First Thoughts Upon Rising

 

“Writing is both mask and unveiling.”E.B. White

There’s a lot of melancholia going ‘round…Pete’s passing…my uncle not doing so well…mom over 90 and what may be or what will be…so before I even got out of bed, this just came to me:

We used to welcome the falling of the snow.

Fred would take the kids sledding

I’d prepare the waiting cocoa

And for one stolen moment, the world was just about us.

Being Remembered

“Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.”-Jacques Barzun

Yesterday, my 90 year old Mom was visited by a young man whom she first met about 39 years ago when he was a newly arrived 8 year old student from Hong Kong. Mom became his first teacher in the U.S. Mom knew that David was very special. He doesn’t remember this, but he would always say to mom, “Research, research,” and she would keep giving him more work to do. Today, that nearly 48 year old man is a researcher in mitochondria in California. He has a wife, 2 children and his dearly loved mom lives very close by. David’s dad died a few years ago; he was surprised that Mom remembered his parents owned a restaurant in Baltimore. We had a lovely visit, went out to lunch then I went home and left Mom and David to chat a little longer until his taxi picked him up to take him back to the airport. David was in NY to present some of his research to a leading cancer research center in the city. He last visited with us about 3 years ago.

As a teacher, you never know how you will impact the lives of your students or just one student.

 

 

 

“Something Told the Wild Geese” and Me!!!

Something told the wild geese

It was time to go,

Though the fields lay golden

Something whispered, “snow.”Rachel Field

The radio told ME this morning that it was 28 degrees in NY! I hate the cold!!!!   So here I am in my basement with the electric heater on. This is where I “work.”  It’s a lovely routine, I get up; Look outside, perhaps bring the daily paper inside; put the Keurig pod coffee maker on; Go downstairs and put the computer and now the heater on…Voila, my early morning!  Routines are nice,they keep you grounded and are comforting. ““The modern world is chaotic, and many things are beyond our control,” says Dr. Sian Rawkins, head of ambulatory psychiatry at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital. Routines at home work to create a stable foundation that makes it easier to cope with an unpredictable world.”Kim Pittaway, Best Health Mag  At some point this morning, I’ll go shopping for things that both my household (Hubby and me) and my mom need and drive over to mom’s. She’s within 2 miles from my home, very convenient. At mom’s, another routine will commence as I make sure all is well with mom and her surroundings. I know I’ve remarked on this before, but elderly parents must be near their children, no doubt about it. I’m lucky that we were able to make this happen nearly 19 years ago on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!  Mom’s going to be 90 in early December…so fortunate that she’s still with us, is ambulatory and has all of her marbles!!!!  

Today in 1965, the soundtrack from The Sound of Music movie with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer hit #1 on the Billboard Charts. One song, Edelweiss, is similar to following a routine and the ease it can instill, with its lines: “Edelweiss, Edelweiss, Every morning you greet me.”Rodgers & Hammerstein

Well, every morning, I enjoy greeting my husband (who is still sound asleep upstairs since he’s on vacation this week); greeting the morning; the coffeemaker; the newspaper; the computer; my email…and starting the day. Each day may seem repetitious, but it’s never boring. “There IS comfort in routine.”-John Steinbeck

 

 

Life’s One Emergency…But Don’t Panic…Provide “Shelter from the Storm…” (Bob Dylan)

When you’re nearly 90 years old, as Mom will be in December, life becomes an emergency. Yesterday the whole left side of her mouth hurt and so I knew to go immediately to the oral surgeon. Xrays showed a lot of decay on at least 4 teeth. This wasn’t a surprise, her general dentist has been monitoring this area for a few years. As the oral surgeon tapped on each tooth, she found the one that was truly (we hope) causing the pain and removed it. Mom was a trooper because she had 2 needles and I know the 2nd needle that goes into the roof of the mouth is very painful. I’ve experienced much invasive dental work the last few years and know the scene well. After we returned home, I had mom drink water since she only had one glass in the morning and I’m always concerned about dehydration. I make mom write a tally mark on the home-made daily medication chart that I make up every week for her. Anyone out there with elderly parents, this is very important. You can easily monitor their medication and amount of water they’re drinking on a daily basis.  Then I made some fresh decaf for mom since she loves that and gave her a yogurt so she could then take her antibiotic, which she will be on for a week. As of last night, she had no pain and I hope it continues. I’ll go over early this morning. I am not rushing into making appointments with the oral surgeon for the other 3 teeth in the same area until I have to. I consulted with our general dentist yesterday afternoon and he advised me to wait…yes….those teeth do need to come out, but she’s going to be 90!!!!   He suggested I wait until something bothers her again.  So, that’s the route I am taking. It’s hard taking care of one’s elderly parents, there’s so much decision-making and self-doubt. Am I doing the right thing?  I always want to do the right thing by mom and hopefully I am.

