Tuesday, November 15, 2016

it has been a long time

     So many things have happened in the past three years. I cannot believe that I haven't found a moment to post here. I just re-read the previous post and found it amazing that my perspective was so dead on to what has happened in our world in the past week. I sometimes wonder if there is truly no hope; and then I look into the face of one of my lovely grand daughters and see that there is always hope.
     My mother passed on to dance with my Dad again, just the end of September. It was a bittersweet passing for all of us. She had fought the good fight but her dementia finally prevailed. And yet, the last few weeks of her life although confused, showed us that some of her will remained. Through her confusion, she seemed to find presence of mind to stand up for herself.
     On the day I last visited her when she was still communicating, she kept saying that she needed to buy a dress because she was going to a dance. So we asked what color and she decided on blue. Blue has always been her favorite color. I asked who she was going to the dance with and she said "him" as she looked over my shoulder. I asked the name of this man only she could see, but she didn't know. I hoped it was my Dad, come to wait for her.
    The night before she died, my sister's dogs began growling and barking at the couch in her living room. My sister did hope, in passing, that Dad was sitting and waiting for Mom. The next day, just after 5pm Mom went to the dance with we three daughters sitting beside her.
     Now, Mom had not really known who I was for a number of years and I felt that I had been missing her and even mourning her a little even when she was still here. But, the truth is, there is a hole in my life just like the one that opened when Dad passed away. I had steeled myself to the grief but it would find me anyway.
     Your parents are your parents forever. Whether they are here or dancing on another level, you miss them. I miss them. I am sad.
     I am the old person now. I am the Nana. I hope that my life will mean something to the next generations. The legacy of my parents and grandparents remains with me. I can only wish that someone will remember me with the respect and love that I remember my parents.
     The past three years have brought my a new son-in-law, as well as two lovely grand daughters. We are now a family force to be reckoned with. Four of five children married and blessings of grand daughters, grand cats and grand dogs to fill the house. May the family continue to grow and thrive.
     My knitting has taken a turn to the smaller, softer and fairly colorful. Sweaters and hats, a blanket or two; even a couple of pumpkins knit for halloween costumes.
    Our world has changed in mighty and frightening ways. I can only be who I am and continue to look for the good, the kind, the generous in the people I meet. It was a blow to realize that there are so many who choose to hate. My prayers and energies will be spent on love. For Love trumps Hate always.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

be kind

Is it so difficult? Is it just not cool enough? Why is it fun to watch cruelty or meanness? 
This morning I was sitting with my cup of coffee and catching the weather on the Today Show. As everyone knows the morning shows jump from one subject to another pretty quickly. Among the guests today, Donald Trump doing an interview about the new Celebrity Apprentice show. Now this sort of show is not my favorite thing. I don't like to watch people compete the way they do on this show. He made a comment about how the winnings go to charities and that is a wonderful thing. But he also made reference to the viciousness of the competition. 
We are living in a world that often seems "Gone Mad". Bullying and violence. Cruelty and aggression. Our elected officials spend more time obstructing anything that could help the country. Social media has become a source of snark instead of a means of civil communication. Our children learn from the rich and famous to be cruel to one another. 
The human race should be evolving and learning and teaching the young to care for one another. 
I am not comfortable with the famous, competing for money to give a charity that is "won" by teaching our children that the only way to get ahead in life is to be cruel.
Human failing should teach us to stop and take a deep breath before we hurt someone else.
We are all only human and sometimes make mistakes. That is the way we learn. But we should acknowledge the error and apologize if we hurt someone else and then strive to be kinder the next time.
I am not comfortable watching our elected officials try to one up one another and with sheer meanness, hurt the people they represent. 
Nobody is perfect, we all probably lash out at someone who has hurt us, but, and here is where the growth and evolution comes in; we can make a conscious decision to try not to lash out the next time. 
Every day, I hope to be a kinder person. Every day, I hope to make a difference even if it is only the tiniest difference. I pray to think twice and speak only once. Be fair. Stand up for my convictions, but not at a cost to someone else. 
Make someone smile. Tell someone something positive that makes a difference. 
My wealth does not come from money. I am rich in family, friends and the company I keep. I don't want to hurt anyone and if I can make someone smile or feel better about who they are, I am rich. I won't be a pushover and I will defend myself and those I love, but I won't search someone out to hurt them. 
Peace is something we can achieve. Security is something we can achieve. Not through force or hate. Not with guns or fences. 
We are human beings. We can CHOOSE to evolve. We can CHOOSE to make peace. We can CHOOSE to be KIND. 
If everyone would make the choice to be kind, just a little, every single day, we would all be rich. We would not need a weapon, we would not need the fear, we would not need the money.
My Dad told me a story just a few weeks before he died about being in the Navy in WWII. He was on an island where they had POW's. They would have work details on the other side of the island. Dad would get the rations for a meal and then take volunteers of prisoners to do the work. The prisoners would all want to volunteer and always did the work because Dad always made sure there was enough food for them and they would go to the beach after the work was done. He said that they were all soliders. All serving their country. All drafted to serve and stuck in the same situation. They respected each other. They were prisoners and guards and knew what was expected on each side. There was honor. Nobody was tortured or humiliated. Dad never understood why we would torture. There was not a cruel bone in his body. He didn't care what color you were or what you did for a living. You were a person and that was good enough for him. If you needed a friend he was the best friend you ever had. 
That is what I think I would like to be, the best friend anyone ever had. 
I am a huge fan of Ellen Degeneres. I watch her show as often as I can. I often dream of being "Genie", the gal who gets to knock on the doors and spread the kindness that is Ellen. So since I can't do that, I would like to follow her rule, the one thing she says and does every day, "Be Kind to One Another."
How hard can that be?
The answer to that is, Not Hard  At All.
Be kind. Let me know how that works out for you. 
If we all caught the kindness virus, it could become the best epidemic ever.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

