Friday, September 30, 2016

Today at Logos

Sandy and I talked a lot about the ending of Logos, and how customers feel about it.  So many have expressed regret and said this was their favorite store in town.  One woman said she comes and buys a book every week.  The future of Logos is uncertain.  What is certain is that Susan and Peter are leaving.  They are talking with Friends of the Pubic Library about maybe taking it over.  Customers offer suggestions like maybe one of the volunteers take it over, but I think that highly unlikely.  We'll see, but what is certain is that this is going to be a big blow to Doctors Without Borders and Save the Children, for whom Logos has raised money during its life.

The first customer, a guy with a flowered backpack bought 2 bargain books and 2 psychology books (one about Freud) Our credit card machine broke and couldn't be used, so I could only accept cash and he had to go across the street to the ATM machine to get money.

A woman looking like America Ferreira browsed for a very long time before flashing me a big smile, waving, and leaving.

The first donor arrived with two bags of books, shocked to learn that store was closing.  I told her negotiations were going with the Friends of the Public Library.  She said she donates to both Logos and Friends, but when she has more expensive books to donate, she brings them to Logos because she's afraid people would buy them from Friends for a small amount and make money by selling them on eBay,  It was she who suggested one of the volunteers take over.

Right after she left a guy arrived with two boxes of books.  He knew that the store was closing and that this was his last chance to donate, but he, too, expressed sadness.

A young couple came in.  The woman had long blonde hair and a filmy skirt that left nothing to the imagination when the light shined through it.  The guy had grey shorts with accents that looked like they could have been made with duct tape.

Another couple came in.  The guy wore a salmon colored shirt with "staff" printed in the front, but I couldn't get close enough to him to see what he was part of the staff of  There was a logo on the back that said UTILA, which didn't help at all.

I decided I didn't like the book I had brought to read, so went looking on the shelves. I picked up a book called "Eats Along the Equator, which I thought an odd title, but I saw it was about a boat trip on the Congo river in Zaire, and since we have friends from Zaire, it would be interesting to read.  It wasn't until I was taking a picture of the book to include here that I realized that I had a dyslexia moment and the word wasn't "Eats" at all.
It is an interesting book, but something I am unlikely to read at home, but also not a book likely to be snapped up by customers, so I put it back on the shelf at the end of the day, with a bookmark.  I expect it to still be there when I go to work next week.

A woman with snow white hair bought an art book and, as an afterthought, bought a blank card by photographer Sandy Garett, which we also sell for her.  She photographs birds, plants, and insects found in nature around Davis.
I once bought one of her ladybug cards to send to Lacie, who is sometimes referred to as "Laciebug."  I would buy others, but they are $3.50 each.

I was into my book when I looked up and saw a big butt staring me in the face.  It was a heavyset man with thick legs ending in brown shoes with white socks.  I don't know what books he was checking out but he stood up and left, so I never saw him.  He was wearing a red baseball cap and I was wondering if it had "Make America Great" again on it, but I couldn't see.

It was so nice to see the Antiquarian.  I haven't seen him in a long time.  He found an older book of British poems and then showed me the pendant he was wearing (he always has some new acquisition to share with me).  This had belonged to Lady Something or other from 1770.  Her husband had been the First Lord of the Admiralty.  The pendant was her coat of arms, which women were not allowed to have unless approved by the king.  It was really lovely.

A woman with a messy pony tail and a very loose sleeveless grey t-shirt plopped herself on the floor in front of my desk, pulled out a notebook and her cell phone and started looking at a cookbook and taking notes, She eventually packed everything up again, said "thank you" and left.  I don't know what that was about.

A guy with Pavarotti's voice coming from his pocket came in and bought four bargain books.  He, too, was sad to hear the store would be closing.  He and Pavarotti left.

Bruce came in, wearing his standard white layered outfit, now quite soiled.  He chose a bargain book, but did not have a dollar, so said he would return later to buy it.  We don't save books for customers, but we do for Bruce.  The last time I saved a book for him, it was still waiting for him a week later.
My friend came in and bought two bargain books, including one Sue Grafton (her "B" book) and said he had never read any of hers. We discussed what she'll do when she gets to the end of the alphabet.  I forgot to let him know the store would be closing.

The next interaction was really weird.  The father of one of the guys in Lawsuit is kind of a unique looking fellow.  His wife died many years ago and he remarried a couple of years ago and the last time I saw him I could see he had been losing weight.  You see him riding his bike around town all the time, a safari hat on his bald head.  I looked up and in he walked.  But he didn't seem to know who I was, though I greeted him happily.  Was this really the guy?  Who else looks like this with the same hat?  He didn't buy anything and left without saying anything.  I still don't know if it was the guy.  I had heard that he was showing early signs of dementia, so was that why?  Or was this someone else entirely?

Three women, each with shopping bags, all in short skirts came in.  The biggest girl had a dollar sized yin yang tattoo on her ankle and was wearing a Pink Floyd t-shirt.  She found two books she wanted, one of which was Jane Eyre, but she only had a credit card and didn't want to go to the ATM so she put the books back.

My last customer found a t.s. elliott book that she had been looking for for years.  She was very excited but the book was $7 and she only had $4 and I couldn't accept her credit card.  Holly in my heart, I told her I would sell it to her for $4.  She says she's a regular customer and would bring in an additional $3 next week.  I don't know if she'll do that but what the heck--the store is closing and won't miss $3.

We came home and had a quick dinner and then off to the theater to see Romeo and Juliet.  I enjoyed the production (as much as I ever enjoy Shakespeare) but the background music was horrible.  It was like 2 hours of nails on a chalk board and the worst part was that it didn't shut off during intermission.
Jeri and I often text each other during shows we are doing and I recorded a bit of the "music" and told her they had "pissed off a critic"
WALKER UPDATE:  I sent Melissa at Atria an e-mail to check on how Operation Walker is going.  I was amused to receive this reply:  it has been hit or miss with the walker. We are starting something new though, taking the walker with us to escort her at that time. If we leave it around her or in the room she gets upset and will NOT use it. I will keep you posted over the next few days. Ahhh...that's the Mother I know and love.  I t old her to keep at it, that I won't mention it or it would turn her off further (since I've been trying for 3 years), and when/if she ever routinely uses the walker, I would immediately go out and buy her one.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


This is a very busy time for TV addicts.  It's the start of the fall season, with old favorites (the ones that have not been canceled) returning and a host of new shows to check out.  This year for many of the old shows returning there is a new look.  NCIS lost Tony DiNozzo (who is now starring in Bull, which follows NCIS) and he has been replaced by two or three new people.  I haven't figure it out yet.  It will take a few episodes for me to start to accept them as part of the family.  There are two big losses with DiNozzo and that is first, his father (Robert Wagner) and then all of those glib movie references he used to make.  I note with some amusement that all of the now old timers are doing it -- McGee, Bishop and Palmer especially.  They make a movie reference and then look at each other in amazement, realizing what they have said.  it's as odd as Penny quoting Star Wars on The Big Bang Theory.

The first show of the new season for Criminal Minds started tonight too.  I haven't figured out yet who is out and who is in and where the hell they all were.  That's going to take some getting used to too.

