Sunday, August 01, 2021


In the morning, Vickie texted Suzanne and me that she had decided to attend the memorial service in San Luis Obispo. As promised, I went over to Mary-sit at 8:45. Mary was again sitting on the couch with the child's book she likes to read (out loud) and play (it has kind of music box attached). Vickie left a few minutes after I arrived; she had left for me to see two loose-leaf books about Mary. I was impressed to see a number of newspaper clippings chronically her golf tournament wins. She also, it seems, was a champion pool player; there were newspaper articles about that, too. 

But the other scrapbook was most impressive: It contained pictures of, and information about, the large, intricate, and perfectly beautiful doll houses Mary used to make. Most of them have been donated to museums and other charities, except for one given to Mary's granddaughter.  The book also contained Mary's high school diploma from 1952. Nineteen fifteen two--how could that be? I graduated HSHS in 1954 and Mary couldn't possibly be two years older than I am. But she is; she's turned 87 on April 19. Looking at her, you'd never believe she was more than maybe sixty-eight or nine.  

The book also contained Mary's resume (she graduated from Ventura College with a degree in art) and her work history as a technician.  Interestingly, Mary's maiden name was Y Barra, so she's of Latina descent, but her married name is Monahan--as Irish as Molloy. Anyway, Mary and I chatted a bit--not very coherently--and got along okay.  I called Betty while I was there, with the usual confused result.

Suzanne came to spell me at 11:30 and off I went to prepare for Jim lunch. Made my usual chicken sandwiches, gave him cabernet sauvignon and I reverted to beer.  We had good talk and minor arguments, as ever, and he stayed until 3:30. I then bused to town, took books back to the library, picked up another Kellerman (I must wean myself away from him!), walked Main, and got home after 6:00.

Ellen called and we'll meet at noon today for lunch at Dargan's, then see Roadrunner, the documentary movie about Anthony Bourdain--yay! 

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Home Again

I tidied up a bit at Ellen's before the Access Van came. I left some stuff, including my little cart, as I'll see El on Sunday; we're tentatively planning lunch and a movie. Got home about 3:30 and put things away, then went to Von's for lettuce and lunchmeat, as Jim will be here for lunch today. 

Suzanne came over about 5:30 to show me pictures of her niece's wedding in Seattle and discuss the topic mentioned below. Had a good dinner of tilapia, yams, and spinach, cleaned up, then showered, washed my hair, and vegged out for the evening.

Note: Following is an elaboration--although not a full one--of the Vickie/Mary saga. There's some question as to who will succumb first to either disease or dementia--and there's no good answer.

Vickie had called me in the morning to ask if I could be with Mary today (Saturday) while she has yet another medical procedure, this one all morning. The usual caregiver, Liz, had a problem--and is a problem, unfortunately, but I don't want to repeat what Vickie told me. She thought possibly I could alternate with Suzanne. I told her I was expecting a lunch guest (Jim), but would be glad to cover the "first shift," so to speak, so 8:45 to 11:00. She called me later to say Suzanne couldn't do it, but had suggested Vickie ask me to be with Mary from 10 to 11 while Vickie walks on the beach and prays. Of course, I'll be glad to.

I don't know what's going to happen with this sad situation. Mary's dementia is worsening (well, the damn thing doesn't get better) and Vickie's breast cancer is by no means cured. The big problem is that they have no money. Luckily, Vickie has medical insurance (she works for the county), but Mary has none, so there can never be any adequate care for her. Hmm...Suzanne's suggestion about praying is interesting--but maybe Vickie won't be praying in the right direction. There is only one god in this country and his name is Mammon.   

Friday, July 30, 2021

Out And About In Ojai

I was pleased when Jim called in the morning (7:30) to discuss an article on science I had given him. He also asked if I was available for lunch on Saturday. I said I'd see if Ellen was coming over then or on Sunday, but come to think of it, why not have her over, too? I called her later--about 7pm--but they were at a movie and she said she'd call this morning.

