Saturday, April 30, 2011


Another color appeared in my landscape today. I think I may have to move it, however; it clashes with all the yellow!

Friday, April 29, 2011


Yesterday, I went up to Maine with a classmate. We're charged with developing a business plan for an extant homeless shelter, so we went to interview an administrator with Preble Street in Portland. (Preble Street is a very well-run homeless shelter.) That's just one of the projects that I'm working on at the moment:
Project 1: Mom
Project 2: ABA classwork for 541
Project 3: ABA final, 541
Project 4: ABA 541 quiz re-take (I bombed one; it was right after Mom's stroke)
Project 5: ABA classwork, 554
Project 5: prepare defense of thesis for May 4
Project 6: business plan for shelter

I have to wrap these projects up (save for #6) in the next 11 days. I know, I =always= have too much to do. But this time I've really stuck my foot in it. I don't know how people with actual jobs get through the ABA work, I really do not. There is a possibility that my grades will not be high enough to keep my spot in the training, and I'm working on that stuff all the time.

Anyway, coming home from Maine, in the horrible weather, we stopped at a roadside BK/Starbucks plaza so my classmate could eat. Waiting in the car, my attention was drawn by a lighthouse. Was it? --Could it be? Yes! It was the Cape Hatteras lighthouse, outside a campground in Maine.

On Day 12, we leave for Hatteras!

Orange cat

This is a neighborhood cat that spends about 15% of any day in our yard. Victor is fond of it, if he could be said to be fond of any cat. He describes it as "friendly." It was hoping to "make friends" with a bird when it climbed the tree. Pic taken from the window.

Yellow tulips

These are pretty, even if I would really like a handful in shell pink.

Last week: Tulips & maybe daffs?

Most were in bud last week. This week many are in bloom (as I'm sure you just saw).

Pinks & Purples

Maybe even some blues. All but one are pics from today; the lenten rose, which is now much taller, is a pic from a week or two ago.

April garden

I'm still focused on daffodils, I have them in bloom nearly everywhere. Top is from last week, so is next one down, then last one is today.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bike Seat

I think that the piece of green glass in the lower right corner looks just like a bike seat. Victor (who just left for 3 days in Philly) collected that one on Sunday; the rest of them I collected earlier in the month, maybe even at the end of March.

Victor was down on the boulevard, not realizing that just a few hours earlier a body was recovered there. Speculation is that the man is one who was last seen in November, promising to go into the water forever. Here there is a literal and figurative undercurrent.

You know it's spring when...

The hosta spikes appear. Victor is pleased.


Same clump photographed when it made me feel hopeful right through to now, when it makes me fear for its inevitable decline. Not so daffy I guess.


I assume that the word arose from the word daffodil. They are decidedly unserious. And yes, that is the tip of my finger.


We had a vintage peony out front, right where the gas company needed to install a new meter at the start of April. We had thought that it was gone, but look! Purple shoots. Peony shoots.

Be Good

I keep thinking about what a "good" daughter would do at this moment. Wouldn't a good daughter spend a chunk of time every morning and every afternoon with her mother? I think she would offer intellectual stimulation to head off sinking into delirium. She would read aloud and vocally encourage physical therapy and therapists.

Why is that not what I'm doing? Am I burying myself in homework so as not to have to be there? I do have a lot of homework, but I also have professors who would understand.

The thing is, I question my ability to cope with it. And if this is simple dementia, my idea about heading off delirium may be wishful thinking. ("May be," a different idea from "is.") I don't think it's possible to find out without radical change in my own life, which would need to center on my mother's life -- the same way her life presumably centered on mine 48 years ago.

I have only two weeks of school left; this is the crunch period. Once I am finished, I can give more. I think.


I thought I knew what I would do when next I saw my mother. However, yesterday she insisted upon a hallucination as her reality. She expressed surprise that her children had visited without noticing the men with the rifle.

Her days of clarity get fewer and farther between, it seems. I don't know whether she departs reality because she cannot bear to be where she is, or if this is simple dementia.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Today when I visited my mother, she said that she could not think "what good" she was going to be to anyone. Of course, this brings up a lot of things.

But focusing on just one: I think that when I see her next, I must tell her that these days that she spends in rehab are ABOUT her and FOR her, that this is a time to be necessarily selfish. In order to increase her strength, she will need her will; and in order to locate her will, she needs to work up her self-regard.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Not sure that this is what the above fleur is called, but here it is anyway. (It might be a crocus.) We have some daffodils in bloom now, too, but it's too rainy today for a photo!


I need help choosing shoes. I'm down to the three pairs above, all Naturalizer selections. My size has increased by 0.5 because my weight has increased. I've been working out for 6+ weeks now, and it is in decline (my weight). But my shoes still don't fit.

So: please let me know, if you have a preference. Top is #1, bottom is #3.


Today mom said (again) that "thugs" came into her room and were pushing her around. When I reminded her that they need to re-position her every two hours and that nurses do it, she did not accept the explanation. She rejected the idea that the men were nurses, because, silly, they were men.

It's difficult because she is astonished, and not happy, that this is her reality: powerless, still, with 'thugs' doing as they wish with her. If she didn't scold me for "trying to confuse" her, maybe *I* could think straight while I'm there.

Staff told me that she had refused to be transferred to a chair, so I spoke about her need to exercise. She responded with, "Don't be ridiculous. I've been up and about all day, I've been making a pie."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Plugging Along

Things do change, and yet they are essentially the same. I got my thesis back with word that it's actually pretty good. Then my mother again did not respond to me, or to my eldest sister, the next day (she would not wake, though she was restless in her sleep).

I plugged away at this assignment and that assignment, and got a paid consulting project under way for Endicott. Then on Saturday mom seemed fine, lucid -- and yet somehow less vigorous, less present with us. They say at Essex Park that she's not eating.

I do wish for a little pocket of certainty. I wish I had my degree in hand, or that I was all done with ABA classes, or that mom would turn a corner for good and all.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Too Much Liz

My mother is Elizabeth, my daughter is Elizabeth, and Elizabeth Taylor is (or was), of course, Elizabeth. One died, one is in a nursing home (sorry, RE-hab), and one has been in the hospital twice in the last 3 weeks: once for a GI bleed, and once representing that she's crazy. Well, honey, we all feel pretty crazy right now.

Yard, Early April

A crocus patch develops over the course of a week. Also, a blue ball (not in the yard, but in a parking area nearby) is eye-catching, even if it's part of a pile of trash.

Essex Park

Visited my mother today, and Vic snuck a pic. It pretty much sums up a huge amount of my time these days.


I accepted the professor's offer of taking an Incomplete in the course. It doesn't mean I don't still have to do all the work; it means that the professor "gets it" that my mother's situation makes it near-impossible for me to focus.

I feel like for the last 15 months the people close to me have been in and out of hospitals -- when they haven't actually died, that is. Again, thank goodness Vic and I got away to NZ when we did.