Not posting much

I am updating some personal info but I have been too busy to attend to my blog for some time. Luckily, there’s a lot of material already in here and many folks who come to the site go directly to what they’re interested in.

Just so’s you know.

“Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.”
Rita Mae Brown, Alma Mater

 ExperienceRUX1993

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Death Visits

2 weeks ago I called my mother around mid-day. She was sobbing in pain. This was the day before Mother’s Day. I went to her apartment and spent the next week with her until she died.

*

I told her that she had done well. She could rest now. Her work was done and she didn’t have to stay. I said that God was ready to row her little boat to another shore. I wrote it down on a card and she kept the card under her pillow.

*

My mother was 92 years old. It was fairly recently that she spent a month at my home while I took time off of work to care for her after she broke her shoulder in a fall. It wasn’t a surprise she fell or hurt herself- she’s been living unsafely in her home for quite a while. She was very stubborn, though, and did not want to leave her home.

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My mom and dad in 1941

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At ninety-two, my mother was not the healthiest of her siblings. Her older brother Ernie was 98 and getting around much better. But then again, Ernie was a preacher and my mother was the family black-sheep who smoked, drank and partied into middle age. Ernie is still active. I expect to see him at the memorial.

*

She was diagnosed with breast cancer over 5 years ago. She refused treatment or any further diagnostic tests. There was no way to know how extensive the cancer had become. She always said, “I’m tired. I’ve lived long enough. It’s time for me to go.” But she didn’t go. Not for a long time and many close calls.

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Mom and dad in Corbett, 1942

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 About a year ago she had congestive heart failure. She needed more help. She was put on hospice care. People came to her home. After a few months she was discharged from hospice because she wasn’t getting worse- she was getting better. She still needed help, she still wasn’t safe in her home.

*

She was a “wall-walker” as the physical therapists would say. She didn’t have the strength or balance to actually walk around her apartment. She grabbed hold of things- including things that were unstable or that she couldn’t actually “grab” (like walls).  It was an inherently unsafe situation. She was constantly over-reaching her balance and relying on objects that were not dependable to get her a few more steps. This led to falls on numerous occasions- many falls she never told anyone about.

*

My mother has been alone since 1992 when my father died from complications of mesothelioma. She has been fiercely independent since then. Also, incredibly lonely. She moved out of the family home to an apartment several years ago. It is a great apartment- located in inner southeast Portland off Division St. For a time she insisted on continuing to drive her car. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when she stopped driving. Deaf and increasingly blind (from macular degeneration) she finally realized that each time she got behind the wheel she was praying that she wouldn’t kill anyone. Her friend Judy began helping with shopping and other things.

*

This is her obituary:

 Margaret Elinor Snook, known to most as Marmie, entered the world on August 8, 1921, the sixth and youngest child of George and Virginia Chamberlain of Corbett, Oregon. She died at home in Portland, Oregon on May 16, 2014.

Marmie grew up a country girl and graduated from Corbett High School in 1939. She married Rex Snook in June, 1941; their love story lasted almost 50 years until Rex’s death in 1991, and produced four children, Suzy Garman (married to Phil), Becky Sciglimpaglia (Don), Greg Snook (Jackie) and Rick Snook (Candace).

Marmie worked in a variety of jobs over the years, the longest lasting being as a clerk in the Multnomah County District Court, but work never defined her life. She loved to read, enjoyed just about any card game you could name, played in a Bunco group for decades, and loved spending time with friends and family, often built around food. Garage and estate sales were a passion. She was also a long-time volunteer delivering meals on wheels and working in the gift shop at the Hollywood Senior Center. She enjoyed her life to the fullest, and was proud to have remained independent and (more or less) self-reliant into her 90s.

She was a fun person to be around, with an infectious laugh and a sharp and sometimes silly sense of humor. She was a loyal and generous friend and, at times, a fiercely protective mother. She was also a stubborn person who could drive her friends, and her kids, crazy by insisting on getting her way about absolutely everything. In short, she was a complex, amazing, entertaining and aggravating singularity. The world will not see her like again.

