Elder Abuse


Today, I was supposed to go help my friend, F, reorganize her single large closet in her assisted living apartment.

We were going to sort through all the clothes she moved from her home, weeding out the ones she no longer wears or needs, and organizing her travel photo albums so that they would be on bookcases at floor level, instead of higher up on shelves in the closet where she can’t access their contents.

We were going to move the chest taking up space in her bedroom, blocking easy access to the closet, and we were going to find a way to store her granny cart and her vacuum so that they weren’t taking up valuable floor space outside her closet.

Instead, I’m going to be dealing with a panic attack over finances and trying to calm her down.

P, the controlling friend that has made all the decisions regarding F’s finances, is harping on the fact that F is spending “too much”, all while knowing she just sold her fully paid for home for $789k, and that the place F has chosen to live should run her about $70k to $80k per year.

Instead of treating F like an impaired but reasonable adult, P is refusing to answer F’s questions (regardless of how many times the questions are repeated), leaving F to play a tit-for-tat game of hiding her money (and pulling out a lot of cash so that she feels she has control of her money, since she’s no longer seeing monthly statements).

F’s determination to wrest control from the largely silent Canadian relatives who have all her money and power of attorney (now that she’s been declared in need of guardianship / conservatorship) is a drama that didn’t need to be.

But, I blame P as the instigator.

P is a control freak, in my humble opinion, and her unwillingness to answer F’s reasonable questions has lead directly to this crisis.

(Calling me last night about 8:30pm to cancel our get together today, and then calling me at 6:02am in a panic to discuss things, shows what stress F is being put under by receiving mixed messages and different answers from everyone in her life).

So, I’ll go see F later today as originally agreed.  We’ll work out a strategy for her to stay calm and – possibly? – get some answers.  And, I’ll give her some suggestions about how to stay calm and create a workable budget for weekly cash so that she has a negotiation strategy for dealing with the drama that I otherwise consider elder abuse.

Please, if you have an elderly friend whose elevator no longer goes consistently to the top floor…  just be kind.  Be patient.  Answer all their questions even if they’ve asked them 1,000 times.  Don’t bully them.  Don’t boss them.  Try to listen and be supportive without badmouthing anyone else trying to help them.  Just care enough to show up.

We’re all going to be in a vulnerable point at some stage of our life due to age, infirmity or financial vulnerability.  Just be patient.  Try your best to be kind and not make the situation worse.



Deadlines with Infinity

Trip is a man with 3 first names as his moniker.  A veteran.  A proud man.  He’s coming to the end of his battle with COPD.

Westpreußen, Russlanddeutsche Flüchtlinge

He’s as skinny as a rail as the fight to breathe is stripping the fat from his body.  He’s in tremendous pain from tumors in his lungs pressing on his heart and lungs.  And he’s spending every day waiting to die when it’s not yet his time.

The man has lost well over 60 pound on his 6 foot 2 frame, but at 149 pounds he’s still getting up and driving and being ornery with his wife.

We have a group chat, a bunch of us from the COPD site, and Trip is expecting that his scans on Friday to see what’s going on with his heart and lungs will offer new hope for surgery.  Even though he’s been told that he’s too frail to operate on.  Even though they have been telling him for months that his only hope for pain management is hospice.

He is not going to go quietly into that everlasting night.

Instead, he’s badgering the Docs for a timeline as to when he will die, even as the rest of us counsel him that it’s not yet his time.

(In general, we find that dying is pretty predictable.  Folks have more exacerbations, they sleep more.  They stop caring about the world and go to bed and don’t get up.  Like my conversation with B, the boat captain, our team conversations are about dealing with our fears and finding a way to accept that we are dying.  Just not today.  Maybe not tomorrow.  There is no way anyone can give a person a timeline.  There is no date stamp on our feet).

I guess this is why I keep planning trips.  As long as I have something to look forward to, maybe my time won’t come any time soon, too.

We’ve all been there. Wanting the waiting to be over.  Wanting to know “when”.  It’s an unanswerable question as no one knows until one starts sleeping all day, being hard to rouse and stops eating, that their time is nearer.

