Monday, February 28, 2011


MR. BOB climbed out of bed this morning and into his recliner to be ready for the person who comes to draw blood to check his protime. That's the test to see how quickly one's blood clots when one is taking a blood thinner. When I arose an hour later this is what I found:

The technician had never shown up to take the test.

And I? For a while now I've wanted to show you our bedroom ceiling, but never remember to take my camera to bed. Some friends once gifted us with a clock that projects the time and the temperature onto the ceiling, which in and of itself is novel. Mr. Bob was the one who was most intrigued with the numbers of 1:11and 2:22 and then we began to watch for the time and the temperature when they matched which didn't get seen very often.

This morning I lay there waiting and darned if when the numbers approached matching, the temperature didn't show a rise. All I wanted was to snuggle in and return to the arms of Morpheus, but for the sake of the blog, I persisted and it finally paid off.

If that isn't pathetic, I don't know what is. I hope the rest of the week holds more interesting things.

And as I wrote that last sentence, there came a knock on the door:

Let the week begin.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


WE WERE YOUNG together 60 years ago. On a chartered Amtrak train to a football game in Oxnard, the guys were together the night when Mr. Bob and I met. I was 17. Years later, we all became parents around the same time. We women were all influenced by June Cleaver (Beaver's mom) and were model housewives of the 1950s. The men became a policeman, a fire captain, a mathematical genius; Mr. Bob was already a printer. Missing, as usual, when they visited the Manor yesterday, was the car salesman.

Jane & Fran
Jim & Judy
We were the first couple to enter a retirement facility and there was curiosity about our living quarters. In the dining room a table had been set up for 8 and the food was especially good. The kitchen at the Manor excels in preparing tender pork spareribs and on occasion, garlic bread. 4 of us ordered the ribs, 2 ordered eggplant parmesan, 1 had fish from the alternative menu and Judy loves hamburgers. Her wish was fulfilled. Judy's the only one I know who takes as many pictures as I do. She does not, I repeat, does not like her picture taken. From her last trip, she took 188 photos and didn't appear in any of them, as opposed to moi. I've been known to take my own picture in the bathroom mirror. She won't like it when she reads this, but here she is:

She and her mathematician husband lived in Cuba when Castro was still a guerilla in the mountains. These days they enjoy cruising as often as possible and would welcome revisiting Cuba when that becomes a possibility.

Bob, Jane, Fran, Don, Judy, Dick, Lois, Jim

Don, Jim, Dick
Cindy, the dining room manager, suggested a group picture.

After eating, we stopped in the library. I don't think the ongoing discussion is particularly literary, which is why we moved along to the Friendship Lounge where the seating is better than it is in our assigned quarters.

There we continued to catch up on each other's lives and before they went home, I insisted on a group picture. Everyone moans and groans at that suggestion, but it serves as a record later.

Fran, Don, Dick, Lois, Bob, Jim, Judy
We get together about once a year. Once I gathered us in front of a mirror.........

This was before Don, a widower,  married Fran.

and the last time we met, we visited first at Judy & Jim's house near San Diego, then piled into two cars to drive the ten minutes to the chosen restaurant. Once there, I thought I'd get the requisite group photo out of the way, then realized that Lois was missing.

Bob, Dick, Fran, Don, Judy, Jim

I mean really missing. Nowhere to be found. We'd left her back at the house. What follows next is a picture of mirth, personified, but I didn't dare post it at the time until Lois's justified ruffled feathers were smoothed. Now, even she can laugh about it.

I suspect Dick spent some time in the doghouse after this. When Lois called Dick's cell phone, she heard it ringing upstairs.
Interesting, in this day and age, that none of us has been divorced.
Just call us old-fashioned folks.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


"How old would you be if you didn't know 
how old you were?"
                                                                   ~Satchel Paige

There's a new kid on the block and we finally got the assignment to help a new resident feel at home. Several of the displaced people from the other retirement home have come to the Manor, mostly ladies. We were assigned to a gentleman, Dr. Daniel B.

