Thursday, September 29, 2016


This is a very busy time for TV addicts.  It's the start of the fall season, with old favorites (the ones that have not been canceled) returning and a host of new shows to check out.  This year for many of the old shows returning there is a new look.  NCIS lost Tony DiNozzo (who is now starring in Bull, which follows NCIS) and he has been replaced by two or three new people.  I haven't figure it out yet.  It will take a few episodes for me to start to accept them as part of the family.  There are two big losses with DiNozzo and that is first, his father (Robert Wagner) and then all of those glib movie references he used to make.  I note with some amusement that all of the now old timers are doing it -- McGee, Bishop and Palmer especially.  They make a movie reference and then look at each other in amazement, realizing what they have said.  it's as odd as Penny quoting Star Wars on The Big Bang Theory.

The first show of the new season for Criminal Minds started tonight too.  I haven't figured out yet who is out and who is in and where the hell they all were.  That's going to take some getting used to too.

(Thank goodness there are marathons of old shows every day, just about, if I find the need for the way things were)

But this is the time of year when I make important life decisions that I often end up regretting every time Emmy award nominations are read.  Blue Bloods has now had such a long life that I regret never having watched it.  I'm sure I would have liked it, but like many things I had to choose between that and something else when it first started.  There probably were two other shows I wanted to watch in the same time slot so I couldn't even record it.  Now it's been around so long and has become such a respected program that I feel I lost out on something special.

I feel that way about Veep every year too because until my Veep marathon last weekend, I had never seen a single episode of the show, and yet it seems that Julia Louis-Dreyfus takes home the Emmy for best actress in a comedy every year and it was not until last weekend that I understood why.  I also understood why the writers win year after year too.  It always upsets me that they beat out Big Bang Theory, which I think is some of the most clever writing on TV, but Veep is pretty darn good.

There have been other shows that I have not started watching because I decided to go with another show instead, and then the one I decided not to watch ends up having longevity and acclaim and my own choice is canceled after one season.

So far I'm happy with the choices I have made so far this new season.  Someone told me that Bull was a disappointment, but I guess I'm not all that discerning because I've enjoyed the two episodes that I saw.  But if it is indeed as week as they say it is, it will probably be canceled.  What I liked from Episode 1 to Episode 2 is that by Episode 2 Michael Weatherly was starting to slip into his "Bull" character and leave Tony DiNozzo, the 50 year old smart aleck that never grew out of college humor, behind.  I hope the show makes it, since I've staked my television watching on it.

I am not a sitcom person any more, but I was hoping that the new Speechless was going to be good.  And it is.  Minnie Driver is the mother of 3 kids, one of whom has cerebral palsy and the story covers the strange situations that come up with a kid with disabilities who can't talk.  I really wanted it to be good for Rob Rummel-Hudson and daughter Schuyler, who uses a computer to speak for her. What I like about the show is that it treats the handicapped kid as normal as the other kids, though his mother tends to dote on him too much, but he's now getting older and having his own ideas and making his wishes known in often funny ways.  Micah Fowler, who plays JJ, the kid with cerebral palsy has the condition himself and he's marvelous.  Also took me awhile to recognize John Ross Bowie, Minnie Driver's character's husband.  I knew I had seen him before and then realized he is the guy who plays the obnoxious Barry Kripke, with a speech impediment, on Big Bang Theory.

I think this show is going to make it.  Just read this review from the San Francisco Chronicle:
The show is a perfect balance of comedy and heart, and the performances are superior on every level. Micah Fowler, though: wow. He doesn’t utter a word, but he communicates more than words could ever say with facial expressions and the inflections of his monotone responses to life around him. There’s no BS about J.J. He’s centered, smart and determined. Fowler delivers one of the most eloquent, Emmy-worthy performances you’ll ever see. He makes you feel sorry that every other kid in the world isn’t as great as J.J.
I also like the show because Jeri's husband Phil has been caring for a young man with cerebral palsy for several years now and when I watch JJ's helper with him, it reminds me of Phil and what he has done for his charge.

