Sunday, August 31, 2014

Bob at 77

We were standing at the dessert buffet table when my cousin Ken turned to me and said, "I'll bet she could still beat me at Pinochle.   That woman is as sharp as she ever was..."  
I wonder what he would have said if he had been me earlier in the day.

I didn't go to Atria yesterday, but the day before we talked about going to Bob's birthday party this afternoon.  I reminded her that it was written on her calendar.  This morning, I called to remind her that we were going to the party.  To my delight, she remembered and said she'd be ready to go at 3 when I said we would pick her up.
At 2:45, I called to let her know we were getting ready to leave and would meet her out in front of Atria.

"Oh?" she asked.  "Where are we going?"  I told her that we were going to Bob's party.  "WHO?" she said.  I said that it was Bob's birthday party and that I had talked with Peach and we were supposed to be there at 4. "Are they here?" she asked.   I assured her that they were in Roseville and that we needed to leave in 15 minutes.  "Well, I'll have to  change my clothes," she said "I didn't know anything about this."  She asked several times in the car where we were going and what we were going to do there.

Sigh.  No, Ken--she will not beat you at Pinochle, and no, she is not as sharp as she ever was.

That aside, however, it really was a lovely afternoon and, as usual my mother covered beautifully and I don't think anybody got much of a hint at how she recognized almost nobody and had to be reminded of what all those people were there for.  She was thrilled to see Peach again, of course, though she couldn't get over her curly hair and couldn't remember it ever being white.  She told me several times that she just didn't recognize her.

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But she got to see several other people in the family, like my 2nd cousin, Donna (Niecie's sister), Ken, and Peach's sister Mandy, whom we almost never see.

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As for the birthday boy, Peach intended this to be a surprise and he was overwhelmed when he saw the crowd

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We spent a lot of time indoors in the air conditioning since it was in the mid 90s outside, but later when it began to cool off we went to the dinner buffet arranged by Peach's son Mike and his wife Stacey--a fabulous spread!  Then after dinner, they set up chairs so Bob and Peach could have their picture taken with everyone who was there, in groups of 1 or 2 (someone else took the picture with Walt and me in it, so I don't have that one)

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and at the end of the guest pictures, pictures with the reason they had come out here, their new great grandchild, Everly (not Beverly).   There was a Grandparent picture and a 4 generations picture (the guy in the red shirt is my godson, Peach's son).  And yes, she is the most beautiful baby in the world...under the age of 2.

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So a great time was had by all, and as the sun started setting, we told everyone goodbye and I took my traditional picture of Peach with Kathy's husband, Fred, the long and the short of it.  (Once again, as I frequently do, I wished Kathy were there with us.)

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My mother mentioned many times on the way home that it had been a "busy day" and I certainly hope she was able to get to sleep tonight. At least for one day she had something "exciting" to do and couldn't tell me nothing exciting ever happens in her life.

But I don't think I'll plan any games of pinochle with her in the foreseeable future.  We are hoping Peach and Bob will make it to Davis for a day, but that is looking less and less likely.

Day 62:  Our wonderful, wonderful reunion!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Neither Rain, nor Snow, ...etc

You know, we think of the mail as just something that "is."  It arrives in our mailbox every day and we don't really think much about how it got there.  And I guess we assume that everybody pretty much gets their mail the same way.  We used to know our mailman, but it seems that it now changes so often, I don't make an effort to know who it is any more.

Today in a Swap Bot discussion someone mentioned that her mailman had tried to deliver a small parcel and when the woman wasn't home, he left a note that she could pick it up at the post office.
But then he saw me walking in town... so he turned his bike, got some speed to catch me and gave me the package so I didn't have to pick it up myself tomorrow..
Everyone agreed this was a special mailman, but many were confused about delivery on a bike.  I assumed this was a small village.  But it turns out it has a population of 90,000 (bigger than Davis).

I don't get it... what is so odd about a mail man on a bike? asked the woman who posted the first message.  I checked her profile and discovered she was from Belgium.
All mail mans do their work by bike. Only very large packages that won't fit on the bike are being delivered with a small postal truck.
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Looking at that photo, I wonder how many trips they make back to the post office to refill their boxes. Then she asked how we got OUR mail.  I guess it never occurred to me that mail was delivered in many different ways. I just never thought about it. Someone from Berlin uploaded pictures of the mail bikes in Berlin.

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Someone else wrote that in Mexico they use either bikes or motorbikes.  Someone from Latvia wrote, "our mailman has a small car not truck, and they stop, get out, deliver, drive a bit... I think I have seen them sometimes doing it together (maybe a relative helping or so), so one is at wheel and other runs out to deliver. Our mailman comes from a town 8 km away and no nice biking road between those towns."

Another woman wrote "I live in the rural area in TN and mail people use their own vehicles, and stop at my mailbox out front by the road, if it is a package he always brings it to the door, he is pretty awesome, leaves a bag of goldfish crackers for my grandson every once in awhile."

When I was growing up, the mail was sorted at the main post office and put into boxes to be delivered to big metal boxes around the city.  They looked like mail boxes, but had no slot for inserting mail.  The mailman then loaded his bag with his first load of mail at the post office and took public transportation to where he started his route.  He walked the route and when he finished the first batch, he was at one of those collection boxes where he picked up the next batch and walked some more.   He did it once a day, and twice or three times a day during Christmas time.

mailtruck.jpg (9973 bytes)Now all the mail for the mailman's route goes onto a small truck. The mailman parks the truck about a block from our house.  He then gets out and walks the route, down one side of the street, around the two cul de sacs and back up the other side of the street and back into the truck again to move to his next parking spot. (We have occasionally had a female mail carrier, but most of the time it's a man.)

