I’m Fired

Well, the peace-offering my mother made for me, and I wrote about in my last blog post didn’t last long… My mother is already pissed off at me again, and told me yesterday that she would “fire me.”

It all started the week before Thanksgiving when my mother decided she wanted to have some wine with her Thanksgiving dinner at the care center. Her doctor approved her having a glass of wine, and her table mate’s doctor’s approved them having a glass of wine as well. So my mother asked me to bring her a bottle of the yellow tail wine I drink so she could share it with the group at her table. I said I would bring her some of the little individual serving bottles I can get at the grocery store. I’ve taken these little individual serving bottles of wine to the care center for my mother in the past, and she puts them in her closet for a ‘special occasion…” But, apparently they have a thief among them because when my mother went to get the wine, it was gone. I was not happy about it and said I was going to ask for a meeting with the department head to bring it to their attention, However, my mother got scared that it would somehow look bad on her for making a fuss about it and asked me not to mention it so I let the matter go.

On Thanksgiving, my husband, Bill/Bro, and I went to the care center to visit my mother and take her the yellow tail wine. My mother insisted we bring six individual bottles so she and her table mates could have two glasses each… I agreed because her doctor wrote an order saying she could have wine, and the duty nurse said he would hold her pain meds for that evening. When we arrived at the care center, I asked my mother where she wanted me to put the wine. The activity director came by and my mother called her over and asked her where she could put the wine until dinner time. The activity director gave me a permanent marker, and told me to write my mother’s name on the wine, and showed us a refrigerator in the physical therapy room where we could put the wine. She showed my mother what shelf the wine would be on so my mother could reach it and get it out for herself when she was ready… The duty nurse also was made aware of where the wine would be just in case mom needed any assistance. All was good and my mother was happy and excited that they were going to have their wine with their Thanksgiving dinner.

Bill and I stayed for two hours visiting with my mother then we said our good-byes and left to spend Thanksgiving with some of our friends…. and all appeared to be well…

Yesterday, Friday, my mother called me in a panic to say she didn’t get to have her wine on Thanksgiving because it was gone. I asked her what she meant by ” gone” and she said “someone took it.” I said “well this time, mom, I am going to ask for a meeting with the duty nurse, activity director, and the head of the care center, Alan. I said I think it’s time they know this stealing activity they have going on in the care center needs to be addressed. At that, my mother said “no, Cindy, I don’t want you to do that, because someone will get fired. I said “if they are stealing from the residents, or the care center, mom, they need to be fired.” Then, my mother said “if you do that, and get anyone fired, I’m going to fire you.” I told my mother “then fire me mom, I really don’t care.” That ended our conversation.

My mother’s favorite phrase to me has always been “I’m the matriarch,  and everyone has to do what I say.” When my mother says that to me now, I let her know I don’t dance to that tune anymore… I don’t believe in that, and I refuse to let anyone be in a position of dominance or power over me ever again. I treat people with dignity and respect, and I expect them to treat me the same way. I don’t believe anyone should have to “bow down” to anyone’s demands just because they are your mother, father, sibling or child. I also don’t believe that just because someone reaches a certain age, they can declare themselves beyond being held accountable for their actions and/or how they treat people.

All that said, I’m taking a much-needed break from my mother, again. I’m mentally exhausted, again, with all the emotional ups and downs of this roller coaster ride we’ve been on. My mother is fine at the care center, and they will call me in the event of any emergency. But for now, it is best for myself, and my family, if I just stay “fired” for a while… If anyone has an issue with that, I welcome them to fill in during my absence…

Stay Tuned!

Peace Offering

Yesterday I posted that my mother is upset with me for several reasons but mainly because I can’t, or won’t, always do what she wants me to do for her… It’s an ongoing thing with my mother and I. One day I’m the hero, and the next day, she gets upset with me about one thing or another, says she doesn’t want  to talk to me anymore, and hangs up the phone. I’ve learned to take it one day at a time with my mother because, if I get  upset then it affects my day, and the next time I see my mother she will have either forgotten all about it, or decided she wants to forgive and forget… These things happen in some families.

I write about my family life as a way of documenting our everyday lives together, the good, the bad, and even the ugly, for my daughter Shantel to have as her memories since I can’t leave her photo album… I want Shantel to be able to read back on my blogs ,and not only remember the ups and downs of our daily lives, but more importantly, how we handled events in our lives, including difficult people, aging parents ect., And,I want Shantel to know how to carve out time for yourself without feeling selfish, because a healthy selfish is a good thing for your emotional well-being…

Today when I went to see my mother, she gave me a peace-offering.

