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, October 31, 2020
What a day: good food, clear skies, Hallowe'en programs, a "blue moon," and the end of wretched Daylight Saving Time.
We had to give up "Hair Day" in April due to the pandemic and lockdown, and had a socially distanced one with appointments only for May. In June, a few people gathered, pretty much just to talk, but our monthly lunches along with haircuts kind of went by the wayside.
In the past few months, though, Alex has been testing recipes on us. Last month he brought some "breakfast sliders," which even I ate (I gave the egg to James). Plus with folks bringing fruit, or fruit trays, veggie trays, etc., we were having pretty good breakfasts.
So today, with all the conversation and the camaraderie, we had some outstanding food. Our contribution was the least interesting: we brought pumpkin bread (Entemann's pumpkin loaf is surprisingly good) and two kinds of Pepperidge Farms cookies that went very quickly. John and Oreta brought candied bacon (an Alton Brown Good Eats recipe) and candied turkey bacon, and it was just superlative, sweet and salty all at once. I think we all ate too much to be good for us. Alex made creamy onion soup. Now, I'm not a fan of "French" onion soup with the thick coating of cheese on it. But this was...astounding. It had cream and butter, and sweet onions sliced finely, all in chicken broth, and was so good! Plus to offset the decadent bacon and the succulent soup, Ron and Lin provided a veggie tray heaped with celery, cucumber, baby tomatoes, broccoli, and lots of carrots with ranch dip on the side. So good!
Alas, good times had to end, people wandered off on errands, and we had to go to Lidl for milk, bread, chicken thighs on sale, and other necessities of life. Unfortunately they had no carts available, so I ended up pushing James in their available manual wheelchair through the store. Let's say I had my cardio for the day and was wiped out when we got home.
Thankfully we had an extra hour to relax (except for having to turn twelve clocks and five timers back one hour). We had no Hallowe'en visitors at all (I don't think anyone on our street did trick-or-treat) and sat back later to watch The Haunted History of Hallowe'en, the For Better or for Worse special "The Good-for-Nothing," and, of course—and not on stinky AppleTV—It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. "You've heard of the fury of a woman scorned, haven't you? Well, that's nothing compared to a woman who has been cheated out of tricks-or-treats." 😁
The treats today well overwhelmed the tricks.
Now on to November, Standard Time, the Thanks Jar, and Thanksgiving!
» Friday, October 30, 2020All This, and Apples, Too
Well, if we wanted to do it, we had to do it today.
So we did; we got up, I walked the dog, turned the television on for Snowy, and we went "adventuring."
After picking up a fast-food breakfast, we found ourselves driving north on a beautiful blue-and-white day, with delightfully low temperatures (it was in the low 60s; we had to wear our flannel shirts at first!) and a nice breeze, up I-575 until it dead-ended into Georgia route 5 and thence to the north Georgia foothills. No apple festival this year, but we weren't going to miss our fresh apples, and a little over an hour later we arrived in East Ellijay and pulled into Panorama Orchards, along with at least a dozen other retired-looking people.
So we wandered around gathering what took our fancy: another jar of blackberry spread to replace the one that did a nose-dive during the summer, a whole peck of apples, more Dionis goat's-milk moisturizing lotion for my soon-to-be winter-wizened hands, blueberry tea for James in those cunning little wooden cases (he's also trying apple and ginger peach), some applesauce cake, more pot-pie noodles. We also got the bright idea to buy some unique Georgia-food items for Christmas baskets for the folks.
Once done there, we traveled 20 more minutes up the road to Taste of Amish (they have a new store since the last time we shopped in Blue Ridge) and found the bonanza: more "soup greens" and also their "vegetable flakes." We were getting vegetable flakes on Amazon, but they had dried peas (ugh!) in them. Taste of Amish's "soup greens" are a mix of dehydrated onion, carrot, red pepper, celery, and a couple of other things, but no peas. The "vegetable flakes" are about the same, but have dried potato in them. I got three containers of both; we have been really enjoying "spiking" the Publix chicken and wild rice soup, which is thick like stew and rather salty, with sodium-free vegetable broth, and several handfuls of the soup greens along with a diced stick of fresh celery. Cuts the salt down and just plain delicious.
