Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sunday Stealing

1. Do you tend to have a guilty conscious? 
I was raised Catholic.  People don't realize that when they baptize you, they infuse you with guilt.  It comes from our Jewish ancestors (they invented it; we perfected it).  It apparently passes along thru the generations.  One of our kids felt very guilty (when he was in grammar school) because he was not doing more to help solve the war !  (whichever one we were fighting then)

2. Do you still have your wisdom teeth?
No.  I would be smarter if they hadn't taken them, but they did, when I was in high school. 

3. Peanut Butter - creamy or crunchy?
I like both, but crunchy just for eating, creamy for sandwiches.

4. Get up off your butt. Take 5 steps. Which leg did you start out on?
Left.  I am totally left-sided.

5. What color is your favorite kitchen utensil?
Green.  That would be my Kitchen Aid stand mixer, which I've had for about 46 years (I know that because I had it when we lived in Oakland).  I use it weekly and it has given me NO trouble whatsoever in all these years.

6. Did you watch the Michael Jackson memorial/funeral?
No.  I was not a fan.  But we DID drive by the Neverland Ranch the following week on our way to a wedding.  There was a big crowd standing outside.

7. Do you know anyone who graduated from high school this year? Were you invited to their graduation party? Did you go?
No.  We are between high school graduations.  The young people we know are too old and our granddaughters are too young

8. White with black stripes or black with white stripes?
Black with white stripes.

9. If we were to call your 6th grade teacher, what would they say about you?
Well, that would probably be impossible, since I suspect she's dead by now.  I don't even remember which nun I had in 6th grade (though I remember most of my other teachers).

10. Can you draw a perfect circle?

11. What was your favorite scratch & sniff sticker scent?
Hmmm....I don't scratch and sniff much, but I suspect some sort of fruit smell.  I have a roll of scratch and sniff pizza stickers, which are interesting, but not a favorite (I send them to the grandkids)

12. What does your sibling do for a living?
Not much.  She's been lying in a cemetery since 1971.

13. How many light switches and electrical outlets are in the room that you are in right now?
One light switch and I think 4 electric outlets (though 2 are covered up).

14. Do you know sign language?
I know the deaf alphabet very well and have since grammar school (I talk to myself in the deaf alphabet all the time).  But I don't know sign language.  I've always thought that would be something good to learn.

15. Do you step on cracks in the sidewalk?
Sure.  I have no superstitions about that.  And my mother's back is fine.

16. And the sheets on your bed look like....?
Couch cushions.  (I sleep on a couch under a sleeping sheets).

17. What is something that everyone else has, but you don't?
Undoubtedly some tech thing, but I can't think of a thing that others might have that I want.

Here, I think, is my shout out from Says You

Saturday, March 17, 2018

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: Danny Boy (1956)
"Danny Boy" was selected in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.

1) This is a sad song of farewell. Who is the last person you said "goodbye" or "so long" to?
My mother, when I left the memory unit this afternoon.

2) According to the 2000 Census, Massachusetts is the state with the largest percentage of residents of Irish descent. Have you ever been to The Bay State?

Often.  Our daughter lives there and teaches at Berklee College of Music, so we have visited Boston several times.  A nice city filled with history.

3) "The wearing o' the green" is one way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Will you wear something green in honor of the day?

I usually try to wear something green, even if I'm not leaving the house.  I will probably wear green socks.

4) What color makes you look best?

Probably red--the bluish red, not the orangish red.  If you open my closet, there is much more red than any other color.

5) Will you drink something
green in honor of the day (like a Shamrock shake or a green beer)?


6) A four-leaf clover is considered good luck. Do you have a lucky charm?


7) Though she's singing an Irish ballad, this week's featured artist, Joni James, is of Italian heritage. Can you think of a song as identified with Italy as "Danny Boy" is with Ireland?

Probably O Solo Mio

8) Soda bread and potato bread are popular in Ireland. Are there any rolls or bread in your kitchen right now?

Bread is a staple in my kitchen.  We always have bread, and often, in addition, English muffins or bagels.  If we have no bread and I don't feel like going to the store, I make bread.  I have had soda bread often, when we are in Ireland and it's not one of my favorites.
9) Ireland is known for its whiskey. Do you enjoy Irish coffee (black coffee, whiskey and whipped cream)? The question leaves out the sugar, which is an important part of Irish Coffee.  I haven't had one in awhile, but yes, I do. Did you know that Irish coffee was invented in San Francisco?  At the Buena Vista pub, which is at the end of the Hyde Street cable car line, in 1952.  When I was at UC Berkeley, we often went to the Buena Vista.  It was still a fairly new thing at that time.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Unintended Marathon

Actress Connie Britton was interviewed on Kelly and Ryan this morning.  I've liked her since I saw her on Friday Night Lights years ago.  I know she did Nashville, and for that reason I started watching the show, but just couldn't get into it, so I stopped watching.  But now she was talking about a new series, 9-1-1, where she plays a 911 operator.  I vaguely remember seeing the show promo'd before it began, but decided I had enough of that kind of show in my life and so never checked it out.

However, Britton talked about her mother in the show (played by Mariette Hartley), who has Alzheimers.  They ran a brief clip from the show and I thought it was a one-time appearance by Hartley and I'm all about views of Alzheimers.  This week's show is #8 of Season 1 and I decided to check out episode #1 to get a feel for what the show is like.  It also stars Peter Krause, whom I always enjoyed on Six Feet Under.

