Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Accepting Change

Mom did not go to Anna’s third birthday party.  She may not have known about it.  I wondered who would bring her – or if she’d be there at all.  I learned that the last time Sunny and her family had collected my mom for a Sunday dinner was probably the last time she was out.

I had taken her out on Memorial Day.  I don’t think she would have come if Harold hadn’t given his approval.

“Mom, you have to come.  Your brother, Bruce, will be there.”

She hadn’t seen Bruce for years.  He actually looked the same to me – but in her eyes he was still 29 or 35, certainly not an old man.  She didn’t recognize him.

But she was active and attentive and helped provide Corey with names to go with several photos he had found.  She enjoyed herself and we enjoyed having her there.  But that was over a month ago.  I haven’t taken her out since, and from what I understand, she doesn’t want to go.

Well, that’s a far cry from January through April – when she was packed to leave and looking for a way to escape and begging every visitor to please take her home.  I think her attitude changed when the walls were repainted.  When the “fun”  themes and icons were removed and the dining area was given more of a homey feel.  I wonder if she even remembers the way the place looked before the change.  I doubt it.

Sunny said they had her over for a Sunday dinner and mom was freaked and crying because she didn’t know how to get back to where she lives.  And Sunny said that all of them knew how to get her back and dinner was cut short and mom was returned to assisted living and she hasn’t been out since.  She says she chooses not to take scenic drives or tours.  She’s already seen everything there is to see. 

That’s why I didn’t volunteer to take her to Anna’s party.  I figured she would either be confused or anxious to return to her quarters and we’d spend more time in the car driving her from one end of the valley to the other than at Anna’s party. 


I am floored by the drastic change.  Still confused in her mind, she does seem to have accepted her new home and doesn’t want to leave the securities she has created.  I still think it would be nice of her to get out more – but I am happy that she finally seems content and even happy – well, except for when she feels that the staff is being intrusive – like a child who wants to live by his or her own rules and doesn’t see the wisdom in the parents’ methods.

Her adaption to change should give me an example of moving on myself and stop wishing the changes have taken and will continue to take place.  My mom will never be the same – at least in this life.  I have to accept that.  I have to adjust.  I have to find a peace just as she has.  But it is so hard.

I hope that by keeping an alias Blog with so many name changes from the ones I post about on facebook or record in my journals will force me to keep a sharper mind and keep me alert so that I don’t get dementia so that Jenna might not have to hurt the way that I’ve been hurting.  If so, I hope that she can conquer with and deal with change sooner and better than I.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I think Ben Franklin would approve

As I have previously mentioned here and here, mom and Corey both have collected tons and tons of books over the years. Before we sold mom’s house, Corey and I took very few books to add to our own collections.  But the majority were boxed up for the uneventful yard sale (at least that’s how it appeared) and donated to charity.

Most Americans in the 1730s had limited access to books. Books in early America were rare and expensive.  Only the wealthy and clergy had access to several books.  There were no public libraries.  

In July 1731 Benjamin Franklin introduced his idea of borrowing books to a group of members. 50 subscribers invested 40 shillings each to start a library.  They committed to continue investing 10 schillings a year for the purchase of additional books and maintaining the upkeep of the building that would house the books which were donated.  Thus the library was born  

            I remember card catalogues and check out pockets and rubber stamps and a more reverent atmosphere than many libraries seem to have today.  An ancient librarian always went around with a finger pressed to her pursed lips telling us to “shhh” if our whispers were too loud.

Today it seems that the idea of owning a set of Encyclopedias is out of date.  Do people still buy them?: Or have we become so dependant on the computer that we can go to Wikipedia or Google and research more than the few paragraphs offered in what was once a very brilliant development.  

We now have Kindle fire, I Pads, the Nook . . . free sites, paid sites, downloads . . . slowly modern technology seems to be replacing books.  APPEARS to be – don’t imagine it could ever replace picture books – the joy of reading to a child . . . but you never know.  Post offices don’t have near as much going out in the way of letters – ever since email . . . . or so it seems.  The blue mailbox doesn’t seem as plentiful as when I was younger.

