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

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December 01, 2019

Happy Lloyd Day!

Happy December Fools Day!

Happy Advent I

Wow, what a lot of headings!

It's Festival 78 for Lloyd. Us Smith boys are really stretching the longevity envelop, something I am particularly pleased to see. Earlier in my life, I was convinced that I wouldn't live to the age of 40. Well, that was then, and this is something completely different, as they would say on Monty Python's Flying Circus.

This morning, at church, they inaugurated a new technology. about a month ago, they had installed a HUGE TV/Monitor/White Board in the Fellowship Hall, and until today I had not seen it used. This morning, it was lit up with a blue background, a musical Grand Staff, a green block in the center saying Missing You (or something like that), and lots of hand-written get-wells around the edges. At the top it said, To Becky Smith. People were invited to write their notes to her by using either their finger or the stylus provided. Later, they are going to print out the card and give it to her.

The choir had prepared two anthems, one for the Offertory, and the other for the Communion Hymn. The first two stanzas of that second one were straight out of the hymnal, and since it was just listed as a hymn, naturally the congregation sang along with us as we "hammed up" the last two stanzas. It is the second time we've done such a thing, and the congregation loves it. We always get super compliments from them after the recessional hymn is over. It's very gratifying, of course.

The rest of the day, we have just sat around and watched TV, read, oh - and I did a load of laundry. Since I'm doing the cooking during Becky's convalescing, we don't do a lot of eating. I'm in control of the portion sizes, now, and since we're doing as little as possible, there's no need to eat much. I'm also in charge of the menu, and since I don't have much imagination, the meals have been pretty plain. However, today we had some avocado & ham roll-ups - well, I had that and Becky opted for an avocado & ham schnitzel. Since she's missing a few teeth, still, she finds small pieces easier and quicker to chew up and swallow.

December 02, 2019

We called Asheville Orthopedic Associates again this morning to try to get an appointment with one of their surgeons. SURPRISE! We got a same-day appointment for 3:20 p.m. We got there a bit early, mostly because we took a circuitous route to get there, and were seen reqlly quickly. A nurse did the intake, then the surgeon came in, took Becky for some x-rays, removed her splint and put her into a pre-surgical shoe. He said the break looked as though it would heal correctly as it is, and the shoe should be all that is necessary. He gave us a paper copy of his x-rays, an application for handicap placards and sent us on our way. We went to TGI to celebrate Becky being out of the house after a week's confinement.

I had also called the insurance agent for the at-fault driver, but he was out of the office for the day. Nothing happened on that front all day, which was frustrating.

Becky, despite the frustrations of the week, was happier after dinner, and especially happy to be walking without mechanical aid. She was worn out when we got home and so we had an early bed-time.

December 03, 2019

This morning, I set out to retrieve some things from the car that I hadn't gotten the last time. I got our sun glasses and viser clips, our cell-phone stand which is handy for using its GPS function, the CD from the CD Player, and then I left to go to the DMV to get handicap placards. Before I had driven two miles, I got a phone call from the insurance agent handling the claim. He told me he had reserved a mid-sized rental car for us, then instructed me to go to the towing/storage yard and get the license plate and release the car to them, so I returned to their lot gave them the release notice and got the plate, then went to the DMV. I turned in the plate, but since we had neglected to fill out our portion of the application for the placards, I went home to get that filled out. Then Becky and I returned to the DMV, got the placards, then drove to Allergy Partners to get her shots, then went to Rise & Shine for a celebratory Brunch for her second day out of the house.

I had a 3:30 appointment to be picked up by the car rental agency. They got here at about 4:20. When we got to the agency, I was told that I had been upgraded to a full-size car, then I was given a business card with authorization for a 15% discount on my next rental, all because of the delay in picking me up. Then we waited for the car to be delivered from their other lot, across town from where we were. I was given a Subaru Legacy, a very complex car, most features of which I have no idea how to use. It does have a Constantly Variable Transmission (shiftless, almost, after getting up to shifting out of "first" gear), which I find fascinating. It took me a while to find out how to engage the cruise control, but when I found it out, I learned that it will even engage at 20 MPH! Wow!

