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, June 28, 2014
New Adventures

I did something wonderful last night.

I shut off the alarm clock. It deserved cheers. It was a very long week, one in which I got very little sleep due to bad dreams. This edition was about two forms. I had to have one form correct before I could submit the second. Needless to say, for reasons I never understood after I woke up, the first form was never completed. I hate these harassing dreams; it's like being chased.

So we slept in this morning, at least until before 9:30. We ate breakfast on the run because I wanted to take Tucker to the dog park this morning. We finally got out of the house at 10:30.

Tucker seemed to have a good time at the dog park. We didn't let him off the leash because he doesn't always come when called. Also, the worrisome thing was a sign on the gate that said "large dogs." I looked; there wasn't another enclosure for smaller dogs. So that means small dogs can't go to the dog park? He did get defensive at a pair of black standard poodles, but made a buddy, a mixed-breed short-haired brown dog a little bit larger than he was. This dog would run up to the fence and greet every new dog coming in. We actually arrived during a lull, with only this brown dog there for a while. As we were leaving, the second shift showed up: a couple with two Great Pyrenees (Tucker touched noses with them politely), a lab, a  Golden Retriever, and a couple of other mixed breeds.

We also went to Petsmart, as we needed to get him a new extendible leash (he chewed on the old one and I had it knotted and didn't trust it). We also got a dog whistle, a clicker, and a tie-out line (this is something we want to try for when he goes out at night—he will not be on it unsupervised). A big dog started barking at him, and he stood his ground and yarped back until I pulled him off. I also checked out their PetsHotel service; yow! that's expensive!

After his two adventures we took him home and fed him his breakfast, then went out to finally hunt up a meal for ourselves. We ended up at Golden Corral, where me and my grey streaks and James with his cane got us the senior meal deal; we didn't even ask for it! I had a nice smorgasbord of popcorn shrimp, two spring rolls, honey sesame chicken, pot roast, and a bowl of chicken soup, with a slice of chocolate cake, a chocolate-covered marshmallow, and some watermelon for dessert.

I think we intended to stay out longer, but the heat just started sapping the energy out of us. We stopped at the Town Center Petsmart to see if they had a four-foot leash (we want to keep this in the car; it will also be good for situations where we want to keep him under control, like the Farmer's Market). I bought him a sale priced "Martha Stewart" brand toy (a little hedgehog that he managed to destroy later in a little less than three hours; he chewed the ears and paws off it, eviscerated it and extracted the squeaker—flashback time; Willow always extracted the squeaker from her toys and then lost interest in them—and then tore out about half of the stuffing so the living/dining area looked like a cotton field) and a cheap clicker. We also stopped at Michaels and JoAnn to use some coupons, and by then the heat felt like it had drained us completely. We made one more stop, at Costco to get gas for the truck, and were home by 3:30. We spent the afternoon cooling off and listening to "Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me" and "The Splendid Table" as I was slowly driven mad by the new version of my podcast app, MyPod. The creator has completely redesigned it and while I was exclaiming this morning about how slick it looked, by this afternoon it was driving me wild. The worst part is that it looks like it doesn't keep a record of what you already listened to. That's fine if you are listening to things every week and keeping up to date. I'm still listening to back episodes of "Travel with Rick Steves." Urgh.

Oh, I have definite confirmation that Snowy is indeed talking! I've heard a lot of subvocalizing from him, and sometimes he sounds like he's saying words, but tonight after the podcasts finished, we didn't put the television back on right away and I clearly heard him say "Good boy!" A little later he muttered "Good bird."

Tonight Tucker finished killing the squeak toy. :-)

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On This Day...

 ...100 years ago, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were assassinated, putting Europe on the road to the First World War (and ultimately to World War II). Article with Video Article

Eyewitness to History Article

Smithsonian Article About the Archduke's Car

First World War, 100 Years On: The Assassination

Buzzfeed's 99 Things You Need To Know About Franz Ferdinand Before The 100th Anniversary Of His Assassination



» Sunday, June 22, 2014
Turbo Mom

Unfortunately James had to be turbo dad this morning and go off to work. I took the opportunity to soak up a little more sleep; I woke up several times during the night and didn't feel as if I'd had a restful night. First of all I took Tucker outside, but I had to take him up the street and back as well before we could accomplish his mission (right in front of the German Shepherd's house, of course). As we came back to the house, he was limping a little and worrying at his right forepaw. I struggled to get him upside down when we got inside—no blood, no cut, no sharp object sticking out from the pad or between the toes. So I cleaned it out with peroxide and then wiped it off before confining him to his crate to relax. (Tonight he is bouncing around the house as if nothing happened. Perhaps he was bitten by an ant.)