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She made two of these in arts & crafts, one with green flowers, and this one with purple flowers. She asked me which one I liked best, and I said the purple one, so she gave it to me saying she made it for me to keep. That’s how my mother forgives and forgets… she doesn’t talk about what happened, she just gives  you something as if that makes it all OK so it doesn’t have to be discussed… I took the book mark, thanked her, and gave her a hug. At this point in her life I know nothing I’m ever going to say is going to change her…so the best thing I can do is keep trying to change how I react to her when she gets upset with me… I’m not in any position to judge anyone. I’ve certainly made my share of mistakes, and I’m sure I can rub people the wrong way too.

But, the one thing I always try to keep in mind is EVERYDAY is a BEAUTIFUL, BRAND NEW DAY… Just like this beautiful sunrise that greeted me this morning when I opened the family room picture window.

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Every sunrise reminds me that everyday is another opportunity to forgive, try again, ask forgiveness, be thankful, share, and  love…

I wish everyone a very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

Stay Tuned!

Please Don’t Ask For More

Than I Can Give…

My mother is upset with me, again… She wants to come home for Thanksgiving, but my family and I are going across town to spend Thanksgiving with some very dear friends of ours. Their house in not wheelchair accommodating, and my mother doesn’t walk. In addition, when I do bring my mother home for any event, I always need to make sure I have another woman, family member, i.e. my sister-in-law, available to help me get my mother in and out of the bathroom… I can’t, and won’t, ask friends to do that, and it is not something my brother, Danny, or my husband, Bill, should participate in either. So that limits how often I take my mother out of the care center where she lives…

In addition to my mother being upset with me about not coming home for Thanksgiving, she is equally upset with me because my family and I are going to Colorado this year to spend Christmas, and my husband, Bill’s, birthday on 12/27, with our kids and grandkids. This will be the first time I have not had Christmas at our house. But, we decided this year we wanted to be with our grandkids, in their own homes, to watch them open their presents. My mother is just beside herself that I would even think of leaving town for Christmas. I spoke to my brother, Danny, about how upset my mother is with me and he said “I know she told me all about it.” Then, he said he couldn’t take our mother out to their daughter’s house for Thanksgiving for all the same reason’s I mentioned above… Danny also told me to “not worry about it and that mom is just going to have to get used to it…” So I decided I would take his advice and just let it go…

Until my mother called me yesterday, basically to try to make me feel guilty, as she has always used that tactic with me all my life… My phone rang and I saw it was my mother so I put on my most cheerful voice and said “Hi mom”, she said “Cindy, part of my tooth broke when I was eating lunch. It’s one of the big teeth on the bottom of my mouth. She said she had to stop eating because it is so loose and she is afraid the whole tooth is going to come out. I asked if it hurts her and she said “no, not now.” She said I don’t know what I’m going to do because the traveling Dentist won’t come back to the care center until next month. I said “mom, your insurance doesn’t cover dental work until after the first of the year so you need to be careful about agreeing to get dental work done until I can find out how much it covers so you are not charged a lot of money, that you don’t have, to pay for a crown etc.” I said “perhaps the tooth can just be pulled…which would be a lot cheaper, if it is one that you could live without. Well, that really set her off and she said ” I know all that, you don’t have to keep telling me I don’t have any money, so why do you have to keep bringing that up?” I said “well, mom, you called me to tell me about your tooth so I assumed you wanted me to help you figure out what would be the best thing for you to do. If that isn’t the case, mom, then why did you call?” She said “I just wanted you to know I’m suffering.” I said ” you just told me the tooth wasn’t hurting  you so how are you suffering, mom?” She said “just never mind, I’ll just tell you about the activity’s they have planned here for Thanksgiving for the poor people who don’t have families to be with.” Then she went on to read the list of what is scheduled for every hour of the day on Thanksgiving…” When she finished reading the list to me, I said “well, mom, Bill and I will be up to see you about 8:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving before we get ready to go to Holly and Chuck’s house. My mother said “don’t bother if it’s going to put you out.” I took a deep breath and simply said “I’ll see you Thursday, mom.” She said I have to go now and hung up…

Through therapy, I’ve finally learned how to cope with my mother’s negativity, and the guilt she constantly lays at my feet. I know I’m doing the very best I can to look after her NEEDS, but I have to put strict limits around allowing her to guilt me into supporting all of her wants… My mother wants me to just sit with her everyday, and says I should be able to do that since “I don’t work, or do anything all day.” I remind my mother that while I don’t work outside our home…, I do have a life, and family, and home to take care of, and I’m doing the best I can for her so please don’t ask for more than I can give

I will see my mother on Thanksgiving morning, and hopefully that will go well. Either way, I’m not going to let these flare-ups with my mother keep me from enjoying the holiday’s with the rest of my family and friends. Over the years I’ve learned one thing for sure…, sometimes you just have to know you’re doing the best you can, let it go, and move on…

Stay Tuned!