December 04, 2019

Because of Becky's injured foot, as well as a couple other bell ringers being unavailable for Christmas Eve's planned event, our Director of Music has deferred the Bell concert until sometime during Epiphany (I think he said). Becky can't climb the stairs - a straight flight of 17 steps - to the practice room while in her orthopedic shoe, and I refuse to carry her up and down them. So that's one thing off our schedule.

The rental car is quite nice to drive, but I'm trying hard not to get used to it. I've been searching for a low priced, used car to replace Barnum (as if any other car COULD replace him), and think I will be able to find something that fits as soon as we get the insurance settlement.

December 05, 2019

After taking Becky to the Allergy clinic to get her 2xWeekly shots (plural), we celebrated with an early lunch at TGI Friday's. We split a Lunch Paring of Ribs and Tomato Basil Soup. Becky got the soup, and I got the ribs (but brought half of them home for another day).

Then, a little before 1:30, our plumbers arrived and installed new water faucets in our bathrooms, new host bibs outside the garage and celler door and a new Water Pressure Regulator. That should constitute our Christmas Presents to each other, this year. <Wink>

December 06, 2019

Today was a service day. Becky and I drove Suzanne to her doctor's appointment. She rarely gets out of the house other than to go to the doctor, so when she can make the trip and has an appointment, we make a day of it. Her appointment confirmed her feeling that she had, indeed, broken a toe. It was on the same day we had our collision. So at any rate, she had a rather long visit with the doctor, after which we took her to TGI Friday's for a splendid lunch, then to Publix to get prescriptions and some much needed groceries, then back to her home.

On the way to return her to her home, we saw the traffic on I-26 backed up as far as the eye can see. At the east end of the tie-up was a vehicle that appeared to have been rolled. It was off to the side of the road, and all sorts of emergency vehicles were at the scene: Police, Sheriff, Fire, Ambulance and Tow Trucks. We, headed westward, were unaffected by the stopped traffic, but felt a renewed feeling of our own collision. We learned, later, that there was one fatality and that a second person was transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

By the time we got to the Interstate on our way home, it appeared that nothing had happened. Traffic was sparse and flowing normally along. Nevertheless, we took an alternate route, following our phone's GPS, if for no other reason, just to learn an alternative route for my own peace of mind.

December 07, 2019

Remember Pearl Harbor!

In addition to remembering Pearl Harbor Day, we attended a funeral for a friend of ours from church. Two weeks ago, he was in church, and he and I spoke about the wonderful progress the new Director of Music is making with the choir. The next day, I got an email from the church announcing his Celebration of Life. A week later, I learned that he had been on the short flight of stairs between the garage and his house when he lost his ballance, fell backward, hit his head and died. He was 83. Life is not guaranteed, and can change from earthly to heavenly in the blink of an eye.

I have just activated my Dish Voice-Activated Remote, but I'm not sure it is everything I need. It will turn on both the television and the receiver, but will only turn off the television, at least that's what I have found so far. I have placed an inquiry at their website asking for instruction or confirmation.

December 08, 2019

Happy Advent 2!

Becky stayed home, today, to rest her right leg. I feel she has been over compensating for her left foot injury, causing muscle stress, and given that her right leg is the weaker one, it has been feeling stressed. Naturally, I told her she needs to take it to the spa and let it unwind. Somehow my suggestions along that line have gone unappreciated.

What she missed at church was another good choir practice, hugs and well wishes from our friends, and a wonderful anthem. She also missed meeting CC, the recipient of the Habitat House our congregation has been building. She is a very bright, friendly person who gave me the feeling that she was a bit overwhelmed by the promise of a home of her own. She didn't stay for the whole service, because she needed to get to work.

After church, I met with one of our parishioners who has offered to sell me his car at a price I can actually afford. It's a 10-year-old Toyota Camry Hybrid, just out of warranty, so it's likely to need some repairs, but he's willing to accept below market value for the car. At our age, though, I feel the car will likely outlive me, provided nobody destroys it for me. We're seriously considering it, and part of the consideration is checking on the price of battery replacement, which I've heard can exceed $4,000. I found a source of replacement batteries that will charge only $1,740 for a reconditioned battery with a lifetime warranty. Of course, by the time you read this, we will have made our decision and acted on it.

