Monday, April 30, 2018

Catching Up

Today was definitely low key.  I called Atria in the morning and learned that my mother is still coughing a lot, but she is taking her Tamiflu and that the facility is still on lockdown, so I couldn't go to visit her.  They may be free tomorrow, we'll see.

With the day stretched out in front of me, I decided to catch up on Homeland.  I watched the show for the first 3 or 4 seasons, but soon got tired of the intrigue (necessitating dialog I couldn't understand) and gave up.

But I recently watched Mandy Patinkin on Morning Joe and he and Mika got into an animated discussion about the series and she kept saying it was the only show she watched and that this season was the best ever.  I normally hate picking up a multi-season show late in its run, but I decided to check out episode 1 of season 7 and was hooked.

Finally the action is on our own shores and concerns Russia's attempts to mess things up.  It was all depressingly familiar, but the thing that's interesting, Patinkin said, was that all the things you'd assume were coming from the newspapers of the day, were actually written long before and filmed before they made headline news.

I watched 2 episodes in the morning and then we went to check all the work that Ned and Marta and Marta's nieces have been doing on the house Marta's mother owns in Davis, where Marta grew up.  Her mother hasn't lived there for many years and it has been rented, but she's decided to renovate it and put it on the market, so Ned has been overseeing things and doing a lot of the work himself.
I'm very impressed with what a "house guy" our son has become and all the tricks of the trade he has learned doing house work, like building my office and some other projects he has helped friends with.
We came back home and I spent the next 3 hours watching Homeland and I am now caught up to this week's episode which is the next-to-last in the season.  And yes, it has been a very good season.

Last night we went to review a show called Gutenberg! the Musical! which is by a brand new theater group in town, Bike City Theatre Company.  Problem is that they have no theater, so they are performing in several different venues for each performance -- 2 different breweries, a music store, and an art gallery.  We saw them at Root of Happiness Kava Bar.  I don't know what Kava is, but apparently it's a new "in" thing in Davis.  Fortunately we did not have to buy anything to see the show!

They are also trying to be ecologically correct, so there are no printed programs, but a QR code you can scan which will bring the program to your cell phone (I found this is a real pain in the butt when you are trying to write a review).

But the show itself was hilariously funny, madcap zaniness for 90 minutes (including an intermission).  It's about two playwrights who have written what they think is going to be the next big Broadway show and they are showing it at a backer's audition (us) to see if anyone might be interested in funding the show.

There are only two actors and about 20 characters, all of whom are delineated by different hats which have the character's ID on it  There is even a hat labeled "dead baby" for the child who died because his mother couldn't read that there were jelly beans, not medicine, in the bottle she had.  Crowd scenes are indicated when the actors pile all the hats on their heads, removing one at a time, while saying a line as that character. (And the 5-man "kick line" was hilarious!)

There are forgettable, but very funny-at-the-time songs and terrible groaners like when Gutenberg tells his girlfriend Helvetica (it is just assumed the audience will realize that is a font name) that he likes lamb stew by saying "I love ewe" and she thinks he is professing his love for her.

The guys explain at the start of the play (which was nominated to lots of awards in NY back in the early 2000s) that they did a thorough Google search and found very little about the inventor of the printing press, so they had to resort to alternative facts to write the play (actually they called them fictitious facts, but that was in 2007 before anybody had heard of alternative facts!)

Anyway, we laughed all evening and I had fun writing the review.  I even mentioned that the two actors had "good dentition" since I was about 2 feet from them throughout the show and they projected so well that by the end of the show I felt like at least a dental assistant, I spent so much time looking into the mouth of both of them!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Sunday Stealling

Welcome to Sunday Stealing. This feature originated and published on WTIT: The Blog. Here we will steal all types of questions from every corner of the blogosphere. Our promise to you is that we will work hard to find the most interesting and intelligent questions. (Past hosts include: Our first - Judd Corizan, Mr. L, Kwizgiver and Bud)  Cheers to all of us thieves!

From Mickey and Maddy
(This is longer than usual, but i love Disney and I had fun answering these questions.  Apologies to non-Disney fans!) 


