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Product diversity, that is.

My favorite Publix has been expanding their sections of "ethnic" (not really, but I can't think of an umbrella term for all these) foods. Now the sequence is
mixed Chinese/Japanese

Kosher foods are one aisle over.

The British section is the latest--lots of cookies and candies, Bovril, golden syrup, packets of vanilla sugar, a mix of canned goods, and other stuff I can't recall. Quite a grab-bag, in other words, and I wonder how they came up with the mix. Just from requests?
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.....especially when it's your own.

Yesterday morning I called the vet's office to set up an appointment for Agatha--there's no change in her condition, but Dr. Dunn wanted to see her in 3 months to see how the blood pressure, kidneys, and assorted other ailing bits are doing. I got the first-thing, 9:00 Sunday morning slot that works well at this vet office, and then grabbed my working page of notes/to-do items/shopping lists to scratch off the one that said "make appointment for Agatha". And noticed up in the corner of that piece of paper, in my handwriting, "Sun. 9:40".

I have no idea what that note is for. After thinking about it for a day and a half, I still have no possibilities. Looks like an appointment time, if a slightly odd one...but vet appointments are about the only ones I ever set up for Sundays. I guess it could be P.M...but that doesn't help either. And it doesn't have to be for this Sunday really.

I'm ignoring it for now. I'll take Agatha to the vet, and if someone calls me at 9:40 and says "where are you?!".....I'll apologize.
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I'm so removed from my Southern Baptist/converted to Episcopalian childhood, I forget how big a holiday Easter is for some. If I'm attuned to any holiday, it's the Jewish ones celebrated by my s-i-l and nieces and nephew. And Pesach is a month off from Easter this year. Bottom line: I got caught off guard. Some things got punted as a result.

Target: all stores closed
Publix: ditto, I think, judging by the big store I drove past
the kosher Kroger was open, yay! Could do the shopping for dinner. (No, no, I don't need a kosher grocery, it's just that this store is close to a large Orthodox synagogue and caters to the community. And the alliteration is nice.)
DSW: open limited hours, found the new cross-trainers I've needed for a couple of weeks
Bed Bath and Beyond was open, but didn't have the item I wanted to get at Target

And I have industriously used up my weekend in projects that didn't further work on the income taxes. Must start trying to make small efforts in the evenings after work and Jazzercise, as I've got a trip to Denver that eats up a full week of the time remaining.


Feb. 10th, 2008 08:59 pm
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Sunday: 3 loads of laundry. Read the paper (mostly). Read a book (re-read of a Nora Roberts). Listened to part of Busman's Honeymoon on audiobook, while doing kitchen chores. Mailed a BookMooch request at the Post Office, returned about-to-be-due library books, grocery shopped. (Three stores, none of which had my Kashi Good Friends cereal. I shall be Very Annoyed if this has been discontinued, as it's half of my standard breakfast-cereal mix.) Roasted misc. chicken bits before putting into a stockpot, eventually realized the stock wouldn't be done in time to have soup for supper and made a rice noodle/broccoli/leftover pork chop stir fry. Stuffed hairball medicine down all three cats, as one (Fish) started the Hairball Cough. Cleaned out last year's bluebird nest from the birdhouse--it was a nicely packed base of sphagnum moss, presumably raided from an old flower pot (not one of mine, I don't think), and a neat shallow cup of mostly pine straw. Seemed a pity to pull it out, but I gather parasites are a problem in old nest material eventually. All the instructions say to clean 'em once a year, anyway.

Have not caught up on the trust bookkeeping, started taxes, or cleaned the home desk.

And so it goes...

Week's end

Feb. 9th, 2008 10:21 pm
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Today has been...blah. Perhaps I'm coming down with a cold, perhaps it's just an allergy attack, but the nose has been dripping steadily, ignoring the antihistamine I've thrown at it. I slept too little last night (got caught up in Chima's YA The Wizard Heir), dragged out of bed in time to make breakfast and get to the 9:30 Jazzercise class, then came home, showered, finished the book, ate some soup for lunch, and took a nap. Until about 4 PM. So much for Saturday.

