Sunday, December 20, 2015

All I want for Christmas...

Christmas is getting near and I know what I want and I'm getting it right now before I get anymore stressed out.  I am delivering to myself this amazing imaginary guy friend.  Every caregiver female should have one.
He looks like Richard Gere, maybe a little taller...I'm 5' 10 1/2".  This incredible man is sensitive to all my wants and needs.  He remembers to take out the trash before 8:00 am after gathering it from all over the house.  Then he wakes me with a steaming cup of coffee with just the right amount of creamer.  He watches sappy movies with me or funny ones like Breaking Bad.  He notices when I have a new outfit or hair color and always tells me how lovely I look.  He asks where I would like to dine if not eating at home and always rinses the dishes and puts them in the dishwasher when eating at home.  He would never put fresh eggs in the pantry but always see that plants are watered.  He often suggests we go to movies or put on some music.  He is always there to rub my feet after a long day and pour me a glass of wine and asks how my day has been.  If not a great one, he doesn't try to fix it..he just listens and gives me a hug.  He remembers birthdays and holidays with awesome gifts that reflect he has been paying attention to me AND he knows what day it is.  He gets himself ready on time and can pick out his own clothes and pack himself for trips.

Whew!  What a guy!  I'm not loaning him out... HE'S MINE!  ALL MINE!  You have to get your own.  This princess is ready to be spoiled and have someone look after her every now and then.  She's a little burned out...can you tell?
Now I have to go.  He's already in bed.  Time for me to say goodnight.  Tomorrow is another day on the Island of Blue Hairs.   The music starts...Someone to watch over me....ta-da.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Honey, you need to get out more....

Last night there was a reading by members of the Women of the Visual and Literary Arts at Archway Gallery.  I was privileged to read along with some other amazing women writers..  It was such a wonderful evening sitting in the midst of such beautiful art work and listening to the stories in prose and poem.  It so uplifted my spirits to see and be seen in this group of smart, wonderful women.  The wine didn't hurt either.  I was first on the program...a new slot for me...and I was glad I had chosen some humorous work which was well received.

And then it was back to the Island of the Blue Hairs.  Eating lunch today in the Dining Room two gentlemen joined our table, both handicapped in different ways.  So as my lunching companions I have Ken who orders shrimp salad everyday ignoring the cocktail sauce and dipping the shrimp in ranch dressing.  He doesn't eat the salad, only the boiled shrimp.  Opposite me is some strange looking guy in a wheel chair who keeps talking about Kennebunkport, Maine making no sense. To my right is a dear sweet young man whose elevator doesn't go all the way to the top floor and has just awakened after staying up late playing video games.  I lost my appetite and thought to myself, "How can I keep doing this?"  I realized how tired I am of being surrounded by old people, granted some are amazing and wonderful, but I am tired of walking around walkers and canes and motorized chairs and listening to talk of doctors from people who can't hear or speak so softly they can't be heard  and then it's the weather and gossip about who died and why.

Okay, I'm whining but I am giving myself permission to whine, right here, up front, in view of the world with no shame.  It doesn't help that my best friend of 45 years who is one of the reasons we moved here is moving to California to go into assisted living near her daughter.  It is the right thing for her and I support her but I am so going to miss her and am grieving the woman she was before Parkinson's, diabetes and vertebrae that keep her in pain.  And I'm missing the life-long partner that is caught up in this terrible disease called Alzheimer's...lonely but never alone, the motto of caregivers.

And damn it, I am missing my own washer and dryer!  This laundry room business just sucks! there, the loss is here and better to look it in the face while planning some really great times off the Island and get back to journaling.  You can do it, girl!  Chin up!  I know I will be one of them one day but Pollyanna, it's okay to have a down day every now and then.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The keys...again

This morning in the other room I hear an excited conversation between Ken and our wonderful housekeeper, Francesca, who speaks limited English.  He is trying to explain something about our dining room table to her.  In frustration she calls her supervisor to translate.  At this point I enter the room to try to straighten out the confusion.  Francesca continues cleaning the kitchen while Ken is trying to explain to her boss what he wants.  I can tell she is equally confused and bless her heart, just listens and finally says, "Thank you."  Ken is smiling and satisfied.  I ask him what that was about.  He talks about his  keys and points to our dining table while I try to figure out what he's talking about.  He then says, "Yesterday and we got them back to the woman."

Ahhh...yesterday we ate lunch in the dining room with a friend.  Later we met up with her in the grocery store and she asked if Ken had picked up her keys.  He pulls a set of keys out of his pocket which were the set to our apartment.  The friend shakes her head and goes on her way.  Later I ask again for him to check his pockets and he pulls out a set of keys...HER keys this time.  I grabbed them and managed to catch up with her and returned her keys to much relief on her part.  Ken had picked up both sets in the Brookdale dining room after lunch.  I explain to him that that incident didn't happen in our apartment but in the big Dining Room.  He keeps pointing to our dining table and I repeat that it didn't happen in our apartment.  He finally accepts it as, hopefully, some memory of yesterday creeps in.

Two weeks ago he lost his house keys (which includes a clicker to open the security gates) somewhere between our apartment and the dining room.  We checked everywhere with no luck.  He had already lost the identifying card on them so if found, there was no way they could be identified as his.  So I went to the hardware store and got him new keys, bought a new $50 clicker and a new ID card.  Still no mail box key but he never used it anyway.  So someone around here has themselves an additional clicker and some useless keys.

I have asked him if he would wear the keys around his neck like a lanyard but he's not enthusiastic.  I may try it anyway.  That way he would not have to lay them down anywhere.  Hummmm...suggestions anyone?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A trip to Shang-gri-La

Where does the time go?  This morning an hour was taken up just sorting out two weeks of medications, supplements and vitamins into our pill boxes.  Ken has been suffering with a cold or sinus infection for several days so I have increased the vit C.  He is better today and we plan to go on a Brookdale lunch outing.

Yesterday we drove to our previous dentist office about an hour away in Clear Lake for check-up.  Ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching later I see I have come up short in the care-taking.  I have been taking for granted that when Ken went into shower or get ready for bed he was also brushing his teeth.  Wrong!  So more trips to the dentist and another care taking job for me...supervising his tooth brushing.  The dentist wants him to use a Water Pic but I don't think he can manage it by himself...I can see water flying all over the bathroom but what the hell!  As long as he doesn't slip and fall, right?  Our dentist and staff are so good with Ken but I hate the drive so I may take his treatment plan to the dentist out our front gate and see what she charges.

