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, March 31, 2024
Almost Easter
Sort of an interesting Holy Week in making some old progress. Back in 2022, I stopped listening to the Colonial Williamsburg podcasts (I was busy writing, and I can't write and pay attention at the same time). I had caught up on all the Gretchen Rubin podcasts, and need to catch up on "A Way With Words," but wanted to get to the Williamsburg ones, too. This week I started listening to them again and hope to keep up with Rubin and catch up with both the others.

Most of the opening of the week was chores. James did have an MRI on his toe on Wednesday. His right baby toe, the one that showed up with a sore in January, is still not healed. It doesn't look infected, but skin isn't growing on top of it and healing it up, so the doctor wants to make sure the bone isn't infected. (Got the report later in the week; it's not.)

Thursday James' Procrit shot was scheduled early, although we tried to change it. So we went by Lidl on the way home, and I got both chicken drumsticks on sale and some boneless pork ribs, so I made cacciatore for supper and also made gravy for later. And we had a nap, too!

It was a quiet Good Friday: we had to run out to pick up meds, but I did listen to the BBC Lent Talks.

On Saturday while our low-sodium ham was marinating in pineapple, we went to Barnes & Noble and to Hobby Lobby. In the evening I watched the spooky movie Stir of Echoes. Kathryn Erbe is in it, just before she did Criminal Intent. It was pretty creepy, but turned out to be a little of a murder mystery, too.

And Easter was quiet. Unfortunately I had to wash towels since we were out of facecloths. I watched my two Easter favorites, Here Comes Peter Cottontail and The Easter Promise, and we had ham and potatoes for dinner, and then...dark chocolate Lindt bunnies! Yay!

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» Sunday, March 24, 2024
Woohoo! Got up on Tuesday and our water pressure was back to normal. It has been a horrible two weeks dealing with dribbling faucets; hell, if somebody's house caught fire last week, I doubt if there would have been enough water pressure to put it out!

James had his nose checked again; Dr. Warner says it is healing okay. I wish the dang scab would just fall off.

Saturday we had Hair Day. Washed towels because we needed facecloths. Had a nap.

I am reading Braiding Sweetgrass, which is lovely and lyrical.

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» Monday, March 18, 2024
Atomicon 2024
We had a fairly good Atomicon, despite being utterly exhausted from allergies and coughing. We arrived in Helen Thursday afternoon just about four, when several of our friends were checking in, offloaded our junk, and then lay down until I started texting to find out where we were going to dinner. Spice55, the Thai place, was the choice, and we had the usual yummy dinner. I wait for this every year, as they make the best pad thai.

Something sweet happened after dinner: Jessie and some of the others were enchanted by the black-and-white stray cats hanging outside the shopping center where the restaurant was. A lady was also interested in the cats and she and James started talking; she was ex-Navy and also had been a Marine. Now, we had had an appetizer, so I still a lunch-sized portion of leftovers, and it was supposed to rain on Friday. I suggested we stop at the Dollar General, which has frozen foods, to see if we could find him something for lunch there. We did find some taquitos. The same lady also was in the store, and she was quite disturbed by how cluttered the aisles were and that James could not get around in his power chair. She told us she was going to report the store for ADA violations. And on the way out she paid for his taquitos!

Thursday night I was feeling well enough to play some games, and we played Uno No Mercy, which is fiendish. I got kicked out of the first game almost immediately, and ended up winning the last one.

It did indeed rain almost all day Friday. It was probably good because James and I were both stuffy and miserable, and we stayed in with anyone else who didn't want to go out in the rain, talking, farkling around on the computer. I found Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent available and watched that, and last night's Law & Order as well.

For supper the weather cleared well enough to go to the Nachoochee Tavern and have some pretty good pizza. I had to share with James, so I had to eat cheese [bleah], but it was still okay.

One of the things James and I have begun doing since Atomicon has been held at the Country Inn and Suites is to have a daily walk downtown after breakfast. It's about a half a mile, and then we stroll around the little downtown area, maybe walk down to Hofer's Bakery, and then return to the crossroads of downtown and head toward the parking lots, strolling a road in the back down to the hotel. Total it's about a mile and a half, maybe more.

