Friday, September 4, 2015

Today at Logos

Today Logos was a good diversion.  I learned this morning that someone I love dearly has had a terrible diagnosis and I don't know what is going to happen, but I needed the world of books and customers to keep me from curling into a ball and fighting tears all day.

Sandy's granddaughter was there again today and the two of them left for "froyo" (frozen yogurt) and promised to return shortly to get their bikes.  There were 2 customers in the store when they left, neither of whom bought anything.

I found the David Gerrold book that I started last week still on the shelf where I'd left it.  I have been reading my own copy here at home and figured I could get the book finished during my work day today (I did).  As I sat at the desk reading I was aware that someone in the store was wearing perfume.  It made my nose itch.  I haven't worn perfume since the 1980s when a friend of mine had a virulent reaction to most scents.  Before that I neve rrealized that people could be made so sick by scent.

Two girls came in together and wandered around the store together and together bought 4 bargain books, 1 science fiction. 3 Literature books, 1 contemporary fiction. 2 books on gardening, and 1 book of fairy tails.  Total ~$46.

They were followed by a large nondescript man who bought a book on military history.

A congenial couple came in and didn't buy anything...yet, but were amazed to learn of the store's policy of donating to charity and said they would return.

A tall, thin but muscular woman with short curly brown hair bought "Joy Adamsob's Africa," (written by the 'Born Free' lady)

A cheery guy came in and we talked about what nice weather it was today.  He bought a book called "Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal, which Amazon tells me is "a roadmap to sex and gender for the 21st century, using Lady Gaga as a symbol for a new kind of feminism."

A woman who taught band for decades here in Davis came in with donations.  She took our hand cart out to her car to get them, while I was frantically trying to reach Walt to have him remind me what her name was.  It was someone I knew very well, but had not seen in a long time.  I even sent text messages to Jeri. I never did reach Walt or Jeri until she was gone, but she wanted a receipt, so I had her leave her contact information and that is how I remembered her name, though after she left, I realized she had never mentioned MY name either, so I suspect we were both mentally thinking "what IS her name???"

A guy who had put a bargain book on hold that morning came in with a dollar to buy it.

A grandfather type came in looking  for children's books I Spanish but our "other language" basket had lots of languages, but only one Spanish one.  He did buy that one.

An older bearded guy with saggy blue jeans, a lanyard with keys on it around his neck, his glasses perched at a rakish angle on his nose, and digging deeply in his ear with his finger checked out old books, then self improvement and ended up just buying a bagain book of "History of the Greek City States."

Two women came in together. They were the upper end of middle age and one had bleach blonde hair in a French twist to the top of her head where it swirled decoratively.  She was wearing an aqua blue lacy blouse with a matching aqua blue purse.  She looked at cookbooks, then asked if we had a book by actress Livf Tyler o manners. Apparently the women had come from Fairfield and Walnut Creek and they, too, liked the philosophy of the store (but didn't buy anything)

A buxome blonde in a black top so tight that I might have worried about a wardrobe were her boobs not too big to pop out accidentally.  Sorry she didn't buy anything!

A woman bought a Hemingway, then returned because she lost her receipt.  She looked through the book (where I'd put it) four times and finally found it.

My friend arrived at 4:50 and bought a book from the Literature section, but I forgot to look at the title. We discussed David Gerrold when he saw the book I was reading.

A man with his hat pulled so low over his eyes he never made eye contact, but bought 4 bargain books and paid by credit card--my first credit sale of the day!

The next customer was the most interesting of the day.  She looked like she was ready to begin The Amazing Race, though smelled like she was in the middle of itI couldn't believe the size of her backpack.  She is from England and she had just hiked 280 miles from Mt. Whitney to I don't know where.  She traveled alone and she said she did it in 11 says, but as that is ~25 miles a day, I wonder if I got the figures right.  But she dove into the literature shelves because she said she had nothing to read for 11 days. She bought a 700+ page book by George Elliot.  Nice girl.

Right on time, dog trainer Cayce Wallace and her walking group passed by, about a dozen dogs on leashes learning how to be well behaved on city streets.

