Thursday, January 24, 2013

How Many is Too Many?

I feel at times, I have a real problem.I cannot stand to have just one of anything. In this case it is bath towels. This is only a  few of my bath towels,however, I don't usually buy them new. Many times I will pick up nice bright colored towels at various Consignment stores or Goodwill stores,if I find them cheap enough. I know how expensive they are when purchased new, so I try to refrain from caving, when I see a new color that I'd love to add to my collection.. I haven't done any shopping in these types of places, lately though.I have had so much else on my mind, shopping just doesn't take precedence in my life, at this point in time.

The Good Old Days!

Yes, those were the good old days, when you could pull out the old hammer and saw and whip up something your child, or in this case, grandchild, would love and play with for hours on in.My grandson has all the modern conveniences,and at times, I am convinced that he has way too many.They are a good example of folks who like to keep up with the Jones's.They have IPads or IPods, whatever they are called, they have cell phones, they have mp3 players, they have a Wee. They have hand held computers with all sorts of games to play on them.I'm not real sure if those are the correct names,because I'm not into all of that computer stuff,but they are.That's why I was so shocked when the grandson requested me make him an army gun.I made it to his specifications.It had to have a handle of sorts on the under neath side. I'm not into guns neither, so I had no idea where the handle should be on an army gun.Not sure if it was an American gun or a German gun,but he is only 6 and probably could have given me the specs on it, with no problem. His Dad is into War memorabilia, and John absorbs it all like a sponge.He has war games on every type of computer they own.Personally, I feel all the war business he is learning, is what makes him very destructive with things around him.We hold our breath when he's near our big screen TV.Most usually when he is here, he has his gun and sword that I made for him, and he's roaming around the yard, talking to his imaginary army buddies,discussing what tactics they will implement for their next maneuver.He has the jargon down pat.

(Written 2 years ago-my grandson,John is now 8)

Wives can be so thoughtful and creative.

While reading over Ms. Lottie's blog,it brought back memories of a couple of creative birthday's I had for Pop.
That was years ago, and before I got into blogging and picture taking, so I have no pictures of either. Once I had a huge pig roast. We had people and food galore.We started roasting the pig around 5 o'clock one evening.Pop's friends for the neighborhood and his job, began coming in about that time. Of course we would have to cook the pig all night, so that group of friends stayed through the cooking process.They was nothing ready to eat at that time, so you can imagine what they were doing while visiting,and I don't mean playing horse shoes. By the time morning came, a few of us were still awake,sitting with and attending to the pig,while the rest of the group were asleep(some were simply passed out) on any and everything that resembled a bed.As daylight unfolded, that portion of the party goers began to awaken and head for their perspective homes. The meal preparations for later in the day, were beginning anyway.Later in the day, others(the non drinking folks) would start coming in for the meal. We had a Bluegrass band lined up to play, since Pop loves Bluegrass music. We had met many musicians,in time who were willing to play(and eat) for our little party.We did have a little container for donations for the band,but they were all close friends, so they didn't mind playing for their food.My memory of much of the festivities has faded over the years, but we would love to tackle another Pig Roast in the near future, before we get to old to pull it off.

School Lunches

(another of my posts found under my Drafts)

Frieda has posted lately about one of her favorite desserts as a child in elementary school.Peanut Butter Bars.We had a similar dessert, which was my favorite in grade school,also,but without the oatmeal. I,like Frieda, had to take my lunch, except when I was old enough to work in the cafeteria, then I got free lunches.That was before they started the free lunch program for low income families. I would work for maybe an hour or two, helping the lunch ladies, then eat my lunch for free, with my class,when they came through the lunch line. Years later, I went on to work for the school system,with the same county in which I grew up. I retired from that job in 2005,after  27+ years of service.

