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Stephe

[ website | Stephe's Library Thing ]
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January 11, 2106 [Jan. 11th, 2016|11:55 pm]
Stephe
[Current Mood |sleepy]
[Current Music |(Random Playlist)]

Up mid-morning again, and once again queenmomcat was off being spoiled at the spa. Today, instead of just puttering about aimlessly, I tried reading one of the poetry books I bought yesterday: Breezeway by John Ashbery. It confirmed something I've suspected for a while, namely that I'm out pf practice with reading poetry. Oh well. Ashbery isn't exactly the easiest poet around, so maybe I should pick out something less complex to try when we get home.

Lunch today was at Fadó, and it was fine, although queenmomcat didn't really finish her lunch. (Her appetite is still kind of wonky, and probably will be for a while.) After lunch, and after the usual nap, we went down to the Pastorale branch in the Loop for good cheeses to take home with us. Dinner was back up in River North at the Big Bowl, a comfort food standby.

And now it's actually very late. queenmomcat and I have spent the last several hours just sitting up talking. Tomorrow we go back home, and I think I would classify this trip as a successful one. I feel more relaxed, which is very good. And queenmomcat is happy with her spa treatments, which is also good. We'll see how long this good mood lasts after we get home.
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January 10, 2016 [Jan. 10th, 2016|11:55 pm]
Stephe
[Current Mood |relaxed]
[Current Music |none]

Up mid-morning, and I puttered about the hotel room while queenmomcat went off for a much-anticipated spa treatment. I tried doing some reading for work, but nothing came of that, which is annoying, as usual. I have a good-sized pile of books I need to read for our next Top Twenty and and Author event, and I really need to get started on them.

Anyways, after queenmomcat got back from being pampered, we went for lunch at Bijan's Bistro, and on the way back to the hotel we swung at After-Words Books because we can't make a trip to Chicago without visiting at least one book store. I picked up some poetry, and queenmomcat found some miscellaneous books she wanted.

I spent most of the rest of the afternoon napping, although we did go out briefly for a grocery run as evening approached. For dinner, we had sushi at Oysy: a big sampler platter, so that queenmomcat could eat as much as her appetite allowed with me taking care of the rest. It worked out well.

And now we're looking at an early bedtime again. I'm really starting to decompress from the holiday and post-holiday work season, which is good. If I could only get my act together about reading, this trip would be ideal.
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January 9, 2016 [Jan. 9th, 2016|11:55 pm]
Stephe
[Current Mood |recovering]
[Current Music |none]

Up very early this morning so that I had time to finish cleaning the dirty dishes before we caught our train into Chicago. There's no opera this trip -- it's mainly a late Christmas pampering trip for queenmomcat and a decompression trip for me -- but it should be fun nonetheless, although perhaps a little low key given that queenmomcat is still recovering from bronchitis.

Anyways, our train trip was uneventful, and we actually arrived in Chicago a little bit early. Thankfully, we were able to check into the hotel early (it's off season and they're doing construction, so they aren't crowded and we got a very good rate). After dropping off our luggage and relaxing a bit, we walked over to Frontera for lunch, as is usual for our Chicago trips. queenmomcat's appetite, which has been dicey lately with her being sick, has improved enough that she was able to enjoy her lunch, although we didn't have our usual ceviche appetizer.

We made a quick stop by the grocery store near the hotel to pick up supplies on our walk back, and then we both crashed for the remainder of the afternoon. In the early evening, at queenmomcat's request, we went to the Adagio tea shop to pick up some loose-leaf tea for our trip and after we get home. (Tea has been very good to queenmomcat lately, soothing her sore throat and keeping her hydrated and all.) Afterwards, we went to dinner at Seasons 52, where we had a comparatively light meal.

