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, July 28, 2019
Sparkly Thread and Sparkly Kids
Happily it was back to the routine today. James got up at seven to start work by eight. We'd gone to bed so early I put my alarm on, and it was set to ring at eight, but never went off. So I ended up sleeping till nine. Since it was still mid-70s out, I loaded the washer with the towels, took Tucker for our walk first, then had breakfast.

About 10:30 I popped the towels in the dryer—or thought I did; they were still in the washer when I got home—and ran up to Town Center. Costco had the cheapest gas, and the gas pump allowed me to get gas even though our membership has expired. I guess tossing you out of the line just holds up traffic. Then I went down the hill, past the old Borders Books—I still miss Borders—and across Barrett Parkway to JoAnn.

I had a 30 percent off entire purchase for JoAnn, and had remembered from our previous trip that they had DMC's new Etoile thread line. If you cross stitch and want your stitchery to have a little "sparkle" (like snow or stars), you have to add metallic thread into it, and metallic thread is notoriously difficult to work with. The Etoile line has the sparkle already added to it, as you can see below (ignore the artificially added "star" effect):

I received a free skein of the medium blue with a British cross stitch magazine and wanted to get more, but it popped up at JoAnn only recently. Of the colors above, I got the black,  palest grey/silver, white, kelly green, the milk chocolate brown, the yellow, the darker of the two golds, the true orange, an orange-red, the pure red, the navy blue, the purple, and the frost blue. The white and frost blue are for snow, the red and green for Christmas, then the rest of the spectrum, the brown, red-orange, and gold for autumn, and the navy and the black simply because they looked cool.

At home today I sorted meds; washed, dried, and put away the towels; and washed the master bathroom and charged all the gadgets in it. I warmed up the roast chicken legs I cooked last weekend and we had them with a cucumber salad.

Mostly I updated my blog, had North Woods Law (fish and game police in New Hampshire) on in the background, and watched the new PBS cartoon Molly of Denali. Molly is a young Native Alaskan girl living in the the fictional town of Qyah with her mom, a pilot, and her dad, who runs the local trading post, and her husky dog Suki. Her friends are Tooey, another Native boy, and Trini, a black girl originally from Texas. Molly has a vlog where she relates her adventures online. It encourages kids to read (and use technology usefully), but also to go outside and have contact with nature, to respect their past and enjoy their family. Some stories have to do with animals (Molly and Tooey fear there's a ghost in the bunkhouse, but it's only a lost owl, Molly and Trini go with their friend Nina to watch puffins), others with just fun kid stuff, but the best stories have to do with Molly's native heritage. One story concerned Molly wanting to have a Native name like her parents and grandparents, and she picks out what she thinks she wants her name to be. However, that honor is something a tribal elder gives to you, and she doesn't think her cross aunt will do her justice. In the process Molly makes a list of the village people's Native names, what they mean, and who gave the name to them. It's a very sweet story and the name Molly ends up with is very appropriate. "First Fish" is just plain funny, and illustrates the Native tradition of storytelling. But the most striking story was "Grandpa's Drum," in which Molly finds out why her Grandpa Nat refuses to sing. It's very touching (based on a true story) and I cried at the end.

Molly of Denali

So we just noshed for dinner and watched two episodes of Savage Builds. The airplane dogfight one was interesting, but I thought the food fight one was kind of dumb. Why waste all that food?

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» Saturday, July 27, 2019
Tale of the Unexpected

So Friday morning we had some chores to get to, and these commenced after breakfast.

We started out at Lowe's, finally buying a new toilet seat. The old one lost one of its bolts, and, even before that, had the disconcerting habit of sliding sideways when you sat on it, so with the bolt gone, the sideways effect was even worse. I also picked out a new shower head for the hall bath. We have a hand-held one there that is too high for anyone using the tub to get out of the holder, and it was in what was once a fashionable curve, but didn't work very well, according to at least one person who has used it. I also have to climb up on the side of the tub if I want to get it down to wash Tucker. So I picked out another magnetic one like we have in the master bath. Much cheaper than Bed, Bath & Beyond!

