Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Bloody Weekend Continues

We have now seen Sweeney Todd, a show so bloody there is a "blood manager" listed on the crew.  And tomorrow it's Julius Caesar, the Ides of March and all that jazz.  Oh for a musical!

I spent today trying to reorganize a bit of my office so I could add the binders where I will keep all the information about the new children I will be writing to through Compassion.  This involved moving a lot of old photo disks into a cupboard, freeing up space on the bookcase where they have been sitting.

But you never know what you're going to find when you clean out anything.  It was a trip down memory lane when I found printed e-mails from Laura Morefield, Susie Miller, and Mike Kelly, all now long-gone, and all long before their time.

I also found the coroner's report on Paul's death and reviews of two of his monologue shows, as well as the best picture ever taken of David.  I have copies of it on my computer, but had lost the original copy.  There was also a copy of a book I had typed for a friend of Walt's, who was a biologist.  I think that will go to Logos!

Then I drove out to Costco (and got out of there under $100...a first!).  The ride out was absolutely glorious.  The clouds just begged to be photographed.

There were fields carpeted with brilliant yellow goldenrod, but the highway department, old poops them, have built roads with no place to turn off and take in the scenery, so I had to make do with this shot taken from a little pull out for a bus to take on passengers.  

This was facing in a different direction

Lamb was reasonably priced at Costco, so we had lamb chops for dinner, the dogs' favorite.  None of them was interested in their own dinner, but only wanted to sit at the table and drool over our lamb chops.  Fortunately we had three T-bones, so each dog could get one.

Tomorrow I have more of the same, minus the lamb chops, and then out for another bloody show. 
Fortunately, on Sunday we are going out to brunch with Ned and Marta for Walt's birthday (a few days late)

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Bloody Weekend

This is going to be a bloody weekend.  And I mean that literally.

As a general rule, I don't really like 3-show weekends.  By the time the third show rolls around, I'm really theater-ed out and don't really want to go to yet another show.  But if you have, like a musical, or a comedy among the straight dramas, it's not too bad.

This weekend is not like that.

Tonight we went to the University production of Woyzeck, by Georg Buchner.  Woyzeck is the story of a man being driven insane by a Mengle-like doctor, who wants to see what happens when you have a patient eat only peas, morning noon and night, and by a sadistic sergeant who has Woyzeck working his tail off while being yelled at and ridiculed.  Then there is his common-law wife, the mother of his only child, who is cheating on him -- in front of him.  In the end, he ends up murdering her, in a bloody struggle with a knife, when he stabs her several times while she dies.

(I had to admit that as he was doing that, and she was moaning each time he stabbed her, I couldn't help thinking of the murder a couple of years ago, of an older couple who were murdered by a kid who wanted to find out what it was to kill someone.  Each of the couple was stabbed something like 40 times and I could just picture what the woman, whom I knew, was going through).

It was a good production, and I liked it better than I expected to, but still we went home with a bloody vision in our heads.

Tomorrow night I review Sweeny Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street, who slashes his customers' throats and shoots them down to the villainous Mrs. Lovett, who cuts them up, cooks them, and puts them in her famous meat pies.

And we close out this happy journey through murder and mayhem with a production of Julius Caesar, and we all know how THAT one turns out!  Probably shouldn't be around me until I've had a chance to get some Music Man or other musical therapy!

When Walt got up this morning, there were cards from the dogs and one from me but I told him that we were going to have to pretend that his birthday was March 1, because it would be that long before we could celebrate.  Besides, Ned had root canal yesterday and I didn't think HE would be up for a birthday dinner tonight either!

I had some interesting customers at Logos today.  A woman was telling me about finding a copy of a 1885 edition of "The Tour Around the World in 80 Days," which she was able to buy very cheap.  Apparently, she tells me, Verne's original story was in French and was translated two different ways, the other, of course, being "Around the World in 80 Days."  We both wondered if it had only been called "The Tour..." if it would have ever made it to the movie screen.

A regular customer, a short, older guy who sounds like he might be Italian, had just returned from London.  We talked about weather (it was raining in London) and we decided God must be living in California this month!

A woman with plaid shoes and the bushiest hair I've ever seen kept flouncing it and rearranging it on her head.  She didn't buy anything, but I never did see her face because it was always covered by her hair.

Another woman was wearing the most electric purple shoes I'd ever seen, in contrast to her rather drab appearance otherwise.

An older man looked around the store for awhile while his white-haired wife sat at the front table looking disinterested and picking at her teeth...I halfway expected her to remove her dentures.

Knowing that I had heavy drama ahead of me, and still full from my lunch at Atria, I came home and went right to sleep and slept for about an hour while Walt fed the dogs and reheated his own dinner.  Happy birthday, husband!  But it worked.  I didn't have the "nod off" problem and didn't miss a single minute of the bloody murder.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Day One

When I was saying goodbye to my therapist yesterday, we agreed that I might not be able to have my head shaved in two weeks, because I might be pulling it out tonight, trying to bond with the new computer.  I am happy to report that this is not the case.  In fact, I've been trying to make it as close as possible to the old one and so far have run into no problems at all.  Of course I haven't done a lot yet, but so far so good.  I am cautiously optimistic.

Before Steve arrived with the machine, I took a chance and checked Amazon to see if it were possible to get an affordable version of Front Page that would run on the new operating system and I found one.  $50 for a "used but excellent condition" disk from a seller with a 100% customer approval rating (new is >$200).  With Front Page and Word Perfect that would both work on Windows 8.1, maybe I wouldn't need that virtual computer after all.

Steve arrived right on time, after I'd put the dogs outside.  (They were SO good...didn't bark or leap at the door during the 2+ hours he was here.)

As usual, Steve came in spouting alphabet soup and jargon about things I didn't understand at all.  Steve is a good computer guy, but that is his entire focus, it seems.  He doesn't listen at all, but then I don't know what I'm talking about with regard to computer upgrades, so maybe that's why.

E.g., I finally contacted him after a month to ask if he had an ETA for when the computer would be ready.  The understanding I had was that he was going to set up a virtual computer to run my old software before bringing it to me.  I also told him there was no rush as we would be gone for the weekend.

Well, he called and said that he thought I was on vacation and would call him when I got back.  Not even close to what I said!

He started in to work and the first thing he did was to get my printer working again.  I know so little that I've been frustrated for weeks at not having a working printer when what I was trying to plug into the laptop was the MONITOR, not the printer at all.  Steve didn't even bother with plugging anything in, just set it up to work wirelessly, which means I can even print from the laptop, if I want.

