Saturday, September 30, 2017

Prince Caspian Rides Again

Today was the big day:  Jeri was coming!  Her plane arrived in Los Angeles around 5:30, so Walt and Alice Nan planned to drive down to get her.  I opted out, and am glad I did since, with rush hour traffic, it took them more than 3 hours to get there (without the traffic, only 2 to get back to Santa Barbara).

I had a wonderful time.  I hadn't seen any TV news since we left Davis, since this is a "normal" household and the TV is not on 24/7 like it is at home.  I watched a couple of MSNBC talking heads, getting depressed over just about everything...but it was nice to feel "caught up" again.

Tom called to check on what I was doing and then invited me over for "family movie night."  The girls were going to watch Prince Caspian (which we will discuss in our book club meeting on Sunday)

I made a very big mistake.  I decided not to wear my hearing aids, thinking of the girls running and screaming around the house, forgetting that they rarely do that.  Three big reasons why I broke down and got the hearing aids were:

1. The volume on the TV at Tom's house is turned so low that I miss about 90% of whatever is being said, and have to rely on visual clues and lip reading.

2.  The girls talk to me in a very low voice, speaking fast, and I miss a lot of what they say.

3.  Jeri also speaks very low and very fast and I really miss about 50% of what she says to me unless I constantly ask her to repeat herself.

So those were the three reason I got the hearing aids in the first place and then decided NOT to wear them.  How stupid could I be?

The movie was starting when I got to the house and we watched it.  About 2/3 of the way in, I called up IMDB on my phone to read the summary because I was totally lost in what was going on.

The girls were being princesses, more like flower children, with flowers in their hair, curled up next to a bean bag chair watching the movie, or cuddled with Tom and Laurel on the couch.  I don't know how long "family movie night" has been going on, but probably since before Lacie was born.  What a lovely tradition!  The kids don't watch a lot of regular TV but save it for special occasions.

When it was over, Nine Lives, where Kevin Spacey, a high powered Trump-like business man get trapped in the body of a cat and has to learn how to be a human before he can be released came on.  It was cute.

The airport gang arrived during the movie and were out in the kitchen laughing it up. I wanted to join them, but also wanted to see the (predictable) end of the movie.  When it finally ended and I joined them, I discovered there was FOOD out there.  I had not had dinner and was starving, so I scarfed down a lot of bread and hummus and some salami slices.

While we were there, I took this picture of their dog, Bandit, and posted it on Facebook, saying it needed a caption.  I got several suggestions but the one I liked best was "What?  I have to wait FIVE DAYS for Funny the World?"  It's nice to be loved.  I took my computer with me to Tom's to try to use his wifi, but could see that it wasn't a good idea, so I never ever tried.  My life became much calmer once I had resigned to just post these after I get home.

We came home around 11 p.m. and Walt and his sister went right off to bed.  I stayed up until 11 finishing my book (Nellie Bly's "10 Days in an Insane Asylum") and then went to sleep myself.
Soccer tomorow!

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Long, Long Road

There is no getting around it.  It's a long way from Davis to Santa Barbara.  You can drive (8 hrs), fly (too expensive) or take the train (fun, more affordable, but 11 hours).  I hate the trip more and more whenever we take it.

But it's the only way to visit the people we love, so we do it.

We got on the road around 1 p.m., about an hour later than we hoped but we were in no rush.  We got here at 9, and I was too tired to think about writing this, so put it off until this morning. Now Joe has gone off to Oregon for the weekend, and I can't get on his network so I am not sure how I'm going to post entries, but at least I can write them.

Walt and his sister have gotten into the habit of writing terse notes to each other when they are traveling to let the other one know where along the road they are.  The messages I sent to Alice Nan yesterday read:

1:16 - finally leaving
3:36 - Morgan Hill - 95 degrees
5:32 - Passing Burger Queen
6:45 - Peeing in Paso
??    - SLO
??    - Betteravia Rd. Gas Stop
??    - Buelleton
??    - 26 miles to go
9:05 - Alpine (that was sent from outside their house)

She had asked me what time we expected to get here and I told her 8-ish or 9-ish, so I think we made pretty good time!

The Morgan Hill stop was for lunch at 5 Guys and I would include here the photo of our free peanuts, but without internet access. that's not possible.  Just imagine peanuts.  I also took an exciting photo of my cheeseburger.  See what wonderful things you miss by my not having internet access?

The Burger Queen is a family favorite place to eat.  It's a privately owned place across the street from a McDonald's.  I don't know who discovered it first, but Walt's mother always stopped there when she was traveling and we have too.  My deep dark secret is that I don't like it all that much.  They over-salt their beef, for one thing,   I was glad when we discovered 5 Guys.  But it is a well known spot for us so letting Alice Nan know when we passed it was good.

SLO is San Luis Obispo, where Tom went to school.  There is a great restaurant there where I love to eat whenever I'm driving alone.  The Apple Farm.  Just a charming little place, with great pastries (and I always feel virtuous when I pull myself away without buying any) and kitschy things to sell in their store, which I also don't buy but like to look.  But by the time we get to SLO we are only 2 hours from Santa Barbara and who wants to stop to eat?  (I stop there on my way home from SB)

Buellton is another restaurant stop at Split Pea Anderson's, which has great split pea soup.  We sometimes stop there for dinner if we know Alice Nan and Joe aren't going to be home when we get here.  But that was not the case last night.  They also have nice kitschy stuff, but I mostly like to stop there for the post cards, to restock my supply of Yosemite cards.

As usual, we had a book to keep us going.  There is a new (to me anyway) Michael Connelly called "The Late Show" which was only 9 hours long, so I figured we could almost finish the whole book and read another one on the way back. 

I love Michael Connelly, especially his Harry Bosch books (which this is not) and was pleased to see there was a new title to download from Audible, but I also noticed that one of the reviews said that this was not one of his best.

And it's not.  The first seven or so chapters seem to be a textbook on what police procedures are.  It starts with the report of an identity theft and then the discovery of a victim who has been abducted, beaten, and dumped and left for dead.  Sounds like typical Connelly fare, but it goes on and on and on about paperwork to be filled out, chain of command, and I don't know what all.  I thought that if this was going to be the whole book, I was tempted to turn it off.  But fortunately eventually it did get to talking about actual people and then became your typical Connelly novel. (Though neither Walt nor I could recall a scene that introduced the bad guy when he shows up later.  I can be excused for having dozed off, but I'm not sure what Walt was doing -- sleep driving?)

While I'm discussing police procedures, this MUST be true since you see it in just about every cop book and TV series.  Why is it that the emphasis is never on catching the bad guy, but WHO gets to catch the bad guy. Territorial disputes are frequently more important than actually getting the guy.  Which division or which precinct gets the credit (or the permission) for the bad guy capture.  

Well, I think I'm going to call this entry over, save it, and try to find a way to post it, eventually.  The older I get the less frantic I get about it, but I still want to post the darn thing!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Bad Timing

When I last saw my doctor she said that my white count was still elevated (from that mystery condition that sent me to the ER) and she wanted me to get a follow-up blood test this week.
I decided I would go today because Kaiser has just started giving flu shots and I figured I could kill two birds with one stone.

I got there around 11:30 or so and got the blood test fine, but they weren't going to start giving shots until 1:45 and that was just too long to wait.

Trying to kill some time, I went to McDonald's for lunch but that only killed about 10 minutes, so  decided to come back next week for the flu shot.

