Friday, November 30, 2012

Advent Quick Takes

One...Twenty years ago when I became an Episcopalian, I discovered the beauty of Advent.  Now as a Catholic, I still appreciate the stark simplicity of the Advent season...waiting and longing for the birth of Jesus.   Advent helps me keep the emphasis on preparing my heart for the birth of our Savior. 

Boo and I will make our Advent wreath Saturday.  I wanted to include a photo of it today, but Boo remembers that "we always made our wreath the day before the first Sunday."  Of course we did.   I always seemed to be running behind.  This year I'm ready.  Let me just say that we'll have a simple wreath.  Nothing fancy.

Two...There are several Advent songs that we'll be enjoying during this season.  Here are links to three of them.  The first is The Gift of Emmanuel.  The words are very meaningful.  Pay attention to them.  The second is For You O Lord, My Soul in Stillness Waits.  This one Boo really likes.  He says it helps him remember to be quiet before God.  The third is one of my favorites from years ago.  I think I sang it at summer camps and campfires for years.  Light One Candle is really about the Maccabean miracle, about sacrifice and righting wrongs and is sung by Peter, Paul and Mary.  Maybe it's not a "real" Advent song, but it speaks to me.  And Boo will sing along with gusto.  Who knew he'd know the words? 

Three...We are praying the St. Andrew's Christmas Novena this year.  Elizabeth Foss has a nice printable of the prayer here.  She also has links to further information about the novena.  Boo remembers the prayer from his childhood.  The novena begins today.

Four...One of the Sundays in Advent I make a cinnamon bun wreath to celebrate.  The particular Sunday really depends upon Boo's blood sugar.  Somehow, I've never taken a photo of one, but they're similar to this one by Charlotte at Waltzing Matilda.  (Charlotte's was made for St. Lucy's feast day.)

Five...The O Antiphons begin on December 17th, I think.  One year I designed and made an O Antiphon house with little windows that opened.  I can't find it in my Christmas decorations this year, though I'm sure it's there somewhere.  Instead, we may make ornaments similar to these by Anne of Under Her Starry Mantle.  I'm not as talented as she is, but homemade ornaments are always best.

Six...The hymn we always use for the O Antiphons is O Come, O Come Emmanuel.  This is Boo's favorite rendition...maybe because it's slower and he can understand it better.

Seven...We decorate sloooowly for Christmas.  Because of Boo's visual impairment and his dementia, I don't make changes quickly and wait until he's familiar with those before I add more.  Our Advent wreath is the first decoration.  On St. Nicholas' feast day, we put out all the St. Nicholas figurines and hang stockings.  On St. Lucy's feast day, we put out Christmas candles and hang a wreath.  I've considered putting up a small tree and adding decorations each day, but I'm not sure. 

Have a wonderful Advent preparing for the Christmas season.

Seven Quick Takes

Friday, November 16, 2012

Seven Quick Takes


After Boo's ER experience, I thought we'd come through the worst of it. Sadly, that is not the case. Boo contracted the flu. He was given an antiviral and seems to be doing just fine. I, on the other hand, have also managed to contract the flu. I'm such a baby when I get a cold or the flu. Give me strep throat, bronchitis, poison ivy, sprained ankles or a broken arm. I'm fine with those. Colds and flu just don't sit well with me and I complain. Boo has started laughing at me when I complain. Otherwise, he leaves me alone. It seems that I'm not a candidate for antiviral drugs and I just have to tough it out. (I'm really not that sick. I just feel miserable.)


Boo is actually quite improved. He now welcomes the home health nurse when she he certainly did not earlier. Boo realized that I was keeping an accurate intake and output record. That was necessary as long as he was so confused and until the antibiotics started their work. Now it's not so necessary. I continue to keep it, however, because Boo prompts me to do so. He also prompted me to record that he'd had a great day and was in a good mood, but that one of us was not. Hummm...wonder if that one could possibly be his wife?


We're listening to The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkein. Boo is fascinated by it. He has been able to follow the plot with little assistance. He does keep expecting Bilbo to appear any minute, but has contented himself that Frodo is Bilbo's adopted son. Boo has determined that we need to have a fire outside one night and tell stories. Maybe, maybe. Once I feel better.


We've enjoyed listening to several old radio programs this week. Boo has discovered Gunsmoke and thinks he likes the radio program better than the TV show. He's also enjoyed the You Were There and the Mr. President series. I discovered an old soap opera that was hilarious. Thank goodness for the internet and for Internet Archive.


Crocheting is my current past time. I'm working on a burgundy shawl for my Mother for Christmas. Boo needs several beanies because he's begun to wear one constantly inside and out. So, I guess that will be my next project. There are several “manly” versions that I'd like to make for him that shouldn't take long. I'm sure Boo needs one in Saints colors to help him cheer his beloved team when they play.


