Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Time is a terrible thing to waste

This is in the nature of being a confession. (Note: I am even equivocating on the subject matter). So let me just come clean. This is a confession. I have been a lazy bum for almost a week.

For ninety years, I was an industrious little bee, bed-ridden or not. At 91, I caved ( temporarily, I hope) and just laid back and closed my eyes at every available opportunity. I know I am of an age when I can forget chores, and goals, and deadlines, but I have lived too long with a to-do list to be suddenly faced with a blank note bad. It is bad for the mind and worse for the soul.

Last Friday night, after I dozed through Washington Week, I didn't know what to do with myself. My son had sent me a stack of wonderful books for my birthday, and I felt too dumb to start reading them. I'm not talking Proust (I've always been too dumb to really understand him); I'm talking Alter and Remnick; wonderful writers I thoroughly enjoy. So, I firgured I'd watch an old NCIS.

My brother had told me, a few years ago, that these are good episodes to kill an hour. To kill time... ( kill time!) horrors, that is a punishable infraction. It worked, and I fell in love with Mark Harmon, my new friend, " Leroy Jethro Gibbs". It's like pistachio nuts, you know you can't eat just one pistachio nut. If you don't get that, it's because it is an inside joke--Abbie and Gibbs and mine.

Well, I watched an episode I had watched twice before, where the Iranian mother-in-law and Mike, Gibbs' mentor, sit on the same deck and watch their joint grandchild playing with her mother.

Three viewing of that is only one too many--- but here I am, back in the land of the living.

Thank the good Lord. Blessed be.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Tough Love

Who knew that so much love can do you in (temporarily)?

Or that I could tell a lie, continuing to post as Wedeb90)?

I did and I do. Full confession.

My son, Tim and his daughter, Hannah, my youngest grandaughter, came for a pre-birthday celebration on October 14. We ate our version of the city's finest food: Rubino's pizza, City Barbecue, Block's bagels and Bob-bob Evans' chicken and noodles. My twenty year old could be six again, and I could be seventy. Only my digestive system knew for sure, and it said, ""Phyllis, you idiot, act your age, "but I wasn't listening. It was worth the small digestive price I paid.

By Wednesday, October 20, when wedeb90 became wedeb91, I thought I was ready for whatever small celebration would come along. Wrong. No one, not even Mother Theresa, could be so overcome with caring and goodwill. Twelve full hours of calls, gifts, flowers, phone calls, Facebook messgaes, e-cards....

After D.G, brought me Guiseppi's spinach lasagna, courtesy of lovely Vesna, I was completely out of steam. Yesterday, I was back to square one, where  Hospice had come in. I was diappointed in myself, and my unforgiving body. I couldn't walk. My legs locked in under me; I needed the wheel chair to get to the bathroom. My hands kept shaking. I could barely talk to my children. I slept almost all day, and then all night, opening my eyes long anough to watch Gray's Anatomy. ( I guess I thought it would make me feel better, to see people in worse shape than I.)

When I woke up this morning, I was fine. Back on the walker, like any good quarter back, staying "in the pocket", instead of hanging on for dear life at a 90 degree angle.

I didn't age 10 years overnight. I feel like the spring chicken I am, and you wil, I hope, be hearing from me as wedeb90 when I might actually be wedeb95.

Blessed be.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My friend, Alice

 In the city where I live, where many of my friends live, there is no reason to identify a person as "my friend". In the ever-shrinking circle of wagons that protect me, no known enemy approaches, and we are all friends. By my age, all those who have no particular interest in me and my well-being, have all dropped away, out of sight.

But after I have called Alice, in Massachusetts, I always explain that I have spoken to "my-friend-Alice". She has only been in Columbus once, and that was Christmas vacation of my freshman year in college. 1938. Not one person who met her then is still alive.

Yesterday, I reached her answering machine. We hadn't talked since I went into Hospice care, and it seemed strange that she wasn't home. Ten minutes later she returned my call: she was still in Rockport, at a house on the beach there. It had been her parents house, where she, her sister and brother- in- law live during the summer. She has her own apartment in town and she is returning there next week.

"How are you"?, I asked, of course. "Well, I'm fine" she answered, except I had to have some surgery on my eye this summer, and so I am just seeing out of one eye, but that's ok"was  her answer.

"My friend, Charlotte from California from kindergarten came to visit", she told me. "I remember Charlotte", I told her, even though we had never met.

