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

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August 01, 2019

Happy August Fools Day!

Today, we traveled to Spartanburg SC to attend a tripple birthday celebration. Our nephew, Gregg, 52, his mother Ella May, 83, and his daughter Arianna, 26. Gregg spent the afternoon in the kithen, cooking gluten-free crepes, and had a menu for us to select the ingredients to stuff the crepes with. I selected Flounder and Bacon, Olives, and Avocado. It was delicious. Naturally, we all had a wonderful time talking about memories, laughing, and eventually playing with their cat, Sebastian.

Sebastian, of course, recognized me as a cat person and spent an inordinate time by my side as I petted, scratched and rubbed on him. Then he decided it was play time, gave me some gentle tooth marks on my arm ( not biting, but opening his mouth and pushing his fangs against my arm - I had never known a cat to do that! ) and then walked away, victorious.

About half past seven, we left the party to return to Asheville. It was raining when we left the house, but the most ferocious rainfal was a couple miles on either side of the State line. It got intense, but the traffic was light enough that there was no significant danger. We arrived home just after nine, and settled in to watch the evening news.

Ella May told me about a YouTube video she enjoys, Caught in Providence. A traffic court judge in Providence RI runs his court much the same way as Harry Stone (Night Court TV show) did. He talks with the people about their tickets, how it happened, why it happened, mitigating circumstances, then ultimately dismissed the cases. I watched two episodes after our news casts had concluded, and found them to be very entertaining. A real-life feel-good show.

August 02, 2019

I woke up, this morning, and when I looked out the window I saw that we had what I thought was a limb from the oak tree on the ground. It wasn't a limb, and it wasn't oak. I'm not sure what kind of tree it was, but it was about 15 feet tall (long, for it was on the ground), and even the 4' sections into which I had sawed it, were very heavy. It is now (heh, heh) at the curb for pickup next week. I hope I don't have to write hate-mail to the City again. I worked up a great sweat cutting it up, then toting it to the curb, and had to rest and dry off before I could get clothes to slide over my body again after bathing.

This afternoon, then, I noticed an unusually red and warm place on my right hand. It doesn't look like a spider's bite, no punctures anywhere, nor painful to the touch, but it itches. It is not a hive, either, for I still have them on the palms of my hand, but they only "bloom" if I run overly warm water on them. Perhaps I really AM allergic to yard work!

August 03, 2019

The day started out with a 30-minute walk at the Mall and a stop at Starbucks. I opted to try their Caramel Machiato Cloud coffee, if for no other reason that to test whether my lactose sensitivity persists after being gluten-free for 19 months. The cloud drink was delicious, gave me no immediate discomfort, and got my hopes up. I would find later in the day, however, loose bowels and flatulance. After lunch, I went to the store to buy supplies for tomorrow's Mah Jongg session at Suzanne's, as well as a few treats for us. Then, at about 4 PM, it not raining or even wet, I had a sudden urge to mow the lawn, to finish the job I had started 10 days ago. I mowed the back yard first, then the front, stopping about where I had stopped last time, but from the opposite direction. The resulting deluge of perspiration was unbearable, even though I had toweled off shortly before finishing. I had sprung a leak, and there was no stemming the flood!

I took a shower, dried off twice, then spread towels on the bed and laid down to cool off and rest. I awoke about 7 PM, having snored the whole time, or so it felt in my throat.

The lawn looks good, though.

August 04, 2019

At church, the first thing announced was that there were changes made to our order of worship after the bulletins were printed. While most of the congregants would not be upset by the last-minute changes, Becky was, and I would expect that our Director of Music pro tem would also have been upset. The music is planned on a certain order so that the organist knows what to play when. When things are changed around without the organist's knowledge, sometimes the music doesn't start when she had planned, sometimes not even when the clergy expected it, and sometimes things get played when the current change called for a said response. Nevertheless, Becky played reasonably well today, substituting for our titular organist. I had arranged to play the Recessional Hymn and the postlude (Post Loud, I sometimes say), and even I played reasonably well.

When I played a Lenten Noonday Concert in Charleston, one year, I found it very advantageous to play music written by composers others hadn't heard of. The advantage being the listeners are unfamiliar with the work and, thus, don't know if I'm playing it correctly or not. Today I played two variations on the chorale, Befiehl du deine Wege, written by Max Drischner. They were things I have worked on for a couple of years, pieces I selected because of their intensely chromatic build and stranger-than-normal harmonies. They were well received by clergy and congregants.

