Yet Another Journal

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

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

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» Sunday, September 24, 2017
Good and Bad Discoveries

We couldn't sleep too late this morning, but I was dismayed to find out James didn't get to sleep until the wee hours. He was the one who was ready for bed early!

We forewent breakfast, except for a BelVita bar, and got to Costco ten minutes after they opened, and the parking lot was already crowded. Luckily a space opened two spaces from the door, so I pulled in there while James got one of the little carts. We found the first thing he was looking for right off, a chair cushion to use at restaurants. His back pain is so bad that he has problems on hard chairs. We also found a new heated throw for him to use in winter (his old one burned out). Plus we got popcorn, milk, Swiffer wipes, a "Milk Street" magazine, and an autumn magazine.

After tucking the milk in the insulated bag, we nipped across the street so I could run into Bed, Bath & Beyond with two expiring coupons. I picked up some LED switchlights for the library bays and, of course, since the rule at BB&B is if you don't need anything else, buy "doggie bags," I did. Tucker will fill them up! 😁 By this time it was getting on to lunch, so I stopped by Tin Drum and got some teriyaki and James got chicken at Pollo Tropical, and we took it home for lunch.

Eeek! I did not notice when I dropped the Swiffer wipes off that the floor in front of the washer was wet, so the box got sodden. I was flummoxed and a lot more upset than I should have been. After all, the washer is 11 1/2 years old. Things happen. Judging by where the water was, I also thought it might be a problem with the dispenser. I watched a YouTube video about this, but it went a little beyond my comfort zone. But I could check out the dispenser, and that's what I did. I've cleaned it out before, and I did again, because the spot where the Downy goes in was sticky and a bit grotty. But I've never checked out the dispenser drawer slot. There was a thick crusty sludge on the bottom of it as if powdered detergent had gotten wet and formed a coating (I've never used powdered detergent in this washer in its life!). Cleaned that out and washed a load of towels, water on the floor. Whew. I guess it backwashed and the sludge got in the way.

Anyway, spent the afternoon half relaxing and watching an entire house-remodeling story on Rehab Addict and reading The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder, which arrived today. Also helped James sort pills, put all the stuff we brought home from the hospital in one place, cleaned the floor in the hall bath, put junk on the table away, and got stuff ready for work tomorrow. Plus the "trick" with the TV worked and it automatically changed channels to Ion Life at seven, so we didn't miss Colour Confidential again. Wish they weren't repeating stuff we'd seen a few months ago. There is a Saturday showing, too, and I wish they'd alternate them.

Ate leftovers for supper, then waited (practically forever) for Star Trek: Discovery. I like the characters, but the stupid show had something like four thousand commercials in it. This is why I DVR everything anymore; too hard to keep track of the plots anymore with all the commercial interruptions! Do you get commercials on CBS All Access, on which the remainder of the series will be shown? If so, it's a big ripoff. Is that all the series is going to be, about the war with the Klingons?

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» Saturday, September 23, 2017
Books and Mags and Friendship, O My!

It was a relief to sleep later, but this won't last: James' doctor said he can go back to work Monday. Sigh. I could use a few more days of sleeping late! Just a few more moments of peace.

At least we had energy to work on today, because we were busy. We had breakfast at the IHOP on Dallas Highway, then went to the Barnes & Noble out a little further to check out their magazines. Score! One "Country Living" Christmas issue, a fall magazine, plus the new "Breathe," and I am trying "Lapham's Quarterly." I've been seeing this on the stand for a while, but it is very expensive; it collects essays on a different subject every three months. I skipped "Discovery" in the spring, didn't want "Fear" this summer (summer's fearful enough, thank  you), but since I had 20 percent off everything, I thought I'd give "Music" a try. I also bought Caroline since there was such a discount on it. I have another Laura Ingalls Wilder book coming from Amazon as well, and am reading a third on Netgalley! James bought a discount teacup gadget as well.

We also stopped by Hallmark, as they have some items on sale until the end of the month that I thought would make good gifts. We bought two different presents.

Next we wanted to stop at the market, so we took the shortest way to where Publix and Sprouts lie across the street from each other. We stopped at Sprouts first, mostly buying meat (except pork, because Publix has pork loin slices on BOGO), plus some shredded chicken. At Publix we picked up the pork, some other twofers, low-salt lunchmeat for James, and some bagged salad (also twofer)—and the Damned Bananas, sadly. So with the shredded chicken and the salad and some slivered almonds, we had a nice low-carb lunch to make up for breakfast being the opposite.

At 5:40, we went rushing off to David Gibson's birthday dinner (rushing because I thought it was at  6:30, not at 6). We were right on time and had a great meal (Keegan's Irish Pub is usually great for food) with our friends (most of whom we saw yesterday). Came home relaxed and happy, and willing to drift off to bed at a decent hour. Watched some Lassie to chill out completely.

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» Friday, September 22, 2017
Post Operative Rest

So Thursday we had a long, long sleep. It wasn't anywhere near enough, but the dog had to be walked and things had to be done.

