Monday, July 25, 2011
Sunday, July 24, 2011
When I Am Not Writing by Marcie Telander www.marcietelander.com
When I am not writing
I am sure that constellations, galaxies,
whole universes are
When I am not writing I starve
and the scent of forbidden
fruit, in the form of feasts,
fetishes, the phantasmagoria
are being served up
and devoured by others,
When I am not writing,
I always bore
When I am not writing
I am grieving—
I am the Orphan.
When I am not writing
my characters are
planning to run away
or worse, write me out of
When I am not writing
I can take time
to stare at my cat,
lie across my horse’s warm
make long slow hours of love,
with a real human being.
When I am not writing
I can actually listen to you,
and not be seduced by
the dialogue in my head.
When I am not writing I am
a devoted partner, a fabulous gardener
an ironer of sheets,
an arranger of flowers, a harvester of wild plants,
a dancer of tangos, a greedy reader of books,
a sultry singer of scat,
adventurous explorer, and peaceful, pausing
Madonna in the sun.
When I am not writing
I am glad, guilty,
clanking with envy—
I may drink too much, I rage—
I yearn, I feel divorced and
set free, at last! And--
I am always seeking
who left me last chapter, last
week, and is still,
if I am worthy,
waiting just around the
next parenthetical bend.
When I am not writing I am calm, still,
myself at last---
but, do not trust me for a second.
Deep inside there lurks the
desperate lover who
is ready to kill or die
for all those characters, voices,
terrible, wonderful relationships
should be born—
when at last,
Thursday, July 14, 2011
We've spent time with our youngest son, his beautiful wife and their children—our grandchildren. I got real giggles from Aiden when I called him a "cheap date" at the frozen yogurt store. We met up there for an evening treat. Grandpa decided to buy for everyone, but Aiden is only four months old. He didn't get any. He was happily watching everyone enjoying their choices when I told him he was a cheap date, and he must have thought that was the funniest thing I had ever said. Laughing babies are such a blessing. Granddaughters enjoying frozen desserts are, as well.
It was more fun with a cold delicious bowl than I ever remember having before. By the way, I chose banana with miniature Reece's Cups on the top. From my point of view, it was perfect. We went from there to Target, where we walked around and the girls got to pick out their new backpacks and lunch boxes. They both wanted the same ones, so Ruth is going to have fun making sure each girl gets the right bag and box when it's time to leave home. Maybe she'll put names on them. Disney Princess bags and Tinkerbell lunch boxes won the competition in both little hearts.
Yesterday morning the local theatre had a free showing of How to Train Your Dragon. Neither of the girls had ever been to a show in public before, although they watch movies at home with the family. They did beautifully. John and I joined them, and Ben bought a huge bag of popcorn to share. It was a movie John and I had seen before, but it was much more fun with the girls. I was amazed at just how respectful and quiet they were. Kate isn't three yet. Ashley is just four. I figured their first trip to the movies would entail some hushed whispering about behavior. It never needed to happen.
Some memories are worth more than gold. Near the end of the movie, when things were getting really exciting, Kate reached up and kissed my cheek. I looked over and she smiled at me. I held out my arms and she climbed on my lap for the last ten or so minutes of the film. It reminds me of that wonderful old hymn... "Precious memories, how they linger. How they ever flood my soul."
These moments have kept us sane. We return to the home where my mom is dealing with deterioration and dementia. My step father is not doing well. It appears he has had new small strokes that effect his balance, and he can no longer walk properly. He keeps falling and wants no one to help but her. She can no longer leave the house. He won't cooperate with anyone else. He barely eats. Doesn't want the walker. Refused assistance from the nurses (2) and physical therapist who have come to the house to help Mom.
It's been a nightmare for her, and an exercise in frustration and patience for us. We can keep her grocery list filled. I can change her bandage twice a day while she heals from her surgery. I make sure she's not spending her energy on cooking or clean-up. I can lend an ear and a shoulder to lean on. What needs most to be done is beyond me. I cannot make her see the need for him to be in a care facility. I can't show her how emotionally fragile she's become without upsetting her more.
Big brother to the rescue. We'll leave for home Sunday after church. Pat and his wife will arrive Sunday afternoon. Already I know we've stayed beyond what is wise. I run out of my medications five doses before arriving home. It's the seizure medication that worries me most. I'll call my neurologist today and see if he can phone in a small prescription to get us home. The blessing, all problems aside, is knowing Pat & Betty will be here to support Mom. You can get a clear image of them. Think salt of the earth.
We can head for home knowing Mom won't be left alone to make impossible decisions.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
If you try to explain something to them and go beyond two sentences, they cannot remember the first sentence when you get to sentence three. Neither do they care. Trying to have a serious discussion with someone who sits there grinning at you with a "talk to the hand" look on his face makes me want to scream and slap. You can't do that. It wouldn't help anyway. It wouldn't work with a two year old, and it wouldn't work with a 97 year old with dementia.
