Saturday, March 31, 2012

Don't Get Sick

This morning a link to this article appeared on Facebook.  I shared it on my wall.  It's a horror story of a woman with cervical cancer and early in the article it sets up the scene
She hadn’t gone to the doctor because she had no health insurance. The only kind of work she could get in a struggling rural community was without benefits. Her coat and shoes beside the gurney were worn and her purse from another decade. She could never afford to buy it on her own. She didn’t qualify for Medicaid, the local doctor only took insurance, and there was no Planned Parenthood or County Clinic nearby.
So nothing was done about the bleeding until she passed out at work and someone called an ambulance. She required a couple of units of blood at the local hospital before they sent her by ambulance to our emergency department.
It gets worse, and I hope everyone reading this reads the article too.
As I said, I posted it to my own Facebook page and got some interesting additional stories.  Jennifer shared:
A less severe story, but local: My cousin just dislocated her shoulder. She has a teaching credential, but the only job she's been able to find so far is a part-time position at her local high school's library/computer center. No benefits. Her boyfriend (who lives in Italy) was in town and took her to the urgent care. The clinic charged her $50 and then told her they couldn't help her because the doctors there can't relocate a shoulder. The other clinic wanted to charge her $100 for x-rays, but they told her they still couldn't relocate her shoulder. So mom took her to the emergency room. By this time, she was throwing up and dizzy from the pain (it had been almost a full day since the accident). Three and a half hours in emergency room, they relocated the shoulder and gave her some meds. She had to pay $300 on site, and they'll send her the rest of the bill in a month. Tana says if CA hospitals are like CO hospitals, it'll likely be in the range of a couple thousand. On a part-time job. Her boyfriend (who has national coverage in Italy) was completely horrified by the idea of someone not getting medical care because they couldn't afford it.
I've had a dislocated shoulder.  I can't imagine going through what this woman went through.  Later on, Victoria shared her own story.
I broke my leg last June 26th. I was employed with BlueShield at the time. In Oct we had to short sale our home as my husband had gone to AZ to find work (no construction plumbing jobs for 2 years). He found a City job . I had to sell, pack the home while in wheelchair and cast. I was told by my ortho that I on my way to healing and he removed my cast. Of course I had to resign my position. We could not afford the $1300.00 so we had not elected COBRA. My leg was hurting terribly and went to new physician in AZ on my last day of insurance. She had me get xrays immediately and found that my fracture had not healed AT ALL. I have a 2mm displacement and now I have no insurance. I had MRI paid for by hospital due to our financial situation but the reading cost $265.00! I was sent to Tucson Ortho who charged $260.00 to tell me I need a CT scan. I have no treatment now. And all insurance companies I applied for have denied me for a pre-existing condition ! One even denied me for MENOPAUSE !! That would be Aetna ! Waiting for Mike's job to become FT.. So we will have insurance. Now I am living on Tramadol and pain. Ironically... I was a pre-exsisting claims processor at BS for the past 6 yrs. Is this my penance ??
Ronald sums it up very nicely:
And this type of scenario is repeated hundreds if not thousands of times daily in this country. My God, where is our decency, compassion and common sense!
I don't want to wish harm to befall anyone, but there is a black corner in my heart which hopes that all of those fire'n'brimstone Obamacare haters find themselves in a position where they or someone in their family is seriously ill, and they have no insurance.  And that the politician (I've forgotten who it was now) who was asked what someone needs to do when faced with such a situation and blythly said "I guess you don't get treatment..." knows the pain of watching a loved one suffer because nobody will treat her because she has no insurance and can't get any because she has a pre-existing condition.  Like menopause.  Sheesh!

We Americans used to be good, caring people--or maybe I was living in a false rosy haze.  Now it seems that we don't give a fig for our fellow humans, just so long as we and our family and friends all have ours, the hell with everyone else.

Once again, I ask the God-fearing Christians -- in a situation like this, what would Jesus do????  Would they be acting like your legislators?  

Happy 4th birthday, Brianna...we'll miss you today!

Friday, March 30, 2012

A Tale of Two Stories

It was the best of books.
It was the worst of books.

My project of reading a book a day whenever I'm working at the book store is going well.  The reason I am able to complete a book a day is that I look specifically for books which are no more than about 230 pages, and if it has somewhat larger type and wider spacing between lines, so much the better.  I've read at least a book a day but, with criteria like that, I'm not reading deep philosophical tomes or great literature.

The book I read this week, "Girl Cook" was maybe the lightest of the lightweights I have read since I began this project.  I could see easily that I could finish it in the time I was there and I was intrigued by the promise of a glimpse into what happens in restaurant kitchens.  But I don't, as a general rule, choose chick lit to read and so I really skimmed through it pretty quickly because the story didn't much interest me.

The only real piece of information I got out of it was that salads are mixed by (one hopes) carefully washed hands rather than utensils before being piled on your salad plate.  (I should try that.  It would definitely mix the salad dressing better than salad tongs do!)
On my Kindle, I have been reading "Cutting for Stone," by award-winning author (and physician) Abraham Verghese, a 600+ page book (which is why it has been taking me so long) which traces the lives of twin boys, born under horrific circumstances, and growing up in Ethiopia under the rule of Emperor Haile Selasse.   (aside:  The name  "Haile Selasse" does NOT appear in "Girl Cook"!!)

To attempt to compare the two books is ludicrous.

How do you compare descriptions like:
She's one of those anorexically thin girls who's always making a big public deal about her enormous appetite and constant milk shake consumptions.  I have a bad habit of checking her ass every time her back is turned.  Where is the cellulite? where?
His face and jug ears resembled a figure a child might draw with crayon on butcher paper.  But the details were beyond a child: the fine arbor of blood vessels on his cheeks; muttonchop sideburns dyed boot-polish black; the white ring of arcus senilis around his pupils; gray eyebrows that betrayed his pretense of youthfulness.  She wondered how a man could look in the mirror and not see the absurdity of his own appearance.
It wasn't until I was in the middle of "Girl Cook" yesterday that I realized how much I missed really good writing.  I am a lover of words, an appreciator of the way good writers can twist phrases, paint word pictures, tell a good yarn and hook you in. 
Isn't this just a wonderful word picture?
That very night the wind picked up, the leaves were swishing and rustling and by morning a squall arrived, heralding the long rains.
I want to write like that!  (I even forgive him for writing, "Death is the cure of all disease...No one is prepared for news like this, no matter what.  I'm sixty-five years old. [emphasis mine] An old man.  I have had a good life.  I want to meet my Lord and Savior.")
You don't check how many pages there are to go when you are in the middle of a really good story, the way I did while reading "Girl Cook" yesterday.

