Category Archives: memory’s slipping away

Are You Still There?

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When author, Lisa Genova, wrote “Still Alice” she was hoping to

express the feelings of someone who had early onset Alzheimer’s

Disease. Julianne Moore is up for an Academy Award for her

authentic performance as Alice, someone who wishes to be still

heard and recognized, whether or not she is able to reciprocate

the recognition back to the greeter or family member.

Julianne is a gifted actress who studied and met many people

who were struggling with the challenge of having this disease.

There is a genuine quality I feel while watching her in any of her

various roles. I had recently watched “What Maisey Knew,” and

had mentioned this in the Golden Globes post which held a trio

of events which were meant to cheer the reader up. She played

a rock and roll star who was going on tour, putting her little

kindergartner on the back burner of her life. This has other good

actors and actresses in the movie. It is just my recent movie with

her in it. The one you may wish to seek out at the theaters is

called, “Still Alice.”

Julianne Moore, in an interview in the recent January/February

paper “AARP Bulletin,” she shared her experience of meeting both

caregivers and those who have A. D.  When she met some of the

victims of this ravaging disease she said they still had not lost

their own identities yet. “They were still present.” That is the point

of the title of both movie and book, sort of like saying, “I am still

here.”

Julianne Moore’s thoughts about “Still Alice:”

“People have been so touched by it (the film). There’s a great deal

of shame associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.” (Especially, she

focused and mentioned early onset A. D.)

“Suddenly you have your intellectual capacity diminished at such

a young age, it is embarrassing.”

On the  front page of the January/February “AARP Bulletin” there

are a series of rows of black and white photographs of famous

people who have dealt with and some passed away with, this topic

of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Here is a list of those faces featured:

President~ Ronald Reagan

Author~ Iris Murdoch

Singer~ Perry Como

Secretary of State~ Cyrus Vance

Boxer~ Floyd Patterson

Artist~ Willem De Kooning

Actor~ Beloved Jimmy Stewart

Prime Minister~ Margaret Thatcher

Senator~ William Proxmire

Singer~ The fabulous Etta James

Action Star~ Charles Bronson

Actor~ Peter Falk (“Columbo”)

“Washington Post” editor and journalist, Ben Bradley

Advice Columnist~ Abigail Van Buren of “Dear Abby”

Actor~ The legendary Charleston Heston

Go ahead and add a first or complete name of someone you know.

The numbers and cases are soaring. . . but the funding is dwindling.

Inside the January/February “AARP Bulletin,”  you will find the

devastating facts about this rampant disease.

Including an estimated 5.2 million Americans had this in 2014.

Two/thirds (2/3rds) were women.

The poignant article covering this topic is titled,

“Where’s the War on Alzheimer’s?”  by T. R. Reid.

I have not seen the movie, “Still Alice,” so I am not reviewing it

just featuring it to go along with the AARP information.

Interestingly enough, I sought out the Academy Award-nominated

historical trio of films I have mentioned in other posts. I chose not

to see (yet) “Wild,”  since Reese Witherspoon’s  mother and  the

author of the book, “Wild,” dealt with the deaths of mothers. Reese

used her own mother’s younger self’s angst and her vague childhood

memories of her mother crying over her grandmother’s death as her

inspiration for her portrayal. I was not ‘ready’ to sob or think about

the frailty of life, especially with my mother still here. It will be an

inevitable sorrow I will face someday.

My mother has not been diagnosed with A. D. but has been told her

memory loss is due to low thyroid levels. She is on her medication

and I am doubtful she will ever recuperate fully in her mind. She

is ‘still there,’ most of the afternoon and evening. Sometimes doing

strange and forgetful things so I was not yet prepared to watch,

“Still Alice,” nor read the book.   I will someday.  I  strongly will

recommend the Oscar-nominated film, as both critics and audiences

have found it a true testament to the spirit of those who have A. D.

I think the reason that I respect the movie and subject matter of

“Still Alice,” is due to my working experience of four years as the

Activity Director (1995-999) at a local nursing home. I had taken

the necessary coursework to be prepared to handle all sorts of

debilitating diseases, especially learning about aging processes,

including Alzheimer’s Disease.

I wish all people to treat the elderly, whether or not they know them,

with respect and dignity. Each has such fascinating lives, simple and

complicated lives to share with us. Their stories may not be famous

but they come to life, once you take the time to listen to them.

