Do You Remember?

Sometime in January, Netflix is scheduled to begin streaming the sixth season of  Grace and Frankiethe wonderful comedy about two aging women whose husbands leave them for each other. While their husbands’ marriage to one another is certainly a part of the show’s narrative, it isn’t the driving story line. Instead, the program looks at two women facing the problems of aging.  Frankie and Grace stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, and they play their respective parts spectacularly. It is fun to watch them struggle with technology and their frustrations about their grown children and real-life problems like not being able to walk fast enough across a street to beat the light before it changes.

It makes me happy to see that television might — just MIGHT — be starting to realize that Baby Boomers are aging, and if we can’t laugh about that fact, we will live our golden years mighty depressed.

Another Netflix program that deals with aging is The Kominsky Methodstarring Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin.  The Kominsky Method also looks at aging, but from a man’s perspective. Douglas plays Sandy Kominsky, a failed actor who now runs a respected acting school. Alan Arkin plays Norman Newlander, a successful agent who not only represented Sandy Kominsky, but is his best friend. The writing is very funny, and the situations the two men face — just like in Grace and Frankie — are realistic. Things like death of friends and loved ones, prostate issues, sex when you’re a senior citizen are all dealt with in a funny and way that hits home.

In the first episode of Season 2, the two men are driving in the car. Out of the blue, Norman asks Sandy, “Do you ever forget words?” Sandy agrees and tells a funny story of a situation in which he forgot a word. Throughout the rest of that episode, the men keep forgetting words.

Perhaps I find this especially funny because I am the Queen of Forgetting Words. I recently texted my son to ask him: What’s the word that means a team that was expected to lose actually wins? A few minutes or so later, my phone dings. Upset? Court asks me.

THAT’S IT!

I’m pretty sure the reason it took so long for him to respond was because he took the time to look up nearby Memory Care facilities.

The other day Bec was visiting. The two of us sat out on our patio, each with a glass of wine (which Court would probably think I don’t really need). We talked about a variety of things from movies we liked to our favorite actors and so on. But much of our conversation consisted of both of us trying to come up with someone or something’s name. She couldn’t remember the name of one of her favorite Christmas movies (Deck the Halls). I couldn’t remember the name of one of my favorite Christmas movies (Love, Actually). Meg Ryan’s name escaped me. At one point, Bec and I were laughing so hard at ourselves, we were crying. “We need to use a sentence that has a direct object,” I said through my tears of laughter.

One of the critics from Rotten Tomatoes gave The Kominsky Method a pretty good review: Full of humor and heart, The Kominsky Method paints a surprisingly poignant — if a little paint-by-numbers — portrait of life and aging, elevated by two top-notch performances by legends Alan Arkin and Michael Douglas.

Can I just explain to this reviewer (who is probably 34 years old) that there is really no “paint-by-numbers” about their situation. That’s called Real Life.

And that’s why our children are already looking for rooms that will work for three…..

I Left My Heart

The first time you visit San Francisco, here are the things you must do: drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, take a gander at the sea lions on Pier 39, tour Alcatraz, hop on a cable car and hang off the sides, walk through Chinatown and look at the ducks hanging in the shop windows, eat seafood on Fisherman’s Wharf, drive or walk down crazy Lombard Street, drive through the intersection of Haight and Ashbury (preferably while singing Age of Aquarius), and eat an ice cream treat (most likely an enormous hot fudge sundae) at Ghiardelli Square.

By time you’ve done all of those things, you will recognize that it’s just about time to go home.

The first time I ever visited San Francisco was in 1991, when I went with Bill, who at that time was my husband-to-be. I know this to be true because during the fairly recent Cleaning-Out-of-the-Bookshelves in our bedroom, one of the things I came across was a little photo album. I blew off the dust and read my hand written label: San Francisco 1991. I’ve been back several times since.

Dave and Jll not only honeymooned in San Francisco, but have visited the City by the Bay since. So, they have also done all of the above-mentioned must-does. However, none of their four kids had ever been to San Francisco, and they – just like Karl Malden and Michael Douglas – were ready to hit the Streets of San Francisco.

We ran into our first glitch when Jll (thinking, as did I, that tickets to Alcatraz were readily available), realized that the tickets were sold out until the next millennium (well, practically). Oh no! she texted me. Is there anything we can do? I put Bill on the case. He’s as good a detective as Michael Douglas any day of the week, at least when it comes to finding tickets or reasonably-priced hotel rooms. What he learned was that tickets were indeed sold out. However, if one is desperate enough to get up with the birds and be at the Alcatraz boat dock by 6:30 a.m., some lucky people might get tickets. We did just that, and though I felt our chances of getting tickets for eight people to be slim (being the glass half empty sort of gal), we did indeed get tickets for the 8:45 a.m. tour. The tour was well worth the inconvenience…..

We had checked off the sea lions at Pier 39 (the majority of which were not making their appearance because they were off breeding) and eating seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf the first day. I know this will surprise many, but Bill’s top priority was not the Golden Gate Bridge nor cable cars nor Chinatown; it was Ghiardelli Square. Well, not the square so much but the ice cream treats the square offered.

Because of this, following our visit to the indisposed sea lions, our next stop was Ghiardelli Square, with a quick stop-over to Boudin Bakery — the home of sourdough bread….

This photo was actually taken at our SECOND trip to the Mecca of Ice Cream Treats. But who’s counting? After all, it was a different day.

We were all interested in riding a cable car, but we were put off by the long lines. Dave discovered that if one was simply wanting to ride a cable car for the experience instead of to get to Fisherman’s Wharf, the best idea would be to take the less popular California line. That had our names on it, so one day we rode a cable car up and back, with everyone taking turns hanging off…..

Lombard Street and Haight-Ashbury were knocked off in a couple of driving trips, along with some lessons about switchbacks and the history of Flower Power. And I did, indeed, sing The Age of Aquarius, which admittedly caused some surprised faces among the grands. Was Nana a hippie? The answer: a most decided NO.

I documented some of our trip to Chinatown in my last Saturday Smile. In addition to our lunch at House of Nanking, we also visited a fortune cookie factory…..

…..where the woman’s job was to take one of the soft, flat disks that were coming down the line, lay a fortune on top, and fold it and crimp it and place it into the special cooling pan, then move on to the next one. Catholics would call her job Purgatory. Or perhaps Hell.

That same afternoon, we took a bathroom break at a restaurant called Sushi Boat. The boats carried plates of sushi; they would float by, and if you were interested, you would grab the plate from the boat. The color of the plate told you the price. Alastair would have stayed there all afternoon had I given him a couple of hundred dollar bills to pay for all of the little plates he would collect…..

We checked off our drive over the Golden Gate Bridge with a trip to Muir Woods, on the other side of Sausalito. It was a beautiful morning…..

Our days always concluded with whale watching and enjoying the beautiful sunsets over the Pacific Ocean…..

Alastair, Dagny, and Maggie Faith watch the waves gobble up their footprints at sunset one night.