Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sunday Stealing


1. Which living person do you admire the most, and why?
Especially now, the Obamas, who led this country with grace and dignity despite overwhelming odds.  When I see what has happened in the last month, I miss them more than ever.  I used to be proud of our president.  The one we have now is an international laughing stock.  Also Dame Daphne Sheldrick, who runs the foundatioan in Kenya that saves orphaned elephants.

2. When were you the happiest?
Probably any time when we lived in a place where I had lots of friends around and I had friends to hang out with.  The five years working with the Lamplighters were some of my favorite too.

3. Besides property, automobile or furniture, what is the most expensive thing you have bought?
Hmmm....I guess my computer.

4. What is your most treasured possession?
I've answered this question several times.  This is it:

 
This is Delicate pooh, and I have told his story here
 





5. Where would you like to live?
If I were rich, I'd live in or near Santa Barbara so we could be closer to the grandchildren, but I'm happy living in Davis.  I have no desire to move to some exotic location.

6. Who would you get to play you in a film of your life?
Rosie O'Donnell or Melissa McCarthy

7. What is your favorite book?
This question again?  I always answer either "The Mother Tongue" by Bill Bryson or "Prince of Tides."  I might add the "Outlander" series now too.

8. What is your most unappealing habit?
Pick a habit, any habit. 

9. Twitter or Facebook? (Or if both share the differences in your opinion.)
I never really got into Twitter until recently (figuring it was self preservation to find out what the president was saying). I kinda sorta enjoy it, but I've been on Facebook for about 9 years and have made many casual friends there.

10. What would be your fancy dress costume of choice?
I never do costumes.  Last time I dressed in a costume was more than 40 years ago.  (I dressed as our friend Andrij Hornjatkewyc.)

11. What is your earliest memory?
I have two, and I don't know which is earliest.  When my sister was a baby, I wanted to find out what it was like to be in a crib drinking from a bottle.  I would have been 4.  I also have snippets of memory of a train trip I took with my mother to Pasadena.  I was probably younger than 4.

12. What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Any over the top sundae or milk shake from Fenton's Creamery.  Fortunately I rarely get there.

13. What do you owe your parents?
My sense of humor, my love of music, my love of San Francisco, and, from my father, my curly hair, from my mother my love of books.

14. To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?
Sigh.  This question again.  Peggy .... for whatever it was that I did.

15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My family.

16. What does love feel like to you?
Comfy as a pair of old slippers,  no drama.

17. What was the best kiss of your life?
No one kiss stands out.

18. Which words or phrases do you overuse?
They all have four letters.

19. What's the worst job you have done?
I worked for an attorney here in this town for awhile.  He was a most annoying man and the day I quit was one of the happiest of my life.  He later asked if I could come in and work for one day while he was in court.  He asked me to stop by his house to get instructions.  Turns out he wanted me to pretend to work and keep track of who talked instead of working while he was out of the office.  I said no.  He never called me again and I was happier for it.

20. If you could edit your past, what would you change?
One thing I wish I could change was advice I got when I was choosing courses in my first semester at UC Berkeley.  My roommate told me that Speech-1 was an "easy A" and I should take that.  So I did.  For someone terrified of public speaking, and somene who loves to write, taking that class set me up for failure from the beginning.  I might have finished college if I had taken an English class instead.

21. What is the closest you have come to death?
I almost drowned at a lake when I was a little kid.  I remember the lifeguard carrying me out to shore.

22. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Raising five kids to adulthood, seeing what good people they are, really liking them, and considering them some of my best friends.  Writing the Lamplighters history ranks up there too.

23. When did you cry last?
As I have said many times, I cry easily (my grandmother used to call me a "spitzmuller").  I cry at Hallmark commercials.  I cry if anything emotional comes on TV, even something as simple as a contestant winning a game show. 

24. How do you relax?
In my recliner, in front of the TV, with a laptop at my side to check e-mail.

25. What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
A different resident in the White House

26. What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
People you think are going to be your friends forever, won't.  (Char is hanging in there, though.)  Jobs that you give your all to, thinking you will be there forever, turn on you.  Never give up yourself for someone or something unless you really want
to.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Ego Boost

If you're ever feeling low, or wondering if you're worthwhile or not, try belonging to Facebook on your birthday!

