Monday, July 25, 2016

A Visit

We enjoyed a visit with Tom and family this weekend.  We were going o have a famiy meeting about "things" -- my mother's finances, our finances, thoughts about how long Walt and I want to live in this house and what should happen with it, etc.  Also it would be a chance to have a visit with Grandma, since they hadn't seen her since Christmas.

But the day before had been my mother's worst  It was as if overnight her memory disappeared.  She didn't know where she was, she didn't know anybody. ("You tell me you're Bev and your my daughter, and I believe you, but that means nothing to me.")  On seeing a photo of Jeri, the one person I felt she would always remember, "I never met her."  On seeing a photo of her beloved husband whom she has talked so often of wanting to join in the afterlife, "He looks like a nice man, but I don't know him."  I was on the verge of breaking down and had to leave.  When I left her, she was sitting in a chair repeating "I'm going to have to learn how to live with this."  I went home crying.

She tends to go in waves and I was hoping that by the next day things would be better, but I knew that a visit from the whole family would overwhelm her, so instead of everyone going, just Ned and Tom went and they reported than other than having to be reminded to put a shirt on over her bra, things were as normal as they ever are these days.

But we did have a good time with the girls.  I knew that with Uncle Ned there, the girls would have absolutely no interest in either of their grandparents, and that was true, but I enjoyed watching them play.

Lacie is a master puzzle worker.

In fact, watching her zip through the puzzles I'd bought for the girls I have this great idea that the next time they come, we should have Lacie and my mother work a simple puzzle together, since my mother has always been such a puzzle fiend.  Of course that assumes that my mother will still be able to work puzzles by that time.

Bri had an iPad from her grandfather on which to play games while the grownups had their conversation.

And both girls loved it when Marta read to them.

I discovered that our apple tree was dripping with apples that are just barely ripe (will be better in a week), and Bri helped me collect some apples for them to take home with them.

Both girls enjoyed apples while doing a Concentration game with Marta.

So we enjoyed visiting with the girls and we had a good conversation about money and practicality matters.  My first assignment (which I had planned anyway) is to meet with the resident services director to get some feedback on the new quirks I am seeing with my mother (she zones out briefly, with eyes opened or closed, unaware of anything around her.  A few second later, she "comes to" again with a shake and looking like she doesn't know where she is, but then reorients herself).  I want to find out her thoughts on this -- TIA? Something else? -- and also to investigate cost for upping her level of care.

As for what to be done with this big empty nest, I told Ned that I don't want to even think about moving anywhere for at least 2-3 years so I have a chance to enjoy this lovely new office I have!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sunday Stealing

We Found this gem from a blogger that we stole from once before, Stacy of the  blog “All Stacy All the Time”. She states that she stole it from "Lola’s Diner". But that's as far as I'll go. Tracing it back further might be crazier than a Trump speech. So as we sub for our current author, Kwizgiver, we will shout:
Cheer to all of us thieves!!

Sunday Stealing: The Beach Boys' Meme 

[this sounds more like a Saturday 9 than a Sunday Stealing!]

1. SURFER GIRL : “I have watched you on the shore, standing by the ocean drawer, do you love me do you surfer girl” Were you ever interested in someone (other than a celebrity) who did not return your interest?
Oh sure.  In grammar school it was Eddie Garavanta.  I remember being thrilled when he asked me to dance at a party I was hosting and then left me in the middle of the dance to dance with someone else.  Since I dated the same guy for 3 years, al through high school, I don't think there was an unrequited love in high school.

2. BE TRUE TO YOUR SCHOOL : “So be true to your school now, just like you would for your girl or guy…” Looking back, how do you feel about your high school days?
My high school days were some of my favorite years of my youth.  I loved the school, had a nice circle of friends, did well in school, had lots of activities.  I was sorry when it ended.

3. FUN FUN FUN : “…and she’ll have fun fun fun till her daddy takes the T-Bird away…” What was the worst punishment you received as a teenager?
I'm sure I was punished as a teenager, but in all honesty I don't remember a punishment.  Probably not permitted to go where I wanted to go.

