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, October 27, 2013
Talking Shop

Sadly, today we had to catch up with all the shopping that fell behind while I was on furlough. We needed cleaning supplies, some staples, and the usual stuff (milk, bread—but I got Those Damn Bananas on Friday night, since all Kroger seems to carry are green ones). So, high ho, after oatmeal and milk we go, to Costco, where James had to pick up something.

Alas, I apparently can't surprise him with a book any longer, because the one I saw at Barnes & Noble on Friday, pegging it as a good anniversary gift, was there at Costco and, as I figured, he immediately spotted it: From Scratch: Inside the Food Network. So I bought it for him, but now he knows what it is. Also saw the BluRays of Fantastic Voyage and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, which I was planning to get from Amazon. Much cheaper at Costco! Hope they have The Right Stuff when it comes out next week! Otherwise we bought such exciting things as soap and Lysol. :-)

Zipped up the milk (much cheaper at Costco) in an insulated bag and finished the shopping at Kroger: cucumbers, some chicken legs for dinner, BreatheRights, etc. Got over $20.00 off the order with coupons. I also picked up a prescription.

By the time we got this all put away (complicated by the fact that the dog food bag popped open and about a cup of them spilled, and I had to pick up the kibbles by hand), we were both too tired to do much more than take my car to fill it up (back to Costco, where gas was fifteen cents cheaper than anywhere else). Spent the evening watching (what else?) Fantastic Voyage and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, nicely featuring baked chicken legs and couscous with vegetable flakes as a side.

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» Saturday, October 26, 2013
Books Fall For Us

We had a good, hard frost last night, enough that it looked like the lawn had a light coating of snow. It made everything so stiff that even Willow's 14-pound body didn't make a dent in it. And it was so hard to get out of a nice warm bed!

Still in the 30s when we left the house, clad in heavy jackets. It was beautifully blue with big white brushstrokes of cirrus clouds high overhead. We'd intended to go to the Farmer's Market to pick up a few things, and then swing by the Fall Jonquil Festival before going to a farewell luncheon. Well, we got dumped out of the first almost immediately: there were two other things going on downtown besides the Farmer's Market and there was no  parking anywhere. We tried circling and going through the square to see if there were any free spaces, but they were having a heart race and also some sort of fair with local vendors having booths, plus the twice-monthly artists' market. We finally gave up, drove past Bernhard's Bakery for a couple of things for desserts, got James a ham-and-cheese croissant for breakfast and me a bun to nibble on (sadly, no butter with condiments to put on it), and went on to the Jonquil Festival. We actually got there before they were officially opened, but all the booths were pretty much open already and we wandered among the booths, sampling honey, checking out photography and pottery, looking at jewelry and wood carving. The "Lose a Finger" dog biscuit folks were there, so we got Wil her "cookies," and bought a gift for James' mom and sister.

Then we stopped at the Smyrna Library book sale and were happy to see they had some old books. I was happy to find one of my favorite Lois Lenski books, Shoo-Fly Girl, in a box of children's books—Lenski is so rare anymore, and no one gets rid of her books; old library books usually sell for lots of money online—and also an Eleanor Estes book I'd never heard of, The Alley, about a neighborhood in Brooklyn. I've never been a Moffats fan—I like the Melendy kids better—but this looked more interesting (and it has Edward Ardizzone illustrations to boot). I found a newer book, a 19th century mystery, The Yard, brand new in hardback, but of more interest was a history book called The World of Washington Irving and a collection of Christmas stories, both printed during World War II. The latter was of especially interest to me because it was edited by May Lamberton Becker, who took over the the editing of "St. Nicholas" after Mary Mapes Dodge died.

My favorite find, though, was A Treasury of the Familiar, which is a collection of famous poetry and prose—"Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" and "Elegy in a Country Churchyard" along with Washington's farewell speech and the Declaration of Independence, excerpts from Shakespeare, summaries of Aesop, etc. If it's been quoted (like the "band of brothers" line) or anthologized or multiply printed, it's in here.

James also got a 1954 book called Weapons which looks much older than it is, and a circa 1942 cookbook originally printed in 1938. Lots of foods you don't see anymore: sardine sandwiches, aspics, pimento cheese appetizers (I keep hearing old-time radio Kraft ads when I read about spreadable cheese sandwiches!), etc.

For lunch we went to the farewell luncheon the guys had for James Corley, who used to run the hobby shop we went to almost every Saturday. We went to the Tavern 120; I had a French dip with "tater tots," which was very filling, I read for most of the time the guys were model neeping. Someone brought cupcakes and a giant cookie as a farewell dessert.

Anyway, after lunch we did go back to the wild bird feed store, and because the squirrel-proof feeders had a lifetime guarantee (I actually had a second one that needed the inner container; it broke after the wind swept it off the deck rail), they gave us new innards for free. There was a flock of happy birds when I put them up later in the afternoon.

We also stopped at Trader Joe's, which is still chock full of pumpkin everything: scones, macaroons, bread, waffles, cake, butter, etc. James has fallen in love with their pumpkin bars—I find them too sweet—so we bought a supply for the coming months. We also tasted some Italian cheese with cinnamon sprinkled on it; it was unexpectedly delicious!