We leave in the morning for Santa Barbara and whenever Ashley and her husband are going to move in to take care of the dogs, I always go shopping for treats.  This is because she once told me our house was the worst place she dog sat for junk food.  So I always stock up for her (gleefully, because it means I can snack a bit too!)

I bought both goodies for Ashley and David, but also a replenishment of the nuts I try to keep in my mother's treat bowl.  This serves two purposes.  If she isn't hungry or doesn't eat, at least she has something moderately nutritious to snack on.  And when the treat bowl is empty it ends up in the bathroom with Marge's toothbrush in it.  Marge likes to go "shopping" (her daughter calls it) in other people's apartments.  By keeping the bowl full of nuts, she isn't tempted to "shop" for the bowl.
I drove to Atria from the store, but there was no parking to be had anywhere, so I came back home and tried again in an hour and a half.  This time there was parking.

When I got to her apartment, she was in bed and seemed to be sound asleep.  I poured nuts into the bowl and then sat down for a bit to read and see if she woke up.  She woke up, actually, with a start, sat up and couldn't find me when I told her hello (she couldn't figure out she should look behind her).
It was one of her bad days.  I have seen her more agitated, so it wasn't as bad as it could be, but she said all of her insides were shaking, she didn't want to leave the apartment because she was afraid she'd do something wrong, and things just kept spinning around and around in her head.  (She's been saying this, off and on, for years, so it was nothing new.)

She said people would tell her to do one thing and then someone else would tell her to do something else and she didn't know what to do at all.  Well, of course, nobody was telling her to do anything, but in her head  they were.

She finally decided what she had to do was to sit and be quiet and see if she could get the shaking to stop.

I tried to get her to try some deep breathing, but didn't really think that would work.  She was able to follow the direction to take a long slow breath in and relax but she said that when she took the deep breath all the things whirling around in her head got worse.

I didn't want to leave her, but couldn't do anything to help her.  She finally decided that maybe if she got into bed and slept things would be better.  As it was after 4:30, I decided I would leave and let the aids know to check on her.

When I kissed her goodbye she asked when I would be back.  I didn't think she could handle "in 6 days" so I told her "a couple of days" and she got this look of panic on her face and asked what she was going to do without me.  Just the guilt I needed.

I talked with one of the aids and then I sent an e-mail to Jen, the head of the memory care unit, to let her know how things were, that I would be gone for 6 days, that Ned would stop by to see her, and if need be, they could call my cell phone and I could be home in about 9 hours.

I'm hoping they won't need to call me.  And I can't even call HER because if she's still agitated, I don't want to make it worse.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Worst Thing You Can Do

This is a video Ned posted today:

Trump has done it again.  In the midst of hurricane destruction of Florida and Houston and total devastation of Puerto Rico, the intensifying Russia investigation, threat of nuclear war with North Korea, discovery of use of private e-mail servers by his staff and I've lost count of whatever else important is going on in the world, he has managed to stir up a tempest in a teapot.  After trying to get an ESPN reporter fired for posting a comment on her own Twitter page on her own time, now he wants any athlete who refuses to stand for the playing of the national anthem fired because it shows disrespect to the flag.

What does the flag signify?  Trump would do well to check out the web site "I am the flag" In addition to explaining how the flag came to be and what the stars and stripes signify ("My colors symbolize the patriotic ideals and spiritual qualities of the citizens of my country.") it goes on to explain:
My red stripes proclaim the fearless courage and integrity of American men and boys and the self-sacrifice and devotion of American mothers and daughters.

My white stripes stand for liberty and equality for all.

My blue is the blue of heaven, loyalty, and faith.

I represent these eternal principles: liberty, justice, and humanity.

I embody American freedom: freedom of speech, religion, assembly, the press, and the sanctity of the home. ...
I am a living symbol of my nation's law: the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights....
Eternal vigilance is your price of freedom.
Now tell me how kneeling to honor those very principles is disrespecting the flag.  Watch Ned's video and tell me there is equality for all.  Tell me there is liberty, justice and humanity.  And if there is no equality or justice, how is it wrong to use the American right of "freedom of speech" to  non-violently make people think about the Constitution and what it guarantees every American citizen regardless of the color of their skin.

It seems to me that those athletes are honoring the flag the way it should be honored and those boo-ing them are showing disrespect to the principles for which the flag stands.

The flag continues...
I was created in freedom. I made my first appearance in a battle for human liberty.

God grant that I may spend eternity in my "land of the free and the home of the brave" and that I shall ever be known as "Old Glory," the flag of the United States of America.
Men and women have gone to wars over the years to preserve the principles represented by the flag and to non violently point out that we are a little lacking in some of those principles and that we can do better makes the sacrifice of those men and women worth it all.  They went to war to protect our freedom and now the president and a good portion of the American people who are boo-ing are laughing at their sacrifice and saying that they fought for nothing.

And by the way, I am disgusted that Trump also said that attendance at NFL games is for two reasons:  1) there is not enough violence and 2) people would rather stay home and watch him on television!!!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Streaming Video

I love streaming video.  You can be a proud parent and not embarrass your kid while doing it!

Jeri gives a yearly concert at Berklee.  It's apparently what you do at Berklee, if you want to.  This was a concert of original pieces, accompanied by piano. 

The concerts are streamed.  The last time she had something streamed, it was her class performing numbers from Chicago they had arranged in her class.  But it was a terrible disappointment because the reception was not good.  This time, however, it was perfect and we were able to watch the whole thing.

I don't know if you can read the top left corner, though.  It says "3 watching."  Two of them were Walt on his laptop and me on my desktop.  I don't know who the third person was, but it might have been Walt's sister, who also wanted to watch.  ('s now up to FIVE!)

After Jeri played her 3 pieces, accompanied by the pianist, they played a 3-movement piece that he wrote.

Then there was a piece a girl had written for trumpet and piano but decided it worked better for clarinet (I don't know how much it was revised for clarinet, but I sure couldn't imagine the trumpet playing it). 

Before the last number, Jeri explained how she happened to write it for her friend Sarah, who had had surgery and was bedridden and not supposed to move for several weeks.  She explained that she had asked Sarah to give her three words, the last of which was "gregarious" and how she had looked up the meaning for the word "gregarious" and how she came to write this piece, using all three words, ending with "gregarious."  It was a loving gift to Sarah.

All in all very nice concert lasting a little over an hour, and I didn't have to step over any parents to get good photos, thanks to streaming, "Print screen," and Photoshop!

[NOTE LATER--Found out my sister-in-law was watching on two different computers and her husband tuned in from work for a bit, so apparently all the watchers were in the Sykes family]

I went to Atria earlier in the day.  She was in the community room at a sing-along  She now greets me as if I am along lost relative whom she has not seen years.  She usually gives a gasp and then says "When did YOU get here?  I didn't know you were coming."  I think in that moment she thinks I'm one of her sisters, but as we talk she finally seems to know I'm her daughter (though at one point she asked me "What am I?  Your sister? your brother? your mother?"
She complimented me on the shirt I was wearing, which has a design with zebras on it.  When I pointed that out she looked confused and when I said they were horses with stripes, she told me I was the smart one and she didn't know about things like that.

She went to the bathroom while I was there and got lost coming out of the room, taking the wrong door and ending up in the hallway, barefoot.  One of the aides brought her back, surprised to find me there. My mother had already forgotten that I was waiting for her.

But I stayed an hour and, all things considered, it was a decent visit  It's been a long time since she's had either an anxiety attack or has fainted and I'm very pleased about that.

