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, December 07, 2019
Friends and Food (and A Little Bit of Christmas, Right This Very Minute...)

We had Hair Day today; a very small crowd, only eight of us, and John Campbell, who popped in for a haircut and then headed out again. We had the sobering news that a friend has to have a cancer removed on Tuesday. It is outpatient surgery, but that doesn't make the diagnosis any better.

For lunch we had sandwich fixings and a little salad that James made, and goodies from the relish tray Mel and Phyllis brought. For dessert Ron and Lin bought a birthday cake that ended up being just for Lin and I, the other December "babies" having not made it this month. "A good time was had by all," I think! We finished up early because Sheri was having people over for the LSU vs. Georgia game.

Lunch perked me up, but I was feeling decidedly under the weather because like an idiot I forgot to take my pills last night, so I was not only stuffy, but my heart was hammering at the least movement because I'd missed my atenolol (and I can't take it in the morning because then I wouldn't be able to take it at night). I told James I'd take it easy for a couple of hours and see if we could go out to eat, but at suppertime my stomach was still dicey. Instead we had turkey soup for supper. We really screwed up with the turkey carcass Juanita gave us; we put too much water in. It basically tasted like poultry flavored water, with water predominating. We usually cook two packets of ramen noodles when we have them, but only use one packet of flavoring, so James tossed an oriental flavor packet in and made it just right, not too salty, not too bland. I had it with elbow noodles only and James added veg and canned chicken to his.

In the afternoon I did finish decorating the living room, with James' help, and then brought the empty box downstairs and put all the empties back in the closet. Just have one more box to empty, the decorations for the library and the lower hallway. I cleared out in the library to have a clear palette, so to speak.

Spent the evening watching The Bishop's Wife and then the Pearl Harbor episode of The Waltons.

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» Friday, December 06, 2019
Delights, Dessert, and When's Dinner?

Well, it was a busy but profitable and happy day.

First, we did sleep well, which is always a good thing. James got up first and I came muzzily back to the world a little while later. With dressing, morning prep, breakfast, and dog walking behind me, we girded up our loins and headed out the door. As we drove to our first destination, I was busily slapping return address labels on the Christmas cards.

James stopped for gas at Sam's Club, and I ran in to buy some Clorox2, which was on a good sale (saving $4.00), and as I trudged to the back of the store I passed bags of Halo mandarin oranges, also on sale. The oranges turned out to be providential, as you'll see!

First we were headed for the Apple Annie Craft Show, held at the Catholic Church of St. Ann on Roswell Road. We had a really nice time going from classroom to classroom looking at all the artists and their work, although there was an overabundance of jewelry artisans. Not that any of the items were bad to look at: all of it was lovely, including some intricate bracelets of chain mail, many gemstone bracelets, and some pendants that looked like landscape scenes but were just really different minerals curved within the stones. There are always things I love but cannot afford, but I don't begrudge the artists what they charge for them; having done crafts I know these gorgeous items take so much time to work.

I did buy some of the lavender spray from the Wolf Creek people which I use to scent the bedsheets; it's supposed to help with sleep, and it does smell sweet. And even with all the little carry bags I have, I bought something from the missions sale: a brightly multicolored bag with a llama on the front, made in Bolivia. It will fit a tablet or even two in it, and even has small pockets.

James had his fun in the nursery school bake sale room: we got about six desserts, including mint chocolate cookies, peanut butter cups, pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, etc. Also bought some toffee candy and two squares of fudge from the mission bake sale.

Of course we stopped in the church before leaving, to say a prayer. It was cool and dark in the sanctuary, and I prayed for everyone I knew and then some. I find such peace there.

(We had also parked the truck in the handicapped parking spaces, right next to the church's Christmas tree lot. It smelled divine! Miss the spicy pine of a real tree, but they make me too sick to want to have one.

