Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick Or Treat & The First Update Friday.

Happy Halloween Everyone! Don't forgot at 2 a.m. Sunday morning this weekend you set your clock back one hour. Spring forward fall back is the ridiculous exercise we do twice a year. I wish they would leave the darn clock alone.

On to tonight. I love Halloween. I love the little monsters, goblins, ghosts, and princesses that stop at my door every Halloween. Love it so much that when I moved to this neighborhood ten years ago I gave out full size bars and now I am a neighborhood tradition. I give out the full size bars for two reasons. One, I love the reaction on the faces of the kids when they get a full sized bar. Two, it is cheap all year round protection. I think I am the only house in my neighborhood that hasn't been tped in the ten years that I've been here. Certainly the bars are cheaper than having to clean up messes!

On to other things. Mom is adjusting now to the arrangement with the live in caregiver. That takes a lot of worry away fro me. There are still a lot of responsibilities for me. I have to take care of two houses, do all the grocery shopping for both houses, doctors' appointments, social outings and the list goes on. Sometimes it is very overwhelming. Since I am feeling overwhelmed today and it helps me to know others out there are dealing with the same situation I would like all of you that are reading this to do two things; 1. Whether you are caring for an elderly parent or not I'd like to know what you are doing for Halloween & 2. For those of you that are caring for aging parents update me on how the things are going between you and your elderly loved one.

For the next couple of weeks I am going to call Fridays, Update Friday. We will use the next few Fridays as the day when those caring for elderly parents can tell us what is going on in their lives, what concerns you have with your loved ones, what is the most difficult thing that you face with them, what is the thing you like the most about care giving, you can vent, or just tell us anything you want. For those out there that haven't posted yet, we don't discriminate here, if you are caring for an elderly parent tell us about it, if you have parents closing in on the time when they may need more care tell us your concerns. In addition for those of you that aren't caring about elderly parents I would still love updates on your lives. Your joys, your concerns, your stresses. For the next couple of weeks, Fridays my blog is yours!

May you remember to fall back at 2 a.m. Sunday morning!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Week 1 - Farm Team Transition - One Step Forward, One Step Back.

The class last night was titled "The Transition Farm Team" and is a three week long class. It is a connector class between the beginning class and the advance class. It is a relatively new class as when they didn't have the transition class students would get to week one of the advanced class and quit as they didn't think they were prepared for the advanced class. This class is designed to give you the skills to compete with several different levels of performers in the advanced class. It is more of a teaching class with a lot of games but the games being stopped often to teach. It is going to be hard to explain some of the games that we did last night because you really had to be there to experience them. The class is taught by Herb Spice. He was assistant instructor to Patrick Short in Comedy Sportz101. Both are really good teachers with different teaching styles. Both have been doing improvisation for over twenty years. Herb's teaching style is more hands on but combined with a tremendous amount of fun.

The first game we played last night was called Remote Control. You had to be there to see this, words just cannot describe how funny this was. Four people get on stage. The class members shout out a location of where the scene is to take place. Last night some of the places were the post office, the airport, the park. The first person starts with a line that is in response to a line the person standing next to him hasn't said. For instance, in the post office scene the line was "OK, the I will just go get some stamps." Each one of the four on stage decides what he is going to do and when he is to enter the scene. In the post office scene, one of the four ran over to the other side of the stage and served as a postal clerk. Herb's remote control is a whistle. The scene starts going forward but every time Herb hits the remote control (blows the whistle) the scene reverses and plays the opposite direction. If you are going forward when he blows the whistle the scene is played backwards including the physical movements like walking backwards. Sometimes he hit the remote four or five times in ten seconds, sometimes when he hit reverse, he didn't hit the remote again until the scene went all the way back BEFORE the first line. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. As did the rest of the class. The thing that was the most amazing is it was the funniest when people screwed up. That was the main lesson of the game, failure isn't always bad in improv. All that matters to the audience is that you are trying hard and giving your best. Seems like it is not only a good lesson in improvisation but life as well.

There were several other games played last night but the one that I enjoyed the most of course is the one that I think I did the best at. It was the interview, interviewee game that we did one week in the 101 class. However, there were two differences, one the audience yelled out the interviewee's character and two, the scene was stopped when Herb blew his whistle. He only blew his whistle when he felt the scene was at its peak and couldn't be any funnier. In our scene I was interviewed by Seth. It was the shortest scene of the night. One question, one answer, the whistle blew. Here is the two line scene:

Audience: Lasso Champion.

Seth: How did you get to be a Lasso Champion?

Me: I kind of got roped into it.

The Transition Farm Team Class is going to be very challenging, I have a long ways to go to be as good as most of the class, I am probably in the bottom third of the class but this is a very talented group and it really is an honor to think that someone felt I fit in enough to move up to this class.

May all your forward scenes in life be rewarding and may you only play the happy scenes in reverse!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Week 8- One Door Closes, Another Door Opens.

Pat and Lady Dr were right, one stage two doors, two hours of improv. Even though last night wasn't my best night it was still a great deal of fun and I am looking forward to Wednesday night. Out of eight weeks of class there were two nights when I felt I wasn't on my game, last night and week six. The amazing thing is that I probably learned more those two nights then I did the other six weeks combined. Last night I discovered another reason that I took the class, to find my voice and how best that I can use that voice to help myself and others. I also learned last night another area that I have improved in. Being shy and lacking confidence, criticism used to just do me in but last night I found criticism rewarding and the best way to improve. I was used as an example twice last night, once as a good example, and once with my stage partner the two of us were used as bad example. The really ironic thing is that I preferred being used as a bad example. It helped me develop a goal to get better.

Remember me saying last week that for a beginning class this class has a very high level of talent. It is really challenging to live up to that talent. Pat made a comment last night that there was nobody in the class that wasn't good enough to move up to The Farm Team. Herb, the Farm Team teacher, said that was the first time in over sixty classes that Pat has made that comment. Usually there are six or seven that just aren't ready to move on.

On to last night. Stage divided into three parts. On the left is one door entering into one room, on the right is another door entering into a second room, the middle of the stage is neutral territory where the class members enter the stage. The game starts with a host/hostess is in each room. Three professionals visited the class last night. The game started with two of the pros being the host/hostess. A class member enters the stage and enters through a door into a room. The host/hostess then goes into character and the visitor follows suit. After a couple of minutes the visitor leaves the first room and enters the second room. There the host/hostess again starts the scene. After two or three minutes the host in the second room leaves the stage, the visitor becomes the host. A new class member enters the stage and goes into the room where the host just left. This continues throughout the night until every class member has been a visitor twice and a host twice. Throughout the night the professionals enter the stage at their will to help a stalled scene or to add to a scene.

My favorite scene of the night was where Bryan was the host and Sonja was the visitor. Bryan was a little kid in a grocery cart that had to go to the bathroom. Sonya was his mother and wasn't letting him go. Pat, the pro instructor, entered the stage and said "Can I help you with your child?" Sonya went ballistic, telling Pat to but out because she knew what was best for her child. It was hysterical. You have to give Sonya a lot of credit for taking on a pro like that.

Just a couple of my scenes. I won't give the whole scenes as I've already forgotten most of them. The first one I was the visitor. John was the host. Gender certainly doesn't matter in improv. skits.

John "You know I've been wearing these lose fitting outfits for a couple of months."

Me. "Please, don't tell me you are pregnant."

John. "Yes, you are just going to have to get a job."

Me. "After all these years I have got to get a job? Surely, you jest!"

Pat stops the scene here. Here I was used as a good example. In the last comment I gave the audience the history of the relationship. The first one of the night to do that. Pat says that in improv. history is one of the most important aspects as it helps to build the scene and takes the audience along for the ride. There are so many little things to remember in improv., give history, don't ask a question, don't ever say no, and never issue a denial.

The next I was also a visitor. Stuart was the host.