We go out with a nap, and very rarely with a heart attack or during an exacerbation.  If we’re lucky, hospice respects our wish to end our struggles and helps us along with easy access to morphine to the point where we just stop breathing and aren’t in pain any more.

That’s how it was for my Mom.  That’s how it was for my Big Brother.

In Mom’s case, she didn’t die when she thought she was going to.  I was pestering my brother and sister long distance, and telling them to go lay eyes on her, that she wasn’t answering the phone, and I was 3,000 miles away and knowing that she wasn’t doing well.

Baby Sis found her.  Found her and called the ambulance and cleaned up the mess and got her into the hospital.  Only to lie to me for 9 days straight about what was going on, until the night that she called and said Mom was dying and I needed to be on the plane immediately.  Day 8.  35 pounds lighter, because Mom wouldn’t eat the food and had mentally checked out while trapped in the hospital.

Baby Sis accused me of willing our Mother to live.  That I was keeping Mom alive against her will.  Nothing that was said to the contrary was listened to, and I had to deal with Baby Sis’s railing against fate that Mom was in limbo and wasn’t dying fast enough.

So, after 3 days at home and fighting to get Mom’s wishes respected, I got her released from the hospital and brought home to die.  But, Mom perked up.  She thrived under Hospice care, and she had another, final, year with us before saying her final good byes.

We had a final game of scrabble on a cold and snowy Friday as I stayed at home with her, and she had a final meal (but for the life of me, I can’t recall what it was – just that she enjoyed it).  Mom went to sleep on the couch on Friday night after our last game of Scrabble, and then she was occupied with her dreams and visitors in her memory (or, maybe it was God and his angels – I’ll never be able to say).  I tried to rouse her once or twice to get up and use the bathroom, to eat, to go to her own bed, but she wouldn’t have any of it.

So, I slept in a chair by her side throughout the weekend, trying to ensure that she didn’t fall off the couch in her restlessness, and not wanting to leave her alone as something inside me just said that it was her time.

Monday morning dawned sunny and warm, with the recent snowfall melting, and my Big Brother came by again to check on her, and helped the hospice nurse move Mom into her bed.

With the sun shining on her as she lay in her bed, Mom passed peacefully in her sleep by 10am that morning.

In Big Brother’s case, which happened 6 short years after Mom’s death, he did everything he could to prepare his boys for adulthood.  His youngest had just completed his first year of college, and his oldest had just graduated on May 22, 2011.

I was back on the West Coast dealing with Las Vegas Auntie’s drama, and on the verge of homelessness from trying to care for her while getting her rehabbed and back on her feet.  I saw my brother at his oldest son’s graduation, and then he’d taken to his bed and was gone by June 1, 2011.  Peacefully, at home, in his favorite chair with all of us in attendance.

While I, too, face my own mortality, and know that they had a general forecast of 3-5 years for my stage of the disease when I stopped working, I have since passed the 3 year mark and am still doing well.

Will I make it to year 5?  Year 10?  No one knows as long as I stay stable.  So, I keep busy and try to be of comfort to others of my kind who are afraid of dying and want to know when they will be released from their worries.  It’s hard to say to them that they won’t have a date with infinity until they no longer care about life, but that’s what I’ve found to be the case.  I am not an expert, and I don’t want to be a caregiver or be dependent, but the reality is that life continues long after we’re tired of living.

So, rather than spending my time fighting with loved ones, I choose to go this road alone until my time comes, too.  Hopefully, my money will last and I will find a way to enjoy life despite any fears or worries.


Dear Dr Ruth… Part II

I could have called this “Dale’s Departure”, too, as this is more than a sex blog, but you decide what to call it yourself, after you finish reading, if you’ve decided to continue with this tale.

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The original chat I’m writing about first began in Dear Dr. Ruth.    For those of you still interested in this chat, here’s the latest chapter where I pretend to be an expert on something that I’ve only dabbled in and researched on my own.  (Photo credit is “Quantum Leap”, and an episode where Sam got cast as Dr. Ruth).  

