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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» 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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» Saturday, July 17, 2021
Not 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.

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» Saturday, July 10, 2021
Stuffed, 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.

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» Sunday, July 04, 2021
Fizz 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 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.

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» Saturday, June 26, 2021
The 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.

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» Saturday, June 19, 2021
Almost 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.

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» Tuesday, June 08, 2021

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, JUNE 8, 2021 
Outside my window... is clouded over, very warm (in the 80s), and humid. There's a chance of rain every day this week and the humidity was at 83 percent this morning!

I am thinking... long I haven't done one of these entries! There are so many things I can't do when reading: listening to a podcast, chores, etc. I'm listening to a podcast doing this and not sure how much I will get out of it, since you can't thoughtfully write and thoughtfully listen at the same time.

I am thankful...
...these days for many things. My husband's left leg was a mess for months due to being treated in the hospital just before New Year's for a bone infection where he could not wear compression stockings and the doctors just took him off his water pills, so he developed big ugly blisters on the leg. He had antibiotics via a PICC line for forty days, and we had a visiting nurse twice a week until we finally got rid of the last blister last month.

In the kitchen...
...James actually cooked today. We had some Jennie-O turkey burgers available and he just made them up. I don't really like burgers, but these with some Meadowcroft Farms sweet onion relish on them are fabulously delicious.

I am wearing...
...a blue flowered white tank top, black shorts, and white socks with scuffs on. Usual summer attire (the other set is pink-flowered with grey).

I am creating...
...I wrote a note to a friend of mine and was going to pop it into the mailbox, and, lo, the postal carrier came before one p.m. I nearly fainted.

I am going...
...still lot a much of anywhere. Husband was saying how dull and depressed he was feeling because all we ever do is go to the supermarket or Walmart, with Barnes & Noble as a "treat." We need to be going other places, even if it's to shop, because it's just very dull and making me sleepy and stupid-feeling, but it's hard, too. We don't like going much of anywhere in the summer due to the heat. All we have to do is be somewhere hot for a few hours—even if it's just somewhere where the air conditioning isn't working well—and we come home with no energy.

I am wondering...
...silly, really, but what happened to the little speaker I used to have in my office at work. I thought I gave it to my husband, but I don't recall taking it out of his work cubicle when we cleaned it out. I wanted to pass it on to someone, and it seems to have done a flit. Been searching all over for it today...oh, wait, there's somewhere I haven't checked...[moves away from desk]...ah, there it is!

I am reading...
...Terry Nation: The Man Who Invented the Daleks, by Alwyn W. Turner, which is nifty because it's nominally a bio of Nation, but is also a history of British radio and television programming during Nation's lifetime. I also have an ARC (advance reader's copy) of Nicholas Meyer's new Sherlock Holmes book.

I am hoping... come out of this lassitude soon. It's hard in the summer. I am not, and have never have been, a summer person. Summer was only fun when you were in school, and then once you passed your sixteenth birthday and had to go to work in the summer, that became bad news, too.

I am looking forward to...
...autumn. Period. (I suppose I should say DragonCon, but it sounds like it's going to be such a mob from not having the con last year that it sounds daunting instead. Maybe Taste of Smyrna. And a Friends of the Library book sale finally.

I am learning...
...just in a holding pattern.

Around the house...
...husband is working from home—this seems to be permanent, and I am glad, because the idea of him driving out to the Glenlake area every day gives me cold terrors—but not on a call right now, Snowy [the budgie] is burbling along to Leo Laporte ("The Tech Guy" podcast). Tucker [the dog] is asleep on one of the chairs under the dining room table. We have a fan on in forlorn hope that it will circulate the air better and keep down the A/C bill.

I am pondering...
...still people. Don't understand people, never will, even if I am one.

A favorite quote for today...
I recently discovered Hal Borland. This is a good one from him:

"We walked by starlight, and we remembered a time when we had no daylight leisure to walk. We spoke of how daylight is worktime, but that the great dreams are dreamed by starlight. There is warmth and life in the day's sunshine, but it is the stars that lure man's mind to the endless immensity of the universe."

