Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I had the whole week off for Christmas, which sounds awesome and vacation-y and relaxing, but it wasn't. There were definitely some lovely Christmassy moments, though.

The weekend before leaving for Georgia I bought last minute gifts for my husband, wrapped presents, listened to Christmas music, and baked peanut butter cookies with Hershey's kisses on top. They are easy and delicious -- why haven't I ever made them before? I ate approximately nine thousand.

I took my mom the Leu Gardens calendar, and she loved it. She has happy memories of going there with my Dad, so hopefully that's a special gift for her. I also took her a universal remote control for her TV, since the one that came with her TV has tiny buttons (ridiculously, offensively tiny! not much bigger than the head of a pin, seriously) that are difficult for her arthritic fingers. After reading the 12 page instruction booklet that came with the remote I was a bit concerned about the difficulty of programming it to work with her tv, but it literally took less than a minute and could not have been easier. I am not naturally talented when it comes to messing around with electronic stuff, so having it go so smoothly was a first for me, and a big giant relief.

The second day I was there, Mom lost her balance in her living room and fell. For an 88 year old, falling is a terrifying thing. She wasn't hurt, other than a little bruising and soreness for a couple of days, but it was scary. Her doctor had recommended that she get a quad cane (the kind that have little feet on the bottom, like Frasier's dad has) so I went and got her one and tried to help her learn to use it comfortably. She is not happy about using a cane. I'm not sure she's too happy about being 88 in general, although overall her health is good. We looked through old pictures and ate peanut butter/Hershey's kiss cookies, and watched Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, and had a nice visit.

Two days before Christmas my husband's grandfather passed away. He had health problems and had been in and out of the hospital for a few months, but it's always so hard, and especially during the holidays. After worrying about it for a while, I decided that my Mom needed me more than my husband did, so I stayed in Georgia as originally planned. Greg told me to stay there, and Mom told me to go home, so they weren't much help. :)

I had pumpkin pancakes for breakfast with Mom on Christmas day, then spent the next 8 hours driving from Gainesville GA to Orlando FL. Wouldn't you think there'd be no traffic on Christmas day? That's what I thought, but I was wrong. Gads. I did make it home in time for dinner, so it wasn't too bad. Greg made me a special Christmas steak dinner, and we exchanged gifts and watched the Grinch and had a nice evening.

Then the next morning we got up early for the 2 hour drive to go to Greg's grandfather's funeral. It was a really nice service, I like the new trend of having a slideshow of family photos. (Is it new? It's new to me, I've never seen it before.) Greg was a pallbearer. His grandmother seemed to be holding up well.

On Sunday, I was tired. I just laid on the couch like a worthless slug and watched stupid TV (Confessions of a Call Girl episodes on On Demand, and a marathon of LA Ink) and cuddled with my cat all day. And then all of a sudden it was Monday morning, and I was back at work.

Boy, I am really looking forward to our three-day New Year's weekend coming up!

Greg and I recently upgraded our cell phone service to include texting photos to each other, so we've been texting pics to each other frequently. Here is one I sent to him from Georgia, that I took of myself reflected in an ornament in Mom's retirement home:

I hope everyone had a happy holiday!


  1. Happy Christmas ellen! Sorry to hear about your mom's fall. It is really scary when they fall. I'm glad she's okay. My mom and yours are the same age, 88 years. My mom uses a quad cane too but likes her rollator even better. It's one of those things with four wheels and a seat and a basket and she wheels it along to the supermarket and the drug store with way more confidence than when she's using her quad cane. Your mom might like it because of the basket to carry things.

    Was also sorry to hear about your husband's grandfather. Best to him.

    You should just put your feet up for this three day weekend and do nothing. It's so hard to really, truly do nothing, but sooo restoring, so long as you banish the guilt!

    Happy new year, too!

  2. Thanks for the idea, Angella!

    My Mom lives in a retirement home that is supposed to be for independent retired folks: it has a dining room with three meals a day, they provide a weekly apartment cleaning and laundry service, but no medical services at all. Theoretically it's meant to be for people just like my mom, no major health problems, but needing a little assistance with things like cooking and cleaning. However, the reality is that there are people living there who should be in a medical facility.

    One of Mom's friends is a very sweet little old lady, and she can take care of herself (more or less) but her memory is very bad (I don't know if she suffers from dementia or Alzheimer's). She was extremely confused by Christmas, not having any idea what was going on, and she carries a little slip of paper to dinner every day that says "peanut butter and jelly sandwich" so she'll remember what to order.

    Anyway, there are also a lot of people who can barely walk around. A lot of men and women who are bent over walkers and rollators, some of whom can't strighten up at all. I think Mom is afraid of ending up like that, and I know she's particularly fearful of getting hunchy because of her osteoporosis.

    Plus, she says her biggest difficulty is walking around in tight spaces, like between the sofa and coffee table in her living room, or in between the tables in the dining room, and she thinks a walker or rollator won't be much good there.

    My brother adopted her beautiful mahogany coffee table that she and dad bought in the 50's, so she has more space to walk in her apartment now.

    The bad thing about the cane is that it takes up one whole hand, and it's hard for her to carry things. A basket would certainly come in handy.

    Thanks for the recommendation, though, I am going to mention it to her.

    Poor Mom, she has been trying so hard to walk at least 30 minutes a day, including up and down a staircase or two, and she hoped not to ever need a cane or a walker.

    Angella, I might just do that this weekend! With the possible exception of going to see Avatar.

    Happy new year! :)


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