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» Sunday, March 26, 2017To Those We Leave Behind
May have slept better last night, certainly didn't sleep long enough. My eyelids feel like they have bricks on them. Nevertheless, we were up at 9:15 to get dressed/start packing so we could get breakfast before the buffet shut down. Damn, no French toast again. This time I had extra oatmeal.
The younger crowd was still occupied in a new game of Betrayal, but some folks were already heading out, like Jerry and Sue. When we got done with breakfast, we rushed back to the room and finished packing, stuffing as much as we could in the suitcase (since we bought the pants and underwear, the thing was packed; I even had to unzip the gusset) and moving everything forward and out as we worked, then finally towed everything into the common room, where we packed up the leftover cookies and noshed on a few fruits (well, more than a few; James had six tangerines). I guess we need to have a game night to whittle the cookies down; the hotel also provided us with their cookies daily. I then went to check out and make reservations for next year, plus to make a reservation for the day of the eclipse. Helen will be in the area of totality, if just for a minute or two, and a bunch of folks in the group had already made reservations as well (the Spiveys, the Butlers, and Charles that we know of). Shari came by to say goodbye while I was there. She usually stays over Monday, but said with everyone gone it would be too lonesome and she could use the money instead of the time off. She has to drive all the way back to Birmingham.
Juanita and David asked if we wanted to join them at Wendell's for lunch, and we pretty much thought it would make a much better experience than last night. 😕 So we loaded up the truck with their help, and put the tarps on because it was very cloudy and threatening of rain, then went back inside to say our goodbyes. Gave everyone left a hug and then headed down to the diner with the truck looking like a funky Conestoga.
Boy, it was crowded! Everyone must come here after church! We almost didn't find a parking space, then had to wait a little while, but were soon seated. James and David and I had the Sunday lunch special (we had chicken and David the meatloaf) and Juanita had their fish one more time. She says their fish is very lightly breaded and is super moist. She was still sorry about having to make a fuss last night, but eating dry foods cause her a great deal of pain.
Then lunch was over and we parted and headed off. James stopped for gasoline at the Ingles in Cleveland, and a little later for a Coke Zero in Dawsonville; otherwise we went nonstop from Wendell's in Sautee to the vet in Dunwoody. Of course since we put the tarps on, there was a simple spatter of rain and nothing else. The sun came out by the time we reached our exit.
We always arrive at the vet from Helen needing to use the restroom and this time was no exception. As I washed my hands, I could hear Snowy calling and he was in full chirble as I came out to the reception desk. We got him settled in the carry box before Tucker was brought out; he came out from the back like a steam engine dragging the vet tech behind him, right to me bouncing up and down until he noticed James. Paid the bill, which merely made me scream (I expected it; it included a checkup and shots, too, plus bathing and claw clipping for Tucker), and the tech helped us out the truck and getting the tarp off the truck bed so we could put in the bird cage, once more wrapped in a plastic garbage bag. We were so intent on this and on getting home that we didn't notice that we left Tucker's blanket and his fox behind, and Snowy's cage cover, until after the vet was closed. I left a message for them and guess I will have to stop tomorrow on the way home.
We were exhausted when we got home, from lack of sleep and the sun, but did get everything out of the truck except for a couple of things from Walmart that are in the "trunk." Was going to wash the clothes in the suitcase and was so tired that I gave up on it. They're in the washer, anyway. By the time we got everything settled it was suppertime, and James made something with eggs and I had leftover pork chop and potatoes, and we watched last Thursday's Masterchef Junior. It amazes me what they have these kids make! Not just good food served in a nice manner like at the diners we ate at, but "presented" like a piece of artwork. Seems silly as long as as the food doesn't look like the dog's dinner. Then I put on three of the four Make Room for Daddy episodes that recorded last week, where the kids talk Danny into proposing to Kathy, and then an episode about their honeymoon with the kids, and another with Terry not wanting Kathy to take over her household duties.
Sort of spent the rest of the evening in a funky daze. In fact James fell asleep for almost all of the Danny Thomas stories. Had North Woods Law on, as I didn't think James would be interested in the Brontë sisters and recorded that instead.
And now our wonderful weekend is over, again all too soon, and it's time for bed.
» Saturday, March 25, 2017Other People Meet at Bars, We Meet at Bookstores
Well, slept a little bit better, but not much; still the hip problems and had to get up at seven to use the bathroom and then hoped to get back to sleep. When I did get back to sleep, it was a Louisa May Alcott-like dream where I was someone sent to take care of a young cousin and didn't find out until I got there that I had to stay a month. I was so upset in the dream that I called out and scared the family dog. Thankfully the alarm rang.
Came into the conference room to find a big table almost full of folks eating; we got our own food from the breakfast area and brought it in and helped clear a space for Lin as well. No French toast this morning, so I had extra regular toast. (I see the curse of A Discovery of Witches goes on.)
During the end of breakfast, Alice and Aubrey were talking about going to a little bookstore in Cornelia that we'd never heard of. After they left, I asked James if he wanted to try to go to it, too, and John Campbell was interested, as well. So we rushed into our room to finish getting dressed and grabbing money.
