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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» Thursday, August 17, 2017
Time Out
It's been...a week. I've been sick all freaking week.  And it feels as if there's a big raw cut at the back of my throat. Instead of sleeping at night I've been waking up every hour during the night to have to sip some water and get it past the burning hell that is my throat. I even pulled out the vaporizer and that didn't help. Usually when you have sore throat running cold or warm liquid over it will help. Not this time. I went to the doctor on Monday and she gave me a throat rinse and some cough medicine. I used the latter, but not the former, as it was Lidocaine and I remembered that stupid panic attack at the dentist. Instead I've been gargling with salt and water, sucking cough drops, taking ibuprofin, and drinking, drinking, drinking. I'm drinking so much water I slosh and I know the bathroom intimately.

I worked a little on Wednesday but was so wretched last night I called the doctor immediately this morning. The advisor asked me anxiously "Are you sure you don't want to talk to the nurse first? After all, you've had one co-pay already this week." I told her I didn't care about the co-pay; I just wanted to get well. Besides all the other previous symptoms, I had pressure and ringing in my right ear, my glands were tender, I could press on my throat and it hurt from the outside, and my nose is stuffed to the gills.

So now I have an antibiotic and some generic Afrin, and if you don't think I swilled the former when I got home... The Afrin stuff was much gentler than I expected; I've used Sinex before and that burns. The Afrin did open up my nose some. Throat's still a bitch.



» Sunday, August 13, 2017
Sick Day much to write about today. Not much sleep because of the sore throat and cough; the cough didn't keep me up, but getting up to soak my throat in water sure did. Got up at nine so we could go to Costco since James needed cheese, Splenda, and snack and sandwich baggies for breakfast burritos. We bought more Skinny Pop and picked up a nifty shop stool on sale. This should work when he cooks for long periods since he can swivel back and forth with it.

Then we just came home because I was miserable (except for the few minutes in the chill room with the vegetables). I had some oatmeal and James made me peppermint tea. My temperature spiked a couple of times but never over 100, and I coughed some trying to decongest, swilled water a lot, and watched Wild Britain and read Death Comes to Kurland Hall until suppertime, when we finished up the beef we made in the pressure cooker over quinoa and brown rice ramen noodles while watching the news. Colour Confidential was two more ones we had seen; I thought we missed more of them. Finally watched an Aerial America about Nevada.

God, I hate summer colds.

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» Saturday, August 12, 2017
Elevator Days

It was a highly productive Friday, but a rotten Saturday.

I was woken a bit earlier than I wanted on Friday by a text on my phone. James had forgotten his morning pills. So I dragged myself from bed, had breakfast and took Tucker on a good walk before bundling up what I needed and heading out. My first port of call was Walmart, to get some accordion folders for cleaning out our wretched financial files. (Last week James had to go renew his driver's license; to renew your license now you practically have to give them your firstborn: birth certificate, social security card, two bills establishing residency, and, if you were in the service, a DD-214. We couldn't find the DD-214 before he went, but that was because it was in a third accordion file I didn't see down there. It didn't matter; he did get the license.) Relax, folks, Christmas is not out at Walmart yet, no matter what people are saying. 😀 Also bought James some five-pound weights. Since it's getting more difficult for him to walk, he has been trying to do some other kind of aerobic exercise. I only had two-pound weights in the house; he's been using those, but it wasn't much of a stretch for him.

Then I drove past James' building to transfer custody of the pills, and went to Costco for gasoline, before arriving at my goal for the day: the book sale at the Northside Library. I picked up a couple of Christmas books for myself (one of old-fashioned stores and another called Holmes for the Holidays) and a copy of the Winnie-the-Pooh stories (truly, I've never read them, but always see them quoted), plus a book for a gift and another for someone who collects a series.

On the way home from the book sale I did the shopping at Publix (all very exciting stuff! [eyeroll]) and then came home to have some leftover barbecue beef and French bread for lunch. Worked on a website page until James came home. From there we had supper at O'Charley's and dessert at Baskin-Robbins.

Today we'd been planning to have lunch at Giovanni's, but James remembered he had his club meeting. It was actually fortuitous, because just before bed last night, sometime around the time I took my shower, I developed a sore spot on the back of my throat. Whether I slept with my mouth closed or open, the air flowing back and forth over the sore spot irritated it and made me cough. I'd wake up every hour, go in the bathroom, and drink to try and get rid of the infernal tickle, and then go back to bed. Hour after hour... Gah. When I did finally get up my nose was stuffy and I felt feverish and exhausted, despite having no fever.

