Saturday, April 26, 2014
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Am I getting an x-ray?
No. Blood tests.
Why am I here again?
To get blood work.
Are they going to give me a shot?
No. Just blood work.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
my father with his waddle family in the late 1950s
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
I felt like I had kids back in school again, briefly, this morning. Jeri spent the night here last night so Walt could take her to the train station at 6 a.m. She's going to Santa Barbara to spend a few days there and then drive up to San Rafael with Tom et al. so we can all be here for my mother's 93rd birthday party later this week. (My mother can finally meet Lacie, who will be a year old next month!)
She was getting up at 5, so I made sure I was up then to fix coffee (turns out she didn't have any...but she could have!). But then I packed a lunch for her--sandwich, banana, carrots, and yogurt with a spoon. Put it in a nice little sandwich bag and packed it with some flax seed vegetable chips that Walt had. I haven't packed her lunch in about 20 years or more! I thought I should have taken a picture of her with her bags in hand when she left for the train, just as I usually did on "first day of school"s.
When I looked at the Photo of the Day, I knew I had to play around with it for a bit. I do love Photoshop!
Tonight was the final production of the 2012 Music Circus season, Crazy for You, an extensive rewrite of the 1930 classic, Girl Crazy (a stage vehicle for Ethel Merman, movie version for Judy Garland). What a fun production. Noah Racey, the guy playing the Mickey Rooney part, was amazing. I love stuff like that!
Monday, October 17, 2011
Jeri came to town for the weekend. She had some frequent flyer miles available and decided that she doesn't spend enough time with her grandmother, so just flew in on Friday and will fly out Monday morning. She thought we could all get together for dinner on Sunday, including Walt's brother and his wife.
I agreed to make a lasagna, Jeri would make garlic bread, Olivia would bring a salad and my mother would provide dessert. Ned made his bread dip for hors d'oeuvre. He and Marta also brought The Bouncer.
No way could I bring any of our dogs with us and have them be that well behaved!
In order to have dinner, my mother had to have help putting two leaves into her big, heavy, round table. How many people does it take to add leaves to a table? (apparently everybody and the dog, except the one taking pictures!)
But eventually it did get pulled apart, leaves inserted, table set, and we had a fun dinner.
And when dinner was over, the technogeeks sat around and compared various gadgets.
Then it was time to say goodbye to Jeri again, as she prepares to fly back to Boston. It was a short visit, but sweet!
Monday, May 9, 2011
Being a mother is a mixed bag. Sometimes you think you've screwed things up horribly and you wonder where it all went wrong...and then one of your kids writes this to you and you sit there crying thinking--maybe I didn't do so badly after all:
1. She raised 5 kids and still maintains (most of) her sanity.
2. She kept incredibly detailed baby books and a diary of our childhood - so we could look back and see how much we threatened her sanity.
3. She encouraged me to throw pies at other people at a young age.
4. She made bread with her own two hands.
5. She encouraged us to get involved in theatre - and didn't worry if we stayed out late doing it.
6. She came to almost every performance of every little thing I ever did. She even flew across the country to do that, more than once.
7. She let me wear what I wanted to wear, when I needed that independence.
8. IBM selectric: the sound of my childhood.
9. She took in a huge number of foreign exchange students, and that had a tremendous impact on my view of the world - having dear friends all over the world makes it a smaller place.
10. She and my dad took us camping in remote places many parents would be afraid to take their children. And we loved it.
11. She takes pictures of everything, so I have a fantastic archive of my whole life.
12. She always remembers to bring the clam dip.
13. She made me a chicken pox birthday cake when I was five and had chicken pox on my birthday.
14. She threw a lot of amazing Christmas dinner parties for upwards of 20 people.
15. She made me a dolphin costume and a dress I loved, even though she claims not to know how to sew.
16. She made me learn how to type, a skill that is more valuable to me than I ever imagined it would be.
17. She and my dad took me to see plays and concerts from a very young age - giving me a love of live performance that continues to this day.
18. She bought me a clarinet for my 18th birthday, and a flute for christmas.
19. She paid for twelve years of piano lessons.
20. She encouraged me to study theatre in college, and never cared if I made money doing it.
21. She went to more Lawsuit concerts than just about anybody - and never felt awkward in a bar full of drunk college kids.
