Sunday, December 25, 2011

There is nothing more fun than watching a small child on Christmas morning.  It took Rowan all of one present to figure out how the whole ripping paper off thing works. 

We are all thoroughly sick of the singing Elmo but Rowan loves it.  As you can see from the picture, his mother's parents got him a beautiful toy box.  Now we just have to convince him that he's really not allowed to play inside it.

We are having a lazy day and eating left overs for simplicity.  Rowan's mommy is quite sick with a virus so we are saving the Christmas dinner until she feels better. 

Hope you and yours are having a wonderful day!

Thursday, December 15, 2011


I'm physically back from a week in Florida helping my husband and siblings prepare for my mother-in-law's funeral.  Emotionally I'm still in that numb neverland fog that can accompany the death of a loved one.  My multi-tasking sucks and I haven't even put up the Christmas tree since getting back Sunday.

The service was very nice and my husband did a great eulogy. It was nice having everyone together and we had great fun going through old pictures.  The cats are mortally offended that we left them for such a long time.  We aren't breathing a word about Christmas travels lest they act out more.

Since we won't be able to spend Christmas all together this year, Guitar Guy and I are having a celebration with Nicole and Patrick next week and then with the Iowa clan for the actual holiday.  We had planned to do a brunch but Nicole will be coming off 3 days of 12 hour shifts and probably won't be moving until the afternoon.  We determined the quiche and pumpkin pancakes can certainly be served in the evening so all is good.

Christmas shopping is mostly done and shouldn't take long to wrap. Christmas letter isn't even started but I do have envelopes.  Baking probably won't happen, for which my spreading waistline is grateful.  Unfortunately with my trip to Florida, Rowan's stocking won't be done for this year.  But I've got next year covered!  I may try to get his dinosaur sweater done.  It uses intarsia on the sleeves to make the steggie plates.  Since I've never done that, we'll see if I can figure it out.

Off to take more decongestant for the lousy cold I came home with :-(

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The end of an era

It is a strange feeling becoming the "older" generation.  With the death of my mother-in-law on Friday, December 2, Guitar Guy and I are officially the senior members of the family.  This year we have experienced mostly the down side of aging with its accompanying frailty and loss of independence.  Supposedly wisdom also comes with aging and I'd really like to know when that starts cause I could use some!

As I sit in the airport waiting to fly to Tampa for her funeral, I'm thinking that 7 AM is way too early to be having such heavy thoughts, especially on one cup of coffee. 

All prayers (if you are so inclined) or good thoughts are appreciated as our family waits to put 2011 officially behind us. 



Friday, November 11, 2011

Are we there yet?

I am really, really trying to get excited about the holidays but so far it just isn't working. Some of it has to do with the year we've had, but mostly this time of year feels like some kind of race to the finish line. It isn't just the holidays, since we will be away for both Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. We are also caught in a year end frenzy!

Every nonprofit I'm involved in is either preparing for a major fundraiser or involved in umpteen year end activities for the board to attend. We are making a major marketing push to pump up our business (both exciting and exhausting) while trying to plan for 2012. And did I mention that my house has once again collapsed in to a mega mess?

Whew! Glad to get that off my chest. Thanks for listening while I vent :-)

Tomorrow morning I'm walking in the Alzheimer's walk with my business partner Beth. Should be interesting given how out of shape I am. Keep a good thought for me. Tomorrow night I get to be a silent/live auction helper at the a local Rotary event. They graciously donate to one of the organizations I work with so we give back by volunteering for them. I always grumble before I haul myself off the couch but I'm sure I'll have a good time watching other people spend their money!

That's what is going on in my world. What's happening in yours?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Progress in life and on the Christmas stocking

October has been a month of ups and downs, but mostly moving forward. I am not done grieving over this awful year, but I no longer feel stalled. The waves of sorrow come less frequently and less intensely (though the holidays are sure to temporarily change that). I'm beginning to be productive with our business again and that feels good.