Well, not only is Hartley a recurring character, with short scenes in every episode, but the show itself is very good.  "I'll just watch the second episode," I said after the first one ended.  By the time I finally pulled myself away from the set, I had watched five episodes, with only two more to go before I was caught up, and I finished those before I went to sleep.  I don't often do marathons, so the show must be good.

After four episodes, watching Britton deal with her mother and feeling it so familiar, Mom decides to escape one night while daughter is sleeping and daughter goes out searching for her, telling the police that Mom is 75 years old.  

I hate it whenever it is pointed out to me how young writers consider 75 year olds old and decrepit.  But it does make it OK for me to be dealing with serious memory problems, seeing the handwriting on the wall for my own future.

Anyway, the main thing I did today was watch a marathon of 9-1-1.  I was going to stop after episode 4 but my choices were to watch episode 5 or Chris Matthews, and that was no choice. I chose 9-1-1.  Matthews drives me nuts and I get angry with myself every day for watching him, but he bridges the gap between Ari Melber and Chris Hayes.  9-1-1 was much better.  

(No wonder I so often have to struggle to find something interesting to write about here!)

I also got some letters written to some of my Compassion kids.  Two of the three are some of my best writers, write in English, and actually share parts of their lives, so when I respond, I try to make their letters very personal (once a month I write a generic letter that I can send to all 29 of them).

Compassion often sends videos and texts about the importance of letters and how important they are to the kids, who may often never get any encouragement or even affection from those around them.  The kids always send me bible verses so I try to reciprocate -- me, who knows essentially nothing about the Bible, but Google is a great help.

This week I found another source that I will use until I have used everything I marked for use.  After I watched the recent PBS special on Mister Rogers and was reminded on how he spoke with children, and how he made them feel loved and accepted and encouraged them to be the best that they could be, I checked out Mister Rogers quotes and have a whole bunch of them to share with the kids.  

This week's quote was: "You are a very special person. There is only one like you in the whole world. There's never been anyone exactly like you before, and there will never be again. Only you. And people can like you exactly as you are."  I'm sure Mister Rogers, if he were alive, would not mind being plagiarized in a personal letter to a child who definitely could use his type of encouragement.

I did some reading of the book "White Houses," by Amy Bloom, which is listed as a novel, but which is based on the relationship between Eleanor Roosevelt and her partner, Lorena Hickock in the days when the president's girlfriend could live in the White House and the first lady could have a lesbian partner and the press ignored it.  Those were nicer days.

The book I made for my mother arrived and I am very pleased with it.  I will take it to her today, though her Alzheimers buddy won't be back for a couple of weeks, as she is on spring break.

I also had an e-mail from Says You, which surprised me.  When they did a shout out to me on my birthday, when we went to a taping in San Francisco, I was tickled and we looked forward to listening to the show this weekend.  But the e-mail says that had to be cut for time reasons, but they sent me an audio, which was fun to hear again.  I'd embed it here, but couldn't figure out how to add an mp3 file.

And so the day ended.

And I didn't go to Michael's today either.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Well THAT Sucked!

I wrote recently about what happens as I'm falling asleep and that if I have not yet written this entry, I will go to sleep writing the entry in my head, which I will then write when I get up.

I decided I would write about my first trip to Hawaii.  It was after I graduated from high school and would use the money my godmother left me when she died.  I was going to go into the convent in September and this way I could have a last fling, paid for by my godmother.

I knew right where my scrapbook from that trip was and it would be fun to include the photos.  I even knew which photos I wanted to use.  I would title it "Aloha."

Well...that's not quite what worked out.  First, when I went to get the scrapbook I was thinking of -- I knew right where it was -- I found it just fine...but it was a scrapbook of my trip to Los Angeles after I won an award.  I don't know where the Hawaii book is--or if I even made a separate Hawaii book.

OK.  Well, I could still write the entry without the scrapbook and I was pretty sure I might have posted a couple of photos form the Hawaii trip on this journal in the past. 

I cannot tell you how many times I have thanked whatever it was that made me decide to keep a database of all of entries all the way back to the first one (18 years ago next week).  The data base has the title of the entry, a brief summary of what it is about, and a list of the photos I used in the entry.
I put in "Hawaii" and discovered  that on June 14, 2009 I wrote an entry titled "Aloha" which tells exactly the story I intended to write this morning.  Heck there are even parts of it which are identical to what I mentally wrote as I was falling asleep.

This is not the first time this is happened.  I will get a great idea of something to write, and then discover I wrote it before.  The interesting thing is that all the wonderful bon mots that I am tickled to think up, feeling I am such a wonderfully clever writer, I had used xx years ago when I first wrote about it.

It's an interesting quirk of my brain.  I discover that with reviews all the time.  I usually read my old reviews when I'm reviewing a show I have seen before and it's amazing how many times that really clever thing I thought of to add to the review is word for word what I wrote five or more years ago.  The database of my mind.

So anyway, there is no journal entry about Hawaii, but I do encourage you to click on the link above and read it if you haven't read it before.  It's a good story, with nice photos.