I have saved many of the recipes we used before the schools went to their new programs. Now all of the baked goods are produced at a Central Baking Center. There are one or two schools which are centrally located in the county,that have all of the state of the art equipment, and they have a crew that comes in nights to do all of the baking for the entire county.Twenty plus schools.Then a truck loads the baked goods and delivers them to the schools by serving time, whether it be breakfast or lunch.Each school turns in a list of all of the baked goods they will need for the following month.The lists are all combined and the ladies know what they are scheduled to bake that night.Then they are separated and labeled per each schools requests.It is an amazing program, but since the lunch ladies at each school no longer did the baking, the recipes became obsolete at each school. Since I worked there so many years ago, I had access to some of the recipes, and,too, many of the same recipes have shown up in local cook books all over the country.School lunches get a lot of flack from many kids and their folks, but personally, I have always enjoyed the school meals. I guess if the truth be known, some folks are just plain spoiled and have never ever been truly hungry.

One of the programs our schools use is dealing with commodity foods. The schools are given many food items, furnished by the government.The schools have always had lots of support that way. The school then lines up big Name brand companies,like Tony's Pizza for example, and have them to utilize the government product that we supply from our school program, whatever it might be, and make it into their final product. Thus our kids get Tony's Pizza, at a lower price to our school. Many of the food items coming through our schools today have been processed by big companies in a similar manner. The spaghetti sauce, the chili base,
the sloppy joe, the barbeque, and many others come prepackaged in five pound packages. The lunch ladies only need to assemble the remaining ingredients to make the final dish.I have always been amazed at our county's School Lunch Program.We had one of the best programs going in that area. We had a great Director. She retired a year after I did, and she is now working in Washington,D.C., working with the school lunch programs nationwide.

Brendie, maybe she will get to visit New Zealand, one day, and give you all hope for your lunch programs there. You never know.

Dr. Oz Would be so Proud of Me.

our 2011 sweet potatoes
I like to watch Dr. Oz when I can, and he is teaching me many helpful things on improving our nutrition and diet. Not that I hadn't heard most of it before,but it just reinforces all that I have read and studied over the last 30 years. I love to read anything pertaining to improving your health through nutrition. There are so many myths circulating about different foods,nutrients,supplements,etc.,you don't know who or what to  believe. I tend to believe a lot of what Dr. Oz advocates. I like the fact that he tells what he believes no matter what the medical profession says about a product or procedure. It is my opinion that the medical world sees only the dollar amount they can get out of you,and no amount of persuasion will change my mind on that.

I have been looking over my blog this last few days, since spending so much of my time lately,caring for my Mom in her home,blogging has had to take the back burner.Mom has Alzheimer's and requires around the clock care.I found several blog posts in draft, so I decided, whether that starting several new posts, I would look the draft copies over and, hopefully, send them along.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mom's Therapy

As you might have read in my previous bog posts, my Mom has Alzheimer's.She will be 87 on January 30,2013.  The greatest change has come over her in the past few months. Some days she has minutes of being her usual self, but in a twinkling of an eye, she is totally lost as to whom we(her children) are, or where she is.Rita and I are constantly trying to think of ways to occupy her mind, since speaking of family only makes her worse. We simply must avoid any mention of other family members in our conversations. It's hard to do, since so much of our lives have evolved around our family in years past,but now that most of her children have abandoned her, we try not to mention any of their names.Most days,she does not even think she has children, much less know their names, but on occasion she is coherent, and speaks of them.
She made an attempt at several different types of crafts,but most seem to get her discouraged because she cannot master them.This day, she tried her hand at painting.since coloring pictures was too complicated. She got frustrated because she could not see well enough to stay in the lines.I tried to find the type of markers that only colored inside the lines, but found I had bought the wrong type.  I'll try again to find the set I had in mind.Free style painting seemed to appeal to her somewhat, although I think she only tried it to please us.She painted 2 pages before tiring of that.

