Yet Another Journal

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

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

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» Saturday, August 31, 2019
DragonCon, Day 2 (Or "Will Someone Get These Damn Scooters Out of the Way?")

James wanted to see a panel at nine; I was hoping to get some extra sleep this morning. This is his only other day at con, so how could I say no? So we got up at six fifteen and left at seven.

Now, when I got the garage reservations a month ago I couldn't find a space available at the Courtland Street garage on Saturday. The garage off Andrew Young Boulevard still had spaces, but Andrew Young goes uphill (or downhill depending on your POV 😀 ) and the entrance is on a slope. We have to watch out where we go due to the chair lift on the back of the truck; I was afraid it would bottom out if we entered or exited on that slope. So I consulted Google Earth photos and then got reservations at the Sun Trust Plaza garage because the entrance looked flat. Since I didn't know where this garage was, we plugged in the address to Waze and we followed directions exactly. But it took us to the wrong garage! (Not Waze's fault! Google Maps gave me the same result when I ran the directions later.) We had to back out (!!!!) and find the correct garage, which was three blocks down!...and the street was indeed flat, but the ramp into the garage was steep and the chair lift bottomed out anyway. Grrrrrrr! You should have heard the scrape!

To top it off the scanner at the entrance would not scan the QR code on my Parking Panda receipt! We went in anyway.

Then we had no way of getting into Peachtree Center for breakfast without going through a hotel elevator (nearly impossible to get in on Saturday). We had to dodge around those ridiculous scooters that are causing so much trouble in downtown Atlanta; three of them were blocking the ramp onto the sidewalk for handicapped access, so James had to ride in the street, and he had to swing once into traffic because another scooter had fallen sideways into the street. We walked all the way back down from the Marriott to the Courtland Garage so we could use their elevator and the skywalk to Peachtree Center. By the time I ate breakfast I was so aggravated everything went down like a rock.

Anyway, I escorted him, so I know James did make it to the Westin for his panel before the police shut the street down for the parade, and, picking my way through the crowd and the lines of fallen scooters around the curbs where people were trying to cross the street, I ended up in the Hilton where it was blessedly cool while I attended the BritTrack crime drama panel. This was mostly about the gritty crime dramas like Luther, which I'm not really into (well, except for Broadchurch and Waking the Dead), but it's nice to know what's out there and any new things that might be interesting.

This is the third year BritTrack has been in the downstairs level of the Hilton and previously I've loved it because it's so nice and cool down there. It was cold today but there was a dreadful stench all over the whole level that almost smelled like gunpowder or something chemical. I was told it's from Trader Vic's, which is set into the side of the hotel. It's their grill. Someone told me they thought it smelled like barbecue, but frankly if I walked up to a barbecue place that smelled like that, I'd hightail it out of there. Ew.

Next I made my way over to the Sheraton for one of the alternate history panels, "Bandits & Leapers: Time Travelers in the Media." There was no love for Voyagers! on this panel; it seemed all the panelists hated it and most of the audience. Well, sorry, I don't understand the love for Time Bandits, either, one of my least favorite movies of all time. However, we all could come together on Quantum Leap, mentioning favorite episodes and talking about the alternate ending in which Al would have leaped in search of Sam. There was a man in the audience dressed up as Al, with a wonderful hand-crafted handlink with all the candy-colored buttons. It made noises if you pushed the buttons and even squealed when you whacked it like Al used to. Too cool. (Also talked about Time Tunnel, Sliders, The Tomorrow People, etc.)

I'd learned my lesson. As soon as I was out of there I went directly to the Marriott to get in line for David Tennant, whose panel was at 2:30 p.m. It was now 12:35. DS folks are asked to get to a panel as quickly as possible, at least thirty minutes early.

The chairs for Disability Services were already filled up. WTF?

So, despite the pain in everything from the waist down, I waited, crowded in with a bunch of other people who also weren't supposed to be standing, but were waiting (I was talking to the couple next to me; she has a knee injury and a bad back). I ate my lunch while I was waiting. I started to have my juice, then realized that if I did, I'd have to pee during the panel, so I put the juice back in the backpack. More people showed up. We waited. People pushed in the crowd. I pulled out my tablet and read my book. Every joint started to scream. People pushed in so close I was getting claustrophobic. Out in the rest of the atrium, someone started playing loud music. Then, finally, the previous panel finished. People spilled out, then the crowd lessened. The call came for wheelchairs. The young mother in front of me started passing down the messages because you could absolutely not hear much of anything with all those hundreds of people milling around. The wheelchairs rolled up, including one with five people following after (you are only allowed one "minion"). Then they called sightline (people who could not see well) and hearing impaired. (Some of the hearing impaired who'd been there for over two hours didn't hear the call due to the cacaphony and didn't get in. They need megaphones and signs.) Folks in wheelchairs who showed up at the last minute got in.

Everyone four people ahead of me and all those in back of me did not. They shut down the disability line to load the folks who had been (patiently) waiting outside.

Usually I just sigh and give up, but this was the one panel at con I truly wanted to see. So I argued with the guy in the wheelchair guarding the door. I didn't shout or swear; I just expressed my frustration at not getting in after waiting two hours despite pain and seeing people who showed up at the last minute getting in. I finally said desperately, "Can I at least sit on the floor?"

He let me in. I take no pride in talking him into it, although I apparently absorbed something about negotiations while working as a purchasing agent, as I seemed to be the only one who managed this. He was really harassed by the crowd. Why they did not have an overflow room with "Jumbotrons" like they have had for previous popular panels I have no idea. Did DragonCon really not understand how popular David Tennant would be? He's still one of the rock stars of television.

Anyway, I got shunted off into a corner about halfway down the room, but I didn't care. I would have sat in the back.

