Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.
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» Sunday, March 02, 2014Grumpy Cat Morning
Since I couldn't fall back to sleep after James left for work, I got up. I could go to Kroger early before it got hot (supposed to get into the 70s today—not my type of weather). I had the bagel I bought yesterday for breakfast, and found myself at the supermarket at the dot of ten, and then remembered the pharmacy doesn't open until eleven. @!#$!#$!!%#$@!
I did the shopping anyway, but Kroger didn't have slow cooker bags so I had to go to Publix anyway. Piffle.
Put the groceries up and waited until I was sure the pharmacy was open (since they usually show up late) by fixing some file names so I could back up my hard disk later. Had a 30 minute wait for the prescriptions, so I bought gasoline, then went across the street to Goodwill to hang out for the other twenty minutes. Found a book about World War II and looked at a 1992 set of World Book that was celebrating the 75th anniversary with reproductions of a few of the original articles from 1917. How cool! I guess I should buy a new set in 2017.
At the price of a modern World Book, I'd better start saving now.
Spent a better afternoon backing up the hard drive, getting ready for work tomorrow, reading the newspaper, and cutting out those wretched coupons (considering we had four weeks of coupons backed up with today's issue, I got precious few coupons out of the packets; so many coupons are for expensive items, or fattening junk like cake mixes, candy, and junk food, or for makeup and fancy hair care products). Also treated some spots on the carpet, plus watched last week's Elementary and the episode of The New Lassie that Angel2 broadcast last week.
James got sprung an hour and a half early, so we could have supper (the aforementioned Asian chicken salad), and we watched Too Cute, the season premiere of Flipping Boston, and last week's Mythbusters. Predictably, they were not successful at herding cats, but Cari did catch a greased pig. I also wrote out two greeting cards I was planning to write this morning before the mixup with the Kroger times.
» Saturday, March 01, 2014For Fun and Function
Okay, explain to me why, when we had to be up at eight, we watched Jimmy Fallon last night. Yeah, I have no sensible explanation, either. I hate that alarm clock.
It was cloudy and chilly when we left the house, and as we walked from the parking lot to Mill Street I enjoyed the nice breathable air. Soon it won't be so clear and cool. We strolled around the booths, bought cucumbers and tomatoes, chicken salad, goat cheese, some cupcakes for a dessert, and I got a bagel for tomorrow's breakfast. Then it was cool enough to store the produce in the truck and have breakfast at Sugar Cakes, the patisserie on the Square (I thought we had a coupon, but it turned out to be for the ice cream place). James had eggs and grits and I had creme brulee French toast (which is really too sweet once you put maple syrup on it).
We took the groceries home and then went to Costco. Even at eleven a.m. it was wildly busy. We waited in line for gasoline, then wandered the store trying to remember where they've moved everything. The milk is now in the back where the vegetables used to be and the vegetables are over to the right where the bread used to be. We had a few samples, picked up the milk, found a DVD copy of Edwardian Farm in the media section, and bought two bags of Skinny Pop. (If you're ever at Costco and have a choice between Skinny Pop and "Boom-Chicka-Pop," do pick the former. The latter is dry and tough, one step up from movie theatre popcorn, but nowhere near as tender and light as the Skinny Pop; we threw away the bag of Boom-Chicka-Pop we purchased.) It was still cool enough for us to briefly detour to Bed, Bath & Beyond to get a refill for James' Soda Stream before going home.
We'd gone out so early it was still only 12:45 p.m., so we spent the next two hours rearranging things in the garage. I believe I've mentioned before that we have a bookcase in the garage that holds our outdoor Christmas items. Since we only access it six weeks out of the year, I thought the garage space would be better served by having it stored in the closet, and have the yardwork tools out where we could get at them. I couldn't get at the rake the other day when I needed it because the closet bifold doors were blocked. Anyway, in two hours we had cleared the bookcase and the closet, I'd tested all the Christmas lights and bagged all the bad sets so we could consolidate the lights, James had put the bookcase in the closet and we'd restocked it, plus we were able to store the extra computer peripherals, the Alpine trees we've never used outside at Christmas, the old bed rails, and our camp chairs in the closet as well. The tools are now all out, some boxes have been moved over, the ladder is where we can get to it freely again, and I can reach the hook that the hedge clippers hang on.
Unfortunately the garage is not 100 percent clean because it's going to rain buckets before trash collection day, so we left the plastic garbage bag with the bottom of the old Christmas tree, and a box full of broken down cardboard boxes that were stored in the garage inside the garage until Thursday night. Sadly, we can't do anything with the bulky old convection microwave until November and free electronics recycling day. And the garage is completely swept. Win-win all around and we were done before three.
We had a bit of a rest after that, then went to SteviB's for supper, but came directly home since James has to work tomorrow. He went downstairs to model for a while and I've been watching Get Smart reruns from first season all evening. On my way to bed because, frankly, Captain, I'm tired!
» Friday, February 28, 2014Peace and Quiet
It was certainly nice to sleep in this morning, and then have a leisurely oatmeal-and-yogurt-and-milk breakfast with Snowy fluffed contentedly behind me. Still—no one to lick out the oatmeal bowl. ::sigh::
I threw caution to the wind and decided to drive out to Acworth. Ran a "Tech Guy" podcast on the phone and went via our new "back way" of West Sandtown and then Due West Road (sadly, Old Lost Mountain/Mars Hill Road has become too busy). On the way I stopped at a cute gift shop called White Rabbit Cottage, which advertises in the free Cobb Life magazine. The main store in an old house (and I do mean old; the floors sag like switchback railways), and there is a covered walkway leading to a newer building that holds larger items. The store has a range of gifts from nice little decorative things to some furniture, in prices ranging from affordable to "oh-my!" (like the sterling silver necklaces), but all of it was very pretty. I was quite taken with some "branches" with tiny white lights at the tips. A collection of three of them were in a tall container and then antiqued Easter eggs (like Christmas ornaments) were hung from the branches. Very pretty! Of course, in keeping with the name of the place, it had many rabbit statues. The walkway between the two buildings had things for your garden, including metal whirligigs and concrete statues of dogs, including a German Shepherd which was Leia-sized.
