Monday, January 2, 2012

Surviving the Holidays

Yes, it appears we survived the holidays, though not easily.  Things have been contentious between my mother and myself......they can be going well and then change in a flash.  But not to get the cart before the horse, my mother is doing much better physically, to the point of once again thinking about resuming her life in North Carolina.  I'm not sure how she thinks she can do that, and I just can't go there at the moment.

Julious, Mama & Laney
My cousin Laney and her husband Julious made a surprise (to my mother) visit on the Friday before Christmas.  They brought loads of "country cooking", with most of the vegetables straight from their garden.  They came only for the day, with a 4 hour drive each way; so, it was a quick visit but a real boost to my mother.  I hated for them to leave a 5PM with so little daylight left and a long drive ahead, but we were grateful for their visit.  They left us with enough food for much of the next week, so Christmas lunch was very quick and easy.  That, too, was a blessing.

Once Christmas was over, it was really over.  The day after we collected all of the house decorations and boxed them up for another year.  The following day it was the Christmas tree.  It gave us something to do in lieu of talking to one another!  Never before have we packed things up so early.  Both in and out of her state of delirium, it has become evident that my mother holds a great deal of resentment for my being away most of my life.  There isn't much I can do or say that is right or pleasing, so my best bet is to keep my mouth shut.  It's a very strange and sad thing that has happened to us, and I have no idea how to correct or improve it.

Christmas Day
One interesting development is that my mother is hearing music that isn't there.  She had commented earlier (before her hospitalization) that the neighbors  were playing music, which really didn't seem to be the case.  Then my neighbor loaned me a Susan Boyle CD, which we played....and the player stopped when the CD was over.  Some time after that, my mother asked me to "pleeease" turn off that Christian music!  I told her that there was no music playing, which only served to irritate her.  That evening I looked it up online to find that there is something called Musical Ear Syndrome, which often afflicts the elderly and hard of hearing.  The next morning I was trying to give her the information I'd found and she accused me of lying and didn't even want me to print it for her to read!  Now if I were hearing music that wasn't there and someone found information to explain it, I would want to know it.  Anyway, I did print the article and left it on the sofa for her to read at her leisure.  She has read it twice but again today she accused me of playing the music to drive her crazy!!  All I could say was that if she would find the source of the music, I'd turn it off......

New Years was a non-event with me, as it probably was with many single people.   Through the day I enjoyed watching the New Year arrive in Sidney, Hong Kong, Rio, etc. - and longed to be there. In the evening I struggled to welcome 2012, but did have an early toast with my $5 bottle of Andre, which I happen to really like!!  This year I was able to stay awake for the ball to drop in Times Square, but I have to say that it was a real letdown after seeing fireworks in major cities of the world.  It seems hours of screaming people and flashing advertising.....worse than ever.  Needless to say, being there won't be on my bucket list!

While December has been a real bummer, the remainder of 2011 was exceptional, made so by connecting with many friends throughout the year.  So, I can't let the joys of the year be overshadowed with the difficulties of its final month.  It really was a good year and I'm hoping 2012 will be even better for us all.

Not everything is dismal.  The weather has been absolutely fantastic, ranging from the high 60s to the mid-70s........just incredible for this time of year (though a 4 day cold snap arrives tomorrow).  My walks have been my salvation and it's been easy to enjoy them. In fact, our local gator has been toying with me......when I have my camera, he isn't to be seen.  If I forget my camera, he's there as big as life.  Well, on Saturday I out-foxed him.  I was surprised to see him out on January 1, 2011 and happy to see him out on the last day of the year as well.

I've missed my PAL volunteering for the last month and finally let them know that I would have to give up the desk duty.  My plan is to go out whenever I have a couple of hours and socialize the cats, play with the dogs, fold towels, clean feeding plates, or whatever else is needed.  I hated the feeling of letting them down for my assigned duty but will really prefer working directly with the animals.  It will also allow me to go when the time presents itself, so I should be able to do it weekly as long as things say stable.  Tomorrow (Tuesday) is a Living Liberally meeting and I hope to toast the New Year with my liberal friends.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Denise, my neighbor (who loaned the Susan Boyle CD), has also provided some relief.  We got together some time ago and hit it off well but, for various reasons, have not been able to follow up.  I talked to her over the fence a week ago and briefly explained the situation.  This week she called and invited me over for an afternoon break. I wound up staying much longer than intended, but it was lots of fun.  She's very easy to talk with and we seem to have lots in I hope we can get together again soon. 

Other than that, every day is a new adventure!!  I hope you got your New Year off to a good start and that it only improves from there.

Happy New Year!!