Sunday, April 20, 2014

Loving animals.....not every one's cup of tea.

I grew up in the 1930's and 1940's , we lived by a canal and I would have to add in Belgium.
Times were difficult and there was a lot of poverty.
We had several cats and one dog.
All outdoors. They were not pets to my parents they were working animals.
The Canal gave life to hundreds of water rats. They were the size of the cats and extremely vicious.
We had the cats to hunt them down.
My mother would feed them kitchen scraps and milk. She did not get attached to them.
If they had babies she would drown them as soon as they were born.
I remember being hysterical when I saw this.
Life was hard, 3 cats was enough to feed.

This was not a time when cat food came in bags or cans.
This was not a time that we thought of having them fixed. I do not remember ever hearing about a vet.
I think they had that on big farms for cows and horses.
Eutenasia was more used for whatever hailed the animals.

My father, a policeman, was watching the docks for smuggling at one time and found a Russian ship with aa sailor trying to sneak past him. Apprehended by my father he showed what he was going to sell in town: a young all white Russian Husky. My father quickly told him it was against the law and the sailor quickly gave the dog to the policeman. That was my first dog. We named him Jacquis. I adored that dog and he was the best hunter anyone had ever seen. He would throw the rats up in the air and catch them only to continue the game till the rat was dead and then bring it to the kitchen door for admiration of my mother.
He was a prince of a pet for me , the cats too I loved but they were not always friendly.
When war broke out the cats became wild. We hardly saw them. They were frighten by the noises of sirens and planes. One stuck by us and she learned quickly how to climb over the ladders to get to the shelter from the factory. My father said that she could hear the planes leaving England.

My Jacquis eventually lost his life when a truck killed him. We hardly had traffic on the cobblestone road which separated my house from the canal but somehow someone got him. I looked and called him for days until my mother had to tell me     and I went into a melt down.

This was my childhood with animals. When my father left us my mother did not want any animals around anymore, she said we just did not have the food for animals and that I am sure was for real.
She never did get to love the four footed variety. She said they mess up, they have hair everywhere, they were a lot of work. I now think that in her last decades when she was so lonely she would have had so much pleasure in her life. My Bijou is the biggest part of my life now.He follows me everywhere, he sleeps with me. He watches me. Bob's dog, the corgie is with me when he is gone, she too will follow me.
I walk around like an old lady just talking to them about the food I am preparing about the TV show and if I swear rather loudly the two have their ears perked and bark. They know I am not happy at that moment.

When Carwen became sick the other day, I just lost it, I cried buckets sitting by her and stroking her. I was sure she was dying , I thought that life was being very difficult right now. I have two very good friends fighting for their life and I am not handling that very well and the thought of Carwen going too was just too much to bear. I actually did not function, did not cook, did not clean, did not know what I was doing in one room and why I had turned the TV on the wrestling channel. I hate wrestling.

My Mom used to say when we lost a dog :"It is only a dog, it is not like it is a human you lost"
I could have smacked her when she said that because for me my dogs and cats have been better friends , always forgiving me if I stepped on them, always come running at me no matter how long I had been gone. Always a welcome. Always unconditional love. How often do we find that in humans?

Carwen ate something she should not have out there in the bushes, no doubt. The vet has great hopes for her recovery. She is my friend.

PS. When my father turned about 70 he suddenly adopted all the stray cats in his environment.
I visited him and he had purchased the best cat food and was feeding about 6 cats.
The old man had softened.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Our pets always wait till the week end to be sick...

Bob's sweet Corgie became sick yesterday morning, the day before she had been playing with Bijou and racing to see who could get the ball that glows.
Now it is Good Friday and not so good looking Carwen lays down on the kitchen floor and looks like she is not going to move. Her eyes closed and I pet her over and over gain and she continues to sleep.
Bob is at work when she decides to get up and walk a bit and tries to throw up and it does not work.
Then she wets and poops all over the place and she knows better, she never has accidents. She looks at me with very sad eyes, she is tellling me she is sorry. She then goes by the door and we walk outside and she tries again to throw up but instead she just lies down again and closes her eyes.
By then I am hysterical. Bob cant leave work the boss is out to buy supplies.
Brie does not have her car, Zack has it and on his way to get girldfriend.
She gets a hold of him and he U turns back to his Meme.
I am friggin cold and then notice I did not put on a jacket and I do not want to leave her either.
I am sure that she is dying.
Once at the vet the lovely Vet tells me that she is dehydrated by now and possibly ate something that made her sick. She asks if we feed the dogs at the table....I have to admit but I am cautious.
No onions, no this no that. Mostly I give them my chicken.
Bijou is OK so there is a nothing in the house I can think off.
Carwen takes hours on her walks. She sniffs everything. She goes into the ivy and smells forever.
Who knows what she found? Bijou is not like that, he runs for his walks, he pees every other second then squats and runs some more. He wants to chase dogs, any dog. He and a little  chiwawa
had a fight with a fence between them they  did lock but no damage before I could separate them.
Bijou like my previous Maltese would attack a pit bull, my poor Toto then died in front of me.
I have to watch Bijou with every step we take.
Later the vet called and said she had a urinary infection. They are treating her and keeping an eye on her.Into the night.
This morning the vet called and said he wants to keep an eye on her till perhaps later today.
So then I remembered that when she had stones in the kidney it was also a week end with surgery.
You know a Vet with 24/7 hours does have changes in fees accordingly. This being Easter week end
we are lucky at least she started it on a Friday.
However , there is not a question in Bob or my mind that whatever the cost we want this girl home.
When you have pets you have an obligation to keep them healthy, it is a small price to pay for the love they give us every day.
So even so I am hoping she does not have to stay into Easter I just want her home healthy that is the bottom line.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Return from a different place