Marmie was predeceased by her brother Harold and sisters Mabel, Pearl and Katherine; she is survived by her brother Ernie of Turner, Oregon, her four children, six grandchildren, assorted great-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren, and a passel of nieces and nephews. Disposition was by cremation. A private memorial service will be arranged in the near future.

Mom

*

My son Matt loved his grandmother. He visited her often. They played cribbage while she could still hold the cards.

*

About a week before the day 2 weeks ago that I went to stay with her, she called my sister and said she hurt so badly that she couldn’t bear it. She had an in-home X-Ray that confirmed that she had multiple compression fractures of her spine. She was put on hospice care (again).

*

When I came over I called hospice and they said I could start administering the liquid morphine that was part of the hospice “kit” left in my mother’s home. The hospice nurse came to see her the next day. They said she might only have a little time left.

*

She was having great difficulty and pain with breathing. The nurse explained that she would be very likely to develop pneumonia. When asked if she wanted treatment in the event that she had pneumonia she clearly and insistently said, “No.” She wanted to be put to bed and made comfortable, that’s all.

*

I called my sons on Monday. Matt lives in the area and he came over right away. He jumped into bed with his grandma and hugged her gently.

*

Over the course of the week several things happened.

  • My mother ate less and got out of bed less, slept more
  • We gradually got her pain under fairly good control
  • My siblings came to visit- one of my sisters came from a trip to Mexico
  • I stayed all day and night and administered pain meds on a schedule, fed her when she would eat
  • I helped her go to the bathroom or use the commode in her room
  • I cleaned her, cleaned up her messes (she had become increasingly incontinent)

*

By Wednesday she was much weaker. She could not walk at all without help, although she tried. The following morning she got out of bed and had a muffin and some tea. She had been cranky with me earlier and she apologized. She went back to bed. She never really got back up (she tried at one point after the hospice nurse had helped change her diaper- but she was weak, disoriented and couldn’t stand… she went back to sleep).

*

Hospice had a person who came to her bedside and played the harp. It was beautiful. My mom slept. This is a picture:

photo 2

 

*

The nurse said it would probably be very soon.

*

That evening, in her sleep, she began to make gurgling sounds when she was breathing. There was a thick foam in her throat. I called the hospice nurse. She said it was “end  of life secretions” and to give her atropine, 4 drops, from the hospice kit. I tried first to suction out the liquid with a big dropper, I put her on her side- eventually she stopped making the noise but the secretions were still thick and visible in her throat.

*

The nurse had said that the atropine would stop the sounds- she also called them “death rattle”- but that the sound didn’t mean my mom was suffering. She said the atropine was primarily for the comfort of the caregiver because the sound can be distressing to loved ones.

*

I set my alarm for 2 am so that I could check on her. When I got up and went to her room I could tell she was gone. I felt her head. I put my hand on her chest, I picked up her hand and held it. She was free.

*

I called my oldest sister and woke her. She said to wait until morning to call the others. I did. People started coming over at about 8 am. We spent the next few days going through her stuff, figuring out what to keep and what to give away. She had love letters written by my dad when he was in the navy, overseas. Came upon this little poem written by my dad:

rexpoemhalf

It was written on an envelope he received in reply to a letter he sent to his congressman.

My guess is that he didn’t care for the response.

*

Goodnight Mother, sleep now, your work here is done.

goodnightmom

This is only the husk. The fire that burned here is gone. It may be burning someplace else, I don’t know; but the fire here has gone out.

I see my own death in this- all of us are destined to lose everything we hold dear, even our lives. There is no way out of this. Time will burn us all to ashes.

The past week I have been very reflective. I have thought a lot about my life, my family, my relationships.

What will be left? What is true, lasting? Anything? Any Thing?

