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, September 28, 2014
Sunday Always Comes Too Soon

It was a sleepy morning. Our natural sleep cycles run late, so we are always chronically short of sleep during the week, and Sunday is a blessing. As I peer nearsightedly out the bathroom window, I smile; even with all the edges smoothed off, I can still see more and more yellow leaves every day. The arrival of autumn fills me with anticipation, both for the coolness and for the autumn activities. We have a lull until October, and then it will be the Georgia Apple Festival and the Fall Jonquil Festival—not to mention the Friends of the Library Book Sale and the Mistletoe Market (if I go this year) and next week's Hallmark October ornament premiere.

We ate a sketchy breakfast, then went to Kroger for the weekly shopping. James got stuck with a recalcitrant scooter which would just stop in the middle of aisles. And they had yellow bananas this morning, instead of green, which is a rarity.

After we put the groceries up, we decided to check out Ollie's Outlet, a new store off Mableton Parkway and Veterans Memorial Highway, in the same shopping center with the only Kmart left in the area. We hadn't had lunch, so first we went through the drive-through at Krystal.

Ollie's is like a Big Lots/Odd Lots/Job Lots store, a bunch of remainder items, a lot of it from Canada. They had a small book section, but most of them were large print or inspirational. James found some "Combos" snacks, and we got bungee cords, tie-downs, and a small tarp for the Rollator. I also picked up two storage ottomans for the library. Their Christmas decorations were cheap, and there were odd, interesting things like a camouflage metal dog crate. I did like some of their inexpensive shelves, including one with a drawer in it. There were a lot of people there, as the store just opened on Wednesday, and, as James puts it, "the new hasn't worn off yet." A lot of the stuff wasn't tagged, either, like the storage ottomans, so it took us forever to check out.

James waited in the car while I went into Kmart. I'd noticed when we went by that they had their Christmas trees out. Last year they had the nicest looking trees and I wanted to check them out. Well, they had them out of the boxes, but not fluffed up or plugged in (all appear to be pre-lighted), so it was hard to judge. I was fond of a six-foot tree. It doesn't look as "plush" as the old one, but then I thought the old one was a but too plush—I like to put ornaments on the inside so you can see them sparkle. I'm not sure about a pre-lighted tree; I hear arguments for and against: that they are so easy, but also that the lights do not last. I supposed if the lights die you can just cut them off! I'm looking at the tree.

It was heavily overcast all day and a bit humid, but cut by a breeze, and had only sprinkled earlier. Thankfully it didn't precipitate while we were bringing the ottomans home.

I really want to make some changes here. I want to get rid of the VCR case in the hallway. These are James' videotapes, none of which he's watched since we moved, since he usually watches his old stuff downstairs. If I can put the videotapes in the ottomans downstairs where he can access them, I can replace the VCR case with a bookcase. The cookbooks and the games are overcrowded. I'd like to shift the history cookbooks to the hallway, and some of the smaller games. I also want to get rid of the server downstairs, which James got free when they discarded it at work. James used to use it when he got on chat, but since chat has whittled down to just three people, he doesn't participate often. It's only running Windows 2000 and has a miniscule hard drive. I also want to get rid of the old computer desk, since the fix we tried on it didn't work. We can keep the 10-year-old monitor for an emergency. Perhaps we can fit in another bookcase downstairs.

Have spent the late afternoon watching the birds at the feeder. Tucker loves to go out on the deck and just sniff and look around. Today there was a gang of goldfinches at the feeder, and I did not see one male. I am wondering if they have already moulted into their winter coat and I just can't tell them from the females. There is one young goldfinch who is still pestering his parents to feed him, although he's perfectly capable of perching on the feeder—I've seen him!—and eating on his own. You could hear his little "feeeeeeed meeeeee" cries all afternoon.

Had some delicious stew beef we found at Sprouts for supper, cooked with onions and mushrooms, with a pasta side. We have the cake from Sprouts for dessert.

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» Saturday, September 27, 2014
Pattering Down the Pumpkin Path

We had a nice sleep-in this morning. When I emerged to take Tucker for his walk, it was cool and overcast again, with a nice breeze. Lovely! We had a nice turn around the neighborhood, and then the three of us had breakfast.

Today we mounted an expedition to Sprouts. Instead of going to the Dunwoody store, like last time, we went to the store in Norcross, which is cattycorner from The Forum, a shopping center which just happens to have a Trader Joe's. Two birds, so to speak. We were able to drive cross town with the windows open; it's so nice not to have to be hermetically sealed in a vehicle or in a building just to be able to breathe.

At Sprouts we picked up a lunch for each of us, and then bought a few more things: some turkey "pot roast" for supper (it was a huge thigh, fixed as if it were a rotisserie chicken), Asian soups, Yukon Gold potatoes, and also pumpkin seeds and something called Iska (?) corn from their bulk stores. They are huge corn kernels which have been roasted and salted. I love their bulk section—they have nuts, granolas, grains, rices, and even some chocolate-covered things—and can't wait until the Sprouts near us opens next spring. We also got some chocolate cake to share for a dessert.

