bennington, vt.

Friday, December 21, 2012

bird or beast

I have a bird feeder book 
at home
that identifies birds 
and what they 
prefer for food in their feeders.

Cardinals:  black sunflower seeds
Gold Finches:  nyjer seed
Blue Birds:  meal worms


Hawks:  small song birds
Sit in it, 
(in the middle of the Buffet),
and they will come?

Maybe if I hide behind the Ornamental Grass
they will come BACK!

The young'un seems to think
he's hit the
Snack Bar

Monday, December 17, 2012

you advance twice

I brought Mom home, (July 16th), almost exactly 5 months ago, (154 days).

July- I found her she was 25 lbs under-weight, listless, uninterested in food, sleeping most of the time, and total care.  The therapies we started at home were done mostly in her bed.
August- She had her first appt. with her new Cardiologist, sits up in her wheelchair or recliner for therapy, I succeeded in getting her showered without injury to either of us, she's taking an interest in life, she sees her new Primary MD, and suddenly to the PT's surprise--she's walking laps around him with the walker.
September- We've gotten her off a lot of the blood pressure meds, she starts out-patient PT, OT is satisfied to not be needed, she goes to a Baby Shower--her first social event, PT had her up and down stairs and doing laps, she's reading books again, doing her bills, and finally an outing to see her Daughter-in-law in her latest play.
October- a (insane) road trip to Nebraska, a fall, a set-back, a refusal to leave the comfort zone of her wheelchair, my insistence that she use her walker and the bathroom, and she now plays solitaire again.
November- an end to PT, a (nearly as insane) road trip to New England, (there is no doubt now, my house is too small for a walker, much less a wheelchair), panics if  I am standing to far away when she gets up with the walker, I stand further and further away, we shocked my brother when we came to visit and I pushed up an empty wheel chair, (umm, where's Mom?  walking behind me.).
December- She is at weight with a possibility of gaining 7 more pounds--or not, Cardiology has cut her to every 6 month visits, she's organising her life--going through closets, drawers and cupboards while standing with her walker, I occasionally remind her to stand up straight (work on balance) and not lean on the walker, for the first time since the big stroke in 2004, she finished one of her murder mysteries before it was due with no renewals!
getting back to normal 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

talk, child.

In grief
 for the children, teachers,
 parents, community,
 town, county, state, nation and the world.

To the Media,
"Need to Know"
 the act of 
two very different 

(Thanks Kim for your very well written blog entry @

Friday, December 14, 2012

happy voices cry.

Ah, the secret little JOYs of Christmas.

The semi-detached condo development Mom and Dad bought into, is built in such a way, that your view in front, is limited to straight out the window.  (The mailboxes, which are just over and across the drive, cannot be seen from their condo.)  If your Christmas tree is going to be viewed by all from the drive, it can only be placed in the front den, if you have one.  Because of this, there are little Christmas Joys that can be enjoyed by the few.

From the little kitchen window we can see two neighbors trees, and we are the only ones that can enjoy them outside these homes.  (Sorta like Christmas Easter Eggs!)
the deck decorations can be seen by others, but the tree, is all ours! The multi colored streak at the top of their window is the reflection of our deck Christmas lights.
The house directly behind us, has a little corner of Christmas decorations in its backyard, that specifically faces our condo.  (When we go out, we love to see their front yard, which they do up nicely.)
If they had placed the lantern and banner on an angle, other condos could enjoy too, but they didn't. Maybe because of our deck lights and banner that face them?!  (do I even mention our spastic solar lights that think they are strobes.)
I decorated 3 small trees in the development for others to enjoy . . . they too cannot be seen from our home . . . but others can see them from theirs.
We can't see any of them

but our neighbor from across the drive

can see all of them from various windows in her condo.
Christmas Joy,
get it where you can.

Monday, December 10, 2012

half no time

I feel as though I have done nothing but run since we got back.

Mom is to the point, that she is NEVER where I left her anymore!  She still asks for help with some things, but as a rule, she goes about the house doing her own thing.  (this also entails her coming up with 15 things she wants me to do, now.  Priority means nothing.  Let me finish this first, means nothing.  It's a "Stroke thing" I know, but it is starting to make me nuts.  I suppose I should be pleased she is finally regaining mental/personality independence she hasn't had since the damage caused in 2004.)  For this I am happy, but her swinging moods are going to be the death of me.

We go to a School Christmas Concert, and as the wheelchair runs up over my foot on the down slope of an auditorium, I ask her, (gently), to please not release the brake on the chair when I'm trying ready her for a transfer to the auditorium seat.  She starts to whimper and cry that she is sorry.  (I think that crowds now put her into a panic.)