Because we were in the truck, John unfortunately couldn't ride with us, so he was following behind. Cornelia was about a half-hour's drive away, turning left at the big field where a big herd of Holstein cows are always grazing. It was cloudy again today, but not quite as chilly as yesterday, so we just brought our flannel shirts in case. Didn't really need them today.
Unbelievably, we caught up to the Spiveys about a third of the way there, until we got to someplace where the police were escorting a long ride of motorcyclists; we and John ended up between the police cars and the motorcycle riders, so we pulled over until the latter passed. A little further on, as we approached the Walmart, for no reason John got in the turn lane and turned around and went back. We hoped there wasn't a problem back at the hotel.
The GPS led us a merry chase as we got into Cornelia, which is a fairly large town with chain stores and a megachurch called the Torch, telling us the bookstore was on a street around the corner from the public library. It was, in fact, in a shopping center before the public library, a tiny little place that was also a notary public. And, sure enough, the Spiveys were there.
I didn't find anything (all that I was interested in I already had; they had a pristine copy of The Little House Cookbook!), but James got a nearly untouched three-volume set of the history of 20th century sea power for only $30 and another book of interviews with fighter pilots. Then we were all feeling peckish, so we went to a place that the elderly lady running the store recommended, Fender's Diner. This had an old diner vibe and was definitely a vintage place that is well-beloved by the folks in Cornelia. It was a nice lunch, too! I had roast beef and onions au jus with onion rings (truly I will need to pay) and James had a hamburger steak with vegetables.
We'd decided that when we finished at the bookstore we were going to detour to Clarkesville to go to The Art-Full Barn, which is part pottery shop and part comic shop and part art shop and part model shop, and Alice and Aubrey couldn't resist an art store. They used their GPS and we used our phone, and we made it there first, despite the phone telling me initially that we were going in the same direction. Whatever, we made it, and I had to go out and admire the animated metal pinwheels in different colors and styles that are out front. They remind me of the metal sculptures made by Aunt Meg in Twister. Really, they are not so expensive; the most expensive one was $150.
Alice and Aubrey did indeed enjoy this store, and so did Ken, who stocked up on comic books. James also found a comic, and, although the model department is now very small, he got two models. I bought a set of oil paints.
The Spiveys went on home, but we continued onto Cleveland and then turned back toward Helen so we could stop at the Mount Yonah book store. Surprise! Ron and Lin, their son Neil, Bill Ritch, and Charles Rutledge were already there. Some folks meet at bars, we get together at bookstores (and I do still miss those Friday nights at the Borders Books on the East-West Connector!). Bill had turned up a really neat find: there's no copyright on it, but it's a hardcover copy of Swiss Family Robinson with an inscription to a person for Christmas 1918! The pages are browning, but it's in super condition. (He let me look at it back at the hotel. I thought I had a complete version, with a different translation, but no, what I have must be still abridged, because there are some parables Father tells the boys that are not in my edition. Franz is called "Frank" in this edition, but I was delighted by the footnotes, that explained to the evidently younger reader what things like trigonometry and oil lamps are, and how when the book was written there were no trains. Plus it still has the color plates!)
Anyway, James turned up a book on fighter pilots and I found the next book in Gerald Johnson's history of America trilogy for young people, the first which I bought here a few years ago, and then on the way out I found a copy of Mercedes Lackey's A Study in Sable in paperback. James bought both for me.
After a short stop at Nora Mill Granary for James to get some white gravy and start on this year's Christmas surprise for Mom and Candy, we finally arrived back at the hotel. Turns out John thought we were going to the Mount Yonah store and turned around because he didn't recognize anything. As he said, a failure in communication. But I swear we said it was in Cornelia.
Saturday night we usually eat at the German restaurant, but James said that this year he thought the German food would be too heavy. Well, there I was typing and the next thing I knew James was asking where we wanted to go for supper, and when I looked around almost everyone was gone. Juanita and David, though, were about to head back to Wendell's for supper and asked if we wanted to come with them. Well, we'd love to!
Unfortunately, Wendell's isn't open for dinner, and another place the desk recommended was only a breakfast place. So we decided to try Cowboys & Angels, which Shari had spoken of favorably. This was downtown, close to where we had parked yesterday.
Cowboys & Angels is a bar/restaurant with live music, so we kind of expected it to be loud when we got there. But when James and I walked in, the sound was deafening: live band playing not-bad music, but amplified in a small space, and with everyone talking over the music, it was awful. When David came in, we asked if he thought Juanita would mind moving outside. David thought it was too loud, too, so we went outside.
The tables and chairs outside are set on dirt covered up by pine bark. James sat down in a chair and immediately started toppling backward as the thin legs of the chair sank into the dirt. David and I had to rescue him, and he found a different chair and took a different place. About then Juanita walked up from having parked the car, and we explained about the music. Of course then we had to smell cigarette smoke, but at that point it seemed the lesser of two evils.
