Friday, April 21, 2017

4/20 - 18


Got dressed in my "missing Paul" uniform this morning.


Lots of us have FTS shirts, which Paul's best friend Kag designed and gave to everyone on Christmas in 1999.  It stands for "f*ck this sh*t" which was what Paul once told his wife he'd like to be his epitaph.  We knew we couldn't print that anywhere, but my friend Olivia suggested "FTS" and it has been a useful abbreviation for 19 years now.  I hope somewhere Paul knows that.

You probably can't see the earring, so I took a close up.


Paul and I had a joke going about happy faces, giving each other gifts with smiley faces on them.  I think it started with a dumb necklace he gave me as a joke one gift-giving occasion and has included things like a HUGE candle (basketball size) and the famous "Happy," who went with us to meet Gasper last weekend.  I'm so happy I remembered to find the earrings this year!  I bought them several years ago and think of them usually a week or so after Paul's anniversary.

I went to Atria for lunch.  Nothings works better than a lunch at the funny farm to cheer one up.  She woke up a little more clear-headed than last time, but wandered around wearing only her pajama tops for about half an hour, trying to straighten out a necklace n her dresser for literally 30 minutes, butt flapping in the breeze.  I finally got her dressed and then to the dining room.  If dementia has ever been something she could hide, it no longer is.  I don't know if the woman who eventually joined us, Betty (someone I had not met before), has dementia or not, but I suspect she does.  My mother asked many times if this were lunch and just lots of stuff like that.  I did a lot of explaining what we were doing today (flowers to the cemetery), who Paul was, etc.  Nothing new.  Just the new normal, with a bit more nudity involved this time.

When I got home, I tried to set up Skype on my iPad, but Davis Community Network has two addresses, the original one @dcn.davis.ca.us and a shortened version adopted several years later @dcn.org.  They are essentially the same address, but for some reason I am on iTunes with the short address and Apple with the long address and Apple won't recognize my password and there is no way I have figured out how to change it.  When I have time I'll try to get Apple customer service (bwahahahah...such an optimist) and see.

But because I could not get Skype installed, I was not able to have a Skype conversation with Caroline and Jane, though we were able to facetime, which is nearly as well.  Caroline entertained me with tales of her week castrating an obstreperous horse and trying to feed frozen rats to a snake, Jane talked about once babysitting for a snake, to the horror of her dinner guests, and I shared the story of our orphaned rats whom I had bottle-fed and eventually donated to the local pet store fooling myself that they would be sold as pets, while pretty certain they would end up a someone's lunch.  

In the afternoon we went to the cemetery and discovered that Jessica had gotten there first.  She always brings mayonnaise to the cemetery on 4/20 because Paul hated mayonnaise so much and she's still angry with him for dying.

We left flowers and then Walt went wandering around "the neighborhood" while I sat on a new bench engraved "the gang's all here" and looked for familiar names.  It seems that each time we come to lay flowers on the grave, we find new familiar names joining the neighborhood.

Walt and I have a plot somewhat close to this one for Paul and David, so one of these days we will be members of the neighborhood too.

At night more sushi and then home to catch up on the shows that were recorded while we were out at dinner.  Now a break for a month when it's time to commemorate Dave's 21st anniversary.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Useless

It was my day to work at the hospital information desk and when I got there I was surprised to see that there had been changes.

In the past the desk stood alone, opposite the front door, where people walking in could see it immediately.  The security guards had their own desk across the room outside the door to the birthing center, so that if someone wanted to visit a patient and her baby, the guards would question them and then unlock the door and let them in.

Now someone had decided we should share a desk, so the information desk was expanded and a space for the guards was added.

 
Before I went to Sutter, I stopped off at Atria to visit my mother.  I was feeling guilty for not bringing her here for Easter, because of the rain.  It was 11 when I got there and she was in bed, which seems to be a daily thing.  She was very sleepy and disoriented (not surprising...I'd have been disoriented if my deep sleep had been interrupted).  I only had a brief time to stay with her, and it seemed there wasn't going to be time to get her up and get her "with it" again.  I figured I would just leave and let her go back to sleep.

That meant I had an hour to kill before my time slot at the information desk began, so I went to the hospital cafeteria and got myself a slice of pizza and a large glass of water.  I settled myself into a table and then realized I had not brought my water with me (it is too convoluted to try to carry a heavy purse, a plate of food that easily slides around and could fall on the floor, a glass of liquid, and my cane).  I got the water, returned to the table and immediately spilled the water all over the place.

