Sunday, December 31, 2006

Snow! We are having a snowstorm. It started this morning when the rain turned to snow. We are now under a winter storm warning...I'm glad that I don't have to go to work tomorrow, I'm sure it will be a mess. It is pretty though.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Today we watched the memorial service for President Gerald R. Ford on cnn. Mom seemed to be especially interested in this event. It was solemn and reverent. Mrs. Ford looked especially tired and frail.

We went to the library to see if they had the book Wicked about the wicked witch of the west. They did not and there were 73 people on the list who had requested it. So I went to B&N and bought it. Started to read it this afternoon. But I never really get much of a chance to read with Mom. She wants me with her.

Lily and Stinky were both on my bed earlier tonight and a fight did not break out. That's progress. Bought Soft Claws to put on Stinky. Will need to have the assistance of a Vet Tech from the clinic I think. There's no way I'm going to try to put those things on myself. Stinky is way too rambunctious. And she bites. Speaking of Stinky, while we were watching the memorial service today, Mom was crying and the Stink jumped up on her lap and laid down, put her paw against Mom's face and tried to comfort her. It was too weird. Mom ended up stroking her for a while and Stinky purred. It was very moving.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Today I had my intake interview for the study involving adult children caring for parents with Alzheimers. I hope that I end up in the group that gets the extra care rather than the group that gets the usual care. I need help caring for Mom.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

2006 is winding down and we are still without snow. It feels weird but it's nice not to have to worry about how long the commute to or from work will be.

Mom has been in a good mood this week. It's nice. She is looking forward to me having time off this weekend. So am I. Even though I did accomplish a lot at work this past week. Tomorrow I meet with the head of the study I am participating in for adult children who are caregivers for a parent with memory loss. I still have trouble saying the "A" word, even though I spied it on Mom's electronic health chart last week at the doctor's.

Sad to hear about the passing of President Ford. I read about him on Wikipedia, there was lots that I didn't know about him. He really did have an interesting life. Farewell to a fellow Michigander.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

It's Christmas Eve and it's sunny and mild here in Minnesota. It's quiet too; Mom and the cats are napping, I'm enjoying the tree. We took a drive this morning to the local Department 56 store and I picked up some Village goodies and a beautiful cyclamen plant. Then we stopped by our favorite spot at the lake and enjoyed the view. New neighbors moved in across the street. Can't tell if it's a family or what though. Last night we watched "Meet Me in St. Louis" on DVD. It was really good. Corny, but good. I asked Mom if she wanted to go to a Christmas Eve service but she's not really that into it. So we will stay home and listen to Christmas music.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Finally ! A J. Jill store in our local mall! Awesome!

Looks like we will dodge another snowstorm bullet. We'll be having a green Christmas. Rare for us.

Our snow village looks pretty good on our mantel. Today, my coworker and friend Beth-Ann gave me some beautiful trees to go with it and they look awesome!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

All alone for the holidays...again. Family is just spread out too far and none of them like to travel over the holidays. Or, they just don't want to travel here. And no snow to boot! That is weird for Minnesota. But we're not giving up yet.

Mom freaked out about the bed rail and I took it off last night. Today, though, she said she wanted it back on her bed. Man, dementia sucks! I also purchased and installed a raised toilet seat which she was uneasy about but now she goes out of her way to use it (it's in the master bathroom). At first I thought it was a little too high for her but now it seems to be fine. Her hip continues to bother her so much.

I was exhausted today, maybe from the relaxant that I took last night.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Got the bed grab bar today and installed it on the bed. Already she is complaining about it. I asked her to just give it a try for a few days and at that time she reluctantly agreed. I'm sure I haven't heard the end of it. I wish I had more patience with her sometimes.

Am dealing with a painful flare which gets worse from sitting all day at work. I have to try to remember to get up and move around more often.

Still no snow here. It just doesn't seem like Christmas. I'm sure we will be sick of snow soon enough.

Yesterday we watched the movie '8 Below'. It was good, but so hard to watch. I really felt sorry for the dogs and their trainer. On Saturday night we watched 'It's a Wonderful Life'. That was good too.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Front page article today about the raids on meat processing plants in MN for illegals. It's sad but breaking the law is breaking the law, especially if they are stealing identities from Americans. I've heard all the arguments, pro and con, but the thing is, they are changing our quality of life, they are costing us money in education and healthcare and they are not melting into our pot. They are maintaining a 'little Mexico' right here in the US and that is frustrating. I feel sad for the families who are just trying to make a better life for themselves, but this situation has gotten out of control. Why can't the governments in Central America do more to raise the standard of living for their citizens? Perhaps we need a guest worker program?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Mom seems much more with it lately with regard to personal care. That's a good thing for me. She has been listening to music on her iPod, I gave her my old one. I put it on shuffle by song and showed her how to use the sounddock remote and she will turn it on and listen all day. She just suggested listening to music! I'm glad, because listening to music is something she has always enjoyed and it seems to have perked up her spirits.

Friday, December 8, 2006

I have started collecting Snow Village pieces. Today I bought 2 buildings from the New England Village series and set it up on our fireplace mantel. It looks very festive there.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Yesterday Mom and I put up the Christmas tree and decorated it. It looks great! It's cold here but we have only a light dusting of snow.

She has been having lucid moments this week with some weirdness. We went to PetCo to get litter and a fountain for the cats. Stinky loves it.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Mom loves my iPod, so I think I'll give it to her, remove some of the songs (the other day I came home and she was rocking out to ELO!) and then buy myself a new, video iPod!

Took Stinky to get her claws trimmed. The vet tech suggested we try Soft Paws on her. That should be fun, trying to get those puppies on while she's trying to escape.

It's freakin' cold here, the high is 9 above right now. Ick!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Lily has a scratch on her nose. From Stinky. I think it happened yesterday. Stinky also scratched Mom on the arm yesterday. She is a little shit. I don't know why she has not accepted Lily, but I'm not happy about this scratch. Lily is the queen of this house. Stinky needs to stop this aggression toward her. Mom was really upset about Stinky scratching her, but she insisted that it was not the cat's fault. She really loves that little cat.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The weekend has flown by, and amazingly, the weather has been quite nice here. Tonight we watched The Family Stone on DVD. Interesting movie. I liked it. I hung out the Christmas wreaths and we are debating whether to get a real tree or put up our artificial. I really wish that when I bought the artificial that I would have gotten the pre-lit one (but they were sold out). Oh well, live and learn. Beautiful Lily is here beside me sleeping. She is getting a little braver, she ventures out of my room but Stinky stalks her and chases her back in. I've found Lily upstairs a few times, once she was sitting on the floor next to Mom in the dining room! I'm glad she is getting some courage, I miss my girl.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Just got back from Thanksgiving service at church. Mom liked it but the minister 'wasn't like Bob'. She compares all ministers to him. It was a struggle to get her to shower and wash her hair; she claimed that she had already done so. And she wouldn't change her clothes so I let her wear her fleece top, though I made her change to a clean one. Now it's time to make the turkey. Oh boy.

Turkey was good as was rest of the meal. I'm becoming a good cook.

"Help needed for Alzheimer's Caregivers" just scrolled across the bottom of my screen. Ain't that the truth. Out of sight, out of mind.

Friday, November 17, 2006

I have found the best salad dressing; Marie's Raspberry Vinaigrette. It is so good! And it is low in calories and fat.

Today we picked out fabric for swags in the LR, den and MB. They probably won't be ready until after Christmas. I can't wait to see them.

Today we went to Mom's last PT appointment. It went well. She also had her blood drawn for her Pro-Time and it was high, probably from all of the green vegetables she has been eating. We have to recheck it in 2 weeks. She has an appointment on Wednesday with an orthopedist.

Monday, November 13, 2006

A left and we already miss her. Dropped her off at the airport and then took back an expired bottle of salad dressing. We also bought Mom some new tea that A introduced to her. Then we stopped off at the coffee shop and had a raspberry white chocolate mocha. Mom loves those.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Election is over. Thank goodness no more TV, radio negative ads. How could Minnesota's sixth congressional district elect Michele Bachmann, the unrepentant hatemonger? I am so disappointed that she can hide behind her cloak of Christianity and spew her hate and intolerance. It is despicable.

A positive note is the election of Amy Klobuchar to the US Senate. I am so happy.

A is here.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Mom is beginning to get nervous about going to the senior center with the social worker. She wants me to go with her but I can't. Then she reminded me that she will need a key to get back into the house. Now I'm starting to worry about the logistics of this. But I think the social worker can take care of Mom. I hope so. I have to stop obsessing about everything.

Today I felt icky, nauseous and weird. Then I realized that I hadn't take my med. I thought I had a stomach bug.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The bitching and crabbing continued Monday. I went to get my hair colored and told mom that was what I was doing and she would be bored. Still she wanted to come. Halfway there, after asking where we were going a half dozen times, she said, "Why am I going?". AGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

The social worker from the senior outreach program is going to pick her up next Wednesday and take her to a movie at the Senior Center. She asks about that every day. Today she said that lady called and said she was sick and couldn't pick her up. I know that she didn't call, because she would have called me, not Mom.

