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, April 30, 2017
Only One New Broom...

Needless to say, we slept in this morning. In fact, James was so wiped out after the sunfest at the Jonquil Festival, even though he improved by suppertime, I'm not sure he wanted to go out at all today. He took the dog out for his morning "airing" and I started doing things to get ready for work tomorrow (sorting pills, etc.), and then after breakfast I attacked another one of those darned frogs. We usually bring carefully portioned snacks with us to conventions (usually to go along with the lunches that we pack) to keep from having to spend $$$$ and buy more sugary/salty pick-me-ups. If we go on vacation with the car we also take these snacks, especially if we rent a cabin or get a room with a kitchenette.

Unfortunately we've had some snacks that have hung around too long. I went to the big bags they have been stored in at the back of the spare room closet (to keep them cool and dry) and tossed out the oldest stuff. I kept the newer crackers and Goldfish and the craisins, plus the twofer Nabisco 100-calorie packs we bought this weekend. Hopefully those are okay. Everything else went. I had to put new rubber bands around the wrapping paper rolls that are too tall to go into the wrapping paper containers, but now they're corralled again as well.

I did a bit more arranging in the craft room as well, and the baker's twine is officially concatenated in one place. Figured out a way to arrange the new paintbrushes I bought. The next thing to do (gulp!) is start attacking the shelves one by one. That should be fun. Not. But it's clear enough to properly work in again.

James needed gasoline and I wanted to go to the dollar store looking for that cheap broom for the deck. So we did go out. We stopped at Dollar General, where I discovered to my chagrin that they have stopped carrying scrubs, which I've used for hanging-around clothes in the fall. 😞 I did find the broom and I bought some sewing needles, because I've been darning things for the last  year with one last, bent sewing needle. James picked up some sugarless candy, but he didn't get much. I asked if he wanted to go to Dollar Tree, and he said he didn't mind.

So we limped around Dollar Tree a bit, where he picked up some different sugarless candy, and I bought more face soap. We had passed H.H. Gregg, which is closing—this is very sad, because nearly every appliance in the house is from Gregg (the fridge, the washer, the dryer, this television and the previous one) and we much preferred them to (yuck) Best Buy—and James uttered the fateful question: do you want to see what's left?

A half-hour later we came out having bought a new range. It's the one we looked at, the Samsung flex duo, with the double oven. It has a griddle burner and a wok attachment, and was marked down from an unmentionable price to one that equals the other convection gas ranges we looked at. Of course, the delivery, the installation, the kit for the installation all upped the price, and I got the extended warranty (which is not through Gregg, and Clark Howard says they are not worth it, but with these appliances being electronic now, anything can go wrong, and it's one thing not to have a working television, but a working stove is not a good thing). Well, that's what the tax refund is for and the remainder can go toward the HVAC system and James' extra pair of shoes (he has to have them hand-made and Kaiser will only pay for one pair; he's getting a simpler pair for dog-walking). We had to buy the range today so they would deliver it by Friday (the final day they do deliveries), and as many reviews as I've read of these things, I read more before we started the purchase process. Most of the bad reviews were about the electric/induction version.

Anyway, I hope it's good. Our friend Shari loves her new Samsung range, which is similar to the one we picked out.

And, then, rather bemused at ourselves (we only went out for a broom and gasoline, after all), we went by Kroger (after scoping out Costco and goggling at the line snaking out the entrance from the pumps) for the gasoline and ended up home. Finished getting ready for work, patched James' pants so he could wear them to work (and put a crease in them to boot), and finally washed the new jeans he bought in Cleveland during Atomicon.

After re-tuning in the television for broadcast channels last night, Ion Life managed to come in sort of good enough so we could watch Colour Confidential, a series we used to love on HGTV (still too many drop outs when it was perfect yesterday). The hostess allows the homeowners to pick the colors of the room she is redecorating with a color wheel geared to their interests, and shows them which colors will emphasize things and which will tone down things. I've never seen a Colour Confidential room that came out badly, although several of them weren't the colors I would have wanted.

Had a big salad and the last of the turkey meat from Christmas for dinner, then watched the weather report and ran to James' office to pick up his laptop. If we get the gully-washer of rain they are predicting, James won't be able to take the chair out in it. This was nice to drive open-windowed in, but when I had to walk Tucker afterwards, it was breathless and humid. So we didn't end up watching Call the Midwife until nine o'clock, with a very sweet plot about a high-functioning Downs syndrome young man who came to live with Bert and Vi, and also about a mother-to-be who had rotten teeth and was afraid of dentists. The dentist is very handsome and evidently has his eye on Trixie! Also, a classic quote from Sister Monica Joan and a very sober look into what Sister Mary Cynthia has been going through in the mental hospital.

And now all of a sudden it is bedtime again, and Sunday night again. I hate Sunday nights most of all.

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» Saturday, April 29, 2017
Broiled and Barbecued
The year has made its half turn and it was time again this weekend for the Smyrna Jonquil Festival. This year, providentially, it was not also Hair Day, so we could go when they opened today. The Sunday hours start at noon and, with the temps being so high this week (in the range of 80°F), we wanted to be walking in as cool temperatures as possible.

This was fine in theory, but it didn't really work out. We got up at eight, James walked the dog, we ate breakfast, and we got there by 9:55. Sadly, 9:55 a.m. was already a sweaty, nasty hot day, and we walked around and enjoyed the vendors, but our bodies didn't very much enjoy the experience. We said hi to "the Button Girl," who is now a very tall young lady, and looked over scented soaps, homemade jewelry, dip mixes, dog treats, cute grandchild clothes, hand-carved wooden pens, etc. Unfortunately, the people we wanted to be there, the Smack-Yo-Mama barbecue sauce folks, weren't. We're completely out of their Georgia Gold and Big Kahuna (with pineapple) sauce. Ah, well. We went past the greyhound rescue and the Kiwanis Vidalia onion sale, and bought a couple of books off the library (H is for Hawk for me and Slow Food for him), plus some carpenter bee traps (they're after our deck), and pickled vegetables.

