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Barbara Fritchman Thompson
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Barbara Fritchman Thompson Diary

Week of 24 November 2003

Latest Update: Sunday, 30 November 2003 18:47

Monday, 24 November 2003

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Yes, I am back. I purposely did not post the remainder of last week to leave Tuesday's post up as a memorial to Kerry. It was a rough week. We had an astronomy trip already planned for this past weekend. It was very healing for me to get away to the mountains this past weekend.

We had two great nights for observing at the lodge. Friday night we observed/stayed up until almost 2 am. Let me tell you observing is hard work. We do not grab a chair and go out and sit for four hours looking up at the sky. In order to located these wonderful deep sky objects on our Caldwell, Herschel, and Messier lists we need tools to guide us much like drivers use road maps.

Bob and I use a free software program loaded on the lap top. During a typical observing session for three or four hours I may be sitting down 1/4 of that time while I am logging my objects on my log sheet. Otherwise I am moving back and forth between the table with the laptop and the scope. We do use a stool for looking through the scope eye piece but I am still bouncing up and down looking through the finder or the telrad. Not only are the sessions physically tiring they are mentally as well with trying to scan the stars, remember the finder stars, and location of the object at the same time.

Doing two nights in a row is very tiring. Although we were up late we did not sleep in Saturday morning. I spent the day reading, "walking around outside in 70 degree shirt sleeve weather in the mountains in November", and cat napping. The weather could not have been nicer. As a matter of fact it was too warm to have a fire even at night.

Saturday night we quit early, around 10:30 to pack up all the equipment. We got in bed around midnight. Sunday morning we had to get up and pack and clean up the place before leaving. We got back home around 10:30. Boy, were the dogs glad to see us. After giving them some play time I took my shower while Bob tried to fix the phones. When we got home we discovered out phones were not working. After doing some checking he determined the problem was in the house not with BellSouth. It turns out his phone line went dead screwing up everything else.

Once he got that fixed, I made lunch, then spent most of the afternoon catching up on mail and my log sheets. I transfer all my log sheet information onto a spread sheet in Excel. I was six or eight observing sessions behind in doing that.

Speaking of reading. Someone out there recommended a book to me, Skyward by Mary Alice Monroe. Sorry, wrote down the title and author but not who told me about the book. I wanted to thank you. What an excellent book. It is not a mystery but what I would classify as a light romance novel. The story is centered around a man who runs a vet/healing type center for birds of prey in SC. The author has modeled her scenario after a center that does really exist. In addition to great writing and characters, the author includes a brief blurb at the beginning of each chapter describing a bird and/or a characteristic about all the birds that fall into the raptor category. This post is getting long so I will wait to go into more detail about the book tomorrow.



Tuesday, 25 November 2003

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We have friends coming in from out of town, arriving sometime this evening. We are having sloppy Joes, something that will keep until they get here. I came home and vacuumed and dusted the house while Bob cleaned the downstairs bathroom.

Postings may be short but I do plan to post when I can during the holiday weekend. I took tomorrow off, we have a lot of fun things planned.

If you are leaving town, have a safe and happy holiday. 


Wednesday, 26 November 2003

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I finished reading Skyward last night by Mary Alice Monroe. As I mentioned the book is centered around Harris Henderson's life running a wildlife rehabilitation center in South Carolina while trying to raise he your daughter Marion. When Harris discovers Marion has juvenile diabetes he runs a ad in the local paper for a live in Nanny to care for her. Ella, a former pediatric nurse, has recently moved from Vermont to Charleston to start a new life after seeing one to many children die in the hospital from neglecting parents. Harris is still married to his wife, who abandoned him several years ago to a life of drugs. Periodically she reappears when she needs a place to crash. Just as Ella has Marion's diabetes under control and  her in walks Marion's mom to disrupt their tranquil life.

As I mentioned this a light romance interspersed with a lot of information about the care and rehabilitation of raptors. Her characters are fun and while I could pretty much guess the outcome of the book as the plot developed I still enjoyed the story.


We spent the running around doing some shopping then returned home for the afternoon to rest and relax. Not sure what we will do this evening after we return home from dinner.

The clouds seem to be rolling in for a rainy Thanksgiving. Fine with me, we have plans to sit around and enjoy the day. Hope you do the same.



Thursday, 27 November 2003

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Happy Thanksgiving from the Thompson Techno Grotto. I am thankful for good friends, good health, and family even though we are celebrating the day without Lenore and Kerry. My folks are on their way to Disney World on a bus trip with Frances and Al. If my memory serves me correctly, this would be my first Thanksgiving without my parents being around. I hope they have a good time on their trip.

Enjoy your day wherever you may be.


Friday, 28 November 2003

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Saturday, 29 November 2003

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Sorry, never did get around to posting yesterday. Our friends brought the board game Cranium down with them. We have been playing it every night. The game is sort of a combination of Wheel of Fortune and Charades. Bob teamed up with our guests wife while I teamed up with her husband. We went O for four both Wednesday and Thursday night.

Friday the men stayed home with the dogs while we went to the annual Crafts Fair in Greensboro. On the way home we made a stop at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I grilled steaks and chicken for dinner. Afterwards, Paul and Mary came over for dessert and the six of us played in two teams of three. I finally was on a winning team when we tied 1 and 1. It was a lot of fun.

Tonight was a public observation at Pilot Mountain. While we knew the temperatures would be down in the low 30''s and high 20's the winds were supposed to abate from 15 mph with 20 to 30 mph gusts down to 2 to 5 mph. Well, they didn't. Between the fact that SciWorks did not publish the event, the cold, and it being a holiday weekend, we packed up and came home. They had plenty of scopes up there for the few people who did or would come.

Guess we will spend the evening relaxing and playing with the dogs.

I did get all the Christmas boxes upstairs this morning and hung the wreath on the door and over the fireplace. This afternoon I took a shower then rested and finished reading a Valerie Malmont, Death, Bones & Stately Homes. I am now caught up with her until she publishes a new one.


Sunday, 30 November 2003

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Be sure to visit Brian Bilbrey's page for a look  at some great shots of dogs and humans from their visit during the Thanksgiving Holidays. I took a few pictures myself with my new camera but they did not turn out very well. 

I did a quick vacuum of the house this morning then drove up to the tree lot on Reynolda Road, about five minutes from my house. An hour later I was back home with a tree. Bob helped me get it into the stand. After lunch I got started putting on the lights and a few ornaments before taking a break to check my mail.

We ate an early dinner of leftovers from the weekend, grilled steak and chicken, fried potatoes from the boiled red potatoes, and the remainder of the broccoli not cooked Thanksgiving day. A scrumptious feast to say the least.

After dinner I put a few more ornaments on but gave up when I started getting tired. This will be a busy work week for me with since Sheila will be on vacation. That means I will have to handle all the data change tickets plus do any top priority stuff that comes up. 

I shall spend the remainder of the evening reading the Laurie King I started last night, O Jerusalem. I do hope you had a great holiday. Ours was made all the more special with a visit from our friends. Guess my folks will be home sometime tonight from Florida and Walt Disney World. I will look forward to hearing all about their trip.



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