Tuesday, January 31, 2012


TODAY WAS MY INFUSION DAY. Out the door by 8, into the chilly morning and then it's just a 3 mile drive to the oncologist's. Flavio, the ever-present drawer of blood was serving jury duty this morning, so I'll have to return next week for that portion of the treatment. 

We're there for over 90 minutes for a 5 minute procedure so I always take something to read. Today I plowed through a waiting room copy of "Vanity Fair" and read a whole, long article on Sarah Palin before checking the date and I found I was reading a 2009 edition. Oh, well. It was a revealing article. Mr. Bob is more than happy to snooze during the time that we're there. 

When my sight blurs from reading, I turn to picture taking and our new iPhone camera has a feature whereby we can turn the lens around and become ashamedly self-centered as seen here...............................

Mr. Bob was being silly one day recently and came up with this self portrait...................

Remember what we said? We'll get through this but we won't ever look the same. Maybe this is what it means.

Monday, January 30, 2012


NEARLY EVERY MONTH a champagne brunch is offered at the Manor. Guests are invited.....people who might someday consider moving into this facility. I'm sure a lot of people come just to take advantage of one of the finest spreads in town with no intention whatsoever of becoming a resident in the future. We, ourselves, attended many times, ahead of making the move, but we knew this would be our future home. Nevertheless, I'm a little embarrassed now to think of how often we took advantage of it.

This is the only picture we took yesterday of it, but the presentation of the shrimp was impressive. The frozen marble slab is put on ice thus keeping the shrimp cold and fresh. Did you ever hear that when we buy shrimp we shouldn't even stop to talk to a neighbor on the way home to get the shellfish into an ice box?

I wish I could begin to list all the items on the menu, but I'll forget at least half of them. Bagels and lox, salads, fresh fruit platters (no tired fruit, ever, at the Manor) a waffle and omelet station, bacon, sausage, vegetables, potato pancakes with sour cream and applesauce, chicken marsala, lamb chops, a carving station for prime rib, the works! Champagne, Mimosas, sparkling cider, plus a groaning dessert table full of pastries.

What I love about it here, is that food is brought out in small batches and replenished often, thus providing utter freshness rather than the usual buffet fare which wilts as time goes on.

We eat too much and then wonder of wonders, report back in 4 hours for supper. It's a good life!

"Oh, my dear, it's a buffet. I have chicken a la king. I have cold turkey. I have hot rolls. I have cold ham. I have a big watermelon, all filled with fresh fruit.
                                                                                                                                         Perle Mesta

Sunday, January 29, 2012


A DOZEN UNRELATED photos for you this morning, a way to reduce the cache of pictures waiting in the wings.

Headed somewhere with Diane and Roger, when Mr. Bob still had his license to drive.

This place was never open, but every time we were in Alameda, it intrigued me. I love small.

Nothing this good can be considered junk food. 

Sometimes we take our slice of pie home, but it's always included somehow.

I wonder why I find this so much preferable to "Be strong", but I do.

Diane and Roger waiting for us to go to Sunday breakfast. We find that a friendship flourishes with pre-arranged meetings.

A back view of the Manor. We live in the "high rise" behind the lit part of the building.

 We went to a culinary school in New Orleans where we were told, "If you're cooking electric, there's only one thing to do.........move."
Unrelated to New Orleans, I've found no better recipe for chicken wings and I miss being able to produce them.

A view from the hospital window of Susan indulging in a very hard-to-break habit.

The cousins in a rare get-together.

Bob, the Bear and Mr. Bob on Hallowe'en.

Those were the days, my friends, when at least we were unaware that we were sick.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


AS A PASSENGER I thrived (or did I throve?) on taking pictures of people at bus stops as we drove past. No more, now that I occupy the driver's seat. These are just a few from my collection, nothing to brag about, but a slice of life that I find interesting.

I've not used public transportation much myself and when I have, it's always accompanied by worry that I won't have the right change and the driver might have to bark at me. I've seen it happen.

We've ridden atop a double-decker bus in the heart of London and on various tour buses in our travels, which doesn't quite count. 

This stop is on an island in Montrose. Beyond the bridge you can see the hospital we've been frequenting.

I find the structures interesting and the benches and even the ads, and of course the people waiting for their rides.

I find it a poignant sight to see someone running for a bus that has just pulled away from the curb. It's a good test of how compassionate the driver is.

Sedentary soul that I am, I guess I just like to see people on the move or in the midst of going somewhere.

From our apartment windows, if I look far, far away I can see 2 different freeways against a background of the mountains and the ant-like stream of  cars and trucks signify travel even if it may simply be a routine commute.

"I'd rather go by bus." 

                         Prince Charles 

Friday, January 27, 2012


WHERE HAS HE GONE? We weren't silly all the time in the 60 years we've known each other, but we had a lot of laughing moments together. Mr. Bob has a playful side that is utterly delightful. Everybody who gets to see it is instantly charmed. It's not the "lampshade on the head" sort of humor, but his very own brand that I don't know quite how to describe. By nature, he's a quiet man and when his impish quality peeps out it's a bit of a surprise and very endearing.


The next 3 pictures show him playing with Owen.

The playful nature still shows once in a while when we're with other people, so I know it's still there, but for the past 8 months since cancer has invaded our lives, there've been no mischievous moments at home. And I miss that, terribly. It seems that dealing with various combinations of chemotherapy and radiation saps our combined strength and most often results in irritation, anger, irk as we ruffle each other's feathers. And we live in very small quarters; there's only one other room to storm into when it gets to be too much.  My daughter tells me that what we're going through is monumental and staggering, with two of us battling the same disease. It's a good thing we're living in a retirement community where there's frequent opportunity to put on our happy faces and interact with other people. 

