Thursday, June 30, 2016

False Alarm

This was The Big Day.  And it all went perfectly.  Until it didn't.

I had made an appointment for her to have her stitches removed, as ordered by the doctor in the ER, with one of the nurses here in Davis.  I made the appointment for 11:30, knowing how late she sleeps these days.

Allowing plenty of time,  got to Atria at 10:00 and let myself into her apartment and yes, she was sleeping.  I woke her up and she was very groggy, but she got dressed and I went out to get her some coffee, which helped wake her up a bit more.  I could tell from how she was looking around the room that she didn't have a clue where she was.

This was one of her off days, and being awakened early didn't help that.  I think one of the most frustrating things for me...and definitely for that she wakes up not knowing where she is and what she should be doing, but knowing that she should be doing something.  

Some days this isn't a big deal, other days it borders on anxiety about not being able to remember what she is supposed to do.  I have tried giving her something simple to do, but she doesn't want to do anything I suggest and just stares at me what that little kid standing defiantly in front of Mommy and refusing to do whatever it is that she is asked to do.

I brought her the piece that her sister Barb had written when she first realized she was losing her memory.  I wasn't sure my mother could follow it, but thought she would try, because it was something from one of her sisters to whom she was the closest.  She held it and looked off and said "You know...I can't remember Barb.  I don't remember who she is."  I told her that she was her sister and she asked if she died or not.

Today she was just very vague and following me around when we left the building.  I told her many times on the ride to Kaiser where we were going and why we were going there.  Sometimes she remembers something vague about an accident, but most times it's a new piece of information every time.

I was proud of myself that I actually got to Kaiser five minutes early.  Given that I had to wake her up, that I had to allow time for her to have coffee, that I had to convince her to put on her shoes, and that she didn't know where we were going or why, I was thrilled to discover we were on time.

We went into the procedure room and a nurse asked her name.  She could remember her first name, but not her last.  The nurse checked the bridge of her nose (I had to remind my mother why she was doing this--that she'd had a fall).  She said there was something covering the stitches, something that seemed almost metallic.  She thought maybe makeup, but I don't think my mother has any makeup, and if she does, she hasn't used it in a very long time. Neither of us could figure out what it was.  Whatever it was it seemed to be caked on her nose and she put a wet gauze on it to see if she could soften the...whatever it was...up enough that she could clean the wound.

The nurse went off to find her doctor to check the stitches and I swear, this woman has been my doctor too for many years and I've always considered her more of a statistician than a physician, since she seems more concerned with numbers (blood pressure, blood sugar, etc.) than actual health. She doesn't really "know" me at all. She walked in, said hello, didn't examine my mother's stitches at all. didn't seem to know why she was there, and walked out again,  Soon, the nurse was back with her and this time she did, under the nurse's request, check the stitches and decided that they weren't ready to come out yet, and that we should return on Friday.  So we have to do the whole thing over again.

As we walked out, I held her arm because she said that she felt her legs might buckle under her at any minute.

I knew she had not had anything to eat yet, so I took her to IHOP, which is next door to Kaiser, for breakfast. and was pleased that she actually ate at least half of her pancakes, which was more than I could eat.

She does not "wait" well.  I've noticed that whenever we aren't actively doing something, but are merely waiting--like for a waiter to take our order, or for the food to come or, in a restaurant, for the bill to arrive, she always wants to know what we are doing and what we should be doing.

We left and drove back to Atria.  When we got out of the car she stood in the middle of the parking lot while I locked the car, as if she didn't have a clue where to go.  She asked where we were going and I said we were going inside the building "This is where you live," I said.  "I do?" she asked.

When we got inside she said she thought it looked familiar.  We went to her apartment and I gathered up her laundry to bring home to wash.  Some of it was in the hamper, some of it was in the waste basket.  When i had it all collected I went to tell her goodbye.  She was sitting on the couch looking lost.  She said "so I'm supposed to sit here and someone will tell me what to do, right?"  I told her what she was supposed to do was to lie down and take a nap, but that brought the defiant "I don't have to do that if I don't want to" face and I kissed her goodbye.  As I left, she was sitting there, looking around the room and, I'm fairly certain, trying to figure out where she was and I know she was trying to figure out what she was supposed to be doing.

I felt so very helpless.

I came home and did a marathon reading session.  I was so into the first Mickey Bolitar book that we finished in the car that I immediately ordered the second one and zipped through it.  It ended at a place I couldn't just leave so I ordered the third one, very frustrated when it seemed to be taking forever to get to my Kindle.  When I went to Amazon and checked the order found I had inadvertently ordered the paperback.  I was able to cancel that order and order the Kindle version, which was delivered instantly so I am now into that book, the third in the series. Thank goodness the series ends with book 3.

I didn't get much accomplished but did finish the book and got my old desk completely cleared of junk.  Now all that is left on the top of that desk is things I have to find room for in the new office.  Today I have the day "off" since it is Logos day.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Is It Sunday Yet?

Weeks like this confuse me.  Shows should not start on Tuesday, but all the Music Circus shows start on Tuesday. Not really sure why.  It's especially confusing in a week like this when I have five shows to review in 7 days.  When I got up this morning I was sure it must be Saturday, at least.  But it's only Wednesday.

We saw two shows over the weekend.  One was The Totalitarians, about which I wrote yesterday.  Then for our anniversary the next day we saw a show called Clever Little Lies, a comedy about marital infidelity -- surely a wonderful theme for an anniversary.  It was a hilarious comedy, until suddenly it wasn't.  I haven't written the review yet.  I'm trying to figure out how to explain how funny it is, without giving away the fact that it doesn't end as funny as it begins.

Then last night Dolly was back where she belonged, as Hello Dolly opened on the Music Circus stage.  It was about the hottest day of the week, so walking to the theater from our parking slot was like doing exercise in a sauna, but thank God the theater is air conditioned.  When I first started reviewing, Music Circus shows took place in a giant tent.  I think they had blowers blowing air in at intermission, but the heat combined with the terribly uncomfortable "directors chairs" made attending a show less than pleasant.

Fortunately two or three years after I started reviewing, they built their permanent building, with comfortable seats and air conditioning.  Once you get into the place, all is fine and the shows are almost always high quality and lots of fun.

But when you wake up the next morning it's Wednesday and your week doesn't end until Sunday...and there are two more shows to review between now and then.  This week it's Cyrano de Bergerac on Thursday and Bells are Ringing on Friday.  Both are part of the Davis Shakespeare Ensemble's now-annual summer festival, where they do two non-Shakespeare shows and run them for about six weeks each.

Next week was scheduled to be a non-reviewing week because our plan was to go to Santa Barbara on Saturday for Tom's annual birthday BBQ on the beach, but we have had to cancel.  I was uncomfortable about leaving my mother, but was going to do it but then the termites invaded and the appointments Walt was able to get with the exterminator and the contractor (to fix the garage door, which is now off its hinges and nailed to the garage itself) were going to make it impossible to do what we planned to do.

So we won't be at the BBQ and we won't see Brianna's All Star game, but hope to go down a couple of weeks later, when the dust settles up here.  The last time I saw the girls was Christmas and I'm itching to see them again! Thank goodness I started writing to them so I feel at least still a part of their lives especially when Brianna answers me!

I console myself with the realization that with Uncle Ned, Uncle Norm, and Uncle Joe around, the girls couldn't care less if I were there at all, but if we go by ourselves, they are more likely to be interested in their old grandparents.

