Friday, January 29, 2016


I went with Dad this week to tour a Senior Residence Community a couple of hours' drive from my house.  I really didn't know what to expect.  I've never been thrilled with these types of arrangements: either too high end or desperately short on amenities.  Dad and I were both very please with what we found: a low-key homey place with garden apartments around green space.  Every staff person we spoke with was patient and friendly, and the residents we chatted with were engaged and on the ball.  Charlotte allowed us to view her one-bedroom apt., and when we walked in she was sitting at her spinning wheel.  I haven't seen one of those since college!  She was delightful, and the apt. was filled with her beautiful quilts.  Apologetically, she explained she ties her quilts now instead of quilting them, because she makes quilts for foster kids and people who are recovering from serious illness or injury.  She's busy every day doing this work.  She's lived there for 9 years and loves the place and the people.

If the folks decide to move here, I would be more than comfortable with that decision.  I would enjoy visiting tremendously.  The community is set among the low hills of beautiful California wine country, and the folks have friends in a neighboring retirement facility.  Plus, an old school chum of Dad's is moving into the place we toured.  I like to think that my parents would benefit tremendously from having friends about.  They don't have that where they currently are, and sometimes one's children simply cannot make up for that lack.

When my folks built their house a few years ago, the plan was to stay there until the end.  When reality came up against the vision, however, it became clear we needed to plan for mother's care if dad were no longer alive.  Vigorous and intelligent, it is likely he will live a good long time, but he is 84, after all.  We had a family meeting a couple of weeks ago and decided to explore other options.  It would be sad for mother to be in that big townhouse all by herself with a caregiver.

I'm grateful that my family can come together and listen to one another in order to reach these significant decisions.  Not all families are able due to in-fighting and lack of communication.  We, as a family, have our share of tiffs, but in the end we put those aside and do what's right.

My reaction to these monumental actions this week was to grocery shop and cook in bulk.  It's therapy for me.  The folks have asked us to have dinner with them once a week.  Both for the company and so that Dad can get a night off from cooking.  So, I'll take food over and share my recipes with them.  Mom doesn't like fish or seafood.  Dad eats everything.  So, it's pretty straightforward.

What a week.  Whew.  Still pulling for my man, Bernie Sanders.  Dreams do come true.

For an interesting article on Boomers and aging, see this.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Monday Musings

To continue the theme of perplexing life:  I've been weaning myself from so much time on Facebook. But I got on this morning and was immediately hit by three stories of gun tragedy.  A four-year-old boy in Houston found his grandfather's shotgun and accidentally shot himself in the head.  He died days later.  A woman died because she was adjusting her bra holster and accidentally shot herself through the eye.  Did you know there was such a thing as a bra holster?  And last but certainly not least the firefighter who was called to a home because a man had had a seizure,  and when said man awoke from the seizure ,he was confused and thought the first responder was there to hurt him.  Wait for it:  he shot and killed him.

Looking good, Challenger.

Before I awoke to this mayhem on Facebook I had actually had a euphoric dream that I won a contest and the prize was billions of dollars!  I'm talking billions with a B.  I told my husband we would never have any money troubles ever again. ( not that we do )  I immediately voiced that I wanted to give $1 million to the Sanders campaign!  I was going to build homes for the homeless!  And lest you think I'm a complete altruist,  I was going to do some high end traveling to great spots in the world.  I kept asking everyone in the dream if this was a dream and they all said "no".  By the time I woke up I was convinced it had not been a dream.  Imagine my confusion upon waking and mulling the whole question over again.  Alas it was a dream, but ah what a good dream it was.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Perplexing Life

I am of the age where I am sandwiched between an adult child with health issues, and an ailing 80 yo mom who is declining rather rapidly after 15 ears with Parkinson's (PD).  I'm essentially helpless (aren't we all?) to fix their problems, and I know it.  But, dammit, I want to.  It's terribly frustrating.  And then there are my own health issues which become aggravated by stress.  How convenient.

I just finished reading Nora Ephron's I Feel Bad About My Neck. A hilarious read, more so because she speaks the truth of the shock and awe of aging.

At 58, I consider myself a young elderly person. If the fates allow, I may have another 20 or 25 years of reasonably good living ahead of me.  Do you do these kinds of calculations? Gawd I hope I'm not the only one.  I think, often, of doing exercise to help me stay strong. Do I do it? Nope. What kind of nonsense is this?! It is utter nonsense, that's what it is.  Is this denial or run of the mill sloth? Does it matter?

I do keep to a healthy diet for the most part. My guts are changing, and it's difficult to know if it is diabetic in nature or normal aging. When I do a little research I see that my symptoms are very mild and intermittent for a diabetic cause. So maybe this run of the mill indigestion and irregularity.  Maybe it's the early stages of neuropathy of the nerves that control digestion.  Isn't that a lovely thought?  I'm waiting anxiously for some advancement in stem cell research which will allow my pancreas to function normally again.  Which is one reason I want to stay healthy.

You know, there may be nothing so boring as listening to someone rag on about their health issues.  My deepest apologies, dear reader.  To end on an upbeat note, a friend sent information on Eva Saulitis, an Alaskan writer, who died recently of cancer.  Eva's out loud and honest account of her last weeks and days are an inspiration.  How to live fully while dying.  And isn't that what it's all about?  It could be said that we are all dying.  At the very least it can be said that we all will die.

It could be said that people in Washington, D.C. are hating 24 inches of snow right now.  And they probably are.  But cheer up, good people of the District, you still have electrical power.  For now.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Monday Musings

I'm all over the map here, friends.  A lot going on.

We lost our dear dog, Tikwa, to cancer.

A family member has some troubling health issues.

Trump is the GOP front-runner (still).

My stomach has been acting up something fierce.