Next he settled in to set everything else up.  When I asked him about the virtual computer, he said that it was his understanding that I was going to see if I could find a work around and if I couldn't, he would set it up.  That wasn't at ALL what we discussed, but in the meantime, I did find a work around and I found out from a couple of people that they weren't happy with the performance of things run through the virtual computer, so I think we're OK.

He then gave me more information I didn't understand, speaking a mile a minute, but I got some hands on time and things seemed to be fine.

He gave me his bill (which was quite a bit less than I expected) and then I was on my own.  Isn't it pretty?

(By tomorrow all that neat looking desk will be close to back to what it was yesterday, I'm sure!  But the floor that Walt spent hours cleaning yesterday [because I can't get down on my knees any more] will still look beautiful for awhile more, at least!)

I don't have Front Page yet, so I'll be doing FTW on the laptop until it finally arrives, but WordPerfect installed beautifully and I've started setting up some of the files that I lost on the old computer.
I don't know when I will start running into problems, but for the moment, I am a happy camper to be (almost) back in business again!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Health Stuff

Atria requires its residents to have an annual physical exam, which is good because without the requirement, my mother would never go to the doctor.  But it has now been done...and we don't have to do that again for another year.

I called her in the morning to let her know she had an appointment and that I would pick her up at 2.  I arrived at 2, just as she was leaving her apartment.  I asked where she was going, she said she was going to lunch.  I reminded her of her appointment and of course she didn't know anything about it.
She asked if I'd had lunch yet and suggested we get lunch before we left.  I told her we had to leave right then.

So we got her purse and did the usual "where is my Kaiser card" rigmarole.  I was smart this time, though.  I noticed she was wearing a blouse with a pocket and I suggested she put the card in her pocket, so every time she went looking for it, I just reminded her it was in her pocket and that simplified things immensely.

On the drive to Kaiser and while in the waiting room she asked countless times what we were there for and would she have to remove her clothes.  She hates removing her clothes.  I told her I didn't see any other way the doctor could perform a physical exam, so she grumbled, but she did it.

The exam was pretty uneventful but the doctor wanted labs, so we went to the lab to get blood drawn.  She is just so totally clueless and unable to understand anything.

Some time ago, I came across a marvelous animation that explains what happens in the Alzheimers brain.  It has been "the" most helpful thing I have seen since this all started.  I find that when I get frustrated with her, I can visualize what is happening in her brain and it helps give me patience.

The whole day took maybe 3 hours and left me mentally exhausted, but it's done and all is well for another year.

Then it was time for my own appointment with my therapist, Debbie.  When you arrive for a therapy appointment, you first fill out a form, each time, which assesses how you have been feeling in the last two weeks.  Rating, on a scale of 1 to 3, things like "little interest or pleasure in doing things; feeling down, depressed or hopeless; feeling tired or having little energy; feeling bad about yourself; having trouble concentrating, etc.

My scores on these items is usually low, but today it was zero.  Debbie was very pleased to see that.  I told her that since starting the antidepressant, I really was feeling very good and in control, I had been regularly taking my medicines (which was one reason I started going to see understand why I was resisting taking them), and that really everything was going well.

I had sent her a link to the Alzheimers video and we talked about how helpful it was and we discussed how I'm coping with my mother these days (another reason I felt I needed some help when I started seeing her)
In the end, she asked if I felt I needed another appointment and, in truth, I did not, but I told her I'd like to come one more time, to show her my bald head.  She thought that would be a good idea, but I think I only have one more session with her, which I'm sorry about because I enjoy her, but I don't really feel I need her any more.

I came home to clear off my desk.

 My new computer is coming today and I figure that by this time tomorrow, I will either be delighted or unable to get my head shaved because I will have pulled out all my hair myself trying to learn the new operating system and trying to get everything set up.

This laptop will not be put away, yet...I suspect I may still need it during the "settling in" process!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Sometimes you just don't know what you're going to discover, or where those discoveries may lead you, when you make a mistake.

I saw a commercial for a station showing reruns of the old Quincy series, which I used to love.  Now it's pretty simplistic, and downright silly, when compared to CSI or any of the medical examiners on any of the other cop shows, but then it was fresh and new and came on the heels of the O.J. Simpson case, when the country first learned about medical examiners.

Anyway, I decided to watch Quincy today.  It was on channel 193.  But when I punched in that number, I didn't hit the 3 hard enough and so what popped up on my screen was Channel 19 and there was Mother Angelica.

Looking for all the world like every nun I had in grammar school, from the one who so lovingly took care of me on my first day in kindergarten, to the one who routinely rapped my knuckles with a ruler if I didn't hold my hands properly in my piano lesson.

Was Mother Angelica offering words of God? giving us inspiration for our daily lives? Was she doing Bible readings?  No.  She was selling rosaries.  Beautiful rosaries, she said, with lovely green stones straight from Ireland, they were, and no home should be without them.

Then she went on to hawk a book written in 1954 by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, "a beautiful book," she told us, as the ordering information flashed down one side of the screen.

It was a bloody shopping network for Catholics!  

Mother Angelica then introduced us to a two volume set of the Lives of the Saints and encouraged us to buy the set and read to our grandchildren ("instead of just playing ping pong with them.")  She also suggested that if you are expecting a baby and don't know what to call it you could get some wonderful saintly names from these beautiful books (embossed with gold and in their own box).  She did admit that perhaps "Fructavia" might not be a good name for a baby of today, and laughed that it sounded a little sweet.

The Mother Angelica segment segued into two very nice ladies who had "warrior rosary beads" to sell, and framed pictures of Jesus, and "our father" beads which were made of (I don't remember how many) red gems signifying the number of years Jesus' blood had flowed through his veins... and a bunch of other things.  I was losing interest.  It was more fun watching Mother Angelica, though I was surprised to see her fully habit-ed, since I didn't think nuns wore habits any more.

When I decided to write about Mother Angelica tonight, I did a search on her and what an interesting article I found.  She is now 92 years old and has not been on television since she had a stroke which affected her speech in 2001 (in 1993, the habit I saw today was simplified and the nuns no longer wear it).  

But after broadcasting on the Christian Broadcast Network, which she left in a dispute when the station refused to pull what she felt was an offensive movie, she built EWTN, the Eternal World Television Network, which ran, in 1980, out of a garage attached to the convent where she lived.  And it is a Catholic television station running the Mass daily.  It was home to Bishop Sheen (which explains why she was selling his book), and other Catholic-related programs.

