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Tossed Salad Friday

~~ I’ll start this week’s blog by updating escapades in Dementia-ville.
Lady Chatterley still resides among us as I write this although the agency has indicated her moments are numbered. Stay tuned.

~~ The dementia patient squealed something high-pitched and very plaintive, so in I went. Lady C. is playing to her strength (i.e. talking on the phone) so I ask, “What’s up?” With steely eyes and a wicked grin, the patient roars, I’ll kick your ass! Good luck with that — your legs are enfeebled and your balance is nonexistent. However, threaten me as much as you like if it makes you feel in control.

~~ The sounds of swearing moderated, but the moment couldn’t be fully savored. Almost immediately, the smell swelled and crashed upon the shore (AKA my nostrils). If I had to describe rather than run screaming from the aroma, I’d say the overall bouquet was railroad restroom with a hint of meatloaf and a whiff of long-dead marine creature.

~~ Lady C. is at the washing machine and I need to pass her to let the dogs outside. She doesn’t tuck in to create space, so I attribute it to her not facing in my direction. “Excuse me!” I say. One-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-Mississippi. “Ahem, excuse me!” Five-Mississippi, six-Mississippi… just as we’re rounding towards seven, she turns around. The dull look is her eyes sparks a bit and she says, “You want to pass?” I respond that of course I do, and wonder if the earbuds embedded in her eardrums prevent her from hearing the patient. “Oh, no, no, no.” So just me, then?

~~ The emotions in Dementia-ville are more numerous than the smells and the irritations. It’s heartrending to see a person in this condition, unable to enjoy any known quality of life and certainly powerless to make choices. It’s hard to hear dreadful screams and cries because you’re never certain whether they are unhappy ruminations or random noises from a misfiring brain. It’s wearying to have one person with diminished function be the locus of family life for almost one year. And counting.

~~ Overheard: I can’t believe she said she was sick 15 minutes before our reservation. She didn’t know she was sick three hours earlier?

~~ I heard on NPR that there’s such a thing as a “book camp.” An actual camp for young people who love to read! How I wish that had existed when I was young, because maybe I could have gone to book camp instead of Camp Let’s Make Baskets, Lanyards, and Stuff with Popsicle Sticks. I would have been in my element at book camp!

~~ There are actually voters as well as elected representatives scolding anti-tRump protestors for being “mean,” “undignified,” “indecorous,” and/or “rude.” So it’s OK to break apart families, work on denying health care, shame people for their gender identity, discriminate based on religion, make groups of people feel second-rate, but it’s not OK to be loud and wear a freaking pink pussy hat?

~~ By the way, the right’s assault on bathrooms is no more about restrooms than racial discrimination was about water fountains. The haters don’t want anyone but themselves to exist in their own realm.

~~ I was at a Not My President Day rally, and had to listen to a jackass with a bullhorn scream at protestors that we weren’t patriots. Go tell that to Lady Liberty, Bud, ‘cause I ain’t listening. I’m too busy trying to save freedom of speech, religion, privacy, and a whole lot of AMERICAN VALUES.

~~ Next to the bullhorn guy was a 2017 Nazi. Holding up an SS sign and yelling about arm tattoos. Screw dignity.

Have a good weekend! Baseball starts on the radio today — yay!

Tossed Salad Friday

~~ Overheard: “I don’t know much about law or Russia. I just think Trump knows how to keep the peace.”

~~ Overheard reply: “Stick to scrapbooking, my friend. And stop voting.”

~~ As I write this, I am surrounded by distractions. Lady Chatterley has not vacated Dementia-ville, despite repeated promises that she’d be gone by this past Monday. Tuesday. The dementia patient is screeching, Idiot! Idiooooot! Idiot! Idiooooot! over and over again. I am dealing with a person whose photo should be in the dictionary next to the word “Inefficient.” And the so-called PUS is a treasonous imbecile.

~~ With so many disturbances and irritations, where is a writer and editor supposed for focus her attention — on blogging, tweeting, or banging her head repeatedly against the nearest wall?

~~ I had to stop pounding my throbbing head, and I ceased tweeting as (quite a few of) the sports fans on my timeline hate the Washington Capitals more than Trump. I don’t want to lose them when baseball season is so close, so I guess I’ll focus on blogging.