 
Ice water and ice cubes went everywhere and my pizza was now ice cold.  The cafeteria "napkins" have the consistency of thick Kleenex and were essentially useless.  I reported the spill and someone came to sweep the ice cubes under the table, to let them melt into the rug and wiped up (most of) the water.

I finished my lunch and went to relieve the person at the information desk.  It didn't take long for me to realize that I hated the new set up.  I felt totally useless.  For one thing, there was a rotating number of security guards working at their computer, all of whom kept their back turned and didn't even acknowledge my existence.

 
There is a fair sized group of congenial guards who have all worked together for a long time.  I had been aware of the groups that had a good time visiting with each other at the old security desk by the birthing center.  Now they all gathered around the information desk and visited all afternoon.
When someone came in the front door wanting to know where to find such and such a thing, they asked the security guard, since I was pretty much hidden behind the group of people standing in a circle around the security computer.  So any information that was given out today was given out by the security people and I wondered what I was even doing there.

The day dragged on and on since there was nothing for me to do but sit there and stare at the back of the guy sharing a desk with me.  I left my shift wondering if I still wanted to continue volunteering there or not, since it seems to have become a superfluous job.

I came home exhausted from doing nothing all day and went to sleep much earlier than usual since I couldn't keep my eyes opened.

Monday, April 17, 2017

In My Easter Pajamas

It was 3 p.m. before I realized I was still in my pajamas.  I waited until the movie Easter Parade was over and then the plan was to get my mother and bring her here for a roast leg of lamb dinner.
I should add here that this was the line-up of movies on Turner Classic Movies today:

--Barabbas
--Ben Hur
--Easter Parade (?!)
--The Robe
--King of Kings
--Ben Hur--Tale of the Christ
--Quo Vadis
--Spartacus


I love Judy Garland, but how did she get into this list???  Still, I had not actually sat and watched the film in a long time...it's one of those movies I know so well, I can put it on as background while I'm doing something else.  But today, I sat and actually watched it.  It was like seeing it again for the first time.  A nice way to spend a couple of hours on Easter.
 
I had been mentally going back and forth all afternoon about whether or not I would actually bring my mother over here for dinner.  In the early afternoon it rained, moderate strength.  I knew she would not want to come out in the rain, especially since holidays mean nothing to her any more and she had no reaction on Friday when I told her I would bring her here for dinner on Easter. 

The rain finally let up and there was just a drizzle, which looked beautiful adorning the tree outside my kitchen window, but it still was wet and I was getting more and more convinced that I shouldn't try to get my mother.  I knew she would not remember that I said I was going to bring her here, and was not aware that it was a family holiday day, so I finally decided not to get her.

Then I got dressed.

"You're not wearing your pajamas," Walt said, in surprise, around 5:30. 
"I decided to dress for dinner," I told him.

Mother or no mother, I went ahead with plans for dinner--a roast leg of lamb, Cousin Nora's recipe for peas (from Ireland), and mashed potatoes, with salad.  All was delicious.  I wish lamb weren't so darn expensive.  It is my favorite of the red meats.

It was just Walt and me for the holiday, and we spent it watching the Beverly Hills Dog Show on TV, which was won by Ripcord, a gorgeous Doberman.


I've never been a doberman fan, but this guy was so strong and regal looking, it's easy to see why he won.


Well, actually no.  It's not easy to see.  Every time I watch a Best in Show competition, marvel at the judges who aren't judging one dog against another, but judging the look of one dog against the standard of the breed.  There were some beautiful dogs, one in each category, competing for the top slot.  My money was on the English Springer Spaniel, but I was happy for Ripcord and his owners.
So our Easter came without any bunnies, but with lots of dogs and a bit of lamb, and that was OK.  

Today I'll stop and visit my mother.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sunday Stealing

1. If "happiness" was the global currency, what kind of work would make you a gazillionaire
I was so very happy when we fostered orphan puppies, until the local animal shelter started giving them to breed specific rescue groups.  There is nothing that makes me feel happier than a newly fed 1-3 week old puppy giving happy puppy grunts as he/she snuggles onto my chest.  I felt I had the best of all possible worlds because I got them when they were tiny and when they started becoming obstreperous, at 2 or 3 mos. of age or so, they moved to a different home.  I could feed newborns every day and watch them start to "wake up" and explore the new world around them, and be a very happy person.  (Of course I did it as a volunteer, so it might not make me a gazillionaire!)