(Apologies to author Hannah Mccouch, author of "Girl Cook," by the way. Actually for what it was it was well written  I have certainly read books which were much less literate, books which make me cringe for typos, mis-use of grammar, or just plain boring plot lines.  It's just that this was the very last book I read at the store, so it's still fresh in my mind.)

While I waste time doing lots of things around here during the day, I don't often just turn off everything to sit and read.  I don't know why.  It's certainly a better thing to do than watch mindless television, but I can multi-task while watching mindless TV and so I kid myself that I'm actually doing something worthwhile.   But today, I did just that.
I had taken a few minutes to read a bit from "Cutting for Stone" during my lunch and reached a pivotal moment, about halfway through the book, where suddenly it was impossible to put the book down.  I decided to take the day off and just read for the afternoon.  

What a wonderful indulgence!  I sat there with Polly in my lap, delirious because she actually had me all to herself for the whole afternoon, and I read until about 4 p.m., where, tears streaming down my face, I finished the book.

I'm not going to review it here, but will save that for my book review page but I just wanted to talk about how good it was to sit and to read, especially a book that is so beautifully written that you feel like you are doing something worthwhile, even if you're just sitting in a chair with a dog in your lap.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

History in a Nutshell

Yesterday was my book store volunteer day.  I chose to read a real light-weight book, "Girl Cook."  It was a real chick book which I chose because its cover promised to give a glimpse into the kitchens of New York restaurants.  It did that, perhaps in more detail than the average diner wants to know, but the basic story was pretty slim and predictable -- the story of a 28 year old's search for meaningful employment in a misogynistic world and a man in her life.  How many thousands of books are written about that?

It was something like 225 pages long and I polished it off with an hour to spare.  I was going to give up and read the book I'm currently reading on my Kindle, despite my self-imposed principles about not reading an electronic book while working in a real book store.  But it was raining and we had very few customers and..who was going to see me? And who, but me, cared about my principles anyway?

I got out the kindle but then I happened to glance up to one of the top display shelves in the store and saw this book:

GSBook.jpg (72113 bytes)

Now I need another "complete Gilbert & Sullvan" book the way I need another Judy Garland book.  But those are the two subjects that most draw me when I see them.  This is a big plush book which traces the history of theater in England along with the development and the stories behind the G&S operettas was only $8.  Such a deal!

So I bought it, paying my weekly dues for the privilege of working at Logos Books (there have been very few weeks when I did not buy at least one book!).

Last night, as we were watching Dancing with the Stars--the results show (the right person was voted off first...I predict there will be no little house on the DWTS prairie at next week's elimination), I started just thumbing through the book during commercials and discovered that toward the end there is an eight page chronological table of the most important events in the history of Gilbert and Sullivan, in the Arts, and in the World from 1836 (when W.S. Gilbert was born) to 1913 (when Helen Carte, the wife of Richard d'Oyly Carte died).  It was such a weird list of things that I had to share it here.  I'm just posting what the writers of this book think are the most important world events in various years--I won't use all the years.  There are usually 4-5 entries for each year; I'm just choosing the most interesting.

1836 Battle of the Alamo
1837 Queen Victoria comes to the throne
Beginnings of Economic Depression
Euston Station opens in London
1839 General growth of railroad
Rugby rules devised
1840 Victoria & Albert married
First postage stamps
Afternoon tea made fashionable by Duchess of Bedford
Hypnosis discovered
1843 Typewriter invented
Appearance of the first Christmas cards
1846 Invention of ice cream
1848 Revolutions in Paris, Vienna, Prague, Rome
Waterloo station opens
1849 California Gold Rush
Bowler hat invented
Harrods founded
1850 Last salmon caught in Thames--too polluted afterwards
Tea overtakes coffee in popularity
1854 First distillation of petrol
Vatican ruling of papal infallibility
1858 Lecture on survival of the fittest by Darwin and Wallace
Bernadette of Lourdes has her vision
Big Ben opened by Queen
First refrigerator invented
1860 Garibaldi uprising in Italy
First pasturization of milk
1862 Abolition of slavery
Britain runs out of cotton due to American Civil War
Cotton and crop famine in Britain
Cross & Blackwell introduce canned soups
1864 Charing Cross station opens
First fish and chips shops opened
1866 Invention of Dynamite
Cook's tours begin
1872 First motion picture invented
First chewing gum invented
1874 End of fist Gladstone ministry
Lawn tennis patented
1876 Queen Victoria made Empress of India
Invention of "Lily the Pink's" compound for "women's ills"
Player piano invented
1877 Women allowed to practice medicine
First telephones sold
First Wimbledon tennis matches
1880 First newspaper photos
First successful shipment of frozen Australian beef to England
1881 Venetian gondola outmoded by vaporetto
Death of Disrali
1882 Street lighting by electricity begins
First psychoanalysis experiments
Married Women's Property Act passed
1883 Invention of the machine gun
First Buffalo Bill Wild West Show
1886 Gold rush to the Transvaal
Coca-Cola is sold as headache remedy
1888 Jack the Ripper murders
Invention of Esperanto
1891 Amazingly there were NO world events of note during this year!
1899 Boer War begins
aspirin and sticking plaster invented
1906 The word "allergy" is coined
San Francisco earthquake
1907 Hoover vacuum cleaner invented

I dont know if that was as interesting to you as it was to me, but I hope you enjoyed it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I Don't Recognize My Country

Or maybe the saddest thing of all is that I do recognize my country.

I have not read "The Hunger Games," and so I have paid little attention to the hype about the movie and would never have read this article had not someone linked to it on Facebook.  It seems that two of the characters in the book are described as having dark skin and African American actors, apparently, were cast to play them.

A raft of angry tweets broke out:

"why does rue have to be black? not gonna lie. kinda ruined the movie"

"why did the  producers make all the good characters black?"

"Call me a racist, but when I found out rue was black, her death wasn't as sad."

"I was pumped about The Hunger Games until I learned that a black girl was playing Rue."

"sense [sic] when has Rue been a nigger?"

I grew up in the idyllic 1950s where, if you were a white child, life was beautiful.  I went to a Catholic grammar school where there were no black children.  That wasn't the policy of the school, it was more the area of town where we lived.  I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of black kids in my high school, though all of them were my friends.  It never occurred to me to think badly about African Americans.  I just never thought about racial differences at all.   They were just girls that I went to school with. 

The idea of prejudice never even entered my head until my sister was going to go to the movies with a black friend.  My father paid the young man a visit at his place of employment and told him he was not allowed to take his daughter out and that he felt that people should date only within their own race.

I remember being jolted the first time I saw an African American in a television commercial.  It didn't bother me, but it was something new and strange that I had just never thought about before.

I grew into adulthood during the Civil Rights movement and African Americans came into my vision, really, for the first time in my life. 

