Friday, July 31, 2015

Today at Logos

First, may I say how much I hate dementia? This morning was not my best.  I tried to activate my new ATM card and they would not recognize my telephone number...the number I've had for forty years.  I tried several ways of getting it activated, but I was rushing because I told my mother I would be there for lunch.  It was pushing 100 degrees when I arrived at Atria and my hip has been hurting since yesterday.  There were two parking spots and the gardeners had blocked off both of them.  There was no nearby on-street parking, except for the slots which are set aside for the g-d zip cars.  I finally found a spot, rushed to the apartment, arriving at 11:20.  The door was locked, she was not inside (neither alive nor dead) and it appeared that both of her keys were inside and I didn't now how she could have left the room without her keys and the door was locked.

I looked in the dining room and didn't see her where she usually sits.  I didn't find her in the lobby or in the little seating area off the dining room.  I called Ed to see if she was with him, but he was coming to see her too and said that he had tried to all her too earlier and got no answer.  Now I was really worried, so I went to the front desk and they got three different aids to go looking for her.  Turns out she was at lunch, sitting behind a post on the other side of the room from where she usually sits.  It was now 11:30, she never goes to lunch with me before 11:45, but she was finishing her dessert.  I got angry with her and she told me to sit down and eat, but I told her I had to work and left.
At least not having lunch with her allowed me time to work out the problem with my ATM card.  I realized that I started the account 40 years ago, when Davis shared Sacramento's area code.  At some point the phone number stayed the same but the area code changed and when I tried the old area code, that worked.  So off I went to Logos.

Again, Sandy wasn't there and I was relieving Peter.  Only one customer there when he left, a woman lying on the floor in the children's room with her toddler son. They bought 3 board books, including Thomas the Train.

A job applicant came in and I gave her the spiel about how we are all volunteers and that the store is for charity.  She was impressed.

A tall guy I've seen before came in.  He was wearing an aloha-like shirt, but in white with tall masted ships on it, nestled among the photos of the Hawaiian islands and palm trees.  He has a reseller's license, so he doesn't pay tax and he bought "The Making of Antiquities," a biography of Cormac McCarthy, a book on religion and "My First 10 Words in Greek

Suddenly there was a steady influx of customers;  an old guy, 2 younger guys, an Asian woman, a Latino guy, another guy in a shirt similar to the previous guy.  What were all these people doing on a hot day like this?

The Latino guy bought 2 contemporary fiction books one of which was "Love in the Time of Cholera, which had quite a provocative cover, which I hoped to find on Amazon, but they don't have that particular edition.

An older woman bought 4 contemporary fiction books and said "I'll take these to the table and start reading" - which she did, for about half an hour.  She had a Michael Crichton book, 2 mysteries by a new-to-me author and one other.

A man in a salmon colored T shirt from Writers in Yosemite conference came in with a bag of books to donate.  On top was James Michener's "The Novel," a book I had not read before.  I had been reading a Ruth Rendell which had not yet grabbed my attention, so I put that back on the shelf and started the Michener.

By 3:30, I was so sleepy.  It was a period of a few minute with no customers and I was fighting to stay awake.

An Asian woman had lots of questions about the store.  She had never heard of either Doctors without Borders or Save the Children.  I think she thought all their expenses were paid by Logos.  She liked the poppy pictures of the current displaying artist, Teresa Steinbach-Garcia.

An older man with long grey hair and a long beard bought an unabridged dictionary, about 6" thick.  He had some speech and movement problems, kid of a mixture of stuttering and explosive speech.  He wanted to know if he could order used books through us.  I told him no.

A neatly dressed Latino came in, wearing pressed slacks and a pressed blue shirt.  He started at one end of the store and worked his way around...humor, fantasy, sci fi, old books, gift books, misc. guy stuff (cars, etc), gardening.  He skipped cookbooks and went to the front of the store and started at self improvement music, travel, even foreign language books.  He spent time at each book shelf, some times picking out books to carry around. He must have been there half an hour or more, then suddenly, after looking at lot of craft books, he stood up and walked out, buying nothing.
A Hispanic woman came in to buy 3 bargain books and loved the air conditioning.

A couple came in.  The woman spent a long time in fantasy and later at the music book case while her husband sat at the table staring out the window.  Ultimately she bought nothing.

A smiling young woman, a vision in yellow from her blonde hair to her sunny yellow dress to her pleasant personality bought 5 bargain books and was thrilled to find Herman Hesse's "Siddhartha," which she said she'd been wanting to read for a long time.

My friend arrived at 4:45 and bought a book on food and "1616: The World in Motion."  We discussed Chihuily sculptures and he said he will be gone the next two weeks because he's going to Minnesota.

