Monday, July 31, 2017

Another One

In April this year, I wrote a sort of obituary for Lamplighter John Rouse, who died at 66 of leukemia, diagnosed just 2 months before he died.  Professionally, John was a psychiatrist but he also sang with several different groups (including Yale's famed Whiffenpoofs when he was at Yale) and did so much more.  If Pasqual Calabrese had lived long enough, he and John would have been married.  Pasqual was the love of John's life and for the 30-something years after his death, there was never another relationship for John.

Today there was finally a memorial for John.  It took so long to put it together because people needed to come in from all over the country, four different groups had to get it together to perform, and it just had to be "right."  

Walt and I allowed 3 hours  to make the hour and a half trip, allowing time for us to find parking, since this was in one of the parts of the city where it was very difficult to park. But we had not planned for the parking lot that was the freeway from Davis to San Francisco.  It was after 3 before we got to the city and nearly 3:30, start time for the concert, before we arrived at Calvary Presbyterian Church (what a beautiful, welcoming building!).

As we passed through Berkeley, the car went slow enough I was able to enjoy the kite festival off in the distances.


Finally, we were on the bridge and the city was in sight...then we just had to get to the opposite side of it.


Walt dropped me off at the church and told me he'd be there in an hour or so, when he had found a place to park.  But good old Gilbert, my parking angel, came through again.  Unbelievably there was a parking place right. across. the. street.


They hadn't opened the church yet but let me go in and sit down so I was able to see the Lamplighters' rehearsal of the magnificent "if these shadows have offended...."

John himself had helped plan the program ("he wanted music, more music, little talking, much fun and happiness") which started with his friends from Yale, members of the Whiffenpoofs, the Spizzwinks, the Yale Glee Club and Alumni Chorus, who performed several songs.  I hadn't intended to film "The Whiffenpoof Song," but in the end I did and am so glad that I did.  When do you get to hear that song sung by actual Whiffenpoofs?

That was followed by a beautiful rendition of Biebl's Ave Maria sung by a group known as "The Family."

Singers from the Temple Emmanu-el, with which John had sung for all the high holidays, performed two songs and then the Lamplighters did five numbers including the aforementioned "if these shadows have offended" (music by Arthur Sullivan, lyrics by William Shakespeare, arranged by Barbara Heroux), which has become de rigeur for Lamplighters memorial services.  We have heard it too many times lately.

Two of his colleagues talked about John, the doctor, and his contributions to the medical profession in San Francisco.

Then members of the American Bach Soloists came to sing three folk songs.  

John chose a recording of himself singing "Ah, Moon of My Delight," recorded in 1994 with accompaniment by Orva Hoskinson, his best friend and voice teacher for more than 40 years.  Orva died three month before John.

Members of all the choruses joined together for two numbers from Mozart's Requiem and then it closed with a magnficent Toccata, by one of John's Yale professors, played by the organist John Walko.

There followed finger foods and wine and visiting with old Lamplighters you haven't seen since the last memorial.

All in all, it was a marvelous send off.  John would have loved it.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday Steallng

 I really like music and so I stole this from a blog called The Green Hearth, who says that some of these are "f*ing hard."  And they are, but I thought they were fun.  Let's give it a try.


        1: A song you like with a color in the title
"A White Sports coat and a Pink Carnation."
        2: A song you like with a number in the title
"76 Trombones."
        3: A song that reminds you of summertime
Nat King Cole's "Mona Lisa" always reminds me of summers at Boyes Hot Springs when I was in grammar school. We would be at the big pool and I would walk over to the snack bar to get taffy and it seemed that song was always playing.
        4: A song that needs to be played LOUD
Oh anything by John Philip Sousa or Beethoven's "Ode to Joy"
        5: A song that makes you want to dance
None really, but my toe does tap to polkas.
        6: A song to drive to
I just bought a 6-CD set of music from the 1950s, which is GREAT for driving with my mother.  She actually remembers all the words (though she can't remember anything else)
        7: A song about drugs or alcohol
"Bottle of Wine" by Tom Paxton
        8: A song that makes you happy
"Thank God You're Doin' Fine" by Lawsuit
        9: A song that makes you sad
"In the Arms of the Angel," which his widow sang at our son's funeral
        10: A song that you never get tired of

Halleljua (this version is particularly memorable) I also love "For Good" particularly this clip.
       11: A song from your preteen years
"Lollipop" by the Chordettes.  My father told me it was the worst music ever written.
        12: One of your favorite 80’s songs
I checked the top 100 songs of the 1980s and recognized about 6 of them.  Of those, I guess my favorite would be "9 to 5" since I just saw the musical this week.
         13: One of your favorite classical songs
"Vissi D'arte" from the opera Tosca
        14: A song that you would sing a duet with someone on karaoke
"You are my sunshine," which I used to sing with my cousin when we were both young.  My fondest memory is sitting under the big weeping willow in front of her house and harmonizing. It was the first time I learned about harmony


      

15: A song from the year that you were born"
"For Me and My Gal" by Judy Garland and Gene Kelly
        16: A song that makes you think about life
"When You Care" which has a wonderful message for everyone.
        17: A song that you think everybody should listen to
"Going It Alone," from the musical The Last Session
        18: A song by a band you wish were still together
Anything by Lawsuit
        19: A song by an artist no longer living
"For You" by John Denver
        20: A song that breaks your heart
The aforementioned "In the Arms of the Angel"
        21: A song by an artist with a voice that you love
"Stormy Weather" by Judy Garland (or pretty much anything Judy Garland recorded).  When I was working, in the 1960s, I used to come home from work each night put this song on, lie in front of the speaker and listen to it over and over again.  I don't know why--I wasn't particularly sad; just loved the song.

Saturday, July 29, 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: Angel (1998)
... because Bev recommended it -- hey!  That's ME!!
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

 1) Sarah McLachlan wrote this song about someone she barely knew. She read the obit of Jonathan Melvoin, keyboard player for the Smashing Pumpkins, who died of a heroin overdose. What's the most recent news story that touched you deeply?
There are so many with this administration!  The transgender tweets touched me deeply, a video I saw this morning of Trump shaking hands with all the children except a disabled boy in a wheelchair who was right in front of him asking to shake his hand and turning his back on the child.  The recent slaughter of the son of Cecil, the great lion who was killed last year also moved and angered me almost as much as hearing the president today encouraging stronger police violence in arresting suspects. There are a dozen stories each day these days that touch me deeply.

2) Ms. McLachlan performed this in tribute to Linda McCartney at the 1999 Concert for Linda. She was expressing her hope that, in death, Linda found relief and peace after a long and painful battle with cancer. What do you think happens to us when we die?
Lord, I don't know, but if we aren't reunited with our deceased loved ones, I'm going to be pissed.  It's what I'm holding on to.

3) Daytime dramas General Hospital and As the World Turns used this song on-air after a major character died. Do you follow any "soap operas?
Not for years and years and, really, decades.  I used to watch 3 regularly (As the World Turns was one), but then quit cold turkey and have not regretted it.  The only thing I remember about any of them was that one character was always making bread and I, who made all of our bread at the time was frustrated because she never learned how to knead dough.

