Friday, December 24, 2021

So this is Christmas

Tonight, the sun was beneath the horizon and there was that unbelievably beautiful orange glow behind the distant trees. I looked up to see several planets in the night sky. They were roughly in a row. 

People sometimes don't understand how some of us are connected to the natural world. That beauty and permanence is something that takes the troubles of this world off my shoulders. I can't help but think how small we are in the history of mankind and the size of the universe. With or without us, it all will continue to exist.

I've never learned to totally let go of people. I read in the paper about a woman who wanted to stop staying in contact with her ex-husband since their only child was grown, married and a mother. My thoughts were I thought that was the idea of a divorce.

But the truth is, I'm one who holds on to people. My huge problem is my sister who had a stroke. Quite honestly, she was not an easy person before her stroke. There is a movie about Lucille Ball. Her daughter recommended that the writer Aaron Sorkin to take off the "kid gloves". Her mother was not an easy person.

Me, I am a bullshikser from the word go. I'm always persuading people to the point I need to just state the facts and let it go. This is my gift and my disadvantage and a portion of the problem in helping my sister. Humor is an oil and yet a greasy mess at times. 

In dealing with nursing homes and assisted living, it is important to know they have the upper hand. They have a product you have to have for your sanity and the welfare of your loved one. They know the brick walls to throw up and hassle you. And frankly, I know in time I may live in one the facilities. My dad was scared of living in a nursing home. I understand too well. My experiences will delay my going into assisted living as long as I can.

My sister hates where she lives. She is diabetic and is eating sweets which is just about the worst thing a diabetic can do. Her doctor has dropped her. I cannot get another doctor until the end of March. She has a pre-existing appointment with an endocrinologist on March 9th. The facility where my sister lives does not have an in house doctor. Nor can they have someone like my sister who does not have a doctor.

My short term solution was she could live with me. She came home for the holidays and immediately wanted to go back to her place at the Assisted Living which is a good thing. Rude is not the word for her abuse of me. So that solution is not going to happen. Well it may happen. My thoughts is she wants to do a bad business deal like sell her house for a small amount of money. Whenever she is going to do something like that, the first thing she does is get rid of me. 

I'm going to a lawyer and hopefully they can give me some good advice. I don't want to do guardianship for my sister in that she will take me and the rest of my family to hell in a handbasket. I do not want to be legally responsible for someone who will deliberately thwart and make it difficult providing her the care she needs. I know I am not the only person with a difficult, handicapped person. Sometimes I consider writing her off and not contacting her and telling the social worker and nursing home; I am out of here.

On another note, a writer I truly admire has had some horrible blows. Her husband who had dementia passed. There is the guilt of trying to take care of someone with dementia. That guilt is amazing in that taking care of someone with dementia is so very difficult. The other harsh part is she knows she is dying. I will say she appears to have a support system of friends. So my problem is not good. But I am not dying or grieving. 

The plight of refugees fleeing. They leave everything behind towards uncertainty and abuse. I can't imagine having to do that.

It's an older movie. I had tried to watch the movie several times. One day, everything slowed down and I actually paid attention. It was Brighton Beach Memoirs which was a semi-autobiographical story by Neil Simon. The film was followed by two more movies which are Biloxi Blues and Broadway Bound. I've never watched the latter movies. But Brighton Beach Memoirs really touched me. The father made me think of my own father. They had family from Europe who were escaping the conditions in Germany. Although it was the 1930s and times were tough; the dad says they will find a way to house and feed these people. 

There is something about the Christmas season that is disappointing. To be content is something I have to remind myself all the time.

I remember as a child some pretty fun Christmas days. One of my sisters was born on December 23rd. My mom remembers coming home and finding pieces of candy throughout the house for the longest time. I remember we got skates. Dad didn't want us out on the road. So we skated in circles on the pine floors of our house. Mom said the floors were really scuffed with black marks from all our skating. But somehow, my dad had cleaned all her pots and pans so shiny like they were brand new. I was six that Christmas. So all my stories are hearsay at that time. But I remember it being fun and the skates. My dad knew how to throw a Christmas.

I have purchased a standing rib roast for Christmas. Without my sister, I felt a bit sad that she would not be with us. But the folks at home are game to eat roast beef. I've never cooked a rib roast before. I understand it is not quite as good a cut as prime rib. I've been studying how to cook the meat. I live in the South. We like food done. So our roast will be cooked a might more than other folks would cook it. We don't like red or pink meat. My family are not huge meat eaters. I looked for the smallest roast they had. It is huge. We will be eating sandwiches the next day which will be a huge disappointment to all our dogs under the table.. 

We are also making a Yorkshire pudding. We don't eat much so it will be a small one. Peas and carrots will round out the meal. I'm sure the dogs will quibble over the bits of Yorkshire pudding we share. Truth be told, we will be sneaking meat to each of them. I would invite others. With Covid, I am reluctant to invite others. I am mindful when I go into my sister's assisted living that I could be ground zero for a Covid infection. Plus, I don't know that any in my household would survive. I already know several who have died of Covid. We do have the vaccinations. Next week, we are getting our boosters.

So it will be Christmas. Some good, some bad, but a roof over our heads and a fine meal to boot. I can't complain. It will be 73 degrees and sunny. I'll be working outdoors after dinner. 

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Christmas Letters

 Christmas Letters, You either love them or hate them. I only get one long missive each Christmas. The letter writer is a friend from over twenty years ago and she and her sister were like family to me. I have mostly enjoyed her letters. My mother enjoyed the letters too although she only knew them through what I have said.

But one year it was too much. It wasn't really the letter's intent. It was more my longing for things I have missed in life. 

The production workers in the Kentucky candle factory where so many died in the spate of tornadoes this past weekend made $8 an hour. I've been that worker. I remember making 70 cents an hour at the Tastee Freeze. I felt most fortunate to occasionally pull a second shift and raking in that cash. 70 cents times 8 hours extra. There was no overtime. I worked seven days a week. That job paid for my first year of college. I had the luxury of banking all of my money which I doubt many in the candle factory had. I wasn't exactly that worker in retrospect. 

Living through a tornado, woo doggie, I can't even imagine. I live in the land of tornadoes. I remember walking my dogs, the weather was pleasant between rain storms, my cell phone rang. It was the owners of the property across the road from me. They were asking about a tornado. I said, there was no tornado. I came back into my house and turned on the news. About four miles from me as the crow flies, there had been horrific damage from a tornado. The bank I used was totally demolished. Only the vault remained on it's concrete base. 

On another occasion, there was a teacher who was sheltering in her bath tub. The twister totally demolished her double wide home. It tossed her into the back yard. She sustained a broken ankle. It's obvious she did not return. It is now an empty lot in the country.

The funniest twister story was the inebriated man who was hurled from his home into his backyard unhurt and unfazed due to his drunken state. I don't imagine he found it that funny the next day. That is why I sleep in a bra. I'm prepared to come barreling out of my house come hell or high water. 

My Christmas letter is very simple. 

I am still here. Most of the people I love are still here. 

I still have hopes and dreams. 

The house is a mess. 

My dog BoDuke has arthritis like me. It's hard to keep a dynamo down. But I am insisting he use his little stairs and no longer take a flying jump to give one of the cats or dogs what for. I remind myself to stand up straight  

I've started a new flower bed.

Maybe, I will make it to Bouchercon in Minneapolis this September.

My field of Goldenrod are grayish white puffs of flowers. They are still beautiful in the sunlight.

Life is lot of luck no matter how well you plan.

I am still here.

I wish you the best this Christmas.

With love, Ann


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