Thursday, December 1, 2016

It's That Time Again

It's time for Holidailies again, when a group of bloggers try to write an entry a day through the month of December.  This is the 17th year that this project has been running and I have participated in most of them.  Since I update daily any day, it's no stretch to try to update daily throughout December.

Holidailies draws participants from all over the world, from a variety of ages and walks of life, covering a wide range of interests. Some participants share stories about their daily life, others write in themed blogs about everything from hiking to homeschooling, from knitting to alternative lifestyles. Some write about Christmas, some about Hanukkah, and some about ways to avoid the holidays as much as possible.

I sometimes write on a Holidailies theme, but mostly I just write the kind of entry I would write anyway, discussing the highs and lows, the good and bad, the frustrations and satisfactions of our everyday life.

What I love about Holidailies is that universality and checking other bloggers each day to read their thoughts, often finding good writers I had not encountered before and I often add that blog to those that I regularly check.  I learn things from other bloggers, sometimes information I never knew, sometimes a new way at looking at things, sometimes I am inspired by the writing of a particularly talented blogger.

I am always inspired by good writing.  John Steinbeck always affected my writing when I was reading him.  Pat Conroy held my interest in a way that few other authors can do.  Erma Bombeck was my heroine and I still aspire to be a latter day Erma, but have discovered over 6,093 entries in the past 16 years that it's more difficult to be Erma than it would seem.  There are bloggers out there who inspire me the way these authors do and I look forward to finding them on the Holidailies links throughout the month.

It's traditional to post an introduction in your first Holidailies post, which is totally unnecessary for my loyal readers who are here every day, but for those who are new to Funny the World, here is a little bit about me...

I'm 73 years old, retired medical office manager working part time as theater critic for two local newspapers.  I was born and raised in San Francisco but now live in Davis, California, a university town 80 miles east of San Francisco.

Walt and I have been married 51 years.  We raised five children.  We have two lovely granddaughters and two obnoxious dogs whom I have started referring to as my "pet" peeves.  Lizzie in particular is our dishwasher's "pre-wash cycle."

My 97 year old mother has dementia and takes a lot of my time.  She lives in her own apartment in a senior facility, but I visit her almost every day and she has lots of doctors' appointments lately, though she is healthy as a horse (just this little fainting problem they are trying to identify).

I am an avid reader, though lately have not had time to read anything and I miss it very much.  I am also a TV addict and watch a lot of crime dramas (like NCIS and Criminal Minds) and dramas like Designated Survivor, Scandal, and pretty much any medical drama.  I also watch a lot of the Food Network, which has helped my cooking techniques immensely.

Walt and I have been fortunate to do quite a bit of international travel in the past several years, but I'm reluctant to leave my mother alone for too long now.  Also, the world is too unsettled right now and I'm content to stay at home for now.

I started this journal in March of 2000 and have written 6093 entries as of today.  It is very rare that I do not post an entry a day.

I write an annual Christmas letter, which I have been working on now for two days.  You'd think it would be easy, but the computer has been giving me fits.  I finally got it finished and am starting to send the link out to friends and am also posting the link here, for anyone who likes Christmas letters (I do), or who just wants more information about the family and our past year.

Looking forward to reading more good bloggers this December!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Giving Tuesday

We've had Black Friday (which now appears to last all week), and Cyber Monday and today is Giving Tuesday.  I was overwhelmed when I opened my e-mail this morning.  There were thirty-nine organizations asking for donations.  And this is just the FIRST e-mail of the morning.  I decided to list them here.  Some of them I've never heard of before:
Alzheimer's Assn
The Animal Rescue Site
Save the Children
Juvenile Diabetes Assn
Samaritan's purse
World Wildlife Fund
National Catholic Reporter
Capital Stage
Acme Theater Company
Kids Apraxia
IPFF/WHR -- I had to look this up -- it's Planned Parenthood
David Sheldrick Foundation (saving orphaned elephants)
Wildlife Conservation Society
Michael J. Fox Foundation
Human Rights Campaign
Greater Tod Network (this may be a typo on my part)
Nat'l Assn of Free & Charitable Clinics
American Diabetes Assn.
Wilderness Society
Int'l Fund for Animal Welfare
Earth Justice
NARAL (Pro Choice)
African Wildlife Fund
Canadian Breast Cancer Fdn
Global Giving
Center for Biological Diversity
The Million Nets Fund
Fistula Foundation
WISER Int'l  (World Insitute for Strategic Economic Research)
Int'l Rescue Committee
ALS Assn
Charity Navigator
People for the American Way
United Farm Workers
World Concern
Animal Place
Yolo County SPCA
Movemember Fdn
Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep (my old high school)
Save the Arctic Caribou
In Defense of Animals
Doctors without Borders
Every Town for Gun Safety
Humane Society
American Wild Horse Preservation
Oddly, there is no request for additional giving from Compassion.  Yet.  The day is still young.  I can't remember how many of these organizations I have ever, in my life, given a donation to, but not all that many.  I am more likely to send a donation to an animal group like the Sheldrick Foundation, groups that help kids, or groups like Planned Parenthood.  I sponsored a woman through the Fistula Foundation for a year and they still love me and thank me every year for my support, though I have not sent them money in a long time.  Hope springs eternal.

