Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Okay, I've found the world's best dark choclate cupcake and it's sold at Sprinkles in Newport Beach.  The original store is in Arizona, then they built one in Beverly Hills and now here.  It happens to be across the street from the Newport Public Library where I go to work.  I have been very careful about responding to the call of my name from these buttery chocolate delights and have had only two in the two weeks I've been here.  Last night, I bought a box of four, two red velvets for Mary Ellen and two dark chocolates for me.  I get home and she calls me.  "I have a surprise," she says.  She has bought four cupcakes, two red velvet and two dark chocolate.  Big horse laugh.  Our biggest decision is whether to eat a healthy dinner or snarf down the cupcakes.   We opt for dinner and one cupcake.

This time she picks me up and when we go back to my house; I don't have my keys.  Happily, the guest room window is unlocked and I climb in.  We eat our cupcakes and take silly pictures of ourselves on Photo Booth.  Perfect girls night out. 

Friday, March 27, 2009

If I get Alzheimer's Disease

1.  Give me a buzz cut.  I hate that neglected matted hair look.  Then let me wear gold hoops in my ears, the size of nickels.  It's a good look for a demented woman.

2. Buy me an identity bracelet that says, "Memory loss with my address and phone number on it.  Do this BEFORE I go wandering off.

3. Take me for walks and rides.  I will still like that.  I may need a cane for balance.

4. When I can't follow books anymore, try movies.  When I can't follow movies try cartoons or Animal Planet.  Make me a video of each member of the family talking about him/herself as in, "Hi Grandma, it's Maxwell your favorite grandson.  I'm the one who likes to draw maps of made-up worlds."  Have me do one too.  I'll watch it over and over.


6.  Take me to the dermatologist once in awhile to have me scraped and have ugly skin tags removed.  I have good insurance.  It will cost nothing.

7. Could I have my eyebrows waxed sometimes.  It's $8 bucks at Supercuts.

8. Clip my fingernails short and don't paint them.  Let a professional do the toenails.

9.  I need two footpads in my right shoe.  (That leg is shorter than the other).  Don't bother with anything but athletic shoes.  (Red hightops?)

10. Remember I won't be able to follow a conversation if there's a lot of distractions around.

11.  Don't quiz me or test me all the time as if my cognitive skills will improve.  They won't.

12.  If I'm loud and foul:  sedate me.

13.  Don't let them treat me for pneumonia.  Let me die.

14.  Don't allow strangers to overwhelm me.

15.  Let me sleep in.  What does it matter?

16.  Please don't leave me in a wheelchair all day.  I like to put my feet up.

17.  Don't forget to treat my anxiety, sleeplessness and pain.

18.  I want my bed next to a window.

19.  Let me hold a baby.

20. Don't forget to hug me.

21. Remember I wear reading glasses.  Clean them once in awhile.

22. Don't feel guilty.  I mean it.  Do what you can and forget it.  Sell everything and put me in a home.  Don't feel guilty.  It's completely useless.  Don't feel guilty.  I loved you when I was in my right mind; I'll love you when I am in my right mind again.  Don't feel guilty when you can hardly stand the sight of me.  It happens.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I'm slumming through my i-photos when I find this picture of Charles and the too too adorable Harrison (and me) slumming behind American Towers.  Just to the left of Charles is a door that leads into a building that faces Main Street.  Up two flights is an apartment  that has a huge window overlooking the street.  I was gah gah for that apartment.  But where we're standing would have been the entrance.  The Main Street side has a store of some kind.  I have always wanted to live above a store.  In fact, I love this entrance.  There's a bohemian inside of me, but I rarely let her see the light of day. Tom loved it too.  Is there anywhere we WOULDN'T like to live?

I'm guessing this photo is about six years old.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Living in Sherry's house

It's Richard's house too, but I'm pretty sure that those English blue and white plates that hang everywhere are Sherry's idea and not Richard's.  The Porsche in the garage is Richard's.  I wouldn't enjoy being here nearly so much if it weren't for the careful way this home has been put together.  I love the details of red toile, Persian carpeting,  fat white sofas, iron kettles and an odd assortment of antique Dutch kitchen ware.

Since I have been here there has been no hot water.  I have been heating water on the stove and having thorough spit baths and washing my hair in the sink.  My grandmothers washed themselves this way their entire lives.  I called the water heater folks today after deciding that I couldn't live another two and a half weeks without a bath and a cordial guy fixed the water heater and entertained me at the same time.  He did imitations of rude old lady custumers: "You are part of a government conspiracy!"  I was a good audience.

The weather has been windy and irritating until this morning when the sun came out.  I went for a walk and then wrote for four hours.  Tom called to tell me that it was snowing in Salt Lake.  I'm glad I'm not there to see it.  It will be long gone by the time I return.

Tom and I talk for long periods of time.  Being alone is a lot more fun if you have someone to report to.

Mary Ellen took me to a cupcake store.  I had a chocolate one with chocolate frosting topped with chocolate sprinkles.  It was all butter and chocolate.  I'm glad I don't know how to find that store.  I'm glad I've forgotten its name.

