She Got Them!

It took a lot of hard work, and a bit of extra time, but I am so happy to share that our daughter, Shantel, received her two Associate Degrees from South Mountain Community College today.

One is an Associate in Arts Degree, for Psychology, shown below…


And the other is an Associate in General Studies, show below…


Shantel, Papa and I are so very proud of you, and the hard work and effort you put forth to earn these two degrees. We know accomplishing this goal was the first step in following your dreams, and we hope you will go on to continue your education as you can, and that all your dreams come true… We love you to the moon and back and so much MORE!!!

Stay Tuned!

Life Changes You

I went to visit my mother today at the Care Center where she lives and found her sitting in her wheel chair in the activity room, playing bingo, with a volunteer sitting beside her helping her search for the numbers on her bingo card as they were being called out. I went up to my mother and hugged her hello, and noticed her wheelchair was all decorated up for Mardi Gras, with balloons, streamers, beads etc.


As I looked around the room, I noticed that most of the residents wheelchairs were decorated in much the same manner.

I told my mother how cute her wheelchair looked but she didn’t seem very happy about it at all. Instead, she told me that it made her scared, and that she didn’t want to be in the parade. I asked her what parade and she said the one we have to be in but I don’t want to do it. I could see that my mother was clearly upset, almost to the point of tears, about the decorations on her wheelchair, and that she thought she had to participate in a Mardi Gras parade around the care center… I reminded my mother that she doesn’t have to participate in any activities that she doesn’t want to participate in but that didn’t seem to help. She said she feels like she has to do what they want her to do… So, so, unlike her in the past…

When bingo was over, I pushed my mother back to her room and asked her to tell me why she was so upset. She put her head down and said everything scares me now. I asked her to give me an example but she just shook her head and said “everything, just everything. I just wish this whole thing was over and I didn’t have to do any of this anymore.” Then she looked out her door and said “right there is one thing that terrifies me.” I looked down the hall and saw one of those hoist, used for lifting patients that cannot move,to help them transfer from their bed to a wheelchair etc. I asked my mother why that terrifies her so much since they don’t need to use it on her, and she said it just does and I made them promise me they would never put me in that ever.”

Then she went on to tell me that she hates Donald sitting at her table in the dining room. She said he is too loud, and he just talks too much, and he makes her so nervous she just can’t stand him… You might remember Donald from a previous post. I find him very nice and even joyful…This is Donald


The more my mother told me about how she is scared about everything, and that she doesn’t want to be around Donald anymore, and that she really just doesn’t want to “do any of this any more…” I decided I needed to speak to her nurse and see if mom could be given something to help calm her nerves.

When I took my mother to the dinning room for lunch, I got her settled in and told her I would be right back. I went to find her nurse and it just happened that mom’s doctor was there as well. I told both of them everything mom told me and how upset she became just talking about it with me…. Her doctor said she would order something for mom that would hopefully start helping her right away. I thanked her and went back to the dining room to sit with my mother.

After mom finished her lunch, I pushed her pack to her room and told her that I spoke with her doctor and she was going to order something to help calm mom’s nerves. Mom said “I hope they get it right away because I need it now.” She had such a scared look in her eyes that it really pulled at my heart. It is hard to see ANYONE get in that kind of shape. I also told my mother that she didn’t have to sit with Donald if she didn’t want to. I told her if she wanted me to ask if she could eat in the activity room, where some residents that need help eating eat, I would ask if mom could eat in there for a while until her nerves settled down. Mom said ” I don’t think I can do that because Donald will get upset and come asking me lots of questions… I told her we could just tell Donald that it isn’t personal against him but that mom just needs to have some quiet time, especially during meals, because when your nerves get upset it upsets your stomach as well… Mom just looked at me, with that same scared look, and said “I don’t know how to say or do that.” Those words, coming from my mother, the woman who was always so in control, domineering (at least in my eyes), and outspoken, when I was growing up…, gave me pause…and in that moment, I felt sorry for her, and a strong need to protect her…

