Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fine, Thanks...and you?

I must be the most uninteresting person in the world.

A friend and I met recently to share our various vacation experiences.  We had both taken exciting trips and were going to tell each other about them.  She went first and told me about where she had been, what she had done, the people she had seen, the exciting excursions she had taken.  I figured that at any minute, she would say "how was your trip?" but after about an hour or so, she said she had to leave, and so we said goodbye.
As she was walking to her car, she seemed to have a thought, turned and said, "next time we'll talk about YOUR trip--I really do want to hear about it."

OK.  Well, whatever.  I love visiting with her, I loved hearing about her adventures, but I had been looking forward to telling her about mine too.

Then I got a call out of the blue from a friend with whom I have lost contact.  It's been about 15 years since I last saw her but she was coming through town and thought we could get together.  We met at a local coffee shop and as I sat down she told me about surgery she'd recently had.  Then she filled me in on every single person in her family--children, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-in-laws, cousins, and even neighbors.  I learned their life history, their educational history, their health history and their extracurricular activities.  I heard about her house and her business and her husband's job search.

Again, it was interesting, but the truth of the matter is that I never really knew her family at all, and it was a good hour before she mentioned a name I sort of recognized.  I figured that eventually she would say "and what's new with you," but she finally said that she had to go because she was meeting someone else.  I walked her to her car and she left.  

She doesn't have a clue what I'm doing, that I'm a grandmother, where we've traveled, etc.  I think she knows that Paul and David died, but you couldn't prove it by me.
Again, it's not that I minded listening to her long soliloquy.  I enjoyed seeing her again, but it would have been nice if there had been a scintilla of interest in an update on me.  Even when I mentioned that we were going to Sacramento tonight, she didn't ask "what are you doing there?"  She has no idea I'm a theater critic, that I volunteer in a book store, or anything else.   There was absolutely zero interest in getting caught up with me.

I hate being bothered by this because it makes me sound terribly self centered, but I can't help it...it did bother me.

I don't know what Emily Post has to say about situations like this.   I just thought that when you get together to share your lives, that includes bilateral sharing.  

There are some cases when people don't ask about what's new with me because they read this journal, but I'm 100% sure that person #2 doesn't even know I write a journal and 80% sure that person #1 doesn't read it--which is fine.  I don't care.  But if you invite me to get together to get caught up, at least ask me what's new with me! I promise not to hog the conversation.

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Tonight we went to see a fascinating play called Enron, by playwright Lucy Prebble.   While a play about the Enron scandal may seem like it was going to be deadly dull, this is a fast-paced, funny multimedia event with these great raptor headed business men featuring prominently.

It was interesting to get into the heart of the scandal, to get an explanation for terms like "mark-to-market trading," and realizing just how corrupt, manipulative and totally devoid of any feelings of regret for the thousands of lives they destroyed.

The script is a combination of original dialog, quotes from newspapers, interviews, e-mails, etc., and court transcripts.  
 
When it's over you know a bit more about how this was able to happen and I have to say that in this particular version of things, Ken Lay comes across as an incompetent who didn't want to know and who walked away and let Jeffrey Skilling run the company into the ground.

Like I said, those wacky Enron guys are at it again!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Come to the Cabaret

Some three years or so ago, the California Musical Theater (CMT) organization (which presents touring Broadway shows in the fall and spring and The Music Circus summer productions) decided to open a cabaret, in the hopes of bringing life back to Sacramento's K Street Mall.  One end of the Mall is a shopping center, the other end is the Community Center and running between them is a six block long concrete mall filled with questionable businesses and the venerable old Crest Theater.

At the time the controversial Cosmopolitan Cabaret opened, a review of the K Street Mall appeared in Trip Advisor.  It seemed to describe how a lot of people felt about the place
....the k st mall is a slum. if they want people to shop here they need to first make parking free. and on top of that, they need to keep the place well lit, and clean. there are too many bums just walking around, sitting, sleeping, and begging. i feel like i'm going to get robbed just walking here.
The Cosmopolitan Cabaret was going to class up the place and make the whole mall attractive to new businesses and bring some sort of higher class night life back to the area.
At the time the cabaret was being built, my cousin Kathy had recently gone on disability from her job as bookkeepeer for CMT was was happy to provide me with office gossip about the new project, which she predicted was going to send the company into ruin.
Three years later, the company has not been reduced to ruin, and the K Street Mall is still pretty much as it was when the place was built, so it's pretty much a wash as to how much impact it has had.  The original idea was to couple it with a fancy (expensive) restaurant so that people could have dinner first, then move into the theater for the show.  That didn't last long, but you could order drinks or (very expensive) snacks in the theater and they were made in the restaurant. 

The restaurant idea has gone through several changes, at one point being closed entirely while they sold movie-type snacks in the lobby of the theater.   Now the restaurant is a pizza joint which plays loud music, which (fortunately) does not seep through and disturb the stage show inside the cabaret.  The drinks are still ridiculously expensive ($10 for a bottle of water and a glass of wine tonight)

The first show in the cabaret was Forever Plaid, a show I had wanted to see forever.  It was a great show for people "of a certain age" and Walt and I loved it, but we wondered how it would play to the young, hip audience CMT was hoping to attract.  The material seemed dated (especially a long segment on the Ed Sullivan show) but if you knew the material, it was very funny.  

When Forever Plaid ran its course, the next show was Late Night Catechism in which a faux nun stood up and lectured the audience on things Catholic for 2 hours.  If you were familiar with the Catholic teachings and particular if you attended Catholic school, the show was hilarious.  If, like my colleague, you had no inside information about Catholicism or Catholic school teaching, it was deadly dull.

Most of the shows which have followed have not been particularly spectacular (except for Forbidden Broadway, which I loved in New York and was pleased to see here in Sacramento.  But I've given lukewarm reviews to all of the others shows, some of which were concert shows (like Sinatra) and some of which were plot shows (like Suds, which offered great laundromat humor.  Not).

Tonight another show I've been wanting to see opened -- I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change.  Fortunately it was one of the better shows I've seen at the Cosmopolitan Cabaret.  I think almost anyone watching this show will find something to identify with, from the awkward dating scene, to the romance, to marriage, to raising kids, to getting older.  It's very funny but the scene where two old people meet at a wake I somehow found a little difficult to watch.  For one thing there was a coffin on stage, reminding me of the (so far) ten people we've know who have died this year, but even moreso because the guy in the scene reminded me so much of our friend Will Connelly, who died in April.  He would have been just as funny as the actor was.  I miss him.

At the cabaret, you are seated at a table with four chairs, so it's a chance to meet new folks (and we all know how good I am about that).  We have been seated with "regular folks," not critics before, but once we were seated with veteran radio personality Mary Jane Popp and her husband. We enjoyed talking together and since that time, we always chat briefly when we encounter each other at shows.

Walter (whose last name I don't know if I ever knew) and his wife became friendly with us years ago because at the time he and Ned were working (or had worked) at the same radio station.  He's a nice guy and I enjoy chatting with him and his wife.

And of course, Patti, from the Sacramento News and Review is someone I talk to a lot--and we are Word with Friends partners, though she beats me 90% of the time.