For 5 weeks now I have been a different person, same shape, same hairdo, same everything but a total remake of the brain. Antibiotics for infection  said the doctor. I did not even hurt.
That in itself is a bit scary as I had a kidney full of cancer and that never hurt either.

Immediately I started to be extra tired, no energy, just eat and sleep.
The couch kept my inprint (?) for days, did not even bounce back.
My Maltese did not budge, he sat on top of my hip and stayed there for days.
Then the mind started to play tricks.
I figured daughter Sabrina was extremely angry with me. I did not know why so in
the middle of the night I emailed her.
One night I just wrote for hours to my friend in Chicago, I can't remember why I wrote
or what I wrote.
Sunday Rhonda came so we could go to Lowes to buy some mulch for the yard.
I seemed to be better I was less tired.
She went into one section and I went towards the garden section when I made a U turn
and went to look to buy a dryer. I was suddenly in a euphoric state of mind , not only did I want a dryer but the best one in display , a shiny gorgeous piece of glitter amid calm quiet white ones, this was over 1000.00 bucks. They also offered discounts with a Lowe account.....it started to look better and better.
Lucky no sales person approached me. A very slight glimmer entered the brain and said:
"Jeannot go get the mulch, no dryer today!"
Bewildered I agreed and went to the garden. Saw Rhonda and said :
DO NOT let me buy anything today but mulch.
She did but then she also told the helper :"She is like a kid I have to watch her or she will buy the store out!.

Yesterday, Monday I took my usual nap, I was not overly tired and as the day progressed
my head became clearer and clearer.
I knew I was on my way back.
Back from what?
From many decisions I was wrong about. I had been very depressed and even suicidal.
Not my usual style.
I was convinced that all my friends had left me. I have no idea why I thought that.

Sabrina called the pharmacist and she had the name of the medication, the antibiotics, the pharmacist said that some people react that way , I should have called him and my doctor. He put a red flag on my file to never get this medication again. He also told Brie that it is quite common for the elderly to respond that way.

I sit here and it feels like I missed weeks, I am not sure about my behavior at all.
If I offended my friends please note "I was under the influence and it was not the green leaf type"
Probably would have been much happier if it had been.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Hospital visits

Brie and I went to Mission for 2 people in need of help.
My friend suddenly struck with cancer which can't be cured.
I never saw him sick. You just figured he would be the one to make 100.
He ate right, he walked miles and miles all over this country and on dozens of trips in
England and Italy.
He is married to his best friend. I can't remember how many years ago.
Bob and I met him in Spain in 1971.
We are part the reason we are in North Carolina.
We visited Belgium together many times.
My mother adored them.
His wife is in total shock , my heart is breaking for her too.
Both of them stood by me during Bob's illness.
He visited his doctor (which is also mine) on Monday and immediately he was
put in the hospital. It took to Thursday before they found out what the problem was.
It was a week of waiting , I do not know what is worse waiting or knowing.
He is my brother I never had and the stuffing is coming out of me.
Worse is that we know he is in pain but the morphine, I hope can take most of it away.

From his bed Brie went into the heart building to visit her friend who at 51 suddenly had a heart attack at work on Thursday. Brie told me that they just returned her from surgery when she entered her room.
She had a blockage and they put in a (stent?), Brie said she was in full make up and in good cheer after coming out of the surgery just a little while ago.
So that will be a very good ending. She goes home on Monday. She is the cutest little lady bug!
She will be teased to be in bed with her make up on.
Sabrina was happy that she had seen her.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Take this medicine and feel horrible.....

