Thursday, January 31, 2019

Papier mache

Coffee and cardboard puzzles do not mix.

I spent today working very hard on this frustrating puzzle.

I finally got the whole map part finished...not easy with all that teeny tiny print...but in the process managed to spill my coffee onto the puzzle.  I got it mopped up quickly, but it did ruin three pieces, which I hope to put back together again when they have dried.  We started this puzzle, thinking it would be a good mental exercise for Walt, but I think Ned and I have done most of it!  I'm not surprised.  This is MUCH more difficult than the last three we made.

As I worked on the states I was remembering how I learned the states as a kid, and wondered if Brianna could find the states if asked.  Karen and I had a wooden puzzle that we made over and over and over again through the years.  Because of that I know pretty much where most of the states are, and if I don't know exactly (like the New England states), I at least know approximately where they are.

It was another quiet day.  Marta snuck out of here at 6 a.m.  Polly only barked twice and I wasn't sure she had actually left.  Walt had a fair night, which is a good thing.  And we had nothing on the schedule for the day.

Walt is still working on organizing his far no little gems like he found yesterday.  I spent a lot of the day working on the puzzle and then discovered Who Do You Think You Are? OnDemand and watched the show about Matthew Morrison.  I always confuse that show with Finding Your Roots.  I enjoy both and I haven't seen Who Do You Think... broadcast recently.  I give a slight edge to that show because the subject does a lot of the sleuthing themselves and it's fun watching where they go and what they see and do.  But Finding Your Roots, which does all the research for the subject, traces the family trees back a lot further.

I know that doing one of the DNA kits is all the rage these days and I always felt that the cost didn't justify the results especially since my cousin traced our roots on my mother's side back all the way to Robert the Bruce (apparently our x-times relative was a buddy of Robert).  My mother even visited the family castle (Closeburn Castle) when she visited Scotland (it's still in the family and looks more like a hotel than a castle)

She even got a tour of the place from the current resident who, I believe, is a member of our family.
But I know absolutely NOTHING about my father's family.  I know his father's parents came over from Ireland and that my grandfather had four brothers, but my grandmother hated the family and so I never got to know any of them, except the brother who was my godfather.  I know nothing about my grandmother's family except she had a brother named Leo, and I'm not sure I ever met him.
Listening to Henry Louis Gates explaining DNA results to his subjects makes me wonder what my DNA would show about my grandmother's family.  I know her mother was German, but I don't know if she was born in Germany or in the US.

One reason this fascinates me is that my genes from my mother are Irish an Scottish and I feel at "home" when I go to Ireland (less so in Scotland, though my Scottish genes are stronger).  I identify as Irish.  But a part of me has always identified somewhat with the Jewish people for reasons I have never understood, and I wonder if a DNA test would show that somewhere in my background there are Jews.  Given that our history is from Germany, this may be a possibility.

I should have bought a kit when they were on sale in December.  Ancestry DNA (the one I would get) is $99, but in December it was only $59.  Maybe it will go on sale again next Christmas.  But Walt's brother did and I will be anxious to see what he finds out about their family.  Maybe that will give me to impetus to buy a kit myself.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019


All of the US Intelligence Chiefs appeared before Congress to give a report on the status of our safety.  All of them contradicted Trump on everything, and nobody talked about the southern border as a main concern.
China and Russia pose the biggest risks to the United States and are more aligned than they have been in decades, U.S. intelligence leaders told senators on Tuesday, in testimony that repeatedly contradicted President Donald Trump's statements on global threats.
"Increased co-operation between Russia and China — for a generation that hasn't been the case — that could be a very big deal on the horizon in terms of the United States," said Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats.
Director of  National Intelligence, Dan Coats also said U.S. adversaries likely are already looking to interfere in the 2020 U.S. election, refining their capabilities and adding new tactics.

He said Russia's social media efforts will continue to focus on aggravating social and racial tensions, undermining trust in authorities and criticizing politicians perceived to be anti-Russia.
Trump tweets that they are all wrong and perhaps they need to go back to school.  He also reminded us in a later tweet that he is the smartest person in the world.

As my mother was fond of saying before she lost her marbles, "I'm glad I'm as old as I am" but I do wonder what sort of world Brianna and Lacie are going to live in...if we haven't been blown up by the time they become adults.

