December 28-

Sign at pool informs me that water is 81 degrees, which does not fill me with confidence. Fears prove all too correct as legs have tendency to cramp during swim, no doubt from extreme cold, and I worry that lifeguard will feel need to intervene as I end each lap with undignified struggle. Lifeguard tells me that pool heater is broken. Heater worked at peak performance during days when outside temperature hovered at 110 degrees.

Don home by seven and just as he is being served bowl of chicken soup, phone rings. It is friend’s daughter who has been left by boyfriend at gatehouse of boyfriend’s mother, who is not at home, and daughter needs ride. This entails trip across town. After I sort out pronouns and think that I have grasp of situation, I ask where mother is, and Don says she is at casino, dancing. Stripping? I ask.

Dear Don gives me look suggesting that I have lost my mind, and says She is eighty. I reply that in Las Vegas Anything is Possible and we leave it at that.


Crock pot chicken soup a big success last week and is welcome again. Feel smug about cooking abilities which require nothing more than chopping some vegetables and throwing them with chicken in slow cooking pot. State of larder brings me down a notch, as celery and carrots are missing. Realizing I have put in sage instead of pepper brings me down another notch, but sage rather savory, on the whole.

Don is gone for two hours and on return, tells me that on arrival at gatehouse, daughter’s mother had finally arrived, making Don’s trip unnecessary. He then had flat tire on highway, and after repairing tire and starting home, discovered someone following him. Took precautions against possible thuggery on part of stranger, who turns out to be neighbor. (Am thankful no one else saw him lurking about behind vehicles in driveway.)

Story reminds me of other times when stranger was suspected of following one of us, the most recent being Don himself in customer’s car, trying to catch me to give me money. After zooming around corners, trying to shake villainous stalker, finally recognize Don at stop sign, as he gets out of car which has been following me. He is not pleased at impromptu chase around neighborhood.

The other instance of being chased recrudesces of road trip with dear friend to mountain town located in nearby state. Police dispatcher, a young woman in her personal car, pursued friend and myself around a parking lot. Dear mother had called local police in town where friend and I had traveled, because I had not checked in with her in timely fashion. She had tendency to kill and bury us if she had not heard from us immediately after arrival at destination.

Make plans later to set up Scrabble game, after first cleaning dust off top of box. Game has never been used, but was purchased entire year ago with fond visions of quiet, educational play with family members. According to stories inside box, Scrabble enthusiasts participate in Tournaments with other Dedicated Scrabble Players, and I reflect on harmony and unity of Other families.


(Warmly imagined moments fail to materialize due to each member of family having separate and compelling interests.)




December 21-

Dear Brandon tells me, when he comes home from work, that he has heard a story about a woman who was invaded by bot fly, now living in her leg. Fly lays eggs on mosquito, mosquito bites human, larvae burrows in, feels at home, and eventually pokes bot fly head out and looks up at woman, who screams and faints.

Woman is advised by doctor to wait until fly is fully formed and flies off on its own. Woman very sensibly objects to this course of action, and young fly is annihilated by suffocation with Vaseline and tape.  Fly is disposed of, but woman is still in shock. Am reminded of horror movies, but am forced to admire species’ abilities to survive in all conditions.


Finally keep appointment with eye doctor, as it has been three years since prescription for glasses was changed. While in the waiting room am told that if doctor provides prescription, I will be charged a Fee. Inquire of Young Thing who tells me this, Why Am I Here, if Not to Get a new Prescription? She tells me there will be no charge, and feathers are smoothed once more.

Another Young Thing gives me eye test, wherein I must read very small letters from seemingly great distance. Letters look like street signs on corners, and am suddenly apprised as to who designs them. It has been eye doctors all along, who managed to acquire street sign concession from cities all over the country.

Squinting only carries one so far, before glasses become necessary. Admire entrepreneurial spirit of eye doctors, who are not top priority for most people, unless they can no longer drive or see television.

eye test

I shout out final answers, as if Grand Prize will be mine should I get letters right, and regret not memorizing letters when I first saw them. Young Thing tells me had I not inquired if final letter was ‘F’, I may have gotten away with answer, and would have achieved 20/15 vision, at last.

Eye doctor makes his appearance and checks my eyes, relieving me of the worry that he is merely an Urban Myth, and only Young Things are running medical offices. He tells me that I will need eye surgery sometime in the future. When I demur, he asks my age, and when I tell him, he informs me that I have the eyes of a person ten years younger. Since he has just told me how old I am getting, am not sure whether to be gratified, or not.