We'd no sooner walked out of the store that I noticed the cover of the box we had picked up. I'd chosen this specific toilet seat because it was nice thick wood, with a nice substantial lid. It also—and it wasn't included on the display copy that I so liked—had a built-in potty seat! So we had to go right back in and return it, then go down to plumbing again and find the correct one (like the one we have in the master bath).

From there we hopped over to Hobby Lobby, where I reveled in the autumn aisles, and I also found a very pretty birthday gift for Juanita, whose party we were going to on Saturday.

And finally we stopped at Batteries+Bulbs to get two new bulbs for the floodlights outside our neighborhood complex.

I had a "free stir fry bowl" for Tin Drum, so we picked up late lunch/early supper there: I ordered a regular teriyaki bowl, substituting steak, and James had the same, but I asked them to "spice it up." He said they did quite well.

Finished the evening with more Perry Mason, not staying up as late as last night because I was thinking if we just happened to wake up around eight we could go to the Farmer's Market.

Alas, it wasn't to be. I'd taken my shower and was in the bedroom while James had his. I heard him call, "Um, Linda..."

He had been finishing rinsing off and started having chest pains between his shoulders (moderately painful, no jaw, arm pain, no chest pressure, no shortness of breath), in front. So he stayed sitting on the toilet and I got him a nitroglycerin tablet and set the timer for five minutes as we had been instructed. When the five minutes was over I gave him another—and then started to get ready to leave: threw some computer gadgets in a bag and a charge cord and the phones, then got snacks and started pulling on clothes. By then five minutes was up and he was still hurting. I was already dressed, he pulled on a shirt and pants and shoes, and we went off to the emergency room at Cobb General. He took a third nitro on the way there. No help.

Of course they took an EKG immediately, and then moved us into the back. Not much to tell after that: they hooked him up to a blood pressure monitor, and started taking blood tests. Eventually the pain went away and we kind of chilled out. At one point we were so bored—bored was good, but it was 3 a.m. and we were exhausted—I put an episode of Perry Mason on my tablet. The first blood test was slightly elevated, but the doctor told us that he had seen James' chart and knew he had kidney problems, and sometimes this enzyme is elevated in kidney-problem people. He also said James' EKG looked okay. In between I tried to doze, but the chair was so uncomfortable. I think they do this on purpose to drum up business for orthopedics!

After Perry Mason and flopping back down, they did a second blood test and this came out completely normal, so they discharged James with instructions to contact his cardiologist, and we made it home about 7 a.m., witnessing a really gorgeous sunrise. I walked the dog, then stripped off my clothes, found a blanket, and staggered to bed. James had had a couple of naps while he was lying on the hospital bed, and he tried to sleep, but finally got back up. He was up most of the day, only dozing off a couple of times, which amazed me, as I was pretty much nonfunctional all day: I got up around eleven, ate breakfast, sat back down on the sofa,  and fell asleep again. I woke up with my back hurting, so retired to the futon. I figured I would hear James' furosimide alarm go off, but keep forgetting it only rings during the workweek. So he woke me up at 4:30 to go to Juanita's birthday dinner at 5:30, and I had to scramble because I still hadn't wrapped her gift or found a card in our collection. I managed to do this in ten minutes and then another ten to get dressed.

Well, we got there on time, and had a great dinner. Lots of folks came and we talked and hugged each other, and watched Juanita open her gifts and cards.

We weren't up very long after we got home. James "ran out of gas" about 9:30 and we went off to bed not soon after. No recurrence of the pain. Tomorrow James will telework and send an e-mail to his doctor. I want him to telework until we hear from the doctor and find out if he wants to see James, or have him take further tests. I think it will be safest.

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» Thursday, July 25, 2019
Tale of the Buckhead Trip

Since I'd done shopping at Lidl earlier in the week, we needed little at Publix. James got more lunchmeat, we picked up twofers, and finally got bread and yogurt. Groceries away, what shall we do the rest of the day?

We went into Buckhead to visit the Barnes & Noble. I had one coupon left and since they seem to have the most stock, I was hoping to find something unusual.

James came home with about four magazines and a discounted game. I didn't realize Tasha Alexander's Uneasy Lies the Crown was out in paperback, but it was already discounted. So was a book about an introvert who works in a bookstore, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill. To use with the coupon I found a nifty travel book, I Married Adventure, first published in 1940, about a woman who accompanied her husband and his airplane on all sorts of nifty places: Africa, Bali, etc.

