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

. . . . .
. . . . .  

» Sunday, November 19, 2023
Conjuring the Week
It was an ultra-typical week. Thank the Lord nothing bad happened. In fact, I finally "ate a frog." Our garage door openers——we have six, but one is missing——are from 2006, when we bought the house. Two quit working, we figured, because the batteries were dead. The holder on my keyring one finally broke, so I swapped it out for the opener that was inside next to the garage. Now the working two, one each on our keyrings, were getting cranky. I kept saying "We need to bring them to Batteries Plus."

Naw, didn't need to do that at all. Looked 'em up, they take a standard 2032 round battery that we keep in stock because our scale and James' diabetes meter use the same battery. Pried them all open, put in new batteries. Now they all work. Win.

This was the silly part: I said at the beginning of the month that, "Hey, Conjuration should be coming up soon. Let me see if a schedule is up." It wasn't. Then I totally forgot about it, and only remembered when I saw a friend's Facebook post.

We couldn't do anything about it on Friday anyway, since James had a doctor's appointment, and then it turned out the doctor put in a new scrip for his arthritis that we had to go pick up. The convention was in a new location (Gwinnett County) rather than down near the airport, which suited us fine, but by the time we got there in rush hour traffic after going to Kaiser, we'd have to turn around and come home.

So Saturday morning we got up and went.

The new hotel is very nice. The old was a nice venue, but the food there was insanely expensive (a plate of spaghetti with one meatball for nearly $30???; even the sports bar was pricy, and you had to pay for parking), so we always had to bring our own sandwiches (although this helped keep the sodium down for James). It mainly catered to business travelers on expense accounts. The Sonesta had free parking, and during the weekend they put out a "floating" meal stand that had breakfast things in the morning and then lunch things until 3 p.m. I had chicken soup both times and it was flavorful, not overly salted, and had lots of noodles in it (and it wasn't Progresso; yeah, I'm looking at you, Panera Bread!). James had sliders both days. There was also a restaurant where, while the main meals were expensive, you could get a big burger for a reasonable $15, and they had these Philly cheese steak egg rolls that were to die for. We had them Saturday night, and should have ordered two each instead of one. Oh, and did I mention it was pet friendly? We met some really sweet dogs during the weekend.

Anyway, enough with that. Conjuration basically has a Harry Potter theme with the names filed off; one of the co-founders told a very funny story about how, after they started the call, they got a very polite call from the Warner Brothers people about "your little Harry Potter convention" and he was quick to say that it was a convention about magical media of all kinds, and they had to do a couple of tweaks, but WB was cool about it.

Saturday I did the following panels (lots of writing panels, as usual). James went to a few of his own things.
  • "Fandom Funerals and Repass" (half) (fictional deaths that got to you...yes, Old Yeller was mentioned!...mostly they mentioned fandoms we're not into, like Game of Thrones)
  • "Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Screenwriters" (about the movie and all the D&D "Easter eggs" and how fun it was)
  • "Editing Feng Shui" (this panel had some positive qualities about getting rid of verbal clutter but I don't think the presenter was as prepared as she could have been)
  • "Positive Mental Health Methods for the Creative" (basically coping with stress from real life)
  • "Dragons, Wizards & Pens" (a fun panel: given a subject prompt, four writers had to come up with the best opening line for a book--we went to this last year and it's always fun)
  • "People Who Live in Your Book" (designing characters for your stories)
Sunday, alas, we didn't get up early enough for me to get to the Harry Dresden panel, but:
  • "Sort This--Identifying and Sorting Plots and Characters" (using "sorting methods" like the Hogwarts houses to give your characters personality--also things like horoscopes, Myers-Briggs; I even suggested Gretchen Rubin's Four Tendencies)
  • "Learning from Luna Lovegood" (panel about neurodivergencies, mostly autism, which I found interesting because I'm thinking about introducing an autistic character in my fanfic)
  • "Fanfiction 101" (not that I needed the 101, but there were several people here who really wanted to know the basics, like "where do you find it?" and "is this legal"?)
  • "It Ain't Easy Being Geek" (how nerds/geeks are perceived by media—Big Bang Theory anyone?—and acceptance)
  • "To Tell the Truth--Or Not" (one of our favorites from last year, too: four writers get together and, given a prompt ["the most way out thing you've ever seen at a convention," for example], they have to tell a story and the audience guesses if it's true or not—heard some great true stories this way!)

Talked with Alice for a while afterwards. James pre-paid for next year. Sadly, the restaurant was closed today and we couldn't get more egg rolls for supper.

Dear folks: next year, please keep the singalongs way away from the panel rooms, please? On some panels we could barely hear the panelists speaking.

Labels: , ,


» Sunday, November 12, 2023
Doctor, Doctor, Doctor...Ouch, and Therapy (Plus Lots More)
You've heard of 1001 Nights? This week was 1/3 dozen doctors. (And, to be honest, 1/4 dozen doctors, since physiotherapy doesn't really count.)

