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, November 29, 2015

So we woke up at 8:30 a.m.! On a Sunday! Unheard of! So what shall we do?

Yeah! Get to Kroger early!

Even though we didn't arrive until an hour later, there were actually handicapped parking spaces available. We bought our necessities here; the milk had a familiar date on it: December 11. :-) Since we did get milk and some manager special meats and chicken drumsticks, we ran the perishables home quickly. We had a 25 percent off entire purchase coupon for CVS and needed BreatheRights, so we went there next, and then to Barnes & Noble with coupons in our hot little hands. We ended up not using them because the two books I saw were both half off for Black Friday weekend and James didn't see anything. I got the book about the making of Sherlock, and James bought me the new annotated Little Women just published (the author got permission to take pictures of Alcott's home and items, which you can't even do if you tour the house) for Christmas.

We were hungry by that time (those BelVita bars don't last long and it was almost one o'clock), but the bookstore had no good soups today, and we might as well buy some real food for the price of their sandwiches! So we checked out with our books and then went to Tin Drum for lunch. Now comfortably full, we walked (rolled) down to Bed, Bath & Beyond for James to get a new carbinator for his Soda Stream. This time he couldn't even find a bottle of the "Diet Coke" clone syrup. (He found out what happened when he got home and did some research: PepsiCo bought out Soda Stream. So there will be no more "Cola Free," the bottles will only hold 29 servings instead of 50, and they have to be refrigerated after opening. Leave it to big business to ruin everything.) We did bump into our neighbor Kristy in the store; she was waiting for her mother and her mother-in-law to quit oohing-and-ahhhing over everything.

Then James stopped by Best Buy for me. Big Bang Theory season eight was still at its Black Friday price, and I bought a new HDMI cable to replace a malfunctioning one. Finally we went by Publix to pick up this week's twofers.

Spent the afternoon reading the paper and tidying up some, and then it was time for John DeLancie as the devil on The Librarians. I loved the way Eve got him at the end!

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» Saturday, November 28, 2015
On a Painful Road to a Happy Reunion

Our plan for Friday morning: get up at seven, pack up the car and mount the bike carrier for the rollator, since there's no way to get in Bobby and Sherii's house with the power chair, load the fids, and get on the road. Then we'd make a quick stop at Best Buy where I'd run inside to pick up season eight of Big Bang Theory (since they were open yesterday evening, I expected it to be like last year, totally dead on Black Friday morning itself), maybe a stop at Office Depot and I'd run in for a wireless mouse, and then a quickie stop at Barnes & Noble because all magazines were 30 percent off (a big help with those British cross-stitch magazines—but we could also stop at the one in Spartanburg if we arrived early).

Well, so much for that. Neither of us got more than a few winks of sleep. James' leg twitch has suddenly become intensely painful, like a muscle cramp, and he had been feeling terrible after we arrived home last night, just wiped out and tired, and I just kept waking up, and waking up, and waking up, getting progressively more frustrated that I was so tired but could not sleep. I shut the alarm off after the fourth visit to the bathroom. We finally got up after nine, after having managed two more hours of sleep on top of four, made a decision to carry one, tossed everything in the car, leashed Tucker in the back and sat Snowy in the front with his carry box, picked up lunch (since it was after eleven by the time we left the house), and marched on. Now, Gaffney, SC, where James' sister and brother-in-law live, is pretty much a cinch, straight up I-85, a little bit over three hours. But James was not only still in pain, but evidently something he ate didn't agree with him. He started driving, but we had to swap off at Commerce because his leg was cramping so badly. We decided we'd stop in Anderson, SC, just over the line, to make a final decision whether to go or stay.

James had a long restroom visit in Anderson, but his leg had un-kinked a bit and we went on, and he eventually was able to drive the last hour into Gaffney. We stopped once for gas (25 cents a gallon cheaper in SC!) and I walked Tucker both there and at Anderson, and Snowy sang for four solid hours to the mirror in his carry box, and we listed to an episode of "A Way With Words" and half of "The Tech Guy," and then Gaelic Storm during James' last leg. We were staying at the Quality Inn just off an exit north of the Gaffney Tanger outlet mall. It was a plain old motel room, clean and basic, with some handicap options. We did not need the little tray I'd put into the trunk and instead put Snowy's cage on the desk/table in the room and tilted the television so he could watch, but I half-covered him in hopes he would chill out a little. Once we were settled inside I took Tucker for another walk.

We found out Sherii's place was just down the road about twelve miles from our motel; we just went out the back of the parking lot and turned left. We asked them if we could bring Tucker along; this was his first motel and we were unsure if he would bark. They said sure; they have a boxer named Bristol who is very mellow.

They live way out in the country; we've been out here at least once, years ago, but we didn't remember the way. The GPS did the trick this time, and took us past homes with sprawling yards against an absolutely stunning orange-red-and-purple sunset, and then past big open farm fields, one full of unharvested cotton, one where the farmer was just driving his cultivator off the field and back home, and soon we had arrived.

One of the reasons we wanted to visit is that James' mom and sister had gone up there for Thanksgiving, and Nicki (his sister's daughter) and her husband Vinny and their new baby Maxon had driven down from New Jersey for the holiday. Sherii's daughter was also there with her new baby, Cathy. So we had a big dinner of Thanksgiving leftovers, and we got to meet Max, who's a real smiler. He stared with big eyes at Tucker. I was very amused to listen to Nicki, who is the quintessential southern girl, now talking with a New Jersey accent! She has become a sweet mother. Tucker also had a good time, although he and Bristol mainly seemed to indulge in those doggy mutual sniffing activities that seem to be essential in canine society. He tried to get her to play, but she was tired out from company, and he was all energized from having been cooped up in the car all afternoon.