I finally opened the boxes I shipped from my dad's apartment and survived. I haven't totally unpacked them yet, but it is a step. The hardest thing is the scent trigger of his clothes and other belongings. I can understand why he kept my mom's clothes for so long as there is a certain comfort in their feel and smell. I also closed the estate last week while I was in Iowa and went out to the cemetery in the middle of nowhere to make sure the headstone had been engraved.

I spent some time wandering the cemetery where so many of my mother's ancestors are buried and felt the warmth of the sun on the granite. I talked to my parents, felt the wind and smelled the cattle lot next door. I remembered all the times I visited with my mom to bring flowers as a child. I was afraid it would be terribly sad, but I actually felt peaceful.

I continue to work on Rowan's Christmas stocking and am counting the weekends until it must be ready. It's coming along nicely but there are many hours ahead. I think he'll be excited to see it and can't wait to spend the holidays with him. I had a wonderful visit last week and he's always happy to see Gamma. His mother said she wonders if he thinks I can come out of the computer to visit him as he talks to my picture on the computer even when we aren't Skyping.

Now that I've caught you up, I need to get busy on that stocking. Hoping to get in 5 or 6 hours today!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fall is in the air

That probably sounds silly in Arizona but a cold front went through and left us in the 70's today. Windows open, enjoying the 2 days of coolness before the temps pop back up. I'm thinking it might just be time to get out the Halloween decorations :-)

I've been cleaning all day getting ready for my nephew to visit for a couple of days. Company is good for making me get out the mop and dust rag. Otherwise my ability to tolerate dust is extremely high! We don't know this young man very well as he lives across the country so hopefully we can find something fun for him to do.

Nicole is just about ready to go back to work full time and actually drove me to Phoenix last week for some major dental work. Things continue to look up for which we are very grateful.

Work continues on the Christmas stocking and I may just have a picture for you in the next week or so. I think I might make it if I keep plugging along. Unfortunately it is putting a major dent in my knitting and reading time. Listening to lots of MP3 books while I stitch.

Have a good rest of the week!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Old eyes need new glasses

I finally started Rowan's counted cross stitch Christmas stocking, and have discovered a harsh truth - my store bought glasses just aren't cutting it. Somehow those stitches are smaller than I remembered, even with my Ott light, and there are way too many shades of gray. I've already contacted an optician friend to get the name of a good eye doctor. Since I don't see street signs well, I suspect Bifocals may be in my future. Any advice?

On the bright side, the Ho-Ho (as Rowan calls Santa) is taking shape on the stocking and with a little luck and plenty of stitching time, I might just make it by Christmas. This is, however, really cutting in to my knitting time. I started the Steggie sweater for the same darling grandson but it has been sitting in my knitting bag absorbing cat hair for the last week. Guess I'll have to try to alternate.

Nicole got permission to start back to work on the floor (as opposed to the administrative stuff she's been doing for two weeks). She's tired but back to doing her real job. That is exciting news for everyone.

Now I'm off to listen to some Jim Butcher on MP3 and do a little more cross stitch :-)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Catching up

As my grandson knows, viewing the world upside down not only gives new perspective on life but is darn fun! It has been a busy month since I last posted so thought I'd get you caught up in between house cleaning.

The highlight of the last month was a FUN trip to Iowa to visit my son and family. The weather was beautiful and the Iowa State Fair was a great time (though we missed seeing the traditional Butter Cow). We went to the parks, ate lots of good food and played Toy Story 3. I do a passable Woody when necessary. We did suffer through several days with no hot water which made bathing a speed sport. Before we left Guitar Guy and I recorded a book for the little guy so he can hear us every day. "More Grandma, More Pop" seems to be the refrain.

Nicole and I have made 2 trips to Phoenix for doctor appointments with great results both times. She is returning to work part time as an extern until she can build back up to full time. That is exciting news and makes us all smile a lot. She drove the 3.5 hours back from Phoenix our last trip! She's been to Washington DC and Spokane in the last month to visit friends and is headed back to the gym. We are extremely grateful for her recovery.

On the knitting front, I finished a pair of socks for me and 2 pairs for Rowan. Used Sock That Rock for mine and had issues with lots of thin places. I've always heard good things about STR yarn but probably would not buy again. Just started some fingerless mitts (Zen Yarn Garden Bamboolicious) and have a stegosaurus sweater planned for Rowan. Fall is coming, at least in some parts of the country. We still have a couple months of heat here in AZ.

