Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Repository

I had what I guess was a rude awakening today.

My mother had a dental appointment scheduled at 2 and my cousin Niecie was going to come up from the Bay Area and give her a mani/pedi in the morning.  

Among the things I found during the big Office Reorganization was a box of old, old black and white snapshots of my mother's family that had been torn out of someone's photo album (the black page still sticking to the back).  Many of these photos are duplicates of ones I already have and in any case, I have a ton of photos here to go through "some day" and definitely don't need to add these to the four big boxes I already have.  As Niecie has become, with Peach's death, the family historian, I thought she would like to have the photos.

Every time I post one of the old photos in the private family group on Facebook, Niecie is the one who gets all excited and happy to see the old photos, so I told her about this big box of photos and she said she definitely wanted them.

So when I knew she would be at Atria, I took the box and went there early, an hour before the dental appointment.  Niecie was delighted and suggested that we go out to the lobby and look at them there, since there was a table and better light.

My mother was pretty much OK, though when I was going to get coffee for the 3 of us and asked if she wanted cream in her coffee, she threw her hands in the air and said "you guys figure it out.  I don't even know what you're talking about."

So we settled in at the table and Niecie started looking at the photos, asking with almost every photo "now who is this?"  Sometimes my mother knew, almost always I did because I've been seeing them all of my life.  As I answered her questions and corrected her guesses it occurred to me that with Peach and Kathy gone, I am the only one in the family who knows all this stuff!!!!

I do have a couple of cousins older than I am, but they have always lived at a distance and I don't have a clue how much they know about our grandparents when they lived in Inverness and the people who visited them, or what Peach and I looked like as little kids, or how to tell the babies one from another based on the date of the photo.  

I can.  And I think I am the only one in the family who can. (I call Niecie my cousin, but in reality she's is the daughter of my cousin Shirley, who would have been able to identify all of these photos, had she not died of cancer several years ago).

That's a pretty heady responsibility.  When I die, the IDs of all these photos dies with me.  I don't know that anybody cares, but if this family is typical of many other families, the people who really are interested and care, won't realize they care until everybody who can answer their questions is gone.

That's certainly what happened with my father's side of the family.  I inherited the scrapbooks of my godfather, my grandfather and my father and I don't have a clue who is in the photos and what is happening.  This is particularly sad in the case of my grandparents' vaudeville scrapbook, filled with many of the stars of the company they were members of, but I don't have a clue who they are or, in the case of informal photos of this group, what was the occasion for the photos.  That is all lost to history now.

But it seems I am now the only one who can keep the memories of my mother's family alive, through the remaining photos.  She can remember some of them, but not all of them.  I can figure out most of them.

It just feels weird to realize that.

As for the dental appointment, it went very well.

To my surprise there was no resistance.  Maybe her defenses were down after a morning with Niecie and then our session with the photographs.  I just said "it's time to go" and she followed me.

It was kind of endearing, though, that even though she didn't know what was happening, she still had the dental nervousness.  "I'm very nervous and I don't know why," she told me.  When I asked her about it, she said "I don't know where I'm going and what's going to happen to me."

As for the appointment itself, it was a perfect example of why I love Cindy so much.  I remember when I first went to her after >20 years of not seeing a dentist and fearing that my teeth were about to fall out.  She had been a friend for years, but not my dentist.  She scheduled me for the last appointment of the day so there would be nobody in the office except me.  Years later she told me that she should have taken a picture of my teeth because she had never seen such a thick piece of plaque behind my front teeth and was sure a photo could be published in a dental magazine, but she didn't want to make me feel uncomfortable.  She truly changed my life and I now brush, floss, and see my dentist 3 times a year.  She also took care of me herself until she felt I would be comfortable seeing a hygienist.

So she took my mother to the back of the office, where dental procedures are done, and she was very gentle with her, examining all of her teeth, then asking if she would mind if they cleaned them.  My mother agreed and Debbie, the hygienist cleaned.  Then Cindy came back in and asked if my mother would feel comfortable having her teeth x-rayed, which she agreed to.  A full mouth x-ray was done.  Debbie told me she would be taking 18 x-rays, which would not have to be repeated for 5 years, which I told her meant it probably would not have to be done again.

While the x-rays were being done, Cindy talked with me and said she'd like to study the x-rays and then meet with me about the condition of my mother's mouth.  She asked if I thought my mother should be at that meeting and I said no, so we have that ahead of us.

I listened while Cindy tested the gum pockets and most were 3 or 4, but a couple were 7 and I think I heard her say one was 10.  She's also lost 2 teeth, Cindy says.  So I'm sure she would like to do some work, but the question is, I think, how much dental work you do on someone who is 97.  I'll find out when we have our meeting.

So she's had her annual exam, she's had a CT scan and she's had a dental appointment and, depending on what my meeting with Cindy reveals, she may be free of medical interference for awhile.

Monday, August 29, 2016

I Need a Can Pile

My mother spent her youngest years on a ranch in Valley Springs, near Galt, CA...a town which, from what I understand, isn't all that much bigger now than it was in the 1920s.  She used to be fond of telling the story about the can pile.  Apparently in one of their fenced off areas of the ranch, there was a big can pile (how big "big" was is, I guess, speculation, given that she was still quite young when they moved).  One of the jobs of the kids still living at home was to move the cans from one side of the yard to another from time to time.  She says that it was so frustrating for them because whenever they wanted to go somewhere, their father would tell them they could not leave until they had moved the can pile.

When she was an adult, she asked him about it.  What was so special about the can pile and why did they always have to use it.  He laughed and said it was to give them something to do so they wouldn't bug him.

I decided today that I need a can pile.

Last night my mother had one of her spells, where she doesn't know who she is or where she is or what she's supposed to be doing.  She can't recognize anyone, and it terrifies her.  Atria called me and I went over there and spent an hour and a half talking with her.  Gradually she began to "come back," aided by a little photo album her oldest sister made for her many years ago.  Marie was the oldest in the 10-child family, so many of the photos are of the older kids, who were out of the home when my mother was born, but there are also pictures of my mother and her younger siblings, and family portraits, and even pictures from 1947, when I was four years old visiting my grandparents on their little farm in Inverness.

As she thumbed through the book and read the captions my aunt had supplied, I would make a comment about the photos, which I knew quite well.  As she got further and further into the book she began to identify faces herself and by the time she went back through the book the second time, she knew everybody by face and she was back.  We ended the evening on a happy note and she was about to go to bed.  I promised I'd come back in the morning and have breakfast with her just to see how she was.  I figured that she would be better in the morning.

And she was.  Sort of, though she said she felt "terrible."  But the thing that plagues her and has plagued her every single day since she moved to Atria is that she knows she's supposed to be doing something, but she doesn't know what it is.  She wailed today "isn't there something I should be doing for someone?"  

That's when I decided I needed a can pile.  Or an equivalent.  I needed something vitally important that she needs to do that the next time she feels needed, she would do the reverse.  Unfortunately, there is no can pile at Atria.

Despite the fact that she was "back" she just wasn't happy and from all she was saying, it seemed blatantly obvious she was bored.  She does nothing but sit in her chair and isn't interested in doing any activity at Atria, but she also complains that she has nothing to do (please, find a can pile!)  I asked if she'd like to go to lunch and suggested that we could go to the dining room or we could go out for lunch.  She eagerly chose eating out.

