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cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.
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» Sunday, October 28, 2018Books 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.
» Saturday, October 27, 2018Happy 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.
» Tuesday, October 23, 2018Look, 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.
» Sunday, October 21, 2018Apples 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.
» Sunday, October 14, 2018And 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.)
» Saturday, October 13, 2018Two, 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.
» Thursday, October 11, 2018How 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.
» Thursday, October 04, 2018How 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...
* Hilary Clinton interviewed to be Murphy's secretary.