feeling a little springlike

I know that it is only January but this morning the light and the air felt a little more like spring. Maybe it is just the Hope of spring, but I'll take it. Sometimes January is so cold and dark that I wonder if spring will ever arrive. Today tells me that it will. Our family holidays were just about the best I can remember. Everyone home and healthy and laughing and relaxing together. We are so grateful for the family we have and so proud of everyone and the lives they are living. Our house was full of people and dogs. We have 4 grand pups and 3 grand kitties. Only the pups came for the festivities. On Christmas day after everyone had left for home I traveled to see my sister and my Mom. It was such a nice quiet visit. I am so grateful that Mom is settled in and happy with Nancy. Only one little moment gave me pause. Mom came out from the bedroom after her nap and when she saw me she got this look of panic for a moment and I knew that she was not certain of who I was. I had been there the week before, but perhaps the haircut I got in between was just too much for her. Tea and Christmas cookies smoothed everything over. Now we are into winter for sure. Ski season has begun for everyone but me. I never know if I will manage to wrestle those boots back on my feet but I have not lost hope. It could happen. In the meantime I run around in the canteen at the ski area at least once a week. By the end of the 6th hour I am ready to be home with my feet up and a lovely glass of wine in hand wondering if I am getting to old for this stuff and praying that I am not. In the meantime, I am knitting and sewing a bit here and there. I finished a wonderful shawl/cowl; a knit a long with She-knits Mystery KAL's from Ravelry. Very happy with the results. I am also knitting a pair of fingerless mitts for myself. I did a pair for Cecily for Christmas and loved them so much that I want a pair for myself. Complete with vintage buttons, they are perfect for taking the dogs out in style. There is still a shawl with beads to be finished so I am never bored. Aprons for the gals at the canteen at Otis Ridge as well. I sewed them from home dec fabric of which I have more than I will ever need. And a lesson learned about trying to knit a gift in secret. DON'T. I spent night after night trying to knit up a vest in a great basket weave design for Larry for Christmas. The resulting vest is so huge that three of him could wear it. We had a huge laugh and I learned my lesson. This sort of thing is just not a good surprise, just a surprise. I'm thinking of a cool belt and leggings and I could wear it as some kind of funky dress. I am sure my daughters will steer me away from that idea at their first opportunity. Happy New Year one and all.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

holidays and evolution

As we finish the autumn holidays, Labor Day: the end of the summer picnic scene; Halloween, the holiday just for fun and color; Veterans' Day, to thank the men and women who protect us all and Thanksgiving, the holiday to be thankful for all we enjoy and love, we can reflect on the evolution of our life and family. This year we celebrated a new and special holiday now and forever to be known as "Ridiculous Amounts of Joy". This was the wedding of Justin and Sarah. A most wonderful celebration of family and wedding all in one. Two young people who are happy and healthy and kind; who love enough to share their lives together and share their lives with us. The Labor Day weekend this year was the wedding and everyone who was part of the weekend celebration are still talking about it. Perfect weather, perfect food, perfect music and smiles and laughter without reserve. Our family is thankful that this lovely couple shared and included them in their celebration. We love you. Families grow and evolve all the time. This year, Thanksgiving was quiet in our home. Only one child home and a good friend sharing our feast. The others are all starting new traditions. Check our the blog www.jgslifeinfood.blogspot.com to sample one of the newest tradition additions. This is a wonderful thing for all of us. Holidays should be for joy and fun. No stress, no worries. Growing up, holidays were filled with food and family, but sometimes were stressful. Because of this I was determined as an adult with a family of my own that I would solve this stress problem. I realized that whenever our family is together, it is a holiday. As a young mother I had found myself falling into the "stress" trap and it took a few years and regretfully a divorce to pull out of all of that. But I did and now when I feel the stress closing in, I take a deep breath and remember the fun of being together is really just that; Being together. Most of the kids have started their own traditions and it makes me smile. The evolution will continue on Christmas. Everyone is trying to get home for Christmas Eve. I can't wait for them all to be here laughing and talking and eating. There are new houses, new spouses, new extended families, jobs and adventures. When we are all together we share all the information, sometimes in a very loud and confusing manner. It is the most wonderful noise in the world. Then on Christmas Day it will become quieter as they return to their homes and new traditions there. One cooking Christmas Dinner for family - in - law for the first time. Others joining other family for more celebration. We are so blessed to have the wonderful children we have. They share their lives and love with us. Everyone laughs and loves together.It makes us rich in so many ways. Whenever we are together it is joyful. It is a holiday. It is Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

