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 I am re-inventing my blog... because, after all, life is about moving through, and going forward...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dad had another fall....

I got a startling call at 12:45am from the nursing home.  Dad had fallen again at 8pm.  The nursing home puts floor pads, with alarms in them, so they can tell if Dad gets out of bed during the night.  Apparently, he wheeled himself into his room and tried to get into bed without assistance, and fell.  The nurse told me he did not hit his head, appear to be hurt, or had any complaints.  Dad did not cut himself or suffer any abrasions.  He is still bruised from his fall in the bathroom.

The nurse assured me he was OK, but my heart was racing and thumping inside my chest none the less!  Since he was OK, I sent an email to the rest of the family this morning...We have instructed the nursing home to call me first and not to disturb Mom.  I can just imagine my poor Mom, if the phone would have rang next to her bed at that hour...:{

We have been discussing a plan for Dad's birthday, Nov. 5th.  Since it is on a Thursday, and everyone works, we have all agreed to meet at the nursing home at 7pm.  That is late for him, no doubt he will be tired and confused, but we won't stay long.  We'll bring him his favorite casserole, a pineapple upside down cake and his presents.

I will be driving to CA that day with my girlfriend.  She will drop Izzy and I off at Mom's probably around 5 or 5:30pm. My husband will be visiting his son and attending a football game, so he will pick us up on Sunday.  I want to try a short visit and a long car trip to see how Izzy does.  So far, she seems pretty much up for anything,  except for the brushing and men.

Thanksgiving is another matter with Dad.  My sister and I appear to be out-voted, as everyone else feels we should not attempt to bring Dad to my brother's.  Everyone thinks we should go in small groups of 2 or 3 to visit during the day and bring him food.  It makes me so sad, to have him alive and not be there...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fears of a little orphaned dog...

Well, Izzy has still not warmed up to my husband.  I have NEVER seen a dog or any animal for that matter, ever have this reaction to him.  She had to be abused some way by a man.  She seems so calm and well adjusted around me, then when he walks in, she freaks out!  Any dog professionals, or life long dog lovers that can enlighten us with any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated.

After 4 nights of sleeping with me in our bed, she has slept the last two nights in her new crate.  She did very well and slept for a good seven hours.  The first night she made a whimper and a bark, but that was it.  Last night quiet as a mouse.  (Knock on wood) We have had no poop accidents in the house since her first over night with us, and no piddle accidents in two days.

She walks well on a lease, friendly with all dogs she meets along the way, except when they walk by our house with their owner.  She barks less at women with their dogs than men.  Rides great in the car. I just don't know.  My husband is getting very discouraged.  We've had her a week this Saturday, and she did not act this fearful of him when we got her.  She was just more leery of men, but now she seems terrified.

She is pretty quiet during the day, except for the passing occasional dog with a man. Trash trucks, cars, UPS, mailman, no problems.  At night she barks at any sound she hears or if someone is outside.  Good watch dog for sure!

She spins in circles and my husband wonders if that may be an indication something is wrong with her.  I don't know much about dogs, but I don't think so.  I think she does it when she is excited, anxious or trying to please. Maybe it was a trick someone taught her...

I feel so bad for my husband, because I know I would feel weird if an animal reacted that way to me.  I know we can't take it personally. She was abused in some matter, by a man, and we have to be patient.  I had him try to give her little bits of turkey hot dogs, but she would not come close.  Finally, he tossed it to her and of course she snorted it up.

Like I said, we would GREATLY APPRECIATE any advice to make her more comfortable, safe and welcomed to our home...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dad had a fall yesterday...

Dad had a fall yesterday, but thankfully he is OK... His elbows were scraped to where they bled.  His skin is like tissue paper and he bruises so easy.

I was so fed up that the nurse never called me back after my trying repeatedly all day and not reaching anyone until 8pm at night.  It was then, I found out he had fallen at 2pm.  I was so ANGRY!  I called Mom and was blowing a ton of steam, after I gave both barrels to the night nurse.  I am frustrated being so far away and being the main contact person, only to have them NOT contact me!

Mom called me this morning.  She went right down to the nursing home to check on him and to give me a "first hand account" of how he looked and seemed.  I got to talk to him, which made me emotional, since I have not heard his voice in so long.  He was very excited to hear about Izzy and suggested I get her a sweater coat to wear when we are walking since it is getting so chilly here.  She and I will have to take another trip to Petsmart for a sweater for her...

I called his primary doctor about an order for his compression stockings and called the Director of Nursing about making sure I am notified with any changes with Dad.  I got two phone calls so far this morning, from the nursing home...and they did, finally get orders for his compression stockings.  Don't even think about messin' with our Dad!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

An unsettling night phone call..

Last night Mom got an unsettling phone call from Dad.  He had the nurse call Mom so he could talk with her.  He wanted to know about some friends of theirs.  She told him the wife lives in Michigan but was visiting her son in Colorado.  Dad wanted to know about her husband and Mom told him he had died last Spring.  Dad began to cry. Then he asked Mom if she knew he was riding Blue tonight? Mom asked him who Blue was, and he was annoyed she did not remember my youngest brother's nickname for his first girlfriend.  Dad told Mom he has a horse that he named after her. He was going through the window and riding her to my second to the oldest brother's house up the hill...

Then he told Mom he wanted some fresh salmon and told her the grunion were running at the beach.  She told him the grunion run in January.  He wanted to know what month it was, so she told him October. He then launched into the subject of gold, worth billions and he was going to give it all to her.  Mom told him she was just fine, at which time, he told her, she didn't understand, and he would give it to all the kids.

I wish Mom would not correct him and just take whatever he says and accept it.  If he makes a sweet gesture, despite his fantasy and delusions, just give it to him...receive it with compassion... I know it is hard for Mom, but I really feel if she can "go with it" she might find it less disturbing.

Dad spoke very proud and loud about patriotism and the starving fisherman of Bar Harbor. He spoke of the bald head of his room mate and how he was not getting the proper care.

I know if Dad's fingernails and facial hair (shaving, eyebrows, nostril and ear hairs) is long, that would really bother him, because he is fastitiously clean and tidy with his hygiene.  He shaved every day and always kept himself immaculate.

