Monday, August 31, 2015

Sunday Stealing

Well, I'll Be... Meme  (it sounds more like the Barbara Walters meme!)

Stolen from: Vulgar Darling

If I were a month, I’d be:
March, when the city is ablaze with blossoms, the wildflowers cover the hills, and the weather is still cool enough to be pleasant.
If I were a day of the week, I’d be:
Friday, they day after I work at Logos when I have several days ahead of me with nothing to do.  Unless I have a show to review, of course.  Let me rethink this.....
If I were a planet, I’d be:
Pluto--and I'd fight to get my "planet-hood" restored.
If I were a god or goddess, I’d be:
Amphictyonis, the goddess of wine and friendship between nations.
If I were a sea animal, I’d be:
A jellyfish.  Beautiful, graceful, and brainless, yet deadly.  Sounds good to me!
If I were a piece of furniture, I’d be:
My desk, of course.  I'm already one with it half the time anyway.
If I were a gemstone, I’d be:
An opal.  I had a beautiful one nice to be something that is so chameleon-like.
If I were a flower, I’d be a:
Purple rose, only because those seem to be the only flowers that have a real scent any more.
If I were a kind of weather, I’d be:
Grey, foggy, with a light rain in the afternoon.  Bliss.
If I were a color, I’d be:

If I were an emotion, I’d be:

If I were a fruit, I’d be a:

If I were a sound, I’d be:
small children giggling

If I were an element, I’d be:
Photoshop Elements

If I were a place, I’d be:
San Francisco

If I were a taste, I’d be:
Something sweet, but salty

If I were a scent, I’d be:
Puppy breath

If I were an object, I’d be a
If I were a body part, I’d be:

If I were a song, I’d be:
Something heraldic, in the manner of a last act finale.

If I were a pair of shoes, I’d be:

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Saturday 9

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: Viva la Vida (2008)

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

1) The song refers to the singing of choirs. Have you ever been in a choir or a vocal group?
I always sang in the school choir in both grammar and high school.  We used to sing for Mass every Sunday in grammar school, since the church was next door to the school.  We climbed up to the tiny choir loft high above the church.  A highlight of the high school choir was that we sang for a TV documentary about a local home for unwed mothers.  They couldn't show the real mothers on the air so we all donned maternity smocks and sang.  Never dreamed I would later spend the better part of 10 years in maternity clothes!  After high school, I was in the Newman Hall choir at UC Berkeley and eventually started singing with local church choirs.  When David  was a nursing baby, I wore a poncho to Mass and nursed him under it while singing.  Nobody ever knew. Each time we moved I joined a new choir and each choir was less and less challenging. I finally gave up out of boredom when we moved here to Davis. I had sung Mozart masses and what we were given to sing here could have been done by any grammar school class.  Yeah, I was that shallow.

2) Chris Martin sings of when he "ruled the world." If you were in charge and had infinite power, what would you change right away?
Other than taking Trump out of the race?  I would make fresh clean water and bathroom facilities available to everyone world wide and make all elephant poach-proof. 3) Chris used to be married to actress Gwyneth Paltrow. USA Today, The Washington Post and The Daily Telegraph have all run articles about how Gwyneth seems to annoy so very many people. What celebrity gets on your nerves?

4) Coldplay's first big hit was, "Yellow." What color are you wearing right now?
Coincidentally, yellow.

5) Sam remembers when she used to hear this song everywhere and can't believe that was 7 years ago! When is the last time you had a similar "my, how time flies!" moment?
When I saw the girls' first day at school pictures.  I remember when this big girl was born.

6) In 2008, when "Viva la Vida" was popular, John Grisham's latest legal thriller, The Appeal, was jumping off bookshelves. What have you read this summer?
Since June, I have read 15 books, the best of the lot being "I'm Too Young to be Seventy" (Judith Viorst), "The Final Detail" (Harlan Coben), "Last Man Standing" (David Baldacci), "Acquired Tastes" (Peter Mayle), "The Martian" (Andy Weir) and "Chasing the Dime" (Michael Connelly)

7) Thinking of books: Let's say a biographer has taken the task of writing your biography. What would you title your life story?
"It's all juice and crackers"

8) 2008 is also the year Paul Newman died of cancer. Name a Newman movie.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Verdict, The Sting, The Hustler, Exodus, etc.

9) Random question: Do you like garlic?
Oh my yes!  Ain't no vampires ever going to get into this house!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

First Day of School

When I got together with my old grammar school friends recently, we reminisced about various classes and teachers.  We tried to remember what it was like when we started school for the first time.  My starting kindergarten was a bit different from the others because I started late.  My friend, Stephen, who lived in our neighborhood, was born in September, so he made the cut off age, but my February birthday required that I could not start until the next year.

But with Stephen off at school, I was bereft that there was nobody to play with and so my mother talked with the school and they permitted me to go into kindergarten, on condition that I would repeat kindergarten the next year.  But ultimately I guess I colored so well they decided to pass me through to first grade after all.

In retrospect, I wonder if my life would have been any different if I had been in an age-appropriate class all along.  I know there were several points in my life, especially around puberty, were I was ridiculed because I was not developing as quickly as the others and it was an emotionally difficult time.

But I remember that first day of kindergarten, if not anything else about the year.  I remember that school was already in session when my mother delivered me to Sister Mary St. Patrice, who complimented me on my log curls, said goodbye to my mother and shut the door.  I remember there was a big playhouse just inside the door, but nothing else.  I can't remember a single other thing about that kindergarten year!

I grew up in the days when we did not feel it necessary to record every moment of our lives, so there are no "first day at school" pictures of Karen or me.  But I always took first day of school pictures of our kids for many years.

By the time this picture was taken, they were all nicely settled into the school routine, but I remember some first days were not that happy.  Paul never did adjust to nursery school and cried all the time he was there, but Tom couldn't wait to go, so the teacher and I decided to take Paul out and put Tom in.  That gave Paul more Mom and Me time at home (David was a baby) and Tom loved nursery school.

It was less successful when Tom started kindergarten and had lots of separation anxiety.  He cried so pitifully when I left him that the crossing guard told me he'd watch out for him and when I walked up to pick him up, he would report how long Tom had cried after I left.  By the end of the first week it was no longer a problem.

We always lived close to the schools our kids attended and they could walk or ride their bikes, but I still can't believe what we let Jeri do for a year when she was in first grade. We had switched her from the nearby public school to the Catholic school.  It was several blocks up Park Blvd from our house in Oakland and we actually put her on a public bus each morning and let her ride up to school.  The bus driver watched out for her and she was there in just a short time, but today we would probably be arrested for child endangerment.  We'd be arrested even for letting our kids walk the 3 blocks from our house to grammar school unsupervised here in Davis.  How times have changed.

All over the country, parents are lining their kids up for "first day of school" pictures this week as the adventure begins for another year.

I kind of miss those days.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Today at Logos

I'm glad I worked today.  I was feeling kind of blah after the news of Dave's death and Jeri's beautiful "eulogy" for her truck, which she had for 19 years, but which did not survive the Winter of '16 and being buried under snow for 3 months.  She had driven it across the country 6 times and through 31 different states and Canada.  She will miss it sorely.

But Sandy was finally back from her travels and it was good to see her again. Her 8 year old granddaughter was with her and the two of them had dusted all the bookshelves today, since business was so slow.  But they were off for frozen yogurt, so didn't stay to chat.