4. I GET AROUND : “Round round get around, I get around” Where did you go on your last long trip?
We flew to Barcelona, boarded a ship and sailed up the Mediterranean to Venice.  It was a wonderful trip.

 5. HELP ME RHONDA : “You gotta help me Rhonda, help me get her off of my mind” What do you do to cheer up after a personal tragedy such as a lost job, power outage or broken relationship?
Eat (but it doesn't cheer me up)

 6. CALIFORNIA GIRLS : “I wish they all could be California girls. The west coast has the sunshine and the girls there get so tan, I dig a French bikini on Hawaiian island dolls, by a palm tree in the sand” Where are the best boys found?
I've never gone looking.

7. SLOOP JOHN B : “I wanna go home, please let me go home, ya ya. Well this is the worst trip, I’ve ever been on…” What is the worst trip you’ve ever been on?
Hmmmm.....there are a lot of camping trips with the Blackfords that might fall under that category.

8. WOULDN’T IT BE NICE : “I guess the more we talk about it, it makes it harder just to live without it, but let’s talk about it…” What is your biggest wish?
That my mother's dementia would magically disappear.  Ain't gonna happen.

9. IN MY ROOM : “There’s a place where I can go and tell my secrets to. In my room. In my room.” What is your favorite thing about your own personal room or space in your home/office?
Now that it is almost finished (only two boxes left to unload), I love this new office for the extended work space and that I am taking my time so that I can organize, box, and label everything, in hopes of (please dear God) keeping it relatively tidy in the coming months/years.

10. GOD ONLY KNOWS : “You never need to doubt it, I’ll make you so sure about it. God only knows what I feel about you” When was the last time you told a significant other or close relative that you loved them?
Whenever the opportunity presents itself.  I think the last time I said the words out loud was when I was visiting my mother yesterday.  It was a very. bad. day. for her and, through tears, I told her I loved her, though she didn't have a clue who I was.

11. GOOD VIBRATIONS : “My baby has good vibrations, she’s giving me excitations…” When do you get good vibrations?
Probably when I have written something that pleases me....a review or a journal entry (this is probably not one of them).

12. KOKOMO : “We’ll go to Kokomo. We’ll get there fast and then we’ll take it slow. That’s where I wanna go…” What is your favorite warm weather destination?
I don't have warm weather destinations. I would rather have cool weather destinations, like San Francisco or Seattle.

13. DO IT AGAIN : “Let’s get back together and do it again…” If you could go back in time and gather up your school friends, what would you do again?
I can't remember the things we did in school that I'd like to do again, but I do enjoy getting together with people occasionally--I have a lunch date with 6 or 7 or my grammar school friends coming up next month.

Ned, Marta, Tom, Laurel and the girls were here today.  We had planned to go see Grandma, but when I saw her yesterday, she was very bad and we decided that would be too confusing for her, so just Ned and Tom went.  Apparently she was better today, except for being half dressed and having to be reminded to go and put on a shirt. At least today she remembered who Jeri was when she called.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Saturday 9

Welcome to Saturday: 9. What we've committed to our readers is that we will post 9 questions every Saturday. Sometimes the post will have a theme, and at other times the questions will be totally unrelated. Those weeks we do "random questions," so-to-speak. We encourage you to visit other participants posts and leave a comment. Because we don't have any rules, it is your choice. We hate rules. We love memes, however, and here is today's meme!.. Because Melissa suggested Jan and Dean. Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
 1) When the song was written, "Surf City" was a fictitious town.* Tell us a song that is set in a real place.
It would be easy to talk about cities like San Francisco or Chicago or New York, but how many people know there is a song written about Davis, California?

2) In the song, Jan and Dean sing about riding around in a 1934 station wagon, which means the car was 29 years old when the song was recorded. How old is your vehicle?
I think three years.  It's the first "new" car we have bought, but Walt wanted a rear camera and they had just started putting them on Hondas.