December 09, 2019

I forgot it was Monday! All day I was thinking what I would do when Monday comes, tomorrow. Doh! (as Homer would say).

Ok, so I lost a day. There are worse things in the world.

So what did I do on this non-Monday Monday? I went to brunch and took Becky to get her allergy shots. That's just about it.

Ok, I'll type to you tomorrow, then, when Monday get's here.

December 10, 2019

This evening, I went to a Men of the Church meeting at a friend's house, the same friend from church who has the 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid I have been considering to buy. With that in mind, I went to his house an hour early so I could drive the car and get a feel as to whether it would be a good fit for us. It fit like a glove. The body is sound, the engine runs smoothly, the acceleration is sufficient and the brakes are quite good. Overall, I found it to be well worth the asking price and have given him my word that I will purchase it next week.

The rental car that I have been driving for the last week, a Subaru Legacy (I've tentatively been calling it Emeril) is a zippy mid-size (same size as the Toyota, above), but it has two faults that I've identified. The left-center air vent has no air flowing through it, which leaves the driver's side of the car cooler than it should be. Also, every time I start the engine, the radio turns on. I have to turn it off or, as I usually do, change it to the CD Player. Anyway, I have no intention of keeping that car. In fact, my rental contract, paid by the insurance company for the car that caused the accident, expires on Friday the 13th. That's appropriate, I guess.

We have arranged for a draw from our retirement funds that is sufficient to pay for the plumbing repairs and upgrades we've done, as well as the purchase price of our not-so-new car. The check will arrive early next week, after which I will purchase the car, replace Barnum on my insurance policy, register the Camry, mount our new Dash Cam (the old one fell into the open defroster vent of the PT Cruiser) and start enjoying driving again. While I do enjoy driving Hildor, our Saturn, I don't enjoy getting into or out of it, and I don't enjoy sitting in it for any length of time. I had thought there was a Classic Registration for 21 year or older cars, but not in NC. The car has to be 28 years or older to get an Antique registration. That's no bother, because by 2027 I doubt either of us will be driving.

December 11, 2019

Today, Becky went to the genetic testing center to determine if she has the BRCA Gene Mutation and it's increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer. It is a medical necessity for her to be tested, given the many occurances of breast cancer in her family. Naturally, the results of the test will be forthcoming - eventually. She was in the process for over two hours, and I'm sure I dozed at least a dozen times while reading, then again while watching a movie about some kids who felt it their duty to rescue dogs, all the while trying not to be flushed out of the foster system, themselves.

After the testing and intense interview were done, we went to Well Bread for brunch. I bought a soup and salad combination. Becky had the veggie soup, and I had the sweet potato salad. Both were delicious. Out of three urns of coffee, the one with the most interesting list of qualifications, in my opinion, was bone dry. The Dark Roast, boasting of chocolate and caramel notes (which I can never taste, but always want to try), gave a weak trickle before stoping altogether. We had to settle for the mild roast, which was still tremendously good.

Then we went to the allergy place so Becky could get her second double-dose of allergy shots for the week. I sure hope the shots prove to be worth it, giving her relief from the allergies with which she's suffered all her life.

After all that, choir practice went really well. We ran through all the Christmas music we will present before the Christ Mass, then we hacked away at the anthem we will sing this Sunday. I think we'll get it right, provided we work on it some more just before the service. The Christmas music we've got a little more rehearsal time to knock off the rough edges.

December 12, 2019,

Becky and I went for our monthly visit with our chiropractor, and learned that both of us have need of some spinal therapy. "Your back is locked up," is what he said to each of us. Monday, then, we are starting a course of laser and traction to get us unlocked and "flowing" freely again.

This was the last day with our rented Subaru, which suits me fine. While I have enjoyed its heated seats and back-up camera, I found that its radio auromatically coming on when I start the engine is a little annoying. Also, the heater vent on the left-center of the dash board being inoperative was more than annoying. It took far too long for my side of the car to warm up in our freezing temperatures, these last few mornings.

