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Today would’ve been my mom’s 96th birthday. I was going to write a nice tribute to her but I’m not in the mood. I’ve had a weird backache since yesterday. It’s in my left hip and the pain is not constant. It is sudden and severe and makes me yell out and takes my breath away at the same time. As far as I know, I didn’t injure myself. I had a weird hip thing about 10 years ago that was totally different. It was severe but I had it 24/7 for months until I got a low dose of steroids. Then it was  supposedly arthritis but this must be a pulled muscle. Anyway, I’m still doing things like laundry and walking the dogs, just dosing myself with Tylenol.

I’ve never written a blog post about losing weight. I always said I would but never got around to it. This isn’t going to be it either. I’m at the highest weight I’ve ever been. I’ve gained in the last 4 years even after being told specifically to lose weight for my spinal stenosis. As a young girl, I always wanted to be thin and tried everything to lose weight. Sometime over the last 2 decades, I lost the desire to lose weight. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t “enjoy” being fat. I’m used to it. It is what I’ve always been and if I was thin, it wouldn’t be “me”. I was going to say it’s part of my identity but that makes it sound like I’m one of the fatties that are proud to be large and in charge. I’m not proud, I’m ashamed of my size but I’m through apologizing. I like to eat. Taking away one of the things I enjoy most in life is a big sacrifice. That being said, I want to be healthy. I want to be able to walk and move and not have pain. I don’t want to lose any organs or get a disease I will have to treat the rest of my life. I don’t want to take copious amounts of prescription medicines or have surgery. I have no one to be healthy for anymore but myself. I never feel worth the trouble or bother.

 

Taking all that into consideration, I am making the effort to cut out some carbs. Hubby has been going to our new doctor since Jan. Since his diagnosis of diabetes in June 2013, he got it under control almost immediately. Over time he was losing a handle on it and then after my mom died 5 1/2 months ago, it completely got out of control. He’s been having symptoms that he never had before,  high blood sugar readings, etc. The doctor first tried putting him on Janumet for a month along with the Metformin but it didn’t help. Now he’s on an insulin pen once a day. He started out with 10 ml which isn’t enough. He got very sick this past week from his body “crashing”. He has to see the doctor every single week until things have leveled off. Friday, his dose was upped to 20 ml and found out he had a sinus infection, too. So he’s on antibiotics, a nasal spray, etc. He’s been sick since Tues. but managed to go to work. On Sat. I had planned for us to go somewhere but he was too ill so we stayed home and he went to bed for 4 hours in the middle of the day. I’ve been going to the doctor with him every time. This doctor says things like, “If you lose 100 lbs., you can get off the meds altogether!” Uh…in the 3 decades I’ve known my husband, he never weighed 100 lbs. less. It’s never going to happen. He can lose 30 lbs. over time, maybe even 50 if ambitious but not 100.

 

So our weekends have been taken up with less than fun things lately. A week ago yesterday, we spent the entire day working in the yard. First we went to Ace Hardware and got 6 bags of top soil for 99 cents each. Plus 6 bags of cypress mulch to put around the trees. We cut the grass and put down fertilizer and Grubex. There is just so much to do and either no time or no energy to do it. We get done what we can but life feels very mundane right now….

 

We’ve been doing a lot of food shopping. The doctor wants Greg to cut out all carbs. I don’t think that’s realistic but we’re definitely putting in the work to cut them a lot. We love bread and sandwiches so much but that seems to be one of the biggest culprits. Hubby used to take 2 sandwiches for lunch and we lowered it to one but he might have to go without completely. I’ve been making hard boiled eggs every week and giving him 2 in his lunch. I also make the chicken drumsticks in the Big Boss airless cooker and give him 2 of those every day for lunch. Last night I also cooked an entire turkey breast in there which took 3 hours. It’s almost as much work as cooking a whole turkey. We’re trying to stay away from processed lunchmeat so this or tuna is all I can think of. Today I made a Turkey Salad with celery, red onion, apple and a delicious curry dressing. I didn’t have walnuts or grapes so subbed yellow pepper. I put it on lettuce with some grape tomatoes all around. It was really good! Like something you’d have a corporate luncheon. We also bought some of the Adkins snack bars since Greg has such a sweet tooth. A coworker of his has bowls of candy out and is always offering it. He has a terrible time keeping away from it. I can’t police him, especially if I’m not with him. I miss dessert too but baking most of all. I started looking up low carb bars but most have weird seed type ingredients.

 

This is just a quick post about what we’ve been dealing with lately. I hope to someday have my will to write back. I’m still plugging along. Not really getting anywhere but still taking up space. My heart isn’t in dieting or writing or anything these days. My best guess is that my heart is with my mom and always will be.

It’s another in a series of dark, rainy days. Gloom begets gloom. All my life, I thought I was a good writer. Not contest winning good but captivating. Someone able to hold the attention of my readers. A few months back, I read some of my earlier blog entries and my life story that I wrote at 21. It seems so mediocre to me. Not very good at all. Now I’ve lost my will to write. I don’t want to write emails, blog posts, Instagram posts, Etsy listings, grocery or to-do lists, etc. It could be because I’m grieving still for the loss of my mother. Or it could be that I’ve lost confidence in the only thing I was ever good at. The only thing I ever had confidence in to begin with. I’m not about to start day drinking although the though has crossed my mind. It gives me perspective. I always wondered at what point does someone actually start doing heroin?! A fully rational adult knows better but if life has no substance for them anymore, will they do anything to get their motivation back?! Before you start worrying that I’m on the verge of shooting up, I won’t. I can promise you that. Not just because I don’t care for needles or putting foreign substances in my body. Mostly because I already know it’s not the answer.