Had a nice stroll around Books-a-Million, and was surprised to see this year's "Country Sampler" home tour magazine already out, so snapped it up. I was deciding on a book to buy when I found a jackpot, a new book in the "FAQ" series, Sherlock Holmes FAQ. Sold!
Took my book and went across the parking lot for lunch: a book and a bowl of Panera chicken soup. Bliss.
Took a coupon across the street to Michaels, stopping first at Dollar Tree to stock up on some Pears soap, and scored a nice Christmas gift, which I will embellish, for half off. Then I wanted to stop at the big Walmart further down Cobb Parkway to look for a new rug. I haven't been to this Wally World in over a year and was surprised to find that it had been cut down to two-thirds of its original size. Couldn't find a rug, either, and it looks like they don't carry finch food anymore, and this one didn't have safflower seed. Meh. I did find a torchiere that didn't cost an arm and a leg for my office, however.
On the way home, I passed a bright yellow house ("school bus yellow") with bright blue shutters. Eeek—my eyes!
Finally home—it was four o'clock already!—and I looked, annoyed, at the mess in the garage since Christmas, and did something about some of it: cut down an Amazon box and tossed it, took apart the Moravian star, and put it into the Christmas lights box along with the solar lights, stored the timer and extension cords for the lights, hung a storage cube up on a hook, and pretty much cleared in front of the little closet in the garage so I could get to the gardening tools. Those leaves in the back yard will have to go before the grass begins to grow again!
When James arrived home, we went out to supper; while we originally were heading to SteviB's, we ended up at the West Cobb Diner, which was standing room only and had to wait for a table. The turkey was delicious and the portion large enough for us to both take some home for lunch on Sunday (he'll be eating his at work, sadly). Finally we went next door to Publix. I can tell it's spring because I'm craving salad, but specifically baby greens, and there's not a restaurant around here (at least that we can afford) has a salad with baby greens (they usually use iceberg, which is the sorriest excuse for lettuce ever; at least at Sweet Tomatoes you can get romaine). Publix had baby greens as a BOGO and we bought the Tyson Asian chicken thighs, so Sunday we will have an easy, delicious supper: chicken strips with baby greens, mandarin oranges, slivered almonds, and chow mein noodles.
» Sunday, February 23, 2014The Longest Short Day Ever
Not a late morning, because habit is strong and love is stronger, we weren't waiting for a bark but woke up nevertheless.
It only struck me, when I finished my oatmeal, that there was no one to lick the bowl clean this morning, and then I did start to cry.
James loaded the dishwasher and we stopped by Publix to get money and buy a couple of things, and then drove out to Gwinnett to go to the Georgia RV Show, which was held in the same place that had the bird show where we adopted Snowy. It was, by nature, very small, and neither of us saw any small units. We did like a couple of all-in-one campers (the ones that look like a truck with living space on it). We sat in the front seat and my eyes filled with tears again. I wish we could just drive away in it, go home and get Snowy, and not have to come back.
We detoured just a few miles to stop at the Aviarium to see if they had anything that might be helpful for Snowy because of his feet, but the whole place looks dusty and sad. The bird room was alive with avian voices, and I found the cutest little white and grey budgie being annoyed by his cagemates. I could have taken him home in a minute if I wasn't afraid of how he would treat Snowy. Everyone thinks birds are so sweet, but they will peck an injured or crippled bird and drive him out of the flock.
Stopped at Kroger for groceries, and then put them up and finished getting ready for work, and by that time it was time for supper, and by the time supper was finished it was time for Olympic closing ceremonies. It's always sad when they "blow out" the flame.
Or maybe I'm just sad tonight.
» Saturday, February 22, 2014"...the Flower That Grows Out of Beginning"
It became apparent as January turned into February that we were fighting a losing battle.Any improvements Willow seemed to make at Christmas and afterward—one day she even bounced on her hindlegs at the cookie jar—disappeared after "Snowjam." Her appetite throughout had remained erratic; something she ate on one day she refused the rest, she didn't want the chicken/veg/rice mixture she had eaten happily since Twelfth Night any longer, and James tried ground turkey and 97 percent lean ground beef without any effect. She didn't even want to eat them. She ate pumpkin one day, then no more; the same with plain yogurt. Our mainstays became lean beef out of the can and rice (and then she quit eating the rice after throwing it up) and no-salt mixed beef and vegetable stock. One day I got her to eat baby food, sweet potatoes, the next she wouldn't touch it. In desperation James gave her rice with mild chili. That she ate...for a couple of days at least.
During "Icepocalypse" two weeks ago, she had a bad Tuesday, refusing food and pacing the house. And then by the weekend she was eating again—well, eating as minimally as ever, two teaspoons of this, three teaspoons of that, maybe a dessert bowl of broth. In fact, she was eating regularly enough that we felt safe to go to Anachrocon over the weekend, and on Saturday night she ate a prodigious (for this point) supper of a quarter can of lamb and cheese moist dog food, all the broth in the dish, almost all a bowl of alphabet pasta in chicken broth, and a quarter of a cup of Rachael Ray kibble.