Finally started to zone out about nine o'clock and went back to the motel. Walked Tucker again and spent the rest of the evening surfing Barnes & Noble's and Amazon's sites to use up their Black Friday coupons. Got the new Revels CD and a mystery book from Amazon and the history book Death by Petticoat from B&N. Sorry we didn't get to the Spartanburg store, but it was twenty miles back and we were wiped. I like to go to bookstores and look in their local interest section for books about the area.

Amazingly, we both actually slept, which most times is odd in strange beds, although after Thursday night's debacle I would have expected to pass out as soon as I hit the (really teeny) pillows. I woke up a few times, at first cold and turned up the A/C and then too hot and turned it back down, and once used the bathroom, and once someone thumped on the ceiling and another time there was a thump in the next room. Urgh. Unfortunately James woke up with a lot of pain and cramping from his leg. Sherii had invited us back over this morning, and we almost passed on it, but God knows when we'll see Nicki and Vinny again, so we availed ourselves of the free breakfast (not bad: toast, eggs, bacon, waffles, three kinds of cereal, instant oatmeal and grits, two kinds of juice, and, oh goodness, milk in gallons instead of those puny little pints), packed up the car, loaded up the fids, checked out, and then drove back out to their place. It turned out all the young folks save one (Nicki, Vinny, Jessicca, etc) had some kind of stomach complaint and were all abed, so it was just Mom, Sherii, Bobby, Candy (taking care of Max), James and I talking (Jessicca did emerge with baby Cathy eventually, but then she went back to lie down before she had to drive home). Tucker had better luck in enticing Bristol to play this morning, and they romped about; Tucker would come trotting back to me with this big doggy grin every so often. When he wasn't playing, he was leaping up on the back of the sofa—Sherii said it was okay—to look out the front window, as if he were some crazy cat. I had Snowy on my knee for a while, then put his carry box on a tray next to James. He sang his little heart out and Bristol sat in front of his box, cocking her head trying to figure out what was making that funny chirping noise.

We left about noon. The one thing I wanted to do before getting on the road was to stop at the Gaffney outlet and run quickly into the Hanes store and get some new socks; mine have been getting picked off one by one with little holes in the sole or the anklet part. James wanted some new briefs as well. But by the time we got to Tanger his leg was hurting badly again. The place was packed, but by using the "Points Inside" app, I found the exact building the store was in and found a parking space about halfway down the row down from it. James got out and stretched out the leg while I ran in and bought the socks and underwear; they were all 25 percent off.

It was a rotten drive home (except for the weather; it was sunny and warm yesterday, but slightly overcast today, at least until we drove into Georgia). When I first saw the mileage sign outside of Gaffney that said "Atlanta 169 miles" I wanted to cry because I didn't think we could make it. James was in so much pain he couldn't keep his leg still. We finally had to put Snowy's carry box between us. (This was very funny sometimes because we had part of the box covered with a flannel shirt. I would look down when it was safe to do so and I would see Snowy's cute little face and those black button eyes staring back up at me. Yes, he sang the whole way home again, accompanying another episode of "A Way With Words," the rest of "The Tech Guy" with his favorite radio host Leo Laporte, and more Gaelic Storm, except after it got dark.) James' intestinal problem was still acting up, so we stopped several times to use the rest room, once when we stopped for gas, once back at Anderson where James picked up some sugarless candy and enough peppermint bark for occasional desserts to last until next Christmas. By that time I'd done a turn driving, he'd gotten the leg calmed down enough to take an hour's turn. Our last stop was just before Commerce, where the big Georgia outlet mall is (a huge place, set on both sides of the road, unlike the Tanger in Jonesboro and the North Georgia Premium Outlets in Cumming). From there it should have been 74 easy miles back to Atlanta.

Like bloody hell. Traffic jammed up just before and after Commerce, and before and after every stupid shopping mall (Sugarloaf Mills and Mall of Georgia) because of the marching morons doing their Black Friday shopping. Plus it was sunset. Apparently half the drivers in Georgia have no idea what to do with a sun visor. Ten to twenty miles per hour every single time the freeway faced into the sun. The only mall that didn't block traffic was Gwinnett (which I suspect is a sad commentary on the state of that mall). By the time we got home it was after six. Six hours to do a trip that should have been four hours with stops. Damn.

We got Snowy set up back in his cage on the bookcase, and Tucker back in the dining room, and brought in just what we needed for tonight (the suitcase and the dirty clothes and Tucker's bedding and food dishes), and we took the rollator and the bike rack off the car. James ordered Chinese for us and we watched the news and then switched to our usual "Christmas Starters": the "Merry Gentleman" episode of All Creatures Great and Small, and the holiday episodes of To the Manor Born and The Good Life. This was the only reason we stayed up as late as we did (11:30). For Saturday night, that's practically in bed with the chickens for us.

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» Thursday, November 26, 2015
Just the Usual (and the Happiest)

And so another Thanksgiving tradition begins the day: I'm up and off to the QT for a Thanksgiving newspaper. It's 8:30 and the place is remarkably crowded. I'm home just a few minutes after nine, so I just have to back up the DVR a few minutes to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from the beginning. And that was the morning, reading the paper, watching the parade, tidying things, while James cooked corn casserole, green bean almondine, and something for his breakfast. Then came the dog show, and then came the best part of the day, Thanksgiving dinner with friends. Leigh Boros and her fiancee Robby hosted the feast; we had two kinds of turkey, fork-tender pot roast, James' contributions, Ron's mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and other goodies, plus two types of pie for dessert and an apple pudding and small homemade pecan pies. But as good as the food is, the talk and the company is always better. There were football discussions and retirement chat and even some political banter. The game ran in the background, people wandered in and out of the kitchen to get another nibble, and the talk went on until there was none left.

