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 theyoungfamily (at) earthlink (dot) net

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» Saturday, November 16, 2019
72 Hours of Time Flying

Seriously, will you tell me how a three-day weekend zips by with all the speed of an SST when a three-day workweek lasts about a month? (I know. Madeleine L'Engle explained it. It's the difference between Chronos and Kairos. But really...)

The temps had taken a decided dip on Wednesday night and while Thursday was free of rain, it was a whole lot of cold. We bundled up in sweatshirts and jackets and hats and went off on the weekly "hunting" at Publix. Every week we say we are going to try to spend less, and every week the BOGOs are too useful to pass up. This week it was Tucker's favorite dog biscuits, and we got $18 worth of "cookies" for $9, so it is a good thing. But it adds up so fast!

We made a brief detour by Kroger on the way home because we were completely out of mushrooms. James just sent me in with ten dollars and I got a dozen small cans of "no salt added" and some ramen noodles to make up the difference. Then we had to hustle home to put up the perishable groceries, because it was 12:30 by then and James had to be at the doctor by 1:30.

We hope this will be the last appointment until January, although we will need to go back to Kaiser itself for prescription refills. Today we saw the nephrologist and he was very pleased that all of James' kidney functions were holding steady, with his creatitine at 2.4. However, he seemed a little bit more worried that James' BP had been high the last couple of months (we think it's stress from his work schedule and, frankly, money shortages). So the doctor put him on a low dose of BP meds, and said it should also clear up the protein he is seeing in the urine. James will need to come back at the beginning of December for followup bloodwork to check up on that. [November 17: looks like the BP med is already working.]

By the time he did prescriptions it was time to head home. For evening enjoyment we had Young Sheldon and some Perry Mason.

The rain came whirling in on Friday. I like chilly days, I like cloudy days, but chilly and cloudy with cold rain is just misery. James decided not to come with me to go to the small Smyrna Library Sale. This is usually held at the Fall Jonquil Festival at the end of October, but they decided not to risk it in the rain that weekend. I went there just for the heck of it, found one nice book that I thought I might have, but it was only a dollar, and then two other books for fifty cents: Simon Garfield's On the Map (go ahead! twist my arm! make me read about cartography! 😀 ) and a nice basic book of cross-stitch stitches in color with instructions. Turns out I did have the bigger book, and that went into the McKay's box.

We left the house early for our lunch date and so we stopped briefly at Lidl for a bread/milk/ground turkey run. It was so cold outside (low 40s) and clammy that neither of us worried about leaving the turkey in the insulated bag when we went to O'Charley's for lunch. Most of the rest of the crowd was at Conjuration (Harry Potter/magic convention), so it was just Mel and Phyllis at the table with us. The conversation and lunch were nice—I had the same six-ounce steak, baked potato with butter, and salad with balsamic dressing as last time—but after we headed home I started feeling decidedly sick. Not sure if it was the salad dressing or the seasoning on the steak, but I was queasy and miserable all afternoon and finally fell asleep under a blanket on the sofa for a couple of hours. By Hawaii Five-0 time I was a bit better, but it wasn't the greatest of evenings. Later we watched an episode of Perry Mason with Bill Mumy as a young orphan who found a murder weapon. They edit these things so much: we found out the murderer but never told us what happened to him!

Saturday dawned sunny and nice—we left the house in jackets and ditched them midafternoon, so we decided to drive up to Acworth for a hot chocolate at Books-a-Million. We wound through our favorite back route, which is mostly residential, checking out the mellowing trees with their darkening leaves, and saw our first Christmas decoration, a Santa Claus on a front door, and a Christmas tree heading home, and finally pulled into the handicapped parking space in front of the store. As I was prepping the power chair to come down, I looked up. The bookstore was empty. The sign was gone. Wow. In fact the store wasn't just empty, it had been completely cleared out inside down to the concrete flooring and walls.

Well, dang, when did that happen? That Books-a-Million has been here over ten years, and I've been going there every couple of months for that long. We were just here in the summer for frozen hot chocolates, and it didn't look like it was going to close. 😞 Anyway, since both other BAM stores were an hour's drive away on this traffic-clogged Saturday afternoon, we just went to Petco to use the restrooms and buy Tucker some cookies and then came away. Instead we turned back toward home and stopped at Dallas Highway and checked out the Barnes & Noble, and then drove out to Austell to get something at Ollie's Discount Outlet—except, of course, that they didn't have it. I did find a couple of nice books for gifts, and James discovered some brown-sugar cinnamon PopTarts (without the dreadful frosting!) for me.

That was quite a bit of driving for James, so we headed home. He made beef stir fry for supper, which was delicious, and we watched a couple of Father Brown episodes we hadn't seen as well as the Britcoms.

Then, poof! Weekend over for us.

Really bummed about Books-a-Million. The closest one is now at Arbor Place Mall, which is nowhere I want to be at this time of year. Maybe after Christmas.

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Flourish

» Wednesday, November 13, 2019
The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2019

Outside my window...
...I am looking directly at the bird feeders and a big mockingbird is landing on the hanging suet cake and chasing off all the little birds. What a big bruiser he is compared to the usual crowd of titmice, chickadees, brown-headed and white-breasted nuthatches, house finches, sparrows, and downy woodpeckers. He's just a little smaller than the red-breasted woodpecker that comes by sometimes.

I am thinking...
...how nice it is for it to have gotten cold, but it's almost too cold for my poor toes. Even in boot socks they are icy. It's such good walking weather, though; you don't perspire, or feel like you want to pass out from the heat. I would have walked longer this morning but was aware how cold the pavement must have been for Tucker's little paws. His feet were cold when we arrived home and I rubbed them all before letting him upstairs.

I am thankful...
...for our Thanks Jar! It is sitting on the dining room table collecting squares of paper with things we're thankful for on them. No thanks is too small...I know I popped one that says "milk" in there.

In the kitchen...
...we did an easy dinner today: we had leftovers from the Thai place last Thursday. Mine was yummy pad thai with (non-spicy) peanut sauce and James had leftover beef-flavored noodles with ground turkey and green beans. For dessert: three dark chocolate Oreos apiece. Now we need more.

I am wearing...
...a burgundy sweatshirt, dark blue sweatpants, and red and navy blue striped grey boot socks. It was in the 20s this morning, so the socks were needed for Tucker's and my long walk.

I am creating...
...at least one Thanksgiving card; I thought I had a bunch and I only have three. I need to make at least one other or flush one up from somewhere.

I am going...
...a bit annoyed with this month. First the starter on James' truck gave up the ghost, and now one of the nose pieces on my glasses has broken off! It can't be soldered even if you could find one to do it, and I simply do not have the money for new glasses right now and don't need new lenses anyway. Is it possible they still have this frame at America's Best and I could just buy a frame?

I am wondering...
...if I should go to the Mistletoe Market at the Civic Center this weekend. I used to enjoy going in the past, and they haven't had one in a while. On the other hand I blew off the last one they did have because it's run by the Junior League and all the items for the past few years have been decidedly upscale and very expensive as compared to the simpler crafts and products they had when I first began going. I do want to stop at the Smyrna Library book sale if I can.

I am reading...
...depends on which medium! Physical book: E.B. White: Writings from the "New Yorker", 1920s-70s, which I'm glad I got from a book sale for $1 because while I'm still adoring White's "turn of phrase," these are just excerpts from his columns, not complete essays as in One Man's Meat and Essays of E.B. White, so it's intensely disappointing. E-book: Merry Midwinter, which I'm loving; a look at all midwinter celebrations by a woman who describes herself as "a Quaker, a Theophist, and a practicing Druid." (I would have thought Quakers and Druids would be diametrically opposed, but I guess not in her case!) Magazine: Just finished "Country Sampler"'s Autumn Decorating edition. E-magazine: the October issue of "Country Living UK." I love the UK edition much more than the American magazine, as there are actually stories about living and making a living in the country in it. Imagine that.

I am hoping...
...James stays well. That's all I ever hope anymore. I don't even dream about going on vacation any longer.

I am looking forward to...
...book sale maybe, this week's lunch (at O'Charley's), Thanksgiving coming up. Must enjoy this time with friends as James has (so far) neither Christmas nor New Year's off. This means no Christmas dinner at the Butlers and no going to Bill and Caran's party, and if he doesn't work, he doesn't get paid.