A guy found "America Back on Track" by Ted Kennedy outside in bargain books and came in laughing, asking me if it was a fiction book.  He was an odd guy from nearby Woodland, where he said that there are no locally owned book stores any more because it was not a "reading town."

A volunteer, Alice, came in with a colorful multi striped dress, stripes going in every direction.  She bought two P.D. James books and put a huge coffee table type book on chocolate on hold until she comes to work on Saturday.

It was a shock to walk out of the cool store and feel the heat as we walked to the car!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Only Four Times a Year

"We only get a perfect day like this about four times a year," Mary glowed.

We were walking along the waterfront in Edmonds and it was, indeed a perfect day.

It had started a couple of hours earlier, having breakfast at the hotel with Ellen and Rob, our last chance to have breakfast together (the hotel does not have a crab option on its breakfast buffet!).  The two of them were headed south to Portland, where Rob was going to be judging a stamp show.  They wanted to go by way of Mt. St. Helen's and so they wanted an early start.

Mary came to the hotel and at 9:30, we loaded them into their car, had our hugs all around and they were off.

Walt and I finished our packing and checked out of the hotel, then we met Mary over by the water and went for a walk.  We decided this would be preferable than trying to "do something" or "go somewhere."  And it was.  It was a gorgeous day, sunny, warm, but with a cool breeze, so you didn't overheat.  The sky was blue and the air was clear and you could see across Puget Sound to the Olympic Mountains.

The path we were walking is beautiful, with many planter boxes, all a riot of color.

When we got to the end, where all the boats were, we saw this guy, who looked like a modern day version of Gulley Jimson, from Joyce Carey's novel "The Horse's Mouth."

We finally headed back to Anthony's restaurant, where we ate outside.

No crab on the menu, but the fish and chips were delicious.  Mary and Walt tried to figure out how bad the traffic was going to be on our trip to the airport.

We finally said our goodbyes to Mary and headed out toward SeaTac airport.  Yes, traffic was bad, but not that bad, and it had the perk of gorgeous views of Mt. Ranier ahead, along side, and peeking through the trees at times.

(if you look above the mountain you can see an airplane headed in for a landing at the Boeing air 
field, I assumed)

We filled the rental car with gas and turned it in, then headed off to the airport itself for our 6:30 flight.  Oh how trusting we were...  I loved our welcome to the concourse:

When we arrived at the gate, we found that the time the flight had been delayed to 7:30.  I was in a wheelchair again (I am now officially a card-carrying disabled person, for that flight anyway)

We had to go through security, of course, and what a mess that turned out to be.  My boarding pass indicated I was prescreened, so could bypass all of the removing shoes, etc.  Walt's was not.  So there we were in the prescreen line, he's pushing me, and the TSA agent insisted he had to go through another line.  I asked her who was going to push me.  They did let him push me out of the way, but then we had to go through the x-ray screening and because Walt came through the non-prescreen line and he was pushing me, they had to unpack MY suitcase because of the computer in it.  TSA agents have no sent of humor.

But we finally arrived at the gate and then the delay messages started arriving.  It seemed that every 30 minutes or so there would be another message that our flight was being delayed.  The plane was coming from Las Vegas and I don't know what the problem in Vegas was, but the last delay put our new departure time at 8:30.  

We had peanuts and pastry from Starbucks for dinner (I had a muffin, Walt had a cheese Danish)

I sat in the damn wheelchair for about five hours and spent the time finishing my book ("The Rosie Effect") and occasionally taking sneak pictures of people around, like a guy with the best moustache I'd seen in a long time, and two little girls who were the cutest kids ever.  I didn't get a good shot of the bald woman in the Buddhist robe, pacing back and forth in her Adidas.  She smiled at me whenever she passed me.

We finally arrived home sometime around 10, and just in the nick of time since the battery was almost out on my Kindle, on my cell phone, and on my iPod.  The 'perk' if there is one, of all the delays is that it was "cooler" when we got home, though since it had been 107 during the day, 99 wasn't all that cool.  

The dogs were happier than usual to see us.  I figured that our disappearance so soon after Sheila's must have been a bit disconcerting for them.

So it's all over.  I had considered not going at all and am SO glad that I changed my mind.  It was a perfect mini vacation.  Thanks, Mary!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Have a Couple Billion? Save the World

To find out what Trump could do with his billions other than making a fool of himself, he should come to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center in Seattle, across the street from the Space Needle.  "Arrive Curious.  Leave Inspired," signs tell us on entry (admission is free) to the building.

