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

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January 01, 20/20

Happy Eighth Day of Christmas!

Happy New Year!

"Bark us all bow-wows of folly,
Polly wolly cracker ‘n’ too-da-loo!
Donkey Bonny brays a carol,
Antelope Cantaloupe, ‘lope with you!

"Hunky Dory’s pop is lolly,
Gaggin’ on the wagon, Willy, folly go through!
Chollie’s collie barks at Barrow,
Harum scarum five alarm bung-a-loo!"

I don't know that I had ever read this next stanza of the Boston Charlie Carol, but here they are. I feel sure I heard then recited, though. I seem to remember the last line being pronounced as "Harum scarum five alar-um bun-a-ga-loo!" Of course, it's possible it was just my own pronunciation poking through as a false memory. Either way, it works for me.

May this New Year, which I insist should be written "20/20" - to clear our vision of life, let us see details as they really are for a change, and let us focus on what is actually important.

It was laundry day, so the morning was occupied with that chore. In addition, I changed the navigation DVD in the car, following the instructions that came with the disc. In the afternoon, I drove to the store to purchase batteries, because our "Satellite Clock" batteries had died. The outside temperature was flashing 57 degrees, though it wasn't that warm outside. On the way to the store, I noticed that the navigation map was remaining in the North-Top position, and as a pilot, I learned to rotate the map so that my own heading was at the top. I made that adjustment and found that the map was working correctly. It had much more detail than I had seen on the old disc, but then I noticed that the range was set to 300 yards, whereas before it had been set to 0.5 miles (880 yards). Much better at the closer setting. I inserted the batteries into the clock and outside temperature sensor, and everything seemed to work well. So much for starting the new year right.

January 02, 20/20

Happy Ninth Day of Christmas!

Today we took it a little easy. We paid a visit to Dr. Reilly again, got lasered and adjusted, signed a new disclosure form for what Medicare will and will not cover, lunched at Rise & Shine Café, then went to Allergy Partners for Becky's shots.

I've made an appointment for Yoda's first oil change (it was coming due when I took possession), which will be tomorrow afternoon. I hope it doesn't cost as much as those Barnum had in the past (they always found something else that needed repairing or replacing). I've found that reading the owners manual can be, for this car, very enlightening. For instance, I now know how to change the CDs in his CD Changer, how to set radio stations in the radio, how to enter destinations into the GPS Navigation System, and so forth. None of those things were intuitive for me, nor was the operation of the Hybrid system. It turned out I'm not doing anything wrong, nor was Yoda doing anything wrong. It's just that I didn't know what to expect. I still get a little excited when I'm rolling along at 30 MPH without the engine running, or backing out of a parking space before the engine comes to life. As Mr. Spock would say, "Fascinating!"

January 03, 20/20

Happy 10th Day of Christmas!

This morning I went out to the car to finish dressing the power cord for the DashCam, securing it behind the bottom of the dashboard so it wouldn't get tangled as I reach for the hood release. The adhesive clips that came with the DashCam, unfortunately, would not stick to plastic, metal or glass. They are worthless. I shall have to find a better adhesive and glue the cord directly to the surface in order to keep it in place.

Then this afternoon, I took Yoda to AAA Car Care for his oil change and lube. They always do a thorough inspection of a vehicle whenever it comes into their shop, and I was pleased to find only one item on the "Requires Future Maintenance" list. That was the battery, but not the hybrid battery (the one costing big bucks to replace) - it was the small "Car Battery", as the service manager called it, the one costing only a pint of blood rather than an arm and a leg. So, Yoda has clean oil in his engine, now, and a clean bill of health.

I learned that I will have to learn how to enter telephone numbers in the speed dial list on Yoda's elaborate system. I was going to call home after the oil change and lube, but the only number on speed dial is Suzanne's, and I don't think she would understand if I told her I was on my way home.

January 04, 20/20

Happy 11th Day of Christmas!