(Thank goodness there are marathons of old shows every day, just about, if I find the need for the way things were)

But this is the time of year when I make important life decisions that I often end up regretting every time Emmy award nominations are read.  Blue Bloods has now had such a long life that I regret never having watched it.  I'm sure I would have liked it, but like many things I had to choose between that and something else when it first started.  There probably were two other shows I wanted to watch in the same time slot so I couldn't even record it.  Now it's been around so long and has become such a respected program that I feel I lost out on something special.

I feel that way about Veep every year too because until my Veep marathon last weekend, I had never seen a single episode of the show, and yet it seems that Julia Louis-Dreyfus takes home the Emmy for best actress in a comedy every year and it was not until last weekend that I understood why.  I also understood why the writers win year after year too.  It always upsets me that they beat out Big Bang Theory, which I think is some of the most clever writing on TV, but Veep is pretty darn good.

There have been other shows that I have not started watching because I decided to go with another show instead, and then the one I decided not to watch ends up having longevity and acclaim and my own choice is canceled after one season.

So far I'm happy with the choices I have made so far this new season.  Someone told me that Bull was a disappointment, but I guess I'm not all that discerning because I've enjoyed the two episodes that I saw.  But if it is indeed as week as they say it is, it will probably be canceled.  What I liked from Episode 1 to Episode 2 is that by Episode 2 Michael Weatherly was starting to slip into his "Bull" character and leave Tony DiNozzo, the 50 year old smart aleck that never grew out of college humor, behind.  I hope the show makes it, since I've staked my television watching on it.

I am not a sitcom person any more, but I was hoping that the new Speechless was going to be good.  And it is.  Minnie Driver is the mother of 3 kids, one of whom has cerebral palsy and the story covers the strange situations that come up with a kid with disabilities who can't talk.  I really wanted it to be good for Rob Rummel-Hudson and daughter Schuyler, who uses a computer to speak for her. What I like about the show is that it treats the handicapped kid as normal as the other kids, though his mother tends to dote on him too much, but he's now getting older and having his own ideas and making his wishes known in often funny ways.  Micah Fowler, who plays JJ, the kid with cerebral palsy has the condition himself and he's marvelous.  Also took me awhile to recognize John Ross Bowie, Minnie Driver's character's husband.  I knew I had seen him before and then realized he is the guy who plays the obnoxious Barry Kripke, with a speech impediment, on Big Bang Theory.

I think this show is going to make it.  Just read this review from the San Francisco Chronicle:
The show is a perfect balance of comedy and heart, and the performances are superior on every level. Micah Fowler, though: wow. He doesn’t utter a word, but he communicates more than words could ever say with facial expressions and the inflections of his monotone responses to life around him. There’s no BS about J.J. He’s centered, smart and determined. Fowler delivers one of the most eloquent, Emmy-worthy performances you’ll ever see. He makes you feel sorry that every other kid in the world isn’t as great as J.J.
I also like the show because Jeri's husband Phil has been caring for a young man with cerebral palsy for several years now and when I watch JJ's helper with him, it reminds me of Phil and what he has done for his charge.

I watched The Good Place, another sit com, where Kristen Bell's character wakes up dead and learns, Ted Danson tells her, she is in "the good place."  Because of her good works they have prepared a home for her with all of her favorite things.  Only they aren't her favorite things and her death resume is of someone else, so she's trying to figure out how to get back.  It's cute, but I think it is not going to hold my interest.  I'm always interested in the afterlife and I like Ted Danson, though he's one of those actors whose name I can never remember.  I know he was Sam Malone on Cheers.  I know he's married to Mary Steenburgan.  I know he's not Alan Alda or Sam Waterson, but I almost always have to look him up to remember his name.

How to Get Away with Murder is another show I decided not to watch which gets a lot of acclaim now.  I didn't watch it for two reasons -- the story of a class of law students and their professor (Viola Davis) was so convoluted and filmed so dark much of the time that I couldn't make heads or tails of it.  But Davis has won a couple of Emmys and critics call the show "the best show on television," and with a creator like Shonda Rimes could it be otherwise.  The main reason I didn't watch, though, is I just hate Davis' character's heavy make up, particularly the red-red lips, all the rage now, that look like she's been hit in the face by a ripe tomato (as my father used to say to me when I wore makeup).

(Unnaturally red lips seem to be all the rage now and though in the days when I wore lipstick, red ws my favorite, they just make me shudder now.)

I'm looking forward to the first episode of Timeless this week.  It seems to be a time travel series where people try to go back and prevent bad things from happening.  The previews show them trying to stop the crash of the Hindenburg.  I know from watching Star Trek's "City on the Edge of Forever" and reading Stephen King's "11/22/63" the havoc that can be wrought by well-meaning people trying to change the past and how it can cause disaster in the future, so I'm wondering how this show is going to sustain a series.

Lucifer is back, that weird show about Lucifer Morningstar, "who is bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell and resigns his throne and abandons his kingdom for the beauty of Los Angeles, where he gets his kicks helping the LAPD punish criminals". Lucifer runs a piano bar, with the assistance of his demonic ally Mazikeen or "Maze." The longer he stays on earth, the more human and less demon he becomes and he begins to notice that his superhuman powers are fading.  There's also an attraction for a homicide detective and though he freely tells her his real identity she never believes him.  I very much enjoyed the first season and I'm glad to see that it's back.

Speaking of superhuman powers in someone hiding his true identity, what happened to Forever about the guy who couldn't die and kept reappearing as a young man, at this time working with his now elderly son (Judd Hirsch).  I enjoyed that show and don't see it on the new schedules.  Yet.  I hate it when a show I have come to really enjoy just disappears without a word of explanation.

That's not likely to happen to The Americans, that cold war spy series focusing on a Russian couple in a sleeper cell, raising two typical American kids who have no idea that when Mom goes out she's probably going to be having sex with someone and then killing them, or that Dad is married to another woman whom he married so she could spy for him. (She's gone now, poor clueless dear--learning his identity and shipped off to Russia to start a new life). The latest season hasn't started yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

So many shows, so little time, though Comcast has helped greatly by giving us tons more recording space, so I don't have to spend so much time juggling which shows I need to watch right away because something else needs to be recorded in its place.

Ahhh...the life of a TV addict is such a busy one.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What's Your Sign?

Have you heard that your long-held beliefs about your astrological sign may be wrong?

NASA broke the news early this year in a blog post that explained that when ancient Babylonians created the zodiac over 3,000 years ago, they wanted dates on the calendar to correspond with star constellations. But, there were 13 constellations, and they were working with a 12-month calendar. So they ditched the zodiac sign Ophiuchus.

NASA also pointed out that the Earth's axis doesn't even point in the same direction as it did when the original constellations were drawn, so all our signs have different date ranges now anyway.

I checked out the new date ranges and, whew!  I am still an Aquarian.  My whole life I have excused my unorganized lifestyle, my creativity, my emotional eccentricities and lots of other things, good and bad, on the fact that these are typical of Aquarians and that I am merely a victim of my astrological sign.  So I am happy to know that is still my sign.  But the sign of Aquarius is now February 16 to March 11, which means that Walt, too, is now an Aquarian, which may explain the second floor of our house. 