I still enjoy meeting the few elderly inhabitants of  my building,

having made friends with “Dee” who is in her 70’s,  yet is a helpful

volunteer driver for “Meals on Wheels.” “Delores” tells me rambling

stories about her childhood. I enjoy the one where she dressed up

a piglet to be her ‘baby’ and placed him in her mother’s perambulator

(baby carriage) to take him for a ride! My apartment building has

adults with Special Needs and Ohio Wesleyan University students

here also. I am blessed with many different people housed within.

There is a Dayton, Ohio caregiver and daughter of a mother who

has A. D. and she has a short list of good ideas, to spark ones of

your own to add here in the comments’ section:

1. To get her mother to wear disposable underwear for incontinence,

she calls this her ‘girdle.’ I can picture her saying, “Mom, let’s put on

your girdle” as she helps her to get dressed everyday.

2. She grew tired of arguing with her mother and struggling with her

to take her medicines so she pushes the pills into the soft filling of

her mother’s favorite cookies, fig bars.

3. She incorporates her mother’s past interests and occupation into

her daily routines, crocheting and using a simple math workbook,

(she had been an accountant.)

4. Her mother and she enjoy lighting the candle she bought at Yankee

Candle, called “Sparkling Snow.” It also masks odors at certain times

of the day, she delicately added.

The article inside Jan./Feb. “AARP Bulletin,” was the source for this

information, along with several other suggestions called,  “Being a

Family Caregiver Isn’t Easy.” You will find more to read there. . .

I am encouraging an Open Forum for discussing about anyone

you love or care about, those you have contact with or have

experienced dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease.

I would also like to mention a fellow blogger who writes about this

very subject. Marylin is someone who shares daily wonderful and

meaningful activities she participates with her mother. She writes

such lovely posts about her mother. Her mother has dementia and

her father had Alzheimer’s Disease.

Thank you, Marylin Warner for the gift of numerous special posts.

Marylin includes links to articles and is very informative, while

being a warm and caring blogging friend to many. I am sure she is

a source of comfort to many who have been dealing with elderly

family members with different varying degrees of memory loss.

http://warnerwriting.wordpress.com

Her blog is called, “Things I Want to Tell My Mother.”

And due to not being able to produce another award nomination

post so quickly after my last one, I would like to thank Rashmi for

her nominating me for “Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.”

I encourage you to read about her perspective, positive and poetic

writing along with her international travels. I have enjoyed her

safari posts immensely! Thank you for taking us on your travels,

as well as lifting our spirits, Rashmi!

Please check out, Soul n Spirit, if you have not already done so!

http://soulnspiritblog.com

A sincere thank you for giving me the award!

On a lighter and happier note about those who are ‘still here’

sending a huge hug, big smiles and lots of love out to

BETTY WHITE!

Happy 93rd Birthday, dear BETTY!

I had a comment that Ian made about a poem/story about

a couple who met in a nursing home. They shared so much

of their present time, although the woman could not tell much

about her past due to her memory loss. It was such a well-

written post that I would hope future visitors will check it out:

Please read Ian’s post titled, “George and Marg” on:

http://aussieian.wordpress.com

Thank you, Ian!

Let’s have a conversation here since it is the weekend.

I plan on being able to respond on Sunday

after the library opens at noon!

Waffle Mornings

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Throughout my childhood, there were moments in time which are

treasured. Seems a little ‘simple’ or holding little ‘value,’ but our

mornings where my Mom and Dad were not going to work nor

preoccupied with their lives, were extra special. The old waffle

iron being pulled out, placed on the counter, close by to the sink

and all the ingredients of flour, sugar, baking powder and soda,

milk, butter and eggs being lined up meant this had the glowing

potential of becoming a morning of serendipity. Those mornings

are permanently engraved in my mind with the cross-hatched

imprint of homemade waffles. Mmm! My Aunt Amy always sent

us a nice bottle of maple syrup from Chardon, Ohio.

This past Thursday morning, while many families were finishing

their preparations for their Thanksgiving meal and others were

on the road traveling on crowded byways and arriving at their

destinations Mom and I were getting our breakfast prepared.

We cooked up in the toaster, four store-bought frozen blueberry

waffles, put butter  on each one, allowing them to melt into those

little square pockets and poured some real maple syrup over them.

Mom and I settled in for a huge treat, it was the morning of the

annual event:

The 88th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Mom and I enjoyed so much of the floats, musical presentations

and the marching bands. She is often amazed and surprised with

the unique balloon floats, which she exclaims and pronounces so

many of them, “my favorite one of all!”