2. Would you break the law to save someone you loved?  And, if so, how far would you be willing to take it?
Yes I would.  I don't know how far I'd go until faced with a specific situation.  I'd like to think I'd fall short of killing someone, but if it was a question of my loved one or the other, I might find the courage to save the loved one.
   
3. Is it possible to really know the truth without questioning it first?
These days it behooves us to question everything since "truth" has become such an elusive thing.  It used to be we took things at face value, but our president and his minions have taught us that truth is unimportant.  That has been a very sad realization.
   
4. Do you remember that one time . . . oh, about 5 years ago or so . . . when you were really, really upset?  Does it really matter now? If not now, then when?
Five years ago?  Hmmm.  It helps to have a database.  April 2012 seems to have been a good time, as was March 2012, but I did write an entry about an article someone posted on Facebook about the movie The Hunger Games.  Apparently there was a lot of comment about casting of the movie and why Black actors were cast in specific roles.
"I was pumped about The Hunger Games until I learned that a black girl was playing Rue."
In the long list of comments the n-word was used more than once.  The entry I wrote was entitled "I Don't Recognize My Country" and it was about my history with African-Americans, being a child of the 50s where going to school with four black girls was a real first for me, since there had been no African-Americans in my grammar school.
"The idea of prejudice never even entered my head until my sister was going to go to the movies with a black friend.  My father paid the young man a visit at his place of employment and told him he was not allowed to take his daughter out and that he felt that people should date only within their own race."
It was the first time I ever realized that my father, who preached acceptance, was really filled with prejudice.  Anyway, yes, it mattered then and it still matters today.
5. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?
It depends on the situation.  All you have to do is follow the nightly news to realize that nothing is what it seems and that evil seems to abound....but does it really?
   
6. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
Well, I can definitely think of a thing or two, but people would judge me, so I won't print them here.
   
7. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?
It would be almost impossible to have less work to do, since I am very good at avoiding work.

8. Would you rather be an anxious genius, or a tranquil fool?
This is a period where I am working on tranquility, so I'll go with the tranquil fool...besides, it's kind of fun to be considered a fool.

9. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
How about neither?  I don't worry about things I do.  I do them, and if they are the "right thing," good, but if they are the wrong thing done right, that's good too.  Confusing question, confusing answer.
   
10. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
For so many years, when I asked myself this question, the answer I came up with was 35, which seems to be the age at which many of us are stuck mentally.  Lately, however, when I think about how old I feel it's closer to 50....still quite a bit younger than my actual age (74), but older than 35.  Must be because of all the losses in the last 20 years that weigh me down, as well as the responsibility of my mother which all make me feel older.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Kick It

Since McGee, Garcia and Chloe are still not available to me, I had to resort to more primitive methods to fix today's computer problem.  Essentially I kicked it (virtual kicking = turning completely off).

I don't really understand what happened.  I went to call up a file on WordPerfect and discovered that only a small number of my real files were there.  They all seemed to be from a couple of years ago.
Now I should explain that I have the C drive, which is, of course, the CPU.  Then I have two external drives.  The E drive has, in addition to the Word Perfect documents, all of the files for Funny the World.  The F drive has my database files, and other things.  Both E and F are back-ups of each other.

I checked my file for letters to Brianna, which are nicely organized into folders by year, and a file for things sent to her. But none of the folders were there, only the letters from 2016.  Nothing new.
When I checked the PC I discovered that what had been the E drive was now the F drive, and what was now the E drive listed files from a flash drive I had put in earlier that day with files from our trip to Santa Barbara.  There was no sign of the contents of what had been the F drive.  

What gives?

That's when I kicked it.  I turned off the computer and went and rented the movie Lion from X-finity to give the computer two hours to decide what it wanted to do.

When I turned it on again, everything was back, but the E drive was still F and the F drive was still E.  All of my WordPerfect documents were back.  

The first thing I did was to do back-ups of the major files I did not want to lose (like my list of all the entries of Funny the World and all of the books I've read over the last 7 years!).  In addition to being backed up on the two hard drives, they are also backed up on a flash drive.

So that crisis was averted.

But I keep getting messages from the cloud saying that my storage is filling up and asking if I want to buy additional storage.