Friday, October 27, 2006

I am tired of being bitched at and crabbed at. Even though I know she doesn't know what she's doing, it's still hard on me. She wants to go out for dinner, then when we go out for dinner she complains that it's busy when we pull into the parking lot. She wants to visit the senior center but when we go to see the woman who sent her a note and that woman is not there she complains and crabs at me. I try to take it one day at a time because if I look too far into the future, thinking about a future of this is depressing. Don't get me wrong, there are some good times too. But my life has changed drastically in a little over a year. Sometimes the responsibility is a huge deal. Sometimes I'm grateful for the time I get to spend with mom. Sometimes I am infuriated by the guilt I put on myself. The monotony can get so old. But I know that I'm making a difference in her life. I know she appreciates it, but sometimes she gets so frustrated by everything she is experiencing. Her life is changing, she is dependent on her kid. That's gotta be hard. Especially since the kid she protected all of her life is now trying to take care of her.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

This posting on from Pat Tillman's brother is too important and poignant. I need to include it here.

From Pat Tillman's Brother

It is Pat’s birthday on November 6, and elections are the day after. It gets me thinking about a conversation I had with Pat before we joined the military. He spoke about the risks with signing the papers. How once we committed, we were at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people. How we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition. How fighting as a soldier would leave us without a voice… until we got out.

Much has happened since we handed over our voice:

Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can’t be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few “bad apples” in the military.

Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It’s interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.

Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.

Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.

Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.
Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.
Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.
Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.
Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.
Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.
Somehow torture is tolerated.
Somehow lying is tolerated.
Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense.
Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.
Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.

Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.

Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.

Somehow this is tolerated.
Somehow nobody is accountable for this.

In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don’t be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that “somehow” was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.

Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat’s birthday.

Brother and Friend of Pat Tillman,

Kevin Tillman

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Today I am achy, but Mom gave me a great shoulder massage and I feel better. We have yet to see the sun and it is getting really old. We need sun!

Talked to the social worker at the senior center and she said that Mom might enjoy coming to the center to exercise and they also have a movie afternoon a few times per week. She is going to send Mom some info on this. Mom has again expressed an interest in participating in some of the activities at the day center that we visited. But when I remind her that we visited she clams up. I'm going to try to set up a time for her to spend a few hours there.

Tonight after Mom hung up the phone, she asked how you knew D. I told her that D is your brother and that A is her daughter. She asked me several more times and I told her, gently, the same thing.

I worry about the Trog. He really has a lot of stress in his life and I know that he keeps alot of it inside which is not good. He and I are in similar predicaments.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Tears and anger. That's what I came home to today. Being cooped up in a house all day is hard. But I've offered alternatives. It doesn't help that we've had no sunshine for days. It's still upsetting to me. I remember how she treated my dad during his illness. There were times when she was very unsympathetic and she was not very caring. Boy is she lucky she has me. In the last year I've learned patience. Now I need to learn to put myself first and not let her guilt trip me into doing things I'm too tired to do. I need a break.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

William McGuire, CEO of United Healthcare, has been asked to step down for backdating stock options in order to increase their value. He will walk away with billions while hundreds of thousands are uninsured, others were denied coverage for life-saving procedures and healthcare costs skyrocket. The greed of it all is apalling to me, but not at all surprising. Somewhere along the line money became much more important than humanity. And that saddens me. But it doesn't surprise me. We are at the mercy of the so called elite. The richest of the rich, who grow richer by unethical means on the backs of the weaker humans. For every Bill Gates and Warren Buffet there seem to be 5 greedy SOBs who are concerned only with their own monetary gain. Things have got to turn around in this country. Those with the most need to be responsible citizens. Or something's going to happen. The French Revolution....

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I learned today that the son of one of my coworkers committed suicide. It makes me sad and angry that this demon that is depression took another victim. May he rest in peace. My thoughts are with his family during this excruciatingly difficult time.
Negative political ads abound on the airwaves in Minnesota. I'm sure the same is true everywhere else. So far, a few candidates seem to be taking the high road. I think I've finally turned my mom into a liberal. Or maybe there has always been one lurking within her, beneath the shadow my Dad's ardent conservatism. And by conservative, I mean conservative like Richard Nixon and Dwight Eisenhower. He would not participate in this new, religious right movement. I for one cannot abide the intolerance, greed and lack of responsibility that the current conservative movement condones. Don't even get me started talking about the Iraq war, Bush's economic policies and his foreign policy. How he ever got elected for a second term is beyond my comprehension. My sister's theory is that he used fear, of a terrorist attack, to garner support. She could be right.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Took Mom to the physical therapist today and she gave her some exercises that we will do together. Then we went to visit the day center and Mom was peeved even though she went in. I'm hoping that she might decide to do it in the winter. Speaking of winter, we've been having snow flurries and it has been bitterly cold here for the last few days. But for the weekend, the forecast is for 50s and sun. We are ready.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I don't know what made me think of this. In the early 90s my dad had a defibrillator implanted but prior to that he was frequently rushed to the hospital with ventricular tachycardia. At least once his heart stopped. My poor mom was at the hospital and she heard them issue a code blue and instinctively she knew it was my dad. Luckily they were able to restart his heart. Of course, my parents never told me about these incidents and my mom only mentioned it after my dad had died. They knew that I would worry and the last thing they wanted me to do was worry. Unfortunately, I've spent the last few years worrying first about my dad and now about my mom. I think that was the most distressing thing for my dad during his illness because he wanted to protect me from everything. I know that my mom worries about me worrying about her now and it upsets her. They were that way about all of their kids, but because I am the youngest they were especially protective.

Today we had our first snow flurries. It started out as a cold, rainy day, then around 10:00 am I looked out the window and saw snow flurries. Well, now we've gotten it out of the way and we can warm up and enjoy a lovely Indian summer. We've had a hard frost too. It's a little early this year, but now that should help with my allergies.

Monday, October 9, 2006

For some reason today was a hard day for me. It's been a little over a year. But the wounds are still fresh and I still don't trust. I can't stand to even see their faces. I know that I am not without blame but I also cannot excuse their behavior and the fact that I have been totally ignored and treated like dirt. I've learned my lesson; don't expect people at work to be your friends. I am all business now and it is basically a job for me, a way to make money for the things that I need in life. I think that today everything just came to a head for me. I know that she doesn't mean it, but Mom makes me feel guilty in the morning when I leave for work and she gets exasperated with me. I know that she is just thinking of a long day of alone-ness that she must face again. But that doesn't make it any easier. I feel guilty about not having enough energy every day to go out for dinner when I all want to do is come home and cuddle with Lily.

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Mom is up and down several times a night. She is aware of this so I don't think it is tied to memory loss. Sometimes she cries herself to sleep too.

Her hip does seem better since she's been using the muscle relaxant and Tylenol. Friday we go to physical therapy.

The other day I was thinking about how long it has been since mom's other kids have seen her. She sometimes gets her son confused with her husband now, and her daughter confused with her sister. When we looked through photos the other day this was apparent.

Friday, October 6, 2006

Today we went to the doctor where an X-ray was taken. Luckily no breaks from the fall, but there is basically no padding between the hip bone and the hip and she has arthritis really bad. They prescribed a muscle relaxant and physical therapy. I hope I don't inherit the hip thing. Both Mom and her sister have this problem.

I visited the adult day care center today. It seems like it would be a good place for mom. I'm going to try to get her to go for an hour to see if she likes it.

And I went to the therapist today. She wants me to try to do some things for myself. I will try.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

I'm sure there is a lesson in growing old. Perhaps for me it is to take better care of myself as I watch my mom struggle with memory loss, pain and being overweight. Tonight she fell. We could not get her up. Finally she scooted herself from her bedroom to the den, then was able to get up in one of the chairs by first pulling herself up onto her knees and then moving back into one of the chairs behind her. I've got to hand it to her, she is tenacious and a trooper. I tried to help her but she did most of it on her own. It's now time to buy a walker, whether she wants one or not. She has already said that she needs 'two canes' to walk. Well, a walker will do that. Now I have more to worry about when she doesn't answer the phone.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

It's a good thing that I never had kids. I just cannot deal with petulance. Mom can be so petulant. I need to get her to change her underwear, she smells. But when I tell her she smells she gets mad at me and then I feel guilty. In the morning when I leave for work, she makes me feel guilty for going to work.

Monday, October 2, 2006

Why can't people keep their cats in their houses? Stinky was howling away tonight at a cat that was perched on the egress window well. She gets crazy about other animals in her territory. She probably should have been an only kitty, but she's found her forever home now so I just have to do everything I can to encourage her to get along with Lily. Lily is my baby, she really is like a firstborn child, that's how close we are.