My last customers were a mom with 3 girls in skinny jeans and heavy eye make up (at least one of them).  After doing a lot of searching they spent $50 on
  • 4 Contemporary fictions
  • 1 philosophy (the youngest girl bought that)
  • 1 book of poetry
  • 1 thick music anthology
  • a mythology book and
  • a biography
Walt was late coming to pick me up because he was coming from a meeting.  I had developed a sore throat over the course of the afternoon and all I wanted to do was go home and lie under a quilt, which I did.  He cooked his own dinner.  By about 1 a.m., I was starting to feel human again.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Flurry of Excitement

Today was Lunch at Atria day and it had a bit of a different twist to it.  For one thing my mother's back has really been bothering her.  So much so that she let out a shriek when she went to sit down and she can't make it all the way from her apartment to the dining room without sitting down.  But she doesn't need to see a doctor.  Not her.  The doctor told her 10 years ago that when it hurts she should just sit down and that's what she does.  Of course it's not possible that the disintegration in her coccyx has worsened, 'cause the doctor told her all she had to do 10 years ago.  I'll tell ya, for a woman who has always been so intelligent about everything except her health, she can be really stupid sometimes.  That Christian Science upbringing that she discarded decades ago pops up whenever it's convenient.

I'm going to take a different track with her.  I'm going to leave the decision of whether to see the doctor or not up to her BUT remind her that the thing she is most terrified of is being incapacitated and the fact that her pain is getting worse is a sign that the back is getting worse and if she doesn't get it checked out, she may very well end up incapacitated.  OR it may well be that she won't be incapacitated but will have to use a walker to get around, another huge fear (she's above all those poor people who use walkers.  SHE doesn't need a walker!)  Let's see how that goes over.

Someone in the Memory People group on Facebook suggested we try medical marijuana.  That had never occurred to me, and having zero experience with marijuana, I wouldn't have a clue where to find it or how to use it.  But it is something I might explore if the doctor thinks it might be a good idea.

But anyway, we eventually got to the dining room and "her" table was full, so we sat at the empty table next to it.  As she was sitting down, she got this funny look on her face and I looked off to the side and there was Loretta entering (on her walker, I might add).  Loretta, as I have said before, is my mother's best friend at Atria.  Neither of them knows the other one's name, though they have been friends for two years, but they enjoy each other so much, especially when they have wine with their meals.  They like teasing and insulting each other, just like my mother and her friend Paula do and I just love it.  Meals with Loretta are my favorites.

As usual, my mother poured over the menu before deciding on fruit salad and vegetable soup, and then couldn't remember what she was going to order.  When they brought her vegetable soup (which she has every day), they had added extra vegetables on top of the broth and she looked disgusted and tried to decide why she had ordered that.  She obviously was not going to eat it, so I took the veggies floating on the top of the broth off and put them on a separate plate and then she recognized her order and she ate the broth. 

We were enjoying lunch when suddenly there was a shout of "HEY!!!"  It was a woman who is probably the youngest resident of Atria, but I think she is there because she is in a wheelchair and probably this was the best place for her.  She was shouting "Is there someone who knows the Heimlich maneuver?  We have someone choking here!"

At the table next to her, on the other side of the room from where we were sitting, suddenly all the wait staff and some of the Atria facility people surrounded this woman and I guess managed to successfully "heimlich" her but there remained a lot of people around her for awhile until they were sure she was OK. 

As for my mother and Loretta, they kept insulting each other throughout the rest of lunch. At one point I asked Loretta which of her children she had in Davis and she told me it was her son.  I asked her how many children she had and she couldn't remember.  She thinks she has grandchildren. She just remembered that they have taken away an sharp objects in her apartment and are choosing her clothes for her and she now has to wear colors she never wore before.

It's easy to see why she and my mother are such good friends.  And the best thing is that when they are together, I have no qualms about joking about the fact that neither can remember anything.  They just laugh at me and with each other.  I'm sure they never see each other outside of mealtimes, but they do enjoy their meals together.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Training, Part 1

Today I had my first training session for my new job as a volunteer at the information desk at Sutter Davis Hospital, sorta my old stomping grounds.  When I managed the ob/gyn office, it was in the building next door, the Medical Office Building (MOB).  Now I learn there is an MOB-1 and an MOB-2.