Receive lengthy phone call that evening from young man at alma mater, who is fund-raising for institution to which I owe so many dollars, that I will be past 90 before it is paid. I listen to him politely, after telling him he is Wasting His Time, but he appears to want to finish a Script. I oblige him by not hanging up, but read book until he asks a question, to which my answer is invariably ‘No’. He persists in asking for lower and lower amounts, relating anecdotal evidence about the University, which is Doing So Much Good for So Many. Heart and mind remain Unmoved, and instead ask him if I may have some of My money back from the school.

Admire young man’s persistence nevertheless, and we sign off with mutual expressions of cordiality. Next day, I think of young man when I buy a piece of exercise equipment, and am glad he will Not Find Out about my perfidy. He asked me several times for equivalent of what we pay for exerciser.

(Query: Did I perhaps give up too easily in asking for money from school? Young man has obviously been trained in persistence, so there must be Something To It. When I call school, will be sure and tell them How Much Good I Have Been Doing in the World. Must make sure to Do Some Good before calling.)




December 14-

Extreme Prejudice towards Amazon overcomes me owing to not knowing proper way to input country dialing code of United States in application on website. Type various formats of personal telephone number in tiny boxes over and over for many hours. Am reminded of old saying, Doing Same Thing Over and Over is Definition of Insanity.

Send message to Support, begging that they enlighten me as to what is needed. Finally discover proper dialing code from search of internet. Problem not one of style, but of content. Dear Support answers next day with specific instructions to fill in Tiny Boxes. Since I mastered Tiny Boxes yesterday, Support’s answer, while no doubt sincere, now unnecessary and unhelpful. (Tiny Boxes should prove no problem for Little People.)

(During entire incident, other old motto recrudesces in memory, which was favorite of dear Mother’s: Patience Is A Virtue. This had immediate and undesirable effect of irritating me no end.)

Have never, to my certain knowledge, had to supply anyone with USA country dialing code, even when employed as flight attendant. Cannot fathom why Amazon would need to call me from another country. If it becomes necessary, they now have correct code.

Quite disgusted with whole thing, and have recourse to bottle of wine. (NB: Comfort and validation typically not provided by bottles of wine, but helpful for forgetting reasons for temper.) Tantrums when dealing with internet quite common.


(Query presents itself: Are we shortening our lives with stress-related frustration stemming from use of computers and technology purported to be life enhancing? Medical websites available to diagnose if symptoms occur).

Am right on time for lunch date with dear friend, who is watching for me from fourteen stories above the street. When I call her after some minutes have elapsed, she tells me she was looking for blue van, instead of green truck. Have not driven blue van for almost a year, and have picked her up in green truck at least three times since then, but beg her to come downstairs, anyway.

Afterwards, continue on to physical therapy as prescribed by doctor.  Sessions come to an end, and am still no further to understanding purpose of an activity that I could not only do at home, but one that manages to make me feel worse when I leave, than when I arrive. Actual manipulation and touching by Therapist occurs for five minutes out of each hour spent in clinic.

Am reminded of dear mother’s physical therapist, who showed up for fifteen minutes, had mother sit on edge of bed, circle her arms and legs, and then wave goodbye cheerily as she drove off in her new sports car. ( Therapy joins other employment choices as being one I Should Have Done, instead of having actually worked for a living.)

Leaf-peeping plans continue apace for refreshment of soul. However, plans become moot as Time Marches On and leaves leave trees. Many colorful leaves were within day’s drive of city, but spare day for Peeping remained elusive.


(Bordellos also within a few hour’s drive of city, but have little to do with refreshment of soul.)





December 07-

Spend holiday evening with several friends and family members. Young parents with offspring are present. One mother and daughter have spent entire morning serving breakfast at homeless shelter. Young mother causes me much internal hilarity with serious expression of satisfaction at young daughter being in what she terms Service Mode.

Ten minutes later, Young Daughter has caused extreme drama when her friend runs downstairs crying, and saying she Wants To Go Home Right Now due to obnoxious behavior on part of Young Daughter. Service Mode lasts only so long in second graders, before Nature reasserts itself.

rowdy girlsHave delightful lunch with dear friend who pays flying visit to town. He has taken some time from placing bets on basketball games to catch up with me. Am gratified, but wish for more time to talk. Dear friend leaves next day for California. I ask waitress to take picture, which I send on to him later, as proof to those at home, he says, that he has does something Other than Gamble.

