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, March 29, 2015
Tucker's Day Out
James and I both availed ourselves of a nice sleep-in this morning, so that our breakfast was practically lunch. I tried the mocha chocolate chip yogurt and wasn't that impressed; it was overly sweet (mixed with the usual sour of yogurt) and had none of the delightful coffee flavor Yoplait's former cafe au lait had. :-(

We needed birdseed and James needed a new carbonator for his Soda Stream, so we loaded the power chair up, harnessed Tucker, and took him along with us. It was a lovely day, sunny, still winter-skyed, and cool. Tucker had a grand time, I think, except he didn't know what to make of it when James disappeared inside Bed, Bath & Beyond. He started to cry, so I walked him down to Uncle Maddio's pizza and back. (There's a place there we need to try, Tin Drum. It's an Asian place. It says they have osobi and noodle dishes and a teriyaki, and also curries.) I sat down in one of the two lawn chairs BB&B had out front and Tucker stationed himself in my lap, whimpering each time someone walked in or out of the store. One lady petted him and said "Your daddy's in the Beyond, isn't he? Went right past the Beds and the Bath and got lost in the Beyond." :-)

Then we drove to PetSmart to get Snowy more seeds. Tucker sniffed noses nicely with a female German Shepherd, but a male one bowed right up at him, twice. He passed two cockatiels in their very low cage and one fluffed up and bared its beak and jumped at him. Toys were buy two, get one free, so we got him a new fox, a new chew bone, and a new tug rope, plus some Greenies and a new tag because his name is worn off the old one.

We had a BOGO for Baskin-Robbins, so we had our dessert before our dinner and went through the drive-through: mint chocolate chip for him, and jamoca almond fudge for me, Tucker looking miffed because he couldn't have any. Then we passed by Vickery Hardware so James could pick up silicon gel to replace the passenger-side mirror on the truck, and finally we ended up at the Race-Trac on Powder Springs Road to get some discount gasoline. By now Tucker was tuckered out as well.

We fished some chicken-breast-or-maybe-it-was-pork cacciatore out of the freezer and had it over elbow noodles for supper. Watched a couple of Titanic stories, including Saving the Titanic, a dramatization about the ship's engineers, and Len Goodman's Titanic, as well as the first episode of the new season of Call the Midwife. Introducing a new midwife, with a heartbreaking story about a little neglected boy and his younger sisters.

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» Saturday, March 28, 2015
A Chill in the Air
Oh, what a relief! Slept like a rock in the nice cold coming through the windows. Unfortunately, James had to work today, so he couldn't take advantage of it. I tried to make it for an eight-hour sleep, but didn't quite make it. Then it was jump up out of bed, dress, and take Tucker for a good walk before I had to put him back into his crate and go to Hair Day. I normally don't go if James doesn't go, and instead sleep late and get some housework done, but I wanted to get my yearly trim before 221BCon as well as summer.

It was the usual fun occasion. We got a chance to hear about Lin's new job; she was laid off just recently in Coca-Cola's big purge—after 28 years of service! But she's a trained and massively experienced chemist and it ended up she was only unemployed for seventeen hours. Her new job doesn't pay as much, but at least she's not unemployed and the new people seem nice. We had a birthday cake for Colin, who will be 24 on April 1. Of course it had trick candles on it. :-) Lunch was sandwiches and we had potato salad on the side and all the trimmings. Juanita also brought cheese grits for breakfast.

I left about 1:30. I had stopped at Kroger on the inbound leg to pick up some brownies and cookies for snacks at Hair Day and had also done the grocery shopping: milk, my sandwich bread, some Sinex for James. I found a new kind of yogurt and bought a couple to try: one is mint chocolate chip and the other is mocha with chocolate chips. I had these in the back of the car, and because it was still so nice and cool (it wasn't even fifty yet), I had the time to go get gasoline at the QT that is down to 1.979 before going home.

I wanted desperately to take a nap, and I did sit a bit and finish re-reading the hardback copy of Red Sky at Morning I found yesterday. But I spent most of the afternoon finally taking down the rest of the winter decor and boxing it all up, and putting the St. Joseph's altar away. I also put the Easter decorations on the porch and up in the foyer, and tried to fix a ceramic sheep that cracked and lost some pieces.

When James came home we went to Hibachi Grill for supper, and then briefly stopped by Barnes & Noble to resolve the receipt problem from yesterday. Took me only five minutes, and we came home to watch Ask This Old House and then Barney Miller.

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» Friday, March 27, 2015
A Profitable Day

One, sleeping late, but you knew I'd say that. :-) Next came breakfast, and then a nice long walk up and down the street with Tucker. We had a cold front blow through last night with a great flapping of the shades, and this morning had a nice bite of cold in it, with clouds over all. After the walk I let Tucker go upstairs while I removed the winter decorations from the foyer. These went all in one box, even the Avon snowman, so perhaps the big box with the main floor decorations won't be as much of a puzzle box this time.