I watched The Good Place, another sit com, where Kristen Bell's character wakes up dead and learns, Ted Danson tells her, she is in "the good place."  Because of her good works they have prepared a home for her with all of her favorite things.  Only they aren't her favorite things and her death resume is of someone else, so she's trying to figure out how to get back.  It's cute, but I think it is not going to hold my interest.  I'm always interested in the afterlife and I like Ted Danson, though he's one of those actors whose name I can never remember.  I know he was Sam Malone on Cheers.  I know he's married to Mary Steenburgan.  I know he's not Alan Alda or Sam Waterson, but I almost always have to look him up to remember his name.

How to Get Away with Murder is another show I decided not to watch which gets a lot of acclaim now.  I didn't watch it for two reasons -- the story of a class of law students and their professor (Viola Davis) was so convoluted and filmed so dark much of the time that I couldn't make heads or tails of it.  But Davis has won a couple of Emmys and critics call the show "the best show on television," and with a creator like Shonda Rimes could it be otherwise.  The main reason I didn't watch, though, is I just hate Davis' character's heavy make up, particularly the red-red lips, all the rage now, that look like she's been hit in the face by a ripe tomato (as my father used to say to me when I wore makeup).

(Unnaturally red lips seem to be all the rage now and though in the days when I wore lipstick, red ws my favorite, they just make me shudder now.)

I'm looking forward to the first episode of Timeless this week.  It seems to be a time travel series where people try to go back and prevent bad things from happening.  The previews show them trying to stop the crash of the Hindenburg.  I know from watching Star Trek's "City on the Edge of Forever" and reading Stephen King's "11/22/63" the havoc that can be wrought by well-meaning people trying to change the past and how it can cause disaster in the future, so I'm wondering how this show is going to sustain a series.

Lucifer is back, that weird show about Lucifer Morningstar, "who is bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell and resigns his throne and abandons his kingdom for the beauty of Los Angeles, where he gets his kicks helping the LAPD punish criminals". Lucifer runs a piano bar, with the assistance of his demonic ally Mazikeen or "Maze." The longer he stays on earth, the more human and less demon he becomes and he begins to notice that his superhuman powers are fading.  There's also an attraction for a homicide detective and though he freely tells her his real identity she never believes him.  I very much enjoyed the first season and I'm glad to see that it's back.

Speaking of superhuman powers in someone hiding his true identity, what happened to Forever about the guy who couldn't die and kept reappearing as a young man, at this time working with his now elderly son (Judd Hirsch).  I enjoyed that show and don't see it on the new schedules.  Yet.  I hate it when a show I have come to really enjoy just disappears without a word of explanation.

That's not likely to happen to The Americans, that cold war spy series focusing on a Russian couple in a sleeper cell, raising two typical American kids who have no idea that when Mom goes out she's probably going to be having sex with someone and then killing them, or that Dad is married to another woman whom he married so she could spy for him. (She's gone now, poor clueless dear--learning his identity and shipped off to Russia to start a new life). The latest season hasn't started yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

So many shows, so little time, though Comcast has helped greatly by giving us tons more recording space, so I don't have to spend so much time juggling which shows I need to watch right away because something else needs to be recorded in its place.

Ahhh...the life of a TV addict is such a busy one.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What's Your Sign?

Have you heard that your long-held beliefs about your astrological sign may be wrong?

NASA broke the news early this year in a blog post that explained that when ancient Babylonians created the zodiac over 3,000 years ago, they wanted dates on the calendar to correspond with star constellations. But, there were 13 constellations, and they were working with a 12-month calendar. So they ditched the zodiac sign Ophiuchus.

NASA also pointed out that the Earth's axis doesn't even point in the same direction as it did when the original constellations were drawn, so all our signs have different date ranges now anyway.