I decided to take her to a Denny's, which is the cheapest sit-down restaurant I could think of.  I know she sparkles on these excursions, but I spent a fortune a month ago taking her to lunch a few times.  I'm trying to think of places to take her where she can walk, but her walking is hampered by her back pain and her refusal to use any cane or walker and heaven help her NO WHEELCHAIR.  There are lovely places where we could go and sit and watch trees and water fowl and enjoy a picnic lunch, but you have to walk a short way to get to all of them--not long, but with her back, she's likely to give up before we get there.  She can't follow the plot of a movie, and has never been interested in museums.  So a restaurant seems to be the only option (though I am going to investigate further).

But it was definitely worth it today.  Her mood lifted as soon as we were in the car and headed for Woodland and the nearest Denny's.  I took the road that had the most greenery, which she loves.  She beamed when we sat in a booth and waited for our lunch.

After lunch, we drove around Woodland to see the Victorian homes and the beautiful gardens, but she began to be nervous because she wasn't sure I knew where I was and she was afraid she wouldn't be able to find her way home.

I dropped her off at Atria, rather than taking her to her apartment and she seems to have found her way.  We would be back in a couple of hours because Jeri and Phil were returning from Tahoe and we would have one last visit before they left for the airport and their return flight to Boston.

We did have a lovely, leisure visit with Jeri and Phil.  I just love watching her with Jeri, who is her favorite person in the world.

Sometimes I wish that she listened to me with as much rapt attention and obvious delight as she does to Jeri.

Walt brought some rolls of artwork he found in cleaning up the upstairs bedroom.  Jeri at first said that she didn't recognize them, but then decided that maybe she did recognize them and that she thinks she might have drawn them when she was in grad school and learning how to create theater sets.  The drawings seem to be 3 parts of a gigantic picture of Jeri as a giraffe with a long French braid running down her neck and around her chest.

I told her that I know I never put any of the drawings on the refrigerator!

My mother picked up the photo album that Aunt Marie made again and started looking through it once more.  Jeri sat with her and my mother began explaining to her who all those people were.  These were people, most of whom died before Jeri was born, or people that she never really got to meet as a child so it was cool that she could see some of her relatives..  I just got all verklempt watching the two of them going over these photos, my mother remembering who everyone was, and Jeri listening to her stories about them.

But finally it was time to say goodbye and it was time for hugs and the usual photos.

My mother was confused about who was leaving and who was staying and for awhile thought I was flying to Boston.

Tomorrow she has a dental appointment, her "something to do" for tomorrow.  On Tuesday I may take her to the farmer's market, have her help me pick out a bunch of green beans and then come back here and ask her to help me string them (I don't need green beans, but they are cheap and we will eat them).  Then Wednesday I'll try to take her to a duck pond and see if she can walk that far.

After that I'm going to be looking for a can pile.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday Stealing

Shannon's Moments Meme, Part Two (I have a lot of "No" or "I don't know" answers to these equestions!)

23. Have you ever gone to the “dark side”?
I wouldn't have know how to find it, so I guess not. 

24. What shirt are you wearing right now?
An Obama shirt I got during his 2008 campaign. 

25. What’s important about a bed to you? Like type of sheets, size or whatever.
Nothing.  I haven't slept in a bed in years.  I sleep on a couch for half of the evening and half in a recliner for the other half.  No sheets but a wonderful pillow.

26. Can you sing
Badly.  I used to be able to carry a tune, but in recent years, I have a range of about 3 notes.

27. What is something about you that would surprise us?
My life is pretty much an open book here.  There's very little that would surprise anybody...and if there is, I don't want to share it. 

28. Have you been a pirate, Renaissance Fair, or other costumed event? If not, would you for the right event or say cause
No.  Not my thing.  If it were for a good cause, I could be talked into it.

29. What songs do you sing in the shower?
I don't sing in the shower.  The world is better for it. 

30. Favorite girl's name?
Eliminating "Jerilyn," our daughter's name, at one point I would have called a girl "Laurie Pauline"

31. Favorite boy's name?
Can't choose one among Ned, Paul, Tom or David, because that would be playing favorites.  But they were all names I liked when we chose them.

32. What’s in your pocket or purse right now?
I don't have pockets at the moment.

33. Last thing that made you laugh?
My mother had one of her "spells" tonight where she doesn't know who she is or where she is and is terrified.  Someone called me and I went over there and by just talking to her for an hour and a half, she started to 'come back' and by the time I left we were laughing together.  That was beautiful laughter. 

34. Best toy as a child?
My best "toys" were always books...and board games. 

35. Worst injury you have ever had?
2003,  During a 32 mile charity bike ride, I flew over my handlebars.  Twice.  The second time I dislocated my shoulder.  My knee has never returned to normal and I can't ride a bike any more.

36. Where would you love to live
I am happy where I am.  If I had to move, it would be to Santa Barbara, to be close to our grandkids.  But we can't afford to live there.

37. What type of TV do you have? Would you’d like an upgrade?
We have a flat screen which is pretty wide.  Could not upgrade because it is as big as our space can handle.  Also, the "smart TV" part of the TV is always going out and I can't use it. 

39. How many dogs do you have?
Two.  Lizzie, the Terrier-Poodle mix (that's a description I heard recently at the vet's), and Polly a Chihuahua mix.

 40. Do most folks trust you?
I think so.

41. What book are you reading
Two.  Scott Adams "Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brains" and
Khaled Hosseini's "and the Mountains Echoed.  Also listening to "Caught" by Harlan Coben on audio by myself and Vince Flynn's "Transfer of Power" with Walt.

42. What’s your favorite classic TV show?
The Dick Van Dyke Show. 

43. What’s your favorite sports team?
San Francisco Giants.

44. Favorite month and why?
October because the temps are cooler, the color is lovely and winter is near.  I also like February, when everything starts blooming because it's so gorgeous around here, but it is followed by summer and I hate summer.

Saturday, August 27, 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!


Saturday 9: Hello (2015)

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

1) This video begins with Adele and her flip phone. Is your cell phone a simple or a smart phone?
Well, it's not a genius, but it isn't mentally challenged either.  It's an iPhone 4 which desperately needs replacement. I can no longer play "Word with Friends," which is a great loss!

2) As soon as
her cell is fully charged, Sam disconnects the adapter from the outlet to save electricity. Are you careful about conserving energy?
Sadly, no.  My husband is always turning off appliances I have left running when I leave a room.  I try to be ecologically conscious, but energy is something I don't think about.

Adele sings that she must have a called a thousand times but her former lover never picked up. Think about the last call you made. Did you get through? Did you leave a voice mail? Or did you just hang up?
Well, that's a "yes but not really" answer.  I was trying to reach the director of a local theater company for a story I'm writing.  I got his answering machine and left a message.  (He did call back later and I was able to complete my interview)

Adele brews a cup of tea in the video. How often do you drink tea? Year round? Only in winter? Never?
Almost never.  I'm not a tea fan.  I occasionally have iced tea (but prefer ice water) and once in a great while will have a cup of hot tea, but rarely when I am alone...usually when I am with someone who offers it, or if I go to a "high tea" with someone.  I don't like sweet tea, but some flavored teas are OK.