Mostly what James had to do was make followup visits with his regular doctors. He was lucky and got his GP right away, for next Tuesday. The nephrologist didn't have anything until late October, but she put James in that slot and said she would call back if she had cancellations. (She called back later in the day and got him in October 4.) The cardiologist had an opening—at 7:30 tomorrow. At Glenlake. Oy.

Which is why I was up at 5:50 a.m. on Friday (groan...) and we were driving in rush hour traffic to get to the Kaiser Glenlake office near Perimeter Mall. Thirteen miles of aggravation.

The traffic was bad enough that we beat the doctor there. After an EKG, the usual chat, a new prescription for James' new med (Brilinta), and a visit to the lab and the pharmacy, we were out of there. We'd eaten a quick breakfast, but were both thirsty, so we headed to the Barnes & Noble nearby. It's a special member week with an additional discount on everything. I just had lemonade myself, but saw a chai beverage on the menu. James likes chai, so I suggested it. Ugh! He let me sip it; it was SO sweet. He could have had the lemonade, or even a double chocolate chip drink and had less sugar. Won't do that again. James bagged some modeling and aircraft magazines and I found "Project Calm" at the checkout counter. Was tempted by a book, but didn't buy it.

Since Trader Joe's was on the way home, we stopped there for chicken apple sausage and other goodies. The place is full of pumpkin items already: scone mix, cookies, tea, everything, in fact, but James' favorite fruit bars. They said they might have them at the other store.

Then we came home and, tired out from getting up early, did nothing for the rest of the afternoon, which was really a trap. We should have just taken a nap and then gone to Publix or something. Relaxing all afternoon made us feel lousy.

However, the evening was fun: we went to the Spiveys for Aubrey's birthday party. This was a great evening. We got a big surprise at the end of the evening that I won't mention, but needless to say we have some of the best friends in the entire world.

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» Wednesday, September 20, 2017
James is Home
Wish I had a turkey, because it's just like Thanksgiving.



» Tuesday, September 19, 2017
How We Spent Our [Sudden] Summer Vacation

Wait, didn't you once say you didn't take vacations in the summer anymore? Yep. Let's say it wasn't much of a vacation, either.

So the day we got back from DragonCon James went to see his cardiologist, who took an EKG and said it all looked good and to come back in six months. On the 15th he saw his GP, who renewed his prescriptions and gave him a flu shot.

Friday morning the 16th he forgot to take his pills with him. I was a bit ticked off because he's done this once before and he will get chest pains if he doesn't take them. I was going to take them to him at noon, but he called me saying he didn't feel good, would I bring them immediately. So I did, he went back to work, but came home after lunch not feeling well. He confessed he was having chest pressure. He took a nitroglycerin and the pain went away, he got a violent headache, and then the headache was gone and the pain was back.

He had changed clothes, so we got him back into trousers and shoes. While I was making a pit stop, I looked mutely up to heaven and asked "What do I do? Give me a sign, please!" The books sitting in the little shelving unit on the stool promptly fell over. Well, that was clear enough.

Wellstar was the nearest emergency room, so there we went, taking encouragement in the fact that they didn't bring us to the back right away. Well, this was an oversight. The EKG was showing an irregularity and the blood they drew was showing enzyme markers that weren't good. So we sat there in the little cubicle in the back expecting to do the usual wrangling with Kaiser, and eventually to have an ambulance to ship James off to Northside.

They didn't do it. [Insert mind-boggled sound effect here.]

We were told to stay at Wellstar (unless James needed actual surgery) and that is where we have been since Friday afternoon. Because it was the weekend, they didn't do much Saturday and Sunday except keep him on blood thinners, watch for pain (it pretty much disappeared after his first dose of blood thinners), get his medicine straight, and keep consulting Kaiser. I went home at night and slept (no sleeper chairs in the rooms, just a hard recliner) and then came back in the morning after breakfast. Finally Sunday Kaiser told them to do the catherization here at Wellstar as well, and to put in any stents needed. (We were still shocked; Kaiser's never done that before. Always it's been the ambulance ride to Northside, usually at the worst traffic hour of the day.) At midnight on Sunday (Monday morning) he got put on nothing by mouth (except for sips of water and water needed with his meds) and we spent a nerve-wracking Monday first because they said he would go downstairs before noon, and then it crept to one, and two—James growing ravenous as the minutes ticked on. An emergency case came in and that person had to go first. Finally they took him downstairs about 3:00 with me trotting behind, and then he went back to the cath lab at 3:45.

Now it was my turn to wait. At first this was fine; they warned me it would take "about an hour." So when 4:30 ticked by, I noted it and kept reading my book. At 5:10 I started checking my watch. By 5:30 I was starting to get a tad upset. I asked a person in the waiting room to let them know I was in the bathroom as I retreated to use the facilities. But still no word when I got back. Finally at 6:10 someone came and got me. The cath lab was slammed, she said, and she was sorry, but he was okay; the procedure had just taken a little longer than they planned. James was lying on a gurney at the end of what looked like the longest telescoping hall in the world.