I've rediscovered the magical powers of fresh ginger root tea for a queasy stomach. After I'm no longer queasy, peppermint tea is a wonderful restorative. Dr. Bonner's Peppermint Soap is another restorative. I feel clean, refreshed and ready for...well, the last few days, ready to change the sheets and get back in bed.


My childhood friend, Kim, for whom I've begged prayers, is beginning to adjust to continued life with chemo. She is resting a little better most days and has been eating a little more. Kim's spirits are better though she is still very weak and communicates with difficulty. Still, she is able to communicate! Thank you for your prayers. Please continue to lift her up.

Seven Quick Takes

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thanksgiving Thoughts

While Boo is recovering from his kidney infection, we've had some wild conversations about everything from why cats have fur to reasons to give thanks. The last two days, I've read several quotes to Boo that he (and I) really liked. He insists that I add them to our thanks giving tree. I haven't been able to leave his side long enough to find an appropriate branch, “plant” it in a pot, and tie paper leaves to it. In years past, we've just written those things for which we are thankful on the leaves. I guess we'll be adding quotes this year...when I actually find the time to get a branch and cut out leaves.

Here are some of our favorite Thanksgiving quotes:

Bless the food before us,
the family beside us
and the love between us.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest
appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
                                                                                           John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Blessed are those who can take without forgetting and give without remembering.

Gratitude shares.
Appreciation speaks.
Thankfulness shows.
Compassion does.
                             Jill Davis

Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as the lips, and shows itself in deeds.”                                                                     Theodore Roosevelt

Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
                                                                     Native American saying

On Thanksgiving Day we acknowledge our dependence.”
                                                              William Jennings Bryon

Almighty and gracious Father,
we give You thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season
and for the lavors of those who harvest them.
Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of Your great bounty,
for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need,
to the glory of Your name; through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
                                         Anglican Book of Common Prayer

Forever on Thanksgiving Day
The heart will find the pathway home.
                                               Wilbur D. Nesbit

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues"                          Cicero

As Thanksgiving approaches, I am so thankful that Boo is beginning to recover from his kidney infection, that Kim is having more comfortable days while continuing her battle with cancer, for all our family and friends and most of all, for a God who loves each of us as though we were His only child.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fun Trip to ER

Boo is being treated for a previously inadequately treated UTI.  Now it's a kidney infection.  Imagine that! 

Boo has had IV antibiotics, extra fluids and additional medication for his blood pressure.  The ER was wonderful...very attentive, prompt and thorough.  Boo was terrified during his whole visit.  The staff did everything they could to make it as stress free as possible.  He  was moved to a private ER room with the lights dimmed.  Every staff member with whom we had contact was calm, quiet and gentle.  With one exception, all medical equipment was brought to Boo instead of transporting Boo to it.  I'm sure it helped although we saw no lessening of Boo's terror.

When Boo has an infection of any kind, his blood pressure is less stable and his dementia is more pronounced.  At home when I notice these indicators, I begin to earnestly search for underlying problems.  Sometimes I'm successful at discerning it.  Other times...well, then we have to just run tests and hope we can figure it out,  Boo tries to be helpful.  This time his suggestions about what was bothering him included:  "My hair, I think it hurts."  and  "My toes don't curl like they used to."   I wonder just how his toes used to curl?

Boo is at home now.  We're six minutes away from the hospital in traffic.  I timed it.  Boo has a heart monitor (temporarily) and a panic button that alerts the hospital and ambulance (two blocks away).  He is far calmer now.  Boo is curled up with his beloved cat.  Both Boo and Boudreaux were thrilled to see each other.  Boo is finally able to relax.  He's been telling his cat all about his ER experience in bits and pieces. 

Most of time I think that Boo does far better being treated at home where he's more comfortable.  One heals better when one can relax and feel safe.  With Boo's dementia that's a real concern.  I'm thankful that he was able to come instead of stay in the hospital.  I'm also grateful for hospitals when he needs them.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

10 Audio Books Boo Likes

Because of Boo's limited vision, he listens to audio books. These are ten that he really likes. Just so you know, it was difficult to narrow this list down to ten. Boo kept thinking of books he'd listened to fairly recently...and he liked them all.

The Hobbit, J R R Tolkien Boo had never read anything by Tolkien. Never. So, although I've enjoyed his books for years, I didn't really expect Boo to do so. Wrong. He listened to the whole book in two days and then re-listened to it over a two week period. He loves it. {For Christmas he's getting the other books in this series.}

A Wrinkle in Time and Many Waters, Madeleine L'Engle Since Boo enjoyed The Hobbit so much, I downloaded these two. Once again he was hooked. L'Engle had a habit of writing young adult books that were both engaging and thought provoking. I wasn't sure how well the deeper parts would adapt to an audio book. Some books are just better read. These are awesome. Boo still discusses some of the issues...the importance of being loved and of loving, the link between trust and love, the interrelatedness of life, etc.