I got a call from the at-fault driver's insurance company. They informed me that I will receive $1,600 for my old and busted PT Cruiser, which is about a thousand times what I had expected, so that is nearly half the cost of the Toyota that I will be buying next week (as soon as our retirement draw arrives.

December 13, 2019

Friday the 13th came on a FRIDAY this month!!!

This morning, I arose a bit earlier than my usual Friday habit so that I could gearch the rental car carefully and get all of our personal belingings from it. Then I drove it to Sam's Club to fill its gas tank before returning it to the agency. I've been driving it for 10 days, and the tank was just below half full. I put 10 gallons into it. I remember the day when the normal size of a gas tank was 20 gallons. No wonder the tank was still almost half full!

When I got the car to the agency, they checked it over, declared it none the worse for my having driven it, then gave me a ride back home. After lunch, I drove Hildor to the grocery store, picked up some much needed items, and when I got back home I realized that Hildor's tank was nearly empty, also, so I went back out to Sam's and filled it - another 10 gallons of gasoline - it must have been nearly empty, because I think that's it capacity.

We've been in the 30s most of the day, creeping up above 40 in the afternoon, making Asheville one of the cold-spots in the whole country (not counting Montana, Minnesota and Wisconsin, of course).

December 14, 2019

It is so weird driving Hildor again after 10 days in a full-sized sedan. It feels like I'm sitting on the street and going really fast, even at 20 MPH. Nevertheless, I drove us out to brunch, today.

I then spent the afternoon at the computer transcribing anthems for Becky and me and maybe one of the other basses in the choir (large-print editions). It has been quite a learning experience transitioning from the intuitive Mozart to the more difficult MuseScore, but after transcribint half a dozen anthems this week, I think I have a bit of a handle on it. This has been one of the major stumbling blocks for abandoning my Windows computer and using only MX Linux. I still fire up Windows, though, just to play the daily challenges that Microsoft published. Then I turn it off and go to work on Linux. If Microsoft keeps posting longer and longer ads on their daily challenges, though, I might abandon them, too. Besides, I really don't need four computers (one of which sits idle, now, because I'm using its AC Adapter for my laptop, which I use when I have a brainstorm while watching TV).

December 15, 2019

Happy Advent 3!

I carried the traanscribed anthems to the church, this morning, and presented them to our Choir Director who was quite pleased to have clear and larger copies of them for future use. Naturally, Becky and I, along with the oldest of the basses, have the new copies due to failing eyesight of two of us. It will be a little confusing when he calls out page numbers, but if he calls for measure numbers we're in the clear. The anthem we sang went quite well, except for the phrase when the basses entered a fourth low. It was a harmonious mistake (led by Yours Truly), so if anyone noticed, they were looking at the score.

We spent the afternoon with Suzanne and her brothers. Brian had cooked some Scotch Eggs, making sure that three of them were rolled in potato flour, not glutenous Panko as called for by the recipe. Three cheers for the potato, I say! He had also cooked up three batches of fudge, of which he gifted us a box along with a very nice Christmas Card. Yes, we played Mah Jongg, no I didn't win. Becky won two hands, Suzanne won one, and we all had to leave the game due to discomfort at the kitchen table.

December 16, 2019

Becky and I went to see Dr. Reilly, this morning, to be evaluated after our wreck. I have a sprained neck and left shoulder and a badly sprained lower back, coupled with three collapsed discs in my neck. Also I have nerve damage in my neck and lower back, causing differential lack of sensation in arms and legs. I'm far worse off than I imagined. Becky is even worse than me, according to Dr. Reilly, though he didn't go into specifics, other than to say her neck is locked up like a vault, and her right leg, compensating for the left leg, has become wracked with spasms.

We "celebrated" our infirmaties with a lunch at TGI Friday's. Until they remove it from their list of good deals, TGI has Lunch Pairings. Becky and I have been sharing a meal. I'll get a half rack of ribs, or a Cobb Salad, or as I did today, a cheeseburger served Green Style (lettuce instead of a bun). I've become quite fond of green style sandwiches. As the second part of the pairing, Becky will get a bowl of soup, Tomato Basil being her favorite (and mine). Then since we are in need of increased water intake to promote healing, we got away with an inexpensive meal. Naturally we tipped our favorite waiter well.