I didn't learn a lot and there was very little actual "training" going on, but I did get my feet wet and learned a couple of things and brought home printed material to digest.  I suspect that when I finally start working the job, it will be a matter of learning as I go along, learning the lingo, learning where the relevant materials are kept and which corridors to direct people down when they need help.  A lot of on the job learning will take place.

We started, however, in Human Resources, where I got photographed and had my badge printed.  Now I need to find a lanyard.  Somewhere around here we should have one from Viking.

She took me to an office where I filled out a time card and she tried to get a uniform for me.  I had long ago decided that a vest, as opposed to a shirt, would be better and more likely to fit.  However, she pulled out a medium size vest that would have fit half of me.  Someone told her where the new vests were and she went through every package on the small shelf looking for a large (though the "large" shelf was two shelves above her head).  I told her that I needed at least an extra large and there were none available, so we just went without for now.

There is a lengthy list of things that should happen during training, but a good number involve getting me up and running on the computer, but it turns out only one guy can do that and he's on vacation for the next couple of weeks, so all I could do was sit and watch my trainer mumble about things on the computer that I couldn't get into.

There was a big brouhaha when a woman came in to report a maroon van which had obviously been abandoned in the parking lot.  She was quite upset about it, so since the woman didn't want to go back outside to get the license plate number, my trainer went out herself and came back to call security, which, as it turns out, is private security hired by the hospital and they have no authority to remove a car.  But he would report it to Davis police.  I actually expected something much worse when I went out to the parking lot (it was parked two slots over from me).

It is quite dirty and has a flat tire and has obviously been there for awhile, but we'll see what happens with it.  I almost want to drive out there tomorrow to see if it's still there.

Anyway, I felt pretty useless most of the 3 hours I was there.  I leafed through a binder that seemed to have "how to" information in it and looked at the file drawer, but mostly I just sat there.  Toward 11:30, she decided to give me a tour of the hospital, much of which I knew, but it was nice to put it in perspective.  We ended up in a building that I thought was MOB-2, but turned out to be MOB-1, so redesigned that were it not for the staircase leading up to where my office was, I would not have recognized it (my tour guide wasn't sure right away which building it was, since she is rarely there).

We ended up in the birthing center and the minute we walked through the door I was hit with the lovely familiar smell of women giving birth and new babies and all that goes along with it.  I smiled because I fondly remember visiting my friend Lynn when she was a midwife there. 

When it came noon, I suggested that I leave, and the trainer said she would call me when the computer guy comes back and when she has another trainer for me.  Thank goodness.  I really would like a bit more of an aggressive trainer.  This woman has been there for 12 years and obviously knows the job inside and out and I have no doubt she is wonderful at her job, and is obviously well liked.  She's just not really a very good trainer.

I had to sign out on my new time card and I was pleased that one thing I learned was the security code to get into the sign-out room

I suspect I won't really start volunteering until after we get back from our cruise in November.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Remember every good Christian's favorite bible version, Leviticus 18, which is trotted out whenever anyone wants to justify discrimination against gay people?  You know the one about not lying with a man they way you lie with a woman (which I figure makes lesbianism OK 'cause it isn't addressed).
Leviticus 18 was the inspiration for my very favorite West Wing moment.  President Bartlet encounters a Dr. Laura type radio personality:
President Josiah Bartlet: “I like how you call homosexuality an abomination.”
Right Wing Radio Personality: “I don't say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President. The Bible does.”
President Josiah Bartlet: “Yes, it does. Leviticus.”
Right Wing Radio Personality: “18:22.”
President Josiah Bartlet: “Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I had you here. I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be? While thinking about that, can I ask another? My Chief of Staff Leo McGarry insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or is it okay to call the police? Here's one that's really important 'cause we've got a lot of sports fans in this town: Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? Think about those questions, would you?"
I love how the Bible, Trump's favorite book (which is so special to him he won't name a single bible verse that he likes or a single story that has inspired him) gets pulled out whenever someone needs the rationalization for doing something that I find abhorrent.
You know what Leviticus 19 says?
And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
Of course we all know that the only people coming here from Mexico are criminals and rapists ("and I suppose a few good people") and it's our duty to do all we can to keep this bad element from entering our country, no matter what Trump's favorite book advises.

