Wednesday, February 3, 2016

My Birthday Break

I'm home and pretty well caught up after a fun visit with Jan.  It didn't go without some excitement.  You may recall that I was flying out of Charleston as it was a direct flight at a very good price.  It didn't leave until 6PM, which gave me plenty of time to get to Charleston.  I was there well advance of the flight and was so relaxed that I texted Jan, telling her that the day had come together so well that I feared I'd forgotten something!   We were all assembled waiting to board the plane when they announced that the flight was cancelled!  We were all shocked as there were no indications that anything was wrong.  It was brought about by an extreme family emergency of a crew member, which everyone assumed to be the Captain or Co-captain.  At the same time, they announced that they would put us up for the night, provide food vouchers, provide transportation, put us on an 8AM flight the next day, and give us a $400 voucher for a future flight!!  It took them a little while to organize it, but they were so forthcoming that the passengers remained calm and cooperative, which was good.  We stayed at a Hilton Garden Inn near the airport that had its own restaurant, so once we were situated we could have dinner and hit the sack.  I didn't rest well that night but was up early to get the 8AM flight, which went off without a hitch.  


Jan met me at the airport around 11AM Seattle time and we spent the rest of the day catching up and settling in. The next day we had lunch at Stateside, which was the best food I've had in a long time.  It was Vietnamese cuisine but a caliber above most restaurants.  The flavors were so subtle, but distinct....delicious.  Seattle is a great city for food, especially vegetarian. So, through the week we enjoyed some very tasty food at restaurants like the Golden Beetle, Luc's, Bai Pai, and Poppy's.  We got a kick out of ordering pizza one night.  Jan ordered on-line.  We were notified when the pizza was ready and on-line we could track the pizza traveling from the Flying Squirrel to Jan's door.  There was a photo of the delivery person (Laura)....what a hoot!  I came home wanting to try Stir-frtied Eggplant, Muhamara, and several others, but knowing my skills could in no way reproduce the Vietnamese food of Stateside.

While it rained a lot, it never rained heavily. We did have three very mild, sunny afternoons, one of which we spent in Woodenville for wine tasting.  We had lunch on Sunday with Jan's friend, Mary Ellen, who was delightful. We then went to a Pulitzer Prize winning play titled Disgraced, which was powerful.  On one dark day we even managed a quiet, restful afternoon at home and, needless to say, there was lots of political venting all along the way.  

There were two "people moments" that I really enjoyed.  One occurred at the Airfield tasting room.  When we entered, the small bar was pretty well occupied by four younger women.  As we were putting our coats and bags on a table, one of the girls called to us to come on to the bar, they would make room.  It turned out be a very congenial group.  Two girls were friends who met in the military.  One was from Seattle but now working in Philadelphia (I think), but next year she would be stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC.  The other couple was a gay (married) couple.  It was an unusual combination of nice people, which is always enjoyable.

The second one was on my flight home. I had an aisle seat with empty seats beside me.  Across the aisle were two young men. The man by the window fell asleep right away and slept through most of the flight.  The young man on the aisle talked to  me almost the whole flight.  They were on their way to Charleston after visiting their father in Alaska.  He was in Special Operations in the military, which may or may not be true but he certainly looked like he could be!  He owns a landscape business in Charleston and also consults with the army, which takes him back to Iraq and Afghanistan. He told me about his parents unusual relationship and how close they were as a family and of his faltering relationship with his wife.  We talked everything from travel to pets - he even showed me pictures of his dog before I showed pictures of Rosie!!  It was totally enjoyable and made the flight seem much shorter.  In both instances, it was nice to be treated like a (still) viable person as opposed to an old (invisible) woman.  Everyone we met was welcoming and nice, but it was a pleasant surprise to be treated so well by younger people.