When Mom was alive and I was so busy taking care of her, I used her as an excuse. I couldn’t write more because I never had a block of time to sit down and write without being interrupted. I figured when she eventually passed, I would spend part of every day writing. I would either be writing a book or at least do regular blog entires. Instead I feel even less like writing. The truth is she never kept me from writing or anything else. I’m doing that all by myself.

My days are all a blur now. I no longer get up with my husband in the morning (7 am) like I always did until the first of the year. I usually get up by 8 or 8:30 am. I still walk the dogs every day except today because it is raining hard all day long with no break. I still cook meals and bake desserts. I stay caught up with the laundry. I keep my housework and hygiene routine. I pay bills on time. I still watch “Stories” on Instagram every morning and throughout the day. Snippets of other people’s full and vibrant lives. I feel almost paralyzed about sharing on social media. I’ve felt this way on and off since I first got on the internet 21 years ago. In the past month I’ve only posted a handful of pictures (mostly food). I’ve taken lots more and should be excited about sharing but feel almost afraid to share. I don’t know why but the more I need people, the more I pull away. I watch tv but only half-heartedly. TV was always such a joy to me. It was something I’d look forward to at night. Now I still watch the same shows (and some new ones) but most of the time I’m not giving it my full attention. I wouldn’t be able to tell anyone what happened in a particular episode.

I’m very short-sighted and impatient when it comes to getting over things. I like to forge ahead and get on with things. When I had the chicken pox at age 30, I was so afraid that the red marks left on my face (scars) would be there forever. I asked a coworker who had them in his 20’s if he remembered them on his face and he said yes. He said they go away over time. Of course, he was right. Everything goes away over time… A decade ago I had a medical condition I’ve never written about. Someday I will. It was so painful and kept coming back. I finally had surgery and it cured me forever. Sadly, for a few years I was petrified that it would come back. I mean, it was a daily worry that I’d have to deal with it again and forever. That was during the time I almost went on drugs for depression. I was making myself sick with fear. I couldn’t see long term. I never took the drugs and over time my anxiety about reoccurrence went away.

Now I’m back to that place again. The grief over my mom’s death has only intensified. I feel empty and alone. I feel sorry for myself. The worst thing is I’m worrying that this feeling will never end. Just through living all these years, I ought to know logically that I won’t always feel like this. However, I don’t know how long it will last. It could be weeks, months, years?! When I had Mom with me, I pushed myself to get things done every day. Extra things like listing things to sell online or just reorganizing things. Now I don’t push myself. I don’t know why. The only thing I can come up with is that “nothing matters”. It doesn’t make a difference if I do it or not. She’s still dead and I’m still here. I don’t even like posting about my grief on Instagram. People are so kind and wonderful leaving cheerful comments. But what it comes down to is there’s nothing anyone can do to help. It’s going to take time. I feel embarrassed that I’m not handling this better. I don’t like feeling vulnerable. I want to be strong and be able to just go on without being phased by the loss. April 7th will be 5 months since Mom passed away. It seems like it should be long enough to live like this. I’ve always hated “wasting time”. I know how precious life is and grieving this long feels like a waste of time. Maybe it’s one of those things that just sneaks up on you. One day, without realizing it, I’ll notice that I no longer feel this way. That I’m able to find joy again in life. Only God knows how long I need to grieve and when he thinks I’m done. In the meantime, I’m soldiering on.

Since I last wrote, Greg and I went to the dentist on Feb. 9th for cleanings. The dentist is always very prompt but this time he’d had an emergency and ran about 40 minutes late. The dentist apologized for keeping us waiting and I said, “I don’t mind. I’d rather wait than have what that guy had done.” Not kidding. Not even a little bit. 😉 He got a got good laugh about that. It was an old guy (looked like in his 80’s) and it sounds like he had a couple extractions. The dentist had his receptionist drive the guy home. I’ve never heard of that but it was very nice. Now we’re done with the dentist for 6 months. Greg had to get another blood draw that morning before his insurance would cover a new medication. He has about the best insurance around but they are balking at everything and refusing to cover certain drugs, etc. Anyway, Greg finally got on the new meds on Sat. Feb. 25th. He has to go back to the doctor on the 16th.
Saturday Feb. 25th was one of the worst days I’ve had, maybe ever. I didn’t feel good physically (nothing specific) but emotionally and mentally I was a wreck. I’m wondering if I’m all of a sudden in menopause and my hormones are out of whack. I felt like I couldn’t control my emotions. I was excessively sad, even though I didn’t want to be. I cried more that day than ever before. I need to get a sign that says, “It’s a bad day, not a bad life” because that day it felt like a terrible life. Believe it or not, I’m a pretty upbeat and positive person but couldn’t snap out of it. Luckily, it was only that one day. I hope I don’t have anymore days like that because that is no way to live.


Friday Feb. 17th, we met with the banker to finalize the transfer of stock. One of the 2 guys we deal with had a birthday and I asked how old he was. He said 34. When we got in the car later, Greg said to me, “They think we’re old.” or ‘To them, we’re old.” He’s probably right but we don’t really feel in our 50’s. We feel the same as our 30’s. It made me think how age is relative. I don’t think Mom ever felt 95 1/2 either! I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t feel more relieved after finalizing the stock but now I know why. The other day another thing came in the mail. This time it’s a Comcast stock that some place other than Computershare was administering. So it looks like I’ll have to replace the stock certificates and then transfer them. Which means I’ll have to get some more death certificates from my mom’s passing. Now I’m wondering if there’s even more out there than this. I’m not good at dealing with this type of stuff at all. On Sat. Feb. 25th we started our taxes. I had gathered up everything from us and Mom for taxes a few weeks ago. I put them aside and then I could’t find them! I finally found them yesterday in one of the first places I’d looked. Must’ve overlooked them the first time. Now I’m not sure everything is in there so will have to go through it to be sure and probably hunt a few things down.