But it hasn't always been rosy.  I remember sitting next to a woman (you can tell critics because we all carry information packets) who let me know in no uncertain terms that she had been doing this for many years and had nothing to share with a nobody like me.  And the main critic at the big Sacramento newspaper was so curt and dismissive of me when I was first starting that I haven't dared to try to talk to him now that I'm more "seasoned."  

But tonight we sat with Chris, who writes for a different Sacramento paper.  He was charming and we had a great time sharing information, particularly about my old boss, Derrick Bang.

After more than twelve years, I'm finally starting to feel a part of the critic community in the area.  A little.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Food, Glorious Food

As I sit here once again trying to decide what I want to cook for dinner, I came across a very long food meme and thought maybe by answering it, I could get some ideas.  I'm deleting a lot of questions I don't want to answer!

Do you like pie?  Love it.  Especially the crust
Italian or Mexican? Always Mexican, never Italian.  Italian is OK, but it comes last in my list of favorite foods.
Can you bake? If so, what are your favorite things to bake? I can pretty much bake anything I have a recipe for.  I've never tried flaky pastries or croissants, but I'd be willing to try.
Do you use cookbooks or do you try to find recipes online? Both
Do you own a kitchen aid mixer?  Yes.  It is my workhorse.   I've had it more than 40 years and I use it, if not every day, at least several times a week.
Ever cooked a meal for more than 15 people at one time?  In my big Christmas dinner days, yes.  I think the biggest meal was for 24.
Any picky eaters in your family?  Walt and Marta won't eat onions.   Brianna is very picky; Lacie has food allergies.
Hot chocolate?  Love it, but it's a rare indulgence I don't usually allow myself
Favorite holiday dish? Stuffing.
Fries or tater tots?  Depends.  I like both.
Do you like cheese? If so what kind? Yes, mild cheeses.  Love Boursin, mild cheddar, Swiss.  Don't like stinky cheeses.
Do you like to eat out?  Yes, Yes, YES!!!!!
What kind of food is popular where you are?  In this relatively small town, we are full of Chinese and Thai restaurants.  We also have lots of Mexican restaurants.
Do you like cotton candy?  Yes, but not the kind that comes pre-packaged, the kind that you used to get directly from the vat where they made it.   I haven't had it in decades, though.
Do you like salad?  Not really, though I eat it all the time.
Favorite pizza topping? Sausage and mushrooms.
Do you like meat loaf?  Yes, but I wish I could recreate the meat loaf my mother used to make.
Pop corn or nachos? Nachos
Do you like fish?  Some.  I wish it weren't so expensive, though.
Do you like baked beans?  Yes, in moderation.
Do a lot of crock pot cooking?  Probably at least once every week or two.
What is one "guilty pleasure" snack or food you REFUSE to give up no matter what? Butter.
Favorite flavor of ice cream?  No real "favorite," but something vanilla-based, with something crunchy in it.
Do you like frozen burritos?  I prefer them cooked.  :)
What kind of milk do you drink?  Non-fat
Yogurt or oatmeal?  Depends on the day.  I like both.
Favorite kind of cereal?  Honey Nut Cheerios
Do you like Asian Food? Very definitely.
Baked potato or sweet potato? Baked
Chips or pretzels?  I really don't much like pretzels.  Love potato chips.
Do you like fried mozzarella sticks?  They're bad for you, right?   Then, of course.
Do you like chili?  Yes, but not too hot.
Do you like pickles?  No.  My mother has never been able to understand this.
Do you like Oreo cookies?  Yes, but I'd rather have Hydrox.
Do you like soup crackers? I do when someone serves them.  I never buy them.
Do you like Tofu?  Not really.
Strawberries or bananas?  Strawberries
Canned fruit?  Sure.  Mandarin oranges, pineapple, peaches, etc.
Do you like tuna?  Yes, and I have learned to like water-packed.
How about roast beef? Very rare, preferably with horseradish.
Do you like salsa or seven layer taco dip?  Both.  Prefer 7-layer.
Do you like tacos?  Definitely.
Do you like cabbage?  Yes, sometimes.  Like corned beef & cabbage, like chinese Chicken cabbage salad.
Do you like plums? Only if they are very ripe, so I rarely buy in a supermarket.
Green onions?  Sure (most folks call them green onions, but they're really scallions)
Ever had ramen noodles? How do you fix yours? Do you add anything to them?   I usually use the packaged soup noodle mixes.
Do you like spicy foods? I like the flavor of spices, but I don't like foods so hot I can't taste the FOOD.
Crispy or grilled chicken on your salad?  I should say grilled, but really, crispy.  (That's worse for you, right?)
Do you like corn on the cob?  Love it!!!
Pumpkin or apple pie?  Pumpkin.  I like apple pie, but only if it's home made.  I haven't had a restaurant or pre-baked apple pie that I really like.
Dinner rolls or crescent rolls?  I love both, but crescents are my favorite (those are worse for you, right?)
How do you like your eggs?  Scrambled soft.  If I'm cooking for myself, I add cream cheese.
Most expensive meal you have ever eaten? I really don't remember.  My $100 lunch with my mother this month ranks up there! (that's $100 for two).  It was probably a wonderful dinner my friend Ron took us to at Stars in San Francisco, mostly because it came with two bottls of Dom Perignon.
Do you like stir fry?  Yes.  I learned to make it from Martin Yan when he taught a class her locally.
Do you like brussel sprouts?  Kinda, but I never make them because Walt doesn't like them.
Can or fresh tomatoes?  Canned for cooking (because it's easier), fresh for eating in salad or sandwiches.
Do you like coffee?
Peets dark roast.  Have been buying it for more than 40 years.
Hot dogs or polish sausage? Not a big fan of tubed meat.
Do you like cinnamon toast?  Of course!
Do you eat dinner at the table or in front of the TV? at the table in front of the TV (table is in the family room, where the TV is)
Do you like to BBQ?  No, but I enjoy a good BBQ if someone else cooks.
Do you like cold cuts? Not really, except for salami.
Do you like rice? Yes.  I cook a lot of it.  Not my favorite though.  I prefer potatoes or pasta. Walt is the rice eater.
Macaroni and cheese?  Love it.  I make it from scratch, except on the anniversary of David's death, when I make Kraft dinner, his favorite.
Jalapeno Poppers?  I don't dare buy them because I'll eat them all myself.
Do you like cottage cheese?  Yes.  The dogs let me have some of theirs sometimes.  I buy low or non-fat.
Do you like lasagna?  Yes, especially the pesto lasagna I first had in Portofino.
Do you like hard boiled eggs?  Yes.  I have to hard boil a dozen this weekend, in fact, to make stuffed eggs for a party on Sunday.
Do you like stuffing?  Oh yeah, baby.
Do you like cream corn? If it's served I'll eat it, but I wouldn't cook it myself.
Do you like ice cream sandwiches? Yes, especially when the ice cream is just the right point of softness.
Potato chips or nacho cheese chips? Potato are always my favorite chips.
Do you like granola bars? Yeah.  Especially the kind that are bad for you  :)
M&Ms or Hersheys chocolate? Both, but prefer Hershey's
Last but not least……. What is your ALL time favorite FOOD?????   Oh, I've had so many over the years, I would be hard pressed to choose the ALL TIME favorite food.  Right now it's probably crab, but it has been other things at other times.

Well...I've finished the questionnaire and am no closer to knowing what I want to cook for dinner, so I guess I'll just have to go to the store and browse.