4) In 2007, Sarah donated her recording of this song to the ASPCA. Do you have a pet? If yes, how did you get it (shelter, pet store, etc.)?
We have two shelter dogs.  All of our dogs over the years, since 1967, have come from shelters (except one Sheltie, who was a gift from my cousin, who bred them).

5) She admits she can't watch those ASPCA commercials, where her recording of "Angel" plays over sad photos of animals. Is there a TV commercial that really gets to you (in either a good or a bad way)?
Stanton Optical, which has The. Worst. Commercials. Ever.  This is the most recent, and least offensive, though still bothersome. What is worse is that it repeats twice each time and runs many times a day.  I agree with this complaint I read:  Stop running this *** ad! It plays back to back every 5 minutes in Florida!!! I change the channel and hate your company for annoying me daily!!!!

6) In 1994, Sarah was stalked by an obsessed fan. Tell us about a time you were really frightened. In retrospect, was your fear commensurate with the threat?
I can't really think of any time except during the worst part of my freeway phobia, when I would be so terrified driving on the freeway that I drove as far as I could on city streets, rejoining the freeway only when I couldn't easily go any farther on city streets.

7) Sarah was adopted by Jack and Dorice McLachlan. Though she has a friendly relationship with her birth mother, she always considered Dorice her mother and sees herself behaving with her son the way Dorice did with her. Is there anyone in your family that you feel you resemble, either physically or by behavior?
I guess my mother, though I occasionally see my father coming out in me.  Lately, the more I struggle to remember things, the more I fear I am going to really resemble my mother ultimately.  As far as "behavior," it is interesting to read through our genealogy and discovr that many of my relatives on my mother's side have been writers.  My great great grandfather founded a newspaper and worked as its principal columnist for years.

8) McLachlan is one of the founders of Lilith Fair, a summer concert series designed to showcase talented female performers. Do/did your summer plans include an outdoor concert?
No.  Never have.

9) Random question: Which of these men would you most like to be seated with at dinner -- Clint Eastwood, Prince William or Jimmy Fallon?
Absolutely no question:  Jimmy Fallon.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Wacko

In apparent consultation with "his generals" the president has decided to issue a directive by tweet that transgender persons are not to serve in any capacity in the military.  It's not clear which of "his generals" he communicated with, since this was all news to the Pentagon and generals in the field have said they will not comply with a directive issued by tweet that will affect ~15,000 people currently serving their country. Marine Gen. Joe Dunford told the chiefs of the military branches and senior enlisted leaders that the military will continue to “treat all of our personnel with respect.”

("A dishonorable discharge would strip them of access to a number of veterans’ benefits, including mental health and educational help.", says Politico)

The president cites "medical costs" as the primary driver of the decision.  “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail,” the president wrote, though the military spends five times as much on Viagra as it would on transgender troops’ medical care.

It has been suggested that this out-of-the-blue announcement from the White House was an attempt to distract from the failing "repeal and replace" movement in the Senate, where even McCain voted against it.  As did Senator Murkowski (R-Alaska) despite threats from the White House.

"Early Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to express displeasure with Murkowski's vote. By that afternoon, each of Alaska's two Republican senators had received a phone call from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke letting them know the vote had put Alaska's future with the administration in jeopardy." (Alaska Dispatch News)

This is where we are with this crazy, wacko administration.  The president continues to hold campaign rallies to hear the cheers of the crowds, he encourages the Boy Scouts of America to boo a former president and thanks them for their votes that helped him win (The Boy Scouts have since apologized to their members for the inappropriate speech by the president).  He claims to be more "presidential" than any president, except for Lincoln and he thinks he should be on Mt. Rushmore.


In the meantime, in seven months he has accomplished nothing of substance, we have become a laughing stock around the world and are poised on the verge of another war.  "This man is mad and dangerous. I wonder what thoughts are going through the heads of the people who voted him in. What percentage of them are now saying 'Oh my God, what have I done!'" writes a friend in Australia.

As the president continues his campaign to oust Jeff Sessions, republicans (Lindsay Graham and Ben Sasse) are finally "drawing a line in the sand" and warning of the repercussions if he should do so.  Will we see more and more Republicans finally speaking out after all these months of looking the other way?

I won't even talk about "the Mooch," who is bringing thuggery into the White House.



In other "wacko news," I went to see my mother yesterday.  I had not been there since Sunday, since Niecie was with her on Monday and she was "too tired," I thought the podiatrist was coming on Tuesday and he actually came on Wednesday.  I am feeling much guilt because I am starting to dread that trip to Atria now, since you never know what you are going to find when you get there.

I was stopped by one of the aides, who said that she had been awakened for breakfast, but was in one of her anxiety moods, where she didn't know where she was or what she was supposed to do.  They suggested she go back to sleep and I guess she was better when she woke up.

When I got to her room, she was asleep.  Sound asleep.  When she asked who was there and I said "your daughter," she said "My daughter can't be here; she's at work" and then went back to sleep.  The TV was on so I sat there watching TV for half an hour and was just about ready to leave when she sat up, bright and busy tailed, as normal as she ever is, and ready for a visit.

We talked for a long time, though of course she didn't make much sense.  She again wanted to know if I was going dancing tonight.  When I left her, she was in good spirits, walked me to the door and waved at me as I disappeared into the foyer.  There was a message from Jeri asking if I was with her and I said I had just left and I could go back, if she wanted, but she never answered, so I went on home.

Apparently Jeri then called her and she didn't answer.  Owell.  It was nice while it lasted!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

In MY Day

We went to the memorial Mass for our friend Howard Hupe yesterday.  I don't remember the last time I went to Mass, so I wasn't aware that the air conditioning in the church had broken down and Mass was temporarily being held in the school gymnasium.

We filed in past the coffin and the widow and I gave her a big hug.  She is such a sweetheart and such a good actress she said she was concentrating on keeping her emotions in check and, in truth, though there were lots of tears on a lots of people, I did not see her cry, though she looked as though her life had been shattered.

Her three children gave wonderful eulogies about their father.

When I first entered the gymnasium, I was fighting tears.  But I didn't want to lose it so I spent a good part of the Mass looking at the people around me in the huge crowd and not concentrating on the Mass.  Bad me, but as I looked around at the women I realized how some fashion has changed significantly from when I was a young woman.

The first thing that got me to thinking such un-religious thoughts was seeing several woman with the now seemingly ubiquitous cut-out sleeves.


You see cut-out sleeves like this everywhere thee days. (I won't discuss the waist size of these women which is about the size of my upper arm)

That got me thinking about the first Oscar broadcast where I saw someone wearing a gown with the off the shoulder look.  Now it's everywhere.  In fact it's unusual to see someone wearing a dress with two sleeves.
I'm sure high heels have been around forever, but I see them everywhere now.  I don't understand how anybody can walk in those things.  My feet hurt if I try to walk in anything as tall as an inch.
It seems that more and more shoes have some version of these multi straps.  Some are as fancy as boots with straps all the way up the thigh.  I don't remember when I started seeing them, but now they are everywhere.
Not being a fashionista, I am unaware when styles change and I just suddenly realize that sweat pants, t-shirt and Birkinstocks aren't exactly trendy.

