Thursday, October 27, 2022

Deep thoughts when I ought to be dreaming.

 What is it about 3 am. I'm awake. I remember when I was younger, I could really do some sleeping. All I had to do was lay my head on my pillow and I was out until the alarm rang and I used the snooze button usually one too many times.. 

What surprises me the most is that I function quite well on about four hours of sleep. I can't do that every night. But one or two nights a week and I am fine. However, if I sit down in a chair around 5 PM, I fall into a deep sleep until about 10 PM.. 3 am rolls around before I can fall sleep. I would get up and get busy but I don't want to stir the house up. 

If I fall asleep before say midnight, I sleep all night. My big problem is I have to unwind to go to sleep. With caregiving, you are on a unpredictable schedule. My big goal every day is to cook a good meal and to keep the dishes clean. I try to do one thing to get the clutter down in our home. Sometimes I am awake because I am mentally checking off what I will do the next day. Ridiculous, I know. I always made a list of what I needed to do to be prepared for the next day. The problem now is I stay awake making that list knowing dang well I am not going to do a fourth of what I plan. 

We are five packrats. Every week, I throw something away. It is a slow process because I guess I am a hoarder deep down inside. I look at things and see possibilities. Possibilities that just aren't going to happen. With Covid, people are not as keen on used items. Where I dump my recyclables, they have dumpsters for people to dump household furniture and large items. I try not to look too hard. I see good stuff in there. People throw plastic containers full of stuff. Good stuff. Good containers. I don't dare get it out. I've got trouble of my own. 

It is time I unload. We have some things that are of value. Some things have no value but have worth. I've got a building with all of one my sister's possessions when she moved in with us. I have a building of my mom's stuff. Like new Christmas decorations or at least they were when I packed them. Twenty years in storage can age things in a bad way. 

photo of nursing chair from the early 1800s
I retrieved a nursing chair out of a pile of garbage in front of a home in my childhood neighborhood. My parents had lived in the neighborhood about 50 years. Someone had cleared an attic. I took the chair to the antique roadshow. When the Keno brothers joked about what sort of rodent had chewed part of the deer hide seat, I knew it was worthless. The chair dated from the early 1800s. There is no market. I still have the chair. I can picture the woman who probably used it. The back legs were shortened so that they could lean back. I think of the woman who saved the chair. They probably had memories of their mother or grandmother. 

I would have returned the chair to the people who had lived in the house. I don't think they were the folks who put the chair in the attic. They were known to rent and lived in different houses in the neighborhood. Plus, they discarded the chair. Something like that needs to be displayed proudly So the kids will know what it is. 

One thing that I have heard from older people is how hard they had to work every day to get by. I remember ironing clothes. The perma press clothes we have now shake out to be perfectly presentable. When a load of laundry is done, I pop it in the dryer. I remember my mom hung clothes out on a line to dry. My dad teased me about getting me a solar clothes dryer (a clothes line). I now wish I had moved the clothesline posts to my new home when I moved my mom. 

My mother remembers when her Aunt Ludy bought a wringer washer which made their washdays so much easier. They no longer boiled some clothes and used a scrub board to wash some items. But the wringer washer did not have a spin cycle, You had to run the clothes through the two rollers to wring your clothes out. Hopefully no one dumps a wringer washer. I definitely don't need one. And yes, I would try to drag it home. 

The lottery got up to over a billion dollars. I bought tickets. We all speculated what we would do with such a handsome sum of money. One sister wanted me to hire her a personal assistant. The other was going to buy my house and the land behind me. Mom and I wanted to build another house with a large bedroom, bathroom and walk in closet for each of us. My brother probably would like us to buy an antique car. With that money, I could fund a lot of animal rescues, help a lot of people out of poverty. After I thought of all that, I was not that disappointed in not winning. That is a lot work deciding who to parcel money out to. Throwing your bread on the water is serious work.. More than I can handle I suppose. 

It is fun to dream. I could have opened up the Lady Diana doll museum. I'll write that fantasy in time. It should help with any insomnia you may be experiencing. ;=)

And if I could go to sleep earlier, I really could do some dreaming. lol  My mom is awake now. We resemble zombies staring at a Perry Mason show. I'm studying the old Perry Mason Show. The dead body shows up around 19 minutes after the hour. I don't know how many minutes that is without commercials. In the middle of the night, These are some of the deep thoughts I contemplate. I hope all is well with you. 