One of my favorite things...
...last night I pulled out our DVDs and we have started to watch The Big Bang Theory over from the beginning.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
The usual shopping on Thursday (we need to go to Costco before the coupons expire). Lunch at Otter's Chicken on Friday. This restaurant was voted to have best chicken wings by "Best of Cobb [County]" magazine.

A peek into my day...
The cutest thing to see every morning: Snowy!

If you'd like to participate, check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.



» Saturday, June 05, 2021
Cute Faces and Familiar Routines
Aannnnnnd absolutely the last of the Command caddies have gone up.
Ticked off the list: Monday I trimmed the bushes out front so Alex would scoop the debris up when he came to mow. Tuesday the A/C people came to do the annual summer service of the unit. I hate when they bring the salesguy with them. He checked out our water heater, which is, after all, fifteen years old, and was trying to sell us on a deal they had: $30/month and they install it free and do yearly service on it. He says a new unit costs $1,800. That means after sixty months it would be paid for, and then we'd still have to pay $30/month thereafter. Conceivably, then, if the new unit lasted as long as this one has, I'd be paying $5,400 for a water heater? (Of course, should the thing die anytime in that time period, we do get a new one. But mathematically it is paying extra. Deal or not?)
Wednesday I took the spaghetti sauce and the mashed baby vegetables (to add more vitamins to the mix) and the boneless pork ribs and made gravy. It slow-cooked for like ten hours, so it's well done! When it finished we licked it off the spoon like cake batter, it was that good. I was able to use Classico sauce again this time! Years ago that's all I used, their tomato-and-basil no-sugar added sauce for the base of my gravy, and then they started adding sugar. This was so long ago that there was no Facebook, but there were miles of complaints on their web site's feedback page. Just recently we were at Costco and noticed they started selling it with no sugar added again. Took 'em awhile to bow to pressure!

Thursday we did shopping in a great big swath: went to Publix, then I went into Kroger on my own for canned no-salt mushrooms and milk (and a couple of other things). Mushrooms have gone up 20 cents a can! We lunched at Krystal again (because it's cheap), then went to Petco to get Snowy some millet and birdseed. There were three adorable baby budgies in the display cage, all sitting on the floor. Two were mostly white, with blue markings, like Schuyler was, and one was yellow with green markings, like Bandit had been—all harlequin pieds. One white one had his head under his wing, one was falling asleep, and the yellow one was being the guard budgie. So cute with the little stripes still down on their foreheads. But budgies are now $50 each to buy!

We also went to Sprouts for the first time in ages; bought more Litehouse "salad greens" as they call them now (herbs you're supposed to add to your salad, but we put them on the meat when we roast chicken and turkey).

This week's Friday lunch du jour was at the West Cobb Diner with all three Spiveys. Brought home half my portion, as usual, and then we treated ourselves to Barnes & Noble. I finally found the new Ghost and the Haunted Portrait (it's only been out for over a week) and also a book about a road trip taken by Harry and Bess Truman after the 1952 election that looks like fun.

Saturday was Hair Day, which is always fun, then came home to unload and load the dishwasher, that insatiable beast, wash a few clothes, and vacuum the living/dining area of its weekly effluvia of dog hair and bird feathers/seed.

