Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.

 Contact me at yetanotherjournal (at) mindspring (dot) com

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» Sunday, October 15, 2017
Surviving Nephrology Depression

We have not been in a good mood this week. Despite trying our hardest (except for the stupid hamburger on Saturday afternoon) with salt and severe dietary restrictions last weekend through Wednesday when he had more blood drawn, when James' test results came back Wednesday night his creatitine score had gone up to 4.6. It wasn't long afterward when a nurse called following up, and the doctor called up James the next day. He already has an appointment with a vascular surgeon at the end of the month about inserting a fistula. Once that heals, it's dialysis time unless a miracle occurs. Whether it's temporary or permanent is to be determined.

But it's fucking scary is what it is, and there have been some sorrowful evenings and sleepless nights and terrible dreams.

So we were determined to cheer up a little this weekend, and if no salt doesn't actually help the results, we can go back to low salt and be happy with it. So we had supper at Fried Tomato Buffet on Friday night and filled up on salad and shrimp. (Why everyone has to have their shrimp fried I'll never know; it's extra work. Why not just broil it in butter? But their fried shrimp—for fried shrimp—is quite good; it's not overly salty and very lightly breaded in panko rather than in some heavy, greasy batter.) Then we went to Barnes & Noble, where I found two nice cross-stitch magazines and something for a gift.

We were in bed fairly early Friday night because we were heading out early on Saturday. Since the model contest at Free Time Hobbies was on Saturday, we decided to combine it with the first week of the Georgia Apple Festival. We usually wait until the second weekend when it's cooler to go to the Apple Festival, but we figured if we got there early enough it wouldn't be too bad.

Unfortunately I didn't calculate arising time very well. We should have at least gotten up at 6:30; 6:45 and having to stop for gasoline and breakfast got us stuck in a very long line waiting for the parking lot at the Lions Club where the Apple Festival is held. We also usually go on Sundays, when it's less crowded. Even at 9:10 a.m. it was very crowded. Still, we made our way around the booths, tasting the dips and the jellies—one booth had some really delicious citrus marmalade jam, but we didn't buy it—and admiring the wreaths, alpaca cloaks, and other crafts. We did buy fudge and half a peck of Granny Smith apples and more sweet ginger pickles, and I found a cute little embroidered round scarf, a Hallowe'en motif with owls. (Which tells you it's very cute, as I usually don't buy Hallowe'en things.) Two booths were selling stainless steel rings and jewelry, and in front of one they had some men's rings in different sizes and styles for only five dollars. Well, James has never found his wedding ring; it fell off a second time after we found it the first time and we haven't located it yet, even though he's sure it's in the house. He found a very nice silver ring that alternated with textured black bands. Eventually we got all the way around, and, tired of the crowd, skedaddled up the road to Blue Ridge and the hobby store.

While James was inside enjoying the models I walked across the parking lot to the Amish store to stock up on pot pie noodles. I also wanted what they call "soup mix" and I call "veggie flakes" (their veggie flakes have potatoes), but they had only one package left after a big mail order; I bought tat, along with some cranberry honey mustard which I thought James might enjoy with his turkey sandwiches. It was their customer appreciation day, so I got a discount, munched on free popcorn, and they had a country band playing for the customers. I also walked next door to the country store/feed store. This was a real feed store: they even had horse tack and medicine.

Strolled back to the hobby shop and looked over the models; there were a lot of nice pieces, but nothing really funny or outstanding about any of them, like the Car 45 model in the past, or the Humphrey Bogart figure last year. I do admit there was a great Tusken Raider and a Rancor beast!

We rode home munching on an apple and the clouds parted and by the time we got to the traffic jam at downtown Marietta (it was Chalktoberfest—professional chalk artists drawing on the street along with beer—this weekend) we were both kind of tired. I ended up taking a nap for an hour, then we went to Hibachi Grill for supper, then stopped at Publix for the twofers. Even with the nap, I was so happy to get home and divest myself of outdoor clothing and get into something comfy.

