July 12, 2018

Tahoedad 2018, Post 1

We're 4 days in, now, but Tahoedad 2018 got off to a rolicking start.

Nose, the 22-year-old cat, had a seizure at the vet as mrguy was checking him in to board. We learned that he has hypertension, needs his subcutaneous fluid intake increased, and that he has anemia. Most of those are also problems mrguy's mom has, so that's a little trippy. Nose has many fans at the clinic, so everybody came running to see him and make sure he was ok as the doctor was treating him. The founder of the practice came by. "Is that Nose? He must be 23 by now!" Pretty close, doc! They think that he will recover.

A few minutes after I got the initial phone call about the cat, my sister-in-law called to say that his bro-liness is in the hospital. Blood clots in the lungs, but he has been treated, is out of the hospital and is supposed to join us tomorrow.

Then the mama's fave caregiver's sister died in New Zealand, so we're figuring out scheduling around that. Poo. So sorry for her. Of course it's remarkable that her sister passed away when the mama was on vacation and didn't need her.

Here we are at Day Four. The mama, the frenchman and D were playing gin rummy. I was in the kitchen making sandwiches for mrguy and I. He was upstairs busying himself with fancy book learning. D, who missed Bear Night last year, looks up from his hand and says "Bear!" Yup, the door to the porch was open and there was an adolescent bear on the porch, lumbering toward the dining room. Really, Dude? The boys closed the door to the porch and siblings shouted for the caretaker, who was away from the house. His friend apparently heard us and called him to let him know there was a bear on the property. The bear went down the hill the same way Brutus did last year, and the caretaker walked around with his rubber bullet-filled rifle. 


July 7, 2018

Tahoedad: Glorious 2018 Planning Edition

Family vacation begins soon, and I believe we may be happy to see one another after a really rough Spring. In the last few days I've figured out sleeping arrangements, made the schedule for cooking, kitchen cleanup and the mama's day concierge and night care, and now I just have to pack and shop. And pack for Mom. She and I are carpool buddies.

During our vacation the youngest nephew is having a birthday. I made several passes by the free table at work yesterday, and at the end of the day saw some funny stuff on the bottom shelf -- elements for a Star Wars-themed birthday. Not enough wookie and white guy masks for all of us, however, so I've asked one the other nephs to bring his British Royal Family masks. I think the birthday boy will appreciate it, and his girlfriend will either love it or run away and hide.


June 11, 2018

Sumoversary

This weekend a momentous life event passed un-remarked: my tenth sumoversary.

It started with the ladies' sumo weekend in LA in 2008. After that I really came to like sumo but, ironically, the friendship that brought me to it fell by the wayside. Since then have come a subscription to TV Japan, a viewing of sumo firsthand at the Kokugikan, celebration of Sumo Sunday for my 50th birthday, and a deep appreciation for sumo by mrguy (the best!). It's kinda lonely being American sumo fans, but there are always the message boards and, recently, the english language sumo blog Tachiai has come to the scene.

Ten years after the ladies' sumo weekend, almost all of the rikishi we saw that weekend have retired. However one of them, Tochinoshin, has just battled back from injury to achieve his highest rank to date, ozeki, and there are always new grapplers to meet and appreciate.

We'll see what the next basho holds.

June 10, 2018

Happy Things

The news has not been my friend this week. In the course of one day there was Tony Bourdain, changes in leadership in forkliftland and then I took dinner to a colleague recovering from cancer surgery. That last thing was the highlight of my week, I think.

So I'm going to combat the sadness with sharing happy things. Here is one example: pelargonium "Mr. Wren", originally from the garden of my oldest friend in the world that nice boy who knows who he is. I love Mr. Wren. He has cheerful little flowers and really satisfies. All he wants is water. I can see this planter box from the kitchen den, and it gives me so much pleasure.

Hats off to you, Mr. Wren!




May 27, 2018

Eggs

On this holiday weekend, I stopped by the store for some eggs. I've been craving them during the Whole Life Challenge, and wanted to make some deviled eggs for mrguy and for the mama, who was coming over for lunch today.
Man those eggs were good. Here I am happily sampling while doing Norwegian genealogy research. The big blue book is my trusty Norwegian dictionary, cause sometimes you know that Google Translate's words "Male's brother Unmarried Inner Snouts" probably actually meant something in the original Norwegian. In similar news, there is a newspaper whose name Google Chrome translates as "Eyelids". Best newspaper name ever.