Christmas:  you ain't sent her a Christmas Card, no matter WHAT the circumstances, YOU ain't getten one!  Christmas tipping . . . ain't happening.  Don't even get me started on Gifting.

Two unfortunates here . . .

1.  with very good reason, I did not particularly care for the person she was before the stroke, and that person seems to be coming back.

2.  since I have no wages or allowance, her gifts to others, (or lack of), are inextricably linked to me.  (and WHAT and HOW do I buy for her?  A few years back I found a magazine that really appealed to her, but now I have transferred my subscription on to hers, so we don't get duplicates every month, therefore getting her the yearly subscription for Christmas this year is silly.)

I think I will join the elf, and swing from the ceiling fan.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Alice was sorry

I just returned from my New England home.

I'm Sorry
I was unable to 
most all of You,
my beloved New England Friends.

My main goal was to get winter clothes.

In 4 days I . . .

1.  Change of address with post office
2.  Town H2O Dept.
3.  Property Tax Office
4.  Town Clerk
5.  Dentist (1st cleaning in a year and 2 days before a crown popped off)
6.  Veterinarian (only brought a month or 2 of heartgard, needed to make sure they didn't have heart worm)
7.  2 feet of mail to go through (and that was minus the junk mail)
8.  Update info with various magazines subscriptions
9.  Update info with various utilities
10. Winterize yard
11. Winterize house
12. Insurance Agent about the House
13. Obtain my New Scrub tops and shower curtain I had a friend make
14. Rummage through 3 bins of winter clothes to come up with 1 bin
15. Ship bin to Michigan (1 kennel with 2 dogs, and walker I need constant quick access to for Mom, and very little more will fit in the car going back)
16. Vote (3rd time on same question . . . NO means NO)
17. Furniture store to spend almost $400 gifted from said store (expires 1/6/13 picture ID required)
18. Live and in Person see my Home's New roof, side entry, basement windows, and the repairs to eaves and foundation (all done after I left in July)

I did not even take time to take pictures of all the improvements done to my Home. (dang it!  none! nada! ahh rats!)

So, I repeat . . .

I'm sorry, I did not 



while I was Home.

I'm going to sleep for a couple days now,
Four 740 mile drives in one month is starting to get to me.

All my love,

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

shrink any further

I've been trying to get Mom back to a healthy weight.

Her appetite is back, but there seems to be that old Dieter Mentality still lurking.

Back to her old self, she found an outfit she liked in one of the dozens of catalogs that come every week.  She insisted on ordering her old size.  I questioned this and suggested at least one size smaller.
"but I've ALWAYS been this size!"
The beautiful pair of charcoal gray slacks came . . . and she realized if she doesn't wear a (tight) belt, they will be around her ankles.


Last night with her football game, she requested a big bag of popcorn, (unusual and I did not need to feed half the bag to the birds), then she did not complain when I brought the nightly root beer float, and this morning was the first time she did not try to give me half her cinnamon roll.

we have 

Friday, November 2, 2012

an un-birthday

Happy Un-Birthday 

to you!
less then two months before you left
It is quite strange to think, 
that I am now older then you
Oddly enough, July 16th, when I returned most recently, was the official passing of you in age.

I miss our phone conversations.  I always enjoyed your opening line . . .
"So have you heard from our OLDER sibling?"
For some strange reason, everyone always thought our Younger Brother was the eldest.

So there you are, after 9 years of dancing with cancer, still looking young and "full of it!"

See you later.

Love to you always,

your sister

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

push the matter on

Indeed, the trip did go well . . .
1.  walker only at my Uncle's home.
  • she did great, with only assistance, getting to and away from the bed, and up and down from the armless kitchen chair.
  • except for the last day when she made an error in judgement and tried to pick up a dropped tissue.  (since she was bent down, it was not a hard fall.  She mostly clacked her knees together which left spectacular bruising.  The comedy of the situation was my Aunt apologizing that she couldn't help lift her, and my Uncle eagerly holding up his "button" and asking if he could push it to get the firemen!  I reminded my Mom that this is how Dad kept falling -- from which he would NEVER learn, and my Aunt, I reminded, of how much more my Father weighed, whom I regularly had to get back up.)
2.  wheelchair for everything else.
  • worked well for the rest area "changes" and I could walk her a little with just myself to move the legs a bit.
  • at the Reunion, I felt she could relax more and visit, rather then worry about walking and exhausting herself.
3.  stairs.

