Friday, October 31, 2008

© Linda Davick

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A List

#5 on the list

Things that prodded me though another paralyzing day:

1. Generous next door neighbors who happen to be great chefs
2. A wise and loving sister
3. An extraordinary counselor
4. Stray G
5. A sweet husband
6. Funny friends in Chattanooga
7. Looking on my calendar and seeing Cheryl's name for lunch tomorrow

Can things be so bad with a list like that? No way, Cheese Souffle.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What Do You Do?

What do you do when you're feeling stressed? It was cold and foggy outside this evening and I didn't want to jog. I did anyway. Afterward I was glad, though when I got back home I ate two dinners instead of one. (Is this a problem for anyone else? Is exercise worth the cost? Would it not be healthier to lie down in front of the TV and only eat one dinner?) After dinners I watched It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Martian Snack

Comment from Mari on Cheerio: Tell me more! What are the pieces lying on?

Yesterday afternoon I wanted to try taking pictures really close up. This photo shows what I was actually shooting: tiny beads arranged on top of a rubber coaster. But it does look like some kind of Martian snack, doesn't it?

Friday, October 24, 2008

3 x 3

Today at lunch I looked over and saw all the stones I had collected, lying abandoned on a folded-up pink tablecloth. I thought: If I'm having so much trouble shooting a hundred items at once, why not shoot the items individually? I went outside in the shade and took 10 or 12 shots with my hand braced on my knee. I pieced nine of them together; there's something I like about this. I'll try the baby tripod tomorrow, and go for a hundred.

I got so excited about this new idea that I shot 64 little pebbles on the beach this evening. Below are 36 of those. This piece doesn't seem so successful; the small scale probably doesn't help. I'm still intrigued by the idea.

One reason I was able to "focus" today was that I had a relatively good conversation with Mom. She said that she had had a successful morning, which was music to my ears. She had sat down at the piano in the dining room and played. She says she needs sheet music in order to really play, though. Aggles says there's a good music store nearby, and she'll look for some music tomorrow to take next weekend.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Neurotic Dreams and An Emergency

This evening we were too weary to go on our usual hike, so we walked up the street to Sutro Park. Not a bad decision! The view (from the ruins of the Sutro mansion) does not hurt one's spirits in the least.

Me: Tom, I had an erotic dream last night. And you were in it.

Tom: (not seeming very interested at all) A neurotic dream? What happened?

One minute ago as I was about to post this, Tom's phone rang and I overheard this conversation:

Hi, Michelle! How are you?

What kind of oven is it? Is it an electric oven?

Do you have any baking soda?

We have a fire extinguisher, but it's a million years old.

Why don't I come over and look at it.

Because if your house catches on fire, and it spreads to Elizabeth's house, then it spreads to John and Em's, then it jumps over to our house, we'll be pissed.

Ok, then. I'll be right there.

Tom, wait. Let me find something for you to take to Michelle. I know there's a bag of candy in here somewhere... just wait one minute.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Make Me Normal

© Linda Davick

Is there anything better than normal, everyday life? No. In striving to get back to a normal semblance of life today, here's what I did: I bought a bottle of nail polish (Pink Poodle Pearl / $3.97) and painted my nails. Of course this is not normal at all for me, but I think it's something normal people do all the time, and it made me feel much better.

Do something really normal today and tell me about it. It doesn't have to be anything special–just very normal.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Highs and Lows

in no particular order:

Mom has decided she likes Panera, and can see why it's a successful business. We finish lunch. As we drive out of the parking lot, she says, "I'm really glad we ate there, and not at the Green ... Duck–or is it the Blue Rooster ..."

Suddenly out of the corner of my eye I see the restaurant she's referring to. "Oh, you mean the Red Lobster!" We both get a good laugh out of that. You're told to treasure these funny moments, but I don't want to treasure them. At this point, they're painful as well as funny.

The past week has been hard. Sitting with Mom, holding her hand while she cried, trying to explain to her why she's moving to the dreaded memory area. Seeing her feel diminished. Since I've been back, I'm anxious about every "next" phone call with her. Each call either brings relief or distress.

