Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.

 Contact me at theyoungfamily (at) earthlink (dot) net

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» Sunday, March 31, 2013
Easter Outing

Happiness is sleeping late followed by biscuits for breakfast. James put some ground flaxseed in them and they looked as if they were whole wheat. I had them with mint butter and a glass of milk. Yum. Did a couple of surveys on the computer while I was eating.

We headed out about noon just as the grey, swollen sky started to spatter rain. We ran into a terrible accident just as we started out, at Powder Springs and Macland, between a small car and a police car, although it looked as if something/someone else was involved because there wasn't enough damage on the small car to have caused all that damage to the police car.

By the time we'd made our way up Macland Road and east on Lost Mountain/Mars Hill, it was raining in earnest. I grabbed my Books-a-Million coupon (20 percent off entire purchase) and just ran; James fished around for his umbrella and then didn't have to dash.

Goodness...spent over an hour just looking around. I decided to pick up the Dime Store mystery book that I had passed up at Barnes & Noble yesterday (I haven't read the first one, which is why I was reluctant to pick up the second), plus found an Ann Rinaldi historical I didn't have, and a neat-looking fantasy called The Apothecary. And since it was twenty percent off, I bought a remaindered copy of The Pioneer Woman. Plus I found a spiffing coffee table book called Legacies: Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian which was $8 after the coupon!

James didn't find any books he wanted, but did buy the TARDIS cookie jar. We've been looking and looking at it.

The clouds were still low, but the rain had stopped, by the time we emerged. We decided to go home a different way, through Acworth Due West Road, a bit of Dallas Highway, and then West Sandtown to Macland and home. We enjoyed it. Lost Mountain/Mars Hill used to be mostly country or country homes, but there are several large shopping centers on it now. The only "big" thing on Acworth Due West is a Baptist church and a couple of small shopping centers. Plus, by coming home this way, we went right past the Avenue at West Cobb and Barnes & Noble, where I picked up Shopping, Seduction and Mr. Selfridge with my other coupon. The Masterpiece Theatre production of this story is on tonight, the story of Henry Selfridge, an American who started one of Great Britain's most well-known department stores.

Finally, the nicest part of Easter: after changing clothes I put on the Addie Mills story, The Easter Promise, in which a former Clear River [Nebraska] resident returns to her old home town. Twelve year old Addie is thrilled to learn she is a famous stage actress and she and her friends take the woman flowers to welcome her home. But Constance Payne has problems that the girls don't understand and Addie's on her way to being disappointed by her actions. Not quite as good as the first two stories [The House Without A Christmas Tree and The Thanksgiving Treasure], but a nice period piece.

I followed this with Here Comes Peter Cottontail, my favorite of the three Rankin-Bass Easter stories, in which Peter must redeem himself after losing the faith of the residents of April Valley. The baddie here is the voice of Vincent Price as the evil rabbit January Q. Irontail; Price plays him with delightful over-the-top relish, with in-jokes tossed in from some of his horror movies. Danny Kaye is the narrator and it's full of luscious bright color.

James made lamb steaks finished with One Screw Loose's balsamic onion jelly for supper with rice on the side. It was quite delicious, and we watched It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown, a slight entry in the "Peanuts" cartoon series. Fed-up Woodstock demands a dryer home from Snoopy, who buys him a succession of bird houses, while a running gag follows Peppermint Patty's efforts to teach Marcie how to color eggs, since her bespectacled buddy does everything but boil the eggs in their shell—they're fried, baked, made into soup, etc., and Linus promises the Easter Beagle will bring colored eggs. The funniest gag is Charles Schultz's not-so-sly dig at commercialism: the kids go into a department store to buy Easter supplies and the store is already decorated for Christmas!

Now it's time for Series 2 of Call the Midwife and then Mr. Selfridge.

[Later—I am loving Selfridge. Over the top quite a bit, but just a look at a classic department store is worth it. Many of the department stores I was taken into as a child still had the old wooden-and-glass showcases and the drawers and boxes behind the counter in wooden shelving units. I particularly remember the old Kresge store on Westminster Street, and the tiny little Bunn's department store right around the corner of Cranston Street, although these memories are very dim. I remember Bunn's would be rather dark on cloudy days, as there were no fluorescent lights in the store and they relied on skylights to supplant the store lights. I remember handkerchief counters at Kresge's, and a corner there where they had inexpensive toys, cheap, windup things.] 

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» Saturday, March 30, 2013
Happy But Sleepy

After a nice Friday, it was simply too annoying not to sleep well last night. I had two dreadful what I call "nagging dreams," where something is wrong and I need to fix it, but don't know how, and it just nags and nags until I wake up. I woke up another time for a completely unrelated issue, and then because I had a bad stomachache, and then early because it was just so warm outside, even with the fan pointed directly on me, that I couldn't sleep. My head ached and my nose was all stuffed; evidently the pollen is already up and at 'em. My ears were ringing all day.

We went to the Farmer's Market to get more chicken salad, bacon, and dog biscuits, and would have headed directly to Hair Day, had not James forgotten our contribution, succotash out of Bobby Deen's cookbook. This is an odd duck; to me succotash is corn and beans. This also has tomato, onions, and turkey bacon. James waited outside while I ducked in the Kroger on Macland Road to get the bread I couldn't find last night.

We had a nice time at Hair Day. Juanita and Jessie could only pop in for a while, but after a while we had a houseful. We were able to stay until two, when we had to hit the road and go across town to the Marlay House for this month's Brittrack get-together. We had a small enough crowd that we could sit in the "snug" at the rear, but a large enough crowd to bat around stories and have a good time. I had a lovely cup of beef and barley soup, followed by the lamb stew, which I had to savor because they don't serve it in the spring and summer and it will be off the menu by next week. James went traditional and had "bangers and mash." It was a great time, and we were all reluctant to leave even at six o'clock.

The rain predicted for later tonight started to spatter on our way home; it had been bright sun as we drove to Decatur, to the point where James got sunburned, but when we emerged it was finally cooler, breezy, and cloudy. An hour or so later it was raining in earnest, and—once again, blotted out a brand new Doctor Who not long after we'd started watching it! Blasted rain always comes at the wrong time! I've set all the repeats to record, so hopefully we'll get an intact copy, although we did get to see the last twenty minutes in standard definition.

For the rest of the night we had on The Ten Commandments, one of those they-don't-make-'em-like-this-anymore films, with expansive, over-the-top performances. The special effects, like the pillar of fire and the snake/staff, are amusingly animated these days, but there's still a magnificence about it.

And now that it's nearly midnight, I will go to put the Easter flag up. It has a cross on it and I don't like to put it up until after the proper hour.

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» Friday, March 29, 2013
In Contemplation

I shouldn't have slept late, but my body craved it so. Finally woke at ten and had to skip breakfast in order to get to Walmart. James needed BreatheRight strips, and I wanted to get a new thistle sock and two new pants' hangers for the new jeans I got at BJs. I couldn't find one thistle sock in two different Walmarts, but I did get the other things. (I also bought bananas there because I'm sick of walking into Kroger and Publix and finding only green ones.) At the second Walmart I also picked up a new tray to use for the bird cage when we go on vacation, since the old one is now providing storage space for my lunchbox and carry bag in my new tiny cubicle.