What a delight he is; not very talkative, but he has the ability to twinkle his eyes which communicates a lot. He displayed a wonderful curiosity when Mr. Bob pulled out his iPhone. Actually, that contraption has been a tremendous ice breaker ever since we moved in.

He's 85, a former dentist, was born in New York City and has 3 daughters.

Men are in short supply here. Dr. Daniel is a good addition.

"There is no pleasure worth forgoing 
just for an extra three years 
in the geriatric ward."
                                                                              ~John Mortimer

Friday, February 25, 2011


Today's the day we send Harvey and Sheila on their way......San Diego, Seattle, Santa Rosa are on their itinerary before from the San Francisco Airport they wing their way across the ocean back home to their little piece of paradise. 

Both of them are accomplished cooks so it means a lot that they've enjoyed the Manor food immensely. Given our heads, we're slow starters in the morning and they've been sensitive to that and rising early, they've breakfasted in the dining room before taking off for long, long walks. When we meet up for midday dinner, they recount all the streets they've walked along and Harvey's greatest delight is meeting people and stopping for a chat. I question how good we've been as hosts, but Harvey and Sheila are self sufficient and good examples in their love of vegetables and desire for bracing exercise. Would that I had some of that in my personality.

But, as I wrote earlier in the week to Judy, I'm still the Queen of Clutter, even though I was certain that I'd turn over a new leaf when we moved to the Manor. Judy (second from the left) is one of the six friends paying us a visit tomorrow.

Mr. Bob has known the men longer than he's been acquainted with me, which goes way back in time. The 3 couples live in beautiful homes, furnished like model houses, in such contrast to our mode of living. I'm envious, but not enough so to get my house in order.

Judy's response was that they're not the White Glove Brigade and I should have, but didn't take the opportunity to tell her that my clutter is dust-free, cleaned faithfully by Sandra who comes to hose us down every Thursday.

We've been the first to move to a retirement facility so these friends are eager to see our new living quarters. In my anxiety about being viewed in our "come as we are" mode of living, I'll try to remember what happened yesterday when one of the residents......a very, "with-it" lady, stepped into our room to deliver some information we needed. I'd just been in her serene living quarters......again, beautifully clutter. She entered our apartment, her eyes swept the room and she said,  "Oh, my! My place is so boring in comparison!" It's all in the attitude. I'll work on mine.

P.S. Our Susan wrote that she'd only seen her dad cry twice. Once was when doing a bulk mailing for the store and the other was when his mother was coming to visit and the house was a mess.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Before we get off the subject of curiosity, I need your help on this. I've Googled any number of times. I've asked those who might know and there's never been a satisfactory answer as to what caused this:

The scene appears on the west side of Hwy 5, a bit north of Crow's Landing and before one goes over Altamont Pass.

Mr. Bob has guessed everything from molehills to dump truck loads. I don't buy any of it.

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


It was in January that I snapped this picture. The term "community style" piqued my interest. I wondered what it meant. Lacking someone to ask, I suppose the obvious thing to do would be to call one of the listed telephone numbers. Both Mr. Bob and I are challenged by accents over the telephone. How many times can you ask, "What?" or "Would you repeat that?" So I didn't call.

In looking through our photos, deciding what should be written about today, I came upon this picture and I had one of those lightbulb-above-the-head moments when I suddenly remembered that I have Google at my fingertips. So often that happens after I've been wondering about something for a long time. I think it must be a generational thing for those of us coming from the Encyclopedia Age.

If you are perplexed by the term "community style", I suggest you go here and be enlightened. That is, if your curiosity matches mine.
And I hope it does.

One time we were attending an Elderhostel program. Registration usually takes place in the late afternoon. Participants get settled in their lodging place, usually a hotel; dinner is enjoyed and after the meal that first evening, people introduce themselves, telling a little about what makes them tick. I'll never forget one man who when asked about his hobbies, gave a one-word answer.
"Curiosity", he said.

Footnote: Elderhostel recently changed its name to "Road Scholar". Clever, huh? I think they're appealing to a wider audience. Recently I called their headquarters to ask what the minimum age is to participate and was told that it's now 40. I highly recommend looking into what they offer. I'll save you the trouble of Googling it.
Try this.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


My intention was to do a piece on Manor couples for Valentine's Day. Who was it that said, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions?" That could be my mantra.

