Tuesday, October 29, 2013



OK, so these aren't the most fearsome ghoulies you've ever seen.

But some of the things that can happen to pets on Halloween ARE quite scary.

I'd advise reading the following article to keep your pets safe on this fun holiday:


- Happy Halloween!
Dr. Ann M. Anderson

Sunday, October 20, 2013


My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease a dozen years ago.
She now resides in a Memory Care facility.
She hasn't called me by my own name in at least a year.
This morning was the first time that, when she looked into my face,
she saw a complete stranger.
Hence the poem.  My form of therapy, I guess.


I miss you, Mom

Even when we’re in the same room.

I push your wheelchair down the hallway to church

And remember our hikes through falling leaves.

I even miss our arguments.

Couldn’t you, just once, tell me to not wear so much black?

That my hair is too long for a woman my age?

That my father wishes I’d take out the belly ring and go back to church?

But you can’t, because you don’t even remember my name.

This is what’s left of your life:

Monotonous days staring at the TV,

Institutional meals,

Elastic-waist pants the Real You would call “tacky”.

Brave, kind nurses

tending to you in this waiting room of death.

Days, weeks, and months go by

But you no longer mark them off on your calendar.

Your eyes don’t light up when I bring you flowers

Because your love for them faded away.

Your meticulously arranged photo albums

Confuse you

Who are these people?

Someday you won’t even smile at my kids.

I know the day is coming,

But it hurts just the same.

I can accept that you can’t remember their names.

Or mine.

When you call me anything, I’m your sister.

I don’t mind,

At least you picked a relative I like.

But today you looked at me as you would a stranger

And it makes me wonder

Just how bad is this going to get?

And how many other people cry in the parking lot of the nursing home

After every visit?



Monday, October 14, 2013


There's a good reason I don't write romance novels.  Back in undergrad, my roommate devoured romance novels by the bushel.  A generous soul, she said I could read them.  This was a offer I'm sure she soon regretted.  I betrayed her kindness by immediately hopping up on the couch, opening to a juicy scene and performing an improptu dramatic interpretation of the bodice-busting, chest-heaving, loins-throbbing encounter.

I was so amused by my own cleverness.  I can't say the same for my roommate, although I give her full credit for putting up with me.

But the reason I'm pondering romance today is that I went to a wedding this weekend.  Not just any wedding, but the ceremony of one of the best friends I'll ever have.  I met her when I was five years old and her family moved in next door.  I still remember watching Laura and her brother, Joel, spill out of the car that pulled into their drive.

My response:  "YES!!!  They have kids!!!"

Let me explain:  I am an only child.  (Enough said.)

Aren't we cute? From left to right, Joel, Ann (me), and Laura


Back to this past weekend:

The vows Laura and her bride spoke to each other were the most beautiful vows I have ever heard.  Which made me wonder what made it so.  After much thought, I decided it was because these two clever and creative people have already been in love for ten years.  Time gives you wisdom (along with lots of things I could complain about, but won't, because I'd rather be smart with crow's feet than stupid without them). 

Time deepens love, if it doesn't drown it. 

The first glimpse I had of actual, true love was at the age of 30, when I met my husband.  No wonder I never thought much of it before, because I simply had no idea how powerful the emotion could be.  But love changes with the years, hopefully growing instead of fading away with the bright fall colors.

I'm so happy I've been fortunate enough to be friends with Laura for all these years. 
I'm thrilled she met Dawn, and that they have built a beautiful life together.

Laura and Dawn

I'm so overjoyed that I can't stop thinking, smiling, and writing about it. 
My best wishes to them both, and my hope that the world can be a place built on love and not hate.

(No, I'm not running for Miss America, but world peace wouldn't be such a bad thing to wish for as well.)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013




His body had been weakened by chronic lymphocytic leukemia.  Three days before his death, his beloved pit bull named Melon Head died from heart failure.  I was his veterinarian.  Dad passed away on a Saturday afternoon.  My husband climbed on the roof cleaning the chimney.  I crouched in the bathroom, changing my daughter's diaper when the phone rang.  Naturally, I ignored it.  After I had everything cleaned up, I came out into the kitchen and hit the PLAY MESSAGES button.

My poor mother, who had already suffered from Alzheimer's for almost ten years, spoke to me:  "Jerry's at the bottom of the stairs.  He's covered in blood and he won't speak to me.  Why won't he speak to me?"

Dad had fallen to his death while attempting to attach a coat hook at the top. 

At the time, I felt grateful he'd died so quickly, because his leukemia had weakened him to the point that he required a blood transfusion every two weeks just to stay alive.  But he was always cold and never felt well.  The doctor told him he needed to consider having chemo again, but Dad refused to give him an answer.

This way he didn't have to decide. 

I still miss him, but I miss the parents of my childhood.  Does everyone else feel this way when their parents die or lose their minds, I wonder.


You wore the uniform of the elderly

A band aid on your elbow and a striped polo tee

A dark belt hiking up your faded old slacks

Your basement packed with things from the past

Inside your clothes

There was too much room

You had never been this skinny

You had never been so cold

I will never again hear your stories retold


Now that you’re gone

I see you everywhere

In slow moving vans

Pocket protectors and grey hair

But none of these strangers have your sputtering laugh

Or twenty-five napkins of penned physics graphs

None of them read me the Little House books

Or made TV dinners when Mom couldn’t cook

You ate Quaker Oat Squares

Sat on cracked vinyl chairs                                                                          

Used felt tipped pens

Had church choir friends

Liked big band tunes

Duct taped vacuums


But now your basement is empty

And your clothes have been donated

There’s no more chocolate cake for your birthday

And I don’t feel like your little girl anymore