News from the Hill — with all the usual Smith Manor-isms

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March 01, 20/20

Happy March Fools Day!

The first thing I noticed this morning is that the house at the bottom of the hill still has snow on its roof, but none of the other houses have. One might think it's in the shade, but no, it's in full sun all day long! Someone suffested they have ghosts in their attic keeping the roof artificially cold.

Church was interesting, today. First we had choir practice/warm-up, which went really well. Then our Interim Priest talked about how to take communion during these uncertain times of cold, flu and Covit-19. Always before, we were told to Intinct the host (dip it into the challice of wine) if we thought we might have a cold or other communicable disease. Now, though, they recommend NOT to intinct, because more often than not the communicant's fingers would touch the wine, thereby imparting whatever germs reside on the fingers to the wine. He cited a report that claimed there is no record of any disease being transferred by drinking from the common cup. For three years I had been intincting, not because I felt ill, but because I have a persistent cough due to sinus drainage and didn't want to give the impression to the others that I was diseased. Today I took a sip from the cup. It felt weird, and I nearly didn't recall how much I was to drink. I saw in the TV Series Outlander (first season) when one of the men was offered the quaich (a ceremonial bowl from which those gathered take a sip of whiskey) from which he would drink the Chief's whiskey and thereby pledge his fealty. The guy drank the whole contents of the quaich. Well, I didn't emulate his overdone pledge, but took what seemed to be appropriate - a delicate slug, one of my friends from 20 years ago would call it. It was definitely more wine than would have been carried by the host, though.

After church, we went to Suzanne's for dinner and Mah Jongg. She had said to be there anywhere after 12:00 Noon, and we arrived at about 1:00. Hank and Mike were to meet us there, and though they had called to say they were on their way before we had done the same, They didn't get there until a bit after 3:00! Suzanne had said they were going to pick up her medications from the pharmacy on the way, some of which are narcotic, so I called Hank at about 3:00 to see if he had been arrested. They were at the house within 10 minutes after that call, and they got a kick out of my question.

While we were waiting for them, though, Suzanne, Becky and I played two hands of Mah Jongg, and Becky won both of them.

Lunch was Bean Tortilla Soup, Guacamole, olives, gherkins, and other sides and fixin's. We were "sturffed to the point of busting" well before the end of the mug of soup was eaten, so dessert had to wait for a good long while. During the wait, Mike, Becky and I played four more hands of Mah Jongg. Becky won one, I won the other three, leaving Mike without a win. By that time, it was time for us to depart. I'm sure Mike will want a rematch so he can get even with me for shutting him out like that. [heh-heh]

Brian offered me some licorice, which I accepted, and with which I pulled the crown from one of my lower molars.

March 02, 20/20

When Becky got up this morning, her mid-back hurt terribly, so she called and got an appointment with our chiropractor who adjusted her back and said it was in need of a lot of adjustment. He got her straightened out in short order, and she felt good for most of the rest of the day.

On the way home, we stopped at the allergy partners and she got her first shots of the week. Next we stopped at TGI Fridays for soup (for Becky) and Salad (for Bill), then stopped off at the liquor store for some Irish Cream (St. Pat's is coming, you know). After napping on the recliners, Becky strted icing her back, for it was hurting again.

I called the dentists' office to arrange to have my crown reinserted. They gave me an appointment tomorrow afternoon - with Becky's Dentist.

March 03, 20/20

I took Becky to the Dentist this morning for her semi-annual cleaning. Then we went to TGI Friday and split a Lunch Pairings special. I got a Cobb Salad, and she got French Onion Soup. I donated some of the avocado slices to her soup, and she started calling it French Onion Guacamole Soup. Then, because my jaw was hurting since I have been chewing only on the left side for a day (and I bought a salad - why?), I also donated the last third of the salad to her. It was a large salad, to begin with, and I'm surprised I got two thirds of it eaten.

We drove out to Mission Pharmacy to purchase some sugar-free antacids (similar to Tums, but much less expensive).