We took our sandwiches off to the tree-dotted parking area behind the Barnes & Noble at The Forum to eat our lunch, parking under a maple tree that was just, just showing signs of starting to turn, a little fading of the green at leaf tips, even bits of color higher up. It was still cloudy and we had a nice breeze as we ate our tuna salad (me) and roast beef with lettuce and tomato (James). Then we stopped at the bookstore for a little while. I found one of those nice "Reader's Digest" books, this one America's Forgotten History, about people, places, and things that were once very popular and now most people don't remember. Plus "Holiday Home" was out. I have not seen the fall "Victorian Homes" issue and hope B&N still carries it, because I love their Christmas issue.

Then it was off to Trader Joe's, where we were drowned in pumpkin everything. I mean it, starting with real pumpkins plus: pumpkin desserts, pumpkin cereal bars, pumpkin scone mix, pumpkin bread, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin tea, pumpkin chai, pumpkin pancake mix, pumpkin butter, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin and pecan oatmeal, pumpkin ice cream sandwiches, canned pumpkin, pumpkin bread mix, pumpkin soup, pumpkin cornbread mix, and even pumpkin brittle, which I bought—it's delicious!

We had the turkey "pot roast" (not sure I like my turkey cooked like rotisserie chicken; too salty) and a seven grain "rice" side for supper and watched North by Northwest. A great Hitchcock flick which includes the iconic Hitchcock cameo: he misses the bus during the opening New York City montage. How I would have loved to have visited New York City back then! Then James watched a new episode of Airplane Repo and finally it was time for Doctor Who. I just finished watching a special from Albany Public Television about the nine days after William McKinley was shot, and am watching one about the Hudson River Valley. I love the Internet!

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» Friday, September 26, 2014
I Am a Bookaholic...If You Like Me You Will Sell Me Books at 20 Percent Off...

Honest, I intended to get up at 8:30, but the bladder alarm went off at 8:23. Since I was still feeling a bit achy in the back, I took three ibuprofin and reset the alarm for 8:45—and then managed to doze through an hour of Miss Gladys Stevens of Omaha, Nebraska intone "Time to wake up, sir." (It's my Andromeda Strain alarm. Heh.)

After breakfast and dog walking (a beautiful day out, cloudy but not rainy cloudy, with a lovely breeze) and some minor tidying-up, it was approaching lunch time. I gathered up my Michael's coupons and went out to the garage and looked underneath the car. I have these plastic splash guards on either side of the front of the car, way under the front bumper. Since I'm so darn short, I can't see the front end of the car, and too often have run the very low front end over a curb and then have to back up slowly to get it off, hearing ominous scraping that is the plastic of the splash guard on concrete curbing. This forth-and-back motion yanked one end of the right splash guard off so it was dangling back early in the summer. What with end of fiscal year, I never got the time to take the car to the mechanic, so I taped it up with duct tape. I asked them to fix it yesterday along with the innumerable other things I had done to the car...

...flashback...Wednesday when I got in the car to drive home from work, my check engine light came on. I've owned Twilight for ten years and two months, and never in that time has the check engine light ever come on. So Thursday morning I drove it directly to the mechanic. It turned out it was the oxygen sensors that go with the catalytic converters. Yes, indeedy, I won't pass emissions inspection without those puppies working. So they fixed that, plus did the emission inspection, but there were other checks coming up that needed doing. I had it all done: brake fluid flush, cooling fluid flush, etc. They also said they'd fasten up the splash guard...

...but the duct tape was still on it. Did they forget? So the first thing I did was drive there to ask about it; he put it on the rack and said yes, they did fasten it back up; the problem is the piece of plastic that it's fastened to is broken. So even though there's some extra bolts in it, the thing would wobble back and forth when I drove at high speed. So they left the duct tape on. I could go by a Chrysler dealership and pick up the part, and they would put it on for me, but he couldn't find the part in a catalog. In the meantime, the duct tape was doing a good job.

Oh, great. Just what I want, a visit to Ed Voyles. I'm still pissed at them for the way they treated us when I was out looking for a car in 2004 (they basically ignored us).

Anyway, I went on to Barnes & Noble. It's Member Appreciation Week, so I get 20 percent off instead of ten! So I bought the new "Southern Living" and "Landlove" (the latter with a deliciously autumn cover), two cross-stitch magazines, and...okay...The Secret Journal of Ichabod Crane. I admit it; I'm hooked on Sleepy Hollow.

From there to Costco for gasoline and then to Michael's. I got some beads on sale for a special project that I can't start until my package comes from e-Bay, and two small sets of fall note cards. Oh, yes, and some purple duct tape. If I'm going to have duct tape on my car, the least I can do is match the paint.

By the time I got home it was around three o'clock. I had a little lunch and then popped Snowy (this sounds so easy—I have to catch him first, and his wings work really well!) into the little carry box. We went out on the deck, and I whistled and very soon the birds began to show up: the brave little brown-headed nuthatches, the chickadees, and the chipping sparrows, although only the former stayed around very long. Mrs. Cardinal chipped disconsolately from a tree but she wouldn't approach while Snowy, Tucker and I were out there. The big wide world, even with overcast skies, overwhelmed Snowy; his eyes looked like two huge black buttons in a little white face. Then we went inside and watched an episode of Lassie together (at one point Tucker got jealous of all the attention "Brother" was getting, and leaped into my lap), and he was just starting to get restless when James arrived home.

