Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sunday Stealing

1. You’re building your dream house. What’s the one thing that this house absolutely, positively MUST HAVE? (other than the obvious basics of course)
Only one story, with a bathroom that has the option of a walk-in bathtub, like they advertise on TV

2. What is your dream car?
I don't pay attention to cars or models.  My dream car has air conditioning, and the usual things for phone, etc.  It would also be nice if it had a cassette player, since I have so many tapes.

3. What is your favorite website that isn’t a blog.
Facebook or SwapBot.

4. iPhone or Droid, which do you want/have?
iPhone...and I desperately need a newer model.

5. When you’re feeling down or lonely or just generally out of sorts, what do you do to cheer yourself up?
Watch TV.

6. Tell me about something or someone that you love that most people seem to hate.
The only person I can think of is milder than a love/hate thing, but a like/dislike thing is more like it.  I am a big fan of Rachel Maddow and my friend Kathy can't stand her voice.  I suspect Walt can't stand her either, since he usually leaves the room when she comes on, but I love listening to her because she is so scrupulous about double checking her facts and she is willing to fairly interview anybody, not just people she agrees with.  She seems to treat everyone fairly.

7. What did you want to be when you grew up?
A nurse, a nun, a mother.  I made one of those goals.

8. Would you go on a reality show if given the chance?
Not for all the tea in China!

9. Who was your favorite teacher when you were growing up? (Grade school, Middle School, Jr. High or High School only.)
Sister Anne, my typing teacher when I was a junior in high school.  We became very close friends for that year, I became a great typist, and was her assistant on all clerical things.  I was very upset when she was transferred to Arizona the next year.  However, we remained friends for the rest of her life and Jeri (Jerilyn Anne) is named after her.  I saw her many years ago when I was in St. Louis for a meeting and she brought me to Indiana to the convent mother house, where she lived.  I found out she was the convent brewmaster!  She died a few months before Ned and Marta got married and I found out about it because the wedding announcement they sent to her was returned with a note that she had died.

10. You get one pass to do something illegal or immoral. What are you gonna do?
Too late for one, too moral for the other.

11. What were you doing 10 years ago?
Ten years ago today Walt and I flew to Los Angeles to see Jim Brochu in Zero Hour, his one man show about Zero Mostel, which went on to New York (directed by Piper Laurie), where we went to the premiere and attended our first (and probably only) opening night party at Sardi's (where I met Theodore Bikel).  The show eventually won the Drama Critics award in New York, beating out S. Epatha Merkeson's one woman show.

12. By this time next year, I ...
....will probably be doing exactly the same thing I'm doing now.

13. What is something that you need to do but you've procrastinated on?
Fold laundry

14. Which fictional, TV show character you would shag anytime?
Too old for such thoughts.  I often feel that it's a mistake to meet the actors who play your favorite character, because it's the character you like and the actor could be a real jerk.  I like to keep the mystique alive.  Rita Hayworth always said "they go to bed with "Gilda"...and then wake up with me."

15. What is your greatest pet peeve?
Right now it's the sound of Donald Trump's voice...he is everywhere!

16. Tell me about your most recent trip of more than 100 miles?
Must have been our last trip to Santa Barbara (400 miles).  I don't remember when that was.  We weren't there for Thanksgiving or either of the girls' birthdays, but sometime within the last year.

17. Which do you use more often, the dictionary or the thesaurus?
Probably the thesaurus.  When you write for pay, you get into the bad habit of using the same words over and over again.  Thanks to the thesaurus, I have options.

18. Do you have a nickname? What is it?
Nope.  Just Mom or Bev.

19. What are you dreading at the moment?
Going to Sacramento to review a show.  Only because I have to cook a meal quickly.  (Or it seems quickly, since we have to leave the house by 7)

20. Do you have a meme you think we should steal? (Yes, an old trick. But c'mon now. I gotta give it a shot. It's a lot harder to find memes now. But it's ok to answer "You're lazy" an all it a day.)
I wish I could help you.  I used to do a lot of memes, but for the last several years I just do Sunday Stealing and sometimes Saturday 9, which I know a lot of people here also participate in.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Square Zebra

I am very weird.  I've been weird for years and it never occurred to me how unusual this is until 4 o'clock this morning.  There is this irritating "thing" that I get from time to time, usually at night.  You know how you get an itch that you can't reach and how frustrating that is?  Well, I get an itch inside the heel of my foot. You can touch the spot on my foot where the itch is but because it's deep inside the flesh, you can't reach it to scratch it.  It sometimes happens during the day, but usually at night, as if some burrowing mosquito has made a nest inside my foot.  It's so bothersome that I can't get back to sleep and I usually end up and walking to stop the itch, but as soon as I get off my feet it comes back.  Fortunately it doesn't happen often, and it may last half an hour, or less, but I've been getting this off and on for literally years.

The weird thing is that I have always had the mental image of this itch spot as a square zebra.  I don't know why.  I guess it's because it usually comes in the middle of the night when my brain is weird anyway, but as I was walking around this morning in a moment of lucidity it suddenly hit me -- a square zebra???  Why in the world a square zebra?  I don't know, but the next time I get the itch, I have a name for it.

Yesterday was a Sutter Hospital day.  Pokemon-Go has become such a big deal that the hospital has seen fit to ban the game from the lobby.  This sign greets everyone as they enter the building.

Today was kind of an odd day.  I was scheduled to work my regular shift, from 12:30 to 4:30, but there was nobody scheduled for the morning so someone suggested I work mid-morning to mid-afternoon, which sounded fine to me.

I've only "opened" the information desk twice and had to check what the procedures were.  I got flowers out of the refrigerator and brought them, the wheelchair, the "finder binder," which holds all the information you could possibly need to work (or, I should say ALMOST all the information you could need, as I would soon discover), and the keys to unlock the desk.

I stopped in the volunteers' office to pick up the schedule, i.e., the list of everybody in the hospital that morning.  I am supposed to make a copy of it for the patient coordinator, but the copier would mot work for me, which was OK because I don't think there was a patient coordinator today anyway
Next, I got the desk all set up and fired up the computer.  Only the screen was locked.  I'd never seen that before.  You hit ctrl-alt-del and it brings up a box into which you enter a password, but I could not find the password anywhere.

The woman working the gift shop told me where to find the password and I did find three passwords, each crossed out and replaced by the next one, but I didn't find the current one and none of the crossed out passwords, of course, worked.

I called Dodie in Human Resources and he decided it was easier to come downstairs and unlock the screen than to explain to me what to do.  Only when he came down, it wouldn't unlock for him either and he also didn't know the password.

He finally got down on the floor and did what I assume was the equivalent of kick-starting it and, after awhile, the screen unlocked and I was in business.  I don't know how you lock the screen in the first place, so I was in no danger of accidentally doing that when I left.

It was a moderately busy day, with people asking where to find the bathroom, and how to get to such and such an office.  People are always so upset when they arrive, panting in the hospital only to be told that they want one of the two medical office buildings and that this is just the hospital.  It's not my fault if they fail to get instructions from their provider!

There was a big discussion going on at the desk between the administrator and three workmen.  They are in the process of replacing the floor all over the building and trying to figure out when to do it is tricky.  You can't get down to serious floor replacement business when there is a stream of foot traffic, so they do it at night, but apparently they have been doing it late into the night and the administrator was trying to beg them to please finish the noisy part of their work before 10 p.m. because patients had to SLEEP at night.  The workmen seemed not to understand that and kept arguing that that was the only time of day the work could be done.  I'm curious to find out what happened last night.  They were going to be working right outside the labor and delivery area where either women were trying to have babies, or trying to sleep after having had their babies.  It will be worse next week when they are working in the intensive care unit!