It was an amazing, glorious day today. Sunny and warm. The fall colors are gorgeous. When we crossed the river today, the trees were gorgeous against the blue sky.

This Friday I have an appointment to go to the adult care center. I'm going to go first without Mom to scope it out. She wants to go out to dinner every evening and I try to oblige, but sometimes I'm just too tired. And she tries to help out but doesn't really. I know she feels guilty about that. I feel bad about the pain she is experiencing in her left hip. It is really painful for her.

The Twins have won their division, much to the chagrin of the Tigers. It's too bad. It's still a long road to the World Series.

Meanwhile the world is going crazy; kids are shooting principals, adults are shooting kids. Once again we are reminded that our schools are vulnerable and violent places. Just stop being violent!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Mom was restless last night. She was up at midnight, banging around, coloring. Then she was up again at 5:00 AM. She yelled down to me, something about everybody being down there. I came upstairs to see what she was talking about and she was mad as a hornet, spouting something about 'someone going downstairs and not allowing her to go down too'. I think she was hallucinating. Funny thing is, she remembers the incident, and is adamant that she saw someone, but can't tell me what this person looked like. She has done something like this before. It's pretty common in people with dementia.

Today we went to the clinic to get her B12 shot. I had her ride in a wheelchair which made it easier for both of us. She's so stubborn though, she insists that she can walk, but she is in such pain from her hip that it breaks my heart.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Today would have been Dad's 76th birthday. I miss him.

Tonight we both got haircuts. I chopped off about 3 inches and now have a bob. I like it. Mom can barely walk, she hurts so much. Time to make that appointment with physical therapy. She gets so frustrated and upset because of her immobility. It's hard for me to see her like that.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mom has been on an upswing. She is doing really well but she is still worried about her rings. I hope that they are finished so we can pick them up on Thursday.

Our new gutters were installed today. The downspouts match the siding. Nice.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The sun is out! YAY! Last night we watched "Match Point". It was good; we both enjoyed it. Will have to rent "Scoop" when it comes out. Netflix is great.

Lunch at Olive Garden today. Soup, salad and breadsticks. Then we drove around and looked at the leaves that are just beginning to change.

Called ME when we got back. She is feeling down again, and anxious. She did not sound good. I hope she can get through this. I try not to think about recurrence of depression or 'poop out' of medication for myself, but it is always a possibility. Even when I take my vitamins and exercise as Tom Cruise has suggested. I have been using my GoLite lightbox and taking my fish oil supplements and so far so good. I really like the GoLite; it doesn't feel as conspicuous as the Sunlight and the blue light somehow seems different, in a good way, to me. We shall see if it continues to do its job this winter. Already my cohorts in the SAD support group are back full force and feeling the effects of the impending winter. I hope that this doesn't foretell a long, cold, snowy winter.

Yesterday we took Stinky to get her claws trimmed. Those claws can get lethal! She has been sleeping on Mom's bed today.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Mom has been having a really good week. She is really 'with it' and is not too depressed even with the rain we've been having. Amazing.

This morning the adult care facility manager called to see if I wanted to come for an appointment. We both answered the phone and Mom listened in to the conversation. Afterward she asked about it and I explained that it was an adult day center. She said she'd like to go with me when I go to check it out. That is amazing. Of course, in 5 minutes she may change her mind completely.

It has been raining and chilly for the last few days. Yuck. I ordered a new water panel for the humidifier in preparation for the winter season. Since I don't like going to Home Depot, I thought I would check out Amazon and sure enough, they had them.

Friday, September 15, 2006

It's hard to be a caregiver, especially to one's parent. I have a hard time 'parenting' my mom, getting her to brush her teeth daily, and other hygiene routines. Today we went to the dentist where she had her teeth cleaned. The hygienist kept reminding her to brush her teeth every day, twice a day. She will never remember this; I have to remind her. For someone who never had kids, this is especially hard because I haven't already been in the trenches, so to speak. And remaining vigilant about her health can be hard. AGH!

It's 7:30 and Mom has gone to bed. It gets dark here now around 7:30 too. Last night Stinky started meowing really loudly, like she was in pain. Turns out there was a cat outside taunting her. She ran from window to window with a big puffy tail and the hair on her back standing on end. It scared Mom. I can only imagine what she went through as a stray because she really doesn't like other animals, but she definitely LOVES people.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ann Richards on How to Be a Good Republican:

1. You have to believe that the nation’s current 8-year prosperity was due to the work of Ronald Reagan and George Bush, but yesterday’s gasoline prices are all Clinton’s fault.
2. You have to believe that those privileged from birth achieve success all on their own.
3. You have to be against all government programs, but expect Social Security checks on time.
4. You have to believe that AIDS victims deserve their disease, but smokers with lung cancer and overweight individuals with heart disease don’t deserve theirs.
5. You have to appreciate the power rush that comes with sporting a gun.
6. You have to believe…everything Rush Limbaugh says.
7. You have to believe that the agricultural, restaurant, housing and hotel industries can survive without immigrant labor.
8. You have to believe God hates homosexuality, but loves the death penalty.
9. You have to believe society is color-blind and growing up black in America doesn’t diminish your opportunities, but you still won’t vote for Alan Keyes.
10. You have to believe that pollution is OK as long as it makes a profit.
11. You have to believe in prayer in schools, as long as you don’t pray to Allah or Buddha.
12. You have to believe Newt Gingrich and Henry Hyde were really faithful husbands.
13. You have to believe speaking a few Spanish phrases makes you instantly popular in the barrio.
14. You have to believe that only your own teenagers are still virgins.
15. You have to be against government interference in business, until your oil company, corporation or Savings and Loan is about to go broke and you beg for a government bail out.
16. You love Jesus and Jesus loves you and, by the way, Jesus shares your hatred for AIDS victims, homosexuals, and President Clinton.
17. You have to believe government has nothing to do with providing police protection, national defense, and building roads.
18. You have to believe a poor, minority student with a disciplinary history and failing grades will be admitted into an elite private school with a $1,000 voucher.

Amen, Ann.

Monday, September 11, 2006

It was a dreary, miserable day today which seemed somehow fitting for this date. Five years is a long time, yet it seems like yesterday. The memories are still horrifying.

My voice has been hoarse off and on all summer long. I'm not sure if it's allergies or something else. Have been sore today from a fibromyalgia flare. I'm not looking forward to winter as I seem to be achy and sore a lot more often when it is cold.

Poor Mom, she tries to help but she can barely move because her hips hurt so bad. I will make an appointment for physical therapy tomorrow. Hopefully that will give her some sort of relief. I'm afraid that she needs a hip replacement but I don't think she would consent to it. The right hip was replaced and she went through a long rehabilitation with that. I'm not sure that she has either the strength or the stamina for another surgery. She is usually up before me in the morning, and she is not thrilled when I say I have to go to work. I feel guilty about leaving her. She also has taken to wanting to go to bed at 7:00 pm. I try to make her hold out until at least 8:30 or 9:00 but she gets petulant so I give in and hope that she doesn't wake me up in the middle of the night. She says she is tired but I think that she is actually bored so I try to entertain her. Most nights I am too tired though. I really wish I could find a job closer to home.

Saturday, September 9, 2006

It seems like Mom is asking when her rings will be done every five minutes. I'm trying to be patient. She is very emotional about those rings! I hope they don't take the full 2 weeks to size them otherwise I may go crazy . God, I hope nothing happens to those rings.

We are in the midst of an airshow. The planes are flying over and it is pretty cool to see old WWII planes and bi-planes in the sky. Dad would have LOVED it!

Speaking of Dad, last night I was sorting through my scrapbook stuff and found this picture of him in his speedboat racing uniform. Pretty handsome, eh? He bought a former Gold Cup race boat (I think it was the Miss Great Lakes?) and tried to fix it up to race it on the Detroit River. They'd put an allison aircraft engine into it and he tried to get Guy Lombardo (the bandleader) to race it for him. Very cool. He hung around with Al Fallon, Dan Arena and all those guys on the waterfront. Then I found a website, that had a whole history of the Miss Great Lakes I and the owners and drivers. Very fun. I wish I knew more about Dad's time in racing. He LOVED it.

Mom is obsessed with what she wears to bed. She will tell me every night that she only wears certain things. She will also ask me what I wear to bed. Tonight she had 2 servings of tuna casserole which is more than she has eaten in a long time. Usually she can barely finish one small serving so I am glad for that. The tuna casserole, by the way, was pretty darn good if I do say so myself .

Friday, September 8, 2006

Mom is restless a lot of the time. She moves, slowly, between the den and the dining room. Today we took her rings in to be sized down. About 2 years ago she had had them sized up but now they are way too big for her finger. It will take 2 weeks for them to be done at the jewelers. Mom keeps asking when her rings will be done. I have given her Grandma's ring to wear (G gave it to me before she passed away), but Mom will look at it and wonder where her wedding rings are. The jeweler is also going to appraise the rings for us. Sometimes Mom will seem perfectly normal, but then she will say or ask something that shows her confusion or memory loss. It's really, really sad.

