Friday, November 30, 2018

Wasting Time on the Internet

Remember those good old internet days of yore when there was something called "customer service."  There was a button and a link and it took you to a phone number, or an e-mail where you could actually contact a real person.

Now it takes you to a list of possible problems to click on and then a list of possible solutions, none of which, of course, fit YOUR specific problem.

If you search very thoroughly, you might be able to find a link to a chat room, hidden away at the bottom of the page, which, after a long time, I finally found on Amazon.

My problem was that my meat thermometer battery died and Walt, having gone out to look for a replacement for this non-common battery, decided it would be easier to just buy a new thermometer.  So I ordered a new one, going for the cheapest ($10).

I was delighted when it arrived today, only to discover that apparently THIS one also had a dead battery (same kind as the previous thermometer) as well.  That will teach me to buy cheap.

So I started out trying to find SOMEONE to complain to.  As I said, I eventually found a place where I could chat with, as it turned out, someone named Chandramani.  Here is a sample of our conversation:
CHANDRAMANI: How may I help you with this order?
Me: I ordered this because the battery in my old thermometer died and we could not find another. This one arrives using the same battery -- and it appears to be dead too. I need either a new thermometer with a working battery....or a working battery!
CHANDRAMANI: I understand that battery of the thermometer were died [sic]
Me: yes.
CHANDRAMANI: And to find the solution of this, you ordered this order which you have given.  I do understand that the thermometer which arrived is also not working. I apologize for the inconvenience.
All of this took a long while, but eventually Chandramani said a new one had been ordered and I would receive it.  No request that I return the non-functioning thermometer.

In the meantime, I had started downloading 2 books from Audible and when the first was downloaded, I moved it to my iTunes library, as I have done for many years and it said that the book could not be loaded onto my iPod because it was not compatible with the device  The same device I have been downloading to for many years.

So I went searching for customer service THERE.  It was a little easier and I eventally connected with customer service, but the person I connected with could not help me so passed my complaint along to her supervisor.  I explained that I had six credits and was trying to finally download a few books.

The supervisor asked if I could download music, which I have not done in years.  she asked me to download one song and when I tried to do that, iTunes told me that my iPod was corrupt.  Which may explain the problem

I had the account put on hold for 3 months so I'm not paying for essentially nothing and went to check out the price of new iPods, wondering how, if possible, I can transfer over the hundreds of files (books and music) that are on the now corrupt device.

In the meantime, I went to look at the thermometer again and discovered something I had not seen before -- a little plastic strip which covered the battery and when I removed that, the thing worked just fine.

Scruples tell me I should cancel the order for another one, but it's just too complicated and since the thing only cost $10, I decided it would not kill Amazon to send it anyway, and I'll keep it as a back-up thermometer.

But I don't know what to do about the iPod.  I could try to transfer a book onto my iPhone, but of course the iPhone does not have an ISB connector slot, so I had to order one.  I don't know if that will work after I get it. 

[Later:  As I was proofreading this I looked over at my phone, which is always connected to my computer through an ISB connection.  It seems to download books to the phone just fine.  Sigh.  I'm so stupid.]

I love my gadgets but I'm such an old poop that I don't keep up with advances because I have no need of them, but when something doesn't work the way it has for many years, I'm up a creek because I don't know what to do and it turns out that the upgrade is expensive and gives me tons of options I have no use for!

But everyone needs a hobby and I guess mine has become "wasting time on the internet."  All this essentially took all afternoon, and in the end, none of it was necessary if i had thought about it more.

Thursday, November 29, 2018


My Creatnine number last time, two weeks ago, was 495. which I was thrilled about.  But this week was even better:  253!  Normal is less than 200, so I should be within the normal range next week.  My never-loquacious doctor sent a notice:  "numbers are looking good."  Which answers none of my questions like -- do I keep having regular blood tests? 

I may have said this before, but I never realized how bad I was feeling for how long until I started to feel normal again!

