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

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October 01, 2019

Happy October Fools Day!

Rise 'n' Shine Café has changed. The new owner also maintains a gluten-free diet, is ading gluten-free options to their menu. This morning I enjoyed, included in the Rise 'n' Shine Breakfast, a gluten-free Sweet Potato Biscuit. It was quite dense, but delicious. Also, I had difficulty finishing the remainder of my breakfast. I'm confinced that I could order a much smaller breakfast, supplement it with that biscuit, and leave completely satisfied.

Tai Chi, this morning was a pretty full class, and though I was pretty tired when the class started, by the end of it, I was feeling much better. Becky attended, spening most of the class on a chair while participating in the exercise. She had used the stationary bicycle, which aggravated her sore legs. She still hopes to attend hand bell and choir practice tomorrow. I hope she will be able.

October 02, 2019

Becky's right leg was hurting terribly when we went to bed last night, and wasn't much better this morning, so I drove her to her Physical Therapy session. Her crisis deepened when she attempted to get onto the treatment table, and after the treatment was in considerable pain. The PT had called and made an appointment for Becky to see a doctor in the same practice as our Primary Care Physician with the objective of getting an x-ray of the fibular head. The appointment was for 3:30, so we got there at 3:00, but we weren't called to the exam room until 4:00. Their x-ray lab was closed for the day, so we were sent, instead, to Mission Imaging, who saw us right away, took the required x-rays, and we were still in time for me to set up the bells for hand bell practice at the church. We'll find out what the x-rays show later, I suppose.

Tonight was our first hand bell rehearsal since our new Director of Music took the reins. He is so much fun to work with, and kept telling us we were being "good sports" to go along with his suggestions during rehearsal, to put up with his repeating passages so we could get the hang of changing between the bells for which we were responsible to ring, et cetera. We rehearsed one of the pieces we had played last Spring, and he introduced a new one, which was easy enough to read through.

Choir practice was also quite fun. He gave us another new piece of music to sight-read, and we worked on other music we had seen before, then we worked on Sunday's anthem, I will Alway give Thanks. I will, also, continue to be thankful to have him as our Music Director. He has such energy and insight, knows how to give encouragement and fend off self-doubt.

October 03, 2019

This morning I had an appointment with the surgeon who had repaired my thumbs and my right shoulder. I have been experiencing pain in my left shoulder, much like I did three years ago. I was expecting to find surgery in my future, but it is merely an impinged nerve, which he treated with a steroid injection. That's what he had done three years ago for the same problem, and it lasted until two weeks ago. I expect it will last that long again. In the mean time, I will have Dr. Reilly's staff do some laser therapy on it so as to stimulate the nerve and its surrounding tissues so maybe it won't happen again.

When we returned home, we learned that Becky's x-rays show no breaks in the bone, but they do show some "bits of calcium", which I interpret as bone chips, floating around the knee. She is receiving laser and Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Frequency therapy twice a week for two more weeks, and that will likely take care of it.

Then this afternoon, Becky had an appointment with Dr. Reilly's office for the above treatments, and while we were there, I made an appointment for next Tuesday, to coincide with Becky's on that day, for treatment of my left shoulder.

October 04, 2019

Brian was going to prepare Kasha, which I had never eaten before, but since I enjoy buckwheat, and it's on our gluten-free diet, we accepted his invitation to join them for dinner. Suzanne was afraid that Brian and maybe Greg would be the only ones eating it, but Becky and I enjoyed it, as did Elizabeth, a third invitee. Naturally, before dinner, Suzanne, Becky and I enjoyed a few hands of Mah Jongg. I might have enjoyed them more than the others, because I won half of the hands we played.

When we got home, there was a large box on our porch, which I was happy to find weighed very little for its size. I carried it into the kitchen and tried to set it on the counter, but it was too big for the space available, so I chose to put it on the stove. Having opened the box, I moved it to the floor, and in doing so, the corner of the box snagged the control knob for the right-rear burner which quickly heated up to inferno level. No harm done, though, because there was nothing on that burner at the time. I switched it off and saw that Becky was at the sink, paying attention to something, but naturally I had thought she had noticed the hot burner and even might have seen me turn it off. Neither of those thoughts was correct, and while I was in the bathroom putting some wrinkles into my bladder, she screamed. She had seen the "Hot Surface" light lit on the cooktop stove, and decided to see why, since none of the burners was red. She touched the front one, which was cool, then touched the rear one which blistered her fingerprint in no time flat!.