Looking into her life before television, I found that she founded a couple of churches and in 1995 apparently saw several visions, and had several conversations with the child Jesus while doing missionary work in Bogota.
Mother Angelica claimed to have met the child-Jesus in the Basilica of Divino NiƱo Jesus in Colombia. Mother Angelica stated that she entered the shrine from the back door on crutches with two other religious sisters. She claimed the statue of the child-Jesus became animated and spoke to her. She said He asked her to build a temple in His honor. She claims to have gone into a state of religious ecstasy and afterwards burst into tears which she attributed to her "heart beating 100 miles per hour". On the same episode, two religious statues of the child Jesus from South America were featured on the show while Mother Angelica referred to them endearingly as "babies"
I don't know if she then began selling Colombian statues of the Infant Jesus or not.

I didn't stick around EWTN for long after Mother Angelica disappeared.  The women selling the other Catholic stuff were just too sweet and too... perfect... for my tastes, so I punched in 193 again and this time got to see Dr. Quincy solve another case.  Much more my speed than Mother Angelica, I suspect!

Monday, February 23, 2015

I Hate My Body

Walt and I don't have much opportunity to gather socially with friends.  Mostly it's because we spend so much time going to theater that there is never time.

But we have had three opportunities in the past month+.  January 31 was Ashley's wedding at Lake Tahoe.  I had been looking forward to that wedding for six months.  I love Ashley and seeing her so happy brought a big smile to my face and I couldn't wait to see her married to David.

But I got my famous cold and the cough was constant and sounded terrible.  The last thing I wanted to do was to infect anyone at the wedding with my germs, so we stayed home.

Then Ernie and Lucille came to town.  They are two of my favorite people, Walt's cousin and his wife.  They usually make it out to California once a year and visit Ernie's brother in Long Beach, and Alice Nan in Santa Barbara and then come north to see Norm & Olivia and us.  Whichever cousins and grandchildren they can fit in along the way, so much the better

But as we were getting ready to drive to Norm's house to spend the day with the Sykes family, I was still sounding like a TB ward and sadly decided nobody really wanted to be around me with the constant cough.  So I sent Walt on ahead and he had a wonderful time.

Saturday, 2 days ago, we had an invitation to have dinner at my dentist Cindy's house (Cindy was a friend for about 10 years before she became my dentist).  She and our mutual friend Roberta had taken a course in Mexican cooking and wanted to share with us.  They also invited Susan and Peter from Logos.  Susan and Roberta had been colleagues and remain friends.

I was really looking forward to the dinner.  On Thursday, I developed a "thing."  I don't know what it was but as I worked at Logos, my whole abdominal wall started to get sore.  So sore, I didn't think I could walk the 3 blocks to the car, so Walt came and got me.  I spent Thursday night and Friday in the recliner with ibuprofen (suggested by Kaiser) at my side.

1 a.m. Saturday, I woke up pain free.  I was ecstatic.  My cough was gone, my pain was gone and I had a lovely dinner to look forward to.

In the afternoon, I was feeling the need for a nap, which is not unusual.  I nap most afternoons.  When I got up, I was feeling warm.  Not surprising, I thought, as I had been sleeping in a patch of sun, but when the feeling didn't go away, I thought "what the heck" and took my temperature.  I shouldn't have done that.  It was 100.1.  I went back to the recliner, popped more ibuprofen and hoped that maybe I was just still warm from the sun.

But the fever went UP, to 100.3.  Not a bad fever, but nonetheless, not a healthy temperature.  I called Cindy to get a doctor's opinion and she told me to stay home.  Walt went.  I stayed home and felt sorry for myself.  He did bring me a doggie bag and the dinner was delicious (though my stomach hasn't been up to eating much these days), but I missed all the fun stuff.

But I was well enough to get to the B Street Theater today to review a show there.  Not the greatest show, but one of stories from the Hispanic culture for children.  The kids loved it.  I have to figure out how to write a review.  I would rather have gone to Cindy's.

But I was home for the Oscar telecast.  I love Neil Patrick Harris and thought he did a good job of keeping things rolling, but there seemed to be more tech awards than in recent years and it seemed to take a long time to get to the awards everyone was watching to see (except the families of the tech people). (I did like it that they didn't seem to play people off and let them finish their thank yous this year)

I thought Lupita Nyong'o in that pearl studded dress was stunning, and Jennifer Lopez looked like she was walking on a cloud when she came out in her billowing skirt.

And why doesn't someone let Patricia Arquette know that she needs a comb?  I can't believe she thinks that hairdo looks good.  

But she made a wonderful speech about equal pay for women.  Juliana Moore used her acceptance speech to discuss Alzheimers, while Eddie Redmayne put in a plug for ALS and director Alejandro Inarritu hoped that Mexicans in this country, legally or not, would be given respect.

The obviously gay Graham Moore, who won for best screenplay for The Imitation Game talked about not belonging when he was a kid and that he nearly committed suicide and he tried to tell kids to look at how far he has come and to hang in there...that it will get better.  And J.K. Simmons told everyone to call their parents.

John Legend, winning the award for best song, "Glory," for Selma talked about this being "the most incarcerated country in the world" and how there are now more black men in prison than there were under slavery in 1850.

The winners of the documentary Citizenfour thanked Edward Snowden, while the president of the academy referenced terrorist activity and said that the academy had the responsibility to ensure that no one's voice is silenced by threats."

This may have been the most political Oscar telecast I'd seen since Sacheen Littlefeather rejected the Oscar for Marlon Brando.  But it's always fun.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Ned, This one's for you

When we went out for our birthday dinner(s) earlier this week, Ned gave me a hard time for 15 years of daily journal entries.  He thinks I should take some time off now and then.  He says the best part of his day is when he checks Funny the World because he hopes it won't be there.

Well, Ned.  This is your day.  I've been dealing with the pain in my abdominal muscles all day.  (Yes, I've talked with Kaiser)  It's not so bad if I sit in the recliner or if I lie down, but when I sit here at my desk, the pain comes back.

So...this is the day of no entry.  I will be back tomorrow, but everybody gets the day off.

And BTW, some are having difficulty seeing the latest index page for Funny the World, where all the entries are listed.  Some haven't seen anything after the 11th, some nothing after the 15th. I don't have a clue what that is happening, but if you don't see the latest entry, try either clearing your cache (the more complicated solution), or refresh your screen while at the same time holding down the shift key, which apparently bypasses the cache.  (Someone also had luck deleting her bookmark and creating a new one.)

I'm really sorry about the problems, but it apparently is not my fault.  Honest!

Now back to the recliner...

Friday, February 20, 2015

A "Different" Day at Logos

When I arrived at the store, Peter apologized that he had no time to chat because Susan was waiting outside in the car for him.  He said he hoped that my afternoon went better than his morning, which was pretty slow.
My shift started out with a woman who bought a Civil War history and one of C.S Lewis' religious-themed books.  She was followed by a guy wearing headphones who browsed in Science Fiction and foreign languages, but left without buying.

