This blog was formerly dedicated in 2009 to my Dad who died of Alzheimer's in 2013. It's been three years now...and I find myself missing blogging...so I am re-inventing my blog... because, after all, life is about moving through, and going forward...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The hallucinations and paranoia are creeping back in...

Mom went to visit Dad today. She found Dad sitting by himself in the wheel chair in the visiting area by the double doors.  He was talking very seriously to himself. Mom sat down and he continued his non stop conversation...  Mom listened as he talked of purchasing the nursing home, as well as Disneyland.  All his sons ran the properties, and we are all are independently wealthy. Dad stated his second to the youngest son needed to be reprogrammed, but Mom did not question him. 
 
She felt like she couldn't contribute anything conversationally because Dad barely paused for a breath.  He kept his eyes closed almost the entire time.  Despite his eyes appearing vacant, by his conversation, there was plenty going on inside his brain.
 
Dad's favorite nurse, told Mom, Dad refused breakfast from anyone but her. He thinks the others may poison him, and he only trusts her.  He was smiling and reaching for her hand when Mom and the nurse were talking by his bed.

After Dad was tucked in for his nap, Mom asked the nurse if she was working New Years Day.  Dad has always loved to watch the Rose Parade, so Mom suggested she might invite Dad to watch on his TV.  I was born in Pasadena, and as a child we lived with our grandparents in their Craftsman style home a few blocks from the Parade.  Dad used to take us every year to enjoy the parade as a family. Personally, I have very fond memories when I watch the Rose Parade...

I feel like the hallucinations and paranoia are creeping back in to Dad's existence. We have been so Blessed to have him not return to the Psych ward for several months... I pray, he does not have to return...

Monday, December 28, 2009

It sure doesn't feel like Christmas to me...

My husband, my youngest daughter and I all went to visit Dad on Christmas.  We brought him ham, macaroni and cheese (from scratch), monkey bread and fudge, all made by the loving hands of my eldest daughter.  We also brought photos of my grandsons, and a print of Winter Walk, the painting Dad refers to as "red man".

Our visit was late in the day, almost his dinner time, and my gut told me it would not be the visit we hoped it would be...

Dad was sitting in the dining room, dressed warmly in jeans, sweater, and knit cap.  He seemed happy enough to see us, and told us we were "life savers", and then instructed us to get him out of there...

I wheeled him out on to the patio, with him telling us to take him to Jack n the Box.  I revealed the food we had for him, and when he complained about everything, I shuttered, knowing what we were in for.  He proceeded to tell us how horrible they treat him and how they lock him out of his room.

My youngest daughter is 30 and has not seen him since she talked him back from his coma, shortly after he was placed in the nursing home.  We called her the Grandpa Whisperer.  She was working two jobs up until a few months ago, and has been really looking forward to seeing him.  I had forewarned my daughter and husband that since it was late in the day, he may not be in good spirits, but when you love someone, as we all love Dad, we always tend to hope for the best...

We all tried to stay up beat, and both my daughter and husband forgot not to mention it was Christmas and wished him Merry Christmas.  As I was trying to feed him, he announced to us all, "It sure doesn't feel like Christmas to me"...

He was cold on the patio, so we went back inside.  We hung his painting, cards and pictures up on his wall of love, and through brief smiles, he apologised, telling us he was tired.  With the help of the attendant, we got him transferred from his wheel chair to his bed.  As I tucked him in, helping him to get cozy, I noted he was out of breath.  Just getting into bed is exhausting for him.

He began to keep his eyes shut, telling us he was so tired, and apologised again for falling asleep in our faces, but we assured him, naps were good and he should not worry.  His CNA came in with his dinner, which he refused.  He had only taken a few bites of the food we brought him, so it concerns me, since the doctor took him off his appetite enhancer medication.

As we walked outside his room, my daughter broke down and was visably upset, promising both my husband and myself, she would NEVER allow us to be in a nursing home.  It is sad, but unrealistic, to think of trying to care for elderly parents, especially, in Dad's condition...

I guess I had hoped that because Dad did so well at Thanksgiving, he would be OK for Christmas, too...but I found myself regreting our visit.  I did not want this negative visit as my last memory with Dad. I must remind myself, again, we have to take the bad days with the good...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Closed for Christmas holidays...


Shock of shocks, I am actually going to leave my laptop home for a change, and just "be" with the family.  Looking forward to nice long conversations, lots of laughter, catching up with all my loved one's lives, and just sitting and enjoying everyone.

I can't wait to hold my grandsons in my arms and hear them talk all at once telling us what Santa brought them.  We'll play board games, video games and no doubt watch a couple DVDs.  Watching their expressions of excitement and getting deliriously intoxicated with love and fullfillment...something, only they can do...

Just being able to sit and gaze into my two daughter's faces, listening, watching, enjoying, loving.  I just can't wait!  For me, just being around family is better than just about anything...

We leave tomorrow...so see everyone when we get back...Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I can't think of a better gift for Christmas...

My sister and Mom went to visit Dad today.  They found him sitting in his wheel chair in the hallway.  They took him to an area where they could all sit down to talk.  My sister brought him some Christmas cards and a set of dominoes.  Dad told her he remembered how to play.

Last May, all of us, except our brother's family in Ohio, attended my sister's son's wedding. My second to oldest brother's wife, took a picture of Mom, Dad, three of my 4 brothers, my sister and I.  It turned out so great, we wanted to "Photoshop" our missing brother in Ohio, in the photo. When my sister showed Dad the family picture, he named every person in the photo. It is a bittersweet photo, because it turned out to be the last family outing Dad attended.  He went into the hospital a few weeks later.

Mom and my sister discovered Dad is missing his glasses again.  Mom reported it to the nursing station and they will make out a report and send out a search party for the missing specs...

Dad's Physical Therapist came by to see him, and told Mom and my sister she and Dad were on the patio the other day and were admiring all the pretty yellow fall leaves.  She told them how she tossed some of the leaves into the air, allowing them to cascade down upon her.  Dad flung a handful into the air and enjoyed sharing the experience with her.  Afterward, she and Dad made leaf tracings, which Dad thought was really cool.

Lunch was served, so they all moved inside so Dad could eat.  Mom fed him some beef soup, which filled him up since he is not on the appetite enhancers.  He had no appetite for the burrito, beans, salad, jello, ice cream, coffee and milk.

When Dad was tucked in all cozy in his bed, his aide asked Dad to sing Ava Maria. In full voice, Dad began to sing the first verse of the hymn.  When he got to the second verse, he began making up the words telling the aide how much he loved her and thanking her for taking such good care of him.  Everyone in the room got a big chuckle from that!

Several of the aides call Dad, Papa.  There is another elderly woman patient, that also calls Dad Papa and thinks he is her Father.  She gets very emotional with Dad and he is very sweet with her. Dad told Mom and my sister he was well cared for and was very happy.  He told them about another patient, (who paces the halls, ever clad in shorts and socks), who is in training with Dad for a marathon. I get the most joy from Dad's positive, upbeat, imagination.

Knowing Dad is doing so well, that his attitude is good, that he is safe and being cared for in such a loving way... just does not get any better.  How Blessed are we?  I can't think of a better gift for Christmas...

FINALLY FINISHED (Break of Day)


I finally finished the elk picture for my son in law's Christmas present.  Decided to call it Break of Day...

Looking at it on the blog, I don't like the blue in the trees, they look too turquoise... so I may have to tweak it a bit...

My art teacher told, "Not to touch it". But, she also told us, "If you find yourself looking at something and bugging you, then you have to change it."


I had given him Something in the Wind, which was the Big Horn Ram I did, so this will make a good pairing.
              
This is a pic of the other one I gave him... so you don't have to look back under my labels...


This was the first colored pencil drawing I did.

I learned so much for our instructor.  She is such a talented Artist.

First thing tomorrow, I am off to the printer... after I fix the trees...

Am so relieved to get it finished.  I just hate to have commitments hanging over my head. This one is two months past due...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas to all my blogging friends...

Christmas Myspace Comments
MyNiceSpace.com

The nursing home called this morning.  Dad's leg is swollen again.  His doctor put him on a weeks worth of Lasix.  Dad refuses to wear his compression stockings, so this is what happens...

