December 2nd, 2018


(no subject)

I'm not sure why i didn't journal during my week off other than just general schedule disorder. I've had some pouting days, as i realized sewing then hems on eight tea towels wasn't as lickety-split as i'd expected. So, that project is no where near done, nor are trees magically getting planted. Also, i ache far more than i feel i've earned from digging. All in all though it's been an excellent break.

* Thanksgiving brunch was lovely with my parents: Christien's breakfast casserole was delicious, and Mom & Dad's contribution of an ambrosia fruit salad provided an entertaining story of Mom bringing heavy whipping cream to dress it and Dad bringing a ridiculously large bottle of rum.

* I picked up two crochet projects that i have had on hold and have been good at being engaged (too engaged?) with them.

* We had a pleasant time out and then home watching a movie with Christine's sister and brother in law.

* We have decorated for Yule with a tree and lights (that turned out to be incandescents -- i really should have clued into that in the store), the Moravian star we bought last year, solar powered lights on our large chicken sculpture Alice, and a few other touches.

* The HVAC guys confirmed, yes, mice under the house in the floor insulation, yes, a snake ate a good many of the them. They reconnected a loose duct (and then checked over the heat pump which does not need annual maintenance, we were assured. The reconnecton seemed to trap a mouse in the duct work, and an evening of rustling in the ductwork and everyone in the house staring at the ducts followed. Edward caught the mouse and brought it to my lap just after i fell asleep.

I'm responsible for two catch and release mouse traps under the house. I haven't crawled very far under to place them in the recommend area yet. The temptation to let Edward loose under there is large.

* Much of the garden is mulched or turned over with the intent to suppress the heavy coating of winter weeds. One fence post has been driven into the ground. I've a bucket of sedges, grasses, and violets to transplant.

* I had an after meeting visit with a friend and a lunch meeting with another Quaker friend.

* I went out to lunch with my folks on a very cold Wednesday, and then we went to the agricultural supply place. They were picking up the large gifts for my sister and I. For my sister, a generator, for me, a 500 gallon water tank.

* I picked up my nephew and niece and their two puppies and brought them over to play with Carrie. That went generally well. There were a few times we needed to let them chill as Carrie got her hackles raised by the girl puppy, Ashe, barking at her. It wasn't quite the adventure i had in mind, but it was a good way to spend time together.

* We cut down the apple and rose of Sharon that were just in front of the house. Now the sight line is clear when one arrives and it definitely feels better - open and less crowded. One stump of the many trunked tree remains with my rain gauge mounted on it. (I wonder how much of the tree was the original grafted fruit and how much was sprouting from the root stock). The hole under the tree -- the main reason it seemed time to remove the tree -- is clear now: i ponder whether i should plant something in it or just try to fill it. I've a bit more chipping to do of the branches.

I've saved the long straight water sprouts -- fast, upward growing shoots that are triggered when the tree thinks it needs a new trunk. There were many because of how the tree was butchered in a pruning attempt. I'll use them as stakes in the garden in hopes that they root like the rose of sharon did this year, in hopes of planting them in or at the edge of the woods. It would be lovely if they could live on. The remainder of the younger growth i'm chipping as mulch for the garden. I think it should decay pretty quickly. The trunk will be offered to our wood turning friend. The wood clearly has spalting of some sort, so i suspect it will be interesting to work with.

* I cleaned out my Anki decks -- digital flash cards for memorizing things. I will want to work on some tourist level Estonian and Swedish. I don't dream of learning more than tourist level Estonian prhases, given it's not Indo-European. Wikipedia notes, "nouns and adjectives decline in fourteen cases: nominative, genitive, partitive, illative, inessive, elative, allative, adessive, ablative, translative, terminative, essive, abessive, and comitative...." Just enough courtesy phrases to find someone who can speak English seems reasonable. Swedish would be more useful in the longer term, but to learn two languages...? Again, more courtesy phrases, i think.

Of course, i didn't do add any language cards but instead added terms for identifying insects with the goal of learning how to identify pests and beneficial insects in the garden. I did see a Chinese mantis out there and left it alone. This morning, i have a tinge of regret as i think of the tiny little cricket frogs i've seen in the garden this week (mosquito predators!). Such a frog would be a quick meal for the massive Chinese mantis.

I'm sure there were more interesting events in the days from Thanksgiving through Friday but that gets the highlights.


Mom's health

Yesterday i got a call from my sister that Mom was at the emergency room with a mini stroke. I was out buying yarn in yard work clothes, so headed home to change before picking up my sister. (Who claimed to be covered with paint, so i knew she needed a bit of time to change, too.) I checked in with my dad to see if we could bring them anything and determined they could use a late breakfast and some tea. Christine made egg sandwiches while i changed, made tea, and gathered other things to take.

My sister was in a bit of a state, with her anger at my brother using my parent's house as a storage unit flaring and a sense that my parents must move also flaring. I talked her down from using this as a place to demand change from my brother, and talked her through the recognition that my parent's home was not what kept my mom from exercising.

At the hospital we followed my dad back through the crowded maze of emergency room beds (in the hall, in storage closets) to where mom was resting. We turned her little space into a picnic party, bringing as much cheer as we could. I was somewhat distressed that mom hadn't received <ahref="">the stroke treatment</a> i was vaguely aware of existing. Mom's been seeing a neurologist in hopes of understanding her cognitive decline and other symptoms, so i accepted something else might be going on.

Eventually, we were visited by a doctor who asked mom to describe again her experience of a creeping numbness in her hands and face. He gently probed her explanation to get as precise an understanding as possible -- not a trivial task with my mother's narrative style. He returned in ten minutes to explain that her symptoms weren't exactly that of a "mini-stroke" (Transient ischemic attack or TIA) nor that of a seizure. He explained that they were consistent with other reported symptoms that other people with the same MRI images of broken capillaries on the surface of the brain have and that she may have a repeat of the symptoms in the next few days. He sent her home with the comment that the symptoms don't mean anything damaging is occurring.


Reading this morning about broken capillaries in the brain leads me to suspect that mom's cognitive decline is unlikely to be reversible. I am in some acceptance of this, not nearly as distressed as my sister. I know some of my emotional state is because i have worked through my grief about my mother and the emotional abuse i experienced. I longed for a mother-figure and have forgiven my mother for not satisfying that need. Thinking of that longing brings tears to my eyes.

I know from my father some of my mother's controlling and irrational behaviors continue, but in general she seems less distressed now than i can remember. I am so happy that she seems more eased by her decline than distressed. I don't think she is completely at ease, but she values her time more and seems to be much more thankful. And i am thankful for that.

There's a muchness....

The doctor she saw: