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Thursday, August 21 2014 @ 06:56 PM PDT

Oregon 2005 Dec Mary's visit

Oregon NewsFrom Mary:
Hello everyone,
Here is the beginning of the story of my time here in Oregon.
I arrived on Saturday at 1:00 ish. Colleen and Aunt Margaret warmly welcomed me at the airport. Stopped to drop off pies at Aunt Kathy's, stopped and said hello to Johnny, Kayla and Lori, and then off to Grandpa's I went.
Colleen, Grandpa and I visited with one another. Colleen began her collection of reading material from Grandpa (his stuff will give her a break from studying). We ate dinner and chatted. We also enjoyed some wonderful music from the CD that Matthew and Colleen made for Grandpa.

Sunday am.....made Grandpa yogurt pancakes and a scrambled egg, and then Colleen, Grandpa and I went to the 11:00 am Mass. Then, Colleen and I went to visit Grandma. She was in a sound sleep and so we went and shopped for Grandpa, brought the groceries home, and then went back to the nursing home. Grandma was still sleeping in bed but she was easily woken up. Samantha and Elizabeth helped her to go the bathroom and then put her in her wheelchair. Then, Colleen wheeled Grandma to the second dining room where we enjoyed tea and a beautiful view of the garden. The best part, though, was singing songs with Grandma as we had the lyrics of her favorite songs. Jeremy, gave Grandma a wonderful Christmas gift - a binder with the words of many of her favorite songs. Colleen, Grandma and I sung and sung the different songs in the book. This special song book will be kept at Grandpa's house.....so come and pick it up when you want to use it.
In the late afternoon, we went to Aunt Kathy’s for the grab bag. There were 19 “extended Glennon’s” enjoying our special family tradition. Grandpa started this year's event with all of us saying 3 Hail Mary's. He shared with us how the family used to say the whole rosary when he was younger.
Also, we ate some delicious soups....potato leek, vegetable, beans, and tomato & noodles.....yummmmmmmmmy!!!! Thanks Kathy for hosting this special family event!
So, I hope that you are all well. Take care and may God bless you!
Love, Mary, Mom, aunt Mary etc....

From: Carol
Re: TWO new email addresses!!
Hello sister............ Some questions so I take it that we do delete Tom's juno acct and he and Dad are now sharing??? How much is charter dial up and is it just an out west service??? We don't have high speed but I am not will to spend a lot of money on it either! I am looking at coming to Oregon Feb. 15 to 20.............. can't get good price but will probably come anyway...
Have a great week and enjoy the holidays................. Are you going traveling or are the kids coming that way??? tell everyone hello and Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love, Carol

From Mary
Sent: Tuesday, December 20, 2005 9:29 AM
Hello to everyone,
Here is the story of day two of my visit in Oregon.
In the morning, I went to Club Northwest for some exercise. Then, came back to Dad's and fixed him his favorite breakfast....yogurt pancakes and scrambled eggs with tofu.
The computer project took up most of the afternoon. We set up the computer equipment in the corner of the dining room and had a service man come and connect it to cable. Now, we are online all the time. I downloaded a free firewall from zone alarm for one year and a free antivirus from EZtrust for one year. Now, I'm trying to get everyone's address in the new “outlook express” address book. So, please send me an email so that I can easily add your address to the book. I made custard and a smoothie for Dad. I think 4 custards have already been eaten. They are nourishing, smooth and easy to swallow.
Around 5:00 pm, I went to visit Mom. The visit was very different from my first visit. As soon as I walked into the hall of A wing, there was lots and lots of noise....moaning, yelling “help”, loudly mumbling words.....too much noise. I found Mom in the dayroom trying to console the lady who often is calling for “help”. Mom and I then went to the main lobby where she ate some of her dinner. Mom was in a “scared mode”.... arms a bit clenched to her chest, very tense and only ate about 1/4 of her meal. For about 85% of my time spent with her, she talked about being afraid.....afraid of the dark, afraid of people coming in and out of the door, afraid of being left alone, afraid of the noises etc..... I tried
to distract her with dominoes, reading to her etc....but she was consumed with fears.

The highlight of the evening was when I took her to the second dining room. Immediately, her eyes lit up and she said “there are my people” (referring to a group of ladies around a table). Mom smiled, a lady waved and smiled back and then at the end of the table we found Marion. Marion is a warm, caring person who knew Mom from “G” wing. (lady with the bulging eyes) She held Mom's hands and gently talked with her and Mom seemed to really enjoy being with this group of ladies. (Side note: Marion mentioned that this was the third nursing home that she's been in. I asked her how this one was compared to the others. She said that Royale Gardens is better than the one down the block “Highland House”.) I will be taking Mom down to visit Marion in the future. I believe she said her room is G 17.
As 7 pm rolled around and I'm thinking about leaving, Mom's clutching my
hands and talking about her fears. I called Colleen on the cell phone and she talked to Grandma for a short time.....a bit of a distraction. Mom was still tense so I call Matthew and Grandma talked with him for a little while. She smiles and laughs as he tells her about dog sitting for a puppy. Then, I took her to her room and left. She yelled for Diane as I left and Elizabeth was going to go in and to get her ready for bed as I walked down the hall.

Elizabeth, (rotten teeth) is very caring and kind to Mom. Susan, who just returned from maternity leave, did not interact with Mom but assisted Elizabeth with bathroom necessities.
So, that's the story. More to come as time goes by. Dad said that he wants me to take him to see Mom today.
Take care. love, Mary

From: Diane
To: Carol
new email address at charter is for Dad only, not brother Tom.
I have no idea where charter is or isn't .....it's the local cable television company around here (and Oregon) and all sells high speed internet connections -- two speeds -- my lower high speed (which is still much faster then DSL which is LOTS faster then dial-up) is costing $35 per month.....I think I can get it for $5 bucks less a month if I buy my own cable modem... “tis more then I ever thought I’d spend but it’s time....have some plans for the internet....at least bill wants me to try some stuff -- sell his Dad's books, look for truck parts, etc....and I refuse to do it on dial up......
bummer you can't get a reasonable airline price.....my plans are all up in the air at the moment waiting for bill & Maria to decide if, and when, they’re going to Guatemala to show the other Grandma her granddaughter. They're hoping for a Christmas bonus...and then some sale prices..... I just decided I want to grab the opportunity and travel with them so can't commit to Oregon until that's decided. Maria’s mother has some major health issues so they don't want to put it off too long....
Sherry & Richard are on a 5 day cruise to Catalina, San Diego and Ensenada, Mexico as their Christmas present and get a way from reality. Was good for them to look forward to it... they will be joining bill & I in Hilmar for Christmas (Friday or sat).
I still haven't found out which Carol called me.... oh well!
Merry Christmas and hugs to you and all of yours!
Higher Powered ducks (in a row or scattered)

From: Mary
Tis the end of Thursday......here is the saga of the adventures of Grandma and Grandpa......
Thursday morning ....went to visit Grandma.....she was a bit unsettled......took her to the dining room to look at the garden.....a bit noisy.....took her to the empty parlor, closed the door and gave her a quiet environment.....we talked and played a bit of cards....also called Carol to say “hi” (she was out shopping, of course) I'm trying to call different siblings from my cell phone when I am visiting Mom. When I am in ABQ, I miss talking to Mom on the phone. So, I am trying to give siblings and others an opportunity to talk with Grandma on the phone.
Afternoon.....Colleen came over and put wonderful religious wallpaper (and screensavers) on the computer. Grandpa really liked the pictures of Jesus and Mary. Then, Grandpa had Colleen diagnose his sore with pus and red around it which is on his leg. Colleen said that Grandpa could watch it for a day, but then Margaret and I got Colleen's attention and non-verbally suggested that she should tell Grandpa to get an appointment (especially with the holiday weekend upon us). Margaret said that he's had several other sores that needed to be lanced etc....so Colleen called and got Grandpa an appointment for 3 pm on Friday. It is 8 pm and Grandpa is tired and heading to bed right now.
Spent a bit of time this afternoon at Heather's. Margaret, Colleen, Heather and Lori were having a baking party. Dave held the baby for some time......Cannon even fell asleep in his arms. I played cards with Henry's nephew, John, who was also at Heather's.
Then, went to see Mom. She was calm and relaxed. She had been watching the Archie Bunker show. I went to the window of the day room and she saw me and got a BIG smile on her face. Took her in the lobby to eat her dinner. She only took a bite or two. Later, talked to the nurse about Mom not eating much. She said Mom likes the snacks that they bring around during the day and in the evening and that she eats those quite often. There were Christmas Carolers in one of the wings. Mom and I followed them and enjoyed their singing. They actually had very good voices. Then, we went to the second dining room and the R wing people were waiting for their dinner. Chatted with Marian (nice lady with bulging eyes) for a while. Later, we called Danny and Paula and Grandma spoke with both of them. She carried on a pretty good conversation with them. I asked the staff to have Mom ready to go to Mass tomorrow morning. They said that they would leave a note for day shift, so that she could have her shower later or earlier on that day.
Back at Grandpa's, Dave’s still waiting for his luggage to arrive.
Take care!
love, Mary

From: Mary
My, oh, my, I cannot believe that it is Friday already. Time flies when there is lots to do.
I hope that I have everyone's correct emails on the computer now. If you want me to add or subtract names from the 2 above groups just send me an email with your requests.
Friday AM.....I thought that there was Mass at 9:30 today. So, last night I asked the staff to have Mom ready for Mass. So, they gave her an early shower and she was ready to go at 9:20 am. We went to the chapel (parlor) and waited and waited and then called Tom. Perhaps, he would say a Mass over the phone. Chatted with Tom a few minutes. Priest still had not arrived (9:40 am). So, went back to Mom's room for this and that. Lo, and behold 2 ladies from St. Anne's came into the room. They informed us that Mass is on Friday at 9:30 but only on the third Friday of each month. Fortunately, they come every Friday to bring Communion to the residents and visitors. So, we had a peaceful prayer service and then we both received Communion.
Then, took Mom to the second dining room. Spent some time talking with Harold. Harold is a volunteer who takes care of the coffee etc and helps transport patients. He works sometimes 8 hours a day. The coffee area was redesigned because of his request. So, there's nice cabinets, an area where people in wheelchairs can get their own coffee....etc... I'll write “mismo” same as Aunt Diane.(joke...nice to hear the stories of people from Diane) Harold has a son and 3 grandchildren whom live with him. The oldest grandson (20 years old) keeps quitting jobs. Does not hold down a job. Harold himself worked for the NASA space program for many years. etc.....
Came back to 1016 and met up with Lori a while later. Then, Lori and I went to visit Grandma. (In between, Colleen had been visiting Grandma.) Lori and I took Grandma out front for a short walk. (The sun actually shone for a bit today.) FYI: Grandma has an alarm on her. So, if you ever are going to take her out the front door, you need to tell the nurses at the front desk. They'll then silence the alarm just as you walk out the door. Then, they silence the alarm just for the Moment when you walk back in the front door. Lori and I played some cards with Grandma, made her some tea and enjoyed one another's company.
Colleen took Grandpa to Dr. Selinger to have a sore looked at. Sore is infected. Dr. asked Dad when he last had his tetanus shot. Dad said it was when he was in the Navy. Today, he did get another tetanus shot.
(Oh, yes, I did shop twice today.) (Hopefully, I won't need to go to the stores Tomorrow.)
Dave's still waiting for his luggage. Hopefully, the Christmas gifts in the luggage will arrive soon.
That's all for now!
love, Mary"