I am learning...
...or I need to learn not to look back at bad things so much. I still cry to myself about last year's car accident.

Around the house...
...James is clicking away, teleworking since the truck was broken (we could only pick it up at lunchtime today, since the mechanic closes before James gets off). Tucker is asleep on one of the dining room chairs. Snowy is chirbling to the Christmas music I have on.

I am pondering...
...these days I'm always pondering taking a nap!

A favorite quote for today...
"The maples perhaps undergo the most complete transformation of all the forest trees [in the autumn]. Their leaves fairly become luminous, as if they glowed with inward light. In October a maple-tree before your window lights up your room like a great lamp. Even on cloudy days its presence helps to dispel the gloom."             . . . John Burroughs

One of my favorite things...
...Christmas music done in brass! Listening to the Canadian Brass right now.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
James goes to the nephrologist tomorrow. Hoping no surprises as creatitine is holding steady at 2.4. Maybe book sale. Lunch on Friday. Winging the rest.

A peek into my day...
How about last Saturday instead? This wonderful orange tree in the JoAnn Fabrics & Craft parking lot at Kennesaw.




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


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Flourish

» Saturday, November 09, 2019
It's Always Something

Well, it was an interesting weekend, and, yeah, part of that was in the Chinese sense.

I went into the weekend feeling chuffed because I'd finally updated my Christmas web page completely (I'd done the donkey work already and was just tweaking) and did some minor corrections to the Thanksgiving page. I'd done the Autumn page earlier, so now the only other seasonal page to update is the Winter one.

Thursday we made the usual supermarket run, and then had this week's lunch a day early at Curry Curry, a Thai restaurant near where James works. I had pad thai and got a huge bowl of noodles and meat; looking forward to the leftovers! Alice, Ken, and Mel also showed up and we had a nice chat before we headed off to Walmart. We needed more non-stick bandages and also picked up more melatonin. In the evening we had a small snack and watched Babylon 5.

On Friday morning we drove out to Kaiser Glenlake for James' appointment with his cardiologist. This was easier said than done. The truck has been giving him a problem since early summer; sometimes when he tried to start it it would click. And after a few clicks it would start. Friday morning it didn't start at all. So I drove him out instead and had to shove James around in a manual wheelchair. I'd say the visit went fairly well: Dr. Shash said his readings and labs looked okay, and he thought James' slightly elevated blood pressure was caused by the pain from his arthritis. He said just to keep an eye on things and if it continued he'd raise the dosage of his meds a little. He doesn't want to do it now because it would make James more tired. (I didn't realize BP meds made you tired.)

Then we had to go downstairs for his blood tests for Dr. Kongara next week, and then back upstairs to the pharmacy, and then only could we head home. Luckily we got out of there before they blocked off the roads near our house because both the President and the Vice President were in Atlanta today.

Once we got home, James tried to start the truck again, but it was a no go. So I went upstairs to call AAA, only to realize we had never received our renewal notice in the mail. Instead I went online to pay the bill, then called them about the truck. First they sent over someone to try to jump it off just in case it was the battery, but that was a lost cause. Only then could the tow truck show up and the guy pulled the pickup out of the driveway as easily as the yolk comes out of a broken egg, and we followed him to the mechanic. They won't get to look at it until Monday.

(James' blood tests came in later in the evening. Everything seems to be holding steady, creatitine at 2.4.)

Since James couldn't drive himself to his meeting on Saturday, I took him up to Town Center and left him at Hobbytown while I bopped around a little. I had four good JoAnn coupons but not much money, so bought four more colors of DMC Etoile floss and enjoyed the browsing. Then I took the back way—because Barrett Parkway today looked like it was the week before Christmas—to get to the Hallmark store since I had a good coupon. I did end up with a gift for someone and two Thanksgiving cards. I also took a turn around Tuesday Morning, and dropped in at Publix to see if they had chicken and wild rice soup. I was strolling around Barnes & Noble when James called and said the meeting was over. I was an idiot and went through Barrett, and it took me twenty minutes to get about two miles. Did someone move up Black Friday when I wasn't looking? Incredible!

So we headed home and spent a quiet evening watching Babylon 5 and the end of the Shadow War. Alas, if only they knew the hardest part was ahead of them.

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Flourish

» Saturday, November 02, 2019
Through Fair Day and Foggy....

Another cold front came marching upon us, but we had to endure the warmth before it. Thankfully it was just 70s instead of the dreadful 90s we had until October 2. The rain that came with it, having crept northward from the Gulf of Mexico (again!), started late Tuesday afternoon, proceeded through Wednesday, when it drizzled, poured, rained, misted, poured, dribbled, poured, and dribbled again—but stayed warm. On Thursday morning we lucked out and got a break in the rain, so we dashed to Sam's Club for a couple of things. We frankly had to dash inside the store, too, because there was only one electric cart free up front and it was rapidly running out of battery. So we picked up what we needed—including, ironically, batteries—and left posthaste, only to have the cart run out of juice inside the front door. Thankfully we only had a few things and we could just carry them to the car.

On the way home we stopped for the twofers at Publix. Like Sam's, they were doing a booming business in giant bags of candy for trick or treating tonight, and many of the employees as well as the shoppers were in costume. (At Sam's we had seen someone in a keen 1950s outfit, complete with full poodle skirt!) Now, when we went into the store, the clouds were lowering and it was still quite warm, about 74℉. In fact, it seemed warmer than when we left Sam's minutes before. We emerged from Publix about 45 minutes later with the rain just starting, and as we turned to drive through downtown Smyrna, it started to pour. By the time we got to the house, it was down to 62. The temperature continued to fall throughout the day, so that it was in the 50s during the news, 40s as we were watching TV, and it went down to the 30s during the night.

After the groceries were put up and lunch eaten, we went to tackle the last big thing before free electronics recycling day on Saturday: the clear plastic computer box in the garage. Back in "the old days," when it was cheaper, James used to build our computers instead of us buying them. We'd pick out a case, a motherboard, RAM, and the parts, and he'd put them together and we'd have a frankenmachine. Well, when these computers broke down we'd toss the broken parts and keep the working parts. These parts were all in the big plastic box in the closet in our garage. Some of the stuff was over ten years old. I pulled it out, James regarded it, and the junk went in a garbage bag. We pretty much threw out almost everything, especially all those phone cables (we had more phone cables than any two human beings should have). We kept a spare keyboard, a spare wired mouse, two power supplies (one never opened), one of each kind of cable, about three network cables of different lengths, and that was about it. James also cleaned out next to his computer and got rid of floppy disks (which I thought we had sacked long ago), games he bought and played briefly, games he bought and discovered he needed something expensive to play them, etc. We had two garbage bags full of junk just from that and a small cardboard box besides the dead fans, lamps, etc. in the garage boxes, and the two little netbooks that we had reformatted. (I did a Marie Kondo with the latter, and gave them a hug and told them how much joy they'd given us before I dumped them in the box.)

I was wandering around YouTube later on, and found some shows I had marked to watch later. These were produced by the Rhode Island PBS station profiling various towns in the state. I watched one about Johnston and was happy to see that, besides the town landfill, which has always been kind of a joke, they had a lot of stories about historic areas (including a history museum that opened after I left the state) and organic farms. The final story was about something I saw flitting around Facebook for months: three wild turkeys who were wandering around Atwood Avenue (practically Johnston's Main Street) without a care in the world, stopping traffic. They caught two, but the third one was at large for months after this was filmed. Not sure if they caught it or not!

We didn't do Hallowe'en, and as far as I can tell, maybe two houses on our street did. Usually you can hear kids outside, but I didn't see any when I looked out the window.

We awoke to a cold but beautiful Friday, with bright blue skies overhead. From shirtsleeves on Thursday, we were in jackets with flannel shirts underneath and hats.

Today we had an early lunch because of James' (and I think Ken's) doctors' appointments at Kaiser Glenlake. We went to Shane's barbecue with just Alice and Ken and missed a larger crowd, but had a good time chatting.

