Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Joy

I just got an email from someone who read my blog. I'm sure they are worried about me. I wonder how many others have read it, that choose to not tell me? It is OK, I didn't write it for responses. I would be embarrassed if the world suddenly arrived on my doorstep to comfort me. I have to face the fact that the public, known and unknown, can read what I write on this not-so-private blog.

I carry myself through life with a smile and a lot of activities. I am sure no one looking can see that I have a dysfunctional family. I don't really talk about my children. What would I possibly say?

I am aware that I am not unhappy each hour of every day. I spend a lot time very satisfied with my life. My husband and I hike nearby trails with our dog, (see picture we took on our last hike), eat lunch at the new Chinese restaurant in town and visit friends often. I keep busy with my garden and planning new craft projects. I clip interesting magazine articles to examine later and surf the web and visit friends on Facebook.

I was just very aware that I was in a real funk the other day. I was compelled to share my funk on my blog. As a volunteer in Hospice, as a Long-Term-Care Ombudsman and tutoring foreign students, I know that it is important to share. It is important to reach out to find hope and it is important to check out ourself to see that we remain as healthy as we can both mentally and physically. It helps others that we are not perfect. It is hard to share our problems with someone who appears to have no problems of their own. I made myself vulnerable writing my blog the other day. It is a step making sure I keep my humanity and probably my humility.

So, to my world of blog readers, never fear. I am doing pretty good. I made 4 different cookies yesterday. I cleaned the refridgerator today and I plan to spend Christmas Eve with my husband enjoying a fire and knowing I have many blessings. My whole world cannot revolve around children who could care less. It is a sad reality that brings me to my knees at times, but it does not keep me from enjoying the good things I have in life.

  • I have a good husband who happens to be able to fix most anything!

  • I have a dog that might be bossy but she loves me well

  • I live in the most beautiful area of the United States

  • I never go without food or shelter

  • I am warm and toasty in my bed at night

  • I have good friends

  • I have family that loves me

  • I have a large garden that keeps me in wonder while keeping me busy

  • Our vehicles are running well and have decent gas milage.

What more can I really want? So, I have a couple kids who I would like to love me better, but I cannot control everything and I cannot have everything. Life is not always fair.

Christmas Eve will be tonight. It is time for cheer. I can feel it. I hope that all of you have the same. Let's count what is good and not dwell too much on what is bad. Know it is there. Recognize what it is. Do what you can to make it better, but dwelling on it too much just spoils your opportunity to feel the joy that certainly is out there for us all.

Happy Holidays to you and your families!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Sufferers Hold On

Christmas is upon us as a season where magic happens. People who never love suddenly find that they want to give love. They want to be loved. Is that love we need to hold and share shortwired to show up mostly at Christmas? Are we programed by our maker to realize if only for a short period that love is the most important thing we have in life?

We all have love problems. It is just a given that life is not always fair. Life has maybe more pain than good feelings for many of us. During Christmas time, a sudden urge comes to the surface to connect with those around us. We send out cards to people we haven't seen in years. We buy gifts for family, friends and neighbors. For one short period of time each year we are thrown into the reality of just what love we do have but also it is clear what love we do not have.

I understand why sucide is so often an act during the holiday season. That love we don't have looms over us like a deep black cloud with no possible light to break through. It becomes a blanket of pain we wrap ourselves into seeking comfort but only feel the loss more. Our loss is often because our loved ones have died. They are gone with no possibility to come back . Christmas hurts because of their parting. We may find comfort in what we believe about after life. We may not because we have lost that belief in our rage over being separated from those we love.

Rage often fills the void when there seems to be nothing else. My own mother found rage when my sister died suddenly. Her rage kept her alive. She would not give up the rage. It kept her breathing in and out. In the process, she lost family and friends who were assulted by this anger. She was comforted with her rage keeping the reality of the world at bay. She is in her 90's now 20 some years later, with that rage just under the surface not to be talked about or recognized. Rage is not socially acceptable, but it never the less lives within her.

I have a loss of family. I have witnessed rage as a war against loss with my mother. I do not want rage in my life. I find myself wading through a deep grief that seems to be a dark black cloud that has no end. I am a rational human being and I have love in my life. I will not find an easy way to rid myself of this black cloud. I have too much to live for to die easily. The black cloud will co-exist with the other parts of me. I don't think it will ever be wonderful again. Life will be made up of loss forever, but life will also be parts that are filled with joy and meaning. I will most likely find all holidays and celebrations covered with this black cloud. I will always miss the love I have lost. I will appear the person most people think I am. I will hold my black cloud close under wraps until the holiday passes. Sunshine will come with the pain of lost love tucked away where my mind doesn't go often. In a time when my guard is down, that cloud might oooze out for a few seconds, my throat will close up, tears come to my eyes but I will recover. It is just at holidays that the full force of loss is raging against all reason. I will be thinking of all loss that many of us have experienced. I will be thinking of sunshine for you. Sunshine if only for moments or two makes life worth living. Hold on fellow holiday sufferers. It will get better. Christmas is nearly gone! Love who you can. Love well.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fractured Families for the Holidays

I'm feeling the Holiday Season full force today. I'm missing some of my family as I always do at times that traditionally speak family. I have two adult children , who do not visit me during holiday times. It isn't because I live too far away. It isn't simply because there is not enough time to travel. It is because they do not want to share the holiday with me. I know many fractured families exist. I know that I am not alone in feeling the loss more when a holiday approaches. The knowledge that I share this grief doesn't seem to make it any better, but I believe it has to help.

I'm writing this trying hard not to air my dirty laundry to the world, but still letting others know that I share their pain. I know what it is like to be more a bother than a loved one. I have no sage advice or clear idea of how to solve this syndrom of family undone. In our society, we have plural marriages, half siblings, parents living in separate cities and even states and countries. We have hurt children and lost connections littering our lives.

We have children of divorce that are unable to move forward from the pain their parents inflicted on them. I am sure that parents don't mean to hurt their children. I know I didn't want to hurt mine; yet managed to knife them so deep the wounds have never healed. I remember plotting and planning just when and how I would escape a bad marriage without hurting anyone. In the process, everyone was hurt no matter how I justified my decisions. I told myself that my children could never learn to respect me if I stayed in a marriage where I was a second-class partner with no rights. In fact, they still see me as the woman with no rights or rational thought. They see me and treat me much like their father did. I could not leave behind what I had already taught them so well.

For years, I fooled myself that I had escaped my fate. My children seemed to admire me, love me and even respect me. It was just foolishness on my part to believe it could be true. I think they were only trying to please me. It didn't take much to shatter the veneer that wrapped their true vision of me. When the crack appeared, I became much less important. My actions and beliefs were easily disrespected and I was delegated to be a second-class mother. I taught them well in their formative years what to think of me . What they experienced was true. It doesn't matter that I am no longer that same woman. They do not care to hear me protest.

I made mistakes along the way; which now have been strung up on a banner proving my lack of worth. We as parents only do the best with what we have. I was a fragil, weak woman with an over simplified view of life. I thought if you loved enough, tried enough and were good enough, life would end up fine. It takes so much more than that! Looking back, the most tragic mistake I made was to not stand up for myself early on. I should have stood up to the husband and then I should have stood up to my children. Love does not always win. You have to do what is the right thing to do. Tough love would have even been a good thing.

If someone is reading this today and knew me long ago, they would not recognize much of who I am today. My own children do not recognize who I am. I have a strong core of what I believe is the right thing to do. I make myself do what is right even when it is uncomfortable. I stand up for myself. I stand up for others. I am still kind. I still love well, but I have tempered this with a fierce fiber that I give myself no choice about. I smile to myself knowing I would die for some of what I believe. I have no doubt that some things in life can be that important. I know I put myself in danger of being hurt, unliked and sometimes shunned by my need to be a voice that will not be silenced. I don't have to think of what I will do in a situation where I see disrespect, unkindness and intolerance. I already know. I have already decided what I need to do.