We had supper at the Panera/Chipotle combination on Barrett Parkway. James had the latter, myself the former, and we ate on the terrace out back. It was still mostly cloudy and delightfully cool, with just a hint of a breeze. Afterwards I made quick stops at Michael's for more project parts and JoAnn, which had nothing I liked, and the one thing I bought the coupon was useless for because it was already on sale. The sun was just setting as we turned south to use the Big Shanty Connector—the most useful road at Town Center!—to get to Barnes & Noble without having to hit the mess that is Barrett Parkway. By the time we got there I was tired myself, and disappointed that they still don't have "Best of British" anymore, but I made the mistake of wandering by the science fiction and mystery books. I picked up the Doctor Who novel Silhouette (featuring the Paternoster trio), a book of Rocketeer short stories, and the sequel to Murder at the Breakers, Murder at Marble House. I wasn't impressed by the first book, but it takes place in Newport—how could I resist? Home in time to see the very end of "The Krotons" on Doctor Who and then the season premiere of Hawaii Five-0 with a murderous drone.

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» Monday, September 22, 2014

Happy, happy, joy, joy. Have thrown my back out for the first time in years. The first time this happened it served me right; I was moving furniture much too heavy for me. Ever since then my back feels the need to throw a fit at the stupidest thing. Once I threw it out by turning to get out of the truck carrying a full gallon of sweet tea (we were having a fundraiser lunch for an employee who had used up all their leave due to cancer treatments). Once at the office I sat on the edge of my chair to get someone info off my computer in a hurry, and when I straightened back out—I couldn't. I stayed for the rest of the day because sitting in a chair at work was the same as sitting in a chair at home, but I remember needing help just to walk to the bathroom and then out to the car. Last night I did it by drying my toes after a shower. [eyes roll]

Monday's a bad day to call Kaiser (anyone who gets sick over the weekend calls first thing Monday morning) and today was no exception. I swilled ibuprofin and sat with a heating pad until the busy signals went away after noon. The advice nurse told me to do what I was doing, but it was better if I would lay down and put my feet up, and call back tomorrow to make an appointment if the pain was (1) the same or (2) worse. So I spent the rest of the afternoon in bed with my feet up, and was able to go to Aubrey's 21st birthday party by sitting up straight in a chair and staying that way.

I don't want to go to Kaiser if I don't have to. They will just give me muscle relaxants and then I can't do anything at all because I'll be drugged and my ears will ring like Big Ben.

[Tuesday: Better. Sort of. As long as I sit still and don't sneeze, which is hard due to all the ragweed out there. So, working, but not very comfortably.]



» Sunday, September 21, 2014
Let Us Eat Cake

We had a lovely sleep-in this morning and then I took Tucker for his walk. It was sunny outside with an autumn sky that, sadly, vanished as the day went on, and about 71°F with a nice breeze. Tucker decided not to growl at the big dogs at the end of the street (they look like mastiffs, but are black), which I appreciated.

We went off to Kroger with the rollator still in the back of the truck from last night; a good thing because it was after eleven and all the handicapped parking spaces were SRO. Once James was inside, he got the cart and I walked the rollator around. We got groceries for the week and soup for supper. It was even handy for getting the groceries out to the truck.

Once the groceries were put up, we took a little ride out to Acworth with a Books-a-Million coupon. We had found the missing free dessert coupon from Longhorn that James got for his birthday, so we were going to split a dinner and then have the dessert. We decided to have ribs...and they were all out! So we shared a big ribeye instead, and then got the Chocolate Stampede. As always, we ate the ice cream and took the huge slices of cake home, as that will be dessert for two nights for both of us.

The Books-a-Million trip was underwhelming. I did get a new "Chicken Soup" book with dog stories, and a gift for someone, a magazine about Theodore Roosevelt, and a cross-stitch magazine. By te time we'd eaten and perused, and then drove home, it was after four. For dinner watched last night's Doctor Who, "Time Heist," which was a good episode but not particularly memorable, Too Cute, and then, because nothing else was good on, put the McBride movie marathon on Hallmark on. Good grief! Hallmark is starting their Christmas movies on Hallowe'en this year!

I'm sad this weekend is over. We had such a nice time together, and with friends.

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» Saturday, September 20, 2014
Words With Friends

We have had a pleasantly busy day, although it started much too early. :-) We were presenting the lunch centerpiece, pork cacciatore (and some chicken cacciatore for Mel and Phyllis, who do not eat pork) and Hair Day, but everything is cooked and we just packed it in an insulated bag and went on. We feasted on two cheese balls and some veggie dip and fruit dip and deviled eggs until it was time for dinner, which included our cacciatore, pasta, a big salad, and garlic bread. It came out very well, but I needed to cook the pork more, or definitely use boneless pork ribs.

We came home for the afternoon, and tried to set up a multi-use printer I got in return for doing a review on it. Well, it connected to the network okay and prints, but the scanner works not at all, and that was primarily what I wanted it for. I tried calling Epson, but the tech didn't seem to know what to tell me, and we had to leave for supper before we had time to troubleshoot.

And then we ended up waiting an entire hour to be seated. I didn't get the whole story, but apparently even though Juanita had called ahead, they let another party have our table, or part of our table. To make up, they gave the table free appetizers, and they didn't charge Juanita and David. By then it was after seven and we were ravenous. Had a bit of this and that, and then salad, and then supper, chatting all the while. David passed around his birthday cards, and they brought him a free dessert, plus a plate with "Happy Birthday" drawn on it.

