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cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.
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» Sunday, September 12, 2021The Future, the Present, and the Dream
If last weekend was a partial letdown, this week had something to sweeten the pot, especially on Sunday, although the time period came with a rather puzzling event as well on Wednesday: it was "Star Trek Day" and Paramount+ was running a special program saluting all the different series, hosted by Wil Wheaton [Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation] and Mika Burton, LeVar Burton's daughter. They had a live orchestra playing different Trek themes, interviews with current and past casts, and other goodies. The only irritating thing was listening to the two young ladies who were keeping up with social media updates, apparently as a sop to the younger people in the audience. Boring twaddle for the most part.
However, I started feeling ill in the middle of the program and was sick on and off for the rest of the night (bathroom visits, chills). Still don't know what happened. It couldn't possibly have been the Cup of Soup and crackers I had for supper. And it shouldn't have been dinner.
All very strange and I was better by morning. We had intended to go to the Yellow Daisy Festival on Thursday, but what with me being ill and James not sleeping (he discovered only in the morning that he'd forgotten to take his pills before bed), instead we did the usual shopping: to Lidl, Publix, and Kroger. And it was cool enough that we could drive there with the windows down (a condition that changed in the short time we were in Lidl). We also picked up our dry cleaning for Sunday and cash, then instead headed for Stone Mountain on Friday morning.
It was nice to get back to the Yellow Daisy Festival after two years, but they had some COVID procedures in place for this year I really hated (as did others, judging by their Facebook page). The booths for the festival are always laid out on the park trails, under the trees, wandering occasionally into small sun-dappled clearings, but mostly shaded, so you get a nice walk in the woods with the smell of trees and pine straw and coming autumn, and get a browse at each of the tents as lagniappe. For this year they had all the booths out in the parking lot and in the street in the front of the area where the trails are. Luckily it wasn't really hot out, but the sun reflecting off the tops of the white tents hurt my eyes and what heat there was made me feel ill. Most of the craft booths I stumbled by in the parking lot were for jewelry and other wearables; it got a little better as we did the street, where there was a bit of shade and a small breeze.
Some of our favorite vendors were not there as well: Meadowcroft Farms were not there, nor were Smack Your Mama barbecue sauce, both of which had items we needed. One Screw Loose, the jelly place which makes a cherry jam that James absolutely loves, was supposed to be there, but was not at their booth. Didn't see the guy who made home-made jump ropes, nor the maple syrup people from Vermont, nor the man who makes doormats from old tires, nor the guy with the porch hammocks, and many of the clothing vendors (but that was okay because we don't need cute little clothes for our grandchildren). Sadly, none of the music vendors show up any longer; I miss getting unique Christmas music played on equally unique instruments like hammered dulcimer and harp. Zampir did show up, so we got more maple-flavored barbecue sauce; we got our yearly fudge at Ginny's Fudge and Nuts; we bought a bottle of maple syrup aged in a bourbon bottle; and as always I bought a few things from the Country Pick'ns people from Kansas who make the little miniatures that go in shadow boxes. I was the most worried about them during the pandemic, as they have no online presence at all, not even e-mail. But the couple was there doing business briskly as ever, for which I was glad. I'll use the things I bought for two gifts.
By the time two and a bit hours were over, we were both over-sunned, and didn't want to cross the hot field to get to the food vendors. Instead we headed home via Golden Corral near the old North DeKalb Mall. The food was just mediocre and we probably shouldn't have eaten there, as there was a terrible smell as you walked in, as if they kept the garbage up front. (Neither of us got sick, thankfully.) North DeKalb Mall, which I knew originally as Market Square when I first moved to Atlanta, looks terribly sad. All the anchor stores are gone except for a Macy's, and apparently the mall itself is closed except for something like two stores you can access from the outside. When I lived in Brookhaven in the late 1980s, Market Square was hopping, with several anchor stores, a bookstore called "Cole's," a Woolco, a PharMor that for a year or two was a Lechmere (before that went out of business), and our favorite store of all, the Aviarium, where we adopted both Merlin and Bandit. They raised their budgies right in the front window of the store, so that the baby birds heard human voices from birth, and both Merlin and Bandit were so easy to tame because of it. I had Merlin sitting on my finger within a week.
Saturday was pleasant and calm, at least for me. We went to Costco for gasoline and then had lunch at Chicken Salad Chick. Alas, back to work when we got home, washing things, vacuuming, and other chores for me, and making breakfasts for himself for James. He was quite worn out when he finished after hours of chopping veg and cooking it in with ground turkey and TVP. This time he used biscuit dough to make himself little meat pies out of it.
It was Sunday that was best: James worked until one, I did some of my Sunday chores, then we had some dinner, and finally it was time for us to attend a wedding! We have known the bride since she was a tiny premature baby, the daughter of our friend Juanita. I first met Juanita at a Space: 1999 convention in 1979 and James has also known her for ages. Her daughter Jessica has been going with her boyfriend John for some years now, they'd already bought a house together, and Sunday evening they "tied the knot" in happy fashion. The bride wore a beautiful full skirted, frothy white gown and gazed up at her future husband with a look that made me cry, the groom and groomsmen wore wizards' cloaks, and the bridesmaids were in purple or green gowns (Jessie's best friend Aubrey, daughter of Juanita's best friend Alice, looked lovely in a sea green gown). We sat at a table with the Lawsons, the Lucyshyns, and Clair Kiernan, were alternately in tears and smiles throughout the ceremony and the toasts, noshed on prime rib and chicken thighs, and just had a great time. We left reluctantly to get home in time for me to walk the dog and then it was time for bed. But what a wonderful evening!
