Thursday, June 30, 2011


ONE OF THE INTERESTING THINGS about growing older is the ability to look back and see patterns......patterns of behavior, actions, habits..............

Circular knitting needles I had long coveted and finally ordered.

A beautifully patterned wall on a restaurant we frequent.

Sheets of rolled newspapers form several boxes
and a runner I couldn't resist.

A necktie worn by a total stranger.
I couldn't resist asking to photograph it.



Rock walls fascinate me. 

A common enough sight, but one I find interesting.
Note the yellow wheel.





"Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way." 
                                                                                                   Edward de Bono 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


WHEN WE WALK FROM THE PARKING LOT to our home in the Manor, this is what we see this time of year......agapanthus aplenty. And aren't they pretty?
Everywhere we step foot on the grounds, there's something lovely to see and there is no season without flowers blooming here. 

My dream garden would be filled with blue and purple blooms.

On Tuesday a registered nurse came to acquaint us with the services his company can provide for the next two months. It came as a surprise to us, naive souls that we are.

The nurse came at 7 a.m. to leave plenty of time for us to get up the hill to see the cardiologist. I like to go in when Mr. Bob sees each extra pair of ears never hurt anything. I pass myself off as his interpreter. Dr. S. was pleasantly surprised to see that the patient wasn't in need of oxygen. He had predicted that it might be something he'd need the rest of his life.

The higher the hair, the closer
to God. That mop will
settle down once I sleep
on it.
Today's calendar square showed another doctor's appointment, this time with the oncologist. Rather than an expected weight loss, Mr. Bob had gained 2 pounds and the technician wondered aloud who was doing the cooking. I admitted that my persuasion had resulted in some meals that otherwise the patient would have skipped.
The doctor found that Bob's port needed attention. The
stitches were the type that dissolve in water whereas the nurses had been carefully covering the area before he showered.

The clinic nurse spent quite a bit of time sorting out Mr. Bob's many pills. She divides them up and I'm the one to remind him to take them throughout the day.

This busy Wednesday came to a close with the delivery of an oxygen concentrator for use during the night. The man who brought it bore the name of Angel, which I thought fitting and proper. I neglected to take a picture of the physical therapist who visited. We resonated with her as our present situation (and some of our life story) unfolded and there were times that tears welled up in her eyes. She said she'd never before cried during a call to a patient.

We're quite ready to call it a day.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


BITS AND PIECES of things that happened in the last few days......

Chris and Owen drove from their home in Castro Valley to visit Mr. Bob on Fathers Day weekend.

Mr. Bob's eyebrows grew out of control during his illness, but they've since been tamed with scissors.

Victor, a two time cancer survivor has expressed a lot of interest and concern about Mr. Bob's progress. The other day at dinnertime, Victor presented him with a hat he had made, apologizing for its not being perfect. In our eyes it was beyond being perfect. The lettering reads: Bob   The Winner.

    Two of the nurses in the Health Care center brought flowers when they learned that Mr. Bob and I were celebrating our 58th wedding anniversary.

    We went to dinner on Sunday, 
    the actual anniversary date. Our youngest went along, visual evidence of our fruitful union. We very much enjoy his company. It was his idea to begin with Welsh Rarebit to accompany a celebratory bottle of Prosecco.

    • Next Mr. Bob and I shared an order of fish and chips and Tim opted for Toad in the Hole.

    We almost managed to look as though nothing untoward has happened of late. Remember my friend Anne and her mother's saying, "We'll get through this, but we won't ever look the same." I think of that so frequently and the wisdom of it.

    (Note to self(ves): Do not participate in the Manor's champagne brunch before going out for an early dinner.)

    It's good to have the man home where he belongs, even though the medicine distribution has me a little bewildered.

    "I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug."
                 from the Modern Version of the Hippocratic Oath

    Monday, June 27, 2011


    IT WAS A MONTH AGO, that Mr. Bob was rushed to the hospital. The whole experience, for me, was akin to looking through the wrong end of binoculars. The patient felt that time passed quickly, and he was most startled by the amount of love that came at him in torrents from all directions. He had no idea that he was a lovable soul and it surprised the bejesus out of him, moving him to tears at times.