In words, pictures, video and interactive displays you learn what the Gates Foundation has done around the world (did you know polio has been 90% eradicated?) and what the foundation has done in partnership with countless other foundations to make the world a better place.

There are so many needs from health to education to women's rights to agriculture to childbirth education and so many more...but changes are being made.  I am particularly interested in the water situation worldwide.  There was a great display about that, showing feet on the walkway.

There were standard buckets of water for you to pickup, like those on the heads of these children.  I could barely hold the weight, let alone think of carrying it 3 miles.  There were displays of simple water purification systems and one of the new design toilets.  I can't remember the percentage of the world population that has no sanitary place for elimination.  And to reinforce that message, if you take a run to the ladies' room, each door has a picture of toilet facilities in some 3rd world country.

And when you go in and sit down, there is a message on the inside of the door as well.

The whole thing was really a lot to take in but I left...inspired, so the center fulfilled its promise.
Then we walked across the street and through the park where the Space Needle is, to the Chilhuly Gallery, where we ate in the cafeteria.

Our table looked like it was part of the cafe at Lourdes.

But then we went into the gallery itself.  To call Dale Chilhuly a "glass sculptor" doesn't begin to do him justice.  There aren't enough superlatives.  The man's works are amazing...breathtaking.  This one was my favorite.

There were rooms after rooms of these gorgeous sculptures, some small, most very large, like this one which has a whole solarium devoted to it.

And in the garden there are globes and trees (that chartreuse thing on the right is a gorgeous tree) and grass like things.  Many of the globes reflect the Space Needle.

(If you look carefully you can see me at the bottom of the Space Needle shooting the photo.)
This was truly the highlight of the trip for both Ellen and me.  Spendy to see it, but worth every penny.

In the evening we went back to Dimitri's for dinner, this time joined by Mary's husband, Joe, who was finally able to get away.  We had a nice dinner (again) and then walked down by the shore to watch the sunset.

Tomorrow we are all headed home, and I will be sad to say goodbye to Mary and Ellen.  It has been wonderful spending time with both of them, and getting to know their respective spouses better.  The guys bonded over planes and trains.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Moveable Feast

If yesterday's focus was on our "gimpness," today's focus had to be on food.

I actually fell asleep in a bed last night, but woke up at my usual 3:30 and could not get back to sleep, so I listened to an audio book for 3 hours, when I got up to take a shower.

Mary came to meet us at the hotel at 8:30 and we went to a great restaurant, the Rusty Pelican, which is generally accepted (by residents of Edmonds) to be the best place in town for breakfast. I have no way to make comparisons, but it would be difficult to top my crab eggs benedict.

Mary has been wonderful and every restaurant where we have eaten has at least one crab option for me and vegetarian options for Rob.

From the Rusty Pelican, we drove to Pike Place Market, which was very crowded.  While Ellen waited in her wheel chair for Rob to come back from parking the car, I searched around a little and stopped at a table where a young artist from Kenya was selling cards of drawings he said he had done (whether that was true or not).  I liked them and bought two.  When Rob got back and started pushing Ellen around, that was the one table where she stopped too and she bought a card as well.

Later, while waiting for Mary to join us, we stopped to listen to a couple of musicians,

I loved the look of the ukelele player and I also loved that they taped their playlist on the side of the bass.

We continued on and stopped at a stand that sold hot pepper jams.  We all tasted some, and Rob worked his way through the "hot-ness" scale until he found one that made him break out in a sweat, which he then bought.

We made it as far as the place where they entertain the tourists by throwing fish to each other, but the crowd was so big we couldn't get in there.  Everybody had their cell phones raised above their heads taking pictures.  

We eventually agreed that with the huge crowd, it was difficult to get Ellen's wheelchair through the market, so Rob, Walt and Mary went back for the cars after finding a bench where Ellen and I could wait.  

We were across from an adult toy and video store with changing electronic signs.  I learned about "vookage," a term I had never heard of before--it concerns smoking electronic cigarettes.  This was a sign you would not have seen a couple of years ago!

We came back to Edmonds and went to Chanterelle for lunch.  Again there was an open face crab sandwich on the menu, but I was still full from breakfast, so chose the smaller brie and pear quesadilla, which was delicious.

By now we all felt ready for a nap, especially me since I'd had so little sleep, but I had little hope of actually getting any sleep.  But I did.  In bed.  For 2+ hours. Amazing. (The NCIS marathon helped)

The plan was to meet here in our room at 6:30 because I had brought pictures from our last "Netstock" here in Seattle in 1997 and I wanted to show everyone. It was fun to see all those old pictures and realize that the 3 week old baby in those photos is about to enter college!  Also sad to see pictures of those in the group who are no longer with us, especially Pat and Bill.  Nice memories, though.

