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 10, 2018
The Perfect November Day

Although it was Saturday, we were up to an alarm at 7:30, since we had to be out early. It went down to the 30s last night and it was hard to get out of a warm, toasty bed. Slept like a log in this chill. I don't think I sleep anywhere near as well in the summer, when I'm quite "sleep depraved."

Dressed for the weather this morning, in my Vermont sweatshirt, jeans, and my boot socks, which keep my feet toasty warm. I'm quite chuffed at getting to wear all this—every year (even as busy as I've been this year) summer seems to take longer to go by. Emerged with Tucker to a bright blue sky and a brisk walk, then came in for breakfast. As James finished up, I started packing stuff in the back of the truck, but waited for him for the last, awkward box with the MopVac sticking out of it.

Electronics recycling was much quicker this year, as they were sorting people right as you entered, rather than waiting for you to go through the gates where the employees were waiting, and electronics is always the shortest line, as odd as this sounds, as today they are also taking old clothing or offering mass paper shredding. Most of the people seem to be here to either have their papers shredded or to recycle clothes. A quick twist of the wrist, a return of the boxes, and like that, it was all done for the year. I am so happy to get that junk out of the garage. On the way home we stopped by Advance Auto Parts to get new bungee cords to hold down the trunk in the back of the truck (they literally rot away in the Georgia sun); we installed them once we arrived home. James packed up the truck with some models he was donating to the club auction, and he was off.

I "mounted up" as well, to buy milk and mandarin orange cups at Sam's Club. As always, came out with a lot more: slippers for James, fresh mandarins, two Christmas magazines, and two wonderful meat bargains: chicken drumsticks at 85 cents a pound, and some discount stew beef at $2.36 a pound. They had pork chops for $1.25/pound, but I passed as we had a lot of pork. On the way out, I gave a contribution to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and got a poppy for my car.

Since it was still chilly, I stowed the perishables in insulated bags and headed up to Town Center. I had a good coupon for JoAnn and wanted to make sure it was used. I stopped to take a photo of a gorgeous orange-leaved maple tree, and then was greeted with Christmas everywhere. JoAnn has a nice selection of plaques and other things this year, but very large pieces for larger homes than ours. I picked up a magnet sheet with my coupon and some golden candle bulbs. I'm running short on blue bulbs for the welcome candles in the front windows and think the golden ones look very pretty, like a real flame.

Stopped at Michael's, but they didn't have what I was looking for, so I just went on to Costco for gasoline. They are at $2.259, which is mind-boggling.

On the way home I drove home through the battlefield park, golden with autumn and perfect for walking, surprised that I did not see more people out exercising. If I wasn't toting a trunk full of groceries I'd be tempted to stop and walk myself. Once home, I had my lunch, then washed the kitchen floor, which badly needed it. Looked outside and thought I should fill the bird feeders since the weather is going to be cold and then chill and rainy on Monday. They were finally dried out from the last rainstorm and I was able to do so, and brought fresh seed up from where I'd stored it in the garage. Then I thought I would hang up some suet. The suet cage was on the floor of the deck, but most of its hanging chain was stuck between the boards. I had to retrieve what I could with a pair of pliers and fix the links. When I went to hang it up on the existing double-strand thick cord that suspends the thistle seed holder, it fell out of my hands. I had to take off my shoes (because the back yard is still awash in mud), put on my dog walking shoes, go all the way outside and into the back yard, pick up the suet cage, bang the mud out of it, walk back in, get out of my dog walking shoes, put my regular shoes back on, and then go back on the deck.

The cord turned out to be rotted and broke in my hands. So I had to replace the existing cord and made up a second cord to hold the suet cage separately, take the stepladder outside to hang the cords, and finally rehang the thistle seed holder and hang the suet cage. All that just to feed the birds!

When James came home we were off to the West Cobb Diner for supper. Really surprised at the crowd, because we were much earlier than we usually arrive. But the turkey was worth it.

We finished up by completing the grocery shopping and returning home for Father Brown and the Britcoms.

Incidentally, today is our 28th wedding anniversary! I thank God for seeing another one.

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Flourish

» Sunday, November 04, 2018
Blue Sky, Books, and Bonny Trees

Never did get that extra hour's sleep. Knees were still hurting, and James got up early due to (yet another) call of nature, so we were up and going before nine o'clock, even though we leisurely ate breakfast and I took Tucker out, but all he wanted to do was to hunt down raccoons.

(We had a strange postscript to the raccoon story. When I pulled up Facebook this morning, another neighbor down the street was responding to the Facebook post I'd put on the neighborhood association page. While we were rousing ourselves out of bed this morning, the raccoon had wandered into her yard. Well, her family has big dogs, Italian mastiffs, and one went after the raccoon and killed it. Sadly, it wandered into the wrong yard. I hope the dog was okay.)

We had forgotten to get onions (again; I have no idea how this keeps happening the way both of us love onions!), so we combined a short grocery trip along with our fun trip this morning. We went to the Kroger on Dallas Highway because it was across the street from our destination and picked up the onions and a few more things that added themselves to the list. Once again, it was chilly enough for us to be wearing flannel shirts, so we had no qualms about stuffing some meats and two frozen pot pies into an insulated bag and heading across the street. We were headed to Hallmark first to return a duplicate ornament, but they weren't open yet, so we went to Barnes & Noble instead to kill the 45 minutes until they did. (As if we couldn't fritter that much time away in a bookstore!) James used a coupon on a book he's been waiting on, and I bought the newest Christmas edition of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books along with "Just Cross Stitch."

