Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lola Update 5/26/2012

Am I caught out?
Okay, I have to admit that I'm going through a period of having a hard time dealing with Lola. Some of it is my continued dismay at the deterioration of an intelligent human being. Some of it is trying to figure out if it's her diminishment or if it's her being passive aggressive. Some of it is anger at my parents' oblivion as to what would happen at the end of their lives. What the hell did they expect to happen?

Some of it is anger at their demands of dying in their own home, though most of that is over because it's a totally unrealistic expectation that can't be met, and they were just stupid for demanding it. A lot of it is anger that if I don't continue this total disruption of my life, their incompetence will be the loss of my inheritance. Selfish sounding, ain't it? So?

For my whole life, I was told that as their only child everything they had would be mine. It's not like I expected a trust fund of a mind-boggling amount. It's not like their land was a castle on a hill with thousands of acres. But my inheritance is a few acres with a nice home that is debt free. That is - if I can avoid losing everything to Medicare for the care of my last parent.

Quite frankly, I expected the end of their lives to be far different from how it's been. I expected stroke, heart attack, cancer, despair from the loss of the first to go. I expected anything  except the slow fall into mindlessness that both have done.

Yesterday Lola asked me where Joe was. I've gotten over feeling sad as I tell her that Joe died 6 months ago. I have to admit that I figured whichever parent went first, they would be followed quickly by the other. That may hold true for some, but for my parents their minds were so far compromised that it made no difference in their lives whatsoever.

Okay. I'll relax. I've been caught throwing everything
on the floor. I've taken all the photos out of the
albums. I've thrown the only important ones, from 1950
or earlier on the floor. Oh, and all the little shiny bits
are the wrappers from Hershey Kisses which I know
my daughter loves picking up from the floor.
The last week has seen Lola fall back into a pattern of sleeping continually if I let her. The month before this she was up and at it every day sometime between 9 and 10 every morning. This last week I have to force her to get up. She will stay in bed until 3, 4, 5, or however long I go without forcing her to get up.

She won't go anywhere in the house except from her bed to the TV. She will go to the bathroom if I force her and tell her where it is. She won't join me in any room. She won't instigate conversation at all. She barely pays attention if I talk to her. Everything has to be repeated before she realizes the outside world is impinging on her inner world.

On one hand, it seems disrespectful to post these kinds of things. On the other hand, how respectful of me was it to disregard what effect their  denial of end-of-life issues would have on me?  Additionally, this blog is out in the universe and maybe seeing what someone else has lived through will help another person live through the same thing.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lola Update 5/20/12

I think that my lament until my mother dies is going to be, "How long can the body keep on going after the mind is turned to total mush?" Yes, this last week has been a bit difficult as I've been under the weather somewhat myself. Without going into the TMI  (too much information) field, let's just say I think I have a partial bowel blockage.

Since I have to pay someone to stay with my mother if something happens to me, I've been trying to let this work itself out. It's a totally new thing for me, as I've never been plagued with these types of symptoms before, except for the one time after my hysterectomy when a shunt pulled too soon caused a total bowel failure. That resulted in surgery, two weeks to the day after the hysterectomy. Otherwise, this is not a problem I've dealt with a lot.

Anyway, I've tried Exlax, Correctol, Fleet Enemas and Magnesium Citrate, and things seem to be resolving or working downwards at least. If things continue to cause discomfort by Monday, I suppose I'll be going into the doctors. My, what a concept - can you give me a mega  whatever to get whatever is causing my belly to look like I swallowed a bowling ball, sounding like carbonating a coke, and causing discomfort with every step I take?

So, dealing with someone whose brain has turned to mushy peas has been irritating. Lola continues to get up every morning and commence thumbing through the same photographs she's looked at for hours every day for the last 6 months. She no longer considers combing her hair a thing to be done, ever. She continues to turn every glass she drinks something from upside down on the good end tables, not on her food tray. She continues to place every plate and saucer on some good piece of furniture, rather than on the replaceable food  tray from which she eats. She continues to hide her forks and spoons in various places surrounding her chair and tables.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Bushwhacking and Sculpture

As I've whined about before I've been doing a lot of bushwhacking around the house. Thought I'd throw in a couple of pics of the rest of it that needs to be done - the side of the house and the back of the house. Sigh.

