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

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March 01, 2019

Happy March Fools Day!

I awoke this morning with a dream. I was observing a small group of people. They were, apparently, in a game or on a game show. We have been watching several TV shows where people are eliminated as the rounds continue. Jeopardy has been having a tournament where successful teams advance to the next round of competition, the least successrul are eliminated from the tourny. We also watch Forged in Fire, where individuals are eliminated after the first round (making a blade), second round, (making a functional weapon from that blade) and the final (making an "iconic" weapon from history.

One of the group was bemoaning the fact that he would be eliminated from the game because someone had spilled cherry juice on him. When asked why he thought that would eliminate him, he said that, "Nobody else had anything spilled on them!" Apparently he was not eliminated, for some time later, another player was sure she was going to be eliminated because someone spilled lemonade on her. Another said she was being foolish. The other guy had not been elimated. "But I've been sloshed with 'Elimin-ade!"

Another pun dream! Then I woke up.

Tai Chi class was intense, today. At the end, our instructor asked me to run through the front half of Yang Style 24-form with her. I knew I was in trouble when she explained to the class, "He knows this." We got through stroking the sparrow's tail, the limit of my "knowledge", and then she said to go on to Single Whip. I know the Sun Style single whip, but Yang Style is completely different, so I just stood there looking very confused. It was good fun up to that point, though.

This evening, we attended a recital by Grace Church's erstwhile Director of Music, Ned Tipton, at Trinity Episcopal Church, Asheville. He did a wonderful job playing Handel's Organ Concerto II as arranged by Marcel Dupré, Leo Sowerby's Meditation on 'Picardy', J.S.Bach's Prelude and Fugue in C Major, as well as his Prelude and Fugue in F-sharp minor on the piano, followed by Claude Debussy's Claire de Lune. He ended the retical at the organ with Maurice Duruflé's Suite, Opus 5. The music was magnificant, and afterward there was a reception where I met the men who had helped to enlarge and revoice the Austin pipe organ at Trinity. There were several members from Grace Church in attendance to see and hear "Our Ned" again.

March 02, 2019

I arose at 8:20 this morning, did my morning routine of emptying, washing and drying our CPAPs, then I took my morning medications and brushed my teeth. Right after I turned the taps off, I heard a gurgling in the water lines. Sure enough, when I turned a tap back on, nothing happened. The water had been shut off. I called the water outage hot line and learned that there was a break down the hill from us (I had noticed it seeping for a few months), but that we should have the water on again by 5 PM. We ate lunch out and used their toilets, and on the way home we were stratigizing about where to spend the rest of the afternoon. As it turned out, though, when we returned home at 2:30, the water was on, so we flushed the lines and carried on with our usual daily routine.

We found out that our Medicare provider is subsidizing the purchase of hearing aids, now, with a co-pay of $699 for the "Advanced" model and $999 for the "Premium" model. I'm pretty sure I don't need hearing aids, though I would like to be able to rid myself of the ringing in my ears that has been going on for over 35 years, now. Maybe one day I'll answer them and see if that helps.

Also, I got a wonderful recipe, tonight, for Instant Pot Peanut Butter Fudge Ripple Cheesecake. https://youtu.be/xdEZizpWQhY.

March 03, 2019

After another stellar church service, Becky and I went to Suzanne's to do an official taste-test on her Carrot-Pumpkin-Ginger soup. It was tremendous! Then (of course) we played Mah Jongg for a few hands. Before we started playing, it had started raining, so when we left, it was well into a downpour. Visibility on the highway was acceptable, but I was running the wipers, front and read, pretty much of the way.

This evening, as we were watching some television, I saw a deep-fried potato salad. Basically cook a bunch of your favorite vegetables with your favorite potatoes, add some mayo, form a ball, dip it in egg wash and bread crumbs, poke your index finger through the middle of it (so it will be hot in the center, too) and plop it in the oil to fry. Suzanne has an air-fryer, so I suggested it to her, and we might be going up for another taste test in the near future (I hope).

March 04, 2019

After a few beautifully clear and warm days, we've gone back to winter. We arose this morning to 30 degrees and an extremely light and inconsequential snowfall. During the day the wind picked up, lowering the chill factor. Of course, what used to be called "Chill Factor" now has to be called "Wind Chill Factor", which gets pronounced "Windshield Factor", or "Feels-Like Temperature" because we're too stupid to know what the other terms refer to. Nevertheless, we had lunch at TGI Friday's with Jim and Carol. They had a special on ribs, which Carol and I both selected (and we each took half of the serving home with us). Becky got a Caesar Salad with Salmon (and took the Salmon home), while Jim got a center cut sirloin - which he ate in its entirety.