Last week was busy and fun!  Wednesday I drove to Clear Lake without Ken to go shopping with our oldest granddaughter.  She needed some stuff for departing Monday for boot camp with the National Guard and it was just delightful to spend the day and lunch with her...just the two of us.  She needed 3 black sports bras with no logo on them...we looked everywhere and all had a logo.  She called her recruiter who agreed she could take a black marker to the logos.  Mission accomplished.
Thursday it was back to Clear Lake to take Ken to the NASA Alumnae Luncheon where he got to get reacquainted with old friends.  I was so thrilled with the warm welcome he was given.  He needed to know he's been missed and I hope now that we are connected we can attend again.  It's affirming that everyone else has gotten old, too.

Friday was my day.  Dear friends of many years, Ann and Dennis Webb, were in town and picked us up for a trip to the MFAH to see the Rothko beautiful and exciting to see his earlier works.  Rothko so knows color and how to use it.  His earlier works are much more cheerful than his work in the Rothko Chapel.  We lunched at the Museum, saw the show and went back to the cafe for some more conversation over coffee.  It was such a glorious afternoon to be off of the Island of Blue Hairs talking art and politics.  Dennis's father had Alzheimer's so he knows just how to engage Ken much better than I can.  Dennis retired from NASA and gave us a copy of his latest book on Astronomy.  Ann and I have been artist buddies for many years and she is an Artist Way Sister...our group has been "together" for almost 20 years now.  I say "together" as often as we can get everyone in town at the same time. I so value our time amazing group of women artists and writers.

And Saturday I had another wonderful day for just me.  A writing workshop with Max Marvelous Regon, my writing coach from Colorado at Spectrum Center.  All afternoon we discussed "Writing the Dangerous Memoir"....what are we afraid of in putting our our truth as we experienced it.  I have this idea of maybe at some point putting together this blog and the poetry I've written together in book form.

At 5:30 Tuesday morning I was awakened with Ken turning on all the lights.  He was up and in the bathroom.  Soon he came out and started dressing.  I asked what he was doing.  "I'm getting ready to go."  "Where?  We're not going anywhere today.  It is dark outside and 6:00 am.  Go to bed."  And so it goes.  I can't imagine what it must be like to be in his world...trying always to be on top of things while not being able to find words to express what he wants at times, getting confused about where we are and why.  The journey goes on.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

How does one measure progress in this awful disease?

When you live with someone with Alzheimer's day in and day out, you accept that there will be good days and bad days.  This disease progresses so slowly sometimes it's like watching paint dry but then comes a day when there is a marker.  Hubby (aka He-Who) doesn't say much in groups or around other people anymore.   He's quiet and seems to be paying attention but I don't know for sure.  Today he nodded off during church.

I have grown to accept the obsession with the 3 newspapers we take but today I was so looking forward to browsing through the NY Times Sunday edition, especially the book section and the magazine.  Dang, I didn't get to it before going to church and was out of pocket for a few minutes on our return.  I came into the dining room and the NY Times was either shredded, cut up or taken apart and thrown away.  I lost it for a bit, for sure, and I hate it when I do but this obsession with cutting up the newspaper is crazy-making at times.  I have left notes on the table on what to save but it doesn't do any good.

This week one of my dear friends, Lucia Capacchione, author of 17 books, was in town to promote her latest book, a new edition of The Creative Journal, which she wrote 35 years ago.  Lucia and I have been friends for many years after I attended one of her workshops in Houston and some of my drawings are included in her book, The Recovery of the Inner Child.  We spent 3 weeks traveling Italy together with her mom and aunt and she and her Italian boyfriend spent several nights with us in Houston while she was doing a workshop at UH/CL.  She lives in California so we don't see each other often but it is always wonderful when we do.

We met her at her book signing at Lucia's Garden and He-Who was a total blank on who she was.  He didn't remember anything about her or the boyfriend or the dinners we had together.  We were both surprised but I count it as a new marker...the long term memory is fading!  Strangely enough the next day he asked me who that lady was that we met the day before and how do I know her...short term memory was there.  Of course, he asked again later the same much for memory.  Onward through the fog.

At lunch the other day we sat with a pleasant gentlemen with whom we have enjoyed conversations before.  The dessert was a delicious bread pudding.  We both sat in amazement as hubby dipped his bread pudding in his broccoli soup.  New behavior!  I moved the soup out of range in hopes he would finish the pudding.  He didn't!

Damn but this is a confusing, unpredictable illness.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Tattoos for a desperate housewife

You/ve seen them.  They are everywhere now, on so many! Some amazing art work!  the latest fashion trend if you haven’t noticed.  And as a fashionista wanna-be, I am considering getting one.  Crazy, huh, for an old lady but true.  My daughter says she’ll pay for if I decide to take the big step. I want one, a small one.
So what should the image be? From what I have observed on tattooed folk is that tattoos seem to be a declaration of love for somebody or something.  Well, I love Starbuck’s skinny hazelnut lattes and Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream.  Starbuck’s would work but Blue Bell would tell everyone why I’m overweight.  How about a butterfly, the symbol of transformation?  I have transformed into an old lady, rather recently it seems to me.
But where?  It has to be small as I don’t tolerate pain well.  Should it be in a showy exposed location or one that will surprise the coroner when he lifts the sheet?  One on the left breast might work…the left seems a bit perkier than the right as if any “perky” remains in either.  But the boobs are traveling south meaning it is no telling where the tattoo might end up...leaning over the edge of my navel or stretched out really long.  Nope, I don’t think so.
Not on my shoulder either.  I want to be able to watch it without a mirror just in case it moves.
Maybe an ankle.  Of course it would have to find an empty spot among the varicose veins.  However a very good tattoo artist could maybe incorporate the veins in the image.  A butterfly with blue-veined wings?
There is much to consider here and I feel sure my mom is watching from the beyond and is having a fit.  She told me in my teens I couldn’t pierce my ears, that only Mexicans and gypsies did that.  Once married, I couldn’t wait to pierce my ears, twice!  Didn’t she know I wanted nothing more than to become a Mexican gypsy?
I doubt that He-Who will notice unless I put it on my cheek, the cheek on my face.  I dyed my hair red once and he never said a word.  I don't think he was just being discreet.  This caregiver will do anything that gives her a little boost.  A pedicure is good but been there, done that and will do it again.  A tattoo seems a bit more daring!
Guess what!  I have discovered temporary tattoos so I’m trying them out…a dress rehearsal for the real thing.  I have a Starbuck’s cup on my right ankle resting on a blue-veined plate.  It didn’t hurt and I can scrub it off if my mother’s voice in my head gets too loud.  By Christmas I may be ready for the real thing.  Merry Christmas to me!  Mom, you can roll over in that grave again…it probably won’t be the last time.  Love you, Mom!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Welcome aboard!

