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, January 31, 2016
Highway Dreams

James couldn't sleep this morning. I think he was still mulling on the printer problem. I'd reached the end of my computer expertise yesterday and went back to sleep. At ten o'clock I was more awake and coherent. Tucker had his walk and I had my breakfast, and then we were off.

I literally ran into Kroger, dropped off a prescription, picked up some Breathe Rights and a Sunday paper, and trotted back out, and we headed to the RV show. Why go when we can't afford one? Well, it's fun to dream and it's something to do on a Sunday afternoon besides clean house or glaze out in front of the idiot box.

We joke when we go that we are visiting different "lands." The little stuff, the ones we could actually afford, and could tow with a 4-cylinder small pickup (the really small ones), are "Frontierland." They had a darling little Airstream that was almost this small, a few A frames, and several of the teardrop ones we like so much. One "teardrop" we almost could have managed, and it even came with a little screen house that you put up at the front door, to stay outside without becoming mosquito dinner. There was another retro trailer about this size smartly laid out. I like the floors they are putting in almost all the trailers this season: it looks like wide-board flooring and is very pretty, rather than shiny vinyl. There are also pop-up camper trailers, but I'd only get one of these if it had the little bathroom fixture; sorry, I've got that old lady disease, Gottapeenow.

Next you go up to the camper-trailers and the third wheels and pull trailers; this is "Adventureland." I like the camper-trailers, but of course then you have another vehicle which involves registration, insurance, maintenance, etc. We saw several interesting Mercedes vans that could have been retrofitted to pull out the rear seats and have a ramp for the power chair instead that also had a little kitchen and a tiny bathroom. There were two Dodge vans there that could have worked, too, but once the chair was parked, you couldn't get into the bathroom. Big problem. :-)

And then it's always fun to go to "Fantasyland." These are the motor coaches, and oh, if there was something we could do about the books wouldn't it be fun to sell up and buy one and travel about? Don't know how we'd earn money on the road, but it's fun to think of: southern Virginia or Tennessee or north Georgia in the winter, go west in the spring, north to Canada and Alaska in the summer, and finally spend autumn in New England. These motor coaches are something to see! Almost all of them have leather interiors (something I would junk; regular upholstery is fine with me), full size refrigerators, lots of storage space, one had a cedar closet in the bedroom, another a stacked set of washer and dryer, one an electric fireplace that actually heats the interior, one a desk at the passenger seat where someone could use a laptop, a few of them convection microwaves. Here, we said, the dog crate here, the bird cage bungee-corded to the kitchen table, the books up there, and off we go!

We had some barbecue sandwiches for lunch, ran into Juanita Gibson and the rest of the family while surveying the A-frames, and perused the other vendors who were selling things from lamps to cookware. James bought a Bluetooth headphone to use while teleworking.

And about 3:30 we left, swung by Kroger to pick up my heart pills, and Dreamtime was over.

Had Asian chicken salad for supper and ended up watching a documentary on John Glenn and then one on cosmonauts, finishing up with Pioneers of Aviation.

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» Saturday, January 30, 2016
I've Got a  Secret  Puzzle

A nice day, although it ended with a puzzle.

After breakfast and dog-walking, we removed the items from the broken shelving to move that out of the way and then replace with the new shelves. This was ticklish because one of the things on the shelves is that finicky router which is the bane of my life. Once the space was vacuumed and dusted and the router and the modem up on the top shelf, I felt much better. Then it was printer and paper and the USB floppy drive (yes, we still have one of those) and various stray network cables. Only...James' printer wouldn't work. We were very careful to shut things off before unplugging them, but last week the printer was working and now it is not. However, when I plugged it back in I noticed that the "B" plug was bent. We figured that was the problem and that we would go get a new cord.

First we went to Ollie's Bargain Outlet with a 15 percent off coupon. We picked up some cute gifts and some mints; otherwise it was mostly junk food which we passed on. From there we went to MicroCenter to pick up the new USB to "B" cord and managed to avoid a million temptations.

Finally we had supper at IHOP. I had pot roast with corn, mashed potatoes and a salad. James had an omelet. Neither of us were satisfied. I should have had the French toast, and he is still getting a bad taste in his mouth when he eats since the nasal spray Dr. Prout prescribed for him. Everything tastes bad, even vegetables and plain meat.

Came home, walked the dog, and have been watching I've Got a Secret on Buzzr all night. Some of these are still hysterically funny.

The printer, sadly, even with a new cable, does not work. James downloaded the newest drivers, we have the new cord in, he rebooted everything after reloading the drivers...nothing. Tis a puzzle.