The doctor explained that they had had to put two other stents in another main artery, although the actual pain from the heart attack was caused by a little capillary that had actually closed down. There was still a tiny capillary that was blocked, but they weren't able to see it clearly and it was minor. The only problem was that they had been in longer than they planned and there was a good chance there might be a kidney reaction because of having to use more dye for a longer period. James was blinking sleepily at me with his blue eyes and the utter relief that he was still here and all the medical information was too much to process. I started to cry and then to hyperventilate and someone had to get a chair for me because I could not quit gasping (although there was a teeny corner of my mind shouting furiously in my brain "What are you doing? You can still breathe!"—it was surreal). So both  of us got a ride upstairs and I wrapped myself in the scarf blanket and watched the nurses plug in his oxygen and set up his IVs. Once he was settled I rose on very wobbly legs and was able to help him order some supper and then rush downstairs before the cafeteria closed since I hadn't eaten anything since a bowl of cereal at noon.

He had pain sometime longer this time than last time, presumably because of the length of time they were poking around in there. Luckily they went through his wrist this time instead of his femoral artery, so he did not need to have people keep pressure on the spot for a half hour or to lie flat for six hours. I was actually able to feed him some broth and sherbet and he could eat a turkey sandwich. They gave him a small dose of morphine and the pain subsided and so far has not returned. Anyway, it was a bit of a rough evening for him, although by eleven he was pretty much back to normal. I managed to sleep in the awful recliner for two nights with the help of a duvet cover and two pillows and the scarf blanket. The worst part was when they came in to check him and had to turn on the overhead light. Very bright. Pain.

Today has been quiet. I went home this morning to walk Tucker (Aubrey Spivey was "a brick!" as they say in Victorian children's novels and did reveille and bedcheck yesterday) and shower and bring back some clothes. It's been quiet today. His creatitine level is still high (it went up even before the cath, the result of not getting to drink properly for fourteen hours), but if it doesn't spike they say he can go home tomorrow. So, we'll see.

Except for yesterday, it's been a much more positive experience than last year at Piedmont. The staff know their business at Piedmont, but it's like a big factory farm. Here at Wellstar we have seen a doctor (both cardiologist and nephrologist, not to mention the house physician) every single day. At Piedmont we were lucky if the Kaiser doctor wandered in every two days. No one told us anything. Even the techs here tell you everything, and they are all lovely. When we call the nurses or the "care partner," they respond, even yesterday when we realized that Saturday and Sunday were just quiet days here and on Monday bedlam breaks loose. They bring ice, they bring water, they close doors, they even moved the bed once. Someone comes in—over the weekend it was a lovely man named Jean and now we have had Candace—every day to sweep and clean the room and they are friendly, unlike Piedmont, where the cleaning staff was surly and left a "biological spatter" in the bathroom from the time it happened till James checked out, a period of over a week. James has a nice menu to choose from, just counting his carbs to keep  them in range, and his food has looked and tasted good (okay, he didn't enjoy the curry chicken all that much, but he said the turkey melt was outstanding). Hell, the cafeteria is good! They not only have had edible (and not overly salted) meats and veggies every day (including teriyaki wings, beef brisket, barbecue ribs were just some of the main meats), but you can get a meat or panini or burgers from the grill, there's a salad bar, three kinds of soup (although they seem not to know what chicken soup is), a "freestyle" soda machine, a yogurt machine and toppings, a bakery case, a juice case, pre-made sandwiches, chips, hummus and dips, cereal cups and chips, candy (if that's your bag), and also stuff like pancakes, sausages, two kinds of bacon, yogurt, etc. for breakfast. The only thing they don't have is bread. You can't get toast or a bun or a biscuit, only bread with the pre-made sandwiches or if you get a burger from the grill. The cashiers, the cooks, and the staff are friendly.

If you have to get stuck in a hospital and use up your vacation days, certainly better off here!

Sadly, we missed going to Taste of Smyrna—no drunken pork for us—and the Beatles Tribute concert on Saturday with the band "The Return." Juanita was able to find homes for our tickets (all the while juggling fraud on her credit card) and they had a lovely time; she dedicated a song to her husband and Aubrey was able to capture the set on her phone, so we could at least be part of that event. I need to do laundry badly (am running out of underwear), but on the way home to wake up the fids this morning I did stop at Publix to grab milk and some twofers. Saw another Christmas magazine!—a welcome sign since the weather since Irma cleared has gone back to hot. And Alice and Ken came to visit tonight, which was sweet, and we have been "lifted up" by messages of love and prayers from friends and family on Facebook.

We shall see what tomorrow brings. Please God that it is something hopeful.

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» Tuesday, September 12, 2017
The Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside my window... is grey and rainy-looking, but not the lowered-cloud darkness of yesterday. Irma passed through here in a gentle fashion, just lots of rain (which depressed the dog) sometimes driven down the street by the wind, and a few tossing branches. A couple of power flickers, nothing went out, and we were safe and cozy teleworking inside. I see dry spots appearing on the street already. I have put the chairs and table back on the porch and put out the fall banner, wreath, and basket, and our "guard sheep," Ivy, is back in her place under the table.