We came home early to finish packing for our overnight tomorrow. I got the dog crate and the tray for the birdcage in the trunk of the car and the protective cover over the back seat and remembered to pull James' hat, sunglasses, and the handicapped parking tag out of the truck.

I give thanks today:
for James, who keeps me from going crazy (even though sometimes he makes me crazy ;-) )
for Tucker, who can always make me laugh
for Snowy, who sings his sweetest songs (even if he's turned into Vampire Budgie)
for family and friends, however far, for being a sweet part of our lives (and, trust me, I am still thankful for everyone who helped us move, both times, every. single. Thanksgiving.)
for our "fid sitter" for this year's vacation, Aubrey Spivey
for "the helpers," as Fred Rogers called them, those who serve every day, overtime, without sleep, the police, the firefighters, the 911 operators, the emergency room folks, the emergency vet, the Armed Services, the service organizations
for my team lead, for infinite patience in the face of "damn, I've been doing this job for thirteen years that-was-a-dumb-mistake I-should-know-better" actions
I know it's silly, but to SFM and RetroTV, for giving me back Doctor Simon Locke...because, honestly, that was the happiest gift of the year.

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» Wednesday, November 25, 2015
The Hurrier I Go...
I dimly heard James get up for work and went back to sleep. Had a rotten dream about being stuck at the airport (James had to fly home early because of an emergency, which was bad enough), which finally drove me out of bed for pooch perambulation and breakfast. Was eating and watching what is possibly the worst episode of Lassie ever ("The Horsenappers," from the final season, with two "villains" whose combined IQ was probably lower than the dog's) so I could add the summary to my website when James texted me and said he thought he was suffering from some type of stomach flu. A few minutes later he said he was coming home. All this after he had to leave work early yesterday because the lift for the chair wasn't working properly and left early Monday to go to the chiropractor.

I still had to get through my "to do" list for the day. First I pulled all the reusable bags and the emergency box and "Fred the traveling pillow" and such out of the car. By then James was arriving home, looking quite miserable. I left him to take some medicine and relax, grabbed a towel and put Tucker on his leash, and took him to the dog wash. There was a lady washing her big dog there; she told me he was half husky and half pit bull. I think she said his name was Teck. He was wailing and complaining throughout the whole procedure. Tucker just sat and looked aggrieved. A half hour later I was exhausted but he was as shiny as a penny and full of energy. I bought him a new tug toy and we went on to the car wash by way of CVS so I could pick up something for James.

I'd worn short sleeves because I knew bathing Tucker would be warm work; I cooled down considerably while waiting for them to clean out the inside of the car. It hasn't been washed or vacuumed since before last year's vacation and still has road salt from Gatlinburg on it; I shouldn't have left it so long. A man stopped and talked to me about Tucker; he sells the microchips so you can chip your dog. It was clouded over at that point and the wind had a keen edge.

Finally Tucker and I were on the way home. I found James had eaten some soup and was trying to rest, but still looked tired. It was almost two o'clock, so I put all the things back into the car and then went upstairs to have the leftover beef bits from last night for lunch. About quarter past two, James got dressed and I went with him to Kaiser. He discovered yesterday that he had reordered all of his pills except for his glypizide and would be completely out this morning, so yesterday he had called up Kaiser, told them the problem, and they said they would have the pills ready for him this afternoon. He also had to pick up his back and hip x-rays to take to the chiropractor when he goes back.

Well, picking up the x-rays was easy. They give them to you on a DVD. But they didn't have the pills ready as they said they would, and we had to go upstairs, talk to the med tech, and James had to get examined before they called the prescription downstairs.

Had leftover rotisserie chicken for supper with Bear Creek pasta, watched Doctor Simon Locke, Make Room for Daddy, and Jeopardy, then some Christmas programs running on getTV: a Bing Crosby special, a Perry Como special with Rich Little and the Carpenters, and a Danny Kaye with Peggy Lee, Harvey Korman, and Harold Gould. Oh, and finished washing the dog's bedding, and loaded the dishwasher, and fixed a bit of jewelry and wrapped some baby gifts.

And then finally I put on The Thanksgiving Treasure—because it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it. I love Addie Mills; she is the child of my heart, the one I never had.

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» Sunday, November 22, 2015
Our Kind of Clubbing

"What time is it?" I said to James. He returned, "Quarter to eleven." Pause. "No, ten to eleven." "Say what????"

Well, so much for getting to Sam's Club early.

I walked Tucker and then we both grabbed a BelVita bar and headed for Sam's Club. Luckily we found a working power cart. Instead of renewing our old membership, James did something on Groupon and got us a new membership which came with a $20 gift card and some free stuff. We used the card today. Bought an almanac, the "Cooks Illustrated" yearbook, four pair of long socks, milk, low-dose aspirin (two years' worth for $5!), some gravy mix, and one of our freebies, a rotisserie chicken. (This is a huge chicken. Really. When we went to Publix, their rotisserie chickens were almost $3 more and looked like they were on a starvation diet.) We wandered among the electronics, not that we need anymore, just to look, same with the books. I was really taken by the socks; I haven't had a pair of decent knee socks in years. You wear them a couple of times and they start falling down. These are thick boot socks and feel really warm. Think I'll try a pair tomorrow morning, when it's supposed to be about freezing.

Tried some sparkling water. Ew. People drink this? It's so bitter! Also some vanilla ice cream on some type of cake. The cake was awful, like sugary glue. When I like vanilla ice cream better than cake, it is too sweet, because I really despise vanilla ice cream.

