Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Final Christmas Humor...and Happy New Year!

The Hoppin' John (for good luck) is simmering on the stove and the cornmeal muffins (gold) are in the oven.  Tomorrow I'll saute kale (greens for greenbacks) and make rice and a salad.  That's my variation of the traditional Southern New Year's day dinner.  It didn't help last year, so maybe this is the year.

I've also been playing with the slide program and figured I could use the Christmas cartoons I've clipped through the month....and we may as well end the year with a laugh.  It includes cats, dogs, camels and, naturally, political humor.  I hope you find something that gives a chuckle.


Ive seen the New Year arrive in Sydney, Bangkok, Moscow, and Dubai, which is probably good as I'm not likely to be awake when it arrives here!  I do love the fireworks, though.  Wherever you are, I hope you get 2014 off to a safe and healthy start.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Good Bye and Good Riddance 2013!

Well, this year is continuing its reign of terror to the very end. It has made and continues to make its indelible mark...a year not to be forgotten. 

No good deed goes unpunished, and my optimism about Mama being able to visit us at home proved to be a pipe dream. Two days after the visit, she began talking about going home.....to her home, not my home! There had been no problem whatsoever until that time, so I guess it took that long for things to percolate. She became agitated, obstinate and determined. It would be nice for her to visit, but that doesn't seem possible without setting her back.  So, lesson learned!

The Sunday before Christmas, she was complaining that she thought she had a stroke because she couldn't use her left leg without it hurting. The next day she was totally irritable, stayed in bed all day and refused to eat. Late that afternoon, they found her on the floor of her room, lying on her pillows that were neatly lined up, and covered with her blanket.......not at all looking like an accident. By this time she was having trouble walking. So, I figure she fell the day before, but no one saw her or knows when, where or how it happened...and she doesn't remember. In any case, I received a call about 6:30PM and went over. It was decided that she should be checked out and so off we went to the ER. They took the requisite pictures, tests, etc. Her sodium and potassium levels were low and she had cracked her sacrum, which is very painful. She was admitted to a room after 11PM and finally given a pain reliever around midnight. I left as soon as she began to doze.

I returned Christmas Eve and when I entered she was sitting up in bed, having just finished
breakfast. She looked 100% better and seemed to feel much improved. She walked down the hall with one therapist and bathed under the supervision of another......surprising and impressing them all. I should have told them that she would have walked on water to get out! Even so, they did not want to release her (not all tests were back due to holiday staffing), so Christmas was spent in the hospital.  My plan was to spend the day with her and then go home around 5PM to feed the kitties and get some sleep. I made my way home and dealt with the kitties, before heading straight to the shower. I heard the phone ring and checked messages when I got out of the shower. It was the hospital. My mother was trying to pull out the catheter and IV line and they were afraid she would hurt herself. So, I gave Gabby his shot early (which I don't like), collected Mama's Christmas goodie bag of (unwrapped) gifts, and headed back to the hospital. She was restrained, defiant and giddy....a strange combination. She was also hallucinating. Within a few minutes she agreed to take her meds and the nurse explained that she would untie her hands if she would leave the lines alone. She fiddled with them a few times and I had to constrain her hands while they gave her a breathing treatment, but she eventually fell asleep.

After tossing and turning, listening to all the whirrings of the hospital, and watching my mother sleep for a few hours, I decided to go home around 2:45AM and have a few hours in my bed. I asked the nurse to let my mother know I had gone home to care for the cats and would be back around 9AM. I arrived back at 9:15, after stopping at BG to pick up some clothes for her thinking she might be discharged after doing so well the day before.  Wrong! She was having a fit, having pulled out the IV and pulling at the catheter. She was angry that I'd gone home and was not there when she woke up.....just another indication of how little I care for her!. I told her when I left and returned, and that I couldn't stay awake 24/7.....all to no good end. So, I sat there, saying very little, and doing what I could for the rest of the day.

About mid-afternoon I went to the nurse's station and asked how we would handle the evening. I struck up a conversation with a very kind CNA whose mother has dementia and whose father is having a difficult time dealing with it. She advised that I go home and get a good night's sleep....to be able to deal with whatever tomorrow brings. So, at 6PM I said my goodbyes and went home......Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

I came back to the hospital around 9:30AM on Thursday. The nurse said that after I left my mother had walked around and been fine. She was still sullen, snippy and semi-pissed,
but I carried on in my merry fashion. Around 10:30, the discharge nurse came in to tell us that she would be discharged to Belfair. I was so relieved! She had been so nasty and unwilling to do anything that I was afraid she would be sent to a nursing home for rehab. In any case, I was really surprised.....but knew not to get too excited. We didn't actually leave the hospital until 4:30PM! I took her straight to BG and for a minute she seemed happy to be there among people she knew. I got her settled in her room and then had 4 prescriptions filled at the local pharmacy. By the time I got back, she had finished dinner. I talked with her and she wanted to know if she was going to stay there tonight. When I told her she would be staying, she said that if she had knownthat she would not have come!! Merry Christmas!

When I went by the next morning (my days are totally mixed up), she was up and walking
around, but still in a bad mood. Both Saturday and today were a little better. In the meantime, my house, which was once in reasonable order, is now a pit again after days of running in, dropping everything and heading out again. There is no good food in the house (but lots in the fridge about to spoil!), and dismantling all of the Christmas decorations await!! Being a total escapist, I took some photos before that dismantling begins and spent hours numbing my brain by trying to find a slideshow program that does all I want it to do and can be viewed on regular computers and i-products.  This is the result......

So, I hope your holiday was more fun than ours, that you enjoyed time with family and friends.....and that you're looking forward to the New Year.   

As the New Year approaches with hope anew, here's wishing you and yours a wonderful year ahead.  Let us leave behind sadness, regrets and painful times and have a new start filled with good health, contentment, prosperity and moments of joy and wonder.

glitter logo - http://www.sparklee.com

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Thanksgiving is barely a memory and Christmas is fast approaching.  Things have been fine, but life has been non-stop.  Believe it or not, I'm still working on the Aid and Attendance Benefits for my mother.  You may remember that we met with the field officer, who came to Belfair and was very nice and helpful.  I was them appointed her feduciary/custodian by the VA and had to open a new bank account to their specifications.  I went to three local banks, none of whom seemed to know what I was talking about and all requiring different and varied documentation.  Finally I gave in and called Bank of America, with whom I'd closed an account after the big banks screwed our economy, and they didn't hesitate.  After chasing around for two weeks, it took them an hour to set it up.  Everything has been faxed to the VA and I'm praying that all is in order.  If so, we may hear from them whenever they get good and ready!