It was a fun panel. I came in just as Tennant was being asked about what he and his father-in-law (Peter Davison, alias the Doctor #5) gave each other for Christmas (electronics, mostly). Then, apparently in a trend that started yesterday, he and the panel moderator (Rob Levy) raced their wheeled office chairs across the stage. (David has longer legs; he won.) Then it settled down to questions. The story I remember most is his talking about working on a Shakespeare play where the understudy in one of the roles did not learn his lines, thinking he would never be needed. Well, he was, and it was immediately apparent that he did not know his lines. Tennant said wryly that you couldn't exactly improvise in Shakespeare! He also discussed being Scrooge McDuck (that is was nice to know that there was a Scot in the Disney universe!) (evidently he's forgotten about Merida 😉 ), playing the pitiless Kilgrave in Jessica Jones, the bromance with Michael Sheen in Good Omens, if he wanted his children to go into acting or if he would discourage them (his son Ty is already an actor, having appeared on Casualty).

I had no panels next and knew James would be at the Tor panel in the Hyatt, so I slogged across the street (it was the most direct route) and found him in Regency V as expected. James loves to go to the various science-fiction publishers' panels, although he has to admit Tor is the most boring. We just sort of sat back there chilling out for an hour while the panelists talked about new books coming out.

Finally I went off to the Call the Midwife panel while James went to the Pern panel. This was just pleasantly low key, discussing plotlines we liked in the latest season, our favorite characters (and characters we'd like to see go away, Mother Mildred being the most popular), and how things are going to work out for various characters. Everyone seems to think Valerie is going to be shut out by the women of Poplar because of her exposure of the abortionist.

I met James back at the Hyatt, as he wanted to see one last panel, "Planning Space Battles," with some of his favorite writers, including David Weber. I don't read hard SF, so most of them were unfamiliar to me, but it was an entertaining panel nevertheless. Everyone on the panel was warned if they didn't talk David and Chuck Gannon would take over the meeting. 😀 But everyone did manage to get a good word in edgewise.

So when we got back to the garage, there was an attendant there. I explained about the Parking Panda code not scanning this morning and showed him the ticket and the reservation and he let us out. I was afraid the wheelchair lift was going to bottom out again on the drive out, so I drove the chair out of the garage myself and James followed behind me in the truck. There was a little ramp just to the right of the exit of the garage. James parked perpendicular to it so we were as far to the right on Peachtree Center Avenue as we could get, threw the flashers on, and then I lowered the ramp, drove the chair on it, lifted it up, fastened on all the straps, lowered the arms and the back, and off we went.

Next stop, pit crew! 😀

And thus ended James' two days at DragonCon.

This Observer made his own Handlink.

David Tennant (Doctor Who, Broadchurch, Good name it)

Just us

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» Friday, August 30, 2019
DragonCon, Day 1 (Or "What Time Does the Orville Dock?")

The most difficult part of DragonCon is Friday.

Not only do we have to get downtown early to pick up our membership badges, so we can then eat, and go thence to a 10 a.m. panel, but we have to drive in rush hour traffic. So the first day is always the worst. However, after we'd remembered to tuck our chicken sandwiches into the already otherwise packed backpack, loaded up the power chair, and head toward the freeway, we discovered the traffic wasn't as frenetic as we'd feared and we made it to the Courtland Garage unscathed.

As we arrived at the Sheraton, it was just eight o'clock and time for registration to open, with the regular line already around the hotel, so we got into the Disability Services line, expecting the door to open any minute, but instead it took twenty, and it turned out the DS people were wondering where everyone was—someone had neglected to unlock the doors! We had our stickers in about twenty minutes, and then went to a remodeled Peachtree Center for breakfast at our restaurant of choice, Café Momo, which is a buffet of goodies. I try for a mix: French toast, potatoes, fruit, oatmeal always, and, for a treat, bacon. This is like the once or twice a year I eat bacon unless it's at a party. Peachtree Center! white! now. They cleared a lot out, and some con favorite eating places, like Subway, were gone, but they put a wheelchair ramp up to the other level from the second concourse, which is a real help. As we left, waved at Ken Spivey from his seat behind us.

James was off to the Westin at quarter to ten, I was off to the Marriott to see how long the line was for the David Tennant panel at 11:30. The seats in the "seat in line" area weren't full, so I went to check out a portion of Rick Goldschmitt's Rankin-Bass panel. Rick is the author of several books about the Rankin-Bass "animagic" productions, including The Making of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and is the guru of all things RB. He was showing a partial video of a special called The Enchanted World of Danny Kaye, which has him narrating and appearing as a a voice in The Emperor's New Clothes. It only reminds me how much I miss Danny Kaye!

Alas, I tarried too long. Hurrying back to the Tennant site 50 minutes before the panel was to start, they'd already loaded the disability folks and weren't letting anymore DS folks in. I went to wait up against the wall where they'd told the other latecomer DS people to congregate. We might could get in after the crowd in the line finished loading, but there were so many people in line they had to turn them away as well. My bad. I would get there early tomorrow.

Good thing I usually have several panels picked for each hour: instead I walked (or rather limped after 20 minutes of standing) to the Hyatt to the Sci-Fi Lit track panel "Being a Fan." Aubrey Spivey was on this panel, and I sat next to Alice (her mom) on one side and Phyllis Boros on the other, with Ken in the back of us. I love the smaller panels just as much as the larger ones, and we had a nice discussion about what makes a fan and how fandom has changed with the internet (loss of fanzines, but much more communication with other fans). Even addressed negative aspects: how some fans think you aren't a "real fan" if you don't know every detail about the comic or book series or the television show or movie; toxic fans who write hate mail to show creators because they don't like where their favorite characters ended up, etc.).