~~ “Happy Valentine’s Day,” I say to the dementia patient. No, it isn’t, she laughs. When I foolishly insist that it is so V-Day, she says, You just don’t remember. That’s the first time in ages she didn’t call me excrement or lacking in intelligence, so hooray for me! I cut her a flower and put it in a vase for her anyway.

~~ Ooh, she just hit a series of very flat notes. She rarely sings off-key, but boy, she’s flatter than the investigation into HRC’s e-mails.

~~ The longevity of Lady C. is a mystery to me. The agency’s reassurances mean nothing, despite our protestations and their employee’s unwillingness to even approximate competence. But perhaps Domino’s Pizza has a hand in keeping Lady C. on the job — she’s had multiple deliveries of pizza and sides delivered for herself lately. (Pizza smells a lot better than the sacrificial animals usually in her cauldron.)

~~ I am not going to dwell on the inept craftsperson I’ve been battered by this week. No matter how old I grow, I will never understand why someone over-inflates their skills and voluntarily takes on a job that quickly reveals their lack of skill.

~~ Whoa, did you read that last sentence? Tweak it a little one way and it could be about the PUS. Tweak it a tad the other way and it would describe his voters!

~~ I could rant and rave about politics, but DC is spiraling downhill faster than Jamaican bobsledders, so I’ll just share the “joke” I heard about at yoga from an embarrassed mom: My six-year-old comes home and says, ‘Mom, wanna hear a racist joke?’ I say no, but she blurts out, ‘Donald Trump!’

~~ She didn’t laugh. I’m not laughing. Are you?

~~ This did make me smile:

Have a good weekend!

Tossed Salad Friday

~~ Overheard: “She asked me rudely. She always says ‘Just do this’ and I’m sick of it. My mother would have slapped her face.”

~~ Overheard: “Didn’t you think that could happen if you put all your pants in the wash at once?” [Wish I knew what that was.]

~~ Overheard: “She’s cute, but not in the way you think. Sorta like not pretty enough to be pretty.”

~~ When I started sharing tales from Dementia-ville I meant it to focus on my small corner of the world, where a dementia patient moved in and drained my will to carry on. I didn’t know then that the USA would also become a demented country, filled with spineless but empowered mercenary, racist, and sexist predators.

~~ Let’s start with my small corner. Lady Chatterley left and we thought she was gone for good. After all, she had added neglectful into her repertoire of talk, shower, talk, talk, shower, talk, shower and my husband had made his displeasure known to the agency. A lovely aide replaced her but then, bam! Lady C. was back three days later. How could this be?

~~ Despite her obvious drawbacks, the agency seems intent on keeping Lady C. in my home. We are now quite focused on getting her the hell out. You may say, “Well, the patient is your family and she is in your house,” but experience is teaching me that it really doesn’t work that way. Unless the agency thinks that it may have some liability or exposure for neglect, it soft-pedals everything.

~~ However, my spouse is up to the task — he’s cut his teeth on some of the toughest customer service reps in the world and doesn’t back down. He’s about to relate to the agency this latest incident: He asks Lady C. what the patient had for breakfast and is told “Cereal and milk.” As he’s compiling a shopping list, he notices the milk is past its date and takes a sniff. He asks Lady C. “Is this the milk you gave her today? It smells terrible and is obviously spoiled,” to which Lady C. replies, “Uh, no, I meant I gave her yogurt.” Neglectful or deceitful? Who cares — just go away.

~~ I tell the patient that it’s snowing outside.
“Ha, ha, you shit” is her answer. And here I thought talking about the weather was a safe subject.

~~ There’s so much I have to say on what’s going on in our nation. But since I seem to be tweeting something on the subject every five minutes, I’ll just post some things and save my energy for the resistance.

~~ One last thought: Make sure you have a library card and a valid passport. The former will keep you educated once public schools are decimated, and the latter will get you into California if it succeeds in seceding.

Have a good weekend!

Tossed Salad Friday

~~ Overheard: “I have no reason to buy cookies from her kid. It’s not like we vacation with these people or anything.”