Finally it was after noon, so James got his refund and I bought a Christmas gift, then we stopped at Yankee Candle so I could get air freshener for my car. I have no idea what's gotten into Yankee Candle. This is just a little store; maybe the larger one at Town Center Mall is still okay, but this one seems to stock only YC's new line of "trendy" looking candles (I can't explain them; they have fancy jars and stuff) and a smaller selection of scents, and the newer scents are really terrible, too fruity or too sweet, sometimes both. Where are the good scents like gingerbread and cafe au lait instead of the blue spruce one (ugh) or another with some winter name that smelled terrible?

I treated James to a soup at Panera before we came home. The place was packed since it was just a little after noon, but it was warm enough that we could sit out on the terrace and I was quite content eating my chicken noodle soup with a surfeit of carrots and reading "Just Cross Stitch." Got some photos of beautiful autumn trees, too. The trees that started to turn when we finally got a cold spell are coloring up beautifully!

It would have been a big temptation to sit down again when we got home, but instead I finished up the job I started on Friday: there were still books stacked horizontally on James' bookshelf in the bedroom and everything there was quite dusty. So that was all removed and dusted and sorted, the shelves wiped down, some junk on James' dresser tossed out, and the carpet vacuumed again. I also vacuumed the stuffed animals on the shoe rack on top of the chifforobe; our bedroom really gets dusty despite the fact we spend very little time in it. No idea why.

I also sorted James' and my pills for the week and washed the towels.

We had sausage and cheese tortellini for supper in the last of the Prego no-sugar-added sauce and half a Ritter "Pfefferminz" bar each for dessert. Watched a couple of episodes of M*A*S*H that hadn't come up in the rotation lately, then The Durrells in Corfu (Gerry's nearly disastrous birthday party—noticed last week that Milo Parker, who plays Gerry, is getting a shadow on his upper lip and looked up his age; he's sixteen, but Gerry has just turned thirteen), and Alaska: the Last Frontier.

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» Saturday, November 03, 2018
Green Ginger and Masked Bandits

We awoke on Saturday morning to find it chilly. It's been great sleeping weather, but I had worked so hard on Friday cleaning out James' side of the bedroom that I hadn't slept as well as I could due to aching knees (and a lot of other things). He has a tendency to finish a book and just stack in in a pile and the piles were just in the way, plus there was a stack of magazines at the foot of the bed. I sorted these out, tossed out what I thought he'd want to toss, and made neat piles of what he thought he wanted to keep. I also found out which books he'd read and which ones he wanted to keep and which he wanted to take to McKay's, and cleaned out under his nightstand to put to-be-read books there. To my surprise he told me to toss the whole kit and caboodle of the magazines. Then I vacuumed out the area, and took the two piles of books downstairs. The "keep" stack I will shelve and the "give away" stack went in the boxes for McKay's. Friday night was spent quietly watching The Cool Kids and Hawaii Five-0.

Anyway, we confined out activity on Saturday morning to limping around supermarkets to finish the shopping. We emerged to a cloudless sky except for one lone, scanty cloud in the north, but the air was so dry James watched in fascination as it just faded away. We had flannel shirts on when we left, but by the time we got to our first destination it was warm enough to remove them. First we went to Sam's Club because they still have skim milk. Got various household needs and I bought more boot socks in the forlorn hope it may be cold enough this winter to use more than four pair. 😉 Then we visited Publix for the few BOGO items and, as always, bought more than we expected. By the time we got home I was aching, so after puttering around the house starting the process of turning the clocks back—there are fourteen clocks and six timers—I fell asleep on the sofa while James gamed and read Facebook.

I only roused because it was time to go out and we were planning to get to our destination early. We dressed, stopped at Wendy's for simple burgers each and a shared lemonade, and then headed to the Unitarian church on Mount Vernon Highway for the November edition of the Hungry Ear Coffee House. Our friend Louis Robinson, who is originally from England and worked for many years at the BBC, had, like many young men in the 1970s, been in a band, and his friends from that band, "Green Ginger," had flown to the U.S. for a visit and they "got the band back together" to play at the coffee house. We brought the usual largesse (you are to donate a canned good for every seat) and were there early enough so James could get a seat near the door for calls of nature, but to our surprise the place was not filled the way it was for the "Summer of Love" concert a few months ago. The opening act was by Pat Walsh, who plays these offbeat "stream of consciousness" folk songs (that's the only way I can describe them), and then "Green Ginger" performed. For four guys that haven't played together in over forty years, they did a very funny and excellent concert. They did some traditional folk songs—including that ultimate folk song, "Wild Rover"—and a short, hilarious piece that was a parody of a train advertisement, and at least two songs that have become standard at Louis' solo concerts, including the beautiful wedding song, "Michaela." We had a grand time, snacking on cheesecake, grapes and hummus, and brownies, and drove home happily in the dark.

Tucker and I had an adventure when I took him out when we got back. We had walked down the street and he'd done his business, and we were back in the driveway for me to drop off "the deposit" when Tucker began barking hysterically behind me. I wheeled around to see a big raccoon trundling up the lawn toward us, wobbling a little and making little trilling raccoon noises. Now, for all I knew this was a raccoon that was fed by humans and was just looking for some food, but he was walking funny and Tucker was practically apoplectic, yelping and squealing and dashing after an animal that probably outweighed him by ten pounds until he got snubbed by his leash. The raccoon fled, but I hustled us inside fast, because there were over a dozen rabid raccoons discovered last spring next door in DeKalb County. I posted a warning on our neighborhood association Facebook page and one of the neighbors up the street said it had been sleeping on her doorstep earlier.

It must have been wandering outside all night, because Tucker practically barked that long.

Anyway, turned the rest of the clocks and timers back before before bed, which was gratefully welcomed! Farewell till spring, sucky DST. Wish you didn't have to come back!