Today it is overcast and much cooler than it has been in quite some time. We went to the clinic for Mom's INR (it was too high so we have to go back in a week) and then we filled up with gasoline (the price has dropped nearly 60 cents a gallon!) and dropped the rings off at the jeweler.

Talked to Trog last night. He is doing well but J is nearly incoherent and very agitated. She needs to be hospitalized I think. I feel so sorry for Trog, A and J; they really have not had a normal life since J got really ill. I know that it's impossible to pull yourself up with your bootstraps when you are that ill. I really wish that more could be done for her.

M loves being a freshman at Syracuse. I think he enjoys the freedom and the classes. I hope that he is careful.

Monday, September 4, 2006

So sad that the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, has died.

Tomorrow it is back to work. I already feel sad about the end of summer and it's not official yet. Why does summer have to go by so fast? I really need to move to a warmer climate.

Mom does seem better today; much more cheerful, more energy and more of an appetite. I hope the B12 shots help. She was declining much too quickly. I'll say it again, dementia sucks!

Well, I'd better start thinking about bed. Goodnight.

Sunday, September 3, 2006

I don't know if it's just me, but Mom seems better today. Maybe it's the B12 shots or maybe it's just a good day, I don't know. Yesterday she was very emotional and very upset. She thinks she's stupid, but I told her that she is forgetful. And I told her that she has dementia. She seemed to take that pretty well considering. I love her so much. I don't want her to suffer or to feel undignified. She loves her cat so much. It's so nice to see them together.

It has been a rainy weekend here. Cool too. We heard from Aunt ME today. She was lonely. Seems everyone went to fishing camp and left her alone. I hope that she does OK this winter. The season is so tough on us. I hate that depression runs in our family. On both sides. It is an awful affliction. I thank God that meds work for me. I hope to never experience 'poop out'.

Friday, September 1, 2006

Beautiful sunny day today, 9/1/06. Took mom to doc. She has low B12, so she is getting b12 shots. She complains about going to the doc. And I spend a lot of time cleaning up after her with her incontinence. I finally got her to wear adult briefs but I forgot to hide her underwear so tonight she put it on and took the briefs off. But she does love her kitty.

I saw my therapist today. The stress and worry of caring for Mom is taking its toll. It's important for me to have someone who is supportive of me and talking to her helps me to deal with transition from being a daughter to being a caregiver.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mom can seem completely normal then out of nowhere will come a question or a behavior that reminds me of her memory loss. Like today, I called her from work to see how she was, and we were talking when she said "where are you? Who else is in the house?" I thought maybe she was confused thinking the cleaning lady was there (she actually was there yesterday). I reminded her that the cleaning woman came yesterday and that helped to orient her. Most of the time I will see a glimmer of my mom, as I knew her before ALZ, and it feels nice. Other times she is dependent and helpless. She does not take care of herself hygenically anymore, her clothes and hair are unkempt. Before, she would not leave the house without lipstick. She is slowly slipping away. She also thought that her sister had called and wanted to "meet us halfway" between here and where she lives (she lives in Michigan). I checked the caller ID and there was no record of her sister calling. And if someone calls for me, forget it, she can not remember what they called for, or if she does take a message and write it down, it is garbled. Who would have thought that those games of verbal charade would lead to this. But that was probably the first sign of trouble. That is hard.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I refuse to kiss anyone's ass. That can be detrimental in some arenas. When the emperor has no clothes, I don't ignore it.

Today Mom and I drove up to see her old house. The thing that really stood out for me is how different that neighborhood is from our current neighborhood. The area around there is pretty rundown. No one was out and about in her old neighborhood. And it sure is far away! But it's a beautiful day today so it was fun to go for a ride.

My poor brother. He is traveling to their new home in MO with two overly emotional women. I hope that he survives.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Terrible tornadoes and damaging hail rampaged across southern Minnesota yesterday. It was awful. I feel so bad for the people who lost so much. Hopefully they still have each other.

Took Mom to the doctor today. Doc does not think she has NPH but she definitely has some balance issues. Doc recommended physical therapy for Mom. Hope it helps and I hope Mom isn't difficult about it. I'll just have to remind her that as long as she is mobile I can take care of her pretty much myself.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

It was a good day today. Came home to Mom in a good mood, sitting at the table coloring in the books I got for her. She said she loved coloring. I'm so glad.

Tomorrow Matt leaves for college. I can't believe it. It doesn't seem possible that he could be old enough to go off to college. I hope that he studies hard and that he has a wonderful college experience. He's a good kid.

Doug and family are packing up and moving to MO this week. I know it's hard for my niece to do this her senior year. I hope that she survives and chooses not to put her life on hold for the next year. I hope that she makes every effort to enjoy her senior year and to make friends yet keep the ones she has close to her heart.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Mom is upset because she thinks that she is becoming a burden to me. I feel so awful for her, that she has to go through this. I hope I am not making her feel burdensome. Her happiness and comfort are very important to me. Her moods seem so changeable. One minute she is laughing and the next she is teary and crying. I think it's the dementia, but we can't just mark everything up to the dementia. We have to make sure there are no other reasons. That's why I'm taking her to the doctor, so that the doctor can observe her.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Mom always asks if the actors on programs are still alive. She can remember the programs that she used to watch when we see them again as re-runs.

Today we went to the dentist to get Mom's teeth cleaned. It turned out that they weren't as bad as first thought. That's good.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Mom closed Stinky into the bathroom. I figured something was up when I didn't see her this morning. I opened the bathroom door and there she was. Mom was very upset about this, calling herself 'stupid' and crying about it. I really think she is depressed. I'm going to talk to the doctor about this on Friday. I hate this illness so much.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Something is off with the guy who has confessed to killing JonBenet. I think he's a wannabe. And that makes me sad because I've been hoping for some closure in this case for the Ramsey family.

The weather is beautiful today, sunny and mild. Heaven.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Country music 'star' (I put it in quotes because I've never heard of him) Troy Gentry allegedly killed a tame bear who was penned up. What a loser! First of all, I am totally against hunting animals, wild or otherwise, unless you need food and second, you don't kill a tame animal, who is penned up. This guy and the dude who 'sold' the animal to him, deserve to be convicted and either go to jail or pay a heavy fine. I don't agree with killing anything for sport, it's just not right. Does it make him feel macho to kill a bear named Cubby?? Get a life, loser!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The days are getting shorter; I notice a difference in the daylight and the angle of the sun in the morning and the evening. In less than a month I will start using my lightbox each morning to help stave off SAD. This summer has flown by way too quickly. I need it to last longer.

Mom went to bed at 8:00 pm tonight. She said she could barely keep her eyes open. She is having trouble walking so I have made an appointment for next Friday with her doctor so that she can observe her gait and try to determine if there is something treatable or if it's the progression of the dementia. She seems beaten down and defeated sometimes. And she is lonely all day when I am at work but she refuses to have anyone come in or to go somewhere. So I just let her be and try to make her happy. I feel so badly for her because she realizes that she's not herself. I try to be reassuring and comforting. She does seem to perk up when I am home. And we do get out a lot so that she isn't so isolated. This is a difficult period according to many I have talked to who have experienced this miserable disease. I hate it.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Do you know how weird it is to hear someone call my brother, the troglodyte, 'Dad'? It's very weird!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

How do you tell your mother that she needs to bathe without hurting her feelings? Or making her feel like a child? It's not easy taking care of someone with dementia.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The terror alert is at Red. The highest level. I'm glad my niece is home from the UK. I've turned off the news; won't listen to the latest litany of violence and terror. It's just too upsetting for me to think there are individuals out there who feel it is OK to kill so many in the name of a god, when in fact I think God is not happy with this. Unfortunately I think our government has encouraged more violence and terror by declaring war on them, liberating (invading) Iraq and supporting Israel. Violence begets violence and terrorists don't need much prodding. Isn't it ironic how Bush's 'axis of evil' are the very countries who have chosen to step up their testing of nuclear weapons et al??

In the meantime, I've been working on my family genealogy. I seem to have uncovered a long lost relative; the brother of my great grandfather.

Went to therapy, took Mom for her INR and took my car for an oil change/tire rotation. Saw a VW Beetle convertible in the showroom. Cute.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

One of my favorite blogs to read is Rosie O'Donnell's. She has so much insight into politics and the entertainment industry. She makes it interesting by writing in an interesting prose. Check it out at

Today is Lily's birthday. I can't believe that she has been with me for 7 years. She is the sweetest, most gentle friend and I love her.

Tomorrow I get shrinked and then Friday I go to therapy, take Mom for her INR and take the VW in to get the check engine light looked at. Funny thing is though that the engine light went off this PM....maybe VW had a planned outage; seems like so many people I know are having problems this week with their VWs...

Monday, August 7, 2006

I have been having such a great time researching my family's genealogy. It's fascinating to find information about relatives and meet people who are connected to me through the generations.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Five meerkats were put down and tested for rabies last week at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley. The exhibit allowed children to climb up on rocks so that they could get a closer look at the meerkats. Unfortunately, one little girl decided to go further and wedge her hand into the exhibit giving the animals a clear shot at biting her. Her family refused to have her get shots for rabies so, stupidly, the animals were destroyed so that they could be tested. I am infuriated by this and believe that the child should have been forced to have the shots. It's not a decision that parents should be allowed to make when 1. they are not watching their child closely enough and 2. animal life is at stake. Shame on this family! And for the most part, most Minnesotans appear to agree with me. As you can imagine, the family is reluctant to identify themselves.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Several months ago I learned about a program called Safe Return through the Alzheimers Association. For a small fee, you get an ID bracelet and you can register your loved one in a database in case they ever get lost. Of course, the hard part for me would be to actually convince Mom to wear the bracelet...

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

I am very sad to learn that Julie Webster, from Deephaven, MN has been found dead in Wyoming. It appears that her car became stuck, she got out and began walking only to slide down an incline and land on a ledge where she died. This is devastating news and my heart goes out to her family. This story hits so close to home for me. On April 30, 2005 my mom set out from her home to come visit me. She ended up lost but I am thankful that she had the faculties to stop at a fire station and call me so that I could come pick her up. I was scared out of my mind for the hours when she was missing and I am so thankful to have her with me today.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

It's August and I'm already having unconcious tinges of dread about the oncoming winter. In one month I will begin using my Go-lite every morning for 30 minutes. Summer is flying by way too fast for me.

Julie Kay Webster, a Deephaven, MN woman with early onset Alzheimers, is missing. She is driving a blue 2001 Chrysler Sebring (license plate HDK 733). This is one of my worst fears. She drove to the airport to pick up her daughter and grandchildren. She made it to the Humphrey terminal where she asked for directions to the main terminal. But she never made it to the main terminal. After several days, someone tried to charge gasoline on her credit card, which had been cancelled by her family for fear that she had been abducted. After examining a security camera, the family learned that their mother was the person who was trying to use the cards so they reinstated them in hopes that they could track her better. Here is the scary part: somehow she had become so disoriented that she drove from the airport and was now in WYOMING! I hope they find her soon, she must be so frightened, not to mention how her family must feel. She is 58 years old.

Finally our weather has cooled down and we are getting rain. It has been horrible these past few days of 100 degree weather. A woman in my vanpool said she doesn't know how she survived this kind of weather when she lived in India.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Andrea Yates was found not guilty by reason of insanity. I am glad that now she can receive treatment for her mental illness. It will be difficult for her to get better and come to terms with what she did while she was ill. I hope that the one good thing that comes out of this tragedy is that society will be more informed about mental/emotional illness. Perhaps if there had been a better understanding of her illness, more could have been down to help her and prevent this tragedy. Illness is illness, whether it's cancer or depression. People must accept that and realize that you need to treat every illness with understanding and compassion.

The heat continues to scorch here. Today the forecasted high is 99 degrees; tomorrow it's supposed to be 102. It's very humid here too. We are getting a little bit of cabin fever. We do try to get out in the evening though when it is slightly cooler. Global warming seems a lot more real now. Especially when I hear that the Arctic is melting. That is a scary, scary though.

Lily actually ventured up the stairs on her own yesterday...twice! Stinky chased her down the last time though. It was nice to have her up here. I miss seeing her all day.

Friday, July 28, 2006

I know you feel guilty. You keep neglecting to tell me things. Stop hiding behind guilt and just tell me things. You don't need to avoid telling me things. Just be honest. I know it's not very fun to spend time with us. Are you embarassed by us? I don't want you to have any regrets. Regrets are hard to live with. I hope you are reading this. I'm not angry about you having fun and a life. I'm disappointed that my prediction that you would forget about me is coming true.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

My crankiness turned out to be the beginnings of a migraine, nausea and all. But I feel better now.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Sometimes I get cranky. I'll admit it. It's hard to care for someone who is slowing losing their memories while one holds down a full time job, and manages a household. Is it really someone's fault that they get sick? I've struggled with depression off and on for 10 years. Did I do something to cause this to happen? Maybe. Perhaps I invest too many feelings in my relationships. During this 10 year period my sister experienced major trauma, my dad had terminal cancer, I found my beloved Sammy lying dead at the top of the stairs, 9/11 traumatized me, and I lost my job but got a new one, I moved to a new house and now I'm dealing with a mom who is slowing losing her memory. Suddenly, I'm no longer caring for myself alone. I've lived on my own for nearly 20 years and worried and cared about everyone around me. I knew that my parents time on this earth was finite so I cherished the times we spent together. I miss my siblings and their children, my aunt and uncle and cousins. My family is small and somewhat close knit. But distance has kept us from seeing each other as often as we would like. Yes, sometimes I get cranky.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The rudest generation. That's what I feel like right now about the greatest generation. I've already mentioned the old guy who tried to run Mom off of the sidewalk. Well, she didn't hear him coming and he got really rude with her yelling "and to think, I fought in WWII for the likes of you!" Then, tonight we were out and about and stopped to listen to a jazz band that was playing. There were picnic tables with 1 or 2 people sitting around them. We asked one old couple if we could join them but no, we would block their view. Another old lady was waiting for her grandkids. Fed up, I left. Everyone thinks the younger generations are rude, and actually all generations are rude. But here I was with my elderly mother who quite obviously cannot stand around for very long, she has a cane, and no one was willing to let us sit with them. They can all bite me! I guess I'm just too accomodating for others. Not anymore, I'm going to try to be more self centered, that seems to be the thing to be nowadays, from family members to society as a whole. Next time you're feeling self centered, try a little compassion instead.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

We went to breakfast today and then we went out to the lake to enjoy the sun and the beach. It was awesome and I almost couldn't get Mom away. We were there for 2+ hours. But now Mom has a headache, probably from too much sun. Some cranky old man tried to run Mom off the sidewalk in his coot cart. Heck she needs the sidewalk to walk on more than him!

I also got a new Italian charm bracelet. I'm starting a big one!

Vintage. I never thought I'd be old enough to have worn something that is now considered vintage. But back in 1981 I had a pair of Candies stilletos. Well those shoes are back in style and they are being advertised as 'vintage'. I've officially crossed the line. By the way, those things are killer to walk in.

Last night I was reading the Home for Life Sanctuary website and bawling my head off. So many animals who were abandoned or abused. It rips my heart apart. I was reading about a kitty named Cedric who was burned with acid and left for dead. Someone rescued him (an angel!) and he ended up at Home for Life. Recently Cedric died and I cried that a sweet, innocent animal was mistreated and then ended up in the wonderful place called Home for Life where he was given much love and affection. I think about Stinky and how much happiness she has brought to us, and about Lily who has got to be the best kitty that ever walked this earth and I am so thankful for them.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Mom is having more difficulty walking. She says that she feels very unsteady when she is on her feet. She uses a cane, and when I suggest that maybe she should use a walker she is adamant that she won't use one. She is so stubborn!! I am concerned about how much longer it will be before she falls. Her hygiene has really gone downhill too. I've stopped trying to persuade her to shower, she gets so upset with me when I do! Instead I try to remind her how good a shower feels and she seems to accept that.

Today her friend Edna called to say hi. I need to drive Mom up to her old neighborhood to see some of her neighbors, but when I ask her she never wants to go. She is afraid that they will think she is 'stupid' because she can't articulate sentences very well when actually she does pretty well. Her broker is coming next Thurs. and she is very worried about seeing him because I won't be here. He's coming at 4:00 and I don't get home until later.

I got 3 new charms, the last 3 that I needed, for my Italian charm bracelet. Now I need to start a new one. I think I will get the big bracelet this time, it looks pretty cool.

It's beautiful here today, sunny and cool. It was cloudy the morning but now the sun is out.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bush vetoed the bill that would provide more federal funds for stem cell research. What will happen to embryos that are never implanted? Wouldn't it be better to let them be used for research? I know this is a tough decision; on one hand you have embryos that will more than likely never become living, breathing children, while on the other hand you have children and adults who are suffering from diseases like diabetes, Parkinsons, cancer and Alzheimers who are grasping at the promise of a cure. Their families and loved ones are experiencing pain and fear as they helplessly watch, praying for something, anything that would give them hope. Stem cell research seems to promise hope. How can you ignore their pain?