Juanita has lots of health problems, including a penicillin allergy, a cheese allergy, and a shrimp allergy. The latter is so bad that she can't even eat fish fried in the same oil that shrimp has been fried in. But the waitress told us that they did not serve shrimp. Juanita also has some other health problems and had bariatric surgery some years ago. She cannot eat dry foods (like crackers or chicken breast) because it makes her throat seize up and causes a lot of pain. So when she ordered the fish, she told the waitress the only way she could eat it was if it was moist. The waitress assured her they could cook it that way. She was also asked not to include the tartar sauce as Juanita is allergic. The place was very expensive, so James and I split a ribeye and had salads for our two sides and David had a hamburger.
Well, when Juanita's fish came, it was cooked in a very thick sauce and inside the fish was dry as paper. Plus the tartar sauce had been included in a cup and had spilled over the second piece of fish. Juanita called the waitress back and said she was sorry, but the fish that she could eat was too dry, not moist as promised, and that the other piece had tartar sauce all over it. The waitress said she would get her a new batch. James had had some mushrooms as appetizers, with a very light beer-batter coating instead of the dry cornmeal coating, and Juanita asked if when they made her a new batch, could they fry it in the beer-batter instead? The waitress went off for fifteen minutes, then came back with Juanita's cold plate and said if they did her a new batch like that she would have to pay for it again! Can you beat that? We had to talk to the manager and they finally gave her a new fish dish with the fish fried in the beer batter, and it was indeed moist instead of dry and Juanita said it was good, but it was too much work to go through, especially since the food was so expensive.
This place also reminded me why I don't like bars. The restaurant and the surrounding buildings are in a pretty area with paths and metal sculptures and grass and flowers. When we had been there yesterday we noticed two domestic rabbits hopping around, apparently "free range," a black-and-white one and a black one (I swear I'd seen a white one earlier, too, but didn't see it now). Well, while we were eating, the two different bunnies came out to graze; they disappeared when some little kids chased them, but returned and we were enjoying watching them.
The people at the table behind us were frankly getting flat drunk. So when the bunnies came back out, a woman screeched "Oh, look at the rabbits!" and honest to God got up and tried to chase them, in a pencil skirt and high heels. She kicked off the shoes and went staggering after the black rabbit, and of course he hightailed it out of there. She then came wobbling back and was so tipsy she could hardly get back into her shoes. When someone teased her about the shoes, she shouted back than she "had blood on them from beating her husband." (Once back at the table, she admitted loudly that it wasn't true, she wasn't even married.) Mind-boggling. Why people want to get drunk and do stupid things are beyond me.
So by the time we finished eating it was full dark. David and Juanita walked to get the car, and we walked as far as James could go to meet them at the street. Well, the black rabbit had come back and stood there about 10 feet from us, just eating and swiveling his ears back and forth as I talked to him. A few minutes later a guy just walked four feet past him and he didn't turn an ear. He's just put off by drunks. Me, too.
So games were in full swing when we got back to the hotel. I watched them play a game called Anomia, where people who pull a card with the same symbol have to think of an answer before the other person does. That looked like fun. Then I joined in when they played something called Karma. There's a passing resemblance to Uno. And, then, of course, we played a couple of games of Uno! Always fun. I love Uno!
The "kids" wanted to play Betrayal, so we cleared the table for them. James was reading on his baby laptop trying to find a certain model from a model show to show to John Campbell, and I sat next to him and worked on a cross-stitch while watching Oreta, Ron, Lin, Shannon, and Phyllis play a card game called "Once Upon a Time," which seemed to be about making up a fairy tale. Shannon was also working on a beading project. Some folks were still coloring and Bill and Damian were talking politics (Damian has served in Afghanistan, so knows the politics of the military a little better than the rest of us).
The Betrayal game broke up about midnight when the gamers found a flaw in the scenario they were running, the fairy tale ended, and people wandered off to bed. We weren't the last folks out the door, but it was close. 😊
» Friday, March 24, 2017All the Colors of the Rainbow and Cards Against Humanity, Too
Well, that was a rotten night. The mattress was too hard and either the air conditioner was too loud or too cold. I'd wake up with my hip hurting, turn over on the other hip, and wake up a half hour later with the other hip hurting, and thus it continued all night into the morning. On a positive note, for once the pillows weren't bad. We eschewed the 200-pound duvet: James used the blanket that was on the shelf in the closet, and I unfolded my trusty shawl scarf all the way and it made a nice blanket. (Today I repurposed it into a scarf as we drove home from supper. I'd rather bundle up and have the truck window open.)
So we were a tad bleary-eyed when we staggered out for breakfast. Picked out cereal, oatmeal, milk, and toast and butter from the breakfast bar, and then the hotel also left eggs, sausages, potatoes, and French toast in the conference room, so we all noshed together there. They have expanded the breakfast area further back, so now there is room to get around to the various stations, but they have the syrup hiding near where people are making waffles. It needs to be where people aren't inconvenienced by its presence.