The DNA test we ordered for Greg’s mother from Ancestry.com came in the mail on Tues. Feb. 14th. We called her that night to wish her a Happy Valentine’s Day and tell her it had come. We asked if she was free that Friday and she was. So after the banker, we went up to WI to see her. We got there at noon and left at 4:30 pm. First we got the saliva sample and added the stabilizing solution, then packed it up in the pre-paid mailing box. She wanted it sent in right away so we drove to the Sussex PO. (Mom and I lived in Sussex for 11 years.) We told her we’d take her to lunch for Valentine’s Day gift. We let her pick the place and she chose Maxim’s in Brookfield, WI. We’d never been there but it’s a greek place with a huge menu. It seems to be an old folks hangout. They had senior citizens being picked up by a private bus when we were getting there. Another was telling someone at the table next to us that they had had a big funeral lunch that day for everyone who’d attended their mother’s funeral. We all got the fish fry and it was ok. I wouldn’t get it again but it wasn’t the worst I’ve had either. We drove around a bit and saw how Pewaukee and the whole area has changed. I can barely recognize anything, it’s so built up now. We came back to her house and visited awhile. We were getting ready to go when we started talking about her cell phone. She’s got an iPhone 6+. She’s had it a few months and Greg’s brother Brian (the brain injured one) talked her into getting it. She said it cost like $600 when everything was added on. The sad thing is he didn’t teach her anything about how to use it!!!! So we stayed an extra hour just helping her with her phone. She had the volume off and down so she was missing all her calls. She didn’t know how to send or receive texts. Or look at pictures or go into any apps. She wasn’t even on Wi-fi even though she was paying for it. She has Directv for her tv but U-verse for her wifi. She doesn’t even have a computer but has wifi. Yet she didn’t have her phone set up to hook into her wifi. Greg worked on that while I showed her how to add other cities to the weather so she could see the weather where the other family lives. We were both very patient and enjoyed helping her. I don’t just do things for her, I make her do them or she won’t learn it. She needs about 20 more hours of teaching (minimum) but we had to leave. Next time we go up there, we’ll give her another lesson. The sad thing is her life would be so much more enriched if she actually used the phone instead of using it as a glorified paperweight! Also sad is that she has 5 other children (one across the street) who have never helped her with this…. 😦 When we got home, we both remarked how good we felt about going up there. It was the most pleasant time we’ve ever had up there. It might be because it was just one on one with her instead of a huge group of people that make us feel uncomfortable. Greg got an email from Ancestry.com saying that they’d received the sample and it would take 6-8 weeks to process it. Now we have to decide if we’re going up there for his sister’s St. Pat’s Day party, his mother’s birthday or sometime in between.


Saturday Feb. 18th, we went back up to WI to see Bad Boy. We had a nice time but it’s not really our scene anymore. The Milwaukee band was playing at The Route 20 Outhouse in Sturtevant, right outside of Racine. We had reservations and I was so nervous. I was really close to chickening out but curiosity won out. It was so warm that day that we didn’t even wear a coat. The whole weekend (like 5 days straight) it was in the upper 60’s to mid 70’s which is unheard of for Feb. We ate dinner up there at the club and I had chicken wrap and Greg had a pulled pork sandwich. I just didn’t want to eat anything that would make me spend the night in the bathroom. The restroom only has 2 stalls! We decided to take it real easy when drinking and had 3 beers total. We had quit drinking by 10 pm and that’s when Bad Boy started. First up was a band called Jasper Rude. They played all their own music and weren’t bad. The lead singer reminded me of Steve Perry from Journey. The club never got packed. A few hundred people only. They had a private party upstairs also. We were at one of the high tables on the sides. They get rid of the low tables to make a dance floor. Right in front of us, they had put a low table especially for the whores. There have always been groupies (I was one) and whores at rock shows. The times haven’t changed that. Only now since the band is older, so are the groupies and whores. I didn’t see one person under 40 in the place and Greg said it was more like no one under 50. These whores were older too (probably mid 40’s) but dressed much younger. It probably makes me sound bitter and jealous to call them that but i find it most descriptive. I came back to rewrite this so as not to offend anyone but changed it back. They were very entertaining to watch, as much so as the band. Bad Boy did 2 sets after Jasper Rude did one set. One of the sets was like an hour and a half long. In the old days, bands used to get free drinks. I don’t know if they still get that but the whores were buying the guys drinks. Also a male groupie bought them all shots. He and his girlfriend (who had never seen them before) came late (but before the band started) and had no seats. They were standing next to me and i told them they could sit with us. They said no, they wanted to stand. Fine. We only ended up dancing to one song, “Cheat On Me” but I had fun. In the past, I would’ve been out not he dance floor for the majority of songs. Now I’m too selfconsious (or hadn’t drank enough). When we came back and sat down, the girl next to me tried talking to me. The music was so loud, I couldn’t hear anything. Not a single word. I forgot how my ears were buzzing and almost hurt from how loud the music was. I told Greg I could’t hear her and he tried to find out what she wanted. She asked him, “Have you been together long?” He replied, “31 years” (slight exaggeration—it will be 31 since we met this June). Then she says, “You two are so cute out there dancing together.” Ew. It sounds so nice but her tone made me shudder. Like if you saw a grandma and grandpa out dancing in their 90’s. It just seemed so patronizing. Once again…they think we’re old… WE’RE NOT OLD!! Are we?! The older couple sitting across the room from us where the woman fell asleep sitting up in a chair at 8 pm and slept through the loud music might qualify as old…

So much has happened since I last updated. I really can’t cover it all in one blog post. I will start with yesterday and go backwards. The rest will have to wait until another time.


