Thursday, June 22, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 06/21/17: Morning Chores and Mom's Voice, Lunch with Mom, Mom's Evening Ramblings

1. I popped out of bed at five this morning to write and to clean the kitchen, load the dishwasher, do Mom's and my laundry, water outdoor plants and other things. I am doing my best to meet Mom's high standards of cleanliness around the house with mixed success. It's funny that even though she isn't here, I can hear her telling me what needs to be done and how to do it -- and, then, wouldn't you know it, when I visit Mom and her mind begins to float, among her top concerns is her house. She'll ask, "Are the beds made? How's the dining area? Is my bed cleared off?" Etc. So, I suppose, in part, I'm putting in a little extra effort so that I can answer her questions positively. (Her bed is not cleared off, though.)

2. Christy and I arrived together at Mom's room shortly after 9 o'clock. She was dressed -- although it turned out she put her pants on over her pajama bottoms so one of the staff helped her correct that -- and I thought she seemed fatigued already. Mom's occupational therapist persuaded Mom to attend the Wednesday morning yoga class. Christy attended with her and I dashed back over to Mom's and organized my clothes and belongings and arranged to have Mom's car serviced on Thursday.

Upon returning, Shoshone News-Press under my arm, Christy left to join Everett for an afternoon in Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls. I wheeled Mom out into the fresh air of the garden area where she read Joan Ross's obituary and we talked about some things. We went back in for lunch and Mom was more tired than usual and the things she had to say were increasingly disconnected. To our delight, Zoe and Paul arrived during lunch and we all returned to Mom's room.

Christy and Everett had brought a comfortable chair over to Mom's room from her bedroom with the hope that when Mom sits up in her room she'll use that chair rather than the wheelchair. Zoe read Mom a letter Carol wrote her from Italy. I returned to Mom's and rested.

3. When I arrived back at Mom's room around 5 p.m., Zoe was with Mom. Earlier, Mom had asked Zoe and Paul to leave so she could sleep. Zoe returned around 3 p.m. ready to do Mom's nails, but, as it turned out, Wednesday was Nail Day at Kindred and someone had already trimmed and polished Mom's nails.

Mom was fighting hard to stay awake. She was adamant about not going to the dining hall and she continued to speak whatever popped next into her mind. Mom wanted to get in her wheelchair and have me wheel her to "the dining area". I thought she had changed her mind about going to the dining hall and this frustrated her so much she nearly cried and was red-faced with frustration. No, she wanted to see the dining area in her house. She thought we were at her home. She berated me briefly for trying to tell her what to do about going to the Kindred dining hall. I got mixed up because Mom has never referred to the table sitting in our kitchen as the "dining area" before -- but, I took my lumps, quickly recovered, and temporarily helped her understand we weren't at her house.

Mom was seeing things, including a airplane near the ceiling of her room, and she talked for a while as if Jack and Shirley Carney were Zoe's grandparents. We then talked about who Zoe's grandparents are, including Mary and Pert Woolum, and we discussed who Jack and Shirley's kids are and how many children they have. Mom suddenly thought it would be a good idea for us to work on making a Turnbow family tree, since "we don't have anything else to do".

I understand if these stories make you laugh. If it weren't my mother, I'd probably think the oddball comments and misunderstandings and hallucinations were funny, too.  I understand if, for any of you reading this, the absurdity of what Mom says provides some comic relief to a sad situation as Mom's mind betrays her.

Maybe one day I'll sit around with Carol and Christy and Zoe and Paul and others and we'll look back and remember the random things Mom said and I'll have a good laugh then.

For now, I try to enter Mom's world and answer her questions and I try to help her understand where she is and keep the conversation going. I think she's frightened. I hope that having family nearby during much of the day helps her feel more secure.

Shortly after I returned to Mom's house, Christy and Everett arrived back from Post Falls.

I had asked Christy to find me a 16 oz. mug for my morning coffee. She did. This made me very happy.

Christy also bought a fifth of Uncle Val's Botanical Gin.

We sat on her back deck, enjoyed some gin, and talked about the day just completed.

This was the relief from Mom's sad situation that I needed.

Oh! Christy took this picture of Mom and Zoe on Monday, June 19th before the care conference at Kindred. As you can see, Mom looks pretty good, especially after she'd had such a rough day on Sunday.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 06/20/17: Mom in the Garden, Cooking Chicken Dinner, Mom's Fatigue and Fragile Mind

1.  When I arrived at Mom's room this morning, staff were assisting her in getting dressed. I suggested we leave the room and go outside into the cool Kellogg morning and enjoy the fresh air and roses, violas, columbine, petunias, and other flowers along with the blue spruce and Ponderosa pines outside. I pushed Mom in her wheelchair around the garden area and then we sat and visited for a while until we returned to her room. Mom's occupational therapist soon arrived and I left to run some errands, but returned before too long to take Mom to lunch at the dining hall and to spend more time outside. At lunch and during our second visit to the garden, fatigue was setting in for Mom and the things she had to say were increasingly disconnected from what was going on around her and became more random. At lunch, I couldn't tell if Mom was tracking what Peny or Betty had to say. Her contributions to the conversation didn't grow out of the others' comments or observations. Mom was part in the world of the dining room and part in a world of her own. She didn't eat much.

2.  I wheeled Mom back to her room and left her to rest and probably sleep. Back at Mom's house, I rested a bit, took a short nap, went over to the store, and used the lemon garlic baked tilapia recipe the Deke and I enjoy so much to bake drumsticks for Christy, Everett, and me to eat later for dinner.

3. I returned to Kindred around five o'clock, thinking I'd wheel Mom down to the dining room. As I strolled into her room, her physical therapist, Sheri, was leaving and Mom was bushed after her session. Firmly, she told me she wasn't going to the dining room. No problem.

This is not a medical observation, merely the observation of a son: when Mom gets tired, the symptoms of her vascular dementia start to take over. This evening, Mom's ramblings were incoherent. She was seeing things before her eyes that I couldn't see. I'm not saying they weren't there -- for Mom, they were there, but I couldn't see them. I tried to answer her questions about these things and listened to her tell me about things that happened in her mind, but nowhere else. When she told me to get out a pad and pen and write down things I needed to look for, I did so -- one of those things was her cell phone, and I found it.

For dinner, Mom ate a container of applesauce I brought over and a little bit of the hash I had made the night before. Tuesday night is ice cream night and when John brought her a cup of huckleberry ice cream, she was uninterested in it. We'd all like to see Mom eat more, but I don't think she's going to. Mom asked to go to the bathroom and wanted to change into her pajamas, so I buzzed for help, waited, stepped out, returned to her room, and then bade Mom good night and went back to the house, finished cooking dinner, and took the chicken, rice, and corn over to Christy and Everett's.

One other thing: when I was injured in a roaster at the Zinc Plant back in 1973, the superintendent of the roaster floors was Rich Nearing. Now Rich volunteers in the evenings at Kindred. On Monday, he took a picture of me and Mom and today he brought it to Mom's room and he asked me to remind him about my accident and I told a very short version of what happened. It started to come back to him and we reminisced a bit about the Zinc Plant and he told me about a serious injury he suffered at the Phosphoric Acid Plant. We may not return to talking about the injuries we suffered at the Zinc Plant anymore, but it'll be good to see Rich as the summer continues.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 06/19/17: Mom's Strong Morning, Taking Mom Outside, Dinner and Mom's Ice Cream

1. Mom's condition today was nothing like yesterday. It was almost the opposite. I arrived at Kindred around 8:30. Mom was in bed. Mom's occupational therapist popped in and helped her get dressed and cleaned up. Mom participated in the meeting Christy has scheduled with some of the Kindred staff -- a care conference -- so that newcomers Zoe and I could meet different staff and we could discuss Mom's current situation.

I came away from the meeting with a stronger understanding of why the therapy staff wants Mom to eat in the dining room, not in the room where she lives. I decided I will do my best to accompany Mom to lunch and dinner, sit with her, and visit with her tablemates, Peny, Betty, and Christy (a Kindred resident -- not my sister!). I am also going to take helpings of food to Mom from home more regularly. It's hard to tell if Mom has lost her appetite or if she doesn't like the food at Kindred. She doesn't eat much at the table. I chopped up fresh strawberries for her at lunch and I have other ideas of food to take over that she might enjoy.

2. After the care conference, Zoe, Christy, Mom, and I went out into the garden area and sat in a shaded area and enjoyed the fresh air, admired the trees and vivid flowers growing all about, and yakked. Before the care conference, a CNA had told Mom that she would give Mom a shower some time after 11, so I wheeled Mom back to her room and Misty arrived and took Mom away. Mom and I then ate lunch.

