Thursday, June 29, 2017


I knew that paranoia is often a component of dementia, but had  not seen it until today.
The day started with no sleep.  I absolutely could not get to sleep and only fell asleep for about half an hour or so around 7.  So I was not operating on all cylinders.

I had a dental appointment at 11.  I am one of those weird people who enjoy my appointments.  I like my dental hygienist, Christina, and I enjoy the brief moments to catch up with Cindy, who has been a friend since the 1980s, long before she had her own dental practice.

It was noon when I left the office and I did not want to get to Atria at lunch time, so I did a little shopping first (laying in goodies for Ashley, who moves in tonight to take care of the house and the dogs while we are in Santa Barbara.  This will be the first time they dog sit while their baby is becoming a toddler.  I hope it all works out, since we are not "baby proof" here.)

I got to Atria just as lunch was finished and my mother was sitting at a table laughing with her friend Loretta. The two women have been "friends" for most of the time that my mother has been at Atria.  They love to tease and put each other down.  They remind me of my mother and her friend Paula, in San Rafael.  I was so happy when my other found Loretta.

Of course, they don't have a clue who the other one is.  They don't know each other's name and are at about the same stage of dementia, Loretta perhaps a bit ahead of my mother because she moved into the memory unit a few months before my mother did.

But I enjoyed the "normalcy" of sitting with these two friends laughing with each other, and was glad to see my mother actually laughing with another resident.

When it was time for us to leave the table, I don't know where Loretta went, but my mother and I headed back to her apartment.  She is having what is probably another bout of sciatica and her leg is bothering her.  I was pleased  (and very surprised) to see that she had brought a cane with her to the dining room.

We walked to her room--which she cannot find yet (the big MILDRED on the front door helps!) and she sat down in her chair....and then it started.

It started the way it usually does, with her looking around and saying "something's wrong."  She then said what she often said, that she knows she should be doing something but can't remember what it is.  We even laughed about it, and I told her what I always tell her, that the nice thing about living at Atria is that if there is something she should be doing, the staff will remind her, that they are her memory.

An aid came in to check on her, on her regular rounds.  She and I talked about the leg pain and I explained that she had suffered from sciatica before but had not complained of pain in over a year.  She asked if it was OK with me if she faxes my mother's doctor to ask bout adding Tylenol to her meds.

I watched my mother's face while the aid and I talked.  I could see that she couldn't follow what we were saying and that it bothered her a lot.

After the aid left, she got this weird look on her face and said she just didn't understand what she's done wrong that offended everyone.  She says nobody in the family will talk to her.  When she walks into a room, everyone turns their back on her and whispers about her. and she doesn't know why.

She says nobody calls her to ask her to go out to lunch or dinner and when she calls someone to invite them to do something they just say "I am busy."  She can't figure out what she has done wrong.

Another aid came in.  She was just coming on her shift and was checking in on all of her clients.  A darling girl, with a big smile and rosy cheeks.  She and my mother talked and laughed together and after she left, my mother was gloomy again  "See?" she said, indicating the aid and how she hadn't wanted to talk with her.

Then she pointed at me and said... "I look at your face and I see these thoughts going through your head, how you want to leave and how you don't want to be with me."

Then she went on to say she didn't know what anybody in the family was doing any more and I said that I could tell her something, that Brianna was on a softball team that had just qualified to go to the championships in San Diego.   I thought that might interest her because Brianna is her great granddaughter (though she does note relate to that) and because she herself was a softball champ in high school.

She just looked at me and said "Now why in the world would you tell me that?" and had zero interest in what I was saying.

She had this disconsolate look on her face and just kept trying to figure out what she had done wrong and why nobody liked her any more.  I couldn't leave her like that so I just sat there and listened.  Sometime I tried being in her head and responding to what she was saying and telling her how sad I was that she was being treated so badly.  Other times I tried being in the present and reminding her that all that family (her siblings) were dead and couldn't shun her  ("Yeah, but there are others in the family..") and reminded her that everybody lived at least 100 miles away.  That didn't help.
(Yes, I know the pointlessness of trying to "help" but I hate seeing her so miserable.)

I stayed about 45 minutes trying various things until finally I got her to laugh and come back to normal again.  They I hurried up to leave before she sank back into depression again.  I told her I'd be in Santa Barbara and that I'd see her in a week and she told me to have a great time and seemed as happy as she ever is these days.  At least I didn't feel uncomfortable about leaving her in the depths of depression.

I came home and slept for about 2 hours.  I'm just going to have to put that in the back of my mind while we're away, and realize that she is in good hands and that the aids are taking good care of her...and she can have lunch with Loretta.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Territorial Conflicts

Polly and I have been having a battle for about 4 or 5 years now.  I'm not sure which of us is winning.
When we moved my other to Atria, she had two braided rugs that her niece had made for her.  She was using them in her bedroom, but because of the trip-and-fall risk, Atria does not allow throw rugs.  Makes sense.  So I brought them here.

I used one on my recliner.  Since the dogs frequently sleep there, I figured it would help keep the upholstery clean.  And it looked nice, too.

Polly is the one who sleeps most in my chair and she can't stand to sleep anywhere that she can't make a bed, so if she is sleeping there, and I go tell her to get down because it's my turn to sit down, this is what the chair looks like.  Always.

I have tried to put a blanket in the chair for her to make a bed out of, but she digs under them to get to the rug.

She lies there all day long just staring at the chair and if I get up...for anything...she's out of her dog bed and headed for the recliner  Lately she has taken to standing at the chair looking at it and at me, trying to figure out if I'm going to be gone long enough for her to make a bed in the rug.

The other day she was sound asleep in the other recliner when I went to the bathroom, and when I got back from the bathroom, she was curled up in the bed she had made in my chair again.

Notice the look of guilt on her face.  Grrr.

