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Jan. 1st, 2020

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Aug. 25th, 2014

Thoughts. And Memories.

I'm sitting here, drinking a mug of hot Tea. Republic of Tea Vanilla Almond to be exact. With Virginia honey.

I have a cold, so already feel like crap. But all I can think about, staring out at the sparrows on the fence and the bird feeders, is the Sister In Law's comment that this Tea and a few others were from her mom (the Mother In Law) and that she didn't want them anymore, if I wanted any, have them.

It reminded me so strongly of when my mom told me about how Grandpa suddenly didn't want to put a garden in. And it made me so damned sad.

You see, every spring, like clockwork, for as long as I could remember, he had *always* had a garden. And growing up, I remember picking green beans from the back yard garden, munching on them as we went down the row. I remember digging potatoes in the side garden with my parents and grandparents, cousins. Between them and my dad, I think that's where I got my love of gardening.

But suddenly, there was no garden. Mom remarked that they had thought it was strange, but didn't say anything about it at the time. In hindsight, they wished they had. They would have gotten the Alzheimer's diagnosis that much earlier. They would have had that much more time to prepare for what was coming.

And now, I sit here, drinking my hot Tea, remembering my grandfather and thinking about my Mother In Law and it just makes me so damned sad.

Alzheimer's robs a family of so, so much. You will remember what things mean, that you used to do these things, but the person afflicted- they will not. That memory is simply gone as if it never existed. Eventually, they won't even remember you. Sure, they'll know you as someone who comes around often, who looks familier, but as to why they should know you, that they will not remember. It will simply be gone. Eventually, even the memory of you being a familiar face will also be gone. In my grandfather's case, he regressed to the point where he thought he was a child again and had to get ready for school some mornings. Before that point, he was trying to go to work- he'd been retired for a good 30-40 years or so.

The mother in law doesn't drive anymore. It's not because she can't, its more because they don't want to risk her suddenly forgetting where she was going, as she was going down the road. It's more of a concern for her than anything.

My mom told me about a time, after the bad storm that went through there and took out a significant number of trees on my grandparents' property- trees they'd planted when they bought the place-
my grandfather had taken the car to go to the neighbor's to check on them. He got there and back safely, but they found him sitting in the car- he couldn't remember how to put the windows up. They started hiding the keys after that, I believe.

So it did not surprise me that the mother in law didn't want these Teas anymore- she likely couldn't remember why she had them.

This is what Alzheimer's does.



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Aug. 20th, 2014

About that Ice Bucket Challenge thingy...

Don't bother ever tagging me in that ice bucket challenge thing. Because I won't do it nor can I afford to arbitrarily donate 100.00.
Good for those who do it or can donate that money.

There are two things I routinely donate to - Alzheimer's disease research and Akita Rescue. Because both are near and dear to me.

If that makes me a bad person (and we all know better, I trust), then so be it.

I started hiding all the reposts on Facebook. I should clarify that the reposts I routinely hide now are the celebrity ones because honestly, quite a few I could not care less about.

See here's the problem- once this ends, people will stop talking about ALS. IF they even knew that that was what this Ice Bucket Challenge was about in the first place.

It's the same with Alzheimer's, which yes, thanks to a few celebrities who have family members afflicted, is getting more attention.

We NEED to talk about these sort of diseases, because not talking about it solves nothing. It hides it from public view and the only way to get more funding and to make people care is to be vocal about it, every day, all year long, until there are cures. Not only when there's a fundraising activity going on, such as the ice bucket challenge, or the Walk to End Alzheimer's.

The more we talk about it, the more we share what we as family members or caregivers are dealing with, the more people realize just how prevalent these diseases are and that hey, it's getting worse, we need to do *something* about it now and every day.

My Mother In Law has Early Onset Alzheimer's. In just over a year, she can no longer drive, use the computer or operate the microwave. THE MICROWAVE?!?

Yet, no one talks about it. No one realizes just how BAD it gets. And if people with these sorts of diseases and their family members don't know that there IS support out there, because NO ONE TALKS ABOUT IT, how are they expected to get through this on their own? They can't. You can't. Even addicts need a support system. Yet, no one wants to talk about it. Society has decided that talking about things that rob a person of who they are- ALS, ALZ, Addiction, Parkinson's, Depression, etc- is shameful and needs to be hidden away. We need to change that.

And yes, the problem with things like the ice bucket challenge is that too often the message is lost in the telling. My husband thought it was an 'either or'- Either dump a bucket of ice on yourself, OR donate money. He didn't know it was dump the bucket of ice AND donate 10.00 OR donate 100.00 if you don't dump the ice. And when this 'fad'- because yes, that is EXACTLY what it is, especially among the younger set- passes, the charity will be right back where it started with people not really talking about it or seriously donating. It's the same with the Walk to End Alzheimer's- once the season is over (it's an entire summer thing), then people stop caring as much. I imagine it's the same for addicts- you go to rehab and come out clean and people think you're cured and don't need support anymore, not understanding that it's a daily battle for you and you need that support more than ever.

We need to break the cycle and start talking about these things openly, frankly and doing it until the world ends or cures are found.


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Aug. 19th, 2014

Garden projects...

Since it's not pouring down rain today- not yet anyway- I decided to get to work on the next phase of the garden reworking.



The panel on the left was thoroughly scrubbed, the one on the right is what both looked like before scrubbing. Yeah. And I have 2 more about the same size to scrub down too. It makes a huge mess too, so much so, that I had to spray the entire porch down. Glad I closed the window by my desk earlier.