Years later, I would transcribe a raft of interviews done with women who were leaders of the Civil Rights movement, women like Fanny Lou Hamer, Dorie Ladner, Ella Baker and others and as I heard their voices and typed their stories, I marveled at the amazing things they had done, at the risk to their lives.

I watched this country seem to settle down into a more normal relationship with people of all races, where we worked together, socialized together and seemed to be getting along just fine.  By the time our own kids went to school, the schools were fully integrated with children of all colors playing and learning together.   I loved it when David made it a point to have lunch with a black schoolmate once a week because that was the day that their dads had lunch together.

You knew that we were not past racial tensions, but they didn't seem to be as overt as they had been when I was growing up.  But then we moved (not by choice) to a town that was predominately white.  So white that when the son of the African American psychiatrist I worked for would ride his expensive bike, or drive his father's Mercedes around town, he would be stopped by the police "just to check."  It was no wonder the young man was angry all the time.  (how little race mattered to me was evident in the fact that when I proofread this paragraph, I had to add "African American" because I never thought of him as anything but "the psychiatrist I worked for")

Sadly, racial tensions seem to have escalated since the Obama election.  It was OK to live and work with black people but suddenly there was this "uppity" family moving into the White House (who was it who called them uppity? Wasn't it Limbaugh?).  So many things that have happened during the Obama administration seem to scream "GET THIS NEGRO OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE," though couched in political rhetoric, because nobody would dream of admitting that the main objection to the president is the color of his skin.

The fanatacism of the "birthers" to prove that this man is not really American shows how much hatred and suspicion there is of him, even now, though he has been in office for three years.

And then there is the murder of poor Trayvon Martin.  It is ironic that recently someone tossed some powder on Kim Kardashian at a red carpet event and the powder-tosser was arrested on the spot, yet the murderer of this young black man remains at large and because of the ridiculous "Stand Your Ground" law may never be charged with the murder. 

The media is trying to make this Trayvon's fault.  He was wearing the wrong kind of clothes.  He was once suspended when they found a trace of marijuana in his locker.  Blame the victim.

They say that the "Stand Your Ground" law provides immunity to people who kill in self-defense.  I just want to know how many reading this actually believe that if it had been Martin who killed Martinez under exactly the same circumstances, he would still be walking around pending "further investigation."

I am ashamed of this country.  I am ashamed that we are still fighting race battles, when one would have thought that we settled all that in the 1960s, in the struggle for which Martin Luther King gave his life.  But then I'm also ashamed that we are still batting the issue of birth control after so many decades.

My mother says it all the time and I fear I have begun saying it too.   "I'm glad I'm as old as I am...."

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

50 Songs

I saw this list on Kwizgiver's home page, only she did 100.  I didn't think I could list 100 songs which have meant something special to me throughout my life, but thought perhaps I could do 50.  These are definitely in no particular order as I'm sure when I list one song, another in the same genre will come to mind.  Probably half of these songs will be songs nobody but me and a handful of others have ever heard of.

1.  You Didn't Quite Know me Yet - I don't know why this one was the first to come to mind.  You will never hear it anywhere.  It's a song my father wrote, which I helped write the lyrics for
I fell in love when first we met
My heart says she's the one to get
So I started to sing, and picked out the ring
But you didn't quite know me yet...
(It was not a brilliant song and later on even has a June/spoon rhyme)

2. Don't Fence Me In sung by Bing Crosby.  I had to bring my favorite record to grammar school to play to the class.  Everyone else had brought something classical.  I suspect I was the only honest one--but I felt like a dork for bringing a bouncy, popular tune
3. Gary, Indiana from The Music Man, which makes me think of Paul every time, since Paul played the role of Winthrop twice.

4. Where is Love from Oliver!.  Like #3, this reminds me of Paul.  I would come into the theater every night to watch that pinspot on his face as he croaked out the song.  A mother's proudest moment.

5. Bump As You Go.  This song still gets me teary.   It is the song Ned wrote after his dog, Bert, died.

6. In the Arms of the Angel, which Audra and Marta sang at Paul's funeral
In the arms of an Angel far away from here
From this dark, cold hotel room, and the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of an Angel; may you find some comfort here
7. When Irish Eyes are Smiling  I can still see my grandfather standing in their tiny apartment, his hand in the pocket of his suit coat, singing this song, which he used to sing on the stage in the waning days of vaudeville, when he was the company's Irish tenor.

8. The Rainbow Connection.  Who doesn't love to hear Kermit the Frog sing this song?  I remember the first time I heard it after Jim Henson's death and realized that Kermit was dead too.  (Of course he's not really, but he doesn't sound like his old self any more.)

9. I have a song to sing, O.  One of my favorite Gilbert & Sullivan songs.  I wish there were a Lamplighters version to embed here.

10. The Flower that Shattered the Stone.  There are several John Denver songs on this list.  The recording of this song that I love best of this one is Denver doing a duet with a guy called "the John Denver of Japan."  It made me cry every time I heard it because it was just so beautiful.

11. For you.  Another John Denver song.  Perhaps one of his most beautiful love songs.

12. Home Grown Tomatoes.  Let's get these John Denver songs all together here.  I love this one.  Just a fun, bouncy song...and, of course, I love home grown tomatoes.

13. Grandma's Feather Bed, of my favorite JD songs.   Just a fun song that reminds me of playing in my parents' bed with their satin quilt, "flufty wufty."

13a. Flying for Me.  After I got this list done and printed, I started doing some clean up in my office and put on my playlists of favorite John Denver songs.  Oh man, there is so much emotion connected with these songs, when you think back on when they were written, when they were performed, and where we are now.  I was sobbing by the end of this song.  This was written after the Challenger disaster, specifically for Christa McAuliffe, the teacher on that launch.

14. Don't be Stupid by Shania Twain.  I don't even know the lyrics to this one, but I loved the bouncy tune and it makes me smile whenever I hear it.

15. It's all coming back to me now by Celine Dion.  I think this was the first Celine Dion song I ever heard, when Peggy sent it to me on a CD of her favorite songs in the days of Napster, long before I met her.  I really liked it--and still do.

16. My Heart Will Go On.  If we're going to talk Celine Dion we can't not include this one, can we?

17. Well of course Over the Rainbow.  Judy, Judy, Judy.   Love 'em all, but this was the one that started the Legend.  I still remember watching her sit on the edge of the stage at the Opera House in San Francisco in her tramp makeup and sing her signature song.

18. Defying Gravity from Wicked, with those amazing, empowering lyrics.  Even better to see it done live on stage.
Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by the rules
Of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap!

It's time to try
Defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
And you can't pull me down!
19. For Good from Wicked

Another empowering song, for different reasons.  A celebration of friendship and the way it changes everyone.