And the decision is.....  cajun salmon fillet with orange glaze, spinach baked with boursin cheese, and cottage potatoes.


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Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Horns of a Dilemma

I am a member of SwapBot, a place for people who like to exchange things with other people to meet.  Not being "crafty," I'm not into sending knitted whozits, crocheted whatzits, or hand made geegaws, but I do join swaps that are of postcards or pen pal letters.  I recently started keeping a 6 week journal (written in a student's Composition Notebook).  

The other kinds of swaps I have done before is the chance to publicize your own blog.  You visit partners' blogs for a bit, then write about them in your own blog, telling what you liked (or didn't) about the blogs and why. 

This is about the third or fourth of these blog swaps I've joined but as the time has passed since partners were assigned, I find I am on the horns of a dilemma.  I'm not sure why either of the women involved decided to participate.

The first blog, My Wonderland Adventure, had no entries at all for the first two weeks after we were assigned (September 2).  I finally wrote to her on September 15 asking if she was going to be writing some entries.  She apologized and said that she would, and she did post a couple of entries, photos of mail she had received or sent, an announcement of a swap she was hosting, and a short review of another blog (ironically, the same blog I was reviewing) but nothing for the past week or so.  Every person has his or her own idea of what their blog is to be, and I certainly have no problem with this kind of approach to blogging, an entry every week or so, but it's not the kind of blog that is likely to find a following, and there's not much to say about it. 

The second blog is written by a woman in Romania.  It's called beauty2go and seems more an advertisement for beauty products.  Her latest entry was September 10, before this swap began, and is her home-made treatment for oily skin, including before and after pictures
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Other entries are just lists of products she uses, along with photos of the bottles or boxes.  I also wrote to her on September 15 to ask if she was going to update her blog, she said she was going to, but it's two weeks later and still nothing new.

This may be a blog which appeals to people who use lots of "product," but as someone who uses nothing (letting my natural beauty shine through, dontcha know!), this is not a blog that I would have any interest in, even if she does start adding entries to it.  As with the other blog, each person decides what their blog is going to be, but my reason for reading a blog is to learn something about the person writing it, and I know nothing about either of these women.

Trying to find something blog-related to write about on this swap, I decided to visit the blogs of the people who were supposed to review me.   The first one only wrote one entry since the partners were assigned, and it was her review of her two blogs.  "these two very interesting women each have a blog in which they write about important things that happen in their lives. It is very interesting and I loved reading about the different things people do and the photos that they take instead of my own life."  It lacks something as a "review," but was better than nothing.

The second, Smadronia's Adventures, is the only one of the four that was satisfying to read, her latest entries a multi-part narrative about a vacation she has been taking.  Written well, with fun photos.

I'm disappointed about this round of blog-promotion swaps and wish there had been more interesting blogs to read.  The swap doesn't end for a week, so maybe something will happen and my two partners will produce something worth writing about.

It was a moderate day at Logos yesterday.  A lot of people wandering through the store, a moderate number of books purchased.  One guy was looking for books about Africa, since he is about to go on a vacation soon.  He picked up "Out of Africa."  I suggested the "Ladies #1 Detective Agency" series, which he knew about, but it is set in Botswana and he won't be visiting that country.

He was wearing a Nuremberg shirt and I asked if he had visited the city, which he had no (the shirt was a gift), but we talked about what I learned when there about German teaching young people about Hitler and the Holocaust.

I had set soup to simmering all day while I was at work, just one of those "toss everything in the crock pot and see what happens."  I had a "mystery bone" in the freezer to use and then lots of veggies, including my first crack at cooking kale, which Jeri keeps telling me I should use more.  

The result was tasty.  Not sure I was blown away by the kale, but it was edible.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

They're Baaack!

Yeah.  Yeah.  I know how Jeri is going to feel about this entry...but I also know how Ned is going to feel about this entry.

As I do every morning, I checked which TV program were scheduled to be recorded on our DVR tonight.  I remember when Ned told me that getting a DVR would change my life, and it has.  Not only can I watch things without commercials (which you used to be able to do with OnDemand,but now you have to sit through them...no fast fowarding allowed!), but I can also set a series recording for a certain program, say Grey's Anatomy, for example and it always records new episodes...this season...and next season...and forever.  I don't even have to think about when the new season is starting.  My DVR knows.

There are great shows now, that I follow regularly, during the summer season.  Shows like my very favorite, White Collar and Royal Pains.   I watch a lot of NCIS, Criminal Minds and Law & Order SVU marathons during the summer.

But I do miss the shows that are on hiatus and when the new fall season starts it's always very exciting.

This morning I checked today's scheduled programs and there they were!  All my favorites were back!

Tonight it's the new season of NCIS and Private Practice, as well as the second night of the new season of Dancing with the Stars (haven't decided how I'm going to feel about this season.  Of course the dancing is ging to be much better...but I always liked watching the klutzes learn how to dance and we'll miss that this time around.)

Tomorrow night we have Criminal Minds, Law and Order SVU, and Modern Family.  Modern Family is a newcomer to my recordings.  But it's such a funny show.  I think it's interesting that the Romneys, who are so against gay marriage (and other gay issues) have both said it is their favorite show.  How do they feel about Cameron and Mitchell being 2 dads, this candidate who adamantly insists children should be raised by a mom and a dad.  Do they think they are a "real family"? How would they feel about the two men getting married, these leading characters in their favorite TV program?

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But I digress.

Next we have Big Bang Theory, Grey's Anatomy and Scandal.   I don't know which season of Grey's Anatomy is starting this year,but I've watched it from the very first episode and still love it.  Scandal's first season went by so quickly, it hardly seemed like there were any episodes at all, but it hooked me and I'm looking forward to the new season starting this week. As for Big Bang Theory, there probably is not a funnier show on TV these days.  Those Geeks are just perfect.

Grimm and Once Upon a Time are starting again too.   Love both of those shows.  Grimm, about the detective who has the ability to see the monsters who walk among us disguised as normal humans (except for his boss, who somehow he is not able to identify) and fight to destroy them. Once Upon a Time, that wonderful fantasy where all of the fairy tale characters are now trapped, living normal lives in a little town called Storeybrooke in Maine.  Nobody remembers being a fairy tale character except the evil queen who put them all under a spell because she was angry with Snow White, and the complicated and mostly evil Mr. Gold, Rumplestiltskin in the fairy tales.

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The Good Wife and the Mentalist are also starting again.  I have half-followed Good Wife, but have missed a lot of episodes (I frequently catch it OnDemand because it conflicts with something else at its regular time), but I love The Mentalist (my mother's current favorite show) and wonder what the evil Red John is up to this season.

I haven't decided if I'm going to continue following Major Crimes, the Closer spin-off.  So far the best thing it has going for it is the relationship between the foster kid and Captain Raydor.  As for the actual crimes themselves, I think the writing needs to be better if I'm going to stick with it.

My new favorite new fall show is Homeland, and I'm thrilled that it received such recognition at the Emmys the other night.  This show has more twists and intrigue and complex characterizations than you can shake a stick at.

There are new shows which may become favorites.  It's already week 3 for the new Matthew Perry comedy, Go On about a grief support group.   I was leery because I thought it would be broader comedy than it is, but it has a depth and a sweetness. I love Perry in this new role.  