We have a new neighbor three doors down the hall from us, a lovely woman who is not on a walker and seems to have all her marbles.  I am thrilled!  She moved in Saturday and as a duly charged badge-wearing Ambassador, it is my duty to welcome her and give her my number if she needs anything.  Bless her heart she got the whole picture right away.

First of all the elevator on our end of the building was out of order while repair men pounded away with a jack hammer to correct the bump on the entrance floor.  Add very loud banging to this story. So her movers had to haul her furniture, etc a good distance from the back of the building moving to the rhythm of the jack hammers below.  Ouch!

Then I went up to the third floor to get the new menu and calendar to deliver to her and when I came back, our crazy alcoholic neighbor was in a rocking chair near the neighbor's front door surrounded by 6 firemen/EMTs with a fire truck and an ambulance waiting down below.  They were taking her blood pressure and giving her oxygen.  She had a big black and blue bump on the side of her head but couldn't remember getting it or how.  So the movers were hauling a sofa delicately around this group.  Honest to God, I'm not making this up.  I'm not really complaining as those firemen are all young gorgeous hunks...they could take my blood pressure anytime.

I step into the new resident's apartment to deliver the menu and calendar and the poor woman is looking at me  like "What in the world is going on?"  I assured her that the patient would be okay, that she calls 911 about once a week.  They take her to the hospital, she sobers up, calls a cab and returns home a short time later.  She showed up about midnight after this episode.

Welcome to the good ship Lollipop!  I haven't laid eyes on our new neighbor since Saturday.  There will surely be a poem in here somewhere!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Tangled without the Zen

I should have known!  Zentangles are the perfect metaphor for my life right now minus the meditative, relaxing aspect.  Where to begin?  Six weeks ago I was dealing with bronchitis which seemed to never go away, just got a little better and then suddenly my heart started racing and I ended up in Park Plaza hospital for 3 days with sinus tachycardia.  I went there for an EKG with He-Who-Sleeps-A-Lot along, of course.  So then there was the problem of what to do with him when they decided to hospitalize me.  Thank goodness for wonderful friends who live near the hospital who came and picked him up and brought him home.  And I am so grateful for the wonderful support here at Brookdale that quickly responded with caregivers to come and check on him a few times a day.
I am happy to say that I am now feeling like my old self again just dealing with the record-breaking heat.  I treated myself to a pedicure and manicure yesterday and came away feeling like a new woman...need to do that more often!

He-Who is doing well physically but the memory is slightly declining which leads to very frustrating conversations like the following when we were out running errands:

Me:  "Would you like to eat lunch out on the way home?"
HW:  "Yes, I want to go to that place across the street>"
Me:  "The Chinese place, Qin Dynasty?
HW:  "  Yes, Chinese."
   I drive into the parking lot of the above restaurant right out the front gate of our community.  No parking anywhere...
HW:  "No, not here."
Me:  "You mean you want the Vietnamese place across the street?"
HW:  Angrily "No, no, just forget it.  I want the one across the street.  Go whereever!"
Me: "Point to where you want to go."
HW points to the north where a new Olive Garden has gone in.
Me:  " You want to go to the Olive Garden?  You want Italian food?"
HW:  "Yes."

This has to be as frustrating for him as it it for me but these kind of conversations are occurring more frequently now.  I'm learning to take deep breaths, ease up on the accelerator of life and go with the flow.  Patience has never been my greatest virtue but life seems to present the lessons one needs to learn, right?

And guess what!  My book club is discussing Still Alice this afternoon.  He-Who may attend and I hope he will add something from his own experience.  I will certainly add from mine.

P.S. My Zentangles class went well and several want to continue. More tangles to come!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Oh my but I am finally feeling close to normal though still coughing occasionally.  This has been a very long battle with bronchitis and antibiotics and steroids (which I hate taking).  And talk about boring for both me and especially He-Who.  I didn't feel like going anywhere or doing anything but watching movies for almost a month. Just managed to get laundry done and missed water aerobics totally. But I rediscovered Zentangles while cruising the Internet and find them comforting and soothing when I don't feel like doing anything else.  And I have volunteered to teach a class on Zentangles here the end of this month.  I'm hoping to get He-Who involved as I think it is something he could do and may enjoy.  It is so simple and yet gratifying and requires no talent or experience.

We seem to keep Walgreen's busy between us.  Just trying to keep our meds straight and filled sends us there at seems like at least once a week.  Our old Walgreen's was so helpful and gracious but the one near us now is SO busy they don't have time to remember us or be helpful.  Even their drive-through always has 3 or 4 cars lined up to both of their windows.
One of He-Who's meds has to be cut in half and when I do that, the chalky pill turns into mostly powder.  I complained to the doc who gave me a new prescription and said I could only get it at Walmart.  I went on the Brookdale bus to Walmart last week and the pharmacy said the prescription was wrong and I would have to go back to the doc to get it right.  Later on another trip to Walgreen's  I was told, "Yes, they can fill the correct size."  So now I must get hold of the doc to get her to send the correct amount to Walgreen's.  Geezus...and I wonder where my time goes.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The unrequested journey

The unrequested journey of caregiving, a gateway for self-study, learning, growing, healing, and personal transformation....I read that somewhere and it describes what this journey as an Alzheimer's caregiver has been.  I have learned patience that I never dreamed I would have.  I've always been a "let's get going with this so we can go on to the next great thing." sort of person.  Now my life moves at a snail's pace at times that may drive me crazy while teaching me to slow down and enjoy the moments.  One doesn't hurry an Alzheimer's patient!  It takes time for He-Who to process everything, every request, every instruction, every move.  So I have learned patience and timing.  I allow more time to get ready to go anywhere, to leave the house, to get in the car, out of the car, to the dining room.  

