Wednesday, December 18, 2013

we lost her

Last night a little after 9 pm we lost her.

She put up a valiant fight against this horrible thing we call Alzheimer's. Of course, we knew who would win from the beginning, we did not know the time schedule.

I had not planned to be there at the end. But in late afternoon I decided to stay very late, maybe close to midnight if necessary. Daughter 1 was there with me and together we saw it happen.

The day before I could say: "Miriam I love you." She would answer in grunts. I could read what she was saying, we had a decent conversation. Yesterday there was no response at all.

Her breathing was labored, but she kept going. I went out of the room to call a friend and when I returned Daughter said; "mom is not breathing the same." I went to find the Aid who was in charge. She put her ear against miriam's chest and then went to get a stethoscope. When she came back and listened she just said: "She is gone."

The Aid, who is a wonderful woman who has seen and experienced much cried with us as we put the last details together.

We stayed until the funeral home people came and picked up her body.

This part is over and I am glad. Miriam did not need to suffer more, but now I am really alone and that grief will take a bit longer.

"I loved you Miriam. You were the light of my day and night."

Monday, December 16, 2013

sack cloth

Miriam is still with us.

When I get up close and tell her I love her, she grunts two or three grunts and I know she understood and replied to my statement. We have had some fairly good conversations that way.

She can not eat nor swallow, but her heart is strong. The schedule is hers, but she is not getting better, and we will lose her.

Today I began another mourning stage; I had my hair cut very short and I shaved off my mustache and beard.  In some cultures the man cuts off his hair to demonstrate his mourning.

The Big Book talks about putting on sack cloth and ashes. This is my version.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

not tonight, most likely

When asked, the nurse said that the odds were that Miriam would not die tonight.

There is a degree of comfort there, but her struggle with this damned disease is about over. She won't make it to Christmas most likely.

A week from Sunday the family is gathering here for a "Mom Celebration." Whether Miriam will be alive is doubtful, but it is the family getting together to remember this dear person.

My emotions are all over the place. I am not sure of much of anything. When the Nursing Home requested that we make arrangements with the funeral home for the remains, it hit pretty hard that they, the professionals in this stuff, know our time is limited.

So we signed papers and made plans and now we sit and wait. I spent several hours with Miriam today, Daughter Arline spent more. Tomorrow we'll do it again.

She has been a wonderful person, a great wife and a sterling mother and grandmother. She is loved and cherished.

Once I gave her a note: "If Love were fattening, you would weigh a ton." She was loved and she loved in return.

It's OK to sleep my precious.

Monday, December 9, 2013

With my brother Ben and sister Joyce. 
Joyce and I have both parents in common, but our father was killed a few months after Joyce was born. We all have the same mother.
The graves are of our parents on the right (Thatcher) and our maternal grandparents (Wilson) on the left.
I've posted this picture before.
Josh is now a Junior at the University of Southern California. I am exceedingly proud of him. I had  Thanksgiving dinner with Josh and his family. It was good.
Miriam was such a beautiful grandmother!


I am in Portland now with daughter 4.

A week  and a half ago I was in SanFrancisco and then LosAngeles with daughter 3. It was a week trip that we had planned a long time ago. 

Last weekend i spent many hours with Miriam. Not pleasant hours to be sure, but a good bit of time.

Since I saw her last she has forgotten how to feed herself. She will eat whatever is put into her mouth, and she swallows good. 

When I was with her she spend most of time slumped over in what seems like a coma. Her eyes were often open a bit. She looks like she is sleeping, and she sleeps a good bit of the time, but sometimes she looks asleep but she is not. In the 10 to 12 hours I spent with her she rallied enough to talk to me a little. She said she loved me. I told her I loved her and that we had had a great life together. She agreed, then put her head down and went out again. That happened two times. 

Sometimes those few seconds are all we have to live for. They are pretty precious. Mostly she does not talk, and when she does it is very quiet and impossible to understand, but her words make no sense either. 

I am told she will soon forget how to swallow. That is about the end. We absolutely will not have a feeding tube put in, there will be no major effort to keep her alive. Keep her comfortable and out of pain and let her go.

That is as hard to write as it is to live. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Endings?

“There are no happy endings
Endings are the saddest part,
So, give me a happy middle
And a very happy start.”

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Given enough money (a pickup load) it is possible to make the rusty one look like the green one, but it is a lot easier to photograph them!

muddle along

For the most part I've settled into a rather dull routine.