So, holiday times can be tough when those you love choose to not be with you. I have friends and other family that love me. They share those times with me, but I miss those faces from my past. There are holes in my holidays that cannot be covered with cheer and laughter. I imagine there are many of us fighting back the tears that want to come by baking cookies for our neighbors, shopping for the less fortunate or like me creating one more craft that maybe I might send to a grandchild I never see.

It would be easier not to write this. I seldom let others peek into my reality of my fractured family. I don't want pity. I do feel an overwhelming need to share today for those others who have the same situation. They may feel like I often do that maybe this dirty laundry is just that and should be kept in a basket hidden from guest. Let it be known that there are many of us this holiday season trying hard to bury their pain from the view of others.

Give out hugs, good cheer and maybe share a story of imperfection of your own. All families are not perfect. Life is not always fair. Many of us want to know we are not alone.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Craft Creator in Progress 1 Christmas Card

I watched the movie, Julia Julia yesterday. It was a rainy Sunday afternoon; which made it one of those days to cover up with a blankie, settle in on the couch with the dog snuggled into the curves of my legs while watching a movie. First of all, I loved the movie. My husband kept passing it up on our Netflix streaming que thinking it was just about cooking. I knew better, so when he was busy watching a ball game in his "man" room, I turned it on.

It was so much more than about cooking. I have always admired Julia's cookbook finding it was true what she thought about butter. It makes everything taste good! It occurred to me that I could take a hint from this movie to jump start my life into a new direction.

I think I am going to finally become someone who creates beautiful crafts. I have dabbled in crafts and have created my fair share of projects, but the activity has always been secondary to most anything else. I have at least a dozen or so craft books, piles of torn out articles from magazines and drawers and containers of assorted materials and tools to create the crafts I have always intended to make.

I will make my crafts page after page of them; while actually using the supplies and tools lined up in labeled boxes in my craft closet; which takes up almost 20' of space along one wall. I even have an antique document chest with 20 or so large deep drawers full of beads, papers, glues, sparkles, inks, and much more! It is time. I have time. I have passion. I have supplies. I will create. Like in the movie, I will do a certain amount of crafts (she did recipes). I think 100 projects is a nice even number to start with. It will take me awhile, but I bet I can do it within a one year period. Maybe I will do more than one a day some days and then not do any for a week, but I will do 100 in total!

I can't promise to make every craft in every book. I don't even like some of the projects so why would I make them? I will go through my materials to accomplish the ones that speak to me. I will try hard to not purchase new supplies so that the boxes will empty and the drawers will rattle with unused space.

I will blog about each project letting my readers know just how I adapted something to fit my sense of design or fit my supply of product to use. It will be fun! I always do best when I have to be accountable and I will envision that I have masses of readers who follow each step of my urge to create. It doesn't matter if you really exist. It matters what I believe.

I'm not silly enough to believe Martha Stewart dreams up all the wonderful things she makes, but I will make her my mentor. She will be looking over my shoulder assessing my work driving me to pay attention to detail. I can be messy and get distracted easily. I will learn to focus to make Martha proud.

I will upload images of my work, list the supplies used and give pointers using the goof ups that I made to keep others from making the same mistakes. Get ready world. I will create. I will finish what I start. Also, friends and family, get ready to receive the best of what I make. I can't keep it all! My husband just asked me what I was going to get out of doing this. He is such a typical man with an engineering background. Must I have a result? The result is that I make 100 crafts learning new techniques, skills while having F U N. His next question is what I was going to do with what I make? He is so predictable! I will find homes even if I donate them to raise money for an organization. Maybe in another week or two, I will have that piece of the puzzel in place. I could sell the crafts and donate all the money to the local dog shelter or something like that. I could even include making dog coats; which I have always wanted to do and give them to cold dogs. Hey, don't get me started. I will find places for my crafts!

I started today by making a home-made Christmas card. It was simple one. Just listing the supplies down made me realize why I sometimes change my mind about making something. I had to get all these supplies out and ready to use! Whew.
  • White card stock
  • Hole Punch
  • Imagination Corner Cutter
  • Fiskars paper cutter
  • Small detail sissors
  • Scrap of Vellum paper
  • Page from a Christmas Carol Song Book
  • Few Inches of Cranberry Satin Ribbon
  • Rubber Stamp of Fir Tree
  • Rubber Stamp of word, "Holidays"
  • Rubber Stamp of Scroll Border
  • Memories Soft Vanilla Ink Pad
  • Shimmers Premium Iridescent Rose Ink Pad
  • Archival Ink Sepia
  • Yes All Purpose Stik Flat Glue
  • Martha Stewart Create permanent glue (I found at Walmart on Sale)
  • Gold Craft Glitter
Procedure to Make Card:

  • I cut the 8.5 x 11 inch card stock in half and then folded it to make the card

  • Cut the corners with the corner cutter

  • Tear the the edges from the Christmas Carol to fit on to the front of the card

  • Stamp the trees remembering that iridescent ink takes a long time to dry. Don't touch it too soon. I stamped a few on white card stock and a few onto the vellum scrap. (I save scraps of paper in a large plastic bag to use on future projects)

  • I punched holes on one edge of card weaving the ribbon in and out gluing the edges down.

  • Taking the Vanilla Ink and the scroll edge rubber stamp, I covered the front and inside of the card for a subtle background design

  • Taking hold of the Christmas Song, I rubbed the edges with the Sepia Ink using a foam brush. I also wrinkled up the Song then flattened out and lightly brushed the Sepia Ink over the top showing off the wrinkles.

  • I cut out the trees with the small detail sissors. I used the vellum trees as the top tree in two areas.

  • Glue the trees wherever you want them. I like a asymetrical design, but others must make even rows to be happy.

  • I had made some smudges with that iridescent ink, so I glued some sparkles on those areas to hide my mistakes and then added more because I liked the look.

First craft done. I have 99 left to do. Keep me company. Ask me questions and/or comments. You could even come out to do a few crafts together! How about a bird house making day before spring? Boy do I have some great supplies for bird houses!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Holidays on the Winchuck River

It is now that period between holidays. We have time to zipper our mouths shut so that when Christmas does arrive, eating won't mean extra pounds. I managed to not make a total pig out of myself. I didn't have the usual hurt of too full of a belly like past Thanksgivings.

I cooked a fabulous Thanksgiving meal that I got out of Sunset Magazine. It was Mexican flavored; which proved delicious! We were fortunate to have 11 friends and family show up to gobble just like turkeys! Lynnette made pies like only Lynnette can and Lee brought a tradiitonal turkey just in case someone was offended by my creative urge to change tradition up a bit. Mary provided a couple wonderful salads. We drank wine, browsed for hours over the food topping everything off with pie, home-made ice cream and whipping cream.

I've used the holiday period to clean up the photos on my computer. What a mess!! I've been in the internet business for years, so you can imagine the product pictures I had both on the computer and in Photobucket! I've purged myself of all business photos and then made files on Photobucket that I can actually use to find the pictures. You can browse through my pictures on Photobucket by clicking on this link:

I can see that I was 65 years old when I set up Photobucket the first time. It has been four years of non-stop internet business. I have just made myself retire from everything so that I can care for my mother; who needs me full time. I did keep a lot of craft pictures that I can use when altering photos or creating projects on the computer or on paper.