The tally:
Last visit with vascular doctor.
Pre-sleep study consultation (in Decatur, no less).
Also, physiotherapy.

So doing housework on Monday was actually sort of relaxing. 😉

So James' fistula appears to be healed properly. Not sure if it's ripe yet. The doctor keeps asking "When are you going on dialysis?" Well, not yet, I hope. It's not like anyone's told us. James has no symptoms: he's still urinating fine, the urine looks normal, he has no loss of appetite, edema, nausea or vomiting, or shortness of breath. (Dr. Kongara keeps asking.) On the steroids Dr. Salazar gave him, he lost five pounds.

Since we were at Glenlake anyway, we went to Merchant's Walk and checked out the new Barnes & Noble in the shopping center where the Borders used to be (the B&N is in the old Bed, Bath & Beyond). The new store is...quite trendy. The bookshelves curve and "float" around the store so you are led in a certain path around it; James didn't like it, said they didn't have enough stock. I thought it was kinda cool (but, yeah, all the bookstores can use more books!) In fact, I found a cool book about Josephine Baker's spy work there, and bought James Travis Baldree's new book. I also had to get Victoria Finlay's new book, Fabric. "But, Linda, you hate to sew." Why yes, I do, and I can't tell one type of cotton fabric from another (except flannel). But I love Victoria Finlay's writing, and this book is no different. It starts out with barkcloth and tapa, both made out of the inner bark of palm trees, and she travels to New Guinea and other South Pacific islands to meet the few Polynesian craftswomen who still practice doing the fabric the old way. She also uses the book as a way of assuaging her grief after the deaths of her parents.

We also went to Trader Joe's, where most of the Christmas stuff is out. Where are the Candy-Cane Joe-Joe's? All they had were the chocolate-covered ones.

Wednesday was Doughnut Day Physiotherapy. It was a warm day, like the previous one, and James was still in minimal pain due to the steroid treatment, so we took the rollator instead of the chair so we could use Butch and take him by the cheap ($15) inspection place. Everything was okay, and then we went on to what was a very extensive workout, and yes, the doughnut. On the way home we stopped at Publix to do the weekly shopping.

Thursday we took a box to Goodwill, dropped off our good duds at the cleaners after their appearance at Neil and Emilee's wedding, then James got his feet inspected and a good pedicure at Kaiser before we went on to Lidl and two different Publix stores, since the Scufflegrit store on Wednesday had none of my favorite yogurt flavor (chocolate hazelnut). (They had plenty of that nasty coconut almond, though!)

Friday was our 33rd wedding anniversary. (Rodney pointed out that in March we would now be an LP!) We celebrated by having to get up at a hellacious seven a.m. to drive out to Decatur, as James has not had his C-PAP vetted in a long time. The only way to get this done is have a new sleep study, and when you're on Medicare you have to have a neurological exam before the sleep study. So this was the exam part, at 10:30. At the Emory sleep center. Off North Decatur Road. (What I call the "old neighborhood" since if you drive a few miles and a couple of turns and you're at Clifton Road and CDC headquarters.)

It was cloudy and rained most of the afternoon, which made it a PITA with the power chair, but we managed to have a good time. We found the building in one shot (thanks, Waze) and the exam itself was anticlimactic (James' opinion was "I had to drive all the way out here for that?"). I'd seen there was a Whole Foods across the street, and the last time we ate at the Whole Foods in Kennesaw they had a killer salad bar, so I said, "Let's go there for lunch."

Mistake. It is (or at least at that Whole Foods) no longer killer (no more of the delicious cucumber/tomato salad!) and there wasn't a darn thing on the hot bar I could eat without risk of (1) eating something spicy or (2) eating something that didn't give me massive indigestion even with a Protonix. They had clam chowder, but it was watery. I just had a salad while James found meatloaf, tikka masala, lasagna, and something else. He brought half of it home and the darn lunch cost $34! We could have gone to Tin Drum for less and gotten better food.

We did get some nice chocolate tarts for an anniversary dessert and two chocolate bars for other desserts.

There was a Half-Price Books across the street with a JoAnn next to it, so we took refuge out of the rain there. I got lucky in HPB and found another John Douglas book; also a hardback of Stephen King's On Writing and a "Bottom Line" book for $2 (we already had it, but I wanted to make sure!). James got some cool Lego Christmas sets (polar bears, a snowman, and a train) in JoAnn. I just bought a yard of good case we get another bird. I cut off part of Snowy's cage cover for a shroud.

Anyway, James has become addicted to his new air fryer. We went from a 2.5 quart to a 5.something quart, so he's been making everything in it: warming up burritos in it if he has frozen burritos, making egg/cheese/ham/etc. egg dishes, cooking drumsticks and thighs, etc. So instead of putting it back on the dog's crate after using it, he's just left it smack in the middle of the kitchen counter, pre-empting prep space. We have very little kitchen counter as it is.