Both the back and the one side of the house still have overgrown hedges, bushes, and things that have gone way too long without pruning. I'm opting to take them all out. We may put some new things in, but contrary to popular recommendations, there will be no, I repeat, NO thorny things. And no nigh-on-to-trees planted, either.

Max took the spruce or whatever trunk out from beside the porch, and he also finished clearing the other holly bush. He couldn't make himself whack out the leftover trunk of the biggest holly tree, however. It just looks too cool to him. Hehehe, he's wishing he could varnish it, or polyeurothane it and leave it for a sculpture. He told Uncle Charles this, and told me Unk just looked at him like he was nuts. Sigh. Like both of us aren't?

And just for creepies, I moved a sack of wool that was in the corner of the den and found a nicely shed snake skin. Yikes. We suppose it was from that little garden snake that crept in two weeks ago. Shiver. All I keep wondering is just how long that thing was in my den!

The Garden, Huzzah!

The Whole Garden
Beautiful tilled soil
Yay! I finally got a garden planted. It's my first garden since around 1996.

Our neighbor, Larry, brought his tractor over a couple of weeks ago and broke the ground. Uncle Charles brought his tiller over this morning, and Max tackled that. Unk was good enough to stay and help raking the clods. Max likely would have had a heart attack without the help <ducking and running).  I am deeply thankful to both of them.

After they did their thing, I had to man up and go outside and plant. Pity I can't just wiggle my nose and have it done. Although it started sprinkling, it didn't rain hard enough to stop the planting. So in the garden at this time are:

  • 13 tomato plants ( I misplaced one. How does one do that????)
  • 3 Ancho Pepper plants
  • 2 white eggplants
  • 3 purple eggplants
  • 3 squash plants
  • 1 cucumber plant
  • 1 hill of sweet pumpkins
  • 1/3 row of Hutterite Peas
  • 2/3 row of Ky. Bush Green Beans

I need to fill in the second row of tomato plants. I want a lot! Bring 'em on - sauce, juice and tomatoes here we come. I need to plant a row of okra. I need to fill in with a few more cucumber plants. If I can find them, I want to plant some pimento peppers. I want to get a few more green pepper plants. I also found and ordered some cream pea seeds.

The Hutterite Peas are a pale pea that the Hutterites developed that supposedly makes a fantastic bean soup. I bought it because the place I was ordering from,, didn't have any cream peas. However, today I did a bit of googling and discovered the cream peas we eat in Memphis are also more commonly known as cowpeas. I found the cream or cowpeas at and placed an order for those seeds, along with the okra seed and some Mortgage Lifter Tomato seeds for next year.

As an aside, I like to order from these two companies because they specialize in heritage seeds and non-hybrid seeds. That means the plants I grow are non-GMO (not genetically modified), and the seeds produced by the plants can be saved for the next season.

This page (click here) has the peas. I got the Sa-Dandy Cowpeas. The cowpeas were developed for our hot southern summer temperatures. In Memphis, all I've ever heard them called are cream peas. They're a small pale creamy pea, about the size of black-eyed peas. However, unlike the black-eyed peas, the cream peas are, well, creamy. They don't have the particular twang BEPs do, nor do they have the large black eye. Actually, now that I think of it, they're more like a pale version of purple hull peas.

Until the seeds come in I'll be trying to get rid of the clods surrounding the garden. Ouch. Eventually I'd love to put a white picket fence around it. Yeah, in 10 years and my dreams.

Oh, yes, and I'm eating Ibuprofen like candy tonight. I used my own redneck seed planter and didn't spend as much time as I thought I'd have to bent over, but planting those transplants couldn't be done with squatting and bending, dammit.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Seed Planting Tool

LOL. I just had to post this. It's one of those "Doh!" things. You see it and smack yourself in the head as you ask yourself, "Why on earth didn't I think of this?"