The front door was still bare, as I took the winter wreath down a couple of weeks ago, so I removed the spring/summer wreath from the garage, pulled out the bag from Michael's, and sat down at the couch with my wire cutters. The old flowers on the grapevine wreath base were faded from the Georgia sun and dusty and sad. I stripped them all off and then cut the new flowers off the bunches I had bought at Michaels (they're made to go directly into a vase; I take them apart one stem at a time to distribute on the wreath. The plastic stems worked right in the twisted grapevine; no floral wire was even needed. The blue daisies were the base flowers, with yellow ones distributed in between, and a sprinkling of purple puff flowers dotted here and there. I added a monarch butterfly, a bee, and a little "stuffed" goldfinch on a nest, used some floral wire to make a hanger, and voilà, wreath. (You can't see the goldfinch here; he's behind the vertical leaf in the center.)

I was starting to get a bit peckish, so I thought I might stop at Barnes & Noble to see what they had in soup; on my way there, I pondered stopping at the Smyrna Library to see what they had in their perpetual book sale, but thought I might do it on the way home. But it turned out I stopped on the inbound leg, because as I was approaching the entryway, there was a mother duck and her seven ducklings in the middle of the road. The Library is right next to a little woodsy area with a gazebo where people get married and a little pond, and ducks and geese nest there all the time. The ducks are a weird combination of Pekin (barnyard) ducks and wild ducks, and come out in the wildest color patterns. This one was black with a white head, but the duckling were all the same color, fuzzy yellow-grey with stripes on their backs. I had to stop in the library parking lot to get some pictures, so I ended up there first anyway. I found a hardback copy of a book I love, and a couple of other things, too, but, alas, I discovered the book I picked up for James he already had. It only cost me 50 cents, so no biggie.

The soup at B&N turned out to be tomato basil, which would have been Indigestion City for me, so I just looked around. Picked up the new Harry Dresden book in paperback with my coupon. They also had Nook HD covers on sale for 75 percent off (since they're phasing out the HDs in favor of the Samsungs); I've been wanting a thinner cover and snapped up one.

On the way home I stopped at Panera for a bowl of soup, and at Publix to pick up a couple of things, including more oatmeal. Since they aren't including the lower sugar kinds in the BOGO sales anymore, I am buying plain for home and mixing a teaspoonful of maple syrup in each batch. I even bought an easy-pour bottle of maple syrup to make this easier.

Once home I cleaned up the mess from making the wreath and put my work clothes in the wash, made the bed and concatenated the winter decorations on the dining room table. James got home a bit early, so we went to the West Cobb Diner for supper. Broiling hot in there! Come on, guys, it's not that cold. Dinner was good, but, wow, was the dressing salty. I think someone accidentally seasoned it twice.

After supper we went to the West Cobb Barnes & Noble to see if there were any books James would be interested in (he's still got the two 20 percent off coupons he got in the mail). He found three magazines only, and I got this year's "Country Sampler" home tours magazine as well as Erik Larson's new book about the Lusitania, which was 30 percent off. Perturbed to notice afterwards that my membership card did not "ring up" and I didn't get the additional discount. Will need to go back and see if I can fix that. $3.80 is $3.80.

Watched Night Court for the remainder of the evening. Part two of "Hurricane" was hilarious, with Harry and company having to deliver four expectant mothers' babies in the courtroom during a hurricane.

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» Tuesday, March 24, 2015
The Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside my window... is lunchtime, so it is sunny and clear today, rather than the sun just rising when I usually do this Daybook. Sadly, it's also warm. I don't want it cold, but I do like it cool, and almost 70°F is not only not cool, but it's Not Cool. :-)

I am thinking...
...about what else I can get accomplished today. I have stripped the bed and am washing the sheets, and trying to keep from sneezing, because I used the flat sheet as a dropcloth before washing it, so I could clean off the ceiling fan in the living room. It's been warm enough some days to turn it on to high, but I've been avoiding it because it was dusty and I didn't want dust bunnies flying around. I did one purchase order this morning and wondering if there's another I can do today. I'm hampered by people not being registered in our system, or having to wait for a clearance.

I am thankful...
...for a wonderful weekend even if the rain was a fat pain in the neck on Sunday! We need a better tarp, but the plastic garbage bags over the suitcase and the goodies and James' CPAP bag worked fine. Nothing got wet.

In the kitchen...
...I'm defrosting some already cooked pork chops so that James will have an easy time of it tonight and just slice up a cucumber for salad. Maybe we can try one of our new balsamic vinegars on it. And the dishwasher is empty—to be, of course, reloaded.

I am wearing...
...a Soft Kitty grey t-shirt and green "Mutts" pajamas with snowflakes on them.

I am creating...
...LOL. Clean laundry. Clothes and towels are done, sheets and bedclothes are washing.

I am going... this time not anywhere, but I sure wish I was going to take a nap!

I am wondering...
...if it's just my allergy or if I'm coming down with a cold. I'm sure stuffy, but at least my eyes quit watering like they did when I got up this morning. (Changing the bed should help this, too.)

I am reading...
...frankly, the same stuff I was reading last week! I did finish a "Woman's Day" and a "Shop Smart" during Atomicon.

I am hoping...
...for cooler weather over the weekend. They are predicting 50s—my favorite! I love jacket weather.

