Thursday, April 30, 2015

...and Life Goes On...

Life goes on, whether you want it to or not..."

It seems to be my mother's favorite saying these days.  It's kind of what she uses to fill an empty space where conversation should be.  This is usually followed by the inevitable "I'm old, Bev" monologue, running thru her family members who have left her and whether she's going to live to hunnert.  Today was the first day that she actually said she wasn't sure she wanted to live to hunnert.

She seemed very tired today.  I woke her up when I came, after lunch, to deliver her laundry.  But I almost always wake her up.  She seems to spend her time napping.  Today, however, she seemed just more worn out than usual.

In fact, it kind of scared me into taking a series of photos of her today, since I hadn't taken any in awhile.

 Again, she didn't recognize the picture of Brianna and Lacie on the back of my phone and asked who those girls were when she saw my phone.  The other day she asked me where Paul is these days because she hadn't seen him in awhile.

She asked many times what I was doing tonight and said that there is "nothing new here." and that there is "nothing exciting going on here." 

She did, however, say, for the first time not only that she is happy at Atria (she always tells me that now), but that she had made a "few friends" that she had chosen carefully.  Usually she tells me she doesn't know anybody there, which is not true.  She just doesn't know anybody by name.  But apparently she remembers now that she has a couple of friends.

I had done her laundry, but I'm going to have to steal clothes from her.  I used to have a full basket every week, but for the past 3 weeks I have only had underpants, not even bras.  Since she wears the same 3 or 4 outfits every day, surely she needs something washed by now, but ever since Atria apparently told the residents that clothes could not be washed (presumably on the day they were shutting off the water for the day), so not to leave clothes out to be washed, she has not given me any clothes, though I remind her that Atria doesn't wash her clothes; I do.

The thing that gives her the most pleasure is the garden area outside her door.  If we aren't discussion what I am going to be doing at night, she is telling me how beautiful the garden is, how she loves it that the spring leaves have popped out on the bare trees (which apparently they did overnight, to hear her tell it). She finds more beauty in the green of leaves than anybody I have ever known.  Whenever I take her out anywhere, what she notices the most are the colors of the trees.

When she talks about the garden, her eyes sparkle and she doesn't have that tired look any more....and I am so grateful that we never moved her into the place in Petaluma, where her apartment would have looked out on the parking lot and no greenery.

Days like today make me realize that her days are growing shorter...and there is a part of me that hopes she makes it to hunnert after all.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Never Trust a Critic

I'm sure there are people who base their decisions of whether to attend a show (or a movie) or not on what the  critic in their local paper tells them.

I learned long ago to take reviews of anything with a huge grain of salt.

In the days when we were in the SF Bay Area and I was working for the Lamplighters, if we could even get a critic to come to a show, we had two different types of critics who would show up.  We had the woman who wrote a "review" that consisted of telling the plot of all the familiar Gilbert & Sullivan stories and named which actor played which role.  That is hardly a review.  You can read that in the program.

On the other hand, some of the other reviewers seemed to take the title "critic" literally and felt it was their duty to find something to criticize.  No matter how good the show, they would carp about the smallest thing that they didn't like.

And then there were the personal prejudices of the critics.  I remember one critic arriving at a Gilbert & Sullivan production at the Lamplighters and I heard him groan to his companion "Oh dear, I suppose I'm going to have to sit through xx and xx tonight," the xxs being principal performers in the company that he, personally did not like.  I believe he was the one who reviewed the female xx once as being as sexy as a wet toothbrush.  He never had a single good thing to say about her, though all the rest of us thought she was marvelous (as did all the professional companies that hired her after she left the Lamplighters).

(I love the show, "Theater Talk" produced by CLUNY-TV and runs at midnight on Sundays here.  I record it and watch later.  The host is Michael Riedel of the New York Post and he interviews various Broadway people. But my favorite shows are when he sits around talking theater with 3 other critics--not the same ones all the time. Some of them are so bitchy I wonder if they ever write anything positive about anything.  That's not my idea of what a critic, especially one in a small town, should be doing.)

I am always flattered when people tell me that they read my reviews if they are considering going to a show, to decide if they will really go or not.  It's nice that they do that, but what I write is only my opinion and I could differ quite a lot from another reviewer.

The production of The Pirates of Penzance that I reviewed this weekend is a wonderful case in point.  I read the review of another critic (a "real" critic -- I call myself a "faux" critic because I don't have the credentials for this job).  When I read his review, I wondered if we had seen the same show.
For starters, my headline read "STC's 'Pirates of Penzance' simply sparkles."  His read "Sacramento Theatre Company stages an awkward ‘Pirates of Penzance’"

I opened my review with "Saving the best for last, the Sacramento Theatre Company closed out its current season with a sparkling new production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s 'The Pirates of Penzance.' ... This show is so tightly directed and so exquisitely choreographed that the small cast was more than adequate. The whole show moved with the precision of the Rockettes. Every move is sharp and crisp with wonderful little bits added."

He started his review, "The play’s goofy humor is everything, even in its current dullish staging at Sacramento Theatre Company. Director Michael Laun’s production seems to present the show as if being slightly ineptly staged in a high school gymnasium flanked with lush velvet curtains, barely populated but intentionally flimsy props and a clumsy actor or two."

He then goes on to take the track the San Francisco reviewer used to do, give the plot and who played what.
I ended my review with, "On the whole, this is just a superlative production. I’ve been following Gilbert & Sullivan around the world for some 50 years and I think this ranks up there as one of the best productions of 'Pirates of Penzance' that I have seen."

He ended his with, "'The Pirates of Penzance' has never been anything but cake and frosting, and while it still works as dessert here, it’s more perfunctory than inspired."

Should someone go see this production of Pirates of Penzance?  Heck, beats me.  I loved it.  The Sacramento critic hated it.  I also spoke with the wife of another critic (his review has not come out yet), who said "Boy, you can sure see how important enunciation is," indicating that she couldn't understand a word that was said, where I felt that the diction had been crisp and clear (and I have a hearing impairment...but then I do have the advantage of knowing the show backwards and forwards).

Disagreements with this would ordinarily make me doubt my own opinions and my qualifications as a critic, except that if there is any part of theater on which I have a great deal of expertise, it's Gilbert & Sullivan.  I would be hard pressed to know how many times I have seen Pirates of Penzance in my life or how many different companies' versions I have seen.  (Heck, I was the only critic who knew that this production had added a song from Ruddygore into Act 2).  So I don't say that I have the definitive review of this production, but I have no question whatsoever about my feelings for this particular production and I would recommend it to anyone.

