Saturday, March 31, 2018

Saturday 9

Welcome to Saturday: 9. What we've committed to our readers is that we will post 9 questions every Saturday. Sometimes the post will have a theme, and at other times the questions will be totally unrelated. Those weeks we do "random questions," so-to-speak. We encourage you to visit other participants posts and leave a comment. Because we don't have any rules, it is your choice. We hate rules. We love memes, however, and here is today's meme!

Saturday 9: Easter Parade ("In Your Easter Bonnet") (1948)
Judy Garland is my favorite, so I loved this choice!

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

1) This song is about a special Easter hat to be worn with your "Sunday best." Will you be getting dressed up this weekend? No.  I haven't dressed up for Easter in a long time.

2) Judy Garland's partner in this movie was supposed to be Gene Kelly, but he was unavailable because he broke his ankle playing volleyball. Have you ever lost a big opportunity because of a medical issue?
I can't think of one.  I almost had to give up my trip to Australia when I dislocated my shoulder in a bike accident, but as it turned out, I was still able to go.

3) Garland later confessed that, at first, she would have preferred Kelly because she knew him well and was intimidated by Fred Astaire. By the end of filming, she found she enjoyed Astaire a great deal. Can you think of a friend with whom you had a rocky relationship at the beginning?
Charlotte, my best friend for some 60 years, was the grad resident in a dorm complex where I moved when I started UC Berkeley.  I thought she was mean and that she hated me.  I tried to avoid her because I was kind of afraid of her.  I got to know her later at the Newman Center and...the rest is history.  I haven't been afraid of her since I hit her in the face with a pumpkin pie.

4) This song was inspired by New York City's Easter Parade. Does your community host a similar event?
I think so.  This is a small city and when we first moved here, the Easter Parade had more people in it than watching it.  I assume kids still march downtown, but we haven't attended since the kids got too old.  (One year, Paul was the host for the local TV station coverage of the festivities after the parade)

5) The biggest chocolate Easter egg was made in Italy, measured 34 feet tall and weighed a staggering 15,000 lbs. Do you thinks it's possible to have too much chocolate?
Well, I think it's possible to eat too much chocolate, but to have too much never know when you're going to need some quickly,

6) Jelly beans are also popular this time of year. A 2013 poll tells us that red is by far the favorite jelly bean color, with yellow a distant second. Do you have a preference?
We live near the Jelly Belly factory and so my experience with jelly beans are those highly flavorful jelly beans and I love pear flavor (it's kind of a light pastel green) and also popcorn flavor (sort of an ivory color).

7) We've been talking a lot about sweets this morning. The only holiday that generates more candy sales is Halloween. When do you eat more candy: Easter or Halloween?
Neither, since I don't receive candy on either occasion, now that I don't have trick or treating kids. 

8) Easter is considered the season of rebirth. What makes you feel refreshed or rejuvenated?
More than 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep.  I get that much so seldom!

9)  This year, April Fool's Day happens to coincide with Easter Sunday. Do you expect to fall victim to any pranks this weekend?
Probably not.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Furry Critters

For regular readers of this journal, today I learned that my mother's "boyfriend" is named Tony.  She was gone again today when I got to Atria, but an aide found her and brought her to her apartment.  We visited for awhile and then she got up and went outside again.  I also invited her again to join us for dinner on Easter and she said she'd have to see how things go.

Tonight we watched a Nature special on beavers.  My heavens!  I had no idea what beavers did and how important they are to the environment.

They are incredibly industrious and as I watched them building a dam, I was taken back again to my Catholic grammar school training where we learned that humans are superior to animals because we have the ability to think and to use tool.  They chew through even big trees to fell them, they cut them up to manageable sizes and drag them to the water, they pile the sticks up, using moss and mud to hold it in place and then getting rocks to make sure the mud doesn't slide back into the water again.
Now if that isn't thinking and using tools, I sure don't know what is.  Also, when they build the dams in a location that is inconvenient for humans and the humans tear it down during the day, it will be back up the next morning, since the beavers work apparently 24/7.

They build underwater dens where they store food for winter and live with other rodent-types throughout the bad weather. 

Males and females mate for life and apparently mom stays home and keeps the nest while Dad and the kids keep the dam built and sturdy.

I found the whole thing endlessly fascinating, but then I do love me a good Nature special.

