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, April 25, 2020
Shortage Musings

I've read a couple of articles now about how, since stay-at-home orders and allowing those to telework who could has been in force, the environment has improved in one month. Yes, we're using more plastic bags because most of the grocery stores won't bag your stuff if you use your own bags, and of course there's tremendous medical waste, but CO2 emissions are way down (the graphic showing the NYC/Boston corridor is amazing). In some places like Los Angeles and Bejing and London there is actually clear sky again. There are fish swimming in the Thames River, and coyotes wandering through San Francisco.

Being in the suburbs we have the usual complement of wildlife: some rabbits, chipmunks, the occasional possum and raccoons, the less occasional coyote or fox, and lots of squirrels. This morning Tucker and I took one of our longer walks—amazingly, at one point he was the one wanting to go farther!—and I noticed how many more squirrels I was seeing this year. And I think I know the reason: fewer people driving to work. During the spring the young squirrels are often seen as squished bodies at the side of the road, having misjudged their sprint on an early morning or late afternoon dash across the asphalt. This year I've seen almost no squirrel bodies, but lots of live squirrels.

One of the things I've learned during all these shortages is that you really can get by on less. Back when I was nervous about getting another big package of toilet paper—back when you weren't seeing any in the store, and a poor friend of mine in a major metro area was so worried about a dwindling supply that friends sent packages because this person is ill and housebound and the grocery delivery services never sent paper towels and toilet tissue—I was parceling out the squares carefully. I'm still keeping an eye on how much I use and admonish myself to use only what I need, not a leisurely swath of squares. I've also found that judicious use of the Swiffer wet sweeper cloths means I can mop the kitchen floor just as clean with two as with three, and that I can use fewer Lysol disinfecting wipes cleaning the bathroom and get it just as sanitary.

Plus I realized with amazement that we are still working with the same package of one half-dozen XL Brawny paper towels we bought at Publix back on March 13 merely due to more judicious use of them. I washed my hands a lot even before COVID-19 and would always manage to spatter water on the bathroom counters, and I would think nothing of taking one sheet of paper towel (we get the Pick-a-Size, so it's a small sheet), wiping the sink, then throwing it away. Now, unless the spatter on the counters is dirty (like the other day when I washed the covers of the two books I bought on e-Bay), I will just leave one or two of the small pick-a-size sheets on the bathroom sink counter and wipe up with them over and over until the square starts to disintegrate, which takes about five days to a week. So...using fewer rolls of paper towels—and of course the ultimate thing to do would be to replace these squares with microfiber cloths and just toss them in the washer once a week.

Maybe after this is over we'll remember all the little conservation tricks we learned and buy less and toss fewer things into the trash and thus the landfills.

And hopefully supervisors will do their jobs and check the metrics on their teleworking workers and realize they can trust most of them to telework more and still get their jobs done. Face it, some people aren't "made" to telework; they need supervision or they goof off or they need constant guidance. Some find it hard to get into the discipline, but finally "get it" and do their work. And there are others for whom it just "works." I always thought I did more work while teleworking because there was no one walking by who just wanted to talk, no delays because the printer didn't work (about half the time) and no delays for the long distance walked to the printer, no delays because of environmental issues (like it was just so damn hot in the place you had to keep running to the bathroom to splash cold water on yourself). At home I just reached to my right to grab my printouts instead of walking 75 steps to the printer and 75 back. The bathroom at home was 10 steps away rather than more than 100 (and the refrigerator water dispenser was also 10 steps away, rather than 100+ for the bubbler). For James the rest room and the water fountain are even farther away, so when teleworking he's back at his desk in a trice and always available for a call.

So maybe when we can go out again, and quit wasting plastic bags and protective gear again, maybe we'll remember the lessons of using less and teleworking more. Maybe in the future coyotes will still be spied in San Francisco and more squirrels will chatter in our yards, and the skies will be blue over LA and London and Beijing because people learned by staying home they could get by with so much less.