 
In other egg news, we have a birth to announce. A few months ago we bought a security camera for the front door, mostly so I could see which breed of animal is eating my plants. Soon a nest appeared on top of it, and now we have a family of Black Phoebes hanging out at the front. When we open the door, they fly to the No Parking sign in the middle of the street, and then return to the nest when the coast is clear. Today when she was leaving the eagle-eyed mama saw a little shell on the ground. Sure enough, a little later we heard the sweetest tiniest peeping sounds coming from the nest. 

Our new birds have arrived!

Update: one week later there are three little fuzzy heads in the nest with their beaks wide open. We had the front yard and back slope groomed today, so there will be lots of bugs for mister and mrs phoebe to collect for the young ones. And our camera does audio, so we like to listen to them when we can. It's sweet beyond words.

Roots

The search for documents continues vis a vis Irish citizenship, and my interest level surges and then diminishes because finding documents and then obtaining them even when you have all of the information about how to get them is darned challenging.

The folks in Ireland couldn't find my grandfather's birth record, but I knew what it looked like in scanned versions on the Internet. So I called Ireland early one morning and guided them to the page and then the part of the page on which the record was to be found. Sure enough, the certified version arrived a few weeks later.

American records are proving much more difficult. Pop was born in the state of NY, and those guys are TOUGH with their records. Getting his birth record was going to be impossible, but I have his certified copy from the City of NY that he used to get a passport in 1970-something, and that's what I'm going to use.

My grandfather's death certificate was the toughie. A few years ago I looked, but didn't know the location of death. I remembered from conversations with my aunt many years ago that the "country place" as they called it, was situated at the crossroads of several municipalities. They paid partial taxes to each. I have spoken to or corresponded with each of the registrars. Some were allowed to answer questions, and some were not. Each had elaborate conditions I would need to fulfill in order to even ask for the death record.

Eventually I remembered that I had some contracts related to the sale or rental of the house. I looked in them and the house did not have an address. It was at this point that I was feeling overwhelmed and decided to hire someone with more experience than I to help me through the hard parts. At about that time I discovered two things: a) I might need a court order to obtain a death certificate and b) I found the NY death index and learned the death cert # and locality of death. Whew.

The intricacies of this whole project are pretty daunting. My grandparents were unmarried (to each other!), which for Irish records folks is unusual. And my grandfather often misstated his mother's first name (half of the children called her by one name in records and half of the children used another). And he lied about his age. So there will be extra documentation and affidavits to produce. None of this is cheap, either. But I want to prove that I can do it.

May 12, 2018

San Bernardino 2018, Part 4

We drove out to the desert for realsies this day. Mrguy's family had lived in Oro Grande and Hodge (when it was called Helendale or Cottonwood Station), and that's where we went. I'd never been to Route 66 before:


I bought some awesome lavender scented goat's milk soap in a store downtown. And while talking to the proprietor of the place where we bought it, she told us some local lore that helped us identify where some points of genealogical interest were located. And she told us where to find the town's unofficial mayor. 

Am I right in thinking that he came over from his place to downtown to meet us by means of golf cart? I think so.

We had a great time talking to him. He told us where Hotel Whitman had been (another relative of mrguy's was the proprietor). And he talked about the changes he'd seen over time, living in Oro Grande. The cement plant where the hotel proprietor also worked is still there. We stopped at the local pizza parlor where they display old timey photos of the town, and ordered some pie. Turns out that they make apple pie on pie dough. And it was a crazy pants idea but not half bad!


Then off to Hodge before the sun set. Past some houses that should be condemned but are surely occupied. There's a lot of this out there.
And finally to Hodge. Right near here is the property where mrguy's great grandfather lived.
Here it is in all its glory. I'm really happy we could stand on that ground and see where they lived. I just can't imagine how they were able to live out there, in those times.

The next day we drove up to Pasadena to see mrguy south. We stayed at a fancy hotel in a place very unlike this photograph and then visited the Sam Maloof house. So ends our trip to San Bernardino.

San Bernardino 2018, Part 3

We took a lot of photos while we were in San Bernardino.


