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, August 31, 2014
DragonCon, Day 3...In Which the Elevators Work, but Things Still Fall Apart

Third verse, same as the first. Got up ten minutes earlier this morning, though, and still didn't leave until eight. From Spring Road until we passed the river, we were driving through dense fog—if it had been Christmas Eve, Santa Claus would have needed Rudolph to light the way. :-) The line at Cafe Momo was a little shorter today, and I got a wheat bagel for variety. I've got Momo-meals down pat: in the styrofoam container, oatmeal in one of the small partitions, roast potatoes in the other (they're outstanding), two slices of French toast, no more than three slices of bacon, three slices of orange, three of kiwi fruit, a bagel and cream cheese, and a pint of milk. Super.

James and I went to our first panel together, a Babylon 5 21st anniversary tribute featuring Walter Koenig. Of course the questions were mostly about his character, Al Bester, the sinister Psi Corps operative. He had nice things to say about the cast, especially Jerry Doyle, but admitted to being intimidated by both Doyle and Bruce Boxleitner because they were so tall.

I made certain James got on the elevator to go back to the Hyatt—people were much friendlier today than Friday—then stopped by Lost and Found to see if someone had turned my owl visor in. No luck. So I went off to the Sheraton and the Colin Baker panel, which was conducted by Alan Siler. Alan had collected a bunch of clips of Colin, the first from Blake's 7, the next his guest starring role on Doctor Who as Commander Maxil, and finally clips of him from his various seasons. After each clip Colin would comment about it. Despite what people may think of his Doctor Who tenure—and I admit I recall very little of it—Colin is a super guest. He's grown a beard and reminds me so much of Timothy West when he did Edward the Seventh. Alan even played the very funny clip from the Big Finish audio production where the Doctor sings about being a "Gallifreyan buccaneer" to the tune of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Model of a Modern Major General," and a film clip of Colin and Nicola Bryant in much different circumstances from the series "The Stranger." They were in a bed and doing things a Doctor and a Companion would not have thought to do in the 1980s!

Next it was a hike all the way back to the Hyatt to go to the animation track panel tribute to Rankin-Bass. I sat with Kelley Ceccato and we enjoyed the clips the track manager showed, not just the Christmas specials, but the Saturday morning cartoons they did, like Jackson 5ive and The Osmonds, and dang, we sang along to King Kong. There were also clips of the sublime, a.k.a. The Last Unicorn, to the interesting (Return of the King) to the abysmal—an absolutely terrible cartoon called The Red Baron with an Alsatian baron, a cat mechanic, and a doddery old dachshund. Still, I wish we'd been able to discuss the work, not just watch clips.

And now the course reversed back through the Marriott and all the way to the Hilton where the Sherlock panel was being held. I waited patiently for the end of the line and was rewarded by a seat at the back of the panel. And it was an interesting panel, with mostly talk about season three, the surprise of a likeable Mary Morstan, the Moriarty appearance, etc. Sadly, it was so warm in the room that I dozed off for about ten minutes, leaning on my backpack. I was glad, at least, that the person who was sitting near me who apparently drowned him/herself in clove-scented perfume had left early!

Then I hiked back toward the Hyatt, but took a left turn at Peachtree Center so I could spend as little time as possible outside, where it was a burning, hellish inferno made worse by concrete streets and sidewalks. I'd gone crazy looking for a panel on Sleepy Hollow this weekend, and ended up finding it in the Horror track. Keith DeCandido, of course, since he has written a Sleepy Hollow novel, was on the panel, and it was a good lively one, about the mixing of history in with horror elements, and the fact that most people don't consider this a horror series. The news is that second season has a few more episodes than first season (at thirteen) did. We're still waiting to see how Abbie and Ichabod get out of being tied to a tree by the Second Horseman of the Apocalypse, who turns out to be the son of Ichabod and his witch wife Katrina!

I'd thought about going to the Casey Kasem tribute panel, but instead I wandered back into the Merchandise Mart. This time I was not thirsty and sunstruck, so I actually did wander around the dealer's tables and bought a lovely 2015 Doctor Who calendar which even includes the Eighth Doctor and the War Doctor. It's very spiffy. And a TARDIS necklace to boot. And, of course, despite what I said yesterday, I went back to McFarland and bought two books, Anti-Foreign Imagery in American Pulps and Comic Books, and Diversity in Disney Films.

From the Merchandise Mart I crossed back over to the Hyatt and went back to the Art Show. Actually I went to Comics Alley first because I thought Andy Runton wasn't here this year, but I saw someone with two of his books yesterday. So I found him and he had the most adorable drawing of Owly dressed as the Eleventh Doctor, with Wormy as K-9 and Owly's other forest friends as Who characters including the rabbit as River Song. And then I saw a smaller piece of art that was being sold as a charity benefit for an animal shelter. Pictured on it was a little dog, a wheaten-colored Cairn, who was being treated there, and the real-life dog's photo looked so much like Willow that my heart melted and I had to buy it as well. I mentioned to Andy that Willow had died and he remembered petting her at Timegate. That was so sweet.

And just before the art show closed, I went into the print shop and bought the small artwork of the winter stag I liked so much.

Then I just went over to Regency VI-VII to wait for James to meet me at the ARTC performance. I sat next to a lady named Megan and we chatted for awhile until James showed up. Aubrey and Jessie showed up both with those little fur dragons you perch on your shoulder and there's a little cord which makes it move its head up and down. Jessie's looked more like it was out of Dark Crystal, but Aubrey's resembled a dragon that had been crossed with a furry grey cat. Quite adorable.

ARTC did two performances tonight, a very short, funny "Rory Rammer, Space Marshal" where Rory and his sidekick Skip Sagan are called to a crime scene where a bunch of visiting detectives are making totally wrong deductions about a dead Martian. The longer dramatic production was "Call of Cthulu," which always makes one shiver. Ron mentioned so many familiar places in his adaptation (Providence, a professor Angell [Angell Street is on the East Side of Providence, which used to be a swank neighborhood], and even Waterman Street, which was where my allergist used to be) it was like old home week—if you want to go to an old home haunted by Cthulu, that is. LOL.