Yesterday was better, with the usual errand-running, Weight Watchers, and stuff. I again baked a challah (missed last week due to the Denver trip, though my nephew asked if I'd baked one when I went over for supper less than an hour after getting home) this time with part whole-wheat flour. Traditionalists may shudder, but I like both the benefit of some whole grain, and the extra flavor. I cooked the entree for the usual Friday night joint dinner next door, a Cooks Illustrated recipe called Glazed Pork Chops with Asian Flavors. Came out very well-flavored and moist, though it did require fairly careful attention for the 30-40 minute preparation time. I will try their other flavor variations on this recipe, too.

I was supposed to get a perm yesterday, but my hair stylist called to say her husband and 2 sons had the flu--despite getting the shot. It seems the strain going around Atlanta was not in this year's vaccine. We've postponed the perm a week, and the cut-and-color another week beyond that, and I will try to eke out the last of the curl with mousse and hair spray.
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I had a very nice birthday on the day (Wednesday)--worked a somewhat shortened day, which would have been shorter had not the computer calendar popped up to remind me of the 3-5 conference call. But the call only lasted 45 minutes instead of 2 hours, and I left when it was over. Went home and joined up with my sister-in-law and the younger 2 kids for an excursion to the zoo, a members-only reception and viewing of the new meerkats and warthogs. Then we headed home by way of Whole Foods, where we picked up a mini chocolate cream pie (my choice) and mini fruit tarts (kids'), and shared those.

Sister-in-law and I, with the 2 younger kids, are about to head to the north Georgia mountains this morning. We're going to wander around "alpine Helen", maybe walk the trail at Anna Ruby Falls, then will go to a dinner theatre tonight for a production of Annie Get Your Gun. (SIL made this her birthday present to me, which she admits is a little down from last year's of a ticket to Avenue Q on Broadway... <g>) Tomorrow morning we'll pick up eldest child at camp, then head home.

Then tomorrow afternoon I'll bake my birthday cake. (I like baking my own cake!) I'm planning a Chocolate Cloud Cake from Richard Sax's Classic Home Desserts. It's a flourless chocolate cake designed to sink in the middle as it cools, leaving a depression to be filled with whipped cream. I was thinking of something more elaborate, like an orange bavarian/ganache/ladyfinger combination in Beranbaum's The Cake Bible, but with limited time to bake the Cloud Cake looks like a better choice. Tomorrow evening will be the official "birthday cake" event, and that should end the year's celebrations.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes!
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It has not been a very alert week. Last weekend was my elder niece's bat mitzvah, with surrounding festivities and family gatherings, some of which was at my house. With the lead-up of getting house decorating, repair, and cleaning done, the actual parties left me wiped, and my week at work was somewhat foggy. Ending with today: I left my pocketbook with all ID, office cardkey, etc. at the office as I left at 5, and had to call and find a friend who was still there, ask her to wait until I got back there, and go and get it. Left the office originally at 5, got home the second time around 6:20. So much for Jazzercize this evening--class started at 6.

Here's hoping I'll get my brain back over the weekend...
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Started with phone calls: to the two contractors who haven't come back with their subs so they can bid the kitchen, to the Honda dealer to find out if they'd ordered the part for my broken turn-signal canceller (no, will do it now...), to the vet for an appointment for Agatha, who has a lump at the site of her recent surgery which was for a non-cancerous lump, to the service company to schedule a safety inspection/cleaning of the furnace.

The the errands: Target, my Weight Watchers meeting, the grocery store, then home to put up the groceries and eat lunch. Then the Container Store to return a pre-Christmas purchase (and of course I bought stuff--CS is like a goody basket for me. Kitchen stuff! Neat containers! Organizers! Then it was on to the broker to deposit a check, to a bookstore for the MMPB of Irresistible Forces, and to the library. Only undone item was to get to the credit union, but that ca wait.