I had shopping to finish, so headed up to the Kroger at Battle Ridge, about a half hour behind. Still, it was only about ten, so there weren't a lot of people in the store. Bought bread for lunch, pork chops for tomorrow's dinner, milk, yogurt, some burritos and Special K flatbread sandwiches for James, and ice cream bars for dessert. Once I had those home, I drove into Buckhead hoping their Barnes & Noble had a May "Best of British." "Skunked again," as Ralphie Parker would say. I had about an hour's stroll about the books, and then headed home. I'd completely forgotten about the coupons I had for BreatheRights which expired tomorrow, so I had to stop at Kroger again. But I did get to pick up more SkinnyPop, thanks to the tall young man who helped me get it down from the tallest shelf.

Once at home, I had a bunch more things to do, so I let Tucker rest his foot. I washed the covers on James' computer chair and on his recliner, and vacuumed the upstairs level and then put the plush blanket down for Tucker. (He hates the memory foam dog bed, so I folded it up into a plastic bag and put it in the garage.) I also shelved some books in the library and put others in the box to take to McKay's in the future, made the bed, and set up everything for the work week. Between that I watched interminable episodes of House Hunters, which was the best thing on the idiot box (I miss decorating shows on HGTV!).

There was a nice breeze going when I took Tucker out in the back yard about five. I've discovered that carrying a squirt bottle with me and spraying water on my arms and neck helps a lot. I also bought a cheap box of dryer sheets today because I read that they repel mosquitoes. We'll see. :-) Tucker was bitterly disappointed that there were no squirrels to chase and no dogs in the back yard next door to bark at. As we came back out of the yard and approached the front door, he froze, then barked. I looked up, and there was the German Shepherd on his walk. Tucker's like that little guy in the bar fight; he's got no chance against the huge brawny guys, but he's going down swinging. Little idiot.

He settled down nicely until James got home—late again due to a call that came in two minutes before he left—and then went berserk, running up and down and jumping because he was so glad to see him. And Snowy started to sing!

We had our favorite summer Sunday supper: teriyaki chicken in a salad of mixed greens (with an extra heaping helping of the frisee I bought yesterday), mandarin oranges, chow mein noodles, and slivered almonds. Crunch, meat, and vegetables all at once. Yummy.

More Tucker pics below:

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» Saturday, June 21, 2014
Across Town

Alas, Saturday morning came all too soon, but we wanted to go to the Farmer's Market and take Tucker with us. First we had to try to get him to do other things. :-) It was shaping up to be a blazing hot day, temps headed for the 90s, but there was a nice brisk breeze out that, at least, made the yard cool. By the time we hit the Square, everyone seemed to be there: not only was the Farmer's Market in full swing, but this morning was the artist market, too, and there was some kind of Civil War re-enactment going on, not to mention the dozens of cute little girls going to ballet class. But by circling the square (that sounds oddly geometric), we found a handicapped parking space in front of the courthouse.

Tucker was overwhelmed. Dozens of dogs, even more people, and smells, smells, smells: frying bacon, fresh tomatoes, pastries, cheeses, flowers, honey, shea butter, breads, and even dog biscuits. He comported himself well with the other dogs, from a huge grey Great Dane to two of the tiniest Yorkshire Terriers I've ever seen (one was the size of a kitten). He and a corgi went for some dropped bits of Pine Street Market bacon and the corgi nearly snapped his nose off. We arrived at the Big Daddy dog biscuit booth at the same time an adorable Australian shepherd puppy named Ty was there. Tucker sniffed the youngster curiously. He also met greyhounds, an indeterminate fuzzy terrier, and several others. Besides the dog biscuits, we bought fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, and more chicken salad for James, who was limping badly by the time we got back to the truck.