When I did a search for this picture, I found lots of other US mail truck designs, some smaller, some larger.  Some are designed so that the mail can be delivered without the driver leaving the truck--these are for communities that have mail boxes right on the street.  The mailman has to walk up our driveway to the front door of our house in order to deliver our mail.  It never occurred to me how far he has to walk besides the streets that he walks, because almost everyone on this block (and probably all of his blocks) have long driveways.

Someone else wrote, "The postal service is pushing to have communal mailbox areas at the front of a neighborhood (that is already often the case in apartment complexes). It would be more efficient for them but I love having my mail delivered right to my house."  Me too, though I have not heard that discussed for here.  Seems strange that it's not, since this is the "city of bicycles" and with a terrain so flat it would be a simple thing.  

This whole thing got me curious about various methods of mail delivery.  If you have a different kind of service that seems normal for you, I'd love it if you'd share here.

Day 61:  A nice way to start the day, with a beautiful sunrise

Friday, August 29, 2014

Today at Lunch and at Logos

It's a good thing that lunch was so much fun, because today at Logos was dull...dull...dull!  Sandy had a busy morning, I did not (which was good because my book was gripping).  

However, lunch was great fun.  It started out to be the normal day with my mother.  I dropped off her clean, folded laundry and made a point of letting her know it was HER laundry and that I would return to pick up my laundry basket tomorrow (this ploy seems to have stopped her not recognizing her clothes).

We went to the dining room early because I had to go to work and you never know how fast or slow service was going to be.  We sat at the usual table and pretty soon Margaret came to join us.  The three of us had ordered when Leighton arrived (I don't know if that is his first name or last name...Peg, maybe you do)

I don't know how he started talking about barn-storming planes. I mentioned that my mother's sister had been one of those barn-storming pilots and was, in fact (or at least in family lore) the first women to get a pilot's license.   Leighton was interested and asked her about it.  My god, she joined in the conversation!  He asked her if Mel (her sister) had given her a ride in the plane and she said that she had and talked about the experience...a new story for me!!!  I had never heard that!

Someone came to the table and asked Leighton where he was going to be reading this afternoon.  I asked him about that and it turns out he writes short stories and reads them once a week for whoever wants to listen.  We talked about writing, a lot.  He started writing when he retired from his veterinary surgery practice.  He told us the story about a boy who wanted to meet an elephant (a story he has written for his grandchildren).  I just had the best time listening to him and sharing stories about publishing. 

Then it was time to get ready for Logos.  When I arrived, Sandy said she'd had a busy morning and had filled over half of the spaces on the first side of the log where we record the sales.  At the end of the day, I had recorded a grand total of seven sales (and two of them were to myself; I bought one book on botanical footware for my mother's birthday -- she loves shoes and she loves flowers and I thought she might enjoy looking at the book (I can always take it back when she's tired of it) and I later found a book with nice dog pictures in it so bought that too.)

Almost immediately, two young women entered the store, each wearing glittery shoes.  They each had broad smiles and bought 2 contemporary fiction books.

An old guy came in to ask about donating books.  He is originally from Palo Alto and he and his wife moved here 10 years ago because they realized that their grandchildren were "growing up without them" and they wanted to be able to spend more time with them (I understand the feeling...but he didn't have a mother in a facility in Palo Alto).  He told me a bit about his grandchildren and then said, with a sigh, "communication is so different these days."  He said he'd tried a cell phone, but that it was not for him.

There was a long period where the store was empty, during which time this little guy stood at the front door looking in for about 10 minutes.

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I didn't see anybody with him, but eventually a girl about 10 came alng and he walked away with her.
A guy who reminded me of Chandler Bing (Friends) bought a book of short stories, a young Latino man with a very bad limp came in to buy four bargain books from outside and then She walked in.

This young woman came up to the desk and asked, hesitantly, "Do you have a book named 'Outlander.'"  I just laughed.  I told her I seriously doubted it, given the popularity of the series and the TV show right now and then we just started talking about the Gabaldon books.  She LOVES the TV series, she LOVES the actors cast in the principal roles, she hasn't read the 8th book in the series yet, but plans to do so.  It was so nice to find a Gabaldon fan in the store.  First one I've encountered, I think!

But after she left it was 4:22 and 2 guys walked in and walked out again quickly.  Another guy in business attire came in and didn't buy anything.  Two girls wearing UCD shirts came in and left without making a purchase.
Another business man type came in and bought an art book (table top type).

"My friend" didn't show up by 5 p.m. either.   I'm wondering if he has found greener pastures, since a local music shop has opened up a used book section.

The last person to come into the store before Susan came to relieve me was a guy who wasn't interested in buying a book, but in making a donation to Doctors Without Borders.  I told him we weren't a 501c3 location so couldn't take his donation (at least not giving him tax credit).

And then Susan was arriving and relieving me and my stint was over.  Definitely not my most interesting day there (though the chat with the gal about "Outlander" was pretty fun!)

Walt asked me who I plan to have lunch with tomorrow and was surprised when I told him I would be home having lunch with him.