So that leaves me with "what did I do yesterday?"  Walt works on Wednesdays so he left at 11 and was home around 4.  "What did you do exciting today?" he asked me when he came in.  I had to stop and think.  What did I do all day?
My plan had been to go to Michael's craft store.  I am starting a new junk journal and feel the need just to look around.  Also, Michael's sent me a 50% gift certificate for my birthday that I had not used.  I've had this craving to go to Michael's for a week now and still haven't been able to get my butt into the car and head off to the store.  It's an even more appealing project because the store is a long drive away and it would give me a chance to listen to a chunk of my audio book.  

I decided I would go after I cleared off a bit of our DVR.  I had recorded two episodes of Call the Midwife, a show I love and decided with Walt gone I would watch them.  Well, that's a 2 hour catharsis.  I dare you to watch that show without a box of tissues nearby.  It always kind of offends me that the show starts with a parental warning that some of the material might not be appropriate for younger kids....the only thing would be the births, but what's wrong with children learning where babies come from?  But let it pass.

After that I did some cleaning up of the piles of crap around here.
I have lately become addicted to the 100! Puzzle on my cell phone (I have similar puzzles on my iPad and laptop).  I realized recently that it really is becoming an addiction, so yesterday I was going cold turkey and did not play the game all day (I didn't go into withdrawal either).

So that meant I wasn't just sitting in my chair with a marathon of something on television while I played the game.

I actually did get some straightening up, though around here, it would take an explosion before any "straightening up" would be noticeable.

But I was happy to have sort-of organized the crap on our kitchen counter, and cleared off a lot of the levels of paperwork on the table between the two recliners (not noticeable because the base layer is all still there, but things aren't perched precariously any more), and I managed to find the top of our kitchen table.  

I also wrote to Lacie.  I had sent a letter to Brianna the day before and today I needed to make sure I wrote to Lacie.  It's more difficult to write to Lacie--it will be easier when she can read well and is a bit older.  But I got a letter written and sent off to her.

Otherwise, it was a quiet day and in the evening we watched the PBS special on Mister Rogers.  It was the second time I'd seen it, the first time for Walt and we both loved it.  Jeri is going to be here next week and I'm going to make her sit down and watch it with us.  I think she will love it -- so much music!  I didn't realize Rogers had a degree in composing. My favorite part might have been the bit where a young YoYo Ma plays a duet with his young son.  The adult son reminisces about how special that was.

So that was my day.  Today will be about as exciting.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A Tragedy

We have suffered a great tragedy.

Our ComCast has decided to cancel our access to KQED the PBS station in San Francisco.  We are not alone in the anger about this arbitrary decision.  There is a whole long discussion about it on Nextdoor, a web site to share information with people in your immediate neighborhood.
We contacted ComCast and KQED and KVIE to find out whose decision this was,  Nobody was particularly interested in our complaints, but we did find out that it was ComCast's decision.  Why?  Because content on KQED is the same as KVIE.


For one thing, there is Check Please, Bay Area, the program where  three people share their favorite restaurants and everyone goes to try all three out and then gather with host Leslie Sbrocco to share their opinion.

Sbrocco also gives her tips on wines, the group is drinking and tips about wines in general.  She has been voted one of the top 100 most influential people in the American wine business.
She does not broadcast on KVIE.

Then there is Greg Sherwood, one of the principal announcers. 

Greg is the son of Don Sherwood, the self-described "World's Greatest Disc Jockey" in the 1950s.  As Peter Anderson wrote on that page I just linked, "Driving from Marin and up Waldo Grade into The City every day, you could pass cars and see that everyone was smiling and laughing at the same time — all tuned to Don Sherwood’s morning show on KSFO-AM radio."

I love this particular clip from that article:  "His radio show was the gateway to The City for visiting celebrities from Hollywood. He interviewed them all. Terry McGovern once told me that Judy Garland was staying in a San Francisco apartment, and a visiting Sherwood came to interview her, said something fresh to her, and listeners were greeted by the sound of Garland hurling a toaster directly at Sherwood’s head."

We were great fans of Sherwood and saddened when lung cancer took his life...and then delighted many years later when his son showed up on KQED.  It was always fun seeing Greg, who looks so much like his father.

It is particularly fun when Rick Steves runs his travel specials on KQED.  Yes, they run on KVIE too, but they don't include the extensive chats he has with Greg Sherwood.  I will miss those.

There is Newsroom, KQED's own version of Washington Week in Review, but centered on San Francisco area news.  Newsroom began in the 1950s when there was a newspaper strike so a bunch of newspaper people went to KQED and started a newspaper on TV.  They even read the cartoons.  It has evolved into Newsroom.

Last night, after Jeopardy was over and I was going out to the kitchen to cook dinner I handed the remote to Walt and asked if there was anything he wanted to watch.  "Yeah," he said, "Check Please.  But I can't."

We have been members of KQED for more than 50 years (and of KVIE for more than 40).  It is going to kill us to end our membership because of a decision Comcast made.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

What Do I Really Think?

I got an email from Ashleigh Brilliant (yes, that really is his name -- I'm on his mailing list) about the new book he is working on.  It's his 10th.  I think I have most of his previous books, which are filled with his famous "potshots," which now appear regularly in the Santa Barbara newspaper and perhaps elsewhere.  You can buy them as postcards, though lately I have only found the postcards in Santa Barbara.