I wanted to go by Sam's and then Office Max, the latter which had a label maker on sale. I really, really need to whip the craft room into better shape; I've done a little tidying around my art desk, but that's it. I have baker's twine in three different places, and don't remember where other things are. But when we got to Sam's, they had the same label maker on sale, with two cartridges. The cartridges are the expensive part, so the Sam's deal was great. Plus I found a set of 20 different colors Flair pens for only $10. Cool! Also bought a "Where Women Create" magazine, since it was almost affordable here, plus milk, sugarless gum, cheese for James, and Asian salad mix for Sunday supper.

The sun was beating down on that Sam's parking lot relentlessly, and by the time James got home he was light-headed and sick to his stomach. He drank something cold and sat down and gradually got better. I was pretty hot myself, with sweat trickling down my spine in a regular flow, but I wasn't as whacked out by the heat as I usually am. I spent the time while he was getting his equilibrium back in testing out the label maker, and watching "The Dancing Men" episode of the Granada Sherlock Holmes series (yes, I must confess—I have not watched much of classic Jeremy Brett Holmes; this is only my second episode, although I've seen part of one, but that was some years ago).

James was feeling much better after cooling off, plus the breeze had picked up and it wasn't at hot as five as it had been at ten, and we went back to the Fried Tomato Buffet—because, barbecue pork ribs. And the chicken and dumplings are pretty good, too. We made a flying stop at Bed, Bath & Beyond with an expiring coupon (I bought James a new beach towel for his power chair, after not being about to find an airplane-themed one anywhere online), and then went to JoAnn with a 60 percent off coupon. Surprise! There were the six "tropical color" Flairs that don't come with the 20-pen set. The coupon made them affordable (really, the price they charge for simple felt-tip pens is absurd).

After being so hot this morning, it was breezy enough to drive home with the windows down. Still didn't see anyone sitting on their beautifully decorated front porches! We also saw them setting up for Taste of Marietta tomorrow as we cut through downtown. Wish this was held when it was cooler!

Before we got home, we stopped at Publix and finished grocery shopping. Tomorrow is free!

I must be having one of those weird nesting impulses, because, even after walking the dog I couldn't be still. James went downstairs to work on a model, and there I was, from eleven to one, trying to dig out the mess in the craft room. Boy, was I tired when I went to bed. I sorted a big pile of cross-stitch magazines and put them in the bins I bought at JoAnn (storage was half off), dug out the laminator I got from Amazon Vine and never used (turned out it was a lot smaller than the big box it was in; out went the box!), and rearranged the stuff next to the loveseat so I could reach my fanzines again, and get to my sewing items easy. I tossed out old calendars (ripping out a few pretty pages that got stuck to the closet door), put Christmas cards back on top of the cabinet where they belonged, put up the rest of the Command containers, cleaned off the paper cutter, put the Flairs up in one of the little organizer boxes I got from Ikea on discount (and played with them, of course), and finally got to the point where I could vacuum.

Yes, it was finally bedtime!

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» Tuesday, April 25, 2017
The Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside my window...
...sunny, and getting warmer, darnit. I admit having blue skies, clouds and breeze beats sullen grey skies and mist as it was yesterday, but must it get hot? I listen to a Boston radio station when I drive into work and the weather reports make my mouth water; more lovely spring weather, and not a dreadful 77°F like it will be today. I am not a lark nor a sun worshiper; I am most definitely an owl with snowy owl tendencies!

I am thinking...
...I have just finished a book about the Christmas truce of 1914 (since it was 100 years ago this month that the United States joined "the Great War," I planned my Rudolph Day reading accordingly) and thinking of how miserable it was for those men in the mud and the cold. As illustrated by the book, most of the men did not even have any malice toward each other; they were simply fighting because their governments told them so. The British "Tommies" talked to numerous "Hun" who had, not months earlier, worked as waiters, barbers, teachers, etc. in Great Britain!

I am thankful...
...that James will never have to go to war, nor have we any children that might have to.

In the kitchen...
...I made some order! We bought some pourable containers at the Container Store and they now hold all the nuts we use for our cooking. Now if only James will keep them in order! 😁

I am wearing...
...a black t-shirt which says "Bibliovore" and teal-colored "scrubs" pants, and the usual white socks and scuffs. I can't wear slippers at the computer because of the static electricity. This is a great trial in winter when my feet are cold!

I am creating...
...order out of chaos: the containers for nuts, cereal put away in a larger container, and a hook down in the laundry room to keep the little shopping cart from falling over (it's leant against the washer).

I am going... have to buy a cheap broom for the deck. The one we have out there now is eleven years old and no longer sweeps well, having borne the brunt of weather for all eleven years.

I am wondering...
...what fresh errand will need to be run this weekend. There is always something!

I am reading...
...the Liberty Lane mystery story The Path of the Wicked and also a March 2014 "Simple Things" magazine. This is my favorite magazine currently!

I am hoping... finally get an order going. It was delayed because of a problem with the specifications.

I am looking forward to...
...well, Wholanta next weekend, and also reading the two "Best of British" magazines I found at Barnes & Noble last weekend. I haven't seen a "Best of British" in several years; B&N does not stock them regularly as the Buckhead Borders Books used to.

I am learning...
...bought a book about creative illustration; need to mess around with it a little. Also need to try out my watercolor pencils.

Around the house...
...quiet right now. I was listening to Gretchen Rubin's "Happier" podcast earlier. The dog is eating and the bird is scrambling around making love to his favorite toy. Snowy is moulting again and the carpet under his cage is covered with a blanket of down.

I am pondering...
...retirement. But that's a constant these days.

A favorite quote for today...
"I'm really in retirement. My career is over. I'm just playing now and having a great time. I like to keep busy, and I'm doing what's fun for me."  . . . . Dick Van Dyke

I like that. Because what I really want to do is stop working and start living (within financial means, of course).