Day 60:  I got my very first letter from Brianna!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I Miss the Smell of Tomatoes in the Morning

We moved to Davis in 1973.  It was not a decision we were happy about.  Walt was working for a division of the Department of Agriculture, which had its office in Berkeley.  When the old boss retired and a good ol' boy from Texas came in to take charge, he looked at all those hippies around Berkeley and set in motion moving the whole office up here to Davis.

It was, all things considered, a logical decision, since much of the work entailed working with offices in Sacramento.  It involved big decisions for the employees, though.  Most (some 50 families) chose to move; at least one guy found employment elsewhere so he could remain in the Bay Area.

I had passed by Davis many times, on my way to go to Peach's house in Citrus Heights, on the far side of Sacramento.  All I knew of it was a sign for the offramp.  I had never entered the town before.  I still remember the first time we came to look around and I kept trying to find "downtown," which I was smack dab in the middle of at the time. 

A big town this is not...and it was much smaller then.   We now have "skyscrapers."  A whole 3 stories tall. Several buildings.  There is one corner, where Walt's office is now, which I call "Wall Street" because there are 3-story buildings on each corner.

Our friend Michele had graduated from UC Davis and was excited that we were going to be living here because she had such pleasant memories of her time here.

At that time there was a big Campbell's Soup plant in Davis, not too far from our house.  The agricultural land which surrounded Davis was heavily planted in tomato crops.  I think it would have been impossible to starve to death in Davis in the summer because the huge tomato trucks, carrying their loads to the plant invariably knocked lots of tomatoes to the ground when they made turns.  If people were really lucky, a truck would tip over and most of its contents would spill out on the ground, ready for the gleaners.

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But the thing I learned our very first weeks in Davis was that the smell of cooking tomatoes filled the air every day for most of the summer.  The plant processed tomatoes into tomato paste.

Every time I got up and smelled cooking tomato aroma wafting our way from the Campbell's cannery I would be taken back to my childhood and the times my mother would make cream of tomato soup, using Campbell's tomato soup and milk and then serve it with a sice of balloon bread thickly lathered with real butter.  We would dip the tips of the bread into the cream of tomato soup. I loved  that taste.

After we'd been here a month, I wrote to ask Michele how long the smell of cooking tomatoes lasted.  I don't remember if she ever gave me an answer, but I came to love the smell of cooking tomatoes and when the plant closed and moved operations to nearby Dixon, I found I missed it.

The plant stood empty for many years but they have recently been given the OK to develop "The Cannery," which will build more than 500 homes on the land.  There has been activity behind the bushes that separated the cannery from the road for months now but last night I noticed that all the greenery has been cleared away and now there is a fence and all the buildings have been cleared away in preparation for laying out the new housing development.

The population of the city will increase significantly and I'm sure the homes will be beautiful, but for me, I like the small town feel, and I still miss the smell of tomatoes in the morning.

Day 59:  First day of School!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Plot Spoiler

On the off chance that you plan to see a play by a Canadian playwright named Norm Foster about four ladies playing golf, you might want to skip the last part of this entry, because I'm going to talk about the play and reveal secrets.   It's called "The Ladies Foursome."  Unless you live in Sacramento (where the play is making its American debut this week), I think the possibility of coming across this play soon is slim, but I didn't want to be accused of spoiling anything for anyone.

But my day started long before the play.

Today was Jeri and Phil's last day here.  As I write this, they are in the air winging their way back to Boston.  It's always a bittersweet time when they leave, but this time not so much bitter, as we will be visiting them soon...and I'll get the chance to meet a couple of internet friends as well, so I'm excited about our upcoming trip to Boston.

We didn't see all that much of them today, actually.   After breakfast, they had errands to run.  They took Sheila and Lizzie for a long walk.  They took the borrowed cello back to the guy who loaned it and then went for one final visit with my mother.  Yesterday, while I had the car on the other side of the state having lunch with the Pinata ladies, they, along with Ned, packed a picnic lunch and had it with my mother in her apartment.

Today when they got to Atria she was already eating lunch, so they waited around and then had ice cream and a visit with her.  Tomorrow I'll go over to bring her her pills for next week and pick up her laundry.  She certainly has had a busy week...and on Thursday Peach and her husband fly in for a week.  We won't see a lot of them, but will see them a couple of times, at least.  I know my mother has been looking forward to that, as have I.

While Jeri and Phil were gone, I got snips of Emmy commentary from The Today Show, which I had recorded, turning off the TV when I heard them coming in the house.  I also watched the latest Top Chef and a couple of regular programs that had recorded during the week.  I think that other than one Jeopardy broadcst, I managed not to subject them to any TV while here. Quite an accomplishment for someone who almost never turns off the set.
Their plane left late and under normal circumstances, we would have driven them to the airport, but I had the play to review, so they went to Bay Area by train, having the opportunity to have dinner with their friend Greg, whom they had not had a chance to see while here, since he was working in San Francisco.

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As for us, there was no time for dinner, so we just headed off to Sacramento.  As we came to I-80 and saw how backed up the traffic was, we were sure we would not make it to the theater in time for the curtain (6:30), but Walt took back roads through town and around the freeway and we got there with a good 5+ minutes to spare.

The show is a very funny comedy, but with moments of poignancy and I found it compelling because of our lunch yesterday.  These are three women who have been playing golf together every week for 14 years.  They are there following the funeral of their friend who made the fourth in the group.  She was killed by lightning and in her place a friend of hers whom none of the other three know is joining the group for this last game.