About the first of each month I go to Washington to see Miriam. I am glad to be with her but as she deteriorates more and more it has its hard side too. She is getting wonderful care and I am glad. Gradually, she is curling up into this awful fetal thing, however.

Yesterday I had a surgery (minor I think). Hydroceleectomy. Curious? Look it up! So today I am laying low and will probably most of the rest of the week, at least. Doc says to figure on taking it easy for two months! Not sure I can do that very well.

Winter is not far away but my little corner is warm and comfortable. As soon as I feel up to it I'll continue work on the inside of the house. Right now I am still a bit dizzy from the Anesthesia and the pain pills, but that should go away.

I have been a saturday church goer all of my life, but recently I have began attending a nearby sunday church as well. Partly boredom, partly needing something to do (a church is a pretty safe place to visit) and it is also a bit of a social outlet. It is working out well for me.

This church has a pipe organ which I love to hear as well as some pretty good musicians. The pastor is a woman, whose husband is named Dave. Dave pastors two smaller churches in the area, so I don't get to see him. Kathy has good sermons that have a beginning middle and end pretty much on the same subject. I really like that!

So I muddle along, trying to keep busy and not let bad thinking or boredom take over entirely.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Old stuff. A bridge that is only a memory and a typing machine that is quite useless. Just old stuff that caught my eye.
The Corona was in an office supply window and the bridge was on my place in Idaho. A tree fell on the bridge and then the ditch company took them both out.
Like a lot of things in my life, memories.


This week I traveled the 4 hours to see Miriam.

She was not nearly as sharp as she was last month. I knew it would be this way, but it still made me feel deeply sad inside.

I spent quite a few hours with her. Most of the time she was sleeping in her wheel chair. Her posture, which was always good, is turning into a definite lean to one side. Some AD patients end up in a fetal position. I don't want it to go that long.

I stayed a couple of nights in my tiny house. I visited with daughter and her family. It was a good visit.

My intention was to stop to visit my 2nd daughter in Pendleton Oregon. Daughter wouldn't be home for another couple of hours and grandson for an hour. That was OK, I killed some time and waited.

I have not spent much time with her for a while, and with her husband gone along with 3 of her 4 children, it would be a quiet visit, so I decided to stay for the weekend.

It will be good and I might even get some rest!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Last weekend I took a ride out into the desert. We are on the north edge of a giant desert area that includes a good part of Idaho, Oregon and Nevada. It is called the Owyhees. 
One of the reasons I love living in this area is that wonderful desert. Most people don't appreciate desert so there is not too many people around.

if it ain't one thing it is two

Today I made two more trips to the plumbing store.

As you can see I am a horrible plumber, but i finally got all of the pieces and plugged them altogether.

Then I made some whole wheat pancakes and ate a good breakfast. Often i will keep a sink of hot soapy water to put things in as I cook and this time to bring dishes from the bathroom and the utility room.

I washed them all quite carefully.

Then the faucet broke! I kid you not water squirted the wrong places. It would shut off but not like should. Back to the Plumbing store I talked to my old friend Blane. He looked at my iPhone picture, shook his head and said that those are not repairable. He said he was sorry.

So I bought a new one. This time it has two knobs so hot and cold an be easily controlled (it was also cheaper and my budget is strained).

But I had to take that cast iron sink out to put the new faucet in. Otherwise it is an awful job. I was able to lift the sink out (after I cut all of the caulking that had it glued in place). It is heavy, but I was able to get it onto the floor, prop it up on edge and change the faucet.

Tomorrow morning I'll hook the water lines up and fix a breakfast of something I have not had for a while. (Not sure what it will be!)

Monday, September 23, 2013

In the top picture the uppers are mostly installed and I am repairing some of the floor tile.

The lower photograph shows the new butcher block counter tops on the south side. Today I took the back splash tile out and tomorrow I'll replace it with a different style and different color tile!

Progress on the house

I have been working on my house pretty steady since I got her in July.

My bedroom/bath suite is livable and comfortable. That is a big deal. It is small enough space (400 square feet) that I can heat it easily, even in nasty cold weather.

But the kitchen consisted of a new range and a new refer and to begin with no cabinets of any kind. I put some of the the uppers back in (there was no real reason they were taken out, the water did not get that high. Later I put up nearly all of the upper cabinets.

I could cook after a fashion, but water was in the Utility room, and that is camping not living!