1. Favourite scene in a Disney Princess movie?
The transformation of Cinderella into a princess, the pumpkin into a coach, etc. Bibbidy-Bobbedy-Boo!

2. Favourite scene in a non Princess movie?
That would be the scene where mama elephant, locked in an elephant jail, is rocking baby Dumbo in her trunk while she sings to him.  Gets me every time.

3. Last Disney movie you watched?
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
4. How many times have you visited the parks?
Oh lots.  Took each of the five kids around their 4th-5th birthdays (one-on-one), took most of our foreign guests to Disneyland.  Last time was in 2000, when I took Peggy to Disneyland.  I don't even have to go ever, ever again.

5. Favourite animal themed movie?
and Dumbo

A list of all Disney movies can be found here -

6. Favourite Disney movie from the 1950’s?
Lady and the Tramp
(found out most of my Disney favorites were made in the 30s and 40s)

7. Favourite Disney movie from the 1960’s?
Mary Poppins.

8. Favourite Disney movie from the 1970’s?
Wow...I saw almost NO Disney movies made in the 1970s, but I guess Escape to Witch Mountain, which our kids liked.

9. Favourite Disney movie from the 1980’s?
The Little Mermaid

10. Favourite Disney movie from the 1990’s?
The Lion King

11. Favourite Disney movie from the 2000’s?
The Princess Diaries

13. Favourite Disney movie from the 2010’s?
I loved both Beauty and the Beast and Frozen.  And in non-animated movies, Toy Story 3.

14. If you could trade lives with one character which one and why?
Cinderella.  Imagine how nice it would be to have all sorts of animals as friends that you talk with and who help you with your chores.  Then you have a fairy godmother to whip you up a gorgeous gown, you go to a fancy dress ball and win the heart of the prince.  Not bad, even if you have to put up with a wicked stepmother for awhile.

15. First Disney orientated memory?
It would be either Bambi or Dumbo, but I have no strong first Disney memories.

16. Favourite villain?
The Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland

17. Favourite live action Disney movie?
So many (I had no idea until I saw the Wikipedia page of Disney movies!), but I particularly liked the Toy Story series.

18. Favourite soundtrack?
.  I have the soundtrack on CD.

19. What are your top three favourite Disney songs?
"Baby Mine" from Dumbo, "Zip-a-Doo-Dah" from Song of the South, and, of course, "Let it Go" from Frozen.  (Honorable mention to "When You Wish Upon a Star" from Pinocchio)

20. Mickey or Minnie?
Oh Mickey.  He was much more fun than Minnie.

21. Which movie do you find the most nostalgic?

22. Are there any Disney movies that you haven’t seen?
Well, according to that Wikipedia list, MOST of them!

23. Is there a scene or movie that makes you cry?
As I mentioned before, the scene with Dumbo and his jailed mother, who is rocking and singing to him.

24. Is there a song that makes you cry?
"Baby Mine" from Dumbo.

25. Which character do you relate to the most?
Bashful from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

26. Do you own any clothing that’s Disney themed?
I don't think so. 

27. Favourite sidekick?
Jimminy Cricket from Pinocchio

28. Favourite Princess and why?
Does Belle from Beauty and the Beasts count as a princess?

29. Funniest Disney scene?
Probably the genie in Aladdin ... who can possibly beat Robin Williams for funny?  
Second might be the crows discovering Dumbo can fly ("When I see an Elephant Fly")
30. Favourite Disney movie and why?
Well, we come back to Bambi and Dumbo and I guess of those, my favorite is Bambi because of the whole mother-child thing (Dumbo has to go through too much meanness from other elephants to make it my favorite)

Saturday, April 28, 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: Lowdown (1976)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
1) In this song, "the lowdown" is an unpleasant truth. Tell us about a time when you had to do like Boz and give someone "the lowdown."
I can't think of any time.

2) The lowdown Boz delivers is about the woman his friend is seeing. Specifically, she's gossiping about his finances. If you discovered something negative about a friend's romantic partner, would you share it with your friend? Or would you keep it to yourself?
Having been in that situation and not said anything and then saw the results, I think I would say something, difficult though it might be.