I'm less enthusiastic aboutThe New Normal, about a gay couple hiring a surrogate to bear their child. This show is entirely too drama queen-ish right now and the gay guys could not POSSIBLY be more gay, unless they were wearing boas and high heels.  I would like to see a bit more realism, but I'll give it a couple more weeks. They need to take lessons from Modern Family.  It's good to see a loving relationship between gay couples, but sometimes these guys play into every conservative straight person's worst fears.

I gave up on the dystopian Revolution in week #2.   Didn't grab me.  I'm looking forward to the modern-day Sherlock Holmes, Elementary and what looks like the dark version of Fantasy Island, 666 Park Blvd.   Terry O'Quinn has the lead role and I enjoyed him so much in Lost.  

But it's fun to see a full schedule of programs to be recorded.   I can settle in and breathe easy for the next several weeks.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sunday Stealing

1. Ever been given or received an engagement ring?
Yes.  The diamond belonged to Walt's grandmother.

2. Longest relationship?
46-1/2 years

3. Last gift you received?
My new printer.

4. Ever dropped a mobile phone?
Sure. Fortunately, the cover on it is very resilient.

5. When's the last time you worked out?
Last week, when had my stress test. (Hey--10 minutes on the treadmill counts, right?)

6. Thing(s) you spend a lot of money on?
Books.

7. Last food you ate?
Cottage cheese and strawberries.

8. First thing you notice about the opposite sex?
Can't think of anything in particular.  Maybe their clothes.

9. One favorite song?
"For Good," from Wicked.

10. Where do you live?
Davis, California, 80 miles east of San Francisco, 20 miles west of Sacramento.

11. High school attended:
St. Vincent in San Francisco, a Catholic girls' school which no longer exists.

12. Cell phone provider:
Verizon

13. Favorite shop:
Any book store.

14. Longest job:
Working for Women's Health Associates. I loved that job before Sutter swallowed it up and ruined it.

15. Do you own a smart phone? Why?
Sure.  Why not?

16. Do you prank call people?
Never.

17. Last wedding you attended?
Jocelyn and David, 3 yrs ago.  Now they have 1 yr old Charlee.


18. First friend you'd call if you won the lottery:
Walt
.
19. Last time you saw your best friend(s):
When we got home from Amsterdam.

20. Favorite fast food Restaurant:
Probably Jack in the Box.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fantasies

Two of my Grandma fantasies came true this weekend.  I pictured being in the kitchen, fixing food with my grandchildren, and that happened yesterday when Bri and I made clam dip and, later, fruit salad.

The second fantasy occurred later in the day.  When we arrived at their house, Tom was watching the 49er game (and not very happy about it).  Bri was in the kitchen playing with her Lego blocks.  She and I played together for some time, making a garden, a house, and cars out of Lego.  


Whenever Tom let out an agonizing scream, she would run into the living room to find out what happened and then report back to me. Sadly, our son was not a happy camper today.


When Lego construction finally ran its course, Bri drew several pictures for me.  


This is her family.  Daddy is the guy on the left, Mommy is the black figure, Lacie is the tiny figure and you can tell Brianna on the right because of the curly hair.  The family is in a house (the orange circle around them).  I asked her to sign it for me because I want to send it to Fred, in the Philippines, who sends me such great drawings.

Laurel and Bri went off to the farmer's market while Tom selflessly volunteered to stay home while Lacie napped and, oh yeah, he might watch a little football too.  He got Lacie in bed and about then, noted that Grandpa was sleeping.


Tom texted Laurel:  "Dad is out; we are still working on Lacie."

When Laurel and Bri returned, Tom was making a lasagna to take to the family of Bri's BFF, whose mother just gave birth a week ago.  Bri sat and watched more football with Grandpa.  There was some discussion about whether to hope the Raiders or the Jets should win.  We were for Oakland, of course.  Bri liked the Jets because their uniforms are yellow.


Finally my second fantasy came true.  Laurel came in with a bowl of popcorn and a video and we sat there watching Bambi with Bri.  We had given it to her a year ago, I think, and I hoped we could watch it with her, but there was never time and I've been mildly disappointed, but today I watched my favorite cartoon with our granddaughter and it was great.


Of course I may have scarred her for life.  I should have asked Laurel ahead of time if Bri knew what really happened to Bambi's mother.  I suspect from the number of times she asked me about why the hunter killed her that maybe a softer excuse for her disappearance may have been given in previous viewing of the movie!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Torch Has Been Passed

It's official.  The future is in the hands of the next generation.  Today I taught Brianna how to make clam dip.


You have to understand that clam dip is rather sacrosanct around here and it is a Very Big Deal to pass the secret recipe along to Brianna (not that there is anything magical--take 8 oz of cream cheese, drain a small can of minced clams, add clams to cream cheese and stir, adding bits of drained clam juice until it is the desired consistency.  Voila.  Clam dip.)  I don't kid myself that she will remember it, but by golly...we made clam dip together.

We made clam dip and then we made fruit salad.  She did the melon balls.


While they were doing that, Walt was learning how to use Laurel's iPad so he could read instructions to Tom for making a watermelon whale.


We were preparing for Lacie's first birthday party, to be held at a nearby park.  Laurel was in the back of the house trying desperately to help Lacie get a little sleep before the party (unsuccessfully).

We finally went to the park and helped set up, while Laurel let Lacie sleep in the car for a little while. 
The other grandma ("Ama," I think they call her), who used to teach kindergarten had set up a craft table and Brianna and her best friend Ella, were making pictures with paint and stencils.


Ella is, I think, Bri's first BFF who is a girl.  It was so cute watching them be inseparable all afternoon.
When Laurel and Lacie finally arrived, Lacie was a bit groggy for awhile and dazed by all the people and confusion.


Laurel brought the birthday cake she had decorated for Lacie, matching the "under the sea" theme


and young Connor was quite taken with Tom's whale.


But I think these were my favorite kids.


I never got their names, nor the name of their parents, but they sat at the chip bowl for about 15 minutes and the great thing about them was that the boy would take one chip...he reminded me of Frasier...and eat it in several bites, no matter how small it was.  His sister, on the other hand, would get as many as she could get into her fist and jam the whole bunch into her mouth, using both hands to push them in.  They did this over and over and over again.  I was fascinated!

Lacie finally warmed up and was full of smiles.


Laurel finally put her in the high chair with a bunch of balloons before they gave her her cake.  This is a link to the only video I took today (of Lacie enjoying the balloons).  The cake was her first "sweet," and Laurel had to find a special recipe to compensate for all of Lacie's food allergies, but she did a beautiful job.

After there were presents (which Lacie could care less about) and more play in the bouncy house.


Then people started going home.  Lacie about this time had discovered dirt and was having a marvelous time.


A great time was had by all and now that Lacie is walking, she can step confidently into her second year.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Adventures at Burger Queen

We had lunch at the Burger Queen today.  We eat there usually every time we are driving to Santa Barbara...it's just about the right distance from Davis to hit it in time for a late lunch.  It's a 2 and a half hour drive to Salinas and the Burger Queen, which is in Gonzales, is just 20 minutes farther. As you make the last curve in the road you know it's getting close because you can spot the water tower in the distance.  The water tower is across the highway from the restaurant.

 
Across the street from the Burger Queen is McDonald's, but who want to eat there when you can eat at the Burger Queen?  The food is cooked to order and is much fresher than McD's.  You can get a cheeseburger or menudo, a hot dog or huevos rancheros.  We often see farm workers inside.