I am looking forward to...
...Good Friday. For the last few years, I have thought I should attend more to spiritual matters on that day. (I can't be working, because all I do there is swear at my poky computer and you are taught as a Catholic that you should be in silent contemplation or just silence between noon and three, the hours when Jesus was alive on the cross.) So I have been taking Good Friday off for a few years now, and in the last three years I have been recording the BBC Lent Talks to play on Good Friday. These are presented once a week for the six weeks of Lent and have a different theme each year; this year's theme is "performance." Afterwards I will probably listen to soft music while reading The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything if I haven't finished it by next Friday. I do have A Year of Biblical Womanhood as well.

I am learning...
...more colonial history from reading Freedom Just Around the Corner. Oh, and about Windows 10 from "This Week in Tech." :-)

Around the house...
...I'm playing "This Week in Tech" and Snowy is burbling along to it. Tucker is in his "cave" under the table. The stripped bed is airing out, and the bedclothes are sloshing back and forth in the water. Lots of rhythms going on.

I am pondering...
...when my copy of Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer will be here. I finally found an affordable copy! It's a collection of recipes taken from classic children's books, like jumbles from What Katy Did at School and picnic lunches from the "Swallows and Amazons" stories.

A favorite quote for today...
“True solitude is a din of birdsong, seething leaves, whirling colors, or a clamor of tracks in the snow.” ... Edward Hoagland
Sounds lovely! There certainly was a din of birdsong this morning when I walked Tucker, a mockingbird pouring out his territorial specifications from the peak of a roof!

One of my favorite things...
...Murdoch Mysteries! Our next disk (the beginning of season 7) should come in the mail today. We love this series: turn-of-the-20th-century set police procedural taking place in Toronto with a vague steampunk veneer (our protagonist Detective William Murdoch invents future crime-fighting tools before their time, with guest characters like Conan Doyle, Tesla, early aeronauts and motorcar inventors, etc.). {Later: Hey, why didn't it come? What was the use of my making sure it ended up in the mailbox Friday morning???]

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Purchase orders and housework. Murdoch. Doctor Who on RetroTV (we're into Tom Baker's final season). Hair Day, I think. I want my hair trimmed before 221B Con.

A peek into my day...
Snowy relaxing as he listens to Leo and company:

If you'd like to participate, check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.



» Monday, March 23, 2015
"The Soldiers of the King Feared His Name"

Because, after all, there is no such thing as too much of The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh, whose 50th anniversary was last year. | From the Jaws of Hell: The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh | From the Archives

"Funny Book Fanatic" commentary

"Movies Unlimited" story

Review of the DVD Release

"Greeenbriar Picture Shows": Rarest of Disney Treasures

Bill Cotter talks about the Scarecrow

"Disney History Institute": The Scarecrow's Mask

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» Sunday, March 22, 2015
Drip, Drip, Drip Went the Sky
Another bad night of sleep. What a nuisance. Part of the trouble was that miserable duvet. At one point it was almost all over me. It was like someone was trying to send me down to sleep with the fishes.

A nice breakfast in the common room talking with Bill and Caran, and I even sat in on a round of the card game "Roll for It." They were playing a long, vocal game of this on Friday night; it was the reason we couldn't hear the instructions for RedShirts. We alternated going into the room and packing things up, and finally portaged them into the common room. People started to drift out and go on their way (before the Lawsons left Sue gave me the sweetest thing, an angel decoration she had seen and thought of me; it had a quote on it about imagining heaven to be some sort of library), but we hung around a bit, chatting, and finally watching Shari, Phyllis, Kristine and Shaun play Phase 10. I learned to play it several years ago, but it's been so long since I played that it was like a new game.

We finally left about quarter after one, but didn't actually get out of the parking lot for another half hour because it took us so long with the logistics of putting things in the bed of the trunk and setting the tarp. My idea for not letting it flap (tucking it under) failed miserably and we had to re-set it at the Habersham Winery, not more than a mile out of town. It was only drizzling lightly then, but on the outbound leg it rained and then drizzled and rained hard again and showered, all the way from Helen to the vet's office, which, of course, when it started raining in earnest. Bleak. Depressing.

Tucker seemed surprised to see us. I wonder if he thought he had been abandoned. His tail wagged vigorously when he greeted me, and then James. Next Snowy was brought out and we had him transferred to the carry box in a trice. Stopped briefly at Sprouts—wanted to try the chicken noodle soup, but there wasn't enough of it for the both of us, so I bought clam chowder instead—and a gallon of milk and Those Damn Bananas. :-) It rained more on the way home, and of course it rained the most when we had to offload the power chair. The cover James ordered for it is already crumbling; it left crumbs of its leathery coating all over my hands. Apparently you can't get any quality for $62! The tarp sorta worked; it dumped water on the front of the suitcase where the trash bag slipped up, but that dried quickly, and everything in the trash bags was quite dry and okay.