3) Boz was born William Royce Scaggs, but in high school he was given the nickname "Bosley" -- later shortened to "Boz." His friends thought "Bosley" sounded nerdier than "Bill," and Scaggs was quite the music nerd. What is something you're nerdy about?
The whole computer thing, I guess.  I hear so many of my contemporaries (old guys) talking about how they know nothing about the Internet or how to use their cell phone, which is my major involvement every day.  It's difficult when the people in your age group want nothing to do with your obsession.

4) His son Austin Scaggs is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone. What magazines are in the room you're in right now?
I'm not a magazine person.  But we do get "The Week" (for our polical fix), the Food Network magazine and the new Pioneer Woman magazine.

5) Boz and his wife own a vineyard in Napa. Do you prefer white or red wine?
I don't drink a lot of wine, but my druthers, when I do, would be white.

6) In 1976, the year this song was popular, movie queen Elizabeth Taylor needed an escort to one of the nation's Bicentennial celebrations. Former Under Secretary of the Navy John Warner was asked to take her to the event, and within months he became her husband. Have you ever had a "blind date" that turned into a relationship?
Not only is the answer no, I'll go even further...I've never had a "blind date" !

7) Also in 1976, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs founded Apple in Jobs' parents' garage. Does your garage serve as your office, workshop or studio? Or is it just home to your car?
We have a one car garage which has never had a car in it.  It's an extended storage room, with barely enough room to move.

8) The Bionic Woman premiered in 1976. Because of her "bionic parts," Jaimie Summers could run faster than most cars, had superhuman strength, and super-sensitive hearing. If you could have one of those qualities enhanced -- speed, strength or hearing -- which would you choose?
The older I get, the weaker it seems I get, so I'd go with strength.  It doesn't even have to be "superhuman."  I'll settle for above average strength, so I can lift a cast iron skillet off of an overhead hook without difficulty!

9) Random question: When you lean in for a kiss, do you tilt your head to the right or to the left?
That's an interesting question.  I've never thought of it, but now that I do, it's to the right.  I wonder if that goes along with being left handed.  I'd be curious to hear what "-handed" people coordinate with head tilting.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Woman of Letters

Today was a day to catch up on correspondence.

For one thing, when I went to that performance of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, they had two kinds of programs--a mimeographed one for kids and a "real" one for adults.  I picked up two of the kids' programs and sent a letter to the girls, enclosing two copies of the program.
I told them about the play and how it was done, about the hand made backdrops projected on the back wall, and on how two players played all the parts.  It was kind of fun to share the experience with them.

After that, I decided to plough through my Compassion correspondence.

About once a month, I write a generic letter, with photos, and send it off to all of the 29 kids that I write to.  Compassion has the option of sending things by mail, or sending by email using one of their 35 specially designed stationery sheets.   Examples--

When individual replies come in from the kids, then, I write personal letters, answering what they have to say in their letters.  There are an awful lot of "I am fine, how are you" type letters (only with more religious overtones).  But some of the kids have become pretty good writers.  For the little guys, who can't write letters yet, they have form type letters, with a series of fill in the blank questions about things like "my family" or "my hobbies" or "my hopes for the future."

I decided this month they must be doing something new in their curriculum in Kenya because I received two of the "dreams" forms and both of the kids, a boy and a girl, both around 7, told me that they want to learn to drive a car and to fly a plane.  The boy wants to be a pilot.  In all the years I have been doing this, nobody has expressed interest in cars or planes, though I admit that I get an awful lot of pictures drawn, especially of trucks and helicopters.

Perhaps one of my best writers is Erick, from Kenya.  He is 17 and I've been sponsoring him for about 5 years.  In the beginning he used to draw me beautiful pictures of animals, but for some reason he stopped doing that when I complimented him and told him how much I love them!  I wrote to him today about the death of Dame Daphne Sheldrick and wonder if he has heard of her.  I have asked him about elephants in the past, but he has never responded.  He also told me that he has joined a football team and hopes to get into the championship games, and he is happy because the recent contentious Kenya elections went well and "we are having peace in our minds because the elections were peaceful."  He is also perhaps the most religious and the most serious of all my group.  He told me today that "I am really working hard to make it in life.  Every day is a struggle and every life is a struggle but we must fight to make it in life."