We did what we knew to do, let cold water run on the finger, and when she could no longer stand up, filled a glass with cold water for her to soak her finger in, then moved her to the recliner. We both spent the remainder of the evening on the recliner, changing out the water whenever it became too warm to do any good. We ended up sleeping on the recliner from midnight until 4:30, at which time I needed to add a few more wrinkles. Becky woke up and her finger was no longer in pain, so we went to bed and slept until 8 AM.

October 05, 2019

This morning, after assuring myself that Becky was still free of pain, I drove out to the City Market to purchase a few items for Suzanne from our favorite essential oil provider, Bonny Bath. She gave me a great discount on top of the credit for returning empty containers, and then she gave me a Magnesium Oil Roll-On for Becky's finger. She is such a generous person!

Since neither Becky nor I rested all that well on the recliners, we spent the day there, resting and snoozing and watching television. Mid-afternoon, I ventured to Sams to make a few more purchases, my earlier outing being too early for me to shop at Sams, and when I returned, we had an early dinner to make up for our somewhat small breakfast.

At some point during the day, the hot water tap over the kitchen sink would not turn off, so I crawled under the cabinet and turned the secondary valve to shut off the flow. When I had done it, I turned on the cold water to make sure I hadn't turned that valve by mistake, and the water came out black for a few seconds, then cleared again. It's like a gasket or washer had dissolved over the years and was then flushed from the line. Of course, being saturday, the plumbers could not be reached. I suppose, because of our busy schedule this week, instead of waiting for plumbers to respond, I can purchase a tap set and change it out on my own. My body will not enjoy the task, but one does what he can to get hot water back to the sink and, more importantly, to the dish washer!

October 06, 2019

This morning, we had a new experience at church. We celebrated the Feast of St. Francis with the blessing of animals. There were some large dogs like chocolate Labradors, small ones like Chihuahuas, quiet and nervous ones, calm and friendly ones, and one who insisted on barking a greeting to every dog as it arrived. There were also black cats, white ones, three-colored ones, those on a leash and those held in a child's arms, and then there was the one exotic-looking cat who arrived in a carrier. It was a frost-point Siamese, sleek and beautiful, calm and just a little vocal. The one parishioner who could, had decided to leave his Llamas at home.

Afterword, we had been invited to Suzanne's house for dinner, Brian having grilled some port loin and "Everything Sausage". Suzanne had made some Shrimp Fried Rice, which was actually Shrimp Sticky Rice by some happy mistake. Everything was delicious, as usual. Had we no other reason to visit, we might have declined the invitation, but I had some products that I had bought yesterday at the City Market that I had to take to Suzanne.

Once we were back home, we did some arranging of music that Becky will be playing tomorrow at church. There will be a funeral at 2 PM, but since both the Organist and the new Director of Music teach, they were both unavailable to play the service, and since Becky and I are retired organists, we were asked if one of us would assume the bench. Becky drew the short straw, this time. Since I'm more familiar with the Mozart Music Processor on the computers, and Becky is more skilled at musical arrangements, is was she who changed things around to fit her fingers better, and then it was my fingers that had a fit reprinting the music according to her directions. It took less time that I had supposed it would.

October 07, 2019

Becky and I played the funeral at Grace Church, the one we had prepared for over the weekend, and it went quite well. I sang the congregational hymns to the best of my abilities, Becky played to the best of her abilities given the brief preparation time she was given. What more can they ask?

When we came home, I decided not to wait for a plumber (it would have been Thursday before someone would be here during the day), and I drove out to Ace Hardware. A rather odd looking young guy met me at the door and asked what it was I was seeking, so I told him I needed a kitchen faucet. three minutes later he had found a very nice Moen faucet, which I bought, brought home and installed. Wow, is my back and neck sore NOW! I promise I will let someone younger do my plumbing projects for me in the future. The only problem is that our Pur water filter will not fit onto the new faucet. The threads are one or two millimeters too large. Rats!

