Tuesday, May 31, 2011


NO WORD YET on why Mr. Bob finds himself incarcerated in room 512 in the hospital on the hill. His cheeks are rosier, his breathing is easier, he's getting grumpy, all signs that his condition is improving.

We sat yesterday, watching him take a 5 hour nap, until feeling a little guilty, we wrote a note and propped it on his tray so he'd know we'd slipped away. Our intent was to return in the evening after doing a couple of loads of laundry. Why is it so easy to misjudge the amount of time a task is going to take? It was going on toward 8 o'clock before the last of the clean clothes were folded, so we called Mr. Bob's image up on the screen and visited that way for a bit rather than sneaking around the hospital halls after proper visiting hours.

I've talked to him this morning. Surely we'll hear something today now that the holiday weekend is over and medical people are back at work.

Waiting is not my strong suit. I'm not feeling quite all of one piece and being a natural Eeyore type, it's hard work pushing all the "what if" thoughts out of my thinking. Possessing a vivid imagination is not a good thing at times such as this. 
Say your prayers, cross your fingers or whatever works for you. If and when we hear anything, I'll let you know.

Monday, May 30, 2011


A HOLIDAY WEEKEND isn't the best time to expect test results. We've heard nothing yet about what's ailing the man. Our Alaskan daughter sent a text message yesterday:

Susan...............Any change?
Tim & Jane.....He seems more himself.
Susan...............That could mean good or not so good.
Tim & Jane......Bingo!

                                                         Groucho Marx

Sunday, May 29, 2011


TIM AND I sat in Mr. Bob's hospital room for 7 hours yesterday. What in the world did we do before technology hit the fan? Talk?

The public no longer has to whisper in a library and the same is evidently true of hospitals. You couldn't, if you tried, stage a noisier setting on purpose. The noises just kept coming yesterday, while Mr. Bob and his visitors tried to catch a catnap. I finally stopped trying and opened my electronic notebook and wrote down the sounds I was hearing.......something akin to giant rolling marbles, huge sliding noises, toilets flushing (at the volume we used to hear on "All in the Family" when Archie used the bathroom....remember?) metal dropping, crockery clinking, intercoms, thumping noises, coughing, phones ringing and nearby chatter and laughing in languages that made it utterly impossible to eavesdrop.

Much of that goes on into the night, so Mr. Bob, of all people, required a sleeping pill to get a good night's rest.

Speaking of technology, Tim rigged up something called FaceTime which allows me to call Mr. Bob's iPhone and we can see each other on the screens while we talk.

Isn't that simply amazing???

Saturday, May 28, 2011


THE ECHOCARDIOGRAM yesterday morning showed Mr. Bob's heart to be working as efficiently as it did 18 months ago, which was a good sign. Back down the hill we came, feeling much relieved. Lunch on a tray didn't hold any appeal and when I took his temperature, the thermometer registered 102 which was higher than it's been during this illness.

Shortly thereafter, the nurse happened in and taught me that blue lips means to call for help immediately and it was determined that Mr. Bob should be sent to the hospital, an idea that only increased his angst. His oxygen count caused the paramedic to question if he'd understood correctly, it was that low.

When I arrived home last evening I found these pictures on his iPhone. Hard to believe that in the midst of respiratory distress, he took this picture in the ambulance and this self por-
trait in the Emergency Room, before I got there.

Tim joined us after he was through with his temporary stint at UCLA, getting to us through holiday getaway traffic.

At 9:30 before I turned in for the night, I wrote this email to family and a few friends. Surely in my state of mind I left a few people out, so here's the note:

I'm back at the Manor (no matter what they want us to call it),

I left him in charge of the night nurse whose name is Mercy which seems like a good sign. He was in good spirits and not at all blue around the gills. Tim and I went out for Mexican food and I've had a margarita AND Mexican coffee, so I'm feeling no pain.

He seemed more comfortable than he was at home and admitted that it was a better place to be, although at home he tried to get out of going. A lung specialist is being called in to determine whether what shows as a spot on the x-ray is a tumor or an infection. Since fever is involved, I'm voting for an infection.

The more people extend sympathy and caring to me, the more I'm in danger of "losing it", so treat me brusquely when next you see me.

Tim's a Godsend, making me laugh when I want to cry. 