5) Adele told Glamour magazine she like two sugars in her tea. Do you watch your sugar intake?

Sure.  I watch it all the time.  I don't do anything to control it, but I carefully watch it as I am putting it in my mouth.

6) This song is about reaching out to someone and extending an apology. When is the last time you said, "I'm sorry"?

hmmm.  I'm sure I must have apologized to someone for something this week, but nothing comes to mind.

7) Adele was a heavy smoker who enjoyed the habit and didn't quit until 2015, after  doctors convinced her it contributed to her chronic throat problems. What's something you know you should do for your health?

Probably the only good health habit I have is not smoking.  I should exercise more, eat less, floss more, eat more greens, fewer carbohydrates, etc., etc, etc.

8) Even though she is one of the world's highest-earning entertainers, she recently had her credit card rejected while shopping at H&M. She admits she was "mortified." Have you ever experienced that moment at the counter when your card was rejected?

Not sure.  Not lately anyway.

9) Random question: When you were a kid, did you keep a neat or messy bedroom?

Bwahahaha.  My mother is a Virgo, I am an Aquarian.  It was only neat when my mother couldn't stand it any more cleaned it....or on those rare occasions when the "neatness gene" hit me and I became a whirling dervish and cleaned up.  It never lasted for more than a day.  Kind of like now.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Today at logos

The guy I replaced at Logos today is a guy who always rearranges the desk.  Moves the charge machine to the front right side instead of the side left, moves the cash register and I'm not sure why, but first thing I did after he left was to move it all back to where it usually is.  It was a decently busy day, which was nice after the dead-dead-dead day I had last week.

The first couple didn't buy anything, but I liked her sleeveless shirt with wide diagonal stripes across the front and flower decorating the bottom of it.

I had brought the current book I'm reading (Khaled Hosseini's "and the Mountains Echoed") with me to read (since I almost never read my Kindle in a book store), but a guy came in with some book donations and I started looking through Scott Adams' "Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain!," a collection of essays from the Dilbert cartoonist and enjoyed it so much I read it all day and brought it home to finish.  The guy who brought in the books then bought three books, "Longitude" which I looked up on Amazon and it sounds like a fascinating book,  Who knew a thing that we take for granted these days was once a real problem?  He also bought a book of For Better or For Worse cartoons, and a book called "Don't Think of an Elephant" (the essential guide for progressives).

A guy wearing a black t-shirt with a HiLife logo on it bought a book by Tolstoy and another book from the Literature shelves.  He also bought a biology book that I didn't copy the name of.
A couple bringing in two bags of books turned around and bought a book by Margaret Atwood ("Bones").  I dunno  Seems to me if you bring in two bags of books, you could get one book for free, but they like to donate to the cause.

 A woman came in and wandered around for a bit, didn't buy anything, but as she left, she took the bottle of water she was carrying and watered the little palm at the front of the store.  I guess she thought it looked thirsty.  She didn't say anything, but then left.

A gentleman sat at the front table reading for a long time, and ultimately bought "The History of the Church of England."

A girl wearing a Trinity College t-shirt came in and I asked her if she had been to Ireland, which she had.  We shared Ireland stories.  She told me how much she'd loved the Cliffs of Mohr but that it had been very windy while they were there so that they had to stand almost parallel to the ground.  Now she said the wind was 100 mph, but I suspect it might have been more like 100 kilometers, which at ~60 miles is still a hefty wind, but I doubt someone could move about in 100 mph winds, especially not at such a steep cliff.

A short woman with short reddish hair wearing slacks, a salmon colored short-sleeved shirt and sandals with small heels.  She carried a big bag over her shoulder.  She had this "aura" about her that made me think she was either a teacher or at least some sort of executive.  She didn't buy anything but said "goodbye" as she left.

A couple came in holding hands.  The woman had dark brown hair with the last 6" or so streaked with white.  He had Bermuda shorts that were really weird.  They seemed to be a silver color but with a black panel, front and back, that made it look like he was wearing an apron, especially when he stood with his legs together.  The bought a book called "Word Freaks," which was on of my donated book  Always nice to see an old friend sell.  When they walked out of the store, her black dress had kind of a scoop in the back, which let her flesh-colored bra and teddy show through.

Next two moms came in, each with a toddler (one mother told me her daughter was 13 months old.  Both little girls wore sundresses and both were so cute as they toddled around the store.  One was more friendly than the other, who didn't want anything to do with me.  The friendly one was very interested in the portrait of an egret drawn by our current artist in residence, Richard Barry.  The group bought two cardboard baby proof books.

A middle aged woman was looking for books by Spider Robinson (she didn't find what she was looking for).  She looked as if she had lost a lot of weight, with arms dimpled with cellulite and a rather large derrier.  She asked if I had any Kleenex because her nose had started running.  I went into the back and brought her 3 sheets and she balled all 3 up together and wiped her nose.  I would have used them one at a time so I had extras if needed!

A mom with a boy who looked pre-teen and a girl who looked to be about 2-1/2.  They spent some time in the kids' room and then left, but the girl was unhappy at not getting a book, so they went back and got a teeny board book, about 2" square, just the right size for a two year old!

A clean cut young man left his backpack at the desk and browsed.  He finally bought "Lady Luck" a book about probability theory.  I remember all those gambling examples of probability theory that my old boss, Fred Reif wrote about in his text book, "Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics."  I wondered if he was a physics student, or planning a trip to Vegas.

Bruce came in, still all in white, but carrying his hat this time.  He chose a book on medicinal plants to have me set aside for him to buy later.  Normally we don't do that, but for Bruce, we make exceptions.

A cheery red-cheeked guy had 3 books for donation and said he was looking to buy back the Dorothy Sayers books he had donated the week before.  He ended up buying a thick Sayers book, which contained 4 of her books, but it was not one that he donated.  He was wearing a big safari hat and it looked so strange when he left and buckled a bike helmet on top of it.

A guy who looked like a Native American, with long back hair, a scarf around his head, and carrying a guitara came in.  He bought a bargain book called "American Hardcore," and sheepishly told me it was for a friend...I later discovered it was a genre of music, not a book about the porn industry.

My last customer looked like Jennifer Beals of Flashdance bought a book of Grandma Moses paintings and two companions to the Oxford Englsh Dictionary and a fourth book on politics.
Peter came in to relieve me and we compared notes on Florence Foster Jenkins, which I liked more than he did.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Men in Trees

I looked out the window of the family room this morning and was surprised to see a man climbing up the trunk of our Chinese Pistachio tree.

About a month ago a huge branch of the tree came crashing down onto the patio.  Walt called someone to come and check the tree.  Contrary to what we thought caused it -- some sort of disease -- it turns out the tree is too healthy and the weight of the branch finally was too much for it to bear.

We made an appointment to have guys come out and trim the tree, which had to be rescheduled when they got hung up on an earlier appointment.  But today was the day and the tree got a big hair cut.  It's amazing how little time it take to cut off lots of big branches and feed them into a crunching machine that turns them into sawdust in nothing flat.

