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, June 30, 2013
Backwards Sunday

Usually we go out grocery shopping on Sundays, so since we got it done yesterday, we were able to relax this morning. In fact, we didn't go out until after three, the exact opposite to our usual routine in the summer, in which we want to get anything outside done before it gets hot. I took that time to finish reading Among the Janeites, a wonderful overview of Jane Austen fandom. To not feel like a slug reading all day, between chapters I vacuumed, swept the hall bath, swept the stairs and the foyer and the laundry room. The book is delightful, and you don't need to like Austen to enjoy it. I think every e-reader I've gotten since Microsoft Reader on my PDA in 2002 has had a copy of Pride and Prejudice attached to it, but I've never managed to get beyond the famous opening line. (I tried Northanger Abbey once, since the heroine is reputed to be a "tom boy," but didn't find my interest piqued there, either.) Anyone who's a member of any fandom, whether based on books or visual media, will recognize the archetypes in this book!

We didn't go out until after three because the Michael's coupon we had didn't start until four o'clock. It's their fortieth birthday, so, instead of the usual 40 percent off one item, this was 40 percent off the entire purchase. So we wandered in and out the aisles, and I picked up bits and bobs for projects, and at least two Christmas gifts, if not more, and James picked up something for stocking stuffers as well. I was absolutely shocked; I thought every Michael's store would be packed solid with a good coupon like that, so, in order to go to a larger store and avoid the ones I thought would be really crowded (Heritage Pointe as well as the Town Center store), we drove out to Hiram, where I figured it would still be crowded, but not as bad. It wasn't crowded at all, although the cashier said there was at least one person who'd been hanging around since one o'clock to use the coupon.

They were adopting cats and dogs next door at Petsmart; I felt so bad for the dogs, which were in the shade, but still panting from the heat. Lots of chihuahua mixes these days. We saw one dog that was almost a dead ringer for James' Mom's dog, Trouble, who's now in his dotage, but this one was only a couple of years old and a female.

Came home and James warmed up the pork roast we bought yesterday, with hot pork gravy, and pork-flavored ramen noodles. Fresh watermelon for dessert as we watched PBS, to finish with Rediscovering Alexander Hamilton. And I did my monthly hard drive backup and turned over all the calendars, wrote a few more book reviews. Another month shot to hell.

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» Saturday, June 29, 2013
Fast Away the Old Month Passes

The bed is comfortable enough that when James gets up (I thought to walk the dog, but he was not feeling well), I woke briefly and then rolled over and went back to sleep, although I was just lightly dozing for the twenty minutes before the alarm.

We went to the Farmer's Market today only to get extras—homemade dog biscuits, a pot pie, some boiled peanuts, a little chess pie for James—and negotiated the huge crowd compared to previous Saturdays. More people apparently means more dogs and we saw dozens of canines threading their humans through the obstacles of others. We saw at least four "Goldendoodles" (read: mixed breeds) and I wondered if there was a convention! There were enough clouds that our stroll was comfortable, if warm, and we didn't feel fricasseed.

Since it was still early we went to Kroger and finished the grocery shopping, and that reminds me of another thing we saw today: as we drove up Powder Springs Road, I noticed two young women walking toward downtown Marietta, and one's outfit looked a bit peculiar, like an anime costume. Then, when we were coming out of Kroger, we were passed by two people in the garb of what James said were "high fantasy" elves. Checked around online and couldn't find any sign of a convention in town.

To treat ourselves this afternoon we drove out to Perimeter Mall (but of course didn't go to the mall because they're all bores now, mostly clothing and shoes). Instead we visited Barnes & Noble intending to have some soup, but they didn't have anything I could eat, so we shared a chicken barbecue pizza (not bad, except you can't crisp up a crust in the microwave well at all). I don't usually buy things without a coupon, but I couldn't resist an American history book called After the Fact, about what happened to people involved in historical events after the event was over. I also snatched up the book Nothing Daunted, about two schoolteachers in 1916 rural Colorado, from one of the remainder tables. Unfortunately, I didn't see the book Yes I Could Care Less until after I'd checked out, and, since I never met a grammar book I didn't like, I had to go back and buy that as well.

Also had an enjoyable half hour walking around the Container Store and picking up bits and bobs like some clearance items, and popped into Five Below as well.

Dragon 168 for supper and back to watching Alistair Cooke's America.

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» Friday, June 28, 2013
Sun to the Rear of Me, Thunder to the Front

One last hurrah before Fourth Quarter.

Hurrahing included eight hours of sleep, of course.

I sat down after breakfast and finished my contribution for Joanna Wilson's "Christmas in July" salute on her blog. The theme is "Animation," and, having missed out on commenting on Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, I chose instead to write about another old friend, The Small One, which I first remember as a radio tale. I've been struggling with writing it all week, not certain whether to address it critically or personally. After consulting the instructions, I said to myself, "Just tell your story," and I did. It took all of a half hour.

I had a letter to mail, so I went out. Our little contretemps with TruGreen has taken a new wrinkle. We had two treatments last month that were not completed properly; the front yard was done, but not the back because, again, no one bothered to ring the doorbell so I could go out and open the gate for them. I called them up that Friday to say I would not be paying the bill until they finished the job properly. The woman got all flustered and said of course, we will call you back and arrange an appointment (one of the appointments they missed was a make-up appointment) and never did. So I pulled out TruGreen's latest bill at lunch yesterday and wrote them a letter about it and put it in the mailbox for the postman to take. When James came home, he had a letter from a collection agency...guess who. So once I'd finished work—I was going from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. yesterday—I wrote the collection agency a letter and this afternoon I posted it.