I don't know why I'm such an animal nut.  None of my kids inherited my love for animals.  They like animals and each has his or her pet, but none of them has the passion that I have.  Maybe it came from wanting a pet so much all my life and not being able to have one until Walt and I were married.
But if it has fur or feathers, I am fascinated.  I love watching the specials on TV, sitting and watching birds hopping around the garden at Atria, watching the squirrels playing in the trees in our back yard.
I'm not the kind of person who has to be touching a furry critter, though it's nice if they come up to me begging to be petted.  But I love being around any sort of animal and just watching it.  Noticing things about its behavior and interaction with other animals of its species.

I have mixed feelings about Zoos.  I know they do good work in preserving the species and allowing people to learn about animals, but when I see animals like big gorillas or elephants in small enclosures, on concrete, without the family that is such a big part of their lives in the wild, I just want to apologize to them for watching them.

When I was a kid and we drove to visit my maternal grandparents in the days before highways, we passed a paddock where there was a mare and her young foal.  We had to stop there every time and watch the baby grow up.  Naturally, because I am so good at picking names, I called him "Brownie."

One of the great thrills in my life was being able to walk around in the kangaroo enclosure of the animal park at Caversham park in Western Australia.  Having kangaroos literally hanging off of you begging for food was such fun.

I'm glad I love animals.  There is almost always something on TV about some animals somewhere.  Not too fond of the cold blooded ones, or insects (though those can be fascinating too), but the rest are just a delight.  Anybody ever watch Meercat Manor?

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Creative Juices

First, sorry about comments yesterday (I had hoped it would be fixed by today, but apparently not).  I could not log into the comment program and so it wouldn't let me approve any comments.  I can see them and read them because they are sent to me by mail, but I can't reach the site to approve them and make them public. Trouble shooting tells me it's not my fault or the fault of the middle server, but in the final server itself (don't ask me to explain because I don't understand it either!)

Wednesday is Walt's day to volunteer at his office (amazing to me how many guys who retire from the office go back to work part time as volunteers!) and I had all sorts of plans of what I was going to accomplish while he was at work (not that I can't do it if he's home, but somehow with him out of the house, I feel I should be doing more).

The one thing I planned to do was to make bread.  I had saved some mashed potatoes and the potato water from boiling the potatoes for dinner the night before, so some time in the late morning, I got the bread maker fired up. 

I had a full jar of water and a big container of mashed potatoes, then realized it took only 1/4 cup of potato water and 1/3 cup of potatoes, but I got the machine started.  I love this bread machine, but there are quirks.  For one thing it takes about 20 minutes to warm up and get started and then when it begins to mix everything, it has two little mixers and often one of them needs help starting, so I sit and wait for the machine to start (I've gotten smart and now set a timer for 20 minutes and then check the machine).  Then if it needs help, I stick my hand down through the flour and turn it until it "catches" and starts working.

The machine makes good bread, but is often misshapen so I have started just having the machine make dough and then I let it rise in a regular bread pan.

Aside:  A recent Saturday 9 or some other quiz asked about when was the last time you bought bread.  I was amazed at how many people said they can't remember when they last ate bread.  I can't remember when I didn't eat some sort of bread in a day.  I just head that in Sweden 97% of all people eat bread.  I wonder what the percentage would be in this country.

Anyway, while the bread machine was doing its thing, I was trying out my new exacto-knife.  I had a project I wanted to make and I needed a knife.  I was pleased with how it turned out when I finished.

It doesn't look like much, but I had some "grass" paper and I cut sections of it in order to hide Easter eggs and bunnies. 

This is for my latest Magpie journal, which is just a mish-mash of whatever you think of.  I was inspired to make a few more pages.

I had received two mailings from Kaiser in which there was a page of sample various languages in which they could translate.  I thought it made a nice background for pictures of three of my sponsored kids.

And then there was this one, my salute to mail.

It was about the time I finished this page when I decided to go to Atria.  I had been mentally vacillating between going to Atria or going to the supermarket and finally decided on Atria.  As I walked out into the kitchen, I saw this very large loaf of raised bread dough -- I had for gotten all about it and while it was not overflowing the pan, it was very high, so I got it into the oven as soon as possible.  Then, of course, I had to stay home until the bread as baked, by which time it was too late to go to either Atria or the supermarket. 

Well, it wasn't too late to go to the supermarket but I was ready for my nap.

So the day passed, Walt came home from work and all I had to show for my day was a load of laundry in the dryer, a few Magpie pages and a loaf of bread.  But I am closer to the end of the book and I can mail it off.  And the bread was delicious.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

On Turning 10

Brianna turns 10 this week.

