LANAMFECI's SparkPeople Blog LANAMFECI's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Small steps Met with attorney for the estate this week. We have a road map for settling things, and he is going to be the one that sends out the documents to my siblings for various claims, etc. DH found two old life insurance policies whose beneficiaries were a trust set up at a bank in 1967. The bank no longer exists under that name, and I have found no documents for this trust. I handed the policies and claim forms to Ed, and, as an estate lawyer, he knows how to go about tracking these things do... Sat, 7 Mar 2015 08:39:17 EST What's Next? Got through Dad's memorial service without drama. Each of us had old friends there, and my dad's high school girlfriend called to ask if she could attend. It was a delight to meet her and share her memories. Most of the over-85 crowd didn't make it because of the bitter cold, but Donna did. Very touching. <BR> <BR> Now my brother and I are working to settle the estate. To claim the life insurance, all three of us children must supply SSN and file a W-9 with the IRS. Since my sister use... Tue, 3 Mar 2015 11:41:44 EST Goodbye, my dear Dad As many have noted, Alzheimer's/dementia is a long goodbye. My dad's body finally caught up with his mind very peacefully yesterday. He had been falling this fall, which we thought was due to low blood sugar. By December, he was hospitalized for a UTI, and the five days in the hospital robbed him of his mobility. He was discharged to skilled nursing for "rehab." I really believed the first day he was there would be his last, but after 36 hours of semi-coma, he woke up and started eating... Sun, 25 Jan 2015 11:10:08 EST Worried Had supper last night with a former (university) student, who has always been one of my favorite people. She's turning 45 soon and woefully underemployed, actually qualifying for food stamps right now. I had forgotten that she wasn't actually that much younger than I am. She needs a good job, but even then she has student loans up the wazoo that she will be paying back far beyond retirement age. Her situation is similar to my best friend of 35 years, who has a 29 hr./wk. job she loves, bu... Tue, 7 Oct 2014 13:46:37 EST CSAs I am making a "lasagna" today out of all the vegetables from our Fresh Fork subscription. It will include green and yellow squash, various peppers, garlic scapes, mushrooms, ca uliflower and onion, all grown within 50 miles of here. I am adding mozzarella and the best Italian sausage, made from humanely raised local Berkshire hogs--but only a little, for flavor. Tue, 15 Jul 2014 13:24:12 EST Summer Update Dad's hospice program discharged him because he wasn't continuing to decline, or, as I put it facetiously, he wasn't dying fast enough. So now I'm in charge of incontinence supplies. His facility put him on the shower schedule, but that does not include shaving, so I have added that to my repertoire. What else can I do? We still have some laughs and enjoy each other's company. We have taken to finding a park near Lake Erie and sitting in the car with all the windows open watching the lak... Thu, 3 Jul 2014 11:39:29 EST Just Keepin' On Nothing much to report. Life is going on, the season may finally be changing--at least there are bulbs blooming in my yard. They might freeze tonight, though. <BR> <BR> We cooked two lovely stalks of asparagus from our very own patch and ate them as part of dinner last night. Thu, 24 Apr 2014 12:46:07 EST Adolescence The root of the word "adolescent" comes from the Latin verb adolesco, adolescere whose past participle is "adultus". So when you have completed the process of maturing, you are an adult. <BR> <BR> Watching that happen with DD is so gratifying. Had a great visit over to Pittsburgh/CMU this weekend. She is so excited about her opportunities and really taking hold of the life she wants for herself. Mon, 31 Mar 2014 12:07:00 EST Happy Birthday Miko My beloved black pug, Miko, turned 13 yesterday, our St.. Patrick's Day pup. After a health scare last fall, he seems to be back on an even keel. Well, as even a keel as a blind, diabetic 13 year old dog can be on. Sometimes, between him and my dad, I feel like all I'm doing is managing decline. Tue, 18 Mar 2014 10:52:37 EST Come on, Spring! Thursday is the first day of spring, the vernal equinox. Love the light, but where is the warmth? Cleveland's St. Patrick's Day parade forecast is about 22F, with sunshine at least. I just want some warmth. Sun, 16 Mar 2014 11:33:07 EST Following Through on My Motivators With an ice/snow storm on the horizon, I made sure to get outside yesterday and today for some good walks, thereby fulfilling my goals to Walk More and Get Outside. I also did a little weeding, which I really had no business doing as the beds are still so