Likewise our neat and tidy and organized Ned, who is a stereotypical Virgo is still a Virgo.  But what does that do to my mother, the original stereotypical Virgo, whose birth date now puts her in the Leo sign.  Are Leos also as compulsively neat and tidy, as she is?

Jeri is no longer a Taurus, but an Aries.  Tom is no longer a Cancer; he's now a Gemini.

In truth, I don't follow astrology.  At all.  Though I will occasionally check out my horoscope for the day, mostly for laughs, but I certainly don't make life decisions based on my horoscope.

 Interestingly, though, a co-worker many, many years ago was heavily into astrology and wanted to do my chart.  She was very excited about her findings, most of which I couldn't understand, but it was interesting how many points in this chart were so true of the "me" I am.

Be comforted all you Ophiucus people, who are now trying to figure out who and what they are.  "Ophiuchus people have Scorpio’s magnetism and sexual allure. They are dream interpreters, passionate and jealous."

House Ophiuchus represented Unity. Its people were spirited, magnetic, impulsive, clever, flamboyant, and at times jealous, power-hungry, and temperamental. At their hearts, they were healers who hoped to one day rid the Zodiac of every ill—disease, violence, etc—and bring everyone closer together.

Ophiuchans had a natural affinity for snakes, and there was a special species of serpent, the Zawinder, with whom their House’s Zodai developed a psychic connection. Each Zodai would capture and adopt his own Zawinder, which they would then use to spread messages to others in the swamp.

It's a whole new world for a whole bunch of people.  I wonder if the guys who write horoscopes are now going to adjust their signs and welcome Ophiuchus into the family.  I goodness.  What if an Ophiuchian doesn't know what is going to happen to him on any given day?

Other than searching the zodiac, I spent the day transcribing the tape of an interview I did.  I've actually been working on it for a couple of days.  It's the behind the scenes story of the writing of the play we are seeing tomorrow night, about soldiers in the field in Afghanistan and their experiences.  It should be a riveting play.

But in the evening, I received the most amazing email from the patient coordinator at Atria.
Hi Bev, we all have noticed Mildred would benefit from having a walker. Mildred loved it and had no pain while she was using it as a trial for the escort to dinner yesterday.
Mildred LOVED it????  The coordinator, of course, had no idea that this is something I've been trying to get her to agree to for three years.  With the severity of her back problems, I knew that a walker would help her, but could I get her to even think of one?  No way.

From the first day, she looked down on "all those people using walkers."  (Now, of course, she has forgotten the word "walker" and dismisses them as "things.")

I have tried to trick her into realizing that a walker would help by taking her shopping and, when she complained about her back pain, suggesting she push the shopping cart and kind of transfer her weight to the cart, relieving the pressure on her back.  She agreed that yes, that did help, but when I pointed out that this is the benefit she would get from a walker, she refused to push the cart any more.

I have tried suggesting she use my cane when she was having difficulty walking.  In truth, most of the time I am fie without it, though my balance is getting weird, so it's a safety measure, and I don't know that I could climb stairs any more without a cane or banister. 

She did try the cane and admitted that it helped, but almost immediately gave it back to me like it contained poison and told me that I needed it and I should use it and how lucky I was to have fond something that helped.

So to hear now that "Mildred loved it" made my jaw to slack. 

Of course, I suspect there is a lot of people pleasing involved in that.  She looks on the people at Atria as her bosses and, always wanting to do the right thing, if they suggest she use a walker, I can see that she would readily agree, without admitting her true feelings about it.

Another perk of having her on assisted living.

I told Melissa that we would give her a few more days to get used to the idea and if by next week she is still accepting the idea of using a walker to walk, I would go out and shop and get her her very own walker.

I have always thought that if she had a walker with a seat on it, she could actually get out and DO things.  I don't take her anywhere now because she has to stop so often and sit down.  But if she brought her seat with her, things might be different.

Walt was in the Bay Area with the car yesterday, so I didn't go to Atria, but I will go over today and I am going to be very curious to see how our visit goes and whether she will mention the walker.  I won't bring it up, but will let the Atria people deal with it with her.

I decided long ago that she is so damned independent and so proud of her not needing any assistance whatsoever that if she ever had to use a walker or wheelchair, she would just curl up and die.

But maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe this could be the start of a new chapter for her.  I am holding my breath and being cautiously optimistic.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What the Hell was THAT?

Walt, bless him, chose a late flight back from Santa Barbara so I was able to stay home and watch the whole presidential debate.
My very first impression was one that I hardy dared voice, but after the debate I saw it all over social media, even from Howard Dean....with all that constant sniffing that Trump did throughout the debate, and his continual drinking water....could he possibly have had a bit of cocaine before going on?  I know nothing about drugs, but I have seen cocaine users sniffing continually...and there on Facebook and Twitter were dozens of other people asking the same thing, including Howard Dean.

"His performance may have been hampered by the cocaine he must have used...sniffing, water, etc. Symphony of incoherence." says my friend Joan.  I just love the "symphony of incoherence."

By the end of  the debate, I actually started missing that smirk of George Bush that drove me so crazy.

In looking at reports on the debate after it was over, there are right wing newspapers that say it went 80-20% in favor of Trump.  Are those people snorting cocaine too??

The difference between the two candidates was striking.  Hillary stood there and waited her turn (most of the time) while Trump interrupted her dozens of times.  She backed up her policies with laying out plans for how to achieve those goals.  Trump's answer to everything was to tell how many people endorsed him, how many businesses he had, how rich he was.  I didn't hear one. single. plan. for how he is going to accomplish everything he swears he will do.  In some cases, I'm not even sure he knew what he was talking about (in discussing domestic cyber terrorism, he referred to his young son.)

Republican talking heads (Steven Schmidt, Michael Steele, for example) agree it was a disaster for Trump.  Schmidt talks about his lack of preparation, about his body language and his comments being somewhere between "incoherence and babble."  He mentioned "talking gibberish about nuclear weapons." And this was a Republican strategist!  ("He was like a jumping bean," said Rachel Maddow)

Nicole Wallace, another Republican strategist said that we held Hillary to the highest standards and she exceeded them.  Trump was unprepared and seemed not to know what he was talking about much of the time, especially the longer the debate went on and got into subjects about which he was obviously woefully ignorant.

The New York Times in a preliminary report fact checked the debate.  Hillary had a few false, or misleading statements.  Trump's false or misleading statements were overwhelming.  A few examples drawn from the New York Times article.
  • On Mr. Trump’s accusation that the withdrawal of troops left a vacuum in Iraq and Syria, which allowed the Islamic State to take root.
  • On Mr. Trump’s assertion that many NATO countries do not contribute their full share to NATO.
  • On Mr. Trump’s opposition to the Iraq war.
  • On Mrs. Clinton’s assertion that the United States needs an “intelligence surge” to help prevent terrorist attacks by homegrown violent extremists.
  • On Mr. Trump’s claim that the United States is “not updating” its nuclear arsenal and the Iran nuclear deal.
  • On Mr. Trump saying that China is “devaluing their currency” to gain an economic advantage.
  • On Mr. Trump’s claim that Ford is leaving the United States and taking “thousands of jobs” with it.
  • On Mr. Trump’s claim that “we have a trade deficit of almost $800 billion a year,” blaming trade deals for this.
  • On Mr. Trump’s claims that murders are up in New York City.
  • On Mrs. Clinton’s accusation that Mr. Trump said climate change was a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. Mr. Trump responded, “I do not say that.”