My next customers were a delightful older couple from upstate New York, in the Finger Lakes district, who came in, really, to ask directions to the Varsity Theater (in the next block) because she had left her camera there and she was hoping they'd found it.  But, like me, they are suckers for a book shop and had to browse.  She and I got to talking and I told her that Walt and I had been in their area several years ago and what a nice place we thought it was.  They said they had come to California before the blizzard and their daughter told them to stay here until things calmed down because it was "awful" there.

The woman was British and her husband American.  He was an interesting looking man, short, walking with a fancy cane, and wearing a bright emerald green sweater and sporting a royal blue cap on his head.  He looked like a slightly too tall leprechaun.

She told me that coming to California from upstate New York was like coming to a different country and she was surprised they didn't need passports to get in.

Before they left, she bought two children's books for her 7 year old granddaughter, one about a little girl's adventures in snow, which she thought would be appropriate. 

While she was rummaging about in the children's room, a guy and his young son came in and joined her.  They bought two books, one a book on American poems for children, which the son didn't seem nearly as excited about as his story book about pumpkins.

A guy with the first name of "Homayoon" and a longer, more unpronounceable last name, bought 2 books from the bargain table and a thick tome on the Dictionary of Film.

Then Jim came in with his two daughters.  Jim is a guy who went to UC Davis in the 1980s and became a big fan of Lawsuit.  Somehow he found my name and wrote to me that he had moved away from Davis for several years, had married and had two children and that he had now moved back.  He wanted to tell me (a) how important Lawsuit had been in his life and (b) to let me know that he had a recording they made of an interview on KDVS, the campus radio station, in about 1988.  (He also confessed today that he had a "little crush" on Jeri at the time)

We also discovered, in one of those small world events, that he and his wife had lived for three years in San Rafael, next door to my mother's step-son, Ed!

So Jim had come in to bring me a copy of the CD he made of Lawsuit and we chatted while his daughters were looking for books.  While we chatted, an older guy, who always brings math books in for Peter, came in and they got to talking because the guy also moved away from Davis and then moved back.  They discovered that both of them, at quite long intervals of time, had Peter as a professor.

The guy left and I continued talking to Jim and then, for some reason, I happened to glance at the bookcase facing me and gasped.  There, on display, was Volume 1 of the Lamplighters history!  I couldn't believe it.  Whoda thunk one of my books would be for sale at Logos???  I immediately took a picture and texted it to Walt, Char, and my kids.

Jim left and a wide eyed girl came out from the book stacks to ask if I was an author.  Nobody had ever asked me that before, but I guess I am...or I told her yes.  She was impressed.

I groaned when the obnoxious woman who wanted to fix my eyesight several weeks ago came in.  Last time she came in she stayed and stayed and stayed and was so annoying, I was almost rude to her.  But apparently I was not the only person she had bothered and Susan had talked with her about it (she's also a volunteer at Logos) and so today after starting a conversation that caused me to cringe, thinking it was going to go on and on and on again, she just browsed the bookshelves and then left.  But first she asked me if I had written any reviews lately.  I told her about the review that had appeared a couple of nights ago.  She asked how she could see it.  I told her where in the paper they appeared and she asked if it was on line, I said it was, and she headed off, presumably to look for my review.

A girl brought a Ayn Rand book to the desk, and then discovered she had left her wallet at home, so had to put it back on the shelf.

"My friend" arrived at 4:45.  He had read the Ruth Rendell book I recommended last week and enjoyed it, so he got another one.  I told him about how shocked I was to find the Lamplighters history on the book shelf and showed it to him.  He bought it and asked for an autograph.  I said "Well, then, I'll have to know your name," which he told me was "Willard."  That would definitely not have been my guess.  But now "my friend" has a name, which is nice...and he also owns a Lamplighter history.

A girl said she wanted to "get back into reading" and wondered if I had any suggestions.  I kind of hemmed and hawed and suggested a couple and then pulled out "Outlander," the first of Diana Gabaldon's 8 book series and hesitatingly (because of its length) recommended it to her.  Turns out she had seen the start of the STARZ series on TV so decided she'd give it a try. 

I was really on a roll today!

Susan arrived early and we chatted a bit.  She told me that we are having dinner together on Saturday.  Cindy, my dentist, and Roberta, our mutual friend, have taken a course in Mexican cooking and wanted to cook a dinner.  Turns out Susan doesn't know Cindy, but is also a good friend of Roberta, who invited Susan and Peter to come to dinner.

This was, all things considered, really a "small world" sort of day!

I was having stomach pains all afternoon...not "inside" pains, but more abdominal muscle pain, which I assume is the result of three or four weeks of coughing, but by the time I left Logos, it was so bad I wasn't sure I could walk 3 blocks to the car, so I asked Walt is he could get the car and then drive up to get me.  When I got home and took some aspirin and got into my recliner, I felt better, but only had a small amount of dinner and decided to go to sleep halfway through The Blacklist, at 9:30.  I woke up at 1:30 and now, at a little after 4, I am going back to the couch to see if I can get a couple more hours of sleep.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Me and Mr. Lowe

I've been on a Rob Lowe kick lately.  Before The West Wing came along, the only thing I knew of Lowe was that he was the member of the Bratpack who got caught taking video of his sexual liaisons.  When he showed up on The West Wing I was won over by his portrayal of Sam Seabourn, President Bartlett's Deputy Communications Director for the show's first four seasons.

I didn't think much about him, pro or con, but liked his character and felt that he had overcome his youthful indiscretions and could be taken as a serious actor.

He popped up here and there in things that I would watch.  I watched Brothers and Sisters, where he played a politician partner of one of the daughters, until I got tired of its formulaic plot lines -- one week they were a happy loving family, sitting down to dinner at the big family dining room, the next week some sibling got into a fight with another sibling and there would be angry words and tension and the next week they made up again, ad nauseam.  I liked all the actors but I grew to really get fed up with the show.  But again, Lowe comported himself well.

I don't "do" actors or actresses.  After my decades-long Judy Garland obsession, I haven't ever gotten into following any particular performer, but I enjoy reading show biz bios and, after I chose Kristin Chenowith's autobiography as an audio book and discovered how absolutely delightful it was to hear her read her own story (adding bits of song here and there, which you definitely can't get in a book-book), I prefer to listen to autobiographies read by the author, rather than reading the book.  (I recommend Jane Lynch's book too.)
I had Lowe's "Stories I Only Tell My Friends" on my Audible wish list for over a year.  Whenever I was choosing a book for my monthly selection, I always passed that up and picked something else, but finally I decided to try it.