But I did make it home before noon and grabbed some breakfast so I could sit and do my devotions for Good Friday. I've done this for the past couple of years and like the spiritual calm it gives me. First I listened to the six "Lent Talks" that BBC radio does each year. This year's theme was "abandonment," and, as always, there were varied speakers. Alexander McCall Smith, the author, was one, as was an Imam. I was particularly intrigued by the story of Benjamin Cohen, who was raised in a Jewish neighborhood but attended a Christian school. Every year they would do a Christmas pageant without realizing who all the characters were. He feared abandonment by his religion when he came out, but his synagogue accepted him.

After the Lent Talks, I did the Bible readings for the day: the first reading was from Isaiah 52:13-53:12, and the second from Hebrews 4:14-16 and 5:7-9. The Gospel was John 18:1-19:42.

Finally I put on David Huntsinger's "Autumn in New England" album very low and read Madeleine L'Engle's And It Was Good, the first book in her "Genesis Trilogy." I really enjoy her religious nonfiction.

And, just to prove chores don't stop, not even on Good Friday, I needed to take Willow out and then vacuumed the carpet. I hadn't finished before James arrived home early.

We had supper at Hibachi Grill, then went over to Barnes & Noble with fifteen percent off coupons. They had the Blu-Ray of the first Hobbit movie for a ridiculous discount, so I got that as well as the third of Jennifer Worth's midwife books. (I chickened out on getting the second one, which emphasizes the workhouse patients; it's simply too sad.) I also got a lovely new cross-stitch magazine with pretty blackwork patterns.

And then we did the shopping because I didn't think the supermarkets would be open on Sunday, but we will need to go back to Kroger because they didn't have any buns for my lunch.

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» Monday, March 25, 2013
Hangin' Out With My Baby

What is so rare as sleeping almost until ten?

We probably wouldn't have, but we stayed up late last night watching those three first episodes of Edwardian Farm. That show is like peanuts.

(If you're wondering why I am home, it's because James worked on Saturday. I took leave today so we could have two days off together.)

It would have been a good day to stay home and hibernate. It barely made it out of the 30s, and the wind was whipping around corners like it was at Churchill Downs. However, we needed mushrooms and "particle board bars," as James calls the Nature Valley granola bars, so we headed to Costco via Chick-Fil-A. James had a free oatmeal courtesy their yearly calendar coupons, plus a gift card he got from work, so we both had breakfast for $1.24.

Had a nice walk around Costco; in addition to our original purchases, we also stocked up on bath soap and Breathe Rights, and I was bad: bought the Jurassic Park Blu-Ray set. I'd rather just get the first and the third movie, since Jurassic Park-The Lost World is such a loser of a film (the only thing it has going for it is Jeff Goldblum, and even he can't save the stupidity of the plot). I also picked up Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, a new Australian television show based on the 1920s Australia-based Phryne Fisher mystery novels.

Phryne (that's pronounced "Fry-nee") is a honey of a heroine. She was brought up poor in Australia until her father inherited a title in England; therefore she became "the Honorable Phryne" and filthy rich. Phryne lives the flapper dream: gorgeous clothes and nice digs, with a husband-and-wife butler/cook team, a ladies' maid she rescued from a sexually-aggressive boss, two adopted daughters, Jane and Ruth, rescued from a rapacious foster mother, a pair of cab drivers who help her with cases, and a succession of male lovers. She can fight, shoot, fly, and drives a zippy Hispano-Suiza motorcar. Bored with society life, Phryne served in an ambulance brigade in the First World War, where she met Dr. Elizabeth McMillan, a Scot who fought hard to become a physician in an Edwardian man's world, who is still a friend. Now back in Australia, she serves as a private investigative agent when a case piques her fancy. The books are slightly outrageous, full of action, and always a little saucy, like their protagonist.

(I haven't read all the rest of the books—the stores here don't sell them and the library has only three—but it looks as if the series has changed the plot line a bit. Phryne now has a missing sister with the same name as her adopted daughter [Ruth is left out] and Mrs. Butler is also missing in action. She meets Jane in a different situation as in the books, and there's an aunt that I'd never heard of in the books. Of course, perhaps it comes in a book I haven't read. Anyway, I still look forward to the series. I love a good period piece!)

Anyway, we had nothing else to do, so we came home. While James worked on cleaning the kitchen, I went into the master bath and tackled that odious shower stall, which had hard-water stains. Even though I have several extendable scrubbing implements which are supposed to make this easier, I still had to get on my knees and scrub the floor. I felt a great kinship with Ruth in Edwardian Farm, who in part one had to get down on her knees and scrub a stone floor!

But then we watched Jurassic Park with all the trimmings. There was a new documentary in three parts, with most of the cast members, including Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards "all grown up." Sam Neill is still looking "mighty fine." :-) I read some very bad reviews about this set, especially about the disc of the original film, due to picture and sound quality. Except for a couple of grainy dark scenes, I found the picture superior to the DVD, and the sound was so good the poor dog was frightened out of her wits every time a dinosaur roared.

James made buckwheat pancakes and chicken apple sausage for supper and we watched a new Antiques Roadshow, the Lassie episode "Father," and finally a great Castle revolving around Seamus Deaver's Kevin Ryan character that painted him in quite a different light.

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» Sunday, March 24, 2013
Once Upon a Mattress

It rained during the night, making a somnolent background noise as we curled under our blankets in Dreamland. My phone stayed dark and we were wrapped in sleep until ten. I did a quick clean of the bathroom sinks with James' help and swept our continually shed hair from the floor, then distributed my pills in their little compartments before hastily getting dressed and swallowing oatmeal and yogurt. But we'd run out of time and I had to eat my peanut butter sandwich as James drove to the Galleria. We were on our way to the Spring Home Show!

Even though it was still a bit raw out, we left our jackets in the truck; too much trouble to wear them inside, and a good thing we did, as it was pretty warm inside. We joined the queue, used our coupons, collected all the freebies, and then stepped inside.

It was the usual Home Show that has been evolving over the years. No carpet cleaners or maid services at all this year, and only two spice vendors, with no specialty food vendors as used to be at the Home Shows fifteen years ago. Still lots of stuff we can't afford: elaborate backyard redos with with stone patios and Trex decks populated with huge grills and smokers and fine looking furniture, jacuzzi tubs, beveled glass front doors, water features, backyard makeovers, etc. Two different cookware demonstrations, plus the gentleman with the pressure cookers which tempted James sorely, and other demonstrations went on, plus there were HVAC companies and insulation installers, water purifiers and even things as simple as high-threadcount sheets and jewelry cleaners.

One of the most numerous sellers there were the different mattress companies and this was one of the reasons we were here.

That big old Beautyrest mattress of ours has just become too heavy for us to manage. Every time we change the bed we have to struggle with it, and even though the sheets I bought say they are for "deep" mattresses, we both twist and turn so much in bed that we have to fasten the sheets down. The last time we changed the bed we grunted, groaned, and hurt our backs as always.