I'm so glad I'm safely on the 4th floor here at Windsor Manor rather than in our house which would be so scary that I wouldn't even sleep with the window open.

I'll send another report tomorrow.


I just this minute talked to him and he sounds relatively chipper, but sleepy.......you know how it is during the night in a hospital. It's not exactly restful.

I asked if it'd be okay to blog this experience, not wanting to intrude on his privacy at this point. "Go ahead", was his answer.

Friday, May 27, 2011


A sense of mystic and royal qualities, purple is a color often well liked by very creative or eccentric types and is the favorite color of adolescent girls.
In Japan the color purple signifies wealth and position.

Purple denotes virtue and faith in Egypt. 
"When I am an old woman I shall wear purple, With a red hat which doesn't go and doesn't suit me, And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves, And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter."
Purple Prose: an elaborately written poem or paragraph in literature.

Born to the Purple: a person who is born into a noble or royal family.

Purple is considered a cool color in landscape design. It's appearance has a calming effect in a garden.

"But, luckily, he kept his wits and his Purple crayon." --from Harold and the Purple Crayon (1955)

In 1999, formal moral majority spokesman Reverand Jerry Farwell, came out publicly against the children's show Teletubbies. He believed that it's character "Tinky-Winky" was gay-- stating that he was purple- the colour of gay pride and that his antennae was triangle shaped- the symbol of gay pride.

Purple Stones: Amethyst, Ametrine, Sugilite, Lavender Jade, Sugilite, Selenite, Iolite, Lavender Quartz, Lepidolite.

Purple represents the planet Jupiter.

How the color purple affects us mentally and physically
  • Uplifting
  • Calming to mind and nerves
  • Offers a sense of spirituality
  • Encourages creativity

February is the month associated with the color purple and the birthstone for those born is February is Amethyst.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


THINGS GO ALONG SMOOTHLY and then bam! a new challenge arises.

Mr. Bob's been coughing more than usual, although with his COPD, a certain amount of hacking is not an unusual sound.

He's complained in the last few days of feeling weak. Then a fever appeared, so off to the doctor we went. He examined and prescribed, ordered an in room chest x-ray and sent us on our way. This morning, the day the same doctor visits the Manor, we checked in to find that it's a mild case of congestive heart failure, which "they" tell me sounds worse than it is, but a visit to the cardiologist was in order.

Dr:     "How about tomorrow morning?"
Jane:  "I'd prefer that he be seen today."
Dr:     "Could you come right now?"
Jane   "Yes"

Upon examination, the Dr. upped a couple of Mr. Bob's medications and told us to come back tomorrow for an echocardiogram.

Laughter is the best medicine.
Once this condition is brought under control, then and only then will it be time to investigate the spot on his right lung.

"Half the modern drugs could well be thrown out the window, 
except that the birds might eat them."  
                                                      ~Martin H. Fischer

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I GET UP SOME MORNINGS without any idea of what to write about and I'm sure you'll agree that some days what I end up writing is hardly worthwhile. I know myself well enough to know that if I skip a few days, there's every chance I won't get back to it and this whole blogging thing will be over.

The first thing I do when my laptop is settled in what's left of my lap is to check the mail and today there was a flickr letter showing that someone had marked one of my photos as a "favorite". Curious about who it was, I went to her account where I found a remarkable slideshow of pictures of young readers.

The collection shows so well how lost one can get within the covers of a book. The right book (different for each reader) opens another world and I can't help but feel sorrow for the people who haven't yet discovered the wonder.

"There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world. 
Love of books is the best of all."
                          — Jacqueline Kennedy

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


PRETTY, ISN'T IT? When the beveled glass front doors of the Manor open, it's interesting to note who flows in. Sometimes delivery persons bringing flowers cross the threshold; often it's residents back from outings; visitors, eagerly awaited or people to entertain us.

Yesterday several members of the Verdugo Hills Women's Chorus appeared, scheduled to begin singing at two o'clock.

There's something about the blend of voices in a choir that calls forth emotion. Myself, I
can't carry a tune in a basket, but I used to wish, when our kids were in school, that one of the three would be inspired to join a singing group, but it was not to be.

Every selection that the group sang was beautiful. The one that was most familiar was a medley of songs from Disney's films. I peeked over at Nadine whose husband's longtime career was with Disney and she had a wonderfully happy expression on her lovely face. It reminded me of the time we spent ten whole days at Disney World and Epcot Center. Upon returning home, my smile muscles ached from over-use for a long time..... proving that perhaps those really are the happiest places on earth.