Came home, had something for breakfast while Tucker ate his, then lured him into his crate. The one thing we had to do today was drive cross-town (again) to the vet. When they tested him last week, they found out he had roundworms! I was a bit aghast—they gave him vaccines at the rescue, but didn't worm him? But apparently this is common with rescue dogs. Before we got on the freeway, we stopped at Barnes & Noble. Yesterday I saw something there that I thought might make a good gift for a couple of people. James agreed with me, so we stopped and bought them first.

The vet stop was unremarkable. While I was waiting for the meds, two folks came in with boarders, two big English springer spaniels, and an absolutely huge German Shepherd.

Discovered there's a Sprouts store (healthy grocery store) opening in the old Harris-Teeter store behind the vet before driving on to the Buford Highway Farmer's Market; since we were on this side of town, it was a good chance to stock up. We found a handicapped spot near the door and James found a cart, which was a relief. We picked up slivered almonds, frisee for our salad tomorrow night, onions, some chicken drumsticks almost as big as turkey legs, turkey wings, lamb steaks, and Italian sausage (hoping it won't be as salty as last time), Ritter peppermint candy bars for desserts, some rice noodles, sesame oil, low sodium teriyaki sauce, and some pork/vegetable wontons. And a Toblerone dark chocolate bar to share (only half) since we haven't had one as a treat since Fry's quit carrying them in the checkout line.

(The Buford Highway Farmer's Market is a trip. If you live in Atlanta, you ought to go there at least once. They carry chiefly Asian specialties, so many Asian specialties, in fact, that there are separate aisles for Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Filipino, and Thai food, plus several Hispanic aisles, a combined aisle that is Italian and Spanish on one side and British, French, and Dutch on the other, and two aisles of Eastern European. There are many tropical fruits in the produce department, a big fresh fish market in the back, and meat products you will never find at Kroger. Today, the guy next to me picked up "ox pizzle." No, not the cow version of "Rocky Mountain oysters," but the other item that pairs with them.)

As we headed west we noticed the clouds building up, and by the time we reached the traffic light at Cobb Parkway it was grey and stormy-looking, the wind whipping the trees about. James rolled down his window and the temperature had gone from stifling to quite nice. We left the windows open for the rest of the ride, and then when we got in I rushed Tucker outside in hopes that he'd do his Good Dogs, and he did. And we picked up the mail. Alas, we had some thunder, including a long rolling clap that sounded like field artillery in the distance, and a little rain, just enough to wet the street and that was it. It was only 3:30 and we settled down to relax since James has to work tomorrow.

Tucker kept us hopping for a while with "fetch the stuffed mouse" and "throw the squeaky bone." I had breakfast for supper while James had some chili. Watched The New Lassie (the first of three episodes with Roddy McDowall as Andrew Leeds), the news and eventually America's Secret Slang, while we are now in the middle of United Stuff of America. I have been reading Essays of E.B. White off and on all afternoon. I've never read any of White except for Charlotte's Web. James Thurber always talked about how much he admired White's writing, and I can see why. His prose is lovely.

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» Friday, June 20, 2014
"It's a Sweet, Sweet Dream..."

I feel like the Gilbreth kids at the beginning of the film Belles on Their Toes, singing "Lazy...I want to be lazy..." Me, I want eight hours sleep. I got that and went back for another half hour. I was still exhausted from the 70 minute commute yesterday; it took me fifteen minutes just to get on the freeway when it should take five. Anyway, next it was breakfast for Tucker and I, and an airing for the dog. At ten o'clock it was already hot, but there was a breeze which helped. I did see ants making a path on one of the upright supports for the deck, so the minute puppydog was inside I was out on the deck spraying with vinegar around the back door, just in case. Makes me nervous. It's those little sugar ants, too; the kind that got into the birdseed container once. I sprayed around that, too.

I had an agenda when I went out: Barnes & Noble, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Costco for gas, then down to the big Publix for twofers. The bookstore trip went fine—the sequel to Thieftaker was out. But BB&B was out of Urine Gone—we have a coupon expiring this weekend and I want one for a spare if Tucker's going to spring surprises on us. Stopped at Costco for gas and thought if I could get a good parking space, I would stop. One came open right up at the front next to the door. Okay, I can take a hint. Bought more bath soap, sampled rice cakes, balsamic sauce (which I would have turned down if I'd known it was topping icky mozzarella), nut-and-chocolate bars, and did find Skinny Pop, but they only have cheddar flavor. So I got some for James, but...grumble.

