Monday, March 31, 2008

hey... cows!...!!!...

just got back from an unbelievably fun and rewarding weekend with a cyber friend and her best friend. good, clean fun was had by all.
hot damn! i love those girls.

we did all the fun south-austin things south austin folks never get around to doing, had a minimum of family soap opera, and we took some pictures. most of the photos were taken beside road signs and historical markers. (lupine, bobcats!!!, huisache, road hump,,,) sorry if that's too cryptic, but i'm sworn to secrecy until given top secret clearance...

i will say that annie actually said, "y'all" one time. but i think she's in rehab now.

the only thing we did together in dallas was visit mom, and even though they only got the smallest taste of i knew they would, i think they *GOT* it.
did i mention i love those girls?

anne and phyllis have a kind of friendship you can't beat with a stick. we should all be so lucky to have friends like that. top drawer folks, they are.

given permission, i'll post photos of our adventures later.
(one of these days i hope to visit annie and her mom on their home turf and go on a cross country *world's best hamburger quest* with phyliss's husband.)

peace, y'all.
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Thursday, March 27, 2008

news briefs...

reading the newspaper with mom today was a hoot. first we read a report citng a study that found belly fat being related to one's risk for alzheimer's. mom said she thought maybe she had alzheimer's. we ended up deciding the study was bogus because all those "nuts"(her description)where she lives are skinny. i didn't point out her rotund shape.

then we read the craziest thing...

"a woman who may have spent two years in a bathroom, sitting on the toilet so long that the seat adhered to...pam babcock, 35, was found stuck to the toilet in late february after her boyfriend called authorities to say something was wrong with her. police believe she sat on the toilet for about a month."

when we finally stopped laughing mom said it must be a slow news day...
then she asked me what rap music was. i told her. a minute later she asked again. so i took the paper and read selected parts of it. that usually helps lessen her confusion. the article was about rappers tupak and notorious B.I.G. and sean "diddy."

"sean bibby?! is he a rapper?"
"not that i know of mom."

hahahahaha. sean bibby is her grandson. and not a rapper.
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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

i feel like dancin'...

just got back from the dr's. no surgery will be necessary.

that's spelled R-E---L-E-A-F, as in what all but the tallest trees around here have done with the advent of spring...i feel like a brand new person. (yes, i've been extremely worried about that possibility since my last visit. please feel free to dance, holler, and/or cry out with joy at any time.)

she also said the sublex fractures at c5-6 and c6-7 were finally beginning to noticeably heal and i probably have only 4-6 more weeks of wearing the neck brace. suh-weet.

i guess all the wild and crazy sex i've been havin' hasn't hurt anything, after all. ahahahahahaha.

wanta know what else i liked about the appointment? i didn't mind all the hours of waiting because i found a wired magazine in the waiting room. i'd never read one before, but i'm hooked. i learned enough interesting stuff to...well, enough to fill a magazine, i guess. it sure beats the hell outta the usual dr's office fare of people and us.

after the cut i'll announce the winner of the sitemeter referral contest...

i changed my mind. i'll do it in a separate post...i'm busy silently crying and celebrating right now. if i could dance i would.
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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

let's see...

who can i offend now? hmm...

this one from boingboing cracks me up. and as usual, the comments are at least as funny as the article.

how 'bout these pics my sister sent me from the web?...

(i think i'll call that last one the HOTD.)

or this one from this dark roasted blend post...

can you say, "christvertising"? say what?!?

this one is only maybe offensive if you're an inveterate shoppaholic. maybe...
the transparent toaster???

and last, but by no means least, here's something else from boingboing. gem sweaters??? oh my.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

2 sad stories - 1 *happy* ending

when i went to mom's yesterday she was sitting on the couch with several large, old, photo albums in her lap. i asked her where they came from. she didn't know. she said they were the ones we'd been looking at that morning. i went along with it for a while before asking if she'd seen her brother john lately. she looked at the books and laughed at herself for thinking that was me who'd come to visit just 2 hours, or 2 minutes, before. then we sat together and looked through them. and that was awesome.

i call that a happy ending.

i'd love to scan and post a bunch of them for this blog and HOTD. one day i will. the photos are all 120-70 years old. of her and her brother and of their extended family. man! they were really into hats and bonnets back then. and more hats.