The folks we talked to last year were right out in front. They sell a memory foam mattress just like a Temperpedic, but I recall liking them because they were a bit less expensive, and also because they are made from a soy-based material. We tried our all three types of mattresses, soft, medium, and hard, just like Goldilocks in the house of the three bears, waffled back and forth a bit, then made a decision.

We bought the firmest one, because we are used to firm, and we also decided to go "whole hog" and also get the adjustable version. Face it: we are getting no younger and we need to take care of our bodies more. The adjustable head should work better for us than the wedgies, which we often slide off of, and perhaps help with James' sleep apnea, and will be useful if we have allergy problems or a head cold. I'm thinking the adjustable foot might help with his restless leg syndrome, too. The mattress itself is warrantied for 23 years, and a new one is provided if it gets a dip in it, and the adjustable mechanism is warrantied for twenty years.

We got a 24-months-same-as-cash deal, put a down payment on, and, saps we are, bought a memory foam dog bed for Willow, too. Screw it, she's fifteen and deserves a bit of comfort (though we know she'll be sleeping on James' chair for as long as she can). Now we just have to wait for it; they say it takes about three weeks.

After a three-hour walk around the show floor, we were pretty pooped and very hungry. We decided to go by Panera and pick up a bruschetta penne dish each with a cup of luscious chicken soup, so very much like a Sunday Italian dinner. By the time we got home the smell was quite making our mouth water—except we'd forgotten we had to stop and get a newspaper. So back we went to Publix for a paper before we could sit down and eat, watching two new episodes of Rehab Addict with a nice dessert of a slice of chocolate loaf cake with a bit of ReddiWhip on top, before I popped something new on the television PC.

Yes, don't faint, but we finally watched the Doctor Who Christmas episode, "The Snowmen" (which I have in its entirety thanks to Jack Mayfield; yay, Jack!). Once again, the Doctor is mooning over a missing companion. Still strikes me as odd. However, this one was much more fun than the last, with the Doctor's alien sidekicks. Enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes references, and I saw some Mary Poppins references there as well. Plus a mystery involving new companion Clara!

And best of sharks!

Next, I popped on the first three episodes of Edwardian Farm. This will be a long series, twelve one-hour episodes, lots of historical goodness with the same team as in Victorian Farm, Ruth Goodman, Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn. This time they are in Devon bringing a vintage farm back to life, this one near a quay where they get regular shipments, raising chickens, sheep, and beautiful red cattle. My back hurt just watching Ruth scrub that stone floor in the cottage kitchen! In the first part we watched them make quicklime for fertilizing the acid soil and learn to manage a team of lovely Shire horses, and put together the sheep and cattle herds. In the second part cider was pressed, the flock of chickens expanded, salt pork made, and Hallowe'en celebrated (with many ghost stories). In part three, November, they dip into possibly using an early tractor and other gasoline engines, clean the privy (ah! no wonder they used whitewash; it was made from lime and killed germs), start a piggery, attempt a fish hatchery, and work a trip hammer. (Look, baby trout!)

Acton Scott Historic Working Farm (from Victorian Farm)

Morwellham Quay (site of Edwardian Farm)

Manor Farm (site of the World War II-set series Wartime Farm)

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» Saturday, March 23, 2013
If You Give a Linda a Wake-Up Call...

Ohhhh...after a week of 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. wake up calls, I was so looking forward to this morning to sleep in. Unfortunately James had to go to work this morning, but at least he got to sleep until 6:45 rather than six.

The weather was predicted as being miserable, so I wasn't surprised when I got up for a "pit stop" that everything was grey and dark outside, perfect for sleeping. As I shambled back to the bed, drowsy-eyed, I noticed my phone was on. It does turn on in the mornings, so I shut it off and got back into bed, turned Phone on again.

Now, I have Timeriffic turn the ringer of the phone off at night, so when I looked at the phone a second time I realized I'd gotten a phone call. From James. He'd locked himself out of his truck and the keys to his desk were on his keychain. As he signed off, thunder pealed and I checked the phone. Oh, wonderful. Tornado warning.

In a few minutes I was dressed, only to find Willow tucked up tight near the gate (presumably because of the thunder). But I had to leave her to take poor Twilight out in the pouring rain. The windshield wipers beat a boring accompaniment.

So I got to the building and James got his keys, and I was headed home and back to bed until I thought...Easter cards. Publix has cards on sale. So I turned back to the store. They had several other things on twofer as well, and a box of bargain books at the front of the store. I rooted inside and found The Great Upheaval for myself, a gift  book, and a board book copy of P.D. Eastman's Are You My Mother?, which I adored as a little girl, with the cute baby bird and I thought little Jack Wallace across the street might like it.

I also went to two more Publixes (Publi?) for cards and then came home. Hm. It was only 10:30; I could write out the cards and then mail them. So I did that, and realized I needed at least three more cards. So I printed out and then took the address list, plus the pens, the stamps and the return address labels with me, went to the Publix on Macland Road for the cards (and found dessert for next week to boot: Entemann loaf cakes were twofer this week—yum, chocolate pound cake) and wrote them out in the car, then drove down Powder Springs Road to the downtown Marietta post office to mail them.

Well, since I was downtown...there are two new books I am dying to read, but they are both in hardback (Age of Edison and On Looking), so I thought "I'll try the library." As always, I was disappointed; the library only seems to get new books when they are best-sellers and all that chick-lit nonsense. However, I was amazed to find a Richard Lederer book in the stacks that I had never read (how'd that happen?), and I also picked up what looks like a humorous book on pronunciation, so I did  not leave the library empty-handed. (I could have come home with more; they had a book about Edward VII and Queen Alexandra I'd never seen either.) In addition, I picked up a mystery book I'd enjoyed as a Christmas gift for a friend; the Marietta library, like the Smyrna library, now has a standing set of shelves with books for sale. This was brand new and perfect.

So since I was coming home that way anyway, I stopped at Aldi for a gallon of milk and also got some bread for toast (toast mania continues), and then, finally, stopped at Kroger for gasoline and then really did go home. By then it was almost two o'clock! I had some toast for lunch with a glass of milk, answered a bunch of surveys on the computer—I know I get points for these things, but dang, they aggravate me, asking stupid things like how I "feel" about my credit card; seriously, guys, I use it, I pay it off, I gotta "feel" something about it, too? How stupid!—and then was so sleepy as the clock ticked by three that I gave Schuyler a kiss and told her I was going to take a nap.

I remember waking once, about 4:15, thinking I ought to get up, but I hadn't slept on my left side yet...that futon is miiiiiighty comfortable, I tell ya. It calls your name. "Warm and woozy, soft and snoozy..." So the next thing I knew it was 5:30 and James was home.

As we were going out the door, I noticed Kristie and the family were outside, so I grabbed the little book and took it to Jack. He's so cute!

We had supper at Panera. James tried their new bruschetta pasta and said it was really good; they cooked the pasta properly and didn't turn it into mush. We also stopped by Publix on the way home because I had forgotten to pick up a Passover card, but after that there wasn't much else to do, so we came home. Watched an episode of Lassie ("The Brat"), an old episode of Flipping Boston, and last week's Elementary.

