Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sunday Stealing

1: Favorite style of clothing
2: Do I ever get "good morning" or "good night" texts?
Once in a great while from Jeri.
3: Have I ever kissed the last person I texted?
The last person I texted was our UK visitor Caroline who left today to meet her fianc� and go traveling around California, and no, I have not kissed her (hugged, but not kissed)
4: When did I last hold hands?
With Walt, when he was in the hospital.
5: How long does it take me to get ready in the morning?
Depends on whether I've slept in my clothes or in pjs
6: Have I shaved my legs in the past three days?
No.  Many, many years ago, my legs went "bald" and shaving is not necessary any more.
7: Where am I right now?
Sitting at my desk in my office.
8: Do I have someone of the opposite sex I can tell everything to?
9: How often do I wear a fake smile?
I don't know.  Sometimes, but I'm not aware of it. 
10: When was the last time I hugged someone?
I hugged Caroline when she left this morning.
11: Is there anyone I trust even though I should not?
I don't think so.  I think everyone I trust is trustworthy--at least so far
12: What is something I disliked about today?
I was unable to sleep last night so I am working on no sleep.
13: If I could meet anyone on this earth, who would it be?
The cast of The Big Bang Theory.
14: What do I think about most?
What to write for tomorrow's "Funny the World."  Lately, however, it is the damn Kavanaugh hearings.
15: Do I prefer to be behind the camera or in front of it?
Definitely behind the camera.
16: Do I prefer talking on the phone or video chatting online?
I don't really do much video chatting, so I guess talking on the phone.
17: Do I believe in ghosts? How about aliens?
Yes to both.  I don't necessarily believe there are aliens here, but it's the height of chutzpah to assume that in the vast universe we are the only intelligent beings.
18: Do I believe in magic?
Well, until I saw Shin Lim on America's Got Talent, I assumed it was all trickery, but I think he sold his soul to the devil and has actual magic.
19: Do I believe in luck?
Yes.  I know it's something I definitely do not have that others do.
20: What's the weather like right now?
66 degrees F and sunny.  Very pleasant.
21: What was the last book I've read?
A book called "Only Child," written in the voice of a 6 year old boy about the aftermath of the death of his 9 year old brother in a school shooting.
22: Do I like the smell of gasoline?
Very much.
23: What was the worst injury I've ever had?
I fell off my bike on a charity ride and dislocated my shoulder in 2003.
24: Do I spend money or save it?
Most of my disposable income goes to sponsor children through Compassion, Int'l

25: Can I touch my nose with my tongue?
No...and my granddaughter can't either

Friday, September 28, 2018

High Drama

It was one drama I was very happy I didn't have to review.  All 8 hours of it.

Yes, I watched the whole thing and I have to admit it was riveting, from the very believable, sincere testimony by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, which often moved me to tears, to the very over the top angry testimony by Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who admitted he had not watched Ford's testimony.

The hearings were apparently watched everywhere.  On the subway...

In bars..
In schools...
on airplanes

people watching on their cell phones on the street...

and people like me, glued to the tv screen for the whole 8 hours.

Kavanaugh came on like gangbusters, sniffing and sipping water, seeming to be on the verge of tears.  As the hearing went on, he got more and more angry, using Trump's trick of not answering a question by using up time with extraneous information that had nothing to do with the question asked, but he would not be silenced and each senator who only had 5 minutes allowed for a question had to sit there and listen.

[from Facebook;  I’ve been involved with community theatre for more than 30 years. Never have I seen less convincing crying on stage than that from Kavanaugh sobbing over his calendar.]

He became angry and belligerent when they asked him if he became angry and belligerent when drinking and it was easy to see the true anger that was hidden behind the calm, professional exterior.  When they asked about drinking to excess, he declined to answer.  It was easy to see that he would definitely be a mean drunk.

And then there was Lindsey Graham's unhinged tantrum at the Democrats. ("Boy, you all want power. God, I hope you never get it.")