We said goodbye to Alice Nan in the late morning and had the entire day by ourelves.  Walt spent it upstairs finding gems like this:

Neither of us can remember when (or why) this was taken, but since he does not have facial hair (or a wedding ring) I assume it was in the middle 1960s.

I was downstairs working on projects, including one of the hardest puzzles I've worked in al long time even though it's only 500 pieces.  But it's so hard it's addictive.

I got an early dinner made, which we ate while watching Jeopardy.  I made an instant pot Cajun chicken, which was SO good that I'm glad we had enough to last us two meals.

Marta arrived around 7 and spent the night with dog, Bouncer, and will be back tonight for another night -- then Walt's brother arrives.  They will take Walt to the doctor on Friday.  In truth, I'm not sure t's a necessary appointment because he seems to be getting so much better, but there are a couple of concerns that we wanted to discuss, so might as well keep it and get a urine test to make sure that all of the infection he had is finally gone.

Walt has slept back upstairs in his bed for the last 2 night and seems to be handling it all right.  I had some insomnia until I put on Pride and Prejudice and, as always, was asleep within the first 5-10 minutes.  That movie is better than any sleeping pill!!

Having dinner together again, 400 miles apart

Tuesday, January 29, 2019


Paul didn't get to be 40 back in 2009 and he didn't turn 50 yesterday.  Hard to think of what Paul (who died at 30) would be like at 50.  Jeri said she knew exactly what he'd be like at 50 -- he'd be a grumpy old man who would yell at kids to get off his lawn.  I suspect she's correct!

I look at Ned and Tom moving into middle age and seeing how their faces have changed -- not a lot, but they aren't 30 any more either -- and wonder what an "old Paul" would look like.  Would he have all the white hair Ned does?

Walt and I always go out for sushi on Paul's birthday, since Paul loved it so much.  The last few years we have gone to Sushi Unlimited and have our favorite sushi roll, "Lincoln Hills."  Sushi Unlimited has weird names for their dishes, like Crunchy Johnny, King Kong, Mama Mia, Folsom City and Cal Aggies, among others.  Lincoln Hills is "spicy tuna, crab mix, deep fried shrimp and avocado rolled in rice and topped with tempura crumbs, Fair Oaks sauce, sweet sauce and terriyaki sauce." The place has changed hands and it is now called "I love Sushi," but the menu is the same.

I decided Walt probably didn't want to go out to dinner yet so I ordered sushi to go and picked it up.  I chose two Lincoln Hills, because we usually end up ordering an extra one when we are in the restaurant  And then I picked two others that we had not tried before.

In truth I was disappointed in the Lincoln Hills.  I don't know how they changed it, but the recipe is different.  That's not to say I didn't like it, but I didn't love it like I usually do.  Still, we finished all the sushi and drank a toast to Paul.  One down, one t go (David on Feb 4)

Alice is heading back to Santa Barbara today and Marta is arriving tonight, but Walt and I will be on our own all day today.  I think we can handle it.  Walt says he is looking forward to it.

I was watching Alice Nan this morning, reading the paper and thinking about how just a few days it was Ned in the same couch, with the same coffee, but getting his news through his iPad.

Since he stopped the heavy duty antibiotics I have noticed a big change in Walt.  He seems to be "coming out" of the fog he was in and all sorts of things are improving.  He is now doing a lot of things he used to do that Ned has been doing for him, and neither Alice nor I have offered to help because he's just fine and that's a good thing.

He has also moved from recliner to upstairs bed (which means I don't watch golf all night any more!  Yay!) and is gradually sleeping better and better, which I take to mean that the after effects of his surgery are finally fading and he is looking at a normal life again in the foreseeable future.  Also, with the antibiotics finally over, he can have calcium again and we are finally making a dent in the supply of cheese in the refrigerator and I can cook normal food again (not that I wasn't cooking normal food, but I had to avoid anything with milk products in it.  Tonight's dinner has cream cheese and cream in it!)

I am cautiously optimistic that life will soon be returning to normal, which is a huge relief.  We were all so worried about whether or not he would come out of all the after-effects of the surgeries and infection and maybe our problem was that we expected too much too soon. He's not all the way back to normal again, but he's getting there.

Big sigh of relief.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Not a Strong as I thought

They say if you decide to represent yourself in court for legal matters, you have a fool for a client.  Apparently the same holds true for medical issues as well.