For the longest time after we moved here it bugged me that he always walked behind me when we went to the dining room or the mail box...several feet behind me.  I realize now that it could be because he is never sure where we are going even in our community.  He can't remember that we are going to the dining room to eat!  So now I walk much slower so that he is along side me.    Every time we leave the apartment must be a new adventure for him.
Oldest granddaughter graduates from high school

Today we drove to Clear Lake to computer shop with our oldest granddaughter, our graduation gift to her.  He-Who enjoyed every minute of it which made me happy.  He had little to say but was observing the whole process and didn't even bat an eye over the expense.  We followed the shopping with lunch at Red Lobster enjoying shrimp and those awesome cheese buttery biscuits.  A successful journey for all of us and always fun to hear granddaughter's plans for her future.  She's a determined young lady who will do amazing things I'm sure.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Another milestone

Oh my, but it seems like yesterday this blonde cutie was living with us and keeping us constantly entertained and here she is a high school grad.  A year early, no less after much hard work taking night classes and online classes along with a part-time job.  A real cause for celebration and He-Who loved every minute of it.  He was alert, attentive and managed to sit through all 550 grads getting diplomas after waiting an hour in the sun for the program to start.  What a guy!  We didn't get to bed until late so he slept 12 hours last night.

But today he seems to be really congested.  I'm hoping he hasn't caught his brother's terrible cough. I gave him some meds and hope they work.

 And he's disoriented somewhat...hard for him to get straight on what we did last night and little stuff about the security gate.  He got up and dressed eagerly to be ready for lunch with our other granddaughter and our daughter-in-law.  They came here for the graduation and to tour Rice University...a possible school for this granddaughter who graduates next year.  He Who enjoyed the lunch and was pretty chatty in the dining room.  It was so great to have them here for lunch and a visit before returning to San Antonio and I think they will return later this summer for another look at Rice...keeping our fingers crossed, of course.  She's also looking at UT Austin's Plan II program which I was in and I can't help but encourage that program and school as well.

A neighbor here who also attended UT's Engineering School when Ken was there questioned Ken about a professor this afternoon.  I was shocked that Ken couldn't remember anything about her...I had to fill him in that she was his mentor and advisor for his Master's and was the first female engineer to teach at UT.  He used to talk about her all the time.  His long-term memory has been pretty sharp so this was a surprise.  The neighbor printed out an article about her for him which was so nice as it brought it all back for him.  I love these moments when someone takes the time to help him out....very grateful as it means so much to him to savor those memories.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Rain and more rain

What way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon is better than wine tasting in the Texas Hill Country? Here we are, a little damp, at Singing Waters Winery near Comfort, Texas.  Guitar playing in the other room and the rain coming down in sheets.  It was so much fun to relax and chill out with the family.  It had been way too long since we had done anything like that and we both loved it. And, of course, tasted some great wines and brought a bottle home.

However as the water continued to pour from the sky,I began to get anxious about our getting out of there and sure enough on the way back to I 10 the water was beginning to come over the roads.  When we got back to San Antonio, the sky was lighting up with lightening strikes which were really kinda pretty.  The next morning of course was when we heard the terrible news of the storm taking out the town of Wimberly.  I have weathered tropical storms and hurricanes and the flood in Houston and Alvin in '79 but had never seen water come down like we saw Saturday.  In '79 the Houston area got 20" in 24 hours and there was flooding but never has the city of Houston been paralyzed the way it was last weekend.

While in San Antonio, we toured some other retirement communities that offered continuing care with our son.  We revisited one that I had seen before but left less impressed that on our first visit.  The apartments have gorgeous full-size kitchens but no room for a table to eat on.  Very strange so crossed that one off the list.  Our daughter feels that it is time that we lived closer to one of our children and she may be right but we are just really getting settled in here and connected with new doctors (no small task).  We did find one Morningside community that we really liked and it has continuing care so that is a possibility on down the road.  The thought of getting He-Who acclimated to a new environment is daunting much less my finding my way around in a new city.  At the same time it may be wise to make the move while I can still drive and learn my way around.  Right now I'm tired just thinking about it and am going to play Scarlett O'Hara and "worry about that tomorrow."

Today is Thursday and they are still finding bodies and removing cars from previously flooded areas.  We returned on Tuesday between storms and made it home on back streets just fine...grateful to be home and living on the 2nd floor though no one in our community got any serious water damage.
We just attended the 1rst Annual Brookdale Dog Show...hilarious.  This dog's name is Angel.
I love being around them but so happy to not have one right now.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Dear Anne Lamott

 Dear Anne,
     Hi there from a devoted fan of you and your writing.  This is the obnoxious woman with the camera in the front row when you spoke in Houston.  If you will come back, I promise I will leave my camera at, I can't do that but I will at least learn how to to turn off the flash and again I apologize for not knowing how before and being so annoying.
     Well, here's the deal...I would so love for you to write some more about loss.  I'm 78 years old and beginning to think that is just about all being old is about and it is just damn painful.  That is, it is painful if you give a shit about anything or anyone and I do and refuse to give up caring.  It is the caring that keeps me afloat as I have always believed that God's purpose for all of us is for us to live into our potential and support others in doing the same.  But in that caring comes the potential for loss and it is accelerated by aging.
      And it is constant when you live in a retirement community.  The good news is that while one is losing one's quick step, hearing, and one's vision dims, so are one's neighbors.  But along with that is other physical and mental problems that are more serious.  Eventually a friend or neighbor can no longer live independently and leaves.  An ambulance drives up on a regular day three were around.  The constant loss makes one hesitant to invest deeply in friends which is totally against my nature and another loss in a way.
     Add in one's own physical losses and the whole scene is rather painful and depressing.  No wonder so many elderly are on anti-depressants.  Surely there is a better answer.  Yes, I constantly remind myself of all the things I am grateful for...I'm not 78 in Katmandu picking through the pieces of my home to hold on to some semblance of the life I had before the quake....I am not living in a refugee tent outside of Yemen...I am not in California wondering if I will ever be able to water my grass.  I have so much to be grateful for but loss is always barking at my door.  I'm learning to deal with it and have found some other residents who are experiencing the same but it ain't easy.
    The greatest cure of course is to get off the Isle of the Blue Hairs occasionally.  The weekend in Colorado over Mother's Day without He-Who and being pampered by my niece and her partner were a huge spiritual lift for which I am so grateful to have them in my life.  And some retail therapy at the greatest shoe store in the country...Brown's Shoes in Ft. Collins...was once again wonderful.  I could become a shoeaholic if I lived there.  Such fun and funky shoes in narrow sizes!  And it snowed!
     Sunday we left the Isle and headed north to our daughter's in Conroe in their new apartment for a great lunch and a movie and a game of a new kind of Monopoly which was fun!
     This week I will drive us to San Antonio to go to a granddaughter's concert and hang out on the edge of the hill country and breathe deep.  I will be grateful that I can still drive and have such a great family.
      But dear Anne with such great wisdom and spiritual depth I would love to hear more from you about loss so if you don't have too much on your plate already, give it some thought.  I'm patient, no hurry.