And then Tuesday was another bad day in which she ate nothing.
Wednesday we pretty much both slept all day; I'd come back from Anachrocon with a horrendous sinus infection and couldn't wear my glasses for much more than ten minutes at a time without being in severe pain, not to mention a stuffy nose, congested chest, and chronic tiredness. Apparently this is one of those creeping cruds going around, because I couldn't even get into the doctor until Thursday morning. (Sinus infection, What a surprise.) I made the mistake of leaning my head against the side of the sofa and conked out for three hours; if I did open my eyes, it was to see Willow turn over on her bed. We had chicken wings from Zaxby's one night and Willow had gone so off chicken she refused the plain pieces I offered her until I put a bit of the sauce on one part of the meat; only then would she gobble it up.
Yesterday morning I still sounded like Fozzie Bear, but she had a nice if limited appetite, and ate a couple of teaspoons of the Gerber Naturals sweet potato, two teaspoons of wet beef-and-rice dog food, and some of the roast beef straight from the can. This idyll did not last. She spent the afternoon vomiting up every single thing I'd fed her that morning, and then began the all-too-familiar ceaseless pacing she had done before we put her into the hospital in December. I was simply too exhausted from the infection and emotion drain to do more than clean up the mess, and James saw the stains immediately and knew what it meant. At dinner he gave the vet's office a call and arranged for an appointment for today. And we spent Friday evening watching her pace ceaselessly from the kitchen to the bathroom to her bed in the living room and then around again. About every two orbits, she would gingerly step on her memory-foam bed and try to lie down, but it was as if it hurt her, and she'd get back up and pace again. She wouldn't come when called and to get her to stop and let us cuddle her, we had to waylay her. She seemed to enjoy it for fifteen minutes, then went back to the pacing.
She did fall asleep in the crate once we left her in the bathroom. It had gotten chilly again and that's the warmest room in the house.
This morning I woke up needing to use the bathroom and when I opened the door was greeted with a beautiful sunrise, a symphony of oranges and pinks spread across the big window of the master bath. It was so pretty I called James to come see it, too. Was it an omen? a promise? Of course there was the elephant in the room, in every room this morning. Willow barked weakly at nine and James took her outside. We had breakfast. We figured this morning anything Willow wanted to eat, Willow could eat. James cooked himself up a real favorite for breakfast: an omelet with ham, sausage, and mushrooms, seasoned with salt and pepper. Willow only gave him a dull look and when he put a dish with some under her nose, she flinched and turned her head away. I offered her the warm broth and she didn't want it.
She didn't even eat the fortune cookie I left by her crate for her.
Ironically she fell into a deep and restful sleep just at the time we had to rouse her for that last ride in the truck. We wrapped her in a towel and she basically spent the trip with her head down on my knee, no interest in what was going by at all, except if we hit a bump (and there's a lot of them after the snow and ice events). We sat in the truck a few minutes in front of the vet's office, just petting her, and waiting for a woman and her little girl to leave with their newly groomed Lhasa Apso.
They had already set up for us, in one of the exam rooms. The lights were on low and we were able to go in with the tech. She was the same lady who had taken care of Wil when she was hospitalized and she was upset at how bad she looked. We talked for a while and then she took Willow out to put a catheter in her leg to administer the drug. Dr. Mike brought her back in several minutes later, and it nearly broke our hearts when she wagged her tail vigorously, a stronger wag than we'd seen in days. Then we talked some more, some about how she stopped eating, and some just Willow stories, and all the time we petted Willow and stroked her, and told her she was a good dog. And then it was time. Dr. Mike slowly depressed the syringe that was filled with pink fluid. Willow lifted the forepaw that had the catheter in it for a few seconds; maybe it itched or was cold, I don't know, and then we had to ease her down on the towel, and we kept petting her and talking to her, and then she was gone, off to join her Grandma at Rainbow Bridge. Mom always had little brown dogs; she loved them so. And I'm sure Bandit bit her on the nose once more, just to remind her who was boss.
It seems we stayed there for so long, just petting her and telling Dr. Mike more Willow stories: how she chased the Dalmatians out of the foyer of the house, and the chihuahas from down the street when they stepped on her "terrier"tory, and challenged the Akita from down the street at the old house, and how James' dad, who didn't believe in house dogs, said Willow was so well-behaved she was welcome in their house anytime, how she hated traveling to Charlotte until she discovered the Drury Inn had recliners, and how she hated baths and cried outside the bathroom the time James had a shower in the middle of the morning after being released from the hospital ("Daddy, you're going to drowwwwnnn!").
We decided to have her cremated and get the ashes back. Dr. Mike says they come back in a decorative tin, and we can either keep it or put her outside in the yard next to Pigwidgeon and Schuyler. And they made us a little memento, too, a circle of Sculpy clay in which someone had picked out her name with those lettered white pony beads, with smaller colored beads in between. Dr. Mike took one of her forepaws and pressed it into the clay so we have her little footprint as a memento, and her collar tag will go on the foyer tree with Leia's at Christmastime.
Finally he took her away and hugged us goodbye and we left. It seemed like we had been there for ages and it was only a little over an hour. We got James a sandwich so he wouldn't crash, but I couldn't eat until we got close to home. We had ice cream at Bruster's and toasted Miss Willow (she used to enjoy their "doggie sundae" of kid's cup of vanilla ice cream and a dog biscuit), and stopped briefly at Petsmart to get Snowy some birdseed, passing a cart with a heartbreakingly cute Yorkie puppy bouncing back and forth inside it. Later on we had supper at Panera and then went to Barnes & Noble, because chicken soup and books are always a panacea for empty hearts, even if they can't fill the hole.
