Archive for July 2015

Richard Henry Dana, Jr.

July 29, 2015

Today is Wednesday. Typically on Wednesday we go to Bible study at Ocean View Baptist Church. Today, it was not to be. We started off a bit late because Mary had a rough night. Paula was trying to get her settled back into bed. She had been up most of the night with runs to the bathroom.

So we got on the road at about 9:58. It takes about 10 minutes for us to get down to 19th Street in San Pedro. So we get to 19th Street and find the street blocked off for a LA Water and Power crew replacing a power pole. We tried going around the block. Still no access to the parking lot. Oh well, let’s try plan B.

Paula wanted to drive by the harbor and so we headed in that direction. So we headed down 19th Street and turned left on to Meyler. So we are doing a little sight seeing. We come to the Richard Henry Dana Middle School on Meyler. A lot of places in San Pedro are named after Richard Henry Dana. Of course, this is one of the schools that Paula attended. So we find the front door open and we go inside. There are two tiled painting on either side of the entrance and Paula was wondering if they were still there. Indeed they are, though not quite what she remembered. Here are a couple of pictures.


The “Pilgrim” was the name of the first ship that Dana had sailed on from Massachusetts to California. Of course, you might remember that Dana was famous for writing his memoir “Two Years Before the Mast”. Paula both read it a few years ago during one of our trips to Pedro. It’s worth reading, here’s the Kindle link on Amazon. This is the link to the free version. There are several versions available. Most less than $5.

Here’s the thing. Richard Henry Dana didn’t care much for San Pedro. Once he got here he tried mightily to get back to Cambridge. Getting back to where he started was none to easy. He evenutally got on a ship heading that way and returned to Cambridge where he attended what became Harvard Law School. He ended up specializing in maritime law. He was truly the seaman’s friend. That probably was one of the reasons that he is immortalized in San Pedro. Here’s the link to the Wikipedia article.

So the morning wasn’t quite done yet. We headed up Meyler and stopped at “Joseph’s Bakery”. This is a fine little hole the wall in San Pedro. There wasn’t much left at 10:45 am. We bought a couple of croissants and some cookies and then headed for Starbuck’s for coffee. Not much to the place, but the baked goods are mighty tasty. They open at 5 am. Get there early if you want a good selection. Here’s the Yelp entry.




July 28, 2015

And the beat goes on. No new news, just more of the same. I asked her last night whether or not she would be going to the YMCA today. Oh definitely she says. That was then, now is now. She gets up at about 9 am, I ask again, YMCA? No, I don’t think so, my back hurts.

Yesterday, at noon she asks if she can have another pain pill. No we say, you just had one at 10:30 am. Every six hours. This morning she sees an ad in the newspaper for some sort of magic belt that will end all of your back pain. Paula tells here to clip it out and we will ask Dr T at your follow-up appointment next week. We, of course, know the answer. It will be no of course, but she won’t accept that from us. Or we just forget about it and she will not remember it next week.

Just for fun, I looked up the product on [And no, I am not giving the URL to the product, no free advertising from me.] Of course, you can buy one on Amazon. Remember the days when the only thing you could buy from Amazon was books? So, I found it of course and I went right to the reviews. There were a few five star reviews but mostly one star reviews. I figure that the five star reviews are mostly shills. The one star reviews say save your money.

I think sometimes that she is looking for some magic pill that will turn back to clock a couple of years. She keeps up her hope with words like “When I get better” or “When I start driving again”. We just nod and agree, But we know that’s not happening.

Anyway, it’s been a few weeks since she has been to the Y. For that matter, she hasn’t been making it to church or Bible study. We try to get her up and moving. We try to tell her that laying in bed all day isn’t doing you any good.

The down side is that whenever we go to these events, we have to answer the questions “How’s Mary doing?” The answer is mostly the same only weaker.

She did make it to Shawn and Dena’s wedding reception at LA Harbor Lodge. One glass of wine for her. Mike and Theresa will be over for dinner tonight. Mary will get to see the grand-kids. That will perk her up.

We’ll see whether or not she goes to Bible study tomorrow. I wouldn’t bet on it.



Refrigerator Data Center

July 26, 2015

  I don’t know about your home, but at our place the refrigerator is a center of useful and fun information.

First and foremost we keep pictures of our grandkids, both recent and not so recent. There is an occasional newspaper article. 

For example, there is a picture of President Bush speaking with a bull horn at the remains of the twin towers in NYC. Mary put that one up a long time ago. I don’t have the heart to pull it down. It’s gotten brown with age.

  The most recent picture is one of grandson Jonathan with his face painted. How cute is that?

