A Reboot . . . A Boot in the Butt

Every now and again, we all need to reboot . . . to receive a self-inflicted (required) boot in the butt to get back on track.  But, before that can happen, we also need to recharge.  And there’s nothing wrong with that, nothing wrong with pulling back a bit, nothing wrong with taking a break.

Sometimes, there’s just [way] too much on our plates—which can, on occasion, take on the proportions of [overflowing] super-store sized carts.  And navigating those babies isn’t the easiest.

If a vacation is affordable and doable, taking a week or two to unwind might prove ideal.  Out of sight, out of mind . . . out of home, out of reach.  Other ways, simple ways?  Take a nap.  Take a walk, a run.  Do something different—visit a new part of town, see a sight you’ve never seen, take the transit if you’ve never taken it or let it take you somewhere you’ve never been, have coffee/tea in a shop you’ve never been to.  Have lunch/dinner with a friend.  Call someone you’ve not spoken with in a long time.  Do something “fun” (something silly perhaps).  Sit down and journal.  List all the good things in your life . . . itemize all that you’ve accomplished this week.

The list could go on [and on].  What works for me?  Walking through the cemetery, feeding the squirrels and chipmunks.  De-cluttering.  Noting what I want to achieve during the day or week.  Recording what I’d like to undertake over the next few months (which may change, but that’s okay).

The gals from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency wanted to share the top three actions/activities that help them to recharge, which is great (often, it’s like pulling teeth to get them to commit to anything outside the business).

JJ:

  • taking Button for a long (long!) walk
  • going to a new café/restaurant, sitting by the window, watching the world go by while I enjoy something I might not usually eat
  • sailing on one of the tourist-tailored catamarans or sailboats and letting the wind blow through my hair and marveling at how calm/choppy the sapphire waters are . . . and grinning with awe when I sight sea life.

Rey:

  • hitting a sale (I hit them when I’m stressed or happy too, but who doesn’t love a great sale!?)
  • finding an audition (to try out or simply to watch)
  • calling or meeting with friends.

Linda:

  • jogging or running or lifting weights
  • surfing on the North Shore
  • trying new recipes or “concocting” my own.

Give it some thought.  What would work for you?  What might give you that [needed] zap of energy?  Then, turn that thought into an action . . . and give yourself that boot in the butt.

Long-Term Care, Long Time Coming

A twofold title.

One: my mom is finally in a long-term-care facility.

Two: it takes many decades before anyone enters a long-term care facility.

1wedmom1Fortunately, for my mother, she entered LTC not a moment too soon, given her dementia had increased considerably in the last month while her mobility had decreased to nil in the same time frame.  Fortunately, she’s in one of the best homes around.  It’s hotel-lovely inside and has everything: a chapel, dining rooms, sizable rooms and large windows, classes, just to name a few.  Fortunately, the staff is excellent (caring and considerate, and patient).

Unfortunately, few residents seem cognizant enough to recognize their environment and/or cannot partake of the activities/events and amenities.  Unfortunately, my mother’s ability to recognize and process what is around her is presently sporadic.  Unfortunately, she is confused and despondent; she calls to say no one goes to see her, my daily visits forgotten.

I suppose there are blessings in being unaware (cognitively impaired) for those that are.  For those that are on the other side, offering solace and companionship, it’s saddening.

But life does go on, one way or another, and we can only go with the flow, as swift or slow as it may prove.

We may have been an oil-and-vinegar pair, Mom, but I love you nonetheless.  God bless.

The Guilt Train Ain’t No Gravy Train

1use20220212_121754Perhaps not a great title, but it has a certain alliterative appeal.  It’s certainly better than The Guilt Train Keeps Chugging or The Ever-Rolling Guilt Train.

Guilt.  It’s not a pleasant thing.  It’s heavy, stressing . . . debilitating.  Sometimes it’s warranted, other times not.  In my case, it’s saddening and dispiriting, to be sure.

My mother has been offered a bed and will officially enter a LTC facility Monday morning.  Does she know?  No.  Why?  Given she believes long-term-care facilities are strictly for “crazy people”, and knowing how she reacts to certain things, I felt it wasn’t in her (or my) best interest to be advised that this is happening.

Guilt trip #1:  putting her in a home.

Guilt trip #2:  not telling her about said home.