Do I believe Kavanaugh? Well, I'll tell ya when he lost me.  They asked him about the brief bio his yearbook, which was rife with hints of drinking and sexploits and he explained that they had decided to make the yearbook a joke and load it up with silly stuff.  The man went to a Jesuit school and I can't believe any Jesuit school, especially one as prestigious as his, would allow that.  I was, after all, the editor of Catholic high school yearbook myself.  He also found many, many different ways to not answer whether or not he would accept an FBI investigation.

Will he be confirmed? -- yeah, probably.  The Stepford senators will do the will of their overlord, but the scandal of this hearing today will live with him for the rest of his life and I hope that Dr. Ford takes satisfaction that she has become the Anita Hill of the 21st century and that she has served as a shining example for all survivors who are afraid to come forward.

I do have to laugh, though, at the Repubs sputtering about how the Dems had postponed this confirmation for weeks, those guys who refused to even interview Merrick Garland, for a year and a half.

Thursday, September 27, 2018


Ned was here in the morning to mow the grass and then to go to Home Depot to buy some stuff for the house.  Walt decided to go in a separate car so Ned could head home from Home Depot instead of driving all the way back to Davis.  Walt was very proud of himself that not only did he go to Home Depot but also made a quick stop at Costco too (he bought probably the LEAST amount of thing at Costco as anybody!)

Caroline seems to have had a better day today.  She texted in the afternoon that she would be late, which worked fine because I had planned a slow cooker meal which could stand for a long time and still be hot and fresh when she got home.

I made chili and discovered too late that we were out of onions (which is not a problem for Walt) so I just chopped a lot of garlic and then 3 hours into the cooking, I remembered that I usually add a can of green chilies, so I added that late, but it will had 3 hours to cook, so that worked all right.

We waited till 9 and then ate.  I had been a little too liberal with the chili so I baked biscuits to eat to tame the fire in the mouth, and that worked well.

Caroline got home some time after 9:30.  They had a emergency -- a Great Dane with heart problems -- that had kept her.  She also stopped at the store on the way home.  She had planned to make shortbread last night and asked if I had "corn flour."  I didn't know what that is (turns out it's cornstarch).

Then I couldn't find the sugar.  I haven't a clue where it is.  That's one of the problems with not being in charge of the kitchen any more.  I am not aware of what we are short of and have to try to figure out what needs to be purchased at the store.  One of these days I'm going to have to break down and actually go to the store instead of sending Walt or Ned.

But Caroline decided to go with brown sugar instead of white and got the dough all mixed.  As you can see, she really got into her work!  (She was making the recipe from Paul Hollywood, of the Great British Baking Show)

The nice thing about having her work in the kitchen is watching Polly, who stops barking and watches the activity on the kitchen counters very carefully, hoping for a handout (which Caroline is not liable to do, being a vet and considering Polly a "sausage" already")

Ever hopeful

She got the cookies all cut, baked and then the tips dipped in chocolate, all under Polly's watchful eye.

She finally had some chili for dinner and then, when the cookies were finished, headed off to bed.  I'm glad it was a better day for her -- and definitely glad she got shortbread made!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018


There is no denying that fall is here.  Trader Joe's "Fearless Flyer" arrived and offers the following:

* Pumpkin bread mix
* Pumpkin spice almond beverage
* Pumpkin flavored dog treats
* Pumpkin ginger ice cream
* Pumpkin rolls with spice icing
* Pumpkin cheesecake
* Pumpkin Joe-Joe's (whatever that is!)
* Chocolate Mousse Pumpkins
* Pumpkin pancake & waffle mix
* Vanilla pumpkin candle
* Pumpkin cream cheese
* Petite pumpkin spice cookies
* Pumpkin spice coffee
* Pumpkin ale
* Pumpkin spiced pumpkin seeds
* Organic canned pumpkin
* Organic pumpkin spice granola bark
* Pumpkins

I've been bombarded with other pumpkin recipes from various web site in e-mail and in magazines.  Truth to tell, pumpkin is not my favorite flavor, though I love pumpkin pies and, when I am in the right mood, pumpkin ice cream  I think pumpkin spice coffee would be ghastly!
Of course, when I think of pumpkins, I always think back on our pumpkin pie movies

for the Char and me movie go here:  

and for the movie of the kids go here:


Caroline survived her second day at the vet school.  These are long days, cooped in an air conditioned windowless room and no opportunity to get out and feel the warmth of the sun and enjoy the beautiful weather.