I discovered that Lowe is intelligent, articulate, an excellent writer, a great story teller, and that he had a wonderful story to tell.  He omits nothing ( didn't seem like he omitted anything), including his many, many youthful indiscretions, his finding his sober self through AA (which he still attends regularly), his marriage, his family, his commitment to both. He tells all in a wonderfully engaging way and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing his story.

I enjoyed it so much that I got his second book "Love Life" and started listening to it recently.  I think the title refers more to his loving his life than any tawdry retelling of sexual liaisons throughout his life.  The story of his oldest son going off to college was poignant and beautiful.

He goes into behind the scenes stories of the work he has done professionally in this latter part of his life (I tried watching some of his early films like The Outsiders but they were entirely too "young" to interest my age I'm no longer into the bad boy genre...if I ever was anyway).

But I've started watching a couple of the films that he discusses.  I first began watching The Stand, remembering how taken he was with the film and how much work he put into creating the role of the deaf-mute Nick Andros. I was surprised to discover all sorts of flaws in his performance.  For one thing how does a deaf mute becomes so eloquent? Secondly, he can read lips, but Nick reads lips from the SIDE, sitting next to a person who is mumbling and reads lips so well he is able to write a long, articulate response to whatever the character is saying (of course this is more the fault of author Stephen King and the director of the movie).  Finally, on more than one occasion, Nick is behind someone who is speaking to a group and who calls Nick to come forward, Nick turns his head and comes into the group.  huh?  deaf is he?  So The Stand was not a hit for me.

I liked his performance as JFK in Killing Kennedy, the movie based on Bill O'Reilly's book, despite the fact that it was an abominable movie.  Thank God JFK dies not that long after the movie starts and I could turn the damn thing off.

And I just started watching Parks and Recreation, which I had not watched before, to see him there because he's apparently quite good.  I've watched 2 episodes so far (I checked the episode list to see when he joined the cast) and like it very much.

The point of all this being that one of the problems of my mother living at Atria is that I used to have about 4 hours or more a week in-car time, and I now get very little time to listen to audio books and so I relish having the opportunity to go for a long drive in the car so I can listen to whatever is my current audio book. 

Today I had lunch again with my friend Kathy.  Though we have been lunching in Davis ever since she retired (she says that I'd been driving to Sacramento for lunch with her for more than 15 years and it was time she started doing the driving), we decided to return to our old haunt, the Olive Garden, for lunch this month, so I had an hour of driving time to listen to "Love Life."

I have only four hours left of Rob Lowe's life and now I want to take a long I can finish it and move on to something else, but I have certainly enjoyed this look at an actor about whom I knew very little, and whom I have come to admire greatly for his talent, for what he has overcome in his life, and for his professionalism in his career today.  I also love what a great, devoted Dad he is.

Oh.  I said I would explain my closing paragraph in the review for A Flea in her Ear.  It's my salute to both Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli.  "When all the world is a hopeless jumble and the raindrops tumble all around" is from the opening verse of "Over the Rainbow" and, of course, "leave your troubles outside and come..." is what the MC says at the start of Cabaret.  See...definitely subtle!  (And I hope "devastatingly clever")

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Crabby Birthday

All in all, 72 ain't so bad.  I had a nice, relaxing day, spent, for a good part, writing a review of a farce I had seen on Saturday, A Flea in her Ear.  It was very funny and I gave it a rave review, but I loved my closing paragraph, which few will "get."  Jeri did.  Walt didn't.  Do you?
So when all the world is a hopeless jumble and the raindrops tumble all around, leave your troubles outside and come to the Woodland Opera House for a good two hours of fun and laughter.
When I get devastatingly clever it's often just for my own fun...this was.  But I'm curious to see if anybody reading this knows what I mean.

Jeri called in the afternoon to wish me a happy birthday.  It was snowing while we talked.  We were accompanied by Lester barking in Boston and Sheila barking in Davis.  I also discovered something I had not known in all of this snow reporting.  Jeri is home alone; Phil has been in Arizona on a previously scheduled trip, so all this blizzard stuff and snow removal Jeri has been doing by herself (with help from her neighbors) while Phil sends her photos of blue skies and palm trees!  We both agreed he owes her big time!

At night, Ned and Marta took Walt and me to Joe's Crab Shack in Old Sacramento for dinner.  Was there ever a better place for me to have a birthday feast?

While Marta and I sipped our lemonade and water, Ned and Walt enjoyed a pint of Sam Adams and toasted Jeri and all the other poor residents of New England, still buried under mountains of snow.

Walt and I each ordered one of the big pots of Dungeness crab and the waitress saw that we were suitably attired.

And then our crabs arrived.  Oh myyy.

We definitely got our share of crab, though the promised hush puppies never arrived...but who needed them?
We had such a delightful evening and were so grateful to Ned and Marta for treating us.

On the drive home, I was wondering if maybe I had too much crab, as I was feeling a little woozy, but once I was out of the moving car and settled in my recliner, things were fine and I fell asleep almost immediately, happily sated with memories of a lovely dinner and fun company.

There was a video waiting for me on my phone, of the girls singing happy birthday almost, sorta accompanied by Brianna on her new bass guitar.  Then a nice call from Tom to close out the day.
A very good way to turn 72.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

One of the Girls

I am writing this at 10:30 on February 16.  In an hour and a half, I will be the age my father was when he died.

Sobering thought!

However, it was a fun day.  It started out going to get my mother.  Naturally she wasn't there because naturally she had forgotten we were going to San Rafael for lunch.  "Why didn't you TELL me," she wailed when I found her eating waffles in the dining room.  Doesn't matter that the last thing I said to her last night was that I would pick her up at 10, that it has been written on her calendar for two weeks, or that I have reminded her we were going every single day for the past week.  But that didn't surprise me.  I'm used to it now.

But what did surprise me--and I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing.  She asked, again, who would be there and why were we going.  When I said that it was to celebrate my birthday, she was angry with herself for not remembering.  Now this surprised me because I've been talking about my birthday in conjunction with this lunch for two or three weeks and she has never batted an eyelash.  I could just as easily be telling her that I was going to do a load of laundry.

But today she fixated on it.  How could she have forgotten her own daughter's birthday?  She so fixated on it that for about the first twenty minutes of our drive to San Rafael she kept saying over and over again that she has noticed she forgets things now and that maybe she should see a doctor.  That almost caused me to run off the road.  My mother could be dying and I'd still have to force her to go to a doctor, but for her to suggest it was unheard of.  Of course that was forgotten almost immediately, but I don't know if her fixation was a sign that today was a good memory day, or that all the other things she forgot was a sign that it was a bad memory day.  I think I'll just think of it as...a day.