With my CK blood level dropping to nearly normal (and blood tests having ended), and my feeling so normal again, I just assumed that I am "back to normal" and haven't thought about needing to watch myself, though Ned doesn't want me climbing stairs without someone behind me "just in case" and I've noticed that though I can walk about the house without assistance, and even feel more strong when I am cooking, which I have not for a long while, I still feel the need for a cane to walk outside, since I am uncomfortable with my balance.  And when I am going into a more crowded place, like Atria, I feel much more stable with a walker.  I remember that my friend Jeri, who has used a walker for a long time, says she uses a walker "because I fall a lot."

But we made a big mistake before Ned left for Hawaii.  He left here at 9:30 in the morning and it was afternoon before I realized that we had not asked him to change the water bottle on the cooler.  I knew it was running low and thought about reminding him, but in all the confusion of his leaving I did not.

So when dinner came, the water bottle was nearly empty.

No problem, thought I.  I've been adding the new bottle to the cooler for years and knew that with my return to "normal" I could do it again.

Until I went outside to get the 5 gallon bottle and realized I could no longer lift it up.  I managed to maneuver it closer to the front door and between Walt and me, we got it lifted into the house and we got it slid down the hall to the cooler.  Now, I could have called our friend Jessica, who is "on call" for emergencies, but at that hour it seemed kind of silly to have her make a special trip just to carry water for us

But then came the hard part--lifting it from the floor to the counter.  No problem, thought I.  Only when I tried to pick it up, I realized I was not nearly as strong as I thought I was, or as I used to be.  I am sorry there was nobody there to take a video because it must have looked very silly, all three of us working together, like the 3 Stooges, but we DID get it onto the counter.  From there it was easy--I've done this part before.  Tip the bottle over so it rests half on the counter and half on the cooler and then push it to an upright position.  This DID take two of us to do, but it was the easiest part of the process.

It makes me angry remembering when I could sling the bottle over my shoulder and carryit to the cooler.

The next time it is due to be changed, either Walt's brother or Tom will be here and then it probably can last until Ned gets home -- we don't go through as much drinking water in the winter as we do in the summer, and since Walt admitted he prefers tap water, it's just me drinking it.

The afternoon was taken up by shopping.  Alice and Walt went to pick up "a couple of things" at Trader Joe's and I went to do a bigger shopping at the supermarket.  When we got home and compared our purchases, there were several overlaps.

I was tasked with getting eggs.  Have you bought eggs lately?  My god is it confusing.  First you decide between medium, large and extra large (they were out of jumbo).  Then do I want locally raised or not?  Free range or not?  Organic or not?  white vs. brown?  Do I pay more for "happy chickens" or less for budgetary reasons? 

I almost didn't buy eggs.  It was entirely too complicated (I ended up with extra large, locally raised non-organic white)

Friday, January 25, 2019

It's Over

After 35 days, the odious government shut down is finally over.  Trump would like to claim it was out of benevolence on his part, but...he caved.  Pelosi threatened to take away his TV and like a little kid, he gave in.  It will be interesting to see where we go after this, since the Democrats and a growing number of Republicans are against the damn wall.  His threat of "something worse" than a shut down sounded weak.  I'm sure the committee assigned with coming up with a bipartisan border security plan will find something agreeable to all, with the exception of the president.  They did it before and they can do it again.

It's over for us too.  At least for 3 weeks.

Ned is spending his last night here after so many weeks living half of his life here, helping both of us, but mostly Walt. 

He leaves in the morning to fly to Hawaii (the Big Island) to help his mother-in-law clean up HER house for 2 weeks and then vacation with Marta for a week before returning back here for Walt's next doctor's appointment.

It's a little frightening to think of not having Ned and his organization around here.  I realized how much he does when we had the afternoon alone and Walt's heart monitor beeped.  Ned had told me about the beeping, but suddenly I couldn't remember anything he said ("ignore it," he told me later)
But he and Marta, and dog Bouncer, were back around 8 p.m. in time to spend one last night, helping Walt get through another night.  (Polly's not too happy having Bouncer here, but so far there have been no major problems.)

Tomorrow his sister Alice Nan will be arriving for the first shift.

The family has come together amazingly, and Jeri--who, because of distance, can't actually BE here--has worked out a wonderful schedule, so that we have someone here all the time.  Alice first, then Walt's brother Norm, then Tom, then Alice again and by then Ned will be headed home.  Ned's wife Marta will be here for a couple of days too.

I read so much about families who don't speak to each other for months...or even years....and here we have all these wonderful people who are dropping everything to come and spend time helping here.  I love them all.