I had a copy made of Winter Walk for Dad, so I am looking forward to presenting it to him when I see him this week.

I am busy working on my son in law's Elk Christmas gift, finishing my shopping, and wrapping everything, so have not had much time for blogging... I will post the final results once I finish...

May everyone out there have a wonderful holiday with their families, staying well and healthy.  May you get everything done, so you may relax and collect yourself prior to Christmas Eve.  May all your wishes come true and may you laugh and enjoy....

Friday, December 18, 2009

Another birthday party for Dad...


I called Dad this morning, and he was playing Bingo.  The nurse asked me to call back between 1pm and 1:30pm.  When I called back, they told me Mom had just left...

When Dad came on the line, he told me Mom had been to visit.  He told me they sat out on the patio and talked for about 20 minutes.  I asked if they had a nice visit and he said they did.

I asked Dad if he remembered singing Bye Bye Blackbird to me, and he said, "I sure do" and then broke into song...I joined in and we sang the song together.  He told me what a nice song it was, and he would start singing it to himself when he goes to sleep.

I asked how the Bingo game went, but he wanted to tell me they were having a birthday party for him today...I told him I was so happy for him. The nursing home is having a Christmas party today for all the residents and staff...but if Dad wants to think it is his birthday party, that is fine with me...

He was rambling about green houses on a 45 degree angle and wanting to buy a grocery market, when all of a sudden, I heard him say, "Hello, may I help you?"  (Apparently someone walked into the room.) Dad told me he had to get off the phone because someone wanted to use the room...I told him I loved him and he told me he loved me too, and he hung up...

Mom called, shortly after I hung up with Dad, and told me about the Christmas Party.  She said Dad kept talking to her about waiting for a package from me with the little red man in it...he really is preoccupied with that painting I did. (He'll have a print of it by next week). Mom laughed and told me when she and Dad had been talking on the patio, Dad told her he can't understand what she says to him, and she can't understand what he says to her.  She told me she agreed with him and they both shared a laugh.

I had more I wanted to discuss with Dad.  I had some childhood memories I wanted to share with him and see if he remembered.  I had been thinking of when we lived in Bremerton, Washington and rode the Ferries.  I have vivid memories of he and  I on the top deck.  He was carrying me on his shoulders and I recall feeling a little frightened, because I was so high.  Dad took a step downward, and I screamed thinking we were jumping off the boat.  He reassured me in his soothing voice. hugging me close, he would protect me and not let anything bad happen....

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A rose for "Pops"...


My youngest brother went to see "Pops" today, bringing him a rose from his garden.

He said Dad must have smelled it at least twenty times.

Dad told him, his visit was a life saver....

Dad's mouth looked dry and he seemed very thirsty, so my brother gave him some water, which he drained from the cup. Dad's delicious lunch of beef stew, cucumbers, tapioca pudding, cornbread, ice cream, milk, coffee and more water, arrived about five minutes later. Dad's meals are always a high light of his day...

They chatted about my brother's job.  Dad told him he needed to keep up with technology and my brother agreed.  Dad told him about a Christmas card he had for my brother and the top 10 things my brother was grateful for. My brother read Dad his top 10 list... Unfortunately, I was unable to reach my brother to ask about the card and what my brother's top 10 list included...

When my brother told Dad, it was time for him to go, Dad asked, "Can I come with you?"  It was difficult for my brother to talk, hearing Dad's request.  Gracefully, lovingly, he told Dad he would see him next time and gave him love and hugs. Dad returned the love and thanked him again for the visit...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Work in progress....




Back in May, I was working on this elk, in my colored pencil art class.  I plan on giving it to my son in law who lives in California...

With everything going on with Dad, at the time, I had to put it on hold.  My son in law's birthday was in October, so obviously, I missed that deadline!

Now, my goal is to have it finished before Christmas...






I worked on it in art class today for three hours.  It is so time consuming to put down all those layers of color, but it is coming along...

If I work on it at home, every day, I may finish it in time.  I am really anxious to give it to him.

So stay tuned for the progress...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Let the sun warm all the parts that are cold...


Mom went to visit Dad after she got off work. She had to park down the street and walk to the nursing home because the parking lot was so full.  Dad was sitting on front of a window by the back door, soaking in the sun's warmth. Dad has been so grateful Mom was not getting remarried, so he very happy to see her. They chatted briefly, then she suggested they go to the lounge area, where my sister had taken Dad to visit.  Mom was able to sit and listen while Dad talked...

When his lunch arrived, they moved inside so Dad could enjoy his lunch.  Afterward, Dad asked the attendant to take him to the restroom, so he could brush his teeth.  Mom patiently waited, and when Dad returned, she could tell he had shaven Dad as well.

Dad seemed exhausted, closing his eyes and seemed a little short of breath.  Mom made sure he was alright, then bid him farewell.  Dad was in deed tired, as he did not even say good bye, so Mom knew he was wiped out...

I too love the warmth of the sun, particularly when it is cold outside.  It feels so good to lie in a patch of sun and feel the heat through the window.  Now I can sit in front of a sunny window, close my eyes, and pretend I am sitting next to my Dad sharing the warmth of the sun...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dad is still curious about the "red man"...

My sister spent over an hour in  HORRIBLE traffic, to go visit Dad. She arrived to find him in the TV room listening to a sermon. She waited in the hall, as not to disturb him.  When it was over, she took Dad to the front lounge area.

Dad chatted away, and my sister listened. It seemed every few minutes, he would yawn, while talking about his dreams. He mentioned enjoying the little children several times. Ever on his mind lately, he told my sister he was curious about Mom's "red man".  At first, she was not sure what Dad meant...until she realized Dad was talking about the red jacketed boy, walking his dog, in my Winter Walk painting...

 
At lunch time, she wheeled him back to the lunch room and they waited a bit for his food to arrive. He looked my sister and asked her if they could go out for a bite to eat. My sister told him she had to pick up her daughter from the airport, and the nursing home had already prepared his food.  Dad always gets impatient waiting for his food.  He invited her to stay and eat with him. Just then, his tasty looking lunch was served and Dad's attention was focused on his food.

Dad was woofing down his lunch, while a  pleasant looking older man, observed him briefly, and then dug into his lunch too.  A toothless woman with a Prior Tuck type bald spot on top of her head and long strings of gray hair hanging down her neck, was noisily sucking and slurping her pudding. My sister decided she was not that hungry...

She kissed him and gave him a big hug good bye, and was grateful he seemed so happy and content, but was sad at the thought of how drastically his life has changed...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Too Blessed to be stressed...

I talked with Dad today.  It was so good to hear his voice warm up when he heard mine.  Having him tell me it was so good to hear my voice, just filled me up with joy in an instant!  All the depression I had the past few days, dissolved in an instant.

He had just finished his Rehab but was concerned that he could not manipulate his wheelchair around the other side of his bed so he could read his Bible.  I talked with his nurse and had them widen the area, and move his bed, so he had room to wheel in to his bed stand.

I could tell by his voice that he was tired, but was happy to just listen to the sound of his voice...never mind the fact nothing he said made sense, it was just good to be with him in that moment.  He changed the topic of conversation like a bunch of children on a playground, scattering in so many directions...

He was telling me how well he was cared for and how grateful he was that Mom was OK financially.  I told him he was too Blessed to be stressed, and he REALLY liked that, repeating it several times.

I asked if he would like me to make a copy of the painting he likes, Winter Walk, with the little boy wearing the red jacket walking his dog.  He told me he would really love that and again, told me how much he loved that painting. I told him I would bring it to him the next time I saw him.

I want to get him to sing Bye Bye Blackbird with me the next time I call.  It would be special for both of us.
He kept saying, it was time to go under the overpass, and he meant, he was tired and it was time to take a nap.  I asked if he was tired, and he said he was, and would I mind if he laid down for awhile.  I told him sweet dreams and he told me the same...

Sweet Dreams Dad, until we talk again....

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dad thinks Mom is marrying my brother's friend...

