Synchronicity

“Hey, daisyfae!  Your Mom’s been here!”

Studley was on the lanai and grinning.  He had fixed our drinks and headed for the pool, as i finished the conversation with my sister, T, about the latest Trailer Park “scores and highlights”.

daisyfae:  What the hell are you talking about?

Studley:  Look!

On the concrete, next to T’s pool, was a single penny.

daisyfae:  You’re fucking with me, right?  You put that there!

Studley:  Nope.  Came out, set our drinks down and there it was…

daisyfae:  T!  Get out here!  Did you put this there?

Of course she hadn’t seen it.  Her partner, T, didn’t know anything about it either.  Her home is pristine and sparkly clean and modern.  Nothing out of place.  The penny had not been there earlier…

i was rattled.

Mom was a firm believer in “pennies from heaven” – the legend that states that when you lose a loved one, they will often throw you a penny when you need to find it.  A token to know that they are ok, and doing fine on the other side.

She almost got us both killed a few years ago chasing one such token.  We had taken Mom on a cruise to Alaska after Dad died, and she was at her peak “pennies are a sign from the afterlife” frenzy.

i’d rented a wheelchair for the trip because she’d lost a good bit of mobility by then.  Wheeling her across a street in Ketchican, Alaska, she suddenly put on the brakes, Fred Flintstone style.  Jamming her feet to the pavement, she said “There’s a dime!  It’s from your Dad!”

i looked up to see a tour bus headed directly for us.

daisyfae:  Mom, i can either pick up the dime or dodge the bus!

Her feet remained planted, and i snatched the dime from the street, popped a wheelie with the chair and avoided disaster.

My sister and i both remember Mom’s firm belief in the pennies from heaven.  T was rattled, too, and said that the kayak had recently been cleaned near that side of the pool, and perhaps that’s where it came from.

i grabbed my drink and got into the pool.  Studley had already jumped in, and lost his swim trunks.  He was still amused.  Shaking my head, i swam over to him and grabbed my drink.  To say that i was further rattled by what was on the can of Diet Coke holding my whiskey would be an understatement.

heads

There is a promotion by the Coca Cola corporation in the U.S. to randomly tag cans and bottles with names and nicknames – the “Share a Coke with…” campaign.  Of course this was random.

daisyfae:  i’m a fucking scientist…  i KNOW this is not a sign from the great beyond.  It is coincidence – confirmation bias.

Studley [still grinning]: Yep.  But you’re rattled, aren’t you?

daisyfae: ….

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A week later, i’d taken a day off of work to head to The Park to work estate-related issues.  That was the day my niece, DQ, surprised me with the little musical fella that Mom had asked her to give to me.

Arriving home, i was pretty beat.  Decided to park him on a decorative “table” i’d crafted from my Dad’s old steamer trunk.  The trunk that holds the few sentimental bits and pieces i’ve kept since he died.

Imagine my surprise to find a single fucking penny sitting on the trunk…  In the spot i had decided to park the music box….

tails

i am a scientist…. both by nature and by training.  i fully comprehend the concept of confirmation bias — we see what we expect to see.  Without a reservation, i can tell you that the penny must have been there for a month or more, and i just hadn’t noticed it.

But yeah… i was rattled…. again…

Sign language

While Mom was in ICU, and on a ventilator, she was still communicating with us.  She could nod her head, and even tried writing letters in the air.  i made a makeshift white board using a notebook and some dry erase markers, but her hand wasn’t steady enough to write.

We improvised – we played it as a cross between “Hangman” and “Wheel of Fortune”, with a little bit of “20 Questions” thrown in to narrow the topic.  One of us would slowly say the alphabet and she’d squeeze our hand when we got to the right letter.  “A… B… C… [squeeze].  C?  The first letter is ‘C’?” and she’d nod her head.

We’d move to the second letter… took some time, but she was able to tell us a few things.

First thing she wanted to say?  “I love you…”

Later that afternoon, she started writing in the air with her finger.  We played the game again and she spelled “C. O. L. D.” – she needed a blanket…

The next morning, she indicated she wanted to tell us something – she spelled “B. A. B….”

daisyfae:  “Baby?  You’re having a baby?”

Mom:  [glares at daisyfae and shakes her head]

She had been trying to spell out “Barb”, her best friend from church…. so we got Barb from the waiting room to come back and visit…

The last one was tough…  My sister, T, her partner, DQ and i were with her as she started to spell something new….   i used the white board to keep track of the letters, and help us guess what she was trying to say.

