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, January 28, 2024
When All Was at Its Calmest...
In many ways it was an ordinary week, so terribly ordinary that it would almost be otherwise forgettable. Monday and Tuesday were the usual chores. We had the usual shopping trips. James had physiotherapy and three doctors' appointments, one which wasn't needed (apparently his hemoglobin is finally in the normal range, so he didn't need this week's Procrit shot; he also had his A1C tested and it came out an amazing 5.9).

There were a couple of blips: one was that I got very worried over the sore on James' toe and we ended up canceling his sleep study partially because I didn't want him walking that much on his right foot till we saw the podiatrist next week. The other reason we canceled was because our petsitter couldn't come to walk Tucker; her mom had been diagnosed with COVID. We would have had to leave at 6 p.m. and wouldn't be home until 8 a.m. or so, and I didn't think it was fair Tucker would have to go 13-14 hours without getting to pee. I was also worried about the person with COVID, because she was already in shock about something else.

So were we, for that matter, and so was anyone who was friends with Lin Butler.

Lin was a very special person with a beautiful spirit, a killer sense of humor, a big heart, and a welcoming smile, smart as all get out—she was a chemist for Coca-Cola for many years—and a tireless fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis organization (her younger son was diagnosed with CF). In the last few years she has battled a number of health problems, including cancer and heart problems, and done so with bravery and humor. In October she watched her older son and his girlfriend of several years "tie the knot" with happiness, even though she was ill with bronchitis at the time. (She told her doctor she'd do anything he said, but if she had to go in the hospital again it must be after the wedding.)

The nasty cough she had from the bronchitis hung on into November and the two times we saw her in December, and the last time we saw her, on the morning of January 6. She was talking about a little trip she was planning to take with our friends Alice and Juanita; I didn't catch where it was they were going that day, but it turned out to be in Florida, at a little beach condo. I'm sure she was dreaming about breathing in the wonderful sea air, and she did get to enjoy it for one evening.

Later that evening she had trouble breathing and was taken to the nearest emergency room. It turned out she had double pneumonia and had to be intubated.

She died of heart failure three days later.

So it was a very ordinary week. And a very cold week and a terrible week and an empty week. There is a gap that can never be filled, an empty place at the table, a missing piece of our hearts.

Here in Georgia the day of her death had been very wet, a steady, miserable drizzle all day; even when evening fell, there was a mist of rain droplets casting a bit of a fog, with the streetlights haloed by the rain. At bedtime, just as we were preparing to shower, the lights went off, then on again, with the weather as it was, not much of a surprise since we have pinpoint blackouts on sunny days, too. But then the lights started blinking off and on in the most astonishing way, the bulbs sometimes powered so low that only the filament was lit. It reminded me of some horror movie where that happened, not sure which one.

James snapped on a flashlight before the lights quit doing their carnival thing and went black completely. And that's when I noticed lights were flickering outside. Through the bathroom window there was this weird flickering like heat lightning in the summer, just a constant, rapid flashing like the wings of a fluttering bird.

I thought I was seeing things, so went from the bedroom to the back door on the deck and opened the door, and then had to call James because this spooky light was just flickering on and off all through the air outside. It was eerie. James came stumping out on his cane and watched this, then said, "Try looking out the front window and see if it looks the same," so I ran into the spare bedroom; sure enough, I could still see the flickering light through the curtains, and pulled up the shade.

Flickering, yes, facing west as well, dancing over the roofs of the houses across the street, but now you could see the source in the northwest sky, a point far beyond the trees where the lights were dancing like fireworks seen through a translucent cloud cover, hovering over a central point, yellowish, whitish, and sometimes other pale shades. All at once, it turned bluish, then got intensely bright and then was extinguished.

Martian War Machines? Spaceships over Witch Mountain? We figured a transformer or something similar sparking, and the mist in the air reflecting the flickering light everywhere. (Another source said it was a power station overload.)

By the time I got back in the bedroom and called Cobb EMC, the power was back on, and the lady on duty must have thought I was crazy talking about how the sky flickered.

