Posts Tagged ‘Candy’

1st Barbecue of the Season

March 27, 2016

Friday I had to go to Wound Care again – what a lovely day it was.  Eddie left in the morning for work with clouds a bit of rain; when he came home to pick me up, the sun was out.  For the first time in a long time, I had the car window open and it felt quite warm.    More rain today and tomorrow, then they promise the sun for several days – does Mother nature agree?  We will see.

I am back wrapped up again – my legs swelled again – and wouldn’t you know, my compression socks arrived and were sitting in the mailbox as we drove out.  Well, I won’t be wearing them for a couple of weeks, then I will take them with me to have them help me learn how to put them on.  This means spit and duck baths again; so far the hair doesn’t look too bad.  It does tend to stick up a bit when I get up in the morning, I will have to run the shower with my head in to have the steam tame those wonky parts.  I have an appointment on Wednesday afternoon to remove sutures, then I can lean over the shower chair and wash my hair at least.

My forehead has been numb since the first plastic surgery, yet at times I feel it tingling, sometimes as if something is walking on my head.  It is an odd sensation but not unpleasant.  I asked the doc about it last Monday before surgery, he said it will take a long time to  go back to normal.  I expected that answer because I found that with the hip incision.  It was numb and I would get sharp pricks when I least expected it – that was unpleasant.  Seems to be  fairly normal now, four years later.

I am determined to drive again after Wednesday, I don’t like being so dependent – at least I can see a lot better now, that makes a difference.  When Eddie comes back from the Car Museum, he is taking me to Bartell’s – it is sometimes difficult to explain to him what I want.  I think he is very uncomfortable buying “lady things”, but does a pretty good job.

Yesterday was fairly sunny and when Eddie came home from shopping, he had hamburgers with him.  He decided to start the BBQ season and I noticed Eric across the street had his big grill on his deck.  Eddie said he could smell someone else getting ready to BBQ.  We have had such a lot of wind and rain this winter, it feels good to look forward to spring.  Each time I go out, I see new things blooming – I almost feel I am missing out on spring.  The Scillas in the beds have abundant leaves up and it will be fun to see all the lavender flower stems blooming.  The grape hyacinths are blooming, not as many this year and the two clumps of yellow daffodils on the bank are doing well

My sister Ellen on the Jersey Shore has had rain, snow, sun and wind – I’m so glad she sends photos of them.  The last photo I enclosed in the blog is now a painting – she is so talented!  She is able to show the ocean in so many different moods and colors – so amazing.

This was the Nor’easter the other week – she had snow as well as windy.

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This was on March 24th – spring is coming.

I have been so self absorb in myself lately, both my sisters reminded me March 24th would be Dad’s 102nd birthday.  I also thought about September 24th, Mom’s birthday – it will be her 98th.  In 2018, it will be her 100th birthday and that year was as eventful as Dad’s in 1914 – so many historic things happened that changed the world during those years.  Because they met, fell in love and married, my sisters and I are a part of this changing world.  They gave us so many gifts – being loved and wanted, integrity, respect for other people, discipline, manners – so many things that have given me a strong foundation.  (I won’t speak for my sisters)  I am grateful for all of it, they were very loving parents.

A blog wouldn’t be complete without a couple of photos from my sister Candy in Nashville.

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She puts lovely backgrounds in her photos

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She has done a series of Christmas photos with flowers and also ornaments.

I have been sleeping a lot, though I still feel draggy,  I need to walk a bit every day – exercise needs to be part of being rested.  I have hesitated to go outside and walk up and down the sidewalk because I don’t want to trip and fall.  Now that I can wear my glasses better, I am willing to give it a try.  Windy and stormy is conducive to walking outside – I seem to have missed the worst of the weather during my captivity.

My posts have been so “me” centered, it is time to focus on something else for a change.  Wishing you all a very Happy Easter.

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Her Journey’s End

October 9, 2014

Yesterday morning at 4:50 my Mom died peacefully in her sleep.  She had her 96th birthday last month and she finally was ready to let go and make her transition.  We had a call shortly after from Judy, her caregiver to tell us Mom had died.  It was part expected and in part startled me.  Since the doctor had said she was going into the last stages of dementia, I didn’t know how long she would be with us.  It is a relief and also upsetting; even though I knew Mom didn’t want to be here, that she missed my Dad and her cat Josephine.  Judy asked if I wanted to see her body, but I said No; I wanted to remember her the way she was when I saw her Friday – fast asleep under the covers, looking warm and comfortable and holding the weighted baby doll.

I am not sure what I am feeling or what I need or want – I feel at sixes and sevens, sort of wandering around wondering what I am supposed to do.  I called my sisters to let them know, I spoke to Ellen and had to leave a message for Candy because she wasn’t available.  Eddie had a conference he was helping put on and there was no need for him to stay home.  I think it helped him concentrate on that rather than Mom.  I went to my Breakfast Networking Group – Julia asked why I was there.  I didn’t want to be at home.  I’m so glad I went, this group of people have been there to support, encourage and help me through some difficult times – they are close friends rather than just people with businesses I network with every Wednesday.

