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, December 10, 2017
Second Sunday of Advent
"Second Sunday of Advent: A Christmas Miscellany"

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» Saturday, December 09, 2017
Christmas Tree Adventures

"The Christmas Tree Distraction"

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» Friday, December 08, 2017
Unexpected Snow Day
So when they started talking about snow on the news, we paid just cursory attention to it. Snow in December? Yeah, we did that on Christmas a few years ago—it was gorgeous! But when we get snow it's usually in January and February. And they were only talking about a dusting. Or maybe one inch. Well, except for that one computer model that said we might have almost three inches. But that was just one model!

So I had a little late sleep this morning, and then had to hustle eating breakfast and walking the dog. I'd spent about three hours yesterday wrapping the out-of-town gifts and boxing them. They were ready to go to the post office. Now, when I'd gotten up it was raining. When I walked Tucker and left the house for the post office, it was snowing briskly, but just forming a light frosting on grass and bushes.

At the post office I heard that Cobb County had just canceled school for the day, and when I went past Campbell High I could see students already heading home. I was worried about James: he had a doctor's appointment at one and would have to drive all the way to Glenlake near Perimeter Mall. With schools being released, people being allowed to go home, and the snow continuing, traffic would be very bad. But by the time I got home, he'd already called Kaiser, and discovered all the afternoon appointments were labeled "reschedule." So he did, and teleworked the rest of the afternoon.

I took the opportunity to vacuum downstairs and sweep the hall, wash some old towels so we could take them to the pound, give Snowy fresh water, run out on the porch and fill the bird feeders (should have done it while it was dry yesterday!), and install the new all-in-one I bought on Black Friday. The snow ranged from large flakes to small, sometimes to sleet, and there was a spell of freezing rain, and then it went back to snow again. I put on my Christmas cassettes as James worked and later on baked some gingerbread in a nod to Sook Faulk's "fruitcake weather" (I despise fruitcake). I prefer gingerbread weather.

Since future dog walking was imminent, I went looking for my boots. Now I haven't seen them since the last time it snowed, which was a few years ago, but they have to be in the master bedroom closet somewhere. There's no other closet they can be in and they wouldn't be in the garage or any other bedroom. Darned if I can find them! So where the heck...

I ended up taking Tucker out at 5:30 wearing my usual dog-walking rubber-soled canvas shoes. My feet weren't that cold—I put my boot socks on this morning and they are toasty warm—but it was funny walking on the snow in them. It is just, just at freezing, so the snow is very wet and there is wet slush under the snow, but it's still cold and once the snow started sticking to the pavement (about three o'clock), "all was lost," so to speak. The "crump, crump, crump" of the creak of the snow was very loud in the silence made by the accumulation.  If I stopped for any appreciable time the soles of the shoes started to freeze to the ground! Tucker had done "all his good dogs" in the morning, but you should have seen him squatting; he did not want to touch that snow and was hunched in a funny-looking manner and didn't seem to care to be outside. At five he just pee'd, but seemed in much better spirits about the snow.

It was so pretty outside that I brought him back in and then ran outside with my phone to take some pictures. The white snow and the darkening bluish-grey sky was so very striking, and the net lights shining through the snow of the bush they were on made me smile.

We had tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for supper. Believe it or not, this is the first time I've ever had that "classic" combination. We didn't eat tomato soup and I don't like it in general; it's just that the Trader Joe's soup we sampled was so good. James, though, didn't like the low sodium version we got instead. I have to admit it's a little sweeter than the full sodium version, not quite so savory, but I still enjoyed it. We had gingerbread for dessert, and later on watched A Very Merry Cricket and A Charlie Brown Christmas. The DVR never started to record Hawaii Five-0, so we missed the beginning, but were able to catch up. The satellite dish must be coated solid with snow. That's funny because we've had snow before, but never lost the signal this long.

But then we've never had this much snow. I don't remember this much snow ever. We ended up with five inches on the deck, even with having had some rain tamping down the snow. We're supposed to get more overnight, and it will be about 30℉ as a low.

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The Simple Woman's Daybook

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Outside my window...'s snowing. This is a momentous event for early December, even in north Georgia (unless you live up northeast in the mountains). They started out saying we would get a light dusting or "maybe an inch," although one of the models indicated we might get 2.8 inches. I said "Hah! Like that's gonna happen." Well, it rained early, then it snowed, then it rained a bit, and now it's snowing again, and according to the weather report the snow could last through the we hours of the morning. Luckily they let the schools out about 10 a.m., so while traffic is bad, I don't think any schoolbuses are trapped on the road. After "Snowpocalypse" a few years ago, I hope everyone "got the hell out of Dodge"!

