Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday Stealing

Laundry Day Meme.  Stolen from: Love me some surveys

Do you know any couples that have been married for a very long time?
US.  We've been married 50-1/2 years.  Other friends have been married >40 or >50 years

What are you tired of people telling you?
I wish my mother would stop telling me she's old.  She's 97.  I know she's old!

Which type of ice cream do you prefer?
It varies, but my most consistent choice is probably Butter Pecan
Do you have a little sister? What’s her name?
I had a sister, Karen, who was 4-1/2 years younger, but she was murdered in 1971, when she was 24.

What was the last movie you watched on TV?
Holiday for Lovers.  I don't recommend it.

If the internet was not available right now, what would you do instead?
Read. (I will probably do that anyway)

Do you complain a lot?
I hope not, but I do complain some.

Name a movie that your favorite actor is in.
It would have to be A StarIs Born (1954) of course

Do you like your toes?
I have ugly toes.

Would you rather go to an authentic haunted house or an ancient temple?
I've been to ancient temples, but never an "authentic" haunted house, so I'll go with the house.
Have you ever had champagne? Did you like it

(This survey must be aimed at younger people!)  Yes, and yes.  But I rarely drink anything alcoholic now.

Are there any seashells in your room?

What was the reason for the last time you went outside?
To open the dog door.

Do you like fruity or minty gum?
Fruit or spearminty.  I don't like pepperminty.

Are you looking forward to any day of this month?
Given that today is the last day of the month, no!

What was the last graduation you attended?
I think our son's graduation from Cal Poly in 1996

Do you rummage through the $5 movie bin at Walmart every time?
I don't go to WalMart, so no.

What day of the week do you usually do laundry?
Whenever it needs doing.  No specific day.

Do you like using air fresheners?
No, but I have several Sentsy Warmers.

Are your nails ever painted red?
My nails are never painted any color.

When you were a baby, did you have a favorite blanket?

Ever been on a cruise?
Yes.  Several.  5 river cruises and one ocean cruise.

Would you rather go to Alaska or Russia?
I've been to both places.  Loved Russia, but don't think I'd like to go back right now.

Strawberries or bananas?

Are you wearing socks?

When’s the last time you went to the mall?
If you mean an indoor mall I can't remember.  I'm sure it's been years.  (But around here, just about everything is part of a small strip mall.)

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Movie Buffs

We are such movie buffs that we saw a whopping 2 movies last year, 2 the year before, 6 the year before that, and 2 in 2012 (yes, I keep a database).

Starting a roll this year with one movie seen already, Walt and I went to see Room yesterday. I was so happy to see it had returned.  I read the book last year and was eager to see the movie but it came and went in Davis so quickly that I never had the chance. But with Oscar nominations under its belt, they have brought it back for another run.  There were about 10 of us (if that) in the theater, so I doubt it will be here long!)

As a general rule, movies made from books don't live up to the book, if you loved it.  This was that rare occasion where I thought the movie was actually better than the book.  The book spent a lot more time in "room" than the movie did, but I thought it covered pretty much everything it needed to cover.  My problem with the book was the last section of it.

For those who don't know, Room is the story of a young woman, abducted at age 17, and kept prisoner in a shed behind her captor's house, where she is raped on a regular basis and brought food and other basic supplies once a week.  Two years into her captivity, she is pregnant and gives birth to Jack.  The story starts on Jack's 5th birthday.

It's interesting to think of a child whose whole world is one tiny room with a skylight, but no windows, and one human being (he is shut in a wardrobe when "Old Nick" arrives so he doesn't have to see what his mother goes through).

The bond between them is beautiful and his mother does as much as she can to keep him healthy, active and intellectually stimulated.

She devises a plan to escape, and it works, Old Nick is captured and Joy and Jack begin their life back in the world.  

I hated that part of the book because after the initial excitement of her return, everyone seemed to cruel to both of them.  They didn't seem to understand that everything in the world was new and sometimes scary for Jack (even something so simple as going up and down stairs was something he had to learn).  Her mother had a lot of criticisms of how Jack was being raised (still nursing at age 5, hair tumbling down his back--she had no scissors, of course!).  In the book, Jack is enrolled in school and the administrators are ridiculously judgmental and cruel toward him.

However, in the movie, everyone was much more understanding and the gradual return to normal for Joy and learning about the world for Jack seemed much more realistic.  So I was quite pleased and glad we had the chance to see it before the Acadamy Awards rolls around (Brie Larson is up for a best actress award).

But when we got home, I just wanted to go to sleep, and I did, for a couple of hours, waking feeling "not quite right" in the digestive area.

I cooked a Blue Apron meal for dinner, but as I cooked, I knew that was no way I could eat it--or anything, and as soon as I got it on the plate for Walt, I took to the recliner and eventually went back to sleep. At 10, I staggered into the living room and flopped on the couch, where i slept until 1 a.m., after which I moved to the recliner again and slept an other 3 hours, during which time i seemed to be dreaming about various scenes from Room.

Whatever was wrong last night seems to have righted itself and I feel OK this morning, very happy that Walt set up coffee to start by timer so that I could wake up to freshly brewed coffee!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Today at Logos

We had sushi for dinner tonight.  Sushi Unlimited has weird names for their rolls.  These are, left to right, River Cats, Lincoln Hills, and Garlic delight.

They were delicious.

It's what we do on Paul's birthday.  My Facebook history (as well as my FTW history) is full of pictures of sushi taken at various years in the past.

But before dinner, there was Logos. Such a slow day.  In the entire day, we had $69 in sales!  I met Mike, a brand new volunteer, covering for Sandy while she and her wife are on another vacation.  Mike is delightful, ebullient and when he left he left an orange for me.

Customer Doreen was there when I took over for Mike.  She was looking for a dictionary that would translate common phrases.  I found one for her and also said that if she liked English an words, she should try Bill Bryson's "The Mother Tongue."  After a long time, she left without buying anything, but promised to return.

A tall, black curly headed Aussie said that every time he walks outside today it rains, when he come into the store, it stops.  He bought a copy of "Tacitus." 

Another dressed in black tall guy reminded me of Rasputin and when I found out his name was "Gregory" an an unpronounceable last name, perhaps a relative....?  He bought 2 bargain books and a book on Zen. 

A woman in a chartreuse raincoat and a big walking boot didn't buy anything but had lots of questions -- who is the current artist? conversation evenings? music?  She signed up to be on the mailing list.

It was my day for debonair,  The first guy looked like he walked out of the pages of "Fifty Shades of Grey."  Tall, black wool overcoat over a grey suit with a purple shirt. a grey scarf casually slung around his neck. and highly polished fashionable black shoes. (He bought a book called "Krakatoa." He was surprised to find I didn't have small plastic bags and seemed unaware of the Davis bag law and couldn't figure out why we had it.) Another guy was in a full business suit, with dazzling white shirt.  You don't often see that in Davis.  He carried a small brown parcel around with him, and was still there when I left.

A guy came in with his child in a stroller, so bundled up that he couldn't even move his head and sat there immobile, eyes occasionally looking around, while Dad was looking through some sheet music. 

I had a nice call from Jeri, who always checks in on January 28.

