Yet Another Journal

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

 Contact me at theyoungfamily (at) earthlink (dot) net

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» Saturday, October 09, 2021
Over Roads and Undercover
The rest of the week was not quite as solemn, and even a little fun. Thursday, of course, it was shopping, and then James had his six-months visit to the dermatologist. She froze off two little moles on his left earlobe, but otherwise gave him a clear bill of health. Unfortunately we should have popped in the pharmacy and picked up a new box of Ferrex. Now we're going to have to pop in at a Kaiser facility sometime in the two weeks he doesn't have an appointment just to get Ferrex. Bother. (Don't suggest online. Everyone is five dollars a box more than Kaiser.)

And Friday it finally happened! The first time in two years there has been a library book sale! Report is here. Later in the day we went to Kaiser's TownPark facility and got our COVID-19 booster.

On Saturday we spent the afternoon at Monsterama/Spycon, a combined horror/spy convention put together by Anthony Taylor and others. James and I are not big horror fans, so basically we were there for the conversation and the spy panels. We saw Louis Robinson for the first time in ages, and stopped to talk to local author Bobby Nash in the dealer's room. James bought one of his books, an old-fashioned pulp-type aviation adventure. Sue Phillips was also there, and when we took a break to get something to eat in the con suite (since the hotel restaurant didn't do any lunch specials like last time) we sat together and got to talk (although mostly eat since we were pretty hungry by that time!).

Our first panel was a little disappointing. It was supposed to be about spy cars in different movies and television, but we just talked about the Lotus Enspire (sp?) car used in a James Bond movie. The presenter had a Lotus car which he mocked up to look like the Lotus in the film, and also the "submarine" version of the car which he also owned. (He also has a killer Jaguar convertible, all three which were out front. I'm not into sports cars per se—the only car with a place in my heart is still Twilight—but the Jag looks like it would be fun to drive.)

We then went to a panel about doing research—which, of course I get off on, because doing research on something you're interested in is fun!—and did have to laugh about them talking about doing research on murders and making some really dicey records in their browsers!

Other panels were one about the music of spy music in films and television series. Again, much Bond orienting, but then the James Bond theme by now is iconic. And how you can't hear the Get Smart theme without thinking of that corridor with the doors! And how no one is writing great theme songs for television anymore because of the need to shove more commercials in, and lots and lots about the classic composers like Jerry Goldsmith, John Barry, Lalo Schifrin, and more. And one other panel that was a "spy fight" of television spies versus movie spies done like a Fantasy Football competition. Black Widow won eventually.

Our favorite panel was the spy trivia. I did well on some historical stuff, fictional stuff, and a couple of others, and started out well out of the gate, but James pulled ahead with more technical stuff. Also playing were two other guys, Kevin and Lee. We had a great time and the moderators, including a woman (Bernadette Johnson) who wrote a book of spy trivia, were absolutely great. I hope they do another panel like this next year; it's been years since we played trivia at Rockford's on Saturday nights, and I do miss it!* We all got prizes: James and I both chose the book, of course!

James said wistfully as we were leaving that that was what we had really missed: just talking to people with like interests. I really wish I'd checked the calendar when we made the vaccine appointments, or we could have come on Friday, too, but by the time we fought our way through traffic up to TownPark (it was might have thought the entire city was being evacuated) and then gotten the shot itself (mine began hurting immediately), neither of us were in any shape to go anywhere. And of course we couldn't go tomorrow because James works. Maybe next year...

* We'd get to trivia early and everyone would end up meeting at Media Play in the same shopping center. I remember when Jake and Nancy showed up with a Cyberhome DVD player and told us you could make it region-free. We had three of them eventually! We loved when Matt showed up because we had our movie expert for the night!

(Plus I have never had anything that was as good as Rockford's Asian salad—with grilled chicken strips in it—and haven't found an Asian salad dressing yet that was as good as theirs.)

On the drive home—Rockford's was way out past Stone Mountain—in summer, it was usually cool enough to ride with the windows down and we'd have the Sixties channel on SiriusXM playing Cousin Brucie...those were the days!