10 was a big year for me.  For one thing, you are finally in double digits.  But for another, now, as an adult, whenever I remember big things that happened when I was a kid, I almost always think they happened when I was 10.  I know that realistically something of import must have happened when was 11 or 12, but in my mind it's always in my 10th year.

For one thing, Kaiser came to San Francisco in 1953 and my father joined.  I remember the office on Market Street and going up a dark staircase with my mother to take Karen in for skin tests to see what she was allergic to (everything, as it turned out!)

Because we now had health care, I got my eyes tested and discovered that my eyesight was bad, so I got my first glasses when I was 10.  They diagnosed me with lazy eye blindness in one eye and I had to wear a patch over my "good" eye in the evenings.  It didn't help.  I still have amblyopia.  I read a once that if you catch it before 10, it can be reversed, but by 10 it's pretty much too late.

I was also put on my first diet when I was 10 and have pretty much been on and off diets for the next 60 years.  Even when I was so thin because I stopped eating, I can't ever remember not feeling like I was fat.

My friend Stephen introduced me to "The Black Stallion" when we were 10.  I know I read books before that, but I can still picture standing outside our flat returning the book to him and pointing out that Walter Farley, the author, had a list of all his books on the back and they were all about horses except the last one, Random House.  I'm 75 years old and I can still remember how embarrassed I was when he pointed out to me that Random House was the publisher, not the name of a book.  But it made an avid reader of me and I think I read every horse, dog or cat book in our local library.

My godmother died when I was 10.  Again, I vividly remember being in the pantry of our flat, washing dishes when my mother came in to talk about my godmother.  I knew she was in the hospital, but my mother said, "I think you're old enough to know what's going on" and told me that she was dying.  Her funeral was a big affair that nearly filled St. Brigid's church.  Her husband had been a San Francisco district attorney and she herself had worked in a law office for years, was active in many organizations, especially the Catholic church and had so many friends that the guys who served as the altar boys for the funeral, who were in my class, asked me who she was because they had never seen such a big funeral before.

My father bought an honest to goodness hi-fi record player that he was so thrilled with.   I had recently seen the movie Calamity Jane and loved the music so I bought my very first long playing record (8").

Eisenhower became our 34th president when I was 10.  During the campaign, I think I might have been the only student in my school who did not have an "I Like Ike" button.  My family voted for Stevenson and I was a real outsider, politically.

I saw A Star is Born for the first time when I was 10.  My friend Gayle, who lived two blocks away, and I used to go to movies together but for some reason I was not able to go with her when she saw this Judy Garland movie.  On the walk to school the next morning, she told me the plot of the movie and I knew I wanted to see it.  Of course it changed my life.  I became a life-long Judy Garland fanatic and have probably seen A Star Is Bornover 100 time by now.  I'll still watch it if it comes on TV.

We got our first television when I was 10.  It was a big box Muntz and it sat on the window seat in our living room.

The first show we watched was Life with Luigi, with J. Carroll Nash playing an Italian immigrant learning English. 

Because we now had a TV in 1953, we were able to watch the very first Academy Awards broadcast to be televised.  I remember that all of the nominees were seated around what looked like a giant cake and I thought that was so cool and was disappointed when they did not repeat it the next year.

A lot of memorable things happened when I was 10.  I hope that when Brianna gets into her 70s she will have a lot of memorable things to look back on when she was 10.  When I look at pictures of her today, I can't believe was that small when I was 10 (well, I'm sure I was taller) because my memories are so vividly adult, but obviously were not.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Easter Baskets

Atria was all dressed up for Easter yesterday.  I loved this beautiful filled egg that sat on a table in the lobby.  

In the memory unit, the dining room is lined with plastic eggs and streamers.  I'm sure my mother hasn't noticed.  I told her that Easter was coming ("oh is it?" she replied, not interested).  I said that it would just be Walt and me for dinner and asked if she would like to join us.  She waited a moment and then said "Well...I have some people coming.  I can't remember their name, but I have to get ready.  Let me get back to you on that."  I took that as a "no" and won't ask her again.

But I went to CVS to get stuff to put together an Easter basket for her.  I got several kinds of candy, including little Lindt Easter bunnies.  They didn't have any straw baskets.  We used to have dozens of them, all remnants of floral arrangements that had been sent to us after David's and Paul's deaths, but I eventually donated them to the SPCA thrift shop and have none left now.  But I found a tiny plastic basket that looked like the perfect size.