Bruce actually came in  the store today, no hat, his green scarf round his dirty white clothes and a FedEx package under his arm.  He seemed to be wearing two pairs of light-weight white pants because the top layer had huge holes in the knees and other parts of the legs.  Not sure why he isn't making his own hats any more.  Maybe he only makes them for sun screening, and there has been no sun lately.  He didn't buy anything.

Peter's friend brought in more books to donations and checked the shelves, disappointed to find so many of his previous donations (mostly math books, I think) still sitting on the shelves.

My friend came at 4:15 and bought a copy of "A River Runs through it"  It was only my fourth  sale of the day!

An Asian girl came in wearing a pink leather jacket, with a pink backpack, pink plaid pleated shirt hiked up in back over her black tights.  She didn't buy anything, but looked colorful.

A tall middle aged guy dressed in somber colors had bright blue tennis shows.  He didn't buy anything but I thought his choice of shoes was interesting.

He was followed by 3 Asian girls, each in new-looking tennis shoes, one rimmed in pin, one in purple and one in black.  One of them bought a Roald Dahl book for $2.61.

Not much happened, not many sales, but it was nice to have the sushi dinner to look forward at the end of it.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


When Jeri was 5, and David (#5) was a baby, we decided to take her to Disneyland for some one-on-one time while we enjoyed the park together.  It was such a great idea that we decided to take each of the kids on or about their 5th birthday so they could have Walt and me all to themselves for a weekend.

When we took Paul, it was a particularly busy weekend at the park and every ride we wanted to go on had long switch-back lines.  I remember toward the end of the day, an exasperated Paul screaming ... "NOT ANOTHER LINE!!!!!"

That's how I felt this afternoon, zipping home at a speedy 2 mph over Highway 37, which normally takes half an hour or less to cross from Highway 101 to I-80.  Tonight it took 2+ hours because of rush hour traffic, then I decided to take my favorite "back road" and avoid some of the I-80 traffic, but so did most of the other cars so there was a backup on that.  Then soon after getting on I-80 there was a backup, and there is always a back up going through the Travis AFB area.  By the time we got home what had taken an hour and a half to get there took nearly four hours to get back.

I knew just how Paul felt.

This was another day I had looked forward to which didn't quite work out the way I expected.  My mother's hair has been looking just horrible and she is overdue for a permanent.  The woman who does hair at Atria just doesn't do her hair right.  The last two times she had a permanent, she came out looking like a q-tip.  I decided to call her old hairdresser in San Rafael.  She went to Hannah every week for some 30 years until she moved to Davis.  In fact, the very last thing she did on her last day at her old home was to have Hannah do her hair (my ploy to get her out of the house while the rest of the family cleaned it out without her interference.)

Before I made the appointment, I asked my mother if she'd like to go and she said that yes, it would be fun to see Hannah again. After I made the appointment, I told my mother that she had an appointment and she was pleased and said again how much fun it would be to see Hannah again. I wrote it on her calendar and reminded her it was there.  I told her two days ago, when I left, that I would be back on Wednesday to take her to Hannah. 

I decided to go early and bring along a small lunch, since she wouldn't have time for lunch in the dining room and there is a beautiful lagoon near Hannah's house and I thought we could eat there.  Knowing she doesn't eat much, I made a small cottage cheese and peach salad and bought a pastry and packed all in my new insulated bag, replacing the one I left behind on the bus bench last week.
When I got to her apartment, she wasn't there.  I went looking for her and found her in a corner near the dining room with a cup of coffee and 2 cookies.  Breakfast.  I said I had come to take her to see Hannah and get a permanent.  She grabbed her hair and wailed "do I have to???"  I'm afraid I wasn't very nice about it. She can't help it but I don't know how else to help her.  I could have called her from the Atria parking lot to remind her and by the time I got to the apartment she would have forgotten.

But she reluctantly agreed to go and then kept a stoic silence for the first 20 minutes or so, by which time she forgot where we were going and why--and that she was angry with me for making her go, so the rest of the trip was answering those questions.  We were so late leaving Davis that we barely got to Hannah's in time and had no time for the lunch by the lagoon I had packed.

I dropped her off at Hannah's salon (which is attached to her house) and asked how long I should give her.  She said a little over 2 hours.  I went and found a Chinese restaurant for lunch.  They had a lamb with ginger and scallion that was to die for.  I don't know why more Chinese restaurants don't have lamb dishes.  They are my favorite!

There was so much food, I had enough left over to bring home to Walt for dinner (good thing, since our Blue Apron box never arrived today!)

When I returned to Hannah's, my mother was still under the dryer and Hannah and I chatted...she told me that where I ate lunch was the place where her beauty shop had been before she moved it into her house.  Serendipity.

When my mother's hair got all brushed out, I could see why I was willing do drive so far to have Hannah do it  She looked like a different person.

I think the visit with an old friend --whose name she knows!-- was a great tonic for her as well.
Then there was that horrendous drive home.  By the time we got to Atria, every bone in my body ached and I just let her out so I could drive home.  She was upset that I wasn't coming in and asked how she would find where she was supposed to go.  I suggested she head for the apartment she has been going to every day for the past 3 years.

A very long day and lots of frustration and biting of my tongue, but in the end, definitely worth it.

Interestingly, when I checked my entry for this date last year, I see that she had her hair permed on this date in 2015 too!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Bev's Odd Thoughts

Here are some odd thoughts -- the things that keep me awake at night:

** If I want to visit the midwest, why do I have to travel east?

** Who decided that if you put something as vile-tasting as a raw olive in poison like lye, you could get something delicious enough to serve at Thanksgiving dinner?

** Where is it written that vomiting must be into a toilet? Why not a sink, which is decidedly more pleasant to lean over (and easier to clean!)

** What is it with men’s suits? They sit down and unbutton the coat, they stand up and button the coat, they sit back down again and unbutton the coat. Talk show hosts are the perfect example. They must button and unbutton a dozen times a show. Is it so unacceptable for a man to stand for 10 seconds with a coat unbuttoned?

** What were things better than before there was sliced bread?

** How does Spiderman eat without a mouth?

** Why do Adam and Eve have belly buttons in artwork?

** Why do most politicians run on a platform that includes improving education, yet when budget time comes around, schools are the first budgets to get cut?

Why do so many people believe they should never be responsible for their own actions?  In all the Liberty Insurance commercials, people are complaining that if, for example, they buy a new car and then run it into a tree, their insurance should cover the entire cost of replacement of the car.

Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?

What kinds of questions keep you up at night?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Take it Minute by Minute

It was yet another trip to Kaiser in Sacramento, this time to take my mother for some further in-depth eye films (no suspected problems, I don't think...I think it's just routine, which her doctor told her should be done at least once at her age).

I was feeling SO much better when we got home.  

As bad as she was yesterday, she was a different person today.  She has no memory of the telephone stuff and thinks she must be going crazy, but she never mentioned her age once today.  I did not hear her say the word "old" except once when the technician asked her age.  

We had a nice lunch with a woman named Shirley, with a gorgeous snow white page boy.  She said that "Mildred is the fun one," and recalled having lunch with my mother and her friend Loretta and how they made her laugh (my mother even kinda sorta remembered who Loretta is after I described her).

A waitress also came by our table and said something about how nice my mother is.

