Thursday, April 24, 2014

Me and Lady Iris

I had an Auntie Mame lunch this afternoon.
 
My friend, "Lady Iris," loves that story -- she loved the book, the movie and the musical (though agrees that nothing quite equals Rosalind Russell's performance in the original, non-musical movie).

She has recently retired and has been saying we should get together and do an Auntie Mame lunch.  "We'll have martinis and salty fish jam," she said. Today was the day.

I decided to wear an old jangly charm bracelet I had in my jewelry box.  (I was remembering the scene where Mame, in a play with her friend Vera Charles, wears a noisy bracelet and ends up getting it caughter in the star's costume.)

I hadn't seen my own bracelet in probably decades and when I looked at it this morning, I saw that one of the charms was from my 21st birthday, in 1964, so I've had the bracelet since before Walt and I were married.

Needless to say, my wrist has gained a bit of girth in the intervening 50 years and we couldn't get it on, so I didn't wear it.

There is a huge freeway repair going on in Sacramento right now which is tying up traffic all over the place.  It's the main story on all the news broadcasts, there are web sites to help you maneuver your way around the construction.  I decided to avoid it completely by going through town.  Still, I left myself plenty of time in case I hit traffic tie ups.  

As it turned out, I hit NO traffic at all and actually got into Sacramento faster than anticipated.  I didn't want to show up for lunch an hour early, so I kind of piddled around, listening to my audio book.  I actually parked right near the house for awhile, then drove around again, and ultimately arrived right on time, at 11:30.

Lady Iris put me to the task of mixing the martinis (stirred, not shaken--it bruises the gin) and, as we usually do, settled in to catch up on our lives, political frustrations, and the state of gay rights around the world.  It had been a long time since I'd had a martini.  There was a time when it was as mother's milk to me, but now that water is my preferred beverage, it took a bit of time to stimulate those old gin taste buds.  I nursed mine throughout the hours that I was there, and added quite a lot of ice to the original mix.  Ahhh...the days of my youthful debauchery are, I fear, dead and buried!

In time, we served ourselves salad and French bread and the movie started. We had a wonderful time reliving that witty dialog ("Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!") and passing around the box of Kleenex toward the end.

This is never a movie that shows up on my "favorites" list, but watching it I remembered what a good film it was.  I read the book before it was ever a film.  Some people would classify it as a madcap comedy and there is no doubt that it is uproariously funny, but Rosalind Russell gives the high-living, hard-partying Mame such depth of character.  She champions diversity, equality, family love and the fine arts.  And she loves nephew Patrick, her "little love" in a way all children should know they are loved.

It was nice to visit with her again.



When the movie ended it was about 3:30 and I decided I'd better get on the road before rush hour traffic mixed with highway repair.

When I got home, I had the feeling that I had "lived," and wondered what I should do now....

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tune Up Complete

She's had her spark plugs checked, her joints lubed, her tires rotated and she's ready to go for another year.
After taking my mother to meet her doctor last week, this morning I decided it was the day to take her in for lab tests.  She had to be fasting and I was trying to figure out how that was going to work.  If I called her the night before or wrote it on her calendar (or both), there is no way she would remember.  I had to get to her before she went to breakfast, but I also didn't want to wake her up.

So I got up at 6, got to Atria at 7 and sat in one of the easy chairs near the dining room, reading, until 8.  I figured if she went to breakfast early I'd see her as soon as she came down her hallway.  

At 8 it was late enough that I didn't feel bad about waking her up.   When I got to her apartment, the newspaper was still there, so I knew she was still sleeping.  I let myself in very quietly and went back to my book again.  About 20 minutes later, I heard her up and walking around, so I called out "Good morning!" to her so she wouldn't be shocked to walk into the living room and find me sitting there.

She was very out of it, having difficulty waking up, but we sat and talked for awhile and she kept saying she had forgotten that she had to go to the doctor today.  I kept telling her that I hadn't told her yet.  She asked over and over again what they were going to do to her (she thought she was getting a shot).

We finally got out to the car.  She loved the beautiful day and it was beautiful.  Crisp and clear with a hint of warmth.  The lab tests went very easily, though she repeated again how much she hated having blood drawn.   I meant to remind her that part of my duties on my very first job was to hold the arm steady of people, like her, who were afraid of blood draws.  

