Saturday, January 31, 2015

Let's put on a SHOW

When it works, it works well.  When it doesn't it's terribly complicated.

Walt is a member of the Board of Directors for Citizens Who Care, an organization which provides help for the frail elderly and their caregivers.

Every year their biggest fundraiser, which provides a huge chunk of their operating budget for the year, is a benefit concert.  

The concert is one of my favorite things each year.

Stephen Peithman, radio host, raconteur, and walkking encyclopedia of music and show business (he hosted a popular program, "Musical Stages" on local radio for many years, where he played a particular show and described its history and anything else relevant about it.  I was always sorry when he stopped) along with Martha Dickman, local chanteuse, put together the show.

They chose a theme--a songwriter, or a producer or some other aspect of the musical stage and then chose songs related to that topic. 

One year, for example, they devoted the evening to songs of the Gershwins, another year to Frank Sinatra, another year to Hoagy Carmichael, etc.  It was a fascinating evening where you heard more than you ever knew about the chosen topic and listened to a lot of familiar tunes, as well as learning some new ones.

Coming back year after year was a stable of some of Davis' finest and most popular performers.  Over the years a couple have dropped out and one has died (along with the guy, Jim Hutchinson, who ran the whole thing behind the scenes), but basically the same 8 performers have returned year after year to donate their time to long hours of rehearsal and two performances in order to support Citizens Who Care.

After Jim died, Walt took over as publicity person and so I've been getting reports from him about what is happening with this year's show.  

Peithman explained that he had the music picked out and was making plans for the show and the cast was raring to go. But his father, whom he wishes a happy birthday each year at the concert (last year he celebrated his 101st birthday) was becoming more frail and required more of Steve’s attention. After he had a nasty fall, Peithman was making more trips to Humoldt County to help and he began to realize that there was a very real possibility that he might have to bow out of the project unexpectedly.

He knew that once you make a commitment it’s difficult to back out and he couldn’t say for certain that he would be able to follow through, so he sadly informed the Citizens Who Care board that they would have to cancel the show this year.

"Citizens Who Care, an organization which is accustomed to dealing with the problems of the frail elderly, has been wonderful and very understanding," he said.. "I love doing the show and performers have loved it, but it just was not going to be possible this year."

Executive Director Joanne Bell said, "The show is our big fund raiser and we rely in the income it generates, so we scrambled around trying to figure out what to do"

Board members Rose Cholewinski, the owner of SwimAmerica-Davis, and Julie Sheehan, General Manager of SwimAmerica-Davis mentioned that there were people on their staff who had done musicals and who might be willing to step in at the last minute and put a show together.

They now have a new cast of singers and dancers, and someone to run it.  I have interviewed Steve and Joanne and am waiting to interview Valerie, the person in charge, to find out what I can about the new show, and the new look.

It will be interesting, and Steve assures me that this is just for one year, so the old guard will be back again next year, but for this year all is confusion as they try to figure out what is what, who is who, and hope that the audience will respond to the change as graciously (and as generously) as they have in the past.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Today at Logos

First, an observation I made last night while going to the couch to sleep.  Each night when I come into the darkened room, Sheila immediately gets off the couch, where she has slept all day, and sleeps by my side on the floor.  It occurs to me that the dog and I are sharing a bed.  She uses it in the day, I use it at night.  It's our version of Cox and Box.

That said, how was today at Logos?  I had a chat with Sandy about her upcoming trip to Viet Nam, Cambodia and, because they'll be in the neighborhood anyway, Nepal, where they have friends and plan to go hiking.  They'll be gone 7 weeks and it sounds like an exhausting, but exciting trip.

There was a guy with a Big Dog in the place when she left.  The dog was a yellow pup, not sure the breed, but his name was Thunder and he was very friendly.  We bonded.

I chose a Ruth Rendell book to read while working today, since we had a large number of new ones to the store.  I picked the shortest one. It is turning out to be another page turner and since I didn't quite finish it, I brought it home to finish here and take back to Logos next week.

A "rumpled couple" came in.  I think mother and son.  He was in baggy jeans and a narrow brimmed hat.  She was in a saggy top, black pants and also wore a felt hat.  She was looking for a specific female travel author (which she did not find), but ultimately bought three very thick books, saying that she doesn't like "Jane Austen-y" books...likes something with more heft.  We talked about travel books by women and I told her about the book I'd read about the woman who traveled across China on public transportation.

As she was leaving she spied the cards we have for sale by a local artist and decided to purchase a sunflower card because of something in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun.

A guy wearing a River Cats shirt (the River Cats are the Sacramento minor league baseball team) bought two books on atoms and molecules.  He paid, but then kept standing there like he expected me to do something else.  Maybe he thought I'd give him a bag (which we no longer do). He finally picked up his books and left.

(Aside...I wonder why every customer who brings book to the desk places them as far from me as they can instead of handing them to me)

A woman with a stroller containing a child of about 18 mos, with a very dirty face came in with a book from the bargain table outside.

An older guy in a large black cowboy hat browsed for awhile but didn't buy anything.

A tall, thin woman in a long striped dress made of some soft, filmy material, boots that disappeared under her dress, and a knit white tam-o-shanter on her head was looking for "Reconnections," a book about healing yourself and others by Eric Pearl.  I directed her to the self help section, but she didn't find it and said "thank you" as she was leaving, but then returned with a bargain book by David Attenborough.  She was very sad when I told her he died this past year.

A guy with sideburns down to his chin, and a biker bag slung across his shoulders browsed through the literature section, but left without buying anything.  Nor did the guy who came in carrying a foil-wrapped burrito from the local Chipotle.  And "my friend," who arrived at 4:25 couldn't find anything he wanted either today.

A small Asian woman with a folded up scooter under her arm and Yoko Ono sunglasses spent a lot of time sitting on the floor looking through books. She ultimately bought a bargain book and "Kiss of the Spider Woman."

A stooped older woman brought a heavy bag of Poetry magazines to donate.  Then she browsed for awhile and finally purchased a copy of "Beowulf."  She said she had never read it and that "it's about time I got educated."

A tall man with sunglasses on his bald head bought a mystery and I realized after he left that I overcharged him by 4 cents because I misread the amount it showed on the cash register.

A large man came in looking for greeting cards and I sent him to the book store in the next block. (Our cards are blank inside)

A woman and a teenager with bright blue hair were looking through the bargain books outside and I was disappointed that they didn't come in. 

