Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Day With DMTC

The older I get, the more I have those times when every molecule in my body is screaming "Go to sleep.  NOW!"
That's how I felt as we left the Davis Musical Theater building last night.  It was opening night for Shrek: the Musical and my plan was to come home and write this entry and then go to sleep and write the review in the morning.  But my body was having none of it.  All those molecules were agitating and I could feel that I simply could not do anything but go to sleep.   Immediately.

So I did.  I walked in the front door, put my purse on the kitchen counter, changed into sleep clothes, did my evening ablutions, and collapsed on the couch. I was asleep almost instantly.

That means, of course, that I am writing this at 4 a.m. because I don't have the sense that God gave me and though I could probably go back to sleep after getting up, it would bother me that I had left my journal entry un-written.   So here I am.  Then I'll go back to sleep.

Yesterday was a Davis Musical Theater day.  I had recently written a feature article about the company's 30th anniversary and during my interview with founders/directors/producers Steve and Jan Isaacson, Steve mentioned that each year when The Enterprise puts out its "Welcome to Davis" issue, the paper does a lovely feature on the university's Mondavi Center, where all the big time concerts take place, and then there is a secondary spotlight on one of the other theaters in town, and DMTC is relegated to some "also ran" slot in the back of the insert.

Two years ago, he said, they protested that the second place had been given to a little theater and not to them, and were promised that the following year, they would have the second place, but the following year it went to a brand new theater in town. 

In point of fact, DMTC is the longest-running, year-round, non-professional musical theater company in California. It operates at 91% capacity and it really deserves more respect than it gets.  I have watched its productions grow from pretty mediocre to pretty good.  It used to be that in my reviews I was kind to the shows because they gave them such heart, if not talent, but it has been a long time since I've had to write one of those carefully worded reviews.

I decided to go to bat for DMTC, and contacted the editor.  She agreed with me that it was time for DMTC to have a spotlight and next thing I knew, I was assigned to write the article for the Welcome section.

I had several other things to write and I kept putting off doing the DMTC article until night before last when, as I was going to sleep, I realized that the article was due the next day.  So I spent the day putting together an article that would be different enough from the one I just wrote a couple of weeks ago, that it would be interesting to read and would give newcomers to Davis (it's aimed at students coming to UC Davis) an idea of what the company offered....and how to audition or buy tickets.

Shrek-logo-web.jpg (28317 bytes)I finally got the article written just about time to think about leaving to go the opening of Shrek.  

It was a wonderful production with a terrific Shrek, the ogre you love and his unexpected search tp find a mate.  There were 29 in the cast, a huge cast for DMTC, and they had rented costumes from a professional costume company so they were spectacular.

Shrek has no songs you will be singing the next morning, but it's a cute show and I enjoyed it and will give it a good review.

After the show, I looked through the DMTC scrapbook on display in the lobby.  They had recently had a 30th year celebration and so had hauled out all the old stuff, and this first scrapbook was part of our history as well.  The very first production in 1984 was Peter Pan, for which Walt built the sets, Ned and his friend Greg did the lights, and Jeri was the stage manager.  Walt continued to build sets for awhile and Paul did a couple of shows, though he was now a teenager and his interests would soon turn to music and Lawsuit.  But there he was in the book too.

By the time my molecules started kicking me in the butt and telling me to get home and get to sleep now, I had enjoyed a nice, brief trip down memory lane,  I enjoyed it.

Day 74:  My son the Nazi.  Paul in a DMTC production of Sound of Music

Friday, September 12, 2014

Today at Logos

On our drive to lunch yesterday, Susan informed me that the girl I call "Eliza" is not, in fact, the girl who gave her name as Rain.   They just look a lot alike...and dress a lot alike, but Rain didn't wear the heavy blanket and Eliza does.  Nice to have that cleared up.  Neither of them came in today, though.

When I arrived at the store, Sandy was ringing up a sale for a guy who was mentioning that he had attended Jesuit High in Sacramento.  I asked if he knew my old boyfriend, who was on the faculty there awhile ago, but he said he did not.   I wondered if he really did not, or if he knew that my old boyfriend has been "benched" at the seminary because of charges of inappropriate behavior with a minor.  He did look at me rather oddly when I asked him.