There was, inexplicably, a display of books about cheese on the front table today.

Never saw so much about cheese before in my life.  I also checked the sci fi shelves and for the first time in the 3 years I've been volunteering at Logos, I actually found a book by my friend David.  Nobody ever has donated a David Gerrold book before.  I have this one at home, but decided to read at it today anyway.  It reads like a lot of his "soliloquies" on life and religion on Facebook.

It was fairly quiet, but still a number of customers during my four-hour stint.  Two Asian women poured over the self improvement shelves.  One bought Mitch Albom's "One More Day" and the other a book by Rick Warren.

An older gentleman bought 3 bargain books and Alex Haley's "Biography of Malcolm X"

A woman who could have been a clone of my friend Ellen came in.  She was too thin, but the hair and carriage were identical.  Very weird.  She didn't buy anything, though.

A girl with a deep tan in an olive green sundress with bright aqua colored nails (I still have not adjusted to non-red nail polish) bought a French dictionary and a contemporary fiction book.

A friendly Mexican man with a green shirt with a tiny Mexican flag on it bought a book by Eckhart Tolle, which he said was for those with no spirituality.  As he was leaving, he returned with another Tolle book.  We give free bookmarks to those who want them and he decided to take Logos bookmarks in every color.

Several people brought in donations today, including one woman with a box of books who had brought in other books before, including three she had not meant to donate.  She searched the store to see if they were there so she could buy them back.  She didn't find what she was looking for, but did find "100 Uses for a Dead Cat," another of her donations.  I told her to just take it.

My friend arrived at 4:15 and bought 'Horace Walpole's Cat," a discussion of the Thomas Grey poem written in her honor and a look at the cultural scene in the 18th century.  He also bought a sci fi book by Jerry Pournelle, whom I think I met once, but I'm not sure.

A mom and young son came in and I thought they spent a long time in the children's section, but she bought 3 books on parenting and no kid's book.

A couple bought a bargain book called "One Minute Organizer," which I thought surely must be science fiction.  Or humor.  Not sure which.

A lovely woman who said she was a librarian, who had never been in Logos before was charmed by both the store and its policy of raising money for Doctors without Borders and Save the Children.  She was very friendly (and smelled nice too--like some lotion or soap) and I liked her. She bought 3 childen's books from the "old book" section and a book on physical fitness.  I asked where she was librarian and she gave me the name of the center, one of the more vocal and virulent anti-gay churches in town.  Oops.  But she was otherwise a lovely person.

So my day ended and it was home again in the heat, which had dropped a bit from 100 degrees with the setting of the sun.  I'm hoping this is the last gasp of summer.  As I find I am doing more and more often these days, I went to sleep early and put off writing this until morning.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Dave Fisk

You know, there are some days when there is just nothing, really to talk about.  It's impossible to answer my mother's constantly asked question "what have you been doing exciting?" when all I've been doing is going to Atria or watching TV.

So I didn't write anything here last night because I had nothing to write about.  And i got up early this morning to see if I was inspired  I had a couple of ideas, but first I updated my journal database and then went on to Facebook to post my weekly "Throwback Thursday" photo, today's, a picture of David, Paul and Ned from a production of The Wizard of Oz.

But what I saw when I went to post my picture made my heart sink.  It was three different notices, from his brothers and sister-in-law that Dave Fisk lost his month-long battle in the ICU.

Dave and his family have been our friends since all the kids were in school together.  There are a lot of Fisks, and a lot of Sykeses and they did a lot together.  Brother Chad was in theatrical productions with our kids.  Dave was always included in everything that the other kids did.
One of my fondest memories of Dave was when the high school was performing Our Town.  Paul had the role of the Stage Manager, who narrates the action on stage.  The show had just started and Paul was standing at the edge of the stage, setting the scene for the audience, when Dave came in, late.  The Veteran's Memorial Theater is fairly large, for a community theater, somewhat under 400 seats, and Dave, who was quite large, came lumbering down the stairs.  He got to the bottom of the stairs and walked across to the other side of the theater, raising his hand and saying "Hi, Paul!" as he passed him.  It got a chuckle from the audience, almost all of whom certainly knew Dave as a familiar figure around town.

He had the best smile in the world and was quick to give hugs.

When brother Chad was getting married, the wedding was on the stage of the theater and Chad decided he wanted Dave to get one of those minister-for-a-day licenses so that he could perform the ceremony.  Paul went over and over and over with Dave what he was supposed to say, what would be going on on the stage.  Dave was so proud to be the guy in charge.  Paul stood by him to help him get through it all, and at the end of the ceremony, an exuberant Dave turned to Chad and his new bride and said "You may kiss the groom!"

I haven't seen Dave in several years now and was saddened to read that he was seriously ill and in the hospital.  Walt and Ned went to visit him on Sunday, on their way back from Lake Tahoe before meeting me at the theater where I was reviewing a show.  I'm glad they had a chance to say goodbye.
Dave was a special guy and he made an impact on everyone who knew him.  He will be greatly missed.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

My Checkered Musical Past

Our friends Rick and Judy are living one of my bucket list items that I will never do now.  But if you are at all interested in an African experience, I encourage you to read her wonderful blog entry about their safari adventures.  Definitely worth your time (also check out her other entries about this trip they are on.  She's not only a wonderful writer, but a great photographer as well.)

And speaking of great photographs, I encourage you to check out my review of the show I reviewed on Sunday, Bars and Measures at the B Street Theater in Sacramento.  The review is nothing to brag about, but the dramatic publicity photo is one of the best I've received to accompany a review and such a shame that the Enterprise can't print these photos in color!

The show focuses on the relationship between two brothers, one passionate about jazz and the other a classically trained pianist.  One in prison, one trying to free him.  One Muslim, one Christian.  Lots of layers to this show, but I thought often, especially as Bilal, the jazz guy, was scatting with brother Eric and talking about his jazz passions how much my father would have enjoyed the play, at least the music part of it.

My father had many passions and he was so passionate about things that he wanted to share them all with you.  But, as my mother was fond of saying, he felt that if a little of something was good, a lot of it was better.  It was the thing that prevented him from being a great cook...very heavy handed on the seasonings.  If a tsp of chili was good, a tablespoon would be better.

With music, he was so filled with jazz that he wanted to share it with Karen and me--and anybody else who would listen. He inundated us with instructions we couldn't understand about piano chords that he particularly loved and how to make them.  He would show me a major cord, a minor chord and to this day I don't know what an augmented chord is, but he would practically swoon, trying to get me to learn it.  He'd play jazz records he particularly liked, but never talked about why.  Just expected us to love them the way he did.

I often think about how he could have shared his love of jazz with me in a way that I developed an appreciation for it.  Instead, today I not only understand nothing about jazz, but I have an almost irrational revulsion of anything having to do with jazz.  (However, I must have learned something from him because I seem to be the only critic who has mentioned the brothers in the show doing scat duets.)

Music was just one of many things that we could not share, though we each loved our own kind of music.  When rock'n'roll came along, he went on long diatribes about how it was the worst music ever written (second only to Gilbert and Sullivan, which he loathed) and how it would die a quick death.  He was so adamant about how terrible rock'n'roll was that to keep peace, I never became a fan of rock either, until Lawsuit came along many years later (how he proud he would have been of the kids if he had ever seen them perform, but he died before the band really got going).