It just proves that you should never trust a critic!  Get to know your favorite critic's proclivities and understand that his or her opinion could be quite different from yours.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

All That Jazz, Part 2

Today was the big day, the day we did most of the things we had come  to do.  It started off with breakfast at the hotel and, under the stern eye of the waiter, learning to like grits (with enough butter you can like anything...Dave and his friend ultimately liked them so much that on the last day, which did not include hotel breakfast, they went to a restaurant where they could get grits).

We had to get the damn blocks to Loyola and decided the easiest way was to send them by cab with one of the chaperones and 3 of the boys. The cab driver needed much encouragement, but eventually agreed to take the blocks (for what turned out to be a fairly exorbitant sum).  Ultimately, the driver dropped them at Tulane, not Loyola and they had to carry the blocks for 3 blocks.  
The blocks arrived in somewhat less than ideal repair, so it was fortunate that I had Walt's hammer (wrapped in a sock) and some nails in my purse.  He spent about half an hour rebuilding several blocks prior to the kids' performance.

We were able to see all the show choirs which performed on Saturday afternoon and it was a good group, though Davis (in our own estimation) was by far the flashier of the groups, but the Greendale High School folks had the edge vocally and we felt we were up against some stiff competition.

On the return to the hotel, we took all the blocks on the streetcar (which passes through New Orleans' Garden District), which gave many people a place to sit, and then wended our way up Canal St. to the hotel to get rid of the damn blocks until time to return to California.

We met for dinner in the hotel lobby and while waiting for everyone, Dick found a piano in a darkened room and was coerced into playing.  All the kids stood around the piano singing.  It was a really nice moment and drew a crowd of people, but I wondered if the hotel appreciated it, since I noticed that for the rest of our stay in the hotel, the room with the piano was kept in total darkness.

After a wonderful dinner at the hotel, where all the chaperones had Cajun deep fried shrimp (which lived up to expectations), we were ready to tackle the French Quarter, following suggestions and cautions from the restaurant's waiter.  We were about to fulfill Dick's long-held dream of taking a bunch of kids to the French Quarter, plopping a boom box down and just having them perform for whoever wanted to watch.

However, the French Quarter deserves its own separate entry, so that will be Part 3.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Kathy Conner Redux

Usually when I use the name of a friend as the title of journal entry, it is because they have died.  But Kathy is very much alive.  She has been the oboist for the Lamplighters for the past several decades.  She is also, off and on, a reader of this journal, but definitely reads it if she thinks her name will be in it, as she reminded me yesterday.  The last time she made an appearance here was 2011.

We had gone to see The Lamplighters production of The Grand Duke, the final collaboration of Gilbert & Sullivan, and at intermission, I presented myself to the orchestra pit, as directed, so Kathy could see my head.  She has been following the shaving saga on Facebook and wanted to see it in person.  So here ya go, are once again immortalized on the pages of this journal.  In another four years, I might mention you again, so keep reading!

The Grand Duke brought to a close our three-show weekend.  Usually, I am not a fan of three-show weekends, but this weekend was more fun than work.

The first show we saw was Friday, here in Davis.  The Davis Musical Theater Company was presenting The Wizard of Oz and I knew that would be an easy show to review.  I always like it when DMTC does a production that is good and I can concentrate on the good stuff rather than having to point out flaws.  And this was a good production.  Their Dorothy was very good and had a wonderful voice, so naturally I loved her "Over the Rainbow."  
But the performance that impressed me the most was our friend, and company founder, Steve Isaacson, who was playing the cowardly lion.  His performance was quite good, but the audience didn't know how amazing it really was.  Steve has suffered chronic pain for years and recently had a neural stimulator installed in his spine.  I talked about it at great length earlier this month.  He had told me at that time that it was not working the way he hoped it would and he had the choice of being in extreme pain with the stimulator turned off, or having a difficult time walking because of the buzzing sensation up and down his legs, so he planned to turn it off just before he went on stage and on again as soon as he came off stage.

From his performance, bundled up in that lion costume, you'd never know he was performing in pain, which made the fact that it was an excellent performance that much more remarkable.

It was an easy review to write.

The second show, Saturday night, was The Pirates of Penzance at the Sacramento Theater Company.

 I had some concerns about this production because (a) this theater company doesn't do musicals as a general rule, and (b) the cast was very small and I worried about the absence of a women's chorus.  We have been around Gilbert & Sullivan for some 50 years now, since the days when we first heard of The Lamplighters and started ushering at the old Harding theater in San Francisco.  I would be hard pressed to count the number of times I have seen this show, both in this country and in England, where we attended the 2nd International Gilbert & Sullivan festival with The Lamplighters many years ago (and won the big awards).  But I have to admit that this particular production ranks up there with one of the best we have ever seen.  The staging and choreography were crisp and clean, the performances were wonderful, the extra bits that were thrown in for fun were great fun and we were just blown away by the whole thing.  It was another easy review to write.

And then there was The Grand Duke, which The Lamplighters had only done one time before, in a shortened concert version.  It is rarely performed and this was our opportunity to finally round out the whole G&S canon.  We have now seen all 13 operettas.  And it's easy to see why this one is so rarely performed.  It's not very good! Definitely not on a par with the previous 12 and easy to see that the dynamic duo had come to the end of their collaboration.  The story is sillier than most (though I do admit for now having a craving for a sausage roll) and much of the music is reminiscent of other operettas, one song in particular lifted right out of Princess Ida and given different lyrics.

But the production itself was good and I had the feeling that my friend Gilbert was there in the theater with me because, having had only 3 hours of sleep the night before, and the first act being so long, I kind of started to doze off three different times and all three times I felt a distinct poke, twice in my back, and once on my shoulder to wake me up.  Walt was dozing himself, and we were in the last row so there was no way any living person had done it.  I can only conclude it was Gilbert.  (that's my story and I'm sticking with it)

Fortunately I was not writing a review for this one. 

At intermission, I had a text from Char inviting us to come to her daughter Dana's house after the show, if we were going to be getting out early.  Char's birthday is tomorrow and I figured this was a celebration and it was.  Low key, just sitting around munching food (the clam dip was gone by the time we got there), but it was nice, though two of her kids had left by the time we arrived.

The dogs were happy to see us when we got home at 9:30 or so.  They were also very hungry!

All in all, a good theater weekend.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday Stealing

1. Most unflattering hairstyle you ever had? What made it so unflattering?
The one I'm wearing now.  Bald, or nearly bald, is not my best look!

2. Favorite movie(s) that were made in the 90's?
Good Will Hunting, Schindler's List, The Sixth Sense, Toy Story and Mrs Doubtfire

3. Do you rent movies? If so, from where?
No.  We have Netflix streaming.

4. Do you like cookies better when they're just out of the oven or after they've cooled?
It depends on the cookies, but in general after they've cooled.