Thinking maybe I should head to bed. Cleaned house and cooked dinner for Nicole and Patrick tonight. Coca Cola Pot Roast, mashed potatoes, salad and peach pie for desert. YUM

Saturday, July 23, 2011


It's a lazy day at our house. Too hot to do much and no energy to be productive. Movies, reading and computer time are the order of the day. That's a good thing as I'm back on the road tomorrow to pick up Nicole. She's been off in Washington DC for the last week visiting her best friend. Can't wait to hear about her trip and all the places they visited.

Stay cool and have a good rest of the weekend!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Goodbye Icey

Saturday morning at 10 AM, Guitar Guy and I put Icey in her carrier for the last time. She was as vocal as ever about her displeasure. She'd had a good breakfast and purred as I petted her. I admit I had doubts.

But Icey, at 22, had several kidney failure and creeping debility made it difficult for her to walk or get comfortable. The vet gave me a choice, aggressive hydration and medication that might buy her a couple of months or letting her peacefully go to sleep. Selfishly, I wanted her to stay, but didn't want her to suffer more.

We were with her, rubbing her ears is she lay her head for the last time. It was peaceful and easy. Her old heart sighed and stopped.

Thank you Icey for 22 years of love. You caught my heart as soon as I met you roaming the pet store, when you were just a kitten. If you hadn't been led astray by that Siamese, who figured out how to open the cage and eat the baby bunnies, you might have lived a different life. As it was, the store owners wanted you gone and Nicole and I wanted you. You were plushy and cute and loved to cuddle.

You put up with being dressed in doll clothes, pushed in a buggy, stuffed in a suitcase when Nicole decided to run away and stuffed in a dresser drawer. You were the amazing legless cat for a school project and the Cyclops in another. Throughout it you were endlessly patient and never offered a nip. You used up many of your 9 lives when you were shut in the neighbor's garage for a week with no food or water at age 13. You had a great purr and an absolutely obnoxious speaking voice (which I didn't appreciate at 6 AM).

For all the kudos, you also challenged my patience at times. Your habit of peeing on any clothes, towels or magazines left on the floor was not appreciated and probably would have gotten you removed from some other homes. You could be endlessly persistent when you wanted something and left stains all over the house from your frequent vomiting as you aged.

You had your evil moments as well. I remember bringing poor Cassie dog home from the shelter. Rather than welcome her, or even ignore her, you and Galadriel cornered her in the bedroom and terrorized her. You never initiated such bad behavior but you did go along for the ride!

Rest in peace old girl. Our lives will feel a little emptier without you.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chasing 2 year olds is for the young!

Don't get me wrong, I had a ball spending a week with Rowan and his parents. I have determined that I would need to go back to the gym if I were toting a 2 year old every day. Did you know they are heavy? and they squirm a lot?

I have played Buzz and Woody through all 3 Toy Story movies, provided many cups of "Chama milk" (containing a small amount of Hershey syrup), read stories and gotten in my share of kisses. Rowan also made several trips with me to finish the process of selling my dad's house and disposing of the last of his belongings. He was so good and thanked the realtor and neighbors as he trotted out the door.

Needless to say, it was a bittersweet week. Unlike many of my generation, my parents bought their home the month I was born and lived in it their entire lives. I have always loved that I could still look at the kitchen window and almost see my mom coming across the yard with a pan of green beans for dinner. I could sit in the same chair I had sat in my entire life to eat dinner and sleep in my childhood room. The connection to my childhood always seemed sharper and purer in that little house. For a little while I could go home again.

I've dreaded going back to finalize the sale. I was afraid I'd break down and sob. Yet when I finally stood in the empty house I felt relief. The house has sat for nearly 8 years since my dad moved to a continuing care community. He always intended to finish cleaning it out, and for the first 5 years was there several times a week just puttering. When he no longer could drive the house became expensive storage and was gradually deteriorating inside. It felt sad and lonely and I hated going there.

