Friday, December 16, 2022

That is Odd

Do all old people get idiosyncratic or is it just I? 

I find myself counting the stairsteps in my house when I go up or down. Not ALL the time, but fairly often. There are 15 in case you wonder. 

I do not leave discarded clothes on the floor of my closet if I am heading out to town. I at least fold them on the chair that I have in the closet. I think to myself, what if for some reason, a car accident or heart attack, I do not make it home and my daughter has to come down here to get my clothes and then sees how messy I live? (Sort of like that mom telling you to always wear clean underwear in the event you are in a car accident?)

I hate plastic but I still compulsively buy ziplock bags.  Most of my stuff is stored in glass-lidded containers, so why do I keep ziplock bags?  Some day I will make a list of when I use them and think of alternatives.

I put stuff away before the housecleaner comes so that all the surfaces are neat and does make it easier for her to clean or dust.

I save all those stupid holiday catalogs thinking I will need them and stack them neatly on the couch near where I sit.  That stack stays unmoved for weeks, and I have never ordered from any of them!

Each night I tell myself that I will be more proactive in getting things done the next day and it happens... about one out of every 8 days. (In all honesty, this is probably not just an old-timers thing.)

Got any unusual compulsive behaviors that others may notice but which are who you are?

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Does Anything Stay the Same Anymore?

The older I get, the more I find myself fitting in the mold of an old doddering lady. I always pictured (hoped) that I would become the stylish, skinny, and upper-middle-class grandma; the one that was sharp as a tack and that everyone loved to talk to for a brief time.

Ha!  I wish I was skinny, certainly no longer upper middle class with this inflation, and while some days, I am sharp as a tack, other days I wander around in a fog trying to remember what I was planning on finishing before starting dinner.  Stylish is something I attempt about two or three times a year.  Most days I wander around in old sweatsuits, or jeans and a sweatshirt.

Yesterday we had to drive up to the city to visit our financial advisor at my husband's insistence even though I wanted to wait until after the holidays.  Hubby's dementia meant he could follow very little of what happened at the hour-long meeting, but hubby was right in that we had not met face-to-face in a few years and it did help personalize our relationship with our advisor.  This advisor is the son of our original advisor and has now taken over our account.  His father has retired and is now taking care of his wife through a long-term illness, sadly.  Hubby also was right in that we got to meet up for a quick lunch with our son and his wife.  Sadly we did not see the baby who was in daycare.

Since this filled the whole day, I moved my list of holiday and other things to do, to today.  Unbeknownst to me, hubby had volunteered to give a presentation in February as part of our Master Gardeners projects for the public.  They are given at the library.  I got cc'd in an email from the coordinator since hubby had not been responding to her emails and that is how I learned about the commitment.  I explained to him that I could not help with this before the holidays as I just had too much on my list.  

That was never going to happen as he insisted he had to start the presentation and download the photos from his phone today.  Well, there went the better part of the day!  I started to work on downloading photos from his phone (a different model and make than mine) and then have him attach them in an email to himself since my USB connection did not work with his phone.  I selected 8 or 10 photos and then asked him to go through that list and delete down to four in the attachment since the email provider would not transfer more than that.  An hour later, I thought he was deleting but he had spiraled down to somewhere else and was back selecting photos, or something as he would not show me! 

I am afraid I lost my patience as I had so wanted this day to get myself a little better organized.  I just now left him with his computer and then heard him calling someone on the phone asking how to get emails off of his phone onto his computer.  It may be my busy son who is working from home, I do not know.  But he will patiently take him through screen after screen,... perhaps.  Or he will tell him to call tonight.

Part of this anger is resentment, I know.  Resentment that he does not participate in any of the holiday preparation.  He says he "hates" shopping and therefore, never buys any gifts for anyone and has never done so even before his dementia.   He says he is not able to wrap gifts, either.  He is not a cook, but with dementia, I do not think he should be attempting any of the holiday cooking anyway.  Each year I have asked him to help with the holiday greetings that we mail, although I pull together the card design, and the list of addresses, and set him up at the table.  I have done this for years and he loves writing a message to friends and family.  Fingers crossed this year.

One would think I would be adjusting to this change by now!!  And those of you who are wondering why I am taking time to blog when I have so much to do...who knows...guess it is my therapy for the day.

Well, done venting, thank you for listening and I know...I know...the font is off again!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Are the Holidays a Wind-up?