I set out after breakfast, thinking to walk to town, but the temperature was already in the eighties, so instead, I took the "trolley" (really, a tricked out kind of mini-bus), instead. Since they're part of the Ventura County Transportation System, it was free for me. I stopped at a few shops, but didn't buy anything until I got to a used book store affiliated with the library. Bought two DVDs (I can't help myself!), then went next door to the library.

The Ojai Library reminds me wonderfully of the old Ventnor Library, which was on the boardwalk when I was a kid--to me, it was a cathedral. Ojai's is small, carpeted, with round tables and captain chairs here and there. The building has housed the library since 1927;  an addition was added in 1979, but it retains its comfortable, old time flavor. I sat there happily for an hour or so, dipping here and there into a bio of Maria Callas. 

Took the trolley back and had a late lunch. El had left a lot of lettuce--more than enough for several days--and I picked some of her cherry tomatoes, added the grapes I had brought, then realized I had no protein to add. I found a can of corned beef hash in Ellen's emergency supplies and put a few spoonfuls of that in--unusual, but it tasted good.

Called Jim and told him to come for lunch on Saturday. Even if El wants to drop off my stuff then, she can stay for lunch, too. Otherwise, maybe she could bring it on another day. I'm going to just put stuff I don't need right away for her to bring. Noreen called and we made a date for Monday lunch at Dargan's in town. 

Thursday, July 29, 2021


After breakfast and attending to my duties (kitty-feed and litter box), I left for the bus stop at 9:01. It's a bit more than a mile and I thought I could get there in twenty minutes, but I just barely made it. I had to run the last few yards, frantically waving my arms to alert the driver. The Ojai buses run only every hour and I would have had a big problem if I hadn't gotten that one. 

Luckily, I got to the transit center just in time to get the 11 bus to Market Street; walked from there to Rolling Oaks Radiology and--wonders will never cease--I was more than an hour early, but was taken anyway. It was quick and easy and I was out of there and walking to the shopping center nearby at the same time my original appointment was.

Picked up peanuts, another pair of glasses, and some marinade I like, then hopped the bus to the center, transferred to the 6, walked home, and pulled together a few more things to take back to Ellen's, including my bed pillow. I'm just not comfortable with big, puffy ones--I've had this flat, nondescript pillow for years and I just like to sleep on it. Also packed up a chicken leg and thigh, a package of frozen vegetables, and some grapes an tangerines. Rang Suzanne's bell and welcomed her back from Seattle, where she attended yet another wedding. We exchanged a few words and I'll see her when I get home. 

Access Van came at 3:45 and I got back to El's at 4:30. Called her after dinner to be told she and Greg were about to go on a walk. El and I made tentative plans for the weekend. She has some plump and beautiful cherry tomatoes growing and I intend to put them in my salad today. 

Last night, I watched part of a ten-year-old movie called Contagion on Netflix (Matt Damon, Kate Winslett, Jude Law,  and others), which is oddly prophetic of present-day CO-VID.   

Wednesday, July 28, 2021


Packed for my little trip, then ran over to Von's for a few things. I made a few annoying "business" calls and fooled around on the laptop. I wanted to get at least a short walk in, so went around the complex, which probably totaled a mile or so.

The Access Van got here about 3:45, picked up another passenger, dropped her off, then deposited me at Ellen's at 4:30. As I approached the house, I was greeting by a welcoming committee of one:

...and here, I wanted to add a picture of one of the kitties peering out from the blinds, but for some reason, I can't retrieve the pic from the phone, although I've tried everything--drives me nuts, but either Gwennie or Cessy will have to be imagined. 

I unpacked and settled myself in, then took a walk around the neighborhood. There's a place called Acacia Mansion right down the street, a huge, rambling house built in the twenties.  It had been a private home, built in 1929, a Krishnamurti spiritual center, and film locale. Most recently, it was a pricey hotel, but now the website says it's "permanently closed."

