Monday, June 29, 2009


I was out in the yard taking a few shots of the feathery grass in the bright sun, when Simba wandered over to see what I was looking at, then flopped down for a rest.

Then Puddin' had to come over too.

It wasn't long after that photo was taken that she wound up on my back, settling in for a snooze, but also head butting the back of my head and drooling. Nice.

Simba settled in for a snooze too. She has me on a rollercoaster. Her condition seems to change day by day. Sometimes I think that she's fine, not normal but not in pain and happy. The next she can't get up by herself, and hobbles around. But through it all she still seems like her happy dog self, not crying or whimpering or yelping, eating and drinking with gusto. I'm trying to decide if I am just seeing what I want to see, because I can't bear the thought of losing her, or if she is still doing ok. Am I just being selfish?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Art of Alzheimer's

The beret is very rarely worn, but she uses it in her art a lot recently.

It is always hard knowing what is meant to be the art. At first, I was just showing the top photo with the beret. I edited to add the bottom photo. The more I thought about it, the more I thought that the little scrubby dude was there intentionally. Why? This table is usually littered with a few magazines, a coloring book or two, maybe one or more of those annoying advertising cards that Mom tears out of magazines. You know, Mom's stuff. But here it is completely cleared off except for these matching items. Now I'm thinking she was using the whole white table as her canvas.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ginger Syrup

I tried my hand at making ginger syrup the other day. I took a cup of sugar, a cup of water, and about 1/2 cup of chopped ginger and boiled it until reduced by half or so, strained, then chilled. I didn't peel the ginger, just scrubbed it well and chopped in the food processor.

Wow, is that stuff good!

Be careful, it is potent. I wasn't suspecting exactly how potent though. I was on the phone with a friend, when I decided it had cooled enough for me to take a taste. Dipped a small spoon into my mouth, and yowsa! I think I just made an unintellible noise, but my friend was all what? what? what? Are you ok? When my tongue stopped burning long enough to speak, I told her what I had done. But it was incredible, sweet, gingery,fruity, but with a bite.

It makes a refreshing cold drink, a few tablespoons mixed into a glass of orange juice or lemonade or a sparkling water.

I am also going to try a ginger/lemon sorbet. And drizzling it over fruit salad. Maybe ginger glazed carrots? Green beans? Ginger syrup, soy sauce, and fish sauce as an Asian dressing/marinade?

I think next time I will peel it. The ginger bits tasted great too, but wasn't sure about eating the peel.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

An Angry Sky

Mom and I had a bit of adventure last night. First we walked down to get the mail, and I noticed how pretty the sky was. We walked back to the house, I grabbed my camera, then we walked back down the driveway.

Meanwhile, a cloud moved over the sun so I lost my dramatic lighting. I snapped a few anyway.

I could hear distant thunder, but didn't really think much of it. Until the sirens in town went off. Oops. Now it might be for the fire department, or it might be a weather warning. I hustled Mom back to the house and turned on the TV. Tornado warning. Nothing confirmed on the ground, just radar indicated possible rotation. It rained, but nothing dramatic came of it. We had our supper, and I kept an eye on the sky.

This was the sky after the rain stopped. Ok, not terribly bad. It looked to be to the north, and that is where the new tornado warning was for. There was also a warning, with a confirmed tornado on the ground, to the south. Yay we were the filling in a tornado sandwich! About fifteen minutes later, I went outside and saw this.

I can only describe that as angry. It was still to the north, and I thought it was moving east, but as I snapped a few photos, I realized it was heading my way too. EEEEK!

The storm tracker still said it was several miles north of me, but I wasn't taking any chances. I grabbed Mom and headed to the basement.

This has been one of my worst fears since Mom moved in with me. How do I get Mom to the basement in the case of a tornado. My basement is downright scary looking. The steps are not easy to navigate. There is a mystery pipe channeling rain water from the outside into the basement, and the rain runs down one of the dirt walls and creates mud at the bottom of the steps. The steps go through an old cistern, and it is here that I thought I would put Mom if worse came to worse. Now, to get her there.

With her in front of me, I opened the door to the basement, and encouraged her forward. She took one look, cried no!, and held on to the door jamb. I pried her hands away, held them, and sort of pushed her forward. She slowly started going down the steps, me holding on to her waist and trying to hurry her along. I could hear the wind picking up. Finally, we're at the bottom of the steps, standing in a 1/2 inch of mud. Most of the rest of the basement has about an inch of standing water from the rain we had just had. I wade through and get the pump going. We stayed in the basement about ten minutes.

I found out later that the rotation/suspected tornado was within a few miles of us. I'm glad I forced her into the basement, even though she was not happy with me.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Wheel Story

When I was out in California a couple of months ago, we were enjoying our supper out on the deck. After the meal, her mother asked if I wanted to see her spinning wheel. Heck yeah I want to see it, I didn't know she had one. So we went to her sewing room, and there stood a beautiful, antique spinning wheel. It turns out it had been left at my friend's Dad's shop many years ago. He is a woodworker/furniture maker and the maker of my peg loom. Somebody had brought it in for repair, but then never returned to pay for the repair or claim it. I stood there admiring it, oohing and ahhing over the beautiful turned wood and the wheel that turns with nary a wobble. Her mother said, Good, it's yours. Wait, huh? Yep, they wanted me to have it, because I could actually make use of it and appreciate it fully. I about fell over.