Around noon they delivered the newspapers.  I took one copy out so I could read my review of Cabaret and then took the rest upstairs to the nurses' station to pass out to the patients.

Dodie came by again, dressed as a hazard cone, apparently going around the hospital making sure people were careful around the construction.

Then there was...I guess you'd call it music...coming from the gift shop.  I got up to see what was going on and there were 3 guys standing there with a woman with an iPod on a table recording the ...uh... singing?  I don't have a clue what that was about.

We had two babies born while I was working (lullabye over the loudspeaker) and more than the usual number of dads and grandmas in the lobby with toddlers waiting for Mom to give birth.

About an hour before I was scheduled to leave, a frail woman carrying an oxygen unit staggered through the door and said she needed a wheelchair to get up to visit her husband, so I got her in the chair and wheeled her up to visit her husband.  We left the wheelchair in the hall and she said she would be leaving in about an hour and I reminded her I needed to have the wheelchair back before I left.

Naturally, an hour later it was not back.  I decided I'd just wait until she came downstairs because I really didn't want them to just "leave" the wheelchair out for the whole weekend.  It was also very hot outside (106) and I thought she might need someone to wheel her out to her car.  I didn't want her to have to try to deal with the heat.

30 minutes later and it STILL was not back, so I went upstairs an the wheelchair was gone.  I asked at the nurses' station and someone told me she had brought it down half an hour before.  she said she left it at the desk, but I had been sitting in the desk and never saw it.  Turns out she left it in the hall, on the far side of the desk, where I can't see it, and didn't tell me she was leaving it.  Grrrr.

So I packed up all the stuff to return to the auxiliary room.  It's not easy to steer a heavy wheelchair loaded with stuff and at the same time carry a tall heavy vase of flowers in water while you are trying to back through a door into the room.  I knocked over the vase and water went everywhere.  Naturally there was nothing heavier than Kleenex to clean it up.

I finally gathered my stuff and staggered out into the 106 degree heat and saw this big truck parked next to my car

He had left me about 15" between his car and my door.  I never dreamed I could squeeze so tightly...and then once I finally shoehorned my BODY into the car, my foot was still outside and there was not enough room to drag the foot into the car because my damn foot is too long.  Oh how I wanted to key the side of his truck!!!!  But I didn't.  I wouldn't even have had to stretch my arm out  We were that close.

I was so discombobulated that I couldn't think of eating, so Walt warmed up something for himself  and I took a nap before we went to the theater.  I was so confused that I was sure I had left my cell phone at home...until it rang part way through Act 1.  I never do that.

All in all, this was not my best day...and it had to end with a long session with the square zebra.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Logos 'n' Stuff

If last week at Logos was slow, this week was positively funereal.  So at the end of this, I will include a brief report about my meeting with the resident services director at Atria, trying to figure out what best to do with my mother.

Sandy was not in the store, as she is on vacation again.  Tosh was working in her stead and showed me the sheet on which we record sales.  During his sting, from 10 to 2, he had a whopping TWO sales.  I guess when the temps soar into the 100s (104 yesterday), the first thing people think of is not "I should go buy a book."

At the end of my 2-6 p.m. shift, I had made FOUR sales.  I don't think we took in as much as $50 for the whole day.

Though my first sale was not until 3 p.m. (one bargain book = $1), there were two couples who came in, neither of whom bought anything.  One was looking for "Catch 22" and the other couple just looked and then left again

After the 3 p.m. sale, the store w as empty until 3:30 when a guy came in, looked around and left.  He was followed by a woman who was looking for "The Joy of Cooking" and "Hoyle's Book of Games," neither of which we had, so she didn't buy anything either.

Then two girls came in carrying drinks and food.  They looked briefly and then left.

A guy came on about a donation from his mother's estate, but since we are not taking donations until Susan and Peter return from vacation next week, he said he would donate his carload of books to Friends of the Public Library.

Artist Sandra Granett, who sells beautiful photo cards in the store, came to check our supply and move the cards we had on display around.

My friend was the second sale and he didn't come until nearly 4:30.  He bought a copy of "Arabian Nights."

He was followed by my third and final sale of the day, a woman who wanted "children's literature" and bought a coy of a book by Roald Dahl.

There was a real rush after my friend left.  Three groups of people, one who searched through the self improvement books, one who was looking for a Thurber book and a short older woman in a grey crew cut wearing black bell bottom pants with a long tunic like top in a lovely pastel print silk.  None of them bought anything.

Oh wait.  There was a fourth sale.  Three young women, one with "AWESOME" writ large on her chest, were in the aisles for a while with armfuls of books that they were sharing with each other.  Ultimately Ms. Awesome bought a thick volume of the "Marquis de Sade" with an x-rated cover.
A swarthy man looking very much like Guillermo Diaz (Huck in Scandal) browsed for a long time, then left, as did a tall buxom woman with long curly black hair and a smiley woman who greeted me with a "HI!" and an enthusiastic wave, but didn't buy anything either.

And that was my day.  Not very exciting.

The day started out, though, with meeting the resident services director and another person whose title I didn't get to discuss the strange things that have been happening with my mother in the past week or so.  Ned came with me to be sure we got all the questions we needed answered answered.
The strange things that have happened, and they seemed to be one day after the other -- first there was the day when she had zero memory.  Could not remember anything or anybody.  Told me "you say you're my daughter and I believe you, but that doesn't mean anything to me"  I stayed with her for a couple of hours that day, but she didn't seem to be improving and just kept sitting in a chair saying "I'm going to have to learn how to live with this."  I left words at the desk that they should check with her later in the afternoon to see how she was.

The next day she seemed fine, but three different times "zoned out" for a few seconds where she was just not there, twice with her eyes closed and once with her eyes opened, staring blankly at a photo I was showing her.  Each time she "came back" with a startle reflex, looking around to see if she could figure out where she was.  I was thinking perhaps she was having TIAs (small strokes).

Then there was the day Ned and Tom went to visit her instead of the whole family and she greeted them at the door wearing only pants and her bra and Ned had to remind her to put a shirt on.  Other than that, the visit seemed to go as normal as it ever does.

The next day Jeri called her.  My mother has set scripts she follows for specific people--mine is "what are you doing exciting tonight?" or "are you going dancing tonight?" along with comments about the leaves on the trees and asking me who had brought her the flowers I bought for her a couple of months ago

With Jeri it's "do you have a boyfriend?  Jeri always reminds her that she has been married for 8 years.  This time, however, she got furious that Jeri, her "favorite grandchild" would not have invited her to the wedding.  The unusual thing about it was how long she kept up her rant about it -- displayed much more "memory" than I would have thought possible.  She told Jeri she was so upset she wasn't sure she wanted to see her again and, for the first time, did not ask her when she would be out here again.  When I tested the waters the next ay and mentioned Jeri's name, she didn't know who that was until I reminded her, but she seemed to have forgotten that she was angry with her.
So we went over all of this with the coordinator.  She agrees that she should be checked by CT scan for TIAs and says that if they are caused by the fall they may go away in awhile anyway, but the only way to know is by CT scan.  So I've sent off a message to her doctor and we'll see what she recommends.

We also went over the options at Atria for assisted living -- turns out there are 6 levels.  We got a print out of what each entails, but the print is about this small and I could not read it, so Ned took it home and will make copies which I can then read with a magnifying glass!!

We didn't solve anything, but we did get one of the balls rolling.

