» Wednesday, December 29, 2021
Welcome to Christmastide
Had Christmas gifts early Christmas morning—James bought me season two of A Discovery of Witches
, Joe Straczynski's book about writing, a book of Bryant and May short stories, a book about geology of the Old West, and a nifty butter knife that will make it easier for me to have a treat occasionally. I bought him books, including three about the space program, a Larry Correia book, and a "Politically Incorrect" book for his collection. Tucker got a tug toy and some Paul Newman dog biscuits, and Snowy got a big sprig of millet.
Christmas afternoon was spent at the Lucyshyns home, having a killer dinner and lots of conversation. We were happy that one of our friends had been sprung from the hospital to be able to come to dinner; she had been in the hospital for a couple of weeks. We also had another friend who was looking rather sad at Thanksgiving but who was looking much improved at Christmas. He was using a cane instead of a walker and seemed much more alert and happy.
James had to work Sunday, of course, so we headed home in time to watch the Christmas episode of Remember WENN and prep for the next day.
Christmastide or no, Sunday is still my chore day since James is working all day. He had a bit of a bumpy day as he woke up with the runs—and James so rarely gets that; he usually has to take Metamucil—that it was a little concerning. We got some Pepto Bismol in him, he kept up drinking, and we had a bland lunch of rice and plain broth, and by the time suppertime came he was doing a lot better and he'd only lost about ninety minutes of work.
Monday it was my turn; no idea what caused it, but it least cleared up in time to go to Alice's birthday dinner at Okinawa. This was very small, only six people besides ourselves, but dinner and conversation were great.
Tuesday morning I did what I'd planned to do Monday, make a trip from dollar/discount store to dollar/discount store in search of after-Christmas deals. I went to Dollar Tree, Publix, CVS, Walgreens, and Big Lots before my bladder betrayed me. I didn't find tinsel, but I did get some cheap decor for out front of the development for next year, two rolls of wrapping paper, and a string of lights with 2.5 wattage bulbs to serve as spares (since the library tree has been almost completely dark for a week now; it was fully lit when I put it up the first week of December! first the middle went out, then the top). I didn't see any bows, either.
Wednesday was laundry day, and I also did another load of dishes, loaded up the old books to go to the library book sale, and reviewed books on my blog and prepped my dozen best books of 2021 blog entry.
All this is being done in miserable weather: it's been high 60s or 70s almost every single day this week. It's revolting. And then with rain coming in on Wednesday, it started smelling like a swamp outside, all moist and heavy like a terrarium.
2021 is counting down fast...next thing you know it will be the new year.
Labels: books, Christmas, food, friends, gifts, shopping, weather
» Friday, December 24, 2021
"And So This is Christmas . . . Eve"
After a Thursday of shopping, we were all prepared to have some fun on Christmas Eve. So we woke this morning, had breakfast, and I took Tucker on his long walk. We headed out early for lunch, intending to stop at Popshelf first for burritos, but traffic was so bad on the East-West Connector (since Walmart was between us and the restaurant) that we just went directly to O'Charley's and waited for everyone else. Juanita couldn't make it today after all, Mel and Phyllis were still being careful, and John never showed up, so it was just us and the Spiveys (including Aubrey). We talked about Marvel films (but not Hawkeye which they haven't seen) and other stuff, and Alice took a photo of us for Facebook.
On the way home we hit Popshelf. It was very crowded at that end of the shopping center because Popshelf is two doors down from Target, so I had James drop me off at the end of the sidewalk and he parked behind Office Max. Well, no sooner had I hit the sidewalk than I heard the weird honk/coo noise that the sandhill cranes make when they fly over—saw two small flocks of them the other day—and looked directly up to see them right overhead, so close that I could make out their long necks with the naked eye! I got two nice photos of them on my phone!
Bought twenty-five burritos and then brought them and James' leftovers home. We were feeling kind of bad not seeing Mel and Phyllis since we still had their Hanukkah gifts, so after I put the food up I grabbed the gifts and we drove back out to their house. We sat in the driveway and chatted with them for a while, and then drove home, stopping at Bruster's for ice cream on the way. James had peppermint stick Oreo, which was a lot more pepperminty than Oreo, and for once they had coffee ice cream (although theirs is nowhere as good as Baskin-Robbins, which is nowhere as good as Newport Creamery's, but them's the breaks) for me. I thought of Billy Joe in the Lassie episode "Yochim's Christmas": "This sure am the life."
Compared to last year, yes, it is.