I bought a lot more at Publix than intended, considering there were only four things on my list, but they had grapes on sale, and I was simply salivating for some plums, and they had Campbell's soup 10 for 10, so I stocked up on chicken broth, and also a couple of cans of vegetarian vegetable. Bought salad for Sunday supper, something to munch on while driving home from work (when I'm usually so hungry I could strip wallpaper and eat that), a nice lamb steak, and several other things that came to $82. Yikes! Since I had the lamb, I had to come straight home.

Had about half of the vegetarian vegetable for lunch with a piece of French bread, and a treat,  part of a tiny can of shoestring potatoes. I also had some of the cherries I bought. I've been really disappointed in the Bing cherries for the past few years, and today's batch was no exception: they weren't exactly sour, but they weren't sweet, either, even though they were nicely dark and firm. I guess I'll have to wait for the Rainer cherries again to get something that's good. Tucker and I also went outside for a while, where he peed but did nothing else but watch for squirrels.

It was after three by then, so I thought I'd settle down and read my June issue of "Early American Life." Then the sun went in. It was nice and cool under the fan, and it was dark, and my eyelids drooped and the futon in the spare room was has a sweet, tempting voice like a mythic siren. Next thing I knew James was home. He took Tucker outside while I re-dressed, and we had supper at Firehouse subs. I love having their brisket and cheddar without the cheddar. It's real meat and not that deli slop some sandwich shops pass off as meat. After supper we stopped at JoAnn for me to pick up a couple of craft items, then I sat in the truck while James went into Hobbytown for a few minutes. It was a little warm, but the breeze helped, and I was distracted by re-reading All Creatures Great and Small.

Our final stop was the Town Center Bed, Bath & Beyond, and to my astonishment, they were out of Urine Gone as well. The employee I spoke to said someone came in and bought all four bottles they had left. But, since they were out, I could have it shipped to me free of charge. I was even able to add some Plinks (to deodorize the garbage disposal) to the order so that I could use the coupons about to expire. I didn't know this about Bed, Bath & Beyond. Excellent.

Ended up taking Tucker on a walk up to the corner and back when I got home. I brought a squirt bottle of water with me to cool my skin down in the hopes it would make me less desirable to mosquitoes. I don't think I got bitten, but there still was a breeze out there, so that might have kept them down, too. We had come home through Kennesaw National Battlefield Park, where the fireflies were flashing merrily in the underbrush and over the lawns on adjacent Kennesaw Avenue with its old homes and broad swaths of grass, but we didn't have a lot of fireflies here tonight. Instead, the big fat June bugs were blundering about, and at least three bumped into me as I took Tucker up the street and back.

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» Sunday, June 15, 2014
Food Fatigue and Puppy Perambulation

It wasn't a stressful day, but it sure was busy for a while.

Note to James: if you use the alarm with the the cellphone's clock, it doesn't shut off after you use it, but just rings at the same time the next day. (I use Alarm Clock Plus; you have to reset it every day unless you deliberately set it to be recurring.) So we were woken up at 6:45. Groan. But we shut it up and went back to sleep until 9:30.

James took Tucker out and he had a successful trip. :-) A breakfast for all later, we had to go to Kroger to do the grocery shopping, and we stopped at Publix on the way home to get some Smart Balance, more BelVita breakfast bars, and some bread for my sandwich this week. Once the groceries were put up, we took Tucker to Petsmart for a little while. Yeah, we bought him a few more soft toys, and I finally replaced Snowy's millet. I've only forgotten it three times already. We also stopped at the dollar store for a couple of things. I bought Tucker a tug toy that was basically a ball and a rope; he had shredded the covering of the ball and then crushed it by the time supper was over. Even the cheap stuff in Woolworths lasted longer.

