Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Beverly

Beverly is Allen's mom and the best grandma, the kids call her GaGa. She flew in from Milwaukee.   I wish she was out here with us.  We spent our time with her this week.  I'm thankful for Sunrise so I don't have to worry about my Mom every moment and we can take the time to live in our moments too.  Beverly is 82!  Her birthday was Christmas eve.   This is a photo of them watching Coraline at home in 3-D.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Candy Canes



The girls and I went to Nana's on Christmas day.  .

 I brought the girls, their pajamas, the dog and candy canes.

It was very sweet.  The girls would go up to someone and say "merry christmas, would you like a candy cane" and it was like disney animatroinics, or that they had just put a coin in an old time carnival machine.  They would suddenly smile and say thank you and put out their hands and even hug them.  Gidget who normally will not go to anyone but me or her Dad reaches out to them, and let's them hug her, and she hugs back....I love candy canes.

We hung out in Nana's room and they played with a play dough ice cream shoppe that "Nana" got them, watched a video, ate egg salad sandwiches and listened to the Nutcracker.  It was lovely, and slow and we didn't have anywhere to go, except there.  Nana seemed to be getting further and further away as the sun went down and began mumbling to herself, and we were tired so it was time to go home.





Gidgey hitched a ride on her walker and she sat by the christmas tree and I gave her a few cookies and we kissed her goodnight.

Holiday party family photo


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Cards


I spent the day with my Mom yesterday.  Without the girls... Beverly, my mother-in-law was here so she stayed home and played with them.  I went to the bank to get some cash for tips for her team and had ordered some cards from  for the holidays to benefit Alzheimer's Association . I also stopped and got us two fancy cupcakes.  When I got there...she was in her position in front of the TV with the other residents.  Her position is so slouched, it might actually be called lying down.  I think she is comfortable, I slowly walk up to her and enter her sight, and she see's me and smiles.  "Hi, Lois"
So we walk the slow way down the hall to her room.  It's always new.  She likes it here.  Always comments how nice it is.
We hang out... we look at cards people sent.  I help her send some.  She signed her name.  She can still do that.  I tell her to put the card in the envelope...she laughs so hard trying to do it.  She says, she's old.  She gets the card in the envelope.  We eat a cupcake.
I change her clothes.  I'm just not used to her in sweatpants and a t-shirt.  I don't think I ever saw her in sweatpants and a t-shirt her whole life.  Whose grey sweatpants are these anyway?  I put on some grey slacks and a pretty light blue top and a pin.  Brush her hair and we take the slow walk back down the hall to the dining area.  They are going on a ride tonight to look at lights.  I hope she'll go, it's hard to get her to do things.  Her first instict is "no."  She'll love it, and enjoy it for the moment.  It is better than slouching on the couch, isn't it?

Happy Holidays!!!

Nana was so happy when we came over with presents and took her downstairs to the Holiday party.  She kept saying "What a nice surprise!"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stuff

We camped out at Nana's afters chool yesterday.  Gidget and I go over there a lot, we just went to Target and got her some warmer clothes and pajamas and re-organized her closets the other day.  Gidgey is easy.  Today we all went for some holiday cheer. Paul's family sent a little tree and we were bringing cookies and a big poinsietta.   I had told Sunny about a surprise there.  A special music snowglobe to decorate her room of Nutcracker (Sunny's favorite) and she was excited to see it.  So excited, she wanted to take it home with her.... this lead to a fight and crying and frustration.  And a trial lesson in giving and... finally she put it back after me telling her that I actually got it special for her.....  Right lesson?  I don't know.. In the car on the way home she said "Mom, sometimes I feel like you love Nana more than me because you get her more stuff."  I felt so defeated.  This is not the lesson, (not that I'm even trying to teach a lesson) just instill values about family to my girls, and make my Mom not such a vegetable.  It's not about STUFF.  It was late... Gidgey was blabbing, I couldn't concentrate.  Sunny and I just got scolded in the lobby for her knocking down a big giant nutcracker.... (it was an accident, and she cried and I consoled her and we felt bad and all wanted to leave.)  She's only 6!  Anyway, that's right, she is only 6.  She doesn't know what "stuff" actually means.  Does she?