We’ve been working on getting Mom’s stocks transferred into my name. I tried doing it on my own but it turned out to be far more complicated than I could have imagined. So I contacted someone at our bank for help. Greg & I met with him (George) once in mid-December for 2 hours. We laid out things and explained what we were trying to accomplish. He made some phone calls (in front of us) to Computershare. I had tried dealing with them via phone prior to seeing him and it was so frustrating. The people working there are less than helpful and don’t know things. They can be rude and dismissive. They are also vague and leave you un-reassured about what they’ve told you. I was glad to have George handling things for me. I never felt fully convinced things would work out. We met with him again in mid-January for 3 hours. In addition to switching the stock to my name, we had to get some stock certificates replaced which cost me some money. Years ago (like ’80’s or ’90’s), Computershare had demanded Mom send in all her stock certificates and they would hold them for her. It was mandatory and we remember helping her with this. Now they were saying they didn’t have all of them. That she would have them. I’ve looked everywhere and can’t imagine she threw them out. Even though she was going through that phase. More likely they didn’t mark them down correctly. We went back to see George a few weeks ago and we spent almost 2 hours filling out more paperwork. I had to get several things notarized and a guarantee of security plus a small estate affidavit. There was as much paperwork as taking out a loan for a house. Not kidding!! The oddest thing happened. I had to sign my name dozens of times but the last time, I was listening to a conversation between Dave (another banker) and Greg and started signing my name Chrisor B. B Then I inwardly freaked out and wrote C over the B and wrote Culbert. This was my maiden name that I haven’t signed in almost 25 years!! I didn’t even catch it. George is like “Can you sign below and initial by that that you made a mistake?” I’m like, “Why? I can read the C over the B, can’t you?” He comes back with, “yes, but the name has to match or they won’t open the account”. I’m like, “What’s wrong with it?” Duh. I wonder if I had a stroke. Either that or it’s definitely early onset dementia. Geez. When he told me the last name was wrong, I was so embarrassed. I’m still embarrassed. Who does that?! Then when I initialed, I’m still wondering if I put the wrong initials?! CBC instead of CBB. I got a call from George yesterday saying all the stock was transferred to my name. I can’t believe it!! Now when I get confirmation in the mail to that effect, I have to call and make another appt. with him. I’m going to move the stock to a brokerage account at Chase bank. I’m so happy that it all went through without having to go to Probate court. That would’ve stressed me out to no end.

 
As far as getting the rest of her estate settled. We’re still waiting for her medical insurance and Medicare to pay. They have paid some but it is a hot mess. The ambulance bill is down to $78 but you’d think between the 2, it would be covered. Greg & I talk about getting wills made out for ourselves now that we’ve learned this lesson from Mom not having one. The hard part is figuring out a beneficiary. That will come with time.


Yesterday we called Greg’s mother and asked her if she’d ever had her ancestry traced by dna. She said no but she’d wanted to. So Greg & I told her that we’d order her a kit for her birthday, come up to WI and get her saliva and mail it in for her. Then bring her results to her. She was so excited but was watching something on tv so got off the phone quickly. Greg’s been thinking of getting his done and I said it would make more sense to have his mother’s done first. So he ordered a dna kit from Ancestry.com for $99. We got free shipping with a code off Retail Me Not. It should be very interesting indeed.


Hubby is working a double shift today so he can have tomorrow off. Tomorrow we’ve got a busy day. We’ve got back to back dental appointments for cleanings at 10 & 10:30 am. Before that he has to run to our new doctor’s office for a repeat blood test for the insurance co. The past 2 Thursdays Greg’s had an appt. with our new doctor. This is the one Dr. J recommended. We call him Dr. Z. He’s ok but only spends 15 min. with you which is such a switch. I guess that’s what most doctors do. Dr. J would always run late because he spent so much time with people. It would be a 1-3 hour wait to see him but then he’d spend up to an hour with us. That always made it seem worth it. This guy runs a half hour late and then we get 15 min. Anyway, I’ll be going the beginning of May for blood work and then later for my pap. The Metformin alone isn’t working for Greg’s diabetes so he got put on a combo drug. We have to watch what we eat more too. I keep bugging him to go to Weight Watchers with me but he thinks we can do it ourselves. I’m not convinced. Last week the doc gave him a prescription but the pharmacy wouldn’t fill it without the insurance co. getting pre-authorization. This all changed just since the first of the year. In a way it feels good to be in the know about his health versus in denial. 


The last few weekends there haven’t been any estate sales that looked good. So we’ve been skipping them entirely and checking out some of the antique malls a little ways from home. Last Thursday Feb. 2, we went to Gurnee Antique Mall and it took us 2 1/2 hours to go through it! It was a fun place but all I found was books. I say that like it’s a bad thing. It was great! Hubby found a piece of Haegar pottery that he wanted so I told him that was his Valentine’s Day present. If you saw it, you’d know why. Before we went in there we went to lunch at Olive Garden. We got the soup and salad and breadsticks instead of pasta. I was so surprised Greg wanted to go there. He hates Olive Garden. We used to eat there 25 years ago and Mom and I loved it. He said it’s not Italian food and not any good. Well, after eating lunch there, he’s right! It was not good. Everything was so bland. All I could think of was how much better my homemade soups and salads are than that. At least we tried. Then we walked it off at the mall.


