Yet Another Journal

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.

 Contact me at yetanotherjournal (at) mindspring (dot) com

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» Sunday, November 19, 2017
Sniffling Toward Recovery

Well, it's been an interesting two weeks. I don't care to be that interested again, thankyouverymuch.

James and I hacked and coughed and croaked our way through Wednesday and Thursday at work. I finished my antibiotics and I guess I felt better. Poor James sounded like a raven as he did calls for eight hours each day and more than one person on one of his calls noted that "You sound like you're breaking up." "No sorry, that's my voice."

He had to soldier on Friday, and I was so glad for my compressed day off. I slept in and slept well, with my brain reminding me repeatedly that I must, must get up and take the chuck roast out of the refrigerator (where I'd put it overnight) so we could cook it to bring to Hair Day tomorrow. However, sleep overrode everything for a while, and I didn't manage to claw it off until almost ten o'clock, and then had those pesty things like breakfast and dog walking come first.

And then I had, had, had to go to Kaiser, to make sure the final bill that we have gotten from Wellstar should be paid to Wellstar. (I'd intended to go several days ago to check on this, but had been so sick I couldn't). We have been on Kaiser since 1988 and in that time Kaiser has always been clear that we should pay no medical bills to anyone but Kaiser. So when the bill finally came from the hospital I was worried. What if I paid it and then Kaiser billed us? They will not reimburse us for third-party bills that we pay. So I get there and the business office executive (there's only one) is in a meeting. So I went to kill two birds with one stone: picked up two prescriptions and went to the bathroom, something that took no longer than ten minutes, and, in that time, he managed to finish his meeting and escape to lunch. At this point I was already feeling lightheaded, but I had to get this done. So I went to hang around Barnes & Noble for an hour because anything was better than sitting in that overheated waiting room (and knew I was still feeling sick because I didn't enjoy it) and went back, and found out, yes, the bill is ours to pay and when I got home, I did, but of course today the mailman came early. He never does unless I have something to go out. Screw it. (We put it in the box Saturday. It's gone now.)

On the way home I stopped at Publix to get something for me to eat, but since I was there anyway, I might as well get all the twofers, right? This included cranberries, but I didn't get everything because I had a coupon for one of things on BOGO. I'll need to come back. We ate supper in, but that was okay, because it was the second and final night of the most fun Jeopardy Tournament of Champions ever, with Adam, Buzzy, and Austin the goofy bartender. Last night they did a coordinated intro where each contestant pointed to the next person and then finally to Alex Trebek; tonight they did "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil." Alex commented dryly, "I seem to be in the company of monkeys." No one guessed Final Jeopardy—well, I did!—and Buzzy won because he just pulled away with a zoom tonight.

So, anyway, the chuck roast didn't go in the crock pot until four, which means we had to cook it on high, which I didn't like; it comes out much more tender at low, but I wanted us to be in bed at a decent time. James was pretty fuzzy with congestion, so I concocted a vaguely oriental sauce that was supposed to either be teriyaki or orange, and we got it packed up around 10:30 and then wandered off to bed. James coughed and wheezed and sneezed his way through the night and then woke up at five all congested, so I cranked the back of the bed up. He went off to sleep, but with the bed in nearly upright position, the only way I can sleep on is my back, and I don't sleep on my back. If I sleep on my back I'm either terrified of something or I can't breathe. So I retreated to the spare room, only to not be able to lie down because my own nose was so clogged. I ended up sleeping the rest of the night propped up.

Needless to say, not a happy waking for either of us on Saturday morning. While James was getting himself together, I walked the dog and then loaded the truck. Yep, it was that time of the year again: Free Electronics Recycling Day. Time to get rid of old fans, the old receiver, the old tape deck, and our flip phones that have been shoved at the back of the laundry room, and a bunch of other crap.

It was a nice day for it, sunny and in the 40s. James sniffled and coughed through the wait, but it was a pleasant half hour, and we just talked or breathed in the nice cool air. It was silly for us to have to wait, though, because 75 percent of the people in the line had yellow stickers, which meant they were waiting for paper shredding. I don't know why they don't just shunt these folks off on their own. If they have a mixed load, that's different. It's silly to wait a half hour, only to have someone say, "Oh, you only have electronics?" and have them detour you off to a station where everyone's waiting for something to do.

Finally off to Hair Day. James sat in a corner and interacted germlessly. He could only get his hair cut, because Sheri was not comfortable working near his face with his cold. We couldn't blame her; her husband has had two surgeries and still is not recovered; all he needs is to get is a cold, too! So James still looks a bit like the wild man of Borneo. The chuck roast came out well; the sauce tasted neither of teriyaki or orange, but a nice unique taste all its own. Ron made two kinds of potatoes as a side and it was a nice meal.

We made our excuses early, and went home; eventually both of us fell asleep in the living room and didn't wake up until 3:30. Had more leftovers for supper; I have not been hungry at all because of the post-nasal drip. Everything tastes bad. Good diet, but don't recommend it. Ended up watching The Great Escape on WPBA in the evening, but missed the very end tragedy with Richard Attenborough and his compatriots because the cold front whooshed through in a great gust of cold air and pouring rain, not only knocking the satellite feed off the air, but knocking WPBA off the air period (yes, even on OTR).

The cold front meant we had a good long sleep this morning, although James still woke up sounding like a frog. We still had to go to Kroger, so I perambulated the pooch and grabbed some milk before we went off to the store. We sort of sleepwalked through Kroger—it's so cluttered that it's confusing making your way around it when you don't feel well—picking up other things we needed, but all their turkeys were too big, so we ended up going back to Publix anyway. The smallest one we could find there was thirteen pounds. I've named it Monty and for now it's living in the fruit dish. Tried some "mint chocolate chunk blended" Greek yogurt, which was a pale green and indeed recognizably minty. The "chocolate chunk" was the size of glitter.

At home I finally sorted out all the groceries, leaving James to relax. With a little bit of effort everything got put up, the pills were sorted for the week, the bed got made, and James bucked the cold to make himself more burritos. I put them in snack bags for him and they were pretty well put away as they were finished.

Really enjoyed the season finale to The Durrells in Corfu. Leslie really came into his own in this episode; I quite liked him here, and he was very unlikable in first season especially. A very fecund episode, as it were!

And now it's time for a Thanksgiving episode of Alaska: the Last Frontier.