We had lunch with Suzanne before playing three hands of Mah Jongg. She had prepared a Greek salad, for which I had provided the Romaine Lettuce. We all overate, but it was salad, so not so much harm done as it would have been with pizza or pasta.

Once again, I didn't win at the gaming table, but I'm getting used to that (not really).

August 05, 2019

I got up at 6 AM to take the trash and recycling to the curb, as usual. As I was reaching for the door to step out of the garage, I noticed that the grass-catcher for my new Honda mower was lying on the floor beside Becky's car, HILDOR. I wondered how it got onto the floor, and couldn't even remember where it was hanging. I thought I heard a hoarse sigh, and decided to leave it where it was. After I took the cans to the curb, I again ignored the grass-catcher and entered the house, set the alarm and went back to bed.

I was awakened again at 6:21 (or so), even though I have the cell phone set on DO NOT DISTURB from 10 PM to 7:30 AM. I have the cell phone paired with the house phone via Bluetooth, so rather than ringing the phone, I got a message that I had a call from 9176502231863499 (or some such interminable string of numbers). I decided to answer it, and it turned out to be the electrical power company, informing me that there is a power failure in the area that will affect my house. Two minutes later, the power went off, as did my CPAP. Becky had already removed hers when I took the cans out, so it made no difference to her. But since I don't sleep without my CPAP except on the recliner, I got up and went to the recliner. A few minutes later (6:30) the power came on again, so I set the clocks on the stove, microwave and coffee maker, then decided I was awake enough to sit up and read a little. Becky joined me on the recliner, and that was the major excitement of the day.

Becky had a physical therapy appointment (finally) to address the fall she took two months ago, or so. She will be going to PT for the next six weeks, at the least, unless she has a breakthrough and further PT is obviously not needed. While she was at PT, I took HILDOR out for a run to the store. The Saturn always seems so appreciative to get some road time, and I really enjoy driving it. The trouble is that it is so close to the road, and the seats are so close to the floor, that it is uncomfortable for me to drive it for long distances. It also needs a new headliner, and one of these days, I will have to take it to a body shop for that repair. The last time I tried that, though, I needed to have an appointment to get an estimate!!! So much for THAT body shop. There are other shops around the area that I will not use, also, and I'm running out of options. I think it will be the Chevrolet dealer (after all, Saturn was a GM entity, no matter how hard they tried to convince me it was not).

August 06, 2019

Today started a little weird. Becky got up before I did, but only by three minutes, or so. When I got up, I did my normal morning games, then transcribed the psalm for Sunday's worship service, and Becky had said something about going to the church to practice, so when she finished getting dressed, I asked if she was going to the church. She said she was going to Tai Chi. The thought had never entered my mind until then!

When we got to the gym, the first thing I noticed (and I did notice it) - they had removed the loveseat they had by the door, replacing it with a high-top table and three chairs. I went to the treadmill and put that change out of my mind. I walked and read for 30 minutes (as usual), by which time three other women from the class had arrived, so we went into the activity room. Mickey, our instructor, was already there, so I spoke with her as we waited for the other four to join us. A fifth woman came in before long, so there were six students there, in all. We had a good Tai Chi session, today, though I don't think we did the entire form (Sun style). We might have, but I don't remember.

I found a fun video on YouTube, today. An accordion player from the Czech Republic was playing Vivaldi's Winter from the Four Seasons. He also played some Dominico Scarlotti, and the Toccata from Boelman's Gothic Suite. I cannot say he played everything the way it was written, but it was fun to watch and hear.

August 07, 2019

Ropeyarn Wednesday, again. I did the laundry, and as Forrest Gump would say, "That's all I have to say about that."

August 08, 2019

Becky and I took a sample of her Pimento Cheese to Rise 'n' Shine so the management can get a taste of it and, if they like it, incorporate it into their fare. I'm not holding my breath, not because I don't think it's worthy, but because of past experience with introducing great food to restaurants. The staff loves it, but the management forbids it.

In the afternoon, we spent half an hour at the church so Becky could practice, then went to TGI Friday to meet Jim and Carol. I was surprised to see our favorite waiter there, because he normally only works the lunch crowd, but he explained that they were very short-staffed today, so he's working a double to take up the slack.