I have a few notes down, which Mom supervised, since she felt she

should have her hand in their choices. After all, she probably has

seen a few more than I have over all the years. Although, I did remind

her that her treats on Thanksgiving morning were baking up some of

those orange glazed and vanilla frosted cinnamon rolls by Pillsbury,

not usually did she have time for waffles on Thanksgiving. Although,

there was one year that I got rather annoyed at my brother, Randy,

my Mom and Dad for being side-tracked by the Waffle House on a

Thanksgiving Day… but that is all in the history of our family, no

real need to dwell on that!

It has been 40 years of having Hello Kitty in the Macy’s parade. It

has been 45 years since Royal Caribbean has been part of the parade.

We took a moment to discuss and remember my Mom’s father and

her step-mother, who we were told to call “Aunt Vergene,” having

their honeymoon on a Royal Caribbean cruise. They has quite some

adventures with trips to places all around the world, their favorites

possibly being the Alaska trip and the Scandinavian one where my

Grandfather was able to see the fjords. (My Grandmother had passed

away long before their marriage and trips, since this is important to

my family history and the fine example of love shown by both of them.)

Mom liked the Peter Pan musical presentation, with children from the

Broadway production. There also was a commercial about the current

upcoming television production to be seen on December 4, 2014. The

cast includes Minnie Driver and Christopher Walken. I thought the

previews looked quite good and think J. M. Barrie’s tale of Peter Pan

is always a timeless treat to watch.

Mom worried about the underdressed New York City Rockettes and

yet, thought their little ‘bathing suits with gift bows’ were ‘cute.’

I am not sure what Meghan Trainor sang, need to go check: “Lips

Are Moving.” Mom said she liked that Meghan looks like a ‘nice,

healthy girl,’ and she also did not ‘mind the style of her singing.’

It was a rocking and rapping song, which was pleasant sounding.

In the little bits of her comments, she told me,

“I always love pink flamingos, they make me smile!”

“I remember the Sea World in Florida, this float captures all the

colors and beauty of the sea.”

“I love the movement and impressive activity of this band, along

with its music.”

“I remember this group, what are they called?” I answered her,

“This is the KISS band with Gene Simmons as the lead singer.”

“Oh, this is nice to hear their songs.” (The medley was a nice one,

which I may add, I was impressed that there was only one tongue

presentation. I read in the papers, the next day, there were ‘no rules

or restrictions formally given to the members of KISS.’)

 

We were both surprised that Paddington the Bear had his first time

appearance in 2014. This British icon so sweetly floated as a balloon

with his familiar blue coat, big, red hat and suitcase in hand. He looked

like he was ready to rush off and enjoy a wonderful day in England.

Paddington is one of the most recognizable children’s book characters.

It was fantastic to see him join the Parade. Next year, in 2015, will be

released the bear’s first full-length animated movie, produced by the

Weinstein Group. Not only fun and sweet memories attached, but it

never hurts to have some advertising for the upcoming movie.

During the commercials, Mom was enthusiastic about the upcoming

holiday release of Stephen Sondheim and others’ “Into the Woods,”

movie musical. With Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendricks,

and Johnny Depp playing the character of the Wolf, she was wishing

to go to see this at the theater. She waited about five minutes, with

a serious look on her face, which usually accompanies an abstract or

somber thought. I could relate to her fears expressed in this comment,

“Although, I am not sure I could sit for two or more hours without

having to use the bathroom.”

We decided we could wait until the library has this, possibly in time

for my July, 2015 vacation. We have been making a rather long list of

current movie releases, hoping to be able to watch them next summer.

The most outstanding and magnificent dancers, we felt were the Beijing

Traditional Dancers. Their float was financed and backed by the “Sino-

American Friendship Association (or Organization). It included lots of

color and the Great Wall of China in the design of the float.

I would say the ‘close second’ place Float of the morning was the one

which held the Cirque D’ Soleil crew of jugglers, athletes, dancers and

performers called appropriately: “Dream Seekers.” This float was

touted as the ‘biggest float of the parade.’

Sabrina Carpenter sang on the Pirate Ship with playful words, “I’m

Ready to Fly,” which is a beautiful song with her voice exhibiting

dulcimer tones. I will need to check her out sometime soon, to see

or better yet, hear her other songs she sings. She is young and was

born on May 11, 1999. I am giving you a prediction:  Sabrina will

go far in the musical world!

A funny but serious group of “48 Mammas” were dancing to the

song, “We’re Not Going to Take It.” They were promoting the great

message of being Against Ageism. They were all representing the

controversial subject of age discrimination. There were some dancers

who had walkers, others who had canes but they were a lively group.

