Archive for March 2017

Mary

March 27, 2017

Time for an update. Not a lot of change here. Mary continues to eat two meals a day and sleep in bed most of the day. Right now the only thing we seem to get her up and out is her weekly visit to the hair salon.

She usually skips watching the evening news on TV. She says that it is too depressing. Okay, I guess.

We had a local election here in LA a couple of weeks ago. It was a primary for mayor and other local jobs. Mary didn’t vote. In fact she hasn’t voted in any of the elections for the past 2 or 3 years. I think the process is too much for her to understand. I am not even sure she knows who the current president is. We don’t talk politics.

The other day she asks us if we could arrange for her to get some exercise. We tell her we would be glad to take you for a walk, but you have to ask us. You have to want to do it. You have to get your butt out of the bed and do it. It doesn’t happen. This is a recurring theme.

Yesterday, she was reading her Time Magazine. She has a subscription that delivers the magazine every week. For some strange reason, she asked for a pen to underline a couple of sentences about the election for the president of France. She didn’t ask us any questions about the article. She just underlines a couple of sentences. So Paula and I are seriously scratching our heads over this. So later after she went to bed we looked at the magazine. She doesn’t like to watch the news anymore but for some very strange reason she was interested in the French presidential election. Go figure.

So last week, Mary asked about seeing the grand kids. Mike and his family used to come over every Tuesday for dinner. Now with Jonathan in school, that keeps him up too late. So now we do dinner once or twice a month usually on a Friday or Saturday.

We tell her that the best time to see Sarah and Jonathan would be at church on Sunday. Would you like to go to church with us and join us for lunch after? Maybe she says. So Sunday rolls along. I get her up by 8:00 AM and feed her breakfast. After breakfast, she gets dressed and goes to lie down. I remind her about church. I will ask you again when it’s time to go. So at 10 AM, I go into her room and ask her if she wants to go. Nope. Not this time. Sigh.

We have been working on lining up caregivers for her so that Paula and I can go out on a date to see a movie and do dinner at a restaurant. Found a couple of folks, one from lodge and one from church. It was so nice to get out to a movie and quiet dinner without Mary. One of the brothers from lodge came to stay with her. He didn’t charge us. All we had to do is feed him some fried chicken from KFC.

On a final note, we have made our travel plans to visit Boston in May. Snow should be gone by then. One whole week without Mary. Woo Hoo! We are so looking forward to seeing our east coast friends again.

TTFN

Joe

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Deep Dive #3

March 27, 2017

So I have finished curating the last batch of slides from Harold. The box contained 10 slide trays and each slide tray had up to 100 slides. Some were full some were less than full but never less than 75 slides. The slides were taken from as early as 1974 and as recent as 1980. Most were circa 1977 and 1978. Much of the pictures were of wilderness. There were two trays from a trip to Alaska in 1974.

There were pictures from Harold and Mary’s visit after our first son Mike was born in 1980.

Here are some samples of the better stuff. 

Mary Stanley, Paula and Joe


During the visit, I took Harold and Mary for a ride in my airplane. (I don’t know what caused the yellowing of the white areas of the slide.) I first got my private pilot’s license in 1974. By the time this picture was taken I had become IFR (Instrument) rated. Not long after this picture was taken the plane was sold and I stopped flying. Price of fuel was going up and I no longer had the time to spend flying. I once took my mother for a ride in the airplane. She was scared silly. (That wasn’t the word I wanted to use, but this is a family blog.) She couldn’t get on the ground soon enough.

New Dad with Baby Michael


This was the other reason that I stopped flying. In this picture, I think Mike was a couple of weeks old.

Harold in front of US Capitol


This is one of the rare pictures of my father-in-law Harold. Harold was always the one behind the camera. The trip to Washing ton was in 1977. In the load of about 1000 slides there are probably less than 10 pictures with Harold in the picture. We all miss Harold a lot. He was a great guy.