I'm sure I'm forgetting things (such as movies we saw, etc) but it was all enjoyable and Jan was a very gracious hostess.  It's always fun to spend time with friends from Aramco days.  I came home feeling relaxed and invigorated.  It was also a relief to see that Rosie seemed to do better staying at home than boarding someplace.  When I greeted her, she had her ears back and tail down, but with 15 minutes she was playing with her squeaky toys, chasing balls, and being her energetic self..  When David came by the next day to return my keys and garage door opener, she started jumping and yapping when she saw him, making me feel that he had treated her well.  

Our weather has been fantastic with several days being sunny and in the mid-70s.  Azaleas and roses are trying to bloom, which means nature is as confused as we are. My neighbor was out the other day power washing his driveway in shorts with no shoes or shirt!  I haven't quite gone that far but it has been warm for this time of year.  

Now I'm looking forward to spending time with another Aramco friend.  Eileen is planning to visit in early April, which gives me plenty of time to look for things to do and put down some wine. I'm excited to see her and I'm sure we won't run out of things to do.

And finally.......





Friday, January 15, 2016

Well into A New Year - 2016!

Well, today is a dark rainy day, with rain coming down at a constant, steady pace - a day perfect for doing something like updating this blog.  There isn't a lot to report, other than the fact that I'm thankful the holidays are behind us.  I had very little enthusiasm and just trudged through them.  Though I enjoy seeing most of my Christmas items, it seems like a lot of effort just for me.  I'm not sure how I'll approach the holidays next year....and we all know how fast they will roll around again!


To add to the gloom of the day, I received an email this morning that one of our feral kitties, Zorro, had to be euthanized.  I noticed on Wednesday that he ate very little, which was not at all like him.  The next day I received a call from Joe asking whether or not he had been eating over the last few days.  I told him that Zorro had eaten very little on Wed. and that he had a matted eye, which he let me clean.  When Joe went to feel him yesterday, he ate nothing.  He let Joe pet him but then went back to the weeds and just lay down.  At that point, Joe took him to his vet and blood work revealed that he had leukemia.  His red blood count was 11, with normal being above 40!  I knew, by his not eating, that he wasn't feeling well, but I wasn't expecting anything so devastating.  Putting him to sleep was really the only and the kindest thing to do, but we certainly will miss him.  We saw him go from a skittish, alpha-male kitty (with Georgie) to a loving friend to us all, even Georgie.  I'm sure George will miss him as much as we will......very sad!

I did finally make it to North Carolina for three days after Christmas.  Laney had planned to have some of the cousins for lunch on my second day there, but she got sick and we cancelled. In addition to that, it rained the whole time I was there!  While Laney and Julious were stuck at home waiting to hear whether or not the doctor could see her, I ran a few errands in town and visited Mama's friends (Ruth and Edna, who are in the same nursing home) and neighbor (Mr. Rob).  It seemed to make their day, and it certainly made mine.  It was so good to see them.  Laney couldn't see the doctor until 9:45 the following day; so, when they left for the doctor, I left for home.  It was earlier than I expected to leave, but it's a good thing I did - traffic on I-95 was horrendous, as bad as I've ever seen it.  It was good to finally get home in one piece!

While I was away, Rosie stayed at the home of my pet sitter.  They had an older Great Dane, whom I figured would be pretty mellow, and two children who were out of school; so I figured Rosie would be well occupied and tended.  When Kristin brought Rosie home, she mentioned that Rosie was very hesitant when she picked her up Monday morning (a few hours after I left for NC).  She asked if Rosie had a history of abuse because she cowered a lot.  She does cower sometimes, for no reason that I'm aware of, except that possibly it is because she is a small dog and everything larger may seem threatening.  Anyway, for the first week she was home, I did notice a difference - she did seem more subdued.  Also, the first time I left her in her crate, as I went out the door, she cried.  I broke my heart!  I waited to see if she would stop, and she did.....and that hasn't happened since.  So, I don't know what brought all of that on unless it's separation anxiety.  As I'm preparing to visit Jan in Seattle, I have arranged for my friend David to stay here and look after Rosie.  I'm  not 100% confident about it and am hoping all goes well.  Rosie does like David and he likes her.  He works from home and will have to go home for that, but I'm hoping he can keep Rosie company and pretty much on her routine.  If it works, I'm also hoping they will become great friends so he won't mind looking after her from time to time.  We'll just have to see.