Now we'd talked about driving back to the outlet mall, but we were so woozy we just gave it up and sat talking and coloring until almost noon. Tony's wife brought all sorts of adult coloring books, gel pens, pencils, and even crayons. Then James was looking for new jeans, so we went to check out the Walmart a few miles away in Cleveland. Thankfully it was cloudy out and we didn't have to face the glare of the sun as well. He did find two pairs, and also a plain pair of black pants, and we picked up a bunch of little things: strawberries for the conference room, the flags I need for outside the house (since we were there so I won't have to go at home), and a few other things. I even found a pretty, light item called a "kimono wrap." I got wild and picked one in bright red.
By then it was way past lunchtime, and we decided to go to Wendell's, a place on the way back to Helen that Juanita recommended. It's just a little mom-and-pop place in an old sort of strip mall country shopping center, and there really is a Wendell, but we didn't meet him. We had just put our orders in—James had a chicken dish and I had open-face roast beef—when Shari and Phyllis arrived. So they sat with us and we all had a jolly lunch discussing early DragonCons and Shari's new play. Then they went on to the grocery store and we visited the antique store next door. Lots of glass vases and Hummel figures and old tchochkes. Juanita found a full set of her wedding china (Noritake), same pattern, in there last weekend. Well, James spied an electric pressure cooker for $30. He's been thinking about buying one, so he figures we will try this and if we like it, we will get a good one, and if we don't, or it breaks, we're not out much. Alice has one and loves it. She cooked a mean chicken and rice one night when we came for dinner.
We dropped off the things we bought at the room, and then went downtown for about an hour. We wanted to buy a pretty trinket to put with the gift we got for James' mom's birthday, and found one in the glassmaker's shop. I love this place; it's full of color and sparkle and glitter. We stopped and had ice cream at the stand near the glass shop; I wasn't really pleased with their coffee flavor.
Then stopped by The Olive Tree to get more White Peach Balsamic Vinegar. We ran out of our last bottle from The Leaning Ladder, and since it is salad season again, we'll be wanting it.soon. We hard a nice chat with the proprietor, could go to the Christmas store because it was closed, and then went on to stroll (or in James' case, roll) on the opposite side of the street. I bought my yearly almond bark at Hansel and Gretel, and we searched for a knife dealer who evidently isn't here anymore. One of the horse carriage drivers had two dogs with him, a medium-sized black shaggy type and a Jack Russell terrier. I wanted to pet them, but just let them sniff me instead. Took some photos of the flowers and the metal horse and ostrich sculptures down near where we were parked before we left.
Went back to the hotel to chat more and work on the coloring project I'd begun this morning as we were talking before the Walmart trip: a wolf in fall colors, using the big Crayola set like I have at home. I'd almost finished when it was dinner time. (I completed it when we came back by adding blue coloring to the feathers surrounding him; winter swirling in after the fall.)
It wasn't until after six that everyone got their wagons in a row (we're saving the ducks for the weekend when it's supposed to rain) and went off to respective restaurants. Ron and Lin, who'd arrived when we were heading downtown, wanted German and went to Bodensee. A few folks went back to Big Daddy's. We joined the contingent going to Glenda's, a tiny place in Cleveland that we passed on the way to Walmart. I was kind of worried because a lot of the country-style places have a lot of fried things and nothing else. Pleasantly, this wasn't like this, although we both blew it by having popcorn shrimp. We will have to be insanely good after this. The company was good and so was the food. The portion was so big I never ate my biscuit.
Once back at the hotel we changed into comfy things and then headed back into the conference room. Shari is a mad Phase 10 fan, so a bunch of folks started that up, but I found myself drawn into a game of Farkle. This is a game played with six dice. Ones and five keep you in the game and then various combinations get you different points—or kick you out of the game. I went out first, but everyone had one last roll and Juanita beat me on points. It was a lot of fun.
The Lawsons arrived just as we were finishing, so Sue joined the game and I went to see how the Phase 10 tournament was going back in the conference room. Instead they were playing Cards Against Humanity, which I threw myself into with a will (Shakespeare, not Robinson), and we were up until after midnight in helpless laughter. Jake won.
And now of course we're all going to hell...but not before we go to bed!
» Thursday, March 23, 2017At Last, Finally, On the Road Again
Every time we go somewhere, I feel like I'm organizing D-Day. Last night it was cleaning out the bird cage and starting the packing, this morning after dog walking and breakfast, James went off to get the oil in the truck changed and have it washed and I set timers, packed a couple of jackets, locked everything up, overrode the thermostat, made the bed, cleaned off the sink, took out the trash, sprayed the can with Lysol, filled water bottles, got the bird cage ready for transport—oh, yeah, and I went to Kroger so we won't have to go on Sunday. It's loathsome when we have to go grocery shopping on the way home from anywhere.
By the time James told me he was on his return leg, I had Tucker outside on the leash and Snowy in the carry box, with the cage now in one of the 50 gallon trash bags I went out to buy (it needed it for safe transport to the vet). Snowy enthusiastically bit my hand before he noticed the mirror in the carry box. I took them on a short walk, and Snowy was amazedly looking around at blue sky and houses when the hawk came lazing overhead and then he tamped his feathers down with big eyes.