Joann and Jack celebrated their 57th anniversary last evening. Their table always has jolly conversation and much laughter but last night the pop of a champagne cork signaled a celebration. He's our recently elected Resident President and is perfectly suited for the position. I especially like the way he goes to the table where a new resident is seated at dinnertime and welcomes her. It's a nice touch and seemingly a very natural gesture.

They nearly always are seated with Earl and Glenys who in June will have been married for 70 years. Glenys was born in Wales and both of them are outgoing and friendly, waving to nearby residents when they leave the dining table. I've never seen anyone, let alone 2 people, who know how to "pose" naturally for the camera the way they do.

Dorothy and Dick are recent arrivals. At the end of their meal, there's a carefully choreographed scene as he rises, pulls out her chair, turning it so that she's facing her walker. Then, taking both of her hands, he gently pulls her to a standing position (ouch! ouch! ouch!.....many of us know exactly how it feels) and finally, he places both of her hands on the walker grips. The whole process is graceful enough to be termed a ballet. It never varies.

Mickey and Nadine, another couple who have celebrated 70 years of married bliss, are the Manor folks we've come to know the best.  His natural bent is to coddle her and she shrugs off his assistance, wanting to do things herself, the epitome of the independent woman. 

She knows each individual by name, including the staff and the people in the Health Center. Nadine is the one who started the herb garden and she's my library co-chair. I couldn't carry on the duties without her.

There are 2 other couples in Assisted Living. Walter and Eva, who rarely are seen together. I think she keeps mostly to her room, due to her fragility.

Here are the new residents, Earl and Annabella.
He was rushed to the hospital and is undergoing surgery today. Please say your prayers and/or cross your fingers.

I can't leave us out. This is the photograph we framed for Susan one Christmas. I took a deep breath and wrote on the frame and she seemed to like it that way.

So, there you have it. Most of the residents here have lost their life partners, so memories abound. We, as couples, are fortunate indeed.

Marriage is a book of which the first chapter is written in poetry 
and the remaining chapters in prose.  
                                                                 ~Beverley Nichols

Sunday, February 20, 2011


When we rose this morning and looked out of our east facing window, this was the scene that greeted us...........admittedly we used the telephoto lens.

You were all so understanding in your comments on yesterday's post (was that yesterday's?). I made some headway on the Manor photo album today to the point that my eyesight is a little blurry this evening, but I want to show you some of the things we saw when Tim took our British friends and us for a ride.

We traveled through some depressed areas of Los Angeles and I wondered where Tim was taking us. He knew what he was about. I had no idea there was a designated Arts District in Los Angeles.

Neptune, high on a building

Who? I wonder.

This mural had a naive quality that I found appealing.

Do you suppose the people who live in this house enjoy orange juice for breakfast every morning?

City Hall, once the tallest building in Los Angeles, now dwarfed by skyscrapers and in this case, apparently by palm trees.
My favorite of all.

Next, Tim drove us up and down the frighteningly steep hills in the Echo Park area and I was so nervous that I never thought to use my camera. 

When we neared home the snow was nearly gone from the mountains. We arrived in time for supper...........and,  apologies to the no-longer-living author of "Where the Wild Things Are", it was still hot.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


We came close to achieving 100 days of blogging without any interruption and then yesterday we broke the chain. My ability to multi-task has lessened over the years and there was too much going on to fit everything in that I wanted to do.

Months ago, Mr. Bob agreed to be the photographer/historian for the Manor. Taking pictures is no problem whatsoever, for we both go through life with cameras at the end of our arms. Printing and organizing pictures into an album is another matter altogether. Traditionally, here at the Manor, a picture scrapbook is put together for a full calendar year and placed in the lounge area for residents to pore through.

The album for 2010 is in our room, all additions discontinued in February of that year when the transition was agreed upon for Mr. Bob to take over the upkeep task.