We fell in love with Queens:



And from the archivists we learned that this strip club is also a dispensary, and that's why it's green. Almost all of our travels took us past Flesh Showgirls, sometimes three times a day:


 And mrguy really wanted a picture of Star Crab. It's a winner on so many levels:


So ends the signage tour of San Bernardino. Next, we go to the scene of the crime.

San Bernardino 2018, Part 2

San Bernardino was surprising to me. I had no preconceived notions, initially, until the review for the kitschy hotel where I wanted to stay said that homeless folks wander around the grounds and panhandle. That seemed less than inviting. We stayed at a hotel near the mall, instead.

San Bernardino is a dusty, downtrodden, and we saw a lot of people who looked like their lives were very hard. But we had great interactions with everybody we met. Surprisingly, we also found good food. Corporate or no, BJ's Restaurant and Brewpub was good enough for two meals:
And a place with very expensive poke (it's the desert, you know) was also a fave:

I just wanted to make sure that we had some protein to fuel the research. First stop was the county archives. The archivists were efficient and of good cheer. They showed us the original of the 1888 coroner's inquest. Most people interviewed said that mrguy's great grandfather deserved it. Wow.

After the archives we visited the local history collection at the library. It's staffed by dedicated volunteers. The kind of people who retire on Friday and return, unpaid, to the same desk on Monday. One of the volunteers, who works in the clipping collection, is 94. It was a convivial room full of helpers, so while mrguy shared stories, I buzzed around taking photos of biographical materials. We learned a lot. Great folks.

San Bernardino 2018, Part 1

After our big Germany trip last year we had thought that this would be a year to go to Ireland. But after some thought we decided that another big trip was too much, too soon. I  got really excited about the idea of going to San Bernardino instead. Just as good.

I can't recall when, but within the last year mrguy had a complete genealogy conversion. Since then, he and I have been digging into primary and secondary sources to try to figure out why and when his people had come to California, and what really happened with the mysterious great great grandfather who was killed by an unknown assailant.

Once mrguy was on the case, that ancestor could hide no longer. A cousin had found a newspaper clipping describing the circumstances of the killing, and it gave us an AKA for the ancestor that was also helpful. And right before we went to San Bernardino, we used plat maps of the ancestor's land along with Google Earth to find the location where the guy lived (and died).

In March we flew to San Bernardino and rented a car. As always, the trip started with Ka'au Crater Boys' "Tropical Hawaiian Day".

and then we made a beeline to Pioneer Cemetery. We knew from an uncle's previous research that mrguy's people were buried at Pioneer, but we struggled for days with locating them. Turns out that many homeless people live in the cemetery, but that if you say "Good morning" and "Excuse me" they don't mind your poking around looking for your people.

We eventually did find our people on Day 3, after going to the Park and Rec department. Note: if you are looking for burials in Pioneer Cemetery, you can go to Parks and Rec with your names, and they will look up their burial location and give you a map. You're welcome. We also spent time at Mt. View Cemetery, and found one of our rellies there as well.

April 29, 2018

What The Hell Is Going On?

Life just turns on a dime, sometimes. Or you think it does. My mom likes to call me up at random times and ask "What the hell is going on?"

I spent the early part of the month dealing with Mom's bronchitis and torn Achilles. Then the boot they prescribed for her Achilles threw her back into spasm. This resulted in more doctors' visits, X-rays, new medication. She's in pain all the time.

New drugs were prescribed for her. The nurses at Mom's community only work part of the day M-F, so I had to jump in the car last Friday, abandon work and pick up the new prescription, which turned out to be in danger of interacting with other drugs. Thanks, Doc! With me standing there waiting, we get the doctor on the phone, and I deliver the drugs to the nurse at home, who has stayed late so that Mom can start the drug before the weekend. I fill in the gaps where professionals should be.

On the caregiving front, I now have only two caregivers, and one of them likes to call in sick on Fridays. And to stir things up.

Mom's mental health is declining rapidly. All of the above was happening along with a backdrop of Mom calling me up three times a day to ask where my father is, and not liking the answer (i.e. super dead). And then badgering me for my not telling her and then badgering me for not telling her the other two times in a way that she would remember. She has other delusions that are more amusing, like the day she called me and started ragging on me by name, thinking I was a different daughter. I laughed and tried to convince her that the person she was talking to was the person she was complaining about. OH. EM. GEE.

