» Sunday, December 31, 2023
Christmas Day was quite pleasant; we had a leisurely breakfast. We had no gifts to open--James hadn't wrapped mine (the Law & Order
monopoly game) and his hadn't arrived from Amazon yet (a new food processor), so we watched The Little Drummer Boy
and The House Without a Christmas Tree
until it was time to go to the Butlers for dinner, conversation, fuzzy Christmas feelings, and a gift exchange.
The food certainly beat Bay Breeze all hollow: perfectly cooked turkey, ham, and Clair's pot roast, over half a dozen veggie sides, desserts from pie to the little Favorina florentines, and of course Lin's cinnamon-and-sugar piecrust folds. She always makes them and I always hug her for it. I remember when I was a kid and would only eat the pie crusts; the filling didn't interest me at all. One of my aunts used to make the little pastries out of piecrust. too.
Later we had a mad gift opening—I opened everything so fast I'm not sure I know who gave me what—but everything was nice, from cross-stitch kits to dessert treats. We checked out Christmas lights on the way home, but weren't able to go on to check out the lights in Smyrna because we both needed to "hit the head" by the time we got to the house. Ah, the pleasures of being old!
Tuesday was a funny day: usually it's me who has post-holiday gastric distress, but today it was James. He remained close to home while I ran errands: went to Barnes & Noble, only to find this year their post-Christmas hardback sale is only 33 percent off, and there was nothing I wanted that bad for only 33 percent off. Instead I went to Hobby Lobby and got Oliver a new cage cover, as the one I bought at JoAnn was too small (I ordered a yard and they gave me only 30 inches—not cool, JoAnn). Then I got Butch gassed up at Costco and finished up by picking up something at Kaiser for James and then went to Publix. (I was actually heading for Big Lots, but traffic was stopped dead for a big accident; I ran past three accidents in the two hours I was out, and in two cases one car had hit the other car so hard that the wheel was bent. In fact, one of the cars had its left rear wheel broken off with the axle sticking out of it! After seeing the third accident, I just wanted to get home unscathed.)
James was better by Wednesday, so we went to physiotherapy; this is his last until Kaiser gets off their duff and re-ups his referral. On the way home we stopped at Lidl.
Thursday it was James' turn to get gasoline at Costco. This time we went inside to get the rest of the things for our Twelfth Night party. I also did a search-and-destroy through the garage and tossed away a garbage bag full of stuff, plus a bunch of old magazines. And to make it a medical trifecta, James had an iron infusion on Friday. Made the mistake of eating at Whattaburger afterwards. I am so not impressed by this place. The burger tastes of that fake "grillmark" shit and James clearly asked them for my burger as "a bun, the burger, and ketchup only," and they gave me the whole darn salad (thank goodness they remembered to omit the mustard). I burped the crappy thing up the rest of the afternoon.
Yesterday we went to a nice little gathering at the Spiveys home to celebrate Alice's birthday and watch the UGA vs. Florida State game. The company was great, but Florida State did a crash and burn. Later we learned the final score was 63 to 3!
Today I washed towels and cleaned the bathroom so I didn't have to do it on New Year's Day. Still have to sort meds for the week, but that's a twenty minute thing. For supper James made something he calls "egg roll in a bowl," ground pork cooked up and then blended with diced coleslaw, carrots, and celery. It was yummy. We watched a few Law & Order: Criminal Intent episodes, then Rudolph's Shiny New Year, the Ellery Queen episode "The Adventure of Auld Lang Syne," and finally the M*A*S*H episode "A War for All Seasons."
I put on the live feed from Times Square at 11:30, but the music was dreadful, so I found an old Guy Lombardo special from New Year's Eve 1976 to watch until it was almost time for the real Happy New Year. So we saw 1977 in about 11:55, then switched back to Times Square for the final countdown.
HAPPY 2024, EVERYONE!
Labels: birthday, Christmas, errands, food, gifts, health, illness, New Year, restaurants, videos
» Sunday, December 24, 2023
Food and Not So Festivities
It was an unremarkable week leading up to Christmas. Tucker did finally get his bath. The gifts were wrapped and the spare room finally looks decent again. Wednesday was James' physiotherapy and "Doughnut Day," plus we made it to Hallmark to spend our coupons. Grocery shopping was done on Wednesday, and on Thursday I finally got my birthday dinner.
It was terrible. Some friends recommended Bay Breeze a few years ago, and we have enjoyed going there. They have baked stuffed shrimp that is actually affordable, and, even if it's not the "jumbo shrimp" they describe, it's usually good. Well, apparently it's gone way downhill according to other friends. We didn't get our appetizer until after our entree and it was overcooked, the shrimp were overcooked and tough and salty as the dickens, as was the appetizer (potato skins). After we finished eating, we went to downtown Marietta to walk around. We found gingerbread boys at the Australian bakery, went into The Corner Shop (the British store) and the candy store (found a dark chocolate Toblerone for dessert), and I checked out the new bookstore on the square, Elephant Books. (It's pretty much just starting out, so not a lot of books, and it strikes me as a "boutique type" place.)