So Saturday I did a little cleaning in the kitchen pantry closet and cleared a space wide enough to put the two clear containers we have for English muffins and for Toufeyan wraps. If I then moved the tea machine next to the toaster, there was enough room to put the balsamic vinegars, the air fryer, the Magic Bullet, and the two-level lazy susan against the back wall next to the refrigerator. This means the entire counter got clean, and also the other counter. It was a long afternoon's work, but it worked out.

Finally on Sunday we went to Costco, as we were running out of probiotics. We've been taking them for three months and it has really helped my lower GI problems, and I think they've made James more "regular." Bought toilet tissue, almond flour crackers, and a few other things, too, then dumped all the stuff at home and went to IKEA.

I remember when you could get a decent lunch at IKEA; now all they have are the meatballs, veg meatballs, or chicken strips. I had a salad that there was no dressing for, and a kids' meatball dish (four with mashed potatoes). I was famished when I got home. Found a cool light to plug into my desktop that will throw light on anything I'm copying from, a clip-on light for my side of the bed, and a cheap squirt bottle to use when I iron creases in anything. Also got some ginger cookies. IKEA's new self-checkout screens are terrible. They're not sensitive to the touch at all and take you forever.

I'll tell you, though, that I'm so glad we moved into the current house when we did. IKEA has gone back to their "roots," which means plastic bucket chairs, ugly square sofas, lots of blond and white woods, and other junky 60s-looking crap. I'm glad we got all the Leksvik furniture when we did, as there's very little I would buy there now, except for the Billy bookcases. It didn't help that they are remodeling the entire bed/bedding department.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,


» Sunday, November 05, 2023
Temperature's Falling! And Then, Dammit, Rising Again
Well, finally! Tuesday was Hallowe'en, so now that all the Fright Night/Spooky Season stuff is over, there will be better stuff in the stores. Watched It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, of course, and the Hallowe'en episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, "Masquerade," with a very troubled Liza Minelli playing the mother of a little girl who was murdered years earlier, but whose attacker, a spaced-out child molester, was just recently escorted by Goren and Eames back to the United States; they soon begin to believe he was not the murderer. Would have watched other things, but James just discovered there were new episodes of Forged in Fire, so we got on Philo and he watched those instead.

The other "event" of the week was the weather: it was cold enough on November 1 to wear my Vermont sweatshirt. In my world, this is exciting!

Otherwise it was nicely routine, with no falls, the usual physiotherapy for James on Wednesday followed by our weekly doughnut treat. Also tried a new breakfast/lunch place with Alice and Ken, Eggs Up, in the shopping center at Brookwood near Hobby Lobby. There was also a trip to Barnes & Noble (finally the November/December "Yankee"!), and I put up the Thanksgiving decorations while James was at his club meeting on Saturday.

The fly in the ointment: it got hot over the weekend, into the 80s. It was disgusting. At least there was a nice breeze so that things didn't sizzle. How ridiculous to have beautiful leaves on the trees and the scent of autumn when the air smells like a heating pad.

And we are happily back to Standard Time, where the clocks need to stay.

Labels: , , , , , ,


» Sunday, October 29, 2023
After the Fall and Before the Wedding
Everything was going so well this week. I even ran out on my own on laundry day to get more Smart Balance and stop at Sprouts for Litehouse salad blend. Except the Publix on the East-West and the Sprouts across the street didn't have either of those products. I did find the Smart Balance at the Smyrna Publix; we always stock up when they're on BOGO.

Then on Wednesday James had an appointment with his rhematologist. He spoke frankly this time about all the pain he has been in and asked if there was some way it could be relieved without using opioids. Dr. Salazar decided to put him on a short course (two weeks) of Prednisone to see if relieving the inflammation helps. Then we went to the Sprouts at Heritage Pointe and they had the Litehouse we needed, too.

On the way back from taking his blood sugar, James stumbled on his slippers—he tends to roll on his right foot and he stepped wrong—and fell. He didn't hit his head, but he pulled something, and the usual way he gets up, by scooting to the stairs and then standing, he couldn't do. So we had to call the nice firemen at Station 30 again. He had no bruises we could see, but he was awake during most of the night with pain from the muscles he strained.

Ironically, after all that, he felt better in the morning, but I did the shopping on my own on Thursday.

On Friday, we made a decision: James needed some type of shoe to wear around the house; the slippers are just too soft. I tried to get him a soft shoe at Walmart, but for once a marked size 12 didn't fit him. He also wanted to look into those "step in" Skechers they advertise. So Friday afternoon we went to the Kennesaw store. We did find a pair of the step-in shoes, but also got a different kind, too, very light, but with a very firm sole. (The step ins, alas, don't work for James; his ankle joints are too deteriorated for him to point his toe like you need to do to step in.)