I attended a meeting of the WNC Linux Users Group today, the first one in over half a year. I had stopped attending because I would just sit there, bored, while everyone else spoke about their experiences and projects using mostly three-letter acronyms. They took pity on me, today, and let me speak first. Since I had worn the kilt, today, so I would be easily recognized by a newcomer who had asked if we could start a new-users group, but he evidently wasn't as eager to meet me as I was to meet him and sat across the room from me. Pity. I'll bet we could have taught each other a few things.

After answering a few questions about the kilt and explaining the tartan and why I chose it - and that they let me wear it anyway, though my name is Smith, then I refreshed their memories about my struggles with my Toshiba "Wanna-be" computer using Ubuntu, then my trying different Linux flavors before settling on MX-Linux. In the end, I told them the only problem I'm having is my new laptop not remembering from one use to the next that I had even designated a default browser. I got a few tips on how to go about fixing it, one of which was to go into the inner-workings of the system and hand-code it as default. Yeah, like I'm capable of THAT!

On the way home, I stopped at Sam's Club to make a few purchases. On my way into the store, the card checker remarked about my legs. She all but wolf-whistled at me. Then as I was waiting in line to check out, a fellow came up to me, asked my clan, and told me he was Clan McDonald. Then he went on to tell me his dad had married a Cherokee, so he's also a member of the Wolf Clan. From there, I was treated to his life history before it finally came my turn to check out. I was grateful that he left, then.

Tonight, it snowed all over my toy Yoda! Dang'd Snow!

January 05, 20/20

Happy 12th Day of Christmas & Epiphany Sunday!

This morning, I was greeted with snow and ice on my car. I had no idea that Yoda was so much wider than Barnum! It took quite a while to get it all scraped off, but once it was clear and warmed up, the heated seats started heating us up. It was very comfortable.

At church, we had a very good service, complete with a very different Children's Sermon. Fr. Gary told the kids about his favorite Christmas present - Socks - not just any socks, but Bombas socks. He explained that they are soft, ultra-comfortable, and for every pair sold they give a pair to a homeless shelter for distribution to those in need. It was quite a commercial.

Our anthem went well. It was an old Welsh tune that our director "made it much more confusing". Parts of it were sung in unison, while other parts were sung in harmony, switching back and forth. Actually, I found it quite logical, but it did have to be explained before I saw it that way.

After church, we visited with Suzanne, having been tempted by her promise of potato soup. It was served along with delicious portabello mushroom caps filled with cheese, spinach and seasonings. As we usually do, we showed up with three avocados, because Suzanne makes the world's best guacamole! We were stuffed before the meal was eaten, and brought a good portion of soup home with us.

Then we played Mah Jongg. I didn't win anything (Becky won a hand, and Suzanne won two of them). Ah, well. Maybe next time for sure!

January 06, 20/20

Happy Epiphany!

We started the day with brunch with Jim and Carol at Rise & Shine Cafe. From there, we went to Dr. Reilly's office for Laser, Graston and Adjustment. In addition, Becky had some Neuro-Feedback treetment for her symptoms of concussion. I was in the room with her when the Neuro-Feedback was done, and got a video of it. She wears some glasses that have flickering green lights, and earphones that give some aural feedback. She was instructed to keep her eyes open and relax. I hope it helps.

Then we drove to the Allergy Partners where Becky was injected with her anti-allergy sera (first of the week). While there, we had a wonderful conversation with two other patients waiting for their shots or for their waiting time to expire before leaving the building.

When Becky's wait-time expired, then, we drove to Ingles grocery store to buy some Amy's Gluten-Free frozen entrees and cough drops. On the way there, we called Suzanne, for she had texted me while we were at the Cafe, earlier, and said to call her when we could. She reported that she had been in contact with the company that owns and operates one of the games she loves to play on her computer, a game that swears there's no such thing as Irish Food. Well, come to find out that the "game" is now requiring real money, not just game money, to play the game (as I understand it, anyway). She said that she got onto the game's message board and urged the other players to stand up to the company and, effectively, lambast them for being thieves (my words). The company then got a bit huffy, accused her of "insiting a riot" (her words and theirs). She has, in response, broken all ties with that company, past, present and future. *WAY TO GO, YOU REBEL-ROUSER!" (meaning Suzanne, of course)*.