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Having your Maypops and eating them too.

 Whole lotta storms these past two weeks.. Yesterday the high was 82 which was a wonderful change from the average high of 100 degrees.. Although humid, I did a bit of yardwork. It did not take long for sweat to dampen my clothes. About 8PM I came in the house. Around 8:30, I thought I would push the mower a wee more. You have to get the maximum amount of dirty to make your shower most effective. Then I heard a heavy downpour of rain. I walked to the shower and cleaned up for the night.

When I walk I see the Maypops or Passion Fruits blooming. My mother tells how when the fruit turns brown, they are quite good. I would never know in that I see the fruit glossy and green hanging from the vines. They then just disappear. Mom tells how they make a popping noise when you step on them or throw one at another kid.  I have read the flavor for Hawaiian punch is based on a passion fruit that grows in Hawaii.

The flower is quite pretty but not so exotic as to grow them. Although they are native, they are also invasive and hard to control. My entire front pasture has them. Since some butterfly species use them as a nursery for their young and the animals that I share my yard with eat them. They are good.

I never cut all of my front pasture and certainly don't cut it during the summer. One thing I enjoy is walking around the front pasture during the gloaming and listening to the birds that live on the ground settling down for the night. This morning, there was a drizzle of rain and the sun was out. I jumped when I first saw a black King snake with small gold markings in the grass by my drive. The dogs and two cats who make the walk each morning did not take notice. I knew the cats had to know it was there. They don't miss much.

I would not dare to walk across this tangle of plants without a good pair of snake boots on. We do have rattle snakes. 

Taking care of my elderly mother has moved to a different level this past year. I spend the night in her room. Most nights she sleeps all night. I see her wake up during the night and check to make sure I am there. One night she was awake and angry. That morning she chastised me for telling people she was crazy. This all goes back to an incident with her seeing some kittens that did not exist. 

I decided to not pretend to see them.  We may cross that bridge one day. But now, a visit to the doctor was needed. They are doing a brain scan to check her out. I am not sure what they are checking for. I am guessing evidence of a minor stroke or plaque in the brain to diagnose Alzheimer's. We don't have Alzheimer's in the family but dementia does occur late in life. One of my aunts had mild dementia her last couple of years. This aunt was a very bright woman in her day.

Fortunately mom no longer sees the kittens and has decided I have not been gossiping about her. I understand where I get my sense of pride. She doesn't like I told the doctor what is wrong but as I told her, they can't treat you if they don't know the symptoms. I'm hoping they find nothing. Mom's thinking has cleared and hey late at night, I can think some wild things too.

There is so much rose colored admonitions of some truly tough parts of life. One I experience is the comment that I am lucky to have my mother. I often think of a child I taught whose mother was killed in a car accident. To lose your mom at 13 makes a difficult life. There are so few who are in your corner so solidly as your parents no matter how much they question your choices in career, spouses, child rearing, cooking.  

I'm glad to have my mother. But the duty is quite onerous. You have your mother and still enjoy being with them. You have your mother and a big part of your day revolves around keeping them tidy, making sure they have small nutritious meals which they may or may not eat, listening to very old stories and some surprising family secrets on occasion. I have enjoyed sitting more and being less busy working. 

I remember when I started this journey. My mom did not really need me. I have a developmentally delayed brother and this is why we all live together. I remember an older gentleman who shared that his mom lived with him for 26 years. I thought wow. You don't really think. The reality of life and death is nebulous in the beginning. We are on year 22. I hope we make it to 26.

My writing is  a welcome outlet. I try to not spend so much time surfing the web and writing instead. I'm a night owl and my day does not really end until about midnight. So I am wired when I first sit in the recliner that I sleep on.. I've discovered that I can play the television with sound as my mother snoozes. She doesn't have her hearing aids in. Television usually makes me conk out in no time. In a few minutes, I am sound asleep. 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

It’s Hot Here.

 It has gotten so hot outside that a few people have had their tires to blow out on them. Although I think climate change is a real thing; it is normal to have very hot weather here during the summer. Last summer, there were fires and all sorts of problems out west. We had a mild summer. Temperatures rarely got out of the 80s which is unusual here. Funny how the ocean currents in the Pacific El Nino and La Nina have such an effect on our weather. 

All the same, I hate 100 degree weather.

