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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» Monday, May 28, 2018
Holidays in Hush

It was a very low-key holiday weekend. The high point was Hair Day on Saturday morning. Charles brought sandwich fixings and Lin made oriental salad—the lunchmeats were delicious, but if we got a message one day that said the only thing they had for lunch was Lin's oriental salad, I'd be perfectly happy! I had two sandwiches and four helpings of salad. Phyllis and Mel were able to come and it was nice to see both of them feeling better.

We were so full we didn't even have supper. That evening I saw the musical film Singin' in the Rain for the first time. I've heard about this movie for years and never have seen it. It was funny and fun to watch, but I wish it had been on when James was in the hospital. We could have used a movie like this to pass the time!

Since we'd done all the shopping on Friday, we had Sunday to ourselves. James went down to the man cave, I did chores and read magazines. During the evening we watched the National Memorial Day concert from the Mall in Washington, DC. The stories are always inspiring, but the music was excellent this year. Nobody "warbled" the National Anthem.

James gathered karma points on Memorial Day by working. It's double time and hopefully will make up for his two iron infusions. I slept late and then started working on a web page about Gladys Taber.

God bless all those who gave their lives so James could horse around with his models and I could get some sleep. There is no amount of thanks that can ever repay their sacrifice.

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» Friday, May 25, 2018
Cleanup City
So I finally went out last weekend and bought a battery-powered hedge cutter. I should have done it years ago; I've probably killed as many heavy-duty electrical cords with the electric one as the battery-powered one cost. Monday morning I plugged in the battery and went to work on the bushes. It works a treat; the hardest part was cleaning up the cut-off branches. I had to quit when the sun worked its way around to the front of the house, but St. Francis can see out again.

Later on that day I finally shelved all those books in the library, and packed my work stuff in a Xerox paper box. Doesn't take care of it, but gets it out of the way.

Later in the week I pulled my "old" typewriter (old being an operative word, as my manual Smith Corona went the way of the dodo bird in the early 1980s; its replacement, the electric typewriter "Treasure" in the late 1980s—this was an electric typewriter I bought at Lechmere about 1989 or 1990) out of the closet, just to see if it worked. Surprisingly, it did, but only for a few minutes, and then I started getting error messages out of it. Not sure why. But that keyboard still felt good! You can't get a typewriter keyboard feel even with a clicky computer keyboard.

Otherwise I've been cleaning up little things: washing floors, scrubbing bathrooms, the like, and went to a doctor's appointment with James.

Tossed off a small watercolor painting this week, too. My weaknesses are all very evident.

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» Saturday, May 19, 2018
...And Someone Got Married

Yes, yes, I did get up early for the last royal wedding, DVR'ing the first two hours, but live at six. It wasn't that I was so into "Wills" and Kate, but more that I love seeing all those lovely historic buildings, vehicles, and the wonderful horses! (Not to mention those mysterious "fascinators" that the ladies wore; some of them were very pretty or cute hats, and some were just plain strange, like the spider hat Princess Beatrice wore.

Alas, the body seven years ago and the body today are two different things. I let the DVR do the job (recorded BBC America and, God help us, Today) and slept until eight, and then we dressed and ate and went to the Marietta Square Farmer's Market. We haven't been in a dog's age, not since it was cold, and maybe cold and 2017. The days have gotten all blurred.

We took Tucker with us and had a nice time, despite the fact the sun came out and because of the past few days of rain it was very humid. We had veg, so we just bought two big scones for dessert, a little chocolate cake, some pound cake to eat the rest of the strawberries over, and dog biscuits for Tucker. He was overwhelmed by all the dogs he could sniff noses with, including a snobby Corgi, a dog three times his size and still a puppy, and a little half-pit-bull who was being socialized by his girl, not to mention the rescue greyhounds ("Mommy, they're so skinny! We need to get them some dog food!"). Two little girls petted him, and he stopped to be petted by innumerable adults. At one point he was nose-to-nose with a huge harlequin Great Dane! When we were done shopping we crossed the square to the Local Exchange so I could pick up The Best Pretzels in the World, and then we waited a few minutes so I could go into the candy store and stock up on mint julep chews again (I finished the last bag, which I bought in December, just a few days ago; I'm trying to be good with them).

Oh, I saw calendulas for the first time today at a flower booth. I had to ask what they were. The blossoms looked like narrow, pale blue teacups with fluted edges. I also saw real snapdragons, yellow and orange. They looked like larger versions of butter-and-eggs (toadflax) and were quite lovely.

We brought Tucker and the goodies home, then gathered up our coupons and went up to Town Center, stopping by Bed, Bath & Beyond to get a new fan for James (his just died out of nowhere), and then went to JoAnn with coupons. I didn't have anything I needed except for Scotch mounting tape, so I bought some things for [censored] for [censored]. (Sorry, the person won't get them for a couple of months.)

We had lunch at the Twisted Noodle, then climbed the hill to Costco to feed the truck, then headed home.