I am also feeling more comfortable about Ned flying to Hawaii tomorrow, now that the government is opened and all the TSA people and air traffic controllers should be feeling better knowing that they are working for pay again.

Yesterday I mentioned that one of the reasons I spent so much time cleaning my work table yesterday was hoping to find my paper cutter, which I use all the time but hadn't seen in awhile.

When I reached the bottom of the pile of papers, it was not there and I didn't know where to look.
This afternoon Walt brught down a pile of papers for me that he found upstairs--mostly old things from Atria and my mother's long term care insurance that are now outdated.

But at the bottom of the stack was .... my paper cutter!! I am so happy to have it back.

Ned and Walt say that they figured out how to get me to clean up.  Steal something important off my desk and don't give it back until I've cleared everything away looking for it!

Nah....I'd figure that ploy out real quick.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Kon Mari

Marie Kondo, the Japanese organizer, is all the rage these days.  She wrote the book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing."  This was obviously not a book I was going to rush out to get, though I see people all over the internet who are trying her suggestions.

If you want an idea of how popular she has become use Google images to find Japanese cleaning method.  The pictures go on for days.

I don't care how good she is, there is little chance that she can turn this

into this

But as with all the Google adventures I go on, this one led me to something pretty interesting.  The article is called "Ear Cleaning and Romance" and comes with this photo.  (You might want to scroll quickly past the picture of ear wax--but do read about the different types of ear wax in different ethnicities.  Fascinating!)

Apparently in Japan boys find it so comforting to have their mothers clean their ears (you'll have to read the methods) that when they are adults, it becomes romantic to have a lover perform the same grooming.
 When the Japanese government… (made) medical licenses unnecessary for ear cleaners, a new type of business sprung up in Tokyo and other big cities: ear-cleaning parlors, which now number in the hundreds.” Mr. Krieger purchased the hospitality of a “kimono-clad young woman,” tea, conversation, and the intimacy of a private ear cleaning for about $30.

Women with waxy build-up need not fret. “Though most Japanese ear-cleaning parlors cater more to men who may long for the maternal tenderness of their childhood, female-oriented salons have been appearing.”
However, I hadn't intended to write about ear cleaning, ear wax, or even, actually Kon Mari cleaning.  I just wanted to mention that I started cleaning my office (again).  I didn't dream of making it anywhere near anything that Marie Kondo would smile at, but it started because it was looking for a very small notebook someone had sent me, and trying to find it under the piles of papers on my work desk.  

Several hours later, I actually found it and through my usual method of moving piles to different locations, while actually throwing some stuff away, I ended up with a box of things  that have to be put in other locations....but that requires cleaning out other places and I wasn't up to that tonight.  And my large paper garbage can is half full so I consider that a day well spent.

Sadly, the OTHER thing I was looking for -- my paper cutter -- didn't show up, though I was certain it was in all that clutter.  Now I have to figure out where else to look.

Already the nice clean work table I cleared away is starting to fill up.  I give it two more days (at most) before you'll be able to tell that I did any cleaning in here at all.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019


Ned has been so generous with his time around here.  He is taking more time off during the day to go to his house and do stuff there, now that Walt is dealing better with things, but he's here every night, sleeping on the couch since I sleep like rock and am aware of nothing once I fall asleep, and if Walt needs assistance at night, Ned is here to help out (lately, he has not been needed).

Our mornings start with a routine I kind of think fondly about.  Nothing special.  Ned sits on the couch with his iPad

while Walt checks his e-mail

and I'm either checking my own email or facebook, or taking pictures of the others.
Ned makes coffee, which I so appreciate (getting up and finding coffee already made), including decaf for Walt.

I sit and drink my coffee and eat my banana.

Like I said, nothing special--just what happens--but it's just kind of nice and comfy and a good way to start the day.

If Ned goes off to Sacramento, Walt usually goes upstairs to his office to do...whatever he does in his office, and nap.  I usually do whatever it is that I do in my office, but yesterday my new book arrived and I spent the whole afternoon reading, after Walt and I worked one of the puzzles Alice Nan left behind.

This is Brianna's choice for our next book club discussion.  It's the story of a boy and his fox and their search for each other after they are separated.  A tear jerker, but an easy read.