A tall guy in a knit cap came in, disappointed that the unicorn book he had seen on display last week was no longer for sale.

A young woman with dyed reddish hair was looking for a young adult book whose name she couldn't remember by an author she couldn't remember, but knew that her daughter had "axed" for it.  She looked, but didn't find it. She then gave me a very long history of her book collection, her book cases, and the books she had read.

A cheery guy carrying a guitar (not in a case) and a kid with pink hair (this was my day for colored hair!) came in, but they were there for a meeting which was taking place at 7 p.m., so they left and would return later.

Susan arrived with goodies for the meeting, which is concerned with getting the high school literary magazine published.  We had a nice chat until Walt arrived and then Walt and I headed home to be here in time for Jeopardy.

There is a slight chance I may not have access to wifi in the next couple of days, so if there is no entry posted until Sunday, that's why.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Laid Back

Today was so laid back, I didn't notice I was still in my pajamas until after lunch.  I sleep in my clothes so often, when I stagger from recliner to couch, that unless you look at your body, it's easy to forget that you are actually wearing pajamas because they feel the same as your clothes.

But though it was a laid back day, it was still productive.  I managed to answer thirteen letters from Compassion children which had been waiting to be answered, some for over a month.  Some of these were letters that accumulated while I was in Iowa.  

It's not that I hadn't written to the children, but I just hadn't answered their letters.

Compassion has this neat deal where you can send the kids e-mail using their on-line tool.  There are several different types of stationery you can choose and you can add up to 3 photographs.  Write your letter on line and send it off.

But the neat thing about the on-line tool is that you can then duplicate the letter for another child.  Obviously when I am answering a letter, I don't duplicate, but about once a month I write a generic letter to a child and then duplicate it for the next child, just changing the names.  It makes it possible for me to write frequently to all of the kids on my list...if I had to write 19 individual letters, I would never get them written and sent as often as I do now.

It's handy to have all these gadgets at my disposal too.  For two of the kids, I included a picture of myself holding their letter (a selfie taken with my phone, using the cable release so I don't have to actually press the button myself)

When I finished the letters, I took a long nap and was so deeply asleep I didn't hear Walt leave for his meeting and was just barely awake when Jeri called.  She always calls on the birthdays.  It was good to check in on the snow conditions in Boston.  They have been shoveling for days.

(Jeri says "take a block of ice and chip away everything that doesn't look like a car")
 And then, when Walt came home, we did go out for sushi, to Sushi Unlimited, where we went last year.

We ordered three different rolls to share and all were delicious.

But we have become the people we used to make fun of.

I love it that Walt loves his phone so much.  It makes me feel less guilty when I whip my own phone out at a restaurant.  And to think, it wasn't that long ago that I looked at people looking like us and scoffed that they were having a meal together, but both were on their cell phones.  Now I understand.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Well, at least it's short

My mother has had her hair cut, and got a perm today.  She has been looking long and shaggy, like an old lady in a rest home, and I was surprised to read in one of my old entries that almost exactly a year ago, I was making the same complaint.  

I have been pushing her to get her hair cut and she keeps "thinking about it" while the hair grows longer and stringier.  I finally realized that this is something else she is incapable of doing.  The idea of (a) remembering the hairdresser, (b) finding the phone number, and (c) making the call was completely beyond her ability, so I made an appointment for her last week.

This morning she called in a panic.  "Someone" had called her--she didn't know who--to ask her about something--she didn't remember what--and could I return the call and take care of it for her. 

I figured it was beautician Lucy calling to remind her about her appointment, and it was.  She wanted to make it earlier, so I went to Atria for lunch and then took her upstairs to the salon.  I realized again that this trip upstairs to find the salon is completely beyond her ability to navigate.  She didn't even recognize the elevator and swore she'd never been in it.

This wasn't a bad memory day, it was a terrible memory day. She couldn't remember anything, and even when we got home from the salon, it took her a few minutes to recognize her own apartment, but then she noticed familiar things and "guessed" it was her place.  I think "having something to do" just completely threw her for a loop.

But it got done.

When she had a haircut and a perm last time, this is how she looked...

and that was what I was expecting to see when I picked her up.  I spent the 2 hours she was at the salon in her apartment and when I got to Lucy's, my mother was sitting in a chair, bent over, with her head in her hands.  I'm not sure why, whether it was fear that I wouldn't come to get her (which it may well have been), or if she had looked at herself in the mirror.

This is the before and after:

She looks better, that's for sure, but she looks like she got her finger stuck in an electric socket...or like an old lady in a rest home that just had a bad perm.  If it had been me I would have been very upset, but she seems OK with it...and if she can't recognize her own apartment, it's probably a good thing she can't really see how bad her hair looks.  For this she paid $75.  She wuz robbed!

The day got worse.  I left Atria and went to the post office to mail a package.  When I was standing in line, I got a text from Jeri and I pulled out my phone and answered it.  Then I mailed the package, got into the car and half a block from the post office, I realized my cell phone wasn't in my pocket.  I pulled over to check my purse to make sure it was there--and it wasn't in the slot for the phone.  I tore the purse apart and it just wasn't there.  I checked the floor of the car, then I turned around and went back to the post office.  It wasn't on the desk by where I had texted Jeri and the clerk said that I had not left it at her window.  Where was it???  I tore the purse apart again, but no phone.

I hoped some kind soul picked it up and was going to try to call me.  I got home, confessed to Walt that I had lost it, and called the phone.  Nobody answered.  I was in a total panic and felt I couldn't do anything right because it seemed that everything I touched fell apart and I didn't want to have to buy a new phone when we will be paying for a new computer soon and when my laptop needs work too (but that will wait until later in the year).

Finally Walt went outside to check the car again and there it was, right on the seat where I'd been sitting, in plain sight and I just hadn't seen it.

More and more I'm wondering when I'm going to have to move to Atria.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Birthdays

I found this video the other day.  (I tried to embed it but for some reason that didn't work, though it should have.)  If you don't want to go to YouTube and watch the video yourself, it's a video of David, Jeri and Paul, sitting on the couch (holding pictures of Tom and Ned, who couldn't be there) and singing "My Favorite Things" with lyrics I rewrote to commemorate The Pinata Group. That's David on the guitar.

I had all sorts of mixed feelings watching it. I thought I would be emotional and yeah, emotions welled up.  But one thing that struck me very forcibly was something I said to David shortly before he died.