I'll put a bow on it and bring it to her later this week, when I have a car.  

Our kids had Easter baskets for several years.  The first one I made was probably Ned's first Easter, when Jeri would have been old enough to notice.  This was particularly memorable for me because I found a gigantic bunny, almost as big as Jeri, on sale for a ridiculously low price and bought it, along with a slightly smaller bunny for Ned.

In time, Easter egg hunts replaced baskets and, especially after we moved to Davis, the kids would stand in their bedrooms, looking down on the back yard and map out where they could see eggs hidden.  My favorite place to hide an egg was on top of the jungle gym, clearly visible from an upstairs window.

Karen and I had Easter egg hunts too, but since we did not have a grassy yard, our egg hunts were held in the living room (never was sure how the bunny got into the room!).  It was Easter when I had one of the most shocking revelations of my life.  My parents were watching us search and pointing out places where we should look and it suddenly hit me that they were the ones who had hidden the eggs.

"Thank you," I whispered to my father, who said, "Now that you know about the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, don't spoil things for your sister."  Santa Claus too?????  I still remember how shocked I was to see this fantasy crumble along with the Easter bunny.

There were always new dresses, shoes and hats for Karen and me at Easter time.

with our neighbor, Stephen Calegari.  We're probably 5.

I always loved the frilly dresses and my mother (who literally worshipped patent leather shoes when she was a girl whose parents couldn't afford to get her a pair) always made sure I had new patent leather shoes for Easter, though I hated them.

It wasn't a big deal to get new clothes for the boys at Easter, but I tried to get a new dress for Jeri each year.  She had her own style, even as a little kid.  I remember the time we looked through a whole rack of pastel frilly dresses, none of which Jeri liked.  I finally told her I was going to the other side of the department and she could pick out the dresses she liked. Her choice (she was 5, I believe) was black with tiny flowers on it.  Definitely not my idea of an Easter dress, but it was perfect for her and she looked so cute in it.  I was glad I had let her make her own decision.

Religion did play a role in our Easters, both when I was a child and when our own kids were young, but the holiday these days seems to be mostly very secular.  I suspect Walt is the only one who still goes to church.  I remember in grammar school when I and about 3 or 4 of my classmates (Stephen was one of them) went to a hill near our house (it's now a fancy apartment building) to spend the 3 hours on Good Friday.  We took our bibles and the idea was to meditate and pray for 3 hours.  We each perched on a different part of the hill, separated from each other.  But, being kids, we didn't last 3 hours.  We might not even have lasted one hour and I think we ended up back at my house for snacks.

However you're celebrating (or not) Easter, may Sunday be a good day for you.

Saturday, March 24, 2018


I am writing this for me and don't expect anybody to follow it, but I want to record how my morning has gone.

There is an iPhone app called "Calm" that sounded like a good deal.

Calm is the #1 app for mindfulness and meditation to bring more clarity, joy and peace to your daily life. Start your journey to a calmer mind with the app that’s trusted by millions and featured in the New York Times.

Calm is the perfect meditation app for beginners, but also includes hundreds of programs for intermediate and advanced meditators and gurus.

The idea of listening to a waterfall or lapping waves or something else soothing sounded really nice and the thought that it might help me sleep was even better.

I had not tried it yet, though. Last night I decided to give it a try and clicked on it. I immediately got a message saying "You have activated your 7 day trial. If you do not cancel in 7 days your Apple account will be charged $57 for the first year." WHAAAT? What had I missed? I immediately tried to cancel the app but didn't think I'd done it. I removed it from my phone, hoping that and the cancellation would solve the problem.

This morning I received a receipt from Apple telling me that in 7 days my Apple account would be charged $57 and if I wanted to change the order, I should click on this link that would take me to iTunes.

First, McAfee wants me to buy their expensive software and several times a day, their ad pops up on my screen and I close it. Today it covered iTunes and would. not. let. me. get. to. iTunes. I would close it, iTunes would pop up and then the McAfee would cover it again. This took a long time to finally get past
It takes forever for iTunes to load on my computer but it eventually did and asked me to log in. I logged in. It told me that my password was invalid. I was pretty sure that was not right, but clicked on "forgot my password" and changed it. I went to log in with the newly changed password and was told it was the wrong password.

