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    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeAug 19th 2018
    I was giving you something to read and it's half pregnant because I didn't know whether you were face planted in the oregano or swinging from the magnolias. Organizing a parade was the last thing I thought you were doing. If you were going to the Tyrol to hike with someone named Dieter in his volkswagen laden with schnapps, I wouldn't have been more surprised.

    Or maybe I would have. Been. Afterall, I just watched Run Silent Run Deep which is a great example of blowing up little replicas of actual boats in a large bathtub. Apparently Clark Gable always quit at 5 pm sharp whether he was in the middle of a scene or just about to shoot a scene - whatever. He would just get up and go home because the work day was over. This annoyed Burt Lancaster no end because he was one of the producers of the film.

    That reminds me of Barbara Eden who was interviewed in her seventies and with Larry Hagman available could see a fabulous opportunity to bring I Dream Of Jeanie back. I can empathize with both parties. One moment you're the latest thing and three minutes later nobody cares.

    Then I watched Bourne Supremacy or Bourne Identity or Bourned To Eternity and that was an action packed movie in the same way tumbling down the side of a mountain with an entire trailer park must be. Look, the add-a-room looks like it's trying to fly away from the Dodge Ram truck careening wildly behind it. (Be sure to lower your 'voice' two octaves when you say Dodge Ram to capture how manly that truuuuck is)

    Let me give you a couple of tips. When you're out walking and you walk past someone lazing in an actual hammock, always grab them and spin them around preferably several times. It serves them right. And if you walk past Martha Stewart telling you to chill the spoon to 14 degrees before you place each nutmeg speck with tweezers onto the artisan pie shell you just washed very lightly in hummingbird egg whites with a feather brush be sure to pull out the $1.49 nerf bat and start beating her about the head. Just trust me.

    And, as an engineer, where I know you guys like to figure out the load bearing capacity of licorice, let me ask you a question. If train A is travelling south at 40 mph and train B is travelling north at 55 mph why do people care when exactly they crash into each other? Somebody switch a track. What about that? Nobody cares about that fact. Just like that gecko on your doormat.

    And finally, always remember that you're a wingnut. To understand that look around you and notice everybody's a wingnut in numerous ways, so the more wingnutty you are, the more you blend in with the flock. Any flock. So while we're practicing drop kicks to the head to defend ourselves from spouses inhabited by aliens and worried that the scene you're stuck in could go on for a thousand years - always remember that nobody knows what's going to happen next. One minute "Frankly my dear I don't give a damn" and the next minute you don't know why you're going home at 5 pm sharp or why I Dream Of Jeanie with 70 year olds isn't the same thing when you can see 500,000 naked women in 5 minutes and don't need the team of experts advising how transparent the Jeanie outfit can and can't be.

    That's a joke no millennial gets. Like references to Sears & Roebuck catalogues in the outhouse or the cream separating from the milk or the party line or "this is another fine mess you've gotten us into Ollie". People sometimes ask what it all means and the answer to that is always the same. When life appears on a planet God makes you never know what it will do. All you know is if it appears to be boring it may be time to look in a mirror.


    I can help you with one more thing. Let's take a squint at your books and see what you owe. Oh look - nadda. Off with you then. And do try the Pralines & Cream. Eat it by the quart like I do. It's not good for you but it's a lot more fun to not care about that too much.

    If you lose your way on a particularly hairy day always remember you're on a rock where men value virgins and the only reason possible is because virgins can't tell that you don't know what you're doing. What's the load bearing capacity of that? Wrong. The answer is 6,000 years or close enough.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeAug 19th 2018
    I dont think I have ever laughed so hard in my entire life as I did reading through this whole post. I mean serious belly laughs. Grateful for that. Been stressful day. Omg I dream of Jeanie with 70 year olds... and my gecko.

    Last night an email was.forwarded from my KC10 bunch. And I got really upset. It was like the telephone game we played as kids. They took some things I said and twisted it into something I didnt recognize. I went into full protective Mama Grizzly Bear mode. Wrote a response and one of the guys helped edit it and put on an intro and forwarded to the group. I was.afraid they might be offended, but reaction has been quite powerful so far. There are some more pilots coming and the Patriot Guard is definite.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeAug 20th 2018
    Oh good. I was starting to worry when I saw your other post that I might have offended. It's out there to respond like that at this time but your three posts just prior made me think it could work.

    Elizabeth, I'm glad you sold that house as I said earlier. It sounded like you were never going to go back to it and that New York was a lot better. I know the shot you mean and that is one of my favourite photographs.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeAug 20th 2018
    Elizabeth, That's great that you were able to sell your house. You are now where you're supposed to be. I hope the years ahead will be happy ones for you.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeAug 20th 2018 edited
    I didn't get pralines and cream, but did get some vanilla fudge ice cream cones.
    Went to the commissary (military grocery) and was mind boggled. Every aisle had something I had eliminated from his diet to try to control the diarrhea. I can now have anything I want. Problem is I have no idea what that is. Soon I will make macaroni and cheese from scratch the way he taught me.
    Then had to try to handle this reception thing. Despite me saying over and over again I don't want to do this, sisterin law keeps wanting me to do fancier than I want. But she doesn't plan it. Her brilliant suggestion today was a place in Rancho Cucamonga. Always liked the sound of that place, but seriously??? It is 45 minutes away. Talk about unhelpful! I called my brother and ranted and finally calmed down. One way or another it will be solved tomorrow.

    I haven't liked wearing my wedding rings for quite some time. I found his ring along with his dog tags. I've been carrying his dog tags around like a talisman. And now I am wearing his wedding ring. Might just stick with that.