Last week I took the range out so I could install the new lower cabinets I was building. This week I am working on the butcher block counter tops and tile for the back splash.

But the finish I wanted for the counter tops is not available locally (tung oil!) so I cannot finish the wood and install the sink till it gets here and I can get a couple coats in place near the sink.

But, I am hoping by the end of this week to have a functioning kitchen: Sink with hot and cold running water  (and a plumbed in drain!); a Refrigerator and a range with an oven.

Then I can begin to cook and make bread and eat really well once again!
Friend of mine live in a place where if it is not raining, then it will rain very soon. Nice and green, but wet!
Miriam a few years ago.
This is one of my favorite pictures of her.
I miss her.

Sunday concert

I went to a concert Sunday afternoon.
The main performers were two ladies that are the grand ladies of keyboard music in my little town in the down left corner of Idaho.
One was in her mid 80’s and had played the organ at the Methodist church for 50 years, until she broke a leg! The other lady was in her early 70’s. She still is playing the organ for the Presbyterian Church! 
These two ladies played 4 hands on one piano, they plaid on two pianos  and they played together on the pipe organ. At one point they were both playing the organ with four hands and four feet.
Along the way the older lady’s son played the Cello. I recognized his hame. He played his cello for my 3rd daughter’s wedding a very long time ago. Daughter was taking cello lessons from him and we all liked the idea of a solo cello as the music for the ceremony.
He had his PhD, but in English, but was young and not out of graduate school too long. He was teaching part time at the local college.
After the concert I visited with him for a bit.
“You played at my daughter’s wedding.”
“What was her name?” I told him. 
“I remember her. She was one of my cello students and she was a joy to work with.” 
That was about 30 years ago and he remembered. He has been teaching English at Idaho State University on the other side of the state for these intervening years. 
I am double glad I went to the concert! 
It was a great afternoon. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The same family has lived on this place for over 40 years. it was beautiful.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

fresh eggs

This evening, just before dark my door bell rang.

I opened the door to find my neighbor Daniel standing there grinning and holding a big egg carton. Daniel is 7 or 8 and was born the week his family moved in next door. We are on speaking terms. Often after school, if I am outside he stops and we visit a bit.

Once when I was talking to Daniel's father I said that Daniel, when he comes to visit me, has such good manners. David looked at me and said: "You mean MY Daniel!" Yes, I meant your Daniel.

When I took the egg carton from Daniel I opened it up and there was a dozen beautiful hen eggs. All colors including a blue one. Wonderful fresh eggs. I was full of gratitude and told Daniel so.

I don't know if it is perfectly legal to have chickens in our small house sub-division, and I don't too much care. I sure won't complain, even when I hear the roosters crow at daylight.

Usually, I am up by then anyway, and thanks again Daniel.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Ok, so it is a toy. But it almost looks like it could plow the back 40, if I had one!

house plumbing

Plumbing is a study in evolution. 
Few things in the building business have changed as much as plumbing. 
This week I added some new red and white plumbing pipe to replace some broken copper lines, from the house being empty last winter when it was quite cold. 
I remember when all fresh water ran in galvanized steel pipe, each piece cut to exact dimension and threaded on site. Drain pipes were all cast iron and were chinked with a thing called “oakum” and then hot led was poured in to seal the joint. 
When I was a kid our pastor built himself a new house and he plumbed the whole drain system in Copper! I looked with awe at those 4” Tees and Weys all in gleaming copper. Copper never caught on for drain. 
Along the way someone invented ABS plastic pipe, and you GLUED the stuff together. No hot lead, no solder, just a can of stinky sticky  black glue. 
Copper replaced galvanized steel pipe for fresh water a long time ago. There were a few steel pipe houses being built when I plumbed my house 37 years ago, but not many. Now copper has given way to a  new system that is another type of plastic, for BOTH hot and cold water. Cast iron was Black, ABS still is black, but this new stuff comes in half a dozen wild colors. 
For no real reason (I am not sure which line is hot and which is cold) I decided on red and white tubing for this project. It just seemed a waste not to use some of that Red pipe! I ran two lengths of pipe/tubing across the top of my cabinets, down the wall, then behind the cabinets to the location of the sink. All in ONE piece of bent tubing/pipe.
To join the new pipe you slip the end into a fitting, slide a copper ring on top of the joint and then with a tool that looks like a fair sized bolt cutter, you crimp the copper ring and there is a joint. It can swivel but it won’t leak. Wow. It is fast and it works.
To make it all even nuttier, there are fittings that are called Shark fittings. Just clean the mud off the end of the pipe and slip the fitting on. That is all. No glue even. I had a plumber agree with me that you can tell by looking that it won’t work, but it does and works very well.
The icing on the pipe is that you can remove  those shark fittings and use them again if you choose.
Amazing stuff
When I think of how things like the simple piping in a house has changed in my lifetime I really feel like an old guy!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Not my mail box! Mine is not quite so interesting!