And more.  Trump is quite vocal about not taking the oil from Iraq.  As the New York Times explains, "Seizing Iraq’s oil — or the resources of any country — is illegal under international law, and doing so would have likely prompted condemnation from around the world. In purely practical terms, seizing Iraq’s oil would have required tens of thousands of American troops to protect Iraq’s oil infrastructure, which is spread out across the country and largely above ground."

Perhaps my favorite Trump accusation about Clinton is that she "doesn't have the stamina to be president."  Clinton has visited 112 countries, negotiated peace deals with top adversaries around the world, and sat through an 11-hour congressional witchhunt hearing.  For starters.  Trump couldn't stand still for an hour and a half debate without twitching and looking uncomfortable.

An interview with Trump on the floor of the hall afterwards shows where things are going to go on the heels of this disastrous debate.  He now says that he had a faulty mic and that affected his performance.  A reporter said that when Trump was asked if there was anything he regretted, the only thing he said was that he regretted not bringing up Bill Clinton's marital infidelities.

Has anyone ever heard Trump admit blame for anything?

Also, congratulations to Rosie O'Donnell whom Trump pulled into the debate, his venom against the actress having nothing to do with national security, but he just couldn't resist tossing another barb in Rosie's direction.

As I said, there has never been a presidential debate like this in my lifetime...and probably never.

Monday, September 26, 2016


Saturday was my day off.  I didn't go out of the house.  I didn't get out of my pjs.  I splurged on comfort food.  I binge-watched Veep, which I have never seen and always wanted to--but I hate coming in in the middle of a show that has been running for several years.  I watched most of Season One, then the last of Season 3 (where the president retires and she becomes president) and all the way through until the middle of Season 5.  I will finish up Season 5 tomorrow and be all ready for the show when Season 6 starts.  Good show!

But after all these shows, I am wondering if President Selina Meyer ever wears anything but red.
While I've been sitting on my butt watching television, Walt has been texting me pictures from Lacie's birthday party.  I also checked photos that laurel posted to Facebook.  First there was the cake, with the famous "Masterchef" logo...

Then there was a photo of Lacie with the doll clothes that we got for the party ... American girl chef's clothes.  (Makes me wish I were a kid again.  I want my own American Girl doll!)

And Laurel posted pictures of the cooking kids at the party.

(It actually looks like a combination of Master Chef and Chopped!)  I wish I had been there, but given all that is going on with my mother, I think I'm glad I was here instead.

Today she is still in great pain, and holding on to the wall and furniture to walk around, but she's very subdued.  I am thinking it's probably because of the pain med, which may not be curing her pain, but which has taken away some of the "spark."  If nothing else, she's much quieter and "floppy," for want of a better description.  Jeri reported that she knew who she was when she called her this afternoon.

Her doctor wanted to see her back again if the pain persists, so I have a call into her and I guess we'll be back at Kaiser again this week.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

War Cycle

Isn't that cute?  Little Tom Burmester has written a play that is going to be performed at the university next weekend.  I was going to interview him about it. I remember Tom and all his family (especially his father, who was a HUGE influence on our kids, since he was not only their English teacher, but also the founder of Acme Theater Company, still going strong more than 30 years later).  We used to go to church suppers with Tom and his family.

So now little Tom has written a play.

Only before I went to interview him about this play, I did some research and found out that "little Tom," who must be pushing 50, since I think he is our Tom's age, is now a big name in Los Angeles theater.  The play that will be presented next week is the third in what will ultimately be a four-play war cycle.  These were some comments by critics that I found in researching it.
CRITICS’ CHOICE - Los Angeles Times: "This “Gospel” is chapter and verse of one of the finest war plays in recent memory."

CRITIC’S PICK - Backstage: "Burmester's writing and his staggeringly stark staging are mesmerizing."

GO! - LA Weekly: "Electrifying! Yes, it's another war play, but the first act moves so swiftly and the themes are presented so seamlessly, you find yourself gasping rather than groaning."

FEATURED - LA Stage Watch (Don Shirley): "The War Cycle is one of the most impressive multi-play bodies of work to emerge from LA’s 99-seat theaters."
The War Cycle brings a face to the war.  We talked about the difference between the Viet Nam war, where correspondents went into battle with the troops and we saw the battles every night on television.  It became part of the war protests and eventually brought about the end of the war.
But how often do you see actual battles in the middle east and not just endlessly repeated scenes of selected moments? How often are we asked to do our part for the war effort? (I seem to remember early on we were told that the best way we could help was to continue life as normal, to go shopping, etc.)  How many persoal stories do we see of soldiers and families affected?  We see some, but not often enough to raise ire among the general population.  And so the war rages on and we concern ourselves with shopping and tweeting and web surfing.
Tom wants to change that.  From another review
The action, set in 2009, transpires primarily in a small U.S. Army outpost at the mouth of Afghanistan’s notorious Korengal Valley, also known as the Valley of Death.  There, a squad of battle-hardened soldiers awaits imminent redeployment back to the States.  But when a fanatically religious ideologue is assigned to their squad, divisive factions form. During their last hours before returning home, the soldiers are sent on a risky final mission in which the cracks in their ranks widen to deadly chasms.
It sounds like it's going to be a powerful play and I'm anxious to see it.

My plan had been to talk with Tom and and his director-wife Danika for half an hour and then get over to Atria for lunch and take my mother to her hair appointment.  As it turned out, the interview was so interesting that I was there for over an hour and I figured it was too late for lunch, so I would just wait in the apartment until she got back.  She was on the couch when I got there and said, as she usually does, that she feels terrible. She feels terrible all over, but can't say specifically what feels terrible (except her leg, which still causes her so much pain she can barely walk).  I'm beginning to think that the "feeling terrible" is more an emotional thing than a physical thing because the more "awake" she gets (from chatting), the more normal she seems.  This is one of the unintended perks of having her on assisted living.  She gets contact at least four times a day from Atria staff and each contact is a social interaction, which she enjoys.

We had a nearly an hour before her appointment, so I got her some coffee and a couple of oatmeal cookies, just to get something into her system.  Atria used to have a table avalable to everyone where you could get coffee, milk, fruit and treats all day long  Then they got rid of it and moved the coffee off to one side and then you could get coffee (regular or decaf), tea and a goodie.  The goodies have been gone for a year or more.  When I went to get regular coffee, there was none, so I went into the dining room and there was coffee, but no cups and an empty goodie container, so I went back to the front and got decaf, figuring it was better than anything.