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» Monday, October 04, 2021
Betty Louise Bouler, 1947-2021
Betty's funeral took place today. James got up and worked ninety minutes so there would be sure to be coverage in the early timeslot. We then left to go to the service at the West Cobb Funeral Home. This was held in the adjoining chapel, and a box of tissues was passed from pew to pew as it was a lovely service, and Betty's husband, John, and our friend Juanita especially made us cry as they spoke. Juanita was so overcome John went to stand behind her and put a hand on her shoulder to steady her.

Next followed the funeral procession. We had been lined up outside before we went in for the service, and now we proceeded north with a police escort. It was fascinating watching the different police cars do their work to keep the line together: the Cobb County Police doing the overall procession, but the different community police handing off as we rolled through different neighborhoods, Sandy Springs, Woodstock, Holly Springs. It was like watching sheepdogs work. One car would stop to hold traffic and the second would race ahead to the next spot where coverage would be needed, and the community police blocked exits so the procession would not be interrupted. Despite that, at least three people cut into the procession; two of them stayed in the procession for several miles. One of them even put on his flashers like he was part of it all! The third was the most blatant: the neighborhood police had blocked one of the entrances to the freeway and this dork in a big SUV went around the police car and tried to get into the procession! We could see the folks at the end of the procession blocking him from getting in, and then a police car herded him to the side of the road, then let him go on as we got past.

Betty, who was a military veteran (Air Force), had her ashes laid to rest in the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton. The cemetery is nestled in the middle of rolling hills and from the entrance you can see the North Georgia mountains in the distance. The first stop for our little procession, after an hour of driving, was at a restroom facility where we could all have a little relief and discuss the dork in the SUV. Then military honors were accorded to her at the little outdoor chapel area near the columbarium where her ashes would be stored. There was a beautiful flag ceremony that made most of us cry and then huddle around in groups to exchange hugs.

Finally a few of us went to Chili's for lunch. I can't say I'm anywhere more pleased with Chili's than on the last occasion that I was there, but at least the music was lower! I remember the last time we were at a Chili's the music was so loud we had to shout to be able to talk to whomever was next to us. But it was the only place Alice could find that would let us sit together, and that was really the most important part, being together.

We got home about four and James worked for the rest of the day until seven.

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» Saturday, October 02, 2021
All This and October, Too
It was a...well, rather buggy week. Literally. Both James and I had been seeing little roaches feet up periodically in the kitchen (and we were glad they were dead!), so it was providentially we had the quarterly extermination service in on Monday because when I went into the kitchen that morning there was yet another roach on its back, feebly waving its legs. Squish! You're dead!

Evidently one still was hiding out in the house because it ran skittering underneath my bedding on Friday morning, which definitely made me not want to sleep in any longer and instead wigged me out enough to make me change the bed on what was a very busy day already and a fat pain in the neck to juggle. I also gave the dog a bath on Tuesday and washed all his bedding, which made it a triple-threat week.

So, yeah, we did the usual route for Thursday grocery shopping: Lidl, Publix, and finally Kroger, but we did it all in an hour, and it was so nicely cool for a change that we ate a hasty lunch and then went out again: drove out to Trader Joe's as well, so we could stock up on fruit bars and also get some of their yummy orange chicken for supper. Glad to drive "through the back" up Lower Roswell Road and see trees starting to turn, even if just minimally! Goldenrod is everywhere.

Between the bedding tradeoff on Friday, we had a nice lunch at O'Charley's with Alice and Ken, Mel and Phyllis, and John Bouler, and then had to go see James' rheumatologist at Kaiser. He says James' right hand has developed "knots" in the tendons and has referred him to a hand specialist. So now he has that to look forward to. 😩

James spent the rest of Friday afternoon cooking while I wrestled with the bed, so that on Saturday we could run a couple of errands. I wanted to get more of a good type of LED light bulb I'd found at Home Depot, then we skipped to Hallmark to buy a special card and also found a Christmas gift for someone. Dipped in Barnes & Noble for a few minutes, and by then it was after two and James was starting to get a little light-headed from not yet eating lunch. So he stopped at Lidl and I ran in for a cookie for the bakery for him and some chicken that was thawed that we could have for supper. Instead I emerged with sweet Italian sausage and a big bag of grapes that we both enjoyed. Later James cooked something we'd found at Trader Joe's, butternut squash cut as crinkle fry shapes, in the air fryer. They were a little overdone, but still tasted delicious as a side with the sausage. If we do that again, James should knock them out of the park!