James got a three-wheeled cart this morning instead of a four, and it went wonky the first time we tried to get on an elevator to head home. The second time everyone helped us and it was very nice. Instead of going over the bridges and possibly running into crowds, we just went out the lobby door and down John Portman Street (formerly Harris Avenue) back to Courtland Street. As I was scouting the pavement ahead—the Atlanta sidewalks are in horrendous shape; I've heard more than one story about people tripping on them today—James was behind me coming up the little "ramp" that they put on the corners so that wheelchairs/scooters can get up on them at Peachtree Center Avenue. His scooter hit an uneven patch on the "ramp" and the scooter tipped over. I heard a thump and people exclaiming and turned to find the scooter on its left side and James down on the street. Three strong guys helped him up and a couple of other ladies picked up the plastic basket at the front and James' backpack, and he was all put together and we were back on the way down in a trice. James has a scrape on his elbow and his knee, but nothing worse.

Ironically the right armrest on the scooter dropped off a minute or two later, not the left one that the scooter landed on. The attendant at the scooter rental told him to definitely request a four-wheel scooter tomorrow; James is really too long-legged for the three wheeled one anyway.

So we're home, and only one more day is left... ::sob::

In better news, tomorrow is September! Fall is coming! Hopefully that means better days are coming as well.

I sure hope so.

Incidentally, I can't mention how many steps I walked today because about two o'clock, after I was almost at 10,000 steps, the battery in the FitBit died. I've had it since last week and hadn't charged it in all that time!

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» Saturday, August 30, 2014
DragonCon, Day 2...or "We Don't Call It "The DragonCon Exercise Program for Nothing"

I walked over 17,000 steps, seven miles in total. And that was on 6 1/2 hours of sleep, thanks to a portion of my anatomy that I won't mention.

So this will be short; we did the usual, the Tucker did his thing, Snowy looked grumpy, and we left him watching the "Movies!" channel. Traffic was nicer today, but we still didn't finish breakfast until ten, which was okay, because neither of us had ten o'clock panels, and we didn't care about standing in the sun to watch the parade. They took out the chair lifts that go from Peachtree Center into the Hyatt, so you have to go to the Hyatt by way of the Marriott. This was longer but harmless and we sat in James' next panel room chilling out until Phyllis showed up. They compared scooter notes. Since he had company, I took off for the Hilton where they were having a review of the new Doctor, which turned into a review of the anniversary special and the Christmas special first. The room was packed! The usual discussion about favorite regenerations also happened.

Oh, and I won a prize! They gave away some things at the end for answering trivia questions; I knew who Peter Davison played in The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy (the Dish of the Day) and won seasons 1 and 2 of Dangermouse! On the way to my next panel I dropped the DVD and a book I picked up in the Sci-Fi Literature panel room's free library, the Virago book of ghost stories (by women). Thought it would make good Hallowe'en reading. Alice and Ken were just parking next to us and I walked with them to the Hyatt.

I never made the panel I wanted to see because they were lined up outside and I don't stand in the sun for anyone. Sorry to have missed Jim Butcher (and the "Dresden Files" panel afterwards was full, too), but I did get to see Larry Niven. So finally I gave up thinking I might fit in the room, because at 1:10 they still were "loading" from outside, and went down to the Art Show. I don't think I saw a spacescape at all this year: it was almost all fantasy! Thankfully, there was little of what James calls "intestinal art." Someone did a neat series of berry-based dragons, there were cats (of course), I drooled over the Celtic embossing art as always, looked at the handcrafted jewelry and some neat boxes made out of old Brownie cameras and other lovely sculptural things. My dead favorite piece was of a falcon, his back to the viewer, his wings slightly spread out, done all in autumn colors in the wings as well as in the background. But it was only for sale as artwork, not as a print, although there's a small winter deer print I'm quite fond of.

I also fought my way upstairs and across the street and into the Merchandise Mart to find McFarland Books, but I was a little disappointed. Everything I was really interested in I already had, and the book about Heinlein's juveniles was just an alphabetical index of his characters. I was amused by a book of essays about "Calvin and Hobbes," and still may go back for the book about racism in books from 1920-1960 (the "yellow peril" and all that). I didn't bother looking around anymore because I was warm and thirsty, and fled back into the Hyatt and found some quiet refuge in a small stairwell near the International Tower elevators.

At some point I apparently lost my owl visor which I bought years ago at Michael's; I guess it was there at the stairway, but I didn't see that I left anything behind. I wear it not just to keep the sun out of my eyes, but to keep the fluorescent lights out of them. So I was kinda bummed. Anyway, I walked over to the Marriott to see the rest of the Classic Doctor Who panel, with Rob Bowen, Robert Ray, Alan Siler, Ken Spivey, and two other gents. Same questions as always: favorite Doctors, favorite companions (to which Rob always responds "Romana II, because Lalla Ward is a goddess" LOL), least favorite villains. I'd enjoy this panel better if the sound actually worked better in Marriott 601-602. I still can hardly hear anything.

I had nothing planned for four, just wanted a nice cool panel room, so I ended up watching The Land of the Lost cast again, but they were fun and upbeat and it was what I needed. They told about at least one of Spencer Milligan's pranks. I do want to see their film Finding Spencer!

Now, the shortest way from the Marriott to the Hyatt and on to the Westin would be through the back doors, but Georgia Monsoon Season was roaring outside, the rain coming down in sheets. So I took the bridge. What a frippin' mob scene. It must have taken me twenty minutes to go across the bridge where crossing the street would have taken me about three. And no one at the information desk at the Hyatt had seen my owl visor. ::sigh::

So by the time I got to the Westin I was 20 minutes late for "Women Travelers of the 19th Century." I went looking for James instead; he was in a panel about survival foods in an emergency situation, with a bunch of the audience trying different self-heating MREs and some brief references to preserving and foraging.

