Then at last came the clams

It has been a while, and next week you will understand why it has been a while.  Until then, you will just have to trust me that the reasons are good.  You might be able to guess what it is.

Happy Thanksgiving from Scott, David and Donovan
Happy Thanksgiving from Scott, David and Donovan

We had a great Thanksgiving and hope that everyone else did too.  Even with the snow in the east.  It was 84° today in Palm Springs.  Donovan joined us for dinner, and we had, in my opinion, a great Indian feast.  Lamb Rogan Josh, Turkey and Sweet Potato Korma, Daal, Papadum, naan and yogurt sauce with mint and raisins.  I make the Lamb, Turkey and Papadum, and Donovan brought the rest.  We also had some champagne and a lovely riesling that we bought last summer in Napa.  And for dessert, Donovan made a pumpkin pie with cinnamon curry whipped cream.  Delicious!

We went to our SongShine rehearsal on Monday, and have been working on the music from Carousel.  At a certain point, the director was handing out parts, and he said, “David, you can sing this line” and David looked at me with such panic and desperation, I actually had to laugh.  I reassured him that he shouldn’t worry and I would sing with him.  His line is the title of this posting.

We had a great pre-Thanksgiving visit with Jonathan and Sheryl.  We caught up and then went to one of our favorite restaurants in the valley, Catalan.  Dinner was very good.  We have Lynn, Randy and Julie coming on Saturday, which will be fun.  Nice relax by the pool and a great dinner.

We also had our wall unit installed on Tuesday and Wednesday and it looks great.  I have to have the TV mount moved on the wall, and once that is done, I will share a picture.  Anyway, I won’t keep myself up for too much longer, so Good Night!

All those photos up on the walls

90 years.  We had a birthday celebration in the speech group we go to every other Thursday.  It was Henri’s and Betty’s birthdays this week.  Both 90 years old.  Henri has been with his partner (now husband) Peter since 1984 and Betty’s was married to her husband for 63 years when he passed away.  Both of them are such lovely people, and Arlene had gotten photos of each of them when they were younger – Henri at 17, handsome in his uniform when he joined the Navy in the UK and Betty at 18 when she graduated from High School.  David and I argued about who Betty looked like.  I say Dinah Shore and David says Loretta Young.  One of us is very wrong!

We also had tennis today, and David does really well.  He and Bill had some nice rallies.  It is all very good.  We also started back with OT yesterday, which was great.  She gave David some more exercises to do.  One of the things that she is stressing that he look at his right hand and arm when he is doing something, even if it is being moved by his left hand.  She also did some tests on how much he neglects things that are on the right side.  One of them was a sheet of paper with various shapes on it, and he had to circle all the bells.  He got all (or most) of the bells on the left side of the paper, but missed lots on the right.  She has suggested that he also start doing word search puzzles to help with his scanning and get better at reading.  That was a first as well, and it makes perfect sense.

Otherwise, things are great here in the desert.  Nights are cool, or almost downright cold, but the days are mild and the sun is bright and warm.   Such a great time of year here, aside from the birds that keep flying into the windows.  No other news to report, yet.

Doesn’t rest; doesn’t eat; doesn’t touch a crumb!

Since I have been making these trips out of town, there has been a change in David.  He has been much more self reliant and his speech has improved quite a bit.  I actually think that because he has been forced to deal with different people, he has had to communicate more.  We have a sort of non-verbal shorthand that is easier, but probably not helpful.  The real improvement is that he is able to string more words together and his reading is better.  Don’t get me wrong, there is still a long way to go, but so great to see such progress.  Needless to say, part of this is his trying to make the prospect of my moving a bit easier for me.  I don’t really care what the motivation is, as long as the progress continues!

We are hoping to begin another round of Occupational Therapy soon.  Our PT and Speech sessions have been exhausted, but as I said, Medicare lumps Speech and Physical together, for some strange reason, but they put Occupational Therapy in a different category.  It seems pretty odd to me, but this is the system that we are dealing with.  He has also been getting more and more strength in his arm, so I think the OT is just right for now.  If nothing else, they will teach him some techniques to make everyday tasks easier.

