Monday, August 20, 2018

Just Like the Old Days

First of all, let me say a big thank you to  Mary Zelle, who frequently comments on Airy Persiflage, for writing to me yesterday morning to let me know that there were Judy Garland movies on TCM.  Turns out it was  Garland marathon, starting with The Clock, which I saw the end of at about 9 a.m., all the way through to Judgement at Nuremberg, which ended at 1 a.m.  With one exception (an Andy Hardy movie) for which we switched over to The History of Comedy, I just sat here with my feet up and wallowed in Judy Garland.  Oddly enough, even A Star is Born, a movie I have seen surely more than 100 times, somehow was like seeing it through new eyes, since I had not watched the whole thing, start to finish, in a long time.  A very good day.  Thanks, Mary!

Walt and I had a great time on Friday night.  We went to view a production of The Gondoliers (Gilbert & Sullivan) at Light Opera Theater of Sacramento (LOTS).  Gondoliers is not one of my favorite G&S operettas, though I like them all, so why was this evening so special?

The theater where LOTS performs is a place where I like to sit in the back row, but there are a lot of stairs to climb to get into the theater, so we chose the "accessible" entrance, which brought us in at the first row, between the orchestra and the audience.

The theater itself reminds me a lot of Presentation Theater, where The Lamplighters performed for all the years I was an active part of the company.  It was a school theater, but one of the best theaters of its size in San Francisco and perfect for the LLs.  

There  was no orchestra pit, but the orchestra was just kind of jammed together at the stage with  a bit of walking space for the audience to get by.  They decided that the two seats behind Gilbert, the conductor, had such limited view of the stage that they never sold them, so whenever I went to the show I sat there, so often that seat became known as "The Bev Seat" (after Gilbert died, they decided to sell them, so the Bev Seat was no more).

The set-up at LOTS is the same, but the musicians put the cases for their instruments on the first row, so I couldn't sit in the Bev Seat, but we chose to sit in the first row, but on the side.  

This put us in the clarinet section of the orchestra, which meant we didn't always get the full blend of the orchestra sound, but instead the clarinet parts overshadowed, which was just great since it gave us a feeling of what it must be like to be Jeri, who would be playing that part if she were there.  It also gave us the chance to hear the clarinet lines, which were often in harmony with the melody that we knew so well.

I was fascinated by the music stand for the two clarinettists.  They seem to have been the only musicians in the orchestra, that I could see, who had them.  They were computerized stands, where it was like the music was on a program and to change the page, they stepped on the pedals on the floor.  An easy no-hands approach! (I don't know what they do if there is a sudden power outage!)
It was a new way to enjoy a familiar show.

I was reviewing it for the Sacramento paper, which limits me to 250 words, but I was so excited about the show, I convinced my editor here to let me review for Davis too, since there was a lot more I wanted to say than I could in 200 words.  Permission came this morning and I look forward to writing it.

It was an excellent production, with great voices, good orchestra, and even a pregnant chorus woman (for real, not for theatrical purposes!).  I don't know why, but the whole experience took me back to Presentation and the shows we saw in the 70s, while the LLs were very good, but had not quite achieved the professionalism that they have now. 

Walt was feeling the same way, apparently, and we talked excitedly all the way home about how much fun it was to see this production, and remembering similar shows in San Francisco 30+ years ago.

My Lamplighter years were very special, and still are very special and so this ability to step back in time, a little, was a lot of fun.

We have another G&S show next week, after not seeing any G&S in awhile.  Next week we are going to Pirates of Penzance, this time by The Lamplighters.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Sunday Stealing

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!
Stolen from Penny Royal Princess
1: 3 FearsBeing permanently disabled
Large semi-trucks on the freeway
Public speaking
2: 3 things I loveMy family
Views of the ocean
3: 4 turns onDungeness crab
Musical theater
4: 4 turns offMost politicians these days especially you know who
Cruelty to humans or animals
Liver or beets 
5: My best friend
6: My favorite bookI don't really know any more, but maybe "Prince of Tides."
7: My best first dateI don't know if it was the best first date, but my first date was at age 13 with a guy I went steady with for 3 years until he became a Jesuit.
8: How tall am I5'6" -- 1-1/2 ft shorter than I used to be
9: What do I missThese guys
10: What time was I bornI don't know.  I couldn't tell time yet.
11: Favorite colorRed--the bluish kind, not the orange-ish kind
12: Do I have a crushNo
13: Favorite quoteOne I use a lot is "I always think there's a band, kid."
14: Favorite placeThese days, there's no place like home.
15: Favorite foodDungeness crab
16: Do I use sarcasmIs the pope Catholic?
17: What am I listening to right nowa Twizzlers commercial
18: First thing I notice in new personI honestly don't know.
19: Eye colorHazel
20: Hair colorsalt and pepper

