Sunday, October 30, 2011


I am half way through reading Tears in God's Bottle by Wayne Ewing. I would recommend it to any spiritually minded person who is dealing with Alzheimer's disease.

Wayne's wife Ann has Alzheimer's disease. In the third chapter Wayne talks about Divine Jealously. He was angry, hateful, and jealous whenever he saw other couples; "joyful lovers" he calls them.

I too was feeling full of angry jealousy last week. I have a mother, but I don't. We SHOULD be going to the Museum of Fine Arts and enjoying a day in Boston together. We SHOULD be making Christmas wreaths together. We should be ... but we're not. All this jealously erupted at my caregiver's support meeting last week, I completely lost it, I yelled and cried.

I am also full of shame, ashamed for these feelings. I've had my mother for 50+ years. It's been a pretty good run, for the most part. But, my lovely daughter-in-law, lost her mother a long time ago. Here I am complaining of ONLY 50 years together, when she had barely a handful of years with hers.

Just as Wayne has to rethink his jealously, to rise above the negativity and despair that hits us all. I am trying to do that too. He writes of the sacredness of jealously. Now when he sees couples, he rejoices that they too have found love, love like he and his wife Ann once knew.

I must remember to cherish all mother-daughter relationships. The one with my own sweet and supportive mother-in-law; and the growing mother-daughter relationship with my own daughter-in-law.

I will try, to rejoice, when I next see a mother and daughter together, and be happy that they too have this precious relationship that I once had.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

six little quilts

Well, I have some exciting news! Six of my Priority Quilts will be at the International Quilt Festival in Houston TX next week. These six little quilts will be a small part of the HUGE Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) special exhibit and sale. The AAQI is bringing 1500 Priority Quilts to the festival. Fifteen hundred - wow! Everything is bigger in Texas.
The AAQI put together a fun video to show some of them, if you don't blink you may see one of mine.

I started quilting for the AAQI one year ago. I have made it one of my priorities to make Priority Quilts. With all those sleepless nights worrying about Mom, it's not a hard thing to do.

The International Quilt Festival in Houston is one of the largest and most prestigious quilt festivals in the country. To have a quilt pass the jury and be exhibited into the show would be a real honor. My beginner quilting skills are far, far from that day.

So it's been providing me with a laugh, that I can say with all the truth of a Alzheimer's-caregiver-fiblet, that "I have a quilt at THE Houston quilt festival".
It's like saying "I went to MIT", when in reality I took one post-grad course, off-site, pass-fail.

If you are in Houston next week, November 2-6, go to the George Brown Convention Center - exhibit hall row T, and see the 1500 AAQI Priority Quilts. (It's in the same area with Project Linus and 1,000,000 Pillowcase Project. Two other great groups.)

The AAQI always has Priority Quilts for sale on their website.
(The AAQI project ended and their website closed Dec 2013.)

Friday, October 14, 2011


I've inherited many of my mother's physical characteristics: narrow shoulders, wide hips, freckly skin... and her eyebrows. I think shaping my CroMagnon-man eyebrows was the only feminine grooming pointer my Mother ever taught me. 

Whenever I see Mom I give her the once over - I check her out and really look at her. I look for signs of bathing, or lack of bathing. I look for new spots or bruises. I check her nails. I look to see if her glasses need to be washed.  I check her out because I know she doesn't.  In her boredom or anxiety she will sometimes pick at a piece of skin until it's bleeding. Every so often she'll let me get a peek at her torso if I ask to see her stitches.

Yesterday when I was visiting, during our quite time together in her room, we were talking about her friend JT.  Mom and JT went out for lunch and a scenic ride this week. Mom is so blessed to have JT for a friend.

So we're chatting and I'm giving Mom a look over. Something about her face was different. Something just didn't look right. I lean in real close and look.
"Mom, what happened to your eyebrows?"
"There's nothing wrong with my eyebrows."
"Mom, where are your eyebrows?"
"Oh I plucked out all the white ones."
"Oh...ok..." I try not to make any more stupid remarks. Mom has plucked out almost all her eyebrows. She's got day-old stubble where her eyebrows use to be.

You've gotta laugh or you're gonna cry.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I definitely saw apathy in my Mother's behavior.

But... the question is how is that different from: (1) winter SADD, (2) winter weather restricted isolation, (3) sadness from the loss of a spouse or partner, or (4) depression.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


There is a lot of sharing that goes on at the assisted living residence. Sharing, borrowing, collecting, redistribution of assets... call it what you will.

But don't call it stealing, it is definitely not stealing. Stealing is when you know something is not yours and you take it anyway.

It's not stealing to walk into your neighbor's room and take their photo album. Because you once had a photo album just like that one, and the people in those photos look just like... her, you know, him, those people.

It's called collecting when your roommate has 15 toothbrushes and 6 tubes of toothpaste you have 0.

It's called redistribution of assets when the once all green bath towels are now burgundy, blue, yellow, and white.

Yes, when I first moved Mom to assisted living I put her name inside all her books, I labeled all her dvds, I ironed name tags into all her clothing. I wrote her name on all her sheets and towels. Now it really doesn't matter, does it? Her stuff is around there someplace. Her hair brush could be visiting with a neighbor. And, whose lace curtains are these, on the back of Mom's chair?