Yet Another Journal

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

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

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» Saturday, August 31, 2013
DragonCon, Day 2

Once again, it will have to be the short, short version.

Since neither of us had panels at ten, we toyed with going in late; but we were both up at 7:40 anyway (damn nature calling). We'd left Willow out in an experiment, which she passed (no mess to clean up), so we decided to try a longer one and leave her out today. (Alas, she flunked. Two puddles when we got home, not on the potty pad, which she used four days in a row while in the bathroom and which we left out, right near the recliner where she sleeps, but near her water dish.)

Anyway, traffic was much better today, and we went down Ivan Allen Boulevard again, where people were already lining up with chairs at the curb for the DragonCon parade. Well, we've never seen the parade...

By the time we finished breakfast, there weren't any curbside seats left, of course, but we still stood outside the CVS at Peachtree Center and saw what we could see for about an hour. Thank God for a small breeze! It started out with flags and some military, and then all the groups, from Star Trek to BritTrack (with Sylvester McCoy in the parade) to anime and videogames of all flavors; there were multi-television Batmans and Robins, and a nice Dark Knight, Superman and Captain America, even more superheroes and superhero villains, Marvin the Martian, dragons (of course), no less than three EctoOne's from Ghostbusters, military vehicles, a contingent of 1940s re-enactors with a real 48 star flag, adults, children, men, women, Firefly fans and Buffy folks, and all other things wonderful. We both got some bad pictures because of the distance.

I want a better camera!

James had a brief sit-down because his knees were hurting, then he went off to his panels and I went off to my first, at the Hilton, about the Doctor Who classic series. The main speaker was John Levene (Sgt. Benton), and, as with all Levene panels, is mostly about Levene, because he loves to talk so, in between telling terrible jokes (one he told was in "Backwoods Home" last month). He did talk about the original Master (Roger Delgado), how he found out only after he died how much Jon Pertwee thought of him via a lost interview, about recording an album, his shock about hearing about Lis Sladen's death, his friendship with Ringo Starr. He was born in 1941 and almost did not survive, and says his first memory is from age three, watching the skys darken with the bombers heading for Normandy and D-Day.

Next was the British audio panel. I had to laugh, because there was one young man who thought it was the Neil Gaiman panel (he had the wrong day), but who was too polite to walk out on the panel (Alan Siler of Timegate, Sacha Dzuba from ARTC, and Josh Wilson). He asked "What is a British audio drama?" So...we told him: Big Finish, lost adventures, other stories, Companion Chronicles, and the whole kit and kaboodle, with original Doctors and companions, all the scenery supplied by your imagination. (Or as Victor Comstock, in the glorious words of Rupert Holmes, explained it so well: "And therein lies the magic: tens of thousands of people out there, listening, each envisioning their own motion picture of the mind. And that is what we give our audience...[w]e give them dreams. We give them towers and landscapes, secrets and revelations. We give them a warm hearth in the dark—or a cold shiver up their spine.")

Anyway, I should have taken notes! And yes, we pushed BBC Radio 4X like "billy-o."

"Doctor Who Canon" was a crowded and fun panel with Lars Pearson trying to fit puzzling script moments into the official timeline: the eighth doctor being "half human," the Valeyard in "Trial of a Time Lord," the Doctor's age (why was Eccleston younger than McGann?), and what is canon: just television? the books, too? the audios? (Without the audios Paul McGann's Doctor barely exists.) One audience member even had something he'd never thought of before. (How do you fit it in? Isn't that what fanfic is for? LOL.)

I cut through the Courtland garage and Peachtree Center as an easier way to the Westin hotel and the panel "The Use of Magic in Urban Fantasy," which included Jim Butcher (the Dresden files), Laurel Hamilton (Anita Blake), and D.B. Jackson, whose Thieftaker I just finished. They talked about the mechanics of their magic, how they want it to make sense: for instance Jackson's comes from incantations and blood, Laura Anne Gilman's from electricity. One had a shapeshifter character who must lose something of herself if she transfers into an animal smaller than herself. All of them say their magic is a combination of something you are born with, but which takes education to use properly and wisely. Oh, and Jim Butcher is growing his hair out again, which will probably please the fans who were disappointed when his long hair was shorn last year.

My phone connection sucked all day—Verizon has horrible coverage in downtown Atlanta; nothing in the Hyatt or Marriott at all and little in the Hilton, but I did get a signal in the Westin. James had called me to tell me that McFarland publishing was here, that they were "in the hallway near the first level." Since there's a bridge from the new Dealer's Room location, the Atlanta "America's Mart," I walked it, just intending to look for a few minutes, intending to walk down the hill to Peter Davison's panel in the Sheraton. Well, this was a mistake; I only found them when I was ready to walk out—horribly confusing. I saw a couple of interesting books, but just grabbed a list, and then walked down the slope of Andrew Young Boulevard. By then I had done too much thinking that the weekend was half over and was a little blue; although I found the Grand Ballroom, instead of going in, I went downstairs to the British Literature panel instead. A very small and slow panel, but it quieted me down.

