Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Losing My Title

I have mentioned here several times, I believe, that I grew up on one of the steepest hills in San Francisco.  We were on Leavenworth, between Union and Filbert.  The Filbert street hill, from Hyde to Leavenworth, is "the" steepest hill in the city.  (In fact, I don't know why people spend so much time going down the crooked street two blocks away when going down Filbert is MUCH more scary!)

When I was going to high school, there were no such things as drivers' ed classes, at least not in Catholic girls' schools, so when it came time for me to learn to drive, I had lessons from my father.  Our sessions frequently ended with neither of us speaking to each other, but I did learn how to drive.  And park.

We never had an automatic transmission so I learned on a standard transmission and since a good deal of my time in the car would require me to park on our hill, I had to learn how to parallel park on the hill using our standard transmission Chevy.

I was damn good at it.  I was master of the clutch, often parking perfectly with only one pass, lining the car up perfectly.

(Now  the city has changed parking on the hill to diagonal parking which I feel is cheating!  Wimps!)
Now I live in a town where the steepest hill is the overpass over the freeway (and there is no parking  there), so I should be a wiz at parking anywhere in town.  But the older I get, the worse I get.  I can't get the car straight, even with maybe 10 different back and forths.  I get out of the car and there is a good 12 inches from the car to the curb.

It's downright embarrassing to someone who was such a master of parking in San Francisco.  I chalk it up to age, poor vision, a less flexible neck, and the taller seats in these modern cars.  But whatever the reason, I can't park well to save my soul any more

Today I outdid myself.

There was no parking available at Atria, so I went looking on the street where there was also almost no parking available except for those tantalizing vacant Zip car spots.

But then I spied a spot that might work.  It would be tight, but maybe I could squeeze in.

Less confident than normal, I tried angling the car right but it wasn't right and it required lots of back and forth, back and forth until I was well and truly stuck and could no longer move.  My back tires were against the curb and my front tires were right on top of the back of the car in front of me.

To make matters worse, two servers I recognized from the dining room at Atria told me that I had hit the car in front and was now hooked on its bumper.

(left shot is from the street side, right from the curb side)
It really didn't look like I had hit the car, but merely that I was wedged against it (the dent is from another accident) but I was afraid to try to move.  Thank god for AAA.  I called for a truck and while waiting called Walt and told him I was never, ever going to leave the house again.

In due course, my savior arrived.

and he did what I was GOING to do until the servers from Atria convinced me I would further damage the other car.  He got in my car, put it in reverse, backed over the curb, and I was free.  The "fix" took about 2 seconds.

It used to be that if I couldn't find parking in the lot or a BIG spot on the street, I would run an errand and come back later, but it was so late in the day that wasn't possible--and I had not gone to see her yesterday because of the picnic.

I did manage to find a BIG on-street parking slot that just opened up, with only a huge pile of tree clippings in front of me to damage.  

I had an hour visit with my mother, most of which was discussing who was in the 8x10 photo on her dresser (it's my sister's graduation photo).  As soon as I told her and we talked about how she died >50 years ago, she would look out the window or at one of her artificial flowers and tell me how beautiful they are and then point to Karen's photo again and ask who it was.  But otherwise it was OK and it was a nice way to wind down after the parking fiasco.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Death Wish

It was in July of 1986 when I developed freeway terror.  It was the night my friend Gilbert died and I drove to his house in San Francisco to "straighten up" (throw away the gay) before his straight-laced family from Oklahoma arrived.  It was late at night, I was obviously distraught and it terrified me being on the freeway.

That night I "knew" that I would die by a big truck rolling over on me.  I knew it.  To this day I am terrified of driving past a big truck.  For many years I was so afraid of just driving on the freeway that if I was alone, I would always, always choose the frontage road as far as it would go before getting back on the freeway.  An hour trip could take an hour and a half, but I avoided trucks.

Things are a bit better now.  I still "know" I will die in some terrible truck accident and I am still nervous just riding on the freeway, especially on a holiday weekend, when the accident rates are higher and I know whenever we leave the house that I will not make it back home again alive.
It ain't a fun way to live, but I compensate by either reading my kindle or sleeping to avoid looking out the front window where I know that my inevitable end is coming.

Today, Memorial Day, we had our annual Paul Picnic.  This is an event that Paul's best friend Kag started the year after Paul died and has continued every year since.  It is a gathering of as many of his friends who can make it in a park near Berkeley.  There is a big barbeque, lots of food, always music, sometimes games.  We have watched the kids in the group grow up, year after year.  The kid who wasn't even born when Paul died is now driving.  He is the oldest in the group and there are lots more (I never kept count).  It is Ned's version of the PiƱata group and I love being around them.

It being the Paul picnic, I dressed in my FTS t-shirt that Kag, a graphic designer, gave to each of us the Christmas after Paul died.  It stands, of course, for "fuck this shit," which is what Paul told his wife once he wanted on his tombstone and which we decided to do, but to abbreviate it so that only those "in the know" knew what it meant.

So Walt and I got in the car for the ride that I knew would be my last on earth and as we were driving along I realized that if I actually were to die, it was appropriate that I was wearing the FTS shirt, but the irony of my shirt would be lost to the world, so I took a selfie to post on Facebook so that after I died everyone would know I died wearing the shirt.