~~ Observed: The larger and angrier-looking the person, the more likely it is that his or her ringtone is Fleur de Lise or ‘Tis a Gift to Be Simple.

~~ In this week’s edition of Dementia-ville, we have a patient who cackles with apparent glee after spouting profanity at the top of her turbo-charged lungs. We have an aide who is in such a committed relationship with her phone that I am fairly certain little android babies are gestating in her womb. We have an aroma that is likely what shoes would smell like if they were worn by a basketball team for three straight weeks and then left under the bed for three months. And we have an atmosphere that resembles the pants of a clerk I saw at the supermarket:  ripped to the point where the only thing keeping us from seeing his BVDs was a couple of threads.

~~It appears we have our own version of Dementia-ville happening in DC. That could be a side effect of the Propecia tRump takes to give him that sleek and sexy straw mane, or it could be part of his DNA (his bigoted dad developed dementia). Here are some of my reflections:

~~ Bannon tells media to shut up. Trump defends first amendment rights of a white supremacist.

~~ A Kentucky Court Clerk defies the Supreme Court and she’s a hero. The acting Attorney General wants to uphold the Constitution and she’s fired.

~~ The GOP Congress spends eight years doing nothing but grandstand about Benghazi and collect paychecks. The Democrats now want to oppose a right wing SCOTUS-nominee and hold hearings on conflicts of interest, but the GOP scream, “Obstructionism!”

~~ A grandmother who scolded people on Facebook for saying Santa is not real because her grandkids read her posts is aghast that the parents of Dreamers didn’t tell their kids they were all lawbreakers.

~~ A frothing-at-the-mouth tRump supporter told me to “Hush” as she did not wish to have a discussion with me about the Muslim ban. I looked aggrieved, so she said, “Listen. Everything a president does is automatically legal. And, you’re not that young. The Constitution probably changed a lot since you went to law school.”

~~ Russia is great. Australia sucks.

~~ tRump ordered a raid in Yemen but didn’t hang around to see what developed. Therefore, the adults and children who died weren’t his fault.

~~ The National Prayer Breakfast is the appropriate place for tRump to pray for ratings. So everywhere else is a proper place to pray for his departure.

Have a good weekend!

Tossed Salad Friday

~~ You know I marched in the Women’s March, right? I’d love to go on and on about it, because it was so awesome, but there’s so much else to share with you, after you watch my quick slide show, of course:

~~ I was told a story about a couple where the wife’s mother-in-law had dementia. She came to live with the son and daughter-in-law and remained in their home for many years. The wife was stressed and unhappy but loved her husband. When the mother-in-law passed, she left behind an insurance policy in her son’s name. He cashed it in and bought a speedboat. The wife cashed in the marriage and filed for divorce. At the first meeting of the parties, the wife related the events, and when she was done, the hubby’s attorney turns to him and says, “You’re lucky she’s just divorcing you. I would have shot you.”

~~ Dementia-ville proceeds apace in my house. Seems a nurse visited the patient to draw blood and the insertion spot blew up and turned quite red. This happened about 10:00 am, I was in the house at noon, and my spouse returned at 6:00 pm. At 6:05 pm, Lady Chatterley says to him, “I need ice” and explains what happened. Of course, he grows irate and wonders why she didn’t tell me, show me, and/or ask me for ice six hours ago… but Lady C. just shrugs.

~~ Lady C. takes three showers a day.
One at 8:00 am, a second at 9:30 am after she cleans up the patient, and a third in the evening after her patient goes to bed. I get the two after cleaning up pee and poop, but what’s with the 8:00 am shower? She uses up quite a bit of the hot water in her very long aqua cascade, only to rinse and repeat 90 minutes later. We now have to plan our mornings around her (yes, we could talk to her but she doesn’t listen to a thing I say, and this is not a battle someone I live with wants to wage).

~~ The patient is screeching as if she’s on a medieval torture rack. I walk in to see what I can do — she laughs and gives me the stink-eye. I walk back out and finish reading an article in the paper about the diminished immunity of caregivers and the greater incidence of stress-related illnesses.