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» Sunday, March 17, 2013
Spring Arrives for the Weekend

Yeah, I know. Yuck. Spring has finally arrived. It went up to the high 70s on Saturday, but it was saved by a nice breeze. Slightly cooler today and clouds keeping the glare from our eyes. The Bradford pear trees have seemingly exploded in blooms overnight and form huge snowballs on their stocky trunks.

Anyway, my compressed Friday off was a great relief, as I have been exhausted by all the changes at work. I slept in until nine and would certainly have gone longer had I not wanted to fritter a day off sleeping. Believe me, I was tempted, as I am awakened by creaking knees and hurting hips several times a night.

I spent the day cleaning house and dubbing off a couple of things on the DVR that I'd recorded for James, Toward the Unknown (with William Holden, the story of a disgraced Air Force pilot who was "broken" by the Koreans and now no one thinks he can be trusted, so when he claims there is a structural problem in a new plane, no one believes him) and Thunder Birds, a World War II film with Preston Foster. I discovered that when I record standard ratio films (4:3) off TCM, I need to record off the standard def channel, not the high def one, as the pictures are small when recorded through the DVD recorder (which isn't high def). If he wants a decent copy of Toward the Unknown (lots of military jets), he's going to have to buy it from TCM's shop. I finally vacuumed those damn stairs, cleaned the bathrooms a bit, swept the kitchen, put a bunch of stuff away, and listened to the Cadfael story Monk's Hood on BBC Radio 4, and felt aggravated that I didn't get more done. There's a boxful of books downstairs that needs to be shelved, at least!

James was home a little early after having a doctor's appointment, so we went to Red Lobster since we could make it just in time to order lunch. Never figured out why I can get scallops easily at lunch and for supper it's like pulling teeth. We also stopped at Michael's with a coupon, dropped in at Dollar Tree (stocked up on more Pears' soap), and finally treated ourselves to ice cream at Bruster's.

Oh, yeah, and I gave Willow a bath. She behaved pretty well and didn't squirm as much as usual. It's just hard on my knees and my back to lean over the tub, especially when I'm pretty much rooted to one spot due to the toilet being so close. But she's clean now for Sunday, which is her fifteenth birthday.*

Saturday was the Farmer's Market, and a nice day for it; we had to abandon our jackets by the time we got downtown. We bought cucumbers, tomatoes, a pot roast pot pie for Sunday, and goat cheese. When I got to the Big Daddy dog biscuit booth, I decided to try their new gluten-free cookie, made with garbanzo beans and flavored with several things including banana and cinnamon. When I told the proprietor that Willow was going to be fifteen, she tossed in a big shamrock-shaped dog biscuit for free!

We also did the shopping at Kroger after having breakfast at Chick-Fil-A (yay, oatmeal!). They were waxing the concrete part of the floor and the person doing the waxing had not finished, leaving big glops of brown-stained wax all over the floor. By the time we were picking up our last items, the smell of the stuff was making me queasy, so was very glad to check out and go home. Wish they would have done it earlier, when fewer people were in the store.

James headed off for his club meeting in the afternoon, and I had intended to at least go get gasoline, plus go to the bank to see if my new debit card worked (I accidentally used the old one before going to the Farmer's Market and was soundly told "Card has expired!"). But I ended up doing more chores, including vacuuming the bedrooms, plus working on a wallpaper for James' e-reader. Soon he'd arrived home and we were headed out for a treat: dinner at the Colonnade and then a night out at the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company's performance of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

The Colonnade was crowded as always, but we had an efficient waiter and were served promptly. I had the turkey as always, but James decided to have the short ribs, a favorite of some of our friends. Alas, the cook was a bit off tonight and James finally asked the waiter to take it away, as it was overcooked in some parts and greasy. Instead he had the turkey, which sat much better.

We arrived at the Academy Theatre early enough to have a nice chat with Daniel and Clair, both who have had colds, and John Campbell, before it was time for the performance. The opening play was Visions of Vampires, a production we had seen the end of during our Sunday at AnachroCon. James was iffy on it, but I enjoyed it, including the running gag about watercolors vs. oils. The part of the play in which a spirit spoke through a living man was quite scary; I saw a few people get up and leave.

20,000 Leagues was excellent! They solved the problem of this being an all-male story by making Professor Arronax's assistant Conseil his niece, Christine, and also cast a woman as the navigator of the Nautilus. David Benedict captured Captain Nemo's suppressed rage well, and Ned Land was just a big, brusque Canadian rather than an over-the-top Kirk Douglas type. (I did joke to Daniel Kiernan that I missed him singing "Whale of a Tale" and he replied with a straight face that the sea lion never showed up—if you've seen the impressive Disney version of this tale, you'll understand.) 20,000 Leagues has a good deal of exposition and scientific theory, and the script balanced this and the human drama well.

[Left to right: Daniel S. Taylor, Clair Kiernan, Daniel Kiernan, Ron Zukowski,  Dave Schroeder]

Afterwards there was a cake served out in the lobby area, an extraordinary piece of work. The main cake part was made to look like a book, and the top had the squid and the nose of the Nautilus bursting from it with a neat effect, the "cover" curled back with pages of print showing! Both squid and Nautilus were edible.

An uneventful ride home and then on chat for about an hour; by the time one o'clock came I was wiped and could have easily fallen into bed without a shower.

This morning came too early, but breakfast was leisurely. We finally headed out about 11:30 to BJ's for a stock-up trip, as we needed Chex, Mandarin oranges, AAA batteries, and Lysol, and also had some good coupons. I squeaked when I saw the final bill, but really, we didn't buy anything we didn't need, plus I found two pairs of Gloria Vanderbilt "Amanda" jeans in my size and length, a nice cafe au lait color as well as in a dark chocolate brown. They had special "spring" colors, too, in eye-popping pink, yellow, and polka dot, but I avoided those. Sadly, they didn't have the pretty grey ones in my size.

We came home by Publix intending just to get money (the new debit card did work), but found several twofers, including cut watermelon, that notched the bill up a bit. I'm very relieved this weekend is over from a spending point of view, especially after needing to buy gasoline as well! (We took Willow with us as a treat, but she only looked anxious. I suppose I can't blame her, as mostly when she goes for a ride in the car she's either going to the vet or on vacation, neither which she likes!)

I figured it was time to do the taxes. I usually do them right after I get both W-2s, but James's never showed up because his company has taken on a new billing service. We discovered why when they gave him a new printout of it: they had our old address on it! Honestly, we have been here seven years! What old records did they get into? I also decided after last year that I was not going to pay for a TurboTax CD anymore. There is no way our deductions, even with the mortgage payments, are adding up to give us a higher total than the standard deduction for a married couple, and it's just not worth the trouble. I just had to decide on which website I wanted to do the tax return; ended up going to TurboTax because they would file both Federal and State. Still had to pay for the State, of course, but it was less than the price of the TurboTax software, even at one of the buying clubs with a coupon! It took about an hour and at the end of it James had supper finished (the pot-roast pot pie and a salad) and we could go on to happier things, watching the final part of the "dollar house" reconstruction we'd started over the weekend on Rehab Addict, a great episode of one of my favorites, Flipping Boston (Peter and Dave redo a house—in the midst of a seemingly endless series of snowstorms—for a friend who lost a leg in a car accident), and finally Lab-mix, Ibizian hound, and the cutest Pomeranian puppies ever on Too Cute.