5. Do you still talk to the person who gave you your first kiss?
He is a Jesuit Brother and we have not seen each other in at least 30 years.  We exchange Christmas cards.

6. Did you go to pre-school? If so, what was the name of it?
No.  I don't know if they even had pre-school in the 1940s.

7. How do you take your coffee?
Strong and black.

8. Do you like fuzzy things?
Sure.  That's why we have 3 dogs.

9. Favorite kind of chocolate?
Milk chocolate.  See's, Lindt truffes, etc.

10. Are you more optimistic or pessimistic?
A mix of both, but I hope mostly optimistic.

11. What about Do you think the site is mean, funny, or both?
I've heard of it, but I've never checked it out because I don't like humor at the expense of someone else.  Or, in other words, mean.

12. Do you like fat sandwiches? If so, what does your favorite one have on it?
Not really.  I like simple sandwiches.  My favorite may be tomato sandwich, with just tomato and mayo on balloon bread.  Or a lamb sandwich, with just lamb and mayo, again on balloon bead.  I don't like lettuce on any sandwich.

13. One restaurant you'd never been to but would like to go to?
There are a lot of restaurants on Check Please, Bay Area that I'd like to try, but they are too darn expensive. I'd also love to eat in many of the restaurants owned by Food Network chefs.

14. Last time you got a haircut? Do you need one?
March 13, when I had my head shaved to raise funds for children's cancer research. I think it will be awhile before I'll be needing a hair cut!

15. What's your favorite pattern for clothing (stripes, plaid, etc.)?
I guess solids.  But no conscious preference.

16. What's your age backwards?

17. When you see typos in a survey, do you correct them?

18. When was your last vacation? Did you go someplace special?
Last mini vacation was a month or so ago to Santa Barbara for a long weekend.  Last "big" vacation was in 2013, to Ukraine.

19. What's your favorite kind of pancakes?
Buttermilk, loaded with butter and maple syrup.

20. Do you like movies with computer graphics, like Avatar?
Not really.

21. Do you know how to sew?
Sewing?  What's that?  Is it anything like that thing they call "ironing" ?

22. Are you good at wrapping gifts?
I used to be fantastic, now I'm utilitarian.

23. Do you like flavored yogurt?
Yes, especially strawberry

24. How old will you be in December of 2015?
The reverse of question #16 

25. What's the age difference between you and your siblings?
My sister was 4-1/2 years younger, but she was murdered in 1971, so I've been an only child longer than I was a sister.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Saturday 9

Hawaii Five-O

Welcome to Saturday: 9. What we've committed to our readers is that we will post 9 questions every Saturday. Sometimes the post will have a theme, and at other times the questions will be totally unrelated. Those weeks we do "random questions," so-to-speak. We encourage you to visit other participants posts and leave a comment. Because we don't have any rules, it is your choice. We hate rules. We love memes, however, and here is today's meme!

Saturday 9: Hawaii Five-O (1969)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This is the theme from the TV show that originally ran from 1968 to 1980 and is on now again with a new cast. Were you/are you a fan?
Nope.  Never was.  I can say "Book 'em, Danno" and know where it came from, but I never watched the show regularly.

2) On both shows, Five-O is an elite police task force led by Det. Lt. Steve McGarrett. Who is your favorite TV cop?
Currently, Olivia Benson.  Of all time, probably Monk.

3) On both shows, the part of Danny "Danno" Williams was played by a second generation performer. (James MacArthur was the son of Broadway legend Helen Hayes; Scott Caan is the son of movie actor James Caan.) If you followed one of your parents into their chosen profession, what would you be doing?
If I followed my father, I'd be working for the post office; if I followed my mother, I'd be working for the Bank of America.  Thank god I didn't follow in my parents' footsteps!

4) Both shows are filmed in Hawaii, the boyhood home of President Obama. Have any of our 44 Presidents hailed from your state?
Oh I have to admit to being from the state that gave the country Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon??? How ignominious.

5) Kona coffee is made from beans cultivated on the Big Island of Hawaii. Are you a big coffee drinker?
Not a BIG coffee drinker, but I drink my share.  Peet's.  French Roast.  Black.

6) This week's song was written by the late Morton Stevens. In addition to composing for TV shows, he was the musical director for a group of entertainers known in the 60s as "The Rat Pack." Can you name any "Rat Pack" members?
Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop. 

7) This week's featured band, The Ventures, began when Don Wilson purchased a used car from Bob Bogle. During negotiations, they discovered a shared passion for playing guitar. Did you buy your current ride new or used? Did the negotiations go smoothly?
We bought a new Honda a year ago and I was shocked at how smoothly it went.  We walked in and 30 minutes later drove out in our new car.

8) The year this song was popular, 1969, is when Donald and Doris Fisher opened a San Francisco clothing store called The Gap. Today there are more than 3,200 Gap locations. Do you shop at The Gap or
The Gap has nothing in my size.

9)  Random question: What's on your Saturday to-do list?
Visit my mother and bring her next week's meds.  Review The Pirates of Penzance at Sacramento Theater Company.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Today at Logos

SPOILER ALERT:  If you recorded Grey's Anatomy, The Black List or Scandal and have not yet watched the programs, skip the first paragraph


What a night of television.  I feel like I've been put through the ringer.  First there was Derrick Shepherd, Dr. McDreamy himself, all heroic in saving three people in an auto accident, only to be hit by a giant truck, bleeding all over the place taken to the wrong hospital, and then Meredith having to agree to pull the plug.  As if that wasn't bad enough, The Blacklist starts with Reddington being shot and rushed off to a secret location bleeding throughout the episode while hoards of armed men try to shoot him.  At one point I thought he was going to pull a Jack Bauer, pulling tubes out of his body, gripping a gun, and mowing 'em all down.  They are still trying to kill him.  And then from there I watch Scandal which begins with Huck punching Jake in the chest to revive him, when they thought he was dead, then lots of blood trying to bring him back to life.  He bleeds throughout the episode while there is shooting and more blood everywhere and Rowen is still trying to kill them all. After 3 hours of non-stop bleeding, I almost need a transfusion.  God.  I need an hour of Teletubbies or Hello Kitty or something!  


OK.  On to Logos.  It was nice to have a chat with Sandy for about 30 minutes, during which time I rang up three customers.  Things looked promising for the afternoon.  About the time Sandy was leaving a zaftig woman in a lovely flowing chiffon dress came in, looked around for about 10 seconds, and left.

A comfortably dressed woman in jeans, a baggy grey shirt and Birkenstocks looked around for awhile and then finally bought one bargain book.  At the same time, a man in a white pony tail was looking through the bargain books too, but never came into the store.