I decided to stay a little longer than usual today and take my mother outside to the garden. It’s a beautiful 80 degree day and she hasn’t been outside in some time now. We sat in the garden and I told her that she doesn’t have to be scared about anything in the care center. I told her no one is going to do anything to her there and she doesn’t have to spend her days being scared and upset. I told her I would give her a few days to think about what she wants to do and if she wants me to speak to the staff and make arrangements for her to have her meals away from Donald, I would handle that for her and she wouldn’t have to say anything. I said if anyone asks you why you changed where you eat, just tell them your daughter requested it for a while… She said she would let me know and asked me when I could come back again. I told her I have an appointment with my cousin tomorrow, but I would come on Wednesday after I take Shantel to get her groceries etc… Mom agreed to that, I hugged her and left…

Stay Tuned!

I Surrender!

Yes, I surrendered to our Diva Drama cat, Carmen, and aborted the mission to harness train her…! After a good week of working with our little DIVA, several times a day, I finally got the harness and leash on her and actually thought she was going to warm up to the idea of learning how to walk in a harness with a leash… In our last harness training session I lured her into the harness with lots of tuna samples, then attached the leash to the harness, and she rolled around on the floor playing with the leash and was acting like she was enjoying it… See, doesn’t she look like she is having fun?


So, while she seemed to be in such a good mood, I decided it might be a good time to take her out on our back patio and introduce her to the great outdoors… NOT A GOOD IDEA….

I got her over to the back door and opened it. Carmen stood there like she had never seen the outside world before even though I open the front door all the time and let her watch the birds through the security screen door. I helped her out the back door and closed it behind us… that’s when our DIVA cat came unglued!!!

She sat down on the door matt and howled like I’ve never heard her howl before. She started clawing at the back door and cried and cried trying to get back in. I tried to tell it she was a good girl and she was doing great and everything was going to be alright once she gets used to being outside but she as having none of it!

After several attempts of trying to get her to venture off the door matt while she was howling at the top of her lungs, I began to think the neighbors might think our cat was being tortured in our back yard and call animal control or something. There was nothing left for me to do but take her back inside the house and take the harness and leash off of her.

Once we were safely inside the house I walked her over to the area carpet(with her growling in a low, evil sounding, growl now) where I was going to get her out of the “torture chamber…” She was none to happy about the whole experience and was letting me know it. Does this look like one angry cat or what?


I was afraid to get too close to her for fear she would rip my arms and legs to shreds out of sheer anger and frustration, so I leaned down and tried to unhook the leash from the harness first, but when I did that she stood up on her hind legs, with her front legs up in the air, and started walking backwards shaking her whole body until she freed herself from the whole harness/leash contraption.

Yes, one minute she was what I thought securely strapped into that harness and the next minute she was gone and I was left holding an empty harness with a leash attached to it. I was horrified thinking OMG, I’m so glad she didn’t do that while we were outside… Although as scared as she was of being outside I really think she would have made a beeline into the house as soon as I opened the door…but one never knows…

Anyway, I decided if this harness training was going to stress our DIVA DRAMA cat out that much, not to mention what it was doing to me…., it just wasn’t worth it. So I told her she was just going to have to spend the rest of her life in our motorhome when we get it, and I took the harness and leash back and got my money refunded… Just see if I care if that Diva Drama cat ever gets to enjoy our outside happy hours/dinners when we are traveling in our motorhome… 🙂

Stay Tuned!

Diva Drama

Yesterday I posted that Bill and I are preparing for a brand new chapter in our lives where we will become full-time RVers!

Moving out of our current home and into a 35 -40 foot motorhome will be exciting and new for both Bill and I as we travel the United States and Canada, stopping all along the way to get out and explore the little towns and sights….