I called again at 8am this morning to check if he had been trimmed yet.  The same nurse from yesterday, told me it would be done today. I also asked about his compression stockings.  She told me she would check and call me back...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Dad's eyebrows are interfering with his sight and his nostril hairs have become a mustache...

I called the nursing home today to check on Dad.  Mom, my second to the oldest brother and my sister all went to visit Dad. They all reported he needs his facial hairs and fingernails trimmed. The nurse told me the CNA usually take care of that with his daily shower and spa.

I told her either someone has a memory problem or is not doing their job, because Dad's eyebrows are interfering with his sight and his nostril hairs have become a mustache!  I may have slightly exaggerated, but all members of my family who have visited recently all commented on how wild and woolly he is!!!
The nurse informed me Dad's right leg was swollen and I asked if he was wearing his compression stockings.  She said he wasn't, and I told her that it is suppose to be a daily ritual, as well as a standing order.  She called Dad's doctor to give him Lasix.  Dad will not like that one bit...

I called his primary care doctor and told them the nurses were not putting his compression stockings on as he had ordered.  She took a message...but I know I will have to follow up. 

My sister's visit was pretty much the same as Mom and my brother's.  Dad dominated the conversation, but talking nonsense.  We are all still evaluating Dad to see if he would be able to come to my brother's for Thanksgiving.  Both Mom and brother thought he looked very weak. My sister just thought he looked tired. She told him about my new dog, and he was so excited.  He's such an animal lover.  After she adapts, I'd love to take her in to see him...

My life has turned upside down since getting Izzy (that is her official name now), our little rescued dog.  Up early, walking more (hopefully will help with the cholesterol count) and not having as much time for the computer.  I left her today secured in the laundry room for 4 hours, and no accidents, no destruction, and no whining, crying or barking...I take that back, guess she did wet on the newspapers after all...

If the CNAs don't take care of Dad's facial hair...I will trim him up myself for his 89th birthday...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The adventure begins...

We just adopted this sweet little girl. She was dropped off at the Animal Foundation by the owner. She is one year old and was given the name, "Winnie".

She responds to kissing sounds more than her name, so we may change it.  Any suggestions?  So far we are considering, Minnie, Molly, Annie, and Sophie.

She looks a bit disheveled and really needs a bath! I made a grooming appointment tomorrow at Petsmart.

I have always been a cat person. Not much knowledge with dogs. My experience with dogs have been strays or lost dogs.  I kept them until I found the owners or a good home. My husband has been more of a dog person.  I couldn't help myself though, when I saw her, I went right to her and monopolized her so no one else could adopt her.  People would comment on her telling me how cute she is.  I would tell them I was considering adopting her.

It seems dog lovers like to convince people to become a dog owner...So many people stopped to chat with me and told me what a good dog she was. After three hours, when I finally signed the paperwork, ten people came over to congratulate me!  I was so preoccupied with the dog, that I hadn't noticed the group of people who were lingering around, waiting to find out if I would take her home....

They were closing at 3pm, so I had to make a decision, or let her go back with the Animal Foundation alone, because all the other dogs had been adopted!  I just kept thinking, what will I do with her when I have to leave the house?  What will I do when we want to travel?  My husband suggested to have our relatives take her when we go away...

I have so many questions.  Do I get a crate and crate her when I have a doctor appt? What about at night when we sleep? Do they feel more secure that way?  Do I confine her in the laundry room? How do I potty train her?  Will she get up in the night and make a mess? Is loving animals, enough?

All I know is she is leery of men, friendly with women, children and other pets. Seems very mellow and calm. She rides in the car well. She does not seem real curious and does not know how to play ball. She follows me like a little shadow and likes the leopard blanket I gave her to sleep on. When I ask her, "What do you think?" She looks like she smiles, and spins around in circles. When I took her for a walk, it was the first time I heard her bark at other dogs. Was she protecting me? I welcome any suggestions on the names and any advice anyone would like to share.

The adventure begins...

Friday, October 23, 2009

My creativity going down in flames...

Blasted out of the sheets at 6am and busied myself getting household chores out of the way for the weekend.
Met my girlfriend for lunch at Chilis.  She works at Curves and I used to be a member.  I had called to purchase their protein powder.  Ever since my sister was here visiting, and taking her Herbalife shakes, I started doing the protein shakes too.  My friend was nice enough to offer to purchase it for me with her discount.  We met today to catch up...

My husband has a dinner meeting tonight and his friend is driving out from California, to stay with us. After our lunch, I had a few errands to run, then planned on coming home to have a nice evening with myself. I was looking forward to finishing Hearts and Flowers.

I walked in, put my bags down, went to the office to check my email, and noticed a blinking red light on the router.  Checked further... NO INTERNET!  It was perfectly fine this morning.

Called Embarq, which is now Century Link, and talked with tech support.The Bozo tells me I blew a circuit.  Interesting, since no other electrical device in the house is affected. Ironic that it "goes out" 6 days after the merge of Embarq and Century Tel...He told me I had to take my current router down to the Century Link store and exchange it for a new router.  No charge of course.

So I drove down the hill, picked up the new router, brought it home and installed it.  Connected both my desktop and my laptop, then drank my shake for dinner. Now I am fighting to keep my eyes open... I am struggling to write something remotely interesting, and it is eluding me. I had my whole evening all mapped out...only to go in the opposite direction, with my creativity going down in flames...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

There is nothing like a good book...

I am reading two good books, THE LOST SYMBOL and THE 36 HOUR DAY...

I really enjoyed Dan's other book, The DiVinci Code, but did not care for the movie.

The other book, is imperative reading for anyone going through the twisted jigsaw puzzle of Alzheimer's and Dementia. THE 36 HOUR DAY by Nancy Mace M.A. and Peter Rabins, M.D.

I'm almost to the end of  Chapter 15 in THE LOST SYMBOL, and it is soooooooo good! It's about the power of the brain and collective thought.... One of my most favorite topics...

The 36 HOUR DAY is the Bible for answering questions and seeking guidance when a loved one has this dreaded disease.  Excellent book.  I highly recommend it.

Russell, the tribal leader of Galoo on Survivor, just passed out due to dehydration.  His heart rate was 97 while lying down and dropped to 67 when he sat up, making him black out.  Scary stuff!