Sandy had a so-so day, but I had a terrible afternoon.  There were a total of six sales, the largest of which was to "my friend," who spent nearly $20.  Four of the six sales were for bargain books, so a sum total of $4.  We have had donated books, though and for today at least, the number of books donated was more than the number of books sold on my shift!  I am assuming that when the temps drop to something more comfortable and when the students are moving in to Davis, not moving out, this ratio will reverse itself.

Shortly after Sandy left, I had a "butt call" from Walt.   I tried yelling at his butt, but he didn't hear me.  I did call back and leave a message, which he eventually got, but didn't return the call since he hadn't wanted to talk to me anyway.

I saw Bruce looking through the bargain books, but I guess he didn't find anything he wanted because he didn't come into the store.

A Chinese guy bought 2 bargain books.  He told me he was from Nanjing, the capital of Eastern China.  He has only been in town for "40 days," he says, and added that he thinks the people of Davis are very nice.  He wanted to know where he could buy sheets of stamps and I drew him a map to the local post office and assured him that yes, he could get there on his bike.

A woman wearing heavy jeans and a sweatshirt came in and complained about the heat.  She was looking through the travel books and bought a book on Vancouver and "The Sun Also Rises," explaining that she is leaving for Spain next week.  She also talked about how much she loves Vancouver and what a great city it is to get around in because the transportation system is so good.

A woman came in to find out where she could catch a bus to Sacramento.  I had to tell her I wasn't that familiar with the Davis bus system and I was going to call Walt to ask him (because he would know), but she left before I had a chance to do so.

A kind of nondescript woman, fresh-faced, wearing a light weight sundress with a very short skirt and showing off her boobs nicely came in.  She had curly hair that she wore in a pony tail high on her head.  She wandered around for awhile, but, like almost everyone else so far, she also left without buying anything.
A tall guy with a list in his hand went rummaging through the Literature shelves and eventually left without making a purchase.

A woman who reminded me of our old friend Merrell came in.  She was short, rotund, and had a mass of unruly bronze colored curls.  She was looking for books with Spanish on one side and English on the other and I told her I didn't think we had anything like that.  She found a chair to climb on so she could check the top shelves, since she was so short.  Eventually she left empty handed.

In contrast with the low key dresses that the Merrell doppelganger was wearing was a young woman wearing a busy dress with a short skirt in shades of purple, beige and gold, with a butterfly motif.  Her straw bag was woven in the same shades of colors.  I was impressed.  She checked out the "old books," but left without buying anything.

An Asian woman was looking for "Building Bridges, not Walls" and I directed to her toward the Personal Growth shelves, but she didn't find what she was looking for and left.

A Dad and son came in and checked out the children's room, where the son found a book on snakes.  Dad wanted to know if we had any MadLibs books and I told him he was unlikely to find a used MadLib book.  He and his son sat at the front table for a very long time, off and on giggling, which I found cute. They ultimately left without buying anything, and without putting the snake book back in the children's room.

An older man in rumpled pants and a cut-off t-shirt came in.  He reminded me of our old friend Harry Krade (now long dead).  He wandered around for awhile, checking the travel books, before leaving.
A woman came in looking for Harry Potter books.  She bought "Goblet of Fire" and was out of the store in less than 5 minutes.

A Japanese environmentalist was looking for books on the National Parks and also a book on Village Homes, an environmentally friendly subdivision which was so famous in 1975 when developer Mike Corbett built it that Rosalind Carter came out for the dedication.  At least one of our kids was part of the welcoming committee for her.  Sadly, I don't think anybody has written a book about Village Homes (but in case someone has, I sent him to the Avid Reader to look) and he didn't find what he was looking for about national parks, so another no-sale.

A Mom and son came in.  The little kid had a tube of "something" and I asked him about it.  He told me that it had everything--knights, dragons and swords.  "That's cool," I said.   "Yeah--I have good stuff," he told me.  Mom ultimately bought a different Harry Potter book.