3. That was a pretty full morning and, after lunch, Mom returned to her room and lay down.  I returned to Mom's house and took a short nap. Christy worked at the library until 7:00 p.m. and I volunteered to cook dinner.

I decided to make ground beef hash. It was easy: I chopped up three small Russet potatoes and a yam along with a yellow onion, seasoned them with garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper and fried them along with a pound of ground chuck until the potatoes were tender and meat no longer pink. I covered it, returned to Kindred to sit with Mom at dinner and wheeled her back outside where Peny's dog Joey was prancing around. We visited with Peny, had fun watching Joey, and explored the grounds at Kindred a little more extensively until I needed to return home to finish cooking dinner.

I warmed the potatoes, onion, and meat back up and then made three indentations in the hash. I cracked an egg into each depression and let the eggs cook until the whites began to lose their translucence. I put the skillet in the oven and let the eggs bake until the whites firmed up and the yolk was cooked up right. I pulled the skillet out of the oven, put a bottle of Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA in my pocket with a bottle opener,  and walked through the gate between Mom's and Christy's yards to the table Christy and Everett had set, plopped down the skillet and we dug in. I didn't get chopped! Christy and Everett liked the hash.  (By the way, I didn't follow the recipe in every detail, but the recipe that guided me is here.)

I chopped up more strawberries for Mom and Christy and I bought her a plain sundae at McDonald's. Mom loves soft ice cream. I put the ice cream and strawberries together in a bowl and Mom devoured her sweet treat. Watching her eat the ice cream and strawberries so ravenously made me think that Mom might eat more if she enjoys the food more, so I'll see what I can do about fixing things she likes and taking them over.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 06/18/17: Writing and Breakfast, Mom's Rough Day, Mom's Revival

1. My body is in Kellogg, but its system is on Eastern Standard Time, so I was up at 5:30 this morning, welcomed by a cool, quiet Kellogg morning. I spent quite a bit of time this morning writing in this blog, trying to honestly and accurately document what I am seeing as Mom's condition continues to decline. At around 8 o'clock, I strolled down to Sam's Restaurant with some sections of the Spokesman Review in hand and enjoyed a huge breakfast of fat link sausages, hash browns, eggs, and English muffin.

It turns out it was good I had started the day with a hearty breakfast.

2. Mom had had a difficult night. When I arrived to at about 9:00, she was in a hospital gown, not the pajamas she'd gone to bed wearing, and her sheets were changed. Mom thought she'd been to the dining room for breakfast, but it turns out she hadn't. I don't know if she ate some breakfast in her room.

I stayed with Mom for a couple of hours. A nurse came in and helped her get to the bathroom. Mom couldn't raise herself to a sitting position nor could she stand up on her own to use her walker.

She spent much of the ensuing time in what looked to me like restless sleep. Her hands and arms are beginning to twitch involuntarily and she is beginning to touch herself on the neck and torso and sometimes holds her hands up as if she's trying to read something and other times she mimes drinking water or eating.  She was often talking in this state of restless sleep and I could rarely tell what she was saying.

Christy arrived around 10:30 and a staff member came in to comfort Mom and talk with her about getting dressed. Mom kept saying, "Give me ten more minutes" or "Give me two more minutes."  The staff person worked with this and I could see that soon she would dress Mom and I excused myself to go do some grocery shopping, wash some laundry for Mom at her house, and take care of some personal business, including a phone call to the Deke.

I returned to Kindred around 1:30 and Mom was dressed.

A very rough afternoon got underway.

Mom's mouth turned downward into a deep frown, her cheeks looked hollow, and the twitching and touching her upper body increased.  She clawed the oxygen tube out of her nose several times and pushed my hands away when I tried to put it back in -- I buzzed for assistance and a staff member was much better than I at putting it back in.

Mom continued to speak incoherently in a weak, hoarse voice and sometimes she'd begin counting -- "one, two, three, four" up to twelve or so and then she'd count by tens -- "ten, twenty, thirty" up to like eighty.

At one point, Christy returned to her house to see Everett and to get ready for a family dinner planned at 4:00 at Carol and Paul's. When Carol texted to say Paul would come by Kindred at 3:30 to transport Mom, I returned a message saying I doubted Mom could go and suggested Carol come and see Mom now.