When we went to a production of Hair the other night, we walked into the theater and rock music was playing over the loudspeaker to set the mood.  My fellow critic turned to me and laughed "Did you ever think that you would be in a place like this and hear the Jefferson Airplane playing [name of music]?"  I didn't tell him that not only had I never heard of the music he mentioned, but I only knew the name "Jefferson Airplane" but couldn't pick them out of a crowd of famous bands to save my soul.  

Occasionally some rock star will show up on the Today Show, one of those stars with gender neutral names like Stevie Nicks, a name I've heard for many years.  I still remember being amazed a few years ago at finding out she was a girl. I couldn't tell you any song that she is famous for (though if I heard one, I might recognize it), so I always assumed that with a name like Stevie it was a man.
(But I can sing along with almost every popular John Denver song and join with my mother in singing all those Perry Como and Bing Crosby favorites on the playlist I made for her!)

The only reason I can sometimes identify the Talking Heads by sound is because of how important they were to Paul and Ned and because David Byrne has a very distinctive voice.  

I don't listen to much music any more since I discovered audio books  Somehow, though I have an iPod filled with music, I have lost the desire to listen to it, most of the time.  Maybe too many sad memories that go along with the most special recordings.  Or maybe too many good books I am hungry to finish.

But---there is good news today!  I called my mother to remind her to take her meds.  She answered the phone (yay!), sounded bright and chipper (yay!), and when she went to see if she had taken her pills or not she had!  We take these small triumphs where we can!

AND, I'm lovin' my new refrigerator.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Edge of a Scream

At the height of my Garland craze, back in the 50s or 60s, there was an article in one of the movie magazines that I was hooked on, about Judy Garland.  I have read lots and lots and lots of articles about her over the years, but this is the title I always remember:  "Always on the Edge of a Scream."
There have been times throughout my life, for one reason or another, when I have felt that way, and today I realized that one of my big problems is that I am living every day wondering if my mother is alive or dead.  Is that overly dramatic?  Probably.  But that's how I feel.

After leaving her in such a bad state yesterday, I worried about her all the rest of the day and woke up worried about her.  I had told her I would call to remind her to take her meds.  I decided I'd wait until after lunch, since sometimes she sleeps late.

I started calling at 1 and got no answer, but if she went to lunch, it was possible she just wasn't back yet.  Between 1 and 2:15, I called her 5 times and there was never an answer.  I didn't want to call Atria to check on her, so I drove over there, certain I would find her dead.

The fact that there was no newspaper in her mail slot was a good sign that she had at least gotten up that morning.  I knocked and she answered the door.  I asked why she hadn't answered her phone and she said it had not rung.  I told her I had called her five times.

Then I noticed that her phone was not on the charger, where it should be and I looked around and couldn't find it.  I decided to call it to see if it would ring.  The phone in her bedroom rang, which she heard because she was standing near the door to the bedroom, but I could not hear it in the living room.  After a search, which she didn't understand why I was undertaking, I finally found the kitchen phone, under a stack of newspapers at her elbow.  It was dead.  Once I put it in the charger, it rang as soon as I called it.  

But when the phone rang, she held up the two remotes to the TV and told me that those hadn't rung.  I had to explain that those were for the TV and were not telephones.

She said she felt fine (though had NOT taken her meds) and she couldn't understand why I was so worried.  I made her take her pills, then stayed for awhile, but not the whole hour because we were expecting our new refrigerator to be delivered. 

As I went out to the car, I felt better knowing why she had not answered the phone and that she was alive, but it hit me that with everything I do almost every single day these days there is this cloud over my head wondering if my mother was going to die today or if she would live to "hunnert."  Not a fun way to live.

But new toys help.

Shortly after I got home, the new refrigerator was delivered, and it took such a short time to get it put in (we are not hooking up the ice maker, so all he had to do was essentially plug it in and tell me how long it would take to get cold) that I almost didn't get my iPhone camera out to take this photo as he was having Walt sign for delivery and rushing back out to his truck again.

I love it.  It's going o take a little adjustment to figure out where to put everything, since it's a bit smaller than the other one and the configuration is different, but I love having the freezer on the bottom instead of the side by side, which I grew to hate, over the years, since there just never seemed to be enough room for everything.

The nicest surprise, though was discovering that though this is a grey finish and it matches my non-magnetic stove and non-magnetic microwave, the refrigerator is magnetic and so I will be able to put (most of) my magnets back on again. Walt is disappointed.

After waiting 6 hours for the refrigerator and freezer to get cold, Walt got the shelves all untaped and in lace and then all I had to do was find where everything I had taken out was going to live in the new refrigerator.  The counter held about 1/3 of what needs to go back  The refrigerator out in the garage is filled too and that is going to be more of a challenge, but that will wait for tomorrow.


Monday, August 24, 2015

That Helpless Feeling

It was another day I left Atria feeling like I wanted to cry.

I was bringing my mother's meds for next week to her.  I knew she would be running out of them today and didn't want her to skip a day.

I knocked on the door to her apartment and she called out, as she always does, "come in!" which is silly because she never leaves the door unlocked and always has to come and unlock it.

She answered the door with unkempt hair, as if I had awakened her, and the first thing she said was "I forgot to go to lunch" (It was about 2 p.m.)

I went to replace last week's pill container with the new one and discovered she hadn't taken her pills for almost the whole week. She tried to convince me she had taken them, but that's something she can't talk her way out of because the pills were all still there.

We sat down to talk and I reminded her, as I have every day for the past two weeks, that we are going to San Rafael tomorrow to have lunch with her friends.  She looked surprised, then got huffy and said "I never agreed to that!"  Then she said that she felt "terrible" and just didn't feel like going "but you go and have fun."  I reminded her that this was a lunch for her birthday and if she couldn't make it her friends would undoubtedly cancel it.

Based on her reaction today and how she was last time we met them for lunch, I've decided we just won't do that any more.  The first few times we went to these lunches were wonderful and such a tonic for her, but not really any more. She enjoys the lunch, once we get there and she realizes that she knows the women we are meeting, but the anguish of getting ready to go when she doesn't recognize the names of any of the people we are going to see, and the nervousness of leaving Atria, and the hour long questions on the drive down about who is going to be there and who decided we were going to meet and why were we going to meet, over and over again are exhausting for me, but worse for her because she really is afraid she is going to get lost, going to have to talk to people she doesn't know and isn't comfortable being away from her familiar surroundings.  She is also nervous when looking at a menu because it's impossible to decide what to eat and she usually whispers to me to choose for her. (Things are better on the ride home because I have a playlist of music from the 40s and 50s that I have downloaded from iTunes which has all of her favorites and she sings along with every song all the way home -- proving that even people who can't remember anything else can still recall song lyrics!)

I tried to identify why she wasn't feeling well and she doesn't know.  It's not pain, it's just...something.  I asked if she had breakfast that morning and she said no.  I pointed out that she hasn't had her pills all week and hasn't had anything to eat today and maybe that was the reason why she was feeling so bad.  But that requires too much cause-and-effect processing to sink in.

She once again explained her not taking her pills by reminding me that she has never been a "pill taker."  Whenever her back hurts and she moans about it and says her back is "killing her" and I ask her if she has taken a pain pill she says "No--I'm not a pill taker."  In truth I don't know how much, if any, relief Aleve (which her doctor suggested she take) would give her but we'll never know because she's not a pill taker, even if it might relieve her pain.