All the King's Men, Robert Penn Warren Boo loved all 21 hours of this. He listened to it in two days. I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as he did, though the ending was quite good.

Killing Kennedy, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard Boo is a fan of anything written about Kennedy. So I knew this would be a hit. I didn't expect to listen to this book. I'm kind of burned out on all the conspiracy theories surrounding Kennedy's assassination. I can't begin to tell you how many books I've read aloud to Boo about it and well, I'm just tired of it. This was completely different. O'Reilly stated in the introduction that this book would deal with facts. It did. I found it a refreshing change from the many conspiracy theory books I'd read aloud.

The Chosen, Chaim Potok I'd read this in high school and several others by Potok and loved them. In fact, I still have my dog eared, much loved and reread paper back copies of several of his books. Boo listened to this because I wanted to hear it. Until last night, he's not really expressed an opinion on it and I assumed that he hadn't really liked it. I was wrong. He did like it and wants to listen to it again. The orthodox Jewish culture was completely different from anything he'd experienced. Evidently, the cultural differences consumed his attention when he listened to it this time. Boo said he remembers not being able to fully connect the story line because he was busy trying to understand the culture. This one we'll listen to again soon so that Boo can fully appreciate it.

Medusa, Clive Cussler and Paul Kemprecos Like all Cussler's books, this is an action packed, fast moving drama. Boo tends to like anything by Cussler and this one was no exception. I tend to consider these books as a man's equivalent of romance novels. Fluff with no real substance. That's just my opinion. They capture Boo's imagination and he can easily follow the story line.

The Life of the Spider, Jean Fabre Although I enjoyed this book years ago, I didn't think it would translate well as an audio book. Boo definitely disagrees! He's fascinated with the natural world and this book certainly feeds that passion.

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, Howard Pyle A couple of years ago I read Boo a book about Robin Hood while he was recovering from a stroke. He loved it then and still loves all books about Robin Hood. This is just the latest one that he's heard. On his good days, he'll compare the different renditions he's heard.

Heidi, Johanna Spyri Boo listened to this after his first stroke just because I already had it in audio form. He loved it. That completely took me by surprise. Boo generally asks to listen to Heidi every three or four months. He also goes on a cheese and bread kick then too. Just like Heidi ate. This past August, when he last listened to it, he wanted to listen to the old hymns that he remembered...just like Heidi sang for Grandmother. So, I found several hymns he remembered on You Tube. (How would I survive without the internet?)

And a bonus...

Orthodoxy, G K Chesterton Boo really does like this book although there are many days that he can't concentrate enough to “get it.” Orthodoxy is meant to be savored not rushed. So, Boo listens to small portions of it on good days. I can always tell when he's ready to hear more. He asks to hear more of “that book.” This book sparks a lot of discussion and thought.

By the way, after you vote, Chelle at Chelle's Creations has an awesome, free patriotic digital scapbooking kit.  I can't wait to use it later today!

Top Ten Tuesday

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday Snippets

This week I'm just sharing two posts.  The first is Preparing Your Elder for an Emergency.  Preparing for Hurricane Sandy left me scrambling to locate local resources that I should have already located.  This post deals with that aspect of preparation.  One day I'll write one on the emotional/mental preparation.  For us that is far more difficult with dementia. 

The second is Praying for Kim.  This one is close to my heart.  Watching a childhood friend struggle to overcome breast cancer that claimed her mother's life years ago and then to have it spread to her brain has been heart wrenching.  Kim has maintained a vibrant faith throughout her ordeal.  Now she's having difficulty communicating.  Yet the seeds of faith she's sowed in others are still sprouting and growing.  Could the same be said for me if I couldn't communicate suddenly?

Please remember to pray for those affected by Hurricane Sandy and for our upcoming election...and VOTE.

Sunday Snippets

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Praying for Kim

My heart is heavy this morning. A childhood friend has been dealt another blow. A few months ago, Kim was diagnosed with breast cancer. Years ago her mother died shortly after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Kim has maintained a very positive attitude and a vibrant Christian witness throughout her chemo and radiation. She has truly been an inspiration.

Last week, Kim received a double whammy. Cancer has spread to her brain. She is now receiving chemo for both breast and brain cancer. Her body is exhausted. Her emotions are all over the place. This is not what any of us expected.

We believed that Kim would indeed have a tough fight, but that it would be relatively straight forward victory. We believed that God would heal her in short order. After all, she has maintained that God is in control of this as He is in control of her life. Kim's faith has been unshakeable.

Now this.

Last week, Kim was still posting to Facebook. Now her ability to communicate is severely limited. One of my thoughts was, “But God, she was such a strong witness. So positive. So loving. So funny. So strong. Why should she be silenced?”

I don't know the answer.

I do know that I've heard from friends from long ago who've been touched by Kim. Friends who would never darken the doors of a church.