We got Tucker back in his crate until we unloaded, leaving Snowy watching golf from his carry box. Brought up the cage first and got him settled, then got Tucker some supper and ate some ourselves before I emptied out the suitcase: dirty clothes into the washer, the tablets and phones back onto their chargers, clothes that can be reworn (hanging-around stuff) put back in the bedroom, unused stuff back in the drawers. I got my pills ready for the week and put out my clothes for the week as well. Snowy's been giving little sneezes all night—the vet said both of them were in great shape, so I am hoping he did not get a draft on the way home!—so I half-covered him for the evening. We watched about three Night Court episodes, and then Tucker got himself in dutch: James didn't finish his soup, but was going to save it. He came out of the bathroom and caught Tucker on his chair, sampling the soup! First night home and he's banished to his crate! Yes, it was a Bad Dog thing and James did right to correct him, but I couldn't figure out why he was so freaked out. Well, we had had the German chocolate bar we bought at the Euro Food store for dessert and James hadn't finished his, but there it was, next to the soup on his tray. He was so upset that Tucker had almost gotten to it; it was 75 percent cocoa and could have killed him. We must remember that he's a climber!

Finishing out the night I watched two episodes of Strange Report. Still do like this series. The titles keep showing Evie with Ham's dog, but I haven't seen the dog yet. I've even forgotten its name, which is odd since I remembered all the other series pets, down to Honey West's ocelot! (Bruce.)

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» Saturday, March 21, 2015
An Evening in Germany
For supper Saturday night an eleven-strong contingent went to Bodensee, the German place down the road. (Actually, there were two contingents, as Nancy and Jake and some others had left earlier and were still finishing up when we were seated.) James and I were seated down near the "kid's table," where Aaron, Aubrey, and Karl were sitting (this was a running gag, especially since Aubrey is going on 22), and we were convulsed by their bantering.

The first few times we were here, James and I shared the sampler plate. We know better now, as it's so huge we couldn't finish it together. But even with individual portions we had leftovers. First we were served bread and butter, and then a wonderful salad of baby greens and cucumbers with a tangy dressing (perhaps sour cream?). Spring has aroused my usual craving for baby greens, except the wretched stores only have them in bags any longer, and they're usually dreadful. I miss the original Harry's Farmer's Market. We had leftovers, and, luckily, the room has a fridge.

We'd thought about walking with the others, with James in the chair, but Bodensee's a pretty tiny place; I don't think we'd have fit through the door with a power chair.

Once back at the hotel, things seemed a bit subdued. To our surprise, no one pulled out any games tonight. Alex and several others were watching a Tom Cruise film, but the rest of us just sat about and chatted, and many people went to bed early. We stayed up talking with Bill and later Daniel and Patti until about 12:30.

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A Sunny Day in Helen Town
This place has a nice quiet air conditioner in the room. Ours was on all night and it wasn't the reason I was restless. Can't blame the hotel at all. But what is it with these new bedclothes in hotels? Used to be you got a spread, a blanket, and a sheet. Now it's a duvet that is the weight of the vest you put on to protect you from X-rays. It's like having deadweight on you. I did sleep, though, but I tossed and turned.

Nevertheless we were in bed until after nine, then got up and went to breakfast. I managed to retrieve the last packet of maple and brown sugar oatmeal; also had toast, cornflakes, peanut butter on wheat bread, and milk. There was a good collection of people eating in both the breakfast room and the common room. We were chattering about the state of education (Oreta is a librarian and Phyllis used to be a science teacher) and various and sundry until all started to go their separate ways for the day. We beat it early because we wanted to do our walking while it was still in the sixties, and it was a nice day for it, a bright winter sky with a scattering of mare' tails and mackerel clouds. The Bradford pear trees are in full bloom here, big snowballs of white blossoms.

We loaded up the power chair and spent two or three hours just ambling around Helen. We stopped at the Christmas store and the glassblower's shop (with a full shelf of Frozen glass figures). Went down behind Main Street to a store with European foods. Had a nice sortie at a new olive oil and balsamic vinegar store, where we bought a six-bottle sampler of five balsamics (maple, apple, strawberry, black cherry, and pomegranate) and a sweet olive oil with garlic. Looking forward to having the balsamics on salads this summer. James also picked up some jerky at one of the two jerky stores, including an orange teriyaki that is outstanding. I picked up my yearly almond bark and got some sugar-free candies for James and a few orange creams for me. A man played bongo drums in front of the shops, and another made balloon animals, and yet another man was dressed and made up all in silver while playing the guitar. We had hot dogs downtown while sitting in a bench in the shade, ran into Ken Spivey's mom and Jesse Medina's mom sitting out in the sun, met a German Shepherd and his little shaggy pal, stopped for photo ops, and finally had ice cream before driving a little way into Unicoi park and then taking the alternate route back to Cleveland. We passed the White County High School, which was surrounded by at least two dozen Bradford pears in full snowy bloom.

On the way back we stopped at the Mennonite bakery and bought some molasses crinkles cookies. James got some key lime cookies as well. And of course we stopped at the little book store at the old train station, said hi to Daisy the store cat, and I found a big book of essays and cartoons taken from the British magazine "Punch." Some of the cartoons are devilishly clever and you have to look very carefully before realizing the gag and laughing uproariously.

When we got back, James decided to take a nap. I'm in the common room to chat with everyone.

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» Friday, March 20, 2015
Evening Shade
We had supper at the Western Sizzlin', a much better restaurant than the former place in this location, the "West Family Diner." It was terrible: customers were treated like cattle. If you stayed too long at the buffet choosing your food, the manager would chivvy you on. This is much better. Had a chicken leg, two small pieces of steak, and popcorn shrimp, plus some chocolate cream pie as dessert.