I am thinking...
...that this day didn't quite go as planned. I spent late yesterday afternoon wrapping and packaging the out-of-town gifts and planned to take them and the cards that had to be mailed to the post awful this morning, then I was going to the Northside Library booksale. Got to the post office, just to hear the news they closed the schools and various state and city offices were closing. So instead I went home, installed the all-in-one I bought on Black Friday, vacuumed downstairs, refilled the bird feeders, and did other tidying up, skirting James, who was teleworking because he was supposed to drive to Glenlake to see his cardiologist for a checkup.

I am thankful...
...that they rescheduled James' doctor's appointment, and that neither of us had to be anywhere today. The snow did stop and turn to rain, but now it's snowing again and is supposed to snow through the wee hours!

In the kitchen... Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory" he relates his cousin Sook getting up on "a morning in late November" to announce "it's fruitcake weather." I don't like fruitcake and I call it "gingerbread weather," so I'm trying to bake some gingerbread. Not sure how it will come out as the box is past its sell by date.

I am wearing...
...a violet sweatshirt and dark grey sweatshirt and my wonderful boot-top knee socks that I'm so glad I bought. They not only stay up, but they're nice and warm.

I am creating...

I am going... put the tree up tomorrow (as mother would say, "With the help of God and a few policemen"). I wanted something to do while James went to his club meeting Christmas party. It's supposed to be 40°F by tomorrow, so hopefully he can go.

I am wondering...
...if this is the only snow we will get this year.

I am reading...
...A Kentucky Christmas which is a book of fiction and nonfiction about...well, you can guess! I guess Annie Fellows Johnston is considered declassé today—no entry from her at all.

I am hoping...
...we will get up to McKays before Christmas! This is the one thing I want for my birthday!

I am looking forward to...
...Sunday, when we will go see our umpteenth edition of An Atlanta Christmas performed by the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company.

I am learning...
...well, I can't say I'm learning anything about baking. That's what I like about Dromedary gingerbread mix. You add water and mix it in the pan.

Around the house...
...playing my Christmas cassettes. I have only about 64 of them anymore, and some I can't replace, so I must be careful with them. They were picked up at Oxford Books when they closed, and Media Play, who always had a wonderful selection of nonstandard Christmas music along with the usual pop stuff, and places we traveled to, back when I bought cassettes instead of CDs. Some of them have been replaced; all of my Mannheim Steamroller albums are now on CD. Snowy gives an occasional chirp and James is finishing up a call. Tucker's in his "cave" under the dining room table.

I am pondering...
...Christmas tree "construction." It's a long job. It takes at least an hour to fluff after I get the tree put together, then I have to run an extension cord down the trunk for the star, then come the ornaments, and then 90 minutes for the tinsel.
A favorite quote for today...
"See the sunlight through the pine
Taste the warm of winter wine
Dream of softly falling snow
Winter snow Aspenglow
As the winter days unfold
Hearts grow warmer with the cold
Peace of mind is all you know
Winter snow Aspenglow..."  . . . . . . "Aspenglow," John Denver

One of my favorite things... drama! This weekend at Good Acting Studio, 507 Roswell Street, Marietta,GA 30060.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Tree decoration! Friends! A walk in the snow!

A peek into my day...

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



» Sunday, December 03, 2017
First Sunday of Advent
Holiday Harbour post: "Never Enough Time"

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Christmas Creeps in on Little Cat Feet

Since we didn't have a delivery time for the new recliner, we pretty much stayed home all day Saturday. (To be fair, someone responded to the customer service call that the lady from La-Z-Boy put in yesterday, and we did get a call about noon that our window was 2:30 to 5, but by then it was too late to do anything.) So I got to work decorating and finished the dining room and all the geegaws on the living room bookcase. James also helped me get some of the other boxes down from the closet. I also cleaned off the hearth, realizing by how dusty the fireguard was that we haven't used the fireplace in a long time. It simply hasn't been cold enough, but we're supposed to have a big cold front come in the middle of next week. So maybe Tucker and Snowy will see a "tame fire" for the first time.

("Tame fire" is a family joke. When we moved in the old house, Jerry Lawson kindly installed a gas log for us as we didn't want to deal with firewood and creosote in the chimney. This was back when we had Leia, and she took one look at the flame in the fireplace that suddenly appeared, and cast this very anxious look at James. "Daddy, that's a fire. I know what that is, and it's a fire. Is it supposed to be in the house?" James noticed her expression and petted her, and I said, "It's okay, Leia, it's a tame fire." She looked very doubtful. Anyway, we put some pumice stone in the fireplace along with the stuff that makes it look like "coals" are glowing. The pumice makes the fire pop as if wood was burning. One night we finally got Leia to relax and curl up in front of the fire, and one of the tiny pumice stones popped right out of the fireplace and popped her on the flank. She wasn't hurt, but gave the fireplace an injured look, stalked away, and would never sleep near it again.)

