Showing posts with label Kathy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kathy. Show all posts

Friday, March 15, 2013

Performance Anxiety

Swell.  Someone recommended my journal to someone else tonight, which was very sweet (and flattering) of her...but now I feel performance anxiety for writing a good entry tonight, which ain't gonna be easy!

To get the most important business out of the way first, for all of you who couldn't care less, there is no news on Nana tonight.  She's still pacing around her stall, still big as...well...a horse...and no signs of labor.  Karen said she gave her a bath today, which she seemed to like, since it was so hot, but I haven't seen a sign of her lying down all day, and since I can now get the barn cam on my cell phone, I was able to check many times throughout the afternoon at Logos.

The second thing is something I hesitate to mention, for fear of jinxing it, but something strange is happening with my body.  The two numb fingers are still numb, but less numb.  I realized a couple of days ago that I haven't had problem typing "p" or "o" in days.  The fingers still feel numb, but the kind of numbness you feel when your foot, which has gone asleep, is starting to wake up.  I've gotten so used to not having full use of those fingers, that it will be weird if they actually un-numb after all those years!

Today was my monthly lunch with my friend Kathy at the Olive Garden.   She is "8 lunches" (she says) away from retirement so on our 9th lunch from today, she is going to have something to drink stronger than iced tea because she won't have to go back to work after lunch.

There was lots to discuss today, mostly the election of the Pope, though we covered lots of topics, as we always do.  I was very happy to hear her say that the charges that have been swirling around ever since Pope Francis was elected, about his cooperation with the military junta in Argentina in arresting activist priests and imprisoning them has been refuted by Amnesty International.  He seems like a nice guy and I'd like not to hate him for a little while anyway, though he does thinks that "adoption by gay families is discrimination against children" and that women are not fit to be in positions of authority, but then I would expect nothing less from a 70-something year old Cardinal.  One can only hope he's open to discussing some of these issues eventually.

Walt points out one good thing about this new Pope...at least the Pope is still older than we are (but not by much!)  No Doogie Howser in the Vatican yet!

Now that Kathy is a "short timer," she is more casual about our lunches and we often linger after the salad and soup are finished.  This is great from a friendship standpoint, but I have to get to work in Davis by 2 p.m.  Today, I desperately wanted a nap before work.  If I had gotten home 30 minutes (even 20 minutes) sooner, I would have taken a quickie nap, but as it was, I barely had time to use the bathroom and get back in the car so Walt could drive me to the book store.

The afternoon went more or less uneventfully and after dinner I settled in for Nana-watch again.  Around 11:30 or so, I came in here to start writing this entry.  I decided to check on Nana once again and she was down!  

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I thought she was giving birth right then, when I saw the dark spots on either side of her tail, but apparently it was her water breaking.  The birth itself didn't take all that long, and I got to sit here and watch the whole thing.   Karen was there to assist in the birth and to spread hay around the stall after the baby was born.  I watched until she finally got up on her legs.

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I like the second from the right at the bottom--baby's first photo!

At least Nana-watch has finally ended and I was lucky enough to catch her just in time!  I just checked the camera again.  Nana is lying down and baby Muffin is exploring her new world.  So cute!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Taking Kathy Home

The weather had predicted possible rain, but it could not have been a more beautiful day.  The plan was to drive out to Drake's Bay and sprinkle the ashes where we, with Kathy and her sister, had sprinkled her mother's ashes in 2004.

My mother has said time and time again how much she loves driving out to West Marin and the day was perfect, but the road is winding and got a bit long for her.   She was already concerned about taking "the fast way" back home after we had scattered the ashes.  I also wasn't sure how to get to the beach where we had been before (Kathy's sister had directed me then).

We got to Point Reyes (which, I had to laugh, Nigel, our British GPS voice, pronunced "REE-eyes") and started following the signs for "beaches."  The road took us through Inverness, where my grandparents had lived for many years, and Peach and her family had lived for awhile.  A very special place for us.

As we were approaching the actual town of Inverness, we were driving along Tomales Bay and we suddenly all had the same thought...maybe we could scatter Kathy's ashes here.  It had more significance for the family and somehow seemed more personal than trying to find a beach we had no personal connections with.  Not only that, but it was the spot where our grandfather's boat had sat fordecades until it finally disintegrated.  And it was a nice quiet beach.