It's a good thing we mellowed out because once we arrived at Kaiser, it seemed to take forever. We got there so early James took his time using the rest room and I refilled all our water bottles while he did, so we were hoping we might get in early and out before rush-hour traffic began. We didn't get to his appointment until a hour after our scheduled time, but there was good news: the bandages were taken off and everything was dry, so she didn't put more back on. But we were so late getting out that we just went directly home. That suited me, because I put away the autumn decorations and put up the Thanksgiving decorations on the porch (and also the mailbox cover).

After last week's Hallowe'en Hawaii Five-0, this week's seemed kind of a letdown with those two idiot bloggers or whatever they were covering the team.

Saturday we were up with the sun (literally, because it was the final day of daylight saving time—and good riddance!—and the sun isn't up until after seven) for breakfast and dog walking before we had to load up the truck and head for Jim Miller Park for recycling day. It was chilly but sunny when we loaded up the power chair, but we weren't even a couple of miles from home when we ran into a bank of fog that we wove in and out of all the way to the park. At times it formed a wall of grey in front of us, then shredded apart once we got in line to leave our junk behind. From there we were planning to go to Harbor Freight and, accordingly, went the shortest way, past downtown Marietta, but they were having, in addition to the usual Farmer's Market, a Heart Run, and some local performers. We could hear one of them singing as we came around Glover Park. James had to thread his way around that, leaving us to head to Kennesaw by way of US-41, where we continued in and out of the fog banks, slipping in and out of the grey curtains ahead of us.

By the time we reached Harbor Freight, it was sunny again. We had a nice browse inside; I love hardware stores! I found some new gardening gloves at a very reasonable price, a few other things, and bought James an anniversary gift: he needed a new mototool. The store was in the same shopping center with a Publix, and we nipped inside to see if they had what we couldn't find in the Smyrna store on Thursday, paper towels (yes) and yogurt (no). By the time this was done, the fog was gone for good and the sky was a brilliant blue.

Then it was time for a little fun, so we stopped at Barnes&Noble. I picked up the new "Just Cross Stitch," and also two Christmas magazines. James also picked up a couple of magazines, and we were in a mellow mood when we stopped for lunch at Panera. Our last chore for the day was stopping at Sam's Club to fill up the truck.

And with this nice day our weekend ended.

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Flourish

» Wednesday, October 30, 2019
The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, OCTOBER 30, 2019

Outside my window...
...it's grey, damp, and raining. After a horrible summer and 90°F plus temps that lasted until the second of October, it's finally down to a more manageable 60s and 70s, with blessedly cooler temps to come—the forecast for Thursday night is 38°! (Supposedly with cooler days to follow, but you never can tell with Georgia weather; we were in a drought and now we have a flood watch.)

I am thinking...
...how I need to get out of the funk I am in lately. It's left over from when it was so broilingly hot. Maybe when it gets nicely cool instead of this off-and-on warm humidity. (On the other hand, one actual good thing about summer is that the laundry basket is lighter.)

I am thankful...
...that last week the rain held off long enough for us to go to the Fall Jonquil Festival. We really needed that barbecue sauce! Too bad Meadowcroft Farms wasn't there, but they were participating in a big craft festival in Gatlinburg.

In the kitchen...
...alas, all is dark for you foodies. Since we can stay up a little later tonight since today is James' Friday, we are eating supper tonight and not dinner today. James said with the dark and the rain it is a good soup and sandwich day. Apparently it is going to rain all through the night and all the way through tomorrow, making for a very soggy Hallowe'en.

I am wearing...
...a dark blue Owly t-shirt and blue/grey/silver/white buffalo check lounging pants, white socks under brown scuffs.

I am creating...
...or currently arranging "the lunch bunch" for the next few weeks. We've just been going out on Fridays with friends, but James has doctors' appointments the next three Fridays in a row, so we're having to work around it.

I am going...
...to need to get working on repairing those Christmas tree lights soon! It's just that I have to spend some time downstairs doing it and it's kind of lonely, and I worry about Snowy getting lonely upstairs. Of course he manages fine with the television on when we go out, so part of this is all in my head. I always imagined myself going into the library to read when we moved into this house, a quiet time, but I feel lonely without Snowy and Tucker.

I am wondering...
...when it will get cold and stay cold. (Not really cold! Aaron Lawson is attending university in Wyoming and it was -14°F there this morning. That's a bit much.) 50s and cloudy is what I want. Jacket weather. No headaches from the sun and I don't have to wear my hat.

I am reading...
...Suburban Safari by Hannah Holmes, about a woman who is studying nature through what she can find in her back yard. She has a very small acreage with woods behind, and she isn't just observing trees, plants, insects, and animals like I do, she actually collects samples and looks at them under a microscope and talks to scientists about her little microcosm. And she has made friends with a chipmunk! It's pretty nifty. 

I am hoping...
...the holidays are nice. We don't have much money, but am looking forward to little things like the craft fairs and gatherings with friends. Because we missed going to the Apple Festival this year—::sniffle:: stupid rain—we think we may try going to Christmas at Lithia again. We haven't gone to their Christmas bazaar for years; indeed we didn't even know it was still running.

I am looking forward to...
...Saturday! It's Free Electronics Recycling Day and I am looking forward to emptying all those boxes in the garage. Been going wholesale through gadgets that don't work anymore, things we no longer want, and even that big box of cables and computer parts in the garage, which has been sitting there accumulating for the last 13 years and we've never used a blessed thing in it. We'll keep some duplicate cables, a couple extra keyboards and wired mice, and toss the rest; the water heater closet can use the room.

I am learning...
...bought a magazine that came with a beginner quilling kit. Maybe will learn that.

Around the house...
...most of the windows are open, and the fans going; it's still moist and stuffy inside. James is teleworking due to the rain and industriously typing up his last call. Snowy is singing accompaniment to the instrumental Christmas cassette (Windham Hill's "The Carols of Christmas") I popped in awhile ago. I discovered that the old radio/cassette unit I used to use at work until 2013 is in perfect working order, and a good thing, because I still have 64 Christmas cassettes that have never appeared on CD or streaming (including three recorded in England) and a whole bunch of filk music tapes, and Hagood Hardy's Anne of Green Gables score all on cassette. And I can hear the gentle rattling of the laundry circling in the dryer through the baby monitor.

I am pondering...
...people. I am not looking forward to next year's election year. So much conflict already. Everyone fighting.

A favorite quote for today...
"And the sun took a step back, the leaves lulled themselves to sleep, and Autumn was awakened."
Raquel Franco
 
One of my favorite things...
...these days, that baby monitor! We bought it when my mother was ill, in her final days, so I could monitor her when she slept. After that we had no more need of it, but lately even with the door to the laundry room open downstairs and the sound echoed in the foyer, I often miss the ding of the washer and/or the dryer as they finish their cycle. I had the baby monitor pegged to do this job and searched for it for literally several  years before it turned up under the towels in the hall closet. Until I cleaned in there I never realized that's where I had stored them. A good cleaning is not only good for souls, it's good for finding things!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Grocery shopping (booooooring), lunch at Shane's barbecue, maybe a visit to Barnes & Noble, and, alas, another doctor's appointment for James.

A peek into my day...
Since I haven't done one of these in a while, I'll give you two:

It looks terribly scrawny now, but you didn't see how much these bushes out front had overgrown. You couldn't even see St. Francis and his funny cap for all the nandina fronds. Now the nandina has crew cuts, and the firecracker bush is nicely cropped to drape the net lights over.


And three cross stitch projects I did:




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

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Flourish

» Saturday, October 26, 2019
Meat, Mobility, and Meeping...Uh, Neeping

Well, it was a diverse weekend, that's for sure.

Thursday we decided to go to Patak's Meats. We were, we declared, not going to buy a lot, just some mortadella and more Italian sausage and maybe some stew beef. Well, James wanted pastrami, too, and the chicken wings looked good, and he bought some bulk breakfast sausage, too. Luckily this is dirt cheap (at least compared to the grocery stores) at Patak's. We also ran into someone we know: Christy, who used to be the daycare person who cared for our friends' sons Neil and Colin for so many years. I thought she looked familiar when she said hi, and then she said hi to James, who blinked and said hi back; she smiled and said, "Don't you know me?" It was too funny: we are so used to seeing her at Ron and Lin's house it took a minute to click! And we spent the time waiting gabbing about the new Cystic Fibrosis drug that could be such a blessing for Colin, and about how much we love Patak's. It's like a meat candy store. (Christy likes Lidl as well!)

