Thursday, February 28, 2019

My Father's Daughter

During the Watergate scandal, my father was obsessed.  He kept voluminous scrapbooks of newspaper articles and he was glued to the TV during all the TV coverage.  Chair of the Senate committee, Sam Ervin was his particular hero.

We all indulged him in this obsession but nobody else even shared his passion for the event, but I sure remember how involved he was with it all.

Now here we are involved in the Trump mess and I find myself following in my father's footsteps.  With the internet, I don't need scrapbooks, but I sure have followed Muller's investigation for the past 2 years (insomuch as anybody could "follow" that very secret investigation!) and have been glued to the television today, watching the crazy congressional hearing.

You don't need to identify who is democrat and who is republican.  All you need to do is to see who is apolectic in their denouncement of Cohen and who asks reasonable questions.  And dontcha love a guy who brings in a black woman to prove that Trump is not a racist?   She looked very uncomfortable.  An African American black reporter said it was the most disgusting thing she had seen in a long time.  ONE Southern woman, who works nowhere near the White House is supposed to prove that Trump is not a racist.

I also loved the woman who ranted and raved that Congress had more important things to do -- like deal with the problem of children separated from their parents.  Where have they been all this time?  ONE day listening to charges against the sitting president for criminal activity in the White House is preventing them from doing what they should have been doing for MONTHS???

Cohen is a slimeball, but I can't help but feel sympathy for him as I watch these scurilous attacks by the republican congressmen.  And I sincerely hope there is censure for the guy who tweeted that he hoped Cohen was ready to talk about his girlfriends and wondered if his wife would remain faithful while he's in prison.


Meanwhile, there's the Orange Menace himself, visiting VietNam for the first time, patting one of the world's biggest terrorists on the back and talking about how wonderful he is.  Giving the man legitimacy on the world stage.  The man who promised Amerians that "the threat is over" because he and Kim had come to an agreement on nuclear disarmament, which has not hapened, now says he's "in no hurry" for Kim to get rid of his nukes.

From David Gerrold: 
It is time for every moral American to speak out against the criminal acts of this corrupt administration that seeks only to enrich itself at the expense of the rest of us — it's time to demand that these people be removed from any position of authority by the fastest legal means available. It is time to let the Republican party know that if they continue to support this fraud, they will pay the consequences at the polls. 

And the way we do this is by creating a perfect storm of political waves that will advance our issues into the national conversation — raising the minimum wage, tax reform, climate change, renewable energy, sustainable economy, voting rights, immigration, infrastructure, etc. We need a blue wave, a pink wave, a brown wave, a black wave, a rainbow wave — we need to demonstrate that every important demographic in America will unite against the crimes of the Republican party.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

'Tain't a Fit Night Out

It was a dark and stormy night, but we pressed on.  It was Walt's birthday and I was taking him to a steak house for dinner.  I had to practically wade from the car to the sidewalk, the water was so deep.  But I got there, and we realized we had been there before.

As we were shown to our table, I realized we had been here a couple of years ago on MY birthday, only then it was a restaurant where they set your food on fire at your table.  In fact, we were seated at the exact same table we had the last time.

While we waited for our food, Walt checked his incoming birthday messages.

I had hoped to have prime rib, but it is only available on Friday and Saturday, so we both had a rib eye steak (which several web sites tell me is "the" best cut of beef").  Walt had his with garlic fries; I had mine with onion rings

It was a bit too much for me, so I brought home half of it, while Walt ate every last bit of it.

And since it was a gala occasion, we each had a delicious pistachio creme brulee for dessert.

The rain had not let up when we finished dinner, but we sloshed on home to watch the recording of tonight's Jeopardy.  Walt had his lemon balm tea and went to bed, as any good 79 year old should do.
I had a text message from Atria that my mother hit a staff member tonight.  That isn't going to help our meeting with the director tomorrow, I fear.  Dammit.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

There's No Place Like Home

I saw a guy on a TV ad the other day who said that the average American moves some 11 times in their lifetime.  My immediate reaction was that certainly was not my case, but then I thought about theshort-term moves I've had and wondered if those count:

1.  Left my home town (San Francisco) and moved to a dormitory on the UC Berkeley campus.  I had come from a small high school and was not comfortable moving into a big, busy living situation, so I picked the smallest dorm on campus--I believe that the total number of residents was the size of my high school graduation class.  The dorm was connected to another, larger dorm which had a stern grad resident who made me nervous because for some reason I decided she didn't like me.  Sixty years later, she's still my best friend.  The main thing I remember about that experience was that I saw a flasher and learned what lousy powers of observation I have.  A friend and I were walking back to the dorm and this guy was sitting there displaying his shortcomings.  We called the police, who had us come down and give a report.  My friend's description of him was the TOTAL opposite of mine, so naturally I just agreed with her and didn't give my description, since she had a better view of him than I did.

2.  When I left school and moved out of the dorm it was into an apartment with my friend Gerry, who is Ned's godmother.  I don't remember if we lived together for a year or just for a semester.  Fun times in that apartment.  Most memorable was the night we were having a party and someone in the apartment above us lowered a pancake down on a string.  What else could I do?  I put syrup on it and sent it back upstairs. There was a nice Mexican restaurant under us and I had a perpetual craving for Mexican food.  It was the only Mexican restaurant I've ever seen that made cheese flautas.  Everyone else makes beef and chicken (they did too), but nobody makes cheese, which was my favorite.  Sadly, that restaurant is no more.

3.  After Gerry graduated and I got a job on campus, I moved into an apartment across the street from "Newman Inn," the old building which was to be torn down when they were ready to buid a new church on the property.  In the meantime, 7 guys were living in it, one of them Walt.  I became their part-time cook because few of them knew how to cook and I enjoyed doing it. 

Newman Inn

4.  I had my first credit card when I was on my own, so I ran up a huge bill at the local photo shop (I took lots of photos even then).  I borrowed money from my mother to pay off the bill but needed to save money to pay her back, so I moved in with Mike and Char (Char--did I pay you rent?) and shared a bedroom with daughter Tavie.  I lived there for a few months and then moved again.

5.  My last before-I-married place was an apartment 2 blocks from Char and Mike and across the street from a fire station (on the morning of my wedding, my father convinced the fire chief to move the fire engine out so we could have our photo taken for the local paper).

6. After Walt and I married, we moved into an apartment exactly one mile from the Berkeley campus (we knew that because we were across from the first liquor those days you could not have a liquor store less than one mile from the campus.

7.  Jeri was born in that apartment, but before Ned came, we moved to a rental house in Albany, on the other side of Berkley.  That's when we got our first dog, Ho Chi Mutt, who hated baths..

8.  We bought our first house in Oakland when I was expecting Paul and he, Tom and David were all born when we were in that house.  It would have been too small to raise them all, but I still miss that house today.

9.  In 1973 when Walt's office moved to Davis we bought our house here and have been here in this house ever since.

So so far I am behind the average, but I'm sure there is at least one more move in my life before the final one.

Monday, February 25, 2019

99 Year Old Toddler

It was not where I wanted to spend Friday night, but they called from Atria to tell me my mother had hurt her arm and needed to go to the ER now.  If I couldn't drive her, they said, they would send her by ambulance (which would cost us about $300, I believe, since it would be a round trip).  I drove over to pick her up.  I don't know what the aide was thinking.  She brought her out in a short sleeved shirt and asked if I thought she should put her in a coat. was in the 40s!  She also was wearing shoes, but not the ones I'd bought her...and not a pair that had ever belonged to her.

So off we went to Vacaville yet again.

My mother complained all the way there, but there is a plus side of having hearing problems...I could not understand a single thing she said and she didn't seem to notice that I never answered anythig she said.

I didn't actually see her wound until I got her coat off and yes, it looked pretty bad, but I think if it had been up to me I would have cleaned it and put on a bandage.

The doctor, when he arrived (after 30 minutes) rolled his eyes when I told him Atria had insisted on an ER visit...but he ordered an x-ray in case there was a problem (there wasn't).  In all it was 4 hours before we returned to Atria.