this old Idaho house

I began building this house in 1976. 
It can be argued that it never was really finished. And that is ok.
It is a small house 1080 square feet in it’s original form. With three daughters still at home (the oldest was off to college and would get married the next year), it had to have two bathrooms, though they are small there are two. One upstairs between the girl’s bedrooms and one downstairs off the master bedroom.
In the front of the house was a 6 by 32 foot area that was designed to be a greenhouse and hopefully to provide some solar heat in the winter. The city thought it was rather dumb idea and did not "charge me for it."
Last year the flood (though I must be careful using that term--floods are generally not covered by home owners insurance!) gutted the building. It was a mass of wet and awful.
A company that specializes in such things came in, pumped the water out, removed and inventoried the contents before thoroughly drying the interior and treating to make sure mold was not a problem later.
I had a licensed electrician make sure the wires and outlets that had been under water were good and then I hired a friend to install the sheetrock. I know how, but I sure did not want to do that job. 
Basically that is how it was when I arrived the 2nd week of July.
More later.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The top picture was taken during an outdoor church. I wasn't paying attention to the sermon, it seems.


This is a new kind of loneliness for me.

We have been apart before, sometimes for a fairly long time (not Viet Nam kind of long time though). But this is the first time I can't call her and talk on the phone.

I woke up from a nap the other day and there she was beside me in the bed. Then I blinked my eyes and she went away.

This sounds a lot more maudlin than it should. Nearly all of the time I am ok, but there are a times here and there.

So, don't feel sorry for me for more than a few seconds. As the father on "Everybody Loves Raymond" would say: "Buck up Nancy."


Friday, August 23, 2013

James and friend, from the Party Monday, and grandpa's garden.

should I visit?

I went to see Miriam last night. Not sure it was a good idea.

When I got in town yesterday I went straight to the IOOF home where Miriam lives. She was not angry to see me, nor particularly happy either.

She was sitting in a big recliner watching the pictures on TV (she cannot follow any plot anymore). I had them put her in her wheel chair. We visited and I took her outside for a walk. It was OK, though she slept through most of it.

Last evening I went back. It was about 6:30 and they had her in bed already. As I walked in the room she was hollering "Arline." "Arline." "Arline." etc. (Arline is our oldest daughter and her #1 caregiver the last two years.)

"What do  you want Arline for?" "I don't know."

I might have settled her down and I might not have. I had a friend with me, and we did not stay long.

We did not do anything that made me happy and I don't think we did anything that made her happy either. When I asked her about her dinner, she said they did have food in the home, and when I said that NO, they feed her 3 times a day, she was not convinced.

So I come back and ask? Why do I visit? Not for her really and not really for my bank of memories of my dear one.

I do it because I should I guess. I am not sure how often driving 500 miles to do that ritual is worth it for either of us.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Daughter took the best pictures of the kids. I did food and stuff. 

party time

 I went to a birthday party yesterday.

The guest of honor was James, age 4. His sister Maddy was there as well as 4 of their friends, three girls and three boys.

The party was the 2nd party for James. This one was a setup with all sorts of neat little paper goodies for my daughter's blog:

But it was a blast (and a lot of work). It is like doing a wedding where we furnish the preacher, take the pictures, cater the food, decorate the church and the reception site. Nothing to it - except a lot of work. And, like our pretend wedding, we did not provide the guests of honor, who were wonderful.

In this case it did not hurt that James grandfather was a prominent landscape architect and that this home and garden are his handy work, nor that James grandmother works about full time keeping the place looking like Better Homes and Gardens would arrive any time now.

To top off all of that perfection, the kids were fabulous and there were three very capable mothers hovering and helping (but off camera).

It was a long day but it was great. 6 year old Maddy invited me to her party in November!

Can't beat that!