wet. But I HATE that false strawberry stuff, and want to get it while I'm bigger than it is. Tue, 11 Mar 2014 12:37:17 EST Breaking Out With brilliant sunshine and above-freezing temps today, it was time to break Dad out of assisted living for a ride around town. We drove by all his adult homes in Lakewood, then went down to told neighborhood to see his grandparents' house, and back home again via the shores of Lake Erie. It felt great for both of us. Fri, 7 Mar 2014 11:51:15 EST Froze the snow shovel Duh! After using what is actually a big metal grain shovel to chip the ice off the steps, I put it back handy to the door. Right in line with the water dripping off the idiot gutter helmets so that the blade, shaft and handle are now clear-coated in ice. Hope there's enough daylight left to thaw it out. Wed, 5 Mar 2014 15:33:09 EST Enough with the Snow DH had to be at the airport at 6:30 am today on his way to Houston. We had yet another blast of wintry weather, so I shoveled our whole driveway and assorted walks by hand about noon, today after the snow ended. Mostly I pushed rather than lifted, and it was a dry fluffy snow. It was still a good workout. Luckily we are north of the monster storm threatening the mid-Atlantic east coast. Sun, 2 Mar 2014 18:45:37 EST Numbers Don't Lie Due to a new health insurance company at DH's job, all employees and their spouses had to submit baseline wellness info--ht, wt, waist measurement, and get a lipid profile and fasting blood sugar. <BR> Well, I did not like the numbers that came back. Overall, more healthy than not, but I need more HDL, and fewer triglycerides, and my blood sugar is shading into the pre diabetic designation. Since heart disease and diabetes run in the family, I must pay attention. <BR> <BR> Which I think wa... Thu, 27 Feb 2014 12:35:26 EST 1 Year Ago It's been a year to the day since my mom told me she was dying; she died the next morning, which last year was Valentine's Day. So there's the anniversary of the day of the week and the actual date, which will move--all ways to continue to be reminded. <BR> <BR> I'm doing pretty well with it. Dad is still with me, which is pleasing and a little surprising, honestly. And I say "with me" because my sister hasn't bothered to visit him in more than six months, and I haven't heard from her in ... Wed, 12 Feb 2014 17:25:18 EST Keeping an Even Keel With much going on in my life, I am grateful that most days I approach my life with contentment rather than anxiety, and that I can recognize anxiety as it starts to build, and cope with it. That's a big step forward from where I was even a year ago. Thu, 16 Jan 2014 11:01:23 EST This is My Me Space I've had to set my profile to private because DD searched my username and read all my blog entries and got quite upset with me. Here I was just using this as an anonymous journal, mostly for my own sake. I could just reset everything with a new username, but I would lose the entries, which matter to me. <BR> <BR> Just another lesson in how there is no meaningful privacy anymore. Tue, 7 Jan 2014 22:36:15 EST Steady as She Goes Met with the hospice nurse who also assessed my dad. Everything is squared away--including Tara getting the original card (I sent another directly to her, with a check) and my getting the original money back. But, she ordered oxygen for my dad as the exertion of getting to and from the dining room puts his oxygen saturation levels too low. <BR> <BR> Will he use it? Probably not. It's just another step of recognition that his body is winding down and that the end is coming. Sad, yet swee... Tue, 17 Dec 2013 12:35:44 EST Don't Poke the Bear In addition to living in an Assisted Living facility, my dad is also a hospice patient, and has been for over a year now. He has a wonderful aide who comes to bathe him three times a week. They also send a nurse, a chaplain, a social worker and a volunteer. I thought everything was fine. When my mom died, I called them to update contact information to list only me. I've met the nurse and the chaplain when they were visiting Dad, and spoken to the social worker a few times on the phone. ... Tue, 3 Dec 2013 13:07:43 EST It Worked Our revised Thanksgiving was so much fun! More laughter around the table than in the past ten years. Perhaps a new tradition is born. Sun, 1 Dec 2013 14:44:12 EST Creating New Holidays This is going to be a slightly challenging Thanksgiving. With Mom gone, and Dad physically unable to get into my house, it could be just three of us. Instead, we've invited our daughter's best friend's family, also a threesome. Mom Tracey also lost her mother this year, so we are both re-imagining holidays. Maybe this will be a transition, but maybe it will be a new tradition. Wed, 20 Nov 2013 20:43:00 EST Getting Colder Well, between the wind, the rain