Friday, June 23, 2023

How Friendly Are You?

My husband is a very social person.  He makes friends wherever he goes.  He can be a bit overbearing and intense, but since he is pushing 80 most people forgive that energy, probably wishing they had that much energy themselves.  The first year we moved here people would say "hi" to him by name and I never knew who they were.  He volunteers in the community because he likes to get out of the house.  He has been diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment which may move to dementia (or not).  We are pushing for the "or not."  Anyway, he seems to know dozens of folks and they remember him.

As I have mentioned in prior posts, I am a bit of an introvert.  While I volunteer in the community I am not out and about that much.  I can socialize and frequently am good at drawing people out about their interests and their backgrounds.  I do this because I am actually interested in the lives of people.  I am not just trying to be nice.  About 50% of the time they remember my name.

I realize that I need to be more social.  If (when) I became widowed, I would sit at home and read, watch TV, exercise, garden, and maybe only use my voice to answer that rare phone call.  I might even become so desperate to talk to someone that I would answer a sales call about my car warranty.

I also should point out that I think people do not like me all that much.  No, really!  I am not looking for sympathy, but I could list a number of incidents in my life that make me question my personality as seen by others and also made me regret opening my mouth.  I am a 'little' outspoken, but I try to curb that.  Honesty is not always the best policy and I have to keep re-learning that.

Elders have trouble with their social circle as good friends move on or pass on as do family members, and soon you find your social circle very small since you no longer include work colleagues.  There are those elders, though, who remain well-loved and part of a stable social circle.  Maybe it has to do with church attendance, an energetic personality, and/or long-term hobbies that are social?

I was thinking about what I like in a friendship or personality that makes me want to spend time in their company.  What traits do I have that would make someone want to be my friend?  What do you seek out in a friendship?  What do you like in a person?  Do you take the leadership role in scheduling lunch or an activity or are you the one that goes along?  How stable is your circle of friends?  How close are your friendships?

Ok, enough questions.  Hope your weekend is friendly.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

ALOOOOHA! and Murder

While I am trying to review our schedule for the upcoming Hawaii trip...first three days on Oahu, then four days on Kauai, and finally 6 days on Maui... I am trying to not fret because my daughter and my son have scheduled so much to do!  I am trying not to fret since it is a busy tourist season at airports.  I am trying not to fret as my elder mind and hubby's dementia make this a bit stressful.  This trip is a renewal of marriage vows, a celebration of my son-in-law's birthday, and a celebration of my son and his wife's anniversary.  The children, including the 14-month-old, are going!  It is a horrendously long flight.  We are leaving 4 days early, before the rest of the family, in order to adjust to the big time change.  So we are not able to fly with the two families as well as my daughter's mother-in-law and to assist with the little babe who is learning to walk!

I realized last week, that while hubby and I have been to and through the Hawaiian Isles many times and once even took a trip with my son and his wife before their new baby, the other side (my daughter's family) has not ever been there.  This will be a special trip for them...much more so than us.

I hate tourists and crowds and all and will try to be nice at the luau and the boat trip.  I hate artificially manufactured fun.  But I also realize this will be a good opportunity for candid photos on my part. (My dream of a vacation these days is a cabin on a lake and a small stack of books and UBEReats and watching wild animals from a distance.)

I did schedule a photographer for the renewal ceremony, at some expense, because I am of the belief that photographs are priceless in this ever-changing and rapidly disappearing world.

I am vain enough that I have upgraded my exercise routine since I will be spending some time in a swimsuit which I have not done for years.  I actually ran 3.6 miles on the elliptical yesterday!  No, I do not think someone in their late 70s can look sexy in a swimsuit, but they can look and be healthy.

I also purchased the e-version of Louise Penny's 11th book in her Three Pines murder mystery series of 17 books.  Yes, I am hooked and will slowly buy the set!  Amazon Prime smashed a few of her books into a TV series months ago, and while the casting was great, they missed so much.  Louse Penny is a bit of a poet, historian, and psychologist, so all of that goes into her books and is not conveyed in a shortened version of the mysteries on the screen.  Anyway, if we ever take time to sit on a beach, I may be able to read my new download.

I have pre-written a post on my other blog for later publishing and may have time to also write one more...I will see.

In the meantime I will leave you with this Hawaiian proverb, "In the end...we will take care of only what we love; We will love only what we understand; We will understand only what we are taught.'