Mom leaned over towards me saying,

“They may be representing those who are disabled but they would

not be able to endure the pain of walking the whole course of the

parade, if they were truly ‘handicapped.'”

There is a group I hope you have not heard of, but you may already

know of this extremely ‘cute’ and ‘popular’ British singers: The Vamps.

We thoroughly enjoyed this pleasant singing young band. The young

people along the parade route were screaming, as if they were the

famous Beatles of the 60’s. Since they are out of England, they have

not appeared, as far as I know, on any of our 2014 award shows. Not

yet! Their float was futuristic, with a Hess brand truck launching a

rocket.

The newest balloon float, the Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger,

along with the Spiderman entry would be so fun to go and see the

early morning balloon ‘blowing’ pre-Parade moments. I think if I

lived closer to New York, (oh, and had extra money to ‘blow’) I sure

would take my grandchildren to this special ceremony and watch

the preparations. This was mentioned by the announcers of the Macy’s

Thanksgiving Parade as a valuable and memorable family time.

 

Of course, many children get excited each year to see the final float

with reindeer and Santa Claus. It means it can’t be long till Christmas!

 

It may seem rather strange to celebrate holidays with television events,

but those mornings where my own three children and I would get all

wrapped up in blankets, eating waffles or sweet rolls, while watching

the annual parades are priceless memories.  After all, television was

something that kept my generation, the first to be able to really watch

all the parts of the world right out of our own living room, happily

entertained. It is hard to explain this phenomena, where many of my

grandchildren take for granted their ability to view the world from

their computers and cell phones.

 

It was very enjoyable to see the 88th Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade with

my Mom this year through her ‘fresh’ older eyes. Along with pleasant

promises of the next event to celebrate:  the Annual Parade of Roses.

 

 

 

Reversing Roles

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Many times during one’s life, you may find someone older helping you and teaching

you. Especially as a young child, most of us were lucky to have parents and role models.

Sometimes, in unfortunate situations, there are children who have to become adults

far too soon. They become the ‘caretakers’ of siblings, they may even take care of their

mother, as my Dad did at age 11. The mentors in his life, teachers and a minister, are

who really ‘saved him.’

Here are some thoughts about a day with my Mom:

As my Mom slides more easily backwards in time, more comfortable in her childhood

outlook and way of looking at things, I see this in a brighter, happier light these days.

Reverting to a time where things always seem new and one can exclaim, “I have never

seen the sky so brilliant in a sunset!” or “The leaves are so lushly colored, freshly painted!”

It makes me smile more. I appreciate this way of thinking and it helps me embrace her,

hold her hand and guide her across dangerous paths where cars may not judge her slow,

plodding movements.

She loves her dog, it is like children want to give their dogs ‘treats’ every time they are

‘good.’ I have to remind her that Nicki only should eat twice a day, but don’t worry too

much as she is 12 years old. She can refuse if her belly is too full, she also can run around

and wear off the calories… Mom is very good at taking her on two long walks a day. We

go to the edge of a woods, where she uses her cane to remove prickly sticks and makes a

path less treacherous for her ‘little girl.’

Life, to my Mom, is full of excitement and she arises late with sleepy eyes, needing a cup

of black coffee, a tablespoon of peanut butter and I have brought her pancakes (one

morning), oatmeal a couple of mornings, but mainly she rubs her hands together in

anticipation to see if there is a sweet roll or Danish from the dining room. Her ‘expectant’

air about her is catching.

There have been some ‘stories’ told about my Mom, like a child who is part imp and part

angel. She has used a sharp tone when someone mentions Nicki needing to be brushed.

She has been insulted when she wore her pajama pants in the dining room. ‘After all,

many wear their sweat pants.’  She doesn’t like it when she forgets what day it is, nor

does she appreciate lectures about times for things. The rascal is quite independent and

I have less fear of her being ‘hurt’ each time I hear her strong-willed letters she has sent

off to the Director of the building. She has written about the sumac bushes around  the

lake, telling the staff that they should be trimmed, they hinder the residents view while

sitting on the patio. She feels her ‘rent’ should cover gardening and pruning. She wrote

another letter abut the rose bushes, their mites or bugs. She notes, “They need dusting!”

People who are not able to hear well should be paired with others who cannot. She is not

happy when she needs to repeat herself, just as children who must explain themselves

give up and throw their arms up. She misses the bus, when she feels they should ‘Wait on

her.’  Patience is expected by her of others, even when hers is limited at times.

My Dad had admired her ‘spunk’ and her strength of character. He would find it here, still

in large quantities of self-assurance. She still delights in mischief and would still capture

his heart, were he still on Earth….