The problem is that all of these groups do good work and help lots of people and animals and at times like this I am sad that my discretionary income is so limited and I can only do just so much.  A list like this does, however, keep me from spending a lot of money on silly unnecessary stuff for myself.

$  $  $  $

I went out to my monthly lunch with my friend Kathy and when I returned decided to see what requests I had received in the few hours since I started this entry.  I spoke too soon about Compassion.  They were the top of the list for the Giving Tuesday afternoon.  At 2 p.m., I had received requests from 11 more charities and repeat requests from several organizations that are already on the list.
Compassion International (offering "free shipping on goats")
Cap City AIDS Fund
All Out -- Russia
The Lamplighters
World Vision
Immigrant Youth Coalition
B Street Theater
San Francisco Chronicle Season of Giving Fund
Oceanic Preservation Society
The Future of America Society
National Day Laborer Organizing Committee
Sacramento LGBT Community Center
Bringing the total number of charities who want my money to more than 50.  In one day.  I've given up counting.  It's too overwhelming.  I'm not giving anything to anybody on "Giving Tuesday."

I always look forward to my lunches with Kathy.  It always rejuvenates me and I go home on a high.
Today was different.

Today's lunch was .... morose, for want of a better term.

We had planned a gala celebration, happily drinking a toast to Hillary's election.  Instead there was nothing happy about today, and no celebration.  We shared disappointment, anger, fear about the names that seem to be added to Trump's cabinet, his seeming lack of interest in learning anything about the protocols of the office he is about to assume, our shock (or maybe not) at watching him slowly back up on almost every promise he made when campaigning, shock at his tweets which still sound like a schoolyard bully ("If Crooked Hillary insists on a recount, I will change my mind about not prosecuting her.")  Anger that he now decides he can run his business and the government both out of the oval office.

We ended lunch with nothing to say and both kind of slumped out to our cars.  I decided that the combination of post-Trump election malaise and Mom frustration is turning me somewhat catatonic.

I strongly urge people to check out this video by Keith Olberman for wondering whether the election that Trump himself himself won was rigged and into the mainstream media for giving Donald Trump’s absurd conspiracy theories the same coverage they would receive if they were serious concerns. Olberman pulls no punches and addresses most of the fears many of us have.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


His name was Hercules Demosthenes Morphopoulos.  Irish guy.  :)

This is what he looked like the last time I saw him, when I was pregnant with Tom, in 1970..  I had been referred to him by my San Francisco dentist when I moved to Berkeley

He's the reason I stopped going to the dentist for more than 20 years.

He died last August and his obituary appeared in the San Francisco newspaper just this week.
We knew about his death, though.  All of his patients, even me, were notified.  I wasn't a current patient, of course, but when we moved to Davis, Walt continued driving 80 miles to see Herc twice a year.  It was his day in Berkeley and he combined it with lunch on Telegraph avenue, and a round of the book stores we used to haunt when we lived there.  When Herc retired, Walt kept going to the office because he liked the people and he liked his days in Berkeley.

Herc and I never got along.  For one thing, oddly enough he had halitosis and I hated it when he got close to my head.  This was before they started wearing mouth guards.  Maybe he didn't really have halitosis.  It seems odd that a dentist would have halitosis, but there was something about him that made me nauseated.