Oh, we did check out the dog park; it looks like it's well fenced. But it will have to be a morning thing; it's going up to the 90s. Tucker saw two dogs coming out of the park and wanted to get out to play. He did schmooze with several dogs at Petsmart and was disappointed that he couldn't play with the dogs in the play room of their Pet Hotel.

Came home and tossed balls and toys for the puppy, and watched The Poseidon Adventure. During the intermission we had to take so Tucker could have a bathroom break, I ran the vacuum cleaner and put up some coupons. Also washed a shawl that has been out for months because it had a couple of spots on it. We had soup from Kroger for supper.

Something funny did happen about nine o'clock! I went into the kitchen with Tucker right behind me. All of a sudden I heard this deep growl, and then a sharp bark. I looked down. We had just the light over the stove on, and Tucker could see his reflection in the oven door! He started growling and barking at it, and I had to squat down and show him I too had a reflection before he would stop.

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» Saturday, June 14, 2014
Saturday Treats

We brought Tucker to the vet for the first time today. Now, they told us when he was adopted he'd already had a full checkup and his shots. He just needed flea meds. But we took him over today to introduce him to the vet, get him in the system, and have his eyes checked, as they do tear occasionally. He spent most of the ride lying down, greeted the dogs he met, and greeted the vet tech and the doctor enthusiastically—well, until they took the fecal sample. After that he wanted to leave. :-)

(You have to understand Willow never did any of these things. She was always wary riding anywhere, never liked to encounter other dogs, was shy with the techs, and she never ate any treat they gave her, as Tucker did today. So all of these actions were a novelty. He's much more of an extrovert than she was. But I am watching Tucker and see so much of young Willow in him: the way he goes "turbo terrier" when he gets overexcited; how he hangs onto a toy, sometimes to the point of being lifted off the floor; how mouthy he is. And of course he has that same "I'm a poor starving dog and I haven't eaten in fifteen minutes" routine.)

An odd thing surfaced: the adoption agency told us he was five months old, but the vet thinks he is closer to a year, as he has all his permanent teeth. Two vets saw this dog and one thinks five months and the other nearly a year? Weird. Nothing much else; the eye problem is being caused by fur in his eyes and can be corrected by a grooming. They want him to eat a little more, and have a denta-bone or equivalent every day. We could do that.

While we were there a woman and her son came in with an injured chicken. It had flown over the fence from their yard and the neighbor's dog pounced on it. They took her back to look at him, then came back saying it wasn't as bad as it looked, but the bird's air sac was exposed and it needed to be taken care of. They wanted them to go to the Cobb Emergency Clinic. I hope they made it okay, because the freeway was backed up due to roadwork. We went through surface streets.

We got Tucker home in time to feed him some breakfast and then tuck him into his crate so we could go to the Brittrack Meet'n'Greet for June. This was in a new venue, Johnnie MacCracken's Pub in our own downtown. However, we'd forgotten about the Juneteenth celebration taking place on the square, so there were more people than usual wandering the streets as well as parking. We found some municipal parking, however, right in the back of the place, which was expedient as James' knees were giving him fits today.

It was a marvelous time. We started out in a little snug room in the back, but ended up at some tables closer to the front as more people showed up. I think we ended up being eighteen all total. And the food was marvelous. I had potato/leek/barley soup with a "roll" that appeared to be fried and, had it been sugared, could have passed as a doughboy. James had what they called a "Marietta Moonshine" sandwich, roast beef (real roast beef, not dreadful deli meat) and the trimmings, along with potato salad. It was such a big portion that I was able to sample some of the sandwich myself.

After eating we walked around the corner to The Corner Shop, which sells British things, and finally we all had ice cream at SweeTreats. It was a great afternoon.

We came home to walk our puppy and watch more Wild Wild West, and then a couple of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. Tucker was a bundle of energy most of the night and even turned into turbo terrier for several long funny minutes.

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» Thursday, June 12, 2014
Appointments, Books, and Dogs in More Ways Than One
Since James worked Sunday, he was off today, so I took the day off as well. After a rather hellish week—I was in a lot of pain on Tuesday afternoon with what felt like a gall bladder attack, triggered by God knows what, as I ate the same thing on Wednesday and it didn't make me sick again—I was looking forward to today. Originally I had through we could go up to McKays (there are two boxes of DVDs and books), and then James told me he had scheduled his MRI for today. This was okay, though, because, although he has had an MRI before and didn't mind, he was not sure he could do one again without some medication. So it would be expedient for him to have a driver.