 

While the rain dripped down upon the branches outside her balcony, she stopped several

times yesterday to exclaim over their appearance, using these words:

glistening,

glowing,

shining,

trembling

branches.

When the rosy-colored purplish hued sky was about to lay the sun to rest,

she had a radiant face aglow watching it from her balcony.

She turned to me, more than three times yesterday to say,

“I have never seen the Fall leaves so special!”

“This view is the Best one I have ever had!”

I could picture her, as a girl, fully appreciating nature’s wonderful changing, colorful

palette. I also thought of her bravery while children taunted her and for some reason

knew to call her, “Zema Puss.” Yes, she had had arthritis and eczema but had always

been beautiful inside and out. She had undaunted courage given her by her parents.

 

Giving the teen-aged servers candy in the dining room, this is one of her ways of

showing she includes the next generation. She may forget where her eyeglasses,

keys, purse, checkbook, medical card and other ‘meaningless’ items are, but she

takes the time to every season or holiday to spend money to make up bags of

candy for the ‘kids.’ She also says a few French words to the one who is studying

French, a much longer passage of Spanish to the one who is in her third year.

She asks Zach, who has this movie star quality, about his theater productions

and his college courses in drama and English. I have no clue why she is able

to retain this information and use the whole concept I used while raising three

teenagers: “They must have ‘selective memory!'”

As she leaves the dining room, she grabs packages of sugar, Sweet n Low packs,

and a handful of mints at the Hostess Station. She may be one of the best ‘pack rats’

around. She even gives that sly glance sideways, to see if anyone notices how big a

wad of those peppermints she has stuck in her pockets.

 

Mom is a quieter, less sure woman at night, as she turns on the light in the closet,

leaving the door askew, pushing the nightlights on in the bathroom (one), kitchen

(two), living room, (three and four), and the hallway (five). She looks down at her

little shadow, Nicki, and says,

“She gets scared of the dark. Hope it is okay to have so many of these on, Robin.

Will you be able to find your way to the bathroom?”

When I look down at Nicki, I almost perceive a gentle shrug of the shoulders, as

if her dog is saying,

“Let her have this habit. No big deal. Give this to her.”

Later, when I need to use same nightlights to guide me to the bathroom, I tiptoe

in to gaze upon her sleeping, serene countenance. A moment of remembrance of

doing this ritual with my own children, now my grandies when they sleepover. I

imagine her doing this for each of her three children, as we slept peacefully.

I kiss her forehead and whisper, “Sweet dreams, Mama.”

 

Holding my hand, we go to the doctors. I hope this one will go smoother than the

one this summer, when frustrated with her purse’s zippers, she threw her photo

ID and her medical card at the poor, slightly impatient receptionist, who repeated

the request instead of just waiting as Mom searched…

As we leave the doctor’s office, after paying her co-pay, I tell her that she doesn’t

have to go to another doctor until next July. She nods, repentant,  turning to tell

the receptionist, “Have a wonderful day and Happy Thanksgiving!”

 

Walking together, we lean in.

I am fully blessed,

counting the time (and steps)

I have left with my mother.

Being a Senior

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There are plenty of advantages to being a senior citizen, discounted menu items

and movie tickets. I am adding some silly thoughts, thanks to John Wagner’s

creation of Maxine! Mom, my youngest brother and I watched a serious movie,

called, “Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom” and today, my Mom and I just

watched another library DVD, “Betty and Coretta,” telling the stories of the two

women who became widows, their struggles, their speeches and impact on black

women for generations. Betty was married to Malcolm X and Coretta was married

to Martin Luther King, Jr.

What better way to ‘lighten’ our moods than opening Mom’s big envelope of funny

stories and “Maxine” clippings sent from California, Pookie. We laughed at this set

of “Yes, I’m a Senior Citizen” one-liners:

1. “I’m the life of the party…

Even if it lasts until only 8 p.m.”

 

2. “I’m very good at opening childproof caps on medications…

using a hammer.”

 

3. “I’m awake many hours before

my body allows me to get up.”

 

4. “I’m smiling all the time,

because I cannot hear a word you’r saying.”

 

5. “I’m sure everything I cannot find is

in a safe secure place…

somewhere.”

(This was one that directly applied to Mom and me,

while we searched from drawer to drawer for her

Medicare/Aetna insurance card! We found it, just in

time to leave for the ‘first doctor of the week.’)

 

6. “I’m wrinkled, saggy, lumpy,

and that’s just my left leg.”

