Meet Donald

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Donald is a jolly man who lives at the same Care Center as my mother. In fact, Donald’s room is just down the hall from my mother. I have seen Donald over the past few months at bingo, and he always stops by my mother’s table to say hello on his way out of the dining room. Donald told me that he gives my mother fruit, like grapes, oranges, etc. from time to time when he sees her sitting in the hall outside her room. It seems that Donald has taken a shine to my mother…

I think Donald is a very nice man and he always shares the most interesting and funny stories with me. Seems he is a bit of a prankster too. He told me that when he first came to the Care Center, a few months ago, he told the nurses that his teeth were missing and he needed someone to help him find them. He said the whole staff got involved in trying to find his teeth. He said they went through every drawer and cabinet in his room and came up with nothing. He said they came back to him and said they can’t find them and he told them to just keep looking because he really misses them…. After a couple of hours he said he couldn’t stand it any more and told them that he never had any teeth to begin with…. He lost them years ago and never could afford to have them replaced… He said he could hardly keep a straight face while the staff was looking high and low for his teeth…. Lucky for him, he said it was a slow day and the staff found it funny too… What a character!

Donald told me he came to Arizona from New Jersey for health reasons and because he couldn’t tolerate the cold weather any more (I can relate to that…) He said his health continued to decline and he ended up requiring 24/7 nursing care which brought him to the Care Center where my mother lives… He also told me that his kids still live in New Jersey so he doesn’t have any family to visit him here. Because of that, I always try to spend some time visiting with Donald when I visit my mother.

My mother thinks Donald is “alright”, but she said he talks too much and gets on her nerves… However, I don’t think my mother really has anything in particular against Donald, it’s just that she has taken a real shine to Bob, the man who comes to visit his sister every day and eats at the table with my mother…  My mother wants to know where Bob is every minute he is in the Care Center and if he leaves for a minute or two she gets upset and asks everyone where he is…. My mother told me she thinks Bob is a nice looking man and can’t understand why someone hasn’t snapped him up by now. I told her that perhaps Bob doesn’t want anyone else. He had a beautiful wife (he showed us pictures) and he talks about her as if she was the love of his life… This is Bob in the tan shirt pushing his sister’s wheelchair…

Bob

Bob

I’ve written about Bob in previous posts. I think Bob is just a delightful man too, but I don’t think Bob has taken a shine for my mother… he’s just a nice man who lives alone and enjoys the company of the residents and visitors at the Care Center.

Well, Donald just recently became my mother’s new table mate in the dinning room, and my mother is not the least bit happy about it. Apparently, there was some disruptions at some other tables, and some people got moved around. The staff thought Donald would do better at my mother’s table and just assigned him to that table without notice, which apparently did not sit well with my mother either.

When I went to visit my mother today, I passed Donald in the activity room, and as always I gave him a hug, and he kissed me on the cheek. Then he told me that he is now sitting with my mother to eat, and he is trying to be nice and make conversation with her, but she isn’t being very nice at all. I told Donald I would talk to my mother and find out what is going on with her…

When I went over to my mother, she was trying to play bingo, but was having trouble finding some of the numbers, so I sat down and helped her. It didn’t take long for her to start telling me that she has a new tablemate that she doesn’t want… I told her I saw Donald on my way in and he told me that he was sitting at her table now, and that he didn’t think she really wanted him there but that is the table he was assigned to so he had no choice. My mother said “well, he just wanted to get to you first so he could turn this all around to make him look good. I reminded my mother that she doesn’t own the table she sits at and she has to allow other residents to sit there when they are told to do so… I also reminded her that Bob and I are not residents so if ever the Care Center needed the seats that Bob and I sit in when we are there, we would have to give those seats up to real residents… Then I said, “just be nice, and let Donald and Bob both sit with you…. nothing wrong with that…” She said “I am nice, you just don’t understand how it is around here.” I smiled and told her that I’m pretty sure I do know how “it” is, it’s just that “it’s” not always the way you want “it…”

Who knew a Care Center full of old folks could generate so much DRAMA… gotta love “it”… 🙂 🙂

Stay Tuned!

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Mission Accomplished

Yesterday I posted that Bill/Bro and I had a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with our grandson, Marcus over his winter break. When it came time for him to go back to U of A University in Tucson, Bill and I offered to drive him back so his mother, my daughter, Katie, could get a little rest between her two jobs…. Marcus was told students could come back to their rooms this weekend, but when we delivered him to his off campus dorm room yesterday, that is run by the University, and under very strict rules, he was informed that he could not get back into his room until 12:00 noon today… Nothing left to do but bring him back home and take him back again today. We were more than happy to have that extra time with Marcus.

