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, November 27, 2021
Thanksgiving and Second Thanksgiving
I don't get it. Summer lasts for so long. It goes by with the speed of a constipated sloth, leaving behind the ugly scents of hot asphalt and sizzling concrete, mold and heated metal.

And now here it was Thanksgiving week!

The early part of the week was notable in that it was cold enough, or we thought it was cold enough, that we pulled the comforter down from the closet shelf and put it on the bed, only for me to put it back up a day later. Even as chilly as it was, it was too warm. Ironically, when we had the furnace inspected on Monday, it was too warm.

Thursday it seemed Thanksgiving was back to normal. Except that Dish Network and Tegna are still in a pissing match and I couldn't record the Macy's Parade on NBC, so I watched it on CBS instead. This was actually good; the coverage was better than NBC has done in years. We spent half the morning cooking for dinner this afternoon: steamed carrots with maple syrup glaze and also a green bean casserole. James "mixed it up" a little by using cream of onion soup instead of cream of mushroom soup and also added chives to it. Finally about two we headed over to the Lucyshyns across town, only to be held up in traffic! On Thanksgiving Day, of all days! No accident ahead, just scads of cars on I-85 northbound. We finally got off the freeway and went surface streets.

Dinner was delicious as always: turkey, ham, pot roast for the main meats and all sorts of veggies, two different kinds of fruit salad, regular pies and also a hot crispy fruit pie. Had football on the television, and were able to host a friend who is basically in hospice care as he has an incurable cancer. We also had another friend who was able to come but not enjoy himself as he used to: he has a host of medical problems and basically can only sit and watch television and eat simple things. Despite that, we all enjoyed it.

Heading home, the freeway was apparently still clogged up and we had to go south to Stone Mountain to be able to double back to I-285 and go north and then west to go home. Quite exhausted when we got there.

No need for Black Friday shopping this year; I think those days are gone. We have enough gadgets and enough thumb drives and hard drives for a while. We had to go to the post office to pick up a registered letter and then tried to go to the bank, only to find it closed for the weekend. Then we did the grocery shopping, which means that we didn't get lunch until almost dinner time.

Saturday we went to Popshelf to get James more beef and bean burritos so he won't have to make his own, then went by Lowes where I found strings of blue lights on discount sale. Back at home we made more carrots and green bean salad, because in the afternoon we were invited to what I called "Second Thanksgiving" at the Spiveys' home. Juanita made the turkey at home and brought it over, and it joined the veg and numerous desserts and breads. Football was on here, too, as well, and the cats wandered in and out at will as Cinnamon the dog stared at people trying to get them to feed her.

Then we came home to watch our usual Christmas starts to the season: "Merry Gentlemen" from All Creatures Great and Small and "Silly, But It's Fun..." on The Good Life.

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» Saturday, November 20, 2021
"The State of Happiness is Just a Point of View..."
It was a week of in and outs. On the "in" side I did some book reviews and blogged and shelved books. On the "out" side, I finally got rid of the alarm clocks—we don't use them anymore and there's no radio station I want to wake up to any longer.

Thursday was a usual shopping day, Lidl, Publix, and Kroger in a row. And then we managed to have a little fun at Barnes & Noble. I'm having to buy "Yankee" magazine again since Nook canceled my electronic subscription. But at least the print copy came with a calendar, so I'm stocked on calendars now. James also took delivery on a sanitizer for his C-PAP machine. We are hoping this will cut down on the allergy problems he's been having for the last few months (he gets up sneezing very hard and it continues all day). I've been washing the mask and making sure there are no particulates in the tank, but this will make sure all the germs are taken care of.

Something nice did happen after B&N: Did you ever have an ordinary moment when you suddenly realized you were...just happy? I had a moment like that Thursday: we'd finished the grocery shopping, everything was put up, and we'd had lunch; James was driving us to Barnes & Noble, we were going through the back way with all the trees, it was autumn, the windows were down and it was cool, and I was exactly where I wanted to be.