For dinner we went to a Mexican restaurant, Las Brisas, where they had crab enchiladas which were fabulous. 

But by the end of the meal, my insides were feeling wonky again, so when the others decided to go back to the waterfront to watch the sunset, I asked Mary to bring me back to the hotel, a decision which proved wise.

When Walt got back, I sent him out for Imodium, and I trust I will be able to go to the Gates Foundation exhibit tomorrow. I'm sad that tomorrow is already our last day here.  It is so wonderful to get together with old friends.

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Gimp Gathering

As Ellen and I looked at each other, we decided this must be a "gimp gathering."

We are here in Seattle, visiting our friend Mary.  Tricia was supposed to be here too, but she broke her toe.  Wimp. Ellen (from Milwaukee) broke her foot but she's still here. The two of us have been getting the royal treatment with wheelchairs.

Walt picked up a wheelchair at the Southwest counter when were arrived at the Sacramento airport.  In truth I can walk, but I am faster and less grumpy in a wheelchair.  Walt, bless him, pushed me all over the place.

When you are in a wheelchair, you get to board the plane early and everyone is SO NICE to you.  I got to sit in the seat I've always wanted to sit in...the very first one, with all the leg room. We sat across from some folks who had two service dogs (Jack Russell terriers), who were so cute.  One of them looked out the window the whole time.  The other slept until we were coming into SeaTac and then he got up and watched too.

In Seattle a nice young man from Kenya, celebrating his 22nd birthday today, wheeled me all over the place.  Just before we were leaving the security area, I realized that I had left my iPad on the plane and sent Walt back to get it (naturally it was at the other end of the concourse!). I felt terrible when I realized he was dealing with BOTH suitcases, and I could easily have put one in my lap.

But eventually, he got the iPad, we got on the bus to go to rent a car and headed out into horrendous Seattle traffic.

The speed limit signs change, depending on the need.  We went from a 30 mph zone to a 40 mpg zone and back to a 30 mph zone.

Finally, after getting lost a couple of times, we arrived at the hotel, where our room was not yet ready, but Ellen and her husband Rob were already here so we hung out in their room.

Rob had picked up an interesting pamphlet in the hotel lobby, with the other "what to do in Seattle" brochures!

We visited for a couple of hours until it was getting late.  Mary was at a family gathering and was going to join us at whatever restaurant we chose to eat.  Rob had enjoyed Demitri's Woodstone Taverna, so we went there. There is a varied menu, but lots of things are tapas and we had a great assortment.  I chose crab stuffed (of course) artichoke hearts that were incredible.  Walt picked flatbread with baked brie and apples. He also had a flatbread caprese, and I ordered fries with truffle oil and garlic (not nearly as good as the same dish we had at the GRUB dinner earlier this week).

Mary joined us, but didn't eat.  When we finished dinner, she suggested a sunset cruise on the ferry across to Kingston.  We could make it a round trip and wouldn't have to get off the boat.  So we did, and it was the perfect way to end the day.  The sunset was gorgeous, the weather beautiful, the company wonderful.

And we didn't ... but thought about it ... have wheelchair races down the ramp back to the car.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday Stealing

1. Have you ever had a pen pal?
Too many to count.  Right now I have 30 children around the world with whom I communicate regularly.

2. What’s your favorite breed of dog?
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel or a Collie.

3. Can money buy happiness?
Only temporarily.

4. Do you listen to music when you’re down?
No.  It makes me more depressed.

5.What is one thing you spend way too much money on?
Books.  New books, used books, Kindle books and audio books

6.Can you honestly say you’re okay right now?
Can't complain

7.What was the last thing you spent money on?
I bought 2 books at Logos on Thursday.

8.Is your current hair color mostly your natural hair color?
It's not mostly my natural hair color, it's completely my natural hair color (though not usually spiked)

9.Who have you texted in the last 24 hours?
Daughter Jeri, son Tom

10.Were you in a good mood last night?

11.Do you have a reason to smile right now?
Yes.  I've been looking at old pictures and some of them make me smile.

12. How often do you hold back what you want to say?

13. Do you think that in the end, everything will fall into place?
Eventually.  I won't be here to see it, though.

14.Are you currently looking forward to anything?
Spending 3-4 days with good friends in Seattle.

15.Do you have any TV shows on DVD?
Lots.  All of West Wing, Northern Exposure, Seinfeld, Picket Fences and a few more.  Now you don't need to get them on DVD any more.  Just watch 'em on Netflix.