Then we came back to the hotel to chat and play games. James and a party of five tried to play the card game RedShirts, but the instructions were confusing and we couldn't hear the YouTube video of instructions over the Yahtzee-like card and dice game going on in the other corner of the room. I finally gave Patti her Christmas gift, the little wombat I bought at the Australian Bakery Cafe back on my annual downtown Marietta expedition. James and I teamed up to play Logo, which is a game about answering questions about various brands. We won! Shari, Juanita, and Jessie went into the jacuzzi. Phyllis and Shari were playing Words With Friends the board game version (Scrabble by any other name).

The only fly in the ointment was discovering some ants in the bathroom. We have a handicapped room with a roll-in shower and I spotted an ant in the corner, and on the pull-down seat, and on the doorframe near our toiletries container. I hope we don't bring them home!!!!!!

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Driving North in the Rain
We really, really should have practiced this before we actually did it live for the first time.

Today was the first actual "trip" we took in the truck with the chair and the critters. Tucker was already hyper and we finally had to confine him to his crate since he was trying to get under James' feet as he rolled the suitcase down the stairs. Since the birdcage had to be wrapped in a plastic bag before we put it into the truck bed, Snowy had to go into the carry box while we loaded the bed. Everything had to be wrapped in plastic bags because there was a good chance of rain (and it did sprinkle for a while around Cumming), and the suitcase took two, the CPAP bag another, the cookies and crackers for the common room one more. The bird cage didn't fit in a bag horizontally, so we just put it on top, like a big cap. (Bad idea not tying it on the bottom; it blew out somewhere on I-285 and all the seed spilled; good thing I brought more.) Then we put a tarp on top of that. Only then did we get the chance to load the chair and put the new cover on top; it does not go all the way down to the bottom of the chair as we expected. Once that was all tied down, then I could come downstairs looking like Doctor Doolittle's wife, pash around my neck, carry box in one hand, dog leash in the other.

We had a laugh at the vet: you used to have to drag Willow away from James. Tucker was entranced by this new place: smells! Dog toys! Cookie scraps on the floor! He walked to the back with the vet tech without a backward glance! Thanks, ol' faithful hound. :-)

On the way up it was chilly and foggy and then some sprinkles and then some mist, and then it was as if someone waved a hand. The clouds never actually cleared, but it got brighter, and we could see all the trees in bloom and the grass sprouting and cows grazing peacefully on both sides of the road and the horses at the riding stable down in the valley off the road lazing in a picket line. I'd had an idea before we left home: go the Sprouts behind the vet's office and buy Italian wedding soup for lunch. Rats. They've changed it to Thursday. Friday's soup is now clam chowder. Theirs is delicious, but not what we wanted. I got some muffins for our breakfast, and very soon afterwards found a Krystal for lunch after we purchased gas.

But we made it, "childless" until Sunday. We're all gathered at the Country Inn and Suites in the conference room which is ours for the weekend, gossiping, catching up, nibbling on cookies, trading job stories, etc.

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» Tuesday, March 17, 2015
The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, March 17, 2015

Outside my window...
...a lovely sunrise this morning, trails of pink and yellow painted upon shades of grey. Sadly, weather's going to "bite" later: up to the high 70s. Will have to run around the house now getting the fans to pull in cool air if I have any hope of keeping it cool in here this afternoon.

I am thinking... I wish I could be happy about spring. But...stuffed nose, teary eyes, warm temps, and the "Atlanta Pollen Festival" coming along soon (it's like waiting for a dust storm), and it's a hard slog.

I am thankful... was cool for so long; do wish it had lasted until the end of the month. It went from cold to hot like someone flipped a switch, no ramping up from 50s to 60s to 70s.

In the kitchen...
...the dishwasher is empty, ready to be filled again. I'm making turkey thighs for supper.

I am wearing... "Mutts" pajamas with Earl's little terrier face smack in the middle, white socks and beige Dearfoams slip-ons.

I am creating...
...purchase orders, as always. I need to create order. I have a stack of books I haven't reviewed. I may have to just let them go. They look out of place stacked on the back of the sofa.

I am going...
...nowhere at present! Friday is the annual trip to the vet with the menagerie. Snowy does not like the "dreaded hand towel." Tucker will have a bath that I will not have to give him, too. I think about the bill and get slightly faint.

I am wondering...
...when I'm going to kick myself into gear enough to take down the winter decorations. I did take down the winter village to put up the St. Joseph's altar, but that's about it. If I didn't have to pack the boxes like puzzle pieces I wouldn't mind so much, but I only have room for the two small boxes and one large, and the big Hallmark bag for the three baskets. Sunday makes two weeks to Easter and I have nothing spring up—understandable because I'm fighting it coming tooth and nail. I don't know if I even want to put up spring decorations because by April 1 the porch will be covered with yellow drifts of pine pollen. The tassels on the pine trees are already full to bursting.

I am reading...
...a lot of things; in the middle of several books which I change on a whim because of how I feel. There's the "Bottom Line Personal" Millenium book I bought at the book sale (too much about investing in it!), Theodore Rex, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything that I never had time to get into last year, Freedom Just Around the Corner, Italian Neighbors, and even a retirement book I've been slogging through for months because I'm past the one-third mark and the author is still continuing to insist that you will be happy and fulfilled if you're not working! Well, I know that!

