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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» Sunday, November 26, 2023
The Thanksgiving That Really Wasn't
We ended up not going to Thanksgiving dinner after all.

James began taking a new drug on Sunday (once a week) to help with his arthritis. Immediately he developed an odd line of rash-looking bumps in a straight line on his right hip. By Thursday he had a sore throat and stuffy nose so bad (the sore throat was so bad it didn't go away when he drank and he had some sores in his mouth) we were fearful of spreading something. Luckily we had bought "emergency turkey" at Publix last week, we had potatoes, and had carrots. So we stayed home and watched the Macy's parade and the National Dog Show. Only later in the day did he feel better, and we realized it wasn't really a cold coming on.

Friday he was better. We went to Town Center, where James bought me my Christmas gift (the Law & Order Monopoly game) at Hobbytown, and we went to Target to look for a new microwave. Well, we found a microwave/convection oven again! A nice woman helped me get it into the cart, and we bought it and left, only to discover someone had put a plain old microwave in the pile with the microwave/convection ovens. So we had to get them to help us bring it back in and do a return—and then go back and get another one (found another nice person, a guy this time, to help me get it into the cart)—all the time hungry and thirsty.

Stopped briefly at Barnes & Noble to see if they had any Black Friday specials—they didn't, which was annoying since they told me on Wednesday they wouldn't tell me about the Friday specials, and which I thought was damn rude—and then picked up supper at Cracker Barrel (chicken and dumplings, of course). Alas, this batch was really salty.

Happily, after missing "First Thanksgiving," there was still "Second Thanksgiving" to look forward to at Alice and Ken's house. Turkey and veg and fun and friendship. All good. Juanita gave us the turkey carcass, but we decided last year it was just too much work anymore making the soup and there was no room in the freezer for the containers. So instead we stripped the carcass and got another two meals for us. Juanita makes great turkeys, so this was a fine gift. Add gravy and it's all good.

Besides the side effects James seems to be having from the new meds, our Hot Shot broke. We use this to make tea, hot chocolate, and instant soup, and the loss is keen. We went to order a new one, and Sunbeam doesn't make them anymore. All we can find is coffee makers. So I brought my old one from downstairs to use that.

I can't imagine why they quit making useful things.

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» Sunday, November 19, 2023
Conjuring the Week
It was an ultra-typical week. Thank the Lord nothing bad happened. In fact, I finally "ate a frog." Our garage door openers——we have six, but one is missing——are from 2006, when we bought the house. Two quit working, we figured, because the batteries were dead. The holder on my keyring one finally broke, so I swapped it out for the opener that was inside next to the garage. Now the working two, one each on our keyrings, were getting cranky. I kept saying "We need to bring them to Batteries Plus."

Naw, didn't need to do that at all. Looked 'em up, they take a standard 2032 round battery that we keep in stock because our scale and James' diabetes meter use the same battery. Pried them all open, put in new batteries. Now they all work. Win.

This was the silly part: I said at the beginning of the month that, "Hey, Conjuration should be coming up soon. Let me see if a schedule is up." It wasn't. Then I totally forgot about it, and only remembered when I saw a friend's Facebook post.

We couldn't do anything about it on Friday anyway, since James had a doctor's appointment, and then it turned out the doctor put in a new scrip for his arthritis that we had to go pick up. The convention was in a new location (Gwinnett County) rather than down near the airport, which suited us fine, but by the time we got there in rush hour traffic after going to Kaiser, we'd have to turn around and come home.

So Saturday morning we got up and went.

The new hotel is very nice. The old was a nice venue, but the food there was insanely expensive (a plate of spaghetti with one meatball for nearly $30???; even the sports bar was pricy, and you had to pay for parking), so we always had to bring our own sandwiches (although this helped keep the sodium down for James). It mainly catered to business travelers on expense accounts. The Sonesta had free parking, and during the weekend they put out a "floating" meal stand that had breakfast things in the morning and then lunch things until 3 p.m. I had chicken soup both times and it was flavorful, not overly salted, and had lots of noodles in it (and it wasn't Progresso; yeah, I'm looking at you, Panera Bread!). James had sliders both days. There was also a restaurant where, while the main meals were expensive, you could get a big burger for a reasonable $15, and they had these Philly cheese steak egg rolls that were to die for. We had them Saturday night, and should have ordered two each instead of one. Oh, and did I mention it was pet friendly? We met some really sweet dogs during the weekend.

Anyway, enough with that. Conjuration basically has a Harry Potter theme with the names filed off; one of the co-founders told a very funny story about how, after they started the call, they got a very polite call from the Warner Brothers people about "your little Harry Potter convention" and he was quick to say that it was a convention about magical media of all kinds, and they had to do a couple of tweaks, but WB was cool about it.