so i guess as sad and rapidly progressive her dementia is, it's *ok* in a way. we can still laugh about it and we can still enjoy those photos together. that's much better than anything i have to say about the next sad story...

goin' on 6 years now. our war in iraq. no end in sight. more death, injury, loss and displacement to come. for years and years. al-qaeda in iraq. civil war. $$$ wasted. sadness. no happy ending i can see. no end in sight.

as i wrote here 5 months ago in *i'm the serious guy*, i guess i'll have to keep that picture of myself in the sidebar for a while longer. that makes me sad, too.

and don't you dare think for a moment i don't respect and honor our troops. just keep it to yourself if that's the way you read my disgust with what we've created in iraq. yes, i'm ashamed of my country, but not of our soldiers. if you want to know whom i'd like in position for that *3 a.m. phone call* i'd say maybe a woman (no, not her) or a silver star vet (no, certainly not him) ... but, maybe someone more like this soldier here. i wonder how she'd react.

or maybe any one of these soldiers.
or these or maybe one of these...

i double dog dare you to actually read one of those pages.
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Friday, March 14, 2008

SOTD and other fuzzy photos

fuzzy wuzzy wuz a bear/fuzzy wuzzy had no hair/fuzzy wuzzy wuzn't very fuzzy wuz he?

that's a little ditty i remember from childhood. did anyone else say that real fast for no particular reason when they were a kid? my sisters and i sure did. i just thought of it for the 1st time in a long, long time when i saw how out of focus this picture i took of Opal was. (see last post to read about opal.)

lots of times when you try to take a *candid* picture of someone, you know how you'll first say, "sMiLE!" ? well i didn't. i just said her name.
she was sweeping up after lunch and when she turned around i snapped the shutter knowing i'd get a worthy *Smile O' The Day* photo.
awesome, huh?

more fuzzy pics after the cut...

this is my friend harold. when you look up *loyal* in the dictionary, his picture will be in the sidebar as a visual description. if it's not, it damn sure should be. i love him even though he is a republican.

his wife lara and me. (hey, i told you they were fuzzy pics...)

COUSIN IT. (it's actually my friend karen, but when i tried to take HER picture, she refused.) karen has pretty hair don't ya think?. and a pretty smile, too. but she's kinda shy...[NOT!]

and harold took a couple of me.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

check-in at VT

i spent many years working closely with various youth groups. in my experience, one of the most valuable group bonding tools was what we called *check-in.* we'd go around the room or the campfire and each person would tell a little about themselves or their week, depending on the situation. the adults in the group would have their moment to speak/share, too. that's a real important element of the group's dynamic. everyone gets to show they're human. everyone shares. everyone bonds.

when i went to visit mom this morning, Opal, an aide in the alzheimer's unit, had everyone gathered in the common room. they were each telling a little about themselves. well, some were - the ones who could remember where they were born, how many kids they had or what they did for a living. it was pretty cool. Opal would prompt them and seemed to know their very personal histories well. i wondered how often they did this exercise. the residents surely weren't aware if they'd ever done it before. hahahaha
learning something new every day has an entirely different meaning to one with alz than it does to the rest of us.


i've always liked her. she's a happy, friendly sort. but i've never known much about her before today. after everyone else had told their stories, she briefly told hers.

17 brothers and one sister. (her mother was a housewife.) 2 daughters and a son who has been in iraq for 4 years. Opal's worked at vickery towers for 13 years. took care of her mother who had alzheimer's for 8 years, 7 months and 8 days. said she'd get off work at 2:00 (she still does) and pick her mom up at adult day care by 2:20 every day. she said it wasn't easy, but she did it til the end. i wanted to hug her right about then.