It was so chilly out we just piled stuff in the truck without care for insulated bags and went to Publix. They had a bunch of stuff on BOGO (soups, dessert biscuits, canned fruit, etc.) and we went through the list methodically via the Publix app (you pick out what you want and the store you're shopping at and it shows you where everything is by aisle). Met two of our neighbors in the store, picked up a newspaper, and enjoyed talking to the cashier, who said this would be his first Thanksgiving off in four years (he used to work at Walmart).

It took a while to put all the junk away, but finally it was all put up and we could change and relax. We had House Hunters on all afternoon, with one family in Louisiana, another in Maine, another in Baltimore. I wasn't sure if I liked one family until they showed them at the end of the episode with their pet budgie! :-)

We had the leg quarters of the rotisserie chicken for supper along with buttered potatoes, and later watched the lighting of the Christmas tree at Macy's at Lenox Mall, and then this week's episode of The Librarians, which made me cry, and actually added some humanity to Moriarty. Next week: John deLancie appearing as the Devil! Finally, the Thanksgiving episode of Alaska: the Last Frontier.

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» Saturday, November 21, 2015
Up North for a Spell

Oh, damn, it couldn't be 8:30 already.

It was. And despite getting up at that time, we still didn't make it out the door until 10:30. I can't imagine how dog-walking and breakfast takes so long.

We drove up to Chattanooga today to go to McKay's and trade in a couple of boxes of books. It was a very pretty day for a ride, and we listened to the Thanksgiving show on "The Splendid Table" and half of "A Way With Words" segment. We did pretty well; we came home with half a box of discards, which shall go to the library for the book sale, and got enough credit to buy the scant box we came home with and still have $10/credit left over. I bought a huge book (8 1/2x11 1/2) for only 75 cents called American Manners and Morals, The Scent Trail which I heard the author speak about on "Travels with Rick Steves," a Bennett Cerf compilation, Strange Red Cow (about odd classified ads from colonial times), a history of Paper, a "Dear America" about an African-American girl who must go to an integrated school for the first time, and a British book about the Christmas truce. I also got five Christmas CDs: one of carols from St. Martins-in-the-Fields, "Christmas Night" by the Cambridge Singers (medieval carols), Scott Miller playing carols on hammered dulcimer, "Guitar Winterlude," and Morton Gould conducting three symphony orchestras. (Yes, the Morton Gould.) They had all the Christmas CD's out front and made that very easy. Wasn't interested in any of the Christmas DVDs; most of the Christmas books were romances.

James got a book of paper planes, two John Ringo fantasies, two L. Neil Smith books, and Bill Engvall's biography. We also mutually bought Scott Carpenter's book because we didn't have it.

By the time we finished it was almost three o'clock and we hadn't eaten, so we went back to City Café for lunch. We had gone there last  year and really enjoyed our meal. To our delight they had the same chicken soup as last year. Instead of putting noodles in their chicken noodle soup, they use spaghetti. My mom and aunts and grandmothers used to do this, so eating it brings back a lot of nice memories. James had a shepherd's pie and I had an open-face turkey sandwich. I was as stuffed as the turkey would be when I finished. Brought most of the tater tot side home for James to make eggs with. We also ordered some of the soup to bring home for tomorrow night's supper, and took our dessert home as well.

We'd planned to stop at the Hamilton Mall's Barnes & Noble because, frankly, they have a better selection of books than any of the stores in Atlanta! However, there were clouds moving in and rain on the horizon, and we were afraid for the books riding out in the back of the truck. Plus I'd forgotten our coupons. So we headed south, listening to the rest of one "A Way With Words," plus another. There was another lovely sunset, though not as spectacularly red as last night, and this one was attractively layered between grey clouds. Traffic was great until we got close to home; they were turning people around on Delk Road, so we had to go home through Cobb Parkway and Windy Hill Road, both which were clotted with cars.

Didn't have our cake until much later. The pieces were so big we had to carve off only a portion, and I still couldn't finish mine. Sort of watched a Rosemary and Thyme episode (we've seen the whole series) and Keeping Up Appearances and As Time Goes By, and now are watching This Old House.

Tucker was going crazy a little while ago, barking at the back door and the side window. I went out on the deck with the big flashlight, but didn't see a thing. [Later: Aha. That was what the row was all about. The bunny is back.]

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» Friday, November 20, 2015
Taking Care of Business

It was time to get some things done today. Like sleep. I love sleep. I love it so much I managed to sleep through a half hour of my phone alarm repeating "Time to get up, sir."

Then it was dog walking time followed by breakfast, dishwasher duty and bathroom basics. I let Tucker out on the porch for a while until it was time for me to go to the mechanic. I had the car's oil changed and had it inspected so we can renew our license plates. They already had their Christmas decorations up! I was the only one there, so spent the 40 minutes reading my "Country Living."

Headed home about 11:45 and eventually had lunch. About 2:30 the guy showed up to service the furnace. He checked out the A/C as well, and even changed the intake filter upstairs, which is the one James hates to do because he has to get up on the ladder.

I spent the most of the day finishing up, spellchecking, and then formatting a piece of fanfiction I've been working on for over a month. I had just finished uploading it to our domain and was leashing Tucker for his walk when James arrived home. To my surprise, he pointed to a red and black bag sitting on our garbage can: the tech from the HVAC company had left his tools behind. I called the folks back; turned out we were his last call and he'd gone home. They said they'd have him call us tomorrow; trouble is, I don't want to stay home because he forgot his tools and has to come pick them up!

We had supper at Hibachi Grill and then went to Target in the forlorn hope that they still had a toy I bought Tucker a year ago and which he has just now broken (for Tucker that's a record long time to have a toy and not have broken it!). A forlorn hope indeed because I bought it on clearance, and yes, nothing like it except for a toy made for a much larger dog.