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Flourish

» Sunday, October 28, 2018
Books and Pasta

We had a lovely sleep-in this morning. I have slept better in the last few nights that it's been chilly that over the entire summer. I wish it could be under 65 just in our bedroom! Then there was breakfast and dog-walking.

Glad we went to the Jonquil Festival yesterday, even though it was damp and muddy: not a cloud in the sky today, which wouldn't have been bad had it not gone up in the 70s. Ugh.

About noon we headed to Buckhead and Barnes & Noble. We went the usual way through Northside Drive and West Paces Ferry Road and found quite a lot of traffic on it. This at least gave us some time to enjoy the hints of fall on the big homes that line Paces Ferry. We discovered the reason for the traffic when we reached the Atlanta History Center: they are having a Day of the Dead presentation today.

After that the afternoon was quite nice: we perused the books and the magazines. I bought a copy of Peter Pan for myself as I have never read it. It also contains the excerpt of "Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens" from The Little White Bird, which explains where Peter Pan came from. I also bought a copy of The Venderbeekers of 141st Street, which takes place at Christmas in New York City. James got the new Honor Harrington book.

We went next door to one more Publix; alas, they do not have small packages of the Bertolli sausage and cheese tortellini (which is BOGO this week). So we just stocked up on the chicken and proscuitto flavor, which, since we have found a new no-sugar spaghetti sauce (both the Prego and the Ragu are pretty good), make a quick and dirty meal. We also bought some various sharp cheeses, as we have finished the cheese we bought at the Apple Festival last week: a cheddar with cranberries, and one with bruschetta flavor, and some smoked. This will make a better light snack than something carb-y. We just have to watch the salt.

Came home to have a very late lunch and finish a book that I wasn't really happy with (The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel) and sort James' pills and wash the towels. James discovered that, although we've been in three supermarkets this weekend (and I was in more on Thursday), we totally forgot to buy onions! He had to cook up his ground turkey for the week without onion.

We had potstickers (BOGO again) for supper and then watched The Durrells in Corfu and Alaska: the Last Frontier.

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» Saturday, October 27, 2018
Happy Jonquil Festival Day

It was quite cloudy and damp when we awoke this morning, but it was not raining, which was just what we wanted. We emerged from our cocoon of blankets—it was down into the 40s last night—and dressed and breakfasted, and I took Tucker out for an airing. And then we were off, with Tucker in tow. It was the perfect day for the autumn Jonquil Festival, even if no one else thought so: cool, cloudy, open jacket weather.

We found a parking space behind the library, and began to stroll around the booths. Tucker was intensely alert, pulled in all directions by people and scents. The first dog we encountered was an Australian shepherd, mostly white with merle markings, and his name was Tucker, too. It's a small festival, so we ran into the other Tucker several times. Our Tucker got petted several times by people with small children, got barked at by a nervous pug, and tried to mark everything in his path. We admired jewelry and gadgets, and then stopped by a balsamic vinegar booth. We were out of our peach vinegar, so we bought that (now we don't have to drive up to Woodstock) and also some plum vinegar (which should taste smashing on lamb and beef), and a small bottle of spicy lime for James. We sampled huckleberry honey and dips, talked to some people with a shy border collie, walked past the rescue greyhounds, and looked at the Smyrna Library book sale books (here James bought some pecans for charity as well). As we were coming around we found a booth where a man was selling inexpensive clockworks in handmade wooden frames.

Now, way back when I was living at "the Cubbyhole," my studio apartment, and there was a Remington store at Perimeter Mall, Mom bought a little faux gold mantel clock with a rotating pendulum at the bottom which looked like the real one my Confirmation godmother Margaret Azzoli had in her parlor. Mom always adored that clock but couldn't afford an antique like that. When Mom passed, we took the little mantel clock home and it's been on our own mantel ever since. But the pendulum broke several years ago, and it's been going through batteries like water, sticking on certain hours, and running slow. I'd checked into lookalike mantel clocks online and they were very expensive and all plastic, and made in China.

James saw the look on my face when I came to one clock with an "aged" face set in dark walnut with a maple leaf cut on one side. He bought it for our anniversary, and when we got home I put it on the mantel. It fits right in with the fall decor and looks like it's always been there. The only thing wrong with it is that it takes "N" batteries and I will have to go to Batteries Plus for those.


We had some "island noodles" for lunch, chicken with vegetables and long noodles. It was very salty and I was equally sorry for suggesting it. We should have just had Williamson barbecue. James picked up some jambalaya for dinner and we were about to leave when we noticed a frisbee dog exhibition starting. This was just a short show, but there were three of the cutest dogs: a little smooth-haired bullet of a terrier-type dog, a border collie, and a red heeler. They all did a funny show where they deliberately disobeyed and had the crowd in stitches. Tucker completely ignored them!

By the time we got home he was completely "tuckered out" and sacked out on James' recliner for the rest of the day. I put the clock up on the mantel.

We were still both in good spirits, so we transferred all the junk from the box of Goodwill donations to the trunk of my car and took them all to the donation center. This gets rid of the Soda Stream, which James doesn't use anymore because the syrup changed manufacturers and got more expensive, a whole collection of small Hallowe'en decorations, a tailed mouse, plastic Christmas dishes, and a bunch of other little things.

Finally we strayed into dangerous territory by going to Kroger on a Saturday afternoon. However, it was less hazardous than we expected and we emerged unscathed. We came home to play about on the computer, watch some television, eat a little supper. James spent part of the afternoon and some of the evening downstairs in the "man cave" for the first time in a long time, and I worked on a tiny cross stitch "Colonial Sheep" that I bought so long ago in the gift shop in Yorktown.