Mom had a bad visit with Dad today.  He was complaining about having stomach problems the night before and  said my brother's friend worked there at night. Dad got angry and asked my Mom why she was marrying the boys friend after 63 years of marriage to Dad.  Mom was stunned, telling Dad he was the only man she was married to, and the friend had been married 20 years to his wife. Dad could not remember who the friend's wife was.  She said it took him a while, but finally seemed relieved.

Dad told Mom he feels very isolated because "no one comes to see him".  Mom was offended because he appeared to not include Mom on the visitors list.  One minute he was telling her how great they treat him and the next he was angry because the nursing home won't let him lay on the grass, or have a van come pick him up for work...

He told Mom he can't stand alone and needs to exercise and start running. He wanted to know when he could come home, and what had happened to his room.  Dad was wearing black tennis shoes, and told Mom that all the doctors on the night shift, wear them.

Hallucinating, Dad said he had sat on a bench in West Covina and two of his former doctors, dropped by and sat with him. Mom asked if it was his former primary care doctor, and Dad corrected her, telling her they were Cardiologists.

He was very concerned with how Mom was doing financially, and she assured him she was fine.
Again, changing the subject, Dad informed Mom he was now working for President Obama and that the gal from Alaska will be in office next year...

Mom had called me, telling me Dad wanted to talk to me.  When I ask him enthusiastically how he was, he told me he was "OK, now..."  He repeated not feeling well last night and about Mom clearing up she was not marrying my brother's friend.

We chatted, he told me he wanted to come to my house for Christmas, and I agreed that would be wonderful.  He asked how myself and my husband were, and I assured him we were fine and reminded him about Izzy. Dad had such a good laugh when I had showed him her picture on his birthday.  He laughed again when I mentioned her.  I told him how cold it is here and how she would stick her nose out the back door and turn around, away from the door.  He laughed.  I told him how I bought her a red parka, and how much she loves wearing it.  I told him she wears it outside when it is cold or raining, "to do her business".  He laughed hard at that, really getting a kick out of it.  It felt good to laugh together...

He began telling me about his doctor and how he refuses to allow him to treat him.  I asked him why, and he told me because he was too aggressive.  I agreed and told him that was no fun.  He told me they take care of him there at the nursing home, most of the time.  I told him the nurses were his angels and they really cared about him.  He agreed they were very nice.  I was just ready to ask him how his lunch was, when Mom came on the line.  Apparently, Dad was done talking and just handed the phone back to Mom.

I could hear the frustration and annoyance in Mom's voice.  I know how difficult it is for her to visit him alone. I know she prefers to have someone go with her. I know how hard it is for her.  It is difficult for all of us...

I have a mixed up myriad of emotions...I feel anger, sadness, depression, hopelessness, loneliness, and borderline rage...rage that seethes beneath the service of my soul.  Why is this happening? Why does Dad have to go through this when he is such a kind and gentle person?  Nothing makes sense anymore...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mush my little sled dog...

Early morning
 drizzle
 cloud cloaked mountains
biting
 freeze
 upon my face
smiling at this precious pup
prancing and sniffing the brisk air
so cute in her pink sweater
as she lunges
and leaps
with her best sled dog pull.
All is still and quiet
neighbors still warm in their beds
 drinking hot tea or coffee...
wish I had some now...
but we must
do our best
to lighten her energy load
so she will sleep
in her crate
so I can keep doctor appointments
and Christmas shop...
Oh how good
hot chocolate would taste
right now
to warm my numb hands
forgetting my gloves
walk faster
walk faster
past all the Christmas decorations
under the glow of the street lights
up one hill
and down another
 still prancing
and I am finally warming up...
MUSH, my little sled dog
time to go home...



Saturday, December 5, 2009

I wish I knew how to disconnect from wondering what Dad thinks about...

Mom had her second visit this week with Dad.  Both times he has been very sleepy and not very talkative.  He was excited about the Men's Ministry program he had attended this morning at the nursing home. He raved about the message, the music and seeing his friends. Mom told him about the Christmas program she had attended this morning with my sister, sister in law, niece, and other friends.  Dad had forgotten the name of their church. He asked her what month it was, and she told him, December.

She said he has seemed very weak and cannot stand on his own.  The attendant has to help him stand and to do anything that requires him to be out of his wheel chair.  Mom said he asked about the "Autistic Red Man" in a painting I had done and given Mom for her birthday.  It is entitled Winter Walk.  In the distance, it has a boy wearing a red jacket walking with his dog through snowy woods.  Dad loved looking at the painting.  He would see all kinds of figures in that painting, that were not purposely painted.

That week I stayed with Dad before he went into the hospital, we observed it together, and he showed me all the things he saw.  He really has a vivid imagination.  I could see some of what he was describing.  He would tell me I was a genius for painting subconsciously.. But then, Dad always thought anything I ever did, was extra ordinary...

Dad asked about my brothers and Mom told him what they were each up to, all of them extra busy during the holidays...Dad kept drifting in and out of sleep, so she told him she would let him rest.  He thanked her for coming and told her how happy he was with the excellent care he is receiving. That has to make Mom feel good...

I wish I knew how to disconnect from wondering what Dad thinks about, when he does weave in and out of reality.  When Mom told him it was the month of December, does it register with him, that it is his second the oldest son's birthday?  That Christmas is coming? I can't help but feel, those thoughts are fading away, more and more...

Friday, December 4, 2009

A chilly day of productivity...

This morning, while researching and googling the Dog Whisperer, my husband called, asking me to bring some important materials, down to his office, for a meeting.  I put my research on hold, loaded up Izzy in the car, and off we went...

After leaving my husband's work, I drove over to the Honda dealership to have my battery checked.  Lately, my car has been slow to start.  Sure enough, it tested low and they replaced for me.  Got the car washed too.

My sister told me I best get busy and finish Hearts and Flowers, because she was sick and tired of me talking about it...I'm embarrassed to say, it has been two months since my sister last visited, when I started the project!  Izzy was all over the place investigating my garage studio.  She found something green and proceeded to chew it.  I got it away from her, but still have no idea what it was...



This is not a very good picture of Hearts and Flowers... hopefully, you can see it.  I cut out various hearts and  flower pics out of magazines, and then Hodge-Podged the pics to a 12 X 12 canvas, that I had painted.

Originally, I planned on pasting pics all around the sides, but decided to just leave it, as I liked the texture I put on the canvas.

The thin magazine paper is a pain to work with, I like the heavier scrapping
paper better...




I had seen an article on Bristlecone Pine Trees in the newspaper today. They live an average of 1000 years and grow in Nevada , Utah and California. They can be found near the tree line between 10,000 and 11,000 feet above sea level. The article stated these trees are slow growers, but were thriving in the higher temps.

The picture in the paper had a gnarly looking tree, that appeared to be split open.  Possibly it was from lightening or from a larger branch of the tree breaking off from strong winds. I liked the colors inside the tree from the split, and was motivated to paint it with watercolor.

I am in the "wait and see" mode.  I sit it in my studio and then move the painting around, looking at it from various angles, to determine if I am done, or need to mess with it some more...

I saw a picture of a woman exploring some caves in Utah, and the picture caught my eye and gave me an interesting idea to paint.  I plan on doing it tomorrow, and then I will post it, and you will see what I mean...

I brought Izzy's toys into the studio and made her a little bed.  She finally got the idea she was suppose to cooperate, like she does when I am typing on my computer...

She would come over beside me and look up, as if to say, "Can we go for a walk when you're done, Mom?"

It was almost 4pm when I finished, which gave us about an hour before dusk...I don't like walking in the dark, due to recent Coyote sightings around the neighborhood...

It was FREEZING!  I needed a jacket, but did not want to go back in the house. I figured we would just walk quicker to warm up.

One of my neighbors drove by and offered us a ride home, telling me I was "nuts" to be out walking without warmer clothing.  I declined the ride, but we wasted no time in finishing our walk.  When I stepped inside our house, which is 67 degrees, it felt like it was summer. Oh man, it felt so deliciously warm and toasty inside!  My nose felt frozen, and I could barely move my fingers, to unwrap Izzy's leash from around my wrist. Burrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!

Izzy has a pink and grey sweater to wear on nippy days such as these... but she turns around and tries to tear it off... She'll consent to wearing it if we are going out of doors, guess it is too warm inside, and her patience wears out by the time I get myself together...


She  is not ignoring me in this picture, she was keeping an eye on my husband...

They are getting along better, she even jumped upon the bed, with him laying it in and stayed there!  That is progress!!

I have my husband asleep on the couch to my left, and Izzy asleep to my right...

I can feel my eyelids growing heavy and tomorrow is another day for productivity... and putting up some Christmas lights...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Does anybody have the phone number for the Dog Whisperer....


Now I know Izzy looks very sweet, and she is.  But she has a "wild hair" that can sure give me a run for my money!  This is one of her moments when she thinks she is a cat, perched on the arm of the couch.

She ate the ear off my Minnie Mouse Jibbitz I had on my black Crocs. She chewed up the electric eraser box from my colored pencil bag. She steals slippers, socks and shoes. I know she gets "chewy" when she is hyper and needs a walk.

When I try to walk her (Dog Whisperer style, and be the calm and assertive pack leader) she thinks she is the lead sled dog in the Iditerod.

I have terrible calf cramps from walking so fast to keep up with her. She does not walk, she prances. The dog whisperer suggests letting her pull me on roller blades...(like THAT is going to happen!!!) or giving her a backpack to carry, giving her a job, to slow her down or help her work off her energy.  I have already amassed a small fortune on what we have spent on her.  Let alone buying a $40 dog back pack!!

I try to allow her extra lead, on the leash to "burn off her energy", the first lap around the block. I know the DW says that "sends the wrong energy" when approaching other dogs. I am benefiting from her fast pace, (weight wise) but I am sore all over in the process! She zig zags in front of me and has almost tripped me several times, not to mention, me accidentally stepping on her foot.  She growls and barks at mild mannered, obedient, friendly, bigger dogs and then their owners are giving me that look that says, Why don't you take her in for training? 


In watching the Dog Whisperer program, he promotes using a choke type collar to correct behavior, and I see and appreciate the results.  My main reservation, is the Vet told me dogs like Izzy should wear halters, as the choke type collars can collapse her trachea.  Correcting her behavior, while wearing the halter, does not have the same effect.

This morning, on our walk,  a woman approached us with two Springer Spaniels, seeing me, she told me her dogs were friendly.  Then, Izzy leaps and lunges at them growling and barking...

She diverts her dogs from our path and in disgust, spits at me, "OH NO! Your dog is mean!  Why do people get little dogs, they are always mean!!"  In Izzy's defense, (although the lady did not deserve an explanation after her close minded generalization) but I tell her anyway, that I just rescued her and she is still getting used to the neighborhood and other dogs.  She yells back over her shoulder, "Yeah, well my dogs are rescued too!"

Izzy likes Poodles, Lapsos, other Terriers, Shitzus, but Spaniels, Hounds and bigger dogs, she gets very aggressive, and it is beginning to be a problem. I want to socialize her, but I don't want to start a riot or dog fight either! I am very reluctant to take her to the dog park.

PetSmart charges $100 for 8 weeks, and the City is suppose to have some training classes, but so many dog owners promote the DW or more disciplined methods, that rewarding with treats, like PetSmart does. Anybody have any advice or suggestions, besides contacting Cesar Milan?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Last day of hubby's vacation...

We all eased into the day... hanging out in our PJs... my husband playing with Izzy, while I intently flipped through the exciting chapters of Dan Brown's book, THE LOST SYMBOL...

We took Izzy to PetSmart for more Bully Bones and a new toy.  Izzy and I went for a walk, while my hubby checked show times and set out his clothes for tomorrow. I am using my left arm to hold the leash, trying to manipulate it as much as possible to "unfreeze" my shoulder.  Now that I know my Rotator Cuff is not torn, I am using it again for EVERYTHING!

We enjoyed Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel and then went to see  THE BLIND SIDE with Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw.  GREAT movie by the way, based on a true story about Michael Oher, who became an All American football player. And, if you want a good  laugh, go see OLD DOGS.  I could barely see the movie, I was laughing so hard, I cried.

Tomorrow, my hubby returns to work, and I have a looooong list of "To Do's" to get done...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dare we hope...

I am happy to report, in the five days my husband has been off, he and Izzy have become a lot friendlier.  Dare we hope, their relationship will continue after my husband dawns his suit and returns to work?  Izzy and he play, as my husband belly laughs himself into oblivion!  He gets the biggest kick out of Izzy.  Despite me asking him not to, he insists on sharing his morning toast and pieces of turkey with her.

His excuse to me is, "She almost drown, the poor thing had a near death experience!!" She fell in our son's pool during Thanksgiving dinner.  I had just finished a delicious bite of yams, and suddenly heard a high pitched YIP! from the backyard.  I raced to the backyard, and she was no where in sight.  I called to her and another YIP!! sprang from the far corner of the yard.  In between the pool's waterfall, and the spa, was our little pup-cycle hanging on to the side of the pool for dear life...

Her eyes are so big anyway, but soaked to the bone, all I saw were a pair of huge, frightened, eyes looking up at me, with chattering teeth beneath.  I scooped her up and yelled for a towel, then took her into the bathroom to dry her off.  Poor thing was pure ice, but after a good toweling and a little help from the hair dryer, she was back to a normal temperature.

So, my husband still thinks, the trauma of a nearly drowning, warrants extra measures of compensation.  I am just happy they are becoming buddies. No barking and no growling! She actually will follow him around too, and stay in the same room with him.  He has been able to get some pets around her face and neck, but still not on her body.  Slowly but surely...one day at a time...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Bye Bye Blackbird...


When I was a little baby, and throughout my life, my Dad would sing Bye, Bye Blackbird, to me.  It was our special song.  He used to tell me, I would be crying and fussing, and when he sang it to me, I stopped and listened to him with a big smile.

It was the music we danced to at my wedding, for my Father of the Bride dance.

The song was written in 1926 and was very popular.  It was composed by Ray Henderson, an American composer and lyrics by Mort Dixon. Despite controversial interpretations of the song, when Dad sang it to me, all was right in my world. In case you have not heard of it, these are the words... my memories are mostly of just the chorus...

Blackbird, Blackbird, singing the blues all day,
Right outside of my door,
Blackbird, blackbird, gotta be on my way,
Where there's sun shine galore.


Pack up all my care and woe,
Here I go,
Singing low,
Bye, bye, blackbird.


Where some body waits for me,
Sugar's sweet,
So is she,
Bye, bye, blackbird


No one here can love and understand me,
Oh what hard luck stories they all hand me,
Make my bed and light the light,
I'll arrive late tonight,
Blackbird, bye, bye


Bluebird, bluebird, calling me far away,
I've been longing for you,
Bluebird, bluebird, this is my lucky day,
Now my dreams will come true.

How I would love to hear my Dad sing it to me once more...

Friday, November 27, 2009

I know it in my head, it is just tough to make it stick in my heart...

Mom went to visit Dad today and found him, in the front row playing Bingo. The card numbers were huge and they used poker chips to mark the numbers called.  We thought he hated Bingo!  He was so engrossed in the game and his card, she did not want to interrupt. Mom took the Country magazine she had brought him, and read it in the hall until the game was finished.

When Dad came out, he asked to be taken to his room, so Mom followed along and watched as the attendant helped Dad into bed.  She said Dad seemed weak, and needed the attendant's strong arm for assistance to get settled.

She sat beside his bed and asked him how his visits were with their youngest son, daughter and her husband.  Dad laid with his eyes closed and rambled about the chapel at Cal Poly, the younger generation needing our support, and big rocks in the ocean.  He gave her yes or no answers to her questions, and continued with his own conversation. Mom said he only mentioned "medical history" once.

Mom is doing her best to not take it personally when Dad ignores her, but I know it is still difficult for her. It was clear to her that Dad had no idea yesterday was Thanksgiving. In retrospect, it was probably my emotions I was thinking more about, because clearly, Dad is in a world of his own.  If we would have brought him to the house, it was have been emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausting for him.  He would have been out of his comfort zone, felt strange being the only one in  a wheel chair, and would not have had the attendance of his caregivers to maintain his dignity.