While that was going on, Walt was upstairs cleaning up the mess in the bedroom where last week's flood seeped in to soak the rug.  What was affected was a bookcase where my father's old 78 rpm records were stored.  Walt asked if he should just throw them out.  They should have been discarded 30 years ago, but Paul wanted me to keep them after my father died and then after Paul died, I just never thought about them, but they were taking up a whole bookcase, which can now be discarded.

I told him I would first put an ad in "Nextdoor."  Do you have that?  Nextdoor is a private social network for all the people in a certain community. It's an easy way to put up announcement ("lost dog" "found cat," "marauding racoons" or anything that might be of interest to that particular community.  There is even a section for classified ads and I thought maybe someone in our neighborhood might like the records.  I put in this ad:
My father left a collection of classic 78 rpm jazz records, which we will throw away if we can't find someone who wants them and is willing to pick them up. Free to a good home (or even a bad home!). PM to basykes@dcn.org.
Within FIVE MINUTES, I heard from someone who wanted them.  He's a nice guy named Sean who moved out here from the east coast to go to grad school, but had to leave all of his records behind because it was too expensive to ship them.  He just recently got a turntable that would play 78s and he was thrilled that we were just giving him the records.

I was thrilled that there was someone who would enjoy them.  Not only did he take all the records, but he packaged them in three Blue Apron boxes, so we got rid of three of those too.

In the afternoon we went to see Florence Foster Jenkins, the second movie we have seen in 2016.  What a wonderful film.  We learned of Florence Foster Jenkins a couple of decades ago, when our friend Stephen Peithman told us about "the worst singer in the world," a rich socialite in New York who loved opera and thought she could sing.  She gave concerts around New York, made a record, and even sang at Carnegie Hall.  We bought one of her recordings just to hear her and yes, she was the worst singer in the world.  But this movie with Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant makes her human and shows how her husband protected her and helped her achieve her dreams.  It's a very sweet story, It's Meryl Streep as you have never seen her....and Hugh Grant as you have never seen him and both are excellent.

After the movie we tried out a brand new Chinese restaurant having its grand opening this week and then home for Jeopardy.

I had seen my mother earlier in the day and she asked, as she usually does, if we were going to go out "partying" tonight.  I said no...but as it turned out, we actually did.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

T.T.T. in Session

But first ... Shortly after Jeri and Phil left for Tahoe yesterday, I got a text from her telling me they had left a bag of peaches in the outside refrigerator an for us to enjoy them.

We did.

I am becoming a big fan of puff pastry!
However, that doesn't explain T.T.T.

Several years ago, during the Bush Administration, my friends Joan and Nancy and I -- and a couple of other women -- would get together periodically for lunch and it always turned into a Bush Bashing session.  In fact, we decided to call ourselves the Bush Bashing Babes (I think) and started planning Bush Bashing luncheons because they were so much fun and we could let off a lot of steam that way.
Obama hasn't been terribly good fodder for bashing, so our group has kind of lapsed in the past 8 years.  Oh we still have lunch together from time to time, but have nothing whatever to grumble at...which is kind of nice, when you think of it.

Today we were having lunch to say goodbye to our friend Grainne, who was about to return to Ireland.  Grainne is here so often, I sometimes forget that she has returned to Ireland because within a few months she will be back.  She comes and house sits for friends when they go on vacation.
She has friends all over Davis and there is even a bench in Central Park dedicated to her.

So there were six of us gathered together to say goodbye yet again to Grainne (she will be back in two months).

We had a lovely lunch.  My patty melt, on marble rye bread was really impressive.

We had been eating and chatting and enjoying ourselves when Nancy suddenly said "Hey! We haven't even talked politics yet."

Well, you can imagine what erupted.  So much Trump Trashing that we decided we can now refer to it as "Trump Trashing Time."

We did a lot of talking and laughing and expressing ire and amazement at some of the things that come out of that man's mouth.  Grainne shared the opinion of the Irish regarding the Orange One (they think he's an idiot).

We were still in the midst of Trump Trashing when a woman came over and said she had been watching us and trying to decide what we were talking about, because we were having such a good time, but she couldn't hear what we were saying so she finally decided to come and ask.

I told her we were talking about Donald Trump.  In some of these upscale retirement communities, you do feel a little uncomfortable saying that because you never know when you are talking with a dyed in the wool republican, but she said she wished she'd known what we were talking about because she had a lot to offer herself.

Shortly after that, we broke up and headed home.  I walked with Grainne and our friend Pat, freshly out of the hospital following a minor stroke, and we said our goodbyes.

It wasn't long after I got home that I got an e-mail from Nancy with another Trump article and the suggestion that we not wait until Grainne returns, but we needed to get together in another month for another Trump Trashing Time.  Somehow it just, temporarily eases the depression over the possibility that Trump could be elected...and the even more depressing thing about how many truly ugly people this campaign has brought out of the woodwork, people who have hidden their prejudices for decades in their homes, but now Trump has given them the courage to dust off their pointed hats or hate filled signs an parade them on Main street, whooping and hollering about what they will do to African Americans (they don't call them that, of course) when Trump is elected.

And whichever way the election turns out, I suspect they aren't going back into hiding again real soon.

I wonder how the general citizenry of Rome felt as the Roman empire was falling....

But there are still truly wonderful things in the world and the production we saw tonight of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is certainly up there with them.  I haven't written my review yet, but I suspect it will be full of so many superlatives someone will think they paid me to publicize the show.  From the magnificent set to the augmented chorus that positively filled the theater to the cast, especially John McGinty, a deaf actor playing Quasimodo who was incredible.  He can speak but not sing and his on stage singing voice Jim Hogan worked seamlessly with him so that when Quasimodo needed a singing voice (or a speaking voice for longer speeches) Hogan was there to unobtrusively provide that voice for him

The the whole production was absolutely fantastic.  Music Circus is one of only three theaters in the country which Disney has licensed to do this show...and they certainly did the company proud!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Back to Normal

Jeri and Phil have packed up and headed off to our Tahoe condo for the week (this  was Walt's mother's condo, which we now jointly own with his sister).  I was surprised at how tired I was all day.  It wasn't that the weekend was all that busy, but busier than I've been in awhile and I guess that past a certain age you notice.

Jeri had the full Grandma experience while she was here.  She saw her three times, and each time was completely different from the previous time.

The first time was the day after they arrived when the four of us (Jeri, Phil, Walt and me) went to Atria and brought a new arrangement of artificial flowers.

It was a normal visit.  The same repeating of things a lot, but hugging and sharing photos and my mother, who had been rather non-committal about the prospect of a visit with Jeri prior to their arrival, seemed to genuinely enjoy being with her again.

The next day was the day of the Nifty Fifty party.  While we were packing up and getting ready to Jeri and Phil went to see my mother again.  It was awful.  They tried calling her first but she didn't answer (I discovered yesterday she had unplugged her phone).  So they knocked on the door and she answered but it was one of her "out of it days" and she passed out on them three times.  Jeri called me and I told her to tell the front desk.  I talked with someone at the front desk and they are trying to decide whether to send her to the ER or not.

What to do? What to do?  Should I go to the party, or stay home on the chance my mother might be going to the ER? Finally, after discussion with Atria, I decided that we would go in two cars, Atria had my cell phone number and Jeri's and if they decided my other should go to the ER, they would call and I could meet them there in about 45 minutes.  Obviously, I ended up enjoying the party and did not get a call from Atria.

