Saturday, December 30, 2023

Hanging In There

Finally, the tail end of the long winter celebration is almost done. I have my son and DIL and their little girl coming down this evening. We will be going to a "Festival in the Lights' on the evening of New Year's Day. It is a precious time and I have filled the freezer and refrigerator with pre-made foods. I am nursing a very mild virus (not acting like a cold and not acting like the flu), but certainly makes me feel tired and want to drink hot toddies all day and then sleep.  

I will be recharged by the time they arrive tonight.  We finished all the homemade chicken soup I made two days ago, so I am heating up store-bought.  Hubby has no longer moved into cooking with his dementia.

I have no reason to feel sorry for myself.  I certainly am a privileged old soul.  I can afford crappy pre-made food that tastes better than what many consume elsewhere.  

Above is a photo of us returning after the traditional light drive by.
My DIL said her parents were coming, but then her father came down with COVID and they were not...and now I see photos of them at her house celebrating a belated Christmas in texts, so I really do not know how many guests I will have.

Maybe they are coming?? Maybe not?

I have learned to go with the flow.  Hubby and I will eat store-bought chicken pot pies tonight because the guests are arriving after 8:00PM.  Hubby is out with our electrician, all day today, fixing the dock electric line.  I am lying in bed and reading Obama's first title on his book list, "The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store".  It is good if not great. 

My Christmas was fine with all of the Grands getting something they wanted.  A hand strengthener for my rock climber grandson, a 3-D printer for the younger grandson ( which he proceeded to get chemicals in his eyes while setting it up!), and lots of clothes, jewelry, and cosmetics for my granddaughter.

It is all a little busy for me.  I look forward to January.  I hope all fell into a casual place with your Christmas.  I actually attended a Catholic Mass...virtually.  I also liked the sermon which is a generous review.

Sunday, December 17, 2023


I am amazed every holiday season, but perhaps this one more than others, at how fast time is moving and how my days are truly numbered.  Age creeps up on humans like a snail from across the meadow, but when that snail is within eyesight, you can really see that it is MOVING!!

Below is a photo I took about six or seven years ago.  That sweet tall boy is now in college!  Being the worrier that I am, I used to worry about him living on a busy street and now I worry about him rock climbing.

That sweet girl on the right is now a young woman cheering on the high school football team, and the little tiger in the lower left plays flag football and gets A's in math.

My heart gets so full of love for them that it brings tears to my eyes and makes me realize how very lucky I am this holiday season.  And it does not go without saying I have a sweet new girl to follow as the snail follows me.


My life moves slowly like the snail and his life is on uber speed.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Sometimes We Get More Than We Need

In the United States, we have the beginning of the 'holiday season' which means some families can panic even more about their budget for gifts, some retirees will spend outside their budget limit for the grandchildren in order to be loved, some people will eat too much and be outside their calorie budget for most of the winter, some folks will be under their climate limit and wishfully want to move south, and some will second guess everything about what they have done with this one precious life thus far. 

I suggest that all those thoughts above be written down on a piece of paper and burned.  Yes, some of us will be lonely and think others are having much more fun and getting more love.  Yes, some of us will regret the lifestyle that led to health issues this month.   Yes, some of us will be in sad mode for those we have lost and wish were by our side.

This is the time to think about the wonderful times we had with those whom we loved and who are gone.  What a blessing to have had that bit of time with them!  This is the time to enjoy that mouthful of pumpkin pie with whipped cream and put all thoughts of calories away.  This is the time to be thankful that our grandchildren will remember our smile and our hugs and not that stupid expensive toy.  This is the time to remember the great days in our latitude with a better attitude.

Yes, the weather is cold and gray and your house may be quiet.  But put on a favorite sweater or throw and grab your book, sketch pad, or puzzle, and put on that great music you like and enjoy the gray afternoon.  When you are calm, call someone and ask how they are doing.  When the weather allows take a short walk like I do with a camera in hand and see if I can "frame" my life a little differently.

To all of my blog readers, thank you, thank you, for reminding me I am not alone in the world.

Four days ago we had the best morning sun!


Thursday, November 16, 2023

Not an Imelda, This One

The onset of dementia in someone you love is very much like a mosquito that you think has moved on. It gets bothering to the point of you wanting to smash it against a wall somewhere and then it disappears for hours or perhaps days, and you hurry to forget it was ever there. But it never dies or leaves for good and comes back demanding your attention once again.
The last few trips we have taken, either up to our son's house or further to an out-of-state place, hubby packs his own bags.  On each of those trips, he has come up with an extra pair of shoes that do not match!  He ends up having to wear the shoes that he has on for the week or weekend.