It was a nice day, but a bit exhausting. Have put tonight's Doctor Who on hold to watch the final part of The Roosevelts.

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» Friday, September 19, 2014
The Friday Flit

When last we met, James worked Saturday, but had today off, so I dipped into my leave and also took the day off, as we had some business at the bank we needed to take care of. But the first order of business was getting at least eight hours sleep. In my case, nature called at seven-and-a-half hours. Dammit.

I walked the dog and we had breakfast, and then James gave Kaiser a call, hopping from one department to another like an agile but frustrated squirrel. It sounds as if they are going to give him the mobility scooter, so we got the paperwork ready to mail.

Our first stop was at the bank, where we spoke to someone and got the information we needed, then we went on to mail the letter. Next, we drove out to the old site of the hobby shop to drop off James' kilt and some dress shirts at the cleaner; James likes the place, it's been at this same shopping center since the 1950s, so we go back there with our dry cleaning. We were planning to finish up our errand route at Barnes & Noble, so we came back via Lower Roswell Road and stopped at MicroCenter. I was looking for a USB electrical plug. Also found a USB car charger, two eyeglass repair kits, some photo print paper, and a telescoping wand with a magnet at the end, for those tiny metal things you drop in corners.

When we reached Cumberland Mall it was lunchtime, so we parked at Fresh2Order and had lunch. When we go there on Friday nights it's always so deserted I worry about the place staying open, but it was massively crowded for lunch. I had the bowl of creamy chicken vegetable soup, which is thick and closer to a stew than a soup, with big chunks of chicken, lots of carrot slices, and bits of onion, with some sort of herb flavoring that I can't identify. It's definitely a full meal. James had a smaller bowl with half a panini. After eating we crossed the mall for a necessary repair: one of the nose pads had fallen off my glasses. Since one of the nose pads had already fallen off my spare pair of glasses, I brought both and got them upgraded.

Our final stop was at Barnes & Noble, where James was looking for a new David Weber/Timothy Zahn book he heard was due out after DragonCon. Turns out it was due out way after DragonCon, like October. But they let him use the coupon he had today to order it now and it will be mailed to him for free when it's released. I picked up the new "TV Guide," mainly for the full-page photo of Ichabod and Abbie. :-) Also a winter crafts magazine that did have some cross-stitch in it. With my coupon I got Engines of War, a novel featuring the War Doctor.

James' knees had about given out, so we headed home. It was already three o'clock and we weren't home long before I took Tucker out in the back yard for a while. As we walked in the gate he spotted the black and white feral cat at the edge of the trees and took off after it. His leash got caught in a fallen tree branch—I really need to ask Paolo to clean out back there!—and it started "following," scaring the yelps out of him. After we came in, I changed clothes and then tried Snowy out in the carry box. Tucker did not want to leave him alone; I didn't mind when he had his paws on my knee staring at him, but when he started to jump in my lap it was a bit much. Snowy still doesn't like the carry box much, but this time he sat right on the perches and eventually moved over to the mirror to peck at it. I think it at least needs a shiny new toy and a spring of millet to engage him. I sang a little to him and we watched Kaley Cuoco on Ellen with her new pixie cut.

James also fixed the pole lamp in the living room, which died last weekend when the switch finally clicked its last. The switch has been "soft" for months and you had to turn it "juuuuuust right" for the light to go on. The bottom part of the switch was apparently one whole piece and would not come apart, so we just matched the gold top part of the replacement switch with the silver bottom part and said the hell with it. The light now lights and it doesn't look like we have a single gas lamp like Sherlock Holmes anymore, with the rest of the room swimming in darkness. I had to put the shades up while I was working this week and it only made it hotter in the living room.

Later it was Jeopardy, parts three and four of "The Dominators" on Doctor Who, and the penultimate part of The Roosevelts.

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» Saturday, September 13, 2014
Me and the Dog and Snowy Makes Three

Tiresomely, James had to work today, which put a hobble on our plans to go to Taste of Smyrna. It's on through eight o'clock, so perhaps we'll get to have something, at least. As for me, I tried to get eight hours sleep, but not sure I succeeded. It was still overcast at nine o'clock, so Tucker and I had a nice walk and breakfast. Next I had an annoying task: I had to hand-wash seven pieces of silverware and four different frying pans—one pan is too big to go into the dishwasher, but the rest of the things had been run through the dishwasher twice and the wretched thing still had not cleaned them. That $500 Bosch is looking really good!

Oh, and I saw one of the male goldfinches at the feeder, and it looks as if it has started to go through its fall moult! One of our trees has leaves turning yellow as well. I'm so chuffed!

Finally I dressed and went to Costco to nab some SkinnyPop; while I was there I could get milk as well, and the BreatheRight strips that were on sale, and I wanted to hunt up another three-pack of Classico tomato-and-basil, as we have volunteered lunch for Hair Day this month and I had an idea for lunch. Got the first three, but they are now carrying other tomato-and-basil sauces that have wretched black pepper in them. Grrrr. They also had long sleeved plaid flannel shirts; I got three for James. Plus two pair of the softest sweatpants ever. I'm longing for cold weather even more, just to wear them.