The other thought I had to keep myself from crying during the lovely Mass was wondering when they started ordaining Doogie Howsers.  

But I didn't cry.  Much.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Season 2

At some point a few years back, after listening to Ned rhapsodize about Breaking Bad and feeling that I was missing something, after Bryan Cranston won Emmy after Emmy, I decided that I needed to find out what the fuss was all about before the last (of 5) seasons started.

Season 5 was starting in a couple of weeks and I figured if I was going to do a marathon viewing, I couldn't get all four seasons watched, so I would just skip an early one and skipped season 2.  I needed to watch Season 1 to set the scene, and I figured it wouldn't hurt to skip the second season.  I was all caught up (except for season 2) when season 5 started and was a happy camper because Ned and I had something to talk about and I didn't feel left out of Facebook chats.  

It's always fun to have a TV show in common with Ned because we have great conversations about them (though I fear I gave up on Survivor a long time ago.  I stuck it out for several seasons, but I really OD'd on it).

I don't remember when it was that I admitted to Ned that I had actually skipped season 2.

YOU SKIPPED SEASON TWO?????? was his astonished question.  Apparently everything important happened in season two.  He's been telling me ever since 2013 that I need to come to his house and watch season 2 at some point (We had given him a boxed set for Christmas).  We kind of didn't talk about it again for awhile until Better Call Saul, the prequel to Breaking Bad started and we were both watching it, but it had elements in it that also showed up later in season 2 and I needed to watch season 2 !!!!


Yeah, it's a little gross, but everything really does come to a head in season two (pun not intended).  Jesse meets Jane, for example.


which is a pivotal meeting in the show, and it is probably this relationship which determines, once and for all, if Walter White is a good guy or a bad guy.


Walter White is one of those memorable characters in TV series.  He's a lot like Tony Soprano (another series I binge-watched before the finale!).  Both of them do detestable things and are really bad, bad guys, for different reasons, and yet somehow you like them. 

Walter White maybe had more redeeming qualities than Tony Soprano....but....maybe not.


But I did it.  I watched Season 2.  I really don't remember the rest of the show except, of course, how it all ends.  But I can hold up my end in a discussion with Ned now and that was the whole point in finally watching Season 2.

And I have no desire to try crystal meth!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Wasted trip

It had been several months since my cousin had been up to do my mother's nails.  Niecie is a cosmetologist who owns two beauty salons in Marin County and has been keeping my mother's nails in good shape since long before she moved to Atria.  But she's also a very busy person and I think it had been about 6 months since she was last able to come up and my mother had been complaining about her nails for a very long time.


Niecie is such a special person.  Everybody in the family plays lip service to loving my mother, but in all the time she has been at Atria (4 years), nobody has so much as sent her a note.  Somehow telling me how much they love her on Facebook is not quite the same thing as getting in the car and actually coming to see her.  Of course, by now it doesn't matter because she wouldn't know who anybody was anyway, but every time someone tells me how special she is and how much they love her, it irritates me!

I almost made an appointment to have her nails done when I took her to the beauty parlor this week because her toenails were particularly bad (long and curling under), but before I could do that, Niecie called and said she was planning to come up.  Yippee.  The cavalry was on the way!

When I was last at Atria, they told me that a podiatrist would be coming to the memory unit to examine everyone's feet this week and asked if I wanted her to see the doctor.  I told them no, since I knew Niecie would be there.

Niecie called me from Atria this morning to let me know that she was there, but my mother was "too tired" to let her give her a pedicure, even though she has been complaining about how bad her feet are.  So I made arrangements with Atria to have her see the podiatrist, which will cost $40 (since it's not covered by Kaiser) just because she was too tired to sit in a chair and let Niecie work on her feet.
But she wouldn't understand my frustration.

Niecie and I met for lunch instead, since she had driven an hour and a half for nothing.  I had a couple of things she had given to my mother years ago that I needed to return and it was nice to just visit.  

Though I am from a large family and had 32 cousins, because of my father's disdain for my mother's family ("a bunch of hicks from the sticks"), I did not grow up knowing most of them.  The only ones I grew up with were Peach and her sister and Kathy and her two siblings.  That was because somehow their fathers were "acceptable" to my father.  

Of all the other cousins, I knew Niecie's mother (who really is my cousin; she has 3 daughters -- not sure what exactly that makes Niecie; just easier to call her my cousin) better than most but the rest of them are pretty much strangers to me.  The various family reunions we have had over the years have not helped that because they all knew each other and I didn't know them, and we know how gregarious I am in a crowd of strangers.  It was fine when some of my mother's siblings and their spouses were around, but once they died, the idea of a reunion held no appeal to me.

Niecie is perhaps the most ardent about family connections and I remember a few years back when she decided that what we all needed to do was go to this camp she knew of where we would have a few beds in a cabin, mostly sleep in the ground, there would be zero internet connection or media of any kind and we could just all sit around and enjoy each other.  It sounded like my idea of dying and going to hell, and fortunately there didn't seem to be anyone else interested in doing it so I didn't have to come up with a creative excuse for not going.

They even tried getting us to a reunion a couple of years ago and assured me that they would take care of "everything" so that my mother would enjoy herself.  But by this time my mother didn't remember having a large family and was afraid of even going to meet her good friends for lunch and I knew that a family reunion of people who would be strangers to her would be very uncomfortable for her.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Accidental Vegetarian


I had a friend once many, many years ago who was a vegetarian.  She didn't make any attempt to eat healthy, however.  She joked about how she didn't really like vegetables and lived on junk food.
I wonder if there is a different term for someone who just doesn't eat meat, but doesn't necessarily eat a lot of vegetables.

I have always been a big meat eater.  I love my prime rib, my leg of lamb and stuff like that.
One of my favorite restaurant meals was veal scaloppini or veal parmesan.  Whenever we went to an Italian restaurant that was my standard order.

But one day when our kids were in nursery school, we took a field trip to the UCD cattle area, where the mothers were hooked up to milking machines and the babies were kept in little "dog houses" and bottle fed.  It never occurred to me before that the way you get milk is to take lactating mother and milk her, while her baby gets bottle fed.  

This offended the La Leche League mother in me from the get go.

But I also took a look at those little faces and realized that the cute little calf I was oohing and aahing over could very possibly be the veal dish on my next Italian dinner.  I stopped eating veal then and there.  It had nothing to do with nutrition, and everything to do with "cute animal syndrome."

We had a friend who became a vegetarian after she saw Bambi and was served venison for dinner.
Everybody has their own reasons for becoming vegetarian.

I am not a vegetarian and still eat meat most nights, but my taste for it has significantly decreased.  I kind of choke down half of whatever the meat entree from Home Chef is for that night, and Walt usually gets the other half.