I was wishing that I could meet this nice, fun person that everybody seems to like so much!

But it's always nice having lunch with someone like Shirley, who is 85, and who is also strugging with dementia.  The two of them could not finish sentences, but it didn't seem to matter.
I left Atria feeling much better.

An hour after I got home, I had a call from someone at Atria saying people had seen my mother walking in the hall seeming agitated.  I don't know how bad it really was, but I talked with her and it was the same agitation about the feeling that she needed to be doing something but didn't know what it was that she was supposed to be doing.

I explained to the Atria woman that she says this every day and always seems to be upset that she can't figure out what she is supposed to be doing.  I really don't know if this was worse than usual, or if people just saw it this time.  But they decided they'd put her on a watch list for a bit and check her every couple of hours.

I am feeling so helpless right now.  I am making another appointment with my therapist to brainstorm.  I feel like I should make a "to-do" list for my mother each day so she will know what to do, though I can't think of anything to have her "do" since it's all done for her.  I could put activities at Atria on her to-do list, but she is adamantly opposted to having any fun or doing anything but sitting in her apartment that wouldn't work.

The guy with Alzheimers who writes on Facebook almost daily letting people know what is going on inside his mind has beeh helpful but he started writing very long screeds about what a terrible person Obama is, with many followers answering and writing their own angry messages that I finally unfriended him.

Today is my "day off.' No trip to Atria planned. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Shop Therapy

I went shopping at World Market today.

I didn't need anything...what I needed was shop therapy, something I almost never do.

I had left Atria very depressed. I had gone to pick her laundry up and had gone reluctantly.  I hate that I have reached a point where I dread going to see her.

But, dear God can we please talk about anything but how old she is????

This is what we discussed for an hour:
I'm old
I'm almost 100.
I can't be expected to remember things because I'm almost 100
It would be something if I made it to 100.
I don't think I want to live to be 100
Time is passing too quickly.
Time goes on whether you want it to or not.
I'm old.
I'm almost 100.
Over and over and over and over again.

I did manage to distract her by telling her I was cooking polenta for dinner tonight and recalling the first time I had polenta when we were on vacation when I was a little girl.  It was kind of a funny story and she laughed, then heaved a sigh and said "I'm really old, Bev" and we were off again back on the merry-go-round.

Oh, we did briefly discuss the fact that she's cold, and my suggestion that she put on a sweater or a sweat shirt was met with "that look" which says "you can't make me do anything I don't want to do." and she just sat there looking cold. but not admitting that she needed any cover-up.

I finally decided I just could not take any more, so gathered up her dirty laundry and went for a drive, the long way, so I had 10 minutes or so to decompress with my audio book.  Then I decided to try shop therapy.

I burned the handle of my wooden fork last night (not badly but enough that I wanted to replace it--sometime) and decided to go to World Market to get a new one.  World Market had only high end wooden utensils and no forks anyway, but I did a slow tour around the store, bought a couple of things and felt better, if still depressed, when I got home.

Then there was the telephone.  I got a call from my cousin Niecie letting me know that my mother called her and that she didn't get to the phone in time, so she called her back but only heard the sound of shuffling papers.  She called Atria to ask them to check on my mother.  They did and she was fine.  Then I got a call from her and when I answered she wanted to know why I'd called her.  I told her she had called ME and we decided that I'd just see her tomorrow.  5 minutes later she called back, having forgotten that she had called ("that last call wasn't me, but this one is").  She says "the phone keeps ringing and there is never anybody there and I don't know what to do." "How do people even know I'm HERE?" she asked.  I explained to her about Niecie and why the Atria people checked on her.  That seemed to go over all right, for 5 minutes until she called me AGAIN frantic because her phone won't stop ringing and there is never anybody there and she doesn't know what to do.  I suggested she just take the phone off the hook. She said "so you're going to take the phone off the hook?" I explained that I was in my house and I thought maybe SHE could take the phone off the hook.  She said "That's can leave it on the hook."

I was in the middle of cooking dinner but turned everything off and went over there, unplugged her base unit and took the hand set so she couldn't try to call out with it.  I also let Atria know what I was doing and that I would be back tomorrow to hook it all up again.

When I got to her apartment, she was sitting in her chair, across the room from the phone, holding her TV remote and looking at it in puzzlement.  She held it out to me and asked if I needed that.

This  was not a good day.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sunday Stealing

Do you like to see it snowing outside?
If I saw it snowing outside, it would be a miracle.  We've lived here almost 43 years and it has snowed, briefly, twice.

Do you tell your family you love them enough?
We are all pretty good about telling each other we love each other, but especially after Paul and David died.  We end almost every conversation with "I love you" ... because you just never know when it's going to be your last conversation.

Do you like getting jewelry or do you not wear any?
The only jewelry I wear is a necklace and earrings from my granddaughters.  I never take them off.

Do you watch a lot of NFL football?
No.  It's not that I don't enjoy it, I just never turn it on myself.  If Walt is watching, or if we are at Tom's house, I enjoy the camaraderie of watching together, but football ain't my thang.

Have you ever used the word ‘lame’?
Probably.  Mostly to describe a limping animal, though.

Are you/Were you in a band? If so, what was your band name?
Nope.  Never in a band.  My closest to being "in" a band was being a band mom.

When is the last time you went to the doctor?
This month is doctor month.  I've taken my mother a couple of times, I've had eye appointments and I am due for my annual physical next week.

Do you own any shirts with a peace symbol on it?
Yes.  A yellow t-shirt with a giant peace symbol and the word "Peace" on it.

Would you ever go to Japan?
As much as we have traveled, Japan has never been high on my list of places to visit.

What was the last thing you went to Walmart for?
I don't go to WalMart.

Ever gotten in a car accident?
The day I got my license, at age 16, I became a hit and run driver when I ran into the back of a parked car while delivering something to the nuns at my school at night.  The nuns were there watching and never said a word.

Have you ever been in a choir?
I sang choruses on public for years. first in high school and then in various church choirs.  Haven't sung in years, though.  I don't have a singing voice any more.

Do you like the color of your eyes? If not, what color would you want them?
I am happy with my hazel eyes, which Walt has always called "green with yellow flecks."

When was the last time you went ice skating?
Probably in grammar school.  My Girl Scout troop took lessons and we used to go skating at the huge skating rink at Sutro Baths in San Francisco, which was torn down in 1966.

Do you like to brush your teeth?
Sure.  I'm so lazy, I have a Sonicare brush that does all the work for me.  All I have to do is hold it in place.

Have you ever had a surgery?
Only tonsils, when I was 4-1/2

Do you look older or younger than you actually are?
Apparently younger.  When I tell people I'm nearly 73, they don't believe me.

When is the next time you’ll be up on stage?
Hopefully never.  Stage is not my thing either.

Where did you spend your last birthday?
Ned and Marta took Walt and me to Joe's Crab Shack for a double birthday celebration (his birthday is the week after mine).

What is the last show that you watched a full episode of?
The Man in the High Castle

Do you know anyone who lives in Utah?"
Not any more.

Is there anything you need to work on doing soon?
I need to start writing the review of the show we saw last night.

Do your feelings get hurt easily?
As my father told me, continuously, all of my life, "I'm too sensitive."  So, yes.