Polly has a very firm sense of schedule.  I'm surprised that lately she has been letting me sleep in the morning.  If she does not know I'm awake, she will be quiet for an hour or more. I usually get the iPad and check my e-mail, but if I make the mistake of closing it, which closes with a teeny tiny click sound which she can hear even if she is asleep in the living room.  As soon as she hears the click, she is running down the hall to my chair and barking because it's time to eat NOW.  Walt never has to wonder if I'm awake.  All he has to do is wait for Polly to bark.

Yesterday I faked her out and figured out how to check my mail on the tablet, which has no cover and which makes no noise when I shut it down.  That was a triumph until she figured it out and if I v-e-r-y quietly put the tablet on the shelf where I keep it, she was back at the chair barking.  (Tomorrow, I will just leave the tablet in my lap and not try to put it away.  See if she can figure THAT out!)

So I eventually get up and feed and water the dogs, and leave the back door open for them.  About 2 hours later she's in here in my office looking at me expectantly.  I have yet to figure out why.  But I dutifully get up to make sure that she has water and that the back door is open.  When I've done that, she'll go back to the recliner, make her bed and sleep again.

At 4 pm. she tries to tell me it's time to eat.  From then until I finally feed them (I try to hold out until 6), whenever I walk anywhere she is leaping happily in the air thinking that the only reason I ever get up at all during the day is to give her something to eat.

Polly is one reason why I won't be taking foster dogs any more.  We have such a hard and fast schedule (written by Polly) that it would be disruptive to everyone to introduce a new dog into the mix!)

(As for Lizzie, she just lies on the couch and ignores us until it's mealtime and then she joins Polly in the happy dance of dinner.)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

So How Did We Celebrate

Well, it's all downhill, celebration wise, after 50.  It was a quiet day.  The temps have final cooled, which was nice.  I went to Atria and spent an hour with my mother, then came home and took a nap.  Walt got garbage ready for today's garbage pick up and took his own nap.  After Jeopardy we went out to dinner.

I spent time researching restaurants in Davis.  We don't go out to eat very often here in town and we seem to usually go to our favorite Thai restaurant, but there have been places that have come and gone that I would like to have tried, and places, like Noodle City, which has been in town for more than 10 years, that we have never tried.  It sounded good, from the Yelp and Davis Wiki reviews (the last of which was written in 2007).

So we decided to go to Noodle City.  As I wended my way to the back part of Orange Court, I heard lots and lots of people and found Sophie's Thai Restaurant to be overflowing.  I was afraid we would have a wait at next door Noodle City.  But not only did we not have a crowd, there was only one other couple in the restaurant.

I loved the curtains that separated the kitchen from the eating area and the bathroom sign was cute.

The bored looking waiter took our order and we started with some delicious green onion bread for an appetizer.

I had read that the "DanDan noodles" were wonderful, so I ordered them.  (The thing about Noodle City is that they make all of their noodles in-house)

It was delicious, but not very substantial.  Kind of like Top Ramen, with just noodles and a peanut flavored broth and topped with chopped peanuts.  I liked it, and there is enough in my doggie bag for lunch today, but before I finished I was wishing for a bit of meat too.

Walt did better with his five spice beef soup.

This was by far the most popular dish in all the reviews I read and it was indeed delicious with huge chunks of beef, vegetables and a delicious broth that made me understand what they mean on the Food Network when they talk about "depth of flavor."  If we ever go back, I will order this.

And since it was a special event, though I usually just drink water, I even had a glass of wine with Walt.  We had to have SOME way to toast our anniversary.

The air was so deliciously cool when we left, that I kept the car window rolled down for the drive home.

I watched an episode of Genius while Walt finished the garbage collection.  And then, since I had a glass of wine, I was falling asleep by 11 p.m. (one reason I don't drink any more--I don't like falling asleep so early!)

It was a quiet celebration, but fitting 52 years!

Monday, June 26, 2017

What Have I Done?

Well, in yesterday's entry about the ending of Sunday Stealing, I said I was feeling guilty for not volunteering to do the job myself.  All day today, I watched the entries from other members of this community that has grown around this weekly meme.  I finally couldn't stand to see it all end, so I wrote to Bud to find out what was involved in actually doing the job.  He answered me.  I mulled that around in my head for awhile and finally wrote and said I would do it, if nobody else volunteered.
So I have o idea what I have just done.  I have not heard back from him since I wrote, but I assume I will hear from him soon.  Gleep.  I just hated to lose contact with all the people I have come to know over the years...

Looking back...

It was only yesterday when I was climbing aboard that fire engine across the street from my apartment, decked out in my wedding attire, so that the photographer could take a photo of me and the bridal party hanging onto the side of a fire truck.

Wasn't it?

Can it really have been fifty-two years?

Fifty two years.  My god.   I remember when reaching one's 40th birthday was a huge deal--now we've been married longer than that.

I told the tale of our actual wedding a few years ago.  What about the 52 years since that date?  If you're going to survive 52 years of marriage, it helps to marry someone with whom you can laugh.  Someone who thinks Puff the Magic Dragon is a swell song to be "our song" (because it was the first song that came on the radio after we realized we didn't have "a song"), someone who enjoys telling people that we dated to Stan Freberg, someone who will put up with all of your idiosyncrasies. 
I'm not sure if that describes me or Walt or both of us.  

When you live with someone for 52 years, you begin to speak in in-jokes, in your own personal code, where explanations aren't necessary because you share the same background.

With who else (other than your children) can you speak in dialog from every play you've ever seen...and admit that you've lost the ability to find original material any more.

Who else will snicker with you about "63" or "fire hose"?

Who else will laugh with you when you toss out lines like "rumble, rumble, rumble...mutiny, mutiny, mutiny" in your journal and get an e-mail back from someone who recognized the reference to Stan Freberg?

Who else will let you drag him to every possible Steve Schalchlin appearance without (much) complaint?  Who else would sit through every Judy Garland or television appearance ever put on video?

Who else would have indulged me all of my flights of fancy, from cake decorating to Chinese cooking, to working for the Lamplighters, to driving AIDS clients, to taking in stray puppies or stray Brasilians?

I still remember fondly Walt's excitement the day we brought Jeri home, the way he'd decorated the house with pink roses and had a recording of music box music playing as I carried her up the stairs.
I still remember the way we clung to each other on those terrible, terrible days following Paul's and David's deaths.