Not our bodies. Not our conditioned personalities formed and re-formed in life. None of this really exists except in a flash- passing before we can even perceive it. What is the reality behind this waterfall we seem to live in, this dreamlike world of change, birth, death? I know what the Wise have said. I know what the sacred scriptures say.

I don’t believe I am capable of knowing what is true. I leave that up to God.

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It’s been a while

It’s about time I post something.

First, some new items at the Moonsoup Mart-

Like: Pink Rose Nova Keychain

pink_rose_nova_landscape_keychain

 

Department of Redundancy Department Journal

Department of Redundancy Department Journal

Department of Redundancy Department Journal

 

 

 

 

Into the Light Rectangular Magnetinto_the_light_rectangle_magnet

Orange Roses Coffee Mugorange rose mug

And much much more!

Lately I have been busy caring for my elderly mother. She fell and broke her arm. That would be bad enough but she is also 92 years old, has advanced cancer (untreated, metastasized for 5 years),  has trouble walking, she’s mostly blind and also deaf. I had gone on a vacation- my first real vacation ever, to Palm Springs for a week. The night I got back she had fallen and was in the hospital. She needed 24 hour care (up until now she’s lived by herself).  Within a couple days the hospital was going to discharge her to the first Intermediate Care Facility on their list.

I’ve been off work for a month and a half but mostly housebound. Not going stir crazy but getting more than a little irritable.

ir·ri·ta·ble
ˈiritəbəl/
adjective
  1. 1.
    having or showing a tendency to be easily annoyed or made angry.
    “she was tired and irritable”

A picture from my son Andrew’s “Phone Photo Blog on Tumblr (more about Tumblr)-

Well, spring is here in the Northern hemisphere. Time for birth and reproduction in the natural world. Mostly just a few early bloomers in my part of the word so far. I’ve heard some frogs croaking. The weather is mostly wet, not too cold. Regular western Oregon climate.

Speaking of birth…

Larvae from a parasitic wasp are being born from a caterpillar which will be their first meal.

Larvae from a parasitic wasp are being born from a caterpillar which will be their first meal.

seahorse having babies (!)

seahorse having babies (!)\

Cockroaches are mommas too

Cockroaches are mommas too

Just starfish and eels having a party

Just starfish and eels having a party- maybe it’s someones birthday

What else is new? Hell if I know. I’m out of the loop.

Pictures from my vacation (click for full size):

My fiance, Candace

My fiance, Candace

Courtyard view from our motel room

Courtyard view from our motel room

It was so fantastic to be somewhere with the daily temperature in the 80s, no rain, palm trees everywhere. A stark contrast to what was happening back home.

Candace by some rocks at Joshua Tree National Park

Candace by some rocks at Joshua Tree National Park

Me, Joshua Tree in background. Notice how blue the sky!

Me, Joshua Tree in background. Notice how blue the sky!

Series of pictures from Hidden Valley:

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 The view from the Palm Springs Elmer’s restaurant-

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 Other photos from the Palm Springs area:

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Lizard on rock

Lizard on rock

 

On Mt. Jacinto

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Also! Don’t forget to shop at Moonsoup Mart!!

new products…

Gozzirra Stainless Steel Coffee Mug!!!

      Wear Socks!!!                                bIG mONSTER Drinking glass!!!                            Love Chomped Rectangular Cocktail Plate!!!

                 So much more! hundreds of unique, original products!

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

From Andrew’s other Tumblr Blog- 5cc, but re-blogged from tacofiesta-

image

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The Struggling Romantic

The Struggling Romantic.

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New Product, + Gif Dump

Effidol T-Shirt-

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perfect-loop-ralph-wiggum

perfect-loop-monkey-hit

perfect-loop-dog-jump

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Ping Pong All Alone

Little Leauge WTF

Cat Juggle

hildatroj

Grenade

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 31,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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The Poetry of the Bauls (Thanks Leroy)

The Poetry of the Bauls.