We have had a few evening thunder storms which is typical. With central heat and air, we have a bit of a buffer between the weather outside and my memories of summer as a child. No matter where you stood in the house I grew up in, you could look out a window. Houses were built to stay cool and circulate air. I remember during the day, curtains were drawn to keep sunlight out. Windows were open to keep the air moving. Large shade trees cooled the house in the summer. 

With their leaves gone in winter, sunlight heated the house. We all gathered in the kitchen for most of day during the winter. At one time, kitchens were a separate building outside the house. So if you had a fire in the kitchen, the entire house did not burn as a result. At night you covered up well with blankets and quilts to stay warm. Bedrooms were not heated. I remember very old people who would crawl under their homes to turn water off if the temperatures were going to be below freezing for a long time. No one wanted busted pipes.

My favorite memory as a child was running around shutting the window before a storm. I always liked the wildness of the winds. My older brother's neighbors are from California. Our storms instill a lot of fear in them. I find this amazing in that California has so much natural phenomenon, our little thunderstorms don't seem to compare. It is all in what you are used to I suppose.

I have been very lucky to never experience a tornado. I've had some be close. I've slept through winds that toppled large pecan trees. The funniest story which is not that funny if you experience it was a tornado that swept through in a neighboring area. No one was hurt. There was a lot of property damage. One man was swept out of his house but unharmed. He was drunk as a skunk and barely processed what happened.

On the back of my house under the eaves, a bird called a flycatcher has build a nest. I thought they had abandoned the nest last year. I have two cats that live on my back porch. They would watch the swift bird that was nervy enough to catch flies that were attracted to their left over cat food. They suddenly disappeared before a storm last year. I worried those two cats got their young.

This year, the nest was repaired. About a week ago, the nest was bustling with four smart aleck babies. They were on the edges, spreading their wings, obviously talking bird trash. That evening we had a big storm. The birds and their babies were gone the next morning. I guess mom and pop make haste when a storm brews and the cats move to a more sheltered spot. . And moves their family.

What I enjoyed the most is that the birds can be seen sitting on a fence post and flying back to a pear tree. I wonder where they all go after the storm each year. I have seen fly catchers in my side yard. With a horse farm near by, you know we got the flies. 

Nest with babies

Friday, June 17, 2022

I'm late for a very important date.

 I am so like the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. The least thing that can distract me makes me late. The other day, I was ready to go to the doctor about an hour and a half early. I jokingly told my family I would probably be late. I began to play a video game on my phone, listen to the television and talk with one of my sisters. I look up and realize, if I did not get in the car right then, I would not be on time. 

I'm boogieing on down my driveway and I find it blocked by these guys. Well this male and female snake. Snakes are not hermaphrodites. I was hoping their procreating did not last thirty minutes. They were not distracted by me walking around them and telling them they needed to find a safer place. I mean, I would never drive over them.  It would have been very troubling to me to have driven down there and found where a car had killed them. I guess the light rain on a shady area of my driveway made amor so irresistible on a hot day.

Fortunately after I got a few good photos: they separated and went in opposite directions. Nature truly understands how to hook up. Later I read they can spend up to four hours on the deed. Woo doggie, I guess I would have to cancel my doctor's appointment. Cough a few times in the phone and say I might have Covid would sound a lot better than two snakes are mating in my driveway. 

I had gotten a yardstick from my car. If they took much longer, I was going to slide it under both of them and move them to the side. 

There is a legend that snakes represent change. Earlier this year I saw a rat snake like a thick rope on the cattle fencing I have supporting some grape vines. 

The question I have is whether this change will be in addition to the normal change we all have in our lives. I mean I meant to hike the Appalachian trail in my retirement. I am pea green with envy over a friend of mine. She goes on Golden Oldies Cruises and takes a trip to the Holy Land every other year. And she openly discusses she is going to hike the Appalachian trail. I am so so jealous.

What about my slow boat to China?

Well currently my boat is tethered in Central GA to seven dogs, seven cats and four people. It is going to be an especially slow boat. Being an American, I guess China is out as a travel destination. Add to that I want to go to Mongolia and hang around. Then I want to ride the Siberian express. And Russia is definitely not the best travel destination for an American. (I worry about Brittany Griner who has been imprisoned. I do say a prayer for her.) 

