August 4, 2016

We interrupt this programming to bring you a bit of cuteness.


River and his mama…

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River on the rocks…

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Bipedal River…

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(Do all little kids go through an Ed Asner phase?)

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An artist at work…

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You’re welcome.



Wednesday at TorMed

August 3, 2016

Today was a big “come off the vent” day. Any time you remove a life sustaining machine, there is concern about dependency. Mom passed the test with flying colors. Big step, big victory. She’s a champ.

On the home front, we’re taking care of some business. Today: freezer repair. Nothing more to say about that.

Did I mention, Torrance Memorial just finished a mega million dollar addition to its campus.. the new state-of-the-art Lunquist Tower. (Did I also mention, absolutely every building, every room, every everything is named after somebody? Good heavens but there are a lot of wealthy people who desire their names on hospital architecture.) (And yeah, that’s a good thing.)


In case you ever find yourself spending a lot of time at Torrance Memorial, I recommend you visit the new cafeteria, go straight to the custom pizza and flatbread counter, order up your favorite veggies and cheeses, then take it out to the peace garden for a quiet and tasty repast.

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Going Solo

August 2, 2016

We decided that I would stay on in Palos Verdes and Peter would drive our car back to Davis. Last night, we went to LAX to get me a rental car.

This would be Peter’s first-ever solo road trip. Jim and I wanted him to have the experience of managing a trans-California trip (is it still “trans” when one travels from south to north?). There are issues of navigation, traffic and rush hour, gas management, alertness. He felt more than ready.

He also wanted to get an early start… because he wanted to make a tee time in the afternoon.

The life.

We got up around 4:00. He followed me down to the Malaga Cove Plaza where I could access an ATM…. gave him some money… and off he went.

He ended up with a few navigational challenges, but arrived in Davis before noon with a successful solo road trip under his belt.

Yay P.


As for me, today was going to be a lot of this:


The hospital zone.

Ventilator; IVs for fluids, antibiotics, sedation; pick lines; Foley catheters. Got refamiliar with the monitors, ICU terminology, the color coding of hospital coats (navy for nurses, green for respiratory, brown for phlebotomists), the location of the gajillions of hand sanitizers. There’s a rhythm to the whole affair, and pretty soon you’re right in there with the best of them: you walk into the room after lunch, give a quick glance at the monitors, read the board for any updates, and inquire about her most recent muca-mist procedure (did anything come up?). You know the lead nurse, the nurse nurse, the nurse’s assistant. You know the guy who delivers meals, the PT who’s on for the day. You know when the doctor is likely to make her/his rounds and the tests she/he is likely to report on.

It’s all about getting mom better and home.

Where Adventures Begin

August 1, 2016

We got news from Palos Verdes at 4:00am that 9-1-1 was called and mom was being taken in to emergency for evaluation. It was a very good thing that Chris had decided to stay the night.

Under the circumstances, we decided to forgo our round at Torrey Pines… playing a round of golf didn’t feel right. We decided, however, that since we were there, we’d spend the day exploring campus and see a little more of La Jolla. Instead of staying another day, though, we planned to return to PV. We knew mom was stable and in safe hands. We expected that she’d be admitted and we would visit her this evening.

Started the day at Torrey Pines.. not playing golf, but having breakfast. We sat under the trellis behind the first hole, watching people tee off. That is the Pacific Ocean in the distance beyond. The 18th hole is just out of the photo to the left.

A lovely setting.


The Torrey Pines Lodge is quite handsome and elegant… and all about golf. Torrey Pines was the site of Tiger’s 2008 US Open victory…


We were looking at the 18th green while eating breakfast. The restaurant part of the Lodge is the brown building on the left side of the photo (a photo that hangs in the hallway on the way to the bathroom).


Peter was, still is, in a golf-obsessed haze. He hoping to play a lot of golf here.

After breakfast, we hit the campus. We were most interested in seeing Revelle…


Of note. Forty two years ago, I was accepted at UCSD (who wasn’t?), Revelle College. I chose Revelle, one of four colleges at the time, because it was the math/science college (now, we’d call it STEM). I entered UCSD as a math major (don’t laugh), but before classes even began, I had major-remorse and switched to Muir (what outdoorsy gal wouldn’t?). I held onto my math major for a little while, switching to econ when I aced my first ever economics class, then finally settled on undeclared in my third year. I know, funny time to lose one’s way.

Well, more to that story, but, point is, I, too, was a Revelle admit. How this tugged at all my nostalgia/poignant buttons while we lost ourselves in the concrete/eucalyptus vastness.

Peter was most interested in seeking out places like this…


We also checked out Revelle’s dorm community…


Taking this photo, high atop the Revelle campus, made me choke up.  In this, I see a kid who’s ready to go to college, really pleased that he’s going to UCSD, and yet a little guarded, a little tentative. All the time we were walking around, he seemed open and eager, at moments even bold, and then at times he seemed like he was careful not to be too eager, like he was protecting himself from any disappointment.  I could tell he wanted everything to be just right; he didn’t want to walk around any corners and be disappointed.  I’m sure his mind was going a million miles a minute, imagining himself there in a couple months. I know he’s excited and I know it was a big deal to be here.

It was all I could do to keep all my weepy emotions in check (I did) and not hug him every five minutes (I managed not to).

I also want him to love every little thing. I want him to have the time of his life.


Deep breath.

After walking all over the Revelle campus, we meandered down toward Warren, the library, some other new parts of campus that weren’t there when I was… some pics:

This is a large student center of some sort, with the library dead ahead. It’s a very attractive, expansive plaza, nestled among towering trees. A very cool feature is the tribute to each and every graduating class–those concrete benches on the left–dating back to … I’m not sure… the sixties, I think.