I understand that it has been purchased by first time home buyers who want to make a home. The house will again hum with life and laughter. That is as it should be and makes me smile. I still have the memories. I even have some new ones of Rowan sticking his toys in a drawer my daughter used to pull herself up on when she was 9 months old. The cycle seems complete.

I find myself missing my dad more and more as the reality sets in. After working in hospice so many years I know about working through grief. I knew this would happen when the numbness wore off (usually about 3 months). The knowledge helps me be patient and give myself permission to grieve. I'm always surprised by the number of people who think grief should be over in a matter of weeks. I will ride the waves of sadness knowing that eventually they will become less.

Now I'm off to the grocery store. Nicole and Patrick are coming over for dinner tonight and I'm making her favorite chicken and noodles. Might even do a peach cobbler if I can find some good peaches. Have a wonderful, relaxing Sunday at your house and thanks for listening.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Christmas is coming

It just occurred to me that Christmas is coming. Last year at this time I promised myself I'd cross stitch my grandson's stocking. That didn't happen. Since he was one I didn't figure he'd know the difference. This year he will. I probably should dig that out and take a look.

We had a wonderful week with my son, daughter-in-law and grandson and were so sorry to see them go. Rowan got to go to the lake for the first time. The plan was to play in the sand but he plunged right in to the water from head to toe. He also discovered the joys of digging with a stick and throwing rocks.

This week Nicole, Patrick and I are back in Phoenix for her Gamma Knife treatment. Keeping fingers crossed that it will be all up hill from here.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Cat is Making Me Crazy

Pippin is sitting on the arm of the couch next to me. He also is meowing with a genuine chin quiver and being generally pathetic. I would think it was because I've been gone 4 days and he really missed me except I'm no fool. He's HUNGRY and I don't seem to be getting the message. Since we discovered Merry's food allergies the boys can no longer have dry food. This is an earth shattering trauma from Pippin's perspective.

Lest you think I'm starving my cats, they are receiving generous portions of canned food several times per day. This, however, is not the same as having a bowl of dry food ever ready for nibbling. I now have hair on my laptop, in my mouth and nose and all over my arm from the the endless head butting. When is my next trip?

The happy news is that Nicole finished therapy this week, she got a cute new hair cut and my grandson is coming to visit next week for 5 days! We will bask in the joy until the 20th when we have to head back to Phoenix for Gamma Knife treatment. I also finished a pair of Spring Forward socks this week and started a pair of Yarn Harlot plain socks in Schaefer Nichole for my Nicole. Maybe I'll be able to get some photos this weekend.

Did I mention my grandson is coming? That means a major household cleaning and decluttering. He is a very busy 2 and gets in to everything. Time to try out the new floor steamer. Given that Roxie has to move all her furniture and stuff for floor refinishing, I guess I have no room to whine :-)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nicole is a married lady!

Some of you have seen these already on Facebook but wanted to share our beautiful bride with you again :-) Saturday was a lovely day and an opportunity to be joyful and celebrate (something we all sorely needed). Patrick's parents came from Colorado and Nicole's best friends came from Washington state and Washington DC to be a part of the festivities.

Nicole was able to walk down the aisle with her dad (sans cane) and looked stunning. She and I made the Scotcheroo cake (a Rice Krispie treat variation) she's always wanted. A potluck at Nic and Patrick's house rounded out a long but wonderful day.

This week we are back in the travel routine but her therapists have shortened her visit schedule so that we can spend more time at home. We are very excited that my son, his wife and our grandson are coming to visit in June! Always good to have something to look forward to.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

A very happy Mother's Day to all of my blogging friends. If you aren't a mom - celebrate anyway!

I'm reveling in the joy of being home for 11 days and Nicole is off enjoying a totally fun weekend with her fiance.

For today life is good. Hope yours is too.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Time passes so quickly...

I think I have now officially lost the month of April! When I'm only home for 2-3 days I don't get much accomplished other than putting out fires. The good news is that Nicole continues to make rapid progress with 5 weeks of therapy still scheduled. She graduated to a cane and showering alone this week. Last week we talked about how much we take the use of our muscles for granted until they don't work. Even chewing takes a tremendous amount of energy and can be exhausting (or so I've heard - I seem to be having no problem consuming mass quantities).