The surprising thing was that I bought shoes. Voluntarily. I not only bought shoes, but I bought women's shoes, which, except for the wedgies I bought for Sabra's wedding, are the first women's shoes I've bought in years; I've been buying boys' Reeboks, which have always been the same style as women's Reeboks (and $20 cheaper) and wide enough for my feet. I got two pairs of the same grey ombre shoes. I have not bought women's shoes that fit properly the moment I put them on since my Hush Puppies. The soles on my Reeboks were worn down anyway.

Sigh...except, getting used to the shoes, James fell walking into the kitchen. Mostly what was hurt was his pride, and he was able to scrunch to the door.

Saturday night, however, was fabulous. On Saturday, October 28, Neil Butler, the son of our good friends Ron and Lin, and his girlfriend Emilee Cox, joined hands in matrimony at a ceremony at Ivy Hall (formerly an old cotton mill which was in use until 1975). We had a blast. The music was old, from 40s swing all the way to modern rock (James and I even sorta danced; I got up and moved and we held hands and he rocked back and forth in the power chair), we stuffed ourselves on delicious food, and the company was outstanding: we were seated with Daniel and Clair Kiernan, Bill Ritch and Caran Wilbanks, Charles Rutledge, and Marilyn Teague. The latter, especially, we hadn't seen in ages, since she had some medical problems and had to have part of a leg amputated. We were happy to see her walking very well with a walker and prosthetic leg!

The only fly in the ointment was that the handicapped access for Ivy Hall was terrible. The venue is two levels, and the big open deck and the cocktail area (and the only bathrooms!) are on one level and the ballroom on the top level. The only way to get between these levels is a 45-degree angle road and a narrow "ramp." James got down there with the power chair set on "1" and moving very slow. When the ceremony and the appetizer course ended, we had to go back up to the top level via that steep road. James had power and made it up the hill with me spotting behind him, bent double in the chair. Poor Marilyn had to have both Charles and Robbie Hilliard help her up the hill. We were still having fun at nine o'clock, but had to leave early because James needed to urinate (the doctor said he should never "hold it") and there was no way he was going up and down that hill in the dark!

I can't believe this gorgeous venue can't afford to install a little lift (I've seen ones that look like a capsule and work like the lift on the Jupiter 2) for handicapped or temporarily incapacitated people in a corner somewhere. Either that or they need to rent a handicapped Porta Potty every time they have an event.

Labels: , , , , , ,


» Sunday, October 22, 2023
Apples! Apples! Nice Fresh Apples!
Thank goodness, the week was pretty harmless. The one problem was Thursday; by the time we went grocery shopping and finished it, if we went home to drop off the food, we would be late for James' Procrit shot! So we stuffed all the perishable items into the cold bag and dashed to Kaiser. They were quite understanding about the need to hurry with the shot!

Saturday was Hair Day, but we didn't stay long because James' club meeting was this weekend and it was the annual Swap Meet. He went off to the VFW Hall and I stayed home, finally swept out the garage, and vacuumed. In between I did some writing.

Sunday turned out to be fun: we went to Ellijay for the second weekend of the Georgia Apple Festival. It's gotten quite expensive, $10 each to get in plus $5 to park. Of course all the proceeds go to the Elks Club and the Boy Scouts.

We got the second of our two fudge purchases for the year, and also bought some Asian sesame dressing that was very good. We figure we can use it for a finishing sauce. James and I also bought anniversary gifts for each other: I bought him a new leather wallet, and he bought me a Christmas sweater (since most of mine are worn out). We each had an ear of corn, which was so yummy; we stopped having them at the Yellow Daisy Festival because they were always so dry, but these two were juicy and wonderful. Afterwards, as always, we went to Panorama Orchards and bought all our favorite things: James' herbal teas in the little wooden boxes and sugar-free taffy and also some salsa, goats' milk lotion and blackberry spread and peanut brittle for me (their peanut brittle is wonderful), and a bag of Granny Smith apples and an apple pie for both of us. The day was sunny, but not hot, and we had a very good day.

I wish they could be all good days. I don't ask for perfect days, I just want good days.

Labels: , , , , ,


» Sunday, October 15, 2023
Busy for Us and Happy for Emma!
Well, we had some Big Events this week (and none of them involved goddamn Urgent Care).

The Friends of the Library book sale was on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and it was the first time that I've gone that I did not go first thing on Friday morning. I still fret about James and I didn't feel like getting up early to boot, plus I know I'm not going to find the stuff on my want list at the sale (it has happened, but not often enough to be a pattern, like when I found Time Out for Happiness). I ended up going on Saturday instead, to kill a little over an hour before Jessie's birthday party at Mellow Mushroom. And, yes, I still did manage to find books, including Michener's Chesapeake and Alaska, a compendium of Agatha Christie's books, a book of British mystery short stories that includes one by the late Christopher Fowler, My American Revolution about the war in the Middle Colonies, and Ronald Kessler's The FBI. Also grabbed four books for James including a P.J. O'Rourke and a first edition Book of the Month club version of Victory Through Air Power (from 1942).

