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, September 26, 2021
Hurrah! It's Fall! and Other Delights
The autumn equinox arrived this week to great cheering by the folks here at Autumn Hollow. Now only if it would feel like autumn—although we did have to wear flannel shirts Thursday morning to drive with the windows down on the way to Costco. But by the time we got to Costco (ten minutes) it was too warm for them. (We were also windows down a couple of other times, one early morning, one nighttime return trip. But it's not enough!)

I have been attempting to go on my longer walks again after just surrendering due to the heat and my inability to get outside before 10:30 in the morning (blame needing sleep and that extra trip to the bathroom), and have come upon a large patch of "Scotch" thistles among the weeds that grow along Smyrna-Powder Springs Road (these combined with goldenrod, pin oak, timothy, Virginia creeper, honeysuckle, holly, and others). They were in great purple bloom a few weeks ago, attracting yellow swallowtail butterflies, silver spot skippers [a type of butterfly], and big fat bumblebees, but now they are starting to go to seed, and two days in a row, sans camera, I ran into a beautiful male goldfinch who let me get into six feet of him. Third time's the charm and I finally got a photo of him.

Went out to walk the dog Wednesday night and discovered abruptly that sometime today they changed out all the streetlights. I think they are those new lights that only aim at the street and don't glow upward, and so don't interfere with migrating birds. It's a weird effect; they make what they're shining on brighter, but the light doesn't extend as much, so our front yard is now darker. There's also a rather large dark area near the upper cul-de-sac because all the lights appear to have two light fixtures except the one on the cul-de-sac itself.

We hit Costco Thursday morning because Procter & Gamble was doing their "buy $100 worth of stuff, get a $25 gift card" thing again. Since we can easily spend that much buying Swiffer pads, Oral B toothbrushes, Metamucil, and Downy, we went for it, plus we needed "plastic cheese" (Kraft cheese slices) as James calls it, and both BreatheRights and generic Flonase were on sale...needed almonds for my oatmeal and mandarin orange cups as well. It is so nice when it's not broiling outside and we don't have to rush into one store, dump perishable items in a insulated bag with an icepack, rush to the next store, etc. We were able to drive to Publix in a leisurely fashion and finish most of the rest of the shopping (although I still had to go to Kroger on Saturday morning for milk, yogurt, and no-salt-added mushrooms).

Friday we did a little of everything: paid our property tax, picked up a gift, had lunch at Okinawa with all the Spiveys and John Bouler, drove down to Kaiser so James could have blood drawn for what the doctor says is a minor problem, and then went to Barnes & Noble. James bought a book and I didn't, which seems ironic, but I'd already gotten three in the mail this week: a used copy of Madeleine L'Engle short stories (The Moment of Tenderness), a used copy of Hal Borland's Book of Twelve Moons (nature essays), and the new Vanderbeekers novel.

We also bought a new gadget that is three plugs that are operated by one remote. Since I was depressingly unsuccessful in trying to set up a "smart home" system to turn on the lights through Amazon wifi plugs and Amazon Echo devices—two of the wifi plugs worked flawlessly for a month and then quit working; I contacted Amazon and they walked me through all sorts of remedies that didn't work for one and they finally told me to send the plug back for repair, but when I tried to set up a third plug I had bought, brand new out of the box, it wouldn't work either. They supposedly work on the 2.4GHz portion of the router, and I tried resetting the 2.4GHz, which reset perfectly and everything else that worked on them, like the Roku box and James' Kindle, worked perfectly. Then we ended up resetting the router anyway, and the plug still didn't work. We have to press a remote button instead of doing a voice command, but it works!

So Saturday I did the Kroger thing and James had to cook meat and breakfasts for the rest of the week, and we broke up the time with original Law & Order episodes on WE. I've become so besotted with
Law & Order: Criminal Intent that I am reading fanfiction, most of it of the "shipping" sort, but I appreciate that the stories that I really have enjoyed have chosen to actually have a mystery plot among the romance. One story has Mike Logan down so pat I can hear Chris Noth doing the dialog. Unfortunately I think that was the one that got to part eighteen and then never was finished—and, darn, I wanted to know the solution to the mystery!