Ned went home and I stayed for lunch with my mother.  One of Atria's more nutritious meals -- pizza, pasta, and bread pudding.  Nothing green in sight, unless you counted the anemic thin slice of green pepper on my mother's pizza (mine was pepperoni and too salty).

Sigh.  The food there used to be good.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Heroes

For decades I have watched our kids at work.  They learned when they were children at the Sunshine Children's Theater.  They learned how to set up a stage and how to take it down at the end of the show  It's a lesson they have never learned.

Any time there is a big (or small) gathering they are the ones who set up...but more importantly, they are the ones who clean up at the end.  

I remember all those people who were so eager to help my mother celebrate her 90th birthday, especialy Peach and her husband, who took me aside as things were breaking up and laughed, "we're getting out of here before we have to clean."  At the end it was, as it always is, our kids doing what they do bet--cleaning up and making sure everything gets put away.  They are also the ones aware of what is going on throughout the event, often working behind the scenes, making sure that things go right.  Technicians are the unsung heroes of any big event that few people ever think about.

I thought about that last night as i was watching the convention.  I thought about the whole tech part of both of the conventions.  I am fascinated by the signs.  Thousands of signs that change throughout the hall in a second, like the card section of a college football stadium.  How do they choreograph turning this

into this, seemingly instantly.

Is there a rehearsal.  Does each person in the hall have a whole box of signs and at a simple signal they all change their signs instantly?

When someone comes out with a soundbite from the stage, suddenly signs appear in the hall.  How was that all planned?

If you look at the whole convention just from a technical point of view, it's fascinating.
But then think about it.  Thousands of people eating popcorn, spilling drinks, throwing away unused signs, those ballons that drop at the end, and all the ... hey can I use the phrase? ... detritus of jollity (!!), and then they leave and out come the real heroes.  The clean-up crew.  By the time the conventioneers arrive the next day the hall is all pristeen and ready to be assaulted once again.

Let's give a big cheer for the technicians who direct the conventions and especially for the guys who stick around after everyone has gone home to clean up the mess.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

When Fiction and Reality Meet

I have seen Cabaret several times.  I am quite familiar with the movie, and have seen it many times.  But I have also seen the stage show several times (one of the shows that Jeri may have played more often than any other show, except maybe Chicago.)

The stage show is quite different.  It's darker, for one thing.  The Emcee somehow isn't quite as menacing in the movie, playing his role for comedy rather than for any sort of demonic presence; Sally only has one big song (the title song) in the stage show; several characters and subplots added to the movie don't appear in the stage play and it's quite confusing having a character of "Max" in the stage play who is a completely different character from the movie Max, who showers Sally and Cliff with riches and ends up screwing them both.  Literally. 

It seems that in the movie you had a hint of the rise of Nazism from the beginning, a glimpse of a swastika here, some violence seen out the window of the Kit Kat Klub, and eventually soldiers with swastika armbands as part of the clientele.

In the stage play, there is no hint of Nazis until just before the end of the first act.  And then it hits you like a jolt.

One of the reasons it hit me so forcibly is that I had just sat through a week of the Republican Convention (though admittedly, I skipped a lot of it because I couldn't take it--but got all the high (or low) points in sound bites from talking heads the next day)

And I watched most of Day 1 of the Democratic convention and as much as I could before we had to leave for the theater tonight (I recorded the rest of it and we sat up until midnight watching Clinton's speech).

So in the stage show, you get the nice choir starting to sing "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" very sweetly and it escalates into something more strident.  Now, I've always been disappointed that it's not nearly as effective as it is in the movie, but still tonight it was pretty darn effective.

Suddenly I wasn't sitting in a theater watching a musical, but my mind was thinking of that awful Republican convention that was all about hate--hate--hate--hate.  Hatred and divisiveness.  And a room full of white people (did you know there were SEVEN black delegates?  More black people on stage than in the audience!) yelling and cheering and waving signs like "Lock Her Up!"

I was thinking about how the speeches were designed to build hatred and suspicion, of Hillary Clinton, of your Muslim neighbors, of NATO member nations, of those Mexican rapists, and yet offered zero clue as to how the candidate plans to make America great again.

I contrasted that convention with Hillary's resume which we got in bits and pieces from so many people on the stage tonight, each relating something that she had done that had changed their lives, and then Bill summing it all up with her work on this committee and that committee and helping pass this or that bill, and negotiating this or that peace settlement.  Whether she deliberately or innocently misused email became irrelevant because, love her or hate her, this woman has a lifetime of experience in local, national and international politics, whereas all I heard about Trump's qualifications is that he builds the biggest, best, most expensive hotels and golf courses in the world and that everybody loves him.  Not, in my opinion, the person I want with his finger on the button that could set off World War III.

In Act 2 of Cabaret we see the Nazis rise to power, with the start of attacks against the jews, beating people for expressing their opinion--all with the backdrop of such silly songs as "If you could see her..." saying that if someone could the Emcee's girlfriend (a gorilla), she 'wouldn't look Jewish at all."

When the beautiful relationship between Fraulein Schneider and her Jewish greengrocer friend Herr Schultz dissolves because she realizes the danger she would be putting herself in by marrying a Jew, Sally Bowles wails, "But it's just politics.  It doesn't concern us."

And I wondered how many people still slavishly devoted to Trump feel that way about international relations or a bunch of other things that would be completely ruined if Trump carries out even a portion of the things he plans to do.  Just for starters the thousands of people currently receiving health care under the Affordable Care Act, having their medical insurance coverage ended and replaced by "something" that he assures us is going to be "so much better," but can't give us a clue what that is.

The whole thing keeps me awake nights (I'm writing this at 2:30 a.m.)

And then I go off and see Cabaret and that doesn't help at ALL!!!

Char came up for lunch today.  They were turning her water off for several hours and, since she had not yet seen the big office remodel, she decided this would give her a chance to do so.
She was, not surprisingly, impressed.

She is really enjoying the new senior center where she moved recently and we discussed what Walt and I are going to do with this house, eventually.  I've mentioned it before on Facebook and Ashley panicked.  I reassured her that three things had to happen first:  We have to clean the house, my mother has to die, and the dogs have to die (No way I would move these guys to a new place and while I could find an adoptive home for Lizzie, nobody in their right would adopt Polly).  I told her that given those three conditions, the new child she is about to give birth to will probably be in high school before that is a possibility.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Sound the trumpets!

Believe it or not, the living room is clean and I emptied the last box in my office today.  Not only that, I still have a few little niches where things can be put if I need to.

The task is finished!!!

This is not to say that my work is done.  There are huge jobs I put off in the interest of just getting everything put back in place again.

One is going through the hundreds of CDs, many of which are computer programs no longer able to be run on current computer platforms, or programs I will never use again.  I've thrown away a lot, but I need to do more.  It's a job I put off until I got everything else done.

Biggest, though, is a humongous collection of photos that now sit in 3 very full boxes on the top shelf above my desk.

When I got my first camera, at age 10, what I told myself is that I wanted to "make memories." I've spent my entire life living up to that goal...and now, at 73 (63 years after I made the promise to myself), I am wondering if that was such a good idea!  I have memories up the yin yang and those boxes are just the ones that aren't already in scrapbooks.

(These are just a few of the scrapbooks....most of them are upstairs.  I smile when I realize that my mother has ONE "making memories" scrapbook, which starts in about 1939 (before she and my father were married), and ends with pictures of me at about age 7, in 1950.)

The top shelf is all the slides we found...I'm not even going to THINK about those for years.  The bottom shelf is many (but not all) of the CDs.