I sit this morning in the early dark drinking my strong black coffee with just enough sweetened cream to take the edge off.  I slept over seven hours which is my regular routine. While my sleep is filled with dreams these days, I do feel rested.  Hubby is still deep in slumber and will sleep closer to ten hours.  He is an energizer bunny with projects during the day and that activity coupled with his slight dementia means he will sleep through a long night.

The home across the river and a few houses up from us already has its holiday lights along the dock.  The weather has been cold for days with just enough of a breeze to make it feel much colder.  We have been putting off stringing the outside holiday lights hoping the weather will moderate somewhat.  While we have no snow and do not face the drama and hard work the folks north of us have endured, we are older and feeling it in our bones more each year.

Today I have to plan which pies I will bring to my daughter's house for Thanksgiving.  My three grandchildren and my son-in-law do not like fruit pies and so I am left to make some cloying sweet pies such as an Oreo cookie monster.  I will probably go ahead and make a key lime pie because I have a dozen kafir limes from my tree that need to be used while they are somewhat fresh.  I will also bring a side dish of sausage stuffing which they claim to like and which I make each year with Italian sausage and lots of herbs.  My daughter is ordering the rest from the local grocery.  We seem to be doing it lighter each year.

We cannot arrive the night before since my daughter has close friends that are using their guest room as a stopping place on their way north to visit their own family for the holidays.  So, we will arrive mid-morning and quickly say hello and goodbye to the guests which we know, eat our Thanksgiving dinner with the family, and then head back home mid-afternoon because my daughter and her family are then heading north for Thanksgiving with the in-laws the rest of the weekend.  My daughter's father-in-law has a form of MS which now requires he be placed in a care facility.  It is a sad time for all.  

My son and his wife are spending Thanksgiving out of state with his wife's family this year, so our long weekend will be quieter.

Ooops, my son just texted and said they may not be heading through the nasty snow to Erie after all.  Their little baby is fighting a long-term cold.  I invited them to join us at my daughter's and then come down here for the weekend where I can wait on them.  Seems everything is up in the air.  

I am an old lady and will certainly handle it all with aplomb (that is still a word, right?) as I am not going without electricity like those in Ukraine, and I am not facing grief like those who lost a child, significant other, or brother or sister in Colorado in the recent "mass shooting", and I am not spending the day in a holding shelter like so many that are homeless or those around the world who are refugees waiting for a reprieve.  I am winding up my one precious and privileged life slowly, ever so slowly.

I look for the light because the perception of where we are and who we are and where we are going is dependent upon finding light each day.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

And...the Rest of the Story

My prior post on our trip to Pittsburgh provided a quick overview of a city that was once part of "America's Rust Belt". Pittsburgh was referred to as the steel city because Andrew Carnegie developed a process to make steel both durably and inexpensively.  There were many blue-collar jobs available at the turn of the 20th Century.  This is also why it was called the city of bridges which are so loved; produced through locally made steel.  

The steel industry is also why their professional football team is called the Steelers.  Along with this industrial success, there came tremendous water and air pollution.  Today the air is clear to the eye, but unseen microparticulate still causes days when breathing the air is unhealthy and they struggle to keep their air healthy.

The city has moved its economy to self-driving car manufacturing, robotics, and medical advances.

While we were there we stayed in the downtown area next to the convention center.  Our hotel was on a busy street next door to a Charter school for elementary children.  We saw them walking from one building to another on a mid-day break and all were minority children.  Full of energy.  If you want to know what a Charter School is go here.

We took an Uber to the botanical gardens on the second day and upon our return mid-afternoon, the Uber driver could not drive down the block to our hotel.  We waited a few minutes and then he made a U-Turn and went around a block to drop us off just South of our hotel.  It was only a block away, so we had no problem.

As I walked to the hotel, I saw the following:

At first, I thought someone famous must be staying at our hotel which is across the street from this news photographer.  But nope.  When I asked, it seems there had been a couple of shots fired into one of the buildings across the street.  Perhaps the building between the school and our hotel?  Needless to say the local pedestrians did not seem at all concern as they wheeled their toddler into the restaurant and we asked the policeman if we could cross the red tape into our hotel...which he let us do.  City life in America is indeed strange.

Saturday, November 05, 2022

Like a Bad (But Shiny) Penny

I returned over a week ago from our Pennsylvania/Michigan car trip. The primary reason for the trip was to help my husband's stepsister celebrate her 94th birthday. They have not met face-to-face in over a decade. Blended families can be that way and since his father remarried (to my husband's mother) they spent little time growing up together. As often happens with old people, reconnection (this time hours by phone) meant they wanted to see each other as the years are getting more valuable. 