I know my youngest brother was right.  We have to think about what is best for Dad, during the holidays, not what is best for us. I know that in my head, it is just tough to make it stick in my heart...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving was "just another day" for Dad...

My sister and her husband went to visit Dad at the nursing home, before going over to my brother and sister in laws to join the family for Thanksgiving. They found Dad in the dining room, relishing turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, ambrosia salad, rolls with butter (all covered in gravy), pumpkin pie, milk and coffee.  They kind of sat and smiled as he devoured every single crumb or drop.

Afterward, my sister invited Dad to go sit out on the patio among the trees and flowers, which he eagerly wanted to do. Dad recognized her husband and was very happy to see him. Dad's word of the day was "medical history" and she said he must have said it at least 15 times. She reassured me, Dad had no idea it was Thanksgiving.  To him, it was "just another day".

Dad's doctor and taken him off the appetite enhancer pill, so he now has the sensation of fullness.  My sister said after about a half hour, he kept getting droopy eyes, like he was ready to fall asleep.  No wonder from all the food he packed away!!  She noticed the lesion on his right eye did not look as good as it had in the past, but the lesion on his lip looked a lot better.

They wheeled him back to his room, and he was anxious to get into bed and get all cozy.  My sister said it looked like he would be catching some z's, any minute.  They hugged him good-bye, as he was already closing his eyes.  My sister whispered, "Happy Thanksgiving Dad, I am so thankful for you"...

Happy Thanksgiving to YOU!!



May each of you
feel as full
Spiritually
as you do
nutritionally.

May thankfulness
swell inside your heart
bringing you peace and calm.

May you be over-flowing
with love and friendship,
enjoying the glow
of family and friends.

May those in pain,
have a reprieve of their suffering,
feeling the joy and
healing of laughter.

May those who are lonely,
have someone,
with two legs or four,
to share your turkey.

May you  all soak in
the dance of togetherness.
relishing a
lazy, happy,
day of good food,
good company,
and a soft place to land,
to rest and nap...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A pre-Thanksgiving visit from his son...

My youngest brother went to visit Dad yesterday.  When he arrived, he found Dad, sound asleep with the afghan Mom knitted him, keeping him cozy and warm.  My brother sat down and was going to watch some TV, while letting Dad get some "shut eye", but, while rifling through Dad's drawer to find the remote, Dad woke up.  Dad's face lit up with joy when he saw his son sitting there...

Still under the effects from his dreams, Dad was talking about files in his mind and deposits for his savings.  Not knowing what Dad was referring to, he attempted to change the subject to Thanksgiving.  He asked Dad what he was thankful for. Dad told him he was thankful for his faith, and he had to make daily deposits in his savings for his faith.

My brother told Dad he was thankful for his family, his friends and his faith.  "Pops" told my brother he had "visions of heaven" and it was beautiful.  He told my brother,"We have to say our prayers to get to heaven".

Dad told my brother how much he enjoyed his wife, Katie Couric's voice.  Dad smiled, as if remembering, and my brother changed the topic, by asking Dad if he remembered the family dog, Brutus.  Dad smiled again, and began to describe the dog's face.  Dad's face fell sad, as he told my brother he felt badly, because he had abandoned Brutus.  Dad said they had been walking and Brutus would not follow him, he stayed on the other side of the street and then someone had taken him.

They laughed together remembering how Brutus was attack the mail slot at the house, when the mailman would start to push the mail through.  Brutus was run as fast as his stubby legs could carry his chubby body and throw himself at the door, biting the stack of mail, pulling it through the slot!  No one really knows what happened to Brutus, he just disappeared one day.  It broke Dad's heart.  He loved that dog so much.  Dad plastered the community with posters and put ads in the newspaper. We never found him...

Very seriously, Dad told my brother, "Never water the Pomegranate tree".  This was Dad's mantra in the summer, because if the tree got too much water, the fruit would crack open in the fall.  Mom did not heed his warnings, and over watered the tree.  This fall, we did not get our delicious pomegranates, as we normally do, because they all split open and the birds got to feast instead.

My brother was not sure what made Dad bring up the Pomegranate tree. He hoped Dad did not remember, one of his "punk kid" remarks, when he told Dad Brutus had died, and he buried Brutus under the tree... Dad had gotten so upset, he told my brother, "If you really did that, I will disown you as my son"....that sobered him up quickly from his mean spirited teasing.  We all knew how sensitive Dad was with Brutus and we should not even bring up the subject that Brutus was gone...

Again, my brother changed the topic, this time to childhood memories, asking Dad if he remembered bringing him McDonald fillet of fish sandwiches to school, when he had forgotten his lunch... Dad remembered and reminded him of the Reese's Peanut Butter cups he had included for his dessert, which made my brother smile with affection.  They reminisced about fishing off the Huntington Beach pier. Just as my brother was about to bring up the golf tournament they were in together and took home a trophy, church friends of Dads walked in for a visit...

He kissed and hugged Dad good-bye, watching Dad's excitement as he clasped hands with his dear friends. My brother assured me, Dad showed no sadness or indication of even realizing it was Thanksgiving tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Investigating Izzy...

Today I finally got ahold of the animal shelter, where we adopted Izzy.  A very nice woman helped me with Izzy's history.  I had begun to suspect she had been turned in more than once, due to all the shots she had listed on her medical history, and so close together...

The lady told me Izzy came in the first time as a stray, the beginning of August, then was adopted the 15th and was sprayed, microchipped and had her rabies shot.  Izzy had to recover from the surgery and was not picked up by the new owner (which was a woman) until the 29th of August.  The new owner turned her back in October 19th, due to "bad living conditions".  To me, I would interpret that as "abuse".  If her home was foreclosed upon, I would think she would have said, "I lost my house".

So maybe she was abused and ran away the first time, but I really feel strongly she was abused at the adopted owner's home.  It may take a good three months to six months before she realizes she is here to stay and this is her home, and that my husband only wants to love her...

I took her to a lady Vet for a well visit, and the Vet said she thought Izzy might be a Carin Terrier/ Yorky mix.  The nice lady at the Animal Shelter, told me Carin terrier as well.  That was my first instinct when I saw her.  She reminded me of one of our grand doggies, Sully, who is a Carin Terrier.  She is not as stocky as Sully, but she definitely has the coat and markings. She said she weighed 12.5 pounds, (she weighed 10 when we got her) and was a year and a half.  The shelter told me she was a year old.

She still seems so afraid of my husband.  He is so frustrated and tries to very hard to get her to like him.  I think he should acknowledge her, but leave her alone, and kind of ignore her, unless she comes up to him.  She seems so anxious when he is trying to play with her or talk with her.  She prefers to sit at a distance from him, and cock her head listening to him.  She enjoys rolling around on his scent, after he has gotten up.  She will even lick where he had laid.  It seems like she wants to like him, but is too afraid of what he might do... that is definitely learned behavior, that needs to be changed.

Since we will be home this Thanksgiving, maybe we will have more time for him to walk with us, and eventually, try taking her out to walk just the two of them together... None the less, more time for us all to be together, is a very good thing...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dad asked Mom for a divorce...

I missed Dad's care conference call this morning.  My Orthopedic Surgeon was informing me I have a frozen shoulder, instead of a torn Rotator Cuff.  Glad to hear I don't have to have surgery... but, I still have to be put to sleep, so he can manipulate my arm and free it up.  I also have to have physical therapy for 6 weeks to make sure my shoulder does not freeze up again. Terrific!

Mom said the care meeting was very positive.  Dad weighs 141 pounds! So needless to say, the doctor is taking Dad off the appetite stimulator medication.  His hearing aid has been ordered, but it will take awhile.  They removed enough ear wax to wax several surf boards, but all in all, he is holding his own.  He dislikes wearing his compression stockings and yells at the aides when they try to put them on him.  We have decided we are not going to fight with Dad about it.  The nurse reassured Mom that they check him every two hours and if there is any swelling, they will elevate his legs immediately.

The nursing home called me and informed me of this decision, as they are suppose to.  I am to be the first one they call with anything out of the ordinary with Dad.  I asked the nurse if it would be possible to have them select a time and then call me so I could talk with Dad. I have such a difficult time connecting with him.  She was very kind and called me back so I could talk with Dad.