Finally we headed down to Barnes & Noble and got on the freeway only to see the police checking out a horrible accident. A black car was battered beyond repair in the middle of one lane and there were other damaged cars. We found out later that it was a four-car accident with a fatality, and that the vehicle that caused the accident, a big RV, just drove off after hitting the first car. Unbelievable.

Did find a couple of Christmas magazines at the bookstore, but didn't see another book I wanted until I was starting to walk out, then came upon a graphic novel about three war dogs, one in the first World War, one in the second, and one in Vietnam.

And no sooner did we get home than the mailman showed up with all three of my books from Amazon Vine: a biography of Edward VII, a history of German spies in the United States in 1915, and a book about the 1948 remodel of the White House. I'm quite booked!

Since we had a big lunch we just had soup for supper and watched reruns of Flipping Boston, finishing up with Burton and Taylor.

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» Friday, October 25, 2013
Looking for One Thing, Finding Another

I rather struck out at the beginning of the day.

I let my bed seduce me an extra half hour, because I really miss getting eight hours of sleep every night. After breakfast was over, I headed out to Wild Birds Unlimited to get a new squirrel-proof bird feeder because the inner part of one of ours (the part that holds the birdseed) has a big hole near the top of it. Well, turns out they have changed the feeders; they are short and squat now rather than slim and tall. However, the guy at the store said they have a lifetime guarantee, and if I bring in the broken feeder, they might have a replacement "innard." So I left empty-handed.

I also struck out trying to find a place I was hoping was an actual storefront. Sadly, it turned out to just be an accommodation address.

But I did have good luck in other parts of the day. Since I was heading to Buckhead anyway—driving West Paces Ferry has been completely spoilt by all those traffic lights—I stopped at Barnes & Noble with my 20 percent off coupon hoping to find something good, and I did: a "new" "Best of British" (at least one newer than the one I have) and also an idea for a James anniversary gift. Plus I found a cool new book about Boston and the American Revolution to use the coupon on.

I also stopped at Oxford Comics to see if there was anything Doctor Who-ish there, and instead found a new Elfquest comic. I've been a big Elfquest fan since Abby Murphy got me hooked on it so long ago; although I left off buying the comics around the time of the "Hidden Years" cycle, I've caught up with them online. This is "The Final Quest," with all the old characters I loved: Cutter, Blood of Ten Chiefs; his mate Leetah, the healer from the Sun tribe; and his best friend Skywise, and the rest of the occupants of the holt. Brought back many lovely memories of weekends in Boston and visits to Million Year Picnic in Cambridge.

As I was walking back to the checkout, I checked out a Rocketeer graphic novel (sadly, not an older one by Dave Stevens), then looked up to put it back, and there it was, the graphic novel based on Christopher Fowler's Bryant and May mysteries! It's not even available on Amazon! I had to get it; I love Bryant and May, although I suppose I should be disconcerted by how much I agree with Arthur Bryant; he's a contentious old cuss. :-)

Came home, ate lunch, washed out the dog's things, watched Lassie and waited for James to come home. Went to Hibachi Grill for dinner and then stopped by Publix for twofers.

Read the graphic novel tonight, chuckling all the way through Arthur and John trading arguments. Bravo!

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» Sunday, October 20, 2013
Everyone's Trying to Survive

James wanted to go to the preparedness expo today at the North Atlanta Trade Center, so we arose to the barking of the dog (8:30) and had breakfast before heading out to Gwinnett County. We stopped at the QT for a newspaper. Dang. They don't carry Munchoes anymore. I get them as a treat a few times a year. Phooey. Enjoyed listening to "The Splendid Table" as we drove.

The "North Atlanta Trade Center" basically looks like an abandoned big box store with lots of wide-open spaces for booths or displays. This is a nostalgic place for us because this is where they held the bird fair where we bought Pigwidgeon. This was a small fair, probably not even fifty vendors; they had stuff ranging from emergency food to collapsible bows to water purification to solar panels. We were most interested in the solar panels and the water purification. Saw some tornado shelters as well, and bought a book about treating animals if you don't have access to a vet. We did try some of the emergency foods; one vendor had particularly good stuff—it wasn't overly salted.

My favorite thing was the vests that had multiple pockets (24 pockets for guys, 17 for women). At least one pocket would hold a full-size tablet. Too cool.

We came home by way of the Barnes & Noble on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. I found Susan Orlean's Rin Tin Tin book on the remainder stack, so got a copy of that, and also the first of three books about Sherlock Holmes' niece in an alternative Victorian England (steampunk, of course). James wasn't feeling well, so we just checked out the chocolate store, walking out empty-handed, before heading home. Quite lovely today; we could drive with windows down all day.

Not much to say about the rest of the evening, although something funny did happen just after I changed clothes and sat down. I picked up my copy of "Doctor Who Magazine" and then looked from the couch across the dining room through the open windows to the deck. I hadn't refilled the bird feeders yesterday because it had rained during the morning, so they were still hanging empty. A chickadee fluttered to the feeder, pecked, then flew to the deck railing, right over the can that holds the bird seed. It looked down at the can, looked in the window, looked back down at the can, and then back in the window, gave a little twitter, and flew off. Yeah, I took the hint. I have the only birds who nag me to refill the feeders.

We had a barbecue pot pie and a cucumber salad for supper and have been watching documentaries about the planets, then a Clark Howard special, and now Alaska the Last Frontier.