August 09, 2019

I awoke after noticing the ambient light in the room increasing much more rapidly than it would ordinarily. I had slept almost 8 hours, at that point, so I should have been ready to awaken. After my morning bathroom duties, I got my daily dietary supplements, a bowl of cereal and a glass of water, then went to the computer. After reading my overnight emails and playing my wake-up games, I was practically falling asleep at the keyboard, so I went out to the recliner. Naturally, I put on a television program that I had little interest in watching, and then didn't go to sleep. That is, I didn't go to sleep until Becky started to prepare lunch for us. Being jarred awake by the question, "Do you have something to drink?" was a curious feeling.

Most of the afternoon, I was drifting in and out of sleep, unable to remain in one state or the other, and I think I may have finally realized the reason I have days like this. Last night, before going to bed, I took two acetaminophen caplets to ease the pain from around my right kidney. I've done that a few times before, even after realizing that the bottle I have in the en suite is of the PM variety. The next day after taking those pills, I have trouble staying awake. One would expect the slight tranquilizer to have run its course during the 8-hour sleep, but apparently that isn't the case with me. I shall have to replace that bottle with a daytime version of the same analgesic.

Naturally, when I go for my semi-annual wellness visit with my Primary Care Physician, at the end of this month, I will attempt to mention the pain in the vicinity of my right kidney. With my luck he will tap on it, ask if that hurts, and if I say it does not, he will completely disregard my complaint. I'm pretty sure it isn't a stone, but it hurts when I twist to the right like I'm reaching for something to my right with my left hand, or if I bend to the right without thinking about it first. At night, though, it gets sore and hurts when I touch it. It's very annoying.

August 10, 2019

Yesterday, our new, purple, "Talk Less, Tai Chi More" T-shirts arrived in the mail, so today I decided to wash them. After the washer was done with them I stuck them in the dryer. When I went to get them, they were still wet. Did I not start the dryer when I put them in? How forgetful of me. So I started the dryer. When I went to get them the second time, they were still more-than-damp, so I put them through a third dry cycle. They were still damp at the end of it, so I hung them on hangers and let them dry the old fashioned way. Now I have to find out why the dryer is not drying the clothes. The vent tube is still connected at both ends, the inside of the dryer was hot when I opened the door, so maybe the drive belt is not turning the drum. Maybe I can repair it, but if not, then a new dryer is in the works for us.

Nevertheless, next Tuesday we will be the talk - er - non-talk of the Tai Chi class.

August 11, 2019

Before church, this morning, choir rehearsal was somewhat hectic, with people not settling down, not listening to the Director-pro-tem then asking for the page number she had just given, and so forth, something that drives me up the wall. But we got the anthem rehearsed, first each section, then the whole choir, then setting it aside until our soprano soloist arrived. Since that soprano runs a B&B, she is routinely late for rehearsals. We used the time, then, to review upcoming anthems. When our late member arrived, then, we revisited the day's anthem, found it to be ready for performance, and dismissed the choir. Then it was my turn to rehearse the solo I will be singing next week, My Lord, What a Morning! (the solo, not meant to be a commentary on the rehearsal). It went well, so after a few directives from our D-p-t, we were done.

The service went as well as necessary. The anthem was a huge success, and other than that, well let's just say, "If we did it perfectly, they'd expect it that way every time!"

We enjoyed a lunch at Rise 'n' Shine, then took the rest of the day - that is to say we rested for the day.

August 12, 2019

We met Jim and Carol at Early Girls Grill - beside the "sink hole" on Merrimon Avenue - for lunch. First, the lunch was fabulous. I hadn't had meatloaf since we started eating gluten-free 18 months ago, and i was delighted to find Meatloaf (GF) on their menu (GF implies gluten-free). Becky, Carol and Jim all got the meatloaf, but before I thought about it, i had set my mind on the Grit Cake Stack, which I did order. The grit cake stack was delicious, but having swapped half of it for some of Becky's meatloaf, I found the meatloaf to be deliciouser! Apparently Early Girl doesn't know the difference between air conditioning and refrigeration, because by the time we were finished with our food and conversation, we were all frozen. As soon as we walked out the door and the heat hit my face, I had an ice-cream-headache - from the outside of my forhead!