Stopped at the library, too, and took out Mrs. Daffodil again. This is one of Gladys Taber's fiction books, but it's based on her real life living in Connecticut, sharing a home with her best friend. I'd love a copy, but the cheapest one I can find is $125.00. I like the book but not that much. :-)

On the way I stopped at Publix for twofers. Got lucky and Chex cereal was one of the BOGOs. I mix wheat Chex cereal into the Chex snack mix I take to work to cut the salt and stretch it. I had coupons for it, too, so I got $14.76 of cereal for $5.38. Not bad. Also bought a surprise for the Fourth.

Came home to put up the things, and then sat down, and, at a loss, put on Alistair Cooke's America. Not sure why; guess I just wanted something warm and safe and familiar.

We had supper at Giovanni's, brought home leftovers, and America marched on.

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» Sunday, June 23, 2013
Always a Missing Piece

Strange dreams again last night and up too early for the time we went to sleep. Up in time to catch the last fifteen minutes of The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin on AntennaTV; they're the same overdubbed in places, music replaced ones RTV was showing previously. Urgh. This was followed by The Jack Benny Show, two episodes of Bachelor Father, and then McHale's Navy. Nothing much to tell about our trip to Kroger except that the bananas were all green again. Spit! I got grapes instead, and a few Ranier cherries.

Back at the house, it's time to finish the shelf project. Guess what. The other two wall anchors failed as well. One popped right through the wall, which was amazing, because the drill bit didn't even touch the part that went into the wall; the vertical metal flange of the shelf and a metal washer was between the wall and the drill! Cheap things. The bottom ones did hold, though, so we threw our "outside clothes" back on—I knew somehow I shouldn't throw my clothes into the hamper before the project was finished—and we went back to Lowe's and bought an almost quarter-inch thick steel L angle. The exact center of the shelf has a stud directly under it; what the ends of the shelf won't hold this angle bracket will.

Bought a small paint brush, too, for making minor repairs. Barn door, meet horse.

Once the support was actually under the shelf and everything solid, then my work really began: I swept, vacuumed, and then washed that portion of the floor. While it was drying we took my car to Kroger to get gasoline. Then I put stuff up. The stock pot (with the muffin tins inside it to take up less space), the flour, the Bisquik and the Splenda are on the new shelf. The top shelf of the baker's rack now has to store small containers (the cornmeal, the kosher salt, the oatmeal, the pearl couscous, the mixed grain hot cereal, etc.). The rice, mixed rices, and the Pioneer Porridge are under the microwave (yay, I can finally reach the rice without something falling on my head), and the breadmaker tucked away on the right side of the bottom shelf, with the crock pot, the mini crock pot, and the rice cooker (off the counter!) on the same shelf. (The sugar's down there, too, but one can't have everything. We don't use it much anyway.)

Anyway, it's done. Unsatisfactorily, but done, and that part of the kitchen is neat again.

Oriental chicken salad for supper. So far it's been the best part of the day.

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» Saturday, June 22, 2013
Think  Pink  White

Tiny whimpers at the door turned into larger ones. It was 7:45 a.m. and Willow needed to go out, so James stumbled into shorts and a shirt and took her out. I was determined to wait it out until the alarm rang, but nature screamed suddenly, and that was the end of that. Sorry, seven hours of sleep, can't make it today.

It was a bit after nine when we arrived at the Farmer's Market (copped the last parking space) and it was already too warm for me! We bought a cucumber, grape tomatoes, some fingerling potatoes, a beef stroganoff pot pie, some chocolate cherry cashew cookies for a dessert, chicken salad, goat cheese, peaches, that luscious Pine Street Market bacon, and James got a little sweet potato tart. Capra Gia had two young goats with them, and they were already lying sleepy in the shade. Leashed dogs trotted, panting, around us, including a darling Italian greyhound hiding under a greyhound of the same black-and-white pattern.

The Artists Market was this morning as well, so we walked along Mill Street to and from the farm stalls surrounded by pretty earrings, necklaces, paintings, and other geegaws, and some huge firepits guaranteed to last a lifetime.

One lady at the Farmer's Market proper had flowers, including marigolds and begonias, both which my Uncle Guido used to plant in our front yard flowerbed every year. She also had geraniums, which we used to buy when we went to the cemetery, because they were the flowers we could afford. Made me think of Mom.

When we got home we had to start work.

Earlier in the week, James had gotten out of work about noon. He'd had his lunch, and in walking back to the kitchen, noticed the Ikea shelf we'd bought two years ago to put up in the kitchen over the baker's rack to get the items we use seldom, like the stock pot and the sugar, out of the way of what we use all the time, like the Bisquik and the rice. He thought "Hey, that shouldn't take me long to put up," collected the drill, the measuring tape, a pencil, wall anchors, and other supplies, unloaded all the containers from the baker's rack, moved it back, and set to work.

When I got in he said, "There's a small hole in the wall."

And no shelf, sadly. He'd assembled the shelf, measured, gotten it level, drilled the holes, and put the wall anchors in, top and bottom. Then he screwed the shelf into the two top wall anchor holes. The shelf looked a little off to him, so, before he set it in permanently by screwing in the two bottom screws in the two bottom wall anchors, he gave the shelf a small tug to make sure it was fastened securely.