As of this writing more than 200 people have wished me a happy birthday on one post and another couple dozen or more on another, some sent personal messages on Facebook, plus all those people who wished me a happy birthday on yesterday's journal entry and individual messages not on a thread that I have lost count of

Thank you ALL!!!  It's quite a humbling experience.  I feel very loved.

I also had texts and phone calls from all of my kids, which is the most special, of course.  Ned was calling with a report about his recent trip to Tokyo.  A good friend had frequent flyer miles, so was able to treat him to the plane fare.  He was there for three days and after he got home posted highlights from the trip on Facebook.  He's such an amazing writer!  It was a real culture experience for him.  His last international experience was going to Jamaica for Christmas in 2015 and the contrast between the Jamaicans and the Japanese was like night and day.  Having spent a formative year in Brasil, Ned is a very huggy person, which the Japanese are not at all.  He was also amused that his host kept telling him not to take photos of such-and-such because it would be rude...Ned was thinking of Japanese tourists in this country with their ubiquitous cameras taking pictures of everything

Anyway, it was wonderful hearing about his experiences, and I'm so glad he had the chance to take the trip and renew acquaintance with his friend.

As birthdays go, it was pretty low key.  It was grey and rainy (my favorite weather--thank you, God!) so I just hunkered down, mostly here at the computer.  A problem with the new president is that there is so much to talk about that he is keeping all of the "fake news" TV commentators  busy 24/7, just about.  What with that and newspaper articles posted to Facebook, which link to other news articles and before you know it a couple of hours have passed.

I know Ned told me to turn off all media for the next four years, but it's like a train wreck that is so horrible you can't stop looking at it.

I thought about going to Atria, but by the time I was able to pull myself away from the computer it was 3:30 and too late, really, for the usual visit.

In the evening there was, of course, a show to review.  First we had to get there (to Sacramento).  Ned's sister-in-law had left this note on Facebook:  If you don't really have to go to Sac or Tahoe tonight, don't. Every street leading to I-80 east on-ramp is backed up for miles. And that's just to get ON the freeway. I've never seen it that bad.

Undaunted, we went anyway and it was as bad as she predicted, but we were smart.  Instead of getting in the middle of the slowly moving parking lot that was I-80, we took the frontage road and blissfully sped past all those slowly moving cars.  Until we got to the backup of cars getting onto the freeway.  By that time traffic on the freeway as lightening up a bit and we were stuck motionless, with a long parade of cars ahead of us and nowhere to turn around. on the 2-lane road.  It was 7:30, the show started at 8 and I was sure we'd never get there.


(It was raining too.)

But Walt hung in there and, miraculously we arrived at the theater with more than 5 minutes to spare.

It was Lizzie: The Lizzie Borden Rock Musical, which I figured would be a good companion to the other musical we will see in a few weeks, a musical about the Donner Party.

(Do playwrights and lyricists need to get new material???)

The words "rock musical" made me cringe and I was sure that I would not like it and made sure I had ear plugs with me, but I was surprised to discover that I liked it after all.  It was maybe a bit more "rock" than I would have liked, but the four actresses were wonderful and when they weren't rocking out at full volume, there were some very lovely numbers, including two duets which were absolutely beautiful because of the blend of the two singers' voices.

I realized that I knew nothing of Lizzie Borden but the famous verse

Lizzie Borden took an axe
Gave her mother 40 wacks
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father 41.

I didn't know whether she was jailed or executed or what.  As it turns out, she was acquitted after an hour of jury deliberation.

But I have my work cut out for me today.  Before I write the two reviews, I want to do research on the life of Lizzie Borden, who was apparently sexually abused by her father and had a lesbian relationship with her maid, among other things.

There was a champagne reception after the show and we stopped by briefly.  Walt looked around and said "do you think we are the oldest here?"  ABSOLUTELY!  I caught a glimpse of myself, bent over, padded with my jacket and avoir du poid and wondered if I had "CRITIC" blinking on my forehead.  We were obviously not the intended audience for this show!

It was a nice birthday and Walt is taking me out for dinner tonight for an "official" celebration.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Spring Forward


It's one of my favorite couple of weeks in Davis, when all the trees as bursting forth into blossom.  It's just starting now.  In another week, the entire F Street, from 14th Street down to 1st Street will be  under an arbor of these white blossoms.  I asked one year what kind of trees they are, and someone told me, but of course I have forgotten now.  But I do love driving under the arches on my way downtown.