Plus I was bad: they had the DVD set of Edward the King (Edward the Seventh in the U.K.), and it's one of my favorite miniseries, with a stellar cast: Annette Crosbie, Robert Hardy, and Timothy West as the adult "Bertie," otherwise Edward VII. (Charles Sturridge, now a director who did the 2005 remake of Lassie Come Home, plays the teenaged Bertie.) They already had the companion book to Ken Burns' The Roosevelts out, and, as James is always saying he doesn't know what to get me for our anniversary/my birthday/Christmas, I sent him a text about it.

I had the milk in an insulated bag, so I felt comfortable enough to run into Barnes & Noble to see if the fall issues of Landscape and Landlove were in; the former was, the latter wasn't, but I did find the Fall Preview TV Guide. Ah, well, all the breathless anticipation of this I had as a kid has gone away. I noticed there are at least three new Twelfth Doctor novels out! Also bought the newest Calvin Coolidge biography, which was on the remainder table.

Back home, I had many things I might do, but first I ate lunch, and then I did something I've been putting off since the idea has scared me so much. I put the television on in the spare room, took a book in there, and Snowy's cage, shut the door, and opened his cage door. He didn't come out on his own, so I gently brought him out, and let him fly around the room. Snowy's escaped a couple of times before, and it's really hard on him because he can't perch properly, but I feel guilty keeping him cooped up. So this time it was Tucker who had to curl up and wait. He found a first perch up on the curtains, but I finally got him down, and he flew a bit lower. You can tell he isn't used to flying; oh, how he was panting! After a little of that, I put him back in the cage, and then brought back the carry box.

Schuyler traveled everywhere in her cage, for seven years. She even managed going up that mindbendingly steep road up to the cabin in Gatlinburg in 2007. But he can't do that; he won't be able to balance. Plus there will be no coping with Tucker if he has to sit next to a birdcage with a bird in it; it triggers all his crazy hunting instincts. So Snowy needs to learn to ride in the carry box.

I put a big sprig of millet into it before I tucked him in there, and for many minutes he sat on the bottom of the box and bit at the small perches that were meant to help a bird get between the two larger perches. He eventually got on one of the big perches, and then the other, pecked at the mirror, and ate a couple of kernels of millet. It didn't make him very happy, but he managed it. After about a half hour I put him back in the cage and we watched the first part of Edward the King. (He doesn't seem much the worse for wear; he's behind me now, singing his head off while we watch How the States Got Their Shapes.)

About four I took Tucker outside, tried to play with him a little bit, but he eventually retreated to his "cave" under the table.

[Later: I was dressed and ready when James arrived home, with hat on my head and our chill cloths soaked in cold water and in a ziplock bag. We got "Topper" in the truck and grabbed my seat cane and were off to Taste of Smyrna in a trice. It was pretty crowded when we arrived, so I left James getting some Jamaican jerk while I ran down to the Atkins Park booth and got what looked like two of the last four servings of "drunken pork" and sweet cheese grits. By the time I strolled back to him he was making his way toward me, and we got something from the Thai booth (pad thai for me and a spicy chicken dish for him with a stick of chicken satay). We found a seat at a table, and then I ran down to Williamson Brothers Barbecue for a pulled pork sandwich for each of us. (Turned out the food we had was so filling we are saving the barbecue for tomorrow.) I was sitting at one of the two chairs still at the table when a lady came along with two preschool age grandchildren; she sat them down on the other chair, so I gave her the one I had and sat on my cane seat instead. Those two kids were cute as little bugs; one reminded me of Keshia Knight Pulliam when she was on The Cosby Show.

It wasn't really bad warm when we got there, but the minute the sun got below the tree line it became heavenly, especially when the breeze picked up. We finished our food feeling cool and happy instead of fried like last week at Yellow Daisy, and then tossed our trash, put our sandwiches in the Rollator's underseat carrier, and walked down the line of booths until we reached Bruster's and I bought us two cones of ice cream. We sat under a red maple tree with our dessert and watched the kids on the bungee ropes and in the bounce house and enjoyed the breeze.

Drove home with the windows open and then I took Tucker for a walk; while we were out there I heard fireworks. The announcement said nothing about fireworks at Taste of Smyrna...if we'd known we would have stayed!

Totally creepy Doctor Who tonight called "Listen" about things that go bump in the night that hang out under your bed, including a jaw-dropping episode in a barn that linked to the 50th anniversary special. Hmn. We haven't seen the mysterious Missy in two weeks; wonder where she's lurking. And what's up with Danny Pink (besides the fact that he can't talk to Clara without inserting his foot into his mouth)?]

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» Friday, September 12, 2014
Real Deals...Even Sleeping Late

The six most beautiful words in the English language: "The alarm clock is shut off." I slept until nine! And I was still tired and sore.

I'd had a call yesterday from TruGreen saying they were coming today, but I resolved to only wait until noon; I had a list and errands to run. It was at least cloudy, but hideously sticky, when I took Tucker for his walk, and then we both had breakfast, and I checked out what FETV had rerun of Lassie this morning, which reminded me to post the 60th anniversary notice on Facebook and the Lassie group. Unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, and wiped down some of the counters. Tossed all the dog's toys back into his toy box. The clock ticked. Read the comics. Read Emma's blog. Put up the autumn banner, wreath, and basket on the front porch.

Left at almost noon. And he never did show up.