But he also was very firm about flossing.  The last time I saw him, he yelled at me for not flossing properly.  I was so rattled that I decided then and there that I would just stop going to the dentist.
So I didn't.  For more than 20 years, until I was convinced my teeth were ready to fall out (they weren't, but through no fault of mine!) and then made an appointment with my friend Cindy (with whom I had worked at a typing service for several years while she was getting her dental practice established.)  Herc may have changed my life for the worse by his bedside manner, but Cindy changed my life for the better by hers, and I have been a nice compliant patient ever since.

But Herc was a real character.  Very socially active.  He had a strong commitment to social causes (love his shirt here, "Fight plaque, not Iraq").  He was a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility and co-founded a free dental clinic in Berkeley, working at other free clinics in the Berkeley area.  He volunteered in Nepal, Africa, Mexico and Nicaragua.

He was Walt's kinda dentist.

I think about Herc whenever I sit down in the dental chair at Cindy's office and chat with my hygienist.  Judging from the notes left on his memory page on line, he had a host of grateful patients, friends and fans.  I just wasn't one of them.

And today we went to Kaiser to see her PCP.  As expected, the doctor went through all the notes from the ER and had nothing to suggest, but she did make an appointment for a neurological exam in Sacramento on Thursday (no Logos again this week)

I think we were both in a bad mood today.  We weren't grumpy or anything, but just not really in a mood to chat.  When I got to Atria, I found her sitting across from the dining room drinking coffee with another woman.  I think their being together was happenstance, rather than socialization.

My mother didn't understand why nobody told her she had a doctor's appointment and asked me about it many times on the ride there.  She doesn't understand why she doesn't remember being unconscious and has no memory of being in the emergency room.  This is a recording.

The appointment was otherwise uneventful, except she wet herself and didn't even realize it.  That was very sad.

Her PCP is also mine and she was very happy to know that I was finally going get my lab work done, while I was there.  My own brain was off somewhere too when I walked up to the counter at the lab and said I was there for a mammogram.  Now, I am overdue for a mammogram, but I hadn't even thought about it until it fell out of my mouth at the check in desk.  So I've had a mammogram and I'm good for the next 2-3 years, the tech tells me.

Then I had the blood work done and so that is finally done and I should be good for at least several months, when they'll start bugging me to have the blood work done again.  

We had a minor potential disaster.  The keys to all the apartments at Atria are on these stretchable key chains, which everyone wears on their wrist.  We have had far too many cases of my mother losing her keys, which she usually keeps in the kitchen, but they have been found in her purse (which is stored in a different place each time), at the front desk, in the linen closet, and even once inside the grandmother clock!  I was happy to see she was wearing it on her wrist, where it should be, when I picked her up.  She had it on her wrist when we were in the exam room and when I got out of the mammogram room, she didn't have it.  She didn't even know what it looked like and didn't remember ever having it.  I took her purse and looked through it, but no keys.  I asked her to check her jacket pockets and she didn't know what she was checking for, but the pockets were empty.  I checked the purse again.  Twice.  I was about ready to go back to the exam room to see if she had dropped it somewhere, when I found she had pushed it up her arm so that it as around her bicep instead of her wrist.  Crisis averted.

But it did identify her as an Atria resident, and the woman sitting in the wheelchair in the waiting room recognized her as a fellow resident with whom she has had lunch several times.  So she took care of her while I had my blood work done.

When we got back to Atria, she didn't recognize the place and didn't know where she was supposed to go and I think was pissed with me that I told her to go into the lobby and if she didn't recognize it, to ask anybody and they would point her in the right direction.

I had hit the wall.  

Tomorrow I have lunch with my friend Kathy, unless my mother decides to pass out again.

Monday, November 28, 2016

How was YOUR Saturday?

It was not how I'd planned to spend my Saturday afternoon.

But then, to be fair, it wasn't how my mother planned to spend her Saturday afternoon either.

I had a call from Atria at noon.  She was having another of her passing out spells.  Should they call the paramedics, or did I want to come over.  Since it seems an exercise in futility to take her to the ER, we decided we'd start with me coming over.  She was passed out, looking for all the world like she was dead, but she was breathing and her eyelids were fluttering...never open, but fluttering, kind of like REM sleep.

I called her, talked to her, rubbed her arms and feet, held her hand (at one point her fingers kind of closed around my hand, thought she didn't squeeze) but I was no more successful at waking her than the aids were.  

