Monday, March 31, 2008


Not much new this side of the world. We are back to cold weather (45) when it was 70 last week. Cleaned up some of the pyracantha bushes but now it is too cold to work out there.
Shop is slow. I am slowing down, weather getting to me? I dunno/ I have much work on my plate and I am procrastinating writing letters to my friends and family. I did not even write a New Year letter to my Belgian cousin (a very traditional thing) what is worse is that I can't remember if she wrote. I am tired most of the time and yet do not finish my chores.
Old B. doing same as always, but he made Carwen quite ill, the new dog, a Corgy belonging to young B. She was ill for 3 days but old B keeps feeding the dogs stuff. We do not know what made her sick this time. I think our Maltese is used to the junk now being fed, he was ok.
Worse he hides it from us. He is quite sneaky, he has not lost the memory on how to be sneaky.
Found a new site for women
Try it sometime.
Google is sending me info on Alzheimer and I can't believe it but there is porno stuff in there
too. Give me a break!!!!Why would they put the word Alzheimer in there to attract people to their site? Can't believe it.
I just asked for info on dementia / Alzheimer .
Lets see if I can stop this log and start writing to cousin Janine.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter 2008

The perks of having Rhonda work at the Biltmore estate is that we can go on the property with her at no charge. So since Steinmart was closed on Easter and I had finally a Sunday off we could just run about on the grounds and in the shops of the famous castle. Shops had pretty much the same decorator items we see now in our own store , at Kirkland , etc...The buyers seem to all strive for the roosters, the sun bursts in iron, the bunnies and angels for gardens.

I am glad I no longer have to buy for my shop. You compete with the big houses and
the little shop is lost.

But, I did have a great time looking around and checking out the garden store.
Since wine does not work well with psoriasis , I was out of luck to taste the wine.
The kiddies had a tub where they could squash the grapes, have their feet washed
and pictures taken. What fun , just to get your feet blue and mother will laugh!

There were Easter eggs hunts and the small fry ran around with lovely baskets and

Rhonda gave us the idea of the 80 miles on the property of horse trails.
I will leave them behind.
Of special passes now just for hikers (since an old couple got killed on the Parkway recently)
castle property is well guarded.
Bike and skatings paths everywhere.
The landscaper who designed Central Park also designed the lay out of this enormous
acreage. (fergot the total)
When an employee finds themselves at the gate they have often a 20 minute ride
in the park before they reach their job.

Bob was given a choice to go or not go and he was excited like a kid to go and
see the castle. We have been there many times but he fergot it.
The shops made him extremely nervous. (He used to spend more time in shops than I did)
this time he kept tugging my hand towards the door and said:This is the exit , we need to go.
We need to go.

After awhile I took his hand and put it in Rhonda's and said: Your turn.
She then took him where he wanted to go and I got to snoop a little longer.
He did not want ice cream.(what a wonder) he just wanted to get back into the car.

Years ago when we made Victorian Father Christmas dolls we were commissioned by the staff to make 2 dolls for them.
I could only use Victorian fabrics and toys.
I cut an old velvet cape which was embroidered with passementrie and black jet beads and went to town. Made him into a peddler doll. Year after year he stands proudly on one of the bedrooms not far from a Renoir on the wall.
Then we also made them an old sled with a Victorian Father Christmas in the sled, a
leather horse was pulling the sled.
When son was in High School, his automotive class went to the castle and he bragged
about his parents dolls. The guys just roared. Yeah! Kensinger, yeah for sure they
are your parents dolls. The guard put an end to the argument, picked up the doll
and showed our signatures. Triumph for young Bob , well, for a day anyway.

The Christmas display is always the tops and their designers are often on Good Morning America during the holidays.

With the promise that we will return when the thousands of tulips are in bloom we said
goodbye to the Vanderbilts home and went home.
Nice day, a bit on the cool side for end of March but nice anyway to get away.

Easter at the Biltmore Estate

Thursday, March 20, 2008


As I wrote before, daughter Rhonda stopped teaching and is now working at the only historical castle left in the USA which is privately owned.