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» Saturday, October 19, 2013
A Friendly Day (Except for the Final Intruder)

We were up at eight and had a busy, busy day today. First stop was the Farmer's Market, where we bought a cucumber, some sweet corn, two baking potatoes, and some cherry tomatoes, plus a barbecue pot pie, tamales for James, and some goat cheese for me. We were planning to get some apple and peach bread to take to Hair Day, but the vendor was not there. (They are from Ellijay, so I will bet they're at the second weekend of the Apple Festival.) We got bagels and cinnamon rolls from the Hoboken Bakery booth instead.

Had a good time at Hair Day. The lunch centerpiece was pizza bread, and we also had an olive tray and a fruit dish. We left before dessert to go relieve the dog, and then we finished the shopping, going to Costco for mushrooms and various other little things, and then to Publix for twofers. Since we got milk at Costco we didn't need to go to Kroger at all, which pleased me no end. Once we finished that we had a couple of hours to put everything away and then we both took a nap.

Tonight we had a nice dinner at Longhorn for a rather sad reason: Juanita's mom is starting to fail. She is having health problem after health problem, can't walk any longer, and is under hospice care, so Juanita and David are having nice things for her in the time she has left. Everyone gave her a hug or a kiss before and after dinner. She's been such a fighter; an inspiration to us all, but her body just can't fight back anymore. We had a good time in being together.

After dinner James and I went to the Barnes & Noble at West Cobb. He'd surprised me today by saying he got two coupons from them yesterday; I got none at all! I bought The Lincoln Conspiracy with the coupon he shared with me, a cross-stitch magazine, the Christmas issue of "Southern Lady," and the November issue of "Doctor Who Magazine," which has a smashing cover photo of Doctors four through eight. Sylvester McCoy always looks like a mischievous elf.

We came home to watch television, but mostly I wanted to fall asleep, and now I've just screamed and run away from the computer because a honkin' big palmetto bug was just crawling over my cross-stitch magazine on the tray next to me on the sofa. James almost got it but of course the rotter escaped under the sofa...eeeeeek!

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» Friday, October 18, 2013
Out and In Again
So, since it looked like those nitwits in DC were finally about to make a deal on Wednesday, I spent my last furlough day enjoying myself by reading books and magazines. I finished A Guide to the Universe in 100 Objects, read the British magazine "Landscape" and began "Landlove," finished a Reminisce, and continued reading The War That Ended Peace (pre-1914), plus watched two episodes of Lassie. Wednesday was our potluck night.

Willow lucked out on Thursday. I didn't know by the time we went to bed if the President had signed the budget bill or not. I had my alarm set for eight. James went off to work, but Willow started barking about 6:50. I checked my phone to see what the time was, and I had an anonymous text message that said "See you at work." So I checked out the CDC Emergency Number, and, sure enough, we were asked to report for duty. However, you could resume your regular schedule, so I was able to telework, which means Willow didn't need to be locked in the bathroom. (This also meant I didn't have to drive home in Thursday traffic, the idea which gives me cold sweats.)

I spent the first hour deleting thirteen days worth of spam. I had, count 'em, 217 new e-mails since 12:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon October 1. All but two of them were spam. [eyes roll] Worked on a statement of work for the one new order I had and also worked on returning a piece of equipment that doesn't work as specified. During lunch I read some of Christopher Fowler's Memory of Blood, enjoying this newest Bryant and May mystery (Invisible Code isn't out for a few more weeks). Lamb steaks for supper with couscous cooked with vegetable flakes. Yum.

And this morning was the first time in thirteen days I didn't have eight hours sleep. Boy, I missed that. Traffic seemed unusually squirrelly this morning as well. But it was a productive day: I got the requirement advertised and have feedback on the instrument that needs to be returned, and I filed all the notices that had to be sent during the furlough.

My traffic map said it would take me fifty-five minutes to get home through the freeway, which was liberally striped with red and yellow like autumn trees on the map. I decided to go surface-streets instead. This took me ten minutes more, but instead of looking at car behinds and inhaling exhaust—because it was only in the sixties today, mostly cloudy, and perfect for driving with windows down and sunroof open—I could smell vegetation and fresh air and could look at nice homes and slowly turning trees instead. Noticed they were apparently setting up to film something (probably a movie; they're all over the city lately) on Mabry Street, and "Mr. Inflatable" on Mount Paran Road has done it again: his yard is full of Hallowe'en inflatables, including a huge hissing black cat that towers over all the other figures and an affable Dracula.

We had supper tonight at O'Charley's with a bunch of friends to celebrate Ken's successful surgery. The shrimp scampi linguini was pretty good, but, boy, am I reliving it. Again. And again.

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» Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Not Waiting for the Waiting to Be Over...

...since I have entirely too many things I can be doing. I learned not to say "I'm bored" in front of my mother, who could always find me something to do (and it always involved housework or ironing!).

Yesterday I washed and dried two loads of clothes, and worked more at web page "redecoration," manipulating photos for the various pages. This is always the toughest part; writing for the page is easy. I also went out for about an hour to take a 50 percent off coupon to Michaels. I needed a container for the different beads and charms I am using to make book thongs and other jewelry pieces. Found a nice one for only $6. I stopped off at QT on the way home because they're the only gas station in town that has free air for tires. I made the mistake of crossing over the top of my hood with the "rubber" hose, which made a half-dozen nice big scratches in the the paint. Oh, great, all I needed after that tire bounced off the freeway a couple of years ago and into my car, leaving scratches on the left side. They don't even match.