Am now cooking the chicken for dinner: Chicken Kyoto, because when I was making the marinade for a grilled chuck roast last weekend I inadvertently mixed up 1/4 c. ketchup and 1/3 c. soy sauce as the base, instead of 1/4 c. ketchup and 1/3 c. red wine vinegar with a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce (and other stuff). But I remembered that the mistake mixture makes the sauce for Chicken Kyoto if you add rosemary, so I saved it. Sister-in-law will provide the veggies to go with it.

Last week

Feb. 13th, 2005 08:47 pm
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Perhaps the state of last week can be said by this: yesterday, after running errands in the afternoon, I crossed off the next-to-last item of the To-Do list...from the previous weekend.

I did get to Jazzercise 3 evenings, but wanted 4 in prep for the Jazzercise for the Cure event next weekend. (My planned Saturday session was punted to attend my nephew's basketball game while his parents and older sister were interviewing at a private school. Five-year-olds playing basketball is....interesting. Made even more so by the wildly varying skill levels....)

Got a couple of big tasks finished at work, but there's still a really big one overdue--will really have to crunch on it tomorrow and the next day. My home desk is a little clearer than it was Friday, but I still haven't made a start on the taxes. I did finally get caught up on the Bujold list and on piffle (thank in major part to the significant drop in list traffic on Bujold, finally), and I give up getting caught up reading LJ. Will just start reading my fl from now, and try to at least post more often.

Must pay a couple of bills and do some bookkeeping in Quicken yet tonight...
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It's...disconcerting...when one goes into the bank which one has entrusted with certain Very Important Documents, to be stored in a Safe Deposit Box, to find that said bank has lost the signature card for one's box and all the in/out slips as well.

Oh, they looked it up in the computer, verified that I am me with my driver's license, made a new signature card, and then let me into my box. Which seemed to have everything in it that it should. And I realize that I only get into the box once a year or so. But still...
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So, I'm going to an Event Friday night, as a chauffeur and companion for my father. Said event's invitation says "Casual Attire". And I'm going through wide swings in my guesses as to what to wear.

The event is a retirement dinner for a good friend of my father's, a man who is a fairly high-up State employee in the environmental area. The bureaucrat role makes me think "dress up, people will be in business suits", though the environmentalist role edges the scale down some. I think. The dinner will be held at the Southface Institute, offices of a group that promotes environment-friendly housing.

My work clothes are generally jeans or khaki pants, and a cotton shirt. If I'm the hostess and I say "casual", I mean your raggedy cut-offs and T-shirt are perfectly fine. Clearly, my definition of casual must be upscaled for this. :) I'm debating between a summery dress, or a slacks-and-jacket outfit of some sort. All this is complicated by my change in sizes--I don't have any nice slacks that fit right now, nor any summer jackets. I've got dresses I think are too dressy (but one of which might get worn anyway) thanks to things I hoarded for years, but nothing that seems right.

Anyone got opinions? I think I'll make one shopping trip to see if some outfit just hits me as right for this, but I'm not much good at undirected shopping.
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I have escaped again. In 10 years of living in DeKalb County, I've been called for jury duty 3 times, I think, and never yet served on a jury. The last time I had to report, hung around for 3 hours or so answering questions ("Who has State Farm insurance?" "Who has Allstate insurance?"--I gather a lot of the docket that day consisted of people suing their insurance companies), and then was dismissed.

I got a summons for tomorrow, but the recording informs me that only jurors 1 to 260 need report. I'm number 426. Under DeKalb's "one day or one trial" system, that means I'm done. Which is good, as there's lots of stuff piled up at work that I need to tackle.
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My gas was cut off yesterday, for I had not paid the bill for 2 months. It's from not a lack of funds, but a lack or organization: the emails telling me to go pay the bill didn't get dealt with until they were scrolled off the screen by other InBox mail, and I've been ignoring the paper copies I still get for some time. (Not that I throw them away--they pile up with other bills that are dealt with electronically, and then opened and filed every 6 months or so. Maybe every year or so. It depends on how harried I'm feeling that year.)

So, last night I thought I had a furnace problem, 'cause it was blowing cold air. After consulting with my HVAC company, I decided to wait until this morning, when I could get a technician out for my spring service (already paid for), and have him diagnose the problem, too. It wasn't until this morning that something sparked the idea that maybe, perhaps, I could have missed paying Scana for the gas bill. A quick search turned up the unopened envelope with the last bill, which had the "Final Notice" warning on it.

