Monday, August 3, 2015

Down Memory Lane

Char is going through a nostalgia phase right now, based on finding a stash of "Pinata Papers," a newsletter I put out for several years to keep our Pinata family together when we started spreading out around the world and didn't all live within a few blocks of each other any more.

We've been sharing memories and ideas for how to make all the old "Pinata Papers" available to anybody who wants them.  

So many of our memories involved Tiny Tots, the nursery school most of the kids attended.  It was our social hub for years.  The kids went to school there, we had parties there, and since it was a co-op, the fathers took care of the upkeep of the building (and did NOT burn it down, except just a little)

Char reminded me that we wrote a song for the school.  I could only remember the last line of it, and in her next e-mail she came up with the lyrics for the whole song ....

Of all the schools that bear reflection
Unstructured without flaw
Tiny Tots is our selection
We revere her hall
Raise the banner
Wave it madly
Proudly keep her free
Hail to thee, our alma mommy
Hail to thee, TT

That may have been boring for most of you, but there is a handful of people who might enjoy it.
I reviewed two shows this weekend.  When I review a show, I don't like to schmooze.  Some critics do and maybe that is to my detriment, but the thing I hate is having someone ask me "so what did you think" at intermission, especially if I don't like the show.  I also prefer to leave fairly quickly after a show rather than stand around to glad hand with the cast.

One of the plays was at a fairly new to me theater.  I have been there before, but am still learning the ropes.  Additionally there is a new publicity person, who is very friendly, very eager, and wants very much to make sure the critics are accommodated and that our our wishes for photos, etc. are met.

The play was not very good.  Pre-show publicity had indicated all sorts of things none of which were apparent and the critics were unanimous in our muttered comments that we didn't like it.  One called it "a piece of shit" (that probably won't make it into the review!)

So wouldn't you know that it was this night after the show when the publicity person came to greet me and make sure I had everything.  I was also told that my writing was really good and that they enjoyed my reviews very much. One of the big guys (manager or assistant manager or something) also came up, all smiles, telling me how much he enjoyed my writing and asking me how I liked the show.  I told anyone who asked that it was certainly a different kind of show, and, indeed, it was.
It just wasn't a good "different kind of show."

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sunday Stealing

Do you shout out the answers at the TV while watching quiz shows?
The only quiz show we watch is Jeopardy, but we both do.

Do you get over-involved with TV or movie plots at times?
Not sure what "over-involved" means.  I don't feel like I'm in the show, certainly, but I was definitely involved in the recent Outlander mini-series.

What's the highest hill or mountain you've ever climbed?
Does in a car count?  If so, probably Pike's Peak (14,000 ft.).  If it has to be on foot, Mt. Lassen, when I was pregnant with Jeri in 1965 or 66 (there was a trail to the top, 10,000 ft)

Do you have a piggy bank?
Nope.  I have an old 35 mm film container filled with quarters if I need any for parking meters, though.

What's the fastest you've ever traveled in a car?
Maybe 90 mph.  Briefly.

Could you ever hand milk a cow?
I never had the chance, but having expressed breast milk, I at least know how it's done in theory.

Which was your favorite science? Biology, Physics or Chemistry?
I didn't like any of them.  Physics was the worst, which is weird because I ended up working for the Physics Department for four years after I left school.  I guess as a class, biology was a "favorite."

Have you ever had a surprise party? (that was an actual surprise)
A couple.  There was a birthday party--don't remember which one, before we moved to Davis in 1973.  Our 25th anniversary party was a surprise, and my 50th birthday party was a surprise.

Have you ever worn clothing with the labels/tags still attached?
I'm sure I have.

Have you ever slipped on a banana skin?
Not that I remember.

Are you scared of the dark?

Do you have a lawyer?
We have an attorney who drew up our family trust, but I don't have a clue where she is now, so no.

If you had a paid year off, what would you want to do?
What I'm doing now -- enjoying my retirement.