When this was over we went directly down the hill to the Sheraton. BBC America was presenting a special showing of tonight's episode of Doctor Who, "Into the Dalek," at 7 p.m. James didn't have anything else he wanted to do, we had to turn in the scooter at the Sheraton anyway, and with the scooter we got to sit in the front. So we went. They didn't actually get started until 7:30 because it takes a while to get 1,800 people in a big ballroom! The sound was a bit obscure sometimes and Capaldi's Scottish accent tends to blur his words anyway, but it was a great story, and I was happy to see you could actually keep track of the plot. I loved Matt Smith but the episodes were becoming puzzle pieces. This one had bits of Fantastic Voyage, with some very funny scenes with Clara and the handsome new teacher at Coal Hill School, Danny Pink. Hm. I think I sense a pattern here. We've had two episodes here where a certain event is caused by the Doctor. The mysterious "Missy" appears. Do I see this happening in the remainder of the episodes? And the Doctor facing "Missy" in the season finale? And the word "larder" was mentioned again. Interesting.

Anyway, home, dog walking, and lots and lots of milk. Dehydration is not fun. Want bed. Better: want bed and sleep. It's sad that I slept better on a work night!

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» Friday, August 29, 2014
DragonCon, Day 1...or Sometimes Moving On Isn't Moving at All

I gave Tucker a nice long walk this morning in which he did all his good dogs. It took us awhile to get downtown, but it was still a work- and school-day, so we figured the day would start out with traffic backed up. We should have gone through Williams Street, though, and Ivan Allen Jr Boulevard, which brings you out on the garage side of Courtland Street rather than on the right. It took us no time to pick up the scooter at Disability Services at the Sheraton and then we went across the bridge to pick up breakfast at Cafe Momo. I went first and then took the scooter to hunt out a seat, since James could walk the short length from the restaurant to the table. Saw Alice and Juanita headed for the dealer's room, told them it didn't open until one. So they went back to get in line for Patrick Stewart.

All this scootering and traffic meant James missed his ten o'clock panel, so we went over to the Sheraton and got in line for Walter Koenig's panel. We were in the disability line, so got to go in first. If it's good to start the day with a laugh, this was the best way ever. Garrett Wang from Star Trek: Voyager was the moderator and mugged for the audience, and Walter contributed his own bit of wry wit, and we laughed through most of the panel. As you can imagine, one of Walter's favorite movies is Star Trek IV. Garrett and Walter also talked about being "shatted" [snubbed by William Shatner] and he also spoke briefly about being the evil Alfred Bester on Babylon 5. Asked if he'd ever been to Russia, the homeplace of his most famous character Pavel Chekov, he said he was there a few years ago for a Babylon 5 convention. He got to meet the actor who dubs the voices of Chekov and Bester into Russian. He also talked about meeting Anton Yelchin, who plays Chekov in the reboot movies. Yelchin's parents were there as well, and Yelchin shouted to him delightedly "I have an action figure!" LOL.

Next, I went to the 40th anniversary panel for Kolchak: the Night Stalker. (American Classic Sci-Fi track seems to be chiefly anniversary panels this year!) This was a nice lively panel about the two television movies and the series, the latter which mostly I haven't watched through yet. But I've always been a big fan of Darren McGavin. He could liven up just about anything he was ever in, and gave the Disney movies he starred in a twinkle and a little bit of larceny.

Rejoined James at the Hyatt for the Science Fiction 101 panel: basically, what books would you recommend to people wanting to read classic science fiction and what modern writers you would pair them with. This went back to Mary Shelley and Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, all the way through the Golden Age of Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein, relating them to similar, modern writers. A great panel with lots of discussion.

James didn't have anything he really cared to do next, so he went with me to the Quantum Leap anniversary panel. We went over the bridge from the Hyatt to the Marriott; the noise from the bar in the Hyatt was utterly horrendous and was worsened by the music being up at deafening levels. There was a jam on the bridge, and we made it to the panel a little late, but not much, in time to enjoy stories of favorite episodes, least favorite episodes, just how Sam "leaped," Al's crucial role, and all sorts of nice leaper goodness. Keith De Candido was on the panel and I learned that he has a Sleepy Hollow book out in September.

We had a good time, too, in the next panel, which was just across the way in the ballroom: it was a reunion panel for the kids' series Land of the Lost. I remember watching it although I was really "too old" for it at the time, in college, but I liked the fact that the stories were written by leading SF authors and often had some neat plots, like the ones about Enik the intelligent Sleestak [a lizard creature] or the pylons. All those SFX that look so primitive today were pretty expensive back then, and that was the main reason the show was canceled. They talked a little about Spencer Milligan, who played their dad for two seasons and who left the show because of salary disputes. He had just disappeared and just recently they found him again, and filmed the whole thing in something they're calling Finding Spencer. They said it was a great reunion: they laughed, cried, shouted, hugged, and laughed more. They're supposed to release this on video.

Previously Kathy Coleman ["Holly"] and Walker Edmiston ["Enik"] had come to DragonCon, but this year Kathy came with Wesley Eure, who played her older brother Will, and Philip Paley, who had played the little ape-like Pakuni boy, "Cha-ka." Paley got the part after being seen on Johnny Carson's show for being the youngest (nine years old) black belt in karate (his teacher was Chuck Norris), and I hadn't seen him since the series. He was cute back then and is still very easy on the eyes, and Wesley Eure still has those laughing blue eyes. It was a super panel.

And then the bottom fell out of everything. We were headed back to the Hyatt to see the Friday performance of the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company, and we had a half hour to get there. So we went to the elevators to get back to the skybridge and every single elevator (except the broken one)—there were thirteen—was mobbed and people were waiting. We almost got on one elevator but the scooter wouldn't fit all the way in. Every other elevator that showed up was full and either no one got off, or not enough people got off to make room for a scooter. We had heard there were supposed to be people there to help you get on the elevators if you didn't make it on in a certain time, but we didn't see anyone.