I really enjoy getting together with these women, and so honored that Marian now considers me "one of the group."

Around the table from the left:  Cinnie, my mother, me, Paula, Phyllis, Marian

We met at Arriverderci Restaurant again.  It's where we have been three times before.  Jeff was sick, so he wasn't able to make it.

Three of the women had veal piccata; my mother and I both ordered linguini with clams, which was fabulous.

Neither of us could finish our meal and I made a big mistake.  My mother said she would take it home and have it for dinner.  I told her she would put it in her refrigerator and it would sit there until it went bad and said I wanted to take it home for Walt.  She was very huffy about that.  I realized I should have said nothing because the second she got in the car she would have forgotten about it anyway.

But after a minor bit of unpleasantness, which I could have avoided, she seemed to suddenly see the leftovers again for the first time and asked what would happen to them.  I said "if you want to take them home, that's fine; if you don't, I'll take them to Walt," and she told me she didn't want them and that they were Walt's.

Then she saw the dessert menu sitting on the table and asked if we were there to have lunch and if we had ordered yet.  I told her we had already eaten.

The "girls" all gave me birthday cards and the waiter arrived with a big piece of tiramisu with a candle in it, which we all shared.

Some of the best tiramisu I've tasted.  So glad I chose this restaurant today!

On the ride home, I decided I just couldn't put up with another hour and a half of answering the same questions over and over and over again.  I only had 3 hours of sleep the night before and my patience was starting to wear thin.  But I have this playlist of music from the 40s that I made for her a few years ago.  I put it on and by golly she sang all the words to every single song.  Music memory sticks around longer than just about anything, I have heard.  She loved it, and I enjoyed singing along with her and not having to answer "are we coming into Sacramento?" more than three or four times.

There was a new wrinkle coming home this time.  From the time we entered Davis she began to be worried that she wouldn't be able to find her apartment.  That was a first.  She asked if I wanted to come in with her but I told her I was so sleepy and really wanted to get home and take a nap.  She asked me at least four times what her apartment number was and each time I said "Apartment 109...the door with 'Mildred Rynders' written next to it."  She was still nervous when she got out of the car, but I haven't had a panicked call, so I am assuming she was able to find the door she has been finding at least twice a day for the last two years.

Tomorrow I'll go over and pick up her dirty laundry and see how she's feeling.  She felt extremely unsettled all day because she was out of the house, but I notice that the longer we stay with the group the more relaxed she becomes and the better her memory is.  My god, someone asked her "do you remember so-and-so" and I expected her to say "yes" (she'll never admit she doesn't remember), but not only did she remember the woman, but even said something that she remembered about her!  That was very exciting.  

I cling to little brief moments like that.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Snow, Tea, Scones and Loves

I think Lester is getting tired of snow!  She looks like a lost dog here.
Jeri also sent a photo of her truck buried under the snow.  Look at how much snow is piled on top of the side mirror to the truck (or maybe this is her car...)

Walt said he felt like he should fly back there and help them shovel until I pointed out that this was the last thing a 75 year old man unaccustomed to shoveling snow should be doing!

Well, fortunately, we are not dealing with snow here in Davis, but "suffer" under an abundance of spring blossoms.  I feel so bad for all those still digging out.

As for us, here in the land of blue skies and lovely blossoms, we took my mother to the Citizens Who Care show, an hour and 45 minute salute to love, singing the songs of the 40s to the present.  It was quite different from the past 22 years of concerts, but I heard nothing but rave reviews afterwards.  Walt has worked so hard on this show and I'm so happy for him that it was a big success.  I don't know how my mother felt about it, but I'm glad she got out of Atria for a change.

I skipped the after party because I had been invited to "tea" at our friend Susan's house.  When she invited me for tea at 2, I told her I couldn't go because of the concert, but she was well aware of the concert and had set the tea time from 2 to 5, so that those of us who had been at the concert could still come.

I drove my mother back to Atria and then drove to Susan's, arriving at the same time as The Psychiatrist (remember him?) and his wife.

What a great collection of people.  Starting with Susan, Susie and Sue and then a lot of people I've known for 40 years in this town.  In addition to the psychiatrist there was a former state assemblywoman, a former mayor, the woman I decorated cakes for for awhile, a woman with whom I used to meet, along with our friend Joan, to complain about Bush during his administration, a woman I knew very well and recognize by sight, but don't remember where I know her or what her name is.  And then some folks I didn't know at all.

There was an amazing array of goodies on the table.

There was enough food left over that they insisted I take a plate home to Walt, who had been eating his own hors d'oeuvres at the concert after-party.

When it got down to the smaller group, we had such a good time reminiscing about old time Davis and stories from decades ago.

Then it was time to take a photo before we headed off to our respective homes.

Susan, Susie and Sue, along with me and Judy
Susan tells me it's been 2001 since I was last at her house for coffee (she lives 3 blocks from me!) and we have decided we need to do it again soon.  But I sure came home feeling happy (and very full of good food!).  The whole event seemed to be an extension of the history of "Love" I had just left at the theater.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Hearts and Flowers

Valentine's day is usually such a non-holiday around here.  I laugh in the weeks leading up to it, with all the commercials for what to give your sweetheart... everything from diamonds to automobiles.  Like Mother's Day it has become such an incredible hype for advertisers! Walt and I give each other a card.  Period.

He always sends little four-piece Whitman samplers to the kids. He's been doing that all of their lives, it seems.  When they lived at home, every Valentine's day he would get one of those cards that grammar school kids give each other and the little box of samplers and give it to them.  When they moved away, he would mail the samplers and cards to them.  Now that they are married, he sends two samplers, one for the kid and one for the spouse.  This year was the first year that he sent four to Tom's home, including a box for each of the girls.

This year I didn't even make him a special dinner, since he was rushing off to the theater at 4 to take care of the show he has sort of been producing, I guess, and I was headed off to nearby Woodland to review a different show.  I had a bagel for dinner and he heated up something when he got home.
But I couldn't let Valentine's day go for my mother, so I was off early in the morning to buy flowers to take to atria.  

Nugget market was doing a big business in flowers, so big they had even set up a stand outside and I noticed that a girl kept bringing in carts of flowers, so I guess they were selling like hotcakes.

I always notice the price of flowers when I'm in the store and it seemed that these had definitely been jacked up for the holiday!  It was difficult to find a bouquet that was under $10, but I did.  Valentine's day is not cheap, even if you aren't buying diamonds or automobiles!