  • a few porch stairs and a threshold at my Uncle's . . . she did fantastic.
  • 10 stairs at the Class of '51 Reunion in the NON-handicapped accessible "German Club" building . . .  probably as old as the town.  (fortunately, I was not the only Child/Grandchild to accompany, she was willing and had started to give it a try . . . when these guys got under each arm and just glided her up!  The comedy of the situation was when we went to leave . . . "the guys" had already left. Mom's fellow LIFE GUARDS, decided THEY would step in and get her back down the stairs.  They raved about how strong her arms were and that she just had to build up her legs more.  An addition to this entourage, kept going on about how he had tried to get HER to rescue HIM, whenever she was the Life Guard on duty at the town pool, and give him artificial respiration.  Mind you, they are all around 79 years old . . . ain't dead yet!)

The Problem
Everything tightened up in the fall, 
then the two days of driving . . .
This set us back a bit
Now she needed help 
getting up and down
and even ended up with 
a few hours of
debilitating muscle spasms.
Gradually, all this did improve, but I noticed the confidence was NOT coming back.  She wanted me AT her side for any standing or walking.  (this is the same woman, who just the 2 weeks before, would go through closets while standing with her walker, then walk here AND there before sitting down.)

When the PT asked me to get her a quad cane, I knew it was time for pushing the matter on.

Just asking her to sit in a kitchen chair rather then the wheelchair was a cause for histrionics, and she made every effort to dramatize her discomfort in this chair, that she had personally picked out after Dad had broken the others!  (my cruelty knows no end--to force her to abdicate the safety of her wheelchair.)

I asked about going to my Brother's for Halloween, as we have done for the past two years, and received an emphatic denial.  She could not possibly get into their house.  (??one step in??  it's more wide open then my Uncle's house!?)  At this point I called my S-I-L in despair of what to do.  She decided to call the house with a personal invite and we both agreed that Push would have to continue even with the continued resistance.

I warned Mom, a day in advance, that we would be making bathroom visits, with the walker, every two hours.  Hallelujah!  Saturday, this went spectacularly well.

Sunday at Church, entering, leaving, and all Church activities were done with the walker.  Lunch out, was back with the wheelchair.  (I REALLY don't want to kill her off!)

Monday, she walked into PT for the first time with the walker.  Unfortunately, we had to cut short, to 30 min. due to exhaustion and borrow a wheelchair to the car.  PT and I both had to keep reiterating that this was not a failure but progress to a new and more difficult level.

Honestly . . .
she's NOT buying it yet!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

admire the view?

Gratuitous Trip Photos

we had a great time.
all my love,

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Are you animal--

The dogs seemed to get on well.
Jack and Pepper
in the middle of things
They were not particularly happy we up and abandoned left them there after one day, (for one day) while we traveled on to Mom's home town for her Class Reunion and an overnight.
Semi-resident Grand-dog
They graciously sent the relative, whose territory they encroached upon, a peace offering of treats after we all returned home.
yes, some of those
long horns
There appeared to be little interest in the bovine inhabitants.
The resident mule, on the other hand, held endless facination for Jack.

many acres of ground?

We made good time.  We divided the 740 miles into two days of driving.  (granted, my home, in the complete opposite direction--I usually do in a straight 12 hours, but I know that route VERY well.)  
the farm at sunrise
AAA was a bit strange on the Trip Tik . . . they sent us one way going and a slightly different way coming back.  No obvious reason except to send us through MORE construction on the way back. (one tik, but really looked like two different people set it up)
The other fun, was not only does AAA, not know how to find my Uncle's address, but neither do any of the other mapping programs!  Fortunately I managed Cell service and have an extremely patient Aunt.  (thank you Aunt K.)  
Acres of Dry
We arrived safely, and it was a joyful meeting of Family.  Especially for two halves of a family who have each had many trials and tribulations since last we met.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

in the game

Detroit Tigers Insignia.svg

We have a saying at home . . . 

I root for two teams
Boston Red Sox 

New York Yankees




Tuesday, October 16, 2012

leave the oyster bed

On the Road to Nebraska
Prettiest Inside of a rest area building
outside the same building
cool or what?
Best View from a rest area on this trip
Best Staff at a rest area

From the West side of the Mississippi
Found a Hotel with an accessible room and headed out to find Dinner.  Heard about an AW, and thought that would hit the spot.  Didn't expect it to be in the "convenience store" of a BP station, but pulled in and parked.  We had a nice sit down meal with a view of the laundromat in the other half of the building.  (everything you could possibly need except . . . ah, never mind, there was an ATM too)

This was the unexpected view across the back alley!
I think they should visit my neighbor.
Actually, it's too bad they couldn't have met HIS Dad,
my Original neighbor!

He has more
A lot more

And finally . . . 

Honestly, I have never had the desire to eat a tanker truck.

Iowa was hands down winner on Rest Area accessibility on this trip.  Handicap buttons for hydraulic doors to access buildings and bathrooms at ALL the areas.  No matter how rustic the facility was -- bathrooms were clean and roomy.