Guilt trip #3:  being an ungrateful daughter who has allowed her mother to work her fingers to the bone (this she’s been telling me re me/we saying her she has to remain in the hospital a “wee while longer”).

Guilt trip #4:  not being able to provide the care that she now requires and dealing appropriately with the increasing dementia (don’t good daughters [continue to] do everything, regardless of the cost to their own health?).

Guilt trip #5:  not having been an amazing child throughout the years.

On another note, the hospital staff are amazing.  They’d agreed (given the “unique” situation) to keep her there until she is transferred to the facility.  Patient and understanding, supportive and helpful only begin to describe the awesome team.

Yes, she’s been super annoyed and angry at me re her stay in the hospital.  She doesn’t understand that she cannot walk anymore, that it takes at least two people to transfer her from the bed to a chair.  The dementia is not part of the equation—and we don’t talk about that, rightly so.  Some people can handle it when told.  I’ve known some who accepted the diagnosis rather graciously and simply went with the flow, one woman even laughing when she had a fight with her daughter.  “She’ll be fuming for hours, but in two minutes, I’ll have forgotten all about it.”

During the last ten-plus days, I’ve received enough evil eyes to fell the Jolly Green Giant (always liked his beans), heard comments about my many faults.   And, undoubtedly, there’ll be many more to come.

There you have it, the guilt train does indeed keep chugging along.  I suspect it will for a long, long while.

Sorry, Mom, I’m such a disappointment and haven’t been what you wanted me to be.

The Wheels of Time . . .

. . . keep rolling.  Sometimes, for a twinkling, they stop.

As many of you know, I’ve been doing mom-care for a long, long time.  It’s been a rollercoaster ride, to be sure.  It hasn’t been easy, especially these last two-plus years, where [more] health and mental issues have developed and intensified.

Recently, the dementia kicked in, rather full tilt boogie.  It’s frightening to listen to, sad, traumatic.  Not for the person experiencing it, of course; all is fine in his/her world, and that is undoubtedly a blessing. 

Unfortunately, almost simultaneously, the osteo-arthritis decided to do a full tilt boogie as well; my mother could barely walk . . . until she could not walk at all.  Frequent falls began.

There was no option but to bring her to the hospital to see what was happening.  There, the dementia evolved into delirium, something that apparently occurs when older people are in such a setting.  Elderly patients struggle to convey information, ask a question, play with imaginary items, remove their robes, cry and/or cry out repeatedly.  For those who are visiting—family and friends—it is disconcerting and heartbreaking.

The time has arrived where my mother must now enter a long-term-care facility and that will happen once a bed is found.  It will be challenging/tough for both of us—me to see someone who enjoyed and embraced life move to a new “residence” where she’ll be primarily bed-bound, and her because she won’t be returning to a home she knows and loves. 

With time, she’ll likely forget about that . . . as she will me.  The wheels of time, for her, will simply cease rolling.  With fall, comes winter.  With life, sadly  but inevitably, comes death. 

JJ’s on the Bandwagon

My turn at the bat.  Rey and Linda posted about themselves, so I feel compelled to do the same.  But my likes and favorites would make for a snoozy post and I’d not experienced anything traumatic or poignant . . . except the death of my sister, Reena Jean.

My sister and I weren’t very close.  She was rather flighty and very unpredictable.  She was also a thrill-seeker (her recusant ex called her a wing-nut).  Still, I rather admired her; I liked the impulsiveness.  My sister had boldly if not smugly stood on (clung determinedly to) a pier by the ocean during a Category 4 hurricane.  She challenged Mother Nature to “bring it on!”.  Mother Nature granted the request by yanking Reena Jean into the raging deep . . . and had the last laugh.  It’s hard not to admire that zest for life . . . even if it cost my sister hers.

That got me reflecting on our unconventional family members.  Some people claim they’re eccentric, others say they’re quirky, and a few would profess off-the-wall and/or whacky.  You may have met Aunt Mat (The Connecticut Corpse Caper); she’d likely top the list.  The sexagenarian is truly dotty, but quite enchanting.  She’s never one to mince words and tells it like it is, which can be both refreshing and daunting.  [That she may be a secret serial killer is something we don’t speak about.]