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Flourish

» Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Look, Ma, No Tubes
Today James had his official post-op appointment. Unfortunately we had to drive all the way down to Kaiser's Southwood office (near Southlake Mall in Morrow—or Jonesboro, depending on what GPS we were using). Since we didn't know how long it would take us to get down there, we left rather earlier than needed, but were able to take the freeway, which was more freewheeling than usual. By the time we got down there and sorted out where it was (they laugh about Atlanta having so many Peachtree-named streets, and this place has Mt. Zion Parkway, Mt. Zion Boulevard, Mt. Zion Road...), we were rather frazzled.

The Southwood office is huge, about the size of a small hospital. One building is for regular offices, one for specialties. We lucked out, someone was backing out of a handicapped parking space right as we got in, and urology was the closest department to the door.

Last Thursday James had a buildup of blood in his urine until it was very dark at night. When it was no lighter in the morning, we drove up to Urgent Care. They did several tests on him and told us that not only did it look worse than it was, but that, in fact, all his tests looks pretty good. He had just gone back on Brilinta and the ACC doctor said to hold it until we saw Dr. Starr today. Ironically it went back to normal abruptly on Friday afternoon, just about 24 hours after it began.

To cut to the chase, the nurse removed the catheter, James retired to the restroom, and...finally the waterworks have returned. However, the doctor was still concerned that he was not voiding enough. His policy is that only 150ml or less should be left in the bladder after you urinate. So he basically sent us out for lunch and told us to come back around 1:30. I was high as a kite with the news the surgery had worked and the foley could go while James remained more sober, but we did celebrate by having lunch at Olive Garden. James had soup and salad with a meatball pizza bowl, and I did the all-you-can-eat pasta. Sadly, two plates were all I could eat, so it was a little wasted on me. I had cavatappi with meatballs for the first course and just plain spaghetti for the second. It was all yummy, except the cavatappi was overcooked. The spaghetti was nicely al dente, though.

We got back to Southwood about 1:45, James having availed himself in Olive Garden twice, and miraculously again got a good handicapped parking spot near the door (otherwise the parking lot looked like the Courtland Garage during DragonCon); he got re-tested and passed the under-150 test. The catheter, for now, is suspended. So we endured another terrifying ride home on I-285, passed by three sports cars that were obviously racing each other, and stopped at Kaiser Cumberland to pick up the insulin James so desperately needed.

And since then he has been free of needing tubes. It actually may be a little too free. He's in the bathroom every hour (at least) and has to get up multiple times a night. The doctor warned us about this, though; being on a foley catheter since April has atrophied his bladder muscles, so he must respond immediately. However, he just needs to get a proper amount of liquids now, two liters per day, he doesn't have to drink like a fish as he had to to keep the catheter clear and free of infection.

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» Sunday, October 21, 2018
Apples of Our Eyes

It's been a busy weekend! Yesterday we had Hair Day. Charles made beef chili and the Butlers chicken chili, we brought rice, there was the usual wonderful relish tray, and David, although not there, contributed cornbread. Juanita came with Jessie; the poor kid looks so pale. She has had to have more transfusions, and they are still doing tests to find out where she losing blood internally. They think she may have a bleeding ulcer, but it's in a place that's inaccessible by normal tests.

While the morning was fine, we spent the afternoon playing grocery store hopscotch, which I hate. We stopped on the Macland Road Publix to do our BOGO shopping since it was on the way home, only to discover they were out of the item we needed the most. We got the rest of the things, then angled our way through surface streets to the Smyrna Publix to pick up that needed item, and got a few extra BOGO items as well. But milk was too expensive there and we needed bulk unsweetened applesauce, so we tried going to Costco. Stupid idea; you can't get a parking space on Saturday afternoon. So back we went to Kroger for the milk and a smaller container of applesauce, plus I grabbed ramen noodles. And only then could we go home.

Spent the evening watching Father Brown and Britcoms, but went to bed early because we needed to be up this morning at 6:45! A little breakfast, a little dog walking, and then we drove off to Ellijay listening to an episode of "A Way With Words." We also wrapped up well: when I walked Tucker it was quite chilly, since it had gone down to the 40s during the night, and, at least early this morning, there was a good breeze coming out of the north. I wore a flannel shirt outside with my "kimono" wrap over it, and that wasn't good enough, so I decanted the lighter jackets from storage at the back of our closet.

We got to the Lions Club fairgrounds a little after nine and got a nice parking space right at the end of a row. It rained more up in Ellijay yesterday than it did here, and we were afraid of sodden paths, but there was only a small patch of mud churned up and they'd blocked that off. By then we had to don hats and gloves for a while, and the first thing we bought was some hot chocolate, which warmed us nicely. The sky was completely clear and a gorgeous, deep royal blue, the air crisp and clean, one of those days when you're glad to be alive.

We were there about three hours, having a nice leisurely prowl among the booths. We bought some teriyaki rub, a new hot pad for the kitchen (I doused one in chicken soup two years ago and had to throw it away; they had no fall patterns last year or this year, so I just bought one with apples this year instead), some homemade cheeses, and six pieces of fudge. I was tempted by the ceramic Christmas trees again, but I have no available surfaces and even less cash. They always remind me of my godmother.

By the time lunchtime rolled around, it was warmer and we were hungry. I was interested in the Greek booth's kabobs, but they'd run out of steak, so we had chicken instead. This was a ton of chicken. There must have been a pound of it on each kabob, and it was very moist and flavorful, seasoned well. I got some of the tzatziki sauce (cucumber and yogurt and herbs) on the side and dipped the chunks of chicken in it; it gave the chicken a nice sweetish taste to go along with the savory. James sat in his chair and I perched on a plastic-covered hay bale and we had a good time eating among the other fairgoers.