This week I also worked out a way to get all the videos I've saved on YouTube to show up in the YouTube app on Roku. I have so much saved that the idea of re-bookmarking them gave me the horrors. It's a great big dog's breakfast worth of stuff: old British black and white films, 1930s black and white films, the Old Indiana Jones segments they cut out of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles DVD sets, an uncut version of the 1960s animated The Night Before Christmas with Olan Soulé as the voice of Professor Clement Moore, Lucy Worsley specials, Lassie episodes, and more.

Today I got all my weekly chores done and there was still time to go to Alice and Ken's house after James finished work to celebrate Aubrey's 28th birthday.

September 22 was the Autumnal Equinox! All hail Queen Autumn and her colorful court! (Now for cryin' out loud, do something about that big bully the Sun!)

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» Saturday, September 18, 2021
Blessed Quiet and Video Success
This week was quiet, for which I was glad. Seems it's all I can do to keep the insatiable dishwasher empty. 😀

Even the weekend was quiet. We had a nice Friday lunch with Alice, Ken, and John Bouler at Shane's BBQ. James had a good visit with his GP. On Saturday James went to his club meeting and I made a new Remember WENN web page—I haven't created a web page since I did one on Kate Seredy—with "WENN sounds" because someone on the Facebook page had asked if anyone had Celia's "Hi-hi!" sound. That was fun.

Sadly, although it was the Saturday "Taste of Smyrna" was supposed to take place, it did not. Not due to Covid-19, but because the restaurants don't have enough help to do the event. So no "drunken pork" from Atkins Park for me.

Something fun did happen, though. I have some old videos of when we used to do fundraising for Georgia Public Television that I want to digitize. I found out you could do it through the VLC media program, but attempts to do so didn't work: the sound would drop out after about 45 seconds. I tried all sorts of settings, but the video would be bad, or no video at all, or the sound would be unsynched. Finally a friend suggested something called Shutter Encoder. This worked beautifully and I was able to "rip" on of the videos and post it on Facebook. Very nostalgic and a little sad to see friends "way back then," including a couple no longer with us, like Amy Rutledge and Chris White.

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» Sunday, September 12, 2021
The Future, the Present, and the Dream
If last weekend was a partial letdown, this week had something to sweeten the pot, especially on Sunday, although the time period came with a rather puzzling event as well on Wednesday: it was "Star Trek Day" and Paramount+ was running a special program saluting all the different series, hosted by Wil Wheaton [Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation] and Mika Burton, LeVar Burton's daughter. They had a live orchestra playing different Trek themes, interviews with current and past casts, and other goodies. The only irritating thing was listening to the two young ladies who were keeping up with social media updates, apparently as a sop to the younger people in the audience. Boring twaddle for the most part.
However, I started feeling ill in the middle of the program and was sick on and off for the rest of the night (bathroom visits, chills). Still don't know what happened. It couldn't possibly have been the Cup of Soup and crackers I had for supper. And it shouldn't have been dinner.

All very strange and I was better by morning. We had intended to go to the Yellow Daisy Festival on Thursday, but what with me being ill and James not sleeping (he discovered only in the morning that he'd forgotten to take his pills before bed), instead we did the usual shopping: to Lidl, Publix, and Kroger. And it was cool enough that we could drive there with the windows down (a condition that changed in the short time we were in Lidl). We also picked up our dry cleaning for Sunday and cash, then instead headed for Stone Mountain on Friday morning.

