Saturday, April 26, 2014

April Showers and Other Things

Not a lot to report.....and, in my case, no news is good news.  It's sometimes better to have nothing to report than to always have something bad.  I'm pleased to have a break from all that!  Things have slowed enough to be able to catch up with friends, Living Liberally, and another painting class.  This time my neighbor joined me, so I wasn't the only one in class.  We both enjoyed it and hope to do another one next month.  This is my best one yet, though it still looks like a grade school-er did it!  I don't ever remember having an art class of any kind until college (though I probably did, just have no recollection of it) and, even then, everything I did looked so symmetrical, structured.....nothing the least bit fluid, creative, natural.  So this is a real improvement for me.  My goal is only to create some things I like, even if they're amateurish and simple.

If you saw any of the Heritage Golf Tournament, you know that last weekend was rainy and crummy.  I enjoyed being able to indulge my hermit nature, especially since I'd not felt well for about a month.  I wasn't ill, but I felt like my head and body were trudging through quicksand.  Everything was an effort as I had NO energy.  There was nothing specific, but I'd felt bad long enough to begin wondering what could be wrong.  Then, after the three days and nights of rain on tournament weekend, I awakened on Monday feeling 100% better!!  And, I've felt better all week.....a clear head, more energy, and out of the quicksand!!  Thank goodness. The conclusion is that it was all of the pollen, which has never affected me this badly before.  I'm hoping the worst is behind me.

After the rain, our weather has been more consistently spring-like.  Today when I went over to visit my mother, they were all sitting outside, which was nice to see.  I've also been...still...trying to get back into walking.  Before my routine was interrupted, I was doing 3-4 miles a day.  Now, I'm stuck at two.....but that's better than nothing.  With the break in walking, I've put on about 10 pounds, so when I do walk, there are things moving and shaking that shouldn't be!  In an effort to re-establish better eating habits, I'm on the fourth day of the Cabbage Soup Diet.  A hundred years ago I 'd given it a try, but that was before the internet and I just ate nothing but cabbage soup, which got old quickly.  Well, now on the web you can get a more fleshed out program that is not bad.....a 7 day program to jump start weight loss and cleanse.  For a vegetarian, it really is easy to follow and stick to due to the variety of foods in addition to the soup.  My hope is that it will get me away from the breads, sweets and wine that I added to my diet when my mother was with me.  I became accustomed to keeping breads and sweets in the house for her, and we know who the wine was for...and why!  So far, I haven't craved any of them nor been hungry, with only three more days to go.  Tomorrow I begin to add protein so the remaining days shouldn't be's hoping!

Okay, fellow Boomers, two items to share about aging....a topic about which I've learned a lot through personal experience and observation of my mother.  The first is a very nice ad done in the UK (though I'm not sure I agree with the last comment, especially in our society!), which you can see HERE.  The other is an article comparing Millennials and Boomers, drawing lessons each can learn from the other....very interesting.  It can be read HERE

And last, but certainly not least, I'm excited that Ann is coming for a short visit mid-May, which should give me just about time enough to clean the house if I really get to work!!  This is the first time in a long time that I can look forward to something like this and feel that my mother will be okay as a 92 year old can be.  It's also a real treat to be with a longtime friend and look forward to catching up.  Needless to say, I'm really looking forward to it and have begun to check out activities and events to occupy our time.  It's nice to look forward to something fun.

On that very pleasant note, I'll leave you with a cartoon for dog/animal lovers, rock and roll fans, and anyone with a funny-bone  I occasionally send "Off the Leash" cartoons to Paula and Neil, who have two dogs.....and this is one of my favorites.

Friday, April 11, 2014

April is Here....

I know I lament this from time to time, but I don't know where the time is going.  I've totally lost the first three months of the year, just trying to keep my head above water. I received a note from Paula saying that it is almost a year since Allan left Saudi for Spain, and it only seems like yesterday.  In May my mother will have been in Bloom for a year - a year that has lightened my load a bit, but I'm still swirling around for one thing to the next.  That's life!

April brings tax time and I got wolloped this year by withdrawing three times as much as usual from my savings for my mother's care.  I knew I would be hit hard but didn't expect as much as I got!