But I am aware that my feeling toward meat is changing.  I no longer pop in for a quick fast-food hamburger any more, my thoughts about ads for Outback Steakhouse are that I sure would like that bloomin' onion and that there is no way whatever that I could ever finish the steak--or that it even looked appealing.  I went to the store the other day and could not bring myself to buy hamburger.  It just looked gross.

I have watched with horror as lobsters are thrown into boiling water, screaming, or torn apart while alive on chef shows.  But then I don't like lobster.  I try not to think that the same thing happens to crab, because I like crab!

I am happy when lamb season comes around and you can get lamb without mortgaging your house.  I try not to think about the happy little milk-fed lambs romping about in the fields, who may become an entree on my plate, as I poke cloves of garlic into their flesh.

I am a hypocritical wanna be vegetarian.

And I don't even much like vegetables, which is an impediment to becoming a vegetarian. I have to admit, though, that Home Chef, and Blue Apron before it, has ways of helping me cook some vegetables that I am starting to like them ... and eating more vegetables on my plate than meat (I just discovered mashed cauliflower!)

I'm more wishy-washy about fish (pun intended).

I have always liked cod, ever since I was a kid, but I've never seen a cod that wasn't just a fleshy white rectangle.  I'm not fond of salmon, unless its lox on a bagel.  But again, there is nothing cute about a salmon.
The new "in" fish is tilapia, but I don't much like it in the first place, and when I read about the garbage in the fish ("Farmers commonly feed the fish chicken and pig poop.") it was no sacrifice to stop eating tilapia.  Also they say that "Tilapia contains a TON of omega-6 fatty acids, which are terrible for you. The quantity of omega-6 in tilapia is higher than a hamburger or bacon."

I can go either way with pork.  

Cute little piglets aside, I don't know of things that are made with "piglets" and my luck with cooking pork has not been good over the years.  Always too dry, though again, Home Chef and Blue Apron have helped me do better with that.

But pork has never been a big favorite of mine, unless it is bacon or sausage.  My scruples about meat don't extend to those two products.

Somehow I don't think of "chicken" in the meat field and I do cook and eat some chicken, mostly chicken thighs.


So I don't know if I have a label.  All I know is that I am slowly weaning myself off of (some) meats and trying to eat more vegetables, filling in, where there are gaps, with things like crackers and ice cream.  It's probably not the ideal diet.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday Stealing

Welcome back to Sunday Stealing which originated on WTIT: The Blog, authored by Bud Weiser. Here we will steal all types of questions from every corner of the blogosphere. Our promise to you is that we will work hard to find the most interesting and intelligent questions. You may have heard the expression, “honor among thieves”. In that age-old tradition, we try to credit the blog that we stole it from, if possible. We also provide a link to the victim's questions in our "Previous Victims" widget. (It's our way of saying "Thanks!") Sometimes we edit the original meme, to make it more relevant to our global players, to challenge our players, to select the best questions, or simply to make it less repetitive from recently asked questions from a previously post.

This is from Around the House, which hasn't posted since 2014, so it's obviously pretty old. It asks us to look around the house and then answer a few questions.

Bedroom: what’s your sleep schedule?
Bwahaha.  What sleep schedule?  Actually, I guess I do have some sort of weird schedule.  The dogs and I usually go into the living room to sleep around midnight and then I wake up some time between 3 and 4 (they don't), when I move to the recliner and sleep for a couple more hours.  If I'm lucky I sleep until 6:30 or 7.  Today I actually slept until 8:30I didn't even hear Walt making coffee.

Kitchen: favorite comfort food?
Carbs.  Bread. Tortillas, crackers and junk food, which I rarely buy.  Also peanut butter.

Washroom: showers or baths? bubbles? bath bombs?
Shower.  Ever since I worked for a gynecologist and found out the kinds of genital problems things like bubble bath stuff can cause, I have no desire to lounge around in a bubble bath (though it always looks so nice!).

Closet: sum up your style in a few words.
Comfort, boring.  Black pants + t-shirts

Parlor: favorite party or board game?
I sorely miss Cousins Days, when we spent 2-3 days playing non-stop "65," a card game, or canasta.  I loved playing cards with my 2 cousins (now both dead) and my mother (now no longer able to play even the most simple card game).

Living room: what do you like to do with your family?
With everybody scattered around the country, we rarely get together en masse, but when we are together my very favorite thing to do is listen to the kids talking and laughing together.  Nothing lifts my spirits more than that.

Dining room: favorite special occasion food?
Fresh cracked crab with warm French bread, or a delicious leg of lamb with mashed potatoes and creamed spinach.

Garden: favorite tree? flower?
I love the graceful beauty of a weeping willow.  I wanted to plant one in our yard after David died, but we never did.  As for flower, I love roses that have a scent to them, which home grown do and florist shop roses do not.  I remember when I worked for Dr. G, who always brought roses in from his garden and I remember the violet ones had the strongest scent.

Attic: what’s one thing you have a sentimental attachment to and you will never throw away?
Well, we have no attic, so I can't look up there, but the one thing I have a sentimental attachment to and will never throw away is Delicate Pooh, a Pooh bear which has been thoroughly loved by each of our children, in turn, and has very little oomph left in his body these days.  The dog once ate his face off and Jeri repaired it as a Christmas gift for me.  He now lives in a giant mayonnaise jar in a place of honor in our living room.  I case of fire, I would grab Pooh before anything else.

Library: favorite book genre?
Crime drama, like those of Harlan Coben, Michael Connelly, Tess Gerritsen and others.

Office: if you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
If I were much younger and much more physically fit, I would love to volunteer at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya and help save orphaned elephants.

Guest room: have you been to a sleepover? if so, when was your first? do you like them?
Of course.  We used to have them all the time when I was in grammar and high school.  The last time I had a sleepover was our last Cousins day.

Foyer: do you like small gatherings, large parties, or one-on-one meetings?
Small gatherings with interesting people that I can sit back and listen to.  Thinking of two friends, both of whom are theater experts.  Listening to them talk together is one of my favoritest things.

Pantry: favorite meal to make?
Hmmm.... I don't know that I have a favorite meal to make.  Usually when we are having guests I try to find a dish I've never made before that sounds interesting.

Garage: favorite mode of transportation? favorite car?
I've only done it a couple of times but I love riding the train. For everyday transportation, though I do love our Honda.  I don't pay attention to car brands.  If it's comfortable and I can play my iPod audiobooks and it has air conditioning, I am happy.

Panic room: what was the most nerve-wracking experience you’ve had?
Sitting at a party in New York, which was given in our honor and receiving a phone call telling us that our youngest son had been in an auto accident, was in the hospital and not expected to live until we got home.  Sitting in the hotel later, talking to a disembodied stranger and telling her that yes of course, she could remove our son's organs and give them to someone else.