    Just before he died I was scanning lots of photos for his boys. Some from when we were first married. We looked like strangers. I couldn't remember what that feeling was like. Yesterday when sister in law was here I said, "and this is my safe room...." But then I realized that I literally have a.hard time visualizing the person who chased me in there and threatened to kill me. They say something like that happens to women after childbirth - the hormones make them forget about the pain rather quickly somehow. It is very strange, but I am having more and more difficulty remembering the fear... like that scary man is gone. I can remember my guy again. Very grateful for that. I had thought that feeling was gone forever.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeAug 21st 2018
    My diet changed several times. When she went into the NH, I could buy two handed food again (corn, ribs, hot dogs, hamburgers etc) and I could buy things she had trouble dealing with or didn't want. I found it took months to migrate to a new diet where things she liked or made that became standard were dropped gradually and new things she didn't like that much but I did became regulars.

    Your sister in law technically isn't your SIL anymore. One normally has in-laws when one is married. The nice thing is that's your choice. About the Rancho Cucamonga (seriously?), the rule is all people can input in proportion to how much they helped. It was common for me to see how relieved people were that my wife's struggle was over which is another way of saying they didn't have to avoid it like the plague anymore and could swoop in with their wingnutty ideas now.

    One of the more stark things I noticed afterwards was the willingness of certain parties to advise me on what I should be doing now - which as often as not tied into fantasies they had about what they might like to do.

    My strongest advice would be to not make decisions unless you have to for the simple reason that you are going to change quite a bit just like these last few days and ways that you saw things will change too as you already see with the safe room and so on. I would say in my own case this summer has been another surprising layer peeled off to an extent where I can see I'm still changing materially inside which changes how I see everything else.

    Some feel the need to move soon afterwards and some for a fresh physical location start and some because the current place reminded them of too many things. I would have to buy new dishes and pots and pans and utensils and bedsheets and furniture and decorations and a new car because I still use the mixing bowls we got as a shower gift to name just one thing. Instead I found it was crushing to throw out her personal things but 'our' things weren't a problem for me.

    There are as many answers as there are people I think and as you're already seeing some changes pop up quickly like the safe room and the threats. All that was real even while it also wasn't real. How you eventually see all this is probably an evolution over some time.
    Bonnie, I think the only one who should be planning his funeral is you. I don't understand why his family has anything to say about it. I imagine you are trying to put something together that he would have liked, or that he told you he wanted. So you can tell his family that you are planning the kind of service that he would have wanted. They can offer their assistance in a polite, non-pushy way, but they should not have any say-so or control about the plans.

    Regarding food--I eat very differently now than back in the day when Larry was alive. We always used to joke about our northern/southern European food preferences. He always used to say that he had never eaten so many potatoes in his life--and I would say that I had never eaten so few. And I would joke (before any health problems started) that when he was gone, I would never eat tomato sauce again. And you know what? It's taken a while and some experimentation, but I find that on my own I eat pretty much the way we ate at home when I was a kid. As my grandmother used to say, "It isn't a meal without potatoes." lol Three guesses what nationality I am. (Hint--nope, not a drop Italian.)

    I have no idea what point I'm trying to make...if any...but I have to say that it's nice to be able to eat anything I want, whenever I want. And I will only admit it here: if I bring home something scrumptious, like cheesecake, carrot cake, or Ben and Jerry's Urban Bourbon ice cream--I am likely to sit down and eat it before the meal and not after. With a good book, or with total control of the remote if watching a movie or something...Heaven! Yes, there is life after Alzheimers.
    • CommentAuthorlindyloo*
    • CommentTimeAug 21st 2018 edited
    Several suggestions if they work for you, Bonnie:

    Make it easy - nothing that will place any demands on you on the day of the service, burial, and collation. You will have not only your emotions to deal with, but people to greet and perhaps support. That is enough. You will, most likely, be drained and exhausted after.

    Second, and this depends on your situation, make it affordable.

    People will be coming to honor your husband's life and to provide support and love to you. Fancy or not fancy has nothing to do with things. It is not what people will remember. So, do what is best and most comfortable for you.

    It is wonderful that you are beginning to find the memories of your marriage again. I am glad. It took me longer.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeAug 21st 2018
    Lindylou, I didn't think those memories would ever surface I am shocked.
    Today I checked the two ideas she had and they didn't pan out. So I told her what it ia going to be. Not a peep.
    Elizabeth, that is pretty funny about the potatoes.
    Wolf, I like that, "All that was real even while it also wasn't real." It is very difficult to explain stuff like that.
    I stopped at a Military Surplus store today. I found I have my dress blues still, but they don't fit. None in the store so will wear civilian clothes. I did find the most awesome pair of desert tactical boots! Marche - these fit me like a glove. I can order a Distinguished Flying Cross medal if she wants one and I found a picture of him being awarded that medal in VietNam. Do you know you wear the DFC above/before the Purple Heart if you had both?
    I wrote a speech to tell what kind of man he was and how much he valued the friendship of the people coming. I think I am going to be able to read it. But my favorite Crew Chief will back me up.
    Holy moly, a Distinguished Flying Cross. Well, I'm impressed. What an honor--they don't dish those out to just anybody!
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeAug 22nd 2018
    Had a flying thought when you mentioned where she wanted it - have it in a hanger at some airport!! I am sure she would not like that but your husband might.