A nice young man came in looking for music.  He managed to find a very thick encyclopedia of music and musicians for only $8 and a score for a piano work.  He was talking to me about jazz and how jazz arrangements have changed these days, so when I mentioned that Jeri taught composing and arranging, he asked me to ask her about I think it was "rootless melody."  But I could be remembering that wrong

A woman wanted to know where to buy a photo album and I gave her some suggestions.

A grey haired woman with a rainbow colored backpack and walking with a cane moved around the store so quietly that every time I looked down and looked up again, she had disappeared and reappeared in some other part of the store.  She left the store without buying anything, then rummaged through the bargain books, and ultimately left without buying anything.

A guy in a painter's hat (but not Bruce) checked out comedy and then language books.  He heard me sniffle and asked if I had allergies.  We talked about how if you live in Davis long enough you eventually develop allergies.  I sniffle so often year-round I never even notice it!

A young woman looking for Spanish books bought 3 novels (including a translation of a Jeffrey Deaver mystery) and was disappointed that we had such a small selection of Spanish books.

A guy bought two literature books, including "Babbit" and one other one I've forgotten.

My friend did not show up, for the second week in a row, during the 4-5 hour, but by 5 there were 3 customers in the store, the most at one time all day.  A guy was looking for books on metaphysics, a woman in a safari hat was looking through literature and contemporary fiction and a woman in a salmon colored shirt and khaki pants carrying two bags (one might have been for some sort of electronic gadget).  None of them bought anything.

But the next guy bought $55 worth of books, including the entire Little House on the Prairie boxed set, "Thus Spake Zarathustra" and another book by Nietzsche and a couple of history books.

ASIDE:  This really bugs me.  Every. Single. Customer, especially those with big stacks of books, always lays their books as far from me as they can.  NOBODY ever hands me the books.  The guy with the Little House books put them down and behind them the stack of other hefty books and I couldn't reach them at all.  It's not like the desk is cluttered.  There is nothing directly in front of me, but consistently for all the years I've worked there nobody ever moves the books to where I can pick them up without having to stretch way out to reach them. Some even place them so they are half on the desk and half off the desk, which puts them even farther from my grasp. 

But it was a lucrative day, relatively speaking and I read more than half of a Dick Francis book I had not read before.

What a notebook page for "Today at Logos" looks like.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

All That Jazz, Part 1

In 1990, the Davis High Jazz Choir, of which David was a member in that year, traveled with their director, Richard Brunelle, to New Orleans to compete in a Jazz Choir competition.  It had long been Dick's dream to take a group of jazz choir members to New Orleans.  He envisioned them dancing on the streets of the French Quarter.  This was a huge thing for him and a huge thing for the jazz choir, which rarely traveled out of state, much less across the country.  Paul and Tom had both been in the Jazz Choir too, but I think the farthest they ever went to perform was Disneyland.

This morning I happened upon the scrapbook I kept of that fateful New Orleans trip and marveled at how glad I am that I am an inveterate journal maker.  This was in the days before on-line journals, and I was not keeping a regular journal in those days, but I did keep pretty complete records of our big trips.

I thought it might be interesting to hit the highlights of that trip over several entries here.  Maybe one a week or something.  In this first chapter, we deal with the difficulties of transporting 20 kids and 9 big wooden blocks across the country, dancing up and down the Mississippi, and Walt and I fighting over a room with James Foreman, the former head of SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee), who was being honored by the NAACP that weekend

As a surprise to Dick, the kids had shirts designed and when we got to the airport, they all disappeared into the bathrooms and came out wearing the shirts.

Everyone had a good laugh at Dick's surprise, finding himself on a t -shirt.

Then we need to talk about the boxes.  The boxes were an integral part of the choreography.  There were 9 of them and throughout the weekend, they were the bane of our existence.  Walt was the official tech guy, tasked with keeping them together, which was a bigger job than he anticipated since some of them needed to be rebuilt more than once. 

We had each kid check one block along with their luggage, and so we got them shipped across the country effortlessly.  The flight(s) were uneventful but the confusion began upon our arrival in New Orleans. 

(Interestingly, I wrote -- in 1990 -- "This is a state with no water problems!  Not only the vastness of the swamp system that we saw flying over, but also the fact that the restroom toilets flush automatically every 20 seconds or so.  You'd be arrested for that sort of thing in California!"  Not much has changed in the past 15 years, except things have gotten worse in California!)

Our first problem, after retrieving our luggage, was that New Orleans insists that all luggage be checked before leaving the baggage claim area.  Since Barbara, the head chaperone, handled all of the tickets and tags it meant she had everyone's tags for the 9 blocks and 2 guitars.  We formed a line that extended half the length of the baggage claim area while the clerks resolutely checked every piece of luggage leaving the area - even insisting on checking the tag on every single block to make sure it left with the student who originally checked it in California, despite the fact that all 9 blocks were identical.  The check-out process went on interminably.

There was also a mix-up with our bus, which wasted another 30 minutes, and by the time we arrived at our hotel it was after 4 and the kids had to be at Jax Brewery at 5 -- and we didn't know where the place even was.  That gave us 15 minutes to settle into our rooms and for the kids to change into their costumes and meet in the lobby.  That put everyone in a rush, especially since getting the keys took a long time (though it did give us a chance to wave at Jesse Jackson, who was just checking out).

Walt and I went to our room and discovered that the key card didn't work  The maid let us into our room, where we found someone else's luggage.  Walt also saw a plaque sitting on the dresser, which let us know that the room was occupied by James Foreman. We assumed he was late checking out but we didn't have time to speak with the hotel about it, so we stowed our luggage in the room of one group of the kids and we went to the lobby.

The hotel shuttle took us to Jax (otherwise I don't know that we would have gotten there on time).  The kids put on a great show, there on the banks of the Mississippi River. I admit to a warm feeling when I watched them doing Maple Leaf Rag and singing "...up and down the Mississippi..." while the selfsame river flowed past in the background.

(David in the box)

This was followed by a river boat cruise on the Mississippi for all the groups competing in the festival the next day, with samplings of shrimp Creole, jambalaya, and red beans.  Dave's best friend, Jeff, found himself a girl and so had a date for the weekend.

There were several problems getting back to the hotel, but eventually we were all there safely, and Walt and I still did not have a room.  Mr. Foreman was still in "our" room and had decided to stay another night.  Additionally, other chaperones had problems with their room with not enough beds for their whole family and the hotel was full up. After much deliberation the hotel decided to send the family to another hotel for the night and put us in their room, leaving Mr. Foreman in his own room.  It wasn't an ideal situation, but at least it gave everyone a place to sleep for the night.