3) Are you good on a surf board?
Let's put it this way.  If we were on a beach and a surf board was lying on the sand, waiting for a surfer to come along, and I decided to just try standing on it on the beach, I'd probably fall off.

4) When you spend time out in the sun, are you careful about applying sunscreen
I spend so little time out in the sun, that I don't even own sunscreen.

5) Dean's original partner was Arnie Ginsburg. When Dean was drafted into the Army, Arnie didn't feel like waiting so he abandoned show business and went back to college. Today he holds several patents. What is something you wish someone would invent?
That damn transporter Gene Roddenberry promised us.  I would love to be able to go visit my granddaughters for a couple of hours and then transport back home again.  That 8 hour drive is a killer.

6) Jan was a perpetual student who juggled college with recording. He not only graduated from UCLA, he completed two years of medical school at the UC Irvine School of Medicine. Have you ever considered going back to school?
Yes, but never seriously.

7) In 1966, Jan was sidelined by a serious car accident. During the years that he was unable to perform, partner Dean became a graphic artist. He designed logos and album covers for Steve Martin, Diana Ross and others. Do you feel you respond most to words, pictures, or music?
Pretty sure it's words first, then pictures, then music.
...or maybe words-music-pictures.  But Words always first.
8) In 1978, CBS made a TV movie about Jan and Dean. If they approached you about a made-for-TV movie of your life, who would you like to play you?
I've answered this question many times.  I always say Rosie O'Donnell...Melissa McCarthy would be OK too.

9) Random question:  Growing up, how did you learn about the birds and the bees? (From books/the web, from parents, from your friends...)
From my mother and one awful day when my father decided to explain things to me.  He made it all sound so dirty. (She told me it was a good way to make up after a fight, which tells you something about her marriage and why she finally divorced my father after 35 years!)

*Huntington Beach changed it's name to Surf City in the 1990s.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Today at Logos

I went to Atria before going to Logos, but my mother was still in bed.  After checking to make sure she was alive, I settled in to finish my book, "With a Feather on My Nose," the autobiography of Billie Burke (written in 1948).  I tried coughing a lot, but in an hour she didn't budge and I knew that if she woke up then she would be groggy, so I just left a note and came home for lunch.

There were three customers in the store while I was having a brief chat with Sandy but they had left by the time Sandy took off to pick up her granddaughter.

The next person to come in was a guy who wanted information about the Italian conversation group that was meeting that night.  Unfortunately, I know nothing about the language groups (Italian, French and German -- Susan was an ESL teacher and her husband is from Austria, and Susan is out of town, so I didn't even know how to refer him to someone.  I suggested he just show up and see what happens!

I next looked up and there was a heavier Ted Cruz browsing through science fiction.  Seriously.  Dressed in a suit, same pointed nose and perfect manicured hair, His hand were on his hips which twisted his back into a weird stance and threw his belly out in front.  He walked around like this head down, glowering.  He didn't buy anything, so I didn't get to assess him close up.

Three people in a row came in with donations, which I had to turn away.  One guy had only 9 books but said he had more in the car.  I told him I could take the 9, and he said he would take the rest to the SPCA thrift store.  A woman didn't bring her books in, so it was easy to ask her to return in a week.  One old guy staggered in with a heavy box and I didn't have the heart to turn him away, though asked that he hold off on the other boxes in his car until Susan and Peter return.

Two young women stood outside the front door either taking selfies or catching Pokemon (men?) but never came in.

[Aside:  They did a "what is Pokemon Go" segment on Live with Kelly yesterday and I am more confused than ever, mostly about what the whole point is! I'm definitely too old for this new craze!]

Two men, one quite rotund, one not quite so rotund, came in together.  The rotundest of them had a shirt that seemed to be covered with Pokemon characters.  They both looked around for a long time and finally the rotundest bought 3 bargain books.