Our refrigerator is loaded with magnetic knick-knacks. Some from well known companies, some from not so well known. Some of them purchased during our many travels. What would we do if the refrigerator makers produced a refrigerator with a non-magnetic surface? It would not be pretty.

We keep current calendars, flyers, tickets and schedules. Info for Lodge, OES, Church and Assistance League. We have bottle openers. One is from the New England School of Bartending. (Given to us by Neil)

We have calendars and more calendars. (Most for the current year) 

The refrigerator is where we put the pay envelope for our housekeeper. She knows that were it will be. She doesn’t even need to ask. It will just be there.

What’s on your refrigerator?


July 24, 2015

  Time for an update. Mary has had a tough week but she seems to be bouncing back from hole she was in at the beginning of the week. She didn’t want to go to church on Sunday or Bible study on Wednesday. No YMCA on Tuesday or Thursday, either. Her back pain seems to be easing somewhat.

Paula took her for a walk a couple of days ago. The walk was in our inner courtyard (see the picture). This is handy because if she gets tired she can sit and rest on the wall. So she got as far as the elevator. (about 20 yards up and 20 yards back) at the first break in the wall in the picture.) She had to sit and rest four times during the course of that outing.

So today, she felt good enough to get her hair done at Rose’s in San Pedro. Paula was bummed that there was little gossip to be had. I mean really what does one go to your hairdresser than to get up on the latest gossiip? Certainly not to get your hair done :<) Tomorrow will be a quiet day. Paula and I will do grocery shopping. It’s kind of sad that our time alone together is when we get to go grocery shopping. Hopefully Mary will feel up for going to church on Sunday.

In other news, I received a new cable modem from Time Warner. My internet download speeds was beginning to suck big time. Performance is much better. Thank you TWC.

Time to put away the mother hen persona and get out the drill seargent to get her up, dressed and moving.



Political Science for Dummies

July 23, 2015

You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.
You feel guilty for being successful.
Barbara Streisand sings for you.

You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.

You have two cows.
The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.
You form a cooperative to tell him how to manage his cow.

Click here for the rest.

RIP Bob Ciriello

July 22, 2015

Bob CierelloOn Tuesday, Paula and I attended a memorial service for Bob Ciriello. Bob was one of Harold’s friends and contemporaries. They taught high school together in Long Beach many years ago. We tried to encourage Mary to attend but she would have none of it. It seems lately that she really doesn’t like to going to funerals, wakes and memorial services. So Paula and I end up paying our respects for her.

Paula tells stories of her father and Bob making wine in Bob’s garage.I only met Bob once or twice probably during one of our visits west thirty years ago. Here’s the obit in the Daily Breeze.

The memorial service was a small affair that was held at the South Bay Botanical Garden in Palos Verdes Peninsula. There was a string quartet that played before and after the service. The location was next to the Koy pond. Here are a few pictures that I took. It sort of reminded me of the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. One of these days we will have to go back and spend some more time there.

2015-07-21 11.17.17 HDR 2015-07-21 11.19.04 2015-07-21 12.13.13 2015-07-21 12.13.40

One of the last pieces that the quartet played was a traditional Shaker tune called “Simple Gifts”. Here is a performance by Yo Yo Ma and Alison Krauss for you listening pleasure. I have also downloaded the sheet music from for my iPad. So my OES and Lodge friends will be hearing it soon.

HP Access

July 19, 2015

It has been a challenging weekend to say the least. On Saturday, we were scheduled to go up to Rob Morris Chapter in Santa Monica. We strongly encouraged Mary to come along. We didn’t feel comfortable leaving her alone for about eight hours. Our plans were to leave at 2pm. Paula had been asked to do Ruth at an initiation ceremony. So we were committed on going.

We figured it would take us at least an hour to get from San Pedro to Santa Monica. It seemed that everyone in LA was on the 405. Where are all these people going we thought? Certainly not to work on a rainy Saturday afternoon. We were supposed to be there at 3pm for a rehearsal. As it turned out, we were late leaving. It takes a great effort to get Mary ready and loaded in the Jeep. So we arrived at the Masonic Center at about 3:30pm. By the way, we do have an HP placard for Mary.

Here’s where my discussion turns to HP access. We had never been to the Santa Monica Masonic Center before. We were told that there was an elevator and HP parking. So far so good. What we weren’t told was the HP parking was in the back of the building and the elevator was in the front of the building.

There is a back door, but only steep stairs to the 2nd floor where the lodge room is located. So Paula goes on ahead up the stairs while I take Mary around to the front. The walk for her was totally exhausting. If I wasn’t there with her I think she would have just laid down and died. So the lesson learned when checking our HP access. Ask detailed lessons about HP parking and location of elevators and the like.