We left it with that I will either call her or come over every day, now, to remind her to take her pills and I will wait on the phone until she has taken them. We'll see how long that lasts.  (I will also remind her to go to lunch.)

But she sat there in her chair, looking like a limp dishrag, with dark circles under her eyes, staring out the window, sighing and telling me she was old.  When I mentioned she would be 97 in 2+ weeks, she seemed surprised that she was so old.  Then she'd tell me she doesn't know why she doesn't take her pills because she sees them every day.  That is always followed by the inevitable "stupid, stupid, stupid!" indictment she is fond of giving herself.  I tried to remind her that it's not because she is stupid but because her brain doesn't work right any more, but that, too, is more than she can process now.

I tried to get her to laugh and remembered a photo Laurel had posted of Lacie, which I was able to call up on my phone, and that did make her smile and ask who the cute little girl was.


It wasn't a "visit" today.  It was two people sitting in pretty much total silence for an hour until I decided it was time to leave.  She didn't even tell me how pretty the leaves on the trees outside are today.  That was definitely unusual.

With no lunch to go to tomorrow, that means I will be here to get things ready for the refrigerator delivery, which is, I guess, one of the perks of staying home.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Stealing

Name a product you buy mostly because it has a cool package.
I can't think of anything specific.

What flavor cake do you like for your birthday?
I'm not big on cake, but if I have to have one, white cake with raspberry filling,

Have you ever been in love with someone much older or younger than you?
My very first crush was when I was in grammar school and my heart went pitty pat for the pastor our church, who was probably in his 50s, bald, and not very good looking.

Have you ever had a job you loved?
My very first "real" job is still my favorite--secretary to 3 Physics professors at UC Berkeley.  I'm still friendly with one of my bosses.  I left that job in 1966
Have you ever been in a building that was on fire?

Are you in an argument with anyone right now?

Would you change your hair color to something outrageous if you would get paid to?
Depends on how much.  Makes no difference to me, and if someone wants to pay me big bucks, sure.  It will grow out again.

Have you ever written a poem for someone?
I used to write limericks for co-workers on their birthdays.

What is a place where you’ve vacationed and would like to go back to?
Well, we didn't exactly vacation in Florence, but my one day there left such bad memories that I've always wanted to go back on my own and learn to love it.  I will have that chance later this year.

Do you eat samples at the grocery store?
Sure.  Time your trip to Costco right and you can have lunch by visiting all the sample tables.

What do you absolutely have to have to make your birthday feel special?
Calls from the kids.

What’s the last tourist area you visited?
I had lunch in Sausalito in a restaurant with a gorgeous view of San Francisco earlier this month.

Where do you go out to eat for a special occasion?
There is a Thai place here in town that is probably where we go most often.

When was the last time you went to a post office?
About 3 weeks ago, sending a package to Compassion.

Is there an item you are saving up to buy right now?

Are you psychic in any way?
Not in the slightest!

Do you prefer a laptop or desktop? Which are you on now?
I prefer a desktop (I'm on one now).  I have a laptop (and an iPad) but don't really have a "lap" so its not convenient to use for many things.

Have you ever received a gift and truly did not know what it was? the days when kids made gifts in school for their parents. Mysterious macaroni masterpieces.

Is there a thing you enjoy doing, but quit because you are not good at it?
Biking, the only exercise I truly enjoyed, but can't do since my bike accident in 2003 wrecked my knee.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Outhouses, Bears and Ants...oh MY!

Laurel posted a photo of Bri on Facebook today that brought back a flood of memories.  

Here is an excerpt from my journal entry from August 1974, on a trip to Yosemite, in the days before Funny the World.  (Paul would have been 5):

The drive up was rather uneventful. We drove without stopping until we were well into downtown Sacramento (20 miles), where we made our first stop at McDonald's for the usual stuff, which we washed down with Kool Aid. The kids went to sleep and probably slept in shifts for most of the trip. It was after 6 when we got to the park and we had no trouble finding a campsite at Porcupine Flat. It was really a very nice place. We had a log, which made a very comfortable niche for sitting, a stump which was just the right height for cooking, a slightly warped and slanting, but nonetheless useful picnic table, and a flat, relatively unrocky space for a tent. We ended up staying there for the whole four days, in spite of the bears...but more about them later.

On Tuesday we took our first side trip to Devil's Post Pile which, if you have never been there, is something really worth seeing. Large columns of basalt looking like they were carved there and a mountain of pieces which had been broken off by a passing glacier.

The road to Devil's Post Pile is under construction, so we were stopped for a long while (during which we fixed and ate lunch), but eventually we bumped our way down the rutted dirt road until we got to the place. It's rather disheartening to follow 8 miles of twisted, rocky, dirt road and get to the bottom to find a traffic jam! We had a hard time finding a parking place in the very large parking lot.

You walk 0.4 miles to the post pile and once again there we managed to draw attention to ourselves. First of all, you can take a trail to the top of the pile, which Walt and the kids did, while I stationed myself down below with the camera so I could photograph my children perched precariously atop these columns which appear in danger of falling at any moment. Then they came down again and we were the only people there. The mountain of falling posts is such an invitation for climbing that we couldn't resist letting the kids scamper about on the rocks--even David (though Walt followed him up the slopes after Tom got caught half-way up and had to be carried down). While the kids were engaged in the delights of climbing, investigating the passing frogs, etc., all of those people in the parking lot began to wander by--including a pack of Boy Scouts. 

All of a sudden, when a sufficient crowd had gathered, Paul, who was right at the very top, began to scream and scream and scream. You could have heard him all the way back to Yosemite. We were sure he was at least ready to fall down the mountain, and the whole pack of Scouts, on orders shouted by their leader (a chubby, grey crew-cut gentleman in a Scout uniform) -- "Men, help that child!" -- started climbing rapidly over the rocks to save him. Walt left David to race up and save him. People were gasping and clutching each other. I had the good grace NOT to take his picture. And for several tense minutes, the world listened to the hysterical screams of this five year old trapped on top of the mountain. Walt reached him first and the cries abruptly stopped. His problem? An ant was crawling over him!! What do you say when a 50 year old Scout leader looks at you accusingly and asks, "that your kid, lady?"

Everything after that was rather anticlimactic. We made it back to the car with no other disasters occurring and except for one stop at a Safeway, we went straight back to camp. The Safeway, by the way, was another experience. How often do you stand in a check out line and hear one checker shout to another, "Hey, Charlie, how much are the worms?"

(there is more to this story, like "the night of the bear" and "the wet night," for example, but I won't print it all.  It can, however, be read in its entirety here)

Tom sent us a video of Brianna recreating Paul's fright on the rocks and both Ned and I agreed there wasn't nearly enough screaming and Walt asked if there were any Boy Scouts around  Everyone's a smartass!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Today at Logos

Walt drove me down to work and helped me bring in 2 boxes and 1 bag of books that Char had sent home with me for Logos.  I guess Sandy is still vacationing, and Peter beat a hasty retreat as soon as I got there.  A woman who had followed me into the store had already selected a book and was ready to pay for it even before I got settled.

Our artist in residence this month brought in a replacement painting.  One had been sold so she took it down and replaced it with a new one she had just taken from a show at the Pence Gallery next door.  It's a simple little seed pod, but I really liked it (see Photo of the Day).  This is an original and "only" $800.