We had chicken apple sausages and scalloped potatoes for supper and watched Sleepy Hollow and finally Castle. Neat little mystery there. James kept looking at the rich guy and saying "Why does he sound familiar?" That's because it was Tom Amandes, who's in one of our favorite From the Earth to the Moon episodes, "Galileo Was Right," playing astronaut Harrison Schmitt.

This morning the alarm wrenched me out of a long, complicated, vividly Technicolor dream. I hate these; they go on and on, usually with no end to whatever problem I have in the dream (like correcting database pages or building a purchase order). James dreams about flying airplanes, I dream about work or cleaning the bathroom. [eyes roll]

This morning I decided to tackle several unfinished "projects." The first chore was washing the floor in the hall bath where Willow now stays at night, and cleaning out her night things. Since I had the Swiffer mop out, I washed the floor in the master bath, too. Next, I was never satisfied with the total result of the to-be-read book distribution and I wanted to re-stack the Christmas books from World Book. I did this and redistributed a few books that were still in what was supposed to be a classic children's book pile into their proper piles. I also vacuumed under that pile before putting them back (I'm thinking of reading them one a day as an Advent project) and did the rest of the bedroom.

Next I had to take care of the spare room. I took down the old foam "wedgies" from the closet shelf and inspected them; the foam was dark and starting to separate. I just packed them both in a trash bag. We don't really need the newer wedgies with the adjustable bed, but I kept them in case of a power failure or a guest who might need to use one. I also rearranged the "ditty bag" of snacks being assembled for vacation.

Vacuumed the living and dining room. Finally put up the autumn garland on the divider. Rearranged James' magazines in a neat pile. Paid my credit card bill. Indexed the last five cross-stitch magazines I bought. Took some books downstairs to be shelved. Did my two required book reviews on Amazon Vine. Put a load of dishes through the dishwasher, emptied it, reloaded it, and am washing more dishes.

Anyway, after five and a half hours of nonstop housework decided I was done for the day and have been reading "Backwoods Home" and the two British magazines I bought a couple of weeks ago, "Landscape" and "Landlove," while listening to the Christmas CDs I bought last  year in Williamsburg. Have glass armonica music on right now.

[Later: James made pork cacciatore with lots of onions and mushrooms...and slivered almonds, which was weird, but actually worked...and corn pasta for supper. We had pumpkin bread for dessert, and spent the evening watching a simply smashing three-part documentary on PBS about superheroes. Or, in the words of my people: wicked cool!]

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» Sunday, October 13, 2013
Apples to Apples

We were up at seven this morning to go to the Georgia Apple Festival. I felt sorry for James because this is the seventh day in a row he's been up early, but he wants to go somewhere else next weekend, so if we want to go, it's today. Picked up breakfast at Wendy's and drove up to Ellijay listening to "The Splendid Table," with a splendid sunrise to start us off.

Alas, we lucked out the last three years we went to the Festival; it was cool and cloudy or cool and windy, but today the sun was a big blazing ball in a clear sky. It was cool enough when we got there, and we didn't stay until the heat became oppressive, but the sun still bothers me since the radioactive iodine treatment and makes me feel like my skin is burning. I much prefer cloudy days!

So we had a nice tramp around the Lions' Club field. The usual vendors were there, and we did a lot of "window shopping." We did buy some finishing jellies from One Screw Loose, and James got a gift for his mom and sister, and we got the second and last of our yearly fudge from Ginny's Fudge. To our disappointment, the dark-chocolate-with-orange sold out yesterday! I was so looking forward to a couple of more pieces of that. I also bought a little horseshoe for the front of the house. Of course we will be careful to mount it open end downward, so "the good luck won't run out." Saw a lovely dry sink that we have no room for; the same folks, who make furniture out of old barn wood, had a great table that would have made a super kitchen island—if our kitchen wasn't so miniscule, that is.

Two hours was enough for us, and we headed back toward Panorama Orchards. The place was packed and we had to wait for a shopping cart. We bought a peck of Granny Smith apples and James got some sugar-free taffy and some honey mustard salad dressing. Couldn't resist having an apple each the moment we got into the car—oh, they crunch so nicely and are so tart! Stopped at a Krystal for a bit to eat, ran into a "mystery jam," made a brief detour to the QT for gasoline and a newspaper, and were home by two o'clock. I spent the afternoon reading Time Out for Happiness. A nice steak with some mushroom rice for supper, finally watched Monday's Castle that was pre-empted for football, and saw part 3 of The Paradise.

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» Saturday, October 12, 2013
Completely Booked for the Season

Not sleeping well again; how annoying! Never mind, I had to be up at 7:45 on Friday anyway, to dress, eat breakfast, and take out again and then pill the dog before I had to leave at least by 8:40.

Pilling the dog is the least complicated of these processes. I don't know what the heck is in those Greenies "pill pockets," but it must be doggie drugs. With the pill tucked up in its soft sides, Willow eats it like it's a steak.

I wasn't late; it was 8:50 a.m. and people were lined up—in two lines!—to gain entrance to the fall edition of the Cobb County Friends of the Library Book Sale. The lady behind me, who showed up with a shopping cart, had driven up all the way from Jonesboro. People were in front of me with suitcases, boxes on luggage carts, etc. I just had two reusable grocery bags. (Later on, I bumped into someone who had a large Radio Flyer wagon with her; not the little kiddy wagon like Timmy had on Lassie, but a full honkin' big 40-inch-long wagon with the faux wooden board sides and the big wheels. Seriously? In aisles this narrow?)

