Thursday, December 29, 2005

A Laptop, A Laptop!!! And A Grandma Update

Well, I'm typing this enthralling installation of my life on a brand new, shiny, Acer laptop. Wahoo! I really like this thing, let me tell you. LOL. Mom was like a child with the best Christmas toy ever (bubble wrap, of course). We're getting it through a program they have at her workplace. You buy the computer from CDW and they take the payment right from your check each pay period. You never see the money to miss it. How great is that?

Now, what has this to do with caregiving? Not a blessed thing.

On the Grandma front, she's actually continued her nice streak for the most part. She's definitely had her moments (last night comes to mind), but on the whole, she's been rather human. She's been joking with us and laughing at some of our jokes.

I have to admit I felt sorry for her over Christmas. TAFH (that's The Aunt From Hell, for anyone who hasn't read my posts before) came in, of course, and Mom and I scattered like the cowards we are. She managed to get on my nerves the few times I really came in contact with her, although she was nice on Christmas Day. We let her take care of Grandma for three days straight. It was bliss to be able to listen to music at night and turn off the Grandma Monitor.

However, here comes the reason I felt sorry for Grandma. She treated Grandma like an infant, as usual, leading her around by the hand, when Grandma could do things by herself. She had to know exactly where Grandma was going each time she got up from the couch. Mom was laughing because one time Grandma actually snapped back at her. Grandma got up and TAFH asked her where she was going. Grandma replied acerbically, "I'm going to the bathroom. Do you want to watch me as I go?" Wahoo, Grandma! Now if Grandma would just stop catering to TAFH and start listening to us, too, everything would be cool.

One time I asked Grandma if she wanted a bite of a bagel with Nutella (surely the nectar of the Gods), TAFH answered for her, "Not right now, she doesn't." Granted, TAFH was having Grandma try on all the clothes she'd gotten for Christmas, but really now, would it have hurt her to have one bite? Grandma actually seemed interested, even though she doesn't really like chocolate. Of course, that may have been because I presented a distraction from my aunt's nattering. I'd eat dirt if it would get me away from TAFH.

Unfortunately, Grandma had no such options as work and the movies (The Producers, which was hysterical!), or even going upstairs to escape the woman. She had to lay there on the couch watching what TAFH wanted to watch and doing what TAFH wanted to do. TAFH never lets Grandma have the remote control. She doesn't have cable, because it's too expensive where she lives, she says, so she takes over the television with the excuse that she can't watch this stuff at home and Grandma likes old movies anyway. All she watches is TCM and AMC, as if she can't just go to Blockbuster or Hollywood Video or even Netflix and rent these movies. Oh, no. That would cost money she's not willing to spend. So she makes her mother miserable instead. Nice, huh?

Grandma's sugar goes up in anticipation of her arrival and while she's here. We know it's because of the stress. And even better, this visit was the first time in forever we didn't have to remind TAFH how to take Grandma's sugar. Of course, she forgot to weigh her in the morning, which Grandma needs for the congestive heart failure/Lasix, so it was a one step forward, two steps back moment. By the way, Grandma's been diagnosed with diabetes for a good five or six years. There's no excuse for her forgetting how to take Grandma's sugar.

Anyway, she's gone and Mom and I are back to our routine of home and work. Oh, well.

On a high note, when we went to the movie, the ticketseller was rude, so Mom complained. I know this sounds bad, but the theater manager gave us free passes, four of them! So, some time next week, hopefully, we'll nag one of the relatives into watching Grandma and go to Narnia. It was my compromise for getting to see The Producers. Narnia is next. Of course, what we see after that with the other two free passes is a mystery...

Cheers and Happy Hanukkah, Epiphany and Kwanzaa!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Killing To Salvage Honor

Okay, this is coming from the viewpoint of a rather liberated, Western woman, not of Islam, but is this really necessary? A Pakistani father slits the throats of his stepdaughter/niece and his three younger daughters because the stepdaughter married against his wishes? He seems to feel that he had to kill his other daughters because they may take what their older sister did as an example and also marry without his permission. That's just a bit extreme, don't you think?

Didn't we already pass into the 21st Century?

I guess I just can't understand the reasoning behind it. I do realize that arranged marriages are still occurring all over the world, even marriages of convenience. I guess I'm just more romantic than I thought. I just don't see where the dishonor comes into play. Okay, punish the little kiddies with a yelling and maybe shunning, but isn't death a little much?

