||Barbara Fritchman Thompson Diary
Week of 17
Latest Update: Sunday, 23 January 2005 1:40 p.m.
Monday, 17 January
you had today off as I did, I hope you enjoyed yourself. We awoke to
very frigid temperatures this morning with a low in the 20's and 10 -
15 mph winds.
I left around 9am to take dad's lawn mower out to the Deere place
then to a short cut over to Wal-Mart and Lowe's Home Improvement
Store. Back home, I started breaking down all the cardboard boxes
we had piled in the unfinished area of the basement with the clean up.
By the time I was finished I had filled the back end of the Trooper
with the seats folded up. I drove the load of cardboard over to the
recycling bins at the fire station than came back home.
After lunch I went back down to get all the trash and foam board
inserts from the boxes broken down to put in trash bags. Once I cleared
up all the trash I stacked the stuff that needs to go to Goodwill and a
box of books for the used book store off to one side. I can deliver
that stuff another time.
I had the Guys out back playing a few minutes. While it was cold and
windy with the sun shinning I was fine in my sweatshirt and stocking
cap for ten minutes or so to let them play.
The temperature did not rise above freezing until late this
afternoon almost at dinner time.
After my shower I spend the remainder of the afternoon working on
the computer until time to fix dinner. Bob turned on the gas logs to
warm up the den.
<>Last night I finished up the Laurien Berenson, Hush Puppy. While I have enjoyed
all her books so far I really like this one. Melanie is recruited to
assist in planning a spring pageant for the school after a new drama
teacher is hired. To get some ideas she starts a project of organizing
all the personal papers in the basement storage room boxed up from the
founders of the school. On her first day down in the basement she
discovers the caretaker of the school arguing with a young teenage girl
named Jane. From her dress and demeanor, Melanie knows she is not a
student. Several times over the course of the week Melanie keeps
running into Jane in various places in the school. Suddenly the
caretaker was found dead and Jane is the one who discovered the body.
In the meantime, while Melanie is attending a weekend dog show her
fiance Sam's ex wife shows up. As weird things continue to happen at
the school Melanie finds her and Sam's relationship being threatened by
As Melanie continues to discover more and more clues behind the murder
of the caretaker she gets more involved with trying to learn why Jane
hangs around the school rather than being in school somewhere. And, of
course, Aunt Peg gets in the mix of both the murder investigation and
Sam and Melanie's relationship.
Even if you are not a dog lover, you should read this series. They are
funny without being ridiculous, well written, and have great
characters. Berenson does a pretty good job of dividing the plot line
between the dog show stuff and developing the mystery. Most of the
time, either her dog or Aunt Peg's dogs have some bearing on at least
one or more characters in a very positive way.
Tuesday, 18 January
Duncan went back to the vet's this afternoon
for more poking and prodding. He was not a happy camper to say the
least. The vet took urine and blood samples to send off to the lab to
see if we can find out why his hair is not growing back over the bald
spot. The antibiotics seem to be working on whatever infection he has
in the urinary/prostate area.
Otherwise, the cold weather is really the only other news. I bundled up
this morning and took my usual mid-morning walk. It was not really bad.
Toward the end my legs were a little cold even though I was wearing
corduroy pants. I don't think the temperature made it to freezing again
today with lows tonight to be back down in the teens.
As a departure from my usual mystery reading last night I started a
book recommended by my friend Betsy. I don't think I have ever read a
book she recommended that I did not like. Summer Guest by Justin Cronin
tells the story of an eccentric entrepreneur Harry Wainwright who
wishes to buy a fishing camp located in Maine. The story starts out
telling readers how an injured WWII soldier and his wife bought the
camp just after the war. His son Joe, who married his teenage
sweet heart Lucy whom he met at the camp. Their daughter, Kate, has
gone off to college hopefully to continue on to med school. In the last
few years Joe and Lucy spend their winters in Florida running a fishing
business. Jordon, camp guide and outdoor enthusiast, lives at the camp
Harry, who visited the camp for 30 years learns he is dying of cancer.
He has two wishes. One, to buy the camp from Joe and Lucy to protect it
from future developers, and two, visit to make one last fishing
Before I started reading mysteries, I read a lot of books constructed
like Cronin did in Summer Guest. Each
main character in the story tells his or her part in the plot, in this
case, how they grew up and became associated with the camp. From WWII
through the Vietnam era when Joe goes off to Canada to avoid the draft,
Summer Guest spans the time
from 1946 to 1994.
Cronin writes very well, tells a good, story, and describes the camp in
Maine so well I can picture every detail of what it would be like to
live there. Each character moves the plot along with the reader getting
the feeling something lies behind the story that will be revealed by
one character at the very end.
I have enjoyed the book the first 80 or so pages I read last night and
am enjoying a break from the mystery reading.