Saturday, August 18, 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: "It's a Jungle Out There" (Theme from Monk) (2003)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear ithere.
1) This week's song is the theme from the detective show that ran from 2002-2009. Were you a fan?
A huge fan.  I'm still a fan and watch all the marathons.  In fact, I have about 10 of them on my DVR right now!
2) The song warns us about the air we breathe and the water we drink. Does your home have an air or water filter?
No.  But I drink bottled water.
3) The lyrics say, "People say I'm crazy to worry all the time." Are you a worrier? Or do you just take things as they come?
I worry less now than I have in the past.  Now that Ned has taken over my life, I just turn it all over to him.  (Yes, I'm kidding.  Sort of)
4) TV's Adrian Monk is known for his outstanding deductive powers, an homage to Sherlock Holmes. Have you read any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's books featuring Sherlock Holmes?
One or two, maybe.  I was not a huge fan.
5) Monk was also known for fastidiousness and precision, an homage to Hercule Poirot. Have you read any of Agatha Christie's books featuring Poirot?
I don't think so.  I inherited a whole set of all of Agatha Christie's books 30 years ago and don't think I have read any of them.
6) This song was written and performed by Grammy and Emmy winner Randy Newman. Do you have any trophies or plaques?
I won an award for best writing of an original musical in 1999, and I have a plaque for that, but since I didn't strictly speaking do any of the writing, but was more the muse, I never felt I deserved it.
7) Before winning an Oscar in 2001, Mr. Newman had the distinction of having the most nominations (15) without a win. Do you consider yourself a graceful loser?
Well, never having been nominated for awards, I don't have the experience of being a graceful loser!
8) In 2003, when this song was introduced, Lance Armstrong won his fifth Tour de France. Later, he was disgraced in a doping scandal. Can you think of a time when a hero disappointed you?
Other than Armstrong, no.  Well, maybe Barry Bonds.
9) Random question -- We're catering lunch. Should we put you down for a burger or a taco?
Tacos, please.  Extra guacamole.

As an aside to all of this, Adrian Monk was played by the remarkable Tony Shalhoub, who was previously in the TV series Wings.  I was reviewing a play in Sacramento recently (Daddy's Dyin'--Who's Got the Will?) and one of the characters was played by a Deborah Shalhoub.  I came home and looked up Tony Shalhoub's biography and learned he's the second youngest of 10 children born to an immigrant from Lebanon.  And yes, Deborah is his sister.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Continuing Kaiser Woes

Alert the presses.  I did NOT go to Kaiser today.  Walt did.  twice.  But I stayed home.  In fact, I almost didn't get dressed.  Instead I got half dressed.  I kept the t-shirt I wear to bed on, but did change out of pj bottoms and into shorts.

I thought I was finished with Kaiser for the week, but then got an appointment notice that I have an appointment with the neurologist tomorrow afternoon.  He had told me my next appointment would be by telephone at the end of the month--it's on my calendar--but had not mentioned another face to face meeting.  I guess I'm lucky that the reminder came before the day of the appointment!  I am assuming the appointment was because my CK numbers are not going down as everyone thought they would after I quit the Atorvastatin.  But we'll see.  In any event, after a whole day off, I'm back to Kaiser tomorrow.

However, just because I didn't go to Kaiser, doesn't mean I was free.  I decided to take on the web site problem again.  In fact, my temporary password arrived in the mail.  As promised.  Five working days after I'd asked for it (they had told me it would be e-mailed).

FINALLY I could get back on line and I was able to pick up 15 messages, from my doctor and from the various tests I'd had.  I also sent an e-mail to my doctor letting her know that I was finally back on line again.

I changed the temporary password to a new password, which it accepted.

Then, when I completed my business, I logged off.  And to double check that all was right, I logged back on again and was told that I had an invalid password.

Bad words were yelled (good thing Walt and Ned were at Kaiser).