Sex and sexuality continues to be a huge taboo in the lives of healthy people, never mind folks who are disabled or dealing with a chronic illness.  I am here to say that handicapped or chronically ill people are not neuters or androgynous folks for whom sex and intimacy have no value.  We are not asexual children, for whom sexual activity has no interest as there are no hormones or memories of happier times driving us.

Everything works, even if it’s not in an appealing package or a body able to be supple and lithe and act on its urgings without effort.

sexuality and aging

What’s been really strange, though, is learning that my much younger cousin, as she’s entered her 40’s and following the passing of her Mother, is also going through a sexuality evolution very similar to what I experienced.

Even though we have different fathers (the brothers), I am left wondering if there is something damaged in our Paternal line that makes it easy to get between the ears of the women of our family.

Since she was raised Jewish, I know it’s not the Catholic guilt that I always blamed for myself.  But, raised to be “ladies”.  Raised at a time when sexual urges and women’s freedom to act on their own sexual interest was evolving, and also becoming sexually active in a time of fear for not knowing what caused HIV and AIDs, it’s strange to see my 10-15 years younger cousin going through many of the same personal quests that I went through following the death of our Moms.

Maybe we both have the same fear of being exposed and ridiculed for our decisions to be sexually active without the benefit of marriage.  But, whatever it was that got packed in our personal baggage, we’ve both done or are doing our best to root out the existence of fear and derision from the voices in the back of our brains.  That inner voice that never shuts up and always sees us as less than.  Less than desirable.  Less than capable.  Less than intelligent.  Whatever it is, I do find it funny that we two wallflowers ended up being cast as Dr. Ruth personalities in our very different lives.  She’s speaking to the shy women to try and free them of their self-imposed bonds, and I am speaking to the handicapped women.  Amazing what a small world it is.

At any rate, I digress.

I tend to do that when given free rein.

In this case, a few months have passed, and one of the COPDteam members tagged me in a private message to again discuss his concerns.  In this case, Dr. Ruth is turning into a grief counselor and life coach.

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(The picture which started this conversation was probably something like this shared on fb.  I love http://www.VineyardColors.com for helping me address my ever present homesickness with beautiful images):


So, he reaches out to me (and, remember, I type a lot on the tablet, so please excuse my spelling and missed errors – I think you’ll get the gist of the conversation despite the typos.  I’m still the blue ink typist):

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(For anyone who wants to know what Hypoxia or Pulmonary Edema is, there will be a definition at the end.  Basically, he wanted reassurance that he wouldn’t suffer when his time came).

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60 degrees tracker

Another aside – temperature variations will kill us fastest with COPD, and many folks are too proud to acknowledge that they may not be able to afford to care for themselves as it gets closer to the end.  In my case, having learned from Dale’s situation, I have a temperature gauge in my house to verify what the actual indoor temperature is, and watch it like a hawk to make sure that my thrifty, Scot’s soul isn’t sabotaging my own health over my dislike of stale air plus worries that my money won’t stretch to heat my tin can home.

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I think in some ways it’s a betrayal of the private messenger to repeat this conversation verbatim.  However, since I’m hiding the names of the folks who are still alive and might object to something I’ve published being traced back to the correspondent, I’ve done what I could to recount a real-time concern while also hiding the identity of anyone involved.

Because these topics are so taboo to discuss, I want whoever goes through my blog to have the option to read what was going on in my life and my head, trash it all, or take it and make a book out of it which might help someone else in similar circumstances.

Once we’re no longer here, nothing much matters to the person that has left this earthly plane.  There will be no one left who cares about me to embarrass by anything I’ve said or done or written.

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Almost forgot – here’s what it usually says on the death certificate when one of us passes, and why my teammate was inquiring into the ways that Dale or Mom might have suffered before they passed.

hypoxia definition

hypoxia types

pulmnary edema definition

See?  Even the definitions leave you shaking your head and not wanting to think of the reality behind the process of dying.



I was going to call this something else, but Brian Lageose’s repost from 2010 distracted me.  Please be sure to check out Bonnywood Manor when you have a moment and need a laugh.

what are they doing now cat

With the inevitable distractibility of the ADHD and hopelessly bored natives of any land, or your average cat, I am *still* working on my 2016 taxes.  Today’s topic – medical mileage reimbursement write offs.