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» Sunday, May 30, 2021
Pho, Phooey on the VA, and Phriends
If you wonder why these even weekly updates come so late, it's because, unless you choose some frantic activity to replace work when you retire, there's not a lot to write about. There's only a lot to write if there's an emergency—and those are certainly unwanted. My prayer to God is "I want to be bored." But then there's always that danger of boredom, too, which makes you depressed. So I do wish for something nice to do, but those options are truncated now that it's gotten hot. Neither James and I can bear heat any longer—it exhausts him and makes my heart do trippy things when we're exposed to heat too long. This is why we figure this year's DragonCon—which was just announced to be in-person this year—will probably be our last. Maybe we'll day trip or something further on. Wish more small conventions would come to the fore. We miss WHOlanta and Anachrocon. Will try to attend Spycon and the Harry Potter con in the fall. We have tickets for Libertycon, but they postponed it, which was a good thing, because the hotel prices made my jaw drop.
This week, for instance: good stuff, but nothing earthshaking. Alice and Ken hosted a Memorial Day picnic. Alas, it was on Sunday, so James had to stay plugging at the computer, but I brought him home a burger and some sides. Met two of Alice and Ken's church friends, Emma and LJ, who were also fannish. Spent the rest of the evening watching the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS and crying through most of it. This year they did tributes to people who have otherwise been missed: battlefield nurses in Vietnam and the firefighters and police who walked into the World Trade Center on September 11 and never came home (along with those who died in the buildings). I find that twenty years later 9/11 still makes me sob uncontrollably and feel afraid.
Monday I finally took all the scrapbooking stuff to Goodwill. During the week I put up the last of the Command caddies so it looks less frantic under the sinks. On Wednesday the visiting nurse, Jewel, came. We love Jewel and will miss her, but are crossing fingers that James' leg stays okay and we do not have to have a nurse any longer.

Thursday we went to Sam's Club for Kraft cheese slices and mandarin orange cups, then did the rest of the shopping. On Friday we completed the new set of towels by stopping at the Bed, Bath & Beyond Akers Mill store and getting a set of bath sheets and hand towels in indigo, then swung by Hobby Lobby. Incredibly, they already have an aisle of Christmas "picks" (the stuff you make into bouquets) going up! I grabbed a few things for the yard since all the summer stuff was half off: metal birds on stakes, a duck plaque to go on one fence post, and a metal owl to go on the other.

Saturday we frustrated ourselves for nearly three hours apply for a Veteran's ID card for James. You can get an annual park pass to National Parks for free if you are a vet and have proper ID. It took ages because they told you could use certain scanning formats for the documents you had to submit to confirm your ID, but you couldn't then use the same format (I scanned them as PDFs) to actually apply for the card (I had to rescan everything as a JPG). Then when we went to submit the rescanned stuff only then did they tell us you could only have a certain file size. I had to pull all the images into Paint Shop Pro and reduce the size and the colors to fit the specs. Someone who had no computer knowledge would have been flummoxed by the whole process. As it was, we were totally frustrated when we finally got to have lunch at 2:30 p.m., and picked up ice cream at Baskin-Robbins for a reward for putting up with it all.

Oh, for Friday lunch we finally tried Pho24, which closed down last year just on the day we were going to try it. It was quite good.

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» Saturday, May 22, 2021
Booking Along
Finally having some progress on organization this week! Since it was time to scrub out the garden tub (that we never use) anyway, I used the time to remove some hooks and move them to different locations so that cleaning equipment would be out of site. When we first got this house I had the idea to turn the tub area into a tiny spa, so there was a towel hung up, and calming nature paintings on the wall. Now that we have to use the tub to hold a rack with medical supplies, it's stupid. I took down the towel and its hook. Neither of us likes baths anyway.
I also mended a pair of suspenders so we wouldn't have to go to Walmart, ironed two things, and, most importantly, cleaned a box of scrapbooking items out of the spare room closet. I thought I might get into scrapbooking when I retired, but I feel now that it's not for me, so I took big pads of paper, embellishments, and odds and ends, packed them in a box, and will take them to Goodwill. (It wasn't a thorough cull; I still couldn't bear to get rid of the fall and winter papers.) [I got them as far as the trunk of the car, but didn't take them over until May 24.] While I was in the craft room, put together a few cute cat things for a friend who is ill and later in the week mailed a little package to her.
The Command caddies I ordered from Walmart arrived on Friday and I discovered that what I thought of as a small caddy is actually Command's medium caddy. But that was okay. I put up three of them on Saturday, plus two razor holders, and was quite satisfied to get a bunch of clutter, like a small basket of headbands, the charge cords to the water flosser and the motion sensor light, and other annoying bits off the master bathroom counter.

