Archive for the ‘Family’ category

Mary (and other stuff)

March 12, 2018

2018-03-11 12.32.38It’s time for an update. Mary had a tough go of it a couple of weeks ago. She came down with an urinary tract infection on Monday 2/26. So Paula made an appt to see her primary care doc in Torrance. Her doc got a urine sample and wrote her a prescription for an antibiotic and sent her home. He had us give her ibuprofen for the pain. So Paula gets the Rx filled at the local CVS. She was feeling pretty miserable.

Two days go by and she’s still not getting much better. Paula takes her to urgent care and sees a different doctor. New doctor prescribes a new antibiotic and gives her an Rx for Tamaflu. He was thinking that maybe the flu was involved although she wasn’t running a fever.

She’s feeling much better today. She was feeling good enough to come to church with us. It didn’t hurt that our grandson Jonathan was singing in the kids’ choir. The picture above was taken this morning during brunch at the Pacific Diner in San Pedro. (One of our favorite places for brunch after church.)

2018-03-03 19.11.38In other news from San Pedro, I celebrated my 70th birthday on March 3. Paula and I got a sitter to watch Mary while we went out for dinner for just the two of us. It was so nice to get out without Mary. We went to a steak house called “The San Franciscan” in Torrance. I had a steak and shrimp, Paula had the prime rib. Very tasty.

We shared a piece of cheese cake for dessert. When Jonathan saw the picture of my “birthday” cake, he told us that wasn’t a proper birthday cake. Grownups, I try to teach them right. So we got a real chocolate devil’s food cake for last Friday when Jonathan was over for dinner. Much better he thought.

We’re finally getting some rain. It rained yesterday and today. Forecast for rain on and off for the next week or so. It’s been a light rain. No soaker like we had last time a couple of months ago that caused mud slides up in Santa Barbara. It’s finally beginning to feel like a typical San Pedro winter with temps in the 50’s and rain.

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:




February 23, 2018

It’s time for another post about Mary. Every once in a while, the topic of nursing homes comes up between Paula and me, especially after we have had a frustrating few days at home. It all started at dinner on Monday. On the first and third Monday evenings we all go to our Eastern Star (OES) meetings in San Pedro.

On those nights, we usually have a pizza for dinner. So Mary asks us, “What’s this?” and “how do I eat it?” Once again, we patiently explain for the hundredth time what pizza is and how to eat it.

2018-02-22 18.45.45So she is sitting at the dining room table in her PJ’s. She had basically slept all day until 5:30 PM. We tried to get her to hurry up and finish so we could then get her to get dressed. “Why do I have to go?” she says. Because we don’t want to leave you alone.

So we eventually get her dressed and we get on our way to the lodge building. So, here’s the $64K question, do we give up on getting her out to meet with her friends? Or, do we look for a regular sitter for the evenings when we need (or want) to go out?

At this point, she usually doesn’t go to church or Senior Bible study. The only other events that she goes to are to get her hair done on Friday’s and the monthly luncheon at Assistance League in SP.

We are considering getting a sitter for the Mondays for OES meetings. Maybe for all Mondays, that way we can go to the movies (or something) when we are not going to OES meetings.

We’re not quite ready for a nursing home, but the time might be coming soon. Nursing homes cost big bucks. We can afford a lot of sitters before we get anywhere close to what nursing homes cost.

Here’s another issue we are facing. It seems that she is eating less and less. She rarely finishes the portions that we put on her plate. And we always put less on her plate than for Paula and me. We seem to think that maybe she is unconsciously starving her self. There is nothing that we are planning to do about it except encourage her to eat. We try to have meals that she likes and are easy for her to eat.

And one more thing, a couple of years ago the three of us went to an event put on by an elder lawyer by the name of Susan Geffen. She has run seminars that present various elder agencies and service companies to talk about their offerings. She is the author of a book called “Take That Nursing Home and Shove It“. It’s worth reading.



1 Second Every Day – January 2018

February 1, 2018

Okay, this past month I started using a new app call “1 Second Everyday“. Click here for the pointer in the Apple App Store. And here’s the Android version. I upload 1 or 2 pictures every day and it produces a mashup video displaying each picture for about second. It is sort of a video diary, kinda sorta.

So every day, I push myself to take one or two pictures every day. I took pictures of people we met and places that we went. I took pictures of the baristas at Starbucks. I took picture in the supermarket. I have family pictures including our very cute grand kids.

Sometimes, I have to push myself to take a picture. I try to answer the question, “What did I do today?”.

It feels like monthly is the right size for the video (both in time and file size. Maybe in December I will do a whopper of a lookback.

Here is the video for January 2018. So sit back and enjoy.




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


December 10, 2017

Today I was with my family eating breakfast after church at one of our favorite places called the “Pacific Diner” in San Pedro. By now, all of the wait staff generally know that I will be ordering Bacon and Eggs.

So several months ago, I was sitting next to my grandson Jonathan. So, he asked me what was on my plate, pointing at the bacon. That’s bacon, I tell him. Would you like a taste? Yes, he says. From that day forward, Mike would have to order a side of bacon for the kids.

So fast forward to today. Jonathan has an omelet of some kind with bacon. So I tell him how men eat bacon. You don’t eat it with a fork and knife. You can pick it up with your fingers if you like but that is not ideal.

I show him how to pick up a half slice of toast, add some jelly and put the bacon on the toast and then fold in half. Tastes great.

So Paula asks me why men always eat bacon on toast like that. I tell her that’s because it’s the right way to eat bacon. Gotta teach young lads early.

My Christmas Letter

December 9, 2017

2017-12-09 14.34.33Every year at this time I write a Christmas letter to 130 of my nearest and dearest friends. I started doing it about 20 years ago. My in-laws (Harold and Mary) had sent out Christmas letters to all of their friends for many years. That’s where I got the idea.

I was tired of just sending out a card that we just signed and threw in the mailbox. I knew I wasn’t possible to write a long individual letter to every one of our friends and relations. That wasn’t going to happen.

One year I tried sending the letter only be email. I wasn’t happy with how it turned out. Many people didn’t have email. It just felt better sending a written letter on a piece of paper. I still send a few letters by email, but it’s only as a last resort like when I don’t have an updated, valid postal address.

So every year the process starts anew. I begin to review the list. Who do I add? Who do I remove? I need to remove the spouses that have passed during the year. I keep the list as a group on my Apple. This year I made sure that every one got a full 9 digit zip code.

Then I ordered paper and envelopes from Amazon. I checked to see if I have enough address labels. So now I have some paper and envelopes left over. Hopefully I can find the stuff next November.

On the day after Thanksgiving, I start writing the letter. My goal is to fill 2 pages with the stories of our year. What did we do? Where did we go? How’s everyone doing?

Then I pick a few pictures to add to the letter. Obligatory pictures of us, our grand kids are added.

I usually have to shrink the font size down a bit in order to fit the letter on two pages. This year I ended up with size 11 font.

Finally after numerous final edits by Paula and I, the letter goes to print. Oh I need to check the ink status on my printer. I ordered a package of color ink from HP. but didn’t need it.

Time to print. First, I did the labels. Last year I got a new app from the app store that does a real good job printing labels. The app is called “Label Printer” by Richard McKenna. I think that he has a version for Android. One can add addresses directly from the contact database. Really does a good job.

Then I print the letter. I have a duplex printer but I find that I can do it faster if I do the front page, then after that is done, do the back page.

Then fold and stuff envelopes. Paula usually wants to write a personal note to some of our friends, so I cull those out for her.

Finally, I seal and stamp. On Monday, I take them to the PO.