Started looking for the mileage reimbursement rate for 2016 for my business expenses, and then ran into this gem that I’d forgotten.  Since I no longer directly care for Auntie and am no longer scrambling for any claw back that might net me a few more pennies credit on my taxes as dealing with her mental health issues was sucking the life out of me, I forgot completely about the medical mileage reimbursement.

business mileage tax write off 02 2016

I do think it goes without saying, though, that the IRS exists to suck the life out of all of us.  One must embrace their inner OCD penny pincher and paper pusher if they have any hope of clawing back a decent refund.  (And, by decent, I mean a refund that will offset the cost of any next trip that I am planning).

flamingo 76 days

Today’s budget is being updated to note any extra driving for 2019 so that I am tracking the tax write off going forward (vs. trying to claw it back years after the fact during 2016 and 2017 tax filing hassles).


It may be nickel and dimeing myself to death in the hope that I will eventually exceed 7.5% of my total income in order to claw back more discounts on what I need to pay, but I all can say is, “Hey – they started it !”

they started it

So, I’m sitting here working on my taxes, looking forward to the Golden Globe Awards tonight (one must critique who’s wearing what, and which MEN are dressed like little boys in too tight and too short suit coats, as if they are the Hulk, about to burst out of their clothing due to a recent growth spurt).  Yes, I need a life.

Real boys, who may be forgiven almost anything in a suit when trying to present the critical, “neat, clean, presentable” look that our parent’s always advised was best…

kids suits

Vs. grown men with too much money and too little personal fashion savvy for my taste as they try to relive their childhood:


Not saying I’m any kind of fashionista who has my crap together, but you can bet that I *would* be dressed appropriately for my gender and the occasion.

Meanwhile, back to doing taxes for me…

irs donation jeff leedy



I was going to write something snide, or deep, about being an orphan at the holidays.  Plucky, I’m not.  I’m just a problem solver who choses to focus on what’s ahead, vs. mourning what’s left me behind.

However snide I may be from time to time, though, I’m not particularly deep.  Trust me.  I’m not.

I’m just very, very practical, which gets me compared to Mr. Spock.  Alot.


Last night’s conversation with a fellow adult orphan was an exercise in futility because she thinks I’m some robotic, Spock-like being, and was focused on her own unhappiness as she dwelled on the fact that her life was what she made it.

Exactly what she made it.  Seriously.

No matter how many times I’ve told her that my health relies upon me being cool, calm, collected and avoiding stress and drama, she refuses to acknowledge that it doesn’t mean I don’t feel all these feelings.  I just deal with their emotional turmoil and upset by owning my hurt feelings or upset and moving on.  I don’t dwell on upsetting topics as it does no good AND doing so can wreck my health.  Seriously.  The first thing to get messed up when you’re crying is your breathing, and I don’t want to risk an exacerbation or a potentially expensive hospital stay simply because I refused to accept what life is showing me.

I’m also channeling Sheldon during some of these conversations, and it’s all I can do not to snap !


We’re both now orphans 24 x 7 x 365 as our family trees have moved on without us, leaving the older deadwood behind.  You know, just like real life.


In my friend’s case, she’s 53, never married, and again is worried she has nothing to show for it.  No partner.  No kids.  No big house filled with friends and family at the holidays.

But, if you’ve lived your life as you chose, how can one be upset over years-past decisions coming home to roost?  If you want a husband, you had to be willing to compromise to achieve that goal.  If you wanted children, you had to be willing to give up your role as the baby of the family.  If you wanted a house, you had to be willing to save and do without until you achieved that goal.  Life will always throw a monkey wrench into your plans, but if you were willing to try real hard, you might have accomplished one or more of those goals.

I wasn’t willing to follow the conventional path of partner, children, home = security.  My experience was that none of those things were without sorrow, violence and risk, so I made different choices in my life as a member of a very large family, and confident that I would always have that family.

What a folly !

People marry to continue families along new branches, and my choice to forgo that aspect of life meant that I became an adult orphan with no family willing to share their lives with me because I was no longer part of the core.  As the family tree continued to grow and branch out, I was left with bare branches and stunted growth.