Last Friday Feb. 3rd, we went up to Kenosha to the Rustic Dairyland Antique Mall. The place is crap. Pardon my french. Mostly reproductions and new items stuck in between older things. The prices were out of sight. I ended up getting one book. The floor in there is painted white and then someone dunked a crumpled up piece of paper in black paint and pressed it down every few inches to form a pattern. It looked terrible. Maybe the idea was alright but how it turned out was gross. After that we went up to Sturtevant, WI to the School Days Antique Mall. We’d never been there or even to Sturtevant before. I didn’t expect much because it’s just a tiny town. Little did I know they could have one of the best malls I’ve ever been to!! We found more stuff than anywhere and it was all fairly priced. Of course, they had a winter sale on or we wouldn’t have been able to get all we did. I got a picture that looks like a painting, hubby got a sign that flips to say different things. I found 3 paper mache lipstick holders that look like girls. I’ve only seen them online previously. We got some brothel tokens which are probably reproductions but they’re still neat. I got a calendar, a thermomenter, a metal holy water font, etc. It was a really fun day. 

Afterwards, we went for an early fish fry (we’d skipped lunch) at Route 20 Outhouse. It was good and we found out Bad Boy will be playing there on Sat, Feb, 18th. We are thinking of going! Like a date night but we never really have those so this would be a big deal. We saw Bad Boy up in Milwaukee 6 years ago and I had so much fun. The first time I saw them was when I was 17 in 1979! 38 years ago. I’m almost embarrassed to go at my age but the band is even older so…. I’ll let you know if we go.


Sat. Feb. 4th, we went to our regular mall nearest our house. Golf-Mil mall in Niles, IL. We haven’t been there in years but I needed a new pillow. I bet I haven’t gotten a new one in 20 years! Gross, huh? I’ve washed it in the machine but there’s not much left of it after years of use. So we went to Sears and then remembered why we don’t go to the mall anymore. Especially on a Saturday. Ugh. First we had to get tennis shoes for Greg & me. We always bought them at the Reebok outlet down in Tunica, MS while on vacation. In 2015 we didn’t go to the mall and then when we finally went at Christmas, that store (and most of the others) were out of business. For years, we had a tradition of getting tennis shoes and fragrance down there. We could get 6 pairs of tennis shoes (3 for each of us) for $100! The fragrance store was a good deal if you used a mall coupon too. Now the only store left is Kitchen Collection which is where we bought our Big Boss Air Fryer. We use that almost every weekend to make fried chicken without any batter. We make a whole value pack of chicken legs and I divide them up into baggies for Greg to take one a day to work as a snack. Anyway, the last 2 pairs of tennis shoes I wore/ bought were Keds that I got at an estate sale for $1 each! I’ve been looking for more ever since. One pair were unused, the other was almost like new. At Sears we had to help ourselves. Nothing jumped out at either one of us. We both ended up getting plain white tennis shoes. Greg’s are hi-tops. I don’t know if those are in style or out. They must be in style if they sell them?! They were $10 off each pair which brought them down to $50 each. That hurts to pay that much for shoes you aren’t in love with. They are just “ok”. After going through that and then looking at the pillows and socks, I was done for. I grabbed 4 pillows and went to a display bed and laid down and tried them one at a time. It was easy to pick which one that way. Once I get my car running again, I will have to go back to the mall on a weekday morning and see what else is up.


I titled this Taking Care Of Business but I was thinking more of the Bachman Turner Overdrive version than the Elvis version. I’m going to bake some banana bread tonight and listen to music. Thanks for stopping by and hearing about my life. 🙂

It’s been 3 months today since my mom passed away. I still miss her as much as you might imagine. However, I’ve found out that’s she’s inside me. Not only in my heart but in basically how I am, act, speak and look. 
When I was in college, a friend was looking at a professional portrait our little family had taken around the time I graduated from high school. It was just my dad, my mom and me. This friend commented that she’d never seen anyone look equally like both parents. Usually people favor one parent over the other in appearance, if not completely looking like a double. At the time, I never saw it. I thought I looked mostly like my dad. Now that she’s gone, I see her when I look in the mirror. Maybe only in the light behind my eyes because she had green eyes and I have brown. I hate looking in the mirror but seeing her makes me hate it a bit less. 


I feel like I’ve aged quite a bit since she died. I felt much younger than her because I was. 41+ years age difference will do that to you. Now all of a sudden, I am understanding how hard I pushed her to do things. I made her get dressed everyday, even putting on her own socks. I helped her as needed but didn’t let her get away with not doing it. I think if I hadn’t made her do those things, she would’ve lost the ability. The old, “If you don’t use it, you lose it”. I sit on the basement floor (carpeted) and sort laundry and pretreat stains, etc. Then getting up off the floor is no joke. I used to be able to do it like nothing but since I hurt my knee a year ago, it’s slow going. My knee is healed but “tricky” and gives me pain or acts up if I don’t watch it. I can now kneel on both knees. I pretty much marvel every day that Mom could get out of the bathtub by herself at 95 1/2. She was working in the garden every day weeding until age 88 or so. The fact that she could adapt to all the advances in technology is mind boggling. She grew up without electricity or running water. Back when there was a party line for the telephone and a horse and buggy to go to town. Yet she learned to drive a car at age 12. She lived through a lot of changes and embraced them all. She loved playing slot games on the computer.