I started the process again and begged the operator to PLEASE give me a temporary password so I could check on the results of my echocardiogram.  She steadfastly refused and I am afraid I yelled at her.  A lot.  And I slammed the phone down (a sensual pleasure denied those who do not have land lines!)

I then called the advice nurse to find out if I could get a message to my doctor.  Bless him, he said he would see that the office got the message.  A human being!  Imagine!  I left a message that I am once again e-mail less.  I had told him that I was upset at not being able to get the results of the ECG.
10 minutes later, the phone rang and it was my doctor's office, letting me know that everything on the ECG looked fine.  I was starting to feel better.

Then I called the cancellation number for the neurologist, hoping to get a real live person to clear up the in-person/phone confusion  I actually did get a real person with almost no hassle and she confirmed that the doctor wants to see me, so off I go to Kaiser tomorrow, after a whole day off.

Ned was here to go to Kaiser with Walt and they had a few hours to kill, so continued on the stripping of everything extraneous in preparation for redoing the house to accommodate my disability (a disability which I have not yet accepted as permanent).

My task was easy -- I was to sit and put my feet up.  I can't quite raise them above my head, but can get them up high with the help of the ottoman Ned bought at a furniture store.  The act of sitting with feet up removed all guilt from me as I watched the two of them doing all this cleaning.  I sat in my chair and watched an old Doris Day / Danny Thomas movie which I remember liking back in the 50s.
I kept my feet up until it was time for them to return to Kaiser and then, knowing that I would not be able to get my legs down from the ottoman without help, I took a break and made myself some lunch and did a little bit of laundry.

Ned had spent yesterday, while we were at Kaiser, folding most of my laundry and it was sitting in a basket.  There was another basket of stuff that had been in the dryer and I had folded that basket last night and managed to get it put away this afternoon.  It was very frustrating that I went to lift the basket to move it closer to the dresser and it was too heavy for me, so I had to walk back and forth, which is good exercise, of course, but just another reminder that my body is being very persnickity these days.

Otherwise all is dull.  Jeri is in Santa Barbara to spend the week end camping with Tom and family and then will fly back to Boston. 

I managed to sleep last night so the combination of the butt cream and figuring out how to sleep on my side in the recliner is making it possible to sleep without pain.

How did my life change so completely in such a short period of time???

However, I forgot to mention my one interesting Kaiser story from my first visit 2 weeks ago.  After my exam, the doctor told the nurse to put some cream on my butt lesion and so she is sitting on the floor unfolding a pad for me to stand on so I don't have to stand in bare feet on the cold floor.  I'm standing there with my butt hanging out waiting for her and she suddenly said "Did you go to see Shrek on Friday?" This is not a nurse I know, but she had apparently been sitting behind us at the theater and recognized me, so we talked about the show and theater in general.  I felt just like my friend Jeri (godmother to my daughter Jeri) who used to run into someone she knew everywhere she went, the topper being that the nurse wheeling her into the delivery room to have her first baby turned out to be someone she went to school with!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Another Two for One

Yes, I'm doing it again.  Things have been so topsy turvy this week it is easier to blend two days together because, in truth, that's how they are starting to seem.

When we last met, we were returning my mother to Atria after our hours at the ER.  She's on meds for her UTI and I hope that will keep her in line for awhile.

My doctor had asked me to come in in the morning for a fasting blood test.  I was cooking dinner at 7 when I realized that if I ate dinner, I would not be fasting in the morning, so my last "meal" of the day was a small bowl of nachos that I made in the early afternoon.  I so rarely skip dinner (or eat only a tiny one) that skipping a meal was not really a big deal.

I can't remember if I took an Advil PM or not.  I hope I did not because I slept pretty well and I'd like to think my body was able to do it without drugs.  I also lowered the head of the recliner as far as it would go which essentially stretched me out flat and that was very good.  My butt sore is just starting to very slightly feel better, so I was able to make it through the night stretched out without a stinging pain waking me up.

I slept so soundly that Walt had to wake me up and within 20 minutes we were in the car on our way to our first trip to Kaiser.  I wanted to get the blood work done right away (also the urine test, since I hadn't been to the bathroom yet!)

Things went smoothly and they were even able to get into vein this time (last time they had to try 3 different spots before they found one willing to give up its precious bodily fluid!)

