My Dad

After caring for my dad in our home for the past month, he died peacefully yesterday morning. He had been steadily slowing down; sleeping nearly all day and night. He didn’t feel up to eating much, and only drank a bit of water during the day.

My mom died on December 16, 2015, and Dad has been missing her ever since. I know that they are now together in love for all eternity, and while I will miss them both with every beat of my heart, I know that they are happy again.

To any of you who have been or are in the process of caring for a loved one, please remember these things:

  • You are stronger than you know.
  • Your love for the person for whom you are caring is evident to that person with every smile you give them, each time you do something for them, every meal you prepare for them, and every word you speak to them.
  • If there is something you feel you can’t do, get help. It won’t make you less a caregiver.
  • Even if all you can do for them is to provide a bed and your love, it means the world to them.
  • Each time you hold their hand, speak their name, perform the least little service for them, it matters.
  • Each time you feel as if you can’t do anything right, please know that what you are doing is helping them more than you know.
  • Each time you have to leave the room to cry, it’s all right. It only means that your heart needs to empty some of its sorrow, which makes more room for your love.
  • Every time you berate yourself for something you feel you did wrong, give yourself a break. You are doing the best you can.
  • Speak your love over and over and over again.

Dad was in Hospice care during his last days, and they were wonderful to him. As I waited for the Hospice nurse to come and pronounce his death, I opened one of the bedroom windows. Many believe that this allows the angels to come take the soul to Heaven; I felt as though Dad’s soul rose up in joy and happiness to meet Mom.

To all who care for their loved ones, you are showing the very best of yourself with everything you do for someone you love. Never forget that you are doing angels’ work, and never stop saying “I love you.”

Butter Dish Abuse and Other Kitchen Crimes

It’s a rare day when I don’t lift the cover of the butter dish and exclaim, ‘oh, fer Pete’s sake!’ Why? Because when the Crankee Yankee wants butter, he somehow manages to smear it all over the place. Even when he remembers to put the cover on, there is always a slick of butter all around the edges.

However, I can’t open a jar of honey without getting it all over myself. I try to be careful, but somehow I end up with gobs of sticky on me, my clothing, the counter-top and the floor.

It seems that the Crankee Yankee and I commit kitchen crimes daily, such as:

  • Making a huge pot of spaghetti sauce and leaving red splatters all over the stove. It looks like an NCIS crime scene. Same with scrambled eggs. You could eat a whole portion of them right off the stove, not the frying pan.
  • Leaving wads of damp paper towels on the counter-top.
  • Letting the sink strainer fill with smelly kitchen debris.
  • Leaving opened containers on the counter because someone ‘might want some more later on.’ Nine times out of ten, no one does.
  • The “I’ll clean it up in the morning” frying pan. The Crankee Yankee loves cast iron cookware. So do I, but it’s heavy. After the Crankee Yankee has prepared one of his delicious and messy meals, it looks like a food truck threw up on our stove. I can’t bear to go to bed knowing that there’s a crusty old frying pan sitting on the stove—all night long..
  • Letting the ‘science experiments’ in the refrigerator accumulate. We tend to shove them to the back and forget their existence until they go nuclear.
  • Taking the last can of cold seltzer water out of the refrigerator and not putting any new ones. Queue up my song (to the tune ‘If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands’):

“When you take something out/PUT IT BACK!

When you take the last of something out/PUT SOME NEW SOMETHINGS BACK!

When you don’t put something back/Then you’ll know that I’ll attack!

So when you take something out/PUT IT BACK!!!”

I’ll agree that kitchen crimes aren’t the worst thing in the world. They probably wouldn’t even make the list of crimes against humanity, either. They are just part of the glue that cements a relationship; you can count on them. Sometimes you can just laugh about it, other times you’d like to kick the offender right in the slats.

This sort of thing is nothing new under the sun. I’ll bet you that way back in the time of Adam and Eve, she must have told him a zillion times not to leave his fig leaf flapping on the vine. Adam would have answered, “sheesh, I was going to put it back!”