Readers of mrsguy, I would like to apologize for the amount of commentary about the sweet mama. If you wonder why you don't hear from me more or why this is all I talk about, here's why. It's my full time job. My next act as daughter is to convince my siblings that Mom needs memory care. And that I need memory care for her so that I can be a human being with my own happiness and purpose in life.

April 8, 2018

Springin' In 2018

This is my third weekend in a row off from mama duty. Middlesis came in from Minnesota to see the mama's precipitous cognitive decline in person, and to take her to see her primary and get him to put her back on one of her drugs. All of those things happened. Slightly fewer texts needed tending to, and I am very grateful for the respite.

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, there was a break in the rain. Don't get me wrong -- I have been full of joy about rain, and its ability to dissolve rabbit pellets into fertilizer for my plants. But the sun after the rain has left things gorgeous and me a bit giddy. Every year I say I'm going to pull over and take a picture of this house down the street that has a stupendous amount of iceplant in the front yard. Yesterday I did it:

And then I found that the orchid in the front yard has 7 spikes on it so I brought some in for us to enjoy and for mrguy to take to his ailing mama tomorrow:

And the things that I thought were going to be Naked Ladies turned out to be some sort of bluebell, and they're making an impression under the Echium, which is also blooming:

A little less exciting the the casual observer is my cactus collection in the breezeway. I gave Grandpa a haircut two weeks ago, in hopes of plumping him up over time:

Over the past few years I have been able to plump up the half dead cactus I rescued from Max and Bernice's estate sale years ago. Looking juicy!
Continuing the cactus report, my Easter Cactus, above, is starting to put out little buds that will eventually be fluffy magenta flowers. This is the cactus that was most in need of love five years ago when I first got it. And the one that's the most satisfying.

And wrapping it all up is the best news of all -- we have the beginnings of a single lime on our tree. When we moved here in 2013 our lime bush was a very tiny thing, and about a foot and half tall. Every time it started to produce a lime, The Cloven One came to eat it. My decorative Thompson's Gazelles did nothing to dissuade the deer. Finally mrguy surrounded the bush with chicken wire, and it is now seven feet tall. Mr Yuki pruned it into a single trunk, and now it's finally producing flowers  that are higher than deer-level. That's the key around here. The lemon tree has about 100 lemons on it, because it's taller than a deer. I've learned to love using lime leaf in recipes, but this year I'm hoping for a lime we can call our own.

March 24, 2018

I Take It Back

And I'm beat. After three sleepovers, an ER visit, two doctors' visits and 3 falls (Mom's, not mine) I was ready for some help.

My brother and his wife have taken pity on me and are coming down for two weekends as we figure out how to staff permanent nighttime caregiving. They are truly some of God's good people.

So today I did fun stuff. Got back into my quest for Irish citizenship, pruned some bushes and acquired a new skill: separating rabbit pellets from hay. It's all in the wrist, really. Then I stuffed rabbit poop into some old socks, turning them into rabbit manure tea bags. They are currently soaking in a bucket, making me rabbit manure tea to fertilize my plants with. Yay!

You know I really undersold the rabbit store experience in my previous post. It was...surreal. The rabbit store we went to is run by folks who have a repeating ad on Craigslist that features a Natalie Dee cartoon. Because of this, I expected the Rabbit People to be of good cheer. But that would not be the case. 

Last Saturday, when we got to Rabbit People, Mrguy and I were on a high because we'd just finished scoring our second brick of Amul water buffalo and cow's milk butter at the Himalayan market. So we go next door to Rabbit People, whose ad says that they have large bags of rabbit cage sweepings on the sidewalk, free for the taking. They don't, so we walk inside to ask. The place is a small and very dark warehouse. On the left side as you walk in is some random stuff that is either for sale or the Rabbit People live on that side of the room. Hard to tell. On the right is some strange scene where a bunch of people are under a task lamp, examining a rabbit that's on its back in someone's lap. The people are intently trimming the rabbit's claws or performing a Satanic ritual. Again, hard to tell. The very normal looking girl (there's always one, right?) asks us if she can help us. We want to have our gaze directed away from the activity on the right because when we walked in it felt like everything in that place stopped. Like the time that a group of us went to a place called the Church of the Mother Goddess because one of our friends wanted to find a place where she could worship a female deity (hey, it was 1980). And I tagged along. And they told us that their service would be starting in a little while and we could wait in the room with the altar and all the disturbing art (OK, that's not what they told us but what actually happened) and they kept checking in on us and fervently wishing for us to go away, which we eventually did.