Here she is. Isn't she pretty? She has a tiny little orifice, and some extra turned parts (distaff?)the rest of my wheels don't have. I think she is a flax wheel. She is double-drive, and with the telephone help of a spinning friend, I was able to make a drive band out of some kitchen cotton yarn. I've never had a double-drive wheel, so it took me a while to figure out how it works. She spins beautifully! I have part of a bobbin done. Do you want to know the part I love the best about her though?

See those grooves there on the flyer? The yarn fits in there as you're spinning. Here, maybe a close up will help.

Just think of how many yards of thread/yarn has been spun on this wheel to wear grooves in the wood. Isn't that the coolest damn thing? Yes, this is the kind of thing I think about. Just think of the stories this wheel could tell. I suspect she is old enough, maybe she made it to California on a covered wagon?

Hey, wouldn't that be a good book? The story of the lives of the spinners who have treadled her? Maybe give it a bit of a fantasy twist, with a modern day spinner going back in time. If there can be magic mirrors, why not a magic spinning wheel? Somebody needs to write that book. I'd read it. In the meantime, I'll just sit here and imagine while I spin.

Thank you Liesel and Dieter. I am honored to have her.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I succumbed

to the yarn vortex. Like a sailor to Lorelei, I answered the siren call, and a bit of weaving later,

another capelet was the result.

This one ties at the top. I'm thinking about adding some beads to the ties, just to pretty them up a bit. Any opinions?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Art of Alzheimer's- Twofer

My aunt and cousin from Oregon were visiting for the past couple of days. My aunt Dorothy was married to Dad's brother, but was also a very good friend of Mom's from school. Three high school friends married three brothers. So there is a connection on both sides. It was really nice to have them here. I was able to take a shower without worrying!

They left yesterday late afternoon. Today, as Mom and I were walking the driveway, Mom said Dorothy, Dorothy, Dorothy in her usual sing song voice. My jaw dropped.

If anybody tries to use the "She doesn't know me/won't remember my visit anyway" as an excuse not to visit, I will tell them Bull@#$%! and recount this story. I've never believed that anyway, but now I have proof.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


I washed the curtains yesterday, and hung them on the line to dry. This morning I ironed them. I hoped to get it done before Mom got up, thinking Mom and a hot iron wouldn't mix well. No such luck, Mom got up when I was about half-way through. She watched me for a little bit, then extended her hand and impatiently said, "Come on!" I realized that she wanted the iron. Keeping the iron down on the surface, I guided her hand to it, then put my hand over hers. We ironed a section of curtain that way. And I had a flashback.

Mom's kitchen, the ironing board set up in the middle of it. Mom's sprinkler bottle with the little blue plastic flower head sitting next to the iron. The fresh, cannot-be-duplicated-no-matter-how-the-dryer-sheet-manufacturers-try smell of laundry just off the line. Me on a stool, Mom standing behind me.

This time, it was her hand over mine, guiding the iron.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


You feel it as you stare into the depths. It calls your name. It whispers promises of delight. It sets your mind racing with ideas. You feel yourself drawn closer and closer, deeper and deeper. Resist! You have other things you must tend to. Resist the yarn vortex.

Or, just let yourself go. As you spiral down into the yarn vortex, enjoy the ride!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The locust tree

I have several locust trees in my front yard. They grow like weeds. So much so, that I will be digging up several out of the yard to give to my cousin.

They are late to leaf out. This spring I had two slightly misguided but well-intentioned people, on separate occasions, tell me I should cut those dead trees down. Are you kidding? Check them out.

The tree itself does look craggy and old man-ish.

The leaves and flowers though are delicate and lacy. The flowers have a heavenly aroma, that I don't find cloying like lilac can tend to be. Don't let the lacy bit fool you though, it also bears 1/2" to 1" thorns on the branches.

One day a couple of years ago, I walked outside to head to the mailbox, and heard a loud buzzing. I couldn't figure out where it was coming from, so started down toward the gate. The buzzing got louder. I realized that the locust trees were covered in thousands of bees, all busily working away. I'm glad the trees help feed the local bee population.

Monday, June 1, 2009

I love Freecycle

I responded to an offer of a free bat house on my local Freecycle list. Little did I know that it was the husband of one my spinning group friends! After seeing the Memory Loss Tapes, and realizing my situation, he decided to bring it down and hang it up for me too.

When his niece comes to visit, they always work on a project together. This was their project several years ago. This bat house is designed for a large lot or country acreage. Their area has recently been developed, and now there are just too many houses around for the bat house to be effective. He decided the bat house needed a new home.

The niece decorated it, complete with instructions for the bats. I hope they can read. I also hope it attracts a nice colony soon. The more bats, the fewer mosquitoes. Come on bats!

Yesterday Mom and I went to my home town to attend my nephew's graduation ceremony. Luckily, we were able to find seats on the floor, as opposed to the bleachers. My mind shudders to think of trying to navigate bleachers with Mom. As we were sitting there before the ceremony, I felt like someone was looking at me. I glanced around, and sure enough, up in the bleachers a woman seemed to be pointing and looking at us as she spoke to her companions. I didn't recognize her, but didn't really think much of it, because she could have been pointing at anybody in the vicinity and the procession was about to begin. After the ceremony, we waited for the crowd to thin a bit before trying to exit the gym. The woman and her people stopped and started speaking to my sister. Oh, they know my sister, they must have been pointing at her. She told my sister, "When I saw them on HBO, I was sure that they must be related to you! Seeing them here confirms it." Have I mentioned that my sister and I look a lot alike? Despite the six year age difference, people often ask if we are twins when we are together, and mistake us for each other when we're not. She then went on to say how powerful the film was, and thanked me for taking part etc.