I can't remember where I intended to go next, but Alice said she was going to see The Orville cast. Really, I don't keep track of who's attending the con, unless it's been announced as a big deal, as David Tennant was, so I had no idea anyone from The Orville series was coming to the con. So...hey, Orville, and attending with a friend—a no brainer, and a very fun panel: the guests were Peter Macon (Bortus), Chad Coleman (Klyden), Mark Jackson (Isaac), and J. Lee (John Lamarr). The latter, Alice observed and I had to agree, is pretty much playing himself in space! He has a very dry sense of humor and wry outlook. Macon looked tired (he said to excuse him; he has small children 😉 ) and Coleman was very "up." Jackson comes, of course, with a very pleasing British accent. Someone asked him if he can see out of the Isaac mask and he said in the pilot he couldn't, but now it is painted with a special paint which enables him to see out, but you really can't see in, unless the camera is very close and the light is shining in the right direction. His actual eyes are located under Isaac's "electric" eyes in the mask. They all agree that, no matter what director, this is Seth McFarlane's baby and he has the last word on everything. So if the director says it's good and Seth says it's not, they do it again. There were no hints about what's up for next season, but with their move from Fox to Hulu, they will be able to "push the edge of the envelope" even more.

Went back downstairs to Sci-Fi Lit with Alice for "Why We Read." Well, because it's like breathing, isn't it? How can you not? But there were many answers: one person I know, with a terrible job, said "escape" (which I expected), others read to learn, or for research, or to encounter an opinion different from their own. It was a lively discussion and a very short hour, after which I decamped from the Hyatt and strung my way outside toward the Westin. Of course it was crowded with thousands of congoers, so many in costume, plus downtown workers, and the sidewalks were "bumper to bumper." However, I arrived at the hotel in just a few minutes for the Babylon 5 anniversary panel, where James joined me. The main panelist was John Hudgens, known so long ago online as "Fenn Shysa," the guy who made a Babylon 5 video and sent it to creator Joe Straczynski and was then asked to make more (and get paid for them!) to use in promoting the series! He asked if anyone wanted to see any of them and I immediately popped up with "Holding Out for a Hero," the (mainly) Michael Garibaldi video. So that lead off the panel, to my delight.

But much other talk, including how TNT picked up the show for its fifth season and then was disappointed that it didn't garner the wrestling crowd, and the novelty of the "five-year-novel-for-television" format back then (and how incidental events in a first season plot suddenly made sense two seasons later). There was much chatter about Straczynski's new autobiography and how hard it was to get through the first quarter of the book due to his horrible childhood; have Amazon points and must think about ordering it. [Later: I did, and gave it to James to look at. He read it in two days, and was agog at the terrible facts it revealed.]

James went off elsewhere afterwards, while I traipsed to the Marriott for the Earth Station One podcast folks' panel celebrating the 20th anniversary (already?!) of Galaxy Quest. This was truly fun because what we mostly did was recall all the best lines and all the best scenes, from the convention scenes to the earnest but daffy Thermians to the running gags about Guy getting killed and how chill Fred Kwan was to the really sinister aspect of villain Sarris to the fannish kids who saved the day. There were two cosplayers in the audience as well, one guy dressed as a Thermian, and the other as Dr. Lazarus carrying "a miner/minor." And of course we mourned the fact that a sequel was never made while Alan Rickman was still with us, and ended the panel in unison with the Galaxy Quest motto, "Never give up! Never surrender!"

And suddenly the day was over and I was reuniting with James at the Hyatt Centennial I ballroom for tonight's Atlanta Radio Theatre Company performance. They were doing three humorous pieces tonight. The first was about the reaction of fans and authorities when a flying saucer lands in Centennial Olympic Park and everyone waits to see what the aliens want. Of course, they are here to attend DragonCon! This was very funny.

The second piece was a new installment of Ron Butler's spoof of 1950s kids' space dramas, Rory Rammer, Space Marshall. In this tale, Rory and his young sidekick "Skip" Sagan must rescue a young reporter named Kyrie Eleison, who is determined to prove there are space pirates, and who has been kidnapped by men posing as space pirates to get a ransom from her uncle. Skip's renegade uncle and some pirate robots figure in her rescue.

The third piece was funny but overlong; a spoof of The Maltese Falcon called The Maltese Omelet, with the supporting characters all nursery rhyme characters (Humpty Dumpty, of course, still takes the great fall). The first two acts elicited many chuckles, but the last needed picking up a bit.

Then we headed home to perambulate the puppy and get ready for Saturday.

Rick Goldschmidt, Rankin-Bass guru

"Being a Fan" panel (Aubrey Spivey at left)

Peter Macon (Bortus on The Orville)

Chad Coleman (Klyden on The Orville)

John Hudgens (Babylon 5 anniversary panel)

Babylon 5 cosplayers (Earth uniform, Delenn after transformation, Kosh the Vorlon)

Galaxy Quest cosplayers

David Benedict and Billy Barefoot as Rory Rammer and Skip Sagan in the newest "Rory Rammer" radio adventure

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» Thursday, August 29, 2019
Pre-Med Pre-Con...
...or "Emory Midtown Has Got to Be Kidding!"

Wednesday afternoon I cooked up five pounds of chicken, half plain roast, half cacciatore, in preparation for DragonCon. But we had one last obstacle to go before our way was clear. You'll remember James had a bout with chest pain several weeks ago that necessitated our going to Urgent Care, and then a followup visit to James' cardiologist. He wanted James to have a stress test and a PET scan. We both knew that if he had one smidgen of pain or distress during the stress test, DragonCon was a no-go. We might even have to face the fact that they would advise that he needed to go to the catherization lab immediately.

Since I began working at CDC and got Kaiser Permanente as health insurance, we have been going to Northside Hospital; it's been thirty (yikes!) years. We've come to love Northside Hospital and their marvelous staff, and even the parking is easy. Last fall, however, Kaiser switched their hospital affiliation because Northside no longer was large enough to accommodate their patient load. So we are now with Emory. Supposedly if we get hospitalized we can go to Emory St. Joseph, which is next to Northside, but for this particular PET scan we had to go to Emory Midtown (formerly Crawford Long Hospital, the place which had almost killed our friend Daniel Taylor after he had a heart attack and they gave him too much warfarin). Despite at least three friends telling us that Emory Midtown was a good place, we weren't reassured.