Ironically, James was going to go to his club meeting and only I was attending the birthday party, but he discovered the meeting was next week, so I followed him over there only to find out Jessie had a problem and could not attend her own party. There was a nice crowd anyway and we enjoyed ourselves.

Instead of the book sale on Friday James and I went to Home Depot, which was absolutely filled with Christmas trees! Doesn't anyone make a decent-looking tree under 7 1/2 feet tall? I simply cannot decorate one that big without getting on a stool! The small ones have mixed branches which are absolutely repulsive.

Anyway, we were at HD to get light bulbs. I've discovered I like their "bright white" bulbs (3000K), since they are brighter, but don't mess with my eyes. I got a box of four clear 60-watt equivalents and one of 100-watt equivalents. For the living room I bought two bulbs which you can adjust from "warm white" to "daylight." I have left them on "true white" for now and am crossing fingers they don't irritate my eyes.

We also went to Lowes just for the heck of it, and...more Christmas trees. Same heights, too.

Had lunch at Hibachi Grill—oh, God, are they now in this oversalted hell, too?—then finally returned the pair of slip-on shoes I got for James at Walmart and bought up sugar-free candy, and picked up some things we hadn't gotten at Lidl during the big shopping trip on Thursday.

On the way up the stairs with the groceries, I whacked my right elbow good on the woodwork of the stair rail. Oh, my God! I bang one of my elbows at least once a week and it's horrible and painful, but goes away in a minute. Today I had to run to the fridge and put ice on it for twenty minutes and it raised a big purple bruise and dear Lord it hurt! I was afraid I'd broken or chipped something. After the ice I wrapped it in an Ace bandage for the rest of the night, and by shower time it was fine.

All I could think of was: if my arm is broken, how will I cath James????

Something nice happened to a friend of mine on Saturday that I was very happy about. Rupert Holmes was signing his book Murder Your Employer at the Deptford, NJ, Barnes & Noble store. Our friend Emma goes there all the time! I was practically jumping up and down in the truck seat as we went to James' physiotherapy I was so excited as I texted Emma the news. She was able to go and have MYE and also her copy of his novel Swing autographed by Rupert, and he told me how nice it was to meet another "friend of WENN" (Remember WENN, that is).

We didn't go to the Apple Festival on Sunday because both of us got too little sleep and it's a 75 minute drive. I did manage to format a new piece of fanfic for upload on Thursday, though.

Something sad did happen on Sunday that was of little consequence, but was still a bummer. I signed up for Twitter a couple of years ago so I could read posts from a few people I liked, including Susan Branch, Sam Neill, J. Michael Straczynski, and Vincent D'Onofrio. The latter, especially, would post neat views from his apartment of the NYC skyline, or his unusual little "poems" which are by turns funny, inspirational, and sometimes downright melancholy. After Elon took over Twitter, D'Onofrio mentioned he might quit, and Sunday afternoon he just pulled the plug. It will be sad not waking up to a funny video (like the one he posted a couple of weeks ago of him and his daughter cleaning the carpet in his apartment!) or a pretty view or a poem).

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


» Sunday, October 08, 2023
Something New and Something Old
James had a really good surgery followup on Wednesday; I guess the fistula is "maturing" okay. It will take several months to be completely functioning, and then it will be ready when James needs it.

Am I just being desperate hoping that he won't need it for a long, long time?

Afterwards we went to Barnes & Noble. I bought two "buy one, get half off on the second" books, and also a nonfiction book called The Murder Room, about detectives and forensics experts who get together to solve cold cases.

We have found something interesting to watch on Apple+, For All Mankind, which is an alternate universe story (you see, it's not just for fanfiction!). The Soviets landed on the moon before Apollo 11, so the Space Race is still going on. Things are the same—Neil and Buzz still land on the moon—but there are fictional astronauts, and now some of them are women because on their second moonflight the Russians sent up a female cosmonaut, so of course the United States had to have female astronauts, too. The ERA gets passed in this universe and Teddy Kennedy doesn't go to the party on Chappaquiddick—but once in office he is having an affair with Mary Jo Kopechne. Some of the social advances still seem kind of quick, but it mostly jibes.

Friday we got things done: took our clothes to the cleaners to be ready for Neil and Emilee's wedding, brought the boxes for donations to Goodwill; after physical therapy we grabbed some quick food at Krystal to go on to Kaiser for James' Procrit shot, bought gas at Costco, then finally picked up some craft supplies before going home.

Saturday I did a lot of tidying, and also finally put all the fall decorations up. In March, I had just left the winter decorations I had taken down in a box because I wanted to go through the rest of the winter decorations to get rid of some of them, the ones I didn't put up last year. So I went through the winter box and gathered a dozen or so things that "didn't spark joy" anymore and put them in a donation box. Then I finally put the rest of the winter decorations away.