From: Mary
Hello and almost Merry Christmas to everyone!
Saturday.....Certain things are becoming routine.......put the clothes in the wash, hang up the clothes, fold the clothes, prepare food, wash the dishes, put away the dishes etc.......most of today was routine things......also took a bit of time for myself and went for a wonderful walk!!
Grandpa: sore on leg was examined by future Dr. Colleen......she cleaned it, put medicine on it, and bandaged it. Grandpa spent a bit time today exercising in the backyard. He's now reading the Wall Street Journal and listening to “his music”.
Grandma: Went to visit Grandma this evening. Her face lit up when she saw me and she joyously said “Mary!” “am I glad to see you!”. “I wanted someone to talk to, I'm glad you came so that I can have someone to talk to.” She was very sharp tonight. We carried on quite a few logical conversations (and a few illogical ones as well). She talked about my hubby, Dave, about Grandpa, Margaret, Susan and Colleen. She enjoyed seeing pictures of Bill, Maria and their daughter Camila.
Each time that I go to see her, I try to get her to do some exercises. She moved her arms with me and then moved her legs higher than usual. We laughed as we exercised and then ended up tossing the couch pillow back and forth...good exercise.
Later, we sat together and sang “Christmas Carols”. The time was precious as we sang “Silent Night”, Jingle Bells etc. We smiled and sang and enjoyed the time together as we sat next to the Christmas tree in the lobby.
Then, we went to the second dining room and chatted with Marian. She was telling us how her granddaughter is going to be married on Thursday in Washington. Mom asked Marian “How are you?” and carried on a bit of a conversation. Mom also chatted with a lady on oxygen who was just finishing her dinner. We “kind of” played a game of crazy 8's.....followed more of the rules than usual. Mom was quite focused tonight.
Then, we sat with an elderly couple in the lobby and watched parts of “The Lawrence Welk” show. Conversed with the couple. The man told us about a book he read about Lawrence Welk and how he grew up on a farm etc. The women told us about their travels to jazz festivals all over Canada. Mom joined parts of our conversation.
Mom kept telling me that maybe I should go home to be with my husband. I'd tell her, “I'll stay a bit longer.” Tis was different her telling me it would be okay if I wanted to leave to go home to my husband. Tis something that she values: spouses being together.
Couple of concerns: Mom noticed that her ring is missing. Chatted with Colleen and Margaret about this. Yes, Mom did have her mother's ring on yesterday. Margaret said it's been lost before and also has been found. So, I searched a bit but did not find it tonight. So, if you go to see Mom, please look for her ring.
Other concern: Staff sometimes seems upset when I say that Mom needs to go potty. Tonight's staff said whenever they're busy serving dinner etc, Mom always needs to go. Yesterday's staff said........since a staff member went to lunch, we'll have to wait for her to come back in 20 minutes before we can put her on the potty. When Mom was at Margaret's, I remember that Mom had to go to the potty often and we accommodated her. Here at Royale Gardens, it often seems to be a bother to the staff. The other day, one of them said “I have 15 others to do this and that for, and then walked away from me”. So, just food for thought for brainstorming ideas about this issue.
So, hope everyone is enjoying their Christmas Eve!
For my ninos, my cell phone will be on all day tomorrow. We'll be at Mass from 11:00 until ?.
Take care!
love, Mary

