Yet Another Journal

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

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

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» Saturday, June 18, 2022
Temperature's Rising, and I'm Not Just Talking Outside

It's been...a week.

Some positive things did happen. The most important is that we have found our old mechanic! James' truck needs work on the A/C; it either needs a shot of freon or the fan needs fixing. We didn't want to call True Automotive (what our old place turned into) since I'm pretty sure they overcharged me last time. We did get a coupon from an Advantage Auto Center on Cobb Parkway to have a free check of a car's A/C, so James called them up and heard a familiar name on the voice mail: it was Mike! So we have arranged to have the truck seen on Monday the 20th. I also made an appointment with the local KIA dealership to get Butch checked out; he has at least three recalls on him, including one to "update the software." So, my car needs Windows updates? I am wondering if this is what made the car lose power while I was driving it on May tenth. If not, I'm not sure if I want KIA to look at the car or just take it to Mike.

And James went to the urologist on Thursday and the NP pulled out the catheter. Hopefully the infection has gone away. I am less sanguine about the state of his prostate. I think it might be blocking his urethra again. This would mean more surgery. I hope this isn't the case.

On Saturday he had an MRI of his back. Orthopedics is trying to determine if there are some type of shots he can take as well as physiotherapy to help him walk a little better, so he (a) won't be in such pain and (b) will be able to exercise more. We were almost late because we were two-thirds of the way there and ran into a roadblock because a car had driven off Paper Mill Road. We were forced to backtrack and take another route and got stuck behind a moving van doing 25mph. How frustrating! But we did get there on time and it only took about thirty minutes, and James said the techs were very nice.

Our big problem started on Tuesday. Now, we got new HVAC in 2016, the day James had his first heart attack. We also got the maintenance plan; they do a checkup twice a year for a monthly fee. Well, less than two years ago they turn up with this new wifi programmable thermostat, as opposed to the old non-wifi programmable thermostat. I think the model number is a Lennox E30. Anyway, I did create an online account and it's nifty—like if we forget to turn on the eco-programming if we go away for a weekend, I can turn it on with the phone and not waste energy.

Well, the E30 is a finicky beast. The original they installed messed up less than a year into our owning it. It just quit working. This was when it was cold—maybe six months ago? They put in a new one. This one's been a little flaky—for instance, I have it in power save mode, which means the screen is supposed to stay off unless I wave my hand in front of it, but it turns off and on indiscriminately—but it's always held to the various programmed schedules fine. Until today. I walked past it and it came on...and what the hell? Instead of being on "summer" schedule, with temp set at 74, it was on "heat only" and already 77 in the house. Went to turn it back to summer schedule. Guess what. Touch screen has completely quit working.

Well, that's okay—we've got the app on both my phone and through my web browser, so I go into the phone app and reset it back to summer schedule. That worked fine. Me being me, I went into the app in the browser and tried to figure out what might have switched the scheduling off. Then I made the fatal mistake of going into "my account." I didn't see anything in "my account" that would make any difference, so I clicked the button that I though "closed" the "my account" box.

This is where I was really, really stupid. It wasn't a "close" button, it was the delete account button. Not designated in a bright color, or otherwise made so you could see it, but the same color as the border around the "my account" popup box. To add insult to injury, I didn't even get a nice friendly reminder that I was being stupid—you know, the "Are you sure you want to delete this account?" message that usually pops up. And...just like that! Gone!

I ran to the laptop and was still logged on there. Then I thought—I've got Firefox set up to sync between computers! What if they sync and I get logged off? So I closed Firefox so they didn't sync. But, you guessed it—when I reopened Firefox I couldn't get back in.

So basically now the only way I've got to control the stupid thermostat is that the app still works on my phone for no discernible reason (and—for some amazing reason—the app still works on my old phone, too) even though I deleted the account, and God knows how long that will last, and what the hell can I do if the phone fails and this stupid thing switches itself off again? So there I was, not able to use my phone for fear of closing that window, the HVAC people couldn't send someone until Thursday morning, and Lennox (the inventor of the app and manufacturer of this stupid E30 thermostat) couldn't do a thing for me because to set up a new account I have to be able to use the thermostat to get a pin number. Basically I screwed up everything with one click of the mouse.

To add insult to injury, our HVAC guy never showed up on Thursday. This was understandable—we're having a virulent heat wave, with temps up in the mid-90s, and I know there are people out there who have non-working units and they need to go first. We had him scheduled ten to twelve, but he was so far behind he could not have arrived until 1:30, when we had to leave for Kaiser. So we rescheduled for 6 to 8 at night, but no one ever showed up. I didn't even mind that, except that no one called. I called them back, as well as texted them, plus talked to someone on Facebook Messenger, and they said our case was still in the system and someone would call us Friday.

Friday I had to call them; I finally got them scheduled to come on Sunday.

I'm exhausted from riding herd on the thermostat and worrying about James, and basically spent a lot of Saturday in tears. So, good weekend? No.

[Sun, June 19:
A/C tech was here this morning and was downright surprised. Apparently he's never had one of these thermostats quit responding to touch. He did a whole bunch of tests including rebooting the thermostat, and, yeah, it's still non-responsive. He said since the unit's still working, he didn't want to just slap a regular thermostat on it, because it's not capable of coping with our two-stage system. He's just going to order a new one and come back when it comes in (why don't they keep these things in stock, I wonder?)—unless the system goes off. So we have a thermostat with a "unique problem." yay...