I did find the cutest little LED-lighted tiny (6 1/2 inches tall) bottle-brush Christmas tree. It's adorable. I don't know what I'm going to do with it, but I've already named it "Tim."

Noticed there were lights on in the old East-West Connector Borders store, with one of the inside doors left open. Is someone moving in? I bet it's a stinky old shoe store or something clothes-y. Yuck. What we need is a Books-a-Million. Or a computer store. Or another crafts store. Anything but crappy apparel.

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» Sunday, November 15, 2015
Happy Autumn Sunday

It's always a pleasure to sleep in a freshly-changed bed. It was nice and chilly last night; I even had to pull up the fleece to support the comforter, so I was like a little dormouse in his nest when I awoke this morning.

We got a late start because we were both finishing up reading books this morning: James had the new David Weber, and I was re-reading an old favorite, City Boy: the Adventures of Herbie Bookbinder by Herman Wouk. It was his second book written, the one before he gained success with The Caine Mutiny, the story of Herbie, who's growing up in the 1920s Bronx, a chubby and bookish eleven-year-old who arouses taunts from his classmates, including bullying Lenny Krieger, the son of his father's partner in the ice business, and even sometimes from his teachers. As the book opens, Herbie's had his heart broken by his "crush," his schoolteacher, who was married over a school break, but soon another siren has has stolen his heart, red-haired Lucille Glass. Soon he'll do anything to be with Lucille, including skiving off the movies in favor of the museum, and talking his parents into sending him to camp. It's by turns funny and sad and thoughtful. In addition, while Herbie moves in his own childish world, there's also an adult subplot going on, as a larger company is trying to buy out Mr. Bookbinder's ice business. He's one of those literary kids you never forget.

So finally we were off to Publix, buying twofers as well as items for Thanksgiving. They had milk on sale, and we almost didn't have to go to Kroger; unfortunately they don't stock a personal item James needs and also don't sell the burritos he likes. So we brought the milk and the BOGO pork chops home, then went to Kroger. Kroger's aisles are full of baking items that only come out at Christmas, and they already have tinsel Christmas trees outside on the light poles of the parking lot!

And that was it! We came home! We put the groceries away! We changed clothes and sat down and relaxed and read the paper. James and Tucker fell asleep, and the Birthday Boy sang (Snowy is two years old today) and I listened to instrumental Christmas music and re-read James Baker's Thanksgiving: The Biography of an American  Holiday. (I completely had forgotten he quoted from one of my web pages in this book.) Later James had leftover pizza for summer and I had a frozen dinner I got from Kroger. It was okay, but the rice side, even though it had no green veggies in it at all, tasted bitter as if it contained broccoli or cauliflower. Weird.

While James warmed up the dinner in the microwave, I took Tucker out for his early evening walk. Outside, the twilight was Navy blue with scattered grey mackerel clouds, a little golden quarter moon floating in the southern sky, temps in the mid-50s, the scent of burning firewood heavy in the air...what bliss! I know 100 years ago, especially somewhere on a homestead claim out west as in Hattie Little Sky, autumn would mean the hardships of winter approaching, and it would be daunting thinking of facing blizzards on the prairie. But having been surrounded by civilization all my life, fall evenings make me feel warm and cozy, like being enfolded in flannel, with thoughts of frolics (Thanksgiving! Apple Annie! The Christmas Tour of Homes! etc.) to come.

Later: The Librarians (introducing a new subplot for Cassandra) and Alaska: the Last Frontier (a "new" clip show with clips from last year—WTF?).

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» Saturday, November 14, 2015
Booked Solid

Isn't it odd? No matter what happens, the sun still rises, chores have to be done, and life goes on. But you're always aware that somewhere in Paris, a family is without a daughter or a father, that somewhere in Beirut—a story we didn't even hear because the clamor from Europe was so great—families have been broken up by death, that somewhere in the world violence has occurred. Why so much hate? Will there ever be an answer to that question? I wish I knew it.

The news was still full of Paris this morning. I walked Tucker and we had breakfast, then James headed off to his club meeting. I had coupons for several places and was hoping to get on the road early enough to get back early. Well, one can plan, anyway.

I went to JoAnn, but the place looks sorrier every day. They no longer let you use coupons on magazines, either, so I reluctantly left behind a nifty cross-stitch super-issue. I just bought a couple of tinsel garlands because some of ours are looking tatty (the new ones were half-price or I wouldn't have bought them) and a coupon on a paint pen to use on an Advent project.

I bought a basket at Michael's (40 percent off) to put a gift in, and just a part to make a personalized bookmark for someone. I hate going to the cross-stitch aisle in Michael's any longer; it's short and has hardly anything in it but DMC thread. I couldn't even find pattern books or kits!

Then for something nicer: I headed for Barnes & Noble. They were having a coloring event, and, sure enough, all the people sitting there were adult women. I remember when I used to do this, way back; I called it my "therapy." A friend of mine still does it. I don't really have time anymore: I want to write or blog or tidy or work on crafts, and it seems so much time is spent on "tidy." Anyway, I found the Christmas issue of "A Primitive Place" and the November/December "Landlove." All that's left of my annual Yuletide reading is the Christmas issue of "Landscape." It will be sad where the fall and Christmas things make way for Valentine's Day and then for spring.

(November is going by too quickly! Here it is half-past the month already. Summer crawls by like a constipated sloth, but every nice autumn day lasts about ten minutes.)

I checked for low-priced DVDs at CD Warehouse, but nothing struck my eye. I would have bought Mr. Holmes had it been in stock.