Ned was here in the morning and we visited with Walt, talking about his upcoming surgery.  Then Ned took me to Kaiser for my blood test, then to Atria to visit with my mother.  She was in good spirits, making no sense, but in good spirits.  Tony came into the room where we were sitting and she didn't remember him, though "thought she had something with him."  I guess he is a thing of the past now that she has Max.

After we left, we went to the supermarket again.  Walt told Ned not to let me spend $250 again, but it wasn't necessary since I had bought all the tings we were out of the last time I went.  I have to admit that thrill of that "first time back in the store" feeling was gone, but it was nice to be able to decide on the fly what sort of things I wanted to buy.

Ned, bless him, put away all the groceries for me.  He's soon going to realize that now that my numbers are getting back to normal, I really can do all that stuff for myself.  I don't want to take advantage of his good nature for too long.

I keep looking at the walker and feeling guilty that I still use it.  But then I think of my friend Jeri, who also uses a walker "because I keep falling."  For the most part, I no longer use the walker in the house, except first thing in the morning when I need to get my legs working again.  But I take it when we go out.  I still feel uncertain when we are in crowds, and since I've fallen stepping UP, I am nervous stepping up onto a curb and there are other times when I am glad I have it (I walk better down the long Atria corridor, for example, without weaving back and forth).  So I guess I'm better with it, though I may try going with a cane again when we go to see "Waitress" in December because that theater is so difficult to maneuver with a walker.  Cane and bannister should get me there.  I hope.

We are looking for the arrival of Jeri, who flies in from Boston tomorrow night.  She has a plane change in Minneapolis, though, and the weather throughout the middle part of the country has been iffy, so I worry that she might be affected by storms, which would be terrible since she is only here until Monday.  

My mother actually remembered who Jeri is and seemed pleased that she would be here.  As it happened, Jeri called Ned while we were visiting with my mother and so he let her talk with Jeri.  She always lights up when she has Jeri on the line, though it doesn't look like it here.

In the afternoon, I pretty much finished my Christmas shopping, all on line this year due to not driving.  I got mostly books for Brianna, one more than I had intended because I forgot I had ordered it.  Now I have to early wrap gifts because Jeri will be here for "Christmas" this weekend and Tom will be here with the family the week before Christmas.  Maybe I'll cook turkey three times.  No.  Probably not.

mini rant:  Lately I have heard far too many people using 'less' where they should use 'fewer."  In fact, I don't think anybody ever uses "fewer."  "There are less Christmas trees this year"  It's sometimes frustrating to be a grammar nerd.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

flipping tables

Last night's Late Night with Stephen Colbert was exceptional.

Colbert is on his Thanksgiving vacation and has had several intereting ways to fill the time slot, rather than just run old shows.  Last night the tables were flipped.  In segments filmed before he left, he has had friends of his come on and interview him, primarily Jon Stewart and Neil deGrasse Tyson (shorter segments with others)

I always love it when Stewart comes out of hiding and appears with Colbert briefly.  He has done it a couple of times when the actions of the current president just forced him to comment.
But last night was different.  The whole show, which I suspect were taped segments at the end of regular shows, given that his suit and shoes changed each time, was Colbert sitting the hot seat while friends interviewed him about his life.

And it was fascinating.

One of the thing I have loved to do all of my life is to sit quietly and listen to intelligent people talk with each other, especially when they discuss something that I know something about.  I don't want to participate necessarily, but I just revel in listening to them talk.

We don't have them any more, but for several years we went to a New Year's Eve party with a bunch of theater people and two guys, one a specialist in musical theater and the other in movies, but really both know lots and lots about both topics.  I loved sitting and listening to these two talk about show business.  (Both were also actors) 

But the hostess of these annual parties decided not to give them any more and one of the guys moved away, so I have not had the chance to just sit and listen to the two of them in about three years now, and I miss it.

But last night was like that.  These two highly intelligent men, both performers, both with a long history together and just chatting.  It was like they forgot there was an adience there for periods of time.