Speaking of visiting Jan, I'm beginning to get excited about the trip and looking forward to getting away.  I'll be flying out of Charleston, which is a two hour drive away; but, it's a direct flight!  And the price was right - $279!!  I'm looking forward to being in the land of Progressives and already, this early in the political campaign season, I need a pep talk, some assurance that Trump can't possibly become President - not that any of the others are much better!  How can people be attracted to that much hatefulness and negativity?  Can anyone tell me one thing they are FOR?  I can give you a laundry list of things they are against, but what good do they want to do for our people and country??  Jan, get ready!!!


That's about it for me except for the usual lunch with the ladies, political groups, zentangle with Ana, etc.  I hope everyone has gotten 2016 off to a good start and that it will be kind to all of us.  Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas 2015 is Here!

I wasn't expecting to be able to post again, but my trip to NC fizzled and I seem to be ahead of the game!  Rosie and I took off early, as planned, but things didn't go well.  I "cut through the woods" (Southern for taking local secondary roads) to I-95, not realizing there was a detour.  Before we had gone very far, Rosie began to pant/hassle.  I really couldn't stop until we got to Ridgeland, where I did stop, took her for a short walk, rearranged things a bit, and took off again.  We hadn't gone far when she started panting again.  I knew she couldn't do that for hours, so I turned around and came home.  I called Laney and explained what had happened and she understood.  The pet sitter couldn't keep her until  after Christmas, so I'm going to go up on Dec. 28-30.  I was very concerned for Rosie and disappointed that it happened, but I think I can get her more comfortable with traveling.  The dog trainer said to put her in a plastic crate where she can't see as much and to take her on long rides to get her accustomed to it. Dramamine might her, but that would be the last resort.  So, I haven't given up hope.  I never thought that would happen as she loves to ride locally, but then we never get over 45MPH!  Going at 70 on unpredictable roads is a completely different thing, even for me.

 Since we didn't go to NC, we did get to attend Rosie's last Puppy 1 class, which she completed satisfactorily.  You will notice all of the other puppies were BIG puppies and of a breed that is accustomed to taking commands from it's master.  Rosie would often be given concessions due to "a breed issue", which I eventually took to mean that she is stubborn and un-trainable!!  Abby, the dog trainer, said that "sit", the very first command we were to learn, was a hard one for Dachshunds and Dachshund mixes to learn; however, Rosie has it down pat.  She does have her little quirks though - she is much better at a side sit than my asking her to sit right in front of me.  She also responds better if I cam crouched down, closer to her level, than standing tall.  She will pick and choose when to respond to "focus".  If she is really interested in something (usually a smell) and I try to focus her, she will purposefully raise her nose and turn her head when I put the treat to her nose!  Both Dachshunds and Chihuahuas are supposed to be stubborn and she does have her moments, but I can identify with that so I understand.  She is a real joy to have around.

In the fervor of the holiday season, I began the most time consuming, least
productive project you can imagine - scanning all of my photos and storing them on a storage disk!  You can't imagine how many photos I have!  I bought a photo scanner about 3 years ago and this is the first time it has been taken out of the box, and it is definitely worth the money. This will be a long-term project and I've set it up on the laptop in front of the TV so I can scan photos as I watch TV at night.  I couldn't imagine doing this on a regular scanner. The box of photos to the right (1983 - Spain, Portugal and Morocco) had almost 600 photos.  Believe me, not all of my photos are as well organized as this box!  Not only are these filed, many photos had info written on the back!  So, I took the time to label them.....it seemed the right thing to do!  Most of my others don't even include the date and I'm the world's worst at remembering when things happened, so most of the others will be less labor intensive.  Anyway, what I expected to be a mind-numbing, thankless job has really been pretty enjoyable.  I was reminded that I've camped in Death Valley and canoe-ed down part of the Colorado River, that I've actually seen (from afar!) in person the Queen and Prince Phillip (and the Britannia), King Juan Carlos and the Queen of Spain, as well as both Bill and Hillary.......to say nothing of so many beautiful places in the world.  It is almost like reliving the past and remembering many wonderful experiences and people, which takes the tediousness out of the task......and I haven't even gotten to Abqaiq yet!!  