The hospital was, frankly, a fat pain in the butt to get to on a Thursday afternoon. Midtown is always choked with traffic anyway, and even though Waze took us the back way, once we got to Peachtree Street it was a confusing mess. The hospital does nothing to make this any better: the Emergency entrance, the patient drop off and pick up, the valet parking, and the regular parking are all accessed by the same two-lane driveway. It is a holy mess! We basically did valet parking and they were very nice about it (although when we came out we were afraid they had lost the truck—it took them fifteen to twenty minutes to get it back for us). The foyer itself is huge, like some big Fifth Avenue New York City-type skyscraper foyer, and there are different elevators depending on which floors you are on. We had to go wide to the left to get up to the testing floor on 4. Thankfully we were early and they took James back before his appointment time while I sat in the waiting room and ate my lunch. From the waiting room window I could see the Hyatt and the Marriott and I started getting homesick for DragonCon all over again.

(We were so close! We'd already paid $10 to park, and we were less than a mile from the Sheraton. If it hadn't been so doggone hot I would have suggested walking to registration. Except it was hellishly hot, and Facebook reports said the wait for registration was 2 1/2 hours and we didn't have our blue registration cards. But believe me the want was there.)

So after waiting forever for valet parking to find the truck, and having to get them to help another lady in a wheelchair who was waiting longer than we were, we got the hell out of there. We had to stop by Lidl to get fresh bread, and we spent early Thursday evening making sandwiches, and then packing up the backpacks and making sure the precious blue cards and the parking printouts were with us, and printing out James' emergency QR code for the back of his badge.

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» Saturday, August 24, 2019
Getting It Done and Enjoying It, Too

Today was the kind of day I love. We got stuff accomplished and mostly had fun doing it.

After sleeping late and breakfast and dog walking, we headed out to the Cobb Parkway area. I know Best Buy takes electronic recycling, so we threaded our way through the traffic that surrounds the IHOP and Scalini's Italian Restaurant and I hopped out of the truck and disposed of the bad batteries and the CFL bulbs in the bins at the front of the store. Finally! Gone!

We had some Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons and a real need for more Plinks (deodorizers) for the garbage disposal) and also two hand towels for the hall bath: the towels currently there are getting see-through in the middle. Got the Plinks, and found two very nice aqua-colored towels to match the seashore theme going in that bathroom which will not get confused with the two different shades of blue towels in the master bath. I also finally picked up some sachet for the blanket chest and the "toy" chest, something I've had on the "to do" list for over six months. I picked lavender because they say it helps you sleep.

James also found something he wanted: Forged in Fire chefs' knives! Now he can say, like Doug Marcaida, "It weeell cut!"

James moved the truck over to the other side of the parking lot while I drove the power chair over there. It was broiling hot and it would have taken the same time to load the chair, drive the two minutes across the lot, and lowered the chair again. Actually, having it on the highest speed, I got a nice breeze!

So we strolled around in Hobby Lobby, reveling in the autumn decorations. I wish I could lasso fall and pull it closer! There are trees "berrying" out there, and leaves turning yellow; nature knows summer is dying (and let the bloody summer die, dammit) and the sun won't believe it. They also have lots of rows of Christmas things out now, including at least four Grinch-themed pieces of art!

I picked up a set of three plastic containers (a little bigger than cup size) and two items on clearance: adhesive dots and dowels. James got two clearance model kits.

Got home in time for a late lunch, but kept quite busy. I took the three packets of lavender sachet and put one each into a plastic container from Hobby Lobby, and one pair went in each chest and one in the master bedroom closet. (I wanted the sachets in a hard container because sometimes the oils in them leak and I didn't want that on the blankets or afghans.) I unloaded the dishwasher, started loading it again, put a new garbage bag in the trash can.

Then went into the craft room. I painted two "flashies" to put over the front door of my car, both a bright blue. Have you ever tried to find a white Kia in a supermarket parking lot? There are something like four million of the silly things. I have magnets all over the car, but it still doesn't help me pick it out. I tried copper ones up there, but they weren't bright enough. Hence the bright blue is being tried this time.

Now it was time for a big change. I mentioned a furniture replacement in the foyer in my last post. This is the piece that was replaced. I should call this the "Cat" table, as it has lived many lives. It's 68 years old and was in our house growing up as long as I can remember. Mom probably used it as a side table until the encyclopedia came along (1962). Later when we got something large enough for the World Book it went into any corner it was needed. It was my night table for a while until I bought an unfinished unit at Ann & Hope and stained/varnished my own. We were going to leave it behind as there was no room for it in the old house, but James took a fancy to it and we moved it along with the few other pieces of furniture we took out of my folks' house. It's been down in the foyer for 13 years holding the flag and other odds and ends, but but then I decided to let the table from Vine replace it. (Bennett is posing for you on top. He was Schuyler's stuffed animal, and you can see the mark in the middle of his nose where she used to nibble on him.)

Now it's in my craft room to hold the Cricut-like gadget I got from Vine and only used once (will need to read how to use it all over again, as I never had time to mess with it while I was working—this goes for my label maker, too). I was hoping to put a larger number of craft books at the bottom, but these are all that would fit (I don't think it was meant to take anything larger than hardback books or maybe a large Bible.) The table the gadget was on was a tray table and has now been folded up and put back with the other tray tables.

Also completed two cross-stitch projects I've been working on through the nightly Perry Mason viewings. The little polar bear was a kit that came with the British magazine "Cross Stitcher." The other is the second of two kits I bought in Yorktown in 2012, a Williamsburg pineapple/apple Christmas pyramid. Not sure if it's visible, but I used some of the yellow sparkly DMC Etoile thread in the pineapple and green Etoile in the greenery to give it a tiny bit of Yule sparkle.