But the in between time was, I swear, like having a toddler.  She wanted desperately to open the door and wander around the waiting room, or go out the curtain to wander around the ER.  When I wouldn't let her do either, she paced around and around and around the exam room, checking out everything.  She moved the hazard waste container so it looked in a better position, she sat at the doctor's desk and examined everything on the desk, she tried to open the supply closets, she tried to organize the stuff in the trash basket and she asked over and over again why we couldn't just leave.  She kept putting on her jacket, though I Told her over and over again, the doctor needed to look at her arm.  "put that down," "don't touch that," "No, you can't open the door," etc. It took me back to the days when I took the kids to the doctor, except now I'm too old to have a 99 year old toddler.

Eventually they cleaned the wound and put on a bandaid and sent us home.  Just what I would have done without the ER.

I wheeled her out to the car and she complained that she didn't want to leave the building because it was cold outside and then complained all the way to the car.  I finally yelled at her that the only way for her to get into the car was to spend a minute in cold air. She couldn't figure out how to get in the car but we finally got in the car, got her buckled (which she didn't want) and headed home.

When we got back to Atria and I handed her over to the aide, I gave her the bag of bandaids and antiseptic and said that doctor said to change the bandaid once a day for two days and she told me they weren't allowed to change a bandage.  I am afraid I was not very polite, but in thinking about it she might have thought it was a bandage rather than a bandaid.  But I drove off, sorry that I don't drink any more.  I would have loved a gin and tonic.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Polly's Better

Polly was "off" the other day.  I knew she must not be feeling well because she didn't even get up when I fixed her dinner.  She just lay in her bed and if she moved at all, she moved to the second bed, one step from the one she was in.  She didn't even pee on her Polly Pad in the living room.

We were both very worried about her (Polly?  Not interested in food?) but there was nothing we could do for her but worry.  I worked in my office and she hid in her bed under my desk.

By the time I went to sleep, she still hadn't moved. Her food was still sitting in her bowl.

In the middle of the night, I got up to use the bathroom and I left the door open rather than turn on a light.  Suddenly I looked down and there was Polly, tail wagging.  When I got up I decided to show her that her dinner was waiting for her...but it turned out her bowl was empty.  The normal Polly was back.

Walt said it was a good thing that Polly didn't die because if she had, we'd be stuck with 200 Polly pads that he just bought at Costco.

Tom and family are in New York.  They have taken the girls to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  I am jealous!  There have been lots of great photos.  The first came in a text from Tom.  He says "Can you tell what she is watching?"

Obviousy United Airlines has a great selection of movies.  Laurel posted an even better picture on Facebook.

I don't know if the girls have seen the movie before, but I'm happy they seem to be enjoying it on the plane.

In New York they had their first subway ride.

And are in a hotel with a great view of Times Square

It will be fun to see what things they do and see in NewYork (and if they avoid rain and/or snow this weekend!) and to hear about the play, which is a 2-parter.  They see the first half in the morning, then take a break for lunch and go back for the second half.
As I said...I am jealous!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Slow Moving Spring

Looking back over February entries from several years in the past, I note that I almost always write about surprise that the trees are blossoming and that surely it is too soon to be spring.  But those blossoms come every year and each year they surprise me.

But this year the blossoms are slow to come.  Even our apple tree in the back yard, usually covered in blossoms by mid-February, remains bare.
There are a few signs of spring around here

But they are few and far between.

The street where I took these photos is usually lined for several blocks with a beautiful canopy of blossoms.  Yesterday it was just a bunch of bare branches.  The almond orchards along I-80 are usually full of blossoms by now, but they too are still bare (or were when I drove there a week ago)
It will be interesting to see how late spring blossoms this year.

Walt had a very emotional day yesterday.  When we moved here, I didn't choose a dentist for about 20 years (I've told that story before) but Walt decided to continue going to Berkeley to the dentist we had both gone to for years (I stopped going the day he yelled at me for not flossing).  How can you give up on a guy named Hercules Demosthenes Morphopolous? Herc eventually retired and died a few years ago but Walt continued going to the office.  He liked his day in Berkeley and he liked his new dentist Zarrin Ferdowsi.

In the meantime I finally chose a dentist, my friend Cindy with whom I had worked in a typing service for many years, while she was getting her dental practice established.

But with Walt's current physical problems, he has decided that he can no longer do is long Berkeley days and that he should change dentists, so he now has an upcoming appointment with Cindy.  From time to time Cindy talks about retirement and though I usually see her hygienist, the thought of having to have a different dentist is very emotional for me, so I can just imagine what Walt feels, having been to the Morphopolous/Ferdowsi office for more than 50 years.