At one point they were discussing their favorite character in the Old Testament ("or as you call it, the Bible," Catholic Colbert said to the Jewish Stewart).  Stewart had the best answer.  His favorite character is Isaac because while Abraham got all the glory, Isaac was the one who did all the work leading the Jews out of Egypt.  On top of that, Abraham once took Isaac up on a mountain to kill him, at God's command, but God stopped him at the last minute, leaving Isaac with a lifetime of knowing his father was going to kill him.  The dysfunctional family that resulted was the start of Judaism.

The other lengthy interview was by Neil Degrasse Tyson with whom, Colbert has said before, he has become friends.

Tyson is not as skilled an interviewer as Stewart, but still it was a case of two intelligent friends talking together and I loved it.

There were a couple of other snippet interviews, but these two were the meat and potatoes for me.   If you are into Colbert, or Stewart, or intelligent chatter between friends, I encourage you to find it on the internet and watch it.

The word "trump" was said very little, and mostly in passing from the days before #45 ever dreamed of becoming president and was "just a normal guy" (if he ever was a normal guy).

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Christmas in San Francisco

Someone posted a picture of the City of Paris Christmas tree and it got me all nostalgic for the Christmases of my youth.

The City of Paris was a big department store on Union Square, one I always thought of as "the fanciest" department store.  We couldn't afford it, so we shopped at the Emporium or Macy*s.

But we always visited the City of Paris at Christmas time.  The big open rotunda was filled with a 3-story tall Christmas tree that was lavishly decorated.  You could spend an hour just staring at all the things that were hung on that tree.

It was where our downtown adventure started each year.  Sadly, the store closed and was torn down in 1980, to be replaced 2 years later by Neiman Marcus, which also has a kind of Christmas tree each year, but nothing like what I remember from my childhood.

(One thing I loved about the City of Paris, in my teen age years, was that I was studying French and they had a French bookstore in the basement--or maybe it was a regular book store which also sold books in French.  They also had a restaurant with the best creamed spinach I have ever had!)

When I was growing up, you "dressed up" to go downtown.  That meant, for little kids, patent leather shoes, our best dresses, and gloves (oh how I hated gloves!)  When I got older, the patent leather shoes were replaced with high heels.  You rarely see people dressed up downtown any more.  Jeans and t-shirts are just fine.

But as a kid, we loved looking at all the holiday decorations, but especially the fancy windows at the Emporium, on Market Street.

The other stores, like Macy*s also had decorated windows, but none as elaborate as the Emporium, which had a different theme each year and lots of moveable pieces.

After we had our fill of the windows, we went up to the third floor to see Santa.  I always think of those trips when watching the Davis Sedaris comedy, "Santaland Diaries," in which he was hired to play an elf guiding little kids like me into seeing Santa.  I remember that there was a zig-zag line and Sedaris  talks about "vomit corner" where kids who got progressively more nervous to meet The Man Himself, finally relieved themselves.  I don't think I ever vomited, but I had the largest butterflies ever waiting to see Santa.

And then when you had finally let him know what your Christmas wishes, you exited onto the Roof Rides.  It was an actual carnival n the roof, some 3-4 stories off the ground.  There was a train....

...and a merry go round, a long slide and other carnival rides.  But the one I remember most vividly was the Ferris wheel.

It always did make me nervous to go up in any Ferris wheel, but when you reached the top of this one and looked down, you weren't looking down on the merry go round or the train, you were looking four stories down to the street!  That's enough to need a "vomit corner" right there.

The Emporium closed in 1995 and there are no more roof rides and the stores in downtown now may decorate for Christmas (I think Macy*s fills its windows with adoptable animals from the SPCA) but I'm so glad I grew up in the hey day of over the top Christmas decorations in San Francisco.

Monday, November 26, 2018

All Cried Out

It was nice to be able to get up the morning after Thanksgiving and have pumpkin pie for breakfast...the one thing I was afraid I'd miss about not hosting the dinner, but since I had made the pie myself, Walt and I had a whole pie to share.  What with breakfast, snack and dinner dessert, we polished that sucker off, just the two of us.

I had slept until nearly 9 and by the time I got Funny the World posted, it was after 11.  I had decided that my plan for the day was to read Brianna's choice for our next book club selection, "Bridge to Terabithia" by Katherine Paterson.

