Sunday, July 23, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 07/22/17: Show Preparations, Reunion with Jane Hansen, Elation at the WOW Hall

1. Coffee and bagel at Theo's. Dropped off the Deke at the spa. Took a nostalgic automobile tour of Eugene. Picked up the Deke and we went to the Falling Sky deli and split a glorious Beef Brisket Pastrami sandwich, Reubenized. A quick trip to Fred Meyer and back to the condo for a nap -- all this in preparation for tonight's Babes with Axes show.

2. I met Jane Hansen, whom I have known since our days at North Idaho College back in 1972-74, at her room down at the Inn at Fifth Street and we started to get caught up before strolling over to Pure for a bento box and a variety of fresh, tasty sushi. Jane and I had so much to talk about and continued our conversation as we walked to the WOW Hall to experience tonight's Babes with Axes show.

3. The Babes of Axes show enthralled the joyful crowd at the WOW Hall. I was in a state of ecstasy throughout the show, not only savoring the Babes with Axes' splendid writing, stunning versatility, tight and gorgeous harmonies, and invigorating musicianship, but also letting their songs transport me to memories of performances I loved in the past, beginning with having been at their first concert in late 1993, nearly four years before the Deke and I started spending time together and married each other. I remembered being many times at the WOW Hall -- they performed an especially memorable show about a month into my recovery from bacterial meningitis in 1999. I remembered the April 15th, 1998 Babes with Taxes show at Sam Bond's; I time traveled to the Wild Duck, the Willamette Folk Festival, a park in NW Portland, Petersen Barn, Westmoreland Park, the Rainy Day Cafe, the Corvallis Folk Festival and elsewhere.

Over the years, their songs have taken residence somewhere deep inside me. They hibernate. On nights like tonight those songs and the feelings and memories associated with them awaken.  I move into a realm of joy where I feel everything more deeply, a realm unique to hearing the Babes with Axes perform.

The experience I had at this show within myself was deepened by experiencing the collective joy in the WOW Hall.  It's nearly spiritual the way the Babes with Axes bring so much happiness to a room -- as the hall emptied, not only were people beaming, they were embracing one another, gathering in knots of excitement, relishing tonight's show.

Jane Hansen and I walked back to Fifth Street together and had a quiet drink at Le Bar.

I strolled though the swell of revelers partying on Broadway in downtown Eugene. They were throbbing with ecstasy and desire in a world of booze and drugs and loud music in a sphere quite apart from the vitality I was experiencing having spent time with Jane and having spent the evening elated by tonight's Babes with Axes show.

And, then, back at the condo, Molly had arrived and Patrick was there. Thanks to a flight cancellation earlier in the day, Molly missed the show, a huge disappointment, but her dismay seemed offset by being back in Eugene with her brother and parents, anticipating a few days of vacation hanging out and seeing some great friends back in her hometown.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 07/21/17: Shopping for the Show, Listen to the Babes with Axes (LINKS!), Winding Down

Babes with Axes KRVM interview: here 

Babes with Axes July 22nd show live-streaming, starting at 7:50 for the 8:00 show: here

1. I ran errands this morning for the Babes with Axes. Since what I purchased is all pretty much a part of the Babes with Axes' longstanding commitment to having a contest and giving out prizes, I won't reveal any details of what I was shopping for.

2. When I was done shopping, I stopped in at Falling Sky's brewery and eatery just off E. 13th Avenue in the Oak Alley and enjoyed a salad and a bowl of cream of mushroom soup and a pint of their Another IPA.

I walked back to the condo we are renting this week to rest and at 4:30, I tuned into KRVM-FM for the radio interview with the Babes with Axes. Tears flowed as I listened to them perform on the radio as I was transported back to the Deke's and my early days together and how central the Deke's music, the Babes with Axes' music, and their many performances were to life back then.

If you'd like to listen to the interview and hear "Blackberry Vine", "Shades of Gray", and "Steal My Key", click here and click on the play icon.

On Saturday, July 22nd, at 8:00 p.m., if you are unable to be at WOW Hall for the Babes with Axes show, the plan is to live-stream it. That means you can go here at watch and listen.  Here is what TR Kelley says on her Facebook page:

 "The Babes with Axes WOW Hall show will be live-streamed on TR Kelley's page starting at 7:50 Pacific Time. It will be set to public, do not have to friend TR to see the show."