The current crises, and of course we're having one or I wouldn't be up at 5 a.m. writing, should be classified as, "I won't do that. People will think I'm old." Again, when you're 97, why would you care? Your years should be counted as memories or milestones, badges of honor. Not demerits. He's decided that he can't use a cane. Physical progression of age has determined that he cannot walk without it. He grips walls and furniture as he makes his way through the rooms. Walls work quite well. Furniture tips over, pulling him down and crashing on top of him.
He's a big guy, well over six feet tall. My mom is about five foot two. She can't pick him up. He refuses help from anyone else. He has fallen three times in the last two days. Each time he swears at my husband, who "must have pushed me." After all, it has to be someone's fault, and can't be his. He won't allow my big strapping husband to assist him from the floor. He wants my little mother to do it.
On Monday she'll call a visiting nurse. She's afraid to take him out of the house without the cane he refuses to use. She can't even continue sending him to the Senior Concerns adult day care center if he can't walk without falling.
We'll be here another five days. It's not enough. She refuses our offer to stay. She needs more support than a visit can provide. No wonder I'm not sleeping. There are no easy answers for a caretaker. Apparently there aren't any for a daughter who lives so far away, either.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Thursday, July 7, 2011
I'm not sure how a person can live somewhere for over 35 years and never feel like that's where their roots are. It was home, but my heart wasn't in it. We had some wonderful years in California. Friends worth driving two days to see still live here and have never driven out to see us—yet. Sooner or later they will also retire, and travel will undoubtedly go both ways. It's beside the point.
What I'm trying to discern is my emotional distance from an area that holds so many ties for me. I have friends, relatives and a history here. I drive past the home where we lived from 1976 until 2006, and there isn't even a twinge of nostalgia. We raised three sons there, and I feel all the emotional impact imaginable when I think of them, but looking at that house that used to be our home? I feel nothing beyond what I would feel staring at an old piggy bank used to save up to buy what you really wanted.
We used to drive through Hidden Valley together, John and I, and he'd say, "Someday I want an acre of my own." Even then John felt about the suburbs the way I did. Now we have that acre and a little more. One of the things we first liked about the home we chose in 1976 was that it was at the end of a dead end road, turn right, and pass three vacant lots. They put the road through, made it a major traffic artery, and put homes so close together on all those vacant lots there were twice as many students in the classrooms at the local school.
Crowding, of course, combined with traffic is bad. Weather is something very few people complain about in Southern California. Except me. I always did. I think you have to have seasons. I don't like Summer to begin with. If I don't get a Winter to balance it, then I'm really cranky. If it's just one of four seasons, then I can deal with it (as long as I have air conditioning.) The rumor in Southern California is that it really doesn't get that hot, so you don't need a/c. Lies, I tell you—lies! You need it. My air conditioning system was about four showers a day and a fan in every room.
But...today my friend Sherrie (one of the people worth a 20 hour road trip to see) took me for a drive. We saw Lake Sherwood and Hidden Valley. She drove me up Potrero Road, and we saw the old hills where John and I used to drive and dream together of our 'someday' acre. The beauty is still there. It was hot, but it's Summer, so it's probably hot at home, too. There was traffic, but there's traffic aplenty in Denver. I wouldn't be able to live in Denver, either.
As always, I come to a point where I know that I'm glad I came. Even though I never managed to grow roots here, so many wonderful people did, that part of my heart will always feel welcome to visit.
Monday, July 4, 2011
All I had to do all day was look out the window to see why we never drive on holidays. Yet here were are, driving on a holiday weekend. Hello, Fourth of July traffic. All the idiots are out, and all the police vehicles you'd think people would notice. Cars whip past us as we follow the posted limits. Then we pass many of them as they sit hunched over the wheel down the road, uniformed officer at their window. Do they think they're invisible or just above the law?
We passed a herd of bison as we climbed the Eastern slope of the Rockies, and normally we would have stopped for photos, but this is not a normal trip. We're heading to California to see family and meet our newest grandson for the first time. If we want to make it in time for the fireworks to begin, we
can't make any unscheduled stops.
A sudden heavy rain cleans our windshield, and a slick convertible races past, top down. The driver's hair is plastered to his skull, and his passenger is slumped in her seat. She appears to be yelling at him. John is laughing, enjoying the scene. I get a mental image of the driver eventually pulling over. He opens his door and a flood comes out of the car. John pulls up by the passenger door and offers the lady his hanky.
Within a half hour we had gone from 61° in a Rocky Mountain rain storm to low 90s. By the time we stopped in Parachute I no longer wanted to look at our temperature gauge. We dropped off a birthday gift for my sister in law, promised a longer visit on our way home and got back into the air conditioning with refilled coffee mugs and empty bladders. Leaving Parachute behind, we crossed the Colorado River and noticed how full and swift it is this year. It looks beautiful.
Have you ever seen a horse with a bit between its teeth? We finally walked into our hotel room in Mesquite, Nevada just before midnight. The time change allowed us to turn the clocks back to eleven, but that didn't help my body much. Now it's time for breakfast and today's run. We have grandchildren to see, kids and a mother waiting. Fun and fireworks. I hope they're ready to see Grandma sleeping. Just kidding.