After twenty minutes of waiting I noticed we were opposite the bridge going to the Hilton. Maybe their elevators were better? After going across the bridge and having a dickens of a time getting the scooter through the narrow ramp the Hilton had, we arrived at the elevators to discover theirs mobbed, too. We asked if there were other elevators and were told there were some at the opposite end, but I guess they meant the service elevators. I didn't think we could use them without someone allowing us to, although handicapped access is supposed to have use of them. So we waited a bit more and an elevator did come—and we ended up in a dead end at Trader Vic's! Luckily the receptionist was very nice and allowed us to go out their street door, which was right across the street from the garage.

By then we were thirsty and frustrated. We just took the scooter back to the Sheraton. I talked to the fellow at Disability Services who checked us in last night, and he said there were supposed to be security people at both the Marriott elevators and the Hilton elevators to help disability badged people. We told him there weren't any. Anyway, we just went home. Our reward was seeing a lovely sunset and having a happy puppy and birdie greet us when we got home. But I'm really upset about missing ARTC and the whole elevator situation. This isn't something new at conventions; the elevators are always a nightmare and have been for years, but we've never stayed at the hotel and just taken the escalators on the convention floors. And a bunch of those people at the Marriott and the Hyatt were going back to their rooms, so the crowd was justified. Why don't they have ramps on the convention floors at hotels for mobility impaired people instead of forcing them to take elevators (and have them wide enough; the one in the Hilton was barely navigable unless you had a wheelchair only)?

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» Thursday, August 28, 2014
I Made It Through The Rain...Sorta
I finished every single new purchase order I had in my queue by 3 p.m.—and that was even with a staff meeting shoved into the early afternoon. But I was so keyed up this morning after not sleeping well that I was bouncing off almost as many walls as Tucker. Walked him, worked five solid hours, then went in to work for a staff meeting and also to print out things since my @!$#%!#!$! scanner was scanning two pages as one. Glad to go to the staff meeting because I was screaming at my work computer, which took almost ten minutes to boot up, and the good scanner wasn't working...again.

Sadly, it's "sorta" because I couldn't get the two modifications finished, too, but at least one of the people had advised me that they wouldn't have the mod back until late tomorrow. I don't understand why they have to go through such a fol-de-rol about prices that were decided upon when the purchase order was issued originally, but—there you go.

James had today off, went to Costco and to Sam's, and bought all our lunch supplies, and spent the mid-afternoon making sandwiches for lunch for us for the weekend with roast beef and chicken for me, and the same plus ham for him. I brought out all the snacks: trail mix, nuts, crackers, Cheez-Its, Goldfish, etc. They're on the dining room table for us to put together a lunch tomorrow. But I forgot to tell him to look for juice boxes, and the ones in the grocery store are abysmal, so I guess we are stuck with water.

We set off for downtown with trepidation about five, because traffic was backed up all the way to the Brookwood Connector where I-75 and I-85 run together to go through downtown Atlanta. The GPS on my phone offered us a quicker route, which we took, and it was absolutely wonderful for a while: we went down Atlanta Road to Marietta Parkway, and then to Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, and then in and out of the small roads on the outskirts of Georgia Tech.

Seven-tenths of a mile from our destination we were stopped dead by blinking traffic lights and we spent the next hour trying to get around the mess. Seven-tenths of a mile. Around almost every corner the traffic lights weren't working. What a pain. And then when we got to the Courtland Street Garage they'd jacked up the parking "event" price to $30. What a bunch of opportunists! Let's screw all those science fiction fans and football fans and other people in town this weekend.

We did find a handicapped parking space right near the entrance, and made our way slowwwwwly to the Sheraton. We registered with disability services this year because James is renting a scooter for the weekend. They were super-nice: someone even goes to get your badge for you, and brings you a bag with a convention book and pocket program. James did pretty well tonight, if we had to go glacially slow. We had supper in Peachtree Center and then made our way slowly to the Westin Hotel, where Baen Books was having a book preview event. John Ringo was speaking when we came in and James enjoyed what he had to say. I just sat and read quietly after we'd talked to Teri Sears, who just came back from two weeks in England, Wales, and Ireland! She said it was 50°F when she left there. Oh, heaven!

Made it back to the car over the skybridge commenting about the motor homes parked in the lots below, and home in one piece, to walk the terrier and coo to the budgie and have something cold to drink.

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» Sunday, August 24, 2014
Costco and Chicken

The first thing I do on Sunday mornings are Sunday chores: putting all the towels in the laundry basket for a Tuesday wash, getting my clothes ready for work for the week, and sorting my pills into their weekly doses.

Oh, snellfrocky! Dirty socks! It wasn't toilet paper that was the necessity yesterday, it was omeprazole. I was completely out. So after I'd walked the dog and eaten breakfast, I headed back to Costco. My parking space wasn't as good as yesterday, but I was just going in and out, and that's what I did. The omeprazole is right on the aisle near the self-checkout, so it was pretty painless.

From there I went to Publix. James' favorite diced ham was on twofer and I wanted to pick up some French bread for supper.I found three fall magazines on the stand as well, and the "TV Guide" with Peter Capaldi on the cover. From there I went to Kroger, "fed the car," picked up the prescriptions I phoned in on Friday, and picked up a few other things, like yogurt and puddings. Found the fall edition of "Craftideas" with a nifty little four-seasons cross-stitch pattern, too.

When I got home there on the doorstep was my package from Amazon. I bought a Fitbit. Of course it arrived after I'd done crossing from one side of Kroger to the other, and one side of Publix to the other, as well as the short trot through Costco. I had no idea the actual gadget was that small; it's about the same size as the large joint in my pinky finger. All the programming has to be done on computer.

I am trying some "gummie" vitamins as well. They were buy-one-get-one at Kroger, and I am always forgetting to take my other ones because I choke on them when I take them. I hope these will work better.

I spent the rest of the day tidying up the kitchen, putting away some groceries, and finally watching "Deep Breath" again without those damn distracting commercials. The pacing is much better that way, and I hadn't caught the joke about the Doctor having a band the first time. LOL. I can't wait until the "regular" episodes start. Not sure what to make of "Missy," though—she's like Mary Poppins dripping with bile.