Monday, September 25, 2017

From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

You could not have asked for two more different plays than what we saw this weekend.  The firsts was a bizarre comedy, The Servant of Two Masters.

It is an updated version of the Goldoni commedia dell'arte comedy, written in 1555.  It is rife with modern references to things like the current administration and the local basketball team. 

You know it's a farce from the beginning because of all the doors on stage, which, of course, make for a long chase scene at the end. 

The situation is that Truffaldino (the guy in the picture) is servant to a master who is visiting the 1987 Jersey shore.  While there he gets the chance to hire on with a second master, and figures he can get paid by both and keep each from knowing he is also working for the other.  Only his first master, Florindo, is hunting for the love of his life, Beatrice, unaware that Truffaldino's second "master" is actually Beatrice disguised as her dead brother, looking for Florindo, the love of her life.  (got that?)

Bert Anderson, who played Truffaldino, was fantastic, a towering presence who often reminded me of Jim Brochu.

It's all very silly and ends with both lovers trying to commit suicide by drowning themselves together (not realizing who the other one is).  In the audience there were seats set aside as the "splash zone," as the two made quite a splash, jumping into a container of water.

It was just non stop slapstick and, truth be told, I am not a big fan of slapstick, so my tolerance was wearing thin in the second act, but the audience howled throughout and I gave it a 5-star rating.

You could not get a more different play than Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf the next afternoon.

The show started at 3 p.m. because it's 3-1/2 hrs long, with two intermissions.

Though this Albee play is an American classic, I had never seen it, nor had I seen more than snippets of the Elizabeth Taylor-Richard Burton movie.  I thought of calling it a modern day Bickersons in my review, but then thought perhaps most of my readers wouldn't know the radio couple who kept people laughing at their constant fights back in the 1940s.

Though very long, it was never boring, that's for sure!  Pictured are Elizabeth Nunziato as Martha and Jason Kuykendall (Elizabeth's real-life husband) as Nick, the George Segal role.

There are some weird things about this play.  It starts at 2 a.m., as George and Marta return from a party, awaiting guests who were also at the party and whom Martha invited to join them at their home.  Who goes visiting at 2 a.m.?  But.  Whatever.  It's  3 hours of fighting, name-calling and drinking with a heartbreaking ending.  It was excellent.

It was 9 p.m. before we left and so we went to Mel's diner for dinner before going home.

I was glad there was nothing on the schedule for Sunday and I could sit and work on the reviews, and also watch Moana, the movie, in preparation for being with the grandkids on the weekend!

By the way, if you have nothing to do at 7 p.m. Boston time (4 p.m. California), Jeri's annual concert of pieces she has written and performs with piano accompaniment is going to be streamed live at  If you like the clarinet, you should enjoy it!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sunday Stealing

This is Marissa Seymour who wrote an entry called Today is a fashion show & the world is my runway from which these questions are taken.

1. A way to win your heart
Unexpected chocolate is always good!
2. Something you feel strongly about
How much time do you have?  Today, it's health care.  But the plight of children, mistreatment of animals, breastfeeding, water shortage around the many causes, so little time.

3. A book you love
Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series.

4. Five pet peeves
Rude behavior, discrimination of any kind, talking with food in your mouth, cruelty to animals, Donald Trump and the crawls at the bottom of the TV screen (Hate them!)

5. What you ate today
Fruit, toast, quesadilla, Wheat Thins, more fruit, ice cream (we did not have dinner tonight because the 3 hour show I was reviewing started at 5 p.m.)

6. How important do you think education is?
Judging by how uninformed people seem to be these days, very important!

7. Five people you find attractive
Judi Dench, Sam Heughan, Melissa McCarthy, Matt Bomer, Angelina Jolie, Mark Harmon

8. What you wore today
Sweat pants, t-shirt, Birkenstocks

9. Something you always think “what if” about
What if I started college in the fall and gone through orientation instead of having to figure it all out for myself.  What if I had taken English instead of speech....?

10. Something you’re proud of
I'm proud of having raised good people who are all my good friends.  I'm also proud of the Lamplighters Book II.

11. Something you lust after
I can't think of anything I lust after, except maybe a ceiling light in the kitchen.

12. A word/phrase that makes you laugh
"Theater is our lifeline to humanity. Without it, we’d all be Republicans."
- Ken Ludwig

13. A quote you try to live by
You can only make a difference if you care.

14. Something you like and dislike about yourself.
I don't like my weight, but have gotten used to it.  I like my sense of humor

15. A problem that you have had
Parallel parking.  I used to be able to parallel park perfectly between two cars on a steep hill in San Francisco driving a stick shift.  Now I can't parallel park on a flat street with automatic transmission and no cars ahead or behind me.  I don't know why, but suspect it's due to aging depth perecption.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

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 to answer the questions, however, and here is today's questions!

Saturday 9: Da Doo Ron Ron (1977)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
1) This song begins by stating that he met her on a Monday and his heart stood still. How did your past week start? It may be a lot to expect you to report that you met someone who made your heart stand still, but did anything noteworthy occur? My week started with a reunion for a bunch of old, old friends and I can honestly say tht none of them made my heart stand still.  The only noteworthy thing was noting how many of the old group were in the memorial tree instead of standing in line to get food.

2) While making hit records, Shaun Cassidy also starred as Joe Hardy on the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books have been popular with generations of American kids. Were you a fan?
Not the Hardy boys, but I was an avid Nancy Drew fan.  There was a time when I had all of the books (to date).  I was so disillusioned when I found out there was no real Carolyn Keene, the supposed author but that the books were written by a bunch of different authors.
3) Shaun went to Beverly Hills High School. Over the decades, BHHS has had many good footballs teams. Do you remember what sports your school excelled at?I went to a small girls school  As far as I know our only sport was volleyball, and I don't think we were very good at it.

4) Shaun followed his older half-brother, David Cassidy, into TV/records/teen stardom. Do you have siblings? If yes, what career paths did they follow?
I had one sister, 4-1/2 younger than myself.  She was 24 when she was murdered by her roommate.

5) His middle name is Paul, after his maternal grandfather. Tell us something about one of your grandparents.
My paternal grandparents were in vaudeville.  My grandmother was a chorus girl and my grandfather was an Irish tenor in a barbershop quartet.  He once had an offer of recording contract, but my grandmother wouldn't let him take it.  I only heard him sing once or twice but even in his 80s, he had a very strong voice.

6) Shaun's mother, actress Shirley Jones, reports that he was more than 3 weeks late and born by Cesarean. Have you heard family legends about your arrival into the world?
Not my birth, but my sister was apparently born after ONE contraction ("but it was a doozy," my mother always said)

7) "Da Doo Ron Ron" was originally recorded by The Crystals. Can you think of another song that has been a hit by more than one artist?"New York, New York" was a great hit for Sinatra and Liza Minnelli; "Leaving on a Jet Plane" was written by John Denver and a big hit for Peter, Paul and Mary...and later for Denver himself.
8) In 1977, when this version of "Da Doo Ron Ron" was popular, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak incorporated Apple. Are you Mac or Android?Depends.  My desktop is PC and my cell phone, iPad and iPod are all Apple.
9) Random Question: You're exhausted. You collapse into bed and are about to drift into slumber when you hear the drip-drip-drip of the bathroom faucet. Would you kick off the covers and go turn it off? Or would you stay in bed, letting it drip until morning?I would think about it for a long time but eventually, if I hadn't fallen asleep already, I'd get up and turn it off.