Sometimes after 52 years, you feel you've said it all.  You sit at a dinner table in silence, no need for conversation because you both know where you are, what you're doing, where you've come from, and how you feel about things.

You do things automatically because you've been doing them for 52 years and there is a certain comfort in not having to wonder how best to handle things.

You know each other's foibles and you accept them because you've learned to live with them after all these years.

You look back on 52 years and you see how far you've come, what good friends you still are, and that you still love one another.

And that's not such a bad thing to discover, 52 years down the road.

Happy anniversary, Dear.   Here's to another 52 years.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sad Sunday Stealing

The End of An Era- A note from Bud-
Sometimes I feel like the boy who cried wolf. But when I left Saturday 9 to The Gal (who I freely admit improved it - greatly) and Stealing to Mr. L and then Kwizgiver I was so burnt out that I even ended the WTIT Blog at the same time. Now while I won't be doing that, I will be leaving Sunday Stealing after next week. We've had a marvelous run - we are in our 10th year - but if a new host isn't found this week, we will end Stealing. About two years ago I started a book about WTIT. It's a daunting task to cover 50 years of anything, and so I stopped writing about a year ago. And while the hour or so I spend on Stealing doesn't sound like a lot. I'm just not feeling it and I think that now that I am out of work on disability I should start anew on the book. It's not like there's not a lot there, I had nearly 20 chapters written. 

I won't be leaving the blogospohere. I will still play Saturday 9. And Stealing if we are lucky enough for someone to take it. It needs to grow. We got hit hard from the social media switch from blogs to Facebook and twitter. But there are thousands who still play memes who need to be contacted. I just don't have the time. But if you do, we could have fifty players a week. See, you don't run a successful meme blog without having to find players. I haven't done that since well before I left the first time. If you want to be the host of Stealing either leave me a comment or email me at It has been an honor to be your host for for so long. But I've got a book to write.

I love Sunday stealing an am feeling guilty for not volunteering, but I'm pretty sure that I would not be able to do as good a job as Bud has done for so long.

We found this gem  from a blogger and blog named Greenish Lady. She states that Becca invited everyone to do it. 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. Link back to us at Sunday Stealing!

Cheers to all us thieves! 

Sunday Stealing: The Greenish Questions

1. What is your current obsession?
I am setting aside 1-2 hours a day to read in the hope of getting back in reading again

2. What’s your go-to coffee place?
Mishka's Cafe.  I don't go there often, but it's a good place to meet a friend for coffee (also, the pastries are good, and there is free wifi).  To buy coffee, I go to Peet's, but their sit-and-sip area isn't as inviting as Mishka's is.

3. Who was the last person that you hugged?

4. Do you nap a lot?
A lot.  These days I almost always have an afternoon nap, but sometimes a morning one too.

5. Tonight, what’s for dinner?
A Home Chef meal -- beef on skewers.  Or maybe something faster, since we have a show to review tonight.

6. What was the last thing that you bought?
A Gourmia GMS9280 Mii Slicer Pull String Manual Food processer I ordered from Amazon.  It's OK, but doesn't work quite as advertised, but then it was only $6-7, so I got what I paid for.  I will use it.
7. What is your favorite weather?
Cold and drizzly.  Or thick fog.  Definitely not 100+

8. Tell us something about one blogger who you think will play this week?
I have become intrigued by Country Dew, who is an excellent (professional) writer and we seem to have a lot in common.  Also anybody with a pet cow is OK in my book

9. If you were given a free house that was fully furnished, where in the world would you like it to be?
In the hills above Santa Barbara, with a beautiful view of the ocean.

10. Name three things that you could not live without.
Air, Water, and I'd say Sunday Stealing, but it seems that I'll have to learn to live without it!

11. What would you like in your hands right now?
A tall glass of water with ice in it.

12. What’s one of your guilty pleasures?
A spoonful of peanut butter right out of the jar.  (Creamy, not crunchy)

13. What would you change or eliminate about yourself?
Eliminate about 80 lbs.

14. As a child, what type of career did you want?
A nurse, a nun, or a mother.

15. What are you missing right now?
Cool weather

16. What are you currently reading?
I'm finishing "The Horse and His Boy," the 3rd book in the Narnia series.  Not as good as the first two.

17. What do you fear the most?
Losing my mental capacities and becoming helpless and dependent on others for everything.

18. What’s the best movie that you’ve seen recently?
I've only seen one movie this year -- Beauty and the Beast -- and liked it.

19. What’s your favorite book from the past year?
Silent Footsteps, by Sally Henderson (about observations of elephant societies)

20. Is there a comfort food from your childhood that you still enjoy?
I used to love U-No candy bars, which you almost never see any more.  I still buy them when I see them, but they don't taste as good as they used to.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Saturday 9

First of all, Laurelie, you asked for the shrimp recipe.  I added it to the June 16 entry for you.  Now on to the business of the day:

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

Saturday 9: Listen to the Music (1972)
Because Zippi requested it.

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

1) The lyrics say, "What the people need is a way to make them smile." What song lifts your spirits and makes you smile every time you hear it?
It's one of Lawsuit's songs, "Thank God, You're Doin' Fine," which always got audiences dancing and me smiling to listen to the song and watch people's reaction to it.  In more recognizable music it would be John Denver's "Grandma's Feather Bed" which is just a fun tune (especially in this rendition with the Muppets).

2) Lead vocalist/composer Tom Johnston reports that he's made a lot in royalties because so many radio stations use this as a jingle. Tell us a jingle that sticks in your head.
Oh I wish I were an Oscar Meyer wiener....

3) The Doobie Brothers got their start in San Jose, California. San Jose is the largest city in Northern California, thanks to all the tech companies that have headquarters there. Let's talk about the device you're on right now: are all your applications up to date?
Heavens no.  I hate updating.  My guru is always appalled whenever I call him (every few years) at how out of date my applications are.  I figure if they work fine for me now, I don't need an new bells and whistles.