Holidays are not the same for me as they were on the past. My own children have not managed to come up for Holidays for the past four years. Holidays used to mean family. There is a element of sadness that covers the old cheer of celebrating. I have learned that Jim's family is a nice subsitute for mine. Lynnette and Jim are so very helpful and kind to both Jim and I. We couldn't ask for more.

I will soon get out all my rubber stamps, papers, stickers and anything else that will work to create Christmas cards that show how much I really do care for my friends and family. I try to personalize the cards for each and everyone so that they can be saved and maybe even treasured. I have put pictures of the ones. Here is one I made for friends and one I made for a grandchild. I make such a mess doing these cards! The one I made for William is posted for you see. I know the kids love seeing themselves on cards part of a magical world.

Jim's kids will be up again in a couple of weeks. We will celebrate an early Christmas with them since they will be celebrating the holiday in San Jose and Sacramento. We do have to share them with other members of their family. I have bought their gifts already. I make sure that all gifts are connected somehow to their anticipated move up here one of these days. I gave them the two books I bought since I couldn't wait. Lynnette got one on how to gut a deer and Jim a mushroom identification book. Perfect for their new lives they will be lucky enough to have one of these years.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Taking a Day for Freedom

Every Wednesday, Terisa comes to take care of my 92 yr. old mother. Jim and I escape into the people we used to be enjoying long hikes, a meal out and time to breath in and out without interruptions of someone else's needs.

Yesterday, we headed off to Crescent City just south of us. We explored the beach behind the airport where it is said one can find agates. We did find a few sugar agates, but nothing to gasp in wonder over. It is a nice long beach allowing for a good amount of walking. We could have walked to the mouth of the Smith River if we wanted to go that far....maybe if we could walk that far.

Our dog, Maggie, enjoyed trying with all her might to catch a seagull. Of course, she never succeeded, but she did manage to find a sea lion that had died and washed up on the beach. Horrors! Why do dogs love to roll in anything dead? I know all the stories of covering their own scent to be better hunters, but she lives in the comfort of a home with humans who do not need a stink to be impressed with her powers of being a mighty huntress.

We gobbled up fish and chips out on the point near the port where you can enjoy a meal while watching sea lions very much alive jockeying for space on the one lone pier where they are allowed to bask in the sun. Maggie had to stay in the car. She has never managed to be able to keep her dislike of being left alone without embarrassing wails that seem to go on forever.

One of our missions for the day was to purchase crown molding for the bedroom I just painted. We were surprised to find Home Depot charging almost double what our local Ace Hardware for the same crown molding! We made the stop at Walmart while we were close. I found two throw pillows to put on the bed accenting the new colors of beige/sea foam green/chocolate brown. I wasn't able to find the "right" throw for across the bed. It will have to wait for another Wednesday. You can tell from the picture, that we do not have an elegant bedroom. But, now it is clean and fresh. It had been a good 10 years since I had painted it.
I am covering a glass lamp shade with glass and stones in sea foam colors to replace the ceiling light that has been hanging for way too long! It is looking really good. I might take a picture to put here when the project is finished. I have to glue and then wait till the glue sets up before turning the shade to add more stones, so it is taking days instead of hours! I plan to search for a new table lamp at thrift stores or at a garage sale. It can wait until I find just the right one. I'm not willing to satisfy myself at a high cost. I can get a lamp for probably 5-10 dollars that originally sold for much more. I already have a great chocolate shade I found months ago for $2.00!!
You can see I am seldom profound. I think my post of a couple days ago was an example of a rare moment when I allowed myself to crawl under my skin to search out truths about myself that I am mostly too busy to bother with. I think the crawling under and around oneself is valuable. I am happy that I do manage to actually "think" every once in awhile.
Sometimes I wonder who reads my blog. I don't advertise it much to friends and family although I think they are the ones I write it for. It is much like a letter that I used to write back in the day when I actually wrote letters. I sometimes print it off to place in a special box waiting for my grandchildren to find after I am dead. I think it is important that they know who and what their grandmother was. I stick awards, pictures, membership cards etc in that box. They will hopefully see a true picture of what runs in their gene pool. While I am alive, it doesn't seem so important that they know these things. I think as adults, it will mean much more. I can't hope to live until then. My children were both 39 years old before they had children. I am old enough to be a great grandmother for them. I can almost see their faces as they explore this box. Everyone wants to know where they came from and what it might mean to their sense of who they are.
I had a great grandfather, who was one of the first to be in the United States Coast Guard. He later ran a light house on the Great Lakes. I think of who he had to be. He surely wasn't just a guy hanging out waiting for life to find a path for him. I had a grandfather who was a Salvation Army Officer along with my grandmother. He was good man doing what he could for those in need. I like knowing those things. It gives me hope for myself and who I might be. I had other great grandparents who journeyed across the ocean to find new lives here from Norway. It could not have been easy. I know my great grandmother had to work for a family in Chicago as a maid to pay off what it had cost for her passage. Her husband worked for 50 years at a foundry! Can you imagine working in a foundry for 50 years!! So, maybe it is easy to see why I find such a value in working hard. I getting profound?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Karen's Declaration of Independence

I attended the Caregiver Support Meeting earlier this month where there was a presentation on dementia and Alzheimers. The flyer is here on the left. At this meeting we were given a lovely statement, "Esther's Declaration of Independence". I am choosing to use this statement as a guideline to create my own declaration.
Karen's Declaration of Independence
Look at me as someone special with all my quirks, mannerisms along with my personal accomplishments and also my failures. I have accumulated what I call myself throughout my years of living. Things have happened to me during these years to sometimes cause me to pause; only to have to recognize that I am forced to look at myself as a totally different person. Hurt, joys and and looking at reality has had their affect on what makes me the person I am today. I am not simply any person. I am uniquely my own person. I am the only one who has lived my life.
You cannot copy me. It is soley me who knows all what I have done and what I might still become. I am still becoming me. I am irreplaceable and invaluable never to be duplicated. Once I am gone from this life. I am gone forever except in how I have touched you. I might have shared laughter, love and regretably even anger and hurt with you. All the ways I have entered your life makes immortality possible. I will live forever in what you pass to others in your life; as what I have left in a touch or in a word is what helps make you who you are. Do you catch yourself making up a silly story to explain why something is to a child? Do you love feeling the life of freshly made bread dough? Is every plant worth saving and is it difficult to step on a bug or to turn away a dog in need? These may be just a few bits of me that I have left in your care. Maybe your voice reaches new levels when you are angry or you find yourself intolerant about intolerance. You may be in denial about transgressions you have made. These could just be what you have learned from me that isn't that wonderful. I have entered your soul. I have become part of what makes you who you are like it or not.
I plead my case not to be disgarded when I grow too old to care for myself. I will not be worn out, useless like a worn out sweater. Wear me with honor. Don't ignore me or talk down to me, over me or around me as if I am no longer present. I don't want to be babied, pampered or patronized. I will be good to the last drop. Enjoy me for as long as you have me in your life.
Don't waste me letting me have empty arms with unfulfilled hopes. I pray that I will live out my destiny in all of its fullness and hope the same for you. I wish for worth, dignity and achievement for there is always more to be done in life.
Remember I go this way but once. Want me, love me and let the ending be as gracious and loving as it was in the beginning when I first arrived. Thank you for hearing me. Thank you for letting me enter your life leaving behind bits and pieces of me to recognize as me living still well after I am gone.
I changed Esther's declaration up quite a bit. I have not had the same life as Esther. My declaration could not be the same.
This exercise added to my life. I am clearer as to what I need, what I wish for and who I even plan to become when I once again re-invent my life. I read recently that someone who lost a child knew they were no longer the same person. They had lost the basis of what made them who they were. Their old way of living didn't have meaning any longer. Life had to start again at the time of their loss to make sense. I understand that now. That is why we cannot always stay who we were previously comfortable with. Are we a mother even if we no longer have children? Can we base our very core on that description we held dear for so long if the child does no longer exist? We are now someone different. Our husbands can die or leave us. We are no longer wives. We wake up facing a new reality of who we are. Life is never the same. We hold on so tight only to see it change regardless of our effort. I'd like to say life goes on. We do breath in and out, but life hicups. It gives us pause. The going on is not done easily. We have to find a new path and new way to describe who we are. I may not want to be like an old sweater with all those "used to be me" knitted into each fiber. The old sweater may not be discarded, but it needs some new fiber knitted into the body so it fits better. I think if I look at myself hard enough, I can still see those old parts that may have been buried in re-invention of self. I have to believe the old descriptions helped build who I am today. The more recently created me is only making me fit the reality of where I am today. So, I am not like a worn out sweater, I am a sweater that gets new fiber knitted into it as the need arises. Sometimes, I wish the fit was just a bit more comfortable. Maybe with time the fibers won't bind. The fit will feel like it has always belonged. I think loss always leaves a space that cannot be knitted over with complete success. My sweater has those dropped stitches that I can see when no one else notices.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Don't Tempt Yourself

