And here we are…

Me and Mom
Me and Mom 2016

That photo above was taken the day my mom moved in with us, moving her from California and a senior center, into our home in Alaska. It was momentous, to say the least. Her Alzheimer’s had progressed so much so, that she could not care for herself, nor live alone. And because the situation was what it was, she was brought to live with me. It was the first time we had been under the same roof in more than 40 years. It was a rough adjustment, to be sure. Mom was so confused that she was living in my home, and not that I was living with her, in her home. That I was the homemaker and not her. That the kitchen was my domain, not hers. That I cooked the meals and cleaned the house, and did the laundry. She declined fairly rapidly and now that I look back on it, I think it was because she was so confused. So out of her element. And the arrangement grated on her. So she sunk inside herself. We had days where I could not get her into clothes. Days when she would sleep almost the entire day, and then was able to sleep the entire night. I was getting concerned. She was very angry and the situation was becoming untenable.

One of the smartest things I did, at that time, was I admitted I needed help. I could not continue to have her live with me and someone needed to step in. Someone needed to give her the care she would not allow me to give to her. I needed a strong intermediary. And there are absolutely some amazing people out there who know exactly how to do what I needed. Through the Alzheimer’s Resource Center here in Alaska, I was able to get the education I needed to know how to deal with my mom, some wonderful resources to get mom into the community, and also a place where she could live. And so, with a heavy heart, we moved mom into an Assisted Living Home. I know, deep in my bones, that God guided me to where He wanted mom to be. She is happy, she is well cared-for, and I don’t worry about her. Not one sleepless night. The staff is kind, the home is clean and so very sunny, and the owner deeply cares about all her clients. It was truly a blessing.

Mom is all smiles…

Mom found joy in being with people her own age. She attended the senior center programs. She painted. She laughed so much. And she made friends. It was so cute to see the two of these ladies above hold hands across their recliners as they watched TV together. It warmed my heart. And my mom is happy. I have only seen her frustrated and unhappy a couple of times these past few years. Overall, she is a happy person there. We visit every other week or so. At first, as she was declining more, it would make her sad to have us leave. The staff said she would talk about us, but when we visited, she sought a connection and did not seem to find it. She slowly wasn’t upset when we told her we had to leave. She was ready to get back to her day.

Mom has since fallen twice. Breaking a different hip each time. The first time, she came back and was so happy and easy to help recover. The second time, after the surgery, she languished for a couple of weeks in the hospital. She has never come back quite the same since. She has lost so much of herself. In her mind, she is not 91. Nowhere near. She told me the other day she has plans in place to re-visit her parents in New Zealand. She has no memory of ever being married, nor of having children. This last visit was hard for me. She used pronouns for me: she, her, that lady…not her daughter. She hasn’t known my name for awhile, although she would sometimes say it in passing, but not as it belonged to me. My visit this past week sort of undid me. And I chastised myself for my behavior. I kept talking about my dad, or her 2nd husband, Frank, or my brother. My children, my grandchildren. My home and my dog, who she just loves. None of it resonated with her. I showed her photos and she did not recognize herself in them. And I realized as I was driving down the highway, that it was a waste of time. She has lost those memories and I think I did it so she could feel a connection to me. Because even though I am almost 65, I still need my mom. In my head, sometimes I am still her little girl. Only now I can never be that for her. All I can be is a friendly stranger who comes by now and then. We can chat, but it has to be superficial. I cannot expect more out of her – it is not fair to her. Because when you try to make them remember, it only frustrates them, because their brain just isn’t connecting to memories. She forgot I had brought her some clothes and shoes, and that had only been minutes.

One of the best definitions I have seen that is perfect for Alzheimer’s

For my mom, this word describes her longing for New Zealand. She has lived in America far longer than she lived there, but the heart of her youth was spent among the green of New Zealand. It’s the place she felt the safest and most loved, and it was years before she was married to my dad; she was living at home, and living a pretty carefree, and very simple, life. She can no longer relate to her life now. She has no concept that she is 91 years old. Time holds nothing for her. I see it when she searches my face, and I know she is looking for something that will connect the two of us. She feels a kindred spirit with me, but has no idea why. And she just cannot make that connection. I saw it particularly this time, when her eyes changed and she stopped trying to figure me out. And I cried inside. Because I realized I would never have my mom back. Not ever.

1974

I shared this photo with mom. I had just graduated high school. Her comment was, “That’s a nice photo. Who are they?” And it made me sad because it was a pivotal moment in my life. I remember the day so clearly. And how we laughed and cried because I was growing up. LOL. I had plans to move out to attend college, and little did I know that I would never live under a united roof with my parents, again. I stayed with them when I was between roommates. I visited. But it was no longer my home.

New Year’s Day 2021

I have been blessed with the marriage of my dreams. Are we perfect? Heck no. Who is? But we are in love, even after 36 years together. My home is with my husband and wherever it is we live. And we have lived quite a few places! As I was growing into being a wife and mother, my mom and dad had divorced and both had remarried. Mom and Frank moved quite a lot and we did not see one another very often. Birthdays, holidays, events, and the occasional weekend together. We did not even talk that much. I would chat every few days with my stepdad and my mom would just yell “hi” in the background and tell him to keep talking to me. Ha-Ha. So not seeing my mom daily is not a new thing for me. I was busy raising and homeschooling our kids. We lived on farms and that was not exactly what my mom was used to, nor did she prefer it. They lived in senior, master-planned communities with golf courses. We lived in a lot of dirt. Ha-Ha. At first, I felt guilty when we moved her to the ALH because it’s about a half hour drive away. And in the beginning, every Sunday we saw her. But then “it” happened and the world shut down. Churches closed so we stopped driving into town to attend with our kids and grandkids. We live-streamed God. Whoever would have thought it???!!!

Junior Iditarod 2021

We got busy. And so the time in-between visits lengthened. And computers and media, FaceTime, all that just passed mom by. It confuses her to see you on a phone. Once or twice we tried with one of the worker’s iPads. She just did not connect. Because of restrictions inhumanely placed on senior centers, I can not enter the facility. I can stand, fully masked, in the storm door entry, with mom in a wheelchair, in the house. And that is how we communicate. She does not understand the face diaper thing, nor why we cannot enter and have a “proper conversation.” This last visit, she grew uncomfortable at the cold coming in (I totally agreed! It was all of 14 degrees outside, even if the sun was blazing away. I was cold, too) and so she did not want to talk long. I realized that my visits don’t affect her too much. I explained to the owner of the home that mom and I have not been particularly close and we did not see one another a lot prior to her Alzheimer’s, so not seeing her often probably works for us both.

When all is said and done, I miss my mom. I ache and there is not a thing anyone can do about it. But I cannot allow it to cloud either of our lives. She is happy. Her attitude is good. She is not in pain. And she enjoys her days. I cannot ask for more for my mom. I can’t take this disease away. There is no cure. And I have chosen to not think about it. Perhaps tomorrow I may delve into all of this miasma that is Alzheimer’s disease and how devastating the affect is on everyone around the person who has it. Today? Well, today I am trying a new barley beef soup recipe, and I have some garlic bread to have with it, because my husband has been gone for a week and it’s cold and I wanted to warm him up a little bit, and to welcome him home. Mom? I’ll check on her and perhaps visit her weekly, but I am not going to worry. It adds nothing to my day and it does not change a thing. I love the woman who was my mom and I miss her. That is never changing.

April 7, 2021

I love you, mom. I am sad. I am mad. But I am always your loving daughter. Always.

“…and your name among the angels.”