It’s Worth Four Hundred Dollars…

It’s that time of year again, when my husband, Bill, and I have to decide on the insurance plan we will use for the upcoming year. Bill’s company gives three options to choose from. But, in reality, there is only one choice for us, because, the other two options are so high in out-of-pocket experiences, we just couldn’t afford them. So we stick with our usual plan, and complain about it from the enrollment process, all the way through the end of the year… However, we are truly thankful we have an insurance plan at all.

Our insurance plan will put $400.00 in an account, that can be used to help both Bill, and I,  pay co-pays throughout the year, IF you participate in their bio-metrics screening process that is held on-site at Bill’s company. Everyone is given an appointment time, and the process really is well executed so you are actually in and out within a half hour…

However, just because something is well executed, doesn’t mean it is going to make you feel good about yourself once you surrender yourself to the screenings they put you through… especially, when you’ve reached the age when gravity takes over, and unwanted pounds creep onto your body, despite the efforts you take to fight them off…

I met Bill at his company this morning so we could participate in our annual bio-metrics screening process.. What a great way to start off an otherwise perfect day right?

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Upon arrival you are ushered into a private room where your finger is pricked, and blood pulled into a tiny little tube, that will go into a machine that will produce your cholesterol, and blood glucose levels. These numbers are documented on your screening sheet so you “know your numbers” when your nurse coach calls, TWICE later in the year… Oh, more fun. ” I am proud to say my good cholesterol was over 100, and the nurse told me if that could be bottled… people would not have heart problems… Yeah me!!!

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Apparently, it’s VERY important to “know your numbers…” when the nurse coach calls. The problem is sometimes “the numbers change” right? I mean every time I go to my doctor, and they take my blood pressure, it’s different, and my weight is different, not drastically… but still different…, and I’m sure all the other “numbers” that are supposed to stay stable…. are different… But let’s move on… 🙂

Once your cholesterol and blood glucose levels have been measured, they move on to your blood pressure and body composition. In other words, time for the dreaded,  getting weighed and measured… Even more FUN…!

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At the end of this whole ordeal… I will only speak for myself in saying… As many of you  know, I lost over 100 lbs, 35 years ago. I managed to keep all of that off to date ,with the exception of 20 lbs I picked up over the last 2 years. And, nothing, I do seems to have an impact on getting rid of it…. I walk for one hour a day, at a fast pace, five day’s a week. I follow the Weight Watcher’s program daily. And, I follow that plan when I cook for my family as well… But, it seems no matter what I do I just can not get rid of the extra pounds I’ve picked up…

However, that said, at 61 years of age… I am more interested in enjoying life with my husband, Bill, family, and friends, knowing that we are doing the best we can, everyday, to stay as healthy as we can, without starving ourselves…. I’m so over that…!

Stay Tuned!

Garlic Shrimp Noodles

I love fresh garlic and use it in just about everything I cook. I also love shrimp and try to have a shrimp dish at least once every other week, i.e. shrimp soft tacos, my shrimp/seafood jambalaya, or this garlic shrimp noodle dish, that both my husband, Bill, and I just LOVE… YUM!!!

You will need the following ingredients:

Shrimp

Wide pasta noodles

Olive oil

Fresh garlic

Fresh ground black pepper

Chicken base or chicken stock

Mushrooms (if you don’t like mushrooms, or any of the vegetables in this dish just leave them out)

Tomatoes

Green onions

Frozen peas

I buy frozen shrimp from Costco that have been cleaned and deveined.

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Thaw the shrimp in the refrigerator overnight. Rinse the shrimp and remove the tails.

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Chop lots of fresh garlic very fine and add to enough olive oil, mixed with black pepper, to coat all the shrimp.

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Place all the shrimp in a large ziplock bag and pour olive oil mixture over shrimp. Massage to ensure all the shrimp is coated, then place the bag in refrigerator for a few hours so all the flavors blend.

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If using chicken base, which thanks to my frissy, for letting me know her husband, Bob, who is a GREAT cook, said this is even better than any chicken stock, and I couldn’t agree more… this is what it looks like, and of course, I get it at Costco…

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Anyway, if using the chicken base product, you bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add in 1 1/2 tablespoons of chicken base for each quart of stock needed. Of course, I just eyeball it according to what I think looks like enough… 🙂 If you are using boxed or fresh chicken stock, you bring enough of the stock to a boil to cook the noodles in according to package directions..

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My husband and I love these pasta noodles the best. They are called Country Pasta and they are really good. They are wider and thicker than egg noodles. I threw the bag away before I got a good picture of it. But, if  you Google wide pasta noodles you will see the bag on-line. I buy them at Fry’s grocery store right where you find packaged pasta and noodles.