The night I get back, I call her soon as I get off the plane and she seems all right. The next morning she calls me (Sondra dials for her) and is terrified that she'll be stuck where she is until she dies, and wishes for a gun.

Driving back to her new apartment after a successful shopping trip:

Mom: Now ... how are you related to Kenneth? (Kenneth is her husband, who died in 1966.)

Me: He's my father!

Mom: You don't mean it!

Yes, Mom! And he's Aggle's father, too.

Mom: Well I'm so glad. Do you look like him?

Me: Let's get out some pictures when we get back to your apartment and see!

She goes on to ask where I was born and where Aggles and I went to school.

My mom's retirement complex has a room set up for their residents to vote who can't drive to the polls on November 3. It's open from 1:00 to 3:00 the first day I'm there. Mom waltzes in on her walker at 2:40 and we're informed that the voting booths have been packed up. "But she has to vote!" I protest. Mom says, "Yes. I thought there was still time."

They begin unpacking one of the voting computers and set it back up. Mom approaches slowly. I walk up close enough to see that the voting chart does not look simple. Mom is confused. Finally the voting booth woman simply asks Mom if she knows who she'd like to vote for for President. Mom says: "O-ba-ma."

The Voting Booth Woman says, "OK. Now this side is Democrat and this side is Republican." As she says, "This side is Republican," she puts her finger on the button with the big X next to McCain's name. So my mom pushes the button next to McCain's name.

"That's not who she wanted to vote for!" I protest.

The Voting Booth Woman scolds me: "You're not allowed to influence her!"

"I didn't influence her! She influenced me!" I remember when she dragged me to the Al Gore movie, and when she introduced me to Molly Ivins' column.

The Voting Booth Woman unplugs the setup and restarts it. Mom votes for Obama. They move on to the next page. I see Mom gingerly touch another button; then she gives up. At that point I don't even care. She's voted for O-ba-ma.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Found In the Sand This Evening

I like listening to junk radio when I'm driving the Ford Nebulous. Have you heard that song Big Girls Don't Cry? (Fergie, not Frankie Vallie). There are parts of it I get into the spirit of and belt out: For instance, the lines: "I hope you know, I hope you know...That this has nothing to do with you..."

But when it gets to the part: "It's time to be with myself and center ... clarity, peace, serenity ..." I have to snap the radio off in disgust. UGGGGGHHHHHHHH.

I can tell I'll be back to normal soon.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


1 cup Happy Girl tomato juice (comes perfectly spiced) and 2 oz. vodka.
Yes, Larry, that is a celery stick. I thought the photo needed something more, so I added the little dog. I'll tell the story of the little dog tomorrow.

Next day: Well, stay tuned. I'll tell the story sometime soon.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Many people are afraid of Emptiness ... because it reminds them of Loneliness. Everything has to be filled in, it seems–appointment books, hillsides, vacant lots–but when all the spaces are filled, the Loneliness really begins. Then the Groups are joined, the Classes are signed up for, and the Gift-to-Yourself items are bought.
The Tao of Pooh

Saturday, October 04, 2008


Sometime after Aggles gave Mom the news that we'd be helping her move to the memory area, Mom asked Aggles if she could call me. She said "Sure."

Yesterday morning I had gotten down the book that Luci had sent me, How To Care For Aging Parents, and read:

Don't ask your parent if she wants to (go to day care or if she wants to have a particular person care for her), because she'll say no. Gently tell her what is going to happen (and how wonderful it's going to be). Don't make it a choice.

I'd been carrying my phone with me everywhere and was determined to be firm and upbeat and not to cave in and start commiserating.

Mom: I'm not sure you know what the plan is for me here.

Me: About moving?

Mom: Yes! Did you know about that?

Me: Yes, and I'm all for it.

Mom, shocked: I thought you'd be on my side!

Of course I tell her I am on her side. She begs for one more week to prove herself. "I know I can do it. I didn't know I was being monitored." We have a long conversation. I try to convince her that she hasn't been being monitored. I agree that moving is hard, emotionally as well as physically. I ask her if she's seen the new apartment. She says, "No." (She has seen it a couple months ago). I urge her to go look at it. I tell her she'll be closer to everything. That it's on the west side, the side she prefers. That she can still get the newspaper and watch her 8 o'clock shows.

