Sunday, March 31, 2013

My new best friend Kindle

When Bobby gave me the newer version of Kindle I did not think I would get so engrossed in it.
I loved the old version to some extent

This time around I hardly have been watching TV at all except for the news and I should truly stop doing that.

I now read the 15 volumes of Memoirs of Louis XIV by the duc de Saint Simon.

Lately I have read a lot more about history ,something which is a surprise most of all to myself. I really wanted to know more details of the different Louis's and what happened in the courts.
Duc de Saint Simon was in and out of these places and decided to write with great detail about them.
At first I thought I was reading a phone book of the French nobility. I could not remember one name
from the other, I almost gave up. Slowly the whole picture came into mind. After awhile you really wonder why the King kept it a secret that indeed he had married Mme de Maintenon but never made her queen.
After he dies she mostly just faded into solitude. She had been the instrument of many changes both good and bad in the politics of that period. And then there were the Princes of the blood and the bastard children...keep track of all that too while you picture the wigs the haute coiffure, laces, plumes, etc...

I found a lot of similarities to today, guess we are really not learning from one generation to another.
There was a lot of back stabbing in the ranks. A lot of lying. Filling the pockets. Desiring titles.
Famine due to bad weather, poverty due to taxation.
Church people even Cardinals marrying and hiding the paperwork and the wife. Many mistresses with power. Many memories being built for us to admire now , such as Versailles.
Even so there was not that much of an advancement in medicine, many of them survived in their 80's and even 90's. Despite the many excuses for dining a "volonte" and then the wines.....
Gambling was a daily affair in the court. By the time the King died he had already lost a lot of relatives mostly to poison.  

So when I finished volume 15 I did not regret reading all of this stuff but I did regret that I did not read it in French.
This afternoon I did find a book of reviews on the duc and I started to read that one in French.
My heart was aching for the next phrase and paragraphs.
This is such a lovely language and I did not forget a word of it, I was amazed. Some old French of course but still I could make it all out.
Now when I do my scrabble tonight it will be hard to think "English" again!!!!!!!!!!

S. recommended me to read "Half Broke Horses" by Jeannette Walls, I am glad I did take her up on it. Ready for her other one to read and one coming out in June 2013.

Maybe tonight I will  get a movie from Amazon and give it up for the rest of Easter Sunday.

Easter 2013

Easter right now and for me is about memories.
When I was new to this country and the habits I surely liked the dress up part of Easter.
The Easter Parade in New York.
People going to church who otherwise did n't.
At the same time I believe that my belief and arguments with the Catholic church were at a cross road.

I see my two little girls dressed the same and a 16 year old  foster child I dressed her up like a grown up.
My then husband took photos of us and right now they are all in the "photo closet" and I am very lazy and will not dare to find them.

That was a day in Campbell California and we had purchased a lovely 3 bedroom house.
We looked picture perfect on the outside , a year later we lost the house and all hell broke loose.
I will not go there, let me try another Easter...........There must have been some which I loved....
Easter with artist husband was different in as much as he made up Easter basket for the whole world,
the girls even when grown up waited to see what he would do next.
He was a Christmas nut and an Easter nut. In his studio he always had boxes with green, yellow, paper cuttings to make the nests. He would buy them on sale after the holiday and stashed them.

Surely I always did the cooking for an army, always found someone to come to dinner. When Rhonda was in college and the kids did not have the means to go home, they always came to my house.
One day we were in a grocery store and the cashier looked at us with a big smile:
"Rhonda!!!!she exclaimed, them she looked at me and came to hug me.
Mrs.K. you made my days when I was in Warren Wilson and always invited me to your table. I just could not go back to California for all the holidays. She was aglow. I was so surprised. I did not remember the girl but she remembered me.

So I know we did celebrate Easter in many ways. Most of it is a very thin veil square in my memory quilt.

Today I like it nice and quiet. I have no idea yet what I will cook for Bobby and I. Probably chicken and whatever I catch in the fridge or freezer. It will be another day looking outside to some light rain and dreaming about what to do with the garden this year.