Is the dishonor on his part? Does he feel that he should have had more control over his daughter's brain? Is that it?

I thank the Gods that my mother raised me to think for myself, even if I can't always act upon those thoughts and wishes. Thank you very much, Mom. I appreciate it.

Cheers and my thoughts go out to their mother, who had to watch it as it happened and stay there with the four bodies of her daughters until her husband regained his rationality.

PS: the link is the title of the post.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Happy Yule!

A friend sent me this and I really got a kick out of it. For all of you like me who enjoy Clement Moore's 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, here's a rather cool Pagan version.

'Twas the Night before Yuletide
by C.C. Williford, 2003

'Twas the night before Yuletide and all through the glen
Not a creature was stirring, not a fox, not a hen.
A mantle of snow shone brightly that night
As it lay on the ground, reflecting moonlight.

The faeries were nestled all snug in their trees,
Unmindful of flurries and a chilly north breeze.
The elves and the gnomes were down in their burrows,S
leeping like babes in their soft earthen furrows.

When low! the earth moved with a thunderous quake,
Causing chairs to fall over and dishes to break.
The Little Folk scrambled to get on their feet
Then raced to the river where they usually meet.

"What happened?" they wondered, they questioned, they probed,
As they shivered in night clothes, some bare-armed, some robed.
"What caused the earth's shudder? What caused her to shiver?"
They all spoke at once as they stood by the river.

Then what to their wondering eyes should appear
But a shining gold light in the shape of a sphere.
It blinked and it twinkled, it winked like an eye,
Then it flew straight up and was lost in the sky.

Before they could murmur, before they could bustle,
There emerged from the crowd, with a swish and a rustle,
A stately old crone with her hand on a cane,
Resplendent in green with a flowing white mane.

As she passed by them the old crone's perfume,
Smelling of meadows and flowers abloom,
Made each of the fey folk think of the spring
When the earth wakes from slumber and the birds start to sing.

"My name is Gaia," the old crone proclaimed
in a voice that at once was both wild and tamed,
"I've come to remind you, for you seem to forget,
that Yule is the time of re-birth, and yet . . ."
"I see no hearth fires, hear no music, no bells,
The air isn't filled with fragrant smells
Of baking and roasting, and simmering stews,
Of cider that's mulled or other hot brews."

"There aren't any children at play in the snow,
Or houses lit up by candles' glow.
Have you forgotten, my children, the fun
Of celebrating the rebirth of the sun?"

She looked at the fey folk, her eyes going round,
As they shuffled their feet and stared at the ground.
Then she smiled the smile that brings light to the day,
"Come, my children," she said, "Let's play."

They gathered the mistletoe, gathered the holly,
Threw off the drab and drew on the jolly.
They lit a big bonfire, and they danced and they sang.
They brought out the bells and clapped when they rang.

They strung lights on the trees, and bows, oh so merry,
In colors of cranberry, bayberry, cherry.
They built giant snowmen and adorned them with hats,
Then surrounded them with snow birds, and snow cats and bats.

Then just before dawn, at the end of their fest,
Before they went homeward to seek out their rest,
The fey folk they gathered 'round their favorite oak tree
And welcomed the sun 'neath the tree's finery.

They were just reaching home when suddenly it came,
The gold light returned like an arrow-shot flame.
It lit on the tree top where they could see from afar
The golden-like sphere turned into a star.

The old crone just smiled at the beautiful sight,
"Happy Yuletide, my children," she whispered. "Good night."

I've tried to find out where it came from, but I'm only finding it posted on a few blogs. If anyone can identify the book it came from, please let me know. I do think I've managed to find a website by the author, but I'm not sure. I've included the link, anyway, since I like her artwork. It's the title of the post.

Cheers and Happy Holidays, whichever religion you practice.
If you don't believe in any, then have a safe and happy Winter.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Gamers and funny stuff

I just had to share this. My friend sent me this link. Check out the animations. These are done by a local group and are mostly of interest to gamers, but there's enough funny stuff to make non-gamers like me chuckle. My friend, Kim, has a part (voiceover) in The Sword That Cuts Things 5 - Card of Memories. I've met a couple of the others playing the voices and they're a nice bunch. Quite creative, too.