Had softball practice last night, which went well.  It is getting colder at night, and we have practice now from 8pm to 10pm.  Hopefully we will win one or both of our games tomorrow.  In any case, I am enjoying playing, and loving playing first base.  I find it much easier and much more engaging – the outfield is full of anxiety and boredom, all at the same time!

There’s nothin’ more to say

Got back this evening from the East Bay.  The third and, I think, final interview/visit/horse show happened.  It was a wonderful visit, and I met lots of folks.  Met with some more Board Members, staff and the city manager.  Then, today, I gave a presentation to the search committee about my findings and answering specific questions that they had given me.  I have a good feeling, but don’t know what the outcome will be.  All I can say is that I was very pleased with what I said and pleased with their reaction.  The headhunter told me over lunch that she thought I had struck the perfect note on many of the key issues.

One of my impressions from speaking with the staff was that the Board was too involved in the day to day.  Now, that is completely understandable because they have been leaderless for a while, and the Board has had to step in.  l had the same positive feeling about the facility and the town after this visit, which was good.  I had to stay a bit longer because the Board President wanted to have one last unscheduled meeting with me, which I thought was a good sign.

Their timeline, while they asked repeatedly, “when could you start?”, seems to be not so rushed, and I think they are looking for someone to start after the first of the year.  That would be perfect timing for us.  Giving me enough time to get support in place for David.  Anyway, I didn’t sleep well for the past two nights, and am about to pass out, so I will sign off now.

Ev’ry little wheel that wheels beside a mill

Our view as we walked in the Palm Springs Pride Parade
Our view as we walked in the Palm Springs Pride Parade

OK, I know, it has been too long.  Sorry.  I leave tomorrow for the East Bay for two nights and have been preparing and worrying.  David has been attempting to be more independent as a way of making me feel better about the prospect of this job.  That is, of course, if it is offered to me.  I am hopeful, but not confident.  A good place to be, I think.  I perform better under a little pressure.  I have two days to woo them.  The first day is meeting with various staff members, Board Member and a representative from the city and the day ends with a reception.  Then, on the second morning, I have to make a presentation to members of the Board.  The one thing that I do find reassuring is that the questions that asked me to cover are almost all things that I talked about at my first interview.  I have been busy structuring the presentation, but I know that it will morph once I meet more of the folks there.

David and me as we waited for the start of the Pride Parade
David and me as we waited for the start of the Pride Parade

So, what else has been going on?  We lost two more softball games last Sunday, and yesterday, we didn’t have any games on account of the Greater Palms Springs Pride Parade.  David and I walked in the parade with the softball league, and you might have seen Donovan’s picture of us on Facebook and there are some more.  On last Monday and again today, we have been rehearsing with SongShine for the performance of Carousel in March.  SongShine is this program that works with folks who have Parkinson’s or stroke to help with speech through singing.  David enjoys it, but we sang June is Bustin’ Out All Over, and I have to say, that is one heck of a song!!  I am not sure if you have seen it, but on Youtube there is a video of Leslie Uggams singing if for some Independence Day concert, or something like that, and she just begins making up words.  Well, the words are so crazy, I have a newfound understanding of why she went up on the lyrics.

David and Keith as we waited for the start of the parade
David and Keith as we waited for the start of the parade

On Tuesday, we had Allen and Marc over for dinner.  Allen is in David’s speech and reading group at the stroke center, and Marc is his partner.  Both of them are very nice, and we had a lovely evening.  I think dinner was good, but I cooked, so of course I thought it was good. Then, on Thursday we went to see a performance in Palm Desert of Ballet Boyz, a dance troupe from London.  They were boyz, but there wasn’t really much ballet.  Mostly modern dance, which we like, but David was not impressed.  I thought they were fine, but also, wasn’t bowled over.  On Saturday, we went to see the Choreography Festival at the same theatre (The MacCallum) which was much better.  All the performances were pretty good. We only disagreed on one of them, and they were the winner of the competition.  I thought that they were try too hard to push the envelope.  There was an awkward pause before their performance, and one of the female dancers had what looked like black duct tape over her breasts instead of a costume.  I found it kind of distracting because I kept thinking, won’t it fall off when she starts to sweat?  I told David that I thought that she had forgotten her costume (all the other performers had shirts on) and they insisted she wear something, and only had black gaffers tape handy.  Thus the slight delay.  I am sure it was intentional.