Last night one friend called. She's traveled far from her roots, far from where she believes she should be. It's been years since she's prayed. Last night, through tears of rage and frustration at the unfairness of all this, she and I prayed that Kim and her family will feel and know with a certainty that God has wrapped them in His strong, loving arms, that they would experience His peace and healing strength.

It's a start.

Kim's witness and her willingness to share her faith and her struggles is still a vibrant light. Even though she can't communicate well right now, her life is speaking for her. Seeds she planted are beginning to grow.

Even silent, God continues to use her. {And if you knew Kim, you'd know that this is one of the few times in her whole life she's been silent.}

If I were silenced, would my life continue to speak for me? Have I planted seeds in my friends' lives that would continue to grow? Have I created a community of friends that could nurture, support and comfort each other?

Please today, tomorrow, any time God brings it to your mind...
       pray for Kim,
       pray for her husband,
       pray for her family.
               Pray that God will enfold them in His arms,
                     that they will know His love,
                     His comfort,
                     His healing strength.
              Pray that all of us will accept God's Will for Kim
                     even while we're praying and asking for her healing.
             Pray that we will continue to nurture and support each other.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Seven Quick Takes


There are so many important issues being debated during this election on the national and state levels. Carefully consider the issues in the light of your beliefs. Pray, pray and pray some more. Then, vote.

After you vote, please keep praying for our country, for our leaders and for ourselves. We certainly need to exercise our right to vote and to be politically active. We are responsible to use all the weapons at our disposal. Even more, we need to continually lift our elected leaders up in prayer. Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have. God knows who and what we need far more than we do.

Two...On a lighter note, we've watched so many black and white movies the last few days that when a classic color movie came on tonight, Boo was amazed. He'd forgotten that movies came in color too. He was quite taken by this “new” invention and kept exclaiming, “Isn't it wonderful what they can do now?”

When I called my mother tonight, Boo had to tell her about color movies. Mother was amazed, “You get black and white shows?” It seems she wants to watch the old Perry Mason shows. Guess what I'm going to try to find for her for Christmas? That and find someone to connect her DVD player so that she can watch them. I certainly don't know how.

Three...Tonight I pulled out some glass Christmas balls to decorate. As usual Boo had to handle everything. I did caution him about the balls, but he's usually very gentle. Not tonight. Boo picked up a glass ball in each hand and squeezed before I could do anything. Two broken balls...which is fine. Two scratched palms...not so fine. After carefully cleaning his hands and pouring peroxide on them to bubble out any slivers of glass, I put antibiotic ointment on them and wrapped them in gauze.

As soon as we went back to the bedroom, he picked up another ball. That one I was able to retrieve without further mishap. Guess who won't be using glass balls this year? Instead I'll pull out fabric and crocheted ornaments. I can't remember what we have now. Oh well...

Four...Last night Boo dictated a list of things for which he's thankful. Among the expected items, he threw in a few surprises. He's thankful for the fuzzy bath mat because it feels good under his feet. He's thankful for being able to count so that he can find his way around the house. (A technique he was taught when his vision began to fail.) He's also thankful for plastic (no idea why), for mushrooms and for neighbors who are quiet (in our neighborhood that would be everyone.)

Five...While praying the rosary this week, Boo has been specifically praying for one person with each Hail Mary. That was entirely his idea. He thoroughly enjoys it and is usually able to pray two decades at once instead of one. At home Communion this week, he caught everyone off guard doing this at the point where we usually pray a Hail Mary. He almost shouted the name of the person he wanted to pray for particularly...which brought everything to a complete halt until I could explain what he'd begun to do. I'm so glad the Eucharistic minister is so flexible and has a strong heart.

Six...We are out of oatmeal. To you, this might not be a disaster. To Boo, it certainly is. Oatmeal is his comfort food. Tonight when he wanted oatmeal for a bedtime snack, I realized that we were completely out. How did I manage to miss that? He ate some whole wheat bread that we made last night with peanut butter and jelly. Boo was not a happy camper. Tomorrow, I'll buy oatmeal---three large canisters instead of two. Of course, as soon as I stock up, he'll be interested in something else.

Seven...I cut Boo's hair this week and did a reasonably passable job. For those who don't know, hair cutting in any form is not my talent. When my daughter was in grade school, I decided to save money and trim her bangs. Do you remember the super short bangs that were popular in the 1950's? Well, that's how hers looked when I finally finished. Totally not the look I intended nor the one she wanted. I think that was the first time I “ruined her life.”

Boo has refused to go to the barber shop or beauty shop to have his hair cut. He's terrified of strange people with scissors. He doesn't like the bright lights. The sound of clippers scares him. And leaving home for such an unnecessary task is unthinkable. So, I finally watched some You Tube videos and did it myself. I just can't imagine Boo in a ponytail and we were rapidly reaching that point.