I had planned on working on my collage today, but my errands took longer than I thought... I am meeting a friend for lunch tomorrow, but between the morning and the evening, I hope to finish it...

That's all I got today... Donna, out....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Welcome back to my heart....

For several years now, I have been searching for my good friend from high school.  The last time I saw her was over 25 years ago.  Last week, while searching on facebook, I ran across a young girl with my friend's daughter's name.  Her first name is very unusual, she also had my friend's last name, and the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, was in the background. My friend's husband is french.

I left a message on her wall in facebook asking if her mom was my friend and introduced myself.  She wrote back and confirmed my friend was her mom!  I was SO EXCITED!  Finally, after all these years... so I gave her my email, and my phone numbers and waited...

My friend called me and told me she also lives in Nevada, about 25 minutes from where I live!!  Today we met and went to lunch.  It was like we stepped back into time and enjoyed the same connection we had back so many years ago.

I learned she lost her Dad and a very close friend by drunk drivers.  The bad back she had in high school, got worse after a fall while snow skiing. She had  to have an 8 hour back surgery, only to find out she had some kind of a birth defect, which had caused her back problems in high school. Now, 14 years later,  it has deteriorated to bone on titanium.

She has no insurance and cannot get disability, because she traveled with her husband who was a Rep. for  World Cup Skiing. After she had her daughter, she stayed home to raise her. She cannot stand up straight, can barely walk, and moves slowly with her cane walker.  The pain is so bad, she takes morphine daily...

Still she brightens any room she is in with her big smile, infectious laughter and her radiant personality.  Her uses her humor to deflect negativity, her attitude still sees the glass half full and refuses to feel sorry for herself. Despite our aged appearances, we laughed and talked non-stop like we did so many years ago...welcome back to my heart my dear friend....

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A lump in my throat...

My prayers were answered...after posting my blog, my sister called me to tell me both Mom and my youngest brother E___ had visited Dad today...  Here is the email he sent us, minus the pictures...


I saw Pops today and I brought him a pumpkin shake from Jack in the box.

He enjoyed it.

When I arrived I asked him what he was doing and he said praying. We talked some about what was going on and he said they promised he could watch the game tonight. (Angels game)

We went out on the patio so we could relax and he could finish his shake. His left hand was swollen and I asked him if it hurt and he said it wasn't, so I moved on. I showed him some pictures of M___, J____, the pups and I and we talked about what a nice family it is. He said he was praying for that.

I then took a few pictures of him working his shake and of us both. The nurse said he sings a lot so I asked him if he could sing me a song. He told me he can't right now. A leaf fell on him and we talked about how beautiful the trees and changing colors were.

I brought him back inside after a brief walk out of his wheelchair because the smoking crew came outside to smoke. He said, I guess I'm in the smoking section.  I got a kick out of that...

We heard music coming from the recreation room so I used that as an excuse to go in and pops agreed. He started to ask me for something, then I remembered I brought him gum, and he said, yeah, he would like some. I asked him, how many one or two? He said three! That cracked me up too...

I gave him a hug, whisker rub and told him I loved him. He said, it is always good to see you too. He gave me a kiss, when I hugged him, and I left.

After I left the room, I looked through the window and he didn't see me.  I watched him close his eyes and do the sign of the cross...

I got a little lump in my throat. I took it as he was saying a prayer for me. Bless his heart.

P.S. Pops is rocking a little belly with all the good grub we have been bringing him.

Love you all,



Just tried, AGAIN, to call Dad, and still NO ANSWER!  The operator even gave me Dad's personal phone number, but he must be out of his room.  There was no answer at the nursing station either.  They must be delivering meds AND meals!!!

I think that is one of the reasons, I am sleeping with monsters. The nightmares are part of everything that is on my mind.  The fact I have not spoken with my Dad in such a long time, really haunts me, rattles me and above all, makes me feel terribly guilty.  I don't want him to think I forgot him...

When I feel like this, I lie in bed and think of my father, and wonder what he is doing and thinking.  I imagine how I would feel, all alone in a nursing home.  No privacy.  The sounds of the facility, the snoring, noises of the room mates... At some point, he has to wonder where we are...

It's times like these, that make me feel restless, irritated, and I get headaches.  I don't like thinking of my Dad being all alone, despite the care of excelllent nursing and compassionate aides, it still is not the same as, family... I love you Dad, and I miss you fiercely...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sleeping with monsters...

Have not been sleeping well...sleeping with monsters...

Having trouble figuring out the blog.  The old editor won't upload pictures, instead it gives html (if that's what you call a bunch of print and symbols).  The new editor was missing most of the task bar...but after clicking on compose, the complete task bar finally appeared.

I liked the cover of this book...sounds interesting, wouldn't mind reading it...

Too tired from wrestling with the blog...good night...zzzzzzz

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Dad's hands are swollen and sore again...

Mom went to see Dad yesterday.  Both his hands are sore and swollen again.  The nurses gave him a pillow to rest his hands on.  Mom said he did not make much sense...a lot of random rambling.  Dad never feels full from eating.  He keeps asking, "When is breakfast?" at every meal...

Glad to hear the CNA keeps the channel on Animal Planet, as one of my blogging friends suggested. He also enjoys the baseball games...

Mom said when she came into his room, the curtains were drawn, Dad appeared to be sleeping, and the TV was on.  As soon as she leaned over to kiss him hello, she said it was like someone pushed a button, and off he went, non-stop talking...

It's interestingly odd how each person is so different in how they are with this disease.  At home, these past few years, Dad was very quiet and did not really engage in conversations with us other than pleasantries, polite inquiries when we first come in, and then he would either sit and listen, or fall asleep in his chair, or disappear into the garage or backyard.

Maybe he is thinking something totally different than the jumbled words that come out of his mouth... Maybe he is trying to communicate with us... It is so sad, because I am beginning to feel further and further down the rabbit hole from Dad.  I enjoy hearing his voice, but it is not the same when he rambles on with no regard to what I say, like I am eavesdropping on his and anothers conversation...

Despite my desire to feel close to Dad, it seems like the emotional distance becomes wider and wider...making me feel like almost a stranger.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The wisdom of a teenage daughter...