Now part of the problem is my damn server. When we first joined Davis Community Network, which we have belonged to for many years and which I otherwise like very much, our address was After a couple of years it was shortened to and both addresses would work. So some of the things I log into are for one address, the later ones are for the other. Apparently I have two iTunes accounts one for and one for @dcn. I ended up changing BOTH passwords and at some point I actually logged in (don't remember on which account), but when I accessed the iTunes store, I only got music options. So I clicked on "Account" to see what else I could find and when it tried to link to "account" I had to log in again and once more both addresses had invalid passwords.

I responded to the e-mail I had received but of course that is a "" address, so that got me nowhere. The email ended with "For answers to frequently asked questions, visit Apple Support." The link was bad.

I got to the main Apple page and clicked on customer support. It took me to a page where I could type in my problem, but I had to choose my device and it does not know that I have an iPhone and there is no place where I could choose to add a device. At this point I decided to give up for now.

Jeri was convinced she could solve my problem, but in the end didn't have time.  She did point me to a comment on Facebook which gave step by step instructions and said that would solve my problem.  I did that.  I said I forgot my account name and it told me it was and after that I clicked on "take me to my account..." and it took me to the sign in page for and I was right back where I started from.

I'm still trying. 'Calm' has left me more agitated than any other app I have ever seen. But I have 6 more days to figure it out.

Friday, March 23, 2018

And So It Ends...

Jeri has just left, on her way to the Bay Area with Ned to visit friends and do some recording over the next couple of days, before she flies back to Boston next week.  According  to weather reports, the snow from storms in Boston will have been washed away by rain by then.

It's been a good few days.  Jeri is a unique person and her infectious positivism floods everything she does and everybody she visits.  She was able to have two good visits with her grandmother while here and got her smiling and laughing both times, a talent I don't possess.

The first time they visited, Jeri said that the new "Mildred memories" book I had made was not there, which made me very upset.  But when we went yesterday, we found it buried in a drawer and she went through the book with my mother a couple of times and both seemed to enjoy it.

When we arrived at Atria, we found her in the dining room, and I wish I had taken a photo.  She and her "boyfriend" (must find out that guy's name!) were sitting at a table for two, both asleep, both "bookend" pictures leaning forward their heads down.

She was happy to see Jeri and thrilled to see me ("Where have you been," she always asks, no matter how brief a time I have been gone...that's when I think she thinks I'm one of her sisters.  She will act the same way if she goes to the bathroom and returns, and finds me sitting where she left me.)

Before we went to Atria, we went to Target to buy her a new lamp.  Jeri discovered that her bedside lamp looked like it had been knocked over and the bulb hung at a rakish angle, which looked dangerous.

We quickly returned from Atria and packed up to go to Ned & Marta's for dinner.  Ned needed Jeri to participate in a video that he is making for Brianna's upcoming 10th birthday.  He has made a video for her for the past 9 years and this is the last one he is going to make.

It took forever to get there because the night before there was a Sacramento shooting of an unarmed Black man in his mother's back yard, trying to enter by the back door.  There had been reports of someone breaking into cars and the police tried to stop him.  He was carrying a cell phone, which they mistook for a gun and shot him 20 times, killing this father of two young children.  (I already know they are going to get off because "experts" looking at videotape said that it was a "reasonable killing.")  There were protesters marching, stopping traffic on the freeway and blocking entrance to the Golden One stadium, delaying the start of a Kings basketball game.

It was gridlock all over downtown Sacramento, which we had to drive through, with police cars, sirens beeping (if not blaring) on every block.  I texted Ned to say that we had been delayed by the protest and he texted back "Watching it on tv.  See you when you figure it out."

He made a nice dinner for all of us and then the videotaping took place.  There was a lot of laughter but I am sworn to secrecy until the video is released, so I won't write about it until the end of the month, but it's a good, funny story, with lots of photos.

I can say that while the videotaping was going on, Marta amused herself with her iPod,

while the dog went to sleep and didn't pay any attention to the shenanigans.  But it was definitely fun.

Then home and I collapsed because I had missed my afternoon nap and was exhausted.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

A Day with Grandma

I didn't go to Atria today, but Jeri and Alice Nan did.  Reports are that they had a great time and laughed a lot.  And, of course, they took the traditional "Grandma and Jeri" photo.

There was also a Grandma and Alice Nan photo.

And the best photo of all from their visit.  

I love that photo.  I haven't seen that grandma in months.  Jeri should be here all the time.