So not going also puts less pressure on me to clean out the living room before Ashley and Dave move in here to dog sit.  What with Swap Bot projects deadlines and reviews to write the relocation into my office is going slowly.  It's kind of like the process that I use when writing a review. I write a bit, then go do something else--often just sitting and staring into space while my mind races.  With the office reorganization, I put a few things away, then sit and try to figure out what I am going to do next. I could easily just move it all in and sort through it after it's out of the living room, but if Ned has gone to all this trouble to give me this organized office, I want to return everything thoughtfully and not just throw something on a shelf, but decide why it goes on that shelf.

There are tons of books, but I want to put them back into some sort of order.  I have a place for all the books about animals (dogs, horses, elephants) and I just started a shelf for mysteries, but since the mysteries are all over the place in boxes, it require going through all the boxes to separate them out.

I have a Steinberg section, a section for theater books, and a section for books about language (I am fascinated with facts about language, the history of language, and odd facts about language, like Martha Barnette's books, "Ladyfingers and Nun's Tummies" (a lighthearted look at how foods got their names) and "Dog Days and Dandelions" (a lively guide to the animal meanings behind everyday words).  I also have a section planned for books about San Francisco and then there are all those books that don't fit in a specific category.

Theoretically, with the books I have donated to Logos, you'd think that the remaining books would all fit on the shelves, but there are two problems with that.  First, before the reorganization, I had books stacked two-deep on the shelf, which meant that there were many books I hadn't seen in years and didn't realize I had.  I don't want to do that now, which means that I start out with half the shelf space I had for the same number of books. Also, I had lots of binders in cabinets and other storage areas, binders for the Compassion kids, binders for collections of newsletters I have written over the years, binders for diaries of journal entries of trips we have taken before I started Funny the World.  I have only ONE shelf that is tall enough for a binder, so those have to go there.  I have a wonderful number of shelves but two are much too high for me to reach, so those will be for storage and I have to figure out what, other than movies and slides from the 1960s and 70s are best to go up there.

So it just all takes thought and thinking sometimes leads to frantic depression about how I'm ever going to get this done.  But I will.  And when it is finished it will be great. I just have to survive the growing pains...or is it shrinking pains?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Webster's defines "torpor" as "a state of not being active and having very little energy."  While this might describe me most of the time, today I had a good excuse -- it was 104 outside.

Walt, a better man than I just about all the time, hauled furniture out to the dump and cleaned up the yard for garbage pick up tomorrow.  

Me?  I bought more plastic and spent a couple of hours watching my mother sleep.

Early in the morning, I took Walt out to a rental place where he got a truck large enough to hold the furniture he was taking to the dump.  He wanted to get it done before the sun got too high.

I dropped him off and then went out to Office Max, where I bought a thingy which is 4 plastic drawers on wheels, which I can use to put all the things that have been in the desk drawer I've been using for 30 years.  They aren't quite as large, so I am limited, but that means making decisions about what to save and what to toss.  The drawers are filled and I still have things left over, but I am a good way there.

I also, at Office Max, found a desk chair that was not only comfortable, but on sale for nearly 50% off, so I threw caution to the wind and bought it.

The office is coming together nicely, and I feel very good about working in here until I go into the living room and realize how much more there is and how I can't even begin to know where to fit it all in.  But for now, this is a nice workable place to work.

It was a shock to walk into Atria at 1:30 and find my mother coming back from lunch!  She couldn't remember if she had had lunch or not, but she had coffee breath, so I assume she did.  But she was out in public!  It may be that she was just feeling better and not remembering what she looked like, just went to lunch as she always does.

But I can tell she's feeling better because most of our repeated conversatiaon today was about how she's getting old, how it would be neat to be 100 and what am I doing exciting tonight.  Right back where we began before the accident.

Her finger still hurts, but it used to be 4 fingers that were excruciatingly painful, now one finger hurts a little bit.

The purple around her eyes is turning yellow so she is on the mend and won't be technicolor any more, though it still shocks her to get a glimpse of herself,  But in some corner of that demented mind she finally knows that there was something about an accident, but she isn't clear on the details.  Still just her knowing that "accident" was somehow involved is a huge step forward.

* -- * -- * -- * -- *

I'm in the middle of writing a review of a show we saw on Saturday called "The Totalitarians" by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb.  It's a mostly hilarious comedy, but about 10 minutes into it, I decided that this was actually Donald Trump's playbook.  There is a Sarah Palin-type candidate named Penny Easter running for governor of Nebraska who comes up with the slogan "Freedom From Fear" and hands out tattoos with "FFF" on them.
You land the "Freedom from Fear" moment and everyone raises their fists in the air.  At first dead silence, just fists.  F-F-F. F-F-F. F-F-F. And then a whisper growing, the crowd beings to chant "Fff fff fff fff fff.
Penny Easter gives a long speech (2-1/2 pages in the script), her first before a large crowd.  I'll tell ya, if she had only called other politicians nasty names you would have thought it was an actual Trump speech.

But at intermission, I looked at info on the play and realized it was first produced in 2014, which means it was written even before that, long before Trump invested in a hat factory so he could sell stupid "Make America Great Again" caps and make money doing it.

After the show, I talked with the director and told him how lucky he was that Trump was running for president and he said he had been nervously watching the campaign and hoping that he didn't "peak too soon."

So it appears that the Trump candidacy, which frightens me so much, is good for something at least, to help sell a very funny play at one of my favorite venues.

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Slab of Meat

I have a love/hate relationship with The Buckhorn restaurant in Winters, California.

It's probably the best meat and potatoes place in town, but it's a big place, with three different rooms, and each room is decorated with heads of beautiful animals that someone shot for sport.
Look at that moose behind me.  Breaks my heart.

The plan today was to review a matinee in Sacramento and then since we were in the Big City, we would go to a Sacramento restaurant, which we almost never do, to have dinner to celebrate our 51st anniversary.

Only when we got to the theater for the 2 p.m. matinee, we found out it was a one act, hour and a half show and would be out by 3:30.  A little early for dinner even given that neither of us had eaten lunch.

I suggested that we just drive home and go somewhere in Davis for dinner, and suggested an Italian place where I had been for dinner with a friend once, but where Walt had never been.

As we were driving down the freeway listening to Says You on the radio, we passed a billboard for The Buckhorn.  Winters is about 10 miles from Davis.  I suggested that we go there instead.  It was a longer drive (thus we could listen to more of the show) and it felt like more of a special place.

And so we did.  It was only 4:30 when we got to Winters, but it was about 100⁰ when we got out of the car, so we went straight to the air conditioned restaurant, which says it opens for dinner at 5, but it was already pretty full, this being Sunday and all, I guess.  

It was easy to order.  I knew what I was having even before we got to the place.  There aren't many places that we go to anyway where you can get lamb and I was lookin' to gnaw me some lamb bone (trying to forget the contradiction of my hating the game heads on the wall, but looking forward to eating a lamb).

Dinner was fabulous.  It starts with a very generous salad.

along with a basket filled with warm sourdough bread...which really is sour and a generous mound of butter.  I usually fill up on this stuff and then am too full for dinner, but, remembering that, I only finished half of my salad tonight.  When the rack of lamb arrived, I was glad that I had.  It was on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes and had a little bowl of a mint sauce, along with the green beans.

Walt had prime rib, which came with Yorkshire pudding, which was not on the menu and kind of a "surprise."