She told the phlebotomist that she was 99 and he told her she didn't look nearly that old ("I thought you were in your 70s," he said.  Harumph.) and he hoped to see her next year when she had 3 digits in her age.

After we left the lab, I talked her into stopping for coffee and something to eat at a local coffee shop, since neither of us had eaten anything yet. She said more than once we should just go to Atria's dining room, where I could have anything I wanted, but I finally convinced her to try the coffee shop. Like Easter dinner, it was OK, but she was clearly uncomfortable, disoriented, and would have preferred to be at Atria, which is a place she knows.  I must remember that next time I decide to give her a "treat" and take her out to eat somewhere. It is no longer the treat for her that it is for me.

She did, however, love being out and seeing trees.  I could not count the number of times she raved about how beautiful this or that tree was and how this really is a very pretty town.

When we came back to Atria, I was reminded that it was just about exactly a year ago that I decided to just stop by Atria before we signed the contract at the place in Petaluma.  I remember the first thing I saw was the rose garden, all in bloom and knew instantly that this was the right place.

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In the past year, the roses have bloomed, been cut back, lain dormant and now have bloomed again.

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She just loved them and was particularly impressed by a beautiful coral colored rose.  




She said again that she's glad she moved here.

When we got back to the apartment, I checked her pill bottles and discovered one of them was empty.  There had been at least a couple dozen pills in there the last time I checked, less than 2 weeks ago, and I don't know if she took them all or threw them all away.  She doesn't remember having pills.  So I've taken her pills away and will now start doing her medication management because it's clear that she really can't do that at all.

We got a check written for a bill she had to pay and then I came home.  I had just about an hour before I was meeting a friend for lunch downtown.   Since I had just finished a lovely eggs benedict, I wasn't sure what I would have for lunch, but found that a cup of Panera soup was just about the perfect size.

We finished lunch, I came home, and took a 2 hour nap.  After the interrupted and then shortened night of sleep, all the medical stuff, and having two meals within 2 hours of each other, I was ready for a recharge.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Preserving History

There are really good things about keeping a blog, or about journaling in general.  It's wonderful to come across things that people in the family have written about certain parts of their lives.  For example, I have a travel diary that my godmother kept when she and her husband (my grandmother's cousin) went on their honeymoon to Europe in 1913.  The ink has faded so it's difficult to read, though her handwriting is very neat.  I don't know exactly how long the trip took, but several weeks.  I have not read the whole thing, but what I have read has been fun to see what travel was like in 1913 -- they had to take the ship to Ireland, for example, since there were no flights! 

(In the back of the book are a few little clippings that she saved, and a little pamphlet advertising the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls, which cost, at that time 50 cents.)

My mother kept a journal when she and her then-new husband traveled to the Netherlands to visit his family and do some traveling with his cousin and her husband.  My mother is not an interesting writer and while she told me about the frustrations she was going through at the time, her written account reads more like an itinerary than a journal, so I have only read a little bit of it, but it's there if I want to read it.

(The videos that they took on that trip kind of match the tone of the journal.  Fred was a carpenter and the video that I saw showed a brief clip of a bunch of windmills and then endless inside shots of nails and joints and how the windmill was put together.  I fell asleep when they showed it to us.)

Funny the World is the story of my life from 2000 forward.   Prior to that, I kept copies of letters for a number of years until the size of the collection started to get out of hand (I still have those copies) and then kept journals for various stretches of time.  I kept a journal for about 10 years or so of our kids' early life, which I retyped, edited, and had hard bound for the kids one Christmas.   I called it "How I 'Did It'" since everybody always asked me how I managed to survive raising five children. Knowing how positively that book was received made me sorry that I didn't continue it, but there is a big gap from about 1988 until this journal started in 2000.  Some interesting things happened during that time.

My friend Alison recently gave me her collection of letters we wrote to each other while writing the Lamplighter histories, and that was fun to re-live.