My oldest daughter is 32. She is now the mother to two young sons, ages 7 and almost 5. She is an excellent Mother, organized, intuitive wife and a wonderful friend. She was eight when her father and I divorced, and it was extremely difficult for her and her younger sister who was 6. She has always had a very passionate nature and a quick temper (inherited from her Dad). She raged at our divorce and pushed all my buttons, testing me, to see if I would abandon her too...

I love my daughter unconditionally. She was angry much of the time and a challenge to communicate with. We "butted heads" often, but I understood her pain was generated by me initiating the divorce. The guilt I felt, propelled me to never let her down emotionally.

My youngest daughter and I are very similar in our temperament and a tight close bond. We could always talk easier than my eldest daughter and I.

My firstborn daughter and I have that intense love between us, like most firstborn children, but we were like a rattlesnake and a rabbit. She would coil to strike at the slightest inquiry and I would hop around attempting to calm her down.

She is highly intelligent, an independent thinker, has a photographic memory, fiercely loyal, solid judgment with an unshakable belief in herself and her decisions. She never second guessed herself. (She would have made an excellent Supreme Court Judge.) She does however, like to be in control, or all hell breaks loose!

We had been through a difficult period in her senior year of high school. I had transferred her from a private Catholic school to a public one, where her sister attended. The private school was going through financial, Principal and Teacher problems. I had tried to transfer her at the end of her sophomore year, but she had refused.

She finally agreed to transfer in her senior year. She basically had enough credits to graduate but because the class requirements were different from private to public school, she had to take redundant classes. This was a waste of time in her eyes, and began to miss class. She had always gotten A's and I didn't want her to not graduate. I rode her pretty hard, trying everything to coax her back into her class...

She is highly sensitive, cautious, sentimental and insightful to the point of being psychic. None of us have ever had to give her gift suggestions, because she instinctively knows the perfect gift. She knew I loved gardening and used that knowledge skillfully when she felt I needed some daughterly advice, to allow her some emotional slack...

This is the poem she gave me....

by Naomi Long Madgett

I wouldn't coax the plant, if I were you.
Such watchful nurturing may do it harm.
Let the soil rest from so much digging,
And wait until it's dry before you water it.
The leaf's inclined to find its own direction;
Give it a chance to seek the sunlight for itself.

Much growth is stunted by too careful prodding,
Too eager tenderness.
The things we love we have to learn to leave alone.

That really hit home, and opened my eyes. I remembered all I had taught her, how much I believed in her, trusted in the Lord to help me, told her it was her future, and left her alone...
Shortly after, she came to me and asked if I would go with her to talk with her teacher. She had a ton of work to do, but she did it and walked with her gold braid of honors, graduating with a 3.8 GPA, with her class.

There was a big lesson there for me about pushing too hard and allowing her to make her own decisions, and be her own person. My goal had been to raise an independent, intelligent, woman capable of going out into life, equipped to make her own way. My methods, in forcing and pushing her, was not showing how much faith I had in her. She taught me how to be a better Mother, by helping me see the person, she knew she would become...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A signature mission with Dad...

My sister and second to youngest brother had a mission today. Mom finally received four pages of verification to get Dad's PERS pension deposited into Mom's account. Their mission, should they decide to accept it, is to get Dad to sign all four pages... Dad has been having more and more difficulty just signing once on his pension check, let alone four pages. When we needed Dad's signature on the Medi-Cal forms, Dad printed our neighbor's name on the forms.

Dad has a new room mate, so their room was not as quiet as it usually is, with three people visiting next to Dad's bed. Dad is hard of hearing, but with all the noise, he couldn't hear my sister's explanation of why they needed four signatures. My sister said he was very confused. She had to write his name for him on another sheet of paper to show him what she wanted him to do.

Dad was clearly exhausted, and shortly after signing the papers, the CNA came in to change him into his night clothes for bed. My brother and sister had to wait awhile in the hall way, and by the time the CNA was finished, Dad was half asleep.

They tucked him in with kisses and hugs, and blew him kisses and they left the room...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

We choose "us"...

Today my husband and I celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary. We married one month and three days after September 11, 2001. At a time of tremendous grief and sadness for our country, with the future so uncertain, for us, it made sense. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Never have I had such a combination of values and compatibility rolled into one man. There is not one day that goes by, in the 9 years I have known him, we don't share laughter. When either of us come home it is to welcome arms and serenity. Our home is so peaceful, cozy and calm, because of both of us. We are in sync and on the same page, most of the time...

I suppose if we each had not gone through what we had to go through, to get here, we may not be together. It was the right time for both of us. After much urging from my Mother, believe it or not, I placed a singles ad. I had the ad for almost a year, when I changed the wording and added the word eclectic. A few days later, while he was going through his mail, talking to a friend, his friend told my future husband, he had met a wonderful woman in a singles ad...

Curious, he flipped through the Pennysaver that had come in the mail. He was browsing the singles ad, when his eye fell upon the word eclectic. He read my ad, and ended up calling me and leaving a message. I was away for the weekend with my Mom, and allowed her to listen. I called him back and told him I would return the following Monday and maybe we could talk further.

We talked for a couple months and then on April 12, 2000, we met at an Italian restaurant in Riverside. He lived in Riverside and I worked there, so I met him that night after work. I was not attracted to him physically at first, but I LOVED his laugh and I felt very comfortable with him. We agreed we both felt friendship was the basis for any solid friendship, so that is where we began...

Once I got to know him, I became very attracted. By September, we pretty much knew we wanted it to be exclusive. The following April, one year later, at the same restaurant we met, he proposed and I accepted. I am so grateful to have met this wonderful man, my friend, and the love of my life. We choose "us".

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Actually, I have two is my collage painting that is still in progress... I have tentatively placed the pieces but have not glued the images to the canvas. The various pictures were cut from various magazines. I have decided to call it Hearts and Flowers....

Since today was spent at the dentist's office in the morning and with my hubby in the afternoon, the images were placed quickly while I was getting spaghetti sauce out of the garage fridge, for dinner... so I am still pondering their placement...

You may have noticed a new permanent photo on my blog... A dear friend took the time to do six of these, (one for each gal in our digital scrap booking group) photograph them, and email each one to us. I LOVE the ocean so her using beach stones to print my name, made it so extra special to me. Thank you Nancy, for your creative and cherished gift.