We skipped dessert because we had ice cream bars at home but the whole dinner was really lovely.
It was very nice to have a day off from my mother, but I have to take her to have her stitches removed tomorrow, so it's back in the saddle again.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Memories from Barb

On this, our 51st anniversary, it seems appropriate to print what my aunt Barb wrote to us on our 25th anniversary, about our wedding day:

When your mother and dad were celebrating their twenty fifth year of wedded bliss, they invited Unc and I to attend the festivities. Because of poor health, poor car and no gas, we had to send them our condolences by mail, along with a note of remembrances of their wedding day. Tho’ I’ve not gotten an invitation from you to attend this years festivities, or any other years festivities, I’m going to try and control my “hurt” and write a note of remembrances of the first day of the rest of your life’s wedded bliss.

Your wedding day is and always will be etched in my mind – and I’m sure the reason for that is, I am still, after all these many years, having nightmares about it.

Now, I know you’re thinking – “Why should dear old auntie be having nightmares about my wedding?” My answer to that: “Little does the bride and groom know what goes on at their own nuptials.” They are the stars and have no thought, or in fact care, as to the rest of the cast or what the audience thinks or does. I’m thinking of writing a pamphlet of do’s or don’ts on this subject – but here I digress.

Unc and I were very excited about being invited to your wedding. Those were very lean years for us and I knew I didn’t have the proper clothes to wear for such an elegant occasion. I did not want you or your mother to be ashamed of me – so trying to appear at my best I discussed the situation with my friends and neighbors. They all took pity on me and for the sake of my peace of mind they pooled their resources (their clothes) and sent me off to the city in style.

Your Uncle Bill was president of The World Sign Association in those years, so he had all the grand clothes because he had to look real spiffy and presidential at the meetings. Because I didn’t have anything to wear but rags, I had to stay at home with the babies. That has been my lot in life for fifty-one years, but I try not to complain and I don’t cry too much about it any more.

Since I was looking fairly sharp in my borrowed finery, the old boy was going to allow me to ride with him and stay overnight at the Claremont Hotel. I would go to the wedding while he attended the meetings.

By the time I got to the church most of the guests had already been seated; only your mother, (my sister) was in the outer room waiting to greet guests. As we came through the door, she looked me over, walked toward me and said “Good Morning!” I am the mother of the bride – may I direct you to your seat?

Well!!! You can imagine how I felt. I had neglected to take off my dark glasses when I entered the room so there was some excuse for her not recognizing me, but my God, I had slept with, eaten with, fought with, laughed with and loved this lady for a lifetime and now she did not even recognize me. I tell you, I was crushed! However, after she saw me minus the shades and in a better light, she came to her senses and shuffled me towards the door of the chapel and told one of the ushers to seat me.

Well!!! I found myself seated among a pack of strangers. I came to find out she had sent me to sit with Walt’s relatives. They all looked at me as though I had just arrived from the second rock to the sun.

Tho’ “being an out of the loop” Catholic, at that particular time, I had not forgotten how to kneel and pray at the proper command. Those darn ding-a-ling bells always did confuse me and I never quite understood if they were ringing to tell me that dinner was served, or if it was time to bring the cows’ home.

During part of the bell ringing, I looked over at the “West’s” side of the chapel and saw my brother Paul and his lovely wife Alma sitting almost in the front row. It was about this time when I began to feel like a neglected orphan. I had known Alma in earlier days and believe me, when I tell you, that her real hair was not connected to anything but air.

After I married my present husband (you know him) Alma decided that we were not longer to be catered to and from that day forth she never graced our presence again. (My, I really did digress there, didn’t I.)

Now, back to the story. You can, I hope, understand how I felt, here I was in a House of God and as the Bible says, “I was a stranger in a very strange land.” We all said our amen's and were dispersed to the outer gardens, where if I remember correctly we were to wait for the bread line. Not too far in the distance there were benches placed for the comfort of the guests. I took advantage of a seat far removed from the motley crowd so that I could think over the events that had happened so far that day. After all, strange things happen, and one must “Go with Flo” whomever she is.

There were quite a few vacant benches around me and it was not long before Paul and Alma joined we bench sitters. They had not seen me yet, so I whistled over to them (I can do that very well with just two fingers in mouth) and that loud sound really causes attention. Everyone else, near and far heard the whistle, but somehow my dear relatives were hard of hearing. Or perhaps, their minds were in Paramaribo and consequently did not even glance my way.

Being the nice person that I am, I joined them on their bench, and we talked for a minute or two before Alma excused herself and moved to another bench so that she could be more comfortable and cooler.

The bells rang for the chow line. I don’t remember if it was a sit down affair or a serve yourself buffet. I do remember sitting next to your grandmother Pearl for awhile. I really did like sitting with her, because I am the quiet, bashful sort, and I do much better on the listening end than trying to make people hear my low voice blatherings. Pearl was very gracious and instinctively knew I was not a real talker. She held up her end of the conversation, and mine too, for which I was thankful.

    I do believe my dear aunt was being sarcastic.  She is not shy and my grandmother never shut up.

Your grandmother had beautiful well-kept hands and her fingernails were always perfectly manicured at just the right length and color for the occasion. In her presence I always sat on my hands.

After the banquet and some “things” to drink, the guests made their speeches and the bride and groom were toasted, and everyone did all of those nice things they always do at weddings.

Would you care to know something weird about you on that day which I shall never forget? As the day progressed, when most brides are beginning to droop and fade, you defied tradition and became more beautiful with every hour. When I kissed you goodbye, you were absolutely gorgeous – even if you had taken your shoes off.

There it is, now you know!

Auntie Barb
June, 1997

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Finished--at last Finished!

It's finished!

Ned finished it while I was at Atria this afternoon and when I got home, I was all set up -- computer, printer, and TV.  All these shelves!  I hope to fill them in a more organized fashion (but probably won't!)  But I love that all of my Compassion kids binders are all together on one shelf now.

I took the morning off from Atria because my mother's step son was stopping by to visit her, and I had my monthly lunch date with my friend Kathy.  I was on the way to the restaurant when I had a phone call from the step son letting me know that my mother seemed to have a pain in her finger and had anybody checked that?  I couldn't believe it.  I had written to him TWICE giving him a full report on the accident, including the sprained fingers.  I assured him that the doctor was aware of the problem, that she had been ex-rayed and that I had explained it to her at least 100 times.

I also had a call earlier in the day from someone at Atria.  She said "I'm here with your mother.  She's a little confused and doesn't seem to remember what happened to her."  I told her too that it had been explained to her a zillion times and would probably explain a zillion more times.

Lunch with Kathy was interesting.  Naturally we talked a lot about politics.  Her son and his husband don't know what is going to happen to them.  His husband is from Portugal and is working on his PhD.  He will get his PhD in another couple of years.  Her son has a guest visa because he is married to his husband.  But since the husband never established permanent residency in England because he didn't need to, under the EU, he doesn't know if he will be allowed to stay...and if he can't stay, does his husband lose his guest visa?

After lunch, I went to Atria.  The stepson had stayed less than an hour, according to the guest book  But at least he came which is more than anybody else in the bay area has done.  I stayed until about 5.  Her bruising is more extensive today

She took a nap, and I did too.  We sat there and stared at each other for about an hour.  Occasionally she would tell me that her fingers hurt and she didn't know why. At one point she told me that she didn't know why, but all she could think of in the back of her head was that she wanted to walk and just keep on walking forever.  I wondered if this, combined with her obsession with seeing her mother lately meant anything.
I decided to turn on the TV and tried to find something that she might be interested in enough to look.  I tried Ellen but she just turned to me and said "do you understand anything that is going on?"  I finally just turned the set off. She is beyond being able to watch TV and enjoy it.

When I left she was upset because she didn't know what she was supposed to do if I'm not there.