I found "Breaking Bad" on Netflix and, although the cast and script were entirely different--I guess this is a new season--I loved it, as I had the earlier ones when I was introduced to the show last year. Went to bed at my usual and slept well, although when I go home for a time today, I'm going to pack up my pillow and bring that. I called the Access Van to take me, as I'll have a lot to carry again. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Tristan, K., Larry, Barbara, And Ishmael

Stripped the bed, washed the sheets, and re-made. After breakfast, I walked to the P.O. with the present for Tristan and the letter to Mr. K. I was prepared to have the latter cost up to twenty bucks and was amazed that it was only $3.39. Hey, no argument with that.

Did some computer stuff--if it's such a boon, why do our lives seem to be more, not less complicated than they used to be?  Dunno, but I can't get along without it. Impulsively, I called my brother, Larry, in Miami and we had a good talk. His Helen is sinking fast, I'm afraid; sometimes she doesn't know who he is. 

Showered, washed my hair, and prepared to meet Barbara out front. Instead of going to Aloha, we decided on Two Trees for lunch--and what a terrific time we had. We talked and talked and talked, interspacing our chatter with laughs and--I should be embarrassed to admit, but I'm not--salty language. Barbara just retired as CEO of the Ventura Fairgrounds and now acts in an advisory capacity. I was thrilled to learn she's also a patient of Dr. Babbitt's and what's more, she has the same phobia about dentistry I do. We stayed at Two Trees until 4:00, then split. 

When I got home, I took a nap, oddly enough. I also called Nancy, to whom I haven't talked to in an age. I thought she might now be able to meet me for lunch in Ojai. However, she has terrific fatigue, maybe because of her hemoglobin problem, so that seems to be out.

Must pack to get ready to go to Ellen's this afternoon. I asked the Access Van to get me there about 5:00, so I can feed the kitties dinner.     


Note to myself: And I Alone Survived, by Lauren Elder

"And I only am escaped alone to tell thee." -- Job [This quote from the Bible is that of Job's servants telling their master some very bad news. Melville uses it because Ishmael, the only survivor of the debacle, is at last healed and reconciled with God.]

Monday, July 26, 2021


I aced the Sunday crossword. Instead of pleasing me, that seemed to emphasize how pathetic it is to think that means something. It doesn't.  Yes, that was the mood I was in and I think it was mostly because it was overcast. Called Betty, which added to my glumness. I'm hoping to be able to visit her the week after next when I get back from Ojai. Also called Muckie, but she didn't answer and I left a message. 

It helped a bit that I figured out--I hope--how to wrap great-grandson, Tristan's, birthday present. It's a baseball-style cap from California and I added some dough in the card. I then got a lift from seeing Tokyo son and adorable Mr. K. play a duet together at son's piano recital. At seven, K. is about as tall as my boys were at ten. I then sat down and wrote him a letter, enclosing some fish stickers I had picked up at the thrift store. Happily, that cheered me up and so did the sun coming out later. 

After lunch, I walked over the footbridge to the Hill Street branch of the library. I knew they aren't open on Sundays and I just wanted to return the Full Service (racy Hollywood) book. I was amazed and delighted to see that it was open--sort of. Reading the information on the window told me they had "Express Hours" on Sundays from 8am to 5 pm. This means, I discovered, that you can access the library with your card--which I did--and linger to read a bit--which I did--and borrow books--which I didn't, as I already have a mountain I haven't read yet. They also have a corner with a modest number of used books for sale; no staff, but there's a box for patrons to put their money in. I actually found a book I liked for a buck. It's called Something From the Oven/Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America. Honest and trustworthy as St. Theresa that I am, I put in my dollar. (Now wait: What did I say about already having a mountain of books...?)

From there, I took the 11 bus to the transit center/mall. I just didn't feel like continuing into town, so I went to Target. Picked up some toys for my grand-kitties (I'll be with them tomorrow) and three little containers for this and that. Went to Penney's and almost bought a new over-the-body bag. It's just as well I decided against it, as I really don't need it and I have enough stuff in my life.

Got home at 4:00 and cooked up a large bag of spinach. Reserved some for dinner and used my great little one-portion, lidded casserole dish for the rest, which I stowed in the freezer.