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Cook the pasta noodles according to package directions if you like them really soft. We like ours a little firmer, so I cook ours about one and a half  minutes less than the time on the package.

While the pasta noodles are cooking, cook the mushrooms over medium heat until tender. Add shrimp, and continue to cook over medium heat just until the shrimp turn pink. Don’t over cook or the shrimp with be tough.

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Just before the pasta noodles are done, I add some peas right in with the pasta noodle water, then drain the pasta noodles.

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Serve the shrimp and mushrooms over the pasta noodles and peas, garnish with diced tomatoes and green onions for color and added flavor.

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Dig in, and ENJOY!!!

Even though I LOVE to cook, every once in a while I enjoy having someone cook for me too. Today, since it’s still cold and drizzling rain… my husband, Bill/Bro is treating Shantel and I to his famous homemade chili for dinner tonight…

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Bill likes to cook too, not as much as I do, but he says he does enjoy cooking when he has the time. Working 5 or 6 ten-hour days every week doesn’t leave much time for cooking, but what a treat when he does cook.. Thanks honey… 🙂

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However, Bill wouldn’t let me get in there and do a step by step photo session so I could share the recipe with everyone… Some cooks just want to keep their recipes a big secret… As you all know by now…, I don’t like keeping anything secret, so I will continue to share my recipes with those who care to have them.

Stay Tuned!

Wintertime Fun, or Not

If you follow my blog, you know winter is not my friend. I don’t like to be cold, ever… That is why I love, love, love, living in the hot climate of Arizona. The hotter the better for me. You will never hear me complain about the hot dry heat, ever

Our children, and grandchildren, on the other hand, love, love, love, the cold climate of Colorado. They love playing in the snow, and either they don’t get cold, or they don’t mind being cold…

This is a picture my step-daughter, Katie, sent me of our granddaughter’s, her two daughter’s Emma, in the blue coat, and Alex, in the black coat, playing in the snow. They look happy and delighted about being in enough snow to build a snowman bigger than they are don’t they? God bless their little sweet hearts. I love you both Emma and Alex so very much!

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Alex and Emma built their first snowman of the winter season today as they just received the first snowfall of the season in Grand Junction Colorado. And I know they are already looking forward to many more happy snow days… All I can say is “beautiful to look at, delightful to hold, but if you’re a desert rat like me, it’s way too cold…”

It gets too cold for me right here in sunny Arizona, I have to brace myself every time our weather drops below 80 degrees. I just can’t handle cold damp weather. I like hot dry weather. I don’t like hot humid weather, only hot dry weather.

I do like to see the occasional rain storms we have here in Arizona. I love watching the monsoon storms roll in almost every evening in the summer. Our summer monsoon storms are warm rain storms. I will sit out on my back patio and watch the lightning, and listen to the thunder, for hours as the warm rain comes down and I love it!

I’m not as happy about our cold winter rain storms. I try to be happy about winter rain storms, and yesterday we had a big cold rain storm that brought in lots of much-needed rain to our desert valley… I even posted on my Facebook status that I was loving the rainy day yesterday because I didn’t have to get out in it and drive our daughter, Shantel to classes… I just stayed home and did all my ironing while sipping hot matcha tea, and watched it rain, and rain, and rain… and I really tried to keep loving that rain… But unlike our warm summer monsoon storms that hit with a vengeance, drop much-needed rain then move on… winter rain storms seem to want to linger for day’s like they have to be the center of attention and main attraction to everyone…

This is a park in my neighborhood that I walk through on many of my long walks… it usually has beautiful green grass, and lots of curved paths, and walkways to enjoy…but not today, because that nasty winter cold rain storm, that went on all day and night, dumped so much rain in this beautiful little park that it turned the park into a lake complete with swimming ducks! This is the result of 24 hours of non-stop cold rain here in “sunny Chandler Arizona.”

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Our warm summer monsoon rain storms might cause a little flooding of streets and desert washes…but the show is over quickly and warm summer monsoon rain storm knows when to move on… But no, if  you give cold winter rain storms an inch… she will take the whole nine yards and then some.. how selfish is that?

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So that is the last time I’m going to be trying to love cold winter selfish rain storms… and trying to befriend sister winter… No, give me HOT and DRY any day, and I’ll just be as happy as if I had good sense… 🙂

Stay Tuned!

Don’t Change The Routine

I went to visit my mother today and found her sitting in the activity room with several other residents who were very upset about some recent changes, Alan, the Care Center Administrator, made. Apparently, Alan, who has a wall full of degrees hanging in his office, decided he didn’t want the residents sitting around watching TV after breakfast anymore. He wants them to all be involved in some type of functional game or activity that will keep them moving and interacting with each other. That might sound like a bright idea to someone who is not in the know about how much the residents, that actually know what is going on around them, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE watching The Price is Right everyday. Keep in mind, this care center is not an assisted living facility. No, it is a 24/7 skilled nursing center. The majority of the residents living in this care center are not fully functional due to Strokes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or any number of other medical issues… Many of them don’t speak or even know where they are.