Then I decided to add some candy to the flowers, and the table with all the candy on it was a jumble and it was difficult to tell how much anything cost, but I chose a tiny bag with red chocolate hearts in it, ignoring the heart shaped boxes, which seemed to be much more expensive.  The little bag had no price on it and I was shocked when I looked at my grocery tag in the car afterwards -- I hadn't looked at it when they were ringing me up -- to find out that this little bag cost $13.  But owell.  It was for my mother and I wanted to make her smile on Valentine's day.

Next I looked for a card and was unable to find a card under $6.  They are clever now, some of these companies.  Instead of just selling you a card,  they package it in a cellophane pouch so it looks richer and, of course the price is higher.  I could have gone to a different store where I knew that there would be non-cellophaned cards, but what the heck, I was there.  I bought a "Mom" card.

I drove to Atria and she was thrilled with the flowers, and barely looked at the candy and the card.  I had to remind her they were there...and I had to remind her three times that I had brought a card, which she finally opened.  Her attitude was "ho hum...a card? candy? Whatever"  But she did love the flowers.

We went to lunch at the dining room, which was all tarted up with balloons.

Lunch was a delicious chicken pot pie, which was a far cry from the last time I ate there, when the "Captain's platter," consisting of "shrimp, fish, and clams" was inedible. Everything was barely warm, and so hard you could barely chew it.  But the pot pie was delicious.

While we were eating, a barbershop quartet circled the room and serenaded everyone.

I had to kind of smile because I remember them from last year, when it seemed they had more volume and were on tune more of the time.  They, like the residents, are getting older.

My mother seemed to have little interest in the music, but did tell me several times about how many balloons there were (sometimes she couldn't remember the word "balloon" and said either "balls" or "bubbles.") and what a lot of work it must have been for someone to blow them all up, and how much work it was going to be to untie them all and deflate them so they could use them again next year.

While we were eating, two little girls, Sophie and Bella, along with their father, came around to every table, carrying a paper bag and gave everybody in the dining room little Valentine's day cards.  That was very cute.

Jeri had sent a text video of the snow in Boston today.  Some guys were removing snow from the roof of their house, almost completely covering her truck in the process.  The video, taken from inside their flat, shows the snow falling off the roof past the window--and was pretty impressive.  I decided to send back a video right after I had shown it to my mother.  I turned on the video and asked her what she thought of all that snow and she seemed very flustered and then said it was "very cute" and what cute girls the granddaughters were.  It's probably just as well that for some reason the audio on my video didn't work.

The truck is just barely visible--that black wedge over on the right
 So that was our Valentine's day.  I came home and took a nap, as I usually try to do before going to review a show so I can stay awake.  Walt went off to the theater and when I got home from my own show we shared ice cream cones and he went off to bed.  I fell asleep watching television.

There was no new car in the driveway, or diamonds on my breakfast plate.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

But It Won't Fit on the Fridge

Like most homes where children live, there was a time when the refrigerator door was the place to display special artwork (now it is covered with magnets).

Finger paintings, drawings, macaroni art...they all were displayed on the refrigerator door until it was too full and then the oldest was taken down, saved, and a new one put up.  With five children there was a real rotating display for many years.

(Several years ago, at Christmas, I pulled out those forgotten but treasured pieces of art, packaged them up for each of the kids, and gave the pictures to them for Christmas, figuring that I couldn't bear to throw them away, so I would leave it to them to do.  We had a wonderful time that evening, going through all the old projects.  I think they may each have kept a few things but most got thrown away, eventually).

When Jeri was working on her Masters Degree in theater design at UC Davis, she designed a set once and when the show was over, she brought home the large painted backdrop.  She gave it to me, a large rolled up canvas, and joked that it probably wouldn't fit on the refrigerator door (I don't know where it is now).

That's what I thought of when we read about the 2nd Friday Art About with Sonia Hossom at the Putah Creek Winery this evening.
Sonia is our Brasilian daughter.  I have told her story before, how we took her in when she was having problems with her traveling companion, how she met Charlie while living here, moved in with him, and then moved back to Brasil, which essentially ended the relationship.

Several years later she was coming to the U.S. on business and contacted me to see about visiting us.  We were going to be gone the day she arrived, and I called Charlie, saying, "I don't know if you want to know this, but Sonia is flying in and we can't meet her plane."  There was a long pause and then he asked me for the flight information.

Several months later, I was the matron of honor at their wedding and now they have two beautiful children, one who has graduated from college, and one who is in college.  They live in wine country because Charlie is a vintner.

In addition to everything else she does, Sonia is an artist.  We have a beautiful ceramic vase she made and I have seen many of her paintings, which are lovely.  Tonight they were going to be put on display at this local winery, which described the upcoming evening thusly:
Wines by the glass and wine flights available. Artist Sonia Hossom and musician Ryan McBride will be on the back patio until 8PM (heaters included!). Sonia's work is watercolor and whimsy! Ever wonder what the grape vines do after harvest when no one is looking? Curious about the frog's eye view or whether Mr. Oak and Ms. Wisteria are a match? Come find out! Her work will be on display February 12th through March 11th.
One of our kids was going to be celebrated for her work.  Naturally, we had to go!
It was held at the winery tasting room and when you entered the tasting room, Sonia's watercolors were hanging on the wall.

You went out the back door onto a patio where there was a lovely reception, with wine tasting, a display of more of Sonia's paintings, and the guy who was supposed to be providing background music, who never heard the word "soft" in his life. He was selling his first CD at the event.  Trying to speak over the volume of his music, I told Walt I wasn't interested in buying it!

Sonia's husband Charlie was there, and her daughter Denise, who met a friend she had known since kindergarten, who had come in from Sacramento for the event.

We had such a good time visiting, getting to see Sonia's work, hearing how she happened to start watercolors (and why they are so expensive!).  Her paintings are way out of our price range, but I really enjoyed looking at them.  It's probably just as well...they wouldn't fit on the refrigerator door anyway.

And as we always do when we leave each other, we promised to get together again soon.  But we probably won't!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Today at Logos

I said my goodbyes to Sandy this morning.  She and her wife are off to Vietnam, Cambodia and Nepal for a fabulous vacation and she won't be around Logos for several weeks.  She has me on her e-mail list and if she is able to, will be writing travel reports as they move from place to place.

Today was an up and down day at the store, long periods of inactivity interspersed with busy periods and overall, a fairly good day income-wise.  My first customers were a middle-aged couple.  He was wearing a Lovecraft shirt with lots of writing on it and I wanted to see what it said, but wasn't able to.  She bought a book on rubber stamps that I would like to have looked through.  Rubber stamps intrigue and mystify me.  People make such beautiful things with them.  I just stamp in one color and that's it.

Then came a guy looking for Stephen King books.  We only had one, "The Stand," and that wasn't what he was looking for. I've just started watching The Stand  mini series after listening to Rob Lowe talking about it in his book and checked the book out after the guy left, but I never was able to get into that book and the sheer size of it put me off yet again.