Oh, Pataks had all their Christmas goodies out already: stollen and liebkuchen [sp?] and big boxes of petit fours, candies, special sauces, condiments, jellies, jams... Almost wanted to start singing Christmas carols!

We hit Publix for BOGOs on the way home, and then I had to busy myself: I'd found boneless pork ribs on sale at Kroger on Tuesday and they needed to be cooked up, so spent the afternoon monitoring a nice pot of gravy, which simmered sweetly and gave the house a lovely tomato scent, and we had one portion with macaroni for supper and put two other meals away, one in the refrigerator and one in the freezer.

Thankfully all that was already put away when I had an intestinal annoyance and didn't think I would sleep much, but it let me get seven hours of sleep before cutting back in again about 7:30 a.m. So I was not feeling too "swuft" when morning came, and we blew off going to lunch. I wouldn't have gone out at all, but it was spoiling for rain and if it did rain James couldn't take the power chair to Kaiser, needing my assistance.

And indeed it was raining when we emerged from the house about quarter to one. We just popped the handicapped parking sticker into the car and I drove out to Kaiser Glenlake, where he had an appointment with the wound clinic. Luckily we found a parking space outside the front door instead of in the garage; I could run into the vestibule and find a wheelchair so I could push him through the building.

Alas, the blisters are healing, but not to the nurse practitioner's satisfaction. She put colloidial silver pads on the remnants of the two wounds, wrapped James' leg in compression bandages, told him not to get it wet, and he'll have to come back next Friday (and for two successive Fridays if it doesn't heal). Gah.

We salvaged the day by coming home by Trader Joe's and stocking him up on pumpkin fruit bars until next year (they have them only in the fall), and also stopped by Walgreens to get him a plastic cast cover. (I also found a nifty long metal shoehorn—James has never been satisfied with other thin metal or plastic ones we've bought—that he figures would make a deadly weapon if you could sharpen it, the metal is that sturdy!)

Today was rather fun. We had spent all of Friday afternoon and evening making chicken cacciatore thighs slow cooked in the Instant Pot for today's Hair Day, otherwise the Lin and Ron Butler Tonsorial Occasion/Lunch Club/Computer Tutorial Day. 😁 The latter is not a usual event. We arrived at the house to find Lin had invited a former co-worker to Hair Day, a sweet lady named Ruth who is 88 and who still works typing out "tickets" at David Gibson's law office. Ruth is very non-computer savvy, but someone had given her a laptop and she wanted to learn how to play movies on it; she had bought a portable DVD player to attach to it for that purpose. So while we were waiting for the chicken to get hot again, I popped open the laptop and had trouble getting the DVD player to work (it was plugged into a USB port it would not work with; it successfully worked on another USB port, so we labeled everything for her). Well, I thought initially the DVD player might not be working because it needed software, and opening File Manager found out the poor machine only had 63MB left on a [very small] 28GB hard drive. This meant I wouldn't even be able to install VLC on it for her to watch movies.

So anyway, the chicken got warm enough, James made me a dish of chicken and elbow macaroni, and I managed to delete enough stuff off it, and then Alex took over, and we managed to get it up to 5GB free and that was it, which means she can't even do Windows updates! We were ruthless: removed all extra browsers, anything she wasn't going to use (besides seeing movies she wanted to search for recipes online and read the news, all doable in Microslop Edge) and Windows was still taking up 80 percent of the 28GB. Sigh. I did load VLC, and we did show her how to use the DVD drive and she took dutiful notes, so I hope we were helpful!

In the meantime Juanita passed around little books for us to write notes in to send to Aaron Lawson in Wyoming and Colin up in Salem, MA (I bet he has fun this week!) to tell them we miss them.

We left about two o'clock, brought the leftover chicken home (everyone liked it, but I think it would have been better done in the oven; it would have been more difficult to cook, but I think the flavor would have been richer), and then took the chance and went to the Fall Jonquil Festival. It was heavily overcast all day and rained occasionally, and we thought we'd had it for a few minutes as we rolled past the booths and it sprinkled madly on us, but the actual rain managed to hold off. Smack Yo Mama barbecue sauce was there, so we got three bottles; the arthritis in James' hands is so bad he threw in the towel and decided to try a small jar of ointment with CBD oil in it; he bought a jar of very delicious cherry jam; and I got a little jar of espresso honey (and, oh goodness, is it coffee flavored!). We skipped sampling the dips this time, and have so much blackberry honey in the cupboard that I didn't buy a fresh one this time.

Of course the booths were mostly crafts: saw some very pretty gemstone jewelry, paintings, creations by The Button Girl, etc., and I was so tempted by a stained glass booth. They have all sorts of designs, but I was the most taken by a little window-shape of glass rectangles about 4x3 inches in a sort of Mondrian pattern—inexplicably it reminded me of Ste. Anne's Church in Fall River, MA. At the rear of the church they had tacked on rest rooms sometime mid-century (since when the church was originally built I'm sure there were still privies in the rear), and so there was still an outside stained glass window near the rest rooms, left there when they had bumped out that portion of the structure, at a level where you could touch the thick stained glass pieces leaded into patterns in the window. I used to love to run my fingers over the cold, smooth pieces of primary colored glass, bright ruby and emerald and gold, and these smaller squares of iridescence in the stained glass rectangle just brought that all back.

Then, very tired, we came home, had a light supper, and wandered about on the television dial from Good Eats to Keeping Up Appearances.

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Flourish

» Saturday, October 19, 2019
Rained Out and Flying In

We had a broken-up weekend this week. James' dermatologist isn't in the office on Thursdays or Fridays, so he had to go for his quarterly inspection (since the two basal-cell skin cancer procedures he had in the spring) on Wednesday. So he was off Wednesday and worked Thursday.

His appointment wasn't until afternoon, so I did half the laundry in the morning and also cleaned up some in the dining room; we had two food gifts from Christmas in baskets that were still sitting on top of Tucker's box, so I put the items in the pantry closet and will recycle the baskets. We saw the doctor (all clear, but she is glad James is going to the wound clinic next week), then came home by Publix to do the majority of the shopping. We were cheered by the chatty bagger who helped us out with our groceries and returned the electric cart for us, and recommended Patak's to her for meat. (We were having sausage for dinner, so will need to go back there at some point. Besides, I want more mortadella.)

So James went off to work on Thursday and I was fairly busy with going to Hobby Lobby for a sewing item I needed (also found a cute toy for Toys for Tots) and then picking up some groceries at Lidl. I had filled up one trash bag for Friday morning pickup and had collected the rest of the house trash; was spoiling to find something else to get rid of. I found it on top of the refrigerator after preparing some snack bags of nuts for James when he goes to work (we keep the food scale up there). I discovered a bunch of bottles we don't use anymore there, on their sides, and tossed them all out. All I kept was the one carton holder because they don't make those things anymore (we actually have four now, up in that useless cupboard that's over the fridge; I can only get them out using the "grabby thing"). We rarely buy anything liquid in a carton, but should we want orange juice or eggnog we have them up there. Now all that's up there is a filtered pitcher, the scale, a gravy separator, the big spool of string, and, on a lazy Susan, the unopened jars of finishing sauces. I put the wooden pumpkin that used to be on my desk at work in the fall up there as a decoration.

The trash bag still wasn't full, so I went into the garage and tossed out empty containers, old items we aren't going to use anymore, bags, etc. until it was stuffed to the gills. I was lucky and found some empty cassette cases. I have Christmas cassettes with broken cases, so this will help!

Friday we were back to the usual schedule; this weekend we had to go to Costco, as James needed mandarin orange cups for his morning drink and "plastic cheese" (the Kraft kind) for sandwiches; we also got toilet paper. Discovered Costco is just as crowded on Friday at eleven as it is on Saturday morning! We got back just in time to head out to West Cobb Diner for lunch with Alice and Ken. Following that, we visited the Barnes & Noble at Dallas Highway (a book I wanted was on sale, so James bought it for me for my birthday; I found two more nice things from the clearance table for Toys for Tots, too), and then stopped at Kroger for the BOGO pork chops and sale sugar-free cookies. On the way home we had a real treat: ice cream at Baskin-Robbins. Hadn't had one of those for months!