October 08, 2019

This morning, both Becky and I were feeling completely out of sorts. She was aching and had some gastric upset. I, as stated yesterday was quite sore from the faucet debacle. Because of that, we stayed home from our Tai Chi class. That afternoon, though, we both had appointments with Dr. Reilly. Primarily,

I wanted some serious restorative therapy for my left shoulder, which the surgeon had diagnosed as a nerve impingement, but which Dr. Reilly diagnosed as bicep tendonitis. Whatever it is, I was treated with Laser to warm the tissues, calm the muscles and stimulate new cell growth. Then after a brief spinal alignment, I was treated to Tri-Genics, which basically reminds the muscles how they should be working, rather than how they were moving to try to work around the soreness. It felt to me, at first, that my left arm had, indeed, gotten used to working strangely. At the end of the treatment, we moved on to Graston treatment to loosen the fascia so that the muscles can work more easily. That was quite uncomfortable, for there were knots that had to be smoothed out, and while my arm felt much abused at the end of that treatment, I knew it was for the better. When the Graston was finished, we did a few other Tri-Genic manipulations which proved more painful, but which now I appreciate as very therapeutic. I hadn't realized that my upper arm had been in such distress.

During the Men of the Church meeting, tonight, my left shoulder and upper arm grew quite hot to the touch, indicating that the muscles were growing new tissue to repair the damage to them, and by the time I got back home, I felt as though I had a high fever with chills. My body temperature was, though, was fairly low, like about 96 degrees. I took some acetaminophen and felt my temperature regulating again.

October 09, 2019

I had iced my arm and shoulder last night, but even so it showed some slight amount of bruising from the Graston treatment. Still, the pain in the arm is greatly reduced. I iced it again this morning and went about my daily routine.

I took Becky to her afternoon PT appointment, then we had some lunch at TGI Friday's (we eat there a lot, you know) and came home.

This evening, we got to the church around 5:15, and I spent some time setting up for hand bell practice, then took the choir folders down to the Sanctuary for its practice, later.

Bell practice went quite well. Our director gave us three new pieces to work on, and we had a blast with them, and with getting one of our better-known pieces whipped into shape. It sounds quite good, so now what he wants to do is find a day when all of us can play it for the church. That's not an easy task with a volunteer group. Somehow, people want to have a life, too. (Go figure!).

October 10. 2019

Becky and I went to Dr. Reilly again this afternoon. It was Becky's 4th treatment for her knee injury, and my second treatment for my left shoulder. Becky's treatment was, thank God, routine, but mine was, well, intense.

The Laser treatment was longer than the first one. I cannot complain, because I love the laser treatment. The technician was wearing bats in her hair and all over her tunic, and is a little bats, herself, which I like. The treatment was very soothing and relaxing.

We didn't do the Graston treatment (one a week, and unnecessary to do that again), but Dr. Reilly did the TriGenics treatment again, and this time several different movements and only mild discomfort, today. Not the pain I had Tuesday when he corrected a huge knot in the bivceps tendon. Now, my arm feels almost as good as new, and will be perfect when the bruise heals. It's been a rough week, with the correctional therapy, but I'm happy to have done it.

October 11, 2019

I awoke this morning with a load of discomfort, urinary-wise. So I went to the wali-in clinic at my doctor's office. The preliminary diagnosis is UTI, but a culture of the urine sample I left may easily change that diagnosis. It's a 24-hour procedure, and since the office/lab is not open over the weekend, I may get the results next week. Then again, I may need to call to get those results. I got a presctiption, which was filled at our local grocery store pharmacy, and which we picked up after breakfast.

Full of food already, we returned home, and since I had to take the medication with food, and since breakfast was over an hour ago, I had a gluten-free sweet potato biscuit while I too my morning medications, the new one included. I think this UTI (or whatever it is) has robbed me of my appetite, because the last three meals I had eaten have left me feeling uncomfortably full. I will have to remind myself that if I cannot finish the food on my plate, it's the fault of the person who put so much food on the plate to begin with, and I don't have to eat it all.

October 12, 2019

A few days ago, my Toshiba Netbook became a Not-book again. It will not recognize that it has an SSD (solid-state drive) in it, so no Operating System, so no booting up! I have given up on it, and have purchased a used Lenovo ThinkPad that, they say, runs well, but the previous owner outgrew. Not a problem, since I'm such a low-end user anyway. I'll remove Windows-10 and install MX Linux 18 (19, when it comes out), and then use the Toshiba as a door stop to keep the bedroom door from slamming when I have the windows open. I'm beginning to think that the original HD in the Toshiba might not have been the culprit when it wouldn't boot up, a few years ago, but what did I know? At any rate, whatever I do with that POS, I will have removed the SSD from it and place it with the HD, and maybe never look at (or for) them again.

As for my UTI (Not the Utah Technical Institute), The symptoms were pretty reduced this morning, but as the day wore on, they intensified. Still, they are not as intense as before the medication, so that's a good thing.