With much admiration and appreciation,

Monday, May 4, 2015

Such a sweetheart

In spite of this crazy-making illness, Alzheimer's does have some beautiful moments.  And they are usually out of the blue.  Today while I was in physical therapy, He-Who walked to the HEB just out our front gate and had this lovely, lovely card to give me when I returned to the apartment.  No envelope but the thought was there along with the love and he remembered!  What a sweetheart and I am amazed and grateful for his love and thoughtfulness.
And I'm trying not to go into worry mode that he will wander afar while I am away but he wears a MedicAlert bracelet.  I'm convincing myself and him that all will be well.
And I will look at that beautiful card for a long time.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Depressed? Silly girl.

I keep telling myself that "I can do it, I can do it, I can do it"  but I tell you some days I just want to either scream and scream or go hide somewhere.  It has been a stressful 10 days.  My best friend of 45 years, Betty, who lives here on the same floor, had a health crisis last week.  Her children are scattered so here I am family along with another friend and left to figure out what to do.  Thank God for all the help that this facility can give in a crisis arranging for 24 hour care until we could get her into the hospital.  She has fractured a sacral vertebrae and is in a lot of pain, can't walk even with her walker.  So I was frantically arranging what was possible until her daughter arrived from CA a few days later...whew!  My friend is finally in the hospital and preparing to go to a rehab hospital for several weeks.  We are all relieved.

I did have a melt-down one morning last week.  An email came saying there was an opening left for the writer's retreat in Boulder that I have attended before and loved...I could maybe swing the tuition and room rent for a couple of weeks but not the care for He-Who.  And I realized I am really tired of being around all these old people with all their ailments and complaints.

He-Who-Sleeps-A-Lot doesn't deal with the change in how we operate very well.  For Alz folk change is threatening, confusing and discombobulating.  He is constantly questioning me, checking the calendar, checking the white board, then the same questions all over again.  Of course I'm exhausted from the whole scene with my friend which doesn't help my patience with the repeated questions.  The good news for me however is that Thursday I leave for CO where my niece and her partner will pamper me and my sister-in-law for four wonderful days.  The difficult part of this of course is planning care for He-Who.  He needs lots of warning and repetition of future plans, very specific details of future plans which we go over and over for days prior to the shift.  The original plan was for him to go to San Antonio to our son's home but we were unsure how that was going to happen....remember he needs concrete solid written instructions days ahead of how everything is going to happen.  Well, he also doesn't want to miss the Men's Group Bar-b-que that is going to take place here while I am gone.  So he decided he wants to stay home so that is what we are going to try with hired help coming in for 30 minutes in the morning and again in the evening to check on him.  Hopefully my daughter can come check on him though she is moving that weekend and maybe his brother can drop in on Saturday or Sunday.
.  There is always someone with bigger challenges than me and I have much to be grateful for...I can think, see, hear, walk, drive, sometimes write and make art, someone else cooks and cleans....not too bad for 78.  Stop your whining dear Kay.  Geez, it could be a whole lot worse!!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Geez, it has been a month since I posted on my blog and I would love to say it was because I had been so busy creating art or writing poetry but alas, not so.  We are in the process of changing doctors to ones that are closer to us in our new quarters near the major medical center of Houston.  We have hooked up with a geriatric team which gives us a new primary care doc but also means that we have to get acquainted with each of the specialists we need...eye doc, dermatologist, orthopedic doc, gastro-enterologist and cardiologist.  All this is very confusing for He-Who-Sleeps-A-Lot.  Lots of questions...where are we going?  who are we seeing? why are we going?  Is that the same as the physical therapist I see downstairs?  And who can blame him?  5 appointments in one week between the two of us and then a test or two thrown in.  I even struggle to keep track. It takes a lot to keep us old folks going.

He-Who has gained weight since we moved two waist sizes which is great as he was too thin.  He loves sweets and dessert is always served here.  If on the table, he will eat it first. Alzheimer's patients lose much of their sense of taste with the exception of sweet and salt.  Before we moved, I seldom fixed dessert mostly because I have always struggled in the other direction.  In preparation for a trip to Austin for my 60th high school reunion this week, it was clear that he needed pants that he could button.  Off we went to Dillard's and he was just so a little kid in a candy store.  A beautiful clerk took over as our personal shopper and fixed him up with pants, shirts, socks and a great tie.  We topped it off with new dress least now I don't have to worry about his wearing his dress shoes out in the yard and scraping the toes.  At least I don't think I have to.  All dressed up he looks so handsome!

Two weeks ago He-Who complained that his arm was really sore.  He hadn't fallen or hit it on anything and I've learned that it is hard for him to articulate what is going on.  On investigation I found that the source was an Exelon patch, a medication given for Alz that he had been on for at least two or three years.  The new doc had ordered one on his arm every day always switching arms daily versus the prior instructions to only use one every other day.  There was slight swelling under the patch and when I pulled it off, the skin underneath was broken out.  I reported it to the doc and so now he has been off of it for a couple weeks.  We started it up again yesterday and so far, so good.  Who knows what that was all about but Alz makes it so hard for him to articulate any aches and pains so I need to be alert..

We had a wonderful breakthrough today however.  Brookdale scheduled a meeting for just men to organize and schedule speakers that they are interested in.  There was a great turn-out and He-Who came bubbling into our apartment after the meeting with a new male friend to meet me!  Really nice guy, fairly new resident and both of them were excited about the prospect of future meetings. This man has more than 40 grandchildren!  All of them in the Houston area.
 Feedback is that Ken really contributed and has plans underway to call in some speaker from NASA.  I am thrilled as this is the first event that he has really participated in.  He goes to programs but only as a viewer.
And then we went to Happy Hour where there was some great music and danced and danced.  It has been a really good day.  I don't know if he will remember much of it tomorrow but I will and enjoy this precious memory.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Retail therapy and the technicolor dream coat

Kay's tecnicolor dream coat
I highly recommend a little retail therapy for you caregivers out there.  I went shopping with my daughter today for something to wear to my high school reunion next month.  It had been months since I had been in anything other than a grocery or drugstore and oh my, was it ever fun to just get out without He-Who and look at the latest and greatest.  And what fun it was to have my daughter with me as she can quickly spot things that look like me.  We came away with a jacket for her, two blouses and a jacket for me.  The jacket is just awesome!  Woohoo...a good for the soul adventure!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