Yesterday while cleaning the closet I found these above.  Two lefts and a right with no partners.  I have no idea where the partners have gone and I have asked various relatives to keep an eye out.  I have asked hubby to use a shoe bag, but he throws them in the back and I am afraid as he pulls out suitcases they have been left on the parking lots of various hotels.

Nobody tells you about this in the books on dementia.

I am not a patient person and I think what little patience I had I used when nurturing my children.  Children will change and learn or understand what you want.  Sadly forgetting does not change.

As fall moves on he has less to do.  His volunteering in the food garden as well as work in our own vegetable garden keeps him busy in the good weather, but this time of year, things begin to be put to rest.  He is a very energetic person.  

My mother-in-law had dementia which grew quite bad over the years.  But she was a lovely quiet lady who liked TV and looking out the window and eating food.  She never felt an urge to go somewhere, although we did take her on day trips with us.

My husband needs tasks and chores. and sadly, he is not of the engineering mind or the artistic soul.   I do suggest simple things around the house and he says he will do them, but he forgets and then spends time trying to find something to do!

I am thankful for his excellent sense of direction and his ability to still drive.  I am thankful for his desire to watch the same programs that I like on television and for his desire to read which I also love.  We still can canoe and boat. (Except for the motor on the boat...another story for another day.)

He can still fry an egg omelet (lightly brown) for his breakfast, or fix a bowl of cereal.

If I accept the two or three questioning interruptions in my life each day, he is able to use the cell phone and his laptop, and I pray they quit changing the interfaces of APPs!  We do spend time looking for his cell phone, but we have done that for years!

Thanks for letting me vent (share) or write about this as I find my way throught he forest.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

It is a Hallmark

I visited the dentist a few days ago.  I had a chipped crown and was not looking forward to the replacement.  As I waited in the chair, I formulated a plan.  The crown replacement would come to over $1,000 much of which I would have to pay.  I was in no pain and I thought maybe he could just fill in the chipped area.  I suggested that and he agreed and I ended up getting a small filling on the side of the molar and ended up only paying $40.00!  But that is not what this post is about.

During the appointment, I sat in the chair and looked up at the TV.  On the TV was a Christmas movie...on the Hallmark Channel, of course.

Have you ever wondered what the word Hallmark actually means? In the United States, it is affiliated with a greeting card company and while people use the traditional mail less and less these days, we still send holiday and regular greetings with a fancy card. (At least some of us do.) 

We also have a cable television channel that is called Hallmark. It is owned by Hallmark Media which is affiliated with Hallmark Cards. The stories are usually about beautiful people (sometimes but rarely physically handicapped and I have not seen an elder romance, but they might have those). They meet up and engage frictionally throughout as well as meet unexpected delays and challenges in their relationship before they fall in love forever. This network is affiliated with the American Christian Television System. I do not watch it because I find the stories predictable, sappy, and unrealistic. Don't get me wrong, I do like a good love story but I have outgrown the "Jane Austen" format.  (I love Jane Austen.)

In 2020 the network was criticised for not having people from the LBGTQ community. Well, I guess that Christian leadership either got woke or saw a way to make more money because they now feature a small amount of those stories. I have not watched them, so I cannot write whether they are similarly sappy and unrealistic. The movie sets are gorgeous and the actors can carry their roles pretty well (challenging?). Now that Christmas is around the corner they are in full swing with new Holiday love stories. 

What does "Hallmark" mean? According to the Internet, it is "A mark indicating quality or excellence. A mark used in Great Britain to stamp gold, silver, and platinum articles that meet established standards of purity. Any of various authorized marks stamped on gold, silver, and platinum articles to indicate where, when, or by whom they were made or assayed."

Enjoy all the holiday movies that you want.  Anything to brighten and inspire our days is recommended.

Thursday, November 02, 2023

Attention Blog Readers

I may not comment on your blog, but that does not mean I did not read it, think about and sometimes attempt to comment. I have noticed that if I turn off Ad Blocker on my browser for specific blogs it will allow me to comment. That in itself seems odd. 

But there are still some blogs that I used to be able to make comments on and now cannot. 
 Birds and Nature in the Forest of Dean and Beyond
 Adventures before Dementia
Fools Rush In 
Linda Letters 

This is VERY ANNOYING. I am going to work on this, but if you have ideas or suggestions, let me know! In the meantime, I will keep hammering away.