But, of course, I did not die -- again -- and so I am able to talk about the picnic, which, as usual, was enjoyable.

When we got there Kag was busy at the barbeque, while all the little kids were off at the playground.

KC was sitting on a table with a bunch of others singing.

When the food was ready, Kag's wife was cutting up spare ribs and Ned's dog, Bouncer was very interested (though she never steals food off the table).

People wandered around eating and the singing continued.  I looked over at a table and there was my favorite moment of the day, Ned and Kag's youngest son, Henry, playing the guitar together.

Ned was giving Henry some lessons and I got all verklempt at how perfect this "torch is passed" moment was.

Later, when the sun came out, there was relaxing in the sun.

At around 4 p.m. we were packing up and Bart, the wonderful man who drives a golf cart and ferries people around the park to various campsites so they don't have to walk uphill came to get me and take me to the front gate, while Walt and Ned walked there together (the golf cart only holds one passenger).  

Then we were back in the car for the trip home and, so I wouldn't see it coming when that truck rolled over one me, I slept most of the way home.  We arrived safely.

Walt, exhausted, collapsed on the new couch we brought from my mother's, and fell asleep instantly.  Lizzie was confused about why he was just sleeping and not getting up to feed her.

I have defeated death one more time and lived to write another Funny the World entry.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Boxes and Boxes

29 May 2017
Boxes and boxes of candles and tape
Figuring out why he's looking at that .....
I'm liquidating all my assets
I'm calibrating all my fears
The pain is so excruciating
It's hard to fight the tears
                   --The Band Lawsuit

Today it was boxes.  We didn't bring a lot home from my mother's, but a few boxes that I need to sort through to see what I'm going to do with the stuff.  All this crap, as it were.

It's not exactly "excruciating" going through the boxes, but there were a few emotional moments.  I started with the jewelry.  It's not that she had expensive stuff, but some nice costume pieces.  I'm keeping one bauble that needs a chain, for me to wear.  It was given to her by the Bank of America and it is an amethyst, my birth stone.  But the rest of it I will probably give to my cousin, who makes jewelry from old jewelry.  I left her some things in her apartment but I fear for people coming in and stealing her things (already the piece that was probably the best of the lot, a real golden nugget on a chain, has disappeared) I stole them myself!  LOL.

I did find these, though.  I don't know if they are buttons or cuff links or what.

I don't know who the girl (or girl and boy) is/are.  Not a clue.  They were in a container on some sort of material that was so old it had disintegrated.  I am hoping someone in the family recognizes these.

The first box was easy to do.  It was stuff like that, some paper goods and clothes I'm donating to the SPCA.  I had to laugh at a box of lovely note cards that she had.  I laughed at me because I had the cards made for her, forgetting that she never wrote anything to anybody.  There was a camellia bush out in front of her house that had gorgeous blooms on it. She had picked two and put them in a bowl for the table one Cousins Day.  I took a picture of the blooms and then had the photo made into note cards.  She made all the delighted sounds of appreciation when I gave them to her many years ago, but here they were in my box, untouched by human hands.

The older she got, the more difficult it got to buy her things.  I found lovely soaps still wrapped, a bottle of her favorite perfume unopened (I thought I would score big time with that, but no.)  Kinda makes you wonder what's the point of putting so much thought and money into a gift you're sure she'd like and then have it ignored.  But candy and flowers are always good so I went with that for awhile.  She can't have real flowers now, and her apartment is already full of gorgeous arrangements of artificial flowers I got at Michaels, so pretty much no more flowers and thus on gift-giving occasions, I am one of See's candies' best customers!

The box contained beautiful letters from Jeri and all the photos I took on the trip Jeri and I took with Char and her daughters to France and Italy.  I don't know where my set is, so I'm happy to have those.  She also had a print-out of every Funny the World written while we were away.

And then there was the Big Envelope, one of those 9x12" jobs filled with newspaper articles. There were a few about her work with Hospice of Marin, but the bulk of it was filled with articles about Lawsuit (including the full page article the San Francisco Chronicle wrote about a popular band that was quitting after 10 years because it couldn't get a recording contract.  I am particularly proud of that article because I have had marvelous success in getting publicity for people and this was my magnum opus.

And then there were these:

Now that's just obnoxious.  

We made headlines above the fold in the Davis Enterprise twice each time one of the kids died, there was a big write-up on Paul in the Sacramento Bee (the one on  the right there) and another one in the Sacramento News and Review, the paper for which I now work, written by the woman who is now my boss.  I dropped her a note telling her I had found this 1999 article and she said she had not even connected my name with Paul.

Sometimes there is something about being too well known in town!  (And for those latecomers unaware of the circumstances of Paul's death. the coroner ruled it suicide.  I have never believed that, nor have most of the people who knew him best.  If suicide, it was suicide by stupidity, not by intention.)

The best, though, was the article written by Bob Dunning, Davis's version of Herb Caen (for those of you who know who Herb Caen was).  It's headed "an all-too-early end to one of our brightest stars" and yes, this one made me a little emotional. 
Too young.  Too full of life.  Too full of passion.  Too much to live for.  Too able to make us laugh.  Too able to make us cry  And now gone.
He had a presence on stage that was electrifying. ... His angry, crazed, incredibly funny and deeply moving one man shows were legendary.
In a town that has produced so much brilliance, he was one of our brightest stars."
That pretty much ended my box-sorting for the day.