And now, it's early at night for us, but we're thinking of going to bed soon. The hotel room is nice and cozy, and we're both very tired. Time to relax and sleep.
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January 8, 2016 [Jan. 8th, 2016|11:55 pm]
Stephe
[Current Mood |frazzled]
[Current Music |(Random Playlist)]

Up mid-morning and walked in to work. I left a little early so that I could pay our winter tax and water bills at City Hall, which is on my way to the book store. In any case, I worked from noon to 8:00 PM close, and it was a very slow day. Let's just say that I got a lot of inventory work done, and leave it at that.

queenmomcat was feeling good enough to provide me with a ride home, which is promising. She seems to be over the worst of her current affliction, which is good, as we'll be spending the next few days in Chicago and it would be awful if she spent all that time in the hotel room being miserable. In fact, this evening, I helped her pack her bags and then took a few minutes to pack my own luggage. That kept us up reasonably late, as did washing dishes so that they wouldn't be sitting on the counter for days on end.

It is actually very late right now -- close, in fact, to the time stamp on this entry -- and we're off to bed forthwith. We have to be up very early tomorrow to catch the train, so a good night's sleep in what's left of the night is desirable.
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January 7, 2016 [Jan. 7th, 2016|11:55 pm]
Stephe
[Current Mood |okay]
[Current Music |Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 1]

(Music note: the CD I'm listening to at the moment is the first in the complete Boulez recording of Mahler's works, which was a Christmas gift from queenmomcat's stepfather. I plan to listen to CDs from the set a lot in the upcoming days, especially since Boulez himself just died.)

Up late morning and started some laundry, the beginning of a relatively productive day domestically. I worked on updating my LiveJournal a bit -- still about a month behind there -- and I did some dishes in the early afternoon. I tried reading a little bit, but that didn't take, which is worrisome. I have several books I need to get through for work, and time is running out. Still, at least the house is a little cleaner now than when I woke up.

I took my usual long nap late this afternoon, but I woke up in enough time to make shepherd's pie for dinner. queenmomcat is still pretty sick, so she didn't eat that much of it, but she enjoyed what she ate, so I'm happy. And now it's getting neat bedtime. I work at the book store tomorrow, but it's the usual Friday noon to 8:00 PM shift, so I don't have to be up early.
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January 6, 2016 [Jan. 6th, 2016|11:55 pm]
Stephe
[Current Mood |tired]
[Current Music |(Random Playlist)]

Up early for subbing this morning. Today, I was a sixth-grade science teacher in the middle school to our south. The kids had an online lab to do that was kind of confusing, although I think I was able to walk them through it sufficiently by the end of the day. Overall, the kids were well-behaved -- they've seen a lot of me this year -- so it wasn't that bad. I was also able to go home early because the regular teacher had planning periods at the end of the day.

Back home, I spent some time online and then went out and ran some errands with queenmomcat. It was her first time out of the house in quite a while, so she was glad to be outdoors. We got some groceries that I missed yesterday and picked up some more diet food for Zazu. queenmomcat is clearly starting on the road to recovery, which is a good thing.

After all of that, I took a very long nap, waking up in enough time to help queenmomcat make French onion soup with leftover lamb chunks for dinner. And now it's getting towards bedtime. I don't have to be up early tomorrow, and I expect I'll sleep in. It feels like it will be that sort of day.
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January 5, 2016 [Jan. 5th, 2016|11:55 pm]
Stephe
[Current Mood |productive]
[Current Music |(Random Playlist)]

Up early to take queenmomcat to the doctor, where she was officially diagnosed with bronchitis complicated by bronchial spasms. Prescriptions were called in and all, and hopefully she'll start feeling better soon. I brought her back home afterwards, got her all comfortable, and then spent some time online until it was time for me to go out and run errands.

Late as it may have been, I did this week's grocery shopping, and then stopped by the pharmacy to pick up the filled prescriptions. Back home, I had some lunch and then took a nap as queenmomcat started on her pills and rested as well. After my nap, I balanced the checkbook and paid bills (also late for the week), and the worked on updating my LiveJournal a little. I also prepared some baked salmon for dinner, which was served with peas and went down well overall. And now we're off to bed. I have a subbing assignment tomorrow morning, and I'm ready for that. It'll be good to be back in the saddle again.
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January 4, 2016 [Jan. 4th, 2016|11:55 pm]
Stephe
[Current Mood |cold]
[Current Music |(Random Playlist)]

Woke up mid-morning to find a couple of inches of new snow on the ground. More or less the first thing I did was call our doctor to make an appointment for queenmomcat. There was an opening tomorrow morning, and we took it. After that, and after a little computer time, I walked in to work. Most of the sidewalks hadn't been cleared, so I walked in the streets. This is not unusual for this time of year.