Since it was fall, I was looking forward to such a car trip and was rewarded with lovely hardwood trees and bright dry grasses and golden farm fields with traditional barns, and nice weather except for one day of rain.  

We first visited Pittsburgh for the reason that it made a nice stop on the way north.  We were there for three days.  The walk from our hotel downtown made me think that Pittsburgh was nothing but mediocre restaurants and kitschy stalls selling Steelers merchandise.  The small crowds were a bit loud and later in the day a bit drunk.  The service at the mid-cost restaurants was very good, though.  In the beginning, I was not impressed.

I was glad that I had booked a tour for each of the two full days we were there.  Driving around on our own would have meant we missed so much to say nothing of the difficulty in finding parking in a city.  The tour helped me see how rich Pittsburgh was in history and heroes.  

Mr. Rogers

Mr. Rogers of children's TV fame was a native and had his own statue on the river in downtown.  This was funded by Bunny Mellon of the rich Mellon family.  Bunny was a friend of his.  

We toured the city itself to learn that both sports stadiums were horseshoe shaped to allow fans to see the river as well as the game. I learned about the famous "immaculate reception" of player, Franco Harris, which helped the Pittsburgh Steelers win their first playoff game in franchise history in 1972. 

Historian, David McCullough, was also a native with a bridge dedicated in his honor.  

The city is really beautiful despite the few homeless tents along the river walk.  Two rivers come together which helped spur the city's growth in its early history when water was the primary form of transportation for moving and processing steel.  

Taken from the hilltop at the end of a cable car ride.

And then we traveled on to visit the famous Falling Waters house of Frank Lloyd Wright fame just outside the city.  I was not able to get reservations inside, but the outside was inspiring.  There is another architectural wonder, Kentuck  Nob, but that has to wait for another trip.

This is a very short version of the trip but perhaps wets your taste to travel to a smaller city that you do not know enough about and that has a reputation that is rougher than it deserves.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Aging and Patience (but not Birds)

Have I ever been a patient person? Well, of course, I must have been at one time because I raised two children.  You cannot survive that without some patience.  Raising children requires slowing your pace to their interests and play and work as much as you can.  Of course, with small children, you have to be able to shift gears smoothly and change the pace dramatically.  

When we first moved to this area and we wanted to meet the community ( we do not go to church) I signed up for a local Audubon class.  It met at the local community college about 20 minutes from the house in the evenings.  When my husband and I arrived the large classroom was empty except for one gray little man, the teacher.  We waited 5 or 10 minutes and then a younger, slightly attractive woman with an air of determination whisked in and sat next to us.  

With only three students the man began to discuss local birds of the area and provided some information on being able to recognize similar but different species.  It was an interesting, if not exciting, class. 

We met again the next week and the woman did not show.  Was she impatient at the pace of the class?  Was she disappointed that more people of the opposite sex closer to her age were not in attendance?  She clearly did not have the perseverance needed.

I continued to attend the 6 or so classes and am not really sure if it was due to my patience in expecting to learn something or perhaps my sensitivity to the poor man trying hard to create some community among local bird people.  The thought of him showing up to an empty classroom was harsh.

But back to patience.  In the event above, perhaps it was perseverance which is another word for patience.  

I have been married for OVER 50 years.  Is that due to endurance, grit, self-control, and leniency,  which are all synonyms for patience? Or is it due to imperturbability, passiveness, or moxie...also listed as synonyms for patience?

Love, caring, and responsibility are not listed there.

I have just spent two hours making reservations at two hotels and also making reservations for two separate tours as we head up to Pittsburgh and then on to Detroit.  It is EXTREMELY rare these days to talk to anyone when doing this.  It is all done by computers or "bots."  For this, I have NO patience.

After hours passed, I got a follow-up text from someone who texted "This is AYS with a question."  I was tired and mad and apologetically admit that I typed back "Who in the hell is AYS?"  This was followed by me texting "Ooops!"  The message that came back was "I'm sorry.  I'm a bot and I'm still learning.  Ask your questions and then navigate by selecting the buttons presented."

A bot that uses contractions and can sense when you are mad via text.  I am not ready for this new world.  Thinking about traveling less.

(And, yes, I know the font went wacky...I don't care...html is just outer space test.)