    Glad the good memories are coming back and so quickly. Maybe all that pulling brush day after day helped so the bad feelings were not so deeply ingrained.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeAug 22nd 2018
    Actually there is an air museum across the hwy from the cemetery. They do events there and they have a C123 like he flew in VietNam. One option is to have it in a hangar area. Sister in law did like that idea. I asked for a quote, but it was out of sight and they require an insurance rider for $1M. So passed on that.
    Nailed everything down today. Now to clean the house.
    How are things going, bhv? I see we have spam again this morning. Sigh. Since I had a few extra dollars from selling the house--and after the huge health scare this winter and spring--I thought it might be a good time to set up my funeral. New York is the only state I would feel secure doing this in--they have extremely good consumer protections for pre-paid funeral accounts. So I went over to a friendly neighborhood undertaker that I'm comfortable with and set up a basic, traditional Catholic funeral. It might be a little early, but hey, you never know. And this way I get what I want and don't saddle the family with paying for it. (How's that for "A Journey Somewhere Else" ?
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeAug 24th 2018
    Very good idea. Plus, they are only going to get more expensive. And now "you will have it your way".
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeAug 24th 2018
    Really bad time last night. All this reviewing pictures and actually remembering why I got married is making it really difficult to square that with the picture of the paramedics picking him up. But I need to just breathe.
    Today really good. I hired a housekeeper and we basically did a spring cleaning in about 2.5 hours. I forgot how much I actually like cleaning. Things now smell good and I feel comfortable in the house again.
    Now need to clean the pool. Lots of ash from the fires. But now I have enough time to do that.
    You're going to have your ups and downs, Bonnie. It isn't a linear least, that's what I found. I would seem to be fine for a while, and then just be hit with such a wave of grief and loss that it was like a tsunami. And then kind of muddle through that, and be okay for a while, and then something would set me off again. Just be ready for anything emotionally--I think of myself as a calm, composed, capable person, in control and all that--but the bereavement process was a whole different kettle of beans. And besides just dealing with the grief and loss, you are also setting up a whole new life for yourself--so a lot of decisions. Everything from where will you live to what will you eat for supper. I think the traditional advice of not making any major decisions for a year after the bereavement is very wise...things need to shake out for a while.
    You are going to need those new boots, Bonnie. There will be more unknown territory to slog through. Life has a way of upending things just when you begin to get a handle on managing the chaos. That is one of the lessons from being an AD spouse. But now that you know that AND have new boots you can handle most everything. Occasionally take a moment to look back at all that you managed and problem-solved and let it inspire and give you confidence.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeAug 25th 2018
    Thanks elizabeth and marche. I think Lindylou likened it to being adrift in a.stormy sea without a life preserver.
    Pretty good today. Last night a favorite neighbor brought flowers. I didn't think I liked flowers. But these are making me smile. Washed my car - been trying to get around to that since about Feb. Two weeks ago I washed his truck for a surprise, but he didn't get to see it.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeAug 26th 2018
    I think it is a full moon tonight. It s marked in bright red on my calendar. But tonight it will be quiet here. I will.go outside after dark and play in the moon shadows and laugh.
    • CommentAuthorlindyloo*
    • CommentTimeAug 26th 2018
    I saw the moon last night and I'm sure you are right. I will go out tonight and sit on the front stoop - maybe visit any neighbors who walk by. Not sure about the dancing. I don't mind being wild and free. Just not sure how the neighbors will take it. I will think of you dancing, Bonnie.
    • CommentAuthorSedgly
    • CommentTimeAug 26th 2018
    I too watched the moon rise last night, it was brighter orange than usual for us..... moonshadows and laughter sounds wonderful
    Sept. 2 was the fourth anniversary of his death. I actually didn't remember it until the next day--the 3rd. I went to Mass on the 2nd, and then to our big Irish festival, the "Hooley on the Hudson" for lots of music and fun socializing. I think of him a lot, of course, and in the Heartland we spoke of him often with affection and a touch of humor, as we re-told the old stories. But I was not an emotional wreck this year--the date did not seem to be as fraught as it was in 2015, 2016, and 2017. God bless that man--the blue bird of happiness really did perch on my roof, build a nest, and stay a while when it brought me Larry. I think I am a happier, better person for having had that good relationship for so long. Alzheimers sure was a problem (understatement of the year), but in the long, long run, it could not destroy me--nor our love--which really is timeless. People die, but love doesn't.
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeSep 4th 2018
    Wow - hard to believe it has been that long. I am so happy to hear each year gets easier - not bogged down with grief but filled with love and happy memories.
    • CommentAuthorNicky
    • CommentTimeSep 4th 2018
    Elizabeth - your post is so inspiring.... I love your "blue bird of happiness perched on your roof". I'm glad to hear you're feeling so positive. I certainly hope I can feel that way when all is said & done - most times I'm still in the "emotional wreck" stage. Enjoy your happy memories.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeSep 4th 2018 edited
    Hi elizabeth, When you first wrote that love doesn't die, it didn't make any sense to me but now I understand it.
    Elizabeth, July 24 was the fourth anniversary for me. I too have been able to look positively at life. I was on a cruise with my younger daughter and we both commented on the date and reflected on the last 4 years, but except for a little watery eyes we went on with our day. I just made up my mind a long time ago that he would be happy for me to do as much traveling as I want for as long as I can. I had 2 big trips this year and have 2 planned for next year.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2018
    I just watched an episode of American Pickers while eating my fantastic cooking ONE MORE TIME and I found out completely unsurprisingly that women were heavily discouraged from riding a bicycle because 'straddling' the center bar was considered immoral.

    (Is there anyone else who's also flabbergasted how consistently throughout history and throughout the world, men can't see women as people because they have a VAGINA?)

    Even in movies, which are fantasy on celluloid, the consistent scene, in the same genre as Gone WIth The WInd only saw black people if they said "Yassa!", is that if it matters and there's any danger or the monster is coming or they have to get out of there - every...single...time, the woman falls down in the most helpless way imaginable and the man has to help the poor little thing up. He has to because vaginas don't grow on trees.

    Don't show your ankle. Don't show your elbow. Don't show your knees. Don't let on that you have breasts. For God's sake don't wear pants! In fact, it's better if you just wear this blanket over your head. Don't talk either and if you do make everything you say sound like a question you need approval on.