Saturday I did the following panels (lots of writing panels, as usual). James went to a few of his own things.
  • "Fandom Funerals and Repass" (half) (fictional deaths that got to you...yes, Old Yeller was mentioned!...mostly they mentioned fandoms we're not into, like Game of Thrones)
  • "Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Screenwriters" (about the movie and all the D&D "Easter eggs" and how fun it was)
  • "Editing Feng Shui" (this panel had some positive qualities about getting rid of verbal clutter but I don't think the presenter was as prepared as she could have been)
  • "Positive Mental Health Methods for the Creative" (basically coping with stress from real life)
  • "Dragons, Wizards & Pens" (a fun panel: given a subject prompt, four writers had to come up with the best opening line for a book--we went to this last year and it's always fun)
  • "People Who Live in Your Book" (designing characters for your stories)
Sunday, alas, we didn't get up early enough for me to get to the Harry Dresden panel, but:
  • "Sort This--Identifying and Sorting Plots and Characters" (using "sorting methods" like the Hogwarts houses to give your characters personality--also things like horoscopes, Myers-Briggs; I even suggested Gretchen Rubin's Four Tendencies)
  • "Learning from Luna Lovegood" (panel about neurodivergencies, mostly autism, which I found interesting because I'm thinking about introducing an autistic character in my fanfic)
  • "Fanfiction 101" (not that I needed the 101, but there were several people here who really wanted to know the basics, like "where do you find it?" and "is this legal"?)
  • "It Ain't Easy Being Geek" (how nerds/geeks are perceived by media—Big Bang Theory anyone?—and acceptance)
  • "To Tell the Truth--Or Not" (one of our favorites from last year, too: four writers get together and, given a prompt ["the most way out thing you've ever seen at a convention," for example], they have to tell a story and the audience guesses if it's true or not—heard some great true stories this way!)

Talked with Alice for a while afterwards. James pre-paid for next year. Sadly, the restaurant was closed today and we couldn't get more egg rolls for supper.

Dear folks: next year, please keep the singalongs way away from the panel rooms, please? On some panels we could barely hear the panelists speaking.

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» Sunday, November 12, 2023
Doctor, Doctor, Doctor...Ouch, and Therapy (Plus Lots More)
You've heard of 1001 Nights? This week was 1/3 dozen doctors. (And, to be honest, 1/4 dozen doctors, since physiotherapy doesn't really count.)

The tally:
Last visit with vascular doctor.
Pre-sleep study consultation (in Decatur, no less).
Also, physiotherapy.

So doing housework on Monday was actually sort of relaxing. 😉

So James' fistula appears to be healed properly. Not sure if it's ripe yet. The doctor keeps asking "When are you going on dialysis?" Well, not yet, I hope. It's not like anyone's told us. James has no symptoms: he's still urinating fine, the urine looks normal, he has no loss of appetite, edema, nausea or vomiting, or shortness of breath. (Dr. Kongara keeps asking.) On the steroids Dr. Salazar gave him, he lost five pounds.

Since we were at Glenlake anyway, we went to Merchant's Walk and checked out the new Barnes & Noble in the shopping center where the Borders used to be (the B&N is in the old Bed, Bath & Beyond). The new store is...quite trendy. The bookshelves curve and "float" around the store so you are led in a certain path around it; James didn't like it, said they didn't have enough stock. I thought it was kinda cool (but, yeah, all the bookstores can use more books!) In fact, I found a cool book about Josephine Baker's spy work there, and bought James Travis Baldree's new book. I also had to get Victoria Finlay's new book, Fabric. "But, Linda, you hate to sew." Why yes, I do, and I can't tell one type of cotton fabric from another (except flannel). But I love Victoria Finlay's writing, and this book is no different. It starts out with barkcloth and tapa, both made out of the inner bark of palm trees, and she travels to New Guinea and other South Pacific islands to meet the few Polynesian craftswomen who still practice doing the fabric the old way. She also uses the book as a way of assuaging her grief after the deaths of her parents.

We also went to Trader Joe's, where most of the Christmas stuff is out. Where are the Candy-Cane Joe-Joe's? All they had were the chocolate-covered ones.

Wednesday was Doughnut Day Physiotherapy. It was a warm day, like the previous one, and James was still in minimal pain due to the steroid treatment, so we took the rollator instead of the chair so we could use Butch and take him by the cheap ($15) inspection place. Everything was okay, and then we went on to what was a very extensive workout, and yes, the doughnut. On the way home we stopped at Publix to do the weekly shopping.

Thursday we took a box to Goodwill, dropped off our good duds at the cleaners after their appearance at Neil and Emilee's wedding, then James got his feet inspected and a good pedicure at Kaiser before we went on to Lidl and two different Publix stores, since the Scufflegrit store on Wednesday had none of my favorite yogurt flavor (chocolate hazelnut). (They had plenty of that nasty coconut almond, though!)

Friday was our 33rd wedding anniversary. (Rodney pointed out that in March we would now be an LP!) We celebrated by having to get up at a hellacious seven a.m. to drive out to Decatur, as James has not had his C-PAP vetted in a long time. The only way to get this done is have a new sleep study, and when you're on Medicare you have to have a neurological exam before the sleep study. So this was the exam part, at 10:30. At the Emory sleep center. Off North Decatur Road. (What I call the "old neighborhood" since if you drive a few miles and a couple of turns and you're at Clifton Road and CDC headquarters.)