There are wonderful potshots that I have loved over the years.  This new one spoke to me though, because I understand it completely, and I suspect any writer does.  After I see a show, I am often told "I can't wait to read your review" and my response is always "me too!" because most often I don't know what I really think of a production until I sit down and start writing.  Now there was no question about that awful show I saw last week, but often as I start to write, more coherent thoughts begin to form and I really often don't know what I think of a show until I've finished the review.

The same holds true for a journal entry.  I am writing this at 5;30 a.m., having been mentally working it over since 2:30, when I woke up.  Not that there is anything particularly interesting or complicated to write about.  Walt mentioned that he had received a photo from Jeri of a Dunkin Donuts sign saying the shop would be closed today because of the weather and would open tomorrow and I thought that would be interesting to include.  Sometimes she sends things to just him, or to just me, or to both of us.  I had hoped she sent the sign to both of us, but she didn't and it's too early to wake Walt and ask him to email it to me, so I won't include it....but it shows how much snow is expected in Boston today.

Mostly I wanted to talk about my most common topic--my mother.  Yesterday was going to be terribly complicated.  Her doctor had scheduled her for an eye appointment to check her diabetic retinopathy at 1:50 in Davis and for a bone density exam in Vacaville, 20 miles away, at 3:30.  I knew timing was going to be tight and my mother doesn't do "tight" these days.

I have noticed she is slowing down a lot.  Imagine.  Slowing down at 98.  She also is fearful of falling whenever she walks, which is understandable.  She can't remember her many falls, but some part of her brain must have registered them.

When I went to get her jacket the other day, I noticed that the big name "MARGE" on the door (her roommate's daughter put that on for her, prompting Jeri to go out and get big letters to add "MILDRED" on the door) was gone.  Marge has been such a strange person.  She no longer has concept of personal space and would often walk into my mother's apartment and stand there talking.  In the nearly year my mother has been at Atria, I have not understood one thing Marge has said.  I got to where I always closed and locked the door when I went to visit.

She also tends to take things.  Jeri had to fight her not to take a clock of my mother's and I know she took her wrist watch because she wears it and another watch all the time.  But I don't worry about it and don't make a fuss since the watch doesn't work and my mother can't tell time any more anyway.  I ran into Marge's daughter once with a fancy bracelet in her hand.  She said "my mother has been 'shopping' again and I have to find out who this belongs to."

But Marge's name is gone now and when I asked an aide, she said that Marge is gone too.  She moved to a facility closer to her family.  For now, Marge's apartment is empty, but I'm sure it will be filled soon.  It would be nice if it were someone my mother could relate to more.

(Now see?  In all my 2 a.m.-5 a.m. musings, I never once thought of Marge and here I am writing about her!)

Anyway, Walt came with me to the doctors' appointments because I almost have to have a second person when we go to the Vacaville Kaiser.  It's such a big facility and parking close to the door is always a problem.  I can let my mother out because she'll forget that I'm parking the car and will panic.  I can't park the car far from the door because it's too far for her to walk and I always get a wheelchair to make it easier to zip around the building.

We went first to her eye appointment, which was thorough and included dilating her pupils, writing a prescription for new lenses, and choosing frames for the lenses.  It all took so long that it was really too late to think about going to Vacaville, for which I was happy.  She's 98.  Does she really need a bone density exam?

I don't know that she understands a single thing that happened yesterday.  The poor doctor when doing her eye exam and doing that "which is better 1 or 2, 3 or 4" business had to explain to her every single time that she was supposed to look through both lens 1 and 2 and decide which one made the eye chart look clearer.  It extended the exam significantly and she has no clue that she is about to get a new pair of glasses.  I would have skipped that entirely, since she doesn't read any more anyway but apparently her insurance covers her for new glasses so I decided it would be good to get a pair, which gives her a spare when she misplaces the ones she wears all the time.

I was happy to return her to Atria, which finally seems like "home" to her, I think.  I notice she is more often in the "living room" with the other residents and I have found her several times walking around the halls, which she never did before.  The last time I visited her, her "boyfriend" walked by as we were sitting in the entry hall and she was more interested in leaning over to see where he had gone than in talking to me, so I finally just left and she went off, presumably in search of him.
And now it's 6 a.m. so I guess I'll go off and see if we are at war with anybody yet, or if anybody else has left the White House for greener pastures.  It's always a depressing voyage of discovery every time I turn on the news.

Later  -  I was right. Rex Tillerson is out.  Another day, another departure.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Spring Forward

So we are now in Day Light Savings time.  I have been listening to all the complaints about it, about how much the loss of an hour of sleep has ruined someone's life ("I woke up this morning and my face was all puffy").  While I am sympathetic toward anyone who suffers as a result of the time change, I can honestly say that I never notice it, other than having to change the clocks, of course.  Even Polly hasn't seemed to notice.  She came to me at 4 p.m, like she does every night, to try to get me to feed her....even though her body clock would have been at 3 p.m.  I guess I'm lucky.

We went to three shows this week.

The first was Book of Mormon, the traveling Broadway show.  It was the third time I'd seen it and I still love it.  That it has such an enthusiastic following is always a puzzlement.  The story is so...well...dirty.  It's the story of 2 Mormon missionaries sent to Uganda to convert the natives.
The natives are starving, most of them have AIDS and they are angry with God and not at all interested in hearing about religion.  The men with AIDS feel that the way to cure their disease is to have sex with a virgin, but since there are so few virgins available, they turn their attention to babies.  Now, you wouldn't think this would be fodder for a light, funny show, but it is.