I also kept travel journals when we traveled to England or Ireland or Scotland (by the time we went to the continent, I had Funny the World to write in)

Sometimes it's not exactly nice to relieve those parts of your life. I took a trip of a couple of weeks with my mother and her husband in their RV.   Keeping a journal kept me sane.  Fred and I were usually cordial to each other, but there were things about him that drove me to distraction, primarily his bigotry.  My mother would deny vehemently that he had any bigotry about him, but I heard every ethnic and gender slur there ever was on that trip, to the point where I would go to the back of the RV when he was driving just so I would not have to listen to him.   When we parked on their property, I was so very glad that there was a separate trailer on the property to which I could escape when I couldn't take it any more.  He would also do things like come into the trailer where we were watching a program on TV and just change the channel because he wanted to watch something else, or turn it off in the middle of a program without saying anything because he was tired and wanted to go to bed.   It's all written down in my journal of that trip, which I don't want to throw away.   Fred is gone and my mother wouldn't remember.

I found the worst journal this afternoon, though.  I haven't seen it in years.  It chronicles a period of several weeks when I went to help a friend who was going through some difficult times.  I'm not going to be specific, but I remember the time as being absolutely horrible, but when I came across the journal today and re-read it, it was much, much worse than I remembered.  She and I were barely speaking during parts of that time, her husband hit on me every single day that I was there and made lewd phone calls to me at work.  I barricaded myself in my room each night, piling furniture and suitcases up against the door, for fear he would come in and rape me.  The tales went on and on and on. Walt remembers my calling him in tears because I was so miserable. Reading it now, I wonder how I would behave today.  I would like to think that I would be on the plane home after the first week, but I was trying to keep peace, grit my teeth and just count down the days until I could finally go home again.

The thing that hurts the most about that time was that I finally talked with my friend after she and her husband had split up, about how he had behaved toward me and how miserable I was, but to this day she has not said one word about it.   No apology, no sympathy, no excuses.  She just listened.  Twice.   And after I tried to get her to express something about what I had experienced, she seems to have ended our friendship.  I haven't heard from her in two years.

I really should send her my journal.  But I won't.  I'm still trying to protect her from the worst of it.

I am, for all intents and purposes, still a wimp, even 20+ years after the fact.

Monday, April 21, 2014

A P.S. and Easter

I was standing in the shower thinking about yesterday's entry this morning and realized I wanted to add something to it.

Ned has said in the past that I spend a lot of time talking about getting old.  And I do.  Because I am.  And so is he (and maybe he doesn't think it's quite so odd to dwell on it now that he's older!).  But the reason I do is that I am finding the aging process fascinating.  I have read in many places that most of us, when asked how we feel, choose somewhere in our middle 30s as how we feel, mentally.  We don't feel our brain getting older and when it does, like with my mother, we aren't aware of it.

But you can't ignore those aging symptoms in the body and how it betrays the mental age where we feel we sit.  And, as I am fascinated by what goes on in the brain that brings on dementia and imagining what sorts of changes have happened to my mother that she is not aware of, or what is going on inside the head of someone incapacitated by a stroke--and are they aware of what is going on -- I am also fascinated by when these little changes in our bodies take place.  When did it become so impossible to reach something on an upper shelf that I now use a pair of tongs to help me?   When did climbing stairs become so painful (one of these days I'm going to pull the bannister off the wall trying to drag myself upstairs here in our house!).  I just find the whole process fascinating on a mental level and frustrating as hell on a physical one.  So I did the "baseline" entry so I could see, in a year, if I have deteriorated any more or if I'm holding steady at that point.

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But let's talk about Easter.  Easter has been one of those holiday/holydays that has assumed less and less importance in our family over the years.   It was, I think, an Easter Sunday when we had to practically stand in the parking lot (where we could neither see nor hear) because there was no room inside the church that I decided to stop attending Mass. After that, for me, it became the secular holiday of Spring and bunnies and eggs, though Walt, the good Catholic, continues  to go to Mass and of course goes to Mass on Easter.   (It's a shame we will spend our eternities in different areas of the afterlife.   He'll have the air conditioning),

For me, it was about the dinner.  First I cooked a family dinner for many years, then Walt's sister-in-law took over hosting the Easter dinners and we joined with Norm and Olivia at their house, with a lot of her family. She set a beautiful table and it was always a gala affair, often with music from her talented family, which I loved. Then when my mother started feeling uncomfortable around large groups of strangers, we split up.  Walt would go to his brother's house and my mother and I would go out to dinner.  The kids joined whichever group they felt closer to at any year, if they were able to join us at all.