However, the residents that are functional enough to speak, and understand what is going on around them, are very set in their ways, and DO NOT LIKE CHANGE!!! I spend enough time with my mother and the other residents to know they want to keep to the same routine everyday. They get up and dressed with assistance, go to the dinning room for breakfast, come back and have their medications given to then, then go to the activity room to watch The Price is Right on the big screen TV. After The Price is Right is over they will participate in whatever the Activity Director has planned for the morning until it’s time for bingo. When bingo starts everyone better shut up and listen for their numbers or leave. No visiting or chatting during bingo. And for goodness sakes you better not ask to have a number repeated because you weren’t paying attention… 🙂

After bingo the residents go back to the dining room for lunch. Then they go to their rooms for a nap. At 2:oo p.m. they get up and go back to the activity room for another round of bingo… they all know exactly what to expect, nothing ever changes, and they like it that way…!

So Alan’s decision to not allow The Price is Right to be turned on anymore had the residents that are in the know…in an uproar to say the least. My mother and two of her friends, were fit to be tied when I got there this morning. I asked my mother what was wrong and she told me they were not allowed to watch The Price is Right anymore. Her friend, Sharon, and Sharon’s roommate were almost to the point of tears. I asked my mother who told them they couldn’t watch The Price is Right. They all three said “Alan” I said who is Alan? They said “he runs this hospital.” I asked why Alan would say they can’t watch The Price is Right and they said “he wants us to do games.” Then they all told me they don’t want to play games, they want to watch The Price is Right. So I told them I would go and speak to Alan and see if I could find out what was going on..

I went to Alan’s office and knocked on his door. He looked up and asked if he could help me. I said” I’m hoping you will. Then I told him what my mother, Sharon, and Sharon’s roommate told me about Alan not letting them watch The Price is Right. Alan said “that’s right, I did put that order out to the staff.’ I said “may I ask why you made that decision especially since it is upsetting my mother and half of the other residents who live here?” Alan smiled and said “it’s not good for the residents to just sit and watch too much TV.” I said “well my mother is here because she needs 24/7 skilled nursing care, not to be dictated to about what she can and can not watch on TV. I told Alan many of the residents don’t have anyone coming to visit them and speak on their behalf, but I spend a great deal of time in his care center, and I know for sure that the majority of the residents are not able to participate in the “games and/or other activities he wants them to participate in instead of watching their TV program, and the residents that could don’t want to play his games/activities, they want to watch The Price is Right. I told him that show brings a lot of joy and excitement to the residents who enjoy watching it, and that since many of them are close to their last days..,their happiness, and overall well-being  should be more important than his need to issue orders, especially when he apparently had no idea of the impact it would have on the residents. ” I told Alan perhaps he should come out of his office more often and see the effect his decisions have on the residents. Then, if he really cares about the well-being of the residents in his facility, he would rethink his decision and let the residents watch their show.” I also told Alan if he was going to continue to issue orders without consulting the residents and/or family members, I would start looking for another facility for my mother. I told Alan to think about what we discussed and “have a good day”, then I left his office.

I went back to the activity room and found my mother, and her friends. They asked me what Alan said and I told them he is thinking it over, and we should know something one way or the other soon…

Much to my surprise, and delight, within a half hour, the Activity Director came into the activity room and turned on The Price is Right!!!

My mother (in the gray), Sharon (in the black), and Sharon’s roommate (in purple) couldn’t believe it. This is the happiest their faces get due to their medical issues…

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But believe me… they were VERY excited about getting to watch their beloved The Price is Right show…

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Who knew this simple game show could mean so much to so many?

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But is means the world to my mother and her friends, and right now, that’s all that matters to me because peace has been restored to the care center residents… I guess my job there, for today, is done… 🙂

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My mother and her friends kept asking me what I said to Alan to get him to change his mind… I just smiled and said “I just appealed to his good nature…”

Stay Tuned!

Graduation Day

This post is dedicated to my niece, Chante’. I loved you the moment I saw you, and I love you even more today. You have grown into the most beautiful, accomplished woman. Your beauty shines through from the inside out. Your loving spirit is something for all others to strive for guided by the example you set. I love you Chante’, Aunt Virginia.

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I’ve always been very close to my late brother, Stephen’s, daughter, Chante’.  And, as far back as I can remember, Chante’ has talked about wanting to be a nurse. When Chante’ told me she was actually going to go to nursing school, she asked if  I would come to her graduation when she finished all her studies. I told her I would be pleased and proud to attend her graduation. This past Thursday, November 14th, my husband, Bill, daughter, Shantel, and I drove to San Diego to attend Chante’s graduation on Friday, November 15th.