I guess the truth is that I have been in kind of a funk most of the year from James' different falls and the wretchedness of summer. This makes it hard to be enthusiastic about decorating or crafts; I just want to brood. When it gets at its worst I can escape into my stories, but it doesn't do a lot for my wanting to do anything else. It got so cool over the weekend we could ride in the truck with the windows down and I felt like taking a longer walk with the dog. It's such a relief not to sweat because the moment I do my rash flares up again.

Maybe once it gets cooler permanently—but that's always such a fluctuating thing in a Georgia fall and winter—I will be in better spirits. At least I hope so.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


» Sunday, October 01, 2023
New Experiences
We have discovered the best day to go to Costco: Tuesday. Oh, there's still a crowd, but it's a smaller crowd, and parking spaces are more available. In fact, we ran into a friend there: Alex Lucyshyn was there on his lunch hour. We bought toilet paper, which was a relief, because we were down to three rolls. James has been hankering for a new air fryer because ours was so small, so we bought one today. Alas, he made wings in it the first time and burnt the sauce. I ended up throwing up by bedtime. (But the wings themselves were cooked perfectly.)

I am determined to get more junk out of the house, so I made up two boxes of items we don't use (the old rice cooker, a sander I never used and now I don't make furniture any longer, etc.) to go to Goodwill. The box didn't go anywhere this week, though.

On Saturday, we took a few things to electronics recycling—the notice for it popped up unexpectedly on Twitter a few days ago—then went to an event in Acworth called the "Time Traveling Book Sale that had popped up on Facebook Events. This took place at the Acworth Community Center, and while there were a few booksellers, most of the dealers sold other book-related items. James bought a couple of dice from a vendor, and we saw the neatest keyboard at one vendor's table. It really does click like a typewriter keyboard!

We also went to the Crazy Book Lady bookstore. I found a neat book about numbers in literature and science, a book called Indian Time to read next month, and, finally, James Michener's Creatures of the Kingdom, which is all the collected nature and animal shorts from the beginnings of his books like Centennial, Hawaii, etc.

We ate in a spot off state route 41, Capo's Pizza/Ristorante. The service was very good and the "garlic knots" were to die for, but the spaghetti sauce was much too sweet. We didn't need dessert afterward.

Anyway, James has been wanting to see the film Greyhound for ages, but it's only on Apple+. Best Buy had this special offer for new subscribers: three months' free membership, so I got it. We watched Greyhound on Sunday and we both really enjoyed it. Laughed at some of the reviews, which complained there was "no character development." This was basically an action film, a war action film, about American destroyers escorting supply convoys across the Atlantic and being trailed by U-boat wolfpacks. Except for the first five minutes in the hotel, it is nonstop shooting and battle, and it's so well done I enjoyed it immensely. I didn't care if there was "no character development"--it was perfect as it was.

Labels: , , , , , , ,


» Sunday, September 24, 2023
An Unwelcome Visit
So we stayed nice and confined at home. Took another COVID test on Tuesday. The lines are lighter, but the tests say we still have it. So no physiotherapy this week. However, when we talked to someone at Kaiser, they said if we were no longer showing symptoms, we were no longer contagious. So we went to the supermarkets in masks on Thursday. Kaiser aggravated the hell out of us that day, though. We went to Kaiser first to pick up a prescription, then to Costco for gas, then to the supermarkets. On the way home from Publix, we got a call from Kaiser saying we had to go back to Cumberland where we'd already been three hours earlier because James needed a blood test before his Procruit shot on Friday. I was sick from being out in the heat and instead of getting to rest after putting the groceries away we had to go back out.

At least we got to go out and eat on Friday. We were craving bulgogi beef and went to Okinawa.

Alas, one of us was back on the sick list on Saturday. It is actually a little sensitive to talk about, so I won't, but James ended up back at Urgent Care on Saturday. It wasn't dangerous or life-threatening, but it was...annoying. Especially being at Urgent Care was annoying.

Labels: , ,


» Sunday, September 17, 2023
An Unwelcome Visitor
People who visit us might be amused or weirded out by the amount of extra groceries we keep downstairs in the hall and in what's supposed to be the coat closet next to the garage. We have jars of peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, and cans of soup, vegetables, and containers of olive oil and chicken broth; the freezer is also always stocked. We aren't "preppers" by any means, but we are prepared, and this week we were glad we had.

Had a great Sunday at Yellow Daisy and was quite already until bedtime, when my post-nasal drip unleashed. If that wasn't bad enough, I started to cough. And cough. And cough. Not a lot of sleep for me Sunday night or Monday for that matter. Monday I took a nap and that made me feel worse! Got the chores done anyway. James wasn't feeling as bad as I was, but he had a sore throat and general lassitude.