I followed up with a film I hadn't watched for a while, 84 Charing Cross Road. I love this movie and always cry at the end. I have the British edition because the American one was full-screen. I particularly love the scene at the beginning where Helene walks into the neighborhood grocery. The scene is from 1950 but these places were still around in the 1960s: the hand-lettered price signs, the checked linoleum floor with the odd replaced square whose color didn't match the rest, the wooden shelves up to the ceiling crammed with canned goods and boxes, the stocky cash register that rang when the cash drawer opened, the glass case with the gum and the penny candy. Oh, the labels on the cereal boxes and the soap canisters changed in the ten-plus years, but I can still smell the store: a bit of cheese and chicken and ham and fresh meat scent from the back, fresh-ground coffee, bits and bobs of sugar, gum, and floor wax and Spic'n'Span.

For supper I cooked two kinds of chicken, one to have for supper, and one to put away for later in the week. I am hoping to make it through the week without James having to do any cooking. I made one plain, with just parsley, chives, salt and ginger on it, and cacciatore with the other. We had the latter for supper while watching All Creatures Great and Small. I hadn't seen these in years; still smiling about the "battle Royal" between Seigfried and Miss Harbottle.

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» Saturday, August 23, 2014
The Day of the Doctor

James embarked on the next stage of a marathon today.

He'd already been scheduled to work Sunday to have the Friday of DragonCon off. Then they asked him to work Saturday, too, with the promise that he could have Thursday off. So he did it, which means this morning he started the second half of ten straight days of work. The only good thing about it is that he could sleep until 7:30 this morning and can do the same tomorrow.

I woke up just as the garage doors rose, and was so restive there was no use going back to sleep. I took Tucker out for a long walk, then we both had breakfast, and then it was time for errands, so he went back into his crate. I went to Costco and lucked out particularly by getting a parking space almost right outside the door. I bought toilet paper, milk, chicken legs, and a copy of Vicious. One thing I wasn't getting was gasoline; with the 3 cent Kroger discount, it was cheaper at Kroger.

I had a funny on the way home. I was stopped at the light on South Cobb Drive and aimlessly staring off toward the right. When I turned to the left, a woman in a big SUV stopped next to me was waving and gesticulating at me with the window rolled down. I rolled down my window and she shouted "New episode of Doctor Who tonight!" She had seen the magnetic "My other vehicle is a TARDIS" sign on the back of my car!

Once home, with the groceries put away, I gathered up some things I wanted to take to Goodwill and disposed of them, then ducked into Dollar General. They were stocking shelf after shelf with bags of Hallowe'en candy, and they had costumes and things out. I bought Tucker a cheap little shirt that said "Vampire Dog" on it (hey, I've felt his teeth!). Finally I stopped by Vickery Hardware, and then returned home.

I spent the rest of the afternoon alternating doing housework and watching the Doctor Who marathon on BBC America. I got everything vacuumed on the main floor and finally did the stairs and swept the foyer and the downstairs hall and the laundry room, plus cleared out Tucker's crate of the detritus of what he collects: wrapper bits, another toothpick, paper scraps. This morning I decanted James' new fan and five minutes after opening the box found part of the cardboard packing under the table being gnawed. I needed the breaks just to cool off; the Whoathon was just lagniappe.

We had a whopper of a thunderstorm late in the afternoon, but it only lasted about twenty minutes. The lightning bolt and the whipcrack of thunder right over the house got my attention, though! James got out at six and picked up dinner from Dragon 168 on the way home, and we ate it while watching the reprise of "The Time of the Doctor" before the big Peter Capaldi reveal.

I really enjoyed it, if the pacing in the middle was a little off. It was hard to tell if it was really the pacing because of so many damn commercials, but I like what I see so far! I hope Clara keeps the sarcastic spunk, and I hope they keep the not-bouncing-off-walls pace. I see we have another story arc developing as well. Next I want to watch it without those bloody commercials!

Watched Intruders afterwards, and was also intrigued, and nice to see John Simm slowed down to normal speed after playing the Master at fast forward.

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» Thursday, August 21, 2014
The Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside my window...'s early evening, since I never have time to do this in the morning, and it's been a blazingly hot day, up in the 90s. I took Tucker out at four and don't know how I kept breathing. Thankfully, there was a breeze!

I am thinking... fast the summer has gone by. This has been both a blessing and a curse at work, because end-of-fiscal-year has gone by quickly, but it also feels like I haven't had time to concentrate on anything properly. I've sent so many "I'm sorry this is belated" e-mails that I can write them in my sleep, and I guess I frequently do, because I'm always dreaming about work.

I am thankful...
...that I'm seeing fall magazines on the newstand. Summer always feels like it will never end.

In the kitchen...
...nothing, because it was potlucks night. James needs to finish cleaning the counter and the cutting board. I had the exterminator spray and put powder under the counters, just in case, even though I only saw the two roaches in the bathroom.

I am wearing...
...a black tank top and shorts and white socks, in other words, my usual summer outfit.

I am creating...
...nothing for the rest of the evening. I did three orders today and my left eyelid is twitching so hard it rubs against my eyes. I understand this is probably from a combination of stress and lack of sleep.

I am going...
...crazy. :-) But that's contracting for you. I always wondered why John Houseman's character in The Paper Chase was such a humorless git. Well, of course! He teaches contract law!

I am wondering...
...what to do about the future. "The moving finger writes..." and all that. James' back is shot after the two falls; he's going to need a scooter to go long distances. He's going to have to find an alternate form of exercise (perhaps swim therapy?), and we're going to have to spend the money for a carrier on the car/truck. It seems no matter how much I don't want to spend money, we always have to spend more. Now we're going to have to pay extra for the exterminator to treat the deck because it has carpenter bees.

I am reading...
...Boston and the Dawn of the American Revolution, which I love when it talks about the people and the historical events, but the politics is rather turgid. I'm also trying to finish a book about retirement which is hard slogging, because I'm over one third through it and the author is still trying to convince the reader that it's okay to retire, that you won't be a lesser person if you do. Holy cow, I know that! I want to retire so I can become me again, instead of someone who has to, in the words of "Prufrock," "prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet."