Bonus: Let's remember all those who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy on the east coast.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Preparing Your Elder for an Emergency

Hurricane Sandy brought me up short. I realized how much I didn't know that I knew I should know. Where is the closest evacuation shelter? Where are Boudreaux's vet records? Fortunately, we didn't need to evacuate. We are far enough inland that lots of wind, rain and cold weather was really all we experienced. Oh, and a partially downed tree and spotty internet service. I'm prepared now...for the next emergency.

Flashlights and spare batteries. One flashlight should be safely stowed beside your elder's favorite spots---their chair, bed, the back door. Candles are fine if your elder is steady and not easily confused. Flashlights are my choice with Boo and for any elder moving from room to room.

Fully charged cell phone with programed numbers. Any cell phone with good reception that your elder knows how to use will work.

Food and water. At least one gallon of potable water per person per day is the minimum. Protein bars, peanut butter or cheese crackers, fruit, Ensure or Glucerna and cereal bars are the types of foods I keep on hand for Boo at times like this. I absolutely do not want him to attempt to heat anything. If your elder is different, stock up on those foods that are easily prepared and a simple way to prepare them. Additional water should be reserved for personal cleaning.

Medication, medical equipment, medical history and medical power of attorney. Having these items together and ready to go is an absolute necessity. Medical equipment includes glucometer and test strips, blood pressure monitor, walker or cane. They should be kept beside your packed bag. Another important item I include is the names, addresses and phone numbers of several friends and the places they've planned to be during an emergency---work, specific evacuation shelter, etc.

Packed evacuation bag. This bag should include a complete change of comfortable clothes for three or four days. Important things to remember: denture supplies, incontinence supplies, small items to help you feel more comfortable. For Boo, small items include a 4x6 brag book of photos that help orient him, a knotted cord rosary and a small hand held cross one of his daughters gave him.

Be sure to have photo identification on you. Your driver's license or state identification, Medicare and insurance cards and a card listing phone numbers of family and friends. If you're in an accident or become confused, identification and contact people are extremely important.

Full tank of gas, flashlight, bottles of water and nonperishable snacks, tarp and a blanket in car. Just in case you're redirected to another area or cannot reach your shelter immediately, you'll be prepared. A silver space blanket is good to have. It is very lightweight, waterproof and helps to conserve body heat.

Know the location of the closest shelter and several routes to it. This one should be self explanatory. If you don't know shelter locations in your area, the police department, social services or local hospital are good places to ask. Checking in advance to familiarize yourself with the shelter is a very good idea. Are there steps that might be problematic? There shouldn't be, but sometimes are.

Have an evacuation plans for any pets. Have a pet carrier and/or a sturdy leash and collar, food, prepared litter box (if needed) and vet record including rabies vaccine information. Some shelters accept pets. You need to know this in advance! If it does not, which veterinarians or animal shelters accept animals during a temporary emergency. Just as with any shelter, know the location and several routes.

Have a firm plan for contacting family once you have reached safety. Generally, it's a good idea to choose someone not in your immediate area as your contact person. This helps to ensure that your contact person is not searching for shelter themselves. Many shelters will assist elders in contacting one person. Instead of cell phone calls, text messages are suggested as creating less of a load on the system. When phone lines and cell towers are down, ham radio operators can be contacted by shelter personnel to get in touch with one contact person. This isn't a fast service, but it does work.

Top Ten Tuesday, Teach Me Tuesday, Titus 2sday

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

We are inland from the path of Sandy.  Thank goodness! All we've really experienced is strong winds and cold.  Boo is looking for snow and it almost feels cold enough...especially after the heat this summer.

This past afternoon we did have part of a tree in the front yard break off and fall on the roof over our bedroom.  Boo was absolutely terrified.  Boudreaux had to patrol the living room window for several hours.  As far as we can tell, the roof is OK.  I admittedly haven't climbed up to check nor do I plan to do so. 

We have power and so we're warm and comfortable.  Boo and Boudreaux have been restless all night.  So, we've watched old movies on TV.  No news or weather channel for us.  It's way too upsetting for Boo. 

We continue to pray for those who're in Sandy's direct path. 

Our internet service is sketchy at best right now.  So the posts that I planned for yesterday and today aren't up.  They won't load for some reason.  Maybe tomorrow...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Does God Care About Cats?

This past Friday we had quite a scare with Boudreaux, Boo's “four legged son” and fearless tiger cat. Boudreaux developed a virus and quickly became a very sick cat. Boo was inconsolable. This was his cat, his favorite companion.

On the advice of some friends who raise horses, I called the vet school...which, as it turns out, is only a few miles away. (It also has very reasonable rates. Thank goodness!) After describing Boudreaux's symptoms, we made a trip to have the poor cat checked. Originally, they wanted to keep Boudreaux for a few days. Boo's tears and great distress at being separated from his “son” for even a few days, got Boudreaux a reprieve. Instead, he got fluids and a blood transfusion---the cat, not Boo. A few tests were run. Some medication was dispensed for me to administer. And we were sent home.