And later on we had the season premiere of Star Trek: Discovery. That was a very interesting opening act before settling into a more traditional episode! Glad they didn't make the new President a snotty sort, and she was actually very knowledgeable. This was followed by the first Ready Room of the season, with Wil Wheaton on a slick-looking new set that looks like a real Trek ready room. Also watched Prodigy, and perhaps Gwyn has finally gotten the message that her father can't be trusted?

Friday we had a very small "lunch bunch" at Top Spice (Thai), and also went to Hobby Lobby. I got Patti Callahan's new book about C.S. Lewis and "where" Narnia came from, a novel called Once Upon a Wardrobe. I read it as an e-book and wanted a real copy.

Saturday we had to take Tucker to the vet. He's been biting at his tail so much it was getting irritated, so we were treating it with aloe wipes and some anti-itch medication and leaving the Thundershirt on him so he couldn't twist up and bite at his tail. What we were worried about was that his left ear was drooping more and more every day from the beginning of the week, and now it seemed to have fluid in it. So we dropped him off before nine o'clock and then had to go to Hair Day. That part at least was fun. Afterwards, not so much: James cooked up some "Plant Based" (that's the brand name) burgers that we tried. He had no problem, but whatever they put into those burgers to make them taste like meat made me very ill. I was burping it up all night. I had a nap and then indulged in Pepto Bismol and "Goren and Eames therapy."

We were instructed to come pick up Tucker at 5:30, but didn't actually get him until after six. The vet is still doing the stupid drop-off thing and we had to sit in the car for 45 minutes and twiddle our thumbs while the guy in the car next to us smoked noxious cigars. Barf.

So Tucker finally got his exam and his shots, which they had conveniently "forgotten" to do when he was there boarding in March, although we confirmed this when we dropped him off. (We're still pretty pissed about this; can you tell?) The itch on his butt is from a flea allergy, even though we haven't had any fleas, and they gave us steroids for him. (We never got his flea meds in March, either; they wouldn't give them to us because he hadn't had his exam!) The fluid in his ear is a hematoma, and they only wanted to do it if he had his teeth cleaned, too. Well, this bloody costs $1,000, which we'll have to save up for. Hopefully the hematoma will reabsorb. We have to watch it.

We didn't get home until way after dark and forewent watching the final, clip show of Call the Midwife. I was frankly disappointed by this season of Call the Midwife, except for the final episode. Every plot seemed to be "okay, this bad thing happened, but everyone was supportive and the baby was okay." Just very "by the numbers" this season, and unsatisfying. In the last episode, even though the baby was born with Down syndrome and his adoptive mother rejected him, things came out okay, and Rich Guy came through for Nonnatus House. Meh. Instead we watched more Murdoch Mysteries.

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» Saturday, November 13, 2021
An Unexpected Vacation, or Doctors' Appointments, Store-Hopping, and Crime Series Watch
If James was going to have a week's furlough, at least we could get a "sort of" vacation out of it. So I turned off all the alarms and we looked forward to a nice Monday morning of sleeping in.

Thanks, Alex, for coming to cut the grass (last cut of the season). Absolutely no thank you for showing up at 6:50 a.m. Sigh. In the meantime, James devoted Monday to giving the stovetop a good scrub.

Tuesday I did the laundry (because Wednesday was reserved for our "big exciting trip" down to Kaiser Southwood) and a couple of the chores I would have done on Sunday. Happened to catch a message that Vincent D'Onofrio was going to be on the gossip show Daily Blast Live, so we watched it this afternoon. Sure wish the hosts would shut up and let the guest talk instead of bantering amongst themselves, but this seems to be the fashion today. Miss Johnny Carson, Mike Douglas, and Merv Griffin, who actually let their guests talk—what a novel idea. For the rest of the day I had my D'Onofrio/Erbe fix—mostly watched Law & Order: Criminal Intent. (I've started—early, since it was a birthday gift to myself—watching the DVD set I bought and realized the initial shows were still done in the era of pan-and-scan.)

