Friday, April 18, 2014

Today at Logos

When I got to Logos today, Sandy, back from her long vacation, shared that last week, it was 3 p.m. before she called Susan to ask where I was. Susan had forgotten she was going to cover for me!  Fortunately, Sandy was having a good time anyway.

Things were kind of slow as I set up the iPad I'd brought (to check Abbie, who is, as of this writing, still pregnant). I forgot to bring either my VanGogh book or the Robert Ludlum book I'm also reading.  I also forgot my cell phone. But I could get on the internet with the iPad, which was good.

An old guy came in holding a bargain book and asked if we had music or art books.  I directed him appropriately and he spent a long time browsing, but in the end left with just the $1 bargain book.

A round woman came in asking if we had art history books.  I told her where to look and she asked if we had a public bathroom.  When I said we did not she said "Oh well, I work at the art museum next door; I guess I'll just go there" and left without looking at any books.

Since I had neglected to bring something from home to read, I picked up Mark Twain's "Roughing It in the Sandwich Islands," a very short book but fascinating.  It had pictures at the end of things Twain would have seen when he spent four months in the Sandwich Islands.  I showed them to Walt (who grew up on Oahu) when he picked me up.

I was so absorbed I almost didn't notice severasl customers who came in.  One tall, heavy set man came in with a sylpyhlike woman who came up to about his chest.  The guy shuffled around the shelves for about 25 minutes and ultimately bought nothing, and both of them left.

A woman I had not seen enter popped out of the stacks with copies of "Shakespeare and Me" and "Committed," a book about marriage.

In the meantime, a Sheldon (of Big Bang Theory) geeky type came in wearing a big backpack and a frozen banana t-shirt.  I half expected him to buy something nerdy, but he purchased a copy of "Zorba the Greek" and another similar style book.  He said "whenever I want a book, I always come here."

A woman rushed in the door, went off to the side, and was back in a minute with a sign.  She was buying an 11-volume set of O. Henry books, nicely bound and was SO enthusiastic about it.  She said she loves books -- loves looking at them, loves smelling them, loves reading them.  She assured me that while some might take this set of books home to display on a shelf, she fully intended to read them all.

A woman with a body type like mine, but probably not quite as large came in.  Reminder to self:  don't ever wear shorts out in public!!!  I smiled and said hello, but she ignored me, then came and asked if we had fiction.  I showed here where the fiction books were. She was looking for a book by Nicholas Sparks, didn't find it, and left.

RainbowGirl.jpg (52928 bytes)Rainbow Girl came in next, wearing striped rainbow leggings, a black and white striped short-short skirt and a top with drawings of flowers on it.   She was sneezing.  I thought perhaps it was because of pollen in the flowers in her short.  

She wandered around for a long time and then a husky guy wearing orange shorts and a green shirt, with legs looking like a Gaugin painting came in.   He was apparently a friend of Rainbow girl.
I don't think either of them bought anything, but they were definitely colorful.

While they were there the very tall Mountain Man type who has been in before came in.  He has a very long whilte beard and shoulder length white hair, but he's more a John Muir type than a Santa type.  He always wears a fisherman's type cap and soft jeans.  He was in the back for so long I thought he had left, but he eventually came up with a book of Native American Tales that he had been reading for a long time while he was out of my sight.

A business man with a briefcase came in and in short order had purchased a book of essays.  The cash register decided to jam at this point and it took a long time to ring up his order, but after I had unplugged it and plugged it back in again, all was fine.

Two middle-eastern looking women came in.  The older one was all in basic black with a beautiful rose-colored design and wearing a hijab, but clunky very white athletic shoes with pink soles.  She looked for a long time at the cookbooks and asked if we had books on knitting.  In the meantime the other women, whom I decided must be her daughter, who was dressed like everyone else in Western clothing was looking through the children's room and bought a Thomas the Train book.

A Tall young woman in black leather skinny jeans and jacket (isn't she HOT today??) had two large bags, one on each shoulder. She reminded me of Prentiss on Criminal Minds, but not as severe looking.