I hate it that so much has been spent on turning Atria into a Holiday Inn while the rents go up and the quality of service declines.  Oh the staff are wonderful, but the little touches that made me fall in love with the place in the beginning--like the comfy couches inviting conversation, and the goody table and the puzzles in the middle of everything where you could meet other people (now shoved into a corner on the second floor, where nobody passes by) are all gone. The place now looks perfect for a brochure, but those "plush" couches and chairs are hard to sit in and do not invite conversation at all.  You don't see nearly as many people sitting and chatting in the front any more -- I suppose it was too depressing to see, you know, old people in the front of the building.  So depressing, dontcha know.  Even the hair salon was moved upstairs and cut in half, size-wise and it, too, is no longer a comfortable place to chat with your neighbors while waiting for your turn.  If my mother wasn't so settled and happy, I'd look for someplace else, but she likes Atria and it's so close to my house that it's convenient for me too.

Anyway, over an hour of chatting and coffee she eventually seemed not to feel "terrible" any more, but it killed her to stand up and walk, but we did it very slowly, stopping twice for her to rest on the way to the elevator.

A beauty parlor is a good place to get back to "normal" again

And when she was all finished, the change from before was amazing.  

We only had to stop once on the way back to the apartment, but she had to hold on to walls and furniture, and me, to stand up and she collapsed into her chair as soon as we got back to the apartment.  

Once I saw her in her chair, reading the newspaper, I left to go shopping.  We had made it through the week.  She'd been x-rayed, poked and prodded, medicated, and zapped.  She'd had a trip to the ER, a mental health exam and a hair do and we were finished.  I'd met with the folks from Atria a couple of times, her dentist once, and the insurance guy.  I got her outstanding bill paid and now just need to send paper work to her insurance company to get the process started for long term care reimbursement.

Walt is gone and my Saturday is blank.  I may lock the front door and stay in my pajamas all day.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Five for Five

Today was the fifth out of five  days when I have had something to do with my mother, whether taking her to appointments, sitting with her because she was too upset to leave, going to meetings about her, or talking with many folks on the phone about her.

There is a perk to all of this:  I haven't seen or heard from Trump in at least three days.

I had a terrible time getting to sleep last night and it was well after 1 a.m. before I fell asleep and my alarm woke me up at 5:30 because I had to take Walt to the airport at 6;30 for his flight to Santa Barbara.  I went from the airport to Atria, where I had to wake my mother up at 8 so we could get on the road by 8:30 for her 10 a.m. EEG.  I was worried about waking her up so early but someone from Atria was there to check on her and she helped me up.

My mother when awakened two or three hours early is actually quite docile, because she's so confused.  This morning he leg hurt so badly that she said she wouldn't be able to walk.  We did get her up, however, and I called for the Atria person to brig her meds so she could have a pain pill before we left.

But, since we were going out, she wouldn't give her Norco because it might make her dizzy and instead just brought Tylenol, which I know from experience does zilch for her pain.  I was miffed about it, but realized I had to let it go, so I did.  I just listened to her pain for the whole morning and felt helpless.

An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test that measures and records the electrical activity of your brain. Special sensors are attached to your head and hooked by wires to a computer. The computer records your brain's electrical activity on the screen or on paper as wavy lines. Certain conditions, such as seizures, can be seen by the changes in the normal pattern of the brain's electrical activity.  The reason for all this is to find out if she is having seizures, which are causing her to pass out so often.

We got to the EEG lab and they took her back to attach the 25 electrical sensors to her head.

The tech said that the substance used to attach the sensors was like shortening.  This is what you look like after they are all removed

My plan had been to stay in the room and read for the 30-40 minutes of the exam, but the idea is for her to go to sleep so they turned off the lights.  I also started coughing and coughing and the tech had told me that if I coughed I'd have to leave the room because they wanted her to sleep.  I left the room and passed by the room where they were monitoring her.

I sat and read for half an hour and she eventually came out, still not sure where she was or what she was doing.  

I took her to lunch at Denny's and she ate a lot, though could not get comfortable in the booth, or in the car on the drive home.  When we got to Atria, I walked her to her apartment so I could carry her laundry for her, but I didn't stay.  I figured she needed a nap...and I definitely did too.  I came home and slept for two hours.

Tomorrow I am doing a theater interview at 11, though I've been so preoccupied with my mother, I can't even remember what the show is about.  The interviewee is someone I've known since he was a little kid and I'm doing the interview at his parents' house so they can babysit while we talk.  I must read up on this play before I go!

But then in the afternoon I'm taking my mother to the hairdresser's at Atria to get all of that goop out of her hair.

Saturday I have absolutely nothing to do and I don't intend to go to Atria.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Another day of "mom-stuff."

It started at 10 when we went to Atria to meet Sean, the nurse who does assessments for her long term care insurance company.  Ned came too and was invaluable, keeping her "entertained" with jokes and explaining things to her.  Every time Sean asked me something and I answered him, my mother would mutter to Ned that we were talking about her and not letting her know what was going on.  I would try to explain what I had just told Sean, she would tell Ned she didn't understand a word I said and Ned would explain it to her over and over again. He was very patient and the day would have gone so much worse if he had not been there.

Finally someone has given her a comprehensive mental health evaluation, the results of which didn't surprise me, but I wish it had been done when I first asked for it >10 years ago (and several times since then) so we had a baseline. But this is better than nothing.  Most questions she couldn't answer (including how old she is), and she could not completely copy a simple figure he asked her to copy (two overlapping 5-sided figures.  She drew one.)  She aced the physical part, for balance and that sort of thing, but anything that involved mental calculation was pretty much a disaster.

I had to laugh when he asked her how often she went out of the building and she told him she occasionally went out for walks, sometimes to go shopping.  Since she is afraid of going out of the building, doesn't know where the nearest store is and has no money in her purse..I don't think so!
I had dropped off her meds with the front desk and realized that her Norco, the pain med, says one tablet 2 times a day, but the doctor said to start with half and see how that goes.  Since it seems to be working with just a half, I mentioned that she was only getting half.  They told me that without an order from the doctor, they would follow what was on the bottle.

So I came home and emailed the doctor.  Her nurse called back and said that Atria had also called them and they were faxing over a revised prescription.

Then it was time to go to the conference with Cindy, my dentist, about the exam she did on my mother a couple of weeks ago.  

There are lots of problems, but only one that is dangerous enough that it should be taken care of now (an extraction). Cindy is so good and so understanding.  Given my mother's age, she says that the remaining problems can be on a "watch" basis and if she starts having pain, we can deal with them at that time.  Cindy, like me, wishes she knew how much longer my mother has so she knows which dental problems are important to deal with and which are OK to just let go for now.

So I had the whole rest of the afternoon with no Mom to take care of.  But she has an appointment at 10 am. tomorrow for her EEG, an appointment which is in Sacramento and I should allow an hour to get there, because of rush hour traffic. When they set up the appointment they told me to tell her to stay up late and get up at 3 a.m.  Yeah.  Right.  I kept saying "you understand she has dementia, right?"  I guess the idea is they want her sleepy when she comes in, but since I'm going to have to wake her at about 8:30, that's probably a given.

But with all this dementia business, the bright spot in the day is that Lacie turned 5 years old yesterday.