These two are exactly the same size and will be placed back to back, thoroughly attached together with hinges down one side and used as a gate. They'll also be primed and painted with exterior paint in what has become one of our garden accent colors- Tardis blue. (Ok, so it's really Valspar Stained Glass Blue in high gloss, but it was an almost exact match to the BBCA authorized Tardis Mug Mark got for his birthday a few years back from his sister. It is also the color of both the front and back exterior doors.), the other color(s) being shades of greens with a varying accents of cream and burnt orange.

All four panels will be primed and painted. Then the other two will be opposite the gate, with a nice pebble patio area between and my living wall of Wisteria on one side, the house- which is a cream color- on the other. They'll be in front of the cement block raised bed and help disguise it while still being able to be moved for access from that end.

But first I need to scrub the panels and then prime and paint them when they dry, hopefully by next weekend. They're on the porch, so should dry as long as the weather holds.

Oh look, it's raining again. *headdesk*


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Aug. 17th, 2014

Things...

Last night I dreamed of Winter.

Of snow and ice and mountains shrouded in clouds.

Of a freezing river, it's banks choked thickly with rime ice.

Of people walking into this river; if they drowned they were buried and forgotten (how the bodies were recovered from the ice cold depths, I do not know), if they survived, they were exalted. They were deemed to have been chosen.

It was a bizarre ritual.









I have started writing again. Long hand, in a blank book. It's strangely soothing and satisfying, much like gardening. I did this as a child, teenager and young adult and for whatever reason, stopped. And now, I don't want to stop. The scratching of the pencil across paper is music to my ears. I'll likely run out of paper in my books- I have 2, one for the story, one with various notes, at that point, I'll buy another.

I may share it someday, chapter by chapter. For now, this is for me.


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Aug. 14th, 2014

"You have to grieve for them while they are still here."

That's what my mom said to me today and she is so very right. They are essentially leaving you, even if they are still here in body.

Mark talked to his dad last night. What little he could get out of him- he doesn't like to talk about what's going on- the MiL has gotten worse.

She not only does not remember our anniversary, she cannot use the computer anymore because she doesn't remember how to. Which I think is likely hardest on the SiL as she would talk to the MiL , if not every day, nearly every day, via Skype. And now that the niece is no longer up there to show the MiL how to turn on the computer, or do it for her, let alone start up the program, I imagine that those Skype sessions have ceased.

She no longer remembers how to use the microwave. The microwave! That's how bizarre and selective this insidious disease is. The FiL has been doing much of the cooking lately as a result.

I asked Mark if his dad had said anything about the doctor trying her out on other meds, to see if something else won't help and he said he didn't say, that he didn't want to talk about it.

That's about the worst thing to do in this situation- not talk to anyone about it, keep it all bottled up inside and not let anyone help you. That's Mark's family though- they don't like to ask for help eve though they know they are going to need it.

Early on, I had told the FiL to please look into a local Alzheimer's Support group, because he would not be able to do this on his own, but I know he won't. The sad part is, I think he will continue to try to shut everyone out, to try to do it all himself and not tell us what's going on unless we force him to.

About the best I can do is simply be there, as support, for Mark and his sister. Because as this disease progresses, they're going to need it.

As of right now, financially we cannot afford to go up until November, I dread to think how much more will have slipped away between now and then. But I know, when we do go, we will make the most of what little time we have left. Maybe we'll go to the Philly Zoo, she always did like going to the Zoo...


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Aug. 13th, 2014

A new day...

Today is definitely a better day. The sun finally came out, after 5 days of cloud cover and almost constant rain. I actually had to go dump excess water out of a few potted plants, as they were starting to drown.

Today, since it's such a lovely day, I plan to start reworking the front raised beds. To that end, the first to be moved will be the Spiderwort my dad gave me a few years ago. It's never been fully happy in a full sun spot and now, the Thyme is starting to encroach. So it'll be moved to a nice, shady spot under the Crepe Myrtle. I also need to go ahead and trim up the Thyme anyway and prepare the resulting hole for a new, smaller Crepe Myrtle. Hoping to find one of the Black Diamond ones again, they have such gorgeous purple- black leaves and I think it'll make an excellent anchor on the opposite end of the bed from the red Japanese Maple.

In a day or so when everything has thoroughly drained, I'll start lifting the irises in the front beds, removing much of the soil, amending what's left with bone meal, blood meal and organic fertilizer as I add fresh dirt back into it. They've been declining in recent years, so I think maybe lifting them and refreshing the soil might do them some good. And it'll make it so I can fill in empty spots where some have completely died out on me.

This means all the Irises in the side bed, along the drive way, will also be lifted and I can turn that bed, fully, into a perennial Herb bed. It already has the Greek Oregano, the Thyme and a small spot of Chives. It'd be a perfect spot for a new Lavender and possibly even a place to transplant the potted Rosemary. The existing Yarrow will be transplanted into it as well, possibly the St. John's Wort, though that may be transplanted into a large pot as it doesn't seem to overwinter very well.

The bed along the fence will be completely reworked, turning a good 7'-8' section into a raised vegetable bed for next year. We think it'd be a great spot for climbing vegetables, like sugar snap peas, cucumbers, zucchini, etc, as it's almost entirely full sun all day and with the fence as a back drop, perfect for stringing vines up on. Danger Garden has given me lots of excellent ideas for ways to build a really neat raised bed- seriously, they have an awesome garden, I'm a bit jealous.

But first, it starts with transplanting that Spiderwort...


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