I paid the overdue bills via the Web, and the $150 reconnection fee, the $50 deposit, and a $3 service charge to a third-party credit card firm, and then was allowed to call Atlanta Gas Light to schedule reconnection. (Love this deregulated gas industry: Scana is my marketer, and they just collect the money, or don't and issue the disconnection order. AGL connects, reconnects, deals with gas emergencies, etc.) It being the first of the month, and others having had their gas disconnected, too, AGL can't come today. Or tomorrow. I don't think they do this sort of service on Sunday, so they offered Monday. Problem is, I leave for Denver on Sunday night. Someone must be at home when they come to reconnect, to check pilot lights.

The result is that my sainted sister-in-law agreed to be available for the reconnection visit sometime on Wednesday, so I should have heat and hot water when I get home on Friday. Meanwhile, we're having unseasonably cold weather for April with lows in the 30's, so the house is about 60 degrees. I'm showering and will do the warm-water laundry next door, and I'll wash the minimum number of dishes by heating water in the microwave. And I've got a firm resolve to get a new handle on my finances: get my long-standing Quicken problem straightened out, and go back to having a regular weekly session with the bills and bookkeeping. Gah, I feel so DUMB!
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Can I go to Balticon? It's a matter of time and energy: I can get a plane ticket with frequent-flier miles, and the hotel and con costs are doable.

But that week has:
--family gathering in south Georgia centered around a bank board meeting on Tuesday May 25
--eldest nephew graduates from high school in Durham, N.C. on Wednesday
--youngest nephew "graduates" from pre-K in Atlanta on Thursday
Looks like I'm skipping the first one no matter what, but will go to the next two. Also, I was supposed to be in Denver the whole week for work: I'm going to back out of that completely, if I can.

I'd need to fly out first thing Friday morning to get to the earliest con activities Friday afternoon. It's certainly physically possible, if I think I'm up for that much stress. And even though the con sounds like it's going to be a wonderful Bujold gathering, I'll be stressed.

I'm still debating...
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I got overwhelmed by Things, mostly work-related (which deserves its own post--another thing I'm behind on), and quit posting here. Also quit reading most email, and newsgroups, and Livejournal friends as well. Well, Things were over, mostly, last week, but this week got filled with combinations of "post-stress brain fade-out" (wanna just re-read favorite romance books and similar activities requiring little mental effort) and spring fever. Sometime soon I'm going to have to make real progress on my taxes...

So, Spring. It's here, by both the calendar and the Atlanta weather. Forsythia is already leafing out after blooming, the daffodils are about gone, and the dogwoods will pop out in white and pink soon. I've been puttering in the garden with some of the spring cleanup--taking the old flower heads off the hydrangeas, removing the deadwood from same, cutting back the old stems from the lemon balm and the pineapple sage, transplanting some phlox to a better location, and weed weed weed everywhere. I worked for hours on Friday trying to remove more of the greenbriar under the big azaleas in the back yard--I'd like to get all I'm going to do before the azalea blooms and attracts the bees. I think I got 5 shoots dug out. There's 2 big clusters of 8-10 shoots each left, plus isolated shoots coming up right next to the azalea trunk--those will just have to be snipped and poisoned. Once I get past the greenbriar, there are several big blackberry canes that need to be pulled up as well.

Today I turned over the bed where I've let the nieces and nephew plant stuff, and we planted 3 tomato plants (two cherry tomatoes, and a roma). And we started zucchini, cantaloupe, and sunflowers in peat pots, and then turned over the flower bed at their house and scattered zinnia seeds there. I still need to plant the hosta and the herbs I bought at HomeDepot yesterday, and create a long curving area in the front where I want to try strewing impatiens seeds to see if I can get a swath of color across the yard. Next weekend, maybe.

Note that none of the kids eat tomatoes or zucchini. Cantaloupe, yes, but with our sporadic gardening I'm not promising that we'll get any melons. But it's spring, and we had fun digging and planting, so who cares?