Being the sentimentalist I am, the thought did flash into my head--maybe it was Lin trying to send us a message. Maybe now she can light up the sky.

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» Sunday, January 21, 2024
De-Christmased At Last
"Doggedly I continued." And finally today, Sunday, January 21, it is all put away in the closet and I vacuumed downstairs to boot.

It took a while, although there was a Monday rush: I had to get everything downstairs removed and stored because we were going to have a severe cold snap (lows in the teens) this week. I didn't want to freeze my feet off downstairs. So Monday, between chores, I took down everything in the library and the airplane tree in the hallway. Happily, the foyer stuff was already down. On Tuesday I took down all the dining room decorations and the Christmas village and the board it sits on over the mantel shelf. The latter killed my back, so I spent Tuesday evening watching Killers of the Flower Moon, which I was so interested in seeing after reading the book. I found it turgid and overlong, and wondered why Martin Scorsese chose to center the narrative around Molly's useless husband Ernest, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and his larcenous uncle, played by Robert DiNiro. It was gross watching these two slimeballs plotting the deaths of Molly's family so they could take over their oil shares, while Ernest professed to love Molly! Oh, the cinematography was great: there's one haunting scene where Molly is dying because blockhead Ernest is slowly poisoning her via her insulin, and there's a fire outside, and her sickroom is lit with flames as she burns up with fever.

It doesn't help that I'm not a DiCaprio fan at all; I would have liked to seen more of the Native Americans and also of the FBI search for the culprit instead of Leo as a lazy horse's ass.

The cold came rushing in on Wednesday; I wore my "Rhode Island weight" winter coat to physiotherapy—finally, already, Kaiser!—and to Publix. The wind had a blade edge. Compounded with this, our internet service was dead all day. It's not like we didn't have stuff to watch, and we both ended up hotspotting on our phones and could get on the internet, but it was still frustrating. It was very localized, too, just in our neighborhood; I suspect that some idiot with a backhoe or a ditch witch severed the fiber line and that's why it took so long to restore.

Thursday we had a big fat dose of reality. James goes to podiatry every six weeks to get his feet inspected due to the diabetes and get a proper nail trim. Pretty much every night I rub lotion on James' legs and feet and treat any injuries on his legs where the skin is fragile. Today the doctor found a sore on the right side of his right baby toe, about 5 millimeters in diameter, with evidence of penetration under the skin. I put the lotion on from the left side and usually check his feet and toes, but this got completely past me. James got an x-ray to see if there is infection down to the bonethere is no pus but the toe is faintly redder than the othersand I have to keep Mupirocin on it with a covering of Mepilex AG, and we have to come back in two weeks.

James thinks it might be because he's wearing the Skechers instead of slippers and they are a little narrower, and the wound came from the shoe rubbing his toe. But he's been wearing them around the house since October and the raw spot was not there when he went to podiatry six weeks ago! I'm just appalled that I missed it in the first place and am kicking myself. The tests came back by yesterday and the infection is not in the bone, but he does have staph. I hope the Mupirocin works.

I took the Christmas tree down on Friday, to the accompanying scream of my back, taking solace in Lassie episodes. There has been a "Lassie channel" on Xumo for a month or two, but they were mostly repeating the Jeff episodes and the transitional episodes over and over and not in order. Well, the same channel is now a Roku Live Channel, and they appear to now go through eighth season. So seventh season Lassie took my mind off my aches and pains on Friday, and when we got done at Lidl, Publix, and Kroger on Saturday, then had a nice trip to Barnes & Noble, I lucked out when we got home and "Lassie's Odyssey" was just starting! Solid gold Lassie, my favorite story from when I saw the original broadcast in February 1962. (Of course the asshole chimpanzee story "Casey" came next, but one can't have everything.)

I wish I could say "now we can relax" but starting Wednesday we have a marathon three days of doctors' appointments (and of course it's going to freakin' rain) and then another spate of them starting Monday the 29th. ::groan:: And I still need to bathe the dog and change the bed.

Sunday I got all the Christmas stuff back into the downstairs closet. Yay!