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Trauma and Resilience

In my last post, I wrote about my quick trip up to Chicago.  It was a good thing that both my husband and my daughter pushed me to go.  I have gotten more "hermitty" these years.  I do not think it is the result of the COVID crisis, but when we have PTSD reactions to traumatic events, we really may not realize both the reaction and the cause and may think it is just our brain providing good careful advice.  So, who knows?  I will possibly never know.  But it did reassure me that flights and hotel rooms can go smoothly and I will not be lost somewhere among skyscrapers.  Of course, I was with my well-traveled daughter who uses her phone like a gigantic file cabinet.

Regarding smoothness and trauma, I forgot to mention a discussion we had with our distant cousin in Chicago about EMDR.  This is a technique I had never heard about and you can read up on it in the grayed link above.  Anyway, as I wrote, our cousin is a young woman with her Doctorate in Nursing and takes on private clients to help them with drug addiction.  Yeah, no small thing!

She lives on a lovely tree-lined street just outside the city itself and in walking distance of the city businesses.  Her husband works at Northwestern University which is about a mile from their home.  It is a prime location.

Our cousin said she had used EMDR to help with a trauma that occurred months ago.  Their neighborhood had been without electricity for a day or so and she was in front of her house using her car to charge her cell phone.  (I did not ask, but she must have been pregnant then.)  Someone approached her, put a gun to her head, and stole her car leaving her stunned on the sidewalk.  

She managed to call the police but nothing came from that, except maybe interviewing her.  Doing research, she herself found her car and identified the man (actually a 16-year-old) that had carjacked her and threatened her life.  She reported that to the police, and either due to a tremendous backlog in life-threatening criminality there or Chicago's police bureaucracy, the 'man' was never arrested. ( I have great respect for our law-enforcement folks, but like our medical professionals and our public education professionals, they are overworked and in some cases underpaid.)  I mentioned to her that was awful and since he was young it would just embolden him until he gets killed.

Her response was, "He did get killed weeks later."

Anyway, she found that she could not get over the trauma as she had hoped  (no duh!).  She decided to use EMDR and said it really worked!  I will keep this in mind.  Our brain is a really amazing conglomeration of electricity!

Well, hopefully, my next post will be more uplifting on my other blog about Fred and Ethel as they now have a least one little one!  I have to work on that, after I read some blogs.

Saturday, June 03, 2023

Zoom Zoom

On an upswing. My moods are unpredictable these days and I am sure it is because I am full-on into elder mode. My memories keep moving in and out interrupting my days.  The media ads for most useless stuff and concerning medicines, which I do not need, are all directed at people "60 and older". I am starting to move TWO decades past that, and the message is truly clear. I am OLD. I have talked with my doctor, but since I am not depressed or manic or even measurable, he is not concerned.  He has recommended I reduced my nerve/cough dose and while I am doing that, I find the cough sometimes comes back irregularly after over a  year of peace!  

I just returned from a 3-day trip to Chicago with my daughter.  She  has a  strong friendship  with a distant cousin that she met on Ancestry  and over the years we have watched this distant cousin grow from being a bulemic  and very quiet teenager to getting her Doctorate in  nursing and then marrying a  nice young neuroscientist and recently having a precious new little girl!  Such a  journey and I like to think my daughter's support had some role in that.  Daughter and I also took in a spa morning at a fancy old-world place in Chicago, which is certainly not my usual routine.  The weather was perfect!

This cousin we met is even more unusual as she explained that two of her brothers recently came out as  Gay.   I suspected this about one of the brothers years ago when  I met him.  Their mother is a nurse and one can only wonder if she expected this or not and how she deals with it.  Then prior to this her second daughter came out as lesbian!  Four children and only one of them is heterosexual!

Heading off this Saturday to help open a contest for young children to plant  tomatoes in canvas bags and attempt to win prizes at the end of summer based on their growing  skills after they take the plant home.   I will be on my feet 10:30 AM until  3:00 PM and tired when  I  get home.  Sunday I  am off to another gardening event where we staff a booth with activities for children who come to a park to see tractor pulls, bands, craft stuff, etc.  I will be on my feet from 8:00 until 5:00 most likely and totally wiped for Monday.  But we are going out for dinner that night with some new friends and hopefully, that will not be stressful and I will not fall face down into my dinner plate!  I do see old people do that, but it is usually in a rest home.