God help me on the freeway tomorrow.

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» Wednesday, November 15, 2017
The Short, Short Version
All coughs, little sleep Monday morning. Was on the telephone at 7:30 to get a doctor's appointment. At this point I am either asking they give me something to alleviate the misery or put me out of it. Got in at 10:20 and out a lot later with a diagnosis of "acute sinus infection" and—oh, joy!—conjunctivitis in both eyes. So, antibiotics and eyedrops, a doctor's excuse for the week (!!!), and I was able to come home and do my coughing in private.

Which is where I've been since Monday. Today and yesterday I logged on to work, mainly to make sure things kept going: answered letters, forwarded e-mails, and requested quotes. I feel dopey and I can't really see the computer screen well because of the conjunctivitis, although it was better today, and last night, for the first time, I didn't go to bed with a fever over 100.

The absolute worst thing that has happened is that despite my airing out the bed every day until James gets home (and spraying it with Lysol at least once), he started coughing on Tuesday. He still went to his cardiac rehab, but today was feeling so awful that he made an appointment with his GP before he saw his rheumatologist. Guess what he came home with: antibiotics and eyedrops! Yes, he too has "mucupurulent conjunctivitis." He came home looking dreadful, with his laptop because the doctor told him not to go back to work until Tuesday.

I guess I can say I am feeling a little better, if feeling awful is better than feeling terrible. The cough isn't wearing me down as much and my fever is lower at night—yet it's still not gone.

Still waiting for the damn antibiotic to fully kick in! It's as bad as those wretched cold fronts.



» Sunday, November 12, 2017
Who Let that Cough In Without a Badge?

Oddly, when I got up Saturday, I felt a little bit of energy. James was heading to his club meeting, so I had a leisurely breakfast and determined that I did feel a little better. Now, I really wanted to go to Fried Tomato Buffet tonight for the barbecue ribs. I love their ribs; they serve them with cartilage, and that part is always nice and tender. So this would be a good test to see if I was up to going.

It was a very brief trip: I took the shortest route to the Dallas Highway Barnes & Noble, bought On Trails with my coupon and picked up two more Christmas magazines, then moved down a couple of stores with some credit and bought a gift and three cards. By this time I was already feeling a little shaky, but Pier 1 was so appealing with their Christmas displays that I had to go in for about ten minutes and look at the woodland animals, tinsel-y pillows, Yuletide trays, etc. I even found a cute Christmas platter with dogs in scarves on it that had a collie.

On the way home I made a five-minute stop at Staples to buy a set of colored pens (that was, quite frankly, a waste of $5), and, hoping my tiredness was just hunger, bought two plain "pups" at Krystal. No dice. Even those mild little hot dogs made me queasy and I crawled back into my sickbed. James called to see if I still wanted to go out. Instead I asked him if he might go to Dragon168. So I had my pork fried rice, but ate very little of it in the end because everything just tastes like mucus.

James walked Tucker that night and next morning, and he ended up doing the shopping as, even with the pills the doctor had given me, I was hacking all night. I had a 101.5 fever at Saturday bedtime; it   was, as usual, go ne by Sunday morning and sailing back up by Sunday night. I sat on the sofa and coughed and snurgled and had to keep wiping my eyes because they were all gummy with white matter. During the afternoon I found National Velvet running on TCM and stuck around for that as I hadn't seen it in a while. The story told by the book is still firmly in place (girl wishes to race her horse in the Grand National), but it also becomes the story of the reclamation of the self-respect of Mi Taylor, who in the book lives with the family and has no need of being redeemed. This somewhat takes away from the story of Velvet, who in the book fully intends to ride the horse in the race from the first, rather than riding only because the scheduled jockey was not a good match for her horse. Many good sibling spats in the movie between older sister Edwina and the two younger girls (three in the book).

(And of course after finishing the movie I had to go hunt up the book and read it again!)

One of the things James had bought at Publix were pork chops, so we had those for supper, with some shells in cheese sauce. I finished neither because I could really not taste either. My mouth tastes like the inside of a goat's stomach.

Once it was off to bed, fortified with every drug I had, my temp was back up to 101 something and it was hack, hack, hack all over again. Glory, if there was only a way to shut the damn thing off at night without strangling myself! I hate most the spasm-y ones where I cough so hard I almost throw up.

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» Friday, November 10, 2017
I Just Want to Be Bored...
You know that supposed "old Chinese saying" (or is it a curse?) "may you live in interesting times"? Well, I'm done with interesting. Seriously. I want to be bored.

The last time we met, it was Sunday night and we were all prepared for work. Wish we were prepared for sleep. Not only did we not sleep well, but James woke up at 3:30 a.m saying he "felt weird." This is a signal that his blood sugar is low. We did the usual stuff: juice boxes and a Trader Joe's fruit bar, then tried to reenter the arms of Morpheus. Good ol' Morph wasn't having any of it. By the time the alarms rang, we were both dazed and lightheaded. I teleworked; James carefully chose his diet to keep his sugar even. Ever since he got home from the hospital he has been having trouble with this. They changed his dosages and he has been waking up often with low scores.

Tuesday morning was not only the absolute nadir of the week, it tied with some pretty bad nadirs in previous years. Last week I had had a problem with a stuffy nose. So not to sleep with my mouth open, I was taking half a dose of Sinex before bed only. It wore off very quickly and I'd get up in the morning feeling tottery and half awake. So since it was my telework day, I was bad and hit the snooze alarm once, and then had to rush to get up to wash my face, take my Protonix, and then boot up the computer for work.

As I was about to leave the bedroom, I realized I hadn't heard a very routine sound yet.

A couple of years back I started using this app called Life360. It was basically a personal tracker. I put it on my phone and James' phone, and then also marked our workplaces. It kind of irritated James at first; he grumbled "Don't you trust me?" to which I replied, "Implicitly. It's those other morons on the road I don't trust." Eventually he got to like it. When he was in the hospital last year he would use it to "follow" me home and back when I went to take care of Tucker and Snowy.

Anyway, I have the app set to make a little "tweedle" when James gets to work in the morning. It also tweedles when he leaves work so I can start cooking on days when I telework.

I realized that I had not heard the morning tweedle and checked my phone. The app said he was still at home.