Compared to last time and last October, I was relatively moderate. :-) The total tally is here. I'm happy to finally have a copy of Outlaw Red; it's the only one of Kjelgaard's Irish setter trilogy that I didn't have. The brand-new copy of Restoration London really pleased me, too, as I love Liza Picard's books. The book I found for James was about air mail pilots before the Government took over the service.

Did odds and ends around the house when I got home, and we went to IHOP for supper to take advantage of the BOGO on senior meals. Then we did BOGOs of another sort at Publix, including boneless pork loin. We had a sweet time getting that wedged in the freezer!

Tediously, James had to go into work today, but next week he gets his three-day weekend because he gets next Friday off. (Of course part of that time he has to take Willow to the vet to get her blood tested again.) I knew where I'd go first thing this morning.

Yes, you guessed it, back to the book sale; trucked over there after breakfast. Of course the books are all picked over—but, on the other hand, there are so many fewer people here. I was parked near the first building rather than out near the equestrian amphitheater, and it was evident that some of the contestants for this weekend's rodeo had arrived; there were horseapples everywhere, and corresponding flies. You had to be careful to skirt the former and were forced to flick at the latter.

Despite the buzzsaw approach from the crowd yesterday, I found many goodies!—total tally here. I was able to pick out three books for James, one on the Battle of Britain, one on the aircraft Lady-Be-Good which was lost in the desert for many years, and a book on the film Twister that is mostly about tornado-chasing. Four history books for me! Three more "Dear America" books! And a big, big surprise, the third book that Frank Gilbreth Jr wrote about his family, Time Out for Happiness. This was a very rare volume when it was released and mostly went to libraries; it goes for $20 or more on online book sites. I've only read it as a library book and always wanted a copy.

When I got done at the book sale I went to Kroger and finished up the shopping, including a nice slice of round steak for supper tomorrow night. This afternoon I've been straightening out the books and listening to the BBC.

[Later: When James got in we had supper at SteviB's, then went to Barnes & Noble with our coupons. Saw a glorious sunset from the sidewalk overlooking the parking lot. Saw a couple of books I liked, but actually bought The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything. Thought it might be good as Advent reading.]

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» Thursday, October 10, 2013
It was time to do something about those wretched boxes, the ones I piled stuff in the day before the carpet cleaner came, and which have been sitting in front of the chifforobe in our bedroom since the end of August. One box was all of the things off the coffee table (mostly mine), and the other was all of the things off the ottoman to the rocker (mostly James). I threw a bunch of stuff away like old AARP flyers and magazines, outdated coupons, etc., filed some of the other stuff (James' "Good Food" magazines and his "Backwoods Home" issues), put anything that was a book in whomever's book pile it belonged in, and, finally, the boxes were empty and back downstairs for their next use. Then I gave the bedroom a thorough vacuuming, and the hall, and the spare room.

Did some tidying up of the kitchen as well and shelved books downstairs, and finished reading About Time, Volume 7.

Homemade pizza for supper! This comes with the whine of the coffee grinder. No, we don't drink coffee; we use it for grinding flaxseed, which James puts on the pizza.

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» Wednesday, October 09, 2013
Time Well Spent
Well, it's been a profitable couple of days. Yesterday after breakfast I swept and washed the kitchen floor. Then, since it's been driving me crazy since May, I finally did something about the two "egg crate" foam pieces in the spare room.

These used to be on the futon, but, after we got the new memory-foam mattress, the memory-foam pad we had on the old mattress went on the futon, and these two pesky egg crates were taking up room in front of the window. So I finally cleared the old loveseat in my craft room, and opened the folding bed within; it's emergency space at best, but still not a bad bed. I had to cut the egg crate foam from full size to twin size, and then used it to replace the tired foam already on the mattress and under the sheets. Adding to my list: an inexpensive set of twin sheets for the hide-a-bed. The old egg crate and the cut-off ends were stuffed in a trash bag, and that's the end of them. And the craft room is now tidier to boot.

Later spent the afternoon getting rid of some things off the DVR.

Today I cleared, swept and washed the downstairs hallway and the laundry room, let that dry, then did the same to the foyer, beating out the rug and dumping all the dried grass out of the boot tray, and also cleaned the white woodwork on the stairway. By the time that was all finished, I thought Twilight needed a run—the car hasn't been out of the garage since last Friday—and I was getting twitchy from not being in a bookstore for so long. I went up to Town Center, found a used Blu-Ray of Wreck-It Ralph in CD Warehouse for only $9, and then hit the jackpot in Barnes & Noble: I found two gifts, and, on the clearance counter, which was up to 75 percent off, bought a cute kid's toy that I can put in the Toys for Tots barrel later in the year for only $4, and picked up the new "Down East" magazine, mostly for the stunning fall cover, this year's "Just Cross Stitch" Christmas ornament issue, and a collection of Christmas covers, illustration, and nostalgic advertisements from the "Saturday Evening Post." I figured that since I made out so well there, I would make a slight detour on the way home: instead of heading directly down Barrett Parkway to "the ditch," I turned up Dallas Highway and went the extra couple of miles to check out the B&N at The Avenue at West Cobb. Alas, a smaller haul here from the clearance pile, but a solid one: another gift and The Birdwatcher's Daily Companion, a hardcover type "daybook," for only $2.50.