The first week in December, my cousin Laney and her husband, Julious, came to visit Mama.  We all had a good visit, eating at the usual BBQ place that seems to appeal to everyone.  It was a surprise for Mama and she really enjoyed the day.  With the holidays, medical appointments for my mother and myself, and the usual activities of life, it really has been non-stop.  
Last week I also went to three luncheons.  My neighbor coaxed me into going to the Crescent Lunch Bunch holiday luncheon.  Neither of us go to the regular monthly luncheons, but she said she would go to this one if I would go......and everyone thought I"d just moved there, except those who knew me from my walking!  It was at Callawassee Island Club House and was very nice.  It isn't the kind of thing I'd do on a regular basis, but Ana and I might do it again, once in a while!  The following day I went to a luncheon given by one of the girls in the Progressive Ladies' group.  She and her sister know a lot of people from various backgrounds (she is liberal and her sister is conservative).  It was a very nice affair and an eclectic group.....very enjoyable.  I won the
prize for being the person who moved here from the greatest distance.....hands down!  Friday I had a quiet lunch with Janeen to belatedly celebrate her birthday.  We had planned to go on her birthday, but she became ill and this was our make-up day.  It was good to catch up.
Tuesday Mama came by the house for the first time.  I'd been wanting her to come to visit the kitties but every time I thought of it she started talking about going home, which made me leery about bringing her over.  Tuesday we went to pick up her hearing aid and she was talking about going home. I put her off by saying it was still winter, both of her close friends are in nursing homes, and any other excuse I could conjure.  Then she asked didn't we have a house here!  I told her my house was here and asked if she wanted to stop by for a few minutes to see Christmas decorations and visit with Big Kitty.  It was all spur-of-the-moment and it worked out fine.  She loved the house (all new to her!) and Christmas decorations....and she loved time with Smokey.  Finally I said we'd better get back or they'd wonder what had happened to us, and there was no problem.  I had gotten some reindeer antlers at the dollar store and suggested that we wear them in to give everyone a laugh and she was all up for it.  Everyone got a kick out of it and she got a warm welcome when we arrived.  All in all, it turned out very well and I'm hoping to have her back on Christmas Day, if all goes well.

Yesterday, I hit the wall! I was so tired that I didn't even turn on the Christmas tree or other lights.  I was in bed by 6PM, totally exhausted and brain dead.  Your holidays are probably as hectic, but hopefully we all make it through in good form and good health. I'm not one for New Year's resolutions, but I do hope things settle a bit in January and that I can "simplify, simplify, simplify" my life.  In the meantime, have a wonderful holiday season.....a Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year!

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Belated Happy Thanksgiving!

All photos in photo album in right column.
One holiday down, one to go!  New Years hasn't counted in years, so now the focus is on getting through Christmas!  Actually, Thanksgiving was well celebrated and enjoyed.  Belfair Gardens had a luncheon on Tuesday, which was very nice. The tables were festively decorated.  There was a great guitarist, whose music was perfect for the occasion.  All of the residents were in good humor and it was good to see them with family members.  I have met so many nice people there and it does feel like family.  I went over early and did Mama's hair and helped her dress for the occasion.  She looked good and got lots of compliments, which she really savored......who wouldn't!  There are two other vegetarians there and one lady provided the kitchen with a Tofurky roast and invited me to share it with them, which was very nice.  I took photos of most of those attending, husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, etc.  As soon as they are downloaded, I'm going to send them to each person.  It was a good day and everyone was so thankful to celebrate it in a positive way with their loved one.

On Thanksgiving Day, I went over and again had lunch with Mama, who by that time didn't remember the luncheon on Tuesday.  There are the usual family members who visit daily and, again, it was a warm, familial feeling.  Later that evening, I attended a Thanksgivukkah celebration with friends from my synagogue days.  It was special in several ways, the first being that Thanksgiving and Hanukkah will not coincide again for 77,000 years!!  I don't think I'll be around for that!  Secondly, it was a welcoming, jovial evening.  Everyone fit around an expended table and the conversation flowed easily.  It was totally enjoyable and ended Thanksgiving in a very positive way.

As I drove on-island to Thanksgiving dinner, there was very little traffic; but as I drove home, the highway and mall parking lots were full!  It made me very happy to be going straight home, avoiding all of the hubbub.  I've never really been tempted my anything about "Black Friday."  I can't think of anything I would want that would make me go through all of that.....and I really wish they wouldn't show all of the pushing, shoving and fighting on TV.  That seems to encourage some.  Anyway, I was happy to pass it all by and head home to my kitties, who seemed to miss me.  By the time I went to bed, all four were there with me!

To put up the Christmas tree or not, that is the question!!  I've always done it this weekend....the weekend after Thanksgiving.  The lights are such a hassle that I want to get them up early to be able to enjoy them for a long time (first week in January).  When Mama was here, it gave us something to do together....and something that usually turned out well.  The truth is that I hate doing the lights!!  So, I've decided to do them this year.  I am then going to get rid of the artificial tree that I've had for a long time and get an artificial tree with lights.  I love decorating with the ornaments, etc........but the lights are a pain.  This plan seems like a logical solution.  I'm even thinking of TWO trees since I have white ornaments that I've used only once.  So, we shall see how the after Christmas tree sales go!
I have to confess...this was my first idea!!
As you might guess, other things have been going on, too.  I've attended my Living Liberally group, as well as a Progressive luncheon on the island.  There are two progressive  ladies' groups but this one is hosted by two young women and I enjoy being with them and hearing their views.  The conversation is always good!

One of my mother's hearing aids broke....and, as luck would have it, the insurance didn't cover the piece that actually fits into the ear, which just sheered as though it had been cut with a knife!!  So, I took her to have another earpiece molded.  We hope to have that back by the end of next week.

AND, I'm here to testify to the power for drugs!  After only three days on my new blood pressure meds and an antidepressant, I began to feel better.  By a week later, I was calmer and more relaxed.  I'm sleeping better at night and feel more rested in the morning.  I really hate the thought of relying on them, but I do like being without the anxiety and stress.  I still hope to use them short term and eliminate them as things improve.

In other words, so far so good!  If you celebrated Thanksgiving, I hope it was a good day and that you were able to find lots for which to be thankful.  If you don't celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you still found something in the day, and each day, for which to be thankful.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Plot Twists!

I've been wanting and meaning to write for a while but couldn't figure out how to do so without sounding like a laundry list of disasters, crises, and plain, ol' bad luck!  That quandary still hasn't been resolved.....it is what it is, so here goes!

There were several weeks of calm and good weather.  Much of it was spent doing things around the house AND finally tackling the dreaded garage.
My garage, where things go to die!
After about three days, it was under control and there was such relief to finally have that done.  The hardest task is done and other areas will not be that demanding......and can be done in small doses.

I continued my walking (until about a week ago!) and, until very recently, the weather has been beautiful.  It really was a pleasure to be out.  Even now, it is cold]cool in the AM and PM, but midday is warm and sunny.  I also went out with friends and saw 12 Years a Slave, which was excellent.

Last weekend my cousin's wife wanted to stay over with 4 adult family members, which stretches my accommodations.  Even so, it worked out fine and it was nice to meet her parents.  That spurred the usual flurry of cleaning and cooking but at least I had a head start on the cleaning AND was given more advance notice than usual.