When my mother stopped liking to go out for dinner, I would bring dinner to her house and cook there.  Ned and Marta sometimes joined us, but it was too far for Jeri or Tom.  Now Walt's sister-in-law is taking an Easter cooking holiday, so for holidays, we go to the brunch at Atria, which was my plan for today, but when I went to make a reservation for brunch, I found they were full and I could not, so another plan had to be worked out quickly.

I decided that I would bring her here and would rent Philomena, which we still have not seen, and then I would cook an Easter dinner.  That way we could have lamb and not pay an exorbitant price for it (amazingly, I was able to get a small roast which is, while expensive, affordable).  And of course I bought ice cream cones for dessert, since she has to have her ice cream after each meal.

I had a good time shopping for dinner and even found a dozen roses for under $10.  Unheard of!  I decided to use my godmother's blue glass plates, which I love and which I claimed when we moved my mother up to Atria.  This was going to be the first "company dinner" that I have hosted in many years, even though there would only be the three of us.  "All that crap" still surrounded the dining area, but the table looked lovely.

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In the early afternoon, Walt went out and got flowers to take to the cemetery (for Paul's 15th anniversary) and then we picked up my mother, who was astonished to learn we were going to have Easter dinner.  If only I'd told her she would have dressed up.  Guess the note on her calendar and the two phone calls weren't enough! When I picked her up, she said she was feeling disoriented today, as if she sometimes wasn't sure where she was.

We went to the cemetery, which, for a cemetery, looked beautiful today.  I was going to take a picture, and forgot. I got the flowers arranged in the vase at the grave site and we drove home by the "scenic route" (where I knew we would see lots of flowers, which she loved).

When we got here, we settled in to watch the movie, and the new smart TV froze.  I about cried, but I kept punching buttons, while my mother helpfully kept repeating that she was glad her TV wasn't so complicated.  I finally unfroze it, but while I know what I did, I don't know what froze it in the first place.

Halfway through the movie, Peach called to wish us a happy Easter and my mother was very happy to talk with her.  I meant to suggest she call, and am glad she thought of it by herself.  I had earlier showed my mother a picture of Bob that Peach posted on Facebook, which shows him looking like the Bob we all remember and I thought that would make her happy.  She said he looked familiar, but she couldn't place who he was.

I made a stupid mistake ordering Philomena.  Given the option of $5 for the movie in HD and $4 for it NOT in HD, I went with the cheaper option which gave us, not surprisingly, a vastly inferior picture.  I really don't know if my mother "got" it or not because later at dinner when I mentioned the movie, she said "oh?  Did you watch a movie?" I said that it was the movie, with Judi Dench (her favorite actress) that we had just seen, first she had this look like she didn't have a clue who Judi Dench was and then said that she was glad I had the chance to watch it.  But owell.  It passed the time.

When the movie was over, I went in and made some hors d'oeuvres, Walt fixed a vodka and tonic for us (which she used to have every night before moving to Atria, and just after moving to Atria).  I used the godmother's beautiful blue glass glasses, which I've always loved.  When I handed my mother her drink, she said, in a puzzled tone, "those glasses look familiar."  She took a sip of her drink and had one of the hors d'oeuvres (leaving 11 for Walt and me) and there didn't seem to be anything to talk about, because I had to be in the kitchen and Walt is not a conversationalist.

I remembered that I had a box of things from her school years that she said awhile ago she wished I'd bring to her apartment so she could go through it, so I brought the box in.  She found an autograph book from 8th grade and read through every page of it, though showed no interest in the rest of the box (which contained her high school Varsity letters, among other things).

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Dinner was served and I very smartly let everyone dish up their own plates. As I knew she would, she had one small slice of lamb, a small spoonful of potatoes, a small spoon of green beans, and a little bit of salad.  But she ate it all, which was nice, and she didn't complain about the amount of food.  




I had bought ice cream cones for dessert, which we laughed about, since that is her standard dessert order at Atria.

Once dessert was finished, I could see she really wanted to get home, so I took her home, and she apologized profusely that I had to drive "all that way" to take her home (all 0.8 mile of it!).

I had the feeling that she really would have preferred to have eaten at Atria and that this was not the treat I had hoped it would be for her, but that does take the pressure off me in the future. I won't go out of my way to try to find things outside of Atria to do with her, since she seems more comfortable just staying in her own little world.