It was a book I knew nothing about.  I remembered vaguely hearing the title, but didn't even know it was a young adult book.

Well, I should have known to stock a supply of Kleenex before reading it.  It was a lovely book with a huge sadness toward the end, though the sadness resulted in a beautiful ending, but there was a lot of Kleenex crumpled before the end of the book.

After reading the book, I had to see the movie, which was available on Netflix.  It was a good movie, but not nearly as good as the book.  It was all "Disney-fied" with real CGI creatures creating a magical world that in the book existed only in the imagination of the two children involved.  It was better leaving them in the imagination.

It was a quiet Sunday.  You would have thought that I lazed about forever, since I didn't wake up until 9:30, after Walt had returned from Mass.  But the truth was that I hadn't gone to sleep until around 5 a.m. so really I only had 4 hours of sleep....and then a nice long nap in the afternoon.

A few months back, I thought I was being very clever, recording Pride and Prejudice, the one movie guaranteed to put me to sleep. I remembered that while trying unsuccessfully to go to sleep and put the movie on, convinced I would be asleep in minutes

However, it turned out to be Pride and Prejudice and vampires and started with Darcey riding up to a mansion on a horse sword swinging and the after giving his name as "Darcey" let into a tube that he had to climb down.

I decided this would not put me to sleep!

OK.  So let's go with another classic.  I had also recorded Jane Eyre, though that was a book that I did enjoy,  But old and white... etc.  Surely this would put me to sleep, but no, Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles were so good that I was hooked on it.

I think around 4, I finally found a news program and that put me to sleep.  Trump had not yet tweeted about giving permission for his border troops to fire on the asylum seekers and OK with tear gassing little kids.  That probably would have kept me up all night.

Saturday night, I watched 60 Minutes about the thousands of kids still held by the government and the mess that whole thing has been (and now he is threatening to do it again).

Within half an hour of the program's ending, Trump had tweeted that it was all Fake news and that nothing like that had happened, though the interviewees were those who were involved with it in the first place.  Trump insists he's just following the procedure that Obama put in place, but Obama never separated families and always deported parents with their children.

What a mess.  And what can be done about it?  Nothing.

Today Putin is smugly celebrating the fall of the United States as number one power in the world.  Sadly, he's right.  We are the laughing stock of the world and our president, who for Thanksgiving said he was thankful for himself, has lost all the good will we have built up through many presidents, both Republican and Democrat.

I can hardly wait for Time magazine to come out with their person of the year.  Trump says he can't imagine anybody else they could name but him.  If they do, I am finished with that magazine!  But I suspect it is more likely to be the Parkland Kids.

Ned got down a photo album from 1977, trying to see if he could figure out what he got for Christmas that year.  In looking through it, though, I cam across this photo, which is 7 year old Tom paying little league.

I am sure I have photos of both Brianna and Lacie that look like that, so I scanned the photo an sent it to each of them.

Sunday, November 25, 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!
These are lifted from hooked on memes, which seems to have disappeared since I stole it!
1. How many states have you been in?
I can't remember, but most of them.  We seem to be missing a swath down the middle and some southern states.

2. If a sexist Man is called a pig, what is a sexist Woman called?
Pandora has the best answer:  "discriminating."

3. You see the one person who you absolutely despise. If you were guarentee'd that he/she couldn't say or do anything back to you.... What would you do??
Fantasize about what I'd like to do, but do nothing since I'm not that kind of person (I'm only that kind of person mentally)

4. How many states are to the right of you? And don’t give us a map to look at.
If I'm staring at a map, 46 of them!
5. You can go anywhere in the world for free. Where are you?
A photo safari somewhere in Africa.

I hope it's not the middle one.

7. Are you a boxing fan?
Good lord, no.  My father was a huge boxing fan, mostly the heavyweights (and my great uncle was a featherweight champion), so I know more than I would ordinarily know about boxing since I grew up with it, but I am no fan.