While I accept the consequences of the choices I made, I always expected to leave the party early, and not be the one left behind, assessing my losses and missing people who are no longer here.  🎶  You’re missing 🎶

Last year was hard, having been informed that I was no longer part of the family due to my NOT being invited to a nephew’s wedding.

Spending Christmas in Jamaica and the Caribbean certainly helped to asuage my feelings of hurt and rejection, especially considering how hard I worked through the years to remain close to all the kids, providing vacations together, and visiting at least once a year.

However much one wishes that investments in people and time spent together results in a life-long connection – both through blood and shared memories – there is no guarantee that life is fair and that people will love you back.

When branches of the tree die off, leaving deadwood and islands of growth, one must learn to accept that one has also been left behind and is not considered part of the family anymore.


I refuse to be the beggar at the feast, humbling myself when I am the slighted party.  Why do I bring this up now, though, ruining an otherwise Merry holiday?

Because sometimes life sucks, and one has to accept what is.  Not what we hope.  Not what we think we deserve based on status or hardwork.  Just accept life the way it is, and continue on the path you’ve chosen that otherwise fulfills you the remaining 364 days of the year.

If you’re lucky, people will accept the fact that you may be an orphan but you are not a waif – an object of pity in need of comforting.

You’ll make some favorite food you were wanting, you’ll fill your hours doing things you enjoy or which keep you too busy to think about what you’re lacking, and the holidays will pass.

You’ll be left in peace to do what you wish, and spend your life how you prefer.

If that doesn’t work for you, then please make new choices today, tomorrow and thereafter until you have achieved the quality of life you desire.

But, please…  don’t come crying to me about how abandoned you feel and how you thought your life would be more than what it is.  Don’t give me a hard time because I’m a stoic who chooses to find joy in life despite its reality, vs. crying over things I cannot change.  🎶 Life has killed the dream I dreamed 🎶

I’m a problem solver,  and I’ll only aggravate you by my decision to accept what cannot be changed and moving on.  We have it better than at any other time in history, so I refuse to dwell on why my life isn’t perfect.  I’m a big fan of adulting.

🎶 “The Dream I Dreamed” 🎶  from Les Miserables

There was a time when men were kind
When their voices were soft
And their words inviting
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting
There was a time
Then it all went wrong
I dreamed a dream in times gone by
When hope was high and life worth living
I dreamed, that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted
But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
As they turn your dream to shame
He slept a summer by my side
He filled my days with endless wonder
He took my childhood in his stride
But he was gone when autumn came
And still I dream he’ll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather
I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I’m living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream
I dreamed
Except when you fail to make a family of your own…
🎶 You’re missing 🎶 Bruce Springsteen’s 9/11 ode
Shirts in the closet, shoes in the hall
Mama’s in the kitchen, baby and all
Everything is everything
Everything is everything
But you’re missing
Coffee cups on the counter, jackets on the chair
Papers on the doorstep, but you’re not there
Everything is everything
Everything is everything
But you’re missing
Pictures on the nightstand, TV’s on in the den
Your house is waiting, your house is waiting
For you to walk in, for you to walk in
But you’re missing, you’re missing
You’re missing when I shut out the lights
You’re missing, when I close my eyes
You’re missing, when I see the sun rise
You’re missing
Children are asking if it’s alright
Will you be in our arms tonight?
Morning is morning, the evening falls I got
Too much room in my bed, too many phone calls
How’s everything, everything?
Everything, everything
But you’re missing, you’re missing
God’s drifting in heaven, devil’s in the mailbox
I got dust on my shoes, nothing but teardrops


When you google stubborn, I’m surprised my face isn’t the first thing which shows up.


I have a strong Irish temper, with shades of Scots, French and Brits to add ice to my ire.

Dealing with an inability to do anything very physical has always been a sore spot, and that frustration has grown as my wellness has declined.

This week, I’ve been busy trying to pass for normal and keep up.  Despite pain and numbness in my arm and shoulder, I was busy making product and trying to figure out how to pay for my portion of our new shops, and running on very little sleep.