After returning home, I read some email, then cleaned my teeth and went back to the dentists' office for my own cure. Dr. Teresa Dao (adorably cute woman of Viet Namese extracction) had her technician take an x-ray of the tooth, then cleaned the cement from the underside of the crown and cleaned the tooth, then popped the crown on for a dry fit and ordered another x-ray. With both the health of the tooth and the fit of the crown verified, she cemented the crown back onto the tooth, told me the price, then returned to her other patient (I had been squeezed in on a time-permitting basis). I'm happy with the feel of the crown, now.

March 04, 20/20

More allergy shots for Becky, this morning. She is starting to see improvement. She doesn't need to hack and cough up mucous from her throat and lungs in the mornings anymore, and hasn't been coughing as much during the day, either. She says it's been worth the process.

This evening we had bell rehearsal and choir practice at church. We were given three new pieces to learn on the hand bells, and one new one for the choir. Neither of the pieces is simple, but we already know the Anthem. The words are slightly different from the last time we sang it. The last time, we sang, "And I will walk in a perfect heart...", which I found hard to understand, because I won't fit inside a heart, but this time it says, "And I will walk with a perfect heart..." which is not only easier to understand, but the way I had learned it first, which makes it right by default. The Bell piece is the hymn tune, Judas Maccabeus. I have four bells to play, and in a single measure I have to change from B to Bb, Change from C to C# and ring them both simultaneously, then change from C# to C again and, before the middle of the next measure change Bb to B. Since I haven't learned how to play two bells in one hand, yet (I know it's possible with smaller bells, at least), I feel like a one-armed paper hanger in a knife fight, armed only with a spoon. This piece will take a while.

March 05, 20/20

We had nothing on our schedule, today, and it took us all day to do it. Therefore, there's not much to report.

The only item worth mentioning is that we contacted our niece, Erica Mari Luster, and caught up with what she's doing. She has a Go Fund Me page up, asking for $2,000 to help her catch up with her bills. Her job doesn't give her much income, and she's a single mother with a very pretty daughter, (Isabella) Bella. We're not in much of a position to help her out, at the present time.

March 06, 20/20

I went shopping at Sam's Club this morning. It resembled Saturday, when all the members are there shopping. It took me about 5 minutes to walk from the front to the back of the store because of all the 1 MPH walkers who were either walking or had parked their cart and were memorizing the contents of the shelves for 20 feet either side of where they had parked. I finally got all but two items on my list, got in line behind a self-check kiosk, not realizing that the one person ahead of me was on her cell phone. She took another five minutes to check her ONE item, then another two to get her receipt and leave.

The parking lot was no better. I had to back out of the parking place very cautiously and haltingly while two cars and three pedestrians passed behind me. Then I got behind several cars that were idling along hoping someone would leave a parking place that they could use. Then, when I got to the traffic light, the one person ahead of me waited for the light to change before turning right, even though there was nobody coming from the left because of traffic using their left-turn light to turn into the street we should have been leaving.

I spent the rest of the day recouperating.

March 07, 20/20

I've learned two things today:

  1. I learned that the H and M buttons on my car's dashboard reset the Hour and Minute of the clock (owner's manual didn't tell me that - I had to look it up on line); and
  2. I learned how to reset the PHP level on my websites. I was getting an error message saying that I was using 7.1.3 and should be using at least 7.2. I thought I had them set to 7.3, and I did, all but the Administrator! Now I no longer get the error message.

I think I might also have learned how to set the clock on my ADT home security system, but I'll wait until the morning to verify my knowledge.

March 08, 20/20

Church was a bit strange, this morning. Our Director of Music was away for the week, celebrating his birthday with a trip back to his former home in New England. As a result, our Organist was in charge of warming up and rehearsing the choir. She did a remarkable job of it, too. She ran us through a potentially unfamiliar hymn (it wasn't unfamiliar, even to the one who didn't immediately recognize it), then one of the "Happy-Clappy" Renewal pieces that was being used in lieu of an actual anthem. Then she led us through two anthems that are being prepared for future services, and called an end to the rehearsal so the prelude ensemble could get their act together (my words).