I'm happy for October to be here! Just wish it would get a little cooler. Looks like we are going to get a barrelful of rain next week.

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» Sunday, September 26, 2021
Hurrah! It's Fall! and Other Delights
The autumn equinox arrived this week to great cheering by the folks here at Autumn Hollow. Now only if it would feel like autumn—although we did have to wear flannel shirts Thursday morning to drive with the windows down on the way to Costco. But by the time we got to Costco (ten minutes) it was too warm for them. (We were also windows down a couple of other times, one early morning, one nighttime return trip. But it's not enough!)

I have been attempting to go on my longer walks again after just surrendering due to the heat and my inability to get outside before 10:30 in the morning (blame needing sleep and that extra trip to the bathroom), and have come upon a large patch of "Scotch" thistles among the weeds that grow along Smyrna-Powder Springs Road (these combined with goldenrod, pin oak, timothy, Virginia creeper, honeysuckle, holly, and others). They were in great purple bloom a few weeks ago, attracting yellow swallowtail butterflies, silver spot skippers [a type of butterfly], and big fat bumblebees, but now they are starting to go to seed, and two days in a row, sans camera, I ran into a beautiful male goldfinch who let me get into six feet of him. Third time's the charm and I finally got a photo of him.

Went out to walk the dog Wednesday night and discovered abruptly that sometime today they changed out all the streetlights. I think they are those new lights that only aim at the street and don't glow upward, and so don't interfere with migrating birds. It's a weird effect; they make what they're shining on brighter, but the light doesn't extend as much, so our front yard is now darker. There's also a rather large dark area near the upper cul-de-sac because all the lights appear to have two light fixtures except the one on the cul-de-sac itself.

We hit Costco Thursday morning because Procter & Gamble was doing their "buy $100 worth of stuff, get a $25 gift card" thing again. Since we can easily spend that much buying Swiffer pads, Oral B toothbrushes, Metamucil, and Downy, we went for it, plus we needed "plastic cheese" (Kraft cheese slices) as James calls it, and both BreatheRights and generic Flonase were on sale...needed almonds for my oatmeal and mandarin orange cups as well. It is so nice when it's not broiling outside and we don't have to rush into one store, dump perishable items in a insulated bag with an icepack, rush to the next store, etc. We were able to drive to Publix in a leisurely fashion and finish most of the rest of the shopping (although I still had to go to Kroger on Saturday morning for milk, yogurt, and no-salt-added mushrooms).

Friday we did a little of everything: paid our property tax, picked up a gift, had lunch at Okinawa with all the Spiveys and John Bouler, drove down to Kaiser so James could have blood drawn for what the doctor says is a minor problem, and then went to Barnes & Noble. James bought a book and I didn't, which seems ironic, but I'd already gotten three in the mail this week: a used copy of Madeleine L'Engle short stories (The Moment of Tenderness), a used copy of Hal Borland's Book of Twelve Moons (nature essays), and the new Vanderbeekers novel.

We also bought a new gadget that is three plugs that are operated by one remote. Since I was depressingly unsuccessful in trying to set up a "smart home" system to turn on the lights through Amazon wifi plugs and Amazon Echo devices—two of the wifi plugs worked flawlessly for a month and then quit working; I contacted Amazon and they walked me through all sorts of remedies that didn't work for one and they finally told me to send the plug back for repair, but when I tried to set up a third plug I had bought, brand new out of the box, it wouldn't work either. They supposedly work on the 2.4GHz portion of the router, and I tried resetting the 2.4GHz, which reset perfectly and everything else that worked on them, like the Roku box and James' Kindle, worked perfectly. Then we ended up resetting the router anyway, and the plug still didn't work. We have to press a remote button instead of doing a voice command, but it works!

