What does qis mean?

alphabet board game bundle close up
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

While I was with my kids, my son asked me to drive to Target and buy a game of Scrabble. I’m not keen on driving in the Bay Area — really not driving anywhere. I’d walk everywhere if I could.

If you were watching the weather, a bomb of a storm was predicted. Fortunately, where we were in Berkeley — it wasn’t hard hit. There was a ton of rain and wind. Some houses were flooded, but we were fine.

Still. I wasn’t excited about driving. I walked to my daughter’s apartment, which is less than two miles from my son’s house. She asked me to walk Waffles the pug while she was at work. I asked if I could borrow her car to go to Target and the grocery store. The answer was “of course.” She left the car keys for me inside her apartment. She’s so close to her job, she doesn’t have to drive.

Scrabble wasn’t at the Target .2 miles from her house where I could walk. I had the choice of two Targets in other towns. I buckled in and found my way with little trouble except for dodging massive potholes — which must have cropped up from the storm. They were tire or car killing potholes. I avoided all but one and felt proud of myself.

Armed with Scrabble and groceries, I returned to my son’s house. He and his fiancee have been playing Scrabble online as of late. I haven’t touched the game since I was around 10 years old?

I played my son who was home alone (and doing very well after surgery FYI.) His first word he laid down was qis — notice there isn’t a u after the q. His word was placed at the center star where you get a gazillion extra points. I challenged the word.

“Look it up,” he said. “Google to see if it’s a word in Scrabble.”

I had my laptop handy and BINGO! Qis is a “yes” for Scrabble.

The next word he played was drat.

“That’s not acceptable. That’s slang!” I said.

“Slang is allowed.”

“Not in my day,” I argued.

Needless to say I lost by more than 100 points. This is not the Scrabble of my childhood.

We both broke out in fits of laughter when he built a new word and it resulted in a second built word “za.”

“You can challenge that if you want,” he said. “I’m not sure za is a word.”

“What do you think it means?” I asked.

He said it was short for pizza — but we were laughing and he admitted he had no clue what it meant or if it was a word.

I checked the laptop. Za is a yes for Scrabble. Short for pizza.

Do you remember slang words in Scrabble? What are your thoughts about what I believe are new rules for Scrabble? Is this the Scrabble of your childhood?

Use it or lose it

This was my lunch at Sushi Oto, where I used to go with my mom.

My mom wasn’t in her room when I arrived at her assisted living facility.

Her name was still on the door. Her things were inside. I took a quick roam around to the dining room and living rooms to see if I could find her.

I stopped at a nurses’ station and was informed that she was upstairs in “Skilled Nursing.”

My brother had told me that they were going to move her there eventually. He fought against it for two years. But I didn’t know they finally moved her. She had fallen several times, she wasn’t walking and she’s incontinent — so she went to the next level of care.

When she first moved in, she was in a two-bedroom apartment on campus that didn’t have help. Then she was moved into a studio room when she need more help with daily tasks.

I found her upstairs in the skilled nursing floor. The rooms are all the same. Two hospital beds with a curtain in between.

Her roommate came out from behind the curtain, wearing nothing but adult diapers. I mean stark naked except for pull ups. She spoke gibberish and my mom dove under her blankets to hide.

I went to the nurses station and said, “The woman in my mother’s room is talking to me and I don’t understand what she needs.”

“Oh, don’t mind her. She has severe Alzheimer’s. I’ll send someone to check on her,” the attendant said.

Two staff members came in and profusely apologized to me as the naked geriatric patient was standing at my side.

“Miss Helen, where are your clothes?” she was asked.

They moved her back to her side of the curtain and got her dressed.

My mom needs physical help, but mentally she is not as far gone as most of the people I saw on the skilled nursing floor. She has trouble with short term memory but enjoys laughing and has a great sense of humor.

During my last visit, we played croquet and I took her out to lunch for sushi. We played cards in the card room, went to Bingo and chair yoga. This visit, she demanded that I take her back to her old room. I told her if she could walk to the elevator, I would take her there. She walked about ten yards with her walker and said, “I can’t do it.”

What a reminder for me to get out and move. I’m heartbroken at how quickly my mom has aged since my last visit.

When our parents age, do you find it heartbreaking too?

An atmospheric river

Weather alert on iphone

I’m visiting my mom in the Pacific Northwest. This is what my phone blasted to me on my first morning when I woke up.

I’ve never seen a hydrologic outlook on my phone, nor an atmospheric river.

I’m staying with my BFF from college and I asked her what it meant.

She said, “Oh I hate this. It’s a huge amount of rain and flooding.”

I pictured the atmospheric river as a massive body of water running through the clouds above my head.

My friend also told me that she thinks the weather forecasters and meteorologists work too hard to find new terms for long-occurring events.

Here’s the rest of the alert I received:

Severe Weather Alert on iphone

I was pleasantly surprised to have cloudy skies with blue peeking through. It’s absolutely gorgeous here and such a contrast from the desert of Arizona. I love spending time with my mom, although she’s not doing as well as during my last visit. More on that after I have time to process my thoughts and emotions.

tree line lane in Redmond WA

The drive to my mom’s assisted living.

blue skies in WA in November

I loved the light in the leaves of this tree at my mom’s assisted living.

What strange weather alerts have you seen? Have you heard of hydrologic events or atmospheric rivers before?

A simple pleasure

mother daughter sailing
Sailing in Santa Barbara with my daughter on a friend’s boat.

Yesterday I got a pedicure. I last got one during our beach vacation in August. My daughter and I used to get pedicures together. It was a ritual that we loved, sitting side by side getting pampered. I’d read a book, she was on her phone. Although we weren’t talking much, I look back on those memories with tenderness.