It was, perhaps predictably, a slow day at work, although there was a good-sized shipment to keep me busy in the early afternoon. (Lots of new releases for tomorrow.) The last hour or so of the day was essentially dead, so I was able to do a little more inventory, which was good.

After walking home, I spent the usual time online. The day was enlivened a bit by some more Christmas presents trickling in, which combined with the snow made as close to a white Christmas as can be expected, albeit a few weeks late. In any case, we had a tuna noodle casserole for dinner, and now we're thinking of heading off to bed late. The book store manager is back from her vacation, so I have tomorrow off, but there's plenty of domestic stuff that needs done.
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January 3, 2016 [Jan. 3rd, 2016|11:55 pm]
Stephe
[Current Mood |listless]
[Current Music |(Random Playlist)]

Up early to open the book store and work a solo Sunday shift. I drove in this time as I didn't really feel up to walking and the weather was kind of punk. It was a slow day overall, and a lot of people who came in had git cards, so the numbers at closing time weren't great. Still,I got some more inventory work done, so it wasn't a total loss.

Back home, I spent some time online and then took a brief nap. Dinner was stuff out of the freezer again for me, and I made some mashed potatoes for queenmomcat, who's having trouble swallowing. (Sore throat due to nasty cough.) It looks like we'll actually be going to bed comparatively late tonight, but that's fine. I don't have to be at work until noon tomorrow, so I can sleep in a bit.
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January 2, 2016 [Jan. 2nd, 2016|11:55 pm]
Stephe
[Current Mood |busy]
[Current Music |(Random Playlist)]

Up early to open the book store this morning. (The store manager is on vacation this week, which is why I've been working so much. For most of January, I'll be putting in two days a week only. Slow season.) I walked in, as usual. The morning was pretty dead, but the afternoon was surprisingly busy. In between customers, I did some more inventory work, especially sorting out some places where the computer says we have negative inventory for certain books (mostly receiving errors). It was a good day for January.

I ended up walking home: queenmomcat is really too sick to drive, and I didn't want to drive in myself this morning. (I probably will tomorrow.) After getting home and unwinding a bit, I made a quick grocery run for the next few days (again, queenmomcat is too sick for a full shopping trip together) and then spent some time online. Dinner for me was leftovers from the freezer, and I poached some chicken breasts for queenmomcat to eat in the upcoming days.

Between illness and my usual sleep issues, we'll probably go to bed early tonight. I have to open the book store tomorrow morning again, so that's fine by me. I just hope queenmomcat can get some sleep to help her recover.
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January 1, 2016 [Jan. 1st, 2016|11:55 pm]
Stephe
[Current Mood |okay]
[Current Music |(Random Playlist)]

Well, what have we here? Why, it's a bright, shiny new year! Actually, today around here started gray and cold, and queenmomcat is feeling very sick, so not an entirely auspicious start to 2016. As usual, I have no resolutions for the new year, just some good intentions that may or may not be fulfilled.

Anyways, I got up late this morning, and after my usual computer time, I started some laundry for queenmomcat, did a bunch of dishes, and started a pot of chicken stock cooking down. Eventually, I started some laundry of my own, and I even managed to get out of the house for a little while to make a quick grocery run (popsicles for queenmomcat, some vegetables for dinner, etc.) After all that, I spent a little more time online and then took a longer nap than I should have.