I am thinking...
...of a nap! Really, I have not been sleeping because of anxiety and this rash I have. This means back to the doctor.

I am thankful...
...for little damage after the beating Hurricane Irma gave some of those Caribbean islands and Key West. All my friends in Florida are safe, and I think of friends and family in Georgia the only thing that happened is that some lost power.

In the kitchen...
...James just warmed himself up some turkey for lunch. I'm ravenous now.

I am wearing...
...a black sweatshirt which says "Bibliovore" and cheap sky blue scrub pants.

I am creating...
...or just finished creating, a little "Country Pick'ns" vignette I picked up at the Yellow Daisy Festival on Sunday. Photo is below.

I am going...
...crazy being itchy. Stupid rash. I can't even do housework because even a hint of perspiration makes it worse.

I am wondering...
...if there is anything, anything else I can do to keep from going to the doctor, but I've tried everything already. Bother.

I am reading...
...Pioneer Girl Perspectives, which are essays written about Laura Ingalls Wilder's original memoir Pioneer Girl, which was finally published with copious footnotes awhile back. Subjects include how Laura made her little house years sound so safe and warm without touching on the more frightening parts of frontier living—like almost being assaulted by an alcoholic neighbor whose wife she was helping to care for—and how the "Little House" books are so anti-Government even though the Ingalls family accepted government assistance.

I am hoping...
...there will at least be a breeze Saturday when we go to Taste of Smyrna.

I am looking forward to...
...Taste of Smyrna! More drunken pork! And Thai chicken. And maybe barbecue.

I am learning... be more self-sufficient, since there are so many things James can't do anymore. But...scary...what happens if I can't do them?

Around the house...'s a mess. As I said, the rash gets worse if I perspire, so I can't do anything useful, like wash the floors or vacuum; that's what set this off last week, as I did both last Tuesday.

I am pondering...
...a nap. It would be so nice right now.

A favorite quote for today...
"By all these lovely tokens,
September days are here,
With summer's best of weather,
And autumn's best of cheer."
 . . . . Helen Hunt Jackson

One of my favorite things...
...the spaghetti sauce I made last week, which we'll have part of for supper tonight. Comfort food.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
We are planning to attend Taste of Smyrna and also see a Beatles tribute band with friends. I don't particularly like the Beatles, but it's with friends and I hope it will cheer James up.

A peek into my day...

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



» Sunday, September 10, 2017
Storm Watch, Part 3

And then I woke up at 4:40 a.m. and never really got back to sleep! So tired of this, figuratively and literally. I know I did get back to sleep for a tiny bit, because I was dreaming, but not nearly long enough. And here I thought we would get to sleep to 7:30, when we had to get up and head for Stone Mountain.

Last night I had bought the Early Bird tickets so that we didn't have to wait until ten o'clock to get in. It's highway robbery, but half the profit goes to a mobility charity, so I'm not kicking much. At least it was a beautiful day for the Yellow Daisy Festival; when we arrived in the parking lot it was still only about 60°F. We had had to wear long sleeves on the ride over, but took them off before entering the park. (James regretted this. Under the trees it was still cool, even before we left at 1 p.m., and he was cold to the touch.) It never got above about 72, and was comfortable to walk.

So we roamed the paths as always. I stopped at Country Pick'ns per usual; I don't really have any more themes I want to do, but I bought a little star-shaped shadow "box," and a tiny Nativity to put on the little shelf (made of wood molding), and a "Christmas is from the heart" and a plaque about angels to trim it. I also bought a black cat and a ghost to add to the fall shadowbox for Hallowe'en (if I don't forget to put them out as I've done the last few), and just two tiny arrangements (a Santa and gifts and a tree, and a gingerbread boy dancing near a lightpost) to tuck somewhere. I showed the proprietress a picture of my Thanksgiving shadowbox that I made with her things. The lady behind me had a tray full of gardening and outdoor items; she showed us a photo of the fairy garden in a bowl she made from the things she bought last year. She was going to use the new stuff to make another. It was so cute!

We stocked up on the basic "Smack Yo Mama" barbecue sauces; bought another jug of maple barbecue sauce; picked up a couple of new flavors of dip mixes; got James some more "1st Sergeant" salsa (it has no salt or sugar added and the profits go to servicemen); picked up the first of our two fudge desserts for the year; bought small gifts for Juanita, David, Ron, Lin, and James' mom and sister; and bought Tucker some home-made dog treats. James, who is still struggling with back and neck pain, bought a heat up back wrap and a heat up shoulder wrap with flax inside. You heat them in the microwave and apply to the afflicted place. Didn't see any new Christmas CDs, and the Native American artist I used to like does not show up any longer. And at the final woodworking booth on the way out, I picked up a small, cute whatnot shelf for the wall for only $5.

On the way out we saw a beautiful blue-grey 1949 Pontiac in the parking lot near us; I couldn't resist taking pictures so I could show it to my cousin Carol. My Uncle Ralph sold Pontiacs all his life.