Well, one wall anchor never deployed at all, and popped straight out of the wall leaving a 3/4 diameter hole. The screw had fed into the other wall anchor at an angle making it unable to deploy, and that pulled out of the wall inflicting collateral damage, leaving the drywall looking like someone had punched it with a fist. Sigh.

So we had to go to Lowes today to buy a patch kit; we found a nice one, with screening, drywall compound, and a putty knife all included (we bought some extra compound just in case). As we came out of Lowes they were giving away free hot dogs and water, so sometimes there is such a thing as a free lunch. :-)

Then we unloaded the baker's rack again, enough so that we could move it, and James had the two holes patched in a trice. We just had to wait thirty minutes, which, of course, I used to work on the laptop. Installed HTML Pro for web pages, Paint Shop Pro 5 (I don't do anything complicated on the laptop; if I want to, I can install Gimp for that) for images, VLC to play video, and Audacity to try to record off the BBC (but I can't because for some reason it picks up background sounds in the room, too; it's like a microphone is open), and WinRAR. The only thing I had trouble with was, of all things, Windows Media Player, and that was only because, when I had gone into the install panel to delete Windows items I didn't want, like Outlook Express and Front Page, I'd accidentally deleted Windows Media Player, too. Once I re-initialized it, it was fine.

The wireless signal still drops out occasionally, but I believe this is the router's fault because it happens on my desktop and on the netbook as well. To keep it from kicking me offline, I usually have BBC's iPlayer running Radio 3 (classical music) in the background.

Anyway, this stuff didn't dry in thirty minutes. Or sixty, for that matter. And when it was almost dry, we discovered the screening for the hole was showing, so I put another thin coat of the compound on it. The thing about this stuff is that it goes on a bright, bright pink, like a bougainvillea flower, and fades to white when dry. The second coat on the hole is fading, but it's still pink. Dang it. So this project probably won't be done until tomorrow.

We hope to cut our losses and use the two wall anchors still in the wall for the top part of the shelf, and use some heavy plastic wall anchors for the bottom. This means the shelf will be a foot lower than I wanted it (just high enough that the stock pot just cleared the ceiling), but I figure we can use the top rack of the baker's rack for the smaller containers (pioneer porridge, kosher salt, steel cut oats, etc.), and with the stock pot off the baker's rack shelf, if the rice container doesn't fit on the taller shelf, it can be on the rack, and the shelf can still hold the flour and Bisquik, which only James uses and can reach, and the sugar and the Splenda, which I use so seldom it won't be a hardship to pull up the stool to get them.

Sigh. This is, of course, if the other two metal wall anchors do their job. Either that or we'll have another patching job next weekend.

[Later: Boy, did this turn into a comedy of errors! The drywall patching compound finally dried and we went to paint it, only to realize there wasn't a proper wall-painting paintbrush in the house! I finally pulled out my inch-wide craft brush that I use for painting big projects like shelves, and painted all the places that were patched, as well as a bunch of marks on the wall. We had gotten rid of a lot of speckly food spatters by washing down the wall with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, which works superbly, but some of the scuff marks would not come off. Plus there were places around the doorway where the paint had worn off the metal corners of the doorjam, so those are now covered. The paint went on light, got darker, then hour by hour lightened until by the time we went to bed you couldn't tell what had been patched. Small comfort for a disappointing afternoon.]

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» Friday, June 21, 2013
So It Does Compute!

I run a virus check on my laptop every night. Well, a few weeks back, instead of seeing the unobtrusive little house in the status bar turn aqua-colored and have a circle spinning in it, a popup window came up instead. (Yeah, you already know this is Not A Good Thing.) A "virus scanner" with a totally strange name came up, running frantically to tell me I had a bunch of viruses. I certainly did, but it was only the one that was running. Despite my trying to "X" out of it without triggering something else, it continued to run, and when I restarted the laptop, it just came up running again. James went to his computer, looked it up, and found a fix on Malwarebytes' site, loaded it on a thumb drive, and I ran it from there. It seemed to take care of the immediate problem, but it also caused another: it had apparently overwritten Microsoft Security Essentials (and also my chat program, mIRC, I discovered a week later) and made its file components unable to read, so that I couldn't re-install it. I tried a program recommended by Microsoft which removed partially-uninstalled programs, but the strange virus also blocked that. So in the interim I installed Avast, which drives me berserk. Every time it updates it announces itself in a strident tone, and nags you to register.

So last night I backed up the laptop files I wanted to keep—there were barely eight GB of them, which made it hard to figure out why there was only eleven GB left on the hard drive—and I tackled knocking the laptop down to factory settings in the afternoon.

But first, my first eight hours of sleep in days, and oatmeal and yogurt and milk for breakfast! Now, I still had two 20 percent off coupons for Barnes & Noble I'd gotten in the mail. There was a book I'd seen last week in the Buckhead store that I wanted, so I set out about ten o'clock. West Paces Ferry Road was a lot less crowded on a weekend and it was a pretty ride for all that it was already starting to get hot. I don't miss working in Buckhead, but I sure do miss the all-surface-streets ride, especially in a neighborhood as pretty as West Paces.

I picked up the book, Names from the Sea, about an English woman who emigrates to Iceland, and then with the travel books discovered the "other" book about the Lincoln Highway, newly in paperback in a centenary edition, by Brian Butko. So I had the two coupons effectively spent when I noticed Harvest of Time, a new Doctor Who novel. Not only a DW novel, but one featuring the Third Doctor! Jo Grant! The Roger Delgado Master! The Brigadier! UNIT! How could I pass that up? The answer, of course, is "NOT!"