We never did get to the antique store to see the vintage decorations among the vintage items because Mr. Lower GI was acting up again and we had to come home.
Friday I finished prepping my 2024 journal, and then Sunday it was back to the chores again, so Christmas Day would be free.
Labels: birthday, books, dogs, food, gifts, illness, pets, shopping
A better photo of Oliver.
» Sunday, December 17, 2023
This is Oliver
He's twelve weeks old, so I've set his birthday on September 13. Easy date for a Space: 1999 fan to remember.
This store has all sorts of birds, including big macaws and parrots. A Fischer's conure (a beautiful turquoise bird) seemed to be fascinated by me. I was trying to teach him not to bite. There was also an adorable canary, almost pale white with lemon yellow markings. We seemed to connect; he kept running to the bars to check me out. His other passion was shed feathers; every time I saw him, he picked one up and played with it. But $130! Goodness!
Birthdays and Other Things That Make You Blink
On Monday evening at 11:30 p.m., I officially turned 68 years old. How the Dickens did that happen? In my head I'm still the six year old who fell in love with Lassie, the ten year old who learned to play the organ in the fifth grade classroom at Stadium School, the fifteen year old who adored Mr. Abosamra's English classes, the eighteen year old who missed almost the entire final quarter of twelfth grade due to surgery, the twenty-something who cried when the Paperback Books store in Providence closed...ten budgies, eight cars, two states, and James...so many years!
Monday we were off for a birthday dinner. Alas, we forgot Bay Breeze was closed on Mondays. We made a short stop at Ollie's Discount Store, then ate at Okinawa instead. Bulgogi beef, yum!
I spent the rest of my birthday replacing light bulbs on the bottom of the Christmas tree.
And when I did, that part of the bottom of the tree still didn't light up. I wanted to cry. Instead I just threw a spare string of lights at the bottom and replaced the lights in the middle of the tree where they had gone out last year. Those came back on.
I gave up and put the decorations and the tinsel the next day and it exhausted me fully. The best part of the night was listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's annual Christmas concert. The guest was David
Suchet, who told the story of Englishman Nicholas Winton and the Czech
Kindertransport, so I spent time tinseling in tears.
By the way, I want you to see the smallest Christmas miracle. I bought this star at the Woolco at North DeKalb Mall, Market Square as it was then, and now demolished, in 1991 for our first Christmas tree together. Every year "Little Blaze" still lights...every year I know it might be the last, any day this year might be, too, but I always see her light anyway. Inspiration from a small Christmas star. She makes me cry.
I had a bunch of Hallmark coupons, so on Friday we went to Gretchen's at the Avenue at West Cobb. Unfortunately Mr. Lower GI decided to go spare at this point; James got a Battlestar Galactica ornament and I had to hotfoot it to Barnes & Noble to use the bathroom. The result was that I spent no coupons, but did buy four discount books, including two Christmas books.
It took us a long time to get over Snowy's death, then we had the whole summer with James falling or hurting himself in some way. In the last few months he's been asking me if we were going to get another bird. For a long time I couldn't think about it. Snowy's death itself had been so painful—I couldn't forget how his little body struggled as his legs stopped responding to his body, but he still attempted to crawl into a corner to die, and he didn't want me to hold him or comfort him in my hands—that I cried almost constantly about him at least once a week, most recently a week ago on his adoption day. James said I needed a bird; I was thinking more that he needed a bird; after all Snowy had been his working companion.
But this weekend he talked me into it. He'd found a bird store out in Norcross called Fancy Feathers.
But that's a story for another post. I did vacuum before we left. The last thing I wanted to do was frighten a baby bird with "the bizippy thing."
Sunday I got disgusted at my laziness and went downstairs to at least put up the airplane tree. It took me what seemed like forever because I dropped something like every fifth ornament. I broke the wing off one of the glass airplanes, and one ornament I dropped even knocked two more off the tree. I was fit to be tied by the time I was finished because I felt old and useless. There's nothing to decorating the airplane tree. You hang the ornaments, swag the garland, put on the star, and you're done. And it took so long.
Labels: birthday, books, budgies, Christmas, Christmas decorations, food, illness, music, television
» Sunday, December 10, 2023
Decorating Begins...Slowly...and Other Stories
I was so
conflicted. I wanted
to write. Wanted
to put up Christmas decorations. Wanted
to do something fun.
Well, I did do some decorating almost every day this week, but was way behind due to procrastination and just plain depression. Monday I did kick myself into action. I had gifts I had not mailed out last year that I definitely wanted to get out this year, and early so I could use media mail. So I wrapped all four gifts and went to the post office. The line wasn't too awful because there were actually (faint!) four cashiers at the Smyrna post office, and the one I got was very jolly. I also mailed all the Christmas cards and went to the Smyrna fire station to drop off Toys for Tots.
(Amazingly, every single person I mailed to—media mail—got their gift before the end of the week! Emma got hers in two days.)