We were very different personality-wise. She and my husband were both born in April and were similar in a lot of ways. I’m more calculated in doing things. Before doing things, I like to research things and do a lot of thinking and planning about them. Both of them would get an idea and just run with it. They’d try anything and always be up for an adventure. I’d have to be coaxed into it. Both my mom and husband dislike greeting cards. They also don’t like exchanging presents. My mom would send a few Christmas cards to her sister, her nieces and 2 coworkers she had met 70 years ago and had still kept in touch with. She liked receiving cards from these people. She disliked writing letters but would force herself to write her sister, brother and those coworkers a few times a year because she knew they’d write back. I grew up with a love of letter writing. I had penpals since I was 12 years old. Then I went into slams which was more writing. I’ve always loved sending cards and receiving them. Mom and Greg never wanted cards from me. They both thought it was stupid. So I obliged and never made them hardly any. It dawned on me one day that I have no cards from my Mom. Others whose mother died might have a shoebox or even bigger box just filled with cards they could look through telling how much their mother loved them. They could look at them over and over again. Instead I have memories of her telling me she loved me (up until the last 5 years or so) often and showing me in countless ways. My mom wasn’t a demonstrative person. She grew up in a time when you didn’t get hugs and were never told you were loved. Ever since I was a baby, she told me many times daily that she loved me and I always got hugs and kisses. She used to call me “Kissy” because I liked kisses so much. My dad never told me he loved me and didn’t give hugs or kisses. So I got all of my affection from Mom. When I was in high school, she’d send me off to school with a kiss on the lips and “Have a good day!”. Nobody really understood how close I was to my mom because I don’t know anyone else who had as close a relationship with their own mother. There was a girl in high school who was older than me by a 2 years. We were in the same grade but she’d been held back. So she was 18 and her mother had left her. Instead of kicking her out when she turned 18, the mother moved but must’ve paid the rent because she had a house to herself. Anyway, we rode the bus together and she came to the door to get me so we could walk several blocks ahead because we were one of the last stops and if we waited to get on, we wouldn’t get a seat on the bus and would have to stand the whole way (5 miles). She really resented my close bond with my mom and was downright jealous. She saw Mom kiss me on the lips and the next day there were rumors swirling all around school that I was a lesbian. It was a vicious thing to do to take something so innocent and loving and turn it into a lie. As with most rumors, there’s nothing you can do about them, people will either believe them or they won’t. But I was really hurt and even though I knew where her intentions came from, it didn’t make it any easier to deal with. I was so upset and didn’t want to tell my mom for fear that it would make her not want to kiss me goodbye every morning. But I did tell her because there wasn’t anything that I didn’t share with her. We got through that and our bond was even stronger. Only death can separate us from one other.


Yesterday I made a bunch of Valentines on the computer. It made me think of all this. I never know if others like getting cards but I try to acknowledge others and send them. I know I like getting them and typically only 2 or 3 send me any for the various holidays. I do cherish them. It makes me wonder how important it is to have tangible items that belonged to a dead person. My mom doesn’t have many possessions. She moved dozens of times throughout her life and didn’t keep things from her childhood or even early adulthood. She would give things away when she moved so she wouldn’t have to pay to transport them. Then in the last 10 years (5 years or so before the Alzheimers was diagnosed), she started throwing things out. She didn’t have a lot to begin with but any old cards or letters, she would read one last time and then put in the garbage. I used to argue with her about this but she felt so strongly about getting rid of the stuff, that I gave in and didn’t question it after that. She was always trying to get me to get rid of some of my stuff. The more she would egg me on, the harder I would hold onto things. She did get me to part with a lot when we moved from my childhood home in Eau Claire to Sussex, WI. 


I feel blessed to have had every single kiss, hug and declaration of love from my mom. I know not everyone is so lucky. I think the secret is to love like there’s no tomorrow. Which is what we always did. We never knew how much time we’d have together but we knew it wouldn’t be enough. Happy Valentine’s Day dear friends!! 🙂 Hold onto your loved ones with all your might!

Today hubby is working a double shift. My first instinct was that I’ll have no excuse not to blog when I’m home alone for that many hours. Unfortunately, my will to write has disappeared. Since Mom died, I feel lost. I can’t find my voice to write. It’s not because I don’t have anything to write. It just doesn’t feel good like it used to. Sadly, nothing feels good like it used to. I have moments of happiness but I haven’t felt genuinely happy since she passed away. Not for a lack of trying. It feels like I’m going through the motions of being happy but inside I’m hollow. I guess that’s what true grieving is. I don’t think I’ve had the honor or privilege before. Not to this degree anyway. I spent my days as a child on the verge of tears all the time. I was an overly sensitive child with copious amounts of empathy for others. I also had a natural hate of injustice. As a child, the world had too much wrong with it for my taste. It was too unfair to myself and others. It was too hard and cruel. It left me feeling bad about myself and perpetually with hurt feelings. Aside from being bullied excessivey, I felt left out and forgotten. Or more accurately, uwanted/cast aside.

As it took me decades to realize, my mother wasn’t perfect. I’m sure she didn’t know how to handle a daughter that cried so often. Hell, even though I’ve been one, I don’t think I’d know how to handle one. She wasn’t always sensitive to me and my touchiness. Yet she made me feel like she was always on my side. That no matter what, I could talk to her and share my feelings. That she’d be with me to the ends of the earth and never leave me. < SOB> I could never stand up for myself which made me feel doubly persecuted. If someone attacked me (physically or verbally), I couldn’t fight back. I hated violence and didn’t want to hurt anyone. I felt weak and like there was something wrong with me. I couldn’t fathom someone beating another person up for no reason. I knew I hadn’t done anything to this bully that beat me up every day after grade school but I couldn’t bring myself to fight back. Maybe even then I didn’t feel worthy. Most likely I didn’t know that it was a thing that people picked on others. I didn’t know anyone else who got picked on and bullied except me.

