Archive for the ‘Aging’ category

Why Blog?

March 29, 2018

The time has come to answer the question “why blog?”. I have been writing this blog now for about six years. Here I go. In March, I turned 70.

I started the blog back in the spring of 2012. My wife Paula and I had made the decision to sell our house in Billerica, MA and move to San Pedro, CA to live with Paula’s aging  mother. At the time, we had lived in the house for 30 plus years. Moving across the country was not going to be easy. Thus the name of the blog became “Cal-here-we-come”

So, what do I write about? Blogging gives me the opportunity to document the things that are going on in our lives. So I write about Mary and the the trials and tribulations of elder care. I write about our travels. In 2012, I wrote about our trip to Ireland. I write about books I’ve read and movies we’ve seen.

Paula’s mother had her 94th birthday back in January. Back in 2012, she was living alone. Paula’s Dad had died in 2009. Paula is an only child, so there was nobody else to step up to the plate to watch over Mary. We were beginning to hear stories of occasional falls and trips to the ER. Nothing very serious but it was establishing a trend.

She has been living in a 3 bedroom condo since about 2010. There was plenty of room for us.

Another factor that helped in our decision was that one of our sons lives in the area along with our two very cute grand children. We have another son who lives in Salt Lake City. If our sons were still living in MA, we would have flown out to San Pedro, packed Mary up and moved back to MA. But they live out here now, so we are too.

In 2011, Paula had been out to visit about three or four times. I couldn’t go, because I was working as an IT contractor at IBM. No work, no pay. We had a mortgage to pay. After each trip, she came back with more stories of woe.

So on April 1, 2012 our house of thirty years went on the market. We were lucky, we had an offer in 10 days. It happened a lot faster than we expected. So Paula and I both gave our notice to our jobs. Then we both filed for Social Security. They say that the three most import rules of real estate are location, location, location. In our case, selling our house, it was timing, timing, timing.

Closing was set for June 21, 2012. Time to start selling furniture and making arrangements to ship the small amount of stuff we were going to send to California.

We spent two weeks in July of 2012 touring Ireland. Finally, we shipped a few more boxes of stuff to LA and then on August 2 we hit road for LA.

70

March 12, 2018

Okay, this is the last post about birthdays for a while. I promise. As many of you know, I turned 70 last week. Here are some of my thoughts on the matter.

70 is a big one. In one’s life there seem to be certain milestones. For me the milestones were 21, 30, 40 and 70. At 21, I could vote and buy beer. At 30, I met Paula, fell in love and got married. At 40, I felt like I had arrived. Secure in my space in my job and my family. 50 and 60 (I celebrated 60 by getting laid off from HP) didn’t feel all that important, but 70 does.

At 70, I feel like I have outlived many of my friends. I have outlived my father. (He died at the age of 65 or 66.) Perhaps, I have my mother’s genes. (She lived to be 89) And not my father’s. I think that if one can beat cancer, one can live for a long long time.

So looking back, here is a list of friends and co-workers that have passed away in the past 15 years (mostly due to cancer).

  • Betsy Burton
  • Richard Nicoll
  • David Eno
  • Karen Butland
  • Fred Marsh
  • Dean McGorrill

RIP

Note: If a friend who is younger than me dies, it was automatically before their time.

Birthday Stories

March 3, 2018

Here are a couple of birthday stories.

I was born on March 3, 1948 which I knew was my parents’ wedding anniversary. When I was a child, I thought that was interesting. It wasn’t until I was much older did I learn that I was born C-section and the birth had been scheduled. When one is four or five years old, parents don’t explain how or why babies came to be.

Here’s the second story. Everyone knows the birthday song, right? Happy birthday to you…

It turns out that the “Birthday Song” is one of the most prolific song ever written. Click here for all you ever wanted to know about it. It has generally been attributed to be written by Patty and Mildred J Hill in 1893. It is considered to be one of the most recognized tunes of all time.

Apparently, a few years ago there was a big stink about the copyright status. So back in 2017 a federal court decided that the tune was in the public domain.

There were a couple of really notable performances of the song. First, was done by Marilyn Monroe singing Happy Birthday to President John F Kennedy. Another was Victor Borge playing the song in style of Bach, Brahms and Mozart.

Here’s the Victor Borge video:

And finally, some Minions birthday humor:

 

 

In Like a Lion

March 2, 2018

So it would seem that March is coming in like a lion, at least if you live in New England. Down here in LA, not so much. It was actually a bit warmer today than yesterday. Up in the 50’s.