On the way home we stopped at Panorama Orchards. I realized with horror a few months ago that we were out of the blackberry spread we always buy there; this is my "jelly" of choice for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It's just simply blackberry puree with a little apple juice and pectin, no added sugar, just a deep, deep fruit flavor, simply scrumptious—I think this is what the angels eat for breakfast in heaven. (I tried buying some Polaner "all fruit" blackberry to tide me over; it was dreadful, sickly sweet and too many other juices mixed in so there was no real blackberry taste at all.) So when we got there I scooped up three jars (the jars are smaller now), and James got a jar of the blueberry, which is also richly flavored. We also got more pot pie noodles, some of the goat's-milk hand lotion that I like, sugarless taffy for James, peanut brittle as a treat, and a big peck of Granny Smith apples, one of which we munched on the way home. We also stopped at Costco for gasoline for the truck.

All that fresh air wore me out; I fell asleep on the sofa after we put up all the food!

Alas, we thought we found a forgotten container of turkey soup in the freezer, but instead it was some really old chicken cacciatore legs. James warmed them up with a side of ramen noodles, but they were pretty bad. James ate both of his, but I couldn't finish mine. Anyway, they're out of the freezer, so we have room for fresher chicken (or more turkey soup).

Finished the evening with The Durrells in Corfu and Alaska: the Last Frontier.

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Flourish

» Sunday, October 14, 2018
And Down Again...

As always, we did some grocery shopping after we got up and had breakfast (and gave Tucker his "morning airing." The milk was so expensive at Publix we skipped it. I could go out tomorrow and find cheaper milk. Once we had everything tucked away, I left James at the computer (internet was still up!) and went back to the book sale.

Sunday at the book sale, even at one in the afternoon, is pretty sparsely attended. The books are now pretty sparse, too, but what's left you can really look at, which is how I explain coming home with more books today than on Friday: a book about how television shapes our perceptions, a book about the "dumbing down" of the U.S., the diary of a woman who watches wildlife in her back yard, a volume of essays about Huckleberry Finn, an Ann Rinaldi historical I didn't have (John Brown's daughter), a "Swallows and Amazons" novel, and a collection of the Lord Darcy fantasy stories  (Maggi Weaver is always recommending them).

I decided I didn't want to go out tomorrow, as it's my housecleaning day, so on the way home I stopped at Kroger for milk and no-salt-added mushrooms.

And when I got home, the internet was down again. Eventually it quit flashing green-to-red and stayed solid red.

The tech I talked to yesterday implied someone should have been here today (but maybe tomorrow). And maybe I needed to make some noise. So I called up Earthlink and a good thing I did, because AT&T Guy from yesterday had not scheduled a Cable Guy to call (at least not per Earthlink's records). No soup for you, dude. In the meantime, I Spoke in Capital Letters again, and Earthlink assured me someone would be here between four and eight tomorrow and it would be fixed. I said I hoped so because people were asking me why I just didn't drop them and go to Comcast.

James made some nice beef for supper and we ended the day watching Guy's Grocery Games and Alaska: the Last Frontier.

(Later that next day: New AT&T Guy showed up a little before four and took an hour to sort out the problem. Turned out it was not The Box Near the House, but the Box Near the Church Down the Street. He said the "ports" were burned out, probably due to age, and he was going to complain about the guy who came on Saturday because he should have checked up there in the first place. He also finished burying the new wires they had to put in when they installed the broadband in February. He said they should have been completely buried and they never were.)

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» Saturday, October 13, 2018
Two, Two, Two Days in One

And so the year has rolled around again, and it was time on Friday for the Friends of the Library book sale. James had gotten up at the usual time to work, and I woke just a little later, so I could eat and walk Tucker. The days are long gone where I could skip breakfast before the book sale.

When I emerged from the bedroom James was frustrated beyond belief: the internet was down. Yes, I did look outside for an AT&T truck! This time there was none out there. First I reset the modem, then I unplugged it for five minutes. Neither did the trick: it was blinking fast green, then solid red for three to ten seconds, then back to flashing green. I gave James the phone numbers for Earthlink and went on to the book sale.

Ironically I didn't buy much for me: a book about a man hiking in Wales and another about traveling in England. (Alas, nothing in my usual series, and not a sign of the one World Book Christmas book I'm missing.) I did buy True North, which I thought James and I would both like: a bush pilot flying around Canada. I found two brand new books to use as gifts, and the rest were for James: a fighter pilot memoir and four of the Time-Life "Epic of Flight" books I thought he might enjoy: fighter pilots, aircraft carriers, bush pilots and the RAF.

When I came home, the internet was still down. James said it had come up for five minutes while he was on the phone with tech support, then failed again. They scheduled a tech to come out tomorrow afternoon, saying there was probably something wrong with the modem. I was a stubborn bugger and refused to believe it; pulled the plug and let it sit, and once again it came up for five minutes and then died, so I pulled the plug again, this time for twenty minutes then plugged it back in while we ate lunch and watched Doctor Simon Locke. It came back about 1:25. When it was still up at two, James logged back on and worked about an hour and it crashed again at three. Another plug pull, and it was off for a half hour, then came back up and stayed up. The modem my foot.

We ate supper at home and watched The Cool Kids and Hawaii overtaken by a heat wave on Hawaii Five-0.

This morning we were both up around eight. James had a meeting to get to, and I was going to Jessie Elder's 25th birthday party. (I can't believe both the girls are a quarter-century old! I remember holding Jessie when she was two days old and the size of a doll.) We had breakfast and I perambulated the pooch, then I swathed her gifts in tissue paper and put them in a gift bag and picked out a card. We both left about 10:30.