Friday, May 26, 2017


It's days like this when I love being a grandma, and love this correspondence I have started with my granddaughters.

This is my first letter from Lacie and Tom said she insisted on addressing it herself, without help.  He wasn't sure it would arrive or not.  It did and I loved that it was sent without a regulation postage stamp, though I loved that she chose Dorothy to put on as a stamp.

Inside she drew a computer keyboard for me.  Lacie and I are starting a correspondence.  I've been writing to both girls for a couple of years now. Brianna and I now have a "normal" correspondence, since she can read and write well.  It will take a couple of years for Lacie to get there, but I love that, living such a long way away, I have found a way to keep close to the girls.  Both girls are very verbal and love books, so Bri's writing is really very good and I have every expectation that Lacie, who is even more of a bookworm, if possible, will get there too.

* * *
Today Ned came over and helped Walt prune a pomegranate tree. Then they went back to the apartment and removed all the stuff to be taken to the thrift store.  The apartment is now empty.  And I thought we had discovered everywhere she thought of to hide soiled undergarments (desk drawer, kitchen drawers, bedside table, linen closet, etc.) but Ned found a pair of underpants in the oven.  I'm surprised we didn't find any in the refrigerator.

I let Atria know that we're out and they have to do a walk--through with us, but then we're all good.
And then I can confront the bookkeeper for the outrageous $18.000 bill she just sent me!!!!!  Very, very wrong.

When they got back from Atria, Walt and Ned moved the treadmill out of the family room and my mother's couch in...there is now a place for guests to actually SIT in that room!  Don't know what will happen to the treadmill.  The kids and Walt bought it for me to help prepare for the France/Italy tour and it got a lot of use, but not lately.  I am glad to finally have it out of the family room and have that space back again.

* * *
In Sunday Stealing this week, the last question asked what other memes people liked and I found a couple to check out, so today I thought I would do Friday 5.  I skipped Thursday 13, which I might try again (though I did it for about 2 years before), and moved ahead to Friday 5, which I had never seen before:

1. How did you name your pets?
Lizzie arrived as a foster named Happy, which certainly fit her personality, but she has this compulsion to jump and I decided to rename her Leaping Lizzie.  She's getting to be an old lady now and doesn't jump as much as she used to, but she still leaps more than most dogs.
Polly also arrived as a foster and as I was contemplating what to call her, I was watching NCIS and decided to name her Pauley, after Pauley Perette, who plays Abby on the show.  Only everyone thought it was Polly as in Underdog, so I caved and called her Polly.

2. Poirot or Miss Marpel?
I haven't read a lot of Agatha Christie and enjoyed both detectives in the books I did read, but being an old lady myself I tend to lean toward Miss Marpel...England's inspiration, I suspect, for Murder, She Wrote's Jessica Fletcher.

3. Do you have a FB account too?
Is the Pope Catholic?  I have been on FB for so long that in the early days I found a group called "Am I the oldest person on Facebook" and joined it...and I was by far the oldest person in THAT group.  Of course now people of all ages belong, but in the beginning, I was a trailblazer for the grey-haired set!

4. Books - hardcover or paperback
Hardcover, because the print is larger, but really my preference is Kindle, because if the print is too small, I can always make it larger.

5. Mobile (cell phone): Windows/Android or Apple?
I have an Apple iPhone 7.  The only reason I have the 7 is that Verizon gave it to me for free when I tried to upgrade to the iPhone 6.  Basically I love it.  It has features I definitely do not like, but it works better than my old iPhone 4 and I love that.  I have also learned how to use Twitter, which may or may not be a good thing!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Down by the Station

We were down by the station early in the morning, looking for little puffer-bellies, but I guess they don't exist any more, especially not at a train station as small as the one in Davis.

It was kind of a quick morning.  I had set my alarm for 4:30 so I could get up and make cinnamon rolls for Jeri's last breakfast but the alarm didn't go off (or I slept through it) and I woke up with a jolt at 5:15.  No time for cinnamon rolls, but I could whip together some cranberry-walnut muffins.  I'll tell ya, I don't think I was even fully awake when those muffins went into the oven.  I was crashing around the kitchen trying to keep my balance.

But the muffins actually came out of the oven just as Jeri was coming downstairs, so we were able to have a last breakfast together before she headed off for Santa Barbara, where she will spend a few days with Tom and the family, a "fun time" she has earned after all her work here!

We did get down by the railroad tracks just minutes before the Coast Starlight came into view. 

Only time for a quick hug goodbye and Jeri was off to her next adventure.

As for us, we came home and I immediately went back to sleep.  I was awakened a couple of times, but when I gave up and went to the couch to sleep, I was able to sleep until nearly 11, to make up for the sleep I didn't get last night.

At 1 we went back to Atria.  Habitat for Humanity was scheduled to come sometime between 1 and 3.  While waiting, we finished boxing everything up and sorted into what was going to the SPCA thrift shop, what was going to the new apartment, and what was coming home with us.

In one of the boxes filled with lipstick, makeup, scissors and other toiletry items that I almost told Walt to throw away I found buried treasure:

This is 20 Susan B. Anthony dollars and 20 Eisenhower dollars.  I put out a call to see if they were worth more than $1 each and found out that they may be worth a bit more.  Perhaps twice as much as face value.  There is a coin dealer here in town and I will go and have him check.  At the very least, we'll have a dinner out of this!