3.  The Deke and I returned to Cornucopia after some time in Laura's back yard winding down with the band. We grabbed a table outside out back and enjoyed the refreshing cool air and I enjoyed talking with the Deke and sipping some Whippersnapper whiskey.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 07/20/17: Linda at Turtles, Surprises at 16 Tons, Bliss at Billy Mac's and Cornucopia

1. We could have sat at Turtles and talked with each other all day. Linda and I had a great time discussing our families, golfing, life at LCC, and the past year and the year that lies ahead for all the Oregon Ducks squads we care about.  Well, we didn't talk all day. We got in a good ninety minutes, though, and it was really fun.

2. Later, I headed over to 16 Tons, wondering if the guys I used to drink beers with at 3:00 on Thursday were getting together today. They weren't. I drank a couple 4 oz. pours of Worthy Brewing's Imperial IPA and pondered a little bit on the meaning of life and, as I got ready to settle my bill, Jay and Sherri were at the counter.  I ordered another 4 ouncer and returned to my table with Jay and Sherri and we had a good time talking until I left to go to Billy Mac's.

3. Billy Mac's was awesome: Kathleen, Lynn, Pam, Michael, the Deke, and I sat at a table together and enjoyed superb conversation about everything from family challenges to life in Washington, D. C. and many things in between. I loved ordering the Thursday night special, ahi tacos with five buck margaritas.  I didn't want the evening to end. We'll see Lynn and Pam and Michael again on Saturday at the Babes with Axes show -- Kathleen will be flying to England and Ireland. I swear, if I had a ton of money stacked up in my life, I'd fly from Baltimore to Eugene a couple times a month just to return to being a part of the Billy Mac's Thursday evening get together. I love it. I miss it.

The Deke and I also miss our third spot where we put everything on the table and worked to figure out our lives back in 2013-14: Cornucopia on 17th and Lincoln. It was the Deke's go to spot for some afternoon solitude and grading papers. It was her go to spot for getting together for a glass of wine and some gabbing with her teaching partner -- and other fellow teachers. It was where the Deke and I often went to talk.

So, after Billy Mac's, we dropped in and Debbie ordered her usual, a glass of boxed red wine, and I ordered some Whippersnapper whiskey and we not only enjoyed our time with each other, but we got to have some great conversation with Star Kelley who has worked at Cornucopia for many years and whom we have known since she was a youngster and used to hang out at our house. We had a superb visit, talking a lot about dogs we've cared for recently who were not our own. We also were heartily greeted by the floor manager, Cam, who was always great to us at Cornucopia and was enthused to see us back again.

It was a splendid party.

Sidebar: my cup was really running over this evening. Kellogg High School Class of '72 member and my friend since boyhood, Terry Turner, was in town. He was down in the Whiteaker neighborhood, sampling cider and distilled beverages at a couple of places, but, by the time I was done at Billy Mac's and Cornucopia, Terry was back to his daughter's home, helping his grandchildren get ready for bed and fulfilling other grandfatherly duties.

It was good to know he was around, though, and that with a little good luck we might have thrown back a flight of whiskey or something together -- but it wasn't in the cards, most understandably.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 07/19/17: Lunch with Dan, Lane County Fair, Belgian Beers

1. After the Deke did some shopping at Old Navy and the two of us picked up a few things at Trader Joe's, and after I dropped the Deke off at Laura's for another day of practice, I met Dan Armstrong for lunch at Ta Ra Rin. We are both dealing with members of our family being seriously ill and discussed the heartache of loss we have experienced and the loss that inevitably lies ahead. We talked about other things, too, and closed out our time together with a great discussion of the movie, The Conversation. I had remembered correctly that this is one of Dan's favorite of all movies and it was great fun to gush together about how much we both love Gene Hackman's performance and the masterful making of the movie.

2. In the afternoon, Russell and I resumed our tradition of going on photo walks together by going to the Lane County Fair and walking around in the midway, watching the pig races, and checking out the photography exhibits.  I hadn't been to the Lane County Fair for about thirty years and it was fun to see people enjoying the rides and playing the different games and having a chance to talk about stuff with Russell.