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» Sunday, January 14, 2024
"Undecorating," the Garbage Rustlers, and a Lift
Found myself struggling this week: first it was putting up the Christmas decorations, now it was taking them down.

It didn't help that I was distracted by other tasks that needed doing. For instance, James has been having trouble turning left out of our street. There is some kind of waxy-leaved bushes that were planted out front when they built the neighborhood, which are now taller than they were eighteen years ago. He can't see the cars coming up on his left on the main road. So Monday morning after my dog walk I marched up to the front with my hedge clipper and took down about half of it. This should have been a quick and easy job, but evidently the battery is not charging properly and I had to keep unlatching it and plugging it in again. Very frustrating. I came home and ordered a new battery. Zounds! It's one third the price of the hedge clipper!

I also had to do all my regular Monday chores—sorting meds, washing towels, and cleaning our bathroom—and also go to Kroger, since I was out of milk. So, didn't get anything done on Monday.

Tuesday is laundry day. I got out the boxes for the decorations, but that was about it since I had to go to two Publixes. Last week when they had Smart Balance on BOGO they evidently get any in stock: we went to two different Publix stores and they were out. Tuesday was the last day of that BOGO, so I went to the East-West Connector store for some and the Smyrna store for the rest, stopping at Big Lots in between to see if they had any gingerbread pizzelles left. Yes, they did, and they still had Christmas bows and paper on sale, too.

Wednesday was shopping day this week since Kaiser still hasn't gotten off their tuffets and re-upped James' physical therapy referral, even though he asked them before Christmas. By the time I get done shopping and dragging all that stuff upstairs to put it away, I'm generally done for the day. I also cleaned out the hall closet some: we have too many party things and I took away half the bowls and relocated some of the light bulbs.

Thursday James had to get his blood tested for his Procrit shot, then we had to buy a storage box for the Christmas village since I broke the old one bringing it upstairs. Instead of one big box which is hard to bring upstairs now because of the chair lift (that's how it broke), I bought four small boxes. We had lunch at Top Spice, but I'm discontent with their pad thai. Next time I'll get the other pad dish and not that one, even if I like the peanuts in the pad thai.

We finished watching Echo this week; it was only five parts. Not much for Vincent D'Onofrio's acting chops, but Alaqua Cox is mesmerizing to watch. I loved the way Maya's family, even her resentful grandmother, came to support her, especially her goofy cousin Biscuits. Graham Greene a delight as always.

The darnest thing also happened on Thursday after we got home. Our trash gets collected early Friday morning. Usually when I walk the dog Thursday morning I will try to put the can at the curb early because I have forgotten to put it out on Thursday night before. This way if I forget, all that rolls over to the next week is one bag of trash.

About twenty minutes after we got home, I heard a great thumping outside and looked out the front window. There was a garbage truck marked "Waste Connections" and the garbage guys were manhandling my Smith Sanitation trash bin. They emptied it, then slapped a "Waste Connections" sticker on it and put it back in place.

I was confused and questions raced through my head: Did Smith change their name? Get bought out? Is trash day now on Thursday? And WTF weren't we notified of anything happening?

Later that night  I went to my online Smith Sanitation bill. They had sent a note back in November that they were not going out of business back, but competitors were passing around a rumor that they were, so not to believe them. I responded to the note telling them what had happened with these Waste Connections people.

So Friday morning we're up early because James has a 11:30 appointment. I wasn't up ten minutes before a very flustered lady from Smith called me, having just read my note. Apparently this Waste Connections is a competitor and they are just driving around slapping their stickers on competitors' trash cans! She said when she got off the phone with me she would call our driver, explain what happened, and make sure the rest of the trash got collected. (Trash was collected at 8:23 am.)

I immediately flashed on all those Westerns where the cattle rustlers would take the herd before branding time and rebrand the cattle with a different mark and brand the calves, too.

Now we have garbage rustlers? Unbelievable!