Plus, it sat within view of "finger mountain."  Or that was what I called it.  My sister called it "fist hill" and Peach called it "the hand."  A hill with ripples in it that look like fingers.   I liked Kathy being near finger mountain.

Before we got to the road to Inverness, though, I had to stop to take a picture of this...uh... structure, I guess you'd call it!

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At first I thought the signs on the bottom left and right were to advertise a winery, but it just says "Save the Ocean" and "drink wine."  Don't know who put it up, but I loved it (needless to say!)

We pulled over by the little Inverness store where I remember shopping when I was little and we walked down along the edge of the bay.

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One last picture, in the shadow of Finger Mountain.

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Then Peach did the honors and we all told Kathy we loved her.

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Then it was time for lunch.  We went to a cafe in Point Reyes, where I took this cute picture.

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We drove my mother back to her house, I refused to take a nap before we left to go home and Peach and I got on the road again.  She had talked with Bob earlier in the day and learned that his knee was hurting too much so he would not be able to drive down and pick her up, so could I drive her home.  By the time I got her home, and returned to Davis, I figured I had driven nearly 200 miles since 11 a.m. -- 50 miles round trip to West Marin, 80 miles home, 70 miles round trip to Peach's and back again.  All this in a weekend where gas is $4.67 a gallon--and $5.00 in Marin County (where I had to buy gas!)

But we agreed it had been a perfect day, and best of all, my mother was having one of her "good" days!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Lunch that Almost Wasn't

I'm giving up on the Christmas Challenge. Today's topic was goals for 2012 (I have none) and tomorrow is the last day, so ... it was fun. I'm glad I did it. I miss Holidailies (the OLD Holidailies, not what it was last year). But things change and it's time to move on...or back...or something.

Today I had a lunch date with my friend K. We get together once a month at Olive Garden and get caught up. I met her first waaaaay back when we both were nursing babies and working with La Leche League. Our paths crossed off and on through the years, but about 12 or 13 years ago, we decided to make it a regular thing and we've been doing this lunch semi-regularly for all that time.

We don't talk in between luncheon engagements. Our friendship is just these monthly lunches. But I enjoy learning about her kids and grandkids and telling her about mine.

I left the house early today. I knew that this ride to and from Sacramento would be enough time to finish my book, "Split Second" by David Baldacci. I was just at the exciting climax when I got home from my mother's yesterday. There was an hour left to go of the 16 hour book. By leaving early, I could drive slowly to Sacramento and, if I arrived early, could sit out in the car reading until time to go into the Olive Garden.

Aside: The Olive Garden, where we have eaten for lo these many years, was just rated one of the worst restaurants for treatment of their employees with regard to salaries and benefits But K said she checked and found they were among the best for being gay-friendly. It's hell to be an armchair activist when presented with such facts as these. We decided "gay friendly" trumps "poor salary," since my choice of an alternative restaurant would be Red Lobster and that gets rated on a par with Olive Garden. I decided we could make up for patronizing the restaurant by tipping higher.

There were only 40 min. to go in the book when I went into the restaurant, which would be just enough time to get me home again after lunch.

I was seated in the dining room, having left K's name at the desk for when she arrived -- I don't think there has been a time in all these years when I have NOT arrived first, so I'm used to her being late, but then she is coming from work and I am not!

I couldn't listen to the book in the restaurant, but I had my kindle and my Patricia Cornwell book, so I sat there reading. And reading. And reading. I went to check the time, but the battery was dead pn my iTouch, and I had left my cell phone at home.

Aside: I have yet to find the right way to handle my cell phone. Almost none of my clothes have pockets in them, so either the phone is on a table, or on my desk or in the car or in my purse. And 9 times out of 10, wherever it is when I receive a phone call or a text message is where I am not, so I miss more calls that I take, unless I am actually holding the phone in my hand!

I finally asked a waiter for the time and K was now 15 minutes late. I couldn't call her because her phone # is in my cell phone directory. I finally decided I must have gotten the week wrong--something I am likely to do--because she was never that late.

When we eat together, we order Olive Garden's soup and salad special but since I was going to be eating alone, I decided to splurge and ordered their steak and gorgonzola Alfredo with salad.

I was halfway finished with my salad, when K arrived. She had forgotten our lunch date (as had my mother the day before!) and she had actually tried to call my cell phone (and left a message), but of course the phone was at home so I didn't get the message until after I got back to Davis.