Friday, August 16, 2013

I haven't done much photography of late. Construction photographs are almost always best after the project is completed, along the way they can be pretty dull.
This is from a shoot earlier in Portland. It is the outside of an old theatre.

Em and Bri

Tuesday I got a hair cut, picked up my little car from the repair shop and drove to Walla Walla. When I arrived I went straight to the IOOF home where Miriam lives. We visited and then daughter came by and she and I went for a sandwich.
I slept in my tiny house but it was a fitfully sleep in the small bed. I was sure ants were crawling on my back(they were not I am sure). The next morning I had breakfast with my high school friend Charlie, then visited Miriam. About noon I left for Portland to see Daughter 4 and the middle two granddaughters, Emily and Brianna.
Emily has recently completed her CNA (Certified Nurses Assistant) training and is working in a nursing home, taking care of people much like her grandmother. She is not totally sure she wants to pursue a career as a nurse, but this will give her a chance to find out how it is at the bottom of the care giving work chain.
She says she is enjoying it. Emily has always been some thing of a prissy, so for her to become a CNA was amazing to me. I am proud of her carefully figured decision. 
Brianna is about three quarters of the way through the first year of a 2 year course in Culinary School and is doing fine.
I am proud of each of them.
Emily for being so level headed and Brianna for her tenacity! The list is longer than that, but that is a good start!
They are good girls and their grandfather is exceedingly proud of them. 
Daughter 3 sent me this picture of her first born Josh and Miriam, taken some years ago. Josh is now a Junior at USC.
Yes, it has been a while!

good bye

I saw Miriam last Wednesday morning.
It was a little after she laid down for her morning nap when I got there. I sat in the recliner and watched her sleep. It wasn’t long before I took a nap too.
When I woke it was time for me to go, but she was still sleeping. I knelt down beside her and kissed her awake. We visited a bit. She was sure I was the neighbor boy, but that is OK. I told her I loved her and she said she loved me too. 
Then I told her I had to go and she said that was OK and told me good bye.
Good bye’s are not always so easy. Usually she will beg me to take her with me, that she can help me, but this time she just agreed to let me to.
It is good to see her, but it is heart breaking at the same time.
That is just the way it is.

Monday, August 12, 2013

I haven't seen Miriam in almost 3 weeks. Tomorrow after a timely visit to my favorite barber, I am heading up her direction. More on that later.

a new word

I learned a new word this morning. It is hypergraphia. 

My MacBook dictionary does not even recognize it as a word. Wikipedia (or course) has an answer: “Hypergraphia is an overwhelming urge to write. It is not of itself a disorder.” The piece went on to say it could be associated with things that are a disorder.

I am a victim of this non-disorder. OK, I have been on a temporary vacation from this non-disorder, but not a happy vacation.

When we moved from Idaho to Washington most of the furniture in the house went away, then when the flood happened last year what was left was damaged or destroyed.

So I don’t really have a good place to write. That would not be a problem for a normal person, but I was never accused of being normal. To make it more complex, I like to do at least some of my writing with a fountain pen on good paper, and there the place and the posture make a lot of difference, not to mention those precious pens and papers.

The good news is that I am working on that. 

As a cabinet maker if I need a desk I design and build one for the spot. I found drawers in the shop that were unused and made boxes to hold the drawers so I could make a writing (etc!) desk.

I went so far as to make an offer on an ancient all wood desk just so I could take the top off and use it as a top on my desk. Then I looked at that desk again. Old and solid, half a big oak tree in that one piece of abusable furniture. I measured and it fit almost exactly in the space under the stairs. Hmm.

I could build a desk as nice as that. But there would be several hundred dollars worth of wood and hardware (or more), and on Craig’s List the price was $25. 

Somewhere I read that guys have a real aversion to painting anything that is made of wood. I guess I am not a real man, because that is not a problem to me. 

Two tone gray to fit in my “Artichoke” green bedroom!
Ruby Mountains, Nevada 2013


I have not posted for a while. 

That is what has happened, it is not an excuse or a reason, it is just fact. I have been very busy working on my house getting a portion of it ready for a cold winter, but that is just a fact too. 

I have been learning how to live alone, and that has been a journey. It has been a long time since I lived alone, a long time. It is not as easy as it might seem at first thought. After having Miriam around for over half a century it is empty without her. 

But it is more than that. I can choose the color for the bedroom (and I did). I can buy the furniture that I want, and I did that too. I am sort of like a kid without adult supervision. I may not make the best decisions, but I am going full blast any way.