How long did you last phone call last?
About 5 minutes.  A woman called me yesterday with information about my application to work as a volunteer.

Have you ever helped someone across the road?
I can't remember.

Have you ever been wolf whistled in public?
Not for 60 years.

Saturday, August 1, 2015


I remember when the food at Atria was pretty good most meals.  Now it's good occasionally.  Today's lunch was inedible.  First I had an argument with my mother.  She hardly eats anything now.  Her lunch every day is vegetable soup (and she never eats the veggies, just the broth) and fruit salad.  Today they offered clam chowder, her favorite soup, as an option but she decided she just wanted fruit and ice cream.  I tried to get her to eat more, but she can be stubborn as a bull dog.  I'm just going to give up and add a vitamin to her medication routine, so at least she gets SOME nutrition.  She feels weak so much of the time that I can't believe her decision not to eat isn't part of it!

I had the entree of the day, which was fish tacos with pico de gallo.  It took forever for the food to be delivered (which has become par for the course especially with new wait staff, which there always seems to be these days).  The taco finally arrived, barely warm, soggy on the bottom, tasteless...and no pico de gallo.  It took forever to get the attention of the waitress and I asked if there was supposed to be pico de gallo.  She said "they decided not to put them on the plates" and said she'd see if she could get some for me.  The refried beans were barely warm and crusty, like they were dished up hours before. I didn't even taste the rice.

My mother did, indeed, have the fruit and an "ice cream puff" which was about a tbsp of ice cream on a cold cream puff that had been cooked too long (from the look of it).  It didn't even look appetizing...and I love ice cream.  

At one point today she turned to me and said "your hair is growing."  She's happy that I have hair now.  Then she said "It's coming in curly....darn it."  My mother has hated my hair my whole life.  Oh, she didn't hate it. She loved it, but she hated that I had curly hair and she didn't.  I cannot tell you how many times I have heard her greet me with "LOOK at that hair.  That's disgusting!" I know that in her mind it was a compliment, but all I heard...for most of my adult life, until I had a hissy fit and she stopped doing it, was that she was disgusted every time she looked at me.  Today, again, she complained that I got my father's hair and she always wanted curly hair.

Not much I can do about that.  She didn't like it when I had no hair, so that wasn't a solution either!
When the waitress was involved with other tables and showing no desire to get pico de gallo, I told my mother the meal was inedible and I just wanted to leave.  She argued with me that I should stay and finish my lunch and that she didn't mind waiting.  I explained again that I didn't want the food because it was inedible and she acted very huffy, but agreed to leave.  I didn't stay with her, but packed up her laundry and came home.

I've just been in a pissy mood since yesterday's kerfuffle over "losing" her at Atria.  Of course it wasn't her fault.  I knew she wouldn't remember when I told her I was coming for lunch, but I never thought she'd go to lunch early....or that she would be so totally unemotional at my state at thinking she was lost.  She knew where she was.

But then the headlines today have been so terribly, terribly depressing.  There's that idiot dentist who killed the lion.  Tonight I saw pictures of him with the bear he killed (he was fined for also was illegal), with a cheetah he killed, with a rhino he killed (aren't those endangered?) and with a huge horned elk he killed.  If they don't throw the book at him for this lion business next thing he will be killing will be an elephant and then I'll really be upset.

There was also a guy arrested the other day.  He tossed a lit firecracker to his dog, who happily caught it and was bringing it back when it blew up and blew away his face, as well as killing him.  How can people be so cruel to animals.

At least the public gets incensed enough at these animal torture things that the authorities actually do something about it, unlike when real people die.  Did you know that at least five young black women died in jail in July? Raynetta Turner in Mt. Vernon, New York was arrested for shoplifting, was put in a holding cell, and found dead 12 hours later.  Sandra Bland in Texas was found hanging in her cell three days after she was arrested for failing to signal a lane change.  Kendra Chapman in Alabama was arrested for stealing a cell phone and supposedly committed suicide.  Joyce Curnell was also arrested for shoplifting and found dead in her cell the next day. Ralinka Jones was taken to jail in Cleveland Heights after a physical dispute with her husband. She was taken to a medical facility for seeming lethargic, returned to her cell and found dead a few hours later.