I'm reading V.S. Naipaul, A HOUSE FOR MR. BISWAS.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The prom dress

This is the dress that Anne is wearing to prom.  She's tall and skinny like the model and prettier.  I think it's a stunner.  Little pearls decorate the sleeves.  Tom is already planning the photo shoot.  He will move furniture and pose her against the grand piano.  

She is not going with the guy of her dreams.  He asked too late.  This is the stuff YA novels are made of.

This past week she found out she had won a scholarship that will take her to Germany next year as a high school exchange student.  All the encouraging adults in her life are now wondering how they will live without her for a year.

And so it goes.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Swiss chocolate

Tom hides Lindor chocolates in the house.  Then at an odd moment he'll say, "You sound like a woman who needs a piece of chocolate" and offers me one.
It's always the navy blue wrapper that contains dark chocolate, which is my favorite.  It is the kindest small gesture and I adore him for it.  I can feel the endorphins kick in when I bite into it.

At night I rub his head until he falls asleep.  He likes it more than Swiss chocolate.  He's really a dog incarnate.
This morning, he is reading me about Vlad the Impaler, who impaled men women and children by the thousands leaving their bodies to rot along the Danube.  Now there's a man who needed some serious love. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Always a good read

Is there anything more pleasant and uplifting than a Maeve Binchy novel?  I love the Dublin settings and the quirky characters, most of them people we'd like to have as friends with a couple of real jerks thrown in for tension and rehabilitation.  I like her humor and irony.  I like a good story and Binchy is first and foremost a story teller.  I'd like to be in her writer's group and have some of that good will rub off on me.  I imagine she is an upbeat soul.  I may be wrong.  Lots of people think I'm upbeat, but I'm a curmudgeon if there ever was one.  I read HEART AND SOUL yesterday and was satisfied and happy.  I'm sorry that it's ended.  Thank you, Maeve Binchy for hours of entertainment.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Prom dresses

My granddaughter, Anne, is going to her first prom, and though what she wears is absolutely none of my business, I cannot stop looking, cannot stop making suggestions, cannot STOP.  I have grandma/mother-in-law OCD on this particular subject.  Erica, her mother, is playing me just right: a massive passive aggression.  She nods and smiles at me as I'm jawing away about the subject, but she doesn't ask me any questions and doesn't return my phone calls.  I am pretty sure I did this with my own mother-in-law.  And I get it.  I 
really do. 
My neediness stems in part from the fact that I never had a daughter of my own to push around.  I can see God's wisdom in not allowing me to have a daughter.  She would be living in Kuala Lampur and sending me jaunty emails, knowing she was a safe distance from my prying.

Anyway, if you're going to prom these days, you can A) look like Cinderella at the Ball or any other Disney character by buying a dress from an LDS retail outlet like "ETERNAL."  Gag me.
Or B) you can go looking like a ho.  You can't imagine how many ho dresses there are out there for teenage girls.  (And even in the LDS ads, the models are looking into the camera with ho-ish looks).   My own choice is the one below, but I have no confidence in my own taste anymore.  I know I'm stuck in the early sixties, have never moved beyond Talbots. I know I don't get it.
And I hate that.  I really really hate it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Pierre Bonnard

Sometimes I miss New York so much I can hardly breathe.  I felt this way yesterday when the New York Times arrived and I read that the Met was showing Bonnard paintings.  I had come home from church, which was depressing.  The word "valiant" is such a headchopper.  "I want to go back to New York," I told Tom setting down two dozen reasons why.  We talked about it for awhile, even looked at apartments.  Then listed reasons why we liked living here. (Our grandkids drop by being the number one reason to stay put).  Then decided maybe we should do something different, like live in Vienna for a year.  Tom does know how to dream with me.  Maybe the possibility of leaving can be enough for now.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Before and after

This was an experiment in do-it-your-self face lifts.  In the bottom photo I have raw egg on my face, which has tightened the skin around my mouth an eyes, but 'm not satisfied with the neck.

But look at the result I get with painters's tape!  That neck is fifteen years younger.  And it's cheap!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

No one deserves to be abused

I stole this sign yesterday from a dressing room in the Salt Lake Clinic.  I was undressing for a mammogram when I saw it.  It was like having my mother in the room.  I touched it with my hand.  This is the very sign my mother read aloud to Tom when she was lying on a gurney in the emergency room at the LDS hospital.  She had Alzheimer's but was acting as if she'd had a stroke.  "No one deserves to be abused," she said.  

The sign was behind Tom's head, so he thought she was making it up.  It surprised him, because she hadn't been putting more than a couple of words together for a long time, and here she was, saying this lucid sentence.

He asked her if she had been abused.  She shook her head, no.

Then she repeated it.

"Why are you saying that?" he asked her.

She pointed to the wall behind him,   She had been reading!

Later they found out she was drunk.  She had drunk down a bottle of Robitussin for a bad cough.  Every time she coughed, she medicated herself.  No memory. 

 Ed said, "Grandma roboed."

I'm glad I stole it.