The next day, Monday the 11th, I went over the Belfair for a short visit with Mama so I could have a block of time to continue my house purge.  We were sitting in the lounge when she started having trouble breathing and a rapid heartbeat.  The nurse checked her vitals and recommend the ER, so 911 was called and away we go again.  This time she was there from 10AM until 3:30PM.  She came back, had a snack and seemed to settle well.  The next morning, I went over early and she was participating in an activity, but the minute I looked at her I could tell that her color wasn't good.  She said she didn't feel well and needed to lie down.  Her vitals were okay and I just sat with her, brought her lunch in and had lunch with her, and hung around until she fell asleep after lunch.  I went home briefly and made some cornmeal muffins to go with soup for dinner.  Later in the afternoon, I went over again and took her a warm muffin with a slice of cheese in it.  She had that with a glass of milk and seemed to feel considerably better after her nap.  It was nice enough that we sat outside for a few minutes.  She had a followup EKG on Thursday and the doctor hasn't called so I assume that it was fine and she continues to do well.

At Wendy"s after having her hair done
On the same day that she had her EKG in the afternoon. I had  my physical in the morning, having had the blood work done the previous week.  For some reason I was very anxious about the appointment, and as she started reporting the high BP, high triglycerides, tachycardia, etc. tears began to roll down my cheeks.  I suspected that something was wrong because I'd been having headaches (nothing severe, but headaches are unusual for me) and occasional shortness of breath.  With all of that AND my crying, which she diagnosed as "depressed", I was given more BP meds and an antidepressant.  I'm not real thrilled about the antidepressant, but I can see that the shortness of breath (and higher BP) is probably due to anxiety.  I definitely want to get things under control, but I don't want to be on them forever, which seems to be the trend here.  I remained emotional for the rest of the day.  The unsettling thing was that I didn't know why I was so weepy!  Usually there has been an identifiable reason to trigger the tears, but there was nothing concrete happening at the moment.  That does make me worry.  In any case, I felt fine yesterday and have a follow up in a month, at which time I hope to be less emotional.

One of the ladies in our Belfair Gardens group called (left a message) to check on my mother.  I emailed her back and told her I was the basket case at the moment!  She was very sweet and supportive, confirming that she, too, had days when she felt overwhelmed..  I also cancelled out on Living Liberally and a few people from that group called and emailed to check on me.......all of which was very sweet  and thoughtful.

The "fabulous" witch!
Totally unrelated to anything else, back in early October on the same day that my laptop died, I lost one of the diamonds in a band (wedding) that held four.  I vacuumed, dusted, shook and did everything else I could think of but never found it.  More recently, my Longine watch died.  I took it to the jeweler here but he was unable to repair it.....it will have to be sent to a repair center and possibly even Switzerland!!  Allan bought the ring in Hong Kong and the watch was a matching "his and hers" set.  He had trouble with his from the very beginning and mine never missed a beat.....right up until it just stopped. Nothing lasts forever, but I just wasn't ready to part with those things yet, to lose more......

Then, just to keep me on  my toes, on Friday I had planned to visit Mama mid-afternoon and to spend the morning doing laundry, etc.  As I was putting the first load in, I realized that was the end of the laundry detergent.  If I had to get out for that, I may as well stop in to see Mama and then come home for the rest of the day.  All week I had been meaning to stop by a shoe shop to see if they had a black pair like a beige pair I bought there.  While I was at Kroger I decided to run there before going to BG.  I was in and out of the shop in no time flat, got in the car and......my car wouldn't start!  With the few cold days we've had (and the short distances I drive), I figured it was the battery but, whatever the reason, I had to sit there for about 45 minutes for AAA to come......and I didn't bring my iPad for entertainment!  A very nice young man came to my rescue and it only took him a few minutes to get me going.  He wished me a better rest-of-the-day and I drove around a little to get a good charge going. I then stopped by BG as they were sitting down for lunch.  So, I had lunch with them and didn't get home until after 1PM.  THAT is a perfect example of how my days seem to go....very unpredictable!

I have plans to get together with two friends this coming week and would like to get my walking routine going again.  Mostly, I want to feel rested and calm, without feeling that I have a long list of things to do. Today I've turned off the news channels (very difficult for me to do!) and listened to a few podcasts and read one of the stack of magazines that await. There is a DVD for tomorrow....and more magazines. If things beyond my control can stay calm for a while, I think these positive changes will help. 

I hope things are calm and happy where you are....

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Never a Dull Moment!

Within two hours of my last post (Sunday, October 13), I received a call from Belfair Gardens saying that my mother was not doing well......rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, etc.  They felt she needed to go to the ER, so I said go ahead and call 911 and I would get there ASAP.  I threw on some clothes and got there just as they were taking her down the hall on the way to the ambulance.  I spoke to her and am not even sure she knew it was me or even heard me (hearing aids were out).  so, I went to the ER and they did everything to quickly get things under control. They decided to keep her for the night.  However, as seems to always be the case, we didn't actually get a room and get settled for the night until 2AM.  Surviving the hospital is not for the weak!  My mother seemed to get a few hours sleep, but I got up at 6AM to come home briefly to feed the cats and give Gabby his insulin.  As soon as that was done, I went back....in less than two hours.  When I arrived, my mother had just finished breakfast and almost seemed like nothing had happened!  Even so, we were there until around 6PM.....the doctor wouldn't release her until blood work had been done again. So, we waited, waited, waited!!

The waiting was broken when Bev, a friend from synogague days, and her therapy dog, Alfee, stopped by for a visit.  He is beautiful and fluffy....difficult not to love.  He got lots of attention and we all loved it.  The hospital chaplain stopped in....and I knew him from synagogue days also, so we had a nice chat.  Finally, at the end of the day as we were about to be set free, Shelly from Belfair Gardens came by to check on "Mama Caboose", as she calls Mama for always bringing up the rear.  That was totally unexpected and so  thoughtful....she is a real gem, and you can tell that Mama likes her.  When I got Mama back at BG, they had held dinner for her and she was chowing down as I left.  I came home, took care of the cats and collapsed!  The last photo is of her enjoying the ice cream social the next day, almost as though nothing had happened.

The doctor scheduled an appointment for her to have a stress test on the following Thursday.  Anything like that is almost always a full-day event.  In this case, I went over and did her hair beforehand.  The test itself took several hours and we headed for food immediately thereafter.  It was another day of getting home just in time to take care of necessities before crashing.  Again, around 8:30 the phone rang.  It was the doctor saying they had found a major blockage and she needed a stent TOMORROW!  So, I called Belfair Gardens and alerted them, saying that I would pick her up around 7:45.....so, she didn't have time to fret over it (I did all that!).  We were there by 8:30 and the procedure went well, so well that she was released around 6:30 that evening.  I got her settled in BG, with assurances that they would check her often.  When I went by the next morning, she was up, dressed, having breakfast and demanding more coffee!!  I, on the other hand, was exhausted!!

 The next day (Saturday), I had planned to go to the Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival (Eileen, you will remember that!) with my friend Chris and her friend,  who was visiting from Minnesota.....but, I was so tired that I cancelled.  I had no energy left.  Later that week, I did join her and her friend for Thai food.  It was a nice evening and I was pleased to meet Sue....such a nice lady and the conversation was great.

I've also had lunch with one of my neighbors, whom I enjoyed getting to know....and I think we'll do it again.

As you can see from the photos, the government shutdown motivated the democrats to show up to Drinking Liberally.  This is awell over twice the size of our group of "regulars" and it was a good evening.  I hope we can maintain this momentum.  