There are so many children who are born into this world who experience pain and suffering. Recently there was a 10 year old girl who was found scalded over 70% of her body here. She was born to parents who were far to young to have children. She was removed from her mother's home allegedly because of molestation by the mother's boyfriend. The mother also suffers from bipolar disorder. She was placed with her father and his girlfriend. Last week the girlfriend called 911 and reported that this innocent 10 year old wasn't breathing. When the EMTs arrived she was already dead and had probably been dead for at least a few hours. My heart goes out to that child who was treated so horribly in this life. I hope she has found peace in the next life. Isn't just as immoral to let children like this suffer? Instead of worrying so much about the unborn, perhaps we should divert some of that caring and worry toward children who are already living and breathing outside the womb. If all of the energy that is put into fighting a woman's right to choose were instead put into helping living and breathing children outside of the womb, think of the things that we could accomplish. Think of the pain and suffering that might disappear. If we cared more about making sure that every child had health insurance, food to eat and a loving home to live in I think that we would be accomplishing a lot more morally. Think about it. It's time to start taking care of children living outside of the womb.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Just got done wrestling a toothbrush out of Stinky's mouth. This morning I found my mouth guard (which should have been in my mouth) on the floor. Stinky strikes again.

The humidity has finally dropped. It feels nice. It has been pretty tropical here.

There is a fire raging in the BWCA (Boundary Waters Canoe Area) at Cavity Lake near the end of the Gunflint Trail. They are working to keep it away from the inhabited areas further down the Gunflint. So far it has burned 20 square miles. I'm sure that it was just a tinderbox waiting to happen; it's been so dry all across the state. I hope that they are able to contain it soon. I've never been to the BWCA, but Dad and A have and they loved it. It must be so beautiful and peaceful there.

I've changed my profile photo. That's me at about 3 on my rocking horse. By the time it got to me it must have been in bad shape. I broke springs, handles and stuff. But I loved my horse! It was my favorite thing in the whole wide world. I still love to rock; it soothes me.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Every once in a while it's nice to be told that your doing a good job. It's nice to be rewarded in some small way. The daily routine can become mundane and repetitive; wouldn't it be nice to shake it up and let someone do something different?? Even if just for a day?

The heat is beginning to abate here. It's already is a lot less humid. The humidity gets to me so much. I love being outside and having the windows open. But when it's hot and humid I have to have the AC on or else I can't breathe. Plus, I don't think it's healthy for Mom to be exposed to the intense heat and humidity. We both look forward to when we can breathe fresh air.

In the latest Minnesota Poll, 57 percent of Minnesotans said that things in the United States are "pretty seriously off on the wrong track". The US is engulfed in a war that is not popular, but because Bush started this war we need to finish it. We can't abandon the Iraqi people leaving them to the insurgency. The economy is on shaky ground; if someone looks crosseyed at someone in the middle east the price of gasoline goes up. Don't even get me started on gasoline and oil. I still don't understand why the energy crisis in the 1970s didn't push this country away from gas guzzling vehicles. As sales of SUVs skyrocketed in the 90s I kept thinking of the 70s. I guess we didn't learn any lessons. At least, the American car companies didn't learn any lessons. I'm sure that big oil didn't help either. They are making unprecedented profits at this time. They must be loving the turmoil in the Middle East. A good hurricane would send them into ecstasy. Well enough of my tirade for today.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Today is the 9 year anniversary of the day Dad died. I remember it like it was yesterday. I still miss him so much but like with all things, the passing of time has eased the pain.

We are having thunderstorms and light rain. We need it so badly. It is so hot here still though. Right now it's 82 degrees but the high for today is supposed to be 95. Yucky. We are grateful for AC. It's nice to hear the thunder though.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Everyone is out of town this weekend. A and J are in Atlanta, Aunt ME and Uncle N are in Au Gres and Trog is in St. Louis (though soon that will be his home). We are sweltering near 100 degrees this weekend so we are laying low in the house where it is cool and comfortable. We may go to the mall in the afternoon either today or tomorrow just for a change of scenery.

Heard from our friends in Duluth. They too are sweltering in the 90s. For Duluth that is virtually unheard of. I remember when I lived there I'd have given anything for a few warm days. In fact, my parents never had to have AC there, but they put it in in the latter years of living there for the one or two hot days they would have in the summer. And of course Mom was having hot flashes then so she needed it for comfort. And there is always Lake Superior to go swimming in. That would cool you off in seconds if you could even stand to put your foot in it. I miss Lake Superior.

Friday, July 14, 2006

It's hot in Minnesota today, and it's going to get hotter. We finally got some much needed rain last night. The sky was black around 8:00 pm and the wind began to pick up. Now the grass is a little less crunchy.

Got the washing machine hoses replaced today. I guess they were defective, so it's a good thing we had them replaced.

Took Stinky to the vet. She had two patches on her neck where she had lost fur. The vet thinks they are scars; they weren't raised or inflamed. Poor baby, no wonder she is aggressive towards other animals, she was probably forced to defend herself a lot. I'm glad that I took her in since I have experience with Lily's IBD.

I have had a dull headache off and on for about a week. Today Mom was complaining about having a headache too....

I'm really nervous about the mess in the Middle East with Israel and Hezbollah. I'm scared that this could escalate out of control (it already seems like a major possibility). That region is so unstable and it seems like it's a tinderbox waiting to blow. And of course it's the innocents who are caught in the middle of this mess. I pray for them.

Let's hope we don't heat up too much this weekend.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

After 2 days back at work I'm fatigued and achy. Last week was so great because I wasn't tired and I had no aches and pains. Sitting at a desk is hard for me, I really have to remember to get up and move around more often and I need to walk at lunch. That helps me in so many ways.

One thing that I've noticed is that my memory is sort of foggy this week. I can't remember things as well as I used to be able to.

The heat is coming! Today it was very humid and warm; tomorrow is going to be much worse. I can feel it too, my asthma is acting up. But at least it's not winter.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Today I called the Alzheimer's Association. This is a big step for me. I've always shared everything with Mom, but now she would get upset by this so I can't. It's hard for me to not share this. They are going to send me a packet of information. They also convinced me to push for a diagnosis. I also signed Mom up for the patient online system at her clinic so that I can see her doctor's notes and can communicate with her doctor online.

Sunday, July 9, 2006

It's a beautiful day today. We went swimming bright and early this morning. No one else was using the pool so it was ours to enjoy. Mom was up and dressed in her swimming suit ready to go when I got up. Some things stick in her head while other things...well. It was nice and cool. We even laid in the sun to get some color. I just hope I don't burn. So far so good.

We watched "Saving Milly" tonight. Very good movie, very sad story. Think of the trillions of dollars being spent on the Iraq war that could instead be spent on research for Parkinsons and Alzheimers and cancer. I keep thinking "what if Bush hadn't 'won' the election in 2000. What would this world be like? Would we really be more vulnerable to terrorism?" It's an interesting thought.

It's back to work for me tomorrow. I've enjoyed not having to wake up and leave the house at 6:30 AM only to return at 5:00 PM. I've gotten in some sleep, some exercise and some time with Mom.

Talked to my Aunt and Uncle last night. It's nice to know that they think about us and sort of understand and support us. Sometimes I feel all alone.

Saturday, July 8, 2006


Against all odds, she is raising hopes in Alzheimer's research
Dr. Karen Hsiao Ashe's quest for answers has broken new ground.