Stuart. "Coach, I don't want to go in the game I just can't do it, I might get hurt."

Me. "You wimp, suck it up and get your ass in the game."

Stuart "No, I don't want to."

We really went in circles during the rest of the skit until Pat stopped the skit and used us as an example of what not to do on stage. LOL. Pat is just the most amazing instructor and when he uses you as a bad example he does it with the most amazing touch and then gives examples of how we could have gotten out of the circle. He really teaches instead of blames, he teaches how to be successful instead of focusing on failure.

A couple of more notes about last night. Almost everyone in class thought last night was much easier then when we did the scenes in reverse the previous week. Not yours truly, I thought last week was extremely easy and last night was extremely hard. In addition it was up to the class members to when they wanted to go up on stage. You were free to enter the stage at anytime. I waited to enter the stage until there were people on the stage that I thought I would connect with. Wow, is my judgment bad. Next time I am just getting up when the mood strikes instead of basing my time to enter the stage on who is on the stage!

May doors open for all of you today and for the rest of your lives!

Monday, October 27, 2008

An Exciting Week Ahead.

This is an exciting week for me but most likely will be boring for you readers. There are two comedy classes this week and you poor souls will get to read about each one. More about the classes later.

The week got off to a great start yesterday with my weekly brunch with my good friend, Ted. I didn't have brunch with him last Sunday because instead I went to a Body, Mind, & Spirit Expo. I had both a Tarot reading and a psychic reading. Yesterday was two week catch up of men talk between Ted and I. After brunch I went over to Mom's and we voted. Oregon does vote by mail so you can vote pretty much anytime. While there are some things I like about vote by mail, I really do miss the days of going to the polls. There was just something special getting up on election day, dressing your best, going to the precinct, and participating in the democratic process. After voting I took our ballots to a drop off site.

Tonight is graduation night of Comedy Sportz 101. WOW! Did that eight weeks go fast. Here is the email about the class tonight:

CSz 101, Class #8
10/27/08 Class starts at 730 pm

2 Doors, 24 players, 120 minutes, invited guests, Patrick.

Fun times await at CSz. You've been exposed to the skills, now use them in scenes. What's behind the door? Open it to find out.

Improvisationally yours,

Herb Spice

For some reason this email scares me because it sounds like we will be part of a improv skit taking part on two different stages and that the pros will be there. It is so ironic that even though it scares me, I am so looking forward to it.

When I signed up for this class I took it to gain confidence, get over shyness, meet people, and stretch my psyche. I am a lot more confident and still shy but not as excruciatingly so. I have a long ways to go. I'm just not there yet. I know I am getting better because of two things that happened this weekend. Yesterday at brunch with Ted we struck up a conversation with a nice man sitting next to us that was having brunch with his mom. He was a banker. When I got up to leave his Mom grabbed me by the arm and said "Hi my name is, and I want to meet you because you are the only CPA I've met that has a personality." Saturday when I was having lunch with Mom and she blurted out to the couple next to us that I was taking comedy classes, the wife asked why. When I told her I had trouble in social situations her response was a very sarcastic "Yeah, I can tell." Because I'm improving but not there yet I want to go on with some type of class. While the improv class has been really fun I wanted to do something that scares me even more because it seems like going out of my comfort zone makes me a better person. I've been looking for standup comedy classes in Portland. Haven't been able to find one yet. I've found a four week standup class in Seattle, a five week one in San Francisco, a six week one in Burbank, and a ten week one in Santa Monica. Since due to my circumstances right now I can't be away from Portland more than a week or ten days, those out of city classes are out of the question right now. Maybe if circumstances change it would be fun to be in another city for four to ten weeks! Just not now. Since there doesn't seem to be standup classes in the Portland area I decided to move on to the next level of improv classes.

The next level of classes put on by Comedy Sportz is called "The Farm Team". The Farm Team classes are available any Wednesday night during the year, all you have to do to participate in the class is give them five bucks at the door and you are in. The next three Wednesday night classes are reserved only for class members from the just completed Comedy Sportz 101. What happens is that during the Farm Team class is whenever the instructor thinks you are ready they put you in their Sunday afternoon amateur show. If you do well in the Sunday show there is a chance to be in the pro show. I'm not taking the class to be in any show. I'm just taking it to improve. The Farm Team will fill in for me until my life frees up enough for me to take a class in one of those other cities.

Hope this is a great week for you. Thanks for listening to my boring rants about the classes but you wonderful ladies were the ones that encouraged me to take the classes, I owe you a debt of gratitude for that!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Week In Review - A Proud Mom.

Let's get the Mom stuff out of the way first. Lady Dr. there was still a lot of Mom stuff this week but not as much as last week so I am improving. Monday I took mom to the library, she already finished the four books we checked out last week, Tuesday we went to lunch, Thursday I did her grocery shopping, Friday I took her to the doctor for her six month checkup, and yesterday we went to lunch again. What really struck home this week is how proud my Mom is of me for taking the comedy class. The last time I remember Mom being this proud of me is when I won the Helen Keller award for charity work. After I sold my business the first time I donated my time to charity. I raised money to buy shoes for poor grade school kids, did a toy drive for the children's hospital, did another toy drive for one of the local abused women and children's shelter and spent time at a cancer research center that was investigating a cure for breast cancer. While it is really wonderful to have a parent proud of something that I've done, the way my mom does it is also very embarrassing because no matter what anyone says to her, the first answer is "my son." For instance, "This is the King City Police Department, the city is being overrun by locusts and if you don't evacuate your house in five minutes there will be certain death." "Did you know my son won the. " For two years after I won that award that is how my Mom was. I used to have dreams that I ended up standing at the North Pole when a dog sled came screeching to a halt, an Eskimo would get out and say "Aw, you the one. You won the. " Now, "My son won the " has been replaced by "My son is taking a comedy class." Friday when Mom came out of her doctor's appointment I asked what the doctor had to say, Mom said "I think Dr. B is interested in taking the comedy class." Huh? "I told her you were taking a comedy class to gain confidence and get over shyness. She wanted to know all about it. She thought it was neat that you recognized a weakness and wanted to improve yourself." I'm kind of stunned, I mean how does a conversation like that come up between a doctor and a Mom anyhow? "You need to strengthen your blood pressure medication." "My son is taking a." Now let us move ahead to the lunch on Saturday. A really nice couple with a young daughter was sitting next to us. I was kind of curious what kind of soup the lady had ordered so we struck up a conversation with them. Within seconds my mom said "I have to tell you my son is taking a comedy class." I've heard rumors now that there is a mass mailing going out this week so I want to apologize to the person in Outer Mongolia that is probably going to receive my picture from Mom with a note "this is my son, he is taking a."

On to the rest of the week. On Monday at my request I had lunch with the two fellows that bought my business. I wanted to be released out of one of the terms of the sales agreement. I had agreed basically to be on call for them seven days a week, so if a former client requested me to be at the interview between them and the new guys I would be able to do that. This resulted in making myself available all week for maybe 15 to 20 hours of work. This year during tax season I would like a lot more hours of work then that. Like the rest of the world I've taken a bit of a hit on my mutual funds and would like to recover some of the loss through work. We agreed that if I would make myself available to them to do some corporate returns then I could be free to explore other per diem work. Now I am doing a resume to send out to firms in a couple of cities for tax season support work. Tax season support work usually last ten weeks, from February 1 to April 15th. Right now with my care giving responsibilities the most time that I could get away from Portland is seven to ten days. Sis and her husband are considering moving here in January which would free me up to go to another city for ten weeks. Per diem pay in the LA area is twice what it is in Portland. Working in another city may be a pipe dream but I like to dream. At minimum I know I can get a job in the Portland area. That is more of a reality than a dream.