Friday, October 27, 2023

Very Cool Part II

Here is Part II of our short morning paddle down the river and back into a little gunk hole.  Our little finger of the river takes less than 30 minutes to reach the end and that is if you are paddling regularly but not at a pace. I actually do very little paddling because I am married to a man who lets me sit as the queen and take photos. There is no current, so sometimes he can paddle and drop a fishing line at the same time. We did not fish this time, but we like to head to the back part of the river because huge catfish, large stingrays, and sometimes other interesting water mysteries are about.

The above is a wood duck box that someone has installed. I hope that wood ducks take advantage in the spring!  

We soon come to the end where the highway crosses.  It is a country paved road, so little traffic except in the mornings and evenings when people are off to work.  As we turn around we see a lovely dogwood(?) that has fallen but adjusted in its beauty to growing sideways!  As we move further along I see two wood dragons arguing at the water's edge and this is followed by more fall color and then a bit of a lucky shot as I capture our belted Kingfisher on a branch and later one of our Blue Herons.

All in all, I would say it was a lovely morning.

Monday, October 23, 2023

We All Wait for the Cool, Don't We?

This canoe trip was taken up our bend in the river on October 5. The leaves had not changed to that beautiful fall by then but were just showing their potential. But the cooler early morning air was "breathtaking."  A canoe is a quiet way to glide and move.

We had not been out in months.  The summer humid air was too hot and humid and as an elder, it is hard to take.  But then, the fall weather arrived overnight and the next morning we got up early, packed a light lunch, and set out in eagerness to see nature.  

We skirted the shoreline where the neighborhood is trying to develop an oyster reef at the point in the photo below.  The water was a mirror.

A small group of deer were grazing on the ridge. One of the neighbors has set up a deer blind and it is rare to see deer now and these stay at the far end of the point.  We did startle a blue heron as we turned the corner.

The sun had barely crested the trees on the opposite side of the river, but when the rays hit the shoreline, they revealed that autumn was coming.

We were the only boaters out and about.  All was pristine and quiet.  We love that we can do that by getting up earlier in the fall mornings. The serious fisherpeople had left hours earlier and were out at the Bay or the wider mouth of the river where the bigger fish are more available.  Our more prosperous neighbors had begun to tuck their toys back in for warmer days.

I caught a very blurry photo of a red-bellied woodpecker.  This was cropped quite a bit as he was high in a far tree.  He is on the big trunk on the left side.  If you cannot see him, that is OK.

The sun got brighter as we turned facing east. And then we turned into the darker finger that was at the end where our river comes to a small highway bridge and we watched the sun touch that side.

There isa bit more before we turned home and I will make that Part II.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Autumn Makes Photographers Just a Little Crazy

Below are photos of my Black Haw or Viburnum as it turns color this fall. It is a shrub that gets about six feet high and five or six feet across and has many little baby plants. Birds eat those dark blue seeds. The first photo is the original with a little bit of denoise and lightening. The rest are fun filters. Do you have a favorite?

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

October Has Filled Already!

Sunsets are nearer my side of the river just at dinner now.

Who cares if dinner gets cold?

On the other side of things, the days shorten quietly and quickly. I wake up at dawn thinking it is early, but the morning has already showered and dressed and is on its way as industrious humans head to places of work. 

I start the water pot for coffee.   I am inside watching a show on the incineration of a hospital far, far away. I can barely watch it, but it is important. According to the news, Americans in the United States are looking for someone to lead with a shouting and testosterone-filled voice rather than a gentle grandfather voice. They do not care what he says, but how he says it. They do not want a female to lead because she cannot talk in a loud voice without sounding shrill and females are not willing to kill relentlessly. 

 The corner of my eye catches the moment a bright white kite sails over the river. It is one of our resident seagulls looking for breakfast and drifting above our little finger of the river. 

 Our leaves have not changed, although my sugar maple (not native and planted by me for the "fall orange crush" which, by the way, is not anything like pumpkin spice) is just beginning to blush. 

 Autumn is a time for changing how we eat and bringing out the stews and hearty soups and I search the Internet for something new. I make a ham and bean soup and take it up to my son and his wife with the toddler. 

Sliding down Mother Goose

Checking out the photos.

Sadly, I took a fall over a baby gate 12 days ago while visiting. (Yes I do seem to be falling more but in my defense there was a bar across the very last step of the stairs giving the person only 4 or 5 inches on the last step, which I missed and stepped onto the floor!).  I have been sitting more to avoid the pain of movement from the back side of my butt. I am also using fire and ice. I could not have fallen safer or better because I landed on the fattest part of my body as I grabbed the post of the stairway and swung backward! The RA says if the pain does not reduce in 4 or 5 more days, I should get an X-ray for fractures, but he feels I am in not enough pain for it to be bone damage. Good thing I lift ankle weights where I have grown some muscle butt. No flat backside for this old lady. Yes, I swear more these days, but they are just words and not actions, so get over it.