I am still alternately calm and teary/drippy, never sure when the drippy will appear.

LATER

I’m having trouble settling to anything – I quit writing this because I couldn’t  keep going – usually I go into a flow once I start writing.  I’ve been wondering if writing it out would help – not really sure any more.  I tried having a lie down, to possibly sleep; didn’t happen.  I know I am tired – probably exhausted, but sleeping is not working out very well.  It took me a while to get to sleep last night – then I noticed how stiff and uncomfortable I was.  Not sure what is going on.

Back to the story:

After Breakfast Club I went to see Judy.  She told me Mom was very different on Tuesday, she noticed changes that weren’t there before – she recognized it probably wouldn’t be too long.  She checked on Mom quite often that night and then Mom was gone.  She reassured me that I had done everything I could for Mom and that she feels the loss as well.  She loved my Mom, as she loves all the residents as long as they are there.  It is difficult for her to see them go.  I have tried to tell Judy as often as I can how much I appreciate her, all that she did for Mom and to thank her.  She told me many times that it made such a difference for her to be appreciated – I don’t think too many do that.  She said Mom was a darling and everyone in the house loved her.

I keep meaning to tell Ellen the lilies she sent for Mom’s birthday are still beautiful – they are on the dining room table for everyone to enjoy.  Some have lost their petals, but quite a few are blooming.

I came home  and found a voicemail from Candy – I’m sorry I wasn’t able actually talk to her.  I called the Allens and also John and Luzma to tell them.  I ended up checking my emails and then had a cup of tea and a pear for lunch.  I suddenly felt very sleepy, so I went to lie down for a bit – I think I slept but then the tea kicked in and She Who Must Be Obeyed let me know I needed to get up and use the bathroom.  I went down again for a bit, then Luzma came by.  John had told her when she woke up.  We hugged each other and we sat and talked for a while – she will definitely miss Mom.  She remembers how kind Dad was to her, accepting her and treating her well.  She loved Mom, she said she was like a grandmother to her.  Their shared their gardens and many other things.

I decided I needed to do something, so I worked on the expenses for the business, I have let it go for too long.  it seemed to be the only things I could concentrate on.  Suddenly John and Luzma reappeared, carrying flowers.  She said she knew Mom loved her rose and she thought the house should be filled with roses.  There is one vase is small roses in a deep pink, one vase with red roses and a third vase with apricot roses.  The last vase had white daisies – plus a balloon.  In each vase is a lovely butterfly.  (I’ll put the pictures in another post).

They told me to call them for whatever I need – as soon as I know, I will.  While they were here Eddie called, he was on his way home from the conference, it didn’t last as long as he thought.  I was glad to see him when he came home.  We just had tea and bread – it was later than we usually eat and we were both tired.

I left a message for June, one of the domino ladies and also called and talked to Kathy.  I know there are people to tell but I can’t quite think of them at the moment.  That was Day 1.

The Rest of The Story

October 5, 2014

I didn’t write my sisters about Wednesday until the next day – I needed to digest it for a bit first.  I also needed to meet Mom at the Center to take her for a haircut.  Last time she was fast asleep through all of it, not this time.  She was sleepy and holding on to her plush lion, but she was a bit more with it.

Lisa put the plastic shield around Mom and the lion so Mom would have something to hold.  She wasn’t all that happy about having it washed, I had to put a towel around her forehead because the headpiece let water run down into her face.  She didn’t like the shampoo – at one point tried to bite Lisa.  Unfortunately she wasn’t able to really get her hair clean because Mom was so feisty.  She cut Mom’s hair and then put her under the dryer to dry it as much as she could.  Mom was not happy under the dryer, I was sitting next to her and put my hand on her arm and let it know it was all right.  Then she held my hand while the dryer was going, at times she got agitated and I just told her it’s fine.

Lisa fluffed her hair some – interesting to see the back curly and the front very straight.  She said it happens with geriatric patients, some parts will curl, others won’t.  Certainly Mom was glad it was over.  I took her back upstairs to get ready for lunch.

I asked Sherry, the receptionist, if it was possible to see Dr. Myre, I wanted to collect my hug.  Instead of phoning, she must have written an email because Dr. Myre came out quite quickly.  Not only did I get one hug, I had several strong ones from her.  She  is very comforting and understanding – I, of course got teary and drippy.  Seems to be the case a lot lately.  She said I was doing a great job being there for my Mom and it helped to hear that.  Many of my friends and my sisters have continually told me that – it is good to hear since the old “beat myself up” program keeps intruding.  It says I haven’t done it perfectly and not done all I could – that voice will always tell me I didn’t do it perfectly or enough.  So I am learning to  release the need for that and to know I am enough.

I left and went to see my acupuncturist because I felt the sore, scratchy throat starting again. Probably would have been smart to go Tuesday and nip it in the bud.  I made an appointment for Friday as well.  Seems as if lately everything is coming at once, with not much time in between to regain my balance.  I’m not sure it is supposed to come in separate intervals.  When I worked in department store, it was either everyone came at once or it was very quiet.