It was a hour earlier than yesterday, but I was eager to see my new office.  I will go back at some point tomorrow, but my heart is in starting to arrange the office.

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Plagues of Davis

I think I'm glad we don't have a cow.

I checked out the plagues of Egypt and think we are experiencing them.  The first plague was blood.  OK, it was the water turning into blood, but there was certainly enough blood on Ned's finger two days ago to qualify as a plague of blood.

It's more difficult to figure out how my mother's accident jives with the plague of frogs,  I'm sure something about "croaking" would be in there somewhere.

Day 3 of the plagues is the plague of insects.

    Then God ordered Aaron to strike the dust of the earth with his staff, and no sooner did he do so than all over Egypt bugs crawled forth from the dust to cover the land. Man and beast suffered untold misery from this terrible plague.

That's kind of what happened when the garage door guy, who was here this morning to fix the garage door which had come off its hinges, found when he started to investigate.  We are rich in termites, poor only in what a hit our bank account will take in order to eradicate them.

Day 4 has something to do with livestock being infected, but I think if I toss a bit of lamb's blood on the door post we'll be OK.

Walt is meeting with termite guy next week and by God, if he tells me I need to pack up all my stuff so he can spray, I may just possibly have a first class hissy fit.

While Walt was dealing with termines, I packed up and headed to Atria, where I spent the day. She actually slept until noon and when she woke up, she was brighter than she had been the day before.  She still doesn't have a clue what happened or why her fingers are so sore and I must have explained that to her 100 times.

Her face today looks horrible, as the bruising has set in.

But actually by the time I left at 6 I could see it was looking better, though anyone seeing her for the 
first time would be appalled.  Other than being shocked at her appearance, she didn't seem to be too upset until we were going to the dining room for dinner and she saw herself again, for the first time in a couple of hours, and decided she didn't want anybody seeing her, which I certainly understood. (So I ordered a dinner to be brought to her room before I left to come home.)

Not only did she sleep until noon, but she also took about an hour and a half nap in the afternoon, so I got a lot of reading in and actually finished my book, "Broadway Tails: Heartfelt Stories of Rescued Dogs Who Became Showbiz Superstars" by Bill Berloni.  Fascinating story and there is even a sort of friend of mine in it -- Moose, who was the first traveling company Sandy for Annie.  I used to chat with Moose at Sacramento's Music Circus every night when I was driving the local "mutt" in from Davis for his brief stint in Act 1.

My mother's step son is going to stop by tomorrow and I'll be curious to see what he has to say.

Her main complaint is her fingers.  She can't get it through her head that they are sprained (and she doesn't know how she sprained them).  The big problem is that the first two fingers on each hand are very sore yet she keeps her hands clasped together, fingers interlocking.  When I give her the old line "It hurts when you do that?  DON'T DO THAT!" she will look very guilty, unlock her hands and then proceed to squeeze finger in order over and over again to see if they still hurt.

I poined out to her that yesterday, when I tried to clean her up with a wet tissue, the very touch of the tissue, without pressure, caused her to scream out in pain, so she had come a long way in a day.  But of course, she has lost the ability for cause and effect relationships and she didn't pay any attention to what I was saying.

I was drained when I came home.  I don't do anything, really, when I'm there (except today I did a load of dishes that was piled in the sink), but it is such an emotional drain on me that I just want to come home and sit, which Polly can't understand because, dogdammit, it's time for her dinner.  NOW.

I'm going back for tomorrow afternoon.  I have lunch with a friend in the morning and Ed will be there part of the morning anyway.  I'll stay until 6 again, but I think by then I can feel comfortable leaving her alone. given the progress she had made today.

* * *

Ned says tomorrow is the day he is moving my computer back into the new office.  Then my REAL work begins!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

After the Fall

I have been getting more sleep than I usually do lately...and it's kind of nice.  Yesterday I went to bed early and got up around 4:30 a.m.  I didn't feel sleepy, so read my book for awhile, then got a glass of ice water (which I usually have first thing in the morning) and promptly fell asleep.

At 9:30 the phone rang.  The caller ID said it was my mother, but she always calls my cell phone and yes, it was not my mother.  It was someone from Atria calling to let me know she had had a fall.  I said I'd be there in 10 minutes and probably made it in less.

When I got to Atria there were 2 fire engines and an ambulance.  I got to her apartment and there was nobody there, so I went to the front desk, where they said that they had sent her to Kaiser in Vacaville.  When I got outside, the fire engines were gone, but the ambulance was still there so I called out to them and went down there to see if she was inside, which she was.  She was very confused and wasn't sure why she was in the ambulance.  The paramedic asked if she normally knew things like the year and the month and I told him no.

They took off for the hospital and I followed them.

She was in a room in the ER and very confused.  She didn't know why she was there, doesn't remember falling, and is very upset that her fingers hurt.  She also wanted to know what the liquid was that was trickling down her face (blood).

So the questions she wanted asked were:  what happened?  Why do her fingers hurt?  What should she be doing?  Why was she in a hospital?

How many times can she ask those questions in 2-1/2 hours?  Sometimes she understood my answers, sometimes she told me I wasn't making any sense at all and that she was too old to understand.
The funny thing is...the two things she is fixated on under normal circumstances are her watch (comparing the time with the wall clock) and her toenails.  When she can't think of anything to talk about, she asks me if I think her toenails are pretty.

So in the middle of all those questions she was asking, she suddenly noticed that one foot was peeking out from under the hospital gown and she stopped to let me know how pretty her toenails were.

Over the time we were there, she had x-rays on her hands (fingers sprained) and a CT scan to see if she had a concussion (no).  While she was gone, I had a nice conversation with a social service worker and we talked about dementia and alzheimers.  She gave me her phone # in case I have things I want to discuss with her.

When she returned to the ER room, the doctor put 5 stitches in her forehead and then went off to find the scans that had been taken (this took a long time).  Now she wanted to know again why she was there.  When I mentioned the stitches, she asked when she had stitches because she didn't remember that at all.

I was glad I had my cell phone with me and took her picture to show her what her face looked like.  Oddly, she didn't seem to feel a connection between herself and the picture.

Her cut seemed to bleed a lot periodically and I spent a lot of time cleaning blood off of her face.  Also, she was very upset at all the "red" on her hands and she didn't know what it was and however did she get blood on her hands.

She needed to go to the bathroom badly and I went to get the nurse, but my mother looked at me like I was crazy...she didn't need to go to the bathroom.  Five minutes later if she didn't get up to go to the bathroom she was going to "poop all over" but when the nurse came, she didn't know why she was there...she didn't have to go to the bathroom.


Eventually we found that the fingers were just sprained and that the CT scan showed there was no concussion.  A nurse cleaned up her and put a bandage over her stitches.

I knew that I couldn't go off and leave her alone, so I planned to spend the afternoon.  Figuring she would sleep, I stopped by the house here and picked up my Kindle.  It was a good stop because Ned was here and he always brings such sunshine to his visits with his grandma. She stayed in the car and he went out to spend some time with her.

Back at Atria, someone came to explain what actually happened.  Apparently she fell getting out of bed and was bleeding so much she went out into the hall to find help.  She has a pendant to wear, but she has stopped wearing it and even when she wears it, she doesn't know what it is for, so I don't know that it would have helped her.

But they also told me that the day before someone found that she had taken her bed apart and had removed the mattress.  Whoever it was asked if she knew where she was.  She said that yes, she was in San Francisco and was looking for a phone to call her mother.

In the late afternoon, she asked me "where is our mother?"  I said "did you mean where is YOUR mother?"  She said no, where was OUR mother and then snapped back and realized that I was her daughter, not her sister.