After lunch, we went to the Allergy Partners for her twice-a-week dose of anti-allergy meds. Today she graduated, having tollerated the way-low dosage for two weeks. They upped the dosage. I hope the shots start taking affect soon so she doesn't have to hack, cough and sound like she's in distress each morning to clear her sinuses and lungs.

I think I will take some tylenol with a large glass of water before I go to bed, so I can ignore the soreness in my body. Today is the first time I have been sore after a chiropractic adjustment, which likely means it is the worst I have ever needed one.

December 17, 2019

I spent the day moving more slowly due to pain and stiffness, leftovers from yesterday's chiropractic. I don't think I had ever been sore after an adjustment, but I sure was this time.

I managed to walk the treadmill for half an hour, and participate in Tai Chi, after which I was more limber, but no less sore.

December 18, 2019

Becky and I went to Dr. Reilly's office again. He was much gentler with us both, today, and I left feeling much better.

Then we went to choir practice in the evening. I found that I had left a few things out of the music I had transcribed, so it's a good thing that I didn't distribute it choir-wide. I'll have to repair the goofs and re-submit.

December 19, 2019

I arranged to take possession of our next car today. We've decided to call him Yoda (because he's a Toy Yoda). That will be later this afternoon.

We went for our third adjustment with Dr. Reilly, and he will be stepping up our therapy by including Graston treatments to reduce/eliminate scar tissue along with the laser treatments we've been getting, and of course Chiropractic. We're making progress, slowly.

'Tis later, now!

At 3:30 PM, Becky and I met our friends Larry and Luann at our bank to have them notarize their signatures on the title of their Toyota Camry Hybrid in order that they might sell it to me. Then, Larry and I stood in line at the teller's counter so that I could make a withdrawal of the price of their car, which I then presented to him as payment-in-full, and thereby took possession of my newest car. Becky drove Hildor home, and I drove Yoda home, then we drove to Starbucks for a celebretory brew. There are things I have to find on our new car, like how to use the navigation system, now to pair our cell phones with its hands-free system and whether or not it has a CD Player! There are a slew (4) Owners manuals for various things, like Emergencies, Maintenance, Navigation System and What-not (I made that last one up).

In the morning, I will have to take some photos of it, but only after I get it added to our insurance policy and come back from the DMV where I will have titled and registered the car to us. Then we'll have to put on the dog (so to speak).

December 20, 2019

I called my Insurance company this morning to add the Toyota to my policy in place of the PT Cruiser (may he rust in pieces). They said it would raise my rates by about $38 per month, which, when you put it that way, is not considerable. But extrapolated, it becomes $456 a year, and that's considering neither of us have any points on our driving record (accidents be damned). I expect it will also raise our poperty taxes, since the car is half as old as the one for which I was paying about $30 a year. Maybe it will double?

Then, insured and in possession of an e-mailed insurance card, I drove to the DMV and had a wonderful conversation with the agent who titled the Toyota to me and sold me a license tag. I was given a choice between First in Freedon, First in Flight or First in something else (moonshine, maybe, but I think West Virginia would have that title), and of course I chose Flight. She seemed to be very interested in my being a pilot, but confessed that she didn't like flying AT ALL.

From there, I went to the bank and deposited the check from our retirement fund draw-down. That will replenish the money we paid for the car and for the plumbing we had done earlier.

Then I went shopping. I was going to purchase three items, Co Q-10, Vitamin K and B Complex. I had gone to Sam's Club, and I bought three items. Two of them happened to be bags of potato chips, the third being the Co Q-10. The other two vitamins were deficient on their shelves, so there's tomorrow's shopping list started.

December 21, 2019

Happy Winter Solstice!