and the snow, last week's peak leaves are on the ground now. Dad and I had a great drive last Friday to look at the foliage. There are no favorite colors--it's the interplay of all of the colors and textures and heights that make an autumnal tapestry. How nice to be able to slow down and appreciate that fleeting moment of beauty. Tue, 12 Nov 2013 08:48:31 EST November Appreciation I really do love November. Where I live, the leaves are at their peak, but the skies are dark and stormy, which really sets them off. Although I am not a fan of early sunsets, I do appreciate the light in the morning, so I am okay with "falling back." Most of all, I like November because its holidays are secular sacraments: Election Day, Veterans' Day and Thanksgiving. These holidays remind me how grateful I am to be part of something that is bigger than just me and mine. Tue, 5 Nov 2013 11:57:34 EST No Longer a Big Halloween Fan I finally broke down and got a pumpkin, but I'm not carving it. Two bags of candy, and when it's all handed out, the lights go out. I really didn't think I would turn instantly into a curmudgeon upon the emptying of our nest, but it appears to be the case. I think Hurricane Sandy sucked the joy out of Halloween for me. I awoke in the middle of the night last night to the sound of wind and rain and had to remind myself that it was just regular rain, not imminent destruction. Thu, 31 Oct 2013 11:38:14 EST EDs and the college kid DD spent the last 2yrs. Of HS battling anxiety, depression, and an eating disorder. The good news is proper meds and a change of scenery, as well as finally studying what she wants to study, have done a lot of good. It seems she has stopped the purging behavior, which was tied to anxiety. But it's clear that she still hasn't settled her relationship to food. <BR> <BR> I know that weight gain is common in college, and that fact that I'm posting this on SP may indicate that food issues are... Fri, 18 Oct 2013 14:15:41 EST Saving Time vs. Spending Time It's funny how so much of our idioms about time can also be used for money. I think about the worth of time a lot lately, especially with regard to my dad. It's clear that more time with me matters to him. If I visit for only an hour, he's not satisfied. 90 minutes clearly feels like a real social call to him, and he's ready to rest when I leave. <BR> <BR> We're having a great stretch of fall weather right now--crisp mornings and nights, but sunny, warm days. I spent time with him in ... Thu, 10 Oct 2013 12:01:48 EST Coping with Dementia Sometimes I feel like I am presiding over my dad's decline. I don't want to see it, but it's happening. We like to play a simple game called Scrabble Slam, in which we take turns changing one letter at a time to form four-letter words. Once I remind him what we're doing, he enjoys it a lot. Today I noticed that he was most comfortable changing only the first letter of the word and would change back to the previous word if he could. <BR> <BR> In one of the games we made the word COPE, whi... Mon, 7 Oct 2013 18:56:39 EST My Pal Miko For the last three Wednesdays, I have brought my 12 year old diabetic blind pug to the veterinarian. He was an itchy mess 3 weeks ago, plus he had a new growth on his right front wrist (paw). The new young veterinarian, who is GREAT, was concerned that it might be a mast cell tumor. The location, coupled with Miko's chronic health problems and the general breathing issues of pugs, made him a bad candidate for any kind of surgery. A Benadryl regimen and watchful waiting was the prescriptio... Fri, 4 Oct 2013 13:25:22 EST Wedding Time Warp Just back from our nephew's wedding in NH. I felt like I was blasted back to our past, about 25 years ago. We were newly married and living in CT at the time, so spent many weekends and holidays with the extended family in NH. And by extended, you must understand that DH is Greek and really does have 26 first cousins. DH's two older brothers are married to Lebanese women who are each other's 2nd cousins, so that their kids are simultaneous 1st and 3rd cousins. <BR> So my in-laws' oldest g... Mon, 30 Sep 2013 16:29:38 EST Water and Me I'll bet you expected the usual line about drinking your 8 glasses a day. Actually, this isn't about that. <BR> <BR> I am so enjoying the pool complex to which our health plan gives us a membership. Not only am I swimming laps again, but I am also sampling various water fitness classes. When I look back over a lifetime of fitness activities, I realize I am happiest and least stressed when I have regular access to water. <BR> <BR> I feel like I am an inch taller every time I get out of th... Thu, 19 Sep 2013 11:20:18 EST Enjoying the Moment There's a great deal of pleasure in seeing my dad's face light up when I walk into the assisted living facility. The