I finished reading my big beautiful Colonial Williamburg book I found for a dollar at the book sale that evening. Really enjoyed the history as well as the gorgeous color photographs.

This morning we could have slept in, but were both awake a little after eight. We took advantage of it by getting to Kroger early (lots of handicapped parking spaces at nine o'clock on a Sunday!) to finish up grocery shopping, and even running by Publix to pick up the paper towels the Macland store didn't have last night. This afternoon we finally replaced the erratic LED bulb in the kitchen fixture (don't tell me that LEDs take "years" to burn out!), I sorted both our pills and made the bed, and then spent the afternoon getting more things off the DVR: "Fox Tales" and a Rick Sebak special, plus nine of my favorite episodes of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (since GetTV showed the episodes uncut, I really wanted to keep them). That afternoon task wandered right into dinnertime—James was looking for comfort food, so he made chicken and dumplings in the pressure cooker (well, the chicken, anyway; the pot pie noodles stood in for dumplings)—and early evening.

Sigh...and now it's time to get ready for work again.

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» Sunday, October 08, 2017
Grocery Deals and Wet Streets

Now, Tropical Depression Nate was in full storm when we finally got up at ten. The sky was slate grey and low, the trees were shaking their heads restlessly, and the rain was pounding down heading north up the street. I waited long enough that there was a slight break in the downpour to take Tucker out. It was still raining (just not sideways as earlier) and I put him in the dog coat so he wouldn't get too wet. He was glad to just pee on the lawn and beat a hasty retreat into the house.

We needed Chex Mix for my work lunches, so we piled in the car—the rain had slowed down, but it was still pretty steady—and went to Sam's Club rather than Costco, which has Skinny Pop but no Chex mix. Bonus: the Skinny Pop at Sam's was cheaper by at least a dollar a bag. Looked at the magazines, bought an Instant Pot cookbook, the popcorn, the Chex, some Lesueur peas (or as we call them, "leisure peas" after a typographical error in a Kroger ad many years ago), three gallons of milk at $1.86 each (!!!), and, in the meat case, a big hunk of boneless pork shoulder which was only $2.18/pound. Sampled some really good lobster ravioli (will have to remember that for a birthday dinner). Oh, and today the Sam's Club mobility carts were working fine; we usually take the power chair because they are usually badly charged and break down halfway through the store. James noted that there were all new carts; maybe someone made an ADA call on them?

We lucked out exiting; the rain had nearly stopped. I shoved the meat and the milk into the insulated bags, since we still had stops to make: first Petsmart for more dog food and a cuttlebone for Snowy (he loves sharpening his little beak on it and then using it on me 😀 ), then Nam Dae Mun for more ginger tea for James and sesame oil. We ran out of luck here: I dropped James off to park the car, and he couldn't find a mobility cart (they were hidden behind the cash registers; nice move, guys), so he limped around the store in considerable pain from his knees. (The new Nam Dae Mun with the better parking and more available carts that's near our house sadly doesn't stock the ginger tea.) Finally stopped at CVS with my 27 percent off coupon (yeah, I know...why that amount?) to pick up BreatheRights and other things, and then we could go home.

It wasn't the end of the chores, though; finally got to sit down after putting all the stuff away, making the bed, sorting both my and James' pills, getting ready for work, emptying the dishwasher, etc. It was quite late before I finally got to finish up Europe on Saturday Night, and then it was time for dinner. James cut the two big long pork shoulder "steaks" in half, I browned them in the Instant Pot, then browned some onions, then poured a concoction of no-salt vegetable and beef broth, miso broth, a little Grade B maple syrup, and water (two cups in all) on top of it all and we pressure cooked it for 65 minutes. It came out fork tender and James made a gravy with some of the juice, and we had it with teriyaki rice. Two other portions went into the freezer; the liquid was so basic that we can make one as a barbecue dish and another as an Asian dish, just depending on the sauce.