Normally we would have been in bed early last night to get up at 6:30 so we could make it to Ellijay and the Georgia Apple Festival by nine when they opened. Instead some stinky tropical storm formed in the Gulf of Mexico a few days back, spreading a band of rain so far that even 324 miles from the Pensacola landfall we were still going to get rain and so was Ellijay. Never mind that James isn't supposed to take the power chair out in the rain, the close parking for the Apple Festival is in a big grassy field that turns into a big grassy swamp when it's wet. We have been there in previous years where it rained the day before and vehicles still got stuck in the mud. But rain and the chair made this insurmountable: even if James covered up the controller with a plastic bag we still remember the last time we went there the day after it rained; we had to keep getting help from strong people because his power chair got bogged down four or five times in soft grass and mud. (So even if we were able to go tomorrow getting around would be problematic.) We haven't missed an apple festival in years, only once because we were on vacation, and we were hoping Smack Yo Mama barbecue and Meadowcroft Farms would be there, because we missed them at Yellow Daisy. (Just looked at the vendor list; we apparently did miss the former, but the latter isn't on the list. Maybe Smack Yo Mama will be at the Jonquil Festival next weekend.) And I was so looking forward to the apples we would buy afterward—we always crunch on a nice big sour one on the way home! (Of course James says we can just go up there some day next week or the week after and stop at Panorama Orchards as always for fresh apples and jam and pot pie noodles.)

So it looked like it was going to be a gray, bleak, and boring day, except Dish (of all people) offered us a diversion. A few days ago we got an e-mail saying they were sending us one of their newfangled voice remotes free. We got it on Friday and I set it up and of course started to play with it, just naming series for the Google Assistant to find. One of the best things I found was that the last six episodes of this season of Elementary, the last few episodes of the very final season, the ones that I missed because of Dish's stupid dust-up with CBS, were just about to air on WGN, so I was able to set them up to record. I also found out that one of our favorite series, Flying Wild Alaska, was still available on Discovery on Demand (except for one episode; don't know why), so we've been watching it all afternoon.

This, of course, as always with us and electronics, was not without its hiccups. We successfully found and started episode 1. Ten minutes in, the video faltered, dropped out, and the Dish Hopper said it no longer had internet access. Well, it didn't—the router had gone off. When it came back up, it had so little signal that it wouldn't reconnect. So I rebooted the router, it came back up, dropped out, then came back up again. When I measured the speed on Speakeasy, it said we had a great signal, but SpeedOfMe said we didn't. Odd because they usually agree. Then I had to reconnect the Hopper with the router. The Hopper didn't even see any wifi signals! I had to reboot it, then set up the wifi again, and finally we could sit and watch. I'd forgotten how cute Ariel Tweto was. Always loved in the first episode how she admitted she didn't like the cold and was "the world's worst Eskimo." I also remember how I loved the Native American music they played in the background and that we heard on the radio station. Some of it is traditional music, and some of it is rock or pop sung in the local language.

James made pork chops for dinner, and we continued watching Flying Wild Alaska until it was time for the ten o'clock news.This batch of episodes included my favorite, where Jim goes off to deliver supplies to a hunting camp. He usually checks in with the base when he gets there and before he leaves, so they know he's okay and where to look if they don't hear from him. This time he starts chatting with the hunters and forgets. When he gets in, Ferno [his wife] strides out there and asks "Is your radio out?" He lamely tries to explain that he got busy and forgot, and then had to figure out how to take off again because of the way the water covered the landing strip, etc, but Ferno stares him down and says, "No call, no hugs, no dinner," and walks back inside. I love it! Guys don't understand. They're just bullshitting with the other guys, but we think they're dead in a ditch somewhere if they don't show up on time!

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Flourish

» Saturday, October 12, 2019
Books and Buddies

Well, at least we had no unpleasant surprises this weekend. The old blister on James' leg is still healing, the new blister is healing pretty well, and the doxycycline seems to be working on the new infection.

Thursday was our errand day: we drove to the local government office to pay the house tax (great relief this year as I applied for the age 62 exemption and now the tax bill is less than half of what it was; once I'm 65 we can get another exemption that will cut it down a little more), then went on to Kaiser to fetch James' medications. His doctor always writes the scrips for 90 days, but somehow between his checkups it gets cut down to 30 on two or three of them, which means we either have to mail order them every three weeks or go pick them up every three weeks. I hate the bottles they have to ship them in; they take up too much room on the two pill shelves, so we usually pick them up.

Then we were able to have a little fun at Barnes & Noble. There was a coupon this weekend, so I picked up the new Ideals Christmas, and I also found a couple of items on the clearance table that I can donate for Toys for Tots.

Finally, on the way home, we stopped at Publix and did the weekly shopping.

Friday I was up early for the Friends of the Library book sale (see here), and then we had lunch (alas, on our own this week as everyone else had appointments) at Chow King, the Chinese buffet on Cobb Parkway. It's been open some time but we've avoided it because it's between the Best Buy and Scalini's Italian restaurant, and frankly just getting into the parking lot is a pain in the neck, not to mention the parking. Generally we were pleased with the food, and most of it was not overly salted. Hibachi Grill's teriyaki chicken is better, but Chow King has sesame chicken (not bad) and their honey chicken is sweeter. They do have potstickers, and I could have made a whole meal on them alone (nice dipping sauce, too). I thought the wonton soup was a bit watery (James disagreed) but the wontons are stuffed full! Didn't have a egg roll, so I can't comment. Big dessert bar, though, and their cream puffs don't have raspberry ick inside them like at Hibachi.

We needed more nonstick pads for my nursing ablutions, so we went to Walmart (after trying not to scream at the prices at Walgreens—less than half the price at Wally World; got paper tape as well), and stopped at Lidl for those small necessities like milk and chocolate on the way home.

Saturday was James' meeting, so he left home at 10:30. I was curious to see the new remodeled Love Street shop. It's been finished for a while, but it's been too hot for me to even consider going there. Actually, it's a new Love Street location. The original Love Street store was in a tiny five room house on the corner of Concord Road and Love Street. Later the owners expanded and bought the old house next door (a little bit bigger, but tiny compared to today's homes) and opened a women's clothing and accessory store called Heart and Soul. First they remodeled Love Street to shift the front door to the other side of the porch. We figured this was it, but then last year both stores completely closed for a bigger remodel. What they eventually did was put Love Street in the bigger house and now Heart and Soul is at the original Love Street. So I wandered around the new Love Street for about a half hour, but the gifts are pretty expensive (especially the branded items) and I left without anything, and besides it was time for me to head up to Mellow Mushroom at Town Center, where Jessie Elder's 26th birthday party was taking place.

James wanted to go to the party, too, so he split the difference: he went to lunch with the guys, and then came to the party. It was cool enough that we could sit on the patio, and we had a great time.

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Flourish

» Sunday, October 06, 2019
There's Bad News, and There's Good News

Some parts of this weekend have been very, very good.

Thursday was not included in that equation.

James had an appointment with the doctor as a followup from two weeks ago. Unfortunately his regular doctor was out of the office; fortunately he got an appointment with Dr. Julian, who saw the blister on his leg that day. He had finished his antibiotic and Nurse Linda was fairly happy with how the blister was healing up. I thought James might leave it unbandaged in the daytime if it were covered with long pants to let it start drying out.

The doctor was pleased with how it looked, too, and said I'd done a good job.

Except now there was another huge blister on the opposite side of his leg when he pulled his stocking down, and it was dreadful and red and raw because it had stuck to the material, which pulled the loose skin off it. I looked at the back of his legs on Wednesday night! There was no blister then, and his leg wasn't as red as it looked in the doctor's office. So there is another dose of doxycyline, and the doctor wants James to go to the wound clinic, and in the meantime Nurse Linda is back on duty.

We were so disappointed.

It was still hotter than blazes on Thursday; we have set records almost from the first of the month for hottest days ever in October. I would have preferred, and I think what James might have preferred, was to go straight home, stay cool, and metaphorically lick our wounds. But we were driving by there anyway, so we stopped by Publix for the twofers and other necessities, like low-salt ham and yogurt. God sent us an angel and a nice Publix employee took our cart back into the store for us.

We did lay low for the rest of the afternoon.