3. The Troxstar and I strolled from downtown to the Bier Stein where we joined Carolyn, Rick, Shane, Loren, and, for a while, Bingham for a Belgian beatdown/blowout. It was great fun yakkin' with everyone and buying tall bottles of Belgian beer to share together and rave about how good it all tasted. It turned out to be a great evening for walking home, too.  The contrast between these cool evenings in Eugene and the humid evenings in Maryland is remarkable -- this July weather in Eugene is a comfort, a great relief.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 07/18/17: Breakfast with Rita, Coffee with Kathryn, Dinner at the Pendletons'

1.  This morning I roared in Mom's Malibu south on I-5 to Creswell where Rita and I each ate a hearty breakfast sandwich at the Creswell Bakery. We talked about all kinds of things and looked at passages from Aldous Huxley's Perennial Philosophy and returned to Rita's house and sat on the porch and talked some more. Rita and I first started team teaching together in 1993. It's remarkable to ponder that that was almost twenty-five years ago and looking at Huxley's book brought back memories of many of the ideas we explored while teaching ethics, epistemology, and metaphysics, along with composition, together, opening, yes, our students' minds to many different worlds of new ideas, but each of ours, too.

Coincidentally, when I got back to our Eugene rental later in the day, a former student of ours from 1993-94 posted, on Facebook, a request for material assistance as she hosts her granddaughter. I thought back to all the writing this student did for Rita and me and all she's experienced over the years and how fortunate her teenage granddaughter is to have such a generous advocate helping her out this summer.

2.  Upon returning to Eugene, I met Kathryn for coffee downtown at Full City and we talked about all kinds of things, including the challenges of helping care for an ailing mother, cooking, mutual friends involved with the Saturday breakfast at St. Mary's, writing, and a host of other topics.

3.  The Deke and I spent the evening at the Pendletons' with Herb and Francoise and Miles and Bryce. Miles and Bryce were both the Deke's students at Charlemagne -- in fact, Miles was in the first class the Deke taught at that school and now he has graduated from high school and is off to the University of Miami in Florida. Another of the Deke's students, Joey, was also at the Pendleton's and so was Martha, the Deke's first principal at Charlemagne. It was a lively evening of cocktails, great food, and many, many stories and lots of laughter.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 07/17/17: Mom Update, Sweet Creek, Bier Stein, 16 Tons with the Band

Before I write a bit about my day in Eugene, I have good news from back in Kellogg.  Today Mom was moved into a private room at Kindred. It will give her more space to live among things from her home, a quieter room to rest in, and more room for family and friends when we visit. This change came as a surprise to all of us, a most welcome surprise.

1. I had a wide open day today so I packed up my camera and drove to Sweet Creek Falls, one of my very favorite spots anywhere. It couldn't have been more perfect weather for a hike: warm, with frequent cool breezes and the trail at Sweet Creek is comfortably shaded. I will look at and edit my pictures when I get back to Kellogg, but I had the time of my life taking all black and white shots, primarily playing with all the light and shadow contrasts available every step of the way.

2. Upon returning to Eugene, I realized I'd hardly eaten a thing all day. I went to the Bier Stein and had a snifter of Block 15's Sticky Hands Imperial IPA and a half a Reuben sandwich -- which was just right. When I lived in Eugene, I loved going to the Bier Stein in the afternoons. It's much quieter than in the evening and there are always empty seats at the horseshoe bar and that's where I enjoy sitting. Today was perfect.  For dessert, I ordered 4 oz. of Epic's Big Bad Baptist, a whiskey barrel-aged Imperial Stout made with coffee and cocoa nibs. It was a perfect topper to a relaxing session at the horseshoe bar back at the Bier Stein.

3. The Deke practiced all day with the Babes with Axes and, as I was getting ready to leave the Bier Stein, a text message flew into my phone asking me to make a beer run for the band.


I stopped at the New Frontier Market and bought the band a sixer of 8 Ball Stout and one of Torpedo and delivered it to Laura's house where I found the band in good spirits and ready for a break.

Later on, I knew the Deke and Katie were going to go to 16 Tons eventually, so I started to walk there and as I was hoofing it down West Broadway, there, seated at a table on the sidewalk outside Ambrosia, was Barbara Breaden, a good friend I taught with at LCC for about twenty-five years. Barbara is also retired and she told me about the invigorating ways she has spent her retirement -- tutoring, taking Spanish classes, among other things. It was a thrilling surprise to see Barbara and to see her looking terrific and learning she is living such a good life.