I checked out the new date ranges and, whew!  I am still an Aquarian.  My whole life I have excused my unorganized lifestyle, my creativity, my emotional eccentricities and lots of other things, good and bad, on the fact that these are typical of Aquarians and that I am merely a victim of my astrological sign.  So I am happy to know that is still my sign.  But the sign of Aquarius is now February 16 to March 11, which means that Walt, too, is now an Aquarian, which may explain the second floor of our house. 

Likewise our neat and tidy and organized Ned, who is a stereotypical Virgo is still a Virgo.  But what does that do to my mother, the original stereotypical Virgo, whose birth date now puts her in the Leo sign.  Are Leos also as compulsively neat and tidy, as she is?

Jeri is no longer a Taurus, but an Aries.  Tom is no longer a Cancer; he's now a Gemini.

In truth, I don't follow astrology.  At all.  Though I will occasionally check out my horoscope for the day, mostly for laughs, but I certainly don't make life decisions based on my horoscope.

 Interestingly, though, a co-worker many, many years ago was heavily into astrology and wanted to do my chart.  She was very excited about her findings, most of which I couldn't understand, but it was interesting how many points in this chart were so true of the "me" I am.

Be comforted all you Ophiucus people, who are now trying to figure out who and what they are.  "Ophiuchus people have Scorpio’s magnetism and sexual allure. They are dream interpreters, passionate and jealous."

House Ophiuchus represented Unity. Its people were spirited, magnetic, impulsive, clever, flamboyant, and at times jealous, power-hungry, and temperamental. At their hearts, they were healers who hoped to one day rid the Zodiac of every ill—disease, violence, etc—and bring everyone closer together.

Ophiuchans had a natural affinity for snakes, and there was a special species of serpent, the Zawinder, with whom their House’s Zodai developed a psychic connection. Each Zodai would capture and adopt his own Zawinder, which they would then use to spread messages to others in the swamp.

It's a whole new world for a whole bunch of people.  I wonder if the guys who write horoscopes are now going to adjust their signs and welcome Ophiuchus into the family.  I goodness.  What if an Ophiuchian doesn't know what is going to happen to him on any given day?

Other than searching the zodiac, I spent the day transcribing the tape of an interview I did.  I've actually been working on it for a couple of days.  It's the behind the scenes story of the writing of the play we are seeing tomorrow night, about soldiers in the field in Afghanistan and their experiences.  It should be a riveting play.

But in the evening, I received the most amazing email from the patient coordinator at Atria.
Hi Bev, we all have noticed Mildred would benefit from having a walker. Mildred loved it and had no pain while she was using it as a trial for the escort to dinner yesterday.
Mildred LOVED it????  The coordinator, of course, had no idea that this is something I've been trying to get her to agree to for three years.  With the severity of her back problems, I knew that a walker would help her, but could I get her to even think of one?  No way.

From the first day, she looked down on "all those people using walkers."  (Now, of course, she has forgotten the word "walker" and dismisses them as "things.")

I have tried to trick her into realizing that a walker would help by taking her shopping and, when she complained about her back pain, suggesting she push the shopping cart and kind of transfer her weight to the cart, relieving the pressure on her back.  She agreed that yes, that did help, but when I pointed out that this is the benefit she would get from a walker, she refused to push the cart any more.

I have tried suggesting she use my cane when she was having difficulty walking.  In truth, most of the time I am fie without it, though my balance is getting weird, so it's a safety measure, and I don't know that I could climb stairs any more without a cane or banister. 

She did try the cane and admitted that it helped, but almost immediately gave it back to me like it contained poison and told me that I needed it and I should use it and how lucky I was to have fond something that helped.

So to hear now that "Mildred loved it" made my jaw to slack. 

Of course, I suspect there is a lot of people pleasing involved in that.  She looks on the people at Atria as her bosses and, always wanting to do the right thing, if they suggest she use a walker, I can see that she would readily agree, without admitting her true feelings about it.