8. What is the most disgusting thing you have ever eaten?

9. Is it cloudy right now?
I can see blue in the sky which means that not only is it not cloudy, but the recent rains have cleaned up the unhealthy smoke from the big fires here in California (a friend of ours got pneumonia with sepsis and had to be hospitalized for 3 days from the smoke--she's still bedridden, but at home).

10. Someone gives you a $500 gift card to WalMart or Target. What are you going to buy?
Well, it won't be at WalMart, and $500 won't go all that far, but I'd probably use it for Christmas shopping, if only I could drive to get there!

11. When you were little, what did you want to be "when you grow up"? And, how much different is your occupation now from where you thought it would be when you were younger?
I wanted to be a nun, a nurse, and a secretary.  I also wanted to be a Mom, and I did get to be a Mom....and worked many years as a secretary.

12. What was your favorite toy as a child?
I can't think of a toy, but I was a big game person and loved to play Monopoly or to work jigsaw puzzles.

13. What is the last place you had a good cry and why?
Yesterday.  I read "Bridge to Terabithia" for my next assignment from my 10 year old granddaughter.  I probably sobbed through the last 1/3 of it!

14. Which Sesame Street Character do you relate with the most and why?
Miss Piggy because I, too, am zaftig and gorgeous.  Or maybe the cookie monster.

15. Did you ever make what you believed at the time to be a horrible mistake - that in hindsight turned out to lead you on the best path in your life?
I can think of a couple of bad decisions that turned out to be the best I'd made, in retrospect.

16. What’s your favorite show to watch on television nowadays?
Outlander (it's on TONIGHT!)

17. Do you believe there is life after death?
There had better be or I'm going to be pissed.  I've been waiting decades to "ground" my 2 sons for all eternity for the dumb things they did that got themselves killed (but maybe I'll just hug them instead).

Saturday, November 24, 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: Black Magic Woman (1970)

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

 1) Black is this week's signature color because Friday, November 23, was "Black Friday," when retailers cut their prices and consumers flock to the stores. Did you score any "Black Friday" bargains?
I stay away from stores on Black Friday like the plague.  The last thing in the world I want to do is fight with 1,000 other people for something I probably don't need anyway.

2) On busy shopping days, carts often litter parking lots. After loading your items into your car, are you careful to return your shopping cart to the store or the designated cart receptacle?
Sometimes, but not lately.  I use the cart as a walker instead of taking my walker into the store, so I need it to hang on to and if I return it, I am in danger of falling on my way back to the car.

3) Who on your gift list is hardest to buy for?
Walt.  We have been married 53 years and I can probably count on the fingers of one hand the gifts I've given him that he has actually used.  But it's not just me.  His mother always gave him clothes that I would find years later still in the box under the bed.  Last year I bought him wine and I think he actually drank it.

4) Feasting and football are also popular Thanksgiving weekend pastimes. Do your Thursday-Sunday plans include enjoying leftovers or watching a game?
Not a big football fan.  I chatted with my granddaughter, who chose "Bridge to Terabithia" as our next book club book, so I spent the afternoon reading the book and then watching the movie.  I am now all cried out.

5) Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade is an annual event. It began in 1924 as a local event in New York. Today it's nationally televised. Did you watch it?
I don't usually, but I did this year.  I liked it better when it was a real parade and not a series of musical performances with a bit of parade thrown in for good measure.

6) What did you give thanks for on Thanksgiving 2018?
Well, the president said that he gave thanks for himself, and I certainly did not count THAT in my things to be thankful for.  I was thankful for a nice, low key Thanksgiving brunch with my mother at Atria--if she is around next year, it will be her 100th Thanksgiving.  I'm thankful that my health is improving, and I am always thankful for everyone in my family, especially Ned this year, since he has been so helpful to us.