20. The Twelfth of Never by Johnny Mathis always reminds me of grammar school, and the parties we had in 8th grade, where Johnny was always on the turntable.

21. How Do You Fall Back in Love? by my friend Steve Schalchlin.  This song still gives me chills.  The embedded video is just the vocal.  It was the "11th hour" number Steve wrote while The Big Voice: God or Merman was in previews.  It's a beautiful, powerful song.

22. Non, je ne regrette rien by Edith Piaf.  I first heard this song when I was studying French in high school.  I had read Piaf's biography and knew the kind of life she had lead and the unapologetic anthem "No, I regret nothing" was all the more powerful.

23. Les Grands Boulevards by Yves Montand.  While I'm in France with Piaf, might as well add this one which I learned when I was studying French and sang over and over again. 

24. Puff the Magic Dragon, which Walt and I decided was "our song" when we were dating.  It was years later before I realized it was all about marijuana!  (No, we never smoked marijuana)

25. I Am What I Am from La Cage aux Folles.   I've loved that song since I first heard it in San Francisco back in the early 1980s.   Such a powerful affirmation, again, unapologetic.

26. Mama Look-a BooBoo by Harry Belafonte. I was going through my list of music on my iPod and laughed when I saw this one.  I remember when my then-boyfriend Bill and I decided that Bill would dedicate it to my father.  I don't think my father was pleased.

27. Halleluja.  The first recording of this I heard was by Jeff Buckley on the West Wing episode "Posse Comitatus," where C.J.'s love interest, the Secret Service agent Simon Donavan (played by Mark Harmon) is killed and President Bartlet has to give the order to assassinate the defense minister of Qumar.  I've since heard several versions of it, including Justin Timberlake's version to raise funds for Haiti relief, Susan Boyle's emotional version. and even Neil Diamond.  It's beautiful, whoever sings it.

28. She Shanty by the Righteous Mothers.  A salute to childbirth.  Need I say more?

29. Old Fat Naked Women for Peace.  This was the song that made me a Righteous Mothers fan.
Don't you wish we'd been there In Nigeria
In Eskravos in 2002
Those mothers and grandmothers
They organized, they strategized
They occupied refineries -- woo woo!
Chevron gave in to all their demands
The final threat they never had to use
'Cause economic justice is easier to deal with
Than lots of older women in the nude.

Knock it off, or we'll take it off
We're old fat naked women for justice.
It seems to me
This strategy
Could def'nitly
Work cross-culturally
Even Dick Cheney
Doesn't want to see
His granny's titties in the breeze
30. Bound for the Rio Grande by the Robert Shaw Chorale.   Gilbert had this record of sea shanties that I just loved, and kept after he died.   This was one of my favorite songs from the album.

31. Baby Mine.  This is the song that is played while the mother elephant rocks Dumbo in her trunk out the bars of her jail cell.  A tear jerker.

32. You Send Me by Sam Cooke.  I wanted to buy this record when I was a teenager and my father threw a fit.  It was junk and would never be worth anything.  I never bought the record. I'm sorry my father didn't live to see Sam Cooke celebrated as one of the grand old men of rock 'n' roll.  And I now have the recording.

33. It's a Round, Round World from Stan Freberg's "History of the United States of America, Part 1" which was played over and over and over for years.  How can you not love a record that includes the song Take an Indian to Lunch this Week ?

34. Don't Go to London (it's under construction), another Lawsuit song.  I love this song because we all went to London in 1988 and as we rode around the city, we remarked on how many buildings were surrounded by scaffolding.  Ned came home a week before the rest of us did, and by the time we got home he had written this song.   It's a fun song that brings back fun memories of our time together in London.

35. I first heard Glitter and be Gay from Candide when our friend Lenore sang it here in Davis, but this video of Kristin Chenowith is just...indescribable.

36. Maybe This Time from Cabaret.  When I saw Liza Minnelli sing it in the film, it sent chills down my spine.

37. Don't Cry for Me, Argentina from Evita.   Long before I ever saw the show I came to love this song because the Brasilian guy who was living with us at the time, Marcio de Vassimon, had seen the show and had fallen in love with it.  He bought the record and played it frequently. I never hear the song without thinking of Marcio, with many saudades.

38. Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again from Phantom of the Opera.  There are so many people I wish were somehow here again that this song gets me every time.

39. Barbeque by MumboGumbo.  An early song by this Davis-born group, which has gone on to greater fame.  This song, with a cajun sound, is my ring tone for Tom the gate, come on through
everybody wants barbeque...
40. Secret Love by Doris Day.  This was the very first album I ever bought.  It was from the soundtrack of Calamity Jane and was a 10" LP record that we played on the brand new portable record player that my father had just bought.  He was excited about something called "high fidelity."   Boy, if he could see where music has come now!  Whenever I happen to catch the old movie, I can still see putting this record on the turntable for the very first time.

41. Seven Old Ladies.  Ahhh, the songs of our carefree youth.  Walt was a great hit at parties in college when he sang this 8-verse song, accompanying himself on the ukelele
Oh dear, what can the matter be?
Seven old ladies locked in a lavat'ry
They were there from Sunday to Saturday
Nobody knew they were there.
42. Dancing Queen by ABBA.  Actually it could be any one of the songs from Mamma Mia.  I didn't really know ABBA until Peggy started putting together a CD of their songs for the little girl that lived next door to her.   Peggy didn't know ABBA either.  But she came to really enjoy their music and made a copy of their album "ABBA Gold" for me.  I was very glad that I was familiar with all the songs before I saw Mamma Mia for the first time.

43. Merano from Chess.  I don't know when this song was dropped from the show, but it was the opening number on the original cast recording that I have and I always liked it and was disappointed when I saw the show and it wasn't there.

44.  I also love I Know Him So Well from that show, two women in love with the same man, each thinking they know him, neither of them really knowing the whole man.

45. Potato by Cheryl Wheeler.  I only saw Wheeler in concert once, but loved this fun song she sings about the lowly potato.  Embedding the video was not permitted, but you can see it here

46. Lollipop by The Chordettes.  This was the other song I wanted to buy in my teens, along with Sam Cooke's You Send Me.  I now finally have this recording too, thanks to iTunes.

47. Sur le pont d'Avignon by Sandler and Young.  I have been a fan of Sandler and Young for SO long.  They don't perform any more, but check out some of their songs on YouTube.  They were famous for pairing songs like Dominique with Deep River, sung together with Sandler's French tenor and Young's deep bass.  I like this song, which pairs the original song with Frere Jacques, not only because it's a light-weight cute song, but it also reminds me of being in Avignon with Jeri.