Another perk of having her on assisted living.

I told Melissa that we would give her a few more days to get used to the idea and if by next week she is still accepting the idea of using a walker to walk, I would go out and shop and get her her very own walker.

I have always thought that if she had a walker with a seat on it, she could actually get out and DO things.  I don't take her anywhere now because she has to stop so often and sit down.  But if she brought her seat with her, things might be different.

Walt was in the Bay Area with the car yesterday, so I didn't go to Atria, but I will go over today and I am going to be very curious to see how our visit goes and whether she will mention the walker.  I won't bring it up, but will let the Atria people deal with it with her.

I decided long ago that she is so damned independent and so proud of her not needing any assistance whatsoever that if she ever had to use a walker or wheelchair, she would just curl up and die.

But maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe this could be the start of a new chapter for her.  I am holding my breath and being cautiously optimistic.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What the Hell was THAT?

Walt, bless him, chose a late flight back from Santa Barbara so I was able to stay home and watch the whole presidential debate.
My very first impression was one that I hardy dared voice, but after the debate I saw it all over social media, even from Howard Dean....with all that constant sniffing that Trump did throughout the debate, and his continual drinking water....could he possibly have had a bit of cocaine before going on?  I know nothing about drugs, but I have seen cocaine users sniffing continually...and there on Facebook and Twitter were dozens of other people asking the same thing, including Howard Dean.

"His performance may have been hampered by the cocaine he must have used...sniffing, water, etc. Symphony of incoherence." says my friend Joan.  I just love the "symphony of incoherence."

By the end of  the debate, I actually started missing that smirk of George Bush that drove me so crazy.

In looking at reports on the debate after it was over, there are right wing newspapers that say it went 80-20% in favor of Trump.  Are those people snorting cocaine too??

The difference between the two candidates was striking.  Hillary stood there and waited her turn (most of the time) while Trump interrupted her dozens of times.  She backed up her policies with laying out plans for how to achieve those goals.  Trump's answer to everything was to tell how many people endorsed him, how many businesses he had, how rich he was.  I didn't hear one. single. plan. for how he is going to accomplish everything he swears he will do.  In some cases, I'm not even sure he knew what he was talking about (in discussing domestic cyber terrorism, he referred to his young son.)

Republican talking heads (Steven Schmidt, Michael Steele, for example) agree it was a disaster for Trump.  Schmidt talks about his lack of preparation, about his body language and his comments being somewhere between "incoherence and babble."  He mentioned "talking gibberish about nuclear weapons." And this was a Republican strategist!  ("He was like a jumping bean," said Rachel Maddow)

Nicole Wallace, another Republican strategist said that we held Hillary to the highest standards and she exceeded them.  Trump was unprepared and seemed not to know what he was talking about much of the time, especially the longer the debate went on and got into subjects about which he was obviously woefully ignorant.

The New York Times in a preliminary report fact checked the debate.  Hillary had a few false, or misleading statements.  Trump's false or misleading statements were overwhelming.  A few examples drawn from the New York Times article.
  • On Mr. Trump’s accusation that the withdrawal of troops left a vacuum in Iraq and Syria, which allowed the Islamic State to take root.
  • On Mr. Trump’s assertion that many NATO countries do not contribute their full share to NATO.
  • On Mr. Trump’s opposition to the Iraq war.
  • On Mrs. Clinton’s assertion that the United States needs an “intelligence surge” to help prevent terrorist attacks by homegrown violent extremists.
  • On Mr. Trump’s claim that the United States is “not updating” its nuclear arsenal and the Iran nuclear deal.
  • On Mr. Trump saying that China is “devaluing their currency” to gain an economic advantage.
  • On Mr. Trump’s claim that Ford is leaving the United States and taking “thousands of jobs” with it.
  • On Mr. Trump’s claim that “we have a trade deficit of almost $800 billion a year,” blaming trade deals for this.
  • On Mr. Trump’s claims that murders are up in New York City.
  • On Mrs. Clinton’s accusation that Mr. Trump said climate change was a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. Mr. Trump responded, “I do not say that.”

