Mom’s Obituary as published at mortuary site

Cynthia A. Timberlake of Aiea, HI passed away peacefully at home on November 27, 2021. She was born on September 1, 1926 in Denver, CO. to Julius and Lillian Alford. After her father’s passing, her mother packed up the family and moved to Phoenix, AZ by way of Wickenburg, AZ where her Aunt Hazel lived.

Always a bright student, Cynthia in her high school years was also part of the war effort in WWII in Phoenix at Williams AFB. She assisted in a civilian capacity doing paperwork for the pilots that were to go off to war. She attended Phoenix Junior College and then earned a B.A. degree in English from UC-Berkeley in 1947. In December of that year she married the love of her life, Navy Officer Lewis G. Timberlake. “Cy,” as Lewis called her, embraced married life. Their first duty station was Naval Ammunition Depot Hawthorne, NV. As a young married couple they started a family in 1950 while stationed at Naval Air Station Moffett Field in Sunnyvale, Ca. She loved hosting parties for the many people she and Lewis met throughout both their careers. She created lifelong friendships with people from across the globe, as they had many transfers to new and exciting locales while her husband was on active duty. Some of her best memories were of Puerto Rico and Charleston, SC.

In 1962 she earned a Masters in Library Science from UCLA while Lewis was stationed in Antarctica. She started her career in 1963 first as a Librarian at the American University in Washington, D.C. then at Fairfax County Library in Virginia and the University of Guam. In 1970, Lewis was transferred to Hawaii and Cy was hired at Bishop Museum as their rare books librarian and retired as Head Librarian in 1987.

She and Lewis loved traveling the world after her retirement, which they did until his passing in 1993. She created a business called “Book Specialties,” a rare book & art appraisal business specializing in Hawaiian and Pacific island culture and history.

She never lost her love of books, music, politics and the arts, and in typical Cy fashion she would read every inch of the newspaper daily to keep up with current events. In addition, her passion for civil rights never faded as she recalled attending “The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” on August 28th 1963. She was always a proud and fierce defender of human rights and civil liberties.

In her later years she became less mobile and was lovingly cared for by Stephen for her daily needs. She was immensely loved by her family as she was the glue that held the family together.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Capt. Lewis G Timberlake CEC USN, and brother, James Alford. She is survived by her son Stephen Timberlake, daughter Phyllis Lynn (Eugene) Villafana, granddaughters Melissa (Bryan) Namba and Melanie Villafana and great-grandchildren Bradley and Brianna Namba.

Services will be held at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl in early 2022. In lieu of flowers donations can be made in her name to the Hawaiian Humane Society.

R.I.P., Cynthia A Timberlake

Cynthia A. Timberlake of Aiea, Hi died peacefully at home on November 27, 2021. She had celebrated her 95th birthday just three months earlier. In her long life she had been a wife, a mother, and the Head Librarian at Bishop Museum in Honolulu.

Cynthia was the older of two children. She was born in Denver, Co. but raised in Phoenix, Az. Her brother James predeceased her.

She earned a B.A. degree in English from UC-Berkeley in 1947 and a Masters in Library Science from UCLA in 1962. There was a language requirement for the MLS degree and her son remembers drilling her in Spanish from flash cards at the kitchen table in Westwood.

Cynthia married Navy officer Lewis G. Timberlake in 1947; they had two children, Stephen and Phyllis Lynn. After some years of Navy travels on each coast of the United States, the family settled in Honolulu in 1970. Cynthia began her employment at Bishop Museum that year and eventually became the Museum’s Head Librarian, retiring in 1987.

In retirement she and Lewis enjoyed European travel until his death in 1993. She was afflicted with a neurological disorder which kept her from walking in her later years, but that did not affect her bright wit and mental sharpness. She hosted an annual birthday party for other Navy wives whose birthdays also took place under the sign of Virgo.

Cy (a nickname given to her by her husband) was passionate about human rights her entire life; she and Lewis were among the marchers in Washington, D.C. for 1963’s March on Washington; she worked hard to ensure the success of the early Head Start programs in Fairfax County, Va.; she was astonished and furious to discover her son’s 7th grade Virginia history text depicted enslaved people as “servants” and worked tirelessly to get the textbook replaced. She was a proud member of the NAACP, the American Association of University Women, the ACLU, and many other organizations.

She is survived by her two children, two grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Services will be held at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl early in 2022. Her ashes will be commingled with those of her husband and interred with him.

Shingles? Really?

Now look. This is too much.

Yesterday morning I noticed a few raised bumps on my arm which looked like acne. Then I discovered a whole patch of them on my shoulder and more at the top of my spine. I called my primary care doc’s office to see if he could see me anytime soon and ran into roadblocks, but I scheduled a video conference for next week Tuesday. To my surprise I got a call about half-an-hour later from the doctor himself, saying he didn’t want to wait to find about this rash until then. I described it and he prescribed some antibiotics, which I’m going to pick up today.

This morning I managed to take a couple of pictures of the arm and shoulder; I sent them to him. I got a response within an hour saying the shoulder in particular was classic shingles.

Now that’s annoying, because I’ve had both doses of the Shingrix vaccine. Obviously it didn’t prevent me from getting the virus, although so far there’s been no pain, so maybe it’s reducing that.

Good grief. The saying goes “into every life a little rain must fall.” I’ve had several thunderstorms this year.