I had zero patience, was in the middle of getting a crown put in ($ ca-ching!), and had just sorted dirty laundry to get caught up on household chores now that our recent holiday shows were done.

So, of course, the washing machine floods the laundry room and won’t drain.  No, I do not have time to deal with that !


How much could a service call run?

How much could a new washer run?

All questions that I didn’t want to answer, so I spent way too much time in bed, avoiding the issue and being chilled to the bone…


or, napping on the couch… when I could get Herself to allow me to be on it.  (Heaven forbid I should nap on my own couch without “sharing”)…


But, I tell you all that to tell you this.  I won !  I won !  I won !

YouTube rocks for dealing with my anxiety about how to figure out how to get the front panel off and diagnose the problem…


So, a few more YouTube videos.  A few more naps.  I bought some quarters, “just in case” I couldn’t figure out the solution and implement the repair.  And I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Tonight, after yet another Gingerbread Holiday Baking Championship viewing, and a nap, I was ready.

10:35pm, all Her stuff was swept out from under the laundry equipment (yes, the failure was all Katie’s fault.  She plays hockey with door stops, pens, bottle caps and catnip winebottles, all of which ended up out of reach, under the washing machine).


I’m working on my second load of laundry (yes!), and while I’m now ready for yet another nap, I’m thrilled to report that I defeated the dreaded service call trap, and was able to repair it myself without any injuries or extra expense.

Merry Christmas to me and my stubbornness.

Plus, I’ll have clean clothes to wear tomorrow, when I go to get my crown installed.

Wish me luck that my dental plan paid more than expected, or at least what they should, so that I’ll either get money back, or at least not owe any more.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night !



Rant 972

A picture is worth a thousand words.  Why, then, do so many images appear to be mis-matched with the underlying story and the personalities involved?

Today’s aggravation – a man is alleged to have done something wrong, and the imaging is about his family or his wife, as if they were somehow being held accountable for another’s choices.  For example:

Julie Chen.


(Note that the caption under her image doesn’t even give her credit for her own name).

Les Moonves.


(Note that he gets to keep his name as his image is tagged for blasting all over the internet).

But, to get back to our original topic…  Can we all see that they are different people?  That they are not interchangeable, even though they are married?

Different genders.

Different races.

Different ages.

Why then, ESPECIALLY in this day and age, does a story about an alleged philanderer show not a picture of the accused, but default to his wife?!!!


(While I am attaching a link to the article in question, I also attached a screenshot in the event that CNN realizes and corrects its wildly inappropriate imaging, whereby a man’s wife is used in imagery as a prop for her husband’s alleged infidelities.  Allegations that begin 20 years prior, long before wifey was even in the picture).


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of the “stand by your man” school of life, whereby Bill and Hillary and the media so ably demonstrated since 1998 why it’s all Hillary’s fault that Billy, good ole Billy Boy, couldn’t keep his pants zipped.


The problem I have with the Moonves scandal is, however, that very much like Clinton’s Lewinsky affair, it’s clearly his wife’s fault… given the wide variety of hits on Julie Chen’s image when one types a search engine query seeking information on Moonves.

(Go ahead, I’ll wait while you type your own query into your favorite search engine).

When we talk about powerful people, the conversation is very different based on the gender of the person being ridiculed:


We also seem to see nothing wrong with implying the women in men’s lives are willing props to whatever the man desires:


Granted, many of the images of Ivanka show her in Daddy’s lap, a willing accomplice to his ego and the purient incest fantasies which seem to run rampant in Society’s lowest common denominator memes.  But, if the woman in question hadn’t worn garment X or posed in photo X, there would not be imaging to back up the tribal, conquering hero, droit de seigneur priviledge which still seems implicit and accepted across the board for all modes of communication regardless of the relevance of the imaging to the underlying story arc – infotainment has blended so seamlessly into current affairs where malicious gossip is mistaken for news.

Anyway, I had a point before this rant began.  Something about the erasing of an accomplished woman’s career due to scandals involving her husband, but I need to go wash out my brain.  Googling images based on a topic can be quite unsettling to my mental health…