They were gone a long time and when they got back here. Polly got right up on Jeri's lap again.  She took some terrific photos.  This is my favorite:

(I'm going to get a 5x7 and then have it framed!)

Alice Nan left to return to Norm's house, Walt went off to visit with his friend, whom he and two others visit twice a month so the wife can go to a meeting with some other women, since she doesn't like to leave him home alone.  Jeri and I watched the Mister Rogers special that I recorded a bit ago.

After he returned, we had a quiet dinner and then Jeri worked on a project, Walt read the paper, and I sat in the family room in case anybody wanted to chat.  Just a nice homey family evening together.

Finally Walt and Jeri headed off to bed and I watched a little more TV, with closed captioning on, and now am headed to sleep myself.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


I'm always thrilled when I find a new way to get back to sleep when I wake up in the middle of the night.  I slept until 4:30, which is a long stretch of sleep for me, and then settled in to watch Morning Joe, as I do every morning, hoping it will put me to sleep.  Depending on how outrageous the president has been the day before is a measure of whether I will sleep or be kept awake by anger.

However, Jeri and Walt's sister Alice are here and I didn't want to wake them with the sound of the TV and since I have discovered closed captioning, I just turned that on and read the news.  However, found that reading the news, where you couldn't close your eyes and just listen and hope you'd fall asleep obviously didn't work and within half an hour i was genuinely sleepy, so decided to try going into the living room and lying down and I was asleep instantly!  Slept until 8:30, an amazingly full night of sleep.

Closed captioning may be my best discovery this year.  We've had it for years, but I didn't know how to turn it on and by accident managed to get it working.  What a difference in watching British drama!  But realizing that I could read dialog on TV programs, so as not to disturb sleeping people was wonderful.  I watched an entire episode of Call the Midwife after everyone went to bed....I got to see the episode and understand it and never turned the sound on.

BUT, yes Jeri is here.  Alice drove her up from Santa Barbara.  Whenever Alice and Walt travel, they send each other one word texts, letting the other know their location.  When we are going to Santa Barbara, Walt drives and I text.  So Walt sent a text around 1 p.m., asking where they were and Jeri texted back that they were in Salinas.  So when we got on the road at 3:40, I sent a text saying we were at Dixon and Jeri responded that they were in Sausalito.  Our ultimate destination was Norm's house in Petaluma and based on where they were and where we were it sounded like it was going to be a race to see who got to Norm's first.

As it turned out, we did, but they were right behind and about 5 minutes later, Norm's wife Olivia showed up.  We did what modern families do these days when they all get together.

In time we went to Lily Kai, a nice Chinese restaurant (where we had a Latina waitress) in Petaluma.  It was delicious and we sat at a nice round table which was just perfect for being able to talk to everyone.

Dinner was delicious and we talked about, among other things: plantar fasciitis, orthotics, mattresses, and teeth.....and I marveled at how old we had all (even Jeri) gotten!

Back to Norm's house for dessert and to watch the brief video of Jeri and Bri playing a duet and then we headed home, in 2 cars.  It was a harrowing drive since the road is narrow and winding and there was not heavy rain but heavy drizzle and too many cars.  I think we were all happy to finally get to the freeway.

Polly was on her best behavior and only barked a little and ended up in Jeri's lap.  Victory, after only 8 years.

This morning I made a big batch of waffles and sausage and then Jeri and Alice Nan headed off to Atria to visit my mother.

Alice will be leaving this afternoon and Jeri will be here another 2 days.  It's nice having her home -- well our home.  I realize her home is in Boston now.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


This is the 6,572nd entry I have written since I began this journal 18 years ago today.  Hard to believe.

When it began it was on GeoCities, a site which hasn't existed for a long time.  I went back and moved several of the early entries to Funny the World (so you can read "Ned Moves into a Playhouse," the first entry).  My intent was to move all of the GeoCities to FTW, but I stopped at some point and never went back.  It is fun, though, to go back and see where we all were 18 years ago.

I keep a database of all entries and it helps for entries like this.  I am forever getting the number wrong when I write the "This is entry #" number at the end of each entry.  I was only off two entries this time, which is better than it has been.

I received the following video from Tom last night

I am all verklempt (a Yiddish word which describes a person who is too emotional to speak).
It's the "passing of the torch thing."  Having watched Jeri -- and all the kids -- growing up and learning how to play musical instruments, moving on to become professionals, and now watching my granddaughter, just beginning to learn the trumpet, playing a duet with Jeri on her musical instrument.....  Well, it just brings tears to my eyes.  
We did something right.