We didn't eat there because the corn was so bad last time, but just came home and warmed up our soup from Sprouts when we got really hungry. Before James pulled the truck in, I removed all the small cow and sheep decorations from the front porch, took the wreath in, and the banner, and even took down the handmade autumn leaves that hang on the brickwork, since the forecast still looks pretty bad. They are all dirty with pine pollen anyway; hopefully I can clean them off when I feel better and James will put them back up with masonry hooks rather than stuck up with Scotch outdoor tape like they've been. They are one-of-a-kind since the dealer doesn't come to Yellow Daisy anymore, and I would hate to lose them. Then I put the two porch chairs (just small metal chairs) and the glass-topped table in the garage as well,

I also put the bird feeders in the storage box on the deck, stacked the two plastic Adirondack chairs on each other and stuck the little plastic table under them. And that's our storm prep.

Spent the evening watching the news or whatever was on, which wasn't memorable enough to note here.

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» Saturday, September 09, 2017
Storm Watch, Part 2

Sigh. When I need to sleep, I never can. Put me on the futon in the middle of the afternoon, and I will pass out like a tightly-corseted lady dancing too much. At night, toss, turn, leg hurts, knee hurts, rinse, repeat. Grr.

Anyway, we had Hair Day this morning—the usual tumult of haircuts, chat, and snacks. We were glum that we had to go back to Verizon after that—since the phone did its thing perfectly and quit making calls and started rebooting after 12 hours—but to our surprise, this didn't take long. We found the same tech (Robert) and he called James' phone and again it didn't work, and he immediately put in an order for another phone. It will be mailed to us within three days, which still doesn't get it here for Monday. He will just have to use my phone.

It took so little time that we made a short trip to Barnes & Noble, but we stayed only a few minutes. I was about to fall asleep on my feet. James picked up "Airfix" and we went home, but I had so many other things to do that I didn't get to lie down until almost four o'clock and then had to rise in a hurry to get to Publix to pick up James' birthday cake and then get all the way to Brookwood for his birthday dinner (we should have had the cake done at the Macland store, which was closer and on the way).

But, we got there on time, and a good time was had by all, and the chocolate cake was a hit: James had it as chocolate cake with fudge filling and chocolate frosting. Even with small pieces we were chocolated out. 😊 Of course we missed James' mom and sister, and Maggie and Clay; they were supposed to come up, but that got scotched by the mass evacuation of Florida due to Hurricane Irma which has I-75 north from Warner Robins bumper-to-bumper with cars, vans, mobile homes, scooters, you name it. Someone from Florida is already taking refuge in our neighborhood, and the news coming out of the Caribbean has been genuinely scary: Puerto Rico got clobbered.

After the party we came home to collapse but ended up not getting to bed on time again.

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» Friday, September 08, 2017
Storm Watch, Part 1

This weekend was shaping up to be busy despite the weather; the weather just added a menacing fillip.

Friday was my compressed day off, and I decided to blow off my original plans based on the weather reports coming out of the Caribbean. I did the grocery shopping at Kroger, diverting from the usual list only to get some additional bottled water (the gallon containers were nearly gone already). On the magazine stand I saw my first two Christmas magazines, but hope to get them at Barnes & Noble (or even as an e-magazine), and then at checkout I saw the fall preview "TV Guide." Oh, that brings back memories, all the way back to 1963, which was my first fall preview (we had a 1961 that turned up in a pile of newspapers in the cellar, but that didn't turn up until 1968 when my dad fixed the basement). I received special permission to keep it, and the Christmas issues, which back then had poems by Alan Sherman in them, because my mom was afraid I'd fill the attic with "TV Guide." (I did keep special issues, including the 1964 issue that was completely devoted to how television covered the Kennedy assassination. Let's see the "People"-clone that TVG has become do that.) Over the years I walked a mile to the grocery store (or to Thall's Pharmacy, which got TVG before anyone else) for that elusive issue. After a while I started buying two, so I could cannibalize one for my scrapbooks and keep the other (except for a new series description I might be keeping that was on the opposite side of another new series description). The only other TVGs I collected were the ones I picked up going on vacation, because in those days before cable there were different regional editions and the programming was different in each—especially in vacation spots near the Canadian border where there were CBC listings in with the US ones.

I couldn't get to the Smyrna Publix to pay for James' birthday cake due to construction, besides, I had to book on to CVS; I had a 30 percent off coupon and needed to get a few staples. I also stopped at Sprouts and picked up some soup I could save for Sunday dinner. Then I had to make a trip to Hobby Lobby. I have this summer rash problem that is really bad this year, so I wanted to buy some flannel as extra absorption of perspiration (which is aggravating the problem). I was in a hurry because I had a few perishable things in the car: in front of me were three ladies getting fleece for a bunch of Girl Scout projects! Happily, they called someone to help, so I could get the soup and the perishables home and the flannel in place (ouch!).