In South Dakota, a Nativie American woman was arrested on a bond violation following a DUI.  She reported being in extreme pain and the police told her to quit faking.  A few hours later she was dead in her cell.

Another Native American, Rexdale W. Henry, 53, was arrested for failure to pay a traffic fine on July 9. Five days later, on July 14, Henry would be found dead in a Neshoba County, Mississippi jail cell.

In Staten Island, New York, four police officers dragged a gay man out of the home he shared with his 66 year old mother and violently beat him while yelling homophobic slurs.  The reason for the police?  Earlier in the evening his brother came home drunk and the two men had a loud argument, and the neighbors called the police.  But the brother was gone by the time the police arrived and they still dragged him outside and threatned to kill his dog. The man had recently had surgery on his foot and he begged them to watch out for the foot, and they stomped on it.  Fortunately for him, neighbors across the street videotaped the whole thing, so there is no dispute about what happened.  The attack left him with two black eyes, a broken nose, cuts to his face and body, and he required new foot surgery.

How many of these human deaths will receive the same degree of outrage that we have seen about Cecil the Lion?  No wonder I'm in such a rotten mood today.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Today at Logos

First, may I say how much I hate dementia? This morning was not my best.  I tried to activate my new ATM card and they would not recognize my telephone number...the number I've had for forty years.  I tried several ways of getting it activated, but I was rushing because I told my mother I would be there for lunch.  It was pushing 100 degrees when I arrived at Atria and my hip has been hurting since yesterday.  There were two parking spots and the gardeners had blocked off both of them.  There was no nearby on-street parking, except for the slots which are set aside for the g-d zip cars.  I finally found a spot, rushed to the apartment, arriving at 11:20.  The door was locked, she was not inside (neither alive nor dead) and it appeared that both of her keys were inside and I didn't now how she could have left the room without her keys and the door was locked.

I looked in the dining room and didn't see her where she usually sits.  I didn't find her in the lobby or in the little seating area off the dining room.  I called Ed to see if she was with him, but he was coming to see her too and said that he had tried to all her too earlier and got no answer.  Now I was really worried, so I went to the front desk and they got three different aids to go looking for her.  Turns out she was at lunch, sitting behind a post on the other side of the room from where she usually sits.  It was now 11:30, she never goes to lunch with me before 11:45, but she was finishing her dessert.  I got angry with her and she told me to sit down and eat, but I told her I had to work and left.
At least not having lunch with her allowed me time to work out the problem with my ATM card.  I realized that I started the account 40 years ago, when Davis shared Sacramento's area code.  At some point the phone number stayed the same but the area code changed and when I tried the old area code, that worked.  So off I went to Logos.

Again, Sandy wasn't there and I was relieving Peter.  Only one customer there when he left, a woman lying on the floor in the children's room with her toddler son. They bought 3 board books, including Thomas the Train.

A job applicant came in and I gave her the spiel about how we are all volunteers and that the store is for charity.  She was impressed.

A tall guy I've seen before came in.  He was wearing an aloha-like shirt, but in white with tall masted ships on it, nestled among the photos of the Hawaiian islands and palm trees.  He has a reseller's license, so he doesn't pay tax and he bought "The Making of Antiquities," a biography of Cormac McCarthy, a book on religion and "My First 10 Words in Greek

Suddenly there was a steady influx of customers;  an old guy, 2 younger guys, an Asian woman, a Latino guy, another guy in a shirt similar to the previous guy.  What were all these people doing on a hot day like this?

The Latino guy bought 2 contemporary fiction books one of which was "Love in the Time of Cholera, which had quite a provocative cover, which I hoped to find on Amazon, but they don't have that particular edition.