Do you, or do you know someone who has taken karate lessons?
David took karate lessons.  Our two grandchildren (age 7 and 4) are taking karate now.

Were you ever a boy or girl scout?
I was a girl scout all through grammar school.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Shuckin' and Jivn'

This weekend is definitely calmer than the last two, when I had six shows to review.  I'm only reviewing one show and then have two days off!  Woo hoo!

I had to laugh, though, when I received a promo this afternoon for one of the shows that I reviewed this month.  Theater companies always send out "this show is great! come to see it!" publicity pieces (used to be by mail; now it's e-mail).  In it you find good quotes from reviewers.

I am quoted in this particular publicity piece.  It says "Decidedly Enjoyable" and gives the name of the paper. Actually, my review was luke warm and mostly it pointed out the problems I had with the play, but I did end by saying that because the acting was so good, it was decidedly enjoyable.

I remember when writing promo pieces for the Lamplighters and choosing pull quotes for our own publicity pieces, how we scoured reviews for the sentence, phrase or, like this particularly promo piece, words that made your show sound like a "must see" experience.  A critic could write that something was spectacularly awful and some publicist might pull "spectacular" out of it.  Technically speaking, that word was used, but context is everything! It's why I don't take pull quotes at full value.  I know how they can be manipulated...yes, I said "decidedly enjoyable," but if you read the whole review it doesn't sound as good as that quote makes it sound.

It's all shuckin' and jivin' in the advertising biz.  Just look at Mad Men

There is a lot of shuckin' and jivin' going on in this interminable presidential race, in both parties, but especially the Republicans.  My God what else would you call bringing Sarah Palin in to be your spokeswoman?  Her down home delivery and her truths mixed with lies to make whatshisname look good seems, sadly, to be working at least for the devoted following.

I got a kick out of her blaming Obama for the fact that her son is in jail for domestic violence.  Mrs. "Model of Morality for Conservatives," with 3 out of wedlock grandbabies, now says that it's Obama's fault that her son, who fought in the Iraq war under George Bush, developed PTSD and Obama hasn't helped him.  Gimme a break.  (I wonder how she can pin her daughters' out of wedlock pregnancies on the president...I'm sure she can think of a way)

Trump also brought out John Wayne's daughter to a rally, telling the crowds that if her dad was alive, he'd be voting for Trump (as Colbert said, "if he were alive he'd be a 108 white man...sounds about like Trump supporters.")

But than I have to admit that I had to laugh at Hillary.  Sarah gets trotted out to appeal to the brain dead followers of Trump and Hillary trots out 23 year old pop star Demi Lovato to appeal to younger voters.  When did elections stop being about issues of national and international importance and start being about which famous personality you could get to endorse you?

But like with the pull quotes for stage shows, it's all shuckin' and jivin' and doesn't really give you the full picture of anything

Friday, January 22, 2016

Today at Logos

On the whole it was a relatively quiet day today.  The first customer was the guy who reminds me of Pete Seeger (with a longer beard).  He looked through the art books, then asked where he could find books on Socioogy and ended up buying "The Ecology of Running Waters."

A garrolous woman came in with her husband.  She was looking for books by Bruce Alexander, who writes John Fielding mysteries.  She went on to tell me that Fielding was a real person living in the mid 1700s.  He was the brother of Henry Fielding and a blind social reformer, the founder of London's Bow Street Runners.  He also established the basis for the first criminals records department.

She didn't find any of Alexander's books, but her husband bought two books from our Literature section.

The next customer who came in was a young woman who makes me realize why I do not wear jeans, especially tight ones.

A woman bought "Shoes of the Fisherman."  I remember reading that sometime in high school, I believe, in the years when I was reading religion-related novels.

Bruce passed by the bargain books, but did not come into the store.  I haven't seen him inside the store in a long time.

Peter's friend, who usually brings a box of books when I'm working (and possibly other days as well) showed up with his usual box of donations.

A pregnant girl and her male companion (no rings.  Married?) browsed for a very long time, hand in hand, until he finally bought "the Bicycle Companion."

A middle aged woman who wandered around for a short time before leaving, left a cloud of perfume behind as she passed by the desk, reminding me again why I don't wear perfume.

An older man in a red jacket with a black stripe was wearing red shoes with a black stripe.  He didn't buy anything, but I thought his coordinated ensemble was interesting.  He had a list in his hand as he checked the shelves and obviously didn't find what he was looking for.

A man sat at the front table with a book for about 3 minutes and then came and bought it.  It was a coffee table-type book of black and white photographs.

A tall young man with the bored carriage of the very wealthy Windsor Horn Lockwood III (from Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar books) strolled in, looking down his nose at everything.  I didn't see him leave.

My friend arrived around 4:30.  I had not seen him in several weeks and he said he had been busy "lighting shows in Sacramento."  He bought 3 bargain books (all Robert Parker mysteries) and two books of comic art. It was good to see him again.

The next woman bought a book titled "Fat" from the cookbook section.  I was sorry I hadn't seen it because the title was so intriguing, I had to check it out on Amazon.  "For all of history, minus the last thirty years, fat has been at the center of human diets and cultures. When scientists theorized a link between saturated fat and heart disease, industry, media, and government joined forces to label fat a greasy killer, best avoided. But according to Jennifer McLagan, not only is our fat phobia overwrought, it also hasn’t benefited us in any way. Instead it has driven us into the arms of trans fats and refined carbohydrates, and fostered punitive, dreary attitudes toward food–that wellspring of life and pleasure."  Sorry I didn't have a chance to look through it--especially at the recipes!  (I'm always up for a good fat-laden recipe)

That customer was with a guy who, in his knit cap, reminded me of Matt Lauer on a cold New York morning.  He bought a book of piano music.

My last customer was looking for books by Janet Evanovich for his wife, who was looking at the books outside.  I thought I had seen on on the bargain shelves, but couldn't find any, though I did recommend the "Cat Who..." books when she indicated an interest in them.

I was looking forward to taking the bus home from Logos tonight (Walt had the car in San Francisco) because it would give me ~30 minutes to listen to my audio book. I got to the bus stop so late the bus was arriving and in the rush of getting on, I couldn't find my bus pass. The bus was full and the driver (who certainly could see I was not only a senior citizen, but handicapped too) sat and waited until I found it while everyone in the bus glared at me Then she drove off...and we were halfway home before I realized I had left my thermal lunch bag on the bench. I also had left my house key at home, so had to break into the back yard but the gate wouldn't open and the dogs were leaping at me the whole time. I finally got in the house and had to feed the dogs IMMEDIATELY and as soon as I sat down to look at the mail, the phone rang with a robo call about solar heating.

At least it didn't rain.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Look, Ma...

Amazing what a difference it makes when you floss.  This is flossing season around here, when I eat lots of fresh oranges, get pulp in my teeth so floss frequently.  Thus, when I saw my dental hygienist today, she had nothing bad to say about the condition of my teeth, nor did Cindy (my dentist) when she double checked. And my new x-rays were fine. I guess the secret to good dental hygiene is eating oranges!  Whoda thunk.

I went directly from the dentist's office to Susan's house (Susan, the owner of Logos).  Susan is Char's late cousin's daughter and Char and I had invited her to join us for lunch.  We met at Fenton's Creamery at the old Nut Tree center.