Wednesday I had lunch with Al. Also as part of the sales agreement I was allowed to keep five corporate clients. I kept the clients that had sold their businesses in 2008. Sales of businesses usually result in some very intricate transactions that have to be reported a certain way on the tax returns or the client ends up owing more than he should. Usually the best accountant to prepare the tax return of the sold business is the one that worked on the sales agreement. Al was the sole owner of a convenience store until this last September when he sold it for an astounding price. Their business year end is September 30. The purpose of the lunch was for me to pick up his books. Now on my to do list is the company's tax return. By the way Al is the one that I went to the Nike shareholder meeting with. He is a great guy and I always enjoy his company.

I'm really looking forward to next week and I will be reporting on the week ahead tomorrow.

What was your week like last week? What does the week on the horizon look like for you?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Jennifer Hudson

Oscar (Dream Girls) winning actress Jennifer Hudson's mom and brother were found murdered in their Chicago, Illinois home yesterday and her seven year-old nephew, Jullian, has been reported as missing. A nationwide Amber alert has been issued for the young nephew.

Hudson returned to Illinois from Florida where she was promoting her recent film The Secret Life of Bees to mourn. Willain Balfour a suspect in the deaths of Darnell Donerson, 57, and Jason Hudson, 29, has been arrested. Illinois Department of Corrections show that Balfour is on parole after spending nearly seven years in prison for attempted murder, vehicular hijacking and possessing a stolen vehicle. Public records show one of Balrfour's addresses as the home where the murders took place. Balfour was once married to Hudons's older sister, Julia. The Hudson family is requesting privacy.

This is just to awful for words. What in the world was a man as dangerous as Balfour doing out on parole?

My heart goes out to Hudson and Hudon's family.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Oliver Stone's third movie on presidents, the first two being Nixon and J.F.K.

For a Stone movie a relatively even-handed, restrained treatment of recent politics. Actually well researched.

Opens with a post 9-11 cabinet meeting jumping back and forth from now to then to begin a processions in the life of "W." as a privelged party boy with something to prove. A strained relationship with his father, "W." is constantly seeking his dad's approval and seldom if never getting it, usually taking a back seat in his father's eyes to Jeb. The movie is dominated by the Iraq War and "W's" transformation to a born-again sober Christian.

Well cast with sure to be two Oscar nominated performances. Best actor nod for Josh Brolin as "W." and best supporting actor for Richard Dreyfus as Dick Cheney. Other good performances by Elizabeth Banks as Laura Bush, James Cromwell as daddy Bush, & Ellen Burstyn as Barbara Bush

So-so perfomances by Scott Glenn as Rumsfeld, Stacy Keach as the preacher leading the religous conversion of "W.", Jeffrey Wright as Colin Powell, & Bruce McGill as George Tenet.

The worst performance in the movie was Thandi Newton as Condi Rice. Her talent just didn't measure up to the rest of the cast. Her performance often distracted me from the story.

One football for Brolin, One for Dreyfus, One For Stone actually not turning fact into fiction. Three footballs. Not a bad movie.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dancing With The Stars Summary - Week 5

I was sorry to see Toni go and Cloris Stay. Cloris did dance well for the second week in row but the way the professional partner comes on to her just gives me the creeps.

Best dances of the nights were the jitterbugs. This is probably the first week this season that I agreed with the judges as to what the top two dances were.

Brook was the best again. Five weeks in a row. There is nothing she can't do. This week Derek, her professional partner, didn't know what the jitterbug was and had to learn it as he was teaching it to Brook. I think that resulted in an awesome dance because he taught at her level as opposed to teaching over her head.

Second Best Dance was Cody. The youngest contestant is coming on strong!

Third in my book was Maurice. Cheryl cracked the whip and it paid off!

Fourth is the fun big guy, Warren Sapp. I love watching him. I also love Kym Johnson, his partner.

Fifth best dance was Toni. I didn't agree with the judges at all, they were to tough on her.

Sixth best dance was Susan Lucci. She does need to come out of her shell a bit and Tony needs to quit treating her like a fine piece of crystal.

Seventh was Lance. I agree with the judges, Lacey didn't pay enough attention to his part of the dance.

Eighth was Cloris. I admit I really don't like her and want her gone.

The results show was great. They had two dance couple 10-12 years old that were absolutely amazing. One of the young couples did an unbelievable Jive, the other young couple nailed the Paso Doble.

It was also nice to see Luis return to the show and dance with Karina to the first musical guest!

Looking forward to next week! May you always dance through life with a smile on your face!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Week 7 - Hitchhiking Home.

This week there were two games. Hitchhiking and The Home Game. The Home Game is actual improv. The night was a blast! I did really great with The Home Game! There was absolutely no stage fright. Not even during the Home Game. As Lady Dr commented last week, I've come a long way baby.

In the hitchhiking game four people are on stage sitting in a "car". The class members not on stage form a line around the room. The four on stage start out with each playing a character. The first member in the line off the stage then will hitchhike, the car on stage stops, one of the four gets out of the car, and the hitchhiker gets into the car. When he/she gets into the car he/she defines his/her character. The ones in the car can go along with the character getting into the car or stay in their own character. When it was my turn, I just said, "It his so nice to be in fresh air after twenty years of confinement." Then while in the car I would say one word sentences. "Kill", "Dahmer", "Bundy", The rest went along with it and it was pretty funny. I had a really hard time not laughing on stage. Everyone in class did extremely well. There are some high level talents in this class.

The Home Game started as soon as everyone in class had a chance to be in the car. Before describing the game, some rules. You can't ask a question on stage. You can't say "no" on stage. There can't be a "denial" on stage. Any one of those are a scene stopper. If any class member violated any of the aforementioned rules then instructor Pat had to do ten push ups. If Pat got tired of doing pushups, then he did sit ups. His take on it was that if he made the class members that screwed up do the pushups he would have been an ass, but by doing the pushups himself then he was a nice guy. The idea of the game is to create scenes on stage. The class divides into two equal groups. One group stands on the left side of the stage, the other group stands on the right side of the stage. Once you get on stage you crisscross and go to the end of the opposite line. Part one of the game was to create a two line scene. Part two of the game was to create a four line scene. I will explain parts three and four of the game later. After each part of the game the two class lines would mix up so that you were never on stage twice with the same person. The first person in each line gets on stage. The person that enters the stage from the right side, gives the opening line, the person that enters from the left side of the stage gives the second line. An example:

"My wife made this beautiful roast for you."

"It was so very kind of you to do that, while my husband in the hospital."

In part two of the game, you move on to a four line scene and it is with a different class member. Example:

"I just heard." (if it had been, Have you heard?, Pat would have done ten pushups.)

"The Boss is in Portland this weekend."

"The concert has been cancelled"

"But I paid a thousand smackers for these tickets."

Now comes the really difficult part of the evening, Parts 3 & 4 of the Home Game. Again the class lines shift so that you are on stage with a different class member each time. In this game the scene plays in reverse, then is replayed in order. In part three it is a two line scene, in part four it is a four line scene. In Part three the first person on stage gives the *second* line, and the second person on stage gives the first line, then the scene is repeated in proper order. Here is my two line scene as the second person on stage.

"I can't believe you did that two me." Carolyn.

"I'm sorry I cheated on you, but everything was so tempting." Me

Scene then replays in the proper order.

"I'm sorry I cheated on you, but everything was so tempting."

"I can't believe you did that to me."

Now we move on to Part 4 of The Home Game. A four line scene. The first person on stage gives the fourth line first, the second person on stage gives the third line second, the first person on stage then gives the second line, and the second person on stage gives the first line. The scene is then replayed in proper order. Here is my four line scene as the second person on stage. Now remember in all parts of the Home Game you have no time to think, you have to respond immediately to the lines.

Janet. "I am sorry that they all have to come out."

Me. "Give it to me gently."

Janet. "I have the results of the X-Rays."