As though I don't have enough going on, I received a call from my credit card company saying that my credit card had been compromised. At first I thought it might be a scam, but she did have access to recent purchases....and, even though there had been no fardulant charges,  they closed my credit card then and there and sent a new one.  The lady who called was very nice and helpful, but that still meant that I had to provide my new card info to everyone who had automatic monthly payments charged to my old card.......not fun!

All is not doom and gloom, though.  We were finally approved for the increase in Aid and Attendance Benefits for my mother AND it was retroactive to the time I first applied for aid. So, that is a real plus and I'm delighted to be able to check it off the "follow up" list.  It also should not impact my taxes as much next year.....Inshallah!

Our weather is improving and we're all liking that.  I've walked, but very randomly.  That is my problem.....I'm a concrete, sequential kind of person.  If I can maintain a schedule, I'll enjoy it and do it forever......but if it's interrupted, it's gone....over!!  I'm trying to change that, but you know what they say about old dogs!

Cheryl and Nancy rendezvoused with me at our usual spot as they traveled to Cheryl's sister in Camden and then on to a road trip to Ohio.  As usual, the time went much too fast, but we had a great time with lot of laughs...just what I needed!  Cheryl has become quite the gadget was she who turned me on to the joys of the iPad!  So, we had a show-and-tell...she shared her new external iPad charger (which I really need!) and her Fitbit zip, which is a high tech pedometer.  I shared my online discoveries, most of which involve streaming current events.  Nancy looked at us in amazement....but it was fun! 

I've also been able to catch up with friends, including my friend Chris, whom I hadn't seen in a while due to my not being able to attend Drinking Liberally and she having lots of company. So, we had a long leisurely lunch, with both of us coming away totally over stimulated.  I told her about Livestream and all it contains.  She told me about Coursera and EdX, sites that offer fabulous, free online college courses out of major universities.  I came home and immediately signed up for Buddhism and Modern Psychology (out of Princeton U).....and other courses through January's that for optimism!!  Anyway, it's a great course and I'm really enjoying it. The lectures are online videos and there are social media threads for questions, discussions, etc.  Once a week the instructor has "office hours" when he answers questions, comments on discussions, etc.  It's really informative, interesting and enjoyable......we may have discovered why I'm overwhelmed and under-accomplished!!

In that same vein, last week I attended, via iPad, the Women in the World Conference in NYC.
  This week I saw the Civil Rights Summit from the LBJ Library in Austin.  Seeing these things as they happen is absolutely fascinating, informative, and so inspiring. The women's conference reinforced my feeling that this world will remain a mess until women get our act together and do what needs to be done.  But, in the meantime, there are already women out there doing wonderful, unbelievable things, often with few resources and requiring much courage . The Civil Rights Summit gave me a whole new perspective on Lyndon Johnson, what he sacrificed and what he accomplished.  Like the March on Washington, this was a 50 year look-back and often things look very different with the perspective of age.  There is just so much out there to know and learn.....not enough time in the day to do it all.

A special thank you to all those who commented about Gabby. The house is certainly quiet without him.  Quiet isn't the right word because he wasnt a noisy kitty, but he definitely had a presence that filled the house. Sue very rightly pointed out that he was a poser.  While I have to take many photos to get a good shot of the other kitties, Gabby just seemed to look right into the lens and wait for me to get my act together.  Many years ago when the Cameron girls were here, they commented that in the kitty world Gabby would be a model.  Eileen recounted a running fit Gabby had when they were here, sending rugs flying and delighting her in the process..  This may be more than you want to know, but some of these wild runs were "poop runs"!!  When I was still working, Gabby would be the first thing I saw when I got home.  We would do our welcoming routine and then he would disappear....going to the litter box to do his business.  On his return, he would fly through the house - careening off furniture, sliding around corners, jumping on anything in his path - a kitty happy to be alive!!  It always tickled us and I told him he could poop anytime, but it seemed to bring such pleasure once his Mama was delighted his Mama, too!

I had Gabby cremated and got his ashes back this week.  I had not done this before and didn't know what to expect.  I went online and found a lovely ceramic urn with cats on it; but, sensibly for once, I didn't do anything until his ashes were returned.  As it turns out, they were enclosed in a nice, wooden box.  It also came with a notarized certificate and a lovely card.  The vet and his staff also sent a card, which was nice.   I'd much rather have Gabby doing poop runs through the house, but this is a good closure.....not that I will ever forget that kitty.