And, alas, had to call Kaiser again about my ambulance bill, which was still ten times the amount it was supposed to be. This time the agent put me on a conference call with someone at the ambulance company, and I kept quiet while they lobbed confusions back and forth. As far as I could tell, the problem was because I'm on the Senior Advantage plan and because I'm an ex-Fed; Ambulance Guy finally said, "Ah, this is Federal Government!" and apparently then he understood. Don't ask me, boss; I only know what's in my contract.
Over the weekend we took a Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon and started a "project" of getting new bath towels. Been thinking about replacing our bath towels for a while. They've been feeling a little thin, and the matching hand towels are getting "rusty." Well, I said, let me check what brand the previous towels were. ::blink:: Oh, hell, we got them at Linens'n'Things. Which has been closed longer than Borders has. 😳 So we had  this $20 off $80 or more coupon, and I've been scouting BB&B for some time, but their stock has been so low I couldn't find two matching bath sheets and two matching towels in the colors (shades of blue) I wanted. Saturday, thanks to James' keen eye, we nabbed two nice bath sheets and two matching hand towels in pale blue. We have another $20 off $80 or more coupon for next week; crossing fingers we can find another shade of blue in a complete set of four.
Also stopped at The Container Store on Friday, also with a coupon, and picked up a rack that goes over the back of one of the doors under the kitchen sink. I am storing sponges there, the mineral oil for the dining room table, and other small things that were cluttering up underneath the sink.
Of course, since we were two doors down from Barnes & Noble...yeah, I committed book. Found McCullough's The Pioneers with the remainder books (this tells about the historical period after the Revolutionary War when the Ohio Valley was opened for European settlement, the same time period as one of my favorite Lois Lenski books, A'Going to the Westward); bought an Oliver Sacks book about his childhood (Uncle Tungsten), and The Diary of a Bookseller, a funny journal about a Scottish bookstore owner who keeps a record of his odd customers and the books they look for.
(I also discovered that Jim Butcher's Peace Talks was finally out in paperback. I devoured it in two days!)

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» Saturday, May 15, 2021
Cleaning, Replacing, and All That

Well, it was a nonstressful, but eventful week. 

So, I did have "give the dog a bath" on my "to do" list for this week. Monday it became an absolute "to do," as I walked Tucker past the little white Baptist church, crossed Sandtown Road, stopped to take a photo of holly and honeysuckle twined together, and completely didn't notice that poison ivy was growing under it. So plunk Tucker went into the tub when we got home, then I had to wash his bedding and blankets, and finally I had to clean all the residual hair out of the hall bath. Fun! (Not.)

I didn't sleep well this week for whatever reason, but roused myself sufficiently to go out to the bank on Tuesday morning. I had a CD that matured this week, and needed to talk to someone to see if I could get a better interest rate on it. The last interest rate was .02 percent (not two percent, two hundredths of a percent). At that interest, it's better to be ignored. So I bopped down to the closest bank, where I have my safe deposit box. Closed temporarily? WTH? Okay, I'll go down a mile or two to the branch near Publix.
There all the parking spaces were blocked by cars, and the sign on the door said "Closed for emergency." Okay...WTF? At this point I went into Publix and bought some turkey thighs and BOGO chicken, which I popped into the insulated bag. Then I more bank...and the Austell branch was open. To my relief (due to the poultry in the bag), I was helped quickly. Any new interest rate was .01 percent! Screw it. I had the customer rep put the cash into my checking account and when I got home I paid down the Access3 account instead. (God only knows what percent that is at now.)