Willow had wet dog food for her birthday dinner and then was allowed to lick out the bowl the watermelon pieces were in, and then for dessert was given that huge shamrock cookie. She tried valiantly, but couldn't finish it. Ah, well, there's always tomorrow. (Schuyler glared at her so when she saw Willow with the cookie that I gave her a sprig of millet!)

* We actually don't know when Willow was whelped. We got her on the last week of May, and they told us she was ten weeks old, so I counted back to a date I could remember. :-)  Schuyler has the same deal: she was just a new baby when I bought her on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, so I counted back a month and picked out another date I could remember (April 23, St. George's Day and Shakespeare's birthday).

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Happy Birthday, Willow!
Willow is fifteen today!

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» Thursday, March 14, 2013
Busy Is as Busy Does
It was a rather frantic week. Monday and Tuesday we had day-long meetings with the Pittsburgh branch in order to integrate us both to the same methodology. We had some very lively conversation, especially about that "dollar-based" checkbox on the supplies and services screen!

Plus Monday it rained, a big nasty gullywasher of rain, and it took me eighty minutes to get home. Still, I was better off than the co-worker who lives up near Lake Lanier, a 50-60 minute drive on a nice clear day; it took him three hours to get home.

Wednesday was the first day we actually worked in the new office, but this was problematic because we still had no printer/scanner set up and the fax machine, though connected, didn't work. We could do backwork, of course, phone calls and all that, but no printing unless you had a personal desk printer. Well, they'd taken most of our desk printers away to cut costs (not have to buy ink for the thirsty buggers), and I'd never had one, but a co-worker did nicely let me print out one thing. I tried to log in on Tamera's computer and use her printer (she was in class), but it wouldn't accept my Smart Card. This is the problem with having specialized units; in the old days if my computer didn't work, I could log on to someone else's and get stuff done.

Thursday I teleworked and zipped through a lot of e-mails, but had to go in for a meeting. At the end of the meeting, the Branch Chief asked if anyone had any happy personal news, and I said, "Our dog turns fifteen on Sunday!" Yes, Willow is turning fifteen. Sometimes 1998 seems like yesterday. Since we had the meeting, I had to work about 45 minutes later than usual, but I got some more e-mails out and some small things printed. Yay!

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» Sunday, March 10, 2013
Spring Forward and Sleep

Since, by the new time reckoning, it was after three when we got to bed, I wasn't enamored of getting up at 9:30, but instead snuggled down for another hour. Had breakfast of oatmeal and then tried the Greek yogurt. The coffee flavor is still way too bitter; sure makes me miss the wonderful Cafe au Lait flavor Yoplait Whips used to have.

So we went to Kroger sometime after eleven, walked in the door—and damn if every single banana wasn't green. A real greeny green, as Seymour Sassafrass would say, but I didn't peel them to see if the insides were green, too. Bet they were hard, though! The produce guy said that was all they got was green ones. A lady nearby shook her head at me: "Don't go to Publix; they're green there, too." Geez. Not only that, but all winter there have been alternatives: peaches, plums, nectarines. Not a single one around today. I got Granny Smiths instead. We also found beef bits for tomorrow's dinner and some pork steaks for Tuesday, regular yogurt, milk, a cucumber, two ears of corn, and a couple of dollar frozen dinners (yeah, I'm doing the Michaelina's pepper beef rice again, despite the one ounce of meat in it; it'll do for a lunch).

Put up the groceries and then went out for just a little bit to Barnes & Noble. I did finally find this year's "Country Sampler" Home Tour edition, and turned up a cool trivia book of obscure facts from other countries to use my coupon on. James used his on a gift. We only stayed out about an hour, and we arrived home around three. I tossed some clothes in the washer and then put away the winter decorations. Away went the winter village and the snowmen and the polar bears and the snow candles, away went the children holding up their arms to the sparkling snowflakes scattered about them and the soft snowmen and the blinking snowman and the Arctic animals, away went the snow garlands and the snow flakes and the skating sparrows. I even cleaned off the last of the Christmas gifts from near the hearth and now it is all fall again at the fireplace and on the etagere (including little "Molly Moo" and her fall  bouquet) and on the television stand and on the foyer divider. The St. Joseph's altar is on the china cabinet, some spring things on the table and the console, including my cutie sheep with the butterfly on her head, rabbits and sheep and eggs in the foyer jockeying for attention with a fall bouquet and moose, lilacs over one door arch and blue petunias over the deck door.

By the time I finished all this (and ended up forgetting the three decorations on the secretary, so they're sitting next to the winter boxes) it was dinner time. I warmed the clam chowder, which was so thick in the can it wouldn't even dump out, and the milk very slowly so the milk wouldn't boil. It made a huge bowl even with only half a can of skim milk, but I didn't have lunch and ate it up with oyster crackers tooth and toenail: potato chunks and lots of nice clams. It obviously wasn't Shoney's clam chowder, that's for sure! Yum!

Watched that show The Food Hospital hoping for some tips about my indigestion, but I don't eat most of the foods that were causing that one woman's problems, except for the milk, and I'm not giving up my milk. I don't drink anything besides water except for milk, and I do love it. It's one of the few things that doesn't give me indigestion, along with oatmeal and French bread. For the remainder of the night we've been watching Wild West Alaska, a crazy series about an Alaskan gun store and its employees, including a girl named Phred.

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» Saturday, March 09, 2013
Sleepy Near Smyrna

No Farmer's Market items needed. Sleeping late: priceless.

After walking the dog and having breakfast, James headed out to the model show that was being held at a local lodge. A few minutes later I headed downstairs with my keys, but first went on the porch and took down all the winter decorations. Easter's only twenty days away now, and it's supposed to be almost 70°F tomorrow, so I guess it's time. I put the wreath back up but need to take the artificial birds off; they are spoilt and faded by the sun. The spring flag with its tulips and all the sheep and cow figures are back on the porch as well. Since I was in the garage anyway, I swept the empty half. Still have to get the inside stuff.

Then finally I could go off to Office Max to look for something that would make tiny cubicle life a bit easier. Unfortunately all OM seems to have is stuff to put on your desk, and I don't have a lot of horizontal space left. I did get some cubicle clips, which are sharp pins combined with plastic clips which can be used to hang things from the fabric of the cubicle walls. I did find a small surge protector on discount that we can use when going on vacation.

So I went out to Wally World. Folks say "Oh, you shouldn't go to Walmart; they chase out small businesses." "They use all Chinese stuff." But Walmart never lets me down, either. I found a nice little whiteboard I can put on the side of the cubicle to show when I am off on a compressed day or annual leave, and also another board that I got cheaply because it was dented. They also had more cubicle clips that were combination clips/hooks. The rest of my shopping bag was rather eclectic: two pants hangers to replace ones in the closet, a finch thistle seed sock, a new tube of toothpaste for work, and some kettle chips as a treat. I was looking for over the door hooks, but when I found some, I didn't know if they'd fit snugly over the side of a cubicle.

