Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.

 Contact me at theyoungfamily (at) earthlink (dot) net

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» Sunday, August 30, 2015
Shopping in the Rain

I've said I like cloudy days, but I like high, light grey clouds covering the sun, so I don't squint or get headaches from the glare. I definitely don't like cloudy days that consist of heavy, dark, stratus clouds—especially ones pouring rain. I don't mind getting wet. Mr. I-Challenge-German-Shepherds, however, turns into miserable puppy in the rain.

And indeed that's what happened after I got dressed and snapped the leash on the dog; he took one look at the rain and turned tail. I chivvied him off the park and he deigned to walk in the wet long enough to pee against a telephone fixture, after which he returned decidedly to the house.

We'd planned to go out to BJs today (we needed toilet paper), and, carrying a garbage bag with us to put it in, we set out in the pouring rain. Of course we'd slept late, our Sunday treat, and by the time we got up to Woodstock, the IHOP we were planning to break fast at had people lined up outside the door (thankfully for them, the rain had stopped). So we went to find the Folks that one of the exit signs mentioned and had lunch there. The special was turkey, but it's not a patch on the turkey dinner at West Cobb Diner, and the stuffing was not only peppered, but overly salted (when James is complaining about something being too salty, it's salty).

We bought a lot more at BJs than I expected, but it was all things we needed; we were completely out of Kleenex both in regular and small box sizes—the multipacks we bought last time from BJs lasted at the least a year, and more like two!—and I found some nice stir fry beef for a supper with half to put away for another time. We got milk as well, and some chips for James, and Edge and Chex Mix since we had coupons.

It was beautiful when we got out of BJs. The sky was still mostly cloudy but the blue showing was a bright winter blue, not the watery, washed out summer sky, and there was a delightful breeze. I looked down as we approached the truck, and a red maple leaf was at my feet, a promise of happier weather to come.

We headed home with the intention of stopping at Publix (I needed Those Damn Bananas, yogurt, James wanted ham and turkey spread, and we needed a paper. It started to sprinkle, and we almost went home, but the toilet paper was in a trash bag anyway, so James stopped and I went in. Had to get a tall person to help me with the yogurt again; wish the supermarkets realized not everyone is six feet tall!

We'd already gotten home when I remembered I hadn't picked up my levothroid pills from Kroger. So we put the milk and the meat and the yogurt away, and then I drove and James had Tucker in his lap. We had the windows down and how Tucker loved that! He was like the Elephant's Child waiting in the pharmacy pickup line, wanting to investigate the man with the cart, and the woman with the human puppies, and, oh, so many smells! The pharmacist started to laugh when she saw him looking at her with wide eyes.

We'd noticed one of our neighbors with a small child had rented a bounce house, and I hoped the rain wouldn't spoil his party. Well, when we got home, they'd solved the problem: all the kids were in swimsuits! There was water spraying from the top of the bounce house every time the kids jumped, but they were having a ball!

Finally home to rest my aching bones (just been achy all weekend, like I am in the spring—probably the fall allergens building up). Finished getting things ready for work, downloaded some magazines on my tablet, including the new "Country" with a gorgeous fall cover. James made Asian chicken salad for supper and I have some of the leftover chicken in a sandwich for work.

Saw most of, but didn't get to record all of, a new Rick Sebak special on PBS, this one about bakeries. I'd love to visit the Japanese one in California. They also showed a Wamponaug woman who bakes things in an outdoor, traditional clay bake oven which is lined outside with fieldstone. Gorgeous! Also saddened to know that I missed the first episode of the new season of Vicious. I love that series!

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» Saturday, August 29, 2015
"Tell Me Where It Says I Can't Keep Dreaming..."

So this morning I woke up with James, who was off to work so he can have next Friday for DragonCon. The delivery person would be at the house between eight and ten, so I had to be up and dressed by eight. I took Tucker down the street rather than up so that we could see if a truck showed up from the lower cul-de-sac, but we got through the walk unscathed except for being chased by mosquitoes down by the retaining pond.

I had time for breakfast and to put Tucker out on the deck and was actually working on a writing project when the guy arrived at 9:15. He came in a pickup, not a delivery truck, and I heard him before he rang the doorbell because it was cool enough to have the front window open, at least this morning. (It stayed mostly cloudy all day, but it was dreadfully humid.) I had everything out of the way for him, and he got right to taking that nasty old Frigidaire out of its spot and carrying it down the stairs like a big package. I was really a bit wary of what he was going to find back there, especially after having the invasion of the roaches in 2007 after the wild bird seed purchase from Fred's discount store. Scott from Northwest Exterminating put down so much dust I thought there would be masses of it back there, and even little dead bodies, but there was mostly sawdust from the build, along with onion skins, a few shreds of plastic wrapper, and one salad fork. I cleaned that up and he had the new Bosch installed by 9:45.

I'm glad we picked the black. It looks like it belongs with the black counters. Maybe when I get done paying for it we can consider a new stove for James. He ought to have something decent to cook on, and we want a convection oven.

We want to go to BJs' tomorrow, but James wanted some stuff from Trader Joe's, so when the dishwasher was in I fetched Tucker from the deck, blocked him in the dining room, and headed out. I stopped at the Farmer's Market first; didn't even bother looking for a close parking space, but just parked in the municipal lot behind Johnnie McCracken's pub and walked the two blocks. Bought cucumber, some apple brown sugar pound cake, boiled peanuts for James, a loaf of fresh-baked French bread, and more "Big Daddy" cookies for Tucker. There were a ton of dogs out today; he would have loved it—even a huge St. Bernard so mellow he looked like a huge stuffed toy.