But there was sad news today.  I read the following on Twitter this morning:

It is with great sadness that Ol Pejeta Conservancy and the Dvůr Králové Zoo announce that Sudan, the world’s last male northern white rhino, age 45, died at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya on March 19th, 2018 (yesterday).  He was being treated for age-related complications that led to degenerative changes in muscles and bones combined with extensive skin wounds. His condition worsened significantly in the last 24 hours; he was unable to stand up and was suffering a great deal. 
This means that for all intents and purposes, the Northern White Rhino has gone extinct in our lifetime.  There are still two females, but since they were unable to breed with Sudan, there are no offspring and now never will be, though the conservancy reports that "his genetic material was collected yesterday and provides a hope for future attempts at reproduction of northern white rhinos through advanced cellular technologies."
I find this all incredibly sad.  The species was killed off in large part by poachers wanting their horns to make drugs for impotent men in China.  I hope the sex was worth the destruction of an entire species of animals.
"His death is a cruel symbol of human disregard for nature and it saddened everyone who knew him," said Mr Jan Stejskal of Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic, where Sudan lived until 2009.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Mystery of the Missing Mother

My mother has been in the memory unit for nearly a year.  In all that time, whenever I go to visit her, most of the time, I find her in her room, either sleeping or sitting in her chair.  Lately, I've found her wandering around the building.  Sometimes she is sitting in a chair at the opposite end of the hall from her apartment, or sitting in the community room, where the television is on (I doubt she's watching it).  Once she was sleeping in the chair by where the aides' office is, once sleeping on the couch in the "library" which is at the end of the hall where her apartment is.  

I'm not sure if this newfound "mobility" is of her own making or if it is because I think that at mealtime they lock all the doors so that the residents can't get into their apartments, presumably to force them to be more social with everyone else (though to look at the common room and see them all staring off into space, I'm not sure if that is what it does!)

However, in all these months I have never NOT been able to find her.

I arrived the other day and went into her room and she was not there.  I checked everywhere and she was not to be found.  This is a locked facility, so I knew she hadn't left the place, but where was she?

One of the aides told me that she has started going into other apartments.  I'm not sure if it's to see other people, or because she can't find her own apartment any more.  The aide started checking every apartment and finally found her in the apartment the farthest from her own.  I am remember her former roommate, Marge (who has since been moved to a place closer to her own kids), who used to wander into my mother's apartment and stand there looking kind of lost, then start to talk in nonsensical sentences before she left, or before we escorted her out.

Anyway, all was well.  She was found.  She came in and sat on a very uncomfortable folding metal chair and couldn't understand it when I suggested she move to the more comfortable chair where she usually sat.  It did not compute for her.

I had brought the memory book I had made for her and she looked through it, but couldn't recognize most of the people in it (including her mother and brothers), but was slightly more interested in the book I had made years ago when we visited the ranch in Valley Springs where she spent her earliest years.  The books are mainly for Alix, her Alzheimer's buddy, who is on spring break right now but who will be back eventually and asked for old scrapbooks she could look through with my mother.

She looked through the Valley Springs book twice, then put it down and said she was going to lie down because her "front" hurt.  She got onto her bed and after a couple of minutes, got up and left the apartment.  I assumed she was going to go to the bathroom, but she opened the front door instead.  I figured she would turn around and come back, but she didn't and when I went out the front door after her, she had disappeared.  I don't know where she was because she wasn't in the usual places again.  I guess she was "visiting" again.  A new wrinkle. I came on home.

Today I received the following text message from Jeri, who is now at Tom's house.

Her next text message told me that the "sorry" message had been written by Brianna.  I guess they are having fun with technology.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sunday Stealing

1. Do you tend to have a guilty conscious? 
I was raised Catholic.  People don't realize that when they baptize you, they infuse you with guilt.  It comes from our Jewish ancestors (they invented it; we perfected it).  It apparently passes along thru the generations.  One of our kids felt very guilty (when he was in grammar school) because he was not doing more to help solve the war !  (whichever one we were fighting then)

2. Do you still have your wisdom teeth?
No.  I would be smarter if they hadn't taken them, but they did, when I was in high school. 