Fenton's is primarily known as an ice cream restaurant and they have some of the most extraordinary sundaes and other ice cream delicacies.  But we didn't have dessert.  We just enjoyed our crab salad sandwiches (all 3 of us) and had a nice visit.  (And I had half a sandwich left to bring home for dinner.)

We eventually got around to politics, which we generally do these days.  This is such a scary political year which will either maintain the status quo and improve on it, or change the direction of this country, probably forever.

We had to cut the discussion short, though, because Walt needed the car to drive to San Francisco and asked that I bring it back by 3.  I made it with 5 minutes to spare.  First we loaded up my car with five boxes of books Char had brought to donate to Logos.  She also brought some goodies for me -- 3 Judy Garland CDs from her sister's house and...ta-da! a copy of the kids' book, "The Dragon Takes a Wife,"  We came upon this book by accident 40 or so years ago and we both loved it and thought it was about the funniest book we'd ever read.  It's about a shy dragon who is looking for a wife and gets help from a jive-talking fairy named Mabel Mae Jones, who turns herself into a dragon, helps him win a duel with another dragon, marries him and helps him get a good job in the post office.

Having the book back again just made my day, though I haven't a clue what I'm going to do with it. 
At the time we first read it, we decided it was the most racist children's book we ever read, though it won the Newberry Award and the Coretta Scott King award, so maybe not...

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


I received notification from Amazon that they had charged my account for a book and sent it to my Kindle.  It was a title I didn't recognize and I immediately logged onto Amazon to check my account.  The book, "The Road to Little Dribbling, Adventures of an American in England," was the latest by Bill Bryson, and I had pre-ordered it several months ago and the book had just been released.  I was thrilled.

Bill Bryson is one of my favorite authors.  I encountered him for the first time when I read his "The Mother Tongue," the story of the English language.  It became my favorite book.  Who knew that a subject as dry as etymology could be so much fun?

I started reading all of his books.  I found a copy of his "Notes from a Small Island," his salute to England, where he had lived for many years, as he was about to return to the U.S., at a book store in Cambridge, when Walt and I were driving around England.  We were visiting many of the spots that Bryson was writing about and it became an unexpected travel guide.

His "In a Sunburned Country" was such fun to read after I'd visited Australia (though he gives short shrift to Western Australia), and "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid" was a fun meander back through the 50s, remembering my childhood.  His book on Shakespeare was fascinating, discovering how little the world really knows about the Bard.  I think I have all of his books and have read just about all of them,

So learning that I had a brand new Bryson on my Kindle was great news and I had free time in the morning and spent a luxurious three hours sitting in a comfortable chair reading the book, and then read it through my down time at the hospital information desk all aftenoon. I got nearly halfway through it.  This is his follow up to "Notes from a Small Island," and is another tour around lesser known spots in England.  I loved his story of George Everest, the man for whom Mount Everest was named, who is buried in St. Andrew's churchyard in the Sussex town of Hove, a place we have visited (not Brighton, Hove, actually).  I wanted to share the story with you.  Everest never even saw the mountain.  He was sent to India to work as chief assistant on an enterrise known as the "Great Trigonometrial Survey," which had at its goal to determine the circumference of the earth.  Everest went nowhere near the Himalayas.

The British most commonly called the mountain Peak XV and no one at the time had any idea that it was the tallest mountain in the world, so when someone put Everest's name on the map, it wasn't intended as a momentous gesture.  In the end, the trigonometrical survey was found to be largely inaccurate anyway, so Everest died having achieved very little.

Everest died in London, but was taken to Hove for burial.  No one knows why.  He had no connection to the town or to any part of Sussex.  "I was greatly taken with the idea of the most famous mountain in the world being named for a man who had no connection to it and whose name we don't even prononce correctly" (he pronounced it Eve-rest).

This is the kind of little known information that Bryson litters his books with and why I love them so much.  That and delightful observations like this, to which I can relate:
The worst part about aging is the realization that all your future is downhill.  Badas I am today, I am pretty much tiptop compared with what I am going to be next week or the week after.  I recently realized with dismay that I am even too old now for early onset dementia.  Any dementia I get will be right on time.  The outlook generally is for infirmity, liver spots, baldness, senility, bladder dribble, purple blotches on the hands and head as if my wife has been beating me with a wooden spoon (always a possibility), and the conviction that no one in the world speaks loud enough.  And that's the best scenario  That's if everything goes absolutely swimmingly.  There are other scenarios that involve catheters, beds with side railings, plastic tubing with my blood in it, nursing homes, being lifted on and off toilets and having to guess what season it is outside--and those are all still near te best-case end of the spectrum.
As funny as that is, it is also depressing...and so very true.  So much of it reminds me of my mother (especially the part about wondering what season it is outside because she won't open the glass door two inches from her hand, but waits for me to come and give her a weather report!)

Anyway, Bryson is just delightful to read, full of fun hitherto unknown facts and observations and given that I am one day closer to death whenever I wake up, I need to hurry and finish this book while I still have most of my faculties about me.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Stage Fighting

This morning I was a real writer.  I had a review to write for the show we saw on Sunday and a review to finish for the show we saw on Friday.  I also then had to write a shorter review for both shows for the News and Review.  I am learning that it is more difficult to write short than to write long, especially when you have a show like Echo Location which we saw on Sunday, which seems to need a lot of explaining.

The show is about a couple planning their upcoming nuptials, sitting in the back yard (beautiful set, filled with colorful flowers).  The guy, Benjamin, is going through some angst because he had broken in to the home of his fiancee's former boyfriend in order to pack up her things which were still there.
In the process of the break-in, he scared the boyfriend's cat who leaped into the air and got caught in the circulating fan, which decapitated him.  Benjamin has returned home with what remains of the cat, in a stained bag.  (Have I mentioned this is supposed to be a comedy?)

Also important to the plot is the fact that Benjamin's fiancee is African American (Benjamin is not), as is her former boyfriend.

There are all sorts of problems with the plot, beginning with the fact that the fiancee was only with her ex for 3 months, yet here she is with Benjamin, before she has even removed her things from the other house, planning a wedding.  We get no back story on how that all happened.

There are a lot of other things that enter into it, but eventually the boyfriend shows up.  He's angry that Benjamin has stolen his girl and he's distraught over the death of his cat.  He tells Benjamin that he needs to beat him up  He seems to be suffering from a controlled rage, but they agree that a beating seems preferable to reporting the break-in to the police.  He insists that it must be done before the wedding. Benjamin agrees, since he seems to feel he needs to be beaten to asuage him of his guilt.

So on the day of the wedding, the boyfriend shows up in his best dress, removes his shirt and delivers a punch to Benjamin's midsection.  He then hits him so hard in the face that Benjamin is driven onto the porch of the house, where he disappears behind the potted plants, and is presumably beaten unmercifully

I had problems with the fact that the lighting for this scene cast a silhouette on the wall of the boyfriend, larger than life and it seemed to accentuate black on white violence.

When the beating is over, Benjamin, his face beaten in, returns to the yard and the wedding progresses, with the boyfriend sticking around for the celebration.