The Corner Shop was open, so I bought myself a treat (a Fry's bar) and also something to tuck in a gift and the first book in a series about two children who travel back in time to Blitz-era London. The older proprietor and I were discussing some ladies' propensity for shoes, and also talking about going to DragonCon.

It was cool enough when I got back to the car that I cranked the windows down and opened the sunroof (James would have preferred the air conditioning, but I like the wind in my face, and hate being hermetically sealed up under A/C all summer, even though it's the only way to survive, not to speak of breathe normally), and then headed out to East Cobb blaring "The Rupert Holmes Songbook" as loud as I could stand it. Had it on shuffle, and got one of my favorites, "Blackjack" (which I think of as Scott Sherwood's song), and also "Tell Me Where It Says I Can't Keep Dreaming."

Stopped at the new East Cobb Michael's before hitting the groceries. As much as I love this store—it has more stock than most Michael's stores and lots of room—I can't forget it's in the location of the old Borders store, and I always shed a little tear before getting it under control. There are several stores I'm never going to get over, like Woolworth's and the Paperback Bookstore in downtown Providence, and Borders is one of them. I picked up a new visor and some decorations for it for DragonCon, since I lost my owl visor last year, and a little autumn garland on discount.

It was only 12:30 by the time I reached Trader Joe's, so it wasn't too busy. I picked up fruit bars and edamame crackers for James, and stocking up on a bunch of things on account of DragonCon, and we have salad greens for tomorrow's dinner and a few desserts.

On the way back from Trader Joe's someone beeped at me. They were looking at one of my bumper stickers, which says "Where am I going? And why am I in this handbasket?" and asked what a handbasket was! I was so flabbergasted by the question that I could barely answer, "Well, it's a basket you hold in your hands!" before the light changed. (I call that one my "unofficial Ask the Manager bumper sticker" because every time the show used to get out of hand—which in ATM's case was frequently!—Dan Berkery used to complain it was "going to hell in a handbasket." Yes, and we loved it best that way!)

And I got gasoline: 2.389 at the RaceTrak!

I made a short stop at Walmart on the way back and was well ignored by the male employees, who were too busy watching two of the bunch trying to get a big television on a wall mount. Thank you to the female employee who helped me!

Once home I had lunch from Trader Joe's (pork dumplings) along with some of the French bread with butter, and started rewatching Strange Report for the combined masculine goodness of Anthony Quayle and Kaz Garas. (Plus you get Anneke Wills, fresh from her role as Polly on Doctor Who. Now that I've seen her as Polly, I think Evie is a much better character.) Later I trotted Tucker outside and fetched the mail, taking up the newest historical "American Girl" books and reading about Maryellen Larkin in 1954. (I found the stories so-so. I don't like the new format, with no color illustrations, and no six-page historical "A Peek into the Past" after each of the six stories. Now the stories are bundled three "books" to a volume and there is only a two-page historical view at the end of each of the two volumes, with no accompanying historical illustrations. Disappointing. Maryellen herself is okay, maybe a bit dull.)

We had supper at Uncle Maddio's Pizza Joint with full intentions of stopping at Publix afterwards, but I was so tired we just skipped it. We can stop on the way home from BJs tomorrow.

And then it was back to watching Strange Report and another perambulation of the puppy.

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» Friday, August 28, 2015
Takin' Care of Business

I wasn't guilty at all about sleeping late this morning. I had worked pretty much twelve hours straight on Thursday (except for one dog walk and running downstairs to let the TruGreen lady do the lawn) and by the time I got out of the computer chair I looked like Quasimodo. I didn't set an alarm and finally dragged out of bed at 9:30 only because Tucker was expecting me.

I didn't intend to go anywhere today and I didn't. I walked Tucker and then had breakfast, and then Kaiser called and I paid them one of the hospital bills over the phone, and then I got to work calling about things that had to be one. Tucker caught a big palmetto bug in the dining room last night, so first I called up Northwest to get them back over here. They treated a few weeks ago, but never got in the back yard because they came on Saturday and we weren't home (I think it was Hair Day, in fact). Then I called Lowes to see why we never got called about the dishwasher installation. Just as I thought, they'd made the same phone number mistake that the television people did: they were a digit off in the prefix! The same digit off, in fact. I don't know how "three" sounds like "two"!

The woman that answered my call said, "Well, could they come tomorrow?" They certainly could, although it played hob with the rest of the night, since we had to clean under the sink and the counters with all their scraps of onionskin and stray rice.

After that I vacuumed and cleaned up after Tucker (he's eviscerating his blanket again) and made the bed and cleaned the bathrooms, just the usual junk. One nice thing was that this morning it was so cool that I had the back door open for a good long time while Tucker amused himself on the deck.

Then I logged on work for about an hour or so because I had one order so close to done that it was silly not to finish it. That got done, and two others that had been held, and that brings it down to the competition closing this evening and the problem children. That dratted gift card requirement finally got cancelled, too.

Also sat down and watched Lassie for an hour with my lunch. One of the episodes they showed today was "The Twister" and it showed what a good director (and musical background director) could do with some innocuous scenes of Cully, Lassie, and Timmy in the woods intercut with stock shots of animals. There's a positively creepy scene of them walking through the woods to ominous music and then the music cuts out and Cully says "Listen!" and there's not a sound, not a bird, not a squirrel, not a chipmunk, not a leaf rustling from a mouse—and the hair on my arms was standing on end.

So James brought home food from Dragon 168 and we had that for supper, and then between us got the kitchen "fit for company." Went to bed early because I was still exhausted from yesterday.

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» Tuesday, August 25, 2015
The Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside my window...
...the trees are slowly waving in a beautiful breeze that has been blowing all day. Fall is starting to nip at summer, but it has a long way to go to conquer the nasty thing.