Going to my favorite doctor , my urologist, just for last check up after the 3 years and kidney removed.
The staff finds an infection, I am not hurting, I am arguing. They took the wrong cup I say.
I get prescription called in.

Costly one not my usual one.

Taking the pill I do not feel different since I have no pain but I am getting exhausted, I get up walk my dog , eat my breakfast and crawl on the couch sleeping till lunchtime. Do the same routine all over again.
After about 3 days of this I am thinking on giving up. I am having very dark thoughts.
I am so depressed I truly do not want to talk to people.
Finally I am figuring out that if I take all my pills at once I will no longer have to worry about anything.
I have a glimmer of "Do not be stupid" . I talk to my son and daughter, they convince me it is the medicine and it will all pass.
The day after my last pill is taken , the girls and I go to Biltmore for lunch , we took a vote, they won, I would have preferred going to BK. I was afraid I would fall asleep at the table.
I bought an orchid in the flower shop hoping it would change my mood. It did not.
I just became angry that I spent the money on a flower again.
I love being with the girls now that there is peace between us all.

Next day back to the routine of sleeping.
Much work to be done around me and I try to ignore.
I feel like I am 95 at least and will sit in a chair in a corner in a nursing home.
The future looks like hell.

Back at the doctor for check up , all is clear, infection is gone.
I ask the doctor why I have no energy and was suicidal and he immediately tells me that different people are affected by the antibiotic. Some do not sleep at all, nausea also common and depression very common in the elderly. He tells me that 10 days after the last pill I will get back to normal.

So I am writing this looking longingly at my couch. 7 or so more days to be "normal".

Friday, March 14, 2014

82

In a few hours I will be 82.
I truly never thought I would make it this far.
Had a few bumps in the years which could have ended it earlier but I am somewhat like a cat, I have 9 lives.

Right now I am in a very good place.
My children are OK, my grandchildren are terrific, none are ready yet to give me great-grandchildren and that is OK too.

All of us live within 20 miles from each other.
The simple reason being that I never did cut the umbilical chord, I hope they do not read this for
they do not know that and may get out the scissors in the blink of an eye.

At age 12 or 13 I decided I wanted to live in America. I pushed and pushed until it became a reality.
I never gave the thought that I might be homesick.
I was, many times. I missed family. There was no returning because I love the USA.


So then my children and husbands (2) were all I had in this country.
They were my everything.
They still are.

I am oddly enough not a person who makes friends with ease.
To me the word means "friends forever". It takes work like a marriage, it takes understanding and listening to people who may not have the same ideals as you and may sometimes not agree with you, you sort it out and continue. That is if you have a good friend.

Currently I am still close to my peer I met when in school. I write often to her, her husband on internet and her daughter . They are in my thoughts every day. My American friend goes back to 1955 and my job at Johnson and Johnson. She is cute, petite, very smart and Jewish. We love each other like sisters. I just got a birthday card from one of her daughters, I cried, how cool is that? Our girls are friends too.

I am not the kind of person who joins clubs. Not having a college education I often feel inferior to the ones who have titles behind their names or brag about the sisterhood in Harvard or Princeton. How can I compete with that? (is what I always thought) . Yet two of my best NC friends have PHD's and are writers.
I love them and feel comfortable with them but they never brag about all the years they spent in school.

Half of my school years in grade school were non existing. I have a book written by teachers from Ghent who wrote "the lost youth!". They were teaching during WW2. I read it several times and it hurts, it hurts how our classes were cut because of alarms, not enough heat to open the doors, children coming to school
who had lost parents already etc...etc..shortages of books, books about certain parts of past history destroyed, a notebook to write in became a jewel to hang on to.  Pencils became rare and just simple life became a different life. Soldiers would come in and we were to jump up and arm salute. My mother had sworn that she would never, ever do that so I tried to avoid it. It did not work. When I was in Catholic school my father and mother were in the underground movement. My father had contact with some of the patriotic nuns and hid parachutists in the convent at different times. I can only imagine how my parents worried if we would have a search in our classes. Many years later my father said that he had to tell the men to be sure and put the lids down on the toilets, that would have been a first giveaway in a convent.

I was lucky my nun had a deal going with my mother and often I went to her room to get more instruction.
She was from the Walloon country and did not speak Flemish but she was hell on wheels to teach me correctly. She was very patriotic but disliked the priest and our King who had fled to a Swiss residence.
He did not have the same blood as his father King Albert who stayed in Belgium during WW1 and lived with his queen with the fighting troops.