And more.  Trump is quite vocal about not taking the oil from Iraq.  As the New York Times explains, "Seizing Iraq’s oil — or the resources of any country — is illegal under international law, and doing so would have likely prompted condemnation from around the world. In purely practical terms, seizing Iraq’s oil would have required tens of thousands of American troops to protect Iraq’s oil infrastructure, which is spread out across the country and largely above ground."

Perhaps my favorite Trump accusation about Clinton is that she "doesn't have the stamina to be president."  Clinton has visited 112 countries, negotiated peace deals with top adversaries around the world, and sat through an 11-hour congressional witchhunt hearing.  For starters.  Trump couldn't stand still for an hour and a half debate without twitching and looking uncomfortable.

An interview with Trump on the floor of the hall afterwards shows where things are going to go on the heels of this disastrous debate.  He now says that he had a faulty mic and that affected his performance.  A reporter said that when Trump was asked if there was anything he regretted, the only thing he said was that he regretted not bringing up Bill Clinton's marital infidelities.

Has anyone ever heard Trump admit blame for anything?

Also, congratulations to Rosie O'Donnell whom Trump pulled into the debate, his venom against the actress having nothing to do with national security, but he just couldn't resist tossing another barb in Rosie's direction.

As I said, there has never been a presidential debate like this in my lifetime...and probably never.

Monday, September 26, 2016


Saturday was my day off.  I didn't go out of the house.  I didn't get out of my pjs.  I splurged on comfort food.  I binge-watched Veep, which I have never seen and always wanted to--but I hate coming in in the middle of a show that has been running for several years.  I watched most of Season One, then the last of Season 3 (where the president retires and she becomes president) and all the way through until the middle of Season 5.  I will finish up Season 5 tomorrow and be all ready for the show when Season 6 starts.  Good show!

But after all these shows, I am wondering if President Selina Meyer ever wears anything but red.
While I've been sitting on my butt watching television, Walt has been texting me pictures from Lacie's birthday party.  I also checked photos that laurel posted to Facebook.  First there was the cake, with the famous "Masterchef" logo...

Then there was a photo of Lacie with the doll clothes that we got for the party ... American girl chef's clothes.  (Makes me wish I were a kid again.  I want my own American Girl doll!)

And Laurel posted pictures of the cooking kids at the party.

(It actually looks like a combination of Master Chef and Chopped!)  I wish I had been there, but given all that is going on with my mother, I think I'm glad I was here instead.

Today she is still in great pain, and holding on to the wall and furniture to walk around, but she's very subdued.  I am thinking it's probably because of the pain med, which may not be curing her pain, but which has taken away some of the "spark."  If nothing else, she's much quieter and "floppy," for want of a better description.  Jeri reported that she knew who she was when she called her this afternoon.

Her doctor wanted to see her back again if the pain persists, so I have a call into her and I guess we'll be back at Kaiser again this week.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

War Cycle

Isn't that cute?  Little Tom Burmester has written a play that is going to be performed at the university next weekend.  I was going to interview him about it. I remember Tom and all his family (especially his father, who was a HUGE influence on our kids, since he was not only their English teacher, but also the founder of Acme Theater Company, still going strong more than 30 years later).  We used to go to church suppers with Tom and his family.

So now little Tom has written a play.

Only before I went to interview him about this play, I did some research and found out that "little Tom," who must be pushing 50, since I think he is our Tom's age, is now a big name in Los Angeles theater.  The play that will be presented next week is the third in what will ultimately be a four-play war cycle.  These were some comments by critics that I found in researching it.
CRITICS’ CHOICE - Los Angeles Times: "This “Gospel” is chapter and verse of one of the finest war plays in recent memory."