One of my favorite things...
...We're having it for supper tonight: turkey! We don't reserve turkey for holidays; we buy turkey thighs—since we are dark meat fans and think breast meat is fit only for putting into soup—once or twice a month and cook them up with a nice gravy on top and have something yummy on the side. We have some Yukon Gold potatoes...

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Well, the new broom. The Jonquil Festival on Saturday (when it opens so it's not broiling hot). And then picking up the usual milk and bananas and bread for work sandwiches.

A peek into my day...
Here is Snowy using his best "get that thing out of my house" look. He apologizes for not being in "the finest feather." When one moults, one must moult.

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



» Sunday, April 23, 2017
And Then the Deluge

We slept in this morning, and then James had to get to work restocking his homemade burritos. Yay me, I got to go out grocery shopping. I went to Costco for milk and popcorn and mushrooms, and bought a copy of Rogue One and the book White Trash. It had rained before we went to bed last night and it was spoiling for rain again this morning, the sky oppressively grey and low. From Costco I went to Kroger since they had yogurt, paper towels, and pork chops on sale. Just as I pulled in the driveway it started to rain!

Spent the afternoon listening to the rain drum on the roof—we had several spates of "Georgia Monsoon Season," with the windows getting soaked as the wind lashed water at them—adding stuff to the Netflix queue, including The Secret Life of Pets. We watched that at suppertime: it was cute and has some good chuckles, but I thought overlong. The budgie, Sweetpea, does get to participate in the adventure, but he's the only one of the critters who doesn't talk. How odd.

Later watched the first episode of The Vicar of Dibley off Britbox and then Call the Midwife, which had a "loss" theme tonight. Thankfully one of the losses was not Shelagh's baby! Right now I'm watching a special called The Secret Life of Pigeons, which has been fascinating: how they study their homing instincts, how pigeons have served man (and not just in squab dishes), pigeon shows,  their social habits, etc. And we even saw baby pigeons.

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» Saturday, April 22, 2017
Adventures on Saturday (Evening Edition)

James was much refreshed after his nap and we headed up to Town Center eager for our supper. We returned to the Fried Tomato Buffet and enjoyed the Saturday night specialties: chicken and dumplings (which was quite good), shredded barbecue pork, and pork ribs. I also had more of the cucumber and tomato salad and some olives "straight up."

We stopped at JoAnn afterwards as we had six excellent coupons which we used on useful things: all Command products. 😊 And then we decided to check out the new Thinkgeek store at Town Center Mall. This has only been open for a couple of weeks; the initial store opened up at the Mall of Georgia. It's been a popular online site to find fannish things as well as cool gadgets for years.

Our first goal was finding the elevator at the mall. This is the first time we've been to Town Center since James had gotten the power chair. There's no real reason for us to go anymore since Waldenbooks and BDalton have closed. Even the Lindt store is gone. We figured it would be near the Food Court and were correct. Thinkgeek was just past the Food Court going toward the Sears end of the mall.

We were actually a bit disappointed because it was mostly fannish stuff. Now, it was cool fannish stuff, but we aren't in the market for action figures and other geegaws that we have to dust. And I have no idea why everyone likes those Funko Pop figures with the huge heads. If I was collecting, I'd want something realistic.

They did have a couple of cool gadgets off in a corner. One was a Tesla watch. The second hand is on a tiny, separate dial, and at the top of the watch are two tiny "vacuum tubes" that you can turn off and on. Nifty!

Since we were there, we also checked out the Disney Store. They had some really neat action figure sculptures from Star Wars. The Rey was especially keen. We didn't see a Han Solo, but they do have one, but no General Leia! (But there's two Kylo Rens—hissssss...) Checked out the Animator's Collection dolls; I'm not a doll person, but if I was, I'd definitely bring home Lilo or Merida; I love the expression on the latter's face—she looks as if she has the very devil in her!

Also stopped at Teavana, which is a very expensive tea store. James was really interested in their chocolate peppermint tea, but on discount the tin was $30!

On the way home we had dessert at Bruster's Ice Cream and then drove home with the windows down; another perfect cool night.

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Adventures on Saturday (Morning Edition)

One feels so much more like doing things when one gets a decent night's sleep and doesn't have to be up in the dark. I love sleeping dark to light. Daylight Saving Time can go hang itself.

Once Tucker was walked (which James usually does on weekends) and breakfast was eaten, we were off on an expedition. The container I bought for my almonds was not large enough, so I wanted to go back to the Container Store for one that would fit. We actually picked up several, for the almonds and cashews James puts into dinners as well.

When we got done next door at Barnes & Noble—checked out the magazines and I bought a book about creative illustration with one of my coupons—we headed off to Trader Joe's on Roswell Road and had a surprise when we parked: they have moved Penzey's Spices next door into a smaller store. It actually rather suits Penzey's better as the other store was much larger than they needed (and I'm sure the rent is much cheaper). We picked up a small lunch at Trader Joe's (a tuna wrap for me and turkey for James) and stocked up on chicken apple sausage and miso broth and a few other goodies. We also went into Penzey's for some Chinese cinnamon and sweet curry.

At the end of the parking lot is a dog boutique. This is where the gentleman at the Farmer's Market bought the freeze-dried duck hearts that so entranced Tucker one Saturday. So I walked down there while James moved the truck. Yow! I couldn't afford the freeze-dried duck hearts, so I got turkey hearts instead.

I-285 was poking along, so we headed off via surface streets, a much pleasanter ride past the big houses surrounded by lush lawns and big overhanging trees of Riverside Drive and Heards Ferry Road. There's a stone home on Riverside Drive that I much covet, but then I've loved stone homes since I saw the beautiful ones in Pennsylvania.

We had been able to have the truck windows open early this morning, but it was too hot by the time we headed home, so James came in rather the worse for sun and sacked out in the recliner for a couple of hours. I used the time to watch four episodes of Make Room for Daddy, including one featuring Dinah Shore and her daughter Melissa.

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» Friday, April 21, 2017
Ping-Pong Friday

Nearly 10,000 steps just doing errands today!