farewell to princessandthepeatg

So I have another blog called Princessandthepeatg.blogspot.com, but I have tried over and over to link it to this account and written for help to no avail. I wanted to post on it but cannot get into the blog account to do that so I am sad today. It is my blog and I wish it was still accessible. I address different things there and wanted to keep the two blogs separate. If any of my friends out there have any answers for me I hope they will jump in and let me know.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Learning Curve

My mind is such a muddle today. I have been tired and sad and searching for answers, all to no avail. Mom came to spend four days with us. My sister is having a new shower installed for easier access for Mom now that she is living there. Mom had to have surgery at the end of March and we our fears of further decline have been realized. Surgery went very well although took longer than expected with a little more repair work needed. So she was under anesthesia for twice as long as first predicted. But the repairs were made with no problem. She woke in the hospital very confused but docile. Pain management went very well while there although she had vivid dreams and hallucinations. Pain meds were changed with discharge and off she went to rehab. But she became more and more confused, fearful and depressed. The rehab, although thought to be about the best around was fair at best. She came in as a post op patient but did not receive the attention needed for pain management and simple physical care. She would get up in the night, the alarm would go off and nobody came. She was not bathed or monitored when she was given a meal. She did not know where she was or I fear, who she was. Her name was never put on her door and the staff, when they came in, called her by a different name and she smiled and responded in confusion. We took her out of there after only 3 days and moved her in with my sister. The ride since then has been wild. 24 hour care is needed and my sister has shouldered much of this. Caregivers are in for about 20 hours a week. Not enough for my sister to get a breath or any rest. We are learning as we go how to schedule care and monitor progress. Sundowning! Mom began to exhibit symptoms of paranoia and terror from late afternoon and into the evening. Crying and wailing and praying to die but fearing death. We were at our wits end until a visiting nurse suggested we check information on something called Sundowning. Well, Bingo! that is exactly what was happening to her. I went online to read other accounts of this problem from other family members and caregivers and found that the pain med we were using for management could be part of the problem. We stopped the med and the sundowning has improved a great deal. We have also found that Mom will complain of pain one moment and then when we offer an OTC remedy she says she doesn't have pain, so she is no longer reliable to be able to know if she herself is in fact in pain. Physically, Mom is recovering but mentally the decline continues. While she was here I did not leave the house except to take the dogs out for a quick walk. Each time I came back after about 5 minutes, she was anxious and worried because she didn't know where I was. Repetition is only repetition. She retains very little and is easily frightened and confused. Her mood is negative and her tongue sharp. We coax her to eat and she eats only a few bites. She forgets that she has eaten sometimes so we have to keep close track of every bite and every fluid intake. It is devastating to watch the constant anxiety and her only relief coming in the form of negative mood or commentary. Her doctor has now prescribed an appetite enhancer so we have great hope that she will start to enjoy some foods again. I make soups and other comfort foods and portion them and freeze them for she and my sister and my other sister brings sweets often. There is always something offered and we find that something simple and sweet is more welcome than say, spinach. Remember when you were a child and vegetables generally came from a can and we all hated them and made faces or fussed when we had to eat them? That is the behavior we see from Mom now. Full circle I think. We are dedicated to finding positive things to talk about. We will continue to remind her of good memories and hope that, as time goes on, she will become more contented and try to find some positive energy in her life. By the fourth day she did begin to talk about going "home" and she meant my sister's home. She seems to accept that this is the only option for her and is beginning to give me hope that we will turn a corner for her to be more contented and find peace. Until then, we will hang on for the ride. So what is on my needles you ask? Lacy, complicated knit shawls that keep me focused. One in wonderful dove colors. Another a soft yellow with silver thread running through it. I have begun beading summery flowers in French Beaded Flowers and bead knitting a brides evening purse. If I sound scattered, be assured that these projects keep me sane and I am grateful for the distraction. All will be well. All will be peaceful. But the learning curve is sharp.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Reflections and observations