Dad sounded tired, but started the conversation by telling me he had sad news to share with me.  He then proceeded to inform me he had asked Mom for a divorce.  He said it was for the best, and she knows, but pretends not to.  He had to tell the truth, and he would give her ice cream.  He told me he was looking for an apartment and he was going to get a car so he could go to church.

I reminded him of what my youngest brother had told him.  Dad considers himself a Farmer, and loves the out of doors, so outside in Nature, is a great place to pray.  I told Dad, he can talk with God, any time, any place, any where, and his voice warmed up as he thanked me for telling him, saying he needed to remember that...

He hoped Mom would be OK, because he is no longer happy with the neighborhood.  I assured him, the brothers were checking in with her.  He told me he loved Mom very much and she was a brave gal.

As soon as we hung up, I called Mom.  She confirmed Dad had told her they were getting a divorce, "because God had told him to".  He had told Mom he was in love with someone else. Mom told him she was still coming to visit him.  Apparently, there is a little lady, who is quite taken with Dad, and thinks he is her "Papa" (husband) and she tells him repeatedly she loves him.  She asks him, if he loves her, and of course, he tells her he does.

I know he does not know what he is saying, but it was very strange to hear.  Dad was singing Christmas Carols, and again telling Mom, how very happy he was there.  He mentioned tonight being the "scariest night of the year" again, and I assured him Halloween was over with.  He told me it was a year ago.  He thought Christmas was this week.  I told him it was next month.  I did not have the heart to tell him this week is Thanksgiving...because he will not be celebrating with us.

My husband and I are staying home this year, to celebrate with his sons and his grandchildren, who live here.  We try to alternate years to celebrate.  We'll go to California for Christmas and come back to Nevada before New Years.

Mom said the nurses told her, they did have a haunted house for Halloween and watched scary movies.  She said Dad LOVED the haunted house and enjoyed going through it.  She never saw him watching any of the movies, however.  The nurses guaranteed they would replace any scary feelings with happy, joyous ones through the holidays...

I told Dad I would see him for Christmas, and he told me that made him so happy to think about.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Closed due to congestion...


an elephant
and a rhino
are sitting upon my face.
i think hoofs
have become embedded
in each eye socket
pushing
my orbits
into my nasal cavity
which finds
temporary relief
from sneezing...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The quest for Balance...


This morning, while mentally wandering through one of my favorite books, THE ARTIST'S WAY, A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron, I began thinking of balance....the balance of being one's own person and seeking to full fill one's need to create...

I look back frequently on my life, as if glancing over my shoulder, to see where I have been.  It is part curiosity and the quest for balance.  When my sister and I were younger and still living at home, our chore together was doing the dishes.  One washed, the other dried. When I would wipe down the stove, I would always, put the salt and pepper shaker together, side by side, because it appealed to my certain way of doing things... My sister, enjoyed moving the shakers apart...and when I would put them back together, she would taunt me with, "Certain, certain, certain".  This is one of our favorite memories to laugh about together...

Ever since I can remember, I have had a inner guide to what is right and wrong, for me and how I want to deal with something in particular.  Often, in that persnickety state, it can remove the opportunity to see something a different way.  I once read, there were 360 different ways to see any one issue, like in the perspective of a circle...and being so rigid, denied me the opportunity.

Watercolor painting has been  a way for me to to challenge my preference for order.  Maybe it is also coupled with this particular time in my life... When I was younger, prettier, and had a better body, I was not happy with who I was.  Now that I am older, wiser, and more comfortable in my "wider" body, I realize the person I have become, is the culmination of my travels from then to now...

I had a wild side, an emotionally curious nature that took me several places, (I probably should not have gone..) but, that is all part of the tricky tight rope walk in the quest for balance. Growing, maturing, learning, having responsibilities, earning a living, protecting values, and wanting to express myself in a way that wakens my soul. Accessing and contemplating the dance between the two.

Writing, as always been my best friend.  Keeping journals since I was 18, I could pour out my heart, be angry, be disappointed, feel on top of the world, the world was my oyster...or so it felt.  Just the cathartic effort in capturing thoughts and dreams. It kept me sane.  It filled in the gaps and made me feel whole.

Writing comes easier to me, maybe because I have always trusted it more.  To paint, to put a visual feeling onto canvas or paper, has always been a romantic dream of mine. I love the thought of being an Artist. As if, it will transport me on a mystical journey... To, one day, have a one woman show of my creations...

Yet, I am not as prolific with painting.  It is more sporatic and moody. I put too many restrictions or make too many excuses.  How does one capture mercury? Often, I feel like a child, on a windy day, running a futile chase to gather my homework.  I want to know... it is a matter of not trusting it, or to realize, writing is more my passion?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Quiet time for Izzy and me...

The quiet of a senior community,
Only the sounds of my foot steps,
and the jingling of her tags
The flap of an occasional flag,
the random garage door opening,
with very few cars,
The whistle of the wind,
The breeze against my sweaty brow,
as this tiny dog pulls me,
works me,
up the hills.
Time to myself to think,
to plan,
to wonder...
to be thankful,
for the company of this sweet canine,
who keeps turning back to look up,
at me,
her big brown eyes,
bright and shining
full of happiness
and joy...
A dancing leaf,
scampers by,
Quails flutter and peep
in nearby bushes,
This scruffy dog perks her ears
as our lone Harley rider
departs his rental.
as he considerately
and slowly,
rides by us
and waves...
Quiet time
for Izzy and me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The reality of Dad 's dreary life...

Mom went to visit Dad yesterday at the nursing home.  She talked to the Director of Nursing about my phone call to her about taking Dad out for Thanksgiving.  Mom told her we were still discussing and praying about what was the best thing to do for Dad...Mom told her we were afraid of him not wanting to return, and he has been doing so well, not having to go back to the psych ward.  She agreed with Mom and told her that may be a problem...

When I spoke with Dad's nurse yesterday, she told me Dad had been yelling at the staff because they would not allow him to walk on his own.  His gait is very unsteady, and he has already fallen two times.  The staff feel he should be in the wheel chair at all times, unless someone can assist him walking.  Dad does not like that plan, and wants to take walks inside the building and outside on the patio. 

When he lived at home, he took a daily walk every single day.  I imagine, when he slips in and out of reality,  on those reality days, he no doubt, does not understand why he can't do what he has always done...

Mom found him in the day room, watching Little House on the Prairie, on a huge big screen TV.  She watched two episodes with him and half of Pride and Prejudice.  Dad was more interested in watching, than talking, so Mom took the cue, and watched quietly with him.

Dad is still preoccupied and possibly traumatized from Halloween. He told Mom, "Tonight was going to be the scariest night of all".  Mom explained that Halloween was a week before his birthday, and asked if he remembered his birthday celebration.  He said he did, and was shocked so much time had passed. They watched more TV, then, suddenly, Dad told her, "I am very happy here, my prayers have been answered."

Dad looked out the day room window and remarked how beautiful it was outside.  Mom said there was an Asian family dining together out on the patio.  Dad looked at them, and told Mom, "There is one of our sons"... Mom said, before she could stop herself, she told him he was mistaken, and their son was not out there..

Dad told her one of my brother's friends came daily and read the Bible to him.  This time, Mom did not correct, that Dad was again, mistaken...

Dad's next Care Review meeting is on Tuesday.  I will attend via conference call, and Mom will go and attend the meeting. I am very frustrated at not being able to reach Dad.  It always seems "it is the wrong time" and they ask me to call back.  I call back, and I am disconnected.  Mom has warned me NOT to complain during the conference.  I know Mom is scared to death the nursing home would kick him out, if I made a fuss...

I am also concerned as to why I am not being informed of these issues with Dad...until I call them! I am the first on the list to call, and it is not happening consistently.  Bottom line, I HATE that Dad has to be living there in that nursing home.  I just HATE IT.