You must know that with the government shutdown, I was on a tear!  I emailed Congressman Sanford EVERY day (except weekends and the day I actually stopped in his office in Beaufort!).  He voted against re-opening government, so I still owe him one last note....which I need to do soon, while my iron is still hot!

i also contacted our Lt. Governor, who is in charge of services for the elderly in South Carolina...pertaining my mother's situation.  My mother would qualify for Medicaid, but in SC that will only apply to skilled nursing care.  Since my mother sometimes seems to have more stamina than I, she doesn't need that yet.....which means I'm paying for most of it.....and seeing my future becoming more dismal by the minute.  I actually received a phone message and a letter from him. So, I also want to reply to him.....and question that when there are people like my mother, why have we refused the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare (free  money for states for three years, then only 90%).  This letter will require more finesse than the one to Sanford, where I will just level with him.....So, you can see that my "To Do" list is not short or easy.

In the meantime, my house was such a mess that I almost had to move out!  This past week, my plan has been to suspend my walks and to make very short visits to see my mother.  By the time I walk, shower, dress, visit my mother, have lunch....half of the day is gone.  I never seem to have a block of time to get anything done.  That plan worked for three days and I got a lot done. Thursday and Friday were totally disrupted, but at least the house is more liveable.  I've gone through and donated to the library lots of recipe books.  I've reorganize the two bedrooms to allow for guests and kitties.  I've reorganized the laundry room....slowly, but surely, I'm going through things and culling crap.  The garage awaits, and that will be the major project.  It's happening slowly but surely......and it feels good.

AND, if that isn't enough....I've become an organizer!!  All who know me know that I'm not even a "joiner", to say nothing of an "organizer".  I kind of follow the Groucho Marx (or WC Fields, or someone before my time ......thank God, there is someone before my time!!) theory that I would not like to join a group that would have me as a member!  But, it was my bright idea to put together a contact list of those families at Belfair Gardens who are there on a regular basis and might like to contact others.  As it turns out, that was a great idea and everyone loves it!!  We have 30+ people on our spreadsheet AND we have gotten together 3 times......and I have people calling me like I'm some kind of organizer!!  One positive is that it has made it easy for me (and others) to get to know one another, and I think those of us who are there on a regular basis feel that we can call upon each other if needed.  So, I have either done something very good.....or created a monster.  Time will tell.

If all of that sounds disjointed, unpredictable, and totally overwhelming.......then you have a full grasp of the situation!!  I just get up in the morning and put one foot in front of the other.  I am posting this, without review.  I will do that tomorrow (or even later!).... but know that I'm hanging in there, doing my best, and thinking of all those who care enough to follow this.  I LOVE YOU!  Thank you so much!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Up and Running Again

It seems like forever since I last posted and I feel very far behind, in the blog and almost everything else!  So, I'll do my best to catch you up as I have made an effort to stay busy....to the point now of feeling the need to stay home and get some things done.  I've done the usual things with friends and my Living Liberally group.  I also saw "The Butler", which I thought was very good as it brought back lots of historical events of my time.

On Labor Day weekend, we had a very nice surprise.  Jim, Anthony and Justin, whom I'd just visited in DC, sent a lovely bouquet of flowers.  When I saw the delivery person at the door, I was sure they had the wrong address!  The flowers were lovely and thoroughly enjoyed by me, the cats and my mother.  What a sweet thing for them to do for us!

The following week Bill and Betty came for the afternoon.  They make a special effort to come by on their way to visit their son in Florida.  It is out of their way and I do appreciate their making the effort.  Mama was feeling well and we all went out to lunch at Jim N Nick's.  It was lots of fun and we all enjoyed it.

A group of Tibetan Buddhist Monks were in Savannah and creating a sand mandala during that week.  I didn't know anything about it until a friend posted four photos on Facebook (which I've included here with one of mine).

I was definitely interested in seeing their work so I went down on Thursday afternoon.  The bottom right photo shows how far along they were at that time.  Then on Sunday, my friend Chris and I went to see the completed mandala and closing ceremony, which was great.  As we walked in, there was this very low hum.  It took us a minute to realize that the monks were chanting.  They completed the mandala around 4PM and there was about an hour before the closing ceremony began, during which they dismantle it, share some of the sand with those in attendance, and then take it to the river and disperse it around the world.  It was not a disappointment.  I'm posted my album (which you can see HERE) as well as this YouTube time-lapse film, which shows it being done, explains some of the symbolism and includes their chanting and the closing ceremony.  The mandala in the film is a wealth mandala while the one done here was a healing mandala.  After seeing that the film was taken in a cold climate, I can imagine that the monks probably enjoyed being here!

The weather was perfect and it was an enjoyable day.  After the closing ceremony, Chris and I went to a new vegetarian restaurant in Savannah.  The food was very good and I think we'll be back again, whenever in Savannah.  So, it was a perfect end to a perfect day.

Early in October my mother and I had a get-together with Alice, the lady who occasionally sat for Mama when she was with me.  I don't think Mama remembered her, but Alice is so sweet she enjoyed being with her even so.  We went to IHOP and everyone enjoyed a good breakfast.

With the government on shutdown I think Jim, being on furlough,  was in crisis; so, I got a call asking if they could come down for a few days since they were already in NC.  How could I say "no" when they had so graciously let me visit when I needed to get away.  I don't think anyone ever really minds, you just want everything to be as good as possible.  Well, I had three hours notice and did what I could in that time......freshened the bedclothes, tidied up as much as I could, ran to the grocery store, and had a pot of soup on when they arrived.  I didn't have time to fret over the visit and that was good.  They arrived late Monday afternoon and once they were settled, we went to visit Mama and then to Truffles for dinner.  The next day was cool and overcast, and I had a 2:30 meeting that I needed to make.  So we went to Palmetto Bluff for a look around.  Then we came back.....I went to my meeting and they did some shopping, looking around, etc.  Once again, we visited Mama, taking Deva, their little teacup Chihuahua. Mama immediately fell in love with her, as did everyone else there who saw her.  She went back for several visits and brought a smile to everyone she met.  On their third day, which was sunnier and warmer, we spent the day in Beaufort.  We did the carriage ride, which I always enjoyWe then did lots of walking around town, ending up at the Chocolate Tree.  Need I say more!?!  It was good to see them and we couldn't have enjoyed it more if I'd had a week to prepare!
In the midst of all this, the government has closed and I've been calling, emailing and writing my representatives and the Speaker of the House.  I know they all love me!!  You will laugh at this...I emailed my esteemed Congressman, Mark Sanford (he of Appalachian Trail fame!).  The next day I called his office.  I told the staffer my name and location, and he said, "Oh, yes.  We received your email yesterday!"  I almost laughed out loud.....but it did tell me that they are paying attention to the feedback.  He was a nice young man and we had about a 15 minute conversation.  Then, when I asked what their healthcare plan was (since we know the ACA is as bad as it gets) he couldn't tell me what the GOP's plan was or what Sanford supported. That was not a surprise to me as they DO NOT want healthcare.  It was at that time that he said the phones were ringing, yada, yada.......and I told him that whenever the discussion (with Republicans) got down to facts and details, it was abruptly brought to an end.  Anyway, I've taken it as my civic duty to let them know my thoughts each day.  I do think they are dealing with a whole lot of "what goes around, comes around" kind of stuff, and it couldn't be happening to a more deserving group.