For all of us, seeing Mom's condition worsen so much this afternoon was grievous. Carol hadn't seen Mom since Saturday and it had been a day or two for Paul. They were shaken. Mom was the most frail and vulnerable we'd ever seen her.

3.  Then things changed.

I stayed with Mom while the others ate dinner at Carol and Paul's.

Mom told me she was hot and I buzzed for help, suggesting to a staff member that Mom would like to get out of her shirt and pants and changed into a hospital gown. A couple of staff members changed Mom and helped her get situated again in her bed.

Almost miraculously, with the change of clothes, Mom was awake, alert, conversational. It was as if the morning and afternoon of what I thought was restless sleep had restored her. I texted Christy and Carol and told them that Mom had perked up, that she and I were talking.

Granted, Mom is experiencing vascular dementia, so our conversations involved talking about things that had happened and things that Mom imagined. Mom is confused. She often thinks she is in her house across the street and so, for example, she asked me to go to the kitchen and get her some bread and she wanted some salsa. She thought salsa would taste good.  She didn't always know who I was and asked me what my brother's name is.

But, sense or nonsense, it was a great relief to see Mom emerge from the semi-conscious state she'd been in earlier and to sit up a little better and be back with us.

Christy returned with Everett and I went back to Mom's house to finish the laundry and to wait for a plate of dinner, delivered by Molly, Zoe, and Cosette. I talked some more with the Deke.

I returned to see Mom. Christy and Carol were there. Mom's revival continued. In fact, she asked for a plate of the Father's Day dinner and Carol called over to her house and soon Molly brought Mom the food and Mom ate a bit, said she wanted a break, but said she'd eat more in a few minutes.

At this point, still adjusting to Pacific Standard Time -- it was getting to be about 10:30 or so for my system -- I excused myself, returned to Mom's house, and soon went to bed.

I haven't told the whole Sunday story here. I might have mixed up some chronology. But what I've written is close to accurate.  If I need to correct anything, or if Christy or Carol would like me to add anything for the record, I will come back and do so.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 06/17/17: Leaving the Deke, Disconcerting Mom Update, Sibling Outing at Radio Brewing

1.  I sprang out of bed at 4:30 this morning so I'd have about an hour or so to shower, shave, drink coffee, write a blog post (3BTs), and finish packing a few last things.

The Deke and I have a good thing going. We are accustomed to stretches of time apart from each other. We have both struck out on our own many times to help out family members. I've made many extended trips to Kellogg over the last seventeen years or so, beginning when Mom was recovering from cancer treatment in 2000 and multiple times since then. The Deke has also traveled independently over the years to, among other things, be with her ailing and now deceased mother, to help out with the birth of Olivia, to see Adrienne when we all lived on opposite sides of the country, and to be with her brother, David, when he died in 2009.

We know how to do this.

The Deke and I also know how to live together, how to have fun, gab, laugh, mourn, vent, extend ourselves to others. help each other out, in short, live a good life together.

It's difficult when we separate.

This morning was no exception. We both know that my coming to Kellogg to be with Christy and Carol and to do all we can to help comfort and care for Mom is the right thing to do.

All the same, it was difficult to separate this morning. We will see each other again in July -- I'm very grateful for that -- and we'll yak on the phone. It'll all work out. It always does.

We have a good thing going.

2.  I had easy flights to Chicago and then Spokane. The Byrdman picked me up at the airport and we got in some top notch yakkin' on the drive to Kellogg.

Christy and I went to Kindred around 2:30 or so and joined Carol who was already there to see Mom.

I last saw Mom in the middle of April, on the 13th, two months ago.

Mom's condition has weakened considerably in the last two months. I knew this was true because of how diligent Christy and Carol have been in describing and narrating Mom's difficulties almost daily
in updates they write and we share with each other on Google Docs.

But even having read all that my sisters wrote, seeing Mom in person startled me.

Her once potent voice is even more feeble. Her overall complexion is gray. When she had to visit the bathroom, she needed assistance sitting up, had to rest after sitting up before being helped to her feet and situated with her walker, and needed Carol's assistance to make her way into the commode. She sat on her walker and scooted it when she returned to bed, too tired and weak to walk back.

Mom is seeing things that none of the rest of us see -- tubes overhead, an envelope at the end of her bed, for example. She loses track of where she is.  More than once today Mom thought she was in her house. She's not confused all the time.  But when Christy and I returned for an evening visit, her lapses into confusion and the way she was seeing things that weren't there disconcerted both of us.