Now, I need to say that there was a time when I read computer books for fun.  When I was learning my various programs, learning how to code in HTML (before there were programs like FrontPage) I would read manuals in the car for fun.  I took a real joy in the discovery of all the things I could do.
But these damn programmers keep inventing new things that require new programs and first of all new programs (and the upgraded computers to run them) cost money.  When I would read what the upgrades did, and I realized that I had no need for any of the fancy new bells and whistles they offered, I kind of lost interest in reading manuals.

I should add parenthetically, that I don't know how the people I was running around with at the time could afford a new computer every six months or so!  Or a new version of an expensive program like PhotoShop every time a new one came out.  No wonder people run up bills of thousands of dollars on credit cards!

So anyway, technology has left me in the dust, but I'm happy.  I have my PC, I have WordPerfect (very, very old version because I don't need the bells and whistles that came with the expensive "suite" that Word Perfect morphed into).  I have Front Page on which I have written this journal for most of its existence (in the beginning, I wrote my own HTML), and I have a copy of PhotoShop that I found at an incredible sale on Amazon many years ago.  It's CS3, which is so terribly outdated, but it does all I want it to do, so why do I need to upgrade to the latest version, which would cost >$1,000?

When I got this new computer, none of these programs were supposed to work on it, but my guru managed to get each working and now I live in fear of having to replace the computer, as I fear having to replace my laptop for the same reason.

So, I am aware that there is something called the cloud that apparently has been storing things for me, but I don't have a clue how to access the cloud or what is actually stored there.

I decided it was time to check the cloud and find out what it was storing.  Did it have all those files I thought I lost?  Only I had no idea how to find my cloud file.  I went to Facebook for help.
"You know people write jokes about people like you," my grammar school friend Lois wrote on Facebook after several posts of mine about trying to find my iCloud account.  "Sigh.  I know," I answered her.  Feel free to make up your own jokes...

I learned that I had to download iCloud to my PC, so apparently whatever is on my cloud is only from my iPhone, I think, but now that I was into learning about the cloud, it sounded like a good idea to have on the PC too.

So I signed up.  And I went through all the questions.  I knew my log in, I knew my password, and when I logged out and logged back in again, it didn't recognize either.  You know, there is nothing like a computer to make you feel really stupid!

Somehow -- I still don't know how -- I managed to get logged into the cloud but then I tried to find the files that are apparently filling it up.  Do you think I could find anything?  No.  I didn't find anywhere to view stored files.  I can only assume that I have a separate cloud file for the iPhone...and there is nothing on the phone that I care about losing if my cloud account fills up.

Then I found a very long document about how to link your PC documents up to the cloud, at which point I gave up.  I'll just do better about backing up.  The cloud is entirely too complicated for my brain to comprehend.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Beds

A month or so ago, I ordered something called a "sherpa bed" for the dogs.  The price was right and it was supposedly bigger than the beds we have now (Lizzie's favorite position is in a small bed, with her head hanging out onto the cold floor)

 
It hasn't come and hasn't come and I was beginning to think that I had been ripped off.  But yesterday a basketball-shaped package, poorly wrapped, showed up at the front door and lo and behold, there was the new bed.

I unwrapped the bed and put it on the floor, ready to line it up with the other beds, but Lizzie took possession immediately.

 
She obviously loved the new bed and has settled in all day, ignoring the beds she has been sleeping in for the past several years.

I know the feeling.  Though I don't sleep in a bed, my couch and my recliner are so comfortable that I love to snuggle in the way Lizzie has done with the new bed.  Give me the recliner and a quilt that I sleep under and I can hibernate like a bear in the woods (without the fear that someone is going to shoot me, because that is now legal).

The bed has become, I think, my mother's refuge.  It used to be that when I went to see her, she was asleep on the couch.  Now more often than not she is sleeping n her bed, with lots of pillows and a comfortable duvet.  Sometimes she's dressed for the day, sometimes not and it's difficult to tell if she slept in her clothes (as I often do), or if she was helped to dress and then went back to her bed.

Yesterday I was going to have lunch with her, but no parking place, so I went shopping first and it was after 12 before I got to her apartment.  She was in her bed, dressed.  I could not tell if she'd been up or not, but since her shoes were next to the bed, I assume she had been up and had assistance getting dressed before going back to bed.

I just ache for her.  It must be terrible to wake up in a strange place, with strange people, and no clue where you are.  I woke her up and she squinted at me, and said, weakly, "I think I recognize you."
I sat on the bed, hoping she'd come to life, but she turned on her side, pulled the duvet up over her and said several things, all mumbled softly and I have no idea what she was saying.  After about 30 minutes, I told her I thought I should leave and let her get some more sleep.  That got her moving.  A little.

