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Wednesday, December 19, 2001

The cards you can buy in the store to honor someone's seventy-fifth birthday are a little too reverent for my taste. It's not that I don't have respect for anyone whose reached that age, but I don't think you automatically lose your sense of humor as you get older. Quite the opposite, in most cases — otherwise, what's the point? So, not having much of a choice, I picked out a silly card (about aging, but it didn't have to be) and gave it to Mom today.

She wasn't going to come in the house when she and Suzanne picked me up to go to lunch this afternoon. But I sort of made an issue out of it, so the poor old dear (sorry, that's inappropriate) had to walk all the way to the door without tripping over any of my uneven paving stones. The card was attached to a haphazardly-wrapped package. I'm not that bad at wrapping, but I had to make do with two pieces of paper, since I didn't have any single sheet big enough.

The funny thing is, it wasn't that big a package. It was just big enough for the clock radio/cassette player that she forgot she wanted. She's been looking for one for awhile and made a big deal out of how they told her at Best Buy there was no such thing any more.

She may have given up, but I went online and had it sent by overnight mail. I bought it Friday, it was shipped Monday, and it was delivered yesterday. I can't do much shopping that way, though, at least not at the last minute when they have you where they want you and will soak you for as much as they can get away with, just to have it arrive on time.

Anyway, we had a lovely lunch at a place Mom picked out. I pumped Suzanne for information that might lead me to some gift ideas for members of her household, and it was a big relief to pick up a few clues. I still have to do the actual shopping, but at least now I can make a plan. It's a lot easier when you know where you're going and what you're looking for before you go out the door.

That doesn't mean I'll end up with exactly the things on my new list, but that's not really the point. The next time I shop, I'll at least look as if I know what I'm doing. And you know, it's better to look smart than to be smart.


Mom, last month on the houseboat.

We ate lunch at one of the oldest restaurants in Santa Rosa, and if you don't believe me I'd like you to sit in the same booth where I sunk through the plastic seat halfway to the floor as soon as I sat down. My knees were higher than my head for one unsettling moment. I needed a booster chair just to see over the table. (I didn't ask for a booster chair, but I did wad up my nylon jacket and sit on that. It helped just enough.)

But at least the clowns were entertaining. And the woman at the table across from us, whose voice so dominated the room that it was the only thing that could be classified as "ambience." The Cackling Lady in Red, for your lunchtime entertainment. Or maybe I just don't get out enough. (This could be a problem Friday night, when we're going out to a place quite a bit higher on the evolutionary ladder, as dining establishments go. A couple more stars, at least.)

We really enjoyed it. The food was good, and besides, it's a whole lot more fun to go out with people who share your bemused view of the rest of the world. And it kept us from focusing on our troubles for a little while. It got Mom away from the phone, and dealing with the mortuary. They're very kind, these funeral people, but not as jolly as the Cackling Lady. I think we needed that.

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