I knew he didn't sleep well, so I wondered if he'd fallen asleep in the kitchen. No one there. Perhaps he left his phone at home. It wasn't on the charger, though. Uneasy, I ran down the steps and looked out the sidelight next to the front door, and the truck was still in the driveway! Shit! I raced outside through the garage and found the truck, with the power chair already mounted on the back, halfway in and halfway out of the garage door, and James was slumped sideways in the seat!

I banged on the passenger side window, heart in my throat, and he started, then stared at me, and I shouted "What are you still doing here?" and he snapped back "What?" I ran around to the driver's side door. He looked fuzzy and just picked up a water bottle and started to drink. I shouted at him to open the door, and he did, looking very woozy but grumpy. I asked again "What are you still doing here?" and he gave me a confused look. It was very, very obvious that he had crashed again, although he told me when he got up that his score was 140, because when he answered my questions he answered as if he were drunk.

At that point I saw a pumpkin bar balanced on his chest and more or less got him to eat it, because at that point he could barely chew, and I took the chance and ran in the house for juice. There was none in the refrigerator and in panicking I knocked every bottle of insulin down and broke one. Instead I fetched two juice boxes from the bedroom closet and raced back downstairs. He had to drink two of those juice boxes and eat most of one of his breakfast burritos before he was even coherent enough to explain what he remembered. Apparently he had done all his morning activities, including taking his usual dose of insulin, warmed up his burritos, gotten his lunch, gone downstairs, backed out the truck, mounted the chair (and he did it perfectly), and went back into the cab of the truck to start to work. He said the truck would not start, and that was the last thing he remembered until I hammered on the window.

Well, apparently God, in the instrument of the truck, was with us this morning. And he had not had a chance to close the garage door, so it was okay, too; it looked like the truck had rolled forward and come to a stop on the lip of the garage.

He finally got upstairs and ate the other burrito, and he was fine, but we were pretty much both in shock. I logged on to work and said I wouldn't be working that day, and James called up Kaiser, both to cancel his cardio treatment for today, and to get an appointment. His GP had openings, and we got the earliest one.

I made a big, big, big mistake when I got to Kaiser. The nurse with the free flu shot cart was making her rounds as we waited. I turned her down last week, but in a moment of weakness said "yes."

In the meantime, we got in to see Dr. Mobley, and it was as we suspected. Since James' kidneys aren't working properly, they're not filtering the insulin out of his body properly either. He had taken a full dosage of long-acting insulin at bedtime, and taken another before leaving for work. The first dose was still in his system, and the second dosage hit just as he was about to back out of the driveway. Basically he was OD'ing on insulin. I don't know why the truck "refused to start," but I'm sure glad it did. We need to light a candle and say a nice long prayer!

Anyway, we got out of Kaiser long after our 12:20 appointment; it was almost three o'clock. So we went to Panera to have lunch. During lunch, I started to cough, initiated, possibly by a baguette crumb. Or possibly not, since by suppertime I kept coughing. And coughing.

I coughed all through the night, to the point I had to go sleep on the futon to keep from waking James, waking up like a zombie. So I teleworked, and James teleworked as well, as Dr. Mobley had cautioned him to make sure his blood levels were balanced before he drove anywhere again. He had been fine yesterday afternoon, but he was clumsy and a little shell-shocked for the first few hours. At one point he could not get the test strip bottle open, and then he asked me where the caps lock key was. It was more like he was sleepy than overdosed this time. As he ate, he perked up more, and he worked very capably, but he wasn't as chatty as usual.

Meanwhile my temperature started to climb, and I was miserable and shivering on the sofa, wrapped in a blanket, all evening. By then I had all the symptoms of a reaction to the shot except for nausea: fever, muscle aches, headache, tenderness at the injection site, plus the cough, which was being a stone-cold bitch. My sides and chest and neck were hurting from all the coughing, and my nose was beginning to get stuffy. I took some Sinex and ibuprofin, and with the help of three pillows, was able to sleep a little bit more than last night, and stay in our own bed without waking James. Otherwise I was a mess, and my temperature was starting to climb again when I got up on Thursday. So I called up the advice nurse and she thought I needed to be seen right away.

Thankfully Twilight can practically drive himself. I saw the nurse practitioner and she pretty much said it was what I thought: reaction to the shot. Since the flu shot has a virus in it, every so many people get "mild" flu symptoms from the vaccine. Usually, she said, people just feel tired and a little under the weather. But because it was virus, no antibiotics unless my temperature remained high. She gave me some pills for the cough [James had these the year he had pneumonia] and gave me the usual instructions: ibuprofin or Tylenol, lots of water, hot soup or tea, rest, and I could take Sinex for three days to be able to breathe out of my nose. Our favorite pharmacy clerk told me she'd had a reaction to the vaccine, too.

The pills actually did help the cough some. If nothing else, it made the cough wetter instead of a dry hacking one, and it got rid of the throat spasm I got every time I tried to talk that made me gasp and cough. The temperature, however, crept up and up until I ended up going to bed with a fever of 101.4.

However, when I woke up this morning, and except for creeping up to 99.3 at some time during the day, it has remained relatively normal. I got dressed to go out this morning, but was not up to anything but walking the dog twice. I am furious. It was so bloody hot last week it was uncomfortable to do just about anything outside and I was fine, and now that it is cold and I can walk more, I can't, because with this stupid cough and stuffed nose I can't get enough air to make it comfortable. Grrr! I spent the day messing around on the Roku stick and watching all of the 1948 "Superman" serial with Kirk Allyn and falling asleep in the meantime. The only useful thing I did was make the bed and take Tucker out. I hate feeling miserable.

There is good news: James did go to work today and had a good day all day; he brought home pizza from Uncle Maddio's for supper. Today is our anniversary: #27 and I hope many more. And the medicine Dr.⁠ Mobley gave me for that fugging heat rash combined with the cool weather appears to be working: it was both a pill this time and a fungal cream.

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» Sunday, November 05, 2017
Standard Times

Alas for that extra hour of sleep; we had an emergency before bed (not of the health variety for people or animals) and didn't get to bed until the DST clock was striking two. I tapped my Fitbit and watched the time go from 1:59 TO 1:00. Hello, beautiful Eastern Standard Time!