There are still schools that use books for reading and teaching – not everyone has access to a computer or a hand held device that requires WI FY and we’ve become so dependent on modern technology providing the answers right at our finger tips it may make one wonder if some point in time that  books will totally be replaced by modern technology.

And I look at our founder, Benjamin Franklin, who would probably glow at the very idea of holding a tablet in his hand and looking up references and reading pages and smile and say it is genius (or whatever word they used back in 1730) I think he would greatly approve of this modern technology.  I hope they don’t take away from the library.  I hope the library (and books) may be enjoyed by many generations yet to come.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Apparently He's NOT her Boyfriend

Today I read a conversation that took place between Corey and my mom.  She's upset that the workers at the facility seem to be sticking their noses into her affairs.  She wants her privacy and doesn't want the world watching her through open windows or open doors.  Therefore she keeps the blinds closed and leaves the door to her bedroom closed because she doesn't want anybody watching her.  Those who do are perverts.  And she swears when she returns to her room to find her blinds have been open.  Evidently she used the word "damn" in almost every sentence she said to Corey this afternoon.

Evidently Harold is NOT her boyfriend.  He is an old man.  Mom doesn't even call him Harold anymore.  He is that guy.  He is old enough to be her father - so she says.  I learned that he is twelve years older. 

Mom is on the younger end of those who reside at assisted living.  Harold's physical health seems to be far worse than mom's - but mentally he may be there - I don't mean totally.  Not like Madge.  But I think he retains things better than mom.  He understands when the staff knocks at the door and says that she has a phone call that she will be talking to Corey.  He understands that Corey is her son.  He remembered her birthday and somehow made arrangements for getting her this:


Sunny and Corey have been worried about mom being alone with Harold and have asked the staff to keep on eye on them.  But mom doesn't like it.  According to her it's not as if they would be doing anything such as making out.  She hasn't kissed him any differently than she might kiss her own father.  She hates the idea of someone treating her like a child.

She doesn't know that Corey made this request.  She doesn't know that Corey sent a letter to the driver's license division over a year and a half ago so that they could be the bad guys and he wouldn't jeapordize his relationship with her so that she would be/is angry with him.  (Correction made in comments)

I know that there have been a few instances when even his name was on her black list.  It has always been temporary however.  I doubt that his "golden child" image will ever be tarnished permanently.  At least I hope not.  We need strong ties somewhere.

Lately I feel like my name has been removed from the black list as well - but that's only when I'm visiting.  I don't know if she tells people I haven't been around much.  I do, after all, live in another city.  But not in those far away mountains like Kayla does.  Or so she believes.  Except for Corey, we all live approximately the same distance from mom - though we're all spread out in different directions. 

Mom just turned 74.  Anna's birthday is coming up soon.  She will be 3.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Dog Sitting

 Noel took Jenna for half the day two Saturdays before Christmas.  In the process Jenna fell in love with Noel’s dog, Hallie.  Later, when Noel was traveling out of town, she was looking for a sitter to take Hallie for four days.  I volunteered – more for Jenna than Noel. 

Unlike our dog, Highness, who’s only preferred activities are sleeping and taking walks, Hallie is an active four year old lab who LOVES to play – possibly more than Jenna.  I don’t know why Noel has her on such a strict diet, but I can’t leave food out for Highness to eat at his convenience as Hallie is supposed to eat certain foods at certain times – and Highness is such a fussy eater that he usually chooses NOT to eat what’s been left in his dish.

Last week I watched Lacy – who belongs to Frank and Marie.  Normally I’d have said “No” except for they’ve watched Jenna on several occasions – not overnight, but several hours each time. Unlike Hallie, Lacy is a small dog – Affenpinscher, maybe. I was afraid she’d get stepped on.

Jenna has played with her as well, and seems to have had fun with her while at Marie’s but seemed to hate having her around our house – or laying on her bedding as Lacy smells.  I can’t smell her, but Jenna seems to have an extra sensitive nose. 