By now it was lunchtime. We turned back south and actually were headed for the Zaxby's in Jasper, but their dining room is so small they didn't have it open, so we went to Shane's rib shack for barbecue sandwiches instead. Rode home with the windows open, and it was just the most astonishingly wonderful day, the best we've had since we got to make it to Atomicon.
The only fly in the ointment was breakfast: none of the fast food places has oatmeal any more. I had to settle for French toast sticks (disappointing) and hash brown tater tots (okay).
» Thursday, October 29, 20201940s Smiles and Stormy Weather
I went to bed Tuesday night feeling like it was Christmas Eve. And all because of Remember WENN.
Between household chores and doing some pruning out in front of our neighborhood (I've asked the lawn guy and he keeps forgetting or doesn't understand—I don't know enough Spanish to properly explain) and hanging a garland on the development sign, I did a deep dive this week into finding out how to access the series for its streaming broadcast on Wednesday. The channel, AMC Presents, was available in two places that I could find: Amazon Prime's streaming channels (someone told me you could access these channels even if you didn't have Prime) and a free stream from the folks at Sling TV. (Supposedly you can get it through IMDbTV, but I never figured out how.) All this info was ported over to the Remember WENN Facebook group to other eager fans who hadn't seen the series in years. I didn't go berserk and stay up late for the midnight showing, or be crazy and get up for the 7:30 a.m. showing, but was tuned in and waiting at 1:07 p.m. when the afternoon version kicked in. I did indeed have to pick it up from the Amazon streaming channels via a Chrome browser and then "cast" it to the TV via the Chromecast, but it worked beautifully.
Seeing the series again on "real TV" was wonderful, except for the commercials that are, as always today, thrown in with no rhyme or reason in the the middle of dialog, songs, etc. I was told it was obvious AMC had found the master copies of the episodes and even had them upgraded to 720p, and indeed the episodes looked quite nice and bright and appealing on HD television. They showed the Christmas episode and five others, including the election episode, which was appropriate, and on Facebook everyone compared notes. I've missed those Saturday nights on chat where we all watched episodes and then came in the chat room to talk about them!
During the night Tropical Storm Zeta barged through north Georgia and you could hear the wind loudly even through closed windows. We escaped unscathed, thank God, except for a thick pad of pine straw all over the deck, but some friend of ours a little further north weren't so lucky: a tree hit their bedroom. They weren't hurt, but the bedroom is toast, there are tarps on the roof, and the insurance has been called. Plus of course thousands of folks were without power. Surprisingly, we woke Thursday to electricity and internet, and had no problem going up to Town Center for James' eye appointment, except that he was exhausted from only three hours sleep and I had to work hard to keep him awake on the way there.
So when we got home, the internet was dead, but, again, after a big storm, not surprising. And not only the internet, but our cell phone service as well, which was surprising. The internet came back up about 2:30, but the phones were funky all day.
About 4 p.m. we just gave up, and, so we didn't have to do it on Friday, went to Publix for twofers. Astonishingly, seeing that it was so late in the afternoon, they still had disinfecting items, including Clorox wipes and a couple of other brands.
» Saturday, October 24, 2020Back from the Dead
Does anyone still remember WENN?
Remember WENN was American Movie Classics' (now just "AMC") first original series. No, it wasn't Mad Men as they advertise now. It ran from 1996-1998, garnered a ton of critical acclaim and a loyal fanbase, and was renewed for a fifth season (we know it was because during fourth season they ran a contest and the winner was promised a small role in a fifth season episode). And then, right after fourth season ended, AMC abruptly cancelled the series.* Apparently the new head of AMC hated the show and said it didn't fit with the new image they were trying to cultivate (which wasn't devoted to classic film). Since 1998, fans have been lobbying for a DVD set and AMC has ignored all requests, even though obscured 1960s series like Fractured Flickers and Good Morning, World! were turning up on disc. The fans thought they'd never see it again.
Out of nowhere I got a note early in the week from a fellow WENN fan that AMC was rebroadcasting the series, but not on their cable channel, or on their new premium service AMC+. Instead it was on an obscure streaming channel called "AMC Presents" that only runs on Amazon Prime, IMDb TV, and SlingTV. I had no idea Amazon Prime even had streaming channels; through research during the week I discovered that's because the channels aren't linked in the SmartTV apps. They are only accessible via Windows or Mac browser. I also heard from Rupert Holmes, creator of the series, about this; we used to correspond regularly, and then...well, you know, life...