But she has friends in town this time around, so she has been going out every night.  Last night she was meeting them at a club but had some of our dinner first.  It was my last Home Chef meal for awhile and it not only fed the 3 of us, but there are leftovers.  Then she went off to deVere's and had chicken sliders.  Fortunately she likes to walk so the mile and a half walk home helped her settle all that food.

Having her here has proved one thing--I really can sleep through anything.  Both Tuesday and Wednesday, I slept through her fixing and eating her breakfast, fixing her lunch, and then leaving, all with the accompaniment of periodic barking of Polly.  I slept through it all, though only a few feet from where all the activity was going on.

Ned and I went to Kaiser yesterday for my next blood test.  Things really are getting easier.  I can 90% of the time get my left leg in the car and it is getting easier to get or almost get the right leg in too.  It gives me hope that I will one day be able to drive again.

I had the usual blood drawn for the Creatine Kinase test.  Remember that the target goal is less than 200 m/l. I started at 1600 m/l and have slowly gone down and down to 912 at the last test. I was thrilled that the results, which I picked up at 5 a.m. were 814. I had an email from my neurologist, who was very pleased.

In the midst of all this, Atria reminds me that my mother is due for her annual exam and sent me the paperwork that her doctor needs to fill out.  Just what I need -- another reason to go to Kaiser.
I have also developed this wart on my nose, right where my glasses hit the bridge of my nose.  Every time I feel it, I get the image of how kids may view me

Ned and Walt are encouraging me to get it removed, but to tell you the truth, the thought of yet another minor condition is just more than I can think of at the moment.  It will be there until I'm ready to deal with it.  Or it will go away, which will be even better, though highly unlikely.

Maybe I'll try a pumpkin facial.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Revisionist HIstory

Remember the "trail of tears," that series of forced relocations of some 100,000 Native American peoples from their ancestral homelands, to areas that had been designated as Indian Territory.  You might have heard about it (or not). They were not allowed time to gather their belongings, and as they left, whites looted their homes. Then began the march known as the Trail of Tears, in which 4,000 Cherokee people died of cold, hunger, and disease on their way to the western lands.

Wanna know how that is now "discussed" in new Canadian history textbooks?  This is from a 3rd grade history book.

The textbook, which was apparently supposed to teach third graders about Canadian history, presented a stunningly whitewashed interpretation of European colonialism. Following searing indignation across social media, a Canadian publisher will recall a textbook that rather obliquely claimed First Nations and Indigenous people happily “agreed to” move for European settlers.

While there is an understandable need to phrase potentially complex historical concepts, this revisionist history is simply inaccurate — and perpetuates a narrative of white charitable conquest. There are certainly other ways to explain how European settlers unjustly stole land from people who were there first at a third grade-level. If a third-grader can understand “moving out,” surely they can also understand “forced from their homes.”

Amid all the comedy going on in Washington these days, we sometimes forget there there are other serious concerns across this country, such as the attempt to erase the history of the Native Americans.  If you are the parent of a young child in grammar school, you might want to check your child's history text to see how the Native Americans are discussed in this country.

Caroline went off to her first day at the vet school yesterday morning.  I made sure to put coffee on delayed start before I went to bed so she would wake up to hot coffee, whether I was awake or not.  I was sort of awake when she was making her lunch, but I never stirred when she was having breakfast and fixing her lunch today.  If Polly barked at her, as she usually does when she comes downstairs, I didn't hear her at all.  She was gone half an hour before I woke up.   I keep assuring people that they don't need to worry about being quiet if I am sleeping because they won't wake me up.

When I am sleeping on the living room couch at Alice Nan's when we are in Santa Barbara, everyone can carry on a conversation, including laughing a lot, and I never hear them.