We were joking about all the photos and videos I take and I told him "that's OK--you can die and I probably won't even notice because I have so many videos of you around." In retrospect, that was a terrible thing to say, given that he was dead not long after.

But as I watched this video, I realized that maybe it wasn't so bad after all.  Here they were, alive again, singing together with Jeri.  The video made me smile and though I wish to heck they were here, the videos are a comfort because for a few minutes, they are back, alive, whole and the family is all together again.
We're coming up on Birthday Time.  Paul's birthday is tomorrow and David's is a week later.  Paul would have been 46 and David 43.  They are permanently stuck at 30 and 24.  

I look at Ned's grey hair--actually he's getting white hair.  He has more than I do.  And I see the look of a middle aged man.  I wonder what his brothers would look like at 46 and 43.  

Paul was planning to move to L.A. with his wife and become a movie star.  What would he be doing now?  Waiting tables?  Working in the post office?  Or would he be one of that small percent that actually work in the business?  We'll never know. I feel cheated because I always wanted to watch him win his Oscar and stand there and thank his mom for all her support.

And David.  He was in the process of getting his life together.  He had tried Sacramento City College and Chico State and gave up.  After a period of working bagging groceries, he was talking about moving to Santa Cruz and going to school there.  He still hadn't figured out what he wanted to be when he grew up.  But what a mind that kid had.  If he found the right path, he could have done anything.

Instead the two of them are lying in a grave in the Davis cemetery and it just seems so unfair that life has moved on without them.

After so many years (19 and 16), the birthdays and the anniversaries aren't as wrenching as they were in the beginning.  You never "get over" the death of a child and you do, as people wanting to say something comforting after they died, "remember them" (as if you could forget!).  You are forever changed.  They become a part of the person you are now and you go on about your business.  You don't wear sack cloth and ashes forever, you don't shut the curtains and assume the fetal position for the rest of your life, but you laugh and have good times and bad times while a piece of your brain includes them in all family activities, though you don't really talk about them much.

We'll probably go out for sushi on Paul's birthday.  We've been doing that for 16 years now.  Who knows what we'll do on Dave's, but we'll raise a glass of wine...or water...or whatever and toast them.

And then we wait until the death anniversaries roll around a couple of months later.

Happy birthday, guys

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sunday Stealing

Easy A-Z Meme (some of these questions I have answered many times before)

A. What are your favorite smells?
The ocean, coffee, puppy breath, fresh bread, a non-hot house rose

B. Can you go a whole day without caffeine?
Sure, and often do.

C. Who knows more about you than anyone else?
Maybe Char?

D. What song did you last listen to?
"If I give up the saxophone, will you come back to me?"  (seriously!)

E. Do you wear socks to bed?

F. Can you change a car tire?
Sadly, no.

G. If you could choose one color to wear for a whole year, what color would you choose?
Black...since that's the color I wear just about every day anyway.

H. Do you cook often?
Only once a day....sometimes twice

I. What’s your least favorite season?
Summer.  I am not a heat person

J. Can you sew?
No.  I can't even sew buttons any more.

K. What is your favorite fruit?
Oranges in the winter, strawberries in summer

L. Are you health conscious?
Alas, no (my doctor will tell you)

M. Do you think you’re very conscious of the feelings of others or more self oriented?
I am acutely aware of the feelings of others.

N. Do you curse a lot?
To quote Country Dew, "Why the f**k would you ask me that question?"

O. Do you remember lyrics easily?
Yes.  Or at least I used to.  I have hundreds of lyrics to songs buried in my head, though probably not lately.

P. Can you roll your tongue?
Yes indeed.

Q. Is there a certain food you often crave for no reason?
Oh there's always a reason to crave food.  Mine is probably donuts.

R. What was the last book you purchased?
"Go Into All the World" by David Chalmers, reviewed on my book review page.

S. Where was your last vacation?

T. Last movie you watched? Did you enjoy it?
In the theater, Into the Woods.  And yes, I enjoyed it.

U. Think of your oldest friend. If you met them now do you think you would still become friends?
That would be any of the Pinata Group people...and yes.

V. Paris, London and New York… which one would you live in, which would you visit for a day, which would you visit for a fortnight?
London to live, Paris for a fortnight, and New York get out as quickly as possible.

W. Do you usually sleep with your closet door open or closed?
I sleep in a room without a closet.

X. Have you ever broken a bone? If so, how did it happen?
Yes.  I dropped a frozen beef roast on it.  

Y. How do you like your eggs?
Scrambled, soft.  (but really "Benedict-ed")

Z. What was your last argument about and who with?
I'm not an argumentative person, so I don't remember.  It's been a long time, though.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

It's a Slow Process

It may not look it, but I am making slow progress toward clearing my desk to make way for the new computer, whenever it arrives (I've told the guru no rush -- I need to make room first!)

Believe it or not, this is after a day of cleaning things off.  I figure any time I actually see wood on my desk, that's a good day.

I'm doing it slowly.  For example, I still have a stack of letters from the Compassion kids that arrived when I was in Iowa that I haven't answered.  I'm taking time to answer them now, as I come to them.  Only my printer isn't hooked up right now (because I've lost the install disk) so I can't print them, so each letter has to be hand written, which takes at least twice as long.

But my wonderful friend Mary in Rockport just sent me a whole bunch of stickers, so taking time to write to the kids, one at a time, gives me a chance to pick the perfect stickers to send to them, and get a one-postage-fits-all envelope ready to send with a whole bunch of gifts attached to each letter.  I haven't done that in a long time.

I also found something I've been frantically (well...sort of...) looking for for about a week now. I thought I'd lost it and was disconsolate, but it is now found and put in a safe place.

Ever since I was a kid, I made mountains of stuff on flat surfaces and on those rare occasions when the Aquarius in me kicked in and I decided to clean (Aquarians can go years without "seeing" clutter and then suddenly one day they have to get it all organized) my way of organizing is to take it layer by layer, occasionally doing carbon dating along the way, tossing out the stuff I no longer need and then separating what's left into piles. 

Essentially, I break the mountain into mole hills, toss out a little bit, and stash the mole hills in other places.  And then when it is all finished, I start putting the mole hills back on the desk and have the base for a new mountain.

For example, the pile on the left of the desk is stuff I plan to use in decorating a couple of journals I'm working on.  The stuff on the right side is stuff I haven't dealt with (like the rest of the Compassion letters).  The stuff piled on my computer is stuff that I need to keep and need to find somewhere to put. Out of sight to the right of my computer is more stuff that needs to be filed away somewhere, as soon as I can figure out where to store it.