They delivered the chair about three—we knew the deliveryman; he lives down the street—and to our surprise and delight, he took the old chair away with him. We did not want to pay $80 more dollars to have them take it away. I mean, the "bones" of the chair were still good; it was still structurally sound. It just needed reupholstering. Anyone who can reupholster would be getting a bargain with new foam and fabric.

And then we could go out. We thought about going to West Cobb Diner for dinner—nope, not tired of turkey yet—but since James had a 25 percent off coupon for Barnes & Noble, and I had a 20 (don't ask), and the best Barnes & Noble is miles away from West Cobb, we went to Longhorn instead. Then wandered about the bookstore, where James used his coupon on the history of the aircraft carrier and I used mine on the newest "Year Round Christmas" mystery. I also picked up the Christmas "Daphne's Diary" and "Period Living," plus two Nikki Heat books I don't have from the remainder table. Looks like I have them all now except for the latest crossover with Derek Storm.

Stayed up too late as always, so this morning when I woke up early it was surprising that James was not. Indeed, after shuffling sleepily into the bathroom, he went back to sleep while I was the one that got up and put the decorations up in the kitchen. James did get more sleep, then we had breakfast and went grocery shopping, first after the twofers at Publix, and then for the basics at Kroger. Then back to the house. I put the decorations on the room divider, then got the village box upstairs (and the board that goes on the mantel) and put up our little World War II Christmas town, and the string for Christmas cards (when we get more than one 😀 ). Sad to say there was no time left to do anything with the foyer.

There was one last wing left from "Monty" the Thanksgiving turkey, so I had that for supper, with a little left over for a sandwich for tomorrow. James had chili. Watched The Small One and then the Carol Burnett 50th anniversary special. Wish they'd just show clips and less chatting, although I was so happy to see Lyle Waggoner and Steve Lawrence.

Got some middling photographs of tonight's "Supermoon" over the house with Christmas lights on. I have got to learn how to manually set my camera to take photos in darkness. I played with the shutter speeds, but got nothing very satisfying. The streetlight in front of the house doesn't help!

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» Friday, December 01, 2017
Broken Winded or Broken Rib?

Remember that endless round of complaints about the reaction to the flu shot and the cough and the fever and all that other gunk I've posted previously?

Yeah, well it never really went away, it just changed its mode of attack. Last Monday, I noticed when I hefted my work bag to go home, that my left side hurt. Could this have been from all those coughing jags I'd had earlier? If that was it, it struck me that it was a little late; my bouts of coughing had pretty much calmed down, even if I still had a sore throat. The worst part was when I did cough; sometimes it really hurt, so I learned to hold my left side when I did. Holding my side seemed to keep my side from feeling like it was about to pop out. The pain didn't keep me from sleeping or doing anything, but it ached constantly and was wearing me down day by day.

Anyway, since my birthday was coming up, it meant the car tag renewals were due, and that meant inspections had to be done. So Tuesday I took Twilight to the mechanic to get the oil changed and the inspection done. I need two tires and my front brakes are at 30 percent, so that will need to be done after the first of the year, although Mike told me if I don't drive too much it will be okay for while. Wednesday my chair at work made the pain in my side worse (this is the "$1600 ergonomic chair" that is one of the most uncomfortable chairs I've ever sat in) and the ride home made it worse.

Now Thursday we had planned to have James telework so I could take the truck to get its oil changed and get inspected. But there were "suits" in his office this week and there was no teleworking. So Thursday I woke up early, took James to work, then took the truck to the mechanic. At eleven I went to the dentist. Yes, I finally have all my teeth deep cleaned and will need to go for a followup in February. (Yeah, I still have the tooth with the recission. If it doesn't bother me, I'm going to leave it, because it requires oral surgery.) Later in the afternoon the truck was ready, so they came to pick me up. I got out of the pickup truck they transported me in, forgot to hold my side when I coughed—oh, dear God! I thought I ruptured something because there was this hot, sharp new pain that hurt when I breathed. I didn't just see stars, I saw constellations, and I think Pluto was in there somewhere. There was now a permanent, painful knot in my left side just to the left of my breast. I was gasping so much even Mike asked me what was wrong.