We got up at eight and while I was perambulating the puppy he was starting dinner: boneless pork ribs in Classico tomato-and-basil sauce cooked in the crock pot. Then we headed out to Kaiser Permanente's site at Towne Park near Kennesaw. Wow, this is a huge facility, bigger than the Glenridge site; we waited outside the imaging center until we could go inside where I could wait while he put his things into a locker and went in the back. He returned before long, having gone MRI-less. The last time he had an MRI, his shoulders were so broad they almost did not fit in the tube. Now apparently they have to put padding between your shoulders and the wall of the unit; with the pads there he could not fit in. They will send in a referral for an open MRI.

Meanwhile, there we were...hungry. So we went to Panera where I had breakfast (oatmeal and a bagel with the roasted veggie spread, which is delicious) and James had soup and sandwich. We then made a brief stop at Barnes & Noble (drat, they still have the April "Best of British") and stopped at Petco to (guess what) buy more stuff for Tucker. Bought him three Nylabones, a Kong toy and biscuits to put in it, and a rope tug; also a bottle that will hold water with an attached bowl, all of which clips to a belt (dog park and vacation friendly).

Then, since we had nothing else planned, we drove up to the Books-a-Million in Acworth. I haven't been up there in months. We shared a frozen hot chocolate at the J. Muggs coffee shop and I picked up a book I'd looked at but didn't buy some time ago, called Unholy Night. It asks the question: what if the "Wise Men" were actually criminals? For $3 I figured I could risk it. I also bought Murder on the Home Front, the true story of a woman who became a secretary for a police coroner during the Blitz in London. Looks rather Foyle's War-ish.

By the time we got home, the pork smelled heavenly. James cooked some fusilli to go with it. Oh, I've missed this; I haven't made gravy in ages. The crock pot does it perfectly; this cooked on warm from about 8:30 to 5:30 and was marvelous. Tucker was full of beans after that long in the crate, and tore into his new toys with gusto. I think he likes the Kong, but he's not as food driven as Willow was, at least in her later years. He loves the tug rope; you can pull him off the floor with him hanging on to it. I didn't realize one of the Nylabones was a bacon-flavored bone treat; he killed it within a half hour.

Anyway, tonight we watched the final Cosmos, with a clip of Carl Sagan near the end, and some episodes of The New Lassie, including what I call "The Infamous 'Timmy?' Episode." The skinny: The New Lassie, originally just called Lassie, was a syndicated half-hour series from 1989-1991. In this incarnation, Lassie lived with the McCullough family: Chris, an architect; his wife Dee, a job counselor; their 13-year-old daughter Megan, who loves photography; and 10-year-old Will, Lassie's especial pal. Visiting occasionally is Chris' younger brother, Steve, who's into traveling and is a journalist. Steve is, by the way, played by Jon Provost, who, as almost everyone knows, played "Timmy" on the original Lassie series.

The episode is actually titled "Roots," and wasn't any easier to swallow almost 25 years later.

So, the facts: per the story Chris rescued the Lassie of The New Lassie as a puppy from a burning car three years before our story takes place. As the story opens, they receive a registered letter from a Mrs. Chadwick, who claims Lassie is her property and she's coming to pick her up. The McCulloughs consult a lawyer, but Mrs. Chadwick's legal papers are all sound—she even has Lassie's AKC papers! So Chris, Dee, and Uncle Steve are waiting when Mrs. Chadwick walks in and she immediately sees Steve, freezes, and then says "Timmy?" and he says "Mom?"

Predictably, Steve is pissed off. He says his parents abandoned him. She says "but you were only our foster son, and the county took you away from us. Remember, I sat you down and explained this to you, very carefully." He doesn't remember still, and she hazards, "Well, you were so young."

Seriously? They had him for seven years, and never adopted him? And Timmy was fourteen when they moved to Australia. He was NOT very young. So anyway then he went by his middle name, Steve, and the McCulloughs adopted him. Next!