CRITIC’S PICK - Backstage: "Burmester's writing and his staggeringly stark staging are mesmerizing."

GO! - LA Weekly: "Electrifying! Yes, it's another war play, but the first act moves so swiftly and the themes are presented so seamlessly, you find yourself gasping rather than groaning."

FEATURED - LA Stage Watch (Don Shirley): "The War Cycle is one of the most impressive multi-play bodies of work to emerge from LA’s 99-seat theaters."
The War Cycle brings a face to the war.  We talked about the difference between the Viet Nam war, where correspondents went into battle with the troops and we saw the battles every night on television.  It became part of the war protests and eventually brought about the end of the war.
But how often do you see actual battles in the middle east and not just endlessly repeated scenes of selected moments? How often are we asked to do our part for the war effort? (I seem to remember early on we were told that the best way we could help was to continue life as normal, to go shopping, etc.)  How many persoal stories do we see of soldiers and families affected?  We see some, but not often enough to raise ire among the general population.  And so the war rages on and we concern ourselves with shopping and tweeting and web surfing.
Tom wants to change that.  From another review
The action, set in 2009, transpires primarily in a small U.S. Army outpost at the mouth of Afghanistan’s notorious Korengal Valley, also known as the Valley of Death.  There, a squad of battle-hardened soldiers awaits imminent redeployment back to the States.  But when a fanatically religious ideologue is assigned to their squad, divisive factions form. During their last hours before returning home, the soldiers are sent on a risky final mission in which the cracks in their ranks widen to deadly chasms.
It sounds like it's going to be a powerful play and I'm anxious to see it.

My plan had been to talk with Tom and and his director-wife Danika for half an hour and then get over to Atria for lunch and take my mother to her hair appointment.  As it turned out, the interview was so interesting that I was there for over an hour and I figured it was too late for lunch, so I would just wait in the apartment until she got back.  She was on the couch when I got there and said, as she usually does, that she feels terrible. She feels terrible all over, but can't say specifically what feels terrible (except her leg, which still causes her so much pain she can barely walk).  I'm beginning to think that the "feeling terrible" is more an emotional thing than a physical thing because the more "awake" she gets (from chatting), the more normal she seems.  This is one of the unintended perks of having her on assisted living.  She gets contact at least four times a day from Atria staff and each contact is a social interaction, which she enjoys.

We had a nearly an hour before her appointment, so I got her some coffee and a couple of oatmeal cookies, just to get something into her system.  Atria used to have a table avalable to everyone where you could get coffee, milk, fruit and treats all day long  Then they got rid of it and moved the coffee off to one side and then you could get coffee (regular or decaf), tea and a goodie.  The goodies have been gone for a year or more.  When I went to get regular coffee, there was none, so I went into the dining room and there was coffee, but no cups and an empty goodie container, so I went back to the front and got decaf, figuring it was better than anything.

I hate it that so much has been spent on turning Atria into a Holiday Inn while the rents go up and the quality of service declines.  Oh the staff are wonderful, but the little touches that made me fall in love with the place in the beginning--like the comfy couches inviting conversation, and the goody table and the puzzles in the middle of everything where you could meet other people (now shoved into a corner on the second floor, where nobody passes by) are all gone. The place now looks perfect for a brochure, but those "plush" couches and chairs are hard to sit in and do not invite conversation at all.  You don't see nearly as many people sitting and chatting in the front any more -- I suppose it was too depressing to see, you know, old people in the front of the building.  So depressing, dontcha know.  Even the hair salon was moved upstairs and cut in half, size-wise and it, too, is no longer a comfortable place to chat with your neighbors while waiting for your turn.  If my mother wasn't so settled and happy, I'd look for someplace else, but she likes Atria and it's so close to my house that it's convenient for me too.