"Anything else new?", I queried. "I'm still doing a little counseling on the phone; just a few clients" . She is almost 91 years old, still working. Still of good cheer, a laugh peeking through her voice.

Alice got her MSW after her three boys were fairly grown; her nice, MD husband had died very young, and she has been a working single mother for quite a while. One of her sons became a doctor, too.

Plus, she must still be beautiful; she always was.The last time I saw her was at a college reunion nearly ten years ago, and, mirror, mirror on the wall, she was the fairest of us all. 

And so we touch base, and I feel refreshed and restored.

She is my friend Alice.  I confer the words as a title, which I bestow with respect and love. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wede I be

 It suddenly dawned on me that you know that wedeb90, but, for many of my new friends, you know little more about me than that I am in Hospice care, have a bad (but loving) heart and observe life, primarily, from my bed. Which has its benefits, believe it or not.

What you cannot know is: once I was as busy as anybody in town. I truly love my community, and it is much more exceptional than is generally assumed. Quantifiably exceptional. We have the number #1Lbrary in the country and the number #1 Zoo, among other bragging rights.  I have been a lifetime volunteer, and even worked for the Mayor and the city at one time.

I keep referring to my DD, which translates to Designated Daughter, and her nom de plume is D.G. Fulford. Do I have you utterly confused yet? Well, she and I wrote a book together called Designated Daughter, the bonus years with Mom. She describes the last twelve years since she moved home from Nevada to be my ever-ready, ever-steady other half. I contributed my own reactions to her actions, and the book (excuse the commercial) is available in hard back wherever books are sold. Or in your libraries in the many countries where so many of your reside.

All the other clues I drop about me and my lucky life give me, I hope, form and shape. Just know how appreciative I am, and how much your comments mean to me.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

My new fall wardrobe

A nip is definnitely in the air, although we are having a few delightfully warm days, every other week or so. But I have to put my mind, and my daughter, on what I need. I day-dream about a new purse, or a pair of shoes; wouldn't an up-to-date blazer be nice? (Or does anyone still wear blazers?)

It's all make believe, this coversation between me and me; I really need new nightgowns. I have one flannel gown that was mistakenly put in the dryer after the first wearing, so if you look at the too short sleeves, you might think the wearer is a growing girl. That is, until you look at the arms themselves. They scream "old woman".

So, my really fine DD ( have I said often enough what a good daughter she is?) went up to the mall and began the search.She found only four in my size, and brought them to me so I could choose two. It was easy: the two extra small, from one store,  fit;  the plain small from the other store were too tight.

So I am happy with my new fall wardrobe: pink. to match my pink room, (foolishly girlish, I'm afraid), a room no self-respecting man would live in. But no man except my family enters, anyhow. And the only man I really want to enter has been gone twelve long years.

The other gown is white, with a bluish-gray design, with red cardinals, the official bird of the state of Ohio. That's my scarlet and gray football nightgown. How very, very well-dressed I will be every Saturday.

And she brought me a box of gingersnaps, too.

Blessed be.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Really, really who am I?

 A few weeks ago, my daughter was sick; she ached all over, especially her shoulder. She tried holistic medicine, and then main-stream medicine: x-rays, blood work up, EKG. As she continued to feel under the weather, I felt more and more helpless. I could not even go the few miles to her house, and there was not one thing I could do once I got there.  (Needless to say, she is well again, or I wouldn't even be writing this.)

I am extremely lucky to have care-givers in times of crisis. Rosie is the laughing, happy girl from Jamaica, who has been in the United States, on her own, since she was eighteen. She is educated in the hospitality industry and has worked at Disney in Orlando and the Westin Hotel. While working there, and during the times she works for me, she graduated from college with a  degree in the management of medical recocods.  Her mommy, in Montego Bay, calls her at least once a day.

Tall and beautiful Lise came from Rwanda.She worked at Delphi in Dayton for a few years, and when they went belly-up, she was able (it's a long story, with a long series of pitfalls) to get her tuition paid at a  nursing school in Columbus. In a few months, she will be an LPN. She would like to continue on for her RN, but that is one tough road..... Her parents call her every day,  and after she talks to her siblings, she is homesick.

As I fall asleep at night, I think about Mrs. Gardner in Jamaica and Mrs. Urejani in Rwanda.We are thousand of miles apart; we have never met. But I know that, at their very core we are the same people. We are mothers.  Make that a capital M.