I also believe Marie has spoiled her and she is bit of a fussy dog and almost as High Maintenance as Highness. She liked being in Jenna’s room.  She was not fond of the rest of our house.  She didn’t like our yard at all.

We are watching Hallie again. Poor dog is always hungry and searching for food.  Roland found Highness’s bowl on the counter and put it on the floor.  I imagine Hallie scarffed up what was left – which I’m sure would not go over well with Noel. But what can I do.  The evidence is gone.  And I’m thinking maybe I shouldn’t give her the nighttime “meal” that Noel portioned out (Lacy seriously would have eaten a larger portion; Hallie is a long white lab who’s always in the way)

In addition to giving her small portions for breakfast and dinner and keeping her out of the garbage cans and away from food that may be within her reach, Noel has also given me some medicine to give to her inside of a peanut butter ball.  This is a job for Biff – not Biff’s mom.  He’s the animal charmer.  I am an animal tolerater.

I don’t watch Randy’s dog – well actually Carrie’s puppy, Chief.  Randy used to leave him in our back yard (only after I banished him from being in the house) when he and Carrie lived near his and Jenna’s schools.  But they have moved farther west and he has been riding his scooter and Chief gets left in their yard.  Except the other day.

They were on their way to taking Carrie to work when the car broke down.  Roland picked them up and brought Chief back to our house. He is in his teething stage and destroying stage.  His cuteness wore off before he got bigger than Highness.  Chief is at the top of Jenna’s black list.  She had used her pool only one day and Chief managed to have pool bits all over our yard

It wasn’t just the pool he had destroyed.  It was almost everything in the yard – some things I wasn’t even aware were in the yard until they became chewed up bits.  It’s a wonder he didn’t destroy the hose or garden.  I feel so fortunate that I didn’t have Lacy out there.  He probably would have chewed her to bits as well.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Unbearable Heat

On Monday I created this post.
On Tuesday it was windy.       Not just a cool breeze.  Powerful winds – almost like before a storm. The skies were grey but appeared almost cloudless and yet I could not get this song out of my head

Since then the temperatures have been in the three digits.  It’s not supposed to go down until Wednesday.  And then it’s still supposed to be 97

Biff said he is unable to sleep because it’s so freakin hot and we have taken out the air conditioner that was in his room and put it in the main room.  Roland says he can’t give it back until Biff’s room is clean.  And if it’s not clean, we will be moving him into Jenna’s room and Jenna can have Biff’s room. 

We did set up a small inflatable pool.  It has been somewhat helpful.  But theoretically we’re not supposed to be using so much water.  There is a drought. Grass is dry and we’re not supposed to water.  Go figure.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

recording voices


I recently  took out my pocket tape player in order to listen to a talk I had recorded.  Apparently I never put it away as Jenna discovered it this morning.  I gave her a tape that could be used for a blank and she has been singing and playing and laughing.  Not expensive entertainment.  It’s fun listening to her enjoy herself. 

 Reminds me of when Corey used to do it.  He could keep himself occupied for hours.  I suppose I enjoyed it too.  But the reel-to-reel was not something I could just pull off the shelf and take control.  That was a heavy beast – and we didn’t have blank reels at hand like we had with cassette players.  

Monday, June 24, 2013

I want the cool winds

Green grass in gently summer wind Stock Photo - 3365294

Yesterday as I
drove to the assisted living
I noticed the skies getting darker. 
After we arrived
in the parking lot,
I took my sunglasses off. 
The skies didn’t appear
to be overcast,
and yet the atmosphere
was present.  
By the time I returned home,
the sky looked more overcast –
like it does before it rains. 
But the air itself said:
it was ugly and hot –
not at all inviting. 
I loved the cool breeze
of the last two days before. 
I’d love for the breeze to return
and dwell for the duration.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday Visits

         Roland had sent me this thought that brought humor to my mind when I first read it: 

Mildred calls her neighbor and says, “Please come over here and help me.  I have a killer jigsaw puzzle and I can’t figure out how to get it started.