Now for the sink hole. It swallowed the parking lot next door to Early Girl, and it was filled in with dirt, then when it opened up again, larger this time, they filled it in with rock. When it opened up the third time, unable to get any larger unless it started gobbling the building, then excavated the entire lot to replace the culvert that was supposed to conduct a creek safely beneath the parking lots along that street. They will likely have to do the same excavation under each lot before the theft of their real estate is arrested.

August 13, 2019

Becky and I wore our new Tai Chi shirts to class, today. They were a huge success! We got a new student, a Chinese woman (Rozeline Croepke, a.k.a Chan Lee Ying) who has been living in the US for 30 years, traveled around the world, and has just moved to Asheville (Montford area). After class, she and Becky got to talking, and when their conversation showed no signs of stopping, we invited her to lunch at Rise 'n' Shine. She's delightful, and we had a wonderful time talking with her.

Tonight I attended a Men of the Church meeting (got the right Tuesday, this month). Our host had prepared a turkey dinner for us (Roast Turkey, Gravey, applesauce, phoney mashed potatoes and some kind of store-bought roles. Naturally there was bourbon and sour mash whisky. Aside from the rolls everything was on my diet, though I did not get any sour mash, having learned my lesson the last time I'd tried it. We spent a good time talking about everything and anything, then had a business meeting to discuss the upcoming Pig Picking (September 21) and the fate of some of our older parishioners (and decrying that the youngest member of our group is over 70). A good time was had by all.

August 14, 2019

I saw my favorite chiropractor today, complained about a pain over my right kidney. He was able to locate a subluxation that was impinging a nerve, relieved it, and while the pain didn't immediately disappear, tonight it feels much better. I hope that was the answer. I'd rather it be a nerve than kidney disease of any kind.

This afternoon, I decided to make some gluten free hotdog buns because I couldn't find any in the grocery store on the way home from the crack-a-practor. So I looked up a recipe on the Chebe website (since I would use a Chebe mix), and made some barely passable buns. The texture and flavor were great - crusted outside, moist and flexible on the inside - but they were half as tall as the hotdog. I suspect there were factors in my mixing technique, my using a bun mould pan instead of forming six separate buns by hand, and possibly because the dough just didn't rise for some other reason. Next time, instead of making six, as I had this time, I may just make four and see how that works.

August 15, 2019

Beware the Ides of August!

There I was, sitting at the computer, playing my morning wake-up games, and at 9:30, I decided I was awake enough, at least, to mow the lawn - the front lawn, anyway. So I suited up in my working clothes, fueled up the mower, donned my broad-brimmed hat and gloves, fired up the mower and off I went on my quest. I got halfway done, as I had a few weeks ago, and was attacked by an angry hoard of yellowjackets (Well, I thought they were hornets, but then the exterminator and I found their nest in the ground).

The beasts took their toll on me, of course, stinging the right side of my nose, my left forearm, my lower back and the back of my left upper thigh. Then, because I had taken my gloves off to remove the bug from my nose, i was stung under my wedding band and on my already-painful right pinkie. I called the exterminator, then waited for four hours for him to call back. He came half an hour after we spoke on the phone, and when we found their nexting place (a rather obvious hole in the front lawn right at the curb - with stingie-thingies flying around it), He went to work with three cans of combatant, Wasp-Ice and a double dose of expanding poisoned foam. He said they should all be dead by next Monday, but if I see any after that, give him a call and he'll come out and do it again. There's a 30-day guarantee.

The pain didn't subside, and I finally decided it was time to go to the urgent care at Sisters of Mercy. I was inspected and injected with a steroid to help reduce the swelling, and I was given a prescription for an oral steroid if I felt that I needed it. They didn't address the pain, so Becky and I went out to dinner (burgers and mashed potatoes), where I got a most delicious blackberry cider for us both to enjoy. It didn't reduce the pain of the stings at all, but it made me think about them less, so it was a good thing.

August 16, 2019

During the night I had a some dreams that I feel are, like many of my dreams, odd and puzzling.

First, I dreamed that someone had redesigned the CPAP so that, instead of one hose feeding into two nostrils, it was two tubes feeding into one thing over the head. Becky and I both wear CPAPs to ease our breathing in sleep. I kept wondering how in the world something like could work. Now and again, I would hear one of our units leaking air and hissing, and I'd realize that the new design was causing it to leak. The thing is, I didn't awaken as I usually would when I hear leakage. I "rationalized" the leak, knew there was nothing I could do to fix it, and stayed asleep.