What do I eat and when do I eat it? Cooking for one is harder than cooking for two. I had been told that, but I had no idea. It is so easy to make way too much food and it is hard to get the variety of fruits and veggies that I am told I should. 

Besides, when do I eat. Often it is when I am hungry, but if I have something going on that is pushing my head then eating is postponed. Sometimes in the middle of the afternoon it comes to me that I have not eaten yet.

So I continue to discover and learn. One too fast and the other too slow. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

This is what our back yard looked like when Miriam was able to care for it. There was a big vegetable garden over the bridge to the right, which was my estate.
My garden never looked as good as Miriam's, and that was OK.
Jenny the black cat got herself into a lot of pictures. She was a good feline.

shrinking wood shop

My cabinet shop was 450 square feet in the main room.

That is way too small, but I made it work by using compact machinery and by moving assembled cabinets out of the shop immediately on completion.

It worked, but now I am shrinking that shop into a 200 square foot space. No wide belt sander, not even a chop saw. The base under the planer was reduced to about 10" including a set of good castors. The air compressor goes on a similar base with castors.

The difference is in output. The old shop was setup and designed to build kitchen and bath cabinets, using a lot of 4 by 8 foot panels, and doing the job fairly quickly. Once the cabinets for the house are finished the shop will morph into a small wood shop.

My goal in retirement is to write, to read, to do some art work AND a little wood work now and then. Not having a wood shop available has been a pain, but I have a lot of other projects.

Besides, have you seen what the outside of this place looks like? Don't look.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I have a lot of frozen blueberries.
They should have been eaten before now and they are not in their prime because of that, but they are still pretty good and will go in a lot of good food.
My kitchen is not complete here by a long shot, but it is close enough to begin doing some serious cooking!

the freezer is in place

There are a lot of ways to judge whether your house is a home and there are a lot of ways to feel like you are moved into a new place.

One of those is when the freezer and it's contents are safely put in the proper place!

I write this at 5:30 in the morning. When I went to bed the now defrosted and moved freezer was warm and I did not want to put my frozen food into it, so I went to bed with the freezer going and my food still in coolers, which I borrowed from my cousin Tom.

At 4 this morning I woke to the call of nature, and thought: "Ahh, this is the time to reload the freezer." That task is complete along with an inventory of the contents.

I need to study up on how to use a freezer really efficiently, meaning how to find the stuff after you put it in there. Not sure on that one, but it does seem that even 13 cubic feet is a LOT Of frozen food for one person.

Freezing and canning season is coming on soon. I don't have a garden here this year so there won't be any production here, but I'll buy some fruit and fresh veggies when the price is right and "put them away."

Miriam and I would have had a good time doing this together, but alas that is not the game now. I will trudge on, trying to eat well and within my budget. She taught me a lot (so did my mother and grandmothers) about canning and freezing. I am glad and I have been blessed.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What kind of a ding bat would design a house like that?
Ahh, it was me.
Originally the front of the house was a greenhouse, designed to provide solar heat. It worked exceptionally well in July and August, now the space has become nice big closets!

new day

There once was 5 happy people living in this house, now there is just me.

But it is so good to be back in my old/new house. The house is so full of good memories and I am glad for every one of them.

Miriam is being fussed over and taken better care of than I ever could. They are courteous and compassionate. I can rest assured on that one, and i do.

Once this was a house with an acre, a shop and a foot bridge over the the "creek" in the back yard. I sold the shop and acre (it was more than I could handle), the foot bridge is a memory and I have one quite small building lot and a small house.

It is enough, I am blessed. Yesterday was close to 100. The house had been closed up for a couple of weeks. But I opened it up last night and the cool Idaho night did it's work and right now it is close to being too cool in here.

That is what I thought would happen when I designed the house 38 years ago. I am not an engineer, so I did not have formulas or numbers, so I guessed, and most of the time my guesses were adequate.

So, it is good to be home, to luxuriate in my shower (the one with the big rain style shoer head that is fastened to the ceiling!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

I love her

Top: Miriam at 17 on my Harley
In Portland a few years ago
Miriam  making a face at me
I love every one of your faces Miriam.


There is no way one can leave the person they love without grief and 2nd thoughts.

The place can be the best in the world, every thing can be perfect, but when you walk out of the home where she lives I feel profoundly guilty of abandonment.