James made barbecue pork chops and mushroom rice for supper (because mushroom rice goes with everything), we had one of the Ritter peppermint bars for dessert, and, of course, there was more Perry Mason!

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» Friday, August 23, 2019
Getting It All Out of the Way

Thursday was the usual grocery shopping tic-tac-toe for us. In the morning we headed to Publix, mainly for the twofers, but also to pick up those onions we'd forgotten last week, James' low-sodium lunch meat, and the low-sodium Pringles we'd also managed to forget. Next we headed to Kroger. We're hardly there any more, but James had earned "Kroger bucks" using his credit card, and they still had milk on sale, so I went in fortified with the credit, swooped up the milk and a Ghiradelli bar for dessert, and had a nice chat with a friendly cashier over the mandarin oranges, which were marked on sale, but which did not show up in his computer. He was very nice about it.

In the afternoon, we also made a trip to Nam Dae Mun, hoping they were restocking James' favorite brand of ginger tea. Alas, no. We got some thin steaks, ground pork, more Ritter "Pfefferminz" bars for desserts, and sugar-free cookies for James.

Midafternoon we also had an errand to run downtown, and that went expeditiously as well, but all that hopping around in the breathless heat sent us heading home midafternoon to enjoy the fruits of Mr. Carrier.

Today was a much less hectic day and more fun. A week ago I'd ordered this nice little table (at right) from Amazon Vine. I'd had some thoughts of using it in the spare room, but instead it ended up in the foyer, replacing an end table (more about that in Saturday's entry). One of the drawers was being used to hold recycling, some of which we've had for over a year: two laser printer cartridges, CFL bulbs (now that the LED bulbs are less expensive, I don't want the awful CFLs in the house—nasty things), old batteries. Well, yesterday I decided it was time to get rid of it instead of storing it anew. I put it all in a bag and it was in the truck.

Barnes & Noble was having its "Book Haul" this weekend, selected new and other books at half price, so we went there this morning. I hadn't seen the entire list of what was on sale, but I was hoping for a couple of things. Sadly, didn't see anything at the Akers Mill store, but James got a windfall: three Book Haul volumes and another paperback. We then went by Office Max and I turned in the two printer cartridges. Turns out I will get some credit if I buy something in the next week. Well, I'll check the sales on Sunday...

Then it was time for lunch. This week's choice was prompted by Alice's recommendation of The BBQ Place on Powder Springs Road. We had an almost full house: Alice and Ken, Aubrey, and Mel and Phyllis. The barbecue is quite good: I finally had ribs that didn't have pepper on them. James said his combo of beef brisket and shredded pork was tender and juicy. We talked about work Alice and Aubrey are doing for their church, and admired Alice's new shirt. She has a new Cricut machine and is making custom T-shirts. This had the Partridge Family logo on it.

James asked if I wanted to check out the Barnes & Noble at Dallas Highway, since indeed two of the books I was looking for were at half price. As we arrived there, clouds were building up and it was "spattering" a bit. We heard thunder as we wandered around inside, but the weather held as I picked up Susan Orleans' The Library Book and the paperback edition of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials prequel, The Book of Dust, and also a 20 percent off copy of Matthew Pearl's newest, The Dante Chamber. The sky was mostly grey when we emerged, so we tarped the power chair for the trip.

It was looking more ominous as we approached Lidl, so I went in on my own, and a good thing. James said I'd just stepped inside the door when there was a clap of thunder and it started to pour. I bought bread and chocolate, more cranberry juice for James, and, because I couldn't find one bit of ground turkey in the store, got him some lean ground beef instead. I've never seen Lidl that cleaned out of turkey!

By the time we got home, it was time for sandwiches and Perry Mason.

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» Monday, August 19, 2019
The Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside my window...
...ugh, the sun has come out. The sky was covered with mackerel clouds this morning, and high clouds earlier, but now the nasty thing is out again. I like the sun in winter, when it makes things warm. I hate it in summer, when it makes things sizzle.

I am thinking...
...still thinking about the insect that scurried out of the sofa at me last night. I don't think I caught him; the upholstery "gives" too much. It was on the coffee table last night and I missed killing it. I hope it's not pregnant! Another reason to hate summer: no matter how clean you keep things down here and how often the exterminator comes, crawly things come through the doors. I had to stomp on a palmetto bug in the kitchen last night.

I am thankful...
...I'm done cleaning out the sofa. I vacuumed the crumbs out, sprayed it down with Lysol, and washed all the throws and the flannel fitted sheet I have as a cushion cover. That's about all I can do.

In the kitchen...
...we had the teriyaki chicken legs I cooked last week for Monday dinner, with some of all that bread we bought for Hair Day as a starch side. I just seasoned the chicken with onion and garlic powder, Litehouse salad bits, and sweet soy sauce. It came out pretty well.

I am wearing... and white flowered top, black shorts, and white socks.

I am creating...
...a watercolor head portrait of a collie on a black watercolor paper card. I'm sending it as a thank you note to someone.

I am going... have to go to the post office to mail the card because it's going to Canada.

I am wondering...
...if I'll ever get rid of these awful dreams about having to get up again and go to work!

I am reading...
...dead tree or electronic? 😀 Magazine: the June "Early American Life." Real book: um, Off the Map (about the history of maps and about whomever draws them then making the rules and the names) and About Time: The Unauthorized Guide to Doctor Who, volume nine. Oh, and I've started Bonzo's War about pets in Great Britain during World War II. E-magazine: the August issue of the British edition of "Country Living." E-book: the second horseshoer mystery, Dead Blow.

I am hoping...
...not to get stressed over upcoming things. Like DragonCon. I want to go, but looking forward to it always stresses me out. I wish we could afford a pet-friendly hotel downtown!