48. Save Me a Seat by Steve Schalchlin.  I want this song played at the start of my memorial service.  It's really about HIS funeral, and so a lot of it has to do with his going away for awhile and playing the piano across the street, but I still want it at my funeral.
Perhaps some day for several hours
You'll fill some church with lots of flowers
And display some saintly shot of me
Somewhere in the hall
And stick a tray of NACHOS
up against the wall.....
Then I'll find my way back to the seat in the back
And I'll be a good boy til it's over
Then I'll get to do something that you cannot do
I'll follow you home everyone of you

Then on a day when you feel lost or hurt
Go to the kitchen and get some dessert
Then sit at the table and eat
Just remember to save me a seat
Please remember to save me a seat
49.  And somewhere in the middle of my memorial service, of course you have to play Funny since that became a whole blog.
Funny the world in a world all alone
I feel like I've lost everything that I own
Funny the funnies aren't funny any more.
Funny the tears as they fall from my eyes
There are two kinds of tears--
one from truth, one from lies
There's a broken soldier,
who's going home..
50.  Thank God, You're Doing Fine.  I want my memorial to end with this upbeat song, by Lawsuit.

Whew.  I did it.  I was right--there was no way that I could have done 100.  And I think that this list is a pretty clear example of how very little I am in touch with current popular music!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunday Stealing

This particular one was not my favorite.  I've actually substituted two questions because they were repeats of questions that had been asked earlier (no, I'm not saying which are my questions and which came with the original list!)

1. Which TV character do you think you are most like?
Well, it pains me to admit it, but Roseanne.  

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2) What time do you go to bed?
I usually end my day after The Daily Show, so about 11:30.  Sometimes I stay up until as late as 2 a.m., sometimes go to sleep as early as 10 p.m.

3) What was the last meal you made from scratch?

Two days ago, when I made pesto lasagna.  It would have been "yesterday" except we had so much lasagna left over that I served it the next night.  I will be making dinner from scratch tonight too (stuffed pork loin)

4) What is your favorite type of music?

My tastes in music are very eclectic and depend on my mood at the time.  I love show music, I like country, I like classical, I like some current favorites.  Just depends on the day.

5) In what position do you sleep?

If I'm on a couch or a bed, I sleep on my right side, with a chihuahua curled up on my left shoulder.

6) What have you been most frustrated by in your life?

My inability to control my food impulses, to really enjoy eating a nutritious diet, and to maintain a normal weight.  The times when I have done it have made me feel good about myself, so why do I keep sabotaging myself?

7) What is your least favorite smell?

I hate clouds of cigarette smoke, especially in a restaurant when you are trying to enjoy the food or any enclosed space where you are captive and can't get away (subway, elevator, etc.).  I was not sad when the smoking bans were instituted.

8) It's your round at the pub and your friends asked you to surprise them. What drink would you buy and why?

I'd order something called a "urine sample," which is Galliano liqueur and sambuca.  I'd like to see the looks on people's faces when they are told what it is called.

9) What was the last thing you read/watched that made you cry?

I cry so easily, I can't remember the last thing. 

10) They say that you learn something new every day. What was the last thing you have learned?

That the pyramids were originally covered with white limestone that was flat and reflective, which made them shine in the sun, but the limestone was robbed to build the modern city of Cairo during the Middle Ages

11) Which Literary love interests would you snog, marry and avoid?

Jamie Fraser from "The Outlander" series for the former, and definitely Christian Grey from "Fifty Shades of Grey" for the latter.

12) What is your oldest memory?

I only have partial memories.  One was riding on the train with my mother, going to Los Angeles.  She tells me I was about 2 at the time. Another is lying in my sister's crib drinking out of her bottle because I wanted to see what it was like--I didn't like it (I would have been 4 when that happened).  I also remember being taken to the top of our set of flats to look at a big fire.  I guess there was lots of smoke in the distance and I thought we were looking at a war battle.  I don't even know how I knew about war then.

13) Paperback, Hardback or Kindle? Which of these is your favorite reading format and why?

All three, for different reasons.  Paperbacks would be my least favorite of the 3, but if you can't find a book in any other format, I'll read one (though the size of the print has become sometimes problematic), and often paperbacks can be had very cheaply in used book stores.  I love reading hardbacks because they just feel good and the print size is good for me.  But with the Kindle, I can carry a library with me, I can change the size of the print, the battery lasts a month, so on a single charge I can go on a 2 week vacation.  The downside of a Kindle is that photos aren't all that good.  I'd rather read a celebrity bio in hardback.  And then there are audio books.  Strangely, I prefer Michael Connelly books in audio and Patricia Cornwell books in print.  Don't ask me why!

14) If you could bring back any canceled TV series for another run what would you pick and why?

The Dick Van Dyke Show.  Still the funniest show on TV.  Sadly, I don't think Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore are up for it--and some others in the cast have died.

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15) What was the best advice you ever received in your life?
My godfather always said "never go to the foot when the head can be had" and I have found it good advice throughout my life.  It has worked often to bring satisfaction to an unpleasant situation (maybe not so much these days, when nobody at any level seems to care at all).  Don't complain to a waiter about food in a restaurant, complain to the manager or the owner of the chain.  Don't complain to a sales clerk, complain to the head of the store.  The "head" has a greater investment in keeping you as a customer.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Christmas in March

What fun.  I went Christmas shopping today.  Sorta.

Two days ago, a woman posted a message on the "Our Compassion" web site.  "Our Compassion" is like Facebook for Compassion sponsors, except not as well organized and oh so agonizingly slow!  But it has been a good source of suggestions for things to send to our sponsored children, and pictures from the various centers around the world. 

Compassion makes things very visible and easy to see what the centers are like.  Also, a great way to just share happiness and frustration with other sponsors.

So this woman posted to Our Compassion that she is going to the Philippines and she said she was taking an extra empty suitcase and offered to take as many small packages for our kids as she could carry (one package per family, of course!)

Because of customs 'n' confusion, sponsors can only send their kids things made of paper, no bigger than 8-1/2 x 11 and no thicker than 1/4"  thick.   This leaves a lot of leeway, but still sometimes you'd like to send something other than paper, so when other sponsors are taking trips to the country where your sponsored child lives and offer to carry packages for people,'s like Christmas shopping!

Fred isn't one of my sponsored kids, which means that I don't pay for his monthly support, but he is a correspondence kid, which means that his real sponsor (it could either be a busy person, or a corporation that decided to take him on -- I don't know), since letters are such an important part of their program, they get a volunteer to write to the child.