Me.: "It looks like you have some news for me." (Do you have news for me? Pushups)

The scene is replayed in the proper order:

"It looks like you have some news for me."

"I have the results of the X-Rays."

"Give it to me gently."

"I am sorry that they all have to come out."

Pat ended up doing 120 pushups and 25 situps. Remember that there are thirty class members which resulted in the four part game having 120 scenes. Not one of the pushups or situps was caused by either me or anyone of my "stage partners." We didn't break any rules. The Carolyn mentioned above, right before I was her stage partner, had to do a scene over five times, resulting in 50 of Pat's pushups. Poor woman. However, she did really well with me.

I loved the class this week. I discovered several things. I can think on my feet, I prefer to be the second line in the scene, my stage fright is becoming old news, and I can hold me own with a variety of talents. Learning that I liked being the second line in the scene is just the opposite of last week when when I preferred to define characters for others than having one defined for me. Interesting information that I really need to think about. What do you think, wasn't last night's class self-informative and interesting?

Next week the professionals from their weekly show are visiting the class and we are going to get an opportunity to be on stage with them! I'm ready!

Hope the scenes in your life will always play out in a way that is rewarding for you!

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Friend Needs Suggestions For Her Dad

Snugpug is a daily reader of the blog. Like a lot of us here she cares for an elderly parent. Like a lot of us here she sometimes faces issues that she would like input on. Snug is from Singapore.

Here is the email I received from her yesterday:

Hi Bill,

It is very kind of you to open up your blog so that those of us with elderly parents can exchange ideas.

I'm sorry I haven't the experience to contribute, especially to LadyDR. But it does sound like so many people have given so many good ideas.

I do have a question, if you don't mind posting it. I'm concerned that my father is getting very detached. His hearing degenerated a long time ago. He had hearing aids for a while but lately has given up on them. By this year, he started to lose vision in one eye because of MD. He no longer reads, nor watches TV because of the sight and hearing problems.

For a while, his interest was food. And then that came to a halt last Christmas because his Parkinson's had reached a state where he lost his swallowing reflex and had to have a feeding tube.

That was a very depressing holiday season for him, and for all of us. But luckily, after months of physiotherapy, his doctor and therapist decided that he have the tube removed. He still can't eat proper meals, everything has to be blended into a pudding consistency, and he cannot drink liquids, but must have thickener stirred into his water.

Basically, my question is: Is there any activity that I can get him interested in? He doesn't like to participate in any elderly day care things, partly because of immobility and also because he can't hear very well, and has distanced himself, even from family members. I don't like the idea that he withdraws into silence almost all day.

Back to me. Gosh Snug you are dealing with way to much. My heart just goes out to you. The one thing that I noted in your email that stuck home with me and I don't really have a suggestion just a worry and a tip for something to watch out for. My dad had Parkinson's and what we learned after the fact, when it was to late to do testing that could have resulted in treatments to delay the onset of dementia, is that Parkinson's is often but not always a percursor to dementia. Have him tested for dementia as early as you can.

OK, the blog has the most wonderful women posters and you always step up to the plate when asked. Step up to the plate again and give Snug some suggestions. And if you are reading the blog and haven't posted yet and have some suggestions for Snug please post them, none of us bite. Even if there are men out there, don't be afraid that you will be treated any differently, you are always welcome to blog here. Helping another is always a good way to introduce yourself!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Party

The party went fairly well last night. I interacted well with everyone. I did meet a couple of nice single women, a stockbroker and a business owner but they were really to young for me. I did have the underlying feeling that I would have had a lot more fun at the party if I had been with a spouse or a girl friend. I could tell the class has really helped because I was really comfortable introducing myself and going toward people standing on the sidelines to include them.

Dave, the guest of honor, and his wife had a great backyard to have the party. Complete with bar and bartender. Since I don't drink I was an easy customer for the bartender, soda water. There was no tip jar because everything was taken care of the Dave & G. They also catered the party and had some really great food. The gift that Dave's wife gave him for turning 50? A brand new Harley. Wow. Most wives would never give a husband a gift like that, instead being afraid that he would get hurt. The bike is big enough that there is room on the back for G. I just thought it was an unusual gift.

One really sweet and lovely thing happened at the party. I ran into a former client, Kevin & his wife. I haven't seen them since I sold my business. He owns an auto body shop and races cars. She works for the State of Washington. About three years ago he had to put his auto racing career on hold when he was diagnosed with cancer. He told me last night, that three weeks ago they officially told him that he was in remission! For me that was the absolutely best news of the night and made the party even more fun for me.

There was kind of a minor tense situation that involved a former client. A former client from about ten years ago. An exotic dancer. She was referred to me by an attorney that was helping her with both a divorce and a personal injury lawsuit against her employer. However, it really wasn't an employee-employer situation because bars don't pay the dancers, the dancers pay the bars for the opportunity to dance. Then the dancers gave the bars thirty dollars a night for "floor rental." The dancers make all their money from tips. They make pretty good money, then it was about a hundred dollars a night. It is real common for dancers not to file tax returns. However, when they are involved in lawsuits they will always get a question, "have you filed your income taxes?," and if the answer is no it usually results in the loss of the lawsuit. The attorney hired me to file her tax returns for several back years so the answer to that question was yes. We won the lawsuit which included money for education for her. Portland is sometimes a small city and she was at the party last night with her new husband. She recognized me and I could tell she was worried that I would "out" her, which of course I would never do. I mean her husband was treating her with a tremendous amount of respect and she was obviously enjoying being loved, why in the world would anyone want to interfere with two people so much in love? Other than introducing myself to her and her husband in the fashion that I didn't have a clue who she was I pretty much avoided her. She said she was a neighbor of Dave. So she is now living in a ritzy area with a man that loves her. I didn't really know how to handle the situation, after introducing myself I pretty much avoided her. She pretty much clung to her husband, she was never alone enough for me to put her mind at ease that her secret was safe. What would you have done?

It was an interesting night. Hope this is a great day for you!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Week With Mom, A Party Tonight

Some days I just struggle with things to write and often the only things I have to say are all about me which really isn't me. I would rather hear how and what others are doing. However, the only thing I have to write about today is my week and a party that I am going to tonight.

The week started in grand fashion Sunday morning with brunch with my good friends Ted and Doug. After brunch I took Mom to the King City Library so she could check out some books. This was mom's first visit to her local library. King City is a retirement community that operates everything on the honor system. Yes, the honor system. Every resident of King City has a key to the local library. A resident can visit the library any time day or night. Because Mom is having trouble walking long distances now I always put her in the wheelchair and wheel her through where ever she wants to go. Sure it is difficult to get the chair out of the trunk of the car, etc, but I don't mind doing it and since I did it with dad every day for the last three years of his life I'm pretty wheelchair efficient. Mom checked out four books and God love her, said "This should be enough for this week."

Monday I took Mom and I out to get our flu shots and then to lunch. Uusally getting the flu shot is drama free and the shots don't really hurt but this year I knew I was in for a bit of trouble when the pharmacist said to me, "You remind me of my ex-husband." Wow did that shot ever hurt. We had a nice lunch and then I went home for a bit of rest before going to my salvation, the comedy class.

Tuesday it was taking Mom to the bank and the post office. She needed money and stamps. There are always errands to run.

Wednesday one of the caregivers had some things to do so I filled in at Mom's for a couple of hours. She didn't really feel like going out that day so we just talked. Plus before going over there I stopped and got us a couple of frosties from Wendy's for us to partake in. Mom would be happy eating a frosty for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I don't really like frosties but it is one of those special moments that I like to create with Mom so I bit the bullet and shared a frosty with her.