Marcus has grown into such an amazing young man, and we are so very proud of him. He has always excelled in math and science, and decided he wants to get a degree in Mechanical Engineering or Aero Space… He said he will declare his degree in his Jr. year… I was also very impressed to learn that one of his classes of choice is Japanese. I asked him what made him decide on that, and he told me that he found out he would get more help with that than if he took Spanish, because in Tucson, apparently they assume you know Spanish… Who knew? 🙂 🙂

In addition to taking a full load of classes, Marcus also works part-time to help support himself, and help ease the burden from his mom in paying for his education… He mentioned to us several times over the past two days that he hates to see his mom push herself so hard to help him…Marcus does have some scholarship support, but not enough to pay his way… He doesn’t have a car, so his job opportunities are limited to where he can get to by bike or walking… But, from what I saw over the past few days, he is willing to do whatever it takes to complete his education… Go Marcus!

When we arrived to pick Marcus up this morning, we all laughed and said “well, let’s hope this sticks this time, and you get to stay Marcus…”  Marcus and his mother, my daughter, Katie, had a brief, touching, moment between mother and son, as he said good-by again to his mom… Then Bill took these pictures of Katie and I as we had our brief, touching, moments together….

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After we delivered Marcus to his room, and helped him get all his supplies to his room, we left him with the promise that we will all meet up again the next time he comes home. As we were driving home, my daughter, Katie, sent me a text, thanking us again for driving Marcus to Tucson, twice, and said how much she appreciated the help. I told her she was most welcome and we were happy to get to spend the extra time with Marcus…

After Bill/Bro and I got back to Chandler/Gilbert, we had to stop by Costco to get our weekly supplies… When we finished that, and were safely home, Bill declared it was officially “happy hour” and said he just wanted to sit down in something that wasn’t moving…  And so, happy hour began.. 🙂 🙂

Stay Tuned!

Road Trip(s)

After several years of no contact with my daughter, Katie, I reached out to her and asked her if perhaps we could try again to work things out between us. She agreed. Too many years, that we can’t get back, have passed. Both Katie and I agreed that we are not getting any younger, and we don’t want to lose any more precious time. So, we agreed to put our differences aside, agreed that we just disagree on some things, and that there are certain things that we are not going to talk about, but we are not going to let that keep us from reconnecting and rebuilding our relationship to the best of our abilities.

After several conversations, we agreed to go to dinner. Katie told me her son, our grandson, Marcus, was home for the winter break from U of A in Tucson. Bill and I haven’t seen Marcus in several years either, so we made plans for Katie and Marcus to come to our house, then Bill and I and Katie and Marcus all went out to dinner together. It was so good to see Katie and Marcus again. I told them both how much I love them and how very much I’ve missed them. Both Katie and Marcus said they felt the same way.

Within the next day or two we arranged to pick up Marcus and take him and his sister Shantel out to dinner. Shantel and Marcus were always very close and they were happy to reconnect and spend time together again as well.

Katie, is working towards a reconnection with Shantel as well. It’s a slow process, but Katie agrees, as the saying goes… “anything worth having is worth working towards and waiting for.”

Katie works two jobs. Monday through Friday during the day, then Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at night. She is helping to support and send her son, Marcus, through college. Bill and I found out that Marcus needed to be back to U of A in Tucson this weekend so he can resume classes on Wednesday. Katie was going to drive him back to Tucson today after working all day Friday, then working the night shift Friday night, then returning to work the night shift tonight…. When we heard that, Bill and I asked if we could drive Marcus back to Tucson. Katie and Marcus agreed and a road trip was in the works…

We picked Marcus up at 9:00 this morning at Katie’s apartment and made the two-hour road trip to Tucson. We took him to Walmart to pick up school supplies and some snack items for his dorm room etc.

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Then we stopped and had pizza for lunch… Just look at this yummy thin crust pizza Bill/Bro and I shared,

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And the beautiful calzone Marcus had…

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After lunch we drove Marcus to his off campus dorm room that is run by the university and strict rules…

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We waited for him to check-in so we could help him carry his bags and school supplies to his room before we returned home… Marcus was only gone a short time when he returned walking very slowly and looking somewhat upset… I said is everything alright? Marcus said “well, not really, it seems I can’t get back into my dorm room until tomorrow at noon!” At first I thought he was just kidding his grandma… but no, it was true… So we brought him back home and will drive him back to Tucson tomorrow when he can get in his dorm room at 12:00 noon… I asked Marcus if he was told before he left for winter break when he could come back and he said there was a meeting and he went, but the only thing they said was the students could come back this weekend… No one knew “this weekend” meant Sunday at 12:00 noon.. Oh, well, we had a good laugh, and I said “no one would believe this…. but you really can’t make this stuff up…!