James woke up at eight and couldn't get back to sleep. So much for eight hours sleep, even, because I couldn't, either. We celebrated EST with fresh biscuits; I had one with blackberry honey and one with butter, with an eggnog chaser, and then we went to Costco, partially for milk and granola bars, partially for gasoline for the car, and partially just to look around.

Well, Christmas is in full bloom at Costco: trees, child-sized Santas, ornaments, large nativities, and big things like foosball tables, keyboards, etc. The book tables are groaning with books, but to my surprise The Book of Dust was not there as it was at Sam's. Still don't know if I want it or not. Lyra was the chief appeal in the original trilogy, and she's only a baby in this prequel. They had an entire table of cookbooks!

With milk, granola bars, and BreatheRights purchased and the car fed, there was really nowhere else to go that didn't involve spending money. So we came home. Watched three installments of Aerial America (Utah, the Dakotas, and Wyoming), washed towels, made the bed, got ready for the week (sorting pills and all that). Really a chill-out day.

Sometimes chill-out days give you too much time to think. ::sigh::

We had chicken and wild rice soup for supper and shared a piece of fudge for dessert. With the new time change it was soon time to take Tucker outside. It was still 73℉ at eight o'clock. I want fall to come. I'm tired of the heat; it's making both of us so miserable.

Anyway, time for The Durrells in Corfu and Alaska: the Last Frontier.

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» Saturday, November 04, 2017
Stuffed in More Ways Than One

Another warm day. Will this madness never end? I wore my "kimono" (as WallyWorld calls it) to walk the dog and by the time we left for the Farmer's Market ten minutes later, it was too hot for it.  [Later: It went up to 80℉ today. In November! Pathetic!]

We got up at eight, which was one hour too early for me. Even though I had some oatmeal before we left, I was lightheaded by the time we got done. In the meantime, we were able to get a parking space at the main parking area on Powder Springs Road due to a well-timed departure. The place was jammed due to a Heart Walk and 5K run. We didn't buy much, just dog biscuits and goat cheese (Capra Gia finally had all-onion and chive cheese balls again). We had heard there were fresh apple dealers there, but one had Granny Smiths that tasted funny (as if they were part Delicious, which they ain't) and the other had no Granny Smiths at all. So no apples for us. I did buy some Zesty Italian pretzels at The Local Exchange.

Came home, finished breakfast with an eggnog and three ibuprofin (and a handful of pretzels, of course), and finally felt better, so we went out to do errands about 11:30. First stop was Costco for gasoline, as the little light had come on in the truck. Then I ran into Barnes & Noble to pick up the book I wanted last night (Tru & Nelle, based on Harper Lee's friendship with Truman Capote), and then we did a circuit around Bed, Bath & Beyond with a coupon. James picked up a 360 degree cutter.

We were going to try to stop at Costco itself, but, as always on Saturday afternoon, space was at a premium. We just went home. My nose was stuffed again and I felt miserable. Used some saline, had a mortadella sandwich for lunch, and finally took a nap a half hour before we needed to get ready to leave for Betty Bouler's 70th birthday dinner. Since we weren't taking the chair, we took the car.

Dinner was at Top Spice, a Thai place we hadn't been to previously, and it was delicious. James got something spicy with pork, but I had Lad-Na (wide noodles in a tasty brown sauce) with pork, and it was heavenly and filling, and I have half left for a lunch for next week. Lin brought us our eclipse t-shirts which we had ordered back in August, which was nice (I never saw the design; they are gorgeous!). Betty was totally surprised when her brother, who lives in a tiny town in Mississippi just over the border from Memphis, Tennessee, showed up for the dinner! She said she did not have the books I bought her, which was a relief, as she reads a lot since she retired.

The only bad thing that happened was due to the stupid stuffy nose again. The Lad-Na came out very hot, which stimulated the stupid post-nasal drip. So at one point when I stopped to take one of my periodic sips of water, it combined with the mucus and I went to take a deep breath—and couldn't draw in a breath. Tried it again with a big gasp and felt like I was choking. Normally would have just breathed through my nose until it passed, but that was clogged. Of course my eyes were wide open trying to freaking breathe and I could see that every single eye in the restaurant was on me, which was embarrassing. You could almost see them thinking "Am I going to have to jump up to do a Heimlich on this woman?" And then the surface tension broke across my windpipe and I could gasp out, "It's just water!" and everyone relaxed. Good grief.

Two maniac drivers trying to kill us just to beat us to the red light and a stop at Publix—James needed Swiss cheese; it's the lowest sodium cheese he can find—and we were home. Nothing good on but Britcoms, and then the Cooking Channel because Alton Brown, of course.

And now I've turned back all twelve clocks (we need one more so it's a James Thurber reference) and five timers and what it's time for is bed. That fat bitch DST is gone until March.

(Good God! To get some medical records James has to fax them to the hospital! Did I just turn back the clocks to 1980? Who faxes anything anymore?)

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» Friday, November 03, 2017
A Stuffed Nose Makes an Unhappy Linda

Good grief, I have another cold. This one is not like the last. My throat was hurting, but is no longer hurting, but my stupid nose is stuffed. I'm needing to use a generic Sinex to sleep at night, which I don't like because I know you can get addicted to the stuff. Having a stuffy nose on a long weekend is just annoying.

I didn't have anything planned, and really, I didn't do anything much. Yesterday during lunchtime and breaks I put up all the Thanksgiving decorating, so the house looks all warm and hygge even though it's in the bloody seventies outside. Today I went to Sam's Club because I went downstairs last night and discovered we were completely out of Skinny Pop! It's cheaper at Sam's than Costco, as are the mushrooms (that's because Costco has "gourmet" mushrooms, f'gossakes).

So I scooped up both and then also found some pork chops on clearance and some nice thin steaks, and picked up a nice birthday gift for Betty Bouler on the book aisle as well as getting myself a Christmas issue of "Country Home." I stuck the meat in an insulated bag and went to Publix.

Now, we've been trying to find the mint-flavor FiberOne brownies for months now; we haven't seen them at our own Publix and I looked at the Macland Publix last week. So I gave it one more try and did my Publix shopping at what we call "the big Publix," the one on the East-West connector and I-285. Not there either. I will stop looking now. Either FiberOne has quit making them and not taken them off their web page, or Publix just doesn't carry them anymore. But, anyway, I picked up the twofers and skedaddled, but stopped at our Publix because the big one had no French bread.