"Hasa Diga Eebowai" is a rant against God which is one of the more fun songs in the show and the missionaries are aghast when they discover what the song translates to.

In the end, the nerd missionary finds a way to get through to the natives and they find their way to God after all, even General "F**k a Baby" and it gets a standing ovation.  You watch this show amazed at the things at which you laugh and applaud because the message is so uplifting and I guess redemptive.  I gave it high ratings.

Two days later, we saw Heaven Can Wait, performed by the little theater in Winters.  I love this theater for several reasons.  They are amateur and don't pretend to be anything else.  There are good performances and bad performances, but they make it work.  And they give the audience cheesecake and champagne on opening night.

Heaven Can Wait was a 1974 movie with Warren Beatty and James Mason, based on a couple of earlier movies.  It's the story of a boxer on his way to the championship who is about to crash his airplane when a Messenger from Heaven decides to take him before he actually dies.  Only he wasn't supposed to die.  He was supposed to win the championship and live another 60 years.  But his manager had his body cremated and so there is no body to return him to and "Mr. Jordan," the guy in Heaven who is in charge of such things, is responsible for finding him a suitable body so he can return to earth.

Performances were uneven, with a couple of smaller roles downright bad, two good and one very good.  The rest were ordinary.  But I always give that theater good reviews because it is the true definition of "community theater" where people in the audience are there to see their friends and nobody thinks they are better than just what they are:  amateurs, doing it for the love of it.  And we had a great time.

As for the third show, Bachelorette, Walt and I left the theater asking "what in the hell was that???"  Critics in New York and Chicago gave it good marks.  I gave it one star, and that only because the performances were so good.  Best way to describe it is to print my review here (this is why it's not always wonderful to be a critic!):

Is the new form of entertainment to be as crude and disgusting as you can be? Is that what passes for art these days? I cannot deny that I disliked Leslye Headland’s Bachelorette, now at Big Idea Theater. I disliked it a lot, though it was peopled with six talented actors who portrayed their highly unlikable characters very well -- its only redeeming quality!

It is set in a New York hotel suite, decorated for a wedding, with stacks of gifts and an offstage bathtub filled with bottles of champagne. Into the room burst Gena (Leah Daugherty) and Katie (Taylor Fleer), both very high and laughing. Every sentence contains the F word. They discover the champagne and each take a bottle and begin to drink, as they trash the apartment. Regan (Taylor Vaughan) arrives. She is the maid of honor but hates the bride (Shelby Vockel) and has invited the other two because she knows the bride does not like them. The word "fat" is used many times which I, as a fat person, found distasteful. I hurt for the bride. (The word "retarded" is also used a lot, which many will find offensive.)

Two men, Jeff (Russell Dow) and Joe (Jacob Garcia) that the girls picked up at the bar arrive. Simulated sex and possible rape is added to the drugs, and alcohol. There is vomiting on stage.

Maybe this is the wave of the future, but I don’t want to be entertained by watching the worst of people, especially women.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Sunday Stealing

1. What’s the coolest item you’ve found at a garage sale, flea market, etc?
I haven't been to a garage sale in decades so I can't remember if I ever found something "cool."  It's a temptation I don't allow myself since I have enough of my own junk to deal with!

2. Describe how your day went yesterday.
Hmmm...I had planned to go to Atria to visit my mother, but took what I intended to be a short nap and which ended up being 2-1/2 hours long, so I never got there.  In the evening though, we went to see a community theater production of "Heaven Can Wait," based on the 1974 movie with Warren Beatty and James Mason (which, itself, was based on other sources).  Fairly good production, and we were seated at a table with another critic and with two women who were judging the production for an award later in the year.

3. Do you have issues with people entering your personal space? What do you do when your personal space is violated?
It doesn't happen very often but occasionally you run across people who can't speak to you unless they are literally in your face.  I try to walk away.  I hate situations like that.  I am always uncomfortable when people come into my office because I am afraid I am going to be judged by not only the mess, but by something I've written that I haven't made public yet.

4. What is the one meal recipe you think you’ve mastered?
Joe Special.  I don't make it as often now that we have Home Chef, but thas been a family staple for decades.  It's just hamburger, browned with garlic, then you add thawed spinach which has been drained as much as possible, then add eggs and Parmesan cheese and that's it.  It comes from Original Joe's restaurant in San Francisco.

5.  If you could take back something you did to someone, what would it be?
Whatever it was I did that turned Peggy against me.

6. Would you describe yourself as spiritual, religious, or something else?
Something else I guess.  I believe in a higher power, but not the classic Christian vision of the old man on a golden throne.  (It always puzzled me why everything in heaven is gold and bejeweled....what do you need gold for in eternity?)

7. Did you ever receive detention in school? What sort of kid were you in school – bookworm, smart kid, troublemaker, quiet … etc.
Maybe once.  I was a bookworm, not a trouble maker, definitely quiet and a sorta smart kid (graduated 3rd in my class of 60).  I was in the religious clubs.

8. When’s the last time you ran a mile? How often do you exercise?
You know, I was the one who chose this list of questions and I decided to leave this one in, even though it makes me laugh.  When was the last time I ran a mile?  Never.  How often do I exercise?  Never.