We got home and settled in to watch Christmas things. First played The Gathering, with Edward Asner and Maureen Stapleton. Forget Hallmark Christmas movies, this is a Christmas film for adults. Then The House Without a Christmas Tree while we ate a light supper (the soup we brought home from Chattanooga). Caught the weather report, watched Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, then went on to The Homecoming: A Christmas Story, which is absolutely my favorite Christmas film ever (you can take It's a Wonderful Life, thanks).
Labels: birds, Christmas, events, films, food, friends, television, treats
» Wednesday, December 22, 2021
Return to McKay's
James' day-off Wednesday was fast approaching, and I knew what I wanted to do with it: go up to McKay's Used Books in Chattanooga. We hadn't been up there since January of 2020, and there was a pile of eight Xerox paper boxes and a stray stack of books in the library waiting to be traded in. On Monday I went downstairs and separated out the books: James' discards in four boxes, my discards in four boxes, and DVDs and CDs in a ninth box, and tied up each of the boxes with strings so the lids wouldn't blow off in the bed of the truck. I also cooked pork chops and read and listened to Christmas music.
Since we were going to be out Wednesday, I did laundry on Tuesday and also put the gifts away from Sunday's gift exchange. We crossed our fingers Tuesday night and went to bed.
Amazingly, Wednesday morning was chilly, but clear. I didn't have any stomach problems, and James wasn't having an allergy attack. I figured, hey, get up at eight and we would be on the road by 9:30. Alas, more like 10:30, so we arrived at McKay's right before lunchtime again
. On the other hand, it was a wonderful day to come; either there aren't a lot of people on Wednesdays or not a lot of people shopping there before Christmas. We got right in with our books (I put the DVDs and CDs in James' bins because he had the room) and started to wander around. I wasn't looking for much, because right now I have so
many books. I did look for any "Dear Canada" books (I've found them in McKay's before), and hunted around the television and movie books and found the old CSI Companion
and also a book I bought as a gift two years ago and dearly wanted to keep, but couldn't because I didn't have an alternate gift. I got a nearly new copy for only $1.50. What I did go look for were some of the CSI
novelizations, and found about a dozen, but only bought five (I also got one at 2nd and Charles, so now I have a half-dozen). Also found The Pictorial History of Radio
. Alas, didn't find anything I was looking for in DVDs, like Emerald City
. James got a nice bio of Pappy Boyington and a John Ringo book and a couple of other things. I looked at the biographies and some of the travel books, but only skimmed history.
By 1:30 we were ravenous, so we put our empty boxes, wedged together so they had no open surfaces, up against the tailgate of the truck, and went to City Cafe Diner as usual. I had the open face hot turkey sandwich and James had a chicken pot pie and ordered a side of tater tots that was in a huge plate. He forgot how big the portions were last time. I brought half my turkey home and he half the pot pie and half of the tots, and we ordered a wedge of chocolate overload cake and couldn't eat it we were so full!
Of course we had their wonderful chicken "noodle" soup which has broken up spaghetti in it instead of something like egg noodles, and we ordered some to take home.
Before we left for home, we filled up with gas, but alas, by that time it was 3:30 and we didn't want to get stuck in Wednesday rush hour traffic in Atlanta, so we once again put off the trip to their Barnes & Noble at the Hamilton Mall. Their B&N is so much better than ours, or was the last time we were there; of course now that the new owner has taken over, it may not be.
Alas, we ran out of luck on the way home: no matter how tightly the boxes were wedged together, they still kept flying up and we lost three of them out of the truck bed on the way home, and to keep the rest intact we had to weigh down three of them with the books we bought and take the other three into the cab with me. As we were riding home with lots of leftover and uneaten cake, and I had the extra soup we ordered between my legs, it was kind of uncomfortable. We had to stop a couple of times to rearrange the boxes and once for James to use the bathroom.
we were home and changed and munching on a light dinner while finally watching the end of Hawkeye
. Wow! What a finale! They killed the Rockefeller Center tree dead and had a killer fight on the ice; in the meantime, Kate Bishop went up against Kingpin. Wow, does he wear armor or what: Kate shot him directly with an arrow and he just pulled it out. And then there was the whole cliffhanger at the end...they say this is only a "season finale," so will there be another one? And I do want a series about Echo/Maya Lopez, which is apparently in the works.
Except for the boxes, it was a wonderful day!