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» Friday, April 24, 2020
Grocery Shopping in the Time of Coronavirus

Now that James has been cut down to thirty hours a week, our weekend now starts on Wednesday. As I so irritatedly indicated in the previous entry, James was required to go to a podiatrist appointment Wednesday, but it was a good thing, because it turned out he had two ingrown toenails that he couldn't feel at all due to diminished feeling in his feet because of diabetes. So I am now playing nurse again for a week, anointing one toe with generic betadyne (I didn't realize that was just an iodine solution) and bandaging it after he has his shower.

Thursday I couldn't stand not having any bread in the house anymore and went to Lidl. They don't allow you to buy "by the each" at the bakery right now so I had to buy four dinner rolls (they haven't had them for two weeks, so I'm happy about that) instead of two, so will have to eat them promptly. (Oh, twist my arm. Make me eat bread. I'm Italian. It's a main food group.) Also got a baguette because we were having the rest of the chicken cacciatore for dinner and what use is cacciatore without bread to "zoop" in the sauce? Picked up cheese rolls, shredded cheese, and ground turkey for James, grabbed another gallon of purified water for the C-PAP machine, and also bought another gallon of milk, onions, and potatoes.

On the way home I stopped at the City Farmer's Market in a fruitless search for wipes or alcohol. They didn't have any of the former, and they don't carry drugstore products; like Nam Dae Mun, it's simply a grocery store. It's also the only place I know in town where you can get unfrosted brown-sugar cinnamon Pop-Tarts. (My opinion of icing/frosting ranks almost up with child molesters.) Couldn't find sesame oil, did find "stellini" pasta to go into chicken soup.

(During the afternoon I finished the taxes and paid them off with my credit card. It cost me an extra fee, but then I'll get points on my Amazon credit card for next month. Also paid the exterminator, TruGreen, the water bill, and this month's car insurance bill. And James finally got the unemployment payment his boss put in for. This meant we had grocery money for Thursday. And of course I played "The Tech Guy" for Snowy.)

Today we did one of my favorite things: getting in and out of grocery stores in a minimum amount of time. We did three stores in two hours and ten minutes, but to get out that quickly and that early, we had to forego breakfast for a single Belvita oats and chocolate chip breakfast bar. (Needless to say, we were starving when we got home.) We started at Costco, which was remarkably un-crowded for a Friday morning. Unlike our last visit, they just had pallets keeping the outgoing crowd and the incoming crowd apart, no Disneyland-like winding line to get inside. Alas, still no wipes or alcohol, but we were surprised to see pallets and pallets of two different kinds of toilet paper and big 12-packs of Bounty paper towels in the middle of the main aisle. We needed neither; we were there for "plastic cheese," what James calls single slice American cheese. And while we were there, we finally found mandarin orange cups, which James uses in his morning juice slushie. For the last two weeks he's had to make due with pineapple (which he loves) and mixed fruit (which he said was "okay"). We also picked up cranberry juice, cashews, another bag of Skinny Pop, the cheese of course, and Erik Larson's new book. (I may have to go back for the Native American book—a state-to-state and province-to-province guide of each of the tribes; I was quite taken with it.)

Then we turned back toward home and the stop at Publix. James went to the deli for more low-sodium ham and no-sodium-added turkey while I picked up yogurt, and I finally found, after a month, the Publix-brand 100-percent whole wheat bread which is the lowest sodium and carb bread there. I was afraid they had stopped making it! Also picked up eggs (they had none at Lidl), low-sodium Pringles, some herbal tea.

Finally we hit Nam Dae Mun for sugar-free cookies, the TVP James uses to stretch out his ground meat (it's called "soya" there), and sesame oil.