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» Friday, January 29, 2016

Well, I did go to the doctor on Wednesday. James was feeling as bad as I was by that point, so we arranged two appointments, one after the other. Thankfully, my sore throat is just that; it's been hurting so bad I was afraid of an infection. She basically told us both we just had to see this through because it was just a virus that's been hitting a lot of people. She did give me some cough medicine in case the cough kept me up and advised me to just keep hitting the saline, drinking water, and getting enough rest. She advised James to get some saline solution for his nose and rest as much as could.

Which brings us to today. Sleep late, saline, breakfast, dog walk, then I thought I might actually do something daring, like...venture into the public. Gawsh. Think of that. It was supposed to be warm this afternoon, up into the mid 50s, and sunny; no better weather.

I kept it easy: I went to Barnes & Noble to see if the January/February "Landlove" or "Landscape" were in and just look around. I found the clearance tables down to 75 percent off, and nabbed two of their Christmas bags that originally sold at $25 each for $3 each, big sturdy cloth bags, one red, one green, with the opposite color for the lining. As I buy more Christmas gifts I can keep them in these bags. (They had more; I should have gotten the other two—went back later and they were gone. Oh, well.)

So I went up to the Town Center store and found "Landscape" and the new "Just Cross Stitch" and bought a book of Longmire short stories since they didn't have the first book in the series. While I was there, I scanned the Publix app since there is a Publix next door to the bookstore. Whoa! Score! They are finally doing a BOGO on the lower-sugar Quaker instant oatmeal. They haven't included the lower sugar in months and my supply was running really low, despite using regular oatmeal at home. So I went happily through the store gathering twofers: pork loin chops, a Post pecan and grain cereal which looks like the old Trader Joe's version that they don't sell anymore, cookies and crackers for Atomicon, etc. Unfortunately I only got four boxes of oatmeal and they had only five of my yogurt flavor, so, while heading for home, since it was on my route, stopped at the Publix on Dallas Highway to pick up more oatmeal and enough yogurt for two weeks. Plus by this time it was warm enough to go short sleeves.

And since I was on Dallas Highway anyway, I went the mile up the road to that Barnes & Noble and found "Landlove" and picked up the Christmas edition of "Country Life" that was still on their magazine stand. I like picking up "Country Life" every once in a while, if nothing else just to see the pretentious advertisements for homes. (This one is no different. There are 58 pages of home ads before you ever get to the magazine content, of homes all over one million pounds! :-) After that you get to the cool articles on winter gardens, Lichfield Cathedral, ermines, behind the scenes at the Royal Ballet doing The Nutcracker, a salute to The 39 Steps, and holly. However, no clearance bargains at either Town Center or West Cobb. You win some, you lose some.

Got home in time to walk Tucker before James got home. We had supper at Tin Drum, used a couple of Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons, and then I ran into Barnes & Noble only to discover, yes, the rest of the Christmas bags were gone.

Still, a profitable day and a good dinner. My sinuses were killing me from about the time I arrived in Kennesaw, but I'm tired of this stupid cold and have to go to work on Monday anyway. I was feeling pretty woozy by dinnertime, but the meal helped at least. More saline, more Ibuprofin and on we go...

In the meantime, I had a delightful surprise on Facebook this afternoon. Rupert Holmes had told me he was going to be interviewed for a "New York Times" article about the 20th anniversary of Remember WENN, but he didn't know when an article would appear. Well, the article showed up on the "Times" website today and will be in the real paper on Sunday! The WENN Facebook group was alight with delight!

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Holy Smokes! The "New York Times" Salutes Remember WENN on Its 20th Anniversary!
I still for the life of me can't figure out why we can't get a DVD release on this series. Obscure 1960s series like Good Morning, World and Fractured Flickers have been given a DVD set, but not this great series that had an OTR touch, some classy guest stars, and a matchless cast.

C'mon, AMC. You've given us adulterous ad-men, drug dealers, and zombies. How about something nice for a change?

Today's NYT article!

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» Monday, January 25, 2016
Sore Down to the Tonsils
If I still had any, that is.

I was feeling a little draggy last Wednesday, but chalked it up to the usual less-than-6-hours-sleep on non-telework days until I woke up Thursday with the sore throat from hell. I drank enough water and milk to keep Titanic afloat, and hot beverages, too, and my throat felt like an emery board sharpened with a razor strop. Worked my way through the day anyway.