~~ Someone asks after the situation and I relate a bit of the latest happenings. She tells me that her aunt lives with her cousin, and the aide that comes in there “smells like dollar-store perfume, Listerine, and cigarettes.” She’s envious that Lady C. showers three times a day!

~~ OK, more on the march (the picture in the middle is of some of the hats I knit for NYC and DC marchers):

Finally, while I’m in a sharing mode:

Have a good weekend!

Black Friday

Tossed Salad Friday

~~ The action was happening more than I liked, so I decided I’d count the occurrences. OK, that’s once, I thought about 8:00 am. Then, around 10:00 am, it happened again. But what went through my mind was more alarming: Crap, was that twice or three times? How could I lose track after just one incident?

~~ Lady Chatterley has returned to Dementia-ville! After stating unequivocally that I was the reason she’d never return, she showed up again. She’s just as surly as ever towards me, as inattentive as ever towards the dementia patient, and as animated and talkative as ever when on the phone.

~~ The dementia patient isn’t thrilled, either. Even if I was a music writer with a ready arsenal of audio adjectives, I’m fairly certain that I couldn’t do justice to the extended trilling and the frenzied shrieking that greeted Lady Chatterley’s reappearance. The demented screeching is hard to describe when there are no distinct words, but think about the noises you’d make if someone pushed you down a long flight of stairs into a dark cellar and then locked the door. Yes, that’s the exact sound.

~~ I ran into someone I haven’t seen in about a year (the last time we met was before the founding of Dementia-ville). She was happy to see me, but then asked with real concern, “Is everything OK? You look unwell.” I burst out crying before composing myself as quickly as I could. She was relieved as I assured her that I was physically fine, but wondered about the tears. I brought her up to speed, relaying how I have become a shell of my former self (while growing increasingly large, thanks to the lovely escape provided by stress eating). “Oh, shit,” she said. “These stories rarely end well.”

~~ I debated whether to include this next anecdote or not, but decided to go for it. Inasmuch as we have a soon-to-be prez who is as foul as they come, this tale may not shock anyone at all. OK, here it is:  About 10:45 pm, one of my pups asked to go out, so we ran down to the back door. Said door is at the foot of the stairs that leads up to the aide’s room. I hear a distinctive buzz, buzz, buzz but can’t place which appliance would be making such a noise. While awaiting the pup’s return, I discover the vibrational source as I hear the aide’s voice rise in a crescendo that climaxes into, well, a joyful climax. Jeez, Louise, what kind of life do I live?

~~ I was driving to yoga and there wasn’t another car on the busy road about 9:15 am. Just then, the NPR station played a snippet of a song as a bridge between stories. A solo pianist performed the expressive melody, and as I drove on this deserted road with the soundtrack, I got the feeling I was in a movie.
You know the one where the exasperated and anguished heroine flings the expensive vase against the fireplace mantel? The one where she then declares, “I deserve better than this! I’m moving to [Nashville, Hollywood, Greenwich Village, Florence, Paris] and you’ll never see me again!” The tune playing as she drives away is called something like “Unravelling,” and the next scene takes place in a roadside coffee shop or train station (not a yoga studio), but you get the picture. Literally.

~~ I hope you appreciated today’s narrative. I can say with certainty that I don’t enjoy having such an abundance of personal yarns to share.

Have a good weekend!

Tossed Salad Friday

~~ I hope you had a good New Year’s Eve and Day. I also hope that things are getting off to the best possible start for you, considering that 1) it’s January and 2) we’re hurtling towards doom.

~~ I decided to shake up one of the few things within my control these days and cut my hair. The stylist lopped off around four inches and made the ends look askew by hacking them every which way — in other words, it was a dramatic change. I thought it looked nice, but then things started to happen.

~~ I looked in the mirror and John Denver, circa 1973, was looking back at me.

~~ I spent two hours at dinner with four family members who didn’t seem to notice any change at all. A day later, as I walked down a street towards yoga, a resident with whom I have a nodding acquaintance said, “Love the new hair!”

~~ A woman in yoga said, “Wow! You’ve lost weight!” I haven’t lost weight. Someone else said, “I thought you got a haircut, but then realized it was your earmuffs.” I wasn’t wearing earmuffs.