However, to balance that emotional upset, he had a great triumph this morning.  After Tom got his new computer set up and left, Walt could not print from it, though Tom printed from it just fine.  But this morning he discovered the one little tweak which, when he made it, started the thing printing, so now if he can just figure out a way to get his email so we can drop Davis Community Network for Comcast Cable, we'll be all set.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Remember When It Was Fun?

I feel like an old poop, but I'm remembering back to when the Internet was fun.  It was not that long ago when I really enjoyed my tablet and would often use that rather than get up and come to the desktop.  I occasionally got pop up ads, but now I get an ad that covers 1/3 of the screen and comes right across the middle of it -- it isn't for anything specific, just a generic ad.  Up in the right corner it says "skip" and I click that  Then it changes to "close" and  click that, then the ad goes away and is replaced by a full page ad and THEN you can return to whatever you were doing.  It seems that this happens every 5 minutes or so, so often at least that I am using my tablet less and less.  
It was actually a free addition to new phones we got several years ago, so I suppose I can't really complain, but I used it so often and now it makes me angry to use it, so I don't.

Remember how you could Google something you were interested in?  You can still do it, of course, but it brings up a list of sites concerning whatever you are researching.  You choose one that sounds interesting, click on it and it brings up another list of sites based on that choice, narrowing it down you click on another page and ANOTHER list of sites comes up until you finally give up or spend all your time clicking.  Lord help you if the one link you finally choose takes you to a page that isn't exactly what you are looking for and you have to start all over again.

I have used the internet almost exclusively for recipes for a long time, after I gave away most of my cookbooks.  Whatever I want to cook,  can generally find, but when you follow a link to the page of the recipe you want to get, first you get a photo of it, then a long (and I mean LONG) explanation of how the cook came to make that recipe, than a paragraph explaining how to do it and FINALLY, if you stick it out long enough, you get a real recipe.

I have both Firefox and Chrome on my computer.  I have used Chrome for most of my Google searches, but lately I get a big scary full page red warning that my computer has a big virus and I have to call a number to clear it, and if I shut down the page my computer will explode or something.  But that's not even an option because you can't shut it down and you can't click on any of the options the page gives you.  The only thing you can do is close the computer entirely and then reboot when, of course, the scary message has gone.  But it has happened so often that I use Chrome less and less.
Firefox is still ok, though connection speed has slowed significantly, which is why we are going to get Cable when Walt figures out how to get his mail since we will have to leave Davis Community Network.  Some days Firefox is like the old days when you had a dial up connection and could go and make a sandwich while waiting for a page to load...but in those days, we didn't know it was possible that it could be faster.  We were just thrilled that we could connect with something elsewhere.

Since Trump came to office, Facebook is more and more about negative political things (to which I guiltily admit I contribute) and it takes longer to find the "fun" stuff that used to be more prominent.  That plus the fact that the ads have taken over about 1/3 of the content.

I don't see myself giving up the internet, but I certainly am not as happy with it as I have been for so long.

And remember how you used to have the sadistic pleasure of hanging up on a telemarketer?  Now they call just as often (or maybe more often) but they are all recorded, so you can't slam the phone down (I still have a phone with a handset so have that option)

Speaking of phones, Tom and family were here the other day and there is an old fashioned phone upstairs which almost never gets used.  Brianna had never seen one and couldn't figure out how it worked.  She didn't understand why, after you picked up the handset, you had to put it back down to disconnect.

Ned was here yesterday, with his report on his three weeks in Hawaii, which was not the relaxing vacation that people might think, since he was there to do for Marta's parents what he has essentially been doing for us all these weeks.  He even took her mother to Kaiser once.  Marta joined him on the third week and they had a couple of "vacation" days in Kona, but mostly they were on an old lava flow within sight of (but not access to) the ocean.  But then he didn't go over there for a vacation.
He brought Walt what has to be the quintessential Hawaii souvenir--a can of Spam flavored macadamia nuts.

I took a trip to Target in the afternoon, trying to buy shoes for my mother.  I didn't want to spend much money because she might lose those too.  I bought a couple of pairs which I'm sure she will hate, but at least they can't say I didn't get her shoes.