Also got the "Just Cross Stitch" Hallowe'en issue, which has several patterns that are just fall, or can be made into just fall (including a cute sheep bookmark).

Otherwise it was a quiet day. Finished up the day watching Perry Mason.

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» Sunday, July 21, 2019
"I Am So Over the Moon"

I am never over the moon--
She is my constant companion
On nocturnal ramblings
(Since the dog is occupied with
Matters aromatic).
Sometimes her face is veiled
With clouds of wisp-ered tatters,
Or heavier curtains of moist vapor
Through which she manages to glow
A damp greeting.
And when, once monthly,
she turns her face away as if embarrassed,
I content myself with awaiting
A fresh curvette of light
As she gains her composure
To smile again at her freedom,
And me at the end of a leash.

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» Saturday, July 20, 2019
Happy 50th Anniversary, Apollo 11!

Here are the "moon brownies" we took to Hair Day. The "moon rocks" are edible, candy-coated like M&Ms. (Lunch was roast chicken and pork roast, James' green beans, and scalloped potatoes. Lin bought Moonpies and moon themed Oreos, which we also brought.)

Spent the afternoon watching the ABC news coverage of Apollo 11 that I found the other day on YouTube. We'd already watched NBC's coverage, with all the familiar faces I remember: David Brinkley and Frank McGee, and even Floyd Kalber. The ABC coverage was interesting. While the assembled NBC coverage pretty much stuck to covering the launch, spacewalk, and recovery, with a few things like Floyd Kalber interviewing a guy who was down on Merritt Island for the launch, ABC's combined footage has a whole bunch of interesting things besides monitoring the flight: Peter Jennings doing the news (Chappaquiddick), a conversation between Bill Moyers and Marshall McLuhan and another guy whose name I didn't catch about the worth of the space program, a minister praying, Duke Ellington performing an original moon song, and Rod Serling interviewing SF Frederick Pohl, Isaac Asimov, and John Pierce (who I'd never heard of), and interviews with the public: people watching on the streets of NYC, listening on the beach in LA, and the White Sox stopping their game to announce the moon landing and to say a prayer for the astronauts. ABC's animations were better, though.

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» Friday, July 19, 2019
Lunch Amongst the Chores

Oh, my, I could have slept later. But then I always say that.

Once breakfast was eaten and dogwalking was completed, we decided to make a quick trip to Kroger. Milk was on sale, and we needed to pick up a few more things. At almost eleven on a Friday the parking lot was still packed. We took the car since we could be sure of carts, and did our shopping. Found a small chuck roast to cook up in the small crock pot, and also bacon-flavor maple syrup on clearance.  We do have another pork roast in the freezer...

Put up the groceries and did some tidying, then were off to Top Spice for lunch. I've been wanting to go back since we ate here for Betty's birthday in 2017. James and Phyllis had been chatting at the last Hair Day about how much he missed Myriad lunches, so yesterday I had sent out a clumsy group text asking several people if they wanted to join us. We only heard from Alice and Ken, so I must either assume I had wrong phone numbers or something else went wrong. I'll have to ask at Hair Day tomorrow.

Anyway, we had a nice meal and a good chat. Alas, Alice and Ken had to go off to Kaiser at Glenlake to discuss some medical problems as soon as we finished. Nothing better than trucking eastbound in Atlanta on a Friday afternoon. {that's sarcasm, folks}

We took care of two HOA errands on the way home. One was going to the bank, as James has been unable to access the HOA account online for over a year. We had a rough idea how much was in the account from the last time we were at the bank, but I had just bought a new account book for keeping track of the funds and I wanted an accurate number. Our previous treasurer used a bank for the HOA account that she went to frequently for work, as combining the tasks was efficient for her. It's damn near impossible for anyone working nine to five, as this bank has no late or Saturday hours at all and is around an obscure corner behind Cumberland Mall. I think we need to move the whole account to somewhere closer and friendlier, like the LGE credit union, because the place always makes me feel like I'm too poor to even walk in the door. However, the teller was very nice and got everything straightened out for us. [Later: However, we still never received an e-mail to reset the password!]