So, this morning, when we had breakfast and I had thought about it, and picked my bruised feelings up off the floor, we talked.  I told her it's about family, it's about love and love is not about stuff.  And that actually Nana doesn't care about any of the stuff.  And I told her the very best thing I bring," is you and Gidget".  It really is true.  We sit on the couch and watch them play and draw and interact with each other.  She tells me I have a nice family and how cute the girls are, and we smile.  We put on music, we dance, laugh, we wear lipstick, we hold hands and hug each other.

  And Gidget shows her boo boo and tells her all about her shot, and Nana kisses it.  That's the good stuff. 

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Mary Poppins

Mary PoppinsAllen and Sunny and Peggy and I went to see Mary Poppins on stage yesterday.  It was so, so, well..... it was SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPEALIDOCIOUS!
It really was, it was wonderful.  I was so happy, it was hard getting my Mom there and being on time, but we did it.  My friend Jacki has a friend who helped get us the best seats (unfortunately) because they were right in the middle!!!  Peggy had a lot of trouble walking through the aisle to the seat.  But,
(I'm not kidding) every single person was polite and asked if we needed help.  She sat down, the lights went down, I was holding Sunny's and my Mom's hand, Allen handed out chocolate and WOW!  It was so cool.  The sets, lights, costumes, singing, jokes everything was really fun.  Looking at Sunny I remembered my Mom taking me downtown Chicago to see a show, and being all dressed up and excited, just like she was now right next to me.  Looking at my Mom, I knew this would be her last show, sitting right next to me.  I was overwhelmed.  I cried when Mary flew over the stage and it was over.

Take a deep breath, back to reality as the light go up and we wait for everyone to leave so we can get out at our own pace.  A wheelchair was waiting for us as she slowly eeked down the aisle.  All of a sudden she doesn't look so good, she thinks she's going to throw up.... yikes.  I get the puple plastic bag I carry her depends in and hand it to her.  She makes it to the wheel chair and whoosh....we go into the bathroom and.... well she got most of it in the bag.

Turns out,  the whole 3rd floor at Sunrise has the flu.  Everyone has been throwing up, Peggy just got sick.  It wasn't the Alzheimer's.  It was the Alzheimer's that made her not be able to tell me that she didn't feel good.  Holy moly, I dropped Allen and Sunny off and Alla met me at Sunrise with a wheelchair and we got her into the bathroom. All I have to say is, we would of had to buy a new car if we didn't make it.

Peggy is okay now,  it has stopped.  She's on the mend. The gals up there are GREAT, helping her and helping me not worry. ... to stay away,so we don't get it.

 Gidgey got it around noon today, all over me, she's better now too, asleep, 3 sets of pj's later.  Even the dog has been throwing up all day.

Sunny's been listening to the CD all day and talking about Mary Poppins and singing her favorite parts and looking at her program.  As for me, I just got out of the shower.




Mary Poppins

Friday, December 4, 2009

Paper work....


ACCKK!!  Taking my Mom to USC memory and aging center.  She is going to participate in reasearch and study about the disease.  Where's the e-mail, where's the address, what time? I need a list of current meds.  Her MRI, that I gave to Peyton...insurance, directions, healthcare, I didn't fill out this past medical history form yet.  I still need to take a shower.... Call Sunrise, they'll have her ready.  Thank goodness for that.... and for Noddy (the silly show Gidgey is watching) Why am I on the computer when I have all this stuff to do, that I thought I already did.

We ALL had fun!






It was a great Thanksging week.  PJ came out straight from Ithaca, and then Peggy Lu and Eli came in the next night.  We had ages from 2- 79!  All with different needs and attitudes.  Ha, ha, everyone worked together and we had a lot of fun and did a lot.  My friend and her family had us ALL over to her house for a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, THANKS SARAH!!!

Here's a little sample of our week.


Went to two school Thanksgiving celebrations!Went to the beach and explored tide pools.ate sushi!


Shopped re-sale on Melrose.