Miché from Haiti is now 15 and in the 8th grade.  He told me that they are getting ready to celebrate Flag Day in his country and wanted to know if we celebrate flag day here.  He is still writing to me about Christmas, 4 months later.  I think this is the 3rd time he has written about his Christmas.  Must have been very special!

Divine is a teenager from Uganda.  I wrote to her about the poem Brianna wrote and sent her a .jpg of the text.  I also told her about some of my "sparks of happiness" and asked what hers was.  I told her about working puzzles with my mother and sent her a photo of my mother working a puzzle.

Theresa, from Ghana, is my "sad girl."  I chose her about 3 years ago because she was perhaps the saddest child I had ever seen.  We get periodic updated photos of the kids and I have yet to see her smile, though I always comment on how special her photo is and how much I would love to see her smile.  I try to do a lot of encouragement and show her a lot of love and I told her, too, about Brianna's poem and talked about "sparks of happiness."  I somehow don't think this little girl has many sparks of happiness in her life.

Luis Henrique from Brasil wrote perhaps the shortest letter, but he was telling me about his recent travel to the beach in Icapui.  I had to smile, having hosted so many Brasilians and knowing their love of beaches.  He even drew me a picture of the beach with people standing along the edge of the water.

Rifaldi, 12, from Indonesia is also a good letter writer and the only one of the kids who calls me "grandma."  (Fred from the Philippines calls me Auntie Sykes and Annie Rose, also from the Philippines calls me Auntie Beverly Sykes.)  Rifaldi me about a photo of pumpkins I sent to him and said that the farmers in his area are planting pumpkins now.

There were a few more letters that I wrote to the kids and probably a week or so, I will write a group letter to all 29 of them.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Lions and Witches, Oh My

I wrote my very best "Jeri is awesome" journal entry in 2000 and reprinted it in 2016.  I won't reprint it here today because I don't think I could improve on it, but I refer you to it as you sit here and mentally think "Happy Birthday, Jeri."

2 days old

She's grown a bit since then, but is still awesome.  Happy birthday, Jeri!

In other news, my mother's flu test came back positive for Influenza A and, added to the other flu victims at Atria, the memory unit is on lock down and the reception we were supposed to go to tonight to meet the new director has been postponed to next week.  She has been started on Tamiflu.

My task today was to see this show, which actually opened a couple of weeks ago, but I had a full slate and have been unable to review it.  But I guess they really wanted me to review it and even though there are only a few more days for it to run.  I told them I didn't think there was going to be space in the Enterprise to post a review, but I could put one on my review blog, Bitter Hack, and the publicist said that would be fine.

So off I traipsed to Sacramento this morning.  Walt could not come because he was going to what turned out to be an almost all afternoon meeting here in Davis.

The show was being held in the "big theater" at the new complex for the B Street Theater.  B Street (which used to be on B Street, but is now on 27th St.) was founded in 1986 by Timothy and Buck Busfield (yes that Timothy Busfield, formerly of 30 Something and now the president's physician on Designated Survivor...and his brother).  They performed in this little dinky place with two stages, in two different buildings.  The seating, especially in the "children's theater" was very uncomfortable (benches, not chairs).  I don't know how many it sat, but not all that many. 

Well, B Street opened its magnificent new theater, "The Sofia" (The Sofia Tsakopoulos Center for the Performing Arts) and the children's theater is now the "big" theater and seats 386 in very comfortable chairs.  The former "big theater" is now the smaller theater and has a colder atmosphere, but still very posh compared to what they had a before.

When they do one of the shows designed for young people, they also do two shows during the day during the week that are free for school kids.  School buses lined up outside the theater, which was FILLED with school kids from very young to high school age and surprisingly well behaved.

this shows about half or less of the total audience today,

I was eager to see what they were going to do with a 2-person cast for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  I haven't quite figured out yet what I'm going to say about it.  It was strange, but well done for a 60 minute show with only two actors.  I somehow am very glad that I had read the book and so knew the story.  I wonder if the kids were able to follow.