The one-liners fly fast and furious as the women discuss life, love, men, sex, careers and everything but golf.  Surprises, secrets and confessions come to the surface, anger builds, explodes and dissipates during the game.  The big "reveal" was something I figured out early in Act 1 -- their dead friend was really lesbian, only I thought the woman joining the game had been her lover, and she had not, but she had met the woman's partner over the 12 years they came once a year to stay at the lodge she runs.

But these "best friends" begin to discover that though they have been close for so many years, "everybody has secrets" and they really know little about their friends' deepest darkest secrets, their turmoil and their troubles.

It made me think about our lunch group yesterday and how we have all been such good friends for more than 50 years and have shared births, deaths, and some of life's traumas, but not all.  For example, one in our group has been dealing with a relative's impending death from cancer, and had kept it a secret until yesterday. As close as we feel to each other, how much do we really know about each other, when we really only see each other 2 or 3 times a year (of course Char and I have a better chance, since we travel together).

The ladies of the Foursome left the stage with a slightly better understanding of each other's hidden truths, and a determination to make a better attempt at really being best friends from there on.

I think we left the lunch determined to keep these gatherings going in the hope that by seeing each other more often we can become closer because, as we are all in our 70s, we don't have that many more years left and as we deal with the indignities and tragedies of life, we will need our friends more than ever before.

Day 58:  The last photo with Grandma for this trip

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Girl and the Fig

Char and I had lunch together a few months back and had such a good time we decided to do it again, and include, we hoped, the three other women in our Pinata Group.  We are somewhat scattered, with Pat in Sacramento, Char in San Ramon, Audrey in Santa Rosa, and Jeri--who knows where, since she and her husband travel around in their RV.  We figured getting Jeri here was a stretch (and were were right), but we managed to find an OK date for the rest of us.

It takes me an hour to drive to Char's house, probably and hour and a half or two hours to get to Audrey's house, in the opposite direction from Char's, and Pat is the closest, but she's still 40 miles away, the farthest from Audrey and Char.  Also, things are complicated by the fact that she doesn't drive.

But nevertheless, we found a date and place to meet.   Audrey chose a restaurant called The Girl and the Fig in Sonoma, which was a shorter distance from Audrey and about equidistant for Char and me, and Pat's husband would drive her to our house so I could take her with me.

We got there about 15 minutes early and I found "Gilbert parking."  Gilbert has been my parking angel since he died in 1986, usually finding me places either directly in front of or very close to my destination.  I would say he outdid himself today.

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When we were all there, we were shown to a lovely table out on the patio.  I loved it because there was a fan directly opposite where I was sitting, so it blew cool air right into my face, which I love, but didn't bother the other three women.

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Pat and Audrey each had salads, Char and I had quiche.  It was quite a different kind of quiche from what I normally make.

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I found myself analyzing it in the way that panelists on one of our favorite shows, "Check, Please, Bay Area" might, concentrating mostly on how fresh the salad was ("fresh" seems to be a buzz word in culinary descriptions these days!).  But it did taste fresh, if a tad over-dressed.  I liked the quiche, which was more airy than my custard, but I don't know what they used for crust.  Whatever it was, it soaked up all the moisture in the quiche and where you should have a nice crisp bottom crust with the bacon and onions, all I got was mushy bacon.  The shoestring potatoes were my favorite kind of fries, but it was all too much and I left part of everything.  When I got home and was feeling queasy, I wondered if that was why I couldn't finish my lunch--I think I was the only one of the 4 of us who didn't.

Before we left the restaurant I made a stop in the bathroom and discovered they had a rather unique way of marking "men" and "women."

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I kind of got the idea that Ken had had his way with Barbie and she looked a bit the worse for wear, while Ken still looked bright and chipper.

We wandered around a little in Sonoma, but had to get back on the road, each to our respective corners of California.  I was feeling worse and worse on the long ride home.  Just definitely not up to snuff.  And the ride seemed interminable because they are widening part of the little highway we had to travel and for the better part of 30 minutes, I think my top speed was 5 mph and that wasn't very often.   It was a joy to finally connect to I-80 and be able to go at a normal speed.

Rich was here to get Pat and I staggered into the house.  Ifelt bad that Jeri and Phil were here and all I wanted to do was sleep.  I finally went into the couch and slept for about an hour and a half and felt almost human when I woke up, though I still didn't feel like food, so I fixed dinner for the others and sat there drinking water.

At some point I remembered that the Emmys were on and had started about 2 hours earlier, so I just let the show record and then when dinner was over and Jeri was going upstairs to practice her cello, I watched the show, being careful not to look at any social media first.  I hate knowing the results before I get a chance to see the show.

I will say that "flaming red" seemed to be the color of the evening for women's dresses and nobody wore a more dramatic dress than Uzo Aduba, who plays "Crazy Eyes" on Orange is the New Black.  She was stunning....and so nice that she won an Emmy, though her category had been given out the day before, so we didn't get a chance to see her accept.  I also wept, as I expected to, at Billy Crystal's tribute to his friend Robin Williams.

So it's now pushing 1 a.m. and it's time for me to head off to sleep, hoping I'll feel better in the morning.  Jeri and Phil leave tomorrow and we will miss them, but we are going to Boston next month, so it won't be for long.

Day 57:  Lunching with friends of more than 50 years.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sunday Stealing

Favorite Fictional ?

1. Favorite fictional couple?

Could there be any doubt?  Claire and Jamie Fraser from the "Outlander" series.

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2. Favorite fictional character?
I want to say Detective Harry Bosch from Michael Connelly's books, but I've finished all of those and am learning to enjoy Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar.