Then I went to Sams to buy more Co Q-10 and Magnesium. They were out of both, of course, so I got Ruffles potato chips, some gluten-free crackers and eye vitamins, which I will need in the next two weeks anyway. When I left the store I noticed an odd-shaped shadow racing across the parking lot and figured it was a plastic grocery bag going for a ride on the wind. I finally found it, and sure enough it was as I had expected, but the reason it took a while to find it is because it was about 300 feet off the ground, and way behind me as I walked.

March 05, 2019

Happy Mardi Gras!

Not only did Asheville hold their parade last Saturday, but it got rained on anyway. I still remember the Sunday that Becky and I had gone to Jack of the Wood for their Sunday Seisiún (Celtic Music Session) and the Mardi Gras Parade's brass band came into the pub and played at Fortississimo Maximo for an hour, by which time we were deaf and could not hear the Celtic music we had gone there to hear. I remember hoping they had split their lips from playing so loud! That rather soured me on Mardi Gras parades.

This evening, when the church was celebrating Shrove Tuesday to rid the kitchen of levening and fat (which they had to buy to have enough to prepare pancakes) with a Pancake Supper, we stayed at home and tried to rid our kitchen of potato chips. We were unsuccessful, but tomorrow's another day! The reason we didn't go to Shrove Tuesday, of course, is because we wouldn't have eaten any pancakes (they're not gluten-free). Yeah, we missed out on the bacon and sausage, too, but we had hot dogs with our potato chips, so we helped to rid out kitchen of the fat, too.

This morning I decided to (finally) test the DVD I had made of the first part of the audio Disc World book, Witches Abroad. I know I had read that book, years ago, now, but I didn't recognize it for the first two hours! The readings were recorded (by me) onto a DVD in MP3 format, which plays quite well from our Blu-Ray player onto the TV. Each Section of the book is broken up into 7-to-16 minute Parts. So far, we listened to Sections 1-4. I don't know how many Sections are on this DVD, but I know there will have to be several more DVDs to get all of the book recorded. Now that I know it's possible, I'll have to continue recording and see if I can finish the task. I doubt I will record all the books, but in truth I just wanted to see if I could do it.

March 06, 2019

Happy Ash Wednesday!

Happy Susy Watt Day!

Ok, so I didn't get March set as my default page before now. I've taken care of it, so now, when you click on the link I sent last Friday, you get to read March instead of February. Actually, I normally give people a week to read as much of my musings as they can stomach, but this time I guess I didn't.

So Susy is now two years older then me, whereas yesterday she was only one year older than me. It's a good thing I'm only 27 (with growing dyslexia).

March 07, 2019

Another Mah Jongg day with Suzanne. Had I not won the last hand, I would only have won one hand. Suzanne also won two hands, while Becky won the prize for having the most fun with her dessert!

Afterward, we returned home so I could do the week's laundry (yesterday having been a frozen day).

March 08, 2019

I received an email from one of the members of the local Linux Users Group, today, saying that he had bought a 120 Gigabyte SSD (solid state drive) from BestBye for just $20. I went there, found the price to be $27, but they had none of them in the store. They did, though, have a 240 Gigabyte SSD for just $40, so I bought one.

On the way home, I wondered if it would fit into my Toshiba Netbook, for I had no idea about the innerds of the beast. When I got home, I was undaunted by my lack of esperience and knowledge, took the back off the Netbook, extracted the old, mechanical drive (felt it go clunk in my hands as I handled it), then inserted the new SSD, plugged in a flash drive with Ubuntu Installer on it and installed Ubuntu. It is working excellently well with the solid state drive. Now I don't have to worry about the hard drive wearing out, or head crashes, or any of the other troubles known to spinning drives. Of course, SSDs have their own failure foibles, but I'm willing to risk it.

March 09, 2019

No new computer news, today, though I have been booting the Netbook several times, just because it boots up so much easier, faster and correctly.