7) At the first Thanksgiving, there were no forks. Pilgrims ate with spoons and knives, and forks didn't become popular until the 18th century. Think about your Thanksgiving place setting. Did you have both a salad and a dinner fork?
I did not set a Thanksgiving table this year, but when I do, yes it does.  (Except the salad for is usually used for dessert)

8) Pies are a popular Thanksgiving dessert. What kind of pie did you enjoy? Or did you have ice cream? Or did you skip dessert?
I cannot envision Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie.  It is such an integral art of my Thanksgiving that I made a pie for Walt and me, since we were going out to friends' house for dinner and I didn't know if we would get pumpkin pie or not.  As it turned out, we left early so did not have any of the pumpkin pie, but came home and ate the pie I had made.  Skip dessert?  Surely you jest!!!

9) This week's featured band, Santana, was named for its founder, Carlos Santana. He was born in Mexico. When at a Mexican restaurant, what do you usually order?
It depends.  I love chile rellenos but I'm kind of particular about them, so unless I know that they are going to be GOOD chile rellenos, I will order a taco or burrito.  I frequently try flautas, hoping to recreate the wonderful flautas we used to have in Berkeley, but so far have not found anybody who makes them the way I like them (that includes our Mexican daughter, who owns a Mexican restaurant!)

Friday, November 23, 2018

The Day Itself

Well, we had a "thanksgiving" after all. 

It was a low key day, which started with watching all of the Thankgiving parade, for the first time in forever.

After that, I watched the dog show, which I look forward to each year.

Best in show this year was the Whippet, but my favorite part(s) of the show were first, the youngest person to show a dog:

And this judge -- I never did figure out exactly what she was wearing.

When that was over, I received an email from Brianna -- actually from HER school email address -- with a power point presentation about our book club.  Then she called to face time me and we had a discussion about the book we had just read, "Holes."  Nobody else in the book club participated, but we had a nice discussion and decided that our next book would be "Bridge to Terabithia," which is less than 200 pages and I think I can read that today.  We will gather more club members in a couple of weeks when they are here and discuss that.

We had left "dinner" open ended.  If Walt felt OK we would meet Ned and Marta at her parents' house.  Ned said it would be OK if we just came for a short time and I got the impression he would really like us to come.  By late afternoon. Walt was feeling OK, so we decided to go.

I don't know how many people were there, but I didn't recognize most of them, and of course my shyness went into overdrive.  But then some were playing a fun game called Hedbanz where you put a card of something on a band around your head and then try to figure out who you are by asking questions of the others.  It was fun watching them. Ned was having a great time playing, especially with one little girl.

I was looking at Marta's step-mom's award wall.  She raises and shows Chows and the are all big dog show winners.  I'd known that for a long time, but even I was surprised to see how many she had shown over the years.  She just lost Bronwin, the dog on the far right with the long list of awards under him.  I know he was very special to her.

There were so many guests that we were seated at three tables for dinner.

(that's Marta's stepmother at the head of the table)

(The third table was in another room and I didn't get a photo of that)

Everything was delicious, but Walt was starting to feel uncomfortable so we ended up coming home before pumpkin pie.  I might have pressed to stay just until dessert, but I knew we had a pie here at home that I had baked the night before for just this eventuality, so we had dessert at home.  We were home before Jeopardy and I spent the night watching things that had been recorded on our DVR.

It wasn't like those Thanksgiving days of old, but we had a good couple of days and I'm still so happy we were able to share it with my mother on Wednesday in a way that made her comfortable.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Our Thanksgiving

Ha.  You think you are about to have your Thanksgiving dinner, but we are way ahead of you.  We had our Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, at Atria.  There was an invitation for families to join their loved one from the memory unit (called Life Guidance) at 1 p.m. for a free Thanksgiving dinner.
Ned got here, looking very dapper in his new glasses, which make him look like Dr Bull on Bull.

We found my mother sitting with Max, who appears to be a new boyfriend, since she was forehead to forehead with him, holding onto his arm.  Good thing she had Max because Tony was there with about 12 members of his family, including his wife.

 We gathered in the front hall, waiting for someone to unlock the door for us.  Some wore very un-PC looking Indian headdresses (apparently we missed my mother wearing hers)

Then we slowly marched down to the main dining room, where they had tables set up for us.  I told Walt we looked like an invading caravan of feeble, demented Salvadorans.