January 07, 20/20

I rejoined the Tai Chi class at Anytime Fitness, today, after having taken two weeks off. It fit like an old glove, of course. there were five women in the class with me, and of course or instructor. One of the women hadn't heard of our accident, so I had to recount the whole story to her (of course), then I had to update the others as to her progress. As a result, the class was about 15 minutes late getting started, which meant that when it was time to end the class, we still had not run through the entire Sun-style exercise. I will run through it several times during the week, just to be make up for it.

From there, I drove down to the Progressive Insurance office to hand in the title to Barnum and collect their payment for their customer having deprived me of said vehicle. The check was slightly more than my own insurance company had paid when they declared it totaled a month before. All in all, it nearly paid for Yoda's adoption.

By that time, I figured it was time to refuel Yoda, so I drove to Sam's gas station (best price in town) and pumped 11.8 gallons into the tank. The on-board computer showed that I had achieved 37.5 miles per gallon, far better mileage than Barnum had ever given me.

Then I got home at about 2 PM and breakfasted on potato soup (breakfast of champions!).

January 08, 20/20

We arose at 7AM, both of us, and went to Allergy Partners for Becky's second shots of the week, then, since our lunch plans had to be deferred until Friday, it was Laundry Day, after all.

Then after a fairly relaxed afternoon, interspersed with laundry, we went to Bell and Choir Practice. Well, I went to Bell practice, while Becky stayed in the sanctuary and practiced at the organ. The Bell Choir practiced three pieces, a Passacaglia, something about a morning sunrise, and something else. I may learn their actual titles before time to actually play them.

After the bell ringers were wrung out, we had Choir Practice, where we went through mostly new-to-us music, save for the Beethoven, The Heavens are Telling, which I had sung since high school years (about 59 years, now). It's going to be an exciting Epiphany season, for sure!

January 09, 20/20

Becky and I visited the Orthopedic Surgeon, today. Dr. Fischer x-rayed her foot and found that "some good healing is taking place". She no longer has to wear the clunky pre-surgical shoe, but was given a carbon fiber insert to place inside her left shoe. While her foot is reacting to the change of shoe, sometimes in a contrary way, she is delighted with the change.

Afterward, we visited Dr. Reilly for our bi-weekly laser treatments, chiropractic and for Becky, Neuro-Feedback. My neck and shoulder have experienced improvement, about 40% - 60%, and even my lower back is no longer tender to the touch, though it is still stiff and painful if I haven't been moving it for a while.

Yoda is fast becoming my favorite car to drive. While it doesn't have the same feel as Barnum, whose sport suspension could be a bit harsh, Yoda is much more nimble. When I need to sidestep a piece of debris on the road (like a driver who doesn't know where the lane line is), I move the steering wheel very slightly, and Yoda reacts immediately. At the same time, it makes it very easy to accelerate slowly from a standing start, which Barnum didn't want to do. Hence, I find that my driving is becoming more sedate, something for which I have been trying to achieve.

January 10, 20/20

I decided to go to the grocery store, this morning, so after a morning cup of coffee, I got into Yoda, noticed again that the floormat on the driver's side has a hole in it about the size of a bowling ball. That inspired me to drive to the auto parts store, order a dashboard rug and purchase a set of floormats. Then I went ahead to the grocery store, baught everything on the list and one item more, returning home in time for lunch.

Becky had fixed a new recipe of salmon, bacon and vegies for us yesterday, and neither of us liked it. It was edible, but only just. So today, she put the rest of the salmon and bacon into her soup pot. It was delicious! We were supposed to have had lunch with Suzanne, but she has been quite ill since the last time we visited (we didn't infect her with anything, but we suspect it was an inside job from one of her brothers), so the soup made up for the meal we would have enjoyed.