After that we could finally get home and get some lunch! I had a nice drippy leftover turkey sandwich, did some computer junk, and took Tucker out for his delayed long walk. We met one of the folks that live around the corner from the development entry, a house surrounded by a little bit of land that has been here for a while; they have a big gear wheel or some kind of tractor wheel on either side of their driveway, and about a half-dozen cars, including what looks like an old 1930s job. It was an older gentleman wearing a farmer's cap, long-sleeved shirt, and overalls, just like he came out of "Country" magazine, walking their dog, a black-and-tan "Chiweenie" (chihuahua/dachshund). The dogs got to sniff each other while we social distanced at the ends of both extendable leashes. He said she (the dog) sees us go by every day taking a walk and sits on the back of the sofa barking at us!

Also listened to a "Travel With Rick Steves" podcast and two episodes of "A Way With Words."

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» Tuesday, April 21, 2020
The Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside my window...'s midafternoon, the sky has clouded over a bit, and there's a wonderful breeze. You wouldn't believe that it's in the 70s out there; it feels really good instead of being too hot in the sun. And, wait, now the sun is back out. It always does turn up again like a bad penny.

I am thinking...'s ten days since I did a blog entry. There's really nothing to write about. When we go out, we are either at the pharmacy picking up some meds, or we're at the grocery store. If I hated going to the grocery store before this, I despise it more now: you have to wear masks, go one way up aisles (and I am forever going the wrong way or what I need is at the other end of an aisle I can't go up), and not find what you need (Lysol, disinfecting cleaning or hand wipes, and alcohol. And American cheese! With all the kids out of school, the moms must be stuffing what James calls "plastic cheese" down them every day for lunch! It's a wonder they're not all constipated.)

And all those wonderful, optimistic messages from advertisers on TV, promising "it will be okay soon" and "we'll be back"? They depress the hell out of me.

I am thankful...
...that we seem to have missed a bullet. James has been told since he was a little boy and suffered an insect sting that he is also allergic to penicillin. When he went into the Navy they performed a test, and gave him a red dog-tag that signified a penicillin allergy. So he's always had to have alternative antibiotic treatment. Well, a week or so ago he presented with symptoms of a mild UTI. We called the doctor and talked to the nurse practitioner, who was automatically going to prescribe ciproflaxin until he found out James was on the generic form of Plaquinel. Cipro and Plaq do not play together properly. So he prescribed two other antibiotics, only one of which the Kaiser pharmacist let us have because one of them also interacted with the Plaquinel. So James took the other antibiotic, and in the meantime the doctor had him take another urine test.

Unhappily all those happy little germs were still racketing around in there. The doctor then actually called us, on a Saturday of all things, and said that James needed all the germs gone ASAP, and he could either take the Cipro, which might mess with his heart, or try amoxicillin and risk the allergic reaction. (Jolly nice choice, eh, chaps?) So Saturday morning we went up to Kaiser's TownPark office (where Urgent Care is) to pick up the amoxicillin, and we were "loaded for bear." Instead of taking the truck, I drove, and we brought our tablets, and I even brought one of the phone charge cords. I did not want to have to deal with the truck if James had to go to Urgent Care with an allergic reaction. I remembered that when I used to have allergy shots, Dr. Friedman and then Dr. Sturam would have me stay in the office for twenty minutes in case I had an allergic reaction to the shot. So James got the scrip and took the first pill, and down we sat, and I timed us for a half hour. Of course Kaiser didn't want anyone in the building unless they were picking up scrips or seeing a doctor, so the nurse came up to ask us why we were hanging around, and we gave her this very bad explanation, but I guess we finally got the message across because she sat us down where she too could keep an eye on James.

We waited the half hour. Nothing happened. So we left.

We appreciate that, God!
In the kitchen...
...we had midday dinner, so there are leftovers to put up. I got up for senior shopping this morning—fat lot of good that did me; even after "restocking" they have no Lysol, no disinfecting cleaning or hand wipes, no alcohol (at least I found yogurt!)—and bagged some turkey thighs, so we had that with Rice-a-Roni on the side.