James had to take care of another annoying health problem this week: he has had a dermatitis problem on the tip of his nose for several years now. It bleeds and crusts over and then heals. The last time the dermatologist biopsied it, it wasn't cancerous, but some type of skin irritation. But in the last couple of weeks (ironically since he had the new drug for arthritis—which he quit taking) it has bled and formed a huge scab about a centimeter in diameter. So Tuesday we had to go to Kaiser to get it biopsied again. (The dermatologist said James was clearly reacting to the new drug with all his other symptoms, and he'd heard of those side effects for that drug before.) I did get the laundry done, too.
Wednesday was the usual physiotherapy and Doughnut Day. James also had to get a blood test. That awful methotrexine has really bollixed up his system—his readings were all awful and his iron levels worse than ever, so that he has to have iron infusions scheduled.
Thursdays I inventoried all my gift boxes and prepped for gift wrapping.
Labels: Christmas, conflicts, decorating, errands, health, sickness
» Sunday, December 03, 2023
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
The week had a good start—since I'd done all my Monday chores on Sunday, we took the time on Monday to go up to Books-a-Million—bought a couple of remainder books—and while we didn't have lunch at Uncle Maddio's as usual, we did stop at BJ's to get maple syrup and other goodies.
This week I started putting up Christmas decorations, but because Advent is so late this year, I got complacent—not to mention that this year I am still not feeling much "Christmas spirit." I got so dispirited last year, and really haven't come out of it, although I managed to keep James out of the hospital this year (so far). The falls and the hell he went through during those ertapenem shots ground me down to nothing.
We couldn't even go to physiotherapy this week because I got sick just before it was time for us to leave. When I wasn't in the bathroom, I was asleep—until we had to go to Kaiser for James to get a blood test. Ended up stopping at Publix on the way home.
Recovered a bit on Thursday, enough to do some shopping and get James his biweekly Procrit shot, and we stopped by Big Lots, where I was lucky enough to find a set of blue lights for the Christmas tree on the front porch, since the previous set had blown out when I put up the lights earlier this week. Unfortunately, Thursday night was a flat nightmare.
Tuesday James ran out of Ambien, which he needs to sleep. So when we were at Kaiser on Wednesday, we picked up a new supply (Kaiser will only give him a thirty-day supply at the time; we are required to pick it up in person) and I had to finish filling in the Ambien for the rest of the week in his day-and-night pill dispenser.
Apparently I filled it once...and then filled it a second time. So James had two on Thursday night and I didn't realize. So I thought he was having some sort of stroke after I had tended the raw spot on his leg and I couldn't get him to sit up. I kept telling him to wake up and he kept insisting he was awake and then closing his eyes and going back to sleep. At one point he was lying crosswise on the bed with a pillow under his head and I was in the bathroom in tears.
That brief sleep seemed to rouse him a little, and I was able to finally get him straight in the bed and his CPAP mask on and send him properly off to bed. This is when I was finally able to go into the bathroom and check the pill compartments and take out that extra Ambien from the other five compartments. Sigh. I spent most of the night checking James' breathing. On Friday morning, he didn't remember most of what happened—I told him he was asleep!
Friday we went to the Apple Annie craft show as usual. Saw many nice things, but so much of the show is jewelry now, or beautiful woodwork that I don't grudge the artists the money, but we can't afford. Instead we bought stuff from the bake sale, which should last us as desserts for several weeks!
When we finally went into the sanctuary before leaving as I always do, to pray, I burst into tears instead and just knelt there and cried and cried.
On Saturday morning, James had his hair cut, and then we spent the next five hours at Urgent Care getting a problem checked out. Since Monday, probably another side effect of James' new meds—I sent Dr. Salazar a note telling him I was not giving him the third dose on Sunday—James has had a raw wound on the inside of his right thigh. Monday it was a little spot; by Wednesday it was a big raw sore. I dipped into the expertise given to me by Greta at the wound clinic (who doesn't appear to be there anymore) and have been treating it with Xeroform sheets and surgical bandages. It was bleeding on Friday night and looked ugly, like raw hamburger, and looked just the same when the nurse and later the doctor examined it at Urgent Care. (BTW, Urgent Care was slammed. I'm surprised it only took us five hours.)
They gave us more of the prescription antibiotic mupriocin ointment which Greta had once prescribed, and told me to just keep doing what I was doing with it (putting a barrier between the wound and other flesh so there would be no friction)! Also that we were smart in deciding not to take any more of the medication, since all these side effects had boiled up the moment he'd begun to take it.
(They told me not to put anymore Xeroform on it, but I did anyway, as an extra barrier. By Sunday it had quit bleeding copiously and was just leaving small patches of blood when I cleaned it three times a day. The mupriocin is truly a wonder drug.)
I suffered the same fate as James, and never received a reminder from the county to renew my car registration. I got the car inspected last month and just got online Sunday morning to renew it. Still find it funny neither of us got a reminder, but Alice, who lives up the street, got hers fine.
Labels: books, Christmas, crafts, decorating, excursions, health, medication, sickness