I got a jar of Dandelion Honey in the mail, today. If you've never tasted it, give it a try. Several years ago, Becky and I had visited The Bee Charmer, a local honey shop where they gave us samples of as many types of honey as we wanted. At the end of the tasting session, we were buzzing, and neither of us could get over the wonderful taste of the Dandelion. At one time, I had taken a teaspoon of it at about 9 PM, just for a taste treat, and after buzzing for three hours, I finally got to sleep. It was a total energy overload. So, if you hear a buzzing sound coming from us anytime in the next month or so, you'll know it's the honey talking.

October 13, 2019

Happy Birthday, US Navy!

For perhaps the first time in my life, I have realized, on the very day, that this is the Navy's Birthday. Wow, and it only took 72 years!

In church, this morning, our anthem was by William Billings, Kittery (Our Father). Our Director conducted it in true Sacred Harp fashion, not all nice and smooth, but rough around the edges. Since we had four bases and only one tenor available, as well as a full contingent of sopranos and altos, I was moved from the bass to the tenor section. Two lines from the end, the tenors were to really belt out Thy Kingdom Come, "after which I don't care what you do," he said. Wow, did we have fun with that. Immediately after the service, as the choir was clearing the side aisles of the Nave, at least five people told me how wonderful they thought the anthem sounded!

Becky and I spent a quiet afternoon at home, snoozing, watching TV and/or at the computer.

Late in the afternoon, I got the wild idea that, though the Toshiba's SSD socket connection is as tight as a limp noodle, I could still use the Netbook with a "Live USB", which is to say a working copy of the Operating System on a USB Memory Stick (flash drive, thumb drive, choose a name - they're all wrong). So since 7 PM, I've been trying to generate such a thing, and I think I might have found the key to success in that regard. I'll know, should the Update, which is now, still, in progress, ever finishes. If it is a success, I will be able to plug my USB into any computer, boot up via the USB and use my own operating system, never altering the host computer! "This is just like magic!" - Gilderoy Lockhart.

October 14, 2019

Happy Indiginous People (was Columbus) Day!

First I'll point out that my Spanish Professor, himself a Spaniard, had scolded us North Americans for changing Cristóbal Colón's name to Chris. Columbus. He also scolded for changing Estracha Magallanes to the Straits of Magellan, but what did he expect - we, predominantly, aren't a Spanish-speaking people.

Then I'll point out that the "Live USB" that I made yesterday has died. Oh, I can boot up the computer from it just fine, but anything I download or save during one session is not found on the next reboot of the system. I'm beginning to think it's a lie, a myth and a fairy tale, the Live USB.

Having suffered the failure to produce a Live USB, I decided to take a close look at the failed SSD. I didn't see any corrosion on the contacts, but I did see that it wasn't installed correctly the last time I removed that drive. I installed it, correctly, this time, and it is working - for now. I did have to reinstall the Operating System, but by now I've gotten pretty good at doing that. I don't trust this computer anymore, and that doesn't matter much since I have another laptop on order. If this one survives, then I'll have a backup for traveling, and Becky and I will both have one.

October 15, 2019

Beware the Ides of October!

I received a package in the mail, today. While I was expecting a Lenovo ThinkPad, what actually arrived was an Asus. Apparently, I had not remembered correctly which computer I had bought. It's used, and while it runs well, the battery does not charge. That should be no problem, because I don't run on battery, anyway. I used to unplug my Toshiba and carry it to the bathroom with me if I was reading a book on the screen, but I won't be doing that with Asus.

Tai Chi class, this morning, was fairly full, though some of the more recent enrollees were not there. We had a good lesson, covering breathing, and tongue placement. I was reminded of the early days of Tylenol, when Bayor Aspirin started cautioning, "You're missing an important benefit with an aspirin substitute," or words to that effect. One of the students asked, "What does it matter where we place our tongue?" and the answer was that by placing it behind the upper teeth at the gumline we would be stimulating an important meridian. It sounds like words, to me.

October 16, 2019

I paid a visit to Dr. Brian, my urologist, who was, like everyone else, incredulous that I might have had a Urinary Tract Infection. "Normally, men don't get UTIs, they said, the others, that is. The urologist said nothing of the kind, but did some blood work and ordered a urine culture, and did a prostate exam, just to be sure it was not involved in my discomfort. He gave me glowing reports on the tests that had been completed, the culture will take a bit longer. He said there is nothing else that I should be doing other than what I am doing now.

Bell practice went really well again, tonight. Our Director gave us a couple of new pieces which, though we are four ringers short, we read through in fine fashion, reassigning bells as we went. I might be inheriting another bell or two, and maybe passing one off to the person on my treble side. Some kind of way, we'll wring it out so we can ring it out.