By the time I was 25 and I started working in a factory environment (large city post office), I learned to stand up for myself and not take crap from anybody. It makes me proud that I learned this as I would hate to be in my 50’s and still not advocate for myself. Now I do it for my husband, too. Anyway, as I’ve gotten older, I cry less. I felt almost like I’d outgrown it. I would cry when watching sappy movies, pet rescue commercials or occasionally out of frustration or a fight with my mate. It could be weeks or months between shedding a tear. Then I become an orphan and the waterworks get turned on again. I don’t cry every day now but all I have to do is think too hard, listen to certain song lyrics or really think of what I’ve lost and the tears flow that wrack my whole body. It’s been 2 1/2 mos. since she died. It’s worse now than it was the first 2 months. I don’t see an end in sight. I don’t see me ever NOT missing her. She was my best friend util Alzheimer’s stole her brain. Just having her presence near me was an underlying calming influence to me. Of course, things she did were upsetting while she had Alzheimers but overall, I loved every minute of having her with me. Mom being gone is a loneliness the likes of which I’ve never known. If I didn’t have my husband, all I could think about was joining her.

At first I was going to clear out all her clothes and belongings and try to get on with life. I couldn’t do it. I decided to wait. I can always do it later. I don’t want to act like she was never here. That she didn’t live here as much as I did and wasn’t a huge part of my life. I don’t want to forget her. Not that I ever could. I have been trying to live my life but feel like I’m not making any headway. I’m going through the motions of living like getting up every day and getting dressed every day. I don’t sleep well at all. I have some nights I don’t sleep at all. I have always got up when Greg gets up to go to work (at 7 am). Since the New Year and the cold, wintry, gloomy weather, I’ve been staying in bed for an hour or two after he leaves. It doesn’t matter if I get up with him or not, almost every day I’m sleepy. So sleepy that if I sit down, I will fall asleep sitting up with my phone in my hand. I have tried planning things for us to do on the weekends but it’s hard to get excited about things and then it feels like a letdown afterwards. I have 2 “plans” for what I want to do with my life in the future but am not going to share them until much further down the line. I have so much else to take care of before any of my dreams become a reality.

I’ll be writing a blog post soon on what’s been happening since last month. Much has happened, yet much is the same. In the meantime, I wanted to share some of my feelings as I navigate this maze of grief. Without a map, I will get lost but I know there’s a way through it, if I can only find it.

Precisely Why

I should’t write today because I’m so beside myself. But that is precisely why I’m doing it. I was going to bake. I found the recipe and most of the ingredients. It calls for semi-sweet chocolate chips. I have every chip known to man except those. I have peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips. But no semi-sweet. If I had a running car, it wouldn’t be a big deal. IF. My life is surrounded by IFs. Due to staying home so much with Mom, I hardly drove my car. On the weekends, I’d go out with hubby to get groceries and whatever other errands we did. Now that Mom’s gone, my battery is dead and won’t stay charged. It’s only a year and a half old, if that. I’ve even had the alternator replaced. It doesn’t help to keep it on the trickle charger either. I’ll have to spring for a new battery but am wondering if this cold spell we’re having will kill it anyway. We’re going away for Christmas so it won’t be run until the New Year. I feel like a prisoner and a child. I can’t even take the dog to the vet alone without a car. On the one hand, I could get rid of my car (it would kill me) but I like being able to run to the store or post office if need be. I would like to take a solo trip to Target which hubby doesn’t enjoy. Nothing is happening. I could buy a new car but why? To just let it sit most of the time? Hubby is racking up miles on his Jeep driving so far to work now that he’ll need a new vehicle soon. There seems to be no simple solution to anything…

So it snowed heavily on Sunday and the Directv satellite went out. So we haven’t had tv in 2 days. We’ll have to call and get them to come out on Friday when Greg is home. We can see the entire face of the satellite is covered in snow and we’re in the deep freeze. It’s too cold to even take the dogs for a walk. I had been doing really well with taking them for a walk daily until the temperature tanked. I guess it makes sense that I would go stir crazy. We’ve been having trouble with our Directv for months. It constantly shows lost satellite signal. It wants us to check the cables and cords for the connection. We do and it keeps happening. We’ve rebooted the system too many times. We both hate calling Directv because they are so unhelpful. That’s how we want to tie up one of 2 off days this week with having a service technician here or waiting for one to come. Oy vey.

Trying to get Mom’s estate cleared up. She had stock which I am trying to transfer to my name and it is turning into a nightmare. Years ago, they had demanded she mail in the stock certificates and they’d keep them online. Well she did and now they are asking for the certificates. When I told them they were mailed in, they act like I’m crazy. Greg remembers her mailing them in also. But they are saying they are lost and I have to pay $182.94 for each stock to replace them. Plus go to the bank and get some type of guarantee seal (insurance for the value of the stock). Greg is too busy to help me and this shit is so far over my head. So I’ll have to hire someone to help me do all that paperwork. I know that will cost a lot but I don’t have a choice. It is worrying me to no end.