Her neighbor asks, “What is it supposed to be when it’s finished? “
Mildred says, “According to the picture on the box, it’s a rooster.”

Her neighbor decides to go over and help with the puzzle. 
Mildred lets him in and shows him to the table. 
He studies the pieces for a moment than looks at the box than turns to her and says,
“First of all, no matter what we do, we’re not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a rooster.” 
He takes her hand and says, “Secondly, I want you to relax.  Let’s have a nice cup of coco”
The he says with a deep sigh, “Let’s put all the corn flakes back in the box”


Now I think of Mildred as one who is going through her first stages of Dementia. Lucky neighbor.

My parking job was not the greatest, and so I pulled forward and backed in again.  I didn’t notice the other car that had pulled into the parking lot was Uncle Ross and Aunt Fern until they got out of their car.

         Mom was on the phone talking to Corey and smiled as we all waved for her.  Ross and Fern were hesitant about opening the second door as Myrna was standing there – afraid that she might escape.  I didn’t figure it out until just before we went through that Myrna was actually trying to open the door for us to pass through.  She knows the code.  Myrna’s sharp.  What in the world is she doing in that particular assisted living?

         Mom evidently told Corey that we were there – or that somebody was (I don’t know if she gave him the correct names) and Corey said that he would call back.

         Meanwhile Harold had been waiting in her room – aware that June was on the phone with Corey – he even told me who she was talking to.  And I told him that my mom had other visitors and had invited him to join us.  But he remained in the room I guess.  He didn’t join us.

         It was so good to visit with Ross and Fern as I have not seen them in a while.  Mom enjoyed the visit also.  But I remember the details. 

         Ross said that he enjoyed seeing the pictures that Corey has posted on facebook.  I think Ross is only one year older than my mom, but his face appears to be at least ten years older.  But then mom always has looked younger than she is.  And I inherited that gene as I don’t look as old as I am. 

         We talked about the house in Magna and the dinner photo I sent but still don’t know the names of the three I had inquired about.   But then neither one of them are avid facebook users and don’t even pay attention to who’s wall they are looking at.

         I told Ross about an interview that Corey had done with Grandma Helen and revealed things that Ross hadn’t even known about his own mother.

         We visited about an hour and Uncle Ross and Aunt Fern excused themselves and mom and Jenna and I made our way back to her room.  Harold meanwhile had come by just as Jenna and I were getting ready to leave.  He asked if we were all there still.  I said that two had left and the remaining two of us were leaving and he was welcome to visit.

         It is nice (and almost funny) to see (and hear about) mom being so content with staying where she lives.  She no longer tries to escape.  She doesn’t even wish to leave when we offer to take her.  Okay.  We’ve made progress with her.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Friend for Jenna

It’s been almost a year since we were first introduced to Payton.  Frank and Marie had invited us to the annual Independence Day BBQ at the park hosted by Miguel, Cheryl and Sylvia who live just across the way.  Payton will visit on occasion, and she and Jenna hit it off right away.  And so often when Payton is visiting Cheryl, we will set up play dates for her and Jenna.

I can’t believe how well they play together.  They can actually spend several hours without feuds or hurt feelings.  I wish Payton and Jenna could play together every day.

Trume’s grandparents sent him to day camp – I’m guessing for the entire summer.  They have two incomes.  Apparently they can afford it.  Besides I think if Grandpa had to spend the entire day with Trume, he would end up killing him (or himself)

It’s been equally nice for us not to have him knock on the door first thing in the morning or having daily confrontations between him and Jenna. 

Besides Trume there is Wesley (from this post).  I have agreed to watch him during the summer as dad has classes and mom now works full time – downtown no less.  It gives Jenna the opportunity to play with someone other than Trume.

So far there have not been the daily disputes that Trume and Jenna always encounter.  Wesley and Jenna have been civil towards one another.  He will come over to play on the days that I’m not watching him.  They’ve had fun. Thus far they’ve been spending the entire day together (even after dad has returned home – even mom) and that’s been really nice for me.