Julie (my dental hygenist) had said I really should call the doctor even if the pain wasn't bad, since I was starting to wonder if I had a kidney stone. Well, after the cough, it seemed expedient.

So I went to that appointment at nine this morning. Dr. Jones said she works fast, and boy, did she mean it. When I wondered if it was a kidney stone she said bluntly "Are you seeing blood when you urinate? Does it hurt when you urinate?" and my answer was no to both. She said if the pain I was describing was a kidney stone, I would have either or both of those signs and I wouldn't be able to sit in the chair I was currently sitting in. She probed the area, listened to my lungs, and said while it didn't sound like I had pneumonia, she wanted to rule out that or a cracked rib from my previous coughing. I expressed surprise; as I said, the pain began pretty much after the coughing jag was over. She said it could have started during the coughing jag but worsened afterward.

So down I went for an x-ray. I wasn't there five minutes before the technician came out and said the x-ray machine was down and we'd have to wait 45 minutes. The other people waiting said they could reschedule, but I couldn't. So I sat to wait; a nice nurse got me a cup of water. Then he came back out and said the x-ray was down for the count. So I went back upstairs to see what Dr. Jones wanted me to do. I was no sooner talking to her than her nurse's head popped in. The x-ray machine was working again! So back downstairs I went, but I did finally get the x-ray, and then had to wait.

By this time it was after 11 and I was starving. Luckily I found a watermelon candy in my pouch. Finally, back to the doctor. No pneumonia, no cracked ribs. She thinks it is just extreme muscle pain from the past and present coughing. She is bothered by the fact that I had a low grade fever (99.2) upon checking in, my blood pressure was low (99/55), and I still had the cough, even if it wasn't as violent these days. So it's another course of antibiotics, cough medicine, and steroids for the pain. If it isn't better by next week, back I go.

My left side was really hurting after all those trips upstairs and downstairs, but I decided to salvage the day. I had lunch at Tin Drum and swilled the first three of the course of steroids, and then went out to the Apple Annie craft show. On my first shot, I got irritated at the two police officers they had directing traffic. I could clearly see empty spaces in the parking lot and three cars left while I was turning around, but they were tenaciously guarding the "lot full" sign. I was hurting too much to drive the two miles to the other church where the shuttle was operating, so I grumped back to Trader Joe's to pick up more of the gingerbread bars we bought on Sunday. They must have been popular because there were only about seven packages left!

By the time I'd eaten one, I figured I'd driven all this way in super-annoying traffic and I might as well try to get in. So I went past the supercops to the front entrance; as usual the right hand didn't know what the left was doing and there out front the "Lot Full" sign and orange cones were pushed to the side. I found someone just backing out.

There was a huge number of jewelry dealers this year. In each of the classrooms, there was at least one jewelry dealer, plus more in the gym and in the parish hall. It was a bit overwhelming. I bought a little ceramic dish for James' tea strainer and spoon, and, in a fit of whimsy, one of the items they were selling for the missions, a wonderful pashmina in autumn colors. I also ran into Claudia Barbour, who I hadn't seen since last year's Apple Annie. She has bought property in Toccoa!

So when I get home I discover La-Z-Boy has called to give us a preliminary time for our chair delivery. Unfortunately the little robot lady giving the number to call dropped one of the digits. I called La-Z-Boy, but all the nice lady who answered the phone could do was send an e-mail to the delivery people. They didn't call back again. That means we'll just have to wait around all day tomorrow for the chair. Gee, thanks.

I was wiped out and fell asleep in the spare room. We ordered dinner in and I had another steroid. I've had four now and it's amazing how much it has already helped the pain. It's definitely not gone but I can take a deep breath without wanting to scream. In the meantime, watched a Christmas episode of QI thanks to Britbox and tonight's Hawaii Five-0.

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» Sunday, November 26, 2017
We Need a Little Christmas...

Okay, it was this morning James couldn't sleep. I tried to, but nature screamed, and that ended that.

So when you're dressed by nine o'clock on a Sunday morning, what's the best thing to do? Yep: go to Kroger. Lots of handicapped parking before ten o'clock! We found out they also carry the Boar's Head no-salt turkey breast lunchmeat and reduced sodium ham, at the same price as Publix. Bought bread for work lunches, yogurt, milk, and a couple of other things. There were good BOGOs at Publix, so we went there, too.