Later it was time for Alaska: the Last Frontier. My, all that snow looks good in this smothery weather. It was supposed to go into the 70s next weekend until Nate stuck his big frippin' tropical nose in. I wish Africa would keep its hot weather to itself!

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» Saturday, October 07, 2017
An Uncommonly Nice Day

It started out a little dicky, however; James woke up feeling a little odd, but it turned out to be low blood sugar and a serving of juice straightened it out. This got us up earlier than we'd planned, so we were able to have a slow breakfast and then get on the road. It was spritzing lightly, so we covered the power chair and got on the road. Hurricane Nate [neé Tropical Storm Nate] has put a crimp in the weekend, leaving heavy clouds everywhere, although it's good for James and I, as neither of us are supposed to be out in the sun.

By the time we got to Peachtree-DeKalb Airport, the spritz had gone on the fritz and we were able to have a good time at the Warbird Weekend. This year they were celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Tuskegee Airmen, and two of the gentlemen were actually here!

We were greeted practically at the gate by the IPMS folks, including two of the guys from IPMS Marietta who had sent James a get well card. There were several exhibition booths there, including a display about service chaplains that looks like it was borrowed from the Tennessee Air Museum, and then we walked out to the flightline. There were a good dozen planes out there, and I'm starting to be able to recognize some of them (but then Corsairs and Stearmans are very recognizable, and the DC3 said "Douglas" right on the side).

We walked about and took photographs of all of the planes, plus a World War II-era ambulance and fire truck. Some folks were dressed in period dress, and there were other vintage items dotted about. (One "Rosie" had her little boys in caps and shorts and they were adorable! There was also a General MacArthur; as he walked by I whispered to James "He has returned!") There was a film you could see about the Tuskegee Airmen, but there was a long line and no way for James to step up into the theatre. Then I took a seat on my folding cane and James tooled around a bit on his own, taking photographs himself. We also had a tangerine ice that was very orange flavored (colored an orange not found in nature) and listened to a trio of women sing World War II tunes!

However, we were able to listen to one of the Tuskegee Airmen talk about his career. This was Lieutenant Colonel Harry Stewart, who played with wooden airplane models as a boy and fought imaginary World War I battles with his friends. He volunteered for the service instead of being drafted so he could choose where he went (if you were drafted you went where they sent you). He had already heard they were choosing young African American men to learn to fly, and that's what he did. He made a record three kills in one day (he shot down two planes, and the third crashed trying to follow him) and won a Distinguished Service Cross. After the war, when the Air Force was incorporated, they decided to reinstate "Top Gun" wargames to keep up the flyers' expertise, he and his Tuskegee companions came in first!

He also had a very funny story about when he was training in a P-47 during the war. The rule was that if another fighter plane entered the training area, he was to engage it as if in a dogfight. Whichever plane got on the tail of the other plane was the "winner" and the other plane had to acknowledge being "shot down." So he was doing training maneuvers in his fighter when another P-47 appeared. He waggled his wings at it and then engaged the other P-47 in "combat." Well, two "Lufbery" (tight turn) moves later, this other P-47 was on his tail! He acknowledged the "kill" with a wag of his wings, then turned back to the airfield. The other P-47 turned back to the airfield. He landed. The other pilot landed. He rolled to a stop and got out of his P-47. The other pilot rolled to a stop and got out of his P47. Stewart took off his helmet to face the guy who'd beaten him. The guy took off his helmet and he saw flaming red hair...

...fall down around the pilot's shoulders.

The P-47 was being transported by a WAAF!

About this time the sun came out and we had to beat a retreat into the shade since neither of us can be in the sun, so we missed the final five minutes of his interview. We left after that and went in search of further lunch (James had a sandwich with him, but I had just had a Kind bar and a juice box) and ate a bit at Wendy's, then went to Trader Joe's to pick up pumpkin fruit bars before they are gone (they are only sold in the fall and James likes to have them all year long). We brought some salad greens as well.