Friday, September 22, 2017

And How Is YOUR Year Going?

It's getting so it's too, too depressing to turn on the news each evening.  The lead story in tonight's reports concerned Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and his use of private jets, on the public dollar.  He has taken at least 24 private jets since May (five just this week) to the tune of $300,000, which we have paid.  Good for us.

The saddest thing about this is realizing that something egregious like this no longer seems outrageous.  It seems that every night there is some terribly offensive sounding thing reported on and it just is all overload.

Tonight they were also questioning using Trump's campaign finances to pay his son's legal expenses, when DT, Jr. had no official position and technically was not a part of the campaign.

It seems that each day we hear of some other money-making scheme using the administration and its funds.  Or exploitation of the funds.

The Secret Service brought to bankruptcy paying expenses guarding everybody in the Trump family as they vacation around the world.  I still don't understand why they had to pay to live in Trump tower to guard the family.  You'd think that the prez could have given them a break on the rent.

And the lies.  Everybody lies and nobody seems to realize that there are videotapes around that prove the lies.

And don't even start on Manafort...!

But nobody in authority cares.  No Republicans have made a fuss or even suggested action should be taken on anybody.

And then there are the continuing ties to Russia, and the depth of Russia dealings.  It sounds more like a plot of The Sopranos than the U.S government.  (I keep saying I want to be able to come back in 50 years and see how the books record this period of our history)

And in the middle of this "the heck with you; I'm all for me" business (and I do mean business), congress is working to take away health care from millions of Americans.

We remain the laughing stock of the world, the president getting laughed at when he spoke at the UN.  His threat to "destroy North Korea" can only add fuel to the fire that is Kim Jong Un, who is just itching to blow something up.

I feel like there is a whole ball of "something" inside me that has died.  I had hope until the inauguration that somehow the cavalry was going to ride over the hill and save us, but they never showed up and we are stuck with this situation.  And even if in the unlikely event that he should be impeached and/or removed from office...look at who is coming up in the line of succession:  Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, Orrin Hatch, Rex Tillerson, Steve Mnuchin (the guy who thought he could use a government plane to take his wife on a European honeymoon).  Not a single one of them I could get remotely hopeful about.

My friend Kathy and I had lunch this week.  We have been lunching together monthly for a couple of decades and we always spend a lot of time discussing politics.  We never mentioned politics this week.  We are both so depressed and so defeated by the knowledge that there is no hope.

I went to Atria today.  My mother was thrilled because she hasn't seen me in a year.

Comments like this make me feel more comfortable going less and less often because to her it's either today or a year ago or a year from now. 

I couldn't find her when I got to the memory unit and one of the kind aides said she would go and find her for me.

To my amazement she was outside!!!!!!  This may be the first time she has gone out of the building on her own (of course, I don't know if someone took her outside or not).  Today was the first really comfortable day we've had (75⁰) and a really lovely day, so I'm glad she was able to get out and enjoy it.
When the aide brought her in to her apartment, she didn't know me, but quickly figured out who I was, but I don't know if she thought I was her daughter or her sister.  Possibly both during the hour I was there.  At one point she talked about Walt ("what's the name of that guy you're married to?") and our kids, but then at one point she said "Mom is doing pretty good these days, isn't she?" and she I looked perplexed she said "Mom.  Our Mother" so I think at that moment, she thought I was her sister.  She also asked how Peach's mother Marge was (Marge died many years ago).

Steve Schalchlin's friend wrote a song about Alzheimers called "The Long Goodbye" and that's what it is...watching little bits and pieces fade away slowly.

If there is anything to be thankful for it's that she hasn't a clue what is happening in the world.  In fact, when I told her abut the Mexico earthquake she asked "was she working at the time?"  I never expected her to understand about the earthquake, but sometimes it's good to have something other than her age, and the weather to talk about, even if she doesn't understand it.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

More Fun with Medicine

There was a note on my calendar this morning that I had an appointment in the radiology department at Kaiser in Sacramento today.  I knew about the appointment, but I had completely forgotten why I was going.  Fortunately I can go to the Kaiser web site and get details about my appointments and was reminded that I was going in for a breast ultrasound.

This was to check a lump that my primary care doctor just discovered in one of my breasts.  Tells you how observant she is.  About 15 years ago, when I was working for Dr. G, we always referred patients to a company called Mammographia to get their mammograms.  Dr. G always called it the "Cadillac of mammograms."  After awhile I decided that if I was going to recommend Mammographia, it would be nice if I knew WHY it was the "Cadillac of mammograms" so I convinced Dr. G to get them to give me a free mammogram.

I have to admit that it truly was a cut above Kaiser....a big cut.  For one thing, there was a plush carpet and comfortable chairs in the waiting room.  And when you go to the mammogram room, the shelf on which your breast is poked and kneaded into place was actually warmed by a heating pad before you got there.  No icy metal shelf for us!

And I don't know why, but it was the first mammogram I had that didn't hurt.  That was worth the "Cadillac" rating right there.

They examined my films right away and discovered a lump in my breast.  They have a physician on staff who can address that right away and he did, with a full ultrasound of the breast.  They determined that whatever it was was benign and then found out that the lump was discovered on mammogram at Kaiser several years before that, but nobody had never told me.

I've had my current doctor for many years now and until they did all those scans the other night, she had no clue there was a lump in my breast.  She wanted another ultrasound which would be more precise than the one they could do in Davis, hence the meeting in Sacramento.

I headed off to Kaiser, figuring an hour would give me plenty of time.  I prefer driving through the city streets than driving on the freeway because there is a right lane merge that terrifies me every time.  I was trying to calculate if I had enough time to take the slower route when it suddenly hit me that it was a little before noon and my appointment was ONE-fifteen, not TWELVE fifteen!  So I had time to get some lunch.

I drove down to where the fast food joints were and drove past Stanton Optical company which has the consistently most annoying TV ads ever.  This one, with a guy in a pink tutu commenting on the woman's pink frames, runs twice each morning--the commercial, a commercial for something else, and then the Stanton commercial again.  It's been running for months but is actually LESS annoying than some of the other ads that ran forever -- like the pair of glasses in labor that gave birth to another pair of glasses.

I was craving tacos so I stopped at Del Taco, which I'd never visited.  Kathy and I went for Mexican the other day at lunch, but my stomach was a little unsettled so I just had a plain tamale and a salad.  It didn't solve my Mexican craving.  I can't say the Del taco was the best I'd tasted, but it was just what I was craving, though I was surprised that it was served with French fries!  Who serves tacos with French fries?

I knew that the Radiology Department was at the end of the building and was tickled to find a parking place right at the end of the building.  The wrong end, of course.  I had to walk all the way to the other end--why is it that when you are going somewhere for the first time it always seems much longer than when you are coming back?  It seemed like a mile I had to trudge to get to Radiology and then when I left, it was hardly any distance at all.

There were several people in line to register and two clerks.  One was v-e-r-y slow and the other was very fast.  The line finally started to move and just as it was my turn, the fast guy took his break.  I waited fifteen minutes (I timed it on the clock over his head) before the slow guy finished with the woman ahead of me.

But I eventually got checked and directed to the waiting room for mammograms.  It was kind of a cross between Davis Kaiser's cold, uncomfortable radiology department and Mammographia.  Everything was pink including a pink breast cancer design on the rug right in front of the door, in case you missed it.

The room was filled with ill-fitting gowned women.  I chose a cubicle to remove my shirt and get into a gown.

