Archive for November 2014


November 30, 2014

Saturday night was date night for interstellarPaula and I. Time to go out to a movie without Mary K. We decided to go to see the movie “Interstellar” written and directed by Christopher Nolan. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Ann Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Matt Damon and Michael Caine. A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in an attempt to find a potentially habitable planet that will sustain humanity. That’s what IMDB says about the story.

The film is 2 hrs and 45 minutes long. When you add in all of the trailers and the adverts, you have 3 butt-numbing hours worth of entertainment. And Matt McConaughey didn’t say “All right, all right, all right” once and he kept his clothes on for the entire movie.

Warning: There are spoilers ahead.

I felt that I needed to suspend my engineering and physics training to believe the story.

So here’s what happens. McConaughey plays a corn farmer who is a retired NASA engineer and pilot on a dust bowl farm growing corn somewhere in the Midwest in the not too distant future. It couldn’t be too distant, because he was driving a recent model pickup truck. Think Kansas, Oklahoma or Nebraska. The world’s crops are all failing and the people’s survival on earth are at risk. So McConaughey manages to discover a super secret NASA installation that is planning on launching a space ship through a worm hole to a distant galaxy. My immediate question to myself, “How does one manage to keep something like that secret?” One would think that one would see big trucks carrying lots of stuff to the staging area. Nope, the spaceship just got built by FM. (FM stands for Fxxking Magic).

So the three astronauts (Matthew McConaughey, Ann Hathaway and David Gyasi) launch in a fancy space ship, off to visit strange worlds far far away. David Gyasi plays the character of Romilly, an black astronaut that you know is going to die before the end of the show. Our other two brave astronauts, you know will survive and return conquering heroes.

So moving right along, Our three heroes arrive at their first port of call which is planet with nothing but water. They find that the earlier visitor from earth had crashed and burned. You’d think that they could have figured this out with a satellite or radar or something, but no, Matt and Anne get in their lander leaving Gyasi behind to tend the store. So they manage to escape before a giant wave was about to send them to their watery graves.

At this point I’m wondering, how do they have enough fuel to do all this? I mean there are no gas stations out there on the Milky Way. The tank must be pointing to “E” about now.

But no, they return to the mother ship to find that Gyasi has aged 16 years while they only aged a couple of hours. Something to do with relativity I guess.

So they head on over to the other planet (named Gargantua). Which is an ice cold planet with nothing but mountains, ice  and rocks. You’d think they could find a planet with a bit more pleasant environment, you know like warm with palm trees? Nope they find an ice encrusted place. You’re not going to grow much corn there. No bars making Margaritas.

So now they find the astronaut from the previous mission (Code name: Lazarus) played by Matt Damon. For once, Damon is playing a bad guy. His character is intent on killing McConaughey. I’m not exactly sure why. But fight they do.

At this point, it begins to get a little weird. McConaughey gets in to  a space battle with Damon. Wait a second, where did they get a second lander to have a space battle? And somehow, McConaughey escapes into another dimension. He then commences to communicate with his teenage daughter by way of morse code. She manages to deduce some new theory from the Morse code. At this point, I am thinking, “When is this going to ever end?”

I begin thinking about Margarita I will be having with dinner at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants. So McConaughey is saved and is brought to new huge space station somewhere out by Saturn’s rings. Humanity is saved, everyone is reunited, forever and ever, McConaughey is the hero. Amen.

God it felt good to stand up and stretch. This film will likely be nominated for Academy awards at least for special effects and cinematography. Best Actor? I don’t think so. But the Academy doesn’t usually ask me, I’d give it about 2 stars out of 4.

Mary and other news…

November 26, 2014

It’s time for an update on Mary. Paula and Mary are off to Rose’s Beauty Salon to get Mary’s hair done before Thanksgiving. So I have a couple of hours of blissful piece and quiet.

