Friday, September 25, 2009


Last night son showed me a spider at work.
She/he (I am not un on my spiders) started a huge web right under the porch light. The web was about 2 feet or more in diameter. The precision of the work was just so interesting to watch that I stood there for a good 15 minutes.
How smart to put it right under the light where the bugs will come into the night.
Enter old Bob into the room and watches the spider at work, immediately he wanted"out" to kill it.
It took forever to try and explain that it was ok for it to work.
We are not going outside anymore tonight. Let the spider work. Say what? Of course this is not sinking in. Why
do I always think that it should sink in. How many more years before I figure it out that the man has Alzheimer and does not remember.
We locked the door and kept the key so the spider will have dinner during the night and we may have a few moths less.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

To bathe or not to bathe

Last night, a nightmare. He does not want me to bathe him.
No way, not a chance. I just sponge bathe him at this point but he struggled so with me, he scratched me, and pushed and shoved and today my shoulder is not working properly and it hurts like the dickens.

I swallowed my pride and asked the day care people- they are equipped to bathe and do so - I think the cost is 15.00- anyway I asked if they could do it today and sent him off with his fresh clothing.

They , the experts, tried twice and no dice. Not going to do it no way, no how.

Back to the drawing board.
Meanwhile I am not going to try it today as I am exhausted and hurting.

Then therewas the medicine, refused to take medicine too.
Son go a bit in his face and a fist came out from old dad but when he took a good look at son's size he relaxed the fist very fast and agreed to take the pill.

Just saw "House" so I made sure he did swallow it, he is not as smart as Dr House.
Good night all.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

LIFE IS ....................

Life is precious. You hear this over and over again when there is an issue about abortion. I am not going there, I am going with the thought that life is precious when you are suffering for 12 years. When your memory fails you day after day, more and more. First it is the little things.
Oh! Did I take my meds today? Did I miss an appointment with the hairdresser? Did I call you today?
then it goes on to : you are stealing from me. Everything in this house is mine, mine, mine.
That usually follows by items just disappearing from their usual place. Could be your toothbrush, you rings, a can of tomatoes, all the toilet paper you bought yesterday.
After the years, the look in the eyes looks blank. Who is this person? Who are you? What is this place?
Then there is the wet diapers, the wet bed, chairs, and the poop which goes into the waste paper basket, not the toilet. Some stuff towels, soap, anything into the toilet, others do not remember what the toilet is for.
The plumber knows you by your first name and knows the guilty one too. He smiles at him/her, this is regular business for him.
The opening and closing doors, all day long. The fridge does not have time to cool off. Forget the freezer working well.
The locks are being broken. The umbrellas are looking like a modern art piece. Everything mechanical needs to go with force. Reaction to actions does not exist anymore.
Dogs and cats get fed tons of milk. That is what most elderly did when they were young.
Try and shave someone who does not want you to touch him.
Try and shower or wash someone who decided water was his/her enemy.
Is that life still precious?
What do they really know???What are the thoughts during the day and the running around till 4 am lost in your own home. What are the thoughts?

I have no answers for any of this.
But I do question it.
On line one lady having a bad day wrote :
They shoot dogs when they become that ill.
I dread the day when this human being who no longer is my husband will leave me. I am attached to him like a magnet but I do believe when he will leave us that I will be relieved.
This is no longer a precious life for him. It just can't be.


Most of my childhood was spent in a very small village in the middle of the Flanders.
That is if you can call one street with one shop and one bar “a village”.
My house was standing all alone next to an electric factory.
I was an only child and a lonely child.
My parents were not into making merry or to bring a lot of joy into the household.
They were strict, especially my mother. The also did not get along most of the time
A war added to that mix made life a challenge.

It was very early in life that I started to write my feelings. I would get pieces of paper wherever I could and write and then tear it up for I did not want my mother to find out how I felt.

I remember after my father left us that I often wrote that I missed him. I do not think I missed him that much but I knew that my mother did not hit me as much when my father was around. He did not like the hitting part of her discipline.
He kept telling her not to hit my head. I felt he was somewhat my protector of her bad days. Her bad days turned into anger to the only one around - me.

So from then on I wrote, and wrote. My maternal grandmother told us that whenever she had the blues she would write them down and then destroy the evidence. I had not heard that before but was glad to hear that story for it fit with my feelings.

At 14 I wrote a short love story. Since I never had been kissed and my boyfriends were only in my imagination , I just do not remember what kind of love story I had in me. I sent it out one day to “libelle” a ladies magazine and I included a letter telling them that I did not want to be paid but wanted to read my story in their venue. I did not let them know who I was.