On Saturdays she explores the area surrounding the community garden.  She plays with Parker, Hunter and Skyler.  She says she is tired of boys.  There are two girls from primary that she has spent time with.  Both have working moms and are not available to play other than the weekends.  But she has been able to spend a few weekends playing with Payton.

We had tried the Friday thing with Amber who Jenna had met in pre-school – but that resulted in only two play dates.  I think Jenna mishandled their time together.  But now that school’s out activity remains in West Valley and not the surrounding cities. And so Jenna lives for weekends.
            Over Memorial Day weekend Roland asked Bill if he and Kayla would like to double date with us to see the new Star Trek movie.  Bill is an avid fan of Star Trek and is one who would dress up and go to conventions whereas Roland likes Star Trek and is quite knowledgeable about Star Trek trivia – dressing up for a convention would be pushing the boundaries just a little too far.

            But what about the kids?  Surely Bill wasn’t going to bring Anna and Garrett and I didn’t believe that Jenna would want to spend more than ten minutes watching Star Trek – let alone two hours.  And so I had to find someone who’d be willing to take her for at least four hours.  I figured if Payton would be visiting, that would serve well for all of us.

            We saw Miguel setting up for a yard sale and Jenna happily announced that she had seen Payton.  So not only was Jenna ecstatic to see her friend, but Payton was equally as excited especially when I offered to take both girls back to our house for a few hours to jump on the trampoline.

            After a few hours I returned them both to Sylvia’s house and they watched the movie “Brave” outside along with the yard sale. Tony and Rochelle had given the DVD to Jenna for her birthday. Neither Sylvia nor Payton had ever seen before. 

            The Star Trek movie was good – especially for Bill who had been overly enthusiastic the entire time and shot pictures out in the lobby with sign and display and passed his camera off to others so as to get all four of us.

            After we parted company, Roland drove straight to Sylvia’s where we picked up both Payton and Jenna to give them a few more hours.  Their playdate lasted almost three times as long as the one that Roland and I had with Bill and Kayla.  They said they would like to spend every Friday together.  Cheryl informs me that Payton is also tired of playing with just boys.

            Cheryl dropped Payton off on Friday and Jenna invited Payton to the stake breakfast this morning.  I had to admire both girls when they pitched in to help stir pancake batter and eggs. 

            After we returned home the girls played games while Roland and I worked in the yard. 
            A neighbor who is moving brought us his swimming pool and Payton and Jenna spent about three hours in the pool and jumping on the trampoline.  I fed them before Cheryl came by to pick up Payton who was still wearing Jenna’s swimsuit.  And so that bought the girls another three hours. 

            I am so glad they have each other.  It has been a good thing for all of us.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Making Changes

         My son Biff purchased a plane ticket and Roland drove him to the airport the other day.  His car sits in front of our house targeted by birds, unregistered, unpaid for.  He’s now in Texas – three hours from where Tony lives.

         Meanwhile we’ve taken the A/C out of his room and put it in the front room.  We’ve rearranged the furniture a little bit and had to move the dog.  So Highness is temporarily parked at the end of the hall right in front of Biff’s bedroom door – which by the way is open.  And it smells bad in there.  Reeks.  I can smell it – and I have basically lost my sense of smell.  So it must be horrid.

         Roland has Biff married off now – to a girl we don’t even know.  And Roland seems okay with it.  Randy (my youngest son) is beside himself.  What was Biff thinking to take off like that?  And not tell anybody?  Well, he obviously made arrangements through work to get the time off.  I wonder. 

         I don’t have him married off.  It would be nice if he does call to say, “Oh, by the way, Hailey and I are married now.”  But I honestly don’t believe it would be a wise decision to just jump into it.  But then again, Roland proposed after only three days.  The decision and prayer and revelation were mine alone.  It wasn’t for my family to decide.  It wasn’t for my friends to shake me up and ask, “What are you thinking?”  It wasn’t for the bishop to say, “You’re wrong” nor is it up to me to question what inspirations Biff may have received.