    Thousands of years like that except for some enlightened pockets and then came my generation and women suddenly didn't want to wear bras or make up or shave their underarms and didn't give a flying what anybody thought about that. It's not the nipples that are the point, it's that the previous generation of women went into factories and did male jobs because there weren't enough males around. It's that I worked with strong women and I worked for a strong woman and the good ones were just as good at what they were doing as the men were. Twenty percent of people make things happen and genitalia doesn't enter into that (metaphorically speaking).

    Never mind Florence Nightingale. Ask Ayn Rand or Amelia Earhart or Queen Victoria who ruled over the creation of the largest empire in history. Ask me, because I can tell you with very high probability that women's roles in the future are only beginning. The doors and glass ceilings have been coming down since Susan B Anthony and Lucy Stone and others began demanding the right to vote and hold both property and office. The French women who fought and died along side the men bringing universal suffrage to France also deserve a mention. Other countries are way behind, sometimes centuries behind, but Pandora's box has been opened and bicycles will never be the same.

    Some people think that millennials and the younger generations or even life in general is going downhill in a handcart. I don't. I live in the time when europeans FINALLY are unlikely to go to war with each other for yet another thousand years. I live in a time when human beings are coming around to understanding that you can't pee and poo into the river forever imagining it all magically goes away. I live in a time where even when my generation gets together it's a white bread convention - but I go and sit among their millennial children and their friends and there are gay people, black people, asian and brown people, people of indeterminate sex never mind orientation, and nobody cares. We're still making rednecks but the times they are a'changing.

    I don't pretend to understand what's really going on. I look at things such as two of the world's biggest corporations like Air BNB which is the world's largest hotel chain and doesn't own a single hotel, or Uber which is the world's largest taxi service and doesn't own a single car. Good luck to everybody. I'm watching the Northern Lights on Saturn and looking at the 3200 year old cheese they found and watching the Brexit comedy and realizing this summer felt like a summer and noticing that when you feel better you think you look better (you need to squint a bit), and even that when I look in the mirror now I look into my eyes and I see myself and I can see myself looking back full of stories and even an adventure or two.

    "You gotta want it." Some things fall on deaf ears and some things don't and there's no telling what's what until later but that was Bill Murray in Groundhog Day which is just a silly comedy but there he was time and again when I peered over the windowsill out at that nightmare of a world full of anxiety and unwillingness. "You gotta want it" he said with that voice and that face that guarantees he doesn't really care either. "Want what?" I asked him one day. "How should I know?" Bill answered. Right. Silly me.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2018
    I often think about these things too. My favorite saying from the 70s is, "A woman without a man, is like a fish without a bicycle!"
    I grew up in a neighborhood where everyone's grandmother spoke a different language. We didn't learn about racism and antisemitism until we went to high school and they had names for all of my friends. So many fistfights and black eyes that first week or so. So I am glad to see the millenials so easily accepting of some differences. But at the same time they seem to have taken bullying to a whole new level. I can't figure some of that out. But I dont have time to worry about that right now.

    I am asking "Want what?" And answering, "How should I know?" Taking it one minute, one action item at a time. Sleeping a lot! I go gangbusters for awhile. Then, suddenly, it is MUST NAP NOW! Took a break this afternoon and went out to lunch with girlfriends.
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeSep 6th 2018
    Bullying now - look at the 'comedy' show these kids are watching. I don't want them, rarely have in the past. I grew up being put down by family - I don't need to watch it being done on TV. 'In the old days' the TV shows taught moral lessons. If someone was being mean to another kid, the teacher and/or parents would set them straight. We watch Leave It to Beaver most mornings. Eddie was a bully which never stopped but Wally was always telling him to stop doing it. If Beaver was nasty or mean to someone he was spoken to. They even tried him to get to be nice to girls! Of course, many of the video games involve being mean to others in the game - make believe but it has to imprint in their brains.

    I didn't know about racism until I was a senior. I will admit I growing up in mostly white. We had one girl that was adopted from Korea in school. Junior year or exchange student was from Nigeria but thought nothing about him being black. My senior year our exchange student was Sebastian Anefal from Yap who joined the group of outcast I belonged to. (He later became governor of Yap and now is ambassador to Fiji.) Thought it would be fun to take him roller skating. Me thinking because he was a surfer, staying up on roller skates should be easy -wrong so I spent a lot of time holding or picking him up. After taking him home, I went to see my mom who worked graveyard as a waitress. I asked her why people were staring at us. She said because he was 'black'. That shocked me because I had no idea what that had to do with anything. Remember this was also when we just had 5 channels - 3 network, one local, and PBS but news was not like it is today. Then when I got married, moved back east I found how racist my in-laws were. I could live with their thinking until we told them we were adopting. They told us they would accept any child as long as it was not black or black mix. That really ticked me off.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeSep 8th 2018 edited
    You're not likely going to teach a bully not to bully where they may have their own hard stories about how they became like that, or they may just be like that by nature. What I think is new is that bullying is coming out of the closet and being identified as something that's wrong to do - just like child molestation and abuse are coming out of the closet as being wrong, where that was always swept under the carpet instead of being identified as the crime that it is.

    In games, as in life, it's true that our nature comes out. As a family we played monopoly a fair bit and dad was so competitive, he actually got upset about winning. It's a game for goodness sakes and it's family. Everybody sees things differently. I don't like video games but I play a lot of computer games. The difference to me is like checkers and chess. They're both just board games but in chess if you're not working at it and you're playing against someone who is, you're probably going to have a short game.

    Every forum is the same. Some people are nice, some people are mean, and most people watch. School was like that, work was like that, neighbours are like that, family is like that, and so on. Perspective on that reality can empower people because it can teach them that some of the problems in life aren't their's or anything they did. It's the other guy's problem they're experiencing.