On Father's Day, we are having a family dinner to wish Carol God's speed as she departs for Italy on Monday.  Molly, Zoe, and Cosette will get to honor Paul by fixing all of us dinner and expressing their love and gratitude for all that he's been to them and for them as their father.

The plan is for Mom to come over to Carol and Paul's for this dinner. I hope she can make it. I want to believe that joining in the festivities and being out in the fresh Kellogg air eating the girls' cooking and maybe having a nip of Riesling wine will boost her morale and bring joy to her fragile heart.

3. Christy, Carol, and I left Kindred and went uptown to a new establishment in town: Radio Brewing. The physical design of the place, the decor as well as the menus, is built around radios and vinyl records. It's a spacious and comfortable brewery with several beers already brewed, new ones to come, and a splendid menu. I enjoyed a couple of pints of Extra Special Bitter and the three of us shared a cheese plate and each had an entree -- I had mashed potatoes, gravy, and beef brisket served in a waffle cone -- I'd never had meat and potatoes served this way and enjoyed the taste as well as the novelty of my order.

By now, I'd been up and at it with having flown across the country since 1:30 a.m. PST and I was a little too tired to delve into Mom's finances in detail, but Carol helped Christy and me see that, generally speaking, in the short term, Mom's financial picture is all right.  The three of us spent most of our time talking about Mom's ailing health, the progressive deterioration of her heart function and its impact on her mind and her body. We hope, if it works out on Kindred's end and if Mom agrees to it, that we can move Mom to a semi-private room where things would be quieter. We have a care meeting scheduled on Monday so we might find out more about this possibility at that time.

I'm deeply grateful that Christy, Carol, and I are working cooperatively to help Mom as best we can, not only by being with her as often as possible at Kindred, but by seeing to it that her house is clean and functioning and the same with her yard and garden. When Mom can pay her house and yard a visit and see how great everything looks, I hope it will make her happy to see that her family -- daughters, sons-in-law, grandchildren, grandson-in-law -- has worked diligently to keep everything looking good and to help her yard and garden thrive.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 06/16/17: Filing, Anacostia and DC Brau, Preparing for Kellogg

1. The Deke spent the day at Maya Angelou French Immersion, meeting with the staff, preparing for the next school year. Meanwhile, I dove into a project I've been putting of for months and refiled our papers and reduced our number of files and file folders significantly. It all fits a in a milk crate.

2. I drove down to Maya Angelou and picked up the Deke so we could have a beer or two at DC Brau. Traffic was heavy. It took us over thirty-five minutes to travel no more than ten miles. The Waze app routed us through SE Washington, D. C., so I had my first experience driving in the Anacostia neighborhood, also known as Ward 8 or just "East of the River". I've resolved to be more calm about driving in unfamiliar places with intersections I don't always understand and it paid off. I made all the correct turns, only got honked at twice (!), and the Deke arrived at the brewery in fine shape to enjoy On the Wings of Armageddon together, something we won't be able to do again until late in the summer.

3.  Christy, Carol, and I will sit down together in Kellogg on Saturday, possibly at Radio Brewing, to discuss Mom: updates, how to proceed, what the possibilities are, and so on. For me, this will be, for the most part, a mouth shut, ears open session. Through the magic of the internet and Google Docs and texting, we got this conversation started today and already can see that we have a lot to discuss and are guided by devotion to mutuality and goodwill.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 06/15/17: Walking Old Greenbelt, Packing Early, Mom Update

1. I dropped off the Sube at the Sunoco station again this morning, talked briefly with the mechanic, and walked back home through some of the co-op housing townhouses on one of the original sidewalks designed by Eleanor Roosevelt and her collaborators when Greenbelt was planned in 1935. These homes are nearly eighty years old, modest, with small yards, in the midst of lush trees and bushes. I can't say why I haven't explored this walkway and others like it in Old Greenbelt -- I always just walked along Crescent Road, the main roadway back to where we live. I'll change that.  By the way, the Sube is in good shape, ready for our upcoming separation.

2. I am nearly done packing for my trip back to Kellogg on Saturday.  One of the small things I can do to maintain some semblance of peace of mind is not wait until the last minute to do get ready for a trip like this, so I've left myself the entire day on Friday to make sure I've got what I want.