Up at eight, ate breakfast, walked the dog, stripped the bed, then:
  • CVS with 30 percent off coupon; headbands and Breathe Rights
  • Kaiser to pick up thyroid medication; they were the quickest stop—my scrip was ready before I finished in the ladies' room
  • Visionworks to get my current pair of glasses straightened and to get the spare pair fixed. Guess what; the salesman lied to me (surprise—not!). The "insurance" on the glasses only lasted one year. He told me it was for the life of the glasses. However, they had the same frames in stock, so she gave me 40 percent off because I had AAA, and they just popped the old lenses in the new frames
  • The bank for cash
  • The library booksale at the Northside Library; I found exactly one book (this is a small book sale; sometimes they have lots of goodies and sometimes none), The Oxford Companion to Children's Books (which has exactly six lines about John Verney—humph!)
  • Tin Drum for lunch (I had credit, so I ate for $3) and reading of same book
  • Petco with my $10 off $30 coupon; the dog food was on sale, so I was able to get two bags of it, some dog treats, and even millet for Snowy, all for $22
  • Costco for gasoline
  • The post office to mail Emma's (late) birthday gift 
When I got home I put the bedclothes in the washer, and then took a nap!

Before James got home I took Tucker out for another walk, put the bedclothes in the dryer, and put the fresh sheets and the comforter back on the bed.

We had supper at Uncle Maddio's and then did the shopping at Sprouts (some nice meat deals, Vidalia onions, and even Italian wedding soup for Sunday supper) and Publix (twofers, turkey thighs, yogurt, and assorted goodies). Once the groceries were put up, we took Tucker out one last time, and viola (as Snagglepuss would say), lots of steps.

Now I'm ready for bed.

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» Sunday, April 16, 2017
Easter Ease

It was a lovely, relaxing day. We slept until ten (of course we didn't go to bed until two, so it wasn't the sleep-in you might think). James walked Tucker whilst I sorted my meds for the week, then we had breakfast and I put on EWTN where the Stations of the Cross droned in the background while I tried to make order out of chaos. I finally got the winter decorations put up—yes, I've been slothful, but I just haven't had the heart or the time to take it all down (and puzzle-piece it back into the box, which is the most difficult part)—and put up the spring decorations, which are easy, because there are only a large clear shoebox of them. I'm afraid that I just can't get all het up about spring, except for the filigree-type china sheep. I also got the Christmas gifts off the hearth and put where they belonged. We'd completely forgotten we received a Regal Cinemas gift certificate; we could have gone to see Rogue One after all. Oh, well, I am off tomorrow, so maybe I can pick it up then. Someone—maybe it's Target—has it for $20 on BluRay.

At noon we watched Easter Mass from the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in DC. Much beauty and pageantry, and a lovely service. They are having a new dome installed with what looks like an absolute magnificent mosaic on it. Afterwards we watched Easter things: the Addie Mills story The Easter Promise, Here Comes Peter Cottontail, and finally Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

We had shrimp grilled in butter/garlic/chive sauce and linguine for supper, but we skipped the dessert. Somewhere during the afternoon I brought out our Lindt chocolate bunnies and both of us ate the whole thing, so we had our dessert before our supper. 😀 The chocolate silk mini-pies will have to wait till tomorrow or a more prosaic meal.

We watched Make Room for Daddy as well. I think James is quite enjoying them, although some are better than others. One story about Terry's friend who had neglectful parents was very pointed along with the humor, but the one about Danny thinking Kathy will be jealous of a woman appearing with him in Pittsburgh was kinda eh. And the finally it was time for Call the Midwife, in which we learned Sister Ursula's motivation, which explained a lot about why she was so strict and bitter. I felt quite bad for her by the time she left. She had forgotten she was there to serve Him and not "them."

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» Saturday, April 15, 2017
Canine Pursuits and British Absolutes

I can't even recall the last time we went to the Farmers' Market, but it was a cold day. Tucker had run out of his "magic dog cookies" ages ago, and since it would be cool this morning we decided to go, but be brisk about it since James' club meeting was also today. We decided to take Nature Boy with us, and he did certainly enjoy the entire trip, but supervising him is a full-time job for me. By the time we got there, there were no parking spaces on Powder Springs Road or around the square, so we just parked in back of Johnnie McCracken's Pub in the municipal lot (free on weekends) and walked.

Tucker is the Elephant's Child; he has "'satiable curiosity" enough for two dogs. He was very interested in the doors to an empty storefront that appears to be becoming another tiresome bar, so heaven only knows what has been going through them. Once we got to the square we cut across Glover Park, where entrants for a 5K were gathering. Friendly people! And then when we got to the market itself, O heaven! Other dogs! Labradoodles, mutts, a very elderly Golden retriever, a young Schnauzer, rescue greyhounds, and all sorts of canine acquaintances to touch noses and rear ends with in proper canine greeting fashion. Two little kids asked us about Tucker, we talked to the lady who runs Big Daddy dog biscuits (so we have "magic cookies" again), James bought some mint lime mixer, we have scones for desserts, and cucumbers and tomatoes for a salad for Easter dinner tomorrow (menu will be grilled shrimp in a scampi sauce). We sampled lemonade (too sweet) and the scones, but not much else because riding herd on Mr. Sociability kept me on my toes.

On the way back to the truck I ducked into the Local Exchange to buy two bags of Zesty Italian pretzels. Best pretzels ever.

On the way home, Tucker was allowed to do this, which made his day:

James dropped us off and went on to his IPMS meeting; I had better things to do, so of course I didn't do them. Last week I cancelled the disk portion of our Netflix subscription. We hadn't watched a disk since before his heart attack, and I decided I'd rather waste the monthly charge on Britbox, which we could get through the Roku stick I got free from Amazon Vine. At this moment, it was attached to the television in the spare room, so first I signed up with Britbox on the computer, then I signed on via the Roku. James set it up originally so I didn't really play with it much previously.