Thursday I didn't really spend a lot of time with Mom but still I had to do some errands on her behalf. She takes a pain pill that is a narcotic so the doctors can't fax it or call it in to the pharmacy, you have to have an actual paper prescription to take to the pharmacy. Off to her doctor's office to pickup the prescription and then off to the pharmacy to get the prescription filled. My niece is a pharmacist so to support her we go to her pharmacy. It is 14 miles from Mom's doctor making this errand a little time consuming. Off to the pharmcy and then back to Mom's to drop off the prescription. On the way home I decided I needed some peace so went to a movie, The Body of Lies.

Yesterday, another caregiver was missing in action. I went over and filled in for a few hours. I took Mom grocery shopping. Again the wheelchair thing. The store we went too doesn't really offer one of those riding wheelchairs to use so this becomes really fun for me, pushing both the grocery cart and the wheelchair at the same time. I survived. After we got to Mom's house we played Yahtzee for an hour. Mom loves to play games. She used to beat me all the time. This time I won two out of three. Seriously, playing Yahtzee with her yesterday turned out to be really traumatic for me. Watching mom struggle with some of the calculations was absolutely heartbreaking. It is so painful to watch as her mind is slowing down, memories of Dad. But what can I do? She needs me, I have to be there for her. I would love to run far away and not face my Mom's declining health but that isn't me. I wish I could be as clueless as my brother and as far away as my sister. Oh, well.

Today I am taking Mom to lunch and to a postal outlet to get some legal documents notarized.

Then tonight I am going to a party. This is the first social situation for me since my new found confidence. It is a 50th birthday party for a former client. He owns a well known cooling and heating company in the Portland area. He is a millionaire with a house that you just couldn't believe unless you saw it. He is a great guy with a very sweet and lovely wife. They have adopted two kids. This party is way above my social element but I want to go to test how I will do in a social situation now as opposed to before the class. Also his wife has said that there will be a couple of single women there for me to meet. From the descriptions of them, they are really to young for me but nothing ventured nothing gained. Already an improvement because before I would have made up an excuse to get out of going to the party just because there were single women there to meet.

How has your week been? Inquiring minds want to know.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

An Elderly Parent Going Blind, A Friend Needs Our Help!

When I started this blog I wanted it to be among other things a place where those of you caring for elderly parents could vent, talk about what it is like to care for a parent, share thoughts and ideas, make it kind of a support group for caregivers, and last but not least ask others for advice and to share information.

Currently one of my good friends and a favorite poster here, Lady DR., is going through a very traumatic situation with her mom and she needs our help. Both she and I want to know if anyone of you out there, those that are reading but have not posted, new folks to the blog, or those of you that have posted before, have ever dealt with an elderly parent facing going blind. Lady DR would like to talk to someone that has gone through the experience.

Here is DR’s situation. Her mom is losing her eyesight with her right eye failing the fastest. The Mom is taking injections that may or may not work. While the doctor is positive, he has given neither DR nor her mother any guarantees. The doctor has also referred DR to The Commission on The Blind. The Doctor and The Commission on The Blind have suggested to DR that they need to start planning NOW. DR’s mom kind of refuses to talk about the possibility of losing her eyesight, which not only concerns DR but also makes it very hard to plan. In addition, the vision issue has blindsided DR because everyone thought it was solved. It becomes even more of an emotional situation when DR recalls that her mom has told her several times that losing her sight is one of her major fears.

I cannot imagine how I would feel if my mom were losing her eyesight. I know I would be both frightened and lost. I would not know which direction to turn.

OK, everyone chime in here. If you have advice and don’t feel comfortable posting on the blog email me at and I will forward your email to DR. Here are the questions:

1. Have you ever dealt with a parent or anyone losing their eyesight and if so do you have any
advice for DR?

2. Have you known anyone that has dealt with a relative that was losing their eyesight and if so,
how did they handle it?

3. Do you have any words of wisdom for DR?

4. Know of any eyesight support groups for people dealing with relatives losing their Eyesight?

5. Even if you haven’t dealt with a relative losing their eyesight do you have any words of
wisdom for Dr.

First thank you Lady DR for allowing me to post this on my blog for feedback and discussion. And thank all of you in advance for your advice and compassion.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dancing With The Stars - Week 4

I was absolutely amazed at how well Cloris Leachman danced this week. I still, however, think she should be the next to go.

This was Rocco's last week. I think the judges were pretty harsh on him but his dance was the worst of the night. Athough he deserved to be sent packing I was really sorry to see him go. In his exit he did create a moment that is sure to be shown over and over again, him asking Bruno to show him how to move his hips. And Bruno did.

Best dance of the night was again by Brook. Right now I don't think she can be beat.

Next best dance was by Lance. Pushed the edge while still following the rules. Most creative of the night.

Third best dance of the night was by the young Cody. He is fastly improving.

Coming in fourth in my eyes this week is Toni Braxton.

Fifth Susan Lucci. I also liked that she got a part of Tony on All My Children.

Sixth place was Warren Sapp. Damn the man is fun and likable but this week he didn't perform the correct dance.

Seventh was Maurice. When you are in the middle of the competition being a free spirit can really hurt you. I hope he makes it to the final four because his free style should be great!

Eight Cloris and Ninth was Rocco.

I'm really looking forward to next week. Two of my favorite dances are the West Coast Swing and The Jitterbug. Should be a fun week!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Week 6 - High School Revisited

Last night the interview-interviewee game took so long that we didn't get to the hitchhiker exercise. The hitchhiker game will kickoff next week's class.

A couple of things before describing the exercise. Gifts in improv are what you give to your partner on stage to help him or her be funny and to make it easier for him/her to come up with some ideas.

Remember in P.E. in high school when teams were chosen for a game and there were even times when you were the captain doing the choosing? There was that poor little goof/geek on the end that was always chosen last for the team. I was never chosen last in P.E., always in the first five or ten taken, and when I was captain I never gave any consideration to the feelings of that poor geek because I wanted to win. Well, last night I got a really good dose what it feels like to be chosen last and it was excruciating. Makes we wish I could return to high school to be captain of a team and pick the geeks first! I don't know what the problem was since many in the class have told me I am the funniest one in class and the instructors are always complimenting me on my quick wit (more so than the others in class). However, none of the class members apparently wanted to be on stage with me last night! It has me questioning myself this morning.

Here is the interview game, also called "endowing characters":

There are two chairs on stage, one for the interviewer, one for the interviewee. The instructor starts the game as an interviewer. He makes an introduction (you can't use gender in the introduction) "Tonight we are lucky to have with us the most noted author on childrens' books, long suffering from diabetes and currently donates all the profits from her books to diabetes research. Welcome to our show, Cathy". The instructor, Pat, will then "interview" Cathy. Asking questions that she can enlarge the character she was just given or just answer the questions. After a couple of minutes the instructor than says "We have enjoyed having you with us today, we will be right back after the commercial break." The instructor moves off of the stage and Cathy moves to the interviewer chair. She then will introduce a "guest", it is up to her which class member to choose, she will say something like this "We are lucky to have with us the oldest living sniper from World War II, currently walking with a cane and is hard of hearing becuase of all the gun shots that went off near their ears, we would like to welcome Sophia." This continues until every class member has a chance to be on stage. The second to last class member chosen was Rachel. She introduced a character "We are lucky to have with us the world's most well know marital arts expert, Bill." That was a really hard character for me. Also she asked questions that didn't help me expand the character. It was very difficult. When she was done inteviewing me I moved to the interviewer chair. Since I was the last one chosen I had to choose one of the instructors as the interviewee.

A couple of things. The instructor said I gave him the best "gifts of the night". Which meant it was easy for him to be funny. We both agreed that I was a great interviewer but a terrible interviewee. We also agreed that Stuart was the class member that did the best on stage last night. He was introduced as a sports star with a very dominant personality. He pretty much, in a very funny way, took over the interview when he was the interviewee. It was hilarious. Before mentioning my introduction and my interview I just wanted to let you know that I had very little stage fright. Nothing like I had the week I did the stand up routine.