3. Favorite fictional TV show?

Big Bang Theory or Star Trek (the Original Series)

4. Favorite fictional movie?

A Star Is Born, of course.

5. Favorite fictional villain?

Fagin from "Oliver Twist."  He's really a villain, but you can't help liking the guy.

6. Favorite fictional hero?

Has to be Christopher Reeve's Superman.  We were very big on Superman in this house.

7. Favorite fictional pet?

I started to say Lad, a Dog, but he was a real dog with fictional stories told about him, so that doesn't count.  I guess I'll have to go with The Black from The Black Stallion books.  Or maybe Benjy.

8. Favorite fictional setting/universe?

The Muppet world--not Sesame Street, but the Muppet world of The Muppet Show.

9. Least favorite fictional couple?

Anastasia Steele and Christian Gray. She was such a whiner!  Runners up Bella Swan and Edward Cullen. She was a whiner too!

10. Least favorite fictional character?

Lucy Farinelli, Kay Scarpetta's niece.  She started out as a friendly, likeable character but boy has she changed.  She may be brilliant, but I would not like to meet her.

11. Least favorite fictional TV show?

If it's a "least favorite," I won't be watching it, so I can't really think of one that would be "least." 

12. Least favorite fictional movie?

Prince of Tides, only because I loved the book so much and so incredibly disappointed in the movie.  (I could also say Marjorie Morningstar for the same reason!)

13. Least favorite fictional villain?

The Wicked Witch of the West, even if she did have a misunderstood childhood.  She wanted to kill Dorothy! for Pete's sake.

14. Least favorite fictional hero?

I used to love Alex Cross, but since James Patterson has turned him into a factory commodity, with all sorts of co-authors, I have come not to like him very much at all.

15. Least favorite fictional pet?


16. Least favorite fictional setting/universe?

I'm not really fond of dystopian stories.  Probably my least favorite would be "Fahrenheit 451," because that's a world without books.


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Sunday, August 24, 2014

1,000 Red Roses

Twenty years ago, the Davis Art Center wanted to raise money to pay for sign language interpreters so that children with hearing disabilities could take classes at the center.  They turned to Lawsuit and asked if they would do a fund-raising concert.  They did and the funds were raised.  They called it the "1,000 Red Roses concert", after the lyric in one of Lawsuit's songs, "Picturebook Pretty" (I think the original lyric was "a dozen (or maybe 100) red roses would not be quite enough...")

That concert was amazing because it was signed by a team of signers.  I had, of course, seen signers at lots of theatrical events, but never at a concert.  It was quite a sight to behold.  After the show, a mother came to me, tears in her eyes, and told me this was the first time her deaf teen age daughter had ever danced and that thanks to the signers and whatever vibration she could get from the beat through the ground or the speakers, she was able to "get it" and was able to understand the music.

In 1996, there was another 1000 Red Roses concert.   This one right after David died and it was a very emotional concert.  It was the only concert--ever--where Paul was rendered speechless.  His father walked out on stage to sing a small solo and then, with pre-arrangement with Tom and nobody else, he took a stage dive into the audience and was carried through the crowd by Tom and his friends.  It was an unforgettable moment.

Lawsuit is gone and Paul is gone, but the music lives on.   Lawsuit morphed into Preoccupied Pipers, which includes many of the Lawsuit musicians, some of the Lawsuit songs and lots of new music.  They usually play one concert a year, when Jeri is in town, and it's more for fun than anything else.

This year, the Art Center contacted Ned again and asked about doing a concert to pay for sign language interpreters again. That concert was last night, on the E Street Plaza, which we have always called "Paul Plaza" because the performing area is covered with lots of bricks, many of which have memorial comments for Paul and David, a project spearheaded by the Davis Downtown Business Association.   The brick Walt and I bought says "The name of this band was Lawsuit."

It was a great turn out on the plaza.  A lot of the old Lawsuit parents came out, greyer, more stooped, more wrinkled, at least one with artificial knees, one looking like she had a stroke.

Kevin.jpg (121942 bytes)Kevin Desmond, representing all of the Pinata group came in from his home on the far side of Sacramento.  Shown here with Ned and Sara "Sarge" Clanton, the owner of Stone Soup Catering.  Norm and Olivia came up from Petaluma and brought Alice Nan with them.

The five of us went to the concert together and were able to get parking steps from the stage (thank you, Gilbert).  

margarita.jpg (113970 bytes)We visited with the guys while they were setting up and then went to the Mexican restaurant whose wall is the back of the stage.  We could sit there enjoying our margaritas and keep track of what was happening on the plaza.

Gonz.jpg (83967 bytes)While we were sitting there, Jeri's high school band teacher came in.  He and his wife were there for the concert too.

A woman sitting next to me saw my 1994 Red Roses shirt and asked me if I had any connection to Lawsuit, or was just a fan.  I felt very old!

The Lawsuit kids (children of Lawsuit musicians) were now old enough to be in charge of the table where people could buy T-shirts and CDs.  They are like our Pinata group kids!

There were three sets.  The first was by the Corner Laughters, with whom KC (from Lawsuit) plays.  I had not heard them before and really liked their music.

The third set was Adrian West, who was never part of Lawsuit, except for a few guest appearances, but has had his own group in the Bay Area for years.   His wife, Jennifer, is the former mayor of Emeryville and also an occasional singer with one of the bands.  In fact, she and Adrian did their first duet together tonight.