It was cloudy and rained most of the afternoon, which made it a PITA with the power chair, but we managed to have a good time. We found the building in one shot (thanks, Waze) and the exam itself was anticlimactic (James' opinion was "I had to drive all the way out here for that?"). I'd seen there was a Whole Foods across the street, and the last time we ate at the Whole Foods in Kennesaw they had a killer salad bar, so I said, "Let's go there for lunch."

Mistake. It is (or at least at that Whole Foods) no longer killer (no more of the delicious cucumber/tomato salad!) and there wasn't a darn thing on the hot bar I could eat without risk of (1) eating something spicy or (2) eating something that didn't give me massive indigestion even with a Protonix. They had clam chowder, but it was watery. I just had a salad while James found meatloaf, tikka masala, lasagna, and something else. He brought half of it home and the darn lunch cost $34! We could have gone to Tin Drum for less and gotten better food.

We did get some nice chocolate tarts for an anniversary dessert and two chocolate bars for other desserts.

There was a Half-Price Books across the street with a JoAnn next to it, so we took refuge out of the rain there. I got lucky in HPB and found another John Douglas book; also a hardback of Stephen King's On Writing and a "Bottom Line" book for $2 (we already had it, but I wanted to make sure!). James got some cool Lego Christmas sets (polar bears, a snowman, and a train) in JoAnn. I just bought a yard of good case we get another bird. I cut off part of Snowy's cage cover for a shroud.

Anyway, James has become addicted to his new air fryer. We went from a 2.5 quart to a 5.something quart, so he's been making everything in it: warming up burritos in it if he has frozen burritos, making egg/cheese/ham/etc. egg dishes, cooking drumsticks and thighs, etc. So instead of putting it back on the dog's crate after using it, he's just left it smack in the middle of the kitchen counter, pre-empting prep space. We have very little kitchen counter as it is.

So Saturday I did a little cleaning in the kitchen pantry closet and cleared a space wide enough to put the two clear containers we have for English muffins and for Toufeyan wraps. If I then moved the tea machine next to the toaster, there was enough room to put the balsamic vinegars, the air fryer, the Magic Bullet, and the two-level lazy susan against the back wall next to the refrigerator. This means the entire counter got clean, and also the other counter. It was a long afternoon's work, but it worked out.

Finally on Sunday we went to Costco, as we were running out of probiotics. We've been taking them for three months and it has really helped my lower GI problems, and I think they've made James more "regular." Bought toilet tissue, almond flour crackers, and a few other things, too, then dumped all the stuff at home and went to IKEA.

I remember when you could get a decent lunch at IKEA; now all they have are the meatballs, veg meatballs, or chicken strips. I had a salad that there was no dressing for, and a kids' meatball dish (four with mashed potatoes). I was famished when I got home. Found a cool light to plug into my desktop that will throw light on anything I'm copying from, a clip-on light for my side of the bed, and a cheap squirt bottle to use when I iron creases in anything. Also got some ginger cookies. IKEA's new self-checkout screens are terrible. They're not sensitive to the touch at all and take you forever.

I'll tell you, though, that I'm so glad we moved into the current house when we did. IKEA has gone back to their "roots," which means plastic bucket chairs, ugly square sofas, lots of blond and white woods, and other junky 60s-looking crap. I'm glad we got all the Leksvik furniture when we did, as there's very little I would buy there now, except for the Billy bookcases. It didn't help that they are remodeling the entire bed/bedding department.

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» Sunday, November 05, 2023
Temperature's Falling! And Then, Dammit, Rising Again
Well, finally! Tuesday was Hallowe'en, so now that all the Fright Night/Spooky Season stuff is over, there will be better stuff in the stores. Watched It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, of course, and the Hallowe'en episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, "Masquerade," with a very troubled Liza Minelli playing the mother of a little girl who was murdered years earlier, but whose attacker, a spaced-out child molester, was just recently escorted by Goren and Eames back to the United States; they soon begin to believe he was not the murderer. Would have watched other things, but James just discovered there were new episodes of Forged in Fire, so we got on Philo and he watched those instead.

The other "event" of the week was the weather: it was cold enough on November 1 to wear my Vermont sweatshirt. In my world, this is exciting!

Otherwise it was nicely routine, with no falls, the usual physiotherapy for James on Wednesday followed by our weekly doughnut treat. Also tried a new breakfast/lunch place with Alice and Ken, Eggs Up, in the shopping center at Brookwood near Hobby Lobby. There was also a trip to Barnes & Noble (finally the November/December "Yankee"!), and I put up the Thanksgiving decorations while James was at his club meeting on Saturday.

The fly in the ointment: it got hot over the weekend, into the 80s. It was disgusting. At least there was a nice breeze so that things didn't sizzle. How ridiculous to have beautiful leaves on the trees and the scent of autumn when the air smells like a heating pad.

And we are happily back to Standard Time, where the clocks need to stay.

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