I am wearing...
...a cadet-blue "Owly" t-shirt (look up "Owly" and "Andy Runton" and you'll find this delightful little guy) and blue-silver-and-white buffalo check pajama pants. And white Hanes socks.

I am creating...
...does this blog entry count? I did a little shopping this morning, washed two loads of clothes, made dinner, shelved a dozen or more books in the library, cleaned off two books I received last Tuesday and had in "quarantine," and started a project.

I am going... finish the project this time, or get it to a more manageable state, at least. We have four boxes in the garage with old APAzines in them. Is everyone familiar with APAzines? One of my friends once referred to it as a very slow cocktail party. An APAzine was run by a coordinator. He or she set the date of the next zine, and arranged for collation of the zine, added covers, and kept up with who was contributing and who was not. APAzines usually ran 20 to 25 members. Some APAzines had themes: science fiction, or maybe more specifically Doctor Who or Star Trek, or sports (perhaps basketball or baseball specifically), book reviews, collecting of some sort, auto racing, stamps, etc. The two APAs we belonged to, "Myriad" and "500 Year Diary," were general interest APAs. You wrote about what interested you, others wrote what interested them, and then in every issue, you commented on the other zines in the issue and the other participants commented back to you. Every month, or bimonthly, or whatever the interval was, you went to Kinko's or Office Depot and copied off your zine, usually five more zines than how many members were in the zine, so that "spec copies" could be given to people interested in participating and getting on a waiting list. Then you delivered (if you lived close) or mailed the copies to the editor, who would collate all the zines together, and then send every member a copy of the APA, and it was read, and comments made, and a new zine printed next time.

Anyway, I think I'm the only one who still has my copies. They've sat in the garage for fourteen years, and they're taking up the space where the rollator should go. But I find that, although I don't have the time nor the inclination to re-read them, I find myself reluctant to throw them out. It's like throwing away pieces of my friends. But I did start today. I got all the "500 Year Diary" issues in one box, and then cleaned out one of the three boxes of "Myriad," keeping only the volume ("Myriad" used to run to three to four stapled 8 1/2x11 volumes) with our zine, "Flying Dreams," in it. (Ideally then I want to remove our zine from the volume and just keep that, but it involves staple pulling and will take a while.) I quit after the first box because the remaining volumes are so heavy I can only do so many at the time and still be able to lift the garbage bag into the trash can and then wheel the trash can out to the curb. I will only be able to do one box at the time. It's still sad to do.

I am wondering...
...if we can ever go back to a normal life again. Even if the COVID-19 mutates into a less infectious or less lethal form, or if they develop a vaccine, aren't we now always going to think "What if another one is waiting around the corner?" Can we ever go into crowds again—science fiction conventions, ARTC performances, Christmas markets, museums—without worrying even the tiniest bit? I'm hoping this at least makes people cleaner. A month ago I was discussing with the waitress at Tin Drum the utter absurdity of having to tell adults to wash their hands. Yet I used to work at CDC and would be aghast at the women who walked out of the bathroom without washing their hands!

I am reading...
...Tristan Gooley's The Nature Instinct.

I am hoping... go to a bookstore soon. I'm having withdrawal symptoms. And with doctors' appointments, bad weather, changed plans, and health hiccups, we never got up to McKay's in Chattanooga to trade in the books in four full Xerox-paper boxes that are turning into five Xerox-paper boxes. And it would be nice to go down to Warner Robins and see my sister-in-law, who's been laid up with a bum foot, and my mother-in-law. They still don't have their Christmas gifts.

I am looking forward to...
...more freedom when it's safe to do so. You know, it's been easier on we introverts during this quarantine than other people. We literally wish sometimes to stay home and be left alone to read, work on art projects and hobbies, have a quiet walk or go on a run, listen to podcasts, binge-watch television, blog...and, again, just read! We aren't suffering like the folks who like to go clubbing, or go to bars, or just hang out in noisy restaurants on weekends (why is why you'll never see us in Chili's). But we still like to venture out to do the quiet things we like: meet with friends, go to bookstores and museums, have lunch out together. And we miss it.