9. What would you say to your 16-year-old self, and why?
Learn good eating habits, floss, and make yourself go into situations where you will be forced to learn how to be comfortable with people.  Too late now.

10. What are you avoiding?
Folding laundry.

11. Describe a “Hah! I told you so” moment you had recently.
Hmmm....gonna have to think about that one before I post this.  (Obviously nothing came to mind)

12. What’s more important, where you live or what you do for a living? Why?
Well, right now where I live, of course, since I don't do anything for a living, being retired and all.

13. Swear words: Are you pro or con? Why?
Why in the hell are you asking me that f*ing question?  Why?  I dunno.  Why not? I don't remember swear words being used by anyone in my family and I guess when I hit college, it became my one act of rebellion, which has only flourished with time.

14. Paper or plastic? Do you prefer to pack your own groceries?
This is a very strong recycling town  If you don't bring recyclable bags, you are charged for a paper bag and only meats and frozen foods that might leak are allowed to go in plastic.  The Farmers' Market can pack produce in plastic.  I let the baggers pack my bags.  I'm a lousy bagger.  The young guys who bag always bag them too heavy, even though I bring a LOTS of reusable bags with me.  They'll cram everything into 3 bags and leave 10 empty and I have to remind them to pack light.  They tell me it's ok because they'll carry it all to the car for me.  None of them has agreed to come home with me and carry the bags into the house for me!

15. Do you have a shoe fetish? How often do you buy new shoes? Do you ever get rid of a pair of shoes?
Good lord, no!  Even as a kid, I hated shoe shopping  My mother says I would cry if she took me to a shoe store.  She has always been a shoe lover and at the time we moved her to Davis, her shoe collection was rivaling Imelda Marcos.  As for me, I wear one pair of Birkenstocks 99% of the time and have a pair of closed toe shoes that I wear if I need to be very dressed up.  That's it.  I've had this pair of Birkenstocks for about 15 years now.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Saturday 9

On and On (1977)
Unfamiliar with this week's song. Hear it here.

1) This song describes the plight of "poor ol' Jimmy," who caught his girlfriend kissing someone else. Have you ever spied on a romantic partner?
I don't believe so.  It's been a very long time!

2) In this song, Stephen Bishop sings that he "smiles when he feels like dying." When did you recently put on a happy face, even though you really weren't all that happy?
That happens whenever I go to visit my mother.  I try to stay happy and upbeat, but watching her continual slide into Alzheimers is very sad.  I often have a little cry after I get back in the car.

3) Stephen Bishop always wanted to be a musician, and as a child he began playing the clarinet. Did you take lessons -- dance, art, music -- as a child? If yes, did you take them because you enjoyed them, or because your parents made you take them?
It's actually the other way around.  I so wanted to take ballet when they offered it in my grammar school, but I was a fat kid and my mother told me she was sure they would not let me dance because I was fat.  It was the first time anybody called me fat.  ~70 years later I still remember how much that hurt!

4) When he was 12, inspired by The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, he switched to the guitar and began writing songs. Tell us about someone or something that influenced your career path.
When I was working as a typist for a typing company, the boss one day tossed a tape and a medical dictionary at me and told me to type what was on the tape (dictation from an orthopedist).  It took awhile, but I eventually got very good at it...and then other medical disciplines.  I went on to work many years as a medical transcriptionist.  As a kid I loved medical stuff and this was ideal for someone without the ability to become a doctor or nurse, but still be involved in the medical profession.
5) Stephen Bishop attended Will C. Crawford High School in San Diego. This school requires students complete 20 hours of community service every year. Tell us about an organization, cause or campaign you volunteered for, either as a student or an adult.
I worked for many years for La Leche League helping mothers breastfeed their babies and talking with doctors and nurses in hospitals (in those days they laughed at us; how different it is today!).  It was a job I loved, until my youngest stopped nursing and then I lost interest.  But I have many happy memories of mothers I managed to get over rough spots.  The worst was the woman who called me at 2 a.m. to ask me if her baby was crying because she'd eaten rutabagas for dinner. She was an older mother, alone and scared.  I told her maybe. Then there was the couple who called the advice phone and got on their two extensions and had a fight while I was listening--he was jealous for how much time the baby spent at "his" breasts.  Better was the mother who adopted a beautiful newborn and actually was able to nurse her, after a lot of preparation.

6) In 1977, when this song was popular, Seattle Slew won racing's Triple Crown. Sam's mother has always been afraid of horses. Is there an animal you're uncomfortable with?
Snakes.  I'm not afraid of any mammal, but am a bit wary around animals like horses (whom I love) and zoo animals.  I love elephants, but imagine I'd be uncomfortable if I met one face to face.
7) Also in 1977, moviegoers waited in line for hours to see Star Wars. What's the longest line you waited in recently?
I'm too old to wait in line, so probably the longest line was shopping on Christmas Eve, when it seemed everybody in town was also shopping.  (I won't make that mistake again)

8) The mini-series Roots first aired in 1977. Today Americans are spending more time and money than ever to research ancestry. How far back can you trace your family tree?
I am fortunate that my cousin did extensive research on our grandmother's family and can trace it back to Robert the Bruce in 14th century Scotland.  I don't know much about our grandfather's family or about my father's side of my family, but I have recently "met" (via internet) a distant cousin who is also starting to research that part of the family.  So far I have not spent any money.  If the DNA kits were cheaper, I'd get one because I'm curious, but I'm not going to spend that much money

9) Random question: It's often said that nobody's perfect. How about you? What quality keeps you from being perfect?
Too many to list here!

