Children are a Joy

Even at somber occasions like funerals kids are a joy to the heart.

Verna’s funeral was today. (Cheryl’s cousin) Visitation was in church before the mass. Children playing hide and seek before mass in amongst the pews seems irreverent to many adults but not to me. The joy in their hearts shouldn’t be squashed or demeaned in any way. Some were wearing kitty ears. Some were wearing pigtails. All were dressed in their Sunday best because they were going to great Grandma’s funeral.

Funerals can be sad but not with kids around. One little guy spotted his Nana. He went to visit and scored a bag of fruit snacks. Nana is good for a treat. The same little guy needed the restroom in the middle of mass and upon the return decided to get back as fast as he could to Daddy. His father smiled and laughed with him when he returned. (Mom was more somber.)

Roman Catholic funeral mass liturgy is full of hope. There is a format but less ritual. The opening hymn was “Morning has Broken“. It is a good one full of hope and cheeriness. I always will hear Cat Stevens’ (Yusaf Islam) beautiful rendition of it in my head and because I like his music, the music of my youth, I know all the words.

Verna’s son, in his eulogy remarks, commented that someone had told him that he was now an orphan. I suppose one could say that since both of his parents had passed from this life but looking around the church full of family, children, grandchildren and friends, it seemed a poor term to describe this part of his journey through life.

Cheryl found and met with a couple cousins she had not seen for years.

She is making the snicker-doodles we started last night.

Carpe Diem.

Inspiration in Song and Poetry

I often find hope and inspiration in song and poetry. Today while reading blogs of others I tripped over this from Filosofa’s Word. Kermit and his rainbow song.

To me and I suppose many, poetry and song are the same thing. A song with a melody that is catchy enables a poor poem to live. A sweet expressive poem often needs no accompaniment. Sometimes the music is first and inspires the poem. Sometimes the poem is first and inspires the melody.

A favorite poem Desiderata sort of sums up life. It has no metre. It follows a prose format. I find it to be calming to my heart. I have not read it for a while but reading Jill’s blog page about caused me to do that today.

Carpe Diem and keep connected to everyone around you.

New Year’s Day

We had a great visit from all the kids and many of the grandkids. On New Year’s Eve I spontaneously asked our children if they had anything special planned for New Year’s Day. I asked if not would they like to gather around our table for a meal in the afternoon. I suggested about 4-ish. They all said yes.

I stole this idea from Frank C. Church. Thank you, Frank for a spontaneously good time.

Who can tell? Maybe a new family tradition? Traditions have to start somewhere. They are kept up if everyone has a good time participating. Zachary certainly had a good time. He had not seen grandma’s marble race before so Mom and Gavin helped him put it together.

Most importantly Cheryl got to have everyone at her house. She smiled and laughed at the conversation and activity. It was simply wonderful to see her smile.

Her smile and laughter are less as we head on our journey of Parkinson. Yesterday was very special to her and to me.

Carpe Diem. And don’t forget to connect!

Back in the Olden Days

Gift wrap at a department store was free for purchases from that store. The malls often had a bunch of girl scouts or boy scouts wrapping boxes and raising money for their troop. If you did not want to get stuff wrapped boxes were available from the department store. (With their logo)

That slowly faded away over time. It was part of the season and might still be there but I have not shopped in a department store for several years. Parkinson disease interlaced with dementia does not enable that to occur with ease. I lament that fact.

This year we did spend some time shopping at J C Penney. Cheryl has always liked Penney’s store. It is one of the few department store chains still surviving after Federated Department Stores sucked up many of the littler ones and became Macy’s. A couple days ago a nice gentleman gave us a couple coupons on the way in the door at J C Penney and bid us well as we began our shopping experience. Later when we had a bunch of carefully selected gifts piled onto Cheryl’s walker and headed to the front to purchase them, he saw us coming and as the line to check out was long he asked the woman staffing the cosmetics counter who was idle to check us out. She smiled and said sure she would do that.

As we approached the counter to do that another frantic old woman who had just come in the door barged in front of us and asked the cosmetic counter staff if she could “pay her bill here” because the line was too long to stand in.

Two things I have not thought about perhaps ever in my life; driving to the actual department store to make a minimum payment on an invoice that was sent to me via USPS, something that can be done by return mail and manifesting surprise at the length of the checkout line at 1 PM on a Sunday afternoon two weeks before Christmas. Perhaps she could not afford a stamp or did not have a stamp and the bill was due on Monday. This woman decided to chat with me about those things while the woman behind the counter opened a different computer to access the billing records and accept the $35 minimum payment on her J C Penney account and applied it to the customer’s Visa account. It is easy to understand how cash strapped elderly women get over their head in debt. (Sorry, that was unkind.) I did not chat. I merely stood silent and waited while Cheryl stood there looking tired.

Eventually the nitwit was gone and the cosmetic woman picked up our purchases on her counter and said, I need to get some larger shopping bags. She was gone for about 20 seconds. She checked us out and I helped put the stuff in the bags because she had very little space on her cosmetics counter.