Choir practice was also very productive. He honed the anthem for Sunday, then did more work on the Evensong music for the 30th, then did some work on an upcoming anthem. Part of the Evensong will, of course, be chanting the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis. I have been appointed Cantor, to lead into the chants, and then the remainder will be split up among Men, Women and Chorus. The pointing is different from what I have always sung, and apparently the rest of the choir has always sung chants with the same pointing to which I am accustomed, too. BTW, I saw on facebook that a man had wanted to be a Gregorian, but didn't get the chants.

October 17, 2019

This morning, I paid a visit to the hardward store to pick up another power strip that will put a receptical next to my chair so I don't have to stretch the power cord to my new (used) laptop computer. Then, since it had a flat plug, I got the wise idea to swap it with the one by the front window, which has a straight plug which interferes with the travel of the drapes. Someone put the socket into the wall UPSIDE DOWN, though, which would have had the power cord at the top and looping back over the plug, making more of an obstruction than the present plug. Perhaps I will take the time to invert that plug tomorrow and make the swap. It sure would be nice to be able to close the drapes without having to rearrange them afterward.

Browsing around on YouTube, I found a bunch of songs by Heywood Banks that were not on any of his CDs that I own. Naturally, since I have the ability with my Linux operating system of downloading YouTube videos or audio files in seconds, I downloaded 21 of them. Then I noticed that two of them were the same aside from the titles, and another wasn't to my liking. As a result, I have burned three new CDs, all with the same songs on it. One CD is for our car, one is for our nephew, Gregg, and the third (the one I made first) has no inter-record gaps, making it pretty poor listening, abrutply changing from one song to the next.

One of the songs in that group explains why Saint Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland - "Snakes can't drive (a) stick", so it stands to reason that someone would have to drive them. Apparently they didn't have automatic transmissions back then.

October 18, 2019

Today brought me another "Treasure" - I received a small package from the PUR Filter people. It contained three adapters that would adapt their filter to my new MOEN faucet. I now have filtered water from the faucet again. Now I don't have to buy purified water from the store any longer (just under a dollar per gallon).

October 19, 2019

Today, while Becky was at church attending an ECW Lunch, I decided to go out to the porch to observe the weather, and as I stepped out the door, I saw a small shower of red leaves dropping from our ornimental Dogwood tree. I decided to ignore it and look at the sky. When I snuck a look at the tree a bit later, I saw a squirrel had crawled out to the end of the smallest twigs, and was eating the red berries. I told Suzanne about it, and she remarked, "I didn't know squirrels ate Dogwood berries!" Neither did I, but that one was really packing them away. I could hear them crunching as it munched.

October 20, 2019

Choir rehearsal, this morning, was quite fun. We went through today's anthem, then worked for a bit on the Evensong music (two anthems and two chants), and then put some finishing touches on today's anthem. When we sang it in the service, we did it far better than we had in rehearsal, and afterward, we heard many good comments about the blend of our voices and the overall effect of the music.

Late in the afternoon, Becky and I decided we would order a movie, Practical Magic. When I tried to buy it from Amazon.com, I got a message that I already owned the movie. I didn't have a DVD of it, which is why I wanted to buy it. I entered into a chat with their customer service agents and was told that the movie would be in My Videos, which I had no idea what or where it was. They sent me a link to the correct page, but when I opened it, there was no movie listed. When I relayed that observation to them, they placed the movie there. The only problem was that I could not play it without a Video Prime account, which I don't have. I told them I had wanted a DVD or BluRay disc of the movie, but the only discs they had would "not play on players in the USA." I then told them I would try to find it in a local store. That only took an hour!

This evening I had a chance to work on my malfunctioning email address, one of the four that I use. It worked on my Linux Desktop, but would not work on my old laptop, nor could I make it work on this newer one. I called my web-host and had them take a look at it. They determined that my password was incorrect. Who knows why it worked in one computer using the same password. I changed the password and was able to log in on both of the Linux computers, as well as on my Windows computer.

October 21, 2019

Becky and I paid a visit with a friend from our choir who has been suffering with weakening lungs. He has not been to church for a few months, and we saw why. While he's one year my junior, today he looked quite a bit older. He is tethered to an oxygen source, shuffling as he walked and not as vivacious as we'd ever seen him before. We had a good visit with him, his wife, her mother and one of his cousins, and after just over an hour, he was visibly tired and excused himself to take some rest. We bid goodbye to the women of the house after wishing him well.