From: Mary
Merry, Merry Christmas to all!
I hope that everyone had an enjoyable and memorable Christmas! For me, Christmases have become full of surprises and unique experiences. Since our children are grown and on their own, each year is a new adventure in what Christmas will be like.
So, for 2005, my Christmas was celebrated here in Oregon with many wonderful (though sometimes moody) people. Began the day by going to visit Grandma. She was in good spirits. She chatted with Tom for quite some time on my cell phone. She wanted to wish Aunt Edie a Merry Christmas and since Aunt Edie wasn't home, we left her a message. Then, the real Santa Claus came and visited Grandma. He delivered a small, white box all the way from the Robertson’s home in ABQ. Grandma now has cookies to share with her visitors. (Visitors, I put the remaining cookies in the second drawer of Mom's dresser.) Yummy.....thanks Carol etc....
We meandered here and there around the nursing home. Saw Marian and spoke with her. Stopped and visited a lady named Wilda in room 8 of A wing. I noticed her the other day. She reminds me of Julie Glennon. She was well dressed carrying her purse, wearing earrings. Anyway, it seems like she has her own room and she's hardly ever in the hall. So, I introduced Mom and her to one another. She offered us some of her popcorn and conversed with us a bit. I have the impression that she might be able to interact with Mom in some normal like fashion. I will check more into this possible friendship as time goes on.
Left Royale Gardens. Colleen and Joel were on their way to visit Grandma. Got back to 1016, gave Dave some fluids, and then took Dad to church. Mass was not too crowded. The Mass was quite long since there was lots and lots of singing. Father had the congregation singing a variety of songs during his homily (including..If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands.....etc.) I prefer a more subdue homily.
After Mass, I asked Dave and Grandpa if they wanted to open Christmas gifts. Grandpa said...”maybe tomorrow”. Somehow, a little Christmas spirit came upon him and he opened some of his gifts. (analysis - too much activity in one day is overwhelming for Grandpa) Then, I helped Grandpa take out the garbage, loaded the car and off we went to Rogue River. Group was split between Susan's and Margaret's homes. I had a delicious meal of ham, mashed potatoes, broccoli (sp?) and corn on the cob. Then, Paul called, Matthew called, Jeremy called (his 3rd attempt) .......fun, fun, fun!!!
Then, Margaret and I emptied out Mom's dresser. We divided stuff into 3 piles.... keep at 1016, give to Goodwill and give to Royale Gardens. Margaret has an empty dresser now to use for her own family's needs. Then, went to Susan's for dessert......yummmmy! Grandpa was ready to go home and so we left. (he had been a little moody)
Arrived at 1016 and prepared food for Grandpa....pea soup, 2 scrambled eggs with tofu, smoothie, bread and butter, potato, yam .......he's back in the kitchen eating again....now tapioca and raspberries. He said he's feeling quite a bit better because he's nourished now. He's been talking my ear off all night long. He's in a much better mood this evening than he was earlier in the day.
So, I hope everyone has had a joyous Christmas. Amen!
Love, Mary

From Carol:
Hope all had a great day yesterday..... We traveled to Phoenix to drop Jess home and use her house for hotel accommodations on our way to Puerto Penasco Mexico till Thursday.....jess is not joining us if there is a need to reach us while we are gone please call her..... her cell number is 602-284-7761... she will contact us in Mexico....... thanks for all that family members continue to do for our aging parents and happy new year to all.....................
love, Carol

From: Mary:
Hi, I've extended my stay here. I'll be here until Monday, Jan. 2nd.
Love, Mom, Mary

Hello, (from Mary) Today is Tuesday. Short summary of Monday's activities:
Monday: Grandpa woke up in a wonderful mood at 10 AM!!!! He was talking and teasing and smiling. The day continued to be good for him all day and night. Colleen and I spent a bit of the day together. First, we shopped for Grandpa (she thinks we spoil him too much), then we went to the club for a workout and then we went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. After dinner, Colleen put the bandages on Grandpa's leg and then stayed and visited a bit longer.
Tuesday: Tis amazing how much rain this state gets. I wish they would send a bit of the rain to Albuquerque and Albuquerque could send a bit of the sunshine up to Oregon. It probably has rained at least 85% of the time that I've been here. I do love the green mountains here in the Spring and Summer time and so one must have the rain to get the green. In Albuquerque, we have brown. So, that's the end of the weather report.
Went shopping this am at Ray's for Dad and to the nutrition store. Then, took Dave to say goodbye to Mom and soon after he took off to Medford airport. Came home, did dishes etc. Then, went to visit Mom. She was scared, tense etc. Robyn came to get her to go bowling. I went along as Mom clutched my hands. There were about 15 residents ready to bowl. Mom was not too comfortable but we still stayed and she bowled 3 different times when it was her turn. Then, we went into the parlor, closed the door and sat and chatted. Then, we went to her room, played some of her cassette tapes, and she opened another Christmas gift. I've been bringing them one at a time to Royale Gardens. We need to label her new belongings and then we can leave them at the nursing home. I'd like to explore what we can do for Mom when she is scared and anxious. Does chamomile tea work? Can she have anything else? Can we give her stuff or does the staff need to give her stuff?
Joel was very gracious to take Grandpa to his doctor's appointment. Grandpa's leg is healing well.
Came home, made a smoothie, checked on whether the towels are dry or not (3 days later and they're still wet), brought the towels into the living room to dry. For those concerned about the temperature at 1016, it's been okay. Grandpa puts the heat on when he gets up (usually at 11 or 12 noon) and so then the house is heated all day long until we go to bed. The nights have not been too cold and so I've been comfortable with a bunch of blankets on the bed.
So, take care!
love, Mary
"P.S. I told Dad that Mom was not in the best mood and that she always ask for him. And I told him that the staff says that Mom is always asking for him. So, Grandpa said,” how about if I go tomorrow”. So, I will take Grandpa to see Grandma tomorrow. Yippee!!"