On the way home I stopped at Aldi for milk and found more of the garlic and chive pita crackers, which I could match up with plain goat cheese from the Farmer's Market on Saturday, and also stopped briefly at Book Stop, but didn't see anything I wanted. Once I got home, I had a leftover chicken thigh for lunch and then started on the laptop project, or thought I was, anyway. I had forgotten that to do a complete recovery one had to start in the bootup sequence, not do it within Windows, so I wasted an hour waiting for it to start doing something in Windows. No hurry.

So I started it up properly, and it actually doesn't take very long to erase the disk and get back to factory settings. The problem started after that.

My previous memory of doing this two years ago (when the laptop quit connecting to the wireless network) was that I downloaded a ton of Windows updates to start, and then, only when I tried to download Microsoft Security Essentials, did Windows notify me that I needed Service Pack 3 (released about a year after I bought the laptop) before I could do so. So this time I went promptly to Windows Updates and searched around for Service Pack 3, which was available in the automatic updates section.

There was only one problem: !@#$%!@$%! Windows wouldn't let me download it. It said I could use something called "Mr. Fix-It" to help.

Except you couldn't download Mr. Fix-It if you didn't have Service Pack 3. As Han Solo said, "Didn't we just leave this party?"

Okay, let's have a live chat with Microslop...I mean Microsoft. I "spoke" to Arianna, and explained my problem. Of course, she said, I can fix that for you with remote assistance. I've had that before and said okay. Then she says, "Of course, Windows XP is out of warranty now, but I can put an extended warranty on for you for just $99.00 and then I can fix this remotely." Hon, if I had that kind of money to waste on an operating system, I would have just ponied up the additional funds and gotten a new laptop. All I wanted to know was how to download Service Pack 3!

James was home early from work, so he finally went over to his computer and downloaded Service Pack 3 (the laptop just said I had downloaded Service Pack 3, but it wasn't in the download folder) for me and put it on a thumb drive, so I could plug it in and run it. After that it was almost a snap to wait through downloading 125 Windows updates, and Adobe updates, and Java updates, ad infinitum.

In between all the updates, we went to Panera for supper. Even on such a warm night, after tussling with the laptop, it really hit the spot!

And then we came home so I could resume tussling with Windows again. It was sort of only mildly irritating by then. I copied all the files I had backed up back to the laptop, including a couple of executables, reinstalled Firefox so I wouldn't have to deal with Internet Explorer anymore (half the trouble I had earlier was WindowsXP being in full graphics mode—I always take it back to classic settings where it's nice and plain and doesn't distract me—and IE being its usual daft self), and installed mIRC.

I've just been taking this slow and defragging the hard drive after one or two installs, making sure everything is optimized. Since more Windows updates started to download about the time I went to bed, I took the time to start searching through the files and killing off un-needed text files and instructional files in foreign languages. It didn't make a big dent in improving room on the hard drive, but every little bit helps!

Anyway, so before bed I had a working laptop connected to the internet with a browser and a chat client.

Oh, and WordPerfect, because you shouldn't leave home without it. :-)

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» Sunday, June 16, 2013
Books and Bundles

I was so tired last night I fell asleep without lowering the head of the bed and James didn't think of it when he finished reading. Man, what a crick in my neck when I woke up! An adjustable bed won't do you a speck of good if  you don't adjust it correctly. I took three ibuprofin and went back to bed for an hour.

James made steel-cut oats in the rice cooker this morning, with a bit of butter and some brown sugar. Yummy!

We decided to go to the Barnes & Noble in Buckhead, figuring that at noon everyone would be taking their fathers to dinner. It worked out pretty well; we found a parking space right in front! The old neighborhood where I worked is pretty much gone; high-dollar condos are going up everywhere.

This B&N is an embarrassment of riches. I had to search around last night and only found a book by surprise. Today there were at least three I could have bought, and I didn't see the book about the history of the camera, and where the linguistics and HTML books were until after I left the store! I ended up buying the book Italian Days, skipping the one about Iceland for now. Oh, and got an idea for a Christmas gift, too.

Publix is right next door, so we just went in there to do the rest of the shopping, even if we did have to pay Fulton County taxes. They had a bigger variety of products, so James stocked up on sugar-free pudding  and we got some nice lamb steaks to grill at a great price, plus other goodies including some twofer Butoni ravioli. They also had big manicotti, so he got some and ground Italian sausage to make stuffed manicotti.

Put everything away and had the chicken and wild rice soup we bought on the hot bar (probably more of a stew, it's so thick!) while watching Father Knows Best on Antenna TV.

[Later: We had an invitation for supper with the Spiveys, so we went—and yes, that lamb tasted very, very good on the grill! James marinated it between the time we got home and the time we left for supper. We brought some cut-up watermelon, and there were yellow rice, beans, and homemade cheesecake for dessert. We gabbed a lot and it was fun. Ken's mom was there and Isabel turned up later.]

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» Saturday, June 15, 2013
"And What Do Good Little Humans Eat?" "Chicken!"

So finally we were going to be able to do "our bit" and offer the lunch centerpiece for Hair Day. James was already home when I got in on Friday, having amused myself on the way home from work listening to "A Way With Words," which made it easier for us to get out early (unfortunately head-on into rush-hour traffic; thankfully we were only going as far as Cumberland Mall).

We had supper at Fresh2Order and then walked over to Costco to get the additional supplies we needed for lunch: boneless, skinless chicken thighs and mushrooms and pineapple, and we stocked up on other things like mandarin oranges, loratadine, etc. I bought the new book about the astronauts' wives as well, and James picked up the Blu-Ray of The Longest Day.