There was an unpleasant, invisible little man beating on my temples as we completed the grocery shopping, so I took two Tylenol and "rested my eyes" for about an hour. At one, James and I went to the La-Z-Boy store to check out their Black Friday sales. The poor recliner has been, to put it mildly, "rode hard and put away wet." We got it before we moved, so it is probably about thirteen years old. I keep it vacuumed, but nevertheless it's full of dog hair (Willow's and Tucker's), saggy, fluff is coming out under one arm, and it's torn a little where the top meets the room divider. (The room divider is in even worse shape.) James has slept in it when he's sick, it was Willow's favorite bed, and it got banged about when we moved. Also, we got the cheapest chair that they had way back then, which was a really icky tobacco color. (We remember bringing it home on the truck. It rocked so much we had to pull over and turn it around.)

We gravitated to the cheapest of the sale recliners, in a nice grey, and then we found one for a little more that had more back support, still in grey. I could get behind that. And then, of course, ended up with one a teeny bit more that that one, because it was even more supportive. (I daresay if we had the cash we would have come home with the power one. There was a point where James' knees were so bad he couldn't get out of the chair.) This one was red. That one we bought; it matched the autumn theme of the house.

The last time La-Z-Boy had the one we bought in stock, and, as I said, we got it home on the truck. We can go get this one, too, except we'd have to drive up to Buford. Are you kidding me? And then we'd still have to get it up the stairs! So we are having it delivered at a price that merely makes me squeal. It is $80 more [eyes goggle] for them to take the old one away! Sheesh! The appliance stores will deliver the new one and get rid of the old one for a lower price than that! So we will find another way. Maybe Terry and Aubrey can help us. The "new broom" is coming Saturday.

Stopped by Bed, Bath & Beyond with two coupons. If we'd had plans for them, we changed them: we bought a big bath towel and two big washcloths, to use on the new recliner.

Finally, for a bit of fun, we stopped at Starbuck's and had peppermint hot chocolate.

It was still midafternoon when we got home, so I put on some working clothes, had a hunk of the French bread, and got to work: took down the Thanksgiving decorations on the porch and also the mailbox cover, and put up the Christmas mailbox cover, the Christmas banner (oh, my poor Father Christmas; he's looking a bit threadbare, and I'll never find another one like him), the Christmas wreath, and the set of net lights we bought at Lowes yesterday (which means I had to program that meshuggeneh timer). I also put up all the door wreaths and the candles in the dining room windows and in the front bedroom windows.

There was some drama with the front room candles this year. We have been doing all blue lights in the candoliers for years, but since we have the multicolor net lights, it looks mismatched. Last year I grabbed the last three sets of five, rather than four, color C7 bulbs they had at Kmart. They were unusual because they were red, orange, green, blue, and a rare yellow (usually if you get a five-set, the fifth color is white). My original two sets of five-each candoliers came from my mother, but one year one of the end candles quit illuminating the bulb put in it. So I ordered a second set of two from the Vermont Country Store, and I've been using this pair since then. I actually had an idea for the older set. Unfortunately as I began to screw bulbs into the candoliers I discovered trouble in the offing. One green bulb didn't work out of the package. I had an odd green bulb and put that in. The other set of bulbs worked perfectly. Got the candles put in each window. Check! When I went back to look at the spare room set, the blue bulb was out! I gave it a little twist, it lit—and the fuse blew on the whole candolier. Sigh. I'll see if I can find some at Ace Hardware. So I had to substitute the one of Mom's old ones that worked on all five candles. Then when I took Tucker out I noticed the central yellow candle in the craft room set was out. I said a naughty word.

The candle came back on.

I can see this is going to be a fun year with the lights...

Anyway, more of "Monty" the turkey for supper, hot in gravy with roasted potatoes and a bit of stuffing. Turkey made me feel like watching Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol tonight, and so we did (and I cried through "All Alone in the World"), with an Alaska: the Last Frontier chaser. What a shock about Shane's accident! He fell off a ladder and has broken his back!

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» Saturday, November 25, 2017
A Glimmer of Christmas

On Saturday mornings, unless we have to get up early, James' usual habit has been to wake at 8:30, decide he can't sleep, and get up. This morning we were snoozing until almost ten. It was quite lovely. Thus followed perambulation of the pooch and eating of the breakfast before heading out into the world. James still sounds like a frog, but not quite as croaky as previously.

Our first stop this morning was Goodwill. If I'm going to start Christmas decorating, I need to put the everyday decorations in boxes in the laundry room, and that meant finally getting rid of the old microwave cart. We loaded that, plus a few clothes, a few housewares we don't use, a stuffed dog, and the old crock pot, and took it to Goodwill. They almost didn't take the cart; I guess I acted pitiful enough. Then we bought gasoline at Costco, and could finally enter the fun portion of the afternoon: going to Trader Joe's.

