ABIGAIL

abby2How I miss this little girl. She’s a chip off the old block, i.e. little ole me, her grandmother. I never knew anyone other than myself (well, and my cousin Herald when he put his mind to it) that could catch a chicken with ease. The silly things seemed to migrate to me when I was a kid, following me around the yard like I was Mama Hen. I think they do the same with Abigail.  Abby, as we call her, may grow up to be a chicken farmer, but I wish for her to grow up to become a famous surgeon — like Christiaan Barnard or William DeVries,  or a university professor — nothing big just a member of the Harvard  faculty. Why? Why not! I wish for Abigail the best of the best because she can catch chickens just as good as her grandma, and that’s a fact.

Kidizoom Camera

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The vtech Kidizoom Camera that is (apparently) the newest rage among four-five years old in my family.

Of all the things I love to do shopping is not one of them. I say this after enduring a tragic four hour shopping spree in search of a “Kidizoon”  (vtech no less) camera which is for the ages 3-8 and costs 35.00 to 40.00 dollars depending on where you find one.  It has built-in games, photo editing software, a 4x digital zoom!, and “fun photo effects” with 1.3 megapixel resolution! It shoots movies and will store over 1000 photos and claims to be of durable kid-friendly design. On my forth try, I found the camera and bought it. I paid an additional 4.00 to insure this little camera because it is going to a four year old and lets face facts, you can’t trust a four year old not to flush it or drop it in a mud-puddle! Or to loose it in amongst all the other lost toys at parks and the local pizza pallor or, in Hannah’s case, in a cubicle stuffed with 100 or so stuffed animals.  I noticed that this camera, which does so much, has no strap of any kind.  I think it should have a strap for Hannah to use, at least one for her wrist, although in order for the strap to work properly a dot of super glue may be needed to secure it to Hannah’s wrist, just to make sure it did not slip off, as it surely would do. The slipping off of the strap would be an intentional action of Hannah, of course.

When Hannah’s mother decided to sideline her love of freelance photography for a greater love (Hannah) she never thought that the greatest joy in her life would become a mini version of herself — the apple never falls far from the tree — and who knows what may come out of Hannah’s grandmother spending four hours in as many stores to find the toy Hannah talks about from sun up to sun down. Is it possible this small beginning will end in an assortment of mega-long-range-zoom lenses and trips to far away places? If so I do hope it is a mother-daughter team trekking through the underbrush.

Hey Duuuuude Chill!

When my tranquility abruptly ends I am usually dealing with an under-appreciated (because Mum thinks I should appreciate and snap to) disturbance in the form of a personage which stands about five feet three inches tall and who will soon turn eighty-eight years of age, this is if my daughter and I let her make it to her birthday.  Last week my daughter had a dream in which she shoved a peach into her grandmothers face …. because (1) the dream upset my daughter so much and (2) because she felt the need to share her dream with me, I felt obligated to reminded her that a dream is only DE-fraging ones mind and that shoving a peach into her grandmother’s face is nothing she would actually do. But, now each time mother gets ‘testy’ which she does quite often these days my daughter and I let the dream serves another purpose, which is comic relief in the form of verbally speaking out of one word — PEACHES — and then we simply go about our business as if nothing was spoken, but with a smile on our face and sometimes the tiniest of a chuckle. Mother is none-the-wiser.

My mother is elderly and in poor health but improving in gait and stamina (even attitude) each day, now that we insist she be challenged physically by doing for herself. The more she does for herself — the more she improves — the more she improves — the better quality of life she has and the better her attitude. WE are so very aware the end of her days is coming sooner than later but our wish is for her to have enjoyment, comfort, independence and as much well-being as humanly possible from now until then. Given her congestive heart failure (CHF)diagnosis I know it is a challenge for her to make her bed, dust her dresser, pour her own cup of coffee and sometimes I do these (and other) things for her. I do a lot, actually as does my daughters and my sons, as well as the older great-grandchildren, but what we do not do is to enable her to be sedentary and wallow/willow away. We love her to much to allow that; so, . . . when Ms. Ugly rears up and goes into disturbance mode I just take a chill pill in the form of one word: PEACHES!

Are you dealing with the care of an elderly parent? Like my family have you opted to keep your elder at home during their final days? A lot of families make the decision to move an elderly parent in with them, providing comfort, instead if placing a parent into a nursing home when it is apparent that the parent can no longer live independently in the parents own home.  Perhaps, you have noticed during your visits to your parent’s home that your parent is beginning to need help with normal daily activities, (i.e. bathing/dressing/cooking/cleaning) and perhaps you have issues of concern for your parent’s safety (i.e. forgetting to turn off the stove burners or oven).  Some of you may find it difficult to approach the subject with your elderly parent especially if you have ever had to relieve your parent of their car keys, as I had to do with my Dad. I was not excited to have the next conversation with my Dad about the stove needing to be off limits to him (Microwave–yes; stove/oven–NO!) but it was a conversation that had to happen for his own safety and that of his lovely home us kids wished to remain standing.

If you are dealing with this issue: you are in my prayers (prayer is the most powerful thing I have) and feel free to borrow PEACHES, if you are so inclined.