I also need something to put my carry bag and my lunch bag on, since I wasn't allowed to take my second rolling file cabinet, which I previously used for that task. I thought about a small bookcase or a short DVD tower, but didn't want to spend that much, and also of a wooden TV tray. I have decided I will take the TV tray that is downstairs, the one we use to put Schuyler's cage on when we go on vacation. If it works out I will just buy another one.

James called to say he was on his way home as I left Walmart. I stopped at Kroger for gasoline, then went home myself.

For the rest of the afternoon we went out to East Cobb. I was looking forward to stopping at Trader Joe's to get some of my favorite chicken salad, and was dismayed to discover that they have quit making it. They still have the Wine Country chicken salad, but not the one with the currants and almonds. Phooey. We did get some chicken and apple sausage, a dinner for James when he works Saturday in two weeks, some dessert treats, oyster crackers, and a can of clam chowder that I intended having for supper tonight. But after we left Trader Joe's and stopped briefly at Michael's, where I used my coupon on some cheap dry-erase markers, we went up to the Johnson Ferry Walmart in a fruitless effort to see if they still carried the Hood's Calorie Countdown chocolate milk, which we had not been able to find at our regular Walmart the last two trips. I did, however, find some Greek yogurt that is coffee flavor with dark chocolate chips in it. Okay. Willing to try anything once, especially as Greek yogurt is supposed to be better for you. This Walmart was next to an IHOP, so we had dinner there instead. We tried the senior pork chop dinner, which was a little disappointing. Ken's Hometown Grill has a better pork chop dinner for not much more money and you get two chops, not one. We also would have gotten toast instead of (ick) garlic bread. James decided to stick to the senior sampler and I to the senior French toast next time.

I'll have the clam chowder tomorrow night. James stopped to get some Jamaican to take home for tomorrow before we arrived home.

I'd left TCM on—they were playing an old Perry Mason movie this morning, with Perry as a tall, suave mustachioed character, a far cry from Raymond Burr's stolid character, who even planted a big kiss on Della Street at the end!—and when we got in Schuyler was watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Roy Neary was building Devil's Tower in his living room. So we stopped to watch the rest of the film, even if for an HD station the print TCM was showing was terribly muddy! I remember this being so magical when it was released, and also that this was the only movie that my dad ever paid a second time to see! He loved this movie. Unlike many of his blue-collar buddies, he believed there was life on other planets.

James headed downstairs to model once I put on Journey to the Center of the Earth (because I'd been thinking about it most of the day). I guess it's heretical, but I really like this film better than the Jules Verne novel, except for the stupid "dinosaurs." It's just a big grand adventure story, and I liked the way Arlene Dahl's Carla didn't take any guff from the misogynist Oliver even if she did scream a couple of times. It's got some goofy things in it, like Hans having a pet duck and taking her along, but Gertrude is welcome comic relief. It also made me a lifelong fan of James Mason.

I followed the movie with a "chaser" of fifteen minutes of resetting fourteen clocks and timers, and thought it was appropriate to follow that up with Fantastic Voyage. Again, very sexist attitude toward Raquel Welch's Cora Peterson, but she acted like a professional and didn't get all girly moony over the Grant character and didn't have to wear pink or high heels. And I have always loved William Redfield as the captain of the Proteus. Pity he died so young. He did one of the earliest police television series, Jimmie Hughes, Rookie Cop, and also appeared on CBS Radio Mystery Theater.

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» Friday, March 08, 2013
Objects at Rest (Sorta)

If it hadn't been for my front tire, I think I would have stayed in bed all morning. My God, I was knackered. I'd scheduled this day off several weeks ago when I realized the Cobb County Friends of the Library book sale started today, but I would have blown off the book sale if I could have stayed in bed. Even going to bed at 11:30 and getting up at  8, I was groggy and my eyes hurt.

I ate my oatmeal and yogurt and drank my milk and checked out my e-mail (oh, look, Barnes & Noble coupons), checked out which ones of the World Book Christmas books I had in case I found more, and cleaned the boxes out of my car, then went over to Jim Miller Park early enough to be there at opening but late enough to not have to wait in line. They had the Christmas books on a library cart this year, and sure enough, I found four more Christmas in... books, Spain, Brazil, Holy Land, and Russia. Wandered about through Literature, History, Biography, the Nature and Animals section, Travel, took a peek in Sociology, and braved the Stroller Crowd at the children's books. Found a variety of things including William S. Baring-Gould's biography of Sherlock Holmes that's supposed to be a classic. Didn't completely fill up two bags like last year, and, really, the pickings seemed small.

Then I took Twilight along to the NAPA Auto Center and had him re-shod. Well, there's $140.00 I'll never get back. Sigh. Talk about for want of a horseshoe nail.

Came home and stripped the bed. Since I had dirty sheets I used them as a catch and cleaned off the ceiling fan, too, and then vacuumed the bedroom. By this time it was lunch time and I had the rest of the leftover "pork glop" (it's ground pork cooked with crunchy peanut butter) and started to finish Carol for Another Christmas, a modern version of A Christmas Carol starring Ralph Bellamy, Ben Gazzara, and Percy Rodriguez. This was written by Rod Serling in an effort to support the United Nations and was telecast only once, on Christmas Eve 1964. Peter Sellers shows up as the ringleader of the selfish "ME" people in the Ghost of Christmas Future sequence, and, man, is he creepy. Brrrr.

Surprise! Guess who shows up early: James! After being super-busy all week, Friday had turned into super-slow. He'd also read my Facebook post about a couple of the books I'd turned down and said he was interested in them. So we went back over to the book sale; this was about 3 p.m. and the place was nearly dead. They still did have those two books, and he got several more including a big thick book full of classic science fiction stories.

I got more books, too, including Christmas in Poland. The whole tally is in "Cozy Nook."

When we were done there, we headed out to the Avenue at West Cobb and wandered around Barnes & Noble. James got the new Honor Harrington book and I found the first in a new series about a book collector. Then we tried the "2 for $25" thing at Longhorn, with onion ring appetizers and 6-ounce Renegades.

We came home through the outer edge of Kennesaw National Battlefield Park and had a treat: on the right side of the road there is a grove of widely-spaced trees. We have seen both wild turkeys and deer there at various times, and, as it was just sunset, we were treated to the sight of about a dozen deer grazing on the soft grass amongst the trees. Lovely.

We spent the evening watching American Pickers and waiting for the damn duvets to dry!

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» Thursday, March 07, 2013
Objects in Motion
So, since the beginning of the year, with the reorganization ongoing, we have always been told that once it took effect, we would not be moving offices right away. We have possession of all of the Colgate Building now, and both empty spaces, both on the first and second floors, need to be redone into Cubicle-lands. This was coming "down the road" and we would be given warning closer to the time.

