Saturday, June 21, 2014

June 21, 2014

I put together a website with some of my Mom's photos.  If you're interested, check it out at  There is a way for all members of the site to add their own photos and memories.

I am doing much better emotionally.  After all I had been mourning the loss of my mother since the dementia took her away a few years ago.  We had many happy years before that.

It is amazing to me that words have so much power.  In my last post I wrote that I was a widow.  Just writing "widow" lifted some weight off my heart.  I had to look at lots of photos to make Mom's website.  Many of them included Jim, my departed husband.

Now I can look at his photos and remember some happy moments in my life.  I don't get those daggers of regret:  "how could this have happened?" and "how could he have done this to me?"  I don't want to forget the years between 1998 and 2010 when I was happily partnered with him. Before it was so painful.  Those years are only memories now, not heartaches.

The "man" existing now, Jim Carpenter, is just a shadow of the man I had been married to.  Just a shade, a ghost.  Like any ghost I hope not to encounter it ever again.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

June 7, 2014: Alone

March 2014 with Mom at Bedford Home

I feel so alone now that Mom is gone.  She has really been gone for several years.  Senile dementia took her from me bit by bit over the last few years.  Mom was mostly content the last 2 years she was living at Bedford Personal Care Home.  She enjoyed being taken care of constantly.  She was actually quite demanding of the staff.  Her favorite was yelling "help, help, help."  That would disturb the other residents and their visitors so she would get the attention she desired.

Once when I was visiting she yelled "help, murder, police."  She had changed up her demands with scarier words.  It didn't matter if I was sitting right next to her.  I'd ask her what she wanted and she'd say "nothing."  She just wanted a staff member to come in and check on her.

I had been looking forward to Mom coming to live with me after Dad died.  I even bought a single story home (which are not very common in Houston) with her in mind.  She moved in with me in September 2003.  Initially she wanted to live in her own apartment.  She didn't want to spend the money to move to a senior living facility.  Then I broke my wrist and Mom took over cooking and taking care of the house. Since she wouldn't go to a place that I considered safe I kept her living with me.

We had several good years together.  Mom, my ex and I were a happy family.  After my ex fell in November, 2010, I had to hire caregivers to be with Mom since I was him whenever possible.  She became used to constant care.  When the ex returned home, it was very difficult to handle 2 invalids.

In December 2011 Mom's legs became so swollen that they were seeping liquid.  She would slip and fall and I'd have to call the paramedics to get her up.  I called 3 times in one week.  The doctor had said to keep her legs raised.  She would not do it.  I even put her in a recliner and locked it so her legs would stay up.  Somehow she shimmied off the chair and broke it.    The doctor told me to take her to the emergency room.  She was admitted and given diuretics and kept on bed rest.  Her legs got so much better.

The hospital social worker advised me that it would be a better transition for her to be moved to a nursing facility directly from the hospital since  I could no longer handle her at home.  So, in January 2012 she moved in to Bedford Place.
Mom's moving out contributed to the end of my marriage, which I wrote about in a May post.  The man I had married was gone.

So, now I am an orphan and a widow.  I work hard at staying positive and upbeat.  Unfortunately, I keep waiting for the second shoe to drop.  Sometimes it's hell having a good imagination.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

June 4, 2014: My Mom has passed away.

I was waiting until after I spoke to my relatives before I said anything to my friends on Facebook.  My mother died suddenly yesterday afternoon.  She ate lunch as always and laid down for a nap.  Then she had trouble breathing.  Her vital signs were still strong.  The home called for an ambulance and then called me.  I can't be sure if she passed away in the ambulance or immediately after she got to the hospital.  The ER nurse said that her heart failed.

My friend, Bert is helping me with the arrangements.  Mom's body will be cremated and I will take the cremains to Rochester around the end of July.  Then I will have her remains buried next to my father's.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

May 28, 2014: Quick Recap

Last weekend I met up with a couple of friends who had moved out of Houston.  After talking to them I realized that pieces of my story had been missing in my posts.  So, here is a quick recap:

August 2000 - November 2010:  I am happily married.

November 2010:  my (then) husband fell and became paralyzed.  I found him and called the ambulance - saving his life.

November 2010 through January  2011:  He is at TIRR hospital.  He convinced the hospital psychologist that he was not depressed.  No help was offered to me at TIRR even though I obviously was an emotional wreck.  I found my own therapist.

January - June, 2011:  He is at a nursing home and then TIRR again.  I visited him daily and made sure that he was given the best possible care.

June - January, 2012:  He returns home.  I arranged caregivers for Mom and ex to come in the mornings and stay on the days that I was at work.  The ex was very demanding.  I paid for a private physical therapist to come in and work with him at home.

January, 2012:  Mom went to the hospital for severely swollen legs.  I then placed her in a personal care home.  She needed more help than I could give her at home.  (Plus, I also had a quadriplegic in the house.)

January - August, 2012:  The ex let go of all caregivers except the young Mexican girl. He became more demanding and distant.

