We had another good day yesterday. It was a good example of how little time we spend at home on a typical day. Kate slept a little later, but we made it to Panera for almost an hour before going to lunch. After that, we came back home. That left us about two hours before our hair appointments at 3:00. Knowing that Kate doesn’t like to stay at home for long, I gave her an option to go to Barnes & Noble. She opted to stay at home.

About an hour and fifteen minutes later, she got up and went to the bathroom. When she returned, she was ready to go. It was 2:30, so I asked if she would like to go for our haircuts then or wait another fifteen minutes at home. She wanted to go the hair salon. That’s what we did. As it turned out that worked well. The person who cuts our hair did not have a 2:30 appointment and took her right in. It was a day for color, so I had time to run back home for a while before returning an hour later for my haircut.

By then it was 4:00. That left us time before we were to leave for jazz night at Casa Bella. I asked if she would like to go home or to Panera. She wanted to go to Panera. I have often commented about the importance of Panera and other restaurants to both of us. It puts us in centers of activity. We often see people we know and engage in brief conversations. In addition, we meet new people who also come regularly.

Although Kate obviously enjoys being at Panera, I have never heard her make a comment about it until yesterday. She loves children and had been watching a young child in his mother’s arms as she got herself a drink. Then she said, “Panera’s a nice place to be.” She went on to say something about the surroundings and the people that we see. When she says things like this, I am reminded of how much she takes in. It’s a happy moment for me. It also makes me think. I’m afraid I sometimes underestimate her. I know it is common for other people to underestimate what people with dementia can understand. We are easily drawn in that direction, even caregivers who should know better.

We left Panera in time to change clothes before going to Casa Bella. When Kate was ready, she was carrying a turtleneck sweater and pair of pants that go with an old warm-up suit I used to wear to the Y in the morning. I didn’t say a word. She brought them to the car but didn’t take them into the restaurant. I would have said something if she had started to do that.

It was another beautiful evening of music and socializing. We sat with one couple we sit with every time we go for one of their musical evenings. That’s three times a month. The other couple has joined us several times in the past few months. They are all interesting people, and we get along well. Kate doesn’t talk much but enjoys being with the group, and she loves the music. It was a terrific way to end the day.