The most important thing that happened during the week was that the roof was repaired. They had to replace half a sheet of decking, it was not as much as we expected, and we breathed a sigh of relief. So between the news about Remember WENN and the repair job we went into the weekend feeling rather jaunty. Alas, we did have to go to two Publix stores to get everything we needed, but there was a nice trip to Barnes & Noble and another to Hobby Lobby to make up for it. James did his last physical therapy session (unless his doctor prescribes more in November). And of course we went to Lidl, picked up more meds yet again at Kaiser, and...
...dropped off our absentee ballots directly at a polling place. They were accepted and acknowledged almost immediately. A pity we can't shut up all the voting commercials!
Must work out how best to watch Remember WENN next Wednesday. (Is the scheduler at AMC Presents a fan? How else would we get WENN on "Wens-day"?) It's shown as a block of six shows about four times a day, starting at midnight. If it's not accessible through the Prime app and we don't get Sling, my alternative is to pull it up on Prime on the desktop via Chrome and "cast" it to the television.
* What happened to the contest? you ask. Supposedly the winner was hustled to the filming of the final episode and included there.
» Saturday, October 17, 2020Bloody Hell, Books, and a Note of Triumph
Well, medically it's been a strange week.
So Monday I'm sitting at my computer hydrating myself nicely with water, took a rather big gulp, and it ran smack into the wonderful, perpetual post-nasal congestion at the back of my throat and stuck right there. I started gasping for air, and, unable to draw a breath, had to spit up the water. Right on my nice clicky keyboard. After I got my breath back I spent an hour mopping up the mess and drying the keyboard with my hair dryer. It still typed 66666666666666666 and ttttttttttttttttttt with a "ghost" hitting the keys for hours until it completely dried.
Thursday's problem was slightly scarier. James has a rough patch of skin on his left cheek. Since he's already had two small skin cancers removed from his face, he wanted this checked out. So Thursday our first stop was Kaiser, and then we would proceed to Publix. So the dermatologist took a biopsy and covered up the spot with a small Band-Aid. Of course the spot is on the side of his face where the beard is, so the bandage was basically stuck to beard hair. Then he had to go to the lab to get his test for Dr. Kongara in two weeks. Then we needed to go to the pharmacy for cranberry supplements. Finally we were heading for the truck to go to Publix—until James took off his mask near the chair lift.
His lips were covered with dried blood like black lipstick! Plus the biopsy spot was bleeding like a stuck pig down his chin all into the hair of his beard.
So we went back inside and they sent us back upstairs, and the dermatologist's nurse treated the biopsy spot, got it to stop bleeding, cleaned up the blood in his beard, and stuck a bigger, thicker bandage on the spot. But what was wrong with his lips? He'd bitten his lip, hard, this morning at breakfast this morning. Ah, the joys of living with blood thinners. Not.
So we didn't get to Publix until way after noon and were ravenous when we finally got home for lunch. James chilled while I spent the afternoon watching a few things backed up on the DVR, like Norman Lloyd's birthday salute which I recorded two years ago, and cleaning some other things off it, like Hidden Figures (don't need to save it as it is available on Disney+). We also finally tamed the plastic leftover containers by dumping a bunch of them in the trash for tomorrow's pickup. Anything that was bubbling up, delaminating, didn't have a lid, etc. went in the bag, and now we have room for the new set of containers we got from Amazon Vine.
Friday we did a nice hop/skip/jump from Costco (renew memberships and buy cheese and mandarin orange cups), plus fill up the truck, Nam Dae Mun (thin steaks, chops, and some nice lamb steaks!), and also Lidl (for milk, bread, chocolate, and other necessities like mandarin oranges). In between jumps we had lunch at O'Charley's with Alice and Ken. A nice 6-ounce steak, applesauce, and a green salad was just what I needed.