Ned is going to come with me for my meeting with the memory care director next week while we try to figure out what to do about my mother and her recent physical combativeness.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Win Some, Lose Some

I feel like I've gained 100 lbs today.  And that's not because I've been binge eating.

It was not a good Atria day and I came home with the weight of the world on my shoulders and did what I usually do after such a day--turned on Criminal Minds, which made me cry, and then took a long nap.  But I still felt 100 lbs heavier when I woke up.

I mentioned in yesterday's entry that I had a call from Atria saying she was going to need new shoes.  I assumed that meant that her shoes, which have been looking pretty ratty, had finally fallen apart.  I sent a text asking what happened with all the rest of the 10 pairs of shoes she moved in with and someone said they would look around.

When I got to the community room, someone greeted me with "Hi, Bev-- your mother needs shoes."  She was sitting there, barefoot.  That's what they meant by "needing shoes."  I took her back to her room to find some shoes.

On the way, we passed Tony (her "boyfriend") walking down the hall holding hands with his wife.  My mother put her arms around him and gave him a big kiss.  His wife was NOT happy and told her to leave him alone.  I grabbed my mother before she could punch someone else.

We got to her room and there were NO shoes there.  Not one pair.
I checked all her drawers and found a pair of slippers for her to put on (though the slippers I bought for her were not to be found), but it seems that I am going to have to buy her shoes.  Someone told me she "takes them off in odd places" and I asked the memory care director what happens if they find the shoes somewhere and she said they put them in the laundry room and she would have someone look, but since there are several pairs missing I am not hopeful of their finding anything.

I tried talking to her about punching people and as I knew she would, she was very offended because she just never did anything like that.

This was a very, very bad dementia day.  It was one of those days where she has to go through grief over the death of everyone in her family.  I thought we were OK when she said "Mom's dead, isn't she?" and I said yes, but later she asked "what's Mom doing these days?" and then was angry that nobody told her that her mother died 60 years ago.

She seemed to be talking about her high school and when I asked her how old she was, she told me she was 17.  Then she looked at a picture of Tom and said he was one of her classmates and was a very nice boy.

She doesn't talk gibberish, but her conversation has noting to do with anything that is going on and she often forgets words.  At one point she asked me how her sister's bombs were going.  I don't have a clue what that meant.  (It may have been bom-boms, not bombs.)

I talked with the director of the memory unit as we were leaving.  I have to say that when she took over, I really liked her, but I have come to not like her much.  She never answers e-mails (which she promised would be a great way to communicate with her), never answers questions, and I know she's not going to attempt to find her shoes, like the two pairs of prescription glasses that were lost (one of which labeled with her name).  It seems like she just doesn't care, but talks a good game.  I get billed $40 every 6 weeks or so for podiatry care, for a doctor who comes to Atria.  Her toenails are very, very long and I asked the director to find out what I am paying for.  She said she would ask.  She never got back to me.  

I asked her what about this punching business and the only thing she could recommend was that we hire an outside caretaker to be with her all day long.  She is going to check on how much that will cost, but thinks it will be something like $20 an hour.  It's coming at a great time, when her long term care insurance has just run out and we have to pay $2,000 more per month that is no longer covered by the insurance.

I was feeling so good after the nice day I had on my birthday and my good experience at the DMV, but left Atria with the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I was trying to figure out how we could move her here, but the house is just not set up for it.  Even if we make the living room a bedroom, which is possible, she would have to go up and down stairs to get to the bathroom, and it's hard enough for me to get upstairs.  I don't know that I could help her upstairs too.

I just don't know what to do....don't know what to do....don't know what to do.....  the theme that seems to repeat in my head over and over again whenever there is a day like today.  And today was one of the worse ones.

In the meantime, I guess I need to go shoe-shopping for her today.  But there is no guarantee that if I buy her shoes, she will keep them.

Oh yeah.  I mentioned that it was my birthday, which went over her head as if I had not spoken at all.  But then at least I knew it would.

Monday, February 18, 2019

It wasn't horrible

I've been using a credit card holder of my mother's for her information -- ID, Kaiser card, etc. and added mine as well.  It's a nice size and fits nicely in a zipper section of my purse.  Only it's falling apart.  The plastic pages are falling out and I have to root through the zipper section to find what I'm looking for.  I'm in the market for a new one.