"Hello, (from Mary)
Ah, today I woke up and thought it was still the middle of the night. It was pitch black outside. I felt rested though and so I looked at the clock. Lo, and behold it was already 7 in the morning. I looked outside again. It really was pitch black outside. Is this what the “dark night of the soul” is all about? Day and night, night and day, which is which? The shortest day of light was Dec. 21st. So, we'll have more and more light as time marches on.
Made soup....yummmy.....good food for a rainy day. Grandpa was up at 10 am. Wow!! Second time that he's been up during the morning hours. He was refreshed and in a good mood. Cooked eggs and pancakes for him. Went shopping. Thought maybe we'd get over to Grandma's in the early afternoon. Returned from shopping. Grandpa hungry. Ate, did dishes etc. Sun came out for a short time. Grandpa sent me on a walk while he got ready. I was like “Frederick” in the children's story “Frederick” by Leo Lionni. Who is familiar with that story??? Tis has a good message. Grandpa was ready at 3:30 to go and see Grandma.
He moans and groans getting into and out of the car. It must hurt him a bit. Had a very good visit with Mom. She saw me from the window and started waving to me. Her hair was curled like Shirley Temple's. There are 4 Amanda's at Royale Gardens. One Amanda spent a lot of time fixing Mom's hair and her fingernails. This Amanda is part time activity person and part time on A wing. She comes from a family of 11. She's married and she said that Mom always talks about “her man” and Amanda hopes to have a marriage like our Grandma's and Grandpa's.
We went to the parlor and closed the door. The room is quiet and also a bit cooler than the rest of the place. Grandma and Grandpa had fun teasing me as I entertained them by playing the piano, singing and dancing. Obviously, they didn't recognize talent when they saw it. They laughed a lot and teased one another and especially me a lot. Grandma did not want to open her Christmas gift. So, Grandpa started to. Then, Grandma took it, started to open it and then put it down. Then, Grandpa started to open it etc.....In the end, Grandpa opened and gave Mom $1.00 for the privilege of opening it. Mom said “you haven't given me money in a long time”. So, now the $1.00 is up Mom's shirt sleeve. Whoever helps her to get ready for bed will be surprised when the money falls out of Mom's shirt. We played an interesting version of war and then a game of crazy eights. We had quite a few good laughs! Tis was a good visit. I told Dad that I'm putting him on the once a week schedule to visit Mom. He was there last Tuesday and now today and Joel said he'd drive Grandpa places after I leave. So, I'm planting seeds for Grandpa to go (for now anyway) a minimum once a week. Grandpa was disoriented in the place after he went to the bathroom. Grandma and I had gone back to her room and Grandpa said he was confused for a short time of which direct to go. (for future visitors - keep track of Grandpa as well)
Going to Rogue River for a pajama party with Colleen and Aunt Margaret. It will be a nice break for me.
love, Mary
P.S. Dad asked me to wash his duvet today. How often do you wash your duvet?
P.P.S. I found a fantastic website for Spanish grammar exercises. www.colby.edu";

"Good morning, (from Mary)
It is Friday morning. Here is the continuing saga of caring for the folks. (I hope that Diane is saving all these stories so that we can become published sometime.) (Title of the book could be: “Caring for our Folks” or “The Golden Years?”.....what other suggestions would you guys have?)
Thursday:
Colleen flew out of Medford in the wee hours of the morning. Her bags were stuffed with clothes from Heather, food from Aunt Margaret and books from Grandpa.....and oh, a few Christmas gifts form 'rents and others. In the morning, spent time with Grandpa. In the afternoon, walked in Grants Pass, started to prepare Grandma's 4 new pants for hemming and then went to Rogue River to visit Aunt Susan. Susan and I walked and talked and then had some delicious “white tea with tangerine”....a very delicate and mild tea....very tasty. Came back and visited with Grandpa. He was watching the history channel......the story of Guantanamo Bay. He was really enjoying the show. He said the night before (when I was at my pajama party) he watched a show about Iowa Jima. He enjoys listening to the retelling of WW II battles.
In the evening went to see Grandma. She was calm and talked with me quite a bit. The conversation though was.... her stating this and that (which didn't make sense) and me responding...oh, or okay, or yes. We went walking to the second dining room and stopped and chatted with Marian (lady with bulging eyes). It seems like the R wing waits for their dinner around 6 pm or so and so when I visit Grandma in the evening we have the opportunity to visit the folks from R wing. Talked with resident “Bud” (real name Wesley). Had played cards with him last week. He told us about his travels to Saudi Arabia and China. He is the newspaper delivery person in the nursing home and gave us a copy. He does the cryptogram (?) from the newspaper everyday. Also, while on the R wing, Jessica came and chatted with us. She's a young lady who does the showers on R wing. She spoke with Grandma for some time. Then, we went to the parlor (my favorite quiet room) and Bud followed us in and played the piano for a short time. He is a very good piano player. Then, Grandma and I read the paper and chatted. Then, we sat in the lobby for a while and then (then, then, then, then,,,,that's all I say), we went strolling down to the second dining room again. The R wing people were waiting for the poker game to start. Unfortunately, the volunteer dealer did not show up.....someone said that he was sick. The R wing people were quite disappointed. They were looking forward to the activity. While Grandma was going potty, I went and visited with Wilda (room 8). She seems to have it together. She showed me the wreath that her sister-in-law bought for her etc. I also chatted with Marie a tall lady in a wheelchair) who often seems to be able to carry on a conversation. Later, I asked Elizabeth to show me who Grandma's roommate is (I've never seen anyone else in Grandma's room besides Grandma and I.) Now, I know who Aileen is....she's out of it, talks loudly, but seems non-threatening.
I'm trying to finish all my jobs that Aunt Diane left for me. To future visitors, one job that I cannot do is to get rid of the moss on the ground. (Dave P. got rid of the clumps of moss on the carport cover and bump.) The thinly layered moss though, that is spreading on the blacktop cannot be eradicated until (according to Dave C.) the sun comes out for a period of time. When the sun does come out and this land dries out, then the visiting person can put bleach on the moss in order to get rid of it. Tis raining buckets outside now and rain is forecasted for the next 3 or 4 days. So.....I leave on Monday.
Grandpa sifted and sorted through his stuff on the dining room table last night. In one of the piles, he found an article from 1979 which relates to something that Joel is interested in. So, Joel, I have an article for you from Grandpa. Grandpa did do a good job sorting and organizing the stuff on the table....he tossed some things and he now has smaller, straightened piles here and there. It shows that he is feeling better ...... now that his leg sore is not an issue for him anymore. Now, he has energy and interest in other things again.
Time to go and sew Grandma's new pants.
May God bless you as the New Year approaches. Wow !! I get to spend New Years Eve with Grandpa this year!!
love, Mary (Mom, aunt Mary etc)