I almost didn't notice the "purple lady," who, as it turned out, was my last customer of the day.  She was wearing a purple dress, a purple headband, shoes and purse which nicely contrasted with her blonde hair and pale skin.   But she was in and out very quickly and, of course, did not buy anything.

Peter arrived just about 6, followed soon after by Walt and my exhausting day at Logos was over for another week.

Day 73:  I LOVE my new t-shirt!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lots of Dead Fish

The Dead Fish Restaurant in Crockett, CA (about an hour or less from Davis) is a place I had not heard of before, but Susan (from Logos) suggested it would be a good location for our lunch with Char and her daughter Dana.  About halfway for all of us.

Susan and I got there first and chose to sit outside, overlooking the bridge at Crockett

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While we settled in and waited for the others to arrive, I noted, with amusement, the sections of the menu.

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Char and Dana arrived and settled themselves in.

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We all ordered and I splurged to get their specialty, roasted garlic crab.  It was worth the splurge.

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The others had dainty lady-like dishes, but I can't resist a good crab....and this was a very good crab.  (Besides, how else can I legitimately get a bit to keep from spilling food down my front?)

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We sat there for three hours and had such a great time.  Dana had just returned from France, and Susan lived there at one time and knows Paris very well, so the two of them gave us good information on where to go and what to do when we are in Paris next month.

Inevitably the conversation changed to "family."   Fortunately I have known Char's family, her kids, her parents, her aunts and uncles, her grandmother, and so I can enjoy sharing any of the family stories shared by the two cousins about memories of growing up with this crazy family of theirs.  It reminded me of the times when Peach and Kathy and I would get together with my mother and my own crazy family.

At some point, reminiscing about some of the dumb things we have done in our lives, Char and I decided that if we were to write a book we would title it "That was really dumb...but we did it anyway."

Another really nice "Ladies who Lunch" lunch.  I am a happy camper.

Day 72:  A delicious roasted garllic crab

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


They call it twilight sleep, I think, when it happens in between that awake time when you first go to your sleeping place and the actual sleep that happens after random thoughts flit through your head while trying to get to sleep.   I've had some really weird twilight sleep dreams through the years, where my mind takes over and it goes off on flights of fancy all on its own, sometimes thinking about real things in my life, sometimes true flights of fancy that I had no notion were rolling around in my head. Because I'm busy trying to get to sleep, I have no control over where my thoughts go.

I'm not sure what you call it when this happens in the morning, during that time between deep sleep and fully awake.  

I've started sleeping until about 8:30 in the morning and I'm lovin' it.  Now that doesn't mean 8+ hours of uninterrupted sleep.  That means 2-3 sleeping on the couch, then an hour or more (usually more) awake watching TV and trying to get back to sleep in the recliner, and finally getting to sleep, waking around 5:30-6 and listening to the local news and the Today Show, aware that I'm dozing off and on while "watching."  

It's in those "dozing off" times when I have weird thoughts.

This morning I was thinking about Char's youngest son, Cam (Cameron) and realize that I know his middle name and I knew how he happened to be named Cameron (but not how he happened to get his middle name).  Then I wondered if I remembered all of her kids' middle names.  It's kind of like one of those things that you should know about your best friend, but since the kids are all >50 and pushing 50, it's not something I've had to think about in 50 years.

I started with the oldest.  I knew she was named after Mike's cousin in Belgium and I even remembered her middle name.  But I didn't know how the 2nd daughter got her name and couldn't remember her middle name.  The next daughter was easy because she's my goddaughter, though I didn't remember how they happened to name her either her first name or her middle name.  Tim was easy because one of Char's very best friends at the Newman center was a priest named Tim (in fact, he was the priest who married Walt and me -- we were his first wedding after he was ordained).   I remembered his middle name too, and that brought me back to Cam again.

I told Char about my dream and she filled me in on the name I didn't remember and gave me the story behind how each one happened to be named.   She then shared with me something I hadn't known before, that she herself was apparently named after her mother's favorite childhood doll.  "Not exactly inspiring," she added.