I keep telling myself that if I had a bigger office with more shelves I could organize better, and I probably could.  Over the years, I have brought in various cupboards with drawers to put stuff into. And that works, briefly, until more stuff comes in to take the place of the stuff I moved into the drawers.

But this is a TINY room and I've run out of places to store the cupboards and shelves.  And besides, eventually they get covered up with more stuff.  

I am feeling like my mother these days, as I wade through "all this crap" and wonder what in God's name I am going to do with it all and how I can ever get rid of enough to make this a neat and tidy office.

For the moment, though, if I can just clear away a place where the guru can put the new computer and get it set up, I'll be satisfied.  And it shouldn't take more than a day or two before my mountain is built again and I can start all over.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Bald as a Billiard Ball

Well, I have taken the first steps in making good on a promise I made a year ago.  I signed up to become a "shavee" at the St. Baldrick's fund raiser for children's cancer research on March 12, losing my grey locks and going bald.  Ned and I will do a mother-son shaving. It is too early to start asking for contributions, but sometime next month I will post a link to my page and beg readers to contribute help me meet my $500 goal.

In truth, I was thinking about not doing this, but someone just signed the guestbook from my March 9 entry last year, leaving a message for my friend Nancianne, who was being shaved for the second time.  She wrote:
Nacianne, Thank you for being a hero to kids with cancer! My son will be celebrating his 12th year of being cancer-free this March. He first fought cancer at 10 months, and then again just after his 4th birthday. Each time you shave your head, you are not just funding childhood cancer research, you are also sending out a message of hope to families like ours. You are amazing and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!
How could I possibly think about not going ahead with my plans, when I realize how important it is.
I chose two kids to honor in doing this, both children who have died of the disease.  One is a girl named Caroline, who died less than a year after her diagnosis.  I chose her in honor of Peach (Carolyn) and her fight with breast cancer.

Of course my mother says she wants to know how long my hair will take to grow out because she doesn't want to see me bald and she certainly doesn't want to be seen in public with me.  Well.  Whatever.  That's her decision, but I kinda hoped she'd be proud of me for doing something to help children with cancer, but apparently appearances are more important than curing cancer. 'Twas ever thus with her, I fear.

I had lunch with her today and we were joined at lunch by my cousin Niecie, who is a beautician and comes occasionally to give my mother a pedicure.

I'm lucky that she enjoys this time with my mother because I have a mild phobia about touching other people's feet and her toenails had grown very long and something needed to be done.

I had to park a block away from Atria today and this is my parked car.

I used to be an excellent parker. I could parallel park on a steep San Francisco hill, between two cars, driving a stick shift. Lately I can't park for love or money. When I parked here, there were no cars ahead of me, no cars behind me and it took me three tries to get it parked this close to the sidewalk.

Friday, January 23, 2015

My Computer Needs Coffee

My new desktop should have been delivered to my guru yesterday so I suppose it's only a matter of time before my frustrations have to do with learning a new system and not with coaxing along a doddering old laptop that is trying to keep up with me, but is really on its last legs.

When I bought this laptop, Vista had just come out and I knew of the problems with that operating system and wanted to stick with XP.  Fry's found one reconditioned Toshiba that still had XP and I bought that.  I have been very happy with it all these years.

I only use it when we travel, so I can continue to write Funny the World using the Front Page program and not have to do it in code (because I'm lazy).  I can do it in code if necessary, fortunately.

But the machine is old and riddled with viruses.  It regularly gives me error messages saying that a certain script has stopped working and giving me the option of letting it continue to try to run, debugging the script or stopping the script.  I have found that the only option it will actually let me use is stopping the script, so I do that.  But when I'm dealing with that, the machine is locked up for 5 minutes or so.  Many times throughout the day.

It's biggest problem, however, is that if you let it sit for a few hours, or overnight especially, it takes forEVer to get it started.  Yesterday I got up at 3 a.m. to write my entry, since I'd fallen asleep watching a movie, waiting for Walt to get home, and just stumbled off to the couch to sleep instead of writing it then.

When I got up and got the computer started, it immediately got the script error message.  I was able to click on "stop script" and timed it.  It took fifteen minutes before the screen finally shut down.

In the morning everything is slow.  I am both a night person and a morning person and when my feet hit the floor in the morning, I am ready and raring to go, especially when I know I have conked out the night before and never got an entry written.

But the computer needs to yawn and stretch and scratch and I don't know whatever computers do when they are waking up.  And then about 10 or 15 or 20 minutes into my attempts to coddle it to please give me this screen, it starts to come to life.  It will give me the screen I'm trying to use, but it won't let me use it.  It just sits there taunting me with a cursor that won't move and a program waiting for me, silently.

It's like it used to be trying to start Walt's old Rambler.  You find a nice incline and try to get it rolling fast enough that you can start the engine and then eventually, when it feels good and ready, it finally roars to life.
As I sat here trying to wait out the script errors and the frozen screens, praying that it will give me just a few more days service until the desktop is back, I was thinking that what this machine needs in the morning is a good stiff cup of very strong coffee to jolt it awake.

As soon as I get the new desktop (well as soon as I feel comfortable using it), this baby is going back to the guru, praying that he can debug it so I can still use it for awhile, because when it is good, it is very good and the last thing I want to do is pay more money for another laptop that won't run the software I need it to!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Little Cat Feet

It was Carl Sandburg who said that fog creeps in on little cat feet and that kitten has been marching up and down the streets for a couple of days now. I got up at 6 a.m., before the sun came up, to take this photo for Instagram yesterday morning.

 Then as it got lighter, I could get a better view of how the fog engulfed the street.

I had a therapist appointment in Vacaville (~20 miles) at 9 a.m., which meant I would be on the freeway before the fog started to burn off.  As I headed toward the freeway on ramp, I stopped to take a photo of what I was about to head into.

I have become a nervous freeway driver under the best of conditions over the past few years anyway, but to get on the road where in spots the fog was so thick that you could barely make out the off ramp was really scary.  Especially since getting from here to Vacaville, you have to merge left three times, not just stay in the comfortable safe right lane (which disappears), and merging in the traffic in the fog made this old lady very uncomfortable.