We have apparently become a model for the rest of the world as well.  An estimated 9 million refugees have fled Syria, trying to find shelter in EU countries.  "After escaping a devastating war, frustrated Syrian refugees in aid-starved neighboring states say they must now choose between joining an exodus to Europe or "returning home to die".
But nobody wants them.  Once they have managed to get across North Africa and Turkey, trying to reach Germany, they are stopped at the border in Hungary, which has built a razor wire fence and threatened to imprison anybody who breaches the fence for up to three years.

 “We are going to communicate to them: ‘Don’t come to Hungary,’” says Zoltan Kovacs, the government’s chief spokesman. “’Illegal border crossing is a crime. Do not attempt it, or you are going to be arrested.’”

But what are those millions of people to do?  Their homeland has become an inferno that shows no signs of abating—in four years, half the country has been killed, displaced or forced to flee. Many of them have no homes to which they could return.

I don't know what the answer is, but my heart hurts so much for these desperate people trying to find a safe home, many of them trying to reach countries that know all too well what it's like for a population to be decimated.

Somebody needs to read Leviticus 19.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Sunday Stealing

Well, I'll Be... Meme  (it sounds more like the Barbara Walters meme!)

Stolen from: Vulgar Darling

If I were a month, I’d be:
March, when the city is ablaze with blossoms, the wildflowers cover the hills, and the weather is still cool enough to be pleasant.
If I were a day of the week, I’d be:
Friday, they day after I work at Logos when I have several days ahead of me with nothing to do.  Unless I have a show to review, of course.  Let me rethink this.....
If I were a planet, I’d be:
Pluto--and I'd fight to get my "planet-hood" restored.
If I were a god or goddess, I’d be:
Amphictyonis, the goddess of wine and friendship between nations.
If I were a sea animal, I’d be:
A jellyfish.  Beautiful, graceful, and brainless, yet deadly.  Sounds good to me!
If I were a piece of furniture, I’d be:
My desk, of course.  I'm already one with it half the time anyway.
If I were a gemstone, I’d be:
An opal.  I had a beautiful one nice to be something that is so chameleon-like.
If I were a flower, I’d be a:
Purple rose, only because those seem to be the only flowers that have a real scent any more.
If I were a kind of weather, I’d be:
Grey, foggy, with a light rain in the afternoon.  Bliss.
If I were a color, I’d be:

If I were an emotion, I’d be:

If I were a fruit, I’d be a:

If I were a sound, I’d be:
small children giggling

If I were an element, I’d be:
Photoshop Elements

If I were a place, I’d be:
San Francisco

If I were a taste, I’d be:
Something sweet, but salty

If I were a scent, I’d be:
Puppy breath

If I were an object, I’d be a
If I were a body part, I’d be:

If I were a song, I’d be:
Something heraldic, in the manner of a last act finale.

If I were a pair of shoes, I’d be:

Sunday, August 30, 2015

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: Viva la Vida (2008)

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

1) The song refers to the singing of choirs. Have you ever been in a choir or a vocal group?
I always sang in the school choir in both grammar and high school.  We used to sing for Mass every Sunday in grammar school, since the church was next door to the school.  We climbed up to the tiny choir loft high above the church.  A highlight of the high school choir was that we sang for a TV documentary about a local home for unwed mothers.  They couldn't show the real mothers on the air so we all donned maternity smocks and sang.  Never dreamed I would later spend the better part of 10 years in maternity clothes!  After high school, I was in the Newman Hall choir at UC Berkeley and eventually started singing with local church choirs.  When David  was a nursing baby, I wore a poncho to Mass and nursed him under it while singing.  Nobody ever knew. Each time we moved I joined a new choir and each choir was less and less challenging. I finally gave up out of boredom when we moved here to Davis. I had sung Mozart masses and what we were given to sing here could have been done by any grammar school class.  Yeah, I was that shallow.