An older woman bought 4 contemporary fiction books and said "I'll take these to the table and start reading" - which she did, for about half an hour.  She had a Michael Crichton book, 2 mysteries by a new-to-me author and one other.

A man in a salmon colored T shirt from Writers in Yosemite conference came in with a bag of books to donate.  On top was James Michener's "The Novel," a book I had not read before.  I had been reading a Ruth Rendell which had not yet grabbed my attention, so I put that back on the shelf and started the Michener.

By 3:30, I was so sleepy.  It was a period of a few minute with no customers and I was fighting to stay awake.

An Asian woman had lots of questions about the store.  She had never heard of either Doctors without Borders or Save the Children.  I think she thought all their expenses were paid by Logos.  She liked the poppy pictures of the current displaying artist, Teresa Steinbach-Garcia.

An older man with long grey hair and a long beard bought an unabridged dictionary, about 6" thick.  He had some speech and movement problems, kid of a mixture of stuttering and explosive speech.  He wanted to know if he could order used books through us.  I told him no.

A neatly dressed Latino came in, wearing pressed slacks and a pressed blue shirt.  He started at one end of the store and worked his way around...humor, fantasy, sci fi, old books, gift books, misc. guy stuff (cars, etc), gardening.  He skipped cookbooks and went to the front of the store and started at self improvement music, travel, even foreign language books.  He spent time at each book shelf, some times picking out books to carry around. He must have been there half an hour or more, then suddenly, after looking at lot of craft books, he stood up and walked out, buying nothing.
A Hispanic woman came in to buy 3 bargain books and loved the air conditioning.

A couple came in.  The woman spent a long time in fantasy and later at the music book case while her husband sat at the table staring out the window.  Ultimately she bought nothing.

A smiling young woman, a vision in yellow from her blonde hair to her sunny yellow dress to her pleasant personality bought 5 bargain books and was thrilled to find Herman Hesse's "Siddhartha," which she said she'd been wanting to read for a long time.

My friend arrived at 4:45 and bought a book on food and "1616: The World in Motion."  We discussed Chihuily sculptures and he said he will be gone the next two weeks because he's going to Minnesota.

A guy found "America Back on Track" by Ted Kennedy outside in bargain books and came in laughing, asking me if it was a fiction book.  He was an odd guy from nearby Woodland, where he said that there are no locally owned book stores any more because it was not a "reading town."

A volunteer, Alice, came in with a colorful multi striped dress, stripes going in every direction.  She bought two P.D. James books and put a huge coffee table type book on chocolate on hold until she comes to work on Saturday.

It was a shock to walk out of the cool store and feel the heat as we walked to the car!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Only Four Times a Year

"We only get a perfect day like this about four times a year," Mary glowed.

We were walking along the waterfront in Edmonds and it was, indeed a perfect day.

It had started a couple of hours earlier, having breakfast at the hotel with Ellen and Rob, our last chance to have breakfast together (the hotel does not have a crab option on its breakfast buffet!).  The two of them were headed south to Portland, where Rob was going to be judging a stamp show.  They wanted to go by way of Mt. St. Helen's and so they wanted an early start.

Mary came to the hotel and at 9:30, we loaded them into their car, had our hugs all around and they were off.

Walt and I finished our packing and checked out of the hotel, then we met Mary over by the water and went for a walk.  We decided this would be preferable than trying to "do something" or "go somewhere."  And it was.  It was a gorgeous day, sunny, warm, but with a cool breeze, so you didn't overheat.  The sky was blue and the air was clear and you could see across Puget Sound to the Olympic Mountains.

The path we were walking is beautiful, with many planter boxes, all a riot of color.

When we got to the end, where all the boats were, we saw this guy, who looked like a modern day version of Gulley Jimson, from Joyce Carey's novel "The Horse's Mouth."

We finally headed back to Anthony's restaurant, where we ate outside.

No crab on the menu, but the fish and chips were delicious.  Mary and Walt tried to figure out how bad the traffic was going to be on our trip to the airport.