Friday, March 9, 2018

A Rising Crisis

For dinner we had barbequed spare ribs and curly fries.  I watched the Pioneer Woman make curly fries using her spiralizer and it looked so easy I decided to try it.

First, I could not find the blade I had used the first time (the spiralizer comes with five blades) and so I used a different one which gave me a long spiral which was about 1/2 in width and flat.  Then I tried the only other blade I could find and it gave me more real looking spirals, but they were about 1/16" thick and it was worse than trying to deep fry Angel Hair pasta.

But the potato flavor was there (and this morning Walt found the other 3 blades, so I will try again).
The reason for mentioning this is that I had to heat a deep pan of oil to cook them and when I was finished -- what do you do with all that oil?  So I decided to make donuts.  Now, I've been wanting to make apple cider donuts since we went to Apple Hill and I found a good recipe.  I even bought the proper donut pans to bake them in.  But those are baked and I wanted to make yeasty fried donuts.

I set the alarm to get up at 5, but when 4:45 rolled around I decided I could wait until 6.  At 6 I got up and got my bread maker out (I had to put it away ever since the Instant Pot arrived) and got all of the ingredients except the yeast in the pot.  Then I went to the fridge and looked for the yeast.  No yeast.  I could have sworn I bought yeast, but I guess not.  So by 6:30, I was at the store buying yeast. 
Got that added to the bread maker and then noticed an unopened jar of yeast on the counter, where I'd put it after I bought it a few weeks ago.  Now I'm definitely set up for yeast!

Something was wrong with the bread maker.  I could get it to turn on, but not to set for the "dough" cycle, so I set the timer on the stove to remember to remove it before it started baking.

In spite of everything, they turned out fine and I decided to just make sugar donuts since glaze is too sweet for me these days.  I was a little heavy handed on the sugar on some of the donuts but they were delicious.

In the late morning I went off to Cindy's office to get a small cavity filled.  I actually like it when I 
have dental work to be done because then Cindy and I have an hour to chat, which we don't have when the hygienist cleans my teeth.  We had a nice visit and I'm all filled up for the next four months.
In the evening we were going to see Book of Mormon but we stopped at DeVere's pub in downtown Davis first.  Our friend Nancianne was having her head shaved for the seventh year in a row to raise money for children's cancer research.

All three of these women were having their heads shaved for the 7th year and there was a short ceremony thanking them for their donations, making them "Knights of the Bald Table."

a bit of fluff...
When that was done off we went to Sacramento for another uproarious production of Book of Mormon.  We were home to have Jeopardy and ice cream.  I realized that the only things I'd eaten all day were donuts and ice cream!

These mid-week openings are hell for me because it means the review must be in the newspaper mailbox first thing in the morning, so I will be up until 2:30 or 3 finishing it.

Thursday, March 8, 2018


Last Wednesday, I ran into Alice, my mother's Alzheimer's buddy, when I was at Atria.  She's such a pleasant young woman.  She was the one who painted my mother's fingernails blue.

She suggested that I bring in a family scrapbook so she would have something to go over with her.  I decided to put a bunch of pictures on Snapfish and spent the day working on such a book.  I used to make a lot of books since I got a special deal for life from Snapfish, but then they didn't mean anything to my mother any more, so I stopped making them. I hadn't made one since 2015.

It's easy to do, the results are very nice (mine won't be as nice as many because so many of my photos were low resolution--but that really didn't matter.  That's not why I was making the book), but I'd forgotten how time consuming it is.  There's finding the photos, and either copying them or scanning them.  Then uploading them to Snapfish, deciding the layout and then realizing that you didn't have nearly as many as you thought you would, so looking for more picture two or three different times.  The whole thing is 20 pages long.

I tried to get photos from her younger days and to include photos of her family, which is one of the most important things for her.   

Plus, I wanted to remind her that she was a mother and a grandmother.  In the upper left corner is her step family, plus me, and the black and white picture was taken when m sister was a baby.

Of course I had to do a salute to cousins day.  I don't know if she remembers...

I loved the dog lover page.  

I made a 2-page spread about the ranch where she spent her youngest years, and the home in Inverness where my grandparents lived.

And I found the perfect photo to end it with.

I could have gone through a lot more places where I have photos and gotten better photos that would not be low resolution, but I wanted to get this sent off so maybe it will be back by the time Alice comes next week.  In any event, I don't know if she will really appreciate it, but you gotta keep trying!

My grandparents' wedding photo
(Ironically, my entry on this date last year was titled "I Miss 65" and was about missing our Cousins Day card games)

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

So Big!

Hey, did you know that something shocking happened on The Bachelor this week?  Since I have never watched the show it is amazing to me how much coverage, on talk shows and news shows this episode has received.  Thirty minutes yesterday and today they are covering it on Live with Kelly & Ryan.  Walt saw it on the nightly news.  Something about Arie and Lauren (I just learned)  We can't make guns safe, but we sure can dissect a stupid program like The Bachelor.  Our brains have been turned to mush.