So Saturday I did the Kroger thing and James had to cook meat and breakfasts for the rest of the week, and we broke up the time with original Law & Order episodes on WE. I've become so besotted with
Law & Order: Criminal Intent that I am reading fanfiction, most of it of the "shipping" sort, but I appreciate that the stories that I really have enjoyed have chosen to actually have a mystery plot among the romance. One story has Mike Logan down so pat I can hear Chris Noth doing the dialog. Unfortunately I think that was the one that got to part eighteen and then never was finished—and, darn, I wanted to know the solution to the mystery!

This week I also worked out a way to get all the videos I've saved on YouTube to show up in the YouTube app on Roku. I have so much saved that the idea of re-bookmarking them gave me the horrors. It's a great big dog's breakfast worth of stuff: old British black and white films, 1930s black and white films, the Old Indiana Jones segments they cut out of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles DVD sets, an uncut version of the 1960s animated The Night Before Christmas with Olan Soulé as the voice of Professor Clement Moore, Lucy Worsley specials, Lassie episodes, and more.

Today I got all my weekly chores done and there was still time to go to Alice and Ken's house after James finished work to celebrate Aubrey's 28th birthday.

September 22 was the Autumnal Equinox! All hail Queen Autumn and her colorful court! (Now for cryin' out loud, do something about that big bully the Sun!)

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» Saturday, September 18, 2021
Blessed Quiet and Video Success
This week was quiet, for which I was glad. Seems it's all I can do to keep the insatiable dishwasher empty. 😀

Even the weekend was quiet. We had a nice Friday lunch with Alice, Ken, and John Bouler at Shane's BBQ. James had a good visit with his GP. On Saturday James went to his club meeting and I made a new Remember WENN web page—I haven't created a web page since I did one on Kate Seredy—with "WENN sounds" because someone on the Facebook page had asked if anyone had Celia's "Hi-hi!" sound. That was fun.

Sadly, although it was the Saturday "Taste of Smyrna" was supposed to take place, it did not. Not due to Covid-19, but because the restaurants don't have enough help to do the event. So no "drunken pork" from Atkins Park for me.

Something fun did happen, though. I have some old videos of when we used to do fundraising for Georgia Public Television that I want to digitize. I found out you could do it through the VLC media program, but attempts to do so didn't work: the sound would drop out after about 45 seconds. I tried all sorts of settings, but the video would be bad, or no video at all, or the sound would be unsynched. Finally a friend suggested something called Shutter Encoder. This worked beautifully and I was able to "rip" on of the videos and post it on Facebook. Very nostalgic and a little sad to see friends "way back then," including a couple no longer with us, like Amy Rutledge and Chris White.

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» Sunday, September 12, 2021
The 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!

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» 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.

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» Sunday, August 29, 2021
Black 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.

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» Saturday, August 28, 2021
The 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 careful out there.

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» Saturday, August 21, 2021
First 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.

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» Saturday, August 14, 2021
Get 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.

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» Saturday, August 07, 2021
Happily 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!

Also got a jolt watching dressage as Oliver Townend competed on Ballaghmor Class (his stable name is "Thomas") and wondering why the horse looked so darn familiar. And then I remembered:
"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).

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» Saturday, July 31, 2021
Getting 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.

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» 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!"

Guess what was not in the hall closet like it's been for years. 😠 😡

Now if James wasn't working this morning, it would have been the simplest thing to tell him to watch Tucker, command him "leave it" when he went after the bandage, and I could just trot off to Petco for a new Elizabethan collar. But he is working, which means answering the phone and working his laptop, not watching the dog. If he got a call, it could mean the end of another bandage.

At my wit's end, I called Alice, who's the closest by, since I knew her dog Cinnamon might have had one. Luckily she was just leaving breakfast for church and could detour all the way back to her house to get Cinnamon's Elizabethan collar for us to borrow. Thank you, Alice, and I hope you weren't too late to church!

Cinnamon is stockier than Tucker, and you should have seen him trying to get up the stairs with the collar on. He normally walks with his head down, so he kept bumping against the steps with the edge of the collar, and then when he got to the main level, he was bumping against the furniture. I gave up, and now that James could concentrate on his work and not have to watch the dog, I went to Petco and got Tucker his own collar. This one's a little smaller than Cinnamon's. He still bumps into things, but not as badly.

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:

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