Here I am with my friend, Elmo Williams. Elmo is 97 years old and still going very strong. Funny, I don't think Elmo looks any older than I do in this picture! Elmo just wrote a play that opened locally here in Brookings. I loved it; as it was all about what Elmo believes. He is a rare person, who has not lost his belief in the good in people. I have seldom heard him utter any remark showing his dislike for someone and he doesn't complain about life. Sure his knees hurt and I'm sure he feels old every once in awhile, but we don't hear about it. He isn't one to give an "organ recital". We ate lunch with two other friends up in Gold Beach at Rollin Dough. Thank you Laura and Geoff for driving us up there! Laura took the picture of Elmo and I. I am afraid that I didn't leave bread on my plate and I succumbed to a dessert that I shared with Elmo. At least I shared it. The moral of the story is for me to find other activities other than eating out! Apparently my self control does not exist!

Yesterday I met up with June Ruby-Bloom , our weight control coach, and some of those that are on the same diet plan as I am. It was good thing to hear what others are doing, how much weight they have lost and their goals for the future. It has slapped me across the head the reality that I need to stay on track and not to fool myself into thinking I can fool around with the fat in my gut. I need to just plain loose it!

Cora was so inspirational. She has lost 25 lbs. I could not believe the difference in her face alone! She is wearing a loose size 6 pants! I need to go where Cora has gone. She is dedicated to staying on the plan period. I fool myself into thinking I can eat a little of that and a little of this....but in reality she has succeeded and I have hung out with self satisfaction of being just thinner instead of as thin as I need to be! I will think, "Cora, Cora, Cora" whenever I head for the few almonds or the extra vegetables. At least I haven't found myself eating a peanut butter sandwich! Whew missed that bullet. Cora is a senior citizen like myself. If she can do it, I can! I can! I can!

We are meeting again next on November 10, at 2:00 at Mo Joe's on Chetco Avenue next to the theater. They have a conference room they let us sit in. I will be at least 5 lbs thinner at that next meeting! I am bringing a couple friends so they can see the possibilities for themselves.
It isn't raining this morning so I am soon to be out on the Winchuck River Road doing my three miles with our little Maggie. Maggie now expects to go for that walk; which is a good thing. I seldom will ignore the needs of my pets, but easily blow off what I need!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Jillian Michaels Kicked My Butt

I did Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred video this morning learning that I am not any shape at all! I walked a total of 14 miles last week feeling pretty dern good about myself until Jillian woke me up with her kick butt workout.

It has been at least ten minutes since being in the living room making a fool of myself with an effort to follow this video. My legs are still wobbling about as I walk into the kitchen to get another glass of water.

I have decided that sweat is a good thing, so the fact that I stink is no problem at all. It is that I know just how far I must go before I can say, "Yes, I am fit". I may never have a rock hard body like Jillian. After all, I am almost 70 years old. I imagine that the skin will still flutter while riding a motorcycle down the highway or catching a breeze at the beach. I don't even think in terms such as "rock hard" when it comes to my body. I have a goal to be fit. Fit will have to take into account that I am a senior citizen.

I will not give up. I believe that if I do this video 10 times within a reasonable time period, I will see that the legs hold up longer and maybe one glass of water will be enough to recover. I can still feel my calves feeling like mush as I sit here. Let's see what I have to say about Jillian's torture next time! LOL

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Pleasure Wearing a Size 8

I had a luncheon to attend on Saturday, where spiffing it up a bit was a requirement. I pulled on my rather new Ann Taylor black slacks in size 12 to find that I could not wear them. They were not only baggy, they looked awful! I was upset facing the wardrobe challenge in front of me, but being pleased with being too small for the pants. I found another pair of pants that passed making only minor changes to what I was wearing necessary.

I am a three minute woman. I wash, slather on a layer of makeup, grab something to wear and out the door I go. I had to ponder, plan and work much harder on the end result than I am used to. Change is uncomfortable even if it is good change.

After the luncheon, I stopped at our local CC's Consignment Shop knowing they would have a good selection of pants to choose from. I was right. There were several pair of black pants to try on. I chose some 10's and one pair of size 8. Ya sure, size 8 was only a dream! To my surprise, the size 8 pants fit perfectly! I didn't even put on the size 10's. Needless to say, my husband and anyone else that came within ear shot heard about the size 8 pants. I was on cloud 9!

I am no longer round. I am no longer pudgy. I am no longer wearing long sweaters or jackets to hide the truth of who I am. I still could loose a few pounds in my middle. But, I am no longer feeling unhealthy and unfit.

I walked 5 miles on Wednesday, 2 miles on Friday and Sunday and today I walked 3 miles. My two miles can now be 3 and my 5 can be further if I want it to be. The only bread I've had this last week was the wrap on the luncheon plate sandwich. I don't miss bread, but I do miss fruit; which I am about to re-introduce in my diet this week. I've only had a few blueberries in a shake once in awhile. Now, I plan to eat an apple from my orchard enjoying every bite! I want an apple before the bears find them.

On my walk this morning I saw two large bear piles along the road. Bears don't digest very well showing off clearly what they last ate. Our local bears have been eating local apples! Not mine, thank you. Mr. Bear, go find someone else's apples. Mine are taken!

I made a plan to walk to Gold Beach, a town 25 miles North of me. I am almost there! Now I will plan to walk to Port Orford; which is 50 miles North of me. The trail will go on until I reach Washington State. Maybe by then I can plan to walk to the East Coast! I love walking with our little Maggie. Maggie loves the walks as much as I do sniffing the local wild life, and finding interesting left behinds from the bears and deer.

I'll plan another "short" walk tomorrow and then on Wednesday; I am going to Gold Beach (in a car) with two friends for lunch at Rollin in Dough. We all know how fabulous Rollin in Dough is!! I bet even their lowest calorie dishes will be to die for.

Onward marching I shall go forward with my mouth kept in check and body moving as much as the old bones will go!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Just How Far Can I Walk?

I made the five mile walk up the Winchuck River Road with hardly any sweat; which clearly means I need to step up what I expect from myself. I did a two mile walk today trying to increase my speed. It also was easy for me. I can feel myself improving on a daily basis! I wonder just how far I can walk and still feel pretty good? I will do 6 miles next Wednesday and if that feels OK, I will increase it by a mile each Wednesday until enough is enough. On other days, I will do the two miles time permitting or I will be sure to get no less than 30 minutes of something cardio every day. I have that dreaded treadmill, 4-5 videos and my Wii Fit. I can keep busy!