I wanted to write a post about how I’m dealing with things since Mom died. That will have to wait. I have other things that I’m alarmed about. Right before we left for Thanksgiving, Greg needed a refill on one of his prescriptions that had no refills. I called the doctor’s office and found out that our doctor was out on medical leave and they didn’t think he’d be coming back. At all. EVER. This floored me. I asked if a different doctor could call in the refill. It was a lot of rigamaroll with them having to call back. Finally the nurse said none of the other doctors there knew him so wouldn’t authorize the refill. We were leaving in 2 days and he’d have to come in to see a different doctor after working a full day. It made no sense to me. We’ve had the same doctor (Dr. J) for over 20 years and he had given us his home phone number (cell) but we’d never used it. We didn’t want to abuse it. I hated to call him when he was out sick but did it anyway. He answered the phone and sounded quieter than usual. I said hi and told him my name. He asked if I’d heard what happened to him. I said no. He told me the end of May (we’d seen him earlier that month) he’d gotten very ill. He ended up having a heart attack. This kind of freaked me out. He’s only 6 years older than me, 5 older than Greg and 60 years old! Then he told me that he had another heart attack in June. Whoa! He said he was later diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. Of course, I didn’t know what exactly that was until I looked it up later. I knew it sounded serious and pretty darn bad. He said he’d had surgery to take one of his lungs out and was going to be having another surgery soon. He said he wouldn’t be back to work ever. I told him what a great doctor he was and how we’ll miss him. He said maybe down the line we could get together. We are more like friends after all these years. After talking a bit he was like, “What can I do for you?” I felt terrible bothering him with the refill but he was glad to take care of it for us. He said he still had access to the files online and I could tell he was sitting at the computer already. He texted me back that it was sent through and I called the pharmacy and it was! Since Mom was his patient too, I mentioned that she had died a week ago. We had always talked about our mothers since they were the same age (95). Then he said his mother had died a week ago! I asked him when and he said Tuesday morning and he asked when mine passed. I said 10:40 pm on Monday night. So they passed within a few hours of each other. He said he’d just gotten back from her funeral in PA (where he grew up) a few days ago. We talked a bit more and he told me of a friend of his who’s a doctor in our area that we can go to for our new doctor. I don’t want a new doctor but will definitely go to the guy he recommended in Jan. or Feb. Ever since I got off the phone with him, I can’t get Dr. J out of my head. That he is so seriously ill at such a young age and he’s a doctor!! It was a real wakeup call for me and Greg to try to keep our health for as long as we can.

Last Thurs. we took 6 hours of our day off to call relatives and tell them that Mom died. You’d think we would’ve done that sooner but you’d be wrong. Greg didn’t want to tell his siblings and mother for fear that they would descend on us. We wanted a month to grieve privately. We were also pretty broken up and didn’t want to have to get into details with people. We kept trying to call Greg’s mother but the calls kept failing. We found out later that she’d been having problems with her phone for a few days. She’d had the receiver off the hook! We started with Greg’s older sister Linda but she was at work. So we talked to her husband Ken and told him. He had Linda call us when she got home and we filled her in. Then we called his brother John, then we got ahold of his mother who promptly started with, “Now that Irene has passed, maybe you can come for Christmas this year.” Hubby told her no, we’re actually going back to Tunica, MS for the holidays. Then we called his brother Dan and talked to him and his wife Kris. Last we called his little sister Colleen. The only sibling we didn’t call was his brother Brian who had the brain injury a few years back. I finally emailed 2 of my half sibling who were Mom’s stepchildren. My brother Gary and sister Dianne. It was good to have that over with.

I’ve been working on Christmas cards this week. We just got some cheapies at Menards. I sent them to Greg’s mother and siblings and some of the friends I got sympathy cards from. I had to watch it since I only had so many stamps (not even Christmas ones) and knew I would’t get to the PO. I haven’t done any Christmas decorating which isn’t unusual. Since we’ll be gone, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. On Saturday we went to Randolph Street Market for the first time. It’s a once a month market in Chicago that carries antiques and handmade goods. Someone on Instagram told me she’d put us on the guest list but they couldn’t find us. (Turns out she thought we were coming on Sunday so hadn’t put us on.) I dropped her name and we got in for free anyway. Admission is like $8-10 each so that was great. It was a ton of jewelry and clothes which isn’t my bag. Not much Christmas items which surprised me. Only one book vendor and I ended up getting 4 old books and paid more than I normally would. Greg also got an old crucifix with the skull and cross bones on it. It took us just under 2 hours to make it though. We went to one estate sale after and it sucked. Lately the estate sales are not even worth going to. The weekend before last we skipped them the entire weekend. We finally got rid of our gigantic couch (took apart in 6 pieces and put it at the curb) and brought in the formica tabletop we found curbside and mounted it to the Singer treadle sewing machine base. We put the table in the LR which look odd. I wanted it to work on projects and write cards at. We’ve got the wrong chairs at it which makes it suck. Nothing is turning out the way I’d hoped. So it’s looking like we’re going to give up estate sales so we can pare down our hoard. After the new year, I’m going to get up and running again with selling things. Might even do eBay again. We’d like to get the house where we could entertain again. I don’t know how long that will take. Possibly years but I doubt we’ve got that much time. By summer, his family will be making excuses to stop by.

On a sad note, I had 3 loyal followers to my blog. THREE. That makes each one incredibly precious to me! I have about 100 subscribers to the blog but only those 3 were regular readers and commenters. One was in Australia, one in Canada and one in the US. The one in Australia has disappeared and I fear illness or worse. I’ve tried contacting her via email many times with no answer. I am quite worried but doubt I will ever find out the true story. The one in Canada had a major life event a few years ago and her blog was wiped out. She hasn’t started up again and for the most part has given up reading blogs. My US friend (Hi Heather!) is still with me which makes me happy. I grew to really care about the people who bother to read my blog. I don’t know if others do this. Maybe if they have a ton of followers, they can’t.

Blogs seem to be obsolete. I still see the value in them. I’m so glad I have this safe place to come and vent my feelings and share what’s going on in my life with those I know have open arms, ears and hearts.