When I am staying over with Mom, I always  try to bring something to do,myself.I find great pleasure in making these trays which I use a lot in my craft room back at my home.They are pretty and they hold lots of supplies,plus they are shallow, thus letting me see what is inside, without a lot of digging through boxes.I get to use up bits and pieces of my pretty fabric. I even made one to hold Mom's cards and letters.She loves bright colors, so I think she likes it.Cards and letters are on her mind a lot these days. She worries constantly(on good days) that we are not keeping up with sending folks Thank You cards for all of the nice things they do for her.Her church family has been wonderful,after they heard of Mom's rapid decline.They take turns visiting her and cheering her up. Most times, if she does know them, which is not often,she forgets an hour later that they were even there.We have plans of taking pictures of her visitors, just to convince her they were truly there. She is convinced we are fabricating stories of visitors dropping by.

Seeing Mom decline in this manner is hard, but we do get to hear lots of her stories of her youth on good days, but even those stories, she is convinced, were made up and not true when she hears them retold. We have heard 90 per cent of these stories our entire lives, so we feel they are as truthful as anyone can be,when remembering occurrences from their childhood.She has even filled in a few more minor details in some of her stories, that even I had not heard, and I have heard those stories many times.Whether they are totally factual or not,there is no one left to corroborate them. Most everyone from those days of Mom's youth, have passed on.I hope to pass some of her stories along in some of my upcoming posts,but now I must spend many of my days, attending to her needs.The stories will have to wait a little longer.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Oh,how time flies

This is a picture I had never seen of my older sister,Mary,of Nails in My Pocket.She tried blogging, but it just wasn't her "cup of tea"."Different strokes for different folks" as they say. I love blogging. I am using this post to see if I can post pictures once more. It would be such a shame, not to be able to do so, especially since Pop went all out and got me an amazing camera with lots of extras, for Christmas. I haven't had time to learn to use it yet, but hopefully, I will soon.In the meantime, enjoy this picture today. Mary was 17 when she graduated from High School. I'm not sure of her age her, but she was really young. She and her husband,Gayle,who is now deceased, married in 1966.He was 19 and she was 18. He passed away around the age of 48 with a heart attack.The have two children. She remains unmarried and spends her life,now that she is retired, caring for a small farm,her pet livestock menagerie, and helping any member of our family who does not have a good foothold on life.She has always been strong. I guess being the firstborn, you get that way early on.Daddy depended on her heavily, since there were no boys in the family for the first few years of Mom and Dad's marriage, then when the first boy did come along in 1951, he was so spoiled by everyone,he didn't toughen up right away.

It appears I can post pictures once again, if things don't change again,so look forward to lots of experimentation.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sometimes,life gets in the way.

Each new day seems to bring to the forefront, things that need immediate attention, so blogging must take the back seat.Summer has come and gone and the chore list still seems endless.We have sewed the grass on the newly cleared ground. We have hired some of the local Amish to help us pick up the rock and sticks, left over from the bulldozer work that has been done. We put in a good six hour day getting it all picked up, but it was worth it, even though it was hard work. I had a good meal prepared before the help arrived,all but the cornbread and a cake. So I was able to help with the picking up of the rocks and sticks.Rhonda, my oldest step daughter came to do what she could, but since she does not do good walking in the fields too well, she finished up the bread and the cake, leaving me free to help the workers.Rhonda had Cerebral Palsy as a child and has had trouble with her walking ever since.
The grass has grown and the field looks great.The pond we dug still holds some water,but we've not had enough rain to fill it completely, if indeed it holds at all, this time. There is enough water in it for now, to satisfy the wildlife. That was our main reason for digging the pond. We both love to watch the deer,etc.The grandchildren love spending time roaming the newly developed property,with several paths in and around the woods that Pop has cleared for us all to use.The entire project is shaping up nicely, but we still have a lot more to do. We are in no rush to get it done though. It is simply a nice project to get us all out in the fresh air whenever the weather is fitting.It's a good source of exercise for us all.