Pictures, as usual, take inordinate amount of time to upload to computer. Memory fails every time of How To Do It , and have recourse to manual. Remind self of Olden Days before digital cameras when wait time to see pictures could possibly take years. Still find rolls of film hiding in boxes now and then, which never got developed.

photo labNecessity back then for film to be completely used, which was dependent on Photo Opportunities and Events, so as not to Waste Film. Unused film would remain in cameras, waiting to be used and then taken to Photo Lab, sent off to Main Lab to be Developed, sent back to neighborhood lab, and then picked up when spare dollars were available. By that time, proof of activities other than gambling, would be moot, and reason needed for proof forgotten.

Thinking of Olden Days engenders memories of other appliances, such as telephones. Land lines disappearing, and with them skills to pass on to our children, such as knowing How to Listen In on an Extension. Explain to dear Brandon how this was accomplished. Finger should have been held on button, while receiver was picked up very softly. Hand should have covered speaker, and if Eavesdropper was detected, receiver should have been very carefully replaced, while finger again held down button.

Much information about siblings, and everything else, could be garnered this way, if family had more than one phone. Cell phones now unavailable for eavesdropping for everyone but NSA.

phoneDelightful rainy weather visits desert town, and cuddle in bed like burrowing small animal. Fine weather engenders feelings of guilt when not being enjoyed, making gloomy, rainy weather welcome. Much is accomplished by way of cleaning and writing when time is spent indoors.

Little Shop of Horrors visits itself upon me with unexpected and rather trying visit to dentist. One leg sticks straight up in air, seemingly of own volition, as dentist asks me If That Hurts. I mumble incomprehensibly around implements that are crowding together in my mouth, and channel Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man.

While rooting for gold, Dentist teaches me medical terms for disgusting things that are found under some people’s teeth. Tell him Prurient Exudation sounds like heavy metal rock group, and eventually am released to go home, use ice on face, and take various medications, which makes burrowing in bed very satisfying.


December 01-

New swimsuit arrives in mail, bringing total of new suits to three in as many months . (Perhaps there is a Swimsuit of the Month club?) Instructions on tag state that suit should be Kept away from fire and Washed in clean water. Can only wonder what Chinese workers think we do in our swimsuits. Mine remains almost exclusively in bodies of water surrounded by cement.

Memory recrudesces of long ago days at the beach and building campfires. Perhaps Chinese remember similar days? (Am almost positive there is a beach in China, but will consult World Map, hanging on office wall but rarely referred to.)


Have finished reading autobiography of famous movie star’s daughter. Both mother and daughter still firmly alive, and can only wonder at strained relations, if any, that predominate between them. Adjure dear Brandon to Wait until I die before publishing memoirs, as number of phone calls from me to him reiterating that That Never Happened would be phenomenal.

(Mem: Remind him to read movie stars children’s memoirs as buffer to poor memory, as celebrities appear to make terrible parents. In contrast, perhaps I will become Mother of the Year in his mind’s eye?)

Just as I step onto platform to accept award and accolades for Mother of Year, I become angry at Brandon when tidying house. He has left mess in home office again. Am aware that I will be held responsible by his future wife for any shortcomings in his habits, nature, or character. Feel this is unjust, and am prepared to argue vehemently on own behalf that he is grown and can make better decisions. Will also inquire of future daughter-in-law if she has ever heard the words Work In Progress, or Free Will? Feel sure this will give her pause, and she will perhaps cease to blame me for his deficiencies.

(NB: Fictional arguments with mythical in-laws most satisfactory, as I cannot lose).

Wonder whether I am only one certified to fill soap dispensers or toilet paper holders. Am unsure whether to be gratified at trusting faith put in my capabilities, or give notice. (Remember in time I do not get paid, therefore giving notice will very likely go unnoticed).

Have recourse to watching television. Ad is playing showing young couple, pre-teen daughter, and grandmother on road trip. Girl and grandmother bonding in back seat, and mini movie ends by all hugging tree while young mother rolls her eyes.  Am reduced to tears as attractive, fictional family drives away from Woodstock.

wicker chair

Make plans to visit Woodstock, which is inconvenient in the extreme. Instead, play DVD of long ago music festival and feel better. (Query here presents itself: Whether television should be denied to the elderly, or whether it would be fun or wise to run away from home and go to Woodstock. Am aware that entire question does not encompass continuity of thought. Will take Sugar as protection against Undesirables encountered on road trip).


Recall with clarity that Woodstock festival took place in big, muddy field with amenities of civilization practically non-existent. Decide Hippie Lifestyle must just be left to advertisements and imagination.