I thought about her being named "Charlotte" and then thought about how the Latin word for "bear" is "ursus" and thought that since she is such a huge fan of the UC Berkeley Bears she should have been named "Ursula" and told her that.  "Sounds good to me. You may call me Ursula from now on," she tells me.

I probably won't, but who knows.  I just may.  That will confuse passengers on our upcoming cruise to France.  Go Bears!

* * *

I falsely maligned our dogs this evening and had a brief moment of panic at the same time.  Walt is off at the opera in San Francisco and the four of us 2- and 4-legged critters are here alone.  I wait to watch the evening shows (mostly Jeopardy) until Walt gets home so we can watch them together, so I decided to watch a movie instead.   I got into the recliner, kicked off my Birkenstocks, and settled in to watch the movie. The dogs paced in and out of the house during the last half hour or so because it was getting to be dinner time and I wasn't getting up to feed them instantly.

When the movie ended, I got out of the chair and there was only one shoe.  I looked under the chair, on either side of the chair and all over the family room.  The dogs are not chewers and I never have problem leaving anything on the floor (other than a plastic waterbottle) because I know that they won't run off with it.  But the shoe wasn't anywhere.  I pushed the chair forward and it wasn't under the chair either.

I went outside in the fading light trying to find it before it got completely dark.  But no shoe.  I checked the living room, the couch (where the bottles they carry out of the family room end up) and everywhere they might have taken the shoe.  I asked them many times what they had done with my shoe, but nobody talked.
I finally lifted the chair up to see better under it.  Still, the shoe was not under the chair, but it looked a little odd under the folded up footrest and when I examined further, the shoe had gotten folded up when I went to get up and there it was.  Whew.

I wear my Birkenstocks every day and they are wearing out badly, after about 20 years, and I keep meaning to get a new pair, but just have never done it.   No time tomorrow because I'm having lunch with Ursula and her cousin Susan (of Logos) and won't have time to get downtown to shop.  But definitely on Thursday morning I need to get a replacement pair of Birkenstocks, just in case I ever lose one again.  I'll keep these ratty old friends in the closet in case I ever lose a shoe again.

But the dogs are off the hook.  They were good dogs after all.

Day 71:  Brianna is getting more like Uncle Ned every day

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Earth Mother

Growing up in San Francisco, I did not come from a tradition of the "harvest."  My mother, having been raised on a ranch, lived for planting and harvesting and in our teeny little plot of land in San Francisco, in a raised bed (mayber 3' by 6') she optimistically planted carrots, parsley and lettuce and probably other things.  I remember harvesting carrots a good 3" long and thin as a pencil.   Not enough to build a great interest in future harvests.

The first "harvesting" that I actually did was visiting my grandparents' farm.  There was a corn field, but I don't remember ever going into it, but I do remember the blackberry wall and going with my sister and cousins and picking berries, our fingers stained purple and our bellies filling up faster than the buckets we carried. We swatted away a lot of bees (amazingly I don't think I was ever stung), but it was worth it for our crop. When we had finished we took the berries into the kitchen, where Grandma would turn them into delicious pies or cobblers and where I would make my own berry shortcakes by smashing a berry between two of the Lorna Doone shortbread cookies Grandma kept in the laundry room on a shelf over the washing machine.

MeGrandmaSm.jpg (54049 bytes)Before there were blackberries, there was Grandma's strawberry patch, but I was too young to really remember doing anything in it.  I only have photographic evidence that I enjoyed tasting the berries there.

I also remember going to a farm once, that friends of my parents owned, where Karen and I got to climb Bing Cherry trees and harvest cherries to bring home with us.

When Walt and I were living in Oakland, after all the kids were old enough, I went through my "earth mother" period.  I made all of our bread, for one thing.  Char and I would go to the local grain store (I think it was next to the East Bay Vivarium, where they sold snakes and lizards and other creepy crawlies.  I checked their web site today and I see that there is a Boa Price List, a Lizard Price List, a Feeder Price list, and a Boarding Price list.  I hope they don't mix up their sale items with their boarding items.