Today is a hard day. A very dear friend of mine is being buried today. He should not be. He was still young. He retired after 20+ years as a peace officer. He has 11 children and 2 grandchildren. His youngest child is 8 years old. We have know him for over 20 years, as he was just starting the academy when we met him. I am in shock. I find it so hard to believe this man, who was larger than life, is gone. He was funny. He was so well informed. He told the most amazing stories. We laughed and laughed with him. We camped with them. We went hunting. We ran our English Springers together. We traveled up and down California with our kids and dogs crammed into our SUVs. We shared the same wedding anniversary. We attended Church together. We broke bread countless times together. We prayed together. He and his wife honored us when they asked us to be godparents to lucky #7.

Chris and Pam

There are so many wonderful stories I could share with you. So much fun designing ideas for the yard and the house. He was so creative and he would come up with these zany ideas. He’d rush out and get all the stuff for it, start it, and say, “That’s gonna look great!” and he’d have satisfied his creativity! LOL! Drove me nuts. One day I came over and he yells, “Jan – Jan, you have to come look at the bathroom! It’s DONE!” He was so proud! LOL. I just hugged him and we both laughed. It looked, of course, amazing.

One time we went dove hunting and Chris decided to make “chicken nuggets” out of the doves. He was an amazing cook. So he’s cooking these little doves and placing them on a platter on the picnic table. We adults were sitting around watching, having an adult beverage, and chatting. The kids kept running through the camp and each time, they’d grab a “nugget.” Chris couldn’t figure out where they were all going, because each time he’d turn around to place more completed nuggets on the table, the platter would be empty. Then he yells at the kids, “Those are the most expensive nuggets you will ever eat. Slow down!” Then he goes on to give us calculations of all the costs – hunting license, guns, ammo, gas to get there, hunting dogs and all their gear, camping gear costs, our SUVs and tents, etc, etc, etc. He surmised that driving through McDonald’s would have been far more cost effective, even with all those kids to feed – his and ours. LOL. He was so fun. We have some hilarious memories of hunting and running our dogs. Our eldest son had two funny episodes where in one, he shot the backside off a pheasant. So funny. Another one where he asked if this snake was poisonous and before Chris could finish telling him it was a harmless king snake, it was blown to bits. My son still recalls those times with fondness.

Pam and Chris

Chris taught our youngest son to drive a stick shift in his old army jeep. My son treasures that memory. He said Chris was so patient – each time he’d stall out, he would just explain what happened, and they’d start again. He never got mad, but would laugh. Our son and godson learned together and that was so cool.

We homeschooled our kids and we spent many an evening over long dinners and barbecues, discussing curriculum, our faith, and what we were doing with all these children the Lord blessed us with. He was a strong Catholic and would not waiver one iota from his faith. He was one of the most honest men I have known. When Chris told you something, you could take it to the bank. I trusted him with my life, and the life of my children. If I was in danger and my husband was not around, I could call Chris and he’d be there in a minute. He was one of the good guys. He and Pam had an amazing life together, accomplishing more than most couples do. Chris had a small plane and they would offer to fly us wherever we wanted to go. My kids took him up on it, but I am a big chicken. I do not like to fly, let alone in a little plane. I trusted Chris as a pilot, implicitly, but my unease is the whole height thing. I even hate driving up into mountains (I know – irony, since I live in amongst them here in Alaska). Chris and Pam were going to come up this summer and he wanted to see Alaska by air. Another dear friend, who was a pilot, relocated to Idaho last summer. As I was helping them pack, I saw stacks of flight maps and books on flying in Alaska. I immediately thought of Chris. I asked if I could take them for my friend and they gave me the entire box. One of the biggest regrets I have in life is that box is still in my garage. I had kept it because they were coming up and I was just going to give them to him. And now he will never see them. And it breaks my heart when I walk into the garage and see those books and maps. Don’t put things off. You simply never know what tomorrow will hold.

The Family

The family will never be the same. Chris has left a gigantic hole in their hearts. It is hitting me like a ton of bricks and we were just friends. I cannot imagine what they are going through. I would not want to be in their shoes. But Chris planted strong seeds in his children, imbuing them with character and a love for family, and for others. They are good people because their father was present and he cared and he shared his thoughts, his morals, and his faith with each of them. It will be hard, but their mom is a resilient woman, one of the strongest ones I know, and she will carry on their legacy for Chris. She has a beautiful heart and her kids and grandkids will know it even more in the days and years ahead.

I was supposed to fly down there for the funeral today. And honestly, I just could not do it. I don’t do well at funerals. I have been known to pass out and actually throw up. I spent the funeral of my husband’s grandfather laying on a pew in the Church hall, throwing up in a trash can. My mother-in-law was not happy with me. My sons were the altar boys. My husband served on the altar. And I was not able to do it. I attended the burial, where I bawled like a baby, because I loved that man. And I was completely fine by the reception. But for Chris, I just could not walk into that Church and see him like that. I feel like I am letting down my friend, but my heart is honestly broken. A total blessing is that Pam and most of the kids are coming up here this summer, just like we had talked about, to get some stress relief, change of scenery, and to visit one of God’s greatest creations – Alaska. The chaos of the kids will accompany Pam; it’s a part of being a mother to 11 kids and grandma to 2 (and counting). But I think the act of getting away will be good for them – and for us. She and I can sit and gab for hours. The last time she and I went to lunch, just the two of us, we sat and gabbed for over 5 hours. My son actually called me and asked if I was coming home for dinner. Ha-Ha-Ha, how the tables have turned!

Me and Pam

And today I am really a wreck. Crying off and on, thinking of the steps Pam and the kids are walking right now. Feeling like I should be there and I am not. My heart breaking for the loss of a really good man, and dear friend of more than two decades. I think he will leave a hole in my heart forever. Chris occupied a special place in the hearts of all who knew him, most especially his wife and children.

In the eastern Church, we like to say, “May your memory be eternal, and your name among the angels.” It is such a beautiful tradition. It comes from the fact that in pre-Christian, Old Testament times, the Jewish people would shun those who had done wrong. They would remove their names from histories and landmarks. The person would be removed from memory. And in contrast, the early Christian communities would celebrate the life of those who had passed away and were a part of their community. They would invoke passages from the Psalms and the promises of Christ. And one tradition is that they believed the angels themselves would whisper the name of the loved one around the throne of God, and that their memory would never fade. And that is what I wish for my friend – that his memory will stay alive and his name be on the tongues of the angels, themselves. So Chris, may your memory be eternal and your name among the angels. God speed, my friend. You are loved and you are missed.

Chris telling me another hilarious story!!

My head hurts…

I recall life before computers, before the internet, before every single person carried a phone, 24/7. I recall life before blue light dangers. I recall life before automated everything. Who writes checks anymore? Who carries cash? Very, very few of us. I also recall life before the onslaught of information. The information highway. My head hurts.

Today I was busy putting away some staples in my pantry. I am obsessed with glass. I slowly got rid of plastic and teflon from my life. Now I open containers and dump everything into glass jars. You know, oats and chicken stock mix (organic of course! LOL!), and seasonings, and cereals. Everything from yeast to ground flour, to my soaked and dehydrated grains, all reside in glass containers. During our last 5-point-something earthquake, nothing moved. Whew. But I like the idea of uniform storage and being organized. A friend said I am getting a little obsessed with organizing everything. But in this world of noise and chaos and way too much information, being able to control something (like my pantry) gives me peace. Solace. Quiet. Neat = quiet in my book. So I am obsessing about neat because I can control neat. Kinda.