Bill and I are happy to do another road trip tomorrow to get Marcus back to Tucson… 🙂 🙂 We don’t mind we just say it’s all an adventure, and we love it!!!

Stay tuned!

Missing Rosaries

Many years ago my father bought my mother a pair of beautiful emerald-green metal rosaries made in Ireland. She loved those rosary beads and used them often. After my father died, and my mother became too ill for me to care for her in our home, she had to be moved to a 24/7 skilled Nursing Care Center. Of all her possessions, the only things she insisted upon taking with her was an eight-by-ten photo of her and my father, and the emerald-green rosaries.

Every Wednesday is Catholic Church Service at the Care Center. The residents participating in the church service all say the rosary together and receive Holy Communion. My mother was always proud to pull out her emerald-green rosaries and show them to all the other residents telling them that her husband bought them for her many, many, years ago…

About a year ago the emerald-green rosaries my mother loved so much went missing… My mother called me crying and asked me to come and help her look for them. I tore her room apart, but the rosaries were never found… When the lady that leads the Catholic Church Service heard about my mother losing her prized rosaries, she bought my mother another beautiful rosary from the gift shop of the church she attends. My mother used those rosaries for several months then they went missing as well… Again, my mother called asking me to come and help her find her new rosaries… and again I searched every inch of her room but I could not find those rosaries either… So, I bought my mother another pair of rosaries and she has been using them for the past several months… or I should say she was using them until this past Wednesday, when she went to take them out of the tote bag she has on the back of her wheelchair, and once again… the rosaries were nowhere to be found… This time my mother reported the missing rosaries to the head nurse and demanded that the entire Care Center be searched. She said this is the third pair of rosaries that have been stolen from her and she wants to know who the thief is and have them return all of her rosaries now! The head nurse called me and told me my mother was VERY upset and asked me if I knew the value of the rosaries so if they aren’t found, the Care Center could at least reimburse the cost… I told the head nurse that would not be necessary as I realize things like this happen…. and asked to speak to my mother. When my mother got on the phone she said she had been upset all day worrying about the missing rosaries. I told my mother to just forget about it now and try to relax. I told her she can just start using the rosaries the Church Service provides for those who don’t have rosaries of their own. I said “if someone has to stoop to stealing rosaries, let’s just think that they must really need them more than you do, and we will just keep them in our daily prayers. …”

Today, when I went to visit my mother, I noticed the tote bag on the back of her wheelchair seemed stuffed… As I was helping her play bingo, I started looking in the tote bag and found three pair of pants that I knew did not belong to my mother. I pulled the pants out and looked inside for a name, and sure enough I found that the pants belong to her roommate, Stella. I looked further and found a Christmas gift bag with a tag on it and… YEP, it said Stella… Then, I realized the tote my mother had on her wheelchair was brown and white… My mother’s tote is green and black… I looked around the room and saw my mother’s roommate, Stella, and sure enough, the tote on the back of her wheelchair was green and black… I took the tote off my mother’s wheelchair and went over to Stella. I told Stella that I believe she has my mother’s tote bag and my mother has hers and let her know I was going to exchange them. Stella was a little anxious about me taking the tote off her wheelchair until I told her that there were three pair of her pants in the tote bag my mother had on her wheelchair that I believe belong to her… she smiled and said “I’ve been looking all over for those pants.”

When I took the tote that belongs to my mother back to her place at the table, I looked inside and sure enough there were two of the three missing rosaries… the one the Church Service lady bought my mother and the one I bought her. The one my father bought her are yet to be found… But two out of three isn’t bad..! I can find peace in that… My mother…, not so much… 🙂

Stay Tuned!

 

Little Smile Makers

My family all got a flu shot this year, but like many other’s, we all fell victim to the flu anyway. The news said that the vaccine this year was not as effective as it should have been on this years strain of the flu virus… Our daughter, Shantel, was the first to come down with the sore throat, fever, chills, etc. She called me and asked me if I would make her a batch of my homemade chicken soup and bring it over to her. Of course I was more than happy to do that for her. She has been fighting this flu since last Monday.