A woman spent a long time looking at cookbooks.  Her niece is turning 25 and she decided that a quarter of a century is a Big Deal, so she is giving her 25 different gifts and thought a cookbook would be a nice addition.  By the time she finished (about 20 minutes of browsing), she had 5 books, 2 for her niece, one for her brother, one for her and I'm not sure about the fifth  She had me ring it up on two different credit cards.

I was getting involved in my book ("Phantom of Manhattan, which I read all in one day) so didn't write down much about the next couple of customers except that a woman bought 2 contemporary fiction books and another woman bought Steinbeck's "Winter of our Discontent."

I always think of my friend Phil Dethlefsen (another of those who dropped me like a hot potato without a word of goodbye).  Phil got me started reading John Steinbeck because his (Phil's) niece was married to Steinbeck's nephew and it felt like being connected, somehow, to Steinbeck's family.  I still have most of his books (though in the clean up my favorite book still has not surfaced..."Journal of a Novel," which is all the letters he wrote to his publisher, Pascal Covici while he was writing "East of Eden" -- fascinating to read the journal and the book together).  ANYWAY, I have read almost all of Steinbeck's books, but stopped dead during 'Winter of our Discontent.:"  Either I was Steinbeck-ed out, or I just didn't like  the book.  I can't remember now.  But I never finished that book and I don't think I have read another Steinbeck since (mostly because I've read them all) but I always enthusiastically recommend them to anybody who is looking for a good read.  Steinbeck always made me a better writer.  I always wrote better when I was reading his stuff.  Maybe I should read another of his books again...

Peter's friend, a mathematician who comes in every week to donate books and buy books (or just take them) came in and gave me a book and took a book.  He does this so often, I have always figured this is fine with Peter.

A man looking for a book about hypnosis bought "3 Minute Meditations."

A woman was disappointed that we had a lot of Jane Austin, but no "Pride and Prejudice."  I have never liked that book.  It's kind of like Game of Thrones, something that is wildly popular with the masses and something I have tried several times to get into and never could  But I've seen the play several times, so no point in reading a story that does not interest me!

My friend arrived at 4:30 and bought a large Arthur Conan Doyle book about adventures on tall masted ships.  We talked about Doyle's NON-Sherlock Holmes writings (and I had to struggle to remember Holmes' name...another pre-dementia moment).  I didn't realize Doyle and Houdini were good friends.  Apparently they discussed the afterlife a lot, Houdini believing in it, Doyle not.  "Well, they both know now," I said!

Two kids with iPhones, obviously looking for Pokemen came in and wandered around the shelves with their mother, who was carrying a pizza in a box.  I guess the Pokemon pickings were slim and the trio left within a few minutes, the kids still intently staring at their iPhones.  The guy on Live with Kelly talked about how good this was for making friends.  From what I have seen around me the last couple of weeks, it seems to be more isolating (and dangerous) than before the whole thing started.

A sweet young girl in a white and purple striped sundress bought a biography.  When she took her coin purse from her bag, I could see it was decorated in the same color purple as her dress.

There were four customers in the office when the manager, filling in for Peter and Susan, came in to relieve me.

I tried to listen to Trump, but just could not.  When he started hammering away at Crooked Hillary, I turned to The Big Bang Theory, but at the first commercial break, I switched back to the convention.  He was still hammering away at Hillary, the frenzied crowd shouting "Lock her Up!"  I quickly turned back to Big Bang Theory and when it was over, switched back to Trump and he was still hammering away at Hillary.  Maybe there was something substantive in the speech, but when someone is more obnoxious than Sheldon Cooper, that's pretty bad.