We had an uneventful drive until we actually arrived in San Diego. Then all hell broke loose as we found ourselves in the middle of rush hour traffic, which I soon came to realize should be renamed suicide hour. OMG, I forgot how crazy California drivers really are. I mean I thought New York traffic was bad, let me just say at least in New York they are driving reasonably slow due to the sheer volume of cars on the road in Manhattan. The drivers we encountered in San Diego, on the other hand, drive like they think they  own the entire freeway and no speed limit exists… We were almost hit twice in the span of fifteen minutes!!! Then, to add to the excitement, and heart failure…, the GPS system we had in our car was set for the shortest distance rather than the fastest distance so the voice on the GPS kept directing us on and off the freeway. We went through every little side town and neighborhood, etc. during rush hour, then we would be directed back onto the freeway over and over again…. What should have been a 5-6 hour trip from our home to our hotel ended up taking well over 7 hours… But, it was nothing that a couple of glasses of wine in our room couldn’t help calm down… Jeez, I don’t remember getting that nervous in traffic when I was younger, and Bill and I played in San Diego every other weekend… I wouldn’t think it has anything to do with getting a little older…would you? 🙂

We stayed at the DoubleTree, by Hilton, in hotel circle. It was a really nice room and just across the street from where Chante’s graduation would be held.

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After we got settled into our room we went down to dinner right in the hotel restaurant. I had a grilled smoked turkey sandwich. Bill had a roast beef French dip sandwich, and Shantel had grilled chicken caesar salad, and a brownie topped with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream… OMG how that girl can eat!!!

The next morning, my niece, Chante’  her husband, Roger, and beautiful daughter, Josie, met us at our hotel and we all went out to breakfast together.

This is my niece, Chante, and her beautiful daughter, Josie. Josie is 3 1/2 years old and just as precious as she can be. She is smart as a whip, and will carry on  a full conversation with you for as long as you are a willing partner to talk to…

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What a doll. I’m so glad we got to spend some quality, one-on-one time with Chante and her family prior to the graduation.

After breakfast, and a long chat, Chante and her family had to get going, as they had other family members to visit with as well. So we said our good-bye’s until later that afternoon when the nurses pinning ceremony would take place at 4:00 p.m., just prior to the actual graduation that started at 6:00 p.m.

Shantel wanted to find a mall to go, to and as luck would have it…, there just happened to be one right around the corner from our hotel. So off we went to spend a few hours walking around the mall. Then, when we tired of walking, and helping Shantel shop…, we went to lunch at California Pizza Kitchen. I had a delicious chicken tequila lime pasta dish that was to die for… Bill had an oriental chicken salad, but was less than pleased with it only because he didn’t notice it had cilantro in it and he doesn’t like cilantro. Shantel, of course, had a whole pizza to herself, and ate all but one piece, which she reluctantly gave to Bill since he was not happy with his salad even though he did eat it… 🙂

After lunch we went back to our room to get ready for the pinning ceremony and graduation.

We were so very proud to see our niece, Chante’ being pinned as a nurse. The program was beautiful and allowed any established certified nurse , i.e. mother, father, relative or friend to pin the new nurse coming into the profession. My mother is a retired R.N. but of course, she was in no condition to make the trip to pin Chante’. She did however ask me to give Chante’ her original cap and pin that she received when she graduated nursing school in the 1940’s. I was going to have the cap and pin mounted in a shadow box for Chante’ but decided not everyone loves shadow boxes so I asked my Frissy, who is a fabulous photographer, who has had her work shown in New York City ,and even published in books…, to photograph the cap and pin of my mother, together with a photograph of my mother in her cap and pin, and make the whole thing look aged. Frissy did an outstanding job. She created a black and white photograph that looks aged just like I wanted . Then I had that photograph framed in an antique frame to further showcase the aged effect… Chante’ was very pleased with the gift. I can only wish I could show you that photo but it was lost when we had our computer “fixed…”

This is Chante’ awaiting her turn to be pinned. I can only imagine the emotions and excitement of this moment for Chante’.

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This is Chante’ being pinned. The picture is a little fuzzy because everyone was pushing and shoving everyone to get their pictures… But still, such a proud, proud, moment.

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Right after the new nurses were pinned they participated in a candle lighting ceremony that represents the passing of the light of the nurses profession to the next generation. So beautiful.

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After the nurses were pinned, we were all ushered out to wait for the graduation ceremony which included all the students that attend Kaplan College. This included dental students, X-ray tech’s, medical billing students, as well as nursing students. The nurses were the last to receive their diploma’s. This is Chante’ waiting in line to receive her diploma.