Friday I went to visit Mom, I wondered if she would be wiped out after the haircut.  She was fast asleep in ned, holding on to the weighted baby doll Char gave to Mom.  Judy said she likes to have something to hold, keeps her hands occupied.  I didn’t want to wake her up, but I did tell her I love her and that Ellen and Candy send their love.  I knew I would get too teary if I stayed much longer, so I left and headed over for my acupuncture appointment.

It’s been an odd week, Eddie was home Wednesday because the archives were closed and he wanted to get another shirt from the Car Museum.  I went to Breakfast Club, then came home because I had to work on an order for calculators.  He assumed I would come with him and seemed a disappointed I didn’t.  The Friday he had the day off because he was going to go to the venue for the PNAA Defense Conference to show Lisa the layout.  I  didn’t get home until after 1, he wanted to know what kept me.  Trouble is, he assumes when he takes a day off, I am available to play.  I usually have been but now with new things going on, it isn’t possible and he has to adjust.  Funny how things change, then change again.

We also have been sleeping in separate rooms for the past 3 weeks or so.  He had a bad cold and didn’t want to give it to me, then I had the coming down with something – neither wanted to give it to the other.  Friday we finally got together again, though we are being careful because we don’t really know if either of us is contagious or not.

I also wrote an email to the Northwest Schooner Society to see if they were interested in the models and Dad’s old wood working tools.  I had a nice email and Kitty wrote back saying they would be very interested.  I email pictures and she said they were gorgeous.  So now we are working on a day for her and her helpers to come and pick things up. I told her the box may be a bit heavy, that I would check with my next door neighbor to see if they would be around to help.  They are a young, just married couple living in the lower level of Bob and Delores’s house – Cameron is their grandson – I think their son Jerry’s son – and his wife Kika.  We saw them last night – they were locked out and came for the key – and they are willing, it just depends on when.

Plus my radio show – I have 2 guests lined up and working on a third.  Still no sponsors but I have given a couple of people the information.  I am getting ready to publish my website for the show – it will be rough and needs refining.

Otherwise, not much has been happening here.

Life With Mom

October 4, 2014

Thursday I sent my two sister and a close friend this email:

Late yesterday afternoon, Mom’s doctor called.  She said that Mom was about to turn a corner into the last stages of dementia.  She said Mom has lost weight, isn’t really interested in eating and she had two spots beginning on her bottom.  Not wanting to eat and losing weight means she doesn’t have her systems working very well, so making sure she doesn’t get sores will be a big priority.

 She will continue to go to the Center for as long as it benefits her, then they will have to have another doctor see her at the home.  Just because of distance.  She wanted to ask if I would like to have Comfort Care for Mom from now on.  It is their hospice type of care.  It means it will be easier for Judy and Didi so that went something happens, they don’t have to call 911.  There will be people to come and decide what works best for Mom – it is for the times when the Center isn’t open.
Dr. Myre said she couldn’t predict how long, especially since Mom is still strong.  It could be 6 months, it could be more.  She said Mom’s brain isn’t connecting to her body very well – she probably won’t be walking any more and at some point she will be bedridden.  She has noticed Mom has declined a lot – I’ve noticed it the last 2 or 3 weeks.
 I went to see Mom on Monday, but she was very sleepy and a bit cranky, so I didn’t stay.  Last Friday she spoke so softly I couldn’t hear her and she was very sleepy.  I went in the afternoon because Judy thought she might be more awake in the afternoon.  When I come in the morning she has had her meds and right about then, they kick in.  She also doesn’t seem to know me, so that may be how it will be from now on.
 I am going up to the Center today to take Mom downstairs for a haircut.  Dr. Myre said she didn’t like telling me over the phone about it and if I had been there she would have given me a hug.  I said I would be there today, I will collect my hug.
I am trying to wrap my head around this and it may take a while.  I have wanted her to let go and make the transition; but now that it seems much closer, I’m not sure what I am thinking and feeling.
I received answers from all three.  This from my younger sister:
It’s hard. Yet Mom has been ready to go for a long time. A geriatric doctor friend says that when they stop eating, it’s a sign they are ready to let go of life. Palliative care (Comfort Care) is a very wonderful thing. They are focused on making Mom comfortable, and helping the entire family deal with the transition as the patient enters Hospice Care. Hospice (and Medicare coverage) begins (according to Dr. Jeannie) when the patient cannot walk, talk, or feed herself. You will have a dedicated team available there to see Mom through this. 