Probably odd that I mention the word "patriotic". To be sure we had our share of Belgians who were
pro German. You just did not know when you spoke to someone if they were hiding something and would report you. I heard so much in my house followed by:"Jeannot do not ever say that to anyone, not even your best friend, we could be shot. " On my birthday in a near village several males, all ages, were lined up and shot because of what? We did not know. I think that every birthday I think of that. I saw my mother cry and I felt that from now on I would have a sad birthday because so many people died the same day. Of course I learned about the reality of war and it faded until it is March 15 then it hits me again.

We in the north were lucky as we were liberated in September 1944. The biggest battle, the "Battle of the Bulge" in our Ardennes was still to happen in December. I do not remember if my father knew about it.
Of course everything was hearsay. It was years before we had a phone, and the radios we had in the house prior to the invasion had been stolen when we evacuated. My father had a special radio in the attic with communications to England, I did not know it until after the war.

So the liberation changed the course of my life. Two soldiers brought their clothing to my mom to be washed and ironed. We welcomed a few exchanges of food and blankets. A Master Sergeant and a  19 year old Red head who had just married a day before leaving the USA. I have written about them and will again shortly with photos. In short: the Master Sergeant W. E Schacht and his generous family supported us with clothing and later became the sponsor for me and my then husband and we came to the USA in 1955.
They are my heroes!!!!No one in my life has ever been a bigger hero than these two USA Army men.
About 10 years ago I found the red head (now grey) still married to his war bride and went to thank him for his help. He came to visit and talk to my grandchildren . Now both are gone but I had that chance to see them.

I married in 1951 at 19 and of course I was too young but he too wanted to come to the USA.
17 years with two gorgeous little girls as my reward for being patient with someone who loved all women.

I finally divorced him and met my second husband. He was a 42 year old bachelor and I was 36 with baggage of having 2 girls, plus a huge mistrust of men.
He passed on in 2010 after 13 years of suffering with Alzheimer.
I took care of him and started this blog when I thought I would go crazy.
Writing my feelings helped me a lot.
I am an open book, always have been. No closet secrets in my life, I am a blabbermouth.
The blog got me into WOWOW which is a site for women.
There I met an amazing lady who had been all over the world. She had been in places I could not even pronounce let alone go there. She wrote travel logs and still does. We became email friends. I do not know how many times in a day she would write me and encourage me to keep on trucking while Bob
no longer knew me ,kicked me out of the bed or became violent.
She kept me going I will never see her in person and because of my hearing problems never talked to her on the phone but I would say that she has become a very great friend.

Then I went on Facebook and met another Farmer playing the same game as I was.
A word here and a word there, I think that was around 2009 and of course I found out that she was a German lady living in England. To my amazement I started to really like that lady. The more we wrote to each other the more I figured that my hatred for ANYTHING German had just left me.
I had carried that load for I'd say 65 years or so.....I came by it honestly, my parents had been kids during ww1 and especially my father had suffered much as he was in a family of 8 and his father was a prisoner of war. His mother had no education and often they stole food to survive. Neither parents could tolerate a German.  I am proud of myself to have ditched that kind of prejudice.

So when I think back over the decades I can say in all honesty that I was born when I was 36 from then on even living with an artist with feast or famine, I had the very best life. My husband was a gentle, caring, loving human being who adopted my girls. They still carry his last name even when married. He was never ill until Alzheimer hit him. But even in these years I saw his goodness until at the end the violence took over. He had no idea what he was doing, of course, it is the disease.

My long time friend told me years ago that I needed to make more girl friends. She said I was always with Bob and if he died I would be very lonely. I accepted that as a fact.
I miss him every second of the day, I play imagination games, I see him sitting by the window looking at the bird feeder, I see him painting with earphones on so I would not have to listen to the heavy German opera.
As he held up his brush to see what other color to start he would act like a music director and swing the brush to the tunes in his ears. I always loved that. I see him making coffee in the morning for the two of us and pour our cereal. I see him shaving and hating that he had such paper thin skin and would always bleed.
I see him become a beast in the car when people around him made mistakes, he was always driving the speed limit, the kids called him an" old man driving " before he was an old man.
 For my birthday and Valentine day he would paint a large still life or watercolor. He always managed to do it on the sneak.

After 5 years of marriage I finally trusted him and my trust never wavered after that and he earned it. He made all the bad memories from previous experience just vanish.
We spent our years almost always together 24/7 , we did a lot of traveling and did hundreds of art and antique shows in the South. We lived in Spain for almost 5 years and had our son while there.
We left his beloved Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz mountains and eventually landed in N.C.

Being a liberal democrat was not the best place to be in the 1970's , but we had each other.
That is all that mattered. The kids and him , a cat or two, a dog or two, And that has always been my family and still is . I miss him but I am adjusting. I had to learn to adjust at a young age and after awhile it is no longer a challenge but something you just do.