In the evening, I ran even more laundry (clean sheets for a new year) and accepted my first subbing assignment of the year. I also roasted a leg of lamb for dinner, which was served with baked potatoes and asparagus. The asparagus was frozen before I cooked it, and it came out mushy and blah, but the rest of the meal was quite good. And now we're looking at a late bedtime, which is fine by me. I have to open the book store tomorrow, but I'm feeling kind of rested at the moment, which is a pleasant change. Hopefully, I'll still feel the same way in the morning.
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December 31, 2015 [Dec. 31st, 2015|11:55 pm]
Stephe
[Current Mood |disappointed]
[Current Music |(Random Playlist)]

Up early this morning to open the book store again, and once again I walked in. I was scheduled to work until 5:00 PM, but I ended up coming home early because it was a very slow day. We also didn't get a shipment, rather to our surprise: it turns out that UPS took the day off, something we hadn't known about. In any case, I did some inventory work before being sent home, so at least I got something done today to earn my paycheck.

I walked home for a change, but after getting home I jumped in the car to run a few errands, including picking up a bottle of champagne, our one concession to New Year's Eve. (We aren't going to stay up until midnight, so we've been sipping the champagne slowly through the course of the evening.) We had leftover chicken soup for dinner, which seemed to go down well with queenmomcat, who's getting sicker and sicker as the days go by. (And of course, our doctor's office is closed tomorrow and then for the weekend.) Other than that, I've been playing about online, even updating my LiveJournal a little.

At this point, as is traditional for me, I would like to sum up my media consumption for the year. For the first time in a long while, I didn't watch any new movies or TV shows. queenmomcat and I did go to see six operas:

Alban Berg, Wozzeck (Lyric Opera of Chicago)
Franz Lehár, The Merry Widow (Lyric Opera of Chicago)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Le nozze di Figaro (Lyric Opera of Chicago)
Giacomo Puccini, Tosca (Lyric Opera of Chicago)
Gioachino Rossini, La Cenerentola (Lyric Opera of Chicago)
Miecyzsław Weinberg, Passazhirka (Lyric Opera of Chicago)

My reading numbers are shameful: I only finished 26 books this year, and I don't think I've read a book cover to cover in about two months. I've given up on several books, which is also a change. Either I'm getting less OCD or more practical about my reading load for work. Anyways, the books I did finish are as follows (* indicates poetry):

Susan Barker, The Incarnations (ARC)
*Linda Bierds, Roget's Illusion
Andrea Camilleri, Game of Mirrors (ARC)
J. Jefferson Farjeon, The Z Murders
Gregory Funaro, Alistair Grim's Odditorium (ARC)
*Jeannine Hall Gailey, The Robot Scientist's Daughter
*Louise Glück, Faithful and Virtuous Night
Daniel Handler, We Are Pirates (ARC)
Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train (ARC)
*Sara Eliza Johnson, Bone Map
Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy (ARC)
*Daniel Lusk, Kin
*Anthony McCann, Thing Music
Kimberly McCreight, Where They Found Her (ARC)
Jennifer McMahon, The Winter People (ARC)
*Orlando Ricardo Menes, Fetish
Lauren Oliver and H. C. Chester, Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head (ARC)
*Jay Parini, Town Life
Louise Penny, The Nature of the Beast (ARC)
*MIchael Robbins, The Second Sex
Peter Robinson, In the Dark Places (ARC)
Matt Ruff, Lovecraft Country (ARC)
Andrew Smith, The Alex Crow
Lane Smith, Return to Auggie Hobble (ARC)
Sarah Vowell, Lafayette in the Somewhat United States (ARC)
Ian Weir, Will Starling (ARC)

Hopefully, I'll do better next year. In fact, I hope next year will be better in a number of ways.
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December 30, 2015 [Dec. 30th, 2015|11:55 pm]
Stephe
[Current Mood |tired]
[Current Music |(Random Playlist)]

Up early this morning -- after a slightly more restful night -- and walked in to work. I basically worked a solo open-to-close shift today (10:00 AM to 6:00 PM closing). The owner was there for much of the day, but she had work to do in the back, which means I ran the sales floor and took care of the day's shipment by myself. (The shipment, as it happens, was a pretty small one, which helped.) I also started taking inventory, but I didn't get very far: just a few, small sections. It was actually pretty busy for this time of year, with gift cards being redeemed and late Christmas presents being purchased.