We worked on an area this past week that is now our pet cemetery.We did some clearing of the undergrowth, and hope to get it in shape shortly.We have two of our favorite dogs buried there and most likely will have others as time goes by. I plan to plant some flowers there,put grave markers, and possibly a huge rock for a seat. It is in a spot close enough to the house that I can see it from my kitchen window, so I want it to be pretty.We still have some cedar laps lying in the field, which is an eye sore now, but we are gradually getting them cleaned up and sold.When they are cleared away, the view will be much nicer, but Rome wasn't built in a day. We will get there someday, with the Lord's help.He has helped us to achieve a lot this past 35 years, so I'm sure he will continue to bless us.

Helping with Mom

Mom is declining very quickly. My sister,Rita and I,and Vicki, on occasion, have been doing the best we know how to give her the care she needs.Stacey got her feelings hurt and once again,dropped out of Mom's care and life,totally,as she did when Dad was dying.Stacey had been doing an excellent job of caring for Mom and should have recognized that Mom was in a bad way, and should not have let Mom's words get to her.Nevertheless,Rita and I are taking turns, staying 3 and 4 days a week with Mom, around the clock.Vicki drops by when she can. Mom fell a couple of months ago, and has gone down hill since then. She has fallen a few more times,but the last few times have been indoors. The original fall was in the yard. We doctored her the best we could, feeling that she had no broken bones, but since she kept complaining of her hips hurting so bad, we decided to take her in for some x-rays. No broken bones were found. She has been down so much with the hurting in her hips, she has lost 90% use of her legs.She does walk a few steps occasionally with our help and the aid of a walker, but those attempts are minimal.Her appetite has dwindled to almost zilch. We could hardly get her to take a spoonful of anything to get her medicine swallowed.Several months ago, we had her evaluated by a neurologist, and he said she had dementia and early Alzheimer's.We have been giving her the generic form of Aricept for several months now, but the hallucinations,seeing things and people who are not there,hearing the phone ringing when it is not,hearing voices calling her name.All of these things seem to be getting worse, so we chose to take her off the two medicines, the generic Aricept and the generic Zoloft.which we felt we causing much of the problem. Her primary care doctor said it was worth a try, so he prescribed another medicine that should help to some degree.The straw that broke the camel's back was an episode that occurred at my house during our family's Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve night. After putting her to bed, like I have always done, I left the door ajar, so as to peek in on her occasionally.When I went to check on her, the door was locked and she had barricaded herself in the bedroom by piling the wheelchair and anything else she could find,in front of the door. With the help of my son-in-law, I managed to get inside. She was crouched up in a desk chair with an arm full of quilts over herself,clutching 2 bottles of hand lotion. When I questioned her as to what she was doing, she was convinced there was a wild party going on,with lots of drinking,me included, and I do not drink. She claimed I was taking pictures of her in all sorts of compromising positions and putting them on the Internet.She would not be convinced that none of this was happening. She was sure there were lots of strange men out there trying to get in to harm her. She wanted me to call the police so they could take her to a safe place.When asked about the hand cream,she replied that her needed something for protection, and that was all she could find.When asked how she had the strength to pile all of those things in front of the door,when she is not able to get to the bathroom alone,and she replied that when your life is threatened, you can do a lot more than you think you can.I sat with her and tried to calm her down enough to get through the night,which I finally did after about an hour, but she would not be convinced that I had not done the things she had accused me of.She calmed down enough to finish the night out,here with me, but the following morning was Christmas day, and we had planned to drive her to Rita's home that morning. With all of the confusion, I decided to take her straight back to her home. Since she has gotten down and so bad, we had moved her back into her big house. She has not liked that at all, but with us having to care for her around the clock,we felt it was necessary to make that move.She still struggles with that.She asks daily, if she will ever get to go back to her home,meaning the garage apartment we built for her after Dad's death. She was very uncomfortable in the main house by herself. In the garage apartment,she felt much safer.Not so many windows and doors at her back at every turn.She has lived in the garage apartment for 11 years now, so I am sure she misses that home. For one person, it worked just fine, but for several,it was too cramped.No room for all of the equipment she was using to function on a day to day basis.I am sure that is a contributing part of her confusion,being forced from her home, even though, when I explained to her that we really needed to move back into the big house for various reasons,she did say she did not want to be the one to hold us back from proceeding with the plan.She said she was ready to move.Without a doubt, I am sure she would not remember having said that, if asked now.