"We are very lucky to have with us tonight the world's most foremost relationship expert. They are having a little trouble walking tonight because they just recently got out of the hospital after being shot by an ex. Let us all welcome, Pat."

"Hi, Pat. Thank your for being with us tonight."

"Bill, you are welcome. It is always is nice to see you."

"So, Pat which one of your seven marriages did you learn the most from?"

Pat gave a very funny long answer that had the class rolling. I really don't remember all of it but he learned to play a musical instrument from one of his ex wifes.

"Pat, I hear you are about to be married for the eighth time. Will all your ex wifes be at the wedding?"

Again Pat turned it into a very funny answer that had the class laughing. Then my last question.

"Do you like lawyers?, I mean you must have made several divorce lawyers rich."

He answered the question and the interview and the class ended.

I learned a lot form the class last night. I learned I don't like to be chosen last. I learned I am very good at defining a character for someone else and very good on the fly at coming up with questions. And I learned I don't like having a character defined for me. Not a bad night.

Hope this is a great day for you and that you always get chosen first!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tonight's Class & The Amazing Race

Here is the weekly letter I get from one of the two instructors, Herb, about the class.

ComedySportz Class #6
Character Endowments
10/13/08 Class starts at 730pm

Learn how we create characters on the spot.

Work on character traits by endowing, and being endowed.

Host your own interview show.

Pick up a hitchhiker.

Just another night in the life of an improviser. --

Improvisationally yours,

Herb Spice

Now the one that really has my curiousity (no, not the one making me endowed) but the "Host Your Own Interview Show" followed closely by "Pickup A Hitchhiker". Looks like a fun evening.

I just cannot believe it has been six weeks since the class started. Seems like week one was just yesterday.


I think the problem I am having with this segment of The Amazing Race is there really isn't any team that I dislike. I want to dislike Ken the man that cheated on his wife, Tina, but the two of them seem to be improving their relationship during the race and are semmingly enjoying each other. Plus any man willing to put on tights and a cape and get into a wrestling ring with a woman seems fun to me. Ken & Tina finished first last night.

I want to dislike the Southern Belles, Marissa & Brooke, but just can't. I do get them confused with the divorcees, Kelly & Christy because they look and act alike.

Ty bothers me a bit but I am rooting that the long distance relationship that he has with Aja will be cemented and go from long distance to long term.

Although they finished second last night the mother-son team, Toni & Dallas, just seem like vanilla to me.

Brother and Sister, Nick & Starr are forgetable but not annoying.

I root for all dating couples so I am rooting for Terrance & Sarah, I just wish he would show her a little more respect and compassion.

The frat boys, Andrew and Dan, just don't act like frat boys. That makes me like them more than I would your normal frat boys.

Eliminated last night best friends, Mark & Bill. Eliminated because Mark couldn't remember six moves in a wrestling routine. Even after the poor wrestling performance they still could have finished eight if not for reading a clue wrong. They were penalized thirty minutes for taking a cab when the rule called for another mode of transportation. The thirty minutes allowed for Kelly & Christy to move up from the ninth place finish to the eighth place finish and stay in the race.

My prediction as to the winner of the race. Please be advised that I may change my prediction every week but for this week my favorite to win it all is Ty and Aja.

Hope this is a great week for all of you!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Where I Live

Not much to write about write now so I thought I would take you on a photo journal tour of Sherwood, Oregon including places that I go. If you want a larger view of the pictures just click on the picture that you want a larger view of. For those of you that were here when I hosted the brunch for the Womens' Issues group the three vacant fields that you saw near my house are no more.

Sherwood is about 5 miles of off Interstate 5 and sits approxmiately fifteen miles southwest of Portland, Oregon. The main highway through Sherwood is 99-W. 99-W is the main highway to the Mid-Oregon coast. Seven of the last eight years Sherwood has been the fastest growing little city in Oregon. Seventy miles one direction is the beautiful Mount Hood, Seventy miles the other direction is the mid-Oregon Coast, Seventy miles another direction is the Northern Oregon Coast. And fifteen miles right on down 99-W is dowtown Portland. 99-W becomes Barbur Blvd. which becomes Fourth Street in downtown Portland.

I live in a three bedroom, two and a half bath townhouse, with a very nice but small backyard. Big enough for barbecues and small parties. I live right on the corner of Daffodil and Borchers. My neighbor's (the pickup is his) townhouse and mine are the first houses that you see when you come into Wildflower Village. The Village is made up of townhouses. Most are three bedroom and two and half bath townhouses like mine. My neighbor and I are the only unattached males living in the Village. There are a lot of young married couples with small children, some single moms, and a few retirees.

I thought about turning my backyard into a garden except that I don't like to get dirty and I don't like gardening. Plus it really isn't necessary. With Sherwood you can magically go from a busy little city to farm country in seconds. Just barely one mile from my house you can pick your own fruit and veggies.

Restaurants? Within walking distance of my house are:

fast food restaurants

mid-level restaurants. Rose's Deli. Known for their Reubens and their deserts. Click on the picture and enlarge it and take a look at Granny's Apple Tart or Death By Chocolate.

There also is a high end restaurant. Hunter's Ridge Grill, noted for only using local products, their salmon and their pork chops.

Before or after dinner at The Grill if you need a massage or just to relax at a spa. There is Desirant Day Spa & Salon next door to The Grill.

Need Groceries? Starbucks? There are three Starbucks within walking distance from my house. One in Albertsons', one in Safeway, and a stand alone one. The vacant field that used to be across from my house was turned into to three strip malls. One of the Starbucks is in the right hand corner of the first picture.

They call me by name at Safeway. I walk over there a couple times a day and pass it once or twice or three times on my daily walk (s):

Need to do repairs around the house. Nothing explains what Sherwood is like more than these next two pictures. Home Depot is less than a mile from my house. Right across from Home Depot? The Tualatin River Fish & Wildlife Refuge where you can see almost any type of animal at any time. Rare birds. Deer. You name it. You can walk through the refuge on your own or with a tour. Takes about an hour. It was a little foggy the morning I took the pictures.
If I am interested in seeing a movie, I can walk to the theater. It is on the same lot as Rose's Deli.

After the movie if I need some kind of low end clothes or some appliances or whatever the mood strikes I can walk across Tualatin-Sherwood Road. To Target. By the way Tualatin-Sherwood Road turns into Roy Rogers Road when it crosses 99-W. Named after the famous cowboy? Nope. It is named after a local accountant who served several years on the Washington County Board of Commissioners, he just shares the same name with the cowboy. They named it after the commissioner to honor him for his years of service to the county.

Speaking of Washington County. I live in the outer reaches of Washington County pretty close to where it borders Yamhill County. Mom's assisted living center was in Yamhill County. Yamhill County is also called wine country because of the number of vineyards in Yamhill County. Within twenty miles of my house are maybe fifty to one hundred of vineyards, many with tasting rooms. I don't drink but I do now and then buy wine as a gift. I also love to visit the tasting rooms because the views are so stunning and peaceful. Here is a picture of the Anne Aime Tasting Room and the view from their parking lot.

OK off to read the Sunday paper and the out to brunch with my good friends Ted and Doug. May this be a peaceful day for all of you!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Burn After Reading

Please be advised that my rating system is R to X-Rated as it mentions an adult toy. Now that all of you have jumped ahead to read the rating system here are the particulars:

DIRECTORS: The Coen Brothers.


John Malkovich as a bitter terminated CIA analyst writing a memoir (Osborne Cox)

Tilda Swinton as the adulterous wife of Malkovich (Katie Cox).

George Clooney as Swinton’s faithless lover (Harry Pfarrer).

Frances McDormand as one of two dimwitted gym employees who meets George Clooney
on an Internet dating site. (Like that will happen) (Linda Litzke).

Brad Pitt as the other dimwitted gym employee (Chad Feldheimer).

Richard Jenkins as Pitt’s and McDermand’s boss (Ted Treffon).