I know if old Bob was still here and he would be able to think, he would be making baskets upstairs and find some people to give them too.
Who knows, wherever he is maybe he is doing that again.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

forever "BIJOUX"

I have my work cut out.
I am making 5 necklaces for the Zack Fisher Fund raiser for April 20.
in the meantime you can go to the Ecclectic cottage on Main Street in Brevard and find all my other jewels.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

caregiving part 2

Thank you, Joan for this message:

A young lady confidently walked around the room while leading and explaining stress management to an audience
with a raised glass of water. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, 'half empty or half full?'...
She fooled them all .... "How heavy is this glass of water?" she inquired with a smile.
Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. To 20 oz.
She replied , "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it.
If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm.
If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it,
the heavier it becomes." She continued, "and that's the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time,
sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on."
"As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed,
we can carry on with the burden - holding stress longer and better each time practiced.
So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening
and into the night... Pick them up tomorrow.

caregiving 101

I find myself repeating words to my daughter, words I hated to hear not so many years ago.

One means well and looks at the tired eyes, the black borders around the gorgeous blue eyes and, especially, as a mother I know that she is in trouble.
So I say it anyway knowing very well that it means nothing to her.

"Brie, you have to take care of yourself, you are exhausted"
She shrugs her shoulders as I know she will.

She has watched her son for a week while doctors and nurses come and check his vitals, take test after test and try to
help him with the sinus infection and pneumonia. When this clears up he will need to stay on schedule and do his 5 days with intensive chemo treatment. That translates into 2 weeks in this small hospital room with constant activities, day and night.
She hears every cough, every gasp for air. He is a very good patient, he only complaints at 4 am when he just managed to fall asleep and they need more blood. Damn vampires, he is not very happy during these sessions.

Mom sits in an easy chair and watches, calls nurses at the first beep of a machine, watches..she can't sleep ..she is worried,she is thinking of all the days missed work, the bills piling up, the dozens of meals they have devoured
from Chinese to Pizza places (they deliver) and then all the in between treats when he can eat and asks for a steak.
The new wardrobe she has to fetch as he loses weight and the pants start to fall to his knees. He laughs when he sees that, she does too and in her mind she also remembers the dollars involved. This is not a child he is 17 but he is built like a football player.

She is lucky to have a best friend who is also her boss. N. has a daughter with head injuries from a car accident, she was with her daughter for months as they watcher her come out of a coma in her own time. N. knows what it all feels like, she understands my Brie. Yet, my lovely girl, thinks of the office all the time," there are things waiting for me" she tells me. She has OCD about her house, heaven if a dish would have to wait till morning to be washed. Frank, her husband knows it so he tries to keep up everything in the "Brie style", he has work to do as he works on water features and contracts are coming in during the spring.

Day five on her "watch" she starts to cough, son is getting better, his breathing has improved and now the nurses ask if they have changed beds. There is mother hacking away and she sounds like Louis Armstrong when she talks. Drive to Urgent Care (downstairs in the ER they charge a LOT more) a nice doctor tells her what? "You should take care of yourself, what if you become really sick and can't be with your son?" There it is again"that phrase" . Verdict: bronchitis.
a 5 day Zpack and she should be much better. If she has a fever she can't go in Zack room or hospital.

As the days have passed and at this writing, grandson has a healed lung, doctor showed him his before and after Xray, he is learning a lot about his body and he pays attention. He is back on schedule with the chemo and 2 more days to go this week and they can go home. Where is Mom? Her cough is not much better , she sounds like a goose honking. She can't have a long phone conversation as the coughing takes over.
I keep my mouth shut, I wish her a well and speedy recovery, I know that to tell her to take care of herself does not mean a damn thing to her.