management company has been doing a large exterior facelift and it has not been easy to get a car near the door to take Dad for a ride because of construction equipment. I told Dad on Friday that DH and I would take him out this weekend when the workers were not there. So we came on Saturday evening, a gorgeous late summer/early fall evening. <BR> The ride has been the same ... Mon, 16 Sep 2013 19:03:47 EST Hoarder House, Part Two Went back to help more yesterday. Forgot my dust mask--bad idea. Can already see headway being made-- the books are out, having been carefully searched for cash. Flatware sets up to 17, only one sterling. I worked with a partner going through all the clothing left in the master bedroom-triage. Garbage, Goodwill, or sell as Vintage. Not too many treasures on the hangers, but for someone with an 8.5 B foot, the unworn shoes were works of art. As were the silk scarves, the leather gloves ... Tue, 10 Sep 2013 11:02:39 EST Meditation on Possessions I am friends with a wonderful woman who is one of those people who knows everyone in town and is involved in just about every non-profit community-betterment activity possible. If she weren't a genuinely gracious and generous human being, you could just hate her, but you cannot. Too much of what is good about this town can be traced to her. <BR> <BR> Long story short, in her web of connections is a gentleman who is the Power of Attorney for an elderly former neighbor who is now in a nursin... Fri, 6 Sep 2013 17:18:17 EST Emptying the Nest DD is two weeks into her freshman year of college. So far, it seems to be going as well as she dreamed it would. Her education is so different from what mine was, or what her father's was, and yet it is exactly what she needs and wants. <BR> <BR> Most of high school was torture. Identified as "gifted", she took a whole bunch of challenging classes in things she could not care less about, and received flak from teachers who thought she spent too much time on her extracurricular performance... Tue, 3 Sep 2013 11:42:57 EST Observations About Dementia It's always interesting to me where the holes are in my dad's cognitive abilities. For instance, in some ways he's back to the stage of object impermanence, where if he can't see it, it doesn't exist. On the other hand, while he does love to look at old photos and talk about things from his long- term memory (today we catalogued The Dogs of Our Lives), he also craves new ideas and information, like how my iPad works, or why the resurgence in urban gardening. He works so hard to ask intell... Fri, 30 Aug 2013 11:24:44 EST The Gift of Time Today I spent a lot of time with my dad, doing the little things that make his life easier. I always feel good when he actually asks for something, because part of his dementia is accepting only what's in front of him, even if it means being thirsty because he doesn't have a visual cue that there are tumblers in the cupboard and he could pour himself water. <BR> <BR> Today he told me that his bedside lamp needed a new bulb. It turns out it was actually just the matter of the outlet being c... Wed, 28 Aug 2013 12:37:29 EST Sparkpeople--Good enough to Imitate So we have new health insurance through DH's job, and to find ouT what fitness centers are available to us for free, I had to create an account on their health and wellness site, where they wanted to collect far too much information for my liking. I was supposed to do a wellness assessment, and then they'd give me Focus Areas and all kinds of Trackers. No where could I find a list of fitness centers. It kept dumping me back to the assessment area--so I thought I had to complete it to get ... Sun, 25 Aug 2013 19:30:47 EST Checking In with Myself It's been over six months since my mom died. If I can count 2013 as starting with Hurricane Sandy, this has been the most eventful year of my life thus far. <BR> <BR> Dropped the kid at the college of her dreams last Sunday. Monday would have been Mom's 80th birthday. The very sweet part was that when I told Dad it was August 19th and asked him if he knew what day it was, he replied "I know it's significant, that it matters but I can't quite remember why," which is way better than I exp... Wed, 21 Aug 2013 11:48:36 EST My Mom Died and My Sister is Psycho Diet Apologies to anyone who finds this post offensive. <BR> <BR> My mom died Valentine's Day morning. She had told me the day before that she was dying, and I told her it was okay and that I would keep Dad safe. She had planned to drive herself to her gastroenterologist appt. on Thursday while I was to stay with Dad. I was up all night thinking, she can't drive herself and was up and ready to go over when the phone rang and all I heard was a slurred "I go' a problem". I raced over, alerted t... Mon, 18 Feb 2013 11:59:59 EST Support From