Yesterday was my day to spread Christmas cheer by delivering my vino to friends.  It was lots of fun and everyone seemed surprised and pleased, especially when they saw the label.  I hope they feel the same after they've actually tasted the wine!  

Today, Christmas Eve, should be about 80F (sun-room door is open, fan is on!) and the sun is shining....what more can we ask!  As I dithered around the house this morning I listened to On Point on PBS where people called in with their favorite Christmas stories and it was wonderful.  The stories ran the gamut - funny, heartwarming, heartbreaking, tender, sad, meaningful, unforgettable.  My thought was that I'd like to hear something like this every Christmas - maybe every day!  It was a wonderful array of human experience.  As that was winding up, I got a short email from Ann with a listening recommendation from Katie - Ludovico Einaudi - Islands.  He's a very handsome, talented pianist and I'm listening to him as I write.  Thank you, Katie.  So, what could be a sad, maudlin Christmas is shaping up to be peaceful and nice.....just by going with the flow. I do have invitations from friends for Christmas lunch, drinks in the afternoon, etc.  I will go with the flow on that, too, and do what feels right at the time.

On this Christmas Eve, I'm thinking of friends and family and counting my blessings that I have you in my life.  You make Christmas happen year-round for me!  Thank you so much. Merry Christmas and many blessings in the New Year! 
Love to all.



Sunday, December 13, 2015

Happy Holidays 2015!

As is usually the case this time of year, things have been hectic.  It took me the better part of a week to do the Christmas decorating that I normally do in a day and a half.  I would start and then quickly become disenchanted......it seemed a lot of trouble just for me!  But, there are some items that I really enjoy seeing each year; so, eventually, I got it done!  Last year I sold my artificial tree and all the lights that used to frustrate me to no end.  This year I bought a pre-lit tree which makes the process so much faster and enjoyable.

Otherwise, it seems that I've just been busy with one thing or another.  Camille, Linda and I met with the Ombudsman from the Council on Aging about the goings on at Bloom. It certainly would not benefit my mother at this point, but their actions were just wrong on so many levels!!  She seemed very interested in what we had to say and wanted to get DHEC's evaluations from their last inspection, as well as contacting her supervisor in Columbia to see if she would meet with us.  We are waiting to hear from her and hope it yields positive results.

Wine-making continues.  Chris and I bottled on Saturday and Camille and I will bottle this coming Saturday.  At left is my holiday label for gift bottles.  I hope everyone enjoys it.  This batch is dedicated to friends and acquaintances, but the upcoming bottling is for me.

Rosie continues to make me happy.  She is such a character and so funny to watch.  She'll leave the room and trot back in with a squeaky toy and just give it a fit!  When we go for walks, she greets everyone as though they are there just to pet her......and usually they do!

My neighbor (Carolyn) and I went to the Choral Society's Christmas Concert.  It's about the only holiday thing I'm attending and it was nice to hear the music, blending of voices, etc.  Other than that, I'm waiting for the holidays to be over.

This has been a great weekend for catching up with friends. Jan called yesterday and invited me to visit in January.  I got online and checked for tickets.....the price was so good that I had to take her up on it.  So that is my birthday present to myself, which I'm sure I will thoroughly enjoy.  It will  be good to get together and a good change for me.

