Friday, May 27, 2016

Today at Logos

Sandy wasn't there today and another woman was working for her.  What an officious person she was.  I had brought in two bags of books and had intended to unload them and choose one to read, but she very nearly didn't want to let me in the back room, even though I told her I was there to work for the afternoon.  She absolutely REFUSED to let me unload the books.  She had to do it herself.  She may be a very nice person, but she definitely did not make a good impression on me.

This was like the inverse of last week.  Last week Sandy had a very boring morning and I had such a busy afternoon I didn't even have time to read.  The morning yesterday was very busy and I had a calm afternoon, with little bursts of busy.  But overall, we made over $300, so it was a good day.

My first customer today was the guy I have called the commuter, since for several weeks he would race in, grab a book and race out again to catch a train.  Today he had no train to catch, so he was free to browse.  He bought a thick book and complained that the other book he was interested in, at $5, was too much.

An interesting looking asexual person walked in.  Long straight black hair, perhaps a hint of facial hair and a bit of acne. Dressed all in black, with jewelry.  I kept glancing trying to figure out if this person was male or female.  I finally decided probably female until check out, when the voice seemed to be very deep.  I'm still not sure!  He/she bought a book called "Etymologicon"

An American guy wearing a Colombia t-shirt looked at the foreign language books then left without buying anything.

A guy bought what looked like a great coffee table book of black and white dog photos.

A tall African American guy in a basketball shirt with "Curry" on the back bought two books by Toni Morrison.

We were very low on $1 bills.  I texted an SOS to Susan because we were also low on quarters and I was afraid I was not going to be able to make change.  Susan texted me back, but my damn phone never lets me know when I have a text message, so I didn't realize she had answered until she called a while later.  By that time, I had mined my own wallet for dollars and the morning woman returned with two bags of donated books and ten $1 bills.  We were fine until the end of the day.

The tall guy I call "Pete Seeger" came in.  He's such a pleasant person.  He gave a cheery wave when he entered, spent a long time hunkered down at the music section and ultimately didn't buy anything this time, but left with a cheery wave again.

A couple came in and the woman picked up a card for the Beer Fest Walt is coordinating.  I texted him (he responded; my phone didn't let me know).  She left the card behind when they walked out, but several other people also picked up Beer Fest cards and I talked with one guy about it  He had been there a couple of years ago and may go again this year.  It's a fund raiser for Citizens Who Care, which provides social support services to Yolo County adults and their family caregivers.

My friend came in at 4:30 and bought "The Shape of Content" by Ben Shahin, which discusses meaning and form in contemporary painting and offers advice to aspiring artists..  He got a good deal.  I found it on Amazon, used, for $50. He paid about $4.50.  He also picked up a big book called "Stage by Stage," which he wanted me to put on hold for him.  He says it's part of a trilogy and if he can find the other two books, he will buy it next week.  Later, when Susan came in and I told her about the book and gave it to her to save for him, she said that it had been donated by our friend Stephen, who had invited Logos to his house to pick up all of Larry's books, after his death, though I think this particular book had to have been Steve's.

A mom with a sleeping baby in a stroller wandered around the store, ending up in the kids' room, while pushing the stroller back and forth in the aisle.  Ultimately she did not buy anything.

Another guy I described as "young middle age" looked at the music section for a long time.  He eventually brought me a book to ring up for him, for which he paid with a credit card.  When I looked at the card, I saw it was the son of our kids' late high school music teacher, the beloved Dick Brunelle, for whom there is now a theater named in his memory.  I think the last time I saw his son he was probably 2/3 the height he is today.  He told me he hears Ned on the radio from time to time.  I had to let him know that Ned no longer works for the radio station.

A guy looked for a book on origami for his younger brother who loves it.  He didn't find one, but did find two book of cartoons, one a Dilbert and one another one.

A zaftig mother and daughter bought a bargain book, a couple of mysteries and two books of Japanese instruction.