Another regular came in.  This is a short, thin guy with a goatee who also wears a fisherman-style hat. He tells me he's an antiquarian.  I remember the very old book he showed me a couple of weeks ago.  Today he bought one of our "old" books (for $6).  He had just purchased a pocket bible printed in the early 1800s.  It was in such teeny print that you could hardly tell that those were words there.  He also showed me a Greek coin from 325 BC.  He was on his way to sell that, since he says he's ready to start divesting himself of some of his collection.  He said he could get about 55% of what he originally paid for this coin (45% for wear and tear).  I don't know how much he paid for it originally, but there was a sign for $1600 on the box.

A guy came in with a bag of children's books to donate.  I   didn't realize how many of them there were until I started looking at titles and realized that they are very thin books. There must have been 50 of them. There was one about a frog playing t-ball, so I pulled that out for Bri.

Another guy came in with two books, plunked them down on the table and said to tell Peter they were from Tom ("but he will probably know that already.")

A girl came in and wherever she stood, she was doing stretching exercises.  Arms, legs, head rolls.  Then she'd move to another spot and stretch some more.  I actually thought she had left because I hadn't seen her in a long time, but I found her reading at the front table.  She asked if we had any dance books, and stretched in front of that bookcase.  She finally left after purchasing "The Art of Pickling."

My friend arrived at 4:45, late for him.  He said he missed me last week.  This week he bought a book of Klimt paintings and, again, gave me correct change.  I think he's doing this deliberately to keep me from being embarrassed by the mistakes I always make trying to make change for him.  I am grateful.
I watched Abbie off and on all afternoon and watched Karen cleaning her stall.

A woman came in with a big donation in a straw basket.  She had three more loads to bring in, but I couldn't help her because I had several people in the store.  Most of the books were the kinds I would read, but I didn't dare look through them.  I suspect most of them will end up on the bargain table, since Peter doesn't have much respect for crime novels.  As she left, she explained that her husband comes in to Logos and indicated that she doesn't usually.

My last customer of the day was a handsome African American woman with dredlocks who rushed in and asked if we had Nelson Mandela's biography, which we did not, so she left right away.

I was surprised when Susan arrived because I didn't realize that it was that late already.  Walt was arriving too, Abbie was still pregnant and it was time to go home and feed the dogs.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dementia Day

Today was a dementia day, but in a good way.

I have come to look forward to our dementia/Alzheimers support group meetings.  It's a small group, but the discussions are very helpful.  The group was a little smaller than usual this week because the spouse of one of the members had died.  We knew the end was near and I'm sure that in many respects the death was a relief, but our hearts go out to all the family.

Sometimes the subjects discussed give one pause.  A new members was there about a parent who had a stroke (which nobody knew until there was an MRI) which has resulted in symptoms of moderate Alzheimers, to the point where family members, even the spouse, are not recognized any more. What is scary about this is that the victim is not that much older than Walt and I are and this thing came unexpectedly, from out of nowhere.  It always makes you think about how fragile this life we have is.

I suspect that when one develops Alzheimers, whether gradually or more suddenly, the victim him/herself has the easiest time of it.  The more the disease progresses, the more they retreat into their own little world and it is left to the well members of the family to deal with all of the problems surrounding the disease.

One of the members of the group and I stood in the parking lot and talked for awhile after the meeting.  First time that has happened.  She looks forward to returning and learning more about the conditions and how to help herself.

I was home for an hour after the meeting and then had to get to Atria to pick my mother up for her doctor's appointment.  It amazes me how little (i.e., none) resistance she had to this appointment. Everytime I have suggested she might want to see her doctor for such-and-such, she gets that coy, flirty tone and says she'll go to the doctor when she's feeling better (or when she really has a problem).

But Atria gave her a form that had to be filled out by her doctor for her annual exam and so she didn't complain, except many times in the exam room about how much she hated doctors, how she hated putting on a gown, how she hated pills, how she hoped she didn't have to come back again for at least a year, etc.
But she got along well with the doctor who, of course, didn't believe she was really 94 years old.  (That always starts any first meeting out well.)   Unlike the gerontologist I took her to, she took her time did everything I hoped she would do, and filled out the form.  And other than hating doctors in general, my mother seemed to like this one.  The best thing about having my mother with the same doctor I am, is that I can actually send her e-mail, which I had not been able to do because of the SNAFU in setting up her e-mail account which apparently nobody up the food chain had ever been able to fix for me.  Even going to the "big guy" (God) was no good.  Apparently even He can't tinker with Kaiser e-mail accounts.