Last month we stocked up on pumpkin bars, which they only sell in October; today we stocked up on cranberry bars, which they only sell before Christmas. James likes to have the throughout the year, along with the apple, strawberry, and blueberry bars. And we ended up stocking up with Christmas dessert treats: candy cane Joe-Joes, peppermint bark, peppermint puffs (we like to have extra so we can eat some when summer is getting on our last nerve). Plus chicken sausage, tomato soup (they had a sample of it; it tasted like a grilled cheese sandwich...LOL), pumpkin crackers, and finally something called "gingerbread sticks." We ate one each on the way home, and think we may have a substitute for gingerbread boys, since Books-a-Million no longer sells pastries at all and we can't go up there at Christmas for cocoa and gingerbread anymore.

We came home via JoAnn. Sometimes when we have the power chair with us, we don't want to bring it in a small place and we leave it on the lift. To warn people it's there, we tie the red bandanna from the emergency box on it for higher visibility. But people drive so crazy these days that we keep worrying that's not enough. JoAnn has bandannas in different colors and I bought one that's a mix of flame yellow and flame orange. If they miss that they deserve being sued! Also got bulbs for the window candles, some small cross-stitch craft items, little pine trees for the Christmas village, and, because I had a 25 percent off coupon on the entire purchase, a mindfulness magazine called "In the Moment."

A funny: I was surfing Facebook as we drove home—we came through the battlefield park and the trees were gorgeous!—and came upon a live broadcast of a tuba Christmas concert from in front of Faneuil Hall in Boston. We listened to this on the way home; they played all sorts of tunes and the audience was so appreciative. I love the internet!

Chilled out for the rest of the afternoon, and then I finally got my barbecue pork ribs at Fried Tomato Buffet. We were supposed to go two weeks ago, but I was so sick, and then last weekend was Hair Day, and we were both sick. Didn't eat very much: probably about four or five ounces of the pork, some cucumbers, and some olives. I don't have much of an appetite since I was sick, which I guess is a good thing, but which doesn't show up very much on the scale.

We stopped at Lowes on the way home to get a new set of net lights for the bushes outside. We'd lost a quarter of our current set a couple of years ago, and then right before last Epiphany lost another quarter. I stepped on a couple of the bulbs two years ago as well, so the set were pretty well shot. We looked at other outdoor lights and then headed for home.

Watched a recent (90s?) animated special called The Story of Santa Claus tonight on CBS. Kinda cute, in that old-fashioned soft animated style that I prefer; I hate the current cartoon stuff that's all angles! Nicholas Claus and his wife Gretchen are evicted from their toy shop because they can't pay the rent because Nicholas, remembering his lonely life as an orphan, gives away all his toys. The nasty landlord even takes Gretchen's wedding ring! Lost in a storm, Nicholas and Gretchen are transported to the North Pole, where they save the life of a young elf named Clement. The reward for this, the cranky old head elf tells them, is to have any wish come true. Nicholas, true to form, says he wants to give every child a toy on Christmas Eve instead of asking for something for himself. The elves have to pull this off or they will lose all their magic. With the help of little Clement and the stereotypical little bossy, eyeglass-wearing mathematically-inclined girl Aurora, they go about making it happen, even though old cranky guts doesn't believe they can do it. Wished it had a bit more "heart," but it was cute.

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» Friday, November 24, 2017
Only What You Need...Sort Of

...or "This Year's Black Friday Expedition."

I woke up at 5:48 a.m. thinking "Why am I getting up at six o'clock when the store I'm going to doesn't open until 7:45? So I reset the alarm for 6:30 and fell back to sleep. Postponing it a half hour didn't help chivvying Tucker outside for a walk; he gave me an incredulous look like "You want me to get up? Now?"

I was waiting at Office Max seven minutes before opening with a lot of people mostly waiting on a laptop deal. Previously they have opened at six and I was practically the only person in the store.

With my Windows 10 upgrade, my telework scanner (which was made for WindowsXP after all) quit working and I turned it back in. But I wanted a scanner for myself, and, in case of OCR scans, wanted one with a sheet feeder. I had gotten a cute little all-in-one Epson from Amazon Vine and it worked fine, but it had only a flatbed, not a feeder. I was going to pick up the cheapest sheet feeder Office Max had, but the one $10 more had network access and a photo tray, so I got that instead. I also got a crosscut shredder. I have a straight one only on which the blades are growing dull and the statistics on identity theft are getting to be appalling. The shredder I got will also shred credit cards.