The second Sunday of each month is now started with a pre-service hootinanny, loosely referred to as a prelude. Today it was a mandolin, a fiddle, a guitar and a tenor guitar. They introduced each of the four pieces they played and gave us the hymn number of the page number in the renewal "music" book, then played each one differently from how it was printed on the pages cited. We were supposed to sing along with them, which I found quite difficult with their different rhythms, tunes and words.

Part of the day's strangeness was my own doing (or lack thereof). I had left home without my billfold and glasses, so when I was not in direct light (like when processing), I couldn't read the words, and of course, I didn't have them in memory. By the time the procession reached the choir chairs, the light was strong enough for me to see the words, and things got a little easier for me. It was then that I realized that, since our Director had announced his absence at Wednesday's rehearsal, the choir was a skeleton crew. Instead of four basses, there were two. Instead of five tenors, there were two. The Sopranos were at 3/5 strength, while the altos were four of six, and took the prize.

We didn't even bother to stand for the "Anthem", being that it was a congregational Praise Song, and it seemed reasonable to remain seated.

March 09, 20/20

A new week, and a new set of shots for Becky. We got there a little before 11:25, and only had to sit a minute or two before Becky was called back for her shots. When she came back to the waiting room, I set an alarm for 30 minutes, as usual, to signal us when it was time to leave. Three minutes before the alarm would have rung, she started feeling a tightness in her throat, so she went to inform the nurses about it. They gave her an antihistamine tablet and kept her there for an additional 30 minutes to monitor her, after which the crisis had passed and we were released, but only after cautioning her to wait a week before returning for the next shots.

We met Jim and Carol for lunch, then, and since they had arrived at the restaurant 25 minutes after our arranged noon meal, Becky still in retention at the allergists', they only beat us to the table by 10 minutes. They were just starting on their appetizer when we arrived, since we had spoken on the phone and I had said I had no idea when we'd be there. Fortunately, our waiter was quite busy, and didn't get around to taking out orders until after their appetizer was finished, they both ordered soup, and Becky and I got "Lunch Parings". Mine was a Green-Style Cheeseburger with Mashed Potatoes, and Becky's was Simply Chicken (roasted) with broccoli and rice, with a side of Mashed Potatoes. As she normally does, Becky put the majority of her meal in the carry-out box (which we have learned to carry with us into the restaurant), and as was my usual, I ate my cheeseburger and half of the potatoes before contributing to the carry-out stash.

The rest of the day was spent recovering at home.

March 10, 20/20

Tai Chi, today, was in a class of three students and one instructor. The third student was a woman we hadn't met before, who bore a distinct resemblance to a woman we knew from Church of the Redeemer, and whose name was nearly identical to her, also. I doubt we will forget her name. Today was her second or third class to have attended, and she was following right along with us, though she claimed to have no prior Tai Chi experience. Oh, we also had a man who had never been in the class before, and who stayed only through the warmup period, then left due to having already been in the gym for two hours. He said he would return, and I hope he does. He was young and would likely pick up on the forms readily. We seem not to be able to retain the young folk who give it a try, for some reason. 

I found a wonderful demonstration of Tai Chi Chuan (Yang style, 24-form), titled as Tai Chi Queen of China, that Becky and I find fascinating. Should we live long enough, we will learn this form, though very likely will not be as smooth, flexible and strong as "Her Highness".

We had to go to the Post Office, today, to pick up the Certified Mail that we weren't home to receive, yesterday. It is the tax forms from Becky's Family LLC. We've had no proceeds from the LLC for several years, now, so there will be no taxes to be paid, but we still need the forms to include in our return.

After the Post Office, we went to the Church to get some information about the two Celebrations of Life (Memorial Services) Becky will be playing for (which information was not available, yet). While we were there, I found the umbrella that I had inadvertantly left at the church (it was raining when I walked in from the parking lot two weeks ago, but not raining when I walked out again, so I hadn't thought to pick it up), so the stop at the Church was not a wasted stop.

One other stop, at the grocery store, and we were done traveling for the day.

March 11, 20/20

I made a trip to the grocery store early in the day. There were almost five other shoppers in the store, which made it a pleasure to walk around at my own speed. I could even think better about where in the store I would be likely to find what I was seeking. I found everything I needed, for a change.