But eventually we had a lovely lunch, once again got caught up again, did our share of political dissection and outrage, and my steak gorgonzola was fabulous. Too big to eat, so Walt lucked out and I brought half of it home for him. And I left a big tip for the waitress since we occupied the table for longer than we should have on a busy Thursday.

Aside: Cute story from one of K's grandchildren, age 4.
"Grandma? When I get big I want to have babies."
"That's very good."
"But they'll have to come out of my vagina, won't they?"
"Yes, they probably will."
[pause]
"I hope my vagina gets bigger by that time."

We hugged goodbye at the end of our lunch. I got back into the car and headed home, and my book finished as I was getting off the freeway in Davis. The book was, of course, a gripper the closer it came to the end. Now I have to decide what I'm going to listen to next time.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Unaccustomed as I am...

I never speak at funerals.

I never speak for two reasons -- first I get terrified speaking in public and end up stumbling all over my words, no matter how eloquent they had been in my head, and second, when the deceased is someone I cared about, I am an emotional bucket of no self control. I, who cries at supermarket openings and Hallmark card commercials, am totally a soggy mess saying goodbye to the dearly beloved.

So I never speak at funerals, even when everybody around me is standing up and sharing memories of the deceased.

But this was Kathy.

And nobody asked me to speak, officially, but Peach indicated that she felt we would be expected to speak.

I knew I couldn't stand up and speak about how much she meant to me. I wouldn't get through the second sentence without blubbering, but I thought I could talk about Cousins Day.

I decided I would talk about the boob and how we have decided to retire the boob and put it in the place where Kathy usually sat, thus making her the permanent boob. I even brought the boob with me to use as a visual aid.

How scary could it be anyway? Mostly family. A small group. I could do this, I convinced myself.

KBFlowers.jpg (63009 bytes)Walt and I got the the VFW Hall (where the memorial service for Kathy's mother Barb had been held so many years ago) in time to help set up the tables.

The flowers Peach and I ordered from the Cousins Day group were there. I was very happy with the position of the 6 and 5 of hearts.

The family began to arrive. Kathy's son had flown in from Iowa with his wife and son, leaving the baby at home. He expressed sadness that his daughter would never know her grandmother and how he had talked about that with Kathy.

Kathy's brother had flown in from Arizona.

Cousin (actually first cousin once removed, if I have my relationships right--she is my late cousin Shirley's daughter) Denise and her sister, who live in the Bay Area, drove my mother to the funeral, along with Peach's daughter Karen. I sat with my mother at the table and she must have asked me ten times if I thought they were going to fill the hall.

KBBrian.jpg  (32689 bytes)By the time Kathy's son Brian, the MC, was ready to start things, by golly they had filled the hall. People from every area of her life loved our cousin and everybody had to be there to say goodbye.

Brian gave a wonderful eulogy, announcing at the start that there were to be no tears and that if there were, there would be pushups in the parking lot after the service was over. (Brian's a military man!)

Brian nicely outlined Kathy's life and her impact on her family and on her friends. His sister Karen spoke next, followed by Kathy's brother, Patrick, her sister Kelly and then ... gleep ... me.

The "small family gathering" was now a big hall filled with mostly strangers and I told Kathy she was just going to have to help me get through it.

She did. I could feel my voice quavering throughout my brief story about Cousins Day and about "65," but people laughed and that was good.

Peach followed me, with stories about their many craft projects, and also about Cousins Day (she had graciously let me go first)

Friends I didn't know talked about her. There were some brief emotional breaks in speech, but nobody really broke down, which I know would have pleased Kathy. The formal service ended with remarks from Kathy's husband.

Then there was a reception. Hey--remember those bread baskets Kathy and Peach made and were going to sell, after I got home from France? They gathered up all the unsold ones and used them for little nut cups on all the tables.

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There was also a table of photos, repesenting (unintentionally) the number of hair styles Kathy had throughout the years, as well as some of her cross stitch projects.

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And then it was over. I suppose I feel better than I have since Friday, since there is closure. It's difficult to face an ending without a real closure. Now it's time to move on to our next Cousins Day, where Kathy will now be the "permanent boob."



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How We'll Remember Her

Peach asked me to pull some photos that were NOT some of our "toast" photos for Cousins Day to display at Kathy's memorial on Wednesday.

This is how we'll remember her...