22. She trusted me to make good decisions in my young adult life.
23. She can drop musical theatre quotes into any conversation.
24. She flew across the country to surprise me on my 40th birthday.
25. She volunteers for all kinds of things, and gives her time to people most people would rather ignore.
26. She has marched in the gay pride parade.
27. She donates blood on a regular basis.
28. She has bottle fed at least a hundred orphan puppies.
29. One of those puppies now weighs 60 pounds and is sleeping at my feet right now - thanks mom!
30. She sends me photo messages almost every day.
31. She mastered the internet long before most of us were even paying attention.
32. She has written a daily essay about herself and posted it online almost every day for the last eleven years.
33. She has a bazillion Facebook friends - and I bet they're all really her friends.
34. She feels very strongly about a lot of political issues - and is never afraid to say what she really thinks, out loud, in public. And she's never afraid to make people angry.
35. She's reviewed about a million plays - and still finds something intelligent and constructive to say about every one, even when she thinks she's out of her element.
36. She calls her mother way more often than I call mine. She puts me to shame.
37. She reads more books than seems humanly possible.
38. She's a really good writer.
39. She's traveled all over the world.
40. She kept up on our grueling walking tour of France and Italy, even when she wanted to give up. And then she came home and started planning her next trip.
41. She's famous in Davis.
42. She cares. And she listens.
43. She sends me little presents, just because.
44. She loves her kids and her grandkid a whole lot.
45. She thought up 45 nice things about me, and that is a really serious task!
Happy Mother's Day, Mom!
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
This is Jeri's 45th birthday and I thought it might be fun to list 45 things about Jeri that are part of who she is.
1. I love her independence. She has done more by herself than I ever have.
2. I love that we can talk in theater quotes.
3. I like it when she texts from the orchestra pit during the run of a show.
4. Jeri gets more pure joy out of life than most people I know.
5. She's married to a neat guy too.
6. ...and I love their dog
7. I love how she always spreads her time out here by giving as much time to all her friends and relatives as she can.
8. I love her close relationship with her grandmothers (obviously including Walt's mother up until the end).
9. I have enjoyed watching her progression from neophyte teacher to popular teacher.
10. I like it when I see her self standing up for herself.
11. I love her dedication to staying in touch with her friends and family.
12. She's a great dog mommy.
13. I love listening to her play music. Her "Amazing Grace" at funerals is enough to un-harden the hardest of hearts.
14. I remember how David delighted in listening to her play the flute.
15. I remember how desperately she wanted a sister and how disappointed she was whenever we brought another brother home from the hospital for her.
16. I still can't believe that we put her on a city bus, alone, to ride up the hill to her 1st grade class.
17. She was always my godsend when I had to decorate a cake because I knew how to put designs in frosting, but didn't have the imagination to come up with the picture in the first place, and Jeri would draw it for me.
18. I remember the vacation when she read "Little House on the Prairie" over and over and over again.
19. She wanted to be Pippi Longstockings.
20. I was always in awe of her cavorting on stage with Marta and the rest of the Horns of Adequacy.
21. Jeri did usually know better.
22. I love it that she can fix an electrical appliance.
23. I remember the horrible night she was trapped on the bridge in San Francisco after the Loma Prieta earthquake.
24. I remember her inadvertently busking on the steps of a building in Dublin, when she played an Irish flute and people started giving her money.
25. Watching Aunt Jeri playing with Brianna is a true joy.
26. I remember her first ballet recital in Oakland, and subsequent performances in Davis (the dwarf beard was particularly fetching)
27. I look forward to her letters and she has inspired me to get back into writing snail mail.
28. I admire her lack of materialism.
29. She's one of hardest working people I know.
30. I will never forget the feelings of pride when I sat in the audience and watched her conduct the orchestra playing her own composition.