They put her on an "every 2 hour" watch schedule, where someone would check on her every two hours.  I'm not sure if she's still on that or not, but it was a tremendous relief to know that she would be checked on that often.

Then, the night before they left, Jeri and Phil went to Atria to have dinner with her.  At some point Jeri called to say that they had not had dinner with her and were going to get food for themselves and did we need anything?

I had visions of her refusing to eat, as she often does, stating that she doesn't feel well.  But that was not the case at all.  When they got to Atria, they saw her in the dining room eating, so they waited until she left and then went with her to the apartment.  Jeri reported that they had a wonderful time, singing and telling jokes! (I want Jeri to move back to Davis again!!)  So they left with a good feeling.

Yesterday, I went to visit and it really was back to normal.  The first thing she told me was that she's getting old, then she said she didn't feel well.  I told her what we'd been doing the past 3 days and when I finished she asked "so what have you been doing I should know about?"  She had no memory of seeing Jeri.  I realize that with her you have t enjoy literally the MINUTE because it will be gone the next minute...but the minute you are enjoying is real and she is enjoying herself in that minute.

I was there for an hour during which time she asked at least a dozen time what I was doing tonight (she ony asked twice if we were going dancing) and what I had been doing. She complained about being old, she complained about the "mess" on her patio (they are doing remodeling), she loved the artificial flowers, and she looked off into the distance and sighed a lot.  That was how our hour went.  She would pick up a little booklet of pix of Bri when she was a baby, look through it, then toss it aside in disgust.  She did that over and over again.  

And so it begins again   I was emotionally exhausted when I came home and took a nap.
Today I'll be back to deliver meds and pick up laundry, but I am having lunch with friends first, so won't try to eat with her too.

Tonight the Music Circus season comes to an end with a production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  Music Circus is one of only four theaters in the company that were granted permission to perform the show, and we've been warned that this is not the Disney version, but close to the original book, so not really recommended for small children.

The summer theater season is coming to an end, which means that the fall theater season will be starting soon!  Since I started reviewing for the Sacramento period too it seems that theater is my life.  It's fun, but sometimes overwhelming when there are three openings a weekend back to back with three more openings the following weekend.  The nice thing is that the salary for the Sacramento writers has almost doubled in the past month and that's a very nice thing!

Monday, August 22, 2016


This weekend has been a flood of emotions, first a bad ay with my mother, which left me wondering if I was going to the Nifty Fifty party at all, or should stay home in case she had to be taken to the ER (I decided with the Atria person, that I would go, but she had my cell phone number and Jeri's and would call if they were taking her to the ER and I'd come back.  We did not receive a call.)  I left town with a flood of emotions about that.

And then there was the flood of emotions I always feel when we get together with the Pinata People. All those memories, good and sad.  Remembering the folks who are no longer here, rejoicing in the ones who are.  Watching each of us in Generation 1 as our bodies slowly begin to break down, looking at the adult of Generation 2 and their children and remembering when we were those guys, and the kids of Generation 3 as they continue to learn about this special group, and each other.  Wishing that Father Quinn, who is responsible for this all, were here to see what his counsel has wrought!

And then today there is the flood of family emotion, with Alice and Joe driving up from Santa Barbaa, Norm and Olivia driving from Petaluma, all meeting here to see Jeri and Phil before they return to Boston.

But before that flood could take place, there was the real flood in our kitchen.  It happened so quickly and was so suddenly all-encompassing that I didn't even think to take a picture.

I was standing in the kitchen making a cup of coffee when I heard water running  I thought I had left the tap on, but no.  It wasn't coming from there.  Then I looked at the door to the laundry room and was water pouring down the door and soon, I felt water on my arm, as it poured out of the light fixture over the sink.

Walt ran upstairs to discover that the upstairs toilet had overflowed and the floor was covered with water.  Fortunately, we still have a big bag of towels left over from our puppy fostering days and I quickly soaked all of them while Walt used all of the towels upstairs to mop up the mess there.  He got the toilet to stop running, but we haven't investigated what we need to do to keep it from happening again.

We spent time going through all the things that had been soaked and throwing away food awash in "diaper rash water" (as it is known in Pinata circles).

We were about finished when the family arrived.  Jeri and Phil were out, but we sat and talked  Walt showed Norm a photo book on Hawaii, which has photos from around the area where they lived for several years.

Then Norm presented his own treasure, a vintage photo he had found of their great-great grandfather.  Norm has always wanted to know where the "Norm" came from and his mother could never remember, only that his father had named him, but unearthing some old daguerreotypes he discovered one labeled "Norman Eldred."

While they were talking about their newly discovered great-grandfather, the others (Alice, Olivia and Joe) were looking through an old book of Walt's grandmother's, telling the story of their father, from birth to high school graduation, and enjoying the photos in it.  Alice has started getting interested in the family history and this book was a treasure trove.  (It was one of the things I found when cleaning out my office.)

At 1:30 we went up to the Graduate, a brew pub about a mile from here, where we met Jeri and Phil...and Ned, who had come to join the group.

We all ordered our Grad Burgers an settled in for another visit.  Olivia and I did a lot of Trump-trashing, and well deserved it was indeed.  But my back can't take that long on a bench without some support, so I eventually moved to the other side of the restaurant to a booth, with something to lean against...and to watch them all enjoying each other.

Ned said I looked so pathetic, he decided to drive me home...he had to get back anyway because Marta was due home.  So I came back to the support of my recliner.  Walt and the others followed soon and then they were also on their way.  Jeri and Phil walked over to Atria to have dinner with my mother, but she was already in the dining room eating (yay!) and when she finished they went back to her apartment where they seem to have had a lovely visit, including laughing and singing.  Such a change from yesterday!  So that ended the day on a flood of good emotions.  Jeri and Phil head off for a week at our condo at Tahoe and then back here, briefly, before flying back to Boston.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Nifty Fifty

This may look like a "nothing" picture, but I think it is my favorite from our Nifty Fifty party today.

It's just Ned chatting with Kevin and Eric and Joe (Eric an Joe are brothers) but I just got such a warm feeling about the camaraderie among them and then I looked around and Jeri was chatting with Jenny's husband Dave and other little clumps of comfortable members of the "family" were getting caught up on what had happened in their lives since we last saw them.  I got all verklempt.

Because, if you go by blood and birth certificates and all that jazz, they aren't related in any way, shape, or form, but are more "family" than some other family members who may be on the genealogy chart,

These are the Pinata People, about whom I have written before. 10 people who met at Newman Hall in the 1960s, coupled, married and among them produced 22 children and throughout all these years, we have remained close friends.  We were in each other's weddings, we are godparents to each other's children. We took vacations together-- many, many camping trips.  We nursed each other's children, they attended the same schools (at least until the middle 1960s, when we started moving in different directions). We have seen the death of three of the kids, and five of the adults.  We've been there for people's funerals and even the funerals of their parents.  

The first year we had what became an annual New Year' Day party there were five children.  And all of us were pregnant.  The next year there were ten children.  We never doubled in size again (thank goodness!) but ten years ago we had a birthday party for the five who were turning 40 and today we had a party for the five who are turning 50 this year.