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This picture is Chante’ receiving her diploma. We are so PROUD of you Chante’.

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As with all young children, even Josie was getting overly excited for Mommy to be graduated so the celebration could begin… ” are we done yet, are we done yet… Her Nana, Lucie, was looking on and helping to contain all of Josie’s excitement… 🙂

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Finally, to Josie’s delight, Mommy, the nursing graduate, arrived with her pin and her diploma… Again, Chante’ we just could not be more PROUD of you and your accomplishments.

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After the graduation, we said our good-byes to Chante’ and her family. Bill, Shantel, and I went to dinner then back to our hotel room to pack and get ready to leave early in the morning… which came way too early if you know what I mean…

But, once on the road, we were grateful that it was a Saturday and the traffic was not as horrendous as it was when we arrived in San Diego on Thursday evening during “suicide hour”…, We did enjoy this beautiful scene of nature…

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Which quickly turned to this fog so thick that when you got in it you could not see the car in front of you for miles and miles… but “fun/scary just the same as we rarely see this type of weather in the Phoenix area.

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One of the things I look forward to seeing every time we travel the Interstate 8 route is what I call “the windmill farms”, for lack of a better term…, You just drive along Interstate 8 for miles and miles then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, these windmills just pop up and go on for miles… how cool is that?

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Another thing I love seeing is the Sand Dunes between Phoenix and California. People from all over travel in their RV’s to camp out and enjoy their recreational toys to run up and down the sand dunes… How much fun does that look like???

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In closing I just can not say enough how very PROUD we are of Chante’ and her accomplishments. I know your father who is now in heaven,  is PROUD of you too sweetie. You did your whole family PROUD… We love you and are always here to support you in anything you choose to do… Aunt Virginia.

Stay tuned!

White Knuckle

Yesterday, my daughter, Shantel, had to be at school at 8:00 a.m. She said she wanted to leave between 6:30 and 6:45 so she could go to McDonald’s to get her coffee and apple pies. I agreed. However, at 7:00, Shantel still was not ready to leave. I told her she better hurry up or she would not have time to stop at McDonald’s and make it to her 8:00 class on time. At 7:10 Shantel said “we’re ready” I said “I’ve been ready since 6:00 and have been waiting on you.” I told her it takes me 40 minutes to get her to school without any stops, and that I don’t like feeling like I have to rush to get through traffic because she can’t seem to get herself out the door on time…

As luck would have it, a train was holding up traffic which caused our first delay. When we finally were able to get moving again, I told Shantel she probably wouldn’t have time to go to McDonald’s now because it was 7:45 and we weren’t even half way there yet. Shantel said “just keep driving and we’ll make it.” So I took her to McDonald’s, where we found seven people in line ahead of us… but, we got her coffee and apple pies and headed out the door at 8:05 on our way to her school. As we were walking to the car  I told Shantel I don’t like being late and I don’t like waiting on other’s who think it is OK to be late. I said if you are supposed to be in class at 8:00 it’s not going to look good on you to walk in this late with McDonald’s coffee and apple pies… I said if I were your instructor I would not be happy with you disrupting my class just to have your MacDonald’s… Shantel said “Oh, mom, the instructor is late herself a lot.” I drove her to school with “white knuckles” all the way thinking to myself “when I was managing people in my corporate career, I would never tolerate employees who thought it was OK to be late as they are walking in with their McDonald’s…

An even bigger “white knuckle” issue we deal with at our house is Shantel, has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). She knows it, and anyone who has spent any length of time around her knows it. I know exactly when, and how, it began, and who caused it, which is why I try my absolute best to live with it, even if I have to “white knuckle” my way through each day…but believe me it’s not ever easy. I’ve watched this OCD take its toll on Shantel, my husband, Bill, and myself, ever since Shantel was in middle school.

Shantel will wash her hands until they crack and bleed. She goes through 3-4 rolls of paper towels a day. An example of how the OCD affects Shantel is: She will wash her hands to put her ear rings on then, wash them again. She will take a Lysol wipe to clean her cane, throw that away, wash her hands again, get another Lysol wipe to clean her purse straps, throw that away, wash her hands again, go in her bedroom to put her shoes on, wash her hands again, get a Lysol wipe to clean her phone, throw that away, wash her hands again, get her money for Dial-a-ride, wash her hands again, put her lipstick on, wash her hands again, get a drink, wash her hands again… this goes on all day and night until she finally goes to bed…It’s tormenting to watch, but Shantel doesn’t think it’s a problem… which is in fact part of the problem.

We have been through two counselors seeking help but I have not seen any improvement. In fact, both Bill and I believe it’s getting worse. And, the more we try to get her to stop the excessive hand washing, the worse it gets.