Now, I'd toyed with going back to the Westin to join James at his last panel (which he said later wasn't very good), but why go all the way back up there? And, besides, this was probably the only chance I'd have to see Carole Barrowman, John Barrowman's sister, who is doing a series of books with him for young adults (they've already done a Torchwood book). So I stayed for the "Doctor Who Universe Round Table," with Alan moderating, artist Kelly Yates, and Ms. Barrowman (Lars Pearson was supposed to be on the panel but didn't arrive).

Best panel decision all day! Kelly was great and Alan had a good time moderating, but Carole is a riot. She is a self-proclaimed "loudmouth" and kept everyone in stitches. My mom would have called her "a hot sketch." She's an English teacher; wish I could have studied under her! She talked about everything from the book series—starts with twins, boy and girl, who discover that what they draw comes alive; in an art gallery, they draw themselves into a painting and suddenly are being chased; the first book is Hollow Earth—to growing up with John (they were eight years apart and struck sparks off each other; they have an utterly mundane businessman brother between them), to their reaction when John got cast in Doctor Who, a favorite of theirs (basically "Squeeeeeeee!"), to questions about writing. One girl asked her for writing tips (write! keep a journal! write at least a sentence a day!), another guy if being related to John got them any "ins" in getting their book published (no). Someone asked that, having seen John's antics on stage, if it wasn't hard collaborating with him. Carole tossed off that she could always take revenge by killing off Captain Jack.

Kelly also talked about not being obsessed with art as a child, but developing his interest in college, and working on the 50th anniversary comic book series. He's working on the 50th anniversary comic series, which I really have to see if I can find. Or maybe they will collect them in a compilation volume.

At about five minutes of eight, Alan pointed to the back of the room for one last question.

"First of all," says a voice from the back of the room, "you can't kill me off, I'm immortal."

Yes, it was brother John, having been sitting in the back of the room the entire time. Of course everyone shrieked and took pictures.

He actually did have a question, too, for Kelly, about using storyboarding.

A nice surprise to end out the evening.

Talked to Caran Wilbanks for a few minutes before going out to the corner to meet James trudging down the hill to join me. We headed home without incident, cleaned up Wil's little indiscretion, and relaxed for a bit.

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» Friday, August 30, 2013
DragonCon, Day 1

Well, at least Willow waited until right before the alarm to start barking. :-)

Anyway, the short, short version: A hurried morning, and then we got stuck in this morning's rush hour traffic, from the I-85 split all the way down past Courtland Street. We finally got off at the Georgia Dome exit and got to the garage through Ivan Allen Boulevard. Had a nice breakfast at Cafe Momo and Laura Hayden and her husband Dale came by as we were eating! They were dressed as Adric and the Doctor.

Since we'd both missed the beginning of what we wanted to see anyway, we joined the Big Bang Theory panel in progress. Talked about favorite moments, and what people wanted to see.

Told James I would be at the ARTC performance tonight and then went on my way to the Hilton for the "Everything Doctor Who Panel," guest starring the three Robs (Ray, Bowen, and Levy), Caro Brown,  and Aaron Sagers. Again, a selection of best and worst episodes, what might come up in the 50th anniversary special. Rob Bowen broke into song. Caro said in exasperation, "This is why I don't want them to sit together." And the usual hijinks ensued, including a mass raising of sonic screwdrivers.

I hadn't seen Mercedes Lackey at a convention in a dog's age, so I went to the panel with her and her husband Larry Dixon. They talked about the possibility of Diana Tregarde e-books, and perhaps more stories in e-book form, and the last of the Collegium Chronicles coming out in October, and the fact that they aren't rehabilitating hawks anymore, but still have an owl named Cheyenne that was thought to be a male until they took over ownership. "He" fell in love with Larry and started laying eggs!

Had a hard choice to make between the Ed Asner panel and the time travel on television panel, but went to the latter. Hadn't had a good palaver about time travel in a long time. This felt like a very short panel as we chatted about all the main series—Time Tunnel, Quantum Leap, Voyagers, etc.—and time travel elements in other stories.

My next panel was conducted by Lev Grossman, who wrote The Magicians. He also works for "Time" and was the only American journalist invited to interview J.K. Rowling. Unfortunately he had only two days to work on the article after the interview, the article came out badly, and he was roundly panned. What he talked about were some questions he asked of her that never made it into the article, including if she was too hard on the Dursleys ("Being attacked by dementors," she said, "was the best thing that ever happened to Dudley.")

Well, on the way down to the panel, I had run into James, who was heading for a panel in the room next door. I had thought about going to a panel at the Westin, but didn't feel like trudging all the way over there, and James didn't have a panel, so we went to the art show and Comics Alley instead. The first thing we saw as we entered was Andy Runton's familiar face and we went to his table and bought the new "Owly" picture book. He not only autographed the book, but drew an adorable picture of Owly, Wormy, and the new character "Batty" on the endpaper, and gave me a "Batty" button along with the purchase. He also told us about being in a haboob in Phoenix with his brother! James also bought me a hand-made stuffed "Lenore" from Bill Holbrook's table. Lenore is the pet raven in the comic strip "On the Fastrack." She's about the size of a cockatiel, shaped like a teardrop with felt wings and tail and big white eyes just like the bird in the strip. How cute! She even has a little charm in her mouth that she is stealing.