I went to Target, but they only had wallets in varying sizes, none of which were close to what I wanted.
I tried Amazon and found something that I thought would be perfect, but I forgot to look at the specifications and discovered, when it arrived, that it is the size of those wallets I rejected at Target...and it has room for NINETY credit cards.  I have about 3.  But I like it, so I'll get used to it.  (I have so many empty sleeves that I am using it as a wallet, folding up paper money and putting it in the sleeves.)

I started putting cards in the thing, mine and my mother's, and that's when I discovered that my driver's license expires THIS year, not next year, on my birthday -- in 3 days.  I immediately called DMV to make an appointment and discovered that the first available appointment was in April and there is NO contact information on their web page, so you can neither call the office nor e-mail to find out what to do if you have to drive on an expired license.

The only thing I could do was go to the office and see if I could get it renewed without an appointment.  I knew it would take forEVer, which was verified when I saw the length of the line, which went down three different aisles.  I said 50 people but it was probably more like 30.  I was philosophical about it.  I had expected it and I was prepared with my book.

A DMV guy was going down the line checking to see what each person was there for and when he got to me and I told him I was there to renew my license, he looked at my cane and said "you go to the disabled line."  So he led me to a "line" with just one person in it.  I was checked in in no time, and called to the window in no time.

Two renewals ago I had a cataract and had to have a behind the wheel test and was told from then on I would always have to have a behind the wheel test, but last time they didn't give me one and this guy was kind of confused by it--said that the only person who could take that off the computer was the guy who gave me the test.  But he gave me an eye exam and I aced it.  But he said I would have to go to my doctor (in Sacramento) and have him sign a form saying that yes, the exam I aced was accurate (in case I borrowed someone else's eyes, I guess."

He then gave me a second eye test using a machine that made it impossible for me to cheat and use my good eye to help my bad eye.  But I don't have a bad eye any more so I aced that one too.
The lady who was supposed to arrange for my behind the wheel test, instead took my picture and gave me the written test, which I passed easily and then she just finalized my forms, including the doctor's form, which must be signed by April, and I was out of there in less than an hour and a half.
I was so pleasantly surprised, I came home and wrote to the DMV office, since I figure they get lots of complaints and very few compliments.

Then yesterday was my 77th birthday.  Norm, who had been here for several days (and who is now a year younger than I for the next few months), left in the early morning.  Walt made a lovely breakfast for me and in the evening we went out for sushi. 

My fortune cookie was a nice one to get on your birthday.

I came home to a text message from Atria saying my mother needs new shoes.  She moved in the memory with about 10 pairs of shoes and apparently they have all disappeared except the ones that are falling apart.  I must go and investigate today.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Valentine redux redux

This is becoming an annual entry....but I can't think of a better entry to repeat yearly.
As I sit here in my office writing this entry, Walt is busy collecting all of the garbage from the house and dog poop from the yard so that he can take our 3 garbage cans (we are into mega-recycling in this town) down to the curb for garbage pick-up tomorrow.

Walt's a good guy and while I mention him in this journal now and then, I never actually write about him, so I thought that on this Valentine's day, I would do just that.
I knew I had someone special the day we brought Jeri home from the hospital.  We arrived at our apartment and he parked the car and told me to wait, then he went inside and when I went upstairs holding our precious new baby, the house was full of pink roses and there was a record of music box music playing lullabies in the background.

How he loved that baby!


It warms the cockles of my heart that he and Jeri have always had a close relationship.  I'm jealous of her.  I would like to have been that close to my own father.

But Walt was always a great Dad, whether giving each kid a piggy back ride right after coming home from work, coaching Little League or going to Indian Guides, helping make a Pinewood Derby car for the Boy Scouts, working backstage at Sunshine Children's Theater, or just reading "The Night Before Christmas" every Christmas eve.

He started buying each of the kids little boxes of Whitman sampler chocolates for Valentine's day, and now that they are grown, he mails them (now including one for the spouse, and boxes for Brianna and Lacie). 