So James went off to his meeting and I finally decided to sit down and finally dub some stuff off the DVR. So basically all day I've been watching the rest of season 7 of Castle and mourning how they ruined the show in season 8 (which I completely erased from the DVR because it was so loathsome). James went to fetch some supper from Giovanni's, but it didn't taste very good, and as the night has gone on my throat is feeling worse again and I'm coughing. Between episodes I cleaned bits in the kitchen and in the bathroom and made the bed and filled the bird feeders. I bored Tucker silly and he spent the afternoon sleeping in his cave, but I had Snowy song to make me feel better.

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» Sunday, August 06, 2017
Nothing Works Around There

Another nice sleep this morning, although a much more challenging day awaited. James was out of breakfast burritos completely, and we had forgotten to get "plastic cheese" (Kraft cheese slices) for them. Sigh. Well, I wanted to go back to CVS anyway; the item I'd forgotten was Gold Bond medicated powder and I really needed it with the summer rash and all. So after I walked Tucker, I got in the car and drove up to the CVS on Milford Church Road, which is next to a Walmart Neighborhood Market (basically a grocery store). I could get the cheese there.

To my jaw-dropping amaze, CVS had no Gold Bond, or any kind of talcum/cornstarch period! They suggested I go to Walmart! So I did, and I got the cheese and the Gold Bond. Abso-fragging-lutely preposterous.

I had noticed the other day that my right front tire seemed low, so I went out of my way to the QT (because they are the only ones that have free air) on Austell Road. I pulled up next to a lady with a nearly flat tire, who looked at me with big eyes and mouthed "It's broke. No air." I bulged my eyes back and mouthed "No air?" She shook her head, looking absolutely frazzled. Sigh. Pulled out and drove home, but have no idea what she was going to do. She needed even a little air to get home without ruining the tire. Some stupid vandals probably damaged the air pump. They think it is funny.

I dropped off the cheese with James, picked up a towel and the dog soap, and transported Tucker to Petco and the dog wash. This time there was a chow chow being bathed in the lefthand tub and a shepherd-cross getting "drowned" in the righthand one, so we were pig in the middle. Tucker had been really eager to go out until faced with the washtubs, and did a passable imitation of Ophelia drowning during the entire affair. He made everyone laugh, though, when I was done with him and kept shaking my hand at him and saying "Shake!" and he shook off every time. This was something I had taught Willow and have been teaching Tucker.

On the way home we passed another QT and I was able to get some air (after the dude with the BMW blocked the parking space near the air hose). Tucker passed out from exhaustion after his ordeal and was quiet all afternoon. I helped James bag some burritos and made the bed and washed out Tucker's bedding, and chilled out watching more of Ray Mears' Wild Britain.

Supper was chicken and wild rice soup and we were able to watch Colour Confidential this week except the very end of the second show when a rainstorm stamped its way in with a great noise of thunder and blotted out the signal. Isn't it funny how analog television never failed during storms and digital always does? Seems like technology is regressing sometimes. It was a rerun anyway. I know we've missed some, but we haven't reached them yet.

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» Saturday, August 05, 2017
Sometimes It's Unexpected

We totally expected to eat at O'Charley's on Friday night, but by the time we got there every parking space was taken, so we shifted gears and went to Uncle Maddio's for pizza instead. We used to go to SteviB's sometimes, but Uncle Maddio's is just so much better for just a bit more, and their pizza crust is wonderful. And I judge pizza by its crust!

We took care of Publix after eating supper on Friday, although going to a different Publix didn't totally solve the problem of something we were looking for, and I had to got to Customer Service to get them to give us our discount on a couple of things that we had coupons for.

After a relaxing evening and a nice sleep-in, we had a good Saturday. We both had 20 percent off Barnes & Noble coupons, but this one had a wrinkle: we could only use them at Perimeter Mall. However, I wanted to go to the Container Store anyway.

We started out with lunch at Panera. Sadly, they've gotten rid of the Chinese Citrus Salad James liked, but he had an Asian salad with half a panini and I had my usual soup with a plain bagel and cream cheese. The Cumberland location was still processing breakfast orders we were so early. Once we finished eating we were on to Perimeter. I just wanted more of the metal "clothespin" clamps they have; we use them to close bags (like popcorn bags) instead of those bulky "chip clips" and for hanging things (like the facecloths in the bathroom). Of course we browsed the store—the Container Store is so about "this is cool but damn we can't afford it"—and I picked up a clear plastic corner basket that had lost its suction cups. It can still be useful for keeping things.