So, evidently feeling a woman's touch might help, Dee tries to talk Mrs. Chadwick out of taking Lassie, and this poor woman is just about pathetic. She rambles on about having some very bad times in the past, but that having Lassie back will help, and says "we had Lassie before we had Timmy! My father had a Lassie, and my grandfather had a Lassie, and this one is very special because she's the last of the line..." like she's ten years old. And of course everyone who's watched the series is saying "Seriously?" Because Timmy got Lassie from Jeff Miller, and the Martins had never laid eyes on her before they showed up on Ellen Miller's doorstep. (They even acknowledge this in the episode where Jeff shows up again!) The executive producer of The New Lassie wrote this episode and he evidently knew nothing about the history of the series.

So, happy ending--Will and Mrs. Chadwick bond over Lassie and they promise her a puppy (which Lassie has a couple of episodes later). But, honestly, the only way this episode works is if you view it as a comedy, because it has to be the stupidest reunion show ever.

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» Monday, June 09, 2014
Monday Morning Blues, Evening Romp
Incredibly frustrating day at work, where one order has gone sour and even an hour wasn't enough to print out new orders. The wretched things arrive in packs. The best part of the day is retreating to the car parked in its cove of trees, pulling on backward the old dress shirt I've placed in the car because the mosquitoes are so bad, and having a nap. I did get two things advertised, made some contacts, answered a ton of e-mail. Traffic looked worse than it was for a change.

James had stayed home this morning and I'd worried about him most of the day. He woke up with low blood sugar, and then when he took Tucker outside he got an attack of vertigo. He made it upstairs to his computer chair and apparently stayed there for quite a while after I left, and then went back to bed until eleven. He was feeling better when I got home—I arrived in the driveway to find him getting the mail and airing the dog. We had dinner, and I spent time entertaining the bouncing feist. After dinner I took him in the backyard, with James sitting on the deck, and someone had a successful elimination after (a) challenging the big dogs in the next yard, (b) digging at an unremarkable patch of grass, and (c) watching Mommy twitching from the roving mosquitoes. I also took him across the street to meet Kristy and Kelly and little Jack, as well as their two pugs.

While channel surfing after Jeopardy discovered that Robin and Marian was on TCM, so since James was on the computer, I put that on. This is a bittersweet film about Robin Hood and Little John returning from the Crusades after King Richard the Lionheart's death, discovering that all their compatriots from the Sherwood Forest days are old men (just like them), and that Maid Marian is now the mother abbess at a convent, about to be arrested by an old adversary, the Sheriff of Nottingham. I saw this for the first time when I was in college and it remains a favorite. And more playing with the stuffed mouse. James wanted a dog that would play with him. We now have one, in spades.

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» Sunday, June 08, 2014
Tuckering Out Tucker

I really do hate alarm clocks, especially on Sunday morning. However, James had to go to work, and he'd miscalculated the time he needed to get up and walk Mr. Dog, so he asked me to do it instead. Tucker was still crated, so I could have gone back to bed for a little while, but instead I took him out for a long walk up and down the street. Trot he did and sniff he did and he showed an alarming preference for dashing out into the street (good thing our street is quiet), but elimination? No.

Then I put him back in his crate (yes, I tucked him back up) so I could run to Kroger while it was still cool; it was actually nice outside. We still needed milk and bananas. I also found some boneless pork ribs we can do in the crock pot on Thursday, and I bought two new baby gates. Tucker seems to have no idea what a stove is and I don't want him sticking his nose in something hot. (Sentimental sap that I am, I did still keep the old baby gate Willow chewed at when she was a puppy. It's downstairs.) Back home, I put up the gates and then the two of us had breakfast. Then I took him out in the back yard. Now, we dog-proofed the back yard when it was first fenced, but good ol' Southern erosion has done its work and there are spots he can get out under the fence. So I was afraid to let him run loose like James did, although at this point I can follow more quickly. He did finally pee, to my relief. Willow was drinking so much water by the time she left that we got used to her running out and "draining the tank" first thing

We also played a couple of games of throw the ball and throw the stuffed mouse, and after another walk I managed to sit and have lunch. He fell asleep on the recliner and I watched The Wild Wild West.

And I was glad of that extra baby gate when I had to start the pot pie for supper.