    I have zero interest in defining the difference between racism, sexism, or prejudice. I also have zero interest in making people think or do what I want. Variation in nature and character are popping out of wombs all the time and the distribution of that is both random at birth and tribe taught.

    My premise is simple. The best among us can do great things and when we cut out women or people of color or Jewish people or any group, we block ourselves from what we say we actually want. Secondarily, I have a personal interest in helping the victims of the wrong not because of the morals or any other current theory, but because of the suffering.

    Obvious characterizations like race or sex are just openers where bullying is just one aspect of the myriad of things going on involving the empowerment of ourselves as valid individuals. Shyness, self esteem, fear, and a host of others including self expression are just as real.

    If you walk into a room of thirty people someone's going to hate you. If you speak up for one person someone's going to resent it. If you fail someone's going to enjoy that. If you succeed someone's going to be jealous. If you say anything someone's going to disagree. If you don't do anything you're just going to watch. Does that mean anything important? I doubt it. That's just the way we are and so it's the way things are.

    Personally, I couldn't tell you whether I was always likely to come out of the abyss I went into, or whether I learned something new, or whether I changed, or whether it's dumb luck, or any other reason. I doubt anyone can imagine how much I wanted to learn that. I've written about it for years. I just don't know though, and so I can't. I can say that it's because we're all unique; but, the truth is I gained no useful insight into how it works.

    Many are called and few are chosen is kind of a weird way of looking at the fact that sometimes the magic works and sometimes it doesn't. I'll be sifting through the tea leaves until I pass or lose my mind. Few subjects actually close especially where we are invested and in that same vein, I'm pretty sure I'll be puttering around in what Dianne and I were and weren't, what my upbringing was and wasn't, and what I am and am not until then too.

    In some ways life is a living story we all write and here we all share the same thing. The current page is always now and the next page is always tomorrow and the pages we've written are memories. Whatever we believe whether we are in our God's hand, or masters of our own destiny, or just doing our best - that book we're writing is always like that, now, tomorrow, and memories.
    • CommentTimeSep 8th 2018
    Wolf, your thoughts on bullies hit a nerve. I’ve been dealing with one at the Senior’s Centre since the New Year. It has bothered me so much that I was going to post about it on this site and ask for help, but then I thought I should be able try handle it myself.
    I did some research and read that (1) There is a high level of bullying in Senior Centres (big surprise to me) and (2) Interviews with people known to be bullies when they were younger revealed that the bullies bullied, “Because we could.”
    I desperately wanted to get everyone’s take on it. Every time I started to draft a message, it all seemed so long-drawn out and piddley in nature, I thought that surely at my advanced age, I should be able to figure this out myself. So I wrote this person an email telling them to stop and also printed it off, put that in an envelope, and left it with the front desk at the Centre and asked them to give it to this person. That worked for about three months, but the harassment started again two weeks. This time I sent an email to the Director Senior Activities, along with a copy of my original email to the bully. The Director in turn told me that they were going to talk this person and record the conversation and that if this person approached me again, to report it immediately to her, and also to the Manager of the Centre.
    Last week the person stormed by me three times with eyes flashing, obviously furious. But she left me alone.
    Do I feel good about all this whole business? Not a bit.
    I think in this case, Wolf’s classification of bullying the nature of some people is true. However, it is in my nature (Irish) to positively resent it.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeSep 8th 2018 edited
    Mary, I'm glad you were able to face this bully. It does illustrate another example where I named some of them. In this case it's conflict and conflict avoidance. Time and again people suffer because they hate conflict battles and especially conflict wars.

    I'm not advocating liking conflict but I am comparing it with learning how to drive. When we learn how to frame an argument and are taught how (to) focus on issues and separate the circus aspects, when we get some practice at doing that while there is the whiff of gunpowder in the air, it's not all that different from learning to stay aware of what the other moving cars are doing and what the weather conditions dictate or the directions and so on. Driving is a learned skill just (as) conducting ourselves through conflict is.

    The alternative is my focus. That is the suffering of those that are managed or disadvantaged by the heedless that use their lack of concern about conflict over others.

    Of course you don't feel good about it. Defending yourself from bullies doesn't make you a bully. It just means you stood your ground.

    The world is full of reasonable people. I focus on them by choice.
    • CommentTimeSep 8th 2018 edited
    Thanks, dear Wolf, I like the analogy to learning how to drive. I'm off to a Memorial Tea, and I think the bully will be there behind the silver tea pot. It will help to think of the whole situation as a an exercise in defensive driving. Thanks again, friend.
    Mary, as far as I'm concerned you can post on here and ask for help any time you want. I can't imagine that any of us would think it was "piddly." It bothers me that you have been dealing with this all year without coming to us. Hey, what are friends for?

    I've read articles about bullying among groups of seniors--it's hard to believe older people could behave that way, after having gone through all the hard knocks of life...and having had years to mature and mellow. I think in some cases it may be related to a beginning dementia. I know that one 82-year-old in our choir can really speak roughly and meanly about others--and she never used to be like that. She just doesn't always seem like the person that I have known all these years--maybe it is an early sign of dementia. And that could be true of seniors who bully others, too. Just a thought.
    • CommentAuthorRona
    • CommentTimeSep 9th 2018
    When I was looking at facilities for Lisa I went to one that I thought was great. Private expensive but extremely nice thought It might be a good alternative. Bright it was set up like assisted living with a beautiful dinning room etc. When I explained Lisa’s condition they suggested she should be in their lockdown dementia area because the people in the other area sometimes can be mean to others if they cannot keep up!!!!! In other words they did not want to be around people with dementia and may not accept them or treat them well. This was a bit of a shock to me sounded just like the school yard bulling only in a seniors home. The dementia area was nice but really no different then many of the other facilities so this one quickly came off the list. Amazed me too that the facility explained this and accepted it. I quess if they are paying a lot they don’t want “those people” in their face.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeSep 9th 2018
    We often make the mistake of thinking of old people as being nice, or sweet. That's just stereotyping. People don't usually change their when they get old; they just get more so. If someone is mean or rude when they are young, they're usually that way when they get old. And if they get dementia, they usually continue being mean or rude. Because dementia screws up a person's brain, it sometimes causes behavior problems, but that's not meanness; it's a variety of craziness.
    • CommentAuthorxox
    • CommentTimeSep 10th 2018
    "When I explained Lisa’s condition they suggested she should be in their lockdown dementia area because the people in the other area sometimes can be mean to others if they cannot keep up!!!!! In other words they did not want to be around people with dementia and may not accept them or treat them well."

