I may chat about my books, what I'm writing or reading, or just general thoughts. You may read posts about my cats or just my crazy life in general. Comments are welcome, if anyone wants to interact with me. Maybe we can share war stories, whether it's writing related or just about life in general.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Happy Summer Solstice Everyone





I have a couple of things I want to post but have limited time right now and because today is the first day of summer, I thought this was appropriate.

We’re definitely off to a very hot start here in the desert southwest.  It’s scheduled to reach 115 today.  It was 110 in the shade on my patio yesterday.  I hung laundry out there and it was dry in about thirty minutes.  I hope this isn’t a sign of what’s to come in July and August, which are the hottest months here.  We’ve had to put the outside sunshades on the house already and we never do that in June.



My sister Scherri. This is from a couple of years ago, but I sure did like this hairstyle.

I hope everyone has a great summer.  Happy birthday to my sister, Scherri, today.  I’ll be breaking years of tradition tonight when I’m not up at midnight to wish her happy birthday when it’s hers in Texas and mine here.  We’ve always lived in different time zones since we’ve been adults.  So I do apologize for that, but I have an early morning mandatory meeting at work.  I have to get up at 5 AM and that will be torture.  I hate mornings.

Have a great day everyone.  Stay cool and hydrated and safe.  Until next time…

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Family





Visits aren’t just about seeing old people.  It’s also very much about family.  I didn’t realize I was so hungry to visit family and get caught up with everyone.  Time flies so fast and the little ones I knew are now grown up. 



This is my brother-in-law with his Texas barbecue pit

The family barbecue was so nice.  My brother-in-law is the best barbecue man in the world but this was also a time for family and the main reason for the barbecue was my great niece who was turning one on the 25th of May.  Of course she had no concept the celebration was for her birthday. 





 Here is my sister, Bonni, and Mama enjoying the festivities
 
Tables were set up in the barn with giant fans to keep us comfortable.  The humidity was never a problem the whole time I was in Texas.  The only humidity we had was the morning of the barbecue because it rained.  As anyone from the south knows, when it rains and then stops, the ground steams.  But it was still doable.  I think a great time was had by all.  



 The reason for the barbecue was my great niece turning a year old.  This is her with the proud parents.  I hope they won't kill me for posting this pic, but I think it's adorable
 
 I have no pictures of the food table but it was loaded with everything you can imagine would be on a barbecue table.  There were giant roasters (like you’d use for Thanksgiving) to keep everything warm.  There was more meat than I can even describe because when my brother-in-law barbecues it’s an all-night affair with him staying up all night to attend the pit of assorted meat. 



This is four generations - my niece, Jodi - my sister, Scherri, holding her granddaughter, Abbie, and Mama


Everyone else brought side dishes, which included ranch potatoes, beans, bread, onions, barbecue sauce, pickles, etc and there was a whole table of just homemade desserts.  Who can resist all that?





 This is four generations again with Abbie's other grandmother in the background
 
I rarely eat anything like this so it was a treat indeed.  I had great company besides so it was a great day.  The guests played horseshoes and other southern sports after the barbecue while others of us had a nice visit.  Of course we went and got Mama so she could participate in all the festivities.  I think the family outings do her good.



A good time was had by all.  I took it all in because I know I won’t be participating in anything like this anytime again soon.  This just isn’t a happening in my everyday life.





 This is my niece, Reesa, and her two kids, Rae and Riley.  It astounds me that my nieces are such good parents.  These kids have great manners.  That's something you don't see often these days.
 
It was so good to catch up with nieces and their kids who are growing up and to see everyone again.  And it’s the first time I’ve met my great niece, who will probably be in first grade by the time I get back for a visit. 

Mama was tired afterward and more then ready to get back to the nursing home.  We all took home leftovers.  My sister, Tedo, and my nephew-in-law, Chris, are helping her in the car while my sister, Bonni, is holding the leftovers.
 