So the work doesn't really stop, but I now have a working office and am able to start doing all the stuff I have put off (answering letters, for one) while I was trying to get things organized.

It was a quiet day and I spent it getting caught up on "office stuff" (acknowledging things I'd received in the mail, writing to some of the Compassion kids, doing a bit on a couple of pocket letters).  It was nice to have nothing to do, especially since it was about 103 outside.  I could have brought my mother's laundry to her, but  I took the day of, knowing it wasn't yet a dire situation.

I made an appointment to talk about her new quirks and options within the Atria system with the resident services director for Thursday morning at 10:30.  By the time our meeting is over, my mother should be awake and we can have lunch together before I go to Logos.

Today Char is coming for lunch, to see this marvel that is my office (and to get away from her apartmentment, where they are turning the water off from 8 to 1 today)

Monday, July 25, 2016

A Visit

We enjoyed a visit with Tom and family this weekend.  We were going o have a famiy meeting about "things" -- my mother's finances, our finances, thoughts about how long Walt and I want to live in this house and what should happen with it, etc.  Also it would be a chance to have a visit with Grandma, since they hadn't seen her since Christmas.

But the day before had been my mother's worst  It was as if overnight her memory disappeared.  She didn't know where she was, she didn't know anybody. ("You tell me you're Bev and your my daughter, and I believe you, but that means nothing to me.")  On seeing a photo of Jeri, the one person I felt she would always remember, "I never met her."  On seeing a photo of her beloved husband whom she has talked so often of wanting to join in the afterlife, "He looks like a nice man, but I don't know him."  I was on the verge of breaking down and had to leave.  When I left her, she was sitting in a chair repeating "I'm going to have to learn how to live with this."  I went home crying.

She tends to go in waves and I was hoping that by the next day things would be better, but I knew that a visit from the whole family would overwhelm her, so instead of everyone going, just Ned and Tom went and they reported than other than having to be reminded to put a shirt on over her bra, things were as normal as they ever are these days.

But we did have a good time with the girls.  I knew that with Uncle Ned there, the girls would have absolutely no interest in either of their grandparents, and that was true, but I enjoyed watching them play.

Lacie is a master puzzle worker.

In fact, watching her zip through the puzzles I'd bought for the girls I have this great idea that the next time they come, we should have Lacie and my mother work a simple puzzle together, since my mother has always been such a puzzle fiend.  Of course that assumes that my mother will still be able to work puzzles by that time.

Bri had an iPad from her grandfather on which to play games while the grownups had their conversation.

And both girls loved it when Marta read to them.

I discovered that our apple tree was dripping with apples that are just barely ripe (will be better in a week), and Bri helped me collect some apples for them to take home with them.

Both girls enjoyed apples while doing a Concentration game with Marta.

So we enjoyed visiting with the girls and we had a good conversation about money and practicality matters.  My first assignment (which I had planned anyway) is to meet with the resident services director to get some feedback on the new quirks I am seeing with my mother (she zones out briefly, with eyes opened or closed, unaware of anything around her.  A few second later, she "comes to" again with a shake and looking like she doesn't know where she is, but then reorients herself).  I want to find out her thoughts on this -- TIA? Something else? -- and also to investigate cost for upping her level of care.

As for what to be done with this big empty nest, I told Ned that I don't want to even think about moving anywhere for at least 2-3 years so I have a chance to enjoy this lovely new office I have!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sunday Stealing

We Found this gem from a blogger that we stole from once before, Stacy of the  blog “All Stacy All the Time”. She states that she stole it from "Lola’s Diner". But that's as far as I'll go. Tracing it back further might be crazier than a Trump speech. So as we sub for our current author, Kwizgiver, we will shout:
Cheer to all of us thieves!!

Sunday Stealing: The Beach Boys' Meme 

[this sounds more like a Saturday 9 than a Sunday Stealing!]

1. SURFER GIRL : “I have watched you on the shore, standing by the ocean drawer, do you love me do you surfer girl” Were you ever interested in someone (other than a celebrity) who did not return your interest?
Oh sure.  In grammar school it was Eddie Garavanta.  I remember being thrilled when he asked me to dance at a party I was hosting and then left me in the middle of the dance to dance with someone else.  Since I dated the same guy for 3 years, al through high school, I don't think there was an unrequited love in high school.

2. BE TRUE TO YOUR SCHOOL : “So be true to your school now, just like you would for your girl or guy…” Looking back, how do you feel about your high school days?
My high school days were some of my favorite years of my youth.  I loved the school, had a nice circle of friends, did well in school, had lots of activities.  I was sorry when it ended.

3. FUN FUN FUN : “…and she’ll have fun fun fun till her daddy takes the T-Bird away…” What was the worst punishment you received as a teenager?
I'm sure I was punished as a teenager, but in all honesty I don't remember a punishment.  Probably not permitted to go where I wanted to go.

4. I GET AROUND : “Round round get around, I get around” Where did you go on your last long trip?
We flew to Barcelona, boarded a ship and sailed up the Mediterranean to Venice.  It was a wonderful trip.

 5. HELP ME RHONDA : “You gotta help me Rhonda, help me get her off of my mind” What do you do to cheer up after a personal tragedy such as a lost job, power outage or broken relationship?
Eat (but it doesn't cheer me up)

 6. CALIFORNIA GIRLS : “I wish they all could be California girls. The west coast has the sunshine and the girls there get so tan, I dig a French bikini on Hawaiian island dolls, by a palm tree in the sand” Where are the best boys found?
I've never gone looking.

7. SLOOP JOHN B : “I wanna go home, please let me go home, ya ya. Well this is the worst trip, I’ve ever been on…” What is the worst trip you’ve ever been on?
Hmmmm.....there are a lot of camping trips with the Blackfords that might fall under that category.

8. WOULDN’T IT BE NICE : “I guess the more we talk about it, it makes it harder just to live without it, but let’s talk about it…” What is your biggest wish?
That my mother's dementia would magically disappear.  Ain't gonna happen.

9. IN MY ROOM : “There’s a place where I can go and tell my secrets to. In my room. In my room.” What is your favorite thing about your own personal room or space in your home/office?
Now that it is almost finished (only two boxes left to unload), I love this new office for the extended work space and that I am taking my time so that I can organize, box, and label everything, in hopes of (please dear God) keeping it relatively tidy in the coming months/years.

10. GOD ONLY KNOWS : “You never need to doubt it, I’ll make you so sure about it. God only knows what I feel about you” When was the last time you told a significant other or close relative that you loved them?
Whenever the opportunity presents itself.  I think the last time I said the words out loud was when I was visiting my mother yesterday.  It was a very. bad. day. for her and, through tears, I told her I loved her, though she didn't have a clue who I was.

11. GOOD VIBRATIONS : “My baby has good vibrations, she’s giving me excitations…” When do you get good vibrations?
Probably when I have written something that pleases me....a review or a journal entry (this is probably not one of them).

12. KOKOMO : “We’ll go to Kokomo. We’ll get there fast and then we’ll take it slow. That’s where I wanna go…” What is your favorite warm weather destination?
I don't have warm weather destinations. I would rather have cool weather destinations, like San Francisco or Seattle.

13. DO IT AGAIN : “Let’s get back together and do it again…” If you could go back in time and gather up your school friends, what would you do again?
I can't remember the things we did in school that I'd like to do again, but I do enjoy getting together with people occasionally--I have a lunch date with 6 or 7 or my grammar school friends coming up next month.

