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Barbara Fritchman Thompson
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Barbara Fritchman Thompson Diary

Week of 2 September 2002

Latest Update: Sunday, 27 April 2003 08:39


Monday, 2 September 2002

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Tuesday, 3 September 2002

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No update

 

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Wednesday, 4 September 2002

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Hi, yes we are back. Bob and I along with Duncan and Malcolm spent the Labor Day weekend visiting Brian and Marcia Bilbrey who recently relocated to Bowie, MD from California. For those of you who may not know, Bob and Brian are part of the Daynotes Gang and Marcia and I met as fellow Netwidows. Marcia and I had the pleasure of getting to meet one another last year in Atlanta. However, we were very excited to learn they were moving out to the East coast, giving us all a chance to meet one another.  We had a wonderful visit getting to know them and their sweet dog Sally. Between Bob and Brian we have a lot of pictures to share. I hope to have a trip page up in the next day or so. 

While Marcia and I went out on a couple of shopping expeditions Bob and Brian stayed at the house with the dogs talking computers and hanging out in front of the television. Otherwise we watched some great movies on DVD such as Harry Potter and The Green Mile as well as dinning one evening on delicious fresh lobster and corn on the cob. Brain, Marcia, and Sally are first class hosts let me tell you. 

The drive up was the first real long trip for Malcolm and Duncan. Duncan loves to ride while Malcolm gets a little bored being confined for so long. We left the house at 8:30 but had to run by the nursing home briefly and then drive Kerry out to the kennels in Advance. We actually left Winston around 9:30. Two stops for potty breaks and one for gas got us up to Bowie around 5:15. However, much of that time was spent sitting in traffic at various points along I-95 and I-495. On the return trip we took MD highway 301 out of Bowie and had clear sailing all the way to Richmond during rush hour yesterday morning. We made it home in six hours with those same three stops arriving back in Winston around 2:30. We drove straight on to Advance to pick up Kerry before actually arriving at the house around 3:30. 

We unloaded the car then got started on getting things organized from being gone. Our neighbors were picking up the mail and papers for us. I called my parents to let them know we were safely back. After Bob fired up all the computers I started downloading my e-mail while I began put away/organizing some of the stuff from the trip. Bob called his mom then we starting checking e-mails until time to head out to dinner. When we got back from dinner and visiting Lenore I decided to go ahead and mow the lawn. Those 4 to 6 inches of rain we got last week really revived most of the grass causing it grow considerably while we were gone. I had so much to do today I decided I might as well get the lawn mowing done and out of the way. I finished up around 8, then caught up on the newspapers while I watched the tennis. I went to bed around 9:45 to read a few chapters in my book. I am still reading Untitled by Julie Kaewert which is turning out to be pretty good. 

We have a lot to do today including laundry and cleaning up the car from the trip. Between the dog hair and smudged windows it looks pretty disgusting. This afternoon I will plow through the remaining e-mails, finish putting away stuff from the trip and hopefully get started on the trip page. 

 

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Thursday, 5 September 2002

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Thanks to Brian and Bob for uploading all the pictures from our trip to Bowie, MD for my report. While visiting Bowie,  Marcia bought new toys for the dogs. I suggested a ring toy for Duncan but, as you know, all toys belong to Malcolm. Trust me, this is not staged. He ran around for a good five minutes playing with ring covering his eyes.

ring-mouth.jpg (370174 bytes)  

We spent yesterday getting unpacked and settled from the trip. Thins are pretty much back to normal. The dogs spent a lot of the day yesterday sleeping. I am not sure if they were tired from the trip or they missed their new friends both dog and human. They finally wanted to play last night after dinner.

Dad had a touch of stomach virus while we were gone. We decided it would be better for him not to play golf today even though he is feeling much better. I am getting ready to pick him up and go to a driving range near his house. He wants to just hit some balls and practice. On the way home I need to stop at the library and pick up books that came in while we were gone.

Tonight is the Winston-Salem Astronomy League meeting at our house at 7:30.

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Friday, 6 September 2002

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Things are pretty much back to normal around the Thompson Techno Grotto. The second edition of PC Hardware In A Nutshell seems to be doing well in sales. In the meantime we got word last week for Bob to get started on the 3rd edition. 

Just before we left for Maryland my Palm Pilot finally went south. For the last three or four months the display had been acting weird when I turned it on. Last week I found a very strange birdlike pattern on one side of the display. As I suspected when I showed it to Bob he said it was hosed. I have an original Palm III Bob bought me over 4 years ago. When he gave it to me he was not sure I would like it or use it to replace my paper calendars. However, I surprised him by falling in love with it. I need to replace it with another basic model. I don't need all the bells and whistles that come with some of the newer models, the major necessity being a lighted screen and better contrast.