However, our precious little cat, Carmen just might not be as excited as we are about this soon to be life changing event. No, Carmen, who has been part of our family for the past ten years, and has always been an indoor cat, doesn’t like change. She is perrrrrrrrrrrrrfectly happy spending her days wandering around the inside of the house we have now, and sees no reason why her life should be disrupted to accommodate our dreams…

With that in mind, I decided perhaps now would be a good time to begin harness training Carmen. I thought that when we are living and traveling in our motorhome, and we are parked, it might be nice if while we are sitting outside enjoying a nice happy hour and/or dinner…. Carmen could be in her harness with a leash and enjoy the outside fresh air with us…

So, the first thing I did was google how to harness/leash train your cat. I read through all the steps that said to start out slow and allow your cat to become acquainted with the harness by putting it near the cat’s food bowl and/or sleeping quarters for a few days so they can sniff it, and investigate it, and begin to get use to having it around….

Than I went to the pet store and bought a harness and leash especially for cats. I decided on a pretty soft material that also glows in the dark so I can clearly see her when she is sitting beside me for our outside happy hour excursions… I brought the harness home and introduced it to Carmen letting her sniff it and rub all up against is etc. Then I laid the harness on the bed where she naps… see how nicely she is laying there looking at her new harness that I am hoping she is going to love..?


Well, after a few days of letting Carmen get use to having the harness around, I decided it was safe to move on to step two which is to distract your cat with a special treat while you actually slip the harness on her… Carmen loves, loves, loves tuna. I rarely give it to her and when I do it is just a little pinch here and there… I opened the tuna and took out a nice size pinch thinking I may need a little extra time to actually get the harness on her and buckled up… As soon as I showed Carmen the tuna she came running right over to me and I gave her a tiny bit while I was reaching for her to get her on my lap (she is not a lap cat at all) so I could slip her front legs through the harness leg holes…

OMG!!! when I did that, all hell broke loose… as soon as I grabbed her, she started hissing and growling and became like water in my hands. I had to wrangle her to the ground and hold on tight with one hand while trying to get her legs through the leg holes that were looking smaller and smaller by the minute… I finally managed to get the harness on her and buckled up, but when I let go of her, she stood up and immediately just fell right over on her side with all four legs sticking straight out like she couldn’t move…It was hysterical!!!! I mean that cat looked like on of those goats that pass out and fall over when they get scared. I don’t think I ever laughed so hard in all my life. I just let her lay there for a while like the instructions said so that she would “become use to the harness being on her body…” but she never moved. She just laid there with her legs straight out staring into space..


It was like she was paralyzed! I tried giving her feather ball to her but she wasn’t the least bit interested in that. I tried to get her to stand up, but she just kept all four legs straight out and wouldn’t even let her front legs near her body. It was like she was in a stiff body cast…. I thought I would die laughing at how far she was taking the drama act…

So finally, I took the harness off of her because the instructions say to “be very patient” and only expose them to small amounts of training per day. They say it’s going to take time, and all cats are different, so you have to work with your cats personality and temperament… I don’t think the people that wrote those instructions ever met a Diva Drama cat like our Carmen… At this pace, I will be lucky if I get her harness trained within her life span… It’s not looking good, but I’m determined! 🙂

Stay Tuned!

Birds Of Passage

The dictionary describes one meaning as: Plural Noun:

People who pass through or visit a place without staying for long.

Both my husband Bill and I are beyond excited to announce that soon, Bill and I can be considered “birds of passage.” Why, because  Bill is going to retire very soon, and we decided to finally make our life long dream come true. Our home is paid for, so we are going to sell our home, and everything in it, buy a brand new motorhome, and travel the United States and Canada. OMG, even writing about this is so exciting…! 🙂

As many of you know, Bill and I have dedicated most of our married life to raising children, and/or caring for my mother after my father died. We enjoyed every minute of raising our children, and were happy to help my mother in any way we could. However, our children are all grown now and out of the house living their own lives, and my mother is in good care. With that said, Bill and I decided we don’t have another ten years to keep our lives on hold. We figure we will have at least 10-15 good traveling years to go and explore every state within the United States, and travel up into Canada as well… It’s finally going to be our turn to just do what we want, when we want, where we want, for as long as we want… and we are going to love, love, love every minute of it…

Actually, Bill could retire today, but he continued to work to provide insurance through his company for me. I can’t get Medicare for two more years. However, the desire to get out and start living our dream is so strong…we are looking into Bill finishing out this year working, then purchasing an insurance policy that would cover me for one year, allowing us to sell our home and possessions, buy our new motorhome, and start living our dream as early as 2016!