We actually took a fall leaf peeping trip last weekend in spite of my injury and I will post on that.

Now I will go and read some posts.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Ophelia and Other Females

According to Wikipedia "Ophelia (/əˈfiːliə/) is a character in William Shakespeare's drama Hamlet (1599–1601). She is a young noblewoman of Denmark, the daughter of Polonius, sister of Laertes, and potential wife of Prince Hamlet, who, due to Hamlet's actions, ends up in a state of madness that ultimately leads to her drowning."

An appropriate name for the latest tropical storm that hit our area over the weekend.  Many of the low-lying shops and low-lying streets in our coastal towns were flooded by about a foot to two feet of water.  The population prepared, so no tragedies!  At least 48 hours of rain and winds up to 50 miles per hour.

We had to head up to the city to Grand-sit this past weekend because my daughter and her husband were headed to the Eastern Shore beaches for a 50th birthday party for a friend.  So we were stuck inside with the teenagers (only two since one is away at college) and my daughter was at the Eastern shore facing walls of wind and rain.  I am sure they spent most of their celebratory time at the restaurants and bar!

The youngest boy was easy to entertain and watch (12 years old).  We took some dog walks and saw a movie.  The older girl was a real reminder about teenagers and teenage love.  Her grades had been low and since she failed to update her parents on that situation she was grounded for the weekend except for being able to cheer at the football game.  (The love of her life is a football player).

Photos were taken with my new Pixel phone since I did not take my camera due to the possible torrents of rain (which did not happen).

One of the sweet young things below is my granddaughter cheering her high school team and her boyfriend on.

Seems that when we got home she had to go back outside about 9:30 to meet her boyfriend who was dropping off a jacket!  After 15 minutes we had to go out and get her back in the house.  According to her mother who was on the Eastern Shore she is able to track her location and it seems she snuck out after we went to bed!  I was listening carefully for noises but fell asleep at midnight.  If I had not trusted her, I would have slept on the living room sofa and stopped her, but alas, I failed.  My daughter did not think us old grandparents were at fault, but thanks to technology you can track your kids.  They can even track their college kid and see where he is on the campus several states away!

Alas, teenage love is so beautiful and so dangerous.

Saturday, September 16, 2023


I wonder as I age about the (my) concept of time. One definition I found on that vast and scary Internet is "the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole:"

The indefinite part is not totally accurate.  Time does move on and new things begin while old things end.  That is NOT indefinite.  The actual when and where may be indefinite.  

My husband's dementia is with us every day.  It moves forward very slowly but even that is a frightening pace of movement.  

My body and its aging fight me tooth and nail.  If I fail to exercise both brain and body for any length of time I become some stiff robot crossing the room.

One gift from aging is perspective.  My first grandchild is in his first year of college and I wish I could dump on him tons of wisdom.  But one cannot force-feed a young adult who is already being bombarded with all kinds of demands, events, new situations, and challenges.  I think all of us elders wish we could pass along perspective.  Maybe in the future that can be done with technology, but actually, that does sound a bit scary.  Lessons learned from a lack of perspective can be valuable.

I sent him a box of cookies and candy and Halloween stuff.  He texted back:

Thanks so much for the package!  I just received it and I love the Halloween stuff.  I just realized that I have no decorations so this will be useful.  College so far has been very fun and I've been finding my people.  I've been addicted to the rock climbing gym here and I'm also really enjoying the food.  The workload had been a little annoying but I'm sure I'll get used to it....

I would like to be him.  He has a better attitude toward college than I did.  He is an introvert but realizes that he must make an effort for friendships.  I did not realize that either.

This cup in the photo above is something that he gave me many Christmases ago.  I have several from each of the grandchildren and their worth is beyond any amount of money I could ever get.  I was once told the story of the two on either side of the highway on the cup but sadly forgot.  That is something I may ask again.  Just looking at that cup really takes my breath away.  It is time travel.  It is its own time machine.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

A Meeting of Stangers

My world is still pockata, pockata, pockating along. My life seems to be running like an old model T. It is not as smooth or as fast as those EV vehicles that silently zip by me and pass me and with drivers that may or may not wave.  They can go farther and more quietly.  I may groan or grunt or even snap, but I will move forward just pocketing along.

I recently went with some new friends to Hilton Head Island to stay for a week at a place there.  It was within walking distance of the huge beach and also had enough pools that we could swim in the indoor pool by ourselves!  We could use the jacuzzi also.  All the parents and grandparents were in the larger outdoor pool in the sun leaving the indoor pool as a quiet haven.