Logan Heating and Air is coming by today to check the furnace for the upcoming winter season. I have a pile of mail and paperwork on my desk to get through this morning. This afternoon I will go out to SciWorks for awhile.

Tonight's forecast is for clear skies. We plan to make the trip up to Bullington to get in some observing time after a very long spell of cloudy, hazy conditions. Whatever your plans are, I hope you have a good weekend.

 

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Saturday, 7 September 2002

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I gave the wrong information on my Palm yesterday. It was not a Palm III but a Palm 5000, even older. Bob is investigating the various Palm products to see what to buy. I had e-mail from one of my readers, which I forwarded to Bob, offering his suggestions. Bob has to narrow down the field based on what I want plus making sure the synchronization software will run under our setups. At this point, it looks like we are going with a basic Sony model, the Clie PEG-SL10, which just shipped in late July. 

We did go up to Bullington last night. Viewing conditions were favorable though not perfect. We did have good skies overhead for bagging Messier objects but the horizons were pretty hazy. Paul, Steve, Bonnie, Gary, and Pete were up at Bullington as well. I did find several Messier objects on my list that had eluded me until now. Two of the objects, M5 & M75, are "out in the middle of nowhere" meaning they are not near enough to any major stars to make them easy to star hop and find. After considerable work I managed to find M5, which is located in the constellation Serpens Caput (head of the snake). With my confidence soaring I went after M75 in Sagittarius which I have been trying to locate the past four times out. There is always much joy and jubilation when beginners like melocate a deep sky object. The others were some from my list I had missed but were not as hard to find. 

One of the interesting things about my search for Messier objects seems to be the use of the laptop computer. Bob runs Cartes du Ciel which allows me to enter the M object I am looking for. I can place Tetrad circles from the nearest star to the object to give me a better visualization of where I am going in the sky. The Messier Marathon book also has that information but for some objects the visualization is not as helpful. By the way, this is not cheating!

By midnight things started dewing up including the Telrad, making it very difficult to find stuff. At that point I actually had to put on long pants and a sweater having been comfortable all night in just shorts and t-shirt. Once the dew starts forming on charts, telescopes, etc things get pretty miserable so everyone started packing up. We got home, walked the dogs, and made it to bed at 1 AM. With tonight's forecast for another clear sky evening we will take advantage of the conditions and go back out tonight.

I guess today will be odds and ends day, pay bills, change the bed linen, etc. I also want to watch at least some or all of the men's semifinals of the U.S. Open today. The Winston Cup race is tonight from Richmond. I will take along my walkman to listen to the action from time to time just to see what is going on.

 

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Sunday, 8 September 2002

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A rather late start to the day this morning. It was well past 1 am again this morning when we got in bed after another successful night under the stars. In addition to getting some new Messier objects for my list our small group of observers witnessed one of the most spectacular auroras some of us have ever seen. We do not get many auroras in this part of the United States. However, conditions are sometimes favorable for them to occur here. Last nights started as a light pink veil toward the northern horizon. As the colors continue to rise and grow from the horizon to the sky band of gray appeared creating a curtain like effect in the atmosphere. About all I can say is WOW!

Bob slept in until about 8:15 and I finally got up around 8:45. After reading the paper and giving the dogs some play time it is well on its way to 10 am in the morning. While Bob takes a run over to see his mom I will get started with the house cleaning. As you know, I lost my car keys two weeks ago. They have still not turned up. Today I am going to do some deep cleaning to see if I can find them.

Experience won out over youth yesterday in the U.S. Open Tennis tournament. Pete Samprass age 31 and Andre Agassi age 32 beat two young guns yesterday to set up a most interesting final for today. 

Yesterday morning just as I finished up my shower my friend Nancy from the library called. She want to know if I would like to hang out at the Fiddle and Bow Folk Festival for a couple of hours in the afternoon. Since I did not have any major activities planned for the day I agreed it would be a fine thing to do. She picked me up around 2 pm for the short drive over to Reynolda House where the event was being held. We walked around looking at some of the crafts on display and listening to some fine Celtic and folk music for a couple of hours. It was a beautiful, sunny day with moderate temperatures.

It is to be another clear night tonight but we will not head up to Bullington. Two nights in a row is enough for me to be getting in bed after midnight. 

 

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