We have seen so many castles in Europe and when we came to W.N.C. we thought, oh yeah, another one here that will be something. But we were surprised how lovely it truly is and what treasures it holds.
When they started to grow grapes we said "Oh No that will never work"
Again we were wrong , Biltmore wines are a great success.
Today's owners are making it work.
To be a part of their staff we are finding out is not that easy.
So Rhonda was lucky to get a great job there and here are the photos they took
yesterday and gave them in lovely folders to the new employees.

You all come and visit the castle. It is well worth it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Yikes, my day off , I have no energy, trying to do some sorting in my
eBay store and I am worn out.
Bob is walking around in circles all day.
Open the door , looks for mail, opens the door looks for mail, over and over again.
Drinks too much coke, I gave him ice tea and hide the coke, he finds the coke.
I have a hard time with patience today.
I do not know why he is so agitated and what he is constantly looking for.
It is also raining cats and dogs and our Maltese hates water drops, just hates them.
The Corgy does not care, she just runs about with her little short legs, I am sure her
belly must get wet.
But Toto is the drama king, he should not have his silken hair wet, period.
Can't wait to get into the garden.
Son does very well with seeds and I don't so I ordered some nice flowering seeds
and he set up a contraption with lights to star them indoors.
We shall see.

Daughter in law was bitten by one of these bad spiders , a recluse or something like
that , I am worried about her. A friend at work struggled with that for 3 years now
and has to take Cancer drugs (hair falling out etc...) to get it cleared up.
She has been to Duke and to numerous specialist but the truth is , they did not clean it out sufficiently in the beginning.
These are nasty bites.
Hope that Ari will have the right help.

Good news: Daughter 1 gave up teaching (too much paperwork etc....) and found a great job at the Biltmore castle. She is a romantic person and always loved the castles we visited in
Europe, she will love it there.
Biltmore is a great employer with many perks. They also want the family of the employees
to come and visit often and give passes for this.
Rhonda is floating.
She was exhausted after all the years of teaching and doing paperwork night after night.
She was an ESL teacher and had to keep papers for the government for each kid
day in and day out. With migrant workers coming in our area all the time, the work was
never ending. Her little son always had a couch in her classroom and many a time she
had a police escort to her car with her sleepy child in her arms when it was past 11.
Her new job is 9 to 5 , go home and do not think about anything but a nice evening with Peter and family.

I also found out that grandson Kahleb is on his way this summer to visit us.
He lives in Sweden and young Bob tells me that the kids is an absolute genius with
computer programs. He is also fluent in both languages. I am looking forward to his visit.

Oh well, with the good over riding the negative I al starting to be in a better mood.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Saturday, March 15, 2008


76 Trombones......make my parade day today.
Born in 1932 this indeed has to add up to 76 years.
I just cant figure out who that old bird is looking at me in the mirror.
Surely not me. I am 40 something....oh well......

At work I got a cake with 1 candle , manager said we were too broke for 76 of them.
She is not kidding. Boy this economy is a wreck.
We are all but giving away the stuff.
One the gals gave me plants. It was so nice as we are all hurting financially.
Even mgrs do not make the big bucks in retail.

I came home and Bob gave me a little paper pouch from his cereal,
the instant oatmeal kind.
In it he had put some quarters.
I of course had to cry.
I had it on the his list that today was my birthday and he must have read
it many times as he did not forget.

Every day I write a list with the time I will be home
and when to walk the dog.
He follows that list very closely.

I am sorry for the Atlanta people who had to deal with a tornado, we had
been told we would have high winds but things were not bad at all.

We are 185 miles from Atlanta more or less and love the city.
We used to work monthly antique shows there.
well, cookies are waiting for me.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Between all the confusion of our household there is one constant.
One constant which is a joy like no other joy!
Our Maltese , Toto, has been with us almost 4 years.
I honestly do not know how the last 4 years would have worked out
without him. I think these dark black eyes looking straight into mine
can read my mind.