Big News!  Jeri cut her hair short for the first time in her life to donate to Wigs 4 Kids.  I'm so proud of her.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Saturday 9

Welcome to Saturday: 9. What we've committed to our readers is that we will post 9 questions every Saturday. Sometimes the post will have a theme, and at other times the questions will be totally unrelated. Those weeks we do "random questions," so-to-speak. We encourage you to visit other participants posts and leave a comment. Because we don't have any rules, it is your choice. We hate rules. We love memes, however, and here is today's meme!
Saturday 9: All the Way (1957)

... because The Gal Herself is into Sinatra (and how could I NOT do it, given how much Paul loved Old Blue Eyes?)

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

1) In this song, Frank sings, "who knows where the road will lead us?" Which leads Sam to ask, does your vehicle have GPS?
The car doesn't have GPS, but we have a separate Garmin unit.  It came with an annoying female voice, but when we found out you could change voices, we chose an English gentlemen we have come to call "Nigel."  I love listening to Nigel pronouncing Spanish names  ... like ca-LA-verous for cali-VER-as.

2) Sinatra introduced "All the Way" in the movie, The Joker Is Wild. During that film he also sang "Chicago (That Toddlin' Town)." A few years later, in the movie Robin and The Seven Hoods, he declared Chicago as his "kind of town." Besides Chicago, can you think of another city Frank immortalized in song?
New York, April in Paris,

3) When Frank was 19, he saw a pretty girl sitting on her front porch, giving herself a manicure. He went and got his ukelele and serenaded her. That girl became his first wife, Nancy. Tell us how one of your romances began.
My very first boyfriend was the nephew of the woman who lived next door to us.  I think she arranged for us to go to a movie, then he was in an accident and was hospitalized.  I visited him every day and when he got out of the hospital, we dated for 3 years, until he went into the seminary.

4) Both Frank and Nancy grew up in New Jersey. When you think of NJ, what else comes to mind?
Well, right now Chris Christie, of course.  But also my good friend Ron. And the boardwalk in Atlantic City where I spent one of the most miserable afternoons in my life, walking around the Trump casino with my friend and her one week old baby (the only chairs were in bars) while the baby's father gambled (I hated that guy)

5) Sinatra made Las Vegas as famous for entertainment as for gambling. He was so identified with the Strip, that when he played Caesar's Palace the marquee simply said, "He's Here." Have you ever been to Vegas?
Twice.  I hate Vegas. Too busy, too loud and I don't gamble.  Last time I was there was 1996, for our friend Merrell's 60th birthday party.  We went to the Liberace museum.  You should always go to the Liberace museum with gay guys.

6) Thin for most of his life, Frank was blessed with a metabolism that allowed him to whatever he wanted without gaining weight. He especially enjoyed clams posillipo. What's your favorite Italian dish?
Italian is not my favorite ethnic food, but I do enjoy lasagna and pasta with pesto.

7) Perhaps because of his hardscrabble childhood, Sinatra was a soft touch for charities devoted to kids. One of his favorites was Variety, which sends disadvantaged children on day trips to museums, zoos and sporting events. Here's your chance to tell us about a cause that's near and dear to your heart.
Anybody who is a regular reader of this journal knows that I sponsor 10 children through Compassion International and write to 20 more that others sponsor.  What people may not know is that I also support the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya, which rescues orphaned elephants.

8) Sinatra was a neat freak who couldn't stand dust or clutter and showered at least twice a day. He got this from his mother Dolly, who was compulsive about housecleaning and hygiene. Can you think of a time when you caught yourself doing something and thought, "I'm just like Mom/Dad!"
I cringe when I find myself realizing that I'm doing something my father used to do, but if I'm honest, I am probably more like him than like my mother (who was more like Sinatra's mother!)

9) In 1998, Sinatra was buried with the things he always had in tow: a bottle of Jack Daniels, a pack of Camels, a Zippo lighter and 10 dimes. Why the dimes? According to his daughter, "He never wanted to be caught not able to make a call." Of course, 17 years later cell phones have replaced pay phones. Anyway, tell us what you always carry.
My camera.  And that's about it for unusual things.  Of course I have my keys, usually my cell phone and my wallet, but I certainly don't want to be buried with them.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Today at Logos

I'm getting old (quoting my mother).  I'm finding that more and more often I'm too tired at the end of the day to post an entry, so write them in the morning.  Maybe you've noticed!

It was really a slow day at the store.  I counted at the end of the day and I had only nine sales...Sandy had twelve. But it was nice to sit there and finish the book I had started reading last week ("Acquired Tastes").  Sandy had been to a folk festival the week before and told me about seeing Buffy St. Marie, one of her favorites.  The singer is 75 now and still looking and sounding wonderful, she says.