Plus, after holding to the schedule rigidly since it flaked out on Tuesday, the thermostat has flaked out twice today. I looked up at one point after I finished folding towels and the wall thermostat was saying it was set at 76℉. We keep it set at 74 so the temp in the main part of the house stays at 78. I had to reset it on the phone. A little later out of nowhere it reset itself to the "away" temp, which is 78℉. I had to cancel the "away," which I still don't know how it managed to set itself.

And before you ask, not even James knows the password to the thermostat. I set up the system, and I'm the only one who knows the password, and it's not a common word. Nor does anyone have our wifi password, which was totally randomly set by Earthlink. And there have been no power fluctuations today.]

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» Saturday, June 11, 2022
List Your Frustration Here: Weather, Banks, or Walmart
"Summer is icumen..." Eh.

Yeah, the big news here is that it's going to be 90s, presumably from now on, starting out with 90s and high humidity (thanks a lot, Florida), which makes the heat index on Monday the 13th a nice jolly 100 plus.

At least things got done this week: the bushes got trimmed and the dog was drowned...uh, bathed. (He only believes he's drowned.) And he's so happy afterward, but he doesn't want to admit it.

James did have a frustrating work day on Wednesday. Somewhere after eleven o'clock he couldn't receive any phone calls, although he could make them. So, between trying to resolve the problem all afternoon, he could only follow up on cases. It turned out to be a server problem and it was okay when he checked again on Friday.

Thursday we didn't do much besides the grocery shopping, but we did go to the Smyrna post office to see if the HOA bank had mailed the checks for the HOA account. They told us they wouldn't mail to a post office box, so we had expected them delivered to our address on June 6. Well, they never arrived. And they weren't at the post office, so James had to call the bank again. It turned out the original order got cancelled "because they couldn't find your address," so the order was only put in two weeks ago when James called the first time and the person we talked to ("Amanda") assured him they would be delivered on the 6th. We found out when he called that "Amanda" had left the company! So on Wednesday I had to pay the lawn guy out of my account because the stupid bank can't get this shit right. Anyway, the lady at the bank he talked to this time said they would put a rush on the checks, so maybe someday I will get paid back.

Friday we had lunch at O'Charley's with Alice and Ken and John along with a nice long chat (John is currently fixing his own deck, which makes my back hurt to hear about), then waited in line for what seemed like hours for gasoline at Sam's Club in Hiram (there were lines of seven or eight cars at all ten pumps) due to it being at the "low price" of $4.24 a gallon. Finally we went to Walmart because James needed new mats for the truck. We also got sugar-free candy, more slippers for him, a new floodlight for outside, and a few other things.

Saturday we had nowhere to go and didn't want to spend any money, so we went nowhere. I did send a note to a friend, but mainly just did junk around the house, like putting the new mats in James' trunk and trying to make some order of all the wires on his dashboard (he have the GPS that plugs in, as well as the radar detector, plus the charge cord for when we use the phone for navigation, so it's rather a tangle up front). I finally taped everything down with duct tape and replaced the reflector on the wheelchair lift that got knocked off when I loaded the chair about a dozen times ago. Because MMR car repair went out of business a couple of years back and I thought the new place, True Automotive, overcharged me when Butch needed fixing in February 2020, we don't know where to take the truck to get the A/C repaired (we think all it needs is a freon or whatever-they-use-now charge, but it might be the fan). Plus I need to get Butch to the Kia dealer for the five, count 'em, five recalls on the stupid car and I really can't trust to driving the dumb car after it lost power on me in the middle of the road over a month ago, but I really don't care about the stupid car, either, and wish I could just avoid the whole thing.

Instead of thinking will spend time watching more episodes of Law & Order: Criminal Intent...

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» Saturday, June 04, 2022
And Yet More Books...
Well, summer has officially arrived. Yeah, I know, it's not the solstice yet. Actually, meteorological summer started June 1, and on Thursday, June 2, it was 93℉. That, folks, is summer.

We braved it anyway after doing a morning of grocery shopping; we ate a sandwich each and then went to Barnes & Noble. I gave in and renewed my discount card; I mean, someone has to keep them in business. I ended up buying five books (including a birthday gift for James), four of them at "buy one, get the second for half price," including the one about forensics in Agatha Christie novels, plus both of the Jurassic World magazines that have just come out. The "Hollywood Spotlight" version has a killer pic of Sam Neill. Yum.

Something else was put in motion on Thursday, but...let it simmer for now. Hoping things will be happier's done.

The rest of the week was quiet as we really didn't have anywhere else to go. On Friday we just decided to get takeout from Dragon168. This gave me a chance to duck into Publix and pick up the ramen noodles we forgot, and they also had unsalted vegetable broth; neither of the Publix we shop at carry it any longer. I spent Friday afternoon blogging, finished my latest L&O: CI story, and, in the best news, The Orville is back! The first episode dealt with the aftermath of Isaac's treachery, and introduced a new character, Charly Burke, the Orville's navigator. She's very good, and the score of the episode was spectacular.

James went off to his club meeting on Saturday afternoon, and I was going to watch Emerald City, but my lower GI decided to rebel. Instead I washed the winter jackets and did the weekly vacuuming and watched Law & Order: Criminal Intent on Peacock instead.