Since we had physical therapy this week and James' Procrit shot, I decided we'd better err on the side of caution, so out came the COVID test kits.

And we both tested positive. James' was very pale, but there, and mine was a bright thick purple! Son of a bitch. Dodged the damn thing for three years and it came at us out of nowhere.

Because of all his health problems James called Kaiser and got a video appointment with his doctor on Thursday; because of his kidney problems, he couldn't have the regular COVID med you see advertised (Paxlovid) and had to have a different kind. This led to us driving down to the Kaiser Cascade office, eleven miles away, in a driving rainstorm because the alternative was not nearby. What fun, because by this time I had a 100 degree fever and felt like sh*t. When we got home from Cascade I fell asleep for four hours! Only had the fever and the cough at night for two days, but the post-nasal drip persists.



» Sunday, September 10, 2023
A Daisy of a Day, James' Buzzer, and Other Stories
Bracketed the week with goodies.

Did the usual chores a day late this week since Monday was Labor Day. We spent that afternoon at craft stores and then went to Longhorn to celebrate James' birthday. Since we got there before three we got luncheon prices, which was fine with me.

James had the usual physiotherapy this week and later in the week he had his surgery followup. The doctor said the incision looked good and you could tell the fistula was working—if you feel just a few millimeters away from the incision, you can detect a buzzing under his skin; that is the increased flow from the fistula—but since the incision itself got a little red, he was prescribed an antibiotic. On the way home from the appointment we stopped at Trader Joe's and Penzey's Spices.

Hair Day was on Friday, but we were the only ones there for the Friday edition. We chatted for several hours with Ron, Lin, and Sheri, and then went off to Sam's Club to buy lots of inexpensive meat and more Tylenol.

On Sunday we were up early to drive across town to Stone Mountain Park for the Yellow Daisy Festival. The last two years many of the vendors had been out on the main street outside the exhibition area under the trees. In 2021 the heat nearly killed me; I was dizzy and nauseated for most of the morning. Last year was better, but I still hated the street. This year thankfully all the vendors were in the woods under the trees again—I guess they finished redoing the paths or something.

It was very strange not to see my favorite Country Pick'ns vendor there this year, but the Messengers retired last year. Many of our favorite vendors don't show up any longer, like "Smack Yo Mama" barbecue sauce (they don't do Georgia shows anymore) or 1st Sergeant Salsa or the guy who makes the doormats out of old tires. Thank goodness the maple barbecue sauce guy still shows up; we had used up his product. We bought several different maple products, the yearly fudge (but they were out of double chocolate!), different kinds of honey, a cheese slicer made of reclaimed wood, and I was quite taken with an opal ring (although I should have gone the size smaller; my fingers swell up when it's hot like it was today and now the ring is loose, and maybe I should have gone for the three small stones rather than the infinity symbol).

All in all we escaped before it got sizzlingly hot, so it was okay.

Labels: , , , , , ,


» Sunday, September 03, 2023
From Pain to Pleasure
Poor James—he came down with a thump late Tuesday. Monday after the supposed dose of steroids during his surgery he had no pain at all and was walking tall and easily until bedtime. He even forgot his cane several times because he really didn't need it. Tuesday he had a little pain, but was doing okay. Wednesday the pain came back with a vengeance, especially after we went to physical therapy. Karen didn't have him do any arm exercises; just leg and hip and he was pretty miserable that evening, even though he told me he was "okay" at Publix. Thankfully, this let up a little by the end of the week and we could go on to have some fun.

One other doctors' appointment this week: his Procrit shot. Apparently it's raising his iron levels well. And he got some comfort food: after doing the shopping we picked up chicken and dumplings from Cracker Barrel.

Since we weren't going to DragonCon, on Sunday we made our monthly trip to Canton. Picked up three bargain books at Books-a-Million, including a World War I-set story about nurses by Lauren Willig and a rom-com that I didn't realize until I started reading it that it was set in Rhode Island! We had lunch at Uncle Maddio's Pizza, of course, then stopped at BJs on the way home for maple syrup and mandarin orange/pineapple tidbit cups.

In the meantime I finished a piece of fanfiction and have continued watching Law & Order: SVU. Again, some spectacular guest performances, but I'm watching Richard Beltzer having less and less to do, and Ice-T getting one or two interesting performances (Ken Briscoe disappears completely) while the meat of the stories go to Benson or Stabler. One funny thing I noticed that in the first two seasons Benson is the rookie and it's Stabler who's the big victim's advocate. By the end of fifth season you can see Benson taking over the role of victim's advocate and it's firmly in place by sixth season, while Stabler is just the guy who is always angry and yelling at the perps. His character seems to just quit growing by sixth season, as if the guy had to be the one to be angry and constantly struggling for control (it doesn't help that the Stabler character is separated from his wife in this season as well). I wonder why the shift? It was rather unique to see a man so firmly in the role of victim's advocate in a squad where the primary crimes were rape and child molestation—Stabler could be quite empathic to both rape victims and children when the series began; all of a sudden we are back to the "empathic woman figure" advocating for rape victims and children. Did the powers that be decide it was "more natural" for a woman to take this role?