From Kaiser we went to Black Bear Diner for breakfast.  Walt meets other retirees there one day a month.  There are fewer and fewer of them, as death and disability prevent them from attending.  He says sometime he's the only one there.

This time Ed joined us, fortunately someone I know as well as I know any of Walt's co-workers.  I checked the menu and was tempted by the sausage and biscuits.  I had them for  the very first time when I was in Iowa helping Peach start chemotherapy and I have been thinking about them in the interim years and decided to reward my fasting last night by having them today.

What a disappointment.  The sausages were lukewarm.  Gravy was OK but the biscuits were not in the least flaky, but so chewy you had to cut them with a knife and then so hard I could barely chew the edges. I didn't finish my plate.  If nothing else, it ruined my good memories of Iowa and I won't be tempted again.

From the diner we went back to Kaiser for my nurse appointment.  They were going to check my butt lesion, which is healing.  It has also been photographed for my file.  I'm a butt model!
My doctor stopped by briefly and noted that my edema seems less, which is a good thing.  She did not mention the results of my echocardiogram.

Next we went to the eye department to pick up my new glasses which are exactly the same as my old glasses, except for slightly stronger.

I was ready for a nap when we got home, but Ned was here, ready to go to LaZboy to look at new recliners.  Walt was going off to work for the afternoon.

We found the perfect chair but the salesman wouldn't let me take a nap in it.  However, I bought it and it will be delivered next week.  The one our friends loaned me has been great, but had a few shortcomings.  This one is perfect and answered all of Ned's concerns for what I need.  It will be delivered next week.  Walt has already torn up my old recliner that I've been sitting in for the past 20+ years.  I didn't even get to say goodbye!

Tomorrow I have NO appointments (unless something else goes wrong).  Walt still has 2 doctor appointments and Ned will go with him, but I will stay home and try to get some stuff I haven't had time to do done.

I'm supposed to see the nurse again in 2 weeks and at some point I will have the results of both my electrocardiogram and today's blood work.  But that takes having access to my Kaiser account and my latest call to tech help was as unhelpful as my previously ones have been.  If all goes well I SHOULD get a temporary password tomorrow.  I'm not holding my breath.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Two for One

I had planned to finish today's entry when we got home from Kaiser this morning, but since we didn't get home until after 4 p.m., I decided instead to make it two entries in one!

I also planned to write an article for the newspaper, which is due tomorrow morning and which involves interviewing several people, which I figured I could handle nicely in the afternoon.
If you want to make God laugh, tell her what your plans are!

None of that got done, but it's probably just as well because yesterday, Sunday, was definitely a day of rest.  It started with a full night of sleep.  Be still my heart.  I didn't intentionally binge watch NCIS-LA, but I didn't get hooked on the show until the 3rd or fourth season, and so these 1st and 2nd year shows are new to me and once I got started, I just kept at it.

I was so lazy that I even served Walt leftovers for dinner.  They were delicious leftovers.  I had made an Instant Pot spiced chicken and rice in coconut milk the night before and it served enough for an army.  In fact, there is enough left over for him to eat it again tonight.

So the day passed quietly, with calls from all the kids to check on how Walt and I were.

This morning I was scheduled for an echocardiogram.  The doctor had heard a slight murmur at my exam and wanted to have it checked out.  My appointment was for 10:40 and it say that if you are late, you will be rescheduled, so we made sure we got there early.

The nicest thing about an echocardiogram is that you lie down for it.  on a bed.  The nurse had to bring Walt in from the waiting room to help me get to a lying down position and she had to find a big pillow for my back, but once she got me situated and comfortable, the test could proceed.  They allow 40 minutes for it, depending on how cooperative your heart is, but my heart must have been n its best behavior because she was finished in about 25 minutes.  I was sorry I didn't have my cell phone to videotape the action on the screen.  I will be curious to see what it shows.

They got me up and dressed...

....and I checked my messages and there was one from Atria.  The message was from one of the aids for whom English is not her first language and even when I talked with her on the phone directly, I still didn't get what the problem was but the upshot was that they were sending her to the hospital.  Coincidentally the very hospital where I was sitting.

So Walt and I went from the Echocardiograph lab down to emergency to await the ambulance.  For once, I couldn't explain to her why she was there because I didn't know myself.  The doctor asked me questions about her degree of dementia and there didn't seem to be anything unusual about it.
When I got to the room where she was, they were taking an x-ray with a portable machine.