Then I brought it out to the living room. Trouble is, it works on an HDMI port, and all of ours are filled. But we don't use the small computer much anymore; we just use the disk drive on the small computer to view our Region 2 videos. So I unplugged that and if we want to watch British video we will just have to swap it out. Plugged in the Roku (to both the HDMI and the power source) and taped it to the top of the TV, since it has to be in line of sight of the remote to work properly (it's now sitting next to Judy Hopps), and then turned it on and made it go. For some strange reason, you can't get the A-Z listing of shows on the Roku app, just online, so I turned on Doctor Who ("Spearhead from Space"—Jon Pertwee, of course, and then the first episode of Keeping Up Appearances, which I don't ever recall seeing) and while I was watching I was online and putting shows on a watchlist. Nice selection: Cadfael, The Last Detective, all of Classic Who, Campion, A Touch of Frost, Waking the Dead, Absolutely Fabulous, Blackadder, As Time Goes By, Inspector Lynley, etc. Even some British cooking shows for James, and lots of documentaries, including the late 60s PBS staple, Civilisation with Kenneth Clarke. Have a big wishlist for more, though, especially old things, like Doctor in the House and All Creatures Great and Small. Would love to see some of the classic British cop shows: Z Cars, The Sweeney, Dixon of Dock Green...if they still exist, of course. And The Professionals! I heard so much about that show from Deb and Pat and the others in Boston in the 1980s.

I also finished A Year of Biblical Womanhood, which I enjoyed very much, and, although I hate to admit it, started doing a very late task: while I put up the spring decorations on the porch and in the foyer weeks ago, all the winter decorations are still up in the living and dining room. I just can't muster any enthusiasm for spring ever and this has been the worst yet. So not only don't I have Easter decorations up, I don't even have spring ones up. All the snowmen and silver trees and snow-marked items are gathered on the dining room table to be collected into the box, except for the winter park, which still must be packed away.

When James got home, we went to Longhorn for dinner (just basic entree and salads), our usual, the 6-ounce Renegade. I have to start telling them "medium" instead of "medium rare," as the Dallas Highway location barely shows the meat a picture of the fire. Next we went to Sprouts and picked up a couple of things, including beef and pork bits, onions, and grapes on sale. As James was finishing up the sale there, I ran next door with the coupon I'd gotten in e-mail and bought Tucker another bag of dog food, and got an even better coupon for next week: If I buy two bags of dog food and $2 worth of dog biscuits or a toy, I can get 33 percent off the deal! Of course I stopped to talk with the budgies; there was a cute one there who looked a lot like my sweet little Pigwidgeon. He was burbling quite contentedly near the glass wall of the enclosure.

Then we stopped at Barnes & Noble, but neither of us found anything we absolutely had to have. Our coupons don't expire until Mother's Day, so we've got time. By then we were both pretty tired, but neither of us wanted to go to the supermarket tomorrow, so we went across the street and got the usual: milk, a banana (only need one this week, thank God), a few other things, and two mini chocolate silk pies for tomorrow's dessert. And we are now set for desserts, since we have Lindt chocolate bunnies and Cadbury chocolate-filled eggs to go along with the scones. 😁

Stopped at Baskin-Robbins for tonight's dessert and then it was homeward to walk the dog and watch the Britcoms.

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» Friday, April 14, 2017
Retreat and Rescue

Why can't I sleep deeply like this on workday nights? I slept deep and hard last night, and I believe the only reason I was awake at 8:12 was that I had it in the back of my mind that I still hadn't found the newest copy of "Breathe." (Yes, the irony is not lost on me that I am getting irritated over not finding a magazine devoted to relaxation and mindfulness.)

So I had breakfast and gave Tucker a good walk and then hopped in the car and headed for the Barnes & Noble in Buckhead. I plotted the trip on the GPS this time, since I had a short turnaround time, and it rattled me by taking me the back way (Plant Atkinson Road) which was the way it used to take me to the hospital.

So, finally, the "Breathe" and a "Time" special issue about the first World War, and, to my enormous surprise, two different issues of "Best of British," which I literally haven't seen for years. I had two coupons, and picked up the new paperback copy of The Librarians and the Lost Lamp and also a history of the post office.

The Buckhead B&N literally has more unique items than even the Akers Mill store (especially in the magazines), so I pushed my stay to the limit and then had to hurry home, stopping only briefly by Publix to grab some bread. I was trying not to eat meat today, so arrived home five minutes before noon and hastily put together a blackberry spread sandwich while pulling up the readings for the day off Laudiate. I did my readings, then put on the BBC Lent talks that I had recorded in the past six weeks. This year's theme was Destiny, and my two favorites were the rocket scientist and also the 80-year-old gentlemen talking about old age. I was thinking, though, that the talks weren't quite as inspiring as in previous years. Then I put on some quiet music and read A Year of Biblical Womanhood, which I'm really enjoying—so much that I kept reading long after three.

James suggested we try a new buffet tonight; it was the Fried Tomato Buffet, and the name gave me a bit of pause. And, yeah, a lot of the stuff is fried. However, they have baked chicken and some non-fried stuff, and a salad bar. I was still avoiding the meat, so I ended up eating fried, as that was the only way the shrimp was served. When we got done eating we went next door to Petland to see the puppies (these are the folks with the "designer dogs" that they charge you thousands for), which, despite their price, sure are cute. There was one little shih tzu type puppy who stared in astonishment as James came rolling up in the power chair. What a face!

Anyway, I heard little budgie voices and went up in an upper area where they had budgies, hamsters, rabbits and ferrets. The budgies were in two little glass open-topped enclosures—well, most of the budgies were in one enclosure, and one lone budgie was in the other, and he hated it. He was frantic, pattering back and forth in front of the glass where he could see and hear his flock, but couldn't get to them. Several times he tried to dig his way into the other enclosure. Poor thing! He reminded me of Snowy, with darker stripes on his head, and blue where Snowy is grey. I was trying to get him to come to me, but of course he was just a baby and not tame, and when one of the Petland people came by, I said "He's all alone," and the employee tried to catch him, but he fluttered away, and the guy said, "I'll move him later." But the poor little guy was still running back and forth in front of the glass, trying to get through, and the next time he got close to me and started digging to get to them, I grabbed him and transferred him into the other enclosure. He was so happy; he walked right next to the other birds and started contentedly preening himself. People think birds don't have feelings, but the little guy looked miserable.