The Red-Neck Seed Planter. Doh!

Eggs - Storage at 4 Months

Here's the video that imstillworkin just posted about her experiment with storing eggs. From this video, I get the idea that if you want to store eggs, coating them in mineral oil is the best option, and if kept at a fairly low temperature (between 60-65F) you can hope for them to last 4 months.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lola Update 5/6/12

Lola is puttering along the same as usual for her. One of my email acquaintances from my fiber list put a comment on a post with tips on how to deal with the incontinence. I can't think him enough. If I ever do manage to make to Australia, I'd love to track him down and spring for supper.

Alex's tip was about the incontinence underwear, herein called depends, for the sake of ease, even though they are not that particular brand. During the last few weeks I was having to wash sheets every day because the depends were filling up and leaking. Alex advised that better brands actually hold more versus the dollar store generics, which I have been buying.

Additionally, as he worked in elder care, he spoke to their use for night, talking about putting one inside another. That has worked out wonderfully. Since that comment I have been putting one pair inside another, and we haven't had wet sheets since then. Thank you, Alex.

This morning I was trying to engage Mom in conversation, which is purely a lost cause. She gamely gave it a try, though. She grinned, lifted her arms and let them down, and told me, "Well, I'm just sitting here in this black chair, and I don't know beans from spit, especially about my family." When I asked her what she didn't know, she told me she didn't know anything about her mama, daddy, or brothers or sisters. When I asked her what, she told me whether they were alive or what.

Oh, dear. Her dad's been dead for at least 40 years; her mother's been dead at least 30. Her siblings have been dying for 40 years. The last one to die was her sister, who died about 5 years ago. She didn't know that her youngest brother Charles was still living in Mayfield, where he's lived for at least 50 years. She didn't know her sister, Jeanne, was living in Waverly, near her own daughter, Jill, for the last two, at least, years.

She's bearing the heat well. Our A/C blew a fuse last Thursday. I tried to replace it Friday, but the local place didn't have the right voltage, and I couldn't make somewhere else by the end of the business day. Saturday, I just crapped out on going, and today have cursed myself for doing so.  What on earth is up with this friggin' 95 degree weather at the end of April, beginning of May???

Needless to say, if I have to travel from Tennessee to Illinois, I'm getting fuses tomorrow. Oh, the problem is that the fuse box in this house is old. Like, really really old. With fuses you would think weren't even still sold. Problem is they rarely are sold, so you have to shop for them. Getting a new electrical system is a must for this house.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Best of Laughs 2011

Sigh. I said I wasn't going to do this to Jill for a while. I'm sorry she has such a slow internet connection, but really, this is my blog to record the things I like. Sorry, Jill.

It's ridiculously hot here for May 2, and I've been surfing youtube for mindless stuff to occupy my time while I sit in front of the fan, because our !@#$'g A/C has blown another fuse. We gotta replace that ancient fuse box. At least it's finally down to 81F in the house.

So I came across this really long video that is so hilarious. It's funny, and it's kind. That's rather difficult to find anymore. Probably it's Canadian, but I could never tell for sure. It says in the upper left-hand corner, but that's likely where it was recorded. It seems to be an updated Candid Camera, and it's great.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cousin Julie

Here's a video of my cousin Julie doing an interpretive in a Wearable Art Show in Sitka, Alaska, March 2, 2012. This is the whole video that the photos I posted earlier are captured from. Julie is water; she is the blond in blue that comes out first.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Around the Yard

Forsythia treasure trove, a TV, a clay flower pot,
and two falling apart wooden ones. One collapsed
when it was moved.
Since Dad's death in November, there's no reason for us not to take care of yard work he'd neglected horribly during the last decade of his life. If we had tried while he was living, he would have had a fit. There was not much admitting that anything was wrong for him, and little more admitting something was too much for him to handle.