I picked up what I was looking for at Barnes & Noble, the new Georgina Rannoch mystery, but James couldn't come up with his choice, the new Larry Correia "Monster Hunter" book; it had been released earlier in the week but was not in the store. But we went to customer service and the associate ordered the book for him, using the coupon, and it will be mailed free to us. James also picked up some modeling magazines and a new "Cooks," while I was disappointed in not finding the new "Breathe." I should really get "Breathe" on my tablet; it's cheaper, but I like to have it as a bedtime read because it's about relaxation and tablet reading is a no-no before bed.

Seeing that I did not find it at the Perimeter Barnes & Noble, James stopped at the door of the Akers Mill store so I could run in, but I didn't find it there, either. Oh, well. As a final stop I ran into CVS with a 30 percent off coupon to get more BreatheRights and something for my rash (an annual summer occurrence). There was a third thing I'd wanted, but I had forgotten what is was.

So we came home to chill out for a while, played with Tucker, and pretty much zoned out until James said "Aren't we going to supper?" Oh, dear. It was almost seven o'clock! O'Charley's would be packed again. So we went up to the Fried Tomato Buffet, which wasn't crowded, and had barbecue ribs and other goodies, then James sat in the car while I ran into JoAnn with a couple of coupons (I got another Command container and more Aida cloth—and guess what I found there: the new "Breathe"!).

The most wonderful thing was coming home from JoAnn. Now that the sun was down, James was able to sit in the car outside the store with the windows down, and it was cool enough—on August 4!—to drive with the windows down and not feel like you were smothering and dripping with sweat! I was running out of gas, so we just came home via Barrett Parkway and got gasoline and shopped at the Kroger on Dallas Highway—I needed sandwich bread anyway, so we'd have to come by on Sunday, since Smyrna is back to baking buns embedded in cornmeal. And on the way home we stopped at Baskin-Robbins for a dessert ice cream.

A nice day altogether, and something soothing to read at bedtime.

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» Tuesday, August 01, 2017
The Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside my window...
...sunny as I am doing this rather late in the afternoon rather than in the morning as usual. It's warm outside and cool within.

I am thinking...
...that it took me too long today to figure out why I kept looking at the calendar and wondering why the date was familiar. It is 32 years ago today that my dad died.

I am thankful...
...for air conditioning (this is my mantra during the summer). Also for the laundry being finished.

In the kitchen...
...I'm cooking chicken drumsticks basted in maple barbecue sauce. Well, they smell good. 😀

I am wearing...
...a blue-flowered ribbed tank top, aqua blue shorts, and white socks, in other words, the usual summer mufti; just the colors of the top and shorts change.

I am creating...
...order out of chaos, slowly. I have some things ready to go to Goodwill, and another box started for more culled books. There's no  use keeping books I won't read again.

I am going... have to start better grocery shopping if I intend to retire. We are spending too much on groceries! I'll need to start perusing the weekly flyers and finding the best bargains.

I am wondering...
...why the news programs just keep repeating the same news over and over and over. If there isn't enough news to broadcast, cut the length of the news programs! I remember when both the local and national news programs were fifteen minutes. Somehow they managed to cover it all and didn't have to make their own news.

I am reading...
...Brilliant Beacons, the history of lighthouses in America. I've always been fascinated by lighthouse keepers and their families after reading a story called "Maudie Tom, Jockey," about a lighthouse keeper's daughter. Their work was back-breaking and some lighthouses were so isolated the keepers went stir-crazy.

I am hoping...
...the decision I'm pondering on is the right one.

I am looking forward to...
...the eclipse! We will have 97 percent coverage here in Atlanta. Some of the schools are keeping the kids in longer that day so they can observe the eclipse safely (teachers making sure they have their glasses on).
I am learning...
...well, this year with some of the people I have to work with taking forever to respond, I think I am learning patience. Or impatience as the case may be.

Around the house...
...smells like barbecue sauce. I vacuumed during lunch and also swept the kitchen, so things look a bit tidier.

I am pondering...
...retirement, since never having to get up early again (except voluntarily) or never having to drive 26 miles before seven a.m. (except voluntarily) sounds really good

A favorite quote for today...
“Someone made a grievous mistake when summer was created; no novitiate or god in their right mind would make a season akin to hell on purpose. Someone should be fired.” ― Michelle Franklin

One of my favorite things...
Jeopardy. I've been watching it since Art Fleming hosted the original show.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
More work, and a trip to the Container Store.

A peek into my day...
Something I saw a few nights ago: bats flying around (not my photo). Wish I'd see them more often.