Lunched when I got home, put the rest of the groceries away, made the bed, and changed all the clocks downstairs to standard time ("Ding-dong, the witch is dead...which old witch? the DST witch..."), and spent the rest of the afternoon relating with two of my favorite guys, Arthur Bryant and John May, in their latest book, Wild Chamber. I never suspected whodunnit, and it's nice to see Raymond Land growing a backbone.

We had supper at O'Charley's and then went to Barnes & Noble, where I picked up the December "Blue Ridge Country." I wanted a book but couldn't find it; maybe tomorrow at the Akers Mill store.

Spend the rest of the evening attempting to breathe.

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» Sunday, October 29, 2017
A Tiny Taste of Winter

We almost literally turned in to hibernate last night: we turned off the light sometime before 1:30 and woke up at four minutes to ten. James was amazed that he'd managed to sleep six hours in a row before having to make a run to the bathroom, and then went immediately back to sleep. I was more restless; it was lovely weather to sleep, but my hips were aching and I kept waking up every time I turned over.

They said it would be cold today, and we could see the trees tossing their leaves back and forth through the big bathroom window. They are still mostly green, but I am hoping last night and tonight will trigger more autumn action. 😁 Had breakfast and didn't take Tucker out until 11:30, where it was still in the thirties with a windchill of 23℉! I threw off my coat when I got in, and went back in the bedroom for warmer clothes: a long-sleeved sweatshirt instead of a short-sleeved one and my boot-length socks. And when we headed back out to the Fall Jonquil Festival, I had my pashmina under my jacket. As we loaded the power chair on the truck, a few errant snowflakes drifted around our heads and the leaves swirled in little miniature tornadoes.

It turned out not to be the optimum weekend for the Festival. Yesterday it poured during the and today it was freezing. A lot of the usual booths were gone, including the Button Girl. We made the circuit, and at least the honey guy was there. This is the man who sells the blackberry honey, which is so good. You can taste the blackberries in it. I also found a Susan Branch book at the Smyrna Library book sale. I usually don't buy them because they are cookbooks, but for $3 it is so pretty!

James bought some jambalaya and red beans with rice to make into lunches (he only has this twice a year when we go to the festival, so I feel like it's an okay treat), and we got barbecue sandwiches, but it was too cold to set them down on a table and eat. What we both really wanted was hot chocolate.

So we drove up to Books-a-Million, surveyed the books, James picked up a "Cook's Illustrated," and we had peppermint hot chocolate in the café. Outside the clouds still gathered, but it was nice and warm in the store, with flashing covers to entertain us. We headed home through a landscape softened by autumn color; the glaring greens gone for lighter ones, and some trees turning color. Nothing brilliant like up north, but muted watercolors of gold and orange and maroon.

Spent the afternoon keeping cozy and reading magazines; James concocted a chicken soup for supper, and we ended up watching the Guy Fieri Network (I mean the Food Channel) and The Durrells in Corfu until it was time for Alaska: the Last Frontier.

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» Saturday, October 28, 2017
Finally Fall...

...although you never would have guessed it by the temperature on Friday: it was up in the 70s again. I took annual leave on Friday to go to the Friends of the Library booksale, which tale is told here. Getting there on time involved rising to a very unwelcome alarm at 7:30, when I was deep into a dream. I recall dreaming all night, including one sequence where I was supposed to be sharing a ride with Sue Phillips, but taking so long to gather all my things that the dream took another tack.

On the way home from the book sale and the library, I stopped at Publix for a loaf of French bread and mortadella, which is what I had for lunch, and dubbed off six Ensign O'Toole episodes to finish up a Ghost and Mrs. Muir favorites collection disk. Probably should have substituted one episode for the first one, but I did keep the one I liked most, "Operation: Sabotage."

James got some really nice restaurant gift cards for his birthday, so we went to Olive Garden for Friday night supper and enjoyed ourselves—thank you to whomever gave him the OG card!—and then finished the evening at Barnes & Noble. I tried buying a "Daphne's Diary" since everything was 20 percent off for members. It's a really nifty looking magazine, but I don't see myself paying the steep price for it. Very pretty, though, and I love the "handwritten" text entries (and the very funny story about her husband and the poem).

It got cool for bedtime, which was wonderful for sleeping. Originally we had planned a "stay in the house" day today, since James' power chair isn't waterproofed and it was supposed to pour, but since the supermarkets have carts of their own, we decided to get groceries out of the way. We stopped at Publix for twofers, including chuck roast for the Instant Pot; now we can make the centerpiece dish for next month's Hair Day. Then we went to Kroger, where we bumped into Terry Smith and Aubrey Spivey doing shopping for Hallowe'en goodies. Terry offered to go pick up our eclipse T-shirts for us, which was really sweet of him. We picked up some pork chops there, but really should have waited, as I found out later, and they were out of the tea James wanted.

We came home and had to rearrange the freezer for the chuck roasts, but managed to get it all wedged in. I suggested we run up to Dallas Highway: Snowy needed birdseed, we could stop at Sprouts for cucumbers (Kroger wanted 79¢ each for theirs and they were dreadful), and then we could try that Kroger for the tea. We brought along another birthday gift card, this one from Panera.

So in turn I ran into Petco for birdseed, a new gravel perch, and a chew toy for the dog, and then into Sprouts. Should have gotten pork here; better looking and cheaper! Did get beef bits, cashews for James, and some great cucumbers at 2/$1. I then wheedled James into letting me stop at Barnes & Noble at the Avenue at West Cobb, where I picked up two Christmas magazines, but didn't find anything good on clearance, and then the Kroger was so crowded we couldn't find a decent close parking space, so I simply ran inside by myself for the tea, grabbing the only two packages left.

By this time it was three o'clock, so we both enjoyed stopping at the new Panera on the East-West Connector. My chicken noodle soup was very orange; I'm guessing they made it with more carrots than usual. By the time we left, it was pouring and cold, and we were very glad to get home and cuddle up in the warm. Watched a couple of Aerial America episodes (Idaho and Kentucky), had an eggnog as a late supper, and ended up taking the dog out twice since the first time I did it was pouring again before I reached the foot of the porch steps. The second time it was in the mid-40s with the wind blowing at a good clip. Hard to believe only a week ago I was dog-walking in a tank top and shorts! Did some fall magazine reading later on: the rest of the October "Early American Life," "Smoky Mountain Living," and "Down East," which had some breathtaking autumn landscapes. I turned a page at least once and just gasped at the lovely country road and brilliant trees.