I am thinking...
...about autumn, dreaming about the cool, just waiting. I saw geese this morning flying overhead. They were headed east, whatever that means.

I am thankful...
...for this morning. It was 62°F with a breeze, absolutely delightful weather to be walking a dog; certainly I didn't want to come in to sit down and work! I would have rather kept walking and walking in that energizing air. This morning I was able to have the back door open with the fan pulling in outside air, and the window in the living room open, until about 12:30.

In the kitchen...
...I just finished cooking those humongous chicken legs they sell at Sprouts. I just sprinkled granulated onion and garlic on them, with a little white wine, and cooked at 450°F so they come out crisp, just as it says in "Cooks Illustrated." Yum. James will make me a sandwich with what's left over. Maybe two sandwiches. Cold chicken is almost as good as hot chicken.

I am wearing... tank top and green shorts, with white socks. 

I am creating...
...working on a piece of fanfiction, actually. Still doing Doctor Simon Locke stories.

I am going...
...still crazy at work. About 15 or 16 more orders to go. Of course these are the tough ones, where I need vendor responses, or vendors put into the system.

I am wondering...
...when I will get to rest! The weekend just isn't enough!

I am reading...
...what was the newest Tiger and Del novel, Sword-Bound, at least in 2014 when I bought it in paperback. According to the book, there should be another out soon or maybe even now. I wasn't sure I could get back into it, since the last book in the series came out ten years earlier, but sure enough it's been like putting on an old familiar sweater.

I am hoping... stays cool at least in the morning, but alas, it's going back up to 70 at sunrise by the weekend.

I am looking forward to...
...DragonCon, of course. Sadly, Paul McGann is not coming. I'd wanted to see my last classic Doctor. But Tom Mison is expected (Ichabod from Sleepy Hollow) and now it has been announced that Nicole Beharie (Abbie) will also be there. That will be one crowded panel. 

Around the house...
...trying to watch the Lassie I recorded earlier, but the recorder is not recording very well, especially on what are supposed to be its native RAM disks. Phooey. Tucker is asleep somewhere, and James is perusing Facebook. Every once in a while, Snowy lets out a squawk.

I am pondering...
...why people like summer! I hate being hot, sticky, and dizzy from the sun, and when it's too warm it is hard for me to breathe. I like snow, but I know I couldn't tackle New England snow anymore. If it would just stay in the 50s and low 60s I believe I could tolerate it.

A favorite quote for today...
...goes to Snowy. I was playing one of his favorite things, Leo Laporte's "Tech Guy" podcast, and Leo was discussing the latest events in tech. He finally said humorously, "I'm not even going to mention Ashley Madison," and as if on cue, Snowy said forcefully, "Good boy!" It was too funny. A few minutes later, he proved he was always listening to us. Usually when we leave the house we say to Tucker, "Be good!" and can just imagine him answering back, "Do I gotta? Being good is boring!" so we add "Yes, you gotta be good!" I nearly fell out of my chair when Snowy blurted out, "Yes, you gotta be good!" this morning.

One of my favorite things...
...this song by the Fifth Dimension!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Just work. And James works Saturday.

A peek into my day...
Tucker, asleep, of course.

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



» Sunday, August 23, 2015
More Twists Than a Chubby Checker Dance

Another nice Sunday morning sleep-in interrupted around eight. I noticed when I went into the bathroom that it was raining quite hard outside. As I crawled back into bed, thunder went off like tympani overhead, but we slept on.

James was still getting dressed, but I was heading out to walk Tucker when the smoke alarm went off. It sounded two long shrills and was silent, but it galvanized me into action. I uncovered Snowy, but left Tucker in his crate. I yelled to James to check upstairs and in the attic, and I ran downstairs and opened all the closets and checked the rooms and even the garage. As I was checking and James was on the ladder to the attic, there were two long shrills again, and then, when I ran outside to check the roof, because of the thunder and presumed accompanying lightning earlier, I heard it shrill again, but as with the first time, it was only two quick shrills; it wasn't prolonged and it certainly wasn't the "chirp" of a dead battery. James found nothing and smelled nothing, not even in the attic.

With no idea what to do, I called 911 and the nice dispatcher asked me a couple of questions, which I could barely answer because I could hardly breathe, and then said she would send someone over to check it out. A few minutes later we had four nice firemen walking through the house—and you could tell they'd been through fires; they smelled of fire, especially the one in the coveralls. They went in the attic, walked through the house, checked the garage and downstairs, and the breaker box. They found no sign of smoke or carbon monoxide. They told us that smoke detectors have a shelf life of ten years, and ours are over nine, and that when they start going bad they do start going off intermittently, so it looks like we are in the market for some new smoke detectors.

The question: why this morning? And why just at that time? Odd.

So I went back to taking Tucker for a walk, and we had breakfast and then went to the big Publix near Kaiser, because they are across the street from a Rite Aid. (Hold on, this makes sense in a minute.) The "big Publix" usually has items we can't find in the one near us, things like the rice linguine. We were there to replenish James' -salads (ham salad, etc. that he has for a snack instead of sweets), get bananas for my lunch, and buy salad to have with the teriyaki chicken I got yesterday. Then we stopped by the deli and found out they had chicken and wild rice soup; I love theirs, so we got that for supper instead. We also are trying a Publix pork roast bits (like the Hormel dinners) dinner. We also bought some magazines, and, yeah, we never bought the salad. Did have to get those damn bananas for work, though. :-)

On the way back we stopped at Rite Aid drugs. I've been looking for a powder puff for months and can't find one, for use with cornstarch on hot days. A search yesterday online reminded me that Jean Nate powder came with a powder puff—and Rite Aid carries Jean Nate. So now I have a powder puff, but had to buy the Jean Nate alone with it. Ah, well, as the Duke of Rudling says at the end of Lassie Come-Home, perhaps that's not the worst part of the bargain.