A disk containing the memoirs of a CIA agent ends up in the hands of two unscrupulous gym employees who attempt to first extort money from the agent and then later attempt to sell the disk to the Russians.


A good story. I liked it better than I do most Coen brothers' movies. Malkovich is amazing as he always is. I also liked Pitt's performance. Some romance. A lot of troubled relationships. Some relationship twists and turns.

I did have trouble with some of the lacking of details. Blood automatically disappeared from a shooting scene. The movie was supposedly set in 2008 yet an excerpt of Family Feud was shown on a TV with Richard Karn as the host, John O' Hurley has hosted Family Feud since 2006. Normally the Coen brothers would pay more attention to details.

There was the normal Coen brothers violence in the movie.


One football for the gratuitous use of a dildo that would no doubt destroy the self-image of any man watching the movie. The more men with self-image problems the better chance I have.

One football for Malkovich.

One football for Pitt.

One-half football for Jenkins.

Three and a half footballs. Not a bad movie. Just don't take your kids our your elderly parents.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Moving Mom Home

Some of you have asked either in email, here on the blog, or in instant message how the move home for my mom went. It has been just barely over a week and now that things are settling in I thought this would be good time to discuss the not drama free move.

I love my sister dearly. She has been a huge help in caring for first dad and then Mom. I am in awe of her talent as an interior decorator and appreciative of the talent that her and her husband have when it comes to remodeling houses. Sis and her husband did a ton of work remodeling Mom's house before Mom moved home. With the new bedroom, the new carpet, and the new paint job Mom's house looks absolutely marvelous. Nobody could have made a house look more beautiful than sis and her husband did. That being said my sis has an explosive personality. She also often has a tendency to know more about an event that she wasn't at than the people that were at the event. Sis is also extremely protective of Mom's house since she is the one that will get Mom's house should something happen to Mom or should Mom decide to sell the home then sis gets the house at an extremely reduced price. This was my idea since I have a debt free house and since Sis has done more with the care of my parents then my brother and really deserves more.

A little more background so you can understand the drama filled move. Before Mom moved home we hired two caregivers. One was to be there five nights a week. One was to be there two nights a week.. We would give them a furnished bedroom and an evening meal. Neither was to move in. Anyone see where this is going?

The day of the move we found out that the five day caregiver had moved into mom's house. Moved all of her stuff into the spare bedroom. This meant that we had nowhere to put mom's bedroom furniture. That problem was quickly solved. It is in my garage. The garage I spent almost a year cleaning out.

Now come the accusations. We were accused of telling the caregiver to move in so that it would be harder for sis to get the house if she wanted it. She knew that is what we said to the caregiver. Truth is we met with the caregiver three times and never once said she could move in. Sis thinks that once the caregiver is in she can't move out. Sis pretty much treated the caregiver poorly. Of course, giving no consideration to the fact that if she quit it would significantly impact my life. Kind of the history of my family, nephews, brothers, etc. Create havoc, go home to the safety of their homes and let me deal with the aftermath. After a couple of days of tense behavior between sis, Mom, caregiver and yours truly things settled down .

After sis and her husband went back to Utah , Mom and I met with the move-in caregiver and told what an awful position she put us in (I am more tactful then my sister) by moving in without even asking us first. She had misunderstand some of the things mom and I said. We got everything on the table including that everything in life, including life itself is temporary. That Mom could decide to move back to assisted living, that sis could decide to move here from Utah after they sell their house there , that mom could become to ill to be in the house and so on. That there were numerous things that could happen that would require her to move out, maybe on really short notice and that this definitely was not permanent. My solution was that if we are unable to give the move-in caregiver seven days notice, then we will pay one month storage for her to move her stuff into. There is now a signed written notarized agreement between us and both caregivers.

Everything appears to be solved now. Both caregivers seem happy. Mom seems happy. Sis is now very happy and sees the benefits of having someone at Mom's house. I am getting there. I don't quite feel free yet to travel or do things that take me a couple of hours away from here. I want to make sure Mom is safe, as healthy as can be expected, and is adjusted to being home before I seek out my own life.

Just a week in caring for an elderly parent. So how are you doing with caregiving?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Dancing With The Stars Recap

If Misty Mae Treanor hadn't been injured and had to leave the show Rocco would have been eliminated ahead of Cloris Leachman and that just would have been sad. I really feel sorry for Misty. She had the same injury that my brother had, the one that kept him off his feet for ten weeks and the doctors gave him an estimate of a full year to fully recover. Misty may have had a volleyball career ending injury keeping her from the 2012 Olympics. I sure hope not. As for the dancing she was improving and could have easily been in the final three or four.

On to the dancing. My two favorite dances or the waltz and the jive. The waltz is just so romantic and elegant. The jive, energetic and fast moving. It was a night for the men but a woman came out on top. I ranked the dances as follows:

Brook. The best dance of the night. Beautiful and romantic waltz.

Wayne. The big guy just keeps surprising me, week after week.

Maurice. Fun Jive. Fast. Energetic. Good job.

Lance. I disagree with the judges and thought he should have had a higher score. Lacey and Lance finally stuck to the rules and it showed.

Cody- Good jive. Also better than the score he received.

Toni - Went for the gold, won the bronze. Just not a pleasing nor romantic waltz.

Rocco- Improving. Good but not a great waltz. I just am really favoring him. He does something every week to make me like him even more. He definitely improved from last week. But two things put me in his corner: 1. The way he helped Misty when she was hurt. 2. He mentioned how shy he was. Wow. This guy is a ten, could probably have any woman he wants and he is shy? That helps me understand how maybe a seven that usually ends up talking to a 92 year old woman in then produce section of a grocery store can be shy. I hope he outlasts Cloris.

Susan - The judges were to kind to her. Her score was better than her jive. It wasn't fast enough or energetic enough to be a good jive. The judges seem to favor her. I like her a lot and admire her for being on the show but this week her dance just didn't excite me.

Cloris - What was that? Enough said.

Hope this is an energetic day for you filled with romance!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Week 5 - Status and Character

Week five of Comedy Sportz 101 was more intellectual that it was performance which made it more interesting than fun. All of the classes are building up to weeks 7 and 8 when we do actual improv.

Status and how changes of status can work in improv were featured last night. They stated that in real life that the only two ways a person can change status is to either lower another person's status or to raise your own status. In improv it is liberating to be low status because low status folks can get away with more in comedy. Being high status limits what you can do on stage. A king wouldn't do certain things that a peasant can get away with. It can also be comical watching a person trying to raise his status.

The main status exercise had to do with a deck of cards. The class stands in a circle with their eyes closed and each one has their palm out. The instructor than places a card face down in everyone's palm. Once each class member has a card you place the card on your forehead in a manner that you can't see the card but everyone else can. Starting with the ace as the lowest status card to the king as the highest status card you walk around the room and treat people in the manner that their card indicates the status that they have. And people treat you in the manner that your card indicates that you are. At the end of the exercise you are to stand in the order that you think your status is, the higher status folks go to one end of the room, the lower status folks go to the other end of the room. Everyone in the class pretty much figured out where they were on the status chain, except one of the tens. One ten put himself with the higher status folks (that was I) and the other ten put himself with the lower status folks. I must be a social climber!

The second status game was exactly the same as the first status exercise except instead the lower status cards represented third world countries and the higher status cards repsrented flourishing countries. Then again at the end of the game you were to line up in the order of the cards. In this game I was king. The third world countries begged me for aid and ruling with heart I gave it to them. I figured out quite early on which card I had.

The character game was interesting. There was an imaginary party on stage. At the party you were to be one of four characters:

1. A movie star.
2. The funniest person in the world.
3. Terminally ill.
4. Just recently released from prison.

The game starts with two people on stage. You are not allowed to define yourself as one of the four above as the other person defines you, you define the other person. Then every ten seconds another class member comes to the party until everyone is at the party. You define the hostess, the hostess defines you. You can be something different to each person at the party. Using Kaye and Pat as examples. I'm host.