I took my mother out for a drive one year, when the blossoms were at their peak and she seemed not even to notice.  These days she doesn't notice beautiful gardens or wonderful blossoms; she just concentrates on green leaves on trees.  Spring is something else I can no longer share with her.
Today I had lunch with my friend Kathy, with whom I lunch once a month.  We had both watched Trump's first press conference earlier in the morning and both of us were just about speechless.  As Chris Matthews said, "Kellyanne Conway had it right...she called it 'epic.'"

I'm wondering how Trump is feeling about FOX news tonight.  FOX, whom he described as the only non-FAKE news service, tore him to shreds for his lies.  The man seems incapable of telling the truth.  He continually insists he won by "the largest electoral college margin in history," though it has been shown over and over again that this is not true (Clinton, Obama, and Bush-1 all got higher votes)

Over and over he twisted questions he didn't want to answer into some sort of an attack on Hillary Clinton -- he's still campaigning against her.

He insisted that he wanted to meet with Congressman Cummings, whom he said was all excited about meeting with him, but that Cummings cancelled their appointment -- "Maybe Chuck Schumer thought it would be bad politics for him to meet with me." Congressman Cummings says the meeting was never scheduled.

He insists there was a "very smooth" roll out of the travel ban, television news reports to the contrary.  

He's been asked three times ow, that I have seen, what he is going to do about the increase in anti-semitic and ethnic violence and he has yet to answer the question except to say he is the least anti-semitic person you'll ever meet and then to talk about his wonderful family and how any blacks voted for him.

Try to follow the logic of his answers about Russia.  It will make your head spin.

Re his 90 minute attack on the media, Trump admitted that "the leaks are real, but the news is fake."  Huh?  All those leaks that he loved so much when they were directed at Hillary are now terrible and though during the campaign he invited Russia to hack Russia's server, and said that he "loved Wikileaks," he now wants to do an investigation and arrest the people who are leaking information.
He is the man who cries wolf every time he opens his mouth and one of these days he's going to have a very important message to deliver and nobody will believe him because they have become so used to his lies.

BUT, the worst part of it all came after the conference.  I had to leave the house, so I listened to the end of it in the car on the way to meet Kathy at the restaurant.  When it was over, the radio host opened the phones to comments from listeners and one after the other they came on raving about what a wonderful showing it had been for Trump and how he was turning out to be exactly the president they hoped he'd be.  

It was enough to make my head explode.

We got our anger and frustration out before we ordered lunch and then got caught up on each other's lives once again, since there was nothing left to say about this very dangerous man who is now the most powerful man in the world.

But on the other hand....

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Horror Stories

I'm finding out what a "support group" is all about.  The Senior Center has a dementia workshop on the third Wednesday of every month.  I was pretty good about going every month, but as the issues with my mother subsided (i.e., I had all the answers and knew what issues had no solutions), I got lax about going.  It would think about it and then realize that the third Wednesday had passed.  Again.  But I put it on my calendar this month.

I had no "issues" this month, but decided to go anyway, and it was great.  Seven people, two of whom were new to me.  Those two were still struggling with specific issues and we got into a discussion of local doctors ... who was good and who was someone who should be avoided at all costs.

I am someone who has loved "doctor shows" from the first time I saw one on TV.  It was probably Ben Casey and I've followed most of them from Ben Casey through St. Elsewhere, M*A*S*H, Marcus Welby and today's shows like Code Black and Chicago Med. I loved Hawkeye Pierce and McDreamy and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and Dr. McCoy and even Doogie Howser

I learned that doctors are always warm, caring, knowledgeable and miracle workers.  Even Dr. House, who may nearly kill a patient who came in for a simple rash, always cures them in the end, after using every machine and test available in the hospital.  House would be my last choice of a doctor!  I always wanted Dr. Welby to be my doctor.  A guy who seems to have nothing to do but stand around waiting for a call so he could make a house call.

Apparently people who work in gerontology never watched doctor shows.  The horror stories about uncaring or incompetent doctors is staggering.  Doctors who refuse to give tests for dementia, even simple tests (this was true not only of my mother but of others as well), doctors who will sign a release for someone who clearly has dementia to drive a car (or, if Congress is to be believed, buy a gun), doctors who listen to the patient with dementia rather than his or her caregivers to decide what is the proper course of action to take or medication to prescribe...and the disastrous results that follow. 