Labels: books, chores, excursions, food, shopping, television
» Sunday, December 19, 2021
James had twenty hours of vacation time left going into December. At first he was going to take the Sunday before and the Sunday after Christmas, but someone had already claimed Boxing Day. Tim also depends on James on Sundays because for the first three hours of the day he's the only one on phone duty. So he asked for either the 22nd or the 29th (both Wednesdays) and then five hours each Sunday afternoon on the 12th and the 19th.
We had already used the afternoon of the 12th for my birthday dinner; Sunday we had our annual Christmas get-together at the Lawsons' house. We managed to remember all the gifts except for David's, but both forgot our phones; I didn't care for any other reason, but if Butch broke down we had no way of calling for help! Luckily nothing happened. We had pizza as the main course (Jerry even ordered me a bacon-black olive-and-no-cheese pizza) and a group played games, but I sat on the back porch with Alice and Juanita chatting. Then we had the mad gift exchange with wrapping paper flying. And then it was time to go home, which was rather a relief. They always have a nice wood fire at the party, and my allergy just revs up when I have to breath woodsmoke anymore. I was finding it kinda hard to breathe by the time we left, so the cold air was very welcome, and we got to look at Christmas lights on the way back.
Labels: food, friends, parties
» Saturday, December 18, 2021
Downtime, Hawkeye, and a Trip to Canton
Well, it was an up-and-down sort of week, and I do mean down...
Monday at least was good: the blue tree I ordered from Home Depot arrived, so I finally got to put up the airplane tree. I thought from the photos on the website it would be a light blue, but it's a royal blue, but it still does look nice with the ornaments on and the white lights. There aren't a lot of blue planes in the collection, so there's a nice contrast.
At 11:30 the problems began. We tried to get the "Dot" in our room to time our fifteen minutes of reading as usual, and it said it couldn't collect to the internet. So I just timed it on my Fitbit and then we went to bed. It's not responded like this before and always been okay in the morning. But when James got up to work the internet was still down, and it was down all day. We had to call Earthlink and we emphasized James was handicapped and needed the connection to work. But they couldn't send anyone out until Wednesday morning. James tried to connect to the internet through the hotspot in his phone, but the VPN he has to use to get to the main call center wouldn't stay connected to it. So he lost a whole day's work and two hours on Wednesday.
So on Tuesday afternoon we piggybacked off the hotspot and watched the first three parts of Hawkeye, which looked like so much fun in previews. Each of the episodes took an hour to watch because the signal kept dropping out, but the story is such fun and interesting that we made our way through it.
The repairman showed up about 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Guess what: not Earthlink's fault again: the problem was at the box out on the street. Someone repaired another line in the box and broke one of the two wires to our connection. Dammit, I am so tired of that happening; I hate when AT&T fixes anything anymore.
This way we could watch two more episodes of Hawkeye, and guess who shows up at the end of part five: Kingpin. (Played by Vincent D'Onofrio as in the Daredevil series.) I thought I recognized that chuckle at the beginning of part three!
But now we have to wait like everyone else for the end next week!
Thursday was back to normal in that we had grocery shopping, but James had agreed to work in the morning to make up for Tuesday. So I went to the Smyrna Publix to do it myself, and then to the Smyrna Kroger, which is useless. They had no skim milk. WTF? In the afternoon we had to go to James' eye exam. He has to have his eyes examined every year to make sure the Plaquinel he takes for his arthritis isn't damaging his eyes. But, aside for cataracts just starting, he's doing okay. No sign of macular degeneration or glaucoma.
Friday morning we had to get up really early for an 8:40 appointment, but it was worth it: Dr. Friedman says the ulcer on James' left "ring toe" is finally healing as I thought it was (for once I was feeling good about a doctor's appointment!). I think it should be healed by the New Year, or maybe earlier. (Every bit of the money James earned on Thursday morning went for doctors' appointments...)
Since we had to be up early anyway, after the appointment and a blood test and picking up a prescription, we hit the freeway and went up to Canton for the day. First stop was Books-a-Million, where they had games on sale, so we picked up four. And then we had pizza at Uncle Maddio's. The owner is still working the whole place alone!
There was a lot of traffic home, but all-in-all it was a great day.
Saturday we went to Lidl and then stopped at Hallmark where I needed to pick up a gift with a coupon. They had some items BOGO so I have a start on next year's shopping. When we came home I baked two batches of wine biscuits and I vacuumed.
And now there's only a week to go until Christmas...time sure flies at the end of the year!