         It would be nice to buy some new furniture for Jenna – new to her anyway.  Turn Biff’s room into Jenna’s.  Turn her room into a computer room.  I think we ought to trade their rooms around right now – while he’s gone.  Give him more incentive to want to leave the nest.  Though it should be on his terms.  I don’t want him to feel pushed.  On the other hand I don’t want to have a freeloader who doesn’t seem concerned about not taking care of his room or pitching in with other house hold chores.

         I can only pray that things will work out for him and all of us really.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Magpies and Mosquitoes

           I remember seeing Magpies when I was younger.  Occasionally I would notice one or two – never an entire flock!  I thought they were a very interesting and beautiful bird.  I didn’t know that magpies are dirty birds with thieving habits.  I still don’t know much about them. 

           They must have flown here from Colorado as I have seen more magpies this year than in the first fifty combined. I now feel the same annoyance toward them that I feel toward mosquitoes. If the Magpies would just leave our gardens alone and go after the mosquitoes, Jenna and I would be willing to call the Magpies our friends.

            Poor Jenna.  She’s received four to six times as many bug bites as I have.  Her blood must be succulent like Patrick’s.  No matter how many precautions we take, the mosquitoes have ignored and attack anyway.  One might think we have been camping in the wilderness and not receive them in our house in the city.   I never put a sign in my yard that said: “All Magpies and Mosquitoes welcome!  Please!  Come help yourself to whatever!” Those varmints are NOT WELCOME.!  Let’s get rid of them ALL.!

Comparing Roland to Uncle Lynn

             My aunt Alice was 32 when she announced her engagement to Lynn Brown. Grandma Helen had a problem with it – I think her suspicions must have spread. He was okay.  I tried not to pass judgment on him.  He was an odd fellow.  But in time I could understand.

            Of course Corey had his own reasons for not wanting to like him.  I don’t recall how old he was. Nine, I think.  He was already suspicious of any man who wore sunglasses or a beard or who had a bald head.  Uncle Lynn happened to have all three. 

            His mom gave birth to four boys before him.  I don’t recall how many years are between Lynn and the others – but it seems like it was six or more.  His mom had wanted a girl. She had planned for a girl.  She had picked out the name Lynnette Darcy Brown – and that is what it says on his birth certificate.  

            Lynn’s mom is ODD.  I don’t know that she always had been – but something happened .  I don’t know how old Lynn was when he went into foster care or why or for how long.  I don’t know how often he saw his mom – if they lived in different states or what.  I’m not certain why I know what little information I do have.  But I know he was living with another family when he graduated from high school.  Lynn’s mother actually reminded me of the mother that had abused her daughter Sybil not that I suspected her of having abused – perhaps it was the actress who had portrayed Sybil’s mother   

              Aunt Alice passed away.  She and Lynn had four boys together.  The eldest was a senior in high school when Aunt Alice passed.  The family seemed to distrust Uncle Lynn even more as he had cheated us out of an inheritance and seems to continue to swindle and bribe.  But I don’t know the full details.  It could have just been bad investment on his part.  
            I think my sibs may think of Roland the same way as they do my Uncle – or at least my brothers anyway.  Kayla and I are in the same financial boat married to husbands who like to spend – though it is usually for the benefit of others.  Kayla has NEVER been a materialistic – not that my brothers are – but they do have more insight to finances and expenses than do either Kayla or I.

           Roland doesn’t swindle and cheat intentionally.  Sometimes his investments are not as great as he had hoped for.  Not his fault that the economy went caput.  I do think he handled his divorce poorly however – and the courts in Utah have been totally unfair.  Therefore we have struggled.  He doesn’t have the best track record for finances.  I don’t suppose either one of us do.  But I don’t believe he’s anything like Uncle Lynn.  But I know my brothers don’t trust either one with money.  And I do understand.