You gotta keep your sense of humor

This morning I took He-Who to the dermatologist for his regular check-up.  He has had a series through the years of pre-cancers that the doc continues to zap...all those years around that swimming pool, years of Saturdays spent cleaning it and seldom using sun screen.  But his latest complaint is about a corn on his foot that needs the attention of a podiatrist (appointment to be scheduled).  So when the beautiful dermatologist comes in, he immediately shows her his foot.  She looks at it and recommends that he see a podiatrist.
She finds a cyst on his chest that she is sure is harmless but will remove it.  And she did and he has several stitches in his chest for which we return in a couple of weeks.  So then he gets dressed and as we walked to the front desk to get the appointment, he says, "Oh my foot feels so much better."  All the way home he tells me how much better his foot feels, that the pressure is off and it doesn't hurt.  He is convinced the doc treated his foot.  Wouldn't it be great if that is the way medicine worked?  Who knows...maybe it did but I'm still chuckling.

And life around here does have some pretty hysterical moments, sad but funny.  There is a very sweet elderly lady here who has found her a boyfriend here though she is quick to tell me he isn't her lover.  But last night I dropped by the Bistro upstairs to get some milk and the sweet one was talking to the cute young thing at the register who looked as though she was having a hard time keeping a straight face.  She turned to me big brown eyes sparkling and with a sweet smile asked, "Do you have some clothes?  I'm having a baby and my tummy will grow and I need some clothes."  I told her "I am so sorry but I don't have any maternity clothes."   Disappointed she took her banana and walked to her boyfriend waiting for her at the door.  The story she had just told the waitress was that she had been at the bus stop and asked a large man standing there if he knew how babies were made and he had said yes, that he would show her and he did.  So now she is pregnant.   I doubt it will be a virgin birth but it will be a miracle indeed.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Dream messages

After watching Spinning Gold the other night, the documentary interview with James Hollis and Pittman McGehee about Carl Jung's work, I have been inspired to revisit some of the thoughts and ideas from the years I studied Jung, especially his book, Memories, Dreams and Reflections.  I do believe in recording and taking a close look at my dreams for some new insights.

Last night I had a doozy.  I dreamed I was invited to He-Who's office at NASA by some of his co-workers for a celebration of his work and the presentation of an award.  I got all dressed up and wandered through the halls of a building until I found the large room where the award was to be presented.  I greeted several of his co-workers  but then they started asking me if I knew where He-Who was, that they were ready to give the award and the crowd was waiting.  I stared at the empty brown office chair that was his and was baffled.  I had no idea where he was and others had been looking and calling around to find him.  I stood there totally perplexed and then woke up.

So much for any denial I might have about him being totally present...sometimes he just isn't there.  Physically present but his brilliant mind just isn't at home.  It tells me that when he is present, that I do hear and understand his desire to continue to contribute to the space program.  Now to just figure out a channel to make that happen.  The Geek Squad comes Tuesday to hopefully get him back up and running on his computer and we will try to set up some Skype conversations for him.  Hopefully there will be some guys still at NASA that are willing to listen patiently.  And so it goes....

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Ugly thoughts

It is a good thing that this caregiver is going out to a program on poetry with a girl friend as the whole episode about The Amazing Place has pissed me off.  And I don't get pissed very often but I'm having some very tacky thoughts.  Think about it, folks.  These Alz patients get waited on hand and foot.  They don't worry about what is for dinner, do I have a clean shirt, preparing the income tax, getting the car serviced, refilling and dispensing medication, doing the laundry, deciding what to wear, which grandchild has a birthday coming up, what to get anyone for Christmas, birthdays, paying bills, banking, are those dishes in the dishwasher clean or dirty, calling repairmen.  They eat, sleep and pretty much do whatever they want.  The incredibly sad thing is that they don't even know they are missing out on all those things.  I would so love to know He-Who's thoughts at times...what would his life be like if there was no one there to do for him?  Would he notice an empty refrigerator?  Would he think to eat?  Would he wander off looking for something?
Do they worry about anything besides how to get Channel 80 on the TV?
Okay, I've ranted...thank you.  I'm done for now.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Aiiiyayaiiii and The Amazing Place

Geezus!  I toured this place today.  Everyone there looked so peaceful and happy.  Beautiful, clean building with lots of activities going on...discussions, Bible study, pool, bridge, dominoes, gardening, lounging in the sun in the garden, program on TV.  My meeting with the marketing person went well and she assured me that there were plenty of people enrolled that could carry on serious conversations and that there were some graduates of Rice University (where He-Who got his doctorate).  I left so encouraged and even though it is pricey (recent hike up to $725 a month for two days a week from 9 to 6 including lunch, activities and a regular health check of vitals) I think we can afford it.  The staff seems trained and adequate for the limit of 60 participants.  It is only about 8 minutes from our home!!!

I think it fits the criteria for getting He-Who into some activities that will challenge him so I made an appointment for him to be assessed to see if he will be accepted.
So I came home all excited and showed him the beautiful brochure and tell him about it and how great I think it would be for him to be with other Rice grads, into some challenging activities to keep his mind active, etc.  He immediately lashes out at me because I didn't turn the speaker phone on on my cell phone soon enough when our son called earlier with news about his mother-in-law who is critically ill.  He-Who goes on and on about not getting the family news and how he doesn't want to go to the Amazing Place, he wants to go to events at NASA.  I have told him over and over again that I would take him to NASA but he has to let me know when he wants to go.  I asked why he wanted to go and he said he wanted to go see somebody.  I asked who and he couldn't remember who and so it goes.  These conversations drive me batty so I just have to redirect us on to something different like walking to the mailbox or going to the March birthday party here.  I will let it alone for a day or two and bring it up again.  I would at least like to get him to go look at it and go through the assessment.  Geez, maybe I will sign me up and let him sit at home in front of the TV watching MSNBC all day.  Actually they are very interested in the possibility of my leading an art therapy group so I may just do that and let him sit in that recliner and rot!.(Whoops, that wasn't nice, was it!)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

New docs, new questions

He-Who still enjoys a party, thank goodness.  This was the 70s party here at Brookdale.  It is hard to get him to get food and eat at these functions even if I offer to get it for him.  I don't know if he finds the buffet table intimidating or what.  I have noticed that he eats more when we are at a table by ourselves...he finds conversation distracting and it is likely that he is focusing on tracking and trying to keep track of what people are saying.  Next year I will be sure that he also has a tie-dye shirt and a scarf for his head.  And my line dancing class paid off...great fun hopping around to "Elvira".