With Ned here for dinner each night, I am cooking more healthy than I usually do.  We are trying to follow a Mediterranean diet and Ned makes sure we get something "green" in our meal.  I have set him to make salad for dinner each night.  I have also re-started Home Chef again so I can get fish at least once a week without having to buy it at the store and figure out how to cook it.

And then by 9 p.m. we are starting to think about going to sleep...well, they are.  I'm wondering what I'm going to do with myself.  But now that I have discovered Rachel Maddow on podcast, I listen to her show each night before I go to sleep, since the PBS news has replaced her nightly broadcast, and it doesn't bother the golf.  But I am sleeping more hours now than I have in years, which is nice.
It's going to seem strange when Ned leaves for 3 weeks in Hawaii this weekend.  We'll have a rotating crew of family here to assist, and I supposed we will have new routines.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Peyronie's Disease

I couldn't help it.  I needed to document that weird peyronie's disease commercial.  This is what you first see on the screen.

Then come a series of men....

And then the message during which the word "erection" is used more times than you want if you're sitting and watching a TV show with your young son!

Just amazed that this commercial is on today, given that we all thought it so racy when the erectile dysfunction commercials first aired, especially the one that still boggles my mind, of the two people sitting side by side in bathtubs on the edge of a cliff .... no clothes in sight and if the ED is helped by the medication, what do the two people do?  

Things to think about in the middle of the night during breaks in the golf coverage.

Monday, January 21, 2019

About podcasts

I have, of course, known about podcasts for years, but never did anything with or about them.
I found the podcast app on my cell phone kind of by accident and checked to see if, perhaps, "Says You" (our favorite radio show) had a podcast.  It did.  I added it to my favorites but never did anything about it...or figured out what to do about it.

But with our new sleeping arrangement -- and who knows how long it will last -- I've been learning about podcasts.  Walt tried sleeping upstairs, but he does better downstairs, and he has been falling asleep at 9:30, lights out and golf on, leaving me with an evening with nothing to do and too early to sleep!

Sometimes I sit in my office here and muddle about on the Internet, but once I get into my chair there was nothing to do but watch golfer after golfer after golfer just miss the hole at the end of their round of play.  I almost want to cheer when a ball actually goes INTO the hole.  Since this condition of Walt's started, I'll bet I have seen 100 golfers just barely miss the hole on the first try.

And I've started listening to "Says You."  Last night was funny.  The stage is set up with two teams of 3 at tables opposite each other, with 2 scorekeepers in between.

From left to right that's Caroline, Arnie, Paula, 2 scorekeepers, Tony, Francine and Barry.  Got that?

As I was listening to the show I realized something was wrong.  Host Richard was calling on the panelists but I was hearing Arnie in my right ear and Tony in my left and that just was not right.  When I switched the earplugs around, then the panelists were in the correct ear and all was right with the world.

With the success of "Says You," I also downloaded the podcast for "Check Please, Bay Area," the San Francisco PBS show which reviews local restaurants.  We used to love that show until ComCast in its wisdom decided to deny us access to the San Francisco PBS station.  So we have not seen it in a long time.  But I can at least get the sound of it...but I don't listen that much because it's just not the same without the video of the food they are talking about to go along with the critiques.

When I began giving up Rachel Maddow so Walt could watch the PBS news hour, I discovered that I could get her show as a podcast, so that is now part of my nightly company.

For a time I listened to an Outlander podcast.  Two women critique each show after it airs.  It's an hour podcast ending with emails from listeners commenting on their show the previous week.  I only made it through 1-1/2 shows before I realized I wasn't interested at all.  Too much giggling, men ogling (Jamie, Murtah, Roger), too much criticism about things left out from the book, etc.  It just made me sad that I could not relate to most of what was being podcasted, so I dropped it.

Then I saw a TV report on podcasts and it sent me searching through the lists to see what else interested me.  I can't remember how many podcasts a day are uploaded to the Internet.  I barely touched the tip of the iceberg. 

I discovered that if I can't watch Morning Joe, I can hear it as a podcast.  I also added a couple of NPR shows I have enjoyed.  I thought Andy Cohen's show would be fun to listen to since I hear so much about it and never watch it.  "Stuff You Should Know" looked interesting, the current episode being about how lobotomies work.  I also added The Daily Show and Sunday Morning's Willie Geist show, which I always record and almost never watch (now I can always record and almost never listen).  There are a couple of show biz podcasts, one of which, Theater Talk, has been a favorite TV show which seems not to be broadcast any more.  There are several episodes, supposedly, on the podcast, but I haven't been able to get any of them to load yet.