When we ran into Mr. Foreman at the elevator, Walt suggested to him that he should go and get into his bed to avoid being thrown out...he resisted the temptation to ask, "you remember how to go limp, don't you?"

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bev 1, Mom 0

Sometimes you win.  It's a good feeling.

When I left Atria the other day, I stopped by the front desk to make a reservation for brunch on Mother's Day.  For once I was in time to get a spot and I felt good about that.  (The last two holidays I tried to get a reservation for they were full up and weren't taking any more reservations.)

Then Sandra, the girl at the desk with whom I have become friendly, told me that my mother had brought another bag of clothes that "didn't belong to her" to the front desk a few days before.

Well, of course they belonged to her, so I spent an hour yesterday going through photos and found the one at the left.  It's her wearing one of the shirts she says don't belong to her (it's from a Cousins Day in 2011).  She had also brought two pairs of pants and I found a picture of her wearing one of them.  I printed both pictures off.

The last time this happened it resulted in a very angry argument between us, her insisting she had never seen the clothes she brought, me telling her that I bought some of them for her, her insisting she had never worn them.  I told her I didn't see what a big deal it was because even if they weren't hers, all of her clothes were second hand anyway, purchased at the thrift shop where she worked, so she is used to wearing second hand clothes.  But she was adamant.  She didn't want anybody at Atria seeing her wearing their clothes and think she had stolen them.

It was classic dementia talking and I got caught up in it, trying to bring rationalization to it, which was, of course, impossible.  I ended up giving the clothes away, after trying to sneak them back in a couple of times.

After that I started bringing her laundry back in a laundry basket, rather than just piling it on the bed for her.  I made a big deal about "here is your laundry and I will pick the basket up later."  Since that time we haven't had any problems.

Until this week.

I figured that the problem was that her last load of laundry was small and so rather than bring it in a basket (which makes my back ache when I carry it), I brought it in a bag and maybe that was what caused the mix up.

Anyway, I was prepared this time.  I took out the sweatshirt and said that she had returned it to the desk, but really it was her shirt.  She spread it out and said "I don't ever remember wearing this shirt."  I whipped out the photo and showed it to her.  She could not deny it.  Then I showed her the photo of the pants.  And as she stood there with a blank look on her face, I suggested that the next time she doesn't recognize her clothes, she should realize that her mind is playing tricks on her again because nobody is going to be bringing strange clothes into her house.

I don't know if it worked, but there was no argument.  She took the photos and she kept the clothes, but whether they will get back out to the front desk or not, I don't know, but I figured I had handled things much better this time.  And from now on I will never bring her laundry back unless it is in a laundry basket!

I also did some shopping for her at the local CVS.  She needed lipstick and toothpaste, so I bought those and then I saw some dog beds.  We really needed a new one.  Sheila has taken to sleeping in this very tiny dog bed in the family room and I thought one that was at least a little bigger would be nice for her.  All the dogs have tried it out.

It's still a little small for Sheila, but if she curls into a ball, she fits.

It caused a great kerfuffle when I first brought it in, though.  Everybody sniffed at it and within seconds, Sheila and Lizzie were in a bloody battle that I had to break up by dragging Sheila off of Lizzie.  After that, none of them went near the bed, but eventually Polly got in it and then later Lizzie tried it out and as I write this, Sheila is sleeping in it.  That means there are now three beds in the family room and, if they want, room for everyone to have a comfortable bed.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

It's That Time Again

It comes around every year at this time.  The start of death anniversary season.  Paul on the 20th of April, David on the 18th of May.  Then we're free and clear for a few months until the holidays.  Thanksgiving's so chaotic these years that it's not bad, but it always causes a pang without Paul and Dave on Christmas.

It was kind of funny today.  After 16 years, I don't know exactly what to do on the anniversaries.  It seems  not right not to say something, but after all this time I don't need buckets of hugs and sympathy.  It is what it is and I'm used to it by now, for better or for worse. But the hugs and sympathy are always nice anyway.

Usually on this date I post the picture of Paul being held aloft at a concert on Whole Earth Day at the university.  This year I went different.  I posted this photo of David and Paul both.

And then Paul's good friend Sarge posted the picture of Paul being carried aloft (and, fittingly, chose a picture of Robert DeNiro from Taxi Driver as her Facebook profile picture).  And Jessica posted a picture of Paul I hadn't seen before.

In the afternoon Walt and I took flowers to the cemetery and then had our now traditional sushi dinner to close out the evening.

I hate April 20.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Saturday 9

"Country Dew," who writes "Blue Country Magic" does a "Saturday 9" each week.  I saw the questions for this Saturday and thought they would be fun to answer, though the questions seem to be inspired by music each week and I won't know any of the songs linked.  I don't know if I will do this regularly, but I might.  The description of the site is below, followed by this week's questions:
Welcome to Saturday: 9. What we've committed to our readers is that we will post 9 questions every Saturday. Sometimes the post will have a theme, and at other times the questions will be totally unrelated. Those weeks we do "random questions," so-to-speak. We encourage you to visit other participants posts and leave a comment. Because we don't have any rules, it is your choice. We hate rules. We love memes, however, and here is today's meme!


Saturday 9: Neon Lights (2013)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) Think of a neon sign you pass by often. What does it say?
I'm a theater critic and am at a theater once or twice a week and so the sign I see most often is "EXIT."

2) In the video for this song, Demi Lovato spends a great deal of time in the water. When is the last time you swam?
2009, with Char, in a pool on top of a hotel in
Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy. We only had 15 minutes because the pool was closing for the night.

3) The song encourages us to "look up at the sky." OK, we will. How does the sky look where you are today?
Clear and a beautiful blue.

4) Demi is a contributing editor for Seventeen magazine. When she was in junior high school, Crazy Sam eagerly awaited each new issue of Seventeen. When you were younger, what magazine(s) did you read regularly?
I was a sucker for movie magazines and eagerly awaited each month's new Photoplay, as well as several others.

5) Demi is an investor in the company that makes Texas Tea, a bottled beverage available at Whole Foods. Do you have any tea in your kitchen right now?
Yes, but I'm not a tea drinker.  I keep it for when Jeri comes home.

6) Demi is currently on tour, performing halfway around the world in Australia and New Zealand. Have you ever had a job that required travel?
Once, a volunteer job.  I was the regional coordinator for The Experimental in International Living and we had meetings once or twice a year, at Experiment expense.  I was able to travel to Brattleboro, Vt. twice, and I can't remember where else.  I know we went to San Francisco, though that was hardly an adventure for me, since I grew up there.