Our appointment with the new geriatric team at Baylor went well.  We were interviewed individually and then together.  We have increased his Exelon medication to every day and it is my challenge to remember to change the patch.  Both the doc and I are concerned that he spends too much time in front of the TV and cutting up newspapers and that he needs to be challenged more.  He has to be bored.  There doesn't seem to be anything here at Brookdale that is a fit for him so I am going to tour The Amazing Place, a day care for those with dementia, tomorrow.  It has good reviews and is nearby but kinda expensive...$700 a month for two days a week but an all day program including lunch.  I would have two whole days to myself but it is only open Monday through Friday and much of what I want to do is on weekends...poetry gatherings, art openings...but I'm willing to give it a try if he is.  I will check it out first and then if I think it might work for him, take him for a tour later.
Yesterday He-Who slept 14 hours straight...that can't be good for him so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that The Amazing Place will be amazing.

The doc questioned our decision to come to this Brookdale facility which has no continuing care and of course, I immediately began to question it, too.  Am I in denial about the progression of his illness?  Is he farther along that I realize?  Should we have looked at more facilities?  Should we have gone to San Antonio near our son?  I am narrowing my criteria now for the next move and I feel sure there will be one:  continuing care, a washer and dryer in the apartment, a door that opens to the outdoors, and adequate staff on the weekends.  Surprisingly the square footage is not an issue for me...letting go of all the stuff and the big house really doesn't matter.  I miss the yard and our friends and church...the stuff was just that: stuff.

Friday he had a wonderful visit from a NASA buddy...the first of any of his friends to come and visit..and it did him a world of good.  The friend brought a DVD of an interview of He-Who about his role in getting the astronauts back to earth on Apollo 13 which was loaded into my computer so we can watch it anytime.  He-Who loved the visit and having someone to talk "space" with him.  He is bound to be bored around here and it is great to see him pull up that long term memory  and talk about his work in the space program.  Another friend in California with whom he had collaborated with as an editor for several books on the future of space wrote the most beautiful dedication to He-Who in his new soon-to-be published book.

I've had walking pneumonia but am much better after two weeks of antibiotics.  I must take care of myself I know and I think I need to quit feeling guilty when I leave He-Who behind and go out even if it is to just run errands.  Sunday afternoon I played Mexican Train dominoes and had so much fun I will go again.
It is in the 70s today but another freeze is scheduled in a couple of days.  I am so glad we live in Houston and not Boston.  I can't even imagine what that life is like with all that snow.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Getting a grip

Well, finally I feel we are getting settled in here and (knock on wood) no major medical issues to deal with after conquering winter sinus infections.  And I can't decide if "getting settled" is a good or bad thing depending on how one looks at it.  I try hard to be grateful for each and every day that we have together in this environment where there is support.  But...yeah, but....
It scares me that I see my adventurous spirit dwindling and the mindset of living on a small island creeping closer and closer the longer we live here.  I tell myself that it would be the same if we were back in our old house and with a lot more responsibility and problems.  At least here I have dining companions to converse with and that is an issue I will address.

He-Who is doing well but refuses to go to anything here without me...that includes meals, exercise, the mail box, excursions, etc.  Thank God his brother comes by and takes him out to lunch so I can be alone for a while.  The NY Times last Sunday had a great essay called Mean Girls At the Retirement Home...hilarious and yet not so humorous if one has experienced it.  I find that it is like junior high...lunch tables can be exclusive.  "This seat is reserved."  So sometimes it is touch and go to find two seats together.  Having a partner excludes me from some of the tables of widows so we migrate around the dining room...not a bad plan as we do get to meet other "newbies".  We are still considered "newbies." after six months.  But the interesting thing is the He-Who can tell the same story he told yesterday at another table and is well-received.  I'm frequently told, "It's hard to believe he has Alheimer's."  Try living with him.  And so many are uneducated about Alz and wouldn't really know what to expect.

This week I finally got to work on some poetry and actually sent some submissions off.  I find I question everything now and juggle priorities.  Did he take his medicine?  Did he change his underwear?  Where are his dirty clothes?  Oh, please don't wear that shirt again.  Is the laundry room free?  What are they serving today?  When is the next doctor's appointment?  Call the optical store again about his glasses.  Call the dermatologist for an appointment.  When will Comcast get here to get him back on line?  Call for an appointment for him to get his beard trimmed.  Check the mail box 3 buildings away.  Is he out of Axona again?  And so it goes and I have yet to make an appointment for the massage gift I was given for Christmas. BUT somehow here I am blogging and submitting and doing some visual journaling and reading some great books like All the Light We Cannot See.

So now He-Who is out with his brother.  I will go to lunch and maybe get to sit with the widows and then head to the laundry room or maybe do this in reverse order.  It is cold out and I want to make taco soup so probably will have to get to the store.  If I hurry, maybe even without my shadow.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Another day on the Island of Blue Hairs

Glad to be back home after another day of doctor that the plight of the elderly?   Hey, I am so grateful that we have good insurance and can afford ourselves of all the great medical care that is available in Houston.  This morning I took He-Who-Sleeps-Alot to a retina specialist.  It seems he has scar tissue on the retinas of both eyes from surgery for previous detached retinas.  The recommendation is to try some stronger glasses for reading for four months to see if they help.  He needs complicated new lenses so we went to the recommended place downstairs from the doc office.  Probably not the cheapest but holy moly, I don't trust Walmart with this heavy-duty prescription.  Just grateful that we can pay for them and hopefully they will help him.

Sadly it now seems his twin brother is exhibiting more symptoms of Alzheimer's...confusion over some simple things.  I have referred him to docs I believe in and we shall see.  But dang, this means all four of the siblings have had Alzheimer's or some form of dementia.  So much like his mom and all her siblings!  Don't tell me there isn't a strong genetic component here. comes the ambulance again to our building.  Our new neighbor down the hall calls them at least once a week.  She is standing outside her apartment door waving them in.  She uses them like an emergency clinic and then always refuses to go to the hospital with them.  Dang, as tax payers we probably all are paying for her medical service.  I think she's either nuts or a prescription drug addict or both...who knows and it's really none of my business.

Back to rereading The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman for Book Club this week.  I'm facilitating the discussion and delighted to do so as this is one of my favorite books.  It is set in the southern corner of Western Australia where I lived for six months while teaching at Edith Cowan University in Perth.  Beautiful country and a great story.