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



» Sunday, July 30, 2017
Play and Work Have Their Place

Hair Day rolled around on Saturday morning. We didn't roll out of bed very well, but did have a good time, and we "ate great." Pat and Alex supplied the main dish, and Pat made the spaghetti sauce—she said when she was making it that the real test would be if I liked it!—and then Alex made baked ziti with it, one with meatballs and one with Italian sausage, and there was also some plain ziti with sauce for Juanita, who's allergic to cheese. (And it was indeed quote delicious, especially the one with the Italian sausage.) We brought a cucumber and tomato salad with orange blossom honey balsamic vinegar, Shannon brought baby greens and mushrooms with dressings, Oreta and John provided watermelon, Phyllis brought the usual relish plate, Charles provided cheese, and Terica and Ben brought a fruit and cheese plate. We all had a feast, and then it was time for cake to celebrate the July birthdays: Charles, Juanita, and Pat.

Now very full, we headed home to set a spell with Snowy and Tucker; I made the bed and cleaned up some in the bathroom and put together a little remembrance gift for Jessie, who is leaving soon for a five-month internship at Disney World, and then dozed off on the sofa after reading the new cross-stitch magazine I bought last night. Woke up during a Christmas episode of the British Antiques Roadshow.

Around 6:20, got dressed, walked Tucker, and then we headed out to Jessie's farewell dinner at Keegan's Irish Pub. We minded our carbs after the ziti overload earlier: James got a sampler platter that was mostly meat and veg and I had chicken wings. The only "overage" was more cake: Juanita had a Beauty and the Beast cake for Jessie. We headed home on a truly lovely summer night for late July: we not only rode to the Butlers this morning with the windows down, but we could do so again that night.

Of course this morning we intended to be up around 8:30 or 9 to go to Costco when we opened. Well, if we plan to do such things we need to set alarms, because the last time I looked at a clock it was 7:35, and the next thing we knew it was 9:45. So I walked Tucker—it wasn't that bad out; warm in the sun, but a nice breeze and low humidity—and James had a burrito, and I munched on a BelVita breakfast bar on the way to Costco. Since it had opened an hour earlier, it was quite crowded, but there was still a handicapped space out front.

We had a nice stroll about; I bought another fall magazine (the "Cottage Journal"), and then spent a joyful five minutes in the wonderful chill of the dairy room to pick out some milk. We also picked up Skinny Pop, mushrooms, Loratadine because it was on sale, a big bag of slivered almonds for my oatmeal, and the soap we needed, although we couldn't find Costco's brand of soap any longer; we had to buy Dove. At that price it's cheaper for me to get the oatmeal and almond soap at the Dollar Store. ::grump:: But we did find more Rice Ramen! These are great ramen noodles made from millet and brown rice, and taste delicious in Asian dishes.

We brought the milk home, then went to Kroger, ostensibly for gasoline, but James wanted to get more chai tea, so we found a parking space after a few minutes searching—the place was packed because church was out—and went in. Picked up the tea, Those Damn Bananas, a few other things, and a chuck roast to pressure cook tonight. We will cook this with teriyaki and have it over the rice ramen noodles. Yum!

James confessed that his portion of the closet was a bit of a mare's nest. He has been having such pains in his knees and hips that he's just been laying his clean laundry on a shelf and not hanging his shirts up. So we spent an hour making order out of chaos. I hung up most of the shirts and he put them back where they belong (the closet has a double row of shelves and I'm too frippin' short to reach the top rail comfortably), and he sorted through the pants. We put three in the trash and four are in good shape, so they will go to Goodwill, and the rest are nicely folded on a shelf.

Then we kicked back and chilled out, watching the rest of Aerial Ireland and Aerial America: "New York City 24" on Smithsonian Channel. At 4:30 James sauteed the beef in sesame oil and started the chuck roast in the pressure cooker. We ate a little bit after six. Okay, we needed to cook it longer; it was not "fork tender," but it was cooked and edible. The sauce he made was outstanding: teriyaki, miso broth, and no salt beef broth thickened with cornstarch. Enjoyed the beef soaked in it, the rice ramen, and even dipped some bread in it. Next time we will cook it longer.

Sadly, Colour Confidential has gone into reruns. Did see the final episode of America in Color, which was the 1960s and had some authentic color footage instead of colorized. 😀

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» Friday, July 28, 2017
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

A week or so ago when we were in Kroger, I saw a box collecting school supplies for homeless children. I wanted to contribute, and when Staples and Office Depot/Max put stuff on sale starting on Sunday for the opening of school, I decided to go both places today on my compressed day to collect some supplies.