The guys showed up around 2:30 and in no time at all, they had carted off all of my mother's furniture.

I admit to going out to sit on a chair in the hall to get myself under control, because I was fighting tears.  It's just difficult seeing things you have grown up with all of your life headed off to a charity, though I'm pleased that Habitat for Humanity can use it.  Heck, they even took her ironing board (I was not emotional about that leaving).

When that was all gone, we loaded up a cart and took the last 4 boxes over to the new apartment.  It was things like clothes, toiletries, and things to put on display outside her door.  Marge has the bottom 2 shelves, my mother the top 2.  

She seemed OK, thrilled to see me since it had been so long and she had missed me (she didn't remember I had been there yesterday).  One of the things I brought over was this very nice photo of Fred from their wedding.

The first time she saw it, she didn't have any idea who it was, and then recognized it as Fred.  She kept it on the bed and would periodically pick it up and either talk about how much she missed him, or try to figure out who it is.

One more trip will remove everything else from the apartment and then we are FINISHED with that old apartment.  Now all I have to do is make space for all the stuff I brought home in this overcrowded place!  It's been more of an emotional roller coaster for me than for my mother, but I'm happy to see that she has accepted the new places, even if she doesn't understand why she's there.

And Jeri made it to Santa Barbara in time for Lacie's dance recital.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Rollin' Along

One of the Swap Bot swaps I signed up for a long time ago was to write your partner and tell her about your day.  Little did I know the kind of day I would be having when I signed up.

It started kind of late for me, since I had insomnia and ended up writing my journal entry until nearly 4 a.m.  But I did go back to sleep and woke up sometime after 8.  Jeri and Walt were talking in the kitchen.

While I tried to come to and shake the cheese out of my head (I felt like I had cheese for brains), Jeri went on a bike ride and then Walt and I met her over at Atria.  I got there first and my mother was in the common room, asleep.  Sometimes when I look at the people sitting in couches facing the TV (it was playing a bunch of recordings from the 50s) I wonder if she really belongs there, since they seem to sit around slack-jawed, asleep or staring off into space.  But the I look at the people like my mother and realize that she does.

We went to lunch with her.

I'd like to say it was a delicious lunch, but it wasn't.  The panini was dry.  They seem to have eliminated three things in the memory unit:  1) choice (unlike the main dining room, you don't get a choice of food, which is probably OK, given that choices are too confusing for my mother), 2) water.  There was always a big carafe of water on the table in the main dining room.  There was none here and none was offered, though everyone got a choice of cranberry juice or orange juice.  When I asked for water, I was brought a glass, which was nice.  But I usually drink a lot of water, and then 3) salt.  This is probably a good thing since I have complained about how salty Atria's foods are to begin with and how my mother salts foods that are already too salty for me (and I'm a big salt eater).  Given cardiac conditions and all it's probably for the best that there is no salt on the table.

When lunch was finished, we went back to the apartment and I tried to find towels for her.  She hides them in dresser drawers.  I did manage to find a bath towel and a couple of hand towels, but no washcloth.  I put them in the drawer of the dresser we put in the bathroom.

When we moved her in, I tried to duplicate the look of her dresser, as she had it, including the three necklaces she fiddles with all the time, trying to lay them out flat.  I got it pretty much as she had it but today two of the necklace are gone.  She hasn't noticed and I suspect Marge helped herself, but it's no biggie.  They weren't expensive and if my mother hadn't noticed, probably not worth making a fuss.  However, I will gradually bring her jewelry back here to avoid problems in the future.

We visited for awhile and then Walt and I went to her old apartment to continue the boxing up.  Boy, how could I ever have managed all of this without him!  He worked his buns off, and then Jeri came and helped.  Advice for anyone facing this situation:  before you get old and unable to do this yourself, make sure you have given birth to children who are able to help.  Ned didn't come today, but he as here all day yesterday.  Poor Jeri has spent almost the entire Davis part of her "vacation" helping to move her grandmother.  Both of them have been invaluable. 

I did what I could but eventually had to sit down because of my back, which was fine because then I could wrap up all the glassware and dishes that we are donating to the SPCA thrift store.

Lemme tell you, I thought going through all of her papers, photos, etc...the detritus of her life...was difficult  Packing up the kitchen was harder.  Every plate, every glass, every cup brought back memories.  The stack of placemats were a reminder of how she used to like to set the table looking so beautiful.  There was the Grandma cup that we used to fight over at Cousins Day, since we were all grandmas.  There were the silver decorated glasses that had belonged to my godmother, who died when I was 10.  So many memories.

At the end of 3 hours we had pretty much done all we could.  Walt and Jeri carted all the boxes that were coming to our house out to the car.

We still have another big pile of boxes that are going to be donated to the SPCA thrift store tomorrow and I think more boxes that are for throwing away, though I may be mistaken about that.  Walt may have done that today.  (Thank GOODNESS we have all those Blue Apron boxes!)

When we climbed into the car with the a/c blasting (>90⁰ outside today...cooler than yesterday, but still.....) all I wanted to do was plop in the recliner with a giant glass of ice water and take a nap.

However, that was not on the schedule.  We had a dinner date with an old friend.