The best thing about the night was watching the Stephen Colbert show, where Jon Stewart made an appearance and did one of his old-type speeches railing against the Republicans.  It was like a week at the seaside  I miss him so much!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Little Treasures

Well, there's no doubting that this is my office now.  Every flat surface is covered with stacks of "stuff."  This is not a return to normal so much as it is a "trying to get organized" sort of thing.  I have now sorted through and stored all of the books I am keeping so what is left are boxes of "stuff" that in the old office was just stacked randomly.  I am going through each box, piece by piece, and trying to sort through what I'm keeping (and where to keep it)

Now it could be said that if I haven't gone through this stuff for many years, I should just toss it all, sight unseen.  But then I would miss gems like this:

The story behind this is that a kid told his parents that Ned made him give him his lunch and the parents reported him to the police for "extortion."  The real story was that the two boys had made a bet on the definition of a German word.  Ned won and the price was the other kid's lunch (or maybe part of his lunch).  When the police finally met Ned and got his side of the story, they could see that he was no bully.  Later, I felt so sorry for the other kid because his mother made him call me and apologize and all the while he was on the phone (very reluctantly) his mother was in the background screaming at him to tell me he was sorry.  Then she got on the phone and talked to me for half an hour about the frustrations of raising a kid in this day and age (they were in sixth grade, I think) with all the sex around.  She ultimately took him out of public school and put him a Christian school.  I have often wondered how that poor boy turned out!

I had the "day off" yesterday.  My mother's stepson let me know he was going to have lunch with her, so I didn't feel guilty for not going to Atria.  I had nowhere to go, so I stayed home and emptied box after box

The dining room which was completely filled with boxes, the table heaped with boxes, now has an open space...and the box on the right is one of the boxes of things to go to the SPCA thrift store.

I found a bunch of things I had written, apparently for a class?  I had completely forgotten them, but they were written before I started FTW.  One I would like to condense for an entry here some day starts "It was not the sort of day I suspected would change my life..."  Now aren't you intrigued?

Earlier this week I worked a shift at the hospital.  Sometimes I just marvel at the attitude of people.  A girl came in and said "where can I get a doctor's appointment?"  I asked her what she needed an appointment for and asked if she had a doctor.  She said this was her first time here and she needed to get birth control.  I told her that we didn't have doctors seeing patients for routine exams in the hospital, but gave her directions to Women's Health (which I used to manage).

Then a woman came in to borrow a wheelchair so that her 90 year old grandmother could go upstairs to see her 70 year old son, who was in the ICU.  This is not unusual, but what was unusual was that at 4:15, when I needed to start packing up, I needed to get the wheelchair back, but grandma was still sitting in it up in the ICU.  I went and found another wheelchair and took it up to ICU and they transferred her, with MUCH difficulty but I was able to get "our" wheelchair back and get it put away before I left for the night.

Not much organizing is going to get done today since I work at Logos (and will go to Atria first), but I hope to get through some of the stacks of stuff.  Problem is that our garbage pickup is not until Tuesday and our "paper recycling" can is already almost filled.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


There was a rumor going around Mayberry that Barney shot himself in the chest and had died.  Actually, he just got a scrape on his finger, but like the old "telephone" game, each person who passed along the news to the next person embellished it a bit until the undertaker showed up at the sheriff's office to take away the body.

I couldn't help it.  They introduced Chris Christie and suddenly I just went into Convention Overload, realizing that the best (or worst, depending on your feelings) moments will be replayed endlessly tomorrow and I don't have to sit through every excruciating moment tonight.  I had messages from two friends that just said "I want to vomit."

I was watching the Stepford-perfect Trump children seated in the box, remembering that the son was one of those rich guys who pay thousands of dollars to go out and kill innocent big game animals and didn't know if I could stomach anything he had to say.

Mayberry was a nice alternative.  Two sweet little old ladies helping Andy find the stills around town so they could run their competition out of business.

Now and then I would switch back to the convention but couldn't stomach the sight of bloviating Christie indicting Hillary Clinton and whipping the crowd into such a frenzy that they chanted "lock her up! lock her up!"

What must other countries watching this be thinking?  A text message I received said "If some nut shoots Hillary, it will be Christie's fault."

I have never seen such hatred coming out of a political convention (and I hardly watched it last night!).  You don't see hatred like that in Mayberry, where everybody seems to like everybody. Even the town drunk is treated with respect.