You have already created a stellar safety net to take Mom through the final stages of life. Hospice care opens more resources for Mom, and for you. It is also totally covered by Medicare, freeing you to focus on walking with Mom through this process of releasing. Hospice people are great, so take advantage of the things they offer. They know so much about this part of the process and are deeply tuned into the spiritual aspects of dying, as well as the practical physical aspects. 
It is very disorienting to see someone so powerful in our lives become so weak, and to disappear as the dementia progresses. At the same time, there is a strange liberation, because all the old rules don’t seem to apply any more. 
This transition time is not only about Mom making her exit from the planet. It is an opportunity for all of her children to be “born again” and reinvent our lives. The life we knew is dying, but new life is continually being born. 
And from my older sister:
Thanks for keeping me informed. Candy, your thoughts are so healing and such a help. Yes, reinvent ourselves. Love, E
And from Char, who has been through this with her Mom:
Thanks for the update on your mom.  I’m frankly not too surprised (having been down this road before), but I know it’s hard.  Do make sure they keep after those sores; no sense making her uncomfortable, if you can help it.  My mom had those, too, but of course she was bedridden for quite a long time before she died–as in about 4 years–so it wasn’t to surprising.  However, the fact that your mom is losing weight can mean not only disinterest in food but a gradual slowing down of organs, tummy not as able to absorb nutrients, etc.  Be prepared–there may come a point when she refuses to eat at all, and that will be her choice, but it’s hard to deal with.  
 
I think Comfort Care is an excellent idea; we had that for my mom, too, and it really does help.  They can help you anticipate the changes you will see from now on, and that will help you be somewhat prepared.
 
I thought your mom had declined quite a bit since the last time I had seen her, but it had been several months, so that wasn’t too surprising, really.  When you see someone frequently, the changes seem much more gradual.
 
I hope you collected that hug!  If I were there, I would give you one, too, although today you probably wouldn’t want me to–overnight I have developed a full-blown head cold!!  It started with a sore throat yesterday, and BOOM! here it is…..sniffing, dripping, sneezing, etc.  I took a Claritin, and that has helped a little, but not enough! 
Believe me, I am so glad I have begun to ask for help and let others know what is happening.  I have been glad I don’t have to do it by myself.  Plus, when I have opened up to other people, I have been amazed to find so many others with the same kind of situation.  Even so, it isn’t a cakewalk.
To be continued . . . . . . . . . . .

Dad Continued

September 14, 2014

Today is the 100th anniversary of Clayton Moore’s birthday – otherwise known as The Lone Ranger.  I remember watching it as a kid – I also named my stick horse Scout – Tonto’s horse.  Interesting how things this year have reminded me of my Dad.  I may not write about my Dad in chronological order, sometimes certain things come to mind that may be out-of-order.

I think my first memory was about 3 or 4 years old, in the Manhattan Beach house.  I have vague memories and pictures in my mind of chasing trains.  I remember being at the front closet to get coats and go see trains, where I have no idea.  My older sister Ellen might remember.  I also remember walking on the tracks with my sister and Dad – used to frustrate me no end that I kept slipping off but my sister walked the tracks with no trouble.  From my younger point of view, she always did things better than I did.

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February 1954 – I think it was taken at my Dad’s parents house in Palos Verdes

Ellen and I would play stick horses together, a long square stick that we tied thin rope at the top for reins.  At one point, Dad took his jigsaw and cut out heads to put at the top – mine was painted like Tonto’s Scout, can’t remember what Ellen had.  We enjoying playing with them, I know we played in the back yard but whether we went in the street I don’t remember.  Again, just pictures in my mind.  When Dad decided to accept a job with Boeing, we moved from Southern California to Seattle – for some reason Dad said we couldn’t take our stick horses – no room in the moving van, or something like that.  That made no sense to either of us, so we weren’t too happy about that.

Family on Drive

Back yard of Manhattan Beach house – to the right is the yard, to the left up the drive, a 2 car garage.

I was 7 when we moved about April of 1954, Ellen was 11.  My parents found a house to rent in Madrona and things suddenly changed.  I was in 2nd grade – turns out I went to school a year earlier than the other kids, so I was always a year younger during public school.  (Mom and Dad always told the story of how much fuss I made to get on the bus with Ellen, so they let me go at age 5 – turned out not to be a favor after all.)  I finished the last 2 months of 2nd grade and then went into 3rd grade.  I think Ellen was in 6th grade by then.

I remember one day in 1954, my Dad came home for lunch – very unusual for him.  Then he and Mom stood out on the back porch watching a plane fly by – what was the big deal about a plane?  It really was a big deal because it was the first flight of the 707 and beginning of the jet age.  It was many years later that I knew why it was a big deal.

When we moved to Seattle my sister Candy was about 18 months old and to us, a pest.  Certainly not her fault, but there was 6 years between us and 10 years between Candy and Ellen.  I also noticed Ellen wasn’t my playmate any more, by that time the 4 years difference was very noticeable.  I was on my own a lot, seems to have been my history.  She kept to herself more and I was probably a pest and nuisance by then.

A year and a half later, my parents found this house – it had all the requirements – a large lot, a view, 4 bedrooms; I never thought I would be living here since 2002 and it is now mine.  I now understand why my Mom wasn’t happy with the layout of the house, you have to go through the living room to get anywhere.  The front door opens smack dab into the living room – wonder if that is why everyone goes to the back door, or is it the path leads to the back porch?  Unfortunately she couldn’t explain it to Dad in a way he would understand.

