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Barbara Fritchman ThompsonBarbara Fritchman Thompson Diary

Week of 19 November 2001

Latest Update: Friday, 10 May 2002 11:54

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Monday, 19 November 2001

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To sum up the weekend and staying up for 24 hours without sleep to view the Leonids Meteor Shower: Yes it was the most splendid visible display of mother nature I have witness in my life, yes I was tired, yes I would do it again, and yes I am too old to do it very often.

I did get home from the sheep dog trial competition around 2:30 Saturday afternoon to give me time to help Bob get ready to leave to go up to Bullington at 4:00. Just as he left my sister showed up to pick up some stuff on her way to work then I hit the shower. Afterward I fixed dinner for Lenore and I and walked the dogs. Bill, Bob's brother, gave us a pleasant surprise by driving over after he got off work at 4:30 arriving right about 7 pm. That allowed me to leave earlier than the planned ten o'clock to go up to Bullington and gave us both the peace of mind knowing Bill was here just in case Lenore needed something with us gone for so long.

When I arrived at Bullington, it was of course already dark, Bob, Priscilla, Debbie, John and Lenore Crego, and a new couple to the group had already arrived. They were sitting around talking and doing normal observation stuff looking at planets and deep sky objects. We did get a break on the weather and while it was a bit hazy down low in the horizon the sky itself was nice and clear. I got my observation stuff from the truck and added some warmer clothing before getting settled in.

We spent the early part of the evening looking at deep sky stuff, plus Saturn and Jupiter. As Orion rose about the mountain I was able to locate the Great Orion Nebula in the refractor scope for the first time in my life. That was exciting for me even though it is easy to find both naked eye and with binoculars. 

Around midnight we started seeing a few meteors here and there with the intensity slowing picking up as the hours passed. Weather wise it was not all that cold except that periodically a very cold breeze out of the north would stir up and make it rather brisk just sitting around.

About 3 am Sunday morning a member of the astronomy club and about eight of his friends showed up supposedly to watch the meteor shower. They ended up instead being pretty loud and obnoxious even though they set up in the field just beside the concrete pad. As the meteor storm started to intensify Several of us ditched our chairs and made "beds" on the cement pad so we could lie down flat to get a broader view of the horizon. The owner of the field where we do our observing stopped by to watch a while and another new member and his wife.

Close to 5 am as the peak was predicted to take place, Michelle Kennedy from WXII News, showed up to do a taped segment. She interviewed Bob again, this time lying down while we were laying there observing. Then she and some her crew and a couple of friends she brought along all made places to lie on the concrete and watch for awhile. The cameraman took some shots of some of the members while they were observing and some of the sky to try and catch some of the meteors.

Just as the Clear Sky Clock predicted, about 5:30, the clouds and fog started to roll in. By this time it was almost light enough to see without flashlights. Even though there were a few meteors still flying about we started packing up. I was finally getting cold having been out all night, as were most of the others. By the time we packed up the gear and drove home it was just about 7 am Sunday morning.

We headed straight for bed hoping the dogs would settle once they discovered we were going to bed not getting/staying up. I slept until about 10 when I heard Malcolm whimpering and got up to let them go out. I then took them with me back to the bedroom and closed the door to get some more sleep. Bill was trying to sleep on the couch. The dogs and I slept until noon, then I woke up thirsty, so I decided to go ahead and get up. I also needed to fix Lenore her morning coffee and breakfast since Bill was also still asleep. I went down and started unloading my car and bringing stuff back upstairs like food and stuff.  

Bob got up around 12:30. After we ate lunch I took a shower and checked my mail. Then watched part of the race. After Bob took his shower we went back down to put in a load of cloths to wash and clean out astro-truck. Bill took off for home and I came back to do some work at my desk.

Not surprisingly, by 4 o'clock this afternoon we had both run out of gas. The dogs should have been tired too. Bill said he could not get them to go back to sleep last night like they normally do when he stays with them. I think the dogs could not figure out why we had not come back home. They knew we did not take any luggage with us when we left. 

I did manage to stay awake just long enough to watch The Practice but just barely. I went back at 10:45 to turn it on in the bedroom while I got ready for bed. I propped up both eyes long enough to watch the last ten minutes then turned out the light and fell asleep. My dad called about 11:09 to tell me he saw me on TV. I did a brief sound bite for her when we were laying on the ground watching. I went right back to sleep and slept all night pretty hard. 

I am pretty well rested this morning. First order of business is clean house. This afternoon I am sure I may be a little more tired than usual so I plan to do some work at my desk.



Tuesday, 20 November 2001

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Great day yesterday. I got a lot of little projects done in addition to getting the house clean and tidy again. With the exception of some small stuff on the book case shelves that still needs sorting, I have almost finished my office and just in time for Christmas. I do all the wrapping in my office on a card table. Now that I have moved the big desk out I have a little more room in here when I set up operation Christmas presents.

Next week I will drag all the decorations and stuff out of the closet and put them in the living room. I usually have to do a little rearranging of the furniture for the holiday decorations. 