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» Saturday, May 28, 2022
Give Me a Ring, and I'm Not Talking Jewelry
The news from Texas. Oh, God, the news from Texas. This gunman didn't even have a screed. And the police remained outside the school for an hour because they didn't have orders to go in, while a whole fourth grade classroom was under fire. Almost all the kids died. One played dead. Two teachers died. The gunman got in through an unlocked door. The lunatics are coming out of the woodwork.

"Things fall apart, the center cannot hold,
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world..."

So emotionally it's been kind of a week. Feeling bad on Monday. Thursday the usual grocery crap, plus we had to go to Costco to get some medication for James. Finally got decent Skinny Pop; threw the buttered junk away. What a waste of six dollars.

In positive news, James finally had his appointment with the pain clinic. Although the problem for him is his hips, the doctor did some examination of him and says it's really his back; the pain just feels like it's in his hips. He'll have an MRI of his spine in June and then she believes some injections and maybe hydrotherapy will help the pain.

The big news here this week was that we got new phones. If you remember, I dropped mine and cracked the screen some months back. Leo LaPorte mentioned several times that most phone batteries only last two years, and we got the old phones July during the pandemic. So on Friday we had lunch at Chow King with Ken and Alice, then walked back to Best Buy and bought phones. We were looking at the new Moto G Stylus phones, but last year's model (from November 2021) was on sale for $200 each, so we got those instead. Spent all day Saturday setting up my phone. You can back them up all you want, but there are just things you have to reload (all my podcast programs!) and then have to go hunting up passwords that the phone didn't save, and reload ringtones, notification sounds, alarm sounds, etc. It's like juggling kittens with their claws out. I do like the stylus. I did get my old podcast app to work (since I was never satisfied last time with any of the newer ones) via the .apk file for the app I managed to extract. Sadly, my favorite "Jewels" type game, the Christmas one, no longer displays properly. I tried loading it manually, but no dice. A few of the other apps no longer on the Google Play market, like Blendoku and Note Everything, also did load for me, but I really don't need the latter now that I have Google Docs to put our emergency medical info on.

Ribs were BOGO at Publix for Memorial Day, and I was going to cook them on Monday, but James decided to do them himself on Saturday. This time cooked them in the lower oven for three hours, and they were utterly delectable. Had them with corn on the cob. I got St. Louis style ribs, and we both got full and had enough ribs left over to have them for Memorial Day, too, after all.

Just finished a fifth post-series Law & Order: Criminal Intent story. Been reading fanfic online and wondering if I should do something a for the next one, since ideas just keep popping up.

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» Saturday, May 21, 2022
Medical Millstones
Still sick at my end, but at least I'm finally sleeping through the night. I still have a terrible cough with lots of phlegm, but that only manifests in the daytime. I still feel wrung out and like I can't breathe well, even though my blood oxygen is a good steady 97 percent.

It's James that's in dutch again. We saw his new urologist (Dr. Starr retired last month) on Thursday. James was asked to empty his bladder completely, and then they took an ultrasound, which revealed he still had about 500 milliliters still inside. Dr. Jefferson thinks that James keeps getting the UTI because infected urine is remaining in the bladder, and that possibly his prostate is infected and swollen, blocking the urethra, too. So until he finishes up the month of ciproflaxin (and being in pain because he can't take any Plaquinel or tamulosin until he gets off it), he's also on a stupid foley catheter. This means he's going to have to go through a month of discomfort, plus we're going to have to screw with that stupid StatLoc (the sticky thing that keeps the catheter from dangling) business again. Heck, the StatLoc the nurse practitioner put on him after the catheter was inserted fell off by dinnertime! Good thing we have a bunch of extras; I just hope they last until June 16, when he has to go back and do the test again.

(We actually went through three StatLocs by Saturday night, so I had to start  using the old ones. Unfortunately the "old ones" are nearly four years old, and the little skin prep pads you use on the skin to make the StatLock stick better are all dried out. I ended up having to order more skin prep pads from Amazon...I hope they are good! They have decent reviews.)

You won't believe this, but all the Christmas gifts we'd received from friends were still sitting on a box and in bags on the hearth. Saturday I finally put them all away, except for the still wrapped gifts for Clay and Maggi. Goodness knows when we'll see them again since James' mother and sister are now both gone. We didn't used to mind the ride down to Warner Robins, now the eternal traffic jam in Henry County at the I-75/I-675 split make the drive a nightmare. It shouldn't take you nearly three hours to drive a 100-minute journey!

Watched the season finales of all the different Law & Order series on Thursday. Olivia Benson's cameo on the "mothership" seemed kind of useless; why wasn't she on Organized Crime instead to see Elliot Stabler get his medal? (Seriously, is the white computer-genius chick on Organized Crime supposed to be their version of Abby from NCIS?) Thursday was also the very last United States of Al, which left Vanessa broken up with Freddie and angry at Riley, and Riley and Al headed to Las Vegas with Al's creepy girlfriend Cindy in tow. Thanks, heaps, CBS, for cancelling that and keeping Ghosts, which I find unbelievably stupid.

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» Wednesday, May 18, 2022

The Simple Woman's Daybook
FOR TODAY, MAY 18, 2022

Outside my window...
...sunny and hot, which means I'm staying inside under the fans with the A/C. I do not do sun.