Ned, Marta, Tom, Laurel and the girls were here today.  We had planned to go see Grandma, but when I saw her yesterday, she was very bad and we decided that would be too confusing for her, so just Ned and Tom went.  Apparently she was better today, except for being half dressed and having to be reminded to go and put on a shirt. At least today she remembered who Jeri was when she called.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

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!.. Because Melissa suggested Jan and Dean. Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
 1) When the song was written, "Surf City" was a fictitious town.* Tell us a song that is set in a real place.
It would be easy to talk about cities like San Francisco or Chicago or New York, but how many people know there is a song written about Davis, California?

2) In the song, Jan and Dean sing about riding around in a 1934 station wagon, which means the car was 29 years old when the song was recorded. How old is your vehicle?
I think three years.  It's the first "new" car we have bought, but Walt wanted a rear camera and they had just started putting them on Hondas.

3) Are you good on a surf board?
Let's put it this way.  If we were on a beach and a surf board was lying on the sand, waiting for a surfer to come along, and I decided to just try standing on it on the beach, I'd probably fall off.

4) When you spend time out in the sun, are you careful about applying sunscreen
I spend so little time out in the sun, that I don't even own sunscreen.

5) Dean's original partner was Arnie Ginsburg. When Dean was drafted into the Army, Arnie didn't feel like waiting so he abandoned show business and went back to college. Today he holds several patents. What is something you wish someone would invent?
That damn transporter Gene Roddenberry promised us.  I would love to be able to go visit my granddaughters for a couple of hours and then transport back home again.  That 8 hour drive is a killer.

6) Jan was a perpetual student who juggled college with recording. He not only graduated from UCLA, he completed two years of medical school at the UC Irvine School of Medicine. Have you ever considered going back to school?
Yes, but never seriously.

7) In 1966, Jan was sidelined by a serious car accident. During the years that he was unable to perform, partner Dean became a graphic artist. He designed logos and album covers for Steve Martin, Diana Ross and others. Do you feel you respond most to words, pictures, or music?
Pretty sure it's words first, then pictures, then music.
...or maybe words-music-pictures.  But Words always first.
8) In 1978, CBS made a TV movie about Jan and Dean. If they approached you about a made-for-TV movie of your life, who would you like to play you?
I've answered this question many times.  I always say Rosie O'Donnell...Melissa McCarthy would be OK too.

9) Random question:  Growing up, how did you learn about the birds and the bees? (From books/the web, from parents, from your friends...)
From my mother and one awful day when my father decided to explain things to me.  He made it all sound so dirty. (She told me it was a good way to make up after a fight, which tells you something about her marriage and why she finally divorced my father after 35 years!)

*Huntington Beach changed it's name to Surf City in the 1990s.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Today at Logos

I went to Atria before going to Logos, but my mother was still in bed.  After checking to make sure she was alive, I settled in to finish my book, "With a Feather on My Nose," the autobiography of Billie Burke (written in 1948).  I tried coughing a lot, but in an hour she didn't budge and I knew that if she woke up then she would be groggy, so I just left a note and came home for lunch.

There were three customers in the store while I was having a brief chat with Sandy but they had left by the time Sandy took off to pick up her granddaughter.

The next person to come in was a guy who wanted information about the Italian conversation group that was meeting that night.  Unfortunately, I know nothing about the language groups (Italian, French and German -- Susan was an ESL teacher and her husband is from Austria, and Susan is out of town, so I didn't even know how to refer him to someone.  I suggested he just show up and see what happens!

I next looked up and there was a heavier Ted Cruz browsing through science fiction.  Seriously.  Dressed in a suit, same pointed nose and perfect manicured hair, His hand were on his hips which twisted his back into a weird stance and threw his belly out in front.  He walked around like this head down, glowering.  He didn't buy anything, so I didn't get to assess him close up.

Three people in a row came in with donations, which I had to turn away.  One guy had only 9 books but said he had more in the car.  I told him I could take the 9, and he said he would take the rest to the SPCA thrift store.  A woman didn't bring her books in, so it was easy to ask her to return in a week.  One old guy staggered in with a heavy box and I didn't have the heart to turn him away, though asked that he hold off on the other boxes in his car until Susan and Peter return.

Two young women stood outside the front door either taking selfies or catching Pokemon (men?) but never came in.

[Aside:  They did a "what is Pokemon Go" segment on Live with Kelly yesterday and I am more confused than ever, mostly about what the whole point is! I'm definitely too old for this new craze!]

Two men, one quite rotund, one not quite so rotund, came in together.  The rotundest of them had a shirt that seemed to be covered with Pokemon characters.  They both looked around for a long time and finally the rotundest bought 3 bargain books.

A woman spent a long time looking at cookbooks.  Her niece is turning 25 and she decided that a quarter of a century is a Big Deal, so she is giving her 25 different gifts and thought a cookbook would be a nice addition.  By the time she finished (about 20 minutes of browsing), she had 5 books, 2 for her niece, one for her brother, one for her and I'm not sure about the fifth  She had me ring it up on two different credit cards.

I was getting involved in my book ("Phantom of Manhattan, which I read all in one day) so didn't write down much about the next couple of customers except that a woman bought 2 contemporary fiction books and another woman bought Steinbeck's "Winter of our Discontent."

I always think of my friend Phil Dethlefsen (another of those who dropped me like a hot potato without a word of goodbye).  Phil got me started reading John Steinbeck because his (Phil's) niece was married to Steinbeck's nephew and it felt like being connected, somehow, to Steinbeck's family.  I still have most of his books (though in the clean up my favorite book still has not surfaced..."Journal of a Novel," which is all the letters he wrote to his publisher, Pascal Covici while he was writing "East of Eden" -- fascinating to read the journal and the book together).  ANYWAY, I have read almost all of Steinbeck's books, but stopped dead during 'Winter of our Discontent.:"  Either I was Steinbeck-ed out, or I just didn't like  the book.  I can't remember now.  But I never finished that book and I don't think I have read another Steinbeck since (mostly because I've read them all) but I always enthusiastically recommend them to anybody who is looking for a good read.  Steinbeck always made me a better writer.  I always wrote better when I was reading his stuff.  Maybe I should read another of his books again...

Peter's friend, a mathematician who comes in every week to donate books and buy books (or just take them) came in and gave me a book and took a book.  He does this so often, I have always figured this is fine with Peter.

A man looking for a book about hypnosis bought "3 Minute Meditations."

A woman was disappointed that we had a lot of Jane Austin, but no "Pride and Prejudice."  I have never liked that book.  It's kind of like Game of Thrones, something that is wildly popular with the masses and something I have tried several times to get into and never could  But I've seen the play several times, so no point in reading a story that does not interest me!

My friend arrived at 4:30 and bought a large Arthur Conan Doyle book about adventures on tall masted ships.  We talked about Doyle's NON-Sherlock Holmes writings (and I had to struggle to remember Holmes' name...another pre-dementia moment).  I didn't realize Doyle and Houdini were good friends.  Apparently they discussed the afterlife a lot, Houdini believing in it, Doyle not.  "Well, they both know now," I said!

Two kids with iPhones, obviously looking for Pokemen came in and wandered around the shelves with their mother, who was carrying a pizza in a box.  I guess the Pokemon pickings were slim and the trio left within a few minutes, the kids still intently staring at their iPhones.  The guy on Live with Kelly talked about how good this was for making friends.  From what I have seen around me the last couple of weeks, it seems to be more isolating (and dangerous) than before the whole thing started.

A sweet young girl in a white and purple striped sundress bought a biography.  When she took her coin purse from her bag, I could see it was decorated in the same color purple as her dress.

There were four customers in the office when the manager, filling in for Peter and Susan, came in to relieve me.