All happiness and health, joy and wonder to Jessie and John!
» Tuesday, September 07, 2021...And We Didn't Go to DragonCon
We did start prepping for it. I have the 100-calorie packs, the goldfish crackers, the Lance cracker packs, etc. all carefully stacked on a shelf in the laundry room. (Never did find juice boxes!) We talked about it. We had friends that intended to go, and these were the most sensible of our friends. They weren't the type that took unnecessary risks. Nevertheless, we were riding on the edge of that fence for most of the summer. James didn't even ask for Sunday and Monday off, I never reserved parking spaces. The news about the hospitals being overwhelmed by the Delta variant of COVID was daunting. But we were still considering it.
When Betty passed away it was the last straw. She and John had just gone away for a weekend, and I know both of them were also sensible. They probably took precautions. And they were both vaccinated. And they both got sick. And Betty died.
At this point James had already decided not to go, but oh, I was still thinking... We do have to get up early for DragonCon. I hate getting up early anymore (even though I'll have to do it for the Yellow Daisy Festival...and the Georgia Apple Festival). I don't feel any kind of refreshed unless I get up around 8:30. And you can't do that going to DragonCon. It has to be up early (at 6:30 on Friday because of registration and the traffic, and 7 a.m. other days if you have a panel at ten and you don't want to gulp your breakfast).
But, as I admitted to someone, not going felt horrible. I felt like an superannuated firehorse who'd been put out to pasture, but still heard the ringing of the fire bell from the field, and oh, how I wanted to jump the fence and go to the fire, too!
And I could still do it, if I wanted: get up at seven, grab some breakfast here to save money, take the car downtown (surely the garages weren't full). But I ended up not doing it because...well, as James and I were talking about: there are always alternate futures, and there was a future in which we both went to DragonCon and nothing happened. But there was also a future where we went and he got sick despite the mask and the lowered crowds, because of his co-morbidities. Or one future where I got sick, and then who would take care of his leg? Or a future where we both got sick...and who would be there for Tucker and Snowy?
I could cry all I wanted all weekend about DragonCon (and I did, in odd corners), but nothing would be worse than how I would feel if something happened to James if I encouraged him to go or if the fids got neglected if we came down with the hellish thing.
My wish about this past weekend is that in two or three weeks we can look at the posts on Facebook and realize no one we love got sick...not Alice and Ken, nor Aubrey, not all my friends at Brittrack, and that we were too cautious. Because that's so much better than the alternative.
The Brittrack folks did do some virtual panels, including one on Agatha Christie and one on early Doctor Who, which were fun, and they did have the DragonCon parade on YouTube. Meanwhile, to make up for things, James took us up to Canton on Friday so we could have some decent pizza at Uncle Maddio's—that poor guy up there is still running the whole place alone since February—and go to Books-a-Million (bought Untamed, about a woman who is protecting the wildlife on Cumberland Island, and The Women's Hour, about the suffrage movement, the latter from the bargain books). It's sad when Books-a-Million has more books than most of the local Barnes & Nobles! We sacked out when we got home and watched Law & Order reruns. Saturday we took our clothes to the cleaner to prep for Jessie and John's wedding, and had dinner for James' birthday at Longhorn. I found a beaut of a gift for him from Hamilton Books: all about British aviation films.
Sunday I put up more fall decor and Monday got to see the Sunday morning Christopher Eccleston interview from DragonCon that someone posted on YouTube. (If I'd gotten to see him, it would have meant I would have seen all the available Doctors live...Hartnell having passed on and Jodie Whittaker being unavailable.) Otherwise I've been mainlining Law & Order: Criminal Intent episodes in the afternoon from Peacock (and reading fanfic as well), starting from the beginning. Not sure I can stand the eps where they start playing with Goren's head, though. God, how I hated all those Hawaii Five-0 episodes where a member of the cast got tortured! But, gawd, it's fun watching Vincent D'Onofrio play "Detective Twitchy," as James calls him. It's an art form.
» Sunday, August 29, 2021Black Sunday
I lost a friend today.
Even though she and her husband were both vaccinated, they caught COVID-19 a few weeks back. He has recovered, but she was medically fragile and was sent to the hospital. Her health wavered up and down, but finally her lungs became too stressed. This morning I got a message from a mutual friend that she was failing, and she passed on just before noon.
We were not just friends but for several years she was also my supervisor at work. I couldn't have worked for a better person, strict but fair, and I learned many things under her tutelage.
My favorite memory of her comes from one of our Twelfth Night parties. I was going from room to room talking with people, and when I got down to the den I had to burst out laughing. She and her husband have always been big dog lovers, and there they were, sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the coffee table, spreading crackers with cheese spread. And then feeding them to our dog Leia, who had stationed herself between them, gratefully accepting all their offerings!
So, somewhere out there at Rainbow Bridge, I imagine Leia has found Betty, who is still feeding her cheese and crackers.
» Saturday, August 28, 2021The Hits Keep on Comin'
Well, it's been a week.