4) When they were still a local band, the Doobie Brothers had a strong following among bikers. Are you attracted to biker culture?
Not at all.  Well, there is one part of biker culture that endears them to my heart.  It's that at Christmas time, all the bikers in California get together and bike en masse to the capitol in Sacramento to deliver Christmas gifts for kids.  There is nothing more endearing than watching some big leather-clad, tattooed, bejeweled biker with a Raggedy Ann doll on the back of his bike, or a tiny Chihuahua zippered in his jacket.

5) This week's song is from Toulouse Street, which is considered their "breakthrough" album. Tell us about a moment in your own life that you consider a "breakthrough."
I guess it was volunteering to "help" with putting together a record of The Lamplighters 25 year history.  I assisted on that book, made some of my best friends, and ten years later wrote a follow-up.  (Someone needs to write of the years post 1987, but I'm too old to do it now!)

6) In 1987, the Doobie Brothers did a benefit performance for Vietnam Veterans at the Hollywood Bowl. Next to the Beatles, it was the fastest-selling ticket in Hollywood Bowl history. Which group do you listen to more often -- the Doobies or the Beatles?
Since I've never heard the Doobies (that I know of) and have heard the Beatles (though am not a fan), I guess it would be the Beatles.

7) In 1972, when this song was popular, Wranglers were America's best-selling jeans. Are you brand-loyal to one jeans manufacturer?
I can't remember the last time I wore jeans!

8) Grocery stores saw seafood prices fluctuate wildly in 1972 because of a series of confrontations between the United Kingdom and Iceland regarding fishing rights in the North Atlantic. (Iceland won.) What was the most recent seafood dish that you enjoyed?
Last night I cooked Argentine Shrimp Chimichurri with polenta and it was quite tasty.

9) Random question: Which of these "top ten" lists would you prefer to be on -- the sexiest, the smartest or the richest?
Definitely the smartest.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Oh to be in Gdansk

Supposedly, today was the hottest day of our heat wave.  Supposed to get up to as high as 111⁰ though it didn't quite get that high here.  But I hadn't been to Atria in several days and went today.  As I left the building, I glanced at the outdoor thermometer and saw that it was about 101-102.  When I got into the car and turned on the radio, a guy sitting in a recording studio in Sacramento had just finished playing a piece by some Polish composer and was saying that the forecast for Gdansk, Poland was 57⁰.  He then said "Oh to be in Gdansk!"  He said what I was feeling too.

I can't remember when I was last at Atria, but its been at least 4 days.  I hadn't planned it that way, but when the temperatures were so hot, Walt couldn't bike around town.  I didn't want to run the risk of him collapsing from heat exhaustion somewhere downtown, so he has been taking the car.  Which left me without transportation, since we only have one car.

In all honesty, in this heat I was delighted to have an excuse not to go to Atria!

I felt guilty, though, because my mother seems to have stopped answering her phone and though I called her several times to explain why I wasn't there, she never answered.

I knew she was fine, but daughter guilt just kicked in.

But when I talked with Jeri on Sunday, she said she had also tried to all her grandmother and never got an answer and wondered when would be a good time to call.  Not knowing what her so-called "schedule" is in the memory care unit, I couldn't tell her, but I told her to pick a day and time and I would be sure to be there to make sure she was there and that she would answer the phone.

And so, out into the cauldron that is Davis this week I went.

I prayed there would be parking in the Atria lot and I found out that 3 p.m. on a hot, hot summer day is the perfect time to find a spot.  There was not one, but three vacant spots.  Nobody wants to visit grandma in this heat!  First hurdle conquered.

She was not in the common room when I passed by, though I noticed that the strains of "Ah leave me not to pine" from Pirates of Penzance wafted after me as I went down the hall to her room. (When I returned an hour later, I could see the video of Pirates playing and they were in the early scenes, where Frederick is asking the young ladies "oh is there not one maiden here....?" so apparently they had run through the operetta the first time and then put it on again.

From the looks on the faces/bodies of the "audience" in the common room, I doubt that anybody noticed.

[Aside:  The common area is not the place to show someone who has a loved one who still has a mentis they are compus with.  It is like a scene out of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and every time I pass by I think "She's not that bad, is she?"  But every time I see her there with the rest of the slouching, slack-jawed old folks staring off into space, I realize she looks just like all the rest of them.  I wonder what they are like when they are back in their rooms visiting with their kids...]

Jeri said she would call at 3:30 and I got to the apartment at 3 and texted Jeri that I was there and that her grandmother was there.

At 3:30 on the dot she called, and, as I suspected, my mother didn't know what the noise was or what to do.  She did pick up the phone and they had a nice conversation.  Jeri, evil child she, when my mother told her that I was there visiting, asked her if I was going dancing tonight.  

When the conversation ended, she didn't know what to do with the receiver and after a second or two, didn't know what it even was and didn't have a clue what to do with it.  But I put it back in the cradle for her and realize now that the only way she can talk to someone on the phone is if I am there to make sure she actually answers the phone.

But Jeri was pleased and suggested that we do it every week, which I think will be a fun thing to do.  Hopefully by next week, it won't be so damn hot.  It is scheduled to "cool down" to 97⁰ on Saturday before going up into triple digits again next week.  Amazing to think of 97 as "cooling down".

But there was a very good thing that happened today.  As I said, I had not been at Atria for three days, and sat home feeling guilty for feeling relieved that I couldn't get there.  But, unlike other times, she didn't seem to have a clue that it had been 3 days, so I'm going to start giving myself permission to skip a couple of days and not go over there nearly every day.

Her roommate, Marge, walked in while we were talking.  I've seen Marge a few times and I have yet to understand a word she says.  She rattles on about something that is important to her, but her thoughts never make any sense and she eventually just kind of turns and leaves.  The aides tell me that she and my mother are good friends.  I don't know about that. After she left, my mother said "who is that woman?"