In the print shop I bought James one of the reproduction World War II nose art prints, and I bought a cool other print to use as a gift.

On the way to the Regency ballroom we ran into Alice, who was joined by Aubrey and Jessie, and we eventually all went over to talk around the ARTC sales table.

The final event of the night was the new Atlanta Radio Theatre production of "In Need of a Bard," the story of an ordinary guy named Brad, an aspiring musician who is having no luck selling his music. After one discouraging day, he creates a moody song about a "Queen of the Night"...and then blacks out. When he comes to, he is at what he thinks is a Renaissance Faire, where he's kidnapped by Vikings and rescued by what he thinks is a heroic woman—who turns out to be a female dragon! Thus begins his quest to find his way home. Daniel Kiernan particularly convulsed everyone playing a cherubic fairy/pixie cross with a deep voice and a Brooklyn accent (and he was in a green fairy costume to boot!). It was a neat story, even if I did guess the way it would come out.

We didn't stop to socialize because we knew poor Willow was home waiting for us. Thankfully, there was no one without money exiting the garage tonight and we were home safely. I was to go upstairs and "release the hound" so James could take her out, but Willow was already out and wandering around; she'd knocked down the gate. Not sure when it happened, and I didn't have to mop the bathroom as I feared; she used the potty pad to pee and did her other business outside. Cleaned the aforementioned pad off with Dawn and then could relax and watch a few episodes of Lassie.

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» Thursday, August 29, 2013
Prelude to DragonCon

Scrabbled wildly to finish a few more things today and all for naught. Did get most of them done, but not finished (yes, there is a difference). Clocked a long ten hours today, interrupted only by trips to the bathroom for either me or the dog. Looking forward to four days of minimal mousing; my right hand is quite sore from it. I've been wearing my sewing support wrist brace all day for a couple of days, but the base of my wrist (the part where the nurse takes your pulse) hurts even when resting on a soft surface in the proper position. I finally wrapped a cloth around my wrist for more padding, which got me through the rest of the afternoon.

Once James got home, we ate supper and then made our sandwiches for the weekend. By sometime after seven, the estimated time to downtown was only thirty minutes, so we got dressed, wet down our chiller neck towels, stuck some crackers in our pocket, tucked e-readers under our arm, and, with tickets in hand, set out to register for DragonCon. We ran into the usual traffic downtown, which cleared once all the oddballl football fans got off at the exit for the Georgia Dome. :-) Found parking relatively easy at the Courtland Street Garage.

Then the easy stopped.

We got spoiled. After the marathon registration session in 2010, the one that took us almost four hours to get through (thank God for the copy of Bill Bryson's At Home!), DragonCon initiated a barcode system that worked fabulously. In 2011 and 2012 we got down there at 7:30 and were hustled through the line like recruits at boot camp; tiring but fabulous! In 2011 we were done in time to go see the Celtic band Emerald Rose play a long set.

Sigh. tonight, there was a long, long line, which I left James to get in while I nipped in the ladies' room and copped us two cups of water. Anyway, it wasn't almost four hours, but the hour and a half was bad enough; especially when there was an incredible stink every time we passed one of the drains in the sidewalk surrounding the Sheraton. I found James on the backside of the hotel on Ellis Street; the forward pace wasn't brisk, but at least it wasn't endless. Once inside, it was time for the mouse maze again—Disney World queue flashbacks! There were so many people in the ballroom that they had to have big fans in every corner.

The chill towels worked out okay; worth $10 anyway. And the cup of water I nursed held out with sips. So we came home a bit sore and warm, but it worked out. I miss the "Readers Digest condensed version," though. (It took about fifteen minutes extra just to get home because as we were checking out of the garage, the driver of the car four cars ahead of us, at the payment counter, turned out not to have any money. [eyes roll])

And Willow managed to be good for the entire time we were out. Good dog!

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» Saturday, August 24, 2013

Work has me whipped.

Each year I think I can't get any more tired during end of fiscal year and every year it proves me wrong. I am dog tried this year and hurting to boot. When I finally finished on Friday my right hand was aching and by the time I got home (sixty minutes tonight!) my right shoulder was swollen and sore to the touch. I finally got some crushed ice from the fridge and put it into plastic bags and put one bag on my wrist and the other on my shoulder near my neck (the skin along my right occipital bone was swollen, too). Even worse, my eyes are killing me. Even the television makes me squint. What's the difference between last year and this year? Those damn fluorescent lights, of course. At lunchtime Friday I flat collapsed in the car during lunch, having swallowed three ibuprofin against the headache.

So today, when James had to get up and go to work, I took the opportunity to sleep late. Instead of spending a lot of time at the computer (which I should have; I have a pile of books to review), I cleaned house (scrubbed the floor in the kitchen, did the toilets, other routine stuff), ran things up and down the stairs—oh, and washed out Willow's bedding again.

We gave up on keeping her crate in the kitchen. When she did have an accident in the early morning, it was just too much to have to mop up and then pack lunches, too (not to mention gross). So now she's in the hall bath, and has been rewarded several times for using the potty pad. Unfortunately she hasn't gotten the hang of it yet; I found a big puddle next to and under her crate! Instead of wasting paper towels, I just mopped up the mess with the towel from her crate and then washed that and the fleece. And then I washed the floor.