It was just. like. that. So I use my friendliest voice to let her know that I'd like to acquire some rabbit poop. She tells us we can take as much as we want, so we do. And we leave. Whew. We have a big old bag full of Satanic ritual rabbit manure and I hope it doesn't kill me or the plants.


March 17, 2018

Mama's World

I will always treasure these last few years with my mom, but there are days when you just want some time to yourself. Like most of this week!

Bigsis came down earlier this week to attend a doctor appointment with the mama. The doctor ended up sending them to the ER. So I left work, met them there and spent 6.5 hours with my people and a bunch of other people. The downside is that I wish the mama were in better health and the upside is that there's always some sort of crazy stuff at the ER you wouldn't get to see otherwise.

Like our friend! In the waiting room he and his buddy were talking, and because there are zero secrets in the ER, we were listening to: "Yeah. I just hope it's not HIV. I know people live with it now, but that's just what I'm hoping." Later on, the same guy was sharing a room with us. Trump had just fired Rex Tillerson via tweet, and we were telling this to Mom while waiting for test results. I was cracking wise about it and I could hear that the guy on the other side of the curtain got every one of my jokes and wasn't a Trump supporter. I ventured over to his side and showed off my Obama tribute tattoo, and had some pleasure in telling him loudly that my mom doesn't know about it.

After an hour or so he got his diagnosis (Hep C) and then two things happened: an overwhelming aroma of McDonalds filled our room, and he used the "Phone A Friend" option. "Yeah. They stuck a big f-ing Q-tip up my nose, almost all the way to my brain." "It's Hep C." "Yeah, I use 'em sometimes." "Nah, I don't do THAT!" I guess he was learning the possible ways in which his situation could have arisen.

Yesterday I spent some time with Mom and her caregiver at her followup appointment. She likes the doctor, so she's really relaxed in the waiting room (i.e. sleeping while fiddling with a Ricola wrapper) in this photo. Then I dashed back to work and put some extra time to make up for it. But yay! It's Friday.

This morning I woke up all excited because a) no work and b) no mama. These beauties were sleeping on the bed when I woke up:

Then mrguy and I drank coffee in our jammies and did genealogy research. Then we went to the place we call Food Of Gold to buy chicken, then the Indian grocery for other ingredients for an Instant Pot chicken biryani, then Himalayan grocery because we've always wanted to go there, and then the rabbit store, because it's next to the Himalayan store and they have free manure. Then just one more grocery for some regular stuff, and then home.

Two different places on our route had my favorite butter, the butter that all the stores have been out of since Christmas.
So finding the butter in two places is the clearest indicator that this was my day. We did more sleuthing, mrguy made the biryani, I made chili for Sunday lunch with the mama and then the phone rings. Boo! Mom's bitten it at her apartment and they're sending the ambulance. But I talk to the paramedics after a while and they're sure it's all cool (aside from one of those nasty scrapes that only old people can get).

And that's why I'm here sleeping in my mom's guest bedroom tonight. I wanted to come tuck her in and make sure she was ok. I regret being snatched from my cozy nest, and I could easily feel disgruntled, but when I come through the door and see my beautiful, delicious, exasperating, hilarious mama, that all goes away.

Night, mom!

March 1, 2018

Pearl Harbor Plate

It's not really about Pearl Harbor, it's about the plate.

This plate is the worst kind of manipulative, jingoistic claptrap -- sold to whip up people's emotions. The Japanese war planes, the flag, the crying mother sending her son off to war, the little kid who's proud of the big brother he'll never see again, and FDR. Dad looks like Bing Crosby. I love this plate. It's so over the top.

Nobody wanted this thing when I found it on the free pile. It was even refused by a person who came to my office looking for a white elephant gift. But now I eat my lunch on it and it makes me really happy.