I am looking forward to...
...DragonCon, but really looking forward to AUTUMN!!!!!!! Summer sucks so much. The sun gives me migraines and rashes, the heat makes me ill, the flowers make me sneeze.

I am learning...
...LOL, judging by the card I made, watercolor painting still...and very slowly.

Around the house...
...behind me James is teleworking and he's on the phone right now. I'm listening to Saturday's "The Tech Guy" podcast at a very low volume. Most interesting question: a guy hopes to work his Mom's TV (she's in California, he's in Washington) remote, because she had a stroke and can't use the remote. I wonder if something like an Echo Dot or Google Home could do that. We're supposed to be able to give the Dot instructions and it will give commands to the TV.

I am pondering...
...why people enjoy summer when all it is is swelter and sweat and sun.

A favorite quote for today...
I found this looking for quotes about hating summer:

“It was one of those sweltering summer days in which the air itself seems to decline as a haze suffocates the outside world. It is painfully bright whether you are looking up at that ball of burning hydrogen or down at its vivid reflection on sheer pavement.”
Moonshine Noire

One of my favorite things...
...I'm sitting watching it: the "Tech Guy" podcast. Snowy loves listening to Leo!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Work for James. Hoping there are good BOGOs on Wednesday. Chilling out before the chaos that is DragonCon.

A peek into my day...
Snowy, as if he's chirbling to Leo LaPorte.

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



» Saturday, August 17, 2019
O Where, O Where, is My Ott Bulb Gone?

No sleeping late or long dog walks today: up early to go to Hair Day. We were on the go earlier than usual because we were supplying the bread for deli sandwiches and we wanted to get it fresh at Lidl. So Tucker was chivvied outside, then back in, we ate, then were off to Lidl. We got wheat sourdough, farmer's bread, and cibatta, then headed to the Butlers.

There was a small crowd today. Distributed birthday gifts (Ron and Phyllis), folks got their hair cut, and then we had lunch early since Sheri (the hairdresser) is leaving on her vacation this afternoon. Turned out we brought far too much bread even with the little we bought. Saw most of Sing while we were there. Cute inspirational film with performing animals.

We were off at noon so James could get to to his club meeting (it was this week because last week was the National contest—suitably appropriate for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, an exquisitely detailed model of the LM ran away with all the prizes). I loaded the chair for him, then he was off, and I went to JoAnn. I had a 60 percent off coupon and hoped to get a spare bulb for my Ott Light so I wouldn't be caught short. Alas, the bulbs come in two varieties, A and E, each with a different ballast mount, and I didn't know which I had. Tried to find my model light on the web in the hope I could find what bulb it took and evidently they don't make it anymore. [eyeroll] I got myself a set of crafting tweezers instead, replacement bulbs for the window candles, and some BOGO journaling stickers. By the time I walked back out to the parking lot it was melting temperature and I wondered why in Sam Hill I'd even stepped out the door. I could have vacuumed.

Dropped in at Michael's for a minute to check if they had something, then headed home through the park—two people only out walking when this place is usually mobbed on Saturdays!

James arrived home about an hour later, we had sandwiches for supper, and our weekend ended (poof! three days over once again!) with—yes,  you guessed it!—more Perry Mason.

[P.S. I messaged someone at Publix about the peach pie pickle. They are sending us a gift card for our inconvenience!]

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When is a Peach Not an Apple, and Other Tales

Alas, the clouds were not so cooperative today when I took the dog out, although it was not as warming starting out as it had been. We needed to get on the road to get the grocery shopping done, so it was a short walk, a quick breakfast, and then off to Publix. There were several great BOGOs this week, and we also got more hummus as a snack. They were offering it at a sample last week, and we both wanted something healthier to snack on. James got a chili-flavored one, which he has on "Pain de Fleurs" flatbread, which is low carb. I got "everything bagel" flavor which I have with pretzel sticks. They also had small pies on BOGO and I picked up an apple and a blueberry after wading through over a dozen peach pies.

Came home to put the perishables away and wait a bit, then off to West Cobb Diner for lunch. James and Phyllis were talking at Hair Day about how much they missed getting together for lunch when we used to have "Myriad lunch" with all of us who worked at CDC. So when we go out to lunch on Friday we send out a text to anyone who wants to come. It's had a rocky start, but today we had a nice crowd at West Cobb: Alice and Ken, Aubrey, Juanita, and Jessie. (We less liked having to navigate the parking lot, which was half blocked off for repaving.) We were talking a lot about the Little League World Series because Alice and Juanita had gone to see one of the preliminary games. (I discovered later on that a team from Barrington, RI, was also participating.) Since we are "old pharts" now, we also talked about going to the doctor a lot.

We finally broke up a couple of hours later (Alice said the waitress was giving us a gimlet eye) and Alice and Ken, at least, headed off to Hobby Lobby. We, alas, had to go to Sam's Club. James needed more mandarin orange cups for his morning drink and I needed more Skinny Pop. Well...puckernuts. They don't have the multipacks of mandarin oranges in juice anymore (just in gel—ugh). We got mixed fruit instead and James says it's not bad. We hope Costco still has the oranges (when we can afford to re-up the membership). Got popcorn and American cheese and I bought a fall magazine since there's a big discount on magazines there.

By then it was midafternoon, the sun was blazing like the center of a blast furnace, and we skipped putting gasoline in the truck and just came home.

Puttering around in the craft room a little, and it's still a mess, even after I cleaned it out in the spring to get alternative use out of the loveseat I can't seem to dump. Urgh. Later on we watched more Perry Mason and I wrapped birthday gifts for tomorrow's Hair Day.

Had a rude surprise after supper: we decided to have a piece of the apple pie. Even though the label said apple, it was a peach pie. Arrrgh.