I vacuumed out my truck before putting the seats back in their regular position. I also managed to get a few more things put away in the basement area. At this point I plan on working on the basement clean up on Friday.

I am hoping that Bob will have time to help me clean up the dinning room area this afternoon. Right now it is full of various computer parts. 

This morning I am off to run errands and go to the grocery store. I still cannot believe that Thanksgiving is this week and Christmas is just around the corner. 



Wednesday, 21 November 2001

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I spent most of yesterday afternoon working in my office either at the computer of putting the finishing touches on putting things away that had been stored in the desk drawers. Bob was too tired to clean up the dinning room and laid down to to take a nap. I took Malcolm for a walk around the block.

It does not happen very often but I got one my horrid sinus head aches yesterday afternoon. Most likely due to the cold front that was passing through. The change the barometric pressure sometimes causes them. Consequently I did not feel much like going to the gym so gave it a miss.

Today is yard work day. Bob is going to give the gutters a good clean and I will get up the leaves from the lawn. I need to plant a bush and some bulbs my friend Nancy gave me. If I have time I need to drain the oil from the lawn mower and get it cleaned up for the winter.

Tonight we have astronomy club meeting, preceded by a stop at the library and dinner. 

If you are traveling for the Thanksgiving Holiday, have a safe and wonderful trip.


Thursday, 22 November 2001

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Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the United States. Today is a day for enjoying families and being together. I, for one, have a lot to be thankful for. It will be a quiet affair at the Thompson Techno Grotto. My folks will be over sometime mid-morning to spend the day sitting around eating, talking, and watching the parades. 

We are also having a very simple feast of Cornish Hens, mashed potatoes, green beans and rolls. Apple pie for dessert. I have lunch/snack type stuff for mid-day. 

Yesterday was successful but tiring. I planted a bush and the bulbs my friend Nancy gave me. Then I mulched, blew, and mowed leaves taking just a quick short break for lunch. Bob cleaned out the gutters. As I finished mowing sections of the lawn I got the sprinklers started. I finished up around 2:30, took a shower, and promptly hit the couch exhausted. I slept until about 4:30 when it was time to get up. I fixed Lenore a sandwich, we walked the dogs, and took off on our evening excursions.

I wanted to try a new diner that opened just a few miles down Reynolda Road where we live. It used to be downtown and the building he was in was sold. The owners moved the restaurant out our way and renamed it from In Town Cafe to Old Town Cafe. 

It is basically the same type menu as most of the Greek restaurants have here in Winston but with a little more variety. The food was good and Bob liked the place. It will become one of our new regular places to eat.

Astronomy club meeting lasted until about 9:30. By the time we got home, walked the dogs, got Lenore settled for the night, and ready for bed it was after ten. I read for a little while but finally turned off the light about 10:45 when it became hard to hold my eyes open.

Have a safe and Happy Holiday wherever you may be.


Friday, 23 November 2001

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I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving Day. We had a rather exciting one. Mom and dad arrived around 10:30 as I was putting brunch/snack stuff out. After unloading food we ate a light brunch while watching the remainder of the Macy's Parade. Malcolm has been in one of his growl/attack moods again since Wednesday afternoon. 

Yesterday while dad was petting Duncan, Malcolm lunged at Duncan. I was in the kitchen and heard the fracas and came in just in time to see them going at it with Malcolm on top of Duncan. Normally these fights are mostly fur flying and noise but this time Malcolm got Duncan on the ear. After yelling for Bob I grabbed Malcolm by the collar and pulled him off. I saw blood and started inspecting Duncan around the head and back but could not find the source. I went back to bedroom where Bob had taken Malcolm and could not find any blood on him or in his mouth. 

We cleaned up the floor and I looked over to where Duncan was laying and saw blood again. Upon closer inspection I then found the tip of his ear was bleeding. Dogs ears bleed like human's heads. Lots of blood making it look worse than it really is. I put a wet paper towel to his ear and poured some "stop bleed" powder all over it. Just as I got him and the floor cleaned up, more blood. I called Bob again (he was spending the afternoon in our bedroom watching the Buffy marathon) to hold Duncan's head while I tried a makeshift bandage. 

See picture below of Duncan the Red Eared Border Collie!

duncan-ear.jpg (242066 bytes)

I really only did it to get some antiseptic on a bandage and see if it would help to stop the bleeding. It stayed on all of thirty minutes before he shook his head hard enough to launch it off. 

During this time mom was getting on with Thanksgiving Day food preparations. She put the Cornish Hens in to start cooking and was mixing up the dressing. Poor Duncan's ear continued to bleed. Bob suggested putting a big goop of Bag Balm on both sides so I tried that next. Finally it stopped. In the meantime I had taken the guys out for a quick walk/bathroom break. Coming back home we met the basenji that lives two houses down. He had gotten out of his fence. Next thing I knew he and Malcolm had gotten into and the basenji was hanging on to Malcolm's side. I pulled Malcolm off practically dragging him down the street on his back. Back inside he immediately attacked Duncan and another fight ensued.