I started the day by driving out to the Mission Hostipal Pharmacy to pick up some vitamins and antihistamine that I had run out of during the week - the ones I was to have bought at Sam's Club yesterday. I got there just after 9 AM. On Saturdays, though, they do not open until 10 AM. I decided to go to a crocery store and pick up some food that, oddly enough, we had run out of during the week. As I was almost walking through the doors to the store, though, I found that I didn't have my billfold with me. I've been carrying it in my jacket pockets of late, mostly because of it's bulk, what with all the cards that I feel compelled to carry with me. So I returned home, paying extra care to comply with every driving regulation. Once home, I retrieved my billfold and returned to the Pharmacy just five minutes after it had opened.

They had the two items I needed, plus one other that I felt I should get to replace some that are entirely too large for me to swallow easily. Then I drove to the Grocery and picked up the two items I had on my list - plus two others. Somehow, I feel that is to be my usual shopping trip, picking up extras, strays as it were, that need a good home - at least until we eat them. Ah well, they won't go bad in the freezer.

December 22, 2019

Happy Advent 4!

We got to church early, had breakfast of Scrambled (Confused, Becky calls them) eggs, extra crisp Bacon and gluten-free Ginger Pancakes. It was the first time since eliminating gluten from our diet that I have eaten pancakes, and I quite enjoyed them with just a little butter and syrup. I also managed to drop bacon fat on my suplice, so maybe I'll get it tomorrow and do a little laundry.

Choir practice was as good as it usually is. We had a flutist, today, to play a descant for one of the hymns as well as to accompany the Anthem. She proved to be very competent, both accurate and musical, showed up well during rehearsal and during the worship.

After the service ended, we ran through the Christmas Prelude music and the Anthem for Tuesday evening's Christ Mass. We made the perfunctory mistakes during that rehearsal, which were all corrected so that they will not be repeated on Tuesday. We don't want our new director to have a coronary - or any other ailment.

We did a lot of napping during the afternoon, so we'll be bright and bushy-tailed for Becky's dental appointment in the morning.

December 23, 2019

Happy Luna-Versary!

This morning, we spent 2 hours and 15 minutes at the Dentist's office (well, Becky did - I was in the waiting room, waiting) to get one crown installed and another prepared for so that in January she can go back and have the second crown installed, along with preps for a partial bridge. It's been over a year since the extraction, and this will, we hope, give Becky a chewing surface to use so she can once again enjoy solid food!

After the dental ordeal, we enjoyed lunch at TGI, which is just around the corner from the dentist. She had Tomato Basil soup, and I had half of a half-rack of ribs. The ribs were delicious (I had the remainder of them for supper), as was the soup.

From there, we went to the Allergy Partners for Becky's first shots of the week. We always have the most interesting conversations with the other patients at that office, because everyone needs to wait 30 minutes after the shots to make sure they aren't reacting adversely. Today we were speaking with a young girl and her grandmother. The girl was the patient, and she was already in "Maintenance", only coming in one day every three weeks, but getting three shots per visit. She was completely fine with it, so I'm sure it was working the desired miracle in her life.

Then we came home, just to pick up Becky's new blue choir cassock to take it to the tailor for shortening.

On the way home from that drop-off, we decided we needed to visit Publix, so after I made a pitstop at home, we were off again. We bought a gluten-free chocolate cake to take to Gaffney SC with us for the annual Birthdays celebration (my "twin", Aneira, and I celebrate our birthdays together as often as possible - She's just 18 this year) on Thursday. While we were there, we picked up a few necessary items, then came home - again.

Have I mentioned how much fun I'm having learning about our "new" car? So far, I've learned how to insert and remove CDs, how to set destinations into the navigation system, how to pair cell phones to the car's bluetooth and make hands-free calls. Thursday morning I get to learn how to fill the gas tank! It had just over half a tank when I took possession of it, but now it's under half a tank left. It has a 17.9 gallon tank, so I don't really have to refuel, yet, but have decided to do so before driving down to Gaffney, a trip of only 65 miles, or so. When we get back I suppose I'll need to get the oil changed, because it was nearing change time when I took possession of it, and no, it didn't deter my purchase.

December 24, 2019

Christmas Eve!

This morning, We arose at the normal time, for me (7AM), and I spent a half hour answering email, then snoozed while Becky go up and took a shower.  I spent a little longer napping, then Becky suggested Brunch at 11AM, so we drove out to Early Bird. While we were finishing up our conversation with the people at the next table (if you know Becky, you know she hasn't met any strangers), I received a phone call from our niece, Valerie, whose home we were to visit on my birthday, two days from now. She has come down with an illness, and we decided that we should postpone our visit.