It was really very nice.  They had a big buffet set up with everything you could want for Thanksgiving dinner, including turkey and ham, as well as potatoes, stuffing, yams with pecans and cranberries, cranberry sauce and green beans.

The last time we had Thanksgiving dinner at Atria was several years ago and it wasn't nearly this nice.  Everything was delicious...and I might just try making stuffing with sausage, this one was so tasty.

Ned helped my mother go through the line.  She was a bit dazed, but managed to choose the food she wanted.

She ate everything on her plate, and was more perplexed than happy, but it was still a nice dinner, which ended with pecan pie

At each of these holidays, I always wonder if this will be her last one, so I want it to be a nice day for her.  Last year we brought her here and that was a big mistake.  Entirely too confusing for her and she didn't enjoy herself at all.  This was much better.

Walt pointed out that I had walked the entire length of the long Atria hall without needing to stop  I realized that he hasn't been to Atria with me in several weeks, since I come with Ned and that it has been about 3 or 4 weeks that I've been able to do that without stopping. When I told him that, I realized that I didn't realize how bad I felt until I started to feel better.  Something to be thankful for!

We came home in the rain and I collapsed into a tryptophan-induced sleep and took a nice nap.
We still don't know what we are doing for "real Thanksgiving."  It depends on how Walt feels.  But in the meantime I'm making a pumpkin pie...just because, so I can have leftover pie on Friday!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Return of Olivia

It's what computer geeks do.  We sit across from each other and we Google or we text, or we do searches for various things.  We occasionally talk to each other, but not really.

It had been some 6 years or so since I'd last seen or heard from Olivia.  The last time we were in contact, she was about ready to have another major surgery and would probably be immobile for awhile.  She was also living in Seattle.

Then there was no word at all.  No notice about how her surgery had gone, no word about what she was doing.  Her Facebook account went silent.  Seattle had no obituary for her and her sister did not answer the emails I sent to her. 

After the first couple of years, I stopped sending birthday and Christmas messages, which were never acknowledged and decided she had joined the ranks of the people who had crossed me off their list without a word of explanation.

Then about a year ago, there were a couple of replies to people who had sent her messages on Facebook.  I made snarky comments about her being alive after all, but I did not hear back from her, reinforcing my feeling that for whatever reason I was on her black list.

Imagine my surprise when I received a call from Olivia on Sunday!  She now lives in Reno and she thought she'd come down to Davis for lunch before the first snow fall, since she would not be able to drive over the mountains again until the spring thaw.

She would be here Monday or Tuesday.  As I mentioned in yesterday's entry, she did not come yesterday, so I expected her today.

She called at 7 this morning and said she was going to come for lunch and figured it would take her an hour and a half to get here.  I warned her that it would take longer than that and mentioned maybe 2 to 2-1/2 hours.  It had been a long time since I'd driven from Davis to Reno.  In point of fact it took her four hours to get here.

I felt so sorry for her -- and then guilty that it was taking so long, as she called with progress reports from various spots.

It was worse when she got to Davis.  Davis is a pretty straightforward town, but I could not seem to give her directions.  When she described where she was, thinking she'd gotten off at the main off ramp, I couldn't figure out where she was so I could give her directions for how to get here.  No wonder she was getting more and more frustrated with me.

But eventually she did pull into the driveway with one of the cutest dogs ever, Pepe (Pedro Pierre, taking in mind his Havapoo heritage -- Havasu and Poodle).  I met her with a big glass of cold water (since she had said she was parched) and informed her I was making lunch for us rather than going to a restaurant to eat.

It was so good to see her again.  I got the story of the adoption of Pepe (whom Polly eyed with suspicion throughout his brief visit), and how as a puppy he had been kept on a porch without any attention and how Olivia had been given to "just take it" when the owner wanted no more part of the dog ("it"). 

He was filthy and matted and she was amazed to see the cute little dog that was under all that hair when she had him groomed.  He's now been with her for nearly 3 or more years and is obviously deliriously happy to be with her.  He is also a great therapy dog and visits folks at the home where Olivia's mother lives.  She has beautiful pictures of the dog taking care of her mother.