Finally a guy who is a good friend of Susan's came in.  He bought a bargain book and a book about Art.  Susan came in before he left and there was a lively political discussion, anti-Trump, which another customer who happened to be browsing joined in enthusiastically.  I shared that I've decided Trump has become the "teflon Don" and that he really is right that he could stand in Times Square with a gun and start shooting people and it wouldn't matter.  No matter how heinous his former activities have been, whom he has offended, what scary promises he has made, what lies he has told (Politifax has checked his speeches and give him a 91% rating for false statements!) his popularity only increases.  He dismisses his former sexual proclivities as unimportant since it was so long ago, yet continues to make Bill Clinton's of major importance.  He continues not to answer questions, but to bulldoze over any interviewer and turn the conversation in the way he wants to to go.

He is a scary, scary man.  I am feeling more sympathetic towards the German people who brought Hitler to power because I see now how it was done.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Xulhan Mannan

I spent a good portion of the morning reading about Xulhaz Mannan, a 39 year old man in Bangladesh, who was hacked to death with machetes wielded by a gang of six Islamic fundamentalists, in his apartment in Dhaka, in front of his 80 year old mother.

I first heard of Xulhaz Mannan a couple of days ago when Steve posted the link to a song for which he had written the music. In Bangladesh several academics and bloggers have been brutally murdered and now, according to reports, they are trying to "erase his name."  By telling his story, perhaps I can do my bit to keep his name alive.

Mannan, a graduate of the University of Dhaka, worked at the US Embassy in Bangladesh and regularly posted photos of diplomatic events on his Facebook page. (Ironically, in December his cover page contained a tribute to "the martyrs.")
In recent months, activists and thought leaders have been increasingly targeted in Bangladesh. On Saturday, according to the Independent, a professor was hacked to death by the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, and on April 6, suspected extremists killed an atheist, secular activist in similar fashion.
Mannan worked for both Roopbaan and the Bangladesh outpost of USAid, the United States' government's humanitarian and development agency.  Roopbaan was the country's only LGBT magazine, launched in 2014 to promote greater acceptance of LGBT communities in Bangladesh.  Homosexual relations are criminalized in Bangladesh and many LGBT activists have been forced into exile.  Mannan had worked in the human rights sector specially for the LGBT community in Bangladesh. He successfully arranged a "rainbow rally" in Dhaka on 14 April 2015, however the rally was canceled in 2016 on police instruction, following death threats.

The current US Ambassador to the country issued a statement saying “We abhor this senseless act of violence and urge the government of Bangladesh in the strongest terms to apprehend the criminals behind these murders.”

Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s south Asia director, said: “There have been four deplorable killings so far this month alone. It is shocking that no one has been held to account for these horrific attacks and that almost no protection has been given to threatened members of civil society.

USAID published a statement calling Mannan "a courageous advocate for human rights."  John Kerry has urged the prime minister to arrest the killers.

Mannan's mother is a retired education ministry officer and elder brother was the vice president of Dhaka stock exchange. His elder sister is a pharmacist, living in the US. His father, who died several years ago was actively involved with the Bangladeshi independence movement in 1971.  His cousin was former Bangladeshi Foreign Minister, Dr. Dipul Moni.

Perhaps the worst thing about this horrific crime is that protesters are cheering for the murderers. 
This is the song that Steve wrote.  Let's keep his name alive.

We in this country are so incredibly far removed from what it is like for some people in the world.  Maybe we don't want to know.  Maybe it's ugly and unpleasant and we'd rather find out who won Dancing with the Stars.  But that ugliness exists.

Today I read the story of a little girl in...I can't remember what country now, unfortunately.  Philippines?  Maybe.  Anyway, someone from Compassion went to visit her home and discovered that she lived with her grandmother under a house.  The visitor asked what they did when the rainy season came and the grandmother said that during the rainy season, they lived with water up to their waste all the time.

I is so important that we share things like this, to humanize them, to bring stories of extreme poverty and extreme violence out into the open.  
Writing about the massacre of Xulhaz Mannan in a little blog in a little town in California is not going to have any effect on violence in Bangladesh, but maybe if enough people like me keep his name alive, it will be more difficult to wipe the whole thing off the books an his memory will live on.

with the wife of the US Ambassador to Bangladesh with a certificate Mannan
was awarded at the American embassy in 2014

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Old Man Walk

I watched Walt walk across the family room the other night, headed upstairs to go to bed, and I saw my grandfather.  He was walking that "old man walk" that is so familiar around Atria and which I remember made my father so angry, the older my grandfather got.  I remember when my father, too, did the old man walk (and he died a year younger than I am now.)