Wednesday, 19 January 2005
It is still cold down here for the South. We
had snow flurries today but nothing like what our friends to the
north of us have on ground. Like Marcia, I too love snow. Everyone at
work was making fun of me today because I went for my usual mid-morning
walk. Yes, it was cold but I enjoy being out in the fresh air that
comes with winter. It seemed to me to be colder today than it was
yesterday but that be because the sun was not shinning and the wind was
blowing a little harder.
By the time I left work the sun was out and it had warmed up a lot from
this morning. I think we have snow flurries in the forecast off and on
for the remainder of the week but no accumulations at this point.
Bob and I went to the library so he could stock up on books then on to
dinner. I have a sizable TBR pile already between the Berenson and
Tremayne series I am working on.
The vet called back while we were out to dinner. They were closed by
the time we got home. He said he had some blood work back to talk over
with us. I will give him a call in the morning.
Thursday, 20 January 2005
[Wednesday] [Thursday] [Friday]
[Sunday] [Next Week]
I finally made it to the gym to try out my
new MuVo mp3 player. As I suspected, I enjoyed having the small compact
device and not having to fumble around with changing cassettes, etc.
This morning I talked to the vet. We really don't know a whole lot yet
other than Duncan has some elevated enzyme levels in his blood and
white blood cell count. Some infection from either his urinary tract,
bladder, or prostate and possibly some kidney or bladder stones. His
thyroid was normal which still leaves us in the dark as to why he has
the bald patch. For now, we are going to finish the course of
antibiotics he is on, then go back for another urine sample and blood
work then take it from there.
For the first time in a while he is acting more like himself with a lot
Guess that's about it for now. We are still getting falling weather
forecasts for tonight, tomorrow, and the weekend. They change hourly,
so who knows?
Friday, 21 January 2005
[Saturday] [Sunday] [Next
I finished reading The Summer Guest last night. As
Bob would say, it's a "chick book". But, very well written. If you have
a wonderful father/daughter relationship as I have with my dad or you
enjoy reading books along these lines, I highly recommend this one.
Other than that, I am glad it is Friday. I am not sure why these short
weeks always seem to be longer. If the weather forecast holds true we
will be staying indoors this weekend. I think Bob has a system we can
build and I, as always, have plenty of chores.
Hope you have a great weekend.
Saturday, 22 January 2005
[Saturday] [Sunday] [Next
I just came in from being outside with the
Guys. So far all we have seen in the way of falling precipitation has
been light freezing rain and drizzle. There is a little accumulation on
the grass but none so far on the trees. For the past 24 hours plus the
outdoor thermometer has been stuck between 29 and 32 degrees.
I doubt we get anything in the way of snow. This system is not a snow
maker for us. We get out big snows when we have moisture from the Gulf
and cold air from the north. Predicting the exact nature and amount of
precipitation is very tricky for us here in the Piedmont being
surrounded by mountain chains to the west and north. It all depends on
how the moisture comes across and what happens with the temperatures as
to what happens with the weather the rest of the afternoon and evening.
This morning we did the usual house cleaning and laundry. This
afternoon I am working on various projects at my desk while being on
hand to help Bob build a PC for an article. And, as I mentioned, I took
a break to take the dogs out to play some ball. That pretty much covers
what the remainder of the day will look like at least up until dinner
time. Afterward, we will spend the evening reading and relaxing. Last
night I started another poodle mystery by Berenson.
Sunday, 23 January 2005
[Saturday] [Sunday] [Next
IT IS COLD! Yep, I am very warm natured. Cold
weather does not bother me. But, it is cold today. Temperatures in the
low 20's with winds at 15-25, gusts to 30mph. The wind chill is 9
degrees right now. As I sit in my office I can hear the wind howling
around the corner of the house.
I know it is a lot colder north and west of us but for this area of the
country these are cold conditions. The dogs have been out twice with a
walk up and down the street but that will be the extent of any outdoor
activity today. Tonight is to be more of the same with temperatures
dropping down into the teens and the continued winds at 10 - 15 mph.
Bob finished putting together the PC this morning. I have spent the
entire day working at my desk. For one, I have about six or eight
observing log sheets dating back to last summer to enter into my
cumulative spreadsheet. This is tedious work. I always save doing this
for weekends just like this when I have the time to work on them. While
out in the field we use a paper log sheet for recording time, date,
place, weather conditions, object, description, etc. I copy this data
into my spreadsheet which gives me one place for keeping a compilation
of all my observations.
I also need to pay some bills and get my 2005 spreadsheet set up. This
morning I worked on trying to learn GnuCash the open source version of
Quicken. After an hour or more I finally bagged it as being too
frustrating. I may give it another shot later on today. In the meantime
I will set up my basic spreadsheet I have been using for several years
to get me started for the new year.
Last night I finished up the Berenson book. Each book in her series get
better and better. Guess I will get back to work. I have a couple of
online catalog orders to get taken care of before getting back to work
on my spreadsheets.
© 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 by Barbara
Thompson. All Rights Reserved.