We went slowly through the alphabet, and came up with “N…   E…. E…. D…”  First word is “Need”….

Second word… “T”… “O”… “Need to….”

Very much like Ralphie from “A Christmas Story” as he used his Little Orphan Annie decoder ring to decipher the secret message…

Third word, first letter…. “P”

DQ:  You need to P?  But Granny, you’ve got a catheter…

daisyfae:  Do you need to poop?

Mom:  [vigorous nodding]

daisyfae:  [hits the call button to summon a nurse] Sweet wounded Jesus, you poor thing!  It took 20 minutes for you to tell us that….
whiteboard

Quarterly Update: Un-fucking myself

Despite the monkey wrench delivered squarely in my gut in mid-September, i have not forgotten my pledge to gently “un-fuck” myself.  The first two quarterly updates in April and June showed steady progress on my fitness goals, and slowed progress on the excavations…

When my son and daughter came home in July, they were both highly motivated to eat all of the pizza in town, while consuming gallons of tasty beer.  Being some what weak-willed when it comes to food and drink, i managed to gain back 10 pounds of the 25 i’d discarded in the first 6 months of the year.

Happy to say that i’ve unloaded most of that within the same quarter, and can claim a sustained net loss of 25 pounds for the year.  Given two weeks of eating meals from vending machines and gas station roller grills during Mom’s hospitalization, and funerary doings, i’m surprised i haven’t gained any more.

The German language has the most beautiful word:  Kummerspeck.  It means “grief bacon”.  Between the bacon and the booze, it’s a fucking miracle, but i’ve kept up the gym habit, and continue to load my fat arse onto my bicycle seat.  Will stay the course…

As for the excavations?  i managed to clear a bookshelf, and find a home for it, along with a few other small pieces of furniture.  Another trip to donate goods at the thrift store happened, but over all, not much done in this regard.

In fact, as executor for Mom’s estate, i have been hauling boxes and bags of shit back home with me, sorting out piles of bills and legal documents. Feel as though i went backwards in this one – at least for now.  i did manage to find some time this weekend to build some ‘piles’ on the top of the Murphy bed in my office to start to regain some semblance of order… For the past three weeks my dining room table has been a jumble of papers and envelopes and mail and…. stuff…

It will take at least 6 months to get all of it sorted and settled, so i am trenched in on this.  Mom did a good job with estate planning back in February, so it’s not nearly as complicated as it could have been.  But she left me with some rather vexing issues, and all i can do is… wait… think… and keep making piles.

We are moving slowly.  There is no rush to clear Mom’s personal effects, and my niece, DQ is sole owner of the home, so it is entirely up to her to set the pace for such things.  She was absolutely phenomenal during Mom’s last week, and has demonstrated tremendous grace throughout.

As we sat at her dining room table last week, sorting bills and transfers of utilities and the like, she had a few items waiting for me – things she wanted me to have.  Among them?  This little dude…  Mom told her that it was special to me, and that i should probably have it.

i may have been reduced to a blubbering ball of tears and snot…

He kept me company on the ride home that afternoon… Arrivederci, Roma… Good to see you again, kiddo.

Arrivaderci

So it goes.

On behalf of the entire family, thank you for being here today as we celebrate the life of our Mother.

Let’s start with a little word association – when you think of Mom, what is the first word that pops into your mind?

Anybody come up with “Tough”? Mom could be characterized as fun-loving, adventurous, generous, tenacious, big-hearted… So many words… But it seems I’m not the only one who thinks of her as ‘tough’.

The scientific definition of toughness is “Strength and Ductility”. Resistance to fracture while stressed… The ability to absorb energy, take repeated blows, without failure.

Tough as nails… One tough cookie…. Built Ford tough…

That was Mom.

We learned pretty early that she was a strong woman. Stick your tongue out in our household? Be prepared to wear a clothespin on it! Bite your sister? Be prepared to have Mom bite you back. Oh, and like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story”, we were all connoisseurs of a variety of fine soaps. She maintained order and kept us all in line.

When facing heart bypass surgery in 2008, Mom was informed by her surgeon that if she continued to smoke, her chances of survival would be cut in half. On the spot, she decided that after 65 years of smoking, she should quit. And she did. Cold turkey, that very day.