Wish I could explain to her how to aim. Today she pretty much spent asleep in James' recliner, only asking to go out three times.

Oh, and listened to more BBC radio: another part of Paul Temple and the Gregory Affair, the next part of Mr. Finchley Goes to Paris (with Richard Griffiths), the last part of the Chesterton story, and part two of Cabin Pressure. I also found a drama about P.G. Wodehouse being suspected of "giving aid and comfort to the enemy" in World War II.

James arrived home at 5:30 with a bounty of mail, including my two books from Amazon Vine. One is the history of ballooning and the other is an American history text. Love my history books! We ate at Ken's Corner Grill and then did the grocery shopping at both Publix and Kroger so tomorrow we can go to Costco and just bum around (nap please!).

Oh, and we stopped at Home Depot...when we moved in the house there was no room for lamps on our nighttables. So we got these nifty dimmer lights that mounted on the headboard of the bed, ordered out of the Vermont Country Store catalog. James' light "broke" a year or two ago; you couldn't shut it off. So we put a dimmer switch on it and it worked that way tolerably well, but both the light and the dimmer switch quit working last night. So we brought home a gooseneck clip-on lamp instead.only to discover the gooseneck "lopped over" and the lamp part wouldn't stay up! It's tied up in place with string right now.

Chilled out watching a compilation of Too Cute puppies.

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» Sunday, August 18, 2013
A Place to Go

Had a nice sleep-in this morning, unlike yesterday, when I was kept restless by dreams about work. Eventually I heard Willow give a little howl, and another. We both dressed quickly, but I made it out first.

Poor puppy. She has been sleeping in the kitchen since Thursday night, when she wet the floor four times. Ever since then she had asked to go out, but of course this morning there was no one to ask. So before she could go anywhere, I had to dry the floor, and her paws, before she could be sent racing out to join James (having no truck with the potty pad). I washed the floor down, too, before she came back, but she still came slinking in, knowing she had done wrong.

So we had to go grocery shopping today, and finish a few more errands. We found we could do them all together on Dallas Highway and did so, despite being awash at our first stop as Georgia Monsoon Season broke out temporarily. James let me off at the door of Lowes and I dashed in to buy three collapsible storage cubes to be used for overflowing DVDs. They were giving away free hot dogs and we each had one before going on to Publix for this week's twofer deals and a newspaper.

Then we went on to Barnes & Noble for a little bit of fun. Checked out the fall movie preview in "Entertainment Weekly"—I had no idea they'd done a film of The Monuments Men!—and dipped in and out of the aisles before picking up the last Charles Lenox book, Death in the Small Hours, so I can read it before having to read and review the newest book for Amazon Vine. I also picked up the new steampunk paperback, A Conspiracy of Alchemists, and the new "Cross Stitch Crazy."

But I left James alone too long: he found three books. :-)

Finally we stopped at Kroger for the weekly shopping, and then went home. The rain was just intermittent by then; you can bet we wiped our feet really good before stepping on that finally dry carpet!

We slept so late and then took so long at breakfast and went out so late that it was nearly dinnertime by the time we put everything away. Watched a few episodes of House Hunters before a dinner of sausage and split a chocolate chip cookie brownie for dessert. Later on we watched the special Inside Foyle's War, which included a preview of the eighth series, which has Foyle joining MI5! Glad to see Honeysuckle Weeks is back!

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» Saturday, August 17, 2013
Waiting for Dryness

Amazing! Another day of clouds and in the 60s, and pockets of rain in between.

We enjoyed the hell out of it, but it's terrible for helping carpeting to dry!

It was a marvelous day for the Farmer's Market, though, comfortable to walk around and sample things. We bought more chicken salad, some brownies for desserts, and three pasta salads to take to Hair Day (and apple bread). Then we had the pleasing, if damp, ride through Villa Rica Road to the Butlers for Hair Day. It was a small crowd, but a warm one, and it was a great morning and early afternoon.

Then it was time for errands. We had several stops to make. One was to try to deal with Willow's new problem. We went to Bed, Bath & Beyond and bought one of those indoor dog potties and the pads to go with it. James also got a refill CO2 container for his Soda Stream. We also stopped at Petco to get Schuyler her seed and some new millet, and I bought some dog diapers as well. We will try them both.

Finally we had a little time to ourselves and went to Barnes & Noble with our coupons. I was telling James there should be some great books coming out next year (not to mention some great radio programs on the BBC, judging by their coverage of the Titanic anniversary!) since it's the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I. What I really would like to read is a good history of the homefront during that time, especially in the United States; it wasn't like the second war, where some folks were all for joining in, some just for sending aid, and the rest not wanting to be involved—we pretty much wanted to keep our nose out of the conflict, and then, when circumstances turned, all of a sudden everything was gung-ho with the war effort. Even children's series books at that time had their main characters going off to fight (the boys' series) or doing something for the war effort (the girls' series). It always reads as if someone flipped a switch! Was it that way, really? And what about all those Meatless Days and Wheatless Days, and making the world safe for democracy, and little kids, even those bedridden, not wanting to be a "slacker" in the war effort?