So, with all the baked goods we would have been fixed for dessert for a week, but then we followed that up with a trip to Trader Joe's. We always go in December to stock up on their only-for-Christmas goodies like peppermint bark, peppermint puffs, and the piece de la resistance, the Candy Cane Jo-Jos. Jo-Jos are Trader Joe's version of an Oreo, and at Christmas the creamy interior is studded with candy cane pieces. They are wonderful, with the sharp chill sting of peppermint in every bite. We bought a box each of the items I mentioned, and then an extra set of the peppermint Jo-Jos and the peppermint bark to put away for darkest July and a taste of heaven when summer has gotten on our last nerve.

We came home by way of Kaiser, where James needed to have bloodwork done for the nephrologist to make sure the blood pressure medication wasn't messing up any of his numbers*, and to pick up nearly $150 worth of prescriptions (and two were missing!). Oy! The oranges I grabbed at Sam's served us in good stead, because we never did get lunch! The moment we got in the door I started some chicken roasting (the thighs we got at Publix yesterday) which we had with chicken-flavored noodles. I also put some Christmas things on the hearth and on the media shelf, and put up the little "ethnic Christmas" display in our bedroom (the Scots and Italian Santas and ceramic trees and other little things).

Chilled out for the rest of the afternoon with The Incredible Dr. Pol, the news (oh, well, you can't really chill out with the news, can you, not these days)?, the nightly game shows, and finally Hawaii Five-0.

(*Well, hurrah, bloodwork looks to be okay! In fact, his A1C dropped from 9.7 to 7.6! I guess exchanging granola bars for snacks at work for nuts and hummus on crackers and snack portions of cheese did the trick.)

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» Thursday, December 05, 2019
We Need a Little Christmas

It has been a "kringly" week as I've been having a good go at prepping the house for Christmas. Sunday I put up the outside lights and the candoliers and inside door wreaths. On Monday I put finishing touches on the porch, put out the wooden reindeer, and put all the Thanksgiving and fall back into their boxes.

Tuesday was crazy busy because I went hopscotching from Home Depot to Hobby Lobby to Lowes to Walmart in an effort to buy another timer and Christmas replacement lights. I found both, thankfully, because the project I started Monday night still needed completing on Tuesday and I'd almost run out of parts. (More about this in another post.) Once home, since I had the dining room cleared, I at least put up the ceppo.

Wednesday I went full blast decorating the dining room and the kitchen, and putting up the Rudolph tree in the hallway and some Christmas items in the spare room (I couldn't put up the woodland tree because most of the spare room was scattered with gifts I needed to wrap). Along with all this I managed to clean house and do the laundry, and work around James on Wednesday because he had low blood sugar during the night and wasn't really safe to go into work.

It was a good thing I was restless this morning, because I had things to do. Post breakfast and dog-walking, I wrapped and boxed gifts going to three different locations. Then, so not to wait till later when it got more crowded, we did the weekly shopping at Publix. There weren't many good BOGOs this week, but there were chicken thighs. After we brought everything home and put it up, I wrapped and stocked the final box and we headed to the Smyrna post office. We stopped for takeout at Hibachi Grill instead of messing with lunch, and I printed labels and prepped the Christmas cards to mail. The last thing I did was put up our 1940s wartime Christmas village. It always makes me smile when it's finally put together, and I wish I could pop into it to just experience the holidays in a different era.

Been running through Christmas specials this week as well: "Merry Gentlemen" from All Creatures Great and Small, the Christmas episodes of The Good Life and To the Manor Born, Santa Claus is Comin' to Town, A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and A Christmas Story. More to come when I've got a minute...

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» Saturday, November 30, 2019
No-Rush Shopping and Second Thanksgiving

Friday was very, very weird, because, for years I have been getting up early to hit specials on Black Friday. Oh, my goodness, you may say, you actually get in line at o'dark thirty, or brave the crush at Walmart?