I tried to listen to Trump, but just could not.  When he started hammering away at Crooked Hillary, I turned to The Big Bang Theory, but at the first commercial break, I switched back to the convention.  He was still hammering away at Hillary, the frenzied crowd shouting "Lock her Up!"  I quickly turned back to Big Bang Theory and when it was over, switched back to Trump and he was still hammering away at Hillary.  Maybe there was something substantive in the speech, but when someone is more obnoxious than Sheldon Cooper, that's pretty bad.

The best thing about the night was watching the Stephen Colbert show, where Jon Stewart made an appearance and did one of his old-type speeches railing against the Republicans.  It was like a week at the seaside  I miss him so much!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Little Treasures

Well, there's no doubting that this is my office now.  Every flat surface is covered with stacks of "stuff."  This is not a return to normal so much as it is a "trying to get organized" sort of thing.  I have now sorted through and stored all of the books I am keeping so what is left are boxes of "stuff" that in the old office was just stacked randomly.  I am going through each box, piece by piece, and trying to sort through what I'm keeping (and where to keep it)

Now it could be said that if I haven't gone through this stuff for many years, I should just toss it all, sight unseen.  But then I would miss gems like this:

The story behind this is that a kid told his parents that Ned made him give him his lunch and the parents reported him to the police for "extortion."  The real story was that the two boys had made a bet on the definition of a German word.  Ned won and the price was the other kid's lunch (or maybe part of his lunch).  When the police finally met Ned and got his side of the story, they could see that he was no bully.  Later, I felt so sorry for the other kid because his mother made him call me and apologize and all the while he was on the phone (very reluctantly) his mother was in the background screaming at him to tell me he was sorry.  Then she got on the phone and talked to me for half an hour about the frustrations of raising a kid in this day and age (they were in sixth grade, I think) with all the sex around.  She ultimately took him out of public school and put him a Christian school.  I have often wondered how that poor boy turned out!

I had the "day off" yesterday.  My mother's stepson let me know he was going to have lunch with her, so I didn't feel guilty for not going to Atria.  I had nowhere to go, so I stayed home and emptied box after box

The dining room which was completely filled with boxes, the table heaped with boxes, now has an open space...and the box on the right is one of the boxes of things to go to the SPCA thrift store.

I found a bunch of things I had written, apparently for a class?  I had completely forgotten them, but they were written before I started FTW.  One I would like to condense for an entry here some day starts "It was not the sort of day I suspected would change my life..."  Now aren't you intrigued?

Earlier this week I worked a shift at the hospital.  Sometimes I just marvel at the attitude of people.  A girl came in and said "where can I get a doctor's appointment?"  I asked her what she needed an appointment for and asked if she had a doctor.  She said this was her first time here and she needed to get birth control.  I told her that we didn't have doctors seeing patients for routine exams in the hospital, but gave her directions to Women's Health (which I used to manage).

Then a woman came in to borrow a wheelchair so that her 90 year old grandmother could go upstairs to see her 70 year old son, who was in the ICU.  This is not unusual, but what was unusual was that at 4:15, when I needed to start packing up, I needed to get the wheelchair back, but grandma was still sitting in it up in the ICU.  I went and found another wheelchair and took it up to ICU and they transferred her, with MUCH difficulty but I was able to get "our" wheelchair back and get it put away before I left for the night.

Not much organizing is going to get done today since I work at Logos (and will go to Atria first), but I hope to get through some of the stacks of stuff.  Problem is that our garbage pickup is not until Tuesday and our "paper recycling" can is already almost filled.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


There was a rumor going around Mayberry that Barney shot himself in the chest and had died.  Actually, he just got a scrape on his finger, but like the old "telephone" game, each person who passed along the news to the next person embellished it a bit until the undertaker showed up at the sheriff's office to take away the body.

I couldn't help it.  They introduced Chris Christie and suddenly I just went into Convention Overload, realizing that the best (or worst, depending on your feelings) moments will be replayed endlessly tomorrow and I don't have to sit through every excruciating moment tonight.  I had messages from two friends that just said "I want to vomit."

I was watching the Stepford-perfect Trump children seated in the box, remembering that the son was one of those rich guys who pay thousands of dollars to go out and kill innocent big game animals and didn't know if I could stomach anything he had to say.

Mayberry was a nice alternative.  Two sweet little old ladies helping Andy find the stills around town so they could run their competition out of business.

Now and then I would switch back to the convention but couldn't stomach the sight of bloviating Christie indicting Hillary Clinton and whipping the crowd into such a frenzy that they chanted "lock her up! lock her up!"

What must other countries watching this be thinking?  A text message I received said "If some nut shoots Hillary, it will be Christie's fault."

I have never seen such hatred coming out of a political convention (and I hardly watched it last night!).  You don't see hatred like that in Mayberry, where everybody seems to like everybody. Even the town drunk is treated with respect.

Yes, I know Mayberry is a fictitious place and probably nowhere like that ever existed in this country, but when the ugliness and venom is flying thick and fast by the people who want to lead our country, it was nice to take a brief escape back into that fictitious place and to wish I could turn today's world off and just sit on the porch with Aunt Bea, singing a quiet song and listening to the crickets chirp.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Sweat of Our Brow

Walt has been working like a dog in the back yard, trying to clear away shrubbery so the new fence can go up, working with the tree folks to came out to find out why your big tree had decided to drop a branch and leave one on the verge of dropping, and just cleaning up the yard in general.  Each night he comes in, dripping with sweat, his shirt drenched.

Ned put the finishing touches on my office, moving all the slides to the top shelf and all the scrapbooks up on the shelves.  

He also had made this great shelf unit for my desk.  

He also moved all the cords on the floor up to the wall, so the dogs, who have made the space under my desk as their beds, won't unplug anything.

The guy has thought of everything.

So even though I myself made countless trips back and forth from the living room to the office (about 30 steps each way...whew!) moving more stuff in, I had no reason to be sweating and exhausted by the time I put dinner on the table.

This was a delicious dinner, which I did not expect it to be.  One of the things I love about Blue Apron is eating foods I have never eaten before, which I expect to hate and then discovering that it's really quite good.

This was crispy cod with squash.  The cod is breaded and fried and then topped with a salad of arugala mixed with quinoa and toasted almonds.  The whole thing sits on a bed of marinated summer squash, sliced and then added to vinegar, dijon, garic, and olive oil.  After you take the squash out of the dressing, you then put the rest on the arugula salad.

It was delicious.

But, as always, I was dripping sweat before the dinner got on the table, huge drops of sweat rolling into my eyes and temporarily blinding me, at least for reading the recipe.

The problem with Blue Apron dinners is all the prep work...which is, of course, what makes them so good.  By the time I have peeled and chopped and tried to cook things so that they all come out at the same time, I sometimes long for my reliable "Joe Special" which is just hamburger cooked with spinach and stop shoppping.  However, I am learning how best to do the Blue Apron dinners, which is to take breaks.  That may sound silly.  The work involved isn't all that much, but when I start sweating and my back aching, I just have to walk away and sit down for a few minutes....and I'm hoping that all these healthy meals are gradually making me more able to handle the work of putting them together!

I also shouldn't feel bad about how many trips I made back and forth carrying stuff to put away.  After all I had an almost 2 hour rest while I visited with my friend Cindy.  Of course my friend Cindy is also my dentist and most of those 2 hours were spent with her hands in my mouth, but  I honestly look on my trips to the dentist as restful visits. We get caught up on our lives, I get to vent about my mother, I hear about her trips to the Netherlands to visit her father-in-law, who also has dementia.  We compare what our kids are doing. She was filling 3 small cavities and I left there looking like I had a permanent sneer from all the numbing, but all the numbing means zero pain and only minor discomfort, so I don't mind.