I don't know what I will find tomorrow.  I've taken the day off at Logos and will stay at Atria all day just to make sure she's OK.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

First Blood

"It's not a construction project unless a little blood is spilled," said Ned as he wrapped gauze around his finger.  The Frozen band aid I offered him wasn't going to do it, though I would have enjoyed seeing him with Princesses Anna and Elsa decorating his pointer finger, and it would have made a funny picture to send to Brianna and Lacie. 

But this was heavy duty blood.  Thank goodness we were able to find gauze pads and tape (though the tape was in the desk that my computer desk is now covering up).  We so seldom (i.e., almost never) need first aid supplies any more.  I think the tape was from my cataract surgery...the first one.
He cut his finger moving the first of two bookcases back into the office.  These and a metal file cabinet are the only pieces of the old furniture that are coming back in again.

He's going to put one more shelf in above the bookcases, now that he can see them in place.
The rest of what he did was little painting stuff (like a second coat of enamel on the desk top) and building a cover for where the modem and wifi will go.  He also took out a lot of tools, so it's starting to look like an office again.  I put some boxes up (but they won't stay in that spot...still it was nice to see something on the shelf).

He went home early and will be back tomorrow and, he thinks, finish up on Friday.

An e-mail I received during the morning was a lovely surprise...Amazon apparently had to give its customers rebates because of some Antitrust Settlement I knew nothing about.  But I was delighted to hear they had added a not small amount to my account and I was able to buy 3 kindle books I've had on my wish list but didn't want to spend the money for.  I still have money left in my account, which is delightful.

In the afternoon, I binge watched 2 episodes of Rizzoli and Isles, whose new (final) season started without fanfare and was already 3 episodes old when I saw it last night.  Walt went upstairs to take a nap.

I was sitting there, minding my business and arranging the new books into the right files on my kindle when I heard a kerfuffle at the back door.  When the dogs reacted by lunging at the door (which was slightly open to give them access to the yard), I thought maybe another bird had gotten confused and flew into the sliding glass door.

But when I got up, what a surprise!

Our mock orange bush had fallen over...well, at least a big chunk of it had fallen over.  You have to actually climb over the bush in order to get past the patio (unless you go around, that is).

I'm not sure what we will find when it is all cleared away, and whether the remaining part of the bush will be viable or not.

But it certainly did add a bit of excitement to the day that started with "first blood" in the office!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


In the movie The Graduate, young Benjamin Braddock is given advice by an older man at his graduation party.
"Plastics," the man says, explaining that plastics were the wave of the future.  That was 1967.  His prophecy has come true and plastics are everywhere.

Plastics have become my life.  It seems these days I have never seen a plastic container I didn't like.
Take this little tower thingy.  It is made up of three sets of three plastic shelves, each approximately 7" square (a little over 7" in length).   It is my new tower of stickers.

I use stickers.  Lots of stickers.  I decorate letters to the girls and send them stickers when I write to them.  I use them in creating pocket letters.  I send them to the Compassion kids.  I share them with members of Swap Bot.

Not only do I use stickers, I also get stickers.  People send them to me in SwapBot swaps.

Years ago, when I was making scrapbook pages, I bought lots and lots of stickers, many of which I still have.  So I am drowning in stickers.

They have all been in one big box and trying to find something takes forever.  

But now I have a tower of stickers.  It took me over an hour yesterday to set up drawers for:  Disney, Irish, "critters" (non specific animals), dogs, cats, smiley faces, butterflies, hearts and flowers.  Those are the categories of stickers I have the most of.  I still have a lot of other oddball stickers, but now the stack is much smaller and much easier to plough through when looking for just the right sticker.

Then there is the Washi tape.

I love Washi tape.  It's the Japanese paper tape that you can use to decorate anything.  The one really nice thing about Washi is that if you don't like where you positioned it on a piece of paper, you can pick it up and reposition it.  I always decorate the girls' envelopes with Washi and use it for lots of other craft projects.  I have lots and lots of Washi tape (I also get sent Washi tape).  Now I have two big boxes in which to store most of the rolls of tape.

I love those little plastic boxes.  I could fit more Washi into the bigger box without them, but I like having them in groups of 4 rolls.  They stay neater that way.  I have similar boxes for oversized patterned paper books and individual sheets.

I have plastic boxes for postage stamps, one drawer for forever stamps and one drawer for odd-denomination stamps, to make up extra weight envelopes.

There are boxes for post cards, both to send and those received and then there's this nice sectioned box

It holds various little things that I use for pocket letters.

These days whenever I look at the overwhelming mountain in the living room, I think about what I can store in plastic boxes to keep it organized and dust-free.

Plastics are not going to be the only answer for my office organizing when the room is finished (in maybe two more visits, Ned guesses), but they are going to go a long way to be a good start.  And there are still lots of shapes and sizes of boxes that I still want to get.

Benjamin Braddock would be amazed.

Monday, June 20, 2016


At intermission of the matinee of The Music Man, I sent a text to Jeri which said "I'm probably the only person in the world who cries through 'Wells Fargo Wagon.'"

When we got into the car after the show, we both agreed it had been a good show and that we enjoyed it.  "But there are still flashbacks," Walt said, saying "Sadder but wiser girl" always got to him.
I've always thought of The Music Man as our "family show."

It was the very first "big show" that Paul ever did.  He played Winthrop, the little kid who sings "Gary, Indiana."  Jeri was Amarylis in that production, the girl who takes piano lessons from Marian the Librarian and joins her in singing "Good Night My Someone."

Later that same year, Paul was cast to play Winthrop again in a production at a huge amphitheater in Oakland. He stayed with friends of ours who had suggested he audition for the part during rehearsal and the show itself.  When their awards ceremony came around, he was one of the kids nominated as "Best Child Actor," and won.

When he got older, he played Tommy Djilas, the boy from the wrong side of the tracks, who "almost invented perpetual motion."

In his last monologue show, he did Harold Hill's song, "Trouble," and I always thought it would be funny if someday he played Harold Hill...and then later, when he was much older, Mayor Shinn, so that he could have spanned his whole life with The Music Man ... but he died first.

You'd think it would be difficult for me to see "Gary, Indiana," but it's not.  There are so many cute kids who play Winthrop and the kid yesterday was adorable, so I enjoy the performance, not the memories.  But when the finale of Act 1 comes on and they sing "Wells Fargo Wagon" and Winthrop has his big solo wondering if there could be "thomething thpecial jutht for me" I picture 10 year old Paul taking center stage and I just lose it every time.  I sat there yesterday with tears rolling down my cheeks, trying to wipe them away before the lights came up for intermission.

For Walt, his difficult memory is the duet Harold sings with his old pal Marcellus, "Sadder but Wiser Girl" because he is remembering the high school jazz choir days when Paul and his friend Kag performed that song.

So Music Man is always a mixed bag.  It is probably my favorite musical, but it is also the one that is fraught with the most memories.  And what better way to spend Father's Day than seeing "the family musical"?

The show ended at 5 and we had been invited to join family at Marta's sister's house for a Father's Day barbeque.  Since it was a very hot day, I didn't want to bring food to share and have it sit in a hot car for 2-1/2 hours, so we stopped for food after the show.  I also took the opportunity to run to Office Max, next door to Safeway, to pick up another box for the office.

Dinner is always fun and celebrates the four dads in the group.

That would be Marta's Dad, her sister's father-in-law, Walt and Marta's brother-in-law.  

So it was a good day and as we left for home, there was a gorgeous sunset in the sky.