Sunday night as we were heading for bed, James admitted he was having a pulling pain across his chest. He tried lying down and it didn't feel better. We gave him a nitroglycerin and then a second one, but neither helped. Normally, at this point I would have been getting dressed to take him to the emergency room, but we'd read the report about the hospitals being at bursting point, and didn't know if we went to a hospital if we'd be turned away. So we ended up calling an ambulance, and they took him off to Kennestone Hospital. No visitors until they assigned him to an ER room.
From James' account:
The newly expanded Emergency Department at Kennestone Hospital was full to near bursting. It was a half hour before I could get off the gurney that I rode in the ambulance ride. I then was in a room labeled "Transfer Bed Storage" that was subdivided with portable screens for several hours. I was then moved into "EMS Receiving" (I think) before I was moved into a room in the "Clinical Decision Unit" in the hospital itself. Linda was waiting to see me in the ED waiting room, and was told she could see me once I had a room in the ED, but once I was moved into the main hospital, she couldn't come in due to CoVid restrictions.
I had a number of conversations with the nurses and orderlies I met during my movements and all were overworked and highly stressed as they were very shorthanded. Apparently people at all levels are leaving in droves. The orderly who moved me from the ED to the CDU said he had four people on his shift quit that day. They and the nurses were quitting because the hospital was mandating the CoVid vaccination a mandatory requirement of employment and they did not want to get the shot. This kind of boggled me since I told a little white lie to get the vaccination as early as I could.
While he was going without sleep and food, I got what little sleep I could, walked the dog, had something to eat, and went to the emergency room, which, as James recounted, was stocked full. While I was sitting there, a woman came in, with her left hand in bandages. Apparently she'd been in a car accident the day before and was now in great pain. When they told her how long the wait was, she burst out into tears. Another dude was hassling the check-in staff, and the security guard had to escort him out. After a while I was turned away, so came back home. James kept me posted on what was going on. I was worried he wasn't getting his medication, which was confirmed when they kept complaining about how high his blood pressure was, but he hadn't had any blood pressure meds since Sunday morning. They finally gave him the lisonipril, but wouldn't let him take the carvedelol because it might interfere with the stress test. At one point they told him he wasn't getting the stress test that day. So he took a nice big drink, and only then did someone walked in to tell him he was getting the stress test. Which came up with...almost nothing (but at least he finally got something to eat). He did have a value that was off. But he didn't have a heart attack. Or fluid on his lungs or heart. Or COVID. In fact, his creatitine was down to 2.15, and his A1C is 6.4! So they sent him home with orders to see his cardiologist and get another echocardiogram (although the one he had three weeks ago came out fine).
He's been having trouble with his allergy all year, waking up every so often sneezing copiously, eyes itchy, and stuffed up, and is now wondering if he's been sneezing so hard that is what caused the chest pain. (Tuesday I did a wholesale clean out of his C-PAP, scrubbing everything with soap and water, then alcohol, then a water rinse.)
And then he finally gets his shower Monday night, and...argh, another big blister on his left calf. So we're back to non-stick gauze and coban tape.
Monday I gave Tucker a bath. Tuesday I brought Tucker home from his walk limping again, this time on his left forefoot. This time when I washed and treated and bandaged it, I left off the Elizabethan collar and he restrained himself and managed not to gnaw at the foot until I took off the bandage before his nightly walk (at which time he was walking fine). But all day he waved the paw at me every time I looked at him. At times it was comical; I'd say "Hi, Tucker" and he would look up at me pathetically and wave the bandaged paw.
The weekend has been much calmer (well...I hope so, since the day's not over yet). Thursday we went to deposit a check at the bank and got James' truck inspected so he could renew his car registration. Only when we finished with that did we get to do the Lidl/Publix/Kroger hustle. I ended up getting milk at Kroger because one of the gallons of skim milk at Lidl was leaking and we couldn't tell which one. Well, I committed one hell of a boo-boo after this. Neither of us had slept well. We got home and schlepped all the groceries upstairs and got them put away, and then James, at the request of his boss, worked five hours because they were shorthanded. I fell asleep on the sofa.
At Kroger, on the manager's special shelf, I found a pound of ground beef for $3. It was 15 percent fat, but if we get one of those, James usually either cooks it and then drains it, or fortifies it with TVP (soya), which thins out the fat. Well, I had brought in the milk from Kroger in, but forgot the bag from Kroger. Only when I started prepping to make supper did I realize the yogurt wasn't upstairs, which meant neither was the ground beef. I had to throw the meat away. Wasted three dollars and good food. The yogurt was room temp when I brought it up. Don't know if it's still good or not.
Friday James had his every-so-many-weeks appointment at podiatry. He had two toenails that looked like they were becoming ingrown, so the nurse had to do a lot of work on him. I am back on "betadyne duty" for a week, making sure where she treated doesn't get infected. The podiatrist is worried about the little sore on his "ring toe" on his left foot, although he's had it for months. It looks a whole lot better than it did in the spring; it just won't dry up because it's between his toes. I've been ordered to put betadyne on that, too, and not cover it so it dries up. Odd that they didn't tell us that before.
We needed something from Costco, so made the trip; it wasn't there, but we picked up a few other things. Stopped at Barnes & Noble and I committed book: they have their Book Haul this month, and I found The Secret History of Home Economics at fifty percent off, and the same discount as well on Wintering, which caught my attention at the beginning of the year. It was one of the nominees for B&N's Book of the Year. On the way home we stopped at Publix for the eggs we'd forgotten.