James spent the rest of the evening cooking up the chicken and the wonderful smell of the seasonings—teriyaki, ginger, cinnamon—filled the house. It was left in the refrigerator to rest overnight while we watched Leno and went to bed altogether too late, as always.

We didn't go to the Farmer's Market this morning, but we might as well have as early as we were up. We took both cars so that James could leave early for his club meeting.

As always, we had a great time chatting. Lin passed around some old photos, so there was even a bit of time traveling involved, too, and we didn't even need a TARDIS. :-) Mel and Phyllis brought rice, Daniel and Patti had an Asian salad, and Juanita made osobe soup, and with the cheese balls Lin made and the cherries Pat brought, we had a lovely luncheon.

James left a little bit after noon, but I stuck around for a while, talking with Phyllis and Lin, and arrived home a little after two. To Schuyler's chagrin, after I took Willow outside, I got an attack of the sleepies, but didn't actually lie down to do something about it until just before James got home. Ah, well, wasn't to be. He was hungry by then, so we went to IHOP for dinner. They are having a twofer on dinners for seniors, so all we paid for was James' dinner. (I guess it's sad that we didn't even get carded...)

Then we went to Barnes & Noble at West Cobb, where I discovered there was a sequel to The Romeo and Juliet Code. I wasn't crazy about the first book (especially the horrible cover), but I liked it enough to want to read the sequel to see how Felicity dealt with the news she received in the first book. Also found a British history magazine that actually had a photo of the Richard III skeleton; I hadn't seen such a clear one before. The spinal curvature is really striking, and you can see exactly how he was killed: there's a great big crescent-moon-shaped split in the skull.

Once at home I decided to watch a couple of the movies I programmed. HBO/Starz/Max is having a free movie weekend and I went through the listing checking off things I'd like to see. I started off watching Brother Bear, which I had never seen. The bear parts are a bit cutesy and eventually I got tired of the Canadian "Doug-and-Bob" moose, but it also had a sweet premise and the brothers' rivalry and love seemed very natural. When that was over I put on The Secret Life of Arrietty, a Studio Giblhi production via Disney, based on The Borrowers by Mary Norton.

I've never been much for "little people live under the floorboards" or living wherever type stories: The Borrowers, The Littles, The Indian in the Cupboard. I've always found them a bit dull. As always with an SG production, the animation did not disappoint. The lovely greenery of the yard that Arrietty travels through is beautifully drawn—I especially loved a little bit where a pillbug curls up in her hands and she tosses it like a ball, or another scene she uses a leaf as an umbrella—and the details of the old house the boy is staying in are lovely as well. And there's a nice contrast between the little girl loved by her parents whose home is in danger and the boy who has a safe place to live but no one who loves him enough to give him their time. But I just didn't "get" Hara, the housekeeper, who calls on an extermination company to trap the little people. If you found miniature people in your house, why would you try to trap them? I'd surely like to talk to them and perhaps make friends with them, not trap them! Anyway, breathtaking exploration of a miniature world, but very much a character piece; although there are several tense scenes, this isn't a movie for those who are into action sequences.

I've also recorded The Muppets, Love Actually (which, actually, I've never seen), and The Odd Couple II, which I didn't even know existed. I have a documentary called One Nation Under Dog, an Ellen Degeneres comedy special, and John Carter programmed as well.

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» Tuesday, June 11, 2013
A Day Together is a Day Apart (From Routine, That Is)
In the middle of the week, nonetheless! James worked Saturday, was off today, so I took it off as well. We tried to get eight hours sleep, but the dog alarm went off about twenty minutes early.

Just to do something, we went up to Camping World in Woodstock. James keeps thinking about getting a camper, but all we can afford is something the truck can pull, and that's not much: a teardrop or an A-frame, or a pop-up camper, which he doesn't want. Camping World is a fairly big lot, but they had about five pop-up campers (and only one with a toilet) and only two small towables. Everything else would have had to be pulled by a full-sized pickup, or be the expense of another vehicle (not just the cost, but the regular car expenses: insurance, tires, registration, the whole magilla). Of course the thing to do after retirement would be to sell the house, get a big motor home and one of those little "roller skate" cars to tow behind, and just tour the country. Sadly, we aren't ever going to have that wonderful option. Imagine crossing the country and visiting every single museum! Ah, well.

We stopped by the bookstore near BJs, where I picked up a Reader's Digest Bicentennial-era history of the United States and discovered I didn't have my wallet. Luckily I wasn't driving! We stopped at Publix to drop off the plastic bags for recycling, deposited the refund check from the State of Georgia (we owed Georgia $15 in taxes...I paid it in good time but TurboTax gave us the wrong PO I mailed it again with evidence that we mailed it on time...but they still assessed us a I just shut up and paid it...and then they refunded the penalty...yeah, I'm confused, too) at the in-store bank, then had a cheap lunch at Stevi B's. Came home through the battlefield park (which was surprisingly crowded; summer children's groups, I think) and past the bakery to get some desserts, and spent the afternoon cooling off (we'd arrived at Camping World at ten o'clock and it was already miserably hot; by the time we left my hands were all swollen). James retreated to the Man Cave and I listened to Leo Laporte and "A Way With Words," and read blogs.

Turkey legs for supper with stuffing! Book reviews done during the evening! And now it's time to get ready for the rest of the week.