Saturday was our banner day. First, like Friday, it was cool and beautiful! Even better, Saturday there was a nice breeze. I needed a new pair of knock-around-the-house pajama pants and James needed underwear as he was having "religious artifacting." We decided to try a different Wally World as the one closest to us is very shopworn and the second closest is always jam-packed. So we chose the one up at Kennesaw, between the mall and Barnes & Noble. Have only been past this one once, and never been inside. It's really nice, neat and clean, and huge! We got what we needed, including more sugarless candy, and, as I am wont to do these days, we took a stroll down the cleaning aisle not expecting to find anything.
There were two cans of Lysol spray left!
You have to understand I have not seen a can of Lysol since March! Over the summer months, I have managed to amass a small cache of necessary cleaning products. A kind friend brought me a bottle of alcohol, and in August I found two bottles at Publix. I have carefully collected alcohol wipes from Staples and then found some in another store. By hitting the grocerie stores at odd days and hours, I've found different disinfecting wipes (two of one brand, two of another, two actually of Lysol wipes). I know where a certain Kroger hides its disinfecting hand wipes. But I have not been able to find Lysol spray, which bugged me because with none of those other cleaning things I'd collected could I do what I needed to do with the Lysol: spray the laundry baskets after I put the laundry in the washer. Spray the mattress and the pillows when I change the bed. The little spritz of spray I rub onto the scale and then wipe off when I clean the master bathroom. So finding two cans of Lysol was a real win!
Plus we finished off the afternoon with a trip to Barnes & Noble. I picked up an Agatha Christie collection of spooky stories to read for Hallowe'en, and paired it with another book one half off, a history of the river Seine. Found a book for gift on the discount table, and another, ostensibly for me, a fantasy novel about people who can touch historical items and are "time sensitives" with them. It's the most books I've bought in a long while.
Will you please tell me how autumn whizzes by so quickly? October is half over. Summer sticks around like a constipated sloth and here it is almost Hallowe'en...
» Saturday, October 10, 2020It's Official...I'm Old; Plus Annoying News and a Birthday Party
It's official: I'm old. I got my Medicare card on the fifth.
Plus the first of the roof estimates is in. The guy came over on Wednesday. Yes, the flashing around the two attic vents is bowed up and water is getting under them. Also—he asked me: did you have a tarp on the roof at any time? I said no; no one's been up there since the house was built. Well he asked because right there over the spare room there are nail holes in pairs in several of the shingles. (Saw the photos later on—yikes!) He has no idea why, but this explains the two small leaks that I ignored because I thought it was from the HVAC leak and they never got any worse. Anyway, the estimate he offered us, even if they had to put in new decking, was so far under what we guessed a repair might cost that we decided to just let them do it rather than getting other quotes. Our friends had a good experience with them, the job is warrantied, and the next company can't come out to do even a quote until the 20th and we had rain coming on Saturday. (And sure enough, one of the water stains on the ceiling expanded about a couple of inches on Saturday night. It needs to be repaired before it rains again. When I called to cancel the other two appointments, one of the reps sussed it right out: "Oh, you've got someone who can come out before we can? I understand!")
Except for the rain, it ended up being a nice weekend. Now that I had my Medicare number, I could finish signing up for Medicare Advantage with Kaiser and mailed that out before we went shopping on Thursday. Friday we went to pay the taxes, but they only took cash or check. I paid it on my credit card to get the Amazon points when we got home instead. We also checked out Lowes and Home Depot for some small LED light bulbs that would fit in the ceiling fan fixture; I found them at Home Depot. We got home early enough to stay out of the heat that had returned, watching RV shows on the Travel Channel (and then Get Smart episodes all evening).
Saturday was Jessie Elder's 27th birthday party. We sat outside at Mellow Mushroom and added another table so we could social distance a bit more. It rained like crazy periodically as we celebrated; Jessie is a Disney fan, so it was a Disney-themed cake, and, as always when this bunch gets together, "a good time was had by all." We stopped at Kroger on the way home for milk and mushrooms, and then drove home through the edge of the Kennesaw National Battlefield Park, where the leaves are starting to turn to gold, and it's "lovely, dark, and deep" under the tunnels of tree branches.
Even with a three-day weekend, the days go by so fast. October is just spinning by and it's only the first third of the month.
» Saturday, October 03, 2020The Weakest Link...Uh, Leak
It all started when I went to iron the apple apron I got from Amazon Vine. I guess ironing should have been portent enough.
