Monthly Archives: October 2015

This is a sad week for my family.

My mother was moved into a memory care unit at her retirement community. She and her husband moved to the community a year ago with the idea that someday this would happen. What no one expected is that someday would arrive so fast. But it is here and it is time that she moves to a space in which she will be well cared for, kept safe and no longer a full time burden to those who love her.

The reality is that the person who was once my mother is mostly gone. There is still a joyful person inside, but she is mostly anonymous, with no past, no future, and only a present and that is short term at best. The many details that make up a long, full and rich life are largely gone from her memory.

Seeing my mother’s life reduced to circumstances that I know would appall her is beyond sad, beyond grief, beyond words. And now to have to stop living with her beloved is just heart breaking.

While I grieve her lost memories, reduced life and our relationship, I also worry that perhaps this is my future too – all children of parents with Alzheimer’s worry about this.

I know that as we age, all of us suffer from some short term memory loss; this is normal and to be expected. But since my mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis any little blips in my memory are a frightening reminder of what might be in store for me. The bottom line is that none of us are promised a long and healthy life. Anything can happen.

Each of us has the possibility of coming down with some catastrophic disease or suffering from misfortune. I have written a little bit some of what I have experienced: the random murder 38 year ago of a beloved cousin in Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop; my cancer adventures; several years ago I shared a post from a friend whose son tragically died way too young, In This I Will Find Beauty; as well as a few posts about my mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Because of my experience with tragedy, medical scares and other random events, I have always been a sucker for quotes that tell us to “LIVE AS IF THERE WAS NO TOMORROW” or “NO REGRETS,” because we are not promised tomorrow no matter how healthy we eat, how much we exercise or how often we meditate.

Years ago I chose a quote for my highschool yearbook page, that I felt drawn to then and still holds sway with me today.

“If I Had My Life to Live Over

I’d dare to make more mistakes next time. I would relax. I would limber up. I’d be sillier than I have been in this life. I’d take fewer things seriously. I’d take more chances, more trips. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I’d eat more ice cream and less beans. Perhaps I would have more troubles, fewer imaginary ones.

You see I’m one of those people who lived sensibly and sanely hour and hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments but if I had to do it all over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else, just moments one after another instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, hot water bottle, raincoat and parachute. If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter. If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I’d go to more dances, ride more merry-go-rounds, pick more daisies.” – an 85 year old woman

So in honor of my mother, who can no longer take a juicy bite out of life, I will laugh too loud, take up too much space, make tons of mistakes, apologize with an open heart, and love fiercely.



As a blogger, I enjoy sharing my ideas and thoughts with people, and I get a special thrill when someone leaves a comment. When you share my posts on social media sites, I jump up and down doing a happy dance. So thank you!

Making our House a Home

One of the nice things about our latest move is that we bought and/or were gifted some new items (both large and small) that we have both really enjoy having in our new place.

Spice Rack Spice Rack Open

My father, his wife & my sister gifted us this gorgeous hand carved spice rack that holds all 50 spice jars that I have and we put in the dining area, by the kitchen. It is as much a piece of art as it is practical. The photos don’t do it justice.

Doorbell Deliveries

This is a Ring Doorbell that is connected to an app so it rings on my phone or tablet when someone is at the front door—whether or not we are home. And it records on video the whole interaction. We are thinking of installing one at the back door instead of using the cheesy sign I hung up telling people to go to the front.

Door

We have three outside doors and we installed coded door locks on all of them. We no longer carry house keys, which is great. And I can program codes for visiting friends and family without having to worry about finding them a copy of our keys.

Of course not everything I bought was a success. After we closed on our place, but before we moved in, I picked out new living room furniture against the advice I received from friends and family—they all said to wait until we actually moved in before buying. Since new furniture takes 12 weeks to show up, I wanted to get a jump on the timeline. The result was furniture I picked out was all wrong: too large, wrong colors, not my style. It lasted less than five days in my home before it was picked up and returned to the store. Bad news was that it took another 12 weeks for the new pieces I ordered to arrive, but the good news is the new pieces are very comfortable and I love our new living room!

Furniture

A photo of the furniture before it was returned. We covered it up so that we didn’t damage it. I couldn’t wait to get it out of my home.