So, you can see that grass hasn't grown under my feet and, as I said earlier, I feel like I need some down time at homeI'm trying to walk as often as possible.  Between that, showering and dressing before visiting my mother, a large chunk of the day is taken.  I've begun getting rid of things and trying to get the house more organized, but there is just so much to do.  I can only do it in small increments, but I guess that is better then not doing it at all.

I hope this finds you doing well.  Please drop me a note and let me know what you've been doing.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Technical Difficulties

Well, I've put off posting an entry, knowing that it would take a block of time to do it as I wanted.  Now, my laptop is dead!  I turned it on yesterday (9/30/13) and the monitor didn't come on.  After trying all suggestions on the Internet, I took it to the Geek Squad.  They thought it was the graphics chip that is welded to the motherboard, which means the motherboard would most likely need to be replaced.....to the tune of $300-$400.  I thought that would be the easy way out until I went back and checked on laptops.  It seems that the prices have really come down on them, which now means that it might actually be better to get a new one than to repair a 3+ year old.  So, I'm waiting to learn the actual cost of repairs before deciding.  In the meantime, working on my blog is one of those things more easily done on the laptop than iPad.......which you can see below.

There are things to report, but I will wait until I'm also able to post photos, which makes it more interesting to you and fun for me.  So, all is well!  I'll be in touch as soon as my computer problem is resolved........it may be a couple of weeks!!  In the meantime, let me know what you've been doing.

Friday, September 6, 2013

When All Else Fails.....Escape!

Well, I was in such a sad, lonely place that I had to escape.  I didn't know what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go, I just needed to get away.  As I thought about it, I realized that the last really good time that made me feel alive and involved, and wore me to a frazzle, was when I visited Jim and Anthony in the DC area several years ago.  So, on the spur of the moment on a Sunday night, I emailed Jim and invited myself!!  They were very gracious and welcomed me with open arms.  As Jim said, "You're family....we'll put the small pot in the large pot and add water!"  I'd never heard that before and I loved it.  So, I set about making plans, not that anything would qualify as "a plan".  I did everything backwards; at times I felt like I hadn't done this (traveled) before, but it all worked out. So, on Thursday morning (7:30AM), i took Amtrak from Savannah to Union Station in DC. These are not European or Japanese trains....this was an 11 hour trip, but I was actually looking forward to sitting there, looking at the scenery and chilling.  The trip up was very pleasant, but the trip back, from 7:30PM to 6:45AM, was as one would expect.  Even so, I had pleasant and interesting seat mates, which made it all tolerable.

When I got off the train and walked from the platform to the escalator leading to Union Station, the first people I saw were Jim and Anthony.  We went straight to Uno"s for dinner and caught up as quickly as possible....non-stop gabbing!  It was great to see them again!  From there we went to their place and it wasn't a late night for me.

Jim had to work on Friday, which was a dark, drizzly day; so Anthony and I had a leisurely morning before heading to National Harbor. We browsed around there a bit before taking a boat to Alexandria, where we shopped a bit and had a Starbucks coffee.  We were on a little tram back to the boat when someone asked where we were from.  When I said HHI/Bluffton, half the tram spoke up.  One group vacations here regularly and another fairly stoned young man had dated the daughter on a major car dealer here.  It gave him such a good feeling that he came over and shared his headphones with me....Led Zeppelin!!  Once back at National Harbor, we had a nice lunch at the Gaylord before heading home.  

While we were out having a good time, Jim was busy making plans for the evening.  He got tickets to The Twins Jazz Club on U Street.  That seems to be an area that was down on it's heels for a while but is now being revitalized by the younger set.  We thought the club did Ethiopian food, but for some reason they had switched to Jamaican......but would be doing Ethiopian again in the near future!  In any case, they had a wonderful lentil soup, and wine....so everyone was happy.  The music was very good and the band welcoming.  It was a very good night.  U Street was calm and quiet when we went into the club but, by the time we left, it was hopping.  Oh, to be young again!!  Needless to say, when my head hit the pillow I was out like a light!

Saturday was my ulterior motive for being in DC.  It was the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's March on Washington.  I have to say that seeing that march on TV 50 years ago had a major impact on me.  It seemed to express what we should all strive for, to love one another without divisions of race, religion, gender, whatever.  Anyway, Jim and Anthony agreed to go with me and we were on the metro with lots of others.....it was wonderful, my kind of thing!  We ran into lots of people to talk to and discover...I loved it!  Unfortunately, the event didn't seem to be very well organized.  There was lots of information of which trains to take, where to get off, etc., but details of the program were sketchy and sometimes contradictory. Then, when we got there we could see where we wanted to be, but the crowd control procedures made it impossible to get there.  During the whole afternoon, we saw only two "park rangers" who were trying to provide information, but I think even they weren't sure of what was happening.  Anyway, those who have participated in this type of thing before (Cheryl!) know that it's just wonderful to be with that many people of similar thinking.....everyone is in a good mood, jovial, kind, funny, and so on......it's a wonderful atmosphere and I soaked it up.  I talked to a lady who graduated from the same university as I and I was interviewed by two delightful young ladies from Morgan State University who asked why I was there.....I figured she was motivated to ask that due to my age!!  Anyway, that is my kind of thing and I enjoyed it.  It was made complete when, on our way out, we happened upon an older man who had participated in the original march and was carrying his original sign.  THAT made my day!  His photo made the NY Times, but I got my own, and everyone (passers-by on the street) thanked him for being there then and being here now!

At this point, I have to interject a somber note......perspective!  That word was really made real when I realized that when Martin Luther King led that original march, he was 34 years old.  I was 16 at the time and he seemed like a middle-aged man to me. NOW that I am twice the age we was at the time, I realize the greatness and courage of a very young man.  I can see how much ahead of his time he was, the courage it took, and the sacrifices he and his family (unwittingly) made. I feel for his young children and wife who lived without him......and, as I've seen the speech again, there is a sadness to him.  Fifty years later, my admiration for him is greater and I hope we reach a point where his vision is made real.     

Anyway, after the march, we adjoined to the Meridian Oriental for "tea", which was a relaxing treat.  On our way to the metro (which I love!), we walked through the Smithsonian gardens...... lovely.

But, the day didn't end there!  We then went to a monthly dinner group that Jim and Anthony attend.  It was the birthday of one of the hosts, so the occasion was very festive. It was great to be with interesting and diverse people, though I spent most of my time talking to Jorge, who was running a B&B.  He was a trained chef, into composting, growing his own food, woodworking, and more......very interesting!  A good time was had by all and, again, I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

On Sunday we went to a Renaissance Fair.  I'd heard of them but never attended.  This was the first weekend of its opening and it will run through October. Jim and Anthony had their costumes, which were very good and people frequently asked for photos.  I was amazed at the number of people who came in costume and the quality of the workmanship.  The event was set in a lovely wooded area which lent itself to this type of thing.  It really was a nice way to spend the afternoon and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  There were lots of good musical groups performing throughout the afternoon.  Bagpipes seemed to be a favorite and, somehow, belly dancing worked its way into most musical performances.  It was a great people watching event and I would highly recommend it.  From there we went to Annapolis for a walk around town and dinner by the water.....very nice.