(There is one particular doctor who is detested by the leaders of the group, who think he is the worst thing to happen to Davis.  I am always embarrassed and never admit that I used to work for him in my my medical transcriptionist days.)

But the nicest thing about being back in the group today was just listening to everyone who is dealing with the same sorts of problems.  I am the only one with a loved on who is NOT living at home, so I have it easier than most of the others.

And to prove it, I went to Atria to visit my mother when I left the meeting.  It had been my plan to have lunch with her, but there was no parking to be had for love nor money, so I stopped a couple of blocks away and had lunch at a Panda Express.  I couldn't decide between their orange chicken and their walnut shrimp, so I ordered a "plate" instead of a bowl and got both, knowing that it was going to be WAY too much food for me.  And it was.  I had a whole lunch left over to bring home to Walt.

 
By the time I got back to Atria, there was (thank you, Gilbert) a real parking place.  I had bought her a little box of Sees candy for Valentine's day and between the two of us we ate the whole thing (4 pieces each).  
 
This was one of her better days.  Amazingly, she didn't ask me once what I was doing tonight, and, after the zen that comes from the dementia meeting, I just let her lead the conversation and went wherever she seemed to need to go.

We did talk a lot about her laundry (I had returned her clean clothes today) and how amazed she was to learn that I've been doing it for her for nearly four years and that she doesn't pay me to do it.
In the evening there was Jeopardy and the nightly shows.

After Walt went to bed, I sat up to watch the late night shows.  I record both Colbert and The Daily Show and then watch the opening monologues of both.  Rarely do I watch either show all the way thought.

Tonight Trevor Noah said he had finally figured out the problem with Trump.  He's the oldest person to ever be inaugurated as President and he (Noah) realized he's just a grumpy old man.  Noah was very funny as he portrayed Trump in all sorts of situations where he was reacting like a grumpy old man and went out of his way to say often that Trump was  OLD....VERY OLD

Trump is 70.

I will turn 74 tomorrow and I am feeling the need to go lie down now, I think.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Staff of Life

No bread?
No car?
No problem.



Walt went off to Berkeley for his dental appointment and I was at home without any bread.  Actually I haven't had any bread in several days and have made do with tortillas and other things, but today I had a hankering for bread.  So I just hauled out the bread maker and made a loaf of bread (thanks Neil Rubenking!).  It wasn't any special bread, just your plain run of the mill white bread...but is there a better aroma to come home to than freshly baking bread?



 
I was remembering the days when I made all of our bread.  Seems impossible to me now.  But back in the day, Char, Pat and I used to go to a specialty store where we bought all sorts of different flours (I used to love cracked wheat) and other ingredients and we really made most of our own bread.   (I remember that there was a character on a soap opera in those days who seemed to be making bread every time she was on the screen--and she NEVER got the hang of kneading bread dough.  It drove me nuts.)

I made bread at least twice a week, sometimes more and spent a lot of time bend over the breadboard kneading dough (which I don't do any more).  I heard once that the quickest way to get the gluten active was to throw the dough down on the board as hard as possible.  We had a shy sheltie in those years and he would run and hide whenever I started throwing the dough around.

(Later, I got my wonderful Kitchenaid mixer with a dough hook and that made the whole process easier and I didn't have to scare the dog any more.)

My staple was Cuban Water bread, which just had yeast, water, sugar, salt and flour, but I used potato water and it turned out huge, probably because you started it in a cold oven and so it continued to rise as it began to bake.  It also had a fabulous flavor.

There was also a quick loaf bread which rose faster because it used more yeast, and it had a different flavor because the sweet element in it was honey, rather than regular sugar.

Refrigerator potato bread was great because you could keep the dough in the fridge for up to 10 days and use it for loaf bread or for rolls.

But I think my favorite was Whole Wheat Spiced bread because it got its flavor from cumin, one of my favorite spices.

Char got tired of making turkey stuffing, so developed a recipe for "stuffing bread" where all you had to do was cut it up and add liquid and stuff the turkey--this was before you could buy pre-seasoned bread cubes in the supermarket.

We also got into sourdough.  I don't remember how that happened, but probably through Char, since she lived in Alaska for awhile.  But we all had bowls of starter in our refrigerators (I kept mine for over 10 years until a helpful visiting foreign student decided to clean my refrigerator one day while I was out and proudly told me she had thrown out "that terrible smelling bowl in the back of the fridge.")