We took the groceries home, had a little lunch, then went out to Lowes to look for new smoke detectors. We wandered about a little first, looking at light bulbs (still trying to find ceiling fan size LEDs) and dishwashers. Their $500 Bosch was on sale for $450.

We did find the smoke detectors, and then realized, although we thought ours were hardwired in, we weren't really certain. We also thought they were carbon monoxide detectors, and they aren't. We ended up buying one which has a lithium ion battery which will last ten years.

And then we went back and bought the dishwasher. There are a lot fancier ones, with extra trays, but this one just washes dishes, and that's what we need. It has a filter you can remove and clean, unlike the old one and its clog of black ick. And we loved our last Bosch with the stainless steel interior. They'll call us Tuesday to make an appointment to install it.

(I really don't want to see what's under the old one, but I must. I remember Scott having to put all that powder to get rid of the roaches we got from the bags of bird seed at Fred's discount store. There may be little bodies back there. Ugh.)

Had the chicken and wild rice soup for supper, watched America's Funniest Home Videos, then found a marathon of To Tell the Truth on Buzzr.

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» Saturday, August 22, 2015
Heigh-Ho, Weekend!

Yeah, I overslept. Oh, the alarm went off at 8:10, but my eyes glazed over listening to "Weekend Edition" and the next thing I knew it was 8:50. So by the time Tucker had a good walk and I had some breakfast, I arrived at Sam's Club ten minutes after it opened instead of five minutes before. (It's not like I had to be that early; I just figured it would be less crowded if I was. Everyone else had the same idea, too.)

I was there for Skinny Pop, and I got in a supply since Costco doesn't carry it, and another bag of Chex Mix for work. Bought James some Jamaican meat patties, and some of the Tyson teriyaki chicken thighs so we can have Asian chicken salad for supper tomorrow. Plus I got milk.

I spent some time looking at a cute little gadget called a Flexx 10. Apparently this is a little netbook only available at Walmart, Target, and Sam's Club, and it's got really nice reviews, and it separates out into a tablet and a keyboard, rather like an underpowered Surface tablet. Unfortunately it doesn't do one critical thing I want it to do, or I might have considered it if I had the money.

I did get a neat thing: it looks like a small, softsided lunchbag with a solid plastic bottom. The bottom has three electrical plugs on either side, and two USB ports at one end, an on/off switch at the other—yes, it's a gadget charger, with the power cord tucked in the compartment underneath, and then in the "lunchbag" part it holds the power cords to the gadgets you're going to charge. Very nifty and will come in handy for Atomicon, etc.

Came home and spent the rest of the afternoon messing around with work things, or else I shall never catch up; sorting files and other things like getting printouts. A web site that I critically need for my work is suddenly not coming up on Internet Explorer at work. However, it comes up on my phone and on my web browser at home. I can only assume that the powers-that-be have done security updates on IE and somehow or other this website is being blocked. So I got the printouts I needed on my computer and saved them to PDF files, which I then e-mailed to myself at work. This is the type of dingbat hoops we have to jump through all the time.

By the time I got done, James was on his way home. I walked Tucker again, and then we went to Olive Garden for dinner. We received a gift card at Christmas and had not used it yet. And we did have fun with it. We ordered an appetizer (fried ravioli filled with pork and beef), which we usually don't do, had the salad, and James had a Northern Italian sampler and I had the beef and tortellini, which is molto bello and half of each dish came home with us. And, of course, we split a black tie mousse cake for dessert.

We were up at Town Center because I had a bunch of JoAnn coupons, and we spent an hour strolling (well, I strolled, James rolled—he can't walk that far anymore). I bought more Command hooks, and found three nice gifts, including a beautiful light scarf, with a combination of coupons and clearance. James got paint brushes and Gorilla glue.

Arrived home in time to take Tucker for a walk again, and this time I had time to play with him, and then James ran him through a game of "red dot" and tuckered him out. Spent the evening redesigning a web page background and then watching Dr. Pol and chatting with Emma.

Less than two weeks now to DragonCon! Wow!

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» Sunday, August 16, 2015
Quiet Sunday Afternoon

A much quieter day. We slept in, grabbed a BelVita bar each, and went to Ollie's Bargain Outlet for new bungee cords for the power chair and assorted other items. Floyd Road is lined with supermarkets, so James just let me out at Publix and I picked him up some turkey salad and ham salad, then we did the main shopping at Kroger.

Spent the afternoon working on a story, and then had the "shortened" clam chowder for supper. I bought a little bowl of potato soup and a can of chopped clams and used those, plus some milk and butter, to extend what we bought at Sprouts. You could tell the canned clams, though; they were shreddy and dry instead of chewy and moist.

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» Saturday, August 15, 2015
A Day Among Friends

What a day! We were up a little before nine so I could walk Tucker before we packed up the chicken and headed to the Butlers. It was the usual great time, with a few serious overtones: Juanita's brother is still having difficulties after his severe stroke and once again, some of us are jobless, but on a positive note, Shannon showed up thanks to a ride from Charles. She was in a horrendous car crash a month ago, so bad she doesn't recall what happened. Her SUV rolled and she was unconscious when they found her and she had to be gotten out of the vehicle with the Jaws of Life. She just recently had surgery to fix pain caused by vertebrae damage.

The chicken cacciatore flavor deepened overnight and it was quite delicious. For sides we had noodles, rice, garlic bread, and the usual assortment of breakfast fruits and vegetables beforehand. Lunch was full of chat and laughter.

Plus we have enough chicken left over for a good supper next week.