The birthday party was at the Mellow Mushroom up at Town Center; we were outside on the patio and it was still chilly enough that they had heaters running (I was in the odd position of being hot on one side and cool on the other). I sat between Alice and Terry and had a terrific time; we talked for hours. Jessie was doing well despite the health problems she has been having; she has to have more medical tests on Wednesday. Hopefully they can finally clear this up as it's been going on for a while. She had a lovely cake with a Beauty and the Beast theme, and Aubrey made her the most exquisite tiny gift: a necklace of a tiny bottle about an inch or so high with a sculpted rose inside it (like the Beast's rose).

After the party was over, I backtracked to JoAnn. When I put my phone in the Bracketron to use the GPS for directions to the Mellow Mushroom, both supports cracked and broke. I had a coupon on the JoAnn app for 40 percent off; they have some phone stuff at the checkout counter, including simple vent mounts. I got a black one.

Next wanted to check out At Home, since I haven't been there since they were Garden Ridge. Basically they just had a name change; the store looks the same. They already had aisles and aisles of Christmas ornaments, decor, and tchotchkes, plus a whole forest of trees. Their fall and Hallowe'en stuff was already picked over.

Finally I went to Hobby Lobby, just to check out stuff. Although I am planning to clean out my Hallowe'en decorations because I don't use most of them, I found two old-fashioned looking child figures among their things. I thought I would put it with the other two vintage looking decorations I have for a vintage display. I also bought some Christmas picks for a small vase that I am filling for a gift, and some autumn, Thanksgiving, and holly stickers for my journal.

I would have lingered longer except I realized I had to get home for the AT&T guy. Just as I pulled into the driveway James called saying AT&T was on the way (and so was he). The guy arrived within five minutes and I told him the system was back up, but I'd like him to check out things anyway. He did a speed test and concluded that nothing was wrong with the modem, so he went out to the switchbox. He told me that we have two lines to provide the service, and that on the line that is providing the broadband the copper is starting to corrode. So he has called the cable specialist to come out tomorrow or Monday to fix that, and that this should take care of the problem. Well, I hope so! James lost nearly $100 in pay due to yesterday's "little" outage.

We had supper at home and watched Father Brown and the Britcoms before bed.

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» Thursday, October 11, 2018
How It Came Out
I realize for anyone who's still reading, I kind of left this at a cliffhanger. It wasn't my intention, but I wanted to get through today.

The surgery was successful, according to the doctor. He was able to open the urethra properly. James had no trouble during the surgery, either with the surgery itself or with his other health problems. He didn't need extra rousing from the anesthesia due to the sleep apnea and had very little pain in the hospital, even though they expected it. (Actually, it was after we got home that he had to start taking something for the pain.) He had no reaction to anesthesia at all, and was ravenous by the time the nurses realized he wasn't going to have any post-operative vomiting and they could quit the liquid diet.

The only problem that turned up was about 7:30 p.m., when he told me he was having some chest tightness. I called the nurse and everyone arrived. They took blood, an EKG, people examined him—and thankfully all the tests came up negative, even all the followup blood tests they took throughout the night. It was nothing to do with his heart; they believe it was just the stress of the surgery. Even though no flesh was actually cut into (surface skin), it was still stressful to his body. Instead of going home to sleep I went home and walked Tucker, put the animals to bed, and came back to sleep there. Well, not really sleep, because something kept beeping until they finally turned it off.

Everyone signed off on his release in the morning and we came home on Friday afternoon and spent a nice quiet day at home. They did not say he couldn't go out, just that he not lift anything or exert himself, so Saturday we headed for the Hallmark store at Cumberland Mall so James could pick up the Army truck. Surprise! Cumberland Mall doesn't have a Hallmark store anymore. Another non-clothes and shoes store gone. Really no use in going there any longer.

So we had to go up to Amy's Hallmark at Town Center and got it there, I picked up something we needed at Publix, and then we went to Barnes & Noble and I guess I got a little crazy with postop relief. We had a coupon, so I bought a stack of paperbacks in a series, a book about making a living via nerdy pursuits, and The Spellbook of Katrina Von Tassel, which looked like good Hallowe'en reading, plus two magazines. Sunday we did our usual shopping, and Monday it was back to work for him, at least in telework fashion. He is still off the Brilinta until the urologist says it's safe for him, so I don't want him being in the office while he is off that med. He is still showing signs of tiny amounts of blood in his urine, so we're not sure when that will happen.

Today was James' appointment to get the surgical foley catheter removed. This thing has been a pain in the neck; we couldn't use a Statlock all week because the catheter was too short.

Anyway, ideally once the catheter was pulled, if the surgery was successful, and liquid was introduced into his bladder, James should have been able to pass his own water. To my sorrow that did not happen. We do know the passage is clear for liquid to pass. However, we could not get the full amount to void. There may be reasons for this. We are hoping it is because it is so soon after surgery that his prostate is still swollen—that is the source of his pain at the moment—and the surgical brochure said it could take four to six weeks for swelling to go down. However, James has been on a foley for six months. His body may have forgotten the signals needed to relax enough to cause him to void. This I don't know what we can do about it.

So the nurse who ran the test consulted the doctor, and he advised to put another foley catheter back in. We will actually see the doctor again in two weeks, and I think he gets to try it again.

James said he sort of expected it. He thought it was too soon for it to have healed, especially as there was still blood tinges, and he was philosophical about having a new foley put in. But I fell into a funk for the rest of the day and made him a bit down as well. I'm sorry to have brought him low. He was accepting it with fortitude and I was just being Debbie Downer. But I want so badly for him to be better. I thought if we could get that back to normal we could work on the other things, but at the moment we are just in a holding pattern. I feel so sad and frustrated when he is in pain and I can't help him.