And Eve would have looked him in the eye and replied, ‘Yeah, when?


Purple Hair

Lately I’ve noticed that a lot of ladies my age have chosen to spark up their look by coloring some or all of their gray hair purple. I have to say—it looks fabulous! Not only is it attractive, but it gives them that edgy look that makes you think twice about older women…..I say that the older we get, the better we get.

And why should it stop with purple hair? I read somewhere that a woman took her 80-year old mother shoe shopping. She expected to find her mother in the standard old no-fun “sensible” shoe section. Instead she found her being fitted with a pair of bright turquoise platform shoes with sparkles.

“Mother!” she said. “What in the world are you going to wear those with?”

Her mother, smiling, looked up at her and said, “with defiance!” Great answer!

Why in the world should age keep us from being unpredictable, quirky, fun, outrageous? Of course there is a difference from trying to look young by wearing the clothes and makeup of a teenager, and just looking fresh, vibrant, and at home in our own skin (wrinkled though it may be).

As when we were younger and found “our look,” we can still do the same at any age. I’ve spoken of this magnificent woman before in my posts; Iris Apfel:

This woman has her own unique style, and she doesn’t give a flip about who likes it or doesn’t.

Another older woman I cared for deeply once told me this: “If you create your own style, whatever that may be, OWN IT.”

The same goes for an actress who, upon ascending the steps to the stage to receive an award, tripped on her dress and landed on her butt. Without missing a beat, she gracefully got herself up on her feet, walked up to the microphone with a smile on her face and gracefully accepted her award.

She acted as though nothing had happened, and because she did, no one mentioned it or laughed about it. After a few minutes, I had forgotten all about it, and probably so did everyone else.

I’ve said this before—it’s all in the attitude. Walk out as if you own the world. If someone suggests that you be ‘not so flamboyant’ or says something like ‘are you sure you should be wearing <insert whatever fashion statement you like>?’ Just smile and carry on. You are who you are, and the hell with anyone’s opinion. Just as long as YOU are comfortable in your choices, who cares what anyone else thinks?

So dye your hair purple (I may just do that myself), wear gobs of jewelry (I already do that), put on those flashy turquoise shoes and give the world a treat.

It’s better to be an inspiration than a bad example.


April Heat

Believe me, we in NH are very happy that winter is over and the snow is gone. We are thrilled that we can hear the peepers at dusk, the best harbinger of Spring there is. We are over the moon about the resurgence of daffodils, hyacinths, crocus, and lilac buds as well as the chives and mint already coming up in our gardens.

However, this 80 to 85 degree heat is waaaaaay too early. I hate to complain (I feel I have used up my complaint quota during that last snow storm in March), but seriously; it’s just too hot. Even my dad, who is always bundled up, has asked me to turn the overhead fan on over the bed, and he no longer wears his down jacket to breakfast. So you know it’s too hot.

However, the unusual April heat does not last, and Spring is finally here. The air is softer, kinder, and sweet-smelling breezes tussles the tiny leaf buds and branches as gently as a mother rocking her newborn.

The achingly lovely calls of the cardinals are thrilling to hear again, and it won’t be long before the little brown bats will fly out at dusk to feed. I can’t wait until we can put the rockers out on the front porch, enjoy our glass of red, and wave to the cars going by.

The Crankee Yankee already has the garden beds all planned out; red and yellow tomatoes, pickling cukes, purple and golden beets, radishes, peas, lettuce, arugula, sweet onions, corn, leeks, parsnips, broccoli rab, scallions, and, for the back porch; a large bed of catnip and cat grass.

Even though I have lived through and thoroughly enjoyed over 65 springs, it is still thrilling to enjoy this newest spring. Robert Browning says it well in Pippa’s Song in “Pippa Passes:”

“The year’s at the spring,

And day’s at the morn;

Morning’s at seven;

The hill-side’s dew-pearl’d;

The lark’s on the wing;

The snail’s on the thorn;

God’s in His heaven—

All’s right with the world!”