Hey, look at this:

This is a Paesano's "Stromboli" and it's what I ordered for lunch at Paesano's when I went there with my friend Kathy yesterday.  It's slices of steak mixed with mushrooms, onions and cheese in a wine sauce.  Doesn't that sound yummy?  It was!

But my first reaction when they put this in front of me was that it was the size of the torso of a newborn baby.  The thing was huge.

There was a day when I would wolf the whole thing down, but I took this photo and sent it to Walt to let him know what I would be bringing half of home so he could have it for lunch.

I am remembering the days when Walt's mother used to complain whenever we went out to have a meal, angry that they gave her so much to eat. I am beginning to understand.

I saw a commercial for a Subway sandwich the other day and remembered when I was a kid, shopping in downtown San Francisco.  I took the cable car home, because it ran so close to my house and...well...because it was fun.  I caught it at the end of the line, where there was a Woolworth's by the cable car turn-around at Powell and Market.  Inside Woolworths was a food counter that made the very best subs I have ever had.  I've never tasted anything quite so good since then.  But when I looked at the Subway commercial, all I could think of was "there is no way I could eat that whole thing," though I had no problems when I was a teenager.

This is the turn-around in 1954 and the shop on the
right is Woolworth's.  (Note that people are climbing on
the cable car every which you have to queue.  No fun!)

Another commercial that I always liked was the one for Outback Steak House.  Now I look at the big plates of steak and lobster (the lobster doesn't do anything for me, but in its time they also have pictures of crab) and all I can think of is how the plates are so big there is no way I could finish the whole serving.

I always loved our rare visits to a prime rib restaurant where you got a big slab of prime rib with delicious horseradish and a big loaded baked potato with sour cream, cheese, and bacon.  Now I shudder thinking of how much food I would pack up to take home.

We've been using Blue Apron and now Home Chef for dinners 3 days a week.  There are generous portions and it's the rare dinner where I am able to eat the whole thing.  It used to be that it was because I snacked so much during the day, but even on days where I rarely have anything for a snack, I just can't finish the meal. 

I wish I could say that the reduction in my appetite has resulted in a reduction in my weight, but alas my weight has stayed the same for at least 10 years.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Romance in the Home?

Today I picked my mother up at Atria to take her to a doctor's appointment.  She was sitting at lunch with this gentleman, her friend Loretta, and another man.

The last time I was at Atria, we passed this guy in the hall and one of the aids told me "they really love each other."  From my very brief interaction with him today, I am guessing that he is at about the same level of Alzheimers, in other words, totally inarticulate and unable to be understood.  He didn't seem to understand that I was her daughter.

I made the mistake of asking the other guy, of indeterminate age, if he was Loretta's son, which everyone found very funny.  Then I realized he's the guy I see sitting in the community room with her, often with his arm around her shoulders.

Hmmm...romance in the home?  Whoda thunk.

It  wouldn't surprise me.  Those Scott women loved their men, from Aunt Mel, married 13 times to 12 different men, and all the others with multiple marriages (but none beat Mel's record).  When my mother's sister Barb was in her own "home," she had gentlemen callers and her husband was angry when he discovered some man's clothes in her dresser.  But my mother was never happy without a man to take care of -- whether a romantic interest or just a friend.  So if she has developed a male friend, that will help make her happier.

They had called me on Friday to say that her arm was hurting a lot ("burning all the way up to her shoulder") and thought she should see a doctor.  So I made an appointment for today.  When I saw she was at lunch, with her back to me, I snuck down to her apartment to get a jacket for her.  I've discovered she seems to have a whole new wardrobe.  Obviously the aids can't keep track of whose clothes are whose, but given that most people can't remember their names, let alone identify their own clothes, it's not a biggie...and she is finally not wearing the same clothes for weeks on end.  It's kind of funny given how she was giving away her clothes when she first moved to Atria four years ago because she didn't recognize them and didn't want anybody to accuse her of wearing their clothes.

The jacket I found for her is one I had never seen before, but there were no other jackets in her closet and this one  was nice and warm, so I chose it, since it was in the 50s outside.  When I told one of the aids that I was taking her to have her arm checked because of the pain she said she didn't understand that because she hadn't complained of pain all weekend.  Sigh.

The visit with the doctor went exactly as I knew it would -- she feels fine, no she doesn't have any pain.  Fortunately, as the doctor was winding up her exam, my mother grabbed her wrist and said "ooo...that hurts." 

But the report was that it's normal, it will take time for the pain to subside and if Atria thought she needed more than Tylenol, they could call and she would prescribe something stronger.

This was kind of a difficult day.  For one thing she thought I was her sister. At one point she said "I don't think Mom knows where I  am, so the next time you talk to her, will you let her know where I am and what I'm doing?"  She was also disquieted because "something's wrong" and she can't figure it out.  This is a recording.

Lately she has been having more and more trouble word-finding, so when she started looking for her "stash" I had to try and figure out that she meant "purse."  That was not the only confusion.  But a big problem is that she has started speaking so low that I can't hear her....and I didn't wear my hearing aids today.  I can't ask her to repeat what she is saying to me because within a minute after she asks me something, she forgets what it was she asked me about.  So mostly we just sat in silence.

She goes back to Kaiser next week for an eye exam and bone density exam, which will be fun because the eye exam is in Davis at 1:50 and her bone density exam is in Vacaville at 3:30.  But then, unless she falls and hurts herself again, I think we are finished with doctors for awhile.