Ever since Bill and I made this decision, we spend hours and hours researching everything we can about motorhomes, i.e. different makes, models, floor plans etc. I created a retirement motorhome research binder where I am keeping all the information I find about full-time RVing.


I’ve found out all sorts of valuable information about full-time RVing. Like becoming site hosts. Site hosts get their camp space and full hock-ups for free and many also get an hourly wage if you choose to work while you are there… Both full-time and part-time jobs are available that range from working a few hours in a gift shop to giving lighthouse tours when staying in ocean front camp sites… how fun would that be!!! Getting an hourly wage would help offset the cost of gas for traveling and of course free parking and hock-ups can’t be beat!!!

We are signed up to attend as many RV shows as we can between now and the time we purchase our motorhome. I’m also researching and following several blogs written by other full-time RVers, so that by the time we do purchase our motorhome, we will be well versed and able to make an informed decision about what we want to spend the rest of our lives in… it’s all so rejuvenating and exciting.

Of course, I will document and share each step of our journey along the way for those of you that care to know. From selling our home and possessions, to buying our motorhome and hitting the open roads…. and letting you know when we will be coming to a town near you… 🙂 🙂

Stay Tuned!


Everything Old Is New Again

My mother has been living in a Care Center for six years now. Just prior to moving into the Care Center she bought two  pairs of New Balance shoes that cost $98.00 each. Keep in mind that my mother had stopped walking by this time so her shoes will most likely never wear out… However, as my mother’s memory declined, and she was wearing sandals during the summer on a field trip to Walmart, she forgot that she had the New Balance shoes, and decided she need a new, cheep,  $10.00 pair of shoes from Walmart. I wrote a blog post about that a while back.

A few weeks ago my mother told me that she needed some new jeans. She doesn’t, she has more clothes than she will ever wear for the rest of her life. In fact, she has so many clothes that I keep most of them in a spare closet in my home and bring them to her at the care center, rotating them according to season… But, once my mother makes up her mind that she needs something, she gets very upset with me when I try to reason with her by reminding her of what she already has… This happened again just recently when she started telling me she needed yet another new pair of shoes. She told me her right shoe keeps falling off her foot and she has to find someone to put it back on for her. I told her that the shoe is not the problem, it’s the stretch, corkscrew looking shoe laces she insisted on having because she saw another resident with them and said they would be wonderful because you don’t tie them, they allow you to just slip your shoe on and off your foot. I told my mother that would be great if you didn’t have Parkinson’s, and constantly shake, and wiggle your right leg around causing your shoe to fall off… That didn’t sit well with her and she told me that I just don’t want her to have anything and she was going to call my brother, Danny, and ask him to come and get her and take her shopping for jeans and new shoes… I told her she didn’t need to bother Danny, I would bring her some jeans and look into the shoe situation.

After I left my mother that day, I called Danny to give him a heads-up about mom’s shoe and jeans situation and told him if she does get someone to call him, not to promise her he would come and get her because I already have a plan that I think will make her happy.

Here is what I did:

I went to the store and bought two new pair of shoe laces that tie up. Then, the next time I visited my mother, I slipped into her room while she was in the activity room playing bingo, and took her $98.00 New Balance shoes out of her closet and put new black and white shoe laces in the black pair, and new white shoe laces in the white pair. Then I cleaned both pair up because they had been sitting in the back of her closet so long they had gathered dust. I also brought some jeans that I had in her clothes closet at my house. I switched out some of the jeans/pants she had in her little closet in her room at the care center and hung up the jeans I brought from her closet at my house… I took the jeans I was replacing out to my car so there was no evidence of what I had done… Then, I went and found my mother. She just finished playing bingo and was happy to see me. I told her I had a surprise for her and needed to take her to her room. When we got to her room I showed her the “old” New Balance shoes with the new shoelaces and her eyes lit up like it was Christmas. She immediately wanted to try the black pair on. I put them on her and she said “these are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever had on my feet, how did you know what kind to get?” I smiled and said “I just took a good guess that you would like these…”


She said “I love them and never want to take them off. ” Then I showed her the white pair and she just couldn’t believe that she now had two pair of new shoes to wear. When I took my mother to the dining room, she had to show everyone her “new” shoes…


After lunch,  I took mom back to her room and showed her the “new” jeans I brought for her to wear. She was thrilled and said “these are perfect, and just what I needed. It’s my shower day today so put those with my shower bag and I will have my aid put them on me right after my shower.”