I'd like to say we did something exciting for the next three hours, but I had a bad headache and James was feeling a bit breathless from the heat. We came home, I took three ibuprofin and crawled on the futon, and James surfed the net for about a half hour before lying down on the bed. I had the alarm set in time for me to walk Tucker and then for us to gather up the three gifts we were taking to Ron's birthday dinner at Longhorn. So, more fun with even more friends, as Aubrey showed up and Clair as well (Daniel was home waiting for a deliveryman).

Spent the evening reading and, later, chatting with Emma.

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» Friday, August 14, 2015
Cuddles and Chowda and Creatures of the Night

The cuddles were with my pillow. I definitely planned on eight hours sleep this morning, but got more like ten. I always say I get my best, deepest sleep after 6 a.m., and this certainly proved it. I woke up at 9:45 realizing I was not going to make it to Costco before it got really hot, as I still needed to take Tucker for a walk and eat something for breakfast so I didn't go wandering through the store like Grumpy Cat.

Lucked out and a guy was leaving right near the door; I didn't want to mess around with a long walk back to the car with the frozen chicken thighs I was buying for Hair Day. Since I was here, I also picked up milk; if we bought milk at Costco every week the savings alone from that would pay for the membership twice over. Scanned the DVDs (lots of British series!) and the books (mostly things I wouldn't read), and sampled some very nice smoked gouda.

I went home the long way, with the chicken in the insulated bag, by Sprouts to get the soup of the day (clam chowder) for Sunday supper; I have been dying for their clam chowder. Well, when I got there the chowder was almost out and the next batch would not be ready for forty minutes. So I took as much as I could get and they gave me a dollar off at the register because the container wasn't full.

I'd left Tucker penned in the dining room while I was out; if he is good for longer periods of time we can leave him there during the day. He'd been good, so I had a brief bit of lunch and gave him a cookie, cleaned up a little, then sat down to watch the Lassie episodes I recorded off CoziTV yesterday and this morning. They are showing the ninth season episodes, which, as far as I can tell, haven't been seen in syndication for years, possibly since Nickelodeon showed them. Plus, according to their online schedule on TitanTV, they are going to show "The Journey" as originally broadcast on the network, something that has not been done on American television (TVLand in Canada did do it) since the original broadcast, as it was edited into a film called Lassie's Great Adventure. However, Cozi will certainly be editing it for extra commercials, so we won't be seeing it totally uncut.

When James got home, we went to Ken's Grill for supper (it's cheap) and then came home to cook the chicken cacciatore. We put all three Pyrex dishes into process and cooked the nine pounds in one fell swoop. It's really easy—brown each boneless thigh fifteen minutes on each side, then distribute tomato sauce on top of it, add mushrooms and onions (there would have been green peppers, but we didn't have any), and turn over every fifteen minutes until at temperature inside. Then let cool until they can be ladled into carrying containers and put into the fridge. The hardest part is scrubbing out the chicken dishes afterwards.

Even got a few episodes of Strange Paradise in there, and a dog walk.

Incidentally, guess what I saw when I took Tucker out last night: we have bats! They were swooping around the light at the end of the cul de sac last night, gobbling up bugs. I could hear them squeak as they surveyed Tucker and I for signs of danger. Perhaps this is why the mosquitoes haven't been as bad this year.

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» Sunday, August 09, 2015
Seeing Friends As Well as the Light

I was chatting with Emma much too long last night (well, along with all those Strange Paradise videos), so when I did wake up this morning, after ten, I needed some ibuprofin to get going.

After breakfast we headed out to Advance Auto Parts. We both needed windshield wipers, I needed a new bulb for one of my brake lights (a nice guy on Spring Road had let me know Monday that one of mine were out), and James needed two new rubber bungee cords to keep the "trunk" (literally a big heavy duty rubber toolbox that holds reusable shopping bags and my driving pillow) stable in the bed of the truck. We have to buy these so often now; the old ones he used to get when he had the old truck would last several years, but the new ones are so cheap they crack and then break after only a few months in the Georgia sun. Once those were picked up, we headed for Sprouts.

We cut through the back instead of going through the main road because it was simply easier to make a right turn out of Advance. This was a serendipitous move because at the traffic light at Hicks Road and the East-West Connector we spied a familiar car ahead of us: Alice's red Prius with its Star Trek trimmings. A second later my phone rang. "Where y'all going?" "Sprouts." "We're going to Uncle Maddio's for lunch and then Sprouts." "Can we join you?" "Sure." As Miss Emily Baldwin said, "The nice thing about life is that you never know when there's going to be a party."

So we had lunch together. Uncle Maddio's does great build-it-yourselfs. We sat and chatted about Aubrey's adventures in baking (she made gnocchi for supper one night, and she now has a Kitchen-Aid blender), recommendations for an HVAC service provider and a chiropractor, and how Alice had gotten a usually obdurate acquaintance's goat. Then we went over to Sprouts. Alice had been there before, but Ken and Aubrey had not. As Alice said, you can be very bad there. We got cashews, my favorite chocolate coated honeycombs, pork bits and small steaks, some Yukon Gold potatoes, the elusive ghee, and a big container of chicken noodle soup for supper.

We parted ways then, and we got gasoline and picked up a paper, and then headed home. When we got in we fastened the new rubber bungees on, then I pulled my owner's manual out of the glove compartment and looked up how to replace my brake light (driving around on the freeway another week without one was not what I wanted). All I needed was a big standard screwdriver to unscrew the brake light cover—dang, it's plastic!—and then turn the fixture a quarter turn and the connection dropped out of the plastic housing. I unplugged the old bulb, pushed in the new, screwed the housing back on, and James checked it out to see if it worked, and it did. Once inside I shucked everything off for my tank top and shorts, and prepared to climb up on the blanket chest to replace the light bulb that had burned out in the ceiling fan fixture that morning.