Well, I'd picked up the new "Year-Round Christmas" mystery paperback and the newest Chicken Soup for the Soul Christmas volume with half my coupons, but they didn't have the one book I was looking for. So instead of heading home the way I intended, I plodded through the now-populous Barrett Parkway traffic. I wanted to stop at Five Below to stock up on some Reese's Dark cups for desserts, since they're now the only place that carries them, but made the mistake of turning at 2nd and Charles, and you know I had to go in. :-) I found a "Dear America" book I hadn't read, plus a used but serviceable copy of On Crusade: More Tales of the Knights Templar, which has a Sir Adam Sinclair story in it that I hadn't read. I wish "The Adept" series was still going! We were promised at least one more, about Adam's mother Philippa working with Sir John Grey (from Katherine Kurtz's fabulous Lammas Night) during the Second World War. Plus I picked up a sweet book called Christmas at the Lighthouse, which features the Flying Santa. I've been fascinated by stories about lighthouse keepers' children ever since I read "Maudie Tom, Jockey."

Made my stop at Five Below and bought also some tiny styluses (styli?). The usual ones seem so big for my e-reader.

To skirt traffic, I headed back to Barrett Parkway by way of Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. I wanted to park and take some pictures, but had to resign myself to stopping in the parking lot and shooting some fast shots since the park was simply overflowing with people all out enjoying the nice high-50s weather, from the silver-haired to the babes in arms. The colors are very muted. I had high hopes for good fall color here, and when we got home from vacation we still had that promise, but the week of rain thwarted that! Only the golds are still brilliant and near sunset the whole world seems golden under the blue sky.

So I went back to the West Cobb Barnes & Noble (we were here last night, but I had misplaced a set of coupons), and since it was almost three o'clock, had a cup of soup. The cafe was clotted with the usual assortment of people doing homework, reading the magazines for free over a cup of coffee, and giggly teenagers, but I managed to find a seat and read more about the aftermath in Paris until the soup was gone. Would you believe no one has put the cart full of new magazines on the shelves since James and I were here last night? Anyway, I finished up the coupons with Always Truly, a juvenile mystery set in New Hampshire, and Schultz's The Hired Girl, which is based on the true experiences of the author's grandmother in escaping an abusive home and going out "for hire" while trying to get an education.

I came home through West Sandtown Road, which, despite the developments, seems to have held on to its country flavor, especially in the one bit of land with two horses pastured on it, and the big expanse of water at "Addie's Pond." The sun was already lowering and flickering through what was left of the gold-and-green leaves and the ragged edges of the pine branches.

I pulled in the driveway just five minutes before James arrived home from his meeting.

We had supper at Tin Drum and then went to Microcenter, since James had a free coupon for a 16GB storage drive (in any format: thumb drive or card; he got a mini-SD card for his e-reader). I broke down and bought a Logitech universal remote and spent the rest of the evening programming it. As I expected, our superannuated Kenwood receiver is too old to respond to it, but I can get to everything else more or less, even the Smart Hub stuff like Tune In radio.

Stayed up a little to talk to Emma and then it was off to bed. I'd stripped the bed this morning and changed it between programming the remote, and the room was so nice and cool, and fresh sheets always are so wonderful.

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» Friday, November 13, 2015
Friday the 13th

I'd complain about my morning, but after hearing the news this evening, almost forgetting my wallet and getting stuck in traffic seems like a world away.



» Sunday, November 08, 2015
Into Every Life a Little Rain Must Fall...But This is Ridiculous

So here we are, a whole weekend with no obligations! We can shop as we like and play as we like!

As long as we wanted to do it in the rain, that is.

It rained all weekend. It drizzled and it poured, it rained tiny misty droplets and it rained pea-sized drops, and the only difference between Saturday and Sunday is that the temperature dropped 20 degrees Saturday night and made Sunday not only damp and miserable, but cold and damp and miserable. Oh, and it's supposed to rain on Monday, too. We weren't sure if we should start building an Ark or buy water wings and a snorkel for the truck. And of course there was the additional problem of keeping the power chair dry.

Saturday we had a nice plan that was scuttled a bit from the beginning: we had $10 worth of Hallmark coupons and a 30 percent off for Betsy's Hallmark. So our original plan was to go to the Michael's at East Cobb and also Trader Joe's and Betsy's, all in close proximity to one another. Except there was no parking at all outside the Hallmark store; the handicapped spots were taken and no spaces close, and we're not supposed to get the chair too wet. So we skipped Hallmark; just went to Michael's where I bought a few things for craft projects, and then to Trader Joe's where we stocked up on a few things for the Thanksgiving/Christmas seasons: peppermint JoJos, peppermint bark, and peppermint creams. (We'll actually buy more of those a few more times so we can have JoJos—they're like Oreos—or bark during the spring and summer as alternative desserts.) Got James more edamame crackers and fruit bars (sadly, the pumpkin ones have already been pulled and the cranberry not out yet).

James was fed up with the horrible cover he bought for so much money to cover the power chair, so we didn't even put it on today. Instead we used the two smaller tarps we had, one horizontally, one vertically, and it covered the chair pretty well, especially when we folded the seat-back down, but we needed a bigger one. We had a 15 percent off coupon to Ollie's Bargain Outlet, so we headed cross town, hitting the Krystal for something to eat before going to the store. We got an 8x10 tarp and also some rope to tie it down with, plus found a cute gift and I picked up two bargain books of Sherlock Holmes short stories.

We also stopped at the used book store on Mableton Parkway. I found a gift for someone and decided to try to read Two Crowns for America again. I couldn't get into it when it was first released.

By the time we got home, we were damp and tired. We kinda zoned for a while, then ordered Chinese food for supper. Honey teriyaki wings were quite satisfactory. I wasn't interested in watching television because the rain was driving my sinuses berserk and I needed to take my glasses off. So I put on yesterday's surprise—Dish has the Christmas music channels on and "Holly" has started on SiriusXM—and read until bedtime.