Sunday, October 09, 2022

A Quick Review on All

A brief update on it all. While my husband and I had finished two vaccinations and one booster and were waiting to schedule the new bivalent booster, we caught COVID as I wrote in the prior posts.  We reviewed our activities and the most recent was an outdoor festival where we met with people interested in gardening.  Outdoors and mostly 4 to 6 feet away (but no masks) and we talked to close to 80 or more adults and children.  This virus is very, very, very contagious and it gave me new insight into those who have health issues and must avoid the virus at all costs!

I was sick for about 5 days and felt weak for a few more.  Sick being a fever and fatigued.  No coughing, no chest congestion, no loss of smell or taste, but certainly shortness of breath.  I finally tested negative on the 7th day. Hubby was very similar, but his similar symptoms lasted 14 days before testing negative.  Yes, we are very lucky that the vaccines work!

Now we must wait for two to three months before we can get the new bivalent booster as our immune system is triggered (I guess).

We have planned a trip up north to Michigan to visit my husband's half-sister who will be celebrating her 94th birthday.  He has not seen her in decades although they talk on the phone.  We will wear masks if the family gathers in significant numbers or there is concern about our germs.  Another road trip and at least this time we should not get COVID as I hope our immune system has rallied us.  This does not mean we cannot be carriers, I will have to research.

The good thing about it all is that while I was forced to stay home I was able to complete a bunch of to-do things on that list that some of us keep and then ignore, such as cleaning out that nasty corner of my closet.    I also finished reading a number of books:  "The Personal Librarian"(historical fiction about the personal librarian to J.P. Morgan), "Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe", and almost finished "The Book of Joy:  Lasting Happiness in a Changing World."  It is about the friendship between Archbishop Desmon Tutu and the Dalai Lama.  As you can see I am bored easily and do have eclectic tastes.

I wish you all well and will now try to catch up on blogs.  I also hope to document those I cannot comment on.

but think I have figured that out.

Saturday, October 01, 2022

Are You Still Out There?

My last post was a looong time ago in the grand scheme of Blog schedules. But I have an excuse or two or three.

Yes, we did leave to go see the elk and I will post a few of those photos on my outdoor blog "Room Without Walls" but first I want to explain why there are so few photos.

We left on a Tuesday two weeks ago.  The trip up was uneventful in that the traffic got less heavy as we headed for state roads far from cities.  There was one enormous truckers intersection that was a nest of signs and turns, but we managed to navigate and head on further north to the elk preserve.

We checked into a traditional hotel that was about 20 minutes outside the preserve.  

This area wild area produced some of the best ships masts from the white pine forests in the logging area of the preserve back in the 1800s.  Pennsylvania has a 2.2 million acre forest system.  Twenty state forests are located here and comprise 13 percent of the total forest land.  No wonder it was called Pennsylvania.  There are areas where you can do any number of outdoor activities.

We checked into a traditional hotel that was about 20 minutes outside the preserve.  Various state parks intersected and crossed and wound up and down the sides of hills making the preserved area confusing to navigate and signs were sparse and hard to see but we made it up to the elk visitor center as did about 80 other old-timers like us.  We could hear the elk calling and it was dramatic and heart-stopping as dusk crept up, but the crowds got too large and we decided to find another lookout.  We left too early as we heard that several large bull elk had finally emerged into the open area to test their testosterone.

We later did see some of the smaller elk, but tired from the drive headed back to our hotel to venture out with fresher energy the next day.  That evening I had acid reflux or some indigestion (thinking it was from a fresh lemon gin and tonic I had the night before) and tried to sleep.  I woke up unrested but we headed out to explore and my acid reflux weakened.  By mid-afternoon, I felt weaker and somewhat feverish and not even in the mood for a rather over-heavy country dinner that we got at a local woodland restaurant.  I coughed all that night.

In the morning I realized I was sick and took a COVID test from the kit I had packed in my suitcase a long time ago.  Yes, I was positive!  We threw our clothes into the suitcase and checked out a day early telling them that I was COVID positive.  Hubby was feeling fine and had no problem heading home.

Sadly his old Chevy had been acting up and the dash lights and gages went blank when we were about 200 miles from home.  We had filled up on gasoline the night before, so knew we could make it the whole way.

It never rains but pours when things go wrong.  We are weathered warriors and kept our minds focused.