Once we got an accurate accounting from the bank (I wasn't too far off, and the real total is in the account's favor), we stopped at the post office to renew the post office box for the HOA for another year. The line moved quickly, which was good for James' back, hips, and knees (we didn't have the power chair), and the post office people nice, but we discovered that the change of account that James and the old secretary did two years ago was nowhere to be found in the paperwork. So the person had to call the previous secretary up and make sure this was legit, and then we redid the paperwork so the box is now in James' name.

We had one more HOA thing to do—pick up some light bulbs for the two spotlights at the development entrance; they have them at Batteries Plus—but James was starting to twitch in pain, so we headed home instead; we can go another day.

Spent the afternoon watching the NBC coverage of Apollo 11 that I found on YouTube. Lunch was so big (I got another meal's worth of leftovers!) that I just had a sandwich and James had some soup. Later I baked some "moon brownies" for Hair Day tomorrow, similar to the "moon cake" from six years ago (Hair Day was July 20 that Saturday, too) and we watched three more episodes of From the Earth to the Moon.

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» Thursday, July 18, 2019
The Heat, the Rain, and Other Things (Like Toilet Tissue)

So the first morning of the first day of our weekend was spent shopping. Alas, it was stock-up time at Sam's Club, so it was an expensive trip. We needed toilet tissue, Swiffer floor wipes, mandarin orange cups, and about six other things. James also gassed up the truck there. By the time we got there it was almost eleven and things had begun to simmer: it was already up in the high eighties with the heat index several degrees higher. What saved the day from being an oven were an abundance of big fluffy clouds and a nice breeze (but there was change on the horizon).

We stuffed everything in the back of the truck and went to Publix for assorted twofers and things that can only be bought at Publix (like Toufeyan wraps, as it's burrito-making time for James again). As we arrived, just opposite us was an SUV with a handicapped tag. One of the store carts was parked next to the open car door, but the woman driving the vehicle didn't seem to be getting out. Anyway, we got James' chair off the lift and he went directly inside; as he did, I looked toward the woman and she called out "Can you help me?"

Well, it turned out some kind person had brought one of the store mobility carts to her, but had parked it too close to the door before moving on. Try as she might, there was no room for her feet between the SUV and the cart, so she couldn't maneuver to turn and sit down on it. She asked if I could move the cart forward a little and then back it up so there was some space for her to get out of the seat. Sure! Happy to do it, too.

Then we had to offload all the stuff at home and put up the perishables. We both had a sandwich, then decided to do something more fun: go out to Hobby Lobby and Barnes & Noble. Looked around a bit at the bookstore and picked up the newest Sister Lou mystery. When we came out of the store there were many more clouds than there had been earlier and we could both see where it was raining north of us. So we made tracks over to Hobby Lobby. Happily it has been invaded by autumn—two full aisles and two half aisles of fall decorations already (and some standing displays as well, along with a back wall), and Christmas being stocked in the corners and around the side. I bought some discount autumn leaf stickers for my journal, and James found chocolate rocks for the "moon brownies" we are making for Hair Day on Saturday along with a couple of small modeling items on sale.

I had heard a clap of thunder while we were in the store, and the clouds were boiling and grey all around us with a spit of rain in the air. So we covered the power chair and no sooner had we banged the doors to the cab of the truck than it started to rain. Whew. Apparently, however, it was raining only over the Akers Mill shopping center because the rest of the ride was relatively dry and we didn't have to run for cover getting the chair back in the garage.

Tonight James cooked the Italian sausage we bought at Patak's for supper, which we had with the leftover potatoes from supper last night. It was outstanding, not peppery at all, just savory enough, and not even overly salty. We'll have to go back and get more.

Spent the rest of the night watching the new Blu-Ray presentation of HBO's Emmy-winning From the Earth to the Moon, which came in the mail yesterday. It's been completely restored from the original prints, and they redid all the special effects, which were all in standard definition, because they would have looked crummy on an otherwise HD-quality presentation. We did the first three episodes, "Can We Do This?," "Apollo 1," and "We Have Cleared the Tower" last night, and then five tonight: "1968," our favorite episode "Spider," "Mare Tranquillitatis," our second favorite "That's All There Is," and finally "We Interrupt This Program."