 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Entertainment isn’t just for young people




As I mentioned before, they keep everyone busy with activities at the nursing home, although no one is required to go to anything if they don’t want to.  The staff makes things available only, but leaves it up to each resident.  They want the people staying there to feel at home and in control of their lives.  This is probably the right way to run things.

There’s a full schedule every month with about four things happening each day that residents can take advantage of.  Some people prefer to have coffee and cookies in the afternoon where they can visit in the dining room instead of go to events, or to sit outside if it’s nice.

These two ladies are two of Mama's best friends.






This is Selma.  She's 102






 This one blows kisses and is man crazy.
 
Mama’s friends are characters.  These women carry on a conversation with each other and they can say the same things over and over and no one knows the difference.  They’re simply enjoying each other’s company, so I guess you can’t ask for any better than that.  Almost everyone knows each other because the facility is so small.



 This is the man who entertained us with guitar music
 
One afternoon we were all treated to some guitar music played by one of the residents.  I don’t know this fellows name, but he was very good and played some toe-tapping songs until it was time for dinner.  I was told he does this every week or so.  I was glad to see it.  I don’t think anyone should give up what they love to do just because they’re getting old.

I’m so glad a few of these people have family to visit them.  I really feel bad for the others and think how lonely they must be, but I guess you have to make the best of things if you wind up in that spot.

One gentleman ate alone in there and sat in front of the TV all evening.  I was told his wife had recently passed away.  He must not have any other family because no one came to visit him the whole time I was there.

                                                    This is the facility my mother stays in.


My sisters and I did pitch in and try to help with the residents when they were trying to maneuver from their walkers to chairs, etc.  And we went and got the nurse, or dietician, for them if they wanted something we couldn’t get for them.  Hanging out with these people is a different experience.  A lot of them had a hard time speaking, so it was a guessing game as to what they wanted to say.

I’m so glad I was able to visit Mama, meet her friends and see her new home.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

One of many visits to the nursing home




The second day I was there we headed to the nursing home to see our mother.  It was too late the first day once we got back to town from the airport. 



So I wondered if my mother would remember me because much can happen in five years, especially for one who’s losing her mind.  We were lucky enough to persuade my youngest brother to meet us there for a few minutes, so Mama was about to be very surprised with four of her seven kids visiting her.





 Part of the family.  Standing from left: me, my youngest brother, Alden, two of my sisters, Bonni and Tedo.  My mother is seated.
When we arrived she was in therapy.  The nurses helped her with her walker as they saw us all standing there waiting for her.  She had a big smile on her face as she looked at us.  At first she thought that I was Tedo, but then realized with Tedo asking her “who’s your oldest daughter?”  Her smile got bigger and she came over and hugged me tight.  I was as happy as she was.  She remembered me the rest of the time I was there.  We went to see her almost every day and stayed a good part of the day and sometimes into the evening.  We did take her out twice for family gatherings, Mother’s Day and the family barbecue mentioned earlier.  More on that later.




                                                         This is the facility dining room

The nursing home my mother is in is a very small one with lots of help and they’re all so nice.  The kitchen help came out to talk to us, as well as the administrator and the housekeepers and, of course, the nurses in each hall.  There are three wings in the building, but it’s only about fifty eight beds.  The place is very clean.  And Mama has made friends there and seems to like it very much.  There were a few times, of course, that she wanted to go with us as we were getting ready to leave.  That was expected, but she has a very nice room with family photos on the wall.  And she’s by a window where my sisters placed a bird feeder outside, so she can watch the birds if she wants to.

                                                       This is the wing Mama's room is on.





 This is my mother's bedroom
Most of the time is spent in the dining room though where they hold some of the activities and the social time.  A TV is there also for anyone wanting to watch television.  There’s a separate room for activities in the facility as well.  It includes a small library for all the readers and a hair salon.



It seems Mama is a wiz at bingo and has all the stuffed animals; they hand out as gifts to the winners, on a small bookshelf in her room.





 Here are Mama's bingo prizes
The place is very nice and not like any nursing home any of you are thinking of.  I’m grateful for that.