While collecting information to settle Mom’s estate last night, I looked at one of her checkbooks to make sure I had the right one. Knowing that she would likely be going to the hospital on Monday, she paid her bills on Sunday. She wasn’t able to see well, write well, or even breathe easily… But she paid her bills.

Mom was an incredibly strong woman.

To complement her strength, she was also agile – able to adapt, improvise and overcome.

Fiercely independent, she was at first reluctant to let Dad into her life. He said he could remember the moment he knew he was in love with her – they were at the market, shopping for a block of Swiss cheese. She spent a great deal of time going through the individually weighed packages, trying to find the block with the fewest holes, because she wanted to get the most for her money. He was smitten! She wasn’t quite so sure…

She eventually accepted his proposal, and left the city for the suburbs. Neither she, nor Dad, knew the first thing about home ownership, maintenance, or gardening. She didn’t have a driver’s license. But she adapted, and together they created a garden, became neighbors, joined this congregation, learned how to camp, and raised a family…

Having given up her profession as a nurse to stay home with her children, and later to provide care for her oldest granddaughter she started back to school in her 50’s to brush up her skills. Returning to nursing, she quickly settled into a leadership role on the psychiatric ward at the county hospital – saying she felt right at home there…

She’d be unhappy at this point if i failed to mention that she was a straight-A student…

She was a devoted Mother, Grandmother and Great-Grandmother. Perhaps her greatest gift was her ability to understand each of us as unique individuals – she knew that one size didn’t fit all in her clan. She could coach and mentor us, knowing our capabilities, knowing our limits, and knowing when it was important to push them…

This combination of strength and ductility – her toughness – was apparent through the difficulty of the past week. There was never a doubt in our mind that she was calling the shots – even at the very end of her life. We have been fortunate that Mom’s oldest granddaughter, DQ, and her husband, BJ, have been able to care for her. She waited until they were by her side before she allowed herself to rest…

So we thank you again for coming together with us today to celebrate her life.

Life is short. Death is forever. Go joyfully! Nothing left undone!

MommaThis is the eulogy i delivered yesterday at her funeral… It’s been a pretty rotten couple of weeks, but it seems the worst is behind us.  She turned 86 on Friday, and died two days later… Not a bad run…

End of the Season

At the end of the season, our communal pool is opened up for a Doggie Splash Day.  Residents can bring their pups and they get to fart around in the pool before the final cleaning before closure for the winter months.

This has been one of Mr. Pickles favorite things – and this is a dog whose favorite thing is generally whatever he is doing at the moment.  Today was a storybook perfect early autumn day – blue sky, wispy clouds, and warm, dry air.

Because of other commitments, i took a few hours off work today to make sure he had a chance to enjoy it.  Arriving promptly at 4:00pm, he wasted no time jumping in to steal a toy from another dog, Morgan – an elderly Chesapeake Bay Retriever.  This has become something of an annual tradition.

Devil DogMr. P, having more heart than brains, threw himself into the water with reckless joy.  He’s not always cognizant of where the steps are, so this meant i had to throw myself into the water to guide him back to safety on a few occasions.

He played.  And he played some more.  Other residents – even those without dogs – were entertained by his spirit.  After about 40 minutes, he was getting tired, and i repeatedly had to shepherd him to the steps to rest, but he would have none of that.  i very nearly had to carry him home, because…. well…. DOGS!  WATER!  BALLS!

It was hard to leave, but i was worried about him.  He’d jump in, completely submerge, pop to the surface and snag the tennis ball – but he was starting to gasp to catch his breath.  There is a fine line.  He might push himself too far… But, he’s thirteen years old.  It’s entirely possible that he won’t be alive next year for the Doggie Splash Day.

As i was walking him home, i got a text from my niece, DQ.  Mom has been feeling pretty rotten this week, and has been mostly bedridden with fatigue.  Earlier this week, she told my brother-in-law “I’ve lived a good, long life.  It may be my time…”

When i talked to her last night, her mind was firing on all cylinders, and she was ready to give up.  Given her symptoms, i was pretty sure it was an infection of some sort, and encouraged her to let DQ get some blood work done… Maybe even go to the emergency room if necessary to get checked out.

The text message from DQ was to let me know that Mom has been admitted for pneumonia, which is generally treatable.  She’ll also have to have fluid drained from her lungs – the last time this happened was in early July.  It has come back just a few months later.  Untreated, it will kill her.