Watched This Old House and Olympics. Talked to Snowy, who'll be an "only child" for a while. Posted to Facebook.
Tomorrow we won't have a dog alarm and can sleep late. But there will be no joy in it. "How quiet, how quiet the chamber is..."
Willow Allyson Young
March 17, 1998 - February 22, 2014
And because James Thurber can forever say things better than I: "Memorial"
» Friday, February 14, 2014Anachroconning...But First, A Number!
Except that's "a number of things done" rather than a musical bit.
I'd had a bad night because I completely forgot I had sausage for lunch yesterday, and ate popcorn afterward. This, as my body determined a week ago, is Not A Good Thing. I was awake for several hours with stomach pains, but didn't want to go back in the bathroom because it was freezing in there; it never heats properly and was probably about 56°F in there. Willow's the one sleeping in the warmest bathroom in the house.
About one we left for Anachrocon, which was being held this year near Perimeter Mall. We registered just in time to see most of a Science panel about time travel. It was pretty interesting, but it was straight science; if you were looking for little asides to what the panelists thought were the best time travel methods used in film/television, you didn't get it. James stayed for a panel about the evolution of the hand gun, but I took a turn around the dealer's room. This is mostly steampunk-style clothes, but someone was selling Christmas ornaments, another vendor electronic cigars, several jewelry vendors were there, and also someone selling electronic cigarettes. Then I joined James back in the panel room and read "Reader's Digest" on my tablet.
Well, I was going to a panel on the Crimean War at four o'clock, but no one was there, not even the panelists. So we went to opening ceremonies instead. Next year: three more tracks: Doctor Who, classic animation, and classic American sci-fi television, plus a new hotel, the Marriott at Century Center, which we've been to for cons years ago, back when it was a Holiday Inn or somesuch (hotels around here change owners so often you can't tell them without a scorecard).
Anne and Clay arrived while we were there, so we met them in the lounge. Mostly ended up talking about Willow and their three dachshunds. We finally ate supper there: good, but expensive! Then we took a turn around the dealer's room. Anne and I both bought a small stuffed sheep from the Christmas people, Clay looked at dusters (like Harry Dresden wears), and Anne saw a butterfly mask made of wire that she loved. We bought Valentine chocolates from the chocolate people from Michigan, and then went to the USO show that followed the Valentine's Day dinner and dance, where everyone attended dressed in 1940s finery (I was having a great time watching them walk back and forth while we ate in the lounge; one woman had a wide-brimmed scarlet hat that would have looked at home on Remember WENN's diva, "Miss Hilary Booth, of course") (The theme of the convention this year is veterans.) We saw a Bugs Bunny cartoon, "Super Rabbit," and a newsreel about VJ Day before the show began, and then there was a salute to veterans. We sang "God Bless America" and then "the Andrews sisters" sang all the service songs and people in the audience stood up when their service was announced. The USO show had a fellow imitating Bob Hope on a USO tour of Georgia, with his guests Rita Hayworth, Betty Grable, Josephine Baker, Ethel Merman, Veronica Lake, Ava Gardner, and Marlene Dietrich. The ladies all did a bang-up job, with lovely voices, and "Ethel" had a great set of pipes on her! "Bob" needs work; it's very hard to do Bob Hope, with that split second timing, and he wasn't quite up to it, but he did his best, and some of it was quite funny.
By then it was 9:30 and we "old people" were all feeling tired, so they went off to their hotel room and we decamped. Willow had been very good when we got home, and when I called her came down the stairs wagging her tail. She'd eaten a little of the chili and rice mixture this morning (she wouldn't eat it until James put cheese on it) and ate a little more when we were out, and another mouthful or two when we got in. It's all mouthfuls. Sigh.
Apparently we had an earthquake here tonight, a 4.2 with an epicenter in South Carolina. There were reports all over the news about people feeling it, but we didn't at all.
» Thursday, February 13, 2014
Well, it's been an interesting three days. Not quite "interesting" in the "may you live in interesting times" sense, but it had its moments.
James' company, no fool they after being on short commons two weeks ago during "SnowJam," sent everyone home with a laptop. This James set up Monday night; he had a couple of setup bobbles, but those were normal. As things would have it, Tuesday was mostly harmless, with heavy skies. The fact that we were both teleworking, however (CDC was closed for the day, but teleworking was in full force), provided several problems, mostly to my connection. He has some sort of AT&T network program, essential for connecting to his work, that does not work and play well with others, which threw Citgo for a loop. A lot of times I was connected both on 4G to CDC webmail on James' tablet and through my desktop to keep up with everything. (Wednesday I actually couldn't connect at all, DSL or 4G.) Tuesday evening the freezing rain started; you could hear the hiss of it even through the door to the deck. Then it snowed for a while, long enough to put a white coat on everything.
Then it turned back into freezing rain.
Wednesday was a long, cold day. I'd try to get online every half hour, but I kept getting either a 403 or a 500 error from the web page. In between I should have washed the kitchen floor, but I felt just enough up to sweep it. I cut coupons. James worked steadily, and Snowy shrieked every time he spoke on the phone. I finally started to laugh and told him that no, he couldn't help Daddy work. It was either sleet or freezing rain all day.
Wednesday night it started to snow.
