Friday, March 15, 2013
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Friday, December 9, 2011
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."
"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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
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.