Well, the only Staples "close" to us is way out on Dallas Highway, and when I realized school was actually starting on Monday—I know, it's crazy—I wondered if Kroger was still collecting. So since I was stopping at Barnes & Noble to use a coupon anyway, I briefly stopped at the Kroger on the opposite side of the road to determine if they were still collecting supplies. Upon seeing the collection boxes, I knew they were.

Anyway, picked up the new postmistress mystery, a discount book, and the new "Smoky Mountain Living," as well as—hurrah! the first fall magazine! Country Sampler—and then stopped at Hallmark to pick up a card for Jessie Elder, who's doing a five-month internship at Disney World. From there I went to Staples and picked up pencils, pencil erasers, a couple of pencil cases, a few sharpeners, and a stack of notebooks. There were almost a dozen families in the store picking up school supplies. I'm utterly baffled by elementary school students needing school supplies. When I was in school pens, pencils, notebooks paper, erasers, chalk, glue, paste (do they still use paste?), construction paper, etc. was all supplied by school taxes until you got to junior high school. Yeah, we were supposed to supply tissues or have a handkerchief (remember them?), but that was about it. We didn't use backpacks, just book straps.

(I just realized the one thing I didn't see at either store was book covers. Don't schools require the kids to cover their books any longer?)

By then it was way after one, so I stopped at Krystal for two plain "pups" (mini hot dogs). When I pulled my change from Hallmark out of my wallet, I realized the cashier gave me change for a ten, not the twenty I'd given her. ::sigh:: That's what I get for not checking my change.

I had to head all the way back to Brookwood for an Office Max, and picked up pens and erasers there. I also bought myself some highlighters and, with a coupon, some recordable DVDs. I have so much to dub off from the DVR; the problem is sitting and watching it all over to dub it.

Since we have a Kroger so close to our house, I just drove past home to take the school supplies straight there. Surprise! They already had their box collected yesterday! Damn, this is why I had checked the Kroger on Dallas Highway, to make certain the collections hadn't ended—but it was almost four o'clock by then and I didn't want to book all the way over there again. The young lady at customer service called the Floyd Road store and they still had their box, so I had a nice ride through the covered bridge area and finally got to drop off the supplies.

(I should have gone there initially; I don't think a lot about that Kroger since it's in Austell. It was actually closer to the Office Max I went to.)

James worked at home today because of the chance of rain, so once he finished up at five o'clock we went off to Tin Drum for dinner, stopped at Barnes & Noble so he could use his other coupon. I still had a "mystery book" coupon so I bought another Longmire novel.

Then finally it was time for Publix and the grocery shopping. We got lots of twofers, plus bought cucumbers and tomatoes for the salad we are taking to Hair Day. We finished the night out watching "The Trouble With Tribbles" on Star Trek, still funny after all these years.

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» Sunday, July 23, 2017
Summer When It Sizzles

Alas, up late last night watching Sneakers and parts of Jurassic Park, and blogging, so no early rising for us this morning, which means it was already in the eighties and sizzling when we went to Publix. We said screw it and just paid the stupid $2.99 each for a gallon of milk and took our groceries and went home and stayed home. It got hotter and hotter until the heat index was up to 102°F. No thanks. We stayed in watching Cheaper by the Dozen (the original) and This Old House.

Got a surprise at five o'clock: no Colour Confidential. They've moved it to seven p.m. More time to watch This Old House, but when we got to seven o'clock Ion Life wasn't coming in well and the episode they were showing was a show we'd seen several months ago. So we went back to finish the Arlington (MA) house on This Old House (yes, we are way behind, mostly because GPB and WPBA between them have so much fundraising we were missing a bunch of episodes. We watched them on PBS instead, via the Roku box. The Arlington people must have big pockets. Marble countertops in the kitchen! A dreamy paint technique on the wall of the daughter's room done by a professional! A separate "shed" for mom's yoga! Thank God, they decided not to paint the original woodwork in the living room. I mean, it's genuine oak and you want to paint over it with white paint so the room won't be dark? You need to watch Jane Lockhart, who will show you how to brighten up a dark room!

The only thing we both hated were the big ugly curved piers on the front porch. No. Just no.

Interested in seeing the Detroit house. Supposedly the family helps on this one.

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» Saturday, July 22, 2017
Running Hot and Warm

These days the thermometer moves faster than we do.

So despite the fact that we went to bed early to get up early to go out early to beat the heat, we never did get past it, but headed right out into the inferno.