Friday dawned hot and breathless. Since we hadn't had any success finding more socks for James at the Powder Springs Road Walmart, we tried the one closer to us, at the East-West Connector. We had to search because they are moving the store around, but we did find him more of the Dr. Scholl's stockings. Picked up a few other things, and then just wandered around the store killing time, since it was almost time for lunch. We found a set of Perry Mason DVDs, seasons 7-9, and James bought it for me for our anniversary.

This week's lunch was at O'Charley's. It was so hot that when I tried to open the door to the restaurant, the metal door handle burnt my hand! Luckily an employee opened it from the inside. John Bouler, the Boroses, the Spiveys, and Aubrey were there with us. Alice returned Joe Straczynski's book, which she read twice; she said it didn't make her sad, like it did me—it made her mad. (I was mad, too, that such abuse of kids can still happen in this day and age. His whole family situation was Dickensian, the worst kind of Dickensian, and Dickens would be appalled that in 2019 we still allow such things to happen.) Had a great steak, savory and tender, with a salad and a baked potato. James had a chopped steak (he likes the crispy onions; I don't blame him). Aubrey had a new toy, perfect for her artistic talents: a ReMarkable. I am so drooling!

Once again we went home and holed up. I have lots of magazines to read.

And then it happened: the front came through. We woke up Saturday morning (early, because we wanted to go to the October Hallmark ornament premiere) to find it cool (low 60s), with a nice soft breeze. I can't tell you how wonderful this felt! We drove all the way up to Town Center with the truck windows down. It was better than the ornament premiere, which we nevertheless enjoyed. I had $12 of credit and actually bought a Hallowe'en ornament: the black cat. It will look nice hung up somewhere; I think it's a little large for the Hallowe'en tree. Played with the "Monster Mash" ornaments (monsters playing the song) and the Star Trek transporter, but the only other thing that caught my eye was a Jim Shore fox Christmas figure. Too expensive, though.

I "drove" the power chair across the parking lot to the Barnes & Noble while James got the truck up there (easier than loading it up and lowering it again). We had just a few minutes in the store because we had another lunch engagement; I bought the Christmas issue of "Country Sampler" and the 2019 cross-stitch Christmas ornament magazine. James got a "Cooks Illustrated."

When we got home I got the ladder out to install the new LED floodlights we bought at Walmart. James has to leave for work in the morning when it's dark, so he usually turns the floods in the driveway on so he can see to load the power chair on the truck. Unfortunately my stupid right arm still will not stretch out enough, with this stupid rotator cuff nonsense, to remove the bulb. So James had to get on the ladder while I spotted him. I hated to do it because the arthritis has been giving him such pain. Plus we realize now, with the reappearance of another blister, that the new medication (which he stopped taking because we thought it caused the original blister) probably did not cause the blister as we thought. He is going to get back to the rheumatologist and see if he can try taking the new medication again.

We had a surprise message from my sister-in-law Candy yesterday; they were going to be in Morrow today and she and Mom wondered if they could drive the rest of the way up and join us somewhere for lunch. So we took them to Uncle Maddio's Pizza. I wondered what they were doing in Morrow and it turned out they had to go all the way there—an hour away from us!—just to get the October Hallmark ornaments since there is no Hallmark store anywhere near Warner Robins any longer: not even at Macon Mall or in Macon period! What a fat pain in the neck! So we had a nice chat and a nice meal, and then they headed back south.

After they left we went to Lidl (for milk, bread, juice, cucumbers, and chocolate) and Kroger (I ran in to get no-salt mushrooms), and then came home.

Then it was Saturday night at the Britcoms while James made himself breakfast for Sunday. Also watched a special called I Hate Jane Austen, about a noted British writer who really didn't like reading Austen (this was probably because it was required reading in schools). In the special he talked to Jane Austen fans and other writers and literary critics trying to determine what was so good about her books. At the end he has a new appreciation for all of them, including Mansfield Park.

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Flourish

» Saturday, September 28, 2019
"Will No One Rid Us of This Turbulent Sun?"

Seriously. Here it is nearly October and it's still over 90 bloody degrees during the day. No rain for days, just some rumblings of thunder on Friday night that came to naught. Just relentless sun over trees that are looking more limp and tired by the day, some of them desperately trying to change color, some of them just giving up. The two oaks out front of our neighborhood have just thrown up their branches in dismay, turned their leaves brown, and shed them posthaste. The scuppernong vines bore fruit, then wilted, leaving mashed grapes thickening to fruit leather on the concrete sidewalks of the main street.

Misery. Sheer misery. We took the opportunity to sleep late on Thursday, James exhausted by three days in the office and the relentless new lights overhead (he calls them "the Nazi interrogation lights"), so ended up at Costco near noon to find out just how many people of all ages are out of work on a Tuesday afternoon. Not just retirees and stay-at-home parents, apparently. We were there to buy additional things that would go off sale on the 29th: more flonase, BreatheRight strips, and Swiffer wet cloths. Better to buy them now when they're cheaper. Also bought Skinny Pop on sale. Came home by way of Publix to pick up twofers.

And that was it. By then it was airless and broiling. We just went home.

Friday we headed out for lunch early. I had done a dumb thing: ordered a book I already had from Barnes & Noble when I had fully intended to order a different one. So I brought the book I was delivered on Thursday and exchanged it (with a 35 cent upcharge) for the one I wanted. James got a "Wargamer" magazine, and then we headed back (we had gone out to Perimeter Mall because James prefers their magazine selection) to Austell, arriving at Hibachi Grill only a few minutes late. Ken wasn't feeling well, but Alice had come, and Mel and Phyllis. Phyllis was already done reading Becoming Superman and passed it off to Alice. We were trading pet stories today, and parental discipline tales.

Normally we would have gone somewhere else after lunch. You guessed it. Too hot.

Saturday all we did was go to Walmart. James needed suspenders and diabetic socks. (His favorite socks were very low in supply; we only found two pair. Nosing around online later I couldn't find them, either. Damn.) Also got some formerly Grade B maple syrup (now classified as Grade A Dark Amber Robust Flavor—could they get any wordier?) and low sodium soy sauce (Walmart brand is lower sodium than Kikkoman), sugarless candy and wild bird seed. I really can't afford to feed them, but I miss seeing my little flock.

Came home by way of Lidl for bread, milk, ground turkey, and chocolate. Found chicken thighs for 79¢/pound. Sunday dinner taken care of [Later: I made cacciatore and there was so much left over we have two more meals]!

We came home, and James was feeling ill for the rest of the afternoon. Not that I was feeling much better. It's not like this is a new thing. I've never liked summer, even when I was a child. The sun gives me headaches, the heat gives me rashes, and if I'm overly hot for too long I get the runs. And after I turned sixteen it was no fun any longer because I had to go to work. I hoped it would get better as I aged; instead I've gotten worse. The heat saps me, saps us so much. Sometimes its scary.

I just wish it would cool off. I know I'm flaky about summer, and I'm used to it. But I worry about James.

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Flourish

» Saturday, September 21, 2019
By the Clock

Very puzzled last night; Dr. Salazar was supposed to call me after five as a followup to the medication he'd given me. He never called, although I did find out later I'd gotten a phone call about 2:35 from Kaiser. But if it was him, why didn't he leave a message? [Turned out he was called in to the hospital and tried to phone me early.]

Anyway, because of the medication Dr. Salazar was trying him out on, James was scheduled to go get his eyes checked out today to establish a baseline, as the medication can cause eye problems. The appointment wasn't till 3:20 p.m. and was at Cumberland right near us, so we didn't have to leave until 2:30. So we slept late instead of going to the grocery store, and just for the heck of it James logged on to Kaiser—and discovered we were supposed to see a technician before the appointment, at 2:30. It was 1:45.

You have never seen two people get dressed so fast! We got to the office right at 2:30, and they took us in immediately. It was mostly an eye test like you get for glasses, and they dilated his eyes and tested for glaucoma, too. Actually his eyes are in good shape considering he is diabetic; he has the beginnings of a cataract in one eye is all.

We toyed with going to Barnes & Noble, but even with sleeping late we were both tired out and James still had a sore throat, we figured from the flu shot he got on Friday. So it was home, and pot lucks for supper, and more Babylon 5. I walked Tucker in coolness that was almost too cool in a tank top and shorts. Alas, the low 60s at night and highs in the mid-80s are only a brief respite, and it will crawl back up to 90 by next week.