I am hoping... goes back to being a little cooler. Low 60s would be fine!

I am looking forward to...
...three weeks from Friday is 221B Con. Can't wait! Had a terrific time last year. If James doesn't have to work, I hope he gets to go to his meeting (he missed it this month for being at work; at least we got to go to the BritTrack Meet'n'Greet on Sunday) or at least have lunch with the guys.

I am learning...
...frankly, I wish I'd learn how to be sleepy earlier.

Around the house...
...I'll soon be surrounded by my work desk. Snowy is giving me an inquisitive look. Tucker just came in from his walk and is looking for his breakfast.

I am pondering...
...the future. I must sign up for the retirement course. It's next month.

A favorite quote for today...
Alas, no:
"You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming." - - - Pablo Neruda

One of my favorite things...
...the series Sleepy Hollow. My friend Steve did an interview with Tom Mison on his blog recently that came with a lovely photo of his character Ichabod Crane. Alas, you can't share it, but I'm using it as computer wallpaper. Very inspiring!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
More purchase orders! A very necessary backup of my hard drive (I skipped it on the 28th).

A peek into my day...
Tucker in his favorite place: on the deck.

If you'd like to participate, check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.


» Sunday, March 15, 2015
Food With Friends

We had a good sleep-in this morning, Tucker had his walk, and then we puttered around eating breakfast and doing bills until it was time to leave for the Marlay House for the BritTrack Get Together. We left early, and a good thing: the good weather had everyone out, and there were at least two cars broken down in the middle lanes of I-75 southbound. Otherwise we had a nice ride with windows rolled down and a view of burgeoning spring blooms: forsythia, daffodils, and all sorts of trees (Bradford pears, cherry, magnolia).

When we got to the Marlay House they had the handicapped parking space blocked with some sort of tent arrangement, probably for the upcoming St. Patrick's Day festivities, but they moved things around so we could park. Rob and Beth were already there, and we were soon joined by others, including Caro and Jason Brown, and Robert and Karen Ray. Eventually we had fourteen in all, and almost all of us had the brisket (but it is good). We talked about Doctor Who, other television series, what we do on vacations, Michelle Gomez being at Timegate, DragonCon programming, old conventions, and other various and sundry. Some of the guys indulged in Guinness.

We left about 4:30-5 and came home past Sprouts. No Italian wedding soup, but they did have chicken and dumplings, so we had that for supper, and split an orange-peel flavored dark chocolate bar. (We also got some beef bits for tomorrow night's supper. We'll have turkey thighs on Tuesday.) We came home through surface streets once we left the store, so we had ample opportunity to view more blooming trees, new flower beds, and smiling pansies. As we ate supper, we watched America's Funniest Home Videos, then last week's Elementary and Hawaii Five-0. (Wow. what an episode. Anything that makes McGarrett cry must be really shattering.)

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» Saturday, March 14, 2015
Unconventional Breakfasts and Other Saturday Tales

James went off to work this morning, leaving me in the arms of Morpheus. He was a bit too possessive and kept me occupied until 9:45. So when I got up I walked Tucker immediately. It was still cool outside and I needed a jacket.

As we were coming into the house, I took a long look at the bushes in the front of the house. They are too tall again.and I had intended trimming them when it was cold, except I was either busy or it was frippin' raining. It's getting so warm they soon will be sending out new shoots. So I sent Tucker inside, grabbed the hedge trimmer and the extension cord, and trimmed, hacked, and zipped off as much as possible (what I really want to do is take all the bushes back to when they were small individual bushes, but I don't have the "firepower"—a small chainsaw or a larger hedge trimmer—for that as some of the branches are very thick now). Just in time, too, because under the old frostbitten leaves were buds with little pink flowers. I tried to keep as much as I could. I also trimmed the nandina bushes flanking St. Francis.

All this time I was looking at my watch because I wanted to get to Kroger before it got any warmer. Once finished with the bushes, I grabbed my pouch and was off.

Having forgotten to eat breakfast. ::sigh:: The hunger pangs hit as soon as I reached "the Ditch."

Picked up the essentials (bread, bananas, yogurt, pudding, burritos), plus some toiletries and turkey thighs. As later on, there seemed to be more cars in the parking lot than there were people in the store. As I was checking out they were promoting MDA, and anyone who gave a dollar got a free root beer float or a mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwich. The latter wasn't a regulation breakfast, but it did fill me up long enough so I could put the cold things in the insulated bag and stop at the book sale on the way home. (It wasn't a commercial ice cream sandwich, either, but mint chocolate chip ice cream between two Kroger bakery cookies. Realllllly too sweet.)

The results of that post-Kroger excursion are here.

Brought everything home and tucked it all away, put some things up, then finished the rest of Hell and Good Company, about the Spanish Civil War, and sorted out the books and had some cereal and yogurt for a late lunch. Watched another of the BBC documentaries about country houses, this one bigger than Buckingham Palace, with over three hundred rooms! The stable block was as huge as an ordinary manor house.