Drove through In and Out Burger with Bee!
               Gidgey cooked for Nana. Went to the Podiatrist.

                                                                              


PJ painted nails.
                        

and we just hung out.


Allen took the kids bowling while Peggy Lu and I stayed at Nana's and looked at old pictures and I can't remember what else.....but that it was so nice to have everyone around and including my Mom in on everything.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Peggy and Peggy



Peggy Lu came for Thanksgiving!  She got in late on Monday night and so she called me early Tuesday morning and said she was going to walk up to Nana's.  (They stayed at Sportsmen's Lodge)
It was early.... I knew she would be sad if she saw Nana still in bed, or in a wet bed, or on the couch, or maybe even pleasantly asleep in her pajamas.... because it's really hard to wake her up and get her going.  So, she came to my house first and we drank coffee and ate delicous zucchini or pumpkin bread that Allen is always up late baking.  It was so nice to see her... Peggy Lu came to Chicago to help with the big move to California, and this was the first time seeing her in 3 months and in her new environment.  Then we went over there, together, and she met Sir Henry and some of the staff, and they all could tell who she was because of her resemblance to my Mom.  We got to her room.... and there was Peggy, taking a nice shower, being helped by Lisa.  I showed her around a little, and she really liked the room and we were standing there and my Mom came out all dressed and fresh and said "Hi Peggy Lu."  We cried and were so happy and my Mom acted as if nothing was unusual or different and that Peggy Lu is always there in her life.... which she always has been and which she still is.

Monday, November 23, 2009

My birthday

I was adopted as a baby by my Mom and Dad and two older brothers.   This is how I remember my Mom telling me.  My birthday usually falls on Thanksgiving...
"I put the turkey in the oven and when the bell rang, I opened it up and you were there instead!


I LOVED this story, I still do.  This is a painting about that.  David and Paul are the two turkey hands hanging on the 70's avocado green stove.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It is a good day.

  Today Gidgey and I went over there and she was still asleep, it was noon.  Sandy had been trying to get her up all day and Peggy kept putting her off.  Gidgey's little smile, some coaxing, show tunes and juice finally got her to the edge of the bed.  We just slowly entered her world.  Sandy is so good and calm with her and never in a hurry so she was able to clean her up and dress her while I talked. She brushed her own teeth, and of course red lipstick.  So... she was up.  What now?  Should I take her out?  For a drive?  Sometimes it feels like so much to do all that, especially with Gidget too.  So, we just sat in the dining room, we had missed lunch but the staff fed us anyway, chicken soup and tuna sandwiches, just like home.  Gidgey had ice cream and watching a little girl eat ice cream, is delicious on it's own, and much less fattening.  Then I asked her if she wanted to sit on the porch.  She said "not right now."  She ALWAYS says that.  So, I rephrased it.  "Let's go sit on the porch"  and she said.... "okay"

So, we sat on the porch, drank tea and I finally got a chance to write to some of her friends back in Wheaton to tell them how she is doing.  (I haven't since she moved in August)  She had many nice friends back there, old one's and new ones and they were all very kind and sad to see her leave.  Mary Garvin, a life long friend made time out of her gazillions of kids and grandkids to see her off and gave her some beautiful stationary from the Morton Arboretum.  (see picture of us) So I got those out, asked her to write something and I said here Mom, write something to your friend.  "Well what do you want me to write?" I said "whatever you want".  And then she handed the card back to me.  This is what she wrote.


It is a good day.  Yep, that's right Mom, today is a good day.  I love you.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Family Dinner


Look at Peggy in the back visiting with Joan, her niece.  All the family is here and she is very comfortable, it was a really special evening having everyone around, for me and for her.   We got take-out sushi (her favorite) and everyone was just happy to be together, including Peggy.

In the front is Eric and Sunny and Lisa and Matteo.  Allen and Bill are in the kitchen and Peggy and Joan are at the table.  Gidgey was SLEEPING!  Thanks for visiting everyone.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Happy Veteran's Day Howard Hevern

Howard Is my Mom's older brother, this is a picture of him when he got married to Marilyn, my Mom and her sister's best friend.  He made an impressive career for himself in the Air Force.
  Howard has Alzheimer's too.  