I watched a woman outside looking at the Bargain Books.  She had a cute little dog who looked like he could have some Corgi and some King Charles Spaniel in him.  When she came in to pay for the books, I found out his name was Rascal.

A group of 3 women came in while one bought 3 bargain books, then all three stood around the table in front reading the newspaper that lists activities going on in the area this week.

An old white-haired guy with a beard was checking out Sci Fi and ultimately bought two books by Orson Scott Card.

A woman bought 2 Hunger Games books and recounted her change when I gave it to her.  English was not her first language and she seemed to be having problems with the currency as well. I knew I had counted it right but when the next customer came awhile later, I realized I had overcharged her.  I charged her $12.85, which is what I thought the cash register said, but it only said $10.85.  But she was long gone by then.  Sorry, lady!

A guy wearing a white shirt with a dog facing forward, wearing a hat that said "off the Wall" came in and bought a bargain book American poetry and a non-bargain Danielle Steele.  He returned a few minutes later wondering if he had left his glasses behind.  He found them somewhere in the stacks and was very relieved.

Three Asian women walked in, as if they were doing synchronized swimming, walked to the back of the store, then back to the front and out again, still synchronized.

A mountain man type with unkempt hair and a luxurious chest-length beard (but very clean) came in.  He checked out Sci Fi, but didn't buy anything.

A blonde woman was wearing a lovely white crocheted dress.  It was too bad that she had horrible varicose veins (which I chose to cut out here...just wanted to show the lovely dress).

She was looking for a book on boot making or Native American art, neither of which we had.
A girl with a Pizza-a-Go-Go shirt who reminded me of Jeri about 15 years ago, bought a book titled "The Book of Laughter and Forgetting" by Milan Kundera.

A middle aged woman with a very friendly manner came in and said she really just came in for the music, which was playing overhead.  She bought two books about Paris and then complained about the commercial breaks on the radio station.

A guy wearing a shirt that said "TUNA" across the front and had a small tuna graphic on one shoulder in the back rushed in and handed me 3 books as a donation.

A short-ish woman with short curly black hair was wearing black pants and a black and white striped shirt.  I thought right away that I wondered if she was French because if she had worn a beret, she could have stepped out of a production of "American in Paris."  She was not French, but she did buy a French dictionary

A guy in black shorts and a red shirt (both neatly pressed) who just had the air of someone from a wealthy family came in looking for a book by Robert Greene.  He said it was probably business or psychology.  He didn't find what he was looking for and started striding purposefully toward the door, slowing as he did, looking at other book shelves.  He actually found another book by Robert Greene in the personal improvement section, so came back to pay for that ("he's hard to classify," he told me).  He had one of those three family names which further enhanced my sense that he may have grown up with a silver spoon in his mouth.

A nicely dressed middle aged woman wearing a stylish straw hat looked around for a long time and then bought  "The Zen Mind."  She said she was just in town briefly, looking around because she's considering moving here from Santa Rosa.

An Indian woman came in and bought a thick Spanish dictionary, and then before she left she also bought a thick German dictionary and asked me if they would be good for business.

My friend, back from two weeks of vacation arrived at 4:45.  We chatted about his time away and he mentioned that he is reading a new to him author, Scott Pratt, who sounds interesting.  He bought "Rules of Argument" and a book on medieval art.

A guy rushed in and threw $1 for a book he took off the Bargain Books an then raced out again.
A man bought seven geography books, and a bag, totaling $62.12, which may be my biggest sale ever.

A retired professor came in and wanted to donate all of his National Geographics, which, like everyone, he had collected for years.  I told him thanks, but no thanks.

A blonde woman with a goddess t-shirt said she had just graduated from UCD and could finally read books for fun again.  She bought two Mythology books.

Susan arrived and I didn't stay long because I had to catch the bus to get home.  I very nearly didn't make it, but did get to the bus stop 5 minutes before the bus arrived.  I enjoyed listening to my audio book all the way home.

When I got home, the dogs were hungry and all of our food is in the refrigerator in the garage, and I couldn't find the key  While I was looking for it, Lizzie escaped.  I knew I could never catch her, so I just closed the door, and assumed she would return soon.  I called Walt at Tahoe to ask what he had done with the key and he had forgotten to leave it for me, but told me where to find the duplicate.  While I was talking with him, I saw Lizzie on the lawn, so hung up on him and raced downstairs ( much as I can "race" these days) to call her in.  She came in and all was back to normal.  And now that I have the garage key, we won't starve for the next 3 days.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Cotton, Hay and Rags

Women are irrational, that's all there is to that!
Their heads are full of cotton, hay, and rags!

--Henry Higgins

I hate insomnia.  I could barely keep my eyes open last night and thought I was going to sleep early, but the minute my head hit the pillow, I was wide awake, my head full of cotton, hay, and rags.

My mind flitted back and forth among a bunch of topics, none of which having any substance.   I started thinking of time travel.  I'm currently reading Stephen King's "11/22/63," in which a man is shown a portal into 1958 and is encouraged to use it to stop Lee Harvey Oswald from killing Kennedy.  It's a very thick book, so it isn't simply as easy as finding and killing Oswald and the little glitch is that whatever you do in the past, if you return to the present day and then go "down the rabbit hole" again, it's a re-set and wipes out everything you did before.  It's all very complicated but fascinating.

So I lay there, trying to get to sleep and thinking about time travel and if it were possible, would I go back in time to change anything...and could I change anything?  I always come back to the same position as far as my personal life...there are things I would love to change, but if I changed them, it would completely change my present life and did I want that.

If I could prevent Paul's death, for example, of course I would do it. But that would mean giving up knowing Steve Schalchlin and the tremendous change he had in the course of my life, and that would be sad.

The past is the past for a reason and best to leave well enough, the good and the bad, alone.

Then I thought out our new refrigerator and the anticipation of having it delivered on Monday.  It turned out that making the choice was very simple.  I am tired of a side-by-side freezer and wanted a freezer on the bottom.  There were several models I liked, but only one fit in our small little hole in the wall.  It would have been nice to take the 22 cubic foot model, but it was one inch too tall, s we went with the 19 cubic foot.
I was mentally arranging things back in the new fridge when Polly started "woof"-ing and then in a mini second zipped down the hall and out the back door, barking, with Lizzie in hot pursuit.  I got up to bring them in and close the door, noting that there was nothing my human ears could pick up that would have set her off.

Polly has supersonic hearing, those big ears never sleeping, even though her eyes may be closed. I can whisper "treat time" when she's in the living room and she is at my feet in a second, so who knows what she might have heard outside.

I started thinking about what to make for dinner tonight, realizing that I don't have to worry about that now until Sunday, since Walt is going to Tahoe with his sister, her husband and Ned today. I'm staying behind because I have a show to review.  It's always nice when I don't have to think about planning a meal for awhile.

I wondered what I was going to write about in this journal entry in a day when I had done just about nothing except nap.

I thought about the girls going off fishing with their parents recently and how I never went fishing as a kid. I remember going out with my grandfather in his boat once, with a rope with bacon on it, trying to catch crab, but never did.  Never held a fishing pole in my life.  How lucky the girls are and how much fun they are having in their childhood.