One of my favorite new podcasts is Chris Hayes "Why Is This Happening," the podcast that expands his nightly news show.  I listened to the hour interview with his long-time friend, Rachel Maddow. 

I have often said that one of my favoritest things to do is to go to a Davis Comic Opera Party and just sit and listen to Steve Peithman and Jim Lane talk.  Both are theater experts.  Steve had a radio show for years, where he played soundtrack from musicals and explained them.  Jim is a movie reviewer for one of the local papers.  But both men are a treasure trove of entertainment memorabilia and just to listen to them makes the evening for me.

That's what the Hayes-Maddow conversation was like.  Not scripted, not like either of them would present it on camera, but just two very intelligent, very knowledgeable friends sitting and shooting the breeze about current events--and lots of other stuff.

So with my newfound podcasts, I am perfectly fine with golf all night.  I have my own world to sink into until I'm finally sleepy. 

Of course I also realized last night that I could probably call up a movie on Netflix, which opens up a whole 'nother avenue of entertainment.  I may never sleep again.

If anyone knows any great podcasts I should try, let me know. 

Friday, January 18, 2019

Busy Day

We were all going out today.  Ned and Walt were going down to the barber shop to get Walt a much needed haircut 

I was going to Atria, since the flu quarantine is now lifted and then off to the store to figure out what to have for dinner.

But first I ended up watching the memorial service for Natalie Corona, the 22 year old police officer killed in the line of duty last week.  The university memorial auditorium was packed with more than 6,000 people

Everything was very moving and a nice send off for this woman who had such a promising future ahead of her.

When the service was over, they were going to be processing down Anderson Rd. on their way to her home town, where she would be laid to rest.  Anderson Rd. is the street I have to drive down to get to Atria, so I left quickly, hoping to beat the motorcade, which I did.  But it was moving to see how many people lined both sides of the street as far as the eye could see. 

I found my mother sitting in the dining room, finishing lunch...but she was still wearing her bathrobe and no shoes.  That surprised me because I thought the aides were good about getting everyone dressed before they went to meals.

After we moved into the common room, she told me that she had no clothes and that she had not been able to wear clothes for several days.  Well, we walked down to her apartment, and of course her closet was full, so I helped her get dressed.

This was one of her less "with it" days and she could not understand what I meant when I told her to take off her bathrobe first.  Then she told me that they change her bed every day and she never knows what her bed is going to look like.  At that point I reminded her that the bed was the one she slept in with Fred and asked if she remembered Fred.  She laughed and said "of course!" but in an instant she said she thought she had been married and I mentioned Fred again, she couldn't remember who he was.

It was, as it usually is, a depressing visit but I left and headed off to Supercuts, where, after NINE months, I finally got my hair cut.

Then I hit the supermarket where I first saw what would be our dinner tonight.

I got home and found Walt and Ned.  Walt had indeed gotten a haircut and looked better than he has in a very long time.

For dinner we had squash soup and the crab.  Ned has decided he is going to try to like fish which he has hated all of his life.  And, to give him credit he did eat a little crab, liberally topped with Sriracha sauce and pronounced it "not horrible."

We're still working on the ideal sleeping arrangement for Walt but Ned did a lot of arranging and rearranging today and maybe tonight will be better for him.

Thursday, January 17, 2019


The plan for today was for Walt's brother to come and visit.  Ned got things all organized around here and then took the day off, to go home and remind his dog who he is and do other things.

But then Norm couldn't come because in all the wild storms we had yesterday, his roof got a big hole in it and he had to wait for the roofer to come.

So we were back to square one around here.  Walt spent the day upstairs, I spent the day downstairs.  I know he spent some time reading his new book.  I spent most of the afternoon copying FTW entries over to Airy Persiflage.  I hadn't done anything since mid-November, so that was a lot of copying to do.

I kid myself that lots of people have been wondering where my entries are, but probably nobody noticed.  But I do keep the two journals figuring that at some point, Yahoo, which hosts Funny the World, is going to stop piddling little web sites like mine, and I want to be sure that I have copies of all these entries somewhere other than on a hard drive.

I have been working to the background of MSNBC and my god....all the new horrible news about this administration -- Trump ordered Cohen to pay someone to rig the polls in the lead up to the election.  No wonder he spent so much time insisting that the polls are rigged...He rigged them!