7) Demi had a recurring role on the show Glee. That show's series finale aired last month. Is there a show that's no longer on that you miss?
The West Wing, Northern Exposure, Picket Fences,

8) Fast-growing fast food chain Chipotle reports that their top sellers include a burrito bowl with steak or chicken, salad with chili-corn salsa, and a soft taco. Which of these would you order?
I've only eaten in Chipotle once and I had a burrito.  When I saw that Hillary ordered a burrito bowl recently, I was intrigued and may stop by and try it.

9) What beverage would you like to enjoy with your burrito bowl, taco or salad?
My beverage of choice is always water, with lots of ice.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Pain Management -- or not

We ran into a friend tonight.  I asked him how he was and he said he was in great pain.  I naturally expressed sadness at his pain, and said that I thought his last surgery had promised to relieve his pain.  This guy has been living with nearly constant pain for many years and has had many surgeries to correct various problems that have arisen, but the last one was supposed to finally end the pain.
He was having a neural stimulator implanted in his spine, which was supposed to help him control the pain.

I am very familiar with neural stimulators.  Our friend Olivia (who seems to have vanished off the face of the earth) suffered from severe back pain for years until they implanted a neural stimulator.  It's a gruesome procedure, she explained to me.  The stimulator consists of electrodes which attach to nerves in your spine and you have to be awake through the procedure because only you can direct the surgeon to which nerves need to be stimulated.  It sounded like a multi-hour electrocution.

After the device has been connected, it is controlled externally by something that looks like a TV remote which allows you to turn the device on and off and, if I'm not mistaken, adjust the amount of stimulation that goes to the nerves.   Olivia said that it didn't completely alleviate the pain, but made it bearable.

(Her back pain eventually worsened and the last I knew she had to have a second stimulator installed, so that she had one to control the pain in her upper back and one to control the pain in her lower back).

Apparently the device has not been as successful in our friend.  He says that with it turned off, he's in excruciating pain and with it turned on he has constant electrical vibrations down both legs and the knees lock.
Problem is that he's about to open in a play and he can't have the device turned on when he's on stage because of the problems with his legs, so he has planned to turn it off just before he goes on stage (which means he will be performing in excruciating pain) and then turn it back on again as soon as he goes off stage.

This is carrying "the show must go on" to incredible heights and I feel so sorry for him, but in awe that he is actually going to perform.

Which all reminds me of a book that I received today which I have been asked to review before its release to the public.  It was written by my friend Toni Bernhard, the author of the award winning book, "How to be Sick" and its sequel, "How to Wake Up."  The latest book is titled "How to Live Well with Chronic Pain and Illness."

Walt and I got to know Toni and her husband Tony (yes, really) when our kids were performing in the high school jazz choir together and the four of us went along to Disneyland with the group as chaperones.  We got along well and we liked each other very much.  We may actually have gone on two different trips.  I can't remember now.  But the kids graduated in the mid 1990s and our paths didn't really cross after that.

In May of 2001, Toni and Tony took their dream trip to Paris.  They had rented an apartment for the duration of their stay and what could be better than Springtime in Paris?
Only by the time they got to Paris, Toni felt like she was coming down with the flu and so she went to bed while Tony did sightseeing.  She assumed the flu would run its course.  But it didn't.  The virus compromised her immune system and that turned into a chronic illness.  She has been sick ever since.  She had been a law professor at the University and she tried going back to work, but it proved to be impossible.  Fourteen years later she is still mostly house-bound and often bed-bound.

Her first book, "How to Be Sick" was written as she learned to live with her illness and make the best of things.  As she says, she "learned to cultivate joy through others" -- not an easy task, but six years in the making.

She had studied Buddhism and her coping mechanisms were based on Buddhist principles, but the book is very readable even if you have not studied Buddhism (or even if you are not living with a chronic illness).  The book has been a big success and got her on the staff of Psychology Today, for which she writes regular articles.  This interview with NPR is wonderful.
It has taken several years — and many tears — to learn how to thrive in my new life. I still have rough days when I wish I could do whatever I want. But really, who can do that anyway?
On the whole, I'm content and at peace with what I can do. Even if it's from the bed.
So tonight I'm thinking of Toni, and Olivia, and our friend, and all those who live with debilitating illnesses, which may not be visible to the casual observer.  I cannot feel their pain, but I can try to be empathetic.  I will be spending the weekend reading Toni's new book and hope I can finish it over the weekend, so I can write a review.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Good bye, Logos

Yesterday I got a new book.  "Kisses from Katie" is the sort-of autobiography of Katie Davis who, as a high school graduate decided to postpone college because she felt that God wanted her to work with orphans in Uganda.  In time, she formed her own mission Amazima Ministries, where she cares for hundreds of poor children and has adopted 13 of them.  She has also been keeping a blog of her work since 2007.

I ordered her book because of wanting to learn more about Uganda, where my Compassion "daughter," Shallon lives, and I was finding it a fascinating read, so I took it to Logos with me to read.  Toward the end of the afternoon, I had read about half of it, to the part where she had just returned to the U.S. to get the mission officially finalized and do some fund-raising for her kids.

I put the book down to ring up one of my last customers, Jayne B, and her companion, who bought a stack of mysteries, including a Ruth Rendell I had not yet read.  As they left, I got up and went to look at the cookbooks.  I was looking for a specific recipe.  When I finished , I went back to the desk to spend the last half hour with Katie's book...and it was gone.  The only explanation is that Jayne accidentally picked it up with the rest of her stack of books.  I copied her name down from her credit card and tried to find her, but there is nobody by that name in the Davis phone book, or on the campus student directory.  My only hope is that when she gets home and finds the book, she'll bring it back...but if she lives out of town, which I fear she might, it might be too much effort to return it.  I may have to continue Katie's story by reading her blog over the last 7 years!

It was great to arrive at Logos today and find Sandy back in her old place at the desk.  She and her wife had been on a fabulous vacation to VietNam, Cambodia, and Nepal.  They had sent regular updates with wonderful photos until they got to Nepal, where they had no wifi (and sometimes no electricity).  I was eager to find out more about her trip, and as she started talking to me, Ann, who had filled in for her in her absence, arrived too, also eager to hear about her trip.

The three of us chatted for nearly an hour before Sandy finally had to leave and I took over for her.  It was nearly an hour (3:45!) before I had my first sale, to an older man who bought 2 bargain books and two books from the literature section.

A stylish woman wearing a long black and white striped skirt, a straw hat and a lovely scarf around her neck had saved a stack of bargain books to be picked up later.  She ended up spending a total of $41 on the bargain books plus books she picked up in the store--an eclectic collection which included "The Intelligence of Dogs," "Third World Navies," a book on Spinoza, Woody Allen's "Without Feathers," and Dr. Seuss's "The Tough Coughs as he Ploughs the Dough." She had to edit herself and put several books back, saying she would return to get them when she had more money.