Which is why, when the e-mail arrived Monday morning, my jaw dropped. We were told we had to pack up our cubicles/offices for moving on Thursday! Holy cats!

Which explains why I got absolutely nothing done at work this week except for a few e-mails, phone calls, and one last modification that my old team lead asked me to do. I couldn't even try to do the wage determination I needed to muddle my way through because the Department of Labor site had some type of error.

They were providing crates for files and other things, but I collected my personal stuff in photocopier boxes as well, because I figured the cubicles would be smaller than what I had and some of the stuff, like my flower garlands, would just have to come home. But we hadn't even seen the office yet, so Tamera and I walked over there on Tuesday. Just about what I suspected, too, about the size of the cubie I had when we were back in Buckhead on the fourth floor. Only one overhead bin, most of which I would have to use for my pantry of oatmeal and cup-o'soup, and my meds. Only one rolling cabinet. Four squarish cubicles on one side of the aisle, three longer ones on the other, and then another aisle just the same. Our filing cabinets were set in front. All pretty ugly, but we do have a window at the back. We are on the first floor, next to the break room and don't need a badge to go to the bathroom. In a way, Tamera and I are both lucky, as we are only losing a small bit of space. Some folks came from offices.

One of the things I found I couldn't take along were all my files. Each person now has only one five-drawer lateral file; I had two file cabinets, a four-drawer and a five-drawer lateral, full. So I made arrangements to send the 2008 and 2009 orders to the file room, thanks to the nice file room guy who said he would take them for me. I made up a makeshift list for him since I didn't have time to record them separately, but he said that was okay.

I made a really sobering discovery in the corner of a bottom drawer. There was a stack of purchase orders not in file folders, since before 2008 we were not required to put purchase orders in individual file folders; they used to go in accordion folders. So I had to put them all in folders, and it nearly had me in tears because it was every single purchase order I had done after my mother had died. I must have put them back there and completely blotted them from memory, or else they would have gone to the file room back in 2005 like the rest of the files.

Thursday morning it was down to the wire. I cleaned out the top two drawers of the rolling file cabinet, the top of my desk, etc. and had everything labeled for the movers. The IT guys showed up and bagged my computer and peripherals at eight, so I was unable to do anymore work after that. The movers showed up about ten. Between times I read the first Phryne Fisher book and said good-bye to everyone around me—going to miss Gary squawking and Cherie's funky ringtones and being able to ask Lisa technical questions.

After the movers came there was nothing to keep me in the cubicle any longer. I went downstairs to talk to Nancy for a few minutes—I told her I felt like we were being exiled!—and then drove Twilight over to the new building, which is across the street. I found one last parking space in the row out front, swung the car smoothly in the space—and my right front tire hit the curb and went up and down with a thump.


When I got out to check the tire deflated before my eyes. [eyes roll] So in the midst of moving around my own boxes, I had to call AAA and then my mechanic to get a new tire ordered. The AAA guy was, as my mom would have said, a "hot sketch." He presented me with my complimentary bottle of water and then pulled it back, asking, "Are you old enough to drink that?" and conversation proceeded from there. He had the limited use spare on in a trice, and by the time I went back inside Mike had a new tire waiting for me.

In short order the movers arrived and everyone else who would be working in Cubicle-land. We arranged our stuff and, after the IT guys showed up, our computers as well. Set up my overhead, put my coat hook up, left the empty photocopy boxes there as a table to hold my lunch bag and carry bag since I couldn't bring a second rolling set of drawers with me. (We're told we can order some. We'll see.) We finally had a computer connection back, but, without a printer and a scanner, there wasn't much that could be done. I did make a very necessary phone call.

I couldn't find two things: my two calendar pictures of Boston that were the last things I'd taken down (I remember where they are now; under the blotter calendar) and my big stapler, brown file folders, and glass cleaner. I had asked my team lead if I could leave an hour early since I would have to drive home with that ridiculous limited-use spare and I didn't want to do that in traffic. (I was very grateful for that courtesy, since traffic was already getting bad.) I had to go back upstairs and check out something, and sure enough I found the big stapler, brown file folders, and glass cleaner in the top drawer of the smaller file cabinet. I'd just forgotten to pack it up.

By the time I got home I was almost sleepwalking. The person arranging the move had helped me load my three-years worth of files into the boxes and said he'd come help me unpack if I wanted, but I felt like a wimp even asking for help the first time and just reloaded the filing cabinet myself. This was a mistake; even after three ibuprofin I was limping around all night.

James forgot to take something out of the freezer for dinner, so we both had frozen dinners. He'd found a Michelina's pepper steak and rice that he hoped was like my old favorite Banquet dinner that I used to eat on laundry nights when I was back in the "Cubbyhole" [my studio apartment] in the late 1980s. I think it had six or seven small cubes of "steak" in it and everything else was bits of celery, a few peppers, tomato sauce and lots of rice. Disappointing. I fell asleep on the couch after I ate until Jeopardy. Big Bang Theory was funny, though.

I've never been so glad to see bedtime...

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» Sunday, March 03, 2013
Surprise for Breakfast

I got up a few minutes after James left the bedroom to take a couple of ibuprofin and lay down until 9:30. The sky was grey still, and I could see a few birds pecking at the seed.

At 9:30, when I got up again, it was snowing. Well, that's a surprise; a nice Sunday-morning-with-nothing-to-do (well, except the usual Sunday chores—get clothes ready for Monday, fill my pill container, put all last week's "house clothes" in the hamper along with the towels)—surprise. Had breakfast and watched the snow change from heavy to light and back again. It stuck just briefly, melted, started to stick again, then tapered off around noon and was gone, to the utter relief of the birds at the feeder who had been looking around with this "What the hell?" look on their little avian faces. A cozy, calming feeling which I hope I can bottle for the rest of the week, but so doubt.

And so here we were: I dubbed off enough more episodes of Castle to fill a disk, poked about watching a couple of shows on DIY and then Pawn Stars, and we also watched this week's Flipping Boston and Too Cute (the kittens are adorable, but where are all the puppies?). Was amused at Flipping, which had the guys renovating a 385-square-foot condo in a week. They did a dandy job with it, all dark paneling and a Murphy bed, a neat little bath and a respectable kitchen with a full-size fridge and stove. They even put in an electric fireplace. But they insisted on selling it as "a bachelor pad" (a guy did buy it) and were surprised that a young woman and her grandfather showed up. Yo, guys, some of us ladies don't like "girly-girly." Had I been in the market for a tiny condo in Lynn, Massachusetts, I definitely would have scooped it up. The dark paneling was beautiful and it would have taken relatively few "feminine" things (a few fake plants or baskets, a quilt or other soft furnishings, nice artwork) to soften the place, and not had it be the suck-ass pink/shoe theme crap they usually toss at women.