Unfortunately, we had an odious task tonight: we had to go to Verizon. James' phone hasn't worked properly since the Sunday of DragonCon. It drops phone calls, shows static on the screen, reboots when you take it off the charger or wake it up, just a whole list of things. I told him they would ask him if he did a backup and restore, so he did one himself, and while it made calls fine for a while, it crapped out again after 12 hours. So we went there and, guess what, the guy made us do it again, and not load any of the apps—because like James' lung doctor, he zeroed in on one thing—Zello, the walkie-talkie app we have been using for nearly six months—as the culprit, or another third party app. Grrr. So the phone is working again right now, but I don't expect it to be by tomorrow. And tomorrow we have forty places to be.

Needless to say, I couldn't wait to take a shower and get to bed.

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» Sunday, September 03, 2017
DragonCon 2017, Part 3

I see we are back to Not Sleeping Well 101. And then upon rising, I lost my badge.

I didn't really lose it. At night when we get home the first thing I do is put the backpack in a dining room chair to have access for reloading, and then clip the badge to the backpack. I swear I did it last night, especially since when James went to the kitchen I asked, "James, is my badge clipped to my backpack?" and he said yes. But there was my backpack, with no badge clipped to it, when I got down to the truck. I raced upstairs and for twenty frantic minutes searched everywhere for it. Did I drop it coming upstairs? Leave it in the bathroom? Drop it in the bedroom? But James had said it was clipped to my backpack! Finally, after resigning myself to buying a two-day pass, I came downstairs. There was the badge, clipped to James' backpack. But he'd slept so badly he didn't even notice it.

So we were hellishly late, because I wanted to see Matt Smith, but I did make it. I think I was the penultimate person allowed in that room (the big Marriott Atrium Ballroom; why John Barrowman hadn't been here I'll never  understand). He was sweet and personable, but people persisted in asking him "Can you tell us some memories of how you felt when you and Karen and Arthur wouldn't be working together again?" Guys, it's not marriage or a love affair. It's a job. Of course, they had a good working relationship, but now it's over. And all the questions were Doctor Who-oriented. No one asked him about The Crown or the Sally Lockhart films he did. (Yes, I should have asked myself, but I was feeling very uncomfortable health-wise after my panic this morning and did not want to stand in line. My ankles have been stone-cold bitches this weekend.)

Then trudged to the Hilton for my next panel; found myself (literally) chilling in the new BritTrack panel room until I realized it was the wrong panel room. The Moffat-to-Chibnall panel was upstairs! 😀 This was a lively discussion about what we might expect for next season with not only a new Doctor, but a new "showrunner." The consensus was that Chibnall could do right by a woman as the Doctor. We are just hoping they will be all regular Doctor Who stories and not "the Doctor is female now so we have to comment about it again" stories.

Then back in BritTrack for "Classic Series Doctor Who" and everyone got to tell their stories of how they originally began watching the series. Some folks actually did see it when it premiered in 1972 (I didn't see it until February 1974). Some interesting stories from the younger folks who saw the new series and then went back to watch the old. Several people mentioned buying videotapes at Media Play and I was homesick for them all over again (and concurrently for playing trivia at Rockford's, as we always stopped at Media Play before hitting the restaurant).

This morning James had said he really wanted to see Alton Brown's panel, and, since he had several nonscheduled hours this morning and afternoon, I said "Why not? Just get there early." I decided I wanted to go myself, and since I had a free schedule at this time as well, I went to the Marriott to line up (I have a seat-in-line sticker because of my stupid knees and ankles). It was already a mob scene at 2:30; at least fifty people were already lined up just for handicapped access. James messaged me that he was coming over and I held a space for him as other folks showed up. He showed up having just been to the dealer's room. He had bought himself a t-shirt and a gift for me and a satchel to carry his phone and diabetes kit in, having tired of having a pouch bouncing on his waist and getting in the way of the arm of the power chair. Some people came by and asked why Alton Brown—with his interest in cooking—was at an SF convention! Well, because he's local? And because his show features scientific principles of cooking and there is a science track at DragonCon? How about just because he is FUN? (Really, people, we have wrestlers here, and Celtic performers. Why not a rock-star cook?) Anyway, the Marriott Atrium Ballroom (which holds at least 2,500 people) was SRO at 3:06 for a 4 p.m. panel. That is why Alton Brown is at this convention.

And, yes, truly this was a fun panel!!!! Not only was Brown here, but he brought "W" and some of the other cast members from Good Eats to tell us behind-the-scenes stories of building strange sets, maneuvering the camera and people through same, and accidents on the set (Alton Brown is actually bleeding on one side of his face during the Ghiradelli chocolate factory interview after being hit by machinery). Best of all, Good Eats is coming back! The new series will be called Return of the Eats, and, sadly (Brown said sarcastically) this means Food Network will have to cut down Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives to only 7 1/2 hours per day. LOL.

Some nice folks helped us with the elevator (James said he had no problems with the elevators today at all, and people were all very kind), so we went downstairs to "RetroBlasting Presents Indiana Jones: the Hilarious History." The hosts pointed out funny things and trivia about each movie (like the guy in modern-dress in the bazaar scene and the "really excited monkey," or the fact that Sallah was supposed to be killed off in Raiders and that the raft scene from Temple of Doom was supposed to be in Raiders originally). Apparently the Indian government took one look at Temple of Doom and wouldn't let them film there; it was done in Sri Lanka instead, and the tribal chieftain learned his lines phonetically, as he spoke no English at all. Oh, and Willie Scott screams thirty times in the film!