So they had to call the paramedics, and if the paramedics are called, they have to take her to the emergency room. She was probably out a total of 45 minutes and the paramedics say that she started coming to when they were taking her out of the ambulance.  (You know she's back when she flirts with all the men around her -- paramedics, doctors, and nurses!)

Same place, different time, another three hours, another round of tests, more results of all within normal limits.  It's so frustrating that they run every test in the book that they can do in the ER and they all come back normal.  

The doctor said the only change from last time was that her heart rate was slightly, but not alarmingly, lower than last time and he thought maybe one of her cardiac meds was not working well for her and should be changed.  He also said if it was a cardiac problem, maybe we should consider a pace maker, but my god does anyone even think about such a procedure on a 97 year old???

While we were waiting, I snapped this picture to send to all the family to let them know she was fine...or as fine as she could be, given that she had passed out just a couple of hours before.

After all the tests had been done and evaluated, the doctor again said that everything was normal and he didn't know what caused her to pass out and that she should see her regular doctor on Monday, so I have now made an appointment for her to see her doctor Monday afternoon.  I'm hoping to get a referral for a full neurological workup, which the last ER doctor recommended three weeks ago.

Dr. Patrick also gave me a form with a change of orders to drop the cardiac med, awaiting a different type of med from her regular doctor.  I was to deliver that to the med techs at Atria.

If I had $1 for every time she asked me where she was, how she got there and why was she there Walt and I could go to a first class restaurant for dinner tonight.  Poor dear.  I know she's scared, confused and has no memory but I should have recorded "You fainted.  Nobody could wake you up.  They called the paramedics, they loaded you onto a gurney and into an ambulance and brought you here to the emergency room.  They are trying to find out why you fainted."  But a minute or two later she would look around and say she didn't know where she was and what was she doing there?  Do you know how many times you can ask that question in three hours?  Next time I'll have to keep track.
Finally I had my packet of "at home instructions" and I went and got the car.  They wheeled her out in a wheelchair and got her in the car.  It was raining pretty steadily by now.

We got to Atria and I drove to the front door, under the overhang and got her out of the car so she would not have to walk in puddles in her hospital-supplied socks and told her to walk inside the door and sit and wait for me.  Thank my parking angel, there was a space in the Atria parking lot, so I didn't have to walk a block in the rain.

I gave the doctor's orders to Brianna, who is in charge of my mother's care, and took her off to the dining room to get some food in her.  It was now 3 p.m. and she had not eaten all day.  They were all set up for dinner, but scrambled us some eggs and toasted some toast and my mother finished everything.  Then I took her back to her room and left her, saying I'd be by the next day to check on her.  The aids put her on a 2 hour check to make sure she was OK the rest of the afternoon.

Then I went back to Brianna.  She could not accept the doctor's orders.  Though they were on official Sutter Davis forms, he didn't sign his name and without his signature, they could not follow his instructions.  So back to Sutter -- it was now raining harder, of course -- the doctor was as exasperated as I was, but signed the damn form and I took it back

I asked the doctor if we could get frequent flyer miles.  He laughed and said at least I had a good sense of humor about it all.  I asked him what choice I had!

So Brianna has now accepted the doctor's instructions and presumably the possibly offending medication was dropped when they gave her her meds this morning.  And tomorrow we'll go to Kaiser, where I will answer a bazillion times where she was and what she was doing there and remind her that she had fainted yesterday. (I love it when she asks "why didn't I know that?"  Because you were OUT! I tell her)
I came home and was just ... depressed.  I was depressed because they can't do anything to help her unless they can figure out what is wrong, and depressed because there was a point while I was trying to wake her up, when I hoped that she would just take a last breath and join all those folks I was sure were standing around her bed waiting for her.  That made me feel like a terrible person....but what did she need to wake up for?  And how lovely it would be to just fall asleep..forever.

Her new thing is asking if there isn't someone else in the family who could help her, since I can't.  But the people she wants to help her are all dead.  She's stuck with inadequate me.

I couldn't really eat last night, but did manage to choke down a piece of the new pumpkin pie I had made using the leftover pie dough and pumpkin filling.  I made "new leftovers."

So then.... I thought I had finished this entry until I got another call from Atria saying she was upset again and they couldn't calm her down.  I went over there and this was a whole new wrinkle!  Usually she's upset because she doesn't know where she is or what she is supposed to be doing.  This time she was upset because nobody likes her there, everybdy talks about her and points to her and she doesn't know what she has done wrong, and she wants me to put her someplace in a room by herself.  I knew paranoia was part of the dementia cycle, but she had not displayed it before.