I didn’t graduate from UCSD, so I took a picture of the year I entered school there:


And, of course, the architecturally renowned Geisel Library. I did, in fact, spend due time sitting in a study carrel, jutting out over the forest:


I went in to find a bathroom and found this vending machine… new to me!


And here’s this engineering building with the house on top again (I must have shared a similar photo in about January 2015):

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After a few hours walking around campus, we decided to check out a little of downtown La Jolla (the Village)… the beaches were crowded, even on a Monday, though not in this particular spot.

This is along Coast Blvd, a place we could finally pull over:


We couldn’t find parking anywhere near the cove, so didn’t get out, but it, and everything else along the coastal route, was spectacular (and spectacularly crowded). On a Monday.

Then we headed back up toward campus, wanting to check out the Glider Port. Very worthwhile! Hundreds of cars parked in a huge dirt lot, and trails along the cliffs where you could watch these guys:


If you looked in the other direction, you’d see a few Torrey Pines golf course holes.  And the Salk Institute was down that road, too.

Stopped at a red light, I caught this view and thought it prophetic:


The sign on the bench reads, “Where Adventures Begin.”




August 1, 2016

We headed back up the coast, arriving at Torrance Memorial by about 5:30. Mom was checked into Room 3136 in ICU.

Turns out, she’d contracted a bug (we later learned staph), which lead to pneumonia, which lead to respiratory failure, which lead to lung collapse…. and in order to sustain breathing needed a ventilator.

All serious stuff. She was in very able hands, however. Very grateful for Chris, very grateful for Torrance Memorial.

She was heavily sedated, due to being intubated, and seemed completely asleep. In fact, she was aware, able to communicate in a limited way, and glad we were there. She listened to stories about the day, and responded by squeezing her hand or moving her eyebrows. 

Matt had come up with the idea of putting a pen in her hand and having her communicate by spelling out words. He shared some of her written comments. They revealed a knowing about her situation, including questions about what was going to happen. It was profound.

I liked the idea of communicating in this manner, as it gave her a part in the conversation. The dialogue shifted to lighter topics, and even social commentary. She filled sheets and sheets. Fascinating where the mind goes. 


Matt tried using his iPad, which didn’t work as well because we couldn’t move the writing surface quickly enough to capture individual letters… but it was a good effort!

I liked when she accused a nurse of being dismissive, and when she determined the whole experience to be obtuse.


She won’t remember any of this, due to the verced, but it was worthwhile conversation nonetheless.


Flood, River and Ocean

July 31, 2016

Welp, started the day with a big flood. I can think of a thousand things I’d rather have had happen… but, flood it was.

Old house, aging pipes, overload (Peter’s long showers may work in Davis, but not Palos Verdes)… whatever it was, it resulted in water rising in mom’s bathroom, covering the floor, soaking the rugs, walls and other low-lying items. A big messy mess.

Chris did the lion’s share of the cleaning.. here he is, rubber glove-clad, hauling out a load of wet matter:


Very unlike me–iPhone documentarian that I am–I missed all the best flood photos. Probably better that way.

Mom and I decided to stay to deal with plumbers (who, actually, never came, this being Sunday and all), and once everything was cleaned up, Chris and Peter headed out for the party:


They had a lot of fun.

Mom and I spent the afternoon playing gin rummy. As usual, she won most of the games.

Peter and Chris returned. Mom didn’t feel her Sunday best, but we figured Grey Goose, double espresso, rich meal, late night, the drama of the morning’s flood… she’d be okay. Peter and I took off for points south–La Jolla, here we come!

Happy to be strolling along the strand in La Jolla shores… one of us pretending he’d never seen the other goofball before in his life…


This is actually what he’s looking at… the scene at La Jolla shores…


As we seem to do, we’d arrived just in time for sunset…


The beach was packed with people, pit fires, activity….

Decided to eat at the La Jolla Shores Restaurant (and Hotel). We actually had a great dinner, and most certainly got a great table. Our view, as the sun disappeared beneath the horizon…


…and then…


After dinner, we walked around the shores area.  Peter was feeling comfortable, as we’d been there for Grandpa’s 90th… a year ago January… and he remembered a lot.

Lots of twinkly lights, restaurants, bars…


We stayed at the Sheraton, up the hill and adjacent to the university. Good place.

Tomorrow: UCSD, Torrey Pines, La Jolla Village, and the cove.










Road Trip

July 30, 2016

Got back to Davis from Yosemite on a Friday night… left for Southern California on a Saturday morning.

We had all kinds of reasons for this quick trip:

Top of my list: wanting to squeeze in some special together time with Peter before he flies the coop.  Also, having missed the June UCSD orientation, Peter was feeling like he needed to get a feel for the campus before he moves down there for good. It’s also River’s first birthday party weekend… so a triply good time for a road trip. Bonus buys: see Grandma, play Torrey Pines.

No time to waste.

Even a day spent on I-5 is time well spent when you’re with your college bound kiddo. Hit the South Bay, exited the 405 at Rosecrans and headed west. Made it by sunset…


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Checked in at the comfy Inn at 2915. Mom seemed great. Chris, mom, P and I had a nice (if noisy) dinner at Admiral Risty (wow, it’d been a long time)…. ran into some people we knew, had cocktails (mom loves her Grey Goose), excellent fresh fish… capped our late night dinner with double espressos and dessert….facts that may or may not be relevant, but there they are.

Good start to what would become a memorable couple of days.



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