The bad news is that our youngest cat, Merry, has severe food allergies including such foods as chicken and venison. He has a very short list of canned foods available to him, none of which Pippin can eat. Dry food has totally left their menu which makes for unhappy cats. It appears they will have to be fed in separate rooms to keep them out of each others food.

Nothing new on the knitting front though I did resume work on a Spring Forward sock. Maybe by the end of May I'll have a pair :-)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Home Sweet Home

My first block of 5 days home in over a month! Nicole and I left Phoenix Wednesday night after therapy to make the trek across the desert. Although we were very tired, it was so nice to be back in our own environment and headed to our own beds.

Progress continues in therapy and Nicole is working hard to get back to work and school. I am grateful they aren't giving me some of the cognitive tests they give her - quite sure I wouldn't do well. One of the fun things suggested are games like Scattergories and Taboo that require categorization and problem solving. We've also downloaded some computer games like Azada that use many of the same spatial and problem solving skills that her therapy activities do.

On the home front, Guitar Guy and I are celebrating our 31st anniversary on Tuesday. We don't have the energy or money to do anything big, but will get out for dinner sometime before I head to Phoenix. Hard to believe we've been together that long, especially since my parents were convinced it wouldn't last :-)

One of my weekend chores was taking 2 or the 3 cats to the vet. It appears Merry may have food allergies and required $200 of blood work to see what we should be feeding him. If it solves his bowel and skin problems it will be worth it! Ah the joys of sharing one's home with fur person.

Off to the shower now. Nicole and Patrick are coming over to Skype with the Iowa clan. Video phone is wonderful for seeing my grandson but does require that I look at least moderately presentable!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sprung from the Hospital!

Nicole was discharged from the hospital Friday so now the next phase of recovery begins. This weekend we are just sleeping a lot and watching a lot of movies. Tomorrow the fun begins again when Nic starts 8 weeks of outpatient rehab in Phoenix. Although we all really want to go home, her inpatient therapists were worried about whether she could get what she needs there. Most of the therapists in our community are not used to dealing with 25 year old stroke patients who are planning to return to work.

Since I'm the family member with the most flexibility in my schedule, I'll be one going back and forth with her. We're going to try it for a couple of weeks and see if the extra travel is worth it. Thankfully we have a place to stay in Phoenix, which helps keep the cost down. The up side to all of this is how much better Nicole is doing. If you didn't know her you'd probably not notice anything other than the lovely suture line across her head and the nifty walker(we are calling it a sports injury :-). She carries on witty conversation, has amazing rote recall and still cracks a lot of jokes. What isn't working so well is her numb left side (it moves fine she just can't feel it), her truly lousy visual/spatial sense and planning/processing slowness.

One of the big concerns early on was her inability to read. That is returning, though it gives her a headache and isn't nearly as fast or easy as it used to be. The therapists continue to remind us that this is still very early in the process and to be patient. They are very optimistic about where she will be in 3-4 months so we are keeping our fingers crossed.

The big question has to do with the naughty blood vessels still sitting in her head which could bleed again. We are scheduling her visit with the radiation guru to find out what to expect from the treatment they are proposing. Supposedly it is very effective for about 85% of patients but has its own side effects ,may set her recovery back a little and has a 2-3 year window to take effect.

As a family, we are acutely aware that life holds no certainties and we have to treasure every day. Hope your day is a wonderful one!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Moving forward

Looking back, it is amazing how much progress Nicole has made since Monday. She has gone from walking with 3 people helping to tooling around rehab with her walker. A week ago she had just started talking again and this afternoon we had a 1/2 hour conversation on the phone. The rate of change is encouraging as is her quirky sense of humor. She keeps trying to convince me that her Drain Bamage is responsible for anything she wants to get away with :-) I told her that bullshit wouldn't fly.

Although Patrick brought some of her favorite books for us to read to her, I decided the Little Goddess books weren't a mommy read aloud. If I read with appropriate passion we could probably draw a good audience though LOL.