Sometime after midnight my nose clogged up. In the end I had only two hours sleep. I had a doctor's appointment on Friday and had to cancel it because I was afraid to drive with such little sleep, plus it was pouring and damp outside. The last thing I wanted to do was traipse outside with a cold. It cost me $25, but I rescheduled. I figured if I slept for the rest of the day I'd feel better. I did go outside and refill the bird feeders during a break in the rain; a good thing, too, because the temperature plunged and it started snowing later on. We got very little snow; it was enough to ice the lawn and the rails of the deck and the roofs, but never stuck to the street or the concrete.

I was feeling moderately better Saturday; we slept late and had a lazy morning. I took Tucker out for a walk in the snow and took some photos, which I somehow lost for the rest of the day, to my frustration (they turned up later in the recycle bin, although I didn't delete them), and we did nothing that afternoon but assemble the new set of shelves we bought for the printer. I hate non-Ikea shelves. They don't go together properly for crap. We still have a screw sticking out, but since it doesn't compromise the integrity of the shelves, we just left it. It made me angrier that we spent 2 1/2 hours at this stupidity. It shouldn't take 2 1/2 hours to put a set of shelves together.

I was bit tired but okay as we headed for the Lawsons for a combination game night/late Christmas gift exchange. This was fun. We had pizza and the ladies played Cranium, Logo, and Humm...ble. As the night wore on, the sore throat reappeared and my sinuses got clogged up. I crawled into bed gratefully after we got home, but didn't sleep much. I'm not sneezing, my nose isn't running, and what does come out is clear, but my sinuses alternate between being clogged and being open and I must sleep with my mouth open and it dries out immediately so I have to get up and get water to rinse my mouth. Like about dozen times during the night. Not exactly conducive to restful slumber.

So I'm tired as all get-out when we have to go out shopping on Sunday. We drove up to BJs because we had some good coupons about to expire for things we needed. I like shopping there because (1) they take credit cards and (2) they take newspaper coupons, the latter which helps save a little more money. However, we didn't have the greatest time there: when we arrived there were no little power carts for James to use. They told us there weren't any available. James leaned on a shopping cart and soldiered through, so instead of browsing we just picked up the things we needed and checked out. Before we did I had to use the rest room. There was at least one cart abandoned next to the concession counter, but no employee had bothered to put it back where it belonged.

At least there was a cart at Kroger when we stopped for bread, yogurt, milk, and some managers' specials. The quicker that trip, the better: I was wiped out just walking these two stores and we hadn't even wandered up and down like we usually do. I didn't want to think what pain James' back was in. We had supper soon after we got home and by the time I had walked Tucker again my nose was clogged up (again) and my throat was sore (again). I shut my alarm clock off. Maybe if I got some sleep...

I did. I was so exhausted I slept through James' alarm all the way past 10:30. This should help!

And pigs would fly, presumably. I hadn't even gotten to walking the dog yet and my nose clogged up, my throat was sore again. When I started coughing—oh, great, this, too?—I threw up my hands, took a Mucinex, stripped the bed and washed the bedclothes, ate some lunch, tossed the laundry in the dryer, and went back to sleep until almost before James arrived home. Have spent the rest of the night coughing, sniffling, and trying to get my ears to pop while watching Brain Games.

Wednesday I can call Kaiser and finally tell them I've been sick for a week. I'm sure it's the usual: upper respiratory infection, yadda, yadda. It's always the same thing. The wind-up to the conclusion is a pain in the neck, though.

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» Sunday, January 17, 2016
No Place Like Holmes

James unfortunately had to get up at eight this morning to go to work. After he left I slipped back into slumber for a little while but was up and around by 9:30, when I made sure Tucker had a thorough walk and I had breakfast. It was bright blue outside and chilly, good weather for walking. I came in reluctantly.

Spent the next hour and a bit wrestling with the computer again. When I opened Eudora this morning and downloaded e-mail, I found a big length of e-mail messages with question marks next to them, going back to December 23! I couldn't figure out what was going on until I did some detecting and examined the messages. They had either been previously deleted, had attachments, or had been filtered to another e-mail box. In addition, my "purchases" e-mail box, which is where I keep e-receipts or anything else related to something I've bought, was completely gone along with the messages. I spent the time re-deleting the messages and re-sorting them and setting up a new "purchases" box and a filter for it.

I think I know what happened. In December, probably December 22, I received an "invoice" on one of my domain addresses. I knew this was some sort of scam because (1) I had no "invoice" coming and (2) only use that account for e-mails about my domain pages. I deleted the message, but, because I was in a hurry, did not go into the attachments immediately to delete the attached "invoice." That night Microsoft Security Essentials ran and quarantined the "invoice" for containing a virus. (I thought so. This "company" has tried to "invoice" me before. Apparently they think I'm too stupid to notice that I don't get "invoices" on that account.) From then on, every time I deleted something, Eudora popped up an error message. I think the deleted items went to a temp file folder because the error messages kept referencing one; however MSE had quarantined the "invoice" and I couldn't even find the temp file anymore. I couldn't compact my e-mail boxes anymore, either. It was merely an annoyance until this morning. I think somehow the "temp" file it was shunting the deleted e-mails into reached critical mass and just "exploded." I just wish it hadn't taken the "purchases" folder with it. At least I have a backup of it that I did mid-December!