A woman asked me for the name of the author of "The Boat that Wouldn't Float."  I wasn't familiar with it, but checked Amazon and found out it was Farley Mowat, but we didn't have that specific book, so she left.

An older woman bought two bargain books and two coffee table art books.

A woman with a little dog on a leash bought 4 bargain books and a book of Irish literature.  I would like to have talked with her about her dog, but I was still dealing with the woman with the $41 sale.
Two older women came in looking for a Thomas Guide.  I directed them to the travel section, where they found "a" Thomas guide, but not the one they wanted, so they left.

A colorful woman came in with her friend.  She was wearing pants that were royal blue in the back and pastel blu in front, a tie dyed shirt, dark shoes with electric pink socks and a bright pink backpack.  Her friend was a study in brown from his beard to his clothes to the baseball cap he wore backwards on his head and the heavy backpack.  He was carrying a skateboard.  They checked out science fiction for awhile and then left.

A nice looking young woman with a full navy skirt with polka dots, earbuds in her ears and a small nose ring bought a book of the lyrics of Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Another woman who reminded me very much of our Lamplighter friend Willa, but taller, was checking the music and show biz section, but left soon after, turning to wave at me and say "so long!"

My friend arrived at 4:50 but didn't stay long.  He bought a book of Islamic art.

And then came Jayne and her friend.  Jayne had pink hair and was wearing either very short shorts, or a bathing suit.  She had a denim shirt with a plaid shirt tied around her waist.  She had tattoos over her arms.  They bought 7 mysteries, including a Ruth Rendell I had not read yet....and took my book with her (accidentally, I assume)

A woman with a thick accent asked me something about some business on campus and when they closed their doors, but I couldn't understand her and don't know anything about campus buildings anyway.

The very last customer bought acopy of "King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine" about, Amazon tells me, "men's abusive behaviors, passivity and inability to act creatively." After he bought the book and started to leave, his friend noticed that I had forgotten to give him back his credit card.

As always we were home in time for Jeopardy!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I was cautiously slightly optimistic when Pope Francis made this statement about homosexuality in 2013:
When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn't be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem ... they're our brothers.
This was a something new from the head of the Catholic Church.  And it was another little thing that I liked about this new pope.  I liked that he lived simply, not in the lap of luxury as previous popes.  I liked that he drove his own car to work.

I didn't like that he closed the door on the subject of women in the priesthood and wasn't sure yet whether divorced Catholics could receive the sacraments, but I tentatively began to look on this as a pope who was open minded and could, perhaps, in time, bring the church into the 21st century.

But then there was this, reported this week
Pope Francis has reportedly barred the nomination of a close aide of President Francois Hollande as new French ambassador to the Vatican because he is gay.

The apparent rejection calls into question the pope's reputation as holding more liberal views on homosexuality.
The French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche quoted a "Vatican insider" as saying the decision was "taken by the pope himself."

So much for the progressive open-minded pontiff.

But as disappointing as this was, was the shocking interview I saw two days ago, and I'm linking the actual interview here so nobody can say I got it wrong, or was mistaken and didn't hear what I heard:
For those who don't want to take the time to watch the video, here is what it's about:

This Archbishop is asked not once, but TWICE if he knew it was illegal to have sex with children and he answers TWICE that at the time it was going on, he wasn't sure that it was illegal, but he understands that now.

This man is an ARCHIBISHOP, one of the pillars of the church.  A man with grey hair who never in his life, apparently, thought about whether it was illegal to have intercourse with a six year old (my example, not his).  This man is too stupid, not to say dangerous, to be one of the leaders of the Catholic church.

But is there any outcry from the Vatican, which won't recognize an ambassador simply because he is gay, but who apparently doesn't care if its hierarchy is ignorant on the issue of sex with kids?  Of course not.

I am so glad that I am no longer a member of this church.

If she lived in St. Louis, the church wouldn't have a clue
whether or not it was wrong to have sex with her.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Just My Type

This video is long, but you should watch it.  It's hilarious.  Kids, even some teenagers, giving their reactions to seeing a typewriter and trying to figure out how it works.  Boy, does it make me feel old!
I was born to type.  I could hardly wait to get to my junior year in high school because in my school you could not take typing until your junior year.  I can't remember if we had a typewriter at home or not before that time, but my mother was a typist and I just knew I was going to be good at it.

And I was.  I took to it like a duck to water.  My friend Ann and I sat at the desks in the front of the room, right in front of Sister Anne's desk.  (When we all had to change desks, Ann and I just changed desks with each other, so we stayed in front of Sister Anne nearly the whole year). We had old upright black typewriters with the letters on the keys blacked out

I don't know how long it took us to learn all the letters by touch before we started having speed tests, but when the speed tests began I was always among the fastest typists.  It took me a little while before I could touch type the numbers, but I was a whiz on the letters.

Our typing room had two electric typewriters and about halfway through the year, the fastest typists got to learn on the electric typewriters.  I was the first to give it a try and loved it.

At the end of the school year, I typed almost as fast as the fastest typist in Typing II (72 wpm) and they didn't want to let me sign up for a second year of typing, figuring I didn't need it, but I wanted another year with Sister Anne and they relented.  Then Sister Anne was transferred to Phoenix over the summer and her replacement, Sister Anita took over the typing classes.  She and I clashed from Day 1 and within the week, I had transferred out of the class.

But they were right, I didn't need the second class.  I was already proficient in typing, both manual and electric typewriters.  When I got to the Physics Department and started typing technical manuscripts, I had an electric typewriter with interchangeable keys.  This was before Selectrics, with the interchangeable ball

and it was actually better.  With the IBM Selectric, if you needed to type an equation, you used the regular ball for the letters in the equation and then used the symbol ball for the mathematical symbols.  This is part of one of the thousands of equations I typed (3 times) for the textbook, "Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics."

To type this equation on a Selectric typewriter, I would have had to change the balls at least 8 times. but with my machine I had a board on which there were individual keys.  I could remove the keys of the typewriter I was least likely to use, like the question mark or the the brackets or I don't remember what and install a µ, π, ħ,  large parentheses, or other symbol and pretty much type the whole equation without having to stop.  I can't imagine typing the solution book for this textbook (which was nothing but equations) using a Selectric.  Walt was always tickled to watch my fingers flying over the keyboard and whipping keys in and out without blinking.

But I moved on.  I haven't typed an equation in decades.  At my fastest I was tested at 135 wpm on an electric typewriter  Now I have a computer keyboard and with my aging fingers I can still type like the wind, but make so many typos that I spend more time correcting typos (mostly not putting spaces between letters because I don't hit the space bar hard enough) than I spend actually typing.