Today I woke early after a long night of tossing and turning. I took my pups out for their morning constitutional (yes some people still call it that). Sunrise was spectacular in my little corner of the universe. The lake was so still that there was a perfect reflection of its majesty and therefore, two spectacular sunrises. A morning like that and I tend to linger which delights Lily and Daisy who are rediscovering all of the wonderful scents (and odors) of spring. They happily nosed around the circle and back home for an early breakfast where I hustled to pack up and load my car for my trip to Mom's. The early breakfast was the tip-off and Lily began to pout because she knew I was leaving them behind today.
My knitting bag is so full on these days. Today no less than 4 projects in the works. I know I will only get to one, but I have to have them all with me, just in case. In case of what you may ask? I wish I knew the answer to that.
I take them with me each time I go to stay with Mom. She is facing the decline into dementia and I think I knit to remember the mother who taught me how. After Daddy died a couple of years ago, Mom just stopped. She had been confused and having trouble remembering for a long time, but once Dad was gone, I think she just gave in to it. There was no reason for her to try anymore so she just stopped.
My siblings and I have taken turns staying with her. Caring for her and trying to help her find something, anything to make her happy again. To no avail. It is like the disease has taken of her joy and holds it hostage.
Everyone who helps has a different opinion of what they observe. Her sisters all quite a few years younger, all living alone come and go and try to stay positive and coax Mom back into life. She will have a good hour or two, but then finds company overwhelming and retreats, sometimes in anger, sometimes exhaustion, sometimes in anxiety.
One sibling watches for a good day and holds on to it as though it is a cure. "She had a great day; I think we really have turned the corner. Everything will be better. She is back." Then the next day comes and we begin again.
Another sibling doesn't understand and tries to come, only to be devastated by what is found when they arrive.
Then there is one more who is observing and understanding and accepting of all that is happening. Eager to learn whatever they can to assist Mom and care for her.
I am not certain where I fall in all of this. I come with soup or a sweet. Something I know that she will eat a little bit of. I bring along my knitting and sit beside her and knit. Sometimes we talk. More often lately we just sit side by side. She has little to say. Mom crochets small lap covers and blankets to give away to the homeless shelter. For many years she knit and crocheted for Project Linus and a battered women's shelter. Anyone having a baby would receive a baby sweater. I have the ones she made for my children ready for them when they have children of their own. But lately I don't see a baby sweater in the works. The pattern has become too difficult. I am not sure that there will be anymore baby sweaters.
We are all getting older and for many, watching their parents age or become diseased is more than they can handle. We wonder if our fate will be the same or if we will burden our children in future years. Our time is precious. The time we spend with our parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren also so very precious. Do we make a difference? I hope so. I hope that everyone can spend time with their parents. Learn who they are today. Forget past memories that are hurtful or sad and remember the good memories.
In my life, I have had both and now as I am getting older, I try to forget anything that causes me to waste time on negative thoughts or energies.
Today I turned 55. Whew! I still feel 26, 30 or even 36. I search my mind for some wonderful memories or vague recollections of lovely feelings.
I remember my Mom had this wonderful dress. White cotton, sleeveless with a wide belt. There was this wonderful large flower print on the full skirt. I thought is it was probably the most beautiful dress she ever wore. She was always smiling when I remember her in that dress.
When there was a summer thunderstorm, Mom and Dad or one or the other would come and sit on our beds and we would just be together during the storm. They always left the flashlight on so it was never dark.
A new swing set in the spring. Carnival parades in the summer. Lots of pennies under my pillow in payment for the tooth I lost. Whoopie pies! Red lipstick. My Mom never left the house without her lipstick on. I never understood that. I hate lipstick. But she always looked beautiful.
Mom used to sing when I was little. I remember her singing; You are my Sunshine was a favorite. I practiced it so I could sing it too. Family holidays and family picnics. Everyone together, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins. Everyone lived in town and we were together all the time. It was good. No video games. Card games. Mom and Dad and the aunts and uncles would play for pennies. The next morning we kids would crawl under the formica kitchen table and look for dropped treasure. Mom had spent hours, and hours, and hours making a wool braided rug. It was under that kitchen table and the pennies would hide in the dark colors. We never found a fortune but a penny or two would certainly do.
We were brought up with love, not perfection, but love. Our parents did really well and grew up with us just like we did raising our children. I can only hope that I have done half as well. I hope that the memories of my children are good and kind and that they forgive any mistakes or thoughtless words I might have regretfully or impulsively used. I hope and pray that my family and I can help Mom as she finds her way in the dark. May the things I knit and pass along be cherished and bring wonderful memories to the next generation and the next.
Love you Mom. I won't forget. I will remember for you.