When we left his house, since we were over halfway to Suzanne's house, and since we had two pumpkins in the car for her, we texted her to say that we'd be there shortly. We spend another hour, or so, with Suzanne, then returned home. We have been invited to return tomorrow for some Split Pea soup and sandwiches. Having tasted her SP soup, naturally we readily accepted the invitation.

October 22, 2019

Tai Chi, this morning, was sparsely attended, just five of us participating, but it turned out to be a very productive practice. I get the suspicion that I, despite my never remembering from one week to the next what we had discussed in the preceding week, either had learned Sun Style correctly, or perhaps I'm just the teacher's pet. I prefer to think I'm really doing it as well as she says. I've actually been told that I do it just the way she does it by more than one observer, so I'll go with that assumption.

We visited with Suzanne, as planned, for Split Pea Soup and sandwiches, followed by conversation. Wyatt, Brian's cat, has really become very clingy in his old age. He cannot get close enough to me during out cuddle-sessions. He jumps, with great effort these days, onto the cabinet, stands up with his paws on either side of my neck and rubs his head under and beside my chin so forcibly that it moves my head around. At the same time, he purrs quite loudly. The only thing is that he has a reputation to protect, I guess. He will not allow any photographic evidence of his softer side. As soon as a camera comes into view, he's done cuddling!

October 23, 2019

Becky had a PT appointment this afternoon, so after I was done with the laundry (except for folding my undies and putting them in the drawer), I went with her. I sat in the waiting room reading a book one of my shipmates loaned to me, "Sea Stories", by Archie T. Miller. It's all about his experiences as a Sonarman in the early 50s. So far, each story he told has sparked a memory, and of course, I feel compelled to share that memory with the friend who lent me the book. By the time I'm done reading his memoirs, I might have my own book of memoirs - who knows.

So about 15 minutes later, she is done with her 60-minute PT session (time flies when you're reliving the past, you know), and we left the therapist's office and drove to the Biltmore Estate, to Cedric's Pub, for lunch. For once, we decided not to deliberately overeat there, and we split a Ruben Sandwich. Even half of the sandwich and the scoop of mashed potatoes seemed to be pushing it, just a bit. We finished it, of course - how could we not? It was delicious!

We came home for about half an hour, then had to drive to the church for Bell and Choir Rehearsal. Before I set up the bells, I decided to reconfigure the practice room to make more room in the room. Hmm...that's a roomy sentence! The way it was, there was a long table fairly close to the closets in which the choir vestments are hung, and when the doors are open and folks are getting robed, nobody can get past them. Often, I walk around the periphery of the room opposite the closets to get to the office to put Becky's and my hymnals in the storage cubbies. Well, today, I reduced the size of that long table, pulled it lengthwise a bit so I could tuck it beside a table running perpendicular to it along a wall, and I eliminated three of the music desks from the remaining tables (we lost four ringers over the summer). The result is that there is now sufficient room for people to get robed when the closet doors are open AND for other people to walk past them to get to the office. To my amazement, the new arrangement did not upset any of the ringers, and our Director loved it, too.

Then we watched the Late Show with Steven Colbert (yesterday's show) and heard John Lithgow singing The Major-General's Song, from Pirates of Penzance, the way he rewrote the words. It is hilarious. He's written a book of political poetry which includes those rewritten lyrics as a poem about a Former Major-General. We've bought the book, and I can't wait to start reading it. See YouTube.com's posting of it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hzTXfzsmLY starting at 7:53 on the time slider.

October 24, 2019

This morning, as we were on our way to the Creperie & Cafe in Weaverville, we were slowed by a procession of what appeared to be Kindergarten-aged children in Halloween garb walking the length of the Main Street Shopping District (less than half a mile, but of course, they were walking slowly). Once there, we learned that this was their pre-Halloween shopping trip. Along the route, the stores and shops and businesses would give them candy or other gifts (the Dentist's office gave them tooth brushes and toothpaste).

When we finally got to the Cafe, Jim and Carol were already there, waiting for us. I think it was only the second time they had ever beaten us to our selected breakfast meeting place. Nevertheless, we enjoyed our customary two-hour chew-n-chat. I think I was able to tell them about everything I had wanted to say since our last get-together, with the exception of the book I'm reading, Sea Stories. I guess I'll have to email Jim about it, or try to remember it until our next meeting.

Upon returning home, I learned that MX-Linux 19 has been released, so I set about downloading the .iso file so I could install it. For the first time, ever, I used Torrent to download it. It's supposed to be so much faster than a regular download, but after two hours, it was only indicating 33% finish. So I aborted that download, and in just 8 minutes I had downloaded the entire file by the normal means. When it came time to make the Live USB for installation, I learned that I had two .iso files in my downloads directory! I think I don't know all there is to know about Torrent. At any rate, I made the Live USB installer and installed the latest and greatest MX-19. I am now using Patito Feo (Ugly Duckling), the name they gave to MX-19.

October 25, 2019

I spent most of the day finishing the installation of MX-19 in my HP Desktop computer. I had made such a good job of it in the Asus one that I thought, surely, HP would go as smoothly, but no, it didn't. It asked me if I wanted to preserve my Home partition and use it again, and I said I did. When the new OS was loaded, none of the folders in that partition were populated. After poking around a bit, I found out why. In the Home folder there were two folders with my name on them. One was Bill Smith, with no sub-folders, and the other was bill smith, with lots of sub-folders and files. I transfered as many of those sub-folders into the capital BS folder, so now I have the data I wanted to preserve where it should be.

Then, of course, I had to load my apps, set up my email accounts in Thunderbird again, and go to the store, eat lunch, and on, and on, and on...

Now that I've recovered from that transition, it's time to install MX-19 into my Toshiba. I know there is no data in that one, so nothing will be preserved. I want it wiped slick, anyway, in case I need to loan it or sell it or give it to anyone else.

October 26, 2019

With an early start to the day, Becky was away before dawn to attend a meeting at a church in Lenoir, NC. That left me here, alone, so I took a shower! Then, after I was certain the stores were open, I went to Staples to buy some ink for our printer (cost us nearly $100!), then to get a haircut. As I was parking the car for my haircut, Suzanne called with a plea for mercy. Her desperately needed meds were available at the pharmacy, and she had no way to get them. I picked them up for her, then stayed for a mini-fritata and a cup of coffee.

All the while I was eating the fritata, Brian's cat, Wyatt, was pertering me for a bite. At one point, he was so insistent that I give him something to eat, he play-nipped at my wrist. That's something new, for Wyatt. Usually they are not "play" nips, but savage take-a-humk-a-meat bites. I guess he didn't really want to bite the hand that might feed him. In the end, I did give him the last bite of fritata just to see if he would actually eat it. He was hesitant, at first, but decided that he had, after all, begged for it, so he ate it. Then he spent a good while looking like he was trying to free a bit that was stuck behind his back teeth. He either got it free or gave up the effort.

When Becky returned from Lenoir, about 3 PM, we were watching television with our eyes shut, snoring, for about 2 hours. That'll make up for us rising two hours early!

October 27, 2019

Church this morning was fun. The choir rehearsed the anthem, then went through the two anthems for Wednesday's Choral Evensong, doing really well on all. The survice itself had a few foibles, the most noticeable to everyone was when the Priest and Chalicist were to serve Communion to two people who couldn't approach the altar, the Chalicist went to the couple, but the Priest did not. Somehow, the host had been removed to the sacristy, so there was a delay getting the elements to the communicants. Well, the world did not stop turning, so we went on. The man sitting next to me in the choir, who had been sniffling and sneazing throughout the service, started to blow his nose, but spotted a spider on his vestment and made a startled noise. When I looked, I saw the intruder immediately and brushed it to the floor. When unsuccessful movements were made to kill the spider, I said, "She won't eat much." The man on the other side of me said, "Thanks, St. Francis." The spider went on her way, then, leaving the rest of the choir alone.

After church, there was a catered reception for a retiring member of the staff who had been with the church for 27 years. There was no gluten-free fare for us, so we had a cup of coffee each, and went home.

After changing clothes and resting a bit, we drove to Suzanne's for some of her wonderful Split Pea soup. I took along our jar of Dandelion Honey, which was enjoyed on buttered toast along with the soup. Then we enjoyed a few hands of Mah Jongg and called it a day.

October 28, 2019

We enjoyed a lunch with Jim and Carol, today, brought home half of the meal, of course, and used about two and a quarter hours gabbing about anything and everything, as usual.

