Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday evening

What an emotional two and downs...lots of them. I am very tired this Friday evening...but writing will welcome sleep...and so I write. My mom's best friend called me today to tell me all the things she thinks I should be doing with my parents in the face of this disease that is taking my dad. Financial management, care management, family meetings, planning ahead, mental health counseling, etc. The list went on and on. "You are the oldest Kim, this is what life brings, you know that. You have to face it younger than most. But you still have to do it." I am caught between being the daughter and being the i don't know what- what am I exactly? Information gatherer? Resource planner? It is hard to have compassion for her when she is so angry- when I am so angry about the disease that is taking my dad- that is changing him. I want to write- and help people understand that there is no understanding for this process- it is just that- a process- of watching the person you love slip away- slip into this land where you don't even know where they are- where they don't know where they are. Yesterday I followed a man over to Bimart in his scooter- and me in my car, because he was not safe to go on his own- and when he got there all he wanted to do was pick out a 25 year anniversary present for his wife- so there we stood in the aisle- me helping him pick out a pink t-shirt and shorts, and pink flip flops to match. And then a romantic card, one that played music- and to top it all off some ice cream drumsticks for the staff. He asked if I liked drumsticks and wanted me to have one. And then I followed him back to the nursing home- me in my car- him in his scooter. Being with him in Bimart made me remember why it is I do what I do- a small experience of helping someone else complete their wish for the day. There are many tears in my family lately- my mom cries a lot- I hear her- and want to curl her up and hold her.....and yet she is my mom- and it's not supposed to be like this. All these independent spirits and they are being swallowed up by various diseases. So tonight I sleep to have rest- and to start tomorrow new- without all this complication.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

"Popular Patient"

Well Kula should have no trouble at all recovering with all this attention!! A friend of mine sent her a deer antler and a get well card...and our neighbors made her a special get well cake!!!!!!! Which she proceeded to gobble half in about 20 seconds- and would have eaten the whole thing if I had let her. While she has been resting I have been very creative and productive- I have created a shop on to sell my handspun check it out at, signed up to sell natural pet products with Shurepets, and am baking homemade dog biscuits for the rest of the day. Hm......the stars must be aligned in the domestic area today!!!! Now on to the baking!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kula came home

"Keeping Watch"
Kula came home this morning....she has slept literally all day in Bruce's office. I went off to work after we got her settled in at home- and the only time she got up was when I came home from work when she got up and walked 5 feet to greet me. She seems so tired, and content to just be home. The cutest part is Symeon...our Bengal cat, who is literally holding vigil outside the office door- peeking in through the glass every few minutes to check on her, as if to say, "I'm here, girl, I've got your back." We'll see about that tonight as the witching hour of 3 am draws near, and the little spotted monster flys around the house obeying some archaic nighttime cat god, like clockwork!! I'm happy Kula's home, now for the recovery. I've taken tomorrow off to hang out at home with her- we'll knit and read and be lazy together. why does it take my dog having bilateral knee surgery to get me to take a day off????? That folks, is the quality of life question of the night. :)
p.s. This pic is from when she was a puppy- however the scene now is the same, without the crate, and one more thing....the dog is twice the size of the cat. That's in body only though. :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"Wouldn't trade her for the world"

June 16th, 2009

My dog is a amazing little lemon. I swear she is on her fourth life. I wonder how many dogs have.....first there was the parvo...and then there was the near death by asthma inhaler ingestion, and now today there is medial patella luxation surgery...on both of her little knees.....amazing I tell you. The vet last night said, "I hope you're not a lemon..shoud we call you lemon? You are yellow.....She was playing last week out in the yard at work, and the mama cat got the best of her. Callie was protecting her 7 week old kittens, and Kula just wanted to be friends like she does to everything..and they got into a tussel that Callie won- Kula turned and hurt her knee- and has been three legging it on pain meds the past 5 days. So today she had surgery and they fixed her little rotated kneecaps...all back in their right places. And I have learned more about dog leg anatomy in the last five days then I ever thought I would! Medecine is for that second job! :)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Doing the right thing

Seems to be a trend in my life lately....whether it's taking care of my grandparents' needs or doing right by animals. Last night, I went to take the dog outside, and I watched as she went up to something and it moved. Looking closer, I saw that it was a little bird, scurrying away under the touch of Kula's nose. I then saw that it was hurt- it sat facing the garage door and didn't fly away. Ever the animal lover that I am, I went inside to get my husband. And being the animal lover that he is, he suggested that perhaps we call a vet. So I pondered this for a minute, then said, what the heck, it's just a call. But before we decided to give the bird a little comfort, so Bruce went and got a box and put a towel and some tissue in it- he picked up the bird who didn't even flinch, although it did peep once inside the box. He put the towel up around it so it wouldn't be cold too.