I chiefly spent the rest of the day watching the first eight episodes of this season of Elementary. I've been recording them, but not watching them, trying to get to bed on time on Thursday nights, but not watching them later because I'd rather read or my glasses hurt my nose. Between episodes I cleaned and oiled the top of the dining room table and then arranged things back on it, made the bed, let Tucker out on the deck for a while, washed a load of dishes, and did the usual Sunday things, including reading the Sunday paper I bought yesterday and cutting out the four measly coupons. I had toyed with going to Kroger, but Lord, I hate going to Kroger. I'll have to go tomorrow, but at least I didn't have to go today.

James got home at 6:30 and we had corkscrew macaroni and pork-in-gravy for supper while watching America's Funniest Home Videos, then that eighth and final Elementary, and then the newest Alaska: the Last Frontier. I don't mind the snow, but that mud looks disgusting!

I don't know how people binge-watch series. Sitting down and watching eight episodes in a row was really tiring; I can't stay still that long. I actually dozed off during one of the episodes with Holmes' father (played by John Noble) threatening some guy.

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» Saturday, January 16, 2016
Marketing and Computing, With a Western Sojourn

OMG! The shelf in the closet fell down again!

Well, no. I was awakened at 2:30 by an almighty thump that sounded like the shelf had indeed yanked out from the studs and crashed down. Instead, James had started up to use the bathroom, got his foot tangled in the blankets, and slid right off the bed onto the floor. He pulled a couple of muscles and has a small raw patch on his face where he hit the corner of his nighttable, but was otherwise okay.

He was stiff, this morning, though, when we got up to go to the Farmer's Market. Tucker was almost out of bedtime cookies and we hadn't been in a while. The winter market doesn't start until ten, so we were only a little late and were lucky enough to find someone pulling out of a parking space of the lot on Powder Springs Road, since the car in front of us had nabbed the last handicapped space. This way we didn't have to go to the lot behind Johnnie McCracken's Pub.

We took Tucker with us and, as always, and after not having gone for a long time, he was frantically distracted by all the scents and the other dogs. A big leggy Labrador cross begged him to play and he also had a nice long sniff session with a basset hound. We just got some little scones for dessert and the dog biscuits, but had the fun of walking around, since it was a beautiful day for it, sunny, upper 40s. Sadly, Pine Street Market's sample bacon was all gone when we got there.

James brought Tucker and I home and then went off to his club meeting. I went to Publix and picked up some twofers and found some lamb and bought a paper since it's a holiday weekend and there won't be coupons (or actually only one coupon booklet) and the double paper isn't worth it otherwise. I also checked out the new (well, it was new when I intended to check it out) thrift store on South Cobb Drive, but it was 98 percent clothing. Boring. Checked out the books. The used furniture was mostly junk. I would never have donated stuff in that condition.

Came home and spent about two hours updating the copyright dates on my domains and also worked on a problem: I had some images on the Earthlink site that simply would not show up. One, the header on my "Birdwatching" page had vanished completely, including from my computer; I was able to find it again by using "The Wayback Machine" web archive site. I couldn't figure out what was going on with the rest of them until I noticed in Paint Shop Pro that all the missing files were named with uppercase only letters, but the links on the webpages were lowercase. Apparently while this never bothered Earthlink's web storage space before, something has changed. When I renamed them in lower case letters and uploaded them, they all worked fine. Also brought a few more things downstairs, finished Susan Branch's The Fairy Tale Girl, let Tucker out on the deck to enjoy himself as he likes, checking out the yard for cats and watching for bunnies, resorted some books—it was odd, I kept busy but didn't really do much. Had some soup very late.

When James came home we went to the West Cobb Diner for supper. It was very crowded and he actually fell asleep waiting for the waitress to call our names. Brought a nice bit of turkey and dressing home for a lunch. We had some coupons for Barnes & Noble, but none of my series have any new books and he didn't find anything either. I think I am going to order a book I want online instead, since none of the stores have it in stock. I did get the new EW, with the nice Benedict Cumberbatch-as-Doctor Strange photos (now there was a match made in heaven), a "Vintage Style," and the "Blue Ridge Country" 2016 travel guide.