We spent the rest of the afternoon watching music, listening to music, etc., and basically resting up for the evening's Christ Mass.

After finally setting up our Christmas tree, we left home at 8:15, drove to the church, took our time getting vested, setting up our music and hymnal ribbons, and chatting with the other choir members as they arrived in the sanctuary, and then the rehearsal started. I found that, without a proper warmup, I had trouble singing the notes, dynamic levels, even had trouble with breath control. About five minutes later, when my throat was again stretched into the proper proportions, I became much more able to sing (first time ever noticing a lack of warmup, which I think means I'm finally learning how to sing properly - about time). The rest of the rehearsal went well, and the whole 30-minutes of Prelude Music went really well. The service itself was quite a good worship service, and when we got home, we could no sooner go to bed than fly without an airplane. We decided to watch A Christmas Story, one of our favorite Christmas movies.

Finally, we got to bed about 2:30 AM.

December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas!

We arose at 9:30, ready for a day of celebration. We again did next to nothing until it was time to drive up to Suzanne's for Latkes. Being Jewish and this being during Hannukah, Suzanne decided to treat us to the traditional Latkes. She made two batches, one gluten free for us, and the other regular for her, her brothers and another friend, Elizabeth. They were delicious, as they always are, and we stuffed ourselves. Then, tradition asside, we had pumpkin cheesecake or chocolate cake, cider, and conversation.

I showed off our car, Yoda, to everyone, and appreciated their appreciation of the car. Everyone agreed it was a great buy. Then, Suzanne gave me a birthday present, a tripple-wick scented candle in a jar, which I will have to find a place for away from anything flamable, Maybe I'll clear a space for it on my chairside table.

I have noticed that the flashing blue light on our DashCam in quite intense in the dark. At first I thought I might have to build a vail for it so it wouldn't distract me, but tonight, I had no difficulty ignoring it, so maybe the vail isn't necessary after all.

December 26, 2019

Happy Birthday to ME!

On the 2nd Day of Christmas, my mother gave to me - LIFE!

We had our Birthday Lunch at the Creperie & Cafe. We split a breakfast crepe, then a dessert one (the Presley - Peanut Butter, Banana, Bacon and Nutella). On the way home, we stopped by Starbucks for my free Birthday cuppa (I bought one for Becky, too).

This afternoon, I went to purchase some lottery tickets, then to the hardward store to get a razor-scraper to get windshield stickers off. Now the windshields are clean and clear.

The closer we get to the New Year, the crazier the drivers get. I was able to easily avoid two incidents today, one as I was entering the Interstate, and the other as I approached an intersection. In neither case was I in danger, but I did use "evasive maneuvers" to make sure I wasn't going to be involved. We're still uneasy around other drivers after our accident.

December 27, 2019

Happy 3rd Day of Christmas!

I had to purchase another SD card for our DashCam. They're spring loaded, so when someone asks me a question, and in my surprise at hearing the question my finger slips off the card, it shoots out of its slot, hits the window and zooms into hyper-space and can never be found. Fortunately I had two rewards vouchers for Staples, so the new card cost me nothing but the trip to buy it. I got it formatted on the windows computer, then on the camera, and it works very nicely.

December 28, 2019

Happy 4th Day of Christmas!

As Becky and I were meeting with a friend from the Charleston SC area, Jim and Carol came in to have their lunch, so we exchanged greetings and a few pleasantries with them before leaving. Then I got a text from Suzanne with a plea that we could get her medications for her, since her brother, Gregg, gets off work too late to pick them up. We drove home to pick up a DVD that her brother, Brian, had loaned us, then we picked up and delivered her meds.

December 29, 2019

Happy 5th Day of Christmas!

Church, this morning, was Lessons and Carols, so we had a minimal rehearsal. I read the third lesson, and after the service had concluded I was chatting with one of the women who said that she and her mother very much appreciated how I read the lesson. She said that I projected well and they could hear and understand every word. I was quite pleased to hear her glowing review. I don't get to read lessons very often in church, but when I do, I enjoy it. The lesson I read today was Isaiah 40:1-11, and all the while I was reading it, I heard the music from The Messaiah (G.F. Handel) playing in my head.