I am still not able to start the weight loss again. I know this happens to everyone at some point, so I am just holding on waiting for the weight to start falling off again. I will not quit. That is not an option. I am drinking over 8 glasses of water a day since reading that it can increase your ability to loose weight. No worries, I won't drink enough to hurt me.

I used my new hand weights yesterday and watched what I ate. I didn't eat over my 1200 calories. I went to bed hungry. I decided that feeling hungry is a positive instead of a signal to stuff something into my mouth. I plan to feel hunger in my life without feeling the need that has always gone hand and hand with that pang in my stomach. One doesn't have to eat just because your body tells you that it wants to. Get over it, Karen.

Taking a shower the other day, I realized that I didn't recognize my legs. They belong to the new me....the thinner me! I wear smaller t shirts that hug my body without showing off disgusting rolls around my middle. I have lost most of my excess midriff. I still have a belly, but that will also leave. I wonder if my toes will get thinner. Does that happen?

I took a necklace that hung all wrong with the weight loss and removed some of the links. It worked and now I don't have to give it away as I had planned. It fits the thinner me.

I am aware that I am hungry as I type this. It must be the walk that used up the shake and bar that I had earlier. I will drink two glasses of water to see if the feeling leaves. If it doesn't, I will find pleasure knowing that hungry means thinner. It isn't a bad thing to be hungry. I will not submit to instant gratification. I have a backbone. I can be in control of what I do.

I am going to a luncheon tomorrow. I will not eat the dessert! I will not! I will give it to someone before I take a bite. I will not eat the roll and I will not eat anything unless I can look at it and know it will be a healthy choice and not a crap choice. I look forward to the fashion show. Maybe it will even encourage this "diet" of mine. I won't be buying any new clothes until I find myself at a good weight where I feel good, pass my cholestroel test and before my skin is hanging around my ankles. I am not going to be obsessive about my weight. I will be obsessive about being fit and healthy whatever weight that is.

I have bought some clothes at the thrift store. I haven't lost my need to have fun looking for bargains. They were things that will fit now and later like a pull over silk sweater and pull on cool lime colored linen pants to wear on hot days. I love loose linen pants that allow the breeze to float up and around. They were size 10. I believe that I will be wearing an 8 when I am through...possibly a 6, but that might be thinner than I need to be.
More later. Come back to see my progress. Holding pattern at the moment.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Taking a Walk on the Wild Side

The person on the far right is me at age 17 with my girlfriends. Look at that body! It is now approximately 50 years later. Where did the original me go?
I am getting myself ready for a 5 mile walk this morning. I figure that 2.5 miles is easy enough so I'll walk up river until I get that far. Maggie will enjoy sniffing her way along; if I don't end up dragging her because I'll be walking so fast! LOL That will be the day. Maggie has more energy than she knows what to do with.

I will need to get home somehow, so I will huff and puff my way back the 2.5 miles home. I'd love to take a trail into the woods, but something in my old mind keeps thinking about turning my ankle, Maggie getting hurt or a cougar following us and just what would I do about it if I was alone, unseen and unfound? Those anxious feelings will keep me on the road. Ten years ago, I would head into unknown territory without hesitation. Am I wiser or am I just more chicken? The Winchuck River Road is beautiful going up river, but Mags will have to stay on a leash all the way in case a lumber truck or a late riser deciding to go into town zooms by.

Salmon season has ended so our daughter will be heading back to the Bay Area. Jim will be free to take a hike with me then. Fishing always comes first in this family. Jim will willingly go into the woods with me and Mags. One of our favorite places is Wheeler Creek, where you can end up at the only place the Japanese bombed the United States in WWII. That can be next week.

Meantime, I will be safe alone on the road or at least some place where someone might notice me sitting crying because I turned that right ankle again. Funny how once you turn an ankle pretty bad, that ankle will hang on the rest of your life just waiting for a slight mistake in footing. It crunches and brings tears to my eyes each and every time. If I wait a few minutes, I often have no problem walking on it, but it is sore for a week or two afterwards. My fear is that one of these days, it won't let me walk like when I fell stepping into the boat 20 some years ago. Our first lab, Molly, sat in the boat with me while I laid there unable to move for at least an hour. Jim helped me hobble to the car. I had to fly to Indiana for a furneral a few days later. Without 500 mg of Tynenol, I could not have made that trip.

I read a list of ways to burn 500 calories per hour on the web this morning. It was funny that I can not possibly do any of those activities such as play squash for an hour, run at some impossible pace, or get on a bike and ride faster than I can drive our road. I guess my fate is to burn no more than 100 or so calories per hour and be satisfied that I can still do that! Just to walk 5 miles will be enough satisfaction for one day.

I received my heart monitor and hand weights I ordered. I have to set up the heart monitor this morning so I can see if I get my heart rate up to where the walking is actually a cardio workout. Somehow, I now look at sweat as a good thing. It usually means I am at the level of movement I need to be. I'm leaving the hand weights home for today. Can you imagine huffing up that last hill towards home lugging those things? I can't. My fat *** will be enough to haul up the hill.

Have a good think-thin day on me!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Travels to Thin

I'm going to use the blog to write down my random skinny thoughts while on my journey to be thinner.

Yesterday, I got to walk on the beach since the bar was closed for ocean fishing. Jim was home to watch my mom. When I got home an hour later, the bar opened. Mags and I did our 1.58 miles from the parking place to the Winchuck River and back to the car. Walking the beach is so much easier than using the treadmill. I can get off that treadmill any time; which at the beach I have to get back to the car + I have to go to the bathroom like crazy making me hurry as fast as I can.
I meet up with Mary pictured above on most early morning walks. You can see that she is in pretty good shape. These morning walks are amazing and so good for me and also for Mags, my canine companion. I plan to double up the walk as 1.58 miles only takes approx. 30 minutes. I need to walk for an hour to burn more fat and calories.
Today, Jim got out on the water early so I was forced into getting on the treadmill. I find it boring. I also need to move a lamp, so I have a clear view of the TV screen. Something has to make it better. I can't leave my mom alone to do what I wish I could. I plan to use a DVD of Jillian Michaels on days I have to stay home, but could not find the controller to the DVD! Hopefully, Jim will know where it is. I want to work out in the living room where I have more room and also mom won't be in her chair snickering at me. I cannot stand snickers from my mother just like I couldn't stand it when I was a kid. Some people love making fun of others...remind me not to do it! It is hard to jump around sweating like a pig knowing how clumsy you are looking and listening to someone laughing at you. Some day, when I am skinny and fit, maybe I will feel differently??? LOL
I'm doing good watching my intake of food today. I left my log book open on the counter so I can write down everything that goes in my mouth. That certainly helps and keeps me from lying to myself. I'm good at that.
Since August 25th, I have lost 1 inch around my waist and 4 inches on my hips. No wonder my pants feel baggy in the butt! They are!! Yae!!
I'll come back in a day or two to update my travels to the thin side of the world.
Weight today 143 Goal Weight 122

Saturday, October 09, 2010

A Journey to a Skinny Me

June Ruby-Bloom Before

June Ruby-Bloom Looking Good

in size 6 pants! She started with size 12!

I was introduced to a Take Shape For Life by June Ruby-Bloom (pictured above), who I have known for a couple years here in Brookings, OR. June isn't quite as old as me, but she suffered from that dreaded midriff bulge that we often find as part of being a senior citizen. I laugh when I think of becoming a box. Being short at 5'3", it doesn't take much to get me to look square with my boobs, midriff, waist and hips all becoming the same size around.