The representative also told me the two Smyrna offices were closed because of...COVID-19 cases! So it ain't over yet.
After grocery shopping on Thursday, we replaced the old microwave, because, as I mentioned previously, the compartment lining was chipping off badly. I'd planned to go a couple of places and price different microwaves, but we found the Panasonic that "Consumer Reports" recommended, and just bought the silly thing and brought it home to set up. I also cleaned up under the microwave (it's on a baker's rack which was the first new thing we bought for this house in 2006) and unearthed some superannuated fiber bars and a broken manual food mill. (I'd cleaned up the shelf over the microwave earlier in the week and threw out any grains that were stale—about half, sad to say, like the rolled oats, which smelled really bad.)
Friday we tried out a different restaurant that Alice recommended, the Bay Breeze in Mableton, set up in an old Ryan's steakhouse. My meal was a little more expensive than usual, but I hadn't had jumbo stuffed shrimp in literally years. And this was real crabmeat stuffing, not the breadcrumb stuff they have been using for years because the crabmeat was too expensive. (The shrimp weren't exactly jumbo, but I haven't seen real jumbo shrimp in years.) All the food was good, and James got to take the onion rings home to have in an omelet. The hush puppies were shaped like little doughnuts, which was a novelty.
We also stopped at Ollie's Discount Outlet. It sounds weird, but I got excited because they still had the holiday Renuzit air freshener scents. All the regular Renuzit scents are floral (ugh), apple (I use that in the kitchen), or vanilla (double ugh). These are "Hello, Pumpkin" (which sounds dumb, but it's really a nice cinnamony pumpkin scent) and gingerbread, which is a lot better than the nauseatingly sweet flower scents. Wish they'd still had the evergreen!
Saturday we went to the Farmer's Market for the first time in...ages. We ostensibly went to get Tucker more dog biscuits, but we also bought chocolate scones and another jar of Lillian's Hawai'ian BBQ sauce and some Filipino empanadas for James. For supper James took the wonderful-looking lamb steaks I bought at Lidl the day before and marinated them in what was left in the old jar of Lillian's sauce. Tres magnifique!
And, like that, it was almost Sunday again.

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» Saturday, May 08, 2021
Thursday was an eventful day: we went to James' office to clean out his desk.
His employer have been in a big former warehouse for at least ten years now, and they no longer need the vast space because there are fewer employees. So they are selling the building, and the rest of the employees will be moving over to some other space they have near Perimeter Mall. We were a bit worried about the commute, but James got a message from his supervisor. The new space is very small, and there is no room for his power chair in the workspaces they have designated for his group. Since he is meeting their goals at telework and is getting consistently good ratings, he'll be allowed to remain on it. This is a great relief, as I would be worried about the effects of a long commute and a late dinner hour (perhaps as late as 8:30 p.m.) would have on his health.

My goodness, you should have seen the junk in there! We tossed away two 13 gallon trash bags and a couple of shopping bags with paper, old calendars, and lots of expired snacks. We brought home only his TARDIS cookie jar, Hallmark Christmas decorations, an airplane clock, and some models, plus an extra Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and the cable he had to buy to connect his laptop and his monitor (for some reason work wouldn't provide it). We also went to two different Publixes (Publii? 😀 ) and a Lidl to finish the shopping.

The rest of the weekend was pretty quiet. On Friday we had lunch at The BBQ Place with Aubrey, Alice, and Ken, and had an enjoyable sojourn to both Barnes & Noble (I didn't buy a book—honest!) and Hobby Lobby, and on Saturday we had Hair Day, if only for a few short hours. We had to get back to the house by noon, as the visiting nurse supervisor was coming to inspect James' leg. We have finally [knock on wood, and so far] finally gotten rid of all the blisters and other damage that was done to his left leg while he was in the hospital in December due to having an infection from the ingrown toenail Kaiser seemingly had no time to treat (at least they kept telling us they had no available appointments), not being able to wear compression socks, being taken off his water pills, and given intravenous fluids in too large amounts. She says if the leg stays stable for another two weeks, the visiting nurse will no longer need to come.
We were also sad this week because we finished the last two available Thunderbirds Are Go episodes on Amazon Prime. There are twenty-seven more, but they're still only available on ITV's site, and we can't watch them due to region blocking.

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» Saturday, May 01, 2021
Outside and Inside
Here’s to a weekend that contained friends and tasks well done!