At Christmas time we would go down to Chubby and Tubby for our Christmas tree.  The five of us would look around the lot and each found a tree – then we had to decide which one to buy.  It often seemed to me that the best tree was always the one someone else was holding.  We would choose one (sometimes one that needed the most love),  take it home and put it in a bucket of water at the bottom of the outside stairs.  It was usually a week before Christmas.  Then we put it up on Christmas Eve, decorate it with ornaments Mom and Dad had collected when they were first married, new ones and ones we made.  The cool thing was the next morning was Christmas.

One Christmas we put it up a week before Christmas, didn’t work out all that well.  Instead of Christmas coming the next morning, it seemed forever for it to come and I think we all  were a bit tired of the tree when it finally came.  So we went back to putting it up Christmas Eve and taking it down New Year’s Day.

I’m curious to know what my sisters’ memories are, if they are very different.  Funny how each person sees something, a person, or event at the same time and sees it differently.  I have been going through pictures and these two were ones I found.

Once again, to be continued.

Bits And Bobs

July 6, 2014

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This is one of those times when I want to write but haven’t an idea what to write about.  Usually something has happened, I have learned or discovered something, someone said or did something  unusual – none of it comes to mind.  I ave noticed the moles are back – they have been digging in the bed by the porch and I can see the holes, not just a pile of dirt.  They are busy little bodies, that’s for sure.

I have been working on my RA book; I think I have a better handle on the program now.  I decided to use my sister Ellen’s ocean pictures for the cover and also the chapter headings – looks pretty good.  When I feel I have the hang of the program, I will work on the book about dementia – both Ellen and Candy have flower photos and I think those will fit Mom because she loved gardening.  As for my garden, well that’s another story.  Nothing else has been done since I messed up my knee – I don’t think it is the best thing to do at the moment.  I did receive the flower seed mats and I have decided to use quilt block patterns to set them out – maybe with white stones to outline them.  I need to cut them in squares and diamonds ready to be put down.

As for the knee from my slide; I am doing better, I just started my third week of it.  I have been seeing Cheryl, my chiropractor and she has helped; mostly it is resting and taking care of myself.  I don’t do a lot in a day, just what I need to do and I have been having naps at times.  I’ve been using my cane when I go out, around the house I do okay.  It was hard to bend my knee to walk and now it is slowly getting better.  I think of the things I need and want to do, then I feel too tired to do anything about it.  I keep forgetting it takes a lot of energy to deal with it and rest is so important.  This too will pass – it always does.

I look around the office and keep thinking how much I need to clean out and organize.  There are things I no longer need and when I take the clutter out of my mind and home, there will be room for new things and ideas.  I am a pack rat, though getting less so – it’s the sentimental streak that gets me.  That is how I feel about the things someone gave me, or I used to use, etc.  Too much emotion invested in things.  One thing I have been learning through Mom and dementia is to take the emotion out of it.  Taking it personally is also part of it.  Now I am working on taking the emotion out of things – I have pictures and they  have been part of my life since I can remember.  But I am living my life, not my parents’ life – I want to have my own things around me.  Not sure I remember what I have any more, 12 years is a long time.

It is our life now – Eddie’s and mine.  I guess I feel a bit disloyal selling or giving away Mom and Dad’s things.  But it is also disloyal to Eddie to not have our things upstairs.  I feel caught in the middle a bit, I want to move on with our life together.  I think I am finally at that point I am ready to let go for myself.  The advice to people is to wait a year before making any major decisions – it is almost 2 years since Mom moved to the adult family home.  She won’t be coming home or need anything now, she isn’t really aware of anything outside where she lives.  (I think I am actually writing this to myself).

This is probably the first July 4th in quite a while that we have had sun for several days.  We tend to joke that summer doesn’t start until July 5th, this is one summer that seems to be more “normal” (if you can define that).  The sun and clouds have been playing hide go seek with each other, sometimes it is a hazy sun – not my favorite.  We actually had almost 90 on Tuesday – much to warms for me.  since I found out we have a furnace fan, I turn that on to help cool things off upstairs and bring some warmth and dryness to the basement.  It works pretty well, so Eddie and I were comfortable sleeping that night.  If it is going to be partly cloudy, then make it clear blue sky, bright sun and white puffy clouds.  I don’t mind the clouds covering the sun for a bit – it has a lighter feel,  hazy sunshine reminds me too much of L.A. and smog or East Coast with hazy, hot and humid.  I think go it as the difference between having a bad headache and feeling great.

This seems to be a bit of a mind dump – just things running through my head.  It would be a whole lot longer if I wrote about everything whirling around up there.