On the other side of the coin, later in the day, I paid a visit to Michael's Craft Store, but was unable to find what I wanted. On the way home, I stopped at Starbucks to get some coffee for Becky and me. I carried in the reusable cups that we had bought in December, but which we have never used, and was told that, because of the virus pandemic, I could not use them now, and not for the foreseeable future! I wrote a nasty-gram to Starbucks, but of course I have heard nothing back from them, and I expect I will NEVER hear back from them on this subject. It's like they're saying, "Sucker!!!"

March 12, 20/20

Becky wanted to get her hair trimmed, so we drove to Great Clips (a.k.a. the clip-joint). While she got her hair trimmed, I sat in Rise & Shine Café, drinking coffee and reading. Soon enough, Becky joined me and we had a good brunch, then went shopping for more food items that we hadn't realized we needed until today. That's about all we did today.

March 13, 20/20

Happy Friday the 13th?

Today, I have received emails from most of the companies with which I do or have done business, and each of them seeks to assure me that safety and health of their employees and customers is their highest priority. One email, though, was from our Church, informing us that their Sunday services would be streamed live on their YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3FGhXfHMuSHPHqIRJJVyZg/featured), so that if we were unable to attend, at least we could "attend" remotely. It isn't, of course, "remotely" like being there, but it's better than missing the message, prayers or music completely. My intention is to attend as long as I am not feeling less than my usual sense of health and well being. Realizing that I could still be a carrier, I will be more stand-off-ish than usual, and I will be using sanitizer, distance and hand waving or elbow bumps as greetings. The most danger I might present is when the choir is singing, but using the sanitizer (Thieves Spray) as a mouth/throat clenser as well, perhaps that won't present a deadly dose. If it happens that I feel I cannot safely attend, then of course, I/we will remain home and watch the service online.

So far, we are well, and hope that our friends and family are, also.

March 14, 20/20

I received another email from our Church, this morning, which stated that all services and meetings at the church would be suspended until further notice. (This was done to comply with the State's prohibition of meetings of more than 100 people). We were urged to watch the service on YouTube, stay home, stay well.

We stayed home, today, and I took the liberty of downloading some music that I will transcribe into MuseScore so that I might learn to play it, not on the organ, but on the guitar. I have, so far, transcribed the first two pages and the first line of the third, there being nine pages in all (it's a violin solo with piano accompaniment) which might be less than half that long when rearranged for the guitar.

March 15, 20/20

Having already set up the TV to play YouTube videos and subscribed to the church's YouTube channel last night, I had little trouble logging in this morning to "attend" church. Fr. Butterworth, our Interim Priest, opened with the comment that the three clergy were now living the Priest's Nightmare, about officiating a service for empty pews. Well, I know that when I logged into the channel there were three others logged in, and I can only suppose there were many others who logged in after us. I think it was equally strange for us saying the responses and hearing only out own voices, when usually there are 250 other voices saying them with us. Still, it is better than no church at all.

This afternoon, Becky and I went to the store to pick up a few boxes of tissues, since the one on my computer desk ran out today, and the one in the bathroom is very close to empty, also. Then, just to keep us out of the house a little bit longer, we drove to the southeast corner of the city, crossed to the west on the Blue Ridge Parkway, then back toward home. While I don't think I'm capable of Cabin Fevor, having served on ships at sea, Becky does feel pent up at times. While I have been getting out regularly, she has opted to remain at home more often than not. We both enjoyed the leisurely cruise on the Parkway, with Yoda rolling along on the battery most of the time, until the speed limit raised from 35 to 45, after which the engine was running.

March 16, 20/20

I had a routine visit with Dr. Madden, the Thoracic Surgeon who is monitoring my aneurysm. On the way into the exam room I was, of course, asked if I had a fevor (I didn't), then I was given a chest x-ray to check on my lungs (they were clear), and after leaving me sitting for about 5 minutes, my BP was measured as 104/79. "Wow!" I said. The nurse asked if that was abnormal for me, and I had to tell her it was normally 118/76, "but either way, I can live with it."