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» Sunday, June 09, 2013
Rain on the Pane is a Pain


This was our alarm this morning, except it was about two hours too early, since we hadn't gone to bed until 2 a.m. James slipped out of bed to take Willow outside. He never came back to bed, and I was too sleepy to wonder why he didn't. I assumed he was surfing, but it turned out he'd paused just a minute to sit in his recliner and Morpheus kidnapped him for ninety minutes. I was in a land of odd dreams myself—dams, trains, the seaside—and wouldn't have been surprised to meet the old god walking through one of them.

It was a grey morning that did a long dissolve into a wet afternoon. After breakfast we drove out to Books-a-Million with a 20 percent off coupon, never knowing when you might find a gift or two to put away, and we did. I also got a book about Star Trek and its sequels and How Not to Write a Novel, a collection of bloopers. Afterwards we had some lunch at Longhorn, served by a friendly waitress who was definitely Not From Around Here. She had definite intonations of the Bronx River Parkway. :-)

We proceeded home in a driving rain that almost drowned out the second half of "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me," which we had listened to on the outbound trip as well. We needed sweet soy sauce and garlic soy sauce, so instead of going directly to the house we stopped for a paper, then went to the Cobb International Farmers Market. This place is always crowded on the weekends, a United Nations microcosm of the Atlanta population, and we inched through produce to get to the freer aisles. Every line was open and every line was crammed, and it was pouring again when we emerged.

Spent what was left of the afternoon watching Alaska: The Last Frontier and reading A Discovery of Witches (more toast...). Had salad with chicken breast strips for supper, and finally it was time for North America.

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» Saturday, June 08, 2013
Tramping About With a Toast Chaser

This is what usually happens when James works on Saturday: I get up and finish the grocery shopping for the weekend, so we have a free Sunday.

The problem is that I hate doing this because I hate grocery shopping. It's so monotonous. So by Thursday I was in firm "I won't!" mode. All I was going to do today was go to Aldi to get milk because it's cheap there! No Publix! No Kroger! Barnes & Noble! Maybe Michael's! No supermarkets!

So we slept late, and had breakfast, and James went off to work...and yeah, I went grocery shopping. I'm a sap, what can I say?

I went to Publix first to cop a couple of twofers, including one of our favorite desserts, Entemann's "Kandy Bar Kakes." (Yeah, it's cutesy. Yuck!) We like the York peppermint pattie ones and the Reese's peanut butter cup ones (tastes kinda like a Drake's "Funny Bones"). We didn't need Finish right now, but they were also BOGO and I had coupons, so I got $14 worth of dishwashing gelpacs for $6. And the Racheal Ray dog food coupon would run out on Monday and Publix has the lamb flavor, which Kroger doesn't carry. I also got salad greens and chicken breast strips (both BOGO) so we could have our Sunday Oriental salad supper this week. (Did I mention omeprazole was on twofer, too?) Oh, yeah, and I got Those Damn Bananas because the ones at Publix were actually yellow.

Then over to Kroger, which has the bread-for-lunch I like, cheaper milk, and the bargain meat shelf (found some turkey legs). Got the rest of the supplies for the week, and that was that. Out less than 90 minutes, thank God. It was already sticky by the time I got home and I spent a few minutes cooling off before I went to Barnes & Noble.

My original plan was to stop at the mall, but I didn't because that would have meant getting out of the car again in this horrible weather (I really should have stopped, as I have a Really Good Hallmark Coupon). Since I was a bit peckish, I inquired about the soup of the day at the cafe and found they had chicken noodle. Luckily, despite all the other patrons leeching off B&N's wifi, I did find a seat in the café, so could comforably eat soup and crackers while reading Clouds of Witness on my e-reader. Then wandered about a bit, but just picked up Shadows of Night, the sequel to "the toast book" (see previous entry), also a previous library book.

On the way home I stopped at CVS for a couple of things and—hurrah!—found more barrettes. CVS carries a specific kind by Scunci that grips my hair perfectly, but the plastic backing on it breaks easily. Earlier in the year they'd vanished from the local stores, but I found some in Macon in April. Even worse, I usually find them in the most undesirable color combinations. They have green, brown, and black, and I almost always find green and brown or green and black. This wouldn't matter if I wore green a lot,  but the greens I can only use in the summer with my green shirt, or maybe at Christmas, but the black and brown go with everything. Today I found a black and a brown, and got a green and a black along with a green and a brown, so I can finally get rid of the two broken brown ones I wear around the house and fill them in with a green.

Finally a stop at Kroger to feed the car and it was home, home, home in the wonderful, wonderful, wonderful air conditioning. I took Willow out, then settled down to get cool and listen to "The Tech Guy" and "This Week in Tech" from Memorial Day weekend. I really need to catch up because I know I'll fall behind as always during end of fiscal year. (I did fall victim to A Discovery of Witches for a while. I realize why this book makes me crave toast: the heroine has toast at least twice in the first six chapters.)

[Later: Willow waited at the top of the stairs for nearly three hours.]

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» Friday, June 07, 2013
Just Plain Lazy

I'd intended to get up at least by nine and had awakened at 8:30, but was in one of those drugged-type sleeps where no matter how much you try to struggle away, Morpheus just keeps you in his soft, comfy, sleepy grip. I finally beat him back about ten.