Powder room: do you wear makeup? if so, what one item can’t you live without? what’s your favorite look?
I haven't worn any makeup in years.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Saturday 9


Saturday 9: Don't Stop (1977)... because Country Dew recommended Fleetwood Mac 

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

1) Since we're not supposed to stop thinking about tomorrow, let's talk about it: What are your plans for Sunday?
Actually, I have no plans for Sunday.  I will be visiting my mother on Saturday and on Monday, but I have Sunday off -- and it's predicted to be >100⁰ so I'm happy to have no plans!

2) Fleetwood Mac was formed 50 years ago in London. Fifty years is considered a "golden anniversary." Do you wear more silver or gold?
I actually wear no jewelry at all, since I lost the "grandma" necklace the girls gave me for my 70th birthday.  I have tiny pearl earrings that were my mother's, but that's about it.

3) This song is from Rumours, which has sold 40 million copies. Is it in your collection?
I don't know that I have been familiar with anything by Fleetwood Mac, so no, it's not in my collection!

4) It was written by keyboardist and vocalist Christine McVie. She was born Christine Perfect, a name that earned her a fair share of teasing when she was a school girl. Do you recall being teased in school? What about?
I was always teased about being fat and, since I started school a year early, all the other girls went through puberty a year before I did, so I was teased a lot about my lack of boobs.

5) Before Fleetwood Mac, she was in a band called Chicken Shack. If you were to order out for a chicken dinner, which restaurant would you turn to?
The only place I can think of where you order out for chicken is KFC.  It's not nearly as good as it was when the Colonel ran things, but once in awhile it's not bad.  The last time we had KFC, though it was way too salty.  (I wonder if kids today know what KFC stands for)

6) Before she could pay all her bills with her music, she supported herself as a window dresser for a London department store. Do you enjoy walking along, just window shopping? Or do you consider "looking with no intention to buy" a waste of time?
I almost never buy clothes in a store any more, but occasionally I do like walking along looking in windows.  I never got nearly enough time to do that on cruises because we were always in a hurry to get to our destination and nobody seemed to enjoy the journey as much as I did.

7) When she found herself making big money, one of the first things Christine bought was a pair of matching Mercedes for herself and then-husband, John McVie. If you were handed a check for $1 million, what's the first thing you would do with the money?
This question has been asked before and in all honesty, though there are a few things I would like to buy, the very first thing I would do is to send a monetary gift to each of the kids I sponsor or write to through Compassion, Int'l.  The second thing is to buy a ceiling light for our kitchen. 

8) The other girl in Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks, founded the Soldier's Angel Foundation. She believes in the healing power of music, and so she's proud to provide wounded soldiers with iPods already loaded with music. When you listen to music from your phone, MP3 player or iPod, do you use ear buds or headphones?
Ear buds.  I don't know how/if that will change if I get hearing aids.  I might have to use some of that $1 million to buy a good pair of headphones.

9) Random question: Let's pretend your high school reunion is coming up. Which classmate are you more curious about: the one who was your first date, or the one who was too cool to give you the time of day?
Well, I went to an all-girls school, so none of that opposite sex stuff.  I did go to my 50th reunion and nobody that I knew well from school attended (our graduation class was only 60 people).  There are two girls I would like to see -- one is a woman named Marie Davilla (obviously she has a different name now), with whom I went through 12 years of school and who has disappeared.  Even the folks who collected addresses for the 50th anniversary were unable to find her.  The other is a girl to whom I loaned a bunch of money several years ago, who promised to pay it back within a year and who has not.  The only time I heard from her was when she called again and asked for another loan.  My friend Gilbert always said "never loan money unless you are willing to lose it" and I knew when I loaned it to her that I probably would not see it again, but it was a disappointment to find out how dishonest she had become.  On the other hand, it makes me sad that her circumstances forced her to contact someone she had not seen in decades and ask for help.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Howard Hupe

It was both a shock, and not a shock, to learn this morning that Howard Hupe, co-founder (with wife Germaine) of the Winters Community Theater had died.

Howard was not at the ticket table when we went to the last show, which was unusual.  Always the lifeblood of the theater he had been looking more and more frail whenever we went to a show. No longer able to direct, or perform, he was still able to participate by giving out tickets to the audience who came to see the show.

Howard was someone we kinda sorta knew for many years, since our early days in theater here in Davis, but I had no idea of his fantastic background until I interviewed him and wife Germaine for an article for The Davis Enterprise in 2008.  Here is an excerpt of that article:

Fortunately for the town of Winters, and the outlying communities, Howard Hupe, one of the founders of the Winters Community Theater, and a regular director there, decided against taking a 14 year old bride.

Hupe, a native of Pittsburgh, PA met Davis resident Germaine Walgenbach (whose father, Jake, the owner of Jake’s Plumbing since 1948 was a beloved town character) on a blind date. Howard was attending the Army Language School (now called the Defense Language Institute) in Monterey and Germaine was doing her first year of teaching in Pacific Grove They fell in love and became engaged. Hupe went off to Saudi Arabia, as the first American other than embassy personnel in that country.

He traveled around the country with an interpreter and, as Germaine recalls the story, happened to notice one day that the interpreter looked particularly happy. The interpreter replied that he had just returned from his second honeymoon.

Howard said "Oh, that's a lovely custom...we do that, too, in our country after several years, we take off with our wife" and the interpreter said "No--this is my new wife. She's 14 and my mother just arranged her and she's absolutely wonderful."

The interpreter then said that he would be very happy to have his mother arrange for a wife for Howard as well, but Howard explained that he had a fiancee back in the states.

"This guy said ‘do you have a picture of her?’ -- this 'old bat' of 22 -- me – so Howard hauled out a picture of me and he just shook his head and said, "tsk tsk...her father must have many sheep and goats!!"

Howard returned to the States, and married Germaine in Georgia, where he was sent to another special school. The two traveled extensively with the Army and lived for three years in Tehran, where Germain taught at the English language school, just before the fall of the Shah

Germaine recalls having to have armed guards traveling with them on school field trips and one particular occasion when the school bus was being bombarded with rocks. Everyone was lying on the floor to escape the bombardment and their son looked at his mother and said "Don’t ever tell me that Grandpa had to walk three miles to school when he was a kid."

In addition to giving the Hupes a unique world view, their Army experiences also gave them an introduction to theater. Germaine had been a drama major, but "Howard’s theatrical experiences had been limited to playing a tree in his fourth grade play."

When Howard retired, after 25 years in the military, they moved back to California, where Germaine’s roots were. Howard planned to go to graduate school to get a Masters Degree in counseling, and Germaine applied for a teaching position in 17 different locations. She was hired to teach English at Winters High School. 

Though they lived in Davis, the couple became quite active in the social life of Winters. A few years after the Hupes’ participation in the 1976 Centennial Festival in Winters, there was a movement to start a theater group. 

They sought permission from the city of Winters to use the community center, currently under construction, for performances, and it was granted. In fact, the very first production was a benefit for Yolo Family Service Agency, and Howard explains that "the kitchen floor was still unpaved. Just dirt. And there were no stalls in the bathroom, so it was a unique experience."