I once went to Lake Tahoe as babysitter for neighbors for whom I regularly babysat.  The parents would go off to gamble after dinner and I would put the kids to bed and then stay up until the parents got home.  At least that's what I did the first night.

They felt sorry that I had stayed awake waiting for them to come home and assured me it would be OK if I went to sleep.

So I did.

It just happened that they forgot their keys that night and tried knocking, standing under  the bedroom window (on the 2nd floor) and calling me, tossing pebbles at the window, and finally getting a ladder to climb up, open the window, climb over my body asleep under the window, wake both kids, put them back to bed.  I never woke up.

In the morning we agreed that I should sit up an wait for them to come home after their visit to the clubs that!

I sleep so soundly it's amazing how often I have insomnia.  It's definitely not NOISE that keeps me awake!  In fact, I keep the TV on low all night and it wakes me up if Walt decides to turn it off.

But Caroline seems to have no problems with sleep.  Last night, after dinner she went out for a long walk because she spent the whole day in a windowless room and she needed to be out in the air.

We're trying to figure out a good place for her to go hiking with fiancé Tim after he arrives on Friday.  We're pushing for Mt. Tamalpais, because of the reward of the beautiful views of San Francisco from the top.  She's a great hiker and most of her Instagram photos are taken of views from the top of some mountain or other.

Today is Tuesday.  She just got here but it's almost time for her to go already!

Monday, September 24, 2018

She's baack

You may remember that a year or so ago, Caroline from Guernsey, daughter of Jane, who stayed with us about 30 years ago, came to spend a couple of weeks here while attending a course at the university.  She is a veterinarian in the UK and was taking a more in depth cardiac study here.

We so enjoyed her time with us and she became good friends of both dogs.

Peripatetic Caroline has been all over the world, it seems, since she left us.  I've been following her photos on Instagram and enjoyed hearing first hand of her experiences in Tanzania.

A few weeks ago, she wrote to say she was coming back for another week at UCD and to ask if she could stay with us again.  I knew we were facing Walt's surgery the same week, and there is my whatever-it-is, so we would not be able to do anything with her, but I also knew that she was a delightful, independent, undemanding guest who was already familiar with things here and told her about what she would encounter (including a non-usable shower, since "her" bathroom leaks), but she was not fazed.  I also told her we would not be able to go to SF to pick her up at the airport, but her fiance Tim is flying in in a week and the two of them are going to tour California before returning to the UK, so she rented a car when she arrived

It's so nice to see her again, jet lag and all.  Even Polly seems to remember her.  She barks, but like she barks at Ned and as soon as Caroline sits down she presents her self for petting.

She now has friends in Davis from when she was here before, so she went out the first night after dinner to get together with some friends, then collapsed into bed for a long recovery sleep.

In the morning we Skyped with her parents, and it was nice to chat with them again too.

In the afternoon she ran some errands, bought some groceries, and checked out where she could park her car at the university.

Then she spent some time reading scientific material she needed to catch up on before classes started this morning.

She went off in the afternoon to meet friends for drinks and then for dinner and home later than anticipated.  She texted me to ask if I would open the door -- I didn't realize she was standing outside the door (Walt had inadvertently locked it). 

The day ended well and now she is back at the University for her first day.  Her time here will be short, but it's so nice to have her here again, even briefly.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Sunday Stealing

1 When was the last time you tried something new?
My son made "crack chicken" for us this week. It was delicious.

2 Who do you sometimes compare yourself to?
These days, with all of my memory lapses, my mother and her dementia.

3 What’s the most sensible thing you’ve ever heard someone say?
"never go to the foot when the head can be had."  It was something my godfatheralwas said, which means don't go to an underline for help when the big guy is there.

4 What gets you excited about life?
Nature.  Happy kids.  My mother's rare good day.  Having my kids visit.

5 What life lesson did you learn the hard way?
Nothing lasts forever.

6 What do you wish you spent more time doing five years ago?
I think I'm pretty much doing today what I did five years ago, so nothing

7 Do you ask enough questions or do you settle for what you know?
Depends on the subject.  I am very inquisitive about some things, could care less about others.