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Friday Soup Dump

Check out recent Amuseless.

Shop!

___

SAMHSA sez:

43.7 Million Americans Experienced Mental Illness in 2012

$31 Million Announced To Improve Mental Health Services for Young People

Nearly one in five American adults, or 43.7 million people, experienced a diagnosable mental illness in 2012 according to SAMHSA. These results are consistent with 2011 findings.

[Does anyone else besides me suspect that the reason so many are diagnosed is because of marketing of psycho-pharmacological drugs?]

Top Three Reasons Adults Did Not Get Mental Health Treatment in 2012

  • They worried about affording the cost.
  • They thought they could handle the problem without treatment.
  • They did not know where to receive services.

“The President and Vice President have made clear that mental illness should no longer be treated by our society—or covered by insurance companies—differently from other illnesses,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “The Affordable Care Act and new parity protections are expanding mental and substance use disorder benefits for 62 million Americans. This historic expansion will help make treatment more affordable and accessible.”

Related note (click to read whole article):

The British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline will no longer pay doctors to promote its products and will stop tying compensation of sales representatives to the number of prescriptions doctors write, its chief executive said Monday, effectively ending two common industry practices that critics have long assailed as troublesome conflicts of interest.

Caught Nuzzling Mic

Another news item:

On December 12, 2013, Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA) introduced the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013″. While the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health applauds Congressman Murphy’s inclusion of provisions that would reauthorize the Mental Health First Aid Act (S.153/H.R.274), the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act (S.116/H.R.2734), the Children’s Recovery from Trauma Act (S.380), the Excellence in Mental Health Act (S.264/H.R.1263), the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act of 2013 (MIOTCRA;S. 162/H.R.401) and the Behavioral Health IT Act (S.1517, S.1685/H.R.2057), we decry provisions that would effectively reverse the progress made in mental health treatment and support over the past 30 years.

For decades, organizations such as the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health have been working to add a more balanced approach to mental health services and treatment. The National Federation advocates for the rights of children, youth and young adults who experience mental health challenges. As family members, we feel it is important that our loved ones are able to receive the support they need while remaining at home and in the community. We realize that mental illness does not affect just one person, it is something that the entire family experiences; therefore, it is crucial that initiatives are in place to support the entire family unit.

Rep. Murphy’s bill magnifies the stigma of mental illness by creating an extremely biased link between mental illness and violence. Countless studies have determined that the relationship between mental illness and violence is minimal and that individuals experiencing mental health challenges are 11 times more likely to be the victims of violence than the general public.

The National Federation rejects the expanded use of involuntary outpatient commitment (IOC) and urges Congress to champion practices proven to be effective in facilitating a holistic approach to treatments and supports for children and youth who are experiencing mental health challenges and their families.

Finally, the National Federation strongly opposes legislation that threatens to essentially dismantle key efforts and programs of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) which functions as the lead public health agency dedicated to mental health and addiction treatment, services, and supports. Transferring authority away from SAMHSA and decimating significant activities within the Department of Health and Human Services are not in the best interest of our most vulnerable citizens who are striving to be participating members of their communities.

The details in this bill reflect the continued, urgent need for a national conversation with individuals who experience mental illness, their families, and their communities to facilitate the creation of systems and networks that support maximal health, safety, and welfare for all community members. We urge Congressional leaders to take this opportunity to create legislation on behalf of their constituents that solidifies a bond among all stakeholders that highlights the dignity, respect, and self-determination of all individuals.

-The National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health issued this statement in response to the bill.

Cat Bowling

More old Cuckoo’s Nest poetry by JN:

01-30-2009AD

5:20pm

Spoken Cold-Mountain

 [I had given him a copy of Cold Mountain Poems and this was his reply]

Breeze is cold, wet and fresh

Unknown writer I read his writing

Chilled the soul to touch his spirit

Vast as the array of description

Oneness not disconnected was He

Truth in the sporadic words- adrift the snow

Cliffs for bed softened his head

Reading the stone carved wit

Closer to the mountain I get

As I thought those rolling weeds in the wind

Climate is cold to touch, but normal for the universe

Who is wittier?

