Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Things I love

*the way the afternoon sun shines in my family room, especially on a cold afternoon
*the smell of fresh baked muffins
* my children

*the feel of the floor on my feet after it is freshly washed
* breakfast with a good friend
* soup on a cold day

* this beach-on any day

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

30 Days

I started a 30 Day Vegan workshop this week. It is being hosted by Heather from beautythatmoves.typepad.com. It is meant to be a cleansing workshop and I am really enjoying it so far. I have at times in my life been a vegetarian, but I have never given up dairy and eggs so this a new experience for me. I am doing it because I feel like I need to get back to eating more whole foods and reset my palate so that I crave things that are good for me and not junk food.

The Workshop encourages us to set up a whole foods kitchen. So, I cleaned out my pantry. I threw out items I don't like, a few expired items and I set up my door rack so it contains all my bulk foods in jars. I was going to go out and buy all new jars but a quick trip to the basement and I found plenty of canning jars and an hour later I had everything organized.

I love opening the door now and seeing everything I need right there and all ready for use. Since I took the picture I added cute labels to each of the jars too.  I like a neat kitchen and I do not like lots of things out-clutter makes me feel crazy.

I have two things I love in my kitchen that I want to share. I love this poster I think it says it all!

I also love this rocker. It was a sad sight when it was given to me, dusty, finish worn and a faded fabric on the torn seat. Some paint and a fun fabric and you get this:

So far I am enjoying this journey, cannot wait until tomorrow!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Nursing Home

Today my father went to a nursing home. Intellectually I know he has to go there but emotionally the decision was so hard. I had spent several days with them last week and they were barely getting by. My father no longer can watch TV, take a shower alone, take pills without constant reminding that you put it in your mouth and then you swallow it. He cannot follow even the most simple directions. He also gets angry, hits things and uses very foul language. He wandered down the street and a neighbor brought him home. He doesn't know his address or phone number. The one thing he can remember is that he wants a cigarette but he cannot light it himself. He pours chocolate milk on his sandwich. He urinated in a trash can. He thinks his cat is a dog.
He was hospitalized the day after I left with a fever and lethargy and they think he had cholecystitis. They treated him with antibiotics and today with the encouragement of the hospital staff they found a nursing home bed for him. My mother called me in tears crying. She felt guilty putting him in a nursing home but there really was no other choice. I have been thinking a lot about God lately, why does he allow such suffering? I prayed that he would give peace to my father and mother. I am not sure this is the outcome I wanted but perhaps a nursing home bed opening up at the facility my mother wanted him at on the day he needed to go is the work of God. Or maybe it is just coincidence.
I have to admit I feel relieved. I called my parents everyday and I would say that most days in the months since my mother had her heart attack she has cried at some point on the call. She had no patience with my father and I really felt bad for him. She took everything he said personally and could not seem to see that it was the dementia, not my father talking. I told my friend that it was so sad to see my fathers body walking around and feeling as if your father was already gone.
So tonight, I will sleep, my mother will sleep and I hope my father will sleep. I hope he knows we love him and would keep him home if it was safe for him but it is not and the time has come that this is the option that is left.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


My father is only 69 , but he has multiple medical problems and worst of all he has dementia. Dementia, such a cruel disease. Reality slowly slips away and his world becomes smaller and smaller. He has been hospitalized multiple times over the last several years and I realize his health is frail. My mother is older than my father but in better health.
So I was unprepared when I got the call from my mother's neighbor that she was having chest pain and they were taking her to the hospital via rescue. I just never expected it. I think it was probably partially protective since I try not to think about what would happen with my father if she was not there. But, now I had to think about it. I drove several hours that night to get to my parent's house so my dad would not be left alone. It really is not even that- he cannot be left alone. When I drove up he had every light on in the house and he was walking outside waiting for me. He looked so lost and frail that it was all I could do to not break down crying when I saw him. He told me he was out there because he was waiting to see the headlights on my car. The first thing he wanted to know was where my mother was as he could not remember where she was.
My mother was moved to a larger hospital because her local hospital could not perform the tests she needed. At 6:30am the next morning my father  began asking me when we were going to see her and what they were doing with her. I told him the same answer about  20 times, just like I do with TT when she asks me the same question over and over again. He lets his cat in and out about 30 times a day. He lets her out the front door and then lets her in the back door ten minutes later. If she doesn't come in then he is out there looking for her. He forgets what to do with his pills in the middle of taking them. He cannot change the channel on the tv with a remote control. He cannot remember how to turn the shower on. This is a small glimpse of what my mother lives with every day.
My mother was in the hospital for 3 days and honestly it felt like I was there for a week with him. The same questions over and over, the frustration that he has that he cannot remember. Unprepared for my mom's illness and unprepared for the reality of living with dementia. Both of them left me in tears.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Apples, Apples, Apples