This morning we slept very late, even though we were in bed early for a Saturday night, ate breakfast quickly, and then about our very damp errands. It wasn't misting today, nor were there breaks in the rain; it was just steady rain and miserably damp. First we needed to hit Kroger for milk and bread for my work sandwiches; they didn't have the latter and I had to get Kaiser rolls. Also got some cucumbers, egg rolls on sale so we could have an "egg roll mania" for supper one night, and some sale cube steak which James will cook tomorrow.  I went in while James filled up the truck, so we didn't have to take down the power chair. Then we stopped at Walmart to return the pants we bought last month. The 8x10 tarp we got at Ollie's is working fine, but is too big, so we got a 6x8 one there and more bungee cords.

Next we went to Bed, Bath & Beyond to use two coupons that are expiring tomorrow. This time we did take the power chair inside, and it was a wet job getting it "unwrapped" as the wind just scudded across the big parking lot at Akers Mill and belled that tarp out like a sail. Between the rain and the wind—we hadn't reckoned it would be windy and were chilly in a light jacket and a flannel shirt, respectively—we were glad to head across the street to get inside Barnes & Noble, where we'd planned to have a hot chocolate at the cafe. Instead, we were good and had chicken soup instead. The store was packed. There were high school/college kids all over the store, including sprawled in front of the magazine racks, doing their homework, a Maker Fair going on upstairs, and older people just taking refuge in the warmth. We just managed to get a table.

This time James found more than I: David Weber had a new tome out and he also got a Larry Correia book. I was looking for one of the two cozy mysteries I'd seen on Friday, one about a year-round Christmas town named Rudolph, the other a Christmas mystery taking place in a small town where the main character is the postmistress. I couldn't find either of them in this store! However, I did pick up The Humbug Murders, a Christmas mystery about Ebenezer Scrooge (in his younger days) solving a crime.

There's a great anniversary book out about the making of the Back to the Future films, but, yow, the price!

So we wouldn't have to mess with the chair, just I went inside. Cumberland Mall's food court was crammed with people and filled with the delectable scents of Chinese, Japanese, and Cajun fast food. I just went downstairs to Hallmark and picked out Thanksgiving cards to use my coupons on, but this cute Jim Shore turkey/pumpkin/apple bushel figure caught my eye and I couldn't resist him. Look at that smug face! He looks like he was a budgie in a previous life! (I did not pay that much for him, either. Sometimes online isn't cheaper!)

By the time we got home and dragged everything in the house (yes, the milk was fine after being in the back of the truck all afternoon; that's how cold it was!), we were pretty beat. James used some of the kaiser rolls to make grilled cheese sandwiches and we had that and hot Italian wedding soup for supper. Then it was time for The Librarians and Alaska: the Last Frontier.

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» Friday, November 06, 2015
Time is Relative

Like this week: glacial progression. And then Friday goes by in the wink of an eye.

Naturally, since I could sleep late, I kept waking up every two hours needing a drink. Once dogwalking and breakfast were safely past, I could get a couple of chores done. One was cleaning off the double sinks in the master bath. I hate doing this because it takes "forever." I timed it; it was less than 25 minutes, and this included cleaning the drinking glasses. I also cut out two weeks of coupons and put some aside which coincided with twofers at Publix. Put some other things up (not near enough) and then about noon went out.

It had been raining...of course...again...quite vigorously during the night, and there was a lot of standing water about. They warn you about this on the news, so when I got to the impressive-looking pond on Macland Road north of Powder Springs Road, I did slow down. The honking big SUV next to me sped up and plowed through the water like he was a locomotive through snow. His backwash drenched the front of my car so much that I had to stop because water was fountaining down the windshield and I couldn't see through the waterfall.

Did I mention I had the windows of the car open? Not only did my left side get soaked, but the flannel shirt I'd left sitting in the passenger seat got drenched, as did the coupon container and the coupon book I took to Barnes & Noble. Thanks. Thanks heaps.

Now my hour in B&N went by very quickly. I picked up a new "Consumer Reports" on electronics and used a coupon to get a cheap cover for my Nook Galaxy Tab. The one I got cheap on Amazon was so bulky and the tablet could only stand horizontally. With the coupon this was as cheap as the Amazon one and the tab can sit vertically as well, which is a help when we go out to eat.

On the way back I stopped at Publix for twofers. Saved a bunch using coupons on the twofers, like a dollar off Quaker instant oatmeal. Needed Wheat Chex to mix in my Chex snack mix for work; it cuts the salt and makes it last longer.

By this time it was 2:30 and I was pretty hungry. Hoped to have a sandwich bun with my leftover chicken leg, but they were all moldy from the damp weather for the past week. So it was just the chicken leg and me, with Tucker casting salivating looks at it. Watched "Lassie's Pups" on Angel2 (at least they aren't repeating the 1967 Christmas episode again) and waited for James to come home while reading Cro-Magnon.

We had a nice supper at Uncle Maddio's except that they made James' pizza wrong, chicken instead of mushrooms. They made him another on the house. We had some coupons and were going to go on when we finished, but...guess what, it was raining again, and neither of us felt like putting the cover over the power chair. James bought this lined special cover for it, got charged $70 for it, and the waterproof coating (imitation leather? vinyl? whatever) started to crack and crumble almost immediately. It leaves little flakes of black crap on your hands, like glitter, and it itches abominably. We're just going to get a cheap tarp for it. It can't be worse than this nasty thing.

Was up too late working on a piece of fanfic and still not finished with it!