How do I know? While taking care of my husband for 13 years in his decline with Alzheimer, I became more and more a different person, I was quickly left alone , friends no longer called except for my faithful ones L and C and my friend Lee.
I did not care what I looked like, what I ate, when I showered or not, if bills came in I could not meet.
All I could think about day and night was that today he knew less than yesterday, today he would not eat the rice pudding so I
made a flan, made 3 of them, maybe he would eat them all. Today I had an argument to get him washed, I lost the battle.
He wanted out so I took him with me on dog walks. I was a sight the dog pulling to walk faster, the old man hanging in the back of me and trying to catch up, I in the middle with both arms stretched. Today when he sleeps I will lay on his chest with my head so I will know when he gets up to run away. Today maybe I will get some sleep as this is the way I pass my nights too.
Today as I wash the sheets and the rest of the bedding ( a daily routine the last 4 years) I hope I will not miss him while he runs out and I load washer and dryer downstairs. I am always running to see where he is. He goes across the street and drags stuff out of the peoples garbage. This is surface stuff, in between you cry from exhaustion, from fear, from the what if's" from hatred that this kind man just slapped you, worries, always worries. Ask for help they tell me. My daughters have work and families, my son is in Texas.

I finally get help via a site on the internet. At WOWOWOW someone tells me that I should go to the VA, husband fought in the Pacific during WW2, we go there, I do not like it when they call you by your last "four". Numbers from your S S.
It is not very personal, each time we go we get a different doctor, some just want to see how much he remembers and give him a test and he looks at me ;"Why must I do that? I do not understand, lets go home" The good part I get his medicine for 2 digit numbers instead of $600 which I paid every month for years. Empty the bank account. I also get him to go to a day care from 9 to 4. Then I think life does not get any better than that, he likes it there. He sits in a corner waiting for the bus to come and get him home.
I try to regain my sleep while he is at the day care but I can't seem to get over the exhaustion.
When I get the phrase :"You have to take care of yourself" . I try and think, think hard, what the hell do they mean? are they talking Chinese? I do not understand. I do eat, I sleep when I can, I no longer keep the curtains washed ,the garden is full of weeds, so I do not get done what I used to do, I am thinking that is taking care of myself.
On March 3 2010, we have a snow storm a big one, several feet of snow. I try to go out in a hurry to see if the dog will like this new fluffy stuff and lift his leg high enough to tinkle. I take the first step and fall with my leg under me.
It is 6 am. My husband is asleep, I have on my black leather coat. I crawl up to the top of the stairs pry the door open which
was not locked (lucky me) and start to scream for Bobby who had come a few months before to see if he could help me.
He comes in and said: Why are you waking me up? Oh!Mom ,geez what did you do?
I say call 911 I need an ambulance I broke my leg.
We look at the foot with is sticking out horizontal next to the vertical leg.
Son looks white.Calls and helps the 2 EMS people to carry me in a chair like affair to the ambulance.I broke my ankle in 3 places.
That night I get a bunch of stainless steel hardware in my leg and when I awake I ask the nurse if I can please stay the night and rest. Answer: you are going to get a LOT of rest, honey!
Yes 5 days in Hospital and 21 days in rehab.
I had to let Brie take over and find a home for my husband and that was the hardest thing I had to do in our 40 plus years. I did not think anyone could take care of him like I could and I was right, he was gone 6 months later when I was still walking with canes.
A very difficult way to take care of myself, when we are care-givers we do what we have to do for the people in need, period,we are then becoming second place, no matter what anyone tells you.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

our mind flirts with bad thoughts...negative thoughts

that is what my friend wrote to me.
I had a very bad week , worrying about grandson in hospital with pneumonia during his chemo therapy.
For an old timer the word "pneumonia" scares the daylights out of you.
Today there are so many ways to fight it.
Zack is fighting it splendidly.
My mind was trying very hard not to flirt with the bad thoughts.
I would run from room to room not knowing why I was there and to do what.
I was in a complete fog, far away from the hospital and seeing for myself what was happening.
Then daughter became sick (no wonder about that) she has been in the worst boat all week
watching her son coughing to the point he could hardly eat in between the coughs.
Today her last blog tells me that they are on the mend, both of them.

Trying to reverse my worries with funny stuff I started to clean out my computer from junk and I truly had a good laugh when in the Spam I discovered someone telling me to try and find a Christian mate. That is hilarious to me.
Another offered me a larger penis while another wrote as if he is on FB and said: I saw your picture you are so cute please write to me here:.......
If any of these actually saw my picture(which of course they did not) they would not offer me a larger penis nor a place of rendez vous on the internet. They might send me to the best Botox dealers and even Burial insurance.

So I had a few laughs. I am on my way with good thoughts again.