January 11, 20/20

Happy Birthday, Heidi!

It seems like just a few years ago that I was standing in the Delivery Room at the hospital, watching Heidi slide easily into our world, weeping with joy as I heard her cries of triumphal entry and trembling only slightly as the Obstetrician handed me the scissors to cut the umbilical cord to separate her from her mother. I remember the first time I held her tiny body against mine, patting her on the back with only two fingers, for that was all that seemed to fit between her shoulders and hips at the time. I wouldn't want to turn back the clock to that moment, because I'm so very pleased with the way she's grown to responsible adulthood, with her choice for her husband and with her three astounding children. I will, though, relive those first days with her every anniversary of her birth, one of the happiest days of my life.

I had some difficulty with MX-Linux (MX-19) in my ASUS Laptop computer. It wouldn't work right with the Firefox browser, and in trying to correct it so that it would, I broke the OS! I reverted to MX-18, and guess what...Firefox now works - but my password safe (KeePassXC) no longer did. I reverted to KeePassX and found that to work quite well.

I've been having trouble with MX-19 on my desktop computer, but just KeePassXC. Come to find out, KeePassXC is not supported by MX-Linux, and the last update to the OS changed something that had allowed KeePassXC to work correctly. I have reverted to KeePassX in this computer, too, and now it works right again.

I still have a lot to learn about playing around with Linux in any Distribution! The good thing is, though, that when I break it, I just reload the OS and pretend it didn't happen.

January 12, 20/20

This morning at church, as I came down from the choir room, robed and ready for breakfast, I learned that our Director of Music is ill, and wouldn't be leading the choir. Fortunately, both he and our Organist are equally skilled at both playing the organ and directing a choir, thus they can substitute for each other. Our Organist did a great job of rehearsing the choir, getting us ready to sing the anthem, and when the time came, accompanying and directing us through it. We did remarkably well and evoked a wonderful smile from her in the end.

After the service, we assembled in the Parish Hall for a pot-luck lunch and the annual congregational meeting, during which we elected the five candidates who had put forth their names for service on the Vestry. There is still one vacant position, and I felt the Interim Rector was staring at me when he asked for anyone else to volunteer to fill it. I didn't take the bait, but sat on my hands. Having been a vestryman in a former parish, then not being able to get out of that position for the rest of my membership there, and having vowed not to be placed in any position of responsibility again, I stood on that principle.

After hearing what seemed like interminable speeches (all of which are printed in a booklet), we learned that the roof is in need of repair, we have been tagged as the best-prepared parish to get a prime pick of applicants to take over as Rector when our Interim leaves, and the Interim Priest will leave in April. In theory, we will have called a new rector by that time. At least that is my hope. While we have very much enjoyed Fr. Gary, it's time to have a Rector of our own. I'm looking forward to an exciting time in the years to come, breaking in a new Rector (or at least getting used to his own modus operandi).

The rest of the day was spent taking our rest-of-the-day.

January 13, 20/20

Friday the 13th came on a Monday this month!

We had a busy day, today.

We went to Staples to buy a replacement for my computer chair. For the past year, I've been finding little bits of particle board on the floor under my chair, and I had only a suspicion that they were actually coming from the chair, but couldn't find any exposed particle board anywhere on the underside of the chair. Last night, as I started to push my chair back under the desk when I had gotten up from it, I noticed that the chair back twisted about 45 degrees, but the seat didn't turn at all. Suddenly I became aware that there was some disintigration going on in the chair back. Apparently, this being Monday the 13th, a goodly portion of the city's population decided that they all needed to go to Staples to buy something (mostly calendars, I noticed), so it took us a while to actually pay for my new chair. When we did, though, finally seal the deal, we got back to the parking lot and noticed there were lots of empty parking spaces there. Did everyone walk in?