Second, several times during the night, it seems, i smelled bread baking. It was a good, peaceful aroma, and I stayed asleep then, too. It was a yeast bread, quite a better aroma than a quick bread, and there might have been chocolate involved with the aroma, too.

August 17, 2019

Saturday morning I awoke with my sideburns tickling my ears and immediately knew that I needed to get a haircut. After atacking my morning games, I got dressed, fired up the Great Clips app, saw there was a 15 minute wait for a chair in their facility, then got ready to go on a shopping trip to Sam's Club. First, of course, I drove to Great Clips, walked in, gave my name and learned I had a 1 minute wait. It was a very fast minute before I was called. less than 10 minutes later, I had been clipped (both in the chair and at the cash register), and was out the door.

In the Sam's Club parking lot, for the first time ever, I got a parking space five spaces from, and in a direct line with the door. I had to wait in line while all the germophobes wiped down their cart handles, but once inside, there were surprisingly few people shopping, which allowed me to zip through the aisles. I found everything I needed to find, didn't have to wait in line at all for a check-out-yourself terminal, and after paying, I was out the door really quickly.

That's the end of my high-speed Saturday, the rest spent sitting, reading, watching some interesting television documentaries and eating lunch and supper.

August 18, 2019

As I had agreed, I sang a solo this morning, My Lord, What a Mornin'. It didn't particularly fit the lectionary lessons for the day, but it was really a fun piece to sing. I didn't try to "channel" anyone, but it came out in the manner of Harry Belafonte. I wish I had practiced it for a few weeks, but I didn't have the energy. Had I done so, I might not have faltered on the high E the way I did. But only flubbing one note is not too bad.

In the afternoon, I was pretty wiped out. I couldn't hold my head up, and snoozed through the news and a movie.

August 19, 2019

Monday has come and gone, and the most exciting thing that has happened today, besides paying the price for having been tricked into ingesting gluten yesterday at Rise & Shine Café (hidden in their Feature Omulet, I suspect), was watching The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. During his show, he had oportunity to pronounce "Elen sila lumenn' omentielvo," Elvish for "A star shines at the hour of our meeting." It sounded like, "Allison aluminum Auntie Alvo." So as Mike Tyson said, "What was I to do?" I recorded it and made a ringtone for Becky's and my phones!

August 20, 2019

In this morning's Tai Chi class, our regular instructor has returned, all's well with her mother, thank God. She asked us how the substitute, Brenda, had done, and we gave her glowing reports. Then we started with the warm-up exercises, had some in-depth instruction in a couple of the forms, then dived into the Sun Style Tai Chi. In the end, we had gone through the whole thing twice, and I have just realized that, perhaps for the first time, my lower back was not stiff and sore afterward. Mickey, our instructor, will say it's because I finally learned how to extend my cocyx correctly, but I'm more inclined to credit the nightly disc decompression exercises I've been doing all year. Finally, I think I'm getting the jelly back into the donuts!

We were happy to hear from Suzanne today. She has been in bed for three days after a week of virus that left her with no energy. We will visit with her tomorrow, take her some much needed supplies and have a good lunch together to celebrate her return to verticality.

August 21, 2019

After a discussion with Suzanne about how to properly make a Chebe bread mix, we decided that I would bring a box of the mix, and she would put it together. She did a little modification, adding baking soda and baking powder (1:3), added cheese to it as pescribed as optional, then when formed, she dusted them with Parmasean cheese, and during the baking process, brushed them with butter, and in the end they were nicely browned and more like a biscuit than a roll, but definitely not flat. They had risen very nicely. We used them to make BLT-Cs (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and Mozzerella cheese! Wow! A little lite Mayo, some libations, and we had a wonderful lunch.

August 22, 2019

Today, we took some Chicken soup to Suzanne's home, and after a small brunch of the soup, took her to her appointment with her Primary Care Physician. She had blood drawn at the lab first, then consulted with the doctor. The results were that there was an identifyable cause for her near-exhaustion, and therefore a way to treat it.

The three of us enjoyed a lunch/dinner at TGI Friday's, then did some shopping at Publix before returning her to her house.

It was a long-ish day.

August 23, 2019

Happy Lunaversary to us!