Friday was a suck-ass miserable day, 43℉ and a steady, cold rain. James is always cold these days due to the anemia, but I was cold, like someone dumped ice water between my shoulder blades. I couldn't get warm and felt so bad the nurse at the infusion clinic gave me a warm blanket, too! I was in my fleece hoody all night. We watched the season finale of For All Mankind. (Yes, of course Margo got arrested, but I think an America prison is a much better place than being dead or ending up in the Gulag! And the bitch that got her into that situation probably ended up either of those ways so that makes me happy.)

James did his club meeting on Zoom this afternoon, while I finally puttered around enough to put away the porch and foyer decorations, the 12-Days-of-Christmas tree, the woodland tree and the table it was on, and boxed up the candoliers and the pillows. I also put out the winter porch and foyer decorations, and sorted the bows I bought at Big Lots. In the evening we watched the heist movie Lift (yes, Vincent D'Onofrio was in it; why do you ask). If you turned your brain off at the beginning, it was a fun movie. VDO had some good scenes at the beginning, then his part just dried up. The other stars were fun, especially the daredevil woman who was the pilot. I didn't understand the "charisma" of Kevin Hart's character Cyrus. He was supposed to be a charmer who kept this group together, but I didn't understand why they threw their loyalty in with him. I was quite amused at the eventual villain: portrayed by Jean Reno, who, in the crime series Jo, discovered that lethal Nicole Wallace, Robert Goren's occasional nemesis on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, was actually alive. So now Reno and D'Onofrio are connected by two things.

Sunday I finally got the Rudolph tree, the spare room decorations, and our bedroom decorations down, and the box downstairs.

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» Sunday, January 07, 2024
New Year: Parade Dreams, Films, Friends, and Fun
This week began with the Rose Parade and ended with party cleanup.

The Rose Parade was covered live on KTLA in Los Angeles and we watched that feed cast to the television instead of the commercial-ridden network broadcasts. Other than sorting medications for the week, did nothing on New Year's Day except eat junk food and watch Galaxy Quest. The day ended on a satisfactory note with the two-hour M*A*S*H retrospective: just the cast and the producers talking about the show and the changes of format, no dubious celebrities telling us how much they loved the show.

Tuesday I updated all the copyrights on my web page so I could do my monthly web site backup. Except when I went to do the backup, the backup drive was gone. It usually sits next to my computer desk and has been in that location for over a year. But, apparently, it, and the container it was in, at some point tipped over and fell in the wastebasket, and it was sometime previous to when I emptied the baskets for trash last Thursday. Annoyed that I now have to go waste money on a new one.

Kaiser still hasn't reupped James' referral to physiotherapy, so we went to MicroCenter on Wednesday instead; I got the cutest little two terabyte (it's about the size of a deck of cards) backup drive that can be hung up on the side of the tower instead of near the basket. It was a grey, bitterly cold day and it was good to get home after we went to Publix next door.

Thursday we did our monthly trip to Canton: strolling the aisles of Books-a-Million, then lunch at Uncle Maddio's Pizza, and finally a stop at BJ's for maple syrup and fruit cups.

On Friday James had his second iron infusion. I posted a short story on AO3 and cross-posted on We ate supper out so as not to have to dirty dishes. Alas, it seems the Okinawa on Dallas Highway doesn't have beef bulgogi like the one on the East-West Connector. I had Mandarin beef instead, but it wasn't a fair trade.

And Saturday was our Twelfth Night party! We ran to Hair Day quickly to get James' hair cut, then came home to finish tidying up and then it was time for food and conversation. We had a couple of call-outs as the Spiveys and the Butlers both were under the weather, but it was a great time anyway. Clay and Maggi and Bill and Caran were here until midnight talking up a storm.

Sunday was cleanup day, and I went outside and took down the lights as well since there's a massive rainstorm coming on Tuesday.

Watched three good movies this week: Operation Mincemeat (now I can't wait to read the book!), Feast of the Seven Fishes (which kinda reminded me of Mystic Pizza but more low-key; I liked the Italian family dynamics more than the jerky Yuppie mother who was trying to force the rich boyfriend on the blond girlfriend), and Knives Out, which was so really convoluted (and I thought some of the families on Law & Order: Criminal Intent were bad).

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