We wanted to check out a couple of things. I was hoping to find a pop-up tent (not for camping, but something that would act as an outdoor sunshade) that we could take to see the eclipse, since neither James nor I are supposed to be in the sun. I couldn't find anything last week that was like I was thinking of (the "pop-up" unit Kroger had on sale two years ago, that was like a giant pop-up laundry basket, except that it fit two people inside), but thought the 10x10 popup I saw at Academy Sports might do, and afterwards it could go on our deck, since it's a sunny hell out there in the summer. But because James' back is so bad, I wanted something I could pretty much handle myself. Alas, I couldn't even lift the bag it comes in. Sigh. So we bought some more keep-cool cloths (the kind you wet down and keep on your neck) and found a foldable camp table with cup holders. When we came out, it was barely even noon and the sun shining against the white walls of the store was almost enough to blind you.

Then we made a quick stop at JoAnn where I ran into the store with my coupons and came out with Command containers. I am determined to get all of James' tea under control. Right now you can hardly get to the Hot Shot for the boxes of different types of tea leaning against it because the tea caddy has overflowed.

I asked James if he felt well enough to drive to Cabela's, which was about six miles north. According to their ad, they had pop-up shade/shelters. Cabela's is like a Bass Pro Shop in that it's a huge store devoted to fishing, camping, and hunting supplies. We walked all through the store to see all the gadgets (fishing reels, boat shoes, pistols, bows with crosshair sights, sleeping bags, tents, dried food, lanterns and more, and there, in the middle of the store where it didn't belong, in the middle of the cooking supplies and equipment, was the very sort of tent I was looking for, something light to pop up and made shade. We also went by some "fishing" shirts, with an SPF factor of 50, which were on sale, and bought ourselves one each. We are hoping we can use them after the eclipse in various sun situations, like the Yellow Daisy Festival and the Jonquil Festival.

By then it was lunch time. We had come up through I-75 north, but 75 south was backed up due to everlasting construction, so instead we went west to Acworth via highway 92 and had lunch at Panera. It was crowded and we were going to have to squeeze ourselves in a booth, but a couple sitting at the table next to the booth offered to swap with us. That was so nice of them!!! I had a big bowl of soup and James had his favorite Asian salad.

We crossed over the parking lot to Books-a-Million to check out the magazines and share a frozen hot chocolate for dessert and were sitting sipping on it when thunder rumbled overhead. We took our time drinking it, figuring the storm would break overhead and rain itself out like on our previous vist, but it was still just rumbling and stiflingly hot outside (92°F with a heat index over 100) when we finished, so we rushed to pay, mounted the power chair and covered it, and headed home. Just as I was getting in the truck I could feel, instead of a scorching draft of wind, a cool breeze, and it started to spatter not soon afterwards. We did have to drive through the rain on the way home, but it never got as far as Georgia Monsoon Season, and it had stopped by the time we reached home and the garage, and the temperature had fallen from a stifling 92 all the way down to 75!

After unwinding for a while (and me putting up the Command containers for the tea), we had another fun thing planned: attending Juanita's birthday party. There were a lot of us crowding the back half of Longhorn and at least one man asked if we were some type of special group. Well, yes... 😀 After good food and good conversation we headed home. James went to spend some time in the Mancave and I found Sneakers with Robert Redford and Ben Kingsley (and a very funny Dan Ackroyd) playing on Encore on Demand. Interesting how some parts of this film, especially about the NSA spying on US citizens, are still relevant despite the technology being out of date! Sneakers celebrates its silver anniversary this year.

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» Thursday, July 20, 2017
Under Pressure -- And Loving It
So I mentioned last weekend that I had purchased a pressure cooker on Prime Day and on Saturday I made gravy with it (that's spaghetti sauce for you Medigones in the audience 😀 ). But we hadn't used it for its primary purpose.

I have to admit I was a bit in trepidation about having a pressure cooker. My total experience with pressure cookers comes from sitcoms and a Lassie story with Jeff, "The Watch," all in which they explode and get food everywhere and break things.

James has been having some major problem with his knees, and he was up most of the night in pain. So he was home today and feeling marginally better by dinnertime. Earlier he took some boneless skinless chicken thighs out of the freezer to thaw. At dinnertime he used the saute feature to brown the chicken. Once that was done he put in a cup of unsalted chicken broth and a can of cream of mushroom soup (which had quite enough salt in it, thankyouverymuch), then pressed the "poultry" setting and let it cook for fifteen minutes. Upon opening it, the chicken was about 200°F inside and nice and tender. The broth was a bit soupy, so he put it back on saute and thickened the liquid with cornstarch. Then we had it over rice. Oh, yum! Now want to try other things, like pork loin and beef with teriyaki.