You have to be dedicated to keep a starter going, using part of it for your new bread, replenishing it and then letting that ferment so you can use it again.  I made lots of sourdough breads, but we also made things like scones (very best scones I ever had out of Engand were my sourdough scones).

Of course sourdough pancakes were a favorite.  Whenever we went camping, Char brought the sourdough starter so we could make pancakes in the morning.  We would go hunting huckleberries in the afternoon and the kids would spend the afternoon doing "quality control" (tossing out the leaves and the bad berries).  At night Char would sleep with the starter so it kept warm and was ready to become pancakes in the morning.  And then we cooked the pancakes on the Coleman stove and ate them while sitting around the fire pit (then it was time to go huckleberry hunting again for the next morning).  Some of my best memories include those sourdough blueberry pancakes.

I rarely bake bread now because it's just Walt and me and if I make bread, he eats a slice and I finish the loaf, which is exactly what I shouldn't do.  But it sure was nice always having homemade bread in the house.

At that time we also had a stove where one of the burners was sunken so that you could keep a pot simmering on a burner down below all the others.  It allowed me to have homemade soup going most of the time.  A great place to put leftover vegetables, bones, etc.

I guess nobody makes that sort of stuff any more, at least not enough to still build stoves like that.  It's easier to buy take-out, I guess.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Valentne

As I sit here in my office writing this entry, Walt is busy collecting all of the garbage from the house and dog poop from the yard so that he can take our 3 garbage cans (we are into mega-recycling in this town) down to the curb for garbage pick-up tomorrow.

Walt's a good guy and while I mention him in this journal now and then, I never actually write about him, so I thought that on this Valentine's day, I would do just that.
I knew I had someone special the day we brought Jeri home from the hospital.  We arrived at our apartment and he parked the car and told me to wait, then he went inside and when I went upstairs holding our precious new baby, the house was full of pink roses and there was a record of music box music playing lullabies in the background.

How he loved that baby!


SUperbaby!

It warms the cockles of my heart that he and Jeri have always had a close relationship.  I'm jealous of her.  I would like to have been that close to my own father.

But Walt was always a great Dad, whether coaching Little League or going to Indian Guides, helping make a Pinewood Derby car for the Boy Scouts, working backstage at Sunshine Children's Theater, or just reading "The Night Before Christmas" every Christmas eve.


There is nobody who doesn't like Walt.  He'll do any favor anyone asks, happily, without complaint.  Right now he's on the board for Citizens Who Care for the Elderly, and has been for many years, helping raise money for people who can give caregivers in Yolo County a break for an hour or two now and then.  He does his own respite work with our friend who is in a wheelchair so that his wife can get out a couple of times a month.

He's so patient with my difficulties with my mother.  He has been there and knows how difficult this is for me at times.  His mother didn't have dementia, but she was quite incapacitated by her blindness and inability to move much.  He went to Santa Barbara as often as he could, and after a particularly bad time, he stayed there for a couple of weeks, sleeping on her little half-couch and making sure she got her "Boost and cheese" every day, in an attempt to keep her weight up.

He has been an amazing husband.  Sometimes I wonder what I did to deserve him.  When he retired, he said he had decided to take over the job of keeping the kitchen clean, and every night after dinner, he takes the huge mess I have made preparing it and makes the counters (or as much of the counters that don't store stuff permanently) all clean again.

He has done his own laundry ever since the day I washed his Air Force uniform (when he was in the reserves, back in the 60s) with something red and didn't realize that his uniform was pink because he left before the sun came up.  He discovered it when he got to the base.  After that, he took over doing his own laundry and we have both been better for it!

He has put up with all of crazy part-time jobs and my weird projects, especially 10 years of hosting foreign students -- and what experiences we had with those 70 kids from around the world!
He is my chauffeur and attends all these plays with me.  He understand my terror of big trucks (a terror which developed for absolutely no reason one night in 1986 and has not left me) and he is careful either NOT to pass a large truck or to pass it two lanes over or to go slow and stay behind the truck.  He puts up with my intermittent gasps when my mind sees imminent highway danger where there is none.
He drove me to and from Logos every Thursday for four years, since my knee won't let me ride a bike any more and the City of Davis won't let me park for four hours.  (Of course the beer he got every Thursday before he picked me up, at the pub around the corner from the book store, might have been an incentive!)