But now I can direct questions (if any) to her doctor via e-mail using my account.

We're going to try a better system of making sure she takes her meds.   Dr. A. suggested turning the task over to Atria, but that would involve another thousand-plus and she only has to take four pills a day.  There is no reason why I can't make sure that happens. 

I didn't go back to Atria with her, but just let her off when we got back.  I will go back in a couple of days to pick up her laundry and bring it home to wash.

Even though dementia was the subject most strongly on my mind today, it was a good day and the day is ending on a good note.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Back to Reality

The thing about getting away is that you get away.   Away from newspapers, away from TV, away from routines, away from Internet news stories.

Oh there was a newspaper, but I rarely read the Santa Barbara paper because it usually makes me angry.  And there was that humongous television set that Joe and Alice just bought...

BigTV.JPG (81876 bytes)

...but we tended to visit more than sit and watch TV...especially news on TV.

And Walt would scoff to read that I was away from Internet news stories, especially since I was glued to BarnCam (still waiting for Abbie to birth that baby!), but I didn't follow up on a lot of news stories so I really had a vacation from whatever was going on in the world.

How depressing to come home and start catching up on what I missed.   How depressing, for example, to come home to find out that every. single. Republican. in the House voted against equal pay for women.  What do they tell their mothers, their wives, their girlfriends, their sisters.  What what woman would vote for Republicans after the despicable lack of respect they have shown to women.   But you know that women will vote for them again.

How depressing to read my friend Gabi Clayton's blog about Andrew Waiswa, in Uganda, who is being hunted and at best, if discovered will receive a lengthy sentence for being gay, but is more likely to be beaten to death
I know I will be jailed for seven years, but I can't risk to be lynched by the local mobs and gangs I can easily die if I make any mistake of showing out my face, so am considering to handle over my self to the police, be taken to court and sentenced, if am lucky I will only get 7yrs! If I don't get financial help to get out of Uganda ASAP am taking chances with the police and the Ugandan courts
How depressing to pick up email from Compassion, whom I had contacted after Uganda passed its new Anti-Homosexuality act of 2014.  I really wanted to write to my sponsored child, Shallon, in Uganda, who is 19 years old and could understand such things, but Compassion said I could not discuss it with her and to write and encourage her to study instead.

How depressing to find the country of Brunei is set to roll out a new penal code including death by stoning as punishment for same-sex relations.

How depressing to read Jeb Bush is kind of quietly preparing a run for the White house.

That house in Santa Barbara is starting to look better and better today, as reality starts creeping back into my brain cells again.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sunday Stealing

What’s your favorite frozen treat on a stick?
Hagen Daaz vanilla covered with chocolate and nuts.

What’s your favorite lollipop?
Not a big lollipop person, so don't have a favorite.

When you passed notes during class in high school, who was mostly often the recipient?
Passing notes?  Surely you jest.  I was taught by nuns.  If they caught you passing notes, they cut off your hands.

Who among your high school friends was the first to get his or her own car?
I can't remember.  We all drove, but I suspect we all drove our parents' car.

Who’s the black sheep in your family?
This family (my mother's family) has so many black sheep, it would be unfair to single out just one.

Who’s the family historian?
My cousin Peach, who has traced our ancestry back to a
protoplasmal primordial atomic globule

What was the last thing you sprayed from a spray bottle?
Doggie urine de-smeller.

What was the last thing you sprayed from an aerosol can?
Whipped cream onto ice cream (which is kept in the refrigerator to keep from mix-up with doggie urine de-smeller).

When did you last make reservations for something?
Hmmm...I think it was motel reservations to attend my sister-in-law's retirement party next month.

What’s your next upcoming appointment?
Probably my dental appointment in about 2-1/2 mos.

What store’s departure from your preferred shopping mall most saddened you?
I don't have a "preferred shopping mall" but I was surprised at a news store in a mall in Santa Barbara (where I used to buy postcards) had closed.

What’s good to eat at your preferred shopping mall?
There is a Fenton's at the Nut Tree Mall that has great sundaes (I've been there twice in the 10 years it has been there)

What services (as opposed to goods) do you pay for at your preferred shopping mall?
As I said, I rarely go to malls, so that includes the next two questions.

