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Today in My History

2000:  A Life in Declarative Sentences
2001:  Chewing the Air
2002:  Look At Me, I'm Flyyyyying
2003:  Over the Rainbow
2004:  The Princess in My Motel Room
2005:  Twenty Questions
2006:   Going Batty

2007:  Dog Days of Summer

2008:  Letting My Voice Be Heard
Socialist Agenda

42nd Stree

Books Read in 2010
Updated: 8/23
City of Bones"

Recipes for Cousins Day Drinks
(updated 3/17/10)


A Taste of Uncle Vito's from Bev Sykes on Vimeo.

On You Tube

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Cousins Day, August 2010

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8 September 2010

My mother is pissed at us.  Oh, she wouldn't say so, but we knew she was. 

It was Cousins Day and  Kathy didn't come.  Her husband called in the morning to say she hadn't been able to breathe all night and so he was taking her to the emergency room.  Peach was already at my mother's, so I drove down by myself.

We had a nice afternoon.  We chatted until noon and then had lunch.  We played 65 all afternoon.  Last month Kathy wasn't able to come either, so we decided not to call it Cousins Day and not to play 65, but we missed it, so we called it Cousins Day and we played 65.

The day was punctuated with telephone calls from my mother's friends all wishing her a happy birthday.  She was tickled whenever a phone call came (she was particularly surprised and delighted when she got a call from Walt's sister!), or when the mail arrived and she added to her collection of greeting cards.

91Gift.jpg (66907 bytes)Peach had given her a bunch of lottery tickets which they rubbed off together.  I took some nice video, but somehow my video is not working (it won't burn to my computer), so I have to figure out how to fix that before I make a birthday video.

But she recently lost the blade to her Cuisinart, which she uses for making stuffed eggs and for chopping onions, so I had gotten her a medium-sized Cuisinart at Costo and though she had made a big fuss about not wanting any more stuff (put as much emphasis and disgust into that word as you can to get the full effect), she was thrilled to have a working Cuisinart again.

We had champagne cocktails and popcorn for hors d'oeuvres and then continued playing 65.  It was my time.  Over the two days, I won 4 games, tied one game with Peach and my mother won two games.

Our cousin Denise came for dinner.  She is actually first cousin, once removed, daughter of our cousin Shirley, who died several years ago.   Denise is a lovely, giving person, but things are just "different" when the third person isn't Kathy.  The chemistry is different

Peach had made a delicious dinner.

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It was meat loaf, baked potatoes and a fresh tomato pie.  We had the second bottle of champagne I'd brought with dinner.

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For dessert, I'd picked up a cake here in Davis and some candles.

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But then there was today.  And that's what I really wanted to talk about.  I'm glad that my mother no longer has internet access because it frees me to talk about her. 

Her short term memory loss is getting worse and worse.  It hasn't reached a dangerous point yet but the "thing" that happened was that my mother made a mistake in one round of our first game this morning.  The mistake resulted in her getting a lot of points for that round (in this game you want to have the fewest possible points).  She insisted that she had done one thing and Peach and I had seen her do something else.  It seemed a simple matter, but she was pissed.   She had a scowl on her face and all the levity was gone for that game.  We were going to leave after that first game, but I suggested we play a second game, hoping that would make things better.  We did, but the mood was definitely broken.

When we left, she walked us out to the car, but the darkness was still on her face.  EVERY time I get ready to leave, she gives a big kiss and says "drive safely; you've got my kid in that car" and she laughs.  She didn't say that this time.  She almost didn't turn around to wave at us, but throughout her life, hospitality has been at the core of everything she does, so though she was pissed, she waved half-heartedly.  The big smile was not there.

I don't know if she's mad at us because she thinks we ganged up on her, or if she's angry at herself.  It's irrelevant.  The problem is that the short term memory loss has become much more pronounced in the last few weeks.   Peach found the oven left on and burners left on when she was staying with her.   Only once each, but they were left on.  She couldn't remember what was the wild card in 65.  The wild card is the number of cards you have.  If you have 3 cards, the wild card is 3; if you have 4 cards, the wild card is 4 and so on.  In the 3 round with 3 cards in her hand, she asked if kings were wild.  After dinner last night she asked if I really had to drive home or if I could spend the night.

Nothing was big.  Nothing was serious, but each time it's a little bit of an escalation.  Peach and I talked about it all the way home.  The time is coming when she's not going to be able to stay in her own home and since she is so fiercely proud of her independence and absolutely hates any suggestion that she might be "old," moving her into any sort of an assisted living facility will, literally kill her.

I guess what I'm curious about from those of you who have been in this position is...when do you know.  When does it get so worrisome that you have to convince a parent that they can't live alone any more.  I keep hoping she will die in her sleep before we have to face this.  It's not time now, but each time we get together, each time Peach spends time with her, it becomes more obvious that we are on the edge of "the time" and I am going through foreign territory here.   How do you know?  How do you deal with it?  When do you approach the subject?

I remember several years ago that my mother told me she ever got to where she repeated herself all the time to tell her.  But her short term memory loss is so great that even if I told her (which would mortify her), she wouldn't remember.   There are several stories that she tells over and over again every time we get together.  We all laugh and pretend she's never told them before, but she does it every time.  How can I tell her this and make her aware of what she is doing?  I don't know.

So I'm just hoping to open up a dialog here with all of you and ask you to give me your experiences.  How do you know?  What do you do?  I'm going to write to her doctor for advice though she has to be on death's door before she'll see her doctor, so I don't know if there is any help there.

I knew this day would come and I hate that it's finally here.


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