Then I figured Wil had been on her own long enough, went home, and ate some leftover pork chop as a very late lunch.

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» Tuesday, October 08, 2013
The Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside my window...
...cloudy, actually, with a brisk wind blowing from the northeast! I wish it would stay like this; I am in my usual tank top and shorts summer gear and I'm cold. Can't believe it's supposed to be eighty this weekend.

I am thinking... quiet it is. We always had the television going for Schuyler and sometimes I became so sick of it. I'd put podcasts on when I teleworked, which she didn't mind, but the dog hated because I used an external speaker.

I am thankful...
...for the cool! We really did have not a bad summer; most of the time when it was hot there was a breeze. Of course it was blazing hot for DragonCon, but that's typical.

In the kitchen...
...just finished washing out the little pyramidal silicone gadget we've been using for cooking chicken. Really like it for keeping the chicken out of the grease. Unfortunately the dishwasher doesn't clean it; you have to do it by hand.

I am wearing...
...same old black tank top and shorts and black scuffs. My toes are cold but I'm not sure I want to put on something heavier because there are books I want to put up and a couple of boxes I need to "rehome."

I am creating...
...a gift, if I ever get it started. I have some book reviews to do this morning, or surveys for credit, and the kitchen floor needs mopping.

I am going... have to get hustling, because I wasted so much time on the router last week. The shelving and the kitchen floor should have been done back then.

I am wondering...
...still wondering why the router messed up when it was the modem I had to reboot. I guess that is one of those mysteries of computer use that I will never understand.

I am reading...
...just finished Naughty in Nice (which is why this is being submitted so late), the fifth in the "Royal Spyness" mysteries. This was "a cracking good one," with a stolen necklace, a purloined snuffbox, a devastatingly handsome French marquis...and more. I'm still reading About Time #7, but that is a very dense book, between the Doctor Who episode analyses and the lengthy essays, all in teeny-tiny type.

I am hoping... of the two coming weekends will be cool on Sunday. We have lucked out three years in a row for the Georgia Apple Festival, and the last thing I want is to be plonking around the Lions' Club field when it's 80 degrees.

I am looking forward to...
...the Apple Festival and all those nice ripe fresh-off-the-tree apples instead of the mealy ones you get in the grocery store. When you bite into them they go "snap!" And oh, the delicious sourness of the Granny Smiths!

I am learning...
...actually, I just learned a lot from a children's book: the "Dear America" book about the Alamo. What is it you learn in the pell-mell education that is history class: Americans, settled in Mexican territory, want to be free. They take a stand at an old mission known as the Alamo and are bitterly defeated, but eventually do gain their independence. This talks about so much more than that, including the battle for the tiny cannon in Gonzalaz, and the settlers having to flee east to escape the soldiers.

Around the house...'s asleep. There's a bag waiting for me to take it downstairs...and it's already almost ten o'clock. All the fresh air in the house is already making me sleepy.

I am pondering...
...time. Why it goes so quickly when you are enjoying yourself, and why it goes by so slowly when you aren't. Madeleine L'Engle always talked about Chronos and Kairos, regular time and spiritual time. Certainly these quiet days are Kairos.

One of my favorite things...
...I hope recorded on the DVR, because there was a stupid football game on last night instead of Castle.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Currently, that depends on my employer. :-) But I hope to clean, sort, and write. And go to the book sale on Friday.

A peek into my day...
The photo I would have put here would have been from last night. I let Willow out and then went to pull the clothes out of the dryer. When I came out of the laundry room, there she was, standing at the screen door, patiently wagging her tail and looking adorable. Picture a small brown dog with big brown eyes, looking hopefully through the screen...

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» Monday, October 07, 2013
Busy Day
James was still feeling sick enough this morning to stay home and sleep in, but I am sticking to my routine. The only thing I have changed is that I am making sure I have eight hours sleep every night, and it's so novel waking up on a weekday with energy and not having a screaming headache by the end of the day.

I vacuumed and washed two loads of clothes, and took the dog out about four times, but spent most of the day working on one of my websites. My Lassie website is the most popular of the three (I receive the most e-mail about it) and I want to make some improvements to it by December 17, which is the 75th anniversary of the creation of the Lassie character (the short story of "Lassie Come Home" by Eric Knight was published in the December 17, 1938 issue of the "Saturday Evening Post"). I am slowly improving the episode guide thanks to the broadcasts on Angel2, and I'm crossing fingers that they keep re-running the series. Most of the improvements will be in the graphics. I started the page in 1996, when everyone was running Pentium-whatevers with dial-up connections, so I kept my graphics very small. I'm devising better ones better suited for this age of DSL and cable, and also adding an anniversary page that lists some of Lassie's antecedents, like the groundbreaking British silent film Rescued by Rover (which features a collie) and Albert Payson Terhune's short stories.

The weather was beautiful today! After yesterday evening's storms the sky was washed clean and a bright, clear blue, and it was a wonderful 55°F out this morning, with a brisk breeze. I threw open all the windows and the back door and it's been comfortable in the house all day; the high was only 74! Pity it's going up to (yuck!) 80 by the weekend.