As they got the equipment off of her, you could see how thrilled she was with the whole thing.

They took her off for a CT scan and took me to what would be her room, where I met JD, the tall handsome nurse who would be dealing with her.  I thought this was great because even when she's out of it, she comes alive around a handsome man and I told him he should flirt with her.  But even JD couldn't make her smile.

While waiting, I was communicating with my editor about the article that needs to be written and how we could still make the deadline, with her writing the bulk of the article and me sending her a few interviews to use

I don't know how long we were there, but hours.  They attached her to lots of cords and that was the bane of my existence.

She hated them and wanted them OFF of her and could not remember for more than half a second that she could not pull them off.  I spent most of the time there trying to get her to leave the damn cords alone. Whenever I explained to her what the cords were for she would say "well, why didn't anybody tell Mel!"

The worst part was when JD had to catheterize her to get a urine sample.  She didn't know what was happening, was furious, cried out several times and said she was going to walk out and go somewhere else and never come back to that place again.  But it was a necessary test and discovered a urinary tract infection, for which she now had medication.  I felt so sorry for her.  It must have felt like she was being raped, being held down by man who was jabbing something into her body.

We were finally able to leave at about 4:30.  She said she had to go to the bathroom, and I'm afraid I gave that chore to JD because I wasn't sure how I was going to handle her, her barely fitting diaper, and my walker in the hospital bathroom.  He didn't look thrilled, but did it.

I thought she would be happy when given the OK to leave, but she is beyond feeling happiness, I fear.

Walt had gone to the pharmacy to get her meds.  I got her dressed and gave her my walker so we could walk outside to meet him  She had been complaining of the cold all day and I thought the heat would feel good on her, but she complained of the heat.

It was an uneventful ride home and she went with the aid who came out to get her without a backward glance to Walt and me.  She had already forgotten we were ever there.

I'm not sure if I'm getting results of her exams, but I'm still fighting Kaiser's technicians trying to get a temporary password so I can get back on line.  I have to have another CK test and I'm supposed to make an appointment with a nurse to check on the sore on my backside, and I'm not sure if I'm supposed to see the doctor after the echocardiogram.  All these things can be handled beautifully by e-mail if they'll just give me my damn password!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Sunday Stealing

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!

Stolen from See the Stars Ablaze
1 - You’re in a tattoo parlor about to get inked. What are you getting done?
I can't imagine getting a tattoo, since I don't like them, but if I did, it would probably be an animal of some kind -- maybe an elephant.
2 - If you could be any character, from any literary work, who would you choose to be?
Oh, Claire Beauchamp Randall Frasier from "Outlander"
3 - You’re given $10,000…under one condition: you cannot keep the money for yourself. Who would you give it to?
$10,000 doesn't go very far, does it?  I'd probably do something grand for my Compassion kids, but that's not even enough to give $1,000 to each of them.
4 - If you had to go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?
Eliminate the Electoral College
5 - If you had to delete one year of your life completely, which would it be?
I'd be hard pressed to choose from the year David died or the year Paul died.
6 - You’re an Action Movie Hero. What’s your weapon of choice and the line you scream when defeating your arch enemy?
Here's where I use "the first thing that comes into my mind: -- the jawbone of an ass and I'd yell "cowabunga."  (Don't ask me where those answers came from!)
7 - What is the first curse word that comes to mind?
8 - Would you rather be stranded on a desert island with someone you love for ten years or someone you hate for a month? Explain why.
Someone I hate.  A month is long enough to have meaningful discussions about why you don't like each other.  Ten years is long enough to grow to hate someone!
9 - 5 things within touching distance:
* A book of Portuguese verbs
* A jar of Spry gum recommended by my dentist
* A small electric fan
* 2 packages of Cholula sauce (from a SwapBot swap)
* A bowl of rolls of washi tape
10 - What are you supposed to be doing right now?
Sitting with my legs up.
11 - Currently wanting to see anyone?
No one in particular.  I'm enjoying hermiting and trying to get my strength back.
12 - Would you go against your moral code for money?
No.  There is nothing I would want to do or buy with money.
13 - What’s more important to you: strength of the body or strength of the mind?
Right now, strength of body, since I seem to have lost it, but if it doesn't come back, definitely strength of the mind.
14 - How important you think education is?
15 - If you were the president, what would you do?
Reverse most things that #45 has done