Loaded up the truck with the usual efficiency (which means we looked like a clown circus act, and it didn't help when Tucker spotted "his deadly enemy the German Shepherd" being walked down by the cul-de-sac and burst into a salvo of barks), we made our way through the neighborhood and across town. Tucker got so excited that he kept bouncing on my left leg and jostling the carry box, so Snowy hurt his foot on some gravel perch covers I had in the box to help him hold on to them, since his little feet are crippled from the too-small nest box when he was a chick. It made his lame foot bleed briefly, but he didn't seem to notice it so deep was his lust over seeing the mirror. (I took his cage mirror away from him. He's the only budgie I've ever had where the mirror made him aggressive. When Snowy's hormones kicked in, they kicked in good. With Tucker in the house it's like an overflow of testosterone.)
So we arrived at the vet hungry and a little worse for wear. Tucker decided he liked the vet tech better than the daddy that kept admonishing him for jumping on my leg and walked off with her as if he had not a care in the world. They used to have to practically drag poor Willow away. A funny: I had to get Snowy out of the carry box and into the cage and he nipped at me again as I did so, but I took a breath and got him in. Well, he stayed attached to my left hand, which I had cupped like a bowl to hold him, biting one finger after the other in precision order. The funny thing was that he wasn't fastening on very hard, just grabbing each finger in turn, so it really didn't hurt, and I kept tipping him toward the perch and saying, "Snowy, let go," "C'mon, Snowy, let go," "Please let go," and then I lifted him up toward his toy "girlfriend" and he finally abandoned me to sing sweetly to her (probably telling her all about the trip across town). He's too funny. I loved him in the car; he just sang away and he doesn't get frightened by the landscape going by. Even Bandit had to be a little bit covered because the world going by him in a blur unsettled him, but Snowy doesn't mind it at all.
And then they were gone.
We were going to stop for lunch, but by this time it was around two and rush hour—and in some ways Thursday's rush hour is worse than Friday's—would be commencing shortly. So we headed up GA400 and finally stopped in Dawsonville near the North Georgia Premium Outlets to pick up a small plain burger for me and a grilled chicken sandwich for James, gaping at the new construction. The Wendy's we stopped at used to be in the same parking lot with a Kroger, but that is now closed and a bigger one opened approaching the Outlets, across the street from a brand-new Publix, both in sprawling shopping centers.
And then so quickly after that it becomes roads lined with trees, soothing countryside with horse farms and boiled peanut stands and little antique shops and little white country churches and expanses of grass and the Appalachians in the distance, just a nice happy ride. It's been a nice coolish day, a skein of white cirrus clouds across the blue sky, just perfect for a ride.
We arrived at the hotel and settled into the room, then wandered out to the lobby where we saw Juanita and the Spiveys arrive, followed shortly by "the kids." The hotel was having an evening reception where they served soup and some drinks; we had a bowl of the potato soup each. As folks began to trickle in, we gathered in the lobby and decided to go to Big Daddy's for supper. We ate there last year and the food is pretty good. (No one wanted to go to Paul's because they'd quit serving the all-you-can-eat crab legs.) James had a peach-salsa jerk pork chop with beans and rice and I had a lobster pizza. It was a fun evening.
When we got back Nancy was here, but she's been having health problems and didn't stick around long. Juanita and Shari and the "kids" (none of them are anymore, but it's hard to think of them otherwise; we feel so venerable nowadays) played Farkle in the common room for a while, then went off to take a turn in the hot tub. I put Cabin Pressure on, but after all the drama with the fids this morning, the yawns are coming thick and fast. If no one comes soon, it's time to trot off to bed. We're thinking of doubling back tomorrow and going to the Outlet stores. I need underwear and James' only pair of jeans got caught on a door at Anachrocon last year and tore beyond repair.
» Sunday, March 19, 2017Organize Me! Organize Me!
Sleeping late and getting organizational goodies? I like it!
But first it started with dog walking and then a trip to Costco to get mushrooms and popcorn (and peas, and "Life's" salute to World War I and a couple of other things), and fill up on gasoline. It was a sunny blue-sky day, and cool enough that in the morning the sun felt good, and after we got fueled up we headed east–
–directly into a roadwork traffic jam. Can't escape it even on Sunday. Good thing James knows the surface streets (unfortunately he knows this from too many trips to the Glenlake Kaiser office).
We stopped at REI looking for a fanny pack to replace my very tired one (and it's tired because it's at least eight years old, as I discovered when I posted a "Flashback Friday" photo to Facebook and saw it around my waist in 2009). I did find a nice one and we also found a couple of stocking stuffer gifts. We love looking at the little gadgets like the multitool cards and keychain multitools. May have to come back for some gifts for our technically-inclined friends.
Then we hit Barnes & Noble to use the rest rooms and checked out the magazines. Some of them are so pretty, like the Somerset craft magazines, but they seem to be made for a different woman than I am. It's all gauzy clothes, pretty shoes, bouquets of flowers, vases, fluttery curtains, fragrances, designer items, embossed stationery, wine...that's someone I'm really not.
Alas, it looks like I will have to wait yet another week for "Breathe."
Finally to the Container Store, more gadget browsing, and bought what I needed, some plastic file holders to bring order to the craft room. They were on sale so I bought two each small, medium, and large.