8 Who do you love and what are you doing about it?
My family...and trying to make quality time when I am with them.

9 What’s a belief that you hold with which many people disagree?
Trump is a very bad president (fortunately most of the people I know personally agree with me)

10 What can you do today that you were not capable of a year ago?
Absolutely nothing.  With this weakness that has taken hold of me, I can't do an awful lot of what I could do a year ago.

11 Do you think crying is a sign of weakness or strength?
Neither.  I think it's a sign of being moved emotionally by something.

12 What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

13 Do you celebrate the things you do have?
Celebrate?  How oddI can't imagine celebrating "things"

14 What is the difference between living and existing?
I am living; my mother is existing, though she is not ready to leave this life.

15 If not now, then when?
When the time is right, I guess.

16 Have you done anything lately worth remembering?
Good lord...this whole month, with its many, many trips to Kaiser for me or for Walt is memorable.  Whether it's worth remembering is another story.

17 What does your joy look like today?
A new book and time to read it.

18 Is it possible to lie without saying a word?
Sure!  Just watch anything from Washington these days and see the liars at their best.

19 If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow this person to be your friend?
I dunno.  I'm pretty lenient with myself.

20 Which activities make you lose track of time?
Writing Funny the World, watching TV, making Swap Bot Journals.

21 If you had to teach something, what would you teach?
The history of the first 35 years of The Lamplighters Theatre Company

22 What would you regret not fully doing, being or having in your life?
This kind of like a bucket list question and I have often thought about what I would want in my bucket list at this stage of my life and realize that I never had high expectations, but have achieved most of  the things I wanted to do, except for a couple of trips that I am now not physically able to make.

23 Are you holding onto something that you need to let go of?
Oh heck...I hold on to everything.

24 When you are 80-years-old, what will matter to you the most?
That's 4-1/2 years from now.
My kids and grandkids will matter the most (I am assuming my mother is not going to live to 105)

25 When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards and just do what you know is right?
When you know that it's right, I guess!

Friday, September 21, 2018

A Good Day

Ned took me to -- where else? -- Kaiser yesterday for my weekly butt check. 

The results are good.  They have been measuring the wound and last week it was .6 whatevers and this week it is .5 whatevers.  So it is shrinking.

They did a consult with the nurse practitioner about whether to put silver nitrate on it again, or not, to speed the healing.  I said that my preference would be no, but if they thought they should, fine (the thing stings something fierce).  The NP decided that since it's not hurting as much and continues to shrink, they won't

They asked if I wanted to come back next week and I said no, but would make an appointment if it seems necessary

So my butt is so much better, I may not need medical assistance any more, after only 2-1/2 months.
When I left, I told the nurse that the next time I saw her would be probably next week when I came back for a flu shot, which they are supposed to start giving next week.  She pointed to another nurse, just outside the door and said I could get it today, that they had started giving it a week early, so I got my flu shot and I'm now all good to go.

Walt is walking slowly, sleeping a lot, and sitting gingerly, but he's definitely getting better too.
It was a good day!

Ned finished cleaning the guest bedroom for Caroline, who arrives tomorrow night, he went shopping, got a crock pot dinner going for us, and headed back home after 3 days here.  He will be back today to take me to visit my mother and to wash the kitchen floor.  Whadda guy!

Yesterday was also Lacie's 7th birthday.

and we made a video birthday song to text to her.

Ned and Marta finished their birthday video for her.  Ned started making a video a year for Brianna and made the last one on her 10th birthday (he told her it would be the last one), but they needed to find something to do for Lacie and so they started making a puppet show a year for her.  She has 3 more to look forward to.

She is all excited because she got a new bike for her birthday.

We also bought a bike helmet for her American Girl doll, which was on her wish list.