Enters our son's return home to help me out and he has a
Corgy, the kind the Queen in England has hanging around her legs.
Karwen is her name. I was not very sure how this addition would
work out. So...guess what?
She too has stolen my heart.
She is so calm and sweet.
She wants to sit on my lap but she is not 6 lbs like Toto
this girl has weight on her so she is not exactly a lap dog but she rests
at my feet while I type and Toto in my lap.
If you are wondering that a dog would mean more work (like I did at first)
just ignore that thought. A pet will help you in so many ways.
They are loyal and great loving company.
Do not give up on them.
Check out the shelters for a nice calm one.

still down

Whatever bug is trying to be my friend is still here and hanging on.
No energy , cough, sneeze, wheeze, cough some more, day and night.
This is taking up a lot of my time.
Tomorrow I am 76.
Celebrating? I do not feel like it at all. It is another day and
if I wake up and I am alive then I made it to 76!
Voila, a lot of people are not that lucky(?)

Bob has no idea, has no idea what a birthday means.
Told me when I came home:
someone was here looking for you.
I do not know her name.
(it was daughter number one, Rhonda)

Yesterday I suffered a great deal of guilt thanks to my upbringing no doubt.
I wanted to go get milk with Rhonda , alone in her car, just 20 minutes
in quiet and no one following me in the store.
Bob came out, said :
Can I come?
Rhonda opens the car of the Odyssey and I cross my eyes.
I just wanted to be alone in the store.
Bob said: I was sitting there all day praying that some one would
take me somewhere.
Ouch ouch ouch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Poor guy, poor guy, mean Mama , mean Mama!!!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I lost it again

I just hate it when I can't cope. Granted it does not last long but when the tears
come and the exhaustion of the situation sets in then I can't stand it.
I always want to be strong, I want to be this iron woman who can handle
everything. Often these days I am made of paper, rice paper at that , the kind you
can see through and crumbles if you sneeze.
In the span of 30 minutes I became rice paper.
I put money of the table for the pizza man who was going to deliver in a few minutes.
Then I noticed that my keys were gone from the door, this happens all the time.
Bob hid them inside a sock and then in his pocket.
He hides keys all the time.
A search in his jeans is like trauma to him but I did find them.
A knock on the door: Pizza man is here.
Money is gone!
Lucky I found enough in my purse to pay him.
Then a search for the money. Son found it later.
Then I walked in when he was giving cereal AGAIN to the dogs and cat
with lots of milk.
Toto had thrown up a bunch of meat Bob gave him and he could not
digest it.
Now the milk dilemna is almost daily.
In the 1930's we grew up giving milk to the cats.
SO he goes back to that time slot.
Small incidents, you say, why get upset?
Because there are days that your "patience jar" is empty !
Will crying help?
No but as my Mother used to say when I cried for nothing :
OK Jeannot keep crying you will not have to pee so much then.
Enough said
I have to go to the powder room!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Garden watch is on

As the buds start coming out on my favorite plants and bushes I have to start
a garden watch.
For the past several years ,old B who was an avid gardener, decided to cut down
whatever started to spring up from the earth.
So some of the tulips never made it to come out and play, the plants were cut to
the ground as soon as a blade would come to the surface.
The Hostas received the same welcome from my husband gardener.
I was surprised that the climbing roses made it at all.
So after planting 100 bulbs last fall I am on garden duty and try to protect
what comes up with more mulch or just with keeping the culprit inside.
Spring is in the air for everyone and Bob is also allergic to something at that
time, his face would swell up so he could almost play the Beast in the
Beauty and the Beast.
We do try to keep him inside but it is hard.
No use to tell him to leave the plants alone, he will forget after one minute.
I am telling him that I have worm droppings in the ground perhaps that
will stop him but here again for how long?
(Yes, I do buy worm droppings and they are the best organic fertelizer
you can get) Check them on eBay!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

always about the car

I was stuck in bed a few days with some sort of bug which always upsets old B.
He does not remember that two minutes ago I told him I was sick.
So he comes into the bedroom, shakes me and asks:
Are you ok?
This routine is being repeated all day long.
Somewhere deep inside of him, he knows that I am his caregiver and that he
needs me. He gets frightened

Then he found son's keys again and got into the car, lucky for us
he did not try to go. We are doubting that he remembers how,
he left it in different gear and turned on the blinkers.
We have to watch over the keys with more care.