She did say she wants a big party when she reaches hunnert, though.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Baseline


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This pot shot card by Ashleigh Brilliant (who really is brilliant, though quite eccentric, if you aren't familiar with him!) gave me an idea for a kind of periodic update on aging.

I have been recording my mother's dementia, without initially realizing I was doing it, for some time now, ever since Kathy, Peach and I started noticing her memory loss and discussing it at length on our rides home after Cousins Days.

Last night I noticed something I have been noticing for some time, about myself, and I thought it might be a good idea to do a self-evaluation about where I am on the aging spectrum, to have a "baseline" to compare with in later years.  In addition to the pot shot, this was also prompted by a program called "Mister Rogers and Me," which Walt mentioned this morning.   I commented that I had seen it before and took umbrage at the beginning where "Me" mentioned moving into a new house, going for a walk and seeing "this old man outside of his house."  The old guy, he went on to say, was the 70 year old Fred Rogers, and the rest of the show is about Rogers and his relationshiop with "Me."

70 year old "old guy," huh?  Well, the body does begin to slow down.  I've been dealing with minor aches and pains that slow me down for so long that I don't even notice them any more, though they do worsen, slowly, over time.   I think of my grandfather every time I go to the kitchen or the bathroom.  I remember his getting out of our car and walking to the house, bent over at a slight degree and walking with arms swinging.  I don't know how old he was at the  time [probably 70 :)].  But he had a very distinctive gait, and every time I walk that way I think of him.  I don't walk that way when out in public, or even in front of Walt, but truth be told, it's the most comfortable way for me to walk when nobody is noticing.  It's kind of a lumbering gait, with each step starting out on the heel of the foot, and knees bent slightly as if to absorb the impact.  The opposite arm swings forward and the back is sloped.

Of course my back is sloped all the time.  I remember as a kid my mother always telling me to stand up straight and not slouch.  Now I can't stand up straight if I try.  I stand as straight as I can possibly get for photos, with shoulders held back as much as I can, though it is an uncomfortable position for me, and then look at myself in the picture and I am very definitely stooped over, in spite of thinking I am standing straight. I remember being shocked when Dr. G told me there was no way I was 5'7-1/2" which I thought I was my whole life.  I'm now more like 5'6" and things I used to reach with ease I can't reach any more.  Pictures of Walt and me show me sometimes shorter than he is.

For several years now getting to a standing position takes a few adjustments while the hips and knees click into place.  Sometimes it takes seconds, sometimes it takes more seconds than usual (not at all helped by excited dogs jumping on me--I swear one of these days they are going to knock me over into the dog bed!).  Sometimes there is a twinge of pain as the clicking into place happens.  It's brief and I'm used to it, but it's part of my aging process.

My mother does a lot of complaining about her back problems, but I've had back problems for so long I don't even think about it.  It's nothing serious, but it aches to stand up for any length of time, and I often adopt her treatment, which is just to sit down for a bit until the ache leaves and then go on about my business. When I have to stand for any period of time, the ache becomes all I can think about. When I stood with the woman in the parking lot after the dementia meeting the other day, fortunately I had my cane with me because while she talked on and on and on, my back was just screaming and I needed to lean heavily on my cane.

The cane (just succumbed and bought that TV-advertised Hurry Cane so I can fold it up and carry it in my purse) helps greatly with balance and locomotion, though I can get along without it.  I realize I can walk faster and steadier using the cane, but when I strike out at (my) top speed, I'm still slower than everybody around me.  Walking "together" with someone is something I never do because my companion is always at least four strides ahead of me.  I can't keep up (and if I try, I'm so winded I can't talk and don't enjoy the walk).
I used to be a nightowl and I suppose compared to most people my age, I still am, but lately I've been realizing that after a certain period -- usually halfway through The Daily Show -- that my body and brain just don't want to work any more.  I can, and frequently do, stay up past midnight, but the brain function just isn't the same and a part of me is screaming to drop whatever project I'm trying to finish (often this journal) and just go to sleep.

Sleep has become a more necessary thing.  Both Walt and I usually take a nap at some time during the day.  Some days I seem to fall asleep whenever I sit down to watch TV (of course Walt has done that for many years and is famous for his instant naps).  But after such a long period of sleep problems -- for decades, really -- I am now sleeping often 7 hours at night, which is huge for me.  The dogs are helping because they are really very considerate and though they may come and check to see if I'm still sleeping (and I pretend I am), they tiptoe around here and don't start acting frisky and ready for the day until I finally let them know that I'm awake.  Then all hell breaks loose.  I love those few minutes when I first wake up and we have my "You're AWAKE" love-in.