The last preview (with more to come) is the first chapter of a book my friend's husband, Paul in Missouri is writing. At first, I could not cut and paste with Internet Explorer, so I tried with Mozilla Firefox, and viola!! I told him I would preview it for him on my blog...


Chapter 1


     My scream wakes my cat.

     Maggie spits and hisses.

     I’m in a cold sweat. The thought of living in a megapolis scares me to death. To

make matters
worse, I’m plagued by a recurrent nightmare. This time I’m living in

Los Angeles and commuting
on the 91 Freeway. If twenty lanes of traffic moving a hundred feet an 

hour can be called commuting.

    The other night it was Manhattan, and I was stuck on the Triborough Bridge. It twisted and  

bucked as though to outdo the one in Minneapolis. Before that, Chicago when a seemingly  

impossible thing happened. The Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, White Sox, and Cubs played home  

games and each one ended at the same time.

     The sound of peeper frogs comes through my window and I realize I’m still in  West Clover  

Bottom, Minnesota. I start to relax. My favorite ear-candy, the soft susurrus of the wind through 

the pine boughs helps me forget the dream.

      Maggie also recovers and comforts me by licking my face, or she’s savoring some left over  

tuna hot dish crumb that’s stuck in my moustache.

      My name is Archie Schultz. But that’s not the name mom gave me 30 years ago. She called me 

John E. Schultz. My dad, John D. Schultz, called me, ‘kid’. Don’t know if he actually knew my  

name, or cared I was the fifth generation John Schultz.

     Maybe he was upset having his status as the latest John usurped.

     I came by the nickname, Archie, in grade school. It had nothing to do with the comic book  

character. Although some people think I look like him. Pshaw, I never wore one of those stupid  

looking hats. Mine were way more sophisticated.

      It started in fifth grade. Our class went on a four-day road trip to St. Louis, Missouri. The Arch 

fascinated me. So much I climbed into those clothes-dryer cars that took me to the top to see out of 

a 6 by 12 inch window. At least it looked that size to me. Never mind it was hard to see, I made six 

trips that day. The next, I snuck away from the group and managed ten.

      That snippy Ruth Ann Boyer, tagged me with ‘Archie’. Would have popped her a good one,  

except she would have thrown me to the ground and wailed the daylights out of me.

      So, egged on byher, my fifteen class mates joined in.

Except Roy, my best friend, he tried to stick up for me and wore a black eye the

rest of the trip and well into the next week.

Strange how things work out. Ruth Ann and I picked on each other throughout

grade school
and into high school. Yet, by the time we were juniors, we started

dating. Our stormy, romantic
relationship continued while we attended the

University of Minnesota. That’s
The U to us natives.

I got a masters in Criminal Science, and Ruth Ann majored in Journalism. Neither

of us
wanted to make our way in a big city. Hell, even today, Duluth is

intimidating. I ended up as
Chief of Police and Ruth Ann eventually took over the

Clover Standard, from her father.

I glance at the clock. Five. I see the night sky is attempting to retain its hold. The

horizon is glowing crimson. At least I think it is because I live in the house

John A. Schultz built
that’s surrounded by massive birches, pines, and maples.

I’m good at imagining things. Like Ruth Ann is coming over to make breakfast,

even through,
last night, she said she never wanted to see me again. If I had a

dime every time she said that,
I’d have close to twenty bucks . And that’s just for

the past three months.

I decide to fix coffee while waiting for her to show up. I have a routine. First, I

grind the
beans until the powder is so fine the smallest current of air will send it

to East Clover Bottom. A
good half mile away.

One day my allergies acted up and I sneezed. East Clover Bottom, we like to

shorten it to
ECB, residents said they thought a dust storm enveloped their fair


I carefully transfer the nano-sized particles of caffeine to the filter, and let the

magic of my
percolator happen.

Once every last molecule of caffeine has been extracted, the grounds turn into

resembling concrete. You see, these grounds don’t act like Portland

cement and become a rock,
no, they are actually the precursors to hydraulic

cement. That is, they swell in size and can not
be removed from the basket. You

have to be quick, or the entire pot has to be discarded.

Ruth Ann didn’t understand the intricacies of making my style of coffee. I must

say, she
hardly broke a sweat tossing the pot. She handled her coffee making

shortcomings extremely
well. Made me love her even more.

I rolled my eyes and sighed, very audibly.

In her contrite manner she said, “You can go straight to hell. I never, ever, want to

see you

Ka-ching. My first dime.

The brew is midway through its chemical change when the phone rings. It’s

critical that I be
ready the moment it stops perking, before the grounds start their

transformation. Besides, caller
ID tells me it’s Ruth Ann. Obviously to apologize

and to inform me she’s about to leave and
hopes I haven’t made some revolting

breakfast like toast and cereal.

Quite a woman, that one.

I ignore the call.

My ambrosia is done, the grounds are still malleable, and I drop them into the

garbage. The
thunck says they nearly make their way through the floor, into the


A carefully measured teaspoon of raw, brown sugar followed by the one hundred

ninety-seven degree, black semi-solid liquid, and my morning is off to a great


Two sips and five minutes later, the pain in my mouth begins to subside. I’m

heading to the
shower when the phone rings. I ignore it again.

Ruth Ann.

No doubt this time she’s near tears, aching to apologize.

Hah! Let her stew. After all, a man can only take so many, ‘I never, ever want to see

again’s’. Right?

By the time my toilette is complete, the coffee had dropped twenty degrees and

barely raises
blisters on the roof of my mouth.

Dressed, I slowly, and elegantly, descend down the grand staircase to where the

servants of John A. Schultz once held sway.

Nowadays we refer to it as, The Kitchen.

As if one cue, there’s a pounding on the front door. My butler is temporarily away

from the
country, so I answer it myself.

Gad. How the mighty have fallen.

I’m not terribly surprised to see the woman of my affections, standing there.

She’s wearing her typical look of humbleness.

Her eyebrows look like furrows in Farmer Jones’ field. Straight and dark.

Her mouth looks pretty much the same. Her right foot is slightly forward and she’s

her toe.