This morning I woke up to a brilliant white world. You remember that scene on Christmas morning in A Christmas Story, where Ralphie wakes and finds there's been snow in the night and every branch of every tree is white? That's what it looked like, and I should have taken a picture of it then, because even though it didn't get up above freezing until nearly noon, the snow started melting the minute the clouds parted. By late afternoon, even the driveway, which had been a sheet of ice covered with snow covered with ice yesterday, was completely clear, as was the street. I could actually go outside and refill all the bird feeders, which I couldn't do on Wednesday during a break in the precipitation because the post holding the three feeders was frozen solid in its socket and I couldn't turn it enough to get all three feeders near me to refill. I was able to do only one. I was rewarded by seeing more birds than I had in a long time, including an eastern towhee (that vanished when I tried to photograph it) and a yellow-rumped warbler who kept moving when I trained a lens on it.
Through all of this we were anxiously watching Willow. On Tuesday we figured This Is It. She was miserable. She wouldn't eat, she was wandering, and she looked all in. On Monday night we had started watching Westminster happily; on Tuesday I finally gave her a pain pill to make her fall asleep and I was crying as I was petting her and watching the sporting dogs prance into the arena. By Friday, when everything had cleared, I knew, we were going to have to make a decision, and James morosely agreed.
But as she's done before, she rallied. Since there is now a long list of things she won't eat, we threw desperation to the wind. James mixed some of the mild chili he was eating into some rice, which she now hates like poison, and some cheese with it, and she ate that. Not all at once, but she finished pretty much everything he gave her. At the rate she's eating, she's going to starve to death. If we give her something bad for her, she's still going to die because we won't put her through the pancreatitis treatment again, but at least she will have eaten something and enjoyed it. Even the condemned get a last meal!
Been watching Olympics tonight, really for the first time since opening ceremonies. Saw several people take terrible tumbles during the new sport, slopestyle, which is snowboarding on an obstacle course that looks more frightening than Dracula. Aieeeee!
» Friday, February 07, 2014Never Going to Forget This One
WJAR's Blizzard of '78 Slideshow
What I remember of the Blizzard of '78
Do some searching, as there are some great stories about the Blizzard online.
The storm also destroyed Henry Beston's famous "Outermost House."
» Thursday, February 06, 2014
FOR TODAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2014
Outside my window...
...a light overcast. Some birds at the feeder. The bare branches, the bones of the trees, in the back yard, taking their winter nap.
I am thinking...
...how long I haven't written one of these; I used to manage every week, except during fourth quarter, and things have been so up in the air with Willow being sick.
...for budgie song; Snowy is singing a charming aria in the background.
In the kitchen...
...it needs sweeping and is otherwise bare right now. I need to eat lunch, but if I get up and shuffle about in there, Willow might wake up, and she needs her sleep. She is still not eating well; what she will eat one day she won't eat the next, and she refuses to eat pumpkin, or yogurt, or something that might settle her innards. She was very hungry yesterday and ate chopped chicken, alphabet pasta in unsalted broth, and a plain scrambled egg, and this morning there were traces of watery vomit on the bathroom floor. She didn't act sick, and did eat a bit of rinsed shredded beef (rinsed to get as much salt as possible off it) in unsalted broth, and some plain, small dog biscuits.
I am wearing...
...pine green sweatshirt, navy blue sweatpants, and two pairs of socks. I tipped the thermostat up to 68 and my feet are still ice cold. I can't wear slippers because it makes sparks against the carpet and that could ruin the computer.
I am creating...
...purchase orders, finally! Finished one and was working on another when I decided to take a lunch break and do this.
I am going...
...slowly crazy, I think. :-) Wish I knew how to make Willow well.
I am wondering...
...what food to try next. Pork is too fattening. I know they give lamb and rice to sick dogs, but the lamb we can get seems too fatty and Wil has gone off rice after barfing it several times (I can't blame her).
I am reading...
...just finished Jill Paton Walsh's The Late Scholar, which takes Lord Peter Wimsey and wife Harriet Vane into the 1950s, investigating a murder at the Oxford. Even with the murders, it's such a nice comfy world. I would have liked Oxford, I think. Not sure what to go to next. A travel book, perhaps? More history? The rest of the vintage New England places essays? A biography? We'll see.
I am hoping...
...we can find something for Willow that she can eat and doesn't make her ill. If she was arthritic and sad, with dull eyes and a hopeless attitude, we would know what to do, but when she is awake she can still wag her tail, she doesn't even have cataracts like most old dogs do, and she was quite happy yesterday. I suffer from periodic gastric problems, so I know how miserable it makes you feel.
I am looking forward to...
...how about I'm not looking forward to, which would be spring, summer, and End of Fiscal Year, in that order.
Around the house...
...it's chilly outside, because I can hear that the heat is running downstairs (it whines when it runs downstairs), Snowy is singing, Willow is sleeping, Leo LaPorte is helping people via podcast, and I'm about to finish a purchase order.
I am pondering...
...sorry, appropriate canine diets. It's about all I can think about now.
A favorite quote for today...
"I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts." . . . . . . . John Steinbeck
Yeah, me too, and I'm one of them.
One of my favorite things...
...sleep. I wish I could do it now.
A few plans for the rest of the week:
The usual grocery shopping. James works Saturday. That's as exciting as it gets, and what with Wil having been sick, that's just about all I can stand. Maybe more sleep?
A peek into my day...
Can't take a photo of Snowy singing without breaking his rhythm. Here's a link to some budgie song instead: Budgies Singing
If you'd like to participate, check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.