In the meantime I'll chant happily: "Daylight Saving is over next week, Daylight Saving is over next week..."

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» Thursday, October 26, 2017
The Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside my window...
...dusk is falling and the crickets are sawing out their song and it's cool enough to have the door and windows open. 

I am thinking...
...Monday's appointment was a real anticlimax. We went there prepared to make a date for vascular surgery for James to get a fistula inserted in preparation for having kidney dialysis. But the vascular surgeon says he doesn't recommend surgery until six months after a heart attack because of the danger of another heart attack. about being yanked to a halt. I guess James needs to just keep eating the kidney-friendly foods and we need to watch out for bad signs like fluid retention.

I am thankful...
...the workweek is over for me. I am taking tomorrow off to go to the Friends of the Library book sale. It's usually earlier, but it's being held in a different venue tomorrow because they are remodeling the usual venue.
In the kitchen...
...we have a new garbage disposal. The old one began leaking on Wednesday. The plumber was telling me you should never put coffee grounds down it. It gums up the pipes. Other bad things are eggshells (who knew?) and chicken skin.

I am wearing... light blue "Owly" t-shirt and blue scrubs and white socks.

I am creating...
...a blog entry. Not been creating too much the last few days; too worried about James.

I am going... get to sleep in a little tomorrow! Remember when you hated to take a nap? Now sleeping is a reward!

I am wondering...
...if we can ever feel safe again...

I am reading...
...the second "Dr. Watson thriller," The Dead Can Wait.

I am hoping...
...for some kind of turnaround for James. I wish God would let that cup pass him by.

I am looking forward to...
...the book sale and finally seeing the newly remodeled Cobb County Civic Center. They worked on it for years! And the Fall Jonquil Festival, although we're going to have to go Sunday. Saturday looks to be tres rainy.

I am learning...
...LOL, about garbage disposals!

Around the house...
...I also stripped the bed and changed it. It will be nice sleeping in fresh sheets tonight. I even washed the comforter.

I am pondering...

A favorite quote for today...
"The autumn wind is a pirate. Blustering in from sea with a rollicking song he sweeps along swaggering boisterously. His face is weather beaten, he wears a hooded sash with a silver hat about his head... The autumn wind is a Raider, pillaging just for fun." . . . . . Steve Sabol

One of my favorite things...
Aerial America on the Smithsonian Channel. Tonight we are watching Texas. Later on, it's time for The Orville, our new Thursday "must see TV."

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Book Sale. Fall Jonquil Festival. With, as Mom always said, the help of God and a few policemen.

A peek into my day...
...bought this cutie at Hobby Lobby last weekend!

If you'd like to participate, check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.



» Sunday, October 22, 2017
Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

We've tried to have a quiet weekend—sort of the calm before the storm. James' creatitine has climbed to 4.9 and tomorrow we must visit the vascular surgeon to arrange for insertion of a fistula and future kidney dialysis. I feel bad. We've worked so hard, and he's tried so hard with his diet and exercising when he can despite his back and hip and knee pain.

I had Friday off, but spent most of it doing chores. The one thing I had to do was get prescription refills of my heart medication and thyroid pills. Then it was off to Costco to stock up on mandarin orange cups, Tylenol, and small boxes of Kleenex. Also picked up more rice ramen noodles and a copy of the companion book to The Crown. I didn't buy the Victoria companion because it seemed more about the actors than the real-life history. The Crown book has photos of the actors, but the text is about the truth behind the episodes. (I finished it up feeling extremely sorry for Princess Margaret.)

I did get to stop at Barnes & Noble and picked up a couple of holiday magazines (what I call my "Christmas porn") and a new cross-stitch magazine with an adorable fox pattern. Then I picked up lunch at Tin Drum and went home to finish off more dubbing; I have got to get that DVR clear. So on Friday afternoon I finished up Houdini & Doyle. Sometimes goofy series, historically all wrong, but I still enjoyed it, except for the background story they felt they had to make up for Adelaide. Why did she have to be a widow tracking down her deceased husband? Better to have made her an independent woman whose life didn't depend on a stereotype.

(While I was dubbing yesterday at lunchtime I had doing something I'd been planning to do for years: rip only the pages I wanted to keep out of a big three-foot stack of magazines down in the library. They are all fall or Christmas or winter magazines. I kept lovely vistas and photos of frosty valleys and British landscapes and animals and glittering Christmas ornaments, and made a nice stack of pages while the magazines went into the trash.)

We had supper at O'Charley's with a coupon, then stopped at Hobby Lobby to get some superglue, as mine has dried out again despite my best efforts. Found cross-stitich kits on sale and got a Nativity kit and one of a fox, and some cute fall buttons also on sale, and then spent a quiet evening at home and had a nice sleep-in next morning. We decided to brave the Wal of Mart on Saturday morning for some things we needed, including wild bird seed (and where I found an empty line and a free cashier!), then dropped off the yogurt I had picked up, and went to Publix for the rest of the groceries (or so we thought since James had to drop me off at Nam Dae Mun after we finished to get coleslaw). Then we had nothing else to buy or do, so were home for the rest of the day. James made some breakfast burritos for himself during the early evening. This is when I finished reading The Crown, plus I did some tidying and washed my work clothes. We had bought a rotisserie chicken at Publix and had the wings, legs, and thighs for supper.

We had a little scare just before bedtime: James had a slight pressure in his chest. He took a nitroglycerin tablet and it went away, which is what it's supposed to do. Perhaps it was just angina, perhaps lifting the bag with the milk in it up the stairs.

Which left us at this morning: I got up and dressed and ran to Kroger, as we had forgotten to buy onions (you can't cook anything in this house without onions) and cornstarch powder. We also needed cornstarch for cooking. That was the end of any excursions today. I washed towels and James made more burritos with eggs, ground turkey, and the cole slaw I picked up yesterday. I turned on the television and found Anne of Green Gables and its sequels and once again was suckered into watching the end of one and most of the other. Of course I made time to sort both our pills for the week, get my clothes ready for work, and wash the towels, and even spent about a half hour putting all my copies of "Early American Life" in magazine organizers. With the stack of magazines gone and the "EAL" issues in order, it looks much nicer in the library. Still need to do a lot more indexing of Christmas magazines I've kept (Like "Bliss Victoria" and "Victorian Homes") and special editions like the "Life" issues about Neil Armstrong, Teddy Roosevelt, and even Santa Claus.