By then it was so late breakfast had worn off, so we had lunch at Panera, then headed home; we arrived at almost four o'clock. During the afternoon James cooked up some more burritos for his breakfasts while I put my jewelry-making item boxes in one of the large file holders, and then hung the Command hooks I bought in the bathroom so I can hang up the parts of the Hurricane Spin gadget. Once I do that I can fold up the portable clothes dryer that's sitting in the Jacuzzi tub we never use, and the master bath will look less cluttered.
We had leftovers for supper and watched Galaxy Quest on Encore; I still miss Alan Rickman. He was a joy in everything he appeared in; he was certainly the best part of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves!
Oh, I wish it wasn't Sunday again. I don't object to working, but getting up in the dark, before six, and then having to drive just makes me want to start trembling and not quit. Driving in traffic wigs me out more and more every day. Last Wednesday it took me ninety minutes to get the 21 miles home. I get to work in the morning sleepy and curled up like a pretzel; on the way home the sun gives me a headache and I'm hungry and when I finally arrive I have to unbend painful stiff limbs because I've been so tense in stop-and-go traffic. Sometimes I start feeling claustrophobic in the car and have to hold it at bay because it's the only way to get home.
» Saturday, March 18, 2017Deja Vu Bookstore
When James got home from work last night, I told him I wanted to go up to Town Center as I had some good JoAnn coupons. So we had supper at the Twisted Noodle, which was good except that I made the mistake of including green peppers in the mix. I re-tasted those peppers all night. I did get the goodies in JoAnn: hooks to hang up the parts of the Hurricane Spin cleaner and a small sketchbook. I also picked up the first two Peter Grant mysteries in Barnes & Noble with coupons I had. I read the first as an e-book and liked it enough that I want the whole series in print.
We had to go to bed fairly early since James had to work today. He was up at the crack of 6:50; I was so sleepy that I didn't crawl out of bed until ten. I walked the dog, made some toast and ate that with a milk chaser, and then ran out to do an errand: I still had more JoAnn coupons. I'd just worn a flannel shirt over my short sleeved top with Tucker, but by the time I reached JoAnn it was almost too warm for it. I got a container to hold the heads of the Hurricane Spin cleaner and a set of "eraser pencils" (instead of lead they have erasers for small spots), then went next door to Michaels to get a pencil roller. Then I went back to Barnes & Noble for the next two Peter Grant books.
(I really, really hate the changes on the shelves. Yes, the new books are turned face out. I still rather have the new books together. B&N said they did this to put more books on the shelves. You'd have room for the books if you didn't have so many damn toys and gadgets in the store. This is a bookstore, not Toys'r'Us.)
I headed home via the freeway so I could stop at Tin Drum and pick up a cheap lunch. It took me longer to drive home than it did to get my food. Traffic was particularly bad between Town Center and Cumberland Mall, especially where they are adding more lanes near Windy Hill Road (the plebian parking for the new Braves stadium is between Windy Hill Road and Windy Ridge Road where the monstrosity sits).
James still had three and a half hours of durance vile to go, so I ate my teriyaki and watched two episodes of Rick Steves' Europe, and set up a little "grab and go" craft bag. Michaels has these little "art totes" for $5 each. I put the small sketchbook and the now-filled pencil roll (a dozen drawing pencils and a dozen colored pencils, plus an eraser) on one side, and two plastic photo boxes containing small cross-stitch projects on the other. Toss in a small coloring book and a paperback/e-reader and it's a go. I used some beads to put an ID on it. (And just to make it perfect, I tucked a dozen watermelon candies in it, too.)
James had looked at a book at Barnes & Noble last night that he decided he wanted to pick it up tonight with a coupon he had. So back up to Town Center we went, having supper at Uncle Maddio's Pizza Joint (their pizza crusts are sooooo good), and then stopping by the bookstore for his choice. I now know the magazine racks by heart. :-) Still no new "Breathe" yet, though.
We also stopped at Publix, and after getting all we needed, realized all that was left was to get milk, so we got that there, too. (Well, okay. James forgot the mushrooms. We go through inordinate amounts of mushrooms.) And then it was time for home.
» Tuesday, March 14, 2017Winter Hangs On
After a fitful winter where the temperatures have pretty much not gotten under fifty and have hovered around 70 several times, it's now disconcerting to have nearly a week of highs in the forties and, later in the week, fifties. Sunday and Monday were grey and damp, with a sharp edge to the wind, and it continued today, with the wind's sharpness unchecked; in fact it might have been even colder today, with the occasional snowflake coming out of nowhere and grazing the cheek. Covered in flannelette and layered in flannel, for serious expeditions (like dog-walking) I am bundled in my heaviest jacket with the hood and a lined hat, but I have also dashed outside in the wonderful garment I got at Hallmark last summer, a woolly square which can be a scarf, a shoulder throw, a shawl, and even, unfolded all the way, a light throw. It is surprisingly warm, if not as large as the shawl pictured here.
When James got home I ran out to help him with the chair with it in shawl format, half covering my head, feeling like Jo March running out to the post office box between the Marches and the Lawrences to see what treasures there were today.