Supposedly there is an Indy 5 coming out, too, with Harrison Ford.

James wanted to see one last panel, so we went to the Westin for "Surviving an Apocalypse." He was a little disappointed. The description made it sound as if they were going to riff on stupid actions in apocalyptic films and it would be humorous, but instead it was a more serious discussion about the mistakes people make in these films—like letting the children get out of sight and then having to search for them—and how you could deal in a real-life situation.

Finally down the long length of John Portman Street to the garage and then home. That stupid panic attack over my badge had done me no favors; my heat rash was starting to heal—I even showed James last night—and now because I perspired so much and got aggravated it is worse than ever.

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» Saturday, September 02, 2017
DragonCon 2017, Part 2

One hour's more sleep last night: morning ablutions and dog walking and restocking the backpacks and we were ready to go. My headache and arm ache of last night had vanished; sure glad I was feeling better. The weather was beautiful, too, only 61°F.

Once again breakfast at Cafe Momo. We saw the cutest thing: a mom dressed in a red leaf print dress with her hair dyed black, carrying the cutest baby in a Stitch sleeper; so she was Lilo!

James didn't have a 10 a.m. panel; I had two of them on my schedule. I ended up at the eclipse panel at the Science track in the Hilton, where they were talking about the "fake" glasses (none of the ones Amazon sold were fake; they just didn't have an ISO sticker) and also about not needing a super camera to take photos of it and about photoshopped images that were passed off as real. He had some killer pics taken by iPhones and just regular cameras just like mine. And of course talking about what a high seeing totality is.

Next it was off to the Hyatt for Mercedes Lackey and her husband Larry Dixon. They were in a room opposite of James' panel room—since the elevators are so in demand on Saturday he pretty much just stays in the Hyatt at the Sci-Fi Literature track (he wanted to go to a panel on the 6-Day War at the Westin, but there was no way to get around the crowd lined up for the parade)—so I ran in, gave him a kiss, and then went to my panel. This was a Q&A where Misty and Larry answered questions about writing, Valdemar, old characters, collaborating on books, collaborating with other writers, etc., and they told a cute story about one of their birds (they rehabilitate raptors and have African greys), a small cockatoo. Apparently the bird has learned to cross his wings in front of his body, making a heart shape with them. Then he cocks his head, puts up one foot, and says "Pretty?" Oh, yes, he has them trained!

From one author to another; off to the Jim Butcher panel! Jim is always fun. He came out in a Hamilton outfit and later on answered a question in song from the play. He talked about how easy it is to write a first person character (Harry Dresden) versus writing third person (because  you have to decide from whose POV you will tell the story), but that sometimes he gets sick of Harry because he lives in his head all the time. His funniest story was a childhood memory about being at a church camp in Brazil singing at Baptist churches and at farmer's markets, and being cursed by a witch doctor while performing at the latter. Right afterwards, he was almost bitten by a poisonous spider and a ditto snake. But he defeated the curse and the witch doctor was beaten up by villagers after they realized if a teenager could defeat the curse, he wasn't all that he seemed!

I had a free hour here, so went to see the art show. Pretty similar to last year, although I was taken by an illustrator who does kitsunes, and also a pastoral print of sheep turning into clouds around a floating city. Next I had to run for the bathroom, and when one was closed had to race for another. Finally I went to wait for the Carrie Fisher and Kenny Baker tribute panel and read my tablet. There was a service dog here named Red, and he watched his owner worriedly every time the person stepped away from him.

The panel was nice, with funny stories from the panelists, many of whom had interviewed or met Carrie Fisher and Kenny Baker at gatherings. One man told a rather sad story about taking his daughter, a big Kenny Baker fan, to an autograph signing just a few weeks before he died where he couldn't speak and was signing autographs slowly but doggedly. All he could do was meet the girl's eyes and smile through them. There were some clips of Carrie Fisher and Kenny Baker from various interviews on YouTube. Fans also shared what Carrie Fisher meant to them.

Then it was back to the Hilton to attend Victoria. This was a great panel about the series, with lots of give-and-take from the audience.

John Barrowman had a show upstairs in the Hilton at seven, but when I emerged from Victoria and went upstairs it was evident there was no way to get James upstairs in the power chair on time for the event; the elevators were mobbed. Too bad it wasn't at the Sheraton as it was last time; the elevators in the Sheraton are manageable. I looked to see if there was any type of elevator at the back, or a ramp, but no dice. It was still furiously loud with a DJ hosting the racket—but I was "okay" with it tonight; no problems—and would probably be worse when we got out of the concert if we made it at all. So I told James to meet me on the corner of Courtland Street and John Portman. It took a while because he exited the Hyatt through the Motor Lobby, a route he's never taken, and then took a wrong turn and was heading for Ted Turner Boulevard (formerly Spring Street). Luckily I found him on the Life360 map and redirected him before he got too much further.