Becky and I listened to the last four sections of Witches Abroad, today, and I am very tickled that I can get a whole audio book on one DVD, while it would take 11 CDs to contain it. The difference is that The DVD gets recorded with MP3 files, while the CDs get audio. A DVD won't play in the car, but then we have learned that listening to audio books in the car gets us very drowsy. So we'll play the DVDs at home and snooze away as we feel led. The dreams that were inspired by the reading, today, were spectacular. Now and again, of course, I would awaken and get my bearings in the story, listen for a while, then dream more.

This evening, our church had a ceilidh. They had an Irish Band, Irish Food, yet spelled it in Scottish! In Irish it would have been ceili, much easier to spell. With that said, though, the band was fun to listen to, they played well enough, had a good array of tunes to play as we enjoyed the food, then they provided some dancing instruction and accompaniment. The food was varied, though there were three different "Shepherd's Pie" dishes, all of which were Cottage Pie (made with beef rather than lamb), a cabbage dish or two, stuffed baked potatoes, Scottish Oat Cakes and some roast beef. The desserts were many and varied, though none of them was gluten free. Nevertheless, we had a great time watching the dancing. One of them was called "Irish Bumper Cars," and we could see why. Two of the 10 couples dancing caught on quickly and did well. The rest of them were going the wrong direction half the time, causing collisions with the other couples. Fun!

March 10, 2019

The day started off a little differently. First of all, Daylight Savings Time went into effect, so I awoke at 6AM to turn off the first alarm (having taken a bath last night and not in need of one this morning), then awakening at the new 7:30 to an almost light sky. As I got ready to clean our CPAPs, I noticed a large red blotch under my mustache, and upon investigation found that it was coagulated blood. Then I found some faint red smears on my under shirt indicating that the moisture I had wiped from my lip early in the night was not saliva, but blood. I washed my mustache, then washed the CPAPs.

At church, we were surprised to see the old Roland electronic piano on the choir platform. Then we learned that the pipe organ had ceased to play. The lights were on and the blower was blowing, inflating the wind reservoire, but apparently the stop sliders weren't sliding so no notes were playing. Also the combination stop action wasn't acting. I suspect a blown fuse in the low-voltage electrics/electronics. Naturally, I was unable to see anything that resembled a fuse, except in the primary electrical circuitry.

Then, we began to wonder how many people didn't set their clocks ahead, because we had 3 tenors, an alto, two sopranos and one bass (me). We did our warm-up exercises and ran through a round by William Billings (When Jesus Wept). Now only did I sing my part solo at the end, but I got several compliments from choir members and the director. Too bad it was just in rehearsal. Several of the choir members teasingly ask me, "Are you ready for your solo today?" Unfortunately none of them was there to see that I was, in fact, ready.

We started the service by chanting the Great Litany while we processed completely around the Nave one time, then into the choir seats where we finished the litany. During an earlier service, the Interim Priest said they processed around the Nave nine times! We all agreed that once would be sufficient.

The Offertory Anthem, Jesus Walked that Lonesome Valley, went really well, and we got many compliments from the congregation and clergy.

In the afternoon, we met another couple at Suzanne's for Mah Jongg and a wonderful meal of cassoulet (a highly modified version without most of the fat). I'm blaming her if I've gained weight, now. Of course, the dessert of cheesecake and blueberry bunt cake would have nothing to do with that, I'm sure.

March 11, 2019

I was up at 6 to take the trash to the curb, as usual for Monday mornings, then was back in bed by 6:10. For once, I went back to sleep readily again. I awoke at 7:30 to turn off the second alarm, then I stayed in bed, wiggling my hips around to try to get my legs to stop aching. Yoda would say, "Do or Not Do!" I NOT did. We had a phone call at 8, so after a brief conversation, I gave up and arose, did my "Back-cercise" on the Lumbar Disc Decompression Exerciser, and almost immediately felt much better.

I spent the morning on the computer eating a bowl of cereal and drinking water, then coffee, and running to the bathroom to offload the used liquids. With our usual brunch friends away for the week, we brunched at a Greek/Mediterranian restaurant in Weaverville, stopped at the grocery store on the way home. It rained on us all the way home, but no matter. Once home, I dumped the rain water out of the trash can and returned it to the side door of the garage. Pretty much routine, still.

In the afternoon, I downloaded and installed a flight simulator which I need to learn how to operate. Having been well used to the Microsoft Flight Simulator, I knew how it worked. This one (called FlightGear) uses almost the same keyboard commands, but so far I have turned several circles on the runway, then flipped the plane onto its back! I remember Tom taunting me, "Gee, Uncle Bill - I thought you'd do much better, being a real pilot and all!"