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» Thursday, August 15, 2019
A Meat Rave and a Bad Strip

It's so August. Now of course I was tired of summer back when June started, but by August I have about had it. The worst part is having to roust myself out of bed at 7:30 because I have to hotfoot it outside to walk the dog and get my exercise. The later I wait, the higher the sun is. I find myself postponing breakfast and plotting the walk so Tucker and I will be in the most shade. This morning we got lucky. There were patchy mackerel clouds which hid the sun, so we were not being scorched on our walk. Not that it was exactly cool, but skin didn't sizzle, and nature is starting to fight with the sun about what season it is. By the flora and fauna, summer is closing. Crickets only are chirping, there were no cicadas screaming, and near those unkempt thickets across the street are showing yellowing leaves, berries and scuppernong grapes are ripening on the vine, and with the fruit and dwindling foliage, it smells almost like fall, that faint grap-y scent I remember from Zia Maria's grapevine arbor in her back yard next door. It's welcome yet maddening in the heat, making me long for autumn.

Once the dog was walked and breakfast eaten, we went to Patak's. This is a butcher shop we discovered several years ago through friends raving about it. They're open only weekdays and the first Saturday of every month, so we haven't been there much. But with our new weekends we can go. Today we wanted to get more sweet Italian sausage—theirs is remarkably low in salt!—and stew beef (which James actually stir fries). Well, we got those. And more mortadella. And pastrami. And stew pork. And breakfast sausage. Plus we found peppermint Ritter bars. (Should have left those. They are cheaper at Nam Dae Mun.)

We'd brought one of those freezer chill blocks, so we could, even in the stifling heat, stop at Kroger and Lidl. Just got a few things at Lidl: bread, mostly, and some chocolate. Kroger had milk on sale, so we went in for that, and no-salt mushrooms, and, even though we had bought all that meat, we found some bargain beef in the manager's special slot.

And then we came home to chill (literally) for the remainder of the day.

One of the jobs I had today was a bit grotty. The plastic strip at the bottom of the shower door (also called a "T sweep" because that's the shape it is) is disintegrating again. We replaced the current one several years ago from a generic shower maintenance kit we got at Lowes, so we went back to get another a few weeks ago. Surprise! They don't carry them anymore, and they only had two other kinds of "sweep." Both looked too large. I bought the smaller one, and when I pulled the current one out I realized it was still too big, and the top "T" was too wide. This had three potential "T's" at the top, and I had to cut the two bigger T-slides on the top off to put the T-slide that looked the correct size at the top—but I either cut away too much, or it's a teeny bit too small and falls out of the groove the "T" portion goes into. Spent some time afterward at the computer searching on line for one like the one we had and can't find one anywhere. Now what do we do???

Spent the evening watching Perry Mason and reading.

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» Sunday, August 11, 2019
And So to Shopping and Sunday

So it was a short weekend due to the doctors' appointments. While James worked on Thursday, I toddled over to Lidl to get the usual bread and found boneless pork ribs. I've been wanting to make gravy, so I got enough to make three batches. Also bought cucumbers, milk, and juice for James. I was on the "Floyd Road Supermarket Mall," so in a trice I was across the street at Kroger. I wanted to top off James' mushrooms, but I was after the Jennie-O pre-made turkey burgers. These are great quick lunches when you don't have time for anything else, especially with the Meadowcroft Farms sweet onion relish we get at the Yellow Daisy Festival, but they are expensive. Kroger had all Jennie-O products on BOGO. So I got my mushrooms and burgers and got off home.

Since we couldn't grocery shop on Thursday we had to do it on Friday after our doctor's appointment and before lunch. So we stopped at Publix on the way home from Kaiser.

By the time we got home at the end of the day on Friday, it was sweltering in the mid 90s, and we were resolved not to go out on Saturday, and that's what we did. I made gravy, reviewed books, and pottered about. James had just started taking the steroids, so he was still in a lot of pain, and didn't do much but totter around.

The one fun thing James did do on Friday was use his Amazon points to order a new Monster Hunter International book and the new Blu-ray set of Jonny Quest. So they arrived today, in time for dinner, so that we could watch a few episodes at lunch, and more tonight after James quit work. As he toiled at his telephone, I washed the master bath, washed the towels, sorted medications, fixed some things in the library, and also went to WalMart. I had to return a tank top that didn't fit and wanted to get some paper towels; eighteen items later I was trying to get in line, and only one was open and that cashier was going on break. Three people were in line at another cashier station because they'd been told a cashier was coming. I just threw  up my hands and did self-check, which was mostly what everyone else was doing. I remembered the various stories on the news lately about people walking out of Wally World with stuff. You know, WalMart, if you want people to buy stuff rather than shoplifting it, you might want to open more checkouts!

And to add insult to injury, someone had spilt something like a milkshake all over the parking space I was in. I had to go into the house in bare feet and wash off the soles of my shoes so I didn't get sticky crap on the floor.

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» Friday, August 09, 2019
Doctorial Dissertations

Alas, this was our week for doctor's appointments.

James swapped working on Wednesday to work on Thursday, so he didn't have to take time off for his cardiologist appointment. So Wednesday morning we were driving out to Glenlake (an annoying proposition at any time of the day). The place was nearly SRO and we had to park up on the deck. Of course the doctor was concerned about the emergency room visit and has put in a referral for a stress test. Bad news is that it's at Emory Midtown. There's always construction around there and traffic is a nightmare. However, Marilyn and Phyllis tell us the staff is nice. We have to wait for them to call.

I also had to pick a bone with someone at the pharmacy. I got all my prescriptions filled at the same time in June, at Glenlake, and I was supposed to have ninety fenofibrate in the bottle to last through September 22. What I got would only last until the 29th of August. So we had to wait until I got the rest of my pills. The pharmacist was upset because the bottles are pre-made and should have had ninety pills in it, and a seal on it. Shoot. I got these back in June; I guess they had a seal on them.

Discovered on the way home that I had a BOGO coupon for Boston Market, so we picked up lunch, and then came home and I had enough time to do the laundry on its usual Wednesday. Also, got home in time to be there when Alex came to do the lawn so we could pay him.