an Unexpected Source If you've read some of my blogs, you may know that I have a sister whose presence in my life is problematic at best. What doesn't show up is that I also have a brother, who lives about 2.5 hours away, whom I see rarely. As I was trying to straighten out the insurance mess yesterday, my mother suggested I turn over half the problem to him--the weekend property that I haven't set foot at in the last 5 years, which he maintains, for the most part. <BR> <BR> So even though we don't talk (e... Thu, 24 Jan 2013 07:36:57 EST Sandwich Generation I cannot wait until my parents' house is sold. Not only will I have to stop worrying about whether or not my sister is trashing it and/or removing items (although, she can have all the "things" she wants, IMO), but I won't have to worry about whether the insurer is going to continue to cover it although it's technically unoccupied. <BR> <BR> Oh, and then there's the little problem of trying to get clinically depressed child through high school and into the college/conservatory of choice, wh... Tue, 22 Jan 2013 09:23:34 EST Inauguration Day Both Election Day and Inauguration Day have always seemed to me like secular sacraments. The notion that we all can elect our leadership and watch and/or participate as those elected leaders take office from their predecessors is deeply moving to me, especially as I regard the rest of the world. <BR> <BR> These are days and rituals that transcend partisanship and approach a shared civic religion. Mon, 21 Jan 2013 13:11:10 EST In the Bleak Midwinter We are well and truly cold here again, which is okay by me. I truly believe that there is no bad weather (well, Superstorm Sandy is the exception that proves the rule), only bad clothing for the weather. So Little Dog and I just had a good walk. I am willing to wear layers rather than turn up the thermostat, so I'm perfectly cozy. <BR> <BR> I love a day like this one, full of tidying and cooking and hanging out with my loved ones. Sun, 20 Jan 2013 13:40:48 EST Another Year, Another Try Yeah, I kinda fell off the Sparkpeople Earth last fall. Frankenstorm Sandy left us out of power and heat for a week, as it did my elderly parents, who refused to leave their house even as mom was having a BAD reaction to an experimental drug. Finally, wearing all their clothes, they moved into the respite suite at a local Assisted Living facility which Mom and I had toured. <BR> The director had offered the suite when she knew their power and heatless living conditions. <BR> <BR> The good ... Wed, 16 Jan 2013 16:36:03 EST On the road Visiting dh's parents while attending a knitting conference in NH. So far no emergency calls from home. Fri, 5 Oct 2012 18:17:00 EST Where Did Six Weeks Go? Yikes. Haven't truly fallen off the Spark wagon, but not my best work. Nothing to do but pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again...(quick, which musical?) <BR> <BR> Mom is continuing to improve, while Dad is continuing to decline. Mom got sis and the cats out by Aug. 19 and realized that the price of staying in their home is having my sister move in if Mom should have any other hospitalization. Should she pass first, I'll never get my sister out of the house again, and ... Tue, 2 Oct 2012 09:12:57 EST Picture Improving--16 August 2012 Mom is stronger every day, gaining weight and flexibility. Visiting nurse told sis that Mom and Dad could be left alone--no constant babysitting needed. Wonder how long it will take my mom to send her and the cats back to the condo? <BR> <BR> Mom is also willing to say that Dad might not be able to stay at home until the end. That's a huge step. <BR> <BR> Just keeping it going, as best I can. Thu, 16 Aug 2012 14:09:50 EST Too Much on the Plate--Friday, August 10, 2012 Well, since my last post.... <BR> <BR> Left on a college/conservatory/concert/visit in-laws road trip with DH, DD and DD's BF. LOT of driving, but good decision-making information for the upcoming Life After High School Extravaganza. While with in-laws in NH, sister calls to tell me mom is in hospital due to bad reaction to barium swallow for small intestine series. Mom has Crohn's disease. Dad has Alzheimer's and cannot be left alone. Mom dehydrated, below 90 lbs in weight--but exact c... Fri, 10 Aug 2012 10:47:51 EST An Almost Empty Nest--Tuesday, July 17, 2012 Just got off the phone w/DD, who is at an Institute being immersed in what it would be like to be a music performance major before she makes her final application decisions for her senior year. She is so happy--ready to skip the last year of high school and dive right in. I remember that feeling--that it was time for the rest of your life to begin. I am so glad she had this opportunity to make sure it's what she wants. <BR> <BR> Let the games begin. Tue, 17 Jul 2012 23:23:36 EST