Long Beach first lady Nancy Foster and her cat, Noah.
Long Beach first lady Nancy Foster and her cat, Noah.

Nancy Foster is Long Beach's First Lady, community activist and a mental health advocate. She and Mayor Bob Foster have been married for 43 years.

Q: Are you going to watch the election on Tuesday or are you sick of politics by now?

A: I'll have the TV on for sure. I'll be watching closely. It should be a very close race.

Q: I'm nervous about it. When it comes to things like sports and politics, when I really want someone to win I don't like close games. I like blowouts.

A: Yes, like the Giants did in the World Series.

Q: I know Bob's a big Giants fan, even from back in the day when he and the team were in New York. Did he brainwash you?

A: No! I was a Giants fan before I met Bob. I grew up in Santa Clara in the Bay Area, and when I was a little girl, it was one of the things I could talk to my dad about. Then when I married Bob, we raised our two boys in Sacramento, so we were always rooting for the Giants. And the Raiders, too. Raising two sons, and Bob, so it's like three sons, really, we always watched the Raiders play on Sunday. Plus, I've always been a tomboy. Even when I was pregnant I always knew I was going to have boys.

Q: How's your cat? When he got sick, you spent a lot of time at home with him.

A: Animals. I swear, you get so attached to them. Noah is pretty good right now. He's eating a lot, but not gaining any weight. But he has a good life. He has a deck off our bedroom, and there's a box out there that he climbs up and he can see all over the neighborhood. We call it the Top of the World. I'll ask Bob where Noah is and he'll say, "Oh, he's out on Top of the World."

Q: And are you on top of the world these days, with your bipolar issues?

A: I've been on the same medication for quite some time. I still have spells when it's kind of hard to get out of the house, but it's slight. Now I know that if I push myself and get out with people, I'll feel a lot better. It's like a fix. Once I get out it takes my mind off it. But I have had spells where I can't get on the computer, then you know it's bad.

Q: I know the depression can get really bad, and people tell you to go out and ride a bike and get some exercise and you'll get over it. But that's more like if you're feeling a bit down. When you have depression, you can't even open the garage to get your bike out.

A: There were times I would agonize all day over going to the dry cleaners a couple of blocks away. The ordinary things like that become ordeals. The thought of doing something like going to the dry cleaners is overwhelming.

Q: Was Bob frustrated about your bipolar disorder, or was he understanding?

A: He was very understanding. When I was 36 years old and I started the medication, he could sense me coming out of it before I did. He knows a lot about mental health issues now. He learned everything from me.

Q: How do you feel when people say bad things about the mayor?

A: I'm very protective of Bob. Sometimes I read the comments at the end of stories about him....

Q: That's a mistake.

A: I know Bob and I know how good he is. When he was at Edison and the company stock was down, he told his executives that they couldn't take a bonus that year. That was half his paycheck. He said, "We should not be taking money when people are doing without." And you have to put in the fact that he takes Navy showers.

Q: Baby showers? He's a pretty big man.

A: Navy! Navy showers! He does it to conserve water. Nobody knows that but me and Bob. We have learned a lot from each other. We complement each other. Bob gave me a card once and he wrote "You make me a better person." He's a really good man, and he has brought me out of my shell.

Q: He's considering another run for mayor or a higher office. Do you have any input on that decision?

A: You better believe I have input. A lot of people tell him he should run for mayor, or run for governor. You know something? I can hear him breathing at night, I can tell he's tired. He's my husband. I think it's time for him to take a step back and really enjoy life. There's plenty he can do for the city and the state without holding office. So, I just plant little seeds here and there. When he goes up to Sacramento on business, he comes back saying it's so depressing. I say, "remember that." And when we go out to our place in the desert and he says "I wish we didn't have to go back," I say, "remember that."

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