March 12, 2019

I had another "producive" day. We listened to the first four sections of Terry Pratchett's Reaper Man, in which Death "Retires" - actually he gets a wee timer and decides that, since he never had time before, he was going to spend it. Lots of things going wrong, of course, so we will continue to listen to it as we get the time.

Tonight was a meeting of the Men of the Church. We have such a great time that's it's hard do remember it's really a business meeting. The meal, tonight, was a Low Country Boil (calimari, carrots, corn-on-the-cob, crab, octopus, oysters, mussels, shrimp and sausage) and naturally there were some drinks. Five of us are former Sailors, but I am the only retiree. One was in the army in his former life. I think I was the second youngest person in the house, which makes me feel odd. The oldest is 94. Our host has a mezuzah on the front door post, so I'll have to ask him about that the next time I see him.

That's pretty much it for today.

March 13, 2019

Another Wednesday, another "Choirs" Practice, and wouldn't you know it, Becky and I blew our diet! At the deli, I selected "Teeny-Weenies", but unfortunately I didn't realize that the sauce they were in was thickened with wheat flower!!! To top that off, someone brought pita chips, and we had brought gluten-free chips and guacamole. Becky didn't realize that she had started to eat the pita chips with the guac! We'll be paying for our indiscretion for a few days, I think.

March 14, 2019

Suzanne had some left-overs from Sunday's dinner, and we were invited to come and partake, which we did. We spent three hours helping her get the dinner eaten and playing Mah Jongg, and then we returned her defunct cable modem for her, and bought a few things at the grocery store on the way home.

When we got home, it was after 4 PM, and I had obligated us for a health seminar with Dr. Reilly. Becky was paying the ultimate price for our Wheat Indiscretion (yesterday), so I attended the seminar alone. Dr. Reilly gave his presentation about Regenerative Medicine to recover from Sciatica, and I gave testimony of my continuing recovery from Neuropathy and Scoliosis. After the presentation, we all got a dinner from the buffet, and I engaged the prospective patients in conversation, answering their questions and encouraging them to at least explore the possibility of recovery. In the end, out of 12 attendees (three couples, one trio and three single people), three people signed up for the screening session, which more than paid for the buffet and will keep Dr. Reilly in business for another while.

March 15, 2019

This morning, we had a new member in our Tai Chi class, but not the one we were expecting. Elizabeth had said she was joining the class, but she didn't show up. I wonder if she went to the other Anytime Fitness gym. I'll send her an email and ask her, just to make sure.

After Tai Chi, we went to lunch, and as I was exiting the gym's parking lot, my phone rang. It was our niece, Mari. She has been hired a life-coach, and is starting to get her life back on track. We, of course, wish her all the best, but in the course of a 10 minute "conversation", in which we seldom got to say anything, she spelled out her problems. In the end, we were losing the cell signal, so had to hang up - with a promise to get in contact with her soon. We have her phone number, home address and PO Box number, so we will be able to contact her from time to time with suggestions and sympathetic ears.

Then, since Becky was upset, and our waiter, Billy, recognized her distress, I let him know what had happened, and he (a recovering alcoholic and compassionate listener) helped to soothe her nerves enough to enjoy lunch. No wonder he's our favorite waiter!

I was watching Ghost Adventures, a program that I don't really enjoy, but I watch it sometimes when I'm bordering on boredom, and I saw an advertisement for a different show, Kindred Spirits, with Amy Bruni and Adam Berry, two who had been on the program Ghost Hunters. We watched one episode OnDemand, and found the program was interesting, well presented and conclusive, so we will be recording the series. We're still hoping for the return of Ghost Hunters or whatever program will replace it (reportedly sometime this year).

March 16, 2019

We spent the day on personal projects, like burning audio books to DVD, catching up on correspondence, eating the appropriate meals, etc. About 4 PM, I started wondering whether I should go to the store to get a few odds and ends, and get out of the house for a little while. Becky and I decided that I should, so armed with a small shopping list, I did as I intended, but at the store i found a special that I didn't pass up. LaCroix seltzer in 15-can cartons at the price of their 12-can ones, and on top of that, Buy 2 get 1 free!. Now I have more seltzer than storage space, but I'm sure we will manage.