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» Thursday, October 04, 2018
How We Got to Here
So James had two appointments last week, an echocardiogram on Tuesday (for the cardiologist) and then his pre-surgical appointment with the urologist. The rest of the week he teleworked, I cleaned, we watched the season premieres of Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon, and the premiere of the rebooted Murphy Brown. We were rather pleased at the last: when they announced that Murphy's son Avery was going to be a conservative working for "the Wolf Network," was afraid they would have her and Avery insulting each other. Instead, they don't agree but are respectful of each other's political views. Loved the secretary gag.* [spoiler below] And welcome to menopause, Corky. The fun is only beginning.

So surgery was finally approved Friday afternoon, and Saturday James went off the Brilinta to stave off bleeding problems, but kept taking the baby aspirin as the cardiologist requested. We had a swell time at Aubrey's "quarter of a century old" birthday bash at Tin Lizzy's. Saturday and Sunday we cheered ourselves with Buzzr's "Lost and Found" feature: they have turned up the 70s reboots of old TV game show standbys like What's My Line, I've Got a Secret, To Tell the Truth, and Concentration, plus the color version of Password from 1966. We had fun playing along with Concentration. The rest were okay, but Secret was the weakest because the panel was simply too weak. What always carried the original series was the panel and Garry Moore. Buzzr even showed He Said, She Said, the precursor to Tattletales. This was the game show I couldn't watch when I had surgery in 1974 because I had my tummy stitched up like a Thanksgiving turkey and it hurt to laugh. (The ones they actually did show weren't that funny.) They also showed the What's My Line? (original series) 25th anniversary special.

Sunday was the season premiere (and apparently series final season) of The Durrells in Corfu.

On Tuesday James had his anesthesia consultation and pre-check in for the hospital. So all we had to do this morning was get up at the ungodly hour of 5:30 a.m. and get to the hospital. James carried his C-PAP (they wanted it for the recovery room) and I looked like a sherpa, with James' stuff and a blanket in the three-wheeled cart, the laptop, and my stuff in my Rick Steves Civita bag. Neither of us got much sleep and I am at present sitting at a counter in the surgical waiting room, using my laptop, and wishing I could sneak out and find a bed. It's too hot to sleep in the car and the pager they gave me doesn't work outside.

Waiting for the waiting to be over, as our friend Alice says...



SPOILER



SPOILER



* Hilary Clinton interviewed to be Murphy's secretary.

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» Sunday, September 23, 2018
Peaceful Adulting

A much calmer day today. We slept in, we had breakfast, and we went to the Barnes & Noble at Town Center. It was 20 percent off (even magazines) member appreciation weekend, and I was hoping they had the new "Smoky Mountain Living." Alas, no. James corralled a nice selection of magazines, and in a fit of whimsy I bought Adulting, which I've paged through since it was first released. Maybe I can find out if I'm doing it right. 😀 This is the revised edition with about 90 more tips.

(I love this woman. James and I laughed ourselves silly when we got to the cooking chapter and she's talking about basic weekly shopping items. #9 is "chicken thighs," with the notation "chicken breasts are for chumps! So dry! The meat equivalent of a PowerPoint presentation that no one asked for!" 👍)

We stopped at the Dallas Highway B&N on the way home in case they had a SML, but no dice. So we went by Sprouts and found they had Italian wedding soup for the first time in a good long time. It was at the bottom of the container, so we got few meatballs and even fewer chicken bits, so we took it home, thinned out the salty with some unsalted chicken broth, and I took most of the pasta and the meatballs, and had it with French bread. James took the remaining pasta and soup and chopped up the lemon pepper chicken from yesterday into it. We both had satisfactory suppers and the rest of the blueberry pie for dessert.

A thankfully peaceful Sunday night.

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» Saturday, September 22, 2018
Not the Fall I Was Expecting

Apparently summer forgot about itself through August and then only remembered this month that it was supposed to be hot. So up until the equinox tonight, it's been 90°F or over. I remember last year, with its 70s on Yellow Daisy weekend, with more fondness than ever.

James' mom had called up a few weeks ago and said they would like to come up for the day one Saturday to see us. We haven't seen them in four forevers. We'd intended to go after Christmas, and then came the truck accident, and once that was over James was  having other troubles, and then came the hospital siege. Well, cool. James understood it to be the 29th, so we were making plans for that.

Except Mom called last night and asked if we were still on for today. Ooops. So we set to work tidying the kitchen last night and I made sure the hall bath was still clean and gave it a nice wipeover with a Lysol cloth. We had talked about making one of the casserole dish kits we had bought at Yellow Daisy last year, but for that we would need cooked chicken and some cream cheese. We had the big package of thighs I'd bought at Nam Dae Mun on Friday, though, and we could have done those in cream of mushroom soup with a cucumber salad on the side. But James wanted to try something different, so we skipped breakfast this morning and ran over to Publix to get the two ingredients, and, since we were there, get the rest of the BOGOs. Unfortunately they only had lemon pepper or "mojo" flavor (I'm sure that means it's spicy) rotisserie chickens. We didn't have time to go to another store, so we got a lemon pepper and James said he'd make sure not to include the skin in the casserole. (I despise pepper. I don't understand how you can taste the goodness of the food when your mouth is on fire.)

We expected Mom and Candy about noon, so we were surprised and dismayed to see that they'd arrived when we got home and we weren't there to greet them. I hadn't even had a chance to run the vacuum cleaner over the carpet, or get James' magazines and books off the ottoman of the rocking chair. James just plunked the pile down on the hearth so everyone could sit.) We chatted a few minutes before starting lunch.