Opal told mom and the rest of them she wasn't there just to make sure they bathed and ate. she was there to help them bathe and make sure they ate...and to make sure they smiled. she said somethin' like, "laughter's the best medicine you can get." they nodded and i thought how lucky they all were to have a caretaker like her.

then she said something we've all heard before. she said, "smile and the world......cry and you......"

i suspect she's said it a time or two before to the folks in that room because they all responded, filling in the blanks appropriately. and that's not a gimme for one with alz. ya know?
i'll go back later and take opal's picture so i can post it here. i'm guessing her smile will make you feel good, too.

oh &, i almost forgot.
i wasn't there when mom said her piece, but i got a hint of some of what she'd said afterwards when opal came up to me with a big grin and said, "you must be OOPS!"
i said, no ma'am, that's my little brother. i was the youngest of 3 for 15 years before the "oops" came along.
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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

what day is it?

when you're living life as "the guy on the couch" the days kinda run together. i know it was march the 7th the morning when i went to parkland for another ct-scan. (select portions from the cd may be available for your viewing pleasure on youtube soon.)

the creepy lookin' x-ray they'd taken a couple days before didn't quite jive with the ct-scan taken 5 weeks before that. it seems vertabrae #6 has moved around since then. so they figured it'd be a good idea to wrench me in position for an apples to apples view of what's really goin' on with my neck. in a couple of weeks i'll go back and the doc will hopefully have figured it out and let me know. in the meantime i try not to worry about it.

afterward, i went and hung out with mom. it was about 2:30 in the afternoon when i realized it must be a friday. that's when we heard some commotion in the hallway and discovered the residents were gathering for happy hour. yep. must be friday...

a couple in their 50s were playing easy listening/elevator music. he with electric guitar, she on electric keyboard and a silky smooth voice, their 4 year old daughter waving pom poms and eliciting oohs and smiles from the geezers with her cute-as-a-button-ness.

here's part of the set list from the event:

"you are my sunshine" (a *rousing* sing-along. the room divided to compete for loudest. it sounded like a hundred people whispering.)

"hey good lookin'" (sung to each and every resident, to be sure. big smiles all around.)

"will the circle be unbroken" (an impromptu sing-along with much hand clapping and toe tapping.)

"proud mary" (complete with rolling hand motions practiced by the crowd beforehand.)

"when tear drops fall" (imagine the sappiest version ever...)

"do you want to dance?" **

"my little run away" (linda and joyce danced to this one. linda's the 30 year old boss of the alzheimer's residents. joyce is an 80 year old alz woman. they were really Good!)

** at this point linda asked mom if she wanted to dance. she did. it was awesome. linda kept saying, "quit looking at your feet." they did turns and twirls. mom got the rhythm. mom grinned and stopped looking at her feet. everyone hooted and hollered for her.

mom's much worse off than the last time i saw her just 2 weeks ago. she's lost much more of her memory. it's sad, but this was a moment to cherish. and we did. it's a thin line between blessing and misfortune.

it's at moments like that we find out how much we have to be thankful for.

in the locker room, each team will enevitably invoke the name of god to harbor the skill, luck and heroics to insure success. after the game there is always a winner and a loser.

i can only wonder at the thin line dividing their fortunes.

(photo by zach perkins. cachoeria street, rio, brazil. 2008)

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008


lately this has looked more like an abandoned blog than it really is. i'll start a post and lose interest, or more accurately, lose motivation. this time i set up outside hoping the different locale would spark a different attitude. (as i typed that it started to rain. )

but this time i'm letting my stubborness take over...

[ok, that was written 2 freakin' days ago. after it started sprinkling, i set up back inside. the sun came out again. i went back outside. it rained. now, i'd intended to include several of the 1/2-fleshed posts: the wedding, the silent house, the contest "prize" and more, but let's see if i even finish the HOTD story for now and then we'll go from there. ok?]

so, that picture was taken on valentine's day. the last time i saw mom. over 2 long weeks ago. it's breakin' my heart just to type that. just like the last few times i saw her and left her, i'm crying just thinking about it. no, not because of her condition. simply because i miss her.

back to the photo, rick.

they were having a valentine's party at the alzheimer's unit when my sisters and i went to visit that day. linda, the awesome person in charge of the residents' care, had a trivia game planned for them. to start it off she said, "now everyone put on their thinking caps."

mom nonchanlantly reached for, unfolded, and placed her napkin on her head.
(and that, my friends, is only a tiny part of why i love her.)

guess what? i'm on the bus, on my way to see her now. to take her to vote for her favorite republican and to vote for my favorite democrat myself. i hope to stay a few a days. i'll try my best to keep y'all posted. no promises, though.

whether it makes sense to anyone but myself, the following long-remembered quotation seems apropos to me.

"and the night shall be filled with music / and the cares, that infest the day / shall fold their tents, like the arabs, / and as silently slip away." ~longfellow~

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