I did clean the hall bath, the master bath toilet, sink and tub, a bit of the kitchen so I could eat lunch, and a few other things, and vacuumed some more, but blew off my chance of going out this afternoon by putting on the Blu-Ray Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol that I got a couple of weeks ago. I talk about that here so you won't nod off thinking about Christmas in June. (Me, I'd rather think about it being Christmas than being three months until end of fiscal year, a.k.a. Nausea'R'Us.) By the time I finished it was 2:30, and who wants to go out that late? For that matter, who wants to go outside at this time of year at all? Stupid summer.

[Later: Like Trevor in the commercial, I was a tad grumpy. Probably needed to eat. :-)

Almost napped, but had to take Willow out instead. By that time James was home. Giovanni's is offering 20 percent off the entire month of June, so we went there for supper. This is such a good restaurant; they should have more business on a Friday night! I had delectable Italian sausage (sweet) with ziti, and James had two huge pork chops (one he brought home for a lunch) in marsala sauce and pasta. For dessert we went to Barnes & Noble—I finally bought a copy of A Discovery of Witches after having read it some time ago as a library book; I call it "the toast book" because every since I read it I have been craving buttered toast (I think the book is bewitched)—with a Baskin-Robbins chaser.]

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» Thursday, June 06, 2013
The Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside my window...
...I'm doing this at lunchtime, so it's mostly sunny. The sunlight looks a bit watery, so I assume it's very cloudy. I "assume" because I've been working since breakfast and I've had time to notice that Mr. Cardinal was at the feeder and that's about it.

I am thinking...'s D-Day. In one year it will be the 70th anniversary. I'm thinking of all those men on the landing crafts. There were some older guys, but most of them were merely kids, high school graduates, college boys, young men just starting their careers in the civilian world. Riding a bouncing craft on a heavy sea, shouldering a heavy pack, rifle in hand, knowing in a few minutes the LCT will stop, they'll have to wade ashore, probably in a hail of scared they must have been. But they did it anyway. Extraordinary.

I am thankful...
...for their courage.

In the kitchen...
...I suppose I ought to get something to eat. I'm getting a headache. I've been making phone calls and sending e-mails and generally following up on things. I had three orders signed yesterday and am waiting upon the verdict of another three.

I am wearing... tank top and shorts, purple and white flowered scuffs. For once I'm cool!

I am creating...
...LOL. This column! I don't seem to get to it much anymore. By the time I finish work it's hard to go back to a computer.

I am going... longer; I finished what I was going to do, make a grocery list. We need slivered almonds, bread for my lunches...everything's at different stores! We need a trip to Trader Joe's (and I want my gourmet chicken salad back...big fail, TJ's, for not making it anymore).

I am wondering...
...when we will finally go to McKay's again. We've been planning another trip since...February? And it's June already!

I am reading...
...I just finished The Apprentices, the sequel to The Apothecary, more swell kids'-adventures, but more adult than those 1940s-1950s books used to be. Great sweeping chapters carrying you from one adventure to the next.

I am hoping...
...well, gosh, I'm hoping Trader Joe's will see the light. I really liked that chicken salad; it was the only chicken salad I've ever really liked.

I am looking forward to...
...Tuesday. James works on Saturday and has Tuesday off, and I've got a few extra leave days and will spend this one with him. We're thinking about Olive Garden for lunch as we have a coupon.

I am learning...
...about more computer apps (I'm listening to the May 13th edition of "This Week in Tech"; they're talking about Twitter—how tiresome).

Around the house...'s a mess. Need to tidy up tomorrow. I hope. If I don't get distracted by a book, one of my favorite things to be distracted by. I need to finish some book reviews, too.

I am pondering...
...this year's vacation. James wants to relax a bit this year; I hate to waste a week off and not do something different. I can do nothing at home. Still trying to find something pet-friendly between Gatlinburg and Asheville. I'm dying to see Biltmore House decorated for Christmas and Gatlinburg done up for the holidays, too.

A favorite quote for today...
This is so lovely. I found this in More Scenes from the Rural Life, which I got from Amazon Vine:

"I look back and wonder what I've been doing innately since childhood, and I can think only of this. I've been picking up words one by one, feeling their heft, wondering who's used them before, and slowly adding them to my permanent collection."      . . . . . Verlyn Klinkenborg

One of my favorite things...
...what I'm listening to, "This Week in Tech." I like best when John Dvorak and/or Jerry Pournelle are on. Dvorak especially is always such a curmudgeon that it's fun to listen to him even if I don't agree with him.

A few plans for the rest of the week:

A peek into my day...
Here. Buy it. Borrow from the library. Something to make you feel like a kid again:

The Apothecary

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



» Sunday, June 02, 2013
Weekending 2

Much variety today: sun this morning, thunderstorms this afternoon, even a cold breeze in between before it got smothery again. Plus we have had experiments in cooking that went rather well.

This morning James was awakened early by a power failure, the perils of having a C-PAP unit, after my stupid alarm clock went off (forgot it was still on), so he cooked up some of the Nora Mill pioneer porridge, which is multigrain: cracked wheat, white and yellow corn, and rice. We always have a sample of what they cook when we go up to Helen for Atomicon, even if it's a hot day, because it's so good. He also did this in the little rice cooker that we bought at Fry's, so that investment has been a great one; he cooked it plain, and added the suggested sugar and butter afterwards, but we think next time we will follow the suggestions more, with at least four tablespoons of brown sugar and some butter. He also cooked up the rest of the Pine Street Market bacon which we get from the Marietta Farmer's Market. It's thick and delicious. James cooked them in the microwave this time, in our bacon plate so that we ingested as little bacon grease as possible, but this is great bacon, too; it barely has half the grease of supermarket bacon.