I am thinking...
...or rather wondering what makes everyone so angry today that they are willing to go out and shoot, stab, bomb, etc. the people they dislike. There were bigots everywhere when I was a kid. They emoted their hate for certain groups in horrible language. They didn't deliberately drive to neighborhoods with that certain group and shoot members of the group. Or cheer on people who did these things.

I am thankful...
...that it's only one month till the solstice. Then the days will start getting shorter again. Here at the solstice the sun doesn't set until 9:45 p.m. How absurd. By 9:45 you're getting ready for work the next day, not lolling around outside. There's never anyone out where we live anyway; they're in taking refuge from the 80 degree temps even after dark. We pass by houses with beautifully furnished porches all summer and no one ever uses them.

In the kitchen...
...not much. We had potlucks for lunch; James had leftover pork stir fry and I had vegetarian vegetable soup, and we watched an episode of CSI.

I am wearing... and green flowered ribbed tank top and grey shorts and white ankle socks.

I am creating...
...mostly this week I have been working on a post-series Law & Order: Criminal Intent piece.

I am going...
...well, since it's Wednesday I'm going to finish the laundry, and prep for complaining tomorrow because it's Thursday and I hate Thursdays since it's grocery shopping day as well as trash night.

I am wondering...
...when this damn cold is going to disappear. I can sleep through the night, but my sinus still hurts, there's still pressure on my right ear, and I'm still producing mucus.

I am reading...
...Tony Horwitz's Confederates in the Attic, which I'm really enjoying. Much better than the sequel, Spying on the South; much more subtle.

I am hoping...
...the weather decides to cool off eventually! 90 degree temps anytime sucks, but 90s in May is ultimate suckage.

I am looking forward to...
...James' retirement, but that's not until October. Nothing really to look forward to until the Hallmark Ornament Premiere in July, when I'll finally complete the "12 Days of Christmas" ornament collection.

I am learning...
...lots of gross stuff about bugs and dead bodies on CSI. LOL.

Around the house...
...James is at his desk working, although there's no call right now. Tucker is, as always, under the dining room table on one of the chairs, asleep in his "den." Snowy is singing because I'm playing "The Tech Guy."

I am pondering...
...all those violent people. I don't get it. Why dislike people because their skin is differently colored, or if their features are different, or if they worship God differently? Strange.

A favorite quote for today...
..."If you're afraid that reading a book might change someone's thinking, then you're not afraid of books, you're afraid of thinking."

One of my favorite things...
...I think we'll be finishing up one tonight: we're on the final two episodes of Longmire. It's been a good series. I still like the books better, though.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Tomorrow: tedious grocery shopping and putting out the trash. Friday: James sees new urologist. Saturday: don't care, so long as it's not in the sun...oh, I think we are taking the truck to the Firestone place to get the A/C fixed. I need to arrange to get Butch fixed because the engine stopping in the middle of a road isn't the way I want to drive. The problem is I don't give a damn about that car. I wish I didn't have to worry about the stupid thing, but I have no money to buy a new one.

A peek into my day...
Well, we watched CSI, so here are Sidle and Grissom (Jorja Fox and William Petersen).

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



» Saturday, May 14, 2022
The Whole World is Crazy
The bad news: I still have a cold. Now I have lots and lots of phlegm in my throat, with lots and lots of moist coughing. Yeah, it's as annoying as it sounds, and I'm congested as hell. But no fever and no other COVID symptoms.

Thursday was the last day I could go do something with a CD I had that, years ago, was giving me two percent interest. Now it was only getting .02 percent, and renewal interest rates weren't any better. So we went to the bank, had to wait a half hour for anyone to talk to us (I had to run back out to the truck for water since I ended up having a coughing fit), and cashed out the silly thing, which I gave to James to pay down on his truck.

Plus we finally went to the HOA post office box and the checks we ordered for the account still haven't come. We will be on the last check soon; it's bad enough we got stuck with the HOA account, but to have this happen is freaking annoying.

And on Saturday night some moron in a full-size pickup truck ran into the "Trellis Oaks" trellis at the end of our street. He cracked the sign that said "Trellis Oaks," ripped up one of the spotlights, and actually tilted the stone-and-wood trellis back a degree or two. Actually, the people in the house at the end of the street must be still saying their prayers right now because if that Trellis Oaks sign hadn't been there, the pickup would have gone through their downstairs bedroom/sitting room!

All this and the nightmare news about the cretin with the 100+ page manifesto who drove for hours to a grocery store in a mostly Black neighborhood and shot up the place, the asshole who shot up a church in California, and the moron who shot up a flea market in Texas. People have no self-control any longer. Someone upsets them, they don't get what they want, the solution is grabbing a gun and killing people.

The one good thing about the week was a trip to Canton for lunch at Uncle Maddio's—the owner is still running the place by himself—and a side-journey to Books-a-Million, where I found several nifty books on the remainder shelves, including Ghost: My Thirty Years as an FBI Undercover Agent, which works out well since I've been writing about an FBI agent. On the way home we stopped at BJ's for orange and pineapple cups and various other things. They didn't have any plain Skinny Pop, so I got the buttered kind, and, boy, did I regret that. It tastes like "cheesy-flavored" popcorn and is revoltingly salty.