Since we skipped it Thursday, Friday we had to do the grocery shopping thing: first to Publix for the twofers and lunch meats, then to Lidl. I spent a lot more at Lidl than usual along with getting bread, milk, and more chocolate: they had several things on sale this week that we wanted. One was a shower seat. We don't need it now, but I have always wanted one for our bathroom to straddle over the side of the useless garden tub that we've never used, since sitting on the edge of the narrow tub is very uncomfortable. These shower seats are usually very expensive at the medical supply stores. This one was only $20. They also had one of those bicycle gadgets for only $30, you know, the ones on TV where you sit and read or watch TV and pedal. The ones on TV are $200 (mostly because they have bluetooth). This is much simpler, but the principal is the same.

We also filled up the truck in case the fire in Saudi Arabia made the gas stations jack their prices.

Anyway, I mentioned the new medication Dr. Salazar had put James on. This was supposed to be okay for his kidneys, but side effects could cause water retention. Well, boy did it cause water retention. He gained five pounds overnight. But the most troubling problem was that the cellulitis on his left leg, which had been under control since the catheter and post-TURP surgery, was acting up and he had developed a big blister on his lower left leg, which, despite being covered up, had burst. Thursday night before bedtime I had written a note to Dr. Salazar asking about the telephone appointment, telling him the medication he'd given me wasn't doing any better than my taking ibuprofin every night, and also telling him I was concerned about the medication he'd given James. If it had worked on his arthritis it wouldn't have been so bad, but it has not really done anything for his knee, ankle, and hip pain, and his left hand is still so swollen he can't make a fist or wear his wedding ring. He sent me a return e-mail telling me he'd been called to the hospital for an emergency, that if the medication he had prescribed for me wasn't working I should stop taking it and he would try something else, and that James should stop taking his medication immediately.

Anyway, James noticed how angry the blister and surrounding skin was looking Thursday night, and that his leg was getting swollen, and early Friday morning called up Kaiser. He got an appointment with Dr. Julien at 2. She took one look at it, told us to keep up the saline cleaning and the Neosporin and bandaging, and gave him doxycycline for the encroaching infection.

Saturday we had a full day, with morning and early afternoon for Hair Day. They served chili, so I brought a sandwich (proscuitto on a Lidl "dinner roll"...yum!) and enjoyed the sides, especially the olives in Phyllis' relish tray. It was a great time except for hearing the story about Brad Linaweaver's last few weeks (Brad died over DragonCon weekend). He had pancreatic cancer, and Alex was with him most of that time. Brad was such a sharp, sarcastic, and iconoclastic person that it was hard thinking of him ill and frightened and razor-thin.

We had an hour or so breather and then headed to Dallas Highway and the Longhorn, where David Gibson's birthday party was being held. As usual, we were seated at the rear in a long queue of tables lined up. The waitress was excellent, and we had good convo with the Lawsons and the Boulers at our end of the table, but the food was iffy for some people. My baked potato wasn't quite soft enough in the middle, Alice never got her food done properly, and I understood there were some other foul-ups. So when the check came we were astonished that the manager had comped the entire group (about 20 of us!). Our bill was 27 cents (the tax on the meal).

The sun was already set when we emerged and we drove home with a beautiful sky to our right, first yellow and then fading to orange and pink before going to navy blue and then black. Everyone was hurrying home for the Georgia/Notre Dame game, but we chose Babylon 5 instead. 😀

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Flourish

» Saturday, September 14, 2019
Another Weekend Goes Skimming By

We had to get something important out of the way this weekend.

But before that came Thursday. We got the grocery shopping, that inescapable fact of life, out of the way in the morning. They had chicken and wild rice soup on the soup bar at Publix, which we picked up for a quick weekend supper.

Since both James and Ken had doctors' appointments on Friday at lunchtime, we switched lunch to Thursday. The restaurant du jour was Okinawa, which is at the East-West Connector where Borders (::sob!::) used to be. Only six diners today, since Aubrey was working. We talked about the Breakaway Space: 1999 convention this weekend and wished we were there.

Afterwards James and I stopped at Kaiser to pick up the meds he'd reordered, and then we went home, because it was just too damn hot to be outside. It was almost one hundred today. Summer just won't quit, the wretched beast.

We had finally worked through all the Perry Mason episodes available on Amazon Prime and are now starting Babylon 5 from the beginning. Unlike some people, I really enjoy first season and Michael O'Hare as the commander of the station. He was more like a British series lead than an American one, and I was sorry when he left, even though we didn't know why at the time.

Friday morning we had to find out the results of the PET scan, so we drove out to Glenlake for an appointment with Dr. Shash. He reported that a slight abnormality had shown up in the PET scan: it's in the same small vessel in his heart the doctor let be the last two times. The problem is, if Dr. Shash goes in and fixes it with a stent, the vessel is so small he will have to use the highest contrast dye to view it properly. At this point he feels the contrast dye will do more damage to James' kidneys than the abnormality of the vessel will do to his heart. So we've left it at:

If James gets a chest pain, takes a nitroglycerin, and it goes away, leave it (just let the doctor know it happened). (If that keeps happening frequently, there's something they can put him on.)

If he gets a chest pain, and the nitro doesn't help, we skip going to Urgent Care completely and instead go directly to the hospital Kaiser is affiliated with. Then they do the catherization and we start working on getting the kidneys back to normal. Again.

At least we have a plan of action.

Alas, this means James' teleworking days have come to an end unless the chance of rain is high. With the weather reports we are getting, fat chance. So it is back to him losing 45 minutes of sleep and us eating at night (which is, again, terrible for our weight). Sigh.

On the way home we stopped at Trader Joe's. We wanted to see if they had pumpkin fruit bars yet. They did indeed. And pumpkin soup and pumpkin cookies and pumpkin butter and pumpkin...everything. Even pumpkin dog biscuits, which we bought for Tucker. We have to stock up on the fruit bars because they only have the pumpkin ones in October.

For lunch James stopped at Chicken Salad Chick so I could pop out to buy...guess what...some chicken salad for both sandwiches and after-supper snacks for James. I also ran into Sprouts for a "baby boule," their round loaf of country-style bread. Then when we got home we could have some sandwiches for lunch. Supper was the Publix soup, and more Babylon 5.

We actually may have slept a little later than usual on Saturday. Certainly it seemed like no time at all that James packed up the power chair and went off to his club meeting. As hot and sticky as it was outside, I wanted to rack two things off a to-do list that had existed since spring. I had bought a new hose (ours had a crack in it) and a new nozzle (ours was broken) in the spring. Once the pine pollen is done giving everything a yellow scum in April, I usually wash the porch down. But it's been in the 90s since the pine pollen went away and I just didn't want to go outside for any reason except needing bread and books, so the hose and nozzle have been taking up space in the garage. While it was still shady out front I uncoupled the old hose, threw the whole kit and kaboodle in the trash can, installed the new hose and nozzle, and washed off the porch, finally. I'd put up the autumn wreath, basket, and flag on the 12th, and I took everything down to clean thoroughly before putting them back up.

Sigh, apparently I am incapable of hitching up a hose and nozzle without getting wet. Dammit.

Then I cleaned up and went out. If I don't start using my Tin Drum rewards, they will quit sending them to me. And I wanted to stop at the new Five Below.

I didn't have to stop at Barnes & Noble, but I did. Two mysteries in my series are out, but one is discounted on Amazon, the other isn't. I used my B&N discount for that other, and got a new cross-stitch magazine. Next I went to Five Below, which recently moved into half of the old Sports Authority at Akers Mill shopping center. I was sorely disappointed because they do not stock the dark chocolate Hershey's almond bars like the other Five Below stores do. I was able to get the dark chocolate Reese's peanut butter cups, which we have for desserts.

Then I waited on my double protein to-go from Tin Drum. This will give me enough food for two small lunches next week.

It took forever to get home. I didn't linger anywhere, but stuff kept delaying me. It took four people to get the don't-steal-me gadget off the turntable being purchased by the people in front of me at the bookstore, and longer for me to check out at Five Below. By the time I got home I was starving, but I just had a little bit of my Okinawa leftover and a slice of the boule. I had to save the calories for Taste of Smyrna.