However, today she knew Fred and talked about him a lot, how much she missed him, how much fun they had together when they were married, etc.  It's nice that every now and then she can have those memories back again.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Media Babe #2

A year ago, my colleague Jeff and I were interviewed for Capital Public Radio's "Insight," a program about local "stuff."  The host, Beth Ruyak, was interviewing us about the 2016 season of Music Circus.  

It was a fun segment and she said she enjoyed it and would like to have us back again sometime.  Today was that day and we were there to talk about the 2017 season of Music Circus, so it was handy that we had just seen Beauty and the Beast, the season opener, the night before.

As before, we were ushered into the green room, where I was given an enormous cup of coffee and they brought in gluten-free peanut butter brownies (way too sweet) and granola bars and told us to just ask if we wanted anything else.

There was another interviewee there, a writer named Raheem F. Hosseini, there to talk about his late mother's decision, after years of fighting and suffering to choose to end her life, shortly after assisted suicide became legal in California...and the difficulties they had finding someone who would help her, even though it was legal.  He was a very nice, positive, upbeat guy, and his interview was prompted by a wonderful article he wrote for Sacramento News and Review.

The walls of the green room (which was really grey) were lined with posters, many of them autographed, by people whom Beth had interviewed over the years.

I was amused to see the collection of toys on the coffee table, things for people to do with themselves while waiting for their segments.

(Last year I signed that guest book with "omigod you guys" because we were about to see Legally Blonde.  I didn't sign it this year because I couldn't think of anything clever.  It wasn't until I got home that I realized I should have written "Thank you for letting us be your guest."  Owell)

The show is an hour long and each segment is scheduled for 15 minutes. The first interview was a telephone interview with a guy in Washington, DC taking about the latest congressional elections and then comparisons between Senator Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris; then Raheem; then us; and finally a jazz band from Sacramento State College.

While Raheem was in the interview room, the band came in and the young men spent a lot of time playing with each of the toys on the coffee table, concentrating on trying to work the puzzle that was that little box next to the guest book.  I don't think they ever figured it out.

Our segment seemed to end almost as soon as it began.  Beth played two recordings that Jeff had made for his own radio show later this week.  Then I talked about how comfortable the theater is and how blessed we are to have air conditioning.  Jeff went through the remaining shows in the season.  We both talked about the new projection system that Music Circus has just installed.  Beth asked how I felt about young children seeing the show, and would it be too scary for them.  I thought that 4+ year olds (under 4 can't come) would be fine; Jeff disagreed and cautioned to know your child before bringing them.

And then it was over.  Beth said that she'd have us back to talk about fall "movies" (she misspoke) and by the time we got to the car, Walt had texted "fall MOVIES" ?  Beth took a picture of Jeff and me, and I took a picture of her.  Her schedule was too crammed today to do the picture of the 3 of us we did last year.

It was painless, I don't feel I did as good a job as I did last year, but I enjoyed the experience and whether she has us back this fall or not until next summer, I'd love to do it again.
I'll keep at it until I get it right!  (Though I just listened to the recording and it didn't sound all that bad)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Be Our Guest

It was another lazy, hot day only this day very little got accomplished.  I can't even remember what I did.

The plan was to go visit my mother around 1, after she's had her lunch so in he late morning, in the middle of writing a 10 page letter to my friend Ann MacNab (co-founder of the Lamplighters, housebound and unable to attend the memorial).  We always write very long letters to each other.  The letter from her I was answering was 17 pages long.

I took a break to have my now-scheduled reading time.  I read for about an hour and a half and since it was still just a little too early to go to Atria, I went back to writing the letter, when Jeri called.
We had a very nice, long chat which was so long that by the time we finished, it was getting late and I really didn't feel like going to Atria, so I just finished the letter and got dinner ready, since we were going to go see Beauty and the Beast tonight.  Believe me, the very last thing I wanted to do on such a hot night.

This was the opening production of the 2017 Music Circus season and I gave thanks, as I usually do, that Music Circus finally built a real theater.  For many years they performed in a giant circus tent with no air conditioning and the kind of chairs that stars sit in on the set between takes.  A decidedly unpleasant experience.

But the building was built three years after I started reviewing and I give thanks every time I enter the air conditioned building and sit in the padded theater seats!

It is a theater in the round and while we were waiting the stage was set with just a single red rose that looked like it had a God Light shining on it.

As for the production, it was absolutely wonderful.  The director, Glen Casale, is the major director for Music Circus and he had directed this show here before, but he had also taken a company on a European tour with it and the costumes for this production were from that tour.

It was an opulent production.

The performers were all professionals, many of whom had had major roles on Broadway, so the quality was top notch, my only complaint is that it was entirely too loud and with my hearing you know it's loud if I'm complaining about it!

We enjoyed the show so much, we'll see it again in 2 weeks when we go to another production in Solvang with Tom and family.  It will be the girls' first "big theater" production.  I wonder if either of them will come dressed as princesses, as many little girls did tonight!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Havin' a Heat Wave

The heat wave continues.  Day 5 now.  It's predicted to get up to 106 today, and will have cooled off to 103 by the time we have to go to Sacramento to review Beauty and the Beast.  The extended forecast shows that it isn't going to get out of the 100s until Sunday, when it will cool off to a high of only 97, which at this point does seem cooler to me.

I think in the nearly 44 years we have lived here this is the longest stretch of triple digit days we have had.  Last year, I remember getting to the start of fall and remarking that we'd only had a handful of triple digit days, spread out over 3 months. It's only June and we have already had more than last year.  Climate change?  Nahhh.  Couldn't be.

Of course we live in air conditioner country and so with the combination of the house a/c and strategically placed fans, I am blissfully unaware of how hot it is outside  I didn't go to Atria yesterday because of the heat, but I feel guilty if I miss more than 2 days (I felt it was OK to skip Sunday because I knew Ned was visiting her) so I'll be out and about this afternoon.

Yesterday was "Orva Day."  I wrote yesterday's journal entry about the memorial service and got my one video posted to YouTube.  I had a bunch of photos that needed to be cropped and edited to make them look better than they really were.  That took a big chunk of time but I got them all posted to Facebook.  I also wrote to a few people to direct them to the photos and video, afraid they would otherwise miss them, and started a long letter to Ann MacNab, the co-founder of The Lamplighters, who was unable to attend the memorial due to health problems.