Labels: chores, Christmas, food, health, internet, shopping, television, work
» Saturday, December 11, 2021
A Happy Birthday Saturday and Other December Tales
I was ready to decorate the Christmas tree on St. Nicholas Day, but the weather didn't cooperate: it was still too warm. If I'd done it on Monday, the tinsel would have stuck to my hands. So instead I changed the bed, cleaned out James' side table that would be next to the tree, cleaned out the corner, and brought the tree up and assembled it—as well as replacing about seven more bulbs (after I replaced every bulb at the bottom of that tree last year!) and fluffed it, all ready for the morrow.
The tree was up on Tuesday, while I worked my way through Pearl Harbor specials on the History Channel (yeah, I know...actual history specials on the History Channel!) for the 80th anniversary. When they quit, I put on my own: The Waltons' episode "Day of Infamy."
Wednesday was my usual laundry day. We were also celebrating Snowy's eighth adoption day. And James was happy because Forged in Fire was back Wednesday night.
Thursday was a busy day: we did the three-stop shopping trip in Lidl, Publix, and Kroger and then came home for lunch. This particular Thursday we actually went out again, as we wanted to drop off a bag of childrens' items at Vickery Hardware since they were collecting for Toys for Tots. James needed gasoline, so we went to Costco next, and then ended up at Barnes & Noble. This time I committed book: the newest Harry Dresden in paperback, a murder mystery taking place in Italy featuring an Irish/Italian former NYPD detective, something called The Love Hypothesis about romance among academics, and also an issue of "American Road" magazine devoted to lighthouses.
Ended the evening with Star Trek: Discovery and a very surprising ending for Tilly! (She's one of my favorite characters, so this was particularly heart-rending. I'm also getting particularly fond of Adira and Grey.)
On Friday we slept until ten, then had lunch at West Cobb Diner with Alice, Ken, and Aubrey Spivey. Turkey dinner of course, my favorite dish there. On the way home picked up Christmas napkins at Party City and then burritos at Popshelf.
On Saturday rain was predicted, so I drove James up to the sports bar where they were holding his club's Christmas party, then went across the street to gas up my own car at Costco. From the Costco parking lot you could see the black clouds of the storm marching south, so I figured I'd better go somewhere and take cover, so I chose 2nd and Charles, the used bookstore. The skies opened while I was there, but I lucked out, too: among the DVDs found the sixth season of Homicide: Life on the Street for $15. This season had a famous episode called "The Subway" that won a Peabody award and PBS did a documentary about; both are on the DVD set. Did I mention "The Subway" featured Vincent D'Onofrio? Oh, and that another episode in this season featured Kathryn Erbe? (Yes, when I have an obsession I do it thoroughly.) I also found one of Max Allan Collins' original CSI novels—and I also discovered a nifty Christmas gift for Aubrey there.
At this point I was hungry, so I drove toward Barnes & Noble, hoping to find something to eat on the way, but Tin Drum is gone and I didn't want anything else. Instead I popped a watermelon candy and soldiered on. Since I was there anyway, I strolled down to CD Warehouse and not only turned up the DVD (with commentary) of the rom-com Happy Accidents (you can look this up and find out why it's significant), but I found the BluRay of the newest film of Midway, which James wanted to see, each for $4. Next door at Barnes & Noble I turned up the newest "Chicken Soup for the Soul" Christmas volume and also a book of short stories based on Christmas and crime just as James called asking to be picked up. The party itself was over and they were starting to watch the Army-Navy game. So I tooled on to pick him up.
We were supposed to go to Longhorn on Saturday night to have dinner for my birthday—yes, Saturday was my "Route 66" birthday—but neither of us wanted to go out in the rain, so we stopped at Zaxby's on the way home and I bought wings for both of us. Amazingly, what did we watch? The Army-Navy Game! Yes, us, the sports-phobic. But James was Navy and we cheer for Navy. (And they won!)
[Later: We ended up at Longhorn Sunday afternoon. James had 20 hours of vacation time left, so he's taking one whole day (the 26th, we hope, if not the 22nd or the 29th) and then two Sunday afternoons off, since Sunday is generally a dead day, but they need him early in the morning as no one else is covering until 10 a.m.]
So I had a swell birthday with books and DVDs, but felt rather sad because we'd found out late the evening before that a friend was in the hospital with a slight stroke. This person has had many health problems this year, including having to have chemotherapy, and we feel terrible that they've ended up in the hospital yet again. After what James went through last year it is doubly dismaying.