As you drive down the freeway, you pass bare almond trees on the right and I was sorry I was on a time schedule because I would love to have gotten off to take pictures of the fog covered orchard, with even thicker fog circling the base of each tree.  It was pretty amazing.

When I drive to Vacaville, I know when I have reached my off ramp because I can see Kaiser off in the distance, but Kaiser completely disappeared and I had to trust that I was getting off at the right place. I'd only gotten off here twice before and wasn't sure the name of the off ramp--since I am so familiar with all of the names of the exits along the freeway.

But it's amazing about fog.  It does burn off as the sun gets higher.  When I got to Debbie's office, we sat there with the fog so thick you could barely see the next building, and by the end of the hour, it was clear as a bell, the sun was shining brightly, the sky was a beautiful blue and you'd hardly know there had been any fog at all.

(Well, until I got closer to Davis, where there are open fields, which are great creators of fog.)

By the time Walt left to go to the symphony in San Francisco in the afternoon, the fog was a distant memory, but I did not envy him the drive home, if it was going to start rolling in again.

Debbie tells me she drives in from the Berkeley area, so she really got the fog in spades and she said that going over the Carquinez Bridge was just awful because the fog, if possible, was even thicker.

Every time we went to London, I always thought I would experience the real thick fog that you always see in movies, but we never did.  Whoda thunk I'd find it literally right in my own back yard!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Life Around the Wicked Stage

I just love theater people.  My favorite thing to do is to sit down and have a conversation with people who speak the same language.  Not to say that I don't enjoy other conversations, but a conversation with someone who understand what you feel about theater and who knows most of the same people you do is very special (and very rare).

Today I had one of those conversations.

Each year, at the start of the school year, I usually meet with the publicity person for the Department of Theater and Dance at UC Davis.  I started doing this many years and three publicity persons ago.
We used to meet at Ciocolat cafe, have a coffee and a pastry and discuss the department's plans and what seemed like logical stories to do.

In those days, The Davis Enterprise had a special "Spotlight" section each Thursday, where we could do big splashy feature stories with lots of pictures.  I would visit the set, interview lots of people, transcribe the interviews and then write the story.  I usually did a second visit, attending a rehearsal to get a feel for the upcoming production.

Then they paid me twice what they pay me for a feature story now and it took so much time to do the prep work and get it all finished that I really made next to nothing (if not much less than that).  But I met fascinating people and improved my interviewing skills.

Now the Spotlight section is gone and I rarely do features (it's not worth the work for what I make at the end of it...times are tough in the newspaper business and there is great competition not only for space, but for dollars).

So in the past few years, my meetings with the publicity person have been pretty curt, pretty business like, and pretty short.

I have liked all of the women with whom I have worked, but I had not yet met the new person in the job, who came on at the end of last semester.  I was in Iowa when the university did its first production this semester, and my colleague covered it for me.

Ciocolat is gone now too so when the new person and I decided to finally meet, we had to find a new place and we met this morning at Crepeville, not quite as nice, but it worked well.  And Gilbert got me rock star parking, as usual, right in front of the door.

Her name is Kathryn and she's been around theater most of her life. She is new to Davis, but she has been part of one of the theaters where I review in Sacramento for years and we know the same people, have seen the same shows, have the same opinion about the shows we mentioned (we both hated the Chorus Line at Music Circus last year, for the same reasons, for example).

We also shared personal stories -- we were both medical transcriptionists in our past lives, for example.
We sat and chatted for over an hour (my previous meetings are usually 30 or so minutes) and I look forward to working with her this year.  She gave me great information about the upcoming shows and suggestions for interviews.  I now do phone interviews where I can transcribe as I talk to the subjects.  I don't get the same feel for a show or my subjects as I do face to face, but I don't have to do the extra transcription afterwards either (how glad I am to be a fast typist and an experienced transcriptionist!) 

I'm excited about my upcoming feature story because my interview subjects seem to be fascinating, highly accomplished people and I think talking with them is going to be fun.

So I came home from my interview on a real high, glad to be involved with theater for all of my 40+ years here in Davis and delighted to find a new kindred spirit.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

5 Songs, 8 Notes

 We saw a wonderful show at the B Street Theater in Sacramento last night.  It was an original one-man show, commissioned by the theater, by playwright, writer Jack Gallagher.  It was a great show, but one part of it shocked me.  Well, this wasn't the first time I've been shocked me about this.  When we went to Uncle Herb's memorial the other day, I was also shocked. At the memorial, the congregation all joined in singing "Amazing Grace."  Last night the audience was invited to join in the singing of "Danny Boy."

I have not sung really anything in years.  I sometimes used to sing along to music in the car, but since I've switched to audio books, I don't play music in the car, so I truly don't know when the last time I used my singing voice.

I seem to have become the victim of "use it or lose it."  I have literally no voice.  Or literally very little voice.  I can barely hit an octave.  My lowest note is middle-C and if I try to go lower than that I get a croaky version of middle C, but I can't hit a note lower than that.  I can barely get to C above middle C, but can't sustain a note that goes higher than 3 notes above C.  I also can't seem to hit the notes that I am trying to hit.  I know the tune and when I try to sing it, the notes I come out with are off key.  I never really understood how someone could hear a note and not be able to recreate I do.

I sang in choirs for so many years and have always sung something, so this is a big surprise.  It's not that I need a singing voice for anything, but it's just strange--and a little sad--to discover I no longer have one.
So, doing a personal inventory again, I need hearing aids, I've lost the vision in my right eye, I have degenerative changes in my spine, my knees are shot, I have lost my singing voice...and today my dentist tells me my teeth are dissolving.

They're not in imminent danger of melting away the next time I bite into a Big Mac (if I ever ate Big Macs, which I don't think I ever have), but it's getting to be where with some of my teeth there is more filling than actual tooth and she sees this as a continuing situation unless I do something drastic.

She says it's probably due to dry mouth.  Who knew I had dry mouth?  That goes along with old age, diabetes, medications and I don't remember what else, but I hit the trifecta.

So I now have a list of things to do to forestall the disappearance of my teeth altogether.  She wants to keep me around because I'm the ideal patient--I do not have insurance (I hears horror stories today about dental insurance) and I bring her a lot of work!

At least it's only my teeth which are dissolving.  Some days when I visit my mother (like today), I get the feeling she's dissolving slowly in front of me.  These days when she says "I'm getting old, Bev," she really looks it.  But at least she still has all her teeth.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sunday Stealing

Name your favorite:

Place:  No matter where in the world I go, or what beautiful places I see, I can't imagine a place I love more than San Francisco.  It's my city by the bay and I have loved it all of my life.