By the time I did all the Orva stuff and got my afternoon nap in, I completely forgot that I hadn't written my review of Legally Blonde, which we saw on Friday.  I was up at midnight finishing that.
I spent the afternoon reading all the glowing comments on the photos and loving memories of Orva and just the Lamplighters family coming together on Facebook .... that is, until this crazy comment showed up on my photo album for the memorial:
He was a dishonest person. He and the Lamplighters producer repeatedly sent out audition notices stating "All roles are cast by open audition" but they always cast the same people in each show.
There were wonderful rebuttal comments on this hateful comment and some urged me to delete the comment, but I felt (others agreed with me), that I should leave and let people see what a hateful person this was.

Never make an accusation like this to a historian.  I went to the Lamplighters history and discovered that this guy had been in the chorus for 7 Lamplighters shows in the 1970s and had actually moved up to a principal role for his last show in the late 1970s.  Which seems in contradiction to the comment.  

So tonight, as I said, we are going out into the heat to review Beauty and the Beast, which we last saw when Caroline was here and wanted to see the movie.  When we go to Santa Barbara for Tom's birthday barbeque, we are going with the girls to their very first big theater show, Beauty and the Beast.  It's a good thing I actually like the show!

Tomorrow my colleague, Jeff, and I are being interviewed again on the local PBS radio station to discuss the current season of the Music Circus.  We were interviewed a year ago and I guess all went all right because we've been invited back.  (Of course, it doesn't hurt that Jeff also has his own radio program on the same radio station.) It's nice the interview takes place the day after Beauty and the Beast opens.  I must bone-up on the other shows in this season.

Today is the big day of the Georgia senate election.  I do not live in Georgia and while I understand the importance of the democrat winning, I have heard from Ossoff's people many times a day for a year now.  I even was guilted into making a small donation once (good Lord don't do that!!!) and their requests for "just $5 more" increased.

By now I really don't care who wins.  I just want the harassment to stop!!!!!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Molecule Failure

From time to time at the end of the day it seems as if my molecules just collapse.  No matter what I should be doing, my body just. won't. move.  That's what happened at the end of the day yesterday.  It's not that it was a particularly energetic day, just eventful.  

Ned came at 9 with bagels to celebrate Fathers Day and we had a nice visit before he left to go and visit his grandmother.  Walt and I were delighted to be headed off to San Francisco, hoping to escape the predicted 107⁰ temperatures here.  We were headed to the Presentation theater, old home of The Lamplighters, for a memorial to Orva Hoskinson, co-founder of the company and "father" to hundreds of performers who have trod the Lamplighters boards over the years.  A cool breeze greeted me as I got out of the car.  How wonderful!

The stage was set with a display of Orva's costume for his iconic role of Bunthorne, the fleshly poet, in Gilbert & Sullivan's Patience. 
While Orva performed all of his life and performed and directed not only Gilbert & Sullivan, but opera, operetta, recitals, etc. (as a recording of "Donna non vidi Mai" from Manon Lescaut recorded in 1958 with LeRoy Miller accompanying, which began the memorial demonstrated) for Lamplighters, he will forever be remembered for his Bunthorne, of which one San Francisco Chronicle critic once wrote "There is Gielgud's Hamlet, and there is Hoskinson's Bunthorne."

There followed a parade of memorials interspersed with performances and film clips of Orva in performance that was an emotional roller coaster. But it was absolutely perfect and I think Orva would have approved

The memories started out with a song, written by co-founder Ann MacNab (unable, because of health problems to attend) to celebrate Orva.  It was perfect "Ann."

"The World is a Broken Toy" from Princess Ida brought tears from many remembering that the Lamplighters have lost FIVE in the last year.  In addition to Orva there was patterman/board chairman John Vlahos, the marvelous soprano, Rosemary Bock, patterman John Rouse, and Patience Bauman, daughter of two Lamplighters who met and married in the company.  Patience also performed in Lamplighters choruses.

Rick Williams, patterman, and soprano Jane Hammett recreated Orva's staging for "I have a song to sing o" from Yeomen of the Guard.  Rick also gave a shout-out to myself and Alison Lewis for writing the Lamplighters history, which was very sweet of him.

The afternoon continued through memories, laughs, tears, and, at the end, hugs.  (Highlight was a marvelous video montage by Judy Epstein, which will be uploaded to YouTube today.  Who knew Ova once had hair?)  Someone even remembered the incident (recorded in Arthur Bloomfield's History of the San Francisco Opera) when Orva streaked a production of The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein, on suggestion of then-director Kurt Adler.  (Three people at the memorial remembered being in the Opera House audience to see it.) Then there was a reception at the Lamplighters World Headquarters, which we also attended, not wanting to leave the cool air of San Francisco and head home!

When we finally got into the car, we decided to find some place to eat, for Fathers Day.  It took four tries before we finally found someplace that could take us without a reservation.  We tried Spengers Fish Grotto in Berkeley, but they turned us away, then Skates, on the Berkeley Marina, where we had gone with Caroline when she was here, but there was such a line of people waiting, I didn't even ask if they could take us.  Lowering our standards we tried Sizzler, a bit farther toward home, but they had a long line waiting and few tables open, so on we went to Denny's in Cordelia.  It wasn't anything fancy, but at least there was no line!  

We were now back in the heat again, though. I had told Walt I would drive home from Denny's, but my molecules started fading before I had finished my steak (which I brought home and he said he would drive.  I think I was asleep before we got on the freeway and barely awake long enough to stumble in the house and collapsed into the recliner.  Walt fed the dogs.