Since I'm a writer, I volunteered to take a child (and now am correspondence sponsor to about 4 of the kids, I think).  Fred was the first.   The great thing about Fred is that his mother speaks English and writes the letters for him, so they don't go through a translator.  Also, she sesems to like writing as much as I do, so I have received more letters from/about Fred than any other child.   It's great.  I know him better than any of the other children and, inevitably, he has become my favorite.  In fact, he's the reason I don't sponsor more children--if Fred's sponsor decides he/she can't continue, I can afford (barely) ONE more child and I'm saving that slot for Fred.  Just in case.

So when I learned I could send him something NOT made of paper, I was very happy.
I wanted something from Davis, so I went to the UCD bookstore and bought two t-shirts, one a UCD shirt, with a Peanuts theme... 

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...and one of our famous "Hamburger Patty," the symbol of Davis.  

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(They had a contest to name this famous bike-riding cow, who used to wander around events in Davis.  The winner of the contest was Richard Brunelle, music teacher at the high school, who came up with the name Hamburger Patty.   You don't see a lot of Patty any more and when I checked her out on the Davis Wiki, she doesn't even appear! I suspect newcomers to Davis don't know that she ever existed.)

Anyway, I also got a little UCD bear for Fred's sister, and a silver keyring for his mother (I wanted something better, but they didn't have any Davis-themed jewelry).
It was a good start and I went to the local Dollar Store to fill out the rest.  I bought marking pens, some candy (Jelly Bellies, which are made near here), some little metal cars, and then came home and filled my gallon bag.  There was room to stick other stuff, so I went through my stash of stuff to send to the Compassion kids and added some more things, including some things my dentist gave me from her supply of kid gifts, none of which I could have sent because they were made of foam.   But they could go into my plastic bag.

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Now I just have to get a flat rate box to stick it in and get it in the mail.  I am very excited about Fred getting this stuff and being able to send him something other than coloring book pages and stickers!

And since the Mayans (and apparently Nostradamus) say that the world is going to end on December 21, this may be the only Christmas shopping I get to do.   :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mamma Mia

No.  Not the show featuring ABBA music.  This is about my dinner.

We have a friend who is undergoing chemotherapy and several of his friends, and people from his church have set up volunteers to bring him and his husband dinner on Friday nights.  The guy getting chemo is the person who set up a dinner tree for us after David died.  I have always wanted to do something especially nice for him, and this seems to be my opportunity.

I wanted to do something that nobody else was likely to do, but was totally without inspiration.  I've been looking at recipes all week, but nothing hit my fancy until I was at my mother's and pulled out the Cousins Day cookbook I put together for the four of us a couple of years ago.  The last recipe in that book was for Pesto Lasagna.  Yes, yes, the very thing.

I first had pesto lasagna in Portofino when we were traveling in France and Italy.  (I just love saying that!)  We were sitting at an outdoor cafe overlooking water and very expensive yachts and very rich people walking by in dress-up clothes looking like they were going to some sort of social event on one of the very expensive yachts.

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We all ordered pesto lasagna because it sounded interesting.   What came didn't look all that special, but stands out in my mind as the best meal I had on that trip.

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When we got home, I looked for a recipe on the internet and found one which tastes pretty authentic.  It's so easy.  You make pesto with basil, garlic, 2 kinds of cheeses, olive oil, pine nuts and a bit of water from boiling the pasta noodles.  (note--these are not curly-edged lasagne noodles, but rather wide sheets of pasta that are perfectly flat.  Barilla makes them.)  You make about 4 layers, sprinkling each one with additional cheese, bake and there you have it.  I was fairly certain nobody would be making this dish to bring to the guys for dinner.

I went shopping this afternoon and picked up all the ingredients, including french bread for garlic bread, salad makings, and for dessert, gelato and biscotti.  I bought everything in duplicate so we could have the same dinner.  I made the give-away dinner first.  You boil the noodles for 8 minutes and then lay them out on towels, which I did  while I was making the pesto.  Then you layer the noodles and pesto, which I did.  Then I put on a cover and stuck it in the fridge so I could start on ours.

I should mention here that we have a very sensitive smoke detector.  It drives me nuts because every night I set it off doing something like browning chicken.  But when it went off today, I was furious.  All I was doing was boiling water, for Pete's sake!  I went to get something to turn the alarm off and noticed that there was smoke in the living room and I actually smelled smoke.  I checked the kitchen and by god, the top of the stove was on fire.  

See, when I started boiling the water in the pot, I forgot to remove the towels that the noodle for the first lasagna had been drying on!   Fortunately it was a small fire and I quickly got it under water and the fire out.   It is the very first time that I have been grateful we have such a sensitive fire detector!

I finished making our lasagna, got the salad made to go and packed everything up in this cute little collapsible basket I have.  I couldn't find a red checkered towel to cover it all with, but did find some red checkered napkins and used those to give it a little character.
We drove over there and had a brief visit, but I didn't want to stay to tire the patient, so I just left cooking instructions for the dinner and then came home
When it came time to fix our own dinner, I popped the lasagna into the oven, adding the bread the last 15 minutes.  While they were cooking, I put together the salad.  The dressing I'd made to deliver was equal parts olive oil and lemon juice, a bit of honey, salt and pepper.  Very clean.  Very simple.   Well, I didn't know how much olive oil I had left, since the bottle was nearly empty.  I had cut up some cherry tomatoes into the salad.  They had come in a little tray with a plastic top on it.  The top was sitting, upside down, on the counter.  In one of my more brilliant moves, I decided to use it to mix the salad dressing and poured all the olive oil into it, not realizing until I saw it all leaking out onto the counter that the plastic top was perforated to get air to the tomatoes.

Sigh.  I'm such a klutz.

But I recovered, and the salad turned out fine.  And, in fact, if I do say so myself (and I don't often), it was a stellar dinner.  I grew up with Italian food, despite my Irish heritage.  My father's favorite ethnic food was Italian so we ate a lot of it and when we went out to dinner, it was almost always to an Italian place, especially since we lived on the fringes of North Beach, the Italian section of San Francisco.  So I never think of Italian as "fancy," but this was not only fancy, but delicious...and best of all, we have enough for leftovers tomorrow night.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Wish List

Here's one of those "I spent the day driving home from Cousins Day and have nothing to say" memes!  I have a whole folder of memes waiting to be used on days like this!

1.) What are 3 things on your Wish list and why?
- an e-mail (or phone call) from Peggy
- an Obama win in November
- some way to relieve my mother's back pain

2.) Do you miss your childhood?
I miss parts of my childhood.  I miss having close friends that I did everything with.  I miss having my mother take care of me when I was sick.  I miss the San Francisco of the 1950s.  I miss life without care and thinking that my ever after was going to be happy.  I would not want to go back and live it all again.

3.) What do you do on your spare time on the weekends?
When you are retired, all time is "spare time" and weekends are no busier, or not-busier than other days.

4.) What do you appreciate most in your life?
Having my mother still around.