I tried making amends with someone whose friendship I used to value.  The effort failed, and not from my lack of trying.

So, we are mourning Tikwa.  A dear sweet being who was deeply connected to his humans, known and strangers alike.

I spent some time with my ailing family member.  It was good for the both of us.  Life can be a bitch when your body doesn't work optimally. 

I'm searching recipes that I think will be easily digestible.  My ability to digest meats of all kinds, but particularly fatty cuts, is on the wane.  I was watching this today and he's really sensible on the whole issue of nutritional eating.  No crazy outlandish pseudo science.  His motto?  "Eat food. Not too much.  Mostly plants."

I will, at some point, recognize and truly accept that my one-time friend and I are not supposed to be connected anymore.  For whatever reason.  Let it go.  Let it go.  Let it go.  

People are getting more crazy by the day.  I witnessed an on-line fight in the comments on a FOOD RECIPE.   Hummus.  Go figure.  Jaysus, people. 

So, that's the low down.  I almost didn't blog about it, but then figured 'what the hell.'  Part of the reason I blog is because I like having a record of things and experiences.  And what I realized the other day was that I completely overlooked that, on Dec. 23, 2015, I hit my 10 year anniversary of blogging.  Hmm.

Take a moment today to reflect on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his legacy to the people of the U.S.  And he did it all without a blog.  Imagine.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Friday, January 8, 2016


Tara Crowley, 2010.  All Rights Reserved.

Another Friday rolls around.  I hope the week treated you kindly.  We had a busy one: taking down the Christmas tree and ornaments from the porch.  Discovering a dead rat in a box in the garage.  Yes! You read that right.  We had the exterminator come out again after the mister spotted a large rat creature scurrying about in the garage.  The garage was bated again and obviously it worked pretty damn quick.  Anyway, we now have heavy duty clear storage boxes for the garage and are transferring items from cardboard boxes.  No more nasty surprises for us!  We live on a moderately wooded lot, with ivy and decking, and a large cedar tree (aka super highway for squirrels and rats) whose boughs come very close to the roof.  So, it looks as though rodent abatement will be an on-going thing in La Maison du Bonhuer.

We're getting a good amount of rain, and we are all happy to see it.  Lots of snow in the Sierra.  Happy ski resorts.  I am more than content to be tucked up in our cozy home, cooking food, tidying up the garage, working on photo editing, etc.  Speaking of which, the photo above was taken several years ago when I made a book of photographs about the neighborhood where I grew up.  "Inspiration Heights" was largely built between 1909 and 1915.  It is a marvelously distinctive area of San Diego's Mission Hills and retains most of the original homes.  There are a few modern monstrosities but they are, luckily, few in number.  It was a fun project, and one that I concentrated on for quite a time.  The house pictured above is on Sunset Blvd., on the route we walked to elementary school.  Those Dragon Trees are ubiquitous, and as a child I thought they were creepy and foreboding.  (We even imaged that a witch lived among the branches.)  As an adult, I appreciate the  unique architecture of both the buildings and the landscapes.  I look at it with an artist's eye.  But the memories and the experiences of childhood follow me as I traverse the curving lanes, alleys and wide boulevards.

Sunset Blvd. was the frantic scene of my reunion with my mother on the first day of kindergarten.  I was terrified to be there, and bolted from the classroom to chase my mother and little sister back to the car where she'd parked.  She parked three blocks away to give me a chance to get to know the route on foot.  Imagine her surprise when she went to start up the engine and I come, this red faced hysterical child, lunging at the dark gray automobile!  Not far from the spot, near the Mission Hills Nursery, years later, I would get into a fight with a friend in which we actually came to blows.  That area of Sunset must have been a dark vortex for me.  Bad ju-ju. 

Today, I'm going to be spending another day on photographic editing.   It's like candy.  I just can't stop.  My husband is the same way.  We gladly spend hours doing it, just feet apart.

I hope you have a weekend filled with good things.  Simple things.  Marvelous things.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Monday Musings

I am my own paparazzi. My paltry 15 minutes of fame, created by, well, ME.

A few years ago, a 21 yo man decided to do an experiment.  He hired "body guards" and photographers to follow him around Times Square, NYC.  He attracted a crowd of 300 screaming, adoring fans.  People said he was a movie star -- the most up and coming exciting star.  People said he just dropped a new music album.  He posed, for 3 hours, with hysterical people who just had to have their photo taken with him.  The highlight of their life.

Face book and other social media have become the digital platforms for us to brag about ourselves.  Remember when it was frowned upon to be a braggart?  Donald Trump is a braggart, a blowhard, and people don't seem to have a problem recognizing this.  Most of us, anyway.

I have been guilty of tooting my own horn, and using social media to do it.  In hindsight, I cringe.  I am no stranger to the allure of seeing my greatness posted for all to see.

What do  you do when confronted by a braggart?  I suppose it depends on your relationship with them.  With Trump, I can call him on it because he's so, well, obvious and despicable.  But when the braggart is someone you love?

I've stopped seeing people (rarely, but yes) because I became bored and tired of their braggart ways.  I know it comes from their insecurity, but I've not found a good way to let them know how I feel, so I let the friendship fade away.  Was I doing them a favor?  I don't know, but I managed to extricate my own self, and that's what is important, right?

So, onto the braggarts that I actually care about.  I have my response at the ready:  "You are a great friend, but your insistence on constantly bringing up xxxxxxxxxx feels alienating given that I'm someone who already adores you. I love you because you're interesting and funny, but it's not interesting or funny to hear someone brag about themselves."

And because I am obsessive about these things, I imagine their response will be that I am simply jealous.  Sigh.

Have a braggart in your life?  Oh, please do share.

You Can Go Home Again

 I took a vacation in the first week of May.  I went back to my high school and college stomping grounds, still populated by many friends of...