Anyway, over an hour of chatting and coffee she eventually seemed not to feel "terrible" any more, but it killed her to stand up and walk, but we did it very slowly, stopping twice for her to rest on the way to the elevator.

A beauty parlor is a good place to get back to "normal" again

And when she was all finished, the change from before was amazing.  

We only had to stop once on the way back to the apartment, but she had to hold on to walls and furniture, and me, to stand up and she collapsed into her chair as soon as we got back to the apartment.  

Once I saw her in her chair, reading the newspaper, I left to go shopping.  We had made it through the week.  She'd been x-rayed, poked and prodded, medicated, and zapped.  She'd had a trip to the ER, a mental health exam and a hair do and we were finished.  I'd met with the folks from Atria a couple of times, her dentist once, and the insurance guy.  I got her outstanding bill paid and now just need to send paper work to her insurance company to get the process started for long term care reimbursement.

Walt is gone and my Saturday is blank.  I may lock the front door and stay in my pajamas all day.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Five for Five

Today was the fifth out of five  days when I have had something to do with my mother, whether taking her to appointments, sitting with her because she was too upset to leave, going to meetings about her, or talking with many folks on the phone about her.

There is a perk to all of this:  I haven't seen or heard from Trump in at least three days.

I had a terrible time getting to sleep last night and it was well after 1 a.m. before I fell asleep and my alarm woke me up at 5:30 because I had to take Walt to the airport at 6;30 for his flight to Santa Barbara.  I went from the airport to Atria, where I had to wake my mother up at 8 so we could get on the road by 8:30 for her 10 a.m. EEG.  I was worried about waking her up so early but someone from Atria was there to check on her and she helped me up.

My mother when awakened two or three hours early is actually quite docile, because she's so confused.  This morning he leg hurt so badly that she said she wouldn't be able to walk.  We did get her up, however, and I called for the Atria person to brig her meds so she could have a pain pill before we left.

But, since we were going out, she wouldn't give her Norco because it might make her dizzy and instead just brought Tylenol, which I know from experience does zilch for her pain.  I was miffed about it, but realized I had to let it go, so I did.  I just listened to her pain for the whole morning and felt helpless.

An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test that measures and records the electrical activity of your brain. Special sensors are attached to your head and hooked by wires to a computer. The computer records your brain's electrical activity on the screen or on paper as wavy lines. Certain conditions, such as seizures, can be seen by the changes in the normal pattern of the brain's electrical activity.  The reason for all this is to find out if she is having seizures, which are causing her to pass out so often.

We got to the EEG lab and they took her back to attach the 25 electrical sensors to her head.

The tech said that the substance used to attach the sensors was like shortening.  This is what you look like after they are all removed

My plan had been to stay in the room and read for the 30-40 minutes of the exam, but the idea is for her to go to sleep so they turned off the lights.  I also started coughing and coughing and the tech had told me that if I coughed I'd have to leave the room because they wanted her to sleep.  I left the room and passed by the room where they were monitoring her.

I sat and read for half an hour and she eventually came out, still not sure where she was or what she was doing.  

I took her to lunch at Denny's and she ate a lot, though could not get comfortable in the booth, or in the car on the drive home.  When we got to Atria, I walked her to her apartment so I could carry her laundry for her, but I didn't stay.  I figured she needed a nap...and I definitely did too.  I came home and slept for two hours.

Tomorrow I am doing a theater interview at 11, though I've been so preoccupied with my mother, I can't even remember what the show is about.  The interviewee is someone I've known since he was a little kid and I'm doing the interview at his parents' house so they can babysit while we talk.  I must read up on this play before I go!

But then in the afternoon I'm taking my mother to the hairdresser's at Atria to get all of that goop out of her hair.

Saturday I have absolutely nothing to do and I don't intend to go to Atria.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Another day of "mom-stuff."