Apparently, Lacie is developing a love of cooking, which is not surprising since Tom is a great cook and he has always had the girls help him.  Laurel told me recently that Brianna has started timing  Lacie when she cooks because she's convinced her sister will end up on Chopped some day.
Her parents gave her a doll's kitchen, which they gave her before Tom left on a business trip. 
For Christmas, the girls each received American Girl dolls and so I bought her a complete Chef's Doll clothing set, which included hat, bandana, baker's jacket, pants and shoes for her doll.

Too bad we don't have the outfit that a friend made for Tom for some show the kids were doing.  He was supposed to be a baker and she made him a jacket with "Baker" written in big letters on it and then I think there was also a chef's hat.
In truth, it looked a little silly and the director was furious because that was not what she wanted, but the seamstress was so proud of her work and so Tom wore it in the show...and probably stuck out like a sore thumb.

I'll have to see if I can find the pictures to send to Lacie.

Her party is being held at a restaurant that has kids' parties, where the kids get to use the kitchen and make stuff.  I'm anxious to get a report from Walt, who is flying down for the party (we can't both go because I don't want to ask Ashley, who is still settling in with newborn Gabe, to dog sit yet, so either one of us has to stay home with the dogs, or I have to kill Polly (who would freak out if we tried to board her). Walt is going for the party and I will drive down in a couple of weeks to watch the girls play soccer.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Change of Scenery

Today I took (most of) the day "off" from Atria and went with Walt to have lunch with Char at the new place where she lives.  Of course it's also a senior living place, so we were once again surrounded by grey hair, canes, and walkers, though people here seem to be "fitter" and younger than at Atria, so it was a different vibe.

On the way, we stopped at Atria to deliver my mother's pain medication for the day.  She was very bad, saying she hurt so much she couldn't walk.  It was hard to leave her, but I knew from my day with her on Sunday that there was nothing I could do and I really wanted to see Char's new place.  I gave her the pill and hoped it would help.

It's about an hour and a half to Pleasanton, which gave us a chance to finally finish the book we've been listening to for months, "Transfer of Power" by Vince Flynn.  We only listen to it in the car and we hadn't gone anywhere in a long time (I had hoped to finish it on the way to the wedding reception).  Such a good, gripping book.  If you are into that kid of story, I recommend it highly.  Such a shame Flynn died so young (mid-40s).

We started listening to Dustin Hoffman reading "Being There," which I am enjoying.
Char met us at the clubhouse and when I walked in, I felt like I was walking into one of the fancier 5-star hotels where we have stayed on Viking Cruises.  How impressive!

We went straight to the dining room, which was huge, with a skylight over most of it to make it very bright and a window wall looking out onto a grassy area with a beautiful gazebo and wandering stream over which were little bridges.

Lunch was good too.  Walt had steak, perfectly cooked.  I had a fancy tuna sandwich, perhaps better than I've ever had (in Parmesan bread with tomatoes and avocado--the tuna was almost superfluous).  The blueberry crumble dessert was probably better than anything I've ever had at Atria.

After lunch we went through the garden area, over the bridge (looking at the koi who immediately swam over and started begging for food) and through some of the outbuildings like the one for the huge swimming pool.

(Char tells me that the sign is required on all swimming pools these days...I'd never seen it)

Her apartment is on the 3rd floor with a  beautiful view of Mount Diablo, which will probably disappear when the new building, currently under construction, is finished.

We had a nice visit, but had to leave early to get back to Atria for a meeting with Melissa, the patient services coordinator, to discuss the next day's visit by the long term care nurse, to assess my mother's approval for a claim against the policy for which she has been paying >$3000 a year for decades.

First we went to give her the evening pain pill.  She was still in pain but her mood was significantly better.  I remembered when my friend Phil Dethlefsen, who was on all sorts of pain meds, told me that they didn't take the pain away, but they just made him care less.  When the woman who has been checking on her for meals came, she was delightful toward her, and happily went off to the dining room without even worrying about leaving Walt and me behind.

After we left the apartment, we went to Melissa's office and discussed her "action plan."  As of today they will take over giving her the meds, which takes a huge load off my mind.  We also decided to put her on "escort" services to take her to meals.  She seems to enjoy the camaraderie of the caregivers and has no problem going with them to meals.  This may eventually increase her involvement with Atria, but I won't hold my breath.

I had to sign forms for my mother as her power of attorney and I have to admit it felt like putting her in the home.  Nothing really changes except Atria will have more involvement with her (and it will cost ~$800 more a month), but still it felt disloyal doing this without her knowledge, though she always seems OK with whatever I suggest.  Still, it was harder on me than I expected and I cried to Walt when we got home that it was "tearing me apart"

In fact, I couldn't eat, and fell asleep watching TV, and slept all night after James Corden woke me up and I staggered to the couch to finish the night.

All things considered, though, in the cold rainy light of day I am relieved to know that they will be keeping an eye on her, that she will get her meds regularly, and that she may not eat more than cookies at lunch and dinner. I won't feel quite so guilty on days I don't go to Atria.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

"I'm Taking Control of your Mouse"

I was 30 minutes into a chat with a rep from when "Kimona" typed "I'm taking control of your mouse." Sounded like something ominous.  But it was a last gasp to fix what had gone wrong with the download function of my account.  No point in explaining the problem but s/he already had me try all sorts of stuff.  "Type this" and "type that" and "what does it say now?" (The interesting thing about the process was that the encounter started out with those canned phrases that they all do.  "Hello, I'm Kimona and I will help you.  Can you tell me your problem?" and then "I hear you saying that....." But the longer the suggested solutions proved unsuccessful the more personal our conversation became

S/he asked if s/he could take control of my machine.  I was thrilled.  Sure!  But even that didn't work.  Everything I was told to do, which I did faithfully, did not produce the expected result.  Finally I was asked which browser I was using and when I said Firefox, the suggestion was made to try it again with Chrome.

Bingo.  As soon as I booted up Chrome it wored like a charm.  That's when I lost control of my mouse, but as I watched things zip here and zip there and things being typed and screens changing, suddenly it was all back the way it was supposed to do.

"You've made my day!" I exclaimed to my new friend Kimona, and when the feedback form, I happily gave Kimona a very positive review.

That was the part of the day that I did for "me."

I overslept in the morning and saw it was 5 minutes to 9.   I leaped up, poued myself a cup of coffee (which Walt had prepared earlier) and was out on the road by 9:15.  There was a "mandatory meeting" at Sutter and I didn't want to be late (also they were having stuff for breakfast snacks which I didn't want to miss),

Given how close it was to the time of the meeting, I was surprised that there were two empty spots set aside for volunteers.

I rushed into the building and noted there was nobody at the information desk, confirmation that there was a meeting.  I went to the meeting room and was surprised to find the meeting already in progress since I was at least 10 minutes early.  Fortunately I looked in the window first.  No snacks.  No grey haired ladies, all "suits" and a speaker I didn't recognize.

I went to the gift shop and asked the volunteer here about the meeting.  She said that meeting is not until October. I couldn't believe I'd made that mistake.  In fact, the original date had been changed so I not only missed it the first tim,e but I missed it the second date as well.  The real date of the meeting is October 19.  This means I had the morning free! Yippee!