But it was a memorable day and I think even though it was an unusual Fathers Day, Walt enjoyed himself.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Saturday 9

Welcome to Saturday: 9. What we've committed to our readers is that we will post 9 questions every Saturday. Sometimes the post will have a theme, and at other times the questions will be totally unrelated. Those weeks we do "random questions," so-to-speak. We encourage you to visit other participants posts and leave a comment. Because we don't have any rules, it is your choice. We hate rules. We love memes, however, and here is today's meme. 
Saturday 9: As Long as We Got Each Other (Theme from Growing Pains)
... because it's Father's Day weekend
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This is the theme from the 1980s sitcom, Growing Pains. Alan Thicke played Dr. Jason Seaver, one of TVs popular dads. Who is your favorite TV dad?
Jim Anderson, from Father Knows Best.  I was sad to find out that Robert Young was battling alcoholism at the time!

2) Joanna Kearns, who played
Jason's wife, reports that she teased her costar by calling him, "Al," a nickname he hated. Is there someone in your life that you enjoy needling?
Only my brother-in-law.  I tease him every time he has a birthday because every time I have a birthday, he reminds me that I am now older than he is.  Three months later, we are the same age again.

For most of the series, the Seaver children each represented a "type." The oldest, Mike, was the trouble maker. The daughter, Carol, was the brainiac. Young Ben could be very high maintenance. Which of the Seaver kids were you most like when you were growing up?
None.  I was quiet and a bookworm, but definitely not a brainiac.

4) In the song,
BJ Thomas sings about being "the luckiest dreamer who never quit dreaming." If you could have any dream come true this Saturday, what would you wish for?
To spend the day with my mother as she was before dementia took that which was "her" away.

) When he mans the grill, Sam's father proudly wears the "Kiss the Chef" she gave him for Father's Day years ago. Tell us about a gift you gave someone that was a hit.
Last Christmas I had a blanket made for my mother with pictures of the family on it.  She seemed to like it when she got it, though most of the time she doesn't know who all those people are. But for one brief shining moment, I think she liked it.

6) Sam's
dad takes his grilling very seriously and jealously guards his special marinade recipe. Do you have a secret you haven't even shared with family members?
I can't think of one.

) He recommends using a grill basket when barbecuing vegetables so you don't have to worry about them falling through the grill. Share one of your culinary tips with us.
This method for shucking corn on the cob:

) Sam's father hates it when she swears. What's the last curse word you used?
The f-word.  My favorite curse word, though few hear me say it

9) Sam's father satisfies his afternoon sugar craving with an almost endless stream of Butter Rum Lifesavers. When you crave a snack, do you usually want something sweet or salty?

Usually salty.  Crackers or nuts.  It used to be sweets, but lately sweets are tasting too sweet for me (I assume this is another "gift" of growing older).

Friday, June 16, 2017

All in All, a Good Day

I knew it was going to be a good day when I woke up.  I had a decent night sleep.  My usual middle of the night 3 a.m. waking wasn't until 4:30 and I was able to go back to sleep right away.  By the time I came to life at 8, Walt had made coffee and fed the dogs, so I knew I would not be getting up to their yapping and jumping.

Usually the first thing I do when I come to life is to think about dinner and what will I cook now that I don't have any prepared Home Chef meals left for the week.  But we were going to a dinner at night, so I knew I wouldn't have to cook.  Last night I made Caroline's shrimp curry and it was as delicious as it was when she made it.  Good, simple recipe to have ingredients on hand for!  (Walt laughed when I told him I had to go and stock up on coconut milk.)

The second thing I think about before I get up is whether or not I should go to Atria that day, but since I was just with my mother yesterday and since we never have anything to talk about and she doesn't know if I was there an hour ago or a month ago, I felt comfortable skipping Atria today.
So the whole delicious day stretched before me, with lots of little things I could be doing, but nothing pressing I had to do immediately.

I sat and finished "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," so I'm ready to discuss the book with our "book club" when we are all in Santa Barbara in a couple of weeks.

I spent an hour or so turning yesterday's photo of my mother, a picture of Benny from our day in San Francisco, and a picture of a guy sitting at a table at Fenton's into this picture of Benny;

Then I wrote to Brianna to tell her about going to Fenton's and also that I had finished the book and was looking forward to talking to her about it.  I also wrote a letter to Lacie congratulating her on learning how to ride her bike without training wheels.

I was disappointed when I heard Walt fixing his lunch when the sound of the microwave made me think he had finished last night's shrimp (because he is a huge lover of leftovers), which I had been looking forward to for my own lunch.  But later, when I went to the fridge, I discovered he had not finished it and I was able to have a bowl of it and quench my craving.

The afternoon passed quietly and at 5 we left to go to an awards dinner for Citizens Who Care and Yolo County Hospice.  We got to the parking lot and saw all these grey haired, stooped people shuffling into the hotel and knew we had found our event!

The evening started with some music by The Threshold Choir.  These lovely ladies visit people at the end of their lives, sit quietly with them and sing to them. I've heard about this before and it seems a lovely, loving thing to do and a peaceful way to leave this life.

Then, before the actual awards began, we were invited to go to the buffet table and get out food.  We were in Table #2.  There were 28 tables of 10 in the room and they started calling tables from the back forward.  All these people got their food before we did...and some got their food, ate it, and went back to get their desserts and we were still waiting to be called (we had not chosen our table; it was assigned)

Cass Sylvia, the former Public Guardian for Yolo County was at our table and was ready to lead a revolt if we didn't get something to eat!

The advantage of sitting for half an hour watching everyone go for food was that they all had to pass by our table, so we got to see who had showed up, like Jeri's high school band leader, a woman I worked with at the Physics Department in Berkeley a lifetime ago, a guy who went to school with Tom, and a woman who came over to tell me we were friends on Facebook and she loves my posts!  We recognized a lot more faces, but probably had not seen them in 30 years and while we have not changed, they had and the names didn't come.

As we finally got our dinner and sat down to eat, they turned off the lights to show an audiovisual presentation about the recipients of this year's awards.

How many of these things have I been to in my lifetime?  Hundreds.  Why is it that nobody (except Ned and his friend Jon) thinks it's important to have an A-V rehearsal before keeping nearly 300 people in the dark while they fumble around trying to get it right.