Jim had appointments on Monday morning, so I accompanied him as we were meeting his (and my deceased cousin, Cissy's) son Justin for lunch.  Though we didn't have as much time as I would have liked, it was great so see Justin and catch up a bit. He looked wonderful, having lost 40 pounds, and seemed to be working hard and doing well.  That was a high point....and I hope to see him again soon.

From there, Jim and I went to the National Gallery for the Mary Cassatt exhibit......just happening to pass the Democratic National Headquarters on the way!!  It was a quick visit to the gallery, but lovely and impressive.  There is just so much to do and see in DC.  I'm sure it has drawbacks, but it's hard to deny its appeal

We got back home just in time for me to throw things in a bag and be taken to Union Station....after a goodbye to Deva (left), Jim and Anthony.  I boarded the train at 7:30PM, arriving in Savannah at 6:40AM.  It was not a comfortable night, but the weekend was worth it.  I am so glad I did it as it broke the sadness I was in.  I stiil have moments of tearfulness, often at the least thing or most inopportune times; but, overall I do feel better.  I went through this tearfulness with my mother and was just over it not too long before Allan died.  That set it off again, but I know it will subside over time.

When I arrived home, I was greeted by a gang of turkeys, who strolled through my yard.  I took that as a "welcome home" and a good omen.

 I am happy to report that my mother did FINE while I was away.  She started giving me grief the day before I left, but I made a quick exit.  I checked on her via email and phone while I was away and all reports were good.  When I got back, she said she missed me and was happy to see me.  She has been getting up and dressed for breakfast, participating in activities and even getting to know other residents.  She seems much  most settled.  Today I took her out to get her hair cut and lunch at Wendy's.  We ran a few errands and she went back with no problem.  So, that may make it easier to do that type of thing again.

Unfortunately, my kitties didn't fare as well.  Actually, they were all okay, but the litter boxes were atrocious, Mama Mia's food dispenser was empty, the house alarm was not set, and....the straw that broke the camel's back.....when I turn the TV on, it was set to FOX news!!  The lady who cared for them works at the vets office and (supposedly) could give Gabby his injections every 12 hours, but I was not impressed with what I found.  While she was very nice and I would like for things to have worked out, I am going to have to find someone who can do it all.
Since being home, I've remained busy.....Living Liberally group, lunches with friends, Farmer's Market, my walking routine.....and to see "The Butler", which I thought was excellent.  I'm ready for some home time now, in hopes that it won't be as sad and unsettling as before I left.  I still expect Allan to call in the mornings......I know that none of us get out of this life alive, but it is so difficult to do without those we love. I'm thinking now of Dorothy Redpath, who just lost Bryan, her partner of a lifetime. I'm hoping she is okay and finding solace in memories of a good man and an interesting life.  We are too close at the moment to be able to put it in "perspective", but that will happen over time.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Remembering Allan

Aeaw & Bob.(Thailand) raised a glass, a stick of incense and a Buddhist prayer.
It has been wonderful and heartwarming to hear from so many friends in the aftermath of Allan's sudden death.  The first to call were Paul and Gwen, whom I hadn't heard from in a long time.  Paul and Allan worked together in the labs and Paul was also my neighbor on Mint in Dhahran.  Bob and Aeaw, friends from Abqaiq days with whom I'd lost contact, sent their condolences via email.  They wrote a wonderful piece which will bring back good times for those of you who were in Abqaiq "back in the day".  You may read it HERE.  Thank you so much, Bob and Aeaw, for the memories!

Then there were the friends whom I have kept in contact with in some way or another over the years, more than I can count. Thank you so much for thinking of me in such warm and caring ways. All shared some recollection of Allan, using such terms as....

---"generous, outrageous and hilarious character"
---"always made us laugh"
---"gentle, kind and genuine"
---"generous with his hospitality"
---"good friend in time of need"
---"a soft soul"
---"he made us smile, happy to be around him"

But, by far, the most frequently used descriptor was "larger than life".  As Len, his brother-in-law said, you know he's in the room!  Allan would be touched and pleased to be remembered with such fondness and joviality.

Paula describe Allan's service as lovely, feeling that Allan would approve.  The eulogy was given (read it HERE), followed by a poem (HERE).  The vicar asked those attending to stand around the closed casket as he said a final prayer, which Paula described as very emotional.  While I wish I and all those I've heard from could have been there, I am so thankful that Jean and Doug (sister and brother-in-law) and Neil (close friend of 30+ years) and Paula were there, standing in for the rest of us!  Before Allan's passing, Jean said that every night she told him who was thinking of him and praying for him, which was a comfort to me. I'm not sure I would even have thought of doing that, but it was a wonderful thing to do.....for Allan and for those of us who could not be there.

It didn't end for Neil and Paula there!  Paula took it upon herself to find homes for Allan's cats, Tigger and Princess Tinkerbell.  The Princess has already found a home and we're keeping our fingers crossed for Tigger.  It is probably better that they go to different homes as they always fought even though they were litter mates.

Jean and Doug were going to Whitehaven this weekend to be with the family, so I know they will relive it all.  I'm sure Allan's dad is stunned and heartbroken.  One of the things that brought Allan joy was how his relationship with his dad had deepened over the last few years.  When is mom was alive, his dad would answer the phone, say a few words, and automatically pass it to her.  Once they had the opportunity to talk, their relationship blossomed.  I know this has left a void in his dad's life.

For me, the last few days have been a bit better.....they've been busy, which is probably the best thing I can do until I gain equilibrium.  I have gotten together with a few friends, and on Thursday my cousin from NC came to visit my mother. His first big adventure in life was when he visited me in California years ago.  That has always been a bond between us and it was wonderful to sit and catch up.  I still have teary moments, but I guess with time that will lessen. 

I'd like to leave you with a lovely poem sent to me by Eileen, which I found comforting.

Where Do They Go To?
Where do they go to, the people who leave?
Are they around us in the cool evening breeze?
Do they still hear us, and watch us each day?
I'd like you to think of them with us that way.
Where do they go to when no longer here?
I think they stay with us, calming our fear,
Loving us always, holding our hands,
Walking beside us, on grass or on sand.
Where do they go to, well it's my belief
They watch us and help us cope with our grief.
They comfort and stay with us through each of our days,
Guiding us always  through life's mortal maze.

In Turkey (2009) for Victoria's wedding.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Allan - January 17, 1953 - July 30, 2013

It is with a sad and heavy heart that I let you know that Allan passed away yesterday.  He went in hospital on the 14th for what everyone thought would be about five days.  His sister and her husband, Jean and Doug, timed their arrival for when we thought he would be released, but that time came and went and he was not showing improvement.  We spoke almost daily and the day before I left for NC he wished me a safe trip, knowing that I would pretty much be incommunicado since cell reception is bad in that area.  While I was away, he was taken to ICU to have fluid removed from his lungs and stomach.  He never recovered from that.  His kidneys, liver and lungs no longer responded to treatment.  I am still in shock and I know Jean and Doug don't know what hit them.  Neil and Paula have been stalwart.  Having been in Spain for a while and learning the language, much of the heavy lifting has been done by them.  Neil has been the one having to deal with weepy people like me and he has done it with great strength, dignity and caring, for which I will always be grateful.  Mostly, though, they were all there for Allan, which means more than they will every know.