But I digress.

In the grain store I learned to experiment with all sorts of different flours. I made white bread and wheat bread and cracked wheat bread (my favorite), and rye bread.  The house was always filled with the aroma of rising dough and baking bread.  I even made sourdough bread from a starter I kept for years and years until one day, in Davis, our then-foreign student boarder decided to help me by cleaning out my refrigerator one day while I was out and proudly told me she had tossed out this terribly smelling thing in a bowl in the back of the fridge.  Sigh.

We also took the kids out to Brentwood once or twice a year.  Brentwood was a great place at that time--out in Contra Costa county, where there were wonderful orchards and you could harvest your own fruit.  Now I suspect all those orchards are high end housing developments (the city of Brentwood grew by 221% between 2000 and 2010, for example), but in the 1970s you could pick apricots and peaches and one glorious year we picked cherries.

All of us climbed trees and loaded up containers and brought them home, where I would turn them into jams, preserves, pies, and canned fruit.   If we'd had a juicer in those years, what wonderful juices I could have created.
When we moved to Davis, the lot on which we built our house already had an apricot tree and we planted peaches, plums, apples and nectarines.  In the early years we had good yields, but most of the trees eventually died and we never replanted.  We still get a few apples and sometimes a few nectarines (tiny ones) if the birds don't get to them first.  The last year before our peach tree got peach blight the tree exploded and I have a photo somewhere of David surrounded by about 6 overflowing buckets of beautiful ripe peaches.  The next year, we had to cut the tree down.

We also tried raising vegetables and that was fun for a year or two, but the tomato horn worms kept me from raising the tomatoes I loved, the corn was delicious, but didn't yield enough for the 7 of us to have a meal out of, and the biggest thriving crop was zucchini, which nobody liked.  

So my farm days died aborning.

I have no desire to return to my shallow earth mother roots, but it is fun to remember the days when we worked together to gather various foods and my working to create various things out of our harvest.

Smuckers does it better, but there's no romance or adventure in that.

Monday, September 8, 2014

There Will Be Blood...uh...a Letter

The 95th birthday party has been declared a success, though it was touch and go for awhile and a letter has been written to the General Manager of Atria about it.  However, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Knowing I wanted to do this party, I arranged a week ago to use the private dining room.  I checked twice during the week with the front desk about it, keeping them up to date with how many we would probably have.   The room has a long table that seats probably 14 people, and then chairs around the edges so you can sit and chat.  It would be perfect.  I had invited 8 people from Atria and then there were 5 family plus my friend Peg, who used to live at Atria and has now moved across town to be closer to her daughter and, of course, my mother, for 14 total.

The adventure started yesterday with Making The Cake.   I always use cake mix cakes, but I decided that I wanted to make a from-scratch cake this time, so I did.  I was super careful measuring ingredients and mixing times, etc.  I even buttered the cake pan, put parchment on it and buttered it again, to make sure the cake came out easily -- all those things that "real" bakers do, that I usually skip beause I'm lazy.  But I wanted this cake to be perfect.

The first problem was that as I was getting ready to put it in the oven, I glanced at the recipe and realized that I had used 1-1/2 cups of milk instead of 1-1/4.  Well...maybe it would be OK, I thought.  But then as I put the pan in the oven I relaized that instead of the pan being the 9x13 called for in the recipe, it was 7x11.  I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

In time I began to smell burning cake and the smoke detector went off and I discovered the batter had overflowed the pan and was burning on the bottom of the oven.  Ultimately it came out with batter cooked onto the sides and the middle sunken in.

This would not do, so I heaved a sigh and started making a second cake, which, thank goodness, turned out just fine.  Amazing what a difference it makes when you measure correctly and use the right size pan!

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This morning I got up at 6 to make stabilized whipping cream and decorate the cake.  I've decided stabilized whipping cream is my favorite much softer, less sweet than buttercream, and by adding gelatin to the cream, you can actually pipe with it and it holdes its shape.