The link is the title of the blog.


The Body Snatchers Are At It Again (A Grandma Update)

Well, except for a few breaks for the stairs and the second floor, Grandma's been positively human lately. Mom and I are thinking that the little spat we had with her about her treatment of us made a difference. She's been nice. It's weird. I don't quite know what to think. The last time we had a string of good days, Grandma had a seizure and landed herself in the hospital again. I'm sort of anticipating this, even as I enjoy not being insulted daily and having my real grandmother back.

We had a true discussion about things happening in the news. She gave me some orders and didn't gripe when I got them done in my own time. She's cracking jokes. She asked for my help with the cards and only complained about my public school handwriting a little bit. It's not my fault DoDDS schools don't teach the Palmer method or have nuns with rulers at the ready if you don't make your loop just right. Although, we'd probably win any war quite handily if we just sent the combatants to a parochial school for a few months. They'd be terrified to do anything but say, "Yes, Sister, of course, Sister." Unless they were me and tried to get kicked out of Catholic school. Didn't work, darn it.

I've been downstairs getting ornaments and such but didn't see any pods. Of course, I didn't look in the crawlspace under the kitchen, or in the attic. Hmm...

Doo-doo-doo-doo Doo-doo-doo-doo (I know, I'm mixing my sci-fi references. Get over it.)


Sunday, December 11, 2005

Frustrating Relatives (A Grandma Update)

Someone please explain to me what makes some relatives think they are so much better than you. The Aunt From Hell was in this weekend, ruling our lives, as usual. Everything must be done on her timetable, her way only and by whom she designates. If you dare give her a little lip/attitude/whatever you want to call it, you get yelled at. I'm nearly thirty and still getting yelled at by TAFH. Of course, I just stand through it, not saying a word, because to reply or defend myself would cause Grandma discomfort. LOL. Yeah, right. She just nods along with TAFH. There's nothing like knowing your grandmother, the woman you are sacrificing any chance of free time and college for, doesn't even like you.

I've been told that the person being cared for tends to single out one person for their enmity. This is normal, but Grandma seems to spread it to my Mom an awful lot, too. I guess I'm just sick of all of it. It's so frustrating to be yelled at every day just for asking a person if they're hungry. She hates everything I like or do. She hates the computer being upstairs in "her" room, even though she's never coming back up here. She insists she'll die up here. This makes us feel really good. So she's going to keep making breaks for the stairs like she has at least five times this week. She could be a bloody ninja for all the noise she makes coming up the stairs.

We gave away 99% of our furniture in anticipation of moving in with Grandma. We have a grand total of a couch, loveseat, futon, computer table and computer and a few bookshelves. Over 60% of our possessions are in storage and have been for the last three years because Grandma didn't want them here. *sigh* I feel like I'm unwelcome here. I feel like she hates me and is angry at Mom for moving in.

We just had a small set-to with Grandma about some of the issues, and she insists she doesn't want us to move out. She also insists that she doesn't need someone with her 24/7. She does. I don't know what to think. She says that I don't respect her. Apparently, I never do what she asks/tells me to do. We asked her what she means by respect and her answer was to do everything she says, when she says and how she says (not quite in those words). I guess we know where TAFH got it. We asked her why she doesn't give us any respect and we apparently don't deserve it. Ugh! I get so frustrated.

Mom is just as frustrated and there's noone else in the family who is in the same position, so who is there to speak to? I really think I need to make an appointment with a counselor of some sort. I'm getting so angry all the time. I hate the person I am when I'm angry.

I'm too pissed for Cheers.

Friday, December 09, 2005

A Gemini thing?

I'm coming to the conclusion that I'm not a very nice person. Maybe I'm just frustrated, but I'm noticing little things about myself I don't like very much.

I lose my patience with adults extremely quickly. With children I seem to have nearly infinite patience, though. I think it's because adults and teens should know how to behave and what to say and do. Children don't always. So, I need to cultivate patience.

I get really snarky when I'm pissed off. Mean, really. I've been on the receiving end of verbal and mental abuse often enough that I should know better! Figuring out how to just turn off what must surely be a self-defense mechanism is my next task, I guess. The weird thing is, I really like pleasing people. I like making them laugh and smile. I crack jokes all the time. Or try to, anyway, given my extremely warped sense of humor. If I find something that I think a person I know and like will enjoy I tend to buy it for them for no reason. So, I can be really mean on one hand and generous on the other? Is this a Gemini thing?