    Today he was given orders to return home and it was a joyous occasion. It's a happy man who will be climbing into his own bed tonight.

    We both thank you for the love you sent our way this past 30 days. It helped us get this far.

     "I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."                                                                     
                                                            ~G.K. Chesterton

    Sunday, June 26, 2011


    Tuesday, June 26, 2007

    "Love at first sight is easy to understand; it's when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle."
                                                                       ~ Amy Bloom
    We were so young in June of 1953. Mr. Bob was the older and probably wiser; I was barely 19, both of us very naive and inexperienced, with no idea whatsoever about the road we were setting out upon. We were married in a small ceremony at the Glendale Church of Religious Science. No fanfare, no fuss. My wedding outfit was a blue raw silk suit.......a simple reception was held for family at my parents' home before we set off for a Las Vegas honeymoon. I recall standing in the hot Nevada sun the next morning while Master Bob went to fetch the car wondering what in the world I had done. 54 years later, he's still acting the part of my valet and I'm so grateful that I did what I did. I married well, that's what.

    "Chains do not hold a marriage together It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads, which sew people together through the years."
                                                                        ~Simone Signoret

    He likes coffee. I prefer tea. He loves to drive. I don't. Now that we're both retired, we squabble more than we ever did during the busy years of working and raising children. That bothers two of our friends and a couple of our offspring. There have been many nights that we've gone to bed mad, in spite of sound advice to the contrary.

    "My husband and I have never considered divorce........murder, sometimes, but never divorce."
                                           ~Joyce Brothers

    I have observed that in our latter years, we seem joined at the hip and that as my hips get wider, we're growing apart. Mr. Bob's rejoinder was, "I don't want a hip replacement." We sleep in a narrow double bed with less individual room than a baby has in a crib. When we do go to bed in a state of irk, it's a challenge to sleep without touching one another, but it's possible.

    "When asked his secret of love, beting married fifty-four years to the same person, he said, 'Ruth and I are happily incompatible'".
                                                       ~Billy Graham

    He earned a living as a printer for 42 years. I supplied some of the frosting on the cake by my career as a bookseller. He was my not-always-silent partner in my business endeavors. He spends a lot of time trying to convince me that he's not smart and then proves himself wrong by letting his wit peep through. I'm still trying to persuade him that I have good taste and wouldn't have married anyone stupid.

    "Anyone can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly."
                                                        ~Rose Franken

    I definitely got the better of the deal on June 26, 1953. And I apologize regularly to him for the areas in which I know my performance falls short. He deserves better, but the darling doesn't seem to realize it. Thank goodness for that.

    "Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades. But to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that's a real treat."
                                         ~Joanne Woodward

    My advice to newly married couples is to be sure to remember that some years are better than others. Along with experiencing a few potholes in that road, we've had a good time together. Tonight we're going to a restaurant high on the side of the foothills overlooking the sprawling metropolis in which we've chosen to live. And we'll watch the lights come on as the darkness gathers and we'll get ready to weather and/or take pleasure in whatever life holds next for us. Happy anniversary, dear heart.

    "Grow old along with me. The best is yet to be  -- the last of life for which the first was made."
                                                           ~Robert Browning

    Oh, my, four years later finds us in such a different place. As mortality comes more clearly into view and we realize how precious little time is left, we've come into a new appreciation of not only each other, but also the third entity which is our union, our us-ness, a made-up word I used in the poem in "Teardrops" the other day.

    We met on a north-bound train and in the ensuing years traveled by planes, ships and rails.......our three children brought us joy and grew us up in the process of raising them. Today, they're people we're honored to know. We had fulfilling careers. Our lives have provided us with much laughter and an equal amount of irks.

    Being apart this past month has brought us a renewed commitment to making our lives together the best they can possibly be. From his room in the Skilled Nursing center, Mr. Bob just texted me these words:
    "This is the first day of the rest of new life for us." 
    To which I add the word, "Amen"

    "Romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze"
                                                             ~Elinor Glyn

    Saturday, June 25, 2011


    Mr. Bob continues to express delight at life, to the point that I have to banish fear, when it comes to mind, that the high may be followed by a low at any moment. I need to battle my Eeyore tendencies.