I noted, with chagrin, that they had only medium size gowns in the cubicle.  No way in the world am I a medium size, but  did my best and actually got it on, but then discovered that it seemed to have THREE arm holes!  I couldn't figure out what that was for (turns out that if you are a medium size person, your arm goes in the dangling sleeve there and the sleeve that is on my left arm is supposed to cross over in front of you so you can be more covered up.  There was no way that was going to work for me.

But there were several large sized women in the room so I knew there must be a large size gown somewhere.  I finally found one.

Then I sat and waited.  It was a chatty group and as each patient left either for the scan or to go home, we would all wish her good luck.

I picked up a copy of The New Yorker, my go-to waiting room magazine.  I never have time to read the articles but I like to read the cartoons.  Except I haven't seen a single cartoon in any copy of the New Yorker lately that is in the least funny.  I find them downright boring.  The other magazine I picked up, quite innocently, was one of Martha Stewart's and that had zero interest for me.

Finally my name was called and I went in for what I thought was an ultrasound, but which turned out to be another mammogram and if the lump looked suspicious, they would do the ultrasound.  The mammogram tech greeted me with "how is your pancreas?" (which is more than my doctor would do)  She was a theater lover and when she found out I was a critic, we had lots to talk about while she pummeled my breasts into submission. 

When she finished, she sent me back to the pink room while she checked with the radiologist, and then came back to report that all looked fine and they didn't need to do an ultrasound.  Heck, I could have told them that!  But I was free to leave.

My plan had been to go to Atria but by now it was so late, I would get there too late to visit and I was sleepy anyway, so I came home and took a nap.

I usually get my mammograms done in October, so that's something I can cross off my list now since it's already done  And nice to know that my lump is behaving herself and not causing any trouble.  (The lump is almost as old as the breast itself!)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Fall Forward

What was that strange sensation my body was feeling?

It was sometime last evening when I realized I was ... dare I say it? ...  cold!  I was actually shivering and I got up and put on a sweatshirt.  When was the last time I wore a sweatshirt?

Can it be that we have at last survived this abominable summer and are looking at fall?

I checked predicted temps for the rest of the week and there are 3 days at the end with the temp predicted to be in the low 80s (which I used to think of as "hot" and now regard as "pleasant"), but otherwise the temps will be in the middle to high 70s and I may not have to hang up my sweatshirt, but put it to good use.

I don't know how many days over 100⁰ we have had since the first one, but July hit at least 90⁰ every day for the first time since 1877.  I could not find how many days over 100 we have had, as most articles about the heat wave were written in June...and there were certainly a lot of hot, hot days in July and August.

I love spring.  It is a beautiful time around here, with blossoms exploding all over town, and the orchards outside of town looking like clouds of white everywhere.

The thing I don't like about spring is that it is too short and is followed all too quickly by summer and, with global warming, it seems to get hotter every year.  Climate change deny-ers should come and spend a summer in the Sacramento valley.

But I have to admit that summer in Davis is significantly better than summer in San Francisco.  Here we don't know how many days over 100 we will have, but we know we will have them and so houses are equipped with air conditioning and stores are equipped with air conditioning.

(I remember when we bought our first car here, the first year we lived here, and we opted not to get air conditioning because of the added cost.  "It won't be that bad," I said, optimistically.  Then summer came.  When we bought our next car, the very first thing I wanted in the car was air conditioning!)

Much as I enjoy spring, I love fall because the trees are also beautiful, with the reds and yellows and oranges everywhere and when the leaves finally fall, it is the start of winter, of cold temps, and rain, and my kinda weather.

So I am looking forward to reacquainting myself with my sweatshirts in the near future and enjoying the brisk winds of autumn and looking forward to winter.

Yesterday, I wrote about Pole Line Rd and our memorable trip down that road.  We were trying to figure out when it was and Char said that it had to be 1963 if their baby daughter was along.  I thought Walt had bought the red Tempest convertible shortly before we married in 1965, but he remembers that he got out of the Air Force reserve in 1963 and bought the car shortly after 1963 is probably when it was.

In 2013, I told the story of Walt's old Rambler convertible, the car that hated me. 

You don't want to anthropomorphize inanimate objects, but I still maintain that the car hated me.  And it got angry with Walt when he went off to boot camp and left it for me to use.  It about bankrupted me when it developed brake problems...or at least some disreputable dealer told me it developed brake problems.

I still remember when Walt called from boot camp.  I was so excited to hear his voice (we only had "letters" in those days, so I was writing to him about the problems I was having with the car).  He opened the conversation with "What are you doing to my CAR?" and then went on to berate me for everything I'd done wrong.  I was in tears when I hung up.  I'm sure the Rambler was very satisfied about that!

We left our wedding reception in the Rambler, but only drove it as far as where Walt had parked the Tempest and we left for our honeymoon in that while someone else took the Rambler back to our apartment.

The story of our finally getting rid of the Rambler is unique and also detailed in the old 2013 journal entry.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Pole Line Road

I found this photo in a stack of old photos today.

This is Charlotte pouring gas into our Tempest while Mike looks on.  Middle 1960s, probably 1965.  A famous photo and one which, over the next 50+ years, when Mike was alive, could cause lively argument among the four of us.

Details are getting foggy now, so I'd best get them down while I have some memory left.  I'm sure Char will correct me wherever I'm wrong.

In our young days, before and after we had children, we often went camping.  I think on this trip, Char and Mike had Tavie, their first born (now in her mid-50s).  I don't remember, though, why we were only in one car.  Usually we had two cars and Walt and I always followed Mike and Char's car.
(In fact, at the end of one of our camping weekends, we finished at the Scottish Games in Santa Rosa and as we pulled into the parking lot behind the Blackford's car, the attendant told us to "follow that grey car."  We didn't tell him we'd been following it for three days!)

We never went to "campgrounds" per se.  Our trips often explored ghost towns.  With California an active mining state after the gold rush, there are lots and lots of ghost towns.  Some of them are just a few crumbling buildings, or pieces of equipment where once a lively town had stood.  But some, like Bodie, are still in good shape and kept in careful disrepair as a state historical monument.

But mostly we investigated the places where few other tourists are likely to explore.

I remember one Memorial Day weekend, when all the highways were clogged with traffic, where we drove for three days on dirt roads and didn't see another car.  (When we finally reached the end of the dirt roads and were going to join the holiday drivers, Char got out of the car and said she was going to "kiss the pavement")

So I don't remember which trip this photo was from, but we had driven forever on the backwater "towns" we loved to explore.  To go home, we had to drive down Pole Line Road, which was a 20 mile road which ran in a straight line along Mono Lake (and so named because of the telephone poles that lined it).

Mono Lake is a desert lake which, because of the high concentration of salt from mountain snow run-off that has no way to get to the ocean, and because of the brine shrimp who live there, is famous for the odd salt columns which dot the water.

On the Nevada end of Pole Line Road is the town of Hawthorne and on the California end of the road is Highway 395, just a mile or two from the town of Lee Vining.  There is nothing along Pole Line Road but lake on one side and sage brush on the other.

When we got into Hawthorne, Char and I spied an ice cream shop and convinced Mike and Walt to drive down there so we could get ice cream before getting on Pole Line Road.  We did.  I'm sure it was delicious.

Then we headed for the road and started toward Highway 385.  Walt realized that we needed gas, but figured we would get it in Lee Vining.