So I called my vet, and it just so happened that a total bird lover veterinarian was working last night. She began to tell me all about places that rehab birds, that she's from Salem and knows of two really good places but at this hour they probably wouldn't take it, and oh by the way what kind of bird is it because they don't take finches or sparrows. I was surprised that we were talking as long as we were at all about a little bird from our yard, and she recommended that I call Dove Lewis as they would surely know what to do about the bird. So I did. And wouldn't you know that birds are considered wards of the state as state wildlife- and that when the Audabon Society is closed Dove Lewis is authorized and takes all such birds into the care during the off hours. Again surprised, I then went and relayed all of this to Bruce. So there we are at 8 pm loading up the little bird into our car and driving it to Dove Lewis. Once we got there they gave the bird a number, took it in the back, asked the address it was found, and sent us on our way saying we could call later and check on its status. We left with little smiles in our hearts, Bruce saying, "Now don't you feel good that we gave one of God's little creatures a chance? If you were a bird wouldn't you want someone to pick you up?" It did feel good. Later on we checked on the bird and it was still there.

This morning we called to check to see if it made it to the audabon society and were told "it was DOA" however we distinctly saw it open its mouth and cheep as we handed it over. In any case, it was most definitely the right thing to do- and I'm glad of this Saturday night memory......also a small reminder why I love my husband so much. :)

And the little sparrow went over the rainbow bridge to birdie heaven.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The end of 37

Today I am no longer 37.....I am 38. 37 was an interesting year....38 feels very old....logically I know that is not very old in the grand scheme of life, but it feels old. I am thankful for lots of things this year, my health, that my immediate family are all alive and seemingly healthy, that I have this amazing relationship with my husband, and a new amazing relationship with Kula, the little dog that has stolen my heart. There are several issues I'm still grappling with....some days I have a hold on them, others they have a hold on my....the "baby" issue, ailing and failing grandparents, a father that dims sometimes slowly and sometimes very fast lately, the all awareness that he does have this disease of Alzheimers and he will change, is changing...right before all our eyes. These then are my up in the air, or philosophical challenges I have to address. But now is the time to embrace a new year, with grattitude...and so I do.

Friday, March 20, 2009

March 21st, 2009

Its been a long time since I've written, which was exactly my fear before I created a blog....that I just wouldn't keep it up. But oh well, this is mainly for me anyway. I am three weeks post one of the most relaxing vacations I've had in a while! I went to Ouray, Colorado to visit a friend I hadn't seen in six years. She owns a quaint, peaceful little gift shop specializing in all kinds of unique yummy gifts, clothing, and candles. Her and her husband also own a coffee roasting company called Exotic Earth Coffee Roasters. Suffice it to say I drank amazingly delicious coffee every morning, and many evenings, of my six day fact, here is a picture of me running my fingers through 5 pounds of freshly roasted coffee...imagine how wonderful this smelled!

Ouray is located at 9,000 feet above sea level, nestled in the middle of the San Juan Mountain Range, population: 850 year round residents. The air (once I got used to it after the first 24 hrs) was clear and refreshing. We enjoyed natural hot springs, local breweries, (that did not serve food, oddly enough) and canyon falls that were awe-striking. I will remember the scenes of this vacation and enjoy my memories and pictures for a long time to come....

Thursday, January 29, 2009

This is a multi-day post. I've come to the conclusion that I keep writing all these posts in my I have for so many months...and don't write them on the blog because I've been thinking that I need a picture for every post. And anyone who knows me knows that just achieving this place to write, this "blog" has been a long time coming. So I will release myself from the idea that I have to have a picture every time. (I can't seem to find my pics and they need to be organized in my computer too.) I need to research photo saving sites next, flickr or some other post that will organize my pics.