I am learning...
...well, read weather signs from Tristan Gooley. There is so much our instinctive selves have forgotten due to technology. I love technology, but sometimes it's as much as a trap as a help.

Around the house...
...James is teleworking. Tucker is on the deck being a wild puppy. Snowy is singing along to Leo Laporte "The Tech Guy." Occasionally the curtains billow as the breeze.

And I need to go fetch the clothes out of the dryer.

I am pondering...
...if I should order Madeleine L'Engle's new book. These are short stories her granddaughter found in her files after she died, ones that she considered good enough to publish (most of the others were not good, or only fragments). I miss getting a new Madeleine L'Engle, and the reviews say that although the stories aren't anything special, they do show her growth as an author.

A favorite quote for today...
...not a favorite, but I found this for my journal (it seems appropriate):
“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.”
                                                                                                                . . . Anonymous

One of my favorite things...
...chocolate. Alas, I've had mine for the day.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Well, since every single one of both our doctors cancelled all our appointments, but apparently James' nurse visit with the podiatrist was too important to cancel without the dang nurse reading us the riot act, we have to drive all the way to Glenlake tomorrow and go in a building full of potentially sick people to get his toenails examined! But he arranged to pick up a prescription there, and I guess we can go by Tin Drum, since it's two weeks and time for my extra protein again.

A peek into my day...
Here's a pic of me from last week reading a bound version of the old "St. Nicholas" magazine.

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



» Saturday, April 11, 2020
"My Quarantine Diary"
There are Facebook posts everywhere about how one should keep a quarantine diary, to remember this time—especially kids, as a memory for their future, and even an exercise for homeschooling. I daresay anyone would be bored reading mine, since I'm not doing anything much different than I did just being retired. The biggest difference is on James' non-work days, since we really can't do anything except duck into a grocery store, which I hated originally and hate even more now, because it involves masking and prep and dragging along the power chair, since I don't want James riding on the supermarket carts. It's gotten so bad that when we were flabbergasted that James' podiatry appointment on the 17th hadn't been cancelled, and the nurse was very disapproving when we said it could be cancelled, so we just caved, I shrugged and said, "Well, at least it will get us out of the house."

Sunday is as always my chore day. James is working, so I might as well, too. I charge the electrical things in the bathroom (water flosser, James' razor trimmer, the auto light over the toilet), clean the master and hall baths (including disinfecting the toilets and washing the floor), mop the kitchen floor, wash towels, sort all our medications for the week, and usually end up cooking midday dinner and unloading/loading the dishwasher to boot.

Monday and Tuesday is odds and ends. I usually make a grocery store run either day. This week it was on Tuesday and I ran into the nice lady at Kroger noted in a previous entry. Tuesday I also mailed a birthday gift to Emma. Everyone in the post office is behind hanging clear plastic walls. Sometimes I go to Lidl for bread and veg and chocolate.

This week was James' first week on reduced hours—they cut him down from forty hours to thirty last week, which means he only works Sunday through Tuesday. So Wednesday we went to Publix; our jaws nearly dropped when we saw they had toilet paper! Just bought BOGOs and yogurt and left. Wednesday is my laundry day anyway.

Thursday we did senior hours at Costco and lucked out: found ScotTissue! Yay! Were almost on the verge of running out of it; with my wonky digestive troubles I always want a few extra rolls of toilet tissue in the house. The Costco people had the entrance set up like Disney World using barriers of pallets; you had to wind through a sinuous line to get inside and they handed you a sanitizing wipe at the door. Bought enough stuff that we won't have to come back for a month. Alas, they had no American cheese.