March 17, 2019

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Everything went fine at church. I read the Old Testament lesson, then led the unison reading of the psalm, and didn't miss most of the words. There were only three Hebrew names in the OT reading, and I knew them both (I faked the third one).

After church, we stopped at Rise 'n' Shine for lunch, and after a wait of several minutes (people might have thought this was a special day, or something) we got a table, placed our orders, then waited some more. Meanwhile another family was seated at the table next to us, and it turned out to be Ace (the woman who runs the alterations shop near our old chiropractor's office), her two children and a guy (who may or may not be her husband) who turned out to be a local musician, Adi the Monk. Naturally I got his business card and looked him up on the web. Yeah, he's a jazz guitarist, and while it's not exactly to my taste, I find it kind of like "Easy Listening Jazz". Then I saw where he was playing, and one of the venues is Whistle Hop Brewing Co. I don't know, yet, if they brew any gluten free beer, but if they do, we might give them a visit on a night when Adi is playing.

The real excitement, though, happened after we got home. I was sitting at the computer, listening to some files that Adi had posted on his website, when my hearing went all wonky. My right ear sounded like a drum was being beaten with any sound I heard, and my left ear was echoing like crazy, like it had a build-in time delay. I sat on the couch, then to relax, thinking that this hearing spasm might be a migraine (like the ones that used to rob me of my frontal vision), and I took some Tylenol in case it was. I timed my pulse, which was about 50 bpm (fairly normal for me), and took my blood pressure, which was 145/80. While that is not alarmingly high, my norm is 120/70 because of the BP meds I take. When the symptoms continued for more than an hour, I called the on-call doctor who, when he returned my call, reviewed the above symptoms with me, and I'm sure monitored me for amy signs of stroke, then assured me that I was not in any danger and didn't need to call 911 or go to the ER (Whew!). about 30 minutes later, the symptoms started to ease, and another 15 minutes later they were completely gone. I think it was a form of migraine, What do I know?

March 18, 2019

Since we had some business to do in Weaverville, today, Becky and I had a Greek Salad for lunch at (where else) a Greek restaurant in Weaverville (Tommy's). As we were leaving we were talking about Becky's belt that has two pockets, can be worn under the clothes for security of money, passport, other valuables, etc. She decided we shouldn't call it a Money Belt, so I suggested that we call it a Pocket Belt. Then I started thinking that she could even carry a Derringer pistol in it, and if that Derringer had a smooth bore, like a cannon, instead of a rifled barrel, she could call it a Pocket Belt Cannon (after the Canon in D by J. Pachelbel, of course).

March 19, 2019

Today there was a "Special" at Ruby Tuesday, their Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger. We've gotten it before, and it was one of our favorite meals, there, and the price was only $5 each. Besides, we had some purchases to make just across the street from there, so we went. Our first indication of trouble was that our favorite waitress wasn't there. Well that's happened before, but this time we were told that she no longer works there. Next, when we ordered our lunches without the bun or onions, we were told that the kitchen was too busy, since two people had just walked in the door at the same time, and we'd have to remove the unwanted items ourselves. "For crying out loud," I thought, "How long does it take to not place the burger on a bun and leave off the onion?" and how does two people ordering at the same time overload the kitchen help? The Chedar cheese on the burger was thin and runny (it was now "cheddar sauce"). We were less than pleased.

March 20, 2019

I had a "Wellness Visit" with my Primary Care Physician this morning. It turns out that I'm still anemic, as in not producing enough red blood cells. He's checking for diseases that might be causing it, but he's pretty sure I'm not in mortal peril.

Aside from that, in our bell rehearsal, where we are learning The Heavens Declare the Glory of God, by Marchello, I realized that I had never played measure 17. It is just after a page turn, and with a bell in each hand, I couldn't get the page turned in time to play it, and besides the rhythm is complex enough that I had to slow it way down to be able to comprehend when to strike which of three bells. I finally got the rhythm in my head and memorized the measure so I could play it before turning the page (and movinginto two measures of rests). The only problem now is that the other bells I am playing between aren't matching my rhythms, so one of the two of us is wrong. I think I'm going to have to talk the other player into a "Sectional Rehearsal" (my section of four bells and hers of three) so we can work out how to play that measure. My C# is to ring a 16th note between her D's dotted 8th and 8th notes, which means we have to be precise in striking and damping the bells in coordination with each other. right now, it just sounds like my C# is being played in the wrong century!