When it was over, I stopped by Mel's diner and had some breakfast/lunch before wending my way through Sacramento and West Sacramento to the freeway.  I don't love the freeway, so I go through town as much as possible and meet up with the actual freeway on the start of the Causeway which links West Sacramento with Davis, over a long wildlife refuge.  This means I don't have to change lanes at all getting home!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Not the Best Day

There were no sparks of happiness yesterday.

They had called me from Atria the day before to tell me there had been two cases of flu in the facility and were concerned about my mother's chest congestion and wanted her tested for the flu.
Kaiser had no appointments available, so her doctor said to have her come in for a nurse visit to have her temperature taken and a flu test done.  Doctors visits are her very worst thing.  She hates them.
I called Atria to let them know that I would pick her up around 1 and when I got to Atria, I called to let them know I was there

I really could hardly believe what I saw when they walked her out.  Her affect was so depressed, so could barely move, she didn't look up, and didn't even see me (though I greeted her) until she was buckled in the car and I was starting the car. 

Our trips to the doctor usually consist of either her commenting on every tree in town alternating with asking me where we are going and what is going to happen there.

Other than pointing ahead to the clear skies and trees and saying "isn't that fog beautiful"...

she didn't say a word.  She sat with her hands in her lap, her head looking straight forward with kind of a glazed look, and she didn't love a single tree.

When we got to Kaiser she couldn't figure out how to get out of the car.  I helped her and she was afraid to step up onto the curb because she couldn't lift her leg that high, so I kind of boosted her up.  When she saw how far away the door was, she said she couldn't walk that far and that her legs were going to buckle.  I got her a chair and went to get a wheelchair for her.  It was difficult getting her into the chair because she couldn't get the idea of how to lift her foot to put it on the footrest.

The nurse visit was unremarkable until she did the flu swab, which is a thin probe that swabs the back of her throat.  She told my mother it was going to be "uncomfortable" but my mother screamed "NO! NO!  DON'T YOU EVER DO THAT TO ME AGAIN!"

Then I wheeled her back to the car and when I lifted the footrest so she could get out of the wheelchair she didn't understand that she should then put her feet on the ground to stand up.

She was afraid to step off the curb and I had to support and encourage her that she wasn't going to fall.

The ride home was the way the ride to Kaiser had been, total silence and total uninterest in anything around her. 

The aide met us at the back door and we got my mother out of the car and she quietly shuffled back into the building, having forgotten I was there.

I got result of her flu test today and it's positive.  Waiting for word from her doctor about what we do now.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Sparks of Happiness

On Sunday, Brianna read her poem at a gathering a local museum.

I love how happy and positive it is.  We should all release sparks of happiness and fill the sky with happiness.  Lord knows we would all be the better for it if we did.

So I decided to look at my life and finds a few "sparks of happiness" that make my life more worthwhile.

* First, of course, is Brianna and the sparks of happiness she brings with her writing, and with her book club and all of the conversations I have with her.  Some of my favorite parts of any visit to Santa Barbara.

* And, of course, her sister is no slouch either.  Lacie is not at a point where our interactions can be the same as mine with Brianna, but my favorite moments with Lacie come when she asks me to read to her, since she and I are such book lovers.

* A current real spark of happiness is Alix, my mother's Alzheimer's buddy.  She is bringing such pleasure to my mother and she seems so intent in finding ways to enrich her life.

* A new spark of happiness is a woman named Ilyse with whom I have become audio buddies.  We participated in a swap called Voice Message, where you have two partners and you make an audio message to send to each.  Through this Ilyse and I seemed to hit it off and we have started exchanging periodic messages.  She's in Virginia and as she is the wife of the minister of 3 churches, I suspect we have a lot of different ideas, but so far I am enjoying getting to know her.

* This time of year is a real spark of happiness which comes from wildflowers.  Poppies have absolutely exploded around here, in people's yards and on public areas. Poppies are my favorite wildflower and I can only smile every time I pass a big mass of poppies.

* This weekend was a real spark of happiness that of the three shows we saw, all were shows I like and none required deep reflection to figure out the hidden meaning.  A bonus was how easily the reviews came when I started writing them.

* It tickles me no end to do "Today in My History" and discover that one year ago yesterday I wrote "The Three Show Weekend" and yesterday I wrote "The Four Show Weekend."  It's a kind of serendipity that makes me smile.