I knew that it would probably be impossible to stick with my program, but I figured I would just order a cheeseburger and it wouldn't be too bad, but the thing was huge.  I couldn't finish it all.  I did eat a lot of the fries, though.

 
There was a family there with three children.  A baby who may have been 18 months (and in a stroller), a boy who looked like he was between 2 and 3 and a girl who may have been 5.  All three children shrieked or cried the whole time we were there.  Ear splitting.  I saw the waitress cover her ears several times (and when we left, she whispered an apology to me for the noise).

It was the little boy who drew my attention, though.

 
They had machines where for 25 cents you could buy a cheap toy.  He wanted one. Badly. He yelled and begged and tried to climb behind the machine to get a toy.  Someone finally gave him a quarter and he bought a toy, but then he saw one he wanted better.  It was a multicolored little ball and it was in the middle of the machine.  He had to have it. He screamed and yelled and demanded "I WANT MONEY!" over and over again.  The adults, who didn't understand what was going on, gave him another quarter and he put that in the machine, but of course he didn't get the toy wanted.  He was still screaming when we left.

There was another couple there, sitting near us, who sat by the window and kept waving to somebody outside.  I didn't know who.  But when we went out to our car, we saw who they were waving at.

 
This dog had climbed up on one of the outside tables and from there onto the ledge of the window.  He was very cute!

We continued on down to Alice Nan's house, where we checked out the offering on the Table of Wonder, where all the available snack foods are always displayed. Everything fresh fruit to carrots and hummus, to a variety of cookies and candy to wine.  Whatever you are wanting, chances are you can find it here!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Wagging Tails

One of this morning's questions from That's My Answer was "What is your favorite dog movie?"

One movie didn't immediately leap to mind because I've seen (and loved) so many.  I'm a sucker for any sort of animal movie, with a special soft spot in my heart for dog movies.
LassieCome.jpg (18424 bytes)The first one that came immediately to mind was Lassie Come Home, not necessarily because it is my favorite, but because it may have been the first dog movie I ever saw.   Mr. & Mrs. Carraclough are forced to sell the family's beloved collie to the rich duke (father of Elizabeth Taylor).  Son Roddie MacDowell is desolate and Lassie spends most of the movie finding her way home. Of course there is ultimately a happy ending for everybody.

I loved Lassie. I loved all the Lassie movies I saw and watched the TV show through the Tommy Rettig years and then the Jon Provost years.  I never could understand how Tommy's family could just leave behind their beloved dog when they moved off the farm. 

I remember hearing an interview with June Lockhart once where she was talking about what an amazing dog Lassie was supposed to be and how when her charactergot her foot caught in some sort of an animal trip, she sent Lassie home to get a "c-clamp" off of the kitchen counter in the house, which she described to the dog, Lassie, being only a dog, of course, instead brought the c-shaped cheese cutter and Mom had to send her back to the house again. 

I met Lassie once.  It was the only dog show I ever attended and we went because Lassie was the guest star.  I met "her" (all Lassies were really male) on the back steps when I went out to the bathroom.  Such a thrill for my dog-loving heart!)

redfern.jpg (87305 bytes)But there are so many other dog movies I remember.  Oddly, I know I've seen Old Yeller, but I really don't remember it.  However, if you want a tear jerker, you can't beat Where the Red Fern Grows, the story of an Ozarks boy and his two coonhounds, Old Dan and Little Ann.  Even though the book was not written until 1961, which means I read it as an adult, I still idenified with the kid who gets these dogs and trains them and watching the relationship grow among all of them.

Of course, this being a tear jerker, the dogs die (both of them), but the miracle that follows their deaths helps ease the pain of loss for little Billy.

I always dreamed of having that kind of relationship with a dog.   By the time I had my own dog I was too busy with other things to go off wandering the woods with the dog, having close conversations with them, and training them to do wonderful things.  Heck, I still can't get Polly to understand that there are better places the inside to use for toileting, though now that I have puddle pads on the floor, it's slightly less annoying than it was before.  I do admit that I love it when she snuggles with me, when Sheila leaves her favorite place outside to come in and lie next to me as I sleep, and when Lizzie looks searchingly into my face, trying to figure out what is going on with me.  I suspect these 3 may be the closest I'll ever get to Old Dan and Little Ann.

milo-otis.jpg (14633 bytes)There were other dog movies I remember that I liked.  Remember Milo and Otis?  It was the story of a dog and a cat and their adventures together.  I don't remember it well, but I loved it because of the pug (I don't remember if it was Milo or Otis!).   Those animal adventures are fun, if done well.  Homeward Bound, with two dogs and a cat trecking across the country to find their owners, was well done with major voices for the animals (Michael J. Fox was one I remember), but some of them just get too silly, like Beverly Hills Chihuahua.  I watched that one because of Polly, but I hated it.  I also remember that we had a spate of Chihuahua mixes turned into the SPCA for a year or so after that movie came out...same as the problem people had after everyone went out and adopted Dalmatians after 101 Dalmatians and then discovered that they were more active than they bargained for.  I can only assume that all those surrendered Chihuahuas were like Polly and the owners who thought they would be like Paris Hilton's dog were disappointed and frustrated and gave up.

But maybe the very best dog movie ever made was Best in Show.   I love anything Christopher Guest makes, but this is one of my favorites.

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It follows several dog owners and their preparations and participation in a dog show, as only Christopher Guest can do it.  The sight of Guest with his bloodhound running around the ring is my favorite memory of that movie!

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I will always have a soft spot in my heart for dog movies and am glad there are so many good ones out there!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I'd Make a Lousy Hypochondriac

I don't know how people can be hypochondriacs.  There is nothing more boring than spending essentially half of the day in doctors' offices!

I was pleased when I got up this morning and noted that I didn't seem to have Underdog Syndrome any more.  But I was supposed to get the blood work and Kaiser called to check if I was going to be seeing my doctor.  I said that I guessed so.

I got to Kaiser early.  The lab waiting room is frequently full.   The procedure is that you take a number, sit and when it's your turn, they call your number.  But since the waiting room was EMPTY I just went up to the desk and was told I had to take a number.  I said that since there was nobody else there, I thought I could bypass that. I was literally taken to the number machine, a few feet behind me, and shown how to pull down a number and how to put it in the basket.   I did.  I went to sit down and before my butt touched the couch, they called my number.

It was like something out of Candid Camera.

The clerk asked if I was fasting.  I said that I was not because the doctor had told me this was not a fasting test.  She said there was an order on file from last October for a fasting test and I should have fasted.  I said the doctor specifically told me not to.  She checked and saw that I had a fasting test in August and asked if she would remove the orders for October.  I said yes.

I got to the doctor's waiting room about 15 minutes early and sat down to read mybook.  They finally called my name about 25 minutes later.  They did all the usual things like take my temp (normal), oxygen (normal), weight (not horrible) and blood pressure (lowest it's been in years). 

The nurse seemed confused about why I was there.  She finally asked "was this supposed to be a telephone visit?"  I told her I'd talked to the doctor four times yesterday and she said I should come in.