While we were talking an old lady leaning on a cane came in and looking kind of lost.  I asked her if i could help her.  Turns out she lives at Atria and there are 8 boxes of books to be donated and she wondered if we wanted them.  I got all the information for Susan and Peter and the lady went to wait for the Atria limo to pick her up, then came back in and said that apparently there were two boxes of books in the car, so the driver carried them in for me.

A couple came in and the guy started browsing through science fiction while his companion stood back with her arms crossed looking terribly bored. They finally left without making a purchase.

An interesting looking white haired lady was looking through sci fi (seems the overwhelming number of browsers look through either sci fi or fantasy, which are side by side bookcases).  I could only see her in profile and the way she was standing, one knee jutted out like a shelf, though when she stood up straighter it looked normal.  She was wearing a 'Growing Today, Guiding Tomorrow' shirt and I wondered what that meant until she left (without buying) and I saw that it as a Guide Dogs for the Blind shirt.  I do love the variety of t-shirts that come through the store!

Another middle aged couple comes in.  The guy was in an aloha shirt and baseball cap with something written in Cyrillic script.  He chose a book to read at the front table while his wife continued to shop.  They eventually bought a bargain book and a book called "The Castle of Otrano," a gothic novel.

An Asian guy was browsing the shelves.  He had a sock monkey shirt which was interesting, but every time my head turned in his direction, his head whipped around and he stared at me.  I eventually stopped looking at him and he eventually left.

Two guys came in, possibly father and son.  The older guy was wearing a Yosemite shirt, the younger was in black trainers with a shocking pink tab at the back.  They were looking thru...what else?...sci fi.  After a very long time, the older guy bought an Orson Scott Card book.

By 4 p.m. I had made only three sales and made $9.

A short rotund couple came in.  The woman had shoulder length very curly (think Bernadette Peters) auburn hair.  She was wearing some kind of silky looking lounge pants and had this odd expression on her face which I described as "bemused irony." The guy had a protuberant belly and was carrying a bargain book about Jerusalem under his arm and checked craft books and cookbooks before the two of them put the bargain book back and waved goodbye  Another no sale.

A scruffy man with a scruffy dog on a leash passed by the front door, looked in and waved.  He then returned with a bargain book, a Spanish-English dictionary.  He said he couldn't pass that up.  Up close he was more unkempt than he was from outside and his UCD shirt was quite dirty.  He told me that reading helps his PTSD and that he gets suicidal on anti-psychotic meds.  When he left, he swung a huge, heavy pack over his shoulder and walked off with the dog.

An older man bought a bargain book and was looking for books on Yolo County.  I directed him to the shelf of books about California, but he didn't find what he was looking for.

My friend was early today, 4:15.  He bought a bargain book and "Tales from Ovid: 24 Passages from the Metamorphoses."  His bill came to $9.14 and was my biggest sale of the day.

Until, that is, the next guy came in, a classic nerd with shorts, plaid shirt (I'm sure there was a pocket protector somewhere), and dark rimmed glasses.  He sat on the floor cross-legged for a long time, then bought a math book and a physics book for $18.99.  He gave me a bill and I gave him $10.01 in change then when he left had a horrible thought that maybe he had given me a $10 and I gave him change for a $20.  I hope I'm wrong.

A woman came in with six bags to donate and she was followed by a guy who was either a musician or a hit-man, though the case he carried was too small to be a big gun.  It was larger than a clarinet case.  He was in and out in seconds, stopping just long enough to buy a book on Picasso.

And that was my day.  Slow enough that I was able to finish "Acquired Tastes," which I started last week.

Thursday, July 23, 2015


The 29th annual Gala Re-internment of Uncle Buddy is now history.  The 29th year of memorializing Gilbert was, as always, a celebration not only of Gilbert's life, but of our friendship.  This year, Kathy Connor, oboist of the Lamplighter orchestra, joined us.

We left hot Davis around 3 and drove down through Marin County to cross the Golden Gate Bridge.  The traffic going in the other direction was horrendous.  By the time we got to SF, I realized that if you'd started in the city and were headed to Vallejo, a distance of about 45 miles, it would be bumper to bumper the entire way, except for a couple of pockets of a couple of miles.  And people do this every day!

As we were approaching the bridge we lost the sunny blue (hot) skies and saw that welcome blanket of fog.

By the time we crossed the bridge, you wouldn't know that it was 90⁰ in Davis.

