Monday, July 9, 2012



The wrinkles are deeper today. There are a few more of them than there were a month ago.  The bags under the eyes are darker, the lids drooping.  The shower is longer and the water is hotter trying to work out the knots in neck and shoulders.  It was a night of unease and worry.  Dozing for a few moments and startling awake.  Anticipating the enevitable, wondering if it is going to happen tonight.  How will it happen, what will the moment feel like?  

Hourly repositioning, mouth swabs, pain medicines, chapstick, eye drops.  We are trying not to cause more pain in the attempt to ease it. We are hoping  and praying he will have blissful sleep with no pain, no discomfort.  His eyes open and he gazes at the ceiling.  What is he seeing? What is he thinking? He speaks in a whisper or soundlessly mouths a few words but it is hard to understand what he needs so we guess.  Water? Kleenex? Pain? Head higher? Feet higher?  But, most of the time we don't get it right at first and he is patient.  He mouths the words again until we get it right or he falls once more into a restless sleep. 

What is the purpose of this lingering?  Why must it take so painfully, heartbreakingly long?  What will I learn from these wrinkles?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A little ray of sunhine

Today is beauty parlor day.  A girl comes in once a week and cuts, trims, shaves and shampoos all day long.  The pampering and the chance to get your hair done like you used to do before you landed in this situation are priceless.  The ladies are lined up outside the door to the beauty parlor 20 minutes before their appointment time.

We thought we would help out a little with the pampering and so we made flowery hair bows for decorating the new hair-dos.  It was fun to see who was sporting a new  flower hair clip as they rolled up and down the halls.  I heard People talking about the flowers in their rooms as I walked past.  The dining room was full of flower decorated ladies at lunch time.  By bedtime there were still a few flower-do's nodding sleepily in the chairs in the lobby.  I think we made the day different and a little special for these cute ladies.  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Is there a place for dignity in all of this?

How do you keep your dignity when everything you have had is lost?  

The use of your left side is gone, your arm and leg hang limp, your face sags.  You do not know when you have food in your mouth on that left side. You drool and food falls from that left side of your mouth to your clothing. You have lost the feeling of the need to go to the bathroom.  Young aides come to you to check and change your briefs.  You have lost the control of your own body.

How do you keep your sanity when you have lost control of your environment.  You are told you cannot live alone any more because you cannot care for yourself and your basic needs. Someone else makes the choices of where you must live. Someone else makes the choices of what you eat. You have to wait for someone to come and take you to the shower, help you shave, tell you when to brush your teeth.  You want to go to bed but have to wait over an hour for someone to come and help you get ready for and into bed. Your life is run by someone else's time frame. You have no control over the noise coming from the room across the hall that wakes you in the night and restricts you from getting back to sleep.  You cannot take a pain med for your aching tailbone when you need it, you have to wait for someone to bring it to you.

How do you deal with being the "freak show" when your family means well but they are watching your every move to make sure you have what you want or need close to you but also they watch every bite you take, every Kleenex you use, every cough and sniffle to make sure you are not choking or dripping or drooling or slipping.  You feel like you are under a microscope and every breath you take is being measured for signs of life.  Being the center of attention is not fun when you don't want it. 

And what if you no longer can talk, you have no longer have a voice to communicate your needs, or your brain is also affected and you cannot form the words or thoughts you need to communicate what you want or need.  Your name has to be ironed onto all of your clothes so they don't get mixed up with someone else's.  How do you deal with the frustration, anger, helplessness, or hopelessness? This has got to be a lonely, achingly hard existence.   Is there a point to this existence?   What is the purpose of living a life like this?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Yesterday was paint the deck day. It sure looks better now but after 2 quarts of sealant it probably still could use another coat. Here are the before and after pics. Tomorrow Jared and Kaylee start swimming lessons. I get to go watch Jared while Chrissy is in the pool with Kaylee. Sounds fun to me!! Ok the verdict is in .... I bought 10 tomato plants at the same time, same store, and they were all the same size. 9 of them got planted in the Earth Boxes and one got planted in the big garden. The one in the big garden does not look like it has changed much at all. The Earth box tomatoes have tripled in size. I guess Earth Box growing is the way to go ..... see for yourself ...