The thoughts flitted about like atoms bouncing off a wall and bumping into each other.  I finally gave up and went into the recliner.  I've discovered a new trick for getting to sleep.  It's been hot lately, so I don't want to settle in under a blanket, but somehow if I use a blanket on my upper half, so its around my neck and face it seems to put me to sleep.  It was 3 when I settled in and I seemed to go to sleep almost immediately, waking up at 6:30.  It wasn't a full night of sleep by any stretch of the imagination, but at least I did get some sleep, though my head still feels full of cotton, hay and rags.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Death of Sorts

When you get to be our age, you are used to having to say good bye to old friends, and today we are in the throes of saying goodbye to another old and loyal friend.  When I went to get butter out of the fridge two days ago, I thought it odd that it was already a spreadable consistency, not a solid block.  Then when I went to serve Walt some ice cream for dessert it was kind of soft, but Walt had just bought it, so maybe it was a coincidence.  The next night it was softer, so I told Walt there was something wrong with the fridge, so he thoroughly cleaned all the vents and said he hoped that would fix the problem.  When I went to get a bottle of water, it was room temperature.

We have decided it's time to replace the fridge.  At our age, whenever we replace a major piece of equipment, we assume that this is the last time we will ever buy a [whatever].  Last kitchen appliance purchase was the microwave.  The fridge has lasted us 18 years and a new one may last close to that, but I hope by the time it is dying, I will either have beaten it to the grave or moved into a home!

So tomorrow is the day we will go fridge shopping.  I was off in San Ramon going to Char's book club today and Walt was busy all day, moving frozen stuff to our almost-never-used-now freezer in the garage and the most perishable refrigerator things into his mother's old fridge in our garage (she had that fridge when I MET her more than 50 years ago!  Somehow we inherited it and it has sat, plugged in, in our garage ever since she got rid of it!  Walt keeps it filled with big jugs of water, just to help keep it cold)

Anybody who has seen me post photos of our kitchen at any time knows that the refrigerator is a giant canvas on which all of the magnets I have purchased all over the world, the gift magnets, the sentimental magnets, etc. have been on display.  

So when I returned from San Ramon and walked into the kitchen it was a HUGE shock.

All the magnets are gone (well, they are in a box in the living room) and if we purchase a fridge to match the stove and microwave, which we probably will, it will not have a magnetized door and what will I do with all those magnets now?

But it is always exciting shopping for new toys and I look forward to seeing what is out there tomorrow.

My day was less strenuous than Walt's and a lot more fun.  I drove to Char's and we went to book club.  We were discussing "The Rosie Effect," and there was pretty unanimous opinion that we didn't like it nearly as much as the previous "The Rosie Project."

On the way back to Char's house and my car, we stopped off to drop a book by her daughter's house.  I opted to stay in the car, fearing that if I went to the door with her we would get to chatting and I was worried about time, since I had to review a show tonight and was facing rush hour traffic...and the show had a 7:30 p.m. curtain, not 8.

While I sat there--it was about 90 degrees outside--I decided what should be the perfect 'let the punishment fit the crime' punishment for people who leave their kids or animals in a hot car for "just a minute" while they run an errand.  They should be sentenced to sit in a car, in the sun, for half an hour--or maybe an hour, with a guard outside making sure they can't open the door or crank a window or remove their seat belt. Char was gone only 5 minutes and I cannot believe how much hotter it got in those 5 minutes  I could have opened the door to let in a bit of air, but, knowing she was coming right back, I wanted to experience what a baby would experience left, securely buckled and unable to move, in a car seat while the car got hotter and hotter.

It ain't fun!

The ride home was slow, but could have been worse.  Once I'd passed a certain point the 10 mph line of cars started to open up and it was pretty much clear sailing all the rest of way home...and I got about 2-1/2 hours of my audio book finished.

I didn't realize I had left my cane in Char's car until Walt and I got to the Music Circus later that night and I went to get it to go into the theater.  I always leave it in the car because I need it for stairs and sometimes for slopes (also for the sympathy vote when groups are waiting for the parking lot elevator!).  I texted her and she said that yes, it was there.  It will probably be a month before I pick it up (next book club meeting), but fortunately I have another cane here and that will do me all right...just not as convenient as my regular cane, which folds into 3 nice pieces to safely stow under a seat when I'm at the theater.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

We're Havin' a Heat Wave

Today was the kind of day you wanted to hunker somewhere near a fan with a tall cool glass of ice water, crank up the air conditioning and not leave the house.  It was predicted to be the hottest day, perhaps of the month.

But, alas, this was also the day I was scheduled to have my eye measured in Sacramento for my upcoming cataract surgery (in November).  

The day actually started with reports of a magnitude 4 earthquake in the Bay Area.  Too small to be felt here, but one always wonders about precursors to "the big one."  This looked like it might have been on the Hayward fault...and I will be there tomorrow, going to book club a few miles down the road apiece.

Since I had to leave the house today anyway, I went to my mother's first to get her laundry, to be returned to her on Wednesday when I go for lunch.  We visited for a bit, and she insisted I had told her nothing about my lunch with my grammar school friends (sigh), but I let it go. 

The plan was to leave Atria and head for Sacramento, but there was a text message from Walt letting me know that I had left my cane at home.  I texted back that I'd be right there, but he didn't see that message because, bless him, he had hopped on his bike to come to Atria to let me know, in case I didn't see the message.  But I had, I drove home, got the cane and then headed to Sacramento.

It was 1 p.m. and this was the temperature as I started to back out of our driveway.

It is amazing to me that I have come to think of anything under 100 degrees as "not all that bad."

I drove to the eye clinic near Cal Expo and it was about 102 when I got there.  The appointment went quickly.  The woman doing the measuring had C.O. on her jacket, which I found out later is "certified orthoptist."  There were two patient chairs and four machines (one a computer) and she had to put my information into each machine in turn.  I had the eye measured in the first machine, and then the second, and then the third, then tlted backwards, like in a dental chair (but not as comfortable), where she put in drops (not to dilate) and then stuck an eye cup on the eye and washed it with water and took more pictures.

And then it was over.  I was back in the parking lot so quickly the ice in my diet coke was still icy and cold.

I saw that rush hour traffic was starting, so instead of going on the freeway I took the backroads to the Causeway, where it was still backed up, but I'd gotten around a lot of it.  

When I pulled into the driveway this was the temperature.

Thank goodness we were having leftovers that could be heated in the microwave for dinner.  Forecast for tomorrow seems to be less than 100, which isn't good by any means, but a heck of a lot better than 105.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sunday Stealing

Are your nails painted a dark or light color?
Not painted

Have you ever order pizza online?
I don't think so.

What color was the last candle you lit?

Is there something written on your shirt right now?
There usually is, but not today.  (The shirt I wore yesterday said "Blog Hog")

Is there a bookshelf in your room?
There is no room in this house that does not have a book shelf or book case(s), except two of the 3 bathrooms.

Do you own a treadmill?
Yes.  (I'm glad you didn't ask when the last time it was used...)

Have you ever signed up for a gym membership?

Is there a garbage can in your room? What color is it?
Here in my office there is a wooden waste basket and a paper bag for paper recycling.

Have you ever read in the bathtub?
I can't remember when I last took a bath, but I don't remember ever reading in the bathtub.  I'm so much of a klutz, I'd ruin too many books dropping them in the water!

Have you ever had to wear a hairnet?