This morning we skinned out of the house with minimum breakfast, in search of what we needed at the Kennesaw Costco. And there we did find it. Also found James some new almond-flour crackers that he can snack on without amping his carbs. Had some nice samples there as well, including organic lemonade, sundried tomatoes and cheese on crackers (which tasted like a mini-pizza), coconut-flavored dark chocolate covered almonds, and an outstanding piece of bratwurst that didn't come up on me.
As a replacement for missing breakfast we had lunch at Otter's Chicken (great wings there), and dropped in at Hobby Lobby to revel in all the autumn decorations. There's a light at the end of the smothering, stuffy, sweaty tunnel that is summer.
Spent the early evening watching horse racing from Saratoga, and then later Law & Order, because literally nothing else watchable was on.
Hey, all you people in New Orleans...be careful out there.
» Saturday, August 21, 2021First One Thing, and Then Another
Did some good cleaning during the week, so hoped to have a bit of fun during our three-day weekend. It didn't work out totally, but some nice things did happen. Unfortunately, some bad news came with it.
Thursday we went shopping as always. When we went to Lidl we found a nifty prize. I've mentioned they have this meat bin called "too good to waste" that has meat about to hit its expiration date, which they sell for $1.50. Well, they also have a table up front with these cardboard boxes, 8 1/4 square by 3 3/4 that they put loose fruit and veg into and sell for 30 cents a pound. We bought one about a month ago with baking potatoes and some mandarin oranges in it. Well, we lucked out yesterday: we found one crammed full. It had one ripe lemon, a single Roma tomato, eleven red potatoes, three huge and then five or six smaller carrots, and the rest of the box comprised of Dutch gold potatoes. We had the tomato with a cucumber salad on Thursday night, have put the lemon in the fruit bin, the potatoes in the potato bin, and used the three big carrots in James' "bachelor chow" base mix and the rest are in the veg dish. Whole thing cost us $1.59. Lidl. We also made the usual trip to Publix and to Kroger (where I found yogurt and two nice steaks in the Manager's Special bin), and because we had Hair Day scheduled on Saturday, James used the afternoon to make the base mix for his breakfasts. We really couldn't have gone anywhere after lunch anyway as it started storming.
Friday we bit the bullet and went to Walmart. I like to open the window in the library on cooler summer mornings and was tired of the fan downstairs rattling because the bearings are wearing out. Online it noted the Powder Springs stores did have some left. We also needed a new tarp to cover up the power chair; the old one was leaking. We also bought James some sugar-free candy, got him some new slippers because in working at home he wears through them very rapidly, and I found the second season of His Dark Materials on DVD. We also dropped by Lidl to see if they had mandarin oranges (nope) but did get two focaccia breads that are good for a light lunch. Then we had a nice lunch at The BBQ Place with Alice and Ken. To finish the day we gassed up the truck at Costco.
Friday night we found out Hair Day was canceled because Sheri had badly sprained her ankle, so Saturday morning we took the three UPS units out of their box in the garage and put them in the truck. Boy, did I get pissed. Last month I specifically texted Microcenter to see if we could recycle the old UPS units at their store and was told yes, provided we could show proof of purchase. So we took them there—and those little suckers are heavy—only to be told they can no longer accept recycling because the State of Georgia requires them to pay to ship it all to Ohio, and they have to pay freight charges across Tennessee and Kentucky on the route there. If I hadn't called it would have been different! So we had to haul them home and cross fingers there is a Free Recycling Day this year. Our recycling boxes are chock full with old junk, including the microwave.
We did stop at Publix. James went next door to get a Mexican dinner at Willy's and I finally found the mandarins (but still no juice boxes) and got myself an Annie Chun dinner.
What marred the week was finding out that two friends of ours, who'd finally felt safe enough to take a little weekend trip to Tennessee, had both come down with COVID-19, despite being fully vaccinated. He was at home having taken monoclonal antibodies, but she was in ICU and had been intubated. This was very disheartening news, although he did update Facebook a day later and said they had spoken, so I guess she is no longer receiving breathing assistance. Latest news is that she is receiving oxygen and has a feeding tube to help improve her nutrition.
This is not only horrible news, since they were super careful last year and didn't even come to Friday lunches, but is making it more difficult to make a final decision about DragonCon. People on Facebook have pointed out Disney World and other things are open, and people have been flying without severe problems, but it's still frightening. We have been teetering back and forth about this for weeks and this news has made it worse, as we have seen that other vaccinated older people have gotten sick, and one already vaccinated man has died days after he urged other people on the news to get vaccinated.
» Saturday, August 14, 2021Get Lost, Summer; You Bother Me
A summer-swelter week all around. We spent as little time outside as possible, although this didn't help me when I had to trim the bushes outside. Luckily I did it in the morning, in the shade. Thursday we did the shopping (Lidl, Publix, and finally Kroger for yogurt) and then came home; it wasn't worth enduring the heat for anything else, even a bookstore. (The heat, however, has not stopped people looking at the house for sale next door; we probably saw at least six families today, just in leaving and coming home.) Friday we just grinned and bore it since we needed to pick up a prescription and also stop at Costco (at least we had lunch picked up from Tin Drum), and by Saturday we were fed up with being inside and went to Hobbytown and to JoAnn, but hurried home without doing anything else except to stop by Popshelf to get James more burritos for quick breakfasts.