Our new stove

We are making some changes around here. We chose to remove our natural gas, built-in, fireplace and go with a wood stove. A free-standing wood stove. We are very excited. But you know how it is, there are ideas and then there is reality. We have to make that transition happen. My head hurts. Again. I am learning more than I ever wanted to know, nor thought I needed to know, about wood stoves. The one thing I did get that both of us agreed upon, was the enamel was brown and shiny, and not flat black. I liked the look of the brown. However, we also have to gouge a big hole in our living room wall, and remove our gas insert. Then we have to create an elevated surround, and then we get to have the stove installed. Installers just install. They don’t do “bricks and sticks,” which is a term I just learned. They just hook it all up. In other words, we get to use the hammers and yank out the walls and then we get to create a stone fireplace surround for this stove to sit in. Once it is how we want it, the installers install. That is all. So now, we get to research fire-safe surrounds, designs, materials we need, and how much time this will take, let alone cost. Sigh. It is never simple. All we want is simple and quiet and closer to the earth.

We have this….
We want this….

So now starts the transformation of our home from typical tract house in Alaska, to an Alaskan home. Removing the sort of details that make no sense in the land of snow, mud, and sunshine. Like what? White carpeting is first on my list. Who does that? And our new, independent of the gas company, wood stove. It can heat the whole house – easily. And I am excited to make the house a little more country. A little less mainstream or civilized. It is amazing to me how much is involved in detaching from the world.

Dream greenhouse idea…

As soon as this ridiculous amount of snow melts, it is on to the greenhouse. I have been struck so hard with the fact that we have roughly 90 days to grow a year’s worth of vegetables to store. And here in Alaska, pretty much everyone has a greenhouse. WIth -20 degrees on St. Patrick’s Day, and at least 6 feet of snow firmly sitting on top of everything, Spring is pretty elusive. I have discovered we have to meticulously plan gardens. Organize seeds. Prepare a place to grow them indoors, to later transplant to a protected greenhouse, and then into raised beds. It is a lot of work and it is done mostly while snow is still on the ground. I now even have a Garden Journal. It is so pretty and I am already filling out parts of it. The plans part. The reality part comes as the season progresses. And I know we will learn a lot. We are surrounding ourselves with like-minded people, who also have a lot more knowledge of how to do all of this, so that makes me very happy. I have experts all over the place. I took a “bread braids” class last night, while hubby attended “Layers 101” about chickens! LOL. Who would have thought??

Ideas of how to self-sustain on 1 acre of land.

We would like to be self-sustaining, and less connected. Up here, we are at the literal end of the supply chain from the lower 48 states. And with Canada having its temper-tantrums and closing ports and making truck shipping just ugly, having empty shelves at the grocery store is no joke. So we are re-thinking how we use our yard and what we do with our space. Being simple is so complex. There are so many moving parts. My head hurts. Still. This old California girl is learning how to be an Alaskan. It means throwing off so many things; leaving ideas and ways of living behind, and adopting new and different ideas. I mean, I now have 25 pound tubs of grains in my pantry. I have a dehydrator and grinding mill on my kitchen counters. I make my breads from, quite literally, scratch. I am learning about lecithin and gluten and how to remove the acids from grains so they are more bio-available. I am learning about organic. That is a master’s degree in and of itself! I learned about using vinegar with the “mother.” Who knew?

Kolbe and his hedgehog…with no stuffing left…so cute

When the chaos and onslaught of information gets to me, I try and pet my dog, or have a cup of “Dandy Blend” – because amongst all these things, we gave up coffee and sugar and soda. Sigh. LOL. Dandy Blend is a tasty alternative to coffee and it’s working for me. I also use organic honey and oat milk in it. Oat milk! Some days I don’t recognize myself. LOL. My cupboard now contains boxes and boxes of herbal teas in all flavors. I am no longer using milk. I am shying away from anything in a package or a box. I shop mostly the outside of the store, if I even shop at the store. We try to source local for all our needs, which can be a challenge. Picking up my farm co-op order in freezing, blowing snow, meeting at the local grocery store parking lot for the hand-off! LOL! Never in a million years did I think I would get my meat from the farmer out the back of a truck. Fresh eggs. Carrots right out of the ground. Yet, here I am!! I’m trying to be a better me; a me who knows nutritionally which thing to place on my plate and which to avoid. It is all about a lot of habits that need undoing, a lot of relearning that needs to happen, and a lot of deep breaths. Because truly, all this information does create its own headache. It really does. Today, the sun is bright and the snow is sparkling (because it is so cold) and I am overwhelmed. I had the beginnings of a migraine last night at the bread class, and it is trying to sneak itself back in my life today as I made spaghetti sauce from scratch and baked a loaf of bread. So I am going to be kind to myself, watch an episode of Time Team on Prime, have a hot cup of Madagascar Vanilla tea, and maybe even take a nap. That’s what I think of all the information knocking on the door of my brain. There is always tomorrow.

Cacophony – noise – chaos

My dad is 94 years old. He has minor dementia. Whenever we speak, it is 90% about him. Which is normal for him. We did not speak for about 2 years until recently, when my brother gave him my phone number (thanks oh so much). We have had major disagreements in our relationship and my world spins much smoother when he is not poking his head into it. He has a habit of disrupting my life. I have now had three conversations with him since our non-speaking timeframe and I realized today I have not missed it much. That is so horrible to say, I know. But my father is an old narcissist and he uses it well. He loves to say little things to ensure he has put me in my place. He will always follow it up with, “But you know I love you.” Ha. Typical gaslighting. His sort of love can destroy a person. And he almost succeeded with me. I have since learned that although we have loved ones who are a major part of our lives, like parents, we do not have to grant them real estate in our heads or let them take up too much of our time. Both are precious and we only get one try at this thing called life.

My dad doesn’t just talk, he basically lectures. He thinks he’s being kind to people, but he is pretty condescending. He thinks he’s being so witty when he tears someone to pieces with cruel words, and follows it up with kind words. Today his focus was on why I don’t publish or write professionally. I have had this blog since 2012; I’ve sent him links in the past, but he has never bothered to read them. I think technology has passed him by. His days are now filled with jigsaw puzzles and Bingo. To me, this is enough. I get joy out of making new friends through this medium and by sharing thoughts with people. I don’t need to be paid. He thinks I am wasting my intellect being at home. But he has no idea what I have accomplished or the places I have been, nor the people I have interacted with, because he was too busy doing his thing and not inquiring about my life. Today he had no idea I had 3 grown sons. No idea. That is the dementia talking; I know. But it is also how he has treated those of us in his life in the past. Today, I did not allow him the space in my head, nor the words to worm their way into my heart to hurt me. I listened to his words, and let them flow…sort of like water off a duck’s back.

The one issue that did make me think was his comments about why I was not writing at all. And I realized that I had nothing of import to share. Nothing to add to the conversation in this crazy world. If we all opine in the public square, it becomes a cacophony of sound. It adds to the chaos. It becomes nothing more than noise. And although I have strong opinions about what is going on in our country and world ( for example: no vax for me; no mask for me; it’s the flu; the news lies 24/7; open up the marketplace and get people back to work; pretty much everything I was taught was part of a greater narrative that did not have my best interest in mind; God wins. Period.) I don’t think that long diatribes add to the cure. The cure? In my opinion? Turn off the TV. Return to quiet family times. Insulate yourself from the greater world. Pray – a lot. Read your Bible. Do penance on behalf of this world. Celebrate this 40-day opportunity to re-align yourself with God. It’s Lent. Live it. And stop believing all you hear is truth. Because it is not. Associate with good people. The people you hang out with have a far greater affect on you than you realize. Attend more services at Church. Stations of the Cross, the Rosary. Read religious works. Start a prayer notebook to track who you pray for and look back and see God in action! Start a 40-day gratitude journal. Be positive. About all of this.

My youngest son has been an only child since our middle son left for college. Since he was about 9 years old, he has been blessed to be home with just me and his dad. There are choices he makes that I disagree with, and I know if I try to discuss it with him, it is just noise. Blah-blah-blah. Good old mom, blathering on again about this or that. And I know my opinion gets lost in the words and it just does no good. He has always been one of those kids who has the ability to just turn off. He did it as an infant, toddler, and during his school years. He goes somewhere inside himself and stays there until he feels it is appropriate to re-engage. It’s a protective mechanism he was born with. And so I have learned that lectures get me nowhere with him. And I was thinking how much the rest of the world needs to be able to just turn off all these externals. So much information, but so little intelligent thought. And I know my little blog is just going to add to the noise. My protective mechanism is to just hide. I left the public square in so many ways, because I learned it was like beating my head against the wall. Very little satisfaction; a lot of pain.

And so my conclusion for this post is that I did say a lot here, to tell you I did not have a lot to say. Oh the irony!! LOL! But more importantly, I am trying to share why too many words, too much information, too much falsity in the public square only makes all these things assailing us all, much much worse. Practice detachment from things and people and situations. Practice silence. Practice prayer. And remember, regardless of the pain of this journey we are all on, in the end, God wins. Always. Forever. Period.

The suspense is killing me!

Alright, I am a die-hard conservative. It spills into pretty much all facets of my life. I do not indulge in credit card spending and try to live within my means. I do not listen to music that would rot my brain or put words I do not need into my head. I try to avoid media that is filthy, to put it bluntly. I decry the reasoning behind horror movies or overt sexuality on the screen. I do not like first-person shooting games although my kids do. I could barely use a pinball machine, let alone a computer or game controller. My 9-year-old grandson laughs at how I crash constantly in Mario Cart games. My eye-hand coordination never got that gaming perspective. Honestly, I have a back-up camera on my car. Can I back up and do it without hitting anything (or going outside the lines)? Not for very far. I cannot figure out how to hold those tiny new controllers for my grandson’s Switch games. Ugh. Technology is passing me by, I think!!

I have run the gamut of politics in my lifetime. I was raised by very conservative immigrant parents. My dad loved the John Birch Society, if that explains anything. I rebelled in late high school and college. I switched (no pun intended to the Switch game console and controllers shown above) majors in college from pre-med to Forensic Anthropology and my dad about came uncorked. Because anything outside of physical science annoyed him. He was a doctor of medical engineering. And he wanted me to become a surgeon. He just never could deal with my love of history, and I thought forensic anthropology was a nice compromise. He did not. And so since I was heading down a pathway of humanity studies, I became a flaming liberal. For about 1-2 years. Then I realized (it was the 70s) most of the liberals just sat around complaining, and smoking pot. A lot. You would get high just being in the same room. And so I began to look to my political roots. I had been a “Nixonette” in High School, manning the phones at his Whittier office in my spare time. I really though he was a good guy. LOL. I loved Reagan and then I loved the 2nd Bush. And then 9/11 happened. And it changed everything.

Yeah…down the proverbial rabbit hole I went. Something did not sit right with me. It was the beginning of an awakening. As I learned more and more and more about my history and my understanding of America, I wanted to sue my college for all the BS I was forced to learn and memorize. It was complete BS. We have been sold a bill of goods in this country. We have been trained to listen to the media as telling us the truth of what is happening. We relied on the media for the full truth. As I think back to sitting in front of the TV every night, eating our dinners on TV trays, watching the nightly reports from the war in Viet Nam, I get so very angry. Lives were lost and lies were told. And it continued on until even this very day. More lies from the main stream media’s leftist narrative. It really really really – I cannot stay it enough – bothers me.

This is my favorite meme of all time. When I look at it, I can clearly hear it. It makes me laugh so much. But it is also so true. We have been lied to. For generations. If you think what is happening has anything to do with democrats or republicans, you have not allowed yourself to listen to the truth. There are not really two parties. There is one. Someone coined the term, “Uniparty” and I have to agree. Behind the scenes they are all buddies and think we are pawns or sheeple. They have no respect for us, the voter or their constituent. Can you imagine being in office for 30-40-50 years???? What happened to the idea of “gentlemen legislators”? Our Founding Fathers never intended for politics to be a lifetime career. They did not intend that representatives to our Congress would never have had a normal life, with a job and a paycheck. It was not intended that people would leave college and go right into politics. They have no idea what punching a time clock is. Nor do they understand living within their means and balancing a checkbook. They don’t have to! Between their salaries and the money they get from special interest groups and people, they are set. And they know it. I don’t care who you are, you cannot get into office without financial assistance. (Well, there are exceptions. Even with all his millions and billions thrown in, Michael Bloomberg couldn’t buy his nomination. It’s actually funny). And whenever you take money from someone, they wait until they need you and remind you that you owe them. So my advice is to always, always, follow the money!

Once upon a time, a reporter asked Julian Assange why he did not do a report on Donald Trump. Why didn’t he spill the beans and show all the dirt on Donald? His reply? “Because there is none.” And in walks Donald Trump, onto the stage of politics. Oh how the people loved him, the rich man they could hob-knob with! He hung out with all the other rich people, and mostly democrats. He was approached by the FBI decades ago to help bring down some New York businessmen who were not honest. And he was happy to do it. He loves this Country of ours. And because he loves it so much, he has put up with so much!! He left his billionaire lifestyle to serve this country, and the people. The political and financial establishments hate him. Why? Because with everything he knows he can bring it all crashing down on their heads. Every. Single. Brick.

I’m gonna pull the whole thing downI’m gonna bring the whole ******’ diseased, corrupt temple down on your head. It’s gonna be biblical. Clyde Shelton from Law Abiding Citizen

And that quote pretty much embodies what President Trump has been planning to do. There is quote on a Tweet from 2012:

And he wrote one of his first Executive Orders (2 EOs, and 3 proclamations, and 8 bills) all about child trafficking and sex trafficking, vowing to take it down. And I believe he has been doing just that. And when the entire truth of the campaign against him is discovered, the majority of the people will be sickened and in complete disbelief and denial. I have spoken in previous posts about “cognitive dissonance.” It’s a real thing. When you learn something but it goes against what you believe about humanity, about life, about your perceptions of EVERYTHING, you reject it outright. And it is understandable. Even expected by those trying to share the truth with you. Well, I have to tell you that I have slowly come to the conclusion that all of this is very, very real. And that our President and a select group of amazing individuals has worked tirelessly to take this world-wide empire down. And I think they are winning. Which is why the “other guys” did everything in their power to get him out of office. Two impeachments and they’re trying to arrest him. Why? Because he has it all. Once it is all revealed, they will not be able to walk the street. Think about it. Have you ever seen an inaugural set-up like the one we are seeing? An inauguration on a stage, with celebrity performances, behind fences with 25,000 (or more) National Guards and DC police and other law enforcement? With these fences having razor wire on the inside, and locks on the outside? With checkpoints and barriers all over the capital of our country? For someone who supposedly won in the largest popular upset of our time? Something does not add up, my friends.

So walls work now???

All I can say anymore about all of this is to pray. God wins in the end. But everyone also needs to remain calm. Stay home. Be with your family. Let the professionals deal with all of this. Tomorrow is a day for history to be made. We will see, in the next few months, exactly what that means. Because quite honestly, the truth is still hidden from the majority of people. God has the last say. If we fervently believe in His promises, all will be as it should be. Never, ever, loose hope in God. Faith is believing even without seeing. I have 100% faith in all of this, and that God’s hand is in all of this. He wins. Honestly, He wins. And all of this, every bit of it, has been for the children.

“If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.

And so as these next days unfold, know that behind the scenes much work is being done. If it does not look the way you think it should, or if it seems as if all is lost, have faith. God allowed this evil to be perpetrated for generations – literally – and if a presidency can take it down in just 4 years – that’s a miracle. And I can be patient, remain cozy, and just wait for God’s plan to unfold itself. God wins. Always.

God meets you where you are.

I bought this gift for myself this year. I normally hang my calendar (s) near my washer in the laundry room. I catch up on upcoming events and holy days, and give myself something to ponder while mindlessly doing laundry. But this calendar is special. Even the paper it is made of is pretty and strong and thick. So this year, I hung this calendar next to my desk. And my sweet husband has not noticed the new hole in that wall. LOL. He will after he reads this, if he does. LOL.

What I wanted to share is that this simple calendar really touched me. I love this sort of primitive folk art and her colors and content just captivated me. It spoke to my heart, right where I am today. Let’s face it, 2020 kind of stunk. There were joyful highlights to be sure, but the tone of the year will go down in the history books as one of the least fun years. I find it fascinating that a strain of flu has been used to shut down entire nations and their economies. The CDC estimates that the death rate overall in the USA will be less in 2020 than it was in 2019, before this bug invaded our country. But the lockdowns are still around; curfews are being implemented; people are protesting; and even the more liberal among us are pretty much over the mask mandates. So many people I know have lost their livelihoods. And many more are no longer friends with people they’ve known their whole lives; not to mention all the families with members no longer speaking – all because of a simple flu strain that is 99% recoverable. It saddens me that so many do not question narratives but choose to mask up and abide the lockdowns.

There is so much going on out there. The Rally at the Capital had a dramatic turn/twist. I fully believe that there was no rioting by Patriots, but by actors inciting and leading the way. I find it interesting that politicians had fully typed commentary on the “violence” by Trump supporters prepared and were able to preach and pontificate, even proposing legislation and enacting public policy, so close on the heels of their “frightening” ordeal. After a warning on their laptops, they retreated into their tunnels and safety from the antics of the paid actors (there are a series of tunnels and trams that take politicians to all the major DC buildings. Otherwise there would be no room for the rest of humanity of the city streets). The sole alleged murder (because reports of this being a false flag are circulating today. No blood at the scene and a sighting of the victim on a return flight to CA) of a peaceful veteran was not by a DC policeman, but rather by a staff member paid to protect a legislator. There are conflicting reports but I certainly will never again trust our media. The on-the-scene cell phone videos are far more trustworthy than our media is or has been. And the eye witness accounts paint a far different picture than CNN.

The world is not peaceful right now. People are angry and upset. And feel like they have no say and no power in their lives. Many decades ago, my mom worked for a real estate company that specialized in governmental acquisitions. Her job was to finalize purchases and to ensure all the titles were transferred properly. There was a project in the greater Los Angeles area for a new freeway expansion. The homeowners had no say in this project and they were required to sell their homes to the government. They call it “eminent domain.” The government was being fair, right? They get fair market value for their homes. No chance to make a profit by holding out, nor the ability to not sell and stay put. And that is when I learned that nothing I own is really mine. Whenever my husband and I have purchased a home and we have made those horrendous house payments, we have discussed how this beautiful place we call “our home” is never really ours. Until we make that last payment, the bank owns it. If the borough or the state decide to put in a skating rink and declare “eminent domain,” they can forcibly take our home, or remove us from it. Nothing, and I repeat this, nothing is ever really ours.

For Christmas, I was given the book above, Pierced by a Sword, along with the two other books that are in this series. God meets us, truly, where we are! And when we need Him! This friend prayed I would read these books as she gathered them together as a gift for me, along with some baked goods, a coffee mug, and a rosary her dad made, all wrapped in a warm shawl. Her dad has Alzheimer’s and is now confined to a memory facility, but he can make a rosary. How profound is that? Anyway, to make a long and interesting story short, I read this book – again. I read it several times more than 20 years ago. And I even knew the author and gave his books out to people (St. Jude Media distributed these books at no cost. Please go to their website at http://www.catholicity.com for the fastest way to get one into your hands). Let me just say, this gift was heartfelt and the Lord placed it on her heart to give it to me. And trust me when I tell you – this book is even more relevant today than it was 20+ years ago. I wept. I laughed. I was hooked, once again, on the characters and the storyline. I was also reminded that our world is careening out of control towards heathenism, debauchery, and absolute hell on earth. And nothing, absolutely nothing, is ever really ours. We cannot depend on our country or government to stay intact, nor our home being ours; nor our friends remaining friends; or our family staying intact. The sole thing we can rely and depend upon is our faith in God, and His unending and bountiful Mercy.

If you think the political and social world we are in right now is bad, it can easily be much, much worse. We are truly in a battle of good vs. evil. This is so far, far beyond the scope of Democrat vs Republican, or Liberal vs Conservative. So few of us bother to do more than give a cursory glance to what the media tells us. The black box in our hands or on the walls of our homes drones endless streams of information into our heads, and sadly it is not for our betterment. There is a narrative and those who control the media control that narrative. And through that, they control most of us. And they have no interest in the freedom of religion. They want our god to be our jobs, the car we want to buy, the purse we carry, the latest movie being released or the next sports game being televised, or the house we buy – anything but the Lord of All Creation. Because they deny God even exists. They removed Him from our schools, our sports, the movies, and TV – unless it shows a weakened, watered-down version of faith. God tells us all life is sacred – but our government, the medical professionals, and Wall Street all sell us that if a life is getting in the way, get rid of it. There is nothing parenthood-related about Planned Parenthood – its’ goal is to stop you from being a parent. What is our defense? The Full Armor of God. We need to seriously turn off those black boxes, and we need to return to the life of an active Christian. If you are Catholic, get yourself to Mass. Pray the rosary. Go to confession. Receive Our Lord in Holy Communion. And if you are a different strain of Christian, attend church services. Go to bible study. Get your kids to youth group. Character counts – surround yourself with people of character. People who strive to be their best selves. People who believe in God. Fill your homes with the symbolism that reminds you and everyone who comes to your home, that you are a Christian. Hang pictures, put a cross up, apply those decals that spell out great Bible verses on them, onto your walls. Do not let the evil one get a foothold into your homes or families, because he is prowling about, seeking the ruin of souls.

As the book, Pierced by a Sword, captured my heart and brought me to my knees, it also gave me peace and hope. If the world does go like some think it will, we will live in love and peace. If evil prevails, it will be our own fault through lack of faith and prayer. Because God is just waiting for us to turn to Him. Do not wait. Do not pass go and collect your $200! Time marches on and evil is prowling about. I can feel it. It is like the world is collectively holding its breath. And God waits. He waits on us all to turn back to Him and ignore the chaos all around us. Deep breath, and pray:

And the great doxology: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

“Therefore, do not fear them…”

Do you ever wonder why people think the way they do? Or where they get their information from? Forming a conscious is not something to be taken lightly. I have quoted him before, but one of my favorite books is, “Our thoughts determine our lives: the life and teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica.” It is one of those books that can inform your conscious for the rest of your life. Elder Thaddeus was a savior of the Serbian people and the Church in Serbia. His concise teachings are so remarkable, that they should be known by all peoples.