Spent the rest of the evening watching the first three episodes of the series Longmire, which Louis Robinson is always talking about. Robert Taylor plays a  modern-day sheriff in a small Wyoming town, Katee Sackhoff (from the Battlestar Galactica reboot) as a transplanted deputy, and Lou Diamond Phillips as his Native American buddy from way back. Excellent so far!

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» Friday, January 15, 2016
It Never Rains But It Pours...

Oh, what a relief to sleep without being chivvied awake by that horrible alarm clock; to wake naturally when my body tells me to. I woke only briefly when James got up, asking muzzily if I heard thunder; no, it was the trash collectors. And then it was back to snoozy warm sleep under cozy warm blankets in a comfy bed. I probably could have stayed there longer, too.

Got up to find it raining out and the house dark and damp despite the heat being on and turning on lights. I took the time to go to the bathroom and eat breakfast, both which were a bad idea, since by the time I took Tucker out, it was raining harder. I put him in Willow's old tweed coat which would keep the water off most of his coat and I put a brimmed hat on to keep the rain out of my glasses, since I can't possibly manage the dog and an umbrella. Tucker didn't want to walk much (he's very like a cat in that respect), but we got around okay until the return trip when the heavens really opened! I didn't even bother rolling the garbage can back into place; we were so drenched by the time we got in the house that my coat was still wet at dinnertime.

I spent the afternoon taking down the Christmas tree and listening to "The Tech Guy" (and, I admit, nipping occasionally into the bathroom to read more short stories in Crucible). James came home unexpectedly about 2:30 looking rather green; he'd thrown up at work. He's been having trouble with nausea at lunchtime, whether he brings a lunch or buys it there. He is usually okay at breakfast and at supper. Odd. He says there's no construction or unusual things going on at work.

Anyway, got the tree back in the closet and the ornaments and the manger as well; the box with the village in it is still upstairs, but I need James to help me get it down. All the other decorations are down as well. It looks so empty!

For supper we went out to Hiram. Supposedly the Super Target out there had the Litehouse Salad veg James likes to use and which we couldn't find at the Buford Highway Farmer's Market last time we went. So we had supper at Folks, went to Target and picked up a couple of bottles of the Litehouse mixture as well as a copy of The Martian on sale, then hit Michael's with some coupons. I simply could not find the a Sharpie paint pen like I bought there last time and ended up buying something else for a gift instead.

Then on to home to walk Tucker for the evening and watch Hawaii Five-0, with its lump-in-the-throat ending.

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» Sunday, January 10, 2016
Post Party Blues

Even though we went to bed earlier than usual last night, we still slept until ten and rather bumbled out of bed. We basically had everything we needed for the week and were in no rush to go to the grocery store. I took Tucker outside—it was cloudy, in the mid-forties, and very blustery—and warned James to bundle up when we eventually did go out. We had a bit of cleanup to do before we left; looks like Phyllis dropped some of the goodies from the relish tray they brought on the way out (or maybe on the way in). There were green and black olives and pickles and marinated mushrooms dotting the driveway.

We went to Publix to get a couple of things and took advantage of the twofers to start stocking up on things for Atomicon. We stopped by Office Max and bought a new set of shelves for the printers (yay, on sale!). I went into Bed, Bath & Beyond to use a coupon. Stopped at Costco to fill up the truck. Then—home! Ate some lunch and put the tags on our license plates (finally) and our new registration cards in each vehicle. Watched the three newest segments of This Old House, then the rest of the backlogged Hawaii Five-0 episodes. For supper we had Asian salad with chicken thighs. Later on: Alaska: the Last Frontier and one last dog walk for the night. The clouds are starting to clear and it's cold and breezy.

Watched ten minutes of some new cartoon called Bordertown about a fired border patrol agent in an American town near Mexico where they're building a border wall. Apparently it's supposed to be satire. It's stupid and the animation sucks. Makes you long for UPA limited animation, or even worse, Filmation.

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» Saturday, January 09, 2016
An Evening of Fun

How provoking! Today I can sleep until 8:30 and I can't with dreams nudging me awake. But James needed to go to Hair Day, his hair having finally grown out after that awful butchering haircut he got a few months back (I'm surprised the barber made it out of barber school). Off he went with the pastry tray we got last night. I didn't even eat breakfast; I grabbed a towel and leashed the dog and put his soap and his coat (because it was cloudy, damp, and blustery, although not really cold) in a plastic bag and went to Unleashed to use the dog wash.