At the end of Pole Line Rd., there is a slight slope up to the main highway and just a few yards before we got to that point, the car stopped, out of gas.  This was, of course, in the days before cell phones and Pole Line Rd was so seldom traveled, we hadn't seen another car since we started on it (nor did we see one at all).  We were so close to 395!  We tried pushing the car, but the slope to the highway was just too steep.  We figured if we could get to 395, it was a downhill slope into Lee Vining and we'd be OK.

Finally, Walt and Mike walked up to 395 and hitchhiked into Lee Vining, where they got gas and, I guess, someone drove them back to the car.

But they never ever let Char and me forget that if we hadn't talked them into driving to the ice cream shop in Hawthorne, we would have made it up that damn slope and been able to get to Lee Vining, even if we had to coast to do it.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Theater Weekend

I did something I've never done before on Friday night.
We were going to the Woodland Opera House to review Noel Coward's Blythe Spirit.  I thought it odd that the sandwich board outside the theater showed posters for two shows, but one was the family series show and I figured they would run that at the matinee on Saturday, and the Coward at night.

I never thought anything else when they handed me my program and I went to sit down in my seat.  I noticed that the slick program had a photo from Anne of Green Gables and I still didn't get it, thinking how clever they were to use one program for  two shows. 

It wasn't until I turned the program over, expecting to see Blythe Spirit on the backside that I realized I was a month early for that show and I really was there to see Anne of Green Gables, the family show. No wonder the theater was full (which it would not have been for a Noel Coward) and that so many people brought their kids.  I felt pretty dumb.  But I stayed for the show and wrote a review, even confessing my mistake.

There were friends sitting in front of us who asked me at intermission and at the end of the show what I thought (I said "Well, it's no Noel Coward").  I hate that.  I hate being asked my opinion because often I don't really formulate an opinion until we're on the drive back home and I dissect the play with Walt.  It's why I never go out at intermission and rarely stay for an "after party," if there is one on opening night.  It's fine when I'm there with the little clique of critics and then we stand around discussing the show, but I hate it when someone in the audience knows who I am and asks my opinion before I have formed one!

On Saturday, we didn't go to a show, we went to a reunion of members of the Davis Comic Opera Company.  The company had a 33 year run here in Davis, finally shutting down in 2006. 

The first show took place shortly before we moved to Davis.  We were subscribing to the Davis paper at the time, to get a feel for the town, and I knew I wanted to be involved with DCOC, and had one of my more embarrassing moments, when I showed up at what I thought was a company meeting, hoping to talk with the director about volunteering to help with publicity.

It turned out it was an audition and rather than admit I made a mistake, I auditioned.  Everyone was there with their music in hand.  I had nothing, but stumbled through "Little Buttercup" horribly.  When the director called me later to gently let me know I had not made it into the show, I told him I never intended to be in the show, but just wanted to help with publicity.  I went on to do publicity for many years and Walt soon joined the tech crew.

They managed to get several old-old timers at the reunion along with more recent alums and there were the usual groaning board of snacks.

All of those who have died were remembered in a tree with all of the names (and tags to fill out in case someone had been missed).  It's sad to realize how many of those we once knew fairly well are no longer with us.

But everyone had fun reminiscing, looking through the scrapbooks of old shows.

And at the end of the evening there was the ubiquitous slide show of many of the shows (only a very small portion of the shows!  We only went through one carousel of slides.

But it was a good afternoon of fun, food, and friends.  And lots of memories.

On Sunday it was another interesting theatrical experience.  The paper wants a "backstage story" about what goes on backstage during a show, so I went to the Davis Musical Theatre Company, where I reviewed Jekyll and Hyde last week and took note on the before and during the show and will work on writing an article about that today.

You never know what you're going to find backstage, and I was surprised to run into this almost life-size teen age elephant.  I was trying to remember when I saw an elephant in Jekyll and Hyde but then realized it was for Aladdin, which is the youth theater production which runs on Saturdays concurrently with Jekyll and Hyde (they push one set to the side and back and move in the other set and then, push it all back again before the evening show!

It felt like being part of Act Two of Noises Off, where you see the production from the back while the real show is going on in front.  Sadly, there weren't nearly enough things that went wrong as there are in that show!  Does not make for a funny article, but I think it will be interesting to people who have no idea of what it's like backstage during a show.

Today I'll be working on the article, being like, you know, a real writer.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Diving Mom

"What's that?" asked Walt, pointing at the television.

I looked at the mayhem on the screen and realized it was a promo for the reality show, Dance Moms, a show I am proud of never having seen.

Never having seen it, perhaps it's not fair of me to judge, but what I've seen in promos and hear rarely in other places makes me think it is about pushy mothers, pressured kids, and a dictatorial dance teacher.  Loads of fun.  Lot of yelling.  Lots of crying.  Who would watch that train wreck?

Apparently a lot of people, as it is now in its 7th season.  But just reading the Wikipedia description of the show gives me the creeps.

The first thing that comes to my mind, all the time, is -- please don't let me have been one of "those" moms!  I was a lot of moms -- a PTA mom, a room mother mom, a 4H mom, a boy scout mom, a ballet mom, a theater mom, a band mom, a jazz choir mom.  But maybe the most "mom" I was was a diving mom.
There was a time when Ned's friend Matt was on the diving team and Ned started copying him when they went swimming at the local pool and seemed to be pretty good, so when he said he wanted to join the diving team, I let him try out and he got in.  I don't remember how old he was, but probably 8 because he dove in the "10 and under" group for a bit.  Paul joined him, perhaps at the same time and eventually all 5 kids were in diving.  It seemed we were at practice (I almost wrote "rehearsal") or diving meets all the time.  We drove all over the state.

A lot of our friends had kids on swim teams and they drove all over the state too, but I loved diving because with swim meets, it was an all-day affair, you competed in several events throughout the day.  With diving you showed up for the time of your event, you did your thing, you got your award (or not) and then you could go home, unless you wanted to stick around and watch your teammates.

Our kids won awards

Sometimes big awards, sometimes small awards, sometimes participation awards, but I hope I was never pushy, never tried to make them do something they didn't want to do.  I only remember being a pushy mother once.  It was before a big meet and Ned was one of the top divers on the team.  He was miffed about something and decided he was not going to go to the meet.  I gave him a lecture about how I didn't care if he never dove again, but his team was counting on him that day and he was going to dive.  I hope the lesson was the importance of the team and not that i wanted him to go and make me proud.  He did make me proud but because he didn't let the team down.

We had some wonderful experiences.  I know I've posted this picture before, but how often do you get to say that you took a picture of Greg Louganis with your kids?

It was at a meet in So. California.  Greg had just won the silver in the Olympics.  This was a fun meet and at the end, the winner in each division did kind of a "best of show" competition.  10 year old Ned competed against Greg Louganis (spoiler alert:  Ned didn't win!)

As a Diving Mom, I learned a lot of stuff.  I learned how to score dives.  I learned how to judge a dive (I didn't learn well, but to this day I can guess judges' scores on simple Olympic dives). 

Walt was brave and judged more complicated dives.  He and another dad were judging the more advanced dives and one said to the other "you count the twists and I'll count the sommersaults."

I did a lot of organizing of the parents and my big coup was when I managed to get the newscaster from the Sacramento TV station to come and do a story on the little old Davis Diving Team.

It was one of those special periods in our lives.  I hope the kids remember it positively, and not the way I suspect those dancers will remember their young years when they are adults.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

My Ears Hurt

No it's not a new physical complaint.  This one has a very definite origin, and it's not physical.

