more refreshed than I have in a long while. We were up at nine, had a leisurely breakfast, then ran some errands. First we stopped for a paper, then we went to Lowe's. Part of this was fun; we were there to get cup hooks for a project, but also wandered around looking at the Christmas decorations. Bought more blue C-7 bulbs, a device for picking up small items in tight spaces and also an extendable stick with a magnet at the end, and the Christmas issue of "Country Home" (seeing the price tag on this reminded me painfully why I quit buying this magazine).

Also stopped at CVS so I could get a dressy barrette for Saturday. It started to rain as we drove here, but the shower didn't last long.

Once home, it was time for a project that had been delayed by voyages to Virginia.

Check out this afternoon's chronicle here.

We were good and hungry after all this work. Had some homemade turkey soup with egg noodles and some ice cream for dessert. Finally chilling out and girding our loins for Monday.

Labels: ,


» Saturday, November 03, 2012
Life Is Full of Surprises

It turned out to be an ordinary week back to work: the usual assortment of new orders, modifications to old orders, and learning enough about one order to realize I needed lots, lots more information that had been given to me. It was busy enough that I didn't get to do the usual "Simple Woman's Daybook."

A miracle did occur on Tuesday: TruGreen finally showed up to do the aeration and seeding of the lawn that I paid for in early fall 2009. This has been a comedy of errors and annoyances since then. Now, when I talked to the TruGreen guy earlier this year about finally having this done, he told me we were supposed to water the lawn before they showed up.

However, since no one called before they showed up today, that didn't get done, so I don't even know if the aeration and seeding will work. How jolly. Not.

We also had a rather strange staff meeting. We have a new director who is trying to determine the direction of our upcoming reorganization, and she wants us to define our "vision" for it. My vision doesn't involve reorganization; I don't want to be reorganized. I'm perfectly happy with the people I work with. I just want us to have (1) more help, (2) better equipment (and more supplies, so our clerk doesn't have to dole out three strips of staples instead of a box), and (3) more understanding from the people I do work for (most of them still don't know what it is we have to do to get them the supplies or services they need, and some bitterly resent us "getting in their way"). Those are the biggest problems.

Hallowe'en I just came home, shut off all the lights, and elected to hibernate with James. I'm tired of the whole thing. And it was a very relaxing evening, thank you.

So James tramped off to work this morning, and I got up in time to go to the Farmer's Market. We badly needed vegetables and I knew James wanted some chicken salad and also boiled peanuts. Managed all this, but struck out on goat cheese—the guy forgot to bring any of the plain cheeses.

I came home via Kroger, where I replenished a few things in the larder (like Those Damn Bananas) and found a very pretty artificial pumpkin with a Thanksgiving theme on discount. The Christmas glasses are quite attractive this year—a distressed red, white and green reindeer motif and also one of snowflakes. No goodies on the hot bar yet, however. Also stopped at Publix, which had two essentials on the twofer list: more of my favorite oatmeal, and Campbell's "Naturals" soups. One of the flavors of the "Naturals" is the tomato with basil that we use to make chicken cacciatore. We couldn't find this for a while, so now I'm determined to stock up. It makes the best cacciatore! I bought eight of the "Healthy Heart" version, which has 200g less sodium and more potassium.

Brought the loot home and ate my treat for a late breakfast: a Chicago roll from Publix which I spread with mint butter. (Hey! I'm Italian; bread is a treat!) Also had some yogurt and milk.

Well, next I faced a very unpleasant task. When last we met on the saga of the wedding clothes (see October 14), I had found a nice top and a decent bra. Now I needed a skirt.

I could have sworn there was a Catherine's up at Town Center, so I headed that way. I intended to go there via downtown Marietta, but stupidly headed there through "the ditch," which stuck me on the part of Barrett Parkway that's under construction. Very aggravating. Plus while trying to find the Catherine's, my phone locked up. I had to change batteries in it to get it to go again. And then when it was working again, I discovered all the other Catherine's are on the other side of town. So I plugged "Lane Bryant" into the search and did find them, and ended the mall.

However, I did luck out. I found a nifty skirt. It has an A-line underskirt and then a lighter pleated material on top, so that when I walk it swirls nicely, just like Loretta Young. :-) Well, they had everything in the store on buy-one-get-one, so I was able to get a nice pair of dress pants, too—the saleslady was super-helpful and led me to the pants for short people, so I don't even  have to shorten them! I also bought a pair of tights—$17 for tights!—and a large scarf that can be used as a shawl, in whites and silvers.

So that being over, I could have a little fun. Went over to Yankee Candle where they were having a Christmas open house, and sniffed all the Christmas scents. I had heard they had icicles you could put on your tree which will make the tree smell of Balsam and Cedar, but they had only the cookie scent, which I find a bit nauseating. I did fall in love with the new scent, Peppermint Bark, and also got a Balsam and Cedar decoration for the car. I was amused to discover they had a line of Sound of Music scents, based on "My Favorite Things": Whiskers on Kittens, Bright Copper Kettles, Warm Woolen Mittens, and Brown Paper Packages Tied Up in String. The scents were rather pleasing, but I wasn't tempted.

I also stopped at Barnes & Noble. I didn't expect the Christmas issue of "Victorian Homes" to be out yet, but it was, and I also got a British magazine called simply "The Christmas Magazine." Not only that, but I walked down to CD Warehouse to see what was new in used DVDs. I found a copy of the Christmas drama, The Gathering, on a commercial DVD! I didn't realize one had been released. Long ago there was a commercial VHS, and you can get the movie and its sequel from the Warner Archive "on Demand," but I've only seen bootleg versions of DVDs on places like eBay (where they go for $75-$85!). Apparently this was released last year. Very glad to find it, and it was only $5.

Stopped for gasoline on the way home, and know at some point I'm going to have to get something else fixed in the car: we noticed on the way home from Virginia that the air conditioner is not always coming on properly. Today I noticed that if the car was idling at a light, the air coming out of the vents was warm and the car rough idled off and on; it only ran properly if I was actually driving.

Finally arrived home, had some lunch, ran the vacuum, and watched a streaming movie on Netflix, the Truman Capote story One Christmas, with Henry Winkler as Buddy's flimflamming dad. (My first reaction: oh, my God, his father was Scott Sherwood....)

When James got home, we had supper at Panera and then went to Hobby Lobby. A nice lady gave us coupons she didn't use, and I got the loveliest piece of Zweigart linen for cross-stitching. Also found a new brand of embroidery floss, "Artiste," that had some colors that were like the DMC Color Combinations, but in a couple of combinations DMC didn't use, especially a neat purple mixture.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,