Another fine line.

Ultimately, it is Mom’s decision.  i am hopeful that 24 hours of antibiotics will have her feeling less miserable, and perhaps in a better position to sort out her chosen path forward.  i will support it, whatever she decides.

Fingers crossed that she still has some enjoyable days ahead, even if the longer term prognosis sucks.

Happy Pup

Sugar Granny

Putting my brain on hold, i packed up Mom and Studley, and we headed out to the wedding celebration for my brother, T, and his new wife. As you may recall, my sister S had decided this would be the perfect opportunity to introduce T to a half-brother he’d not known about, and had taken the liberty to invite this half-brother to the wedding reception.

As we were driving toward The Park, Mom was reminiscing about what a complete asshole her second husband had been…

Mom: Cletus was married once before me. They had a child together and then he went off into the Army.  Well, his wife took up with another man while Cletus was gone, and had another baby – that was Dave. When Cletus got back, he never acknowledged that Dave was his son…

daisyfae: Wait… What? You mean the newly discovered half-brother may not, in fact, be related to S and T at all?

Mom: Cletus never treated Dave like his own son, and never took any responsibility for him. Cletus had two sisters who disowned Dave, too.

daisyfae: Can…. Did…. Anyone in the family actually do the math? Has there ever been genetic testing done?

Mom: Well, S says he looks just like Cletus.

daisfae: [white-knuckle grip on steering wheel, head explodes] GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Studley: [laughing maniacally from backseat]

~~~~~~~~~~~

Despite my exploded head, we arrived at the party. Wheeling Mom up to a table, we joined my sister, S, along with her possibly half-brother, Dave, and his wife, Pam. There was another woman at the table, who was introduced as Imogene, Pam’s mother. When joining any table, i do a quick triage on seating – trying to optimize conversation for all, with the least amount of annoyance for me. Studley quickly worked the same social math, and had perched his arse on the back of an adjacent sofa, claiming the prime vantage point to watch the fireworks, without getting hit by shrapnel.

i placed Mom’s wheelchair next to S, who was sitting next to Dave and Pam. i dropped into the seat between Mom and Imogene, who proceeded to tell me her life story. A charming woman, Imogene had just turned 91 years old. Full of spark and playfulness, she wasted no time in sharing her annoyance at being dragged to a party where she didn’t know anyone, as well as pulling out pictures of her dead husband.  i was able to get her chatting with Mom, and made a break to inhale a vodka tonic grab a bite to eat.

Studley found me by the barbeque meatballs, shaking his head in astonishment. “Wow.”  My brother, T, and his wife, K, were having a grand time, making the rounds and introducing family and friends. They’d stop briefly to chat, then move on to the next group. A nice collection of humans gathered to celebrate a wedding…

Eventually i returned to the table, and Imogene got going again. Very sweet, very funny, and inquisitive.  She wanted to be introduced to Studley, thinking he was my husband.

daisyfae: No, we are a couple, but not likely to ever marry. We’ve both done that, and are pretty happy as we are…

Imogene: Well, he’s a handsome man, and a real sweetheart! You better hang onto him before he gets away.

Mom: I’ve been telling her the same thing.

Studley: [smiles, raises eyebrow, posts his trademark ‘hey, baby’ look]

~~~~~~~~~~~

Two days later, Studley and i were floating in my pool… doing retirement financial planning – sorting out whether i’ll have sufficient resources to retire early and move the fuck overseas to get as far away from The Park as possible. He has repeatedly assured me that i have more than enough to live such a life, and should really stop worrying about it.

We also did the “after action report” on the previous weekend, which is partly why i needed to go over the retirement financials again. As an afterthought, i reminded him of how much those senior ladies adore him…

daisyfae: You can write your own ticket with the old broads! Between Imogene, and those ladies at the women’s league luncheons, you oughta find yourself an old bat with a lot of cash. Get yourself a Sugar Granny…

Studley: [grinning] What makes you think I haven’t? [dives for safety]Gimme some sugarThis babe found here…

Excavations

Mom is moved back into her home, and even though it took far too long, it is absolutely perfect for her needs.  When we first began excavations, we had to go through a seemingly insurmountable mess – decades of ‘stuff’ that she simply couldn’t part with…

We used four categories:  “Keep” (put in storage during renovations), “Donate”,  “Garage Sale”, and “Pitch”.  The “Donate” pile was substantial, and Mom’s church had a great inventory that year.  The “Garage Sale” items were parked in her back yard shed for future disposition.