Labels: Simple Woman's Daybook
» Tuesday, February 04, 2014Straws
Willow's appetite, or lack of one, is the hardest on both of us. Things she would eat last week she will no longer eat. She was doing so well until the middle of January and then it began to deteriorate again. We dangle home-cooked food in front of her and she just turns up her nose, but begs when we eat (things she cannot eat, with salt and spices). If she didn't want to eat period, we would understand, but it's this turning up her nose at good meat, rice, and veg and then pleading with us to feed her that is wrenching. Then there are her other habits: she is good for a few days, then does what she did this morning, defecates on the carpet, which I can handle, but then steps in it, which makes a huge mess to clean up with the biological product neutralizer and disinfectant. If we had real floors instead of carpet it would be different, but we couldn't afford them then and we certainly can't afford them now.
Most of all it's just watching her go downhill. A year ago you wouldn't have known she was going to turn fifteen, except for the loose gait from the bad tendons in her hindlegs and the white muzzle. She danced when she saw foods and a treat, she went outside with head up and curious nose a-wiggle. Now she still sniffs, she still patrols, she still eats, but it's all rote. I feel guilty leaving her locked in the bathroom because I have to get work done, but realize I'm taking away from her one of the few pleasures she has left, sleeping on the recliner. And if we make a decision, are we doing it for her, or are we doing it for us?
In the meanwhile, James made a good-faith effort to repair the desk I use for telework (one of the casters fell off because the particle-board it was mounted in gave way), but the boards he used as a prop were too long. I was hoping to be able to tip it and roll it on the other three wheels, but the edge of the board drags in the carpet (glad now it isn't hardwood, or there would be a gouge in it now). In effect I now have to drag the desk into position with the printer and my office supplies on it, which has pulled the muscles in my back, leaving it pretty painful to sit at the moment. We can swap it for the desk downstairs, which is the same desk and which does not need to move, but it involves getting them up and down the stairs. James has already fallen twice in the last two weeks and I don't want to go for a trio. (This also explains why we have a nearly 80-pound upended dead convection microwave acting as an "endtable" in the living room; we need to get the damnfool thing downstairs without hurting either of us.) And Ikea apparently no longer makes this desk. In fact, as far as I can see, they make no rolling desks at all any longer.
All I know is I'm fed up with the clutter; things that need to be gone that aren't, and I bump into them, trip over them, and can't vacuum with them there (and why I haven't had the stupid vacuum surgically attached to me by now I don't know, because the wretched thing seems to be more out of the closet than in). Not only is no progress being made, but I'm sliding backward.
» Sunday, February 02, 2014The Shoeboxes
» Thursday, January 30, 2014SnowJam 2014
The weather report on Monday night was substantially different. We were going to get the snow after all, perhaps about an inch, and it would start the next day about noon. I was glad I was teleworking, as Atlanta traffic is notoriously horrible in snow. It would probably take me over two hours to get home.
By Tuesday morning, they were saying one to three inches, and the news was assuring us that, unlike in January 2011, when the city was shut down for a week, the sanders and the plows were ready, and the crews geared up to go.
It did indeed start snowing sometime after eleven on Tuesday, and it was fun to watch. It was also bitterly cold, which it usually isn't here when it snows, and the snow quickly started sticking to things, including the street. I ran out to fill the bird feeders, bundling up in a hat and an insulated vest, something I usually don't don because the feeders take less than five minutes. Work was canceled at noon, and I'd already finished the laundry, so I could do other things around the house. I kept the computer on, though, in case an emergency came up, but it looked like everyone had indeed gone home.
About 2:30, James called saying he was coming home, as the snow was accumulating and he was getting reports of bad traffic. He said not to expect him at the usual time as traffic was slow. Over a half hour later he called back. A delivery truck was blocking the exit of his complex and he couldn't get out to the highway. He was going to go back inside until it cleared. He said he would leave at 4:30. I didn't get a call from him saying he was leaving until 5:10, and by then I was uneasy. According to the traffic report, it had been deteriorating all afternoon. The freeway map had gone from solid red to burgundy, even the routes he could use to get home. It was almost seven o'clock when I called him back. He was on the East-West Connector and had gone barely two miles in less than two hours. He'd been heading for Hicks Road, but he said he would try to get off at Cooper Lake Road instead.
The reports on television were getting worse by the minute. Apparently most businesses and all schools had been dismissed at one o'clock and everyone funneled on to the road at once. The inexperienced drivers crawling on the snow (which wasn't ice at that point) slowed down the other drives and now every main street was a mess of snarled traffic. Kids had left school on buses and had been stuck on them for six and seven hours now. People were running out of gas on the freeway. And of course all the snow on the roads had turned to ice, slick, nasty ice which was just getting more slick every time someone spun their wheels over it.
Just after eight, James called. He was stuck dead on Cooper Lake Road; the road was so slick he couldn't make the slope in either direction, and a tractor-trailer truck was blocking one end of the road anyway. He was, to my horror, preparing to spend the night in the car. Remember, I'm the one who takes naps in my car, summer and winter. In winter I've been out there parked in the sun, with a blanket over my legs, in my Rhode Island quality winter coat, and freezing to death. It was nineteen degrees outside and blacker than pitch! He had less than a quarter of a tank of gas, no blanket, only trail mix and granola bars for supper, and only some of his diabetes drugs. Well, yeah, I was hysterical; wouldn't you be? He said there was no way I could get to him; I'd only get stuck, too.
Facebook saved him. I posted this horrible news and several minutes later Alice Spivey's message popped up: her husband Ken's sister and her husband lived off Cooper Lake Road, near South Cobb Drive. If he were close to South Cobb, he could probably walk there. James called up Debbie and Jesse and they were about ten minutes from where he was stuck, and he was able to get to their house, but until this was all straightened out, I had about a bad hour of it. I ended up down in the library after checking to see if the faucets were dripping, clutching Mother's rosary beads and praying desperately for someone to help him. Thank you so much, God! (And Alice, and Deb and Jesse, and Facebook, which is a fat PITA sometimes, but worth it.)