By the time we made it home, I collapsed in the upstairs bedroom with medicines and water and was in a fog for the next five days.  On the sixth day, I got my first negative test and went for a walk along the neighborhood on a beautiful fall day, and while feeling weak, it was the first day I did not feel shortness of breath.  I never had chest congestion, so was surprised when I would get out of breath going upstairs or across the room!  I picked some soft wild persimmons that grew along the drive and washed them and ate one small one.  Hubby was starting his illness by this time.

In a few hours, I found that my pants felt unbearably tight even though I was wearing elastic pants.  By mid-afternoon, I was in extreme abdominal pain.  It felt as if my diaphragm was being pushed into my chest and stretching unbearably tight.  I had never felt this before.  In an hour I got up and emptied the contents of my stomach (only some pinkish liquid and acid) and projectile vomited for a bit.  What on earth??  Then the next morning, I felt fine and realized that it was the wild persimmon that had caused that incident because that was really the only thing I had eaten.!  I have no idea why as I had eaten them before!  Hubby was ready to take me to the hospital, but I fought it because we both had COVID!

Then he got sick and was bedridden for days, and is still testing positive but hs more energy.  Of course, it did not help that the remains of Ian came through with 40 MPH wind and rain and we lost electricity several times last night.  Our new generator kicks in right away, even though it does not run the whole house.  Waiting for the 6ht or 7th shoe to drop.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Sex in the State Forest

Well, I have learned, or maybe remembered, that setting an ad-blocker on when reading many blogs is the reason I cannot comment on them. If I turn the ad blocker off when I go to a site, then it allows my comment to be published! Annoying, but glad it is not an unsolvable glitch on my log-in to Blogger.

We are off this morning to go shoot elk in Pennsylvania.  NOT shoot with a gun, but shoot with a camera.  Our old age is making us want to get out and fill the bucket list more.  It is autumn and the elk are bugling.  If you have not heard that call of the male elk, you have missed an interesting natural phenomenon.  Our elk in this country have been wiped out in many areas and have had to be reintroduced.  There are now at least two large managed herds in the Eastern part of the U.S. and a larger herd in the Rocky Mountains and smaller herds elsewhere across the U.S.  There is a hunting season for them as well.

The males are entering their mating season and bugle to attract females and warn males.  Some do it so much that they lose their voices.   They can best be seen at dawn and dusk and I am stealing myself for crowds...hoping to find spaces away from all of those (like me) who are nature lovers.

It will be a five-hour drive and we will take several overnights in a local hotel.  We have outgrown the tent camping experience and the cabins are full.  The cheaper hotels are pretty rustic.  There will be no cell service in many parts of the large park and restaurants are only in certain areas.  Thus it will be a bit of a challenge for old folks who are used to things going their way.

We will head back home on Friday.  And in the following days I will have fun  culling and editing my photos and will share any if they are intersting.  Lokoing forward to the fall color as well as the great wild outdoors.


Friday, September 09, 2022

Riding the Current

I blinked and suddenly it was fall outside.  Cooler weather means I will have the energy to vacuum and wash my little car.  (It has been months--actually maybe the entire year!).  

My husband's nephew left last weekend.  He paid to have his brother fly up from Florida to drive the big trailer back down with him.  The broken collarbone does seem to be healing.  He has had two visits with the local osteopath up here and the day he plans on getting home he has a visit with his local GP who will refer him to the bone doc down there.

While it was challenging having someone living in the house (someone we really did NOT know well) for over a month and having to lend our bathroom as it had a walk-in shower, it was also a good exercise in growth for all of us.  I actually now miss him.  I would see him up every morning before me and I get up early!  It was a test having someone chatter away while I had my first and second cup of coffee.  He, like my husband, is a talker!!  He would walk two miles every morning and then watch his favorite TV shows which were all car racing or car repair things.  Something that bores my husband and me.  Sometimes he would watch downstairs while we watched a British mystery upstairs.

He never complained about the fact that he could not do much to help but it did frustrate him.  He is one of those people who likes to help others.  He was a former engineer as a defense contractor and knew his electronics.  It was very useful having him here while the propane company installed our backup generator (which means we will never have another storm that takes out our electricity 😉).  He was a polite oversight to the various workers that drifted in and out for the four days, which was useful as the supervisory electrician they sent was a grumpy sort.

We had to leave him alone for a week while we took our oldest grandson down to Andros to get his dive certification.  That was also a challenge as I worried about him being alone in our house and having an accident.  We took him food shopping before we left and gave him our neighbor's phone number just in case.  He downloaded the UBER app as well.  