Person:  That's a difficult one and probably depends on the day and the time and the circumstances (not going to trick me into committing to just one person!)

Color:  It's always been red, but the blue-ish red, not the orange-ish red.

Food:  Dungeness crab, of course.  Chocolate's not bad either.

Smell:  Oh the usual--the ocean, coffee, a non-hot house rose, puppy breath, fresh bread baking, a newborn baby's head.

Book: "East of Eden"

Movie:  The 1954 Judy Garland A Star is Born.  Runners up: Affair to Remember, Dave, Air Force One

Music artist:  Nobody current.  For all time, Judy Garland.

Thing to do when bored: Read or watch TV

Genre of literature: What I read most is crime drama, but if it's well written I love it.

Magazine:  Not a magazine person.

Texture:  Velvet, or that new material that they make blankets out of today that just melt in your hands when you touch them (it's the material my blanket is made of)

Time of day:  Maybe 8:30 p.m., when the dogs are fed and settled, dinner is finished and I don't have to feel guilty about watching TV

Day of the week:  Seems to be Thursday is the best TV night.

Thing to learn about: I love to learn about all sorts of oddball things, and working in a book store gives me access to learn about things like Australian hats, whatever happened to Einstein's brain, women in San Francisco history in the early 20th century, Hepburn's feelings about making The African Queen, conditions in third world countries, etc.

Thing about yourself:  I like my sense of humor (though I fear it is often misunderstood, when written), and I like that I have compassion for everyone and everything, though that is often very frustrating when I feel so helpless to make a significant difference in the world.

Lifehack (a time saving, efficiency technique for life)
This video changed my life

Sunday, January 18, 2015

And So It Starts

Well, my guru called me today and said he'd found the perfect computer for me.  For those who understand those things (I am not one of them), it's a Dell Inspiron i3647-2309BK Desktop with an Intel Core i3-4150 processor, 8 GB DDR3 RAM, 1 TB hard drive, Windows 8.1 64 bit, 4 2.0 USB ports, 2 3.0 USB ports.
I don't have a clue what most of that means, but it will be much faster and store much more stuff than the one that died, and the price was right, so I gave him the go-ahead.  He'll get it set up for me (that will probably cost more than the computer).

I have an approach-avoidance reaction to the news that I will soon have a new computer.  The learning curve gets harder and harder, though the long time without a computer has given me work-arounds that make the loss of what was on the old computer less painful.

I know that the bonding process will be exciting and frustrating.  But when I've finally bonded, I suspect I will be very happy.  Oh heck, I know I'll be very happy.

I finally got out of my chair of sick today and went to visit my mother.  I hadn't seen her since our lunch on Monday, though I had called her every day.  We didn't have much to say to each other.  All she wanted to know was what I had been doing that was exciting, and all I could tell her was that I had been sitting in a chair with stomach cramps for 3 days.  Many, many times.

I didn't stay for lunch, but I dropped off her meds for next week and picked up her laundry.

Walt and I were going to a memorial service at 1.  It was for Uncle Herb, whom I barely knew, but he was Marta's step-uncle and we went to the memorial to honor him and support the family.  We had been to holiday dinners that Herb attended but I don't think I ever spoke to him--we were always in different parts of the table.

So imagine my surprise to learn that he was an author (Herbert Hocking) who had lived for many years in Perth, Australia and had written several books set in and around Perth and other parts of Western Australia.  Ned didn't know that either.  Had someone told me, we might have talked about Australia.  Instead, I'm going to read one of his books and see how they are.

After the memorial there was a reception catered by the amazing Sarah Clanton, of Stone Soup here in Davis.  It was a lovely spread but none of it looked good to me. I took a few things, ate a couple, and gave the rest to Walt.  My stomach just wasn't in a mood to eat anything...and that is saying something for someone who spends all of her time at things like this hanging around the buffet table trying to sneak seconds, thirds, and fourths without anybody noticing that the fat lady is hovering.

We had been invited to join the family for dinner at one of my favorite local eateries, The Buckhorn in Winters.  It's a real old fashioned meat and potatoes place, where you get huge slabs of meat and sit under the heads of animals who gave their lives so someone could slap them up on a wall (I hate that part, but the food is amazing).  

We almost never go there unless we are with a group, and I had been looking forward to it.  But given the way my stomach reacted to the reception food, I decided it would be a waste of money for me to go there, so I sent Walt on with Ned and Marta and I stayed homeProbably a good idea.  Walt brought home some of his prime rib and garlic mashed potatoes for me and I did finish them, but it took me all evening before I could get them down.

As for me, I rented Boyhood  and watched it (love Amazon!).  Good movie, but the part that really got me was toward the end when Mom looks at her son as he is headed off to college and says, reflecting back over his life, "I thought there would be more."  No parent who has watched their child grow into adulthood can fail to identify and be moved by that sentiment!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

How Old Do You Feel?

I saw Liam Neeson in an interview the other day. They asked him how old he felt (he’s 62). He said he didn’t see himself doing action films any more, but he really feels about 37. 

I read a long time ago that when you ask the older generation how old they feel, it is generally somewhere in the 30s. I wonder why that is. Do we peak in our 30s and continue to fondly remember those days?
Once I hit 60 and thought back on it, I realized that mentally I am probably 35... somewhere in mid 30s.

My body tells me different, of course. My knees are shot, my back is shot, I need hearing aids and a refill of my glasses prescription, my brain doesn’t respond as quickly as I would like and memory lapses, in light of my mother’s dementia, worry me. But still, I will turn 72 in a month and there is no way that I feel 72.

(Well, maybe today I do.  With continuing intestinal problems, I contacted my doctor who says to wait until Monday and then report back to her)

There seems to be a HUGE market in anti-aging creams, pills, and surgical procedures. I never understood that. I’m 72. I want to be treated like I’m 72. I earned the respect given to a person my age. I don’t want people to look at me, see this unnaturally young face and assume that I can do things that younger people do, which not only can I not do, but which I have no interest in doing.

Age is such a strange thing. I don’t understand why people are embarrassed to be a certain age. My grandmother went so far as going to the big old fashioned family bible and changing the year of her birth. I still don’t know exactly how old she was when she died.