Today was our expedition to BJs; we also found Camping World up off Highway 92 and did check out the store and a few of the motor homes, but it was after noon, getting hot, and I didn't have my hat and my stomach was bothering me, so we left it for another time when we could get there when they opened and it would be cooler. We stocked up on needed supplies at BJs, including Chex mix and Kleenex, and on impulse I picked up a 2 1/2 pound pork loin. When we got home and after we had the refrigerables stored, I put a few tablespoons of brown sugar, teriyaki sauce, sweet soy sauce and black sauce into the crock pot, mixed in some water along with some garlic powder, and cooked it for the rest of the afternoon. In the meantime we drove to Publix to get a couple of bananas for my lunch, a newspaper, a baguette, and we also picked up a container of watermelon. The thunderstorm had come rolling in by then, big pillowy dark-grey clouds swollen with moisture, lightning in the distance, and it was still rumbling there as we briefly stopped by Kroger for James to get gasoline. It rumbled off and on all night and the power dropped off for a second at least once.

This afternoon while the pork was cooking we watched Wings, the very first Academy Award winning film, which was recently restored with loving care—a lot of work because in some cases they were working from a print of a print which had started to deteriorate from the use of nitrate in the film then. The plot is simple: it's 1917 and two small-town buddies, David, a rich boy, and Jack, a middle-class lad who dreams of flying, are vying for the attention of Sylvia, a city girl. Mary, the "girl next door," has always liked Jack and even names his new roadster "Shooting Star," but he can't see her for Sylvia's glamor. Then World War I breaks out. Dave and Jack become flyers—some humorous sequences in boot camp with a man of German extraction who has the flag tattooed on his arm to prove his patriotism—and are sent to France to "fight the Hun," while Mary, who knows how to drive from having custody of the Shooting Star, becomes an ambulance driver, and the film chronicles their adventures. The climax is rather Victorianly dramatic, but still raises a tear. The restoration is impressive: clear, sharp picture with a sepia tint, and when planes are shot down or machine guns fire, there is hand-coloring of the flame.

Dinner was great. The pork was done to a tender turn, James made an au jus out of the marinade, and we had cucumbers for a salad. I could "zoop" some of my baguette in the juice while he had some spicy leftover rice. The watermelon was a delightful dessert.

There was time to watch a How the States Got Their Shapes episode before Alaska, the Last Frontier came on. Later we'll watch the next episode of North America.

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» Saturday, June 01, 2013
Weekending 1

Downtime from last weekend, which is welcome, but still a bit sad; everything over for the spring and now the horrible looming presence of summer has come, and with that the scourge of End of Fiscal Year.

Traffic's been a [excuse my French] right bitch for about three weeks. I'm used to this on Friday, but it's even happening on formerly calm Monday. So it was another struggle to get home last night, and by the time I did my eyes stung and hurt from the lethal combination of fluorescent lights all day and sun. I took Willow out and then stretched out on the bed to get cool until James got home.

We wanted something different to eat, so we went to Zaxby's. Not the best dinner for us, but different at least. Then we had time to stop at Hobby Lobby, where I got a few things for gifts. To my delight an entire aisle (well, one side of an aisle) was already devoted to fall, including a beautiful turkey hanging for Thanksgiving! Light at the end of the tunnel! And after that we headed home.

This morning we were up early to go to the Farmer's Market, a blessing as far as I was concerned because I was dreaming about work again. We decided to give ourselves a treat, so after we picked up some vegetables, dog biscuits, homemade cookies for dessert, boiled peanuts, a beef pot pie, nice hard peaches, and some chicken salad, we walked to the Australian Bakery and Cafe to have breakfast. It was real oatmeal, if tasting of the metal pot they cooked it in, and the bagel was great. James had eggs and biscuits. We lucked out after we were finished: the Corner Shop, the British store, was open, and James picked up some pork pies for lunches, and we stocked up on Fry's orange cream bars for dessert.

I was still sleepy when we got home, but we managed to rouse enough energy to go up to Hobbytown at Town Center. First we stopped at Petsmart, where they were doing adoptions, with a great variety of dogs. There were dignified pit bull crosses, a Lab mix that was a "leaner," two collie mixes (one sweet and shy, the other defensive), a yipping Yorkie, a huge French mastiff, and one Pomeranian with so much excess energy she was trotting in circles. There was a grey, geriatric Pom with one bad eye who howled so much it sounded like the pound scene from Lady and the Tramp. We quite liked another Pom there, a five-year-old female who was very quiet. Every time we came close to her she bowed and stretched. I think it was a nervous tic.

Oh, and they had two of the cutest kittens, a black and a Siamese pointed. The latter took a shine to James and started climbing all over the cage and sticking out his paw. What a darling!

We hit Hobbytown, and also Five Below, and then had a very late lunch (cups of clam chowder and splitting the lobster pizza) at Red Lobster. Goodness, they're expensive now, and they don't do lunch on Saturdays. Even that little bit was over $20.

By the time we got home it was almost 4:30 and not much else to do. I made the bed and washed my work clothes and later on had a peach and some milk.

Spent the rest of the evening watching Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor, all the way through "The Parting of the Ways," noting all the little things that became significant later on, especially the Rift in Cardiff and Captain Jack Harkness, who was a considerably lighter character way back then. And I noticed Anna Maxwell Martin (The Bletchley Circle) as the young woman who tried to take down the Editor and the hideous creature controlling Earth. And so now David Tennant has felt his new teeth and remembered Barcelona...

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