I called the exterminators, this morning, because I have spotted another nest, or at least another opening into the nest, of yellowjackets. They will be here on Monday to put a stop to them! I found it funny that there would be several of the wee beasties hovering at the entrance, and every now and then, a single one of them would zoom straight up into the air. I would love to take a video of it, but I won't get that close to them intentionally!

At noon, we drove to the Cornerstone Restaurant on Tunnel Road. Becky had a Mushroom & Swiss Burger, and I had a trio of Fish Tacos. I found the tacos delicious, but wish I had noticed the inclusion of Jalapenos before I ordered it, though. My nose ran like a faulty faucet! Becky found her burger quite a bit too much food to eat. We brought a lot of it and most of our sweet potato fries home for a second use.

I find myself reading less, these days, but not from lack of trying. I sit down with my Kindle and start reading, and within three paragraphs my head has fallen to my chest and I'm reading words the author never wrote, at least not in the place where I was reading them. Most television shows have the same affect on me. I never used to fall to sleep so easily. I joke that even my coffee puts me to sleep, for I sit down with a hot cup, take a few sips, and the next time I pick up my cup it's cold, because I've been asleep. Maybe I'll speak to my Primary Care Physician about it when I see him next Thursday - provided I can wake up enough to have the conversation. Of course, if I don't, he'll see for himself my condition, and hopefully he'll know what to do about it.

August 24, 2019

For breakfast, this morning, we went to church. At 8 AM, breakfast was served to those of us who signed up for the first session of Holy Conversations, which was us talking about what drew us to the parish, what we wish to see the parish do in the future, and so forth. That way, the Search Committee will know better what to look for in a candidate for our next Rector.

Tomorrow will be Mary Ann's last day as Music Director Pro Tem, with our newly hired Director, Jim, taking over as of Wednesday evening's choir rehearsal. Naturally, we appreciate Mary Ann's leadership, but realize that at age 83, she's ready to relinquish the reins to a younger person. She will resume her post in the alto section of the choir she so skillfully led since the resignation of our former D of M, and she will be welcomed back to "our side of the podium".

 August 25, 2019

Two weeks ago, Becky and I had befriended a new student in our Tai Chi class, a Chinese wonam who is new to our area and searching for a church. Naturally, we told her about Grace Church, and this morning she visited. She was taken with the beauty of the building, and while she said she wasn't familiar with the pagentry of the service, she did say, "I guess I'll have to get used to it," which hinted that she may well return. She was befriended by several other members of the congregation and warmly greeted by our Senior Warden, a very outgoing person, himself. I feel we've made a good impression, and hope to see her there again.

Our new Director of Music and his family was in attendance today, as well. The choir sang Bless the Lord, by G.F. Handel, and we did a fine job of it. It let the new Director know what he has to work with, and hopefully he will use it as a base on which to build our abilities and repertoire. I have no doubt he will build us to new heights.

Becky and I had an at-home day, today, resting, watching movies and sleeping to recharge our batteries from this morning's energy output.

August 26, 2019

The exterminator returned today to treat the second yellowjacket nest. While he was here, he found the new nest and its back door, then he found the back door for the nest he treated last time. He ended up spraying all four access holes and pumping foam into them. He says they should be gone by Thursday. I will wait until Monday to attempt mowing again. If I get stung again, I have no idea if I will ever mow the lawn again before November!

Since most of the day was spent waiting for the exterminator, our usual Brunch became an early dinner at TGI Friday's. We brought home lots of "left overs" to incorporate into our "home made" meals.

This evening, I learned that the next generation of MX-19 has been released in Beta version, so I've downloaded it and will play with it in Live sessions (running off the USB Stick, not loading it into the computer's HD). It makes for a limited use, but with a little magic (commands in the Terminal), I should be able to get enough utility to see how I like the new system. I will, of course, wait for the Official release before deciding whether to switch to it.

August 27, 2019

Before Tai Chi, this morning, I got onto the treadmill, stepped up the speed one notch from what I had been using. It was an attempt to raise my maximum heartrate above 102, since that's nowhere near my target rate. If I could get it up to 110 0r 115 BPM, that would make me feel more normal. Of course, I'm working against medicines that are designed to keep my heartrate artificially low because of the aneurysm. After 25 minutes at the higher step rate, and no corresponding heart rate, I dropped it back down to my more comfortable speed, and was able to finish the 30 minute walk.