Anyway, I leave tomorrow evening and come back to Palm Springs on Thursday evening.  Wish me luck.

The air is humming

We went to see Cheyenne Jackson tonight in Palm Desert.  A nice crowd, but I was sad to see that there were empty seats.  He is good, I thought, but not the best selection of songs.   The two things that bothered me, really, were the sound and the lights.  I think the sound operator had his hearing aids off, because it was so loud!  I hate over amplification, and it was way over the top.  Also, the light board operator seemed to be having too much fun.  During relatively quiet moments during songs, there were quick color changes and movements that distracted you from the performer.  It was just him and four musicians, so, some subtle light changes would have been perfect.

I got word today that I will be going back up for what I think will be the final interview for this job in the East Bay area.  As I said before, I have a very good feeling about this job, and feel like this might be the place for me to rejoin the workforce.  David has been getting a little worried about what will happen to him here in Palm Springs, but I keep telling him, we will make it all work.  I will start asking around at the stroke center and find out how folks find their full time caregivers.  He has also been trying to do more and more on his own – getting his own pills out, getting water, getting up on his own.

There are moments when I feel like I am deserting David, but then he reminds me that I need to do what is best for me, which, I think, in turn, is best for him.  And it isn’t like I will be on the other side of the world.  Just a little over an hour away by plane.  Plus an hour drive.  And then, there is the line at the TSA at the airport.  Still very excited and terrified.

What’s coming next?

Got back this evening from my visit to the San Francisco Bay area for the second interview for this job that I am up for.  It wasn’t until this morning that I turned on the news and found out that the SF Giants had won the World Series last night!  And there I was, just across the bay.  That might have been a good thing, being across the bay.  When I got home, Donovan had made a Bœuf Bourguignon for dinner that was delicious.  We had some Prosecco, toasted to my success and enjoyed a nice dinner.  I also recounted all the details of my trip and the interview.

I won’t write too much, because I am pretty beat.  It was a great visit.  I flew up yesterday and arrived at about 2pm.  I drove around town, got my hair cut and had a bite to eat.  Then checked into the hotel and headed back out to see the town close up.  I told David that it reminded me a little of River City from The Music Man.  It just seemed to have that vibe.  Of course, the difference is the restaurants wouldn’t be found in Iowa!  Two Afghan, two Thai, two Indian, Pizza, an Italian and barbecue, among many others.  Seems to be a pretty vibrant and interesting town.

In the evening, I met with the woman who was hired to conduct the search to chat.  Nice dinner at at Thai place near the hotel.  Not one of the two downtown.  She also gave me a big stack of stuff to look through and prepare for the interview in the morning.  I read, and prepared what I wanted to say and put together questions that I had about their center and the organization.  In the morning, I did a little exercise and then we were off to the Performing Arts Center.  First a tour, and it is a beautiful facility.  Very similar to the Lang Theatre at the Atlas, but about twice the size.  Great acoustics and the way the hall is set up, there isn’t a bad seat in the house.  It was a great tour with Denise from the board and Julio who is on the staff.  I then had 30 minutes to wander around town again, and I walked over to see the Arts Center, which is part of the operation.  It wasn’t open, but I was able to look in and see the studio spaces there.

Then back to the center for a sit down with folks from the Board, and the woman who is running the search.  I had a great time, and felt very engaged and, in a way, like I was home.  I got a great feeling for the place and think it could be a very good fit.  Needless to say, it is kind of like auditioning, and you often think you did really well and they liked you, but you really don’t know what the machinations going on behind the scenes are.  What are they really looking for?  Did I talk too much?  Too little?  Did I say something really stupid?  Was I too funny?  Too serious?  Too blond?  Not blond enough?  I can’t believe you have read this far.

Afterwards, I went to lunch with two board members, and it became clear to me that in many ways, they are the force behind the project.  Very passionate and dedicated, and their enthusiasm was infectious.  I drove out of town in a very positive mood and, dare I say, almost high.  Our terrific Real Estate agent in DC used to tell us when we were looking for a house, and making bids and losing them that when the right one comes along, it will all just fall into place.  I am telling myself this about this job process.  It all feels good, and if it is meant to be, it will just happen.  I think David will like the town too, which makes is all sweeter.

Did I say I was pretty beat earlier?  Good-night.