Friday, January 9, 2015


My patience is thin today.  I think I must be in need of a break but it is so cold and rainy out I'm not motivated.  I slept late and He-Who was already up when I got out of bed.  He had gone to bed at 8 last night but it is still unusual for him to be up this early.

He was working over the newspapers at the dining room table.  I had put the old ones out for our Friday trash pickup but he had managed to retrieve yesterday's as well as today's.  I reached for the local paper only to discover he had removed the Star Living section, the one section I really wanted to read as it has info on local shows, gallery openings, etc.  He had taken that section out of today's and yesterday's papers and they were gone with the trash...frustrating to say the least!  So now I guess if I want to read that section, I will need to get up early.

He's been going on and on about needing new batteries for his hearing aids starting yesterday, said he was out and insisted that we go to Walgreen's today to get more which we did.  On further investigation here in the apartment I found package after package tucked way back on a shelf.  Other stuff is missing...little stuff like the special knife that fits into a cheese board and the black disc that cuts the seals on wine bottles.  I've looked everywhere.  And once again he couldn't find the remote that he had just used to change the channel to (of course) MSNBC...he was sitting on it.

We sat with a woman and her aid at lunch today.  A woman I had not met before.  After introductions (her name is Betty), she wanted to know where the golf cart was.  I looked the aid who just smiled.  I explained that I didn't know and that I didn't play golf.  He-Who chimed in with reporting that we went on the bus trip we took yesterday.  And then Betty asked again if I played golf.  And then He-Who repeated again his report that we went on a bus trip yesterday.  I couldn't help but laugh.  I swear some days I am just sure I have awakened on another planet and God help us, maybe I have.

I was thinking of going to the First Friday reading tonight at Inprint House as my friend, John Gorman is the featured poet but it is so cold that I'm going to skip it.  It sometimes runs really late and I'm just not up to it today.  We did have a fun but long day yesterday on a Brookdale excursion.  We were invited with a few other Brookdale residents to go to the Sysco food company's office for a day of demonstrations and food tasting with Culinary Art Institute Brookdale chefs from Chicago.  All day they cooked and we sampled and they talked of dining room management.  Interesting and most of the food was delicious.  Have you ever heard of a fish called Pangasi?  Me, neither.  It's a delicious white fish from Asian waters and cheap.  We came home with recipes, a digital thermometer and a dozen shot glasses.  They prepared yummy desserts layering cake, cream cheese and mouse in all different flavors in the shot glasses.  We were served chocolate layered with cream cheese and coffee mouse.  But He-Who doesn't remember much about the food or where we were but loved the bus ride.  Ain't that a hoot!

I made corn chowder, pumpkin cornbread and spinach/orange salad for dinner last night.  My in-laws joined us.  I had an ah-ha moment yesterday watching these chefs.  I realized that I do enjoy cooking...just not on a regular basis where I'm totally responsible for all meals 24/7.  We are blessed here to have a pretty good chef and I don't have to plan what we eat, shop for it, cook it and clean it up daily...I cook only when I'm in the mood.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Looking back on 2014 and forward to 2015

So where was I?.....some days I'm not sure.  Looking back on 2014, it was quite a year!  A year full of change for sure...changes in where we live, what we do, where we go and how as well as health issues.  But all for the good I keep telling myself.
So how is He-Who-Sleeps-Alot?  Physically he is great, thank Goddess, but sleeping 10 to 12 hours a night.  I still don't know what to think about it.  I have been told this is common with Alzheimer's but sometimes I think he is either bored or sleep provides a safe place where he doesn't have to struggle with making sense of his surroundings.  I think we may have reached the max that medication can help and I am working to get him to the exercise class here.  He spends his days watching MSNBC which repeats news over and problem as he doesn't remember what he watched...and he goes over 3 newspapers with a highlighter.  We take the Houston Chronicle, the Wall Street Journal and the NY Times and he cuts out articles he thinks worthy so that keeps him busy.  He stacks the articles up on a shelf and every now and then I go and take the bottom ones to discard.

I took him to a new eye doc this week and wish we had seen this one a couple of years ago...very thorough and referred us to a retina specialist as the retina on his left eye is buckled. I told the nurse and doc that he has difficulty following directions and they were just wonderful with him.  But a funny thing happened on the way out of the building.  While I was dealing with paying the parking fee, the parking attendant appeared laughing beside me trying to get my attention.  I turned around and there was the nurse from the doc's office trying to help He-Who.  He had put his hooded jacket on backwards.  He looked hysterical and had no idea what was so funny.  She got him all straightened out before I could get my wallet back in my purse.  He has a difficult time getting his arms into sleeves.  I now lay out his clothes after locating the dirty ones which can be scattered all over the bedroom and closet.  Why he can't get them to the laundry basket in front of him I'll never know.  He wants to wear the same thing every day including underwear...typical I hear of the disease.  

Some days it is difficult to get him to eat.  I have read that Alz patients lose some of their sense of taste and only sense salt and sugar.  He eats dessert first if it is on the table and loves, loves, loves sweets of any kind.  He loves shrimp and fortunately it is served here frequently.  
Christmas was lovely...very low key.  He had picked out a sweater at Target that he liked; I wrapped it and gave it to him Christmas morning...he was surprised, no memory of picking it out.  Smile!

So how am I?  Obviously not blogging regularly.  There are some days better than others.  It has been six months here and I still have the feeling that we are on vacation somewhere and will go home soon.  I had a real down couple of days after going on a Brookdale excursion to see neighborhood Christmas lights.  I was so homesick for my old neighborhood and my old home.  I miss my old "life" but know my old life wasn't much different than this one as far as being able to leave He-Who for long.  I had some minor surgery in November and it went well but am still having some recovery issues.   But all will be well soon.  Our daughter came and took great care of her dad while I was in the hospital and I took advantage of her when going to meetings in Clear Lake.  But she and her partner have moved to Conroe, north of Houston, so I will have to drop my commutes to Clear Lake, darn it.  At this point I need to refocus our commitments closer in.  I can leave He-Who for a couple of hours and he does fine.  I have installed a small white board in the kitchen where I post the schedule for the day.  That has been a success and gives him security in knowing what is happening and when.
2015 is going to be great.  We will be healthy and wise and do more and be more.  I will continue to work on being comfortable here and recruiting support when I need it.  I give up on resolving to be a regular blogger but who knows...I will still be writing and hope to add painting.
May all be well with you and yours,
Happy New Year!