Then there’s eyebrow-less Uncle Flex, sour-faced Great-Aunt Gertrude, toupee-crazy Uncle Charly . . . and the various aunts.  Jane Sue won a ton of money in a lottery and always has some “sweet young thing” hanging off an arm.  Ruth June is a born-again Christian who writes tame romance novels that sell fairly well; she’s also the proud owner of ten dozen crocheted blankets and fifteen dozen handcrafted doilies.  Rowena Jaye, Rey’s mother, was what they used to call a “homemaker”, though she didn’t excel in that department—lumpy mushroom-soggy rice anyone?  Sue Lou, the one with the highly shellacked hair (she still resides in the 60s), was a librarian once upon a time; these days, she spends her time at her large Maine cottage, practicing taxidermy on the fish she catches.

If I posted about them all, you’d be reading for a full day.  But I do have to mention one more person: my father.  I never knew him, not even his name.  My mother had always refused to talk about him, other than that one time (I was about nine and had asked) to explain, with a sigh and roll of the eyes, that he’d been killed climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.  I’d boasted to schoolmates that “Edmund H” Fonne was an explorer and adventurer, and his last planned exploration—before returning home to his beloved family—had been a fateful trip to Tanzania.  As a private eye, maybe I should do some serious P.I.ing and learn about him.  . . . nawwwww.  Sometimes, mysteries are best left to remain unsolved.

JJsatDespite the family leaning toward madcap and weird, I’m rather fond of [most of] them.  I wouldn’t be who I am if I’d not experienced those zany moments, attended chaotic get-togethers, or helped bail the odd one out (that’s another post).

Here’s to the ever-fanciful Fonnes!

Lindy-Loo’s Here Too

Hi there.  I thought I’d have a lightsome title because I’m going to touch upon something that’s not as frivolous as Rey’s post.  Can you spell s-h-a-l-l-o-w?  Just kidding, Rey; you’re my best friend and I love you.  😉

1lindaThe three of us from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency have been friends for a while now, living together in a nice (still-needs-to-be-fixed) house, keeping busy with cases and volunteering, and enjoying life (its ups as well as its downs).

Recently, I got to thinking about my earlier years—like when I was in my teens and married to a jazz musician with a vice so major, it resulted in his passing.  I was young, he wasn’t.  I often thought he should have known better, should have done something—gotten help with the addiction, talked to someone, done everything and anything to be free of his “obsession”.  It cost him money, self-esteem, friends, and then his life in a fleabag motel.

Given my age—and naïveté, I suppose—and always being on the move, given the country-wide gigs, I didn’t deal with it very well.  Constant travel, sporadic sleep, late nights and countless parties contributed to a state of “perpetual un-focus”.  I felt useless, powerless, because Chiffre wouldn’t listen to my pleas to stop, to get help.  I’m not sure, at the time, I even knew where to find that help.  Or maybe I was too scared to deal with reality.

Did I know Chiffre was an addict when we got married?  No.  Okay, in truth, I suspected, but turned a blind eye.  It wasn’t like he was out of control or anything.  It wasn’t like he couldn’t function; he played a mean sax and managed to show up on time for every show . . . at least for the first few months we were married.  Then, slowly but surely, he started arriving later and later, and the pleasantly-worded “I can handle this, don’t worry, hon” changed to a heated “find someone else to pester, I got this”.  He grew more disinterested in things he used to enjoy and lost interest in the marriage; manipulation became part of the daily equation.  Still, together we stayed.

I didn’t criticize, but asked, begged, talked calmly (no matter how upset or stressed or depressed I was).  I started making excuses and lying shamelessly—for him, for me, for us.  Things were lost and broken, much like our marriage.  He was a mess, as was I.  A friend of the drummer was a social worker and he talked to me one afternoon.  He truly cared and his advice was sound and solid.  I should have pursued it, made the calls, checked in with support persons and groups, but I was, well, in denial of sorts, I guess.  I wished I done as he’d advised.  Maybe Chiffre wouldn’t have died alone, with a needle in his arm.

I’ve had therapy since then and have learned that I shouldn’t shoulder the burden or blame.  And that might make for another post one day.  Analysis can be difficult (very soul-searching) but the subsequent healing can prove a blessing.  And I won’t lie; it takes consummate commitment.