We talked a long time.  I pull no punches with her.  I tell her there is a disease eating her brain and that it is incurable.  I remind her that her mother and sister both had it too, so it's not unusual.  (I think that always helps)  She wants to know what we can do to fix it and was relieved to hear that she will see the doctor tomorrow because she's sure the doctor will know what to do (fat chance).  She moved from that to wasn't there something she could do to help other people like herself and I told her I'd see if we could work something out.  By the time her aid, Harbans, came in to check on her, she was laughing and we had a nice visit with the aid (who, I found out, is from Fiji).  She says she loves my mother and my mother says she is her best friend.  

After Harbans left, she seemed to be in good spirits so I told her I was going to go home.  "Are you feeling better?" I asked her.  "Why?  Was I not feeling well?" she said.  I told her I would see her tomorrow to take her to the doctor and she got indignant and said "Did anybody ask ME about this?"  So she was back from Paranoia-land and just in the same ol' Land of Dementia once again.

It's a new adventure every day....

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sunday Stealing

We found this gem... from a blogger who calls himself Silverguy of the site MD Junction. I’d like to tell you more but that’s all I’ve got. That site is a Blogspot or Wordpress wannabe but it is more like you have Blogger logos all over your blog. I hope you had a terrific Thanksgiving. (We apologize to our international players for having questions about an American holiday.)

Time to toast!

Cheers to all of us thieves!

How many Thanksgivings do you attend?
Just one.  We had an invitation to go to a second, but with dealing with my 97 year old mother all day, one was about all I was up for.  I never know when this is going to be her last holiday and even though with her dementia she doesn't now what's going on, still it's important to me that we spend it together.

Where do you attend Thanksgiving(s)
I so miss the days when the entire family went to Walt's mother's condo at Lake Tahoe and we spent the weekend laughing and playing games and everyone contributed to the food.  But she is gone now, my mother has dementia, and the kids are scattered, so now it's a dilemma each year.  We have gone out to a restaurant, had dinner at the facility where my mother lives, been with Ned's in-laws, and had dinner here.  This year, we just had dinner for 3 here at our house, while Ned and his wife visited early in the day and ate with his in-laws.

What is your favorite dish?
A toss-up between stuffing and pie.

What is your least favorite dish at Thanksgiving?
That ghastly green bean casserole everyone likes.  Yuck!!

What, if any, are your Thanksgiving traditions?
We're at a period in our lives where we are struggling to find new traditions.  It used to be that we played charades (hilarious with Walt's mother, who never could get the rules straight) and Tom making his famous baked Alaska.  He may not have been in high school yet when he decided he wanted to learn how to make it.  Now he's gently pushing 50.  I wonder if he still makes it....?

Name your FAV thing about Thanksgiving.
These days I am very nostalgic about Thanksgiving and my favorite thing, maybe, is memories of so many wonderful Thanksgivings in the past.

Do you make anything for Thanksgiving? If yes, share what and why.
I made turkey, dressing, garlic cheese mashed potatoes, Brussels Sprouts with pomegranates and walnuts, and, of course, pumpkin pie.  Amazingly, my mother ate a little of everything.

Out of everything you eat at Thanksgiving, what can YOU cook the best?
Stuffing and pumpkin pie.

What do you drink with your Thanksgiving feast?
We serve white wine, but I have water, my preference.  (We did have vodka tonics before dinner, though)

Has there ever been a feud during your Thanksgiving?
No.  Fortunately we've never been a feuding family.

Do you have Appetizers before you Thanksgiving meal?
We used to, but with only 3 people for dinner, appetizers seemed kind of silly.

How many people attend your Thanksgiving(s)? If yes, who?
Over the years, I have had as many as 24, including the whole family and one or two foreign students living with us.  So this year with just Walt, me and my mother was kind of pathetic!

Have you ever missed a Thanksgiving?
Two years ago, I was in Iowa, helping my cousin going through chemotherapy.  Because of weather, I was kind of trapped there longer than I expected and had Thanksgiving dinner with her family, but it seemed strange not being home for the holiday.

What kind of pie/cake/dessert do you eat for dessert?
Pumpkin!!!  I think I have in the past also made a pecan pie and, as I mentioned above, Tom always made baked Alaska, but nowadays, it's just pumpkin pie.