I am hoping...
...for cooler weather for next weekend. Fat chance, but I'm still hoping.

I am looking forward to...
...Saturday! BBC America! 8:15 p.m.! Peter Capaldi! Doctor Who! Enough said!

Around the house... needs vacuuming, but I don't have the time nor the inclination this evening; I have a headache and am even wishing to finish this quickly so I can go nurse it.

I am pondering...
...Tucker. He's such a funny dog! He was good as gold today. I've told him, although I know he doesn't understand all his words, that if he plays by himself and doesn't destroy things, he can stay out while I am working. I had to lock him up while the exterminator was here, but otherwise he slept on one of the dining room chairs from 8:30 to 4, when I took him out, and didn't bother me.

A favorite quote for today...'ve had your quote for the day. Prufrock rules!

One of my favorite things...
..."Early American Life," which I shall read when I get finished with this.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Work! Work! Work! And a trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond, because we have four coupons that expire on Monday.

A peek into my day...
Picture me sleeping. I like. :-)

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» Sunday, August 17, 2014
A Nap Was Needed

Eight hours of sleep was not my destiny today. Sadly, something I ate at dinner didn't agree with me. I simply took my tablet into the bathroom and read "Woman's Day" and dealt. Once James got up and Tucker was walked, we went up to the Kroger at Battle Ridge to pick up the necessities of life (milk and bread and yogurt), and a few other bits and bobs, including some turkey thighs to make for supper. James had really bad luck with the scooters this morning. The first one ran out of juice before he got to the managers' specials meat case in the back, while the second was dying as I returned it to the store. I was still feeling bad, so we headed home. Once my problem was taken care of, we ran to Publix for a couple of things, and a double-paper, which Kroger didn't have, and then James went back to the Smyrna Kroger for gasoline.

We finally came home for breakfast, where I made an unpleasant discovery. On Thursday or Friday I killed a little roach in the hall bathroom. Today I found another one in there. One is an accident, two is not. We've had problems because of the heat and wet this year, and the damn things do climb up the drain pipes. Luckily the exterminator is coming on Thursday. I haven't needed to have him come in the house for years, but I will need to empty out under the sink so he can spray there, and I'll have him do the door to the deck, too, and probably the foyer and the kitchen. He uses green pesticides; I hope it works, since the last time we had a problem with them, Scott [our original exterminator] had to get out the big guns with some stuff that came out of a tube that we were forbidden to touch. I hate when these critters get in the house.

We had one more outing: another trip to Kroger to get gasoline for the car. And then we were both so wiped out, James from having about four hours sleep and me from being sick, that we just took an hour's nap, with Snowy singing us to sleep from the living room. It was quite restorative, and we did feel better after that: read the paper, James walked the dog, then let him wander around on the deck so he could patrol for squirrels, and finally cooked the turkey thighs for supper. Excellent! Had them with ramen noodles, and I had enough left over to make three sandwiches for lunch. Watched 20/20's tribute to Robin Williams, and then Tiny House Nation (a wonderful 500-square-foot cabin up in the mountains of Colorado with a view of Pikes Peak, with all sorts of convertible furniture), the Feast of the Assumption episode of Feasts & Seasons of the Church, and finally Flipping Boston, with snow, snow, and more snow.

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» Saturday, August 16, 2014
Foodies Delight

Finally a trip to the Farmer's Market this morning! We've missed it so many times this summer for one reason or the other. We took the Elephant's Child...I mean Tucker (it's all that "'satiable curiosity," you see)...with us, and it was cool enough on the inbound leg to put the windows down. I held him firmly by his harness and he stuck his nose out the window and sniffed at the glorious air and streets and grass and trees, and opened his eyes wide as police cars blaring sirens came roaring around the corner. (On the way home he just put his head out the window in bliss.)

We found a handicapped space on the square, still a long distance for James to limp with his cane. I had Tucker on the short leash we bought and keep in the truck; his nose was everywhere until we got to the line of booths themselves and then his eyes were wide as he sniffed fruits and ginger and bacon and chicken salad and cookies and vegetables and flowers and freshly-made bread, and dozens and dozens of people and several dozen dogs, including two golden labradoodles that rather took him aback, and a tiny female Yorkshire terrier who gave him what for in no uncertain terms in high-pitched barks. We had vegetables and just got a pot pie, pumpkin bread, chicken salad, and some dog biscuits, and talked to the chicken salad guy (whose name I've forgotten again after I deliberately asked him about it a month ago) and the Big Daddy dog biscuit lady.

Then we came home and had breakfast, and James was soon off to his club meeting. Now, yesterday, when he went to the doctors (two appointments, only he didn't get much out of the neurologist because the dingbats who took his MRI never sent the results to the doctor), he came home with a home sleep test C-PAP unit. It has to be back by 3:30 Monday afternoon or we have to pay $$$ rent on it. but I don't want him to lose anymore work; he's already been out so much with the appointments and the falls on the stairs and on the ice. So I dragged out my work folder and did two purchase orders and set another one up and made a bunch of notes, so I don't get behind and won't feel so guilty when I ask to leave early on Monday to return the C-PAP unit. I'm not fifteen minutes from the sleep clinic—it'll take me almost as long to park in their stupid garage—and it's much more sensible for me to return it. I have the leave time, just not the time, if that makes any sense.

After that I had just enough time to eat a little, get changed again, and walk Tucker before Alice and Ken came to pick me up for Ron's birthday dinner (since James was already at Town Center for his meeting). I got to ride in Alice's new Prius, the red one she named "Scotty" since he's the only Red Shirt on Star Trek that ever survived. Her daughter Aubrey is now driving her old Prius, the black one, "Darth Prius."