So it was with delight I found The Last of the Doughboys at B&N and am looking forward to reading it.

We had some soup at the bookstore and came home and walked upstairs barefooted or in booties since there were still damp bits of the carpet. It was dry in front of the computers, so I did bring the clear chair pads back out, and the computer chairs, and James spent most of the evening catching up with lost computer time. I put the potty pad together and encouraged Willow to sniff at it, but she was having none of it, which didn't surprise me. It's strange to her, and a strange concept, as she was never paper trained or ever encouraged to "go" inside.

I also cleaned off the vacuum cleaner. It's been rolling over that grimy rug, and then yesterday, since I had to vacuum before Mike showed up, I was forced to run it over spots that were still wet from Willow's accidents. It was a mess. I pulled out the beater bar, cut off the hair around it, and washed it, then washed inside the compartment in which the beater bar rotates, and also cleaned off every part of the vacuum cleaner that touches the floor, finally disinfecting it with alcohol.

Later Mike showed up on chat and we talked about his getting ready for the first day of school (he works at the law library at the University of Oklahoma).

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» Friday, August 16, 2013

Mike said it would take the carpet about six hours to dry.

I liked Mike a lot. He was friendly, hard working, got the carpet presentable (he even said it turned out nicer than he thought it would!), and rescued a pit bulldog. But no way was this carpet going to be dry in six hours. One of the reasons is that it was impossibly nice today, in the 60s and cloudy. I even had the window in the bedroom open when he did the pet treatment on the carpet, which had a vaguely citrusy smell, and after he left I opened both dining room windows and the back door, and one of the living room windows and there was a cool, glorious breeze. You've heard of "Indian summer"? This was definitely a "blackberry winter" or "three chilly sisters" situation.

Willow slept for a while on her plush blanket in the room with Schuyler and I, or, most of the time, sacked out on the recliner. I took her out a couple of times, walking in sock feet and then finally scrubbing off the bottom of a pair of scuffs so I could change wet socks, and made sure to wipe her paws coming back in. When James came home, I was dressed and ready, and had his e-reader, and we let Willow out one more time, and then I put my shoes on downstairs in the foyer and we went out the front door (so not to dirty the three stairs going to the downstairs hall and the garage).

We had supper at Giovanni's, and then went to Wally World, as we needed a few things cheaper than the supermarkets (like Breathe Rights and Sinex), and I wanted to get a new rug for the foyer and another for the back door. I got a red rug for the front, which is more autumn-y, although the blue rug would have matched the color of the front door, and a vaguely Mondrian design in semi-autumn colors for the back door. Oh, and I got a bag of cherries, which may be the best-tasting bag I've gotten this entire season! Then came home by the Petsmart at Brookwood, only to find they didn't have Schuyler's usual seed. Good thing she's not completely out! And finally stopped at Lowes to get those white shoe covers that workmen use when they have to come in your house, so we could put them on before we headed upstairs.

The carpet was progressing slowly, even this late; some spots were almost dry, but the parts he had to deep treat were still quite wet. So James sat on the sofa with me for the rest of the evening, then about eleven o'clock I squeezed by the recliner still in the hall (it's a very small hall) and got my hair dryer, sat on the floor, and blew on the part of the carpet where the recliner is supposed to sit until I thought it was dry, and got that thing out of the way.

Can't get over how nice it came...

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Beige Blues No More

I've always hated beige. Mom loved beige; she said it matched everything. All the rooms were beige, except for the pink bathroom and the yellow kitchen. For a while Dad and I got a vote in: their room was gold, the parlor was a terra cotta color, and my room was pale blue, just like my best friend Sherrye's room. Once I left home and after Dad passed away, the walls went back to beige.

Having lived in a house where the walls are "antique white" (read "light beige"), I can now see Mom's point. You can pretty much decorate a room any way and the walls match. It goes with the autumn theme during the year and the Christmas theme in December. It fits the lighthouse theme in the hall bath and the "airfield restroom" theme in the downstairs bath. It goes with the apples and cows in the kitchen and the books in the library. Hard to beat.

The the carpet I always wished were darker. You had to pay extra for a darker carpet and we didn't have the bucks.

Carpeting was the reason I was up at 7:30, bumping around in a nice dim bedroom, waiting for the carpet cleaners to call. I ate breakfast, checked e-mail, then went back to cleaning, vacuuming, vacuuming, vacuuming. They called at 8:45 saying he would be the truck would be here at 9:30. So since I'd vacuumed everything else, I decided to clean out under the bird cage, which was a mess of shed fluff, seed shucks, pellets, and dust. Whew! But it was finally all out of there. The last thing I had to do was get Willow behind the gate at the hall doorway.

She didn't want to come; she thought I was going to give her a bath.

So I spent several minutes chasing her around the empty floor space before I could lead her back into the little cocoon I'd created: Schuyler was in the spare room, "the little room with the teevee" that I promised her (although I eventually turned the sound off and played BBC Radio 4X instead) with two of the dining room chairs and the fluffy dog blanket (the rest of the dining room chairs were in the craft room) and I'd stashed the computer chairs in our bedroom. I was going to put the recliner in there, too, but it is too wide to go through the door. So it sat wedged in the hallway instead.