In younger, happier times.....
All of this happened within two months of his retirement.  He had just received his shipment and did not even have time to get settled. It is almost too much to take in and I am just sad to the core.  It has opened a floodgate of tears that just seems to come in waves.  Part of it is the pent up sadness of what is happening with my mother, but this sudden loss of Allan has cut to the quick.  it is just so very sad.

Allan often said that we had a better divorce than some people had marriages!  I don't think it took either of us long to realize that we had too many good memories that would be wasted if we couldn't continue to share them with each other.  Whenever we were together, there were some sad and melancholic moments, but they were usually far outnumbered by wonderful memories and good laughs. 

As I look around the room (and the whole house!), I am reminded of places visited together and wonderful experiences shared.  One of my favorite memories was our trip to Goa at Christmastime, which started with a 19 hour delay in the Bombay domestic airport due to an airline strike.  You can imagine how that went over!  Well, it was all made right when we got to the beautiful Fort Aguada Hotel and were given a little cottage on the hill above the hotel  It was wonderful! Every evening around 7, the breeze would come up and we would listen to the palm fronds rustling as we walked down to dinner. On our first night having dinner out by the pool, the hotel Santa over-imbibed and was fired.  For the next few days, the hotel was frantically looking for a new Santa, when someone approached Allan.  He was reticent but yielded to persuasion and bribery.  So, on Christmas day here comes Santa/Allan cruising through the palm trees on a motorized sleigh to deliver gifts to the kids.  It was wonderful and, with the exception of an older kid who blew his cover, we both enjoyed a Christmas that won't be forgotten. Each trip seemed to have at least one good story, mostly due to Allan's outgoing, gregarious nature.

He was here last August.  My mother was with me and well into her dementia.  He offered to stay at a hotel, but I suggested we play it by ear.  He stayed in a hotel the first night and then came here.  He was gentle and caring with my mother.....and very supportive of me, which I will always treasure. Since then, he would listen to my sage/woes and say, "Sweetheart, you know you're going to have to do something."  I would agree, assure him that I knew that, but it would have to be as i was able to do it.

It never dawned on me that might be the last time I would see him.  If anything, I thought he would settle into retirement and we might see each other more frequently, but I guess that's what makes this such a shock.  That, and the knowledge that I've lost someone who will leave a huge void in my life. That void is shared by his father, whom he loved dearly, his sisters Margaret and Jean, and their families, and his friends.  To you all I send my deepest condolences.  I keep telling myself that Allan is at peace.  He has laid down the struggles and pain of this world and is at peace.  I hope that thought and the fond memories we have of him will comfort us all in time.

Allan will be remembered for his joie de vivre
and generosity of spirit to those he loved.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

$@it Just Keeps Happening!

Well, as it turned out, we had a very nice 4th of July.  Belfair Gardens put on a fun celebration from lunchtime until around 3PM.  You can see that Mama started out with her head in her hands.....why enjoy yourself when you can be miserable!!  But, it was so festive and the staff in such a celebratory spirit that she couldn't keep up the sour mood.  At the end of the day she actually acknowledged that it was a good day.

Since then, she has had about three good days, with most of the others spent in bed during the day....angry and agitated with anyone in her path.  There have been a few days that I didn't visit...and she was so nasty today that I don't think I'll go tomorrow.

I have gone to one caregiver"s meeting held at BG..  It gave me more of an opportunity to meet and talk with other family members whom Ive seen there frequently but with whom I only had a nodding acquaintance.  And, as you might guess, their stories, concerns, questions were on a par with mine.  I think we will be able to offer moral support to each other and help each other out when needed. In any case, after the first meeting I concluded that my frequent visits may actually be slowing my mother's adjustment.  That, along with her current angry martyr behavior, has made it easier to "detach" a little.

Back to the 4th of July....the day didn't pass without celebrating with friends.  My friend Cheryl and her two roommates have a fabulous house right on the May River.  It's in a regular community (not a gated community) and the house itself is great......and they found it on craigslist!!  Anyway, it was a wonderful evening.  My "young friend", Gayle, and her husband Martin were there from New Jersey and we spent most of the evening catching up. She's a freelance writer and does some interesting things. The hostess, Cheryl, is the lady with the braid.  One of their neighbors had sprayed for mosquitos earlier in the day and the other put on a fireworks show that night.  There was about 15 minutes of humidity and then a breeze came up and made a perfect evening.  It was the first time I'd had a relaxing time with friends in a long time.

On July 2nd I went to the dentist to see if a filling had fallen out of my upper back tooth on the right side.  As it turns out, the silver filling had fracture the tooth; which, as I learned, is a fairly common thing. He deadened it, drilled out the filling and sent me down the street to have it removed by an oral surgeon. We concluded that the tooth might have had a lot to do with the sinus-infection-from-hell that I had sometime back.  Well, today I had the last tooth on the left side pulled.  It, too, fractured and actually came out in two pieces.  The dentist said he had only one other time seem this happen so quickly.....I'm hoping there are no more silver filling in my mouth!!

Monday I'm going to NC to arrange to have the items in my mother's house auctioned, the house cleaned and put on the market.  I'll get clothes that I think will be useful for my mother and a few sentiment items...small items.  She has a lovely, carved Duncan Phyfe sofa which I would like, but it really doesn't go with anything I have....I already have four sofas....and I would have to get it from there to here. I'm not looking forward to any of this but it has to be done as the  money is needed for her care.  Needless to say, she doesn't know about this or, somehow, she would be even more angry!  I will  be relieved when this part is over.

With all of this happening, I requested to have my jury duty postponed.  I explained things and said that I saw the need to do my civic duty but, considering the circumstances, I would like to do it when I could focus and think more clearly.  Thank goodness, they agreed!!

Now something to cheer you up after that dismal account!

And my personal favorite......

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Odds and Ends

I'm not sure what I've been doing all this time, but I seem to be busy, whether accomplishing anything or not. Frequently, I stop by Belfair Gardens in the morning (briefly) as part of my walk and then visit again for a longer period in the afternoon. That takes a chunk out of the day, then throw in an errand or chores around the house, and the day is gone.

Us with Princess Daxie.
The "other mother" has found her way to Belfair Gardens! Last week was a bad week for my mother and she spent much of it in bed (has also started wandering around at night and becoming agitated when shown back to her room), which is unfortunate since Sunday (23rd) was her 92nd. birthday. On Tuesday of that week, Bill (cousin) and Betty came down with a goodie bag for her. The following day a couple from her church stopped by...I missed them since there was no advance notice that they were coming.  Two of her friends wanted to wish her a happy birthday by phone, so I took my iPad over and we Skyped them....she can hear the iPad better than the phone. On her birthday, we had planned to go to IHOP for breakfast and possibly stop by the house to visit with the cats. When I arrived she was dressed and ready to go, but the minute I said hello she startted crying. The girls coaxed her to go, but we never made it out the door. She got angry with me....and it took me no time to realize that anything I said would inflame that. So, she wanted to go back to bed and I sat with her most of the day, neither of us speaking. I brought Smokey for a visit and she was very chatty with him. In the afternoon, BG had a cake and ice cream celebration for her and she got up for that. A lot of people tried to make it a good birthday, but it just wasn't meant to be.