 

7. “I’m beginning to realize that aging is not for cowards!”

(Maxine says, “Not for wimps.”)

 

8. “I’m having the time of my life, if I only knew which apt.

I live in!” This was a comment from an elderly woman who

was listening to the musical program here last night to my

Mom.

 

This joke made my Mom laugh but she followed it with a quick

comment, “That is kind of gross!”

 

“A man visits his aunt in the nursing home. It turns out she is taking

a nap. So he sits down in a chair in her room. He flips through a few

magazines. He munches on some peanuts sitting in a bowl on the

table.

Eventually the aunt wakes up. Her nephew realizes he has absent-

mindedly finished up the entire bowl of nuts.

He says, “I’m so sorry, Auntie. I have eaten all your peanuts. I will

bring you some next time I come to visit.”

She replies,

“Just remember to bring me chocolate covered peanuts, as I enjoy

sucking off the chocolate. I don’t care for the peanuts part, dearie.”

 

And the last, making this an even ten funnies for this Wednesday…

“A woman meant to call a record store but dialed a private home

phone number instead.

She asked with some enthusiasm,

“Do you have ‘Eyes of Blue’ and ‘A Love Supreme?’

The puzzled homeowner responded,

“Well, no, but I have a wife and eleven children.”

“Is that a record?” the woman inquired.

“I don’t think so, ” replied the man, “but it is as close as I want to get.”

 

 

Happy Hump Day and enjoy the rest of the week!

I hope

it goes

all

d

o

w

n

h

I

l

l

!

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween’s “A’coming!”

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My two precious granddaughters, who I labeled the “M & M’ girls were over last night.

We built a slide out of my youngest daughter’s discarded yoga mat and pillows. We

played with my oldest daughter’s Barbies, recently donated to join my collection. She

is the one who has two boys… We played ‘make-up’ and ‘dress-up’ along with reading

all of my Fall books. They still like the story about the two mice who are on two sides of

a pumpkin, tending it and growing it into the, “The Biggest Pumpkin Ever.” They also

liked the simple cardboard preschool books about pumpkins and trick or treater’s. The

last reminder of a great book for this season is, “The Nutty Nut Chase ” book.

We watched the  original “101 Dalmatians” with the scene animations being so lovely,

designed to entrance and bewitch the viewers with fall leaves and engrossing, dangerous

winter scenes. My Marley exclaimed about the chubby puppy who I think is named “Rowdy,”

“That puppy needs a diet!” I noticed that the man of the household is smoking a pipe, which

would not ‘do’ in today’s children’s cartoon movies. (I have to say in the ‘old days’ I would not

have even thought twice about weight problems of puppies nor smoking pipes in my dad’s or

granddad’s mouths.) This came up with my Santa Claus which is porcelain and old-fashioned

“‘Twas the Night before Christmas” books, all still having pipes with smoke circling the head

of Santa Claus l, by ever observant children.

When we were finally settling in to sleep it was around eleven o’clock. I was ‘pooped,’ but wished

to ask what they would be for Halloween. They are BOTH going as “Elsa’s” character from the

movie they so love, called, “Frozen.” Would they go as ‘twins?’ No, they would not since they

are the same person both being, “Elsa.” I so love that no one says, that silly word, “Duh!”

anymore.

I mentioned that I will be up at my Mom’s for the holiday. They asked, almost in unison,

“Why can’t you I be here with us?”

I remind them each time this subject matter comes up, “I hope you will be with me when I get

old and come visit me when it is my birthday.”

Wouldn’t you know 6 year old Marley woke up and asked me to get out the art supplies. Even

before they ate the pancakes I had made them!

I required the two little girls to go “Clean up first.” I began singing the “Clean up” song which

caused  Makyah, age  3, to groan and moan. I ignored her, getting paper, scissors, markers,

crayons, lots of stickers out (I had quite a supply when I left preschool special ed. Paid for, as

I used to always do, with my own money for extra seasonal supplies and books.) While Marley

laid on the ground, Miss Drama Queen, Marley got right down to business, used to

this responsibility in her kindergarten classroom.

They put pumpkins, scarecrows and turkeys on 5 x 7 index cards saying,

“Nana, please write, ‘Happy Birthday, Great Grammie O’.”

Marley needed help to copy some of the letters, but is able to write her and Kyah’s names.

Kyah added lots of “x’s” and “o’s” to hers while Marley could write out “I love you lots!”

They stapled them into a little book for my Mom to get on November first, her #86.

We headed back to their house at noon, since Mommy was going to make them lunch.