It turned out the band was at 16 Tons and I joined them at their table, ate a couple of La Perla pieces of pizza, enjoyed a can of pilsner beer and couple 4 oz pours of sour ales from Logsdon and before long the Deke and I walked back to our rental, stopping off along the way at the quiet and airy Wandering Lamb for a Marker's Mark on the rocks.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 07/16/17: Liturgy and Hammerhead Ale, Seeing Jane King, The Babes at High Street

1. After I took a stroll to the Starbucks on 7th near the Washington/Jefferson interchange and returned with coffee for the Deke, she and I walked toward St. Marys Episcopal Church. The Deke didn't join me for worship, but I was very happy to walk into the church and immediately see a host of people I've known for years and have some time to chat. Once situated in a pew, the Troxstar joined me. Some mornings I experience the liturgy and the Eucharist as an old, familiar duvet of comfort and lose myself in the folds of prayers, Scripture readings, the sermon, hymns, and the words of Eucharist.  Today was one of those mornings.

After the service, the Troxstar and I found the Deke at Vero Espresso House across the street and we moseyed over to the High Street Pub a couple of blocks away. For me, going to High Street was a return to the source, the place where I was introduced to locally microbrewed beers about twenty-one years ago. I ordered a Hammerhead, put it to my nose and let the memories rush in: suddenly I was seated inside the pub, drinking a Hammerhead, listening to the Who's album Live at Leeds,  at about 10:30 p.m., having hopped off the LTD bus after another Wednesday night of teaching Shakespeare at LCC; I was at Edgefield, marveling at the paintings, wandering the halls of the hotel, and, later, sitting on a comfortable chair on one of the huge porches, sipping a Hammerhead; I was in NW Portland, at the Blue Moon, on Father's Day, 2011, watching Rory McIlroy win the U. S. Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, near where I live now; I was in Rita's living room, drinking Hammerhead from a bottle; I was at the High Street bar, relaxing with a Hammerhead and a side of fries after a Friday night run through of another Shakespeare Showcase.

I had a good life in Eugene and in Oregon and so much of what I enjoyed was connected to St. Mary's Episcopal Church and McMenamins Hammerhead Pale Ale.

2. Another dimension of my good life in Eugene was regular coffee meet-ups. Today, seated at a table on the sidewalk outside Perugino's, Margaret, Michael, Nate, and I enjoyed about two hours of conversation, talking about books, family, Paul Simon, and a host of other topics and interests.

While we were yakkin' away, to our great surprise who should stroll up to our table?

Jane King!

Margaret and I have known Jane for at least twenty-five years, dating back to when Jane, as a retired school teacher with a great interest in LCC, took courses from us and was deeply interested in the projects around learning communities at the college.

Today, Jane was strolling back to her residence after a trip to Down to Earth and it was both thrilling and touching to see her again and have some time to talk with her and see how well she is doing. I think I last saw Jane over scones in her apartment on December 9, 2014 when we talked about aging parents in relation to their children, a discussion that poignant at the time and lives in me all the more powerfully today.

3. Michael dropped me off back at the High Street Pub where the Deke and her band members were meeting to map out a practice schedule to prepare for their show this coming Saturday, enjoy some drinks, and eat dinner together. Patrick was there and so was Katie's daughter, Sam. Our table filled the shaded area behind the pub with laughter, stories, ideas, planning, and fun. I mostly listened and enjoyed a flight of McMenamins whiskeys and a snifter of the Unicorn Dreams Double IPA which I'd never drunk before, and a tuna salad sandwich. Not long before we left, Patrick took a picture of the Babes with Axes. If you are unfamiliar with the band, starting on the left and moving upward, you'll see T. R., Laura, Katie, and, on the right, is the Deke.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 07/15/17: The Drive to Eugene, 16 Tons, Billy Mac's and Plants

1. I am happy to report that my drive from Kellogg to Eugene was both easy and enjoyable. If not for a longish wait for a croissant at Starbucks in Ritzville where the barista forgot I ordered it and a couple of slowdowns on I 205 and I 5,  I would have made the trip in nine hours. As it turned out, I arrived in Eugene almost simultaneously with the Deke and Patrick -- the Deke called me from the corner of Broadway and High and I answered the phone while at a stoplight one block back.