My appetite is less now.  I almost always give Walt at least 1/3 of my dinner every night because though I dish up what I think I can eat, it turns out I can't.  I understand when my mother (and previously Walt's mother) complain about the amount of food served at restaurants.  This amazes me because I've had such a big appetite all of my life.  Of course I still snack between meals, so I'm not likely to lose much weight, but it surprises me that I can't eat what I used to.

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I wasn't going to leave behind this delicious slice of prime rib at the Harris Ranch the other day, but I only ate a few of the French fries, which is very unusual for me.  Love those thin fries; just didn't feel like eating them.
My taste buds are also less sensitive than before.  Things that I used to love to eat are just "meh" now because the flavor isn't as strong as it used to.  It makes it easier to stop eating when my stomach feels full because my mouth isn't getting the same "delicious" signals that it used to.

Both Walt and I are having mild hearing problems.  Neither of us can hear the other if we are distracted somewhere else, though if we are paying attention, the hearing is fine.  Walt has had his hearing tested and said the doctor says it's OK.  I would insist that the doctor is wrong, if it weren't that I'm having the same problems he is.

Most annoying to me of the aging signs I notice is that my typing is not what it used to be.  I still type fast, but I make more typos and the worst of them is typing a word I did not mean to type, when my brain is thinking of the correct word.  I don't know why that happens, but I may be thinking of "black" and my fingers will type "white."  The fingers have taken on a life of their own.  It's like I have my own personal ouija board instead of a computer keyboard under my fingers sometimes.

And of course when you have a parent with dementia, those memory lapses are very worrisome.  I do word problems all the time, hoping that will help keep the brain cells active, but there are still those times when you are trying to think of a movie star, like Ralph Bellamy, for example.  And it just won't come.  You think and think and think and finally try to find a movie he was in (sometimes you can't remember any movies he was in too!) and look it up on ImDB (thank GOD for computers!).   You get the page, see his name and think "Oh...of course...I knew that") then shut down ImDB and the name is gone again and you have to look it up again.  I hate times like that.  They don't happen that often and I only assume they will happen more often as I get older.

Doing math in my head is an impossibility now.  I need a calculator to add 2 and 2 some days.  (4, right?)
I really do have to put on my glasses to find my glasses.  It's difficult to focus on anything.  I have to put my glasses in the same spot every night or I run the risk of not being able to find them.

At least my teeth are OK!  Thank you, Cindy Belgum.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

It's a Boy!

Abbie watch finally ended around 8:45 tonight, with the birth of a healthy colt.

I have been checking BarnCam regularly for what seems like a month.   At night I take my iPad to the living with me, put it on the coffee table and whenever I wake up in the middle of the night, I can check in on Abbie.  My preference would have been to sleep in the recliner, but Sheila just gets all discombobulated when I don't at least start the night on the couch, so in deference to Sheila (who is delirious with joy when I start down the hall to the living room), I pack the iPad and take it with me.  She doesn't mind when I get up at 3 and move back to the reciner.   (These dogs run my life too successfully!)

Anyway I had just started spaghetti sauce simmering and a pot of water boiling for penne pasta and thought I'd check Abbie.  I figured it would be a miracle if I actually caught the birth.  I did manage to see Nana give birth to Muffin a couple of years ago, but the births go so quickly I would have to be very lucky to catch it again unless I watched the screen 24/7.

I saw Karen come in with the shovel, which was weird because there was no visible poop.  Then I realized she wasn't cleaning up, she was laying down hay.  I figured this might finally be "it."  This morning she had posted a message saying, "FINALLY something really encouraging! Milk test strips (ph testing) reading 6.0 and to quote the guide 'Mare should foal within 12 hours'! Thick sticky copious liquid! Abbie may actually be planning to HAVE this stinkin' foal! All fingers crossed for alive and healthy, please!"

I watched as she finished spreading the hay around and then went to examine Abbie.  She seemed quite involved in the hindquarters, then it looked like Abbie got down on her front legs with her hindquarters sticking up, at first, and then down on the straw and next thing I knew this black thing began to emerge.  Walt was watching over my shoulder.