I gave them hugs and said, “See you Tuesday for your brother, Landen’s birthday and

thanks for the lovely cards for my Mom who will adore them!

Both my daughter and daughter-in-law will send Mom and me photos via cell phones of

the six grandkids. My son doesn’t text me often except to send me a ‘thinking of you’ or a

‘I love you because…’

 

Here is an (hopefully) amusing joke! You know my source, who is very reliable in her

twice weekly letters to me, inserting news articles about Cleveland, Ohio and other senior

and health related subjects!

 

COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN:

“You know you are too old to Trick or Treat when. . .”

 

#10. You keep knocking on your own front door.

 

#9. You remove your false teeth/wig/hair piece to change your appearance.

 

#8. You ask for soft high fiber candy only.

 

#7. When someone drops a candy bar in your bag, and you lose your balance and fall over.

 

#6. People admire your great Boris Karloff mask and you aren’t wearing a mask.

(You may insert Abe Vigoda or other aged people who have character in their wrinkles…)

 

#5. When the door opens and others yell words, but you forget to say, “Trick or Treat.”

 

#4. By the end of the night, you have a bag of restraining orders.

 

#3. You have to carefully choose a costume that doesn’t dislodge your hairpiece.

Or one that covers up your body challenges…

**No slutty nurse costumes for you anymore! (women)

**No more Superman costumes; more likely the Pillsbury Dough boy would work. (men)

(ha ha ha)

 

#2. You are the only Power Ranger or Sleeping Beauty princess with a walker or a cane,

in the neighborhood.

 

And, as David Lettermen would say,

“The Number One Reason Seniors SHOULD NOT Go Trick or Treating Anymore. . .

 

(Are you ready for this one?. . . It directly applies to me and my own elderly problems…!!)

 

#1. You keep having to walk home to use the bathroom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Humorous Romance

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Some of my friends who are younger are amazed when I mention that up until my

Dad died, my Mom and Dad enjoyed one form of romance or another. Here’s to all

those loving, open and caring people who dance in the kitchen! Hope this inspires

you to put some spice in your life or at least bring your significant other a bouquet

of burgundy, crimson, golden and burnt sienna Autumn flowers. My Mom will be

receiving a pot of those gorgeous lavender-rose chrysanthemums, (the closest there

is in the palette of fall colors to her favorite color of pink!) One important thing I

learned from my Mamma: “Never show up on the doorstep of your friends or loved

ones without an old-fashioned hostess!”

This is especially important if you are showing up with a packed bag, dirty laundry,

and a plan to stay for an extended period of many days!  When I would come home

from college, catching a ride from the Studon ‘ride board’ for Fall, Winter or Spring

Break, I already knew which were the certain plants that  Mom liked: mums, pink

poinsettias, and  pink tulips in that order. The pretty yellow or red daffodils or  the

brilliantly gorgeous red poinsettia plants did not ‘fit in’ with the pastels in her formal

Victorian living room.

Kenny Rogers’ song about “bringing his wife flowers” was a big  ‘hit’ with Mom. The

memorable special song was called, “Buy Me a Rose,” written by Jim Funk and Erik

Hickenlooper and released in 1999. This song included valuable communication

suggestions like calling one’s partner during the day time, to make her smile and

stay in touch, simple gestures. Too often, those meaningful and thoughtful ways of

staying connected are lost, especially during the frantic paced child-rearing period

of Life. I know, from personal experience oh too well, women can become so wrapped

into their childrens’ lives they miss the signs they are losing touch with their spouses.

My parents set an example of putting priority on their interpersonal relationship

time to go out together, sometimes dressing up to be chaperone school dancees,

then stopping to have a drink out. Low cost; big rewards later.

My Dad knew’if he were in the dog house’ to bring Mom her favorite flowers of all:

pink roses. ”

The song, ” You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” (any more) pulls at my heart strings more

than the song Kenny Rogers sang. It is due to the fact that duets help  me transform

to another place and time, creating a  picture of the two people facing a crisis.  Along

with the two voices of Neil Diamond  and Barbra Streisand’s melodic and harmonious

blending made this a ‘perfect’ love song (in my mind.) This song affected many more

people than just me. Interestingly, this song had a very different beginning than I had

remembered. The collaboration of Neil Diamond with the couple, Alan and Marilyn

Bergman, were to write the music for a television comedy called, “All That Glitters.”

It was a very short snippet of a song, originally written as the opening t.v. series’ song

in 1977. (The show never caught on and took a ‘dive.’) Once it became expanded into

a full-length song in 1978, it was played frequently on the radio and became so popular

it won a Grammy Award for  “Best Song of the Year.”

