Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I'm Back...


Mom didn't die the last time I wrote.  She waited until July, 2014, one year ago.  She always surprised us.  Even the doctors and the hospice caregivers couldn't believe her stamina.  And so long as she was comfortable and happy, I went along for the ride.

And a ride it was.  Mom planned her own funeral.  She picked the music.  She selected not two but three outfits!  I was to make the final choice at the time.  The colorfully embroidered jacket had been mine until she confiscated it one day when I was visiting.  She wanted to take her favorite knife with her but I resisted.  However, for her casket I did enclose a cuddly teddy bear that I knew she would have liked similar to one I had purchased for my dad as he was living with dementia.

She wanted a "Celebration of Life" and we had a grand one complete with funny stories, her favorite deli food and Bingo with prizes.

It feels weird though.  Every time I reach for the phone to tell her something.  Every time I wish I could dip into her wise and vast knowledge.  I miss the good times.  And I remember the stubborn, feisty, infuriating person who shared her opinions even when they weren't appreciated.  I wish I had those qualities but deep down, I know we were very different.  And that's one of the reasons I miss her so.

And then there's the sudden awareness that I'm next.  That all my aunts and uncles (all 16 pairs of them) are practically all gone.  And I wonder what awaits me.  How will I deal with my demise or more importantly, with those who I love and leave before me.  

Friday, March 30, 2012

In Her Final Days

Sorry, dear readers. I've been busy.

Mom is in her final stage of lung cancer. I feel like a part of me is dying with her. Thank goodness our town has unbelievable hospice services since both my husband and I have been down for the count with a virus.

If you are in a similar situation:

Use palliative and hospice services. They accept Medicare and make the whole process for both the patient and family easier. This is not recuperative care--it is comfort care.

I don't recommend the cots they can put in hospital rooms. I think they are meant to put you there but when a dear one feels better about having you beside her, be aware that you can probably get one in a pinch.

I am preparing myself for the inevitable. Mom has already told me what she wants for her funeral. But I wish I could capture her essence. Maybe if I had a video of her beautiful smile while telling the stories I've heard dozens of times, it would comfort me.

But mom is resting more, talking less and eating practically non-existent.

Imagine almost a century of life. The Depression, WWII, the Cold War, Korea, Vietnam and it goes on and on. Will the wars ever stop?

Now the last great-grandchild that she will meet coos at her, smiles at her and naps with her. I witness the beauty of generations, the power of legacy. I know I am one lucky lady to experience this but I can't stop dying inside.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

How to Make the Holidays Easier on the Pocketbook

Holiday time is often filled with stresses--for whom do you buy, what is it, and how much are you going to spend.

Wallstreet Journal provided " Seven Smart Money Moves for the Holidays" last year that bears repeating.

1. Set a gift budget in advance and stick to it. Only take cash to the mall.

2. Negotiate a gift truce among adults. Either no gifts or one gift to a random person. Specify an amount.

3. "If you get a choice, opt for time spent together building memories versus giving stuff that leaves you drained of your hard-earned cash." Go on a picnic. Give cooking lessons.

4. Set up funds for the children (grandchildren). Family and friends can contribute to a 529 college fund as their gift. Or help them open their first Roth IRA.

5. Forget the presents and give to charities. Join in on a hunt for organizations you want to support.

6. Give handmade items such as cookies, soups, pesto, flavored olive oil.

7. Research prices online to make sure you are getting a good deal.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Way to Go, Dianne: Fashion For the Older Woman

Ahhh. Just what I'm looking for, "12 Easy Tips to Update" my wardrobe and ZestNow, for women 55 and forward is just what the right site. Dianne Morris, also on Vibrant Nation, is my new go-to consultant:

1. Longer tops--about 8 inches or more below the waist.

2. Bolder necklaces, including multi-strand, to go along with longer tops. Beads are great. So are long chains or cords with medallions.

3. Small earrings for daytime. Go longer and larger at night.

4. Buy a belt, handbag, blouse or scarf in an animal print. Wear with solid color outfits. Handbags are getting more structured and tailored.

5. Black, dark gray, dark brown or navy opaque panty hose or tights. Sheer black hose are for evening.

6. Flats or low heels with decorative elements (bows, buckles, etc.) are in--Yay!!!! Also get good leather just-below-the-knee boots with opaque hose. Books go under pants and jeans.

7. Wear belts comfortable at your waist or a little looser below the waist. Thin ones for thinner fabrics. Wear with longer tops, over jackets.

8. Pants need to fit at the waist and hips and should reach at least the top of the heel or have a slight break in front.

9. Dark denim jeans.

10. Mid-knee or just past the knee skirts. Stay away from gathered or bunched. Go solid or tweed.

11. Mock turtlenecks. Good quality wool or cashmere sweaters.

12. Black is great for special occasions and can be added to new pieces for different looks.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Eat To Flatten Tummies

RealAge has shared Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen's suggestions for belly-flattening meal choices. Being a picky eater and one who has equated sweet with yummy, I was surprised that several appealed to me:

1. Yogurt. I'd have to add lots of fruit.

2. Eggs. The tortilla with the eggs, cheese and tomatoes looks like something I'd try.

3. Pistachios. Yum. I even like to shell them.

4. Grapefruit. Some are great, some just too sour for our taste. I'd want to go to a great produce stand for these.

5. Avocado. This is when I stop to appreciate my neighbor with their tree straddling our common fence. I put them into paper bags to ripen. Lately, however, our dog, Oscar, has discovered how yummy they are and we compete for them. Bummer...he brings them into the house half-eaten.

6. Mushrooms. I put them into my Thanksgiving stuffing but forget to eat them at other times.

7. Olive oil. This is easy. For a while now I've replaced my fondness for real unsalted butter with this miracle food.

8. Whole grains. It's time to get back on steel-cut oats. Brown rice goes into my chili.

9. Red pepper. This is a staple in my fajitas.

10. Fava beans. This, I admit, is Frontier Land for me. I've yet to use them.

11. Rice with veggies.

The object of dining on all these foods is to lower calorie count, feel full longer, eat lean protein, get all my antioxidants, reduce appetite, hinder the absorption of fat, and flatten my belly.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chemical Peels Remove Signs of Aging

I haven't tried it but I'm tempted. Especially because my skin has been a problem since adolescence.

Chemical peels remove many "visible signs of aging on the face, hands, neck, and chest. After the skin heals, fewer wrinkles, less discoloration, and improved texture may be seen." There may be temporary swelling, redness or bruising.

Depending of the depth of the peel, one can expect to see the improvements between one and fourteen days.

Sadly, most results are not permanent so the patient needs to explicitly follow their board-certified dermatologist's instructions as well as protect skin from sun exposure.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hope For Those With Age-Related Macular Degeneration

In a new study an implantable miniature telescope (IMT) approved by the FDA significantly improved vision for 76 patients averaging 75 years of age with end-stage age-related macular degeneration. "Most patients could once again see people's faces rather than just blurry outlines, and could get around the market or their backyard on their own."

According to Gary C. Brown of Center for Value-Based Medicine, the tiny telescope, "implanted in the back of the eye in the lens capsule, magnifies images so that the retina can relay better visual information to the optic nerve."