Even Tucker has eschewed his usual begging to go outside or run outside on the deck to lie curled up in a tight ball: this morning I found him in James' computer chair, this morning he was in his "cave" on a chair under the dining room table, and this afternoon he was snuggled up on his fleece in front of the hearth, nose firmly tucked into his flank and tail wrapped around his haunches. He didn't even follow me downstairs when I took the laundry down and discovered the heat was off downstairs; not sure how that happened, but it was 59°F down there!
Since it is Daylight Wasting Time I still have ample illumination to stare out the back windows and watch the wind tossing the trees with their brown leaves still attached. It's been a funny spring, with half the trees blooming, budding, or leafing, and the rest still twiggy and bare, showing their skeletons to the world, or holding on to the faded copper remnants of last year's raiment. Looks bleak and sad, but still better than the 78 it's going to be next week (ugh).
» Sunday, March 12, 2017Daylight Wasting Time
Urgh. Never sleep well after DST, and this morning was no exception. James got up earlier than me, but I didn't drag out of bed until ten. While James took Tucker out, I went around finishing turning the clocks and all the timers ahead. Thank God the computers and the tablets and the television take care of themselves.
Daylight Saving was wasted on today as it was uniformly grey and gloomy and damp and chilly. Sometime around noon we went out to Kroger with James' "Kroger bucks" and some coupons and bought milk and salad fixings and other edible items (plus a few things for Atomicon). Since we had to go out to Dallas Highway to get decent bread from Kroger, we decided to stop at the new Sprouts about a half mile up from the Kroger. I was very happy because next door to it was a Petco and I needed to get Snowy more birdseed.
Well, we found soup for supper at Sprouts—if there was any day for soup, this was it—and some meat on sale, but the Petco trip was a bust: the new store doesn't open until tomorrow! Several other people heading for the door were disappointed, too, including a couple with a dachshund cross who was eager to go in. So we had to change course on the way home and hit the Petsmart on the East-West Connector. They had three chartreuse-colored budgies who reminded me so much of our Pigwidgeon.
By the time we got home, James had to jump and make himself more breakfast burritos, and by the time he finished that, it was time for supper and some television. We have found ourselves hooked on Masterchef Junior because the kids are so cute, but missed the one where adorable little Eddie got "kicked off the island." So I found it online via the web browser on the television, but it refused to play. Basically to see it I had to download the "Fox Now" app on my tablet, and then do a screen cast to the television. So stupid.
Had a terrible sinus headache most of the day until I had the soup, and basically finished off the night reading latest paperback entry in the "Royal Spyness" mysteries. This was a good meaty entry, with "Georgie" meeting her cousins Princesses Louise and Beatrice (Queen Victoria's daughters), and contending with a body that shows up at Kensington Palace.
» Saturday, March 11, 2017Bibliophile's Weekend
Usually I would sleep in on Friday, but this Friday was different: I was up promptly at 7:30 to eat, walk the dog, and then head for the Cobb County Library annual book sale, a story told here. From there I went to the Macland Publix to pick up this week's twofers, except they were out of Uncle Ben's rice, and had no baguettes, Toufeyan wraps, or lamb. I decided to treat myself to pork fried rice from Dragon 168; haven't been there since last spring. While the scent tormented me all the way home, the resultant feast was a bit of a bust. There have been times that Dragon's dishes have been much too greasy, but this was so dry that it had little taste.
I spent the rest of the afternoon gloating over the books, putting some of the groceries away, finishing my book reviews for February, and reading the rest of Tasha Alexander's The Adventuress, which had a predictable solution but did get creepy toward the end.
We had supper at Ken's Grill and hit the Smyrna Publix for the missing items before heading home.
James had trouble sleeping, but he was still up early to eat breakfast in time to go to the model contest the IPMS society was throwing this weekend. I left on his heels and went back to the book sale. The cream of the crop is gone with the Friday buyers, but there are only a few people there on Saturday morning and you can browse what's left at your leisure. The few things I picked up are listed at the bottom of this entry. I almost picked up a book of Canadian winter photographs, but I figured one coffee-table book semiannually is enough. ☺
Next I went up to the Barnes & Noble on Dallas Highway to see if the new "Breathe" was on the newsstand. Well, not there. I had a coupon with me and bought the third book in the "St. Mary's" series. I was a bit aghast because they no longer have books in a "new release" section for each genre. How will I see if new books by my favorite authors are out? Or find new books/series to read? I have always relied on the displays to show me interesting new things. Phooey.
Next I had lunch at the Panera in the same shopping center. They were massively crowded the entire time I was there, but I just sat down with My Small Country Living and happily read until my soup showed up (they had people delivering the soup rather than you going to get it). But the lack of "new release" shelves and no "Breathe" had me curious to see if I could have better luck at Town Center. But how to avoid Barrett Parkway, which is a mess on a Saturday? Used an alternate route: went up Due West Road instead, like I was heading for Books-a-Million, then turned east on Due West Kennesaw, which brings me out north of the road, but at least I don't have to drive on it.
