Chattering Magpie Past Web Log
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March 2002
March 31 2002
God save the Queen.
Almost as many times as I've seen three famous people die in a row, I've seen a fourth shortly after. The Queen Mum was something, wasn't she?

March 28 2002
The rule of three.
I know it must be coincidence, but why does it always seem that famous people die in threes? First Dudley Moore and Milton Berle, now Billy Wilder. One-two-three, just like that.

Speaking of celebrities and freakiness, I was flipping through People at the grocery store and came upon a photo of Liza Minnelli, her new husband what-his-name (looks like a product of in-breeding), Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor. What a freak show. I've seen wax mannequins with more life in them. And less plastic.

March 27 2002
Glad to be back.
I can't say just how happy I am to be back in my own home, sleeping in my own bed, cuddling with my own kitties. Oh yeah, it's nice to be with E, too.

We got back into PDX yesterday noon. Aunt Vi and I spent the afternoon at the art museum, then a little shopping and Starbucks. I was beat. I've got a ton of laundry to do now. E kept the house pretty clean in my absence. I immediately messed it up.

Before I leave for work, a few CA observations:
• The LA Times X-word puzzle is wussy.
• Young kids are wearing athletic shoes with a roller in the heel. Haven't seen these on teenagers.
• Low-flow toilets do not inspire confidence.
• Sushi is not all that popular in Laguna Hills, CA.
• Damn rabbits.

March 24 2002
Getting sl e  e   e  py.
I don't know how I can be so tired doing nothing all day. Walked for about an hour in the morning. Did Sunday crossword (yeah I'm still working on it, what of it?). Cousin Barbara came for a few hours in the afternoon. Worked on jigsaw puzzle. Went out to eat with Mom & Aunt Vi. Worked on jigsaw puzzle with Aunt Vi. Mom asks that I not write that this was the most boring week of my life. Well, Mom that wasn't the point of my coming down here.

Mom is doing a heck of a lot better. Her progress is impressive; her doctor is quite pleased. We haven't been mollycoddling her, either.

Mom, would you like some milk?
    Yes, I would, thank you.
Get up and get it yourself. Love you, Mom.

March 21 2002
Airport security.
Just how good is security at PDX? My luggage, purse and jacket were x-rayed, my person and my luggage were searched at the gate before boarding, and I still managed to bring a small folding knife on the plane. I didn't realize it until just yesterday, when I got my little keychain knife out to cut open a package.

Ironically, I had taken the precaution of mailing knitting needles a week prior. And I went through my purse, pulling out any sharp pointy objects and little folding scissors. I'm going to play it safe and mail the knife home with my knitting needles.

March 20 2002
California Dreamin'.
It's 72° and sunny, the sky is a deep deep blue. Of course, there's also a thick haze on the horizon. That's right, we're in Southern California. Aunt Vi and I are here at Leisure World taking care of Mom.

In addition to old folks, Leisure World is populated by sparrows, fellow corvids of the common variety, and cute widdle bunny wabbits. A rabbit is just a rat with a good press agent.

I had a hell of a time getting an ftp client installed on Mom's computer. I had to try four different ones until I got one I could install. Of course, it doesn't help that Mom's computer is a Pentium (I should be grateful it's not a 486) with only 32MB RAM running Win 95. Although I will say she has good connnection speed for a dial-up modem

March 18 2002
I love the Internet.
Alaska Airlines web check-in Oh dear heavens how I love the Internet. I booked our flight to CA online, opting for e-tickets and to top it all off, I just checked us in and printed out boarding passes. No, my bags haven't been out of my control since I packed them.

We got a 4:30 am pick-up for a ride to the airport and it's after 10pm. Off to bed.

March 17 2002
Hungry kitten.
Neighbor kitten eating cat chow. This is Sweetie, the neighbors' kitten, enjoying kittie krunchies on our porch. Actually, her name is "Stripey" but I call her Sweetie. The neighbors are not very imaginative when it comes to naming their pets.