5.) Would you rather be rich or healthy?
Healthy, of course. 

6.) If you could go back in time would you and why?
No.  Everything that has happened in my life has made me the person that I am and I would lose many special things if I were to go back.  If I could go back and re-live a day or two and then return to the present time, sure I would

7.) Favourite game as a child?
Board game:  Monopoly.  Other games:  jacks.

8.) What is your dream career?
I could be a leisure room tester, being paid to sit in a recliner and watch TV all day, perhaps while also sampling various brands of high quality chocolate, with my Android phone and an unlimited data plan at my side.

9.) What do you do in your free time?
All time is free time.  But mostly what I do in my "free time" is write.

10.) Favorite clothing stores?
I'm not a big clothes shopper, so I have no favorite clothing store. 

11.) What TV shows can't you live without?
At the moment, NCIS, Criminal Minds, White Collar and Downton Abbey, though the latter is off for a year and White Collar is also on hiatus until fall.

12.) 3 things you need in your life are
Water, food, stamps

13.) What can't you sleep without?
Probably the television, since it puts me to sleep, and Polly curled up either snuggled in my armpit or lying on my back, if I'm on the couch.

14.) Who do you have a celebrity crush on?
Nobody comes to mind.

15.) What is your Favorite Season and why?
I like spring because of the beautiful blossoms and fall because of the beautiful color, but I'd have to say fall is my favorite season because what follows is winter and what follows spring is summer, with its heat -- my least favorite season.

16.) What is your Favorite Wild Animal?
The elephant.  They are marvelous creatures, highly social and intelligent and they fascinate me
17.) Name 3 of your Favorite Childhood shows
I didn't start watching TV regularly until I was 10.  Until then I had to catch TV programs at a friend's house.  I remember my favorites being Superman (with George Reeves), Winky Dink and You and Howdy Doody.  Also liked the Mickey Mouse Club when it first began.  I didn't get to see it in color until after I had children of my own.

18.) If you could live as a character in a movie who would it be
Gee.  Wouldn't it be fun to be Lisabeth Salander?  But I don't think I could be her.  Maybe someone like Velvet Brown in National Velvet.

19.) Favorite vegetables
Tomatoes, artichoke, corn, zucchini, asparagus

20.) Favorite Fruit
Bananas and strawberries (actually just about any berry).  In the winter, oranges.

21.) If you had a dragon what would you name it
Henry.  (Don't ask me why; it was the first thing that popped into my mind)

22.) What do you put on hotdogs
Onions, catsup, mustard, cheese

23.) Do you play online games
Word with Friends, Lexulous, Bejeweled, sometimes a jigsaw puzzle

24.) Whats your favorite way to get inspired
I read blogs.  Always inspiration for something in those things, from the goodness and love of Compassion blogs to the letter-writing ideas of mail art blogs, to the writing inspiration from truly literate blogs.

25.) Do you have a middle name
Anne (and if you add my Confirmation name, it's Theresa)

26.) Favorite kids name
Before we got married, I wanted a daughter named Laurie Pauline, but that got overruled.  Now my favorite kids' names are Jerilyn, Ned, Paul, Thomas, and David.

27.) Do you speak any other languages
A smattering of French, a smattering of Portuguese

28.) Do you use Twitter
I have tried to get comfortable with Twitter several times, but it just doesn't work for me as well as Facebook does (though I love the challenge of putting comments in 140 characters)

29.) Do you go onto YouTube
Of course.  Doesn't everybody, at some time or other?

30.) Do you play Angry Birds?

31.) Do you like Angry Birds?
I hate those damn birds.  I recently found that there is actually a trick to playing.  I didn't know you could do things with the birds once they were launched (still haven't mastered that trick -- anybody know where I can find Angry Birds hints?).

32.) Do you like Hello Kitty?
The pictures are cute.  I don't know much about Hello Kitty other than the pictures, though.

33.) Have you ever cried because you were so happy?
Of course.

34.) Who would you like to see in concert?
The Righteous Mothers

35.) Can you swim well?
I hadn't swum in years before we went to France in 2010.  I swam in the hotel swimming pool and discovered that I am way out of practice, though I seemed to handle the pool all right.

36.) Ever won a contest?
Off hand, I can't think of one, though when I was a kid I won a prize for my father when someone called and asked him the slogan for I think it was Martinelli's apple cider.   I was the only one who knew it was "Drink your apple a day." He won a beauty treatment for my  mother.

37.) Ever won a giveaway?
Just did.  I won some beautiful beads from Uganda from one of the blogging Compassion sponsors.

38.) Do you get a full 8 hours of sleep every night?
Surely you jest.  Six hours without waking up is a full night for me--and I don't get many of those.

39.) What tea do you like?
I'm not a big tea drinker, so I don't know much about teas, but I had an Earl Grey at a tea shop a few years back that was fabulous.

40.) What coffee do you like?
Peets French Roast.

41.) Do you shop at Walmart?
I have not been in a Walmart in years.

42.) Do you shop at Target?
Occasionally, but not very often.

43.) What do you order at Second Cup?
I have never heard of Second Cup (Wikipedia says that it's a coffee chain in Canada)

45.) Do you like homemade meals?
Sure.  I cook dinner every night.

46.) Do you like homemade bake goods?
Much too much.  Bakery goods are often a disappointment (except for pastries) because I like what I make better.

47.) Do you shop online?
Yes.  Not too often, but fairly regularly.

48.) Name 3 stores online stores you would like to shop at
Amazon (of course), JMS, The Joy of Sox

49.) What holiday don't you like?
Halloween.  It was always a dilemma how much candy to let our kids eat, I never could make great costumes, I don't like to dress up myself, and trying to handle trick-or-treaters with three dogs in the house is all but impossible.

50.) What do you eat more when you're sick?
It depends on what kind of sick--and I am rarely sick--but I probably eat more oranges than anything else when I'm sick with anything that is not gastrointestinal.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Luck of the Draw

It's strange about cards.  We've been playing 65 for so long that I can tell within the first couple of hands whether this is going to be a good day for me, or a bad day.

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We were on round 5, which meant that in addition to the joker, 5s were wild.  This was the hand I was dealt.  The previous two hands had been good, but this one was amazing.  I knew it was going to be a good day for me!

And it was.  Actually, it wasn't a bad day for any of us.   My mother won 5 games, I won 4 and Peach won 2.  My mother was particularly happy, as you can tell from this picture of her looking at her growing pile of coins.

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At the end of the day, she collected all of her winnings in the little flower pot where she keeps the coins and was happy that the level had finally started to rise.