I spent the later evening watching Sleepy Hollow and reading Naughty in Nice, the fifth "Royal Spyness" mystery book.

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» Sunday, October 06, 2013
Sunday Sparks

We took the opportunity to have a long, lovely sleep-in this morning, except at six when James had to get up to let Willow out, as she was barking with frantic notes. After breakfast we did the usual grocery store roundup, first to Publix for a few twofers, and then to Kroger for the rest of the meal. You can tell it's fall because the grocery stores have those cinnamon-scented decorative brooms everywhere and the store entry is heady with cinnamon. We found some nice thin-cut round steaks that will be perfect for James to cook after work; show them a picture of a fire and they'll be done.

Now for the shocking portion of the day: we had to ride out to Dunwoody to get Willow's meds, because her blood test indeed indicates she has Cushing's disease (another one of those old-dog diseases; she has too much cortisol in her system due to a tumor on her pituitary gland—humans also get it and the symptoms are far nastier, as far as I can tell). We are supposed to give her the pills one a day for two weeks and then come back for a blood test. As far as I can tell, this is going to get expensive very fast...almost $100 for 30 pills! (Have checked online; can get them for around $50 if she stays on that dosage.)

If James wasn't feeling poorly when he got up this morning, he did after he paid that vet bill! He was looking so pale as we were driving back down Mt. Vernon Road (after a fruitless stop at the Dunwoody Kroger to see if they had his favorite salad dressing) that I had him stop at Panera and we both had some chicken soup. (By this time it was almost three and he ate at ten; I think low blood sugar had something to do with it.) Publix didn't have the salad dressing, either, so we just came home, and we were able to catch up on This Old House (from the Jersey Shore after Hurricane Sandy) and Sleepy Hollow.

What was left of the fallout after Tropical Storm Karen collapsed in the Gulf of Mexico combined with the cold front coming from the northwest blew in around 7:30 with a clatter of rain on the chimney-top. It rained for the remainder of the night, sometimes very hard—I looked out on the deck at one point and rain was sluicing down one of the chairs like a waterfall—which means, of course, that I probably lost both Last Tango in Halifax and the first episode of The Paradise. Ah, well, I missed the third episode of Last Tango anyway...

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» Saturday, October 05, 2013
Fall Is In the Air

It turned out to be a nice day, if I didn't sleep worth a damn. Not sure what causes this, because I certainly was tired when I went to bed.

We started out at the Farmer's Market, but almost didn't find a parking space. I wish when they had a running event downtown they'd find somewhere else for the runners to park! We were lucky to find someone who was leaving. At the market we bought corn on the cob, cucumbers, grape tomatoes and scallions ("some people call 'em onions, but they're really scallions..."), boiled peanuts and chicken salad for James, and some brownies and cookies for desserts.

Then it was off to the October ornament premiere from Hallmark. We went out to Betsy's Hallmark at Merchants Walk since we had to buy only one more ornament to get $10 off. Plus I had reward coupons totaling $12. So James was able to get his Huey helicopter. I bought a small ornament for the mini tree of a cardinal and a snowman, the "Peanuts" Thanksgiving ornament, and I had to get the Crayola 64 crayon box, because it is exquisitely done—they do all 64 different colors!—and brings back memories of the days when I bought myself a new 64 box every year for Christmas. Mom would only buy me a 48 box; had no idea why I needed more colors, but she didn't draw and I did! So when I got a big enough allowance, I bought them myself: they were 68¢ at W.T. Grants. I would then buy a $1-$2 whatever blank calendar at the stationery counters at Woolworths, and go home and make a calendar for the next year, illustrating each month with a scene from a story I had written in the previous year (using last year's crayons, of course, since I didn't want to spoil the new ones). I also had to put the crayons in proper order before I could use them: black and grey first, and then the browns, then the six spectrum colors from violet to red, and finally the pinks and orchids, to end with silver and white. (Gold went with the yellows, copper with the browns.)

We finished up with a trip to Trader Joe's for chicken sausage and other things we like; the place was filled with everything pumpkin: pumpkin cake, pumpkin "pop tarts," pumpkin muffin mix, pumpkin soup, pumpkin bars (James bought some; they're like Fig Newtons, but with pumpkin), pumpkin seeds of course, pumpkin candy...oh, yeah, and real pumpkins! We got home at noon, having finished all our errands for the day. I read a "Dear America" book and worked on crafts most of the afternoon, and took out the dog...again. :-)

We ate tonight at the West Cobb Diner, which is at the intersection of Dallas Highway and Barrett Parkway, with a big bunch of friends to celebrate John Bouler's [muffled] birthday and Jessie Elder's 20th birthday. We'd found John a computer gadget, a Marvin the Martian thumb drive, and we gave Jessie a blue crystal necklace and the book thong I made. We'd never eaten there before and the food was quite good, at least the turkey and dressing is! Alice said the mac and cheese was excellent. We shared some chocolate cheesecake for dessert.

Finally home to relieve (pun intended) Willow and watch Too Cute on Animal Planet.

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» Friday, October 04, 2013
Computer Wiz
Well, it's been an interesting couple of days. I did get some things accomplished, like reorganizing the to-be-read piles of books in our bedroom. I have managed to rearrange them so I can get to my bedroom window when the weather gets cooler. Vacuumed again (this is a litany). And finally put up all the fall decorations except for the garland that overhangs the foyer because this would have meant waking up Willow, asleep in the recliner. If I wake up the dog, I have to take her out. If I don't take her out, there are spots on the carpet (two of them to clean up today despite taking Miss Dog out about six times).