She is doing well, but when I got there this afternoon, all she could say was; "Get me out of here." I cannot begin to understand how he mind works now days (I had enough trouble for the first 50 years of our marriage!).

So I sit here wondering about the whole idea of placement. I know it is totally necessary, but I don't have to like it and I don't.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


Miriam is doing pretty well adjusting to her new space.

That seem to me to be mixed. In order to adjust really well they give up a big part of their lives. While I know that is alright even necessary, I hate to see that part of my dear one leave.

Last night the Physical Therapist had a conversation with me and us. In replying to her questions it is amazing how much she has declined in the last year, and even in the last month. We live the first year in the bus which has 5 or 6 fairly steep steps to get into the living space. It was not a problem for her at all. Now steps are almost impossible.

The PT will work with her a few sessions a week to see what can be done.

She is quite sure that Miriam has symptoms of  Parkinsons. My understanding is that some of those symptoms are a part of  Alzheimer's. And frankly, I am not sure there is anything to do about it now any way.

When we took her in we were asked about her appetite. "Oh she eats well." Wonderful, they said. Last night I was there just as she was eating. It looked good and she was getting into it with enthusiasm. As I walked out I heard an Aide talking to an old grandma. They were arguing about when the lady had eaten last since she was for sure not going to eat now.

When they asked her to stan up Miriam complained of her foot hurting. She had a sore spot on her foot, suggesting her shoe was too tight. Last night i bought her a new pair, half a size larger, with stretchy lacings.

We will see how that works.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


it is good

It seems to be working out very well so far.

Daughter and I, mostly, get a lot more sleep. We feel better right out of the blocks. At the home they keep Miriam busy all day, doing things or being entertained in some way, so she cannot sleep much. Besides, the wheel chair they use is not terribly comfortable for sleep.

Then at night she will sleep, and sleep all night they hope. The nurses ave an aversion to using any kind of sleep aids, in fact they like as few medications as possible.

I spent a couple of hours yesterday morning with her, Then another couple of hours in the evening. Today I think I'll go visit a bit before a meal so I have a good diversion to leave.

When I went in yesterday morning the maids stopped looked up from their carts and smiled and said: "Good Morning." It is a very friendly place.

Monday, July 1, 2013

new room

This is the corner of Miriam's room. The staff said we could do anything we wanted, and short of paint we are going to do that.
These photographs are for reference. I can promise it will look different in a very short time. A few pictures can make a lot of difference.
The other side is a bit worse, but again it will all get changed.
Miriam's roommate is Clara who is 97. She also has AD, but is very mobile and cute my daughter tells me. 

Day one and my tiny house

We built this tiny house a year ago.

Since then I have rarely really lived in it. At first I would bring Miriam out, but she had trouble walking back to the house in the dark. Even the she spent most of her time in the big house.

A couple times I let her stay all night, but the bed was to narrow and uncomfortable for the two of us at this age. Then a few months ago I started sleeping in the house with her. At first we would sleep quite well. I needed to be there in case she woke up and walked around, just to make sure she didn't hurt herself.

In the last month or two she would wake up every hour and a half and good sleep was impossible. Lat night was fairly typical. Last night we were up three times, at 10:30 at 2:30 and at 4:30. These are not quick breaks where you can go back to sleep easily, but talk sessions that might go on for an hour.

Her talk does not make sense. It is called word salad and that pretty describes what happened.

Today we took her to her new residence. I felt like I was deserting her.

I  am not an authority on rest homes, but the ones I have been in have a distance rather foul odor. It is not pleasant and seems to be the same in all of them. This home does not have any of that. The nurses are professional and skilled. The whole place is very pleasant.

Daughter finished the paper work this afternoon (I was there when we took her in), and got everything lined out. I stayed in my house (it was very hot today) and took lots of naps.

So tonight, I will actually sleep in my tiny house. I'll go to bed when I want (which won't be too long and I can sleep as long as I wish. I like that. I may not be able to adjust easily.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

last meal

Tonight I feel like the chef at the penitentary who prepares and fixes the prisoner's last meal.

She did not get a menu choice. Soup and toasted cheese sandwich.

I hugged her a lot of times and I just stare into space.

Friday, June 28, 2013


Monday Miriam is scheduled to go into a nursing home here in Walla Walla. They have a room next to the nurses station, and it has a window on her side.

No one said this would be easy and it isn't.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013