Here’s the protocol. I walk Mary down to the elevator and then down to the garage while Paula gets the car and picks her up. Get her into the front seat and buckle her up. Her walking is getting more troublesome. Paula and I call it the “old lady shuffle”. As much as she tries to keep up a normal gait, she tends to shuffle along with her cane. Her neurologist says it is likely due to her hydro-encephalitis (ie. water on her brain). He once told us that he could install a shunt to ease the build up of fluid, but surgery at her age is very risky. So she took a pass. He said that we should expect incontinence to happen. Looks like we will buying stock in Depends.

She has pretty much recovered from the hip surgery back in June. She went through a couple of months of PT. She had another fall in October. Luckily, no damage done. It’s hard to predict when it will happen. She didn’t trip over anything. She just got dizzy and down she went.

We haven’t been doing much travelling lately. We feel comfortable leaving her alone for a couple of hours, but not so much for several days. So that being the case, we didn’t go to any OES receptions this Summer. We did go to Visalia with Mary for the OES Grand Installation in October. Usually the trips are an occasion for Paula and I to relax, but when we bring Mary along we have to stay vigilant. Of course, that means there is more money left in the bank at the end of the month.

We are not quite sure how we will deal with travel next year. We really don’t want to miss MA OES Grand Chapter in May. After the holidays, we will look into respite care to get someone to stay with her while we are gone.

Back in January, we visited her primary bank office and got Mary to add us as signers on her checking and savings account. Since that time, I have been managing her finances, paying bills etc. We have also been visiting other banks to do the same. At some point we will need to revisit her will and make sure everything all of her final plans are in order. My goal is to avoid probate as much as possible.

Mary’s short term memory continues to deteriorate. She usually has to struggle to figure out what day it is. But she seems to remember that Tuesday is the day the Mike and his family come for dinner. She is always happy to Jonathan and Sarah.

The daily grind of doctor visits and PT sessions has eased somewhat. We generally offer to take her to OES meetings. Sometimes she comes, sometimes not. Game time decision. We don’t offer to take her on grocery shopping trips, too much walking for her. Besides, that is one of the times that Paula and I can get away. So much so that the grocery clerk notices when Paula isn’t with me. Of course, the grocery store has a Starbuck’s and they know what I usually order.

Well tomorrow is Thanksgiving. We are planning to have dinner with Theresa’s family in Rancho Palos Verdes. Eric has the largest house and is best able to handle a large crowd. I expect a crowd of 25 or so. There is usually three tables. One for the seniors, kids, and little kids. I will bring my iPad and play Eric’s baby grand.

That’s all for now. Time to start working on my Christmas letter.


Election Day

November 4, 2014

Another day in the life of caring for an ninety year old woman. Best laid plans and all that. Paula and Mary planned to attend a luncheon meeting for Assistance League. Assistance League is a charitable organization of women run by women. Starts at about 10am and runs until about 1:30pm. So I have about 3.5 hours of free time.
 So off I go to vote. Polling place pretty much deserted at 10am. I vote and head for Starbucks. I have a dark roast and cranberry scone. Delicious. I have a few minutes of peace and quiet.
 Now back to the election. CA sent out flyers that explained in gory detail all of the ballot questions. Arguments for and against. I hung on to them, knowing that Mary would want to study them. She wrote some notes but loses the notes. She can’t remember the details from one day to the next.
 Mind you the questions are complicated and would stress out a normal person with reasonable intelligence. So this morning Mary studies the information and writes some notes. So far so good.
 So Paula and Mary arrive home at about 1:30pm. Did you vote? I say. Paula yes, Mary no. She wasn’t ready. So I ask her was she planning on voting. Yes she says. I groan. That means that someone (probably me) will have to take her back to the polling place later. And it would have to happen before 5pm.
 She eventually gave up and went back to bed for a long afternoon nap.
 And by the way, she had another fall on Saturday night. She got dizzy and fell. Luckily no damage done. She couldn’t get up without help. We were planning on taking her to the Demolay installation. So Paula got her undressed and put her to bed to rest.
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