~~ The chair of an organization to which I belong arranged for a CPR course for members. It’s early-ish on a Sunday morning, it costs money, and I still remember the drill from the last time I took a course (great, now the Bee Gees Stayin’ Alive is in my head). So I deleted the email announcement. I guess other people did as well, resulting in this oh-so-wrong follow-up from the chair:

The response we have gotten to making this available to our congregation and friends is deafening silence. What are you people thinking? Do you think that the techniques will come to you subliminally? Isn’t it important to be ready for the chance to save another person?

~~ The only thing he left out was a whiny, “What do you have to lose?” In any case, I am fairly certain this guy isn’t employed in the fields of marketing, human resources, or customer satisfaction.

~~ Overheard: Mom, think about it. How the hell do you medicate away being a fool?

~~ It’s a beautiful day in Dementia-ville, especially if you enjoy hearing soaring, melodic, dare I say operatic arias, climaxing in Getttttttttttttttttttt Outtttttttttttttttttttttttt!  Mariah Carey may not be able to hit these notes anymore, but the dementia patient surely can. There’s another work in progress, but it’s obvious the libretto isn’t finished. It starts out You Stupid You, then trails into an ear-splitting Youuuu that just hangs in the air, waiting for a coda that never comes.

~~ The new aide seems nice. So, of course, we hear that she’s leaving Monday.

~~ When I ran spellcheck on this blog, it urged me to substitute Stalin for Stayin’ in the CPR paragraph. Et tu, spellcheck?

Have a good weekend!


Tossed Salad Friday

~~ I told a yogi I missed her the previous week. “Oh, I was sick,” she said. “I just have a really bad cold now. Last week it was a virus.” Isn’t a cold a virus? I didn’t want to pursue the topic.

~~ I thought I’d pick up a certain book at the library, but I didn’t have a car. I mentally assigned the task to the next day… and then the proverbial thunderbolt hit me. What was this, 2005? Did I need to drive to the library? I opened a browser, signed onto the library site, and about 30 seconds later the book was on my Kindle. What a Luddite moment — don’t judge me, OK?

~~ There’s a commercial on TV selling some religious artifact in a cross for “just $29.99.” The announcer says it contains a stone from the cave where Jesus was born. What happened to the stable? I’m not being irreverent, but am I uninformed about the birthplace? I’ve heard this song all my life:
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head,
The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.
Maybe a clump of straw in a gold-toned necklace wouldn’t sell for almost 30 bucks?

~~ Dementia-ville was a busy place this week. I wanted to be certain what holiday the aide (Lady Chatterley) celebrated, if any, so after wishing her a good morning, I asked if she celebrated Christmas. She did, so I wished her a merry day and she said the same to me. Which would be lovely if I wasn’t standing next to a menorah and surrounded by Hanukkah decorations. But since she never says a word to me, this was a holiday miracle in every faith!

~~ Next day, I’m cooking and the door between the patient’s area and the kitchen keeps opening a crack and then quickly slamming again. Lady Chatterley was peeking in, seeing me, and retreating.
My husband says that she was being considerate, but he wasn’t standing there being peered at about 10 times. Why not just ask me to let her know when I’m finished in the kitchen instead of repeating the creeeeeeeeeak open, squint in, door slam scene?

~~ Moving forward a few days, Lady Chatterley calls my husband on his cell to ask if I am planning to do laundry. Why not ask me, he wonders, as I’m in the house? He’s told that I am “not in the kitchen.” Where I obviously reside 24/7.

~~ Yesterday Lady C. yelled at me that she’s never coming back here because I am always yelling at her. And she left.

~~ While telling this story to a friend in the yoga studio, another woman who has shared tales of experiences with her grandmother interrupted to say, “Hope you didn’t give her too much cash for Christmas before she bailed on you.” Cash? We gave her a very nice gift though the agency instructed us that wasn’t necessary. But no cash. “That’s why she left,” said the knowledgeable woman. “She stayed over Christmas just to pull down some cash.” Yikes — we didn’t know. “Oh, don’t sweat it,” she said. “She was probably going to leave, anyway. We gave one aide $100.00 for Christmas and she claimed she had to leave because of food poisoning three hours later.”