Did get some things cleaned up this week: changed the bed, so had "drop sheets" for cleaning off the ceiling fans. My "extendable" ceiling fan cleaner doesn't seem to want to extend any longer, so I had to do the living room fan on tiptoe standing on top of my stepper. That was fun. Not.
Had a bit of a outing on Tuesday: stopped at Dollar Tree for soap and found 2022 calendars, so I have my lighthouse calendars for next year. Surprisingly they had no fall items out yet, but still had tons of Independence Day items. Picked up more lavender-scented soap as well and had a nice chat with the cashier.
Had a friend in the hospital briefly for a non-COVID-related infection, but he was released after being given intravenous antibiotics. I'm sure he had a tiresome time alone at Urgent Care and in the hospital. They won't let people in again due to the upswing in COVID cases. It has made us rather fearful. We are both thinking of not going to DragonCon.
» Saturday, August 07, 2021Happily Horsing Around
Ah, summer Olympics time again. NBC primetime seems to have this fixation on beach volleyball. Or volleyball. Or other mind-numbing sports. Thank goodness for the NBC Sports app, and that we still have minimal Dish. Download the NBC Sports app, sign in through Dish, and I could watch all the equestrian events I wanted. In fact, this week I found out I didn't need to download the sports app at all; I could get it through the Roku box. First I watched a little dressage, and then this week I've been watching show jumping. They actually did cross country before show jumping, but cross country is the most fun to watch, so I've done some of the jumping first. The individual show jumping had a killer jump-off for the three medals. The winner was Ben Maher (from Great Britain) on a cinnamon-colored horse named Explosion W (nickname "Ginger" or "Carrot"). What a rider! What a horse!
"Rab had gone into one of the many stalls and backed out a tall, slender horse, so pale he was almost white, but flecked all over with tiny brown marks. The mane and tail were a rich, blackish mahogany. His eyes were glassy blue." Tail and eyes are wrong, but my goodness, it's Goblin from Johnny Tremain!
In the midst of horsy happiness, did the usual housekeeping chores on Sunday and Monday, finished my July book reviews before getting too far into August, and finally put our vaccination cards away somewhere safe (which means we'll probably need them back out sometime soon).
The weekend went a bit better: we got all the shopping done Thursday morning and then James had to go to the dermatologist for his checkup in the afternoon. She put in an order to have his right forefinger x-rayed; it's been enlarged since she removed a wart from it by freezing. Last week it was hot and swollen, as if in a gout attack, and the swelling went away. So we had the x-ray and then headed home.
(Oh, funny thing: James has sort of a small sore between his left pinky toe and left "ring" toe—you know, "the piggy who didn't get roast beef" toe—so we had the dermatologist look at it. She said it was a small ulcer caused by his toes rubbing together, and advised us to get something called DuoDerm hydrocolloid dressings. So, remembering what the podiatrist was always advising, I asked "What about MediHoney? Podiatry is always recommending that." She made a face and commented something about podiatry's "fixation" with "alternative medicine." I wanted to fall over laughing.)
I frankly don't know how I will manage DragonCon if I can't even get up early to go with James to go for an echocardiogram (he hasn't had one in a while, so Dr. Shash ordered one for Friday morning. We didn't even get up that early, only at 7:30, but I was in and out of the bathroom the entire time at home and when we were at TownPark. (I could have gone in the back with him and I was "pottying around" instead.) TownPark itself was a zoo; everyone was jockeying for parking spaces and I've never seen such long lines. One guy was in line (with a mask, thank goodness!) saying he had a slight fever and a cough! Good God, why did you come in the main building? Go next door to Urgent Care, you idiot! We had lunch when James was done, wings at Otter's Chicken—really, something I shouldn't have done, considering how lousy I felt, but thankfully it didn't bother me.
Saturday James went off to his club meeting, so I took the library books back (James also enjoyed The Secret History of Home Economics). I know it's because I'm still a child of the old libraries, with the wooden shelves and chairs—even as a teenager the clunky grey metal shelving in the "new building" at the Providence Public Library looked ugly to me, especially since they had a beautiful children's library room that they no longer used with dark wooden shelving, miniature wooden chairs and tables, and a big mural of literary characters on the wall. The old Arlington Library was like this, too, all dark wood shelving, warm and embracing and comforting. I'm not happy with the remodel at the Switzer (main) Library although I've always known it with metal shelves. They were at least tall metal shelves until the remodel, but they're now at least two shelves shorter, which means there are definitely fewer books than there used to be. I know they went for the grey/blue/white color combination of the furniture and rug to make it look cool, but under fluorescent lights it looks cold and reminds me uncomfortably of the waiting rooms at every Kaiser facility and at the hospital (at least with more comfortable chairs), which, based on the last five years, does not make me stick around and want to browse!
Also stopped at Bernhard's Bakery on the way home (yay for florentine cookies and Ritter Pfefferminz bars) and Publix because the Mableton store had only white grape juice on BOGO when we went Thursday. Good thing I grabbed a new chicken salad for James, because he accidentally left last week's package out on his side table last night; I noticed it when I was vacuuming.
Closing ceremonies for the 2020 Olympics are tomorrow already. Thank goodness I can go back into the NBC app and watch more equestrian events (team jumping and cross country to go).
» Saturday, July 31, 2021Getting It All Backed Up
Tucker's paw was well in two days.