Feb. 14th, 2004 08:14 pm
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On the iMac, a group of pifflers are chatting in AIM, in a window on top of the game of Snood that got interrupted when I got the chat invitation. Very multi-national--an Australian member was there for a while before leaving for Sunday brunch, a Brit appeared after getting home from the pub, and the U.S. and Canadians are variously coming and going to and from dinner. Discussion, as usual, is on food, with the added bits on diets, as several of us are on one.

Over on the laptop, I've got my livejournal client up (obviously), and just figured out how to upload a picture. It's the current cats: Fish and Agatha. This is on top of the Quicken accounts that I was reconciling this afternoon and need to finish, and the backlog of email. I did get caught up on Lois-Bujold, though. Not much happening on the newsgroups tonight--maybe Valentine's Day is slowing the traffic.

Tomorrow is the three-hour JazzerThon to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. I'm car-pooling with some other from my center, and that means leaving at 11:30 for an event that doesn't start until 2. (Well, the doors open at 1, but the Jazzercising doesn't start until 2.) Must plan what to do about eating, so as not to wreck the diet and yet stay fueled for the afternoon.

Errand day

Feb. 6th, 2004 07:27 pm
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The day started rainy and cold--mid 30's, perhaps. I was jolted awake shortly after 7 by my HVAC service company telling me the technician was on the way to do a maintenance visit. I'd completely forgotten. I shot out of bed and got dressed before I realized it was 7:10, not almost 8 as I'd assumed. The technician arrived at 8:15. I could have slept another 40 minutes!

Technician left in time for me to go to Jazzercise. Back home, discovered that the power supply on my laptop really is dying--unless the little wire is exactly right, it quits charging. I ran the battery down to emergency reserve level twice finding this out. Call my supervisor to get permission to buy a new one, but he's away from his desk. Futz around on the computer awhile (I did confirm that Apple offers the lowest available price on the replacement power supply, in their Gov't Store), eat lunch, then head out with a list of errands.

I: returned ill-fitting aerobics shoes to Sports Authority; dashed in a mall to a Foot Locker--no aerobics shoes I want to try on; bought hand towels for my father's house and for my guest bathroom at Tuesday Morning; went to a Sav-Rite grocery and Yeah! found a small stash of the canned zucchini that goes in a very good 5-can vegetable soup that's been the mainstay of my lunches while I've been on Weight Watchers; went to Publix and deposited a check at my bank's ATM inside, then completed my grocery shopping; went home to deposit perishables; found phone message from supervisor saying I can order power adapter, and do so; walked down the street to drop off my neighborhood association dues at the street captain's house; picked up 2 prescriptions at CVS (wow, almost hassle-free, too); bought new exercise pants at Target; went next door for an early dinner as they are headed to Shabbat services. I was invited to attend and would have gone, but I'm wiped. Updating livejournal with a glass of wine in hand is a superior option.
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I took some time at lunch yesterday to go fill up my car--the evening schedule looked to be too full to allow time to stop between the office and home on the way to exercise. I drove some distance to a gas station that frequently has the lowest prices, only to find that their price of $1.589 was only a penny less than the place across the street from my office. (For those shocked at the low price, this is Georgia, with some of the lowest gas taxes in the country.)

After work, I had to drive by that gas station. In the intervening 5 hours, the price had changed to $1.489. (The one across from the office was still at $1.599.)
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I got a bond interest check yesterday. In the envelope was a yellow slip of paper, with the following:

If your TIN (tax identification number) is incorrect or not certified, 28% instead of 30% backup withholding will be withheld."

It took a while, but I finally worked it out. As a stand-along notice, it's nonsensical: do something bad, and we'll withhold less of your money from your payment. Some penalty.

To get what they intended you to from it, you must compare this to the check stub where it tells you that if your TIN is incorrect, they'll withhold 30%. The yellow slip means to correct that to 28%. However, the writer of the yellow slip must have tunnel-visioned on the notice, and didn't foresee the way the sentence would read out of context. Careless writing....


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