I did choose my book to read for that day, though -- another Ruth Rendell mystery.  We have quite a lot of them at present and they aren't exactly selling like hotcakes.  They are an easy read while in the store.

A striking woman came in next.  She was pencil thin, with long blonde hair under a baseball cap, skinny jeans, and a purple sweater with a pattern of snow-covered trees growing up out of grass.  She had a very thin nose and wore wire rimmed glasses.  She was followed by a stocky grey-haired guy wearing a baseball cap covered in pins.  They both looked around for quite a while and it was only as they were leaving that I realized they were together.  He bought a puzzle, a book called "This is Your Brain on Music--the Science of a Human Obsession" and a book about the history of word meanings--another book I would like to have looked through.

Another couple arrived.  She wore a black and white striped sailor shirt and she sat in a chair and stared out the window while he looked at books.  They left without buying anything.

A young Asian guy came in looking for a book that he thought was named "Flight." "It's a kind of a novel," he said, but he didn't know the author.  I directed him to contemporary fiction and while he was looking, I looked the book up on Amazon and then told him the name of the author.  He asked if he could see the front of that book and then told me it wasn't that book because he knew the book had a white cover.  The book I found sounded like either science fiction or young adult fiction and I asked him what the book was about.  He said he didn't know, but he did know that it had a white cover.  He finally left and came back with a picture of the book, which was, indeed, the book I had found on Amazon, with a different cover.  But we didn't have it anyway, and I referred him to the Avid Reader, which sells new books, not used, and thought he might have better luck there.

A tall woman with long dark hair, a floppy hat and sunglasses came in looking for Machiavelli's "The Prince."  She seemed to know the store quite well and when she didn't find the book, she said she'd come back another day looking for it.

A woman and a guy who was probably her son came in.  She was looking for books on culture and etiquette.  That stumped me.  I wasn't quite sure where to look for that, but referred her to the Personal Growth section. She took a chair and set it up in front of the bookcase so she could look through the books.  She didn't find what she was looking for, but did buy "Tuesdays with Morrie," after first asking me if the inscription in the front of one of the two copies was by the author.  when I told her it appeared to be just a note from someone who had gifted it to someone else, she bought the copy without the inscription.

A woman named AnneMarie brought in a box of donations.  She and her husband are downsizing and she hates to give away "her friends" (the books), some of which she moved out here from Massachusetts, but knows they have to reduce their apparently large collection of books to the special ones that will just fit into one bookshelf.  She says she will be back with more books, which will be more special as she continues to cull her collection.

She was followed by a guy who has lots of Spanish language book to donate and wants to know if we can use them.  He checked out our current shelf of Spanish books.

A curly-headed guy with a nice smile, but bad teeth, dressed all in black, started at the music section and then kind of disappeared in the store for a long while until suddenly he raced out of the back, looking at his watch, threw me a nice smile and ran out the door.

My friend came in at 4:30 and picked up a thick, decorative book of "Peter Pan."  As he usually does, he asked me what I was reading and I told him about Ruth Rendell and how much I enjoy her books.  He decided to try one, so bought one of her books too, one I had already read.

Next customer was a volunteer named John.  He bougtht 3 books, but didn't hand them to me.  Rather, he told me the genre of each, and read me the price and when I rang him up on the credit machine, he leaned over me to press the button to give him a copy of the transaction.  He seemed like a nice guy, but a bit pushy!

An young guy with surprisingly old looking hands bought "The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady," which seemed an odd choice for him, but maybe it was a gift.

Two giggily girls bought "Morals and Manners for New Zealanders" (too bad I hadn't seen that--I could have recommended it to the lady looking for culture and etiquette).  They paid and started to leave, but stopped and looked through the "old books" section and ended up buying a very old Physics textbook.

The last customer to come in was "Eliza," whom I had not seen in awhile.  She and her companion stood and read everything on the front table and left without looking at any books.

Peter relieved me tonight, so I didn't get a chance to tell Susan about my lunch with Char yesterday.  I had barely made a dent in my Rendell book, so brought it home to finish.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Spring is Bustin' out All Over

Flowering trees in Davis always bloom in February.  And I always think it's too early because it's like...the dead of winter.

But our apple tree is starting to put out blossoms.  In another week, it will be in full blossom.

All over town there are trees that are already in full blossom.

F Street is always spectacular because it is lined on both sides of the street with trees that burst into abundant white blossoms (I don't know what kind of trees they are--not fruit trees) and when you drive down the street, it feels like you are passing through an arbor of flowers.  They aren't all in bloom yet, but one early bird is already.

Today I drove down to Crockett to meet Char for lunch, again, at the Dead Fish restaurant.  The drive from here to there passes by orchard after orchard and you can see the blossoms just beginning to come out.  I'm taking my mother to San Rafael on Monday for lunch (the group wants to celebrate my birthday, which is Tuesday).  I am hoping that by the time we start our drive, the orchards will be in close to full bloom.  She will love that.

Also, to go from the valley, where we live, toward San Francisco, you pass over the Vaca "mountains" (really just hills). For most of the year, the hills are covered with dry grass and cows (appropriate, since "vaca" means "cow"). But at this time of year, especially after the rain that we have had, the hills are a lush green, covered with the newly growing vegetation.  It only lasts a week or two, but that period of time is glorious and you really feel a sense of Mother Nature waking up from a long nap and starting to get to work again.
Char was already there when I got to the restaurant.  As I had requested, they had seated us at a window table, where we could look out on the Carquinez Bridge.

If there's one thing I love it's a restaurant with a view out to water and a bridge!

The lunch was, as I knew it would be, wonderful.  We both ordered gin fizzes and we both agreed that what we got wasn't exactly the gin fizz that we remember, but I thought it was still tasty.

For lunch this time I chose garlic noodles with crab.  I expected the crab to be a mound on top of the noodles...and that was there, but the crab was also all throughout the pasta, not only flaked crab, but lumps of crab as well.  It was a spectacular dish.

In fact, it was a bit too much for me and I brought a small amount of it home and served it to Walt for dinner tonight.

As I was driving home, I was not feeling well.  I had experienced some mild nausea earlier in the day, but was feeling OK when I left for the drive, but getting back into the car it returned and I couldn't wait to get home and dive into my recliner.  By dinnertime I was feeling fine, but I didn't have much dinner, just in case.

My cough is 100% better.  It's still hanging around, but the doctor recommended Mucinex, as a decongestant I could take that wouldn't interfere with the other meds I take and it is a miracle drug.  I don't know why I didn't contact her a week ago.