Then we went on to Michaels. They were having a 40 percent off on everything regularly priced with a coupon. The last time they did that, I was able to stock up on stuff, but this was a really thin trip: I got a wooden medallion, a magnet for my car, and some small wood blocks for mini-shelves. The other two things I bought (a frame and a pencil sharpener) were on clearance and not covered by the coupon.

We came home through the battlefield park in a soft velvet twilight, the air suddenly beautifully cool as we cut through the trees. I always think it so funny when we come through here on nice nights—we either come home from Town Center through Kennesaw Avenue like tonight or through Church Street, and both these streets are lined by big old homes, some low southern-style homes and others Queen Anne or some permutation of Victorian era, and a lot of them have nice deep porches which the owners have decorated with porch furniture. Some of this is quite elaborate: white rattan chairs with cozy flowered cushions, tables, little table lamps with soft pastel shades, big porch swings with padded seats, potted plants, "fairy lights," etc. The lamps on some porches must be lit by timers because they sit casting soft lights...on empty porches. I understand not sitting outside in July and August when the night air is as hot and heavy as the day air was, but even on lovely cool nights like tonight we never see anyone out sitting on these lush, plush, beautiful porches! Strange.

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» Sunday, April 09, 2017
Learning and Leaving Holmes

Second verse, same as the first: I still ate at home. Saved me the money I spent in the Dealer's Room, and I'll get much longer satisfaction out of that. (It did say there was a buffet in the program book. So why didn't the hotel employees know that?)

Today's schedule (details later):

"From Christie to Reichs: Famous Female Detective Writers"

"Baker Street Babes Podcast," in which they interviewed guest writer Michael Powell (who has spoken to Ray Bradbury and once talked for an hour to Dame Jean Doyle)


"Fandom Studies"

"Beyond Wikipedia" (research sources)

"Cabin Pressure, A-Z" (all about our favorite radio airline, MJN Air)

"Our Last Bow," the wrap-up panel, in which the con staff takes a bow and people air grievances. Still a request for panelists' names to be on the schedule, so people know if friends will be on the panel. I know a lot of the panelists do not use their own names because their fannish interest conflicts with their job/home life, but put their screen names. Also one panelist complained about being filmed although filming isn't allowed. I didn't realize there was an incident in 2015 where two different factions had a conflict at the convention which was filmed and posted on YouTube, showing one of the panel members breaking down and crying. How rude!

Anyway, new hotel is near the airport, apparently freshly remodeled by con time, four different restaurants from casual to formal, plus a "fresh bar" and they will have a food truck on the weekend. Long drive. We'll see.

Home to my family! Snowy sang, Tucker jumped up to be petted, and James fed me chicken and wild rice soup from Publix. He'd repaired the broken towel rack in the bathroom, cleaned the stove, and bought lots of goodies for future meals. Watched America's Funniest Home Videos and then Call the Midwife, with a Little couple expecting a child, and also the story of a new father who was blinded in a warehouse accident, and Patsy making the decision to go home to her dad, who is dying.

We were both crying at the end.

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» Saturday, April 08, 2017
Wall-to-Wall Paneling

Oh, that burns me up! I found out yesterday when I got home that the convention goers didn't have to pay for parking; you could get your parking ticket validated at the desk. All you had to do was show your badge to hotel staff! Nice of you to tell people, Marriott.

Plus, last night I asked a hotel employee if they still had the breakfast bar for the convention. He told me no, the breakfast bar was only during the week. So I ate breakfast at home with James, which was perfectly fine with me, got to the hotel, and discovered—guess what, breakfast bar! When I went to the desk to get the ticket validated I made sure to tell the young woman on duty that they lost a customer that day. Apparently this is new management at the hotel and they are so inefficient that 221B is going elsewhere next year. Unfortunately, to accommodate those who take MARTA and who fly in, they're going to a hotel near the airport. That is a long, lonely drive.

So we were up at eight, I got stuff together, I had oatmeal, toast, yogurt, and milk, I walked the dog, and then I was off. Instead of going to Costco I paid the extra 14 cents a gallon and got gasoline at RaceTrac.

This was the rest of the day; I'll catch it up later:

"The Worst Sherlock"

"Canon 101"

"World Building for Writers"

"Media Adaptations"


"Female Detectives"

Atlanta Radio Theatre Company presented four different stories: a funny short about a guy at the DMV, "Paranormal Investigations" part 4 with a cat protagonist, The Crimson Hawk: "The Widow's Web," and another short, "Multiverse Travel."

"Granada Holmes" (Jeremy Brett's Holmes)

"Stories Through Sound" (ARTC talking about making radio drama)

and finally "Arthur 'Continuity' Doyle."

And more damn traffic coming home even though I left early.

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» Friday, April 07, 2017
Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Increased Traffic

So it's now my fourth 221BCon and I have a routine. I sleep late, get my kit together (lunch—because the hotel restaurant/lounge is not only expensive like its Marriott counterpart that does Anachrocon and WHOlanta, but they charge a lot for lousy food like hamburgers and nachoes; if they had decent food like salads and roast chicken it would be different), and then drive over to that side of town after the lunch crowd dissipates and before rush hour traffic starts, which is about one to one-thirty. So I slept until nine, but then had to go to Publix and to Kroger to pick up what I needed for sandwiches, which I then made when I got home. Plus I unloaded the dishwasher, made the bed, walked the dog again.

Now it's time for me to get across town and go get my lunch. I checked the traffic before I left; all green. Except by the time I got to the freeway (it takes 20 minutes), it was all backed up again. Urgh. Now, I hadn't stopped for gas because the line at Costco was out to the road; I had a very short window to get across town, since rush hour traffic on Fridays starts about 2:30. So I had to get off at Roswell Road to get a couple of gallons to make it through the rest of the day (at 40­­ cents a gallon more than near our house), and then I could go through the back (Hammond Drive) to skip the rest of the traffic.