It didn't take the inner scientist in me to see that the product she was using worked. The before and after pictures told it all. I took the leap into dealing with that dern midriff of mine. I ordered the product and found that it didn't taste yucky like I thought it would. I wasn't hungry following the plan and that energy that I am infamous for remained intact.

In the first weeks, I lost weight amazingly fast getting down 18 pounds and most of it seemed to come off of that tire I was carrying around my middle. Sure, now that the initial weight has fallen off, my weight loss has slowed down. I am now committed to an exercise program that will help get me to that next level. My goal is to loose 15-20 more pounds. Don't worry, I will stop before my old skin starts gathering around my ankles.

I discovered that square women lack owning belts. Why would we emphasize our middle? I found my pants feeling like they would fall off whether they would or not...the feeling was there. I had to buy a belt after wearing Jim's belt one day to get my pants from feeling too big. I really don't plan to purchase new clothing before I end up where I want to be. I'll just gather it up with my two new cute belts that I found at Ross for Less at approximately $20 for both.

I wore one of the belts last night and was delighted to notice that even with the belt, you could see that the pants were baggy on me! I love baggy at this point. Baggy is a statement of success!

My jackets can now be zippered up without disclosing what I use to hide. I am no longer the open jacket queen often including a scarf hanging down to elongate my look and hide the bulge above my pants. Last night I wanted to wear this over sized necklace that I love. It appeared too big...too much for me and hung differently no longer content to lie across my upper chest. It wanted to hang lower. I didn't end up wearing it and think it will be a gift for someone larger than me! I don't have the necessary shelf for it to sit on.

I'm not interested in selling any product, but I do want to share my success. If it looks like a good choice for you, I'm sure June would be pleased to sign you up.

I am due to go for a check up with the doctor in about 9 weeks. I plan to pass my cholestrol test with flying colors. I will not need to take stantons if I can help it! I will not follow in my family tradition of developing diabetis because we would rather eat than be healthy. The tradition stops with me. I am already beating the loss of bone mass. I am active. I do many things that are weight bearing and I credit my active lifestyle for not copying my mother's severe bone loss. Her bone images look like spider webs! I have no bone loss in my hips and only slightly in my lower back; which the doctor says is normal for my advanced age. I plan to keep the old bones as solid as possible.

We all die, but I plan to die healthy as can be. I will die because it is time; not because I didn't care enough to do my best with the life I have been given. Amen

I will keep you updated on my progress and post a before and after picture soooooon!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Finding Health Information on the Internet

Many of the students in our last class on Helping you Find Health Information on the Internet were amazed on how much they learned. I had several comments on the ease of learning just how the internet works and how to move around on it.

Each student is provided with a binder that holds handouts of each class, so when you get home, you can simply review the class when you need to.

Some of us as seniors find new technology like computer surfing on the net way beyond what we think we can do.

This class is designed especially for those who find themselves stuck in the last century!

You are never too old to attend this class. We had students in their 90's.

Being able to find help about what ails us makes us have more power over just exactly we have done about it. I for one, don't like handing my life over to anyone. I feel better when I can ask intelligent questions about health choices I may have.

I'm looking forward to teaching another class and hope anyone wanting this class will show up. It is after all FREE and you can't get much better than that!

Mondays 10:00-12:00

Southwestern Community College

420 Alder

Brookings, Oregon

behind Abby Shopping Center


Thursday, August 05, 2010

Summer Fun on the Winchuck

Summer has never really arrived here on the Southern Oregon Coast. We were teased with a few warm days; only to be covered with early morning fog and mild temperatures the rest of the day. I think it was maybe 65 degrees yesterday. Lovely weather really, but my tomatoes would love a bit of hot.

I'm having a party on Saturday celebrating the summer that maybe will never come. Getting up early this morning, I have already started a large pot of baked beans, made the marinating sauce for the lamb and started putting together Frog Eye Salad. Frog Eye Salad is always a hit no matter where I serve it. I haven't made it for at least five years, so I'm going to eat way too much of it myself!

We are having lamb, salmon, tuna, Frog Eye Salad and baked beans with lots of different recipes of Sangria along with vegetables, fruits and desserts that guest show up with. I might make some pizzas to grill also. I believe a party should be a feast full of unique foods to graze on throughout good conversation, sitting in the expected sunshine and wondering our garden...and maybe playing with the few dogs that always show up. I love seeing piles of friends and family. It makes me feel like maybe the hostess with the mostest.

Frog Eye Salad is made with Acini Pepe pasta, Mandarin oranges, tiny marshmellows, coconut, dream whip, custard made with pineapple juice, sugar and eggs, cherries, and lots of pineapple. My recipe makes enough for 40 people; which means we can all have a lot of it! It slides down easily causing an urge for another bite....another bite with the urge just never satisfied. My husband just helped himself to the custard pasta mix. I have to hurry to get it put away, but I need to cool off the custard mix before adding it to the cool whip.

I've decided this summer to "really" retire. I'm just going to have to take the remainder of my inventory from years of selling on the internet and give it to friends for gifts, donate it, and have garage sales until it is GONE never to appear again! I want to spend time taking care of my home like I think of myself doing and just don't do. I have desire to paint rooms in new colors, redecorate our bedroom, make some fun things that I just never get around to like cement leaves from my large Gunera plant and creating a garden lady from the mannequin I got for free. I'm holding her upright with a tall piece of rebar, wrapping her with chicken wire being careful to keep her shape and then covering her with a mix of cement and peat moss. I will paint her with buttermilk so she should grow moss if I remember to water her and become a real surprise around the corner on the path at the back of our pond.

Maybe I will embed some jewels into her ....she will be a fun project.

Well off to create more mess in the kitchen and at past nine in the morning, I am getting very eager for breakfast....pasta and custard is too sweet for me this early, so a bowl of cereal will have to do.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Staying Aware Regarding Long Term Care

In Long-Term Care every residents has the following rights:

  • Quarterly Care Plan
  • Medical information on their condition
  • Visitors of choice
  • Nurse 24 hour service in Nursing Homes
  • Service Plan
  • Financial billing information
  • Level of function maintained or better

I think we often think that residents of Long-Term Care do not have rights. We place them in a Residential Care Facility because they are not safe living at home or we can't give them the care they need at home. We sometimes think we can keep Aunt Alice from visiting because she may upset the resident only to realize that Aunt Alice is very important for the resident to visit with. She was part of their normal life before being placed in Long-Term Care. It is the resident's right to choose who they visit with not ours.

We make decisions about medical information not considering that the patient has the right to know what is going on. We sell their home, pack up their treasures to pay for the cost of Long-Term Care without consulting with the loved one. We don't want to bother them with such tedious details, but they have a right to know how much the facility is billing them and where the money is coming from to pay the bills.

We can't assume that lying prone in bed is the future for our loved one. They may require physical therapy to be able to sit up again. It is important that everything is done to help them regain their health to the best of our ability. Sure, people don't always get better and they may even die, but just sitting there waiting for death is not an option in most cases.

I am amazed how little we expect from Long-Term Care facilities just because we are ignorant of the rules and regulations that govern these facilities. We assume because it is much easier than learning these regulations so that we can be an advocate for our loved one that is placed in such a facility.

I learned the hard way when I ignorantly placed my mother in a Long-Term Facility. I assumed they had her best interest in their hearts. The heart ended up being translated into the financial gain they could realize from my mother if they kept her at the lowest of all expectations. If one needs full assist on anything, it means the institution makes more money than partial assist or no assist. I found her being drugged into "full assist" as it is hard to do much when you are made into being unable to do the easiest of task, because you simply cannot wrap your mind around much when you are drugged.