After lunch, Becky and I drove to Goodwill to drop off some clothing, and on the way "almost" had an accident. I turned onto Smokey Park Highway at the exit from I-40, and since I wanted to be in the right lane, I got behind an Ingles supermarket semi, figuring it would be turning into the right lane, also, for a reason. The semi accelerated very slowly, so after checking my mirror and not seeing any vehicle in the next lane to my left, I signaled my lane change and moved left to pass the semi. As I started changing lanes, I noticed a truck too close behind me, so I started to accelerate, at which time the semi started changing lanes to the left. Since I was already in that lane, I moved left again into the left-turn lane and got around the semi. Crisis averted, I signed. When we got to the Goodwill store, I could not get my trunk door to open, which I figured was because the lock on that door, which had been malfunctioning for years, had finally died, completely. I got the clothing out of the trunk by lowering half of the back seat, and we got on our way, once more.

We drove to Ingles supermarket on Merrimon Ave. to pay our utility bill, as usual, and while we were there we tried to buy a cup of Starbucks coffee. Their espresso machine had failed about five minutes before we got there, so no joy in coffeeville.

We left Ingles and drove to a garage to arrange for an oil change/lube/inspection for both cars, and I asked if they did any work on door locks. They don't. Then I asked if they did any work on headliners, because HILDOR's one is letting loose from its backing and hanging dangerously near my head when I driver her. They don't do that, either, nor did they know anyone who did.

With appointments for tomorrow morning before Tai Chi, and for Thursday morning, for oil/lube/insp, we drove to a "real" starbucks store and got our desired fix, but when we got back to the car, I unlocked Becky's door and walked around the back of our car and noticed that someone, at some time, had lightly tapped my rear corner, smushing the fender every so slightly onto the trunk door. So that was, I realized, why the door wouldn't open, and that's when I realized that I hadn't "almost" had an accident. I hadn't felt an impact, nor had I heard anything hit our car, but there it was, complete with white paint from someone else's vehicle, most likely the white truck that had been behind me during the great lane change debacle.

When I got home, I called our insurance company and explained, in as much detail as I could, what had happened, and arranged to have the repairs done at the body shop around the corner from our house. Then I drove to that body shop and made an appointment for an estimate. They had already received an email from the insurance company, so repairs are in the planning stage, with the estimate being done tomorrow afternoon, after Tai Chi.

I have been happier than I ended up at the end of all that.

October 29, 2019

This morning, I took my Banged-up-Barnum to the garage and got a clean bill of health, then this afternoon I took him to the body shop and got the bad news that the damage may have exceeded the value of the car, which might mean that it won't be repaired. The estimater told me how I might be able to free the trunk door again, so that if I don't wish to spend the money I could at least use it until the wheels go square. I'm sure not looking forward to car payments again after all this time without them. That would really restrict our lifestyle.

October 30, 2019

Becky had her last Physical Therapy appointment, today. Now, if only she would stop aching from the rigors of that appoinemtne, she should start to feel much better. That's our hope, anyway.

Lloyd and Nancy arrived at 3:15 PM, just a few minutes after Becky got home from PT, and after getting them situated in the front bedroom, we went out to dinner at Early Girl on Merrimon, and from there to Grace Episcopal Church for our Choral Evensong. we were there about half an hour prior to the start of choir rehearsal, and used that time to introduce them to our Interim Priest and other choir members as they arrived. Then we suited up for the service and went into the sanctuary for the rehearsal/warm-up. After running through the chants with Fr. Gary, we practiced our own chants, hymns and anthems.

Then it came time for our service. Everything went quite well, though as cantor, I will admit to having left out a word in one place, inserting an extra words in another place (to make up for it), and even missing one note. Nobody noticed but me, of course. Well, to be fair, our Director might have noticed. Still and all, Choral Evensong was a success. The only disappointing part was that due to extremely inclement weather, there were more people in the choir than in the congregation (16:10).

Back home again, and after several hours of conversation, we finally gave up and went to bed at about midnight, sleeping soundly (and soundlessly, I hear - or rather, I didn't hear).

October 31, 2019

Happy Halloween!

I awoke at 7 AM, as usual, and after fully awakening, I backed Lloyd's car and Barnum out of the driveway, then got Hildor out of the garage so I could drive her to the Garage for an oil change/lube and Inspection. I was back home by 9 AM, just after Lloyd had gotten up, with Nancy following not long after. We enjoyed a cup of coffee each, then set out for Breakfast at Rine 'n' Shine, where we found Jim and Carol. We joined them, scrunching our two tables together with theirs. We had some good conversation, the six of us, and were back home by 11 AM, or so.

Lloyd and Nancy left about noon-time to go on their Natural Arch hunt somewhere in Tennessee. It was a brief visit, but very much enjoyed. We're looking forward to their next visit, whenever that is.

    

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