So she let me stay, said the doctor would be right in.  40 minutes later I was almost going to leave a note saying that I felt OK and was tired of waiting, but the doctor finally came in.  I would have ben angry about the time in the exam room were it not that (a) I had lots of time to read and (b) I remembered those long-ago days working for Women's Health when one of our doctors was perennially late and the long-suffering staff had to placate the patients.  So I continued to wait.

She finally arrived and actually we had a better chat than we normally have.  I didn't tell her about "Underdog syndrome" by name, but we discussed what had happened, about the worrisome nausea, about my fears that Underdog syndrome might be cardiac related.
She agreed that the idea of cardiac involvement had occurred to her too, and suggested I get an EKG while I was there.  She also suggested some medication adjustments to try to nail down which one might be making me sick to my stomach.

She gave me a robe to put on for the EKG.  I giggled a lot about that while it was going on.  It's a gown that opens down the middle in the front and I guess is supposed to give you a feeling of modesty, but the first thing that happens when the nurse comes in is that you lie on your back, she opens up the gown and attaches the leads and you lie there with your nipples pointing up to the ceiling, so relieved that your back is modestly covered!

The doctor conferred with a cardiolgist and they agreed there was nothing worrisome on my EKG.  She suggested I get a treadmill test also, which is scheduled for some ungodly hour tomorrow morning.  I aced that sucker in 2009, to everyone's surprise and I had every confidence that I would do it again, but after I left the office (some 3 hours after I arrived), I was feeling slight Underdog syndrome again, with the weakness of spaghetti legs and slightly heavy breathing, though less serious than yesterday, and I'm wondering if I will have problems tomorrow.

I have such renewed sympathy for people who have serious medical problems that involve multiple doctors' appointments, and am so glad that this is not my situation.   But I know people who rush off to the doctor with every little twinge or imagined twinge.  How do they do it? I hate all these appointents, especially since I feel like a hypochondriac since my symptoms are so minor.

I guess I'll hear about the lab tests tomorrow and hopefully once I finish the treadmill test, this will be the end of things for awhile.

I am also cautiously optimistic that the change in medication the doctor suggested seems to be working.  I don't feel like I have morning sickness tonight.

I spent a pleasant afternoon at the book store, which included a nice visit with an old neighbor (from the days when our neighbors actually talked to me), then came home and cooked a chicken recipe out of a diabetic cookbook, gave part of mine to the dogs because I was too full (they love me) and now as soon as The Daily Show is over, it's off to bed for me.  I have to be on the road at the crack of dawn.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I Hate It When She's Right

Yesterday, my friend Olivia called me from Seattle.  We talk more often during election season, and the gaffes coming out of the Romney campaign have been good for several phone calls lately.  I am determined not to feel optimistic about what all these revelations are doing to his campaign, but when folks like conservative columnist Bill Kristol calls his remarks at that infamous fund raising event "arrogant and stupid," it's hard not to have the audacity of just a little hope.

But eventually we got around to matters of my health and I turned into my mother while Olivia turned into me.  She had me at death's door and insisted I get myself to an emergency room NOW (I should have mentioned to her I would have to drive at least 30 minutes to get to the ER just to have them check on my urinary tract infection).

We argued for some time and I know how she felt because it's the same way I feel when dealing with my mother.  But I also knew how my mother feels because when you are on this side of all the stuff going on, it really doesn't seem very serious.

I also had communicated with my doctor, who asked me to come in for lab work Tuesday morning, so I would be going to the local Kaiser clinic in just a few hours anyway and didn't see the need to rush off to the Emergency Room.

The only concern I had was the nausea I've been having.  It's the reason I find it hard to stay on the diabetes meds.  And also the fact that I seem to be suffering from Underdog Syndrome.

For those who never experienced the cartoon Underdog, our kids watched it all the time when they were little.  Underdog's alter ego is Shoe Shine Boy, but when his girlfriend Polly is in trouble he becomes the superhero -- "I am not slow...it's up, up, up and away I go!"

underdog.jpg (141956 bytes)

The only episode I really remember was when Underdog was under the spell of the evil Simon Bar Sinister and he couldn't fly because he was dizzy.

"Things are fine
when I sit down
But when I stand
Things go round and round."

Well, that's kind of how I've felt the last couple of days.   (Things don't go "round and round" but just get weak, but I love the Underdog reference.)  This is all very mild, you understand, but just enough to be annoying.  The problem was that three things had changed this week:  I got the urinary tract infection, I started taking my pills again, and I was trying to follow a diabetic diet.  It could be any one of those things that were causing the problem.

I decided to ignore how I was feeling and go to work at community meals anyway.  The cook put me to chopping onions this time and I was doing just fine, sort of, when I realized my legs felt like limp spaghetti and I had broken out in a cold sweat.  I finished the onions, 'cause I'm no quitter, but when they were finished, after I'd only been there 45 minutes, I decided I didn't want to stay and so came home, whereupon I finally gritted my teeth (hearing the loud "I TOLD YOU SO!" from Olivia in my head) and called Kaiser to see if I could get an appointment to see the doctor as long as I was going to be at Kaiser for lab work anyway.

I won't even go into how frustrating the conversation with the person I was put through to when I asked for an advice nurse was, but after all the screening questions she told me that before she could do anything, I would have to talk with an advice nurse.  Huh???

Anyway, the upshot was that my doctor would only be in for an hour today and she had a full schedule, but whoever this was would have her call me, and she gave me an appointment for tomorrow.  The doctor called in about an hour and we had a long talk.  She decided I should have blood work done, in addition to a urine test and she made some suggestions about medication changes this evening.

Throughout the afternoon, she called me three more times to ask how I was feeling.  In truth, I felt like an idiot because these are really very mild symptoms but if there is something I should be doing differently to make getting onto the diabetes routine again less unpleasant, I wanted to start now.

So we'll see how it goes tomorrow.  I'm still suffering from Underdog Syndrome, which is easy to forget whenever I'm sitting down, but when I stand up, I'm glad that I have an appointment tomorrow.  I'm sure Simon bar Sinister is around here somewhere.

Tomorrow is my day to work in the book store.  I'm glad that's a sit-down job!

Now, shut up, Olivia--I'm going, already!  OK???

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

In My Dreams

I didn't realize that a urinary tract infection could wipe you out.   But then I've never been this old before, and the last one I had was 30 years ago.   This afternoon, I decided I needed a real nap and so went into the living room and lay down on the couch, under Polly (who was very confused that we were doing this when it was still light out)
The sun streamed through the window and it felt so good lying there warmed by the sun.

I fell asleep almost instantly and woke up about an hour and a half later.  While asleep, I had a bizarre dream.  Walt and I were with my mother....somewhere.  I don't know where.  But it was her birthday and I told her we'd take her out for a Mexican dinner.  

Mexicanfood.jpg (33379 bytes)

The restaurant had been a sit-down place,but was now a fast food place.  We went to the counter and ordered our food and when we got to the table, I realized that we had my mother's food, but not mine.  I also wanted chips and guacamole, so I went back to let the counter person know that I had not received my meal and also to order chips and guacamole. 

guacamole.jpg (151776 bytes)

She re-ordered my meal and gave me this tiny packet of guacamole and no chips.  I was commenting on how the quality of food had gone way down since the restaurant had become a fast food joint.

Suddenly Walt and I were somewhere else...it was a subplot of the dream, but I can't remember it now, but we then realized we had left my mother at the restaurant and returned for her.  We knew she had no money and didn't know where she was.

