Monday, November 1, 2010

Santa Barbara: Part II

After the game and my nap, we walked to the wharf to watch the sunset. People were fishing off the pier and way too many birds were waiting for the left-over guts.

We took a long walk in the dark downtown to an English pub called Mad Dogs because Chris wanted Fish and Chips. Music was streaming from bars and clubs on both sides of the street.

We went to see "Social Network" with a bunch of UCSB students. We were the oldest people in the audience. It was good but I didn't like it as much as some critics.

The next morning, Chris insisted on checking out the San Diego Court House - and taking a guided tour. I expected it to be really dull but I was very pleasantly surprised.

It is beautiful and the guide let us in on some secret jokes. For instance, the guard tower over the solitary confinement cells was a blind. No one could get in or out but it was designed to make the convicts think they were being watched.

Mural in Court House

Chris kept marvelling about how expensive it must be to maintain the grounds which are amazing with many different species of palms.

We had lunch at a Mexican restaurant on our way to the zoo. It is a small zoo but very nice. We always have to go to every zoo.
Most of the animals were pretty close so I could get some good photos.

News Flash: Psych is not filmed in Santa Barbara

Who goes all the way to Santa Barbara to see Van Morrison? Especially after seeing him in San Francisco a couple of days earlier. We do. Well, although I went with Chris to Santa Barbara, Robin went with him to the SF concert. So, really, Chris does.

We flew into Burbank on Saturday, October 9. It's such a cute airport, what with the steps in the back and what-not. Driving to Santa Barbara took a looong time. The traffic was solid so we got a good look at all the crops. Did our sore and tired butts stop us from going out for a long drive after we checked into the hotel? Of course not.
We drove to the adorable little Danish tourist trap of Solvang.
We only had a little time to look around before heading for dinner at the Hitching Post, featured in "Sideways." Many of the patrons had obviously been a-tasting o' the grape. The "lady" next to us was unbearably loud!

There was a cool place next to the Hitching Post with all kinds of metal sculptures, decorated with many jolly pumpkins.
Then THE MAIN EVENT: Van Morrison at the Santa Barbara Bowl. We parked in a neighborhood nearly a mile away but what a good move. The traffic near the Bowl was nasty. 

We climbed and climbed and climbed into the stratosphere to our seats. Van was a tiny shape in the distance. But the sound was good. Unfortunately, the audience near us was a lot more interested in gossiping with each other than listening to the music. Soooo annoying! But Chris was happy so what more could I want?

The next morning we drove to the UCSB campus and walked along the shore and
around the lagoon. The day was gorgeous! People were surfing and canoeing and running and surfboard rowing (a new one for me). 

Chris had fond memories of the Art Fair held every Sunday along the beach so we meandered over there.

It was all painting and not that interesting so we went to the Fish House for lunch and then went back to the hotel to watch the Giants beat Atlanta (and I konked out for a while).

Dr. Wu's New Digs

It's been a very long time since I blogged. I blame Chris. It might be unfair but since when has that mattered?
Dr. Wu's move to the Bay Area has been occupying us for the last two months. It's been stressful but now that he's settled in, I can start thinking about other stuff.

Tammy and Kerry
  He had wonderful caregivers in Kansas City who were devoted to him. Tammy and Kerry even recruited their brother and Tammy's husband to help care for him at night. They cut their charges to the bone and were super careful about expenses but still, 24-hour care for one person is just too expensive. When it was two of them, it was more reasonable.
So, we had to explore the alternatives. He would soon be eligible for Medicare which would pay for a nursing home. But we didn't want him to be "warehoused" at a facility in Kansas City where he might not get a lot of attention. We looked at nursing homes in the Bay Area but they were dismal and depressing. People in wheelchairs lined the halls and screams filled the air. If he had to go there, we'd try to keep him at our house as much as possible. That was a scary prospect for me since I didn't feel comfortable being his primary caregiver, for many reasons, most of which do not reflect well on me.
We visited an upscale assisted living facility at Rossmoor in Walnut Creek. It was very nice and most of the residents were retired professionals: doctors and lawyers. Unfortunately, it was too expensive and not eligible for MediCal. Fortunately, the manager referred us to CareQuest, a referral agency that recommended five board and care facilities.
The first place, in Lafayette, was about twice as expensive as the others but she referred us because the owner is Chinese. We liked it and the owner very much but went on to see the four others. They were all run owned by people who saw the opportunity to make some money and didn't really seem to have a real connection to the residents. They were all run by hired caregivers and they all smelled funny. (It might have been the Filipino food the staff was cooking.)

The Red Door
 When we went back for a second visit to Lafayette Care Home, the daughter of another resident was leaving. She had wonderful praise for the owner, Linda, and her staff. We were sold. The house is up a steep hill near the BART station. Several times, deer have run across the private road in front of us as we drove up.
The Gang hanging out, watching tennis
The house has a huge living room with vaulted ceilings and a monster TV. The deck has an incredible view of the east bay hills. Dr. Wu's room is bright and large with doors that lead out to the deck.The owners are avid gardeners and the yard is full of blooming plants.
Linda is from Chinese and cute as a button. She has lots of funny stories to tell about being a spoiled and beautiful girl in Shanghai and Taiwan. She reads to Dr. Wu in Chinese and was testing him with cards, as preparation for playing poker. Her husband, Ted, is Japanese from Hawaii and adorable. They really seem to love and care about the residents. Ted toddles around with a little old lady on his arem wherever he goes. One of their employees, LingLing, is from Taishan and has taken quite a shine to Dr. Wu. We call her his girlfriend and he laughs. She is a little bit of a bully and pushes him to exercise and talk to her in Taishanese. The other day, when I went to visit, another of the staff, Jun, was sitting by Dr. Wu and singing "You Are My Sunshine" with a heavy Chinese accent to him. She is apparently a very good cook who makes dumplings and jook for Dr. Wu. The only male staff member is Peter who has been on a long trip to China to see his family.
The view from the deck
They can accommodate six residents. There are currently three adorable little old ladies living there who are very sociable. They all sit around the living room and watch tennis or golf on TV.  Another resident is bed bound so we don't see much of her. We try to see Dr. Wu about five times a week. I think they feel that's excessive, like we don't trust them but I tell them it's because we like him.