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Actually, what she doesn't know is that I've been feeding her pot for awhile now.  Winning and having that pot full of coins is very important to her.  It really doesn't matter to me, so when I see the level of coins is starting to look low, I slip a handful of coins in there--enough that it makes her feel good about having "enough" but not enough so that she would know that I was giving her money.  It makes me happy to see that she is happy about the level of coins in her little pot.

It was a very nice cousins day.  I had made some cheese crackers and found a recipe for a vodka martini that used Kirschwasser (cherry brandy) in a book I'd bought at the book store, and that was my contribution.

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I also brought lunch, since Jeri had clued me in before she left to return to Boston that my mother was fretting about what she was going to serve us for lunch.  Peach brought a delicious Chinese chicken casserole for dinner.

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And we filled the time with endless games of 65.  We took a break after dinner to watch Survivor and Criminal Minds, have an ice cream, and then head off to bed.  When the others went to sleep, I sat in the dark and listened to my audio book until I was starting to feel sleepy, so as not to wake the others.

I haven't felt right about taking our traditional "toast" picture ever since Kathy died, but I did take this picture of Peach and my mother before we left this morning.

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As I said, it was a good cousins day.  We all felt good about our wins, my mother's memory was better than it was over the weekend, and a good time was had by all!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Oh My Aching Muscles

My legs didn't want to stand up this morning.  I was feeling muscles I hadn't felt in a long time.
It's not that I ran a marathon or climbed a mountain.  All I did was unpack boxes for about 3 hours, but remember I spend my life sitting down -- in front of a computer, in front of the TV, at the table.  I don't stand, bend and/or stretch for extended periods of time and my body knows it today.
Ned and Marta are moving into their new house, closer to downtown Sacramento. 
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Walt called and said we'd like to come and check the place out, so in mid-afternoon, after the bulk of stuff from their old house had been moved to their new house, we showed up.  There was a big moving van parked in front of the house.

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The house was, of course, filled with boxes and Marta put us to work unpacking boxes for the kitchen, while she tried to figure out where everything was going to go.

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The movers moved out the fridge that came with the house and moved Ned and Marta's own into the kitchen.

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Walt's task for the rest of the day was switching the doors so that instead of opening on the right, they now open from the left.  It involved a trip to RiteAid, which is only half a block away, to get a Philips head screwdriver, since Ned had left his toolkit back at the old house.  (He did discover that a crucial tool in removing the old hardware was a corkscrew!)

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By the end of the day, they at least had the living room set up so they could relax after a day of unpacking boxes...

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...and my Uncle Paul's statue had a new home, on a shelf above the fireplace.

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The emptied boxes were stacked under a tarp in the back yard, hoping to keep them from the storm that is coming.

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(That's their landlady, building a fence)

We finally hit the wall around 8 p.m.  I was unpacking a huge box of glasses and cups, about my third box of glasses and cups, and saw that the next box was labeled "Kitchen: glasses and cups." (Trust me, these guys have enough glassware and cups to start their own restaurant!)

Marta was ready to go back to the old house and have a soak in their hot tub and I just wanted to come home and collapse.  Unfortunately, in our haste to leave, I left my cell phone behind.  I felt naked this morning!

It looks like it's going to be a nice house for them, and once they move Bouncer (dog) and Porter (cat) in and get some more boxes unloaded, I know they will make this house the same "home" that their old one was.

Cousins Day tomorrow

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Slave of Duty

I called one last time, hoping against hope that I wouldn't have to go.  I know we all have a responsibility to show up for jury duty when called, but I never take the summons as something I'm eager to do.  I have managed to luck out several times with trials canceled at the last minute.

My instructions were to call the court any time after 5:45 on Friday to find out if I still had to show up at the courthouse in Woodland at 8 a.m. 

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I called, and the trial had not been canceled, but now I didn't have to show up until 11 a.m.  Hoping against hope, I called one last time before I left the house, but I was still requested to attend.

I arrived at the courthouse around 10:15, early because I know parking can be a problem.  And yes, the lot was full, but fortunately I was able to find on-street parking and walked to the courthouse.

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I went upstairs to the 3rd floor and joined the group of people assembled in the hall, waiting to get let into the jury waiting area.  

juryrm.jpg (46089 bytes)We finally were invited into the room, which has been equipped with more comfortable chairs since the last time I was there.  There was a water cooler, coffee pots, and machines with food and drink. 

The room had signs all over the place saying it was a wifi hot spot and my cell phone told me I was connected, but there was no signal, so I was not able to use wifi.

There was a TV screen at the front which looked like it was going to show us a video about the responsibilities of a juror (this was new from last time I was there).  The monitor was on with the menu showing, just waiting for someone to start it.
But I had brought my Kindle, so sat there buried in my book while the room continued to fill up, each new arrival stopping at a table in the back to highlight his or her own room.  This is a small county and I expected to see someone I knew, but no.  Nobody.

Shortly before 11, someone came in and told us to turn off all electronic devices.  Few did.  The woman in front of me didn't even hesitate before continuing what she was doing on her iPad, several others continued to work with their iPhones and another man near me never even glanced up from his Kindle.  I had obediently put my Kindle away, but since we didn't seen to have any other instructions, I snuck it back out of my purse and continued reading.

By 11 a.m., the room was very full and people were standing.  I remembered from before that they took all the prospective jurors into a courtroom to question them. 
A clerk came out to take call the role and make sure that everyone who  had highlighted his or her name was actually there.  Then she disappeared. 

At about 11:15, the door opened again and a guy walked in.  He introduced himself as Judge so-and-so (I didn't catch his name).  He talked about the vagaries of court trials and how sometimes when subpoenas are served, those served don't show up, and how that was bad and warrants would be issued for their arrest.
This was beginning to sound promising.
He also mentioned that some of us might have noticed that he was using the past tense when speaking about this trial, and then he told us that we were all excused because the trial couldn't go forward.  But he then said he wanted to talk to us a bit and proceeded to give us a 5-10 minute civics lecture about the American court system and what a good thing it was and how it differed from most of the world.  Kind of geared for an 8th grade classroom.

But eventually he told us that by showing up this morning we had fulfilled our civic duty for the year and released us.  About this time, a man next to me stood up and raised his hand.  He apologized for not speaking English well (he sounded Russian...there is a big Russian community in this county) and explained that he couldn't understand English very well. He asked if he could be excused because his son, who accompanied him, had a medical appointment to go to (I thought he said dialysis,but that might have been wrong).  The judge repeated that he was free to go--that we were all free to go.

My heart was not broken.  I have the book store job tomorrow and Cousins Day the day after and I was not looking forward to having to cancel because of being in a trial.

It was about lunchtime, so I celebrated my release from my duty by finding the Woodland location of Osaka Sushi and treating myself to their fabulous spicy tuna roll.

Not sure why the countdown has been showing 5 days until my Funny the World is TWELVE YEARS OLD!!!