I wasn't going far, and saw a treat on the way there: a 1930s Chevrolet in a beautiful bottle green, like a mallard's head. I arrived at a traffic light just behind it and was able to snap a pic, sadly through a grimy, rain-spattered windshield. Finally I arrived at Petsmart, for a bag of dog food, two clickers, and a bone to hold plastic bags (I want one for each leash), and then I stopped at Lowe's. My mass picture-hanging had cleaned me out of 1 1/4 nails and it looked like I needed 1 inch brads as well. I got some longer brads, too, and checked out the garden section; cheered when I saw an employee clearing all the shelves out, which means they're prepping for Christmas. Wandered among the Hallowe'en decorations and the light bulbs as well, and noticed they had a very nice Bosch dishwasher for only $500.

For a treat I stopped at Hobby Lobby and immersed myself in fall, Christmas, and just plain crafts. I bought a couple of fall crafts things (on sale), some metallic embroidery floss (on clearance), and a set of Command hooks (with a coupon). I checked out their Christmas trees, but I didn't see a one I liked; all the good ones are too tall. I want nothing over six feet. Need to check out Kmart once they have their trees out; they had some good ones last year.

Came home to look over my treasures, eat some rice in broth for lunch, and decide whether I wanted to go out again. Finally decided it was too hot, but I did take Tucker for another walk. The sun was out in full force now and I was glad for my hat. He yanked the leash out of my hand chasing a squirrel and brought up big blue bruises on my left fingertips. Serves me right for collecting the mail first and having my hands occupied. I wish these extendable leashes had a loop as well!

Put all the purchases up, made the bed, put most of the dishes away, waited for James. Of course he got a late call. It was almost six before we headed out to dinner. Went to Folks in Hiram, where they served up a yummy salad, a small portion of french fries that were potato tasting rather than greasy, and two nicely-grilled pork chops, one of which came home with me. James enjoyed some gizzards with Brunswick stew.

Then it was off to Michael's, where I was overjoyed to see that the poster frames were still on sale for $8 each! I bought two more, because the poster frame in the living room with the fall scene in it has already come apart once and nearly broke Mother's clock on the mantel, and the one holding "the Wizard of Speed and Time" poster in the foyer is twisted and the bottom part of the frame has been falling off for over a year. These poster frames have a frame that is all of one piece rather than four individual sides that snap on. I used the 50 percent off coupon I'd intended to use on a frame to complete a Christmas gift.

James hadn't brought "Topper" with him, and his knees seized up halfway through the store, so I went into Five Below alone. Brought some caribiners to fasten the clickers to the leashes and a USB wall charger. But the best thing was the brilliant orange sunset painted across the western sky.

And then home in the dark to walk the dog one more time—this time he was racing off after a stray chihuaha that appeared from nowhere—and try to relax before bed.

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» Sunday, September 07, 2014
We Just Keep Rolling Along

So, when we left our story, we were hoping for a new mechanical addition to the family. But this didn't solve the problem of the Yellow Daisy Festival, or Taste of Smyrna. (Well, if I knew then what I know now about Yellow Daisy...but...) I spent time on Amazon, but by the time James said he might not mind one of those rolling walkers with the seat (they're called "rollators," and that may be capitalized), it was too late to get one from Amazon Prime before Sunday. So on Thursday during lunch I drove to the local medical supply store and ordered one for him. It cost more than on Amazon, but that included overnight shipping and assembly, and the people at the store would properly adjust it for James. When I got home I also ordered a cane seat for me; it's a cane and it opens into a stool, so when he stopped to rest at Yellow Daisy, I could sit, too.

Friday started out fine until I got a peculiar pain in my stomach. I've had this before when I ate things that bothered my digestion, like sausage, but never on just a plain old workday. All I'd eaten was oatmeal, yogurt, some milk, and a granola bar, so the worsening of the symptoms was puzzling. I thought it might have been because I was hungry, so I had my chicken sandwich. That definitely didn't make it any better; I should have had some plain broth. Finally I just asked to go home and ended up asleep for the rest of the afternoon. James called in for Chinese; I just ate a big bowl of wonton soup and a couple of chicken wings, still feeling a bit sore. We went to bed early.

Wasn't feeling 100 percent this morning, but we did go to the Farmer's Market with Tucker in tow. It was a lot busier than last time, and he didn't know which way to look, or sniff for that matter. His nose was moving like a rabbit's and filled with the scents of vegetables and fruit, breads, pot pies, bacon and sausage, desserts, chocolate, grains, dried pasta, honey, shea butter, lemonade, almond butter, pastries, and people, people, people, many with canine companions. It seemed like every ten steps we ran into someone with a dog; several we encountered twice. The tiny, almost humorously aggressive Yorkie wasn't here this week, though. We bought a cucumber, some tomatoes, sweet corn, chicken salad, dog biscuits, and two chocolate chip brownie muffins. James used "Topper" (I figured if he was being "Hopalong," his trusty "steed" could be "Topper") the rollator, and said it did help him stand up straighter and it was good to be able to sit down when the pain was too overwhelming.

We actually didn't do anything after that but come home and have breakfast. I was still a bit nauseated and felt a bit feverish; when I took my temperature I did have a low-grade fever, so I stoked up on some ibuprofen and stretched out under the fan in the living room until it was time to leave for supper.