Before Choir Practice, though, one of the men in the bass section introduced me to SnapChat. I had signed up for it three years ago, but because I could not see (instantly) how to use it, I didn't use it. I promised him that I would try it again, so when we got home, I loaded the app again and gave it a try the way he showed me, and guess what - it recorded my face just the way it is. I had no filters (or lenses, or whatever they are).

March 21, 2019

Becky and I met J Reid, a member of Clan Donnachaidh, at McDowell Local, a restaurant in Marion NC. None of us had ever been there before, but it was listed as having gluten-free offerings. We had quite a filling lunch, and then we got down to business. J had brewed a batch of gluten-free beer and had brought a case of it with him for me. All he asked was that I deliver six bottles of it to a friend of his in Asheville, which I was pleased to do. He asked me, "Why aren't you brewing your own beer?" I felt like saying that I didn't need to, with friends who would brew it for me without being asked - but I didn't want to cook the goose that lays golden eggs. It isn't the first time he's asked that question, nor the first time he's offered to give me the equipment I need to brew it, along with personal instruction and assistance. I may just take him up on the offer. The only thing I'd need to buy would be a bottle capper - or a good supply of self-capping bottles, which I can find at World Market. I have four of them, already, and they can come in very handy, like when someone destroys the cap on a bottle of Maple Bourbon and needs to safely store half of a fifth - or drink it.

While we were eating lunch, I received a text from Suzanne inviting us to lunch - Steak and Mushroom Soup! What timing. I asked for a rain check and after a brief exchange of texts, we settled on tomorrow afternoon. 

March 22, 2019

Before Tai Chi, this morning, I was on the treadmill, walking at my usual pace of 3 MPH, when after only 20 minutes sweat was dripping off of my face. That is not normal. I usually do not perspire while walking on the treadmill. I stopped the machine and read the summary. My average heart rate was 104 BPM (about right), but my maximum heart rate was recorded as 214 BPM. It HAD to be a mistake, and I'm sure it was. Still, I was pouring sweat and feeling weak and jittery, so I sat down and ate the four mints I had in my pocket to bring my blood sugar up. 15 minutes later I felt much better.

After my "health scare", I had no trouble in Tai Chi class, even exercised a bit during the instructor's explanations (she's used to me ignoring her). This week, she has assigned us homework: Use your non-dominant hand to do things you always do with your dominant hand. I'm in trouble, because I don't think either of my hands is dominant, except in writing, where one of them is almost legible, and the other is almost able to hold a pencile.

Tonight, I read some instructions on line concerning the use of SnapChat. Now I have filters and have posted three wee videos on facebook that I had made with SnapChat. Now I wonder if I'll ever use it for anything like actually chatting. I doubt it.

March 23, 2019

Happy Luna-Versary

Becky and I celebrated with a lunch at the Creperie & Cafe. We had a very quiet lunch, sharing a savory crepe (Boardwalk) and salad, followed by a dessert crepe (Strawberry Bonanza). I think the whipped cream in the dessert has played havoc with my lactose intolerant digestion. Oh, well. This, too shall pass.

March 24, 2019

Church went well again, the choir was reduced due to several members having family affairs the same weekend. Nevertheless, we die well on the Anthem. I wasn't sure I would be able to sing it, though. During the procession, just as I reached my chair, I took a large breath for the long phrase coming next, and I must have inhaled some phlegm. Suddenly I could not sing, I could not speak the responses, I could not cough the obstruction out, and I thought the choir was going to be down to only two men - BUT - and that's a big but - when it came time to sing the anthem, I found my bass register, at least, had returned to full strength and a bit beyond its usual strength. By the time for the choir to process out, I could sing in my full range once again. It was a good surprise.

After church, we invaded Suzanne's home again for gluten-free pasta (Fettuccini) and Mah Jongg. Naturally, we all ate too much, but I redeemed myself by winning only one hand of Mah Jongg this time - after the other two had already won, of course.

March 25, 2019

Having received a notice that my tires needed to be rotated (for free), I had made an appointment to have that done today, so that was my first item of busy-ness. On the way to the tire store, I found that one of my favorite back-road short cuts was closed to all traffic, so I had to drive through the community college and hospital complex to get there, but I was still in time. They were prompt and efficient, and I returned home just 25 minutes after my appointment time.