From: Tom
Sent: Thursday, December 29, 2005 6:32 PM
Mary, thanks for the letter. And the delight that you bought to the folks.
What is a duvet? and who is Frederick? Never read that book.
Happy New Year!! Peace,Tom

From Mary:
duvet and Frederick "For those of you who wanted to know more about the duvet and/or about the story of Frederick, here is the info. Uncle Tom asked about those 2 things.
Duvet is a new word that I learnt last year. I recently taught this new word to Dad. It is a cover that goes over down comforters. Down comforters are expensive, can not really be cleaned, so people buy a duvet (like a giant pillowcase) and put the down comforter inside the duvet. So, then, one cleans the duvet but not the down comforter.
Frederick, is a classic children's story with a message for all ages. The story is about a group of mice preparing for the upcoming winter months. All the mice are scurrying about gathering nuts, supplies etc for the winter except Frederick. He just sits in the sunshine. The other mice tell him to help gather supplies etc but he doesn't. Then, winter comes and the mice are content for awhile while they have nuts etc. Winter supplies run low, spirits and moods drop and complaints etc begin. Then, Frederick gives what he has gathered....the warmth of the sunshine, the vibrant colors of the flowers, the sweet smells of the gardens etc...... He had gathered the wonders of summer and joy etc in his mind and shared it with the other mice. Contentment reigns again as they await Spring.
So, since it has been rainy and overcast every day and night since I have been here, I took the opportunity to absorb the 30 minutes of sunshine the other day. I deeply absorbed it to be a part of me for the rest of my visit........the bright light of the sun, the warmth of the sun ....
Hope you are having a good day! Take care! love, Mary

From Mary:
Hi, Tis Saturday morning.....the raindrops continue to fall.
Friday's story:
Sewed Grandma's new pants....4 pairs. Made Grandpa breakfast. Went to the bank. Did a bit of housework. Went to see Grandma.
Grandma and I called Aunt Edie. The time was prearranged and so Aunt Edie was waiting for our call. Amanda and Geoffrey are visiting Aunt Edie. This was the first time that she was able to go shopping. (Shopping is often hard after the death of a loved one. One sees their loved ones' favorite dessert, favorite piece of meat etc. Many people cry in the stores as they shop after the death of a loved one.) Amanda and Geoffrey took her shopping and she says it is a step in the healing process. She's grateful to have her grandkids helping her out right now. Grandma was a bit confused while they talked to one another, but I think they were both grateful to hear one another's voices. Future visitors, Aunt Edie's phone number is in the visitor's book in Grandma's top drawer.
Grandma seems to enjoy Gertrude and Marie's company (both residents on the A wing). Gertrude is a soft spoken, gentle, loving woman who usually makes sense in conversations. Her and Grandma were gently holding one another's hands yesterday and talking with one another. Marie is a tall woman who often can carry on a conversation. I try to talk a bit to the different residents and workers. I also try to involve Grandma in these conversations.
I wanted to clean out Grandma's closet during my visit. Grandma was a bit testy and didn't want me to move any of her stuff. I gently gave her my time and attention and every few minutes I'd move one thing in the closet, then give her my undivided attention again and on and on and on. Eventually, I got her closet cleaned out....took some clothes home, left some new clothes, arranged the clothes in groups (pants, shirts, nightwear), took out the extra hangers etc. Today, I'm hoping to clean out her drawers which are crammed with an assortment of stuff. I kept her door closed during this process and we listened to her tapes as well. Before I left, I put her in front of the TV (Archie Bunker was on) and said goodbye. Naturally, she called out to me ....Mary, Mary but I left the room. I waited about 5 minutes and she had stopped calling out my name. She was then involved in watching Archie Bunker.
Diane, Grandpa's collecting all his tax stuff in a paper bag for you. The accumulated papers will be in his book room.
The timing and energy level finally worked out last evening. Grandpa had his second official computer lesson from me. He is an avid, interested learner. First, we went through the email process. He answered one email (Matthew's - the oldest email in our inbox) and then he said that's enough and went to eat something. So, for all the family members that write emails to Grandpa, don't hold your breath for a reply. I read the emails to him but at this point, it is a lot of work for him to answer even 1 email. So, we'll enjoy the fact that he is trying to learn the process.
Then, after being in the kitchen for a while, he came back to the computer. He wanted to know how to look up web addresses. We spent a few minutes looking up a web address that he's interested in (www.telsatech.info). There was lots of info on the webpage.....too much for his interest at that Moment. Then, he wanted to do a search. On some TV show, he heard about a book that sounded interesting to him. The only info that he had was the publisher and two words of the title. We searched and searched and searched and searched (it almost seemed futile), and then lo and behold, we found exactly what he wanted. BINGO!!! We were both very excited because all our hard work paid off!
Custard came out of the oven and so we celebrated by eating custard and drinking a smoothie. Yippeeee!!!
Grandpa said that it was fun working on the computer.
So, today is Saturday. Off to the store etc.....
Happy New Years Eve to all. Be safe and remember to say your prayers.
love, Mary, Mom, aunt Mary