It was nice to get back to the Yellow Daisy Festival after two years, but they had some COVID procedures in place for this year I really hated (as did others, judging by their Facebook page). The booths for the festival are always laid out on the park trails, under the trees, wandering occasionally into small sun-dappled clearings, but mostly shaded, so you get a nice walk in the woods with the smell of trees and pine straw and coming autumn, and get a browse at each of the tents as lagniappe. For this year they had all the booths out in the parking lot and in the street in the front of the area where the trails are. Luckily it wasn't really hot out, but the sun reflecting off the tops of the white tents hurt my eyes and what heat there was made me feel ill. Most of the craft booths I stumbled by in the parking lot were for jewelry and other wearables; it got a little better as we did the street, where there was a bit of shade and a small breeze.

Some of our favorite vendors were not there as well: Meadowcroft Farms were not there, nor were Smack Your Mama barbecue sauce, both of which had items we needed. One Screw Loose, the jelly place which makes a cherry jam that James absolutely loves, was supposed to be there, but was not at their booth. Didn't see the guy who made home-made jump ropes, nor the maple syrup people from Vermont, nor the man who makes doormats from old tires, nor the guy with the porch hammocks, and many of the clothing vendors (but that was okay because we don't need cute little clothes for our grandchildren). Sadly, none of the music vendors show up any longer; I miss getting unique Christmas music played on equally unique instruments like hammered dulcimer and harp. Zampir did show up, so we got more maple-flavored barbecue sauce; we got our yearly fudge at Ginny's Fudge and Nuts; we bought a bottle of maple syrup aged in a bourbon bottle; and as always I bought a few things from the Country Pick'ns people from Kansas who make the little miniatures that go in shadow boxes. I was the most worried about them during the pandemic, as they have no online presence at all, not even e-mail. But the couple was there doing business briskly as ever, for which I was glad. I'll use the things I bought for two gifts.

By the time two and a bit hours were over, we were both over-sunned, and didn't want to cross the hot field to get to the food vendors. Instead we headed home via Golden Corral near the old North DeKalb Mall. The food was just mediocre and we probably shouldn't have eaten there, as there was a terrible smell as you walked in, as if they kept the garbage up front. (Neither of us got sick, thankfully.) North DeKalb Mall, which I knew originally as Market Square when I first moved to Atlanta, looks terribly sad. All the anchor stores are gone except for a Macy's, and apparently the mall itself is closed except for something like two stores you can access from the outside. When I lived in Brookhaven in the late 1980s, Market Square was hopping, with several anchor stores, a bookstore called "Cole's," a Woolco, a PharMor that for a year or two was a Lechmere (before that went out of business), and our favorite store of all, the Aviarium, where we adopted both Merlin and Bandit. They raised their budgies right in the front window of the store, so that the baby birds heard human voices from birth, and both Merlin and Bandit were so easy to tame because of it. I had Merlin sitting on my finger within a week.

Saturday was pleasant and calm, at least for me. We went to Costco for gasoline and then had lunch at Chicken Salad Chick. Alas, back to work when we got home, washing things, vacuuming, and other chores for me, and making breakfasts for himself for James. He was quite worn out when he finished after hours of chopping veg and cooking it in with ground turkey and TVP. This time he used biscuit dough to make himself little meat pies out of it.

It was Sunday that was best: James worked until one, I did some of my Sunday chores, then we had some dinner, and finally it was time for us to attend a wedding! We have known the bride since she was a tiny premature baby, the daughter of our friend Juanita. I first met Juanita at a Space: 1999 convention in 1979 and James has also known her for ages. Her daughter Jessica has been going with her boyfriend John for some years now, they'd already bought a house together, and Sunday evening they "tied the knot" in happy fashion. The bride wore a beautiful full skirted, frothy white gown and gazed up at her future husband with a look that made me cry, the groom and groomsmen wore wizards' cloaks, and the bridesmaids were in purple or green gowns (Jessie's best friend Aubrey, daughter of Juanita's best friend Alice, looked lovely in a sea green gown). We sat at a table with the Lawsons, the Lucyshyns, and Clair Kiernan, were alternately in tears and smiles throughout the ceremony and the toasts, noshed on prime rib and chicken thighs, and just had a great time. We left reluctantly to get home in time for me to walk the dog and then it was time for bed. But what a wonderful evening!
All happiness and health, joy and wonder to Jessie and John!