    5 years ago when looking for an ALF for my one one director said almost the same thing. She recommended the locked down dementia floor because residents on the other floors tended to make fun of any weakness of a new resident. The entire building was secure so there wasn't any simply retiring to this building. Decided that this was not the best place for Leannah.
    • CommentTimeSep 10th 2018 edited
    Interesting comments everyone. Thanks. Wish I'd come to you'all earlier.
    Sharks can smell blood of a wounded animal and move in quickly for the kill. Some people do, too. I include bullies.
    We would like to think that people mellow with age and become kinder. Evidently playground monitors are needed all through life.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeSep 11th 2018
    The amateur psychoanalysis of me. A farce performed by the three blind mice.

    I traveled in my job. I hated it. I spent time driving around different cities finding where I was supposed to be. I hated it. I gave presentations and talks. I hated it. Dianne (my wife) got sick in the head and drifted away from me. I hated it.

    So, of course, that what my dreams are. Over and over. Different settings same dream. It's 4:52 am. I woke up twenty minutes ago. I was late getting admin to book my flight, I was wrestling with what to say in the presentation, I didn't want to do it and instead wanted to get out of it so I was going to go over to where Dianne worked but I couldn't find my car and didn't really understand how to get there, but I was tired of all this and found my way over there telling my wife who was wearing this strange brown wig that I didn't want to go. I had tried to phone her from the 'office' but the office was always somewhere I never worked and I tried at least five phones and none of them worked properly.

    No one is ever concerned but me and I'm never concerned that nothing in the dream actually makes sense either. All I ever want to do is get somewhere in a place I don't know where nothing I want to do works although everything else seems normal. Street cars, people in the streets, people chatting with you briefly, giving me directions or advice while I scan the parking lot to see if my car is here which it never, ever is.

    The fact is that I never did want to travel or talk or work. I've also looked for my car in dreams for decades. I don't pretend to really understand, but this morning a penny dropped. I realized that at least in these endless dreams I'm actually looking for something semi familiar. In real life, I'm not even doing that - I'm pretty much just surviving it where I'm not ignoring it. You've heard of the reluctant traveler. This is reluctant living.

    The most honest way to say what's been happening these 3 1/2 years is that I'm completely ignoring somewhat less of my life as time goes by. It would be an absolute falsehood to say I want to be here like this. It would also be a lie to say I ever looked at life much differently than in my dreams. Being in my life and even getting somewhere in it was rarely hard and usually fairly easy, but being comfortable in it or feeling like I had the world by the tail or actually owned anything is laughable and always has been.

    I wrote my dreams down one year for the entire year. I made a book of them and gave it to my x-best friend because he never remembered dreaming. Those dreams and these dreams don't have anything much that's similar. In those dreams (about 20 years ago), I was much more comfortable inside and went on different adventures and drove a Jaguar or a Model T or even a bike or I flew or went places. In my dreams these years it's the same motif over and over like a red light blinking way in the background that something's systemically wrong.

    And this morning when I woke up after taking Dianne's brown wig off and seeing her brain was not the same (while explaining I didn't want to do this anymore) - I realized that I'm resisting everything about my life and part of that is that I have nothing I can see that I want to embrace or pursue, so I cling to old formats that don't really work in my dreams either.

    My real life could hardly be easier. But it could hardly have less meaning for me either. Unfortunately that truth is not a dream.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeSep 11th 2018

    I sometimes wish that material things could matter more to me but they don't. I can hold my own in most rooms whether it's physics, mathematics, history, art, comedy, finance, or a string of other subjects and I sometimes wish that could matter more to me but they're just topics. What I never wish is that I was more confident or more full of myself. I wouldn't be me, and I think what you own or what you know or what you can do are stupid things to get caught up in.

    I've been told I'm handsome or good looking my entire life. I've been propositioned by a dozen men and scores of women throughout my life. I don't really see it but I can't imagine caring. I'm a millionaire too. Tiny little income (my fault) but net worth over seven figures (also my fault). It doesn't mean anything I'm ever going to care about. What I look like and what I have and what I can do are like saying what trees there are around. I believe that in ways much deeper than what my dreams are. I'm not the type that gets shocked that cancer or alzheimers has invaded my life because my life is the sum of the times I've lived through and that's all it is. My perception of myself is reality in the same way a paper doll lasts in the rain. The rain is real and the paper is real - it's the doll that isn't.

    My father was a nazi. You may have heard the germans at the end gave kids and old men guns and sent them out. Well that's true because my dad was fourteen when that happened and within one week he watched his friend's head get blown off and got himself shot. I learned at an early age what we did to those poor people and I vowed then never to take my own life so seriously that I would perpetrate a harm on another human being or stand by while someone is made to suffer. I've kept that vow and have never remained silent in the face of abuse nor have I ever believed that what I believe gives me cause to lord it over anyone. I've never cared about 'winning' and I never will because I don't believe there is any such thing.