Now I am on the DVR watching the BBC coverage...I wish they would stop talking about ladies' hats and identify more of the crowd. Of course they pointed out Idris Elba, Oprah Winfrey, and George Clooney, but who was that neat guy with the Georgian beard?

[There wasn't even enough going on Sunday the 20th to write an entry. We watched the end of Little Women. Unsatisfactory whole, but good parts. I liked Maya Hawke as Jo.]

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» Friday, May 18, 2018
Out, Out, Damn Clutter
I haven't done one of these in a while; this is what I've been up to now that I'm not running back and forth to the hospital. Again. Also can report I have lost 25 pounds since last year. Unfortunately still have much work to do on that. More walking, more stair climbing, more biking. Unfortunately with summer here, I am not going to want to go outside any time after ten a.m.! So I can loathe summer now for another reason: I need to get up earlier! 😄
  • Drains in bathrooms have been cleaned with vinegar and baking soda, with a boiling water chaser.
  • Had two new tires installed on my car.
  • Finally got Tucker bathed (as well as his bedding).
  • Scrubbed out the master bath shower compartment. (I love my spin scrubber!)
  • Cleaned out floor of hall closet and tossed some stuff.
  • Cleaned in front of my computer desk and polished it.
  • Contributed to post office food drive.
  • Cleaned out the spare room closet. Tossed a bunch of odd papers out, got convention programs all boxed, made all the tissue paper and wrapping paper neat, added another box to store gifts (also found paint-by-number oil paintings of Lassie that I did in the 70s).
  • Brought a bunch of stuff to Goodwill, including the old Epson printer I got from Amazon Vine.
Had to go to the doctor again with James. Nothing scary. When he was on the dialysis they took him off all his blood pressure drugs and off his potassium tablets, because people on dialysis are not supposed to have too much potassium. Well, now that he's off dialysis his blood pressure has gone creeping up, and over seven days he gained seven pounds. So on Wednesday the visiting nurse got him an appointment for Thursday. It went fine, except for being forgotten for ninety minutes. Dr. Mobley put James back on two furosimide (Lasix, a diuretic) and two KTab (potassium) a day, and we picked up prescriptions we needed in the pharmacy.

(And boy, did the furosimide work well. His output was six liters and he lost all seven pounds overnight. He didn't drink anywhere near that much. We told the nurse we were going to cut down to one a day, and she said that was okay. By Saturday morning he lost three more pounds.)

I have much, much more work to do. The library looks like a bomb went off in it. All my stuff from work is still down there, and I must have thirty or forty books to shelve. I also have to cull out photos from the autumn and winter magazines. Plus I have several strings of still good Christmas lights I want to save. And a desk I don't want that I need to disassemble because otherwise it won't come out of the library.

So we actually spent a very quiet Mother's Day weekend. On Saturday James went to his club meeting for the first time in three months while I watched a few more episodes of The Crown in preparation for Prince Harry and Meghan's wedding. People have seen Prince Philip for so long they don't realize how unpopular it was for Queen Elizabeth to have married him! On Mother's Day the biggest thing we did was watch the new version of Little Women. I am torn on it. I do like the way Marmee is portrayed; more careworn and less perfect, especially as played by Susan Sarandon. Maya Hawke is a good Jo. I love Beth with her freckles and their showing how difficult it was for her to go to the Lawrences. Laurie looks the part, but not much spark. Meg rather slips into the wallpaper and Amy seems...almost wicked. Angela Lansbury is delightful as Aunt March. They are trying to use sort of "American music," banjos and harmonicas and things, and it doesn't seem to fit.

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» Tuesday, May 08, 2018
You Can't Make This Stuff Up! Coda Ultimate
Another blood test today!!! Creatitine 2.1 and GFR is 33! I am delighted and flabbergasted. Dr. K has cancelled the dialysis and has cancelled the vascular surgery on Friday as well.

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» Friday, May 04, 2018
Gone Running to WHOlanta

Today was a very full day. James had the day off, but he had errands to run. We had breakfast and I walked Tucker, he cleaned up the kitchen a little and I mopped the upstairs bathroom floors, vacuumed upstairs, and vacuumed the stairs and swept the foyer. James left halfway through those chores to go to work to pick up and check and talk to his boss about his work schedule (since he's been officially cleared to go back to work, but if he goes in to the office he will need to use the restroom frequently) and then go to the bank.

Once I finished with my chores I got dressed and went to Kroger for mushrooms and milk. I also called my mechanic and finally ordered the two new tires that the car needs. I have no idea when I will get the brakes done. That's going to be expensive and I keep using up my money on paying for emergency room co-pays.

James got home just in time for the visiting nurse's appointment, except she was late, and so was the physical therapy nurse who was supposed to come an hour later; they had both run into traffic. Both nurses were really nice, but we had to tell the entire medical saga again. In the meantime I had cooked some chicken thighs and made them into sandwiches for lunch at WHOlanta, since I really didn't want to waste time eating when I could be attending panels. James made his own sandwiches, and we popped them in the fridge, then gathered up all our stuff, stopped at Kroger for gasoline, and then braved the freeway for the ride down to WHOlanta's new hotel, the Atlanta Hilton Airport. Traffic was a fat bitch until we reached I-20 and everyone diverged, and then it was clear sailing.