Which was okay with me because I tossed him in the bathtub on Monday and scrubbed him top to tail. He always has to be dragged to the tub, but then he comes out of the bathroom active and with a big doggy smile.
This week we did "the thing" and replaced the UPS on the router (and, boy, is there always that heart-in-mouth moment when you wait for it to start blinking again, and then for the blink to turn solid!). I also put a UPS on the television, because this TV is seven years old and has been flaky for years anyway. We don't need more power blips aggravating it. And we killed the HOA frog by going to the post office and renewing the post office box, and since it was the end of the month, I backed up my hard drive.
And really, this was it. We did the grocery shopping and went to Barnes & Noble.
These days about all the excitement I can handle.
» Sunday, July 18, 2021"I Do Not Like the Cone of Shame"
Tucker and I have had an "adventure" this morning. Neither of us liked it very much. Anyway, I was finally feeling well enough to take Tucker on the longer walk we were used to. In the last couple of weeks, with the headcold and other things I had only been taking him out front of the development, and walking back and forth under the trees (really, what I don't want to do is be out in the sun; I hate the sun—it hurts my skin). This morning it was cloudy and relatively cool, so we went across the street, walked all the way to Sandtown Road, then turned around and walked all the way down to the day care. Tucker had a happy time sniffing and marking things he hadn't marked in weeks. When we came back across the street, I decided to do one "extra lap" by walking the sidewalk in front of the neighborhood one more time. Well, immediately after we finished the "right" side (going toward Sandtown Road), Tucker plopped down on his hind end and started chewing frantically at his right hind paw. I checked it out and didn't find anything sharp between the toes. Nothing was bleeding. It did, however, almost look like the pad of one of his toes had been pulled off. That toe was very pink. So I sort of half carried him/he half limped home and I got things out to treat the leg and wrap it, and then, since I knew he'd chew at it, I would get the Elizabethan collar we had for Willow that's still in the hall closet and put it on him.
James had to hold him still so I could treat him. Checked the foot again, probing with my fingers, no sharp anything in there, no bleeding, just the one toe looking really pink. Put some alcohol on it, nonstick gauze, and tape. James let him go so I could get up to get the collar. He had the bandage off before I could even get off the floor. Tried it again, and was stupid enough to think that a better antiseptic would be Betadyne. Again the nonstick gauze, this time with Coban tape. Once again, he had it off before I could even get off the floor.
Not to mention he knocked the Betadyne bottle over and left a third of it on the rug.
Third time's the charm. I went back to the alcohol, yet another nonstick gauze pad, and I wrapped the Coban up around the hock, too, and this time sent James for the collar so I could admonish Tucker to "leave it!"
Doing God's work for a little dog on a Sunday. Thanks again, Alice.
I still want to know where the dickens Willow's old Elizabethan collar got to.
And now we have a dessert-plate size iodine stain on the rug.
Not to mention that the dog has issues with the collar:
» Saturday, July 17, 2021Not a Healthy Week
It's...been a week.
I was still struggling with post-nasal drip at the beginning of the week, and feeling almighty tired after those short-sleep nights because of it. I was really tired. Monday I did trim the bushes out front, but spent the rest of the day and almost all of Tuesday with more sessions with "Detective Twitchy." (See previous entry. 😀 ) The only useful thing I did was write checks for the lawn guy, and I felt like a lump of clay.
Wednesday I went out despite the heat already shimmering the sidewalks at eleven in the morning and hit Kroger and found some more discount meat: two packages of "diced pork." Also bought milk, desserts, and mushrooms. And I found a dozen of my flavor/kind of yogurt, although to get them out of the dairy case I had to find someone to help me (it turned out to be one of the guys working in the pharmacy). The shelf they are on must be six and a half feet off the floor. I can just get one yogurt if it's right at the edge of the shelf and I stand on tiptoe! When I got home I prepped some ingredients, and James used one of the pork packages to make a luscious stir-fry of pork, celery, mushrooms, and onions in a delicious sauce.
Thursday...Thursday I started having lower GI problems. I will not elaborate, and this is an occasional occurrence, as I have problems in that area, but the medication I take usually works. However, usually when I do get the problem, it lasts for a while, I have a few uncomfortable hours, and then everything clears up. This showed up unexpectedly, and then got me again when we finally made it out of the house to take advantage of some Costco discounts. We came home, things eased off, we successfully went to Lidl and Publix, and I was fine all evening. However, I think having a Costco hot dog for lunch, and then lamb for supper (even though James trims the lamb so it doesn't have fat on it) was not the thing to do when my system was already in distress. Everything started up again about ten p.m. and went all through the night. It calmed down a little only when I guess I was "running on empty" about seven in the morning. My Fitbit registered me as having not even three hours of sleep.
It seemed to start up again Friday morning, and this time I took an Imodium. I tried to avoid this on Thursday and only took Pepto-Bismol, but it obviously didn't work. I'm always afraid of the Imodium, because I used it once and it stopped the problem. In fact, it stopped everything for three days, and then it got very painful. This time I took only one, and was okay by noon and I was able to take a nap until it was time to get dressed to go with James to the wound clinic. Today the weather was sunny (but, sadly, brutally hot—the sun was burning my legs through my jeans) and we had no trouble finding parking and didn't get stuck in an elevator. And, hurray, Greta was able to remove the unna boot and pronounced the leg healed. She thinks James needs stronger compression socks, though. I don't know how she expects him to pull them up; he can barely get the 15-20mmhg socks on. I can put them on his feet, but can't pull them up over his legs; it gets me all out of breath.