I have read this book more than once. I have highlighted all through it, and I have grown with each reading. His teaching of simplicity of thought is groundbreaking for our times because so few people are simple thinkers, if they think things through at all. Our conscious can be formed by the people we surround ourselves with, by the voices we allow to penetrate our thoughts. I have spoken to the use of the television to influence people, and it is being played out large right now. Most people do not even realize they become parrots of what is said on the nightly news. That they purchase products because they see innumerable commercials about it, or some celebrity uses or wears it (aka: product placement). Here is something interesting:

All of that influence from a program on Netflix. This is an example of how we are programmed daily. There are products who do not advertise, but just have amazing logos. They place their logos on T-shirts and coffee cups, pillows and stickers. And when we see the logo, we know what it is. I remember my girlfriend’s daughter could tell her mom what she wanted to eat, and knew where she was pulling into, by the logo, because she was 3 and did not read, yet. But she knew McDonald’s “golden arches” and the bell of Taco Bell. Ingenious marketing. And we have all fallen for it, hook, line, and sinker, as they say.

Bringing a person to a conscious awareness of something like this can be so difficult. I watched an experiment today of a woman sitting in a crowded waiting room. She was the sole experiment. Every time a tiny bell would ring, everyone in the room stood up. And sat down again. This woman was looking around like everyone was nuts. But after a few bell-rings and standings, she joined in. She had no idea why everyone was standing for the bell, nor was she given instructions, nor had anyone else in the room spoken a word to her (it was completely silent in the room). But she wanted to fit in. So she stood when the crowd stood. Think of masks. When everyone around you is wearing one, you think maybe you should, too. Why? Social pressure, unstated but understood, to fit in, regardless of how you believe. Think of the early Nazi movement, and not just about the Jewish issue, but German people in general. The children were indoctrinated in the schools and were encouraged to turn in their parents, if they did not support the Nazi government. Neighbors would turn in neighbors. It was easy, relatively, to round up entire families of dissenters of the Nazi party, because they were told to go with the soldiers, and no one told them not to. It happened so quickly, too. Hitler began his rise to power in early 1931 and was in complete control by 1934. Think about that.

Right now, we have things happening in this country that I never thought I would see in my lifetime. We are a country of immigrants. My family story is not that out of the ordinary. My parents immigrated here in the early 1950s. They chose to come here because they could have a better life. Their life was not bad, by any means, but in order for my dad to fulfill his dream of space engineering, the USA was the place to be. And so they came. It took them 5 years of application nightmares, but they came. My dad was able to live his dream of participating in putting a man on the moon, for America and American pride. The Space Program celebrated American smarts and ingenuity and I am proud of my dad’s participation (many people say our space program was run by Nazi scientists brought over here through “Operation Paperclip.” It sickens me when I think about it, and it is one of those reluctant rabbit holes for me. I am still trying to wrap my head around that, and also that the entire space program was faked…aka: Wag the Dog).

This was one of the many projects my father worked on for North American and NASA.

My in-laws, on both sides, have a different story in that they all were escaping the horrors of early communistic rule in Russia. They knew persecution and starvation, of a government out of control with the love of power. They escaped horrific situations and found their freedom on the plains of Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, and Colorado. They dug deeply into the land and farmed and wove their story into the fabric that is America. They brought their strong faith, sense of family, their many traditions, their unique music and dancing, and foods that I have grown to love. Being a part of this culture changed my life – for the better.

One of my favorites! Schwartzbeeren! Volga German Blackberries!

For both my husband and myself, we are proud to be Americans. Proud of the fact that our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents chose to forge a life of freedom, and hard work, where they could fully participate in the American Dream. Their voices counted for something. They were hard-earned and they mattered. Our family members who struggled and suffered so much to be here would be ashamed and appalled at the disrespect and the manipulations of one of our most important rights – the right to vote. The right to have each person’s voice heard and for it to count. And to literally be counted on Election Day.

Make no mistake, our country is under manipulation and attack. The mindsets of millions think this is okay because they have been indoctrinated in our schools and universities. They have listened to, and trusted, the news outlets with their many expert pundits tell us for decades to trust them. So when a huge farce is played out in the landscape that is our political arena, and merged into our personal lives, millions do not see it. The absolute fraud in our voting systems negates the votes of anyone and everyone – this is not left/right, republican/democrat. It has moved so beyond that. It is disenfranchising the average working man/woman, regardless of party affiliation. Their votes are taken away each time fraud was committed. There are statisticians and computer experts now saying our current elected officials are more than likely there because of fraud. Our voting machines were connected to the internet and were open to manipulations of votes, and outcomes, from interests in foreign countries! Nothing was secure from anyone, once it was live online! China and Venezuela are two countries that are constantly noted. Servers in other countries, specifically Germany, have been seized and we are awaiting their analysis. This election is far from over. DO NOT BUY INTO THEIR NARRATIVE. It is like the use of this Chinese Flu, which was infiltrated into America on purpose, to manipulate us into using mail-in-ballots. (And which the use of was contested by BOTH SIDES more than 10 years ago). It is a virus and can make you sick, yes, but it is milder than the flu. It is more virulent, but less deadly.

I am begging you to turn off everything – radios, televisions, computers, podcasts, phones except to use as an actual telephone. This is Advent. For many of us it is more than two weeks into it. We are to pray, to fast, to focus on the Coming of the Lord into the World, and into our hearts. We have to stop allowing that box in our homes to spit out lies and lead us to doubt, to question, to numbly follow human beings who do not have our best interests at heart. They have their own agenda, and it is all about power, and control. Do you want a vaccine card that allows you to drive your car, do your job, shop at your local grocers? A vaccine the manufacturer says causes sterility in woman? Where is this leading us? Can we smile at people and love them and have them know it, through a mask? Masks were always worn by criminals to hide their identities. People hide themselves to escape notice of others. But it also impedes our ability to love one another. To trust one another. Are we to be afraid of the flu for the rest of our lives? To live in fear and masks? To be quarantined when we are not even sick? To close businesses because of lockdowns (to slow the curve, dontcha know??). To shut our country down for the agenda of those who want to control us? I am afraid for my grandchildren. What sort of country are we leaving them?

My grandma apologized to me once, for the mindset of my dad. She said that they all suffered deprivation during WWII, and that when it was over, and they could, they spoiled their kids. They praised them overmuch for small victories because the trials had been so hard. They tried to make them succeed even when they did not really earn it. My grandparents continued to bail out my dad until their deaths, when my dad was in his late 60s and early 70s. She lamented the state of the world with so many spoiled brats running around. She said that the “greatest generation” bore one of the most spoiled. Makes you think – and here we are. Spoiled by power, those in control want to stay that way.

Once again, please think for yourself. Rely on solid information, not just the local newscast or that of the MSM nightly news program. Search for the truth. Even our medical community has been fed lies by the CDC, who change their data and their minds almost daily. The MSM is declaring a candidate a winner – it’s not their job nor their responsibility to say someone has won, and then censor everyone who disagrees with their interpretation of the election process. The world is careening out of control, and how America goes, so goes this world of ours. It is time to “put on the armor of God” and to stand up for what you believe in! Hang in there. Nothing is over in this election cycle, yet. The only firm date in our Constitution is January 20th!

Truth will always prevail…

I recall learning about telling the truth when I was a little girl. I had Barbies. Barbie everything. I am kinda old, so these Barbies were some of the first, and they were sturdy. And all the accessories were sturdy. I played with my pink Barbie car in the dirt, with her latest outdoor outfit, with my brother’s GI Joe’s and their tanks. When I was done, I just hosed it off. And it was pink. Every accessory you could buy was pink. Garish pink. LOL. One day, my mom had gone to the store and brought home something brand new. It was personal-sized potato chip bags in a long, rectangular box. Mom put them on the shelf in our pantry and told my brother and myself we could have 1 bag each.