We finally said our goodbyes to Mary and headed out toward SeaTac airport.  Yes, traffic was bad, but not that bad, and it had the perk of gorgeous views of Mt. Ranier ahead, along side, and peeking through the trees at times.

(if you look above the mountain you can see an airplane headed in for a landing at the Boeing air 
field, I assumed)

We filled the rental car with gas and turned it in, then headed off to the airport itself for our 6:30 flight.  Oh how trusting we were...  I loved our welcome to the concourse:

When we arrived at the gate, we found that the time the flight had been delayed to 7:30.  I was in a wheelchair again (I am now officially a card-carrying disabled person, for that flight anyway)

We had to go through security, of course, and what a mess that turned out to be.  My boarding pass indicated I was prescreened, so could bypass all of the removing shoes, etc.  Walt's was not.  So there we were in the prescreen line, he's pushing me, and the TSA agent insisted he had to go through another line.  I asked her who was going to push me.  They did let him push me out of the way, but then we had to go through the x-ray screening and because Walt came through the non-prescreen line and he was pushing me, they had to unpack MY suitcase because of the computer in it.  TSA agents have no sent of humor.

But we finally arrived at the gate and then the delay messages started arriving.  It seemed that every 30 minutes or so there would be another message that our flight was being delayed.  The plane was coming from Las Vegas and I don't know what the problem in Vegas was, but the last delay put our new departure time at 8:30.  

We had peanuts and pastry from Starbucks for dinner (I had a muffin, Walt had a cheese Danish)

I sat in the damn wheelchair for about five hours and spent the time finishing my book ("The Rosie Effect") and occasionally taking sneak pictures of people around, like a guy with the best moustache I'd seen in a long time, and two little girls who were the cutest kids ever.  I didn't get a good shot of the bald woman in the Buddhist robe, pacing back and forth in her Adidas.  She smiled at me whenever she passed me.

We finally arrived home sometime around 10, and just in the nick of time since the battery was almost out on my Kindle, on my cell phone, and on my iPod.  The 'perk' if there is one, of all the delays is that it was "cooler" when we got home, though since it had been 107 during the day, 99 wasn't all that cool.  

The dogs were happier than usual to see us.  I figured that our disappearance so soon after Sheila's must have been a bit disconcerting for them.

So it's all over.  I had considered not going at all and am SO glad that I changed my mind.  It was a perfect mini vacation.  Thanks, Mary!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Have a Couple Billion? Save the World

To find out what Trump could do with his billions other than making a fool of himself, he should come to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center in Seattle, across the street from the Space Needle.  "Arrive Curious.  Leave Inspired," signs tell us on entry (admission is free) to the building.

In words, pictures, video and interactive displays you learn what the Gates Foundation has done around the world (did you know polio has been 90% eradicated?) and what the foundation has done in partnership with countless other foundations to make the world a better place.

There are so many needs from health to education to women's rights to agriculture to childbirth education and so many more...but changes are being made.  I am particularly interested in the water situation worldwide.  There was a great display about that, showing feet on the walkway.

There were standard buckets of water for you to pickup, like those on the heads of these children.  I could barely hold the weight, let alone think of carrying it 3 miles.  There were displays of simple water purification systems and one of the new design toilets.  I can't remember the percentage of the world population that has no sanitary place for elimination.  And to reinforce that message, if you take a run to the ladies' room, each door has a picture of toilet facilities in some 3rd world country.

And when you go in and sit down, there is a message on the inside of the door as well.

The whole thing was really a lot to take in but I left...inspired, so the center fulfilled its promise.
Then we walked across the street and through the park where the Space Needle is, to the Chilhuly Gallery, where we ate in the cafeteria.

Our table looked like it was part of the cafe at Lourdes.

But then we went into the gallery itself.  To call Dale Chilhuly a "glass sculptor" doesn't begin to do him justice.  There aren't enough superlatives.  The man's works are amazing...breathtaking.  This one was my favorite.