It started at 10 when we went to Atria to meet Sean, the nurse who does assessments for her long term care insurance company.  Ned came too and was invaluable, keeping her "entertained" with jokes and explaining things to her.  Every time Sean asked me something and I answered him, my mother would mutter to Ned that we were talking about her and not letting her know what was going on.  I would try to explain what I had just told Sean, she would tell Ned she didn't understand a word I said and Ned would explain it to her over and over again. He was very patient and the day would have gone so much worse if he had not been there.

Finally someone has given her a comprehensive mental health evaluation, the results of which didn't surprise me, but I wish it had been done when I first asked for it >10 years ago (and several times since then) so we had a baseline. But this is better than nothing.  Most questions she couldn't answer (including how old she is), and she could not completely copy a simple figure he asked her to copy (two overlapping 5-sided figures.  She drew one.)  She aced the physical part, for balance and that sort of thing, but anything that involved mental calculation was pretty much a disaster.

I had to laugh when he asked her how often she went out of the building and she told him she occasionally went out for walks, sometimes to go shopping.  Since she is afraid of going out of the building, doesn't know where the nearest store is and has no money in her purse..I don't think so!
I had dropped off her meds with the front desk and realized that her Norco, the pain med, says one tablet 2 times a day, but the doctor said to start with half and see how that goes.  Since it seems to be working with just a half, I mentioned that she was only getting half.  They told me that without an order from the doctor, they would follow what was on the bottle.

So I came home and emailed the doctor.  Her nurse called back and said that Atria had also called them and they were faxing over a revised prescription.

Then it was time to go to the conference with Cindy, my dentist, about the exam she did on my mother a couple of weeks ago.  

There are lots of problems, but only one that is dangerous enough that it should be taken care of now (an extraction). Cindy is so good and so understanding.  Given my mother's age, she says that the remaining problems can be on a "watch" basis and if she starts having pain, we can deal with them at that time.  Cindy, like me, wishes she knew how much longer my mother has so she knows which dental problems are important to deal with and which are OK to just let go for now.

So I had the whole rest of the afternoon with no Mom to take care of.  But she has an appointment at 10 am. tomorrow for her EEG, an appointment which is in Sacramento and I should allow an hour to get there, because of rush hour traffic. When they set up the appointment they told me to tell her to stay up late and get up at 3 a.m.  Yeah.  Right.  I kept saying "you understand she has dementia, right?"  I guess the idea is they want her sleepy when she comes in, but since I'm going to have to wake her at about 8:30, that's probably a given.

But with all this dementia business, the bright spot in the day is that Lacie turned 5 years old yesterday.

Apparently, Lacie is developing a love of cooking, which is not surprising since Tom is a great cook and he has always had the girls help him.  Laurel told me recently that Brianna has started timing  Lacie when she cooks because she's convinced her sister will end up on Chopped some day.
Her parents gave her a doll's kitchen, which they gave her before Tom left on a business trip. 
For Christmas, the girls each received American Girl dolls and so I bought her a complete Chef's Doll clothing set, which included hat, bandana, baker's jacket, pants and shoes for her doll.

Too bad we don't have the outfit that a friend made for Tom for some show the kids were doing.  He was supposed to be a baker and she made him a jacket with "Baker" written in big letters on it and then I think there was also a chef's hat.
In truth, it looked a little silly and the director was furious because that was not what she wanted, but the seamstress was so proud of her work and so Tom wore it in the show...and probably stuck out like a sore thumb.

I'll have to see if I can find the pictures to send to Lacie.

Her party is being held at a restaurant that has kids' parties, where the kids get to use the kitchen and make stuff.  I'm anxious to get a report from Walt, who is flying down for the party (we can't both go because I don't want to ask Ashley, who is still settling in with newborn Gabe, to dog sit yet, so either one of us has to stay home with the dogs, or I have to kill Polly (who would freak out if we tried to board her). Walt is going for the party and I will drive down in a couple of weeks to watch the girls play soccer.