2) Chris Martin sings of when he "ruled the world." If you were in charge and had infinite power, what would you change right away?
Other than taking Trump out of the race?  I would make fresh clean water and bathroom facilities available to everyone world wide and make all elephant poach-proof. 3) Chris used to be married to actress Gwyneth Paltrow. USA Today, The Washington Post and The Daily Telegraph have all run articles about how Gwyneth seems to annoy so very many people. What celebrity gets on your nerves?

4) Coldplay's first big hit was, "Yellow." What color are you wearing right now?
Coincidentally, yellow.

5) Sam remembers when she used to hear this song everywhere and can't believe that was 7 years ago! When is the last time you had a similar "my, how time flies!" moment?
When I saw the girls' first day at school pictures.  I remember when this big girl was born.

6) In 2008, when "Viva la Vida" was popular, John Grisham's latest legal thriller, The Appeal, was jumping off bookshelves. What have you read this summer?
Since June, I have read 15 books, the best of the lot being "I'm Too Young to be Seventy" (Judith Viorst), "The Final Detail" (Harlan Coben), "Last Man Standing" (David Baldacci), "Acquired Tastes" (Peter Mayle), "The Martian" (Andy Weir) and "Chasing the Dime" (Michael Connelly)

7) Thinking of books: Let's say a biographer has taken the task of writing your biography. What would you title your life story?
"It's all juice and crackers"

8) 2008 is also the year Paul Newman died of cancer. Name a Newman movie.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Verdict, The Sting, The Hustler, Exodus, etc.

9) Random question: Do you like garlic?
Oh my yes!  Ain't no vampires ever going to get into this house!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

First Day of School

When I got together with my old grammar school friends recently, we reminisced about various classes and teachers.  We tried to remember what it was like when we started school for the first time.  My starting kindergarten was a bit different from the others because I started late.  My friend, Stephen, who lived in our neighborhood, was born in September, so he made the cut off age, but my February birthday required that I could not start until the next year.

But with Stephen off at school, I was bereft that there was nobody to play with and so my mother talked with the school and they permitted me to go into kindergarten, on condition that I would repeat kindergarten the next year.  But ultimately I guess I colored so well they decided to pass me through to first grade after all.

In retrospect, I wonder if my life would have been any different if I had been in an age-appropriate class all along.  I know there were several points in my life, especially around puberty, were I was ridiculed because I was not developing as quickly as the others and it was an emotionally difficult time.

But I remember that first day of kindergarten, if not anything else about the year.  I remember that school was already in session when my mother delivered me to Sister Mary St. Patrice, who complimented me on my log curls, said goodbye to my mother and shut the door.  I remember there was a big playhouse just inside the door, but nothing else.  I can't remember a single other thing about that kindergarten year!

I grew up in the days when we did not feel it necessary to record every moment of our lives, so there are no "first day at school" pictures of Karen or me.  But I always took first day of school pictures of our kids for many years.

By the time this picture was taken, they were all nicely settled into the school routine, but I remember some first days were not that happy.  Paul never did adjust to nursery school and cried all the time he was there, but Tom couldn't wait to go, so the teacher and I decided to take Paul out and put Tom in.  That gave Paul more Mom and Me time at home (David was a baby) and Tom loved nursery school.

It was less successful when Tom started kindergarten and had lots of separation anxiety.  He cried so pitifully when I left him that the crossing guard told me he'd watch out for him and when I walked up to pick him up, he would report how long Tom had cried after I left.  By the end of the first week it was no longer a problem.

We always lived close to the schools our kids attended and they could walk or ride their bikes, but I still can't believe what we let Jeri do for a year when she was in first grade. We had switched her from the nearby public school to the Catholic school.  It was several blocks up Park Blvd from our house in Oakland and we actually put her on a public bus each morning and let her ride up to school.  The bus driver watched out for her and she was there in just a short time, but today we would probably be arrested for child endangerment.  We'd be arrested even for letting our kids walk the 3 blocks from our house to grammar school unsupervised here in Davis.  How times have changed.

All over the country, parents are lining their kids up for "first day of school" pictures this week as the adventure begins for another year.

I kind of miss those days.