When Nicole moved to rehab on Wednesday, she had to create her goals which included things like typing, reading fluidly and KNITTING. We thought it would be good therapy for her numb left hand. Since her concentration is less than usual, a garter stitch scarf seemed like a reasonable goal. The healing power of fiber - got to love it.

I was home for the day today but am back on the road in the AM. The poor cats are so confused with my absence but seem to be surviving. Now I'm off to make some Scotcheroos for Nicole's birthday on Monday.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Sorry for not posting something sooner. Just as I was writing an update the other day, Nicole had some tingling in her numb left side and we all got so excited I never finished.

Since my last post, she is awake, off all her tubes and ventilator, eating real food, joking with us and preparing to go to neuro rehab. We are so grateful for all of the support we have received and for the amazing progress she has made.

As I watched her walking with her walker by herself to the bathroom this morning, it was hard to believe that Saturday we were just praying for her to wake up enough to talk to us.
We all know that there is a lot of work ahead to overcome the damage done to her brain and still plenty of uncertainty about the treatment ahead.

For today though, the sun is shining, my daughter is talking with me and life is good.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Just to keep things interesting...

Some of you know my daughter Nicole. She is in need of your prayers if you are the praying sort or at least your most positive thoughts. Last Sunday just I was leaving Iowa, I had a call that Nicole had a massive bleed in her brain. It was caused by an AVM (arteriovenous malformation) which is basically a tangle of blood vessels she was born with.

She is holding her own and we are hopeful she will make a full recovery. They attempted surgery yesterday to try to remove the damn thing, but it is deep in her brain and the surgeons were afraid they would do too much damage to her so stopped. There is an alternative treatment using radiation so we are keeping our fingers crossed.

Today she is in a medically induced coma to help her heal but they are going to start waking her tomorrow. She was signing to her fiance before surgery (she has a ventilator and can't talk) and recognized all of us.

The family is all here and we are taking turns sitting with her so she knows how much she is loved.

I'll keep you posted as we know more.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hanging on

So many people have asked me how I'm doing since I got back home. While I say "Hanging on", I'm really in that numbness that often comes after the initial loss. I know the pain and crying will come back but for now I'm putting one foot in front of the other and functioning.

We held the service last Wednesday, trying to keep it as close to what my dad wanted as possible. My kids by blood and marriage are incredibly awesome - just sayin. They were by my side packing, cleaning, preparing for the funeral, creating an awesome video, funeral programs and a memory board. My son sang Tears in Heaven at the service while my grandson chattered in the lounge watching Nemo. It was a bittersweet mix of loss, life and laughter. My daughter re-arranged her work schedule and flew out to be with me. Guitar Guy just couldn't get away but talked to me frequently by phone. Your virtual hugs and support were also so much appreciated!

This week is a crazy mixture of meetings workshops, a quick trip to Flagstaff and preparing to head back to the cold country again. Still many loose ends to be wrapped up with the estate so this may not be the last trip. My dad's house needs a lot of work inside to be ready to sell and I'm not sure how that is going to happen at this point. I'll think about that another day.

I may be slightly insane but I applied for a per diem social work job to bring in a little extra cash. Most of areas of our local economy are still struggling so we do what we have to. We'll see if anything comes of it.

No knitting news this time - I've been remiss in the fiber realm. On the plus side, I already have my thank you notes about for memorial donations. Now it is off to bed and start all over tomorrow.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

An Era Comes to an End

Thanks to all of you for your support as I have been on this caregiving journey with my father. He died fairly peacefully on Thursday, February 24th with my son and I by his side. My one regret is that I wasn't able to get there while he was still conscious but I have to think he knew I was there with him.

I will write more when I get through the craziness of getting ready for the funeral on Wednesday and continuing to work on cleaning out the apartment.

RIP Lee Griffin 1917-2011 - good man, loving husband and father, and one of my best friends ever.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Time to take the Christmas tree down!

I've been home for a week and think it is finally time to take the Christmas tree down. Honestly, I probably would have continued ignoring it but seemed kind of weird eating Valentine's dinner with it sitting there.