Our Bahamas trip was another challenge, as we stayed at a rustic lodge at the end of nowhere.  It was also very hot, but the people were very very nice and the food was mostly good.  Grandson passed with flying colors and got his certification.  I will treasure that time with him before he leaves for college next year as most precious.

I have not written too much about my husband's memory challenges during this time, and maybe when I have finished riding the current toward autumn I will reflect on that.  If you are on the cusp of spring, be sure to smell the flowers, and if like me, you are on the cusp of fall, avoid sneezing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Only Up From Here

I had to come back home late last week because I was having trouble getting into our TSA (Transportation Security Administration) database to get our KTN (Known Travel Number) so that we can go through the "fast" line at the airport next week. After an hour's drive up to the DMV Office where the Security people are located, we discussed why my husband and I were not in the database and the lady there was able to circumvent the tragic telephone tree where you never reach anyone and talk to a real person! It appears that there is a space between the letters of our last name (which is European) and I did not enter the space between the letters. It does appear that way on our passport, but I never noticed!  Load off of my mind on that.

Hubby in his frustration with his dementia wants so badly to go diving with his grandson who is 17 this year as one of his bucket list items.  So I am accompanying them to the Caribbean island for a week of lessons, etc.  I will not be diving.  I have not done SCUBA for years and find that just snorkeling is enough for me.

Our houseguest, my hubby's nephew, will remain here alone in the house and I am hoping he is careful on the stairs!!  I gave him our neighbor's cell phone if he needs anything because he has been told not to drive.  He will remain with us another week after we get back, and then his brother is flying up to drive him back home, if the Doctor gives his approval.  Below is a photo taken before the fall on the boat!

I will be so glad when the world slows down in September and the cool fall weather is back and I actually have time to read blogs.  Good days ahead!

Monday, August 08, 2022

Ten Minute Breather

Up early this morning and after a quick tea, changed the baby and then played with her for an hour hoping she would go back to sleep but no luck. She is a very sweet baby (now at 3 months) and even sweet when she is cranky. We are wearing N95 masks whenever we are close to her just to protect her from any asymptomatic COVID.   Wearing these masks  most of the time in the house  and all of the time we are around her, really gives me perspective on how difficult it  is to wear them for  long periods of time!  I now have empathy for those who protested, but  not enough to wave their ignorance.

Wearing this  mask and hauling laundry up and down narrow stairs  from the top  floor to the basement also makes me  realize I need to find some other exercises to give me more stability.  It does  not  help  when the mask pushes my trifocals out  of alignment either or the basket moves off my hip and locks my view.

My son is still running a fever of 99+ on the third day and hiding out in the dark basement which is his sound studio. It is cramped and full of electronic gear but has a bathroom all to himself.  Hopefully now that Monday has arrived, he can get an appointment with his  doctor and see about  geting Paxlovid.  I am  not sure how  contagious he will remain even after that.  It seems it took a  President  to show  us there is no magic bullet.  We will depend on tests.  I made him go sit outside for 10 minutes for  some change of scenery.  It is so hot and humid but maybe he got some vitamin D.

Their dog also demands walking and feeding times.  He  is too big for me to walk and he has to be fed sharply at 6:00 AM.  I think he has them well-trained, but it  does present problems when you then have a child!

Ah well, they are learning  the hard way.  I have an important appointment with the TSA in  a few days and hope that my daughter-in-laws mother can come down and help for  a while.

It is amazing  how much time is taken up with feeding, entertaining and changing a 3-month-old, making sure the dog is happy, doing laundry and helping with cooking in  a kitchen that  is not  mine.

Regarding our houseguest which I  mentioned in the prior post, it appears he  has broken his collar bone and hubby is trying to get a follow-up appointment with a specialist today.  Looks like we will have him with us for a few weeks (months?) more.  He drove up in a big truck pulling an airstream, so  he is not going to be able to make a getaway any time  soon.

Send thoughts  to  the powers that be for  good energies  here to  keep baby safe and  speed up healing  for those who are ill.  Thanks.

Sunday, August 07, 2022

Jekyll and Sapelo Islands and 16 Children

Putting aside the reality and seriousness of this world this morning, I will reminisce about my recent trip to the East Coast of Georgia with my husband and my 11-year-old grandson. Hubby and I have been boosted twice and grandson once. We we cautious but felt this opportunity was too important to postpone. Every time a grandchild turns 10 we take them on a trip of their choosing somewhere in the US. My grandson is 11, so we have postponed it once already. It is an opportunity for us to really get some one-on-one time, except, it is usually heavily scheduled. 