31. Or the feelings of pride watching You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, which she directed.
32. Or the feelings of pride watching The Peabody Duck, for which she was the set designer.
33. So proud when she was offered a full-time teaching position at Berklee.
34. Such fun hearing about her starting a musical theatre course at Berklee -- and how successful it has become
35. Such joy sharing with her the magic of fireflies during her time doing summer stock in Ohio.
36. Amazement that she doesn't care about television (my daughter??)
37. I love how much she loves Lester, "my baby."
38. She's so good about sharing pictures of Lester on their daily walks.
39. Her relationship with Walt has always been such a beautiful thing.
40. I loved sharing France and Italy with her.
41. So grateful for her support on that trip. I never could have made it without her constant "You can do it, Mom!"
42. "My fake Italian is better than my fake French"
43. Her lifelong friendship with the Blackford women is something very special.
44. She is better at sustaining friendships than anybody I know.
45. She's my firstborn, my only daughter, my friend and a beautiful personHappy Birthday, Jeri!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
It was nice having Jeri in town all day, and she was able to get some errands run while here.
We all kind of slept late (7 is late for me!) and eventually, sometime before noon, I started making pecan waffles.
No, it wasn't "Waffle Wednesday," but Tuesday was close enough, when Jeri was in town. The waffles were delicious.
Jeri eventually went off on Walt's bike to get some errands run and we made plans to meet for lunch "or something" around 3 p.m. (since we were all full from breakfast at noon).
At 3 we went to Ciocolat, a lovely little bistro type restaurant in downtown Davis. As we were mulling over menu options, Kate, who is a friend of ours and who owns the restaurant, recommended the chicken noodle soup, with noodles made on the premises. It was a good recommendation, with a rich flavorful broth, delicious noodles and a side caesar salad with slivers of parmesan and foccacia bread....and lots of croutons, my favorite.
After our mid-afternoon snack, we walked over to the downtown post office so Jeri could get a box to mail some stuff home to herself. On the way we passed the "Compassion David."
I had read about him in Davis Life Magazine (from where I stole the photo--it's actually grey and cold today and he was bundled up in a heavy coat). He began a quest earlier this year to define the word "compassion." He started this quest when he lived in Oakland after seeing a speech on compassion by Karen Armstrong, a former nun, who created a “Charter for Compassion” based on the idea that “compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethnical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be trusted.”
He stands on the corner with a notebook in hand and he stops people to ask if they would mind writing down their definition of "compassion." He has over 3,300 signatures in his books. I added mine, because I wanted to talk to him. I defined "compassion" as "caring about others more than yourself, and being kind to animals." I asked David what his definition of compassion is and I'm afraid it was too lofty for me to understand!
A few steps farther down the street (Jeri and Walt had gone on ahead to the post office while I spoke with David), I ran into a woman I used to work with and haven't seen in many years. She retired 2 years ago and was telling me about her difficulties adjusting to retirement and her realization that she needs to get a volunteer job, possibly at the hospital. It was nice to see her again.
We returned to the house and Jeri packed up her stuff while waiting for a friend who was going with her to a concert (and then driving her to Grandma's house to spend the night).
I was full from lunch, so Walt finished my leftover half turkey stuffing sandwich from Trader Joe's, supplemented with some yogurt and some party mix our next door neighbor had given us, for dinner.
We are child-less again (if you don't count the 4-footed ones), but it's always nice to spend a day with one of our kids. And the evening ended with this fabulous music video that Ned posted on YouTube. I hope you watch it.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
It was nice having Jeri around, however briefly. Of course she's still here, but she has moved from my mother's house to our house and now to Ned's house, to meet Phil (who was driving down from Oregon with his Uncle Mike). The band Preoccupied Pipers, which is playing in a little pizza joint in downtown Davis tomorrow night, will be rehearsing from now until I next see them all, tomorrow night.
But she spent last night here and in the morning, despite Polly's barking, made friends with her via treats (Polly was never exactly comfortable around her, but she did let her pet her).
She took Sheila out for a long walk and then went on Walt's bike for a long bike ride and a hair trim. In between those two things, I fixed waffles for breakfast, even though it wasn't Wednesday. I made these waffles, from Davis Life Magazine and they turned out great--crispier than other waffles I've made. It also made a ton. We each had two waffles, Jeri and I each ate a third an hour or so later as a snack, and I froze four waffles for a later breakfast.
She also got acquainted with Buttercup.
As puppies do, Buttercup is growing up quickly. Last week she slept most of the time, but now if there is any activity going on in the house (or if we are just coming in the front door), she runs and joins the others to see what's going on.