Do you ever play games at Thanksgiving?
In the years when we were going to Lake Tahoe, we played games all weekend.  In addition to charades there were endless card games of all kinds, and a few board games as well.  As I said, I miss those days.

Name 3 things you are Thankful for:
1. My family (including the dogs)
2. That my mother is physically healthy (it would be terrible if in addition to dementia she suffered some sort of debilitating condition).
3. NCIS marathons

Is there anyone who has normally attended Thanksgiving, that will not be there this year? Who?
Not THIS year, but every year, we miss Paul and David, now dead many, many years.

Name the funniest person at your Thanksgiving this year and tell us more.
Ned is always the funniest and thanks to his humor, my mother was convinced that she could come to our house, otherwise she would have stayed home sitting in a chair looking at leaves on the trees.

Which person eats the MOST?

Which person eats the LEAST?
My mother, who took about a tablespoon of each thing.  but she ate them.

Do any animals attend Thanksgiving dinner?
Of course.  Lizzie and Polly would be very disappointed if they couldn't sit and stare at us hoping for something to fall on the floor.

If so, do they get Thanksgiving scraps?
I value my life, so yes.

Who carves the turkey?

Have you ever had to make Thanksgiving all on YOUR OWN?
Just about every year since I started making Thanksgiving dinner, sometime in the 1970s.

Do you get along with the people you have thanksgiving with?
Walt and my mother?  Yes, I could say so!

Is your Thanksgiving formal, or do you just do whatever?
There has never been anything in our lives that has been formal.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Saturday 9

Welcome to Saturday 9. What we've committed to our readers is that we will post 9 questions every Saturday. Sometimes the post will have a theme, and at other times the questions will be totally unrelated. Those weeks we do "random questions," so-to-speak. We encourage you to visit other participants posts and leave a comment. Because we don't have any rules, it is your choice. We hate rules. We love memes, however, and here is today's meme! 

Saturday 9: Baby's in Black (1964)Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) Black is this week's signature color because Friday, November 25, was "Black Friday," when retailers cut their prices and consumers flock to the stores. Did you score any "Black Friday" bargains?
I don't "do" Black Friday, but I did pick up two audio books I wanted at at a hugely reduced price and a new iPod for $33 at Amazon.

2) Feasting and football are also popular Thanksgiving weekend pastimes. Do your Thursday-Sunday plans include pigging out or watching a game?
No.  I might pig out, but definitely not in front of a football game (the 9ers aren't playing, are they?)

3) At Thanksgiving dinners, Crazy Sam's homemade gravy is always a hit. (Probably because she's so generous with the cognac, which gives the gravy a nutty taste.) What was particularly delicious at your Thanksgiving table?
The turkey was delicious, as was the pumpkin pie.  Nothing stellar this year, though.  I had high hopes for my "sides," since I spent so much time researching and choosing them, but they were just "meh."

4) Among the biggest the Black Friday advertisers are Target, Kohl's, Macy's and Best Buy. If you could have a $100 gift card to any one of those stores, which would you choose?
Definitely Target.  For two reasons.  One is that I have never shopped at Kohl's and there is no Macy*s or Best Buy here, but more importantly there is a boycott of Target now over the bathroom issue, allowing transgendered people in the bathroom they believe is appropriate for them.  Such a silly tempest in a pee-pot.  (Why aren't people more worried about the pedophile men in the men's room when they send their sons in to pee than the person who looks like a woman in the stall minding her own business?). I need to be supportive of businesses who understand.

5) This week's song, "Baby's in Black," is about a girl who wears black because she's in mourning. Do you find that the color you're wearing reflects your mood?
No.  I usually am not even aware of what color I am wearing.
6) The woman who inspired this song, Astrid Kirchherr, has been friends with Paul McCartney since he and his bandmates (John Lennon, George Harrison, Stu Sutcliffe and Pete Best) met her in Hamburg back in 1960. Tell us what you believe are the components of a strong, lasting friendship.
Compatibility, shared experiences, trust, and a good sense of humor.  An attempt to keep up their side of the relationship is also good.

7) In the early days of the Beatles, Paul McCartney and John Lennon began writing a play but abandoned it. Do you have a novel, painting, play, song or poem that you're going to finish "someday?"
No.  I've co-authored two books and have hung up my author credentials and am resting on my laurels.