Maura Lerner, Star Tribune

In the fall of 2004, a research assistant sheepishly approached Dr. Karen Hsiao Ashe about a problem with one of her experiments.
It involved a group of mice that had been bred to become forgetful, like people with Alzheimer's. Only this time, the mice had surprised them.
"Something very funny has happened," the assistant told her. "These animals are getting better."
Ashe, a University of Minnesota neurologist, was astonished. "Something must have gone wrong," she said. Actually, it was a breakthrough in disguise. The experiment turned out to be the first scientific evidence that memory loss could be reversed in an advanced stage of Alzheimer's disease. And it helped seal Ashe's reputation as one of the leading scientists in her field. Her groundbreaking work, colleagues say, is raising hope that it may be possible to halt the destruction of memory in people suffering from Alzheimer's.
In the past six months, Ashe, 51, has been showered with honors --including the $250,000 MetLife Foundation Award for Alzheimer's research and the Potamkin Prize, known as the "Nobel Prize of neurology." And just last week, three of her discoveries were named among the 12 most important advances in Alzheimer's research in the past three years, in a survey of experts by the prestigious journal Nature Medicine. Of the top three studies, two were from her lab.
For the publicity-shy scientist, the attention is unnerving. "I'm really happiest when I'm looking at data and making discoveries," said Ashe, who grew up in Arden Hills, the daughter of scientists who emigrated from China. At the same time, she's eager to translate her good fortune into something that will help patients. So in addition to her research, she is heading the new Center for Memory Research and Care at the university to help speed new treatments from lab to bedside.
For 14 years, Ashe has been quietly making her mark at the university where her father, C.C. Hsiao, spent his career as a professor of aerospace engineering.
Ashe, who is married to a neurologist and has three children, said she chose to study Alzheimer's "because it robs people of what makes [them] human: Their thoughts, their memories, their feelings." She has bucked animal-rights activists and skeptics in her quest.
"She's a brilliant scientist, but she's a very careful scientist," said Dr. Deborah Powell, dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School.
"She waits until she has something major to say and then she says it."
Ashe is best known for developing the "forgetful mice" used worldwide to study memory loss. Now, she has shed new light on the cause of Alzheimer's, which affects more than 4 million elderly Americans.
She discovered, among other things, that memory loss can be caused by a poisonous type of protein, which she named "A-beta star," found in the brains of her lab mice. And she found that even forgetful mice begin to recover when another type of protein, known as tau, is cut off.
Her discoveries could lead to new treatments, she believes. But it will take years to get there.
Ashe, who graduated from both Harvard and MIT, says she knew at age 3 that she wanted to be a scientist. "I just can't remember wanting to be anything but a scientist," she said. "I just wanted to discover new things about how the universe worked."
Maybe it was a combination of genes -- both of her parents have Ph.D.s -- and the games she played as a toddler, counting peas on her plate. "She was a very inquisitive and creative child," said her mother, Joyce Hsiao, a biochemist. "I thought every child was like that. We were not really teaching her; we thought we were just playing games with music and science and numbers."
Ashe's parents came to the United States as graduate students in the late 1940s and decided to stay after the Communist revolution in China, settling in Minnesota.
Karen, the eldest of four children, laughingly calls herself "one of those extremely over-achieving Asian-Americans, first generation." An accomplished pianist, she won a citywide music competition as a teenager, even sewing the dress she wore. After graduating from St. Paul Academy, she skipped her freshman year of college and entered Harvard as a sophomore.
By 1982, she had earned an M.D. and a Ph.D. and before long landed a job studying brain disorders with Dr. Stanley Prusiner, the University of California scientist who went on to win the Nobel Prize for discovering the cause of mad cow disease.
Ashe was fascinated by what made brain cells go awry. She turned her attention to Alzheimer's when she joined the Minnesota faculty in 1992.
Like most scientists, she believed Alzheimer's was caused by sticky clumps of molecules, known as plaques and tangles, in the brain. But she wanted to see how they affected behavior. For that, she needed a living model.
So she set out, through genetic engineering, to design a mouse that had both the brain defects and memory loss of Alzheimer's. It was tougher than she expected. And it almost undermined her career.
For two years, she didn't publish a thing, which didn't exactly impress her colleagues. When she came up for tenure -- a lifetime appointment -- her own mentors lined up against her.
But Dr. Shelley Chou, then dean of the medical school, realized that she was getting close on the forgetful mouse. He took a leap of faith and gave her tenure, Ashe recalled.
By 1996, she had created her first Alzheimer's mouse, Tg 2576, and made breeding pairs available for free to academic scientists. Today, hundreds of thousands of descendents of those first mice have been used in experiments around the world.
In 1999, a few of them made news when animal-rights activists broke into Ashe's university lab and "liberated" 50 to 100 of her research mice. But it wasn't much of a setback; the mice were only a part of her total population and had been separated from the main colony because they were infected with mites. Most of her work was untouched. The lab beefed up security afterward.
The real breakthroughs have come in the last few years. They've shown that memory loss isn't caused by plaques and tangles in the brain; the culprits are elsewhere. Ashe believes she has found one of them and is closing in on another.
Her work, experts agree, could change the way scientists look at Alzheimer's.
Ultimately, Ashe hopes they'll be able to detect the disease early enough to make a difference, maybe through a blood test. It may only be partly reversible once it has begun, she said, but "I believe that it's preventable."

Maura Lerner • 612-673-7384

©2006 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.
We enjoyed seeing our friends the Fleischmanns yesterday. They look great. They brought pictures of their villa in Green Valley. It looks really nice. I didn't realize Green Valley is so close to the border with Mexico, I thought it was further north in AZ. The drive to Hinckley was nice and went pretty fast. I dislike driving through the city though; all those curves and speed changes. Luckily it was an early rush hour so traffic was slowed down quite a bit.

Today the sky is overcast and we are supposed to get rain. That is fine because we need it. It has cooled off and we have the windows open which, of course, feels really good.

Mom is in a teary mood today. She found one of her bracelets and is wearing it because it was her mom's (actually it was a Christmas present from Dad). She pretty much thinks that everything is either my Dad's or her Dad's. She took a shower this AM on her own!

Friday, July 7, 2006

I see that New Jersey has shamelessly followed Minnesota by engaging in a state government shutdown. Bureaucrats just don't realize the hardship that they place upon families and workers when they do this. State workers aren't making the big bucks; most are living paycheck to paycheck and can ill afford a loss in income, even for a few days let alone weeks. I hope that the bureaucrats come to their senses soon and get these people back to work. Not only are the state employees suffering, also the constituents who rely on services are suffering. C'mon New Jersey, get state workers back to work!

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Tomorrow we are driving to meet friends. Hopefully we won't run into any road construction delays. We'll take my car. I haven't driven long distances in almost a year so this should be interesting.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

I saw an interesting thing in The Onion. Yes, The Onion. In the May 24 Infographics, it lists ways President Bush can curtail illegal immigration. The last one is the most interesting to me. "Whatever he does, don't risk looking like weak-minded appeaser by working with the Mexican government to improve their economic environment so citizens there have a chance to make a decent life for themselves". Why isn't the Mexican government working to improve life for its citizens? And why isn't the US government encouraging that?

Monday, July 3, 2006

I'm tired of worrying. I'm going to work really hard not to do it anymore. I'm going to practice letting go and letting God. I'm going to live in the present.

Today Venita came and washed the floors, bathrooms and vacuumed. The house smells all lemony now. It's nice. She is a sweet person.

Weather is getting hot and humid now. It's definitely July.

Wonder how Mom will do with the visit to the Fleischmanns? I really wish that they were coming here and that we didn't have to drive to meet them. But Mom really wants to see them so I will do it for her.

Sunday, July 2, 2006

We went swimming in the pool today. It was really nice until a bunch of kids showed up and started throwing balls and stuff. I'm a stickler for rules, and none of them took a shower before they got in the pool. ICK! Even Mom took a shower before she got in. She loved it and wants to go back. Maybe this will get her to the Summit Place senior living where they have a wonderful pool and water workout. I've been trying to get her to go there for a while.

Got Stinky's claws trimmed. They were pretty bad. She nailed me last night and it brought tears to my eyes.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

June has flown by way too fast. Today we went out to breakfast to Byerlys where we had fresh fruit for breakfast. It was really good. And it wasn't very busy for a Saturday morning. Afterward went to Target and bought a new Forman grill.

I finally replaced the showerhead with a handheld one in Mom's shower. Hopefully that will make it easier to take a shower.

We are meeting the Fleischmanns, friends of Mom's and Dad's, next Friday halfway between here and their house.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Stevie Nicks has been visiting wounded Iraqi war soldiers. Her blog is amazing. So many people are quietly doing what they can to help the soldiers and I think this is awesome. But we as a country need to do more for them. It's painful when soldiers who are severely injured are not taken care of by this country. If anyone deserves it, it is them. Congress has more 'perks' then most Americans. I think this is wrong; soldiers who fight for their country deserve these perks much more than any person in Congress.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Our beautiful weather continues. It's sunny and 83 today.

Mom didn't answer the phone this afternoon when I called. Of course, I worried. Turns out she was enjoying the beautiful weather from our outdoor patio. I really need to stop jumping to conclusions.

Angie has left for the UK. I hope that she has a wonderful trip and takes lots of pictures. She will be there for nearly 3 weeks. She is going to England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Sounds like fun. When she gets back she moves to MO.

I start my one week vacation today. I hope to take Mom to Lake Minnetonka and a few other places for day trips. I hope that the weather cooperates. I'm looking forward to having a whole 10 days off from work. I haven't had that much time off in a long time.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Took Mom to the dentist today. She needs a deep cleaning, she's not brushing the back teeth well enough, so we have to go back in August.

For some reason she thinks that many of the clothes she wears are men's clothes. Don't quite get that.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Today I took a wonderful walk around the state capitol grounds. It took about 30 minutes. I went with a woman whom I used to work with and we caught up on old news. That's probably why it was easy to walk for that long. I stretched out afterward so I hope I don't wake up tomorrow morning unable to move.

Heard today that Warren Buffet is giving most of his wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. His actions restore my faith in the ultra wealthy. I've seen so many greedy acts lately, it's refreshing to see someone being unselfish. But then, what's a few billion to Warren Buffet when he has more money than most nations on this planet. I hope that this money is not mismanaged and that it can truly help not only people in this country who are in need, but also people throughout the world.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Finally time for bed. It's been a long day. Found a great album on iTunes of Renaissance music. It's very peaceful and relaxing.