James was already at Keegan's Irish Pub with the rest of the party (eighteen in all; pity Daniel and Clair couldn't make it) and we had a great two hours. Ron got lots of books or things to buy books with, and a charger for his new iPhone, and the food was delicious: I had an open-faced pot roast sandwich with wonderfully tender meat, and James had meatloaf, properly made with brown gravy. His portion was so large that he took half home with my mashed potatoes (I don't eat potatoes and bread in the same meal, and, given the choice, will take the bread over the potatoes any day) and has a lunch for next week. Ron and Lin said they eat there often and have never had anything poorly cooked or bad tasting. They also ordered some appetizers for the table: "Irish spring rolls" with corned beef and cabbage in them, "Black and Tan" onion rings, and battered mushrooms. For dessert cupcakes were brought out, but we took ours home for tomorrow's dessert because we wanted to split a slice of the chocolate indulgence cake. Oh, boy, was it indulgent, very dark and rich.

After parting, we went to Barnes & Noble with our coupons so James could pick up John Ringo's new book. I grabbed the time-travel steampunk book The Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy, which sounds bizarre; just the title is worth it. I picked up the new "Mad" magazine for a laugh: Leo Laporte is caricatured in their spoof of Shark Tank. But, damn, there are still no fall magazines out but "Country Sampler" and "Cottage Journal" and the Hallowe'en cross-stitch magazine I bought last week. They usually start coming out in August! I hope "Vermont Life" and the other travel magazines have some good leaf photos this year. They've been positively puny the last couple of years. And I'll have to wait a bit for "Landlove" and "Landscape" since they're imported from Great Britain.

And finally home. We watched Tucker literally bounce off walls, or rather bounce off us for a while, then James went down to his "man cave" for the first time in ages, perhaps since before Willow died. I've been trying to compose a story for "Reminisce." I still haven't sent them the story I wrote about my mother and my uncle Nicky trying to get out of moving from Ohio to Rhode Island in 1924; that was a funny family story for years.

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» Friday, August 15, 2014
Mischief Managed

or "What I did on my Friday off..." at Autumn Hollow

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» Sunday, August 10, 2014
From Supermarket to Surprise

After a nice late-night chat with Emma, we slept in, a delicious sleep-in. It was overcast and very, very humid. After Tucker had his walk, we went to Kroger. I got some chicken soup for lunch and James some tamales from the deli, and we bought milk and other necessities of life. Barilla pasta was on sale ten for ten, so we stocked up, including on tricolor pasta and whole wheat. Even got some "farfalle" which will be good for soup. Unpleasantly discovered that (1) there is no more basic spaghetti sauce without sugar that doesn't have pepper in it (I'd rather have the sugar) and (2) and DelMonte is now putting sorbitol in their mandarin orange cups. Just because it isn't "sugar" doesn't mean it hasn't been sweetened. Same thing with the Kroger brand. Dole is still using juice, thank God!

We came home, had lunch, and then left for Phyllis' surprise party. Now, someone had made a offhand reference to the party yesterday, which I tried to cover up, but thankfully Phyllis was so taken up with the different conversations going on at Hair Day that she missed the reference. So she was really surprised, especially when she discovered her son, his wife, and her two adorable granddaughters had driven in from Iowa. Unfortunately the cake had an accident in transport, so we couldn't see it in its full glory, but it was delicious. We sat around telling favorite stories (including my favorite, which involves Lin and Pat "the baby's lawyer") and telling Colin stories, since he brought his new girlfriend to the gathering. She wasn't scared off by any of this. :-)

Leigh (Phyllis' daughter) and Robbie had bought burgers for all, so we ended up having supper there and just noshing a bit when we got home.

And so back to the fray tomorrow...

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» Saturday, August 09, 2014
You Who!

Well, so much for the Farmer's Market.

We got up on time, and I took Tucker on a short walk so he'd do this thing. While I ran back in the house to get something, James heard on the radio that they were having a running event downtown. This meant no parking would be available. We went to Kroger instead to get supplies for Hair Day. We bought tomatoes and onions for the hamburgers Ron would be making on the grill, two kinds of cole slaw, some kettle chips, and two cucumbers to make a salad with. I also picked up bananas, since they were yellow instead of green the way they usually are in Smyrna, and a couple of peaches for work.

Hair Day itself passed in a blur. Oreta and Alex talked about what vegetables he could plant so late in the season. She had bought a bowlful of the best watermelon we've tasted all season. Juanita and Jessie had to get clipped and run, as they had a baby shower this afternoon. Charles told us about his upcoming vacation to the Upper Penisula of Michigan. He and a friend are going to walk over the Mackinac Bridge, on the one day of the year they allow you to do so. Terica and I were comparing stupidity-at-work notes.

And, dang, I forgot Colin's graduation gift again.

We were about to leave at noon when James realized he'd been so busy talking he'd forgotten to get his hair cut! So he had to have a quick clip so we could leave so he could get on the road to his club meeting. He dropped me off at the little Baptist church and I walked the rest of the way home, then spent the rest of the time there having a glass of milk and deciding whether I wanted to change clothes. I did.

Barnes & Noble has been having this "pop culture" promotion for the last couple of weeks, and today and tomorrow were the last two days, the theme of which was "page and screen." Alan Siler, who runs Timegate, works at the Perimeter store and he had a Doctor Who event this afternoon. They had trivia and the Earth Station One people did a podcast right from the store. I won one of the rounds of trivia and got a DVD set, the first half of the Doctor with Donna Noble (which of course includes the episode with Peter Capaldi, whose premiere as the Doctor is in two weeks!). Some guy came in a very nice War Doctor costume. Proving that my geekiness outweighs my common sense, I extracted my fourth Doctor scarf and slouch hat from their storage spots. Only Doctor Who would make me wear a heavy scarf in the throes of August! Thank God for air conditioning! Louis Robinson also showed up for the festivities.

So I came home with my DVD, the latest issue of Doctor Who magazine with the results of the "all time favorite" episode vote, last week's "Entertainment Weekly" with Peter Capaldi on the cover, and a book for a birthday gift. James was already home. As I was leaving for my trip eastbound, he'd called me to say he had gotten to Hobbytown and discovered the meeting had been rescheduled. (It turns out the Nationals are this weekend, which would explain the change.) So he'd come home and taken a nap.