The doctor gave us a new medication for Mom. It is called Mirtazapine.
Her appetite is greatly improved, and the horrible side effects,presumably from the previous medicines, are lessening to some degree. We are trying our best to build her up a bit. With a horrible head and chest cold,as well as the limited use of her legs,and a next to none appetite, she has fallen back greatly. We are trying to build her up as much as possible, but she has gotten so low and lost so much weight, we feel our trying is in vain. We try to encourage her to think positive, but she is convinced she is dying. She has given up,for the most part, and sleeps most of the time.She had a long bout with pain this past month or so after falling the first time. We were giving her ibuprofen and tramadol for pain every four hours for several weeks.Then she described the pain as being in her hip and going down her leg,with some twitching in her leg,making it sound like sciatica to us.We decided it was due to her sitting and sleeping in that recliner that she uses for a bed,against our wishes,but her being so stubborn and headstrong, we let her sleep there.Now that we have decided it is a sciatica problem, we have been working with various seating and sleeping set ups,thus relieving that pain. Now her pain meds have dropped off to a minimum and long periods with no pain meds.She still has lots of trouble remembering many things.She does not remember ever seeing many of the things she once used,much less how to use them,but memories of her youth and various other portions of her life are very vivid in her memory.She gets confused as to who we are.Her own children. She cries a lot for her children never caring enough to come and visit, even though she lay dying.She says she thought your children would come when she was nearing death,but yet no one comes.I,of all people, understand that Mom has always had a bad habit of speaking before she thinks about how her words will be perceived by others, and many times the words she speaks,do hurt the feelings of the one she might be speaking to, but after 65 years of knowing how Mom is, I know by now that she will never change. It does no good to correct her or scold her for the way she speaks to others. It only makes things worse by trying.She always ends up in tears when confronted about the words she used that offended some one, but as we all know,a spoken word can never be recalled.

It's hard having to hear her longing for her children to be around her at this time, but Rita and I try to comfort her, the best we can.She worries about never seeing her siblings and their families again. They live so far away in Louisiana.She worries about never getting to go to church again. Her life has evolved around her church,where ever she has lived, since she was a teenager,when she first accepted Christ as her Saviour.Rita and I both pray for peace for Mom daily.Mom even prayed aloud,herself, one day recently,something Mom has never done.She has always had a lengthy prayer list at the end of each day. Many times, she has told me about falling to sleep before she had completed her prayer list.Mom has always had trouble practicing what she preached, but who of us is so perfect,we can judge her on her short comings?I'm sure she did the best she could with the tools she had.She has once had the mind of a college professor, due to her own self educating,but now she has forgotten most of what she once knew.I only hope am am half as strong a person as my Mother has been. She has endured a lot of pain in her life time. The most pleasure she has gotten from life was having her nine children, and even that has jumped up to bite her.Only God knows why,during our lifetime,we must endure so many twists and turns,heart ache and pain, before it ends? Mom has read the Bible through numerous times and I am sure,even she,does not understand why she must suffer the way she is, here at the end of her life.

P.S. She had a great experience today. Her beloved friend, Joe Stampley, sent her a copy of his latest CD. That cheered her up tremendously. They have kept in touch for years. Mom is one of his greatest fans and when she was able, she would attend many of his concerts,whenever they were near her home.

I see they've made some changes.

I have been away for awhile, caring for Mom, who has Alzheimer's, and now I see Blogger has made some changes. I can no longer upload my pictures from my usual source, and until I learn what I need to do, I guess I will have no pictures.I only have 3 days a week at my home and that is usually spent catching up on the laundry,the dishes,sweeping,mopping,vacuuming. You know the usual stuff.