Hon, I wouldn't go near Walmart on Black Friday with a twenty foot pole. Or near a mall or any of the big stores. My only daring feat has been going into Best Buy for the past eight or so years to get the latest season of The Big Bang Theory which is usually on sale for $8.99 or $9.99 on DVD. (It doesn't appear to have been sale priced this year, probably because it was the final season. Well, then they can wait on me to buy it, too.) I usually found myself at Michaels or JoAnn, or more often Office Max/Depot or Staples waiting on cool stuff like cheap thumb drives, printers, and once a paper shredder. Then I'd come home and fall asleep again.

This year it was strange to sleep until eight, and also a good thing, too, because my mercurial digestive system had decided it didn't like something in yesterday's smorgasbord and had kept me up until 2 a.m., with only this year's new Chicken Soup for the Soul Christmas book to keep me occupied. All I wanted to do is get some sleep after all that.

We'd been trying to find out all week if Barnes & Noble was going to do its usual Black Friday thing of having all the magazines 30 percent off, but they wouldn't get a clue, so after breakfast and dog walk we went out there. Skunked. I did buy the magazines I wanted, but with the discount I usually get a few more issues of "Christmas porn" (all those exquisitely decorated homes that I don't understand how people afford). Not this time. I did use my coupons to get two paperbacks on discounts. It was the lamest Black Friday sale ever at B&N; usually they have a nice assortment of coffee table books half off, the Taaschen photo albums for $10 each, and some good sales on hardbacks. This year all we got was half price on the B&N classic editions (most of which are in the public domain) and a few assorted "bestsellers" and some political screeds. (James Patterson Book-of-the-Month Club, your December offering is here!) They didn't even have Christmas books on sale.

We went to both the Akers Mill store and the Town Center store to see if there was anything different at the second place. Eh. I bought a gift to put away. We also went to Sam's Club to look at something for the house, but we didn't know which to get, so we just came home with milk, a discount pack of round steaks, and a multipack of reading glasses for James. We got six meals out of the steaks, and had one for supper. Have I mentioned how well James cooks? These were so good!

Today Mr. Digestive System decided he was still in a snit about something and, although we made it to Publix to do the regular shopping, we had to head directly home. I was mostly sick until a little after two when things improved and we finally packed up to go to Alice's house for Second Thanksgiving. We are getting to be like hobbits in our old age. 😀 Alice actually hosted and made potatoes and the gravy; Juanita cooked the turkey, and folks brought sides and desserts. No owls tonight, just the people down the street from them having a party with a bouncy house and Christmas lights. We ate, conversed, watched the Alabama vs. Auburn game, talked about our pets, ate more. I just ate a little turkey and potatoes and left the ham, which may have been the earlier culprit; don't know, but we quit having ham because it's so salty and my tummy may not have liked it.

Saw lots of Christmas lights up on the way home. Hoping I'm feeling well enough to put some up tomorrow. Dish has all their Christmas music channels on and we listened to Classical Holiday until it was time for the news. Christmas music is even lovelier when accompanied by budgie song.

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» Thursday, November 28, 2019
A Thanksgiving Feast With a Side of Owl...

...celebrating the holiday at, where else?

Holiday Harbour!

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» Saturday, November 23, 2019
Just Another Rainy Saturday

So, we were pretty much confined to the house unless we wanted to go to a grocery store or somewhere like Walmart where they have electric carts. James made more breakfast burritos, I did a couple of small chores including cleaning out the bottom of the refrigerator and the two bins.

Mostly messed with PBS Passport (which has the worst menu ever; it will only show you 100 things on your watchlist and I have many more than that, having gone through all the regional specials and cherry-picked stuff I wanted to see: a North Carolina show that focuses on history, Christmas specials, a couple of food history series, etc) and caught up with This Old House (I have them set to record on the DVR, but GPB and WPBA both mess up the programming by showing it as The This Old House Hour). I also watched what I thought would be a tour of the Penn Dutch are, but is more a show about where to stay when vacationing with kids. It was quite a pleasant little show, though, and I don't regret watching it. Also watched a special about Austrian Christmas markets. I have seen several of these, and this one was not my favorite. The host was a blonde young woman who narrated the show as if we were 10-year-olds having to be given a primer course in Austrian Christmas customs. ("So, in Austria the Christ Child brings the gifts? And they get them on Christmas Eve?" [eyeroll]) Really gorgeous items being sold, and tasty looking pastry, which of course she had to drool over, and there were shuddering reactions to Krampus.