I was feeling so short of air from the congestion that on Saturday morning we took the truck instead; we haven't done that in years and I felt like I was regressing. But I did manage to totter around downtown. We visited the glassblower's shop, bought our annual candy from Hansel & Gretel, and visited the history museum that we missed last year due to food poisoning. This is in a building that used to be the City Hall. Helen was a tiny little logging town at one time, outside of what became Unicoi Park, and when the logging left, so did a lot of the population. Helen became basically a gas and food stop, so they turned the town into a "Little Bavaria" to attract tourists. We've been going to Helen with our friends for...well, Jessie and Aubrey both turned thirty last year, so...longer than that!

We also bought more white peach balsamic vinegar (love this stuff) and some blackberry ginger as well from the Alpine Olive Tree. I got James a neat gift: someone gave us a little turntable/light gadget: you plug it in and put a statue or something on it and it lights it up and revolves. They had laser-etched lucite items, and I got James a U.S. Navy one, with an aircraft carrier and destroyer and planes flying overhead. (I was going to get him a smaller one, but he said the planes weren't correct!) It looks really pretty on the turntable.

We then drove down to the Mount Yonah Bookstore—the owner always puts out a "Welcome, Atomicon!" poster and gives us a discount—and I found a brand-new copy of the annotated version of The Phantom Tollbooth, one of my favorite books in the whole world (seriously, what my life would have been without the Stadium School and Hugh B. Bain libraries I will never know). I also found a book about a woman FBI agent, a book by Robert Ressler (one of the first FBI profilers), and the book that inspired the series Homicide: Life on the Streets, which introduced Richard Beltzer's John Munch character.

And it was back to Spice55 for supper with Alice and Juanita. I had pad cashew this time, which was exquisite.

Sunday I was feeling strong enough to do the walk downtown, if a bit slowly, and we made it to the Christmas store before I started to be nagged by lower GI problems. It was a good walk, anyway. We spent the afternoon reminiscing about old television series, and had supper at Rib Country in Cleveland, GA. The ribs are so good and half the price of any ribs in the Atlanta metro area.

Alas, neither of us slept well, so we staggered up, ate the hotel breakfast, and packed up and left. Stopped at the outlet mall because I so much needed new socks. We also stopped at a knife shop where James went in; I sat and read. And finally, by the vet—$1300 for exams and boarding! Oliver apparently seems to be okay to them; it looks like they don't have an avian vet again. ::sigh:: Yes, they noticed he's shy.

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» Thursday, March 14, 2024
Oh, God, Not Now...
It's been a week, even though Atomicon was at the end of it.

Sunday night I took the dog out as usual, and the pollen attacked. I've had reactions to pollen in the previous years, especially when the pollen counts were 6000-8000 plus. After ten minutes, I couldn't stop coughing. I coughed for two nights and two days, and even when that abated and I could get some sleep, even though I wasn't very stuffy, the post-nasal drip was horrendous and the mucus smelled terrible. Worse, after going out on Wednesday, James started the same routine. So we were exhausted doing our chores in the early week and exhausted packing for our weekend in Helen.

The one tiny interesting spot for three days, in fact, were the air-for-your-tires units at Costco! They are great, much better than the air at QuikTrip. You know it's a bad week when getting air for your tires is the best thing that happened.

Thursday morning I woke up at six a.m. feeling so horrible I had to take one of the at-home Covid tests, because damned if I was going to give 20 people and the hotel staff in Helen a virus. Happily, it came out negative. Unhappily I didn't get much more sleep because we had to run to Kaiser at ten to get James' Procrit shot.

So this means it was exhausting loading the truck—and we have to take so much f*cking stuff with us now because of the cathing and being prepared in case an ulcer pops up on James leg and taking our pillows because the hotel pillows absolutely suck.

I can report that Oliver rode well in the car, despite the fact that (1) he was right next to Tucker, who, ordinarily he's afraid of; every time Tucker is playing at night, he gets upset and calls out in alarm, and (2) I didn't cover him; he didn't seem scared of the landscape flying by. They let me set him up in his cage in one of the exam rooms, and Elliot just took him back like that. (Tucker, unlike Willow, lets Elliot put a leash on him and just accompanies him in the back with a jaunty trot.)

And then, we were off to Helen...

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» Sunday, March 10, 2024
A Matter of Power
I am so pissed!