Forecast here is for rain. Up in Santa Barbara along rte 101, they’re talking about heavy rains. That’s not a good thing. Back in January, they a real soaker that washed all of the mud down off of the hill sides.  So here is how this works. Last summer they had some nasty fires that removed all of the hillside vegetation and then there is nothing to hold the dirt in place.

Won’t be anything like that here in San Pedro.

They are just about got things cleaned up from the January storm and it looks like it will happen again. So they called a mandatory evacuation. this time I doubt that anyone will stay behind.

So my day today was spent seeing a Ear/Nose/Throat Doc about a cyst about the size of a quarter that has been growing  under my ear lobe. Scheduled blood work and a MRI scheduled for Sunday. The problem in cutting it out is that it’s right over the salivary gland. Also, many nerves that control facial muscles. Follow up in a couple of weeks.

Oh and by the way, I turn 70 on Saturday.

TTFN

Joe

 

Mary

January 28, 2018

I am overdue for a post on Mary. So here we go. This week Mary celebrated her 94th birthday. We managed to persuade her to go to Senior Bible Study at Ocean View.

Side note: We have managed to get her to Sunday services for the past few weeks. First occasion was to see Jonathan perform with the kids Christmas Cantata, then to see Theresa in the adult cantata. Trying to get her in the habit of going to church again.

She hadn’t been going to the Bible study for quite a time now. We had told her that the people there missed her and encouraged her to return. I told her that Betty Walker would be getting her a cake and we would all sing “Happy Birthday” to her.

So we were continually trying to figure out what her problem was with going to Bible Study on Wednesday and services on Sunday. I think that I finally figured it out. She didn’t want anyone to see her all decrepit and walking with the aid of a walker. I told her that several people there used walkers and canes. She wasn’t the only one that was a having trouble with walking stability. It seems to help if there is a reason to go.

So we continued with the celebration this week. Mike and his family came over for dinner on Friday. We got another cake from a local bakery for the occasion. We ordered a banana/whipped cream cake from Amalfitano’s Bakery in San Pedro (a family favorite). It was very tasty.2018-01-26 20.10.20

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

Thanksgiving

November 24, 2016

2016-11-23-12-12-26It is time to reflect on all that we are thankful for this year. First and foremost, I am thankful for my lovely wife, Paula. She has been my partner now for 38 years. She has been by my side through thick and thin, good and bad. I don’t know what I would do without her.

Second, we are thankful that our son and his lovely wife live near by along with their (oh so cute) children. When we made the decision to move to California five years ago,  if they had not been living here, we probably would have stayed in Massachusetts.

In that case we would have moved Mary, kicking and screaming back to MA to live with us.

So what about Neil? Our other son, Neil, lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. SLC is a lot closer to LA than it is to MA. We get to see Neil from time to time. No grandchildren from Neil yet. Sigh. Maybe some day?

We are also thankful that Paula’s mother Mary is alive and healthy. She has reached the ripe old age of 92, bless her heart. Lord grant me the patience to deal with her. She can be a pain in the butt sometimes. We  have managed to keep her safe. No broken bones. Our goal has been to keep her out of a nursing home. And in that goal, we have been successful. We make sure that she gets fed and takes her meds.

We have a good home. We live in a condo that is well suited for elder care. We have no stairs (ie. all on one level). No trip hazards. We have an elevator that takes us to our parking garage. It’s big enough for all three of us to live comfortably.

So what about Thanksgiving? Needless to say, this is a decision that is way above my pay grade. The site of our feast wasn’t settled until a few days ago. In the past few years, we have gone to Theresa’s cousin Eric in Rancho Palos Verdes. Eric has a house that can easily host a large crowd, ranging in age from infant to 90ish. Eric’s wife Nikki said that she didn’t want to do it this year. We can’t do it, not enough space. Best we can do is have total of eight for dinner.

So it was decided to do it at Uncle Min’s house (also in RPV). Not quite as big as Eric’s place, but it will do. Uncle Min is part of Theresa’s extended family. Thanksgiving dinner is always an interesting blend of American and Chinese cuisine. Also, Uncle Min has a piano (and that is a good thing), so I will be bringing my iPad to play. We always enjoy seeing the extend family that we generally only see once a year.

And finally, thank you to all of the folks who read my rantings on my Blog. I originally started writing this blog to reach my friends who didn’t do Facebook. It has grown to so much more than that. This blog along with Facebook allows me to keep in touch with so many people that we have met over the years. I have been told that back in the day, people wrote letters on paper with a pen.

Anyhow, I hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.