But everyone was there to see Preoccupied Pipers, which also promised old Lawsuit music.  I forget how good these guys are.  I got all verklempt when Paul's best friend Kag sang a song that Paul used to sing and was accompanied not only by the Lawsuit guys, but also his son, Milo, on the trombone.  Milo was born a couple of years after Paul died, and is the first of the Lawsuit babies.  His middle name is "Travis" because Kag wanted to name him after Paul, but Kag's real first name is Paul so insted he chose to name him after Travis Bickle, from Taxi Driver, Paul's favorite movie and favorite character.

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"Anything" is an emotional song anyway, Paul's diatribe about all the things wrong in his life, particularly his love life.  I never really liked it when he sang it.  He always screamed it in anger.  When Kag sang it, the screams were just as bone chilling, but perhaps more anguish than anger, and I was sobbing by the time he finished it.

I'd forgotten how much Lawsuit brought people to the dance floor.   People who had been sitting there listening to the concert and shouting their approval at all the music leaped to their feet when a Lawsuit song started and the dancing area was full of bouncing bodies, and they all bounced up and down just like they used to do, at the end of "I am a couch" (a popular song that I'm sure I inspired, as its first lines are:  "I am a couch, and I live in a messy house...")

The finale of the Preoccupied Pipers set was Jon Lee, who has been on the tech crew forever, singing "Picturebook Pretty."  I will eventually have a link to the video I took.  But I got this great shot of Jon controlling the lights with his iPad.  How things have changed in 20 years!

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(and by the way, Walt and Ned put up all those lights on the trees two nights ago)

When the concert was over, I brought out a tres leches cake to celebrate Ned's birthday (which is Monday) and then we came home.  I was too tired to start this journal then, but woke up at 2 or 3  and started writing it then, but took a break to try and take a "nap."  But then the house started shaking and the dogs started barking.  There was a 6.1 earthquake near here.  It didn't hit us very hard, but apparently my cousin in the Napa Area had glassware knocked off of shelves.

Facebook lit up with comments from people from the far reaches, from Sacramento to Santa Cruz, everyone comparing notes on how they felt it or the damage it did.  The Davis Enterprise weighed in with information it had with the comment "since you're all already awake..."

It's now 4:30 a.m. and I'm going to try to sleep again.  The news seems to have died down and the videos I took haven't uploaded yet, so I can take advantage of this lull in activity to try to sleep a little.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Friday, Glorious Friday

I think I've decided that Friday is my favorite day of the week.  It used to be Thursday, the day I work at Logos and that is now my second favorite day of the week.  But once I leave Logos, I know that I have six days before I "work" again.  Sometimes there are shows to review...often there are shows to review, but when I wake up on Friday morning, even if there is a show to review that night, I have nothing pressing to do until late afternoon.
It's a psychological thing.

Jeri spent the night here last night.  I conked out on her and Walt and was on my couch dead to the world before they finished chatting, turned out the lights and went upstairs to bed.  Phil had spent the night with friends he wanted to spend time with.

treattimesm.jpg (70378 bytes)In the morning Jeri got up, called her grandmother at 9 and invited herself over for a visit.  She had things to do in the late morning so thought she could sandwich in a visit beforehand.  She's also been working on making friends with Polly and the best way is always through Polly's stomach...the other two got the benefits of Jeri's Polly campaign.

When she went to Atria, she took Sheila with her.   I've been thinking about taking Sheila to visit my mother for a long time but have never gotten around it.  I would be hesitant to take Lizzie, and would definitely not take Polly, but mellow Sheila is just perfect and now that she's been there I will have to take her again some time. Jeri says I should walk her over, but I probably won't, being too lazy to do it!

As for me, I spent a lot of time organizing Compassion things today.  I had a few letters from kids I hadn't answered yet, and had not posted to my Compassion blog, where I post all the letters and pictures from the kids.  I usually write letters to all the kids--you can write one e-mail letter and have it duplicated to all the kids, sometimes adding a personal note for the specific child I'm writing to, which makes it go more quickly.  I can pretty much do it in an hour or an hour and a half.  It has made writing to the kids so much less time-consuming.  Not that I have ever minded it, but writing individual letters takes more time than sending out 19 individually produced e-letters!

I don't print my letters to the kids on the blog (they are stored on my computer), but always print a letter when I get one from one of the children.   It's the easiest way for me to keep organized and remember who wrote when and what I said in response.

After I finished doing some Compassion stuff, and when Jeri was out of the house, I got caught up on some TV that I hadn't seen in the last 3 days. Jeri is not a TV watcher, so I try to keep it off when she is around.  She doesn't understand my need for "white noise" all the time and I know it would drive her nuts, so being a good hostess, I just let the DVR handle what I would normally be watching.  But that does mean a lot of catching up to be done when I get to have the TV back again.

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The big concert is tomorrow night and someone from Lawsuit posted the above picture on Facebook.  A million years ago, before a Lawsuit concert, the Davis Enterprise posted this photo on the front page and Walt nearly fell off his bike on his way home from work when he passed by a newspaper machine.  This is exactly 12 people who performed with Lawsuit, when they were each in Kindergarten.  They weren't in kindergarten together, of course.  Jeri, with the braids, was in kindergarten a year before Ned, just below her, who was in kindergarten a year or two before Paul, bottom right.  I look at this picture and it makes me smile...and Marta, next to Ned, definitely has the best picture, though K.C. (with the bow tie) may be second--and he hasn't changed a bit since then!