As always he just sat there and looked pitiful while I washed him. The new soap, which has peppermint and tea tree oil in it, lathers nicely and smells good, and he did actually not smell as "wet doggy" as usual when I was through. I got two currycombs full of wet fur off him. Just as I was drying him off, a man and his daughter came in with a big brown dog who really, really did not want to get into the washtub. She sat there and just resisted until the little girl coaxed her in the tub. On the way out I got Tucker a dog cookie which he first tried to bury in the front seat; he did eat it a few minutes later.

Got home, had some breakfast, and commenced to cleaning. I really didn't have much left to do. I cleaned and disinfected all the toilets, the sinks and floors being already cleaned, and then pretty much vacuumed, moved the table back and the chairs where people could sit in them, put big pillows and other stuff that usually sits on the sofa or the coffee table in another room, cleaned off end tables, etc. James came back about noon, cleaned out the kitchen, helped me shift some other things around, and put up some books; I cleared the coats off the coat hooks so people could put their coats there, and then finally had enough time to take a quick shower and change. James started the wings and the egg rolls about four, and I took Tucker out just as the Spiveys and the Gibsons arrived at five.

We had a nice crowd and much fun. David and Ken and Alice had the playoff game on in the living room, and another group of us gathered in the dining room. The Boulers showed up and the Boroses, Maggi and Clay, and Bill and Caran. Later when Bill and Caran headed out to go to Anya's house, Ron and Lin showed up, so we had a full house until about nine o'clock. The usual discussions: politics, websites, books, film, The Force Awakens, recipes, old friends, old conventions. I was actually chatting online with an old school friend sporadically during the party and he's a bit nonplussed that we have parties without liquor and loud music. We just aren't that type of people. I don't particularly like liquor and can't drink it anyway because of my heart medication. Loud music is just that. It gives me headaches and you can't hear what others are saying over it. That's why I hate going to places like O'Charley's. It's not fun for me.

Anyway, it was a very nice evening, and after everyone left we got the trash all in the bin and the food put away; we could have used more egg rolls, but we have enough wings left over for a dinner. I'll do the vacuuming tomorrow and put the table and chairs back in their places, and we'll get the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Even after having so much fun, it's good thing to sit down and just stare mindlessly at the television.

We should have a game night soon...

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» Friday, January 08, 2016

The less said about this morning, the better. Sometimes the omeprazole just doesn't work, although all I had for supper last night was a bowl of chicken soup and rice. You might have thought I ate blazingly spiced chili or kimchi. Thankfully was feeling better by afternoon, but didn't really want to go out. But we had to go pick up the food for the party tomorrow.

Went to Piccadilly Cafeteria and tried to have turkey, but it was smoked and tasted more like ham. I had a "chopped steak" (read "hamburger in gravy") instead. It was very mild flavored and did not cause any more problems.

We went to Sam's and picked up chicken wings and egg rolls. When we re-upped with Sam's we did so with a Groupon coupon and got a gift card and some freebees. We still hadn't claimed the breakfast pastry tray, so we got that. James will take it as his contribution to Hair Day and we have leftovers we can serve them at the party. We're trying not to overbuy food this year; there's nowhere to keep the leftovers. We also bought milk and an Asian salad kit for Sunday.

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» Sunday, January 03, 2016
The Party's Over

Sleep, the final late snooze. Since, ah, it's Sunday and it's back to work tomorrow. As the saying goes, "I'd enjoy the day better if it started later." I am not a morning person. I have the most energy if I get up about nine. I usually get my best sleep between six and eight. Early morning, therefore, is not my friend sleepwise, but it is for traffic. So if I don't want to spend my life on the expressway, I have to be sleep depraved. Uh...deprived. Although "depraved" sounds more accurate.

Alas, my effort to stay out of Kroger on Sunday didn't work very well. I just wanted to run in and get bread for my sandwiches. Alas, we needed onions, too. So after a dog walk and picking up a BelVita bar, we went to the Battle Ridge Kroger, got the bread and the onions, plus celery salt and a newspaper and a couple of other things. Then we drove back out to Akers Mill to use the final two Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons; I just bought doggie doo bags, then picked up a couple of other things on Christmas discount, like napkins for the party. It was a beautiful day outside, mostly cloudy with a lot of mackerel markings. The little bits of sky between the clouds was a brilliant, beautiful blue that you never see when it's warm.

On the way home we stopped at Pollo Tropical for some lunch. James got some chicken and I got the mojo pork with a little bun and balsamic tomatoes. The mojo pork needed a sauce; I guess I should have asked for some. The balsamic tomatoes were outstanding. James got them, too, and then we took what was left over of the balsamic dressing and James sliced up a cucumber and soaked it in the dressing. We had it as a side for dinner with the beef and mushroom paté over rice, and it was delicious!