James got home in time to cool off a little, and then about five we set out for the festival. It wasn't blazingly hot, but sticky, and I felt like I was walking through molasses. After all that, Taste of Smyrna was a little disappointing. The Thai people did not show up this year, nor did the Cajun place James likes and who always show up at these festivals. We both had our favorite "drunken pork" on cream grits from Atkins Park, two potstickers from the healthy Chinese dipping sauce folks, and pork barbecue from Williamson Brothers (but, heck, we can get that anytime). James also picked up some of Rodney's award-winning soul food as a lunch. I didn't see anything else that floated my boat. The Italian place was only giving out big meals (chicken marsala and pasta, chicken something else and pasta, etc.), I didn't want Mexican, or deep fried anything. Almost went back for a gyro, but decided not to. We had Bruster's ice cream for dessert, then came home, and went back into space.

How does it get to be Sunday so quickly?

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Flourish

» Saturday, September 07, 2019
After DragonCon Comes GroceryCon

So, we've spent the last three days bouncing around from grocery store to grocery store, with some fun stops in between.

But first there was Wednesday, which was James' birthday. After I tossed some clothes in the washer, I was going to sneak into the bedroom, pull a book out of my stash, pair it with a homemade card. Instead I spent the day being sick. At least cooked dinner and did the laundry. In a half-hearted attempt to make the day festive, I put on Solo: A Star Wars Story, which we still hadn't seen. It was fun—whatever chick-lit for guys and adventure fans is called. James was amused by the solution to the Kessel run story; as we got ready for bed that night, he mused, "So I guess all Han needed to make the Kessel run in 12 parsecs was 'Liquid Schwartz'?" ROFL! (If you do not get this, please watch Spaceballs.)

This is the weekend we always attend the Yellow Daisy Festival; we usually go on Sunday because the crowds are low early in the morning. Alas, we didn't have that option this year. So I had an idea: why not go Thursday? A lot of people will be at work, so it should be okay.

This worked better in theory. First, we had to get up at six since we had to go across town through rush hour traffic. I said to James, "We'll get out there, and then we'll stop somewhere like an IHOP for breakfast, then go to the Festival." Well, we left the house at seven, but by eight were barely twelve miles from home because we had had to stop for gasoline, and then we had to stop for money. So while James availed himself of the Presto ATM at Publix, I went inside and bought us two sandwiches for breakfast instead. By the time we got to Stone Mountain, we discovered that the handicapped lot was nearly full. Of course! It was a weekday! Who was here? All the grandmas and grandpas, and all the stay-at-home moms! Even with us getting the Early Bird admission, it was still crowded.

We also missed several of the regular vendors. They were not on the vendors' list at all, so I assume it was not a "we only attend on weekends" problem. 1st Sergeant Salsa, Meadowcroft Farms, and Smack Yo Mama barbecue sauce were nowhere to be seen. Meadowcroft and Mama may turn up at the Jonquil Festival or the Apple Festival, but if James wants the other he will have to mail order, as we've only ever seen them at Yellow Daisy. Also, One Screw Loose jellies was on the vendor list, but we never saw them. I even went back to the space they were assigned to in the vendor's guide, but it was a metalworker's booth there instead.

We did get more maple barbecue sauce, the first of our two yearly Ginny's Fudge purchases, some sugar-free chocolate cheesecake mix, and of course a purchase from the nice folks from Country Pickins. I was delighted to see that this year she has added some Thanksgiving-themed items, a couple of flat plaques with little turkeys, and some other items. Of course I've already done my own Thanksgiving-themed items and didn't need them. I did get a little vignette of Pilgrims and Native Americans, but broke down and bought a Hallowe'en shadowbox and some additional Hallowe'en items for it (I had bought a few some years ago, to put on the fall shelf in late October, but most of the time I kept forgetting to use them).

We were flat wiped out when we finished right before noon. I considered we might stop at Publix on the way home, or maybe have lunch instead of the breakfast I promised James, but we were exhausted from the heat. We basically came straight home and it took us three hours to cool off properly.

Later on we watched Ralph Breaks the Internet, the second of the Wreck-It Ralph films. Very funny satire on the internet along with the story of Ralph and Vanellope's friendship, and they hit every single internet clichĂŠ. Seriously. Right until the very end. The scenes with Vanellope encountering the Disney princesses was priceless. Favorite line:  "Look up there! A big strong man who needs rescuing!" Probably won't buy a DVD of Solo, but will this.

Thursday was the chief supermarket day: both of us in Publix, me running into Kroger for mushrooms and Lidl for milk, ground turkey, and chocolate. However, we had a nice break in the middle of the food restocking: lunch at Uncle Maddio's Pizza Joint with the Spiveys, Aubrey, and the Boroses. We mostly talked about DragonCon; Aubrey won a keen backpack!

Thursday night I went rooting around on YouTube and found both the David Tennant panel that I was able to see (I didn't realize I had missed so little of it; just the chair racing) and the one I missed on Friday, plus the Catherine Tate panel I couldn't get into. There were very few duplicate questions on the Tennant panels, and, of course, lots of Good Omens discussions.

Today we had to gird our loins, due to it being a Saturday, and go to Costco, as we were running out of both trash bags and Breathe Right strips, and James needed generic Flonase. This was relatively painless, though, since we found a handicapped parking space right away, and found all of what we were looking for, with the generic Flonase and the Breathe Rights on sale. Also got him some Hippeas and a "Cook's Country" magazine and sliced cheese, and noted that we had to come back before the 29th because the Swiffer mop sheets were also on sale. We can get more generic Flonase and nasal strips then, too. Today we were just getting things we needed.

A break: a visit to Barnes & Noble. The fall "Bella Grace" was out, with a breathtaking cover of a woman in a sunset, and I also picked up "Blue Ridge Country" with an awesome fall scene on the cover, and "Country Sampler's" autumn decorating issue. The newest Flavia deLuce mystery was out in paperback and 20 percent off, so I got that as well.

We'd forgotten onions yesterday, so I popped into Publix for them, and then we drove to Town Center and the Kaiser office there which is always open because it's urgent care, too, so James could pick up his new medication for his arthritis pain. We are wary of this because it can affect his eyesight, so he'll have to make an eye appointment to get a baseline reading of his eyes and he will have to keep tracking it going forward if he stays on the medication.

We had bought a streaming membership for DragonCon so James could see some of the panels he missed, but they only have Monday up still. So I've switched to YouTube and we're watching the parade as the sun sets and we wander into the sticky evening.

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Flourish

» Tuesday, September 03, 2019
And So, Back to Reality
So...life: one day you're in a magical place with costumed figures, intellectually stimulating or funny panels, and friends, some whom you only see once a year. And then you're back home scrubbing the toilet and running to Publix for this week's BOGOs before next week's BOGOs take over tomorrow. 😊

So let me tell you my Publix story.

Monday is my designated day for bathroom scrubs and kitchen floor washing. Since yesterday I was at Dragoncon, this was now today's schedule. Got one bathroom done, then looked up and noticed something we used a lot was out. And remembered it was on BOGO at Publix, but only through today. So I tossed on clothes and went.

I have the Publix app open, am halfway through my list when I realized that earlier I emptied my backpack of everything.

Except my wallet. I didn't have my backpack, but am back to my waist pack. Darnn. Now I was going to have to abandon cart, run home...you know the drill.

Then I happened to glance down at the lower right hand corner of the Publix app, next to the "list" button. "Pay"? I can pay on my phone? Yep, all I had to do was pick a PIN number, enter my name, Google entered the rest of the info, and I was in. Whew.

Got to the cash register and told them I was using the app for the first time, so to let me know what to do. All you have to do after they ring up the order is hit "pay" and then scan the QR code at the bottom of the screen totaling up your order.

Except I forgot to hand the cashier the "Just Cross Stitch" with the autumn cover that I was holding so the condensation from the yogurt cups and the package of turkey thighs wouldn't get it wet. So she rang the magazine up and I thought I had to scan again, but it said it had scanned already.

Long story short it took three people to figure out what was going on (she had to push a button on the register to get the receipt to print out). Seemed like it took forever, but it was only a few minutes, and I still felt bad for the poor policeman in line behind me who was getting his lunch and had to wait for the crazy lady with the phone.

This is the second time Publix has saved my butt since June. Thanks, guys!

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Flourish