My sister is taking a new medicine which upset her stomach. She is too scared to transfer to a bench into the shower. So I have a technique of washing her in her wheelchair outside. I have eight gallon milk jugs and two buckets filled with warm water to accomplish this. We were outside at 3:30 in the morning, The full moon gave a lot of light, and there was something in my front pasture wailing. From the sound of it, I suspect it was an owl and coyote mix.. 

One day I may discover it was an unusual cricket or frog.  I unlock my car door so my faithful dog can sit inside to wait on the bathing adventure to end. I suspect it could be something that my dog would be making a huge mistake tangling with. We would have gone straight into the house but the four cats hanging out with me made me feel whatever it is would stay where it was. 

In the near future, I plan to have one of my bathrooms done so I can roll a wheelchair in the shower. But meanwhile, while it is warm, well hot as hades here, we will continue the outside shower. This is one of the benefits of living off the beaten path. 

So my explorations will be bathroom renovation. Yes, I am going to do it myself with a lot of help from Youtube videos. I do plan to have plumbing service come in and install the new toilet. The big thing I am going to do is remove the present cabinet and place a small sink in there for hand washing. This will give room  focus to roll a wheelchair into the shower and to aid in the transfer from the wheelchair to a toilet. 

I'll continue my daily walks around my property. It's not the Appalachian trail. But there is a lot of nature to be appreciated. I can practice being on time. We were about thirty minutes early for my mom's doctor appointment this past week. Hooray for me!!!!!

Thursday, February 10, 2022

It's going to be grand

 It is the eve of garbage day. My trash truck is down at the end of the road waiting for pickup. 

My life has been exciting.

I bought parsnips and prepared them. They were good. My family said they were good. They just weren't something anyone was desiring to eat again. In my mind I was loudly thinking, fried potatoes are not the only vegetable we can eat. Actually I only fry potatoes about once every two or three months. I love fried potatoes, and I have to limit myself which I don't like to do. I plan to plant parsnips in my garden. We all need a bit of variety in our diet. 

Tonight, my dog Louise just disappeared in the dark. She is a black dog. I have an area I dump scraps of food and vegetable scraps. I had dumped some boiled peanuts, sour grapes, an expired banana, long ago cooked collards, incredibly ancient carrots along with the usual coffee grounds, potato peels, egg shells and the like in the field in front of my house. I was puzzled that my spoiled dog would plunder these remains. I do have two dogs that frequently sample the lazy chick's compost scatter. One is a dachshund, the other is my older brother's elderly rottweiler mix. Neither dog goes hungry but it is the found food is so delicious dog mentality at work. 

My neighbour is paranoid that someone or a dog is going to mess with his horses. They have called the law on me for sundry offenses such as I have pulled fence posts from the ground. Luckily, law enforcement doubted my ability to do so. Even if I could, I would not waste what is left with my body and back on spite. Idiots. 

They were out there patrolling their property with their golf cart and bright lights. I have woken up in the middle of the night because they are patrolling their property line. Oh dang, where is Louise. I crank my car and drive a wee bit in the driveway. That dog will do anything for a car ride. Still no Louise, so I go into the house and decide to look in my bedroom. She is in there on my bed with a dead opossum. 

I take the sheet off my bed with the opossum wrapped up thinking I need to dump it away from my property. I put the sheet with opossum in the car seat next to me to take near the river landing area. That is about a mile from my house. As I exit my driveway, I realize that opossum is not dead. It is passed out. So I pull over as fast as I can and empty that sheet quickly on the side of the road. 

I came close to getting to know too personally a opossum in my car at 11 PM at night. 

Of course I could have butchered the opossum. I understand people used to eat roasted possum with sweet potatoes. I plan to bake sweet potatoes tomorrow. I have a feeling if I did that; no one would ever roll their eyes at me about trying something new like parsnips.

Meanwhile, Louise is unhappy. I took her prize. She looks at me with the knowledge that I just ruined everything for her. The other dogs walk around anxious like, we are thinking about having a PArtY toNiGhT. We think we know someone who has a opossum. It's going to be grand.

Young Virginia Opossum
Young Opossum by Liam Wolfe (Wikimedia Commons)

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Well it is a new year, eh?

 Every Thursday around 10 am, my garbage is picked up. With Covid, there has been a few missed or late pick-ups. Garbage day is also my deadline to write a blog post. I'm afraid, quite a few Thursdays have passed with no post written. I've read a few posts of others. What is unusual is that I haven't been reading many posts of others.. There are two blog I follow that post about six blog posts at a time. I am very impressed, very impressed.

