Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Well, It's Official.....

......I'm now much closer to 70 than 60!  That's hard to believe, which I guess is a good thing since I don't feel this age....unless I look in a mirror.  One good thing about not having anything to be vain about is that it is one less unavoidable disappointment later in life.  I read an article recently about arriving at that stage in life when you become aware that it is the last time you will be doing or experiencing certain things.  Those times aren't rushing toward me at this point, but I have determined this will be the last house that I own, and I can make that decision without a lot of regret; in fact, it feels like relief!

My birthday was made special by hearing from friends, near and far, as well as family.  The atmosphere here was chilly and quiet, which made the contact with friends more meaningful.  Over a period of three days, I receive lots of special calls and cards, as well as a hoard of messages by social media, which for me means Facebook.  I have to admit that it's also nice to hear from acquaintances who would not otherwise even know it was my birthday; but by knowing, sent good wishes, too.  The Wednesday before I got together with a friend for lunch and she treated, which was unexpected and very thoughtful. A truly heartfelt "thank you" to everyone who was in meant more than you know.

The month of January has been as chilly inside as outside.  My mother has hardly spoken to me, certainly not civilly, since early in the month when, once again, I had to tell her that she couldn't go home and stay on her own.......nor will she consent to a visit if she can't stay!  She saw her doctor yesterday and we discussed it again.  She said all of her relatives were in NC, etc.  and would take care of her, and the doctor asked if any had asked her to live with them since she needed full time care, whether family or paid assistance.  I said that being in NC wasn't possible and she didn't want to be with me, so what was Plan C?  That plan would be assisted living, which is not covered my Medicare and very expensive (and she won't consider selling the house to afford that option, nor is she likely to ever volunteer to go anyplace where she might meet new people).  Another option might be a nursing home, which under certain circumstances could be paid by Medicaid.  Anyway, I wanted it all clearly stated to her one more time in hopes that she will be able to process some of it and improve her outlook, though I'm not holding my breath.  I'm realizing more and more that there are going to be difficult decisions somewhere down the line.

We have had a few good moments.  Several weekends ago, we went out to Ridgeland to Maranatha Farms animal rescue.  They mostly rescue dogs, and there were dogs of every size, shape and description.  The best feature of the place was the space.  Everything was fenced, but the dogs had lots of space to run, play and otherwise cavort.  It was wonderful to see and, if I didn't already have a house full of cats, there was one (Penny) that would have come home with me!!  It was a pleasant way to spend a beautiful day and my mother was as pleasant and sociable as you please!

It's the simple daily pleasures that keeps me going, and this one warmed my heart.  You may already know that occasionally on my walk, I go to the Kroger mall.   I always check out the two feral cat colonies along the way.  When I got to the one at the Comfort Suites area, I discovered that their caretakers had built a little shelter for them.  It was so cute.....two levels with a shingle roof....and all of their eating plates were neatly lined up.  Of course, there wasn't a cat in sight!!!  Cats don't like change, but they will always find the food, so I'm sure they will grow to like the little hut.  I've been back several times.....once to show Mama and another to take this photo.  On one visit, the designer and builder was there and he seemed pleased that someone had noticed and appreciated.  He took me on a tour and pointed out the's made for a crate in which a glass item had been shipped.  There are food bowl holders that are secured to the floor.  The plates just fit into them and can't be pushed around.  They whole idea was so sweet and I loved it!

As I'm writing this, there are three men in the back of the house working feverishly to replace my carpets.  They were cutting it in the driveway and I was pleased to see that the color in a large block is as nice, if not nicer, than in a six inch swatch.  These guys have obviously done this before.....they are speedy, pleasant and professional.  The company was recommended by a Living Liberal friend who was in the flooring business and, so far, he has been right on target. In preparation for this, we were asked to move all of the small items off dressers, etc.  We actually moved as much as we could, leaving only the heavy furniture.  Everything was piled in the living and dining rooms, and as I was schlepping things in, I was registering which items would be returned and which would be discarded.  Six PM update: the carpets were in by 1:30 and they look great and smell fresh. The guys were great and the job well done.  I'm so glad it's done!

Gabby is now on four units of insulin in the morning and three in the evening.  He seems to be more himself and to  feel better, though there are times when that doesn't seem to be the case.  I keep forgetting that he's thirteen (about 68 in people years) and that's pretty old for cats.  His hair is thinning and, because he has always "trimmed" his stomach hair, and now the inside of his legs, he looks very thin and elderly from behind. He is also not as agile as he once was.  I certainly don't want him to be in pain or suffer, but so far the good days seem to outnumber the bad.  He has to go back to the vet for another (and what I hope will be his final, at least for a while) glucose curve.  I feel like we're almost there and I hope when that is correctly regulated he will feel much better.

Am including this photo of Chloe because it's just too cute to omit!  i think she is as amazed as I at a cleared desk!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Life Goes On....