The barn cam is not very good quality, so you have to do a lot of imagining, but before long, the colt was finally out.

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At first I was nervous because he didn't seem to be moving, but eventually he was, Karen had backed away and was taking pictures, so I figured everything was OK.

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I swear, the second that baby was out into the world, Abbie's belly deflated like a balloon.  I worried because it seemed to take a long time for Abbie to get up or even turn around and look at her newborn son, and Karen was concentrating on getting the colt cleaned up (of course at this point I didn't know if it was a boy or a girl)

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Then when I went to drain the pasta and came back to the screen, Abbie was standing and while not paying a LOT of attention to the baby, at least seemed interested.

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Eventually, the colt finally got to his feet.

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That hurdle passed, and things obviously going OK, I took some time to check Karen's web page, where a "welcome baby" party was in progress.
Brett was first and wrote, "Finally it's here!!!!!! Is there a harness on it ready to pull??? Lol"
Bonnie wrote: "BABY HORSE! BABY HORSE! FINALLY AFTER A MONTH OF STARING AT THIS SCREEN...BABY HORSE!! LOL"
Sarah wrote: "I didn't look away long, last time I clicked on that tab she was walking around and now FOAL!"
Kat asked: "What will I watch at night now?"
Maria wrote: "Yay!!! Abbie popped!!!"
GP King added: "Damn I wish I still used tobacco. I need a cigar!!
It went on and on, everybody so excited about the birth.  When Karen finally got back to the house, she posted the details. "Colt - Appaloosa - black or seal brown- possibly 2 blue eyes... Very strong, pretty head, slightly tangled front legs, easily straightened do delivery wasn't too hard!"   She also said that his barn name is going to be Friday.

I watched for awhile longer and was amazed at how lively Friday was within the first half hour.  He was examining everything in the stall and just looked like he was so happy to be unconfined.  Someone on the board said that it looked like Abbie just wanted to finally go to sleep, but had to watch the baby.
Karen said that it was Abbie's turn to stay awake and her turn to finally get some sleep.

After about an hour or more, I checked back and both horses were finally asleep.  I'm pretty sure Karen and Michael must be sleeping too!

FridaySleeping.jpg (8701 bytes)

And I don't have to take my iPad to bed with me tonight!!


Friday, April 18, 2014

Today at Logos

When I got to Logos today, Sandy, back from her long vacation, shared that last week, it was 3 p.m. before she called Susan to ask where I was. Susan had forgotten she was going to cover for me!  Fortunately, Sandy was having a good time anyway.

Things were kind of slow as I set up the iPad I'd brought (to check Abbie, who is, as of this writing, still pregnant). I forgot to bring either my VanGogh book or the Robert Ludlum book I'm also reading.  I also forgot my cell phone. But I could get on the internet with the iPad, which was good.

An old guy came in holding a bargain book and asked if we had music or art books.  I directed him appropriately and he spent a long time browsing, but in the end left with just the $1 bargain book.

A round woman came in asking if we had art history books.  I told her where to look and she asked if we had a public bathroom.  When I said we did not she said "Oh well, I work at the art museum next door; I guess I'll just go there" and left without looking at any books.

Since I had neglected to bring something from home to read, I picked up Mark Twain's "Roughing It in the Sandwich Islands," a very short book but fascinating.  It had pictures at the end of things Twain would have seen when he spent four months in the Sandwich Islands.  I showed them to Walt (who grew up on Oahu) when he picked me up.

I was so absorbed I almost didn't notice severasl customers who came in.  One tall, heavy set man came in with a sylpyhlike woman who came up to about his chest.  The guy shuffled around the shelves for about 25 minutes and ultimately bought nothing, and both of them left.

A woman I had not seen enter popped out of the stacks with copies of "Shakespeare and Me" and "Committed," a book about marriage.

In the meantime, a Sheldon (of Big Bang Theory) geeky type came in wearing a big backpack and a frozen banana t-shirt.  I half expected him to buy something nerdy, but he purchased a copy of "Zorba the Greek" and another similar style book.  He said "whenever I want a book, I always come here."

A woman rushed in the door, went off to the side, and was back in a minute with a sign.  She was buying an 11-volume set of O. Henry books, nicely bound and was SO enthusiastic about it.  She said she loves books -- loves looking at them, loves smelling them, loves reading them.  She assured me that while some might take this set of books home to display on a shelf, she fully intended to read them all.