The star after the show.
This week has been better, with no mention of the birthday week.  On Wednesday we went over to the independent living part of the facility where my friend Sharon and her dog Daxie were giving a show.  My mother and others in the audience (about 20 people) really enjoyed the 30+ minute program.  It is a very cute show and they visit many of the care facilities regularly.  Sharon loves it but Daxie seems to be over it, retiring various tricks that she no longer wants to do.

Well, my hopes to sell the house in NC to my mother's neighbor were dashed.  He called on Tuesday to say that he was retiring at the end of the year, couldn't sell his condo in DC, had just purchased a nearby property, yada, yada, yada.....all of which means that 2 months later I'm back to square one on that issue.  It also means there will be less made from the sale once the realtor gets his cut AND I will have to deal with everything in the house SOON!  I don't know where to start!

And if that isn't enough, I've just been summoned for district jury duty......in Charleston!  Earlier in the week I sent in the info they required and today I faxed a request that my participation be postponed.  I explained my situation and told them I didn't think I could take on anything else, especially something requiring focus and clear thinking.  I hope they will take my word for it.

On other fronts, I'm slowly but surely getting the house in better shape, though I'm not being fanatical about it!  Yesterday I went through loads of recipes, most of which I've never used!  They are now pared down to one little file type box.  The next job will be to go through the island in the kitchen and then recipe books.  So, one small section at a time......

Our weather continues to be nice.  We've gotten lots of rain, which makes walking a challenge, but everything is nice and green......and it hasn't gotten really hot yet.  The political scene has also heated up and the chat on our local Drinking Liberally site has been active.  Here are three of my favorite cartoons from the week.

and my personal favorite.....

This week, the week of July 4th., is shaping up to be a good one, I hope!  Sharon and I are having lunch tomorrow.  Tuesday night is Drinking Liberally and that should be an animated group with all that has happened over the last few weeks.  They've also changed the meeting location and I can almost walk there!!  Gayle, one of my younger friends....the freelance writer who moved back to NJ several years ago....is coming down this week and wants to get together.  There will be a 4th of July celebration at BG from noon to 2:30 and then I've been invited to an evening gathering at my friend Cheryl's.  She and her roommates live right on the May River and one of their neighbors is doing fireworks.  There's nothing after that, but that's a very heavy social schedule for me and I'll probably need the end of the week to recover!

Hope it's a great week for everyone.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Time Marches On....

Well, all of the support and good wishes DID work!  It got me through it all and to the point I am now, which is much more relaxed and in tune with myself.  In the last few weeks I've heard from so many friends who follow this blog, all of whom have given me kind words of support and encouragement.  I'm beginning to feel a little less scattered but have taken Pauline's advice to leave the dreadful jobs for winter......Now that it is too hot to tackle the (dreadful) garage, it will just have to wait for winter!  I'm thinking that the motivation I really need is for company to come so I'll be forced to get things together!

Hearing from everyone at once very quickly put me behind in correspondence, so I hope you will accept this as a response, an update, and a very grateful "thank you".

Nancy and Cheryl at Subway
I've spent a lot of time catching up with friends.  Cheryl, Nancy and I met up at our usual  rendezvous spot as they were travelling to visit Cheryl's sister in Camden. Though our time was limited, it was great to catch up. We lightly touched on the topic of overtaking some unsuspecting independent living facility as a master plan for our old age.  If I'm going to get old (and I hope I will as the alternative is worse!), I want to face it with people with whom I have something in common!

I've also had lunch with Sharon, Thea, Janeen and Chris, as well as as attending Living Liberally, an art exhibit (Marty Montag at 95), the Bluffton Farmers Market (for wine and appetizer with Chris).  it's been wonderful to see everyone and especially to do it without that feeling that I should be home.....or wondering what is happening at home.  With each day I am relaxing more and more.

Equally satisfying has been my down time at home.  I have one friend who likes to have a set schedule for the week, with very little down time.  I'm the complete opposite....I love my down time at home.  If too many things happen to interfere with that, I get out of kilter.  So, I'm catching up on that time, too.

Mama continues to adjust better than I could have expected.  I did speak with them last week about keeping her busy. Part of the problem is her poor vision....there are lots of activities she would participate in if she could see to do it.  So, they seem to be making an effort to address that problem. She has good days and bad, but at this point they are mostly good, which is a blessing for us both. The time we have together is much more positive and loving than before and I am very appreciative of that.  I love this photo of her.....we were sitting outside one morning and, as the shade disappeared, the staff brought around hats for everyone.  This one really suited her and the photo turned out great.

The nicest thing happened there today.  I went by at 2PM for ice cream time and a lady was there with her 5 children, just like doorsteps.  She was a teacher for 10 years and now home schools her children.  She also brings them to facilities like BG to help out.  They were so sweet, well mannered and articulate.  They delivered ice cream cones to all the "grannies" and were encouraged to talk with them.  At the end of the ice cream time, they went around and hugged everyone (and everyone loved it) and sang a song. After they left, the activities director told me that they were all adopted, which I never would have guessed.  It was a wonderful family doing a wonderful thing.....I was just so impressed!

Mama, Carol and Dennis
My cousin (father's side of family) Dennis and his wife Carol stopped by for a visit as they were returning from a family funeral in Florida.  He was the first to call once I notified family that Mama had gone into the facility and he has checked on us regularly, offering to help in any way he can.  I always think of his friendship as a gift from my deceased cousin Cissy.  Growing up, Dennis and I really didn't know each other, but Cissy kept telling him that he should call and stop by to see me when they were going to Florida to visit Carol's family.  He finally did it and we all hit it off right away.  That's a great gift to get late in life.....and he always reminds me of one of my favorite cousins....Cissy.  Another cousin on my father's side has sent Mama 5 cards since she has been in Belfair Gardens and they hope to visit soon.  Unfortunately, we have heard very little from my mother's side of the family (though we have from her friends and church).

This is my Crepe Myrtle, which I only noticed when it was in full bloom!  Last week I noticed it as I drove into the driveway, which made me wonder what else I've not noticed!  So, I'm probably still preoccupied with a lot of things and not 100% myself yet.  I am back to my walking and that tends to settle me......I guess it will take time, but I am on the right path.

The final update is on the kitties.  I have to tell you that the week my mother went into Belfair Gardens her cat, Smokey, went to the litter box and when he got out his back legs just collapsed.  I couldn't believe it.....iI was going to have to put my mother's cat to sleep!!  I rushed him to the vet and a day and a couple of hundred dollars later, they determined it was old age!  His blood work was good; they give him fluid and an anti-inflammatory.  So, every day I give him Miralax, something for his joints and prednisone....and he seems to be doing fine.  But.....just when I thought things couldn't get worse.....