Blast. We take the glass globe down every so often to clean the dust out of it, but we'd forgotten this thing takes small light bulbs, like the ones that go in the refrigerator. I called the closest place, Vickery Hardware, and they had some, so it was back on with the clothes and James drove and I went in.

Taking this globe off and putting it back on is sheer drama. James usually puts it up and takes it down, but he has been having balance problems this weekend any time he goes into the heat. So I got up there and discovered my acrophobia was in full force as long as I was staring upward with both hands in use over my head. I had to keep stopping to breathe. James had his hands around my waist to steady me. To get it off you have to unscrew a finial, then unscrew a nut with a washer. The nut is very skinny and there's nothing to hold the globe as it comes down. My hand, unlike James' hand, is too small to cradle it as it comes down, so I had to hold the edge. Putting it back up is worse because you have to thread the two pull cords, one for the light and one for the fan, through the holes in the globe and then thread the two separate parts, the nut and the washer, through the fan pull as well. I breathed a sigh of relief when it was finally time to screw that finial back on.

We spent what was left of the afternoon watching Time Traveling With Brian Unger and the two latest episodes of The Astronaut Wives Club, had the chicken soup for supper, read the paper on Sunday for once, and got the trash out by 9:30. Tucker had a longer walk than usual because he would not go out at suppertime when we usually walk him; some nitwit outside was shooting off fireworks.

While that was all going on I finally listened to all the nagging and updated the laptop to Windows 10. This mainly consisted of sitting around watching countdowns on my screen, until it finally finished. My God, you have to then go into settings and shut down just about everything if you're using it a laptop; I guess it would be different if you were using it as a tablet, because then you would need to have locations and e-mail service and Skype and all that. I must have spent fifteen minutes clicking switches to off, especially the ones about tailored ads and all that.

I had a bit of trouble when I tried to open my HTML editor, which is text-based and rather creaky, but I like it, but I went into the compatibility settings and fixed it up so it worked again. The only bad thing was that it ate more room on my hard drive; it's only 60GB.

[Update August 11: Arghhhh! One of the new lightbulbs blew out today!]

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» Saturday, August 08, 2015
Strange Saturday Night

I love not having an alarm clock on. So much. So very, very much.

No Farmer's Market today. James had his club meeting and by the time we arose it would have been too late for us to take our time at the market and still had him make it to lunch with the guys on time. We didn't really need anything, and Tucker still has half a bag of Big Daddy dog biscuits. So I perambulated the pooch and we had breakfast, and soon James was off.

I didn't know what I was going to do. I read a few more chapters of The Oregon Trail and then went in the kitchen to wash the dishes. It was a big mess in there and it took a half hour to clear the dry dishes and do all the washing and clean the sink. Tucker enjoyed himself being nosy out on the deck.

About noon I decided to run out to Dollar General to look for a little clock since I couldn't find the dollar ones at Ikea. The cheapest clock they had was $3 and larger than I wanted, so I drove on to the new Dollar Tree across from the Battle Ridge Kroger. Alas, they had no clocks at all, but I got the book Uggie (about the terrier in The Artist) for a dollar. Stopped at Dollar General again on the way home and bought the $3 one. I put that in the hall bath, replacing the more expensive $5 clock won't go anymore (once the second hand comes into conjunction with the minute hand it just sits and ticks in the same spot over and over again), and I put one of the two little Ikea clocks in the kitchen. I don't need a clock in the laundry room anyway; I try not to stay there long. :-)

Since I told a friend I would make her a copy of Doctor Simon Locke, I tried to finish up my own set. Ended up re-dubbing two episodes and then copying off the three missing ones to fill a disk, and now just have to do "Two Points of a Pitchfork." Tucker and I also had several games of fetch.

James came home with dinner about then, and, having sat with the cell phone next to me all day, missed the call I was waiting for when I went out to help him. Isn't that just typical?

We had Dragon 168 for dinner and for some reason I started watching the dopey "Svengoolie" feature on ME-TV, with Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff in the same movie. It was actually rather boring. Finally switched on the television browser, hit YouTube, and watched the first five episodes of Strange Paradise. This thriller Canadian serial was made in 1969-1970 on the heels of the success of Dark Shadows and involved an estate called Maljardin ("Garden of Evil"), its wealthy owner Jean-Paul Desmond, and his recently deceased wife Erica. Jean-Paul is so grief-stricken over Erica's death (she was pregnant and died from eclampsia) that he arranged to have her frozen cryonically. While in the crypt he finds a voodoo doll with a silver spike through its head; he removes it and releases the evil spirit of his lookalike ancestor Jacques Eloi Des Monde, who proceeds to start possessing his descendant. Raxl, the housekeeper, who's also a practitioner of voodoo, tries to help him, but to no avail. Now Erica's sister Allison has come to the island, asking many questions...

Cheesy, lovely stuff. I had a terrible crush on Colin Fox when I was fourteen, and he did tormented so well. It features a lot of familiar (at that time) Canadian actors including Dawn Greenhalgh (mother of Anne Megan Follows), Dan McDonald, and Jon Granik, who later turned up on Doctor Simon Locke.

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» Friday, August 07, 2015
Turn the Page and There's a Surprise

James had the day off today as compensation for working last Saturday. Thankfully, he hit Publix after his trip to the bank and his trip to Kaiser to pick up prescriptions. I guess I had a productive day at work, as I got an order out that had to be out today, and put two more orders in Will's box for signature. It's at that time of year that I am wondering if anything is really getting done, and thinking I am ready to proceed with something only to discover I need one more clearance or an updated quotation, and the sheer madness (along with the 80 degree temp in my office) makes me a bit crazy.