I did accomplish a few things today though which helped me to feel a bit more relaxed and less stressed out.Pop spent his day doing what he always does. Visiting with the locals,helping some, then just visiting others.He spent the early part of his day with his daughter.They eat breakfast out together most Wednesdays.When the Flea Market is up and running, they visit that.Then they visit Walmart and do a little shopping. I have those few hours to myself to do whatever I want, around the house.Today I chose to go to town and fill out the application for my health insurance. I turn 65 in February and will be going on Medicare, so I must make some changes to my insurance. I will need to change doctors for my new plan. The one I have been using is not in the network.Each plan has a list of doctors you must use in order for your fees to be covered.I don't understand a lot of it, but hopefully, my agent is giving me proper guidance in choosing the plan that's best for me.

I drove 22 miles to meet with him and sign the necessary forms. Once we were finished there, I browsed the Bath and Body Works,since I had not had a chance to order any soap from my friend,Terry,of Urania's Inspirations.Sorry,Terry.I've not forgotten you. I'll be back.I picked up some real bargains,but I am afraid I might be allergic to some of their scents. They have a return and/or exchange policy,but I doubt I use it. They have another big sale in June. I may simply wait and try a few new fragrances then.My nose is so sensitive to some scents.

Then,I did a little grocery shopping and bought myself one of those new fancy Orgreenic Skillets.It better last since it cost me $30.I greased it good and put it in the oven on 300 degrees for 1 hour,like they said. It recommends doing that every 6 months.I hate using those skillets with the Teflon coating. No matter how much you pay for them,it still comes off eventually, in your food, and it causes cancer.This skillet is Eco-friendly. Contains no harmful PFOA.(The EPA has requested the total elimination of PFOA use in manufacturing by 2015.) It contains a space age structural coating composed with ceramic which is Mother Nature's own natural minerals.The ceramic non-stick coating  is bonded to aluminum which allows for even heat and avoid hot spots.If this skillet is what they say it is, I should never need to buy another,ever. We'll just have to see how that pans out.

I did a few loads of laundry and dishes.Took a 30 minute nap. Joined Pop for a cup of coffee, out behind the garage, where he has been adding a shed for his new tractor.He wanted me to see his handy work.I don't like him climbing when no one is out there with him,but some days he does it anyway. Some days the neighbors drop by to critique his work.He hates when they do that,but,nevertheless,building the new shed has kept Pop busy while I'm away,caring for Mom.

I fixed steak and potatoes with a side dish of mixed greens for supper.We're not much on green salads that often, and we do need the roughage.We both love greens.

Pop took me out last night, since we don't get to spend that much quality time together nowadays, and I was really exhausted anyway.The food was good,and we ate plenty,although the entire service started out to be a real catastrophe.Pop was craving a baked potato since he must limit potatoes, with his sugar problem.They were out of baked potatoes.He ordered home fries, but they were taking so long, he went to the food bar and dished us up a huge plate of mashed potatoes and gravy,daring them to say anything about it. I was supposed to have gotten potatoes with my liver and gravy,which I did not. We got no bread for either of us until we were nearly finished with our meal.Then they brought Pop's Texas toast he had requested up front,when we ordered. I got no bread at all,and my cole slaw tasted a bit off. Pop would love to have blown his top, but I begged him to be nice,so he restrained himself. He can get quite ugly when he gets poor service.I,personally, eat what I'm served, and never complain.We visited with a good friend while we waited,so the time went by quickly while our meal was coming together.I doubt we eat there again for quite a while, if we ever do.

P.S. I got a really nice camera for Christmas. I sure hate to think I got it for naught if I cannot post pictures any longer. That was my main reason for wanting the camera.Drat!!! I'll do some research and hopefully, learn what I need to do before my next post.