We completed our purchase and I thanked the woman for allowing us to check out with her. She smiled. Perhaps no one had thanked her for helping them that day.

As we left the store I noticed that the long line had dissipated. I remarked about that to the gentleman who was still staffing the door passing out coupons. He smiled and wished us a good afternoon.

Carpe Christmas shopping Diem.

Full On Baking Mode

Well Thanksgiving is tomorrow, Christmas is a couple days afterward and then Easter is the following week. Cheryl thinks that anyway, so, we are all decorated for Christmas (Soon to be Easter) Season.

Yesterday I made banana nut bread out of some soon to be brown bananas purchased specifically for that purpose. Here is the result.

Later today we will make the sugar cookie recipe that Cheryl remembers as a child and later on she made when our kiddos were small. As you can see the Mirro cookie press booklet has been though many cookie wars. (The cookie press itself has been replaced many times.) I am in the process of transcribing these recipes for posterity but I suppose if I look hard enough I could find them elsewhere on the internet of all knowledge. I am not very busy. One more thing is okay.

The cookie dough has been hanging out in the fridge overnight so it should be perfect today.

Carpe Diem

Foolish Man.

It was a less than brilliant idea of mine. We are backing into full on Christmas shopping mode. Today as we left her exercise class Cheryl asked, What should we have for lunch? Usually she is asking what sorts of leftover foods are in residence in our refrigerator. While I am stalling to think about what is in the fridge I asked her if she wanted to go to lunch in our favorite diner. She said yes.

Our neighbor works at this little lunch place in our little town. Carrie was working this day and we chatted and caught up for a bit. We had lunch and Cheryl mentioned that she thought there was something she needed to shop for but could not remember what it was. I was my helpful self and reminded her that she wanted to get some new slippers. I had bought her some Minetonka moccasins a couple years ago online and she had worn them enough that they were getting beat up. I suggested that we could find a shoe store and look for slippers. (FOOLISH MAN) I found the nearest Shoe Carnival and after checking online discovered that they had a couple varieties of lady’s slippers to choose from. (Why do I make suggestions and eventually order for her in a restaurant and never transfer that information to other similar situations. Why?)

I am taking her to a shoe store. (foolish man) Their slippers are in the back near the clearance racks. Foolish men think that they are going to zip in, get some slippers that fit, and slip out. That is why they are referred to as foolish ignorant men. Part of the X that men do not get at birth lies on the 27th chromosome near the end – SHOPPINGFORSHOES – the shopping sequence genome. The combination of the leather, vinyl, foam and cardboard pheromones commingle to trigger this gene sequence into action. It is remarkable that even a dopamine deficiency can be overwhelmed by this gene to enable the lame to walk with confidence. All balance issues disappear. A study should be made about this phenomenon.

I realized that I had taken her to a place that was significantly worse than a restaurant menu. I gave in and helped. We rejected with sadness all four-inch heels (although there was a woman my daughter’s age there shopping nearby that looked good in them.) Also rejected were those with pointy toe boxes on them. Too much toe repair to fit in that configuration any longer. Cheryl has walking shoes, some slippers and a couple pairs of Easy Spirit black flats. She has no lighter beige/tan/sand colored shoes if she is looking for “something different”. She wanted to think about and make a list of candidates for later. I suggested I could take pictures of the boxes to save for later. She replied that’s a good idea. After an hour and a half we left with pictures, notes and slippers.

Foolish man.

Carpe Diem.

Ought, Cough, Bough

Wordle is a game that makes me happy. I found that thought in my head after finding the wordle answer a couple days ago. It matters not that I needed one guess or five guesses. There is no competition. (And yet there is someone on the World Wide Wait that needs to explain to me why it is popular.) It is a personal challenge. It is the first thing I open on my tablet in the morning, well, almost. Sometimes the book I was reading the night before opens itself and I read that for a little bit.

Cheryl is semi-sleeping now. I checked on her. She is “trying to decide” about getting up. We have no scheduled activities or she does not. Actually I do.

Early in the morning while she is in this mode, I have time to look at other things, check email, see what folks are whining about on Facebook. Facebook has a strange way of posting things on my “news feed”. Calendar time seems to have little to do with it, maybe, nothing to do with it. It must be a complicated algorithm. Ho Hum. After determining that there are no email, Facebook or other emergencies, I move on. It amuses me to notice how many folks will post something on a group page which might better be solved by picking up the phone, I look at WordPress to think and gain some inspiration to add to this blog of mine.

The statistics page is often of interest since much of the display intrigues me. Today this little display in the corner seems to report that someone in Thailand looked at my blog.

That in itself is not strange. Type a random thing into Google and it returns all sorts of unrelated finds. But all seven views were of an old post I entitled “Things that make you Happy” and I reread it this morning. I found inspiration in my own words.