Here are a few organizations which provide some beneficial information for all of us.

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Training for Family Caregivers

Community-based resources may offer training and classes for family caregivers. Such resources may include: your local hospital; home care agencies; Area Agency on Aging, voluntary health agencies, and county and state departments of health.

American Red Cross has developed training programs for family caregivers. You will need to check with your local chapter to find out if there are classes in your area.

NFCA has developed an educational workshop to teach family caregivers to communicate more effectively with healthcare professionals. Check out the NFCA Website to find out if there are workshops scheduled in your community.

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Caring for Elders

Vital information and possible support services for the elderly can be obtained by contacting your local county office of senior services or elder affairs as well as your local social service department. Area adult daycare centers may also provide information on resources for the elderly in your area. These numbers can be located in the governmental pages of the phone book or through a web query.

AARP supplies information about caregiving, long-term care and aging, including publications and audio-visual aids for caregivers.

What does a grown daughter say to her dad when he’s hit a light pole with the car? How does an adult son ask his mom if she’s taking her medications like she should? And how do siblings approach their parents about needing more help at home? These issues can challenge even the family where communication is free and open. Talking sooner is better than waiting until a crisis has occurred. That’s what the “40-70 Rule” is all about. This advice is designed to help adult children and their aging parents deal with those sensitive topics that often make conversations difficult. The idea is that if you’re 40, or your parents are 70, it’s time to start talking about the issues of aging.

Geriatric care managers (GCMs) are health care professionals, most often social workers, who help families in dealing with the problems and challenges associated with caring for the elderly. This national organization will refer family caregivers to their state chapters, which in turn can provide the names of GCMs in your area. This information is also available online.

The Administration on Aging is the official federal agency dedicated to the delivery of supportive home and community-based services to older individuals and their caregivers. The AoA Website has a special section on family caregiving.

For more specific/topic information and web sites feel free to check out:

https://www.thefamilycaregiver.org/caregiving_resources/agencies_and_organizations.cfm

Grandma’s Always Know Best


One of my favorite television shows during the 1950s was a show called Father Knows Best. During the years (1945-1962) of my childhood, my family were big evening television users; shows like Father Knows Best, and other good clean family oriented series were enjoyed and rarely missed. I’ve always thought of Father Knows Best as with-out-a-doubt an American classics from that time period. It first appeared on radio (1949-1954) and then on television (1954-1960). It was a wonderful comedy series which portrayed a middle class family living in the Midwest during the 1940’s. The Anderson family were easily identifiable to my values oriented Daddy & Mum. I’ve never been sure if this show was not more a teaching tool used by them, but that is for another post.

The television series was created by writer Ed James [Note: If possible I always give credit to the writer] and honestly, viewing some of the old episodes I think he was a master at the art.

About a month ago three of my grandchildren, all girls (age 2, 3 & 4) came to stay for a few days. Because of all their antics, which kept us adults chuckling most of the time, they as well as their parents reminded me of the 1950’s sitcoms. As a grandmother this happened to make me feel rather good. It made me feel hopeful that my granddaughters’ adult lives would be a happy ones.

After they had left for their respective homes in North Carolina I happen to run across an article about early television shows. Unfortunately, I ran across it in the waiting room of the Oncology Center at Good Samaritan as I waited for my mother to reemerge from her radiation treatment. I’d love to have that article to reference but I do not. Anyway, to make a long story short: I had a flash-back to my granddaughters visit, the little quibbles which were solved by loving parents, the joy and all the fun they had.

Now, I am mentally exploring the possibility that my children are a throw back to 1950s America! Not a bad thing to happen, actually. Let’s face facts here: I am influenced by my growing up years, by the television shows of that time, by how my parents handled themselves and me; ergo, how I was a parent to my children, and how I continue to influence my grandchildren, as a grandmother.

My last thought to this post is: Always Remember Grandma Knows Best . . . this is according my granddaughter Destiny! She is a very intelligent youngster.

Children’s Honesty: mini-short-stories

My Grandfather always said: If you want to know the truth about an old horse ask the kid. And he would be right, from washing machines for sale to the neighbors dog the kids will say the real truth.

Here are a few mini-short-stories to illustrate children truthfulness.

The first story came to me from a friend a little over a month ago. It’s too cute not to share. I’m giving it a title of: “Sunday School Lesson”

Two boys were walking home from Sunday school after hearing a strong preaching on the devil.
One said to the other, ‘What do you think about all this Satan stuff?’
The other boy replied, ‘Well, you know how Santa Claus turned out. It’s probably just your Dad.’

The second is from an experience I had as a child and is titled: Mama’s Washing Machine

Oh, it did rock and roll across the back porch every Monday morning, churning out squeaks and pounding out loud hammering sounds. I remember the last Monday it was used as clearly as if it were yesterday because it was I who warned Mama the machine was scooting towards the steps.

With the speed of a sprinter Mama pulled the cord out from the plug. The next day she brought home a new used one. The following day she cleaned and polished the old used one and pushed it to the side yard with a large ‘4 Sale’ sign on it. She only wanted $5.00 for it and she nearly got it too, but just as the woman was reaching into her purse she winked at me and said something about the good deal she’d made. I don’t know why I said: “it’s only worth five because it bangs like a hammer” but I did say it; with that the woman closed her purse and left Mama standing there about ready to kill her favorite and only little girl.