Well, I love bar-b-que chips. Has always been a weakness of mine. I took 2 bags and ran off to play. A little while later, mom called us inside and asked us which one of us had eaten two bags. I, of course, denied it. I thought I had been so crafty. My neighbor walked over with an empty bag, asking my mom where she got them, etc, because they were so new to the marketplace. She had no idea I had stashed the bag in her trash can to hide my theft. Sigh. I was caught. Mom said the dreaded sentence, “I will talk to your father and he will decide what punishment you get for telling a lie.” I was doomed. Dad always talked too much, so my brother and I were never afraid of any sort of corporal punishment; we instead dreaded, “THE LECTURE.” It could last a half an hour or more, depending on his mood, and the day he had had. Well, that night came and my dad was so creative with his punishment. So much so, I am 64 years old and I can see that stupid bag of chips, and I can still see myself staring at the punishment, all these years later. You see, he took everything pink and Barbie and put it on the shelf above the washer and dryer, in the garage. It was taken away for a month. I could only stand and stare up at it, for 30 days.

For a kid, this was devastating. And unforgettable. So for me, telling a lie had real consequences that I have never forgotten. I raised my kids with the adage of, “I would rather you tell the truth, as awful as it may be, than to lie to me and make it worse.” I would not spank my kids for much, except lying. It is the foundation of character. And that is where I am at today. Lies – truth – character. It all matters, in everything you do.

There was a discussion online today about choosing your path, and that it has never been more obvious that we are past partisan concerns, and we are facing good versus evil. Well, I countered that since the beginning of mankind, in however you choose to believe that occurred, humanity has always been struggling with good versus evil. And I countered with the the fact that the size of the step towards either is inconsequential. It is the direction you chose to go.

I fear God more than I worry about what people think of me. I would prefer to stand for the truth that is of God, than to lie and be well thought of by men. Unfortunately, not many today have that line in the sand – that truth is above all else. So many have walked away from their faith and the truth, in the light streaming from the “Box.” And since TV was invented, it has been shaping the conscious of humanity.

When our children were young, we lived on a dairy farm where there was no cable. No TV signal reached our house, situated in the literal middle of hundreds of acres of farmland. If you did not know where we lived, especially when the sudan grass was high, you would never find our house. And I loved it. Our children were young then. The oldest was 5 and the baby celebrated his first birthday on that farm. And they spent the next 5 years not watching TV, unless it was a video we bought for them. The photo above is the two boys, in our driveway, in 1991, I believe, in young sudan grass growing. No TV, just all those acres to run around in. It was truly the best time of our lives. I miss the simplicity.

Recently, the truth has come under attack. Whatever side you stand on in this election battle, please know it is truly a battle for our 1st Amendment rights, as well as the right to live freely, and have every voice heard in a legal vote. If we do not protect this way of life, and allow an illicit election to go forth, our country is doomed. Quite literally. And it is next to impossible to convince anyone who believes in the honesty and reality of the results of this election, to listen to evidence that all is not as it seems. The abundance of fraud is unimaginable to most.

There is something I have addressed before and it is called cognitive dissonance. That is when the truth is told to you, but it is so outside your current belief system, that your brain just cannot accept it. Reality becomes something you shun. Because you believe every word that comes out of that BOX. Please. Do yourself a favor, and turn it off. Walk away. There is dishonesty, graft, evil, and malfeasance all around us. It crosses the aisle. It is in both houses of government. It is in many state employees, legislators, and governors. It is in our mayors and unfortunately, most of the departments they control. Evil is running the show and we have been so ingrained to accept it, we don’t even see it.

This election is tearing families apart. It is tearing friendships apart. It is tearing the fabric of this nation apart. Are you a patriot? Do you love America? Then stand up for what is right!

Hillary Clinton, who I believe is evil to her core and sold her soul decades ago, said as she walked off stage when she realized she had lost in 2016, “If he comes after me, I am taking 90% of DC with me.” And guess what? I am fine with that. Root out evil wherever it is. And it is everywhere. Watched the new Ryan Reynolds’ commercial? Satan falls in love with 2020?? Or his new movie preview about living in a video game? The symbology freaked me out. Do yourself a favor – research your questions. The answers will blow your mind. But truth is always better than a big, happy, lie. And it always prevails. Always.

Winter Doldrums

I am a little down today. It’s Black Friday and I’m feeling the black mood. LOL. Yesterday we enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving meal with our son and his family. My daughter-in-law outdid herself. The food was amazing. And they had decided that since they had so few Thanksgiving decoration items, they would just go ahead and bring on Christmas. And it was lovely!!! The decor looked amazing and it added to the festive attitude. Our grandson made everyone welcome letters. It was so sweet. I was able to sit with each grandchild and listen to them read from their favorite new books. They are doing so very well. I am so proud of them.

This image was floating around the web and it was one of many that sort of spoke to the day. And to 2020 as a whole! LOL! We enjoyed our Thanksgiving regardless of what was going on around us. Our DIL said a lovely prayer, and then we went around the table, telling everyone what we are grateful for. My granddaughter stole the show when she told us she was grateful for hot water! And to be honest, the simplicity of that was just beautiful. It was where she was at. And she continually amazes me with what she shares. LOL.

I am sure you can see, even without a full face, that she is a character! And I thought about it and having character is a good thing. I also saw my mom yesterday; her character has stood her in good stead over her lifetime. She has end-stage Alzheimer’s and is now with Hospice care in her Assisted Living Home. Because of the chaos of Covid, people like my mom are cut off from everyone they know. We have lockdowns and our most vulnerable, our elderly, have no one to hold their hands or share stories of their lives with – no one who really knows them well. The staff are such amazing people and I know that they have developed their own family within the home, and I have seen how they care for mom. I am eternally grateful that they will be the ones spending her final days with her. But I am kind of mad it is not me. On the other hand, she is in an Assisted Living because living with us just did not work out so well. I’ve said it before, but something inside mom knew the order was wrong – she was supposed to be caring for me, in her home, because she is the mother. And it was all backwards for her, and as she descended further into Alzheimer’s World, this one confused her too much. She was frustrated and angry and I was the closest person she could take it out on. And since she has lived there, we had been able to restore our mother-daughter bond. Until yesterday.

High School Graduation 1974 – Me and Mom

Yesterday, mom did not know who I was. For the first time. And it undid me. She has no memory of being a mother, or having children running around, all the years of my childhood, of my brother and I. She has no memory of being married. She does remember she danced. The annoying part for me is that I am jealous of her years dancing, because she remembers that and not me. She took ballet and tap and was a part of the Royal Ballet – their junior troupe – until she was 18. She is 91 and she recalls that part of her life. When she asks to go home, she means New Zealand, with her mom and dad. No memory of my dad, who she met at 20 and dated until 21, when they married. During that time, they built their own home. In Mt. Roskill, New Zealand. They immigrated to the USA in 1955. I was born in 1956, and my brother in 1958. My parents divorced when I was 22. Mom remarried, to the love of her life, and was married for over 30 years. They lived on a sailboat; they traveled. They enjoyed life so very much. (They lived in so many places we used to tease them that they belonged to the Witness Protection Program!!) And my children recall him as their grandpa. He passed away about 8 years ago. She has no memory. Of any of that. None of it. Alzheimer’s steals the person away from themselves, because it rips those memories away from them, leaving them hollow. And making those of us who live beyond them, longing to have them back.

Mom turned 91 and we brought her a gift and a card. They are on lockdown, so I was only allowed to stand in the storm entry while she remained in the house. She read this card and commented how nice it was. I told her it was from us, her daughter and son-in-law. And she responded, “Oh. That’s who you are.” My heart sunk. She had been looking at me so deeply, and after she said that, I realized she was searching for familiarity. And she could not find it. What was interesting was as we were about to leave, she called me by my full name – and when mom used to call us by our first and middle names, I knew it was time to listen. This time, I was happy she associated me with my name, but there was no reason to pay attention because she had already checked out. She was being wheeled back to her recliner and called over her shoulder, “Call me sometime and we can get together. I would like that.”