Of course after an hour stuck in traffic, I had old persons' disease, Gottapee. Instead of going to lunch and then hitting Barnes & Noble at a leisurely pace as usual, I went to B&N first to use the bathroom, give the magazines a quick check, and then ran into the Container Store to get a container for the slivered almonds I use on my oatmeal (because they're cheaper if you get them in little plastic containers rather than a bag you can pour from). Only then could I sit down and enjoy lunch at Tin Drum and read From Holmes to Sherlock, the ARC I got on NetGalley.

So I arrived at the hotel in time to get my hair out of wild disarray, pin some fannish buttons on, and be first in the registration line, still glowering over the new parking arrangements. One has to pay for parking now! This is typical of the Marriott people; anything for another buck, even though their high-priced rooms are no better than what the Drury Inn or Staybridge Suites offers for half the price with breakfast thrown in. Checked out the charity auction items, but nothing interesting this year, peeked in the Dealer's Room which wouldn't open until five, and spent the rest of the time chatting to Caran at the ARTC sale table.

My first panel was "Sherlock and Young Adult Books," which is a burgeoning market these days. There are two different series of books about a young Sherlock, another series about his youngest sister Enola, and many homages like the new A Study in Charlotte. Someone (a lady who is a children's librarian in Boston) still remembers the Robert Newman "Baker Street Irregulars" series. I found the first book in that series when it came out and didn't know until recently that there were more of them.

I'm not sure what I expected from "Sherlock Holmes and Science," but enjoyed it. The moderator was a chemist, and he talked about what caused the yellow fogs so prevalent in London in Holmes' day (burning coal; breathing in London back then was the equivalent of smoking two packs of cigarettes a day). He also talked about Holmes' use of forensics and some of the things they do on Sherlock that are definitely not accomplished by the procedure they show on television! 😊

"Strong Female Characters in Sci-Fi" was next, and of course we had to talk about Rey and Princess Leia and Jyn Erso, but went further back to note characters from Dune and Asimov.
The panelists wanted to get feedback from the half-dozen men in the room on what they thought was a good strong female character—and of course it was the same thing that made up a strong male character. We did discuss that the woman should not have to endure assault and abuse to suddenly become that strong female character. When asked what we'd like to see in 20 years about strong female characters, one lady said quietly, "I don't want this panel to exist. It should be just about strong characters, female and male alike." Exactly.

Again, wasn't sure what to expect about "Villains Need Love, Too." Basically it was a talk about what makes a villain truly evil, and is every villain truly evil, or just "bad" because they are against societal norms (like women who were strong in the 19th century might be classified as "mad" or "evil" or "unwomanly" by husbands or brothers or fathers and clapped into mental institutions); also, why were villains so attractive to us. Basically because they have the freedom to do what they want, while we are restricted, whether by morality or society.

Last of all was "Fandom Generations" (which, sadly, I had to skip the "Joan Watson" panel to see). It was all about the "good old days" before the interenet, back when, as one of the panelists said, you had to save up all year to go to MediaWest Con because that's where the fanzines were and you spent $$$$ on fannish reading for a year because it would be next year before you would meet again. About printed zines and communities of fans finding each other through fanzines and finding friends, and now you can immediately read tons of fanfic online, and you may find writers you like, but you don't actually socialize with them and that's a loss. We got into the early days on Usenet—I didn't even get to mention GEnie!—and newsgroups.

Hey, it's 10:00 p.m. now, it should be clear sailing home, right? Nope. First the ticket payment gadget at the hotel entrance gave the guy in front of me trouble; he couldn't get it to accept his card. He finally pulled out of line. (I watched what he was doing. I think he was trying to put his credit card in the room key slot.) So I get there and the red light is flashing. I push the red light, it goes out, and spits the guy's ticket back at me. I can't stop to give the ticket back to him because some honking big pickup truck is behind me blocking the whole road. So I put my ticket through and then pay with my credit card, but I still have the guy's ticket but if I don't go through the gate fast enough the gate will close again and *I* will be stuck. So I just left it on top of the ticket machine and went. I hope he got it back!

On the way home the traffic was like normal daytime traffic (not rush hour, just lots of cars). At 10:15 at night! Are you kidding me? Made it home so tired from ticket machine and traffic that I pretty much read e-mail and then the both of us went to bed.

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» Thursday, April 06, 2017
The Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside my window...'s late afternoon and partly cloudy, very windy, almost at the end of a very strange week of storms and contradictory weather.

I am thinking...
...about this week, which started out very warm (70-80 degrees F), Monday a day of violent thunderstorms, Tuesday calm, Wednesday more violent thunderstorms for about sixteen hours on and off, and now today, where the temps haven't broken 60!

I am thankful...
...we had no damage during either thunderstorm day. There were tornadoes in other parts of the state, or just collapse from four inches of rain yesterday.

In the kitchen...
...nothing cooking tonight, as it's potluck night. We have to go pick up James' pickup truck, which had to have new shocks installed (the old ones were leaking), and we'll probably go to Dragon 168 to pick up supper.

I am wearing...
...a green short-sleeved shirt and brownish (I call them "tobacco colored" because they have a greenish tinge) jeans and black Reeboks.

I am creating...
...nothing at work! Ever single order I have has some sort of problem. It's an ongoing annoyance.

I am going... try and relax this weekend. It seems like even when we go away for a weekend, like we did two weeks ago, I never fully relax. I don't sleep well in strange beds (and the last one was particularly bad). Actually, sometimes I sleep the best on the futon, even with that lovely foam bed.

I am wondering...
...what to have for Easter dinner. We can't really have ham anymore, because of the sodium, and for some reason I lost my taste for ham long ago. Maybe a nice roast chicken? Or just throw caution to the wind and have something neat like lobster ravioli? I'm not going to work the next day (I need to gauge the Braves traffic online to know how to proceed once there are regular home games (in case you've missed my rantings, some idiot built the new baseball stadium right on my route home; it's already taking me 75 minutes to get home). They had an exhibition game last Friday, but our internet connection died about the time I was supposed to be surveying traffic.