I've included a counter that shows the cost of the war in Iraq in monetary terms. The cost in human suffering is astronomical. I hope this great country of mine can survive this travesty of a war.
Back from getting Mom's blood drawn. Went to the Mall afterward and parked Mom by the piano at the department store while I walked around the Mall. Got some new shirts for both of us and then went to Bath And Body Works to get some body spray. I love that store!

Mom is dozing now. She has been teary a lot lately. I worry about her becoming depressed but she keeps passing the quizzes the doctors give her to test for depression.

It's warmer today; 82 and sunny. This weekend there is a gathering at the pool that I hope to go to. Maybe Mom will want to come too.

Yesterday I noticed that one of the vanpoolers was reading the newsletter from The Wildcat Sanctuary, a wonderful place that takes in big cats (we're talking tigers and servals and such) and gives them a great place to live out the rest of their lives. One pooler exclaimed "those cats should be killed" which set me off. Cats of any kind are near and dear to my heart. I'm so glad that there are places like this sanctuary. Tammy Quist is a saint. Check it out at And anyone who disagrees has no heart.
“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.” -Teddy Roosevelt

Monday, June 19, 2006

My tree rose is blooming and it looks beautiful.

Took Mom for her haircut tonight. It revived the perm and looks good. Made an appointment for her for July. It was a pretty good day today.

It's cooler here and less humid. Am trying to make a date with the Fleischmanns. We hope to meet halfway sometime soon. Mom has been wanting to see them.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Mom is irritable today. I'm trying to handle it patiently but it's hard. Went to Bachmans this AM to get some spray to kill the bugs that are eating the leaves of my tree rose. Also got some more plants for the patio. They make a fuschia that can take full to partial sun! I love them so I got one.

Yesterday I met the woman who lives across the street. We got a letter that should have gone in her mailbox so I dropped it off. She seems very nice. When I got home Mom thought I had gone over there to have her come over to take care of Mom (?). Her mind is really weird. I've got to call the ALZ org just to make contact with them. It would be nice to have someone come in and spend time with her and maybe bathe her. She would have a fit about that though. Sometimes I get so weary from struggling with her to do things that she needs to do.

We had rain last evening which was good for the grass and plants. It seemed to cool off and get rid of some of the heat and humidity too. Today is a lovely day, breezy and cooler.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Just in from running errands. We had breakfast Panera again. Mom gets so confused and asks questions over and over. It can be so tiresome but I have to be patient, she can't help it.

We had heavy rain last night with thunder and lightening. It's really humid today and I think we are due for more showers. Our grass looks green after just one day of rain. My tree rose is finally blooming and it looks beautiful and smells so good.

Mom has so much trouble moving around. It's sad. She uses a cane and it hurts to get in the car for her. Her pro-time has been high so we have had to had it checked every week. Luckily I have Fridays off so I can take her to the clinic. But they are also opened on Saturdays and evenings so that is helpful too.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

My family will be happy to know that I have enrolled in the Long Term Care Insurance plan through my work. If I enroll now, I can keep my monthly payments down, 32.00 per month. Plus I can take it with me if I leave my job.

Tomorrow is Mom's birthday and my nephew's graduation day. It seems hard to believe that he is old enough to graduate from high school. It was 25 years ago this year that I graduated from high school.

Anne Coulter and George Carlin are supposed to be on the Tonight Show tonight. I hope I can stay up long enough to see the fireworks. Should be interesting.

Got the pictures of Uncle's house. I can't remember details about the house because it has probably been 20 some years since I was in that house. It look like they are doing a great remodeling job on it though.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Views of our Home

This is the front of our house

Our kitchen

Living Room

This is the view from our front door.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

It has been cloudy and dreary here in Minnesota. And cool. It was 57 this morning. Yikes.

We found a chair for the shower for Mom. She seems to like it. Now to replace the shower head with a handheld one.

I need to take Olivia (Stinky) to get her claws trimmed. They are wickedly sharp right now. She has really grown into a good kitty. She is very good with Mom and she doesn't bite and claw either of us nearly as much as she used to. She seems to be working things out with Lily too.

I ordered a Sander's birthday cake (Colonial buttercream) for Mom's birthday. It came overnight delivery on Friday. Mom was thrilled. It's nice to be able to provide some happiness to her.

Tomorrow it's back to work. :-( But I like my job so that's OK.

Thursday, June 8, 2006

When dealing with someone who has dementia, it's important to remember that trying to make the person remember things through repetition is basically a waste of time and it is also humiliating for the person with dementia. Mom will repeat things several times and I try to patiently answer her each time. It's also pointless to argue with her so even if she has a mistaken belief I may try to correct her once, but I usually agree with her just to make things easier.

Today I was invited to have lunch with the newborn screening team whom I support because, in their words, I am their favorite IT person. It feels good to know that they appreciate all that I do for them. They are a good group to work with.

It's cool here and we have the windows open. It's a lovely evening and I'm looking forward to having the day off tomorrow.

Both my niece and nephew attended their respective proms this year. They have one up on the previous generation; none of us attended our proms (losers, right?).

Found an interesting article on Eva B. Seeley, a relative of ours who bred Alaskan Malamutes. Here is the link. It's quite a fascinating article.
The Seeleys & The Kotzebue Strain
How weird that on our side of the family, every likes cats. That comes from my Dad whom I believe got it from his mother. I always wondered why Dad had an autographed picture of an Alaskan Malamute named Rowdy. Click on the link to find out about the famous dog Rowdy.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Most everyone remembered my birthday and those of you who didn't, well you know who you are!!

Bought a new Bose Sound Dock for my iPod and am listening to it right now. It has awesome sound and I love it. I bought it for my birthday present.

Finally watched the season finale of Lost. Very interesting show. I like how ABC has put some of their shows on the internet with limited interruptions.

Mom's doctor called. The mail order prescription company needs them to perform a mini mental exam before they will refill her prescription for Aricept. I think this sucks a.) because it's humiliating for Mom if she can't answer the questions, why put her through it? and b.) now we have to pay for a doctor's visit. Insurance companies really have us by the throat, don't they?

Tomorrow I'm going to a meeting about Long Term Care insurance. Employees can enroll before the end of June without answering any medical questions so I think I'm going to do it. It will cost me less than $20.00 per month and it's portable meaning, if I leave my job, I can take this insurance with me.

Monday, June 5, 2006

Got my hair cut and colored today. It feels better. It's stormy tonight, we need the rain. Wonder if anyone will remember my birthday tomorrow??? 06-06-06. What a momentous day.

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Have been seeing this huge, black Escalade parked in front of one of the houses in our neighborhood. Turns out it belongs to one of the Minnesota Vikings players. I figured the guy had to be a Viking since he looks pretty big. Korey Stringer lived in my old neighborhood for a while.

Today is a glorious day; sunny and breezy. It's perfect weather. We checked out the pool today. It wasn't very crowded but I'm not sure Mom could navigate the ladder down into the pool. I'd still like to get her to try the one at the senior rental place but she's not sure she's interested. She gets so lonely when I'm at work, I wish she would try something like that.

Met some of our neighbors yesterday. When I was walking to the mailbox I met Jerry who lives across the street. He and his wife have an 8 month old girl who is so cute. Later that evening Mom and I were sitting on the patio and the woman that lives in the house we looked at with the 4 steps into the house from the garage stopped by to tell us that she loves our flowers on our patio and that her daughter loves to watch our kitty in the window. She seems really nice and Mom enjoyed talking to her.

We went to the mall this morning and breakfast at Panera. We got new shoes for me and for Mom. I of course had to check out the scrapbook store and then we ran into my Creative Memories consultant who told me that she has my latest order. Mom dumped her pills into her water this AM. I'm not sure this is a good thing but I can't figure out how to stop her. I hand her the pills first and then the glass of water and she takes the pills and dumps them in. Maybe I should have her put them in her mouth, then give her the glass of water. I never am quite sure what to expect next....

I've been looking for some desk/office/storage furniture on the IKEA website. I'd like to go to the store at the Mall O' America, but it's so huge and I get so overwhelmed there. I'm going to have to work up to it though cuz I found some stuff I really thing would work out well. The hard part will be getting it home and then assembling it. One of my friends suggested having an "Assemble my IKEA stuff" party....

We've added a new rider to our vanpool. She is from India and works with us. She is really nice and very smart. She knows Java well it sounds like. She lives in Shakopee and was planning to drive herself every day til she realized how convenient the vanpool is. I'm glad she decided to join us.

The media is making a big deal about my birthday this year -- 6-6-06. What a bunch of garbage. Mothers who have due dates are planning ways to not have their babies born on that day. Get real!

Nine Years and Counting

Mom has been gone for a little over nine years. This blog was a huge mechanism for helping me cope with her illness and daily downfall. I...