I was frustrated feeling in my gut that all was not as I wished. I started asking questions and learning more. Needless to say, my mother now lives with me in our home. I took all her mind altering drugs from her and she came back to mostly only partial assist or no assist on her latest evaluation.

We can't assume. Be active in the lives of those we have in Long-Term Care. Like our children in grade school, you will find more satisfaction the more you are involved. You will know what is going on. You may be pleased at what you find out as there are many very fine facilities, but for every good facility, there is one that is in it simply to make money taking shortcuts to realize the highest profit. One of the facilities I am aware of spends $1.14 per resident per day on food. Can you imagine what these meals must consist of or do not consist of!

If you ask for the State Survey from a Long-Term Care facility, they are obligated to show it to you. It will show you what the latest state survey team found when they investigated the business. Take a look. You might find an infraction of a nurse not being on duty for 24 hours in a Nursing Home; which is against the rules. You might find feeding tubes not being implemented as to the regulations. Most often is the fact that call lights are not responded to forcing someone to wet their beds. How humiliating this has to be! Be an advocate for your loved one placed in Long-Term Care. They need your love and your support. Look on the bulletin board to see a flyer giving the name and the number for the State Certified Ombudsman assigned to the facility. Call her/him. Get to know just how they can help you be the advocate you must be.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Long Term Care Ombudsman Musings

June started off with presenting my information on Culture Change in Long Term Care at our local Care Connection Meeting headed up by Liz Cohen. I was surprised to see how many showed up and the way they seemed to eat up the information! It was a lively meeting with many comments by the audience. I love it when I can see sparks flying through a group knowing that they won't soon forget some of what I find worth sharing.

I have been energized by that Ombudsman weekend in Portland. My next step is to share my workshop on abuse in long term care. Abuse is such a gray issue. Sometimes I find myself not sure whether something should be reported or not. When in question, report. That gives the question to those much more qualified to decide whether abuse has taken place. I will share this next presentation once I get it typed up here on my blog.

We have a new Long Term Care facility here in Brookings, Oregon community. Sea View is like entering a fine hotel with a huge gathering place immediately upon crossing the front door. There are always groups of people at the many tables. Some are investigating whether or not to take up residency and some are residents enjoying getting together over lunch or listening to a talk or performance that has been brought in.

My friend Elmo Williams told me yesterday that he had given a talk there. Elmo is someone who recognizes good food and his report on the food was heartening. I find that I often do not even recognize what residents are being served in some facilities and here the food is presented as if it were a nice restaurant. I hope in a year or two I won't witness the food becoming much the same as anywhere else. I would love the cooks in all Long Term Care facilities to go to Sea View for lunch to see what is possible.

As an Ombudsman I need to stay objective. I will stay alert and not assume that all is perfect just because the food and facility is pretty!

Chetco Inn, a Residential Care Facility, is having a pot luck today. I've been invited to bring my mother. I think we will swing by as I hear it is always a good time. I like to see my residents having a good time.

The least favorite thing about being a Certified Ombudsman is writing up the reports. I find if I keep a running commentary on my computer with dates and times, I can assess whether a report should be written up along with notes about my residents helps me remember them and special information to help me serve them better. I feel good getting to know everyone better the more experience I have.

While I was at Sea View the other day, I sat in Memory Care with a resident sharing a cup of coffee and just chatting mostly about what she wanted to talk about. I feel I know her in a personal way. If I saw her at the grocery store, I would now feel she was like a neighbor eager to greet her and even give her a sincere hug. I'd like to have relationships like that with each and every resident I represent.

I have a male resident at one of my facilities that initially pretty well told me where I could go in no uncertain terms. Through meeting with him several times now, I feel he now even likes me and I have learned to like him. I think I might be a bit testy if I had lost my ability to communicate effectively and was stuck in a wheel chair somewhere I didn't really want to be. It is always good to put myself in their shoes before I go off thinking they don't deserve my attention.

I am sharing this stuff on my blog in a casual manner using no names or private information so that you out there bothering to read this might just spend some of your time being a friend for someone in long term care. Everyone deserves a best friend to off load on or just share with. Wouldn't it be special if each long term care resident had a "best friend"? The sad truth is many of them have no family, no friends and find themselves staring at the walls wondering why life ended up like it has. Now, some are still very much involved with life making the best of their situation and maybe even choosing to be where they are. Not all are suffering, but many are. I see dull eyes, lack of interest in much while hating the food, resenting sitting for way too many hours with nothing to do that interest them and missing their former lives. As human beings I feel we have a mission to make life better for those in need. I hope you find yourself motivated to stop by your local "old age home" to volunteer. Thanks for doing this! We never know if we will be one of them any day now.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Culture Change Movement in Long Term Care

I recently attended a meeting in Portland, OR, regarding long term care as an Oregon State Certified Ombudsman for Long Term Care. There is a movement in long term care to make long term care change from just caring for a resident into having the resident experience life much like they did before being forced into having others care for them. Residents haven't changed from who they were all their lives just because they are now living in an "institution". This movement addresses residents as individuals instead of the usual group getting all the same food, activities, care and environment. Here are some of the ideas I heard as suggestions for making this change for residents of long term care.

Life story questionnaire is a way to get to know each resident about their lives before long term care. How did they spend their day? What was their joy?

* Favorite music
* Favorite meals
* What did they see all day at home?
* did they have house cats?
* Were there live plants in their homes?
* did they enjoy a fish tank?

Some of the best practices to make a day better for long-term-care residents is to remember:

* Patience is needed
* Make repetitive - repeating is really O.K.
* Answer as first time you have been asked the question. Keep it fresh
* Jokes in morning set mood for the day
* Agitation spreads so defuse it before it goes further
* Validate even senseless. Everyone needs to be validated no matter what else is going on.
* Coloring outside the lines just fine as perfection is not really that important


* O’ho
* Roll dice to spots
* Trivia
* Songs
* Life style stories
* Grab bag poetry
* Good news stories


* Garden time
* Walks
* Bible study
* Pet therapy
* Interact with music
* Laughing Yoga

Restorative Activities

* Blend home in the institution.
* Therapeutic needs
* Entertaining
* Meaningful fun that suits residents
* Geared for options and abilities
* Create what they want
* Know what builds their soul
* Life enrichment Dept.: Laughter, fun and interacting with purpose

Other things that can make life like it was before someone had to be a resident of a facility

* Choice as to when residents get up i.e.: 7:30-9:30
* Buffet style meals instead of trays
* Consistent staffing with staff meetings sharing ideas in a learning circle
* I also read that having a staff member be assigned to a resident as a "best friend" can make life have more meaning. We all need a best friend even when old and sick.

Small group activities that:

* Engage
* Innovative
* Inspire

Here are some fun activities that bring smiles and a sense of what life was before being in long-term-care

* Pie eating contest
* Dog shows
* Brewing beer
* Wine tasting
* Pajama day for staff
* Make dog biscuits
* Have car washes
* Husk corn
* Make salads
* Make pies

* Have evening activities. Not everyone wants to just sit in front of the TV or go to bed. Older adults do have social lives and activities after dark when they are home. They should also have this pleasure in long term care.

Volunteers need purpose to keep them, so don't give them silly meaningless activities. I have volunteered often where I know if I were to stop tomorrow, no one would even miss me. Make the volunteer an important member of the team and they will stay.

Have more moments

* On the day of each resident's birthday have the resident have their own gift and their own cake. In "real" life we don't have a group birthday cake at the beginning of the month. We wake up to the joy of our own special day. Residents of long term care deserve the same.