We did not know these friends who journeyed with us very well.  We did not know their politics and just a little of their religion, but all four of us were brave enough to move into a week of challenges on the island and eventually sit out Hurricane Idelia for a day!  I usually bring easy-to-cook foods for vacation--premade stuff that tastes OK, but do not spend much time in the kitchen.  My friend likes to cook and spent several evenings doing that!  The breakfast that she cooked was lovely.

It was healthy to boot!!

Idelia passed us with some nasty sheets of rain, but most of the tree damage and flooding was to the north of us.

Hubby and I drove further south to visit with his high school friend.  That was a different visit in that they are lovely and smart people whom I barely knew, but they said that they love their Gov. *Desantis* and voted for Cheeto head in the prior Presidential election.  Needless to say, we did not discuss politics much.  When leaving the church on a Sunday, I saw a police car parked in front of the church.  When I asked my friend about that, she said many of the churches now have that because of the shootings.  (There were only white people in this church and the sermon that day was about football!)  They do not seem to see the reason for this safety "necessity" and I will bet $100 that neither the black churches in that part of the state nor the Jewish synagogues had courtesy police cars on Sunday!

Anyway, they live in one of the loveliest parts of the state.

Now for the payment of my life of leisure, I am being punished by a pile of back mail, bills to pay, laundry to do, and restocking the fridge!  And when done I have an English class to teach and then I go to exercise and if time I will catch up on my Blog reading!

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Broken Hearted and Looking Back

I have been wanting to post but just have not been able to get the energy or heart to do so. 

As my readers may remember, I was on the island of Maui the second week of July. I spent an afternoon in the small tourist town of Lahaina touring with my husband. We were just walking around, visiting a local bar for lunch and a drink and walking around under the famous Banyan tree...the oldest in the U.S. 

We got a nice view of the tree from our lunch table as well.

After lunch, we spent time talking to a lovely local lady who was the greeter at a historic missionary property nearby (the Baldwin Home that had been preserved in the small tourist town). We talked about a lot of stuff with her as she was social. We learned how she had integrated herself (she might have been African American) into the Hawaiian culture when she married a Hawaiian and found that she was not expected to cook and that her husband did most of the cooking as did all the men in his family. 

Then we toured the small and well-preserved missionary house for some time. It was a four-bedroom single-level structure. It was small and much like you would expect and I wish I had taken photos. The home had been built in 1834 and the brochure said it was the oldest house still standing. "The home was deeded to the Lahaina Restoration Foundation in 1967 and was restored to its 1850 design based on careful documentation and archaeological research." 

I have no idea if the dear lady we talked to is still there and survived the fire but I am sure the missionary house is gone. 

I had not visited there for more than a few decades and as an interested history buff, I was able to really absorb Lahaina and its local atmosphere around me. I had lived in the Pacific and understood the missionary impact, the whaling impact, etc. The great whaling port went through ups and downs in an economy that affected so many small indigenous groups while the European white man overharvests and becomes rich. 

I remember a sweet and religious young lady that Ubered us down to Lahaina that afternoon and talked about the closeness of the Maui community. She was not Polynesian but one of those women who did multiple jobs to make ends meet. I do not know if she is still alive as well.

Hawaii does have an actual friendly and neighborly culture from the Polynesians and other Asians who live there. It is not some fake personality they put on for the tourists. Polynesians, Filipinos, and others live and work there and are very generous of heart and mind. We toured a very small and local animal farm on a hillside on the island with my baby granddaughter. I have no idea if it is still there because it was midway between Lahaina and where we stayed. The farm, open by appointment only, was mostly rescue animals and run by a lady whose love of animals clouded the realistic view of caring for so many different animals. "Ditzy" was the word my husband and son used for her, I was thinking she was a bit clouded by the love of animals. She had recently broken her ankle and was hobbling around. The day we toured the farm, she said that a small brush fire had started at the driveway down the hillside and the fire station had called her as a warning. It was put out by the time she arrived. 

This whole tragedy brought back memories of my life on a small farm in Colorado. My father had ten acres of farmland which he really no longer farmed except for some alfalfa for our milk cow and vegetables which my mother canned.  There were about 4 aces that were left untouched and which grew only grasses and weeds.  Because this acreage was on a downward hill and faced the railroad tracks, my father would mow it low every year because he was afraid some spark from the train would start a brush fire.  Colorado, like the Lahaina side of Maui, is very dry and sometimes windy and nurtures wild fires.