There are so many things I love about fall and apples are definately one of them. We did not make it to pick them this year( maybe we can sneak it in this weekend if there are any left). Luckily though, we have a great orchard near us which sells them already picked. These are utility apples so they are not the most beautiful, but since I was making apple sauce they are perfect.

I always have great ambitions to can or preserve many items for the winter and spring but I usually run short on time. This year I have managed to make blueberry and strawberry jam, pickles(really yummy ones that I am rationing to last the winter), cranberry sauce, salsa and now apple sauce. Bigguy loves homemade apple sauce, especially when it has that beautiful pink hue when you use Mcintosh apples.

I know we will really enjoy each jar of applesauce and it makes me feel good to have my family eat food that I make and that we know where it comes from and the people who grow it.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Bigguy and I have decided to take pictures of mushrooms and then try to identify them. I have always been  interested in them as I think they are very cool to look at and they seem to pop up out of no where.
We were in New Hampshire camping recently and we found many to photograph. This picture at the top of the post is actually one that we found on the side of the road on the edge of a large field. It was large, about 8 inches across the top and it was surrounded by about 50 other large mushrooms- it was very neat. We were not the only ones to get out and look at them and photograph them.

I have no idea what kind it is. Right now we are better at the picture taking then the identifying but we will get there. We plan to make a book of them. Bigguy is 10 already- where does time go- so it is nice to work with him on something like this.

All of the pictures below are from our trip camping.

Turkey Tail Mushrooms

Sunday, December 13, 2009

As Parents Fail

My father has had problems with his memory for the last two years. He had a major surgery right after we adopted TT and he had a very difficult post op course. Ever since then he hasn't been right. I was there for Thanksgiving and I noticed that he could no longer figure out the remote for the TV and that he would sometimes go in the kitchen and just stand there looking at the cupboards as if he did not know where to look for something. It is terrible to see this happening to your parent. Especially my father. He has never wanted to depend on anyone for anything. He had a hard childhood with alcoholic parents and was on his own at a very young age and he never wanted to depend on others. I am not saying this is a healthy way to feel but I know where it came from and I know it is so hard for him to realize that he is unable to do even many simple things now. He cannot write a check, get on the internet, have a conversation without forgetting what he is talking about or run the microwave.
This is made even more difficult because of the dynamic between my parents. My father is a difficult person and honestly I could not have stayed married to him for as many years as my mother has. He can be selfish and can be mean and hurtful. My mother has always relied on him though and their relationship has worked for them. But now she is bitter. Bitter that she cannot leave him for more than a few hours, bitter that he can no longer do the finances, bitter that she has to give him his pills and remind him 100 times to take them, bitter that he can be mean and nasty at times, bitter because he refuses to eat right and he is a diabetic and bitter because he is no longer the man she married. I understand how she could feel this way. I was there for four days over Thanksgiving and I could not wait to leave by then end of our visit. I am struggling because they are both miserable. My father thinks she underestimates his abilities, which may be true and he thinks that she is telling everyone that he is crazy. She is overbearing with him and constantly corrects him and gets frustrated with him which does not help matters. It is a difficult and painful situation to be part of.
I do not know what to do to help. I live three hours away and I have two small children, a job and a husband that travels. We tried to convince my father to move here but he does not want to leave where he has lived most of his adult life. My mother, of course, wants to move here as she would be closer to three of her children and her sister. One more thing for her to be bitter about.
So, I call. I listen to both of them complain about each other. I cry as I think of the loss that my mother and father are experiencing and then I go on with my life. That is all I can do right now. It doesn't feel like enough though.