Then the war came when we asked for the keys, he refused to give up
the jeans so we knew they had to be in there.
Long story short, he became very agitated, yelling and so on
but as Marcell writes in her book "Elder Rage"
I no longer argue with him.
I simply said: If you are going to be accusing and yelling then you
have to do it by yourself.
I left the room, when I returned he had calmed down.
Marcell writes that like with kids we let them know we do not
accept bad behavior soon this too then stops.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

And you are ????

With family far away and not quite understanding the advancement of Alzheimer
it becomes very hard for the relatives to come to grip with the new reality.

If you are not here every day , you can't picture how that person has changed.
You knew the person when they were bright, funny, working, contributing to
conversations about the economy,politics, religions.

Now you ask the person a question and most of the time he/she will try and
bluff or will just give up and start to tell what comes first in their mind.
B. does not remember once he picks up the phone who he is talking to.
Not even our kids. Once the telephone is in the cradle he does not remember
a word of what was said. He can't even bluff his way through it.

Very difficult for a relative or friend to come to grips with that.
Hard for them not to be "known" by the person.

Try being a wife, son, daughter and he does not know you.
Tells you to leave the house and go to your own house (he told me this many times)

If he handled more than one call in a day or had more than one kid show up
in the same day, then he figures we have a lot of people here.
It is then my job to tell them all to go.
He truly thinks I can do that.
I hate the hallucinations.

The medication given for hallucinations makes him ill to his stomach so I stopped them.
Why should he be hurting?
If he sees people then so be it, we just have to send them home.
Hope this will work for awhile yet.

Till later......................

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


I have read many books about Alzheimer. People who had lived with it and try and help.
The disease works so differently for every person , so you have to pick out of the
writings what could work for you to make it through the days.

Recommended books: Elder Rage by Jacqueline Marcell
The 36 Hour Day, Mace and Rabins

Most of all I read that friendships go by the way side. Invitations for dinners are slowly going away. (Even Cindy Adams wrote about that) You see less and less of the people of your "old circle". If I remember it right Cindy wrote that Milton Berle still took her husband to lunch'
even if he dribbled on his $500 tie, Milton would help him out. However Milton was one of the few who stood by his friend in that manner.

As a couple you no longer "fit in" even if the afflicted still has good table manners.
He or she may still be able to have a conversation at some level.
In our case I stopped all activities in our house because B. is certain that the visitors came
to steal from him. Even our kids are here to get something when nothing could be further from their minds.
I stopped taking him with me to our best friends luncheons because I frankly enjoy to
be able to talk "grown up" talk to someone across the table.

Having said all that , I can't say that anyone has left us behind.
Bob's friends from 60 years ago still write, email or call.
He does not know them anymore but he is lucky to have known them and
their interest in his well being. Thanks to Terry,Allen,Acey.
Our mutual friends are here for me anytime I would need them and they have
not deserted us at all. Thanks to Celia,Louis,Lee,Rand,Fishers, and no doubt I am forgetting
So my situation does not fit what they write about, thank God.
I still have friends, Bob still has friends and what a blessing this is.
I wish the same for every reader who comes along and reads this blog.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Rhonda,Peter,Bob April 2007 Charleston

More calm days

We have experienced some nice calm days.
What is a calm day? One when I do not have to repeat 50 times that I am his wife.
One when he does not chase me out of the bed.
One when he is kind to the animals.
One when he does not hide the mail (and bills).
One when he tolerates Bobby.
One when he does know that he just ate and does not require a new meal
after finishing one 10 minutes.
One when he does not want to start packing to move to the other house.
The other house is in Santa Cruz and belonged to his mother.
When he understands this here is his house then he smiles and says
"Thank God".
Five minutes later the same scenario happens.
I rejoice for every calm day.