We usually go to Longhorn on the last day of DragonCon, but we were so wiped this year we passed on it. Instead, James decided he would like to go to Outback, and we sent out an e-mail asking folks to join us if they were so inclined. Juanita and David, sadly, got stuck in traffic on the way back from Athens, but we still had a nice crowd: the Boulers, the Spiveys including Aubrey with her newly-dyed purple hair, and the Boroses. We tried the bloomin' onion; frankly, it's overrated—we had some super, golden-brown sweet onion rings somewhere and no one's been able to top them. However, the steak was delicious, and James had a side of shrimp with his. I enjoyed the potato soup, though, although the potatoes seemed a bit scanty! Salad was okay, too. The best part was talking with everyone, and we had a great waiter, too, and tipped accordingly.

We had stopped at Bed, Bath & Beyond on the way there to pick up a new Misto; after the dinner broke up we went to Michael's to spend a coupon. I was going to buy a poster frame for the Doctor Who poster James brought me back in February, and I found them on a super sale. (I'm now kicking myself for not buying two more, because the poster frame around the autumn poster in our living room is falling apart, as is the one surrounding "the Wizard of Speed and Time" in the foyer.) I got a poster frame and an 8x10 frame for the Andy Runton Owly Doctor Who print and the new "Christmas Ideas" and two items for a project for less than $20. And then we had a nice drive home through the park, and watched last week's "Into the Dalek" (so we could actually hear it; I missed the Fantastic Voyage joke completely) and "Robot of Sherwood" before bed. (Enjoyed this serio-comic ep, although the Doctor and Robin Hood in a "pissing match" got old fast.)

7:45 a.m. came much too early this morning, and we still weren't on the road officially until nine, since we had to stop for gasoline and for cash. However, the freeway was freewheeling out to Stone Mountain, so it was a quick ride.

We found out when we got to the Yellow Daisy Festival site proper that they were renting scooters and James was sorely tempted. But he toughed it out and tested out the rollator under field conditions. He admitted it was convenient to sit when he needed to, but it was hard slogging for him.

Had it been about sixty degrees with a bit of a breeze, I think we both would have ended up in better shape. He had to stop every hundred or so yards due to the pain, so we seemed to crawl past the sales booths. While the trail through the woods where the booths are located is paved, it's bumpy and hilly. And when we eventually arrived at the "end" it turned out that we had missed an entire trail, which was important because we wanted to buy more "Smack Yo Mama" barbecue sauce and that's where they were located. (We also didn't see several favorite vendors, the person who sets up near "Country Pickins" with the jellies who has a "pumpkin pie butter" James loves, and the woman I call "the mint lady" because she carries the most delicious mint jelly with bits of spearmint leaves in it.) So I went back on a scouting mission and found them, of course, on the summit of the hill. It wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't been so thirsty and damp all over—we're used to it being hot on Yellow Daisy weekend, but hot and humid was just misery on top of it. We stopped for some ice-cold lemonade and also had water, and it just wasn't enough. Also, I liked the cane seat, but I hated carrying it around, and the slower I walk, the worse my back hurts.

However, there was a bit of serendipity on returning from my "seek and ye shall find" barbecue sauce mission. I had picked up a gift for someone, James had found sugarless taffy, and we got the first of our fall fudge for the year. (They had peppermint fudge...yes! but alas, no orange-flavored dark chocolate like last year.) We tasted innumerable soups and dips, a good thing, too, because we hadn't eaten breakfast. And as I cut through the back of the booths to get back to James with the barbecue sauce, I came past a jewelry stand that we had passed earlier. I don't usually look at jewelry vendors because there's nothing I want and most of the time the pretty things I want to buy for friends are too expensive for our budget. But I was arrested by a plain black headband that had blue- and clear-beaded decorations—including a blue Police Box. Yes, I did buy it. Now with my TARDIS headband and TARDIS necklace, I will be well-dressed for Anachrocon and Timegate. :-)

The last obstacle was the big meadow in full sun. Since the radioactive iodine treatment, I can't stay in the sun too long and the minute it hit my skin it felt like I'd put it on a sizzling skillet. We therefore headed for the car as fast as James could limp. The air conditioning in the truck felt so good!

We had a late lunch at Panera, which got some nice salty chicken soup and some ice water into me and perked us both up enough to drop off the fudge and go to Kroger for the weekly shopping. And since then we've been chilling, literally, under the ceiling fan on high watching Rehab Addict (except for the thirty minutes when an ominously charcoal grey sky burst into drumrolls, flashing lights, and finally a deluge of rain). James finished his sandwich from Panera for supper and I had a bowl of Cheerios because I wasn't about to provoke Tummykins again, and the peppermint fudge for dessert was a delicious coda.

Now we're watching a new special about the Palace of Westminster.

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» Wednesday, September 03, 2014
Count Your Blessings

James had an appointment at the Shepherd Center today to see if we can get Kaiser to contribute to getting him a scooter or a power chair for times we need to walk longer than a hundred yards or so. I decided I should go along because whatever way this turns out, it's going to make a dent in our finances: co-pay, a carrier for the car, etc. So he went to work this morning because he's only one of two people covering the phones at that time. I got up, walked the dog, cleaned the two upstairs bathrooms, and ran very quickly to Walmart to get a new bulb for the refrigerator, a couple of frames, and a rug to put down at the back door. I got home just in time for James to come pick me up.