When the doctor came in, he didn't tell me anything I didn't already know (no change in the size, it won't get smaller on its own, don't smoke, don't worry about anything until our next meeting, etc) and said he wanted me to come back in a month. All in all, I think my visit with the doctor took about five minutes, and he and I were both satisfied that I could live until I die (in about 10 to 20 years, he said).

I went back home to get Becky and take her to get her shots. She said she had called the office and said she didn't want to wait inside the building because of the pandemic thingie, but they told her she had to remain in the building. After her shots, she came back out to the car, where we waited the requisite 30 minutes before driving away. We figure that at nearly 71, she's probably considered senile and can do whatever she wants.

March 17, 20/20

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

We were invited to (and accepted) dinner with Brian, Suzanne's brother. He had prepared corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots for dinner, with gluten free chocolate cake for dessert. We were to arrive at about three PM.

After leaving the Interstate, we had driven about half the distance along the secondary highway before coming to a stop. Off to the left of the road I could see some blue smoke behind the trees, gray smoke drifting across the road, and the cars we had stopped behind. It only took a few minutes before we were moving again. We passed about eight fire trucks and three ambulances, with some of the responders' vehicles indicating they had driven about 25 miles to respond.

We arrived almost exactly at three anyway! It wasn't until I got home and posted my dash-cam video of the emergency vehicles that I learned that a house was destroyed in the fire, but the family was unhurt.

I rather enjoy my dash-cam. It gives me an occasional bit of video to post on facebook.

March 18, 20/20

More shots for Becky, this morning. Oddly, now the allergy clinic is requiring patients to wait their 30 minutes in their cars, rather than in the lobby. Restaurants are closed OR serving only carry out. Even some with drive-throughs are closed. It didn't matter, because we had brunch at home. We also had a new pot of coffee, so nothing lost there, either.

I got the laundry done, and even drove to the store to buy more groceries. We don't buy a lot at one time, which requires more trips to the store, but until the newness wears off the Camry, I won't object too much. The first time I cannot remember how to get home, though, that will have to stop. I have GPS in the car, and I have it on my phone, too, and have HOME defined in both. All joking aside, I always remember how to get home, though there are times I have to really think about how to get to where I need to go other than home.

March 19, 20/20

Late this morning I had a visit with another surgeon, a general surgeon, this time. I have been complaining about a hernia in my belly for a couple years, so my Primary Care Physician sent me to see him. Naturally, my belly displayed no symptom of a hernia when he looked for it. I told him it was likely doctoro-proximal syndrome (I made it up) - the ability of an illness or malady to hide in the presence of a doctor. He said that, should it become overly painful and refuse to go back into place, I should 1) call his nurse to make an appointment, then 2) go do some yard work, walk for 30 minutes, sing choruses from the Messaiah and then 3) come for the appointment. If that doesn't show him something, chances are it isn't a hernia.

I took some time, this afternoon, to search for some CDs that I know I had made a couple of years ago, and while I didn't find them, I did find seven DVDs containing sensitive information from the Windows computer that I'm no longer using. I remember having tried to break a CD or DVD some years ago, and having a terrible time doing it, so I looked up on line How to Destroy a CD or DVD. #1 recommentation was to break it. The rest of the suggestions were along the lines of placing the offending disc in the microwave and set it for 5 to 10 seconds or until the sparks fly. (BTW, the mocrowave cannot be used for food afterward). I opted for fold-and-break, so I wraped one in a blanket and folded it. It did not break, but it did fold. Then, when I tried to unfold it, the back broke away from the front and two wedge-shaped shards fell away from it easily. No More Problem Discs!

Lloyd called, today, to ask me to help with their quest to live-stream 1807 & Friends on Facebook. They started the broadcast, played a duet, and I was able to find it. I told them how I found it, but likely gave them bogus information of how it SHOULD be found (because I didn't know). Anyhow, in the process, I had clicked on the Notifications Bell so I would be notified whenever they went live again. They, evidently, called a few other people to see if they could find the Stream, and I was notified each time, so I got to hear them twice more.