Happy Birthday Ellen

May 4, 2014

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I knew Ellen’s birthday was coming up, but I have been so focused on myself that I let her birthday slip by.  I planned to do couple of things and then suddenly the time has slipped away to be on her birthday.  It will be a little late this year, but it is coming.  I have the coolest sisters and so appreciate them, they have been a great support as I have been taking care of Mom and her needs.  I wish they had been able to be here to see Mom when she had periods of recognizing her daughters.  Sometimes she knows me, sometimes I am a familiar presence.  Ellen sent more maple sugar candy for Mother’s Day, Mom really enjoys them.

Ellen has a gift for choosing just the right gift for giving, I wonder how she does it.  I remember one Christmas, she gave us a pair of the coolest scissors – I have used them for quilting, sewing and all kinds of things.  They cut so smoothly and easily, they are my favorite pair.  It was unexpected and turned out to be a wonderful choice.

Ellen is my older sister, the one I played stick horses with when we lived in Southern California.  She is 4 years older than I am but that didn’t seem to be a big gap when I was up to age 7.  First it was just a square stick with rope tied at the end for reins, then later Dad made heads for the sticks.  I called mine Scout – probably after Tonto’s Scout.  I can’t remember what Ellen named hers.  We loved them and had a wonderful time playing with them.  When we were moving up to Seattle, for some reason Dad wouldn’t let us take them.  We never quite figured out why – they weren’t all that big.  We both were upset and decided to put them behind the garage when we left.  I wonder if anyone ever found them.

She did have friends on our block more her age, but I also remember we spent a lot time together.  I am sure she remembers Betsy, hot dogs and cheese.  I remember my Dad bought Betsy – don’t ask me what year or model car she was – and he took us out for a drive.  We all sat in the front seat and we realized there were a couple of floorboards missing.  I think we went through a puddle and got splashed, but I am not sure.

I have a vague memory of a show we put on with the some of the neighborhood kids, but that’s about all.  Maybe she remembers better than I do.  There was a game called “Kick the Can” the kids played.  There was a coffee can filled with water flowers and who knows what other debris;  we went around in a circle with our eyes closed and whoever kicked the can over had to do something.  Usually it was run up to someone’s door, ring the bell and run away.  I remember only playing a couple of times.

When moved up here to Seattle, suddenly Ellen seemed so much older.  We went to Madrona grade school about 2 months before the year ended – I was in 2nd grade and she was in 5th grade.   I had gone to school a year early, so I was 3 grades behind her rather than 4..  We went to Madrona another year and then moved to this house.  Ellen started junior high (7th grade) and I went into 4th grade – 2 different schools and the age difference really seemed wide.

Ellen has always been a wonderful artist and I watched her do her homework for the Famous Artist Course.  It was a 3 year home study course, I admired her talent and ability.  She is an amazing artist and has been taking photos in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, for several years.  She has also done some paintings from those photos.

She was married and then I left for Australia to be married, so we didn’t see each other for a long time.  I would come and visit here, either by myself or with Eddie and she would come to see us.  It’s funny (peculiar) how the gap seems to widen between us until the last few years.  There is something about getting older that narrows the gap so I feel there isn’t such a gap.  All three sisters have had very different lives, but now my sisters seem so much closer even though we live far away from each other.

I did vist Ellen in Ocean Grove about 9 or 10 years ago – I went to visit my head office for my promotional marketing business and since they are in New Jersey, I just took the Garden State Parkway down to Ocean Grove to spend a few days with Ellen.  I’m so glad I did; I would like to do it again and also visit Candy in Nashville.

Happy Belated

Birthday Ellen!

I Am A Late Bloomer

April 27, 2014

There have been only two things in my life I did early – I was born 2 weeks early and went to school a year earlier than was smart.  The birth was when I was ready – maybe the doctor miscounted or Mom wasn’t quite sure when to start counting.  Anyway, I arrived around 6 a.m., a day before my parents 5th wedding anniversary.  And there was my big sister to welcome me too.  As for school, my Dad tells the story of Ellen getting on the bus to go to school and me making a huge fuss to get on with her to see where she went.  We were in Southern California at the time and if I was 5 by the 1st of march, I could start kindergarten.  Later, when we moved to Seattle, I suddenly found I was a year younger than everyone else in my class.

I must have shot my wad on early things; after that, I always felt I was trying to catch up.  I was not making the greatest grades in school – mostly C’s with a B and A every once in a while.  Meanwhile, my older sister was just at the right age for her grade and did very well.  Not always easy to be three years behind her and having a lot of the same teachers she had.  When she graduated, I started in that Fall – there were a lot of teachers who remembered Ellen and I had the feeling they expected me to do as well as she did.  It didn’t work out that way – maybe I was a little in over my head at the time.

As a result, my parents thought I would have done better if I had waited a year.  When my sister Candy went to school, they made her wait a year, so she was a big older than the others.  She, too, had good grades and was active in school, maybe that extra year was a real bonus for her.  With the age difference, the three of us were more like 3 generations because we weren’t in the same school at any time together.  By the time Candy went to high school, she was in a different one than we were because they changed the school boundaries.  There were no reminders of an older sister  for her – it was a whole new place just for her.

