Wednesday, October 07, 2015

A Change In The Seasons...



...and all that goes with it.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Not Exactly A Vacation

Shadow of clouds on the dry California hills
Roger and I just spent two weeks on the road. We drove 350 miles (563 km) south to the family beach house in Capitola on September 20th expecting to be joined by my mother, sister, and nieces and nephews to celebrate my mother's 90th birthday on September 25. That did not happen. My sister ended up in the hospital for most of that week, so we drove another 340 miles south to stay with my mother to both celebrate her birthday and to take her for her third monoclonal antibody treatment for follicular lymphoma.

My mother lives in a one bedroom apartment with a tiny kitchen featuring a single electric burner stove and a microwave. The apartment is in an assisted living facility that has a nice restaurant for the residents (we call them inmates!), so not much cooking takes place in those small kitchens. We don't particularly like eating food that isn't organic or that we haven't prepared ourselves, so we have found ways to make fine meals on that one little burner. Of course, breakfast is easy. We travel with a toaster, cutting board, and frying pans. Dinners are a bit trickier. Luckily, there's a Trader Joe's within walking distance of my mother's apartment. We don't have to risk losing our very precious parking space to head out to the store for some of their frozen organic brown rice. We pop that little package into the microwave and within four minutes there's steaming bowl of rice. In one frying pan I can make stir-fries of various flavors. We love tofu and veggies with spicy peanut sauce. Yum. It's an interesting challenge to try and be inventive there, but we give it our best.
A screen grab of my eclipse photos from the camera
So, that's how we spent most of the eight days we were in southern California. We did celebrate my mom's 90th at a lovely restaurant with her grandchildren and their partners. My sister could not be there because she was still the hospital. We took my mother to a doctor's appointment to meet her new primary care physician. We also took her shopping and to visit my sister twice.

On the day before we headed back north to the beach house (and then home from there), I spent four hours at the chemotherapy lab with my mother while she had her infusion. The lab has nine reclining chairs for the patients. There are Registered Nurses, nursing assistants, and administrative staff in the room at all times. Each reclining chair has one of those devices next to it where bags of liquid medicine hang and drip into the veins of the patients. There is only the sound of beeping machines and muffled conversations. On the day we were in the lab all of the chairs were full, and eight of the nine patients were women. My mother was the oldest in the room. There was one woman who looked very close to death. I was surprised she was getting a treatment. One woman entered the lab looking like a well-coiffed and well-dressed business executive. She clicked in high heels all the way across the lab to the recliner next to my mother's. She sat down in the chair, took off those shoes, and put on slippers. Then she proceeded to take off her beautiful long-hair wig and revealed a head of sparsely grown-in hair. I enjoyed her presence very much. We had some light conversation, while her medicine dripped into a vein in her chest. Some of the people had friends or family with them. Most didn't. One woman slept during the process, wearing a beautiful cloth eye mask. One read on her kindle. I sat next to my mother the whole time. She read her book. I played on the computer. At one point I showed her the headline of that day: A  Mass Shooting At A College Campus in Oregon. We shook our heads.
My mother after the infusion
While I was in that lab I thought about how that scenario is repeated all over the country and the world day after day. There are places where people are doing all they can to live as long as they can, and there are medical staff to help them. There are places where madmen have guns and are intent upon ending the lives of strangers. There is desire and disaster, dreams and deadly dramas. Everyday. Everyday.

We are home. Weary, and very glad to be here.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

End Of September Photos

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sights From The Bay

Feeding frenzy on Tuesday afternoon
One of several Harbor Seals at the frenzy

An Agave flowering at the end of its life

Roger poses just to give you an idea of how big this flower is.
Sea otter eating something

Monday, September 21, 2015

Sea Otter and River Otter

We are on the road and quite weary from a long day of travel. Drove from Arcata to Capitola, a 350 mile (563 km) journey. We took a walk down to the wharf after dinner and watched some sea otters in the sunset waters. They reminded me that I hadn't posted any photos of the river otter we saw in early September at the marsh. So here are two otters for you, one sea and one river. Both very toothy indeed!

Sea otter eating something

River otter

We came to Capitola to celebrate my mother's 90th birthday this Friday. If all goes as planned, she and other family members will be driving up from southern California over the next few days. There will be more posts very soon and more pictures!