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» Saturday, May 07, 2022
Repeat After Me: Cough...Cough...Cough
Well, it's been a week.

Sunday I went through all the chores except for cleaning the hall bath, roasted some chicken drumsticks for dinner, paid some bills, and then as always before bedtime, walked the dog.

By the time I got back from the walk, I was coughing, one of those hacking coughs caused by a raw spot on the throat, one I hadn't had when I went out for the walk. In those ten minutes, it had just shown up. And I kept coughing, except when I was drinking, which made it hard to sleep. So let's say I didn't get much sleep and spent Monday miserable and much of Tuesday miserable as well. James was also suffering the aftereffects of the two weeks of antibiotic (cephelaxin); he seems to be sensitive to this one, since he was feeling as if he could not breathe well the last couple of days, but that eased up the moment he was off the antibiotic.

Now, James had a cardiologist's appointment on Wednesday, and there was no way either of us were going to show up if we had COVID. So we took the at-home test on Tuesday, and both of us came up clear, which was a relief. Really, I can still smell and taste fine (the mucus most of all—it's revolting), and I've had dozens of colds that started just like this: cough first, and then my sinuses going into overtime and producing wildly, and then cough from the endless post-nasal drip-drip-drip. I sound like a frog and I'm exhausted.

So James did get checked out by Dr. Shash, who assuaged our fears by saying his EKG was fine, and he listened to his lungs, and said they sounded fine as well (we were worried because since his fall, the CT scan noted small plural effusions on his lungs). We told him we would definitely keep the appointment with the urologist on the 20th to see if his prostate was enlarging so much that it was blocking his flow again.

And then, guess what.

Yes, his damn UTI is back, even after two weeks of antibiotic! He sent another note to the urologist. So Thursday, along with going to Lidl, Publix, and Kroger, we had to go back to Kaiser yet again for a fourth lab test. But, I got through the shopping okay, although I was cross and tired, and thought the cough medicine I got at Kaiser was doing me good, especially when we stayed in Friday because we were supposed to have a storm (it never came) and I felt pretty good, if still slightly stuffy, with no bouts of coughing so hard my eyes watered and I couldn't catch my breath!

We spiced up the evening by watching the second season finale of Picard (all threads neatly wrapped up), the "Ready Room" short that went with both Picard and the new series, and, finally, Strange New Worlds, the new Star Trek series featuring Captain Kirk's Enterprise predecessor, Captain Christopher Pike, with Spock as his science officer, and Number One as his First Officer. Uhura is seen as a fresh-from-the-Academy role here, and we also meet Dr. M'Benga and Nurse Chapel. It is very good. They are going for individual stories here, not serialized adventures like Discovery and Picard have been. It also sounds as if the "big bad" in the series are going to be the Gorn (the "lizard man" Captain Kirk fought in "Arena").

Alas, Friday night was a cough-fest again and I woke up Saturday feeling like my head was stuffed with cotton. James went off to his club meeting Saturday afternoon and I settled in front of the television for a minor Vincent D'Onofrio film fest: the Homicide: Life on the Street episode "The Subway" which won a bunch of awards and was so innovative that PBS made a documentary about it (the documentary is also on the DVD set, but I didn't get to it), and also another episode called "All is Bright" that guest-starred Kathryn Erbe as a young woman who caught AIDS from having unprotected sex with an HIV-positive guy (who, of course, didn't tell her). (This also featured a sweet performance from Carol Kane as one of John Munch's [Richard Beltzer] ex-wives.) The final thing I played that afternoon was an interview of Vincent from a 2017 Chicago Comic Con. I did this great screencap of him talking with his hands—it reminded me of all the family gatherings when I was a kid, everyone gesturing!

 (Later on, I told James to watch a couple of episodes of The Expanse, which I really don't care about—did notice Burn Gorman from Torchwood is in it—and I watched a very early television appearance of VDO's on the original The Equalizer series with Edward Woodward; he plays Davy, a mentally challenged young man who nevertheless is overjoyed to finally be on his own and working in a department store, until one night he stumbles upon a murder and is accused of the crime, so he goes to Robert McCall for help. It's called "Suspicion of Innocence" and is on NBC's website.)

Alas, Saturday night seemed to end well: I fell asleep with no coughing fit!

Only to wake up at two in the morning with one instead. Bleah.

This is getting very, very old...

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» Saturday, April 30, 2022
Return of the Native Fitbit
Well, the big news this week was that Fitbit finally contacted me because FedEx Ground finally delivered my broken one to their California headquarters. I figured it would take another month to get a new one back, but it arrived within three days! Then, of course, came the charging and the pairing and trying to find my favorite watch faces again. I need to, someplace, save which ones they are, because there's only one that still tracks active minutes, and I had to go into the Fitbit forum to search for what it was.

A bonus was that it came with two pair (large and small size) of bands, one a blue "camo" sort of design, which James snapped up.

Otherwise it's been sort of an off week. Last year when James went to the urologist, we found out his prostate is starting to grow back, but he was still "flowing" okay. We're not so sure that's true this year. Going to the the urologist at the end of the month hopefully will shed some light on this. Also, the knob that turns the different settings on our nice magnetic Moen shower head broke off. This was annoying because that shower head ran about $60 last time we bought one at Bed, Bath & Beyond. But I found another on Amazon for only $38 and ordered it that way. (We also did go to BB&B...which looks really bare. Is the chain in trouble? I couldn't even find poop bags for the dog.)