Carolyn also called and, though it has been a long time since we'd talk, we picked up right where we left off.  Unfortunately, she is at the beginning stages of going through the same thing I went through with my mother.  She said she learned a lot from my experience and I told her I'd never realized I was a trailblazer to all the places no one wants to go!  It was so good to catch up and we both vowed to be better at it!

This is my domestic/dietary tip for the day - Salad in a Jar!!  Sounds strange but it is actually great!  It is a take-off on the Buddha Bowl, but it keeps everything fresher.....including the avocados!!  I put 2T. of salad dressing in the bottom and then layer in a mason jar:  red onions, tomatoes, avocado (mashed with lemon juice), black beans, corn, red peppers, red cabbage, and spinach.  Put the top on and it keeps for days.  Chop once and then when you want a salad just open the jar and empty into a salad bowl.....and the avocado does not turn color!!  Of course, you can change up the ingredients as you like..  It also takes up less space in the fridge than trying to store all of these ingredients separately.  I'm so glad I tried this.

Tuesday I'm taking off to NC for a few days, taking my sidekick Rosie with me.  We will be staying with Laney and Julious for two nights as I told them I would come up for either Thanksgiving or Christmas.  I chose those days (the week before Christmas, in the middle of the week) in hopes of missing heavy traffic.  It will also be the first time Rosie has gone on a longer drive, so we shall see how she handles it. 

I can't finish without telling you about the glorious weather we have been having.  Summer was a real bummer, but November and December have been wonderful. I've been walking Rosie in short sleeves.  When Carolyn called, I sat out on the patio as we chatted. It has just been wonderful.....and I guess the crummy summer makes us appreciate it more.  Winter will arrive at some point, but we are certainly making the most of this while we have it.

Here's wishing you and yours a Very Merry Christmas and all good things in the New Year!



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving is here, which means another year is rapidly coming to an end.  I'll be sharing Thanksgiving dinner with friends on the island (Thea and Rich), which means a relaxing day at home and a great meal and evening with friends.

I've been doing fine since my mother's passing.  Again, I think so much of her had already gone and her last few weeks were so difficult that there has been some consolation in knowing that she is no longer going through that.  I did want to relate one of our last real conversations some months before she died.  One evening at dinner, she said out of the blue, "I'm proud of my clothes".  I told her that she had lots of nice clothes and always looked good in them.  Then, for some reason, I thought about Easter during my childhood and I said, "Do you remember when we used to get all dressed up for Easter.....crinolines, matching gloves, hats, shoes and purse?"  As I rattled off all those things of a time gone by, she began to smile.  When I ended the list with "corsages", we both had a belly laugh and she said, "We looked plum tacky!"  We laughed again and I said, "and we didn't even care!" We continued to recall several other things that we could both relate to and remember, to the point of someone actually commenting on how much fun we were having.  That is a lovely memory which I will cherish forever.

Friends have been great about getting me out and about.  
  • I have put down wine with two friends, Chris and Camille, so I will have a whole batch (30 bottles).  I hope to come up with a creative, holiday label and be generous with it as Christmas gifts, hostess gives,etc. 
  • Elaine and I went to Port Royal to see "The Great American Trailer Park Musical", which was set in the '80s and was as funny and irreverent as the name implies.  It was something totally different and thoroughly enjoyable.
  • Attended the First Progressive Issues Forum at the Unitarian Church.  Speakers were from the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Imam from the Mosque in Savannah, and the Director of Public Affairs from Planned Parenthood.  Needless to say, for a political junkie, it was very informative.......especially after having just read Just Mercy, which I highly recommend. I also ran into many friends whom I hadn't see in a while so that part was fun, too.
  • Chris and I went to Liberal Ladies of the Lowcountry, where the speaker was Wendy Nilsen Pollitzer, who had just put together a coffee table book called South: What it means to be here in heart and spirit.  I went in intending to NOT buy the book, but when she shared some of the stories and contributors, as well as the beautiful photographs, I caved quickly.  No doubt, it is the best of the South, not the darker side, but it is a lovely book.
  • And then there have been the usual things - feeding ferals, Precious Rosie and Puppy Class, Living Liberally, zentangle with Ana, and wonderful down time at home.