Once James got home, we had supper at SteviB's Pizza (so we could have pizza "pi" for Pi Day) and then stopped at Publix for few more things (like the new shower cap I've needed for a month now, and some miniature French silk "pis" for dessert) before coming home and watching the next set of Murdoch Mysteries.

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» Friday, March 13, 2015
Bookish Pursuits...

...of the day are chronicled here.

Otherwise we had Chinese for supper and binge-watched Hawaii Five-0, except for tonight's, which we didn't have time for.

Oh, and I found gas for $2.159!

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» Sunday, March 08, 2015

So glad when Friday was over! Now, with combining compressed days plus days off, I won't have to work a Friday again until the middle of April. Whew!

James got out early Friday evening because of all the evenings he had worked late, so we beat the crowd to Longhorn and had a nice dinner before "eating the frog." (You know, if you "eat a frog," a.k.a. do a distasteful task every morning before breakfast, you have little to fear for the rest of the day.) I picked up my new glasses on Monday, and was I disappointed, especially after what I paid for the damn things! I wore them for only one hour on Monday and a couple of hours on Tuesday because, while I could see to drive properly, I could not for the life of me read on either computer, the one at work and the one at home. I was reduced to tilting the earpieces up at about a 15 percent angle from my ears to see anything on either screen, and they hurt like the dickens. Anyway, we didn't get much satisfaction back at Visionworks. The woman we spoke to babbled about "binocular vision," but mostly said that the prescription was fine and I was the one who was going to have to get used to them even if I had to enlarge the fonts on my computer screen and put my copy in a different place. Say what? I can see with my old glasses, but not with my new ones? What's wrong with this picture?

Needless to say, I was perturbed for the rest of the night.

Saturday was a much happier day. We started out by going to the Farmer's Market and we took Tucker with us. He was majorly overstimulated by the people, the smells, the food, and the dogs, dogs, dogs everywhere; he sniffed noses with a Chihuahua, two Goldendoodles, a spaniel, and a variety of others, tall (a huge Great Dane) and small (a rescue puppy who so wanted to play). The lady at Big Daddy Dog Biscuits fed him a cookie, several children petted him, several other people said he was cute. It was chilly when we started out, so he was wearing his "Trouble Maker" shirt, which made several people laugh, and meanwhile James could peruse at his leisure in the chair. Because we had arrived later than usual, the British store The Corner Shop was open by the time we completed the circuit, so we each took a turn going in. Tucker did not like this at all and the proprietor was laughing at the worried way he would go to the door, staring inside, and then pacing back and forth.

We brought him home and then went out to Peachtree Corners and the Prado. We bought some yummy-looking clam chowder for Sunday supper and a few other things (but completely missed that grapes were on sale, dammit), including their lunch combo. It had warmed up very quickly past noon, so that was a sunny, almost too-warm day by then, and we ate outside the store on a bench kindly provided. James ate only half of his roast beef sandwich because it was really large enough for both of us. I had tuna, which is okay; too much onion, though, and not enough celery. Then we went across to Barnes & Noble to see if there was anything to spend a coupon on. James got two magazines, and I found an Elementary novel! Finally we stopped at Trader Joe's to pick up some staples (miso ginger broth, instant broth, oyster crackers, etc.) and found them selling a delicious packaged mandarin orange chicken for only $5. We bought some as a treat, and had the clam chowder for Saturday supper instead. I thinned it out a little with milk, added some butter and bacon bits, and it was delicious, with real clams in it—recognizable bits of clam. (Clams in the clam chowder has been a running gag with us ever since the night we went to the Shoney's that used to be near Lindbergh and Piedmont Roads, jonesing for some hot soup. Their clam chowder sounded great, until we discovered there were no clams in it, and barely any potatoes, either.) Alas, the Smyrna Sprouts isn't opening until June! Très désolé!

Once supper was over I spent a half hour turning all the clocks forward except for the counter-clock to remind us of the right time for one last night. However, we went to bed on Daylight F**king Saving Time, and were rewarded with a lousy night's sleep, partially due to the warm night and partially because of the time change. I had a dream about a missing credit card all night; it was quite aggravating.

Today we had the regular shopping to do and a trip to Costco. We didn't really need anything at Kroger, so we just went to Publix to pick up the few grocery things we needed, and then went to Costco for the expensive stuff: trash bags, omeprazole, and ibuprofin (which we were dead out of), and then things like milk and canned fruit. The price merely made my eyes bulge.

James didn't feel like going anywhere else and spending anymore money, to which I heartily concurred. I caught up on Elementary and he logged a couple of hours on the computer, and we really enjoyed the orange chicken served with glass noodles (they look like spaghetti, but they're "clear").

[Followup 03/09/2015: I made an appointment for a recheck with the Visionworks optometrist today; and he looked at my eyes again and assured me that the prescription was okay, only a tiny bit stronger than last time. Then he had me see one of the employees who was a licensed optician, and this man worked with me over a half hour, adjusting the glasses, the eyepads, the temples...and whatever he did worked, because now I can read the computer. He said the glasses were not centered properly where they should be, but by manipulation of the frame he changed it. After all that, I hate to still complain, but I'm sorry I got the slightly larger lenses. These things are heavy.]