The end is in sight as far as my office is concerned.  I am going to be left witha lot of  "miscellaneous sundries" that have no place...and had no place in the old office...and I'm going to sese how many of those I can actually throw away.

But I can see the living room again and that is a nice thing.

And just to get political for a minute, in this day and age how does ANY politician think they can get away with ANYTHING when there are cell phones and fact checkers behind every corner.  What was the Trump machine tinking of allowing Melania Trump to plagiarize.  Paul Manafort, campaign chairman, denied allegations that Melania Trump plagiarized a Michelle Obama speech on the first night of the Republican National Convention, calling the accusation "just really absurd."

But you can play the speeches side by side and they are word for word identical in a big spot.  You think I'm going to believe that Melania (who says she wrote thes peech herself--anybody believe that?) just channeled Michele Obama and somehow came up with the identical words?  Give me a break!  American people aren't that stupid....or are they?  These days I don't know any more.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Well, THAT Chapter is Closed

In the mid '70s, a woman named Alison put out a call for folks to help her put together a book celebrating the 25 year anniversary of The Lamplighters.  Two of us answered her call and a year later "The Lamplighters: 25 years of Gilbert and Sullivan in San Francisco" was released.

In 1987, following Gilbert's 1986 death, I got a bee in my bonnet that I wanted there to be a 10 year update to the original history so that there would somewhere be a record of Gilbert's accomplishments in the last ten years of his life.

By the time we started that project, it was just Alison and me and "The Lamplighters Story, 1977-1987" was my proudest piece of work.  Gilbert is in the Library of Congress.

As we started working on Book 3, a book which was to cover from 1987 up to the 60th anniversary (a project that because of family conflicts and other reasons [we discovered we didn't have the stamina we had in 1976, for one!] had to be scrapped), Alison was also cleaning out her house, like I'm doing now, and at one of our infrequent meetings, she handed me a big bag.  In it was all of our correspondence during the writing of Book 2  Well, it was all of MY correspondence, since she obviously didn't have copies of the letters she wrote to me.

I understood her passing it along to me.  It was one of those things that you really don't want any more, but it's special enough that you don't just want to throw it away.  And so it has been sitting in my office, unopened, ever since she gave it to me.  I have now emptied enough boxes and uncovered enough buried stuff in the living room that I came across it today.

What to do? what to do?  I started looking at some of my old letters.  My god was I verbose!  In all honesty, I do like my writing style, but it goes on endlessly.  Even I was bored.

And so, after I read through about five letters (each at least four typed pages long), I took the entire contents of the bag and threw it into the paper recycling container.  I am sure there are archivists out there who would cringe at such a thing, but I can't, in all honesty, think of anybody who would want to wade through this vast (and I do mean vast) collection of my ramblings.

I have to admit that it felt good to toss it all away.  To everything there is a season ... a time to bare your soul, and a time to throw it all away and move forward.  The Lamplighters History portion of my life is now a closed chapter.  I will never write with such fervor again and that's probably not such a bad thing.

Walt and I had planned to go to a Gilbert & Sullivan outdoor concert in Golden Gate Park with some Lamplighter friends today (if nothing else, it would be a chance to escape the heat!) but yesterday had been a very bad day for my mother.  One of those days where I sit in tears and watch her agonize over trying to figure out what she should be doing and what is wrong with her head, knowing there is nothing I can do to help her--and knowing that by the time I could get her to a doctor, she'd be just fine and I'd look like an hysterical daughter again.

I stayed at Atria for about 2-1/2 hours and got her calmed down to where I felt comfortable leaving her.  I also stopped by the front desk and asked them to check on her around dinner time to ,make sure that she was still doing all right.

I came home and was just hit with lots of shit.  The frustration of my mother, the fear and frustration of a Trump presidency, the daily shooting/killing reports world-wide, and then in cleaning coming across some particularly memorable pictures of Paul at Ned and Marta's wedding.  I just had myself a little cry.

I also knew there was no way I could leave Davis today.  I suggested that Walt go without me, but that always presents a problem because we have only one car and I needed it to go to Atria.  We finally decided that he would take the train to SF and I drove him to the station around 9 a.m.  That train is always such a fun ride anyway and he loves it.  I was almost jealous of him.

I waited until after noon before I went to Atria and, as I suspected I would find, she was perfectly normal....or what passes for normal with her these days.  None of the anxiety of yesterday.  She knew who I was.  We had our usual scripted conversation and we laughed and enjoyed each other's company.  I could have gone to SF anyway, but I would have worried all day.  (And having the car allowed me to get errands run in Davis that I would not otherwise have been able to do).

I also had to do a last minute interview for a woman named Katie Rubin (who happens to be one of Marta's good friends), an actress/comedienne who is in the middle of preparing for FOUR shows in the next two weeks.  Katie's interview would take the place of the one I had planned to do, which was now bumped to next weekend.

Katie is such a delight.  I first met her when she was getting her MFA in theater at UC Davis.  She was part of the cast of The Laramie Project and the actor the director suggested I interview.  I found her intelligent, articulate, and funny.  And when I saw her in the show I realized what a good actress she was.
She popped up a few years later doing a one woman show called "Insides OUT."  I had the task of reviewing it and wrote this, in part...
Insides OUT! is a no-holds barred, emotional, funny, gut-wrenching look at the 29 year old Rubin’s journey through alcoholism, drug addiction, sex addiction, food addiction, and self-loathing throughout her high school and college years and ultimately, to the path of recovery. While this sounds like a heavy evening – and, in spots it is – Rubin makes the one hour piece a mesmerizing experience. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll cheer. Not bad for an hour’s work.
Since then she has begun to make a name for herself around the country and has played the show she will perform next week, "My Spiritual Death....a comedy" very successfully at three different venues in the Los Angeles area.

But it was good to chat with her again and having the afternoon free, I was able to get the article wrtten, photos collected and all mailed off to the newspaper in time to meet the deadline...and even be a little ahead of the game.

Walt got home around 7 and said that the concert had been fun, that there hadn't been that many of the old Lamplighter group there, and that he even got cold sitting outside listening to the music.
I did not get cold here.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday Stealing

1. What are your current obsessions?
Getting my new office organized and making pocket letters.

2. What are you listening to?
I'm sitting at my desk with my little TV at my elbow, listening to Law and Order SVU.  (I rarely listen to music when I'm at home)

3. Which item from your wardrobe do you wear most often?
It's summer with temps just about every day >90.  At home I wear shorts and a light weight t-shirt.  When I go out, I change into long pants, as light weight as I have. (Same shirt).  At night it's back in shorts and my Obama t-shirt.

4. What are you reading?
Billie Burke's autobiography.  It's a fascinating story.  It was originally written in 1948, but I am very much enjoying it.

5. What’s for dinner?

Lamb pizza with sour cream and mint.

6. What was the last thing you bought?
Some Washi tape, which I need like I need a hole in my head, but it will be good to decorate the envelopes of my grandkids wen I write to them.

7. Guilty pleasure?
The Haagen Dazs snack bars Walt and I have after dinner each night.

8. What training did you get and how do you make a living?
I didn't really have any formal training.  I worked as a medical transcriptionist and my whole "training" consisted of my boss at a typing service tossing me a tape and a medical dictionary and saying "Here.  Learn this."  I worked at medical transcription for about 30 years.  Now I'm retired and work as a theater critic (which, in a good month, earns me somewhere between $80 and $100 for the month).  I had no training for this job either and have just learned as I go.  This is my 16th year reviewing.  I hope I've learned a few things since I began.