While Thanksgiving will be celebrated tomorrow, Christmas has come and gone in the Morris household.  Rosie has gotten her very own car seat!  She has adjusted well and seems to like it.  As you can see, she is secured into it, which makes it much safer.  Before the seat, she always wanted to be in my lap AND looking out the window.  Now, when we go someplace, she runs to the garage door, jumps up and down, and when I open the door she runs around to the passenger side of the car.  It didn't take her long to figure out that!  She is at her cutest when she puts her two front legs on the top of the basket and looks out.  

My gift to myself is the Instant Pot!  It is a 7 in 1 product:  it's a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice and multi-grain cooker.  It steams, sautees and makes yogurt.  It seems perfect for a vegetarian.  I bought the Power Cooker but returned it - vague directions and unable to make adjustments.  I then checked Amazon for the Instant Pot (recommended by Camille), which was already on sale.  I emailed them and asked if they would give me a Black Friday discount so that I didn't have to wait to order the produce.  Not only did they give me a 20% discount, but I ordered it on Friday and it was here on Monday. Merry Christmas!  So, I've been experimenting.- steaming leftover veggies in fridge, sauteeing cabbage, cooking brown rice, making 3-bean chili, baking potatoes, etc. Today I made my Southwestern Quinoa Salad to take for dinner tomorrow.  The quinoa was done on the multi-grain setting in 8 minutes.  I then used the same pot to sautee the carrots, red pepper, garlic and spices.  There was only one pot to clean!  I think this is going to be very useful, especially in the summer.  It is quiet, quick and doesn't heat up the kitchen. My mother had a stove-top pressure cooker that she used frequently, and I was terrified of it.  This is several generations removed from that.  There are many layers of safety features and it is virtually silent.  I will get rid of  my slow cooker, which I seldom used, but I can see using this frequently.  However, I'm to the point that I can't play with it any more until I eat all the food that I've already cooked in it!!

I can't end without giving you an update on Rosie.  This video shows you why she is the perfect dog for me, one who does not do mornings!  Wait for the end and listen for the ears!!
(Disclaimer: I had been awake since 7:30, having coffee and playing with my iPad! Rosie was the one sleeping in!)





With that I'll wish my Stateside friends a very Happy Thanksgiving.  If you aren't celebrating, I'll wish you a Thursday and weekend of many blessings and good fortune. 



Sunday, November 1, 2015

Life Changes

As many of you already know, my mother passed away on October 15th.  She had survived
the worst of the move and seemed to be settling.  I was definitely feeling better about the care she was getting.  I went over at lunchtime and took her cornbread to have with her lunch.  She ate it all.  All was as usual with the exception of her having a build up of mucus in her throat.  I notified the nurse and she checked her immediately and helped remove it with a siphoning machine.  My day proceeded as usual until around 7PM when I received a call from Sue, the person on duty with Tidewater Hospice. She said it happened suddenly without pain, which was a blessing. Sue was as sweet as could be and gave me all of her contact numbers so I could call her at any time, if needed. She then went over to Ridgeland Nursing Center and took care of all of the details. Their chaplain and social worked contacted me before bedtime, but I asked that they come over the next day, which they did.