Then, in the class room, We had eight students and one instructor. Our instructor med our Asian member for the first time, and we all met another new member. Both of them had prior Tai Chi tuition, but it had been years since they had tried to learn it. Neither knew what style they had started to learn, but I doubt it was Sun ("Soon") style, since that is newer than the other styles. It's also the shortest and easiest routine. We had a very good time, and the newbies showed at least rudimentary recollection, and they have promised to be part of the class for the foreseeable future.

This afternoon, then, I fired up my Toshiba Netbook using MX-19 Beta (see yesterday's post) in a Live session. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is quite different from other Live sessions in that I could access the files on the hard drive, if I want to. I didn't need to use the command line to establish that link. I played around with it for a while, and I found that it works as well as MX-18, which I have been using for a while, now. It certainly works as quickly, which surprised me again, considering it was operating from a USB Stick, which is usually slower than the hard drive. I like it, so far. Naturally, the improvements over the present release are in the inner-workings of the modules, and I tend not to understand anything about how things are constructed and mechanized. I'm just a user, not an engineer, after all.

August 28, 2019

We have, unofficially, bid our thanks and farewell to our Interim Director of Music, Mary Ann. She did a good job getting us through the dry spell. While she will no longer be officiating the music program for us, she will resume her old post as Alto, so it is a Welcom Back, as well.

We have also, unofficially, welcomed our new Director of Music, Jim. I have every confidence that he will do a good job getting us back into shape as musicians. We had our first rehearsal under his direction, tonight, and he not only gave us the anthem for Sunday, but put us through our paces, even having us sing an anthem we had never seen before - a capella! Now that he knows we are capable of doing that, there's no mercy for us any more.

August 29, 2019

I visited my primary care doctor this morning as a follow-up to my hives. Since he switched my BP meds from Lisinopril to Telmisartan, the hives went away, but I have been having narcoleptic days where I cannot stop "napping". It is his opinion that I will become accustomed to the new medication and have more alert days soon. Since I had just received a 30-day supply of the new meds, and that prescription had no refils, and I was out of it, he wrote another 30-day prescription to my local pharmacy, then a 90-day prescription to Express-Scripts (mail-order through the military). I have filled the local one, and I have been informed that the mail-order one has been received and is being processed.

Then, this afternoon, I had a visit with my eye doctor. My left eye has gotten a bit weaker, so she changed my prescription in both my distance and computer glasses. The problem is that I had to leave both pair of glasses with the occulist, and will be without them until next week. Until then, should I need to read anything (like in church), I have some readers that I can use.

August 30, 2019

The only useful thing I did today was to attend the Friday Night Lights at church. A group of us get together on the lawn of the church, with luminaries on the hillside and candles with each person present. Then we just talk, or share experiences, or like we did tonight, we sing. One man brought a mandolin and a hymnal, and our Associate Priest brought his fiddle. Next week, I might have to bring my Irish Whistle and join in with the playing of music, for I don't really know the hymns they were singing tonight - old-timey ones.

August 31, 2019

Welcome to the last day of August!

Brian, Suzanne's brother, invited us to join him for a cook-out. We gratefully accepted. He was heating up the grill as we arrived, and grilled some Country Ribs, Hamburgers and Sausages. Inside there were sauteed mushrooms and baked beans being prepared, and there were three deli-salads (potato, pasta and sweet potato). The meal was delicious! Our shared friend, Elizabeth, also brought brownies, a flourless chocolate torte and some other dessert that I didn't bother to identify (it contained wheat, as did the brownies). The Torte was yummy, and quite rich.

By the time I got home, I was having incontinence problems (rectal, though), and found that my output was about 20% "clear" liquid and lots of gas. I cannot blame the food we had eaten earlier, though, for the same thing had happened yesterday, too. I spent many hours on the recliner, making frequent trips to the toilet, and becoming quite sore to the touch of the paper. When I gave up and "attempted" to go to bed, I thought I'd be up and down all night, but oddly enough, it stopped. This morning I had a normal stool, so I thought whatever it was had run its course, which is the only reason we attended the cookout. With today's episode, though not as urgent as yesterday's, I'm becoming a little concerned. I can only hope I haven't contaminated anyone else with some as-yet-undiagnosed bug.

Ok, that's all the cheerful news I have. As this is the last day of August, I will announce the one-week window to read another month-load of News from the Hill before I switch the default page over to September.


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