Self-improvement is gonna be a bitch.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Timing is everything (A Grandma Update)

Well, I had a little bit of time to myself that I was jealously guarding. I was going to leave work early to cut overtime, then go to Borders and relax with a good book for an extra couple of hours with noone the wiser since I "forgot" to tell anyone. Ah, well. So much for that lovely plan. The woman taking care of Grandma the few overlap hours of our jobs (Mom and mine) is sick with a flu and won't be able to take care of her tomorrow. We're trying to find a new sitter, but no luck so far.

Mom is going to pick me up around 11:00 at Borders, so I will have two hours to myself. However, I had really been looking forward to having time to go downtown and do some genealogy research or even more research on the printers' marks of the Albright Library in Scranton with some nifty books I found at the U (the locals' term for the University of Scranton).

The only good thing about this is that it has happened on a day where I won't be losing time by cutting work early. Here's my whine moment: But I had plans! Ugh!

LOL, at least my luck runs consistent: consistently BAD!

Top that off by adding an extra half hour of time I'll have to cut this week since I just could not get out of work today AND my great-aunt died yesterday.

Really, it was a blessing for my aunt to go. She was in such pain and a state of dementia, plus having had both legs amputated from circulation problems. She's out of pain now.

She was such a loveable old loon. She had THE WORST taste in gifts and always asked me when I was going to graduate high school, no matter how many years I'd been out. She remembered the old stories my grandmother doesn't and was always willing to tell them. She was great. I'll miss her.

I need to find something good that happened today. Well, I've spent a couple of hours updating my iPod. That's good.


UPDATE: My last chance of a sitter just called and we have a winner! I have the day to myself! Yes, yes, yes. My godmother is a truly wonderful woman. I think I will get that puzzle I was looking at for her tomorrow, after all. This is too good to wait until Christmas.

Text Messaging Great Lit?

Please, please, tell me this is a joke. Obviously, it's not, but jeeze louise! Granted, I used CliffsNotes in school (and got bad grades doing it, since I couldn't seem to finish even those), but this is just ridiculous. I wonder how they'll manage to condense A Midsummer's Night Dream? LOL.

What other books would be hard to synopsize like that? The Sound and the Fury? Actually, the text messaging I was reading would fit in great with stream of consciousness thought. None of it makes much sense. LOL. I'm afraid I had too much English in school to be able to use the majority of webspeak.

Oh, well. More power to the users of this service.

Back to my iPod updating.


PS: The link is the title of the post.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

My basic bio

Wow, so I finally started a blog. One of my friends has been begging me to. So I gave in. Besides, I need the outlet.

The basics are this. I'm nearly thirty, six months to go today, in fact. I live with my mother and grandmother as a caregiver to my grandmother. She is 82 and the epitome of a stubborn Irishwoman. We live in NEPA. That's Northeastern Pennsylvania to those not from the Keystone state. I do love Pennsylvania. It's so beautiful here.

My family consists of: both parents still living, plus one stepmother; two brothers and a sister; grandmother (Mom's mom) and grandfather (Dad's dad); a wonderful nephew and niece, whom I would spoil rotten if I could afford it; various aunts, uncles and cousins. Of my siblings, I speak to my oldest brother regularly (the provider of the nephew and niece). I've never actually met my younger brother (twenty years younger than me) and my sister is an adopted step-sister who doesn't seem to want much to do with me. Oh, well. Now, doesn't this sound just like your typical dysfunctional American family!?

I'm a genealogy and cross-stitch addict, especially blackwork. I love books and frogs. Have I mentioned my desire to be a librarian? Basically, I'm your stereotypical bookworm. If this were fifty or sixty years ago, I'd be called a spinster and be done with it. LOL.

I have something called Celiac's Disease. It's an extreme allergy/intolerance to wheat, barley and rye. I am currently working on losing about a hundred pounds and getting healthy, but since taking care of Grandma has become a 24 hour thing, I can't get to Curves anymore. I have maintained what I lost before I had to stop, though. I haven't gained any weight back. My goal is to be a size 12 by next Halloween. I'm in 18/20 right now. I can do this.

But there's the basic bio. More will fill in as I go, I'm sure.