2021 Update

It’s been a rather eventful year, medically speaking. In October/November of 2020 I began feeling a little pain in my mouth when swallowing. In early April of this year the doctors finally made a diagnosis of a fungal infection and prescribed antibiotics. After a couple of weeks, though, they weren’t working. All that time my swallowing got more and more difficult, to the point where I dropped 35 pounds in just three months. The doctors decided they’d admit me to Tripler Army Hospital, do an exploratory surgery, biopsy what they found, and determine what was causing the problem. They did that and came up with the worst possible answer: cancer of the supraglottis.

Well. The prescribed treatment was 7 weeks of radiation 5 days a week. After a 3-week stay in the hospital they discharged me and I started the radiation the following day.

I got through all of that with very little difficulty, surprisingly enough.

The way the doctors determined whether the radiation worked was by having a PET scan done, first injecting a radioactive tracer which attaches itself to cancer cells. That was done on September 28, and on October 4 the radiation oncology doc had me come in to go over the result. He told me there was no sign of cancer, but he’d like the ENT doctors to run an endoscope down my nose to examine the site of the cancer. They did that on October 19 and confirmed that there was no sign of cancer.

It kind of amazes me that I’ve now had three separate occurrences of cancer (see here and here for the earlier ones) and survived them all.

I had had a feeding tube inserted into my stomach while in the hospital, and I have been using it all the way up to today. I’m now able to swallow, so I’ve been eating dinners in very small portions for the past couple of weeks. Chewing tires me out, which is weird. Another side effect of radiation is that the patient loses the sense of taste. That’s still true. One of the things that has kept me from eating more more quickly is that food just doesn’t taste like much. I told that to one of the ENT docs and he said “It’s a job.” He’s got a point.

Anyway, that’s been my 2021 in a nutshell.

Christmas music moratorium

Ever since 2011 I’ve been posting YouTube videos of Christmas music throughout December. I’m taking the month and year off. I’m not much in the mood and I suspect very few other people are either.

I’ll restart the tradition in 2021, which will hopefully be free of national calamity.

President-elect Biden

It’s a tossup whether I felt more joy or relief yesterday when Biden went over the top with the Associated Press’s call of Pennsylvania, giving him that state’s 20 electoral votes and putting him over the 270 required for elevation to the Presidency.

I did no street dancing when the decision was announced, but I would have had there been anyone with a boombox outside.

There’s a ton of work to do to repair this country, but Biden’s election (and that of his VP, Kamala Harris, who checks off so many “first” boxes in her new office that I can’t count them all — woman, Black, Asian-American…) is a necessary start. It startles and dismays me that 70 million of my fellow Americans looked at the first Trump term with all its chaos and corruption and said “we’d like four more years of that, please.” We’ll have to see if a new President can heal that divide.

Meanwhile there’s a pandemic running completely out of control in the US and the world. Biden has said that dealing with it is his first priority as President; he plans to convene a task force to advise him as early as Monday Nov. 9.

Trump’s response to the virus killed his chances for re-election, says this preliminary analysis from the Washington Post. I think that’s partially true. The incompetence, the unwillingness to lead by example (refusing to wear a mask), and finally his decision to lie about it (“we’re turning the corner. It’s disappearing.”) showed enough voters that he wasn’t up to the job of keeping Americans safe.

Finally! The Dodgers win the World Series!

For the first time in 32 years, the Dodgers have won the World Series. Up three games to two, in Game 6 they managed to get a couple of runs after a dubious removal of the Rays’ starting pitcher Blake Snell, who’d been mowing them down in wholesale lots (he’d struck out Betts, Seager and Turner in each of their first two ABs). They added a Betts home run in the eighth and watched their 24-year-old lefty Julio Urias throw his second multi-inning relief outing of the playoffs (he threw the last three innings in Game 7 of the NLCS, for which he got the win) and get the save.

It was the culmination of a very weird baseball season, truncated to 60 games and with one extra playoff series added to it on the back end. The Dodgers swept the first two rounds, beating the Brewers 2-0 in the new Wild Card round and demolishing the Padres 3-0 in the Division Series. They then came back from a 3-1 deficit to the Braves in the NLCS and beat the Rays 4-2 in the World Series.

What? No coffee?

I stumbled into the kitchen, filled the reservoir on my Black and Decker drip coffeepot this morning, put coffee in the filter, closed the lid, turned it on, and nothin’. The clock works, the “on” light works, but it doesn’t drip.

It’s been three years since I replaced the last one. I guess if appliances become commodities then they don’t get built as well as ones meant to last years.

Roll Call at the Democrats’ Convention

Reviewers seem to agree that the best part of this virtual convention so far was Tuesday night’s Roll Call, in which each state cast its votes for the Presidential contenders from within the state’s borders. Heretofore each state’s delegates would be called upon from their location on the floor of the hall in which the convention was being held.

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was no central convention site, as we know. So the organizers were forced to create a virtual convention, and I imagine each state’s Democratic Party leaders worked very hard to come up with a way to showcase their state. Rhode Island, as I’m sure you’ve heard by now, chose to show off its calamari.

In case you missed it, here’s the whole 42-minute extravaganza.

July was hectic

Mom had several unscheduled trips to the hospital. She’s out and reasonably healthy now and looking forward to her 94th birthday next month.

On one of my trips out of the hospital parking garage I managed to crunch the front bumper of my car into a support column, damaging the suspension as well as the front end; that was on July 12. Here it is a month later and the car’s still in the shop. I’ve spent $785 on a rental car during that month. I just got a loaner from the body shop last week.

I managed to bruise a bunch of muscles around my breastbone; the docs think that was a result of my chest hitting the seat belt (the airbags didn’t deploy; I was only going 5-7 mph, for crying out loud) during the car accident. Those are healing, however.

More to follow.