I've been trying to catch up on all the issues that occurred at home, work and volunteering in my 3 week absence. Back to Iowa on 2/25 so have a lot to get done in the mean time. That is why I'm sitting here drinking coffee and talking to you. Time management through procrastination!

Given our cash flow with all of the travel expenses, I'm thinking about doing a Ravelry destash. I think I got a little carried away on sock yarn in the last year or two and could probably lose a little fiber without too much pain. Anyone ever done one? Any suggestions or advice?

Dad is continuing to decline and still not happy. My father-in-law also just went on hospice so could be an interesting year. Trying to stay focused on what we can do to support each other through this. Thanks for helping be my lifeline when I need something to hang on to :-)

My slavedriver boss says "Back to work" so off I go.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A passing sweater

I finished Rowan's new sweater although the photo doesn't do it justice. The yarn is Simply Soft and actually a lovely blue. Didn't have the $$ to do it in wool so went for the sale acrylic. Thankfully I actually like the yarn and it washes well for an active toddler.

Dad is moved and I am wading through drawers and closets trying not to get side-tracked down memory lane. I am already worried about leaving, as he is moving and thinking slower every day.

I've been waiting since he fell and went to the ER on December 14 for the emotional melt down I knew was coming. It finally hit last night and I cried for about an hour. Still felt some emotional hangover today but am at least functional again. I'm suspecting his meltdown will come when I have to leave and he has only strangers to turn to for help. I hate to be such a downer lately but life generally sucks right now for a variety of reasons.

This probably means I need to do more exercise, more knitting and better self care if I'm going to keep moving ahead.

On the up side, I get a dose of grandson sunshine this weekend before heading home. That is worth smiling about!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Quick update

Thanks for all of the supportive comments! I'm still in Iowa and expect to be for another 10 days. This is the longest I've been here in winter for over 30 years! After bringing Dad back to his apartment from the health center we both quickly decided that being alone in the apartment is no longer an option. We are now, sadly, working on plan to move him back to the health center and empty out the apartment.

Rowan's new sweater almost done. I'll try to remember to post a photo before I send it off to him.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Feeling Like a Boomerang!

I got to be home all of 5 full days before the phone rang telling my dad was having some unexplained bleeding and was too weak to stay alone. Arrangements were made to take him to the nursing home part of the facility so he wouldn't have to go to the hospital and I grabbed a red eye flight out of Vegas back to Iowa.

During my last visit, we had signed my dad up for hospice care based on debility. Many people are unaware that a pattern of decline including weight loss, falls, hospitalizations etc. can qualify someone for this additional help. With the frequent visits and medical monitoring some of those folks actually improve and are discharged.

We have spent 4 days in the nursing facility working through the questions about who was bathing - hospice or facility staff, dealing with their structure and sharing a room with someone who watches television all day. After extensive discussion with the facility social worker and considering the options, Dad came back to his independent apartment yesterday while we figure out a plan to bring in more help.

We are fortunate that Dad has some financial resources to pay for care, which many do not. Still, there are many questions and not as many answers as I would like. I've also discovered there is a huge difference between helping families with these issues as a professional and living them as a caregiver. I try very hard to be patient and use humor when things get tough but I'm not always successful.

Keep us both in your thoughts please.

P.S. I am getting some quality knitting time in :-)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Rowan models

Rowan models his new "jacket", as he calls it. He likes the crayon buttons though they are too big for the button holes. The temps are supposed to drop to 7 overnight so the wool should keep him nice and warm.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Knitting in to the new year

The excitement of Christmas was accompanied by a lot of knitting time while watching Rowan or movies (depending on the time of day).

I finished his sweater and loved the yarn, the color and pattern. I even had enough left to make a matching hat. Unfortunately I shipped everything off today without taking a picture. I've asked my daughter-in-law to take one when it arrives so I can share it with you. If I finish my socks before returning home, I will deem this trip a knitting success.

Thanks for the encouraging words and support for my dad and I. I think it is going to be a difficult year for both of us and I foresee even more travel back and forth. I am cursing his decision not to move closer to us but understand this is his home.

Well, off for a couple of rounds of knitting and an episode of Bones before bed. Night.