Pat starts "Bill, how are you adjusting to life on the outside" (defining me as just out of prison)

Bill responds "Doing really fine, Pat, we really enjoyed the movie that you were in. They showed it at prison during entertainment night" (defining Pat as a movie star)

Kaye enters. Hi Pat, "I saw where the ratings of your HBO special drew higher ratings than Robin Williams. "(defining Pat as the funniest person in the world). The rest of the night Pat will be the funniest person in the world to Kaye and a movie star to me. Pat would respond to Kaye "Do you have any upcoming roles?" Defining Kaye as a movie actress.

Kaye would maybe say to me "How long do you have?"(defining me as terminally ill) Me "Six months, and it really makes me feel better when I watch your comedy act." Defining Kaye as the funniest person in the world. The rest of the party Kaye is an actress to Pat and the funniest person in the world to me. I am terminally ill to Kaye and just out of prison to Pat.

With twenty-six class members you could end up being each one of the four characters. It requires memory and quick changes of roles. What I found interesting is that the women placed me in a character as either a movie star or the funniest person in the world and the men placed me as the terminally ill character. Nobody placed me as just out of prison. What was also interesting is that it became a real party! It really did. I think this would be an amazing party game if you were at a party that needed a boost.

Hope that you all stay in character today!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Comedy Class Homework - Status.

Here is the email I received about tomorrow night's class:

Class #5- Status 10/6/08
Class starts at 730pm

"Deal" with shifts in status! Obey royalty, or die!

Re-create your work environment and watch the pecking order!

We will do all of the above to explore the use of status in improv. For "homework", observe status situations in your everyday life, and be willing to discuss them in class.--

Improvisationally yours,

Herb Spice

OK, I need your help. Have you noticed any changes in status at work or at home or in your social life that youi would be willing to share? Have you had a change in status yourself?

I would love for you to be a part of tomorrow night's class with your ideas and status observations!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Bailouts and Guilty

There was a little frog stuck in the middle of a railroad track when his little buddy frog came upon him and asked if he needed help, the frog in peril replied "Yes, I can't get out, I've tried and tried and just can't get over the track to safety." The buddy frog replied "I will go into town and get help for you." Four or five hours passed before the buddy frog returned to site of the frog in peril. Lo and behold the frog in peril was now safely off of the train track. The buddy frog asked "How in the world did you get off the track?" The frog once in peril replied "I had to get off the tracks, a train was coming."

Congress had to pass the $700b "rescue plan" because a train was coming. They really had no choice. There are tons of things that I don't like about the "rescue plan" but it had to pass for our own financial safety. It won't be an end all and cure all but it is a start on the road to recovery.

Things I don't like about it? First it is going to cost more than $700B because of tax relief for banks that isn't allowed for in the plan. As an example, The Bank of Consumer Ripoff sells a mortgage that they paid one million dollars for to the government for six hundred thousannd dollars creating a four hundred thousand dollar loss. The B of C.R. gets to write off that four hundred thousand dollar loss on their tax return causing a decrease in tax revenue for the government. Not in the bill. Not intended. But there and Real.

Second, I don't like all of the pork in the bill, as paraphrased from The Oregonian:

Provides employees who commute by bicycle limited benefits to offset commuting costs. Cost of $10 million dollars.

Allows more film and television production companies to use the "domestic production deduction." Cost $397 million over 10 years.

Allows commericial fisherman and others affected by the Exxon Valdez spill to average any legal settlement or legal judgment-related income over three years instead of having to report all the income on their tax return in one year. Cost $49 million over 10 years.

Extends seven-year cost-recovery period to the end of 2009 for Motor Sport Complexes for land improvement and motor sports facilities placed in service after December 31, 2007. Cost,
$100 million over ten years.

Total cost for just those four pork items $556 million dollars.

Next item of the day:

GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY. The last time I jumped up and down this much was at a high school summer league basketball game when with three seconds left on the clock in a tie game I made the perfect pass to my brother who drained the winning shot with one second left!

GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY. OJ Simpson was found guilty of robbery, kindnapping, and several other offenses. I've waited thirteen years to hear the words "OJ Simpson is found guilty and there is a good chance he will spend the rest of his life in jail."

What goes around, comes around.

What are your thoughts on the bailout? What are your thoughts to OJ being found guilty?

Friday, October 3, 2008

The VP Debate

I usually don't talk politics on my blog because we all have our opinions and nothing I say will change anyone's opinion, however, the VP debate was such a cultural moment in this election cycle that it would be remiss of me if I didn't comment on it.

Eight years ago I switched my registration from Independent to Democrat and this election my bias has increased to the point that the only Republican that I want to see get four more years is Jack Abramoff. Despite that bias I thought Governor Palin did very well. However, so did Biden. I don't know who won the debate between them because they didn't really debate each other. Biden debated McCann. Palin debated her performance of the last three weeks. Using that as a benchmark, they both won.

I don't think that the debate will change anyone's mind. If you were an Obama supporter before the debate, you were still one after it. If you were a McCain supporter before the debate, you were still one after it.

Before the debate there was a lot of talk radio spin that Gwen Ifill would be biased against Palin because of a pro Obama book that she wrote that is due to be released on inaugaration day. Many thought she should recuse herself as moderator. I think this was a case of to much protest because Ifill was pretty even handed in her questions.

I do hope know that Palin will become more visible so that we can learn more about her. She did well enough last night that they shouldn't shelter her anymore. I have several differences of opinions with her but I'd still like to learn more about her. I don't think I could ever vote for a ticket that had on it someone that when she was a Mayor signed into law a law that required rape victims to pay for their rape kits. However, let's get to know this lady. She may some day be president.

What is your take on the debate? I don't care if you are a Palin supporter or a Biden supporter but I am asking that you be polite to each other in your comments. If we disagree let us disagree respectfully and politely!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

DWTS Recap - Big Guys Can Dance

The best dance of Monday night was Warren Sapp and Kym Johnson. Man that 300 pounder can move. On Monday three couples rose to the top, three fell to the bottom and five ended up in the middle.

The three top celebs, Warren Sapp, Brook Burke, & Toni Braxton.

The three bottom celebs, Rocco DiSpirito, Cloris Leachman, and Kim Kardashian.

The Five middle celebs, Cody Linley, Susan Lucci, Misty Mae Treanor, Lance Bass, and Maurice Greene

The Top Three:

Brook Burke is amazing because she excels in both Latin and Ballroom. She can do both and do both well. Right now she is my pick to win it all.

Toni Braxton does better with the ballroom then she does Latin and that puts her behind Brook.

Warren Sapp is the crowd favorite. He is just so darn much fun. And he can bust a move. Latin or Ballroom doesn't matter. Definitely a finalist.

The Bottom Three:

I give Rocco a break because he is the only celeb without a performance background. Presentation background yes, performance background no. He is also very charming and is having fun. He is the only one of the bottom three that I hope will improve and stay on longer than I anticipate.

Cloris Leachman was somewhat subdued this week but she just can't dance. I hope she is gone next week.

Kim was eliminated last night and I really wasn't unhappy to see her go.

The middle group from best to worse:

Cody Linley, ready to break through but not quite there yet.

Maurice Greene, got to contain his free spirit to get him into the finals. If he makes it he will do great in the free style but he needs to follow the rules of the dance to get there.

Lance Bass has an advantage because of his boy band dancing but has a disdavantage because he has the worst teacher.

Misty Mae Treanor. Hard work could cause her to leap over several celebs in one week. She just isn't translating the music to the dance floor yet.

Susan Lucci, will do terrible in Latin but great in ball room. A little to stiff. She could improve but I imagine she will be gone in three or four weeks.

What did all of you think?