On Friday we both had appointments in rheumatology with Dr. Salazar. James was there for a followup, and I had made my first appointment. A little over a month ago, I started having some problems with my right arm. I can wake up because it's hurting, or if I use it too much it hurts, and sometimes even if I'm sitting reading a book and keep my arm in the same position the pain becomes very bad. Also, when I reach up to get something on a high shelf, I have to push myself to reach, like there is something holding the  and it hurts.

So I had the first appointment and James had one after me, with a patient in between us, but the doctor took us both at once. He had me move my arm around a bit and it turns out I have a rotator cuff strain and need to be on super NSAIDs for six weeks. We will have a phone followup after the six weeks. James' problem was a little more complicated. When he was on the steroids everything improved, not just his stiff hands and his hips and his feet, but his knees where he's been having the shots. The doctor says if that's the case, he's going to give James another course of steroids, and if it does the same thing again, he's going to have to change the approach of his treatment. Well, that sounds like fun. Not.

So we stopped at the pharmacy (again, although different pharmacy from Wednesday; we were at Cumberland on Friday) and then had lunch at Hibachi Grill, followed by a trip to Barnes & Noble. Found a 20 percent off mystery book called Singapore Sapphire taking place in 1910.

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» Saturday, August 03, 2019
...And the Rest of the Story

We decided to combine business with pleasure on Friday morning and, after breakfast and the necessary perambulation of the pooch, headed to the Barnes & Noble on Dallas Highway. Spied a light at the end of the endless hell that is summer: saw the autumn edition of "Country Sampler" out. I've seen a couple of other autumn magazines out, but haven't gotten them—they're the pretentious ones with the expensive homes, furniture and knicknacks (and at least half of one of the magazines is recipes...ugh; having to cook now that James is on four ten-hour days is bad enough, I don't want to look at recipes, too). Not much else out now.

We came home by Lidl and got milk, also ground turkey on sale, more chicken legs, and, of course, bread. I also bought an assortment of sewing threads and more needles since they were only $2/pack for about forty.

Spent the evening watching Airdogs on Amazon Prime (it's a Canadian series about two pilots, one with a lot of experience and one who's a beginner, who travel around doing interesting things like flying with the Snowbirds, receiving lessons from a stunt pilot who lands his small biplane on a moving camper, etc.). Well, James was mostly watching. I was alternately reading the 1880 bound volume of "St. Nicholas" and working on a polar bear cub cross-stitch. morning we went over to the "Comic Con" being held at the American Legion Hall on Concord Road. Our friend Phyllis was divesting herself of some of the items in her science fiction collection; she had Star Trek and Babylon 5 items mostly. We stopped and talked to Bobby Nash, who writes science fiction and alternative history, and just had a short story published in an anthology based on the old-time radio series Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. We were talking about trying to explain things to younger people, based on a hilarious experience I had yesterday trying to explain an old cartoon to a group of people on Facebook. No one knew what it meant, and the young man who originally posted it was afraid to post it because he was afraid it had sexual connotations. One woman, trying to analyze it, made it all about the devaluation of women in society! What it was was a drawing of a nurse "goosing" a patient with a cold bedpan! Bobby said he has had to explain to a bunch of  young women who Alan Alda was, because they had never seen M*A*S*H!

James bought me one inexpensive little item: a sticker of a rather rumpled post-apocalypse Lassie holding a small boy's arm (clad in a red-and-white checked shirt!) in her mouth. I got a great kick out of it.

After that we had nothing to do, and really no money to do it with anyway. So we came home and James went down to the "man cave," and I repurposed an Amazon box to hold a Goodwill donation, and listened to a bunch more of the Colonial Williamsburg podcasts. (I'm so sorry they quit doing these! I really loved them.) For supper we went up to Fried Tomato Buffet for barbecue pork ribs and chicken and dumplings (well, that's why I go there, anyway), then came home by Baskin-Robbins for ice cream, riding between rainshowers.

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» Thursday, August 01, 2019
We Interrupt This Grocery Shopping Expedition...

Ah, intestinal problems again. Hate it when I don't get to walk the dog until 11 a.m. in summer. Too hot. But I wouldn't have been able to get very far anyway.

So we didn't get to Publix until almost noon. Just a normal old grocery trip, thankfully, even if I had to make a strategic retreat at the store, and then again when I came home. Rested a bit after stashing the refrigerables. We still needed milk, so that meant a Lidl trip, but I wasn't feeling up to going out again. Instead we took down the old shower head in the hall bath and put up the new magnetic one. The old one will go out with the trash; it never was very good.

Well, since the shower head was up, might as well toss the dog in the bathtub...

Shower head does not leak, first time out! I can get it down without having to climb on the side of the bathtub, and put it back up, ditto. Alas, the hose is only five feet long. This means I can't put the shower head on the lowest output and then rest it on the bottom of the tub while scrubbing the dog and have to shut the water off instead, and I have to sit on the toilet to scrub him with my legs braced against the tub, which hurts. But I managed it. So Tucker is clean and I am wiped out. 😉

(We checked out other hoses online. Longer ones don't seem to match...and they cost more than the complete shower head did!)

Spent other parts of the afternoon playing computer games and listening to the Colonial Williamsburg podcast (I finally caught up to where I started listening to it back when I was teleworking, in a story about the oxen at Williamsburg), and rustled up pot-lucks for supper.

James also got a call back from Kaiser. The cardiologist had asked him to make an appointment as soon as possible. We could only find one in September. So James made it, then e-mailed back. They called today saying they had an opening for him next Wednesday. I am crossing fingers. The doctor said he might have to take another stress test. 😔

We spent the evening watching Perry Mason. A big storm roared up about 9:30 and sent Tucker hiding under either my feet or James.' Poor baby. First he gets "drowned" and now the sky is growling at him.

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