There were rooms after rooms of these gorgeous sculptures, some small, most very large, like this one which has a whole solarium devoted to it.

And in the garden there are globes and trees (that chartreuse thing on the right is a gorgeous tree) and grass like things.  Many of the globes reflect the Space Needle.

(If you look carefully you can see me at the bottom of the Space Needle shooting the photo.)
This was truly the highlight of the trip for both Ellen and me.  Spendy to see it, but worth every penny.

In the evening we went back to Dimitri's for dinner, this time joined by Mary's husband, Joe, who was finally able to get away.  We had a nice dinner (again) and then walked down by the shore to watch the sunset.

Tomorrow we are all headed home, and I will be sad to say goodbye to Mary and Ellen.  It has been wonderful spending time with both of them, and getting to know their respective spouses better.  The guys bonded over planes and trains.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Moveable Feast

If yesterday's focus was on our "gimpness," today's focus had to be on food.

I actually fell asleep in a bed last night, but woke up at my usual 3:30 and could not get back to sleep, so I listened to an audio book for 3 hours, when I got up to take a shower.

Mary came to meet us at the hotel at 8:30 and we went to a great restaurant, the Rusty Pelican, which is generally accepted (by residents of Edmonds) to be the best place in town for breakfast. I have no way to make comparisons, but it would be difficult to top my crab eggs benedict.

Mary has been wonderful and every restaurant where we have eaten has at least one crab option for me and vegetarian options for Rob.

From the Rusty Pelican, we drove to Pike Place Market, which was very crowded.  While Ellen waited in her wheel chair for Rob to come back from parking the car, I searched around a little and stopped at a table where a young artist from Kenya was selling cards of drawings he said he had done (whether that was true or not).  I liked them and bought two.  When Rob got back and started pushing Ellen around, that was the one table where she stopped too and she bought a card as well.

Later, while waiting for Mary to join us, we stopped to listen to a couple of musicians,

I loved the look of the ukelele player and I also loved that they taped their playlist on the side of the bass.

We continued on and stopped at a stand that sold hot pepper jams.  We all tasted some, and Rob worked his way through the "hot-ness" scale until he found one that made him break out in a sweat, which he then bought.

We made it as far as the place where they entertain the tourists by throwing fish to each other, but the crowd was so big we couldn't get in there.  Everybody had their cell phones raised above their heads taking pictures.  

We eventually agreed that with the huge crowd, it was difficult to get Ellen's wheelchair through the market, so Rob, Walt and Mary went back for the cars after finding a bench where Ellen and I could wait.  

We were across from an adult toy and video store with changing electronic signs.  I learned about "vookage," a term I had never heard of before--it concerns smoking electronic cigarettes.  This was a sign you would not have seen a couple of years ago!

We came back to Edmonds and went to Chanterelle for lunch.  Again there was an open face crab sandwich on the menu, but I was still full from breakfast, so chose the smaller brie and pear quesadilla, which was delicious.

By now we all felt ready for a nap, especially me since I'd had so little sleep, but I had little hope of actually getting any sleep.  But I did.  In bed.  For 2+ hours. Amazing. (The NCIS marathon helped)

The plan was to meet here in our room at 6:30 because I had brought pictures from our last "Netstock" here in Seattle in 1997 and I wanted to show everyone. It was fun to see all those old pictures and realize that the 3 week old baby in those photos is about to enter college!  Also sad to see pictures of those in the group who are no longer with us, especially Pat and Bill.  Nice memories, though.

For dinner we went to a Mexican restaurant, Las Brisas, where they had crab enchiladas which were fabulous. 

But by the end of the meal, my insides were feeling wonky again, so when the others decided to go back to the waterfront to watch the sunset, I asked Mary to bring me back to the hotel, a decision which proved wise.

When Walt got back, I sent him out for Imodium, and I trust I will be able to go to the Gates Foundation exhibit tomorrow. I'm sad that tomorrow is already our last day here.  It is so wonderful to get together with old friends.