I can't help but wonder. Is it a defect in our characters that it takes us so damned long to figure out a system that works? I'll admit that it took me the better part of a year to figure out a routine that works smoothly for showering, when I was strictly a bathtub bather for all of my life. And it's taken me all these months to figure out a way to catch up on the photo album assignment. It's involved several computer lessons, too, to get where I want to be.

Out of our 25,000 pictures on our computer, I'm selecting which photos should be used and rather than pasting 4 to 6 pictures on a page I'm learning to compile a mosaic in this manner:

Meanwhile, I'm fretting about the color reproduction and wondering if the residents' declining eyesight will get confused by the method I'm using. Right now I'm plodding through that period of mediocrity required when learning any new skill. It's time consuming, but quite enjoyable and once started, it's hard to stop to write our daily blog, so there you have it.

I think I'm caught up for 2011 so far and just last evening I started my way, working backward, to get the 2010 album completed before too many more residents expire. Talk about pressure!

Wish us luck! 
We'll continue to blog, but it may be sporadic for a while.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


In spite of what I've told you about not much liking the idea of joining groups, a few months ago when one of the residents invited me to come to a meeting of the Crones, I was intrigued enough to attend.

What I found was a group of women, somewhat advanced in years, highly individual, somewhat unorthodox; what I would call "thinking women". The conversation was stimulating, the evening passed quickly and I've been joining them at their monthly meetings ever since that first meeting. It was a while before I realized that it was more than a group of local women who decided on that name for their group. The Crones is (are?) more wide-spread than that.

As the group was getting ready to disperse last evening, I called Mr. Bob to come down one floor with his camera. It was decided that he could be a "Crony" for as long as it took to take a group picture.

Crones Counsel uses the term crone to reference, and to reclaim, the name of the wisewoman of ancient times. The concept of crone existed tens of thousands of years ago when women’s life patterns were conceptualized in three stages -- Maiden, Mother, and Crone. The Maiden was the youthful, independent woman. The Mother was a woman who guided others--as a biological mother or as a teacher. The Crone was the postmenopausal woman who enjoyed a special, revered status. The elder woman was viewed as a fount of wisdom, law, healing skills, and moral leadership; her presence and leadership were treasured at every significant tribal ceremony and each personal occasion from birth to death. In that light, Crones Counsel consistently focuses on the empowerment and well-being of older women and claims the honored status of the ancient crone for contemporary women.

It's quite nice to be considered "wise".

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


The history of my schooling involves a lot of dropping out. It's to my credit that I graduated from high school, but I suspect that my gym clothes are moldering in some musty locker at Glendale College for in 1952 I floated away from academia and felt great relief in doing so.

Since then, I've enrolled in a class here and there, never with the proper sense of commitment. Often I didn't complete the course. Now here I am, signed up for weekly computer lessons in our local Apple store, trying to learn more about how to produce pages of photographs for the Manor picture album. Mr. Bob signed up for the job of photographer/historian over a year ago and not a thing has been done since then beyond taking thousands of pictures. It's ridiculous to continue procrastinating.

I'm a slow-witted student, partly because I can't come right home to practice what I've learned. I was all ready to do that yesterday and realized at the last minute that I was about to miss the monthly book group Nadine and I started. I think I've told you before that as I look back over my adult life, I realize that I love to start clubs, but feel annoyed at the need to attend each meeting. After supper, I thought I'd practice my newfound knowledge until someone reminded me that it was Bingo night in the basement. Admittedly, one isn't obligated to play board games, but it had been several months since we'd played and Mr. Bob wanted to get back to it. As it was, between us, we won 4 out of 7 games, enough to feel a little sheepish.

I'm scheduled for another lesson tomorrow morning. I like the 9 a.m. appointment, before the Glendale Galleria parking lot gets full of obsessive shoppers. Yesterday I had the same trainer that I had 3 years ago when I started trying to gain some knowledge in a formal manner. One of my complaints is that we can't choose to have the same trainer every time we go, so it's a matter of starting from Square One each time, explaining what I'm there for. Greg is patient, I'll say that for him. Doesn't he resemble a young Fidel Castro?

Gotta go........or I'll be late for the Crones' meeting. I'll tell you about that tomorrow.