I am reading...
...a really cool (but occasionally strange) book by Robert Macfarlane called The Old Ways, about a man who walks ancient pathways in his native Britain and in other countries (he has been in Palestine and Spain so far). The imagery is lovely.

I am hoping... find something cool but affordable this weekend. I'm thinking about a deerstalker, but I don't want to pay a lot (but not a little, because then you get something cheesy).

I am looking forward to...
...221B Con this weekend. James isn't a big Sherlock Holmes or mystery fan, so it's nice to be with a bunch of people who like mystery books in general and Sherlock Holmes in particular. Only have two "dueling panels," but one is a real doozy: the "Joan Watson" panel vs. the "olden days fandom" panel. I am really torn! There are so many Elementary haters that I want to talk up that series as much as possible.

And the panelists for the women mystery writers panel better show up this year or I'm going to be severely pissed.

I am learning...
...not enough to suit me. I want to learn interesting stuff, whether it's about computers, history, Great Britain, anthropology, art, writing. I do not wish to learn anything more about procurement law.

Around the house...
...quiet while waiting for James to get back from Dragon. We were supposed to both ride over to the car place, but the shuttle guy brought the pickup truck, not the van. No room for me. I'm making Snowy happy and listening to Leo Laporte. Snowy loves his Leo.

I am pondering...
...this year's vacation. There's so much I want to see. But should we play it safe? And how do we keep Tucker from barking in a hotel room? He's only stayed in a cabin. (That was nice. Even the day of snow.)

A favorite quote for today...
Since it's the centenary of the U.S. entry into World War I:
"European nations began World War I with a glamorous vision of war, only to be psychologically shattered by the realities of the trenches. The experience changed the way people referred to the glamour of battle; they treated it no longer as a positive quality but as a dangerous illusion."  .....Virginia Postrel

One of my favorite things...
...Elementary, which I think I will go back to watching! I get behind because when I get home from work most nights I don't want to watch anything. My eyes hurt and my glasses hurt.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
221B Con, where I can revel in literary conversations.

A peek into my day...
...Tucker waiting for cookies. He's always waiting for cookies.

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



» Sunday, April 02, 2017

We had Hair Day Saturday morning, stopping at Publix beforehand to both get our contribution and grab some twofers. We had a lively crowd today, and because it was Colin's 26th birthday, we had a cake and presents. The lunch centerpiece was salads (chicken, crab Louis, fruit, and potato), so we had sandwiches and there was also a cheese and cracker plate and a relish tray.

We were going to drive home, drop off the groceries and the remainder of the bread we brought for lunch, and then go to the Akers Mills' Barnes & Noble. Well, James's been having trouble with gout in his left elbow, and now the arch of his foot was hurting in the same way. He wasn't in any condition to go out, but didn't say anything about it until we were on our way home, when the pain started to worsen.

So we were home for the rest of the afternoon and evening. He had to take some medicine that the doctor gave him for flare-ups and pretty much had to lie out the remainder of the night. He slept a lot of it, and didn't even notice when I took the dog out the last time. I just chilled and read some magazines and watched Father Brown, Rosemary & Thyme, Keeping Up Appearances, and As Time Goes By. Father Brown was a Christmas episode which I wish I hadn't missed the beginning of.

We slept a full nine hours last night and both woke up refreshed, James with no pain in the foot. Glad the medicine helped! We had a quick breakfast and then ran two errands and the trip to Barnes & Noble. The first errand was stopping at Nam Dae Mun, the mostly Asian market on Spring Road. We needed more low-sodium teriyaki sauce and also black sauce, sweet sauce, sesame oil, and ginger tea. The second errand was to Costco to get gasoline and then restock eggs, milk, mushrooms, and liquid soap (also picked up more popcorn and a copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them—geez, when's Rogue One coming out; everyone's talked about it so much I want to see it).

Lunch at Uncle Maddio's pizza and the trip to Barnes & Noble were much more fun, even if I didn't buy anything at the latter. James got the new 1632 book. Alas, they still don't have the new "Breathe" magazine. Looked at the spring "This England," but I can get a year's subscription to the digital version for less than the price of one print edition. I can do this with "Breathe," too, but I don't get the extras that are in the print edition.

Did see a book I ordered when I got home, because it was simply more affordable that way. A World Remade, the story of the United States in World War I. I have been waiting for a book like this. Thursday, the 6th, is the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into "the Great War." What I was really hoping for is that someone would do a book just about homefront WWI. There are a bunch about World War II (I have at least a half dozen of them, like Daddy's Gone to War), but our total immersion in the first war fascinates me. People could see WWII coming, but how did we get involved in WWI? This has interested me since I read all those old kids' series books that used to be on, the ones that predated Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, like Grace Harlowe and the High-School Boys and the Campfire Girls and Ruth Fielding: once WWI came along every single one of those kids' books had wartime plots, with the girls acting as nurses or hospitality house hostesses (the precursor to the USO) and the boys as soldiers. This book, I note by the reviews, does have some explanation for that.

Anyway, the summer temperatures have done the usual number on my GI system, so after we were delayed at Costco we came straight home, where my bathroom sojourns were interrupted by enjoyable moments watching The Queen's Castle on PBS. LOL. If I think I have trouble with sixteen clocks and timers during "spring forward" and "fall back," I had to feel for the Windsor Castle clockmaker, who has to adjust 432 clocks twice a year! Loved the segment with Prince Philip showing the filmmaker around the "Home Park," where the estate has two different herds of cows, a deer park, and other neat things. He'd shake his head at the photographer who wanted to film him entering the Land Rover and comment about it every single time.

Soup for supper and a new season of Call the Midwife starting: I wanted to beat the living daylights out of Lester. I'm not sure about Sister Ursula; she reminds me of the nuns of my childhood, stern and inflexible. Her sternness seems very prideful and that is unbecoming of a sister of the Church.

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