At that point I was just trying to get myself together to go to North Carolina for the service.  Mama had long ago filled out a form from the local funeral home specifying her wishes for her service. Taking a cue from a family member of Mrs. Baker at Bloom, I had also written a sketchy obituary for Mama.  The obituary along with other pertinent information, collected poems...and the two photos shown here were in a folder, so I didn't have to run around trying to collect everything I might need. The top photo is when she was gussied-up and looking good...and was used for her obituary.  The other is at home, on her porch, with her Smokey.......where she would really want to be and how I would want to remember her. She had wanted two soloists, but one was out of town; so, my cousin's husband, Julious, sang two songs that she had specified.  Another was used for the processional and my only addition was to have "I'll Fly Away" sung as the family felt.  The service was conducted by two ministers from her church who knew her well.  The only glitch was that Mama had managed to outlive many of her suggested pall bearers, so I had to extend the circle, but everyone asked was kind to comply. All in all, it went well and I felt good knowing it was what she wanted.  AND, I had Smokey cremated when he died and he was put in her casket!  I thought she would have liked that.....I plan to go with all of mine that have gone before!   Before I go farther, I would encourage all to specify what you would like done at your service.  I can't tell you how much help that was and how comforting for me to know that it was as she wanted it.

Her obituary is HERE.
The Order of Service is HERE.

I stayed with Laney and Julious from Sunday to Wednesday.  All the relatives on both sides were supportive and kind. It had literally been years since I'd been home and it was good to see everyone again. After the service about nine of the cousins got together at Laney's for homemade pizza and a catch-up.  Mama would have liked that, too, and it seemed strange to be there without her.  Laney sent me home with a car load of food and my friend Chris brought over a delicious Pumpkin Soup, a scrumptious Broccoli Sweet Potato Salad, and a yummy Orange Almond Coffee Cake.  I didn't have to think about food for most of a week, gave me time to notify those who required it and do the odd things that needed to be done.  Though I expect things to crop up over time, I hope most of the obligatory tasks have been done.

I'm doing okay after suddenly realizing that so much of her had already gone before she took her last breath.  If was mostly a matter of letting go of the body, on both her part and mine. It truly is "the long goodbye".  Her last months were so difficult, exacerbated by the sudden move,  that it was made easier by knowing she was not going through all of that any more.  I like to think of her as being whole again.....happy, at peace, and with those she loved. I'm focusing on how fortunate I was to have her this long: to have the time to live my life and come full circle and be able to help her, and put some of our demons to rest before the end.  I didn't see her but for a few minutes before the visitation.  While everyone else seemed to think she "looked good", I thought she looked dead!  My preference is to remember her in her prime, rather than the shell at the end.  There are moments of sadness, but overall I'm okay.

I've resumed feeding the feral cats, and Ana and I are getting together for zentangle on Tuesday.....first time since August 25!  I've also gotten involved in a neighborhood canasta game due to my inability to think quickly on my feet!  They actually play weekly, which is far to regular for me.  Now they've found someone to play full time and I'll be a sub, which worked out well.  There is still Drinking Liberally, Liberal Ladies of the Lowcountry (meeting this coming Friday), and the Progressive Ladies' Group.  Chris and I will also be putting down another batch of wine for the holidays. Any creative holiday names for the label??  I'm wanting to make a special label but have no creative ideas.

I've even had a meetup with Cheryl, her mother and Nancy this past Friday at our usual Subway at Exit 8 on I-95.  We were so busy talking and laughing that we totally forgot to take a selfie!!  it was great to get together!

And then there's Rosie!!  I can't tell you how happy I am that I have her.  She is a delight and is settling in well.  We had to drop out of puppy class, but we will pick it up again soon.  Even so, she has gotten so much better on our walks and is a real snuggle-bug in bed.  If I'm quiet, I can go in and get a cup of coffee and my iPad and come back to bed without waking her.  She wakes up lazily....stretching, yawning, snuggling.  But, once she's awake, it's full tilt.  While I was away, the Tidewater Social Worker, who is also the daughter of a friend and a neighbor, kept Rosie with her two doggies. There was some growling and snapping when I took Rosie over and I was a little worried, but she sent photo updates while I was gone and they had become good buddies by the time I got back.  Even so, Rosie was very happy to see me, which made  me feel good.