I hope that the rare and possibly toxic pigments which I am now eating will not do me in.



I hand wash this sucker.

February 18, 2018

Bayorr Update

A few Mondays ago I had settled in for a long winter's nap (really, a night of CNN and Vanderpump Rules). 

The phone rang. It's my "sister from another mister". Our moms were life-long best friends.

"Turn on The Bachelor," she says.


I tune in just in time to see the ladies of this season sitting around the living room in our vacation house. They were sitting on the weird wood burl coffee table where my Cheez-it and Jelly Belly bowls reside for one hallowed week every summer.

Hilarious. 

One of those girls sat in the bear poop chair. I saw it.


How 'bout that?!

February 11, 2018

Oh Flu. You Will Not Have Me.

2/05: That is the bold title I gave a post two days ago, when I thought I was winning this game. Then I went back to sleep.

2/06: Today it's more like "Flu, I'm yours. Do what you will."

2/07: Today it's more like "WTF, Flu? Don't you have anything better to do?"

2/11: Today I'm just going to lay very still and hope that health happens

No really. This flu is no joke. I've been down for 11 days. I left the nest for a few hours yesterday to give a presentation. Other than that I've been holed up in the house.

The only time I let this flu get to me was when the mama needed help and I couldn't give it to her. Her weekend caregiver gave us 4 days' notice, and my sibs have had to fill in because mom couldn't be by herself and I'm too sick to go over there. I'm so used to being able to fill in all the gaps myself. When I realized I needed help myself, I quoted one of my favorite Onion articles and cried. 

Thank goodness for family.








February 3, 2018

Flu Season 2018

I overdid it for the past few months and now I have mrguy's flu.

Texas, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, mama's birthday weekend, family birthday for her 90th...

Coincidentally I started The Whole Life Challenge on the mama's birthday -- six weeks of fairly strict nutrition, hydration, exercise, sleep, mindfulness and reflection. Since that day I have not had wheat, sugar (except in my coffee), cheese (except a mistake over two days that I docked myself for).

On Tuesday night the mama's cough was super nasty. I slept over there (setting the alarm to wake me every hour and check on her). In the morning I arranged for a dr. visit and antibiotics. By the end of the day my own health crashed. 

Oh. Well.

I have felt worse, but I am crossing my fingers that one more day in bed will be enough for me to be ready for work Monday. I have gotten off of my sofa-of-woe dutifully for the past two days to mount the stairs behind my house *very slowly* and do my Whole Life Challenge exercise. The only positive to this situation is that the antihistamines I'm taking are also a diuretic that is removing the bloat from WLC's required water intake.

Ah, health.

I had a flu shot. So did the mama.




January 27, 2018

Salt

The other day on the way home from work I went to do my usual opposition research (looking for Hannity on the radio dial) and he was nowhere to be found. In his place was one of those financial shows that are really just long paid advertisements. But within the show it also had advertisements. 

For salt. Ever heard an ad for salt? Me neither.

Turns out that salt has a lobby. And it wants old people to know that if you don't eat enough salt you could have health problems.

And it has a mascot, Old Salty, who you can follow on Facebook.

You're welcome.

January 21, 2018

90

Yesterday was an amazing day -- the mama's 90th birthday. Middlesis arranged for a party, which was lovely. Because her birthday falls on Inauguration Day, and the Women's March was happening across the street from the restaurant, all manner of things occurred. Nonetheless, it was super.
I picked up the cake from the bakery, which was across the street from where the mama and I get our hair cut. I popped into the salon to say hi to our stylist friend, gathered a hug for the mama.

Mom was surprisingly together, and middlesis had put out the mama's outfit for the day. We started getting calls at the apartment that the flowers couldn't be delivered to the restaurant because of the protests. And from my sister saying that an hour later she hadn't been able to get close but that we should drive right up to the cops and tell them our predicament when we were on our way.

The flowers were in the lobby as we (the mama, the bro-in-law and I) left, and we picked them up and took them outside with us. I soon got the opportunity to meet the building maintenance manager after I pulled away from the curb with the flowers on the roof of my car. Oh well. He took care of the glass, and we brought the flowers with us. Plus I got to see the maintenance room, which is completely awesome looking. I should break things more often!