    Yesterday, our friends, Susie and Bill, paid us a visit and were pleasantly surprised, I'm sure, at Bob's state of mind. We enjoyed dinner together here at the Manor and discovered, in the process, a new parlor game.

    Before Memorial Day weekend, when Mr. Bob's lips turned blue and he was rushed to the hospital, his oxygen reading was 72% which was a frighteningly low count. In the hospital the nurses frequently put an oximeter on his middle finger and we were cheered when the number climbed toward the normal figure which is in the 90s.

    I decided we should have one of those gadgets at home, just in case my eyes can't discern it when and if his lips should turn blue again and good old came to the rescue. I ordered one of those and a thermometer that gets swiped over the patient's forehead, since the most serious side effect of chemotherapy is infection and should, God forbid, it occur then everyone needs to spring into action. I was instructed by the oncologist to find a 24 hour pharmacy that I wouldn't be afraid to drive to at 2:45 in the morning. And explicit instructions to call him day or night if Mr. Bob's temperature goes to 100 or higher.

    He carries the oximeter in his pocket and while waiting for our orders yesterday, we passed it around the table to see how we all were. Everyone, including Mr. B was fine.

    Along with oxygen percentage, this device also measures heart rate and the results are really rather interesting.

    I don't think we'll be sharing the thermometer, although it, too, has entertainment possibilities.

    TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2007

    Our friend, Paul, is a shining example of how one might age gracefully. 87 on his last birthday, his vitality is remarkable, his get-up-and-go never wavers. Pat, his longtime life partner and effervescent wife, passed away a few years ago and I often think of how proud she would be of the way he's carried on in her absence. He bakes his own bread, makes his own ice cream and has taken on the job of following her list of birthdays, making sure all of their friends receive a cleverly chosen card on their special days. 

    When he retired, probably at age 65, he set out on a solo bicycle trip across the United States, from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic, writing home on a postcard each day, thus creating a diary of the expedition. Until recently he bicycled around the Rose Bowl (3 miles) several times a week.

    He tells me he's a slow reader, which is why he buys his books rather than using the public library, but he's forever in the midst of discovering something that increases his knowledge which is considerable on the subjects of geology, weather, history, sports, world events. He chooses not to have a television set. He creates furniture in his garage workshop and welcomes all the woodworking requests we've come up with. I'm sure he misses his beloved dancing partner, but his interest in traditional jazz has not wavered a bit over the years. He eagerly goes with us when we drive across town to listen to our favorite band. He admits to being cheap. I prefer to name him frugal or parsimonious. His spirit is too generous for me to consider him stingy.

    Of late, he's felt hampered by the need to use a cane, not something he's very happy about, so he and his doctor have scheduled surgery for a hip replacement next Thursday. That's why we took him to dinner last evening. It gave us a chance to assure him that we're here for errands that need to be done during his recuperation and as a sort of friendly send-off for the ordeal ahead and as we parted, I gave him a hug and Mr. Bob shook his hand, causing him to remark when we were safely seated in our vehicle, "Man, does he have a strong grip!" He's a good man, Paul is.

    Paul had his 91st birthday last March. Just last Tuesday, he and his daughter came to visit Mr. Bob at the Manor. Chris just moved from her home in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where she was a nurse practitioner. Now she and her father will share the home he built back in the 1940s and she'll continue her interest in rock climbing, hiking, camping and she and Paul will pursue their mutual interest in birding. Paul still takes trips in his truck and to my consternation, insists on spending some nights in the camper shell on the back of the truck. It hurts my joints just to think of it, but in his case frugality wins out. They made the generous offer to take us, one Sunday, to hear that music  (when you use this last link and get to the page, scroll down to the movie, "Jazz at Steamers"......hopefully that should work) of which we're all so fond. We may just take them up on it.

    P.S. I seem to have no control over the size and spacing of the typeface. The frustrations of blogging are many. We need to bear with it.