Last Wednesday, I started not feeling well myself. Same symptoms, fever, chills, etc. I was grateful I never got the sore throat, and that my husband, Bill/Bro, was still off on vacation so he could help me through this flu ordeal… But, that was not happening, because a few hours after I started showing symptoms, Bill/Bro, started having fever, chills etc. too.  Oh, NO… now we are all sick, and on our own to fend for our selves… Lucky for Bill/Bro and I that I always keep some Progreso light chicken noodle soup in the pantry just for occasions like this. You see, when I get sick… no one knows how to make homemade chicken noodle soup so I always end up eating the canned stuff… but it’s better than nothing… 🙂 🙂

Bill/Bro and I were only down with really bad flu symptoms for three days. Then we felt good enough to resume our normal routine… As we were running about town getting our groceries etc… we laughed and said “it’s confirmed, we work hard together, play together, and we get sick together… 🙂 🙂 Our daughter, Shantel got hit with this flu virus much harder than Bill/Bro and I. She still is not feeling well… Poor baby. I’m going to call our Doctor tomorrow and either get her in there or take her to Urgent Care…I told her it is time to see someone that can help her get over this…

Once Bill/Bro started feeling better, he volunteered to go to do our grocery shopping while I stayed home getting ready to go do our Costco shopping… When he came home from Fry’s, he had these beautiful flowers for me and said he thought these would “brighten my day” What about these colors wouldn’t brighten anyone’s day?

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As I was placing the beautiful flowers in a vase, I noticed my Christmas Cactus, from last year, starting to bloom. I couldn’t help but smile because this little plant actually survived a whole year with only me as it’s caregiver… 🙂 I will post a picture of it when it actually gets in full bloom…

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Not only is that Christmas Cactus thriving… but also the little Christmas Tree I bought for Shantel for her apartment. It was decorated with little tiny gold ornaments, much like the very first little tiny Christmas Tree Bill/Bro and I had in our first tiny apartment on our first Christmas together…. After Christmas, Shantel asked me to take the little tree home. I really didn’t want it because I know these can get really big…. Some people actually plant them in their yards and they grow HUGE… I thought like all my other plants, it would die… but no, it grew and grew and I finally had to replant it in a bigger pot… Now I have to smile every time I look at it thinking to myself.. you should be dead by now little tree… please don’t count on me for your survival… 🙂 But if you do, I will donate you to a Christmas Tree rescue… 🙂

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This morning Bill/Bro and I got up and ready for 7:00 a.m. Mass. We always arrive early so we have time to get in a few extra prayers etc. before Mass begins. We finished praying for everyone on our prayer list and sat back waiting for Mass to begin… We waited, and waited, until finally, the Deacon announced that our Pastor was scheduled to celebrate Mass this morning, but he didn’t show up. The Deacon said he called the Pastor but got his voice message which was in Spanish and he didn’t understand a word of it. He told us we could go over to the breakfast being served after all the Masses and come back for the 9:00 Mass, or go to another Mass a few miles down the street… Bill/Bro and I decided we did our part by getting there for Mass, and went home, but we did laugh about this being a first for both of us “Cradle Catholic’s…” 🙂 🙂

Bill/Bro and I came back home and made our usual Sunday breakfast. Lightly fried torn-up multi-grain tortillas, sliced turkey sausage links, sliced mushrooms, covered with reduced fat shredded cheese, topped with a fried egg. YUM!!! That is a little smile maker for sure!!! 🙂 🙂 Sorry no picture, shame on me…

Then, because Bill/Bro and I were both craving vegetables, after our flu ordeal, I began the process of making my homemade, roasted vegetable, stew…Simple, but delicious!!

Start by roasting your vegetables. I choose to roast carrots, purple potatoes, celery and onion. Roast at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes depending on the amount. I always put the cut-up vegetables in a large zip-lock bag, add in a little olive oil, and no salt seasoning… Let them marry together for at least 30 minutes then turn out on a baking sheet and roast.P1030677

While the vegetables are roasting, coat beef stew meat with a little flour. Heat a heavy bottom pan with oil and sear the stew meat in batches. If you put it all in at once it will steam instead of sear… Take the stew meat out in batches and set aside. Then, I use a package of Mrs Dash Salt-free beef stew mix. I replace the water with low salt beef broth, and add a splash or two of Worcestershire Sauce… Can’t go wrong with that!! Add the stew meat back in with the roasted vegetables, and simmer until you are ready to eat…

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Serve with some warm crusty bread to mop up all the sauce, and you have another smile maker for sure…!

Enjoy!! 🙂 🙂

Stay Tuned!

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