We had supper at the West Cobb Diner, and then did the Kroger shopping, so we are free for the weekend, except to go to Nam Dae Mun or one of the other ethnic markets, as James is out of ghee and we can probably use some roasted garlic teriyaki sauce, which none of the regular markets carry. (Not sure I want to go to Nam Dae Mun now, though, as today some drunken driver tore through the parking lot and apparently destroyed nine cars.)

I was thinking about working on a story tonight, but instead found myself immersed in Rinker Buck's book The Oregon Trail, the story of a man and his brother who travel by covered wagon pulled by mules to cover what is left of the Oregon Trail and see how the resulting decades have changed it, from places where the wagon ruts remain in the countryside (as Alistair Cooke showed in the "Gone West" episode of America) to the interstates. It's also a history lesson about mules, covered wagons, and more along the way, I'm sure, and he also talks some about his family. I hadn't really thought about his unusual name until I hit page 95 and he started talking about his father by his full name, Tom Buck.

And then it hit me. I knew this guy Rinker Buck. Oh, not in person, but from a book. In the 1960s Tom Buck, one time associate publisher of Look magazine, published a humorous memoir called But Daddy! about his multiple-child Catholic family. It was one of my favorite books in the Hugh B. Bain junior high school library, and ten or fifteen years ago I found a copy in a used bookstore (or maybe at a book sale, who knows). And I remember Rinker and Nick, and his brother Kernahan, and all the other kids including the cute little sister who got left on the potty seat one day and forgotten in the tumult of all the other kids. And now here I am reading Rinker's book. Absolutely gobsmacking!

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» Tuesday, August 04, 2015
The Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside my window...
...looks to be clear and hot again, but possibly cool enough this morning to be able to breathe properly while walking the dog. Now that school has started, I can take Tucker on his usual route (as long as the guy up the street isn't walking his deadly enemy the German Shepherd, that is).

I am thinking...
...about fall. Summer is worse on us every year. James can't even go out in the sun for long periods now without getting burned. Thankfully most of the things we like to do are in the fall or inside. My allergy has been a handful this year; I can't go outside without getting stuffed up. Could I be allergic to kudzu, too? There's a big patch of it growing near the retaining pond.

I am thankful...
...that James is better, but he's still not doing well. The steroids have his scores up and down in an alarming manner, even when he has just eaten meat and vegetables.

In the kitchen...
...dishes need to be washed. I don't know what to do about the dishwasher. Clearly the black stuff under the "self-cleaning" filter needs to be removed, but would wearing masks be enough? What if this is what triggered the hypersensitivity? He clearly got sicker when spring ended and summer started, when this gunk was building up.

I am wearing...
...usual summer teleworking wear: dark blue tank, light blue shorts, and socks so I can quickly change gears, put light pants on, and go walk the dog.

I am creating...
...a group gift for a family for Christmas, around an activity they like. Part of this involves painting a item and decorating it appropriately. A little stitchery will also be involved. Plus I'm working on a piece of fanfic that possibly only Liz and I will enjoy, but...what the heck. :-)

I am going...
...going a bit mad trying to figure out how to finish forty orders in a month. Gone are the halcyon days when I could whack eight orders out of the queue at one time; there is so much more paperwork involved now, mostly due to creeps like that jerk who used his Federal credit card for personal purposes.

I am wondering...
...seriously now about the dishwasher and its possible role in James' illness. Maybe it's even best to get a new one. There are perfectly serviceable dishwashers at Lowe's, including a low-end Bosch like the one we had in the old house, that aren't full of all these useless gadgets like "steam clean" and, the most useless of all, stainless steel exteriors. It baffles me why people are so het up about stainless steel exteriors and granite countertops.

I am reading...
...that book of lists I got off the B&N remainder table. I haven't laughed so hard since the last birthday get-together we all had, reading the list of ten conspiracy theories about the Catholic church. I was reading them aloud to James with tears of laughter blurring my eyes.

I am hoping...
...for cooler weather. That's all I ask. At this point, even 80 would be nice, although if I am feeling really down I go to the weather channel and look up the temperature in Auckland. It's about 50°F there now. Sounds divine!

I am looking forward to...
...DragonCon. Except for the heat and the crowds in the "habitrails" between the hotels. Usually I walk outside in the heat anyway, because it's so claustrophobic inside, especially on Saturday. We were watching Four Days at DragonCon on Saturday and them talking about how they don't know how many people actually attend! With computer registration? Are you serious? Shouldn't it be keeping track?

Around the house...
...quiet. Tucker disappeared into his "cave" after coming in from his walk. Snowy is sulking because I haven't put Leo Laporte on yet.

I am pondering...
...fragility. Heard anew of several people who are faced with breast cancer, including the daughter of my favorite cashier at Publix. A friend was in a bad car accident almost a month ago; she's having surgery for an injury next week. My team lead's husband's niece was in a terrible accident and isn't expected to live. Several other friends still fighting cancer. And James is still worrying me. Not just the lungs; he's still not sleeping properly. It causes all sorts of problems for him, although he so seldom complains (Saturday night it must have been just so bad).

:-( Sorry to be a downer.

A favorite quote for today...
Just to cheer up what is always gloomy summer:
“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”  — L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

One of my favorite things...
...the Doctor Simon Locke reruns, which ended on RetroTV on Friday without them having located the two missing episodes yet, but there's hope, since they found one. Also, a reliable "little bird" told me via e-mail that a DVD release of all of Police Surgeon is at least under consideration.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Work, and nothing but it. James has his club meeting on Saturday. We need to go to Sam's for Chex mix for my lunches because Costco doesn't carry it. Maybe they'll have some Skinny Pop, too. I was so desperate on Saturday that I nearly bought that dreadful Boom-Chicka-Pop stuff.