So Wednesday we had to drive 35 miles to the Kaiser Southwood office—thankfully traffic only a problem until we got to the I-20 cutoff—to visit James' urologist. Didn't realize we hadn't seen him for over a year! Dr. Starr did a cytoscopy (sp?) on him to make sure his bladder was emptying properly (it is). Apparently his prostate is growing back slightly on one side, but has left a sizable enough gap for everything to come out properly, so it's not a problem right now. There was a bit of scar tissue from the surgery, which the doctor was able to clear. We also picked up some new "hats" so James could continue monitoring output. Dr. Starr will see us one more time in May, and then he is retiring, bless him. If anyone deserves it, he does. And then he will recommend a doctor at Glenlake, which will save us these marathons to Southlake.

We had planned to eat our anniversary dinner—did I mention Wednesday was our wedding anniversary? it's our "Baskin-Robbins anniversary," 31derful years—at the Olive Garden nearby, but, forever spooked by Atlanta traffic as always, we drove back home and ate at the Cobb Parkway location instead. I did the make-your-own-pasta (rigatoni with marinara sauce and meatballs) with a salad and James had his favorite, chicken marsala, with a "zuppa toscana" chaser, and we shared a piece of black tie mousse cake as dessert (the waiter wrote "Happy Anniversary" on the plate in chocolate fondant, which was sweet). Of course if Olive Garden's marinara sauce gets any sweeter, we're going to have to start classifying it as a dessert...

To get it out of the way, we stopped at Publix on the way home.

Thursday we had to complete James' doctor trifecta for the week. We had an appointment at Glenlake with a podiatrist in the morning, so instead of taking the freeway, we did our usual back door route through Lower Roswell and Paper Mill roads and were rewarded with gorgeous autumn color (Paper Mill is a ritzy neighborhood, so the houses are set in groves of trees, and the road itself descends to a creek bottom where the mill used to be and then back up). Glenridge Drive behind Kaiser Glenridge was beautiful as well.

We saw Dr. "Mosh" this time (he has a very long last name) and he agreed with me that Dr. Friedman's suggested method of treating the little ulcer on James left "ring toe" was not working and changed it. Now I am to put betadyne on it and he gave me some silver-infused Mepilex foam to put on top of it. He also gave us some silicone spacers to use to keep James' baby toe from rubbing the affected one.

Since it was on the way home, we stopped at Trader Joe's to (1) get a quick lunch, as we like their wraps, and (2) pick up more stuff. They had the Christmas stuff out so we got fresh "candy cane Jo-Jos" (Oreo cookie-type filled with crushed peppermint), peppermint bark, and peppermint puffs covered in dark chocolate. There is a Lidl nearby now, so we stopped there for our Lidl stuff like mandarin oranges, bakery items, etc. and found a loaf of whole wheat bread for James since Publix didn't have any. We were even able to get the two stores' worth of groceries home and put away and sit for awhile until it was time to hit the last appointment, the nephrologist, who gave James a clean bill of health.

On the way home this time we stopped at Kroger for milk and yogurt and ramen noodles.

Friday we actually had a free day, so took some stuff to Goodwill—sadly James' old desk chair was too battered for them to take—and then went to Walmart to get James new compression socks, plus what stock of sugar free hard candies they had (not much). On the way home we stopped at Popshelf to get James some Tina burritoes (their beef and bean flavor has the lowest sodium count of all the pre-made burritoes in the stores).

Saturday! Finally! The event we'd waited for for two years: Free Electronics Recycling Day! Now we could safely get rid of the damn microwave that James rapped the truck door on every time he got into the truck. And the three dead UPS units, a VCR that wouldn't even turn on anymore, a fan, various little electronic devices, my old alarm clock, RCA cables, old lamps, etc. However, they would not take the light bulbs, even the damn CFLs which are supposed to be toxic and are supposed to be disposed of properly. Made me angry.

We hadn't been to the Farmer's Market in downtown Marietta in a dog's age, so we went there next. Didn't have much money, but we bought some sweet Argentinian chorizo sausage (which we had for supper; it was delicious, but the sample we'd tasted was not so salty, or we wouldn't have bought it) and of course homemade dog biscuits for Tucker. We also brought the six preserve jars we've been saving for months on the drainboard to the guy who makes his grandmother Lillian's Hawai'ian marinade, as he recycles them to put his product in. It was crisply cold this morning, which made loading the electronic junk in the truck and walking around downtown a positive delight.