Besides the medications, I had to give Boudreaux a mixture of chicken baby food, boiled water and Knox gelatin every two hours with a child's medicine dropper because the cat did NOT want anything. By Sunday, the little cat began to look more like himself and continues to improve. He has begun to rise from Boo's side to slowly explore his surroundings again for short periods of time. Now, if Boo stays away from Boudreaux longer than the cat would like, he meows pitifully and Boo will all but break his neck to get back to his cat. And I thought the two were inseparable before!

As a result of his virus, Boudreaux has a terrible case of dermatitis. His handsome red fur coat is rather bedraggled. There are several spots that are bald. If he doesn't stop licking, he may develop a few more. Tomorrow when Boudreaux has his follow up appointment, they'll address that issue. From tests that have already been run, we know that his skin problems aren't caused by ringworm. The guess the other night was dehydration. I'll be so glad when Boo's little tiger cat is healthy again!

(For those who might wish to know, Boudreaux does not have anything that is contagious to humans. He is up to date on all his shots and has never been sick in the past.)

Boudreaux's illness created a crisis of faith for Boo. This cat has been Boo's companion since his third stroke. And in many cases, a saving grace. When Boo wouldn't talk or answer questions about himself, he would talk about his cat. When he wouldn't work on strengthening his left hand, he could be enticed to brush Boudreaux with his left hand. Today, Boo sat outside on the deck and took a short walk only because Boudreaux needed fresh air. Boudreaux has been a safety net for Boo. I catch Boo telling Boudreaux his thoughts, especially when he's confused. Boo would be lost without his cat's company.

Boo wanted a prayer for his cat. Not just any prayer, but a special prayer for cats. There are no prayers specifically for cats in the prayer books we have. I did find several prayers for animals in a rural life prayer book in EWTN's archives. I thought spontaneous prayers would be great and Boo did too. Later, he was able to explain that he didn't want to forget anything. He didn't want to take any chances with his precious cat. That's why he wanted a written prayer. He forgets too often what he means to say. That makes sense.

Next Boo wanted me to immediately call our parish church and have Boudreaux put on the list of sick. I resisted. Finally, I called to let Boo talk to one of the priests. Boo was assured that God does indeed care for all His creatures and that the health and well being of all companion animals would be prayed for on Sunday. He also prayed with Boo on the phone.

Yesterday one of the priests at our parish called to check on Boo and Boudreaux and to let Boo know that prayers were offered. He even offered to come to the house, but Boo declined his offer. Boo thought visitors might upset Boudreaux. Nevertheless, that unexpected follow up call meant more to Boo than that priest will ever know.

Boo's faith has been restored. Someone cares about him and his cat. Someone took his concern seriously...and they even remembered Boudreaux's name! I appreciate a priest in our very busy parish taking the time ensure that Boo knew that his concerns were important. What a blessing!

Deep Roots at Home, God Bumps and God Incidences, Living Well Wednesday,

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Autumn Poems

Boo seems to love poetry. He remembers my Mother reading poetry to him after his strokes. She read poems that she'd read to her elementary school students when she taught and some poems by Robert Frost. I often read poetry to Boo at lunch as an incentive to eat. He enjoys the rhythm and language of poetry...and will quote portions of poems that he likes at the oddest times. Here are some of his favorite autumn poems. Listen and enjoy.

The Raggedy Man, James Whitcomb Riley  found here.

Little Orphant Annie, James Whitcomb Riley found here.
This is recited by a 91 year old lady, Anna Fry.

When the Frost is on the Punkin', James Whitcomb Riley found here.

The Village Blacksmith, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow found here.

Woodman, Spare That Tree, George Pope Morris found here.

God's Grandeur, Gerald Manley Hopkins found here.

The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost found here.
This is read by Robert Frost himself.  This is one of my favorites.  I remember my father reading it to us in the fall.
The Raven, Edgar Allen Poe found here.
This is read by Vincent Price.  I always found Vincent Price scary.  Boo just laughs at me.

Autumn, John Clare found here.
Richard Burton read this.
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night..., Dylan Thomas found here.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Computer and/or Internet Woes

Until we get someone to check out the computer and DSL connection, I won't be posting as often.  I think, I'm pretty sure actually, that the problem is with the DSL connection...and that involves a cable service person to diagnose and cure.  I can pick up public connections when I go into town proper.  So, I'll try to keep up a bit at a time.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Good and Perfect Gifts

Every day brings so many blessings, so many things for which to be thankful.  One of our bedtime rituals is to recount our blessings.  Boo is particularly fond of "doing our blessings."  Focusing on blessings at the close of our day is a wonderful way to fix our focus.  Some evenings, we forget...and on those evenings we usually find that Boo's night confusion is far worse.  Could it be that fixing his focus on gratitude to God for all the blessings He has given us, gives Boo's mind a more stable foundation?  We think so.