Now there are two things about this scene  One is that while the beating seems to go on for an extraordinarily long time, I realized that it needed to because obviously behind those colorful plants, Benjamin was busy putting on his 'beaten face' makeup.

I was also impressed with how effectively the beating went on, and how realistic it looked and sounded.

It took me back the the days when our kids learned stage fighting and did it so well they convinced strangers that they really were beating each other up (you have to learn the timing of hitting your own hand to make the sound at the same time while your partner jerks his head in the direction that a punch would go if it landed, or the victim hits his own hand while he jerks his head and the punch misses him entirely. Looks VERY real!)

The most memorable experience we had with stage fighting was in Yellowstone park where I was waiting outside of the camp gift shop with 3 or 4 of the kids while Walt was inside with Paul.  Because they were bored, two of the kids started fighting.  They had a glorious punch out all over the parking lot while I stood by, watching them, and kind of smiling.

A woman standing near me was absolutely appalled that I, as their mother, was doing nothing to break up this terrible fight between the kids.

I don't remember if I ever told her what was really going on.  I hope I didn't.  If not, she had a great story to tell her family later.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Super Size It

It comes as a surprise to no one that one of the most recognized health problems in America is obesity.  I am a prime example.  But I don't know if you have noticed or not, every time the Health Department comes out with some dire prediction about what health risks come along with fat and start touting a diet of kale juice an celery sticks, the big fast food joints come out with a new better, bigger, fattier version of their basic burgers.  If a double burger isn't enough, how about a triple and then supersize it with large fries and a gallon of coke.

If I have any redeeming fast food qualities at all it's that I can't eat a lot of food any more, don't like sauce at all, so my standard order would be a regular cheeseburger, plain, small fries, and I'll wash it down with the bottled water in the car.

But I came across a show today called The Tastiest Places to Chow Down on the Travel Channel  It was mind blowingly appalling, even for someone who likes food.  I took notes on a few of the more unbelievable joints.

Start with Juan in a Million in Austin Texas, which serves the Don Juan burrito as its specialty.  This is one whole potato, 2 eggs and bacon piled on a tortilla and covered with cheese to finish.

The record is 7 Don Juans at one sitting.

Big Lou's Piza in San Antonio has a pizza so big it is "heavier than a small child."  It's 3-1/2 feet wide and weighs 30 lbs.  They had to build a special oven to cook it in.  It takes a quart of sauce, 6 pounds of mozarrella, then all the usual toppings--pepperoni, sausage bacon, olives, peppers, etc, then top with another 6 lbs of mozarella and bake.

The Country Pancake House in Ridgewood, New Jersey serves 9 egg omelettes, French toast the size of shoe boxes and huge flapjacks, six times the size of a normal pancake (regular serving = 2 per person)

Steak & Main in Baltimore issues a Great Steak Challenge, which consists of multiple cuts of beef from all different parts of the cow, totaling a whopping 76 ounces of beef, plus 1 pound of sides.  You must finish everything in one hour.  If you complete it, the meal is free.  If you don't, you owe the restaurant $140.

Cecilia's Cafe in Albuquerque serves a 10 lb "Fireman's Burrito" with 4-1/2 lbs of pork, beans, bacon, and cheese.

The Big Jud burger at Big Jud's in Boise starts with two frisbee sized 1 lb patties, with swiss cheese, bacon and mushrooms on the biggest hamburger bun I've ever seen.

Sodolak's Country Inn in Snook, Tx has created battered, deep fried bacon.  Each serving is six strips of the fried bacon with a creamy gravy.

If you can eat an original Manuel’s Special burrito at El Tepeyak in Los Angeles on your own—you have one hour in which to complete this task—you score a free “I Ate the Whole Thing T-Shirt.”

There are five burger challenges at the Eagle Deli in Boston, everything from the Nick Lachey Burger (1 1/2lbs of burger, 6pcs of swiss cheese, 6pcs of bacon, 1/2lbs of fries, and a fountain soda. $16.99) on up through the Cowabunga burger, the Reilly Burger, and the Paul Jones Burger to the Eagle's Challenge, which is 5 lbs of burger, 20 pcs of bacon, 20 pcs of American cheese, 5lbs of fries, 1 deli pickle, and a fountain soda. $59.99

These are only nine of the top 100 restaurants in this country.  Is it any wonder that we have an obesity problem?

Anybody remember Mrs. Joy Boy?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Sunday Stealing

76. What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
"Never go to the foot when the head can be had." My godfather told me that when I was a child.  He meant that if you need assistance or to complain, don't go to the underling, who doesn't give a rap about your satisfaction, but to the head guy who wants to keep your business.  (Of course in this day and age I'm not so sure that is still true in all cases, but that advice has definitely served me very well over the years..)

77. Is it easier to forgive or forget?
Definitely forgive.  It's difficult or impossible to forget the pain that some actions cause.

78. First mobile phone?
I don't remember, but it was the size of a regular phone and we kept it in the car.

79. Strangest dream?
Last night I dreamed Bobby Flay had all of his fingers cut off, to the first joint and he was trying to learn how to cook again.  (This may have been because I was sleeping through his show on the Food Network!)

80. Best dream?
I don't really dream much and I can't remember an outstanding good dream.

81. Who is the smartest person you know?
Stephen Peithman, a friend from the Davis Comic Opera Company.  He's a walking encyclopedia of theater.

82. Who is the prettiest person on you know?
My two granddaughters, of course.  Could there be any doubt? 

83. Do you miss anyone right now?
I miss my sister, who was murdered in 1971.  I would like to have someone to share decision-making and visits with our mother.

84. Who do you love? Why?
My family, of course.  Because they are so loveable!

85. Do you like sharing?
Depends on what, but basically yes.

86. What was the last picture you took with your phone?
I took a selfie at the hospital yesterday when I was volunteering and there was absolutely nothing to do but sit at the desk reading..

(not a very good selfie!)
87. Is there a reason behind everything that happens?
I suppose that in the grand cosmos there is, but darned if I can figure out what it is sometimes.

88. Favorite genre of music?
Show tunes

89. If you had one word to describe yourself, what would it be?

90. Describe your life in 5 words.
Writer, daughter, committed, content, frustrated

91. Craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Baked 10 pumpkin pies to give to 10 children so they could toss them at each other.

92. First three songs in your favorite playlist?
I don't really have a play list.

93. Are you more creative or logical?
Oh my word, there is no "logical" in my brain.  Definitely creative.

94. Would you rather lie or hurt someone with the truth?
Lie.  The truth could hurt too much.

95. What are you most proud of?
Raising children to adulthood, seeing what wonderful adults they have become, and considering all of them among my best friends.  Second would be writing a book. 

96. What personality trait do you admire in other people?
Empathy, kindness, a sense of humor and a love of dogs

97. When you imagine yourself as really, really relaxed and happy, what are you doing?
Sitting in my recliner, with a book on my lap, the TV on, and me napping.

98. How do you usually start a conversation?

99. What is the best news you could hear right now
That Donald Trump and Ted Cruz had left the race.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Never Forget

I worked at the hospital yesterday.  It was very quiet.   I think in four hours I gave directions to two people. The difference between working in the hospital and working at Logos is that on a slow day at Logos, I can count on having customer interaction at least a few times throughout the day.