~~ A new aide is here, and one of the first things she did was call the agency to report a bruise on the patient’s hand. The case worker calls my spouse and he asks me to go look — it’s a bruise near her elbow that seems like it’s been around for the better part of the week. Why did new aide call it in? “Oh, [Lady C.] told me that she’s been too busy the past few days to call the agency, so I should do it.” How can you be too busy on the phone to make a phone call?

~~ I’ve written over 700 words yet still not touched on life and death or politics. Those topics will still be here, but I need to wrap this up. And shed at least 700 tears.

Happy 2017! This year was a global, national, and personal disaster, but that doesn’t mean I await 2017with delight. Oh, well, enjoy if you’re so inclined.
The end is here.

Tossed Salad Friday


~~ She’s telling me about a ridiculous plan hatched up by her husband to drive far from their home to attend a 9:00 am showing of the newest Star Wars’ movie. Seems the other couple offered to meet them at a theater halfway between their homes, but her spouse expressed his willingness to go all the way east at an early hour on the last Sunday before Christmas. She was resentful but resigned, and so off they went. When I checked in later to see if a) theaters served popcorn at that time of the morning and b) how she liked the movie, I received an affirmation on the popcorn plus this information: [Spouse] got a call from work and missed half of the movie.

~~ A safety pin may have saved my life this week. Ever since I decided to wear a safety pin as a show of solidarity and invitation, I've carried a few extra pins in my purse. When someone comments, I offer to provide one. While I am at an intersection, walking back to my car, I look all around. I grab my keys from my purse, and as I start to cross, I notice a safety pin has caught on my keys and fallen onto the street. If a kid or a dog got the pin, I'd feel responsible, so I stepped back to the curb to pick up the pin. Just then, a car raced through the stop sign on the main street and careened around the corner right in front of me. I might be deader than a doornail if it wasn't for that pin.
~~ A PR guy made me feel very old yesterday. I made a reference to the “Sloop John B,” and he had zero idea what I meant. If you don’t either, don’t tell me… just watch this:

OK, I know the Kingston Trio did it a decade earlier, but I didn’t want to feel ancient.

~~ "Do you prefer 'Happy Hanukkah' or 'Happy holidays'?" she wondered.

"Either is fine." I replied. "You?"

"I celebrate Christmas so no need to mention the word holiday," she responded. Good to know!

~~ I’ve decided that this week’s (in) action figure in Dementia-ville will be called Lady Chatterley. With her utter devotion to her cellphone and her quest to set a new world record for conversations held while allegedly working, I think the nickname is most appropriate.

~~ How’s [the patient], wondered a friend. “She sat around all day shrieking Naked,” I replied. She pressed me for immediate clarification: “Was she singing while naked or was she clothed and singing the word ‘Naked’?” She was clothed, but her protracted one-word-song stripped me of all reason to carry on.

~~ The other day, Lady Chatterley walks into the kitchen and goes to the sink. The patient is yelping quite loudly, so I get up and start walking towards her. Lady C. turns off the water and beats me back to the area. She starts saying, loudly and solicitously, “Are you OK, dear? Is everything OK?” C’mon, she was shrieking when you walked away from her, and you’re only being soothing so I don’t tell my spouse. Oops, plan spoiled.

~~ As I type this, I am hearing Get out, you you you you. I don’t want you here! No comment.

~~ I delayed reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt for quite a while. I had the feeling I would love it and was waiting to treat myself. Then I remembered that books aren’t just treats. They are also transformations, and I really needed one of those. So I started reading… and couldn’t stop. This was one of the most exquisite books I have ever had the pleasure to read. Each word is a gem and each page is a masterpiece. For this past week, I’ve been transported to a world of words, art, tragedy, friendship, love, treachery, and resignation. A world where nothing eventually mattered while everything suddenly did. If you haven’t read it, I urge you to do so. If you read the novel years ago, be smug. I envy you for having absorbed this work of art much earlier.

~~ My family got together to celebrate Hanukkah a bit early. Here we are:

From my family to yours, Happy Festivus, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, and Joyous Kwanzaa! Say it as often as you can now. Next year we’ll have to say счастливого Рождества.
J!-E!-T!-S! Blech.



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