So James stayed with Deb and Jesse and Mrs. Spivey; they made him dinner and even gave him their bedroom to sleep in. I ended up not eating because I was so upset it would have just given me indigestion had I done so. Instead I kept reading Facebook reports which were deteriorating by the minute: kids were camped out on school buses, or the buses had to go back to the school, and kids (and some parents) were camped out there. Cars stopped dead were all over all three interstates and state highways; some were up on curbs, backward, had crushed fenders. Some people had now been stuck in traffic for the past twelve hours. People near the freeway were making sandwiches and bringing food and bottled water to the stranded. A baby was born at the side of the interstate. News reporters were giving out water and getting help and food for stranded people with small children. The traffic map had gone from burgundy to black.
By one I was exhausted. I took Willow out one last time, covered up Snowy's cage, and slept on the futon. I didn't have to worry about work; the whole city was under a State of Emergency and everything was closed.
Things usually look better in the morning. Not this morning. The first thing I checked was the traffic map, which was still red. Holy shit. I spent the morning cleaning house. Talked to James, who said he was comfortable and was enjoying his unexpected stay, but hadn't been able to sleep well because he didn't have his C-PAP machine. He sounded exhausted. The hours started to tick on. I couldn't relax. Kroger called to tell me my meds were ready, which was stupid because they'd been ready since Sunday, but they never called.
The temps rose slowly, but by early afternoon still hadn't hit the thirties. I kept thinking about James' insulin and the C-PAP, and looking at the road. My Cousin Donna called to see how I was making out and I joked that if I was in Rhode Island I would have been expected to be at work even with the roads in this condition. Living here has turned me into a wimp. I drove home in the Blizzard of '78 in a Chevette, for God's sake, although, granted, I had a bucket of salted sand, a shovel, and a blanket in the back of my car, plus snow tires. I ought to at least be able to make it down two main roads in order to pick up James! The moment I checked the traffic map and saw there were yellow spots turning to green, I acted.
I dressed for bear because it was about 17 with the wind chill outside: t-shirt under my sweatshirt, two pairs of socks, my winter coat with my pashmina, thick winter hat, driving gloves. I shoved brownies in my pockets, grabbed two walking sticks out of the garage just-in-case, both spare batteries for the phone, and gave Twilight his head.
Still, I almost chickened out when I reached the downhill slope where Sandtown Road meets Windy Hill. It was coated with ice and when I tried to slow down further from my already creeping speed, the car started to fishtail. I remembered to tap, not jam, the brakes and the car slid against the curb and not into the car waiting to turn left, thankfully. Windy Hill had one lane cleared on either side, and I didn't accelerate or brake on slick spots, and I got through that, and then down South Cobb Drive with heart in mouth. When I reached South Cobb and Cooper Lake I called James, parking in the driveway of a Kindercare.
About twenty minutes later (it seemed so much longer) James, Deb, and Jesse came tramping up to meet me; the latter were on their way to Walgreens. James had taken a tumble the moment they got out on the street; he scraped his knees, banged his head, and wrenched one hand, but he was mobile. Came back the same way I'd come. We even were able to stop by the drive-though at Kroger and pick up my meds. The car performed flawlessly. Go, Twilight!
So spent the rest of the afternoon making sure James wasn't getting dizzy or unsteady after the bump to the head (more cognitive questions—this seems all too familiar). His knees looked like a playground accident. The worst was his hand, which was swelling up so much we figured we were headed to Kaiser in the morning. He called in to work saying he would be out today, but would definitely be in Friday, even if it meant having me take him to work or driving my car. We had the soup for supper and gave Willow a few of the noodles and carrots, which was a bad idea, as she, after having improved for a day and a half, was back to the raised tail and the rushing outside. Thrilling, especially since the dog hates snow, and wouldn't even stay outside to finish pooping. And then we retreated to showers and to bed, with the C-PAP breathing a soft lullaby in the background.
This morning Willow let us sleep, which was very welcome, and then we spent much of the day running after her and having to clean up accidents. When she finally made it to the pee pad, I praised her so much you might have thought she won the Nobel prize.
Thankfully, the swelling had gone down on James' hand and he could make a fist again, although the bruising remained. I finally got to vacuum. Snowy sang up a storm. I tried to find something Willow would eat, and this didn't work until evening. I tried giving her pumpkin again; several dog forums said you could put cinnamon on it without hurting the dog, so I tried that and she cleaned up the heaping teaspoon I gave her. We'll see. We paid and sorted out bills that got delayed because of the expense at the vet. Had homemade pizza for supper, and since we can't give Willow the leavings anymore, fed her some dog biscuits instead. Later we watched an amusing Big Bang Theory; loved Sheldon hanging out with James Earl Jones, and the ladies wondering just when you grow up.
The big thing we did today was go fetch the truck. The side roads we habitually take were good enough today to use, with only a few icy patches here and there. Instead of going down Cooper Lake directly, we went down King Springs Road and then turned left on Cooper Lake; James was trying to come home through King Springs, but the truck wouldn't make the grade and the big truck had been blocking the road. Even with the sun out having dried the main roads, both King Springs and Cooper Lake had big icy patches, but we skimmed them nicely and found the pickup parked just where James had left it, outside a subdivision opposite the dam at Lake Laurel. It all looked so innocent out here in the sun; I didn't want to imagine it in the dark and cold! It was surrounded by ice except directly at the back of the truck, so James walked there, and then held on to the side as he navigated the thick ice on the left of the truck. He had a brief skid as he turned it around, then we both headed home with no problem.