Liam, Joe, Steve, Jenny, Jeri

And we had a great turnout to celebrate.  Even my goddaughter, whom I have not seen or heard from in about ten years (she lives in Kentucky) was there, with her two brothers.

Only 4 of the living original 22 were not able to be with us.

The remaining Gen 1 folks were felt very warm and fuzzy to see all of our children enjoying each other's company again..

The Gen 3 kids who came (I've lost track of how many Gen 3 kids there are now) stood and posed, but I know it didn't mean nearly as much to them as it did to us

There was a pinata, of course, but I'm disappointed in my pinata photos, so none here, 

But the kids did gather to cut the cake.  There were so many problems with my decorating of this cake, I have declared this is my very LAST decorated cake.

After dessert, and much wine having been consumed, people started being tossed into the pool.

And of course, what else to do if you're in the pool but take a selfie.

Ned says that a bad thing about cell phones is that they have eliminated the possibility of surprise pool dunkings because most people have a phone in their pocket. These guys were just lucky that Steve's was waterproof.

Several of the group ended up in the hot tub.

It was just a wonderful day and we decided it will probably be the last of its kind, since I'm not sure we're going to be in shape to pull off a party when these guys turn 60!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Saturday Nine

NO WAY I'm not doing this one!!!
Welcome to Saturday: 9. What we've committed to our readers is that we will post 9 questions every Saturday. Sometimes the post will have a theme, and at other times the questions will be totally unrelated. Those weeks we do "random questions," so-to-speak. We encourage you to visit other participants posts and leave a comment. Because we don't have any rules, it is your choice. We hate rules. We love memes, however, and here is today's meme!

Saturday 9: The Trolley Song (1944)

... Because Stacey suggested Judy Garland. Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) In this movie clip, just about everyone (except Judy) is wearing a hat. Do you wear hats for fashion, for warmth or for both?
I have a large head and "one size fits most" hats do not fit my head.  They sit on top like a cherry on a sundae.  I hear Oprah has the same problem, so she has her hats specially made.  Not having Oprah's budget, I just don't wear hats.  Period.

2) This song is from Meet Me in St. Louis, which was a huge hit and the second highest grossing movie of 1944. When is the last time you watched a movie in the theater

We went to see Room in January.  It is the only movie we have seen this year.  So far. (But I really want to see Florence Foster Jenkins next week)

3) The movie follows the Smith family as their hometown, St. Louis, prepares to host the 1904 World's Fair. What's the biggest thing happening in your hometown

I can't think of anything specific right now, but the last biggest thing I remember happening was the gathering in central park to unveil the new wall for the bathroom.  We had a band and refreshments and newspaper coverage.  It was a Very Big Deal.

4) This week's featured artist, Judy Garland, is best known as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. That movie is shown so often that Sam thinks she may have seen it a dozen times. Is there a movie or holiday special you've seen over and over?
I don't know how many times I have seen Judy Garland in A Star Is Born, but easily more than 100 times since I first saw it in 1953.  It made a Judy Garland fanatic of me.  (I even got to see her perform live three times, and met her once.)
5) Judy admitted to being perpetually tardy. Are you usually prompt? Or are you always running late?
I am almost never late.  In fact it's eerie how often  arrive exactly on time, to the minute, whether I plan it that way or not.

6) Judy's first professional performance was a rendition of "Jingle Bells" when she was just two. How old were you when you entered your chosen profession
Well, since I worked all of my life typing in some capacity or other, I guess that would be when I was a junior in high school.  The last 15 years or so I was a medical transcriptionist and I got started at that in about 1987, when I was 44.

) Thinking of "Jingle Bells," here's a wintery question for a hot summer day: What's your favorite carol?
I have always loved "Silver Bells," but can anybody resist Judy's version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" in Meet Me In St. Louis?

(with Margaret O'Brien)
8) Judy was a very demonstrative person. She enjoyed hugs and admitted that, when she nervous, she took emotional support from physically reaching out. Are you demonstrative?
It depends.  I can be.  But I can also be reticent too.

9) She told Barbara Walters that people would be surprised to learn that she was a good cook and specialized in desserts. Do you have a sweet tooth?
Is the Pope Catholic?

Friday, August 19, 2016

Today at logos

Well, you're going to read a lot of "left without buying anything" here.  I made a grand total of THREE sales this afternoon.

I was pleased, however, to find Sandy and granddaughter Sarah working when I got there.  It's been several months since I've seen Sarah and I swear she's grown a foot and suddenly is starting to look more mature.  She's less than a year older than Brianna, which makes me wonder what Bri is going to be like next year!

She was telling me about watching Steve Harvey's "Extraordinary kids" and in particular one little kid who taught himself to play piano at age 4, while watching his father playing. It was fun having the brief visit, but yogurt was calling them, so they didn't stay.

The first customer came in looking for a specific philosophy book, which we did not have, so he left.
The next customer was a Latino in cargo pants and a maroon polo shirt, carrying a drink.  He checked the literature section, but then left without buying anything

An older man with white hair was standing at the Bargain Books but didn't come in.

A red headed girl came in with a bag of books to donate.  They were packaged in a bag from the store "Forever 21."  After I emptied the bag and started to fold it up, I discovered that on the bottom of the bag the store had printed a Biblical reference ("John 3:16"), which seemed a bit odd.  Reminded me of a local attorney who advertises on TV a lot and his commercial always contains a biblical quote on the bottom of it.

A guy I described as a "Mike Blackford" type, but he wasn't as put together. He had long unruly white hair under a baseball cap, and a goatee.  He was carrying a big heavy backpack an wearing flip flops.  He checked the literataure section for a bit, but left without buying anything.

A middle aged man wearing cargo pants (which seem to be very big around here) and a blue polo shirt.  He had either a 5:00 shadow or was doing a good Don Johnson imitation. complete with sunglasses.  He was looking for books by Julia Whitty, but did not find what he was looking for. so left without buying anything

(is this becoming a recording?)

A middle aged man wearing a salmon festival t shirt was looking for a Fodor guide to national parks, but he didn't find it and left without buying anything.

Two young women, each wearing baseball caps with distressed very short denim shorts came in.  They looked around for a long time, but ultimately left without buying anything.

An older man with a walker came in to donate books.  He sat down to rest before leaving.  I gathered from what he said that he had been a photographer and never used things like PhotoShop to enhance a photo.  He had been to Alaska trying to photograph Denali, but never managed to see it without clouds surrounding it. He asked what the status of the store is and I told him I didn't know, but thought they had another year to go on their lease.

A middle aged woman with a lovely pink patterned blouse and jeans looked around in Lit for awhile, but then left without buying anything.

A curly headed young man I had not even seen enter was actually my very first sale, at 3:30.  He bought "90⁰ North," about the quest for the North Pole.  He didn't seem impressed when I told him he was my first sale of the day.

3 Asian women came in together and looked around for a long time, but didn't buy anything.

A very tall man who looked like Michael Gross from Family Ties didn't stay long before leaving but he turned his head around as he was walking out and gave me a smile.
3:45 and my second sale, a middle aged man who bought a book on the 12 Century Renaissance. 
A woman who looked like me, rotund all in black and unkempt, came in and out without buying anything

By now I was getting so bored that I was actually taking pictures of my wrinkled skin to post to Facebook.