So I've been gamely trying to prune bushes and generally getting rid of a lot of mowing nightmares. Dad loved trees and bushes, and he'd stuck them all over the yard without much rhyme or reason. My problem with them is that few were either flowering or useful, and most all of them have thorns. Argh. Trying to get the mower up under them is as bad as offering yourself up to the torturer.

I've already taken out a forsythia bush that I swear had a diameter of at least 8 feet. Granted, forsythia bloom and are a beautiful yellow sight in the spring. However, I'm allergic to them. They're one of the few plants I actually am allergic to, according to the allergy test I had done a long time ago. Or maybe :-) I have too many memories of having to go outside and get my own switch, with only ones from the forsythia being acceptable (not too hard.)  Hidden inside it were 3 huge flower pots, old rails for a garage door, and a 40" TV. Oy. I've planted a lilac bush in it's place and hope the lilac won't turn into the same kind of monster the forsythia became. At least it will smell pretty.

Then I started working on the dogwood trees that line the front yard near the road. Beautiful when they bloom, but they'd not been pruned correctly. They had some low branches that tried for all their worth to take your head off whenever you mowed around them. They were also laden with dead branches. So I did a lot of work on pruning new limbs in unacceptable places and taking out dead wood. When Max was in this last weekend, he took the chainsaw to them and whacked off the worst offenders for decapitation.

Speaking of dead wood, when I went out this morning to take the photos of the dogwoods I found large pieces of a dead limb that fallen from a huge tree we have in the front yard. Sadly, we've decided the tree needs to go because it's a danger to the house and people. It's old, in bad health, and sheds limbs continually.

I've taken out two other low bushes, one in front and one in back. Max is slowly removing the stumps as he can get to them. In place of the one in the back, I've planted a red raspberry bush. We put another in about 5 feet away. Sometime during the summer I hope to get a nice trellis up, and we hope for raspberries next summer.

As out of shape as I am, I keep expecting this work to lay me low, but so far the worst problem I'm experiencing is stiffness in my hands. Of course, I'm taking this easy, and not trying to do it all in one day. About three hours of the physical work is all I'm handling in one day. Hopefully this will help me get into better shape. Ya think?


Cousins - the greatest thing since sliced bread. Well, at least to a only child. I luvs me some cuzins.

Take my cousin Melda. I seldom see her; even growing up she lived far enough away that visits were not much more than annual. I am glad to say, though, that she utilizes the internet quite efficiently, and she invariably sends me a bracing email just when I need one.

Then there's my cousin Jill. She's a few months older than I am; she's the only child of my mother's sister. We lived closely enough that we spent a fair amount of time with each other during childhood, especially during the summer. She's the closest thing to a sister I'll ever have.

During my recent visit to her, I was moaning about needing more fitted sheets and she gamely jumped into her linens and offered me a couple. She doesn't have any more standard-sized beds so opined she likely wouldn't need them anymore. I gratefully accepted her offer. A few days later needing another sheet for Mother's bed, I pulled one out. Mmmmmmm, wonder what on earth she needed two circles for?

Jill has a daughter, Julie, who is now in her middle 30s, and who has grown up to be vital, beautiful woman. Julie's husband, Andy, is in the Coast Guard, and they live in Sitka, Alaska for now. Apparently Sitka has a large and vibrant arts community, and Julie participates in a couple of dance troupes for fun. Recently they did a production of interpreting the sea, and these are photos of Julie in the number. Julie is in blue and is wearing the white headdress.

Sunday Update 4/29/12

Well, Max has gone back to Memphis, wah. He worked his rear end off Saturday, and I was vaguely surprised he could move today. He picked up pruning leavings, mowed, took limbs off the dogwood trees with the chain saw, and dug holes for me to plant some raspberry bushes and a lilac. He about ate me out of Ibuprofen last night, though.

Lola got up this morning and came into the living room with her shirt, bra, knee high hose on and not another stitch. She had no panties, no depends, and no pants on whatsoever. She didn't seem to think there was anything amiss with that, either. Sigh.