What’s a store you’ve never been inside at your preferred shopping mall?
What kind of store would you most welcome in your preferred shopping mall?

What did you most recently purchase at an office supply store?
An ink cartridge for my printer.

What did you most recently purchase at a book store?
Children's books (I work in a used book store and frequently bring home some of the "product.")

What did you most recently purchase at a drugstore?
I went to CVS to buy emery boards and lipstick for my mother.

What did you most recently purchase at a convenience store?
I can't remember the last time I was in a convenience store.

What did you most recently purchase at a thrift shop?
The only thrift shop where I ever shop is the used book store where I work.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Super Star

When our kids were in school, especially the lower grades, each child in their class got a chance at some point in the school year to be "Person of the Week."  I don't remember exactly what that involved, but they were the spotlighted student for that week.

Here "Person of the Week" is the "Super Star" and Bri has been counting the weeks until she can be the super star. This involves a display of some sort focusing on her, getting to lead the class into the room in the morning, and having both Mom and Dad come and give presentations about their jobs. 

Laurel was working on the display this afternoon and we were invited to come and help around 5.  Laurel is incredibly talented artistically, so she didn't need much help in that line from me.


The help we were needed for was to keep the girls occupied, which was right up our alley.  I went to watch Lacie in her bedroom.  This girl, at 2-1/2, is amazing.  One of her favorite things to do is to take her clothes out of her drawers and arrange them on the floor.


She is meticulous, straightening things out, making sure the sleeves all go off to the side and then, when they are all arranged to her liking, telling me about which colors matched which other colors.  It's really quite a thing to see.  

But we later moved to the kitchen with Mommy and Lacie wanted to play snakes.  This involves matching colors of snake bodies, making a long snake across the floor as we play.  There's that operative word:  "floor"  To play this game it was clear I was going to have to actually get down on the floor, which I have not done in years.  But it's what Grandmas do, so goddammit, I did it.


As difficult as it was to get down, and as painful as it was to be on the floor, getting up was the worst.  I can't kneel on either knee Tom tried to help me but I was determined to do it by myself, which I did, but I think it's fair to say I won't be a "play with me on the floor" grandma.  However, Tom did say I was a good sport, which I considered high praise.

In the meantime, Walt was out playing baseball with Brianna, with discussion about the rules.


Judging by how long the game went on and how tired Walt was when it was over, it's a good thing we didn't get to their house earlier; he might be dead by now.

When it was time for the girls to have dinner, we sat with them and Tom.  Lacie was interested in learning how to cut, so Tom showed her how to hold her knife and fork so she could cut her pieces of chicken.


Eventually, she figured what she really wanted to cut were her beans and eat them with a knife.


In the meantime, Bri was trying to negotiate how much spinach she had to eat before she could have a cookie.


The girls went for baths while Tom, Walt and I ate the fajitas Tom cooked.  Then Lacie gave us hugs and went off to bed so Mommy could read her a story. In the meantime, Tom suggested I read Bri a story, but she wanted me to tell her a story, so I told her about the time we went camping in Yosemite when Tom was younger than Bri and a bear sniffed around our tent and I was terrified because Tom had stepped on a roasted marshmallow and I was afraid the bear would come through the tent looking for it, but he eventually went away and when we woke up in the morning, the bear was in a truck at the campsite across from ours.  Bri thought it was a good story (and Tom verified that it was true).

When the story was finished it was time to go off to bed and Bri gave me a big hug and kiss without trying to get out of it, which was a HUGE breakthrough.

In fact, this whole weekend, or at least the last two days have been the best I have spent with Bri in a very long time.  We actually enjoyed each other, she let me brush her teeth and read her a story and tonight she talked with me the way she usually does to other people and was not reluctant to hug and kiss me good night either last night or tonight.  I am leaving her this time feeling very good about our time here.

She is now reading at a 1st grade level and it is my plan to start writing to her every week or two, simple letters she can read by herself.  That can only help improve things, I hope.  I am already in a sticker chain letter with her. As far as I know the others in the chain are both 6 years old!  Being a grandma can be very challenging if you live at a distance!