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At 11, we headed to Atria, by way of the supermarket so I could get a flower arrangement.  I had hoped for a balloon, but they didn't have any that I liked (and none blown up).  We got to Atria and I checked in with the front desk again and then took the cake and flowers to the private dining room.  It was 11:30.   

The server told me that I would have to move to the hospitality table because they weren’t opened yet. I explained I just wanted to drop off the cake and that we would not be arriving until noon. She said that would be fine.  

At noon, we returned to find several of the Atria guests already in the dining room and we began to settle ourselves around the table, though I thought it odd that the table was not set, as it has been when I have used that room for other purposes.

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I was pleased that almost everyone I had invited was there already and happy to see my mother greet each person like a friend.  Things were going well.   Soon the server came in and informed me that we would have to move to the hospitality table because the private dining room was not available for use. I explained that we had reserved it a week before but she said that we would have to move. The hospitality table seats 10 comfortably. At that point we were 12 and she wanted to give us that table and a separate table for 4 somewhere else in the dining room. At no time did I see any sign of any reason why the private dining room I had reserved was suddenly unavailable.

 We managed to squeeze the 12 of us around the hospitality table, but the server never brought extra silverware, so I was stealing it from empty tables. We also found our own chairs because the server said she would get chairs and never did. One of the invited guests who had not yet arrived was spotted elsewhere in the dining room, and I know she had forgotten about the party. I would ordinarily have brought her to join us, but given that the table was already too full, I did not and I feel bad about that, because she is one of my mother’s best friends at Atria. 

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We went through the buffet line and were halfway through our meal before anyone asked if we wanted drinks (everyone did...we wanted to toast my mother with mimosas) and we were nearly finished with the meal before the drinks arrived.

When it was time to have the cake I had decorated, we had to clear the table ourselves and I could not find any server to get plates to serve the cake on or a knife to cut it. I finally went into the kitchen and some person working there said she would bring the plates out. She did, eventually, and said “the chef will cut the cake.” We waited and waited and finally I used a knife from our table and cut it with that.

Ned had brought his video camera and is in the process of making a video.  He enlisted my mother's step son Ed as camera man.

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The party started to break up and the Atria residents began to leave.
PegMom.jpg (182484 bytes)This was one of my favorite pictures of the party.  I knew Peg from our writing group years ago and was pleased to find her living at Atria when we moved my mother in.

She kind of took my mother under her wing and watched out for her in her first months there.   When we were on vacation last year, she would have my mother come to her apartment so she could read my journal entries on Peg's computer.

They have the same kind of humor and enjoy teasing each other.

When they built a new facility on the other side of town, I was sad to hear Peggy was moving there, but it is closer to her daughter, so I understand it and her apartment is gorgeous.  Looks just like a hotel suite (I stuck that in there for Peggy, who will "get it").

When I was planning this party, she was the first person I invited and I was so pleased that she was able to come.  Everyone at Atria loves her too, so lots of people stopped by to see her.

We finally moved the family part of the party back to the apartment where my mother got a surprise gift ... she watched the 49ers win their game against the Cowboys.

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She also got some phone calls from family wishing her a happy birthday.

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I told Walt there are perks to having a parent with dementia.   My mother must have asked at least half a dozen times who made the birthday cake and each time she received the news that I did as if she hadn't heard it before, so she thanked me effusively each time.  She also unwrapped one of the gifts we gave her twice, the second time not remembering she had seen it before, so there was more effusive thanks for the gift. 

So the day was a success, despite the mix-up with Atria.  I felt much better after I came home and wrote a letter to the General Manager of the facility.

Day 70:  All things considered, it was a fun 95th birthday

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Party Planner

My mother is going to turn 95 on Sunday.  After her 90th birthday party, she made no bones about wanting to have another big party for her 95th as well.  I never encouraged that because I decided to pay for her 90th out of my savings account, and it depleted it.  I couldn't afford to give her another big party.

Fortunately especially over this past year she has stopped talking about a big party for her 95th.  In fact, she doesn't mention living to "hunnert" as much as she used to.  And when I mentioned her upcoming birthday, she had forgotten she had a birthday coming up and isn't interested in any hoopla.