Friday, June 8, 2012

Hoorrayyyyy! I found one tadpole till swimming in the pond that has not become snake lunch. I am so excited. Now I can watch as he sprouts his little legs and transforms into a frog. I am on a daily snake watch. No more free lunch! The hail was not too bad here, thank goodness. The tiny plants did not fare too well but I think they will come back. The larger plants look like they will be fine. The bean plants have doubled in size in the last couple of days and are looking great! It looks like I will be planting additional oregano and tomato plants soon though, a tomato plant looks pretty bad and the oregano never came up. Tonight is date night and dinner at Red Lobster ..... yum!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wow, it has been a year since my last post. Hard to believe. Once again it is June but it is the year 2012. It has been a very eventful spring .... first I took down the glass shower doors on the upstairs bathroom. No more doors and what a breeze it is to bath the dogs and clean the tub. I am looking forward to picking out a cute shower curtain to brighten it up in there. I learned how to unwire the hot tub and freecycled it. The pump broke a few years ago and so we drained it for the winter thinking we wold get it going again in the spring but over the winter the pipes had frozen, guess we should have blown out the pipes, so it has sat for way too long not being used. I wish the guy who took it a lot of luck getting it repiped and working. We had the bathtub refinished in May. It looks beautiful now! It was a very smelly process but it was worth it. Then I took down a rickety old metal shed that we inherited when we moved in 30 years ago. What an eyesore it was. I am so glad to have it gone. I also freecycled all the old metal. I dumped out all my old flower pots(about 15 of them) and freecycled once again. Then I began the process of clearing a space for a new raised garden bed. Rich made me one for Mother's day and it got planted with beans, peas and radishes. I also got a smaller raised bed and planted peppers and lots of herbs. I resurrected the Earth Boxes and planted them with tomatoes. Time to clean out the shed and make room for a bunch of stuff being stored in the garage. That took a couple of days, again a lot of trash and a lot of freecycled things. Don't you just love finding old things that have been stored for years? They feel like new treasures all over again but they come with wonderful memories attached. This was a fun job despite all the hard work. Then moving all the reindeer and reindeer making stuff and food storage to the shed to get them out of the garage. Now more cleaning out of the garage and clearing out the left side so the mudjackers could come and raise the floor and landing in the house which had sunken about 8 inches. Mudjacking is fascinating to watch. In goes the cement and up up up goes the floor. When the floor can go no farther you hear the cement pop. They lifted the downstairs bathroom a little too so I have a couple of tiles that they drilled through to replace. Now we can get the old floor on the landing replaced with the beautiful laminate that we had put in the kitchen last summer. I am so excited! Benny came today to measure so he can give me an estimate for the work. The big garden got tilled on Memorial Day and planted with 4 varieties of squash, three varieties of cucumbers, melon, peppers, tomatoes, herbs, lettuce, and an artichoke! Plus we still have the rhubarb growing in there. So every other day is watering and weeding day. I have had a barrage of snakes this year. Today I actually had to reach down into the bottom of the pond and grab a snake out of it. The fish were all swimming crazily trying to stay out of its path and unfortunately all the tadpoles have sadly become lunch for this pond swimming snake. But, that little pest will not be coming back ..... I took care of him.... now I have to catch the one I saw this morning over by the beans ....... Several years ago my dad planted 2 evergreen type bushes in the front of the house. They were not supposed to get more that 2 feet high. This year they reached the 10 - 12 ft tall mark so I chopped them all up and got them ready for the chain saw. We still need to get them out and plant something much smaller. The vines I planted on the side of the house about 15 years ago have grown over all across the front of the house and so they too got chopped away and hopefully corralled for the summer. The front deck will be re-stained this week and the back door will get a little touch up painting. Then I am going to paint the bathrooms. A valve in the back of the refrigerator sprung a leak so I replaced that and then the copper pipe sprung a bigger leak ..... did I say flood in the dining room? Brother..... we had to have a plumber come and install a new pipe for the ice maker water. I sure am glad to have my ice maker working again. The clunk of the ice being dumped and the swish of the tray filling up again is such a welcome noise. Today I cleaned out the dog run and got rid of 2 old falling apart dog houses and trimmed tree branches. Brandon wants to build a kids playhouse in there but I may have to get a chicken coop and a couple of chickens for fresh eggs. Do chickens eat snakes? I found discarded snake skins among the stuff I was cleaning up. Maybe the chickens will keep the snakes away ..... (I should be so lucky :) ) Right now I am listening to big thunderstorm outside and hail pounding the house.... I am worried about what it is doing to my gardens outside. Talk about anxiety!!!! I don't think I will sleep tonight with all the worry over my new little plants. On the bright side, I won't have to weed and water tomorrow ..... In between all of this I made an afghan .... love it, love it, love it ..... and a jokerboard! Any one else want a joker board? I will make you one $23.00 you buy the cards and pegs, $33.00 I buy them. Happy spring!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Springtime Firsts

Today I ate the first strawberries and radishes of the season from my garden. I love this first sampling day every year. It proves that all the hard work of tilling, planting, watering and waiting was worth it. I am also sad that I did not check them yesterday when my grandkids were here so they could also share this joy. Jared has been so excited about the garden this year that he would have been thrilled to find the little red strawberries hiding in the leaves, waiting to be picked and eaten. I doubt I would have been able to get him to try a radish but the strawberries would have been gone in a flash.

I also witnessed a wonder of nature. I have had a little hawk youngster living in my trees, just hanging out. He and I had a stare down one day while he was very close in the branches to the deck where I was sitting. He yelled at me a little and then flew off, still yelling his displeasure at me, sitting in his yard. Today, there was a family of 7 squirrels playing in the trees surrounding the garden. I was enjoying watching them frolic. Suddenly, little hawk was flying through the trees towards the squirrels. LIttle hawk managed to grab a hold of one of the squirrels and attempt to fly away with it, but the squirrel was about the size of the hawk and managed to wiggle it's way free. Little hawk flew to a nearby branch to watch and figure out plan B while the little squirrels nosily scooted away to another playground. I wish I had had a video camera .......