"By the time we put on our 25th play, which was something like 20 years ago, more than 600 people had participated," Germaine remembers. "Now we’ve done more than 100 productions and it must be up to about 1500, in terms of either acting or helping to build sets or being spear carriers or helping with costumes and this kind of thing, which is pretty amazing for a town that size."

"I adore Howard and Germaine," says Amy Vyvlecka. " I think what they’re doing is really wonderful. It gives people the opportunity to do really great plays. It gives people a chance to try out some of these roles. So many people have this opportunity to be part of this family they’ve created."

Gil Sebastian agrees. "Performing for Howard (who directed all of my 25 shows there) taught me some valuable life and work lessons, as well as theater etiquette. The confidence I gained, the ability to stay calm amid chaos, the ability to engage and hold an audience, the importance of humor, to respect others as you wish to be respected –– all have made me a better person, and I seriously owe all of that to Howard."

Howard’s decision to decline the opportunity of a 14 year old bride has had a tremendous impact on the town of Winters, and on all of Yolo County.

Howard made a huge impact on his community and he will be greatly missed.  

Debra LoGuercio DeAngelo, editor of the Winters Express adds "he truly helped shape the community. Besides theater, he served on the Chamber board for so many years and often was the powerhouse behind events when everyone else flaked. I know, because I was on the board with him.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Normalcy

We don't have a lot of "normalcy" around here ... or at least around Atria ... these days.  It's like going  through Alice's rabbit hole when you are let into the memory unit and you never know what to expect.  If I'm lucky, she's in a good mood, which means that we pretty much stare at each other for an hour while she asks me if she lives there and who this or that person is in a picture she indicates...and whether or not her mother is still alive.

If it's like last week, she is in another zone entirely.  You can't convince her that she is not in a situation where everybody hates her because she's done something terrible, but doesn't know what she has done.  (And if I'm very unlucky, I'm to blame for all of her problems.)
If I'm very lucky, she's in a giddy, chatty mood where everything tickles her fancy and we spend a lot of time laughing.

What rarely happens is a "normal" day.  Days when I take her out to lunch are more or less normal, except for the endless questioning about where she is.  But she used to go out to lunch with friends frequently and it's always pleasant to go out to lunch with her.  I wish I could afford to take her out to lunch more often, because I really enjoy it, and she does  too.

Haircut days are also normal day.  She used to have her hair done once a week for years and was good friends with her hairdresser. Hannah.  I last took her to see Hannah a couple of years ago when she needed a permanent.  It cost so much money, I didn't take her back again, since Lucy, the beautician at Atria, does a fine job for much less money.
I'd been putting off making an appointment for her.  She's several weeks past when it should have been done. Her hair has been so long and stringy, hanging in her eyes, often looking fly-away and giving her that "Wicked Witch of the West" look.  I'd only put off making an appointment because either I didn't have my calendar, or it was Lucy's day off and I couldn't reach her.  But today, she finally had an appointment.
She was in good spirits when I got to Atria.  She was napping, but got up right away.  When she opened her eyes, her first word were "Well...I have a sister."  When I told her that no, she had a daughter she came more to life and sat up.

I told her we were going to get her hair done and there was no argument.  She just immediately put on her shoes and was ready to go.

It's always such fun watching her interacting with Lucy.  It's one of those "normal" times.  Other then telling Lucy that people always ask where she gets her hair done (she's thinking of when Hannah used to do it), they chatter away just like the old days.


And in the end, though she never thought she needed a haircut to begin with, she's delighted with how she looks.


We returned to her apartment and she sat down, dazed, and asked if this is where she was going to live from now on.

Normalcy was nice, while it lasted.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The First one is the Hardest

I went for several years with a stable list of Compassion sponsored children.  I knew that Shallon (Uganda), the oldest of the group, would probably be the first to age out of the program, but I was not prepared for the abrupt departure when family financial problems forced her to leave the program and open her own hair styling business.  I had written to her for several years and we had developed what seemed like a close relationship.  She called me "mother" and at one point told me that after her own mother died, she never thought she would find another mother.

Compassion does an incredible job.  They take care of thousands of kids all over the world and they deal with persnickety sponsors like me.  They help pregnant women have healthy pregnancies and healthy births.  When a child has a serious health problem, they raised the money to get them the care they need (I read recently about a young boy with a problem that could not be treated in his native African country and so Compassion funded his travel to India, where the problem was able to be treated and he returned home cured.)

They translate thousands of letters to and from sponsored children.  And with the advent of an e-mail program and translation software, it has reduced the time between letters significantly (it used to take about four months from when I sent a letter before the child I was sending it to received it and answered it...sometimes it took six months.  Now it can all be done in less than two months.

And so I hate to be critical, but I think the one area where they don't do a good job is with children who leave the program.  Some age out, others leave the program for one reason or another--they move to a new area where there is no Compassion program or their parents, for one reason or another decide to pull them out of the program.

Compassion does inform the sponsor that their child has left the program, but often I first find out when I go to write a letter and discover that the child is no longer on my list of kids to whom I can write.  When it is a child that I don't financially sponsor, but merely write to, I am not notified at all.

I think Fred was the first child I took on to write to, not to sponsor.  He's in the Philippines and when I first took him he was little.  I don't remember how little, but little.  While Compassion staff generally are the translators for the letters kids write, Fred's mother spoke English and so she wrote the letters herself and I loved receiving her letters and felt a friendship developing. 

When Fred got old enough to write his own letters, Compassion staff took over doing the translation and the personal aspect I had come to look forward to ended.  The letters were once more the standard "I am fine, how are you, please pray for me" kind of letters.  Now that he is older, his letters are becoming more personal.  But when his financial sponsor decided not to continue his sponsorship, he just disappeared off of my list and I had no notification, despite the fact that I had asked Compassion (in anticipation that this might happen) to let me know if he lost his sponsor because I would take over his sponsorship.  Thank goodness I was able to contact them in time to take him on as a sponsored child, because they had not read that note from me and I would have just lost him after many years of a close relationship.

I have now lost 14 children who have left the program for various reasons.  With the one that I sponsor, I have the opportunity to write a final letter and, if I want, to send a financial gift as a goodbye.  The problem with this is that there is no way to know if the letter and money are ever received.  I sent Shallon $100 to help her start her business and Compassion was only able to tell me that if they could not find her to give her the money, it would go into the general operating fund.  (I have not sent a goodbye gift since)

None of the children who have left the program have sent their own final letter.  With many of them it's not a big deal.  But for Anjali, my very first sponsored child (who was in India--and the government kicked all organizations like Compassion out of the country after a long time of fruitless negotiation).  I sent her a final letter, but have no idea if it was ever received.  That one hurts.  I wrote to her for 7 years and she was one of my better letter writers.  As she moves into young adulthood, I worry about her and wonder about her, and will never know what becomes of her.

Today it was Eunice from Tanzania.  I had only been her sponsor for a couple of years, and as she is not a prolific letter writer, I think I only had two or three letters from her, so while her sudden departure was jarring, it didn't pull at the heart strings like some of the others have.  I chose Eunice after another sponsor child left and I chose her because her middle name was "Gilbert."  I mean, is that ready made for me or what?