Anyway, wish there was some way, any way, to put these in order on Passport. Really, really bad interface. Netflix has had ordered interfaces for freaking years. Get yourself a better web programmer, guys. Really.

James made chicken wings for supper, but we bought them by the pound rather than by the each and there weren't really enough. Spent the evening watching Father Brown, A Place in the Country, and the Britcoms.

And, once more, weekend has gone "poof!"

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» Friday, November 22, 2019
A Friday of Varied Events

Encouraged by a weather report that predicted a cloudy but dry day, we slept until nine and then went through the usual morning routine, although I had to cut the dog walk short for a call of nature. However, this gave me enough time to write out some Thanksgiving cards and address and stamp them. These came with us as we left for lunch a little early so that we could swing past the Austell Road Cobb County complex so I could renew the registration on my car and get this year's tag. Even with this detour, we arrived at this week's lunch venue in plenty of time and had a nice long meal and convo with Alice, Ken, Aubrey, Mel, and Phyllis. We were eating at Okinawa and discovered that Aubrey's good friend from her school years, Kayla, was working there and had just been promoted to head server. Alice was keeping warm by the window, as she had come home from Conjuration with a cold. Nothing worse than good ol' fashioned con crud. We talked about everything from the weather to the anniversary of the Kennedy assassination.

Lunch broke up after two, and I had James swing by the Mableton post office to drop off the Thanksgiving cards. Instead of coming back up Floyd Road/Hurt Road to return to the East-West Connector, we did a slight variation on the directions being given to us by the GPS and drove a street called Fontaine Road. We're so used to being surrounded by suburbs that we are surprised when we find the small places in Cobb that are still country-like. The road leading to Fontaine was filled with small, older homes, but Fontaine itself paralleled an old railroad line and looked almost like the road we take up to Helen, GA, with widely-spaced homes, some with stables and acreage behind them, and many stands of trees, all in various stages of autumn color. The railroad tracks were out of sight in a little valley at the right side of the road. It was like a little five-minute vacation in the middle of our day.

We were headed for Barnes & Noble to get the cocoa we got cheated out of last weekend when the Acworth Books-a-Million showed up missing in action. The doors were wide open and they had been doing some rearranging inside, with big upright shelves of the newest and recommended books right up front. Before we had our cocoa we wandered around both floors, checking out the magazines (but I'm not buying any this weekend, as they usually have the magazines on discount on Black Friday), and then the books. I did find a book that was discounted, so picked that up (a humorous memoir about a woman who is an introvert attempting to act as an extrovert) and a paperback involving a paranormal mystery. After surveying the reading material and getting ideas for the few gifts we have left to purchase, we sat and had peppermint cocoa and shared a chocolate chunk cookie. No dessert for us tonight!

James wrapped up the power chair before we left the bookstore and a good thing, because we ran through a rainshower on the way home—say, what happened to that dry day we were supposed to have?—but luckily it was barely spitting when we pulled into the driveway. So we got the chair put up safely.

Spent the remainder of the afternoon and evening watching some things on Netflix. First up was a British special narrated by Stephen Fry about the elaborate courting behavior of several types of tropical birds, including birds of paradise and bowerbirds. The narrative was very tongue-in-cheek and the birds beautiful to look at, but with the most extraordinary courtship rituals: dancing, decorating elaborate nests, even a type of bird where the male has a male "wing man" to help him court his lady friend.