December 30, 2019

Happy 6th Day of Christmas!

Becky and I had quite a day out, today. We started with lunch at TGI, our more usual split of a pairing of a Cheeseburger Green-Style (for me) and a bowl of Tomato Basil Soup (for Becky). Our habitual waiter, Billy, was at the dentist, so we got Haley. It seemed that, like her comet, she came around every 75 years, so I had a lot of time to chew the cheeseburger which wasn't up to its usual eat-ability for me. My swallow-pipe is not the most efficient of machines in my body, these days. I tend to chew as much as I can, then wash it down with whatever liquid I have. Today it was water, which came in handy because I needed it so often and in such great gulps. Coffee wouldn't have worked.

After lunch, we went to get Becky's allergy shots. Naturally, since we were behind schedule, it was the day when the majority of the city's population came in for their shots, too. Becky was called for her shot much later than usual, and as a result, our mandatory 30-minute caveat period was a bit anxiety-ridden.

From there, we had to go to Fairview for our laser treatments and chiropractic eval and adjustment. Dr. Reilly said I was making remarkable progress. When we started, after the accident, my lower back was in knots and the spine ment to the side at a 45 degree angle (no wonder I hurt!), but today my muscles were so relaxed that the spine self-adjusted as soon as he placed his hand gently on the small of my back. He still had to use his jack-hammer (power acrivator) on my neck, but that's because of the stenosis and muscular spasms.

On the way home from Fairview, we stopped at the Insurance Agency to correct the spelling of Becky's name (the adjustment center had addressed mail to Becky Cornelia Smith instead of Rebecca Cornelia Smith - not so much a misspelling as an odd mixture of casual and formal).

When we got home, we saw that the US Mail and the UPS had come. I received my renewed driver's license in the mail, but no altered title to the PT Cruiser, which was applied for on November 7th and promised in 6-to-7 weeks. This is the 8th week, of course. We also received a BluRay of the three How to Train your Dragon movies, new sheets for the twin beds in the spare bedroom and the new "Perspiration Trousers" (sweat pants) I had ordered (they're quite soft and silky, hense the upgraded name).

Now it's time for the rest of the night. G'nite, all.

December 31, 2019

Happy 7th Day of Christmas!

Happy December Last!

This is it - the one we've all been waiting for - the last day of 2019. From here on out, "I can see clearly now," it will be 20/20. Mathematically that's just one, so precise, so clear.

It's only fitting, then, that Becky and I drove down to Gaffney SC for our annual Birthdays Party with my twin, Aneira Schaffer and her family. Instead of using Google Maps' GPS feature to guide us to their new door (they moved since we visited last), I used the GPS that is built into my new toy, Yoda (Camry). It got us into the city of Gaffney, then said, without appology, that further navigation was unavailable. There we were, beside a rather huge grave yard with nothing to tell us where to go, when Valerie called. Yoda is also equipped with Bluetooth, so all I had to do was press a button (after fighting the impulse to get my phone out of my pocket) and start talking. We were more than 10 minutes late, and since we usually show up 30 to 45 minutes early for anything, she was concerned that we had lost our way. She asked us where we were, so we told her the street we were on and those we crossed, and being quite new in town, herself, she had to consult a map, but then quickly found the streets we named and guided us directly to her door. It wasn't exactly turn-by-turn, but I was able to remember the street names and directions she said to turn, and sure enough, we found the house.

We had a wonderful Birthmas dinner, and had a tour of the house, then got to sit and chat with each other for quite a while before dusk threatened and we older folk (Ella Mae, Valerie's mother, in one car with her two granddaughters; Becky and me in Yoda) struck out for our respective homes.

Wouldn't you know it? When we got home, the update DVD for our GPS system in the car was sitting in our mailbox, just waiting for us to find it. At least I will get to start the new year with a new GPS Database. Now I have to plan another trip somewhere to test it out (he "complained" with a grin).


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