But sitting all alone at the desk with absolutely nothing to do gave me chance to read my book and I haven't quite finished it but I should finish it by the end of today.

The book is called "We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families."  The subtitle is "Stories from Rwanda" and it is written by Philip Gourevitch, who spent several years in Rwanda following the genocide there and has written a shocking expose of what happened and how the world reacted

After World War II and the liberation of the concentration camps the world promised "never again."  I have heard that over and over again throughout my life.  Never again will we allow the mass murder of a whole group of people happen.  The world will be there.  We will protect the innocent.

And that's a good thing.  Should someone decide to kill all the Finnish people in the world, for example, you know that all the nations of the world will gather together and wipe out those who wish to exterminate the Finns.

Where they in 1994 when genocide was taking place in Rwanda?

I remember being vaguely aware of what was happening.  Something about Hutus and Tutsis an a war going on.  I remember thinking, innocently, why black people were killing black people and how could you tell who was Hutu and who was Tutsi and what it was all about anyway.  I watched the movie Hotel Rwanda and I took on sponsorship of a young girl in Rwanda, but I still was not really aware of what happened in Rwanda.

I learned, in this book, that the Tutsi people supposedly are descended from Abel (you know--Adam and Eve's kid).  Abel was a rancher and that was why he was hated by his brother Cain, who was a farmer from whom the Hutus descended.  Apparently the enmity between tillers of the soil and those who raise cattle has existed...forever (remember that song in Oklahoma where they talk about how the farmer and the rancher should be friends?)

In the 1990s, about 85% of the population of Rwanda was Hutu and the rest Tutsi.  Everyone had to have ethnic cards which identified to which group they belonged (sound familiar, Mr. Trump?) In 1959 there was a Hutu revolution which drove as many as 300,000 Tutsis out of Rwanda, making them an even smaller minority in the country.

In 1990, a bunch of Tutsi refugees in Uganda invaded Rwanda and the hostilities lead to negotiations between the two sides and an agreement calling for a transitional government, sharing power between Hutus and Tutsis. which angered the Hutu extremists.

In 1992 the extremists began to stockpile weapons.  The economic situation in the country left tens of thousands of young men without any prospect of a job, resentful of their idleness, which made them ripe for recruitment. The goal was to wipe out the Tutsis.  "The people were the weapon and that meant everybody the entire Hutu population had to kill the entire Tutsi population...If everybody is implicated, then implication becomes meaningless. A Hutu who thought there was anything to be implicated in would have to be an accomplice of the enemy  'we the people are obliged to take responsibility ourselves and wipe out this scum'" (sound familiar, Mr. Trump?)

In April of 1994 a plane carrying Major General Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu and leader of the Rwandan government for 2 decades, along with the president of Burundi, was shot down.  It was never proven who shot down the plane, but Hutu militia groups were suspected.  Within an hour of the plane crash militia groups began setting up roadblocks and barricades and slaughtering Tutsis.
Over the next several months over 800,000 people were slaughtered while local officials called on Hutus to kill their Tutsi neighbors.  Men, women and children were killed, many by machete lopping off their heads.

The international community mostly remained on the sidelines during the genocide.  UN troops in the country offered little resistance and foreign governments shutdown their embassies and evacuated their nationals. Rwandans who pleaded for rescue were abandoned. A radio broadcaster gloated "You cockroaches must know you are made of flesh.  We won't let you kill.  We will kill you."

People frantically reached out to anyone they could.  Though telephones were cut off, there was a fax machine in the Hotel des Mille Collines, where many Tutsis took refuge (this is the hotel in Hotel Rwanda, where the manager managed to save many lives).  Hutus didn't now the phone number so were unable to disable it.  They called the King of Belgium and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France. They sent faxes to Bill Clinton,   They sat up through the night sending faxes, calling, and ringing the whole world.  But those who vowed to never let something like this happen again remained silent and let it happen

The UN finally sent in troops, several months after the genocide was over.  The French sent in troops, but after the slaughter and only to provide humanitarian aid.
Take the best estimate:  eight hundred thousand killed in a hundred days.  That's three hundred and thirty-three and a third murders an hour--or five and a half lives terminated every minute.  Consider also that most of these killings actually occurred in he first three or four weeks, and add to the death toll the uncounted legions who were maimed but did not die of their wounds, and the systematic and serial rape of Tutsi women--and then you can grasp what it meant that the Hotel des Mille Collines was the only place in Rwanda whereas many as a thousand people who were supposed to be killed gathered in concentration and, as Paul [the manager] said, 'Nobody was killed.  Nobody was taken away.  Nobody was beaten.
The church was of no help. One bishop, who could have sheltered people, refused, carried a gun himself and when soldiers came to slaughter his flock, served them drinks.  "59 bishops have been killed.  I don't want to be #60." After it was over, a strong case could have been made for his arrest, but "the Vatican is too strong and too unapologetic for us to go taking on bishops.  Haven't you heard of infallibility?"

Ironically, the UN came in to help when they learned that in the death camps in Rwanda there were dogs who were eating the dead.  "They never used their excellent weapons to stop the extermination of civilians, but it turned out that the peacekeepers were very good shots.  The genocide had been tolerated by the so-called international community but the corpse-eating dogs were a health problem."
On July 12, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross pronounced that a million people had been killed in the genocide.
Who the hell cared about Rwanda?  I mean, face it. Essentially, how many people really still remember the genocide in Rwanda?  We know the genocide of the Second World War because the whole outfit was involved.  But who really is involved in the Rwandan genocide?
In the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, many prominent figures in the international community lamented the outside world’s general obliviousness to the situation and its failure to act in order to prevent the atrocities from taking place. As former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali told the PBS news program “Frontline”: “The failure of Rwanda is 10 times greater than the failure of Yugoslavia. Because in Yugoslavia the international community was interested, was involved. In Rwanda nobody was interested.” Attempts were later made to rectify this passivity.

An International Tribunal set up to investigate the genocide shut down after 20 years and $2 billion during which time only 61 people, mostly high ranking government officials, were indicted.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Today at Logos

Here's another reason I love working at Logos.  Not only have they delivered $250,000 to Doctors Without Borders and Save the Children ever since the store opened, but this sign popped up on the front window this week.  These are truly good people.

Sandy was there when I arrived but left quickly as a customer approached the desk, on the phone talking with his girlfriend.  As he left James Joyce's "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" on the desk, he tells me he's an English major and he looks forward to summer when he can read what he wants and says he leans toward Sci Fi, but that he "tries to read something that wll make his professor happy.

While I was ringing him up, a guy came in with a book, said "I'm late for my train.  This book is $6. Here's $7.  Keep the change"  I never got a chance to even see what the book was (but apparently what he gave us was .49).

A man bought a vegetarian cookbook and a French novel ("Mr. Mozart").  She had one of the new chip credit cards, but our machine would not read it, so I had to swipe.  When I did, I noticed that he had the same name as the son of a friend of mine...but he looks much too old to be that guy.
A group of 5 young women came in.  One of them had green hair an she said she was looking for a book of poetry in Latin.  When I said I didn't think we had one, she managed to find a book called "Latin Literature of the Empire," written in Latin.