Some good television watching tonight: two episodes of Aerial America ("West Virginia" and "Beyond Hollywood" about movie locations), the newest "Treehouse of Horror" on The Simpsons and finally Alaska: the Last Frontier.

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» Sunday, October 15, 2017
Surviving Nephrology Depression

We have not been in a good mood this week. Despite trying our hardest (except for the stupid hamburger on Saturday afternoon) with salt and severe dietary restrictions last weekend through Wednesday when he had more blood drawn, when James' test results came back Wednesday night his creatitine score had gone up to 4.6. It wasn't long afterward when a nurse called following up, and the doctor called up James the next day. He already has an appointment with a vascular surgeon at the end of the month about inserting a fistula. Once that heals, it's dialysis time unless a miracle occurs. Whether it's temporary or permanent is to be determined.

But it's fucking scary is what it is, and there have been some sorrowful evenings and sleepless nights and terrible dreams.

So we were determined to cheer up a little this weekend, and if no salt doesn't actually help the results, we can go back to low salt and be happy with it. So we had supper at Fried Tomato Buffet on Friday night and filled up on salad and shrimp. (Why everyone has to have their shrimp fried I'll never know; it's extra work. Why not just broil it in butter? But their fried shrimp—for fried shrimp—is quite good; it's not overly salty and very lightly breaded in panko rather than in some heavy, greasy batter.) Then we went to Barnes & Noble, where I found two nice cross-stitch magazines and something for a gift.

We were in bed fairly early Friday night because we were heading out early on Saturday. Since the model contest at Free Time Hobbies was on Saturday, we decided to combine it with the first week of the Georgia Apple Festival. We usually wait until the second weekend when it's cooler to go to the Apple Festival, but we figured if we got there early enough it wouldn't be too bad.

Unfortunately I didn't calculate arising time very well. We should have at least gotten up at 6:30; 6:45 and having to stop for gasoline and breakfast got us stuck in a very long line waiting for the parking lot at the Lions Club where the Apple Festival is held. We also usually go on Sundays, when it's less crowded. Even at 9:10 a.m. it was very crowded. Still, we made our way around the booths, tasting the dips and the jellies—one booth had some really delicious citrus marmalade jam, but we didn't buy it—and admiring the wreaths, alpaca cloaks, and other crafts. We did buy fudge and half a peck of Granny Smith apples and more sweet ginger pickles, and I found a cute little embroidered round scarf, a Hallowe'en motif with owls. (Which tells you it's very cute, as I usually don't buy Hallowe'en things.) Two booths were selling stainless steel rings and jewelry, and in front of one they had some men's rings in different sizes and styles for only five dollars. Well, James has never found his wedding ring; it fell off a second time after we found it the first time and we haven't located it yet, even though he's sure it's in the house. He found a very nice silver ring that alternated with textured black bands. Eventually we got all the way around, and, tired of the crowd, skedaddled up the road to Blue Ridge and the hobby store.

While James was inside enjoying the models I walked across the parking lot to the Amish store to stock up on pot pie noodles. I also wanted what they call "soup mix" and I call "veggie flakes" (their veggie flakes have potatoes), but they had only one package left after a big mail order; I bought tat, along with some cranberry honey mustard which I thought James might enjoy with his turkey sandwiches. It was their customer appreciation day, so I got a discount, munched on free popcorn, and they had a country band playing for the customers. I also walked next door to the country store/feed store. This was a real feed store: they even had horse tack and medicine.

Strolled back to the hobby shop and looked over the models; there were a lot of nice pieces, but nothing really funny or outstanding about any of them, like the Car 45 model in the past, or the Humphrey Bogart figure last year. I do admit there was a great Tusken Raider and a Rancor beast!

We rode home munching on an apple and the clouds parted and by the time we got to the traffic jam at downtown Marietta (it was Chalktoberfest—professional chalk artists drawing on the street along with beer—this weekend) we were both kind of tired. I ended up taking a nap for an hour, then we went to Hibachi Grill for supper, then stopped at Publix for the twofers. Even with the nap, I was so happy to get home and divest myself of outdoor clothing and get into something comfy.

I finished reading my big beautiful Colonial Williamburg book I found for a dollar at the book sale that evening. Really enjoyed the history as well as the gorgeous color photographs.

This morning we could have slept in, but were both awake a little after eight. We took advantage of it by getting to Kroger early (lots of handicapped parking spaces at nine o'clock on a Sunday!) to finish up grocery shopping, and even running by Publix to pick up the paper towels the Macland store didn't have last night. This afternoon we finally replaced the erratic LED bulb in the kitchen fixture (don't tell me that LEDs take "years" to burn out!), I sorted both our pills and made the bed, and then spent the afternoon getting more things off the DVR: "Fox Tales" and a Rick Sebak special, plus nine of my favorite episodes of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (since GetTV showed the episodes uncut, I really wanted to keep them). That afternoon task wandered right into dinnertime—James was looking for comfort food, so he made chicken and dumplings in the pressure cooker (well, the chicken, anyway; the pot pie noodles stood in for dumplings)—and early evening.

Sigh...and now it's time to get ready for work again.

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» Sunday, October 08, 2017
Grocery Deals and Wet Streets

Now, Tropical Depression Nate was in full storm when we finally got up at ten. The sky was slate grey and low, the trees were shaking their heads restlessly, and the rain was pounding down heading north up the street. I waited long enough that there was a slight break in the downpour to take Tucker out. It was still raining (just not sideways as earlier) and I put him in the dog coat so he wouldn't get too wet. He was glad to just pee on the lawn and beat a hasty retreat into the house.

We needed Chex Mix for my work lunches, so we piled in the car—the rain had slowed down, but it was still pretty steady—and went to Sam's Club rather than Costco, which has Skinny Pop but no Chex mix. Bonus: the Skinny Pop at Sam's was cheaper by at least a dollar a bag. Looked at the magazines, bought an Instant Pot cookbook, the popcorn, the Chex, some Lesueur peas (or as we call them, "leisure peas" after a typographical error in a Kroger ad many years ago), three gallons of milk at $1.86 each (!!!), and, in the meat case, a big hunk of boneless pork shoulder which was only $2.18/pound. Sampled some really good lobster ravioli (will have to remember that for a birthday dinner). Oh, and today the Sam's Club mobility carts were working fine; we usually take the power chair because they are usually badly charged and break down halfway through the store. James noted that there were all new carts; maybe someone made an ADA call on them?