He's been bouncing around like a house afire since James got home. And even though James did take him outside, guess where he finally defecated. Yep, in the dining room. Oh, and when I told him "Shame on you! Bad dog!" he retreated under James' legs. He runs to James now if I scold him.

The truth is, we've just forgotten how active a young dog is! We've been so used to older Willow that we forgot "turbo dog" and her latching on to a toy and holding on so hard you could lift her off the ground, and oh, how she could jump.

To be honest as much as we wanted to give a dog a home, we are hoping Tucker will help us, too. We've pretty much been in the Slough of Despond since Willow got sick and in stasis since she died. We need a good shaking out of our torpor. I hope we didn't bite off too much.

The fact is I get scared when I start new things, even if they are things I like. And I'm a different person than I was back in 1998, when we brought home a new little brown puppy from the pound, and, to be honest, not as well. I gave up my telework day walks because I craved sleep so much; I still do. 

Hopefully in the end he'll not only be our pal Tucker but Dr. Tucker as well.

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» Saturday, June 07, 2014
Tucking into the World

After a long absence, we went to the Farmer's Market this morning. We did find a parking space on the Square, but on the opposite side, so we had as long a walk as if we had parked in the usual parking lot. The Square itself was full of hay bales, pup tents, and wagon pieces for an upcoming historical event. We bought some sweet corn, Vidalia onions, a barbecue pot pie for Sunday supper, a chocolate chip brownie muffin to split for a dessert, chicken salad, and some boiled peanuts for James. Then we went for breakfast at IHOP. Crowded, but not unpleasantly so.

We brought the things home, then put them up, and thought about what to do next. We had decided last week that this weekend would be the one to start doing a serious puppy search. I even did some puppy surfing on Petfinder. Finally I said, "Why don't we go out to Trader Joe's, and we can stop at the Petco on Johnson Ferry. We had stopped there once during our endless search for food that Willow could eat and noticed that they had a lot of small dogs at their adoptions.

Let's say we didn't get to Trader Joe's.

They had only one big dog, in fact, something that looked like Bristle-Face in the movie by the same name. Two cages held the most adorable four chihuahua pups you've ever seen. There was one dog that was half shih-tzu and half cocker spaniel. One dog was part dachshund but looked like a half size Doberman, and another that was a Pomeranian; we were kinda taken by her, until we saw a little tricolor guy in the next cage. He had big prick ears, a fuzzy face, and a long black tail with a white tip, and it was like he called my name without saying a word.

So after filling out forms, and taking him outside at least twice, we drove home with the little guy, who was called "Tucker" at his foster home, and we figured that was a good dog name as any, as he responded to it readily. (I did get a kick out of the guy at Petco who had fostered Tucker and the Doberman-looking dog; he reminded me of Otto Kilcher on Alaska: the Last Frontier.)

We brought him home and introduced him to the house, and realized we needed a bunch of things dogwise, so took him back out to Petsmart to buy a new crate, a food dish, a collar and a harness, and three toys.

We interrupt this narrative for bedtime, but a few more details.

We have discovered Tucker is very well-socialized around other dogs, unlike Willow who was always afraid of them unless they were afraid of her. He likes balls, which is astonishing, as together we've never owned a dog who liked to chase balls before. He likes the squeak mouse the best, and will now take it to James to play tug with. And he already killed the third toy, a pull-rope type thing. He's already had a wet accident and a solid accident, both which were easily cleaned. When he discovered we weren't going to give him our dinner, he went and lay down on the dog bed, at least for a while. He ate the quarter cup of dog food prescribed for him, and drank a little water. We let him go out on the deck, but right now I have to watch him out there, because he can get his head, and therefore part of his body, through the bars. Luckily nothing attracted him. He loves the back yard, but we have some holes we need to patch up. They were okay when the fence was put in, but erosion has taken its toll.

I think the part that was the funniest but yet the most heartbreaking was when I was in the bathroom and James was at the computer. Tucker had been playing with his mouse toy and then got very quiet. I was just coming out of the bathroom when James said "Tucker, you're being awfully quiet." Yes, he was, because he was lying on the recliner, right in Willow's old spot, and it tickled me so much that I laughed aloud...and then started to cry and cry.

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