We didn't do much after that. While he had Tucker outside I watched the Lassie episode "Scarecrow" which showed on FETV yesterday. We also watched yesterday's two episodes of Make Room for Daddy (it's horrible how they are chopping these to bits to add doc-in-the-box commercials). And I discovered with delight that today was the season premiere of a new sequence of Flipping Boston episodes! Yayyyyyy!

Finished both the magazines tonight, too.

* Photo taken by Kirby Bartlett-Sloan.

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» Sunday, August 03, 2014
The Bad, the Ugly, and the Good

Well, this was a weekend that turned out so much better than the week that proceeded it!

Tuesday started out fine, except that my sinuses were hurting. That's usual when it rains as often as it has this summer. However, when I took my lunch break the physical pain turned into an annoying post-nasal drip/runny nose situation. By bedtime I couldn't breathe through my nose at all, despite the hot steamy shower, and had to retreat to bed with a fresh box of Kleenex. My mouth was so dry that I was up every twenty minutes for a sip of water. I was so desperate for relief about three a.m. that I went into the bathroom and pulled out the jar of Vicks Vap-o-rub and stuck my nose over it, hoping that breathing in the fumes would clear my nose. Fat chance. I couldn't even smell it! When your nose is so clogged you can't smell Vicks, that is pathetic! By the time the alarm rang I calculated I had about two hours sleep. So I slept on, sort of, for another three hours, and then went into work. I swore after I worked during most of the flu that the next time I was sick I would stay home and get well, but there's too much damn work to do. I hate working when I'm like this because I have to move so deliberately; things that take me five minutes when I'm well took forever because it was so difficult to think and I had to juggle keyboard and tissues. And it was so hot: 80 degrees in the office that afternoon. It was very hard to breathe.

I had a low-grade fever on Tuesday night, but it was gone by Wednesday morning, or I wouldn't have gone in. It was back by the time I got home, and it must have spiked during the night. I was shivering and so cold after my hot shower and used the comforter Wednesday night, and every time I woke up I felt like I was on fire. By the time morning came, it seemed to have burned itself out, but it was still a struggle getting through the day teleworking; I really needed an extra hand for the tissues! It helped that it was cooler outside and the ceiling fan was going.

Thankfully Friday was my compressed day off. I slept in a little and did a little housework. I had planned to assemble the Gnedby units we bought on Sunday, but there simply wasn't enough air to breathe, and most of the time my right hand had a Kleenex in it. We had supper at Panera and the hot soup tasted like that legendary ambrosia. One walk around Barnes & Noble exhausted me. But I did pick up the autumn "Cottage Journal" to cheer myself up, and the new Lady Emily Hargreaves mystery.

We had a nice surprise on Friday: I got a Facebook message saying our friends Clay and Maggi were going to be in town this weekend on a Home Goods/Ikea expedition. So we made plans to go out with them to dinner, but in the meantime we slept late (and I was finally sleeping now), and then went to Costco looking for spaghetti sauce because I wanted to make more pork and gravy. We came out with a lot more because I decided to use the rest of my performance bonus to buy a new camera. I wanted a longer telephoto lens, so bought a Panasonic Lumix with a 60X optical zoom. The instant rebate on the camera ended on Saturday, so it was fish or cut bait. I've been debating on this for months and finally decided to take the plunge. I also bought a book about World War I.

My favorite part of the trip was going into the cold room where they keep the milk. It was the first place I could breathe properly in the past five days! I could have stayed in there all morning.

Anyway, we got the milk home, and then tried to find a scooter store James thought he saw around downtown Marietta. We couldn't find it and finally consulted Google Maps. Good luck with that! According to Google Maps the place was in the middle of Glover Park. Say what?

So we got home and James did a long delayed cleaning of the stove while I tidied up and vacuumed yet again. I had just finished when Clay and Maggi showed up. Now, we were very interested to see what Tucker's reaction to visitors would be. Willow was the world's best Omega personality, but she always barked at visitors; we called this "the Ritual Barking of the Dog." But Mr. I'll-Tackle-That-German-Shepherd accepted visitors as fine because Daddy let them into the house. Snowy was fine with it and sang for the entire evening and most of the morning, too. I believe he enjoyed having his own flock.

Of course he ran them ragged for the rest of the night, as neither of them suffer from allergies, so he could jump into their laps to his heart's content.

They had been to Home Goods and were planning on going to Ikea tomorrow, so we asked if they wanted crash space. This they accepted, and they treated us to dinner. We went to Giovanni's, where we feasted on various Italian delicacies (I had lobster ravioli; it was still delicious, but they didn't used to glop so much cheese on it). James' pork marsala was made from a big cut of pork; he brought more than half of it home. We went by Bruster's for dessert and treated them to ice cream.

Again slept in this morning, and am waking up finally feeling mostly normal. I hope this is a good omen for the week; I really want to crank out some work! I was up first so I took Tucker on his perambulations. At ten o'clock it was warm, but there was a nice breeze and the dew was still glittering on the grass. All his "good dogs" done, we returned to find people straggling awake one by one.

Clay and Maggi headed off for Ikea about eleven and we headed for our usual Sunday sojourn at Kroger. We were so hungry we just bought our food and skedaddled after James got gasoline, in the process forgetting to get a newspaper. Once the groceries were put up, we decided to go to the Petco at Town Center to see if they had Tucker's favorite dog food, the Pro Plan "shredded chicken." We went via IHOP and ate off the senior menu, and then picked up the dog food and some dog cookies and headed home, stopping only to get a newspaper at the QT. Once we got home, we ditched the truck and took the car to Kroger for gasoline. Finally we were done.

Had the chicken legs we got at Kroger this morning for supper; cooked them all and still have another meal and a couple of legs for lunches as well! Watched Friday's episodes of Make Room for Daddy, and then this week's Tiny House Nation. This couple seemed a lot more sensible and they got the cutest little 220 square foot house; it was on wheels because the young woman was a mobile nurse and worked in different parts of the country. Nobody abandoned their cats. They showed another tiny house in the process where the people actually owned books!

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