We lucked out exiting; the rain had nearly stopped. I shoved the meat and the milk into the insulated bags, since we still had stops to make: first Petsmart for more dog food and a cuttlebone for Snowy (he loves sharpening his little beak on it and then using it on me 😀 ), then Nam Dae Mun for more ginger tea for James and sesame oil. We ran out of luck here: I dropped James off to park the car, and he couldn't find a mobility cart (they were hidden behind the cash registers; nice move, guys), so he limped around the store in considerable pain from his knees. (The new Nam Dae Mun with the better parking and more available carts that's near our house sadly doesn't stock the ginger tea.) Finally stopped at CVS with my 27 percent off coupon (yeah, I know...why that amount?) to pick up BreatheRights and other things, and then we could go home.

It wasn't the end of the chores, though; finally got to sit down after putting all the stuff away, making the bed, sorting both my and James' pills, getting ready for work, emptying the dishwasher, etc. It was quite late before I finally got to finish up Europe on Saturday Night, and then it was time for dinner. James cut the two big long pork shoulder "steaks" in half, I browned them in the Instant Pot, then browned some onions, then poured a concoction of no-salt vegetable and beef broth, miso broth, a little Grade B maple syrup, and water (two cups in all) on top of it all and we pressure cooked it for 65 minutes. It came out fork tender and James made a gravy with some of the juice, and we had it with teriyaki rice. Two other portions went into the freezer; the liquid was so basic that we can make one as a barbecue dish and another as an Asian dish, just depending on the sauce.

Later it was time for Alaska: the Last Frontier. My, all that snow looks good in this smothery weather. It was supposed to go into the 70s next weekend until Nate stuck his big frippin' tropical nose in. I wish Africa would keep its hot weather to itself!

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» Saturday, October 07, 2017
An Uncommonly Nice Day

It started out a little dicky, however; James woke up feeling a little odd, but it turned out to be low blood sugar and a serving of juice straightened it out. This got us up earlier than we'd planned, so we were able to have a slow breakfast and then get on the road. It was spritzing lightly, so we covered the power chair and got on the road. Hurricane Nate [neé Tropical Storm Nate] has put a crimp in the weekend, leaving heavy clouds everywhere, although it's good for James and I, as neither of us are supposed to be out in the sun.

By the time we got to Peachtree-DeKalb Airport, the spritz had gone on the fritz and we were able to have a good time at the Warbird Weekend. This year they were celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Tuskegee Airmen, and two of the gentlemen were actually here!

We were greeted practically at the gate by the IPMS folks, including two of the guys from IPMS Marietta who had sent James a get well card. There were several exhibition booths there, including a display about service chaplains that looks like it was borrowed from the Tennessee Air Museum, and then we walked out to the flightline. There were a good dozen planes out there, and I'm starting to be able to recognize some of them (but then Corsairs and Stearmans are very recognizable, and the DC3 said "Douglas" right on the side).

We walked about and took photographs of all of the planes, plus a World War II-era ambulance and fire truck. Some folks were dressed in period dress, and there were other vintage items dotted about. (One "Rosie" had her little boys in caps and shorts and they were adorable! There was also a General MacArthur; as he walked by I whispered to James "He has returned!") There was a film you could see about the Tuskegee Airmen, but there was a long line and no way for James to step up into the theatre. Then I took a seat on my folding cane and James tooled around a bit on his own, taking photographs himself. We also had a tangerine ice that was very orange flavored (colored an orange not found in nature) and listened to a trio of women sing World War II tunes!

However, we were able to listen to one of the Tuskegee Airmen talk about his career. This was Lieutenant Colonel Harry Stewart, who played with wooden airplane models as a boy and fought imaginary World War I battles with his friends. He volunteered for the service instead of being drafted so he could choose where he went (if you were drafted you went where they sent you). He had already heard they were choosing young African American men to learn to fly, and that's what he did. He made a record three kills in one day (he shot down two planes, and the third crashed trying to follow him) and won a Distinguished Service Cross. After the war, when the Air Force was incorporated, they decided to reinstate "Top Gun" wargames to keep up the flyers' expertise, he and his Tuskegee companions came in first!

He also had a very funny story about when he was training in a P-47 during the war. The rule was that if another fighter plane entered the training area, he was to engage it as if in a dogfight. Whichever plane got on the tail of the other plane was the "winner" and the other plane had to acknowledge being "shot down." So he was doing training maneuvers in his fighter when another P-47 appeared. He waggled his wings at it and then engaged the other P-47 in "combat." Well, two "Lufbery" (tight turn) moves later, this other P-47 was on his tail! He acknowledged the "kill" with a wag of his wings, then turned back to the airfield. The other P-47 turned back to the airfield. He landed. The other pilot landed. He rolled to a stop and got out of his P-47. The other pilot rolled to a stop and got out of his P47. Stewart took off his helmet to face the guy who'd beaten him. The guy took off his helmet and he saw flaming red hair...

...fall down around the pilot's shoulders.

The P-47 was being transported by a WAAF!

About this time the sun came out and we had to beat a retreat into the shade since neither of us can be in the sun, so we missed the final five minutes of his interview. We left after that and went in search of further lunch (James had a sandwich with him, but I had just had a Kind bar and a juice box) and ate a bit at Wendy's, then went to Trader Joe's to pick up pumpkin fruit bars before they are gone (they are only sold in the fall and James likes to have them all year long). We brought some salad greens as well.

Finally got to the planned event of the day, the October Hallmark Ornament Premiere so James could get his Sherman tank. He also bought the Airplane! airplane, plus bought me a cute little silver bird with a cheeky look on his face and a little resin Christmas tree that was on discount.

On the way home James waited outside at Sprouts while I ran inside and got more shredded chicken. We had it for supper in a salad while watching Father Brown, and later watched the first episode of the new season of This Old House (featuring Mike Rowe, as this year is dedicated to advising young people to go into trades). Then it was back to Britcoms.

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