Turns out we separated thousands more children than we knew and at one point were planning to deport the kids, with or without parents, back to their home countries.  Can't you imagien a 4 year old landing in Honduras?

Then then Giuliani?  My god, who in the world would hire this man as their attorney.  Now Rudy "there is no collusion" Giuliani insists he never said there was no collusion, hundreds of tapes to the contrary, and that he only said that Trump was not involved and even if he was, he couldn't be arrested for collusion...which leads everyone to think this was a back door confession that the president DID collude with the Russians (which we all suspected anyway). 

I mean, with Giuliani and Cohen in the news, I don't know why anybody watches soap operas.  The news is much more entertaining these days, if it weren't so depressing.

("It's too stinky and dirty to care about," Rachel Maddow says, reporting all of this against her better judgement)

And to end this short entry, I don't know if you have seen the new ad cropping up for Peyronie's disease.  It starts showing a man holding a banana then you see the screen fill with bananas, cucumers, long peppers, etc.  Any vegetable that is long and somewhat misshapen fading to more information than you wanted to know about Peyronie's disease.  I never realized you could say "erection" so many times in a commercial!

That's it.  A nothing day.  And I forgot to write this until late at night!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Off to the Mediterranean

Well, it's a little over a month since Walt's surgery and I told Ned this morning that there was something wrong with the calendar he's posted:  there are NO upcoming doctors' appointments.  This is a good sign.

Today he and Ned walked to the supermarket to buy a few things.  I could tell it was therapeutic for him to be out of the house and doing something.  

He had several appointments this week, including the urologist to remove the catheter and then later the same day, the urologist again to decide if he had survived being without a catheter for a day.  He came home catheter-less.

He also had an appointment to have a heart monitor put on, which he will wear for a month.
He's back sleeping in the recliner again (all night golf for me again)

This from Abu Dhabi
This is because it's easier/faster for him to get to the bathroom.  His bladder is still in the retraining process. 

Ned set up a chart for him to check every time he went to the bathroom.  Walt told me that he went every 5 minutes or so, but I know for a fact that he slept at least one hour. The chart shows he was in the bathroom 16 times through the night, so he didn't get a lot of solid sleep, but he also made it to the bathroom each time, which is a huge improvement.  Ned slept on the couch so he could be here if his Dad needed him.

He also bought the house a copy of "Mediterranean Diet for Dummies" and we are in the process of improving our diet.  Walt has pretty much eaten a Mediterranean-like diet consistently.  He has always preferred vegetables and whole grains.  My life is junk bread, real butter and chocolate.  It's obvious which of us needs to do the more changing.

He has always made his own breakfast and lunch to make up for whatever junk food I am cooking for dinner.  These days he doesn't seem to remember that he did that all the time, and has started to ask me what is for lunch, so I am going to have to start getting more pro-active on fixing lunch for him.  My lunch is generally picking, picking, picking from breakfast until dinner.

We're going to add fish to our diet, which will be interesting.  Ned doesn't like fish, but is willing to give it a try.  I never buy or cook fish because it's too expensive.  In fact, we had more fish than ever in our married life when we were doing Blue Apron and Home Chef, which makes me think that perhaps I should start up our account again, not only so I can have fish on the weekly menu, but also recipes for how to cook them.  I'm not really a big fan of salmon (except for smoked salmon with cream cheese), I know I don't like catfish and I remember loving cod when I was a kid, but I have never cooked it.  Walt likes tilapia and orders it when he lunches at IHOP with his work cronies, but I read an article about tilapia being the "garbage fish" and just can't think of eating it after that.

The Washington Post wrote
When it comes to fish, no species brings out the haters like tilapia.

Read up on it, and you’ll find tilapia described with words like “muddy” and “earthy”; there are entire forum threads devoted to its inferiority. This very newspaper, back in 2007, called it “the fish that chefs love to hate.”
In some places it's known as the "poop fish" because on some farms, it is often fed feces of the other animals.
a combination of rumors and credible reports works against it. Perhaps you’ve heard that tilapia are raised in cesspools and live on poop? Even the USDA says there is — or, at least, used to be — some truth in that. The agency’s 2009 report on Chinese imports notes that “Fish are often raised in ponds where they feed on waste from poultry and livestock.”
However, the Post is actually in favor of eating tilapia
Before we meet that fact with a chorus of “ewww,” it’s worth noting that turning feces into fish would be the agricultural equivalent of spinning straw into gold. Although there are important safety concerns in that kind of system, if you can manage those risks, you’ve got one of the most sustainable foods going. It’s a downright Rumpelstiltskinnian miracle, and we should root for it, not against it.
So I guess I'm going to have to learn to cook/like tilapia, as it is one of the more affordable fishes that we can add to our new Medierranean diet (I wonder if you can make a rich butter sauce to pour over it.....)