I have to admit, I didn’t expect it would take this long – I am 67 and still working on what I want to be when I grow up.  Now one would think that from my start in life I would be a go getter – I was born two weeks early, at 6 in the morning.  My Dad once said I was born tired and never got rested.  I was 19 when I had my first date – I didn’t do well with boys because I was so unsure and had no experience about boys except my Dad.  I always thought a brother would have been a good thing, unfortunately my parents never went for the idea of trading in my younger sister for an older brother.  Always wondered why.  I was married at 22, by  then almost all the girls in my graduating class had been married for a while.  Then of course I went to Australia to be married.  I have never figured out what I want to be when I grow up – haven’t found anything that really “hits” me.  I am have to create it for myself.  I have never felt I fit anywhere.  So here I am looking at 67 and I feel as if there is something really cool just around the corner – not sure what it is or how it will look and feel.  All I know is I am open, receptive, unlimited, allowing with no preconceived ideas of what it has to be or how it will show up.  I am finally at a point of thinking in terms of “Whatever works”.

It’s not to say I have had a boring life, once that wonderful Armenian fellow I met at my aunt’s came into my life, things have been very interesting.  We were married in Australia and it is a bit disconcerting to find we will be celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary in less than a month.  Put in years, it seems quite a long time.  But it doesn’t feel that long.  In many ways, I look back at the first years and it almost feels as if it happened to someone else or that I read it in a book.  I have learned so much, been to many places I have always wanted to go, some places I never thought about and others I have no desire to return.  I have met a lot of interesting and amazing people over the years, they have taught me so much.

I wonder what I am meant to do – sometimes I feel time is running out and I am getting too old.  But I have heard the phrase “You are never too old” and I continue to  learn and grow.  I am looking to the future and what will unfold – anything is possible for me.  I know I am not the same person I was and there is no changing the past.  I learned long ago not to beat myself up – I did the best I could with what I had and knew at the time.  I am learning that it is and was all perfect for me; I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am without it.   I choose to learn to embrace the future and also learn to enjoy the journey – sometimes seems  a bit counterintuitive. When I think about what I was doing before, I hear Dr. Phil in my head asking “How’s that working for you?’ and know it’s not working for me.  Much better to try something different and see what happens.

Maybe Spring Is Really Here

April 13, 2014

Sometimes my body tells me when it is going to rain – usually if it has been a long time since the last storm.  I start to notice it in my hip – just about where my leg and hip come together.  Essentially it feels as if my leg is being torn out of the socket; it comes suddenly and hurts like the dickens.  It starts to rain and suddenly the pain is gone – boy, am I glad to see the rain come.  Not so much this last time, it was both hips and it was a day or two after the rain and about to start in again.  I saw my chiropractor and she did some adjustments which helped, but it was still very uncomfortable.  I was with a friend at lunch and I suddenly remembered something my Occupational Therapist in Connecticut told me – “You don’t do change of seasons very well”.  Maybe it’s true.

I started looking at what I was doing at the time, was I moving in a different way or did I remember an unusual movement.  I couldn’t think of anything but then as I was getting up from the chair at the computer, I noticed I was bracing myself a little differently – maybe that was it.  I put the chair a little higher so it was easier to get up – though it can’t be too high or it hurts my neck and shoulders.  Some days life feels like a delicate balance.  So far, with the chair a little higher, I am doing better.  I am also sleeping well.

Last Monday it was warm and sunny, so nice I went out in my bare feet to do some “earthing” in the grass.  I also took out my bottle of bubbles and blew bubbles in the sunshine.  That was fun!  They were so pretty shiny in the sunlight, I’m waiting for it to be warm again.  Yes, we have had sunshine and it is usually very pleasant in the sun.  In the shade it is chilly with a north wind – still nippy.   I am wearing turtlenecks and sweaters to keep warm while so many people are out in shorts and tees.  Am I out of step?  It is working its way up into the 60’s today and maybe into 70 tomorrow.  As for the garden, it is doing very well.

Thanks to Eddie who did it for me, the fruit trees have fertilizer stakes and we also had a bit of rain afterwards.  never did get to spray the trees for all the lichen and fuzzy stuff, maybe I will just have to pick it off.  Anyway, the pear trees are in full bloom and gorgeous – if the rain and windy don’t come too harshly, we may have pears this year.  The Gravenstein is just beginning to bloom, not fully out like the pear trees.

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We also did the blue berries and they are also blooming, plus we did the fig tree – not sure if it has recovered from pruning or not.  Eddie thinks we made a mistake pruning it, I am willing to wait and see.  I am so glad we gave them fertilizer this year, it hasn’t been done for 2 or 3 years.

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You can’t really see the Scillas, but they are there and blooming.

The grape hyacinths are still blooming and now the Scillas have finally begun to bloom.  So we have purple in the beds and it is lovely.   The camellias are still blooming, though they make a mess on the sidewalk.  I need to check the rhodos, Delores brought over some red buds for me to take to Mom, unfortunately I left before she came.  So I have them in a vase on the kitchen window sill and they are beginning to open up.  I will see how ours are doing and take some to Mom.