This week I got my own new Fitbit. I like having a real watch face and have found a nice analog clock in the Fitbit files which also shows my stats and the battery status. I chose the rose-gold (read: copper) Versa 2, which came with an insipid pale pink wristband. Luckily the Sam’s Club version also comes with a navy blue wristband as well, and before I set up the unit you can bet I changed the watchband! Fitbit has a pretty cocoa-brown leather band on sale for Mother’s Day, so I have ordered that.

Alas, I had a frog to kill this afternoon: I finally got the ambulance bill and it’s for about ten times more than I’m supposed to pay. I called Kaiser, who told me they already paid the ambulance company, gave me a payment number, and a phone number for the ambulance company to call if they argued with me. Kaiser thought they wouldn’t. I knew better, because I’ve dealt with this type of folks before. Sure enough, the ambulance company said they were only paid partially, and that they didn't take "arranged payments" or whatever they called it, and that she would have to contact her supervisor. I gave them the payment number and let them deal with. My agreement with Kaiser says I pay a set price. I’m not paying them any further. You guys fight about it.

Thursday we had to have James’ blood pressure retested because it was so high when he saw Dr. Mobley two weeks ago. A day later, when we saw Dr. Friedman, it was 30 points lower after James chilled out a few minutes, but apparently it didn’t count. So, once again, when we got there it was high. The nurse gave us ten minutes, James closed his eyes and just breathed deeply, and it went down over 20 points. Driving just makes his blood pressure go up! Then we did the rest of the grocery shopping, which makes my blood pressure go up (or it feels like it, anyway).

Friday we had a lovely lunch at Okinawa with Alice and Ken—the one on Dallas Highway because the one in Austell still isn’t open for dine-in—and then went on to do a little shopping: went by Hobby Lobby where James found model paint on a great discount; got poop bags for Tucker at Petco to make sure I got them, because we were completely out (they sell them at Bed, Bath & Beyond much cheaper, but I wasn't sure they'd be in stock); walked around Hobbytown just because James’ club meetings aren’t there anymore and he hadn’t been in a while; then finally bought new washcloths at Bed, Bath & Beyond, and did find three times the amount of poop bags for a dollar less than Petco! The obvious place is not always the cheapest.

For dessert we stopped by Dunkin Donuts (I refuse to call them “Dunkin”) and got a couple of doughnuts for dessert.

Today was the day of James’ club meeting, and after he left, I busied myself doing some chores I’d put off. Yesterday at Hobby Lobby I had picked up three garden decoration resin animals on sale: a rabbit, a hedgehog, and a generic bird. I gathered these up and brought them outside along with a garden dragon I had bought last year, put highlights on, and then left in my craft room. I put the dragon and the hedgehog out front underneath the firecracker bushes, and put the bunny and the bird under two of the trees in the back yard. (I’d planned to get a few more rabbits on sale at Hobby Lobby after Easter, but had ended up with the fever from the COVID vaccine and never went.)

Then I packed up the two boxes from the garage (one box of trousers and one of general “stuff”) and shuttled them to Goodwill. There’s a Dollar General in the Goodwill parking lot, so I stopped there as well and found two inexpensive “fairy homes” in the garden aisle. These also each went under a tree when I got home, but first I drove out to Austell to check out the new location of the Book House. This used to be on Veteran’s Memorial Highway near Ollie’s Discount Outlet, but they’ve relocated in an old gas station. Didn’t see anything I wanted. So many romance books! In every used bookstore they seem to outnumber everything else.

After relocating the fairy houses to the backyard, I did the vacuuming upstairs, and just in time, as the meeting broke up early and James was home at the unheard-of hour of 3 p.m. (Nothing wrong; everything just broke up early.) He spent the rest of the afternoon cooking his breakfasts for the week, and we just had leftovers for supper and watched the Britcoms and Father Brown.

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» Saturday, April 24, 2021
The Fun Before the Rainstorm
It was kind of a blah week. It still doesn't seem quite real that James' mom is gone. I keep thinking that he hasn't called her in a while and should give her a ring. James went back to work feeling more than a bit shell-shocked, and I spent most of it cleaning up from the weekend’s events–washing the clothes, sanitizing and then putting up the suitcases, etc.–and cooking daily dinners.