Felix was one of our foreign guests in the 10 years we were doing foreigners.  He is from Croatia and was about to start his PhD in civil engineering at CalTech and wanted to have a family stay first.  I originally placed him with a woman who wanted someone from Croatia, and we rarely had one, but two days into the stay, she said she didn't want him because he wasn't from the area where her relatives stayed.  Rather than find him a new host family, we just took him here and it was her loss and our gain!  A lovely man.

We were trying to remember how long ago that was but sometime in the 1980s.  Walt saw him once about 20 years ago but I don't think I have seen him since he left Davis to move to Cal Tech.  He now works for an engineering firm in Washington and he and his wife own a B&B on Whidby Island and spend their spare time hiking in the mountains with their two white standard poodles, Storm and Bear.  The dogs are getting older now, he tells me, so they limit their hikes to "only"  4 hours instead of all day.

I had not wanted to leave the house after we got home from Atria and definitely wasn't up for a social evening, but it was a nice distraction and it was nice to see Felix again.  Best of all, we were home before 9.

Tomorrow afternoon the Habitat for Humanity folks pick up the furniture and then, I hope, we are OUT of that apartment.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Detritus of Life

Anyone who has ever had to clean out the home of someone who has died or, as in my mother's case, moved on to smaller digs, knows the excruciating pain of going through every. little. thing. and trying to decide what to save (and why) and what to throw away.  

The day started with waffles, which I almost never make, and then in 3 vehicles, the 3 of us made our way to Atria.  Walt, in the SUV, bringing more boxes, Jeri on bike, and me in our car.

Jeri and Ned went to check on their grandmother.  I didn't even see her yesterday.  I was trying to sort out all the stuff in her drawers and separate everything in the apartment into piles for the SPCA thrift shop, and for Habitat for Humanity, and then the rest of "all that crap."  Jeri reported that when they arrived, she was in the common room, asleep, and I was happy to hear that they had gotten her out of her room and with the others, even if she was sleeping!  Maybe she will have more social interactions now that she is there.

Jeri, bless her heart, decided that "Marge," my mother's pod-mate, had taken over the door to their apartment and needed to share.  I love what she did

Ned helped with the clean up and took a huge stack of puzzles upstairs to the puzzle area.
At noon, we took a break and met Walt's brother Norm and his wife at Dos Coyotes, where we had a nice lunch, which I had to leave at 1:15 to get back to the apartment to meet the people who were taking the clothes we didn't move to the new place off to be donated somewhere.

Ned and Jeri took Norm and Olivia back to memory care and they visited with my mother and I settled in to go through drawers that were stuffed tightly with "stuff." It's easier to throw away someone else's treasures than your own.  It's also interesting to see the things she saved all these years.

I think she saved every greeting card she ever got and I tossed them all.  She also had a folder labeled "treasures" in which she kept, among other things, letters that Jeri wrote to her.  My mother was almost fiendishly proud of the fact that she never wrote letters to anyone, but she enjoyed getting letters.  I think I received one letter from her in my life.

I found all of my sister's school pictures through grammar school.  I haven't thrown those away, yet, but they are in one of the boxes of things to come home with me for further consideration.  I don't want them, but there is something that kept me from throwing them away.  I also was surprsed to find one of my grammar school report cards in the treasures folder.

This was another one of the treasures in that folder.

Olivia was a huge Joe Montana fan and since she was still visiting over in Memory Care, I texted her and she said she would stop by and pick it up on her way out.

Photos  .... oh groan photos.  I threw away lots and lots of photos, sometimes whole books of photos of people I didn't know.  One, I guess, was a party for my mother's retirement.  She is dressed up, with a corsage, and it's picture after picture of her with people I didn't recognize.  My father is in the pictures too, so it was before she met Fred.  Special memories but not, alas, for me.

I even threw away the album of the pictures of her wedding to Fred.  That was a painful day for me.  I was asked to be the photographer (I also was the cake decorator) and all day long it was "Bev, take a picture of us and so."  There are pictures with Fred's parents, with his kids, with all their grandkids, and with other people there.  Guess who was never asked to be in a photo.  The photographer.  To look through this album you wouldn't have a clue I was even there.  It set up the way it was going to be for the 10 years of their marriage.  Fred's family always came first and despite my attempts to make friends with his family, it never happened (until much, much later).  They even gave her a big party on one of those landmark birthdays (maybe 80).  It was at a winery they had some connection to, apparently a fancy place where everyone spent the night and the party was wonderful.  I didn't even know about it until after it was over.  So I had no compunction about throwing that wedding album away.

I did keep, though, letters she received from both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, thanking her for her donations to the DNC and coming with an 8x10 photo of the president and a nice certificate.  I don't know what I'll do with those, but I just couldn't bring myself to throw them away.
There were also commendations from Hospice of Marin, where she volunteered for many years.  When she finally retired, she was their oldest volunteer, and the one who had worked for Hospice for the longest time.  Sadly, those also became "garbage."

I tossed her high school yearbook which was sent to all the graduates in preparation for their 50th anniversary reunion.  

On and on and on it went.  Walt was packing up the kitchen and putting thousands of framed pictures into boxes that I don't have a clue what I'll do with.

At 3 p.m., I collapsed mentally.  I was going to put a bookcase of framed photos into a box and I just sat there and literally couldn't move.  I finally decided to go home and left Walt there working, bless his heart.