Labels: , , , , , , ,


» Monday, August 28, 2023
The Surgery

Our day started at five a.m. 

James' surgery was scheduled for nine, but we were supposed to be there by 7:30; we were there way earlier.

They have a nifty system: you get one of those "your table is ready" things that vibrates and blinks when you check in. It notifies you to admissions, then to pre-op, and then it's given to whomever accompanied the person having outpatient surgery, to call you back to see the person before they go into surgery. Following that, they have a board with color-coded stages of the surgery (admittance, pre-op, waiting, etc. all the way to "all done"), and you also get texts on the patient's progress in surgery and then in post-op.

So James did paperwork, then we waited, then he went back to pre-op, then I went back to pre-op, where he was all kitted up for surgery. The nurses, as always, were super-nice, and we met the anesthetist and then Dr. Austin came in to go over the surgery with us. And then I went back out into the foyer to wait. I got some milk and Doritos from the cafeteria and had brought fruit with me. (I tried to get a seat next to an electrical plug; there was only one, and when I did get that seat, the plug wasn't powered. So I depended on the laptop battery, wrote what I wanted to write, then went on to reading.) The text came that he was in surgery. The doctor said surgery would be 25 minutes to an hour, depending on what they found and also how long it took them to stop the bleeding (he didn't have to go off his blood thinners). Pretty much an hour later I got a text that he was out of surgery.

Post-op was hard to get through. They said about an hour, but could be up to three hours. James' was closest to three because his blood pressure was very low when they woke him up and also because the post-op nurse wanted him to be able to blow a certain amount on the spirometer before he got to go home. It wouldn't have been so bad, but his number disappeared from the status board; I never did get the grey "all done!" message that was supposed to follow post-op! So, yeah, I was "making buttons" until they called me back, and then we had to get the discharge papers and he had to get dressed and we had to use the bathroom, and then we had to stop by Kaiser for pain pills (which he never used, but we took them anyway) and only then could we go home. They didn't even put a bandage on it; the post-op person said they didn't want to impede the circulation in any way. All they put on it was surgical glue and it was fine for him to shower with; he just couldn't immerse. The surgical cut was less than three inches long. Got the usual warnings: look for excess redness or swelling or pus.

The surprise of the day was when James came home and took his blood sugar; even after not eating, it was almost 300. So he figured they might have given him some steroids, because he also discovered that even though he was bushed from the surgery, he was standing straighter and his knee wasn't creaking like it does all the time because he had no pain in his knees, back or hips at all.

Labels: , ,


» Sunday, August 27, 2023
Buffets and Benson (With or Sans Stabler)
Another week of chores. The big event was eating at the new buffet on Austell Road, the Atlantic Buffet, which bills itself as a Chinese/American/Mexican buffet. It was pretty good. We went on a Friday so there was a lot of seafood (I ate lots of shrimp and paid for it the next day). They had sushi, a hibachi grill, and then various Chinese dishes. The "Mexican" was a little rectangle of space with taco shells and various fillings. The "American" appears to be cheese pizza and lasagna and mac'n'cheese. Most of what we ate was okay and not all that salty, and I enjoyed it because they had steamers as part of the seafood and also coffee ice cream in the ice cream freezer (with the desserts they also had grasshopper pie).

But this place took over the old Golden Corral which has been closed for ages, and they announced the Atlantic Buffet "coming soon" for so long that we figured they were doing a thorough cleaning out. What a surprise to pretty much find out that it looks like the old Golden Corral setup, with minor modifications, and the old ripped up vinyl sofa that was there when GC closed was still there! I did like some of the food but the "remodel" was thoroughly disappointing. However, lots of working class folks in there for a big hearty meal.

Watching the Futurama revival on Hulu. Some funny stuff, but it seems to have lost its edge.

I've also been watching Law & Order: SVU from the beginning because of how people rave about it, and also curious about the fervent Benson/Stabler shipping. It's a completely different show from what it is now, which basically seems to revolve around Olivia Benson, more of an ensemble drama the first two seasons, and then as seasons three and four go on, more stories revolve around Benson and Stabler. Everyone's always on about John Munch (Richard Beltzer's character), and yet he has less and less to do each season, and seems to hang around just to make a pithy remark or offer some kind of conspiracy theory. Once in a while he gets a chance to shine. Same thing with Fin...they sort of toss him in every so often. I guess I still haven't reached the point where you start seeing this "thing" between Benson and Stabler. They don't even seem to have the rapport Goren and Eames had reached by second season.

I'll tell you though, after four or five of these in a row, the show is very depressing! Probably why we never watched the first time around!

Labels: ,