 

Now, for the lighter side of this post, thanks to my Mom sending it to me this week.

(Joke taken from my Mom’s collection from her good friend and California pen pal

Joyce, otherwise known as, “Pooky.”)

 

Here are~

“Love Making Tips for Senior Citizens”

1. Wear your glasses.

This will ensure you that your partner actually in the bed and not asleep on a Lazy Boy,

in the living room. Glasses will be helpful for other reasons, like grabbing or tenderly

touching the appropriate body parts.

 

2. Set a timer for three minutes.

Just in case you accidentally doze off in the middle.

 

3. Set the mood with lighting.

Suggestion: Turn them ALL off!

Or if #5 is necessary (due to memory loss) keep a low light on your side of the bed

 

4. Make sure you put “911”on ‘speed dial’ or as one of your emergency contact numbers

on your cell phone. Before you begin. . .

 

5. Write partner’s name on your hand, in case you can’t remember it.

 

6. Use extra Poly Grip.

So your  teeth don’t end up under the bed.

 

7. Have Tylenol ready or other medications ready.

Just in case you two actually complete the act. Aches and pains, possible side effects.

 

8. Make all the noise you want.

The neighbors are probably as old as you are and hard of hearing.

 

9.  Congratulations!

Thank goodness for those endorphins and mood-enhancers.

This can be substituted for your daily regimen of a walk.

Exciting way to get your heart pumping and feel alive.

10. For all those ‘single ladies’ or ‘gentlemen,’

Dancing,

Running,

Skipping,

Hiking,

Swimming

or Dark chocolate can work, too.

 

It makes me sad there are a lot of couples who barely speak to each other.

When I  was a server while in my 40’s I would wait on tables and witness

this pattern of disconnection between lovers. Granted, I worked at Cracker

Barrel, where the busy 36/37 routes intersect with north and south 71. A

lot of my customers were tired, cranky tiravelers who also were hungry.

The way I would do my ‘part’ to brighten their day or night,  would be to

get their food or beverage order as soon as I could. Bringing their drinks,

accompanied with a platter of hot biscuits and corn bread  helped to break

the ice. Once I established rapport with them, I would fib to them.

I would say they looked like they “belonged together.”

It was such a simple statement

but it helped to improve their mood

and changed the temperature of the

atmosphere between the two of them,  too.

 

Quote for the Day:

“Blessed are those who can give graciously without remembering,

Blessed are those who can take gratefully without forgetting.”

( “The Spire” October,2014 First Presbyterian Church bulletin)

 

 

 

 

Losing Oneself

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These words make me pensive.

They make me delve deeper into myself.

There are many ways to interpret them:

Losing oneself…

in writing,

in one’s work,

in another’s arms,

in daydreams,

in tasks,

in crafts,

in creating,

in music,

in art,

in church,

in Nature,

in a Higher Being,

God/Buddha/Allah…

in a book,

on your path in life,

in space and time,

on the waters, drifting…

in addictions,

gambling,

drinking,

drugs,

food,

shopping,

losing your mind,

in depression,

and in countless ways.

It is important not to ‘lose yourself.’

It is meaningful to go~ beyond yourself.

It makes a stronger relationship, if

you are you, and they are they.

Don’t go off the deep end, please!

I’d place my ‘bet’ on you being a

winner, in whatever ways you choose

to contribute to this world.

Take comfort, reach out if you need

a shoulder to lean on.

Three songs that cheer me up when I am

thinking of sad times,

1. “Go Your Own Way” by Lindsey Buckingham,

Fleetwood Mac album, “Rumours,” released

in 1977.

2. “I’ll Be There,” sung by the Jackson Five,

featuring Michael Jackson. This song was

written by a team known as the Corporation,

including Berry Gordy, Bob West, Hal Davis

and Willie Hutch. This was their third album,

released in 1970.

3. “With a Little Help From My Friends,”

(Written for “The Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely

Hearts Club Band” album with Ringo as

the singer, in the character of “Billy

Shears.”) Released in 1967. Joe Cocker

sang this at Woodstock in 1969. Someone

at work had thought Joe wrote it, but it

was written as a collaboration between

Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Oh, and

I had to look up this fact, now you know

too that the Beatles came BEFORE the

legendary Woodstock!)

Try not to lose yourself in a negative

way and keep your chin up,.

I hope, mainly, you will find yourself.

Here in the colder part of the country,

I feel for the even more frigid areas,

those up North and East of us!