Mom and I the day she moved in with us, in 2017

The days have certainly raced past these three years. The interwoven life we had when mom lived with us, has gone by far too quickly, as Alzheimer’s has just stolen more and more of Mom away. I am so very blessed we had the time we had, just she and I. We had the conversations we needed to have, so that I can ensure these last days are how she wanted to spend them. The Hospice team is incredible, and so very kind and understanding. We have zoom meetings and they do me so much good. They understand this disease and although they are there to give mom the best medical care, they are also there for me. And I feel blessed for that. The Chaplain and I hit it off, and she plans to call me regularly. Not mom, but me.

And that brings me to the winter doldrums.

It sort of feels like it is time to huddle. LOL. The holidays are fraught with all sorts of landmines, and this just brought me down. I am going to have to do some baking or play Christmas music or something, because I just paused writing this, called the Chaplain back and left a message, and had a weepy moment.

They say Alzheimer’s is the long goodbye. And I totally get that. I realized my parents are pretty much gone for me. Dad has dementia and we haven’t spoken in a couple of years, and that relationship has been purely over-the-phone, off and on, for about 30 years or more, and steadily that way for over 21 years. So we were not that close. But Mom was a different thing. To watch her shrink into herself and for us not to be able to connect, well, it is devastating. I long for some mom moments with her even at 64 years old. But I realized yesterday that I will never have that again. And it deeply struck me on Thanksgiving Day.

I am also looking to my granddaughter in her simplicity…and I will be thankful for all of it. Because the bad and the good are what make up life and it makes it richer. Moving forward, one day at a time. And appreciating hot water!

I am thankful, with my granddaughter, for hot water!

Plandemic – Lockdowns – Holidays

So, don’t judge me too harshly. Yes, our tree is up. So are all our decorations around the house. We have not put up anything outside, as of today. That may change, but who knows? My daughter-in-law helped me do this while my husband traveled for work last week. I was worried he would not be happy, but he just shook his head and said, “Why not? I’m just glad I didn’t have to do it!” He was also impressed our DIL climbed down under the house to our crawl space, brought all the boxes up, and then put them all back down there, again! She was my hero of the week!!

If you are familiar with Jim Shore’s creations, you will recognize the style, if not the statue. I am in love with all Jim Shore! His representations just make me smile. These two Santas are on the side table by my chair in our living room. I love looking at them so much. The world is so chaotic right now, why not have some Christmas? I am different in that I am devoutly Christian and am not moving the Birth of Christ or anything of that nature. We have started Advent, so I feel like it’s time to decorate anyway. But, I do not leave the Christ Child in my nativity scenes. I play this game with our kids and hide him daily. I tell them, “Find Christ and keep Him in your lives every day!” Well, now that we have just one at home, and he is almost 22 years old, I did not think he would care. He came in the house in the evening after we had put up the tree. He walked in and audibly sighed and said, “I like it. A lot.” Later on in the evening, as he and I were eating dinner, he shouts, “Found Him!” I laughed. I really did not think he would care at this point. So since he found Him, I had to move The Christ Child around.

Our singing, stuffed, Santa in camo is holding the Christ Child on his knee. We will see if He is found the next time one of our kids or grandchildren are over! And I love the movement of the Christ Child throughout our house. It makes Him come alive in a silly game. But my kids love it, even as adults. My grandchildren play the game when they are here, too. There is nothing wrong placing Christmas decor up in your home if you feel the pull. I personally enjoy a lit tree because it gets dark around 4:00pm here, and does not get light in the mornings until almost 10am. I love sitting with just the tree on, drinking my morning brew. After all, it is 2020 and it has been an awful year. Our state is closing down today, for three weeks. I have no idea what Thanksgiving will be like. I bought a tiny ham for my husband and myself if it’s cancelled and it’s just the two of us!!

This was my first Jim Shore. I fell in love with the simplicity, and with the style and how engaging it was. My husband, and my DIL the other day, keeps telling me Santa rides a sleigh with reindeer, and I know that. But this is whimsical and just cute. It is a pain to store, because it comes in two pieces and the styrofoam is getting old. LOL. In this era where we have to be at home all the time, why not have the things around you that bring you momentary joy when you glance their way? Why not celebrate the coming Birth of our Savior now, when the world around us is afraid – afraid of catching a bug (with a 99% survival rate I might add) and afraid of each other? We’re all masked and hiding from one another. I feel the worst for children. When out shopping I rarely mask up (I always wear one at my doctor’s office) and quite often people will pull their kids away from me, because, well, you know, “the Rona”! Kids rarely catch it and are not germ-spreaders. I wish the main source of information would give accurate information. Most people are scared and think they’ll die. They won’t. My dad, who will be 94 soon, was in the hospital with both Covid, pneumonia, and strep. He survived. In fact, he was up and walking and feeling fine after 2 days in the hospital. He was symptom-free. He was one of the “vulnerable” population, too. I have a friend who is very vulnerable and yes, she would not survive, but she has so many other issues that would contribute – she’s on O2 constantly, among other things. So I get the concern. But that portion of the population is very small. We should quarantine them and let the rest of us roam freely – no mask required (they don’t do anything other than identify us as obedient sheep anyway).

One of the things I think we have forgotten in this era of masks, anger, and distrust, is the simplicity of service. We can opt to be kind to one another, even if we disagree. Our current status here was moved to locked down as of today. It means the CDC enacted strict distancing and basically asks everyone to work from home and stay home unless it is absolutely necessary. It is no way to live. Engendering fear in the populace is the art of control. And we begin to turn in our neighbors for not wearing a mask or for having people not of your household, even though they are family, over for celebrations. Good heavens, people! What has happened to us since March? That is only 8 months. In that short space of time, our country and our world has disintegrated into families locked in their homes, with little to no social interaction, children not playing with friends or going to school (I homeschooled so being at a brick and mortal school was not a priority). We just don’t want to risk getting sick. Which is kind of silly when you think in 2019 they estimated (still not sure – good old CDC) the deaths from the flu to be 34,000. And with all the shoddy reporting these days, somehow the CDC believes 1,000 people per day are being diagnosed with the Chy-na flu. (aka Covid-19). The deaths are just not happening. The news – the mainstream media – is making Covid out to be the great killer. It just is not. It is a form of the flu and it is very virulent. So wash your hands. Maintain good personal hygiene. Go outside! Get in the sun! Take vitamins. Eat home-cooked, good-for-you meals. Exercise with your kids. Play with one another. And decorate to make yourselves happy. Enact service with your family – do things for one another. Be kind to those you meet. Do not be fearful. The plandemic, because I do believe this was international germ warfare, is not going to destroy our country. We may come out of it different people, but don’t be the one who is narcing on their neighbor for no mask or having a birthday party!

I stand at this window when I wash dishes. And I love to be reminded of things. I placed the items there to direct my thinking when I am standing there. I see the sock-darner of my grandmother; I see the cross, the angel, the icon of Christ, and now I see my Santas. My husband made those for me. There is another one, and he is red, and he is over by my stand mixer (They match). I try to see these things and remember to get my head straight. I pray when I see the Cross, and I see the Holy Water. I have cute little figurines from my kids up there (a character from the movie, Avatar, and a little gnome my husband found). Why I am telling you this is that the world is against us. The NEW WORLD ORDER (NWO) does not want us meditating on the past with our families; the future and praying to God. They do not want our families intact – they want the State to care for us.

And there you have it…the holidays so far….