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» Tuesday, November 03, 2015
The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, November 3, 2015

Outside my window...
...another grey day; wouldn't mind it so much if it wasn't drizzly as well, plus warmish and humid instead of cool.

I am thinking... quickly October went by! Summer just seems to crawl along, ugly hot steaming day by ugly hot steaming day, smelling ranker than moldy underwear, and making you feel worse. When the cool air comes along, everything seems to wake up, including me. Once again the greenery smells fresh and sweet, the ceaseless roar of the cicadas is gone leaving only the soothing chirp of the crickets, breezes blow and chivvy the leaves around, the sun doesn't make your skin burn. You can enjoy the outdoors instead of flinching at the thought of going out.

I am thankful...
...for October, and a safe and relatively happy vacation (we won't talk about that first night in a 77°F room!).

In the kitchen...
...I'm cooking roast chicken for supper. I suppose I should see if the cucumbers are still good.

I am wearing... tank top and green shorts and white socks. It's still pretty warm—almost up to 70 today.

I am creating...
...just putting a tiny glass Santa Claus back together. It fell off a shelf while I was changing a clock back. Stupid Daylight Saving Time. Glad it's over. Now it's dark after supper as it should be.

I am going... do a lot more dejunking the rest of the year. At least I hope I can. Some things are too heavy for me to lift.

I am wondering...
...where to go on vacation next year! Might as well start planning now. We'd thought about going to Charleston this year before Southwest had their big sale, so...maybe. Still want to go back to DC. Would love to go to Missouri. And I still think about Pennsylvania Dutch again.

I am reading...
...Cro-Magnon by Brian Fagan, having just finished A Gilded Grave, the first of Shelley Freydont's Gilded Age Newport mysteries. I enjoyed the characters and the plot, but I think she tells her story better in the Celebration Bay mysteries. In the meantime, enjoying delectable anthropology now.

I am hoping... do all sorts of fun things before Christmas this year. I'd really like to wait to go up to Chattanooga and McKay's until the Christmas things are out. Really need to do Christmas at the Mable House this year; every year I say I am going, and then I forget. There are only so many weekends before Christmas. And of course I must visit the antiques mall to see how they are dressed for the holiday!

I am looking forward to...
...don't laugh: new socks. My socks are quite pathetic right now.

Around the house... over the stove still bellowing although the chicken is now finished. We have cucumbers in red apple balsamic vinegar as well. And it's dark and cozy out.

I am pondering...
...a Thanksgiving project, even if I'm late in starting.

A favorite quote for today...
..."Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting, and autumn a mosaic of them all."  . . . . Stanley Horowitz

One of my favorite things...
...a freshly vacuumed rug. I did the whole main floor during lunch. Removed six...count 'em, six!...canisters of dog hair. And he's a single-coated dog! But after I vacuum, everything looks so big!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
One more Hallmark Ornament premiere!

A peek into my day...
How about a peek into one of our vacation days? These are the trees at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, two weeks ago.

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


» Sunday, November 01, 2015
All the Fault of That Meddling Headache

It would almost have been a perfect Sunday.

It couldn't hit the peak of perfection because it was a steady drizzle of a day. Grey skies don't bother me; at least there's no sun to give me a migraine. But a drizzly day is only a good day to sleep all curled up in a little ball, like a certain terrier I took out for a walk this morning. Alas, it's grocery day and no escaping it, as there's only half a gallon of milk left. So after perambulation and partaking of breakfast, we went to Kroger, ostensibly just to drop off my prescriptions and come back later. Except there was a handicapped parking space near the door. There's never one near the door; it seemed providential. So we went in and did the grocery shopping and got the prescriptions, and then put the milk and the burritos in the insulated bag. It wasn't supposed to go over 65°F and supposed to rain all day.

One of the things it's safe for James to eat with his diabetes is mushrooms, so we use up lots of them. It's worth our while to go pick them up at somewhere like Costco, except BJs takes credit cards and is better for building up points. Plus if you gas up after you do your shopping, you get money off on your fill-up. (James ended up getting gasoline for 1.899.) While we were there we stocked up on spaghetti sauce, "plastic" cheese, shredded cheese, Skinny Pop, Chex Mix, Jamaican meat patties, and chili, and James bought me a birthday gift. Looked at all the crazy Christmas gifts they had out already, like waffle cup makers, giant rice cookers/steamers, etc. Actually, the dual shower head looked pretty cool; we need a new one. Saw a neat jacket that looked very Jo Grant, but it didn't fit. Don't really need a jacket of that weight anyway. Wish I could find my light one; I haven't seen it since Atomicon.

Meanwhile the rainy weather was doing a number on my sinuses. I had a headache at Kroger, it got worse at BJs, and by the time we got home and got all the groceries put up, my head felt like the bell tower at Notre Dame. I put on TuneIn radio and found a channel playing really quiet instrumental Christmas music, tossed down four ibuprofin, and closed my eyes until about four o'clock. Spent the rest of the afternoon reading  and then later going through the vacation photos.

We'd bought soup for supper and James warmed that up while I walked Tucker; I put some vegetable broth in the chicken noodle soup to give it a little more body and it was quite good with some bread dipped in the broth on the side. James had chili and crackers and we had some hoarded peppermint Jojos for dessert. Finally found some news on, chilling until it was time for the season premiere of The Librarians. Noah Wyle is supposedly back full time with the cast this year, which kinda spreads the newest Librarians pretty thin. We also have two new, regular antagonists: Fictionals, brought to life from books, Prospero from "The Tempest" and that ultimate bad guy, Professor Moriarty (who, with the times, has five o'clock shadow). Interesting, but the two-hour premiere went by a bit slowly. We'll see. We finished up with Alaska: the Last Frontier.

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