We met at the Presidio Social Club, erected in 1903 as a military barracks and now converted into a lovely restaurant across the street from the Industrial Light and Magic building.  This was the third time the GRUB group had eaten in this place.  This group is one of my "home" people.  You know how they talk about people that you don't see for long periods of time, but when you get together it's like you just saw them the week before.  There are only two groups of people where I feel that way, one the Pinata group, and this Lamplighters group.  We started out as a large group, but have been whittled down, by death and attrition, to the faithful 7 or 8....2 actors, 2 musicians, 2 tech guys, a dresser, and me.

Henry, Walt, Diana, Kathy

Roger, Willa, Jill

The evening started at the bar, while waiting for our table (I had a Manhattan, the only time I ever have this drink, which I had frequently with Gilbert) with the now traditional "organ recital," catching up on whose body parts had been broken, bruised, or replaced since last year,  and how our friend John, incapacitated by pain for the past several years, and thus unable to join us, is doing.
We made our annual toast, ''s you...," the way Gilbert frequently greeted you, if you were a friend.

Dinner was delicious.  Several of us ordered "smashed peas."  We encountered the British "delicacy" (I use the term advisedly) "mushy peas" when the Lamplighters competed in an International Gilbert & Sullivan festival in Buxton, England.  We didn't fall in love with them, but Presidio serves them with mint and they are decidedly more green than the grey-green vat of peas that was served to us each night in Buxton.  I ordered mine as a side dish to my macaroni and cheese.

Many people ordered "fried bird" (duck) and I got to taste truffle oil fried potatoes, which were delicious, but not worth the $8.50 price.

We talked about Gilbert and other things, and hugs all around at the end of the night, promising to meet again for the 30th anniversary next year.

I love these dinners.

"Oh, it's you..."

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Was It Something I Said?

Though I know that of course I had nothing to do with it, it seemed to be the way that a lot of my budding relationships run.

Today I went with Char to the next book club meeting.  I drive an hour and a half for these meetings and this is, I think, the third one I've attended.  I am starting to recognize the other people who come to the meetings and I like Carol, the librarian who facilitates the discussion.  It's certainly been the most satisfying experience I've had with a book club.

When I went to the first meeting, Char told me not to say anything about where I really lived because she thought that, technically, this was only for residents of her area, who were members of the local library, so when I signed in, I used my g-mail address rather than my Davis Community Network e-mail address.

But after my second meeting, Char ran into Carol at the supermarket and confessed my deep, dark secret.  Apparently Carol was thrilled and said they should advertise at the library that someone who lives 75 miles away likes the group so much she's willing to drive all that way to attend.

So today, I was going back to the group knowing I could be myself, if the subject arose (it didn't).  But Carol arrived today with a box of Sees candy to pass around to all of us to let us know that she has been transferred and she won't be facilitating the group any more.

Swell.  Just when I was feeling good about the whole thing.

Of course there will be a new facilitator and Char says she came once and is nice. so this probably won't change anything, but that was my first thought -- just as I join the group, the leader leaves!  Figures.

We were discussing "The Lowland" by Jhumpa Lahiri which I read earlier this month. Interesting multi-generational saga featuring an Indian family, living near Calcutta.  It's a story where just about everyone is unhappy and the children in each generation are seriously affected by their parents' inability to parent, or even love their children.

On the way home, I got deep into my audio book, Stephen King's "11/22/63," which I just started.  I'm not a big King fan, but this one promised to be free of the monsters and gore that seems to populate most King novels. It's a time travel novel and I am not far enough into it to find it riveting yet, but the premise is interesting (using a time portal to prevent the JFK assassination), though there are complications and I find a couple of major questions unanswered, and unlikely to be.  But I'm enjoying it.

And then there was tonight, when we went to Sacramento so I could review Peter Pan.  At the theater, I always read on my Kindle before the show and at intermission.  My current Kindle book is "The Rosie Effect," our book club selection for next week.  It's the sequel to "The Rosie Project" which we read two months ago.

So this was a book day.  I read at 3 different books and discussed a 4th.

On the home front, it's been a strange day, a day when I think we are all (2- and 4-legged) feeling the loss of Sheila.  Walt found Lizzie sniffing Sheila's collar.  The dogs did not bark this morning, at all, though it was garbage day and they always bark at the garbage men.  They also didn't eat their breakfast.

By tonight, things were more back to normal, but we are all definitely trying to adjust to a Sheila-less life today.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Heart that is Breaking

10 a.m.

I've been pretty philosophical about Sheila's lymphoma diagnosis since the vet gave us "weeks" 27 days ago.  The medicine cured her swollen leg and perked her up.  She started behaving like her old self.  The smile was back.  She ran into the house for treats.

Maybe the meds had given her a new lease on life. 