We walked around the square as well and stopped at The Corner Shop (a.k.a. the British store) and bought a Terry's dark chocolate orange, a couple of meat pies for James, some chocolate "Christmas pudding," and a Scotland sticker. Then we went into the candy store next door where they sell all sorts of hard candies and unusual candy bars and different brands and flavors of sodas, and they had four kinds of sugar free hard candies! James got sugar free Chik-O-Stiks, butterscotch candies, root beer barrels, and peanut butter bars. Finally we stopped at The Local Exchange, but they didn't have any Marietta Square stickers (ours have been burnt out by the sun), so we got back into the truck and headed for home. As a last treat for our unscheduled "vacation," we each had a doughnut at the new "Dunkin" on Powder Springs Road near where we used to live.

And thus ended the furlough, because James got the call that he was all funded up again—well, for the next six months anyhow—and back to work on Sunday. Alas, back to my having to cook dinner. But a week was a nice vacation from it.

In various other news, we are watching Star Trek: Prodigy—James likes it, I don't hate it, but I could skip it without pain—and, between out bouts with watching Murdoch Mysteries, we are dipping into the original CSI on Hulu (it's on Paramount+, too, but the commercials on Hulu are less obnoxious). William Petersen is almost as nice to look at as Vincent D'Onofrio. (Notice I said "almost" here...LOL.)

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» Sunday, November 07, 2021
Conjuration Convocation
We ended up having a really nice time at Conjuration. Again, it's highly Harry Potter oriented, but they have a very nice writer's track, and we spent a lot of time at those panels.

We were a little discombobulated Saturday morning, so did not arrive in time for an 11 a.m. panel that I was interested in; however, we discovered the schedule online was not accurate, either, and that panel wasn't being held. Alas, it also meant that the raptor demonstration we had wanted to see wasn't going to happen this weekend either. It was okay, though; we found things to do. In fact, I knew the moderator of the first panel we attended: Dr. Dea Mazingo-Gorman, who did the anthropology panels at Anachrocon. "When Magic Gets Sciency" was about customs in ancient societies that were considered "magical" back then that have a scientific basis. For instance, in ancient Egypt, worshipers of Horus wore eye makeup that identified them as members. While this eye makeup had lead in it, it also protected the Horus-worshippers from eye infections caused by bathing in the Nile due to its scientific properties. Another was Lake Avernus, which is near Pozzuoli, Italy. There are caves in the area which caused death when you entered them. Turns out the lake is the caldera of a former volcano and poisonous gas still issues into the caves. Also talked a lot about the interconnectedness of ravens and wolves, which appear in many different mythologies including Native Americans. Apparently when wolves vanished from Yellowstone, so did the ravens; when they reintroduced wolves, the ravens came back. Neat panel.

Sometimes You Can Judge a Book by Its Cover" was a fun panel about cover art past and present for fantasy novels, and how good covers can persuade you to read a book even if you don't know what it's about. But it was the next two hours that were the most fun: "Dragons, Wizards & Pens," a writing "contest" involving four writers, a moderator, and suggested words. The writers were given a word and then had to write an opening sentence for a story, and the audience voted on which was the best opening line. Half were audience suggestions and we suggested "budgie" (another suggested word was "carburetor," so I think budgie wasn't so bad!). The entries were hilarious; if laughter really is the best medicine, we had a dose of the best.

"Static Character vs. Dynamic" was a good discussion about static (characters that stay the same, like Batman or Indiana Jones) versus dynamic (characters who change). Next was our final Saturday panel, "To Tell the Truth--Or Not," in which our panel of writers had to tell a real-life story from a prompt and we had to decide if they were telling the truth or lying. They were quite clever at it.

We also cruised the dealer's room a couple of times and James bought me the updated version of Alan Siler's book Doctor Who's Greatest Hits for our anniversary (later I got Alan to autograph it), and talked to one of the authors who was on the "Dragons" panel, Barbara Evers.