Always, ask the kid.

The next story is about my youngest when she was three and is titled: Mama’s Hands

By the time I had my last child I was in my forties. I know, it was silly of me, but this story isn’t about that. It’s about my Mama again. Or more precisely it is about her hands. You see Mama always had the most beautiful hands. Of course, as she aged so did her hands. Mine has always been old, even as a child.

At age three my youngest noticed her grandmother’s hands were blue with veins and quite shriveled and said something about it. Well, that didn’t go over very well with Granny-rie (Mama’s name was Marie but her eldest granddaughter could not say Marie well so that’s where the rie came from and it stuck) and she began to tear up. Feeling badly for her I immediately showed my daughter my hands. I pulled on her skin at the top-side of her hand and then pulled up on mine. “See” I said, “your skin is tight, look how mine stays up a little. That’s because I’m older. We all age but to age is actually a beautiful thing” and, I went on to talk about all the wisdom of aging, all the joys of a life lived well. Of course, my mistake was telling this to a three-year old. After the three or four minutes I spent telling her how aging is wonderful she marched over to her Grannie-rie, pulled hard on her skin at the back of her hand and proclaimed “See, yours stays up a long long time, you’re really old” Mamma, must have been totally in love with this little girl because against all normalcy (that should/would have been her) she just gave her granddaughter a big hug. She did, however, save the glare for me, which was, in all honesty, expected.

The last story isn’t about a dog. You were waiting for it, weren’t you? It is about a goldfish and the honesty between sisters. I title this one: Bug-eyed

Younger Sister: Screaming out “It’s dead, it’s dead”

Older Sister: “It’s not dead, silly, it’s taking its nap, just like we do. Now, let’s take our nap and when we wake up Bug-eyed will wake up too, isn’t that right, Mommy?”

“Right” I replied. First thing was to call in a neighbor to set. Then, after the girls were asleep, I rushed to the nearest pet shop where I bought a “Bug-eyed” replacement of similar “Bug-eyedness” desperately trying to avoid the hysteria that would follow had I not.

(girls wake up from nap)

“See, Bug-eyed woke up from his nap and is swimming just like I said” Older sister says.

“It’s not the same Bug-eyed!”

“I know, the other one died and Mommy got a new own”

“Mommy lied?”

“Yes, but she didn’t mean to”

I sigh: speechless.

Daughters

My girls are grown now, of course, but the stories told above are true, real and involved all of them. Bug-eyed: middle daughter and older sister on the left; Mama’s hands, was about my daughter on the right. Mama’s Washing Machine is, of course, about me when I was five or six.

Aren’t children wonderful? It takes years to learn how to bend the truth and I’m always sad to see that lesson being learned. We adults call it “little white lies” but honestly, I think that life has no room for “little white lies” and we all should be more like children every chance we get.

Hannah Grace

From joyful dancing around the room during Easter week of 2010 . . .

 . . . to playing peek-a-boo with her cousin Lexi-bug’s 2009 white straw Easter hat, our little Hannah Grace is a very entertaining little girl.

The day these pictures were taken, her Great Grandmother Ms. Murray (Hannah calls her Grand-Grand) crowned Hannah the official family comic.  The brief ceremony consisted of bouncing a magic wand (in the form of a wooden yard stick) on Hannah’s left then right shoulder which amazingly Hannah Grace stood still for.  After the ceremony she smiled with delight (see picture – above right) because somehow she understood something regal had happened.

Over the year Hannah Grace has honed her comedic skills.  You can look for her soon in a comedy club near you.  

copyrights: Mary Louise Wehunt-2011

OMG Ms. A (whatever!)

Introspection: (noun) searching, introversion, contemplation  — informal definition: navel-gazing! . . . . . basically introspection is the examination of one’s own thoughts or feelings. Most women navel-gaze.  I do. Most women inspect and dissect their private and professional lives and do so to adjust their personal and professional short-term and long-term goals.  Introspection is necessary for those of us who dare to plan a fruitful life now as well as down the road.

Here is how I do my navel-gazing:

First: The question.  Usually my navel-gazing is preceded by a nagging question I want an answer to.  So as odd as it sounds I verbally ask my question . . . then,

I grab up a soft cushion and toss it on the floor.  No music!  No interruptions!  I plop my tushie down on the cushion and get comfortable.  I quiet my mind and take deep controlled breaths and totally relax which takes me a few minutes because my mind is always thinking! (Remember: Slow deliberate breathing.  Slowly breathe in and release even more slowly.  Control.  Empty your mind.  Be Still; Be Quiet.)  Then I let the thoughts that come to me answer the question I asked before I got started.  Honestly this works for me.  I can not tell you the times I guided myself through life’s swift currents and slippery stones that seemed to be preventing me from reaching a goal or moving forward after troubling times.

Introspection:  One of my life’s little treasures.  Now if you’ll excuse me I have some navel-gazing time scheduled.