The lady here with white hair was a frequent bookshop customer and when we first moved to the Manor, her husband was in the Health Center during his final illness. I wonder if it was difficult for her to return here, if the memories came flooding back? She gave no sign of it.

The soloists were introduced and one of them read the poem she'd written after the ceremony in which she gained her U.S. citizenship. Then the chorus sang a patriotic song. I treasure those little extra things that take place unexpectedly.

Part of my enjoyment when we go downstairs to listen to entertainment is in observing the reaction of the audience. The pictures I take of residents are important to put in the photo album. It's human nature for people to look for themselves. We try not to disappoint.

Monday, May 23, 2011


LEST YOU THINK Mr. Bob has graduated beyond the need to nap, let me assure you that he still snoozes nearly every day, at least once during what are supposed to be our waking hours. And if he misses those naps, it clouds the domestic climate.

Longtime readers will remember that the reason I've pursued slumber photography so ardently is that I grew up with a father who worked nights; therefore I tiptoed through my childhood.....in response to "Shhh, Daddy's sleeping".

Probably we'd been married a fortnight when I realized I'd married a sleeping man and my unhappiness about it reversed when I realized I could turn his naps into a collection of photographs. If I knew how to use the new printer/scanner, I'd send you some sleeping pictures of our early years, but I don't, so you're spared.

For a long time, I thought I'd turn my collection into "The Insomniac's Bedtime Book", limited edition of one, but that idea has worn itself out through procrastination. My flicker photostream has a set of "The Land of Nod". If you've nothing better to do, look at it one of these days. 108 pictures of people sleeping.

Rest assured that he's used to having his picture taken while he's unconscious  by now and he takes my obsession in stride. So none of this "Poor Bob" stuff, please.

This was a good idea, but didn't last long, as Owen hopped up to go on to the next activity. Not so, Mr. Bob.

Here we are, going somewhere on a bus. Mr. Bob missed some of the scenery.

Eventually, he learned to turn the tables on me and there are a fair amount of photos of yours truly.

I do get drowsy when I read. It wasn't always that way. I suspect that keeping late hours along with a sluggish metabolism is the cause.

I have a feeling we've not seen the end of this series yet. It's too much fun to look for new exposures.

"Consciousness:  that annoying time between naps."  
                                        ~Author Unknown

Sunday, May 22, 2011


NOTHING ENLIVENS the elderly amongst us like a visit from a young person. Two young women on the dining room staff have taken maternity leave in the past year and another has stopped working long enough to increase her family. 

Happily, after a period of bonding, the mamas have returned to continue taking care of the residents here at the Manor. On a day off, they sometimes bring their babies to meet us and it certainly activates our circulation as we reach out to touch youth once again. Diana, a dining room hostess, recently brought Isabel to see us as we enjoyed wine and cheese on the patio one Friday early evening.

Another day, Daffodale and her husband paid a visit with young Wyatt who was sporting 8 teeth before his first birthday.

I couldn't decide which of these shots to share, so you're privy to seeing both as our chaplain enjoys a face-to-face with Isabel in the Tea Room.

"I brought children into this dark world because 
it needed the light that only a child can bring."  
                                                                   ~Liz Armbruster

Saturday, May 21, 2011


IT'S THE PURPLE TIME of year in Southern California and according to a flickr friend who lives in Spain, it is there, too, for it's the season that the jacaranda trees bloom.

They make a statement, standing out against the darker greens of normal trees

As the flowers mature, they fall and carpet the ground beneath them and because there are 2 sides to every coin, the fallen blossoms can be a bit nasty when tracked inside.

I know that, for when Once Upon a Time was on the corner, we had a jacaranda tree just outside our door.

In the view we have from our 4th floor window, I watched a distant cloud of grey turn, day by day, into a billow of purple.

I once, on half of a postcard, painted by memory my rendition of jacaranda trees,
In that memory they signal the end of the school year and I recall seeing them as we drove to the harbor to board a ferry headed for a week on the island of Catalina. Funny how certain impressions linger.

CaƱada Blvd. is lined with purple loveliness this time of year. We may not have the raging fire of color that New England rightfully boasts about in the fall, but we can claim purple Junes in our neck of the woods.