So some nights are for writing- some for knitting. I wanted tonight to be a knitting night- I am working on a brand new pair of socks, totally inspired by the spur of the moment yarn I bought on sale at Abundant last weekend, and a new sweater, ala Blue Moon yarn in turquoise and orange and green mill ends. Luscious. (again, worthy of a picture if I had one.) But my fingers needed to write instead of knit....such a day it has been. My grandfather is readying for open heart surgery- at 87 years old, for the sole purpose I believe of staying alive because my grandmother is still alive. He has an aortic valve problem- only allowing him a straw's width of air to his heart- thus making it very difficult for him to breathe. Tonight he is upset that he went over to tell my grandmother about his decision to do the surgery and she had less than a desirable response, mainly no response at all, except "huh", followed by "I want to go to bed." She is suffering from water on the brain and a failing shunt, which some days causes her much dementia- and others she is more lucid and herself. Today happened to be one of the not so lucid days....and the day that nampa told her about his heart....not such a good match. they have been married for 64 years.....64 years!!!!! It is hard to figure out sometimes the intended path of our lives, the answers to the questions we face are not easily found, and we lurch around going where our dedication takes us, where our love takes us, often making decisions that are a result of many years of being part of another person.

So I was sitting in the bath a bit ago- one of my favorite places on earth- surrounded by oily soft water, candles, and one bengal cat occassionally gingerly putting his paw in the water and making a very small wave, and pondering my favorite things. You know the song in the Sound of music, "these are a few of my favorite things"? Well, I heard a radio show this morning about Salzburg, Austria- and began reminiscing about my four month trip to Europe after college, when my life was all ahead of me, and who I was then compared to who I am now. I went on the sound of music tour of course- and loved every bit of it. I have a daily calendar on my desk at work that is one of those art ones from the museum store that has a gorgeous picture of a different location in Italy for each day of the year. I sat looking at it today as a mind break, or more like an ear break, from listening to "nurse, nurse,nurse' being screamed very loudly by one of our residents. I went out to see why I could help, this lady yells nurse all the time. When you go up to her to see what she wants she just becomes quiet right on the spot- she just wants someone to be with her all the time. Anyway, as I was looking at a beautiful picture of the island of Campania, and listening to Evelyn scream for the nurse- I thought about how it could be different- different for Evelyn, different for me, that we are all a product of our choices- and that I could choose right at that very moment to feel blessed for my job, not annoyed with the noise, and in that shift almost immediately felt better.

So tonight, I remember to feel blessed, to focus on what I have, my favorite things, like knitting and animals, and smooth "stirs the soul" chocolate, ( an amazing raw chocolate just discovered at New Seasons), flannel pajamas with green and blue dogs all over them. I need to also figure out how to make a link on this blog. :) And speaking of I go. As Charles Karult says at the end of one of my favorite shows, CBS Good Morning on Sunday mornings, "We leave you this hour with this scene"...........(they always take the camera somewhere blissful....) Of course when I just inserted the picture it went to the top of my post- another thing to learn, layout. This is the view out my back yard a few days ago when it snowed, again.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Inaugaration Day!!! I ushered in a new era this morning surrounded by living history, 12 elderly residents in their 80's and 90's- serving donuts and coffee and listening to them talk about inaugarations past. A rare moment when I look around the room and really treasure the opportunity I have daily to learn from people three times my age, and soak in their reactions to current events and times. We all wish President Obama the best- truly a time of hope for our nation! And another hopeful moment last grandmother's 83rd birthday. We brought a Dairy Queen ice cream cake to the occasion- and shared it with the staff at the nursing home. At the end of the night my grandmother was leaning against the arm of my grandfather- in her bed sound asleep. It was a very sweet moment.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Thank God....seriously....for crafts. Although I mostly knit and spin yarn, this quilt has captivated my mind (and my cat as you can see) lately. I love blue and brown and green, all some of my favorite colors. And there's something about making a quilt- putting together the squares and placing the colors, that soothes the soul. And the colors can brighten any blue day. And I have had a few of those lately. Today was somewhat lovely though. I took the day off on a Monday, which was great because I was able to get so much done when life is quieter outside. I accompanied my 86 year old grandfather to a doctor's appointment. I am so amazed lately at the different personalities doctors have, and how they handle themselves during conversations. Today's topic was my ailing grandfather's health, competing with his equally strong desire for independence, which seem to be in constant conflict with one another. I am a nursing home administrator, and I took interest in how this doctor posed questions to me that I thought were rather clever. For instance, "What is it you think would benefit your grandfather by living in an assisted living setting? It really made me think about why exactly I think he needs help. It's so hard to determine when exactly is the time to step in and "help" a family member out. There are so many feelings and factors and dynamics that enter into the equation. While I'm figuring it all out, in the meantime...there's quilting, with beautiful blues and browns, adorned with kitties.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

It's snowing again! We have had quite a record winter here in Portland.....we live at the bottom of a big I have prepared this evening and parked my car at the top, along with the rest of the neighborhood.