My friend’s children gave her a surprise birthday party when she turned 60 and she had a toddler-like tantrum because it meant that everybody knew how old she was and she had been trying to keep her age secret. I couldn’t understand that.

I have salt and pepper hair and wrinkles and age spots and I earned them all and am proud of them.
Besides, the longer you live the more memories you have.  Someone from The Lamplighters posted a great picture yesterday.  It's from 1995 and it's when the entire company packed up a show and took it to the 2nd annual Gilbert & Sullivan festival in Buxton, England.

What a wonderful trip that was.  One of the reasons I'm sorry the Lamplighters book 3 never got written is because this story is now untold.  We brought my mother.  She had never experienced theater at all, really, and at this intensity, it was quite an experience for her -- two G&S shows a day for the length of the festival.

Walt was part of the set crew and they had to build the set on the street outside the theater.  Our show (Princess Ida) got great scores from the judge ("adjucator") and the photo below is in front of the theater, when we were all dressed up to go to the awards banquet, where we won all the big awards, and I got a kiss from my favorite D'Oyly Carte performer, John Reed, when I presented him with copies of our two histories.

I think it was more theater than my mother bargained for, but when it was over, we took her to Amsterdam so she could visit with her in-laws there.  She was about Walt's age when we went, and now I understand why it was so exhausting for her!

Friday, January 16, 2015

An Afternoon with a Good Book

Around 11 a.m., I really didn't want to go to Logos.  And I really did want to get something stronger than pancakes to help with my problem.  So Susan agreed to work for me, I went to the store and brought home something by Phillips, took a couple of pills, climbed into the recliner and buried myself in a book, waiting for my mild pains to pass.  Literally.

The book was "Go into all the World" by Australian David Chalmers and I found it so fascinating, I finished it all in one sitting.  I'm not sure if people not familiar with Compassion, Int'l would be as interested, but I really enjoyed it for all sorts of reasons.

Chalmers was a young man in 2006 when he first encountered Compassion.  As so many of us did, he was drawn to the picture of a specific child in Columbia and he decided to sponsor her.  Also as it seems to happen, once he had one, he started sponsoring more.  He finally decided he wanted to sponsor a child in every country where Compassion worked and ended up with 31 sponsored children in 12 different countries (at then-$32 per child, this is no small investment).

But he felt the call to do more.  He decided he would visit all of his sponsored children and this book, really more like a collected series of blog entries, details his experiences on those trips over the next few years.
As I said, I found it fascinating on many levels.  He paints vivid pictures of the things he saw on his trips, not only the extreme poverty, the appalling living conditions, the occasional dangerous situations, but he also is surprised at the joy he finds in the most lowly home, places without walls where, he asked one mother what they do when it rains and she answered "we get wet."

He talks about the importance the letters we all write makes to the children, how they are saved and treasured and how the kids who get no, or few letters are so disappointed.

He describes the difference being in the Compassion program makes to the families of the sponsored children.  He visited the project center everywhere he went, saw how the place is run, saw the meticulous records kept for each child (the poorer centers had only a few children, while some had nearly 1,000).
When you contribute to a charitable organization, sometimes you aren't sure how much of your money actually goes to the child.  He describes in detail how the money is spent for the children, how the volunteers (it seems most project workers are volunteers) truly care about the children and give them support, love, health care, and perhaps their only nutritious meal of the day.

But more than showing me how Compassion operates around the world, it strengthened my conviction that going to visit my sponsored children would not be something that would work for me.  Just the paragraph about walking 2 miles in one direction (in extreme heat) to see the child's project and then back again and another mile to go somewhere else killed it for me.  I would not be able to keep up.

He also had wonderful interactions with some of his sponsored children and is very honest about the disappointing interactions with others. He admits to being very shy and awkward in social situations.  But he had two things going for him.  He was a music teacher and plays the drum and when he couldn't communicate with the children, he could get their attention with music...and also he took an "footy" (the ball used to play Australian rules football) and got games started with the kids wherever he went.  It went far to break down some (but not all) of the barriers with the quieter kids.

I think back to our visit to the school Viking supports in China and my great disappointment that the children openly turned away from me and chose someone else to be their visitor to relate to and my biggest fear -- over and above the heat and the rigors of the visit -- is that these children, many of whom I have come to love very much (others I'm waiting until more time has elapsed and we have more communication between us) would not relate to me at all.  How sad that would make me feel.

Chalmers admits to feeling like I would feel under the situation, disappointed that after all he'd done for the kids they were so standoffish, but then he adds that he realized it wasn't all about him, after all, but about the kids.

I would also have the added deterrent of not being fluent in the Bible, or in religion at all and while he does not dwell on that aspect, it is clear that the one big thing they share is their faith, which I can fake in letters, but it would be more difficult to do in person.

It's not that I don't believe in God, but I think of myself as spiritual, not religious. God may have a good talking to me about that at the end of my life.

But it was a good read anyway and by the time I had finished it I was finally much relieved.  Literally.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Becoming My Mother

There are times when I swear my mother's condition is contagious, and I have caught it.  Yesterday was one of those days.  She is forever telling me that she feels like things are wrong, that she should be doing something, but she can't remember what.  I felt that way yesterday.  It's impossible to describe exactly what it felt like, but all I know is that I understood for the first time what my mother must be feeling.

Physically, I was still feeling a bit rocky and didn't feel like eating, so had very little to eat throughout the day.
But my brain just didn't kick into gear most of the day.  First I had to solve a banking problem.  I got my Visa bill and it showed that I had not paid last month's bill.  That seemed impossible.  I always pay the bill in full.  How could I have not?  I knew I had paid the bill because when I deposited a check a couple of days before, I only had about $300 in my account, which is what I should have had at the end of the month before my Social Security check is deposited.  If I had not paid my bill, I should have had a lot more.

I started trying to figure it out.  This is the kind of thing that I am not very good at, but as I started checking my bank statement on line, I realized that there is no way I could have paid the bill because I am now using the laptop and didn't have the passwords to get into the account and had to talk with someone at the bank to get my log-in information.  If I had paid the bill last month, I would have already set all of this up.
OK.  so I didn't pay the bill...but where was the money I should have had?  

It took a long time, but I finally figured it out.  I had deposited a check into my checking account at the end of the year and then took a portion of that check and transferred it into my savings account.  The transfer showed, but the deposit did not.  What happened to the money?  After a long, frustrating time, I finally checked my savings account and it turned out I had deposited it into that account...and then transferred money from my checking account into my savings account, leaving very little in the checking account.