My reaction to the new special effects is mixed. I knew they had to revise them, but some of it works and some of it doesn't. Some shots look extraordinary, like the rocket launch of Freedom 7, where you can see every rivet of the Mercury capsule and the Redstone rocket. In general the spacecraft look good, except for the lunar modules. They've done the two stages in a matte flat grey that looks...well, flat. They look CGI, where a lot of the other stuff doesn't. The moonscapes are outstanding, but I think they've oversaturated most of the views of the Earth; the blue looks almost too blue, the continents too defined. We have an atmosphere that makes the edges of things look a bit fuzzy in real life, so the hard edges of a CGI Earth are unnatural-looking.

The re-do also ruined one of my favorite scenes at the very end of "Can We Do This?" in which Buzz Aldrin is maneuvering outside the Gemini 12 capsule and docked Agena. As the two spacecraft come toward the camera in the original, Buzz lifts his right hand and the blue flickers of St. Elmo's Fire (static electricity) dance on his gloves and between his fingers, and there is a close-up of him staring at it in wonder and flexing his fingers. It's very magical. In the reshot version, we see the blue fire on his hands only from a distance and, while it is obvious that he is looking at the hand, it doesn't have the air of magic that the close-up did.

The sound is brilliant. I listen to "The Tech Guy" every weekend and usually on the Saturday edition audio guy Scott Wilkinson is raving about Dolby ATMOS. Now I know why. It really sounds that good, and in the restoration they actually put some sounds in, like the gantries creaking in "We Have Cleared the Tower." When the spacecraft dock, you hear a "boom!" not a click, and the music fidelity is to die for (alas, we still did not get an isolated score; there seems no way to get HBO to release a score album for this show).

One thing that is surprising: the opening music to "Spider" has always been Barry Gray's jaunty Fireball XL-5 theme song, as recorded for the television series. On this restored version, the song is still used, but it's a different arrangement and singer. All we can think of is that HBO retained the rights to use the song, but not to use the original version.

If there is anything bad about rewatching this series, it's when you get to "We Interrupt This Program," which deals with Apollo 13. It's not the least interesting episode—to me that's the Apollo 11 episode (yeah, strange how they managed that)—but possibly the most painful one. Having been made only three years after the hit film with Tom Hanks, From the Earth to the Moon chose to go in a different direction with the Apollo 13 story rather than rehash the movie.

In the opening episode, a fictional television news reporter named Emmett Seaborn, played by veteran character actor Lane Smith, is established as a character who spans the entire series. He's a seasoned reporter of the old school, rather a cross between Walter Cronkite and ABC's science reporter Jules Bergman. "We Interrupt This Program" chronicles how the Apollo 13 crisis was handled by the news media, who already seemed bored with covering spaceflight—until it seems like death might be involved. Watching this episode means watching once again how a shit-faced sensation-mongering asshole named Brent Hutchings, with the full support of the new network suit, undermined an educated, real newsman like Emmett Seaborn, and realizing once more what happened to news reporting in this country when it slowly became more about ratings and innuendo and "if it bleeds it leads" instead of real journalism that tried to inform and educate rather than titillate. I always finish the episode angry and wanting to wash my brain out with soap.

And with that, I think I'll go off and take a shower and see if I can't get some of the soap to seep in there. Ugh.

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» Friday, July 12, 2019
Eighteen Days of the Doctor: The James Report
On June 24, Midsummer Day (and halfway to Christmas Eve), we made the long trek out to Kaiser's Glenlake facility so James could have a checkup with his cardiologist. This time there were no knee problems as there had been in March. The doctor seemed fairly pleased except for some concern with a little weight gain. We are keeping tabs on this, but it seems chiefly from James' change in schedule. When he has to go into work, we aren't eating until eight o'clock; then to get up at 6:15, we have to head to bed after the ten o'clock news does the weather. He is better off when he teleworks; we can eat the larger meal in the afternoon and then he has the whole afternoon to walk back and forth to the bathroom, exercise fueled by furosimide. On our three-day weekends we are also trying to eat our big meal in the midafternoon, when the situation presents.