Over the past weekend we visited with my cousin Bettie and her husband Herb. It is always a great time with family and friends that we do not see that often. Bettie’s house is perhaps forty-five miles away south and east. It is a pleasant drive through the northern Kentucky countryside and for Cheryl it is a far away destination. On this particular weekend the hurricane that crossed Florida and came ashore at Georgetown, South Carolina had spread its cloud deck inland to eastern Ohio and Kentucky.

On the start of our trek it was bright and sunny. I aimed the car south and east towards Bettie and Herb’s place and drove under the cloud deck. Watching to sun go down from their front porch and side deck was magnificent. My son remarked to me that he had not seen a rainbow before. I do not know whether he meant ever or as brilliant as this one was. It was perfect timing for a follow up question but I did not ask him. Carpe the missed diem.

Like most things I have taken pictures of with the smartphone’s camera, the pictures do not capture the magnificent colors that were produced by nature. The rainbow produced by the narrow view the sun had of the under side of the cloud deck and upper misty air was brilliant and exceedingly bright. The pictures simply do not do it justice. But being there with family and friends and watching a unique sunset made me happy.

Happy to be alive and happy I was able to share the moment with Cheryl.

Carpe Diem

It was a Good Breakfast, Dear.

It is important to try making it into a nice day. A few weeks ago another Cheryl wrote on her blog – just let it go – or words to that effect. As we move further down this road of Parkinson I find ways to simply make life more enjoyable.

Cheryl likes egg bread. It is a memory from her childhood. My mother always called it french toast. I do not know what the French call it which sent me on a quest for knowledge from the internet of all knowledge. They call it pain perdu and that translates into lost bread. French toast (pain perdu) is always better if it is made with stale bread. It is better in my opinion if it is made from stale sourdough bread.

This morning I coaxed her awake with the thought of french toast with blue berries and a little whipped cream. This is a picture of mine. She was already eating hers when I decided to take this picture. She had slept late today but it is a good day.

French toast (aka eggbread)

“It was a good breakfast, dear”, she said to me as I was loading my plate into the dishwasher. We have no real plans for today. Perhaps I will take her for ice cream later in the afternoon. Perhaps not. We will just go with the flow today.

Carpe Diem

A Never Ending Search

Breakfast

In my never ending search for a good day for Cheryl, this morning I went to a little donut shop near us and bought a dozen from Maggie. I had not purchased donuts from Maggie for some time.

Linda was coming over today to sit with Cheryl. I was intending to ride my bike around Lunken and the Ohio river trail. I asked Linda what kind of donuts she liked last night. The chocolate iced ones are hers. I sent this picture to her in a text this morning. She appeared early.

The donuts were only hours old. Ron makes them overnight.

Donuts used to be $11 a dozen with coffee. Today they were $14 a dozen without coffee. That is twenty-seven per cent more for you math weenies out there. It might be more considering the coffee. Inflationary pressure has finally come to donuts. Gasoline prices are down. Donuts are up. Darn.

I went to ride my bike. When I had returned Natalie was almost finished cleaning our little condo.

I made chicken Parmesan for dinner. We went to a little ice cream shop for dessert.

It was another good day.

Carpe Diem.

Dressing the Bed

When I make the bed in the morning, lots thoughts run through my mind.  I imagine that everyone does this or at least everyone who makes the bed consistently. I recognize that not everyone dresses the bed in the morning before work or other chores. These days it is often a necessity.

I once remarked to my sister-in-law as we traveled to our pizza Tuesday destination or some other dinner destination and she asked Cheryl, “Is this a good day?” that it is a good day. There is no extra laundry. As this disease moves on occasionally there is extra laundry.  That there is none does not equate to a good day so it was just a stupid comment. Uncalled for as I looked back on it this morning while getting the extra laundry in the mixed load started.

Laundry is one of those chores I never did before this disease. It crept into my life four or five years ago. Now I am defensive about my methods and organization of it.

But what started me down this meditative road this morning was not laundry, it was the thought of a good day.

A week or so ago on the family chat text session, Ken remarked that he could get pizza delivered to his slip where he docked his pontoon boat at the lake he lives near. I texted him late in the evening to ask if he was up for pizza Tuesday and early in the morning he said he was. Her face lit up when I told her that Ken was coming for pizza Tuesday.

A few days ago I asked her brothers and sisters to spend more time with Cheryl or simply call on the phone to chat. It is something she really enjoys. It is also something that is difficult for her to do on her own with her current diminished cognitive ability. Tonight her brother is coming to share pizza.

She probably will not remember he is coming until she sees him.

And Ken being Ken was already there when we got to the restaurant from the occupational therapy session this afternoon. Her face lit up again. He slipped into the back of the booth we selected across from Cheryl. They talked about family. Cheryl occasionally struggled to find a word or a name. Ken waited. They talked more about old times that had occurred in this very restaurant when it had a different name.

It was a great visit. Cheryl thanked me for the great evening. I thank Ken for his patience and gracious support and understanding of his sister’s struggles.

It was a good day.

Carpe Diem.