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Grandma Days

At 8 a.m. we were back at the Little League field.


Today's game was against the Tundra Rattlers, who seem to be a better team than the one they played on Thursday.  There were the same cute moves, fouls, inattention, and all that had made Thursday's game so endearing, but somehow in the midst of it all, there was some actual playing that went on that showed a hint of understanding about the game.  Not much, but a HINT at least.

Bri got her share of hits, had her share of inattention.  It went something like this:


As in the first game, there was no scoring.  There were 11 players on one team and 9 on the other and everybody gets a chance to bat once in each of the three innings  When scoring becomes part of the process, I pity the scorekeeper!

While the game was going Lacie was running around being cute (some of the time)


When the game was over, Tom, Laurel and the girls went out for a little 8 mile jog.


Tom and Laurel are in training for an upcoming half marathon and figured this was a good time to get some miles in.  They packed plenty of drinks, snacks, and toys to keep the girls occupied during the hour and a half the run would take.

We were going to have another Family Movie night, but Tom forgot they had a benefit dinner to attend, so asked if we could watch the girls for 3 hours.  First time EVER that I have done any babysitting for either of the girls.  I figured we had videos, we had pizza, we outnumbered them 3-2 (Alice Nan was with us), and what could go wrong?

People pointed out that those were famous last words, but actually it was a delightful evening.  We watched Charlotte's Web


The girls ate their dinner.


And we had story time.  Alice Nan read to Lacie, and Bri and I finished her "chapter book," "Lassie Come Home," one of the books we gave her for her birthday.  Then it was time to brush teeth and get into bed.  Neither girl gave any argument and Bri let me lie down next to her and read a story to her before lights out.
It was a wonderful day and I feel like a grandma.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Lazy Days

This is the beautiful Mission Santa Barbara, the 10th of the 21 missions founded by the Franciscan Fathers in the mid-to-late 1700s.  People think it was founded by Father Junipero Serra, but he actually died two years before the mission opened.


I was remembering back 10 years or so when Steve was still traveling around the place giving his "what it's like to live with AIDS" lecture on college campuses.  I traveled with him sometimes, and when he came to Santa Barbara, I came along.  We had an afternoon free and so we went up to the Mission to look around.  We didn't take a tour because it cost money (so we didn't go inside the place), but we sat on a bench on the porch of the mission building and Steve looked out over the beautiful grounds and said something along the line of "So this is where the Catholics tried to destroy Native American culture, huh?"

I posted that to Facebook today and got an indignant reply from my friend Roy Spicer, who has been the choir director there for many years.  He wrote "You'll be happy to know the Indian culture is alive and well, Bev." Yes, I am happy to know that, especially after reading "Ramona" earlier this year.

We went to the mission to restock my supply of Santa Barbara postcards.  I knew the mission had the cheapest cards I had found in town.

Nowadays, the Mission is catering to the tourists, as witness this, which stands just outside the door to the museum gift shop:


It is appropriately labeled...


Of course who would be so silly as to stand at one of those cut-outs in front of such a sacred place of worship...?


We were having a lazy day today.  We hung around the house till about 12:30 and then went out in search of food.  Alice Nan had recommended a Chinese place...


which was delicious.  We had the lunch special, which came with wonton, pot stickers, fried rice, and egg rolls and then the fabulous main courses...


We had the walnut shrimp, and a shrimp-scallop dish, which was kind of spicy.  We discovered as we left that it was a seafood Chinese restaurant, which may have explained why the special of the day was a whole sea bass (we passed on the sea bass).

At 5:30 we went to Tom's for "Family Movie Night."  This is a tradition in their house and we love it when we are there.  The girls don't watch a lot of television, but they do love their movie tonight.  Laurel says she loves it because it's the only time both girls will cuddle with her these days.


Tonight we watched Frozen, which I hadn't seen and which, I understand, is the favorite movie of every child of a certain age.  It certainly is a favorite of the 2 and 6 year olds in this house!  Lacie did get a little fidgety in parts, but Bri was intense in her watching through the whole movie...and it is not the first time she has seen it.


It was a good movie and I'm glad that we had the chance to see it...even happier that we had the chance to see it with the girls.

Tomorrow T-ball at 8:30 a.m.