* A real spark of happiness that I experience every night is watching Walt with Polly.  Over the 8 or so years that she has been with us, they have developed a real bond and they have their evening routine, which consists of Polly waiting until we have finished dinner and then she barks to be let out (she hasn't barked at all to this point).  We let her out and she runs out into the yard, barking her head off...she does this every night and we haven't figured out what she is barking at.  When she comes back in, she stands in front of Walt and barks, which means she's ready to call it a night and he gets up, closes the door and gives her a treat while we have our ice cream.  She settles down in her bed until Walt gets up to kiss me goodnight, when she yaps a couple of times so he'll remember to pet her too.  Once he pets her, she goes to sleep.  It's just so darn cute it makes me smile every night.

In days like these when there are often not a lot of positive things, it's good to remember  those sparks of happiness that make life worthwhile.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Is a Puzzlement

Things are "different" somehow at Atria these days.  She is more often than not out of her room, and may have become one of the "wanderers," which means I often find her walking around, which is a good thing, I guess.  As I was signing in yesterday, I saw her kind of shuffling by.  I'm wondering if this is the result of the meds that are keeping her anxiety under control (apparently she is not refusing them any more, which is a relief).

We sat in the entry hall for awhile and then, inexplicably, she got up to look at something on the sign-in table, then walked to the opposite end of the hall and sat down to read.

At some point she looked up and saw me and was surprised to see me there and why didn't I tell her I was coming and it had been so long since she saw me.  Though I know it's pointless, trying to explain to her that we had been sitting together minutes before and that she had left me, because she can't process that much information, but it gives me something to talk with her about.  I moved over to the chair next to her.

I had brought a 100 piece puzzle with me to see if I could get her to work a puzzle.  It took awhile to get her to understand what I was suggesting, but eventually she said that she'd like to work on the puzzle and that she used to work puzzles all the time.

We walked down the long hall to the "den" (what I call the room which has a couch, a TV on a bookcase, and a table that will seat 4 people).  When we got there there was a woman sleeping on the couch, but other than opening her eyes a sliver when we arrived, she went back to sleep.

I set up the puzzle on the table and we were quietly starting to work it when an aide came flying down the hall and into the back room, slamming the door behind her.  The sleeping woman woke up and glared at us and demanded to know why we had broken into her house to work a puzzle.  But she went back to sleep.

She is someone new.  I'm seeing lots of new faces around the memory unit these days, and few familiar faces.  Not sure why.  Suddenly there seem to be lots of empty rooms in the place.  My mother is still alone, since Marge moved out to be closer to her family.  Which is just fine, considering how unpleasant Marge was.

At first, the puzzle totally confused my mother.  She said "just tell me what you want me to do and I'll do it."  So I told her to make sure all the pieces were turned over to the right side, and while doing that she found a couple of pieces that went together and it suddenly seemed like she was starting to remember how to work a puzzle. 

I thought it was going so well when suddenly she looked out into the yard and said she wanted to check on something.  She went out the door...and never came back (getting up and leaving me seems to be becoming a "thing" with her now!)

I waited awhile and then realized the puzzle idea was not going to work, so I packed up what we had done and left the puzzle on the bookcase in case someone else wanted to work it.  I may not try again.  We'll see.

I went down to her room to see if she had found her way there, and she had not, so I took the opportunity to go through her drawers and see if I could find a little scrapbook that her nephew had made for her many years ago...and I did, so I took that out and left it for her to "find."  She always loved looking through that book because it has so many photos of her older siblings.

Finally I decided to just leave and I started walking toward the entry hall and when I got there, turned around and was surprised to see that she was following closely behind me.  I sure don't know where she came from!  She was so pleased to see me because she hasn't seen me in about two years and where had I been?
I told her I was going home and she was very upset.  Couldn't we sit and visit for awhile?  So I sat with her for a few minutes, but really did have to go, so I signaled one of the aides that I was ready to have her open the door for me. By the time I got up and gathered m stuff, my mother was already walking down the hall, totally oblivious that I had ever been there.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Thursday Thirteen

Back in 2011, I participated in Thursday 13, where people post a list of 13 things ... anythings that they could think of.  I did 100 Thursday 13s and the topics were as diverse as:

*Movie quotes
*Guilty Food Pleasures
*Things I remember about China
*Ways to cook "something with chicken in it"
*Favorite Flowers
etc., etc., etc.