Do you know how many pages the last book you read had?
Well, I read a very short book on Alzheimers that had been recommended to me yesterday, just 37 pages, but usually my books run around 350 pages (the previous one was 448).

What day of the week does the laundry usually get done?
It gets done every couple of days.  No specific schedule, except I do my mother's laundry on Mondays.

Do you use the Facebook chat often?

Do you have any baby pictures of yourself on your computer?
Yes...I save them for Throw Back Thursdays on Facebook.

Do you eat onion rings?
Oh my word yes!!!  I love them!

What flavor of tea did you last have?
I'm not a big tea drinker.  If I order tea it's Earl Grey, 'cause that's the only kind I know I like.

Do you own a bathrobe?
Yes.  Somewhere.  Can't remember when I last wore it--it's been probably decades.

Did you/will you have coffee or some other form of caffeine today?
Yes, coffee this morning.  Peet's French Roast.  Black.

Do you have a mailbox or do you collect your mail from the post office?
We have a mailbox attached to the house, next to the front door.

What was the last animal you saw, and was it a pet?
Our two dogs.  I think they are pets!

What was the last documentary you watched focusing on?
Probably a documentary on elephants.

Is there anything you need to remember to do before the day ends?
Yes.  Go to the theater, see a show, come home, review it.

Is your car messy, or do you like to keep it clean?
It would be messier if my husband didn't keep it clean.

Are you the type to wake up before the sun has even risen?
Yes.  3 a.m., whether I want to or not (but then can usually go back to sleep for awhile)

Do you get uncomfortable when people stare at you?

Have you ever been admitted to the hospital for a long period of time?
Longest was 3 days for the first childbirth.  I think the others were drive-by childbirths, where they kick you out on the second day.  Jeri was born in the "olden days."

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Saturday 9

16 August 2015
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: Stay with Me (2014)

... because Kwizgiver recommended it

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

1) Sam Smith explains that this song is about just not wanting to wake up alone. How about you? Are you comfortable being by yourself?
I haven't been by myself for more than a few days in more tan 50 years.

2) Last year a lawsuit filed by Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, who maintained that "Stay with Me" was really just "I Won't Back Down." Petty and Lynne won. Have you ever served on a jury?
Just one, though I have been dismissed from a couple.  I just received a jury summons yesterday and was THRILLED to learn that people over 70 do not have to serve.  FREE!

3) Smith performed this on The David Letterman Show. Did you watch Dave's final episode last May?
I did.  I was not a regular Letterman watcher, but I knew that would be an "event" and I didn't want to miss it. (I also watched Carson's final show and the last Daily Show)

4) Smith says his style was influenced by ladies with "massive voices," including Adele, Amy Winehouse, Chaka Kahn, and Whitney Houston. Of those four, which do you listen to most often?
None of them.  I don't even know if I've heard Adele, Winehouse or Chaka Kahn.  My "massive voice" lady is Judy Garland.

5) Speaking of style, Mr. Smith is a smart dressed man who looks comfortable and dapper as he walks the red carpet in a tux. Do you enjoy getting dressed up for special occasions?
No.  I look like shit in just about everything, so "dressing up" is not something I look forward to.

6) "Occasions" is a word that makes Crazy Sam stumble because she can never remember how to spell it correctly. Are you a good speller?

Very good.  Not always perfect (especially the older I get), but better than most.

7) Sam Smith was born on May 19, which makes him a Taurus. When did you last check your horoscope?
I never check my horoscope unless I come across horoscopes somewhere.  Don't believe in that sort of thing, though it is sometimes good for laughs, especially in retrospect.

8) Tauruses are supposed to be reliable, organized and ambitious. Do any of those three adjectives describe you?
Reliable, maybe.  Definitely not organized and ambitious.  But I'm an Aquarius and I suspect that's pretty far from Taurus.

9) Random question: Look at the floor. Do you see carpet, rug, hard wood or tile?
Actually, I see a dog.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Down Memory Lane

I took a lovely drive down memory lane and a less than lovely drive home again.

I was meeting three friends from grammar school -- Sandy, Judy and Lois.  Judy was my best friend in grammar school.  She lives in Marin County, Sandy lives in LA and Lois lives in South San Francisco.  We met at the Spinnaker restaurant in Sausalito.  We met there in 2009 (without Lois) and had such a wonderful reunion. (I like that place because Sausalito is notorious for difficulty parking, but the restaurant has valet parking)

(I had to laugh when I found this photo from 2009 tonight because I almost wore that very same shirt today!)

It was a wonderful lunch.  The view out the window was spectacular, the bay was filled with sailboats, and a lazy seal swam back and forth in front of the window while seagulls zoomed overhead, sometimes looking like they were going to scrape their wings on the roof of the restaurant.

The food was great and we didn't stop talking or reminiscing from the time we all sat down.  It's amazing how memories are.  They remembered things I didn't remember at all, and I remembered things they didn't remember.  They have a better memory for the names of our teachers and we all went through "where is so-and-so now?"  A couple more have died since 2006, but since we are all in our 70s, I guess that's not surprising. We also decided that we need to organize another class reunion.  Neither Judy nor I had attended the one that was held in 2006. So we'll see where that goes.

In all, we occupied the table for about 2 hours and finally had to say goodbye.  I got on Highway 101 headed for Sacramento and things were going along all right and I was pleased that I seemed to be ahead of rush hour traffic.  But then I made the turn on to Highway 37, which connects 101 with I-80.  It's normally a 30 minute drive across the Delta area (shockingly dry right now).  Things were ok for a bit but then I started up a hill and encountered this

I realized I was in for a long, slow drive.  When I got to the top of this hill, I was able to look out where I was going.

See the cars at the top of the hill waaay off in the distance?  That's the halfway point.
In all, the 30 minute ride took an hour but the good thing is that I was listening to a good audio book and glad for the extended time to listen to it.  

I was worried that I wouldn't get home in time.  I had a show to review tonight, for the News and Review, at a theater I have never attended before.  By the time I got home after 3 hours I was wiped out and called the theater to make arrangements to review it tomorrow, not tonight.  So then I could finally relax.

But other than the traffic, it was really a wonderful day and so nice to spend time with these women again.

Graduation, 1956
Judy and I are 1st and 3rd from the left in the top row.
Sandy and Lois are 1st and 2nd from the right in the 2nd row from the bottom

Friday, August 14, 2015

Today at Logos

This was the third week with no Sandy.  Peter says she is on vacation.  I miss her!

My first customer was a tall old guy who bought a history of the Jaguar (auto), "The Grand Tour" and "Sweden the Middle Way on Trial."  It as a soundless transaction, as he came to the desk, handed me the books, then silently handed me the money and turned to go, but on the way out he saw a book about the Wright Brothers and returned to buy that.  It was $7.60 and he gave me $7 and then dug in his pockets for change and only found $7.59.  I told him that was close enough.

A guy in a Bob Marley shirt bought a books with works by Aristotle and Plato.  He told me he likd the guitar music that was playing over the speaker and that he and his father play "a little Flamenco."  His companion bought "The Ant Farm," (That may not be the right title--I can't find it on Amazon.)  It's a humor book and had "Hilarious -- Jon Stewart" on it.  She and the guy talked about Jon Stewart and I asked her what she was doing with herself at 11 p.m. now.  "I KNOW!" she answered, as we shared a moment of sadness over the loss of Stewart to the late night TV watching community.