Norm & Olivia, and Alice Nan are all coming up from Petaluma for the show and we are going out to dinner before hand.  It's just like the old days! (except now I make sure that I have a chair to sit in, since no chairs will be provided by the band!)

Day 54:  They're BOTH happy!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Today at Logos ... and More

Sandy and I chatted for 30 minutes again today.  We've discovered we have so much in common it's amazing we never met before Logos.  We compared child birth stories, San Francisco stories (she lived there too, but after I left), medical office stories, and psychologists and psychiatrists we have both known.   We might have talked longer but a "talky guy" (not one I'd met before, but Sandy had) was asking about a psychologist and we started brainstorming about who it could be (he didn't have his name).  Paul somebody possibly married to Linda somebody, but that's as far as we got.

Anyway, Sandy left and I took over.  She had done very little business, most of which was bargain books.  But she still outsold me by about twice as many customers.  I dealt with more customers this week than last (about 5; I had 3 last week..."my friend" didn't even come in today!) but almost all of those were bargain books, so I don't think I broke a $20 total for the afternoon.  I bought a book, too, but even I bought a bargain book!

But I did have a few interesting customers.  An old guy (older than me!) bought a bargain book on poetry about mythical beasts.  He said "They say I'm too old for mythical beasts, but you're never too old for mythical beasts."  Then when he left he wished me a good day and a good life.

As he was going out, a woman in a grey June Allison type page boy haircut came in clutching a bargain book.  She dug deep in her purse, but found the $1 to purchase it with.

A guy with one of the ubiquitous messenger bags hanging across his chest came in to ask how business was.  He says his father has a book store on the Peninsula somewhere.  He was very impressed to learn that Susan and Peter donate proceeds to Doctors without Borders and Save the Children and that they had donated $40,000 last year.  But he didn't buy anything to help raise the proceeds!

After awhile, a couple came in and bought a Calvin and Hobbes book and one about Genetics (presumably not Calvin and Hobbes genetics)

Things were so dull, I snuck off to the back to use the bathroom and was shocked to discover three customer in the store when I returned a couple of minutes later.  None of them bought anything.

But then my favorite customers of the day arrived.

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Even they didn't buy anything.  I encouraged Jeri to check the bargain books because she had $2, but she didn't find anything.

A very thin woman was looking for books about horses, but didn't find what she was looking for.  

At 5 p.m., my friend had not come in and one of  my last two customers of the day bought "the Kite Runner" and we very briefly discussed Afghanistan and the two books by Khaled Hosseini, and the last customer bought "Monuments Men" and we talked about the film and the men who saved the art work.

Susan relieved me early because we had made plans to have dinner at Atria with Jeri & Phil and Ned, so we rushed right over there and met the kids there.   It was a very nice dinner and I was one again touched by how seeing her grandchildren perks her right up.  

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They get her laughing and that's what she needs more of.  When the evening was over, Ned drove home to Sacramento, Phil rode his borrowed bike across town to spend the night with some different friends, and Jeri came back here so she could show us the DVD of a concert of excerpts from A Chorus Line that she conducted recently.

All in all a very nice day.

Day 53:  How could this NOT make me happy?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Jeri's Here! Jeri's Here!

Nights when I have to get up early for something are often nights when I can't sleep at all because I'm too worried I'll oversleep.  I got home after La Cage aux Folles last night and started the review, and then I took a break, as I usually do.  But I wanted to be sure to finish and submit the review first thing in the morning, so that I wouldn't have to worry about it when Jeri and Phil woke up and could concentrate on them. So I set the alarm for 6 a.m.  And then I couldn't sleep.  At all.

Finally at 2:30, I got up and finished the review and sent it off to the paper. Then I tried to get to sleep.  I did get a couple of hours, but the alarm I had set went off at 6 a.m. anyway.  I knew I wanted to make blueberry muffins for breakfast, so I got up then, made the muffins, fed the dogs, and went back to my recliner to see if I could sleep a bit more, knowing that as soon as someone of "those people" sleeping upstairs started down the stairs, I wouldn't need an alarm clock.  Polly would be barking her fool head off.

And she did.

It was so nice to see Jeri and Phil...and later, Alice Nan.   We sat around drinking coffee or tea and eating the blueberry muffins and just having a great time. The kids decided to take the dogs out for a walk. Walt decided to go along, so all three dogs were very happy.

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Alice Nan decided to go along for the exercise, though we had run out of dogs who needed walking.  This picture reminds me of following the yellow brick road...

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After they returned, Jeri had to go downtown to pick up a cello she is borrowing for the week (she is learning the cello and needed one to practice on.  A guy who owns a music store doesn't know Jeri and she doesn't know him, but he knows her name from Lawsuit and figured she was OK to use his personal cello while she's here.  "It's nice to be Davis royalty," Phil joked!).  She and Phil took off for downtown in our car while Walt, Alice Nan and I took AN's car and went to Atria.

AN200sq.jpg (29255 bytes)We had fun visiting.  I just love how my mother comes alive when visitors are there.  The old sparkle is back.  I had gotten to the apartment before Walt and AN, and she was looking distressed.  I asked what was wrong.  She said she just didn't feel good and thought she might vomit.  It was the old, droopy, unhappy mother I visit every day.  But when Alice Nan got there and they started reminiscing about working together at the Bank of America, my mother lost the hang-dog look and joked and laughed just like her old self.  When I asked her, on the way to the restaurant, how she felt she grinned "fine!" and when I asked about her nausea, she said it was gone.