Today, in 1974, Bob Dylan laid down the track, “Shelter From the Storm” on his wonderful album, “Blood On the Tracks,” definitely one of my favorite all time albums! I saw Dylan live in 1971 at George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden.  Mom has given me “shelter from the storm” all of her life. I love her!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Love’s In Need of Love Today.”-Stevie Wonder

Yesterday I took mom for her bloodwork at the lab. I specifically waited for the phlebotomist that drew my blood last week because she was great…didn’t pinch…got the blood flowing on the first try. Like in every profession, there are good, not so good, very good, excellent technicians. When I told her that she was wonderful and that we waited just for her, her face lit up with the most magnificent smile and she just chatted away with us and was very attentive to my nearly 90-year old mom. I hope that smile lasted throughout the day. How hard is it to acknowledge a job well done? Those of us who have always strived to do our best can live without the acknowledgement, the pat on the back, the compliment, the “Thank you;” but, you know what, when it happens, it’s nice to hear and if it brings some happiness to someone’s day, that’s a good thing. Share the love.

Here’s Stevie and George Michael at The Apollo, NYC in 1985. Listen to what Stevie says in introducing the song…still relevant:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Never Be Afraid to Sit Awhile and Think.”-Lorraine Hansberry, American Playwright

For Societal Sunday, let’s think of: What can you and I do to help our country, our society, our neighborhood, our families?  We can take small steps to make a difference in the life of one person.  Last night, my husband, my daughter and her boyfriend, my son and his girlfriend and my mom got together to celebrate my daughter’s 30th birthday.  Mom so enjoyed being surrounded by her family and to see her enjoy her meal and her company at 89.5 years of age when most of her friends and her dearest loved ones have departed, heartened me and I’m sure heartened all of us assembled at this joyous occasion. I’m not taking any kudos for taking care of my mom, but I know I am making a difference in her life just as she did in mine (and myfamily’s) and continues to do so. We love her so very, very much. As Isit awhile and think,” what if more people tried very hard to keep their elderly out of nursing homes and assisted living facilities (if possible…I know it isn’t always possible), how would that affect the quality of life of their elderly? I can only speak from my experience, thus far…mom’s quality of life is so much better being extremely close to her daughter distance-wise (and emotionally)  and having the opportunity to interact everyday with her family. Right now, our situation is such, that mom can still live independently with us taking care of her and her needs everyday. If the situation changes, we’ll be there…we’ll always be there for this wonderful woman I am proud to call my mom! Being there does and will make all the difference in the world.

By the way, today is the birthday of playwright, Lorraine Hansberry who was born 5/19/1930. Her play, “A Raisin in the Sun,” which was also a great movie with Sidney Poitier (and has had other reincarnations) was a favorite movie of mine. She died too young from cancer, age 34, but left a body of work still relevant to the times we live in. “A Raisin in the Sun” relates the dreams of a family and was the first play by an African American playwright to be presented on Broadway in 1959. It opened with the lines from a well-known poem by the great Langston Hughes, “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?  Lorraine Hansberry’s quote that titles this posting, “Never Be Afraid to Sit Awhile and Think,”  is a great way to start this Sunday…just thinking, reflecting…By assisting our elderly in any way that we can, we encourage them to use their minds and bodies and still have dreams and not give up or become “…like a raisin in the sun.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Real Life and Doable Tips for Not Feeling Bored And For Not Depending On Others To Spare You from Boredom

  • Get Chores Done Early so you can…
  • Visit elderly relative or someone you take care of
  • Order books through the public library and read, read, read
  • Develop an interest you can pursue right in your home (Reading? Blogging? Research? Cooking? Music?

I guess I am lucky that I inherited from my 89 year old mom the gift of not feeling bored or the need to be surrounded all the time by people. It’s a blessing. Thank you, Mom!