We all need something to:

* To do
* To care for
* Care about
* To love
* To hope for

In Foster Homes some of the activities could be:

* Real life activities like polishing the silver, combing the dog etc
* Scrabble
* Cooking fun where "usual" life returns
* Copy what we do at our homes like making a bed, feeding the bird and more
* Ask residents what they like and incorporate those likes into their lives

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Pacific Antique Mall Brookings, Oregon

I bought some racks from Mory's stationary/art store; which is going out of business. They are the perfect racks for displaying Elmo's many pieces of art and movie memorabilia. They were originally made to display water color paper, so now they display completed art. I hung some of our throws on the side. They are 30 per cent off; which is a real bargain! That orange one would make a perfect wrap to wear over a swim suit as it is light, soft and washable!
Elmo is blessed to have spent years in other countries collecting beautiful items along his travels. This carving can be dated anywhere between 1500-1700's. It is the Muse of Music; which hung in a series of panels across the walls of Oxford University.

My husband was good enough to hang some trim to hold enough of Elmo's storyboards to show how interesting they are. We have many for sale all signed by Elmo. The storyboards were drawn by Hubner Mentor, who also drew the storyboards for Ben Hur. They were created for the movie, The Longest Day.
Elmo gave me this lovely shelf from France. Someday it will find a special place in my home, but I still need it to display many of Elmo's china pieces. You can see the majolica along with other fine collectibles.

This is what the booth #141 looks like that hold mostly Elmo's inventory. I also have some of my inventory mixed in with his and vice versa.

You will find this at the far right side of the area before Elmo's area. I have his menus here on the wall that are very collectible and wonderful kitchen or restaurant wall art. Remember to get a letter from Elmo if you purchase anything of his. I often have the letters with product, but that isn't always possible. Ask Dick of Dee at the Mall, if you don't have a letter with anything you purchase. It will add value and collectible value. They know where I keep those letters.
Looking to the far left across the middle of the larger booth. You can see there is rustic decor, floral items, home accessories and even some handcrafted items. I am selling Forest Angels made by a local Yurok Indian, Lena Hurd. They are just to the left of that large cabinet hanging on a little fir tree.
This is a close up of the far left corner. I see pillows, antique frame, a fine antique cast iron light, Elmo's cast iron dog candle holders from the 1700's and much more! That statue in the corner was purchased by Elmo while in the South Pacific making a movie. It won first place at an art show. Elmo had to wait an extra day for the art show to close so he could pick up his purchase.

I've been at PAC for just about a month and am very pleased at the sales Elmo and I have made! I am looking forward to summer-time business when the tourist descend on Brookings for cooler weather and excellent fishing just off shore!

We had over 4 inches of rain up the Winchuck River, where I live, yesterday, so I bet those women visiting headed for the stores helping to boost my effort to finally retire! I need to clear out my inventory. I took these pictures to show you how our booths look at Pacific Coast Antique Mall.

I found the following report showing not quite the 4 inches my neighbor reported measuring, but we made a national record for rain! I almost wore a snorkle going into town yesterday to take the grandchildren to the movies! I actually hydroplaned on wet road heading down river...the kids did a collective gasp, but old grandma gained control and continued safely into town. We sure enjoyed watching the action-packed, Prince of Persia!


HIGHEST TEMPERATURE (DEGREES F)..........................102 Pecos, TX

HIGHEST HEAT INDEX (DEGREES F)..................108 Brownsville, TX

LOWEST TEMPERATURE (DEGREES F)................30 Leadville, CO

LOWEST WIND CHILL (DEGREES F)...................-7 Santa Rosa, CA

HIGHEST WIND GUST (MPH)..........................62 Macomb, IL

HIGHEST PRECIPITATION (INCHES)....................2.34 Brookings, OR

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Walking The Dogs Up The Winchuck River

this Morning I received a newsletter from Ceasar, The Dog Whisperer, reminding me of the joy of hiking with our dogs up trail close to our home here on the Winchuck River in Southern Oregon. I hope you spend a moment reading the link to this post. It might just inspire you to get out there yourself re-connecting to nature while giving your dog some real joy! The picture above is myself with Marley, our Wired Hair Pointing Griffon who MUST run to have a complete life.

Myself again with both Marley and Maggie. Maggie is half Jack Russell and half German Shorthair. Can you imagine having that much energy? I certainly cannot. I appreciate her outlook on life going for the most at all times! If we could channel her makeup, we might just get our task done each and every day with time to spare! Look at that beauty of early spring forest!

The challenges for us old folk is hopping over rushing creeks. I wore boots this day, but prefer my hiking shoes so I don't really want to wade across. It is good for us keeping us able and moving even at our advanced ages. I am 69 and Jim is 72. We know many people that cannot imagine walking as far as we do and stop at the first creek...even those younger than us! It amazes me how we can put limits on ourselves that just don't make sense! Move it or loose it!

I love this regal picture of Marley seemingly on point high on a fallen tree. Staying home throwing a ball across the lawn just can't compare with getting up close and personal with our surrounding nature with Marley using her nose to find special smells not available in her home life.

You can see that I could walk further and faster to loose a few soft areas I have gathered on my body in old age. The dog treat bag is my fashion accessory; along with a whistle and a dog clicker. I look at all dog activities as a training session of sorts. The dogs are expected to come on call, sit and then get a reward. My training is to keep the heart rate up, breath deeply and take in my environment. I like to stay in the moment, enjoying the silence of the woods; while giving my dogs pure joy.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Living Up The Winchuck In May

This is our favorite hike with the dogs. Chimney Rock or Wheeler Creek trail is like walking through a magical forest. We seldom encounter another person enjoying the peace of the woods; while the dogs follow their noses to a state of wonderful exhaustion. This is just a short distance up river from where we are fortunate to live.
May is the most beautiful month here on the Winchuck. The Rhodies start popping and the wisteria hangs in abundant glory.
We recently transplanted our back slope with four additional rhodies. They have reached full bloom. This morning the hill is in full sun ablaze with red, pink and lavender. The rose on the back shed is now in bloom. I transplanted a rose to find that the wild rose root stock is what I ended up with. I love all things wild, so it is happy decorating our shed.

The little object in the center of the shed is a bird house that shows us the level of the water we have left. It goes up as the water goes down. It is handy to check to see whether one of our pipes has been knocked apart by a deer or the catch boxes up the creek needs cleaned out. It is great to have a man with an engineering mind. Living in rural Oregon means that you might have more than one way of getting water. We have catch boxes up the creek out back along with a well. We don't use the well, but feel good that we have a back up if needed. Pipes run the along our fence around our property to carry any water that is not needed that is used to water our garden. We manage to have green grass even by late summer.

This weekend is not only the end of May, but the beginning of summer life here on the Wild River's Coast of Southern Oregon. We will now have to wait an extra minute to pull out on a road, with the influx of tourist who return to enjoy our mild weather, good fishing, and beautiful flowers. We are known for our flowers and fauna along with salmon fishing.

I will share pictures of our Aspen Grove soon. It is our retreat in warm weather. You can find us there in late afternoon sipping boxed wine with our feet up gazing across the valley talking about how happy we are to live here and how exhausted we are from having way too much fun gardening, fishing or hiking with the dogs.

We Welcome You to Our Blog!

We blog about our rural area in the Pacific Northwest . This blog is all about my life and the places where my mind wonders from day to day. Have fun reading and looking at pictures. We welcome comments.

Be sure to watch, just above this blurb, my husband, Jim, using his 10 foot hands-free electric fishing kayak


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We moved to our current home on the Wild River Coast of Southern Oregon from San Jose, CA. Our family consist of Jim and Karen, two dogs and two cats. Karen's passion is gardening. Jim's obsession is building electric powered fishing kayaks and fishing.