My mother will often say "you know you just said four words and I didn't understand any of them."

Whenever I meet with my guru, I know what she means.

First of all, realizing that he was coming at 11 today, I canceled my lunch date with my friend Kathy...well, rescheduled it to next week.  Then Walt reminded me that my date with her was tomorrow not today.  But that's OK, we will meet on Tuesday.  I'm not sure I could take two Trump-assessments over lunch in one week anyway.

Also, given my rich lunch yesterday which left me with a small intestinal discomfort last night, and since our lunch date is at a Mexican restaurant (now that our Italian restaurant has closed), it will give my stomach a chance to build up all those Mexican muscles to handle whatever Mexican food I decide to order.

So Steve arrived on time.  I had told him that I had no internet connection and that I still had no F drive visible.  In the interim, I finally got the internet working and I only needed how to access my F Drive.

He futzed around and discovered that the drive SAW the F Drive, but didn't see any files on it.  Then he unplugged the E drive and plugged just the F drive in and there were all my files.

I'm not convinced he knew what was going on, but his guess was that the two drives didn't want to work together, as they have been doing for years.

He also talked a lot about how much free space was on my main drive and how I could copy everything over from the F drive and then just not plug it in.

I think that's what he says.  Problem is that the more he tries to let me know what's going on, the more technical his lingo left.  99% of what he said, I didn't understand.  He talked about his system, and the system he built for a friend and how cheap 2 terrabyte drives are getting, and how you could buy cheap ones or colored ones for just a bit more.

My ears were hurting.

In honesty, it almost all went over my head while I sat here pretending I was understanding all the gobbledy-gook.  Inside myself I was just screaming that he should shut up and go away.  But I appreciated that he was doing this for me for free this time.

So.  What I got out of all this is that

1. both drivers are OK now
2. I can't use them together
3. I should copy both onto the hard drive and use the external drives for back up.

As soon as he left I created an EDriveBackup file on my desktop and started backing up files.  I backed up a bunch--so many it said it would take 3 hours to copy.  It didn't take that long, but over two hours.  I watched the guide shifting files from one file to the other.  Not happy about what I was going to have to do to organize, but resigned to start organizing.

When all files had copied I opened the file.

It was empty.

I know the files copied.  I just don't know WHERE they copied but I am sure they are somewhere.
It was kind of the last straw, computer-wise.  I just couldn't handle it.

I know the files are there.  Somewhere.  I will have to go through all the files various folders and find it.  And then I have to organize my hard drive so that it is usable.  It will probably take weeks.  And I won't be happy when it's all finished anyway.

I have spent so many years organizing these hard drives so that they work like clockwork, and I knew where everything is  Now I don't know where anything is.

I spent the afternoon getting into a mindset.  I finally decided that my new about-to-be-adjusted computer problem is like adjusting the new odious administration I'm trying to adjust to.  Things will all be different, but when I get it all done maybe it will be better, but better or not, I'll learn to adjust to it.  I hope.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

It's either a lemon or a chicken

Walt knows I'm crazy, but occasionally I have to prove it to him.

Now  don't know if I can explain this properly, but often I get images floating through my head that don't really mean anything but are somehow associated with something I'm doing.  It happens often when I'm reading a book that in some part of my brain, I am picturing something that has nothing whatsoever to do with whatever it is I'm reading.  I might be reading a book about elephants and in some part of my brain there is a locomotive. This has happened my whole life and I just accept is as part of how my brain works.

But occasionally I stop and think about it .... what was that?

I was thinking about my pain the other day and remembering that it was on the right lower quadrant of my abdomen and when I thought of it, I thought of a picture frame around that area.  so far nothing that weird.

But then I realized that in thinking about the pain--every time, especially when describing it to a medical person, my brain pictured a rectangle with a yellow spot in the middle of it looking like a lemon...or maybe a baby chick.  I don't have a clue why it did that but I'm glad that the yellow spot is gone, finally.

So yesterday was returning to normal day.  I was scheduled for lunch with Char at the Red Lobster.  We planned this lunch during Red Lobster's crab fest but it had to be postponed because of my mother's broken bone.  Now crab fest is gone, but it's a time of endless shrimp and we both love shrimp, so we decided to go anyway.

My shrimp plate was huge (and I forgot to photograph it) and waaay more than someone in my abdominal condition should have ordered (so I brought home enough for Walt to have for dinner last night!).  But it was delicious, even if it did cause some minor abdominal distress.

Of course, we discussed the current political climate.  Discussions like this these days are so discouraging, so pointless, and so depressing.  You feel so totally helpless.  And we've come to accept lying as normal.  Owell, another lie, we say.

Ned pointed me to comedian Marc Maron, whom you can find on Netflix.  If you are feeling like I am, I STRONGLY urge you to check out his video, which is both hilarious and says it all.  The first set, about 10 minutes, perhaps, about Trump (in which he doesn't mention his name at all) is so spot on and says everything I'm been thinking and why I'm so depressed.

But other than that, it was a pleasant lunch.  It always is.  One of the things Maron talks about is that, at 53, he doesn't know how much time he has left and he thinks he doesn't have time to learn something new.  Like if Phish is a great band, if he listens t them, he doesn't have time to go back and get up to speed on their music because he might not have that much time left and he needs to concentrate on what he has NOW.

That's kind of what it's like in your 70s.  Do you have enough time left to start a brand new friendship? with all that entails?  

It's worked well for Char, who has a bunch of new friends in the senior living where she's moved, but here in Davis, where I'd have to go out looking for a new friendship, it's just not worth the bother.  So the friends of all my life become more and more precious to me.  They are the friends with whom you have verbal shorthand, where a word or two evokes a whole part of your life that you shared.  Char can say "I thought of Michele" and we both immediately are in the same place.

Those friends are becoming fewer and farther apart and I cherish the ones I have, Char at the top of the list.  Even if we both are so depressed about the world.  I decided that what we must do is not concentrate on what we have no power to change, but to find something where we can feel we are doing good in the world and that will have to sustain us.

When we parted, I drove to See's Candy in Vacaville and picked up a box of chocolates for my mother's birthday.  She's been 98 for four days and I hadn't seen her yet.  I stopped off at home to get Walt, who wanted to come with me, and we went to Atria.

She was thrilled to see me and wondered how long I'd been in town -- I really don't know who she thought I was.  We visited about an hour, I guess.

The most depressing thing, I guess, is that I imagined at at this age, we would sit back and reminisce about the old days.  But my mother can't remember old minutes, much less old days.  You can't remember the time Aunt Barb stripped at the family reunion or picking blackberries on grandma's farm, or talk about anybody in the family because she has no memory.

Then you realize that YOU are the only one with those memories and that is very lonely.


My sister died 45 years ago today.  I know my mother doesn't remember that.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Thank Goodness for Salt

This was a weird day, made weirder by the workings of my un-fevered brain.  Here's how the day went.

I was happy to note that I felt close to normal when I woke up.  I had not yet written Funny the World, so the first thing I did, after feeding the dogs, was to write the journal entry.

Next was to get the Patience review written for the Sacramento paper.  The paper has very specific regulations for how things are done, how to format various parts of the review for what kind of review it is (Stage A is 225-275 words with a photo, Stage B is 200-250 words without a photo. Stage Pick is 75-100 words, with a photo)

I don't have all this in memory because I have a handy cheat sheet I pull up whenever I start a review.
Only the cheat sheet is on the F drive, which doesn't work!  Ahhh...but I also was smart two weeks ago copied all that stuff over to a flash drive.  I took out my box of flash drives and there are seven flash drives, including one shaped like an elephant, but not the pretty blue new flash drive.  