After Costco we had to stop by Kaiser to pick up the Lyrica they didn't have next week. James had a very sobering call at the beginning of the week from his rheumatologist because the drug he is taking for his arthritis, hydroxychloroquine, is in short supply because it looks like it might be a treatment for some COVID-19 patients. The doctor is strongly suggesting to Kaiser that James must be kept on it because of his kidney and heart problems, but he asked if James would cut down his dosage to one pill a day to see if it was still controlling the pain and mobility. This way the medication could be saved for the lupus patients, who will die without their dosage, and hopefully production will pick up on the hydroxychloroquine and it won't be in short supply too long. If there continues to be a shortage, it's possible they will put James on a low daily dosage of steroids, which isn't the best option, but might work without too many side effects.

While James was there he did some labs. He has some minor signs he might have a urinary tract infection.

On the way home we came by a different Publix to get the Sweet'n'Low James had forgotten on Wednesday, and, finding Dragon 168 was closed "for the duration," went by the BBQ Place for lunch. They were twenty minutes from opening, so we sat in the truck outside while I phoned in our order—the weather was glorious on Thursday, breezy and cool.

Friday and Saturday we did something fun! I walked outside on Friday morning to take Tucker on his walk and it was so sunny and gorgeous and breezy that I turned tail and stuck my head in the front door and yelled up the stairs "Put on something warm! I'll back out the truck and you can come with us in the power chair! It's too nice out to stay stuck inside all day!" And that's what we did, both days: Tucker and I walked in front absorbing all that nice fresh air and James trundled behind, just enjoying the sun and the wind, and saying hi to joggers and bikers.

Friday was Good Friday, so I did my usual "Quiet Hours" between noon and three when Jesus was on the cross and the Bible states that "a great darkness came over the land." My mom always used to do this as much as she could, and would say a Rosary then. I listen to the accumulated Lent Talks that the BBC does every year. Every year there is a theme; this year's was "Identity." "Trans-Identity" and "Identity and Grief" made me cry, and "Identity and Aging" was food for thought, why we demonize aging so much. "Race," "Parenthood," and "Community" were the other three. I also listened to "Good Friday Meditation," where the reverend linked the loneliness of Christ on the cross to social distancing (this interspersed with lovely choir performances) and a five-part series called "The Passion of Plants," about British plants associated with Lent and Eastertide. One of them was the speedwell, which I wrote about seeing in Helen.

On Saturday I discovered that the Tin Drum closest to us was temporarily closed, and, in order to use my "extra protein" reward, drove all the way over to Perimeter Mall to get lunch for James and myself as a treat. James then went downstairs to work on a model for the model club challenge, and I got to vacuum the living area.

We also picked up the "freebie" month-long preview of CBS All Access to watch Picard. I am enjoying it, and like all the characters (I simply love Riker and Troi's daughter! I think she's my favorite kid character since Addie Mills!), but I find the whole a bit depressing. (I am not the only one; have run into multiple reviews of the series that say the same thing.) Star Trek used to be about exploration and wonder, and now it's the same old stuff as the drama films and thrillers: conspiracy theories, hidden agendas, X-Files "trust no one" philosophy, reflecting our modern society. Gene Roddenberry saw the future as better, new Star Trek just paints the future the same as the past: disappointing.

I am still reading the books The Journals of Beatrix Potter and The Moor, and also a bound volume of "St. Nicholas" (November 1929-May 1930) (because when things are really depressing there is nothing like reading an old "St. Nicholas" and traveling into the past). As an introvert, this whole social distancing thing isn't a burden on me as much as it would be on an extrovert who is used to going to work and socializing with co-workers, or someone who likes going clubbing or to big gatherings. But I do miss Friday lunch with Alice and everyone. And going to Barnes & Noble...and that we've had to put off our trip to McKay's in Chattanooga and going down to Warner Robins to see James' sister who has been sick and taking down hers and Mom's Christmas gifts.

And meanwhile life goes on. Prayers for all those who are sick, and so grateful to all the "essential workers," whether you are medical, in the trucking industry, or working at the grocery store. You guys don't get paid anywhere near enough. God bless! Stay well!