When it was time for me to leave, and I hugged my mother good-bye, she told me that I am a good daughter and I take good care of her… I guess now that “everything old is new again,”  all is well that ends well… until next time….

Stay Tuned!

Bob and David Update

I am sad to report that our dear friend, Bob, who came everyday to visit his sister, Annie, at the Care Center where my mother lives, passed away. Of course my mother has taken the news very hard, and I will spend the day with her again tomorrow to try to help her deal with her emotions…. she just keeps saying she misses him so much, as do I. Bob was one of those amazing individuals that come into your life and leave a BIG footprint on your heart. We all came to love Bob, and his presence among us is very much missed. RIP Bob. You were so loved, and I’m so proud to count you among my friends. I will continue to look in on your sister Annie for you.



On a happier note, David, who has been in isolation in his room for well over a month with a severe infection, has been cleared by his doctors and released back into the general population. So, so good to have you back David! You were missed, and we all love you!  Welcome back… 🙂


Stay Tuned!


Way To Go Bro!

Some of you may have noticed I have not posted anything since January 15th. Big thank-you to everyone that inquired about my whereabouts… I wasn’t feeling well for a while, but I’m doing better now. Then I got some depressing news about two people I care about…. Bob, the man who comes to spend everyday with his Sister at the Care Center where my mother lives is in Intensive Care. This is Bob in the tan shirt pushing his sister in her wheelchair. Bob is 87 yrs old himself and has Parkinson’s…



Bob didn’t show up at the Care Center for a few days so the Care Center called the police to do a well check on him. Thank God they did because they found him on the floor unresponsive, and rushed him to the hospital. He lives alone, and has no other family other than his sister, Annie, at the Care Center. As of this post, we don’t know how he is or even if he is still alive thanks to HIPA laws. All I know is the Care Center said after a certain period of time passes with no contact for his sister, they may be able to get the hospital to release information about Bob. He is in my constant thoughts and prayers.

The same day I found out about Bob, I also found out that our friend, David, the man who lost one of his legs in a car accident and just recently underwent a very long and complicated surgery to repair internal injuries… has some kind of horrible infection (his roommate died from it) and David is in isolation in his room. This is David.


No one other than staff (suited in gown, gloves, mask, and shoe booties) is allowed in David’s room, and of course, he can’t come out… I asked how he is doing and was told he is very depressed. I have his cell phone number and I called him but he didn’t answer. I left a message asking him to call me back but as of this post I haven’t heard from him. He is also in my constant thoughts and prayers…

Of course, with both Bob, and David, in bad shape, my mother is very upset with worry about them. We are trying to manage that and keep her from getting depressed…

With all that going on…. I was pleased, proud, and happy, to find out my Bro, Danny, was chosen as a collaborator for a book! Way to go Bro!!!

Here is the book.


And his certificate of appreciation…


And his name in print… See under collaborators, second name down, Dan Vezie. That’s my Bro…


Danny works at Maricopa Unified School District. His main function is running the warehouses that supply the schools within Maricopa Unified School District, but he also went to pest control school and learned how to eliminate pests without harsh chemicals, and was instrumental in developing a pest control method, that is safe for the children, teachers, and environment, within the Maricopa Unified School District. That lead to him being selected as a collaborator for the Handbook On Pests Of Community Environments In The Desert Southwest United States. The book was published by the University Of Arizona!

I just could not be any prouder of you Danny. Love and hugs, Sis.

Stay tuned!

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