Thursday we went to Sam’s Club and James found something he wanted: a new Fitbit. Not only was his old “Bit” (the "Alta" that included a heart-rate monitor) quite beat up–he caught it in a door at least once and it had a big scratch across the screen–but he couldn’t read it in sunlight. Sam’s had Fitbit’s “Versa 2,” which is more of a smartwatch, and it has different home screens, some with real clock faces. So he bought it and I got severe Fitbit envy. Unfortunately they only had the black one at Sam’s, not the “rose gold” (read: “copper”) one. I ended up ordering one next day on

When we got home that afternoon, we started work on the closet project. Our bedroom closet is, frankly, full of junk. Because the kitchen is so small, we have to keep a lot of kitchen things in there, like the turkey platter, our electric skillet, some Corningware, etc. Plus there's lots of clothing James just doesn't wear anymore. His stuff is a mixed-up mess anyway: he has something like two dozen pairs of pants on a shelf rather than hung up, and he can never find a particular themed T-shirt he wants to wear. (I know why this is: most of them are either hung inside out or “backwards”–facing the back of the closet–or both!) So, Thursday we started with the pants. Most of them were too small for him, and about a third of those were not wearable due to patches. So the worn ones got thrown out and there is a stack of other pants to go to Goodwill. I will need to tackle the shirts next week.

Thursday we also finished up the grocery shopping with trips to Lidl and Publix, so Friday we could actually go out and have a little fun.

According to an old classmate of mine who thinks you can’t have fun without alcohol, this probably counted as minimal fun, but it was good enough for us! We had lunch at West Cobb Diner with Alice and Ken and Aubrey Spivey, and saw Mel and Phyllis Boros for the first time since our wonderful Christmas Eve that turned into trouble when James got the fever from the foot infection. They both were two weeks out from their second vaccination and finally felt safe enough to go out in public. Phyllis said it was so good to finally talk face-to-face with other people besides Mel and her daughter and son-in-law!

After a nice leisurely lunch, we stopped at Staples to hunt up the new set of Sharpie colors, which Alice tipped me off about, and then went to Barnes & Noble. I picked up the second of the Brontë sisters’ mysteries; still say with their new remodel there are not enough books in the stores! On the way home we stopped at Baskin-Robbins for ice cream. The weather was gorgeous both days, and we were quite satisfied.

The reason we wanted to get all our chores and fun done on Thursday and Friday was because it was supposed to pour fishbuckets on Saturday, 100 percent chance of rain all day. James decided he would use the bad weather to make some more burritos for quick breakfasts, as well as do his ground meat for the week. He gets a mixture of ground turkey, right now the “beyond beef” we got for $1.50 at Lidl, and TVP (soya) soaked in chicken/beef/vegetable broth, and cooks it up with carrots, celery, and onion minced fine in the food processor. Then he takes four servings of that and adds eggs to it to cook up for breakfasts on work days, adding different spices each day to individualize them.

While he cooked, I took advantage of a break in the rain (we'd had the hardest rain between four and eight, and by the time I went out the sun was struggling to get between the clouds) and went back to Sam’s Club, and of course on Saturday they had the copper Fitbits. Unfortunately my order had already processed through and I couldn’t cancel it; I’d just have to wait for my mail order to come on Tuesday. I did go to the Walmart across the way and bought two camisoles, a shirt to wear when dog-walking in the heat, new pants’ hangers and wire hangers, and a few other things. The hangers will help me continue the closet project. When I got home I did the vacuuming, and it did rain in the evening, with thunder and lightning, but nothing like what they'd predicted (which was good, because they were talking hail and possible tornadoes).

Saturday evening we started watching season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery. The first episode had such a Star Wars vibe I wondered if we'd wandered into the wrong series. Goodness, Mary Wiseman (Tilly) looked so pale in the first episode. Had she been ill?

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