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Thanks to everyone who sent condolences by phone, cards, email, text, etc..  It means a lot to be thought about in times like this and I do appreciate your concern and good wishes. I know I owe lots of emails and I'm working on it.  In the meantime, I hope this will suffice.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Long Overdue Update

Well, it's been a long time since I've posted, so you might guess that things have been happening.  Where do I start?  I'll begin with the present and work back.

On Thursday, September 10, my mother fell out of bed.  She wasn't hurt or even bruised but the new "protocol" of the latest administrator is that they be sent to the hospital. This has happened before, when they were leaving her in bed too long after lunch.  Once they started getting her up when she woke up, the problem was resolved. About three days later, the same thing happened again, including the trip to the hospital.  When they called to tell me she had fallen again, they also informed me that they could not accept her back due to the level of care she required.......all of that in the three minute conversation!  When I hung up, I just stood there thinking "what just happened"?  I was stunned!  They would allow us back long enough to make other arrangements if I provided 24 hour sitters to be with her.  So, I stayed with her 12 during the day and paid someone to be with her at night. Needless to say, that was not inexpensive. 

In the middle of all that, my mother took a bad turn and there were two days that I didn't think she would make it through. She began talking about forgiveness and saying things like "I can't cross that river alone", all of which made me think she had decided it was time to go.  Tidewater Hospice was wonderful in helping both of us get through all of that and help me place her in Ridgeland Nursing Center, which is about 35 minutes away.  It is also a Medicaid-friendly facility, which should take the financial strain off me if she is able to quality.  I'm hoping to complete the application before the week is out.

RNC has a good reputation and thus far they have lived up to it.  It is a very different facility from Bloom - an older building, a more diverse population (not all gentrified-white-folks). It is skilled nursing, which my mother needs.  It reminds me very much of the nursing home back in Wadesboro, which may be more comforting to her.  On my first visits, it was obvious that she was being checked more frequently.  They had lowered the bed almost to the floor, all rails were in place and the mat was down.  One of Tidewater's CNAs whom I know from Bloom will be there 5 days a week.  The Director of RNC also worked for Tidewater at one time, so it was good to see some familiar faces.  So far, the only drawback is the distance, but I've been lucky to have her this close for so long. By the end of this week I hope everything will have settled out and I can get back to normal, whatever that may be!


Immediately before that saga began, I had a visit from Pauline (Reynolds, wife of Phil).  She visits her son and his family in New Hampshire yearly and this time decided to come for a short visit beforehand.. I was concerned about the weather, which has been crummy for much of the summer; but, we managed a very nice day at the beach, which I totally enjoyed (and neglected to take photos). We saw lots of local sites...
Palmetto Bluff
Bluffton Farmers Market and Lunch
Beaufort with Carriage Ride & Lunch
Hunting Island Beach
......and just generally caught-up. It was great to see her after about 15 years and I hope she will stop in again and not wait for another 15 years to pass!

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As you know, before Pauline's visit I adopted Rosie, who is just adorable!  She is a real character and such a great addition to the household. My favorite thing is when she shakes everthing.....those big ears make her sound like she's twice her size, and sometimes she shakes them so vigorously that her back legs lift off the ground.  She reminds me of a helicopter about to take off and I can't help but chuckle.  Another cute thing she does is try to find a place to bury her treats.  Until she finds the right place to hide it, she walks around whining, with the treat in her mouth.  Once the right spot is selected, she tries to cover it up with her nose. She's so funny!  We missed the last two puppy classes due to everything else that was happening and Rosie was neglected more than I liked.  I'm hoping things will settle enough to get her back on schedule.  




As you can imagine, I have stacks of laundry, little food in the fridge, and have just been getting by from minute to minute and am behind in everything.  September is a big birthday month for friends and family, so I hope Carolyn, Sandra and Laney will accept by belated wishes for a HAPPY BIRTHDAY and good wishes for the coming year.  Make it a great one!  While I wasn't able to be in touch on the day, you were in my thoughts.

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