Anyway, that was it. The coupons are gone and we settled in for a long afternoon. We ate our lunch and read the paper along to Christmas Through the Decades, the 1980s and the 1990s. Then I put on some Christmas music and James went downstairs to the man cave for a couple of hours. He came upstairs about six thirty and made the rice and warmed up the beef. We watched America's Funniest Home Videos and then North Woods Law, and then we'll watch Alaska: the Last Frontier. At some point I'll walk the dog again, James will make lunches, and Christmas vacation will be over.

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» Saturday, January 02, 2016
That Fading Christmas Glow

It was a joy to sleep last night, nice and chilly, the room all cold from the fan having run in the window all day. It, however, would have been a sounder sleep had not Tucker started barking. Twice. Not sure what's going on. It's the middle of the night. People can't still be out there setting off firecrackers, right? Not at four in the morning. Very strange.

It was after ten by the time we got up. I took our insomniac hound out for his walk, and then we set off on our errands for the day. We had six Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons that will expire on Monday. We have heard a rumor that BB&B will not be doing as many coupons this year, so I want to get the most out of what we have.

First we stopped at Panera for lunch, or rather brunch, since we didn't have breakfast. Disappointed that the bowls of soup have gotten so small although the price is the same. Next we went to BB&B and spent four of the six coupons: James got two Soda Stream syrup bottles and I bought another Misto and some doggy pickup bags. Not sure what we'll get with the other two coupons. If nothing else, more poo bags. We'll never not need them.

From there we darted over to JoAnn. I discovered I was nearly out of Scotch, the Scotch tape queen! I got a set with my coupon and James got some Velcro with his. Also went through the clearance stuff and gathered both Christmas and non-Christmas tissue paper at 70 percent off.

A short stop at Petco for more dog food, and then finally a chance to relax at Barnes & Noble, where I picked up a couple of cross-stitch magazines.

We came by Zaxby's on the way home and picked up something for supper and settled in for the evening to watch more Christmas favorites. I'm always let down after Christmas passes. Everything is colorful and beautiful with lovely music, and soon it has to go away. The colors and the gleam and the sounds and the scents and the spirit of Christmas are just so lovely it is hard to let them go: the silvery waterfall of tinsel down the tree, the homey glow of the village, the multicolor glint of the little bottlebrush trees, the glow of the blue candles in the window, the soft chorus of holiday music proclaiming joy, peppermint, gingerbread, warm comforting scents. It means the year has turned and the stench and glare of summer is just around the corner.

Anyway, we watched "Christmas at Plum Creek," the first Christmas episode of Little House on the Prairie, with its "Gift of the Magi" theme; Remember WENN's funny and touching "Christmas in the Airwaves, where Scott's feelings for Betty at the end are just so apparent I want to hug them both; and finally The Little Match Girl with Keshia Knight-Pulliam as the titular character very, very loosely based on the Andersen story (she is a little match girl and Christmas is involved). She plays an angel who comes to earth as a little waif of a match girl who's been sent to earth to heal the fractured Dutton family: a father estranged from his eldest son who not only refused to go into his father's business but who married a girl "from the wrong side of the tracks," a wastrel younger son, a social-climbing daughter, and a wife who desperately wishes that it could be all resolved. Of note, William Daniels as the stiff-backed father and John Rhys Davies as the Irish cop who's so obviously "on the take" that you expect him to twirl his moustache. I actually didn't like this movie when I first saw it. I've read too much history to accept that a rich white family would so easily accept a black street child—but then Molly is an angel after all, with magical matches. Once you can get over that historical hurdle, the film doesn't look all that bad: the 1920s setting is well done, and the Irish servants are realistic rather than the "sure and begorrah" stereotypes they could have been. Pulliam plays Molly with a slight roguishness at times that reveals she isn't really a child; it's a nice touch.

People are still shooting fireworks outside! I nearly had to drag poor Tucker down the stairs to get him to go out tonight!

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» Friday, January 01, 2016
The Happy New Year

It did not rain on New Year's Eve, so James went in to work. I tried to sleep later because of Bill and Caran's party later on, but finally I had to get up to get things done. First there was breakfast and dog walking, and then working a little bit on my craft projects and putting things away. About 11 o'clock I went out to pick up what I needed for the party: French bread.

Sadly, Publix didn't have any and neither did Sprouts. I did get yogurt and Triscuit for our party at Publix, and just picked up sourdough bread at Sprouts, along with cashews for James, Italian wedding soup (of course), some of their huge chicken legs and great beef bits, and some great salami slices on sale. In fact, if I'd seen the salami before I got the idea for the beef paté, I would have bought the salami for tonight. I had it with their gluten-free crackers for lunch.