2. We met at 16 Tons, an almost spiritual experience for the Deke and me. This was one of three places in Eugene during the days in 2013-14 when everything was on the table and we worked out our decision to sell the house and move, eventually, to Maryland.  It was always our favorite beer place and today was no different.  I knew I was back on the West Coast drinking an Oregon IPA as I worked my way through a pint of Ft. George 3-Way IPA, a stunningly flavorful, intensely hoppy, hazy glass of bliss. I also had a couple of 4 oz pours of Logsdon's Kriek Vier Sour, a bourbon aged sour balanced by just the right sweetness of cherries.  More bliss.

Temporary heaven? Reunion with the Deke. Reunion with Patrick. Drinking fine beer at 16 Tons and eating pizza from La Perla Pizzeria across the street.

3. We decided we wanted to go one more place before getting settled into the condo.

Billy Mac's. The refurbished Billy Mac's as it turns out. It was the Deke's and my second place to go to spread everything about our lives on the table and make decisions.

We learned from our Billy Mac's friend and server, Amber, that Cathy no longer works the floor, but we hope she might pop in and visit us when we meet with our Billy Mac's friends on Thursday.

Patrick, the Deke, and I shared a plate of pan-seared ahi with wontons and each had a drink and the Deke and I continued to revel in our return to another familiar place in this city where we lived so many years.

When it was time to go to the condo, I took the long way to 10th and Lincoln and drove by the house we once owned. Back in 2011, the Deke and I had a new yard and gardens put in and I wanted to see how it had all matured.

I also put in some roses along the side of the garage by the alley and I wondered if they had thrived.

Everything has thrived -- well, everything the people who bought the house kept in the ground -- which was almost everything.

I enjoyed seeing all those plants doing so well and will return to gawk at the plants some more.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 07/14/17: Mom's Late Morning, Hospice Nurse Visit, Going to a Concert

1. When I visited Mom at 10 this morning, she was asleep and in her pajamas. I grabbed her laundry bag and headed back over to her house and washed her clothes and got some chores done in the basement until the wash cycle ended. After I put the clothes in the drier, I headed back to see Mom. She'd had two visitors while I was gone, but I don't know if she remembered them,a and Susan and Joe Kerns came in just as I arrived. While the Kerns visited with Mom, I checked back on the laundry, but it wasn't dry, so I went back to be with Mom and to visit with her and Susan and Joe.

2. At 12:30, a nurse from Hospice North Idaho came to Mom's room. So did Christy. The nurse explained all that is included in the hospice services and Mom signed off on all of it, with Christy's and my approval.

Having Hospice North Idaho involved means Mom will have added caretakers and ones who are more focused on palliative care.

I've been struggling within myself about the fact that I am leaving Kellogg for Eugene on Saturday, July 15th so I can spend time with the Deke, whom I've been apart from for a month now.  The band she's a member of, Babes with Axes, is performing at the WOW Hall on Saturday the 22nd and she will be in Eugene so the band can practice and prepare for their show.

My sisters have been most supportive and encouraging about me leaving. I deeply appreciate that. All the same, it's difficult to leave them and my mother. I know that Christy and Carol and Carol's family will spend generous amounts of time with Mom, but, still, it makes a big difference to have all of us helping Mom out together.

Well, this is all to say that I am torn. I want to help out with Mom's care. I want to be with the Deke. Except for the days the Deke will be in Kellogg when our Eugene visit ends, I can't be with both at the same time.  I'm very happy that I'll get to spend time with the Deke, see friends in Eugene, and go to the Babes with Axes show, but in some ways I don't really want to leave.

I'm torn.

3.  I went back to see Mom around 5:00, in part to return her laundry, and she was in an upbeat, feisty mood, with a greater sense of humor than I've experienced from her since I arrived a month ago. She told Paul, Zoe, and me that she was ready to go to a concert. I told her there wasn't a concert. A little later, she said yes to my idea of going out to the back garden. We enjoyed the flowers and the fresh air and the light breeze.

When we came back into the Kindred facility, lo and behold, there was a concert getting underway. A trio was playing western songs, old pop music, and some folk tunes and I wheeled Mom into the dining area and we listened to the trio play for nearly an hour. Mom enjoyed it a lot.

I returned Mom to her room and told her once again I was leaving in the morning for Eugene and started to say good-bye. She was miffed. She got her back up and wondered why I hadn't told her I was leaving. I explained my plans once again, told her that my leaving must have slipped her mind, but she was stiff and not very receptive when I hugged her good-bye, kissed her forehead, and told her I loved her.

She was happy, though, that I'd be returning with the Deke -- or, as she put it, "That's the big news."