The reality of Dad's dreary life, really has me in an emotional tail spin.  Especially, with the holidays approaching.  As much as I want him to be there, it is now clear to me, we would need an aide to assist us with him.  He needs so much care and supervision.  He can do very little for himself.  He would feel embarrassed to be in a wheelchair when everyone is walking around.  All the noise, laughter, talking, he gets overwhelmed if too many people are talking.  He still does not have his hearing aid either, so he would feel left out not being able to even hear.

Dad could very well become agitated and emotional being inside my brother's home.  There is a possibility, Dad may not want to go back to the nursing home.  He used to tell us all the time how much he wanted to come home or to one of our homes. It could be dangerous if he did not want to stay in his wheelchair.  The last thing we want to happen, is Dad to get so upset and get combative.  We don't want him to end up back at the psych ward...

The Director of nursing told me we could not take him longer than 4 hours we also needed his doctor to give us permission, via a doctor's order.  To me, that is ridiculous, getting permission to spend time with one's Father!! I know they have to keep his world consistent and mellow, because he can get over excited and act out...I know they are looking out for his best interests...I know we have to also.  I am being selfish, only thinking of how I will feel, if he is not there...

Still, it sucks.  Not having Dad there with us, is like he is already dead.  I just cannot get myself to go into that nursing home to visit my Dad on Thanksgiving...how would I ever explain to him, why he is not with all of us?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A time to recharge and re-center...



Here are some sunrise shots, early morning in front of my house...



The above is the sun reflecting on Red Rock Canyon in the distance, making the view even more magnificent at the sun's first light...

Had to have an MRI yesterday, so my Orthopedist can determine if my slip and fall at the casino in July, tore my rotator cuff.  Please pray there is no tear...

Needing time to recharge and re-center, so it feels good to admire nature, listen to music, take walks with Izzy and get plenty of sleep...


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Did you ever...


Did you ever sit down with your lap top, feeling creative, wanting to share something wonderful.... and while you are contemplating what to say, you fall asleep?  That's what happened tonight...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Izzy girl helps...but there is still this void...

Before, I would awake with my husband, and he would get dressed and leave for work at 7:30am.  I would be alone until 5:30pm or 6pm when he got home.  I'd make dinner, we finish dinner by 7-7:30pm, and he would be asleep before 9pm.

Don't get me wrong, I am independent, and know the art of know how to keep myself busy. I can always get lost in the world of cyberspace....but now I awake to the jingle of a collar, open my eyes to the sweetest little face peering at me.  I open the door to her crate and greet her, as she yawns and makes a big stretch.  She follows me, scampering, prancing, smiling, all the way from our bedroom to the back slider into our yard.

First step out, she is shivering and cold and wants to go back inside.  I pick her up and snuggle her inside my bathrobe and get her cozy and warm.  She thanks me with kisses and then I place her back down to "do her business".  I bounce the tennis ball, trying to teach her how to play ball.  She is clueless and watches it roll past her.  More interested in me, smiling, bright eyed.

We return inside, and she plays with her toys, pouncing from one to the other.  My husband comes out to join us and she plays hide and seek with him, cautiously.  She still is hesitant and jumpy with him, but I have found if we sit together on the couch, and have her on her leopard blanket, between us, he can sneak some pets in...

She watches us kiss good-bye as he leaves for work and then she stands at the door, looking out, looking up at me, like, "Where is he going?"  When he comes home at night, she barks, until I tell her to "Shhhhh!"...

Before, the house was quiet and silent.  Just me and my own sounds.  Now, I have her company and her "stinky" doggy smell, (that I think I am getting used to..) with total unconditional love and devotion 24/7.  We take a walk in the morning and one in the afternoon, or we take one long-one, mid day.

I work on the computer and she lies on her pink blanket on the futon, in the office.  Every now and again, I turn around to see her sprawled on her back, eyes rolled back in her head, sleeping  soundly.  Now, after 24 days, she does not follow me when I get up and get something, she is beginning to know, I will be back...

She fills a void, a lonesome spot in my heart.  I miss my two daughters, my two grandsons, my family, my friends, all in California.  Almost weekly, my husband and I discuss the pros and cons of moving.  We keep hoping the market will go back up so we won't lose our investment.  Our loved ones, are the only draw to go back.  Although I am a native Californian, I don't miss the damp, the fog, the smog, the earthquakes, the traffic and the poorly paved roads...

I enjoy the new roads, the beauty of a newly established community, the landscaping, the crisp air, the blue skies and fluffy white clouds.  The views, the quiet of the desert, and the smorgasbord of things to do.  I love the beautiful sunrises and sunsets.  The distant Red Rock canyon we see from our front patio whenever I pick up our newspaper from the driveway, and the twinkling of the distant Strip at night.

We've made a few friends, we have nice neighbors, but it does not compare to having the sound of little children playing inside my home.  Reading stories, playing video games, creating fun with our imaginations.  I miss their laughter and the fun times we have.  I long to go out with my daughters more than once or twice a year when they come to visit.  To go have lunch with someone other than myself and my book...

I can busy myself, and keep myself occupied, I know how to enjoy my own company.  I am not afraid of solitude, but is this what I really want?  I have always believed, life is a dance, and I don't like to dance alone...  all the time...

When we grow older, or become ill, do I want to be 3 and a half hours from my family?  If money were no object, we would buy a cottage by the California coast and have the best of both worlds...but, money is an object.

I think of Dad, and how little quality time we have left with him...how emotional I feel lately...crying at the drop of a hat... My day fell apart yesterday, after talking with Dad on the phone...and today, crying my eyes out while writing to my family about Thanksgiving.  I feel this huge cloudburst looming overhead and it keeps following me, where ever I go...Like some huge melting pot, being stirred, and I am spinning and swirling around inside it...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lord....please hear my prayer....

Been trying to reach my Dad all morning at the nursing home.  Finally, after four attempts, I just connected with him and had about a fifteen minute conversation with him.  His voice sounded good (like Dad) but with slightly slurred speech. He went in and out of reality.  He told me he was married to Katie Couric now, and was unsure of how many children he had..  He is working for the government on some confidential programs.  He wished he could come up and see my husband and myself.

He is still preoccupied about "scary nights".  Apparently he did not like Halloween was afraid of several of the costumes.  He has been talking about scary nights since his birthday.

He talked of wanting to see the Memorials in Washington, DC.  I know that is something he has always wanted to do and it makes me sad he never got to do it.  At one point he said he was the President of the United States and the Official Captain of the Mother of the world...

It rips my heart out.  I hate this damn disease so much I cannot even adequately describe it.  I hate to think of my Father, reduced to such a state of helplessness and hopelessness.  He still has dignity, and I can hear the sadness in his voice when he tells me how he must rely on others for such private things...

I realize, this is why, I have allowed larger gaps of time to elapse, in between visits and phone calls.  It is so very difficult to see him or hear him the way he is, and sadly, to know, it will never get better...I love my Dad so very much, that I may begin to pray the Lord takes him sooner than later...this is no life...there is no quality of life...he is merely existing...

When I listen to his voice, and think of him there, a lump the size of a tennis ball, sticks in my throat and I cannot swallow.  I cannot see for the blur of so many tears...Please Lord...take him Home with you and allow him the Glory of Heaven...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A serendipitous walk with Izzy...

We're going out with friends tonight.  Afterward, my husband's son and his wife are coming over, around 11pm, to spend the night.  They are driving up from Arcadia, California to check on their  rental condo.  So, I decided to take Izzy for a nice, long walk, to "poop her out". We were gone for a little over two hours.  I think I have successfully tuckered her out!  Myself as well!

I watched the Dog Whisperer last night, and also went on his website and read some of his tips.  I discovered I am allowing Izzy to be the Alpha Dog by walking in front of me.  I am not suppose to be allowing her to be first out of the door either.  The DW profiled two German Shepherds that get along, until they are in day care, then the female attacks the male dog.  Turns out, the owner was not sending out good vibes and the female dog was trying to help her.  The DW said it was important to remain calm and be in control.

He also profiled a Schnauzer who barked and bit a couple's grandchildren, so the parent stopped all visitation at their home, due to the dog.  The DW used the "Shhhhhhhh!" command , along with being calm and in control to stop the dog from barking.