What a look of apology.

“And just why didn’t you answer the phone?”

I assume my look of superiority. My shoulders drop, my eyes look like a lost puppy

dogs, and
I respond somewhat less than forcibly. “Busy?”

Obviously satisfied with my answer, she rushes into my arms to beg forgiveness,

misses by at
least six feet, and continues to the kitchen.

“Where the hell are your cups today?"

I marvel how she overcomes her faux pas.

She recovers. “Sometimes, Archie, I can not fathom how you do your job.”

Her love and kindness are almost more than I can bear this early in the morning.

My razor
sharp reply leaves her open mouthed.


She finds her cup, fills it, and makes a face.

“Yuck” Then Ruth Ann adds cream. Lots and lots and lots of cream. Good thing I

planning on making a strawberry/whipped cream dessert tonight.

“I’ll lay it out for you. Mayor Jackman was found this morning.”

“I wasn’t aware he was lost. He told me himself, he and Helen were taking a week’s

to get some sun in Florida. Did he take a wrong turn and head for


“No he didn’t do anything of the sort. Let me take that back. He must have. He was

floating in Clover Bottom Lake. A rather large hole between his eyes.”

It takes me a minute to decide how this particular event is apparently my fault

and why it
means I’m not doing my job. Like I mentioned earlier, I am WCB’s Chief

of Police and have held
that exalted position for the past four years.

Add, highly paid to exalted.

Now, it appears I no longer have a boss.

“Why do you know this bit of information and I don’t?” I ask from my six foot two

height and
lord it over my five foot-four adversary.

“My Uncle George, you know, our fair town’s resort owner? Found him, rather, his

banging up against the dock. Since he trusts the competence of his

intelligent newspaper-editor-
and-crack-reporter-niece over, say an incompetent

law enforcement officer, it was only natural
he called me first.”

I immediately think of my favorite writer, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

A dastardly turn of events that more than likely means this lovely lady is not

going to be
making my breakfast.

I apologize to Paul... I have edited his chapter several times. it looks right when I edit it, but after it posts, the spacing is all screwed up. Clearly, I am doing something wrong, only I can't figure out what!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Treasured time and technicolor...

This is my sister's 2nd art project she finished on the 10 x 10 canvas. I just LOVE the sky background and once again, her freehand print is gorgeous! Her little love cottage is adorable.

I am doing a 12 x 12 collage on painted canvas. Mine is still a work in progress, but I will share when it is finished.

Had to drop her off at the airport tonight at 5:30pm. Her flight was scheduled to leave at 7:30pm, but she was delayed. Her flight won't leave until 8:20pm...

Good thing she discovered she was able to get online. The long delay won't seem so bad when she can use her laptop to organize her photos and answer email.

Wish I could have stayed with her at the airport, so we could squeeze out more treasured time together... but I have slow growing cataracts that interfere with my night driving. We had so much fun. It felt like she arrived yesterday, and had to leave too soon....I miss her already.

I just heard from my husband, he was suppose to spend the night at his son's house and come home tomorrow. He has decided to drive home tonight! YIPPEE!! He is in Barstow, so I expect him before 10pm.

Mom visited Dad today, after a lunch-less, rough day at work. The nurses told Mom Dad had been pretty quiet all day, but as soon as she walked into his room, he was non-stop talking.
He talked of the past, and his dead uncle. He talked of the two of them, going to the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. About a year before Dad went into the hospital, he talked of wanting to go to Washington, DC to see the Memorial. It is so sad we were not able to get him there...

Mom said Dad's favorite word today, was technicolor. She said he peppered his pontifications with that particular word the entire visit. Dad pretty much pontificates rather than takes part in a two way conversation, which is very frustrating for Mom. She passes the time by writing down everything he says.

This past Sunday, after church, Mom went to a World War II musical today with some of her friends. At the end, they played each branch of the service's Song, and those in the audience from each branch, were to stand up as "their" song was sung. Mom stood during the Marine Anthem, and the tears rolled. It was a very emotional afternoon for her, but emotional burdens are lessened considerably, with the company of good friends.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A day at the movies...

This morning we blended up our protein shakes and my sister and I decided we would go see some movies. We saw Couples Retreat and Whip It. Really enjoyed Couples. I don't particularly care for Vince Vaughn, but he seemed like he "dialed it down a couple notches". He had some remarks, but a lot less goofy. It had some thoughts to ponder, some drama and some good humor. On a scale from one to ten, my sister rated them both as a 5. I would rate Couples with a 7 or 8 (I'll see it again with my husband) and I would give Whip It (about women's roller derby) a 6. The acting was good, but too much knocking and smashing for me...

After the movies, we made a Michael's run for more art supplies. If we can stay awake, we plan on finishing our art projects...

Our last stop was to Smiths for some groceries. My sister requested my chicken again, instead of going out to dinner. She made her macaroni salad and boiled and mashed the cauliflower. I am diligently attempting to substitute mashed cauliflower for potatoes. We finished off the rest of the salad and had a nice beet-cucumber salad with oil & vinegar. Good eats... but we both are STUFFED! We missed lunch going to the two movies.

I can feel my eye lids turning into lead weights... and it is only 9:30 pm...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pajamas and painting...

My sister and I woke up late today... almost 11 am. We were in the jacuzzi at 3 am and finally got to bed around 4. We had our protein shakes and fired up the laptops. We organized the photos we took yesterday and answered some emails.

We have been wanting to paint/collage together for some time now. My sister was inspired after reading Kelly Rae Roberts' book, TAKING FLIGHT. After describing it to me, I was anxious to investigate. The weather was beautiful today, so we were able to work in my garage studio without melting. We made use of the small tripod I bought, documenting our creative process. It was fun creating together. Here we are hard at work....

We finished one project each and have started two more...

I have to get myself an iPod recharger/player dock thingy (or whatever you call those contraptions) so we can listen to music while we create. There is lousy reception up here on the hill where I live, so the only station that comes in, is country.

Not that I mind country, I really enjoy it, and my sister would tolerate it, but the volume is weird on the radio in the garage. It would have blasted us out of our chairs, not to mention we would not have been able to think, let alone concentrate...