Friday, July 14, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 07/13/17: Mom's Appointment and Hospice, Back at Kindred, Mom's Playful Sleep

1.  Carol returned home from her trip to Italy Wednesday night and Thursday morning she sprung up, bright and early, to visit Mom. Mom immediately recognized her and they had some good conversation and worked on getting Mom ready for her appointment at the uptown clinic with Dr. McDonald. I met Mom just as she was being wheeled by Misty, the vibrant CNA who schedules and transports Kindred residents in one of the company's vans.

The exam room didn't have space for all of us to be with Mom, so, since Christy and I have been with Mom over the last three+ weeks, we accompanied Mom.

Dr. McDonald last saw Mom on June 15th, a month ago. She seemed taken aback my Mom's decline since then. In the doctor's office, Mom fell asleep waiting for the doctor and was in a confused state when Dr. McDonald asked her some simple questions. Dr. McDonald turned her attention to Christy to see what her concerns about Mom were and addressed the question of how much Mom is sleeping.  Dr. McDonald identified increased sleep as a symptom of Mom's life nearing its end and that we should think of Mom's sleeping less in terms of how much sleep does she need, but how much does she want, understanding it as a source of comfort and happiness for Mom.

This question opened to way for Dr. McDonald to level with all of us that Mom's condition continues to deteriorate and that our main focus should be on doing what makes Mom happy and comfortable. She recommended that Mom be evaluated soon by a hospice nurse. This means that most of our attention will be not on treating Mom but comforting her, helping make her remaining days as agreeable as possible. I should add that the doctor did not say Mom has only so many days or weeks or months to live, only that Mom is showing end-of-life signs and symptoms -- the increased sleep, loss of appetite and diminishing power of taste, cold hands and feet, and confusion, among other things.

Mom seemed to understand what it meant to involve hospice and agreed to hospice care without hesitation. Mom has always had high regard for hospice care, particularly when Dad died. She talked about her memories of Betty Mercado being Dad's hospice nurse. Mom and I both have very pleasant memories of Betty's care for Dad and of our conversations with Betty as Dad's life was coming to an end.

2. We returned to Kindred and, within ten minutes, an aide came to offer Mom a shower. I'm glad I was there because Mom thought she had just had a shower and didn't see why she would have another one. In time, though, Mom came to believe that her last shower was on Monday and agreed to have another one today. When the aide -- another woman named Misty -- came to wheel Mom away, she asked Mom how her doctor's appointment went and Mom didn't know she'd had one.

Mom came back from the shower refreshed and soon her beef pot pie for lunch arrived. Mom and I reminisced a bit about how Stein's used to sell Banquet frozen pot pies for some ridiculously low price like twelve for a dollar. That can't be right, but it's how we both remembered it.

Conversation with Mom invited me into her world, a world of imagined dinner parties and papers on the television and questions about people I didn't know, nor did I know if they exist outside of Mom's personal reality.  I accepted the invitation, doing my best to answer questions I could answer ("Who drove my car last? Is the car in the garage?") and ones I couldn't ("Why did Terry's wife leave the party early?").

Around 1:00, Christy and Carol arrived at Mom's room and I slipped away and, before too long, Christy, Carol, and I met at Best Shots so we could review Mom's appointment and talk about what's next.

3. After lunch, I took a nap. I returned to Mom's room shortly before 5:00 and Mom was asleep and slept the entire time I was with her, until about 6:30. When one of the aides came in with her dinner, Mom woke up briefly and looked at me, puffed out her cheeks, and pretended to put her arms and hands around her own pretend Santa Claus belly -- she didn't say anything, but the message was clear: "they're trying to make me fat!" and she kind of laughed.  I'd never seen Mom make this gesture before and it made me laugh, too.

Later, the aide returned and said, "Miss Mary, darlin', do you want your dinner?" Mom put her index finger in front of her lips and said, "Shhhhh", as if out of concern for her roommates who might be sleeping. This particular sleep that Mom was in was kind of playful sometimes. It also involved little hallucinations, including one moment when she called out, "Mikey! Stop that! Stop that, Mikey!" I listened and tried to think of a Mikey in Mom's life, but couldn't.

When I left Mom around 6:30 to join Christy and Everett for dinner, Mom was sleeping peacefully and didn't stir when I told her I was leaving and that I'd be back tomorrow.