There is nobody who doesn't like Walt.  He'll do any favor anyone asks, happily, without complaint.  Right now he's on the board for Citizens Who Care for the Elderly, and has been for many years, helping raise money for people who can give caregivers in Yolo County a break for an hour or two now and then.  He does his own respite work with our friend who is in a wheelchair so that his wife can get out a couple of times a month.

He's so patient with my difficulties with my mother.  He has been there and knows how difficult this is for me at times.  His mother didn't have dementia, but she was quite incapacitated by her blindness and inability to move much.  He went to Santa Barbara as often as he could, and after a particularly bad time, he stayed there for a couple of weeks, sleeping on her little half-couch and making sure she got her "Boost and cheese" every day, in an attempt to keep her weight up.

He has been an amazing husband.  Sometimes I wonder what I did to deserve him.  When he retired, he said he had decided to take over the job of keeping the kitchen clean, and every night after dinner, he takes the huge mess I have made preparing it and makes the counters (or as much of the counters that don't store stuff permanently) all clean again.

He has done his own laundry ever since the day I washed his Air Force uniform (when he was in the reserves, back in the 60s) with something red and didn't realize that his uniform was pink because he left before the sun came up.  He discovered it when he got to the base.  After that, he took over doing his own laundry and we have both been better for it!

He has put up with all of crazy part-time jobs and my weird projects, especially 10 years of hosting foreign students -- and what experiences we had with those 70 kids from around the world!

He is my chauffeur and attends all these plays with me.  He understand my terror of big trucks (a terror which developed for absolutely no reason one night in 1986 and has not left me) and he is careful either NOT to pass a large truck or to pass it two lanes over or to go slow and stay behind the truck.  He puts up with my intermittent gasps when my mind sees imminent highway danger where there is none.

He drove me to and from Logos every Thursday for four years, since my knee won't let me ride a bike any more and the City of Davis won't let me park for four hours.  (Of course the beer he got every Thursday before he picked me up, at the pub around the corner from the book store, might have been an incentive!)

We have traveled the world together and he's always been very encouraging, helping me make it just a few more steps when I'm ready to give up, and waiting for me to rest when I just can't go any farther.  I have seen more of the world than I ever dreamed I would....and walked farther than I dreamed possible.

I love the relationship he has with Polly.  He is "her person" and she prefers to sleep in his lap at night.  If he walks by the chair where she is sleeping without stopping to pet her, she jumps up and barks and barks and barks until he comes back and does so.  He has liked all of our dogs, but Polly is the first dog who chose him as her person and she is so cute with him.

He keeps me supplied with mini ice cream bars at night while we are watching TV after dinner.  We both love to watch Jeopardy together.  After 52+ years, we speak in movie or play quotes and punchlines of old jokes.  I've said that we've run out of original material.

He is kind and loving and does much more than his share around here and I love him for it.  I don't exactly sit and eat bon bons every day, but I definitely don't do a fraction of what he does.

He's a very special man and I don't tell him that often enough.  So now I have.  Happy Valentine's day, dear!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Girl Talk

I had lunch at Tres Hermanas Mexican restaurant with my friend Kathleen yesterday.

I love the restaurant not only for the good food, but for the unique decor.

Kathy and I used to have lunch every month, but it's been a rough year for the both of us and while she tells me it's not quite a year since our last lunch, it's pretty darn close.  She was supposed to bring me Girl Scout cookies, if that's any indication of how long it's been....this would have been 2018 cookies.

We lingered over lunch for two hours, getting caught up on our lives, and raking the current administration over the coals.  Kind of what we always do, but in more detail since there were more months to cover.  It was better than a therapist appointment.  I sorely miss one on one girl chats and I left lunch today on a real high.  We have already set a date for our March lunch, so I guess we are back on rack again.

And the food was delicious.  I had checked the menu on line before we met and discovered they were offering a crab enchilada which of course I had to try.  It was fabulous, with real chunks of crab in it.  Of course it came with rice and refried beans and Kathy had ordered guacamole for us, since she was treating me to a birthday lunch a few days early.  I normally never finish a big lunch, but this was too good and I ate it all.  I was so stuffed when I got home, I had to take a siesta and then when I cooked dinner, I realized that there was no way I was going to eat anything, so I just served dinner to Walt.