The GPS took us on a dippy back way; if we'd known exactly where it was (just north of the Benihana), we would have just gotten off the freeway at Northside Drive and gone through Peachtree Battle. But we got there okay and settled down to wait. I've never seen so many people in wheelchairs in my life, and it made me feel very blessed to still be ambulatory. Many were elderly, but there were also many younger people. As we waited, I was next to a wheelchair-bound man who was talking to a woman and her teenage son, the latter also in a wheelchair. He appeared speech impaired and I didn't know if he might have had cerebral palsy or a muscular disease, or if he had been in some type of accident. They were talking about pain management and the man said he meditated an hour a day to work with it.

We talked to the assessor and discussed chairs vs. scooters, and he put in the paperwork, and now...we'll see. We came home by Panera and had an early supper, then came home. Now we're watching Hurricane 360, about Hurricane Katrina survivors. Count your blessings indeed.

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» Monday, September 01, 2014
DragonCon, Day 4...or "Doesn't She Look Tired?"

Hurrah! It was cooler this morning with no fog, so we could go with open windows so James could rest his sore elbow on the window frame. We got it right on the fourth try and finally got to Peachtree Center earlier, even after picking up the scooter (yes, indeed, we got a four-wheeler today, and this one was red and the beeper worked); of course it is Monday and anyone still here is probably checking out of their room. So it was no trouble getting through the line at Cafe Momo this morning, though I was thankful for Bill being in front of me as I couldn't reach the styrofoam tray. A pain being short sometimes.

This meant we could make our way leisurely through the ramp to the Marriott and then back to the Hyatt for the Sci-Fi literature track "What is Fandom?" panel. Bill was on this panel as well, as well as Anya Martin, Rhetta Akamatsu, and Daniel Logan, who was the young member of the panel, and a fan, among other things, of theme parks. So, what is fandom? Just a collection of people who are enthusiastic about a certain subject? Is fandom family? It depends on the fandom, and the friends you make within the fandom. (And sometimes you have conflicts within your family as serious as the ones within fandoms.) How has science fiction fandom changed? Originally it was mostly men; it was mainly Star Trek that brought women into fandom, and, as Anya pointed out, many girls were fans back then, but you didn't talk about it because you were made fun of. For my part, fandom is part of my real life. I am the most alive there. Work is the place I must put on a face to meet the other faces, like Prufrock. But the latter is what supports the former, even if the former makes me happier.

Anyway, lively panel, and very enjoyable!

Made certain James got back up in the elevator—with the smaller crowds, the people left were much more helpful today—so he could go over to the Merchandise Mart, and then ran down to Artist's Alley to get Andy Runton to sign the only Owly print I had without a signature (ironically, my favorite of the seasonal prints, the autumn one). I noted a graphic novel collection at the artist booth next to Andy's, which was selling the Lost in Space conclusion that Bill Mumy wrote some years back. I remember him talking about it and it had sounded interesting, so I bought it.

Finally I scampered (LOL, easier said than done) outside and down John Portman and then right on Courtland to the Sheraton and the British audios panel. Mostly we talked about the Big Finish productions, but Sacha echoed my own opinion: go to the BBC's website! Find Radio 4 and 4X! Listen!

When the hour was over, and they have been ticking down so quickly today, I hotfooted it over to the Hilton Grand Ballroom for a panel about the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode in review. There was a line for this, but it didn't last long, and, amazingly, I managed to telephone James during the interim. (This, of course, was because he wasn't in the Hyatt!) Again, another funny panel. As far as I'm concerned, the 50th anniversary episode completely eclipsed the regeneration episode, which was a bit sad. I could have done with less of Doctor Ten and his Elizabeth I romance, but only because I loved everyone else so much, especially John Hurt as the War Doctor. What a wonderful bit of casting and a terrific performance! (We also touched a bit upon the amazing "Night of the Doctor," which, when I first saw it, made me shriek in delight at the presence of Paul McGann.)

And then it was time...the saddest time of the weekend...the very final panel, which is always the BritTrack feedback panel (I preferred the old title, though: "So long, and thanks for all the fish"). James was already there, having divested himself of the scooter down on the first floor and just having found a seat. It was a happy farewell, with Rob With the Hat without the hat, Caro with an exceedingly hoarse voice, and Robert anchoring the other end of the table. They took suggestions and heard comments, and I was very envious of the night events that, alas, we wouldn't have been able to attend, sodas were given out, and farewells were finally made. We left at 3:30, extracted the truck from the garage, and drove to Barnes & Noble because we had coupons. James got a model, but I couldn't find anything right now; the Sleepy Hollow book isn't due out for weeks.

We usually have supper at Longhorn on the last night of DragonCon, but we are going to postpone until the weekend, and just went to Kroger to get the few groceries we needed (milk!!!) and some soup for our evening meal. James took Tucker outside, and then we were able to sit and eat. I played a few episodes of Too Cute, then we watched the end of Jeopardy, and parts one and two of "The Space Museum" on Doctor Who.

So, am tired but happy, despite worrying about James on his scooter all weekend, especially after his tip-over last night. Time has flashed by like nothing—it seems like only hours ago I was finishing up my orders at work and we were making our way through the mob scene downtown to go to Registration. I suppose it's a good thing special occasions only come so rarely and ordinary time goes so slowly, or our lives would be over in minutes.

Still, tossed out of Narnia again... ::sigh::

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