By then, however, my low gas light was on, so I stopped first at Costco to fill up. It was chilly and rainy up on that hill, but the fresh air felt good after the stuffy atmosphere at the book sale and in Panera. Then I went through the back way to get to Barnes & Noble. Skunked again! I guess this is a new trend at the store. It just made me grumpy, so I went home and had some chocolate. Was completely absorbed in reading My Small Country Living even after James arrived home.
We had a coupon for O'Charley's, so had dinner there, and I finished the book late into the night, having completely forgotten to turn the clocks ahead, so I had to rush around at least pushing the clocks ahead upstairs. There are eleven clocks and six timers for me to change. [eyeroll] Damn, I hate DST. I saw my last sunrise yesterday; won't see another one now (unless there is some emergency—please, no, God) until a few weeks before and after the summer solstice. I hate driving to work in the pitch darkness.
» Saturday, March 04, 2017Time Just Flu
James' cold and congestion just grew overnight after the Sunday of Anachrocon and he was up all Sunday night coughing. While if you are squeaky-clean healthy Kaiser will let you cool your heels in misery for a week before they prescribe anything, with his health problems James can call anytime. So I stayed home to telework and took him to the doctor at the appointed time. We saw the nurse practitioner; she had blood taken and checked things; he had no fever (in fact, he was around 97°F), and his lungs were clear. So she prescribed something for the cough so he could sleep, gave us additional antihistamines and told us to buy Coricidine and have him rest, and we visited the pharmacy and the vampires and went home.
The cough was still a pain Monday night. We both got up and teleworked, although we were both pretty punchy from lack of sleep. Wednesday we both went into work, although I wish James had remained teleworking; he'd still coughed a lot during the night, waking us both up. I had just gotten everything printed and was starting a new order at a little after eleven when I got a text: he was feeling terrible, it hurt sharply when he coughed, and he had the chills. I wrote Puli an e-mail and went tearing out like Dale Ernhardt, running into traffic jam after jam although it wasn't even noon. When I got home James was huddled up in a flannel shirt, flushed, shivering. Kaiser said to go to urgent care, so we trucked up to Town Center. Apparently everyone else was sick, too, as the waiting room looked like a convention of bank robbers with their masks on. It took us nearly two hours just to get triaged and then there were so many people they had to put us back in the waiting room for a while. When we were finally called back, James was miserably hunched not only in the flannel shirt over his work shirt, but wrapped in Twilight's car blanket because his chills were so bad.
So we were there from one to after seven-thirty, with James having various tests, and watching the most god-awful TV. I can't remember what was on in the waiting room, but it's stuff I won't let Snowy watch because it will rot his little birdie brain. In the treatment room they had Bravo on, and, no kidding, whatever was on involved two young woman looking at dildoes. Finally I found Animal Planet and dogs were on all afternoon. I finished reading an ARC called Falcon Wild about a teenage girl and her falcon who are lost in the wilderness after she sets out going for help for her father, who is pinned in their car after an accident. I really enjoyed it. James had a temp of nearly 102 and they swabbed his nose, drained more blood, x-rayed his chest, and the verdict was...he has Type-A flu.
Yes, he had a flu shot this year. The nurse told me this year's flu shot is only 15 percent effective.
Oh, yeah, and he has pneumonia. He had a pneumonia shot this year, too. And a booster. ::black look::
So after they gave him over two hours worth of IV saline and antibiotics, we headed home in the middle of Jeopardy, having picked up antibiotics and a new thermometer at the pharmacy, having completely missed the pouring rain predicted for early evening (it was wet but not raining as we drove home). Arrived there completely exhausted, had some chicken broth and alphabet pasta which was tasteless but reasonably filling for supper, and eventually dragged our way into bed.
Unfortunately we were both kept up by his coughing and when time came to get up I just went back to bed and slept until ten, and still felt zombified all day. James made himself breakfast, but mostly slept all day or half-heartedly surfed the internet on his little laptop. We just dumped out canned soup for supper and stared with glazed eyes at the television. Thursday night was another cough-fest, but I got up and did my eight hours on the computer, spending half the morning e-mailing back and forth about an invoice that shouldn't have been invoiced. After I wrapped up at four, we went to Kaiser to pick up a couple of prescriptions for James, then came home and ordered supper from China Palace. I think I've had it with wings. Too salty, too saucy. Next time I'll buy and roast my own.
Made the mistake of putting on Thirteen Days at 9:30. Terrific movie, especially liked Kevin Costner as Kenny O'Donnell, but I didn't realize it was so doggone long. I wanted to be in bed by eleven.
While James did sleep some last night, he did wake up, and wake me up, with his coughing. I got enough sleep to have enough energy to take myself off to Costco for more American cheese and Splenda packets for James and the Doctor Strange blu-ray for me. Spent about a half hour at Barnes & Noble seeing if any new series books were out, looking at new SF books for James, and buying the new "Bella Grace" and "Good Food" (I got the new "Milk Street" for James at Costco as well), then got lunch-to-go at Tin Drum, hoping the spices in the curry would help James' congestion a little. His temperature is all gone, but he's still feeling fatigued and stuffy, and is coughing in spasms at least once a half hour.