From: Diane
Dear Mary,
I treasure your emails and are saving every one. I finally figured out how to set up my mail stuff...I feel like I owe you some wonderful comments on previous emails but have been hibernating...
My dear friend lost her 17 year old son to a car accident on 12/26. Services are Sun & Mon.
Sherry went home Thurs...I'm keeping Richard for a week so she can catch up with stuff.
All is in God's hands.

Hi Diane,
I am so sorry to hear about your friend's tragedy. I've been involved with numerous people over the last few years who have lost their teenagers to death. If you ever need to talk, call me. It's quite a journey for the parents as they grieve and how their body, mind and soul deal with the various aspects of the tragedy. The pain is forever a part of the person, though the form of the pain changes with time.
You must be busy with Richard being there with you. I'm sure that it is a blessing for Sherry to get some stuff done on her own. You are a wonderful Grandma to your grandson!
All is in God's hands..... a wonderful attitude that you have.
Take care! love, Mary
P.S. About 1 month ago, I went to the funeral of one of my former students. He was 18 years old. I cried and cried and cried. It was good to express the pain through the tears.

From: Mary
Friday, December 30, 2005 11:11 PM
Good morning, it is Friday morning. Here is the continuing saga of caring for the folks. (I hope that Diane is saving all these stories so that we can become published sometime.) (Title of the book could be: “Caring for our Folks” or “The Golden Years?”.....what other suggestions would you guys have?)
Thursday:
Colleen flew out of Medford in the wee hours of the morning. Her bags were stuffed with clothes from Heather, food from Aunt Margaret and books from Grandpa.....and oh, a few Christmas gifts from residents and others. In the morning, spent time with Grandpa. In the afternoon, walked in Grants Pass, started to prepare Grandma's 4 new pants for hemming and then went to Rogue River to visit Aunt Susan. Susan and I walked and talked and then had some delicious "white tea with tangerine"....a very delicate and mild tea....very tasty. Came back and visited with Grandpa. He was watching the history channel......the story of Guantanamo Bay. He was really enjoying the show. He said the night before (when I was at my pajama party) he watched a show about Iowa Jima. He enjoys listening to the retelling of WW II battles.
In the evening went to see Grandma. She was calm and talked with me quite a bit. The conversation though was.... her stating this and that (which didn't make sense) and me responding...oh, or okay, or yes. We went walking to the second dining room and stopped and chatted with Marian (lady with bulging eyes). It seems like the R wing waits for their dinner around 6 pm or so and so when I visit Grandma in the evening we have the opportunity to visit the folks from R wing. Talked with resident “Bud” (real name Wesley). Had played cards with him last week. He told us about his travels to Saudi Arabia and China. He is the newspaper delivery person in the nursing home and gave us a copy. He does the cryptograms (?) from the newspaper everyday. Also, while on the R wing, Jessica came and chatted with us. She's a young lady who does the showers on R wing. She spoke with Grandma for some time. Then, we went to the parlor (my favorite quiet room) and Bud followed us in and played the piano for a short time. He is a very good piano player. Then, Grandma and I read the paper and chatted. Then, we sat in the lobby for a while and then (then, then, then, then,,,,that's all I say), we went strolling down to the second dining room again. The R wing people were waiting for the poker game to start. Unfortunately, the volunteer dealer did not show up.....someone said that he was sick. The R wing people were quite disappointed. They were looking forward to the activity. While Grandma was going potty, I went and visited with Wilda (room 8). She seems to have it together. She showed me the wreath that her sister-in-law bought for her etc. I also chatted with Marie ( a tall lady in a wheelchair) who often seems to be able to carry on a conversation. Later, I asked Elizabeth to show me who Grandma's roommate is (I've never seen anyone else in Grandma's room besides Grandma and I.) Now, I know who Aileen is....she's out of it, talks loudly, but seems non-threatening.

I'm trying to finish all my jobs that Aunt Diane left for me. To future visitors, one job that I cannot do is to get rid of the moss on the ground. (Dave P. got rid of the clumps of moss on the carport cover and bump.) The thinly layered moss though, that is spreading on the blacktop cannot be eradicated until (according to Dave C.) the sun comes out for a period of time. When the sun does come out and this land dries out, then the visiting person can put bleach on the moss in order to get rid of it. Tis raining buckets outside now and rain is forecasted for the next 3 or 4 days. So.....I leave on Monday.
Grandpa sifted and sorted through his stuff on the dining room table last night. In one of the piles, he found an article from 1979 which relates to something that Joel is interested in. So, Joel, I have an article for you from Grandpa. Grandpa did do a good job sorting and organizing the stuff on the table....he tossed some things and he now has smaller, straightened piles here and there. It shows that he is feeling better ...... now that his leg sore is not an issue for him anymore. Now, he has energy and interest in other things again.
Time to go and sew Grandma's new pants.
May God bless you as the New Year approaches. Wow !! I get to spend New Years Eve with Grandpa this year!!
love, Mary (Mom, aunt Mary etc)