The owner gave me a ride home at the end of the day, and after spending some time online I ordered a pizza for dinner. (queenmomcat is still feeling sick and appetite-less.) I have to open the book store again tomorrow morning, so I'm thinking of going to bed early tonight. I still need to catch up on my sleep.
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December 29, 2015 [Dec. 29th, 2015|11:55 pm]
Stephe
[Current Mood |weary]
[Current Music |(Random Playlist)]

Another bad night last night, with very little sleep. It isn't helping that queenmomcat is coming down/has come down with something and was coughing a lot. Still, even without that, it would have been a bad night. So I started the day feeling depressed, and I'm still not feeling entirely good right now.

Anyways, I got up mid-morning again, and started the day off by running a load of laundry so that I would have work clothes for tomorrow. After the usual computer time, I headed outdoors and did some shoveling. The snow plow came through last night, and as always it left a pile of snow at the end of the driveway. I cleared that, the sidewalk, and the front and back steps. Most of the driveway was pretty clear, so I didn't need to worry about that. I guess the blowing and drifting worked in our favor this time.

After shoveling, I came inside, showered, changed my clothing, and sat down at the computer to update my LiveJournal for a while. Eventually, the last two nights started to catch up with me, so I took a long nap.

In the evening, I went out and picked up some takeaway Chinese food for dinner at queenmomcat's request. (Between the most recent surgery and whatever she's coming down with, her appetite is kind of wonky, and she wanted some comfort food.) And now it looks like we'll be going to bed soon. We both need sleep. Hopefully we'll get it.
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December 28, 2015 [Dec. 28th, 2015|11:55 pm]
Stephe
[Current Mood |blah]
[Current Music |(Random Playlist)]

Very bad, very restless night last night. I didn't so much get up mid-morning as give up on actually getting to sleep. It was snowing/sleeting outside when I got up, and that continued for the rest of the day. It looks like winter has finally decided to arrive here, now that Christmas is over.

I spent a very desultory late morning and early afternoon online. I did attempt to take a nap mid-afternoon, but it wasn't successful. In the end, I spent most of the day hunkered down in front of my computer, wasting time. It was that sort of day.

At least for dinner queenmomcat and I had a nice roast chicken with root vegetables. It was just the right meal for a miserable night like tonight. We're off to sleep pretty soon, and hopefully tonight will be more restful than last night. And maybe tomorrow will be more productive than today.
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December 27, 2015 [Dec. 27th, 2015|11:55 pm]
Stephe
[Current Mood |good]
[Current Music |Diablo Swing Orchestra, Sing Along Songs for the Damned and Delirious]

Up late morning with a free day ahead of me. Great feeling, that. Christmas presents continue to trickle in, including the CD I'm listening to right now. Also some poetry, which I hope to read over the next few days. I have lots of books to read for work, but I have a few days grace before I really need to start them.

Anyways, I spent my usual time online this morning and was even able to update my LiveJournal a little bit. After finally taking a shower and getting dressed, I went out grocery shopping with queenmomcat. Back home, I did some dishes, but in the end I spent most of the afternoon online. It was a desultory sort of day, but surprisingly, I didn't take a nap. Very strange.

In the evening, queenmomcat and I prepared some spaghetti sauce for dinner, and while it was cooking she took a hot bath and I worked on my LiveJournal some more. (Someday I will catch up.) And now we're looking at a late bedtime. Despite not napping, I;m not feeling all that sleepy. Hopefully, I've caught up a little bit of rest from the last few weeks.
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December 26, 2015 [Dec. 26th, 2015|11:55 pm]
Stephe
[Current Mood |okay]
[Current Music |(Random Playlist)]

Up mid-morning and walked in to work, where I pulled a noon to 6:00 PM closing shift. The owner, who worked with me today, had briefly contemplated staying open until 8:00 PM, and I was game for that, but the weather turned nasty and business started to slow down around 5:30 PM, so she told me to close when I did.