My friend came at 4:15 and even he didn't find anything he liked today, so bought nothing.

A middle-aged woman in a skirt, with her hair in a bun and a heavy backpack on her back entered.  She asked when our next Monday sale as going to be, and then left without buying anything...but she returned later and bought four bargain books.
A woman stopped by the window to take a picture of a book on the display table.  Then she came in and asked how late we would be open.  I got the idea she planned to come back later and buy the book.

A tall guy wearing a shirt that said "Make it rain" was looking for textbooks but looked around anyway and then left.

Susan arrived early since her Italian speaking group was meeting tonight.  I asked her the status of the store.  The building has been sold to some conglomerate that builds strip malls.  The jewelry store had its rent raised so high they moved out, but the shop has remained empty for months.  The athletic shop next door will probably close.  
Susan says their lease is up in January, and they may have to close up shop.  But since Peter just turned one of those "zero years" he may be ready to give up working so hard to do some traveling.

We talked about the upcomng "Nifty Fifty" party the Pinata Group is having on Saturday (celebrating the 5 Pinata kids who turn 50 this year).  
There are 44 coming and one guy has bought a pinata.  Of all years for Tom to decide not to come...but maybe hitting a 49er symbol would be too painful for him.
I bought enough clams and cream cheese to make a vat of clam dip and ingredients to decorate the cake I promised to bring.  Another pinata cake (we will not hit it...I don't think).

In the morning we are meeting with Atria reps again to see about arranging for assisted living for my mother, an in the afternoon Lizzie gets her annual shots
Oh yeah...and something exciting happened at the end of the day:

Jeri and Phil arrived from Boston!!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Astonishingly Excellent

Since all reputable fact-checking organizations have shown that 90% of everything Donald Trump says is either an outright lie (Obama did not create Isis) or at best, highly suspect, it's not surprising that the supposed letter from his doctor proving his excellent health would come under scrutiny, and downright derision.

The doctor can be forgiven for the weird letter, I guess, since he's been dead for two years.

In the letter, the doctor, a gastroenterologist, who is a specialist, and not someone that would normally perform a general exam, says that his recent exam showed only "positive."  Since lab tests are usually to rule out certain diseases, one can assume from this that he is suffering from a constellation of diseases, everything from diabetes to syphilis.

But that can't be because the lab results are "astonishingly excellent." Now doesn't that make you feel like a piker?  My lab results are usually within normal limits, but I've never aspired to be astonishingly excellent and I'm not sure how I could rig them for that result.  

“It’s very odd for a doctor to say, ‘He’s had a complete medical examination that showed only positive results,’” said Jonathan Moreno, a professor of medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania. “Normally a positive result in the language of medicine is not a good thing."

(Moreno also points out a conspicuous absence in this report from a gastroenterologist...who doesn't mention whether or not Trump has ever had a colonoscopy. Apparently questioning the Trump team whether or not he had colon polyps received no response. Perhaps that's TMI)

Even when writing a faux medical report, Trump can't resist making himself better than the average man.  "His physical strength and stamina are extraordinary."  Give that man a cape.

"If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency."

Give me a break.  What reputable doctor, even a dead one, would write that?  You could check the doctor's web site, listed on the letterhead, but it does not link to anything.

“I don’t want to question Dr. Bornstein,” said Jeffrey Singer, a practicing general surgeon and adjunct scholar at the libertarian Cato Institute. “But doctors don’t usually say that kind of thing.”“I could understand Donald Trump saying that, because that’s the kind of thing he says—just like he’s the smartest guy and the richest guy and all that,” Singer continued. “But doctors don’t usually make those kind of superlative comments.”

Unless, of course, you’re Donald Trump’s doctor.

It always amuses me when Trump asserts that Hillary Clinton does not have the physical stamina for the office.  Did he see her travel schedule while Secretary of State?  The woman never stopped...and most people on the world stage seem to have liked her, unlike Trump, who is getting negative comments worldwide.
An Australian friend of mine, a woman I met while visiting Australia, recently wrote " I think the world is waiting to see if Americans are stupid enough to elect Donald Trump. As you say - stranger things have happened. Like Hitler. Surely common sense will prevail."  One can only hope

“This is a Mel Brooks version of an election campaign, except it’s deadly serious,” said Constanze Stelzenmüller, formerly of The German Marshall Fund in Berlin, now with the Brookings Institution in Washington. Above all, she said, Germans are disturbed by echoes they hear of 20th century fascism in Europe, from Hitler to Mussolini. And they hear in Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric the views of far right parties in Europe today, whipping up fears of Muslim immigrants flooding their continent. An American president joining that chorus will “just inflame the trend,” she said.
Germany's Der Spiegel has called Trump the most dangerous man in the world

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who supported Obama’s Republican challenger Mitt Romney in 2012, invited Trump to visit in December. But after the candidate’s comments about banning Muslims, he withdrew the invitation. "it’s Trump’s lack of experience that most worries Israelis, " explains David Makovsky of the Jerusalem Post. “They live in a tough neighborhood, so Israelis don’t want an American president who needs on-the-job training,” he said. “Because they have to play six-dimensional chess in a very complicated Middle East, they want someone who knows how to play chess.”

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said there’s no way his government will pay for Trump’s wall between the two countries. And he went further, likening Trump to Hitler and Mussolini in proposing “very easy, simple solutions to problems that are obviously not that easy to solve,” expressed in “strident rhetoric (that) have only led to very ominous situations in the history of humanity.”

One career U.S. ambassador in Latin America sums up what troubled the officials he deals with about Trump. “I hear one word — reckless. People are afraid that he will be as reckless with the instruments of national power — military, economic and diplomatic.

French President Francois Hollande expressed extreme revulsion at Donald Trump’s “excesses” and warned against his authoritarian tone.

The French liberal newspaper Liberation has described him as a nightmare turned reality. JK Rowling tweeted that he's worse than Voldemort. A recent Economist cover has a picture of Trump dressed as Uncle Sam with just one word, "Really?" That pretty much sums up the mood of global elites.

I voted in my first election when Johnson was running and I have voted in every presidential election since....and this is the weirdest election I've ever seen.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Money Shot

I've probably watched more of the Olympics this time around than I have in a long time.  For two reasons.  First of all, I got hooked into the women gymnasts and secondly, with my new office, my TV is right at my elbow and whether I'm typing or working on a project, I can see it (unlike when it was on the other side of the room and I had to turn around to see it).

I have thoroughly enjoyed the successes of our athletes, but it does eventually start to feel like overkill.  Yes, I want each athlete in his or her particular sport to do the best they can, but when you are just watching the results and not necessarily the work that they went through to win, I start to feel embarrassed at our dominance of the medal count. it starts to feel like showing off.

(But then I'm the person who, when I was in grammar school and running for office, always voted for my opponent because I thought that was the polite thing to do and I assumed he/she would also vote for me.)

But the one thing that amuses me is watching the camera work.  Simone Biles has the same smile she turns on whenever a camera is pointed at her.