Here is what my sister finished... She painted over her layers of texture and gel medium, allowing the textures to make her surface more interesting. She painted the female figure all free hand without any pattern. I think she did a fantastic job!!!

And this is mine...

They were both experiments. I am not completely happy with mine. I felt I put too much vintage photo ink on it and made the words more difficult to read. It says, Your heart is my castle, in case you can't read it. My sister thinks the dark on the left, the under layer of paper, looked like the shape of a woman. Which was not intentional, on my part. The castle can be seen faintly through the layer of Golden gel medium and acrylic paint. The under layer is torn layers of various scrapping paper, (or newsprint, or any type texture you wish).

It was a fun, productive day. We both are exhausted. I can barely think, I am so tired. My sister has gone to bed and here I sit, on the couch, with my laptop, desperately attempting to keep my eyes open. I think it is time to call it a night and hit the sack... sweet dreams everyone...

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Fall Exhibit at the Bellagio Conservatory...

Today, my sister and I met our friend at the Bellagio Conservatory to take photos of the new fall exhibit. Here is a little preview...

It is absolutely incredible what the horticulturists do with flowers, plants and trees! It is just remarkable. This tree at the end and with the leaves coming from it's head,
is animated and talks. Very clever.

It was another fun day with my sister. Yesterday, Mom called us while we were in a casino. She was visiting Dad and wanted to let us talk with him. Unfortunately, it was so loud in the casino, Dad could not hear us and we could not hear him. We both told Dad we loved him and that I would be coming to visit him soon. He told us to have fun
and enjoy one another while my sister visits.

Tomorrow we plan on painting and doing some collages... and who knows
what else we will find to get into...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The cross memorial in the Mojave desert..

This morning while reading the newspaper, I came across an article about Congress agruing about a lone, white, 6 1/2 foot cross in the desert. It was built 75 years ago on public land, in the Mojave National Preserve, to honor the World War I veterans from the area. Congress says "it raises a host of complicated issues about which religious displays violate the constitution's ban on establishment of religion and who may challenge them".

Someone had to have seen it, and then take the time and energy to bring this to Washington. For me, I cannot imagine someone taking that kind of time, for something like this...

Congress has covered the cross with plywood until they make a decision. Caretaker, Henry Sandoz, who took care of the cross for years, rebuilt it atop an outcropping, along Cima Road, south of the Nevada-California border. Hooray for Henry!!!

The story and the picture in the newspaper, inspired me. I think this may be my next painting I make for Dad...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

From the desert to the sea...

One of the projects we did in art class, was to do a watercolor on Yupo paper. It has a very slick surface, unlike normal watercolor paper. It is very difficult to add layers, unless you dab on the color after it has dried. You can actually take a Kleenex and wipe the paint off. Anyway, pardon the glare, I call this one, Quiet Sleep...

I really liked using this Yupo paper. I am pleased with the way the mountains turned out..

The second one is a colored pencil drawing of a yellow cottage on the island of Oland in Sweden, on the Baltic Sea. Wish I could say I had been there, but I wasn' girlfriend was. She LOVED the house and told me it was her dream house. She lives in Missouri and I live in Nevada, so I asked her to send me a picture of it so I could envision it like she does...

She sent me the picture and I drew it for her for her birthday, and called it, Jan's Cottage. I ended up making several prints for her, since her relatives live on the island as well. They would take walks past the cottage because they knew how much she liked it. I also made a black and white copy of it, that I kinda like . I don't do perspective very well, so it was a huge challenge for me, but she is a great friend, so the effort was well worth it.

The roof gave me absolute fits! Burnt orange type tiles with salt weathering...

It is a charming little cottage though. I would have liked to knock on the door to see the interior and meet the family who live there.

She did not have any of the background in her picture, so she described it to me in an email, and I used creative license in creating what I thought it might look like.

Both of these were finished last year, I am still plotting along on my current projects...

Had a very productive day today. Left the house at 7:30am and had all my errands done before noon!

My sister arrives tomorrow morning...I CAN NOT WAIT!!!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Works in progress...

Maybe now, since things are quieting down with Dad...I can finish some of my unfinished projects:

This is a colored pencil drawing for my son in law... Still have miles and layers to go. Had to stop working on this one in May when I went to stay with Dad.

I really enjoy the realism one can achieve with colored pencil. It appeals to my basic "anal" nature. I took up watercolor to release myself from the imposed obsession with detail I place upon myself.

This is my third colored pencil project. My Bighorn Ram was first, a yellow cottage on a Swedish island for my girlfriend, and this Elk.

Yesterday, I started this abstract...

It almost looks like an uphill landscape.
Not sure how I feel about it yet, but I know I really enjoy the colors...

It is so interesting the way the mind works. I see a picture or a color, some inspirational something that motivates me to create. I can see it in my mind's eye of how I think it will look...and every time, except for the colored pencil art, it looks totally different.

It's like the mixed colors, blend with the motivation and takes on a life of it's own. Leaving me as the pawn, aimlessly moving with a purpose to create. Intrigued and transfixed to discover the outcome...

I love that about Art... how it can beckon you in and take you off into the cosmos to finger paint in the sky...

This was a project in an art class I took. I still need layers of watercolor to bring out the colors and more definition.

I've allowed this one to sit and cook for so long, I hope I can remember the techniques. Our teacher provided us with an excellent lesson plan, so hopefully, it will all come back to me.

The technique she taught us was to continually turn the painting to keep the flow of the paint to run in the right direction to give the desired gradation of color...

My husband left this afternoon for his son's home in Arcadia. Tomorrow two of his sons and two of his friends leave for La Paz, Mexico for six days. My sister arrives this Thursday for 4 nights and 5 days...I feel like a little kid waiting for Christmas...

I spent most of the morning visiting various blogs. It blows me away the talent that is out there in blog world...beautiful paintings, drawings, poems, words from creative's wonderful. The members of this blogger family are so friendly, helpful and supportive. Visiting the blogs is like visiting a neighbor. Dropping in for some conversation, sharing of recipes and catching up on what is new. Comments, feel like hugs to me, the cozy kind, from a dear friend...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Let him eat cake, or anything else he wants...