The nice thing about pressure cookers, I understand, is that you can use cheap cuts of meat and have a nice, tender result. Looking forward to finding out.

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» Sunday, July 16, 2017
Routine Sunday

I guess I slept better than last night. Except it was filled with bad dreams. It's either one thing or the other.

We were up early enough to get to Kroger ahead of the crowds, walking the dog, but abandoning breakfast, so had a leisurely shopping experience, checking out the fruit and the meat managers' specials and some sales along with our list, and were home about 10:30. Once we'd put all up and had breakfast, we hopped out for just a little while again to pick up a few other things: tea at Nam Dae Mun, a chair cushion for James at Bed, Bath & Beyond, and then gasoline for the truck at Kroger. James has been having terrible trouble with his knees since he sat on a bad chair at work, and today he was just miserable, so we simply headed home after finishing.

Spent the afternoon doing chores: sorting pills for the week, cleaning the bathroom, getting clothes ready for work, cleaning out the kitchen sink, the usual junk. James made more breakfast burritos. I washed the towels and took Tucker outside and read "Blue Ridge Country" (looks like there are a lot of eclipse get-togethers planned in the area of totality).

Barbecue pork and roast potatoes were the supper du jour, and we watched America's Funniest Home Videos, America in Color (the 1940s tonight, with the scenes of the Japanese internment camps just making me angry and sad all over again), and now I have found a show called This Old Horse where a filmmaker is talking about movie horses, starting with John Wayne's horses.

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» Saturday, July 15, 2017
Bring on the New

It's always the same. If we don't need to get up early, we sleep, and sleep, and sleep. But when we need to get up early, we're tossing and turning in bed all night as if we're bopping along to Chuck Berry. So since we had to get up at 6:45 a.m., guess what we did and what we didn't do. Never mind; we made it there, even if we didn't make it at opening of Betsy's Hallmark. (Yes, it's already Ornament Premiere Weekend.) It wasn't very crowded, and we were able to get the ornaments we wanted. James picked up the new airplane (a "Mystery Ship"), Duck Dodgers, and Marvin the Martian. I got two mini ornaments (the cardinal in the pine cone and the Hallowe'en owl), the Hallowe'en raven, Judy and Nick (of course, since there's no such thing as a Betty Roberts/Scott Sherwood ornament), the swan in the 12 Days of Christmas series, Willy Wonka for the library tree, and the beautiful Los Tres Reyes Magos (the three kings), which I thought would go well for Epiphany with my La Befana.

I just realized I forgot to look for the new Marjolein Bastin ornament. Oh, well, those don't usually sell out.

I'm intensely curious now about what they are going to do next year for the 12 Days set. The first seven ornaments, as in the song, are birds (no, I'm not forgetting the "five golden rings"—it has been long believed that the "rings" are actually ring-necked pheasants, and that's how Hallmark portrayed the ornament). I had hoped the fourth day bird would be black—the original song which I learned in elementary school called them "colley birds," not "calling birds," in other words, blackbirds—but I guess they didn't think that was Christmasy. But now we are getting to people: the eight milkmaids, the nine drummers, the ten ladies dancing, the 11 lords a leaping, and the 12 pipers piping (or whatever order they have the last four in; it changes in different versions). Could they somehow stick with birds? The milkmaids could be cowbirds, the drummers ruffed grouse (they "drum" with their feathers when mating), and the pipers could be sandpipers. But what birds dance and leap? So this mystery won't be solved until next year's Dream Book gets released in April.

We decided to try Goldberg's Deli for breakfast because it was the nearest spot open. This was quite good and we had a great waiter (Jake). James was going to have lunch with the guys, so he had only a bagel breakfast biscuit with egg and turkey sausage. He said even the bagel was quite good and he'd like to try an omelet next time. I had challah bread French toast. Oy. Very filling, but excellent.

I hadn't mentioned, but we were in separate cars, since he was heading for lunch and his club meeting. So after Goldbergs we separated, but still went the same way: Roswell Road to East Piedmont, which eventually turns into Barrett Parkway. He went on to Hobbytown whereas I stopped early at Barnes & Noble (I checked out CD Warehouse, but...nothing really). I found the new "Blue Ridge Country," which has an article on the upcoming eclipse, and also picked up, with a coupon, The Stolen Pearl, which is Elizabeth Wein's prequel to Code Name Verity, featuring Julie. Also found a hardback copy of One Hundred and One Dalmatians and a trade paper of Swallows & Amazons at 75 percent off.