They finally did get it going and except for a sound level so loud I had to find earplugs in my purse and wear them (and I have hearing problems!) and terrible feedback, the presentation was nice, and the people honored were very inspiring (and make me feel like a piker).

There was an auction and a silent auction, but nothing appealed to us.  They did get $1,900 for two tickets to Hamilton in SF (I'll wait a couple of years till it comes to Sacramento and I can see it for free in better seats than these auction seats!)

We are usually the last to leave anywhere we go and I sat at our table and waited for Walt to be ready to leave.

But all in all it was a nice event, the food (when we finally got it) was OK, the awards were inspiring, and we were home before 9, capping off an all in all good day.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Narcoleptic Walruses

This isn't really all about narcoleptic walruses, but I loved the phrase and decided to use it as a title.  A 1555 tome about Nordic life describes a "hirsuite, fearsome walrus-like beast, that was said to snooze upon cliffs while hanging by its teeth."

See how informative this blog can be? 
Using their tusks, these animals clamber right up to the cliff-tops, as if they were going up a ladder, in order to crop the sweet, dew-moistened grass, and then roll back down into the sea again, unless, in the meantime, they have been overcome with a heavy drowsiness and fall asleep as they cling to the rocks.
He also can kill a man in an instant with his big teeth.

But I digress....
A couple of weeks ago our local PBS station had one of those fund raisers where they dust off old timers who were big names in the 1950s and let them put on a show.

I'm not sure when this show was made, but several people in it have died since then (like Pat Boon, Patti Page and Debbie Reynolds--who called in to the show because she was doing her own show elsewhere)  

It was a great trip down memory lane for Walt and me, since we are products of the 50s, though this show didn't have a lot of "rock" in it, which would have been Walt's favorites.

Still, we were able to sing along to just about every song that came on and marvel what those boy singing groups (they all came in fours) are looking like as retirees.  Depressing!

However, in listening to the show I kept thinking I should buy it and play it in the car while driving my mother around, since she responds well to this kind of music.

So today I picked her up, supposedly to take her to lunch, but they told me she had just finished breakfast, so I asked if she wanted lunch or ice cream. She chose ice cream and so we drove to Fenton's Creamery, which the Food Network just named the place with the best dessert in the country.  (A banana split with three pounds of ice cream!)

Fenton's is farther away than Denny's, so we had longer to listen to music and she started singing along with the first song and either sang or tapped her foot to every number.  I was delighted.  It was worth the money I spent for the set.

Her back was bothering her and someone at the memory unit gave her a cane to use and I was giving her "cane walking" lessons and as she started getting into the way to do it, she remarked, in surprise, that it really helped.

We both had small sundaes.  They got my order wrong.  I meant vanilla for each of us, and chocolate sauce for my mother and strawberry sauce for me, but the waiter misunderstood.  That's OK.  It was still delicious.

and yes, that is real whipped cream.

She sang all the way home again and I took her back to her room and sat with her for a bit, while I identified my sister in her photograph every minute or so and assured her that yes, she really did live in this room.

I finally needed a nap so I left the memory unit and sat in the chair outside the door.  Just sat there.  I couldn't move.  I can always feel the depression descending on me whenever I leave her.  I sat for a long time (until so many people tried to help me that I finally left).  

I came home and immediately took a nap for about 2 hours (I felt like a narcoleptic walrus), waking to feel a bit more myself.  But these visits are starting to take a lot out of me, emotionally.  It's so hard to watch her slide like this -- and she seems to be failing faster now.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Turn it up / Turn it down

I know I have hearing problems and am procrastinating getting hearing aids.  (Walt picked up some information for me at Costco, but I haven't been able to read through it yet).

But the TV drives me nuts, hearing problems or not.

For one thing, you finally get the sound level right and then a commercial comes on at what is at least half again the volume, so you have to turn it down and then back up with the TV program comes back on again.

So then you go to Netflix and go to watch something like House of Cards or Orange is the New Black and the volume is so low that whereas you have the volume set at, say, 25, for TV shows, you have to raise it to 70 or sometimes as high as 90 in order to hear the Netflix video.  Then, God help you if you forget to turn the volume back down again before you turn back to the regular TV channels.

But then there are things I don't understand.  When I wake up in the middle of the night and can't sleep, Morning Joe is a great thing to put on, at a low volume.  Unless #45 is going batshit crazy again, it usually puts me to sleep.  But if there has been a volley of tweets and lots to discuss, the show keeps me awake, but I have the volume set at 12 or lower and have absolutely no problem whatever in hearing the show.  When the sun comes up even if there is no other sound in the house, I have to turn the sound up to 25 in order to hear what I had been able to hear a couple of hours before when it was quiet.

 (These are the first world problems that irritate us!)

I am missing more and more of the dialog in shows that I review and I know that hearing aids will have to be a major purchase this year.  I am afraid of some things about them -- mostly that I will lose them. or break them.

How do you handle hearing aids with earphones?  I have essentially worthless speakers for my computer, but I just listen to everything with ear phones.  If I have hearing aids will I have to also get new speakers for the phone, and give up listening to audio books on the bus?

I didn't need to worry about volume level watching whatever that mess was that was supposed to be an interrogation of Sessions.  Never saw so much stonewalling and avoiding questions in my life.  And why?  Because he didn't want to reveal a conversation with the president in case one day the president might want to evoke executive privilege.

And didja see that now it's all back in Hillary's lap?  Whenever the heat turns up on the misdeeds in the administration, sure as shooting they will answer with some variation of "yeah--but what about Hillary!"

I loved Kamala Harris, who, as a former prosecuting attorney knows how to question a witness.  She was interrupted twice by the chairman for improper questioning.  
This whole thing just makes me sick.

And I do hope you managed to catch the love-in at the first cabinet meeting.  Here is Jack Ohman's cartoon: Reflections on Donald Trump's cabinet...

How soon before we're all going to be required to refer to him as "our beloved Leader" ??

I'm glad that I am now forcing myself to turn off the TV and sit and READ.  Somehow walking through the forests of Narnia is much more pleasant...witch or no witch.

Send Aslan to Congress....