James was let free early—a good thing, too, since he didn't bring lunch intending to eat at the cafeteria and it closed at eleven—and picked up gas and a hamburger on the way home. So since we had a nice free afternoon, we went to see Star Wars: the Force Awakens. Enjoyed it quite a lot, even if one character seems overly emotional (and a little like a young Severus Snape). Yeah, when the bridge scene came up, I pretty much knew what was going to happen; after all, "the Montana speech" had been made earlier. Loved the Rey character and also Finn, and of course it was heartwarming to see all the old familiars again: Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca, R2D2, and C-3PO. However, at the price they're charging for "bargain" matinees ($9.36 each! and I got a senior rate!), I think I'll wait to see it again when the Blu-Ray comes out. Plus, what is with the sound at the movies these days? We noticed this the last time we went, too: it is too freaking loud! Is everyone deaf today?

Came home to have a bite to eat and for James to fix the beef-and-mushroom paté: he chopped up the roast beef I bought and mixed them with minced mushrooms, then warmed it in cream of onion soup with some beef stock and red wine. Yummy, but I wish we could have kept it warm. It tasted better that way.

Sat down to watch Rudolph's Shiny New Year and then the Ellery Queen episode "The Adventure of Auld Lang Syne" before dressing and leaving for Bill and Caran's annual party across town near Stone Mountain. It was a relatively small crowd this year. Sat talking to Alice and Ken and Clair and Daniel most of the evening, and even at midnight could still get near the television to see the countdown both at Times Square and at the Peach Drop. We stuck around way after midnight and did not get home until 2:30 and didn't get to bed until 3:30 a.m. when we were very happy to shower and crawl into bed.

Slept in so long this morning that we missed the first ten minutes of the Tournament of Roses Parade. Also realized we still had the air conditioner still on, and not the auto setting. It got so chilly last night it was 61°F in the house this morning. It was wonderful for sleeping; now that it's cold again I can shut the vent in the bedroom so we can snuggle happily under the blankets.

Absolutely great parade. The theme was adventure as a salute to the anniversary of the National Parks, and the Grand Marshal was documentary maven Ken Burns, so there were many beautiful floats of animals and birds and beautiful plants. Of note was a gorgeous float in salute to Downton Abbey, and later a Disney anniversary float with Frozen at the front, the castle in the center, and Star Wars at the end. Apparently although George Lucas thinks Disney bastardized his story he wasn't upset enough not to ride on the float. After the presentation of Disney characters, fireworks shot out of the castle. Cool. Plus all those wonderful horses, of course, and some huge bands that filled the screen of the television.

We were pretty much in a ho-hum mode today. We didn't even get dressed to go anywhere, although I was happy to discover it was finally cool enough to wear a sweatsuit! We didn't even have a special New Year's dinner, but ate the Italian wedding soup. After we finished with the parade, I eventually put Galaxy Quest on. We saw this at the movies the very first time on New Year's Day and have pretty much watched it at New Year ever since. When it completed, I noticed that Close Encounters of the Third Kind was on TCM. This was one of my dad's favorite movies; he actually paid to see it a second time and he was too thrifty to do that any other time. I still enjoy watching Richard Dreyfuss' odyssey and the wonder in his eyes at the end.

In the interim between flying saucers and awaited stories, we watched the program about this year's HGTV "Dream House." They renovated a house this year instead of building one, although with all the repairs they had to do they might as well have built a new one. A nice house, but not with some of the special features that previous houses have had, and I simply hated that the television was off in a little room off the kitchen, like they expected you to sequester yourself there, and do nothing in that big main room but watch the water. The house was on Merritt Island in Florida and all I could think about was sitting on that big patio with about four million mosquitoes. No thanks. People can keep "the Great Green Swamp."

Finally it was time for the premiere of the Victorian special of Sherlock that they have been teasing us about for so long. Both Cumberbatch and Freeman looked terrific in Victorian clothes, and I loved all the sly little asides to "Watson's" stories in "The Strand." There were a lot of inside references that told you the story wasn't all that it seemed—Mycroft gave one big clue himself (I like that fact that in the Victorian iteration Mycroft was his usual weight)—until the switching back and forth began. I wasn't twelve minutes into it when I broke into a big grin and stayed that way for most of the story.

Finished off the evening with the news and the Maine episode of Aerial America. I believe they have filmed all the New England episodes in the autumn, which is when it shows its best face. The trees in this one were absolutely spectacular.

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