Earlier in the day, I had stopped by Atria to deliver a gorgeous basket of red carnations I had found at Michael's for my mother.  They look so real and they won't die on her, which is always a plus.  She was unintentionally funny today and though on the one hand it was sad, on the other hand, I couldn't help but laugh at what happened.

I found her sitting in the hall outside the dining room, where the men--fathers and their grown up sons--were stopping by a big bin of bow ties, gift for all the fathers going to lunch.  "I'm getting too old and I don't know what's going on any more," she said, as I explained to her more than once that it was Father's Day and the ties were for all the Dads.

After awhile we went to her apartment.  I had her pills for next week to leave for her and I was fairly certain that if I left her sitting in the hall, she would not remember to take the flowers with her when she went back to her apartment.  And I was right, because even when I reminded her to take them, her reaction was "Oh?  Are those for me?"

We got to the apartment and I went to put her pills in the bathroom, where I always leave them.  I saw that the previous week's pill box still had two days' worth of pills in it.  It had been 3 days since I was last there and when I was there, there were two days' worth of pills not yet taken, so she hasn't been taking her pills.

I confronted her with it (which is always pointless, but somehow I need to do it).  "There are two days worth of pills in there so I know you haven't been taking your pills," I said.

She got defensive and then said "OK...I'll take one NOW."

She got herself a glass of water, and two cookies and went to sit down and dutifully eat her cookies.  I got her pills and handed them to her.  "What are those?" she asked, and then said " I take pills?"

I'm going to have to monitor her more closely to make sure she is taking the pills, which means going to Atria more often.  But I had to admit that I got a good chuckle out of her thinking that she was doing what she was supposed to do by eating two cookies with her glass of water.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Deep in the Hundred Acre Woods

We went on a hunny hunt this afternoon, in search of Pooh Corner, where it was rumored that a party was being held for Ashley and her husband and their soon-to-be-born son, Gabe.  It was an absolutely perfect day, weather wise.  It has been in the 70s this week (unusually cool), but today could not have been better and tomorrow it is scheduled to go back into the 100s.  The weather gods smiled on Ashley and Dave today!

Ashley is a big fan of Winnie the Pooh and all of his friends and her mother's back yard had been turned into a wonderful salute to A.A.Milne and his friends in the Hundred Acre Woods.

Each of the tables, for example had a "hunny pot" with Winnie the Pooh head first in it.  Ashley said that they figured that after Gabe was born, everyone in her family would have one of the Poohs, so he would never be without one whenever he came visiting.

The yellow thing hanging above it, by the way, is not a balloon, but a yellow lantern decorated with bees stuck into the surface of it. They hung all over the patio.

This was a swim party (though most of us didn't swim) and things were slow getting started, but the most ardent swimmer in the whole party was Oakley, who just loved the water and chasing balls tossed into the water.

(His aunt, whose name I have forgotten, is several years older.  She took a shine to Walt and pretty much slept at his feet most of the afternoon.)

I had not seen Ashley since before she was pregnant (when she stays here with the dogs, I rarely see her before or after...she has had her own key to the house for years).  She has changed just a little since I last saw her...the baby is due in the first part of August!

There was a ton of food, lots of stuff to drink (I had virgin strawberry daiquiris, which were delicious), and the boyfriend of a friend of hers was at the barbeque all afternoon cooking food that was out of this world.  I wasn't really very hungry, so only had a little, but what I had was delicious.
Lots and lots of people came and it seemed everyone had a big parcel.  We left before gift opening, but I'm sure it must have taken her well over an hour to open them all.

We didn't know most people there, but had a wonderful time sitting pool side and watching the fun there.  I loved it when I realized that the pool had adults, kids, babies and a dog all in it at the same time. 

This kid was my favorite, though.

He's 4 years old and has been taking swimming lessons.  As soon as he got there, he jumped into the pool and had been swimming about an hour when we finally left.

There was a mountain of beehive cupcakes for dessert, but we (and several other people) left before those were served.

We had been sitting around enjoying the ambience when Ashley said something about it being time for the games.  When I had been inside the house earlier, I had seen instructions for a "diaper game" and her sister was running around with a baby bottle in her hand.

I told Ashley that if there was one thing I hated it was party games.  She admitted that the only thing she hated more was opening gifts in front of everyone.

We could get away, she couldn't, so I assume she played games and then opened gifts while we got on the road home.

We had stayed 3 hours, which was far longer than I anticipated we would stay  You know me and parties like that, especially when I know almost no one.  It helped that Walt was there too...and that you didn't have to engage in conversation when there were so many cute kids and dogs to watch!

I am so thrilled for Ashley, who has wanted to be a Mom for a long time.  This baby will also be the first grandchild in the family. And I'm so thrilled that she thinks of us as close enough friends to invite to her shower.  I wouldn't have missed it for the world (but I'm glad I missed the "diaper game").

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Boxes and Boxes

So many many decisions.

Today I went to Michael's Craft Shop to look at boxes.  The array is dazzling, the choices mind boggling.  I got a few.

The one on the bottom left is what I hope is the start of making some sense out of the mountain of stickers I have (top drawer, dog stickers; middle drawer, heart stickers; bottom drawer, flower stickers).  The bottom right has 14"square paper, the bottom booklets of it, the top individual sheets.  The box with the pink lock has many sections into which i can easily separate the kinds of things I put in pockets of pocket letter.

Someone told me I should shop at the Container Store.  The nearest one is in Sacramento and I checked out their web site.  What I found was mind boggling.

Just looking at it made my head hurt.  So many decisions!  But I thought I'd start small(er) and go to Michael's.  Even there the choices were staggering.  I bought the boxes that I showed above, but then thought about:

or maybe

Each was 60% off (another plus of Michaels.  Sales everywhere).   Ned had given me dimensions of some of the slots that were going to be able to be filled when this is all finished. 

My goal is to get as much stuff into identifiable containers (i.e., labeled with contents, or clear so it's obvious) to keep it from getting dusty and falling on the floor.  E.g., I want a container for paper scraps, which I sometimes use on projects, but which are too small to keep corralled unless they are put into something...but where to put them?

Ned has certainly given me lots and lots of shelf space to put containers and I just have to figure out how best to utilize it all.  But making the decisions of what to get and what to put into stuff, and how to best put those containers for easily accessibility is starting to give me headaches.

But actually, now that we are this close to the end, they are headaches that are kinda sorta exciting.

It's VERY purple!


Friday, June 17, 2016

Today at Logos

 I brought in another Blue Apron box and another bag of books to Logos today.  Ned is making such progress on my office that I will soon have to see if I have gotten rid of enough books or if more strict downsizing is required!

My first customer today was a mom with two kids, who spent some time in the kids room.  Her son bought a kid's mystery (not Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys)

A woman in a SF Giants cap bought a contemporary fiction book, a story which takes place in China.

A quartet of young women came in.  One was tall, wearing tight fitting torn jeans and a floppy brimmed hat.  The three others had short-short shorts and one of those had a hat too.  They went half way down one aisle and across through another, each one of them dragging her hand across the books, without stopping to look at them, and then out the front door again.  Weird.

A grown up childhood friend of our kids bought a book on the history of Middle Earth.  We discussed the Davis heat and I mentioned how I was enjoying these 75⁰ days this week.  He says he is too, but his garden doesn't do well when it's cooler and that when the temps zoom up 30⁰ to over 100⁰ later this week, all of the veggies in his garden will go crazy.

A lovely British lady spent some time in the children's room and bought a book of trees and a book of butterflies, along with a bargain book she found outside.