For the fourth time, we "attended" Compline this evening. This has become a nightly ritual for us, now, and each time we do, it seems less strange to us. So far, the order hasn't been widely attended but there were seven people on line last night and four tonight. Remembering back to when I used to officiate Evening Prayer at our former church, that's about the number of people who attended, so I guess we can't really expect more than that.

March 20, 20/20

We had a Socially Isolated day, which is, we didn't leave the house. We forgot to tune in for Compline (for the second time this week), but were able to find that the order had been saved, so we were able to participate.

March 21, 20/20

Happy First Day of Spring!

We had a late breakfast, like about half past noon. I called TGI Friday and ordered a Caesar Salad and a Green-style Hamburger, drove to the restaurant, was met at the door by a waitress who verified the order, handed me the food and took my debit card. She went in, locking the door behind her, ran the card, then returned and handed my card back to me with the receipt. I guess you could say we were socially isolated, never getting within two arms' length of each other. Anyway, we enjoyed our Spring Day lunch.

Early in the evening, I got an email from Lloyd. He liked the two additional pages I had made for his website, and he had another modification to add to it, a blurb to add to the front page with a large red "Coronavirus Alert!" as the heading, and a few paragraphs detailing the use of live streams to deliver their concerts to the subscribers. They specified that the concerts are free, and the tickets that had been sold earlier could be used for any future concert. I guess that means I can listen to their concerts without offending anyone. (I bet I will do that).

We "attended" the Order of Compline at 8:00 PM again, and afterward, I was able to add the desired Alert to 1807 & Friends' website.

March 22, 20/20

Our day started with the YouTube live stream of the Rite I Eucharist. Fr. Butterworth, our Interim Priest, has instituted Remote Consecration of Elements. He said that if we wished, we could have a small piece of bread and some wine available at home, and when he consecrated the elements, he added the blessing to those elements at the homes of those watching. Well, we didn't have the elements with us this week, but since we will be doing this for the rest of this month and likely the next one, we will be prepared.

This afternoon, I was invited to participate in a video conference trial with members of the Linux Users Group. I had done that on March Fools Day, but could see or hear nothing from the group. Today, I was using my laptop computer instead of the desktop one I had used earlier, and everything worked correctly. So, if anyone wishes to do a video conference with me, we could agree to it by email and set a time to log in. I would then set up the conference URL and send it to the participants, then at the appointed time, we could all get online at that URL and see and hear each other. Quite fun, free of charge, using Jitsi.com. 

March 23, 20/20

Happy LunaVersary!

In honor of our LunaVersary, I drove Becky to Allergy Partners to get her shots (nice of me, eh?), and then we paid a visit to our local grocery store to buy more Tylenol, some needed vegies and desserts. Then we returned to our home of sequestration to await the next day of liberation. No, we're not ordered to "Shelter in Place", yet, but we've been doing that as a precaution. Neither of us shows any signs of the dreaded Virus, though we're both constantly checking for signs.

Yesterday morning, I awoke when the first alarm rang on my phone ("Get up, get bathed for church!"), realized we were not going to church (watching it on YouTube, only), then realized that I was breathing quite shallow and rapidly. I did a quick check and realized that my heart rate was elevated, but could find no good reason for that to be happening. I thought I might have awakened in the throes of a panic attack (again, for no good reason), took control, slowed and deepened my breathing, found my lungs were working quite well, and within a minute I had returned to normal - well, as normal as I've ever been.

This morning, I was feeling chilled, though the inside temperature was a comfortable 74 degrees. I was also feeling slightly less than stellar, so I took my temperature and found it to be 76.8 degrees! While my temperture normally runs a little lower than "standard", usually not below 77.9. What I do when I'm running lower than usual, it take some Tylenol and in a short time I'm right as rain again. So that's what I did, and that's what happened.

As is our new intention, at 8 PM we joined Grace Church's Facebook page to "attend" the Order of Compline.

At the conclusion of that service, I started to experiment with Zoom, a group meeting software that members of the Linux Users Group were considering using. I don't like it. It shows me in a green cast, and there's no way to adjust that. I much prefer to use Jitsi.com, a web-based group meeting service. Like Zoom, it cost's nothing, but unlike Zoom, the video quality is clear and properly hued (hewn?).