While James was cooking up some burritos for his breakfasts, I watched the documentary Harry and Snowman, the story of which is told in Elizabeth Letts' The Eighty Dollar Champion. Snowman, a former plow horse, was on his way to become dog food when a riding instructor named Harry DeLeyer bought him for eighty dollars. The horse turned out to be a natural jumper who won prestigious jumping contests in the late 1950s against younger, fitter horses. It wasn't the first time I had met Snowman. He appeared in a childhood book I still have, More Than Courage by Patrick Lawson, stories of real-life dogs and horses, where I also first read about "Sergeant" Stubby of WWI, Chips the war dog (whose real story was much better than the Disney telefilm), Roman war dogs, the famous Lipizzaners, police dogs, race horses, rescue dogs—and even a chapter on performing dogs and horses that talked about Lassie, Fury, and Rin Tin Tin.

Later we watched a series of short Disney films, including little shorts based on Rapunzel and Frozen, the enchanting nearly black-and-white "Paperman," the Prep and Landing "Secret Santa" short, etc. Totally delightful! The Mickey Mouse cartoon made of half vintage animation and half CGI was very inventive.

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» Thursday, November 21, 2019
All Groceried Out

Had a nice sleep-in this morning which must have relieved James, who probably hasn't gotten six hours of sleep a night for the last four nights. We had a leisurely breakfast and I walked the dog before we headed off for Publix. The sky was so blue it hurt, but the temperatures had risen quickly. We just had flannel shirts over short sleeves, but we needed brimmed hats!

Thanksgiving is still a week away—my goodness, that soon!—but Publix is bursting with Christmas, a whole island of baking goodies and red and green, and silver and gold trims. We did some stocking up for both holidays, BOGO flour for my baking, and veg for our Thanksgiving contributions at this year's "Friendsgiving." Bounced around the store from one end to the other to pick everything up.

We put up the perishables and then headed to Sam's Club. We were planning to wait till next week, but James was out of cheese and he's going to binge-make burritos on Saturday when it rains, so it was today instead. Probably for the best since next Saturday everyone will be in a shopping frenzy.

Even for a Thursday the place was crowded. We gaped over the newest televisions posed directly near the entrance. One Vizio was running a 3-D looking loop that showed off its picture to best advantage. It was quite lovely. Also checked out security systems and new Fitbit smartwatches before going on to what we needed (and could afford): coupon items (Reynolds Wrap, Mrs. Dash, Splenda packets) and not (bulk cheese slices, a bag of Halos). I was going to get milk, but it was more expensive than Lidl.

It was around two by then and we stopped at Krystal to get a cheap lunch: two little cheeseburgers for James, two plain "pups" for me, and a little bag of tater tots. Just right! But since it was so late, we didn't bother going anywhere else except to Lidl for the usual: bread, milk, chocolate, elbow macaroni for a steal, a big bag of small Granny Smith apples, almond windmill cookies for a treat.

The day had completely changed while we were out. From blue and sunny when we left this morning, white clouds then grey clouds crept in, until the sun was just a brighter grey sphere in the cloudy sky. I'd left my flannel shirt behind when we dropped the stuff from Sam's off, and it was almost a little too chilly by the time we got home. Found a surprise on the front porch: a new griddle that I'd ordered from Amazon Vine.  We had nothing thawed for dinner, so we trickled cold water on two of the lamb steaks I'd gotten the other day at Nam Dae Mun. In the meantime, we "killed a frog" and finally cleaned off the top shelf in the fridge, which has been a collecting ground for a mixture of jellies, jams, and sauces. We dumped a couple of things like the congealed mint jelly, and then James scrubbed off the shelf (it's too tall for me to reach the back of) and then we wiped off the good jars and put them back, sauces to the right, jellies and jams to the left, with the Romano cheese in front. I've been cleaning out the fridge one shelf at a time all week and now the inside looks quite smart.

James took a nearly empty jar of garlic jelly and another nearly empty jar of balsamic jelly with onion, and made a finishing sauce for the lamb, cooking it on the new griddle. So good! And the pieces were large enough to supply leftovers for a lunch. Mnnn. Lamb sandwich!

Spent the rest of the evening playing games and watching the Holiday Baking Championship on Food Network.

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


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... 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... 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... 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.



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


Outside my window...'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... 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... 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.



» 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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