Even when she went to college, we’d make time for pedicures when she’d be home for vacation. Or, if I was visiting her for a swim meet, we’d get pedicures together.

Then the pandemic hit and the nail salon by our house closed. Since I moved away, I’m not sure if it ever reopened. So many small businesses closed forever. I’ve had two pedicures since COVID hit.

Yesterday was a treat to be pampered. But it was bittersweet. I missed my daughter sitting by my side.

Do you have any simple pleasures with your loved ones? What do you like to do together?

Day one of mom and grand-dog duties

Waffles at the ER vet
Waffles the pug not feeling so good.

I made it to the Bay Area to help my daughter who has COVID. I’ve been wondering how much help I can be, since I can’t be with her? If I can’t do much, I’m looking forward to quiet time alone writing.

So far, it turns out — more time than I thought.

I didn’t arrive until evening to my airbnb which is .2 miles from her apartment. The problem is she’s on quarantine and can’t leave her apartment. I’m not sure what the protocol is these days, but I can guarantee she hasn’t hit it yet.

She texted me a list of groceries. I asked if I could go to the Berkeley Bowl to get the items on her list. It’s one of my favorite places to go to when I visit the kids. This running errands will be a treat if it includes the Berkeley Bowl! I blogged about it HERE.

I picked up clam chowder and a salad for my own dinner and a few groceries for my airbnb mini-fridge along with her list. When I dropped off her groceries at her doorstep, we waved at each other through her window.

I walked back to the airbnb and sat to savor the Berkeley Bowl clam chowder. It’s so delicious. I called my son and we were talking about plans for tomorrow’s dinner. He may be recovering from foot surgery, but he doesn’t have COVID. We can be together in person.

That’s when I got a call from daughter asking me to take Waffles the pug to the ER. He’s been having issues with his tummy. I wrote about it HERE a few days ago. Waffles has been throwing up and hasn’t recovered from chicken bones. The animal ER won’t let my daughter with COVID inside.

I sat for more than two hours with Waffles in the waiting room. My daughter texted me the recent details since I was traveling from Arizona and not totally up to date. We — the vet, the vet’s assistant and my daughter on the phone — decided not to hospitalize Waffles last night, but to bring him back in the morning if he doesn’t improve.

I’m wondering what tomorrow’s role as mom and dog grandma will bring? What’s driving me crazy is to be so close to my daughter, but not being able to give her a hug.

Have you traveled to help your kids away from home? How have you helped? How have you helped family members with COVID?

You never know what tomorrow brings

Yesterday it started snowing! The prediction was 100% rain, not snow.

It’s Wednesday afternoon and I’m sitting in the dark. I’ve decided to write a post for tomorrow, while my laptop still has juice. I’m using my iphone as a hotspot so I’ll be able to post this.

You never know what tomorrow will bring, so I decided to jump on this while I have the chance.

My daughter asked me to come up and take care of her. She’s in quarantine with COVID and there’s nobody to help her with daily things like laundry, groceries, going to Target, etc. I booked a ticket for tomorrow and she found me an airbnb down the street from her. My son, who lives close by, isn’t cleared to drive and isn’t walking post foot surgery.

She said she’s not going to infect me. She’ll ask me to run an errand and I’ll leave it on her doorstep. I can do her laundry at my son’s house or a laundromat (she doesn’t have a washer and dryer.) And I can walk Waffles.

I wanted my daughter to stay with our friends in Santa Barbara for another day to make sure both she and Waffles were up for the drive. I’m glad she ignored my advice and left on Tuesday because by Wednesday a winter storm hit closing roads and freeways. She could have been stuck.

So off I went to my PO Box and to the store to pick up a few last minute things for my trip. I opened the garage door and discovered it was snowing. It started snowing harder and coming at me sideways. I wasn’t sure I wanted to drive to the Post Office or store. But then I thought, you never know what tomorrow will bring. I better do it now. I’ll be leaving town tomorrow.

While at the store, my husband called and said the power went out at our house. I told him I’d check with the power company when I got home. As I drove down the street to our neighborhood, I wondered if the clicker to the gate would work?

Fortunately, someone manually opened the gates to our neighborhood and I drove on through and parked the car in our driveway. It stopped snowing and raining altogether thankfully as I brought in my groceries and mail.

Now I’ll use my iphone as a light in my closet to pack for tomorrow’s adventure. I’m learning to not procrastinate or find excuses.

Are you prepared if the power goes out? Are you prepared to handle the unexpected like a freak snow or a last minute trip to help your child?

Happy September first!

My mom and I had a little game where we’d try to be the first person to call and shout Happy (insert month) first! I miss those days. That was before she was in assisted living. Now it’s hard to get her to answer the phone and rare that she calls me.

Mom and me in the early 90s.

When September 1 comes around I get motivated. The long-awaited vacation days are over. It’s time for me to get on with my life and to be productive in whatever that may be. It’s almost like starting New Year’s resolutions.

Maybe it’s because the end of heat is near. After years of desert living, September can still be hot — but we’re down to a few weeks of 100 plus degree weather. Cooler weather feels good and it’s motivating to be able to go outside any time of day.

Maybe it’s because of my years as a swim mom that I’m excited for September. The calendar for swimmers begins in September. It’s a brand new year after two weeks of time off in August. It’s when swimmers may move up in their training groups and a new meet schedule comes out.

It’s the start of the school year, too. Although these days our former school district starts in early August. That would never have worked for us. As a swim family, our vacation started mid-August after the final swim meets. Thank goodness I’m not dealing with school anymore.

So what are my goals for the fall? To write more. To swim consistently at the city pool. To take a photography or drawing class.

I’m ready. Happy September first everyone!

The critters enjoying my backyard.

What are your thoughts about September? Do you like the end of summer? Do you get motivated in the fall? Why or why not?