Still talking, talking, talking on the news about whose fault it was, people going crazy because they have started towing cars that were left at the side of the road, and analysis. And lots of people have made videos of "SnowJam 2014."
We have first aid kits in the car and flashlights, and I have a blanket and pillow, and James has spare towels, but I've decided I'm going to put an emergency box in each one, too: a clear shoebox with a change of underwear and socks, those hand-warmer packets that you activate, some packets of sunflower seeds and nuts, a toothbrush and a little travel toothpaste, etc. We used to have something like this in the car back when we drove up to Atlanta from Warner Robins for the Phoenix Science Fiction Society meetings on Saturday night, just in case we didn't feel like driving home at 2 a.m. Probably a cheap red bandanna, too, for the aerial or hood if in trouble. I'll have to think on a total inventory.
» Sunday, January 26, 2014Wishful Thinking and Realities
Hark, the dog does bark! James got up at seven, I got up at eight, and he got up again at nine and stayed up. I slept till ten and still felt in need of sleep. Cleaned up the bathroom and had a bagel with veggie spread on it for breakfast. Willow still waffled about what she wanted to eat and turned up her nose at the last of the chicken and rice, and didn't want plain rice, either.
The most claustrophobic were these tiny "teardrop" trailers. Basically it looks like a Pullman bunk, room for a double bed. At the rear is a kitchen unit. Only about four feet tall and maybe seven feet long. Claustrophobia incorporated.
So then we wandered through "Fantasyland," a.k.a. the big buses. Pretty slick. One had French doors into a separate den with a fireplace, and the bedroom and bath were up three steps. We only looked at one Class C (the kind that looks like it's built on a pickup truck), which were the ones I liked best last time.
It's all Fantasyland anyway, because we can't afford any of them.
On the way home we went past MicroCenter and got me an OEM copy of Windows 7. Ouch.
Then we stopped at both H.H.Gregg and Sears to look at convection microwaves. The Sharps they are selling are very small. There was a Kenmore the size of our dead one. But we wanted to shop around more, so we just got a cheap microwave so we can warm up things.
I checked out new units online. The Kenmore is the cheapest, and if we want another Sharp it's over $500. I keep thinking: at that rate, wouldn't it be cheaper to just save up and get a new stove with a convection oven? I loved the Sharp and it did keep the kitchen cooler during the summer, but it was awkward to cook in because of the way the kitchen is set up, and it was huge. James deserves a decent kitchen range, and he'd love to have one with a grill on the top. I just wanted to get a new dishwasher first, because the one we have sucks big ones. It only has one washing arm and sounds like a truck. We miss the Bosch we installed in the old house!
Anyway, had to clean up the bathroom again. We had lasagna from the Farmer's Market for supper, and between fielding Willow and swapping microwaves I got Win7 loaded—it was surprisingly painless, although we did not have a choice to format the disk like the MicroCenter tech said, so everything's still on the disk—and I got Citgo loaded, too, so I can work on my own computer Tuesday. (I even deleted spam e-mails.) James' desk is really uncomfortable for me.
Willow finally ate some ground turkey, veggies and rice at the end of the night. She also chased off a loose chihuahua on our front lawn. If only the other problem would clear up!
» Saturday, January 25, 2014Stop. Just Stop.
As expected, we had to clean up after Willow this morning. Most of it was confined to the pad, and the floor was easily mopped up. She tries so hard to be good, even if we exasperate her, and she exasperates us. James made me an eggnog for breakfast, and we had to take Willow out several times. I have been reading online that white rice will help, so I gave her some of that for breakfast, and she gobbled it up.
Headed home to check on Willow; had to clean up a minor accident. She didn't seem to want to go into her crate and relax. Nevertheless, we ran to Kroger and got the grocery shopping done; confirmed why we avoid supermarkets on a Saturday—not the long lines, but just too many people wandering around the store (and stopping in the middle of the aisles to talk) to navigate properly. Got the usual staples, more brown rice for Willow, and also some ground turkey for her.
And then when we were in for the night she led us in and out the front door, her tail held up. While James took her out the last time, I fixed her several things: some canned pumpkin, which several animal care websites advised for bowel problems in dogs, the Hills' gastrointestinal dog food moistened with unsalted beef broth, and more white rice. The rice was all she tasted. The pumpkin she didn't even bother tasting. I also warmed up the rest of my chicken wings for supper.
Poor James. He hit the microwave to warm up his dinner, it ran for ten seconds, then stopped. He thought the breaker had snapped.
Nope. It's dead. Now, granted, this convection microwave is at least nine years old. We had it in the old house. We warm things up, and we grill lamb, chicken, steaks, pork chops, make baked potatoes and sweet corn. It's been used.
But...why now? Really?
Willow was still restless, which means one of us had to keep an eye on her all the time to watch for the telltale raising of the tail. The last couple of times she asked to go out she didn't do anything but walk restlessly around.
I finally solved what was wrong after rinsing out the grass of the pee pad. I checked her crate and the blanket and fleece were soiled. Willow is a clean dog, so it follows she would not want to go back in there. I put her bedding in the washer and James put fresh in and she immediately went into the crate and fell asleep. Poor girl has had a hard day. I hope we can give her something to help.
[We're cooking her more white rice. When she's asleep she's fine, but she can't go more than a half hour being awake without that tail going up, and then we have to urge her to the front door.]