Mother Nature or the man who wrote?

Void isn’t the mountain with minerals galore

Treasures of the mind I must find

Breaking illusions is for me

This is my trail to this mountain

Entering meditation is salvation

A bird and animal not to sight!

Vast self to roam

Free indeed is the writer in me

Wrote a letter to karma

Issued a food through the threshold

Moonlight glistening snow winds I see

Cold-Mountain: we’re all alone, so it spoke these words

You are home sparkled the stream of life

Years ago I would not have stayed

Fleshy thing in the way

Ghosts are the host that talks wisdom to thee

By JN

Kitten Laundry Hamper

Cat Walks on Hind Legs

Turn Off Your Kitten

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Hello My God

Hello My God.

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Even More From the Cuckoo’s Nest

This came in my work email:

Dear Staff:

This morning I gave the following assignment to my writing group: “What was the favorite gift you have ever either received or given for any occasion (Christmas, Birthday, Anniversary)?  Write about it and answer these questions:

What was the occasion?

Who were the players—giver and recipient?

What emotions were felt or expressed?

J.N. from Bird 3 (Salem) answered:

“Liz, my group home manager in Grants Pass, when I spent Christmas there gave pajamas to me for a present.  I laugh because I needed P.J.’s.  They were navy blue.  I could put them on before bedtime and unwind in writing on the computer.  They were light and comfortable.  I felt like a million bucks in them because it was decades [since] I had a bed, and P.J.’s to sleep in.  You see, I had spent years on the streets and I slept anywhere out of the weather.  My clothes stayed on me, but my shoes came off when I climbed into the sleeping bag.

 When my care-provider gave P.J.’s to me I acted like a child of joy.  The smell of new P.J.’s was pleasant.  Crisp, fresh P.J.’s were like I was high class.  I did thank Liz for the thoughtful gift.  She is a wonderful person and considerate.  Now, feeling human and high class I wrote better with a new mentality…..Liz [fed] us a balanced diet and shows love in working around the house. 

 Love for P.J.’s is the tender feeling while nights pass.  And I sleep…”

When our patient read this aloud to the class, my eyes filled with tears.  What a wonderful expression of thanks flowed from this patient’s pen!  There are a lot of things to be sad and disappointed about in our world today, but as you reflect on this story I urge you to consider “Who can I bless with “P.J.’s” during this Christmas/Hanukkah/Holiday season?”

Dr. **** ******, Clinical Psychologist

If you have followed this blog you are acquainted with JN and his powerful images, intensely emotional poetry. Of course, he is no longer in the 50 Building- which is now abandoned across the street. He lives in this giant new beast, shiny and deceptive. They rolled up the old hospital and brought it here into a new edifice. Here’s something else-

01-31-2009AD

7:24pm

Believe

Understood into self as the clouds drift away

Sun rises to the word of reality with shinning focus

Wind whispers it while awake in the Desert

Mountains’ tree sings it out with a hoot

Rocks roll in the snowy water stream

The birds fly with uplifting wings

Chairs hold you in faithful promise

I absorb it like food for nourishment

Rain falls to the gravities law

Air gives way to breathe of life

Monks hum to it in meditation

Spirit listens in ah while thought is created

Soul will carry it to heaven

God rewards you for understanding

Flowers wilt by it after seeding

A Babies cry with it when born

Believe while doing all things and it will be

Stories are written with the thought of it

Companions make love for a child

Can’t touch it with your hands, but imagination flourishes

Wake- that sun will make it today

Why then doesn’t it happen when we speak?

Truth and lies are from this tongue of ours

By JN

anigif_enhanced-buzz-28846-1383854317-15

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