Word Art Wednesday, God Bumps and God-Incidences, Playdates With God, Word Candy Wednesday, A Wise Woman Builds Her House, Catholic Bloggers Network

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Boo's Rainy Day Occupations

About the time Boo was ready to get up and move around yesterday, it started raining. He was some kind of upset. After shaking his fist at the rain and muttering under his breath for a few minutes, he sat on the coffee table and announced that he was going to have fun. And he did. He kept me guessing all day!

Add sprinkles to your oatmeal. First thing, he picked at the oatmeal he'd asked to eat for breakfast. Finally he asked for some spices. I brought several that I thought would entice him to eat. No go. He wanted colorful ones. I found some sprinkles leftover from heaven only knows when. Just the thing. He took his time decorating his oatmeal and then devoured it.

Watch the weather and “help” the weather man. The weather man announced that it was cloudy with a chance of rain. And it probably was when that segment was taped. At our house, it was pouring. Boo opened the front door and looked at the clouds and the deluge of rain, looked back at the TV and gave his rather forceful opinion.

Have Communion with your cat on your lap. By the time the wonderful ladies from Immaculate Conception brought Boo Communion this morning, he was shaky. Normally he calms down when they come. Today...well, he was scared. He wanted Boudreaux and his cat came running when he called. Boudreaux curled up in Boo's lap and purred while Boo received Communion. That thrilled Boo and definitely relaxed him. I'm so grateful that Lucy and Marguerita just go with the flow and encourage Boo to do whatever he needs to do to feel comfortable.

Empty all the trash cans into the bathtub. That is, all the trash cans he could find. He's never done this before...and I'd just as soon he never do it again. Boo, however, seemed to take great pleasure in it. While I cleaned up the mess in the bathtub, I redirected him. If he wanted to be helpful (and I do like helpful), I decided he could use the Libman spray mop to mop the floors. He enthusiastically “mopped” the floors. Boo refused to spray, but he did like mopping.

Learn to crochet. This was all his idea. I guess since I sat down to crochet for a little while, he thought he should learn. So I got a skein of yarn and a hook and proceeded to explain and show him how to begin. He watched and listened. Then, he pulled out a length of yarn, cut it and began tying knots in it. Lots of knots. After it looked right to him, he called Boudreaux and played snake with him. The cat loved it. And Boo was pleased with himself.

Hide under the electric blanket. While I prepared Boo's peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, I heard him in the dining room. Since he seldom actually sits at that table, I decided he was just in the mood for new things today. However, when I went in the dining room, he was nowhere to be found. I did notice that Boudreaux's tail was showing underneath the electric blanket that I'd spread over two chairs to dry after washing it earlier. I lifted a corner and found Boo grinning like a mad man. We ate lunch under the blanket.

Shred the junk mail. Before I made it to the bedroom, I heard the shredder. I ran! Heaven only knows what Boo was shredding. He'd plugged the shredder into the electrical outlet---something he hasn't done in years, and was busy shredding my stack of junk mail. I know I should shred anything with our address before I throw it away. And I mean to, but I seldom do. Instead, I collect a pile of things to shred. My pile is gone now. Thanks Boo!

Teach the cat to jump over a yard stick. Well, Boo tried. Oh how he tried! Boudreaux was interested in the attention, but either couldn't figure out what Boo wanted or just wasn't interested in learning tricks. Boo would call Boudreaux who would come running. Boo would show the cat the yard stick and tell him to jump. The cat smelled the stick, licked the stick and walked all around the stick. He would even sit down and listen to Boo explain what he wanted. Would he step over the stick? Not on your life. I just don't see the circus in this cat's future.

Listen to a book from Audible. Boo listened to Killing Kennedy by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard. He listened to all eight and a half hours of it from the comfort of his bed. I know that's over doing it for him and that his retention of a whole book at once will be limited at best. Boo wanted to listen to all of it and objected every time I asked if he was ready to turn it off. He's always been interested in the Kennedy administration and his assassination. This book seemed more factual than many I've read to him.

Listen to the fish. At three am, Boo woke me and announced that he was going to the living room if I needed him. Boudreaux and I went with him to guard and protect. After all, Boo tends to be more confused in the dark and the front door is right there. An early morning stroll in the dark was not on my agenda! Boo watched the fish and listened for ten or fifteen minutes (to the pump?) and then went back to bed and promptly fell asleep.

Yesterday was a very unusual day for Boo. Although I had to be far more vigilant than usual, Boo was more animated. He definitely had fun and was more self directed than he has been in quite a while. I'd like for him to have more “fun days.” Although I guess I need to do some planning and have several instant activities to suggest. Still, Boo's animation was great. Now, I'm tired. While Boo sleeps, I think I will too.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Kari's October Daybook

For today...

Outside my's chilly. I love crisp, cool autumn mornings.