A peek into my day...
He looks like a little angel, doesn't he? What you can't see is that there's about ten holes in that blanket because he grabs it and shakes it like a rat. Wouldn't mind except for all the white fluff all over the floor!

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


» Sunday, August 02, 2015
Stories from the Inside

Well, at least I had 7 1/2 hours sleep. Still, I would have liked that extra half hour, but despite remaining in bed for another half hour, sleep would not come. James had awakened about that time, too, saying he was still feeling terrible, so I let him sleep, took Tucker out for a walk, then grabbed a BelVita bar and ran to Kroger. Figured James would not feel like making anything tonight, so bought some chicken legs, which I can't ruin, enough yogurt to "top off" until next payday, bread for my lunch sandwiches, mandarin oranges in juice (you can't find them at Publix), a newspaper, and two cheap dog collars. (I ought to explain. We walk Tucker on a flex leash. When we have to pick up "the remains," it's hard to juggle the rigid handle of the flex leash and the plastic bag, since sometimes it takes two hands to get the silly things open. I have elastic hair bands on the handles of the flex leashes to hang the leash on my wrist while I clean up, but sometimes Tucker goes off to sniff something and the elastic hair bands aren't strong enough to hold him. Hence the dog collars for "wristlets.")

James was up by the time I got home, still feeling punky. I needed a spare videotape, so I finally dubbed off the copy of the silent version of The Prisoner of Zenda I recorded literally years ago off TCM. In this version, Lewis Stone (the future Judge Hardy) is Rudolf Rassendyll and also the King of Ruritania, and Ramon Novarro is the roguish Rupert of Hentzau. The screenplay was written by Mary O'Hara (yes, as in My Friend Flicka; that's what she did for a living for a number of years, write "photoplays"). In the meantime, I took the RAM disk I recorded Doctor Simon Locke on and practiced cutting out commercials, which you can do on the RAM disks. In this way, I edited "Quiet Sunday" and "The Wanderer" and then, once Zenda was over, transferred them to videotape to go permanently on a DVD-R. But I'll get to that later, because the second part of "Two Points of a Pitchfork" needs serious editing.

(I looked into the possibility of getting more RAM disks. Goodness, the price! But then we won't have a DVR forever, either.)

I was cooking some chicken legs when Tucker needed to go out. I can report that the cheap dog collar worked fine except that it had no holes in it to put the tongue of the buckle in. I had to make one with my pocketknife. Now I know why they were so cheap! :-)

I've been spending the rest of the evening watching the last five episodes of Elementary. Yeah, I know, they aired months ago and I just haven't sat down to watch them. Sometimes too restless to sit down and give it the attention it needs. And so here comes the penultimate episode of the season, and there's Kevin O'Rourke. Always good to see a familiar face!

Oh, James got his Windows 10 update. He didn't do a clean install, and nothing much actually looks different except for the start menu, which is full of graphics. He did shut off those wifi security problems first!

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» Saturday, August 01, 2015
In Work and In Play

Another restless night, even though we went to bed a little later. I usually sleep best if I go to bed between midnight and one and get up the corresponding eight hours later. James wandered off to work at 7:30 and I tried to stay in bed for the entire eight hours and simply didn't make it. So it was time to perambulate the pooch and then, since I had nothing for lunch anyway, I went to Publix. I wanted a baguette and they had Brawny on sale.

The next thing I knew I had spent $73. How does that happen? Of course I got something for work lunches, and some crackers for DragonCon (all we need now are the buns and the meat for the sandwiches; we have sweets and juice boxes)—oh, and two fall magazines, the fall "Country Sampler" and the "Just Cross-Stitch" book of Hallowe'en designs. I actually saw a fall magazine last week ("Cottage Journal"), but it didn't have much "fall" to it, but all expensive home interiors. Now that it's August, we should start seeing the fall magazines come in. Civilization is out there somewhere!

When I got home, I finally checked e-mail, and found a whopper of a Michael's coupon, 40 percent off your entire purchase! I was all for running out again, then realized if I was going to have a coupon that good I wanted to go to a better Michaels than the one at Heritage Pointe or the one up at Town Center. Now, there's a nice big one at Hiram, but...

So I wandered through lunch, then spent the afternoon doing different chores along to instrumental Christmas music and David Huntsinger's "Autumn" album. Didn't get through with that until nearly 4:30. By this time it was Tucker's time out again, and I also read a little in the "Country Sampler Home Tours" magazine I've had hanging about for a while. (They aren't as good as they used to be, I think, which is why I haven't read through it at the gallop.) At six I got dressed, printed out the Michael's coupon, and waited for James to get home. Needless to say, he didn't offload the power chair, and we drove to Hiram for supper at Folks.

Then it was time to get down to work! Walked in and out of the aisles at Michaels, bought three Christmas gifts (two unassembled, but easily put together), a base for my Advent wreath, some floral foam, some artificial marigolds on clearance, and a few other bits and bobs, plus the caramel-filled chocolate bar I bought for dessert. All were covered by the coupon except for the clearance flowers.

Unfortunately, due to the late hour James got out, time taken by dinner, and time taken by Michael's, there was no time to go into Five Below. Pity. I like seeing what unique items they have.

Spent the evening mostly listening to music, reading Facebook, chatting to Emma, working on last night's blog entry, and playing fetch with the dog. About ten o'clock James came down with chills, we're not sure why. Despite the fact that the only time he was out in the sun was getting the power chair in the office, then out of the office, then driving to Hiram, he looked sunburned around the face and neck. The littlest bit of sun does this to him.

So we relaxed watching Four Days at Dragoncon and the followup Cosplay special until it was time for bed.

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