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Well THAT's a First

It was about 1:30 a.m. I finished writing my review of Shrek, The Musical, which we had just seen in Sacramento, and mailed it off to the newspaper, then quickly headed off to sleep, hoping I would wake up in time that I could get on the road by 9 a.m. I was hoping to get to Santa Barbara while it's still light.

No problems getting to sleep, or staying asleep and I woke up at 7 a.m., right when I wanted to. All I had to do was pack a few things, have breakfast and I would be on my way.

Then I read my e-mail.

Only one "personal" e-mail, from Char. It read "Are you ok? No Journal today??? Is it the chicken??"

Omigawd! After nearly twelve years, I hadn't posted a journal entry, not because I had no access to a computer, not because I had developed food poisoning because of that chicken the other night, but because I forgot!!!! Is this the beginning of the end? Am I really getting old and forgetful??

Well, to quickly summarize yesterday and still get on the road by 9 a.m., it was a relatively uneventful day. My plan had been to go and visit Kathy, by myself this time, since Peach was going both earlier and later in the week with her husband. I usually leave around 11 a.m. to visit her. It's about a 40 minute drive and that gets me there around lunchtime, which is when she's alert.

But then I thought about the upcoming trip to Santa Barbara and things I wanted to do before I left and decided I wouldn't go this week, but would go after I got home instead.

And then I thought of Kathy lying in that bed she seems to never leave in the semi-darkened room. I thought about telling her about Lacie's birth and I decided I would go anyway.

"Get back as soon as you can," said Walt. Our washing machine went out two days ago and either needs repair or replacement. In the meantime, he needed to get his washing to the laundromat, but needed the car to take it. (Walt has done his own washing ever since the kids were babies.)

So I got in the car and drove to Sacramento, unhappy to realize that both of my electronic gizmos had nearly dead batteries. This meant I could not listen to my audio book, and there might not be enough juice in my iTouch to even show her pictures of Lacie. I chose to power up the iTouch and gave up trying to listen to my audio book (since I can only plug one device into the cigarette lighter at a time). By the time I got the the care center, I had about 1/4 of the power in the iTouch, which was plenty to show a few pictures. And while driving I had been listening to Jack-FM, the station where Ned works, and was able to hear three of his commercial spots, 2 jingles and an announcement. It's always weird for me to listen to my son on the radio.

Kathy was awake and alert and eager to talk. She was happy to see the pictures of Lacie, and pronounced her beautiful (well that was worth the drive right there!). She chattered a lot, but again from her fantasy world (this was the first time I'd heard that she traveled to the care center in Gaddafi's airplane. When I asked her how that happened, she rolled her eyes and said "you don't even want to know.")

It seems easiest to buy into her fantasy and talk as if she is making sense. It seems to help her think that someone is actually listening to hear fears. I really want to talk to my old boss, The Psychiatrist, to find out if this is the best way to deal with someone going through what Kathy is going through.

I got home in plenty of time for Walt go to the laundromat while I took a nap (I have started taking a nap, whenever I can, on days when I know I am going to have to review a show at night). I even managed to get back to sleep again after a phone call 30 minutes into my nap.

Shrek, the Musical was lots of fun. Not as good as the movie, but a lot of fun stuff. One problem with taking a popular, well-known cartoon like Shrek and giving flesh and blood actors the job of bringing well known cartoon characters to life on the stage is that a lot of the elements get lost in the cacophony of orchestra, sound system, and characters talking together. Much of the movie’s charm came from in-jokes and visual effects and being able to snicker at the lesser characters who each brought a funny part of a familiar fairy tale to the story.

That is there in the stage show, but somehow it lacks the charm of the movie.

That said, however, the stage show delivers some really spectacular effects, particularly the Tony award-winning dragon, created by Tim Hatley, as impressive as some of the costumes from "The Lion King." The dragon swoops and flies and turns in circles on stage and above the stage and is amazingly lifelike (if there had ever been such things as fire-breathing dragons!)

It also has more fart and belch an jokes than you'll probably ever see on the stage. One song, "I think I got you beat" is almost the Shrek equivalent of Annie Get Your Gun's "Anything You can Do, I can do better," with the contest being who can fart or belch in the most spectacular, disgusting fashion possible.

This is where American theater is today, folks!!!

So that was my day. It ended with writing the review and getting it to the newspaper in time for it to be printed, I hope, today. And now it's 7:30 and I'm going to get ready to go to meet my new granddaughter! Walt can't drive down with me because he has a meeting to attend tonight.