I arrived home, plopped into my recliner and slept for more than two hours.  After I woke up, we attacked one of the things that we did not throw away..

My mother was a vodka drinker and this bottle of vodka has been in her refrigerator for months, maybe years.  But we decided that it was only right that we finish it off with vodka and tonic.  

It was just the remedy I needed, but I was still exhausted and went to sleep at 10, falling asleep instantly.  Of course that meant I was awake at 12:30 and now, at 3 a.m., I have finished writing this and hope that now that it's written, I can get back to sleep for another two hours.

We should have less work to do today, but still have lots of sorting to do.  Jeri and I are going to have lunch with my mother.

Monday, May 22, 2017

It's Done!

The best part of yesterday was when my mother, sitting in her chair, looking out the window of her new apartment, found a tree that was particularly beautiful.  I knew it was going to be OK.

We had  long day and I'm sure my mother is waking up this morning not having a clue where she is, but I hope at least she can find the bathroom.

It started at 11, when Jeri went to Atria to take her grandmother out for a couple of hours.  When they were leaving she texted me an all clear message and the moving crew gathered in the apartment.  It was Walt, Ned and my mother's stepson Ed, who worked tirelessly for the next two hours to get things set up.

I took pictures of things like her dresser and the table she sits next to so I could recreate it when we got to the new apartment.

I'm wondering if there are going to be problems with her neighbor, the woman in the apartment on the other side of the "pod" my mother is living in.  She seems to have taken over.

We met Marge and the difficulty with her is that her memory is worse than my mother's.  We had a conversation with her and I stll don't know what she was talking about.  She did come in and look at the apartment and ask why Walt and I didn't get into bed, because that was all there was to do there.  I'm not sure she understood that we were not going to live there.

Things came together quickly and soon we had the apartment looking set up and ready for Nick, from the maintenance staff, to come in, and hang pictures.

Nick was still working on getting her TV hung on the wall when Jeri and her grandmother returned, so things were a lot more chaotic than I had hoped, but she didn't freak out.  

Ned went to the dining room and got cups of ice cream and Jeri cut up strawberries she had purchased while they were out and we all took a break.

We took her on a little tour, showing her the garden which she seemed to really like.

When the TV was connected, Walt found a music channel of music that my mother would know and Jeri got her singing to Nat King Cole.

The connection between music and the brain always amazes me.  She can't remember my name sometime, but she can remember all the lyrics of songs she sang back in the 40s and 50s.  Jeri had created a playlist for the car and she said that my mother sang all the lyrics of all the songs even songs Jeri didn't know.

Eventually it was time to leave.  I was surprised there was no staff person there to make sure she knew what was going on, but both Jeri and I stopped to let people know that we were leaving. 
We came home, Jeri and Walt enjyed a "dark and stormy" out in the carport and chatted for awhile.  I cooked dinner and we toasted our good work for the day.

Today we have to face the mess that we left behind and try to sort out what is going where.  Someone comes today to take all the clothes we did not move and on Wednesday, Habitat for Humanity takes all rest of the furniture.

But I slept peacefully last night for the first time in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday Stealing

We found this gem from a blogger named Geebee from the blog Geebee’s Trip. He states that he was tagged by Buttercup. But, it was probably stolen at that blog as well. So, of course, that will be as far as we go. Tracing back our theft's thieves might take some time. Please consider liking WTIT on Facebook. Click here. Have a great Sunday!

Cheers to all us thieves!

Sunday Stealing: The Q & A Questions

1. where is your significant other?
He has gone to Peet's to get coffee beans and the PetCo to look at the puppies on display for adoption.

2. your favorite thing?
Today?  Air conditioning.

3. your dream last night?
I don't think I dreamed last night.  I often do not.

4. your goal?
That my mother's move to the memory unit tomorrow goes well and that she's not too traumatized by it.

5. your hobby?
Answering questions.

6. where do you want to be in 6 years?
Probably right here doing the same things.

7. where were you last night?
Sitting in the family room watching TV

8. what you're not?
A fan of our 45th president.

9. one of your wish list items?
World peace and a clean house.

10. your pet?

Lizzie on the left, Polly on the right
11. missing someone?
This week, my sister, dead since 1971, who should be here helping move our mother to the memory care unit.

12. your car?
Honda, though we have rented a car for the weekend and apparently we now have a temporary SUV.

13. something you're not wearing?
make up

14. love someone?
I love lots of people

15. when is the last time you laughed?
Reading Congressman Ted Lieu's cheat sheet for Trump's overseas visit.  Read it.

16. last time you cried?
I misted up this afternoon listening to my mother and Jeri having a "conversation."  Jeri was so incredibly gentle and patient with her.  She must have explained that she is married to Phil at least 10 times.  But it was fun to watch my mother's delight when Jeri told her she was a teacher.  She was thrilled to learn she had become a teacher.  Maybe that was the saddest moment of all for me.

17. favorite pastime?
Watching reruns of NCIS or White Collar, reading, writing, taking pictures with my iPhone

18. are you a hater or a lover?
Life is too short to waste time hating, though I might make an exception for the current president.

19. any vices
Is Facebook a vice?

20. favorite questions blog other than Sunday Stealing?
I think the only other question blog I read is Saturday 9.  Maybe I'll get some good suggestions from others answering these questions.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Him or Me -- What's It Gonna Be? (1967)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here. 1) In this song, a man pleads with his girlfriend to make up her mind. Do you consider yourself decisive?