Still, for most of the day, it was quite busy. We had a lot of people coming in to buy books, quite a few of whom were cashing in Christmas gift cards. I also had several displays to change and rearrange, so I was pretty much run off my feet by the time I closed.

queenmomcat kindly gave me a ride home after work, and once home I spent some time online before lying down for a nap. That nap lasted a lot longer than I had expected/planned, and it left me in no shape to cook dinner, so we took the easy way out and ordered a pizza. And now it's getting to be bedtime. I have the next three days off, and I plan to enjoy them, perhaps starting with sleeping in late tomorrow morning.
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December 25, 2015 [Dec. 25th, 2015|11:55 pm]
Stephe
[Current Mood |festive]
[Current Music |(Random Playlist)]

A Merry Christmas to all of my readers who celebrate it, and a pleasant day for the rest of you. We had a pretty low-key day around here -- queenmomcat is still recovering from surgery, and I feel very tired after a long couple of weeks. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant day.

I got up mid-morning -- not too long after queenmomcat -- and we had our usual Christmas bagels and lox for breakfast/brunch. We also opened a can of fresh catnip for Bongo and Zazu, which was received well. Then we opened the Christmas presents that had already arrived. (Others are coming, apparently. Our Christmas will be spread out over several days.) There were books and other fun things, so we're happy.

We had contemplated going out to see the new Star Wars movie this afternoon, but in the end we decided that we weren't quite up to it. Instead, we lounged around the house, queenmomcat mostly reading and me mostly spending time online. I did take some time to balance the checkbook and pay some bills, which I haven't really had a chance to lately. We also prepared and baked a mince pie, which made the house smell great.

In the evening, we roasted our traditional duck, which this year was serves with mashed potatoes and baked acorn squash for dinner. Followed, of course, by mince pie. So it was a quiet day, but a generally good one. I work again tomorrow, but then I have several days off to catch up with myself. We'll see how that works.
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December 24, 2015 [Dec. 24th, 2015|11:55 pm]
Stephe
[Current Mood |relaxed]
[Current Music |(Random Playlist)]

Up mid-morning and walked to work again. My job today was basically to take care of the day's shipment while the owner and manager dealt with the crowds of customers. There was some drama involved in this: we had one box show up after being missing for nearly two weeks, and one of our expected boxes didn't arrive. I spent a good bit of time on the phone with our distributor dealing with this, and then I spent some more time calling people who had special orders in the box that didn't arrive to tell them that the Christmas presents that they had planned to give tomorrow wouldn't be arriving until next Tuesday. Thankfully, they were all pretty understanding. Then I finally had a chance to unpack the boxes we did get and call a lot of people about the special orders that did arrive. I was there for less than two hours (11:00 AM to 12:45 PM), but it felt like a full shift.

In any case, I walked home afterwards, and once I was home I spent some time online and the took a nice nap. I spent the early evening reading cartoon collections to unwind (it worked), and I also did some dishes just because. queenmomcat and I ended up going out to dinner, which is becoming a Christmas Eve tradition for us, and now we're back home and ready to go to bed. Tomorrow will be a very low-key Christmas, but that's kind of what we need right now. It's been quite the year.
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December 23, 2015 [Dec. 23rd, 2015|11:55 pm]
Stephe
[Current Mood |tired]
[Current Music |(Random Playlist)]

Up mid-morning, and walked in to work, where I pulled a 11:00 AM to 5:45 PM shift. It was an extremely busy day for the morning and early afternoon, but then it started to rain heavily and business dried up a little. Still, once the rain passed through, things picked up again. At the end of my shift, the owner offered me a ride home (she was leaving at the same time), and I accepted gladly. My ankle really is better than it was last year, but it still hurts if I have a long day at work.

I got home to find that today's mail included the first packages of Christmas presents. That was a cheering thing. I spent some time online, and then prepared a shrimp, rice, and tomato casserole for dinner. And now I'm thinking of going to bed early if I can, because these last few weeks have left me drained. I only work a few hours tomorrow, so that's good, but they will be busy hours.
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