Mostly wasted time on our router. When I got up yesterday morning we had no internet service. Earthlink was probably sleeping late and I'd gotten up before it. Finally I decided to reboot the modem. It came back up in good time and I tried to log on.

The router asked for a password. I don't know why, since I didn't even touch the router, but there it was. I also didn't recall that we put a password on the router (yeah, it turned out that we didn't). I was fit to be tied. So I spent the afternoon doing the book reviews for my blog in WordPerfect, for transferring to my blog later on.

When James came home, he had no ideas on the router front, either. Well, let's install this My Net router I got from Amazon Vine! It got some really good reviews and only a few bad reviews.

Our review turned out to be one of the bad ones. According to the pictograph "installation booklet," you were supposed to plug it in, turn it on, hitch it to your modem, and then go into "Connect to Network Settings" in Windows Networking. You would see the router highlighted and you would tell it to set up a new network. Except we never saw the router at all, and the power light, which James said should have been a steady-glowing blue, was flashing instead. We never did get it to quit flashing, or for the software to install because Windows never saw the router.

Well, let's install the Linksys router, the one James bought when the Buffalo started getting flaky (it later settled down, so we left it alone). We did! It was so easy! We created our own router password, one that only we would know! Everything connected to it easily!

Except nothing really worked after that. James' computer, the only one attached to the router with a wired connection, was the only one who could download with any kind of speed. When I could actually get in web pages on my desktop (which is wireless right now because my network card died), it would take 30-60 seconds to get to a page. The tablets fared better. The big problem was that we had no upload speed at all. I couldn't upload a file via FTP. I couldn't even post an Amazon review on one of the tablets. This really, really sucked. I had an upload I needed to make via FTP, so I finally dragged out my trusty USB modem, dialed in to Earthlink, and uploaded it via dial-up, which, sadly, was faster than the internet connection I had through the Linksys router.

So this morning, with James' permission since it was loaded on his computer, I uninstalled the Linksys software, then reinstalled it, hoping it was just a faulty install. No dice. Everyone else's download still crawled; even the tablet speed had deteriorated. I attached James' computer directly to the modem and contacted Linksys' online chat. As I feared, the router was out of warranty, and the cheapest they would help me with it was $30, with no guarantees it would work. I could pay an extra $10, and if they didn't fix the problem, Linksys would give me $15 credit on a new router. Gee, nice of you, considering your stupid router wouldn't work out of the box (it was still shrink-wrapped). I said no and went on using the direct modem connection, uploading the book reviews to my book blog, and doing a couple of other things.

Hmmmn, the Buffalo had been unplugged over twelve hours. Maybe if I plugged it back in, it would quit asking for a password. So I did. So it didn't. In desperation, since the dang thing didn't have a reset button that I could find, I pressed a button on top that said "AOSS." Apparently this has nothing to do with resetting, but is some type of extra security. Lights started flashing on the front of the Buffalo like Christmas light strings at Walmart. So I turned it off, counted thirty seconds, and turned it back on.

And damn if it didn't come back up not asking for a password. I still don't know what I did; frankly I think it was Black Magic. Anyway, I re-set up all the other computers with the old password and everything worked again. By this time it was 1 o'clock (I'd been at this since eight) and I was starving. So I warmed up leftovers, put on the BBC, and later replayed last night's Big Bang Theory, which I'd largely ignored while trying to get the Linksys router set up with help from a friend I was chatting with back and forth on the tablet. The headache I got while wrestling with these digital dragons, alas, didn't go away until I lay down with three ibuprofin under my belt. Stupid computers.

We had supper at IHOP and were lucky to get there before six so that we got the BOGO deal on senior meals, which means we spent about $7 for both of us. Two single ice cream cones at Bruster's for dessert set us back nearly as much, but it was really good: when they made this batch of coffee ice cream, they made the coffee really strong. Home and Hawaii Five-O were next on most of these stations.

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» Wednesday, October 02, 2013
And a One and a Two...
So yesterday the furlough started.

We were scheduled to work four hours to initiate shutdown procedures, like putting special out-of-the-office messages on our telephones and on our e-mails. We also had some messages we were supposed to send before we left...except that then we were told no...and then we were told yes...I was still working on it when another message came through that said they had it covered. So I signed off.

James had taken Willow to the vet yesterday morning, to have a test for Cushing's disease. They're thinking this is why she might be breaking her housetraining and need to go out so often. About 1:30 we drove back out to Dunwoody to pick her up, and had a lovely ride home with the windows of the truck down.

This morning I got up at eight, had breakfast and drove into Buckhead to go to Barnes & Noble to see if the autumn issue of "This England" was out. It was. Wandered around the store, appreciatively sniffed the coffee, and drove home, as I had driven in, through West Paces Ferry Road. Spent the rest of the day tidying up the house: cleaning off the dog's "litter box," rearranging the to-be-read piles of books so I could get to my bedroom window again, putting things away in the kitchen, vacuuming, doing some dusting. Before I could get tired of cleaning, James was home and we had supper and watched two episodes of Earthflight, one with a great sequence of a super-flock of budgies near Ayers Rock evading a marauding falcon.

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