Now, truth be told, there is a lot of exaggeration involved when Walt does the "old man walk," but it's not all exaggeration.  There's the slumped shoulders, the protruding hips, the foot shuffle, the bowed head.  It's hard to figure out what is real and what is for effect.  (He does, though still have his own teeth and all his own still-mostly-brown hair, unlike this illustration.)

I understand that.  I do my own version of the old man walk when I'm here alone.  When I'm out in public, I stand more erect (or as erect as I can get with this sloping back) and try to step out as briskly as I can (realizing that my idea of a "brisk walk," which often leaves me winded, is someone else's idea of a shuffle!)

But when I'm home alone, I find that it's easy and more comfortable to settle into the old man shuffle as I walk from one end of the house to the other.

The "old man walk" is not necessarily a function of age. Heck, I walk that way far more than my mother, except on days when her back is really bothering her.

The days...the years...pass by so quickly the older you get and it's hard to realize that you have passed into "old age."  Even Jeri, at 50, is past "middle age" unless she plans to live to hunnert, as others I know do.

We don't realize that we can't do everything we did even 20 years ago.  At the memorial service on Sunday, after the formal service, they cleared away the chairs to make room for dancing.  Here is Walt, 76 years old, in a group of people he does not know, most of them significantly younger than he is, starting to pick up and carry chairs.  Force of habit from all those years helping out after Lawsuit concerts and theatrical events!  I told him he was old and could let the younger people handle the heavy lifting!

It always makes me nervous when he's out climbing a ladder somewhere, remembering that he has fallen once, and he was more "bounce-able" then!

Sometimes you are brought up short by comments that make you realize...hey....the 70s are starting to get old.  I listened to some guy on the radio the other day talking about a video called "Elders react to BeoncĂ© - Lemonade."  You may find it amusing.

The thing that got me, though, was the conversation between these two commentators, laughing hysterically at the reactions of the people in the film and talking about how hilarious it was.  One of them thought calling the people "elders" was insulting and asked "can't we find something more polite to call people over 65?  OVER 65???????  I remember many years ago when I was 65.  I was "elderly" then, apparently.  Now I would think I have one foot in the grave, if I didn't have a nearly 97 year old mother more sprightly than I am.

It's all so relative.  Yesterday there was a woman who probably had been sitting with my mother until I took her seat (I didn't realize she had been sitting there).  She had collected leaves and wanted to be sure that we knew she had picked them up off the ground and didn't steal them.  She was hard of hearing and kept saying that she couldn't be expected to hear right because she was 93.  I didn't bother to try to tell her my mother, whose hearing is just fine, is 97.  Her dementia was quite a bit worse than my mother's.

Then this morning there was a guy outside The Today Show with his family, having the time of his life in New York 102!  How I long to see the sparkle in his eyes back in my mother's again.  She was always so lively, so involved, so interested and excited about everything.

I don't think of myself as an old lady yet -- unless it's convenient to be one (to get a seat on the bus, for example!) but I realize that by the standards of most people around me, at 73, I am probably on my last legs.  I just pray that when I reach my 90s,  I am with it enough to still enjoy life, to find excitement in things around me, and to enjoy Bri and Lacie's children.  I hope I still remember everyone's name, even f I do walk the old lady walk.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Ides of May

This has been a weird day, with little glitches throughout.

The only thing on the schedule was going to the dentist at 1 p.m., but when they called to ask if I could come at 2 instead of 1, suddenly I had time to Do Things.

Yesterday was the day when I found my mother sleeping at 1 p.m. and just left her laundry for her.  I really should go and make sure she actually is alive.  By the time I got to Atria (slipping in the back door), she was not in her room, but it was lunch time, so I just slipped out again.

There was lots of time before the dentist, so I stopped at Supercuts and got my hair cut, something it has been sorely needed for weeks now.  As she was shampooing my hair, my cell phone rang and started a long back-and-forth between me and my friend Ellen.  I didn't get her call, but checked later.  She wanted to know when a particular photo I had taken of her and her wife Shelly was taken.  I told her I didn't recognize it and didn't think I took it  I wont bore you with all the details, but the discussion is still going on and she still insists I must have taken it.

I was happy with the cut...I probably lost a pound, she cut so much off.  The last time I had it cut was right before we left for our Mediterranean cruise, so it was way overdue for a cut.