Now that the holiday festivities are over, normal, everyday life resumes.  The year was brightened by a surprise call from Pauline, who was visiting her son and family in New Hampshire.  It was wonderful to talk with her and; of course, you can't really catch up in a mere phone call, but we did a pretty good job.  She and Phil visited years ago when I lived on the island and we had a great time.....all good memories.  Needless to say, a lot has happened (life!!) in the meantime, but we had no trouble picking up where we left off.  It was great and I'm so pleased she thought of me in this New Year.

I had no sooner posted the New Year's message when I ran across the following, which I like as much.....
"To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion, to be worthy, not respectable and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never. In other words, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common."
- Bruce Lee to his fiancé 1963
As you know, I enjoy quotes and am frequently surprised by inspiring quotes from those you would not Bruce Lee. This is not the first touching one I've come across by him, and other surprises include Albert Einstein and Mohammad Eli, to name just a few.  I guess it only goes to show how we pigeon-hole people, without really seeing the other facets of their lives.

Amidst putting Christmas decorations away and doing all other activities of normal life, I joined a friend, Thea, for lunch.  We met at the Boathouse, home of my Living Liberally group, which I haven't met with in ages. The day was dark and rainy, so it was nice to have something enjoyable planned.....and it was good to be with a friend.  As we were ordering, six ladies from my synagogue days came in and it was like old home week.  Several came over to say hello and we stopped by their table later as we we leaving.  I always enjoy running into friends from that period, as one does from good times past.

No good deed/time goes unpunished.  On the home front, we've had days and days of silence.  The only thing worse than the silence and misery has been the arguing!  It has been savage and mean-spirited.  I really hate these times.  I think I handle things well MOST of the time, but something always comes along, sooner or later, that suckers me in......and once I start venting, it isn't over til it's all out.  I hate it when I say cruel things that I don't mean and, in saner moments, would never say..  And part of my personal motivation is wanting to look back with not a lot of regrets, so I really let myself down in these times.......and I know they are hurtful to Mama (as she is hurtful to me).  It really is a toxic environment and serves neither of us well.   So, I've been talking to myself a lot, trying to devise a mindset that will help me through these difficult days.  Nothing is fool-proof, but anything that helps is appreciated.

This whole episode has motivated me......I'm looking into a reverse mortgage on her home, which might allow her to go back home and have the care and supervision she needs.  Due to her age and health problems, that isn't really looking like a viable option.  I've also contacted Carole, who has stayed with Mama in the past and whom she likes, to set up a weekly gig.  That would give me a block of time each week to run errands, get together with friends, etc.  I haven't done this earlier because I didn't feel that I needed it every week, but this has shown me that I do......if it is only to go sit by the May River on a nice day!  

There was one day when I just went to my room and lay down, something I never do.  I didn't really go to sleep, but I lay there for a couple of hours to just be quiet and calm.  From there I cleaned both walk-in closets, weeding out four or five bags of clothes.  Believe me, there could have been twice that many.......I've hung all of the hangers backwards and as I wear things I'll hang them in the forward position.  When I clean again, it will be easy to spot the items that have not been worn.  It was something I've wanted to do for a long time and just couldn't face, so now it's over.......just wish the motivation had been more positive!!

I've also contracted to have the carpets in the bedrooms replaced sometime around the 23rd or 24rd of this month.  It is long overdue and will certainly look and smell better, assuming Smokey doesn't decide he needs to mark it again!
So, life goes on.....whether we're having a good time or not!  I'll leave you with a little vegetarian humor..

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Well,  we made it!  Out with 2012, in with 2013!  I wish I felt more optimistic, but so far it just seems like more of the same on almost all fronts.  I've learned not to add to the letdown by making resolutions, but I do like to "set intentions"......ponder things that will encourage me throughout the year.  Below is one of the readings that struck me as something worth starting the year.

Remember always that you are just a visitor here
A traveler passing through
Your stay is but short
The moment of your departure unknown

None can live without toil
And a craft that provides your needs is a blessing indeed
But if you toil without rest
Fatigue and weariness will overtake you
And you will be denied the joy
That comes from labour’s end

Speak quietly and kindly
And be not forward with either opinions or advice
If you talk much
This will make you deaf to what others say
And you should know that there are few so wise
That they cannot learn from others

Be near when help is needed
But far when praise and thanks are being offered

Take small account of might, wealth and fame
For they soon pass and are forgotten
Instead, nurture love within you
And strive to be a friend to all
Truly, compassion is a balm for many wounds

Treasure silence when you find it
And while being mindful of your duties
Set time aside, to be alone with yourself
Cast off pretense and self-deception
And see yourself as you really are

Despite all appearances, no one is really evil
They are led astray by ignorance
If you ponder this truth always you will offer more light
Rather than blame and condemnation

You, no less than all beings
Have Buddha Nature within
Your essential Mind is pure
Therefore, when defilements cause you to stumble and fall
Let not remorse nor dark foreboding cast you down
Be of good cheer and with this understanding
Summon strength and walk on

Faith is like a lamp
And wisdom makes the flame burn bright
Carry this lamp always
And in good time the darkness will yield
And you will abide in the Light

— Dhammavadaka Sutra (1985)