So we were home early; James had some soup instead of his sandwich and I watched The Incredible Dr. Pol and cried over a cat who had to be put to sleep.

Perhaps it was better we avoided the Barrowman concert: there were complaints all over Facebook about the crowd, people not getting in, and one person complaining that he couldn't get in but disabled people were allowed in. (Well, that's because they have spots saved for them.) Also reports of someone in security yelling at the disabled people waiting to get in. On the other hand, John came out in a Wonder Woman costume and sang "Copacabana." That's our guy!

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» Friday, September 01, 2017
DragonCon 2017, Day 1

Darnit, have forgotten to say "Rabbit, rabbit!" first thing this morning. It's supposed to be good luck and Susan Branch always mentions it.

We were up at 6:15. I was hoping we might get downtown early, eat first, then register and then see Nathan Fillion, since he had only one panel first thing this morning. But between one thing and the other, we arrived at the garage at eight o'clock as usual, when registration opens, so we might as well just go there. Disability Services was just putting itself together, so we weren't on our way to breakfast until around nine. I did get to the Hyatt at 9:45, but the panel was already full, thanks, I found out later, to Hyatt security jumping the gun and loading the room instead of the convention directors. All the disabled people got shut out because they did not leave room for them.

So instead I went to the "Welcome to BritTrack" panel in their new hotel. They, along with TrekTrack and the animation track, are now down on the Galleria (lower) level of the Hilton, in a nice big room, which is great, because that tiny Macon room they've had for years (replacing the even tinier Baker room they had for years before that) just didn't "do" anymore. It was so chilly in there I took my cool towel, which I didn't need now because it was nice out this morning, and put it over my shoulders.

I was in the Hilton for the next three panels: "Brit TV Classics You Should Be Watching" (from Are You Being Served to Being Human), "Sherlock: History & Holmes" (about how Sherlock has been influenced by the canon and by his predecessors from Gillette to Rathbone to The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes—with some love for Watson, and especially Jude Law), and "Doctor Who: Series 10 in Focus" (lots of love for Bill, including someone in the audience dressed like her).

Then I moved over to the Marriott for the panel "Sci-Fic TV 1997: From Fantasy Island to Space: 1999." These were mostly the shows that came out before Star Wars, before the explosion of SF that came afterwards: the two aforementioned programs, and things like Quark, Fantastic Journey, Lucan, Space Academy, etc. This was a fun panel.

From there I went back over to the Hyatt to catch up to James at the Tor preview panel. We only stayed a half hour because we were worried about the elevator situation at the Marriott: we definitely  wanted to see tonight's Atlanta Radio Theatre presentation. But we had no trouble with any of the elevators, so got there early.

One of my favorite things to do years ago was to walk around "The Walk of Fame" and take candid photos of the actors signing autographs. They won't allow you to do this anymore, but since we had time we took a turn around the room. Nathan Fillion wasn't there, but we saw Gil Gerard and Erin Gray and Felix Silla, and then...

I had completely forgotten Megan Follows was at the convention. (She is appearing in the series Reign.) She only had one panel, this morning, and I missed it. To get her autograph would be $40. Sigh. But I did it anyway. I picked a lovely photo of Anne looking at the blossoms on the White Way of Delight and got a chance to speak to her. She is actually very short—read "my height"—and speaks with a charming accent you don't hear as Anne. I told her how much I loved her as Anne, but also that I remembered watching her mother, Dawn Greenhalgh, in Strange Paradise and she seemed amused and surprised that I even remembered it. I mentioned her mother in Doctor Simon Locke, too.

After waiting in the disability line, we were allowed to enter the Imperial Ballroom (a new venue for ARTC) for three presentations: a new adaptation of Thomas Fuller's Nairobi Jack and the Lost Gold of the Atlantimengani, a 30s-type adventure story taking place in Africa with a scientist and his snooty beautiful daughter hiring Nairobi Jack and his sidekick to go into dangerous territory to find the invisible source of the Nile; The Three Galaxateers, a humorous WWII-set story about three science fiction writers (based, as well as we could tell, on Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and James thinks L. Ron Hubbard) who are asked to help with secret projects to end the war; and Rory Rammer, Space Marshal: "The Last Boojum!"

It was a great show, but by the time it ended I was feeling terrible. I used a cane today because my ankle was bothering me and it worked on the carpal tunnel in my left arm so badly that it was hurting from my shoulder to my fingertips, which were tingling. I really just wanted to get home. The elevators were mobbed and we though maybe it was easier trying to get to the street from the Hilton. We went over the skybridge and emerged in a cacaphony of hideous NOISE. A rock band was playing in the lobby so loudly that it felt like the roof was collapsing upon me. We both took a turn in the bathroom and by the time I emerged I was shaking and starting to cry.

So we went back over the skybridge and I remembered the little elevators right at the back there, the ones we used to take downstairs when the dealer's room was in the basement of the Marriott. Blessedly, except for a pizza delivery, they were empty and we got to the street level and out the door and were free to go to the garage and home. Once we were home I took Tucker out and then curled miserably on the sofa with a blanket around me nursing a bad headache. I was very glad to go to bed.

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