A rugged looking guy bought 2 books on hiking in California. He also bought an art book and book on the history of the English language.  He paid by credit card and we discussed how the new computer chips are so much slower, and wondering how their security is.

A curly-headed guy wearing camouflage shorts with black socks that went up past his knees, a Cal Aggie sweatshirt and a lanyard with "East Bay" printed on it bought a geography book.

A short stocky woman with a short pony tale bought a bargain book and a contemporary fiction.

An older woman carrying an Avid Reader bag (that's the store that sells new books a block away) came n looking for "Engineers of Victory" by Paul Kennedy and "The End of the Wild" by Stephen Meyer ("With the extinction rate at 3000 species a year and accelerating, we can now predict that as many as half of the Earth's species will disappear within the next 100 years.")  We didn't have either and I wonder if they had them at the Avid Reader, since she had just come from there.

A guy in a wheel chair (Craig) came in, his first time in the store.  A very nice man but shortly after he came in, Ralph came striding into shake his hand and mine.  He apparently thought we owned the store and wanted to sell us advertising in a university publication.  Ralph took notes about the store and then left.  Craig never had a chance to look at books and he left too.

My friend came in at 4:20 and hit the jackpot today.  He bought three old books -- "Cathedrals," "Monasteries" and "Abbeys."  He also bought a Dick Francis bargain book and a history book.  His stack was so large he had to buy a 25-cent bag to carry it all in.

While he was there a guy with a scarf on his head came in to buy a bargain book.  He reeked of cigarettes and was carrying a cigarette lighter in his hands.  As he left, he told me he found it odd that the word "denomination" could mean either the size of a paper money bill or the brand of religion you followed.  That's when he told me he had Aspbergers Syndrome and how sometimes weird thoughts like that come to him.

A very tin woman with tight black pants and a salmon colored shirt with matching colored tennis shoes bought two literature books, works of Hemmingway and of James.

Her friend bought "Siddhartha" and was insistent on asking me if the "#65" on the spine of the book meant it was printed in 1965.

An older couple came in with armloads of books to donate and were followed by a friend of Susan's with a book to donate as well.  It was by Edna O'Brien, a favorite author of his wife's but she didn't like this particular book and he wanted Susan to know that.  By way of explanation, he said that he thought the author was "in her 70s now, and not hip."  I took offense.  (But then I wasn't "hip" in my 30s either!)

A tall guy came in and was looking at books by Evelyn Waugh (which he pronounced EEEvelyn not the British way with a short "e").  He was waiting for the basketball game to come on and I got the idea he was just hanging around until he could find somewhere with a TV set that he could watch.  I don't think he had any money.  But he talked and talked and talked and I just wanted him to go away.

"Eliza" and I guess her mother came.  Eliza was dressed in the least amount of clothes I've ever seen her (i.e., her shoulders were bare) and when she took her baby out of the front pack to toddle around the store, she left off the shawl she usually wears.  I could see that she had a haircut and looked very cute.  The daughter was adorable and brought joy to the shop for the time they were there.  I don't think they bought anything and when it was time to leave, baby went back in the backpack and all the wrap around Indian garb went back on again, with the shawl over hear head and around the baby again.  I think maybe she just came in to cool off.

Susan and dog Sammy came in early and we chatted a bit.

Almost the last customer were a couple.  The woman wore a black t-shirt with the word FEMINIST spelled out in big, bold pink letters across her chest.  They bought 3 kids' books, a book on Freud, and a book on geometry.

The very last customer, though I didn't ring him up, was Walt.  We had packed up and were leaving when he looked in the window and spied a book about the towns along the Thames from Oxford to London--we had taken that trip on our very first river cruise (where there were only 8 passengers) and he decided to buy it.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Media Babe

Beth Ruyak, host of Capital Public Radio's program, "Insight" since 2012, has worked as a reporter, anchor, producer, and writer.  She hosted daytime television, magazine shows, special events and live coverage.  Among the highlights of her career: sideline reporting from 5 Olympic Games and Super Bowl XXV, traversing Europe for 3 Tour de France bicycle races (becoming the first woman television journalist to cover the event), co-hosting "The Home Show," and guest co-hosting "Good Morning America." Her news, sports and health reporting have earned Emmy awards and opportunities to interview, learn from and tell stories about people all over the world.

And Beth Ruyak wanted to interview me.  

Well, technically speaking my colleague Jeff Hudson, who has his own show on Cap Public Radio, had suggested Beth might do a segment about the new season of Music Circus with both himself and me as the interviewees.

But it sounds better to say that Beth Ruyak wanted to interview me.

Jeff picked me up at 8 a.m. and we drove in to Sacramento, where we sat in the green room awaiting our turn to be interviewed.  I was calm, cool, collected.  We were going to discuss something I knew something about.  No need to be nervous.

But the longer we waited--and we had about 45 minutes to wait--the more butterflies began to open their wings in my abdomen.  Beth came in and introduced herself to me (she knew Jeff, of course)
Stacey Powell, the author of the book "The Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with Money: Don’t just know better. Do better" came in.  She was on the segment before ours, talking about a touring program she is doing to publicize her newly-printed book.  She was a very nice lady.
Talking with her helped corral the butterflies, though they threatened to flutter about again after she was called for her segment.

I signed the guest book.  I looked back on all the other signatures over the months and tried to be clever.  I just wrote "Omigod, you guys" and signed my name.  Cryptic, but to the point, and on topic!
Eventually they led us to the interview room and sat us close to our big microphones.  Beth had said she would hand me the first question, which was about whether I go to Music Circus much.  Easy--every show for the past 16 years (when I started getting critic tickets; before that it was too expensive!)

She played some sound clips Jeff had made last night, including the ubiquitous "Omigod, you guys".  She asked me something and I gave her an answer she didn't expect -- telling her about a member of the original cast coming out of retirement for one last production.  She was quite surprised when I told her it was Chico, the Chihuahua.

(If you'd like to see an interview with Chico and his handler--and it's worth it--you can check it out here.

I don't remember what else we talked about, but if you're interested, you can hear the interview here.  The time flew by, even for Beth, who said she never went over time, but was shocked to realize that our time was up.

After the show, she said she liked the camaraderie Jeff and I had together and would like to do another spot with us, when something comes up to discuss.  It would be fun to do it again.
Jeff drove me home by way of his house, where he got a bag of Satsuma plums from his back yard for me.  They are delicious and that was my lunch today!

Jeri and I were supposed to do a FaceTime with my mother, but the time got mixed up and in the end, we decided to reschedule for next week.  I have to face the fact that my mother no longer has "bad memory days."  Bad memory is every day.  For once, I had something "exciting" to tell her.  I told her about my interview and she seemed to be following, but when I mentioned that the weather was cold when we left the radio station, she said "what were you doing at a radio station."  When I said I was there for an interview and she asked why I hadn't told her anything about it.  Sigh.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Omigod, You Guys

Omigod, you guys! Elle Woods is at Music Circus this week!!

"Legally Blonde" is as light and frothy as cotton candy–and just as pink. It has all the story of the movie with Reese Witherspoon, but without the depth.