9. If you could go back in time, knowing what you know now, and choose a different career path, what would you train to do?
For one thing, I would finish college.  I had gone all through high school without so much as a D on my report card, and mostly As and Bs.  When I failed my first class in college (stopped attending because the teacher started hitting on me and I was too dumb to realize I should report him!), a college (UC Berkeley) for which I was woefully unprepared, I figured there was no way I could cope and just gave up.  With hindsight, I wish I had continued and followed some sort of English course to make me a better writer today.

10. What’s your best time of day?
Hmmm....I'm not sure.  I used to be best in the morning, but lately I've been sleeping late and feeling groggy when I wake up, so maybe it's after dinner...but I get sleepy then too....

11. Do you like being on a team or are you a solo player?
I'm the person sitting on the bench when all the team players have been chosen while the heads of the teams fight over who has to take me.  Thus, I am a solo player.

12. What’s your favorite way to create art?
Right now it's pocket letters.  I am having such a wonderful time creating them.  I just finishe my "dog" pocket letter and the partners haven't even been assigned yet!

13. Name three items in your refrigerator:
Patty, Maxine and Laverne.  Oh...did you mean LIST three things in my refrigerator?  a bottle of Chinese sweet hot sauce (love the stuff), 4 containers of cottage cheese (for the dogs), and ground lamb for mini pizzas tonight

14. Tell us about your first crush:"
Our parish priest, named Leonard Bose.  I don't have a clue why I had a crush on him. He was middle aged, short, bald and not very good looking. I think I deveoped a crush because he was kind to me, and people weren't necessarily kind to me when I was in grammar school.  I always think of him whenever I hear "On the Street Where You live," since I used to sing that song whenever I passed the rectory.

15. The first time that I became a boyfriend/girlfriend was with who, when?
I was 13.  Bill was the nephew of our neighbor, who thought we would get along.  Before I got to know him, he was in an auto accident and hospitalized with minor injuries for a week or so.  I went to see him every day and by the time he got out, we were making plans to go on a date. We dated for 3 years.

16. Do you remember what you did on your first date?
We went to see a Tab Hunter movie (I think it was The Girl He Left Behind).

17. How did you meet your current (or most recent) girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife?
Neither of us remembers.  We were both members of the Newman Club at UC Berkeley and we both went on a trip to Yosemite.  There are pictures of him and me on the same trip, so I guess we met there, but obviously it did not have a big impression on either of us, but we've been married 51 years.

18. How did your first romantic relationship end?
Bill joined the Jesuits.  He is a Brother (not a priest) and still there.

19. Do you remember your first kiss?
Oddly enough, no.

20. What do we still not know about you?
Oh lots.  But you'll have to find other memes to drag it out of me.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Today at Logos

I almost thought there would BE no Logos report this week, things were so dead almost all afternoon, but they did pick up.  A bit.  A customer suggested that perhaps it was because kids were out doing Pokemon Go instead and I have to say that when Walt and I left the store at 6, every person we passed was looking at their cell phones.  Susan says you can buy..whatever those things are they are trying to that they have to come inside Logos.  I don't understand.  I guess I'm just too old.  I do wonder how long this phase is going to last.  I thought Candy Crush was a passing fad and it's still around...

Anyway, again Sandy had to rush off to pick up her granddaughter.  I probably won't see much of her for awhile.  The Grandma duty (how I envy her!) will apparently last all summer...and she and her wife are going off on a two week vacation too.  We may have to introduce ourselves all over again when Fall rolls around.

I did have two customers right off the bat, a guy who bought a pocket-book sized book and asked if we had a small bag.  I asked if he was from Davis and he admitted he lives in Sacramento and didn't realize about Davis' anti-bag law.  He decided not to pay 25 cents for a big shopping bag!
He was followed by a guy who bought 3 bargain books.

And then there was nothing.  I sat there for nearly an hour and a half and not. one. single. person. came into the store. It was good for me because in the 4 hours I was there I read a 200 page book.  But not all that good for business.

Finally a couple came in and disappeared into the shelves.  They didn't make a sound for about 10 minutes and finally he bought a copy of the book "The Physicists."  He was the customer who suggested everyone was too busy playing Pokemon Go to do any book browsing.

At 3:45 I saw a guy who looked kinda familiar looking at bargain books.  When he came in with 3 books to buy, I realized it was Marta's father, a man of few words  Other than "Hi, Bev" he didn't say a thing, just handed me his money, smiled and left. But that's par for the course for our interactions, so I wasn't upset.

A grizzled older man bought a Dictionary of Catholic Devotions and a novel by Paul Theroux.  He was the first, but not the last customer to reek of body odor.  The temps were near 100 outside, though a comfortable 78 in the store.

A woman wearing olive green shorts and matching flip flops quickly looked thru the literature section and then rushed outside to meet a friend.

A tall Lincolnesque man with a blue shirt and black wide rimmed grey shorts and crocs was looking for "Siddhartha," but didn't find it.  He left, but was back 5 minutes later to ask if anyone had turned in a credit card (no one had)

A woman reeking of cigarette smoke, bought two books and told me that if I was looking for a good movie, she recommended Tarzan, which she had just seen.  Made me wonder if the 4 p.m. rush every Thursday is not folks coming in on an arriving train, but rather people leaving the theater, just a block away.

A stooped old man with a monk cut (just white hair on the sides) came in with an exaggerated old man duck walk. He was a vision in paste, with a powder blue shirt and plaid shorts in pastel colors.  He was looking for a book by Houston Smith and told me he wrote fiction, but when I looked him up on Amazon, I saw that it was history that he wrote  In an event, we apparently didn't have what he was looking for and he left.

My friend arrived at 4:30 and was my biggest sale of the day. He'd been looking at a set of books about the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright.  I think it was four books, and each was an in-depth look at one of Wright's houses.  The sale was $50.

A woman was looking for a book called "Pax Britannica," a series of books written in the 1960s.  She seemed surprised we didn't have it!

A guy I had not noticed before because he was so quiet for so long carried an armload (9) of philosophy books.  He said that should hold him for awhile.

A sweet-faced, thin girl bought a copy of "Evangeline."

At 5:30, I finished the book I started when I came into the store -- all 205 pages of it.  It was the second in Robert Parker's 27 book set about detective Spencer (does he have a first name?)  I had already read book one.  This was a run of the mill detective story and there were writing elements I thought were not very good, but he did use a wonderful phrase that I hope to keep in my vocabulary.  Spencer wakes up after a party the night before, surveys the mess and says that it is the "detritus of jollity."  Isn't that just a phrase you want to work into a conversation some time?  I love stuff like that.

A very skinny bought a science fiction book for $3.80.  He handled me three one-dollar bills and then struggled and struggled to get the change out of the pocket of his very tight jeans!

Susan and Peter arrived.  I was surprised to see them because I thought they were going to be on vacation this week, but they were leaving the next day to fly back east to be with Peter's family to celebrate his 85th. Peter is apparently not into birthday celebrations so seemed a bit disgruntled when I wished him a happy birthday.

Walt arrived and we headed home, wending our way through all the Pokemon Go payers.  Leaving the store and being hit by the heat was a real shock.  With the air conditioning on in the store and the fan blowing on me I had no idea it was that hot.  Fortunately we were soon in an air conditioned car, heading for an air conditioned house--and I still had ice cold water in my snack bag, so I was just fine.

I would do terrible in a seriously hot country