I don't think I could type on an upright typewriter with any speed any more at all.  But I still love typing and am so glad that I have the history with the printed word that I do.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Tired Out

I really don't mean to keep harping on my mother's memory problems, but I was in much better spirits and much more patient today and this whole "losing your mind" thing, other than being tragic, is fascinating to me, from a clinical point of view.  I just worked in doctors' offices for too long and saw too many medical shows throughout my life!

I don't know if she was any more forgetful than usual (though it seemed so), but it just seemed that her brain was too tired to remember anything.  We sat down and started to talk, as usual, and she started looking at the pictures right across from where she sits.  From what she says, I get the idea that she spends most of her non-sleeping time sitting in that chair looking at those pictures, or at the leaves overhead on the trees outside.

I had brought my iPad so I could show her a video that I found on Facebook a couple of days ago.  It's sort of a commercial for my cousin Niecie's beauty salon in Petaluma, but it is mostly Niecie talking about her family and her mother and her work ethic and I thought my mother would enjoy it.  But though Niecie is the only one in the family to ever visit her and had just been there two days ago, she didn't recognize her.

She had put the two pictures of Brianna and Lacie I had brought to her two days ago on the cabinet with the other pictures of Jeri, Ned and Tom she and she pointed in the direction of Lacie's new picture and said "that's a cute little girl.  Who is she?"  I told her and she asked whose child she was.  Then she asked if Tom had any children and when I said he had two, she asked if they were boys or girls.  I said they were girls and she said how nice it was that Niecie (who has never met them) got to spend so much time with them. 

It was like even looking at the pictures, she could not make the connection between "those cute little girls" and which of her grandchildren was the parent.

A bit later, she walked over to the pictures, picked up the one of Lacie, checked the back to see if it had a name on it and then asked me who it was.  She then said that she hasn't seen them, so she doesn't know who they are.

It's at times like this when I try to imagine what it must be like to be her and what is going on in her brain when she is in such a heavy fog.

She must have asked me 20 times what I was doing tonight.  Each time I would tell her I was just going to sit home and watch TV and then she would ask me if I had to review the shows on TV.  Each time I would tell her that I don't review TV shows and then she'd ask me again what I was going to do tonight and we'd have the conversation all over again.  But it really seemed that her brain had just shut down and didn't feel like working today but that she had to fill the silence and that was all she could think of.  That's about the best explanation I can come up with for why it was somewhat different today.

As I told Walt later, nobody really understand what it's like.  Visitors come looking for the best in her, they come filled with all sorts of things to talk with her about and she is very good at filling in the gaps where she is supposed to speak (usually with "well, life goes on, whether you want it to or not" or "life is change" or "I'm getting old") so they don't see the long gaps that exist when you see her almost every day.

The problem is that I have never been a person to make small talk.  I so admire my sister-in-law, who can walk into a room filled with strangers and within an hour she has talked with everyone and can tell you things about people you've known for years that you yourself didn't know.  I can't do that.  And Walt can't either.  But my mother was more like Alice Nan.  She always sparkled, was the consummate hostess, the person who could get you to reveal your secrets by asking you questions I was too polite to ask.  When we would go on trips to Santa Barbara, in the days when she still traveled, she could keep the conversation going for eight hours because she just didn't want to leave a silent space.

So now I still can't make small talk, and neither can she any more, so we sit and stare at each other until she tells me she's old.  She's been telling me about the new walkway outside her apartment that they put in "last week" (it was done last year) and what it was like to watch them build it.  (It only took an hour, she took 3 days)  That's an almost daily topic of conversation.

And every time I see her she says that it's a weird day because she feels she should be doing something, but she doesn't know what.  "Do you ever have days like that?" she will ask.  She has them every day, but doesn't realize it.

As I say, some days I cope better than others.  Earlier this week, I didn't cope well.  Today I coped well, and even stayed longer than I usually do.  Maybe it's because Walt and I saw a HILARIOUS show last night, Buyer and Cellar, a one man show about a guy who is hired to be the caretaker for Barbra Streisand's basement.  I have never laughed so hard in my life, nor, I suspect, has the Sacramento Bee critic sitting across the aisle from me who was convulsed with laughter.  If you ever get a chance to see this play, by all means do.  It will make you much more pleasant to be around the next day!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday Stealing

The Sizzle Says Meme

Stolen from: Ms. Sizzle

1. If money were no object, what would you be doing with your life?
I might travel more, but I would travel first class every time. (We get a lot of first class treatment on our cruises, but I've never traveled with leg room on an airplane!)

2. Money is just that - an object, so why aren’t you doing it?
The fear of bankruptcy!!!  Money is an object we don't have a surplus of

3. What’s better: horses or cows?
Well, cows contribute more to life (milk, cheese, meat), but I do have a soft spot in my heart for horses, even though I will never ride one again.  

4. What do you think the secret to happiness is?
Being content with what you have; don't beat yourself up for what you want to have or can't have. Be grateful for the good stuff; forget the bad stuff.

5. When was the last time you had a dream that you either remember well or did not want to awake from? Can you share a bit?
It was 2 nights ago so most of the details are gone now, but it was like I was living in an alternate universe.  Wherever I was in my dream was so real that when I woke up, it took a minute to realize that I was not still living my dream.  I've never had a dream quite so vivid.

6. When you were a little kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A nun, a nurse, a census taker (really!) and a mother.  Fortunately, I got to be a mother.

7. Complete this statement: Love is…
Love is a song that never ends
Life may be swift and fleeting
Hope may die yet love's beautiful music
Comes each day like the dawn

8. Can you tell a good story?
I am a terrible story teller.  I get tongue tied, and forget where I am, if I even dare to start a story to begin with.  I wish I could make up wonderful, fanciful stories for my granddaughters, but so far, that hasn't been my strong point!

9. Can you remember your last daydream? What was it about?
I don't bother much with daydreams any more, unless they are about being taken out to dinner and not having to cook.

10. If you were to thank someone today, who would you thank?
My sophomore English teacher, Sister Mary William, who made me believe I could write, and, as always, my typing teacher (and lifelong friend) Sister Anne, who taught me how to type and much, much more.  (Sadly both women are dead now, but at least I did get a chance to let me know how grateful I was to Sister Anne)

11. If you could be anyone's mojo, whose would you want to be, and why?
(For those you do not know what mojo is, it's personal magnetism; charm.)
Trust me, nobody wants me for their mojo, if you're talking about personal magnetism or charm.  Maybe for someone like Dick Cheney to perhaps give him a taste of what it's like to be a human being.