Yes, I know Mayberry is a fictitious place and probably nowhere like that ever existed in this country, but when the ugliness and venom is flying thick and fast by the people who want to lead our country, it was nice to take a brief escape back into that fictitious place and to wish I could turn today's world off and just sit on the porch with Aunt Bea, singing a quiet song and listening to the crickets chirp.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Sweat of Our Brow

Walt has been working like a dog in the back yard, trying to clear away shrubbery so the new fence can go up, working with the tree folks to came out to find out why your big tree had decided to drop a branch and leave one on the verge of dropping, and just cleaning up the yard in general.  Each night he comes in, dripping with sweat, his shirt drenched.

Ned put the finishing touches on my office, moving all the slides to the top shelf and all the scrapbooks up on the shelves.  

He also had made this great shelf unit for my desk.  

He also moved all the cords on the floor up to the wall, so the dogs, who have made the space under my desk as their beds, won't unplug anything.

The guy has thought of everything.

So even though I myself made countless trips back and forth from the living room to the office (about 30 steps each way...whew!) moving more stuff in, I had no reason to be sweating and exhausted by the time I put dinner on the table.

This was a delicious dinner, which I did not expect it to be.  One of the things I love about Blue Apron is eating foods I have never eaten before, which I expect to hate and then discovering that it's really quite good.

This was crispy cod with squash.  The cod is breaded and fried and then topped with a salad of arugala mixed with quinoa and toasted almonds.  The whole thing sits on a bed of marinated summer squash, sliced and then added to vinegar, dijon, garic, and olive oil.  After you take the squash out of the dressing, you then put the rest on the arugula salad.

It was delicious.

But, as always, I was dripping sweat before the dinner got on the table, huge drops of sweat rolling into my eyes and temporarily blinding me, at least for reading the recipe.

The problem with Blue Apron dinners is all the prep work...which is, of course, what makes them so good.  By the time I have peeled and chopped and tried to cook things so that they all come out at the same time, I sometimes long for my reliable "Joe Special" which is just hamburger cooked with spinach and stop shoppping.  However, I am learning how best to do the Blue Apron dinners, which is to take breaks.  That may sound silly.  The work involved isn't all that much, but when I start sweating and my back aching, I just have to walk away and sit down for a few minutes....and I'm hoping that all these healthy meals are gradually making me more able to handle the work of putting them together!

I also shouldn't feel bad about how many trips I made back and forth carrying stuff to put away.  After all I had an almost 2 hour rest while I visited with my friend Cindy.  Of course my friend Cindy is also my dentist and most of those 2 hours were spent with her hands in my mouth, but  I honestly look on my trips to the dentist as restful visits. We get caught up on our lives, I get to vent about my mother, I hear about her trips to the Netherlands to visit her father-in-law, who also has dementia.  We compare what our kids are doing. She was filling 3 small cavities and I left there looking like I had a permanent sneer from all the numbing, but all the numbing means zero pain and only minor discomfort, so I don't mind.

The end is in sight as far as my office is concerned.  I am going to be left witha lot of  "miscellaneous sundries" that have no place...and had no place in the old office...and I'm going to sese how many of those I can actually throw away.

But I can see the living room again and that is a nice thing.

And just to get political for a minute, in this day and age how does ANY politician think they can get away with ANYTHING when there are cell phones and fact checkers behind every corner.  What was the Trump machine tinking of allowing Melania Trump to plagiarize.  Paul Manafort, campaign chairman, denied allegations that Melania Trump plagiarized a Michelle Obama speech on the first night of the Republican National Convention, calling the accusation "just really absurd."

But you can play the speeches side by side and they are word for word identical in a big spot.  You think I'm going to believe that Melania (who says she wrote thes peech herself--anybody believe that?) just channeled Michele Obama and somehow came up with the identical words?  Give me a break!  American people aren't that stupid....or are they?  These days I don't know any more.