I’ve not thought of that dark period of my life too often since moving to Oahu.  I regret it, wish it had never happened . . . yet acknowledge that it helped me grow . . . and learn.  There’s always is a light at the end of that proverbial tunnel, even if, at the time it doesn’t appear that way.  I hate to sound trite, but things do happen for a reason.  It’s what we do with that “reason” that counts.  We may get dragged down, but we don’t have to stay down.  Rise to the challenge, the trial(s) and test(s).  You’re/we’re stronger than we think.

Hey, it’s Rey!

. . . featured in the first of three posts.  I won, so I get to go first.  The Boss gave us carte blanche: write about anything that floats your boat (okay, I said that, but whatever).

We-ell, that got me to thinking way too much.  I mean, what would readers like to read?  What would I like to share?  What are we up to / what am I up to?  Do I want to discuss world events (can you spell b-o-r-i-n-g)?  How about local doings? 

After throwing a bunch of ideas in a basket, I picked one, and the winner was/is . . .  a mishmash of likes/favs.  Writing about what’s wrong with the world is such a—what they used to call—downer.  We know it’s a mess, on so many levels, for so many reasons.  Who needs to visit or revisit that? 

So, here you have it: what makes Rey happy.  😊

I love:

    • seeing rainbows
    • being a P.I. and seeing the Triple Threat Investigation Agency do well
    • sensing danger (but staying safe)
    • being a part-time actress
    • learning new things sometimes 
    • having a house and wonderful pet, Bonzo (my bunny)
    • living with my BFF, Linda, and cousin, JJ
    • being flirty.

My favs:

    • pizza
    • Il Volo (way too cute)
    • beaches and sunshine
    • life (even when it’s not going well)
    • volunteering.

Yeah, the lists could have gone on for a while, but I stuck with the main likes (loves) and favs.  I’m far from boring, he-he, but some people aren’t keen on reading them . . . and I’m getting tired of the snorts and eye-rolls from my colleagues, Linda and JJ (who are breathing over my shoulders).

1satI’m not sure what those two have in store, but I’d bet dollars to donuts they won’t focus on themselves.  That’s not to say I’ve got an ego or anything because I decided to focus on l’il ol’ me . . . lovable Rey.  There ain’t nothin’ wrong with that. 

Mr. Smiley

Well known worldwide, frequently used (and overused perhaps), smiley emojis make for great responses when there’s nothing to say or you simply don’t want to share [genuine] feelings.

Mr. Smiley is a great avoidance tool.  I use him regularly . . . often to say thank you, but just as often to avoid stating how I’m doing.  I’m not generally a Gloomy Gus (not publicly anyway); there are days, however, when I can certainly become one (given my personal situation).  So, not to convey my true self, I put on a “fake face”, and no one’s the wiser.  It’s all good.

I rarely use Mr. Smiley to encourage a conversation, but he can serve such a purpose, if you wish him to.  Simply sticking him in a reply likely won’t encourage one, so you may have to add a few words.  Or not.  It’s possible Mr. Smiley may invite another Mr. Smiley, who summons a third Mr. Smiley, who attracts . . . .

Those that [really] know me understand that if I reply with an emoji, I’m too busy/stressed to “chat”.  It’s my subtle way of bowing out.  And it’s all good.

Mr. Smiley makes me smile when he shows up on my screen.  I rather like having him visit in place of “thank you” or “you’re welcome”.  He’s just so much more . . . LOL . . . personable.

Mr. Smiley, or a cousin, can brighten a message or text, even a day if it’s not going well.  Communications can seem rather to-the-point and flat when received as words/instructions only, and that’s fine.  They’re to serve a purpose: inform.  But add a positive emoji and those communications seem so much perkier. 

There’s not just one Mr. Smiley, of course.  You have several to choose from, whose smiles vary from partial to full to toothy to laughing/crying.  On the flipside, you have Mr. Frowny, Ms. Uncertain, Mr. Puzzled, and the [lengthy] list continues—to upwards of 3000.  You could write a book on—or with—those.  An intriguing/challenging thought; perhaps, when time/life opens up, I’ll give that a try one day.

Emojis can be used to circumvent a situation.  If I’m dealing with a difficult person or circumstance, I can state something matter-of-factly and add an emoji to “soften” the statement or request.  If someone affronts me, I can send an emoji without being rude (tempted as I might be to use finger/hand signage) or stating the obvious.

The point of this post?  Not much of one really.  Simply thinking about how often I use Mr. Smiley.  But maybe, just maybe, I might also prompt, yes, a smile. 

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