In our 18 years in this house, we've had normal water pressure, some really good water pressure (like mostly on during the last two years), and some abysmal water pressure, like it was in the fall of 2022. But it's been so nice for the longest time.

On Monday when I was cleaning the bathroom, the water in the toilet turned brown.  I called up the water department and they said the firemen were probably cleaning out the hydrants, and that I should turn on the outside faucets for ten minutes to clean out the line. This seemed to work cleaning out the water.

Then the freaking water pressure dropped. I'm not talking "just a little bit." I'm talking you can't wash your hands after you flush the toilet because the water coming out of the faucet is a stream the diameter of a drinking straw. Even on full stream the shower massage won't work, and you can't run the faucet or flush the toilet if you're in the shower. The water coming out of the kitchen faucet droops down instead of coming out straight.

It makes cleaning out James' catheter a fat pain in the ass, too. And I have to clean it out three times a day, and the catch containers, too.

If you call up the water department, they will tell you this is your fault and you must have a leak.

Miserable, miserable.

At least Will Trent was on again, although it won't be back until April now, due to stupid basketball. The same goes for Elsbeth, which I'm still on the fence about. She's almost too flaky.

In better news, this weekend was the semiannual book sale sponsored by the Cobb County library. It was cold when I got there Friday when they opened; I went back Saturday when James was at his club meeting. Day 1 and then Day 2 hauls.

Once Upon a Crime are crime stories based on fairy tales. America's Jubilee is about the 50th anniversary of American independence (1826). Raising Cubby is partially research for a child character I'm writing. Joy Adamson's Africa is a collection of her art—people who've read her wildlife books forget she was a trained artist—including four absolutely gorgeous portraits of native African people in traditional dress.

We had been noticing since it got cold that the batteries on James' power chair were discharging rather quickly. It seemed to go away during warm weather, so we didn't worry about it much, but in the last couple of weeks it seemed that his usual speed, "3," appeared to be slower than he was used to. Thursday during shopping the batteries were half drained just from a trip through Lidl and Publix.

So James looked up to see if any of the Batteries+ stores had those batteries in stock. Turned out the one on the corner of Roswell and Wieuca did, so we went out there Sunday to get them replaced.

We did not get the names of the two guys that helped us, but, wow, you had to see the work they had to do to get those batteries out! James looked up a video on YouTube and the process seemed very simple: remove the front cowling and footplate by depressing the silver buttons on each side of the latch, unplug the batteries from the chair, then pull them out, take off the leads, attach the leads to the new batteries, slide the batteries back in, reattach wiring to the chair, and replace the front cowling. The videographer did note that putting the front cowling back on was "kinda fiddly."

Well, the front cowling was "fiddly" and it took a good ten minutes before they figured it out, but it wasn't the only thing they had trouble with. Both batteries are rectangular blocks, no curves. The batteries they pulled out were swollen and distended on the top and the sides! (These were the original factory batteries.) The guys had to get on the floor and pull on the strap around the batteries and brace with their feet to get them out! It was a tight fit going back in, too, but not like that! They were a great couple of guys and James has already left excellent reviews for them on the survey and also did a Google review of the specific store.

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» Sunday, March 03, 2024
The Gathering and The Innocent
The highlight of this week was the second annual occurrence of Marietta: The Gathering. This is a fannish event held on the Square in Marietta. No celebrities or anything, but there was a "dealer's room" in booths out on the street—I found a new kitsune pin! and James bought me the cutest fox pin—and a Star Wars presence and lots of attendees (and their dogs) in costumes or t-shirts. We stayed an hour or two, also went to the candy store to get James some sugar-free candy and to the British store. Discovered a new Italian market/café is going to open downtown!

The preceding day was cold and rainy, so we stayed in all day and James made biscuits in the air fryer. They were so good! I spent the day reading Barbara Feldon's book Getting Smarter, some about her time on Get Smart, but mostly about her relationship with Lucien Feldon, who turned out not at all what he portrayed himself to Barbara. I was surprised that she believed some of his wilder stories.

In other news, I posted the conclusion of a fanfiction, finally put up the knife holder I bought for James (we mounted it on a cupboard door, having no other space for it), and went to Sam's Club and bought some nice sirloin steaks.

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