We found her sitting by a pool next to the restaurant,  I asked what had happened to our dinners and she said they had thrown them away.  I was very upset because I was looking forward to Mexican food, which is my favorite.

Next it was a new dream and I was home.  There had been a second mail delivery, a package from one of our foreign students who had sent me two packages of chocolates, but the packages were torn open and they were spilling out.  Polly managed to get through the front gate and was eating them as they fell on the ground.

Now.  I have been on this Diabetes eating plan for three days now.  Today I fixed myself oatmeal for breakfast.  The oatmeal was from a box that is probably several years old and the result was inedible, so I pretty much skipped breakfast.

I somehow don't think it takes any sort of a degree in to analyze my dreams this afternoon!  Oh it's going to be a long life....

Monday, September 17, 2012

Day of Rest

Polly and I took the title "day of rest" literally today.

I actually slept all night, except for only one trip to the bathroom.   I woke up around 6:30 and turned on Sunday talking heads -- The Today Show, Meet the Press, Sunday Morning, and Face the Nation.  Miraculously, Polly continued to sleep in my lap and didn't get all antsy about getting breakfast.

I slept through part of Sunday Morning, and missed the part about Curious George.  I finally got up around 9 or so to feed the dogs.

Then I came into my office to begin writing the reviews of the two shows I had seen this weekend.  But I couldn't keep my eyes opened.  Finally after about an hour of struggling, I tossed in the towel climbed back into the recliner, covered with the quilt and next thing I knew it was noon.  Polly had slept with me all that time.  I slept on peacefully (yes, I sleep with my glasses on when I sleep in the reciner!)

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It was now after noon and I was still in my pajamas.  I made the decision to just stay in them...I had nowhere to go anyway.  I found something for lunch, went back to the reviews and, perhaps it was psychological because I'm struggling with one, but I decided to turn on Air Force One and get back in the recliner.   Walt had gone off to a meeting.  I don't know when I fell asleep -- I know the movie well, so I didn't really "miss" anything -- but I woke up when the planes were exploding toward the end of the movie.  Walt had returned from his meeting and was standing there watching the movie.  Polly took turns sleeping in my lap and sleeping in her little bad here in the family room.

9ers.jpg (8377 bytes)When it was over, I finished one review and then it was time for the 49er game, which I decided to watch.
At some point I got up to make meatloaf for dinner and later to chat with Jeri on the phone.  Walt and I finished watching the 9er game (they won, thank goodness) and had dinner.  

Reaction (predictably) came after the 9er win.  Tom sent a "woo-hoo" and a very cute video of Brianna as a cheerleader in front of the TV in her 49er dress and pom poms shouting "they got a touchdown!."  My granddaughter the cheerleader.  Whoda thunk?   There was also a message from Norm, about both the cheerleading and the game.

And then it was over and nothing left to do but write the second review, which I've decided will go better if I sleep on it.

It is 10 p.m. and all I can think of is going back to sleep.   It's about all I can do to write this entry, which is probably pretty apparent!

The good thing about today is that on the second day of the antibiotic, I feel almost normal again, though on the third day of the diabetes meds again, I remember why it's so difficult for me to stick with them, because they make me feel sick to my stomach, which is maybe why all I want to do is sleep.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Stealing

46. What are your LEGAL initials?
BAS.  Though I occasionally use BS and tell people it's either my initials or a statement, depending on the circumstances!

47. Who's the first B in your contacts?

Bam Post, who is part of our "Photo a Day" group on Facebook.

48. When was the last time you laughed really hard?

I can't remember.  Probably watching a funny show on TV.  I'm a tough audience when it comes to laughter.

49. Your number 1 top friend walks out of your life, do you go after them?

Hmm, she says sardonically.  Yes.  And then after a year of trying, finally give it up as a hopeless cause.

50. Explain your last awkward moment?

Last night.  I had to ask at the theater for a seat in the back row and made about 10 trips to the bathroom during the show.  Very embarrassing.   Almost as embarrassing as the first time I went to the bathroom before the show started, when a woman in the bathrom pointed out that I had toilet paper hanging off of the back of my pants!!!

51. Are you afraid of the dark?

No.

52. Do you have good vision?

Terrible.  I've never had good vision.  Fortunately the glasses make me able to get around without a seeing eye dog!

53. What's the first thing you wash in the shower?

My hair

54. Have you ever slapped someone?

I'm a mother who raised children in the days when parents still spanked their children.  I didn't do it often, but I did do it.

55. Are you Irish?

Yes, and very proud of it.

56. Do you use chap stick?

No, but I do use chop sticks!

57. Do you have any scars?

One teeny tiny one that is almost invisible on my left wrist, which I got in high school, helping a friend carry a box which had a hidden nail protruding from it.

58. Is there someone you will never forgive?

Yes.  He's dead now and I still can't forgive him.  It was a Lamplighters actor, who had been my good friend (I thought) but turned his back on me and was nasty and cruel when I was my most vulnerable (kinda the way Peggy did last year).  Other than that, I don't hold grudges.  I do move on.

59. What's the closest thing to you that's red?

The cover on my cell phone.

60. Name the last person to text you?

Walt, texting from the San Francisco Opera house to tell me that someone had said to say hello to me.

61. What comes to your mind when I say 'cabbage'?

Corned beef.  I do love the combination, though I really only have it on St. Patrick's Day.

62. Can you go in public looking like you do?

Yes.  I'm fairly decent at the moment.

63. Have you ever kissed someone whose name started with a A?

Only my father, I believe. (He was Albert)

64. What side of the bed do you sleep on?

No side.  I sleep on the couch.

65. Ever had cream puffs?

Definitely.  The last ones were these, earlier this month.
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66. Do you fall for people easily?
No.

67. Has anyone put their arms around you in the past 5 days?

Sure.  Walt.

68. Do you miss the way things used to be?

I so much miss the way things used to be in many areas of my life.  I'd like to go back to my mothering days and do a better job, I'd like to have Paul and David here again, I'd like to work with Gilbert again, I'd like to feel the way I did when Kennedy was president, I'd like Peggy to be my friend again, I'd like to have a lot of people, now dead, back in my life again.  But life is moving forward, not looking back.   That's a hard lesson to learn.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

True Confessions

Oh this is hard.

Those of you who have been reading this journal for years will no doubt remember when I decided to go public with my weight loss journey.  I started some time in 2001, joined Weight Watchers, took up biking, and was very faithful about recording my progress through 85 lbs lost between when I started and about 2003.  So many of you were so encouraging and helped me stick with it.

Sadly, my good intentions, as they so often do, fell by the wayside and I gained it all back...and then some.  I hated myself for doing that.  In the past couple of years, I've dropped weight again, back to about 30 lbs higher than I was when I stopped dieting.  I've been stuck there for a long time, which is not surprising because I haven't been watching my food at all.

I don't remember when I was diagnosed with Diabetes II.  A long time ago. Maybe 10 years. For awhile I attended classes and started the program.  Dr. G, for whom I was working at the time, said that if he didn't know that I had started an exercise program and a diet, he would have put me on insulin right away.  But my Kaiser doctor has me on diabetes meds in pill form.

For all of my complaints about my mother and her excuses to avoid going to the doctor, she can't hold a candle to me.  (Anybody who spills the beans and tells her that is on my black list!).  I get calls to come in for blood tests, which I don't do because I know I haven't taken the meds or or done anything about my eating.