ZeroRez arrived in the form of Mike and did his job. I had the "pet treatment" which included a spray to turn the biologicals in the rug back to a point where they could be removed. It had a lemon-ish odor which, thankfully, didn't seem to bother Schuyler. But Willow was restless during the whole thing and I couldn't blame her; she couldn't sleep in her usual place in James' chair (it was out of place and bothered her) and the sound of the vacuum that pulled the water out of the carpet hurt her ears. I also had him put some type of stain repellent on the carpet (not Scotchgard) when he finished.

And, oh, dear Lord, it's actually all one color again. Wow. Of course it took him about two hours, too! He even got the Georgia red clay stains out of the stairs.

Schuyler and I actually had a nice time in the spare room, except when I had the fan on. She must have thought it was a condor. She kissed and sang and preened, and I typed, and discovered that, along with Paul Temple and the Gregory Affair, Brothers in Law, Mr. Finchley Goes to Paris and "When Vila Met Gan" on 4X, they have re-started Cabin Pressure, which I've heard so much about. It's a comedy series about a small charter airline (one jet) and stars Benedict Cumberbatch among others.

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» Thursday, August 15, 2013
Cue the Prep
I wanted hardwood floors upstairs, but that wasn't in the budget. So now we have this wretched carpet, which only came in light colors, and it's been gathering grime since we moved in. I'd been trying to keep with the most offending spots, food and drink dropped at parties or game nights, food and drink dropped in the course of supper, foot grime that persists despite Willow getting her paws wiped whenever she goes out and our changing into slippers when we get home. But Miss Dog is getting old, and her "accidents" are getting more frequent, and the old grime was causing discoloring. Part of the rug is now beige and the rest, in high-traffic areas, is dark beige or darker, with light spots from Urine Gone treatments.

Last year when we were at the Home Show (this year there were no carpet cleaners there at all!), we looked at all the different carpet cleaning companies and liked a company called ZeroRes, which cleans with water. This was especially needed because we didn't want harsh cleaners that might have fumes that would bother Schuyler. It was especially telling that James was the one who nagged to get the carpet cleaned, and was the one who called up and made the arrangements.

They are coming tomorrow and I have been trying to prep a little bit every night by picking up things and putting them in other rooms; you never realize how much stuff (besides the furniture) you have on the floor until you have to pick it up! James has a bag full of a wargame module, and big gift books. There are also DVDs we've been gifted and we don't have room for, so they're plunked on the floor near the television. There's my plastic cross stitching project container and my cross stitch bag. There's an odd Ikea basket with electronic cords. A new router that hasn't been installed...and so on.

Last night we both had to gird up and get the rest of the junk other stuff off the floor. I moved the dog's food and water, and her crate into the kitchen, along with the emergency charger. James cleaned up the basket and the router. Then he had to get the books off the glider rocker, and the magazines off the glider rocker ottoman (well, you get the gist). Then I picked up the basket under the coffee table and cleaned off the coffee table, and then upended and polished it, and then walked it into the hallway.

So in the dining room only the table was left, and we left the two computer chairs and the recliner and the dog bed in the living room. Everything else went in one of the spare bedrooms, and the wastebaskets in the bathroom. As we emptied out things, I vacuumed. And vacuumed. And vacuumed. Lots of dog hair, little dirt by now. :-) By eleven o'clock, we were glad to turn out the lights and go to bed.

A funny thing happened: the corner where we usually put the Christmas tree really isn't dirty. The glider rocker is there, and no one ever sits in it except when we empty all the magazines and books for a game night/party (which, I must admit, irritates me, as I always intended that corner as a place where I could cross stitch next to the window). Plus we didn't want to lift up James' side table, the little Leksvik we got from Ikea (which they don't make anymore), as it's full of more books and batteries. So I crammed the rocker under the window and the table next to it, and unplugged James' tall, skinny reading lamp to move over in that corner. This is just a round-bottomed stand with a long pole and then a conical lamp head at the top adjustable with an articulated connection.

When I lifted it out, the bottom fell out if it and broke into pieces. What was weighing it down under the round stand was just a piece of plaster encased in a vinyl wraparound! So we had to pick that up and throw it away, too. But how funny! I've moved that lamp dozens of times and it's never hurt it!

(Oh, thought it was funny we were working so hard at housecleaning tonight, as it was the Feast of the Assumption. If we had celebrated "Name Days" like some of the Spanish people do, this would have been my mother's "Name Day." Everyone called her Mary, but her name was Assunta. She had people call her Mary because the usual nickname for Italian women named Assunta was "Susie" and she hated being called Susie.)

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» Sunday, August 11, 2013
The Food Chain

Yep, it was time again for a BJs expedition. We needed Chex mix and Costco doesn't have it and we'd have to re-up at Sam's Club. Plus BJs takes credit cards; more points on the Amazon card. Pay it off on Monday and you have a deal.

