Why Blog?

Posted March 29, 2018 by joebowker
Categories: Aging, California, Family, Mary

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.

Surgery

Posted March 29, 2018 by joebowker
Categories: Medical

Tags: ,

I struggled on whether or not to write this post. And finally, I decided that I should write it. This blog post is the easiest way to let everyone know what’s happening

I will be going under the knife on Friday to have a mass removed from my left parotid gland in my mouth.Inked2018-03-27 10.59.56_LI If you’re anything like me, you said what the heck is a “parotid gland”? Click here for the wikipedia entry. I first felt the lump about six weeks ago. Here’s a model that somehow lost all its skin. I marked the gland in yellow. BTW, this where all of your saliva comes from.

Then came the visit to my personal care doc, then the head and neck surgeon, then CT scan, back to the surgeon. Finally, schedule the surgery and then jump through all of the pre-op hoops. It moved pretty quick considering.

In talking with the surgeon, we discovered he had some Massachusetts links. He went to Harvard and one son is at BU and another son at Berklee School of Music.

So to add to the mix, we have to find someone to watch over Mary. We have one of our regular sitters who will come over on Friday. My doctor said I will probably be in the hospital over night with discharge on Saturday.

So at one of my visits to the surgeon a few days ago, he did a needle biopsy. He said results were inconclusive. The wiki article says most of these things are benign. That being said, Doctor said he wanted to get it out ASAP.

So please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

Joe

 

The Piano Guys

Posted March 24, 2018 by joebowker
Categories: Music, Reviews

Tags: ,

Piano GuyPaula and I had a date night last night. We got tickets to see the “The Piano Guys” perform at the Shrine Auditorium in downtown LA. We had only decided to try to go to the concert about a week ago.  So I tried looking for tickets on Monday. Nothing but pricey tickets available. $100 a seat and up.

I decided to wait a couple of days and see if the prices would drop. So indeed the prices did drop and on Wednesday I got two tickets for $36 a ticket. Add the “convenience fee” and the total ran to $100.

First, let me talk about the concert. These guys are great. They cleverly mix classical and popular music. The Piano Guys were born in YouTube where they have grown a huge following. Here’s a link to their youtube site.

2018-03-23 18.29.38Well we got to the auditorium in plenty of time. We thought the show started at 7pm because the tickets said “DRS 7pm”. Eventually we figured out that “DRS” meant that the doors opened at 7pm, Show start at 8pm.

You pay for everything. Parking $20. Refreshments (Tequila Sunrise for Paula, water for me) $16. Bought a CD for $20, earrings for Paula $15.) We passed on getting a T shirt or poster. Marketing machine in full swing.

Our seats were in row 40 of the orchestra section. Seats are all crowded together. We were on an aisle, so I could at least get one leg out. My knees were right up against the seat in front.

As you can see from the picture that I took outside, they have metal detectors deployed. I suppose that’s a good thing. Sad that in this day and age we have to do that. Though, the detection was not as thorough as the TSA at any airport. My artificial knee didn’t set it off. It always sets it off at LAX.

The concert ran a little under 3 hours including a 20 minute intermission. We were home by 11:15 in time to pay our sitter. So when we add it all up, tix, drinks, parking, CD and sitter, it probably runs just under $300. Next date will likely be a movie for a lot less cash.

Overall, it was a fun night. Good to get out without Mary in tow.

TTFN

Smoking

Posted March 15, 2018 by joebowker
Categories: Films, History, Television

Tags:

So i have been watching the mini-series “The Crown” on Netflix. In the past few weeks I have watched all of season 1 and yesterday I started in on season 2. This is the story of Queen Elizabeth II from the time when she becomes the Queen of England back in the early 50’s It’s a great show and I love watching it.

But here’s the thing. They’ve done a great job of displaying what it was like to be in England in the 1950’s. What struck me was that everyone was smoking all the time. The first few episodes had Winston Churchill smoking a cigar all the time. There was hardly a time that he didn’t have a cigar in his hand. Winston was played by John Lithgow (he really did a great job, btw) and I read that he got quite sick from all the smoking that he had to do during the filming.

Princess Margaret was constantly smoking. There was hardly a time on screen when she didn’t have a butt in her fingers. However, Queen Elizabeth did not smoke. I kept expecting her to tell Margaret to put the butt down.

So the picture tells the story that even our doctors were selling tobacco. Amazing and it wasn’t that long ago.

We seem to have forgotten how it was like back in the day before smoking became so odious. I remember one of the engineers I worked with who constantly smoked at work. His computer terminal was a sickly yellow instead of the usual white.

There were cigarette vending machines at work and in bars and restaurants. It took a long time to get to where we are today. We had to suffer through smoking/non-smoking sections on airplanes. We now have smoke-free environments on aircraft, at work and anywhere else the public might visit.

We’ve come a long way, baby.

Joe

70

Posted March 12, 2018 by joebowker
Categories: Aging

Tags: ,

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.

Mary (and other stuff)

Posted March 12, 2018 by joebowker
Categories: Family, Mary

Tags:

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.

Caution: Rainy When Wet

Posted March 6, 2018 by joebowker
Categories: Los Angeles, Silly Stuff, weather

2018-03-06 11.58.40I live in Los Angeles. It doesn’t rain very often here. in the past couple of days, we’ve had the first measurable rain in the better part of a year.

I even had to turn on my windshield wipers. Let’s see, where’s that knob? Wow, they still work.

So after seeing pictures of the flooding back in Mass. over the past few days, I was amused by this sign on the door to our local super market. I guess they felt the need to tell people that the floors get slippery when they get wet. Of course, today the sun was shining. It may of course rain again this year. Can’t be too careful.