So I decided to try some of the techniques while on our walk.  I have to say, by keeping her on a shorter lead, so she has to walk beside me, instead of ahead of me, really made a difference!  Not only am I going to lose weight, walking Izzy, my arms are getting a real work out holding her back!!!

Whenever we encounter a larger dog, Izzy barks her head off, growling and doing the "sled dog lunge" to get to the dog.  Today, I kept her right by my side, and used the "Shhhhhh" command, and it worked!!!  She growled and kept looking at the dog, but the more I "shhhhhhhed" the quieter and calmer she became.  AMAZING!

It was a serendipitous walk with Izzy. Today we met a very nice woman and her husband.  She used to have three Shitzus. She shared her training tips with me and I found them very unique and interesting.  We stood and chatted for awhile, and Izzy behaved herself.  She leaned over and picked up some pieces of Corian, and explained she had some work done in her home.  We have the same model of home, and she explained how she had the Corian extended and curved over above her toilet in the guest bathroom.

She was friendly enough to take me inside her home (while I held Izzy) to show me her handyman's work.  While showing me that, she showed me the cabinets built in her master closet (we have huge master closets in our particular model, it is the size of a bedroom.) She had beautiful oak cabinets and curio shelf in her laundry room, and the Handyman even made a Grandmother Clock from scratch!  It was beautiful!!!  She hooked me up with his name and phone number.

She also told me she does landscaping and also uses a landscaper I had heard of, from another friend, and whom I had recently gotten an estimate.  She told me about the free coffee grounds for gardening from Starbucks, and showed me how she uses it around her plants.  Apparently it really feeds the plant and enriches the soil.

She showed me her back yard (which was gorgeous) and wouldn't you know, there was a big dog living next door.  Izzy saw it and began to bark, and again, the "Shhhhhhh!" command worked. I felt so much more relaxed, knowing what to do, instead of yanking her back on the leash, yelling, "HEY! HEY!!".  The "Shhhhh" command is so much more pleasant, than yelling in some one's face while having a conversation!!

We really hit it off, and I enjoyed meeting both her and her husband.  She told me she has Tuesdays off and for me to drop in any time. We exchanged phone numbers. I spend more time alone, than I care to, so it is so great to meet someone I click with and would enjoy her company.  Thanks Izzy girl, it would not have happened, if it weren't for you...

Friday, November 13, 2009

50 First Dates and educating Izzy...

My husband said he feels like Adam Sandler in the movie, 50 First Dates. (If you have not seen it, Google it or rent it, it is a sweet movie.)  Every day he feels like he has to start from scratch with Izzy.  She was doing pretty good while he was off work.  She was taking treats from him, and letting him pet and scratch her neck.  He returned to work yesterday, and she sat in the hallway, cocking her head, like she was thinking, "What?  Where's he going? Is he leaving me? What about sharing your toast?"  When he came home, it was almost like she was mad at him.  She acted like he was a stranger and she had never met him. Talk about the cold shoulder!

I talked with the trainer at Pet Smart and she gave me some good tips. Instead of "NO!" She told me to make an irritating noise.  When she bites her lease, when I am standing and talking with someone, because she wants to get movin', I make a sound that sounds like a wrong answer buzzer. If she nips at me when playing, I am to make a high pitched "Ooowwwww" sound, and or hide my hands behind my back.  The trainer also suggested pennies inside a soda can, taped to prevent Izzy from eating the pennies.  Shaking at her to warn her of bad behavior.  She also advocates, a water bottle on stream setting, right between the eyes.  Not sure about that...I may not have the best aim, and would hate to hit her in the eyes...

She is not a fan of the Dog Whisperer, as she thinks he is too gruff with the dogs.  Pet Smart has a more positive enforcement program. She likes some English lady on Animal Planet, who shares their training techniques. When I told her I had put Izzy in Time Out for barking at my husband, turns out that was the right thing to do...who knew?  I sure didn't.  I am flying by the seat of my pants here...

My husband told me, this could be a sign he needs to retire, so Izzy can used to him....we had a good laugh over the thought, but who knows... We will know a lot more of what is going on with his job the beginning of the year.  He used to love his job, and look forward to going, now it is no fun at all.

I had asked the trainer about her nipping when she gets excited, and the stalking stance she takes often when she sees a dog.  She has a "three strikes rule, give Izzy three warnings (high pitched noises/hiding hands) and if she is still nipping, isolate her in her crate with something to keep her busy.  Start with a short time, and if she is not learning, extend the time in isolation, nothing longer than 15 minutes. When Izzy takes the stalking stance, I am to acknowledge it and discourage her. I learned when she is barking at big dogs, and I am talking softy telling her,"It is OK", I am actually re-inforcing her barking.  So yesterday, when walking her, and she started barking and the other dog was barking, I let out a deep, firm, "HEY! HEY!!" and surprisingly, both dogs stopped barking!!!

She told me not to use the laundry room anymore when I go out, to use the crate instead.  I kind of figured the laundry room was not working, because she barks and jumps on the door.  The room looks like a cyclone hit with her bedding all over the place, water spilled and paw prints all over the floor.  When I open the door, she jets out of there like a bullet from a gun.  My art studio is in the garage, and to get to it, I must go through the laundry room.  She used to always follow me into the garage, now she stops at the door to the laundry room, as if to say, "You're on your own on this one, Mom"...

I tested the crate theory last night.  Her crate is in our bedroom at night, but during the day, I leave it out in the living room..  I met my husband for dinner last night, so I put her in the crate, with her Bong bone with treats inside.  She really has to work the bone to get to the treats.  I was gone three hours and when I returned, she was quietly resting in her crate.  Guess it does make her feel safe in there...

I hate to admit it, but I was getting anxious, feeling the pressure of where and how to leave her. I don't want to feel like I am prevented from coming and going, to live my life.  The trainer told me my goal should be to socialize Izzy, training her to be well adjusted and adaptable.  I like that goal, plus, I want her to like my husband!

They have training classes over a period of eight weeks, and I may consider one of us taking the course with her.  Izzy seems like she is so smart and has so much potential.  I really think she is basically a very good dog, and hope we can get her to trust and bond with my husband...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dad's imagination is still alive and well...

Mom went to visit Dad today and found him totally absorbed in a TV program, all cozy with the afghan she made him for his birthday.  She took his Daily Walk Bible to him, which put a huge smile on his face.  Mom had the day off yesterday, so she had to get her brakes relined.  She didn't get to see Dad yesterday, on Veteran's day, due to all the errands she can't get done while working.  I had tried to call yesterday too, but Dad was enjoying the special festivities honoring all the Vets.

Mom said Dad seemed very calm and content.  We were all so happy to see the CNA had finally trimmed both his eyebrows and nostril hairs.  I am not fond of the buzz cuts they give him.  I guess I can see it in the summer, but now that it is colder, I may have to request a parted, man's hair cut next time.

When I was at Mom's last week, I had collected all of Dad's journals and brought them home with me.  I also brought home his cassette tape recorder.  I have a bag of tapes he recorded, and I am anxious to see what he had to say...

When Mom saw Dad on the 8th, he told her that he was riding in Santa Anita soon.  He had already been to the jockey's room and picked his colors.  Dad's imagination is still alive and well...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A quiet holiday...

Today was my husband's last day off before returning to work tomorrow.  Izzy allowed him to pet her and scratch her around the neck.  She is more friendly when he is lying on the couch as opposed to standing.  She still runs and shys away from him when he stands.  Non the less, he was thrilled with his victory!  They have established a little morning routine, where he shares the crust of his burnt toast (he burns it on purpose) with her.  Despite me telling him not to encourage her to beg when we eat, he wants her to accept him more...

We both took her for a walk. She was really thrown off course, looking behind at us as she pranced along, to check how close he was, but by mid walk, he had the leash and she seemed fine with it.

We talked of going to a movie or taking advantage of some of the casino extra point offers, or going out to eat, but seemed too content to relax and watch good movies instead. My sore muscles from hauling rocks and the work at mom's house, are finally better.  I am not walking like Frankenstein anymore...

 Later, my husband went out and bought Izzy some marathon dog chews and Chipotle bowls for us for dinner. Tomorrow I return to normalcy and have compiled a to do list of things to get accomplished.