Might as well enjoy it: I downloaded this week's "The Splendid Table" and we listened to Lynn Rosetto Casper and guests talk about milk mayonnaise, grilling vegetables, etc. and the now almost obligatory visit by Jane and Michael Stern. Once at BJs we checked out the tech—yeah, I'm drooling over cameras again but can't afford one—and then buckled down to shopping for staples. Oh, and I bought a book about retirement.

We had to come home by Town Center and the Bed, Bath & Beyond to pick up something with a coupon, then stopped at home briefly to drop off the things we got at BJs before finishing up at Kroger for the base staples (milk and Those Damn Bananas). Sampled some really good hummus and found some quick-cooking steaks for tomorrow night on the manager's special shelf.

We did have a minor contretemps upon checking out. As we were walking to checkout, we came by a big dump of books that were on sale. Some of the prices were excellent; there were coffee table books as low as $8.00 each. But, even better, there was a big sign on the front saying that all of the books were 50 percent off the lowest price on the book. But when we got to the checkout, all the $8.00 books rang up full price. We asked why. The cashier called a manager, who said, well, we get these in a box from the publisher. The $8.00 is the marked-down price. But the sign says... No, you must be misunderstanding. That's what it said on the sign, we insisted. So she had to go check. And it turned out...we were right, and got the books at the proper price.

But I was sorry for having held up the line.

(These were lovely, brand-new books. One was still in its plastic wrapping! Several we put aside for gifts.)

Spent the rest of the afternoon tidying things up, and watching I Want That! and Rick Steves specials. Had a great time watching his travel lecture and am now watching "Travel as a Political Act."

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» Saturday, August 10, 2013
Saturday Slump

We've had a quiet day. Work has me quite knackered and even though I had eight hours sleep (well, except when James' alarm went off and I had some Unavoidable Delay), I went to the Farmers Market feeling a bit shellshocked. The heat didn't help; at nine o'clock it was already 78°F out with 88 percent humidity, and the sun felt like a broiler. We bought a lamb pot pie for the first time, a good supply of dog cookies, chicken salad, some Vidalia onions, and corn on the cob, then came home by the bakery to buy a couple of desserts for next week.

We thought about going out for breakfast, but the IHOP was packed, so we just came home and had our usual. Then James went off to his club meeting. I read for a while, but was getting sleepier and sleepier, and finally decided to take a nap about two o'clock.

Yes, of course James got home at 2:30. Ah, well, I did feel better. Just lying down with my eyes closed for one half hour more with no lights in them seemed to help.

We drove out to James Corley's house to see if James wanted anything of his stock of models that he's selling off, but he didn't see anything. We went on to Trader Joe's and picked up, among other things, some coq au vin, which we had for supper. Not bad. But by the time we got home James wasn't feeling well. Heat takes so much out of both of us.

Lots of rumbling in the early evening, but not much on the rain front. I did go out and fill the bird feeders before anything went down; the brown-headed nuthatchs were so hungry they were swarming around as I filled each feeder.

Spent the evening watching Britcoms until after As Time Goes By was over. GPB makes me laugh, talking about Good Neighbors as if it's a new show!

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» Saturday, August 03, 2013
Doc on the Block

One of the results of Kaiser's snafu with James' doctor's appointment on Tuesday—when he confirmed the appointment they told him it was 9:40 a.m., but when he arrived, they told him he had missed it because it was at 8:40—was that he didn't get his blood test done. It was supposed to be a fasting blood test, but he couldn't go without eating until his re-assigned appointment at 4:40. So the first thing to do this Saturday morning was go to one of Kaiser's weekend clinics and get a blood test. So we both got up at eight, and I grabbed a fruit cup for each of us and an extra granola bar for James, and we went off to the Glenlake office near Perimeter Mall, which James' doctor and the nurse at Cumberland assured us was open, and it opened at nine.

Of course when we got there a few minutes after nine, they were open, but the nurse said the lab was not. James was fit to be tied after two mistakes in a row. The nurse did tell us that the Gwinnett office was open, so we plugged that into the GPS and arrived there at 9:35.

They don't open until ten. ::sigh::

Well, of course we waited; he had to have the test. Found out this office actually makes you take a number, like in a bakery! Luckily James was number three, and I had the granola bar waiting for him (I'd already had my oranges in the waiting room; I wasn't going to eat in front of him!) with an orange chaser. Then we had breakfast at the IHOP.

Now, when we'd planned this expedition earlier in the week, we figured that since we were going to have to be at Glenlake anyway, we might as well as go to North Point. Not for the mall—yawn. But we had Barnes & Noble coupons and figured we might go to a different store for a change. So we still did that; it was on the route home after all.

This was a nice big store despite how small it looked from the outside, and I saw something I wanted almost immediately, a book about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's first wife solving a mystery. But after a good wander around the store, I was stopped in my tracks by the new books rack in the Science Fiction section, where I saw the Doctor Who book A History of the Universe in 100 Objects. When I had quit laughing until the tears came, since I knew the book this was a parody of (heck, I listened to the radio show of it on the BBC), I had to get it.

We also went to Fry's in Alpharetta for a while, but, man, that place is becoming kind of depressing! I remember when it opened and all the wonderful stuff it had. Now where the instruction books and the software used to be, it's full of "As Seen on TV" stuff and tchotchkes...just more stuff to dust! The cafe doesn't have soup any more, and the DVD storage is just about nil anymore. We did find a Panera to have a bowl of soup each to hold us until supper.