I was relieved to have solved the mystery, not happy that for the first time I have a fee on my Visa bill, but as soon as my Social Security check arrives, I can pay the double bill and be back on track.

In the afternoon, I went to the store to do some shopping.  "Just a couple of things."  First I had a check to deposit and in using the ATM machine managed to indicate that I wanted the transaction to be conducted in Spanish. 

I got my "couple" of things and checked out.  When Walt and I were first married, I remember I had $20 a week for household expenses.  I could fill up four bags of groceries for that amount.  Today, 4 bags of groceries came to over $150.  Good thing I wasn't doing a "big" shopping.

But as I shopped, I was feeling less and less well.  I was having pains in my stomach, and my back was killing me, so when I got home I put all the refrigerated or frozen stuff in the fridge and then climbed into the recliner and went to sleep for an hour or so.

Several years ago, I wrote an entry called "Pancakes," which is probably my classic TMI entry, but it detailed a sticky situation and how my traditional remedy for constipation was pancakes with lots of butter and syrup.  Works every time.

So for dinner, I had waffles with lots of butter and syrup and a couple of hours later I felt a bit better.
It was just a strange day all around. I think my brain finally cleared by the end of the day, but I'm not sure.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The mid-night call

I had just readjusted my position on the couch and was settling in to go back to sleep when I heard the phone ring.  My eyes popped open and I was instantly awake.  Those middle of the night calls are never good.  Nobody ever calls to tell you that you've won a million dollars or that your kid just got into Harvard.
It only rang once and I lay there trying to decide if it had really rung, or if I had imagined it.  Had Walt quickly picked it up so it wouldn't wake me?

Then I heard voices and thought I might have heard Walt's feet hit the floor in the bedroom above me.
Oh shit, I thought.  I was one of those mid-night calls.  Who died now?

But he didn't seem to becoming downstairs.  I finally got up.  It was 2:15 a.m. and the TV was on, so the voice I heard had come from Frasier, not from Walt.  

Still not convinced, I checked the caller ID and saw that the last incoming phone call had been the previous afternoon.  So it was all in my imagination anyway, but by now I was wide awake and couldn't get back to sleep.

I took out my iPad and checked to see if there were any comments on my journal entry--then remembered I hadn't written one yet.  So that's why I'm sitting here at 3:30 instead of going back to sleep.

We did have a death of sorts yesterday.  Well I did.  My beloved bread maker seems to have died.  Or it's sounding the death rattle.  It has stopped mixing the ingredients without help from me, which makes it as good as useles.  It has given me decades of wonderful service and I feel the death keenly, but I've been window shopping on Amazon to see what is available now.  Mine was a heavy duty, expensive Zojirushi and I loved it.  But I don't make bread as often as I used to so a cheaper model will do fine.  And yes, I could go back to making bread by hand, but I probably won't, so a new machine is in the offing.

I'm also in an adjustment period. I have re-started my diabetes medicines again, after a long time not taking them.  In fact, one of the reasons I started seeing therapist Debbie was to figure out why I was so resistant to taking them.

There is a breaking in period, I remember now, for these meds.  Whenever I start them it seems to me that it takes a couple of weeks before the nausea goes away.  This has been one of the reasons I have stopped taking them in the past. I've talked with the doctor and I know that this is a temporary thing. It's just a question of getting through it.

It's not bad nausea, but it's nausea nonetheless.  And I don't notice it until I stand up and start moving around (that old Underdog adage I mentioned the other day, Things are fine when I sit down, but when I stand up things go round and round).

Nausea can be a good thing.  When you have nausea, the last thing you want is food.  I made 2 pieces of toast for breakfast yesterday and gave one to the dogs.  I don't think I had lunch, but did have a couple of oranges in the middle of the day. And I really liked the turkey soup I made for dinner, but I could only finish half a bowl.

As I write this, the last thing in the world I feel like is something to eat and the first thing I feel like is going back to sleep.  So I think I'm going to do that.

But I'm very happy that my mid-night call was only my imagination.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Flurry of Activity

Polly and I were sitting in front of the TV tonight when something that looked at first like a huge moth flew by my head. I did the logical thing and ducked, but Lizzie was going crazy going outside and looking up and barking and then inside and looking up and barking.  

I don't know if I saw a large moth or not, but what flew in next was unmistakable.

I called Walt to help me catch it (someone on Facebook said to try to catch it in a towel and then release it outside), with the dogs, especially Lizzie, watching its every move (Sheila just kept sleeping).

Finally Walt was able to use the towel when it was on the chain to the kitchen light.  He didn't catch it, but scared it and it flew down and stood on the ground just inside the door.  Polly jumped at it, it flew away, and we closed the door.

But it was a bit of excitement to liven up the evening! 

 It topped off a full day which started with a dental appointment.  This appointment had been postponed several times and the next available appointment wouldn't be until February, so they promised me they would have me out by 10 a.m., so my mother and I could get to San Rafael for the next lunch with her friends.

We got to Arriverderci restaurant early.  This was the place where we celebrated my mother's birthday back in September, though then we were outside in the sun.  No outside on this cool day.

Jeff, the "kid" in the group (he's only 50) was the last to arrive and I asked him about his new goatee.
He explained that he had been sick last week and only had enough energy to grow hair.  He said he didn't think it was going to last long.

As usual, we had a wonderful meal, lots of laughs and my mother came alive again (though it doesn't look like it in this picture!)

The lunch was for Paula's birthday.  She was turning 91.  I had bought a card for my mother and me to sign but she never did get it straight who was having a birthday and wished Jeff a happy birthday several times.

The group decided we need to get together again next month to celebrate my birthday.

I really enjoy these people and am happy to meet with them.  It also gives my mother much-needed socialization, which she does not allow herself at Atria.

When it was time to leave, there were hugs all around, and a special hug for Jeff, who is my mother's favorite. As much as she enjoys her female friends, she's just not happy without a man to fuss over.

When I was paying the bill, my mother walked outside with the other women and I was so worried about her getting lost that I forgot to leave a tip and the waiter had to run after me.  I was embarrassed... because he had been a nice, attentive waiter!

We were both tired on the way home.  I was fighting sleep, so pulled off in a parking lot and put on a playlist of music I had made when we took my mother on a long drive to visit her family home many years ago.  It's all music of the 40s and 50s, and by golly she sang all the words to all the songs...some things she remembers!