James' wireless mouse had acted up a few months ago, which brought into sharp focus that we had no spare wireless mice. The ones we like, the big Logitech M310s, are regularly $30. Today they were $9, so I bought two. James also expressed interest in having a wireless keyboard and mouse for work, so I picked up one for him. I also got a new set of InkJoy ballpoints (as the free ones I got from Vine were running out of ink) and what is frankly a toy, a Boogie Board "Blackboard." You write with a pen on a liquid crystal display. It's like a scratch pad.

Frankly, at this point I was already tired, but the one thing I always do on Black Friday morning is go to Best Buy to get the newest season of Big Bang Theory on DVD. The first year Best Buy opened on Thanksgiving night, there was not one blessed person in the store when I got there on Friday. Sorry to say this has not been a trend. This morning the store was mobbed with people buying flatscreen TVs. I found Big Bang and a Blu-Ray copy of Wonder Woman for $7, so grabbed it and spent time in line reading my phone and trying not to pay attention to the antics of the guy behind me. I thought the lady behind him was going to belt him. He got in line with a 42 inch television and a Dyson hand vac. About halfway into the line progress, he left the hand vac and disappeared with the TV without a word to anyone in line. The lady behind him was bewildered. "Where'd he go?" So she just stepped around the Dyson and got in line after me. Five minutes later he reappeared with another TV box, and jockeyed his way behind me again. The lady got testy with him and said "Are you going to move again? Because if you do I'm not giving you your place back!" Sheesh, all he had to do was tell one of us that...I dunno, maybe he noticed the box was dented on the TV and wanted to get an undamaged one. I could see that. But say something. That was rude.

Then off home, where James was already up and done with breakfast. He liked the keyboard and mouse so much he wanted one for working at home. So, before I fell asleep again, we went back to Office Max for another. Then, with 25 percent off coupons in our hot little hands, we went on to Barnes & Noble, where I used mine to buy Judith Flanders' Christmas: A Biography and he used his to buy Cards Against Humanity (we've wanted a set). O frabjous day! All the magazines were 30 percent off and the new "Breathe" and the new "Bella Grace" were out. But James had no luck finding the December "Airfix" that usually has an airplane calendar.

I was shameless. "We could go into Buckhead..."

Well, first we had lunch at the Corner Bakery, which kind of has a Panera-type menu. I had chicken noodle soup and it was dreadfully salty and tasted out of a can. James fared better with a small chili and a steak-and-cheese sandwich.

It was a lovely day to drive into Buckhead, not much traffic, and we got a handicapped place right out front. Alas, no December "Airfix," but he did find a few more magazines, and I found a "Best of British" and a "Saturday Evening Post" Christmas cover salute and a few other things, and a stocking stuffer for Emma. We came home through the opulent neighborhood that spreads between Peachtree Road and West Paces Ferry, and almost every house seemed to have a gorgeous RED Japanese maple in the yard, and many had some type of tree where the leaves turn a dictionary-defining orange. There were trees the color of old gold, and trees mixing green and bright yellow. One of the treats of Thanksgiving in the South are that many trees are not past peak by that date, so the old trees around the old properties were spectacular. Plus the weather was in the low 60s and we rode around with windows down.

Of course all that fresh air made us sleepy and we ended up falling asleep for the rest of the afternoon!

We picked at the dark meat left off "Monty" the turkey for supper, and had the little chocolate bundt cake we'd bought at the Bakery for dessert, and then I figured it was time for Christmas and put some Britcoms on: The Good Life (one of our especial favorites) and To the Manor Born and Keeping Up Appearances (with just about everyone in the Father Christmas suit) and Vicar of Dibley, finishing up with the warm and wonderful "Merry Gentlemen" from All Creatures Great and Small. Love all the vintage decorations—look at those C6 bulbs on the Christmas tree!—and the homey interior of Skeldale House. God, I want to live in that episode.

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» Thursday, November 23, 2017
Relatively Speaking, It Was a Great Thanksgiving
I was up a bit late last night watching The Thanksgiving Treasure, because it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it, so 8:30 came a bit quickly. James got up sounding a bit better, which was hopeful, but his actions all morning prove he's still not well, and he certainly needs more treatments for his anemia. The two conditions have dealt him a sucker punch.

In short order "Monty" the turkey was out of the fruit dish. James wrangled him into the roasting pan, stuffed with an orange, an apple, and some onions. He does this adaptation of an Alton Brown recipe where you cook the bird at 500℉ for 30 minutes to get it brown, and then cook it the rest of the time at 350. This is our first time using the whole oven rather than the top half (and I made sure we didn't start preheating it with the divider in it by removing it yesterday), so it was rather a big test!

Meanwhile I was clearing things up when James gave his mother a call to see if they had left yet. Yes, he was told, they were in our driveway. Yipe! We whisked the rest of the sofa and the rocker clear and went to open the door.