Good Lord.  I am chronically wishy-washy.

Since this song is all about either/or, we're using that as our theme this Saturday ...

2) Choose a condiment: Catsup or mustard?

Depends on for what.  Basically I prefer catsup for things like hamburgers, mustard for hot dogs.  But some times I mix it up.

3) Choose a sci-fi series: Star Wars or Star Trek?

Star Trek all the way, Baby!  I saw the first Star Wars, slept through the second and didn't see any others until the recent one, which I did not understand.  At. all.  But I can quote liberally from lots and lots of TOS.

4) Choose your spy: James Bond or Jason Bourne?

While I enjoy Jason Bourne, I loved James Bond.  (Is there any other than Sean Connery?)

5) Choose your winter sport: Football or hockey?

Not really big into either (unless I'm in Santa Barbara and the 49ers are playing, when I love watching with son Tom and granddaughter Brianna).  I don't really know much about hockey.

6) Choose your breakfast: Pancakes or waffles?

Waffles, though I make them rarely because they seem more work than pancakes.

7) Choose your side: French fries or potato chips?

If they are shoestring potatoes, definitely French fries.  If they are thick clunky fries, I prefer potato chips.

8) Choose your chore: Washing dishes or doing laundry?

I'm bad at both, but slightly prefer washing dishes.

9) Choose your next-door neighbors: Munsters or Addams Family?

NEWS FROM ATRIA:  Well, the big move is in  2 days and today I told my mother she is going to move.  I didn't say when, but told her why and described the room for her.  I even cried a bit, telling her now I knew how she felt when she had to put her mother in a home.  Maybe that helped.  Anyway, she said that I'm the boss and she'll do whatever I want.  Of course by now she won't remember any more.  But she has been told.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Little Friend of Mine

19 May 2017
Little friend of mine how you'd make me laugh
Hysterically, I lived for that
We had a lot of fun
Sick and unconventionally
Straying from the norm

Everybody knows how you'd question life
Philosophize and lose sleep at night
I know how that can be
I've been there before
and now it feels like I'll be visiting again.

Look at what you've done.

But you don't have to say you're sorry
'cause I forgive the ones I love
I'll just look forward to tomorrow
But look at how I cry.

I"m pretty sick of all these tears
I know this wasn't planned at all.
Still I wish that you were here.

Little friend of mine how you'd drive me nuts
Abuse your mind and push your luck
But how I adored your brain
We had something between us--
we were both slightly insane.

Little baby brother, I know you know
I'll never let your memory go
Still I feel like I should say
Christmas might be difficult but I think that
everyone will be OK.

Just look at what you've done.

But I don't want you to worry.
'Cause everybody fucks up now and then.
It's just a part of being at an early age.

But look at how we cry.

So much we want to scream
Look, I know you were a fan and all
But this is too much like James Dean.
I know you were a fan of him
But this is too much like James Dean.
Link to video of song

Quote of the Day
It wasn't just her fingers playing, her whole body was a representation of every single note that came streaming out of her heart, represented on the keyboard. I longed to be in that place so badly, to see her face and to watch her fingers caress the keys and fight with the keys and make love with the keys and wrestle and struggle.
~ David, from The Piano

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Ya Gotta Keep Up

Yesterday I wrote about my new obsession with Morning Joe and my inability to get back to sleep after turning it on at 3 a.m.  I usually switch over to The Today Show at 7 and then background TV for the morning (because I am addicted, you know....)

Yesterday I discovered that it has become important to be aware of the news all day long or you miss things.  Things I found out yesterday:

- First, McMaster, who stood so confidently and strongly in the rose garden and told reporters that the report of Trump giving confidential information to the Russians was absolutely false.  "I was in the room.  It didn't happen," he said.  His next statement after Trump admitted giving confidential information to the Russians ("I am president.  I can do whatever I want") was "OK--it happened, but it wasn't really a big deal."  His next statement was something along the line of "OK, it was a big deal but only because it was leaked to the press." Finally, after it had been revealed that the biggie was that Trump had outed one of our operatives, "'The president didn't even know what country was involved."

- Next we learn that he did and that he had outed an Israeli operative who had infiltrated Isis.

- Then there was a report that Kim Guilfoyle announced she's in interviews to become press secretary. (Does Sean Spicer know about this? Or has he checked his mail for a note form the president?)

- Then I learned that Trump is going to Saudi Arabia to give a speech on Islam.  Well this should be interesting.  I hope someone can get him a graphic novel so he can learn a little about it before the plane lands.  This trip should be interesting.  He's visiting England, where Parliament has voted NOT to allow him to speak to the House of Commons, as very other US Presidents have done, then he goes to Israel, where he has just outed one of their operatives and has stated that the Western Wall, the holiest place where Jews are permitted to pray, is not really a part of Israel, and finally he ends up talking to the Saudis about Islam.  I can hardly wait to read the reports

- Next I heard that Trump is turning on son-in-law Jared.  Is this why we haven't seen anything of Trump's right hand daughter Ivanka lately?  Or is she too busy promoting her clothing line to be Daddy's backup this week?