Hello,
Happy New Years to one and all!!! Hopefully, you each had time to evaluate your life in 2005 and reflect a bit on your growth etc. Welcome 2006!!!
Saturday's activities:
Lots of rain in morning, news about flooding etc, went to Ray's grocery store to stock up on food for grandpa. Came home and power was out. Quickly, put food in ref or freezer, keep my jacket on, dad suggested we go out to eat since we did not have any electricity. Elmer's restaurant did not have electricity, so went to Denny's. They were busy with lots of people with the same idea.....can't cook, go out to eat. Had a nice breakfast at Denny's at 12:30 pm. (For future reference, I did buy a few baby food jars in case grandpa needs something quick and easy to eat at sometime in the future. They are in the bottom dresser drawer in the guest room.)
Went to see grandma, she was sleeping. Came home, cleaned grandpa's bathroom etc and then went back to see grandma. Walked her here and there. Stopped and chatted with Bessie. Bessie was sitting by herself in the big dining room. She had come out early for dinner. Chatted for a while. Grandma asked Bessie how old she is. She is 87 years old. Bessie carries on a conversation well. Her husband worked in Grants Pass for 37 years. As you can tell, I usually engage a third person in conversations with grandma and I. Grandma then sometimes is able to focus on normal conversation skills and engages in normal conversations for a while.
Came home, fixed grandpa a smoothie. Then, went to Cannon's dedication ceremony at their church. Heather and Scott have had several adventures in the last couple of days. On Friday, water began coming in their garage. They had 6 inches in their garage and had to move everything up high. Their 3 neighbors below them were evacuated because the bottom of the cul-de-sac had 5 feet of water. Margaret said that a parked car was submerged in the water. Many people were helping the neighbors get things out of their houses wading in and out of the deep water. Then, on Saturday, the Rogue River group had an alumni basketball game at 3:00 in the afternoon. Someone elbowed Scott near the eye and he ended up getting 8 stitches above his left eye. So, instead of having the dedication at the beginning of the service as scheduled, (Scott was having his cut stitched up then), they had to have the dedication at the end of the service. The dedication was very moving as Heather and Scott shared their story with the congregation. Scott shared how he never, never wanted children and how he had pacts with relatives that he would not have any children. He said that during the first 12 hours of his son's life, he was there for his son and that an incredible bond formed between the 2 of them as he dealt with the medical challenges during Cannon's first few days of life. .....He quit his job that was very time consuming etc......did not have another job lined up. A week later, a different job was offered to him. Quite a changed person.
Sunday:
Went to Mass with Joel and Grandpa. Had a wonderful lunch with Joel and Grandpa at Wild River. Joel is a deep thinker and enjoys asking questions and analyzing life. We had wonderful conversations during lunch. Then, surprise, surprise, grandpa said that he wanted to go with me to see grandma. (Thanks, Joel, I think the good mood from lunch segued nicely into him desiring to see mom) So, we went to see grandma and had a wonderful visit. We sang and sang and sang from Jeremy's song book. Grandma and grandpa laughed and smiled and laughed and smiled. We took a few moments to call Uncle Gene and say Hi. Hopefully, other siblings can give grandma the opportunity to talk to her siblings now and then. I'll put their phone numbers in the visitors book. So, grandpa has had a very upbeat day.
That's it for now. I'm off to put clean sheets on the bed for the next visitor. The staff from the nursing home asked who would be visiting next????
Happy New Year's Day!
love, mom, mary, aunt mary

Monday,......one last email from Oregon......the sun is actually peaking out between the skies.....glad nicer weather is coming for grandma and grandpa......then they can go outside a little bit.......
....packed....went to visit grandma
It was a hard visit. Grandma was scared and confused. I made her chamomile tea and she drank some of it. She seemed to calm down a bit. She was frustrated because she can't remember things. She said that she's dopey, that she's stupid, that she doesn't like getting her pants all wet when she pees. She was quite aware of her limitations and quite frustrated with them. We talked with Harold, sat by the pink flowers, sat in the parlor. I told her that I wished that I had a magic wand to make things easier for her, but I don't.
During several of my previous visits, grandma would ask where my husband was. I'd tell her that he was in Albuquerque. She'd always reply that ""you need to be there with him....how come you aren't with him?"" She's always has had a strong value that a husband and wife should always be together. On those days, I could have easily said, ""okay, I'm leaving for Albuquerque to be with my husband"" and I think that she would have easily accepted my good-bye. Today, though, I did not say anything about Albuquerque, I did not tell her that I was leaving etc. I left her in the dining room with the other residents as they awaited their lunch.
Future job for someone who is familiar with TV shows and stations:
The staff does not always know channels and times of TV shows for people of grandma's generation. I have found out that ""Lawrence Welk"" is on every Saturday at 6 pm. Most of the residents really enjoy that show. So, the staff would love to have a sheet with info on TV shows and channels that the residents might really enjoy and relate to. This morning one staff member said that she can never find American Movie Classics channel on the TV for the residents. They have cable TV at Royale Gardens . So, whoever wants to take on this project, I'm sure it would be appreciated by many.
I'm off for a short walk and then off to the airport.
Take care!
love, mary, mom, aunt mary
P.S. Any future emails to me, please send to dmxxxx.... grandpa's computer is being shut off after I send this email.....

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