Mary K., Mimi-Mary, Uncle Jack, Aunt Donna (dec) and Maurice/James

This picture was taken in 1977 during one Harold & Mary’s many visits to New Orleans. Mary’s brother Jack lives outside of New Orleans. The family was together that day to tour some antebellum mansion. I don’t know how people could survive living during a summer in one of those mansions. So everyone was in the picture except for Harold.


This picture is the rear of our house at 90 Gray Street in Billerica, MA. We lived here from 1978-1984.

Mary and Paula circa 1978


We’re not quite sure of the provenance of this picture. Perhaps on the ferry to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyeard or maybe a Boston Harbor cruise. I included it because it was a good picture of Paula and Mary.

That’s enough for now. I will be picking up another box to work on from the storage locker.

TTFN

Joe

Harold’s Slides – Deep Dive #2

March 17, 2017

I was back to scanning my father-in-law Harold’s slide collection. A few weeks ago I finally purchased a scanner for 35mm slides. The current batch is from 1977 and 1978. I can tell that because the slides got imprinted with the month and year that they were processed. There are boxes and boxes of slides tucked away in the store room down on Gaffey Street. I took one box that has 10 slide trays. Each slide tray has about 100 slides. Today I did about 200 slides. They cover a bunch of activities and events. There was a trip to Hawaii, a trip to Yosemite National Park (I think for a Park Service reunion). A wedding for someone named David. [Paula sez he was one of Harold’s students]. Still don’t know who the bride is. Nice looking couple but I don’t have a clue who they are.

So here goes:

Yosemite

Hawaii

Nice Sunsets:

Cornerstone Pictures LA Harbor Lodge

Looks like I’m going to be doing this for a while.

Paula’s Bike

March 16, 2017

So back in 2012 when Paula and I moved to California, one of the things that got shipped was Paula’s bike. Shortly after we arrived we took the bike to a local bike shop to get it tuned up and to buy a lock. The condo association forbids storing bikes on your patio deck. They provide bike racks in several places in the garage in the basement of the building.

So we got a lock and secured the bike to the rack. We placed the lock through the rear wheel. Our thinking was that if we secured the front wheel, then a thief could just take the whole bike minus the front wheel.

So a couple of months went by and sure enough someone stole the front wheel. We never got around to buying another wheel so the bike just sat there with out a front wheel. And then not much later someone decided that they needed a seat more than we did. So now we had a bike minus front wheel and seat. Sigh.

So fast forward to today. I go down to the garage to get in my Jeep (or as my grandson Jonathan calls it “the Jeep truck”. So now the bike frame is gone. All that is left is the rear wheel securely attached to the bike rack. I think I will leave the wheel there as a subtle warning to folks planning to secure their bike there.

2017-03-16 12.53.46

Taxes

March 16, 2017

I picked up Mary’s tax return today from her accountant. I’m glad that’s done for the year.

Here’s my process. Gather all of the W2’s and 1099’s from her investments and then take them to her accountant. I could probably do it myself on Turbotax but why would I want to endure the pain.

So a day or so after I drop off the paperwork, I get an email from him telling me what I’m missing. A couple of 1099’s were late. Waited for a couple of weeks and then dropped the rest of them. It’s a little bit complicated because she had investments with about a dozen brokerages.

I increased the withholding on her pension last year so that she didn’t have to pay so much with the return. Indeed, she will be getting a refund from both the IRS and California. So all I had to do tonight was get her to sign the forms.

I took a few minutes to try and explain the high points of her return. gross income, deductions, taxes etc. She had that deer in the headlights look. So I tell her trust me, we have this under control. I ask her if she remembers her accountant, Paul. Nope, not a clue.

Well anyways that’s done for another year.

  Mary

March 13, 2017

Time for an update. On Sunday afternoon Mary and I are sitting at our dining room table. Paula is out walking around the neighborhood. 

So Mary is reading the Sunday newspaper. She sees a full page for the show called “Shen Yun“. Shen Yun is a Chinese music and dance production that tours every year throughout the USA. 