All I know is that she has aged out of the program.  What her plans are, I haven't the foggiest idea.  I did send her a goodbye letter, but it will never be acknowledged.

So this leaves me with a "free space" where I can add another child.  (Or I could not add another child and save the money!)  When a child leaves the program, Compassion automatically sends the information on a new child to you, to either accept or reject.  

They usually send the little, cute ones.  And all of them are adorable, but I prefer to sponsor one of the older kids.  For two reasons.  The young ones won't be able to really write a letter for several years and so for several years you get form letters that all say the same.  But the other reason is that the young ones ARE taken so much more frequently and I know it is difficult finding a sponsor for an older child.

With that in mind, I started looking for older kids.

But it seemed that every time I turned on the computer this picture popped up.  His name is Estiben and he's 3 years old and lives in Guatemala.  The first time I saw his picture I realized how adorable he was and I knew that someone would choose him immediately.

But a week and a half later, nobody had chosen him and I was starting to feel sad for him.  I even posted a link to his picture on the Compassion Facebook page, and people who went to check him out, said that he had already been sponsored.

But when I checked his page, he was not sponsored.  Then I saw that he was born on January 29, the birthday of our late son Paul.  I supposed it was a sign that he was meant to be my next sponsored child.

I know I am in for five years of so of form letters and I can't include him in the letters I write to the other kids because he's younger than Lacie and wouldn't understand if I talked about the family and what we are doing.  So it will be a new experience  I've never had a kid this young before.

But you have to admit, he is pretty cute!

I am not getting "as" emotionally involved with the kids any more.  I still write and I still love them, but that piece of my heart that I gave to Shallon and Anjali--and Fred--stays inside because I have learned that it can all end in an instant with no warning, no explanation, and no good bye.
Kind of like Peggy...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

She Doesn't Hate Me

Apparently my mother doesn't hate me any more.  This is nice to know.

I got to Atria around noon yesterday, thinking I'd sit at her table and have coffee while she ate lunch, but they told me she had gone back to bed, so I went to her apartment and told her I would take her out to lunch.  She smiled and was happy to see me, though said she hurt "everywhere," including down her legs and under her arm.

I got her up and we went out to the front of Atria.  It was a hot day -- mid 90s -- and I could only find a place to park a block away and didn't want to make her walk that far, so I parked her on a bench by the front door and let the woman at the desk know that I was going to get the car and that she should be aware of my mother in case she wandered off.

But she didn't.  She was still there when I drove up and we both enjoyed the air conditioning blowing in our faces.  

We drove to IHOP, which is very close to Kaiser.  The timing could not have been better.  Her appointment was at 1:50 and we finished lunch at 1:25.

She beamed when she looked around, said it was a nice restaurant and she had no been there before (we've eaten there several times).  It was good to see her smiling, after the horrible visit on Thursday.


Menus overwhelm her, so I usually give her a choice of two things.  This time it was easy because IHOP had its berry-themed menu and I gave her a choice of French toast with berries or crepes with berries.  We both agreed on the French toast.  When it came, she said it was enough for three meals, and I have to admit I can't believe she ate the whole thing!


Her appetite is never as small as she thinks and generally speaking, if you put something in front her she will eat it.

We were in plenty of time for her appointment.  She's not good at waiting because she can never remember where she is and why she's there, and once we are taken to the exam room she can't understand why it is taking so long for the doctor to arrive.

But while waiting, she rhapsodized over the beautiful leaves she could see out the window.  Never knew anybody who loved trees and leaves as much as she does!


The exam went well, again, though her blood pressure was low and she's lost 7 lbs this year so the doctor made some adjustments in her meds.  But she is given a clean bill of health until she is about to turn 99 (she turns 98 in a little over a month).

I can no longer drop her off at Atria and trust she will find her apartment on her own, so I walked her down to the memory unit (apparently I can ask for someone from the memory unit to come and get her, but that doesn't seem right).  I sat in her apartment for a bit, but we were both tired and I was either going to fall asleep in the chair or get up enough energy to get out of the chair and walk back down to the car.

I slept for over 2 hours after I got home.  These days probably take more out of me emotionally than physically, but I do come home absolutely drained.  Now I take a day off and then I take her to get her hair cut at the Atria beauty salon, which is going to be a lot less emotional than a doctor's appointment.

Monday, July 17, 2017

National Ice Cream Day

Well, I learned that today is National Ice Cream day.  I feel like we need to celebrate, especially since I missed National Donut Day.  (I wonder if there is a National Spinach Day, or National Kale day)
(lol ... I shoulda known....


I can't remember when ice cream wasn't a big part of my life.  I remember how excited my father was when Swenson's Ice Cream opened up two blocks from our house.


I was a kid and the place still looks the same today, though it is no longer owned by Earl Swenson and is now a franchise with stores all over the country and, I discovered, all over the world.  You can stand outside and look through the window to see them making ice cream, and the neon sign has said "see us freeze" ever since the shop was built. My father never went past the store without joking that he has never seen them actually freeze.

When the Piñata group was all young, we often made our own ice cream, the kids taking turns turning the crank, licking the paddle when the ice cream was ready to stand and still.  I still remember how delicious fresh peach ice cream was.  I still make ice cream occasionally, but now it's all done electronically, which is just as delicious, but somehow it seems like cheating.

I fondly remember one afternoon when Gilbert decided he needed to have an ice cream sundae and we drove a the way from San Francisco to Palo Alto (about 35 miles), because he remembered a good store there.

And then, of course, there was Mitchell's creamery where Benny had purple sweet potato ice cream a few months ago.


When my mother moved to Atria, she used to have a vanilla ice cream cone on a waffle cone after dinner every night.  It got to be almost a joke with her and the staff because they all knew Mildred had to have her ice cream cone.  It got to be too much for her and she would take her uneaten cone back to her room.  I remember when I counted twelve cones in her freezer.


A couple of years ago, Walt and I started having Haagen Dazs bars for dessert.  I really liked them, but they were too big for me.  I was tired before I finished (by "tired" I mean I had enough).  Then I discovered their mini bars.


We almost always have bars in the freezer and at night we sit and eat our snack size bars at night.  Polly used to go crazy, hoping for the end of my bar, like my mother's dog Maxie used to do, whining if she finished her ice cream and forgot to save some for him. But Polly seems to ignore us now, when we eat ice cream.


So tonight we will celebrate National Ice Cream day the way we celebrate every night.  We will have our mini bars and, as I do every night, I will drop some of the chocolate on my front where it will melt into my shirt.  The day I do not drop chocolate down my front is a red letter day.

Happy Ice Cream day, y'all!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday Stealing

Since this is the first Sunday Stealing that I've written myself, I decided to answer first so I can see if everything is working right!
First Job:
Like most people, my first job was babysitting for two kids who lived around the corner from us in San Francisco.