After that, we drove to the Allergy Partners for Becky's shots and found that the parking lot had just one open space - a handicap space, and since we have a handicap placard for Becky's foot, we parked and went into the building. I expected it to be full, but there were only three people in the lobby either waiting for shots or waiting for the required 30-minute observation period to elapse. Do people park there to go to the Family Planning clinic next door?

Then we went to TGI Friday's to meet Jim and Carol for lunch. At least there, the number of cars in the lot matched the number of people in the restaurant.

To top off the day, as we were watching Jeopardy, Alex Trebek explained one of the answers by saying that Cecil Calvert was also known as Lord Baltimore. Becky immediately exclaimed, "What? Lord Voldemort??" I said, "Baltimore, not Voldemort," but then the doubt set in. Had Alex actually misspoken? Normally he doesn't mispronounce words unless they are in Spanish (one of the simplest languages to pronounce, in my opinion), and doesn't normally misspeak, so I backspaced the DVR and found that he had said Baltimore, very clearly. We had a good laugh about the similarity of the two names.

January 14, 20/20

We had an appointment at Dr. Reilly's, today. I'm not sure what happened with Becky, but I went through the usual routine until, after a very successful spinal manipulation, the doctor did some trigenics on my left shoulder to treat the shoulder and ease the pain I've had in it since the accident. It was pretty easy, but I think my breath control wasn't as good as it might have been. What he did was place my forearm onto his left shoulder, then instructed me to hiss and press my arm down 'through' his shoulder while he stimulated the nerves with a rather strong vibration. He said each repetition would be about 8 seconds of exertion on my part, but where I normally could have hissed for over 30 seconds, my breath was depleated before he said to rest each time. Nevertheless, after the third repetition, as I was letting my arm down, I had a twinge of pain, and then it was gone. after a few seconds of relaxation, I found I had full range of motion without discomfort! It seems to have worked wonders.

Before we left the doctor's office, I received a text from Suzanne, asking that I come up when I could to take a look at her car. Though her gearshift moves easily through the proper range of motion, it doesn't shift the gears. YouTube videos showed that the most likely cause would be a failure of the cable between the gear shift and the transmission bellcrank. I said I would be there just before noon tomorrow.

January 15, 20/20

At 9 AM, Becky and I went to Allergy Partners for her shots, and after her 30 minuite waiting period, we drove to Rise 'n' Shine Cafe for brunch. They had a wonderful "Feature" listed - they used to call them Specials, but changed to Features for something different. The Feature was an omulet with sausage, onion, green pepper and herbs, and it was delicious. We had filled up one of our Loyalty Cards for a free entree after purchasing 10 meals, so one of the Features was on the house.

After Brunch, we drove up to Suzanne's and I took a look at her car. Sure enough, the cable had come detached from the bellcrank. When I tried to put it back on, it wouldn't go. The attachment end on the cable had broken, and I was unable to think of a way to reattach it. Suzanne called a tow truck, and the car was taken to AAA Car Care Center. I had checked the car in at the service counter on the way home and given them my phone number as a contact. When they called, they said it would cost about $650 to replace the cable - $250 for the part and $400 for labor. This on a 19-year-old car! Suzanne was not pleased with the news, but she needs a car and cannot purchase a new one, so she said she would confer with her brother to see if he could lend some aid, and we'll figure our next plan of attack when she hears if he can or not.

January 16, 20/20

Happy Nothing Day!

January 17, 20/20

I'm sorry about yesterday, but the calendar that Becky accesses every day said it was "Nothing Day," so as a result, I had nothing to report.

If I had something to report, though, I would have told of staying by the phone to field calls regarding the repair of Suzanne's car and making arrangements to actually retrieve it from the shop and return it to her.

I would also have told about taking Yoda to the local Toyota dealer to have a dashboard mat installed to cover the sticky, shiny dashboard that caused a dangerous glare on the windshield. That report would have included the "outrageous" cost of that installation ($13.38). I had a good visit with Colby, one of the service managers - who actually remembered speaking with me when I called about the feasibility of getting the dashboard replaced (which would have cost $1,400.00). It was he who had advised me to go to O'Reilly's and purchase the mat, then bring it in and they would install it. It was a very good first impression of their shop.