Oh, and I gave Tucker a bath.

This week we also had a nice Friday lunch at Okinawa with all three of the Spiveys, ate a final dinner at Ken's Corner Grill, which is closing on May 7, and...oh, yeah, I bought some more books. (But this is hardly news.)

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» Saturday, April 23, 2022
Books, Books, Books and Other Spring Festivals
Well, it's been an enlightening week. I found out Fitbit is completely innocent of the problems I've been having returning my broken (and still under warranty) unit to them; well, except for the fact that they used FedEx Ground to return the unit. My Fitbit has been held hostage by FedEx for the past four weeks, and has apparently had a nice tour of California while that was happening: it's been to Bloomington, L.A., San Francisco, Sacramento, and now is currently supposed to be enroute to Fitbit in Calexico, CA (which is south of Los Angeles, on the Mexican border, so not sure why it went north). I finally contacted FedEx via Twitter, and of course, they were "looking into it." 🥺

Thursday we did the usual shopping thing, and then we went out to Michaels at East Cobb. Even they look denuded of stock. But we stopped at Trader Joe's only to discover their wonderful "fruit bars" are "on hold." James loves these and they are the lowest sugar snack we can find.

Meanwhile, the delayed-by-a-month Friends of the Library Booksale happened this weekend, and I was there in line Friday morning with the rest of the zealots I always go there with intentions to buy "only in my series, or what I have on my Amazon wishlist." Well, I did find one book on my Amazon wishlist (The Alps).
  • The Alps, Stephen O'Shea
  • Friends for the Journey, Madeleine L'Engle & Luci Shaw
  • Merry Hall, Beverley Nichols
  • Flight Path, Hannah Palmer
  • London the Biography, Peter Ackroyd
  • Confederates in the Attic, Tony Horwitz
  • Beaks, Bones & Bird Songs, Roger J. Lederer
  • Pacific, Simon Winchester
  • Awake in the Dark, Roger Ebert
  • The Fifty-Year Mission; The First 25 Years, Edward Gross & Mark A. Altman
  • The First Human, Ann Gibbons
  • The Secret Language of Color, Joann Eckstut & Arielle Eckstut
  • When Wanderers Cease to Roam, Vivian Swift
  • Manhattan Mayhem, ed. Mary Higgins Clark
  • The Seasons of America Past and Diary of an Early American Boy (Noah Blake 1805), Eric Sloane

Also got a couple of brand new books for gifts and picked up something for James, and, also on that Friday, had a nice lunch with Ken and Aubrey (Alice was off on a trip to North Carolina with Juanita) at Hibachi Grill.

On Saturday we went to the Jonquil Festival as early as possible. Since the City of Smyrna has seen fit to completely demolish their beautiful brick traffic circle and the fountain within it in favor of putting a brewery between the public library and the community center, they had to hold the Jonquil Festival in the parking lot. This made it very hard for James to get around with his chair, and the heat came up a lot quicker than I expected. I was getting lightheaded.

Later we had to drive up to Town Center so James could have a followup CT scan on his back. They want to see if the bones are healing properly (and we did get a report that they are). We'd planned to eat out, but after having so much salty food at Hibachi, we figured it would be better to just go home and eat our own.

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» Wednesday, April 20, 2022
Where, O Where Has My Fitbit Gone?

I have failed to mention my ongoing Fitbit saga.

Late last March James bought a new Fitbit, a Versa2, one with a "real" watch face rather than the digital Alta, at Sam's Club. This came with an extra band, a bit of lagniappe that you usually get at warehouse clubs. I was immediately envious, but I wanted the "rose gold" one (read: light copper) and Sam's didn't have any that day. So I ordered one online from Sam's instead in April, and I have been very pleased with it since.

On March 22, my Fitbit worked fine all day, down to when I took the dog for a walk at 9:45 p.m. But when I went to plug it on the charger an hour later, it had no display, nor did the "battery at ___%" notation that comes up when you plug it in. So I left it plugged in while I did evening ablutions, and then when I put it back on, still no display, although the Fitbit synced with the app on my phone and was indeed recording my heart rate. I wore it to bed, and it documented my sleep, still was recording my heart rate, even my steps when I walked the dog. So basically it was still working, it just had no display, which meant I couldn't see the time, or use the timer, or use Tap-to-Pay, and, seriously, what's the use of that? So I got on Fitbit Chat online and Fitbit almost immediately sent me a return label because the unit was still within the one-year warranty period. I wrapped up the Fitbit, the charger, and the band it came with as they instructed in bubble wrap, put it in a padded envelope, slapped the return label on it, and providentially as I was thinking of taking it to the post office the mail carrier was just coming by, and I handed it to him and watched him log it in.

And that was the last time I saw it. Here it is April 20 and I still have no word about it. I e-mail Fitbit once a week about it; the last time they actually gave me a positive message was on March 30, when they said it still hadn't reached their warehouse, but the tracking number said it was supposed to be delivered the 31st. However, when I e-mailed on April 6, they said it still hadn't reached the warehouse! WTF, people???

So here it is April 20, exactly four weeks after I mailed it, and I still don't have any word of it.