    I learned something from alzheimers I never would have believed. That I can be hurt this badly, that I can be broken, and ground up, and spit out, and that all the ability and strength and conviction and love and determination are nothing when events wreak havoc ripping everything up. That is, all those things remain real start to finish except for 'me' who becomes the flotsam strewn across the fields.

    I know that my dreams are truth. I would rather cling to bits and pieces of the old comforts that don't even work well in dreams, than embrace the facts of my reality now where my looks and money and smart ass abilities don't buy you a cup of coffee. I know that if I took a job I would get involved and that would be good. I know that what I really want is to be a comedy writer among a team working to make the script good. I could enjoy doing that. Those aren't happening. What's happening is that I can see something about myself this morning and I've got a feeling getting tired of Klingon lifestyle in my dreams and admitting all this to myself is going to have an effect.

    Art captures all this angst better than philosophy and movies are the bravest form of art. A still picture or sculpture or novel don't have nearly the extent of bravery that film has IMO. There's nothing to hide behind because there's nothing left to the imagination. Everything that's there is presented to the audience so familiar with life they might hum and haw over what a painting or a book means but they judge the film with personal knowledge. That takes me to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. A film shot with Italian actors in Italy who speak in Italian. Watch the lips and you can see that aside from Clint and Eli Wallach and a few others, they overdubbed English on all the supporting cast where they chose words that seemed to fit the lips moving better. There's a line which squinty eyed Clint Eastwood says to Eli when they're talking about the $200,000 in gold. He lights his little cigar and announces "we're going to have to earn it". Time of your life, eh kid?
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeSep 12th 2018
    When older people have a personality change, usually for the worse, it often is caused by a TIA which they may not even be aware they had. They may not develop into VaD but for some reason it can affect their personality. I know those who have had a stroke or TIA that get mean or nasty but never develop into VaD. Others like my sister who immediately had a personality change to nasty after her stroke and did develop in VaD. Also, as we age disappointments, losses, depression can all affect us in negative ways.
    Wolf ............. I so enjoy reading your stories. I can't imagine how you can do this.
    I read them over and over again. You give my little brain something to think about.
    • CommentTimeSep 12th 2018 edited
    You’re right, Charlotte. There are losses, too, as we get older: losses of friend, relatives, health, energy and of control.
    This particular person has been in a position of control all her life — in her profession and her personal life. She is the daughter of an Anglican priest from an Ontario family “to the manor born” (Wolf will know what I mean), does a lot of charity work, is and has always been a “take charge” person. Or maybe in her mind she’s trying to save me. And the more reluctant I was, the more determined she became.
    Anyway, she has stopped. If she starts again, I am to report it immediately. We’ve come a long way in handling bullies. I remember when I was in grade ten, about 1946 in a small high school in a fishing village on the B.C. coast, one of my classmates was waylaid on the way home from a basketball game and beaten up by three other girls. She had a black eye and scratched face. (It had to do with a boy.) I took her to the school principal, who also taught all three grades in the high school, sure that he would want to know and stop it. He told us, “Try to work it out yourselves.” I was greatly disappointed. He probably didn’t want to take sides in a small town ,but I thought he was pretty chicken.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeSep 20th 2018
    I've never met a pretty chicken but I'm not sure I would agree your former school principal would fill that bill. Sorry. I don't mean to denigrate the attractiveness of fowl or presume to understand what that is. Or this empty school teacher or people fishing as something you can do for three days in a row without going starkers and throwing yourself in, it's just that I don't know a chickens best side from a drumstick.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeSep 20th 2018
    In a recent Economist (Sept 01), there is a 3 page article on loneliness I found depressing, I mean interesting, because it gave statistics that suggest the loneliest group is young adults and not the elderly everyone loves pointing to as a problem. It also touched on the very rich who become isolated from reality by the piles of cash they have to wade through just to get the morning paper. Not being part of the Maserati, Gucci, Chanel club makes most people want to throw them over the side of the boat but they, apparently, have feelings.

    The article touched on the RCMP in Canada checking once a year or so on isolated miners to see if they were still breathing and skipped from there to Japan where young people increasingly seal themselves off from the outside to the point that has been given a name in Japanese, and started up the development of imitation friendly robots and their robot dogs. Apparently there's a difference between a Chromium Alloy 'tail' wagging and a metronome.

    Also apparently, extensive polling shows that some 22 and 23 percent of people in America and Britain are classified as lonely, compared with 9% in Japan. Japanese statistics are often elsewhere due in part to the fact that they tend to look at non-Japanese people the same way people might look at a Koala Bear in a zoo. No other country has so many people that want to isolate themselves from everybody else they have a word for it. Draw your own conclusions.

    The article touched on the trend for people to be super connected by their cellphones and yet lonely inside (press the like button to become one of my friends) although they didn't touch on in home monitoring (I've fallen and I can't get up) staffed by minimum wage earners in Bangladesh or Mumbai.

    The article did touch on the idea that loneliness is a perception rather than a state and that 'transitional' loneliness is different from prolonged loneliness. There are events in life that make us lonely (we can all name one) which takes time to go through but is classified as transitional. It also, as the Economist does, pointed out that neither the word transitional nor the word prolonged have any empirical data to define what those words mean. I can tell you what that means. It means nobody wants to deal with it.

    Loneliness is a perception, not a state. One person's loneliness is another person's peace and quiet. When we feel we have no one to talk to or are waiting for people to call or write, that is one of the indicators of loneliness apparently and I agree. I took a summer house there once and ended up staying for years and that's my experience. When I saw my life as waiting for others, that's what life seemed like, and when I saw my life as an opportunity for a privileged few, that's what life seemed like too.

    Take my sister. She's one of the ancient ones being a year older and she was complaining, I mean commenting, about the fact that sex as an activity has dropped off the table. I told her that was too bad because I have a rich and satisfying sex life. I was joking of course. It's actually fantastic.