Labels: birthday, books, chores, Christmas, Christmas decorations, food, friends, health, shopping, television
» Saturday, December 04, 2021
"At Christmas the Yuletide Elves Never Sleep"
Christmas decorations? Yes!—we are off with a bound!
Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent, which mean it was time for lights! I'd decided I wanted to go back to the blue lights out front, so after the dog walking sequence of our day, I went to the garage and went rooting in the boxes. Although I'd bought all new strings of blue lights on Saturday, I decided to use the old lights if possible. I spent an hour or so distributing them on the bushes in the front of the house. In retrospect, maybe it was a bad idea, because they are two different batches of blue glass and one bush doesn't really match the other (some of the lights are bluer than others) and some of them are faded and look white. But, for better or worse they were out there, as well as the tree that goes on the porch table and the wreath on the front door, which are still multicolor since I don't anticipate finding blue lights for those.
I also unboxed a set of white and blue snowflakes James had picked up on clearance one year and plugged those in out front as well. They will make a nice background for the three log deer: Woody, Holly, and Rudy, he of the red nose.
While I was outside Ashley from next door came out with her dogs and then stopped to talk to me a while. She kept asking if she could help! I thought that was sweet. Maybe I am looking decrepit these days? 😀
Then I came inside and put up the candoliers in the windows (frosted blue on the upper story and clear blue down in the library) and the inside door wreaths (since they're all in the same box) and set up the timers. All this and doing my essential Sunday chores: sorting meds for the week, washing towels, and cleaning the master bath.
Monday it was time to clean out the Thanksgiving decorations, and that I did, and everything got boxed. Also unloaded (again) and reloaded (again) and ran the dishwasher. That thing is insatiable!
Tuesday I helped James start up the turkey soup from the carcass and meat we got from Juanita, and then decorated the foyer, cleared off everything upstairs, put up decorations in the hall bathroom, first put up the ceppo on the china cabinet, and then worked on decorating the dining room. Finally the two of us ended the night by straining and putting up the soup.
Wednesday was, of course, laundry day, and along with that I finished up the dining room and decorated the kitchen, put up the woodland tree and the supporting decorations in the spare room, put up the Rudolph tree, put up the Scottish/Italian decorations in our bedroom, and put up the stuff on the landing.
Thursday we finally got to the bank, then did the trifecta of shopping (Lidl, Publix, Kroger). We also tried a new restaurant that is next to the Mableton Kroger, "Yummy Bistro," an Asian fusion place. James and I both had Japanese noodles with beef, and he tried some tempura sushi and I had pork potstickers. (We both had to put the appetizers up for another meal; the Japanese noodles were indeed "yummy" and filling!) After lunch I stamped and addressed the Christmas cards and put two packages together, and later on I brought up the board from the "Christmas Closet" and set up our 1940s Christmas village on the mantel (and those decorations under the mantel, as well). Almost immediately two bulbs were out, so I had to order more from Amazon. Those special village building bulbs are expensive (they're shorter and squatter than C7 bulbs so they fit into the houses better)!
Friday we went to the post office to mail everything I'd stamped and packed, and then drove off to the Apple Annie craft show at the Catholic Church of St. Ann. It was lovely to be back after last year's break. Lots of jewelry crafters this year, so didn't buy much except for some baked goods and a new St. Jude medal to go on my chain as the old one Mom bought me from Tally's in Providence years ago is now sadly worn and may break off any day. It was warm enough for James and I to have a lunch outside (it was catered and not very good). Then we had to get going to make his podiatry appointment at four. Dr. Friedman said the ulcer on his toe was looking very good and the medihoney was working, then completely changed his mind and told us to try something with a different kind of medihoney and a different pad. I'm hoping this will work.*
Saturday morning we had a treat: James made buckwheat waffles! They were delicious with real maple syrup. Then James headed off to his meeting as this week was their Christmas party. Except it wasn't, he had read the message incorrectly. So he came back about 90 minutes later. In the meantime I had given up and gone on Home Depot's site and ordered a blue tree to use for the airplane tree, and later in the afternoon I put up the library tree—after replacing something like 20-30 bulbs on that tree last year, I still had to replace nine more before I could decorate it!—and put up the rest of the library decorations. The airplane tree will have to wait until the blue tree comes; I've always wanted a blue tree for the planes.
Finally at rest, it was time for The Snowman and A Christmas Story.
* It didn't. I went back to the medihoney and hope I am okay doing it.
Labels: chores, Christmas, decorating, events, food, health, neighborhood, shopping