   

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Friends in trouble.........

When you reach my age and you have friends who have been there for many years then you know
you may get emails or phone calls and hear some health news you'd rather not hear.

Today is such a day and it is taking the wind out of my sails.

This lady is a long time friend in Belgium and has been like another daughter for many years.
She found herself in trouble with the C word.
Cancer in the breast, when will it stop?
I am hoping that she was in time to fight what   was there or is there.
I am very found of her.
Oddly I have been dreaming for weeks now that I am at the beach with her Uncle and Aunt.
They have passed several years ago. Yesterday I was wearing a shawl from her Aunt as she started a stroke
while we had lunch and went to the ER never to make it out again. I had her shawl in my hands and
keep it and wear it often.

This new event has to end well.
It just has to , she is still very young.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Survivor

I adore him because he is my son.
I respect him because of his values.
I admire him because he is a survivor.
I know in my heart that when he survived his adversities this far
he will make it and turn the tables and have a happy life from here on in.

No, he did not have cancer or some horrible accident.
He had a mental issue, agoraphobia.
If he had cancer hundreds of hospitals are there with help.
With mental health issues you are out of luck to get help.

I will not go back to all what happened to this young man.
His love left us after an accidental overdose of over the counter medicine.
Before that short time of being content he had a hell of a life.
From High school on nothing went well and panic started and he lived in fear
from certain people both at his work and with other adults.

We stood in a corner not being able to help.

He is just now delivering himself of all the demons and finally the last 3 years had a terrific group of drs. and counselors.
He is my hero.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Snow again? I hope not.

Supposed to have snow tonight and then rain tomorrow so it will all be gone in a quick tempo.

Day was confusing, so many gadgets to get used to.

Bijou is having mid life crisis he can't live the girl alone...what is up with that, he could not reach her if he wanted to and if he had the equipment still working as both have been "fixed".
I broke one of Bob' TV machines and fretted all day, he said it is OK and still working , never mind that I spilled my soup on it.
Rhonda was sick so a no-show.
Tomorrow will be better.

a New necklace

Life changes all the time for me.
7 months ago I made necklaces with tons of beads and rocks.
Now I wear a necklace with GPS capacity.
Being alone a lot more now I have :
a necklace with emergency button, a watchband with emergency button and a main unit which work both with GPS and phone and answers very quickly to any emergency I may have.

I feel so spoiled and extremely protected.

so :
Funny: Bob said it was all charging during the night and so in the am I just wanted to see how hard I had to press the button and would it go off if I pressed by mistake.
So I press the necklace button and you have to press hard, that is good, suddenly bells are going off at the main unit and a voice asks me what my emergency is...I just blabber :"I am OK I am Ok" by then Bobby comes rushing into the kitchen having heard all these beeps. He took over and told the man my name.The man said :Have a good day!.
Yikes I did not think it was hooked up for real.
We tested the wrist band, the necklace, the main unit we took into the yard and all tested very well.
I have to do that once a week.
I have a door lock like the people do when we rent on vacation, in case they need in, (ambulance or police) the number will be given them, and there is a key in the box to open the door.

What more do I need? 

Monday, March 3, 2014

So we have a new cat. Mom's reward.

Gift from Bob
because I am his favorite Mom
and he is my favorite son.
And this cat has made me smile on dark days.
Now I get to hug it and let him stay grumpy if he wants to.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Back Thursday

Facebook had a Back Thursday kind of day.

I decided to put my Thursday way back:

I had written my story about my communion
in an anthology published book under the name of "Clothes Lines" by Celia Miles

Here I am at age 10 doing my Holy Communion two years early with permission of the bishop.
It was 1942, the middle of the war.
We did not have a camera but when I visited the house of a friend she took photos.
The center photos are my Mom and my Dad, he was a police man.
They look very strict and they were , these photos were from their passports.
Stern people , these were bad times.

If I find the story in these blogs I will print it again, not sure if I did.
My photo with Celia Miles (author of many books) the day we all met, all the writers in this anthology were NC writers.

Looking back to it all I truly feel a bit sorry for that girl, she was very shy and very unhappy.
But it did not last my whole life.
It may not make sense but I was truly just born when I was 36 and met the one person who always loved me. I can't complain.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

DID YOU NOTICE?

My son who has agoraphobia has made a first step into an outside world he has not seen in a decade.
So he came home from 3 days in trying to fit in and help in a business without panic attacks.
First announcement he made to me:
"Mom, have people become so rude in the last decade?"
He was just surprised at some of the comments and language on the phone.
I told him to wait till he needs customer service somewhere.