March 24, 20/20

No Tai Chi today.

Compline in the evening.

I forgot to write anything, so this is all I can remember from two days ago.

March 25, 20/20 

No Bell or Choir Rehearsal today.

Compline in the evening.

Same Excuse.

March 26, 20/20

Happy Birthday Becky! Festival 71!

Our bookcase headboard came, today. It was early afternoon. I opened the package, inventoried the parts and started to assemble it. I tried to follow the instructions, for a change. But as I have learned, and the real reason I usually lose the instructions before I start assembling, there comes a time when the instructions just don't work.

I came to that point at about step 4 of 17, and that's when things got interesting. It started going together more rapidly. After I got it to where it would stand on its own, and we carried it to the bedroom and got it positioned at the head of the bed, I realized that I was exhausted. I decided it was time to sit and rest, at least until my vibrato stopped. As soon as I sat, though, I decided I needed to recline my chair. That's when the lights went out - and stayed out until about 6 PM. I slept pretty solidly, except for those times when someone snored at me (or inside my head).

Then, Becky and I finished the assembly - all but tightening four screws for which I will need to find my offset Phillips, and finding the one screw I dropped. We reassembled the bed and resisted the desire to lie down on it.

Then it was suppertime. I was so tired that, though the soup tasted great, I could barely eat it. Becky had finished hers long before I was half done with mine. You KNOW that never happens to me!

We "Attended" Compline again, watched our usual evening TV shows and now I'm retyping this entry, because my fingers or palms keep touching the touch pad and sending the cursor to where it should not be, like the close button (before it was saved, of course).

March 27, 20/20

I got up after a peaceful night's rest, took some Tylenol to loosen the tight muscles in my back and legs, and got on with my day. So far, the only aches I have are self-induced, so I'm still ahead of the power curve.

At 3:53 PM, I walked out to the mail box, thinking I hadn't heard the mail truck as it drove up the hill. There was nothing there.

At 3:55 PM, I walked back out to the mail box, because the postman had just put a letter in the box. It was a bill, naturally.

At 8 PM, we "Attended" Compline. It's amazing how in this short time it seems natural to do this over the Internet.

March 28, 20/20

I awoke this morning feeling quite warm, so I kicked off the covers. I didn't feel cold, indicating I hadn't been sweating, but it was comfortable, so I slept more. I was awakened again as Becky sat up. Since I had drempt that she and I had contracted the virus (I won't even name it, it's so vile), I right away asked her how she felt this morning. Headache and dry cough, she said. My hand told me she had no fever, so when she got up, I wasn't too worried about her.

After my morning routine, I took my own temperature, because I still felt warm. It was 97.6, one degree below "Normal". I had just a bit of headache, myself, but I decided it wasn't enough to medicate. I had some water, started working on the morning crossword puzzle that I get online, and completely forgot that I had a headache.

Becky was reading through a list of things to do during the days of isolation to keep our minds off food and cabin fevor. She got to the one that said, "Redesign a website, just for fun." A light bulb went on in my head. Our niece, Valerie, had asked why I didn't design News from the Hill as a true Blog, instead of a website masquerading as a blog. She went through the process necessary to make it happen, but at a speed that, had I been recording it on tape, I might have been able to follow on playback and transcription. However, when I looked up on DuckDuckGo how to do it, I found a 30 minute step-by-step tutorial and was able to follow it with a minimum of backspacing to find out why mine did not look the same as his. It isn't finished, yet, but it will give you a hint at how it will look and, hopefully, work. Take a look, and see if you think it's worth the effort. (https://wasmith1946.com/newsblog/)

Then it was dinner time, and afterward we watched the news and got ready for Compline. We watched a few episodes of MythBusters (we miss those two dummies - er - clowns - er - guys). Now it's time to get ready for bed.

March 29, 20/20

After a full and restful night, we awoke before the 7 AM alarm, "Attended" church on YouTube, then had some soup for Brunch.