Finally got to the planned event of the day, the October Hallmark Ornament Premiere so James could get his Sherman tank. He also bought the Airplane! airplane, plus bought me a cute little silver bird with a cheeky look on his face and a little resin Christmas tree that was on discount.

On the way home James waited outside at Sprouts while I ran inside and got more shredded chicken. We had it for supper in a salad while watching Father Brown, and later watched the first episode of the new season of This Old House (featuring Mike Rowe, as this year is dedicated to advising young people to go into trades). Then it was back to Britcoms.

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» Friday, October 06, 2017
Nephrology 101

We knew it might come to this...

James went to the doctor a few days before his heart attack and had a creatitine score of 2.8. After the attack it jumped into the 3 point area, but it didn't appreciably go up after the cath/stent, just like last time. But now it has jumped to 4 and they don't know why, save that it is probably a late reaction to the dye used in the cath process. There is a chance James might have to go on dialysis.

When we saw the nephrologist on Wednesday, he wanted to try something first: taking him off his diuretic for three days, in case his kidneys are being overworked by the diuretic. So we are being oh-so-careful for the next three days with the salt (not that we're exactly using salt that much these days) so that it won't aggravate the situation. We are to watch out for swelling, weight gain, blisters on his cellulitis, and especially breathing problems to show water is building up in his body.

So yesterday I did a cooking experiment. Don't faint. I do do them sometimes. For a while I have been thinking about my mom’s chicken cutlets. As I said, I'm not into cooking, so I never much paid attention to what she did to cook them. She just grilled them in a frying pan, and they had a nice brown crusty outside and tasted good inside. I guess they were chicken breasts, or as those flat pieces are called, chicken tenderloins. I don't consider chicken breast fit food for anyone. Dry, tasteless things. Anyway, wanted to make something by hand that would be very low salt; ran to both Publix and Sprouts at lunch, with the idea of taking Sprouts' shredded chicken and making a soup with no sodium broth. Sprouts didn't have any ready (really upset at this, as Sprouts has never let me down before), so it was a good thing I had picked up boneless skinless chicken thighs at Publix.

At dinnertime I took the thighs and cooked them on the griddle on top of the stove. Minimal olive oil, showed it a picture of salt, put ginger, tumeric, and cinnamon on one side, kept them flat using the bacon press. I cooked them on each side about a minute, and they took about eight minutes each all together. When they were done I used a scant teaspoon of bourbon pineapple glaze and a half teaspoon of sweet onion relish on each as a finishing sauce.

It was, amazingly, delicious and juicy. We had it with a side of applesauce. Must do that again. Of course this stove helps. If you pay attention to your cooking it does everything brilliantly.

So today was my off day, which, yes, I took advantage of by sleeping in until 8:30. After breakfast and pooch perambulation, I headed toward Buckhead, since there was another book sale at the Northside Library today. I first stopped for gasoline at Costco, then, since I was going to be in the area anyway, drove into Buckhead to check out the Barnes & Noble. Found a new "Best of British" as well as the new "Smoky Mountain Living" and an autumn issue of "Down East." I checked out the books and the clearance items, but didn't buy anything except for the magazines. There's a coupon this weekend, but not sure I want to use it on the new Flavia DeLuce book or not. I find myself getting a bit tired of Flavia, but perhaps it was just that last book.

I reached the library exactly at noon when they open. Not a lot there, but I found a copy of Tasha Tudor's Take Joy!  Christmas book. This was badly foxed on the top, but it had an embossed cover and decorated endpapers, plus a dust jacket. Since it was only a dollar, I bought it, even though I have a copy. (Checked out my own copy and it looks like it is a less expensive knockoff. Same content, but a plainer book.) I also bought Fred Allen's Much Ado About Me.