I fervently hope this is a temporary condition and worry a little that a year is plenty long to form new habits, even bad ones. Keeping this web log is a wonderful outlet for me. Television and napping seem to be Mr. Bob's salvation. As my friend's mother says, "We'll get through this, but we won't ever look the same."

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

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I MAY HAVE BITTEN OFF more than I can chew in accepting the position of editor of the Manor newsletter.
My style is far different than that of the previous editor's, which of course is as it should be. But at the stage of life that we find ourselves here, there can be great resistance to change. I'm feeling my way, hoping there won't be too many complaints. Either I'm being shielded from them, or there haven't been any about the first month I took the position. So here is my column for February's newsletter which won't be slipped under our doors until next Tuesday night.


“It is familiarity with life that makes time speed quickly. When every day is a step in the unknown........as for children......the days are long with the gathering of experience.”
George Gissing

“Never, never again
This moment, never, those slow
ripples across smooth water,
Never again these clouds white and gray....
The sun that rose from the sea this morning will never return for the broadcast light that
brightens the leaves and glances on water will travel tonight on its long journey, out of the universe, never this sun, this world, and never again this watcher.”
                                    Kathleen Raine


Where in the world does the time go? I thought, when I queried some residents about it that some would report that time passes slowly for them, but to a person, everyone I asked gave some version of fast..... from Jeanne G’s ”It goes rapidly”, to Betty K: “It passes quickly because I stay involved with volunteer activities.” and, Jeanne K’s  “Time goes faster and faster..... so many things I plan to do. One of the problems is that I’m not fast anymore.” Jim H. said, “It just zips by.......even when I was confined to my room for months with a bad case of the shingles.” Mr. Bob’s favorite phrase to Jane is “Hurry, every chance you get.” and he feels that time goes extremely fast. 

My guess is that in the Health Center time passes more slowly for the patients. In my experience, time has crawled when I’ve been ill with something as serious as the flu. Then time simply crawls. I remember sleeping and sleeping some more and looking at the clock and 4 minutes had passed.


Someone once observed that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes. 


What do you get when you cross a kangaroo with a calendar? 
A leap year! 

Did you realize that February this year brings us an extra day.......a whole 24 hours that we didn’t have last year? How are you going to use yours? 

“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment,sparkling like a star in our hand...... And melting like a snowflake.”
                           Marie Beyon Ray

Not included in the newsletter is this question which I pose to you.

Are you an "over" or an "under" in the great debate about toilet tissue? At our house, we're "over" people.

Monday, January 23, 2012



DO’s & DON'Ts on NEW YEAR’s DAY:

- Greet others with "Gung Hey Fat Choy" which means "Wishing You Prosperity and Wealth".
- Give two lee see’s to each child. Because happiness comes in two’s, do not just give one. This is your way of passing good luck to the next generation. Business owners also givelee see’s to employees and associates.
- Wear brand new clothes - preferably in red. Children should wear new clothes and new shoes.
- Don’t wash your hair.
- Don’t sweep the floor.
- Don’t greet people who are in mourning.
- Don’t drop your chopsticks.
- Don’t say the number ‘four’ (Chinese homonym for death) or mention death.
- Don’t borrow or lend money.
As you prepare for this important holiday, think of the changes you want to make in your life ... perhaps spend more time with your family, reduce your credit card debts or pursue a new interest. Gung Hey Fat Choy ... and Happy New Year!

I always feel a little like an impostor when I try to take part in Chinese traditions, reading up on them ahead of time. Only this morning did I realize that I should have sent 2 lee sees. Somehow I had missed that. But last Thursday I tucked 5 brand new $2 bills into the red envelope and hoped against hope that it would arrive in Castro Valley on time. One can't be sure with the post office these days.

Today an instant text message arrived showing that it got there and dear Owen's reaction. 


Saturday, January 21, 2012


IT'S BECOME A TRADITION since we moved in 3 years ago, but we weren't the initiators, I promise. On Friday afternoons from 3:30 until 4:15, the Tea Room is cleared of coffee, tea, ice water, juice, pastries and fruit. It becomes a wine bar where Tamara utilizes her skill as a waitress, remembering each resident's preference ahead of their being seated. She's remarkable.

So is Jack Frost, our resident President who brings his several 
harmonicas. No memory problems there as he pulls song after song from his memory bank, filling the air with music.

"D", seen in the background, is the first to admit that her recent memory plays tricks on her, but when music plays, it moves D's soul and she either breaks into dance or song and it's a moving thing to see or hear. She was an elementary school teacher and rightly felt that music was all-important for her students.

Yesterday, nachos appeared in place of cubes of cheese. Much as I like tradition, a variation once in a while is a welcome thing.

It's tricky to write about the Manor, for sometimes management peeks in and I'd be mortified if I were ever to be taken to task for my comments. I'm going to be brave and share with you that a couple of times at our monthly dinners, as the champagne was being poured, I've caught sight of the words "Alcohol removed". Other times, not. It's interesting to contemplate. 

I have my own good gauge for alcohol content. In my latter years, my cheeks have begun to flush after even half a glass of wine. No doubt about it......last night's libations were the real thing.

Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.
                                                                                                       Benjamin Franklin