8) When he was 16, George Harrison dreamed of moving to Canada, Australia or Malta. In just a few years, he would visit all those places with Beatles and eventually decided there was no place like home and stayed in England. Have you ever thought about moving to another country? If so, where?
When we visited, I felt I could happily live in London or somewhere in Ireland. But I wouldn't like to be that far away from the kids.

9)  Random question: Finish this sentence -- If you want me to give you "yes" for an answer, the best time to approach me is _____________________.
Any time when I'm not in the middle of trying to write a review.

Friday, November 25, 2016


You'd think someone who has cooked as many turkey dinners as I have over the years (both Thanksgiving and Christmas for as many as 24 people) would have no qualms about cooking a turkey dinner for three people, but I woke up at 6 to get potatoes into the slow cooker (new recipe) and then sat here checking and rechecking recipes for the three other dishes for the meal -- turkey, stuffing, and Brussels sprouts.

I decided I'd do a cheesecloth wrapped turkey (how can you go wrong with a turkey wrapped in melted butter soaked cheesecloth?) and instead of stuffing the bird, do a dressing, where I just cook it in the oven.  I had bookmarked all three recipes (Brussels sprouts, which I have only cooked once before, with pomegranate seeds) but then my computer rebooted itself and I lost the recipes.

So I spent a good deal of time searching the internet for the recipes I had decided on.  I got them all printed, but even at that I would be changing them as I cooked.  I had decided on a dressing (i.e., not cooked in the bird) with sage sausage -- I never have used sausage before.  My mother always used turkey innards to flavor the stuffing, but I've never done that, so this would be an experiment.  I also discovered  that I had no onions.  I ALWAYS have onions.  I didn't want to go to the store (if I could find one open), and decided I'd be nice to Walt (who hates onions) for once and cook without an onion.  There would be chopped apple and celery and then dried cranberries and toasted almonds (not in the recipe, but something my mother always used).

Around 11 Ned and Marta stopped by on their way to Marta's parents' house for dinner  We had a nice visit and then they went over to visit Grandma.  About half an hour or so later, it was time to get my mother, but I was at a point where I couldn't leave the kitchen, so I sent Walt.  He told me later that Ned was a gem.  My mother had decided she didn't feel like coming, but Ned is not to be denied.  He told her what a good time she would have got a coat and put it on her, and then guided her out to the car.  I didn't know any of that until after we had taken her home again.  She was, of course, confused about where she was and asked me many times if this was my house.

Walt made her a vodka tonic, her first in a very long time (she used to have one every night).

I sat there and said to her "You know how you're always telling me you want to get rid of all the crap in your house?"  She nodded affirmation.  Then I said "Well...look at this" and indicated the crap around the chair where she was sitting.

She told me that obviously she had not done a good job teaching me how to clean house.  We laughed.  She also tried making friends with the dogs.  Lizzie loved it, Polly was having none of it and stood in the hall barking.

She helped me carry dishes to the table, but instead of coming back to get another dish, she took her own dish and started filling her plate, and in the process knocked over my wine glass.  I don't think she even realized she had broken it. I kicked myself for putting out my godmother's good crystal (which I acquired when my mother moved to Atria) because I loved the glasses and now only have 3 left.  But that was my fault, not hers.

Everything  turned out fine, though there was too much, which, of course, was the whole point of cooking myself--leftovers!.  I also was disappointed that I had chosen dressing instead of stuffing and next time will stuff the turkey again.  Dressing is too dry and crispy.  Stuffing is wet and soggy and perfect when added to the dressing that doesn't fit in the turkey to make the perfect combination.
I was also a little disappointed in the Brussels sprouts.  They were good, but not as good as I had hoped.

But she ate it all and had a piece of pie...and two glasses of wine.  While Walt and I cleared the table, she finally made friends with Polly.  Sort of.

She was really tired when we took her home and was probably going to go right to sleep...I would too, if I'd had a vodka tonic and 2 glasses of wine!

It was really a nice Thanksgiving.  And after we got home from Atria, we had calls from Jeri and from Tom (and the girls) so we had touched bases with everyone and feel very thankful for a day well spent.

Now I go to sleep, dreaming about the pumpkin pie I'm going to have for breakfast in the morning, and the turkey sandwich I'll have for lunch.