Yes, even in the South people are no longer as friendly as they used to be.
I hate to say it but it has been my experience.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

One month later...........and good news at long last....

I have been the lazy one.
Issues with back problems kept me on the couch.
Viewing of angels flying in the snow and girls with frilly dresses dancing on the ice had be mostly occupied.

When we live with hope and drop the despair in a dark corner then we can come out triumphed !

Today I feel it is such a day.

The week was hectic.
My number two girl after months of itching due to formaldehyde allergy decided to pick it up a notch and get cellulitis in her knee ( nothing to do with the little bumps on your thighs when you became a bit older) I think that is called cellulose. Only painful to our eyes and mind.

Cellulitis is quite a pain wherever it shows up, on top of it Brie hit her knee while moving the office.
To make it short she had to have a mini surgery and is starting to be on the mend. You can't keep this girl down. She is so stubborn.

Daughter one is continuing a very demanding job , customer service for Wen and other products.
It is difficult, she is not in sales but in the damage control dept and every conversation is timed.
You go over time and you get it from the supervisor. At least she has a job and now health insurance she can afford.

But then the miracle man ,my last born, who has been ill for years.
This is Mental health week.
Until the 20 years of so ago, I gave little interest or thought about mental health.
Then I got in in large bundles, first my husband with dementia/Alzheimer for 13 years.
Then a daughter in law with many demons in her mental state. I loved her, a lot, still do. She is no longer with us.
One grandson with Asberger Autism.
A second one with seizures and mild autism.
A daughter with personality disorder. We just thought she was a bit difficult. She is doing much better trying to keep out what causes her grief.
The biggest mental illness beside my husband I had direct dealings with is my son.
Years in the house with agoraphobia. (No it is not about spiders)
For close to a decade this affected his life completely.
While in my house the last years he managed to to get an Associate degree with Phoenix University.
He thinks it is nothing but a lot of money still to pay off.
I think he did very well, top honors.
Finally we saw a light at the end of the tunnel. A group contacted him about making a video for TV, following him , giving him psychiatric help and showing the world what this disease does to a person and the people around them.
My son and I were on clouds. Phone calls came from important people in the field, phone interviews left and right. It sounded like it would be the only help we could ever get.
Then the news came, the TV station wanted a series about ghosts in houses. Bye Bye mental health, just serious stuff like ghosts????

We had called people in the field left and right. Most did not want to bother because he is on Medicare.
Then many said: Come at my office. Meet me at the library. So what explanation of agoraphobia do you not understand said my son! I am stuck at home, I need help at home. He could not even cross our narrow street. Then one lady in another city was glad to counsel by phone , her fee to be paid ahead of time. No Medicare allowed. I thought that might do it until I read what she charged. It would be costing him $2000 a month. Phone calls were charged by each minute, for instance.
Many days I would go check him in his bed to see if he was still alive.
The depressions came and went but were almost always there.
My heart ached, I was afraid to die and leave him without a change and he might land on the street.
Some of our family members thought he was too lazy to work.
No amount of explanations helped.
I know many people outside our family felt that way.
I knew...I had an uncle with this disease. He owned a large plot of land with green houses, he was a horticulturist. He never left his property for decades, he was a fixture by his gate and friends just came by to say hello to him at the gate. My parents and my grandfather, I remember, were not kind to this man.
My mother's sister was a nurse and kept the family going all these years.
I think he was in his sixties when one day he said :"I want out , and out he went".
He never had someone tell him he had a mental disease. That was in the 1930's to the late 1950's.

Finally Bob got a hold of a group in Asheville. They did house calls.
They came to talk to him, I think that is about 2 1/2 years ago, from then on he was in good hands with counseling 3 times a week and drugs from the psychiatrist to make it easier.
They told us it would take a long time. There was a plus that he did not drink alcohol and did not do illegal drugs. He does smoke cigarettes.
First he learned to go across the street with a worker.
Then around the block, that took a lot longer to accomplish.
So step by step ,one day he went in the car with his sister and drove around for 1/2 mile.
Now he drives about 2 miles but still not able to go on main roads.
His dr. said he needed to up the anty and try to find a volunteer place where he could try and work to learn again to re-interact with people. He has lost these skills. To be able to be in another place for a few hours, to learn to deal with several phobias which lurk in his mind.
For instance he could not go to the gas station nearby as he was sure he would run into a hold up.
Now he goes in and out without even thinking about what he just did.
So with the help of his doctor he found the most unusual place and if he can make it there he will be well on his way to a normal life. We are both hoping and hoping some more.
His departed wife had gorgeous tatoos all over her body, she had found a terrific artist in our town.
Mario Bell is one of the best I have seen yet.
So Mario knew Bob for decades and Bob thought he could be a manager for  his shop as a volunteer.
No strings attached. It took a long time to convince Mario that he needed his help.
Mario afraid that at any moment Bob would bolt outside in panic.
So today is his day 3 there.
Long hours.
Good, weird, strange, pretty, ugly , men, girls (you have to be 18) , women, the whole lot of humans who would like some art work to wear.
I have problems with it, to be honest. But I learned to tolerate their wishes via my daughter in law, she was brilliant, had a Master degree, had a heart of gold and loved tattoos. So deal with it, Jeannot.