Today, though, I don't have much to report. I got out of bed at about 10:15, having stayed in bed much longer than usual. My back was really sore, but that soreness went away while I ate some toast with butter and honey on it and took my morning supplements. The rest of the day, I did as little as possible so I could rest up for tomorrow's activities.

January 18, 20/20

Somehow, I think I lost a day. I think it was actually today that I did nothing.

January 19, 20/20

This morning, though, We actually did something. We went to church, practiced the anthem, Ave Verum Corpus, by W.A.Mozart, then sang it during the service. That was fun, and the perhaps the first time I had ever sung the Bass part, always before having been impressed into the Tenor section.

Afterward, we did some monumental juggling of cars. I had retrieved Suzanne's car on Friday and stuck it under our naked Dogwood tree. The first order of business, then, was to unstick it and park it at the curb. Then I had to back Yoda out of the drive and stick him under the tree. That left the driveway empty for Becky to back HilDor out of the garage so she could follow me to Suzanne's to deliver her car to her. For some reason, it was taking Becky a long time to get HilDor out of the garage. It turned out she had forgotten where I had placed the garage door boinker. I had to leave Suzanne's car at the curb to show Becky where I had hidden it. Case closed, and so was the garage, so we then drove in tandem to Suzanne's. As I parked the car in her drive, I received a text saying that she was going back to bed, and we could do the car thing tomorrow. Well, too late. We were there, and we weren't going to take her car back. We ended up enjoying a modecum of Guacamole and three hands of Mah Jongg, then half an hour of gab about impossible situations in which we had found ourselves over the years. Then we came back home and watched the evening snooze.

January 20, 20/20

This evening, we received a call to let us know that our friend, Hank, had the misfortune of finding his son dead in his bedroom. He was a long-haul trucker who had been out of work due to severe injuries which had kept him dependent on pain killing medications. He had just gotten clean and resumed his job in the trucks - and then this happened. While I had only seen Hank's son twice, my impression was that he was a sober and outgoing person. He was 42 years old. We share with Hank, his spouce and friends, in grief and sorrow.

January 21, 20/20

Today, while I attended our weekly Tai Chi class, Becky went to visit with Suzanne, how had known Hank's son since he was 12 years old. They had a period of sharing about the loss, then sharing some light hearted things from Facebook.

When Tai Chi was over, I picked Becky up at home and we drove to Fairview for our visit with Dr. Reilly and our continuing therapy. I was surprised that the doctor found seven ribs slightly out of position, and he was able to correct them.

After chiropractic, we went to TGI Friday's for Brunch (it was 3:30 PM but we hadn't had breakfast or lunch, so Brunch!). We found our favorite waiter, Billy, to be in dire need of cheering up, so in our own inimitable way, we were able to get him smiling again. Then we enjoyed what turned out to be twice as much food as we could possibly eat, so we brought the lion's share home with us for inclusion in some other meal as only Becky can do (in this house, anyway).

January 22, 20/20

This morning was another trip to the chiropractor for our second weekly visit, since he will be away from the office from noon today to Wednesday next week. Then we had just enough time for a bowl of soup and some chips before Becky's visit with the dentist.

After just over an hour in the dentist's chair, Becky now has a bridge so she can start chewing on the right side of her mouth again - for the first time in two years! She says, "It feels weird!" Of course, I bet she'll get used to it very quickly.

January 23, 20/20

Happy LunaVersary!

We had a wonderful day, starting with Becky's allergy shots, then heading to Weaverville for a celebratory brunch at the Crepery & Cafe. We learned that the C&C is now serving SOUP! We enjoyed a bowl of Loaded Baked Potato Soup, then finished it off with a dessert of Nutella, strawberries, pineapple and cream (I've forgotten the name of it, but it was wonderful).

We topped it off with a restful day of antihistamines (Becky's arms always itch after her allergy shots) and leisure.