Bob kept Malcolm back in the bedroom with him until time for dinner. We had a great meal, Bob cleaned up the kitchen, and we sat around to talk while our dinner settled before having dessert. Yep, you guessed it, another fight. By this time my parents were terrified of Malcolm since they do not understand dogs or what was going on. Actually, I was not sure what was going on. Malcolm has never attacked Duncan so many times and the fights were pretty serious. We finally hauled the crate from the bedroom and Malcolm stayed in his crate the remainder of the evening.

Fortunately no more blood was shed but I was just exhausted. There was not much cooking but just helping get dinner while doing emergency vet/referee duties completely wasted me. It did not impede on our wonderful day together as a family but by the time mom and dad left I was beat. We watched Tuesday nights taped Buffy, walked the dogs, and I was off to bed.

This morning I need to run out to Lowe's Hardware to pick up some Winter Rye grass seed. Dad suggested I just sow some of that to at least green up the bare spots and hold the dirt until spring. Winter Rye dies in summer but by then the summer grasses take over. There is a small percentage of a chance of rain so I want to get it out before tonight. I may work on getting the basement cleaned up this afternoon.



Saturday, 24 November 2001

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For readers who enjoy travel/autobiographical works I recommend Jill Ker Conway. Several years ago I read her journals The Road From Coorain covering her early years growing up on a sheep farm in Australia and True North, which picks up her college life in the United States up to her eventual presidency of Smith College. Now I am reading A Woman's Education which describes briefly how she came to Smith College and her subsequent experiences during her ten year tenure as the president. This volume of work is more or less considered the third work of the trilogy as she explains her determination to pull Smith College out of being mired in the 50's and 60's as an educational institution for women.

Ms. Conway is an excellent writer holding your interests regardless of the subject. I have not read her other works on education itself or Why Memory Speak, an intriguing look at the popularity of the autobiography as reading material. Although the subject matter of A Woman's Education, the history of Smith College and/or the rise of feminism in the early '70's, Ms. Conway's excellent writing and reflections on her life during this time are what draw me to this book. I highly recommend reading all three in order if you possibly can.

Yesterday morning when I went to leave for Lowe's I had a dead battery. Bob came down and gave me a jump start so I could go get the battery replaced. Turns out that after some fiddling around with the dome light that the passenger side seat belt was caught in the door keeping the dome light from going out with it closed. Thus it sat all day Thursday with the light on and drained the battery. I drove down to Advance Auto and had them put a battery in for me.

Back home, I put out the winter rye and watered it down just in case we did not get rain. I then parked both cars outside the garage and blew the dirt and leaves out. I organized and straightened the basement except for the CBCR merchandise which has to be loaded up for one more event this weekend.

And yes, it is raining. It started as a light drizzle last night around eight. Later in the evening it actually rained a little harder but it did rain all night. It is supposed to continue today and tomorrow. We need ten inches to overcome the drought but at least the plants, trees, and lawns will get some moisture. 

This morning I am vacuuming and mopping floors. With the rain some of this dust will settle and I can get my floors clean before the Holidays. Tomorrow I want to drag out the decorations to the living room. I will not have time to get started doing the decorating this week but I will at least have them ready to go. 

This afternoon SciWorks is having a pet adoption program. Duncan and I are going out to talk with people about Border Collies. I have some CBCR flyers prepared and some other information about Border Collies in case any one is interested. I also have recruitment information for anyone who may want to volunteer for us. It only lasts an hour or so and should be a lot of fun. Other local rescue organizations are going to be there also. This is the first one of these I have done for SciWorks but they do them several times a year.



Sunday, 25 November 2001

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Duncan behaved very well yesterday afternoon at SciWorks. Being in new places and overwhelmed by new people often will make some of the best dogs in the world not be at their best. But Duncan just sat very nicely when little kids came over to pet or hug him. He went over to everybody who walked by for some attention. We talked to a few people about Border Collies and gave out a few flyers.

Last night Bob and I watched the five part series we had been taping on Masterpiece Theater, The Cazalets based on Elizabeth Jane Howard's four part novel series The Cazalet Chronicles. I enjoyed watching the series and PBS did a very good job. However, trying to cram four pretty good size novels of characters and plot lines into such a short series did not do the books justice. 

If you watched the series I suggest you read the books. If you have read the books, which if you have not I highly recommend, then by all means don't miss the "movie". Elizabeth Jane Howard admits that several of the characters and plot lines are based on her real life growing up in Sussex, England during WWII. She is presently working on her autobiography which should make great reading in itself.

This morning I need to finish up the house work doing things like dusting and cleaning bathrooms. I am supposed to go over the Nancy's house this afternoon to help tie dye some shirts. But with the rainy damp weather and her having been sick, we may end up postponing. I will have to give her a call later on and see.

Speaking of rain!!! We only got about a quarter of an inch but that has helped to make the plants and grass happy. It was also enough to lift the ban on burning around the state. The long range forecast is for rain all week. Yippee!!



Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 by Barbara Fritchman Thompson. All Rights Reserved.