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» Sunday, March 01, 2015
Anachrocon, Part the Last
When a few moist prickles struck my face as I walked Tucker, I remembered the forecast for "showers." However, as we prepared to leave the house, the "showers" were more a steady rain. Not having a fitted cover for the power chair yet, and not being sure if the tarp we had would do the trick, we made the decision to take the Rollator instead of the chair. Today would be a light day—we have yet to figure out why so few panels were scheduled on Sunday; last year they went until three o'clock, but today the final panel ends at one p.m.—so there wouldn't be excessive movement for James.

It was a wet, chilly ride to Century Center and a relief to finally get inside and have a hot breakfast. I had oatmeal this morning along with the usual toast and fruit and cereal and pancakes (they were out of bacon), and tucked yet another bagel away for later before going to a panel devoted to The Addams Family and The Munsters. It was surprisingly full for a ten o'clock panel, and more than half of the crowd had not seen the series when it was first run. One of the nicest memories came from a panelist who used to watch The Addams Family reruns with his grandmother, who also had a complete collection of Charles Addams cartoons. She used to tell him which sequences in the series was inspired by which cartoon, and in this way he bonded with his grandmother.

I confess a preference for the Addamses. The Munster stories were more slapstick and I've never been fond of slapstick. And even at eight I love the relationship between Morticia and Gomez: delightfully daffy and so potty over each other. (Plus of course Uncle Fester and his lightbulb, and my favorite: Thing.)

The next panel was part of the history track: "What If?" with a Revolutionary War emphasis. What would have happened if Washington had not been able to evacuate at Long Island? or if Aaron Burr had won the election (decided by one vote) instead of Thomas Jefferson (Burr apparently wanted to march on and conquer Mexico)? if George Washington had been cashiered out of the army after his debacle during the French and Indian War? The panelists included the man who roleplays Thomas Jefferson (he did a play off Broadway) and another gentleman who roleplays the older Benjamin Franklin. And we did wander afield of the Revolution—if the colonies had not broken away from the British, would things have changed enough not to have either of the World Wars? or would adding what became the United States to the British empire have ended the first World War (had it happened)  earlier? (I never did get to add my question: if we hadn't broken with Britain, would westward expansion have happened? Or would the west have stayed Spanish and the Louisiana Purchase stayed with France?) The hour whizzed by! I love a good history chat!

I stayed in the room for "Civics 103—The Supremes' Greatest Hits...and Misses," given by "Mr. Jefferson." This was a quiz about the Supreme Court and afterward we discussed the answers and prizes were given. There were only four people in the room, so it made it cozy for friendly discussion. I have to admit my Supreme Court knowledge is not sterling, but I did manage to get the most points: some things I remembered, some things I could work out from the questions (multiple choice), and some things I did guess at. (By the way, most of my answers came via Alistair Cooke's America, so thank you, Mr. Cooke for keeping me educated!) The two prizes were the off-Broadway script, Twilight at Monticello, and his other presentation at the convention this year (done by someone else last year), My Master, My Slave, My Friend, which was about Jefferson's relationship with his personal slave. It was an excellent story and I would have gladly taken both, but I hadn't read or saw performed Twilight, and I did see the other last year, and the young man who got second place wanted Master, so it worked out.

Now that all the panels were over, I did a last turn around the dealer's room and bought some bumper stickers, a grammar one for me, a "Police Public Call Box" for Twilight since we've always said the car is a TARDIS since our 2005 trip to Rhode Island, a funny one for James from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and another as a gift. I was reluctant to leave, and checked out more costumes walking back down the long corridor that the meeting rooms lined to meet James. He'd already bought our memberships for next year (the theme is "the Weird Wild West" and I'm going to lobby for an Artemus Gordon panel!) and we were debating on what to do when we went to say hi to Bill and Caran and ended up sitting down with them and Teri Sears and talking for nearly two straight hours about all sorts of things: our pets, financing homes, the old days at Terminus TARDIS meetings, etc. A friend of Caran's came up with a Downton Abbey-type outfit that she had made from thrift store and Ross purchases, the Rays strolled by, we said hi to a few others, and Ken Spivey and some friends came out to another lobby seat and started playing a combination of Doctor Who music and Celtic ballads. We finally left a bit after three.

Well, we were going to go by Kroger and grab another gallon of milk, some baby aspirin for James, the Sunday paper, and a couple of other things while I retrieved my prescriptions that I put in on Friday, but the place looked like it did last Wednesday before the snowfall forecast that turned out to be a big bust. It was as if they were giving away prizes! We just picked up the scrips and went to Publix instead, where James got some soup for supper.

I'd left Doctor Who running for Snowy and we arrived home to find out "Blink" started in fifteen minutes, so I gave Tucker a quick walk, changed clothes, and then enjoyed this episode all over again. What a great story! I loved the convoluted storytelling, and of course this is where the "wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey" catchphrase came from. This was followed by "Silence in the Library" and its sequel (the first River Song story), to which we ate supper, and then for the rest of the night we watched season 6 of Murdoch Mysteries from Netflix (we don't have to worry about them not having season 7; I've already recorded that off the Ovation channel). And now the weekend's over, and it's time for bed and work tomorrow.

You know, I always get the feeling when I leave a convention that it's reality I'm leaving behind. It's going to work that's the fiction...

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