I apologize for the length of this post without photos, but it is what it is. 

Our trip out was a bit of chaos. We picked up C. at a restaurant midway between homes, where we had lunch with his mother. We got back to our house about 3:00 and as I sat down at the computer and checked my calendar, I realized that our drive down was supposed to have started that morning! It is a little over 11 hours and we broke it up into two days. Thus, we were already a few hours behind! 

We threw our gear into the car (all had been prepacked) and we headed out as I called ahead to the hotel to tell them we would check in after 10:00 that night. I was busy making sure that my grandson's gear was correctly stowed and that we had packed drinks and snacks. I had moved my two suitcases and small bag to the driver's side of the driveway for hubby to load. He was getting his suitcase from the house, so I moved in my large suitcase to the trunk while I pulled out some stuff to make more room and moved grandsons' stuff to the backseat. Then I got into the  car and made the call to the hotel as we backed out. I asked hubby if he had loaded everything, and he said yes. 

Lesson learned here is that if your husband has beginning dementia, you must follow through on your own for everything. When we got to the hotel I saw that he had walked right by the two small bags of mine sitting by the car and got into the car and started out! I was panicked, because my camera was one of the small bags and my toiletries, pajamas and medicine were in the other. I was angry and frustrated. All could be replaced except we had left in pouring rain and my camera bag would be soaked and I certainly needed my medicine for my chronic cough. 

In the hotel room as I opened my big bag to find something to sleep in, I saw I HAD packed my medicines in a small pocket. Relief passed over me as I accepted that a quick run to the nearby Target the next morning would replace the PJs, make-up, hair dryer, sunscreen, bug spray, and other stuff that had been left behind. I had failed to take my small camera out of my purse, so it would have to be the substitute. I also had my phone camera, but I have never like trying to take photos with it, although it does a fair job. (There are no photos to post as I am up at my son's house right now which another whole story.) 

 The next day we ate breakfast, shopped quickly and completed the second leg of our journey to Jekyll Island, Georgia. The hotel where Road Scholar had us pre-booked was a lovely old historic building sprawling across acres of grass and old trees with a croquet area, a swimming pool, trails to nearby historic sites, etc. 

 We soon met up with our group. Most of the children were not ten, but eleven and twelve. There were 8 boys and 8 girls. Because of this, perhaps, the rest of the trip was filled with giggling and roughhousing, etc. as they showed off for each other. There were a few times that they did not pay attention and when they wanted to have a table all to themselves without grandparents at dinner, this chaos lasted only one evening. A few of the young boys had ADHD and that added to the chaos. My grandson was not at all interested in the wild behavior. I am sure that some of the grandparents thought he was shy and nerdy with his glasses, etc., but he actually was not interested in crazy behavior but interested in a nice dinner with us. It certainly made our job easier. As a result we did enjoy the trip very much.

 Some of the grandparents were singles, some had serious health issues that required bravery on their part to keep up with the tours and stairs and sometimes odd seating. After a walk across a meadow that was supposed to house gopher tortoises and an arrival at the canal where the children would use dipnets to catch creatures for looking at under the microscope, one of the grandmothers leaned against a wooden fence over the canal in exhaustion and the fence gave way! It took several people to pull her back up before she completely fell in, and it did frighten her husband. 

 Another grandfather who was trying every single day to keep up did take a nasty fall adding cuts and bruises. 

 One of the visits was to an old lighthouse where we could go all the way to the top, about 129 steps. I made it up in the heat and humidity, but the next day my femor muscles were hurting with every other staircase I took on that day. 

 We also had a private show by some of the Gullah Geechee singers in which our grandchildren got to participate. This might have been my favorite activity. The children also went on a small shrimp trawler where they were able to look at and even handle some of the creatures in the waters of the sound such as stingrays, sharks and spot fish. All in all, it was a fulfilling trip and I learned much. 

This post is getting waaay too long so I will not talk about the scary near miss car accident on the drive home doing 70 to keep up with traffic on the freeway. Suffice it to say we missed any damage. I am posting no pictures, because I have had to rush to my son's house to help with the babysitting, as my son seems to have contracted COVID and his wife has to start work again and they need baby support. My husband is back home entertaining our house guest from Florida (his nephew) which is another story in itself as they ended up in the emergency room last night! Does this never end????