January 24, 20/20

We stopped at Goodwill, today to donate my old office chair to be repaired and sold, and learned that Goodwill no longer repairs broken things. They no longer train people in the art of repair. They only want to take in things that they can put straight onto their sales floor, apparently.

Then, to compensate for our disappointment, we enjoyed a lunch at TGI Friday's with Jim and Carol.

January 25, 20/20

Happy Burns Night!

We attended one Burns Night celebration, years ago at a Highland Games thingie. As I recall, it was in March, that year, rather than 25th January, as is customary. But there was the poetry, that is various odes to mice, lice and the haggis, and then The Haggis was piped into the banquet hall during its ode, and was sacrificed (odiously, I suppose) by slashing it through with the sword much as the lines were read about slashing it through, and so forth. We were each served a "goodly portion" of the beast - er - feast, that being what little could be deposited into a 2-ounce cup without sullying the sides thereof. I noticed that many of those in attendance were tasting wee bits of it and, with looks of dusgust, leaving it on the table before the people beside them. Becky and I, though, had been given the secret of "seasoning" the haggis by adding a goodly amount of Laphroaig whiskey over the top of the wee bit of haggis in the cup, thereby making the concoction quite pleasant to eat, after which time other goodly amounts of Laphroaig were added to nearly everything else on our plates, and there were very many else to be so seasoned!

Upos araising at approximately my usual time this morning, that is 7:25 rather than 7:00, because I don't set an alarm for Friday or Saturday mornings, I started to dress, but noticed that I had one pair of shorts in the drawer and no undershirts. That's when I remembered that last night, i had gotten distracted after putting the white clothes into the dryer and, having worn myself out listening to podcasts and working jigsaw puzzles at the same time, went to bed with them still in the dryer, itself having gone cold hours before I had. So, the first order of business was to warn those white clothes and bring them inside. Since I would be going to the laundry room, anyway, I decided it was high time to wash the bedding, as well, so I stripped the bed and carried the sheets and pad to the laundry, started the dryer, loaded the washer, and came inside to read my overnight email - both bits.

I think it was about 9:00 when I remembered having warmed the whites in the dryer, so I went out, put the now-cold-again whites into the basket, the sheets into the dryer and started it drying, the mattress pad into the washer, then brought the whites in, sorted, folded and stowed them away. With a drawer full of stow-aways, then, I went back to finish watching (or pretending to watch) the morning news. It wasn't until about 10:00 that I remembered the sheets in the dryer. I put them into the basket and the pad into the dryer, brought the sheets in, wondered why I hadn't washed the pad first so I could make up the bed now instead of later, shrugged and started searching for something to watch on television.

I finally remembered the pad in the dryer about 11:30, so I brought it in, having left the basket in the bedroom, but sure I could handle a one-piece pile of cotton. Becky and I dressed the bed, then, and she started preparing lunch, which was some of her soup from a few days ago, embellished with bits of left-over chicken and mashed potatoes from TGI Friday's. It was delicious.

January 26, 20/20

Today's Anthem, The Heavens are Telling, by Ludwig von Beethoven, went well, but once again I was wishing I could sing as well in the mornings as I can at night. Maybe I just need to warm up for an hour and make my voice good and tired so that I can reach the low notes. Wednesday evening, at choir practice, I had no trouble sound a good, strong low D. This morning I might as well have been whispering a low F. That was as low as I needed to sing for that anthem, but I'm not sure anyong could hear my voice. Nevertheless, the director seemed pleased with the anthem in spite of what I perceived as my shortcomings.