I still was determined to try to make that soup tonight, so on the way home from the library I stopped at Sprouts. They had exactly one package of shredded chicken meat left, which I brought home with some cashews for James and some "Asian-inspired chicken soup" (it had ginseng in it) for my lunch, since by that time it was 1:30 and I was as hungry as Red-Riding Hood's wolf. The latter was good, but came up on me all afternoon. I should know better.

I spent the rest of the afternoon vacuuming, loading the dishwasher, making the bed, and fixing up the Take Joy! dust jacket.

The resulting supper soup was...okay. Needed salt. 😊 I put one container of no salt chicken broth, about half a container of no salt vegetable broth, a big sprinkle of Litehouse salad greens, some vegetable flakes, and a freshly sliced stalk of celery in a saucepan with most of the shredded chicken and just let it simmer from 4:30 to when James got home. I cooked some vermicelli noodles to go with it and it made a nice filling dinner. Later we watched Doctor Who—well, I watched it; James had dozed off during the news—and I had on a couple of episodes of Lassie until Hawaii Five-0 came on. I like that they are not forgetting that Chin Ho and Kono are gone, and are still missing them. We also met the new guy tonight, an ex-Navy SEAL. He will have to go through the police academy before McGarrett will take him on. He has a sweet smile. I liked the subplot of McGarrett getting involved with the injured drug dog.

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» Sunday, October 01, 2017
In Kneed

It's been a quiet weekend. James had a big flare-up of gout on Friday, so all we did that evening was have supper at Ken's Grill and drop me in at CVS to pick up some bandages for James' leg (he has bad cellulitis there and occasionally needs it covered). Friday night his left knee was so bad he had to take a pain pill in order to sleep because it was three a.m. and he was still awake. So we were in bed until almost eleven on Saturday and really didn't go anywhere because he was hurting so much. It wasn't much of a loss: although it was cooler than it had been all week, the sun was still scorching. Terry came over and got the two office chairs we are getting rid of, and soon after that, about 3:30 I was getting a killer headache from my stupid glasses, so I invited James to nap with me for a half hour.

And then it was 5:30... We had soup for supper and while wandering around the television dial found Sneakers and kept watching. I think this is the second time I've seen this movie in the last few months; I'd forgotten how much I like it.

Anyway, James got through last night without pain meds and his knee, while not painless this morning, was feeling some better. We had to determine if he was okay enough to go into work tomorrow, so we started by doing the usual Sunday thing: going to the supermarket. We hit Kroger for sandwich bread, the Damned Bananas, and a few things we had coupons for, and sundries like tea. Those were brought home and James thought he felt okay enough to go out and do a couple of other things.

We stopped briefly at Publix for his low-sodium low-carb wraps since he is running low on breakfast burritos, then bought gas for the truck at Costco, and finally took a break and stopped at Barnes & Noble for about an hour. I found the Christmas "Country Sampler" and some pretty little stocking stuffers on discount, and James got a few magazines.

It was also a beautiful day! It was 57℉ this morning and even when we went out was beautifully breezy, with a bright blue sky and shredded-cotton cirrus clouds up ahead. At 12:30 when we were at Costco it was 66 lovely degrees. I took a photo of the red Cumberland Mall sign up against the wonderful blue; the sky never looks like that in summer, but is pale and milky and yellowish at the horizon.

By the time we emerged from the bookstore it was after two. James thought to go to the new Panera for lunch, then just as he turned into the parking lot I realized we had an O'Charley's coupon that would die tomorrow. So we had Sunday dinner instead, 6-ounce steaks and baked potato, me with salad, him with cole slaw. O'Charley's was very crowded, so we had to wait, then more waiting at table, so we had a nice leisurely lunch.

When we got home James worked on his burritos and I sorted his week's pills for him. Wish we had been able to go to "Woofstock," though, the dog exhibition taking place in Smyrna this weekend. It looked like fun. We had light suppers and waited for the season premiere of Alaska: the Last Frontier.

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