I've been trying to give her the kind of puppy mash I start all the puppies on when I am trying to wean them. She's been unenthusiastic in her response, other than licking my finger a couple of times and maybe giving a half-hearted lick at the bowl. But later toay I saw this.
She had stuck her head in Bella's bowl and was eating (at least until Bella growled and she moved away). Later, I found her in the kitchen eating out of the dog food bowl there. Oh, she's not weaned yet, but now that I know she will eat kibble, I'll stop mixing mash for her and just give her the opportunity to learn how to eat dry dog food.
Jeri returned from her bike trip in the mid-afternoon and already, so soon, packed up her stuff and said goodbye to all the dogs, before heading out to the car.
Walt drove her to Sacramento. We'll see her tomorrow night at the concert and then on Sunday, we'll have dinner at Ned & Marta's house and then take Jeri and Phil to the Sacramento airport on our way home.
They will be back in Boston in time to celebrate their 2nd wedding anniversary with Lester, whom I know they miss.
They make this whirlwind trip every August and how lucky that they do, because, even though it's always a short visit, Jeri is so incredibly good about making sure that she spends quality time with everybody in the area while she can.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Jeri has taken a little jaunt down to New Orleans.
Every year, since Katrina, a group from Berklee College of Music gets together, goes to New Orleans and works on a Habitat for Humanity project. Until this year, the schedule had not permitted Jeri to join them, because it usually came at a time when she was grading papers or coming to California. This year, however, she was free and clear to go with the group and they took off on Monday.
This is where they started, in the upper 9th ward.
On the first day, they were putting up siding, which I told Jeri must have been like building a stage set.
She said she had become an expert on caulking.
The second day, they were landscaping a nearly finished house, and Jeri says they learned a lot about "sweat equity" -- or at least they learned a lot about sweat.
We began the day with a dilapidated yard full of concrete chunks, plus a large pile of sand and a pallet of sod. By the end of the day we had a beautifully manicured lawn, and a foundation of sand under the house. In between there was a lot of digging, a lot of raking, a lot of crawling around in tight places…. and a lot of sweat.
There is something marvelously zen about moving dirt around all day. Then you get to the end of the day, and your whole body aches, and the dirt pile has miraculously disappeared. And you know you have accomplished something!
In the evening there is time to visit the French Quarter, the perfect place for a bunch of musicians to hang around!
The group is keeping a blog about their experiences and I loved reading an entry by lmcfarlane, which read, in part, "I have to say that my favorite part of the night was when Mike and Jeri took the stage for a Berk alum/Tipitina monster jam. Jeri sassed us all with her flute stylings while Mike seriously smoked on his tenor sax solos. Fan-tastic."I've been so impressed with the whole Habitat for Humanity project anyway, since Jimmy Carter brought attention to it by getting involved. It seems right up Jeri's alley and I'm so glad she's getting the experience of working in New Orleans.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Jeri leaped up from the table and went to the counter to get a napkin and a piece of paper on which she could write. "We need a plan," she said. "Now what still has to be done?" Quickly we listed all the things that remained undone and that needed to be done between now and Friday morning.
We were sitting at In-n-Out Burger having lunch at 2 p.m. Jeri was feeling very guilty because she was there without Phil and texted him to apologize, saying I made her come without him.
In truth, she lied. It was a mutual decision. We wanted to go to the Subway next door, but service was so slow and I was aware that the puppies would be waking up hungry very soon, so we chose In-n-Out instead. We had just come from a big shopping at Costco.
Jeri has been just the tonic I needed. It's been so long since I've "entertained," that I'm at the point where I'm just frazzled and don't know which needs to be done first and feel like I'm spinning. But we had done most of the Costco shopping, for all the hors d'oeuvres and drink stuff. We had soft drinks (both Coke and Pepsi--Peach has called twice to make sure there will be diet Pepsi for her to drink), some fruit drinks, 7-up and water. Tom will have wine and Ed (my mother's stepson) has rented a keg of beer. If we run short of food, we can always drink ourselves into oblivion (which, knowing the alcoholic history of my family, is not entirely beyond the range of possibility!) There will also, of course, be vodka and tonic, because you can't have a party for my mother without vodka there.