Well, I can't let that pass, entirely.  She is going to be 95, after all. Ned is going to come to brunch on Sunday, Walt and I will be there, and today Ed, her stepson, called and I spoke with him and he will be there for brunch too.  I also invited Peg, who used to live at Atria and has now moved to a new facility.  Peg is the youngest of her Atria friends and the one who knows everyone.   She and my mother always had great fun together at mealtime.  I think my mother still remembers her.

She has very few friends at Atria, but she does have friends, whether she knows their names or not.  She sees them only at mealtime, but these are the people she seems to relate to most.  I decided to try to keep this secret, in case nobody comes.  I snuck into Atria earlier this week, before my mother went to lunch, and gave an invitation to Margaret, who usually sits with Robert.  I also gave her an invitation for Robert when he arrived, but I saw him go into the dining room and sit with someone else.  I don't know if he ever got his invitation.  

I sat in the hallway outside the dining room in a chair that faced away from the hall from where my mother (if she went to lunch) would be coming and managed to waylay Jane that way. She and Jane used to sit together when we went to the weekly sing-alongs.  Jane has family in Santa Barbara and some day we will drive her down when we are going that way.

In all, I have given invitations to five people and since I haven't seen the sixth person, I will call her.  All of these people have some degree of memory problems so it is going to be interesting to see who (if anybody) actually shows up.  I told the front desk we could be expecting anywhere from 5 to 10 or 11 people.

I'll make a cake tomorrow and get out early in Sunday to buy flowers and a balloon and decorate the private dining room where we have parties like this and then we'll just see who shows up.

I also wrote to one of my mother's friends from Hospice of Marin.  Every year, four of them, who have birthdays around the same time, have gotten together to go out to lunch.  I decided to let Marian know that if they wanted to invite her, I would be happy to drive her to Marin county for lunch.  I think it would be good for her and I hope that they decide to invite her.

One of the people I invited to Sunday's party was Robert, the only guy in the bunch.  He and I have chatted a lot at lunch, though he's quite deaf, so it's not always easy to know if he hears me or not.  But when he told me that he had published some stories for his grandchildren, I went to Amazon and found one book, which was only $3.  It was dog stories and I figured it might be a good book to give to Brianna and Lacie. It came today.

It's a terrible book!!!  And it desperately needed an editor.  Here is the second paragraph of the first story.
There were six  children in the household--evenly divided into three boys and three girls.  The youngest girl was named Barbara and early in her life she was found to be totally deaf.  Not being able to hear makes it difficult to talk and there is no way to call her.  The youngest girl was born deaf.
There are only 3 more paragraphs in this "story," Barbara seeing the puppy and liking him and his becoming her dog and the two of them having their picture taken at a 4H fair.

That's it.  

Robert is a retired veteranarian and an interesting guy to talk with, but it seems that these "stories" are just descriptions of dogs that he had as patients and if there is anything that the dogs do, their actions are so dull, I wouldn't try to give the book to anyone.

But he was thrilled when I told him I ordered his book and I guess that's the important thing.

One last note.  When I was at Atria earlier in the week, I was going through all of her printed material--they pass out endless lists and ntes  and calendars and menus and my mother never looks at them, so periodically I go an discard the outdated ones (this time notes dating back to May).  I found a note from the dining room that they were running low on plates and asking if people could check and see if they had any plates from the dining room in their apartments.

Today I was looking for a glass to get myself some water and I opened one cupboard and there were twelve plates from the dining room.   My mother doesn't know how they got there, but I got them all stacked up and put outside her door, and then called the front desk to let them know they were there.   When we went to lunch, my mother saw the dishes outside and wanted to move them in front of someone else's apartment so nobody would know she had kept them.

I didn't.

Day 68: This made me so happy!
Comstock Magazine did a feature article on our Mexican daughter, Marie Mertz and her restaurant
Is this the young girl I had to practically kick out of the house to get her to go out and practice her English?