Seeing as our daughter in law is from Taiwan, we tend to be aware of Chinese cultural stuff. So we had taken Mary to see a production about three years ago in downtown LA. It’s a quality production and worth going to see it. But I don’t feel the need to do it again.

So Mary says to me, I’d like to go see this. I then told her that it wasn’t going to happen. I explained to her that we went to see it three years ago with you. Do you remember? Of course not.

I try to explain to her that the production is downtown LA at the Dorothy Chandler pavilion and parking is difficult. Even with her HP placard, there would be a lot of walking and lots of steps.  She doesn’t handle walking long distances well. And it is especially difficult for her at night when the way forward is not any too clear.

So I tell her that prices range from $70-$200 per person. The cheap seats are in the balcony and she certainly wouldn’t be able to navigate to that locale. I told her not going to happen. Not on my watch. As it stands right now, she has to sit and rest while walking to the elevator which is about 20 yards.

At this point she breaks down and starts to sob. I try to tell her that until you can manage the little stuff you can’t do the big stuff. Mary has a habit of canceling at the last minute if she is feeling dizzy (which is most all of the time). So it would be high likelihood that we wouldn’t go and get stuck with cost of three tickets to the show.

One of the really nasty things about dementia is that steals away a lifetime of memories. Much as we try to show her pictures of her. They do little good to remind her of what she once was. Very sad.

I guess the crying and sobbing was her thoughts on her current situation. I.e. Going downhill. We try to push her some to get up out of bed and do things but the call of the bed is very strong. As time goes by, she is doing less and less. This month she will not be going to the Assistance League luncheon. She used to always go and get her hair done before. Now, it doesn’t happen.

In other news, we have found a couple of friends (one from church, one of my Lodge brothers) willing to come stay with Mary while Paula and I go to a movie. Truly a God send. And, flight reservations have been made and paid for our annual trip to Boston in May. We have requested care givers from a local agency for the week that we will be gone. We so look forward to this trip to get back east to see many of our East coast friends. 

TTFN

Joe

Moonlight

March 10, 2017

MoonlightSo last night was date night again. Be still my beating heart. Our good friend Tamer agreed to watch Mary while Paula and I went to a movie.

So we went to the Regal Promenade Cinema at the Peninsula Center in RPV. Normally, I wouldn’t mention the theater, but this one is special. It has large, extra comfy king sized recliners for theater seating. Also, it had extra leg room. It’s sorta, kinda like the difference between coach and first-class. Once you’ve been in first-class, you don’t want to sit in coach. Plus, we had just about the entire theater to ourselves. Only one other couple in the theater.

Cost of food was outrageous. Paid $5.00 for a bottle of water. They always try to upsell to the larger size for $0.30 more. Next time the bottle of water goes in Paula’s purse.

So the movie that we decided to go to see was “Moonlight” starring Mahershala Ali, Shariff Earp and Naomie Harris. Directed by Barry Jenkins. The film won three Oscars including Best Picture. The film was just getting to its end of run in theaters. It’s available on DVD or streaming video. Definitely worth watching.

The picture tells the story of a young black boy named Chiron in a ghetto neighborhood in Miami. Chiron is struggling with surviving in the ghetto. He has no father and his mother is a crack addict. He gets bullied at school. Juan comes along and takes Chiron under his wing and together with his girl friend/partner take him under their wing and become surrogate parents.

Chiron is played by three different actors for three different stage in his life. All well done.

It was a little bit difficult at times to follow the ghetto dialect. I suppose subtitles would have been helpful. If I was watching on streaming video I would have turned on the subtitles.

Excellent movie, but I think that La La Land should have received the Best Picture nod. But the Academy didn’t ask me for my vote. Though Naomi Harris and Mahersala Ali sure deserved Best Supporting Actor. Excellent performances all around.

The film is based on the unproduced play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” by MacArthur Fellow Tarell Alvin McCraney.

So to finish off the evening we stopped at KFC to get a bucket of chicken