3. Mom saw her primary care provider today and the doctor diagnosed her with vascular dementia. Christy and Carol write me updates regularly about Mom and most of them have included Mom having episodes of confusion, disorientation, and lapses in memory. It's not good news by any means, but having a diagnosis will help define more clearly the care for Mom, especially when it comes to diet, hydration, and helping Mom move about, all of which can help slow down the dementia's development. Christy said the diagnosis helped Mom feel better. I think this means that she has a clearer idea of what she's dealing with and she talked with Christy about her diet, about ways she can increase her protein intake.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 06/14/17: Checking the Sube, Starting to Pack, 1979 Fall Classic

1. I took the Sube down to the Sunoco station to be serviced and to make sure the tires and brakes and a/c are in all in good shape for the Deke since I'll be gone for at least two and a half months. We've had a heat wave here in Greenbelt, but since I dropped off the car around 7:00 this morning, the walk home was comfortable -- not quite cool, but comfortable.  It turns out the guys at the garage got behind and the Sube didn't get on the rack, so I'll go back in the morning.

2. I leave for Kellogg on Saturday morning. I have been casually doing this and that to get myself packed, but today I got serious and boxed up my blood draw kits to mail to Kellogg and got my laundry done and Thursday I'll start getting my stuff packed.

3. When sports writers look back on the best World Series of all time, they never even mention my favorite Fall Classic: the 1979 Orioles/Pirates brouhaha.  I loved the way the Pirates came back from the brink of elimination, down 3-1 after four games and having to face pitching aces Mike Flanagan, Jim Palmer, and Scott McGregor, and swept games five through seven. Tonight I watched a program looking back at that World Series, here.  The narrator was Vin Scully and the whole video awakened many happy memories from that time in my life.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 06/13/17: Vacuuming in Peace, School's Out for Summer, Harriet is Home

1. Molly agreed to keep the corgis at her house a little longer than planned and I seized upon the opportunity of a temporarily dog-free apartment home to vacuum the bedroom, hallway, living room, and dining area in peace. The corgis perceive the vacuum cleaner as a fiend. They aggressively attack it when it's off if I move it from one place to another in their presence and when I turn it on, they scream bark it agony. This morning I experienced one of the most relaxing and satisfying sessions of vacuuming I've had in years.

2. I picked up the Deke this afternoon at work. She had completed her last day at Dora Kennedy French Immersion School and so we went to Old Line to celebrate and, much to our surprise and delight, Molly contacted the Deke to say she'd be joining us. We noshed on this and that and I enjoyed a gin that Chris at Old Line told me about on Saturday, but that I'd never tried before: Uncle Val's Botanical Gin. I ordered it lightly iced. It beautifully combines juniper, lavender, sage, lemon, and cucumber, making it a refreshing and complex spirit.

3. Today, I went to Hannah's Facebook page to see if she'd posted any news about Harriet Potter and now I know for sure that Harriet is reunited with Hannah and her two dog mates, Tara and Snorri. Below you'll find a picture of the three dogs at home in Salem followed by some shots I took of Harriet Potter before I drove her to Dulles International Airport to fly away.

Tara, Harriet Potter, Snorri

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 06/12/17: Harriet Flies to Portland, New Job, Foyle Cracks Another Case

1. After spending the morning and early afternoon hanging out with Harriet Potter and making sure I had the paperwork all gathered, we drove out to Dulles International Airport where I signed about 15,000 documents and worked with a United employee to get everything just right with Harriet's crate and Harriet in her crate and I said goodbye to her. Hannah texted the Deke reporting that Harriet arrived in Portland, OR.  I look forward to hearing more about how she is doing, reunited with Hannah and with Hannah's two other dogs.

2. The Deke wrestled over the weekend about what to do next school year. She rescinded her resignation too late to return to the school where she's been teaching the last three years and wondered if she just might go ahead and not teach next year. She was, however, offered a fifth grade job at the district's other French Immersion school in the lower part of the county about 30-35 minutes away. This morning I received an email from the the Deke telling me she just couldn't turn that job down. So, next school year the Deke will be teaching at Maya Angelou French Immersion School near Oxon Hill and Temple Hills, not far from National Harbor.

3. Tonight, we took in another episode of Foyle's War. Christopher Foyle, with Sam's help, brilliantly got to the bottom of a gasoline (petrol) pilfering operation and the murder of a woman who was involved in the operation.