For weeks I searched in the magazine as my Mom was getting them from a friend. To my big surprise they did not print my story.
That did not stop me. I wrote and wrote whenever I could wherever I could.
I was blessed and did not know it. I am not saying that I am a good writer, I am saying that it is a blessing to be able to share your feelings on paper.
It is a release valve for all your feelings. Good or bad.

So in this site geared for Alzheimer caregivers I can only advise you to try and write down how you feel. Just let it all hang out. Do not cover the dusty corners of your mind , just go there and everywhere and just write it. You do not have to blog for the world to see , just write it. Destroy it afterwards if you wish or read it over many times so you will then see where you were at such and such a time.

I am surely blessed to be able to write almost every day.
When I am having one of my mini depressions then it is hard to do but often if I get to it then the depression takes a second row.

Write, just write. No one will check if you can spell , no one will question your vocabulary, write for yourself.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Love letter

A few years ago I wrote this letter to my husband.
At that time he had a vague idea of what I wrote, today he would not be able to understand any of it.
It is important during this journey to tell them what you feel and what their lives did for you.
It is important, believe me.

Here is my letter and I have to say that I found it in a very "safe" place of his.

If I count every stage in our life by quarters then we are in our winter.
I’d prefer to say that we are in our autumn but what the heck,
I just stepped into winter. You, my dear, are a little bit ahead of me.
You wanted to be a Gemini and wanted to be born the same year as the
Queen of England. How grand was that!

You entered in our summer and indeed what a summer it turned out
to be!!!The long hot summer with all the riches of a blooming love affair,
a few thunderstorms, and most of all travel.

My spring is rather a season I like to forget. The ideal childhood , it was not to be.
The ideal first marriage way before I stepped into summer and that too
was rather a time to forget.

You, my best friend, came into my life in a California “antique mall” , probably the first in California. I use the word “antique” loosely as it was more a mall
with mini shops full of “what have you’s”.

You had the best, the creme de la creme. You had REAL antiques. In those
California days everything had to be 100 years old before we called it an antique.
You also had some of the finest art on your walls which I thought were
printed reproductions. You were offended, it was your original work.
I said : what the heck are you doing in this place with such art?
With all my suggestions you curled up your nose. No, you did not want to
show at the bank. No, you did not want to show in small town Santa Cruz.
You had just come from San Francisco, thank you very much. You had
shows in the best galleries.

You had fled from the hippies as you lived, heavens no!!On the corner
of Haight and Hasbury . In a large Victorian flat you had freedom, the
city ,a job here and there and lots of ice cream which became meals.
But when this long haired crowd slept in your doorway and their dogs
decorated all of Haight street , it was a bit much for this “square” to take in.

Bohemian you had not turned into. Even so you were a frequent visitor to
the Purple Onion, (Yes , Streisand was there when no one knew her)
and you were invited to all the wild ballet and artists parties.
You rubbed elbows with Gregory Peck and only knew it when you saw
your picture next to him at a later date. Of course the wine did help
with memory losses.

You had a girlfriend for awhile but she was twice your age and had a son
your age who was a cop. It was a short lived fling with too much wine,
or so you told me much later.
So you had moved back to your home town, Santa Cruz.
That old town had a gorgeous boardwalk decorated by a nice Pier, lovely white sand and a great tourist attraction.

Your youth had been there with 7 siblings and a great laid back mother.
Your father had been a house painter with a great reputation but he had
asthma and his work would bring on attack after attack.
Riches you guys never had but there was camaraderie with the kids.
By WW2 Florence had 4 stars in her window indicating that she had
4 sons in the war. They all came back but brother Earl was badly damaged
in his mental state. He had lived and fought in the worst battles of the Pacific
including the Marauders. He took to drinking to forget. He was a lost soul after
that war.

You, being the youngest of the boys went in on your 18th birthday.
You were a few weeks short of graduating in High School.
You had dreams of becoming an artist but you did not know how
you would accomplish that.

The war helped because there was a GI Bill and with that you could go
on to college in Salinas and to the Chouinard Art Institute.

During your art school years you learned about architecture, costumes (Edith Head was one of your teachers) , animation, life drawing and commercial.
You wanted to be come an animation artist for Disney. You were totally charmed
with Snow White and Fantasia. You also learned about Opera and became a

So after you finished in Chouinard you went to the city by the Golden Gate and
hoped to make it with your paintings. Disney was not paying enough to your liking.
You made friends very quickly in the art circles and in the ballet circles and
worked intermittently in a mattress factory and in the shipping department at

You acquired a new taste, you knew what a Louis XV table should look like
and you acquired one, you bought old paintings and traded yours for them
or other chores. Once you babysat two dogs for an old painting.
In the mid 1950’s you scrimped and saved to go to Europe. You went with
a friend to London, Amsterdam and Madrid. You visited all the opera houses
in each city and even sat in a command performance in Amsterdam when
the Queen came with King Salassi . Queen Wilhemina looked like a diamond mine she had her tiara on plus pins and necklaces and Russell sat
in jeans as your luggage had not yet arrived from the boat. It is a wonder that
they did not throw you out.