When I finished there I still had an hour and 15 minutes before my dental appointment so I drove out to Michael's craft store to pick up a few things I wanted.  Miraculously, I got out of there in 20 minutes and under $50.  I didn't have any lunch because I didn't want to "dirty" my teeth before my appointment.

I drove back to Cindy's and still had 20 minutes to wait, but I had brought a book, so I was fine with that--I'm always happy when I can sit somewhere where I don't have to do anything and can do some guilt-free reading.  I'm reading a free sample of Bob Hope's biography.  I saw the author on Theater Talk this week and it sounded fascinating, but the kindle version was not cheap, so I wanted to see if I really thought I'd read the whole thing (it's also quite thick).  While I am enjoying it, I probably won't buy it.  I think I will lose interest eventually.

Funny thing about Bob Hope (who, the author says sadly, stayed in the limelight too long).  Recently there was all this brouhaha about the Oscars -- I can't remember what anniversary it was, but one of the big ones. 50?  Lots and lots of talk about MCs over the years and was Carson better than Billy Crystal, and remember that really awful year, etc., etc.  In all the talk I don't remember hearing ONE person mention Bob Hope, who hosted the damn thing for nineteen years!  In fact, I remember wondering if Carson could live up to Hope's reputation.  It was kind of like ... can you have New Year's Eve without Guy Lombardo?  Can you have an Oscar telecast without Bob Hope?  And now nobody remembers him at all.

But I digress

The teeth cleaning appeared to go well.  I really like Kristina, my dental hygienist.  We always get caught up on each other's lives when she's cleaning my teeth.  Cindy has posters on the ceiling, which rotate throughout the year.  This time it was this elephant poster, which I really liked (can't believe I found it on Google images!)

The more I stared at it, the more I realized that the contour of the elephant's back matched the contour of the tree and pointed that out to Kristina, though I said I knew she probably didn't look at the picture much.

After Kristina had finished her cleaning, Cindy came in to break the news that I have a couple of small cavities and must come back in July to have them filled.  (She said that as a dental hygienist, Kristina is not permitted to tell me that, though she was the one who told Cindy that I had cavities).

From there I went back to Atria, where I found my mother sitting by the dining room and sat with her.  I wanted to get coffee, but you can't GET coffee in the damn place any more.  Forget about a cookie or something like that. I discovered that you also can't visit with my mother in the alcove there, especially on bad memory days, which today was.  When we are in her apartment, she spends an inordinate amount of time talking about the beautiful flowers in her apartment and the leaves on the trees outside the window.  With those two topics not possible, we had nothing to talk about at all.  I only stayed 15 minutes and then left.  The good thing is that she has no concept of time, so she had no idea that I stayed such a short time.

If she would ever...just once...not ask me who the cute little girls are on the back of my phone, I would be so happy, but it's like another knife in my heart every time to know that she has no awareness that she has great grandchildren, or that she has ever seen them.

At home, we had a refrigerator that was filling up with leftovers, so I just heated a shrimp, rice and kale dish for Walt and leftover mac and cheese for me.  We don't have a usable table for two right now, so he ate at the table and had brought down a TV table for me.  My bowl of mac and cheese was so hot, I bobbled it and turned the whole thing upside down on the floor.  To show how bad Kraft dinner is, not even the dogs wanted to eat it.  And I had a right regular good ol' tantrum, briefly.  I heated more mac and cheese and ate that.

Shortly after that, Walt was setting the coffee pot up to start at 6:30 in the morning and bobbled the cup that the coffee grounds go into and dumped them all into Polly's bowl.  He had his own mini tantrum.

Then I watched some TV and at some point went to check something OnDemand and the screen froze.  I could not get it to do anything, not even to turn off.  Normally, I would go into my office and watch the little TV, but the little TV is in the living room, and not plugged in.  

So I came into the computer and worked on a project I've been working on since last night.  I finally got it to where I wanted to print it in Word Perfect, which tells me that the .jpg I was trying to use was not the right format.  I decided to print it from PhotoShop and it printed fine, but I forgot to indicate that I needed it in portrait orientation, not landscape.  When I went to run it a second time, the printer was out of paper and I realized I don't have a clue where my printer paper is.