A woman with a body type like mine, but probably not quite as large came in.  Reminder to self:  don't ever wear shorts out in public!!!  I smiled and said hello, but she ignored me, then came and asked if we had fiction.  I showed here where the fiction books were. She was looking for a book by Nicholas Sparks, didn't find it, and left.

RainbowGirl.jpg (52928 bytes)Rainbow Girl came in next, wearing striped rainbow leggings, a black and white striped short-short skirt and a top with drawings of flowers on it.   She was sneezing.  I thought perhaps it was because of pollen in the flowers in her short.  

She wandered around for a long time and then a husky guy wearing orange shorts and a green shirt, with legs looking like a Gaugin painting came in.   He was apparently a friend of Rainbow girl.
I don't think either of them bought anything, but they were definitely colorful.

While they were there the very tall Mountain Man type who has been in before came in.  He has a very long whilte beard and shoulder length white hair, but he's more a John Muir type than a Santa type.  He always wears a fisherman's type cap and soft jeans.  He was in the back for so long I thought he had left, but he eventually came up with a book of Native American Tales that he had been reading for a long time while he was out of my sight.

A business man with a briefcase came in and in short order had purchased a book of essays.  The cash register decided to jam at this point and it took a long time to ring up his order, but after I had unplugged it and plugged it back in again, all was fine.

Two middle-eastern looking women came in.  The older one was all in basic black with a beautiful rose-colored design and wearing a hijab, but clunky very white athletic shoes with pink soles.  She looked for a long time at the cookbooks and asked if we had books on knitting.  In the meantime the other women, whom I decided must be her daughter, who was dressed like everyone else in Western clothing was looking through the children's room and bought a Thomas the Train book.

A Tall young woman in black leather skinny jeans and jacket (isn't she HOT today??) had two large bags, one on each shoulder. She reminded me of Prentiss on Criminal Minds, but not as severe looking.

Another regular came in.  This is a short, thin guy with a goatee who also wears a fisherman-style hat. He tells me he's an antiquarian.  I remember the very old book he showed me a couple of weeks ago.  Today he bought one of our "old" books (for $6).  He had just purchased a pocket bible printed in the early 1800s.  It was in such teeny print that you could hardly tell that those were words there.  He also showed me a Greek coin from 325 BC.  He was on his way to sell that, since he says he's ready to start divesting himself of some of his collection.  He said he could get about 55% of what he originally paid for this coin (45% for wear and tear).  I don't know how much he paid for it originally, but there was a sign for $1600 on the box.

A guy came in with a bag of children's books to donate.  I   didn't realize how many of them there were until I started looking at titles and realized that they are very thin books. There must have been 50 of them. There was one about a frog playing t-ball, so I pulled that out for Bri.

Another guy came in with two books, plunked them down on the table and said to tell Peter they were from Tom ("but he will probably know that already.")

A girl came in and wherever she stood, she was doing stretching exercises.  Arms, legs, head rolls.  Then she'd move to another spot and stretch some more.  I actually thought she had left because I hadn't seen her in a long time, but I found her reading at the front table.  She asked if we had any dance books, and stretched in front of that bookcase.  She finally left after purchasing "The Art of Pickling."

My friend arrived at 4:45, late for him.  He said he missed me last week.  This week he bought a book of Klimt paintings and, again, gave me correct change.  I think he's doing this deliberately to keep me from being embarrassed by the mistakes I always make trying to make change for him.  I am grateful.
I watched Abbie off and on all afternoon and watched Karen cleaning her stall.

A woman came in with a big donation in a straw basket.  She had three more loads to bring in, but I couldn't help her because I had several people in the store.  Most of the books were the kinds I would read, but I didn't dare look through them.  I suspect most of them will end up on the bargain table, since Peter doesn't have much respect for crime novels.  As she left, she explained that her husband comes in to Logos and indicated that she doesn't usually.

My last customer of the day was a handsome African American woman with dredlocks who rushed in and asked if we had Nelson Mandela's biography, which we did not, so she left right away.

I was surprised when Susan arrived because I didn't realize that it was that late already.  Walt was arriving too, Abbie was still pregnant and it was time to go home and feed the dogs.