So I got Mary up to the Lodge room and got her settled so she could recover. We got through the initiation. Normally at one of these affairs there would be a collation or meal at the Masonic center. This time the plan was to go out to a nearby Mexican restaurant. Okay by us, but we neglected to check on HP access. Our bad.

The restaurant was about 5 minutes from the Masonic center. No HP parking but they did have valet parking which is a good substitute. Here’s where the trouble started. Our group had a reservation and our tables were upstairs. NOT GOOD. No elevator. So slowly, very slowly Paula helps Mary climb the stairs. It might as well have been Mt Everest.

We had a nice dinner and good company, but truth be told the food was mediocre. Finished up at 8 pm and headed home. Pulled into the garage at about 9 and put Mary to bed.

Lessons learned: Be specific in asking questions about HP access. It can make a big difference.

Mary got up this morning and had breakfast but she decided not to go to church. Just as well. She needed time to recover from Saturday’s ordeals.

It also gave Paula and I time to talk over the recent events. The subject of a putting Mary in a nursing home came up. We’re not quite there yet. But we are approaching the point where caring for Mary could become more than we can handle. We are going to need to start some contingency planning to identify suitable facilities. We are hoping that Mary recovers somewhat from her pain and her ability to get into and out of bed.

Now we’re off to LA Harbor Lodge Chili Cookoff. We will probably do take-out for Mary.


July 18, 2015

Mary receives a ton of political advertising mail. Even Harold still receives political mail, even though Harold died in 2009. 99% of the mail goes right into the trash can in the mail room. She made the mistake of sending them some money a few times. Now they think they a have a live one.

BTW,  just to be fair, I throw the Democratic Party stuff in the trash too. It’s just that we don’t get nearly as much stuff from the Democrats than the Republicans.

So yesterday, I had to go down to the main Post Office in San Pedro to pick up a registered mail item from the National Republican Committee. What a PITA. Why would they spend $3.84 to send a piece of mail to Mary? Of course, I think I know the answer. They want to get  her to open the mail and read it. And of course, to send them money. 

Well they succeeded (at least the first part). She did look at it. She asked Paula what youtube was. The contents was just your usual fundraising BS. So just to pay them back for the inconvenience of having to go to the Post Office. I think I will stuff some Hillary fliers in the post-paid envelope and send it back. Seems fair to me.


July 17, 2015

Last night we decided to take Mary to the urgent care in Torrance. I walked her down to the garage while Paula got the car. Loaded her up and buckled her in and off they went. Our choice was urgent care (open until 8pm) or the ER.

We figured that she wasn’t sick enough for the ER and that would make for a very long evening. It turns out that her Primary Doc was the doctor on duty at the urgent care clinic, which was a good thing. So Paula took off for the urgent care and arrived in plenty of time.

So they did X-rays. No broken bones. She had a nasty looking bruise on her thigh. Doc thought it probably from the first fall in the bath room. So he prescribed some pain killers for her and sent her home. Her primary doctor was very patient with her. We really like him.

Paula and Mary finally got home at about 9pm and we had a light dinner. We then tried to encourage Mary to take a bath. We finally convinced her to do it. We wanted her to soak her feet after having toe nails removed earlier in the week.

So they’re off this moring for Mary to get her hair done. She is still fussing about the pain.

Sometimes in providing care, we need to be combination mother hen and drill sargent. If we would let her, she would stay in bed 23.5 hours a day. The metaphor “good cop/bad cop” also comes to mind.

As Vince Flynn (author of American Assassin) said: “If you’re not busy living, you’re dying.” Bob Dylan said something similar in one of his songs.


July 16, 2015

Mary has had a tough week. She has had two falls at home at our condo. First one happened on last Saturday in the bathroom. The second fall was on Monday late afternoon.

I talked about the first fall in my previous post. The second fall happened in our living room. When she got up from her sleep in the late afternoon, she only had one slipper on. So she started back to her bed room in search of the missing slipper. She got dizzy looking down at her feet and then lost her balance. Then down to the floor. I was only about 3-4 feet away from her but not close enough to catch her. Luckily, she didn’t hit her head on anything solid. Her head was inches away from the piano.

So I helped her up and got her sitting down on the couch. It seems that there was no serious injury, but we think she might have wrenched her back some what. 

So we didn’t do the YMCA either on Tuesday or Today. She slept most of the day. Woke up at about 4pm. I had to help her to set up on the bed. I told her to sit for a few minutes to get her head straight.

So it was not to be. She decided to lay back down and rest. She seems to be noticeably weaker. I tried to get her to use the walker instead of the cane. 

We’ll see what tomorrow brings. Maybe, Paula can coax her out of bed.