That's when I decided this was not my day and the best thing I could do was finish this entry, post it (I hope) and hope that by the morning the TV would have fixed itself.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Small World

23 May 2016
When we walked into the big hall, Walt and I commented that we had never been to a memorial service where they gave you ear plugs.

We were there for the memorial service for my sister-in-law Olivia's brother, Bob Castell-Blanch, who lost his long battle with cancer shortly after his 62nd birthday.

I didn't really know Bob.  Olivia is from a large family and though she used to have big dinners at Easter with both families attending, I never really talked with Bob because there were always others around and I mostly talked with my mother, who didn't know anybody and who felt uncomfortable around so many strangers.

In later years, when my mother started hermiting herself, I stopped going to those dinners entirely.  I would send Walt and I would spend the holiday with my mother, either cooking dinner for her, or taking her out to dinner.

What I remember about Bob, other than that he seemed like a really nice guy, was that he was an excellent musician.  He and Ned and/or Paul may have talked about music many years ago.  I remember when he brought his guitar along and got the family singing familiar tunes.

As I sat there at the memorial, I thought about how odd it was that we were there at all, and what a small world it is.

Some sixty or so years ago is when I first encountered The Lamplighters.  Walt and I ushered for just about every show in the 60s and we got to know "the regular" performers, from their performances on stage.  Two of the comprimario players, the second tier guys who may have a line or two, but who weren't talented enough to take the major leads, were Paul Hughes and Ray Castell-Blanch.

Many years later, when we were doing interviews for the Lamplighters history, I really wanted to interview those two guys who had, by that time, retired from performing.  I can't remember if I interviewed Paul or not, but I distinctly remember interviewing Ray, his wife, and their five white poodles.

Some time after that, Walt's brother Norm began dating Olivia and at some point I found out that her last name was Castell-Blanch.  I asked her if she knew Ray, and she told me he was her uncle.  Later, after Ray's death, at those Easter dinners, I got to know his widow a bit more.

So as I sat there at the memorial, I thought about how weird it was that sixty years after first becoming aware of Ray Castell-Blanch, whoda thunk I would be sitting with his family attending the memorial service for one of his nephews.

As memorial services go, it was lovely.  It began with a collage video and ended with a rousing, tear-jerking rendition of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," which was led by his daughter and others in such a professional chorus, joined by everyone in attendance.  Even though I didn't really know Bob, I was moved to tears by how beautiful it was.

Then came a video of Bob's last performance with his band, the PhDs.  His wife explained that he knew it would be his last performance and that he was feeling so ill he wasn't sure he would make it at all, but he did and the excerpt from the performance was riveting.  What a talented guy he was!  He had performed with many bands in the Bay Area and some names, some big, some not so big.  We found a framed copy of his ASCAP card with a record for which he had written the lyrics.

I am constantly amazed by how strange life can be.

Bob's band, joined by others, I think, performed on stage for people to dance.  It was very loud, and many people took advantage of the ear plugs. In fact, there were lots of packages of earplugs left as people were leaving and Walt and I picked some up.  We are often at musicals where the sound is just so loud that we have to put our fingers in our ears.  I think we both saw a lot of Motown the Musical last week with our ears plugged, wishing we still carried earplugs from our Lawsuit days.  Now we have some for the next big musical that wants to blast us out of our seats.

Before we went to the memorial, which was about an hour's drive from us, I stopped at Atria to deliver my mother's pills and her laundry.  I really should have done that yesterday, but put it off another day.

When I got there, her newspaper was still outside and when I knocked there was no answer.  I always fear the worst, and let myself in quietly.

I could see that she was still in bed, at 1 p.m., and tiptoed into her bedroom to see if she was alive.  I was happy to hear that she was snoring loudly, so I tiptoed out again, wrote her a note and left, hoping she'd figure out that the bag I left in her bedroom was filled with clean underwear.

Saturday, May 21, 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!

Saturday 9: What Hurts the Most (2006)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) What hurts Sam the most is her sole, since she just found that earring she thought was lost by stepping on it with her bare foot. How about you? Any aches and pains to report?
Oh lots, but all not worth complaining about.  Mostly back ache and knees shot.