You saw the diva Maria Callas in Medea in Rome and you were enchanted.
I do not know how many times I had to hear about La Callas.
She received one of your paintings as a gift from a well known tenor
and his name escapes me now. He bought it in Marbella , Spain.

So by the time I got to know you, you were a bit of snob.
I did not even like you at first.
You were not tall and dark haired. You were not a big flirt.
You did not dance. You did not like the Beatles nor Elvis and
could not stand Liberace. I heard about all these opera singers and
I thought that this man was just a bit off my scale.
I liked the tall dark and handsome , rogues.
I would fall for the worst of the worst. I had poor taste in
what would be a steady guy.

We were friends for months as I was going through my divorce.
Neither of us had a hint of what was happening.
We had our shop next to each other in the mall and business was not exactly thriving. We had plenty of time to talk about our past lives.
Neither one of us knew what a future life would be like.

I was scared not to make it with my 2 girls, my mother wanted me back
in Belgium and dangled a home for all 3 of us in front of my nose.
I did not bite!

A recession was starting and the Viet Nam war started to make the pot
broil in America. I just did not have time to worry about that, I had
2 girls and drugs started to come into the San Lorenzo Valley where I lived.

One week end you went to the big city to see “Louise”. I figured that
you had a girlfriend there which you did not mention before and suddenly
I decided that I did not like that. I was a bit jealous.
Upon your return I asked about Louise and you said that the opera
was just fabulous! An Opera named “Louise” I asked?
Yup that is what he went to see.
The knees can stop shaking now!!!!!

When I came back from the court house after filing for my divorce on the
final note you took me behind the clothes rack and kissed me.
Wow! You told me then that you did not want to upset anything and be in
a three some situation. You wanted to be sure I was finished with
my marriage.

I had suffered for 7 years now with arthritis, my feet often were so swollen that all I could wear were flip flops. My hands did not have bones anymore, all you saw was swelling. There came a time in our courtship that I also could not move my
arms in an upward motion. You decided you would move in with the girls and
I and take care of me.

You probably had more to do than you bargained for.
It was not a sexual relationship by any stretch as I was in so much pain.
All sorts of remedies were given to me.
One in particular was to take a very hot bath, drain it and then a very very cold bath and back again to hot. By the time we did all this I was like a limp rag doll
and you had to carry me to bed.

I could no longer brush the girls long hair, I could not lift the coffee pot,
and the steps to the house were pure torture.
Ironing was out of the question so you did it all.
You put the braids in the girls hair and ironed their dresses before school.
You did not drive so you walked to the grocery store and did our meals.
Not the best meals but I was helped to the max.
Your best dish was soup, unfortunately we had to eat it with a fork and knife.

You moved in and changed my life.
People say that we can’t change but I sure did.
Afraid of my own shadow, believing I was not worth to be anything in this world.
I had tried suicide and only got very sick.
Now I had this man watching over me like a hawk and giving me all
the love a person needs to come out of this self fabricated shell.

That was not all that changed, in that former life I had been very happy
with my Goodwill furniture. Couches with wagon wheels for armrests
and Sears braided rugs. Lamps made from old cacti and crochet doilies.
Enter Bob Kensinger with his 19th Century paintings plus his own.
Oriental rugs filled the 20 foot living room , the Louis XV table and
a collection of mint in box 50 or more complete operas.
All soon to meet with 2 anxious girls and scratchy needles on the RCA
Ivory statues lined my shelves , Sanwhich glass , satin glass , and
candle holders of all types came into view and were put on display.
I had little to say about it all. Kensinger was decorating.
My friend April kept asking me if he was gay.

The teaching of Jeannot had begun.
This is an etching, this is a monochromatic, this is a wood cut, this is
a reproduction (curl up your nose or throw up!) this is a watercolor, this is a tempera, this is out of drawing, this is a hack this is a genius.
This glass was made in the 18th century, this glass has lead in it
this glass from England has gold in it. This pattern is the horn of plenty do not confuse it with the peacock pattern.
This is Vienese not to be confused with Venetian.
My head was spinning.

However by 1968 a very young man with dreams of making it big (he did)
bought an old building in Boulder Creek and opened a REAL ANTIQUE
Mall. We opened up our first shop together. You had several shops in San Francisco
but this was my first antique adventure.