We have traveled the world together and he's always been very encouraging, helping me make it just a few more steps when I'm ready to give up, and waiting for me to rest when I just can't go any farther.  I have seen more of the world than I ever dreamed I would....and walked farther than I dreamed possible.

I love the relationship he has with the dogs, particularly Polly.  He is "her person" and she prefers to sleep in his lap at night.  If he walks by the chair where she is sleeping without stopping to pet her, she jumps up and barks and barks and barks until he comes back and does so.  He has liked all of our dogs, but Polly is the first dog who chose him as her person and she is so cute with him.

He keeps me supplied with mini ice cream bars at night while we are watching TV after dinner.  We both love to watch Jeopardy together.

He is kind and loving and does much more than his share around here and I love him for it.  I don't exactly sit and eat bon bons every day, but I definitely don't do a fraction of what he does.
He's a very special man and I don't tell him that often enough.  So now I have.  Happy Valentine's day, dear!

Monday, February 13, 2017

A Few Tears

My friend Gilbert Russak died when the Lamplighters were doing a run of Yeomen of the Guard.  The timing was ironic, since the character of Jack Point in that show was one of the two for which Gilbert was most noted (KoKo in The Mikado was the other).  Performers had a difficult time at the first performances after Gilbert's death, particularly when saying lines like "He was a living man and now he is dead, and so my tears may flow unchidden."

History repeats itself.  Co-founder of the company, and the man at its heart for more than 60 years, Orva Hoskinson, died last week, at age 92, during a run of Patience, the show for which he is perhaps best known.  His famous depiction of Reginald Bunthorne, "the fleshly poet," was once compared by San Francisco Chronicle critic Robert Commanday to John Gielgud's Hamlet ("There was Gielgud's Hamlet, and there is Hoskinson's Bunthorne.")

Orva performed all of the tenor roles over his years with the company and long after he stopped performing, he directed many, many shows.  We are so fortunate that in 1975 they decided to film a production of Patience, in order to have a record of Orva's performance.

I had known Orva for a long time but was not close to him.  The best time I had with him was a 2 hour interview I did for the second Lamplighters history.  We were sitting alone in the house, he on one side of the room, me on the other.  There was a big Boston fern off to the side.  He had no animals.  There were no windows open.  Suddenly in the middle of our interview, the fern began to shake for no apparent reason. It shook for several seconds and then stopped. We assumed it was Gilbert deciding he wanted to be a part of the interview.

I last saw Orva in 2012 at the 60th anniversary of The Lamplighters, when he made a rare appearance on stage with an even rarer appearance with his co-founder, Ann Pool MacNab.


We went to see the current production of Patience today, meeting Char for lunch first. The company has continued to grow since the last time Orva played Bunthorne.  The costumes and sets are more opulent, but there are still hints of Orva on stage, and a bit of a tear formed watching the excellent Lawrence Ewing in the role today.

The production had been dedicated to Orva, but at the curtain speech, Ewing not only talked about Orva's death and what he had meant to the company, he also announced the death of John Vlahos, who had been the company president for more than 30 years, performed with the company for many years, and even met his wife in the company.  He was an all around good guy and I mourn his loss as well.
I last saw him a couple of months ago, at the Lamplighters Gala, at which he was honored (and surprised by the honor!).  His cancer at that point was quite advanced and he was shadow of his former self, but still with that smile that welcomed everyone in and that made him both a good attorney and a good representative for the Lamplighters for all those years.

I had a fun interaction with John and his wife and Ann MacNab and her husband,  The two couples were best friends and the had this silly plaster of Paris boat that one of them got at a Christmas party one year.  They passed that boat back and forth for years, hiding it in each other's house (or office) or having it sent in some weird way.  I don't know when the last exchange was or who has the boat now, but I was pleased to be the one to sneak the boat into John and Martha's house one time.

It was a big surprise to see Ann's husband Adrian, that 12 foot tall Welshman, in the audience today.  I thought I saw him come in before the show, but figured it couldn't be him because Ann wasn't with him.  She doesn't get around much any more -- he says her health is fine, but it just hurts too much to walk (I can identify!), but I hadn't seen him in several years and it was lovely to see him again, however briefly. 

Today was just a trip down memory lane...but then these days any trip to the Lamplighters ends up being a trip down memory lane.