I stopped at Academy Sports looking for something, didn't find it, and went on to the Dallas Highway Barnes & Noble because it was on the way home and I wanted to check out their clearance; nothing there. Oh, well.

When I came home I started a different project. This past Tuesday was "Prime Day" on Amazon, sort of a Black Friday sale but in July. The pressure cooker we bought in Helen hadn't worked out (it's possible it just needs a new seal, but it never builds up to pressure), so James was still looking for one. One of the featured buys on Amazon was an InstantPot, a big pressure cooker that was also a slow cooker, rice cooker, oatmeal maker, and it could saute meat before you cooked it in the same pot. I thought it would make a great early birthday gift and ordered it (I also ordered him an early anniversary gift and also a card reader). It came on Thursday and I decided to try it out today just for something basic like slow cooking. I had boneless pork ribs thawed in the refrigerator, pulled them out, and, consulting the manual, set the unit to sauté. I put a tiny bit of olive oil in the container and then browned the pork all over. (Next time I will put the temp on low instead of normal; it started to sizzle and stick the moment the meat hit the metal, but I flipped them over quickly and nothing burned.) Then I shut off the sauté (the manual says the most important button on this unit is the "cancel" button 😀), pulled out the pork, put a teeny bit of water in the bottom to loosen the fond, poured in a small bottle of tomato and basil sauce, put the pork back in, put more sauce in, and left it on "normal" (which is supposed to be low temperature on a slow cooker and is equivalent to 190°F).

The only funny thing about this is that I am so short and the pot is so deep I could not see all the pork while I was sautéing it. So there I was, standing on a stool like Sally from "Dick and Jane" in the kitchen fixing a treat for her dolly (with "Spot" at least looking on).
Did a couple of tidying-up items, and next thing I knew it was dark outside and raining. Turns out James' meeting was short and he just beat the rain in covering up the power chair. By the time he got home from Town Center, it had stopped.
For supper we went up to Fried Tomato Buffet for the chicken and dumplings and the barbecue pork ribs (well, that's what I went for). We came directly home after that.
The gravy was finished in seven hours; it tastes exquisite despite the sugar they put in the base tomato sauce now. (Damn you, Classico!) We will have it for supper some time this week; by then the flavors will have deepened even more.

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» Friday, July 14, 2017
Colonel McKean, Please!...It's Too Hot

Since everyone knows that I sleep late on my day off (well, if I have nothing else going on), I'll skip that part, and the inevitable breakfast and dog walk.

But it was going to be hot, so after that I got dressed and went out as quickly as possible.

First I had to pick up two prescriptions at Kaiser. I read the free "Points North" magazine in the waiting room (neat article about Airstream trailers), so that was soon completed. Then I went to Barnes & Noble in Buckhead since it's been a month and I was hoping on a new "Best of British." Found one, too, and a new "Project Calm" with a seashore theme. At the end of one row I found the magazine "The Horn Book." If you've never heard of this famous magazine, it was founded in 1924 and is the magazine for children's/young adult book reviews. I'd never seen one and picked it up, and it opened immediately to a four page tribute to one of my late online friends, Peter D. Sieruta, who died--is it that long now?--five years ago after complications from surgery. I never met Peter, but I followed his blog, "Collecting Children's Books," and his personal Facebook page, I remember he was just discovering the joys of new home ownership when he passed away. Peter used to write for "The Horn Book" and had just completed co-authoring a book when he died. Weird how it opened at just that place.

It was warm in the store, so I was happy to get in the car and pump up the A/C to drive back to Akers Mill and have lunch at Tin Drum.

Finally I went by Publix and did the twofer thing.

It was not a productive afternoon. I put some things away, but ended up with a sinus headache and finally retreated to the futon for an hour, then got dressed again just in time to take Tucker outside and then wait for James to show up. That few minutes out in the sun with the dog were horrible. It was about 93 and unless you were in the shade, the heat seemed to take the oxygen out of the air. By the time we went to dinner, I was sorry I'd make that choice. All that Chinese food just made me queasy. Brought me back to summer nights when I was a kid and it was so hot in the house I couldn't eat. I'd have a chicken wing or a couple of slices of cucumber and just drink lemon-lime Zarex syrup and water or milk all night.

Been keeping cool tonight and will be in bed soon to be up early tomorrow for the Hallmark Ornament Premiere.

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