Becky and I then visited our dentist's office to check about a bill that should have been mostly covered by insurance, but since the very least of the many appoijntments had been done on January 4th, it was first billed to the wrong insurance company (we had to change insurance companies January 1st due to the military's contract with the first one having expired), and they would pay nothing on what was done before our coverage by them. Then it was billed to last year's insurance company, but with a completion date of 1/4/19, and since we were no longer their client, they didn't pay, either. Naturally, it is up to us, not the dental office, to try to negotiate with the insurance companies for payment, then with the insurance commissioners if they won't.

The dental office shares parking lots with TGI Friday's, so after saying goodbye to the dental office, we met Jim and Carol at Friday's for lunch. I tried a salad that I hadn't ordered before (getting brave in my old age), Roasted Chicken, Pecan & Blue Cheese. I was pleasantly surprised to find the pecans had been candied. it was delicious.

March 26, 2019

Happy Becky Day!

Becky's Birthday today! We brokefast at the Famous Toasterie, a restaurant we had just heard about who offered a 10% discount on Birthdays. They have many gluten-free items and options - without the usual upcharge for GF bread! We each had an Avocado, Bacon and Tomato omulet (delicious, by the way) and chose the fried potatoes as a side. The serving size is huge (they don't want people to leave hungry, I guess) and the service was wonderful, attentive and accurate. It's in a shopping center across from the Mall, and the restaurant itself cannot be seen from the street. I didn't see their sign, but was following GPS on my phone and it led me right to the door!

In the afternoon, we had a birthday dinner at Suzanne's, homemade Split Pea soup with Bacon, GF Death-by-Chocolate Cake (her "recipe" - actually she didn't follow a recipe because she's a "kitchen witch", just kind-of knows what to add to any dish she has in mind). We also played a game of Harry Potter Trivia. Like Trivial Pursuit, the hardest part is begging back home! There were plenty of soft-ball questions that even the dimmest mind could come up with the correct answer for, and there were plenty of expert-only questions that you had to request muyltiple-choice answers for and then guess at the answers. It was quite fun.

In the evening, we went to the church, played the organ for half an hour, then attended a Lenten Study of the Book of Common Prayer (kind of a mini-Catechism class). This week's lesson was about Baptism (or, in the local vernacular, Babdism). I didn't learn a whole lot, except that during the questions and answers, the most powerful answer is always WE WILL, when the congregation is asked if they will support and nurture the newly baptized in the faith. Aparently the room is full of God-Parents! I had noticed that, myself, and wondered if it were just me. Apparently others, too, feel the power of that response. 

March 27, 2019

Finally, I correctly played measure 17 of The Heavens Declare the Glory of God (B. Marcello) in the bell choir. It's complex rhythms and bell changes immediately following a page turn kept me flustered, but I came to an agreement with the young woman who plays the three bells above my four, and she has a free hand at the right time to grab my C# and ring it while I rattle around on B and C. It's a good thing we finally got that ironed out. Also, I got a compliment on my metronomic steadiness in a different piece. I may yet be able to think I might learn how to ring hand bells.

March 28, 2019

I can tell that my lungs have not forgiven me that careless inhalation I made last Sunday. It feels like my bronchitis has returned - the bronchitis I suffered for 6 months in 1994! I hope it doesn't hang around that long this time.

But despite that, I enjoyed today very much. Becky and I attended yet another of Dr. Reilly's lectures as witnesses to his effective treatments. We shared a table with a very out-going fellow who works as a landscaper, but who also has a weekly "Man Cave Ministry" to feed men, any who will come for some Christian fellowship and possible unburdening to sympathetic ears. He also hosts a monthly Veterans lunch on the third Friday of each month, to which we both have been invided in April. We may have to attend, for it will be on Good Friday, and we may not have Tai Chi that day, anyway.

March 29, 2019

I am officially ill. Not only bronchitis, but low fever and aches. Tylenol has taken the fever down and eased the aches, but my nose is running like a faucet, and aside from drinking lots of water today, I've been snoozing and urinating a lot (of course - I had to get rid of all that water somehow).

March 30 - 31, 2019

Same thing, both days, got up as late as I could, spent the day on the recliner snoozing and "watching television" while hydrating with every liquid I could find, taking Tylenol when I felt the need, and dosing regularly with The Spray (by Bonnie Bath). I was doing really well, during the day (Sunday), but started to sag seriously about 8:30 PM. What a way to end a month!"

    

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