Anita of Blue Country Magic has been, as of last week has written 548 lists, the most recent of which was "Things I fear."

It's kind of a fun thing to do, and stretches the brain some weeks.

Since today is 1 day before the 19th anniversary of Paul's death, I thought I would list 13 things about Paul (next month, the 22nd anniversary of David's, I'll do a list about David). Paul was a complicated person and I'm trying to add only the good things (or, in one case, the funny ones).

1.  Paul was the first birth that was induced.  The delivery was easy, but the recovery room was full, so I was left on a gurney in the hall.  I started bleeding heavily and had no way to call a nurse.  They finally found me and got the bleeding stopped, but I had lost so much blood, I fainted twice, first (and last) time I've ever fainted.  Walt knew something must be wrong because it was nearly noon before I called him because I couldn't even think about the long walk down to the pay phone!

2. Before he was born, Paul was very quiet during the day, and most active at night.  As a baby the pattern continued, which was terrible for someone with two toddlers who were active during the day and wanted to sleep at night.  I cannot think of the number of nights I had Paul in a backpack, walking around and around the dining room table, me crying, and him wide awake and so happy to have all this activity.  Was it any surprise that he became a performer, who was most active at night and slept during the day?

3. Seymour was our family dog but toward the end of her life, all the other kids had left home and she became primarily Paul's dog. They had a wonderful bond and it was Paul who had to make the decision to put her down, when she suffered from cancer.  He wanted to go to the vet alone.  I cry thinking about it.

4. Paul hated mayonnaise with a passion, so it was hilarious when he and Ned were making a movie that included a scene of Paul taking a huge spoonful of mayonnaise.

5. Paul once bought me a cheap smiley face necklace for Mother's Day or my birthday or something.  Smiley faces became a joke between us and we exchanged smiley face gifts for several years (one Christmas I gave him a smiley face tie and he gave me a smiley candle the size of a bowling ball).

After he died, the cheap necklace was added to our "necropsy ornaments" that we hang on the tree each ear--dog collars, Seymour's tennis ball, a black leather jacket for David and now the necklace.

6. In the last years of his life, he developed vision problems.  He sometimes could read, other times, the letters made no sense to him.  After he died, a professor friend of his read about symptoms of a particular kind of brain tumor and it matched his symptoms exactly.  He had such fear of any physical problems that it's probably good he never knew it.

7. His first play was in first grade.  He had a tiny part at the very end of the Christmas play, with one line.  He waited through the whole play and then his friend Kag, who was supposed to say the line that was his cue, forgot and skipped over it, and the play ended without Paul making an appearance at all.  He was heartbroken.  (He made up for it later, for sure!)

8. He was lead singer of Lawsuit for 10 years and had such a high school following that he had to park his car on a side street because if the girls, who recognized his orange Pinto (he got the car when my father died) would knock on the door to see if they could see Paul.

9.  After Lawsuit ended he did several monologue shows which were a hit with not only his peers and his family but young and old alike.  The guy knew how to tell a story!  He was planning another show at the time of his death.

10. He loved sushi and whenever Walt was out of town, he and I would meet for a sushi lunch, which is why Walt and I now have sushi on Paul's birthday and the anniversary of his death.

11. One of everyone's favorite stories about Paul was one I wrote in my diary at the time and posted here along with a bunch of other stories.

12. He managed the theater downtown when it was a live theater (now a movie house).  He made a kind of clubhouse upstairs with couch, TV, and food, where he and his friends could meet when there was nothing to do in the theater.  He was responsible for the care of the theater and was very good about safety issues, which is why his death during a rehearsal accident was so crazy.

13. We had a very good relationship and he usually called me at least once a day to chat about something funny or some movie or something else.  I think of how it would have been if we had text messaging then.  The very last conversation we had, the morning that he died, he asked if I thought it was weird that he liked talking to his mother so often.  I told him no, that it just showed we were friends.

I miss him.