And so the day passed more or less uneventfully, but happily.  A good day

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Out talented kid

All our kids are talented, of course, all in various ways (Ned is currently showing amazing talent in "taking care of mom and dad").  But occasionally one shines briefly, and yesterday it was Jeri's turn.
Every year for at least the past five years, Jeri and her friend pianist David McGrory have given a concert at Berklee.  I can't remember if in the past Jeri has only played the clarinet or not.  I know that it's a mix of music by other composers, and music that Jeri has written herself.

This year she decided to use all of her instruments -- saxophone, flute and clarinet.

She had written some of the pieces, including "Song for Lacie" (Lacie will turn 7 today and this was her birthday present), in which she played all three instruments, sometimes hanging the saxophone around her neck while she played another instrument.

For the past five years, they have had the same woman turning pages for David.  Jeri told me she's actually an accomplished flautist herself so Jeri wrote a piece that is a duet for the two of them and in its she left gaps so that the woman could turn around and turn David's page.  Very clever.

In the end they all took a happy bow for a concert well played.

The concert is streamed on the Berklee web site so if you are curious about how it all went, you should be able to see it here:

It's always so nice to have talented children ... that they are all also nice, caring people is just the frosting on the cake.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018 last Finished

Walt is now hernia-less and moving gingerly, but has survived the long nervously awaited ordeal and is on the road to recovery.

It was a long day.  Things medical do not move quickly!  He was told to be there by 8:30.  Ned arrived here around 7 and we packed up to head to Vacaville.  Norm and Alice Nan were waiting for us in the ambulatory surgery waiting room when we arrived  She had driven up to Santa Barbara to Norm's house in Petaluma and the two of the had driven up together.

Walt checked in and we sat down to wait to be called.  Walt read over the instructions they gave him.

An hour or so later, they called him back, told us they'd do the prep, which would take about half an hour, and then we could go back and be with him. 

They have this very efficient method of keeping track of your loved one.  Each patient is given a number and the numbers are displayed along with the matching color.  The color tells you were they are in the process.  At any time you can check to see what is going on, but at the same time, nobody's privacy is being violated.  And at the same time it keeps the staff from being bombarded with questions.

We were in the "Patient in the pre-op holding area" for an inordinately long time.

It was actually more like 45 minutes before they let us in, 2 at a time.  And we sat chatting with Walt and texting with the ones who were still in the waiting room.  At one point I texted to Alice Nan that we needed her because we were running out of topics of conversation (something she never does).

It took forever before they finally took him into the operating area and the doctor told us it would be about an hour before the surgery was finished and another half an hour in the recovery room before they would call us to come and be with him again.  We went off to lunch at the Black Oak diner, which we have passed by on the freeway for literally 45 years or more and had never visited.  Our lunch was just arriving when the doctor called to let us know that surgery had gone well, and we were on our way back to Kaiser when the nurses called to say he was ready for visitors.

We found him not the least groggy and sitting up watching TV.

Other than incisional pain he seemed to be just fine, though Alice Nan was very solicitous.

Again, it took an inordinately long time before they were ready to release him, while Ned ran off to the pharmacy to get his prescription filled.  Then we went to get the car(s) while the nurses got him in a wheelchair to meet us downstairs.

We were working on a sort of time line.  Jeri's concert at Berklee was being streamed at 4 p.m. and though it would also be archived so we could see it later, we were hoping to catch it live.  We got home at 3:30 and Ned tried to get the concert on our smart TV, but our smart TV, working with only wifi, was dumb and though he could get the page, he never could get the concert to come on.  I could get it on my computer, but my speakers have not worked in years, so I have to use earphones and thus could not share at least the sound with them.  But I loved it and will write about it tomorrow.  The others were watching it on Norm's TV in Petaluma.

Ned cooked dinner for us before Jeopardy came on and then our wonderful friend Nancianne stopped by with dinner as well.  We watched America's Got Talent and then Ned and Walt went off to sleep after a long day.  Ned expected to be up early, though I have been awake since 4, it's now 7 and still no sign of him.  I'm not surprised he was exhausted after his long day taking care of both of his parents yesterday!