My dad has an amazing relationship with my grandparents. He has been much more than a son in law to them. He's always willing to help out in any way possible, giving tirelessly to everyone- and has always had a special place in his life for my grandparents. His own parents died when he was in his 30's. Now as my grandfather ages, (he's 86) and my dad's condition takes a turn for the worse, they have found a very symbiotic interdependence on one another, a relationship that brings them both meaning and purpose. My dad hasn't worked a job in two years, and has really become the main companion to my grandfather, much due to the fact that he has so much free time. My "nampa" as I call him lives in a retirement setting- and we moved my grandmother into a nursing a year and a half ago. He is incredibly devoted and visits her every day- often my dad and he go together, making an outing of it. One picks up the other, whomever has access to a car that day, and they carpool over to the nursing home, have lunch together, and stay and visit. As the year has progressed I have noticed my grandfather's increasing interest in involving my dad in all his doctor's appointments, and often my dad is the only family rep available to accompany my grandfather to the doctor. It is at times difficult to have information relayed, because in my dad's brain it doesn't all stay in order of how it was said, so things get lost in translation. But one thing that is more clear than ever is my dad's love and devotion to his "dad", and tonight was one of those instances.

Conversation went something like this: at 3:00 this afternoon.

"Ring Ring" Me: Hello?

Dad: Hi Kimber, it's dad. Dad fell and he can't get up. And I don't have a car to get him.

me: Is he hurt?

Dad: I don't know, he just can't get up from the floor- didn't ask if he was hurt.

Me: Well, I'll call him, I can't go over and lift him up if he is hurt. I'll call him and call you back.

It continued until I convinced my grandfather to push his lifeline button and the ambulance arrived. Four hours later we are all home, my nampa with a broken rib. In the hospital we determined it might be good if my grandfather wasn't alone tonight in his apartment, and as he adamantly refuses to "burden" anyone by staying with them, my dad elected to go spend the night with him. My mom remembered that my dad's medications were at home and she would need to get them for him.

What amazes me about my dad is that he had thought ahead to just simply put them in his pocket just in case he might need to spend the night over at Nampa's tonight. And the funny dad has taken pictures his whole life, thousands and thousands of pictures, and now what does he use for his daily pill containers? Film containers. So everyone is all tucked in and safe, it is white and quiet outside, and regardless of the white and quiet in my father's brain, the most important parts, the ones that control the heart and dedication and love, are firing on all squads, as he lays reverently in the bed next to my grandfather, ready to be at service at the mere whisper of my grandfather.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!
I have been wanting to write a blog for several years- and this morning I was inspired by a fellow knitting blogger who wrote a story about her father who has Alzheimer's disease- and that did it for me. My blog has been born and I have been given a clean slate to voice to all my thoughts. How refreshing! Now I'm sure I have lots to perfect as far as the "look" of my blog- but just having one is somehow quite exciting and motivating. 0---------32(and this blog will be filled with lots of little helpers....(the previous little typo is thanks to Symeon the Bengal cat walking on the keyboard. :)

Seems fitting to start this on New Year's Day....and to state my goals here. I hope to someday launch a book from this experience of writing a blog....(which has also been in my head for many years). I started my year this morning with an hour of favorite thing to do....I am determined to finish a certain orange sweater I began last this I can start the infamous "February lady sweater", featured on Ravelry. I love this sweater, and that sweater, so motivation should not be a problem. Except for the 33 projects I currently have on needles...oh well all in good time.

My dad, my awesome wonderful dad, has Early Onset Alzheimer's disease. Diagnosed five years ago at the age of 57, we have been traveling this road slowly, and now more quickly...and the time is ticking away at my opportunity to capture him, at least in the way that I feel will commemorate him, by writing about the journey. My original idea was to have a shared blog with him, where we would write to each other- but it seems I started too late- for he was not inclined to sit at the computer and write to me. Perhaps he may be compelled to post comments here on this site- I hope so.

So I begin this year of 2009 with a blessing wish to all of you, my family and friends, to celebrate your existence and live each day this year to the fullest- and may good fortune follow you in all that you attempt! And to you Dad, this blog was created in your honor- and I hope to make a difference for you, and any who are open to the traveling thoughts of me, your daughter.

Happy New Year!