After church, Becky and I drove up to Suzanne's house for a dinner with her, her brothers, Gregg and Brian, and our friends, Elizabeth, Hank and Mike. Hank and Mike had lost their son, Jason, a week ago, and Suzanne had invited us to share the meal with them so they would be with close friends to share their grief. We had a good meal and some good sharing. While we were there, Hank offered Suzanne a carrying case for her laptop computer, but since she doesn't ever take it out of the house, he suggested that one of her brothers, or maybe Elizabeth could use it. Her brothers either don't have laptop computers, or don't take them anywhere, either, and Elizabeth's computer is too large to fit the case. He then offered it to me, and after seeing the high quality of it, I gratefully accepted. When I got home, I tried to put my computer into it, and it wasn't too large, but I couldn't get it into the case. There was already something there, a photograph of Jason in memorium. Once I had removed that framed photo, the computer fit exactly.

January 27, 20/20

This morning I sent an email to Hank to see if the photo had been intended for Suzanne, and indeed it was, he said. So the next time I drive up to her house, I'll have to remember to take it to her.

Becky and I drove to Allergy partners for her shots, and after that, we met Jim and Carol at Rise 'n' Shine Cafe for lunch. We had a better-than-normal conversation, and I was pleased to receive my returned DVDs of Tai Chi for Arthritis so that I can loan them out again to someone else interested in learning. When we were done eating and chatting, it was still only 43 degrees outside, but it was raining.

It has only gotten a little colder, now down to 38 degrees, and has continued to rain off-and-on for the remainder of the afternoon and evening. They are predicting snow "in the higher elevations" overnight. The last time they did that, I learned that we live in those higher elevations, but just barely. I wonder if we still do. They never bother to say higher than what, so I never know.

January 28, 20/20

We went to Tai Chi, this morning, both of us. It was a small class, four students, so lots of individual attention. I had a blast. Becky said she was going to remain seated throughout the lesson, but she couldn't resist the call of standing and joining us for a while. She got a little lost while Repulsing the Monkey, but for the most part, she did quite well. Then she sat down and participated from the chair.

After lunch, we drove down to the World Market to lay in a supply of Becky's favorite Tyranny syrups. I took notice of the new on ramp from Brevard Road to I-26. It appears to be far better than the old one, and will let the incoming traffic get up to highway speed before allowing them to merge with the highway traffic - always a good idea, in my mind.

We received the new plates that we had ordered. We now have a service for six, with the exception of the saucers (we only have four of them, but then we only have four cups, and we don't use those little things). We'd done away with the old white, octagonal ones that I had been using for 23 years in Charleston before we got married, and I'm very happy with the new pattern. Next, I think we'll be changing out the flatware for something less "Inherited" and more "Us".

We also had a visit from a woman who is soliciting help in her endeavor to become an entrepreneur. She is a resident of the nearby halfway houses, and she's basically harmless, I think, other than coming up with what I'm sure she sees as cleaver ways to get people to give her some cash. She once was trying to sell her artwork, which was only art in the eye of the right beholder. That was about four years ago, if I remember correctly. At any rate, we sent her on her way.

January 29, 20/20

I awoke with a dream, this morning:

In my dream, I was at church, eating breakfast with one of the older men who has just been elected to governing office within the church, and in the middle of a sentence, he stopped and said, "...oh, I have to introduce you!" He got up from his seat, walked around the table to a man who had his back to me. "Tell him your name," he said to the unidentified man, who immediately turned around and said, "I'm Steven Colbert." He had an accent that didn't sound at all like Steven Colbert, though, and I thought, 'That isn't Steven Colbert!'

That's when the alarm sounded and I awoke. I'm would be really surprised if Steven Colbert actually (ever) shows up at my church.

We went to Suzanne's for lunch and Mah Jongg, as invited, during which visit, I left Becky there and went to retrieve a bottle of Magnesium Oil from Bonny Bath, delivered it back to Suzanne, then we left to do a little shopping on our way home, then rounded out the day with Bell and Choir Rehearsals.

January 30, 20/20

Becky and I met with Jim and Carol for lunch, then drove up to Ingles to pay our electrical bill and buy some coffee. The rest of the day was restful.

January 31, 20/20

January Last!

Another month - gone! And another day lost to the ever increasing fogs of memory without a written account thereof. I'm sorry for the almost empty day.





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