Came home to scritch the budgie and walk the dog (and turn back all the clocks and the timers) and drop into bed to do it all over again. This time we were a bit more collected and arrived mostly in time for the 10 a.m. panel:
"To Trope or Not to Trope," about the tropes in stories we hated, the ones that have been done to death, and the ones that we love to have "flipped."

We didn't have anything we really wanted to see next, but stayed for an interesting discussion about being a mother in the Harry Potter universe. The three panelists were all mothers—in fact, one had to take time out occasionally to tend her little ones (looked like about two and four). I think the most difficult thing about being a wizard mom would be when the kids started to manifest magic and you would have to teach them not to!

We sat and ate our sandwiches and talked to some folks, and then went back to the panel circuit. Alan Siler did a panel about the old "Land of Oz" amusement park in North Carolina. It was very popular in the 1970s, but then closed after a fire and was abandoned. It's since been fixed up and opens two weeks out of the year, with the performers all volunteers. The woman who plays Glinda originally played Dorothy in the 1970s. Alan went there in the 1970s, when he was age seven, and then went back with the television crew of The Unseen World. A lot of marriage proposals apparently take place there because one or both people went to the park as children.

The next panel was "World Building 101," which was exactly as it sounds. Most of the authors began with characters, but a few did begin with the worlds they needed.

The last panel was called
"The Storyteller's Toolbox" and was conducted by John Adcox. He was challenging the teaching of the three-act story structure and says it's more like a four-act structure instead, and illustrated this by applying the structure of Star Wars to his four-act graphic. It made a lot of sense.

Before we left James bought me two books for my birthday, the first in an independent series about a witch and her sentient cat.

We came home and James made an easy supper of ramen noodles and Trader Joe's orange chicken. Later we watched Call the Midwife.
Is it me or has the series been kind of "by the numbers" this season? Maybe it was because of the difficulties of filming with the pandemic going around, but I'm just not feeling the love this year. Usually I cry at the end of several episodes; this year it's "okay, this bad thing happened, but everyone was supportive and the baby was okay."

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» Friday, November 05, 2021
Fresh Apples and Magical Locations
We had a good weekend despite James' toe (which is now not red and looking better although the wound appears a little larger) and the news we got on Friday afternoon.

Alas, first we had to get through the shopping on Thursday as well as getting James a blood/urine test for his nephrologist appointment next week. But that was pretty painless.

Although it was cloudy and a tad chilly on Friday, we drove up to Ellijay and had a nice day. We listened to "Travel With Rick Steves" on the way up, and once we got past Jasper we started seeing some very nice color on the trees considering Georgia doesn't always get brilliant color. We stopped at Panorama Orchards as usual for fresh apples, fruit spreads, pot pie noodles, sugar free taffy, fruit teas, goat's milk lotion, and a few other things. Then we drove another 15 minutes to Blue Ridge to go to Taste of Amish. We can't get into this store with James' power chair due to a curb, so I went in alone to buy more "soup greens" and also found Necco Wafers (James uses them for low blood sugar instead of those icky lemon tablets they give you), some smoked cheddar, and a packet of seriously delicious ginger cookies with a nice ginger bite on the "back end."

We had lunch at Shane's BBQ, and then headed home. James' right leg was getting twitchy, so we stopped at a Cracker Barrel so he could stretch his legs and use the bathroom. While I was wandering around the gift shop (if you've never been to a Cracker Barrel, it's a country style restaurant that also has a gift shop) and found an adorable Christmas/winter sweatshirt in my size with two chibi-type foxes, pine trees, and snowflakes on it. They had a couple of other shirts that I liked, including one with chickadees on blue, but none in my size. A lovely piece of serendipity.

For some years we have been recommended a small convention called "Conjuration." It started as just a Harry Potter convention, but has branched out to encompass magical media. Our friends Alice and Ken go every year. Well, this year they went to Disney World instead, but we decided we would go on Saturday.

Things changed as we drove home: James got a phone call from his boss. Once again, they forgot to renew the purchase order that pays his salary until too late. So they have no money to pay him next week. So guess what, he's on furlough until "the board" re-ups the PO.

To look at it positively, I don't have to cook next week. And now we can go to Conjuration both Saturday and Sunday.

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