Mom has observed a belly developing on Dad. My sister noticed, I think we all noticed in the picture my sister emailed to all of us. My daughter even called me to comment on Little Papa putting on weight in his face. No doubt, it is from all the cheeseburgers and shakes we've been bringing him. Sounds like Mom wants to start a health campaign for Dad. She took him fresh raspberries, apple juice, mixed nuts with craisins, cherry jello and some of the gum he likes.

After Mom finished her visit with Dad, she signed consent papers so the nursing home can give Dad pneumonia and flu shots. She said he was still talking about jumping fire pits at the beach. That must have been something he used to do when he was in the service, or when he was a lot younger. He sure would never have allowed us to do that, nor would he set such a bad example.

Dad is sneaking up on age 89. Personally, I say, let him eat cake, or anything else that sounds good to him. God knows, from his life time of healthy eating, he is long over due...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

You can tell by the shape of my head, its football season...

My sister had a great visit with Dad. Sounds like Dad is becoming a comedian with some of the witty remarks he has been making...

When she arrived, Dad was in the Rec room watching TV with several of the other residents. My sister asked Dad if he wanted to watch the rest of the movie or go into the patio. Enthusiastically, he chose the patio. As she pushed him in his wheel chair toward the patio, Dad broke out in song. One of the aids nodded and told her Dad had been singing earlier.

When they got settled outside, she brought out the sourdough chicken club sandwich, churros and a big cup of ice water. Dad told her "she answered his prayers". He savored every bite and then kept reaching in the empty bag, looking for more churros. Luckily, she had some almonds in her purse and gave those to Dad.

She called me so I could talk with Dad. His voice sounded low and dull when he first said hello to me, so I greeted him with a loud, cheerful, " Hi Dad, how are you?" His voice immediately changed, sounding up, strong and positive. We chatted, and he seemed so normal...

Dad surprised me by asking if I remembered the day he was asleep, awoke, and saw all of us in his room? (That is when he went to the first nursing home in June. The hospital had tried to transfer him, in the middle of the night, after our specific instructions that we needed to be with him. Dad freaked out, went into combat mode, and they had to sedate him with Halidol. He was in a "Rip Van Winkle sleep", as my youngest brother called it, for 48 hours.) I was BLOWN AWAY he remembered that!

Dad said something about a nut, and I could hear my sister laughing...soon she came on the line and told me Dad was narrating the process of eating an almond, giving a play by play from the bag to his we both were cracking up. She told me she wanted to try and reach our brother in Ohio, so Dad could talk to him. My husband and I were leaving to have dinner with friends anyway, so I said my good-byes.

My sister took a picture of Dad when he was talking to his son in Ohio. After their conversation, she showed him the picture of himself. Dad told her, "Well, you can tell by the shape of my head, it's football season!" That one really busted up my sister and gave her a good laugh.

They enjoyed the blue sky together and Dad pointed out some brown palm frawns that needed to be trimmed. He told her he dreamt of people jumping over fire pits at the beach. Dad wanted to paint the black he had been seeing all white. He repeated what he told our brother, on his last visit, how he dreams of going to church to see his friends... And, he wants to be with the family at Thanksgiving.

Dad told my sister he would be 90 on his birthday next month. She reminded him, he would be 89..and Dad quipped, "That's close enough"...

Both my sister and I think its a good idea to take Dad to church the Sunday after his 89th birthday in November. We also think we should bring Dad to my brother's for Thanksgiving. Even if it is for a little while. We don't know, this could be our last one with Dad...

We always have Thanksgiving at our second to the oldest brother's house. My daughter called to suggest we get Little Papa his very own apple pie. It would be wonderful to have him say the blessing....even if he sang it and it made no sense...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Nature's gift of a new perspective...

My youngest brother just called to share his visit with Pops, as he calls Dad. Dad had just finished his lunch, but had no trouble woofing down the cheeseburger with a vanilla shake, my brother had brought him.

They went out into the courtyard, where my brother parked Dad's wheel chair facing east, while my brother sat on a bench in front of Dad and faced west. Dad looked up into the sky, making a scowl, commenting on the dark sky, telling his son it looked like rain...

The sky was bright blue with big white fluffy clouds facing west, in the direction my brother was looking, so he changed positions with Dad, turning his wheel chair to the west. "WOW! How did you do that?" Dad asked.

My brother laughed as he watched Dad's wide eyed, child-like expression as he scanned the blue skies above him. " I didn't do anything, Pops. That's God's glory you're lookin' at." Dad agreed, still looking upward in awe.

My brother laid down on the bench so they both could enjoy the same view. He said there is no need for words as they enjoyed the nice little breeze, along with the sights and sounds of nature. They looked up through the foliage of the two big trees in the courtyard, listening to the birds chirp as they flitted to the different branches. The contrast of the green trees against the blue sky was beautiful. Dad pointed out an orange peeking out from one of the orange trees leaves...

Dad asked why my brother didn't take him to church. My brother told him that he did not need to go to church to worship God. He could worship right there in the patio. " Pops, you're a believer, so you have a direct line to God, right where you are. God is always with you Pops, you know that."

He reminded Dad that fellowship was nice in church, but Dad has so many friends there at the nursing home and this is where God wants him to be. "Yes, yes, you're right", Dad smiled. Still shaking his head in agreement, Dad told him, how fortunate he was with so many blessings. My brother noticed a peaceful, calm spread over Dad, as if Pops had just been given the gift of a new perspective...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Can't do anything but watch the cockroaches fighting...

Mom visited Dad today. Her email to all of us made it clear Dad was back to talking nonsense again. It's too depressing to record what Dad says when he is like that. I've selected the title of today's blog, from one of his comments, which, pretty much sums it up...

This past week has been very difficult for me emotionally with Dad. Its beginning to become clear to me, my grief, or mourning of Dad's condition, is impossible for me to record into words. The feeling is so intense, it brings me down into a very dark and non-productive place. I don't want to go there...I can't allow myself to go there...

I need to remove the pressure of writing about Dad when I feel so down. Maybe it would be better, to not write every day...

Even picking up my brush to paint, I find myself trance-like, thinking of Dad, feeling for Dad, and hurting for Dad...the overwhelming sadness is not allowing creativity to flow from me. I know if Dad were in his normal state of mind, he would not want me to do this to myself...I think its time for an emotional sabbatical...