Over lunch, she talked about her father, Willis Partridge, a coast guard signalman on the only ship in Pearl Harbor which was NOT destroyed.  Partridge became somewhat of a war hero, as was described in an article I found on line after she left:
Today marks the 68th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, in which Japanese forces sent over a dozen U.S. ships to the bottom of the harbor. In the middle of that attack was Coast Guardsman Willis Partridge, a signalman on the cutter Taney. In a little over an hour, the USS Arizona was destroyed, killing over 1,000 sailors, many of whom were trapped. Partridge was able to salvage the mast pulley from the Arizona, which he then used on the Taney. After the war he reclaimed the mast pulley. Partridge passed away on Pearl Harbor Day last year, and his son Rick found the pulley among his possessions.  Right after the attack, Willis Partridge salvaged the part to raise the flag on the Taney. Years later, during an overhaul, Partridge reclaimed the part to preserve it.
The pulley and Partridge's logs were found after his death and the family donated them to the Coast Guard on the 68th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 2009.

But by the time we had gone through Pepe's heritage and Dad's heroism, it was already getting late and knowing she had another 4 hour drive home, she decided she'd better leave.  Imagine driving 8 hours for an hour's lunch!  That's kinda special (for me, that is!)

By the spring thaw, several months from now, I should be driving again and we can meet in the middle, rather than having either of us struggle through 4 hours of freeway.

Olivia is the second of two of my friends who I thought had blacklisted me to contact me out of the blue after a silence of many years (my former co-worker and good friend Melody was the first).  Makes this a good year after all!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Little "C"

My biopsy came back positive, so I will be scheduled for surgery sometime in the next 2 months.  Hopefully it won't conflict with Walt's surgery in 2 weeks!

So now my education is broadened.  Interesting that the doctor talks about this as a reaction to sun exposure, me who is almost NEVER out in the sun!

She left me a link to a video about how the operation is performed and there was another video there from a woman who had recorded her procedure, which she said is less painful than going to the dentist's office, though apparently it takes several hours, what with cutting and checking and then maybe cutting again.  I hope that given where the spot is, on the bridge of my nose, that it will be possible to bring my cell phone and earphones so I can listen to an audio book to help the time pass.

Me.  Cancer.  Whoda' thunk?  I'm not really nervous since everyone seems so blasé about this type of cancer, but I'm sure those butterflies will start coming out their cocoons before the surgery date actually gets here.

One of the questions in Saturday 9 this week was, "What year you can point to and say, "Wow, I'm glad that's over"?  I had no answer for that one but I think that after hearing from Kaiser, I'm going to have to say THIS is the year that I will be very glad to have over!!!

Today was kind of all informally planned when I got up.  A friend I had not heard from in many years called to say she now lives in Reno, about 2-3 hours away, and said she wanted to drive over and visit, either today or tomorrow, before she gets snowed in on her side of the Sierras.  I kind of half planned for her to be here today.

I knew I had left over quiche for dinner and another friend had called to say she was going to make soup and could she bring us some.  It would be perfect.  No need to cook dinner.  We would have leftover quiche and soup.  I was very grateful.

Only the Reno friend never arrived (so I assume she will be here tomorrow, which is fine) and at 5 p.m. the other friend called to say it had been a busy day and she was just now starting the make the soup and she would bring it tomorrow instead.  I'm still grateful, but now I have to make something else for dinner after all.

I've been going through old photo albums, forgetting how many fun things are there.  I found this picture, for example:

This is a photo of Walt's mother's Irish cousin, Nora and her granddaughter Zoe, in 1990.  Nora had written on the back that the baby is wearing an Yves St. Laurent dress. Nora has been dead for several years and Zoe is now a well known ballerina in England.

Coincidentally, when I went to Google to look her up, I found this article, which talks about a production of Carmen  that she was about to perform with her boyfriend dancing with her as Don Jose to her Carmen.  It was nice to read what she's doing now that she's all grown up.

I wonder if she still wears Yves St. Laurent.....