But in addition to all the stuff with Audible, the morning was spent on my mother ... three calls from Kaiser, two from her doctor's nurse and one from a woman, Lydia, who was going to help me see about switching doctors.  

By the time I finished all the phone calls, it was time to pick my mother up and take her in for an x-ray and blood work.  Poor dear just follows along blindly.  She didn't have a clue where we were going or what we were going to do.  She just sat when I told her to sit and went into exam rooms when I told her.

I checked the pharmacy and canceled her prescription, which her doctor's nurse had told me was the wrong one for her.

But then it got good. 

I went to the business office for 3 reasons.  The first was to get a hard copy of the power for me and her stepson.  I know there is a copy around here somewhere, but I don't have a clue where.  I've never needed it because it's in the Kaiser system, but I will need it on Wednesday, when I meet with the nurse from her long term care insurance company, who needs to see it.

No problem.  The woman ran off a copy of it for me right away.

Secondly, I had left a list of medications for her doctor to sign, so that I can turn her medication management over to Atria.  They had not called from the doctor's office, but I thought I'd take a chance and see if she had signed it yet.  Apparently she had not.  I was disappointed, but not really surprised.

The third thing was more complicated.  About 10 years ago, I started setting my mother up with her own email account at Kaiser.  At that time she had a doctor in an Rafael and I wanted to be able to communicate with her long distance.  Only I did something wrong and I could not access the account.  I tried everything.  I saw every person possible, up the line, all the way to the God of the Internet and nobody could help.  Once an account is started it can't be changed or deleted.  I finally gave up, which is how my mother ended up with the same doctor I have...I can write to MY doctor about her.

But when I was talking with Lydia, she told me that a lot had changed in the last 10 or so years and she thought I would have no trouble now. 

The woman in the business office agreed with me, sent me to the patient services office, which tped a couple ofthings and told me that I now had access to my mothers account.  I couldn't believe it.
I drove my mother home and dropped her off at Atra, still in pain and confused about where she was, but experience has shown that once she gets in the building, she can find her way to her apartment.
I came home and fell asleep, to be awakened about half an hour later by a call from her doctor, explaining the thing that made me angry with her over the weekend in the first place (so I've decided not to switch doctors after all). She also told me that the medicine for my mother was now at the pharmacy.  It was 5 p.m., they close at 6 and I got in the car immediately.

Traffic was horrible, but I did get there in time and picked up the medication.

I drove back to Atria and was surprised to find the apartment empty.  She had not been in the dining room or in either of the places where she usually sits so I didn't know where she was.  As I was a cutting pill in half, she came in the door and when I asked where she had been, she said she didn't know.

But I gave her a pill and sat to talk for a bit.  I had to laugh when she asked me, several times "what have you been doing today that was fun?"

Monday, September 19, 2016

Best Laid Plans

We don't go to a lot of social events, but this was one I'd been looking forward to for a month.  Our friend Susanna married her Natalie at a beautiful ceremony at the Crocker Art Gallery here in Sacramento.

As you can see it was a large crowd, but even more people wanted to help the new brides celebrate, so a party was given in San Francisco for all the Lamplighters (and others) who couldn't go to the wedding.  I was so touched to be invited. 

I spent the morning designing a card for them, using a cute graphic I found on line, 

and a poem written by my friend, Claire Amy Atkins.  It seemed the perfect poem for women who are singers.
You are my poetry, you are my song
My heart was silent until you came along
Now it sings with the joy of knowing you.
Now it soars to heights that are brand new.
You give me strength, you make me strong.
You are my poetry, you are my song.

I was excited about it.

The party began at 2:30 and we decided to stop at Atria on the way.  My mother's telephone had stopped working and Jeri suggested we bring a spare phone that we had upstairs, so we took that with us.

From the minute we walked in the door, I knew, with a sinking heart, that I would not be going to the party.  She was in great pain.

She was practically in tears.  She also wasn't dressed and I got her to put on her slacks, since Walt was walking around.  She was so incredibly pathetic, I would have lived with great guilt if I left her there and went off to party, so I sent Walt to the party (so he could deliver my card) and I told him that he could pick me up on the way home.

(I figured I could at least watch the Emmys live, but then discovered her TV is not working.  I have put in a work order to fix it, but that won't be until next week.)

I gave her a couple of Aleve, but I know that doesn't do anything for her pain, and I fixed a cold compress, but she didn't want to wear it because it was ... well... cold.  Her doctor had sent me a message on Friday.  She was  going to try Norco for her but her note said "sorry read message late was very busy to see patient, so can not send Norco prescription "  I don't know if this means she has decided not to give her a pain medication or if she means that she was too busy to help with her pain on Friday and she would have to wait until Monday.  (English is not her first language and she doesn't communicate well at ALL in writing.)  I sat down and wrote to my gynecologist to ask for suggestions of someone who is a good gerontologist that I could switch my mother to.  She's going to refer me to someone who can help me make that decision.

She took a nap for an hour or so and I read but then she was awake again and pacing and trying to find a way to help her pain.
The afternoon was horrible.  She fainted once, and was extremely restless, moving from chair to couch, sitting on one butt cheek, then another, crying out in pain and wailing "What can I doIt hurts so much!"  I asked her again about the cold compress and she got that "I'm not interested" look and told me to "leave it in the refrigerator and if she thought she would need it, she'd get it."  She also has a new trick...when you suggest she do something to help herself, she tells you how pretty you look, or how nice your shoes are...anything to shift the topic of conversation.

Her Atria helper came to take her to dinner but she could barely walk across the room, so we decided on a carry-in dinner.  I never got anything, but I did find out that the fainting episode that sent her to the ER happened in the dining room.  She has her EEG on Thursday.

When the pain was at its worst I asked her again to try the cold compress.  She reluctantly agreed and I handed it to her and told her to put it where it hurts.  "Where?" she asked.  "On your BODY," I replied.  This is what she did.

I told her it was supposed to go on her hip, where the pain was.  She put it there but got up every minute or so to walk around and told me she couldn't use it because it was cold and uncomfortable.

She had moved to the couch and I was telling her she was going to the doctor on Thursday for her EEG.  "Why?" she asked.  I said "To see if they can figure out why you are passing out," and I also said she would have lab tests and an x-ray to see if they could find anything that would help them treat her pain.

"Pain?" she asked.  "What pain?"  I said "aren't you in pain right now?" and she looked at me like I was stupid an said no, testing her arms, reaching over to feel her legs.  No pain.  Five minutes later she was writhing in pain again  This is why it is almost impossible to get a doctor to listen to me!  The girl who was going to take her to dinner asked how she was and she straightened up, smiled broadly and aid "Oh, I'm just fine!"

By this time it was 7:30 and I expected Walt to arrive sometime after 8.  I had answered every usual question at least 20 times, with one new one added.  I had given her a pair of slacks she didn't recognize and had to tell her over an over again that she bought them at Hodge Podge several years ago and I had found them in her closet.  She said she'd never seen them before (I fully expect them to be thrown out when she takes them off)

She noticed the new phone several times and is NOT happy with it.  It will have to be moved, she says, because the telephone doesn't go there, there has never been a phone there (though we removed a phone from that very spot when we put the new one in)

Anyway, she was starting to get sleepy and if I stayed another hour, I was going to go stark raving mad, so I kissed her, told her to go to bed and left.