How could I have lost it!  I searched everywhere, under every pile, and it was just nowhere.  So I emailed the newspaper editor and asked her if she could send me another.

While I was waiting, I decided to have breakfast.  The ER doctor said no fat so I decided on spinach and eggs, with some garlic added for flavor.  I realized I needed salt for it so I went looking for the salt shaker.  I have two, one for the kitchen, one for the table, but do you think I could find either?  Of course not.

While the eggs cooled, I looked everywhere for a salt shaker and when I started unearthing things on the table (unsuccessfully), I picked up the little pouch that holds the electronics for my laptop.  I suddenly saw myself putting the blue flash drive in that pouch.  I opened the pouch and there it was!
I also found the salt shaker buried on the kitchen counter.

The very first thing I did was to copy all of those files on the desktop drive so I could put the flash drive away with the other seven drives.

That done, I got the review written and sent off.  Then it was time to go to Kaiser.

The doctor and I went over the ER results, she ordered more blood work, did a bladder ultrasound but, like the ER doctor, had no clue what happened.  But in the interim, between Friday and today, I was feeling almost normal so we're just taking a wait and see stance.

When we got home, Tom called and we chatted about how much the girls love school and how their after school activities include soccer and karate for both, cooking for Lacie, French for Bri.  Bri also wants to start learning the trumpet.  I think I'm glad I'm not living in their house these days.  Interesting, but exhausting!

Tom asked if we were coming down to SB while Jeri was there later this month.  I told him this was the first I was hearing of it.

Walt swears we discussed it with Jeri when she was here for the 4th of July but I have zero memory of it.  Things like that scare me, given the dementia history and my other regular memory lapses.
We decided that yes, we would like to go to Santa Barbara while  Jeri is here.

Came time to cook dinner.  I was making a crock pot meal.  I put everything in the crock pot, set the timer, and sat down to watch some talking head or other.  Half an hour later, I went to check on it and discovered that I had forgotten to push the "start" button, so I did that, went back to my recliner, got up to check in it half an hour and discovered I had set it for "low" and it was supposed to be "high" so I reset it for high and went back to my recliner.  In about 15 minutes I went to check on it and discovered that I had again forgotten to press the start button.

It was beginning to look like dinner at 10 p.m.

I had halved the recipe and it actually was ready to eat at 9:30, which, while late, is not completely unusual for us.

I was happy when it was time to go to sleep, but it is now 4:45 a.m. and I have not yet been able to sleep.  However, I did finally get to watch The Theory of Everything.

Oh.  And when I went to eat my dinner and wanted to salt my meal, I couldn't find the salt shaker.

Monday, September 11, 2017

I Knew There was a Reason

Well, there were several reasons why I opted to go home and see my PCP on Monday other than staying in the hospital, as the doctor suggested (I did not, as my discharge papers say, leave against medical advice!)

A big reason was that I had been lying in that bed for hours and my back was killing me.  Under the best of circumstances, beds and I do not get along, but hospital beds are particularly uncomfortable and I just wanted to get into a soft recliner and go to sleep.  And i did.  We got home at 4 a.m., I went to sleep on the couch until about 10, then changed to the recliner and slept a few more hours, then back to the couch for more sleep.  In fact, I slept the better part of the next two days.

But also, I was scheduled to review two shows this weekend, Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde at the Davis Musical Theater, and Patience at Light Opera Theater of Sacramento. Under normal circumstances, we have back-ups.  If someone, for one reason or another, is unable to review a show there is someone to cover for them.

For the Davis paper, I am the only reviewer, but another newspaper staff member, who covers theatrical reviews for the local PBS station, is available to fill in for me.

For the Sacramento paper, there are four of us so usually someone can take over, but I was really looking forward to doing he show myself being a Gilbert & Sullivan aficionado, and this one of my favorite operettas.

The problem is that my colleague in Davis for some reason I have yet to fathom, hates the Davis Musical Theater Company.  He has never been to any of their shows in their 33 year history.  He says he has, but he has not (the founder and producer of the shows would definitely know).  I know that he is partial to shows that have cast "equity actors," which DMTC does not, and in the beginning years, the shows were often uneven, talent wise, but over the years the company has improved significantly and now is a real quality company.

Though I felt like shit Saturday night I was so glad I had gone because the production was outstanding.  Everybody was wonderful, but J. Sing, who played the title character was outstanding.  He could easily have done this role on any professional stage.

I had seen the above video and I hated to think that if I weren't there, the show would not have a review.

As for Patience, there was a possibility that someone could cover for me but I just felt I had to do it. 
The production itself was reward enough for dragging myself to the theater. While everything was just perfect, the outstanding feature was a twenty piece orchestra, an extraordinarily large community theater orchestra. Community theater orchestras are often iffy things, in which a few players who aren't quite up to the task, but this orchestra was flawless and even if the production itself had not been so good, it would have been worth it just to hear the orchestra.

But the production was also good and so I was glad we had gone, though once we saw the first act and I could see how good everyone was, since I know the show so intimately I would have been happy to go home and back to bed!  But we stayed.

So now it's Monday and I will see the doctor for a follow up.  I am significantly better than I was on Thursday but can't exactly say I am well.  I still feel like a limp dishrag and all I want to do is sleep.
I don't know what follow up tests the ER doctor was going to suggest, but I hope that they tell us something.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sunday Stealing

1.What is your middle name?

2. What is your favorite color?

3. What’s your lucky number?
Well, I've always said it's 7 but it has never brought me any luck.

4. Do you have any pets?
Two -- Lizzie is a lovely terrier mix, and Polly is an obnoxious Chihuahua.

5. Where are you from?
San Francisco.  Grew up there.  Still think of it as home.

6. How tall are you?
I used to be 5'7", but now that I'm old, I am apparently 5'5-1/2"

7. What shoe size are you?
10.5 WW

8. How many pairs of shoes do you own?

9. What was your last dream about?
I can't remember

10. What talents do you have?
Writing.  Used to be cake decorating, but no more

11. Are you psychic in any way?
Not. At. All.

12. Favorite song?
Right now my ear worm is "The Room where it Happened" from Hamilton, though I don't know that it's necessarily my FAVORITE.

13. Favorite movie?
A Star Is Born (1954)

14. Are you religious?

15. Have you ever been to the hospital?
Yes!  Yesterday, in fact.  See that entry for The Nightmare.

16. Have you ever been in trouble with the law?

17. Have you ever met any celebrities?
A few.  Primarily Judy Garland and Carol Channing

17. What color socks are you wearing?

18. Have you ever been famous?
Define "famous."  I've been writing for the newspaper for 16 years.

20. Would you like to be a big celebrity?
Good lord, no!  Too much responsibility too little privacy.

21. What type of music do you like?
Show tunes, "the oldies" (ballads), some folk, and light classical

22. How many pillows do you sleep with?

23. What position do you usually sleep in?
On my right side, usually,

24. How big is your house?
2100 square feet  It's a box, two stories tall, with 4 bedrooms.

25. What do you typically have for breakfast?
first a large glass of ice water, then a banana (or some other fruit--but usually banana) and then toast.

I am feeling a little better but really worn out.  I slept most of the day and then felt like a limp dishrag at the show I was reviewing.  Now going to post this (assuming no problems!) and then go back to sleep.