It feels as if everything has burst into bloom.  I have seem rhodos blooming, magnolias and azaleas – it is such a glorious time of year.  The trees have a lot more leaves and it is truly amazing.

My sister Ellen has some of her photos online – just click her name and see what beautiful pictures she has taken.  I’m so very proud of her, she is an amazing talent.  My sister Candy is too, she also has many facets and talents.  They have both captured spring – in Nashville and the Jersey shore.

The first flowering fruit trees have lost their blossoms, almost like a snow storm.  Now it is the puffy cherry trees, like balls of pink fluff.  It is such a pleasure to drive places and see colors and beauty all around.  Hmm, am I starting to wax poetical?

I need to get dressed now, I cleaned the bathroom this morning, Eddie vacuumed and the laundry is almost done.  He didn’t have to go to the Museum of Flight today and since we went to service his car yesterday, Saturday chores were spread between both days.  It is certainly a lot more fun to be out in the sunshine than the rain and wind.  We will all be wanting rain if it is too dry for too long, it’s a Seattle thing.  If you wait for a nice day to do things, you wouldn’t be going out very much.  Unless it is a gale and hard rain, you just go and do.  I remember a January day in L.A. when I went to renew my driver’s license.  It was a rainy day and there was hardly anyone at the DMV.  One of the advantages of growing up here.

The wisteria will soon be out, but I will have to enjoy my neighbors because we had it dug out last year.  It’s so lovely when it blooms, but the rest of the time it does a really good job of taking over everything, no matter how much I trimmed it back.  I am not going to miss it.

Visiting With Mom

March 9, 2014

I have been visiting Mom rather than visiting with her – I just noticed the difference this week.  I have had trouble dealing with not understanding what she says and curbing my urge to ask what she means or to repeat it.  My close friend Char told me recently she had visited her Mom and didn’t understand a word she said.  So she asked her Mom “Does that make sense to you?”  Her Mom’s answer was “No”.  I thought I would try it with Mom, though Mom’s answer was “Yes, it makes sense”.  Mom is operating under a different form.  What is interesting is that although the words are gibberish to me, Mom says it in a very conversational way – she knows what she is saying, I am the one who doesn’t understand.

GetAttachment.aspxMom with Candy at her book signing.  She is very proud of Candy.

Two things she definitely understands are chocolate and cookies.  I bring some with me every time I visit and she is delighted to have them.  I have learned not to ask her if she enjoyed the chocolate or cookies after she has eaten them because she doesn’t remember she ate them.  I have been nervous about what to say to Mom, but I am finding it a bit easier now because I realize I don’t have to know exactly what she is saying.

I have been reading Candy’s new book to Mom recently, first time I have read it as well.  I know Judy has told me Mom takes in things she hears and I am noticing that reading this book.  Friday she made several comments as I read and  at one point talked for a bit – not sure what she said,  just asked “Is that so?’ and Mom agreed.  So it wasn’t necessary to know what she said, just to acknowledge and validate it.  I can sometimes tell when she  thinks something isn’t a good thing, mostly my her tone and sometimes a “shouldn’t or no that’s not good” comes across.

Last Tuesday I took my iPad to play some of the songs she likes – except it once again gave me fits.  Some days it works well and other days it looks so different and I am not quite sure what to do.  I have begun to make a playlist for her so I will have the songs she likes, though I haven’t done too well with Bing Crosby so far.  What will play on my desktop isn’t always available on the iPad.  Now I have to figure out how to start the playlist.

It’s an interesting process and I think I am more comfortable now – there are times when I feel at a loss, but  I am doing my best.  I haven’t told her about Barrie dying, don’t think it will really register and there isn’t anything she can do about it.  I also haven’t said anything about our next door neighbor, he is having difficulty and two of the sons are there right now.  We had gone to bed Wednesday night and I heard this thrum and flash of lights – the fire truck was there and I saw a fireman in their kitchen.  Shortly after an ambulance came in, so I figured it was bad enough to take him to the hospital.  He was back home the next morning bit they may have to have someone there for a while.  I’m sure Mom would be worried if she knew.

I will admit I still have days when I don’t want to go visit Mom, so I make sure I have somewhere to go and do something entirely different after the visit.  Plus, I don’t want Mom to feel she has been abandoned.  When I come and she is very sleepy or having a nap because she had a bad night, I am almost glad we won’t have a visit.  I think she is more aware of things than I realize, but I couldn’t say in what way.  I think she still knows who I am at times, I am better at not taking it personally because it is part of dementia.  Some of what is happening has to do with getting older, some from dementia – I am so grateful to Judy for helping me understand what’s happening with the things I don’t quite understand.

It has been quite a learning experience for me and for Mom – I may never know how it is for her, but as a daughter and a woman, I have learned a lot over the past 2 or 3 years.   I have learned about myself, my Mom and dementia – strangely, there have been gifts in it I am still understanding.

I also wonder who will be there for me if I am in this position.


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