After lunch, I decided it was time to cut the weeds in our front yard - for the first time this year. My Honda mower started on the first pull, and I cut half of the front of the North side-yard before I remembered it was self propelled. It didn't matter, because that side-yard is flat. When I got to the front and the South side-yard, though, there be mountains there! The propulsion lever got quite a workout. That's when I wished I had replaced my leather gardening gloves rather than just discarding them. The thumb-hand web got a bit sorely chafed, but there's no permanent damage done.

Then, before finishing the mowing completely, I got out my electric hedge clippers, unspolled 25 feet of my 50' power cord and had my way with the forcythia bush near the mailbox. Since I bought my Camry, I've been saying I wanted to trim that bush, because when I would stop to get the mail from the box on my way out to somewhere (having forgotten to walk down to the box and get it) the fender would get scraped by the far-reaching branches. I'm sure the postman didn't appreciate it, either. Now it's a nice, tight ball of bush, trimmed more-or-less flush with the curb.

The second half of the North side-yard didn't need much in the way of cutting, except for mulching the collected leaves, but the back yard was foot-tall weeds over the front fourth of the yard. The rest of the yard needed almost no mowing, though it will require some delimbing before I try to mow it.

My mower is fitted with a hose connection so that, after mowing the lawn, I can attach the hose, run the water, start the engine and thoroughly clean the underside of the deck. Not this time, though, because some critters had used the hose connection as a birthing chamber over the Winter and left it full of dirt. It took me a while to rinse the dirt from the connection, but I finally got it clear and the underside clean.

Next, it was my turn to get clean, so I hit the shower, The rest of the afternoon and evening, I rested, watched the news, had supper, facebooked and youtubed.

And now this, just before bedtime.

March 30, 20/20

Becky had her shots, today, as has become our normal Monday routine. On the way home, we visited the grocers again, which is becoming pretty normal, too.

We were standing on our porch, watching our neighbor slowing the dust and leaves from his porch, and when he came to a stopping point, we had a conversation while separated by the street. He offered his help if ever we need it. He tends horses on a horse farm, so he has to go to work every day, and could stop and buy things that we might need. We have some very good neighbors, here on the hill.

This afternoon, we watched a fun video on YouTube, an Itzhak Pearlman documentary called "I played all those notes." From it, we learned about his birth, early love of violin music, polio and on through his life, giving concerts, teaching. We met his wife and saw his children at play in the park. What fun. I recommend it to anyone who likes Pearlman, violin music or both.

Then at 7:30, we watched, on facebook, the first 1807 & Friends Monday Evening small concerts. Nancy Bean and Lloyd Smith played (half of their more usual quartet) and presented two pieces, the first of which I cannot remember the name of, but the second was Halluljah, by Leonard Cohen. Both were fascinating in their own way. I was able to learn how to record those facebook videos, so I got it captured and shared it on my facebook page, as did Becky.

Then, just a few minutes after that concert concluded, we switched to our church, again on facebook, and "Attended" Compline, another habit we've taken on.

March 31, 20/20

Happy March Last!

It's been a long-ish month, March. I have a feeling that April, while one day shorter, might just be as long. It isn't that we haven't been doing the same things we had been doing before, medical appointments, going to the grocery stores, just not as often as we wished to do them. It's more the feeling that we are now required to stay at home. It's knowing that we cannot visit with Suzanne, Brian and Gregg, that we cannot go to church, but only watch it on YouTube or facebook, that we cannot visit with our doctors unless we're genuinely sick, that we can only get Starbucks at Ingles Grocery stores now. 

Ok, that's my pity party for the month.

Today was a "Weather Warn Day" according to our only local television's weather team. Yeah, it rained all day, and the wind was even above 10 knots at times. No biggie, but they felt they needed to bolster their importance to the community and let us know they were concerned for our safety.

I went to the store today, mostly because we were almost out of Klondike Bars, but also because I wanted to buy some Clorox Wipes. Guess what, though - there was no Clorox ANYTHING on the shelf. There was a sign, though, that said I could only buy two of any item on the shelf - as if!!! So I loaded up with four cartons of Klnodike and a pizza, snuck the multiples through the self-check line, then drove to their gas station and filled up the tank for only $1.37 per gallon! That'll show the bastards!

    

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