I'm kind of bummed because I gained a pound last week instead of losing. Details here.

I'm preparing to fly to Southern California with Aunt Vi to take care of Mom for a week, post-surgery. We have a 6:40 AM flight on Tuesday. Sucks, don't it?

March 15 2002
Damned Slow Line.
Actually the DSL is pretty nice. DSL Modem came yesterday. It's a sleek little black box with pretty blinky lights on the front. Easy install, power up, it's all good. We now have MSN DSL through Qwest.

I can't stand MSN Explorer, though. If I wanted AO-Hell, I would have gotten it. So I just don't even launch the MSN. I got my Outlook configured to check my MSN e-mail account and to send and receive through The only bad thing is I can't log into my AT&T e-mail account. So if you're sending any e-mail to, don't. Send to or instead. I'm not using the address because I couldn't get Someone already had it. They have to die now. There can be only one.

March 12 2002
Kitty in a tub.
Mose in the bathtub. One of the great mysteries of life is why Mose likes to jump into the bathtub after someone takes a shower. She also likes to drink standing bathwater - when a person is in it.

I just mailed off knitting needles to SouCal. Aunt Vi and I are flying to Orange County next week to visit Mom while she recupes from surgery. We're not checking luggage and the FAA won't allow knitting needles on planes (but ballpoint pens are okay?). I feel so clever. I even included my own SASE for mailing the needles back.

This town is getting whack. Yesterday some idiot shot a guy dead on the street. Today a bank robber holed up in an apartment house.

We're supposed to get hooked up with Qwest DSL tomorrow. Only one thing's missing - the damn DSL modem.

March 11 2002
Happy Birthday E.
Umm ... I didn't get you anything.

March 9 2002
Had a rather enjoyable day, today, hanging with Sifus Chris & Patty and fellow brown belts Jason and Katie. We took a field trip to watch a karate tournament, held out in Beaverton. The atmosphere was more formal than open tournaments I've been to. The judges were all dressed in blue blazers and dark grey slacks. I rather liked that touch of authority. Karate definitely is a different fighting style than we do. For one thing, they didn't wear foot pads. They score different points for different techniques: kicks to the head score 3pts, whereas backfists don't count at all. Everyone fights charging straight in, no angling. Most people keep a steady rhythm, though we did see some good fighters use a broken rhythm.

March 7 2002
Storm Watch 2002.
Big predictions for snow, five inches, at least. Big Arctic weather front coming in. Not a question of if, but when and how much.

And me without my studded tires. It did snow briefly this morning when I was downtown. Later this afternoon we had a downpour of hail, but it melted as soon as it stopped. The news stations here get so excited about the possibility of snow.

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of Tracy's Irregular Weblog and you didn't even notice, boo hoo.

March 6 2002
Daily rant.
Why oh why, on a day when there's as much water being sprayed up by freeway wheels as there is coming down from a pewter sky, do drivers of silver vehicles not turn on their lights?

Knit a little, rip a little,
Knit a little, rip a little,
Knit knit knit,
Rip a lot,
Knit a little more.

March 5 2002
Rainy days and Tuesdays.
The hope of an early spring has been washed down the gutter. We're back to our normal seasonal rain. At least I thought about mowing the lawn. Looks like it'll have to wait until we dry out again - maybe in May.

I'm struggling with getting a text wraparound to work in Netscape 4.X. I'm certain I'm using code that works elsewhere, but it's giving me trouble here. Seriously, is anyone out there besides my mother still using Netscape < 5?

Got my studded tires taken off and regular tires back on. State of Oregon gives us until April to get that done.

March 3 2002
Early spring.
Crocuses are up, daffodils are blooming, the forsythia is in bud and there's hardly a cloud in the sky. I think it's okay to take off my studded tires.

We have achieved keg-o-later. We got a keg on Friday, which E hooked up right away and has been enjoying since.