- I loved his comment at a graduation speech that "No president in history has been treated as badly as I have."  Since he admittedly doesn't read, I assume he has not read a newspaper in the last 20 years.  I suspect Obama, Clinton and Bush would disagree with him! (When interviewed, John McCain said even he has been treated worse than Trump has)

- And then just before we went out to dinner, I learned that Robert Mueller had been appointed Special Counsel.  We were going to a dinner at Woodstock's pizza, which was a fund-raiser for Citizens Who Care, the group Walt has been on the board of for many years.  We sat with another member of the board and his family and then joked "Guess what we're taking about" (Trump, of course), but they had not had their TV on in the previous hour and had not heard of Mueller's appointment.

So see?  If you want to be informed, the headlines change hour by hour. and it behooves you to Be Aware.

Dinner was great.  We rarely go out to dinner in Davis, and never for pizza, so this was my first trip to this restaurant, which has been in Davis longer than we have (we have been here 43 years).  I once was called by some survey taker on pizza parlors and the only pizza place I could think of was Steve's Pizza, where we have eaten rarely when we get a hankering for pizza (or are meeting someone for dinner).

Walt ordered my favorite pizza -- Italian sausage and mushroom.  He added pesto to it and it was amazing

We need to get out more!

In the morning I went to the dementia support group, which I had not been to in some time.  With the upcoming move of my mother to the Memory Unit on Sunday, I was in need of support and got it in spades.  Everyone seems to think that I'm doing it right, and reassure me that with her level of memory loss it won't take her long to adjust to her new apartment.  Let's hope.

The best part of going to the meeting was that the two leaders work with Davis' consignment store, "All Things Right and Relevant" and are willing to come and pick up the clothes that we are donating and take them to the shop.  

Habitat for Humanity is coming the next day for the furniture and by this time next week, it will all be over and we settle into our new reality.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Joe and Mika

I don't remember when I started watching MSNBC's Morning Joe.  I heard of it for years and had checked it out once or twice, but Joe Scarborough's far right wing views and his holier than thou delivery turned me off.

But during the election, after I really had seen all the reruns of Golden Girls and Frasier that I could handle and needed some other middle-of-the-night show to put on in the hope that it would put me to sleep, I turned on Morning Joe.  Scarborough didn't seem quite as obnoxious then, probably because he was feeling about the election the way I was.  I never watched the show much anyway -- I turned the sound down to very quiet, the talking heads droned on and on and in no time at all, I was asleep.  My nightly soporific.

[aside:  I was reading an old journal entry of mine from 2008 and discovered that even then, and probably before then, I was writing about waking up every night at 3 a.m.  I still do.]

I've been watching at the show for so long now that I feel like a regular.  I have come to like Mika Brzezinski and I had to laugh when I heard she and Scarborough were engaged.  I envision a home life similar to what it must be to live in the house of James Carville and Mary Matalin.

Since the 45th president ascended the throne of power in the White House, the news reports have been getting more and more...what's the word?... depressing? infuriating? frustrating?  And as the last two weeks have progressed, with each day bringing a new tweeted scandal, it has been impossible to turn down the sound and go to sleep.  So I'm essentially waking up at 3 a.m. and just staying awake until later in the morning.  I should do what my sister-in-law does and tape the show to be watched later, but I never seem to have the time to watch it later.

A White House staffer was quoted recently as saying "can't we have just ONE crisis-free day?"  That's kind of how I feel about Morning Joe.  It would be nice to turn it on at 3 a.m. tomorrow morning and find he is talking about less incendiary topics like missile launches from North Korea or rioting in Africa or something I don't mind sleeping through.

I did go over to Atria at 1 p.m. today and found someone just getting ready to take my mother to lunch, so I went with her and had a second lunch.  She always loves the flowers on the table, always checks to see if they are real (they are), and sees them for the first time several times throughout lunch.

We ordered cheeseburgers which were so thick my mother didn't know how she was going to wrap her mouth around hers.

I told Walt when I got home that it is getting more and more difficult to find something to talk with her about.  She asks endlessly what my plans are either for the rest of the day or for the rest of my life.  I try to find something that I'm doing that she can follow, but she seems to be having difficulty following even simple sentences and often just waves me off with "I can't understand a thing you're saying."  

I used to try to make her laugh and tried that today.  She was commenting on the brown age spots on her arm again and how they made her look old and that they were ugly and she wanted to just chop her arm off.  About then, her nose began to itch, as it seems to do constantly, and she took her napkin and rubbed her nose with it.  I told her that if she chopped her arm off she would not be able to scratch her nose when it itched.  That was entirely too complicated for her to follow.  A couple of months ago we would have had a nice giggle over that.

We did talk a little about politics.  She asked me how the world was doing and I said "terrible" and then gave her a very brief outline of what is going on (she has never heard of Donald Trump, though she read the newspaper every day).  She kept demanding to know what I was going to do to fix things.

But we had a nice lunch and I told Piyush, the server from Nepal, who is my favorite (she always called the women "mama" because she can't remember everyone's name) that she would be moving to memory care next week and she was very sad, because she would probably not see her again.  I was so happy to take a picture of the two of them.  I've printed off a copy and will get it to Piyush when I am at Atria tomorrow or the next day.

I came home and took a 2 hour nap and when I woke up, I discovered that there was yet another chapter to the sharing secrets with the Russians story.  Please can't we have one non-chaotic day?  I can't even imagine what it must be to work at the White House right now!