We checked out a used bookstore, too, back near North Point, but it was disappointing. It was a nice cozy place, and a good assortment of books, but they were mostly overpriced.

On our way home, James stopped by the Akers Mill Barnes & Noble so I could pick up the Louise Doyle book I had seen earlier. It was nice of him because we were both tired. Had supper at home with leftovers, and then later had a nice chat with Mike, who had just arrived back in Oklahoma from Virginia.

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» Friday, August 02, 2013
Drawn to the Purple

Ah, sleep, which knits the raveled sleeve...and all that. But I did sleep in this morning, since I'd be puttering around until the exterminator showed up. So finally about 10:30 Willow needed to go out, so I took her. As she sniffed about, I noticed once again that the tall bushes—nandina, Cindy called it—on either side of St. Francis were overgrown and he was disappearing between the stalks. So I opened the garage and got the pruners, and cut the tops off branch by branch while Willow finished her p-mail. Of course once the nandina was trimmed the darn hedge of bushes—leaves are reddish, and they have pink stringy blooms that look like miniature mimosa flowers; I think it's called a firecracker bush—was now just too tall, so I dragged the hedge clippers and the extension cord out and trimmed it down. Bad time of year for it, but I didn't get a chance in February.

The exterminator arrived while I was doing this, so I was able to open up the garage so he could treat for spiders. Once he left I could finally start on my errands. Originally I had to go to Kroger to drop off my prescriptions and then to the bank and then hopefully back to Kroger. Well, the doctor had called and said after seeing the results of my blood tests he wanted to change the dosage on two of my meds. So I had to go past Kaiser to pick up the prescriptions and put one of them in to be refilled.

First I had to track them down. They weren't entered in the pharmacy, so I had to go upstairs to adult medicine. The nurse found them, but they were written for 30 with two refills instead of 90 with three refills. Okay, I get it. He's going to play with the dosage and wants me back in 90 days for another blood test. But I don't want three 30-day meds. I want one 90-day. I had the hardest time making the nurse understand, and she never did. Anyway, the pharmacy gave me 90 of the one I had to have filled downstairs, and told me Kroger would probably do the same thing.

No, Kroger told me. They couldn't give me 90 unless the doctor wrote 90. (See, I told you!) However, they could give me all three 30s at once, but it would cost $4 x 3 instead of one 90 day at $10. Pfft!

I didn't get to the bank until 2:30! Thankfully, that was easy: I just had a CD that just expired, and I just wanted to pull the money and put it into savings since it was earning a pissant .05 interest. I talked to a financial advisor for a few minutes about preparations to make going toward retirement, and then, close to three o'clock, finally got home to eat lunch!

Anyway, today I had decided to wear two new things: a dark shirt that said "Bibliovore" on it that James bought me, and my new pair of black "scrubs" that I found at Dollar General. The scrubs usually come in colors like turquoise and gas-flame blue, both which I have, and I'd stupidly worn the latter outside while I was chopping away at the bushes, so they were dirty around the hems, so I put the black ones on, since it was already hot and rising into the 1990s. Scrubs are nice and light to wear at this time of year. At the bank I noticed that my hands looked all dirty. For a second I attributed this to having messed with the bushes, but I had scrubbed my hands before I changed clothes. It was terrible; there was a purple-black through all the little fissures of my fingers and my nails looked grubby. So when I came home I scrubbed and scrubbed my hands and they still stayed dirty.

Well, I realized, it was the new shirt! It was such a dark grey, but it had a purplish cast, and I figured the color ran when I started to perspire. Quite aggravating...maybe some people don't mind going around with grubby fingers, but I certainly didn't want to.

We had supper at Howard's Delicatessen tonight. The food was fine. Nothing spectacular, but not bad. We both had the open-faced roast beef sandwich. Not real roast beef, but not slimy deli meat, either. James had the mashed potatoes with his, but I settled for beef, bread and gravy, with a side of sliced tomatoes. We decided to have dessert; the French silk pie is good, but the cream on top was too sweet; about halfway through I just scraped it off and ate chocolate and crust.

We had JoAnn coupons, so went there after supper. This was a 25 percent off everything, even sale items, so we tried to gather up them. Slim pickings, but we did get a gift, and I also bought some coloring books to go along with the crayons I bought at Publix today. All the back-to-school things are on sale, and I found boxes of crayons for fifty cents. I plan to pair them with the coloring books as something to put in the Toys for Tots barrel at Christmas.

Came home through the park and got stuck in traffic in downtown Marietta due to a combination of it being the monthly Friday "art walk" and an accident at a railroad crossing (there is a car with no front end anymore). It was only when we were home and changing clothes that I found out the real truth: it was the pants that were the culprit for the mess on my hands. My socks were all blackish-purple around the ankle, and my legs from thigh down to the top of the socks had a purple cast! I had to walk into the shower and scrub off my legs before I could change. Too strange!

(Incidentally, I wanted to call this entry "Dyed in the Twill"...but they aren't. Heh.)

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