Mom and Candy brought their little dog Jenny with them because she is too old and frail to be left alone. We put out some piddle pads for her, but she still had an accident or two before we learned where to position them. She was very suspicious of the stairs (there are none at her house), but she made it up eventually. Tucker was on the deck and I put him on a leash to introduce them; he's never had another dog in his house before and I wanted to make sure he remained a gentleman. His tail wagged a mile a minute and they got along fine, but Jenny didn't seem to know what to make of him and he was puzzled because she wouldn't play with him. He didn't seem to like her taking a nap on his blankie, though. I guess she has girl dog cooties. 😀

James was flagging, so I did a lot of work on Monty as he cooked: made up a basting sauce of Grade B maple syrup and red wine and kept him shiny. Did notice the oven seemed to have a "cold spot" as one small portion of the breast did not brown with the rest. I cured this by turning the bird, but when he was done it left one of the wings underdone. We'll know to turn the bird more next time.

Mom and Candy brought mashed potatoes and peas, carrots, and a crustless pumpkin pie, plus a big fruit and veggie tray. The latter was yummy; I started stealing olives off it almost immediately. By the time the dog show was half over, the turkey was done and we were seated at table enjoying Monty and his side-dishes and delectable things off the fruit/vegetable tray: strawberries, watermelon, pickles, olives, and more. We were quite stuffed and retreated back to the living room for football before eating dessert (a small French silk pie each and some of the pumpkin).

They left about four with a big portion of breast meat and dressing and gravy, and James concatenated Monty for shoving into the fridge (we figure we can just make cold turkey sandwiches out of him on Friday) and we loaded up the dishwasher with almost everything and ran it again. Instead of supper, we ate off the fruit and vegetable tray: more olives, pickles, blueberries, cranberry sauce, cheese wedges, cantaloupe. We watched the news and Wheel of Fortune and then James found the Thanksgiving episode of WKRP in Cincinnati and we watched that ("As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly...")

Finally I put the dog show back on because we'd pretty much missed the second half. We were so tickled by the 6-year-old girl handling the long-haired chihuahua! It was so adorable, yet she was as soberly professional as an adult.

I had originally thought the winner was an affenpinscher, but it was the darling little Brussells Griffon.

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» Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Creeping Toward Thanksgiving
In retrospect, it was a bit of a crazy idea. There we were, both sick, and not only did we still make the centerpiece for Hair Day, but we still picked up a turkey at the supermarket. He lived in the fruit dish for the week and was dubbed "Monty" in a fit of whimsy.

Since we were having company for Thanksgiving and I needed to tidy up, plus that I'd rather shovel manure than drive on the freeways in Atlanta on the day before Thanksgiving (or any holiday, for that matter), I took today off. The morning was reserved for last minute grocery buying: James wanted oranges to stuff into Monty, and there were a couple of other things to pick up. I quickly ran through my list, or as quickly as I could do so, because Publix was already crowded. At one point I needed to ask James a question, but he didn't pick up his cell phone and I couldn't get him to pick up the house phone. I tried an alternative idea: "dropping in" via the Alexa app on our Echo Dot. It was goofy, but it worked; I got my answer!

Once home, I asked James if he was interested in soup for lunch. He expressed an interest, so I toodled down to Sprouts, where they had clam chowder for the first time in a long time.

I got behind a woman in the Sprouts checkout line who was getting the tiniest container of soup they had, but she only had the $3 for the soup, not the tax. She said she would have to get out of line and find something cheaper. The bagger pulled a dollar out and gave it to the cashier to pay off the rest of the soup. I was so tickled by that that when I paid for my soup I gave the seventeen cents for the tax back to the bagger. Cheered me up no end.

I had James promise to have a no-salt dinner because the clam chowder was very salty, but also very good. After lunch I vacuumed everywhere, including the awful stairs, shook out the rug, made sure the hall bathroom was sanitary, and then started to clean off the chair and the sofa. James scrubbed the stove and cleared off the counters and we did a load of dishes and completely emptied the dishwasher for tomorrow. Things do get cluttered when we just live. 😀

We found a sort of "best of" Forged in Fire running tonight, followed by a 20/20 special that wasn't about unsolved crimes for once: this was a salute to popular Christmas films. They talked to Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo about Christmas Vacation, argued whether Die Hard was a Christmas film or not, talked to Tim Allen about being in "the fat suit," and the host of all of it was Peter Billingsley, Ralphie himself.  They also talked to the woman who was the voice of Lucy in A Charlie Brown Christmas.

And this was not forgotten today: Where Were You? November 22, 1963

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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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