(I bought three bottles, only two of which show here)
We also solved the decoration problem with a trip to Woodland's new huge Target, and I also treated myself to a deep fat fryer to make cooking Mexican won ton easier.
We were quickly checking things off of Jeri's list and it felt good. As she was in Europe, Jeri is a great support system and her unflagging enthusiasm and refual to think negative becomes infectious
We've decided to buy birthday cakes because there has still been no word on the new stove and I'm afraid that I'm not going to have enough time to bake two big cakes and decorate them. While I'm disappointed that these won't be "home made," I'm also relieved because it's one job I don't have to do. I ordered an undecorated sheet cake, so at least I'll be able to decorate it, but won't have to worry about the baking part.
I still have to make Mexican won ton, and stuffed jalapenos. We'll also have tortilla chips with cheese sauce, and I am thankful that I have a crock pot to heat it up.
Jeri was just what the doctor ordered. It's all starting to feel more "do-able."
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Jeri has posted her "Self in France" photos to Facebook. If you're not on Facebook, you can't see them, but if you are, I have shared them on my page and the link on her page is here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/album.php?aid=124181&id=558678824.
Presumably her "Self in Italy" set will be posted soon.
Looking through the photos makes me realize what a special time it was with her, what a tremendous help "my sherpa" was to me, and how much I miss her energy, her enthusiasm, her positive attitude, and her zest for life.
These two pictures were taken in Paris.
The first was taken after our boat tour on the Seine, the second at the opera house (see me and Pat at the top of the stairs). I remember the long trek from the boat back to the hotel and how Jeri stayed with me every slow step, stopping when I needed to stop and was always cheering me on ("Come on, Mom--you can do it!"). I wonder what she thought at the end of the day, realizing that she was probably going to have to do this the whole trip.
The opera house was very special because only the three of us went to it. My very first trip out of the United States (other than Canada, which I didn't think really counted--I didn't need a passport for it) was because of The Phantom of the Opera, which we took Jeri (and all the other kids) to see in London after she graduated from UC Santa Barbara. Seeing the setting of that show "live" in Paris was really a very special thing for me and I was so glad to be sharing it with Jeri, who not only kept me going, but would scout on ahead for things we should see, to save me having to walk that far.
I love this photo. Our hotel was a bit of a walk from where the X is, the direction away from the camera. The X marks the spot where we scattered Michele's ashes. Ian had pointed out a cemetery high on the hill overlooking Nice and the morning we were scheduled to leave, Jeri set out at the crack of dawn to climb to the cemetery. She was back in time for breakfast.
The thing I loved about Jeri was that she never missed an opportunity. She saw everything and did everything she could fit in. When I look back over our photos, hers are mostly of sweeping vistas taken from high places, mine are of food that we ate! Not that my experience wasn't just as meaningful for me, but watching Jeri set off on yet another adventure was just such an inspiration.
I loved it that she refused to think negatively. Whenever I started to complain, she would think of a positive about the situation and cheer me up. She would dash into a store to buy water for me, and in Nice found a place to buy one of those Provencal patterned napkins that I could use to wipe my face. It would become invaluble. When I thought I was going to collapse before getting to the bus in Versailles, she ran and brought me a sherbet that was about the best thing I ate on the trip. I truly don't know what I would have done without her.
"You've got to learn to say yes, Mom," she would say to me as I was embarrassed to let her carry my bag for me...and then she'd carry it for me so I could move easier.
This was another photo taken in Nice, when we stopped at a Russian Orthodox church. Jeri had been taking self-portraits all over the place at all sorts of angles and to take this one she found a new angle.
(the camera is resting against her foot)
Jeri and I probably will never have the opportunity to travel together again like we did on this trip, but I wouldn't have missed it for anything. I don't know where she gets her love of life or her positive attitude about everything -- certainly not from me! -- but it can be infectious and definitely was the thing that got me down those damn 250 steps in Portovenere and helped keep me from collapsing on the streets of Florence in the heat and humidity, trying to keep up with the group that was rushing to the Accademia to see "David."
Jeri, you were just great and I'm glad we had the time together. I'm also glad that you didn't have to hang around your fat old Mom the entire time and could go off on your own to all those high places I am now able to see through your photos.
Thanks, Honey, for being you!