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» Tuesday, September 07, 2021
...And We Didn't Go to DragonCon
We did start prepping for it. I have the 100-calorie packs, the goldfish crackers, the Lance cracker packs, etc. all carefully stacked on a shelf in the laundry room. (Never did find juice boxes!) We talked about it. We had friends that intended to go, and these were the most sensible of our friends. They weren't the type that took unnecessary risks. Nevertheless, we were riding on the edge of that fence for most of the summer. James didn't even ask for Sunday and Monday off, I never reserved parking spaces. The news about the hospitals being overwhelmed by the Delta variant of COVID was daunting. But we were still considering it.
When Betty passed away it was the last straw. She and John had just gone away for a weekend, and I know both of them were also sensible. They probably took precautions. And they were both vaccinated. And they both got sick. And Betty died.
At this point James had already decided not to go, but oh, I was still thinking... We do have to get up early for DragonCon. I hate getting up early anymore (even though I'll have to do it for the Yellow Daisy Festival...and the Georgia Apple Festival). I don't feel any kind of refreshed unless I get up around 8:30. And you can't do that going to DragonCon. It has to be up early (at 6:30 on Friday because of registration and the traffic, and 7 a.m. other days if you have a panel at ten and you don't want to gulp your breakfast).
But, as I admitted to someone, not going felt horrible. I felt like an superannuated firehorse who'd been put out to pasture, but still heard the ringing of the fire bell from the field, and oh, how I wanted to jump the fence and go to the fire, too!
And I could still do it, if I wanted: get up at seven, grab some breakfast here to save money, take the car downtown (surely the garages weren't full). But I ended up not doing it because...well, as James and I were talking about: there are always alternate futures, and there was a future in which we both went to DragonCon and nothing happened. But there was also a future where we went and he got sick despite the mask and the lowered crowds, because of his co-morbidities. Or one future where I got sick, and then who would take care of his leg? Or a future where we both got sick...and who would be there for Tucker and Snowy?

I could cry all I wanted all weekend about DragonCon (and I did, in odd corners), but nothing would be worse than how I would feel if something happened to James if I encouraged him to go or if the fids got neglected if we came down with the hellish thing.

My wish about this past weekend is that in two or three weeks we can look at the posts on Facebook and realize no one we love got sick...not Alice and Ken, nor Aubrey, not all my friends at Brittrack, and that we were too cautious. Because that's so much better than the alternative.

The Brittrack folks did do some virtual panels, including one on Agatha Christie and one on early Doctor Who, which were fun, and they did have the DragonCon parade on YouTube. Meanwhile, to make up for things, James took us up to Canton on Friday so we could have some decent pizza at Uncle Maddio's—that poor guy up there is still running the whole place alone since February—and go to Books-a-Million (bought Untamed, about a woman who is protecting the wildlife on Cumberland Island, and The Women's Hour, about the suffrage movement, the latter from the bargain books). It's sad when Books-a-Million has more books than most of the local Barnes & Nobles! We sacked out when we got home and watched Law & Order reruns. Saturday we took our clothes to the cleaner to prep for Jessie and John's wedding, and had dinner for James' birthday at Longhorn. I found a beaut of a gift for him from Hamilton Books: all about British aviation films.

Sunday I put up more fall decor and Monday got to see the Sunday morning Christopher Eccleston interview from DragonCon that someone posted on YouTube. (If I'd gotten to see him, it would have meant I would have seen all the available Doctors live...Hartnell having passed on and Jodie Whittaker being unavailable.) Otherwise I've been mainlining Law & Order: Criminal Intent episodes in the afternoon from Peacock (and reading fanfic as well), starting from the beginning. Not sure I can stand the eps where they start playing with Goren's head, though. God, how I hated all those Hawaii Five-0 episodes where a member of the cast got tortured! But, gawd, it's fun watching Vincent D'Onofrio play "Detective Twitchy," as James calls him. It's an art form.

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