My sister has left assisted living and is living in my home at present. It was rocky in the beginning. The last time she was giving me a hard time, I told her I would go to her house, clean it up and deliver her the next day to her own home. She has been much nicer. Having a stroke, she has had one miserable journey. My heart really goes out to her. And then I sigh and think why am I loaded down with taking care of her. In her defense, she was lashing out at me. But, a couple she felt were friends were pushing her to sell her house very cheaply to them. Betrayal hurts.

Negotiating with the assisted living was like a poker game. I knew I had to let them tell me she had to leave or I would have had to pay for January. The irony was the woman who was the manager had a hard time telling me. My sister was asked to leave because her doctor quit her and they did not have facility doctor on staff. Essentially, my sister was eating candy and sending her sugar levels up. The doctor quit her as a consequence. I was very surprised to find out I could not get an appointment with anyone until the end of February. To say I felt ganged up on is an understatement.

I have felt a great deal of disgust with the doctor. He could have agreed to treat my sister until we got her to another doctor. Adding insult to injury, he is my doctor. I can rattle my sabers louder. But why. I am torn. I think about quitting him. This is also my mother and brother's doctor. I broke the family doctor rule which is use different doctors. He has been very helpful with my mother. In short, this is about the head nurse and my sister at loggerheads over a piece of cake. A mess in which I really had no input. Well I did, I told the nurse to let my sister have a piece of cake which in turn angered the nurse. 

And the dominos being what they are, who knows? I understand Doctors will quit you easily if you aren't compliant with your diet as a diabetic. Being compliant, I did not know this. Knowing other diabetics, I could hardly believe it. One friend of mine tells me I am unrealistic about being diabetic. She has a Milky Way candy bar every night. I try to not eat any sweets.

The assisted living is returning my sister's deposit back. They were also nice about the situation. I'm afraid I had a bit of paranoia and felt like a nobody for about a week. I had three days to get her moved
out. Getting my sister moved out was exhausting but emotionally, it was good to be busy. I've since moved on and accepted the situation. Sometimes I feel old and alone. It certainly helps me tell the story I am writing. Just pour all that into a piece of fiction. It is certainly more sane than telling the doctor he is lucky I am a good witch. He is from the Philippines. Passive aggression poorly hidden in Southern American humor would freak him out. Besides, I don't know what to think. 

I have a cousin who is saving the day for me. She and her husband are going to help me do an estate sale for my brother. Unfortunately, they are both recovering from the Covid.  They had a mild illness which is a blessing. I've had to step into being more flexible in my opinions. I feel strongly that everyone needs to get vaccinated. But I realize we all have to make our healthcare decisions. I took the family for their boosters a little over a week ago. Covid is affecting a lot of people in this area. The husband of my cousin's daughter recently lost both parents to Covid. I doubt they were vaccinated. 

We have a lot of anti-vaxxer sentiment here. Hence my new attitude. They have to live and possibly die with their choice. From the news, it is not just the States that has a large number of people more of afraid of the vaccine than the disease. Some places in Europe sound like they have large populations of people freaking out about the vaccine.  I am truly impressed with Australia for kicking out the tennis player who was not vaccinated. We are so "nutted up" with people being gullible with phony information and paranoia. I don't think our country has the fortitude to do that.

My sister and I have been watching and sleeping through the series "Breaking Bad" on Netflix. I never had an interest in the show in that the premise just did not jell with me. But man, it is a good show. When you binge watch, you do get to the point you just wish it was a movie or mini-series. It is interesting and I love the details you have to pay attention to.  But it is taking forever to watch. One thing about some of the newer shows is the craftiness of characters. A sheer manipulation that gets a bit fabulous at times to believe. However, Breaking Bad does show the escalation of corruption and it's affects. 

I don't know if this is an American idea or not. I used to believe that all people who were bad were bad as a result of some of the frustrations and obstacles we face in life. I do believe this is true for many young people who are making bad choices. One way I do not believe this idea is that I think some people are just bad. Whether that evil is a choice or brain damage, it is just a meanness in them. What do you think?

Deep thoughts when I ought to be dreaming.

 What is it about 3 am. I'm awake. I remember when I was younger, I could really do some sleeping. All I had to do was lay my head on my...