The worst part of this trip was going down to the pharmacy. I had to renew all my prescriptions. Ouch.

This week was a whole slough of appointments for James. On Wednesday he had two in a row, first with his nephrelogist and then with the dermatologist. The nephrelogist was pleased (except with the weight) and, according to the blood test James had last week, his creatitine is holding steady at 2.3 (same as in March). His only worry was that James' Vitamin D was low; it went from 25 to 20. So now he is on the same 50,000AU a week I am, but at least he's not as bad: I was 14.

We were done at 2:30 and just had to cross the hall to see the dermatologist. She was impressed by his two scars. The scar from the skin cancer he had removed in March can scarcely be seen and the other one from May looks just like a thin line down near his left ear. (Dr. Wagner does super work.) The dermatologist froze off two little moles on his left hand and then sent us off. The hand was painful and slightly swollen that night and he had to take pain meds, but we weren't sure if it was from the treatment or the arthritis problems he's been having lately.

Today we saw the rheumatologist. This is James' usual quarterly trip to get steroid shots in his knees, but he ended up not getting them. He has been complaining a good deal about pain in the past month and I thought it was about time he discussed it with the doctor. It's keeping him from sleeping, his left hand is slightly swollen all the time which interferes with his work, and any attempt at exercise makes his back and hips scream loudly. Since he can't take ibuprofin or naproxin for pain due to the kidney damage, his next recourse may be permanent doses of pain meds, which he doesn't want. We actually keep them sequestered and he has to be in a great deal of agony to take them, but he has for the past two days.

James' rheumatologist is very nice. He heard him out, ordered x-rays, and then also ordered a short course of steroids to see if that helped at all (this is why he didn't get the knee shots; it would OD him on steroids). (This makes us wince. Steroids will not help the weight problem and will also play hob with the diabetes.) Then James will go back in August to see if the steroids have done any good, and get the knee shots. I made an appointment for the same day. I have been having annoying pain in the muscles of my right arm, especially at my shoulder joint, for about a month now. It ranges from "oh, there it is" to "damn, that hurts" and I can't properly reach up into cupboards anymore without some pain. The worst is when it wakes me in the middle of the night. No matter what position my right arm is in as I lie on my left side, it hurts—except, and this is the kicker, if I turn over on my right side and actually lie on it. You would think it would hurt worse, but instead I get a brief stab of pain and then it quits and I can sleep. Bizarre.

Anyway, so that's where James stands. Paging Dr. Kildare (although maybe in this house it should be Dr. Locke...).

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» Sunday, July 07, 2019
No Boom Today

And no boom after the Fourth at all, to which Tucker enjoyed. I still had to coax him out for the next two evenings.

We spent a relatively quiet remainder of the weekend aside from the Publix shopping trip and a brief stop at Kaiser to get James a blood test before next week's doctors' appointments. Got lunch from Tin Drum on Friday, and basically hung around the house on Saturday reading. We had our Independence Day steak on Saturday night. After marinating for two days it was succulent.

Sunday it was back to the routine: towel washing and sorting meds while James was working. I also took down the Independence Day decorations before the sun swung around and made the brick-lined front porch a bake oven, and updated the little used Surface 3 tablet he bought a month ago. It had never gotten all its Windows updates and I also went in there and shut down any communicating the little rascal was doing with Microsoft and everyone else so that we wouldn't almost go over our data minutes this month (we just squeaked by last month and I think it was because the Windows computers are set up to constantly report back to Mama).

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» Thursday, July 04, 2019
...If Only They'd Stop Shooting at Me

We had a very nice Independence Day. I can't say it was the same for poor Tucker. People have been popping of fireworks all week and it has frightened him so much that he doesn't want to walk before bed.

We'd been up late the night before, so were correspondingly late in getting up. Once breakfast was over and Tucker was walked (at that point the popping was quieted), I put on our usual Independence Day entertainment, 1776. While the film was on, James made some sugar-free brownies, and I marinated a steak, and once it ended, we gathered up our contributions and drove out to the Butlers for a nice afternoon of food and friendship. There was so much food that we ended up not even using our steak. We had brought hot dogs that I'd bought earlier in the year in a fit of insanity (if it were a small pack, it would have been different, but it was a big pack and they were much too salty for James to eat), the brownies (which were quite good for box brownies, so we have a new snack that James can have), and some mixed chips to share. There were two lovely pies (and Lin made the piecrust twists I so love), potato salad, baked beans, hummus, pita chips, and other goodies, plus sausage, chicken, hot dogs, and hamburgers.

