Archive for March, 2016

Only In L. A.

March 13, 2016

drummer at gas station

I had been dreading the training in L.A. Every March I go for six days to train on the same assessment instrument. It’s mind-numbingly boring. The trainer goes over every item three times. It’s demeaning too. They make us repeat “hoax” three times like we wouldn’t know how to pronounce it even though we’ve tested children on the items for years. We stay at the airport Marriott, where it’s hard to walk anywhere. We’re in class from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The only bright spot was that my team leader Judy is very fun. Unfortunately, she had a stomach bug the first four days so we didn’t go out much. I did take the trolley to Manhattan Beach with some other colleagues and had a great dinner at Momma D’s.

Today was the last day of instruction. Jim, who asks way too many picky questions, was asked to demonstrate how to assemble and disassemble the Schorr board, used for measuring the students; heights. His presentation had us rolling in the aisles because it was so precise. Then we had a competition. Who could assemble and disassemble the Schorr board the fastest. Below is a photo of Judy in the contest.


Mabel won.

Tonight Judy and I walked to The Westin to have dinner. We caught Happy Hour and she had a carafe of wine. I stuck with soda water. We nibbled on appetizers.

On the way back we saw smoke at the gas station and heard live music outside Denny’s on Aviation Boulevard. As we drew nearer, we saw a big red, shiny pickup truck with a guy in the truck bed. He was playing on a full drum set with a huge speaker blasting the melodies. He even had a smoke machine.

We stopped and Judy started to dance. People stopped to hear the music and watch Judy. Soon cameras appeared. Cars stopped at the light opened their windows, stuck out their hands with cameras and took videos and photos.

The drummer gave Judy a drumstick and she went to town playing with him.



I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. I sent the video to her husband and daughter and posted it on YouTube. It’s entitled “Only in L.A.”  I tried to upload it to this blog but couldn’t.

Do Not Resuscitate

March 6, 2016

Last month I bought a medical alert bracelet and began to wear it. It says, “Do Not Resuscitate.” I do not have a dread disease or a chronic condition. I believe when it’s my time to die, I want to do so without any fanfare or measures taken. The first days I wore the bracelet I had some weird dreams about dying but that ended and I’ve been fine about it.

The amazing part of the experience has been the reactions of others. My sons pressed me to reveal my illness. I had already explained my attitude two years ago when I finally made out a new will, with the help of Bill Gibney and Cheryl Parker. I did not make any of my children my health representative. I remember how that weighed heavily on my shoulders when I had to make medical decisions for my mother who had dementia. I asked my no-nonsense friend Marlene to honor my wish not to be resuscitated and to pull the plug if anyone ignored my first directive.

Marlene asked me to clear this with my sons so there were would be no hard feelings when the time came. All three of my sons were relieved not to have to make that hard medical decision. I reminded them that they shouldn’t argue with whatever Marlene decided.

Now that I’m wearing a physical manifestation of my wishes, they are uncomfortable with it.

“What if you could fully recover?” one asked. “Wouldn’t you want to see your granddaughters graduate from college?”

Of course I’d love to see my granddaughters graduate from college, find their lives’ passions, and have families if they wish. But I don’t HAVE to see it. It would be nice but I’ve had a good life. I feel good about how I’m leaving the world a little better place. I haven’t had the same mark as my crusading Civil Rights parents, but I’m comfortable with the life I’ve led.

When my friend of fifty-five years saw the bracelet this week, she freaked. She wanted to get a nail clippers and cut it off. I find such reactions amusing. I know it means people love me and want me around. That feels very good.


Check out my adventures in Cuba in December on Cuban blog