Oh, and I cleaned the hall bath and washed the floor in the master bath, vacuumed (again), James loaded the dishwasher and made himself some lunches, I read Those Angry Days (Lindbergh and the isolationists vs. Roosevelt; enthralling so far). At four we went to Kroger to gas up the truck, buy a paper, and let James put in some prescriptions at the pharmacy. Even though the sun was out from noon, it was very cold and the wind immediately found weak spots in our outer clothing. We had the pot pie for supper with a salad, then watched Tron: Legacy, which James had been interested in seeing since he liked the original. To someone who thought the VR "Questworld" sequences in The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest were boring, this was equally dull. Most of the time I couldn't figure out what the hell was going on with all the flashing lights. Nice score, though, and it was interesting seeing Olivia Wilde in another role besides "Thirteen" on House. (Neat version of the Disney castle logo, too.)

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» Saturday, March 02, 2013
A Flurry of Activities

A nice warm sleep-in as a prelude to going out on a very cold day—imagine, it's March and it's pretty much the coldest day we've had all season, 28°F with the wind chill. Hats and scarves and hoods were employed against the wind's edge.

Predictably, the crowd was small. We bought a turkey pot pie for Sunday supper, two big baking potatoes, and James got more chicken salad and some pound cake for himself. As we walked about, flurries—actually little sleet pellets—flitted about us, spinning in the wind. It was so cold even the little goat brought to the market by the Capra Gia folks [a.k.a. "Goat Cheese Guy"] was in a "coat" (a little knitted thing). She was awfully cute. She had a little crate she could escape into, but she mostly stayed in the collapsible metal fence surrounding the crate. You could tell she wanted to play; she kept cutting what capers she could manage in the limited space. Too cute for words.

We also finished the shopping at the Whitlock Kroger, and James bought some breakfast. I had my own oatmeal and yogurt when we came home, and then we lazed a bit and I started the monthly backup on my hard drive.

Went out again, heading up for Hobbytown by way of Michaels and JoAnn. I had to ask for [mumble] in Michaels; the clerk said she didn't think they carried them. I said, well, there are three craft projects on your website that use them, I figured you could buy them here! And she did find them. (Sorry not to divulge; gift-making item again.) Also picked up a cross-stitch magazine and some more linen for cross stitch in JoAnn. While James wandered around Hobbytown, I sat on one of the platforms they have so people can look at the big model train setup near the cashier and read the first Phryne Fisher book on my little tablet. I was rather surprised to notice that two dogs were in the store, a rather elderly dachshund and a very sturdy Shetland Sheepdog. It wasn't a delicate version; it almost looked rather like someone had shrunken Lassie. It could have even been a working dog.

Then we cut through the back of the shopping area and went to Barnes & Noble in the midst of a pleasant flurry, as I was still looking for the "Country Sampler" Home special. Not there, but I did find a big surprise: the book Lost States, that I looked at for months at Borders, but didn't want to pay $25 for. It was on the remainder shelf for $7. Score!

We made our way home through the park, but before we got home, we stopped at Lowes. James knows they sell range hoods like ours there and was hoping they sold covers for the light bulb in the hood. Ours is rotting from a combination of cooking and light bulb heat. All they could offer us was a number to call to order another one.

Had supper at home and watched more episodes of From the Earth to the Moon before James went downstairs to work on a model. So now I'm dubbing off Castle.

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» Friday, March 01, 2013
Bopping to the Beacon

Finally some peace. Work is driving me mad and I've been having some absolutely bizarre dreams, including one in which Jonathan Frakes was my boss and he was pissed at me. (I can't imagine where that came from; the last time I even thought about Jonathan Frakes was when I saw him last September at DragonCon.) I got up to use the bathroom at 7:30, and then fell fast back to sleep until 9:15. I get my best sleep between six and eight, so this is no surprise.

Had breakfast and decided to go out to Publix, as they had instant oatmeal on twofer and the lower-sugar maple and brown sugar runs out almost immediately; it must be the most popular flavor. (What's usually left over? the fruit and cream. I'm not surprised. I wouldn't eat it, either.) Hit the Publix closest to our house, and, sure enough, only two boxes left. I got James some Arnold thins, too, and two "emergency suppers," and a baguette.

I then tried to withdraw money from the bank machine after checking out, only to discover my debit card had expired and the bank hadn't sent me a new one. I got the chatty guy teller at the bank kiosk, the one who keeps trying to push a credit card on me. Does your credit card give me book points? No? Go away. Anyway, he ordered a new card for me and gave me some cash.

So I headed for another Publix, stopping at Big Lots/Family Dollar on Atlanta Road on the way. I'm looking for a cheap small alarm clock (one that looks like a clock and runs on a battery, not a digital one that plugs in) to put on the shelf in the kitchen, since the clock on the stove quit working years ago. Not a clock to be seen either place.

Scarfed up six boxes of oatmeal at the Atlanta Road Publix and another six at the one near I-285. I also found the turkey flavor Rachael Ray dog food and bought Willow a bag. She's been turning up her nose at the six-ingredient lamb-and-rice stuff and is apparently sick of both the beef and the chicken flavors. [Gave her some of the turkey at suppertime; she gobbled it right up.]

Finally I stopped at Barnes & Noble looking for the new "Home Tour" edition of "Country Sampler," which someone on my Christmas group told me was out. I shouldn't have expected B&N to have it anyway; their deliveries seem to occur with the swiftness of a bored sloth. I was right; it wasn't there. I did get "Geek" magazine with the Star Trek cover, and bought a little rechargeable iHome speaker for work. My aging ears are having trouble hearing music or podcasts over the constant hum of the fan under my desk and the noise around it, and I could get the gadget for 10 percent off at Barnes & Noble.

I'd planned to be out for about an hour. I got home just before three. Schuyler even glared at me.

On the whole round trip I had the phone clamped in the Bracketron and I was listening to a collection of musical "bumpers" over the course of the 1960s through 1975 on the NBC radio show Monitor. If you are a "person of a certain age," you may remember the weekend Monitor broadcasts. The closest thing that exists today to Monitor may be NPR's Morning Edition, where you'll find book reviews, commentary, news, special features, and op-ed pieces rubbing shoulders. Monitor was all that and more, with music, comedy routines, news and weather, and the talents over the years of some fine radio people including Dave Garroway, Bob and Ray, the unquenchable Henry Morgan, and John Bartholemew Tucker.Up until 1960, there were five minute episodes of Fibber McGee and Molly on Monitor. Guest hosts included Frank Sinatra Jr.

Anyway, this is a chronological collection of bits leading into station breaks, sports reports, or celebrating holidays, and I was laughing by the time it was halfway through, because, even if you didn't hear the "1970" uttered in a couple of the bumpers, you could definitely tell when you got to the 70s music! The set ended with the Monitor theme and the famous "beacon," which aired when the show cut back and forth to the local stations, a combination of telephone tones and Morse code for the letter "M" for "monitor." is devoted to the show and has several hours of Monitor broadcasts to listen to over the years (click on "Sounds of Monitor").

[Later we went out to eat at O'Charley's to celebrate "Mama C's" (Juanita's mom's) eighty-second birthday, then stopped at Wally World to restock on wild bird seed. Still couldn't find a small clock I liked. Walmart had one, but it was plug-ugly.

BTW, you can watch Disney's lovely Oscar-winner "Paperman" on line here at Hulu: "Paperman"]

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