She's been upset lately because she can't read the calendar of activities and figure out when to go where, so I tell her that someone will make sure she gets to the activities she's interested in (music, dance)–not just the ones on her hall. That Sondra will be there whenever she wants, to take her places. We'll work it out so Jill, her physical therapist will play ping pong with her. I tell her I'm putting together a book of photos from my last trip to visit her, and that she'll get it in a few days. I say that I'll be there this Friday and will stay through Tuesday to be with her during the move, and that we're going to have FUN, and make another book of photos during that time.

She laughs a few times, but when we hang up, she's crying. I really feel for Aggles. Aggles said they went out to dinner after that. That was one good thing, because she had wondered whether Mom would be so upset that she'd have to go out and get food or have food delivered.

After dinner Aggles asked Mom if she wanted to go for a drive and Mom said yes. They drove through our old neighborhood and stopped in front of the house Mom had built when she was around fifty–the house she lived in for almost 35 years–and Mom didn't recognize it at all. She still recognizes the house she grew up in as a little girl, though–her mother's house. Fascinating.

Today I want to tell Mom that just because her memory is bad, doesn't make her less smart or charming. (This has been a surprise to me; I thought when one part of the brain went, everything went with it.) But because her memory is so bad, it does mean that she needs more attention and help that's closer by. I'll tell her to relax and enjoy herself. That she can continue to be her own person and live her own life.

I think she needs to be given some kind of job. Coming up with words for their spelling bees, or helping somebody who's worse off than she is (?)

No doubt about it, I'm writing these things to make myself feel better as much as to make her feel better.

Friday, October 03, 2008


Tomorrow Aggles is driving up to Chattanooga to explain to my mom that we'll be helping her move to the memory ward next weekend.

I had wondered if it wouldn't be easier on everyone just to wait til next Friday when we're both there. Then there wouldn't be 4 days of anguish on Mom's part before she moves, and Aggles and I could have each other for moral support.

Here's an e-mail from Aggles in response to my suggestion we wait until the night before the move to tell Mom:

I think our anxiety is being counter-productive.

We cannot make Mom happy and anxiety free. Ever. And that’s not our role. Handholding has done enough damage over the years and yes I realize she’s 87 and not about to change but I do not at this moment see that popping in and saying “Hi Mom! We’re here to move you!” is the right thing to do. It smacks of conspiracy and dishonesty and lack of courage.

Aggle, I admire you more than words can say. May the Big Bright Spirit inhabit every cell of your body tomorrow.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Phone Call

They passed out forms today so we would be able to vote.

Me: Who are you going to vote for?

Do you want to guess?

Me: No. You tell me.


Yay! Great!

My friends here look at me like there's something wrong. For instance, who's that woman who lives in her own little house downstairs?


Yes, yes, Marie! She says, "Don't you know we've voted Republican around here for one hundred years?"

Oh no.

Yes. And the fact that he's a black man. The Southerners ordinarily do not understand. People look down on the black folks around here. But I read a book by Obama. I have his inside feelings and I think he's a reasonable man.

Well, I'm voting for him.

Maybe he'll get in because of us.

p.s. You can make your own Obama poster here. (Thanks for the link, Mari!)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Mom isn't remembering to eat, or whether it's morning or evening, and sometimes she's forgetting who we are. We'll be helping her move to the "memory area"–not this coming weekend, but the next. We're having a hard time figuring out how to tell her. When we thought we would be helping her move a couple months ago, she got pretty upset.

This evening Mom called in a state because the phone by her bed had been taken. When I insisted that she go back in to check again, it had been returned and was on the floor unplugged. I called the front desk. They promised to send someone up to plug it back in and to calm her down. I emailed Margaret about it, who wrote back:

This reminds me of the night a couple weeks ago right before I went to Ch'oogers last time, when Mom called in distress 'cuz the numbers on the phone in her bedroom were no longer in the correct order. Instead of going




they went




I told her they were just numbers and would work the same.

Then when I got to Chattanooga I looked at her phone and sure enough it was rotated 90 degrees.