Today in My History
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The Philosophy of Juice & Crackers
9 November 2014
By George, I think she's got it!
Yesterday was so bad, I was afraid my mother was going to have a nervous breakdown over my leaving to go to Iowa. She called at 6 p.m. but my phone had been turned off and I didn't realize it for about an hour. When I called her back, she didn't remember calling.
We went off to the theater and she called at 10, during the show, so I didn't realize she called until we got home. I called her this morning and she said she didn't remember calling and didn't know why she'd called. I told her I would be bringing her laundry to her in about half an hour and she remembered that she had called about laundry. She was out of underwear and didn't know where I had put it. I told her I had it at home. She kept saying "I knew you'd folded it and put it away, but I couldn't find it."
A couple of hours later she called, again in a panic, saying that she had not received any mail since she'd moved to Atria and that she remembered I had told her Walt would let her know where her mail is. Lord knows where she got that, but probably she confused mail with laundry.
Walt went with me to Atria and I'm so glad that he did because she was immediately the sparkly Mildred and we had a nice visit. She started in on the petulance about my going to Iowa and when I started to talk to her about that, she said she was just kidding. Not really, but that ended the complaining.
I had printed and brought her a lovely photo of Peach (Photo of the Day), which she had posted to Facebook this morning. I am assuming this is her "before chemo" picture, since we are going to start a blog, recording the chemo treatments while I am there. I handed the picture to her and she looked at it and asked "who's this?" Even when I told her it was Peach, she couldn't see Peach in the photo...though later she did.
But Walt and I left Atria with smiles and laughter and I can get on the plane without guilt that I am leaving a depressed mother who is so upset she might actually die. I could not have said that yesterday.
With my mother-fears quelled, now I can worry about the dogs. Suddenly everybody is being weird. Sheila started a few weeks ago, not eating unless I was sitting in front of her saying "go eat." This morning Lizzie, the garbage can whose whole life is food, didn't even move from the living room when I started fixing the dogs' breakfast. She's the one who leaps continually on me because she just can't stand it waiting for the food. Her breakfast was still sitting in her bowl at dinner time (minus the cottage cheese, which Polly had eaten. I think Polly is living on cottage cheese right now).
As for Polly, she still gets trembling fits for no discernable reason, as of about a week ago It may be the cold, and I have sweaters for her but I haven't tried them yet. It's just ... weird.
But on the positive side, Walt got his Skype up and running and we sat at opposite ends of the kitchen table Skyping with each other tonight, so he can go to Atria and he and my mother can have Skype chats with us, I hope. I even got Skype up and running on my iPhone. Since at this point I have exactly three people with whom I can Skype (Walt, Char's daughter Jenny, and my friend Sian, in Scotland. Oh. And Tom too, I think), I won't be using Skype all that much, but I hope it will help my mother while I'm away.
The last thing I had to do before leaving California was to review the incomparable Janis Stevens in a brand new one-woman show, written for her, called Kate: The Unexamined Life of Katharine Hepburn.
I could easily have asked my colleague to review it for me, since I knew he was going to be going to it too, and since I would have to write the review before going to sleep, because of my early flight. But I've been waiting to see this show for months, once I knew it was being written. Janis has previously done one women shows about Vivien Leigh (which went to New York and won awards), about Maria Callas, and about Joan Didion, each one outstanding.
It did not disappoint. My God what a privilege it was to be there at the first performance of this show. Janis Stevens is remarkable and my favorite parts were when she engaged the audience so completely that you could almost hear the silence.
In the play, Katharine is 92 years old and I swear the playwright had a tape recorder going in my mother's apartment when looking for inspiration. When Katharine started railing against the indignities of getting old I turned to Walt and said "I think I've heard this part before" !
After the show there was a birthday cake for Janis (whose birthday is today), and for Katharine Hepburn (who listed her birthday for many years as November 8, the birthday of her brother, who committed suicide). When I saw Janis visiting with Mitch Agruss, who had the original idea for playwright Rick Foster to write this show for Janis, and I saw that nobody had a camera, I had to take a picture for posterity.
On the drive home I was kicking myself for my dementia moment. For the life of me I could not remember what Katharine called that force inside her that pushed her forward to do things. I think it started with a "c" and she said it so often I never dreamed I would forget it (in fact, remembered it in the lobby, lost it outside). Walt had a hard time staying awake and he doesn't remember her using the term.
I sent off a quick HELP message to my colleague, who never forgets anything, but he can't remember either, so I will have to find a work-around. Must finish the review tonight, finish packing tonight, and be ready to leave for the airport at the crack of dawn. Not sure when I will be set up to write tomorrow's entry.
Oh. And when we returned home, we were greeted with Lizzie
barf. And she refused the treat that she loves so much.
Photo of the Day
I think this is Peach's "before chemo" photo
love it if you'd leave a comment!
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