The songs aren’t memorable (except for the opening and recurring "Omigod, you guys"), but the cast is so enthusiastic and the dancing so infectious that you find yourself enjoying it in spite of yourself.
This particular production is extra special for a reason that I suspect few in the audience realize. The cast includes a member of the original Broadway cast, coming out retirement for one last production.
Chico plays Elle’s dog, Bruiser and is very professional. He’s trained by William Berloni, 2011 Tony honoree for Excellence in Theater and trainer for just about any animal appearing on Broadway, starting with the original Sandy in the first production of "Annie." Chico (his understudy Roxie is also a Broadway veteran) didn’t miss a cue, made all of his exits, barked on command and performed his big moment, running across the room, jumping onto a bed, and into a dog carrier, flawlessly.
I am currently reading Berloni's autobiography and it's fascinating.  His career started when someone told him to go and get a dog for a new show they were developing, a little show based on the Little Orphan Annie cartoons.  Berloni had never trained a dog before and rescued a dog he ended up calling Sandy from euthanasia at the last minute.

The dog was terrified of anybody and everybody, but Berloni won his heart and he was ready to perform flawlessly before an audience opening night, despite having been run over by a truck two weeks before!

There is a trial which takes place during Legally Blonde, during which some stereotypical gay sight gags went on far too long and I would have found them offensive at any time, but especially so soon after the Orlando massacre, though the audience laughed uproariously

On the whole, it was a good production.  Legally Blonde as well as the sequel Legally Blonde 2 are two of my guilty pleasures.  Movies that are pretty dumb, but which I find "fetching," perhaps because of the performance of Reese Witherspoon.

I hope I have lots to say about the show because I and my colleague, Jeff, are being interviewed on the radio tomorrow morning to talk about the show and the rest of the Music Circus season.

Ned was here today and spent most of the day on the floor strengthening the desk.  No way it is evergoing to collapse.  He also started putting up shelves.  It's starting to look very good.  He thinks another three trips and it might be ready for occupancy.

Then, of course, after all of his hard work, the tables turn and it's my turn to work, trying to organize the room and see if I can find places for everything that I want to move back in again.  I have been slacking off on tossing things out of the living room and must get more serious about that before it's time for the big move back home again.
My plan is to get all of my craft supplies sorted out and in individual boxes so that they are easier to find and less likely to get dusty or fall all over the floor.

I have a feeling that plastic containers are going to become my best friends! 

Yesterday's mail brought a wonderful surprise--a real letter from Brianna.  She has sent me letters before, but this one was a page long and more like a real letter.  She also sent me two rolls of decorative tape, the kind I use to decorate the letters I send to both of the girls.
I think that my decision to start writing to the two of them six years ago was a good idea.

I have now finished 13 or so pocket letters now.

I'm having such fun with them.  The one on the left was a dog theme, and the one on the right was an A-B-C theme, where each pocket was a different letter.  I  took it one step further and tried to make all thegoodies inside the pockets start with that letter too.  The H pocket, for example, was full of heart stickers, the G pocket had gum in it.  The B pocket (B for"baby toes") had a letter from me because my name starts with B.  I have five more scheduled in the next month.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Code Grey

I've learned that there are a lot of "codes" to be aware of when working in a hospital.  When you hear a code over the loudspeaker, you immediately know what is going on, where it is happenng, and what to do about it.  I wear a card around my neck, along wth my identification tag, which lists the codes on it, along with instructions for what to do.

Code Red - Fire
"RACE" - Rescue, Alarm, Contain, Extinguish/Evacuate
"PASS" - Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep
(These are more fully explained in a handout we keep at the desk)

Code Orange - Hazardous Materials Incident
"SIN" 0 Safety first, Isolate and Deny Entry, Notify the emergency line and supervisor.

Code Yellow - Bomb Threat: Search immediate area.  Instructions will be provided as needed.
(I asked someone if this code had ever been used and she said not to her knowledge...but in this day and age, you never know!)

Code Green - Evacuation
Prepare to evacuate your area.

Code Triage - Internal/External Disaster
HICS activation (Hospital Incident Command System).  Follow pre-assigned duties and instructions.

Code Pink - Abduction <2 br="" years=""> Monitor assigned locations, report suspicious persons to the emergency line.

Code Purple - Abduction/Missing >2 years
Monitor assigned locaions, report suspicious persons to the emergency line

Code Grey - Abusive/Assaultive Behavior
Only enter area if safe or trained to do so to assist, if possible.

Code Silver - Weapon/Hostage Situation
Do not go into area announced, stay in department, shut all doors.

I hadn't heard a code called since I've been working at Sutter, but yesterday a Code Grey was called twice.  Both times for the same room, several hours apart.  In fact, I was coming back from the Auxiliary Room when it was called the second time and nearly got run over by a very large security guard running for the elevator.

After a short time, you get the "Code Grey - all clear" announcement, letting you know that the situation has been resolved.

I checked on the room where the Code Grey was.  It was a room that had two visitors that day, earlier the spouse of the patient, bringing flowers, and later the adult chld of the patient.  The patient was 86 years old, so who knows if this was a problem with the family or an out of control senile person.  I hope only the latter.  I'd hate to think that the two very nice visitors caused a ruckus.

It was otherwise an OK day at the information desk.  A woman came in asking who could clean up "a mess" she had made outside.  Apparently she had spilled soup down her front and I gave her a towel to clean up and called for someone to clean the "mess."  When the facilities person came, neither she, nor the guy from Human Resources, the ubiquitous Dodie, could find a mess anywhere.

Then there was the woman who showed up, walking slowly in her walker.  She said she was late and she had an appointment and where should she go?  I asked the name of her doctor, but she didn't know the name.  Then I asked what department she was supposed to go to, and she didn't know that.  I asked her what herappointment was for and she didn't know, but said she had diabetes and "maybe it's for that."

I took a stab and called Internal Medicine.  At least the patient knew her own name.  While I was on the phone to Internal Medicine, her daughter came in and I handed her the phone to explain what was going on, thinking she might know more than her mother.  She didn't either, but said she thought maybe it had something to do with her heart.  The receptionist put them on hold and I told them that both Internal Medicine and Cardiac were in a different building.  She waited a long time and finally decided they'd just go there instead, since they were late already.  They started toward the back of the hospital and I told them it was the building on the other side of the parking lot and they were very indignant that they would have to walk all that way, because they were already late.

I stayed on the line waiting for the person to come back and it turned out that Internal Medicine had forwarded the call to Sacramento and the woman there didn't have a clue what I was talking about.  I hope she got to where she was supposed to be.  I didn't see her again.

After those two little flurries, the rest of the day was very calm.  I was a reading a book that was not gripping, the front desk was somewhat stuffy and I had a terrible time staying awake.  In fact, I nodded off several times, to ber awakened by someone standing at the desk.  Very embarrassing.

It was a relief when it was finally to come home.  I stopped at the store to get dog food and then came home, climbed into the recliner and fell asleep until about 6:30, at which time Walt told me that Jeopardy would not be on until 10 p.m.

When I got up to cook dinner, my body was just out of sorts.  In fact, I felt pretty much like my mother described yesterday.  I managed to get dinner cooked, but didn't have the least interest in eating.  I watched the first episode of Brain Dead (which described how I felt!), which is an odd new show and I'm not sure how I feel about it yet, and then decided all I really wanted was to go to sleep, so I went into the living room, fully expecting to wake up around midnight, but I slept until 4:30 and then went back to sleep in the recliner and slept another two hours, waking up feeling normal again, but really not wanting a pork chop for breakfast.

Ned was here in the morning to pick up paint so he could paint brackets at his house.  He said he had stopped by have breakfast with his grandmother first and I asked how she was and he said she was fine.  He called her first and woke her up but when he got there she was up, dressed and with makeup on.  So I guess the problems of the day before had passed, as I suspected they might.  Or maybe the genes that make her attentive to men of an age kicked in.  Maybe the thing to do next time she feels so awful is to bring a man around for a visit.