I had a couple more problem trips to the toilet around suppertime, then it all stopped. I was able to sleep during the night and had a normal breakfast this morning (milk, yogurt, oatmeal with almonds on it) instead of the plain one (with dry toast instead of yogurt and no nuts) I'd done on Friday. I was even able to go to Hair Day this morning although I was terribly sleepy for most of the visit. We found out one of our friends is going to have to start chemo on Tuesday. Very unsettling. We knew there had been health problems for several months now, but did not think it might be cancer. In better news, two friends who have not been to Hair Day since the pandemic started were finally able to come today.
This afternoon I vacuumed and prepped some veg for James, and James cooked up his meat and his breakfasts for the work week, we had pot lucks for supper (I worked on a container of pork fried rice; to make sure I ate it slowly and thoroughly I used chopsticks), and we spent the evening watching season nine of The Big Bang Theory.
» Saturday, July 10, 2021Stuffed, Sneezing, and So, So Exhausted
Had a wonderful week, and yes, I mean that sarcastically.
While James' allergy-attack-turned-head cold gradually improved over the week, with the exception of him having a little cough to get rid of post-nasal drip, mine just got worse until by Wednesday I was snurgly and sleepless, and finally pulled out the vaporizer for a couple of nights, although I think by the time I did pull it out, I was already over the hump, and it didn't make much of a difference. The thrice-daily salt gargles, the saline irrigation, and the spoonful of honey before bed (I keep reading this is better for a tickle in your throat than cough medicine). We definitely both had headcolds: mucus was clear and any cough always in the throat, not the lungs (we had it checked).
We celebrated the Fourth again Monday night watching A Capitol Fourth and the Macy's New York show. Capitol Fourth was disappointing; I didn't like the skipping all over the country for performances, which were just okay. So were the fireworks. We pretty much skipped all the performances in the New York show, except for Reba McIntire, but the fireworks were outstanding.
Pretty much miserable for the rest of the week, and spent one day watching Law & Order reruns on WE, and the next day watching Law & Order: Criminal Intent. I love Vincent D'Onofrio in the latter. James always called him "Detective Twitchy." He's fascinating just to watch: the way he moves and positions himself. They showed the episode where Mark Linn Baker played a rigid little insurance agent who is deluding himself about his marital problems. Det. Goren is able to see the patterns in things others can't, and he pegs this guy's pattern eventually. It's kind of a sad scene, even though the character has caused deaths.
When the visiting nurse came—her last visit!—I asked her to check James' lungs and she checked mine, too. No problems there, and both she and James' nephrologist agreed that the symptoms all pointed to a simple head cold, especially since no fever was involved.
Still masked up for James' visit to the wound clinic. Alas, the large blister is not yet healed, so on went another unna boot for the week. Just this and a short, masked visit to Publix wiped me out. I decided I would not go to the bridal shower I'd been looking forward to on Saturday, just in case. Instead I spent the early afternoon battling gastric distress, and then over two hours asleep. James had a much better time at his club meeting, but he got rained on on the trip home.
Oh, we did take a half hour to go to the Hallmark Ornament Premiere. There weren't even a dozen people in the store, including the two cashiers. James got this year's airplane, I got one of the miniatures (a little bird in a scarf), and the 11th of the 12 Days of Christmas ornaments (a cute girl piper), and also the St. Nicholas ornament. (I'm not saving the last for Christmas; I put it up in front of my "St. Nicholas" magazines.) I can hardly believe the "12 Days" collection is almost over! When I bought that first partridge in a pear tree it seemed like it would take forever to complete the collection, and now here it is almost complete. "Tempus fugit" and all that.
» Sunday, July 04, 2021Fizz Goes the Fourth
Hi-ho, hi-ho, this week it was off the doctor we go. Good news: cardiologist gave James a good report on Tuesday. Bad news: wound clinic wrapped James' leg in viscopaste (the zinc-based wrap that I hated) again on Wednesday. She'd already given him antibiotics "just in case." We have to go back and see her next Friday. He also picked up meds at the pharmacy and went to visit the vampires. He was supposed to give another sample, but he'd just "drained the tank," so we had to drop that off at Cumberland another day.
The really bad part of both appointments is that we had to get up early on two of James' work days to get to them on time. I am not used to getting up at 7 a.m. any longer. Ended up taking a nap Tuesday, but laundry had to be done on Wednesday, and since I was awake for laundry I just stayed dressed and went to Kroger (found yogurt, so yay) and to Nam Dae Mun for sesame oil and cheap meats (although the thin steaks aren't so cheap any longer).
Our usual three-day weekend was kind of a bust. James has had allergy problems off and on all spring, and had another whopper of an allergy attack very early in the week. All the post-nasal runoff had given him a sore throat. Luckily it didn't get bad until after we had done the shopping at Lidl and Publix. We figured it would be better for all if we didn't go to lunch, just in case, even though he had and still has no fever. I did run James' specimen to Kaiser and picked up some different nasal spray for him. As I was waiting to get out of the parking lot a big red-tailed hawk swooped right in front of the car and landed in a tree nearby. This makes it sound like the Cumberland office is in the woods, but it's really not. Sure was pretty, though!