At home we had discussed stopping at a restaurant and having an early supper (we had had a burger each for lunch and more of Wendy's delicious limeade) because we didn't know the price on the restaurants at the hotels (there are three and a quickie mart), but Clay and Maggi were already on their way up and we wanted to eat with them. Once we parked we couldn't leave the lot again, so we decided to chance it.

Registration was already open by the time we arrived, and this was quick and painless. We sat down to talk with Alice and Ken when Clay and Maggi showed up. Opening ceremonies were at six, so eventually the six of us started looking for a place to eat. We were going to try the Italian restaurant, but it wasn't open on Fridays! You could order food at the bar, but not a real meal. WTF? The quickie place charged $12 for prepackaged sandwiches, so we decided to go downstairs to the sports bar, the Finish Line. The waitress was nice, but the service was terribly slow. There were two appetizers on the menu, wings or nachos, a couple of really expensive salads, and then five burgers or sandwiches, ranging from $12 - $16, and only one entree, salmon for $24! Most of us got the steak and cheese with some fries. Instead of a nice full hoagie roll we got (after a half hour of waiting) these tiny sandwiches like you might get at afternoon tea, and a container of fries smaller than the small fries at a fast food joint. This "repast" cost $13 each! Screw this place! I'm making another sandwich for lunch; James already got four sandwiches out of his chicken and had enough.

Anyway, went to opening ceremonies, and then the first panel, "A Genre is a Genre is a Genre," about the increasing number of subgenres into what used to be simply "science fiction," "fantasy," and "horror." Now we have "urban fantasy," "steampunk," "dieselpunk," and at least two or three dozen more subgenres. I think everyone felt it was sort of confusing, but that it was basically a marketing attempt to target different readers.

After this panel, James was on a panel about gaming, but I went to "Red, White & Who: The PBS Experience," basically talking about how each of us found Doctor Who in the US. Yes, there were some episodes that were released into syndication in 1978—most of us remember the Tom Baker stories with the Howard daSilva narrations that premiered on local stations (it was WLNE in Rhode Island)—but we watched the majority of Who on PBS, along with other SF and other imports (Blake's 7, Red Dwarf, Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and of course stuff like the Britcoms and All Creatures Great and Small. (When Peter Davison took over for Tom Baker, most PBS viewers already knew him as Tristan.)

Since Aubrey Spivey was on the panel, we stayed for one last one, about diversity in young adult lit. I am for diversity in more than YA, thank you, like in cozy mysteries. I'm tired of reading the same generic whitebread woman starting a new craft shop or bake shop and meeting the most gorgeous guy in town and they lock horns about solving mysteries. (He's usually a detective or with the police.) They live in picturesque little towns. (Okay, I do like some of these. The Manor House mysteries, for instance. The Postmistress mysteries, which, okay, I bought because they took place in Massachusetts. I liked Celebration Bay, but I think the author ran out of ideas.) That's why I love the Ellie Rush mysteries and have found another new series with an Asian lead. Are there U.S. cozies with African-American or other ethnic leads?

Oh, I didn't mention the convention charity this year is a no-kill shelter, Furkids. Well, at their table today they had the most adorable dog. He was about a year old, reminded us a good deal of Willow, with a light brown and white coat, but his tail was curled like a spitz, and he had the most adorable undershot little jaw, with his lower teeth sticking out. He was stinkin' adorable cute, named Simba, and if we could actually afford another vet bill I think Tucker would have had a little brother this weekend.

Finally we wended our way back home, I walked Tucker again, and we were soon off to bed.

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» Thursday, May 03, 2018
You Can't Make This Stuff Up! Coda
So James got blood taken on Monday; to our amazement his creatitine was back down to 2.6 with a GFR of 26, even after the temporary blockage. Dr. K called us first thing Tuesday morning; he was going to call DaVita and discussed discontinuing the dialysis, but he wanted yet another blood test. James teleworked all day Tuesday and all day Wednesday, and we went to Kaiser after work to get another blood test. This time the creatitine was 2.4 with a GFR of 28. I was frankly flabbergasted because James' creatitine hasn't been under 2.6 since January of 2016. The dialysis is cancelled and the doctor wants him to cancel the fistula surgery. We are undecided about this. All the nephrologists have told us James will eventually need dialysis, so it would be expedient to put it in. But after the fistula is put in, he can't have blood pressure taken on that arm or IVs put in. It would also be another surgery.

Dr. K has asked us to have another test on Tuesday, and I guess then we will decide.

In the meantime we saw a different cardiologist for a followup on Thursday. I think we confused him with this story. God knows we are confused; think of coming into it now. He did look at the wound where the permacath was—it was scabbed over handsomely with a nice thick scab. The doctor said it was okay, so we covered it up with a waterproof bandage and James got to take a real shower for the first time since March 8! He was so happy.

Unfortunately his next urology test is not until mid-June, and only if he passes it will he be able to have the TURP. Meanwhile he will have to live with the foley catheter.