The frenchman is much better with directions than most other non-drivers. He got us where we needed to go, and we drove up to a cop at a roadblock with smiles on our faces. We told him that we were headed to the restaurant with our 90-year-old mom for her birthday. "I heard about you!! Happy birthday!!" he said, and sent us on our way. At another roadblock closer to the action / the restaurant, ladies in pink waving banners and motioning helpfully for us to turn around, and we met our next policeman. Let me just say that if you have a 90-year-old and a big-ass bouquet of flowers in the car with you (and a frenchman) people will let you do practically anything. The policeman told us to move along with caution. Mom kept cracking jokes about how all of this (the protests) was being done in honor of her birthday.

At the restaurant we had a room to ourselves, a dedicated waiter, a monitor for the photo slide show I'd spent all evening making on Friday, and almost all of the people the mama would want to see. Bro is currently in bed, recovering from a hip replacement. This time last year we weren't sure if he was going to live, so the fact that his insurance company would invest in a new hip is pretty darned amazing.

After the party the mama was so pooped that she could barely move. I got her back home and started to get her into her jammies. His broliness called at that moment and I didn't want her to miss that call but also knew that she might fall asleep soon, so I didn't stop undressing her. She was on the phone laughing while I took off her clothes and describing the whole situation in minute detail to the bro.

On the way out of the mama's building, I saw one of the Wellness staff all dressed up in fancy garb reflecting her heritage. It was what I imagine is a North African dress -- she was wrapped in creamy loose-woven material with pretty red and gold trim, and carrying a fancy gold handbag. Since I saw her in purple scrubs in the morning, I barely recognized her. She was heading to the wedding of another Wellness nurse, being chauffered by yet a third wellness nurse (the sweet guy with the fancy car he likes to show off). That little scene in the lobby was the capper to the day -- a community of really nice people who care for each other *and* for my mother. I headed home, did all of my exercises, mindfulness, water drinking for my Whole Life Challenge, ate some quinoa and went to bed. 18 hours later I'm still in my jammies.

Germany 2017 Post 18

Time to head back home. We drove to Leipzig. Took the train to an airport hotel in Frankfurt and stayed overnight. I protested this sign by having a weird and tasty veggie burger:
And then, as mrguy says, hijinks ensued. The next day's plan was to fly from Frankfurt to Charles de Gaulle and from there back home. Then the time of our connecting flight was moved up. The connection had already been tight, but it was going to be a miracle if we made it. Once we got to CDG we were literally running on their long walking sidewalks. And our knees and feet were really failing us at this point. Folks at the airport were completely blase and unhelpful. We were at a TSA checkpoint with our boarding passes in our hands and the flight crew paging us overhead and nobody lifted a finger. We got to the gate, huffing and puffing, pointing at our boarding passes. Our plane was on the ground in front of us, but they'd already closed the door. Boo!

This was sad, but we rolled with it. Thus begins the side trip I call "Inadvertent France". The people at United were super nice, and set us up on the same flight the next day. We stayed at an airport hotel 3 Metro stops away from the airport. 
The people at the hotel were also unbelievably nice. They gave us Easter chocolates and comfort. And the food in Inadvertent France made me feel like I might be in Regular France, but I don't know any better.
 
Inadvertent France also afforded me a new stamp in my passport and that alone went a long way toward making it worthwhile. The next day, same time as before, we were on our way.
So ends Germany 2017. Man that was an awesome trip.

Germany 2017 Post 17

It turns out that Easter Monday is a thing. So much so that they just shut stuff down and we couldn't really drive to Poland, which is 20 minutes away from where we were staying. But who needs passable roads when it's Easter Monday? You people should be home with your family. 

I was really looking forward to Poland. Instead, we visited the Schminke Haus in Lobau.
Although the descriptions on the property refer to it as "one of the four most important residences of the modernist movement worldwide", we'd not heard of it.



And it is super cool. I loved the built-ins in the kitchen.

You can rent this place for a night, which would be pretty interesting, I think:

Since the time when we visited, they began filming a music series on site. If you want to see Conchita sing the catalog of Cher, please follow this link.

Having been blocked from seeing Poland, we agreed that going back to the shack and hanging out was the perfect thing to do.

When we returned, the weather turned gorgeous, the apple trees were blossoming, the skylights filled our apartment with sun.

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