Saturday, July 30, 2022

I am Dancing as Fast as I Can

I am just going to post a bunch of unrelated photos while I breathe.

My first comment is to post my thankfulness for Blogger allowing me to meet Mage in person several times. We were strangers and have little in common and have so much in common. She loves life as do I. She loves history as do I. She has fun with photography as do I. She is an adventurer and I like to think I am but in a different way. She is more sophisticated than I as she came from a name family while I came from a farming family.  She is on the journey to another place. That journey sounds painful and stressful and also hard on George, her husband, now. That journey that we all will make at some time.  I am so glad I was brave enough to meet her and George when she came to the city near me. I will miss the insight she has on so many things. I am so glad that her family is close with her now.  

My second comment is that I am home from the Roads Scholar trip that I took with my second-to-youngest grandson.  We explored the islands of Georgia.  We experienced the culture, nature, and each other.  The trip started with a small disaster that could have been more difficult but we managed to survive.  They survived my anger and I survived all else.  There were other dangerous surprises.  I will post a brief review if you are interested.

My saga of dead appliances continues.  The dishwasher that died is still not replaced because the brand I selected is not available at any time in the future.  Since I ordered from Best Buy, the college student that helped me failed to tell me that!  I finally had to go back and cancel and order another brand.  In between, there were a number of failed appointments regarding disconnect and removal in an installation that ruined the week.  I realize that the supply lines are heavily compromised, but retail outlets have to communicate that and not let you find out weeks later!  I also had issues with the electrician who came this week to preview our electrical panel for the installation of our backup generator.  With the more dramatic weather, we decided it was a good investment(?).

Not checking my privilege, I will also complain about having to replace both boat lift motors this month as well.  Our nest egg that my husband was concerned about just sitting in a small non-interest bearing account is somewhat depleted and I am glad I did not let him invest it elsewhere.

We have a step-cousin on a visit in a few days.  He is not close to my husband but we are happy to have him stay on a planned overnight.  Then the next weekend my son and his daughter and new baby are coming for a two-day visit.

I have been working for hours trying to find out why our process for getting a renewed TSA (Transportation Security Administration) KTN number is not working.  There is absolutely no way to talk to a living person except by scheduling another appointment and driving up 30 miles and I dread that the lady there will say she has no power over that database even though they took my $140.00 for a five-year renewal within days after our first appointment with her.  If those of you who live outside this privileged country think this makes this sound like a bureaucratic nightmare you have NO idea.

Summer days are hot and humid and that is why I have posted photos that make you think it is nicer here than it really is!

Saturday, July 02, 2022

Lost in Thought?

Came across the word "Compartmentalizing" the other day.  (the Brits spell it with an 's'.)  I remember first hearing-reading that word many years ago when they were describing former President Clinton and his approach to discussing issues.  I wasn't sure if they were denigrating or admiring him for this skill.

I guess it is important if you want to keep from going emotionally crazy.  Oh, Merriam-Webster's definition is" to separate into isolated compartments or categories. "  That definition is not really in-depth enough unless you think about it in context.

I found this on the web which has a bit darker definition:  "In psychology, compartmentalization is a defense mechanism our brains use to shut out traumatic events."

Wikipedia- "It may be a form of mild dissociation; example scenarios that suggest compartmentalization include acting in an isolated moment in a way that logically defies one's own moral code, or dividing one's unpleasant work duties from one's desires to relax. Its purpose is to avoid cognitive dissonance or the mental discomfort and anxiety caused by a person having conflicting values, cognitions, emotions, beliefs, etc. within themselves."

"Recent Examples on the Web
Candace has that ability to compartmentalize and sort of dissociate from the things that are bothering her.
— Yvonne Villarreal, Los Angeles Times, 7 June 2022
After an intense ending to the Halloween party, Spencer tries his best to compartmentalize everything and focus on the big Homecoming game.
— oregonlive, 23 May 2022
His attempts to compartmentalize are further complicated by interactions with grieving families. — Washington Post, 20 Apr. 2022

I think we may lose this skill as our lives get longer with more complicated events and actions by us and as we become less flexible in changing approaches.  Are we more sure of what our actions should be?  What do you think?  I also think I have trouble falling asleep at night due to my inability to compartmentalize.  Hubby closes his book, turns off the light, says "goodnight" and in 5-8 minutes is breathing deeply in his sleep and is out for the next nine hours.  He is great at compartmentalizing.

Are you good at it?  Do you have some trick that works?