A woman bought a bargain book by Pat Conroy, "The River is Wide."  I love Conroy and that was one I had not read.  She had not read any of is books before and I raved about "Prince of Tides."

A man in a Clear Lake t-shirt and puka beads bought a bargain book and I asked if he was from Clear Lake.  He said that he was not, but that he was there last summer.  We  talked about the terrible fire burning up there right now.  Then he said something surprising, that a lot of the people in the area where he had been were "unsavory" and wondered if this was Nature's way of "taking care of things."

A man brought in a couple of armloads of books for donation.  Several were good books I was interested in.  I "borrowed" one ("The Art of Racing in the Rain") which we will be reading for book club.  I read it back in 2010 and I want to read it again to remember the story.

A woman came in with three thick books from the Bargain books.  She said she's about to go on vacation and wants to bring things to read that she can leave behind when she finishes with them.

A woman who reminded me of Walt's mother in the days before she got so bad came in.  She was wearing trainers that must have been two sizes too big for her as they looked like clown shoes on her.  She asked for art books, and then asked if we had books that would teach her about how to paint.  She left without buying anything.

A guy wearing a moonshine t-shirt bought "The Alchemist."

A doddering physician and his wife brought in four very heavy bags of medical books to donate.  I was afraid he was going to collapse under the weight of them.  She didn't carry any.

Two businessmen types who reminded me very much of how Tom and his friends look on the golf course.  One of them pulled a carry-on type suitcase behind him.  They looked around for awhile, mostly chatting, before they left without buying.  I was struck by how different their whole demeanor was from the customers we usually get.

A short strawberry blonde guy in a shirt that said "Arkansas Flotation" came in and spent a lot of time browsing through the self improvement section before leaving without buying anything.

A big man looked over the bookcase where misc. books that aren't plentiful enough to warrant their own section are and bought a book called "Playing Winning Chess."

Two woman were browsing bargain books outside.  I watched them through the window and they both reminded me of Kaley Cuoco, from Big Bang Theory, until one of them came in and was considerably older than the young actress and didn't look like her at all.  Both women were dressed all in purple.  The woman who came in asked if we were connected with the Logos Books in Santa Cruz (we are not).  She bought a book by Virginia Woolf and gave me a $2 donation as well.

I had been reading a Ruth Rendell book and came across a quote that made me smile:  "He's a couple of dips short of a limbo."

Two girls with very long dark hair carrying drinks asked if they should put their drinks down.  I told them it wasn't necessary.  They bought 2 contemporary fiction books and a book of Grimm's fairy tails.

A middle aged man with white hair, who reminded me of the guy who writes a local column about beer came in (I knew it was not that man because he didn't have a British accent).  He bought "Beyond Freedom and Dignity" by B.F. Skinner and "Genome: the Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters."  I had problems with his credit card which was very old and the new machine didn't want to read it, but when I manually entered the numbers it went through just fine.

A woman named Cindy, who knows me (she looked familiar, but I can't place her) was looking for "Boys in the Boat," "Being Mortal" and "Can't We Discuss Something More Pleasant?"  We had none of them, but I did give high marks for the last book, which is by New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast and is about what to do with Mom and Dad as they get older and more demented!  I made Jeri read it.

She was with David, who had about 20 bargain books he wanted to buy and asked if he could leave them while he goes back to get his car.

A very thin woman wearing pink and blue trainers spent a lot of time in the cookbook section, rejecting a book on making dog biscuits when she discovered the price was $6.  She didn't buy anything.

This was the second week without a visit from "my friend" who told me he would be gone on vacation for two weeks, since I was worried about him the last time he didn't show up for awhile.

Susan always emails volunteers after their day to let them know how much we made in the day, and apparently this was a good day.  That never has anything to do with me, of course, but it's still nice to know that we made enough money today.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Bit of This, a Bit of That

Just a few little things today.  Last night I realized that the dogs have taken over Sheila's jobs.  It was Sheila who made sure I went to the couch to sleep at night.  After she died, I thought--how nice.  I can stay up as long as I want!  But no, now both Polly and Lizzie dance around, poke me or bark when they think it's time for me to go to sleep.  They never did that before. Also, Sheila used to walk back and forth in front of the couch, so I could first pet her backside and then pet her head.  Then she'd lie down next to me and sleep there.  Suddenly Lizzie is doing the walk-pat thing.  She doesn't turn around like Sheila did, but she walks past me twice, then climbs into her chair to go to sleep.  Kinda nice, actually.
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Had lunch with my friend Kathy today.  As usual, we talked and talked and talked.  We trashed a local production I (and everyone else) had given a bad review to (it has closed early), talked a lot about Donald Trump and the current political situation, and eventually got around to an offspring update.  We were there about an hour and a half, about half an hour after we finished eating.  But the waitress had told us it was her birthday today and I gave her a bigger tip than I would have normally and wrote "happy birthday" on  the receipt.
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I came home and immediately sat down to finish my book, which I was so close to doing.  I've been on a real reading jag lately.  I've already read more books in 2015 than I did in all of 2014.  I had finished "The Martian" couple of days ago and had started "Chasing the Dime" by Michael Connelly at Logos last week and was so close to the end.  So I didn't do anything until I finished it.  Then I wrote a review for the Books Read in 2015.  When I finish writing a review for this web site, I always copy it into my list of read books on Good Reads.  It wasn't until I started to post the review that I realized I read the book in 2011  Trust me, I remember absolutely nothing about the book and nothing in the book while I was reading it sounded familiar.  It must not have made much of an impression on me in 2011!  (Good book, tho.)
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I finally finished a package to send off to Compassion, with letters and little gifts for several of the kids.  i started it awhile ago, but didn't realize HOW long ago until I saw there was an introductory book in it for Eunice, a new sponsored child in Tanzania...I had recorded in my "stuff sent" file as having been sent in April. Oops!  Fortunately it's not time sensitive, and it takes so long for packages to get to the kids, it won't make a difference.  It feels good to finally have it sent off.

The post office has been driving me nuts because they have an employee who goes down the line of people waiting asking them the questions about liquids or flammables, do you want stamps or anything, do you want a mail box?  It always seemed a ridiculous waste of time since when you get to a clerk s/he asks you the exact same questions.  However all I had was a flat rate envelope and when she asked if I was going to pay by credit card, so told me I didn't have to wait in line and that she could ring me up right away.  I feel better now about the double questoins!
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The 2014 Oscar nominated films are slowly being released to the pay channels, so I finally got a chance to see Whiplash tonight....wonderful, yet pretty scary performance by J.B. Simmons, who won the award for best supporting player.  Definitely no Farmers Insurance guy!  To be recorded in the next couple of days are Foxfire (which got Steve Carell nominated), and The Theory of Everything.  I'll eventually get to see them all.
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I'm getting a free box of Haagen Dazs ice cream bars.  We have little snack bars after dinner and last night my bar was not ice cream.  It tasted like ice milk and was grainy in texture.  So I wrote to Haagen Dazs and told them, politely, how often we eat their bars and how I was surprised by this one.  I got a very nice letter back from customer service this morning, explaining about the effect of temperature change on ice cream and telling me that they would be sending me a coupon for a free box of bars.  I have had very good luck with complaint letters, always being polite and never expecting anything.  I also feel it necessary to write about GOOD service or something that pleases me.  Seems only fair.