This was okay. James put onions and celery and mushrooms instead of green beans, which made a casserole more palatable. I like plain food, really: a meat, a starch, a veg. Sometimes it tastes good with a gravy (turkey, or chicken thighs, or the meat in spaghetti sauce or the barbecue wings I made last night), but I really like to taste all the flavors individually most of the time. So casseroles are really not my thing. But it did have a nice flavor, except that you could still taste the pepper from the rotisserie chicken even with the skin off. Couldn't be helped. We still had the cucumber salad, and baby carrots that Mom and Candy brought that I steamed and put maple syrup glaze on.

Dessert was something James picked up at Publix, a cinnamon "babka," flaky pastry folded in with cinnamon and sugar, with no "ick" (icing sugar) on or in it. It was wonderful, flaky and not overly sweet; we ate the entire thing.

We also had presents, since we had never "done" Christmas. We got them a basket of unique foods from various farmers markets: a mix from Nora Mills, specialty jams, some of the sweet onion relish, glazes, etc. There was also Candy's birthday gift: a book and an Eeyore ornament. James got a biplane made of Coca-Cola cans and they had bought me the tray and the mugs with the Christmas dogs design I saw last year at Pier One, but couldn't afford to buy. That was so cool!

Just talked the rest of the time and about 5:30 they decided it was time to hit the road so they could get home before dark. Mom got up and cut through the space between the sofa and the lamp—we usually avoid this because it's a narrow space—and I guess she tripped on the base of the floor lamp. Next thing we knew she was on the floor. She had not hit her head, but scraped her elbow on the carpet and had a big bruise already coming up on her right knee. Well, she's over eighty, and getting up isn't so easy anymore. We tried several different ways to help her up, and I thought James and I together might have been able to get her to her feet, but Candy was afraid if James hurt something, they wouldn't let him have his surgery. So I finally called 911, and while she was sitting on the floor, I cleaned and bandaged the little scrape on her elbow and got a bag of ice for the swollen spot. Three nice firefighters showed up and they had her up on her feet in less than a second (the head guy told her to put her feet on his and then they just swung her to her feet).

So they left a little later than expected, with a fresh ice bag, and I was making buttons most of the night until we found out they were home and safe.

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» Sunday, September 16, 2018
Yet Not Another DragonCon Weekend

It was another quiet weekend, although I am not happy. I got nervous on Thursday and called Kaiser, and the advice nurse agreed with me that James should not be having such rapid weight gains. We could not see his GP, but on of his colleagues. She checked James out, had him take some labs, get an x-ray of his chest, and told him to take three Furosimide for three days, rather than two. I'm still suspicious that the foley catheter is in the wrong place, but how do we determine that? The only way we knew last time was the MRI. But he has had the foley in the wrong place before.

Saturday we went to Hair Day. It was sandwiches and sides; we brought the potato salad, and there was also krab salad, a relish tray, and apples and cheeses. We had fun talking and were there until after two. On the way home we did the shopping at Publix, or rather I did the shopping, because there were no carts available. James sat out front and then paid when I got finished.

And we still forgot stuff. I went out to get them this morning.

We rested for a bit and then went out to Taste of Smyrna. It was trying to rain and the streets right around the downtown area were frankly soaked, but I wanted my pork and grits from Atkins Park and we pressed on. We weren't able to come last year and I wanted to make sure we got it this time! It actually didn't rain, and we both had the pork, plus James had jerk pork and cabbage and rice with beans from Rodney's, and I had sausage and meatballs with ziti from Maggiano's. We both had two chicken vegetable potstickers from a vendor called Chinese Southern Belle, with a killer soy ginger sauce. (Their teriyaki was good, too.) They were both low salt and low sugar. Then we shared a lemonade and had a small cone of ice cream each for dessert.

This morning I hit the ground running after trying to sleep a little late: I went back to Publix and got the additional two packages of wraps James needed (they only had one yesterday, and we only had three at home), plus onions and lunch meats. I also had to go by CVS to pick up something with a coupon. I was in line behind of a woman who spoke only Spanish (at least to her kids). She was with a teen boy and another boy who must have been 10-12. He wanted a little videogame-oriented toy and it was evident by Mom's tone of voice that she was saying, "No, you can't have that, it's too expensive; you may have some chocolate for a treat." The boy finally put the toy down but was standing there scuffing his feet, pointing back at the toy, and murmuring in both Spanish and English about how he wanted it. She had to keep giving him the gimlet eye and repeating "No, you may have some chocolate only." He kept looking at the older brother, who was giving him the look "Man, I'm not getting involved in this!" The boy finally chose a Nestle bar. I wanted to burst out laughing because I've seen that scuffle and mutter so many times, but I didn't want smile to because Mom was so ticked about her kid misbehaving in public. She looked pissed but a little embarrassed, too. Turned out they were parked next to me, and I had said good morning to a woman in the car who was probably grandmama.

Oh, on the way to Publix I had to go the long way around because downtown was still blocked off. Near the pond I saw a mother duck with three fluffy ducklings. I didn't know they had babies so late in the season.

James spent the afternoon making thirty burritos, some low-sodium sausage and egg, some ground turkey chili. I helped him package and put away half of them, but otherwise washed the towels and changed out the one on the power chair, put up the reusable shopping bags in both vehicles, paid TruGreen, put a square of honeycombed shelf liner under the cushion in the driver's seat of my car in the hopes it will quit sliding sideways, put up some clothes, and sorted meds for the week. Also watched a couple of things on the DVR, including a program where the host visited Sam Neill's Two Paddocks winery and met Sam's pet pig, Angelica (who's a boar). Also finished watching the silent 1916 Sherlock Holmes, the only performance of actor William Gillette on film. This is a version of the play he performed after he asked Arthur Conan Doyle if he could use the character, and Doyle, at that time sincerely sick of Holmes, said "You may marry him or murder him; I don't care." For the record, Gillette got him married. 😁

I have to keep moving.  If I don't keep moving, I start to think...

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