    It's all about perception. Take my sister. She had the 'grands' over for a sleep over and the two boys spent hours on their Ipads (she was informed no WIFI no grandchildren) sitting right next to each other. The thing was they were actually playing with both their dads (my nephews) in a MMORPG which is a way of saying the four of them were teamed up in their own television show (if you don't get this just skip over it because it's never going to matter).

    The thing is that loneliness really isn't a well understood thing in society as the article said. It's cause can be shyness or alienation of our circumstance or fixations (eg: hoarding) or the foresight not to impose ourselves on real human beings. Who knows? One of the causes quoted in the article was "leaving home without your partner". I had that one along with a bunch of others. Just a few months ago or more recently, I was admitting my loneliness right here (I've fallen and I can't get up) and now I'm spending more time scanning likely groups easily accessible that I can try some bits out on. Loneliness isn't clearly understood The Economist pronounced. Neither are people.
    The undersigned wishes to state that 'likely groups' in no way implies that this hallowed hall is such a thing although the optics of doing that would not be good which is why I didn't. In fact, I could have and should have skipped right over that but in my mind there is a giant cartoon finger pointing at that phrase 'scanning likely groups' which of course there isn't.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeSep 20th 2018
    Interesting. I haven't read The Economist. Sounds like I should check it out.
    I was asking myself the other day if I felt lonely. Actually no. I felt more lonely when he was alive and here but couldnt converse. I often feel lonely in crowds. Yes, I do have agoraphobia. Haven't had a panic attack in years though. Mostly by not getting into crowds in the first place. But, I digress.
    I was waiting to hear from someone. Don't like to call because they are all working. I was just about to call my brother two days ago when the phone rang even as I reached for it. It was that particular brother just calling to chat. The next day I decided to call my friend the hospice nurse. Again, as I reached for the phone, it rang. She's been working at a new nursing home job trying to help turn around some staffing problems. Has been working too many hours and has a heart condition herself. We talked as she drove to work. They sent her home because she was deathly pale, sweating, and had blue lips. She had worked a double shift and had two hours sleep and was back intending to do another double shift. Good grief! They sent her home. She called to tell me she was home safe and I didn't need to worry about her being at work that night. I'm like, blue lips? And you drove yourself home??? You're a nurse!!! Should know better. So I worried more. But she called again last night and is much improved. And a new DON and three new RNs start today.
    I am worried that there won't be people willing to work when I end up needing assistance. But can't control that.

    Off on another tangent... you mentioned not knowing about Pretty chickens. Seriously? There are some amazingly beautiful chickens. My brother has a small rural property on Long Island, NY. He has a chicken coop and about six or seven different kinds of hens. They let the chickens out during the day. When I am there I could sit and watch those chickens all day long. They each have different personalities. They wander all around the yard eating seeds and bugs. They get up on the picnic table and the sunshine is like a spotlight coming through the trees as they seem pose for a picture there.

    And.... you mention Perception. I took a course in Perception Psychology in undergrad school. It was fascinating. But the professor was an overbearing bore. I had to see him at his office once and wasn't looking forward to that. Fortunately, for me, we met in the hallway. Unfortunately, for him, because I am about two inches taller than he is. This was back in the 70s. It was funny because he just couldn't abide looking up at me. For some reason he kept coming closer and closer. He must have not believed that I was actually taller, because by coming closer he just made it that much worse. (It was really funny because just that day his lecture was about perspective.) Finally he had my back against the wall totally invading my social space and I could no longer hear a word he was saying. Had to put my hands against his chest and tell him to back off and start again. I was surprised he didn't fail me. I always wondered if he ever understood what happened there.

    And, speaking of chickens and short men.... when I was in the Air Force quite a few of the colonels were fighter pilots. Their average height was a bit shorter than the average man which is currently still about 5' 8". They were mostly at or below that. So, one night we had an incident and I was the officer in charge. It was such an interesting situation that nearly the whole wing staff came out to ask about it. So there I am, the only female maintenance officer on the base, standing at 5'11", second lieutenant, surrounded by about twenty full bird colonels, none of whome stood above my shoulders. They are all wringing their hands like what are we going to do? I felt like a mother hen. We already had it under control, all the reports were filed. No one was hurt. I was already working with the engineers to prevent recurrence. Nothing to see, or do, here folks, I mean, sirs. My crew chiefs were cracking up in the truck. They called me mother hen for quite some time.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeSep 20th 2018
    Bonnie, go back to the last two words of Mary's post and you'll see there aren't actually any chickens. Her principal was the pretty chicken although not exactly in that way either.

    I respect what height does to people where I've been around people pushing 7 feet and they're big. I can understand being 5'11" getting in the way but I wonder if that professor was coming on to you more than being fascinated by your height. You're short BTW. I'm pushing 6'5" and that doesn't mean as much now but back in the day I heard "how's the weather up there?" until I got sick of it. No girls or women asked me that - only men...the little dears. I've gotten to know hundreds of them and in all that height never entered into a single thing except basketball and reaching something high up...a thing I do quite regularly shopping in a city full of midgets. I'm just kidding. Height doesn't mean anything much - or shouldn't; however, the world is full of short over-achievers. Maybe there's more vitality in a compact body.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeSep 20th 2018
    Yeah, it took me a little while to find the chicken reference before I wrote, but still, Ihavd fu. Remembering my brother's actual pretty chickens.

    In college I had a.friend who was 7'6". He would rest his elbow on top of my head and say, "My it's nice to see a tall woman". Height doesn't make much difference in my life any more. In the Air Force man's world I think it was somewhat of an advantage.
    • CommentAuthorxox
    • CommentTimeSep 21st 2018
    BHV, I’m surprised there is any rural land remaining on Long Island.