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» Tuesday, April 07, 2020
A Happy Surprise
I wanted desperately to get up early this morning and attend the seniors' shopping hours at Kroger, since I was almost out of milk. (Have you seen the stories on the news about the dairy farmers? With schools and restaurants closed, they are having to dump their milk! It breaks my heart. Buy milk, people, instead of that stupid colored sweetened bubbly junk and liquor!) But I slept badly because of body aches, and didn't get dressed and out until 8:30. Originally I was just going to the post office to mail Emma's birthday gift, but instead, fearfully, I did go by Kroger, which had been open to regular customers since eight. They were talking about long lines outside the grocery stores now that they have to maintain more space between shoppers.

But there was no line. I was able to get milk, some emergency toilet paper (I don't usually get that 2-ply junk, but that's all they had), some non-disinfecting wipes for bathroom cleanups, pineapple cups so James can have his morning slushie, and a box of Kleenex. Alas, only salted canned mushrooms. And then I started chatting with the lady in front of me, who was picking up stuff for her disabled daughter. When she got to the cashier, the cashier told her she was only allowed to buy one container of Lysol disinfecting wipes. I haven't seen Lysol wipes in three weeks and didn't even think of looking for them! So I asked if I could have her second container and she handed them over.

Such a simple thing to make me so happy that I went home to announce it!

Happy Easter, ma'am, and I hope your daughter is okay. God bless you.



» Saturday, April 04, 2020
Weekend Musings

So this is the new normal: we spend Thursday and Friday hustling for groceries and Saturday at home because there's nowhere to go.

Thursday morning wasn't a happy place anyway. April 1 was very chilly in the early morning and I was out there enjoying every minute of it, taking in nice deep breaths of air that won't be cold for long. Fresh cold air is good for you when there's sickness around. However, even though the pollen count wasn't 8918 like it was on Monday, it was still a nice respectable figure in four digits. So I woke up in the middle of the night coughing and terrified. Taking a drink wouldn't help it, so I bundled up in my robe and went to sit fearfully in the spare room in the dark, sucking on a cough drop. I finally fell asleep and when I woke up, the cough was gone. Relief. Still terrifying.

Thursday we went to Kaiser to pick up James' prescriptions and were offered masks on the way in and glopped our hands with hand sanitizer. We were already carrying masks. A couple of Christmases ago I had a bad cold and still wanted to go to Christmas dinner. I wore a surgical mask, didn't hug anyone, and sat in a corner during dinner. And we still had masks left over, so we used them. They were out of Lyrica, so we now need to go back.

Of course Publix was out of everything paper and everything disinfectant; and they were out of a lot of meat, but we did manage to snag some turkey thighs. I nearly fainted.

We didn't have to worry about meat; on Friday we went to Patak's and they had lots. We had to stand on pink X's taped on the floor and ground set six feet apart, but it worked fine. James got pastrami and I got mortadella, and we got stew beef and stew pork, chicken wings, and Italian sausage. We also stopped at Lidl so we'd have bread to eat the lunchmeat in; got more oranges and apples and cucumbers and the riced veg. (James made beef stir fry with the stew beef, the riced veg, and diced celery. It was wonderful and we had enough left for a second meal.)

James spent all day Saturday making burritos, even if he teleworking and doesn't need them to eat on the run going to work, so I pulled out the hose and washed the pine pollen off the porch and the front steps and the driveway. I thought the bulk of the pine pollen drifts had quit falling, but there was fresh pine pollen on the garbage can the next day. Sigh.

The one bright spot in the weekend was the series finale of Hawaii Five-0. It wasn't anything spectacular (except that Danny did a Steve and extricated himself from a dangerous situation in a highly athletic manner), and I knew the moment Lincoln mentioned Catherine that she would show up at the end, but it was kind of fitting: Steve wanted to find peace, and Catherine was his.

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