New living More New Living

Our new living room, with a rug I bought almost 30 years ago that we were not able to use in our last home, but works great in this one. We opted for two matching love seat couches, a leather recliner with a matching ottaman along with two end tables and a sofa table in dark mahogany wood. I need to figure out what colors to paint som accent walls in the living/dining area to tie it all together, but this time I am taking my time.

All in all we are very happy with our new place. I remember my sister-in-law telling me that she loves walking into her home since they renovated it and feels lucky she gets to live there. I now understand what she meant as I feel the same everytime I enter our new home.

 

 

 

 

 



As a blogger, I enjoy sharing my ideas and thoughts with people, and I get a special thrill when someone leaves a comment. When you share my posts on social media sites, I jump up and down doing a happy dance. So thank you!

The Book Prescriber is in!

Left to Write

I have always been intrigued by the power of books to affect our lives so profoundly that we change, grow, move-on, get over, become different by just reading them. It has been my experiences that reading certain books can profoundly heal and/or change our lives. Whether it is through imaging what the characters are going through so strongly that we change or by reading their cautionary tale we become different, just by reading the book. So I am always on the lookout for books that are ‘life-changing,’ novels and non-fiction alike.

Books that inspire us ourselves came up as a topic of conversation seven years ago, when I reached out to an ex-best friend – someone I thought I would be friends with forever – on her 50th birthday. Have you ever had a friend with whom you just clicked? With whom it felt like she just ‘got” you and vice versa? With this particular friend I felt that we would be friends forever. Sadly this relationship did not last.

I have been lucky in that I have formed quite a few of these friendships and had various best friends over the years. But also unlucky in that so many of them have faded away. For this particular woman, we stopped being friends decades ago; she became another name on a long list of lost girlfriends.

I remembered her birthdate and called on her 50th birthday. After catching up on husbands, kids, careers, etc. I asked what she had done to mark the event. I was intrigued and inspired by what she told me.

She had had a party, invited dear friends, asking each to bring a ‘life-changing’ book as a gift. The book could be motivational, or inspirational or aspirational, fiction or non-fiction but it had to have made an impact or difference to the gift-giver’s life.

Of course we’ve lost touch again – picking up some relationships after 25+ years is just not possible – but I have thought about her clever book party theme since then. I would love to have a list of books that have the power to change our lives. Think of it, if you are feeling depressed or sad or blue, wouldn’t it be great to have a list of books that are perfect for elevating your mood, a book pharmacy of sorts.

Feeling blue over a dead-end career? There are books for that! Feeling wistful as an empty nester? There are books for that! Longing for a long lost friend? There are books for that! Looking for help to get over a broken heart? There are books for that!

This is one of the main themes for the book, The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George that I recently read for my online book club, From Left to Write. It is about a book seller who calls himself a literary apothecary set in France who obviously knows and loves books.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go into a book store feeling one way and walk out with a prescription for a book that would help heal you or energize you or raise your spirits or calm your anxiety? This is what I imagined the inspiring books themed party that my friend described to be like.

There have been quite a few movies about small, independent bookstores with delightful book sellers encouraging people to buy some books and discouraging them from buying others, basically trying to make a difference in someone’s life. Two that come to mind are Hugh Grant’s character in Notting Hill and Meg Ryan’s in You’ve Got Mail. And while I love watching movies, there is nothing that compares to a book in my mind for elevating my mood, changing my perspective or inspiring me.

Two of the many books mentioned in The Little Paris Bookshop that I had heard of and loved were The Elegance of the HedgeHog by Muriel Barbery and The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim.

So while I don’t have any plans for an inspiring books themed party for my 55th birthday later this month, maybe I will host one for my 60th!

What life-changing books have you read? It would be wonderful to share and compare book lists!

Disclosure: This post was inspired by the novel The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George, where Monsieur Perdu–a literary apothecary–finally searches for the woman who left him many years ago. Join From Left to Write on October 8th as we discuss The Little Paris Bookshop. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.



As a blogger, I enjoy sharing my ideas and thoughts with people, and I get a special thrill when someone leaves a comment. When you share my posts on social media sites, I jump up and down doing a happy dance. So thank you!