A girl rushed in with 3 travel books to donate.  They were ice cold when she took them out of her bag, which told me what the temperature was outside.  The books were on Prague, Vienna and London and I smugly noted to myself that I had been to all three places.

A woman wanted to know how much longer our current art display will be up.  It's fairly new and will be on display through March.

Shortly after she left, another woman came in to mention how much she enjoyed the exhibit, and that it was her favorite of all the displays that the store has had.

This is a display of drawings by artist Margaret Eldred who has drawn pen and ink pictures of trees around California.

Eldred is a family name from Walt's father, back in England.  I wonder if they are distant cousins!

I looked outside and it was raining hard.  My mother has mentioned many times how much she misses watching rain, so I called her to tell her to look out the window, but she didn't answer her phone.

A guy bought "The Psychological Study of Jesus."  He was wearing a strange backpack which had pouches on either side of his back instead of in the middle of the back.  Looked like saddlebags.

Another guy was looking for the "finance section" but had to repeat it for me three times because I thought he was saying he was looking for the violence section.  I gotta stop watching Criminal Minds and NCIS.

When I rang him up, it used up the last of the tape in the cash register.  Oddly, it had given me no hint (like a red line) that it was running out, so I was working blind in trying to remember how to put the new tape in.  I usually just look at how the previous one is wound.  But thanks to the manual for the machine, I finally got it loaded properly.

Two young women were looking for Harry Potter books and I directed them to the children's room.  There were shrill shrieks of delight, so I figured they were successful.  She practically had hot flashes when she discovered that each of the 3 books she bought was only $6.  She kept gulping for air and fanning herself.  After she bought the books, she went back into the room, bought 4 books of the Babysitters Club series, "Little House on the Prairie and one other young adult fiction. 

A tall older guy wearing a green jacket and a green knit cap, and carrying a cup of coffee came in.  After looking around the store, he bought two spiritual books, one on Daily Meditations, and one on Native American spiritualism.

Around 5, Walt came in on his way to the pub.  He was distributing posters for the upcoming Citizens Who Care concert. 

The last customer of the day was ... ME.    When I put the poster up for Walt, I saw an autobiography of Judi Dench on display at the front table, and I had to have that.  The last 2 hours of the day were pretty slow, but it gave me a chance to read the book I'd brought, which I should finish soon and must write about when I do.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The 7 Dwarfs

As I sat down to eat my yogurt yesterday morning, I suddenly gave a loud, explosive sneeze.  A few minutes later, there was another one.
Lately I've been sneezing.  It's weird because I sneeze two or three times, deep somewhat satisfying sneezes, and then I'm finished. It generally happens once in the morning and once at night.  I am assuming it is some kind of weird allergy that only affects me, briefly twice day.
But as I thought about it, I couldn't help but think of the 7 dwarfs.  An I realized that I pretty much embody all of the dwarfs at one time or another.
Today, for example, I expect to be wandering around Logos looking like Sleepy.  I woke up around 2 a.m. this morning and for the first time in a very long time, I could not get back to sleep.  So unless I can get in a nap before going to Atria for lunch, I am going to be fighting sleep all afternoon.  I noted with some amusement that one year ago, I was writing about waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to get back to sleep.
The dwarf I identify most with, of course, is Bashful.  I may not be Sneezy all the time and I may not be Sleepy all the time, but I am bashful all the time.  I cover well, sometimes, but there is always that little dwarf inside me who is looking for the potted palm to hide behind so I don't have to find something to say to people.
Going without sleep often makes me Grumpy.  But there are a lot of other things that make me Grumpy.  Lately all the Obama-bashing on Facebook has made me very grumpy.  It is amazing to me how much hatred and downright disrespect there is of our president.  Grrrr.
Of course I can be Happy too. Yesterday I received an order from the Roaman's fat lady catalog.  It is my week for free stuff.  I ordered a coat.  I have not had a new coat in decades and I found one I like...and because it was over $75 and because I ordered in the right time frame, they tossed in a free parka.  I almost like the parka better than the coat, though the coat will be what I wear to the theater a lot so I stop looking like my disheveled colleague.  Yes, I am very happy right now.
I guess I'm a bit like Doc too.  This is the guy who wears glasses and gets his words mixed up from time to time.  With my new specs coming, and my approaching dementia (any day now!), I often feel like doc.
But mostly I feel like Dopey.  Especially when I am sleepy and bashful.  Dopey is also the lovable dwarf and I hope that maybe I have that quality about myself too.

And now I'm going to crawl back into my recliner and see if maybe I can get a little more sleep.  Then, hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to work I go...

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


No, I didn't win the Powerball (maybe because I haven't bought a ticket), but I felt nearly as good as if I had this morning.

Today was my long-awaited day with the optometrist.  I knew I would not be getting new glasses today, but this was the first step toward actually getting relatively normal vision again, after so long!

Dr. Maebori is a neat guy.  I've seen him several times before and like him a lot.  Again, it was amazing to me that I could actually read a couple of lines of the vision chart with my newly restored eye.  He wrote up a new prescription and I headed downstairs to "Vision Essentials," where you buy glasses through Kaiser.

The clerk suggested I go and pick out frames I like, but I knew from past experience that wouldn't work.  I can't see well enough without my glasses to see what I look like in new frames.  One time I thought I'd be very clever and I brought my friend Lynn with me to help choose frames.  We brought my camera and after we found some frames that looked good, she would take my picture wearing them and I could see them on my face with my glasses and choose which one(s) I liked.

I think i picked 3 possibles but when it was time for me to meet with the lady who orders the glasses for you, she told me that with my prescription none of them would work  Maybe because I wear trifocals and they weren't big enough.  I don't remember why exactly, but she chose a couple of frames that would work and that's how I got the frames I've been wearing ever since. And I'm happy with them.

So I sat in the waiting room until finally "Cynthia" came to help me.  I told her I was happy with my current frames and she went off to see  what they had that was similar and discovered they still had that brand, and brought me four pairs from which to choose.

Color is in now and I chose a nice blue color.  In truth, red is my favorite color, but the shades of red they had I didn't like and actually I wear more blue than anything else, so blue will be fine.  It's not "hit you in the face" blue, but very subtle.

Then came the moment when she had to figure out the cost

I cringed when she put down $175 for the frames and another $179 for the lenses.  But I justified the cost by reminding myself that I hadn't had a new pair in about 10 years or more.  I turned down the chance to have the lenses that darken automatically, mostly because I was told once that with my lenses that was not possible (I think because of the trifocals).  I also turned down extra insurance and a safety coating on the lenses.  I figured I would try to keep the cost down as much as possible.
Then she started subtracting certain discounts.  There is, for example, a one time cataract discount and a couple of other discounts.  

When she finished doing all that, it turned out that my new glasses were going to cost me...are you ready for this?...$5.00.

We were both amazed and she even checked it all a second time, but that was right.  Five dollars.  But then she checked something else, leaned back in her chair and said, "No.  You don't owe anything for them."

So in ten days or so, I will have my new glasses and I will (maybe) find out what this "depth perception" thing is all about.  People have been telling me about it for years.  And it won't cost me a cent.  She says that there is a possibility they might still send me a bill for $5, but I don't think I'll complain if they do!

I told her she was now officially my very favorite clerk...ever!