3. Peanut Butter - creamy or crunchy?
I like both, but crunchy just for eating, creamy for sandwiches.

4. Get up off your butt. Take 5 steps. Which leg did you start out on?
Left.  I am totally left-sided.

5. What color is your favorite kitchen utensil?
Green.  That would be my Kitchen Aid stand mixer, which I've had for about 46 years (I know that because I had it when we lived in Oakland).  I use it weekly and it has given me NO trouble whatsoever in all these years.

6. Did you watch the Michael Jackson memorial/funeral?
No.  I was not a fan.  But we DID drive by the Neverland Ranch the following week on our way to a wedding.  There was a big crowd standing outside.

7. Do you know anyone who graduated from high school this year? Were you invited to their graduation party? Did you go?
No.  We are between high school graduations.  The young people we know are too old and our granddaughters are too young

8. White with black stripes or black with white stripes?
Black with white stripes.

9. If we were to call your 6th grade teacher, what would they say about you?
Well, that would probably be impossible, since I suspect she's dead by now.  I don't even remember which nun I had in 6th grade (though I remember most of my other teachers).

10. Can you draw a perfect circle?

11. What was your favorite scratch & sniff sticker scent?
Hmmm....I don't scratch and sniff much, but I suspect some sort of fruit smell.  I have a roll of scratch and sniff pizza stickers, which are interesting, but not a favorite (I send them to the grandkids)

12. What does your sibling do for a living?
Not much.  She's been lying in a cemetery since 1971.

13. How many light switches and electrical outlets are in the room that you are in right now?
One light switch and I think 4 electric outlets (though 2 are covered up).

14. Do you know sign language?
I know the deaf alphabet very well and have since grammar school (I talk to myself in the deaf alphabet all the time).  But I don't know sign language.  I've always thought that would be something good to learn.

15. Do you step on cracks in the sidewalk?
Sure.  I have no superstitions about that.  And my mother's back is fine.

16. And the sheets on your bed look like....?
Couch cushions.  (I sleep on a couch under a sleeping sheets).

17. What is something that everyone else has, but you don't?
Undoubtedly some tech thing, but I can't think of a thing that others might have that I want.

Here, I think, is my shout out from Says You

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Saturday 9

Welcome to Saturday: 9. What we've committed to our readers is that we will post 9 questions every Saturday. Sometimes the post will have a theme, and at other times the questions will be totally unrelated. Those weeks we do "random questions," so-to-speak. We encourage you to visit other participants posts and leave a comment. Because we don't have any rules, it is your choice. We hate rules. We love memes, however, and here is today's meme!
Saturday 9: Danny Boy (1956)
"Danny Boy" was selected in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.

1) This is a sad song of farewell. Who is the last person you said "goodbye" or "so long" to?
My mother, when I left the memory unit this afternoon.

2) According to the 2000 Census, Massachusetts is the state with the largest percentage of residents of Irish descent. Have you ever been to The Bay State?

Often.  Our daughter lives there and teaches at Berklee College of Music, so we have visited Boston several times.  A nice city filled with history.

3) "The wearing o' the green" is one way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Will you wear something green in honor of the day?

I usually try to wear something green, even if I'm not leaving the house.  I will probably wear green socks.

4) What color makes you look best?

Probably red--the bluish red, not the orangish red.  If you open my closet, there is much more red than any other color.

5) Will you drink something
green in honor of the day (like a Shamrock shake or a green beer)?


6) A four-leaf clover is considered good luck. Do you have a lucky charm?


7) Though she's singing an Irish ballad, this week's featured artist, Joni James, is of Italian heritage. Can you think of a song as identified with Italy as "Danny Boy" is with Ireland?

Probably O Solo Mio

8) Soda bread and potato bread are popular in Ireland. Are there any rolls or bread in your kitchen right now?

Bread is a staple in my kitchen.  We always have bread, and often, in addition, English muffins or bagels.  If we have no bread and I don't feel like going to the store, I make bread.  I have had soda bread often, when we are in Ireland and it's not one of my favorites.
9) Ireland is known for its whiskey. Do you enjoy Irish coffee (black coffee, whiskey and whipped cream)? The question leaves out the sugar, which is an important part of Irish Coffee.  I haven't had one in awhile, but yes, I do. Did you know that Irish coffee was invented in San Francisco?  At the Buena Vista pub, which is at the end of the Hyde Street cable car line, in 1952.  When I was at UC Berkeley, we often went to the Buena Vista.  It was still a fairly new thing at that time.