This week, my niece, DQ began rooting through some of those items, and has been working on a family garage sale.  i was surprised to get the following picture via text message last night.

glass shit“Another Box Full of Glass Shit”

DQ:  I’m going to assume you’ve been through this box before?

daisyfae:  YES!  Definitely my handwriting!

Blasting Your Past

The message from my brother, T, last April wasn’t a tremendous surprise.  He’d gotten married.  What surprised me was that he’d not married the woman he’d been dating for a year, but had met someone new two weeks prior, and found himself completely smitten – head over heels in love, as he’d never loved anyone before.  And they had just eloped.

One of the reasons i can never give up on my brother is that despite things going rather horribly wrong with his first three marriages, he still genuinely and truly believes in the magic and mystery of love.  Most people would be a little bit crunchy and bitter after all he’s experienced, but not T.  At 60 years old, he has found “the one”, and i’m happy for him.

Perhaps a bit skeptical, but hoping for the best, anyway.

Since they’d not had a proper wedding, T and his new bride, K, decided to throw a party this month to celebrate, and bring the families together.  He is in the process of selling his home, and moving in with her, so the location will be near K’s home – conveniently located about halfway between where i live, and The Park.

Mom really wanted to go, so plans were made for my sister, S, to bring her to the event, which is being held this coming Saturday evening.  Last week, i got a call from S.

S:  I have already RSVP’d to a wedding that night, so I won’t be able to stay.  Is there a chance you can bring Mom home afterward?

daisyfae: Sure.  i had tentative plans for later in the evening, but can adjust.

S: I need to go to a wedding at 6, but can then stop by and pick Mom up to bring her to T’s party.  Maybe stay an hour or so, but I really need to get to the reception for the wedding I said I was going to…

daisyfae: i’ll tweak my plans a bit, the party i was going to will likely run late, so i can drop in later.

This really wasn’t a big deal, just a little extra driving.  It was the next bit that scrambled my circuits…

My oldest sister, S, and brother, T, are technically my half-sister, and half-brother, although none of us really think of it that way.  Mom was married twice before she met Dad, and S and T had a different father.  A man who abandoned them, and Mom, when they were small.  There were some rotten things that happened along the way.  Their father was later murdered, and neither of them has much memory of him.

S has been curious about her biological family, and has reached out to a few biological aunts and uncles to better understand his story.  T, on the other hand, has had absolutely no interest in digging into the past, and has made it clear to S that it is not something he cares to discuss.

Last winter, through a genealogy website, my niece discovered that S and T had two half-brothers through their father.  S was able to connect with the wife of one newly discovered half-brother, Dave, and was invited to attend his surprise 70th birthday party.  You would think that meeting a half-sister you didn’t know existed might be a hell of a shock to a 70 year old heart, it apparently went well, and S has maintained this connection.

As i spoke with S last week regarding logistics for T’s wedding reception, i was stunned to find that she’d invited her half-brother, and his wife, to T’s party.

S: I appreciate that you can get Mom home Saturday!  There’s even more complications though… Dave and his wife are coming down to meet T, too…

daisyfae:  Ummmm….  Did you ask T?  Do they realize that this is essentially T’s wedding reception and that he won’t have a lot of time to talk?

S:  I was going to have it be a surprise, but Mom thought I should tell T first.  They know he’ll be busy, but they really want to meet him.  I need to call them tonight.  T really doesn’t want to talk much about the past, either, and said he really wouldn’t be able to sit and chat with them.  Dave had a lot of history he wanted to tell me, but when I told T I’d invited them, he said he really didn’t want to talk about the past at all…

daisyfae:  It really is T’s wedding reception.  Sure, fourth time’s the charm and all that, but it might not be the best time to meet a half-brother you didn’t know you had…

S: Well, they really want to come…  I’ll have to tell them that I won’t be able to stay too long either.  I might show them a picture of you, since you’ll be there with Mom.  Not that I expect you to babysit them or anything…

daisyfae:   Ummm…. maybe you could suggest there might be a better time for them to come down to meet him?

S:  They’ve got their hearts set on it.

daisyfae: …..

wedding crashers

 

Not going to look it in the mouth…

“There’s a delivery for you!”