It was a real challenge to learn all the art glass and patterned glass so
collectable in those days. Ruth Webb Lee’s book was my bible.
I learned the patterns, I studied the patterns in sterling and
coin silver. The girls learned about sterling and would pick out all
the pieces at flea market sales.

The woman with Sears rugs had blossomed into a snob just like Bob.
Ouch!!!Oriental rugs are still my favorites. In the winter of my years
I do have pains when I sell a piece of art glass.
I can’t believe that I have purchased repros at Steinmart.
But then I also can’t believe that I have done all this learning from
just one person.

You , my life partner, made me see The Last Super by Dali in
Washington, observe the fabulous windows at the Cathedral in Rhemes.
Walk around Rubens house in Antwerp and feel the spirit of this great Flemish painter. You made me SEE the Adoration of the Lamb God in my
home town after I had seen it so many times before.
You made it so that I knew a Cannoletti as we walked to our room
in Venice and saw them lined up on the wall.
You thaught me that to you a wrinkled beggar woman in Rome was more beautiful
than all the Gina’s walking around us.
We were laying down in the Sistine Chapel looking at the wonders
of Michaelangelo. Can’t do that anymore, now you need tickets and a time
given for your visit.

In our last years together and with your memory fading you are still
teaching me every day.
You sit by the window and call me to show me a pattern in the clouds.
We walk the dog and you stop to show me a tree and its formation.
You show me a flower I had missed.
You show me every day that you love me and this life has been
the best summer and winter.
I love you for all that and regret that we did not meet in the
spring of our years.
All my love

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Day after the big "high"

If I did not have enough attention yesterday then I sure did today, all my friends or far away acquaintances want a copy of the book. I feel terrible. I keep telling them it is only 1 story and not my best one but most people who know me want me to write my memoirs and so they feel this is going to give me a push. It will. I have part of it already done.

It is good day. Not only that I found better diaper pants, that is important too. Perhaps less laundry for me and my eyes will not become slanted like the Chinese laundry lady.
Oops! that is probably profiling. Got to be so cautious these days not to do a faux pas.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Good day in the land of writers

Some 35 writers, some with many books under their belt, all came together today for cookies and refreshments of all sorts and to brag about their latest writings and achievements.

I was surprised to find out many asked me for signature on their book. We all gave a story about some type of clothing.
And a book from all the stories was compiled and edited by Celia Miles and Nancy Dillingham.

My story was about my holy communion in Belgium in 1942. The drama surrounding that war day was somewhat surreal.
My father did not want to have anything to do with church so that part was difficult for a child reared most the waking hours by nuns.

I brought the dress to the gathering and my sainted aunts's works were admired. Most of it was handsewn and the rest on a threadle sewing machine.

Several people wanted me to sign my story and it was a high for awhile. Celia insists that I have to continue my memoirs as I have been quite busy with them but have yet many years to cover.

Book name is Clothes Lines.
All the writers are from North Carolina.
here some photos from the event, at one point we tried to see how tall I was at age 10 next to my grandson,Peter, who is now ten.

Friday, September 11, 2009


I have been extremely lazy the past weeks.
I can't get my act together, I can just sit and the next thing I know I fall asleep.
Weather does not help, it has been overcast for days with now and then a shower but no sun.
I decided to get a small radio and listen to that for awhile. Then I turn on NPR and get too involved in politics when I hear That Palin is being named Esther. Checked out "the land of Queen Esther". OK so you can have religious beliefs and accept all that comes with it but one lady said that the map of Alaska is in the shape of a crown so therefore they are correct Palin is the Esther of the Bible.
OK......I am just going to get more upset and I do not need that , get back to the music.

This morning was a bad one with his majesty, he just hates anything cold. Do they make heated baby wipes?
By the time I put him on the bus I told the driver:
"Robert, do me a favor, please do not bring him back!"
Everyone roared with laughter (not I ) even old Bob thought it very funny. He knew I was p od.
At least tomorrow will be a better day (in part)
he has to stay home with young Bob.
I have an important meeting.
Aha! I do.
My story about my holy communion dress is now forever published in a book by the name of "Clothes lines".
75 ladies shared stories regarding clothing and mine brought me back to 1942 in Belgium.
Had a lot of stories in newspapers but not in "book print" that I can remember.
We, the writers, are meeting tomorrow and that should be a blast. I still have the dress , now 67 years old.
I had moved over the Atlantic twice in my life, back and forth and then moved from the East Coast to the West and then on to the South and the dress was always with me.

Now at age 77 I find this very strange, something inside of me truly must be attached to the day and the ceremony even so I have left the Catholic church ages ago.

So today I will try and change my mood swing into more joyful tunes. I will try and I know no one will keep old Bob, he will come home and moments will be great and some will be bad and c'est la vie with Alzheimer.