When I stop taking the meds it's because I don't like how they make me feel--mildly nauseous.  And I was going by my mother's irrational excuses -- kind of "I feel fine, so I don't need to go to the doctor."

Welllll.....something happened this week.

It actually started when I was at Community Meals.  I went to the bathroom and when I looked in the toilet, it was bright red.  Bright red.  That caught my attention.  But I didn't immediately call the doctor.   The next time I urinated, it wasn't quite as red, more pinkish.  And there has been no red since then.

I did some research on blood in the urine and discovered that it can be caused by many things, including brightly colored food (like beets).  Since I had been eating the very soft plums that couldn't be cut for the fruit salad, and which were a deep, deep, deep plum red, I hoped that was the cause.  I think that was it, since there hasn't been a hint of colored urine since then.

But the thing that did change about the same time was my frequency of urination.  I've always bragged about having an "iron bladder."  I can go all day without needing a bathroom.  The iron bladder started rusting a few years ago and while I could no longer go all day without a break, I now had what seemed like a more normal bladder.

But starting two days ago, I found I was going to the bathroom all the time.  And I do mean all the time.  I couldn't make it through an hour long TV program without needing to go the bathroom.  The dogs were very upset when I dropped everything in the middle of fixing their dinner for a rush to the bathroom.   It was worse than being pregnant. It was better at night. I made it through the last two nights with only one need for a bathroom trip.  I knew that this was a serious diabetes symptom and decided that it was time to start being an adult and start doing what my doctor has been trying to get me to do for years.

I got up this morning and took my glucose reading for the first time in about a year.  I won't say what it was (I may later, but for now I won't), but suffice to say that on my smart phone glucose tracker, the numbers showed up in the red.   I took my medications and had a "legal" breakfast (scrambled egg on wheat toast and half a glass of orange juice).  My reading before lunch was down more than 100 points -- still in the red, but looking better.

I was also racing to the bathroom so often that I downloaded a timer on my smart phone and started timing how often I had these uncontrollable urges.  All morning it was between 5 and 7 minutes.  

Walt found an article in the paper yesterday which talked about the new parking meters in San Francisco, which are $5.25 an hour and how if you were to try to pay with pennies, it would take so long to insert one penny and get another one out by the time you got the second one out, you would have used up the time that the first penny bought.  That's about the way I felt this morning.  It was hardly worth walking from the bathroom back to the family room or my office because as soon as I would sit down, I would have to rush back again.

The interval between trips got longer and by mid afternoon I was up to a bit over an hour before I had to go to the bathroom, and I was glad that I had leftover "pee pads" so I could wear one before we went off to the theater tonight.

I sent an e-mail to my doctor to (a) confess my transgressions and omissions, and (b) to let her know what was going on now, as well as record the glucosse numbers.  I had an answer by return e-mail, which made me think this must really be serious, but the e-mail was an automatic response which said only that she was out of the office until Monday.  So I have two more days to see what medication and diet will do to the numbers...and the urination.  

And then I have to take a big breath and admit to the world what I have and have not been doing all this time and finally get with the program.  And yes, I know a lot of you are dealing with this same problem very responsibly.   I hope that over the coming weeks I can finally be of your number.

Already I made a great discovery.  I had made chocolate chip cookies two days ago (shut up) and there are cookies left in the jar.  I usually have an afternoon snack and those cookies were looking pretty good, but then I remembered how our friend Jim had cooked some of his fresh zucchini for us in the microwave when we were there, just sprinkled with a little salt and pepper.  I love zucchini, so I cooked one for myself for snack and it filled that empty hole I would otherwise have filled with chocolate chip cookies.  

But then things like this are always wonderful during the honeymoon phase.  It's the long haul that is the real test of commitment.  I know this.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Talking Heads

Two lunches out this week.  It's too much happiness.
 
Tuesday I had lunch with my friend Ruth.  We always go to a Chinese restaurant, but our usual place has closed and is being turned into a taqueira, so this was our second week at Hunan, which used to be the classiest Chinese place in town.   (Now it has left its classy location and...well...let's say it's not up to old standards.  Our old place had a buffet; this place has a set price lunch plate, heavy on the carbs.  This week I chose lemon chicken.

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It looks good.  And the chow mein was tasty, but the crab rangoons (those won-ton like thingies) were dry as a bone and had the consistency of cardboard.  As for the chicken, it tasted "old" to me and I only ate one piece of it.  I brought the whole lunch home for Walt, who thought it tasted ok.

It's fun to meet with Ruth, because she's a theater person and we always talk theater and books, this week no exception.  She doesn't get to as many shows as I go to, so she always lives vicariously through my reports of whatever show I have seen. And she told me about a book she had found at Logos that talked about various kinds of psychiatric diseases and how they were treated in various films.  

Then on Thursday, it was my monthly lunch with my long-time friend Kathy M.  We always meet at the Olive Garden in Sacramento.

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We always order the same thing--the soup and salad combo; she has minestrone and I have zuppa de toscana, and we share the salad and the bread sticks.

Kathy and I don't communicate between lunches.  No e-mails, telephone calls or smoke signals.  We just meet for lunch.  We've known each other since the La Leche League days, when we were both nursing our babies and teaching other mothers how to breastfeed their babies. 

Our lunches almost always start with what outrageous political thing has happened, what outrageous thing some politician has said, and our fear that Obaa won't be re-elected (in 2008 we were hoping he would be elected!), and the latest news in the fight for marriage equality (Kathy's son has to live in another country because his partner is not a U.S. citizen and though they have been together for more than 10 years, he can't get permanent residency in this country....a problem which, incidentally, legal same sex marriage in California won't fix.  It can only be fixed at the federal level.

But today there were other things to discuss, like Romney's ridiculous and downright dangerous response in the wake of the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Libya, using a tragedy as an opportunity for a political attack against the president.

The amazing thing about the backlash to that ridiculous statement was that other than Ann Coulter, most of the far right reporters condemned it as well. "Romney looked weak today," Peggy Noonan said. "At one point, he had a certain slight grimace on his face when he was taking tough questions from the reporters, and I thought, 'He looks like Richard Nixon.'"

Joe Scarborough was "absolutely flabbergasted" by Romney's response.

Even Bill O'Reilly admitted that "I'm not sure the Governor was correct" in his response.
The Washington Post called it "a discredit to his campaign" and the Los Angeles Times said it was an "outrageous exercise in opportunism." The Boston Globe labeled it "offensive on many other levels" beyond the timing of his remarks. 

Bill Clinton said that Romney is the kind of guy who shoots first and takes aim afterwards.
There are lots of things about a Romney administration that terrify me.  It would be the end of decades of work by gay Americans and women and old people.  Gays can forget ever getting equality in my lifetime if Romney is elected.   Women will lose the right to choose and if he leaves Social Security alone for people my age, my children certainly will never be able to take advantage of it.

But the thing that scares me more than anything else is a man who acts so quickly before having all the facts at hand being given the power to start a nuclear war....and don't think that isn't a very real possibility.

It's great having Kathy to talk about this stuff with, someone who shares my ideas, philosophy, and fears.  Walt doesn't really like to talk politics, but I do get my "fix" with my monthly lunches with Kathy.