“Ummm… i don’t think i ordered anything….”

Tim has been delivering mail in my building for nearly all of the 30+ years i’ve been working there. He had the right name, and the right office, but i absolutely had no idea what could be in the small box he put in my hand.

“It’s from Amazon? i have that stuff sent home… Someone must have made a mistake, or sent me something?”

Tim stuck around to find out if he would need to re-deliver, or return, the box. i cut open the tape, and pulled out a wrapped gift.

“Well, someone sent you a present! Guess the mystery is solved!”

“Not entirely… i have no idea who would send me a gift at work!”

He started to move on to his next stop, but at this point was just as curious as i was regarding the contents of the mysterious gift box.

“Stick around! Let’s get to the bottom of this!”

Reading the Amazon gift tag, i quickly determined the source…

“Dear Daisyfae,

Hope this note holder comes handy when you need it. Thank you very much for your reference. I cannot begin to thank you enough.

From, Wei”

A few weeks earlier, i had received a request for a reference letter… A young scientist, fairly recently earning his PhD, was working through the arduous process to establish permanent residency in the U.S. It helps to have professional references included in the package.

If i know the work of an individual, i can often pull together a pretty good reference letter. It’s a small thing, and generally doesn’t take me a tremendous amount of time. i was familiar with Wei’s research area, and his work, and managed to knock out a good letter in about fifteen minutes.

Explaining this quickly to Tim, i unwrapped the paper around the box.

“i have no idea what this is… Don’t leave yet, Tim! i might need a witness!”

We both cracked up laughing as i pulled the note holder from the box. It was absolutely adorable!

the most beautiful gift ever“Bulldogs? How perfect! And Wei doesn’t even know me all that well…”

It is one of the most beautiful gifts i’ve ever received…

The Perfect Day

The dog was dying.  His owner decided to give his pet a perfect day.  i’d read this sweet story of how one man prepared for the loss of a beloved companion a few years ago.

Since then, i’ve given this some thought, and have planned to do something similar for my old pup, Mr. Pickles.  Rather than wait, i’ve thrown in elements of ‘perfect days’ for my dog as we go about the business of living – why give him just one?  Three weeks ago on a hot June day, Studley and i decided Mr. P needed to go out for ice cream…

He loved it…

Mr. P gets ice cream

Having a dinner of Mexican food and killer margaritas with my children, Studley, and his daughter, we discussed the elements of Mr. Pickles perfect day.  Discussing all the things he loves, we tried to lay out the things he most loves… Cheese.  Chasing a ball.  Chasing the cat*.  Naps.  Splashing in water.  Riding in the jeep.  Eating his own turds.**

i was interrupted during dinner by a call from my niece, DQ.  Mom had been admitted to the hospital earlier this week with fluid in her lungs.  Stepping out to take the call, i got some fairly grim news.  The lung cancer is probably back, and not treatable.  Mom was feeling rotten, also battling a staph infection in her blood.  We made plans to meet with a counselor from hospice.

Returning to the table, i kept the news to myself for a bit – not wanting to take a steaming shit on a really good time.  i filled my children in on the news from The Park when we got home.

The Boy:  Maybe it’s time to craft a Perfect Day for Granny…

daisyfae:  i’ve already done a bit of that… but yeah, we could do more!

In January, i brought Mom to visit when my sister, T and her partner came to town for a long weekend.  We spoiled Mom with attention, and food and entertainment.  Not to mention blessed quiet, which is in short supply in her current living arrangements.

Last May, i had her up for another fun-filled weekend!  Cooked steaks on the grill on a Friday night, then went to a local women’s league luncheon the next day, where she was showered with attention amidst a great deal of silliness.  Putting on two ridiculous Derby hats that i’d crafted, we went to a bourbon tasting – where she enjoyed a perfect mint julep.  Sunday morning, we brought her to the horse show, where she got to see her “baby” compete in the arena with all the other kids…

The prognosis for Mom isn’t great, but it seems the cancer is slow moving.  She’ll need more in-home skilled nursing care in the future.  But she’s not quite dead yet, and finding ways to give her elements of “The Perfect Day” is deeply embedded in my brain.

Derby Day

 * The Boy thought it would be most fun if we tape the cats back legs together, allowing Mr. Pickles a better chance to “play”.  Although Huey is a team player, i’m not sure i’ll go that far…

** Nope.  Not gonna happen.