On the drive home, I was listening to BBC news reporting on the situation in Hungary at the moment.  The latest headlines tell of the government control over news reporting institutions, most of which are "fake news," prime minister Orban says.  This move will only allow government-friendly organizations internet access.  More than 400 web sites, newspapers, tv channels and radio stations are rushing to transfer to Central European press, though if any are caught printing anti-Orban news, they can have negative government feedback.
Since taking power in 2010, Orban has steadily chipped away at Hungary’s checks and balances, stacking the Constitutional Court with loyalists, reshaping the electoral system to favor his party and placing dozens of watchdog institutions — including the judiciary and prosecution service — under the leadership of his allies.
The reporter said this is the new wave in many countries--where a would-be autocrat, skilled at media, uses his expertise to get elected and then starts reshaping the country. getting rid of the rules and regulations they deem distasteful.

Sound familiar?

Kathy and I bemoaned the fact that the work of the LGBT community to achieve rights in housing, employment and other things (could marriage be next?) has been eroded.  I'm wondering how the current administration is going to find a way to nullify the thousands of marriages that have taken place since marriage equality was won.  I'm sure that is on the agenda if they can figure out how to do it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Birthdays and Dogs

As promised, I fixed French toast for Alice Nan for her birthday.

She was able to get on the road early and should be on her way back to Santa Barbara.  We will miss her.  She's such fun to have around, and always looks on the bright side of things, a talent I don't always have.  Polly has accepted her, so there hasn't been a lot of barking, which is a blessing.

I was up too late and up way too early in order to start the French toast so after she left, I was very, very sleepy and, in fact, fell asleep with my head on my desk, waking when the phone rang.  I was so disoriented I couldn't place where that noise was coming from.  I"ve been sleeping so well these past several months that 3 hours just doesn't cut it for a night of sleep any more, though it used to be my norm.

Diana Ross was one of the few "names" that I recognized on the Grammys last night, a vision in red.

Someone said she was 75 years old and I thought to myself "I'd like to look like that at 75," and then laughed since I will turn 76 next week!  Too late!

The tree guys finally showed up to trim two of our trees.  We expected them 2 weeks ago, but their "cherry picker" (the machine that lets them ride up to the top of the trees) was broken and they had to wait for it to be fixed.

But it's fixed now and our trees are finally trimmed.

Norm came by around noon.  The schedule had him arriving early in the morning and spending the night, but he had to work in the morning and has to work tomorrow morning as well, so he just came for a few hours.  When the schedule was set up, we needed a lot more help than we do now, but with Walt close to back to normal--or at least a new normal--we don't really need physical help as much as we have appreciated the mental stimulation of having a rotating number of folks in the house.

Norm and I ended up watching the Westminster Dog Show (Day 1).  In truth, I think contests to see which dog is the most beautiful is as dumb as a contest to see which woman is the most beautiful, but I do love looking at the dogs.  This one, unlike the coverage of the National Dog Show, which only shows the Best of Grou and Best of Show categories, this coverage was of the Best of Breeds.  Polly was unimpressed by the Chihuahuas but I thought seeing so many altogether was cute:

I also decided I want a Xolo.  Not so much because I like the look (or description of the dog) but because I want to tell everyone I have a Xoloitzcuintli (once I learn how to pronounce it!)

We also learned about poodles.  Norm looked up the story behind the silly poodle cut and discovered it's not so silly after all.

The traditional poodle look stems from the 17th century.  Poodles are water dogs and since a Poodle's thick outer coat can get heavy when wet, the bottom half of the body was shorn back to help keep the dog afloat. To keep his organs warm in cold waters, the hair was kept long over the chest and head. Bracelets of ankle hair were left to protect joints from rheumatism, and a topknot was used to keep long hair out of the eyes when swimming.  So now you know it's just not some sort of frou frou affectation on the part of owners.

After Norm left, I watched the Westminster agility trials, which were so much more fun.  Watching dogs competing in athletic competitions made more sense than conformation.  Those dogs are amazing.  Even when things go wrong....

...they pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and continue on.

I believe this dog was in the top 5.  The dog that won was tiny and barked through the entire course.

We are on our own for the next two or three nights, then Norm will be back and Ned will be home.  I think Ned is going to be very pleased to see the progress his father has made during his absence.