Tuesday, January 15, 2019


In all of the many doctors' appointments Walt has had, someone probably the neurologist, suggested that to help clear his brain fuzziness, he should read a book, work puzzles, and learn a new word every day.  So we have Alice Nan's puzzles here (we've finished two), he's started the first book by Dick Francis' son, Felix, and the dictionary is downstairs, but we haven't checked out words yet.
However, the weirdest thing happened last night. It was about 3 or 4 a.m. when I woke up with the word "iatrogenic" on my brain.  I don't know why.  I don't remember ever having seen it, spoken it, or typed about it, but I couldn't stop thinking about it so after about an hour, trying to get to sleep while thinking about the word "iatrogenic" I finally got my cell phone and Googled  it.  You know what it says?
Iatrogenic disease is the result of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures undertaken on a patient. With the multitude of drugs prescribed to a single patient adverse drug reactions are bound to occur. ... Iatrogenic (of a disease or symptoms) induced in a patient by the treatment or comments of a physician.
That's IT!  That's what my "whatever it is" was.  An iatrogenic disease caused by taking the wrong statin.  

Now why in the world would my brain do that?  And how did it know the word "iatrogenic."  I was vaguely familiar with the word enough so I knew how to spell it, but didn't have a clue what it meant or even that it was a medical term.

The oddest thing is that in the morning, after I woke up, when I was going to tell Ned and Walt about it, I could not remember the word at all.  (Eventually, with some mental gymnastics, I did, but it took awhile.)

We are very happy that Walt's fuzziness is starting to clear up.  He's frustrated at what he has difficulty remembering and concentrating on, but this is a new person from the one we took to the emergency room two weeks ago, and that is very comforting for Ned and me and I hope in time it will be comforting for Walt too.

I should have expected something like this.  But after 19 years with only one complaint letter, I let my guard down.  The youth theater presented two plays this month, back to back, and I reviewed both of them.

The first one was excellent; the second one was bad.  In 19 years of reviewing this company this is the very first bad review I have given and they deserved it.  The comparison between the two shows was striking.

Welllll.....that didn't sit well with one of the young actors who took to Letters to the Editor to write a very long screed including, in part:
This treatment of the play was quite unfair and lacked any appreciation for the fact that it was a youth community theater production with a volunteer cast.
By printing Ms. Sykes’ review, you really failed your readers. I can’t imagine that you would have printed similar coverage of the high school basketball or football teams. A local paper like The Enterprise exists to connect and support its community. Much like community theater, it is fair to say that the quality of your paper — its writing, editing, and graphics — pales when compared to publications like the New York Times or San Francisco Chronicle. Despite this, our family subscribes to the Enterprise because it is a way to support and connect with our community. Ms. Sykes’ review calls into question whether that is worthwhile. The Enterprise should print an apology.
The head of the theater company whom I have known since she was an actor in this group, and I have been talking.  She is very upset about the letter and says she will write an apology letter to the paper.
The thing that gets me is that whenever a bad review appears for one of the local companies, someone invariably points out that they are not professionals, that they are volunteers and the critic needs to take that into consideration.

Before I started reviewing, the then-critic was taken to task by someone who said something along the line of "we are all volunteers.  We work day jobs and by Friday (opening night) we are all tired."  (I came to the critic's defense and asked the writer if they charged less on Friday nights and if they warned the audience that they would be seeing a production by people who were not at their best because they were tired?)

The thing about this company is that Jeri and Paul were founding members and so we have watched them for 39 years and I have been very generous with reviews over the years.  We don't consider this a "children's theater" because they want to be considered on an adult community theater level and I have always reviewed them that way.  I told the head of the company that if I have to start patting them on the head to make them feel good, I'll just stop reviewing because they are just "children."
The thing about criticizing critics is that it (a) calls more attention to your production which was not reviewed favorably, and (b) will have zero impact because there is no way that a revised review will be printed.  It's a lose-lose situation for the writer.  I learned that over many years of being publicist for theaters here and in San Francisco.  If you don't like the better next time!  That's the best revenge.