Half an hour after I got to the lobby I got a call from Walt saying he was stuck in traffic and it would be another hour before he got to Davis.

Thank goodness for my Kindle.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday Stealing

Who was the last person that you held hands with?
My mother, when she was in the emergency room this week and was scared.

Are you loud, outgoing or shy?
very shy

Who are you looking forward to see?
Well, our granddaughter's 5th birthday is next week but our dog sitter is dealing with a colicky newborn and I don't want to ask her to dog sit for us, so Walt is going down by himself for the party and I will drive down a week or so later to visit the girls and watch them play soccer.  Haven't seen them in awhile, so I am looking forward to seeing them again. I am becoming the long distance grandma I vowed I would never be.

Are you easy to get along with?
Well, I think so.  You'll have to ask others to get the real truth.

Have you ever given up on someone, only to let them back into your lives? Why?

No.  Once people leave my life they seem never to return, though that is not necessarily my choice.  (E.g., Melody, Phil, Olivia, Alison, Peggy just for starters)

If you were ill, which TV doctor or nurse would you want to take care of you?
Oh, Marcus Welby, of course!  Or maybe Dr. McCoy...he can examine you and cure you without touching you.  Keep me far away from Gregory House!

Does talking about sex make you uncomfortable?
I worked in an ob/gyn office for 12 years and was friends with Lemrel, a little ol' school marm with a secret BDSM life.  I have probably heard it all, and it does not embarrass me.

Who was the last person that you had serious conversation with?
Son Ned.

What was the last text message you received about?
It was a text from my daughter telling me that the Cinderella dress for the show for which she was playing in the orchestra had "broken" and the show was starting late.

Do you believe in luck and/or miracles?
Well, of course there is luck.  Whether it's some sort of magical thing that some people have and some don't, I don't know (but if such thing exists, I don't have it).  As for miracles, yes, I believe in miracles.  I was a miracle baby....tumor on my neck as a baby disappeared the day after my godmother took me to church and prayed for me, or so the story goes.

What good thing happened this summer?
My son built a beautiful office for me!

(This only shows 1/3 of it...and was taken before I started filling the shelves and using my new craft desk)

Convince us why we should or should not believe in life on other planets?
Because Gene Roddenberry told us we should.

Who was your first crush on?
It's crazy, but it was on a boy named Joe Tufo whom I saw playing basketball on the playground one day and decided I would marry him.  I don't know how old I was, but very young.  I never even SPOKE to Tufo or got close enough to really see him. (And no, I didn't marry him).  About the same time I also had a crush on our parish priest, a short middle-aged bald guy who looked kind of like Dustin Hoffman as Willy Loman!  (And in the movies, I was madly in love with Claude Rains.  I was a very weird child!)

Favorite part of daily routine?
This.  Sitting at the computer putting together the day's journal entry.

Do you like your neighbors?
We've lived here 43 years and I have no relationship with any of our neighbors.  When we moved here, I dreamed of the camaraderie of a real "neighborhood.," but YEARS ago, there was a neighborhood disagreement about me and I've never felt comfortable with these people (most of whom are still here) since -- I was told at the time "nobody here likes you.", though tons has happened since then.  Two years ago, when I shaved my head for children's cancer, the neighbor who was the instigator of the original kerfuffle got everyone in the neighborhood to sign a card and contribute money toward our campaign (~$300).  I don't remember when I have ever been so touched.

What’s your worst feature?
My body

Have you ever had trust issues?
Experience has taught me I should have, but I never seem to

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: September in the Rain (1956)

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

1) This song refers to "leaves of brown." Can you see any leaves outside your window? What color are they? Yes.  Lots of leaves on lots of trees.  It is just the very start of fall here, so the trees are still green, many shades of green, with a touch of yellow here and there.  What we laughingly call our 'lawn," though, is totally brown.
2) It also mentions whispered words of love. What did you say last time you lowered your voice?
"Hi, Baby."  Said to our dog.

3) Clearly this song is about a treasured romantic memory that took place in autumn. Think about your favorite romantic memory. In what season did it take place?
I'll go with the last one, which was the Christmas that Walt bought tickets to Book of Mormon for me.  The good seats. I was verklempt.

4) This week's featured artist, Julie London, was famous as a singer and actress. Less prominent in her bio is her appearance as a "pin up girl" in Esquire magazine when she was just 17. What's in your resume that you'd prefer to de-emphasize or gloss over?
I don't know if I was let go or fired from my job as medical office manager.  It had been a private office taken over by a corporation.  I was blindsided, called to a special "meeting" where it became clear that they wanted me out.  The reason?  I didn't have a degree and could not get one "in time."  It was so embarrassing and hurtful that I played into their hands and quit.  (They didn't have to pay unemployment)  It took them over a year to find a replacement, going through five managers (one of whom quit before the training process was complete).

5) Julie recorded more than 30 albums and was named "most popular female vocalist" by Billboard magazine in 1956. If you could see any entertainer -- male or female -- in concert, who would you choose?
I'm not really a "concert person," but if I were in Las Vegas (not likely since I hate Las Vegas), I might see about tickets to Celine Dion (and I'm not really even a Dion fan, but I hear her show is wonderful).

6) She became well-known to another generation when she appeared in the 1970s TV show Emergency! The younger actors credited her for keeping everything calm on the set. Who has a calming influence on you?
Television.  NCIS marathons.  The Food Network.  etc.

7) Her Emergency! costar was her husband, Bobby Troup, and the show was produced by her ex-husband, Jack Webb. Do you have an ex that you're on very good terms with?
I lead a boring life.  I have only had one husband in 51 years.  But if we were to split up, I'm sure we would stay on good terms.

8) Julie was a chain-smoker since she was a teenager and in the 1950s recorded a jingle for Marlboro cigarettes. Yet in the 1970s, when she saw Bobby Troup's health negatively effected by smoking, she pressed him to quit. Tell us about a time you found yourself in a "do as I say, not as I do" situation.
Well, first let me say that I am so glad that I never smoked.  It's not for any reason except I didn't like it.  But all of the relatives on my mother's side of the family have died of smoking-related diseases.  My mother was the only one in the family who didn't smoke, and she is the only one still living and healthy at age 97.
As for "do as I say, not as I do," I can't think of anything specific but I'm sure there were many times when my kids were younger when I gave them that sort of advice.

9) Random question:
You have won an all-expenses paid trip to an exclusive resort in the Hawaii. When you get there, you discover that the private beach is bathing suit optional. Do you swim nude?
I swam in the nude once, in a private swimming pool, and I didn't enjoy it at all.

As a P.S. to yesterday, I spent the morning talking to the Long Term Insurance company, her doctor to try to get some relief for her pain, shopping for a cold wrap to put on her back, someone at Atria about the upcoming assessment for assisted living, and finally going to Atria.
I found her in the lobby listening to music, a smile on her face, no memory of 3 days of pain or of her trip to the emergency room, and confused about why I had been concerned.