I think he will learn a lot there about people!
Let him heal, NOW!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Weather is all we talk about these days..........

Yup it is winter, even in the South.
Pipes wrapped up and water dripping so the pipes will not freeze.
Water feature frozen and the birds complaining to us this is their water hole.
Walks are terrifying at times (with B.) there comes a moment when I have to go searching for the new breath.
I am wrapped up in every wool item I own but still .........
In the heat I suffer and in the cold .......this is not pleasant.
This is called old age, I think.
Where can I buy better lungs?

Good news is that Gaston is doing well after the doctors told the kids to come and say goodbye to him.
After his fall and hip broken he had a heart attack , then blood cloths in the lungs etc....
that was almost a week ago, yesterday I got word that he is sitting up and learning to walk.
I miss his emails, he is my Belgian life line.

No news with the hearing aids , they annoy me, it is a lot of money and I can hear ok person to person but when I take them out, the plastic tip is stuck in my ear and then Bob needs to get out the flashlight and
the tweezers. What would it be if I was alone.
I am grateful for the hearing I have now but these  other problems are a bit annoying.

I have not been in a writing mood. You think the cold is freezing my brain?

Bob will have a visit to a general pract. doctor. He has high blood pressure.
Thin as a rail ,he is. We think it is from his many medicines which keep him going.
This visit will be his first as an adult.  He is crossing his fingers that he can do it.
I have my legs, arms and eyes crossed as well.

Tonight it will be 9 degrees with a much colder wind factor.
So I will get my orchids away from the windows and check everything out that I can.

Monday, January 13, 2014

For more information :

go to DIY Natural many other chemicals are mentioned there for beauty products

Sabrina's ordeal with formaldehyde

Sabrina was going to be a big help this past season and make blankets for children via some organization.
My grandson had just finished cancer treatments and when he was in the hospital he was given a nice blanket with hundreds of colors. It was soft and he loved it, he would wrap himself in it like a little baby yet he is 18 and giant size.
So, Brie decided to do the same for 20 kids.
She divide the preparation of the blankets into 2 week ends.
Then something happened which puzzled us all.
She started a rash, a rash with itching and heat.
She ran around scratching and when no one was home she'd be naked not being able to
stand anything on her skin.
This tale went on for MONTHS, she went to the ER twice, to a dermatologist twice....
had acapuncture, tried to sleep without results.
In all her years I had never seen her like this , she just could barely function.
We played detective to see what had been different in her life at the onset of this rash and all
I could think about was the blankets.
And at this point I have done research on the internet every minute I could.
There a ton of people out there with formaldehyde rashes, one I read took 1 year to leave her system and then she went to her dentist and it started all over again.
Doctors are not that sure of the poison in that product and are often misinformed.
My previous post also lets us know that in many countries the use of this chemical is banned, not in the USA.
The last 3 days, Sabrina is better, she still had the spots showing were she just scratched till she bled. She slept the other night for the first time in months without interruptions.
Be aware.

Formaldehyde should be banned in beauty products,it is in many countries


Formaldehyde

What is it?

A highly toxic impurity, formaldehyde is released by a number of preservatives used in cosmetics. The use of formaldehyde in personal products has been banned in many countries, but not in the US.

Why it’s dangerous

Formaldehyde has been classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). It has also been identified as a substance that is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” by the US National Toxicology Program. Formaldehyde is also well known as a skin irritant. Yet, there is still no requirement for the amounts of formaldehyde to be tested in personal products here in the US. (Can anyone say “YIKES?”)

Where it’s found

Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives can be found in some nail polishes, shampoos, liquid hand soaps, body washes, nail glues, toothpastes, hair gels, hair smoothing products, lotions, and more.
ON LABELS, LOOK FOR: DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, quaternium-15, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol, and sodium hydroxylmethylglycinate.

The back nine, author unknown


Today at 2:19 AM
You know, time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate. Yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went. I know that I lived them all. I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams.

But, here it is - the ' back nine' of my life and it catches me by surprise. How did I get here so fast ? Where did the years go and where did my youth go ? I remember vividly seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that ' I was only on the first hole' and the ' back nine' was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like.