First Real Job:
I had an after-school job washing test tubes for a medical laboratory (considering that I spent 30 years in doctors' offices as medical transcriptionist, this was prophetic).  The first full-time job I had was as secretary for three professors in the Physics Department at U.C. Berkeley.  That's still my favorite job (I left it when our first child was born)

First Favorite Politician:
Adlai Stevenson.  I didn't really know why, but my parents were voting for him.  I was the only kid in my school who didn't wear an "I Like Ike" button.

First Car:
I've never had my own car.

First Record/CD:
I had lots of 78s and 45s, but the first album I remember buying, after my father went out and bought one of those brand new hi fi record players was the sound track to the movie Calamity Jane

First Sport Played:
I've never been a sports player, but I vaguely remember playing volleyball in high school.  I was terrible at it.

First Concert:
I went to see Judy Garland 3 times when she brought her Palace show through San Francisco in the 1950s.  In 1961, I saw her Carnegie Hall show and got to meet her when she checked into the Fairmont Hotel.

First Foreign Country Visited:
Walt and I went to Canada on our honeymoon.  A Big Deal for me and I thought that I'd probably never have the chance to visit another foreign country, but, in fact, I have now been to 25 different countries.

First Favorite TV Show:
That was so long ago (1953) that I can't remember, but I know as a family we watched Ed Sullivan every Sunday and as a kid I looked forward to the afternoon and watching Winky Dink and You.  When the Mickey Mouse Club started, we only had a b/w TV set and I remember we always looked at the opening of the NBC peacock and said "that must be beautiful in color."  (I didn't have a color TV until after Walt and I were married.)

First Favorite Actor:
Oddly enough Claude Rains.  I always had a father-figure thing when choosing favorite actors!

First Favorite Actress:
Judy Garland, of course.

First Girlfriend/Boyfriend:
I started dating Bill when I was 13 and we dated for 3 years until he went into the seminary.  He's still a Jesuit brother.

First Encounter with a Famous Person:
The aforementioned meeting Judy Garland.  I sat in the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel for 2 days waiting for her to arrive.  As she was checking in, I went up to her, asked if I could take her photo and also got her autograph.  I was trembling the whole time.

First Brush With Death:
I think I nearly drowned in a lake one summer, but I was rescued by a lifeguard.  I was a little kid at the time.

First House/Condo Owned:
We bought our first house in 1968, when I was pregnant with Paul.  It was a wonderful house in Oakland and I still miss it (though it was much too small for a family of five kids)

First Film Seen:
I'm sure I must have seen films before, but the first one I remember was Showboat, which I saw with my grandmother.

First Favorite Recording Artist:
Judy Garland, of course.

First Favorite Radio Station:
We were addicted to KSFO in San Francisco, primarily Don Sherwood ("the world's greatest disc jockey).  Later I got hooked on KKHI, San Francisco's classical radio station.

First Book I Remember Reading:
Since my mother was a big reader, I'm sure I read lots of books before I was 10, but the first book that made an impact on me was "The Black Stallion," which my friend Stephen loaned me. I devoured all of Walter Farley's books after reading that one.

First Meme You Answered on Your Blog:
Good Lord, I haven't a clue.  I've been doing this for so long and have answered so many memes!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

I Hate It... Hate It... Hate It

As much fun as my visit with my mother was on Tuesday was as bad as it was when I went to see her yesterday.  Thursday is the day Jeri wants to call her, and I've promised to be there by 3:30 on Thursday afternoons so make sure my mother is in her room and answering her telephone.

I got there at 3 and she was standing by the common room looking lost and when she saw me she muttered under her breath that she was so disgusted she could hardly speak.  I suggested we go to her room.

When we got to her room the door was locked and I told her to sit on the bench outside the door while I went to get someone to unlock it.  When I came back with an aide, she was walking down the hall and trying to get into someone else's room.

I brought her back to her room and she looked, as she usually does, confused and unsure where she was.

When we sat in our respective chairs, I asked what the problem was.  

It turns out she's disgusted and so sick she wants to throw up.  She's disgusted with how badly "the business" is being run.  How nothing is being done and how "the boss" (a man) doesn't care.  

She hates her room.  I pointed out that she had people to take care of her and she got extremely indignant.  Nobody helps her.  NOBODY had been to see her since she moved in.  And if she tries to talk to someone, they just turn their backs and walk away.  Or they laugh at her.

At one point she said that she was just going to leave and go find another place to live.  I asked her how she was gong to do that and she said she'd just go out and find a place.  I asked her where she was going to look and she said "in those places where you look." (thank God she is in a locked facility and I don't have to worry about her trying to leave)

I texted a note to Jeri that she was bad and that when she called she should be cheery.

In mid-tirade, my mother was so disgusted she said she couldn't stay there any longer and got up and stormed out of the room.  I brought her back and tried to talk to her a bit longer, hoping Jeri would call, but she did. not. want. to. be. there and stormed out again.   (I texted Jeri not to call.)

I followed her down the hall and saw that Jennifer, who is in charge of the memory care unit was in the hall and asked if we could have a meeting, thinking it would placate my mother to talk with "the boss."

We went into Jen's office and my mother was so furious she was unable to find words. When I pointed out that Jen was the boss there, she spat out "and who is YOUR boss?" (because obviously a woman couldn't be the boss) When we tried to get her to say one thing that was upsetting her, she tried to say that she didn't even have a desk, but couldn't find the word for "desk."  Jen asked if she would give her two days to try to make things better for her and suddenly she bent over, grabbed her stomach, and said she had to leave or she was going to "urp."

We returned to the room and I spent the next hour or so trying to calm her down, but she was shaking, she was so livid.  Somehow it became all my fault for not fixing things.  But she couldn't tell me what needed to be fixed.

She finally said she was just going to go to Washington and start her own company, but she couldn't say what kind of a business it was going to be or how she was going to get there.  Maybe she'd go to New York instead.

Every time she told me it was my fault for not fixing the business, I told her I didn't work for the business and that I worked for myself.  "Well, who do YOU answer to?" she asked, belligerently.  I told her I only had to answer to myself, but that never registered and she was still convinced that I worked for "the business."

When I finally told her I thought I should leave, she told me not to come back because if she saw me on her porch she would not answer the door.

I finally got up and delivered a message from her good friend Jeff, whom she knew from Hospice.  Jeff is dying of cancer and so she has not seen him, but I had just received a note asking me to give her a kiss on the forehead for him and tell her he loves her.  So even though she was so angry with me for not fixing "the business," I kissed her from Jeff and told her that he loves her.  She said she didn't remember him.  

I finally got up and told her I was leaving and she said that she had decided she would just disappear for a month, so not to come back.

The thing I hate most about this damn disease is that you never know who you are going to find when you arrive.  Will it be the good natured woman who loved life and loved where she lives, as was the woman I met on Tuesday, or the harridan who thinks everyone is incompetent and that she must leave and start her own company?

Lord help me, I don't know who I am going to find when I go to see her tomorrow.  I think I'll bring candy....