She eventually sat up, but just sat there, not really acknowledging that I was there, though ultimately she decided she would get up.  I told her I'd wait in the living room.  She finally came out and said "what am I supposed to do?"  I told her there was nothing she had to do but that I was just going to sit and wait for her so we could visit.

She disappeared again for a long time and when I went to check on her, she was sitting on the bed again.

She finally came in and sat in her chair, but didn't know where she was.  She seemed surprised to hear she'd been there nearly 4 years.  She asked how often I sat in the chair she was sitting in.  She commented on the blooming plants outside, and asked what the blanket on her couch was.  She had no concept that I had not been around, and had no interest in hearing about the trip to Santa Barbara (though she asked what I'd been doing ... she just didn't want to know about it).  She said she just sat there and waited for people to come and see her.

I finally decided that we had nothing to say to each other and I left (ironically, exactly an hour, which is how long most of my visits last).  I brought her laundry home to wash, which surprised her that I would do that.

I left with tears on the surface, then came home to an email from the woman who runs Atria saying they were having problems getting her  to shower and to wear Depends and that she has been having accidents. She was thinking I could come by while they bathe her and maybe that would calm her down.  She also suggested I remove all of her underwear and replace them with Depends.

This is killing me.  I hate the thought of causing her discomfort by making her accept strangers bathing her. On one of her more lucid days, we talked about it and she was adamant that nobody was gong to bathe HER.

I agree with the need to get her to accept Depends because incontinence is becoming a problem.
I suggested to Brianna that we just ignore the bathing assistance right now until it becomes a noticeable problem and decided I won't take her clean underwear back to her when I've finished washing it and put Depends on her underwear drawer and see what happens.

As I said, this is killing me.  I watched her sister go through this and that killed me, watching that intelligent, funny woman shrink into someone who had to be bathed and screamed bloody murder the whole time because she hated it so much.

It's so hard to know what to do and I wish I could talk to my mother about it because she'd know the right thing to do!

It makes me want to crawl into my comfortable recliner, pull the quilt up over me and veg-out with a movie or two.

(Worst of all, ofcourse, is knowing that unless high cholesterol does me in first, this will be me, eventually, and my kids will have to be making these same decisions.)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wallflower

I've always said I was a wallflower and I think this proves it.


Here is my view from the table where I was sitting for the Sutter Davis thank you lunch for volunteers.  Note that all tables are filled except mine.  I rest my case.

Actually, eventually some people came to sit with me (the other tables were full) but four of them were friends who were immersed in their own conversation throughout lunch, but at the end, one woman did say my name was familiar and had I been a real estate agent?  When I told her I was the critic for the Enterprise, she was more friendly and told me she always reads my stuff.  That always makes me feel good.

But the lunch was nice and I was surprised to get a pin for having volunteered 100 hours since I started volunteering (along with a tiny box that held one See's truffle...worth the trip out to the Flyers Club in itself).


Our trip home from Santa Barbara on Monday had been a beautiful tour through a lot of yellow wildflowers.


Mile after mile of carpets of yellow flowers (mustard, I think).  This was an area where a few years ago, the carpets were purple and orange, for lupin and poppies, but I didn't see any of those today.  Still, the yellow kind of takes your breath away when you see it surrounds you as far as the eye can see.

We were listening to David Baldacci's "The Guilty," which is a complicated book in spots and the fact that I had terrible insomnia the night before and kept dozing off didn't help.  But at least the end of the book was so intense that one could not really fall asleep listening to it.
We stopped at one of our regular restaurants along I-5, Pea Soup Andersons.  I know they have a great menu....


but I can never get past their "travelers special," which is a bottomless bowl of their famous split pea soup along with a selection of toppings.


You can get refills on soup as often as you want, but I can never finish more than one bowl, though Walt had two.  The combo comes with the drink of your choice, which includes either a chocolate or vanilla milk shake (I got the vanilla shake).

When I woke up this morning, Amazon had delivered a package, which was my own copy of the Harry Potter cookbook that Brianna was reading when I was in Santa Barbara.  I thought an added dimension to our correspondence would be to compare recipes, since she likes to cook and was excited about several different dishes.  I love it that she likes to read cookbooks as much as I do!  My first experiment will be a Butter Beer Milk shake!