But, here it is . . . my friends are retired and getting grey. They move slower and I see an older person now. Some are in better and some worse shape than me, but, I see the great change. Not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant . . . but like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we'd become. Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day ! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore .. . . it's mandatory ! Cause if I don't on my own free will, I just fall asleep where I sit !

And so, now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did ! But, at least I know, that though I’m on the ' back nine', and I'm not sure how long it will last, this I know for sure, that when it's over on this earth . . . it's over. A new adventure will begin !

Yes, I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn't done . . . things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I'm happy to have done. It's all in a lifetime.

So, if you're not on the ' back nine' yet . . . let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life please do it quickly ! Don't put things off too long ! Life goes by quickly. So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether you’re on the ' back nine' or not ! You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life . . . so, live for today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember, and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past !

"Life" is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after. Make it a fantastic one.

LIVE IT WELL !
ENJOY TODAY !
DO SOMETHING FUN !
BE HAPPY !
HAVE A GREAT DAY
Remember, "It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.

LIVE HAPPY LASTLY,CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING

~Your kids are becoming you . . . but your grandchildren are perfect
~Going out is good . . . Coming home is better !
~You forget names . . . But it's OK because other people forgot they even knew you !
~You realize you're never going to be really good at anything . . . especially golf
~The things you used to care to do, you no longer care to do, but you really do care that you don't care to do them anymore !
~You sleep better on a lounge chair with the TV blaring than in bed. It's called "pre-sleep".
~You miss the days when everything worked with just an "ON" and "OFF" switch..
~You tend to use more 4 letter words . . . "what ?" . . . "when ?". . . ” ???
~Now that you can afford expensive jewellery, it's not safe to wear it anywhere.
~You notice everything they sell in stores is "sleeveless" !
~What used to be freckles are now liver spots.
~Everybody whispers.
~You have 3 sizes of clothes in your closet . . . 2 of which you will never wear.

~~~But Old is good in some things ~~~ Old Songs, Old Movies, and best of all, OLD FRIENDS 

Stay well, "OLD FRIEND ! " Send this on to other "Old Friends!" and let them laugh in AGREEMENT 

It's Not What You Gather, But What You Scatter That Tells What Kind Of Life You Have Lived.
TODAY IS THE OLDEST YOU'VE EVER BEEN, YET THE YOUNGEST YOU'LL EVER BE, SO ENJOY THIS DAY WHILE IT LASTS.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

RIP

The year did not end well for me as my list of friends becomes shorter and shorter.

I met her when I was 14 and she was a neighbor
 a new bride she had married a bookkeeper who worked with my mother.
He was short and stocky, she was tall and natural blonde.
She never needed L'Oreal to keep her tone.
A blonde with blue eyes.
I remember the day she lost her first baby in a still birth.
Later she had a boy , the jewel in her life.

She passed o at the end of the year. She had started to forget a lot, dementia became her diagnosis but she did not have it until near her end.

She was 89.
I sat here wondering how she stayed so active for so long.
Did she eat "right"? No, she ate what she wanted and in a Belgian kitchen that is often with French fries.
Did she go to the gym? No
Did she walk miles every day? No

She did own a bar with her son , a very popular pub kind of place on the square of the village.
It was the kind of place you could get in at 7 and just get a cup of coffee and sit there as long as you liked.
It was the kind of place where she had been since 5 am and had washed all the tiles on the walls and the floors and polished the copper. If it needed it she would start again at noon.
She never stopped working , she would welcome every one with a smile.
Somewhere around her 85th year her son had a bad fall and injured his head.
They had to close up shop. She took care of him.

She had a bad marriage (the first) and then found the right man who adored her,
I remember while visiting my mom that we met her at a little restaurant across from the hospital, she was not eating. Clearly her eyes were swollen and red from a night of crying. The blond hair started to mix with some white but she still looked very young, even without make up. Just a very natural great woman.
She hugged us and said :"I cant be in that room all day and night, I had to come and have a "short one".
I do not know much about liquor but my Mom said that every day she would have a short one and sometimes a few more and no one ever saw her drunk. She could hold it. She said it calmed her down and was better than pills. That day we found out that her very nice husband was dying and she would probably need more than one "short one".

After her loss she and son opened the bar and both of them would work the place by themselves ,
we went often to say hello and I never saw the place empty.

A great lady in my books, would help every one around her and made an army of friends.
Down to earth nothing glamorous or pretending. If she did not like something she would tell you in your face and try to fix things. I never heard her tell a lie. She could make me laugh in a second.
Even with this distance and no chance for me to return any time soon I will think of her often
Rust nu maar het is tijd.