From what I have seen of her when she is not performing she is a happy person, but she can be having a serious moment and as soon as she sees the camera, she turns on the smile.  (It's the same before she begins her event.  Serious while she goes through the routine in her head and then the big smile as she gets on stage.

But the thing that amuses more than anything is the camera work at all the medal ceremonies.  

The athletes stand on the stand, get the medal put around their neck and then the national anthem starts to play.  You just know the cameraman is hoping to find a tear glistening in an eye.  If it begins to look like the athlete is going to get emotional, there is a slow pan to where the eye is the center of attention.  The camera man is often disappointed.

Michael Phelps admitted to feeling emotional and getting a little teary when he won his last individual medal, knowing it was the last time he would stand on that podium and see the American flag slowly rise in his honor.

If you see this photo in a larger size, you can see that his right eye is a little glistening, though no actual tears.

But the big money shot is to find an athlete who stands there with tears streaming down his/her face as the national anthem plays.  The cameraperson must have been positively orgasmic over swimmer Simone Manuel and her medal time.

But congratulations to all the winners and still-to-be-winners no matter which country they are from.  Let your tears flow freely--it's what the viewing public are hoping for, and the camera persons are praying for.

I took the day off today and stayed home and got "stuff" done.  Finished a pocket letter, wrote a dozen Compassion letters, folded laundry, and cooked a Blue Apron dinner.

I even got a cooking injury.  I was slicing a tomato on our new super sharp mandolin and could not find the thingy that attaches to the food so you don't slice your finger.  I decided to wing it and found out why you don't slice food without the thingy that attaches to the food.  (Note my Superman bandaid, which I bought in case Ned is here and needs a bandaid again.)

As I made our dinner, I realized that over the months that I have been cooking Blue Apron I have learned a lot of cooking skills I never had before.  I have learned so much that when I watch 11 year old on Chopped Junior I am starting to know what they are talking about.

I have even learned that I can eat (and enjoy) kale, with the right recipe.

And I love all those little bottles of things that the liquid ingredients called for in the recipe come in.  This particular recipe, for chicken burgers with hoisin mayonnaise had a record number of little bottles -- mayonnaise, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sriracha

(That brown thing behind the little bottles is how a tomato is packaged so it doesn't bruise in transit.  when a recipe calls for an egg, it also comes packaged in something like that)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Happiest Times

One of my favorite quotes, at times like this, comes from Gone with the Wind, and it's when Miss Melanie tells Scarlett, "The happiest times are when babies come."

Gabe, the son of our beloved dog sitter and good friend Ashley and her husband Dave arrived yesterday.  At 10 lbs, he's a real hunk.  He reminds me of David, who was just slightly under 10 lbs and happened to be in the nursery with preemies, so when they wheeled him out so we could see him (there was no viewing window....they brought the babies to the door of the nursery, two at a time) he always looked like a behemoth compared to the wimps that were wheeled out with him.

Ashley has not had the best pregnancy in the world, and Gabe's delivery was long and difficult...and he had to spend a day in the NICU, but he's all fine now and they have gone home to start their new life together as a family.

I told Ashley that with all the problems over the last nine months, I wish for Gabe to be a good baby.  "I hope you have a Jeri and not a Paul," I told her!  I know the reality of both.  Ned, Tom and David were normal babies, and not as quiet as Jeri or as difficult as Paul.  It's time Ashley gets to enjoy the fruits of her labor!

Things have not been smooth sailing at Atria this weeks.  My mother's had another couple of her spells where she doesn't know where she is or who she is or who anybody else is.  It scares her and she just wants to sit in a chair, shake, and wait for it to pass.  She doesn't want to leave her room because she's afraid she'll do something wrong, or that she will get lost.

She has cleared all of the shoes and other things out of the floor of her closet, but now doesn't recognize them and is waiting for someone to come and take them away. When I offered to take the mountain of shoes home with me, she was vehement that she had to "go through them first." It was a rerun of trying to get her out of her home in Terra Linda 3 years ago;

And then there were The Keys.  She lost her keys.  She didn't know she had lost them because she doesn't know what they are or what she needs them for, but I knew she couldn't go to meals without them.  I tore that apartment apart, looked in her purse, in the refrigerator, in the linen closet (all places where I have found them before)

It caused her great frustration because she didn't know what I was looking for  When I asked her if they were in her pockets she lifted the hem of her slacks to check.  She ended up with her head in her hands saying "I don't even understand what you are saying!"  I tried asking her if she knew what a key was, and she did not. When I left her, she was sitting in her chair with her head in her hands and I felt terrible.  I feel so helpless when she gets like this because it's a real emotional pain for her, but there doesn't seem to be anything that can be done to help her.

After I returned home, I texted her stepson (who is in Alaska right now) and he said that the last time she lost her keys when he was there, he found them inside the grandmother clock.  I was hopeful when I went back that evening, certain that I would find them when I returned for dinner (she was so upset, I decided I needed to go with her to dinner).

When I returned 2 hours later, she was fine and didn't remember anything about the keys...or, in fact, that I had been there earlier.  The keys were not in the clock.   After dinner I ended up leaving my keys for her, telling her over and over again to please remember to leave them on the counter, where they usually are.  I knew, of course, she would forget that as soon as I finished saying it...but it's something like $40 to get a new set of keys because they are special electronic keys.

I stopped at the front desk when I left to find out how much it would cost to get a replacement set of keys and the girl at the desk told me that she had my mother's keys there.  Apparently she had left them in the dining room (I don't know how she got back into her apartment that day!)

On thinking this all over, I decided it's time to go with Assisted Living.  I don't have a clue when or if she is eating, and if she's not eating, that could affect her mental condition.  I just can't eat every meal with her, and if she has someone from Atria to check on her a few times a day and make sure she gets to meals, maybe having a regular schedule will work better.

She always says she isn't feeling well when I arrive but if we go and do something, like having a meal (because that's about all I can get her to do), she opens up and is better by the time we get back home again, probably a combination of doing something and getting some nutrition in her.  She can't seem to process the information that her feelings might have something to do with not having anything to eat or any water to drink (yeah...try to get her to drink more than a sip of water!)

I have a request in for another meeting with the resident services director to see about setting up assisted living (she won't be in until tomorrow).  I took her laundry home to wash and made plans to return in the morning to see how she was today (she usually is fine for awhile after one of these spells)

Today I went back for lunch, after last night's dinner.  She was up and looking fresh and well.  She did mention that she wasn't feeling well, but then Ned knocked on the door and suddenly she felt just fine and poured on the charm because she had a man to fawn over (she's such a slut.  LOL!)  Ned is just so wonderful with her and I love watching how he visits with her.  

To top things off, we had lunch with Loretta, her best friends who she doesn't realize is her best friend (and who doesn't realize my mother is her best friend).  The two of them have been at about the same level of dementia for three years, and are deteriorating at about the same rate.  But they love to tease each other and often their conversations don't make any sense at all, but they laugh a lot with each other.  I told Ned the only thing better than having lunch with Loretta is having lunch with Loretta when both of them have glasses of wine, which add a whole new layer of silliness.

I will probably take tomorrow off because I have things to do around here (unless the resident director can meet with me tomorrow), but will go back in two days to see how she is then.
I wish I could talk all of this over with her. I miss my mother.