Best of all, Colin Butler was visiting for the weekend. He had to go out of state (Salem, MA) to find a job in his field (nutrition), and is finally adjusting—after getting snow his first week there in March. He's getting some great experience designing foods for well-known restaurants, and is also working part time as a personal trainer hoping to get experience at that. If he's up there still in October, he'll have a great time in the craziness that goes on in Salem at Hallowe'en.

Clair, alas, had to come without Daniel; he'd had a dental visit yesterday and the dentist recommended cool and rest, so she and his brother left him with Netflix and the cat in the cool. It has been so hot lately that just parking and walking a few feet up the hill and up the driveway was a chore.

A little after six folks started wandering off. Alice and Ken and James and I had the same excuse: going home to keep the dog placated.

My problem when we got home was trying to get on some type of large screen. After two years of broadcasting the Boston Pops concert on Bloomberg TV, they decided to just do it on TV in the Boston area and do everyone else on their website. My natural choice was to go through the browser on our "Smart" television. Unfortunately the browser is stupid. It won't do live feeds, and there's apparently no way to update the stupid thing. I thought the Blu-Ray player had a browser in it, but it doesn't. So the natural choice would be to pull it up on the computer in a Chrome browser and then "cast" it to the TV, since the Chromecast has worked flawlessly when we've used it previously. Well, guess what. It cast fine, but all it cast was a Bloomberg logo. Apparently they're trying to stop you projecting events for a paying audience or something.

However, I was skimming through Facebook posts and someone was watching it through the Bloomberg channel on Roku. Hey, we can do that! And that's how we watched.

The concert was pretty good. The young lady (I think from America's Got Talent or one of those reality things) who sang the National Anthem sang it straight and didn't warble or wail. The "1812 Overture" was great as always. The only problem came at the end. The bimbos from Bloomberg declared that the whole last portion of the show ("1812," "Stars and Stripes Forever," and the fireworks) would be shown without commercial interruption. Maybe on Bloomberg TV, but we suckers watching on got two nasty commercial breaks, including one that completely ate up the fireworks finale. Creeps.

When we got through with that, I put on "Capitol Fourth," which I'd recorded previously. Some nice musical selections, a nice tribute to the moon landing, but a little bit too much of the Sesame Street Muppets interacting with John Stamos, who was a terrible host. He kept mugging to the camera and kept dragging his toddler son on stage. Gawd, what a farce. Then because it was still overcast in DC after the rain today, the smoke from the fireworks pretty much obliterated most of the view of them. They seemed to use a lot of red and yellow, which came together in waves of orange that made it look like the British were burning the city again.

While we were enjoying all the pops and bangs, Tucker was miserable. I made sure to take him out immediately when we came home so he wouldn't have to go out after dark and he was still reluctant about it, even though there was not much popping. But as soon as darkness fell the fireworks began. The people down the street were the quietest: they just shot off some small things and had crackers and poppers. But someone, or two someones, rather, on the main street, in two different locations, had come armed for Iwo Jima. Heck, all we would have had to do was walk out to the main street to get a show almost as good as on TV, and if the trees were shorter could have seen it from the front porch.

Tucker was either tucked shivering between James' legs or lying a-tremble under my seat all night, and he would not even come sit in my lap (or James' lap for that matter) as he has done on previous years. I had put Snowy's birdcage next to me on the sofa so he could listen to the music with us, and he was singing happily throughout both shows. I finally said soothingly to Tucker, "See, brother isn't afraid. Listen to him singing." Darned if Tucker didn't move himself under the birdcage for a little while (until James came back to sit in his recliner, anyway). I remember Willow doing this when she was scared, curling up under Bandit's cage, the budgie guarding the dog!

Luckily the noise didn't go on as long as it has in previous years and by bedtime it was quiet, and he was okay with receiving his cookie and going to bed.

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