Anyone who's read this blog frequently know I am not a big fan of very bright lights. I find sunshine painful and I won't use the language I refer to fluorescent lights with. But for fine detail work, like making jewelry gifts, the stygian dimness given off by the 60-watt ceiling fan bulb in my craft room just wasn't doing it. One day I found a small-sized 100-watt light bulb at Publix. I would have preferred a 75, but beggars can't be choosers. I installed it.
Damn, it's bright. But over the last few months I've gotten used to it and I think in the last month or so I've quit flinching every time I turn it on. Except I turned it on Sunday, looked up as I was unfolding the ironing board, and yelped.
Let me note that more than several years ago, two water stains, like six-inch long dashes, appeared in the fold of the ceiling and wall of the craft room, on the north side of the house, after a really bad storm. I've kept an eye on them since then and they've remained the same, never expanded. Then when the guys replaced the HVAC system in 2016, they told me that I'd had a leak in the piping up there—there's a definite disadvantage to having the HVAC system in the attic—that leads to the condensate drain that goes outside the house. Mystery solved.
That Sunday morning there were two more water spots on the ceiling, near the dashes. These were round spots. And one was the size of a dinner plate.
So I did the cheapest thing first: called the HVAC people. If it was their leak, it was covered by the service contract. I was having other trouble with the system anyway.
So he came out on Tuesday. Um, no, it's not their leak. Damn. And also, the other problem with the system is the damper, which is not covered by the maintenance contract, which I find absurd. The damper is what directs the air upstairs or downstairs and makes the system function properly. But...no. (Actually, I found out the service contract I have only covers the semiannual check of the system. The actual maintenance contract for the system costs twice as much. Oh, and they should have told me to register the system with Lennox when I got it so I'd be under the warranty. I don't remember any of this at all, but then the new HVAC system was installed the same day James had his first heart attack. So...something had to take a backseat, and it sure wasn't going to be James.) Anyway, the service tech told me he suspects the leak is around the roof vents. I looked at them and it does seem the flashing is curving up a little. And he came back on Thursday to replace the damper (the gears on it were stripped). So we're going to spend the month of October getting quotes to have the roof repaired. What fun.
Which is why I made some financial decisions this week that will be effective in January. (I've also signed up for Medicare, which was a requirement given the birthday that was coming up. Damn. Where did the years go?)
This weekend was, as usual, too short. And we have three day weekends! Of course one day a week always seems to be taken up with James having a doctor's appointment. Thursday we went to Lidl and to Publix before arriving home to wait for HVAC guy. Friday we had lunch at Jim'n'Nick's barbecue with Alice and Ken, and then went back to Publix (a different Publix) for the things the Mableton Publix didn't have (like my yogurt and low-salt chips; I wish they'd all carry the same stock!). Once we got done with the chores, it was still cool enough outside so that we didn't want to go running for cover inside the house. So we went to Barnes & Noble instead. Picked up two autumn magazines and an early Christmas one to save for after Thanksgiving.
Saturday we did something we hadn't done in...well, I'm thinking about a year! We gave up on going to the Marietta Farmer's Market last summer because even when we got there early it was outrageously hot, we went a couple of times in the fall, and didn't even hit the winter market once, and then of course when we might have started thinking about going in the spring COVID-19 reared its nasty little head and for a while the Market was cancelled. Now it's being held in the parking lot where we used to park when going to the market, with the booths widely spaced and entrances offering hand sanitizer and people making sure you are masked. We finally got Tucker more Big Daddy dog biscuits, and also bought a Hawaiian glaze originally made by the vendor's great grandmother in Hawaii, plus a homemade croissant. I was too late to get my favorite flavor of goat cheese, though.
We also stopped at The Corner Shop (the British place) and James got a couple of treats (a steak pie and a beef and onion pasty, and we bought a Fry's peppermint cream bar. We dropped all this off at home, then went to the Hallmark Ornament October premiere. Didn't buy any ornaments, but had two coupons, so ended up with two nice Christmas gifts.
Saturday ended nicely with my Hamilton Books order having shown up. Along with the two Hallmark gifts, this whittles my outstanding Christmas gift list down substantially.
But, O Lord, why the roof already? I was hoping that would hold up a few more years until the house got to its 20th birthday, not here on what will be its 15th soon.