To make matters worse, Shantel is afraid to put her used paper towels in the trash can. She just opens her hand and hopes they float into the trash can. She also will not push the used paper towels down if they do get into the trash can so they build up until the trash can is overflowing…  The picture below is what OCD looks like up close and personal in our home. It is something thousands of people suffer with, and I’m just trying to bring awareness of how hard it can be not only for the person who suffers from it, but also for those who love them and are helpless to help them…This was the third time this trash can had been filled up in less than 24 hours.

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Anyone who knows me knows I am very picky about how my house is kept. I clean my own house, and all I ask is that those who live here help keep it clean. I did a whole blog post on that very subject not too long ago.

This is how I keep my bathroom:

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And bedroom

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So you can just imagine how I “white knuckle” it when I walk into the hall/guest bathroom and find paper towels all over the floor and piled up over the toilet…

If I could love the OCD away for Shantel I would, but I can’t, so I’ll continue “white knuckle” it to love her through it, like this…

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I went to see my mother today which proved to be yet another “white knuckle” event… I decided I would stop and get mom a McDonald’s Caramel Frappe. She loves them, and it is a treat I bring that usually brings a big smile to her face. When I arrived at the care center, mom was in the activity room. I walked up, hugged her and gave her the frappe. She did smile and said she loves them. As we were sitting there talking, another resident came over to the table to say good morning. Mom showed the resident her frappe and told her I brought it to her. The resident said “Someone must really love you.” Mom said ” oh, that’s questionable.” I didn’t say anything but had “white knuckles” it under the table. My mother and I have never had a real close relationship, we tolerate each other at best… so, her comment didn’t surprise me all that much. I know some folks find that hard to deal with, but it is what it is… not all family relationships are like “Leave it to Beaver…”, and my blog is just documenting what our daily lives are really like…

Not long after that resident left, another resident was coming in our direction and mom turned to me and said “if she comes here don’t start talking to her.” I asked why, and mom said “because I can’t stand her voice.” I didn’t even know what to say to that so I just turned to look out the window. At that point mom said “is it time for church service yet?” OMG, talk about “white knuckles…” it was all I could do, but I managed to smile and say “yes, mom, I’ll take you over to church service now.” I took mom to church service, gave her a hug, and said “I’ll see you next week.” Then I drove all the way home with “white knuckles.”

Sometimes it all feels like a lot of pressure , especially for someone who is fresh out of a year and a half of psycho therapy!!!

Stay Tuned.

Fun In The Lab Update

On 11/09/2013 I shared a post about a college biology experiment my daughter, Shantel, has for a final project for that class. She decided to do an experiment on hair relaxer’s and the effect they have on skin/tissue and the environment… I shared with you that I was “drafted” to help Shantel last Friday with the experiment by helping her weigh the raw chicken that Shantel decided to use as her sample for the effect hair relaxer’s have on tissue… The raw chicken was weighed before it was put into the hair relaxer solution, then weighed again, on Friday, by me,,,  after the raw chicken had been in the hair relaxer solution for twenty-four hours…

The plan was for me to come back this Wednesday, at 7:00 a.m. to help Shantel weigh the chicken again, after it had been rinsed, and allowed to dry for five days…  That was the “plan…”

Well, today, Shantel came home from school and told me her chemistry  professor said she had to weigh the chicken over the holiday weekend, because she got a call that the whole lab was reeking of chemicals and a VERY foul smell…. Guess what… It was Shantel’s experiment… OMG!!! Her professor said she had to have fans brought in and running for two days just to get all the foul smells out of her lab…

The raw chicken, combined with the hair relaxer chemical, had created an “unsafe” environment due to the extreme foul smell of rotten chicken, combined with the harsh hair relaxer chemicals…Her professor said we still need to come back tomorrow, Wednesday, to weigh the other items…i.e the metal, plastic, etc… So we will be there tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. to do that…

My thoughts are… I am so THANKFUL that Shantel’s chemistry  lab professor allowed her to do this BIOLOGY experiment in her lab… My question is why didn’t the BIOLOGY instructor step up and invite Shantel to do this experiment in her BIOLOGY lab…????

Can you just imagine what this experiment would have been like had we performed it in our home… knowing how picky I am… ????

Stay Tuned!

Previous Older Entries

Wheeling It: Tales From a Nomadic Life

On the Road Since 2010, Traveling Across USA & Europe With 12 Paws

The Brantley Blog

In the eyes of the law, we reach adulthood the day we turn 18 years old. God help anyone who actually believes that.

the next few years

family life..with a unique perspective of motherhood

Gotham Girl Chronicles

a mixture of random musings...life in NYC...travel...photography...cycling

Blooming Burgh Boomer

Living An Active Full Life

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