Of course the best part was when Jeri arrived and there were warm hugs all around.  Those two have always had a very special bond and a hug from Jeri is like a magic tonic for my mother. It amazes me that with the number of people she doesn't remember, or has to be reminded about, or has to have dates written down for her, with the fact that she doesn't know her great grandchildren, or recognize their pictures, and has to be told who they are when you talk about them by name, Jeri is the one constant (well, maybe I am too).  She knows when she is coming, she recognizes her, she knows her name, and just having Jeri here has always been a great boon to my mother.  Jeri, with her unflappable optimism, brings out the best in her and I just love it when she is able to be out here for a visit.

We went to lunch at the Atria restaurant and my mother ordered her usual vegetable soup and fruit salad, but when she saw everyone else going to the salad bar, she decided she'd have a green salad too.  The waitress (Sara) was very surprised.  She was even more surprised when my mother decided to have the dessert of the day instead of her usual ice cream cone.

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When we finished lunch, we went back to the apartment, where Jeri gave us some examples of her growing cello prowess. Alice wanted to sit close so she could watch better.

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Walt just found the whole thing very relaxing.

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Alice Nan had things to do and was going to Norm & Olivia's this afternoon, so she had to leave, and the rest of us decided, after looking at Walt, that naps all around sounded like a good idea -- and I could tell my mother was getting sleepy too -- so we told her goodbye and came home, but first we made a reservation for dinner tomorrow night back at Atria again.

Everybody kind of crashed after we got home, but I made the mistake of checking something on the internet about an article I'd written and got livid at what had been done to it, so I had to get up and Contact People.  Fortunately it was ultimately resolved (mostly, but not entirely, in my favor), but my adrenalin had been stirred up and I never did get my nap.

I suspect that with non-TV watching Jeri and Phil here, I may head off to sleep very early tonight.

Day 52: Everybody was happy especially the dogs!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Turning Straw into Gold

By 11 a.m. this morning, I was convinced Jeri and Phil and Alice Nan were dead.  Or at least mortally wounded. We knew they were headed north from Santa Barbara and were driving Hwy 101 so they could stop at the Burger Queen en route.  Whenever Walt or his sister or Jeri travel, they send one word text messages to each other along the route, letting them know where they are at any given time, so whoever is at the other end can keep track of progress.

But when 11 a.m. came, and there had been no text messages, not even in answer to my two to them, I figured the only reason was that there had been a terrible traffic accident.  I knew they had arrived in California all right because I'd had the photo of Joe and Alice meeting them at the airport.

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I decided to call.  I called Jeri's cell phone and there was no answer, so I called Phil's cell phone and he didn't answer either, which made me more convinced that they were all dead.

But then I called Alice Nan.  I called her last because I knew she would be driving, but I also knew that she frequently talked in the car through her blue tooth.  She answered and the first thing I said to her was "So you're not dead after all..."

Turns out they had just forgotten to send mile markers.   They had left late and they were still a way from the Burger Queen, but they were fine.  And then the text messages started arriving - "San Luis Obispo" ... "King City"... and, as expected, eventually this photo of Phil and Alice.

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I didn't get everything done I wanted to do before they arrived (is anybody surprised?), but I did get quite a bit accomplished, most important of which was cleaning off the kitchen table and making a dent in the piles on the kitchen counter.   With that done, I felt better about going off without cooking dinner and leaving them to fend for themselves (with Walt).

I had to leave at 6 p.m. in order to pick up my friend Ruth and then double back to get my colleague Jeff but I pulled up in front of his house exactly on time, which was a first, I think.

This was the last show of the Music Circus season and it was La Cage aux Folles, a show I dearly love and which I have not seen in awhile.  I was really looking forward to it and I'm afraid that by intermission, I was extremely disappointed.  But it's going to be tricky to write that in a review (so I decided to write this journal entry first).  The actor playing Albin, the flamboyant gay character, the star of the female impersonators' club happens to be black.  And I don't think his being black was the cause of my disappointment, it was his portrayal of a character I love.  He wasn't flamboyant enough, I didn't feel a chemistry between him and Georges.

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(This theater comany sucks at publicity pictures.  I can't beieve
this is the best picture of Albin and Georges in the packet of publicity photos!)

The instrumental arrangements of his music were different, a blues sound where it should have been a music comedy sound, which kind of made the action drag (no pun intended).  I sent off a text to Jeri (who had arrived in Davis by that time) and told her how disappointed I was.

I will admit that the actor nailed the musical's signature piece, "I am what I am," standing there as a defiant Diana Ross, livid at his life partner Georges and their son, and that ended the act on a positive note, performance-wise.  Something must have happened at intermission.  They must have had a pep talk, because Act 2 was head and shoulders better than Act 1 and when Albin arrived in the personna of their son's mother and fooled the son's fiancee's parents, it was golden.  

So I left the show feeling much better about it than I would have had I left at intermission...which shows you, children, why you stay to the end of shows you think you don't like.  You never know how much it is going to improve!

By the time I had dropped Jeff, and then Ruth off and driven back across town to home, it was after 11 and everyone but Walt had gone to sleep, so I still haven't seen them, but there are signs that they are here, and I look forward to seeing them all in the morning.  Or later in the morning (as it is already creeping toward sunrise as I write this).

Day 51:  I love this picture.  It's so rare they will sit still for a photo!