I was still fairly philosophical about things.  She'd had a long, happy life.  We loved her a lot, but she was an old dog and it would be very sad to see her die, but I could cope. But  I never really believed she was close to dying.

That was before this morning.

Two days ago, it seemed as if she crashed.  She got up moving like...well, me, moving slowly, painfully and sank immediately into her favorite spot, outside on the patio.  She wasn't interested in her breakfast.  When I went out and gave the dogs treats before I left, she didn't come running for a treat and when I brought it to her, she took it in her mouth, then dropped it and let it lie between her feet.

She still came into the living room to sleep with me at night, but no longer by my side.  Now out on the big part of the floor.  In the middle of the night that night she was sleeping on her side and I thought she might have died.

Last night she again was not interested in her dinner, though took several big pieces of my ham steak.  When I tried to slip in a cream cheese covered pill, which she had been begging for for many days, she dropped it and then wasn't interested in anything from my hand any more.

This morning when she woke up, she went straight outside under her bush without looking at anyone.  She has been there ever since.  The other dogs had their usual pieces of my toast (which never fails to bring Sheila in), but she stayed outside.  I took her a crust of toast and a piece of egg and tossed it at her under the bush.  She picked them up and put them between her front paws, then growled when Polly tried to steal them from her.  Later, she got up and walked away and Polly got them anyway.

I had not yet made a vet appointment (I was going to go in to see about her foot, which she has been eating again), but sitting there, watching her, I thought maybe today should be the day.

That unleashed the floodgates.  I have not yet made the appointment, but I wrote to Ashley who offered to come with me.  But I know Walt would like to come, if he agrees with me that today should be the day.  I am heartbroken.

10:30 a.m.

Walt said he had been thinking the same thing, so we have an appointment for 5 p.m., for the doctor's assessment and then decisions made about what to do.  There is a spark of hope, but I'm not counting on a last minute miracle.

4 p.m.

Sheila, noble to the end, made the decision easier.  She just walked in, heavily, and stood there, head bowed just panting.  Didn't even want water. She wouldn't come when I called her.  Just seemed to try to decide what she wanted to do.  She looked so sad.  Then she walked back outside to lie down again.  It left no question about the quality of her life today.

4:30 p.m. 

I feel like I used to feel going to the dentist's office, before I met Cindy.  Butterflies that won't quit, and that sick "I want to throw up" / "I don't want to do this" feeling, yet knowing I must do it.  She has been a good and faithful companion for 11 years. I owe her a painless end to her life.

4:45 p.m.

We loaded Sheila in the car.  Sheila has always loved riding in the car.  She stands up at the window and just sticks her nose out.  She did that on a 2-3 hour drive once.  When we went to the vet last time, she sat by the window, but didn't lift her nose.  When we put her in the car today, she lay down on the floor.  Walt and I petted her on the brief drive.

When we got out she peed copious amounts on the clinic greenery in the parking lot, then we went inside.  There was a woman with a cat in a carrier.  Sheila stood right next to the carrier and displayed no interest in the cat whatsoever.

They are very solicitous.  They put down a blanket for her on the floor of the exam room (though she preferred to lie on the cool floor).  They brought all the financial stuff to us, so we could pay before it was done and leave without having to talk to anybody.  Considering that I was crying, that was probably best, though kind of a "Loved One" sort of touch.

The vet came in with a tranquilizer to relax her.  He started to explain the process and we told him she was about the 8th dog we had put to sleep at that clinic.  "We were here before you, in fact," I told him. He arrived in 1974, we arrived in 1973.  The vet before him was the one who put our first dog, Mutt, to sleep.  Mutt had so many medical problems toward the end of his life and when it came time to put him down, they didn't charge us for it.  Today they charged us $180.  Death isn't cheap, even for dogs.

The vet left us with her while she fell asleep.  I took off her collar (Walt had earlier removed her leash).  We both told her good bye and what a good dog she was.  There is a reason they keep a box of tissues in the exam room.

Then came the final injection.  "This part goes quickly," he told us, unnecessarily.  By the time the syringe was empty she was gone.  When we had Toby put to sleep, he was on the exam table and I had my hands on him.  I could feel his spirit leaving.  With Sheila on the floor and me unable to get onto the floor, I didn't have that experience.  We said our last goodbyes to her lifeless body and quickly left the office. The staff averted their eyes when we walked past.  As I said, they are very solicitous.

We talked about Sheila and all our former dogs on the drive home, then greeted Lizzie and Polly, who don't know that Sheila is gone.  I put a picture of Sheila on my iPhone Wallpaper.

6:15 p.m.

Ned arrived with a ham.