I am thinking...about taking a walk a little later today when someone can sit with Boo. Walking in the cool autumn air, hearing the crunch of fallen leaves under my feet, watching squirrels hastily gathering nuts for the rapidly approaching winter: oh, I can't wait!

I am thankful...for the discussions Boo and I have on occasion these days. Although Boo's memory is definitely more impaired than it was, there are still moments when it's still there. For those moments, I am truly grateful. I have the man I fell in love with back for just a little while.

In the yogurt incubating. Later today, we'll have strawberry yogurt. I may bake some homemade graham crackers to go with it.

I am wearing...gray knit pants, a striped turtleneck, socks and clogs. I love turtlenecks and sweaters of all kinds!

I am creating...a crocheted basket. This simple pattern I found on pinterest. One can never have enough baskets and I'm using up bits and pieces of yarn that I've had for years.

I am going...around the corner to buy more cat food from Family Dollar. Boudreaux is running low on dry food. Woe, to me if I allow his dish to get empty. I tried telling him about the starving kitties who don't have food all day, every day. He was definitely uninterested. A full dish equals a happy cat.

I am wondering...what I can do to interest Boo in spending some time outside. He's been afraid of leaving the house lately...even to sit on the deck outside our bedroom window, even when Boudreaux accompanies him. Boo needs time outside, needs to enjoy the fresh air and needs to observe the changes in the weather. Life spent constantly inside rapidly becomes too mundane, too dull. Pushing past his fear to do things he really does enjoy is problematic, but doable.

I am reading...a book on Lectio Devina, rereading The Chosen, by Chaim Potok and anything that Boo asks to have read. Last night, it was an article from the local city newspaper about the NC zoo.

I am hoping...Boo will be awake and alert when Lucy comes to bring Communion a little later this morning. He so looks forward to receiving Communion. Sometimes he looks forward to it so much that by the time Lucy arrives, he's exhausted and can't really participate.

I am let go of those things which I simply can't change. Learning slowly, but learning nonetheless. Boo's mental status is changing and nothing we do seems to help. I'll keep trying some things, but I'm learning not to worry and struggle so much. This part of life, of being a mature adult, I do not like. I want things to be as they were. I want to believe that if I try hard enough I can make everything as it was. The reality is that I can't.

Around the's very quiet. Too quiet. It may be time to shake things up a little.

A favorite quote for today...”At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend or a parent.” Barbara Bush

One of my favorite things...spending time with Boo and Boudreaux. Just being. Not necessarily doing anything. Just being. Oh, and autumn. I really enjoy autumn.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Let Go and Join the Dance

The fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the wind, and join in the general Dance.”

Thomas Merton

Do your most carefully laid plans fall flat? Do you find more and more that your anticipated plans aren't workable no matter how much you try?

Recently, this has been reality for Boo and me. Since Boo's third stroke, we had worked out a system of reading and narration that we both enjoyed and that also exercised Boo's long and short term memory. Lately, this hasn't gone as smoothly as we'd like. Boo has tremendous difficulty remembering the readings from day to day. There is a definite decline in his cognitive ability.

Boo enjoys planning the books and articles he wants me to read for a month or two at a time. He anticipates our reading and discussions. We both enjoy the give and take, the strange twists and turns our discussions take. Lately, this hasn't worked. Boo has difficulty remembering what we've read by the end of the reading. By the next day, he's completely lost the train of the book. Even when I retell the previous reading, he nods blankly. He just can't remember.

His pleasure in anticipating our reading and discussions is diminished. For a while, Boo didn't want to read or discuss. He tried to hide his loss of memory with disinterest. Finally he realized that I'd retell what we'd read and he could resume the story line without losing everything. Now, he'll agree to readings...but not with the pleasure he had just a few weeks ago.

I tried different things. Nothing has made a real difference.

Last week, I let go. All my struggles to help simply weren't helping. All my wonderful ideas fell flat. Boo just isn't able to comprehend and remember as he did.

Guess what?

Letting go was the answer. No, Boo doesn't remember much more. He still doesn't anticipate our times reading and discussing as he once did.

The pressure to remember is gone. The pressure to discuss is gone. If he feels like listening, I read. If he feels like discussing, we do. We go with the flow these days.

There's an ease to our days that had been absent the past few weeks. We're both learning to join in the Dance. And learning to let go of those things that no longer work as they once did. We're learning to enjoy what is...right now, today.

Boo's memory may never be what it once was. We're both learning to accept that. We are searching for new things for Boo to anticipate. More immediate. Simpler.

With acceptance comes peace and joy. We have so much for which to be grateful. And we're beginning to feel like joining in the dance once again. Letting go of Boo's memory, which we can't control anyway, and leaving it to God is a blessing. God has blessed us with the peace that He's in control and with joy in the small things.

Join us in letting go of those things that we can't control and see what God will do. Enjoy the dance.

And remind me to let go when I start to pick up my worries again.