I did kind of luck out on Saturday when I was sweeping the garage. When I first mailed the Versa2 off, I thought, I still have my old Alta, I can use that. Then I remembered that I had decided to recycle it. But when did I decide to recycle it? Was it before or after Electronics Recycling Day in November? So I went down to the garage, turned on the overhead lights, and looked into the recycling boxes, but didn't see anything. So I figured it was before ERD and I was stuck. Well, last Saturday when I was sweeping out the garage and, of course, had the doors open, I had a lot more light in there, and, lo and behold, there was the old Alta in the biggest recycling box! But would it still charge up after not being charged for a year? So while I was watching The Whole Wide World I was charging it on the Turbo-Charge plug (3.0 USB) from James' phone—he was at his meeting—and it charged up fine and works perfectly, so now I can at least know what time it is, get silent alarms, and record my steps and active minutes.

But where, O where, has my Versa2 gone? O where, O where can it be?

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» Sunday, April 17, 2022
Books, Bunnies, and More D'Onofrio
This was about an average week. Earlier I got the dog brushed out and trimmed the nandina bushes out front (the firecracker bushes are still partially dormant, which is odd). And the grass was cut this week, but at least I wasn't woken up by the mower!

Alas, it was another Thursday we had to go by Kaiser. James is on his third UTI in a row. He'll stop taking the antibiotics on Monday and by Wednesday things get cloudy again. Happily, James sent a note to his new urologist and they ordered him up a test right away on Monday; Thursday being the first day we could go. And then we had to go shopping, the usual nonsense. I was incensed when I picked up some cans of no-salt mushrooms for James: the price on these little suckers has doubled since the pandemic.

This year I didn't do my usual Good Friday quiet time. I think it's more important I spend the time with James when he's off; work is so aggravating he needs to go out and enjoy the world. So we slept late, then, since it was Good Friday, we went to have a fish dinner at the Bay Breeze in Mableton. I had some great baked stuffed shrimp with real crabmeat stuffing, the Bay Breeze's doughnut-shaped hush puppies, a salad and a baked potato. It was quite yummy. We also went by Hallmark to pick up the new ornament Dream Book (yes, it's that time of year) and I went into Barnes & Noble for a few minutes to see if the May-June "Yankee" was out yet. (Nope.)

Alas, we'd forgotten to pick up toothpaste on Thursday, so James sat in the truck while I went into Kroger for it.

On Saturday James had his club meeting, so we slept fairly late, and then about noon he left. I swept out the garage after he left and then washed off the pine pollen on the front porch and the driveway and the trash can. Then I came inside and watched two Vincent D'Onofrio films, The Whole Wide World, about pulp writer Robert Howard, which I quite enjoyed (based on the journals of Novalyne Price, who had a romance with Howard in the 1930s), and Chlorine, about a middle-class couple (VDO and Kyra Sedgewick) who are just getting by and she wants to live more like their country-club friends, who are dissipated and dishonest rich people pouring drinks and snorting drugs all the time. It was really quite repulsive. I've been drunk once and high once (and the latter was after surgery), and have no desire to do either again, and have no idea why anyone has to do this to "have fun."

Plus I got a nice Easter gift in the Saturday mail: my copy of the new "Rivers of London" book, Amongst Our Weapons, arrived!

James had to work Easter Sunday, of course, but it was quite quiet. We had the little Hormel ham I had bought at Kroger two weeks ago, suitably marinated in pineapple and maple syrup, along with a baked potato, and chocolate buns from Lidl for dessert. I finished my essential Sunday chores (charging the water flosser/motion sensor light, sorting medication for the week, washing towels, cleaning the master bath) and watched The Easter Promise and Here Comes Peter Cottontail. I also had a short trip today because the doctor's office called (yes, on a Sunday!) to get James a prescription for the UTI! TownPark's pharmacy is open on weekends because Urgent Care is there, so he could start on his antibiotic today. This time they have given him a two-week's dose, three times a day!

After Call the Midwife, I put on Rick Steves' European Easter. The Eastern Orthodox customs are beautiful, and you so rarely see them!

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» Saturday, April 09, 2022
A Split Weekend
It was a good week for television: "Benjamin Franklin," a two-part documentary by Ken Burns, aired on PBS. I also watched once again an old favorite, The Andromeda Strain, which I hadn't run in a few years. The best thing they ever did was recast Dr. Peter Leavitt as Dr. Ruth Leavitt—and not a busty youthful babe with long dark hair and come-hither eyes, but a middle-aged crusty woman scientist. Kate Reid is magnificent in this film.

We also had a temporary change in schedule for this week. James got a call from his supervisor on Monday: there was a coverage problem on Thursday, could he work Thursday? In return he could have Tuesday or Wednesday off.

So Wednesday was when we did our grocery shopping. Did the Publix shopping in Smyrna, because we can never find the Jennie-0 pre-made turkey burgers (quickie lunches) at Mableton, then went to Mableton to hit Lidl and Kroger (because the milk at Mableton is cheaper at their Kroger than at the Smyrna Kroger). (I don't understand it, I just shop it.) I also drove by Sprouts on the way home because we were out of Lighthouse "salad dressings" (these are finely chopped up herbs, onion, chives, etc. in a little jar; we like to put them on chicken and turkey as a garnish).

This swapped laundry day to Thursday, but it worked out.