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This is how my day started out

Although Gidgey had a sudden cough come on in the night, she seemed alright in the morning... Allen took Sunny to school, and me and Gidge stayed home from school.  We played on the computer, painted and then I thought, I'll return a library book and pick up Nana's glasses in Encino. Then she'll fall asleep on the way home.....
Well, she coughed so hard on the way home she threw up all over the car.  Gidgey doesn't like to throw up, so she puts her hands up to her face and waves it all around in hysteric's so that it gets EVERYWHERE!

Okay, poor baby...take off her clothes outside, give her a bath, wash the clothes, Allen came home for lunch, so I was able to go outside and hose out the carseat before it caked on.  The day just went on and on  like that and into the night and this morning... I feel crabby... it's not easy being a "caregiver".
But, I can cross one thing off my list.  I picked up the glasses.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

ABC's are hard to forget.


I learned something today, after yesterday. I learned that it doesn't have to take all day....to make Peggy smile.

Gidgey and I stopped by after pre-school and had lunch with her at Sunrise.  It was easy, it was fun, and made me smile too.
Especially when the whole dining room sang their ABC's.

We were there for half an hour and Gidgey fell asleep on the way home.

Okay, ladies...think twice about those Jimmy Choo's


These are her shoe options?  YIkeS!!!  Peggy has a painful bunion and it is very hard to find her shoes that don't hurt her.  I found this site, it's called buck and buck, through a forum on www.caring.com, it's a really great idea, and I think I will order some things, but fashion wise... not so pretty.
View all the fashionable styles here

If anyone out there is an entrepreneur.... think about it.  Women love pretty shoes, no matter how old they are.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Optometrist




Sunny helped me take Peggy to the optometrist today after school.  It only took 4hours.... just getting in and out of the car and up and down elevators and pushing and pulling doors is a small trial in patience.  But we did it, and we did great.  Sunny was a superstar, she did her homework in the waiting room, and was very fun to be with.   And, oh don't you think we look good in PRADA??!!


All silliness aside, Sunny was very helpful today.  We were going to stop by Nana's yesterday, but she didn't want to go... she wouldn't tell me why, so we didn't go.  Today she told me that Nana was really slow and it kinda drove her crazy.  I told her the truth... it kinda drives me crazy too.  AND, it's okay to not want to do something sometimes, but we still do it.  I told her, I don't always feel like doing things for Nana.  But, we do it anyway, because we know it's the right thing to do, and we love our family.  Honestly though, it can be a chore.  It's so hard to get her going, or even walking, but once we get going we are good, and she starts to brighten up and she says things like "I like it here".  Up on the 3rd floor trying to rally the troops...
 it's like pre-school in SLOW motion.  Can you imagine? So anyway, our lesson today, patience.


And then later tonight, when I get home from being exhausted from a long day, (thankfully, Allen made dinner like he always does) I sit on the floor with Gidgey and I'm putting on her pajamas and she has the sweetest little body and soft hair and she says to me "I need you."  And I think about my Mom and how I was once only 2 sitting on her lap and "I needed her".... and I, I don't know, it seems natural, it's okay, it's life, more clearly with new glasses.

$1,480 and still counting!!

Thank you so much everyone for donating.  I am really touched by so much support, at the same time saddened by so many stories of friends whose lives have been touched by this disease.  The money will go directly to research and care.  Thank you, again.

If you still want to donate click here, it's very easy over the internet, or you can simple send me a check and I will send you a receipt.  Whatever works for you.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Memory walk photos


click here to see photos from the memory walk

Walkin' in LA for Alzheimer's research and funding



Donate to the Alzheimer's Association

Diagnosis



I remember when we first started wondering ifPeggy had symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.... it was a scary time.  We weren't sure of ourselves.  We noticed she repeated herself a lot... but wasn't that just getting older?  When she didn't come to see Sunny when she was born, I knew.  These are some tiny litle watercolors I did describing my feelings.