Saturday James had to cook his breakfast meat for the week, so I helped him do some prep of the vegetables that go in it, vacuumed where he'd have to put his desk up, put some Independence Day decorations outside, and finally unloaded/loaded/and ran the dishwasher for the fourth time this week. That dishwasher is insatiable.
James also made turkey wings in the air fryer for Saturday night.
I was planning Chinese barbecue ribs for the Fourth, but, alas, Dragon took the weekend off. Got wings at Zaxby's instead. Managed to do my essential Sunday chores (charging the bath electrics, sorting meds for the week, and washing towels) along with cleaning the master bathroom, and still got to watch 1776 and the two episodes of Alistair Cooke's America having to do with the Revolutionary Way and the Constitution. [A funny while I was sorting meds: I asked the Echo Dot to play "instrumental patriotic music." What I got was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing "The Hallelujah Chorus." Say...what?]
Bloomberg TV was still broadcasting the Boston Pops July 4th concert this year. Unfortunately we don't have the higher tier on Dish Network any longer that gets Bloomberg TV. I didn't worry because it was supposed to be live on Bloomberg.com and I could pull that up in the Chrome browser and then use the Chromecast gadget plugged into the television to "cast" the computer screen to the TV. Well, it seems Bloomberg has some kind of barrier; when I cast to the TV all you get is a pink screen that says "Bloomberg" on it.
We do have a Bloomberg feed on the Roku, but you could only see the Pops concert in a smaller screen tucked into the upper left hand corner of the screen while financial figures wildly danced on the other two-thirds of TV real estate. So here we had the concert full screen in a browser on the computer, but no way to see it.
No, wait. One more try: my venerable Samsung tablet. Which does screen mirroring to our equally venerable Samsung television. And that pretty much worked perfectly. Even thought the Boston Pops concert was interrupted frequently for ads, Bloomberg left the entire end portion of the show uncut: the performance of "The 1812 Overture," the concluding "Stars and Stripes Forever" piece, and then finally the fireworks. We would have preferred the latter in HD, but beggars can't be choosers. The concert was wonderful; they didn't rely on a bunch of prima-donna celebrities, but had some great R&B singers on instead, including Mavis Staples, and also Jon Batiste, plus the Air Force Band Singing Sergeants and the Six-String Soldiers. I do not know the woman's name who sang the National Anthem, but wow: overpriced celebrities who sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at other events, please take a note from this marvelous lady! You do not need to warble, trill, or shriek to do a beautiful job.
» Saturday, June 26, 2021The Great Yogurt Hunt, The Great Towel Divestation, and a Great Lunch
Well, after three days not hearing from the wound clinic (we sent an e-mail last Friday, and then followup photographs of James' leg on Saturday), I called Thursday morning and got James an appointment. That was the good news. The bad news is that it's on one of his work days, and in the morning like his cardiologist appointment. Mornings is when they need him at work, so he'll have to explain once again to his supervisor. It also means we have to truck over to Glenlake, a 45-minute drive, two mornings in a row, during the end of rush hour. So much fun. But at least the wound clinic will see his leg, and he'll have his yearly cardiology checkup.
(On Friday, thankfully before we headed home, we got a message from Kaiser asking us to pick up a prescription. It was antibiotics prescribed by the wound clinic; evidentially, after seeing the photos we sent, they are scheduling a pre-emptive strike on any bacteria causing the extra fluid under the skin. That's made me feel a lot better. Also, Friday afternoon Jewel [visiting nurse] came and wrapped his leg in an unna boot. Something else reassuring.)
Tucker, on the other hand, did not like this week because he got a bath. He hates it so much, but he comes out fluffy and happy and wanting to play.
We also had a nice lunch at the Chow King buffet with Alice and Ken for the first time in over a year.
The annoying part of this week is that for some reason both Kroger and Publix had quit stocking my flavor of yogurt. At the moment we have to go to Walmart for it. I like going to Walmart the way I like having a heat rash. The one on the East-West Connector I went to on Tuesday had none in stock, but we stopped by the store on Cobb Parkway and they had some. So I'm going to have to "Walmart-hop" until someone else sees fit to carry the flavor. So thrilling.
I've been gradually collecting old towels, which I had intended to take to the pound last year. They always need towels to wash the dogs that come in off the street. Since I couldn't take them last year, now we had even more towels piled up since I replaced the ones in our bathroom. Those are now finally at the pound. I was surprised to find out they are still accepting customers only by appointment.
We also went to MicroCenter and to Barnes & Noble for a little fun. Almost bought a book, but I had some waiting (Hal Borland and Faith Baldwin) when I got home. It can wait.
» Saturday, June 19, 2021Almost Quiet
It was a quiet weekend. The only down spot was going to the podiatrist on Friday and being told that James needs to go back to the wound clinic. He said we should have called them when the larger blister first appeared last Sunday. (He also took the bandage off the smaller blister without precautions and made another raw spot on his skin. I wish doctors would stay away from James' skin! They don't know how to handle it.)
Thursday did the shopping, and watched the film Sunrise at Campobello for the first time. As many things that I've read and watched about Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, I'd never seen this classic film. It starts when FDR gets his "chill" after his day on the sea at Campobello Island in 1921 and ends when he stands to nominate Al Smith for president at the Democratic National Convention in 1924. Hume Cronyn did a great job as Louis Howe.
Got a lot of little chores done this week, for which I was happy, and also having Tin Drum for lunch out this week.