On Friday the first thing we did was mail our check to the IRS. We owe them money, but it's better than getting a refund and having given them a loan interest free. I've been saving money each month for this payment, so it wasn't a hardship. Then we went on to Otter's Chicken in Kennesaw and had lunch with Alice and Ken. The pollen has been so bad even Alice is complaining. Afterwards we took a turn around Hobby Lobby (more stickers for my journal!), and then went to Kaiser for our second COVID booster shot.

Afterward James made a short stop at Hobbytown—I amused myself meantime by reading fanfic on my phone—and we stopped at Baskin-Robbins on the way home for ice cream. Later we watched the next part of Picard and the corresponding Ready Room with Jonathan Frakes and Brent Spiner.

Saturday we had to make a quick stop at Nam Dae Mun because when I had breakfast I noticed that I was nearly out of almonds for my oatmeal, and these are sold in bulk packages there. Then we headed out to check out The Crazy Book Lady, a little bookstore off the main street in Acworth, GA. The were just expanding into the little store next door, and the place was a mess, but the couple running the store were so nice! We had big conversations about other used book stores and how there were fewer of them, and ditto needlework stores! It was a pretty successful trip: f
ound a CSI book I didn't have, a book about the history of the alphabet, and Mario Pei's What's in a Word?, which I first read at Hugh B. Bain. James got a book about Flying Fortresses and another about Old Ironsides. He ran into a young dad with two little boys who are into air shows and modeling and was in hog heaven talking to them.

We had lunch at a place called the 1885 House, which served Southern food and some seafood. I had shrimp (it was good, but not enough!). On the way home we had ice cream again. (I know!) Once we got home, it was time to vacuum so we could prep for the work week again.

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» Wednesday, April 06, 2022

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window...'s about to storm again. We had a day of rain yesterday and are supposed to have a repeat today.

I am thinking...
...seriously, not much, or would go crazy listening to the news. Thinking idly that wish some actors didn't have such juicy roles where they have to shave their heads, because they look much more attractive with hair. (Told you it was an idle thought. Fill in your own actor. The one I'm thinking of is six foot four.)

I am thankful... is over with. This is actually an unusual day for our shopping. James generally works Sunday through Wednesday, but someone called out for Thursday, so his supervisor asked him on Monday if he would work Thursday and take another day off. He chose today, so that's when we went shopping. I will do laundry tomorrow.

In the kitchen...
...the refrigerator is full of meat, so I hope it doesn't die! We have some stew beef that James will make into stir fry tonight, and got some cheap pork chops to cook tomorrow for dinner.

I am wearing...
...a "Soft Kitty" t-shirt and blue/white/silver pajama pants and white socks, all of which is much too warm right now. I should put on the ceiling fan. I'm boiling.

I am creating...
...well, I finally finished and posted my fourth post-series Goren and Eames story, which clocked in at almost 23K words. Talk about an "Energizer Bunny" story...

I am going... enjoy supper tonight as I am not the one cooking it. James makes a super stir-fry with stew beef cut up smaller, mushrooms, onions, and cashews. Who needs to eat out?

I am wondering...
...what we're going to do for conventions this year, as we seem to have given up on going to DragonCon (I'd go; I'm just too worried about James getting around in the crowds in his power chair). There is no Spycon/Monsterama this year, just a Monsterama mini-con; 221B is this weekend, but I'd have to truck down to the airport by myself (this was considered when I had Twilight, but I don't trust Butch); and the loss of WHOlanta still cuts to the heart. This leaves ConJuration, which we did have fun at last year. We have tickets to Libertycon, but nowhere to stay that allows pets plus allows us transport back and forth to the Libertycon hotel; we were going to stay at the Staybridge Suites down the road but they have no rooms for Libertycon weekend.

I am reading...
...well, which three books do you care about? Fictionwise I'm reading Murder in Chianti, the first in a series where Irish/Italian ex-NYPD detective Nico Doyle has moved to Italy after his wife's death. Also Movie-Made America, a sociological history of movies, which I bought as a gift for a friend and then wished I'd kept and luckily I'd found a used copy at McKays, and Faith Baldwin's nonfiction inspirational book, Many Windows. Just finished the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Companion.

I am hoping...
...for no adverse effects from our COVID-19 boosters, scheduled for Friday.

I am looking forward to...
...that's already been viewed: Ken Burns' film "Benjamin Franklin." Quite good!

I am learning...
...well, I'm definitely not learning how to love cooking and am frankly counting down the days until James' retirement date.

Around the house...
...James is cooking dinner and probably Tucker is staring at him (nope, he's still under the dining room table, but I can see his little black nose sniffing away as the skillet sizzles), Snowy is burbling, the television is playing a rerun of Forged in Fire.

I am pondering... always, hatred. Such vitrol toward people because of their race/color, sexual preference, religious preference, etc. Is this 2022 or 1922 or 1822? The mind boggles.

A favorite quote for today...
"If we aren't upon Earth to learn, there would seem to be no real purpose in this existence." Faith Baldwin, Many Windows

One of my favorite things...
...this week! New episodes of The American Experience. That was "Benjamin Franklin."

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Another "jab," maybe lunch with friends, maybe another bookstore visit (is it time for another trip to Canton?).

A peek into my day...
Sorry, grocery shopping much too dull. How about eighth-season screencaps of Eames (Kathryn Erbe) and Goren (Vincent D'Onofrio)? Yup, that's the ticket.

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