August 2012:  The ex proposes marriage to his young caregiver and gives her an engagement ring.  I discover this and take him back to TIRR for further testing.  They could not discover any brain damage.

August - December, 2012:  We fire the young caregiver and find out that she was pregnant and living with her boyfriend.  She had no intention of marrying my husband.
I drive us to marriage counseling every week to his preferred therapist who was located in Friendswood.

December 5, 2012:  In marriage counseling my ex announces "I don't love you, I don't even like you and I'm not sorry for what I did." 

December 6, 2012:  I call a lawyer.

December 12, 2012: I officially file for divorce.

January 14, 2013:  The ex finally finds a place to live and moves out of my house.  I live alone for the first time in my life.

February 12, 2013:  The divorce is final.

2013-present:  I am happily living alone.  My whole house is my closet!  I am even dating. My life is simple and uncluttered.

I could update you some on the ex's new life but who cares?  The man I once loved and married died bit by bit sometime between November 2010 and December 2012.  It was a slow and painful end but it is all over now.

Friday, May 16, 2014

May 16, 2014: The Tiggermobile

Last year I bought my bright orange Subaru Crosstrek.  It's only been just this past week that I finally have gotten around to giving it some personality.

The interior is orange and black so the car really wanted to be a tiger.  I found a Tigger bobblehead on ebay and put him on the dashboard.  The steering wheel sports a tiger fur cover that I got at a dollar store.

The car needed some exterior tiger striping.  I didn't want to go overboard with the decorations.  I just put black and white stripes on the hood, outlined the headlights (the eyes) in white and added black eyelashes.

The rear view mirrors (the ears) have black and white stripes plus I added black pin striping along both sides of the car.  I ran out of the white striping but I've ordered more.  Then I will add a white stripe to the black ones on the sides of the car.

I made a long striped tail on the rear of the car that extends around to the gas cap cover.  Wrote out "Tigger" in black and added a white Tigger decal.

Now it looks like MY car!


 It makes me smile every time I get in it.  Plus, I see other people looking and smiling at my car, too.
Everybody needs a giggle once in a while.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

May 14, 2014: Pink Poodle Mannequin

I have saved searches on ebay for "poodle" and "pink poodle fabric."  That's how I found a pink poodle costume in size 3T.  I don't remember exactly how much I paid for it.  I do know that it was less than $5.00 total.  The best time to buy costumes on ebay is from January to August.  Nobody wants a costume during those months.  (Right now it's almost summer so sweaters and coats are the bargain items.)

How could I NOT buy this pink poodle outfit?  But then, what to do with it?  I decided to make a mannequin to fit the costume.  She is constructed from pvc pipe and fittings, cut to size.  Her head is a large styrofoam ball that I pushed on to the pipe that formed the neck.

I bought some pink shoes at a thrift store.  I cut styrofoam to fit into the shoes and jammed the leg pvc pipes into them.

I made some small pink mittens for hands and glued them to her "arms." I thought she would look cute as a "butler" type mannequin so I gave her a lightweight tray to hold.

There's never a dull moment at home when you have 3 cats and a dog.  Luckily I didn't put anything breakable on the tray.  The cats jump onto the tray and knock down the little stuffed puppies.  They try to play with them but my real life pink poodle, Sweetsie, swoops down and runs off with them.

The costume is completely removable.  Maybe my new baby granddaughter will want to be a pink poodle for Halloween when she reaches 3 years old.  I would just love to see her wear it!
I have entered my Pink Poodle Mannequin and my Pink Poodle Telephone in a contest:  Craftys/Awards that Celebrate Crafts.  I would really appreciate it if you would go their website and vote for one of my projects!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April 29, 2014: Reading blogs

I just finished standing at the copier making copies and scans at the office.  So, I've rewarded myself with reading my email.  I receive newsletters from the site, Kollabara.  This week there was an article on the blog, "Four Square Walls."  The blog's author, Andrea quoted an interesting paragraph from a book:

"Best creative advice I ever received is from Elizabeth Cline’s book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. The book explores how our excessive demand for cheap clothing has resulted in human rights violations and environmental degradation in developing countries. One of her suggestions for becoming a more conscientious consumer is to learn to sew, or at least to learn to value our clothing by having them mended and altered instead of throwing them away. In her words, “If more of us picked up the lost art of sewing or reconnected with the seamstresses and tailors in our communities, we could all be our own fashion designers and constantly reinvent, personalize and perfect the things we own.” This reminds me that sewing is not only a fun pastime, it’s a way for me to clothe myself in a more ethical and thoughtful way."

Preserving the environment is a powerful motivator for young people to get involved in sewing.  Wouldn't it be great if home economics were still offered in high school?  I learned to sew from a class during my senior year and have been sewing ever since.

As I cruise through blogs and websites I come across more and more youthful faces.  It is inspiring  to know that my favorite hobbies of sewing and crafting are also enjoyed by the younger generations.