2) What's the last thing you misplaced? Did you find it?
Lemme tell you, this is the week of the Big Cleanup, where my son has removed everything from my office (including all furniture) so he can paint it for me and build new shelves.  I've pretty much lost everything and spend most of my day looking for this and that.  Most things I eventually find.

3) Lead singer Gary LeVox sings that he's not afraid to cry. When is the last time you shed a tear?
I cry at everything -- Hallmark cards, cute animal videos, sad--or happy TV endings, birth stories, when a contestant wins the Big Prize on a quiz show. I can't remember when the very last thing was that made me cry.

4) Gary auditioned for another country group, Little Big Town, but didn't get in. Considering how successful Rascal Flatts has been, he's probably not sorry. Tell us about something you thought you wanted, but later weren't so sure.
I can't think of anything specific, but I am sure there have been a few instances in my life.

5) The country group has their roots in Columbus, Ohio. What else is Ohio known for?
For ME, Ohio is best known for Georgia Griffith, the "Helen Keller of Ohio."  She's long gone now, but was a friend who was blind from birth, deaf from her 40s and who ran some of the most popular discussion forums on Compuserve, including one that helped people with handicaps learn to use a computer (when computers were still new for the general public).  Georgia communicated by way of a "versibraille," where you would type your comment or question on one machine and it would be transcribed for her on the connected machine, she'd read it in Braille on her own machine, and then respond by speech because she could still talk, since she didn't lose her hearing until she was middle aged.  She spoke many languages, was a Braille music proofreader for the Library of Congress, and was honored by The Smithsonian for her contributions to computer technology for the handicapped.

6) Lead guitarist Joe Don Rooney married model and former Miss Georgia, Tiffany Fallon. Many major pageants give prizes in the talent, congeniality and swimsuit competitions. Would you prefer to have exceptional skills, a great personality, or a terrific body?
Exceptional skills.  Heck, I'd settle for improving the talents I have already.

7) 2006, the year this song was popular, was a very good one for tennis pro Roger Federer. He reached the finals in all four Grand Slam tournaments, and won three. What's the last game you won? (Yes, Words with Friends counts.)
Well, if Word with Friends counts, then it would be a Words with Friends game, since that's about all I play these days.  In all honesty, I don't really keep track of who wins and who loses; I just enjoy playing.

8) Actor Tony Shalhoub won an Emmy in 2006 for his portrayal of detective Adrian Monk on Monk. Who's your favorite TV detective?
I loved Monk.  TV detectives have not been the same since that show ended.  But I do watch several detective shows now, but I guess NCIS and Criminal Minds don't count as detectives.

9) Random question ... You've just won an all-expenses-paid trip but now you have to choose: Carnival in Brazil, the Bordeaux Wine Festival in France, or the Running of the Bulls in Spain?
I'd go with Brasil, though probably would skip Carnival because I'd be too busy visiting all the friends I have in Rio and Sao Paulo.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Today at Logos

Sandy had a very light morning this day.  Only six sales.  I anticipated a light afternoon.  I was so wrong! 

We had brought in 2 bags and one box of books and my plan was to choose one that I wanted to read and then if I got involved in it to bring it back home again.  I chose one by Ann Tyler and read at that off and on throughout my busiest afternoon ever an ultimately remembered that I really don't like Ann Tyler.  I know she's considered a great, beloved writer, but I've just never gotten into her stories.  Of course it could have been that I had no time to actually read during the four hours.  

The beginning of the afternoon didn't hint at the business that would follow, with a woman coming in looking for "The Book Thief" and leaving when she didn't find it.

An odd looking young couple arrived.  He was a very tall very skinny Asian and she was a short kind of chunky Latina.  They spent a long tie looking at cookbooks and bought about six of them.

A woman bought "Organic Chemistry for Dummies" which was from the bargain books.

A man looking for old books by Lewis Carroll but left when he didn't find one.

An old woman, using a cane like mine, was sitting at the front desk.  A woman who seemed to be her carer arrived carrying a Target bag, which contained a pile of books to donate.  The woman chose new books -- 4 bargain books, 1 biography, and 1 Literature and we put them in her Target bag.  She waited inside the store while her carer went off to get the car to pick her up.

It was briefly quiet, so I went to the back room to unload the books I'd brought, so I could take the bags and box back home again and was surprised to find a girl sitting on a ladder in the back corner, just reading.  She was there a long time.  I didn't see her when she left, but every time I went to the back room she was there.

Later, I discovered another woman sitting on the floor reading, obviously making herself right at home!

A friend of our and his new wife came in.  She bought a 4 bargain books and was carrying her own copy of one of the "Cat Who.." books.  She told me she had just learned that the author Lillian Jackson Braun had died.  She paid and started to leave, but a few minutes later she was back with a Peter Mayle book and we talked abut how much we both liked his books, especially his "Year in Provence."  And then, while I talked with her husband, she was off to look at dictionaries and bought 3 of them.

A guy with a cap bought the incongruous collection of 3 literature books and 2 novellas.  He commented on the odd mixture.

A hefty guy bought 2 Spanish novellas, 1 contemporary fiction (in English) book and one self improvement book then asked if I knew where he could buy some towelettes, since his hands were sweaty.  I couldn't think of a place nearby but sent him to Newsbeat, which sells newspapers and magazines, but which was the only place I could think of that might have those.

A couple came in.  I assumed they were visiting parents of a UC student.  He wore a Cal Aggie hat and she had a shirt that said "Davis Mom" on it.  He bought two books, including a Hemmingway that was published in 1941.  She complained at the $5 price when the original marked price was only $1.25.  In 1941.  He paid the $5.

There was a rather odd looking woman who wore what looked like a scarf around her hair that wove her own hair into the knotting of it to resemble a turban.  She had earbuds in her ears and though she was rather zaftig, she wore black leggings with a blouse hanging over them. She was very nice and bought $50 worth of books n art, fantasy and fashion.

There were a couple of love birds kissing in the stacks.  They bought two bargain books and left the store, entwined.

A guy was sitting at the front table reading, his foot bouncing to the music playing over the radio.  A friend joins him and they shared something funny.  Their friendship hit me as endearing.

A woman bought a copy of "A Beautiful Mind."

A couple bought a children's book called "The Matchlock Gun," which seemed a strange title for a child's book.  But it is apparently a Newbery winner.  I was going to check it on Amazon, which has the name listed, but no information on it, so I went to Wikipedia and found out more about it.

The Matchlock Gun is a children's book by Walter D. Edmonds. It won the Newbery Medal for excellence as the most distinguished contribution to American children's literature in 1942.

The book is set in the year 1756 during the French and Indian War in Guilderland, New York. Ten-year-old Edward Van Alstyne (throughout the book, he is called "Ateoord", which is his name in Dutch) and his mother Gertrude (Trudy) are determined to protect their home and family with an ancient (and much too heavy) Spanish matchlock gun that Edward's great-grandfather had brought from Bergen Op Zoom in the Netherlands while his father Teunis is away from home with the local militia fighting the enemy (using, to Edward's disappointment, a musket instead of the matchlock).

The book's foreword states that this is a true story handed down from Trudy's descendants (Trudy became widely known as an expert spinner, having been taught by her mother who, because of her crippled shoulder, could no longer perform the task).

Anyway, reading the Wikipedia description made me sorry I hadn't looked more closely at it.

An older distinguished man with a wonderful grey mustache walked with difficulty and wandered around the store forever but finally bought a bargain book, a book on Korean history and a couple of others.  Ironically at the same time another guy was looking for a book on the history of Korea.

There were three more customers, each with an armload of books, who were lined up to pay and I never had time to record who bought what.

My last customer was a man who bought 3 self improvement books and a teeny book of "cat sayings," which, if I had seen it first, I would have grabbed because the pages were the perfect size to cut up an use on pocket letters.

When I heard from Susan this morning we had taken in $438 for the day, which was certainly a surprise, given how slow a morning Sandy had.

Davis lost one of the "good guys" yesterday.  Our friend Larry Fanning lost his battle with cancer.  We have known Larry and his partner of 40 years, Stephen Peithman, for as long as we have been in Davis.  We met them through the Davis Comic Opera Company and have worked and partied together for many years.  Larry was a loving, helpful, very religious guy who had his demons to battle over the years, but he died at peace.  We are so glad that we had the chance to see him and say good bye a couple of weeks ago when Steve called to ask if we could come and witness Larry's signature on the update to his will (when he realized that the original had been written so long ago, man of the beneficiaries were now dead).

Good bye, Larry. You were so loved.