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Lady Gaga

I confess I've never listened to her music (on purpose anyway), nothing against her, I'm just a Stan Getz, Brazilian jazz kinda gal.

However, if she does have Lupus and she raises awareness for this disease like Michael J. Fox has for Parkinson's, then I will download all her stuff.
Right now.


May is Lupus Awareness Month

Samantha, May 2009
This is my wonderful, goofy, giggly, sweet niece Samantha during her treatment for Lupus. This included "...lots of lab work, doctors' appointments, ultrasounds, a kidney biopsy, IV therapy, and too much medicine."
Sam is not defined by this illness - even when she was undergoing treatment, she, encouraged by her parents and a wonderful teacher, still attended her dance recitals.

Samantha, May 2010
She still has Lupus, despite looking like her old self again.

She calls me Puma, I don't know why, but it's hilarious. Back in 2008, I was her best friend. She said so.

Since this is my blog and I can do whatever I want, Aunt Puma's making a plug for a donation.

Please help find a cure for this disease.


Break It Down

Monday I get in my little French Canadian Corolla, Blanche, (she was made in Quebec), turn the key and...
Try again since I wasn't holding my mouth right, obviously.
This time I open the glove box, punch on the map light and jiggle the shifter before trying again, because hello? that's procedure. (You know you do it too.)
Not a peep.

Out comes the trusty AAA card and they send over the cutest guy (Chad) to determine it is, in fact, the [original] seven year old battery. Which he replaces for $113 while I wait.
Folks, as I've said before - I am a closer. I hate gathering information and running around trying to figure out how to save $3. (Ask me about the tent story sometime) I called my favorite auto shop in Carrboro afterward, they quoted $159, so I felt vindicated in my decision.

Then last night I come home from a friend's graduation and open the frig for a glass of unwind wine - it's dark. I figure the light's burnt out, no biggie. This morning it's distinctly uncool in there. The stove hood light is out too, but the stove works, and so does the overhead kitchen light, so perhaps the breaker? Ah, no.

Ding dong, the frig is dead.

Home warranty and $60 will get it working again, I hope.

Guess I can finally get the Samsung frig I've been coveting for months.

Why does this stuff ALWAYS happen when you get the credit cards paid off?!



Mom's like the gym for me, if one session is missed, it's hard to get back in the routine.
I do the "floppy dance" (any mother knows what that looks like) every week, like a kid who is being forced to do something they don't want to do.
What's my problem? It's not hard. It's usually fun, in some weird twisted way. I only do it once a week. It's not like she lives with me. It's just hard seeing my mother like that, week after week. After week. And it's just me. I know, I know. I am being a big fat sucky baby. At least I still have a mother. At least she's still fairly functional. And on and on. Believe me, I know the drill. It doesn't change a thing. I still do the floppy dance.

I finally hauled my lazy selfish ass over last night, after almost two weeks, (no, I didn't go over on Mother's Day.), and of course, it was just fine. I called first and she hung up on me, unknowingly I'm sure. I called back and the phone rang until the phone company decided that was enough and ended the call.

Lo and behold, she was sitting in the lobby/living room! With her fashion forward, belted, layered look (three shirts, blue, green, pink). She stood up and shook my hand, then put her hand on my leg and asked what that was for.

I swear I'm going to remember all the loopy stuff she says, but I can never can. There's too much. We're in line in the K&W Cafeteria and she asks where my hands are. "On the ends of my arms." "Where are yours?" "I don't know, but I have some." Alrighty then.

There's a cute baby at the next table, playing peekaboo and laughing. Mom proclaims it "wonderful". She is always walking up to small children and babies, it makes me nervous.
If she ever thinks that baby is ugly, she is going to say it. Out loud. To the mother.

I know this is a highlight of the entry for you all, so here's what she had for supper:
Ham, deviled eggs, potato salad, turnip greens, carrot & raisin salad and lemon meringue pie. I was cutting up her ham and she asked if I was doing it for the baby.
In a way, yes.
She was going to eat her deviled eggs with a spoon, then I had to go and say something like - just pick it up and eat it with your fingers. She put the spoon down and gave me such a look! Glared at me, then turned her head and looked off in the distance - for about thirty seconds, then she was back to normal.

Now I need to work on my motivation for next week.


Mother's Day

My mom loved getting cards. Birthdays, Christmas, Mother's Day, Columbus Day (just seeing if you were paying attention), she was the perfect Hallmark audience.
She would rather have received a card, the mushier the better, than most anything else - unless you were my father. Then you had better be presenting jewelry.

Every single card, not just the Christmas ones, would be hung on the wall by the front door for weeks, a proclamation of how much she was loved by her family and friends, then taken down and saved for posterity.
She kept a tally, "So-and-so didn't send me a card this year.", and would spend several days trying to divine what it meant in regard to their relationship. Were they sick, mad at her, or merely forgetful? Maybe she should call and see if they were okay.

Now cards are incomprehensible missives from strangers, merely glanced at, then stacked on dressers or floor and shuttled around to new hiding places every week.

So what exactly do you get someone who really doesn't know she's a mother anymore?



One of the hardest things about dementia is watching the things that always defined your loved one disappear.

Take writing for instance. My mother had the most beautiful handwriting, flowing old school script, not the half assed printing I call handwriting. Now, she can't even write her name.

Take grooming for another. My mother was always well dressed; she was an award winning seamstress and made many of her own clothes up into the Nineties. She dressed appropriately for her age, never, as the English say, as "mutton dressed as lamb" (love that!). She had a great sense of color and style and knew what suited her.

Last Saturday I pick her up for lunch and she has three shirts on, blue long sleeved tee over a light blue short sleeved tee over a black long sleeved tee. White pants. Two pearl necklaces. The top shirt was dirty. Get the heavy sigh when I point that out. I've learned to ignore those and press on. Removal of first tee shirt reveals the second shirt is also dirty. The third and final layer appears to be clean. I can't find the lightweight cardigan I brought over several weeks ago or her TV remote. Where do things go?! It's one room!

Her hair is clean, yay. Her toothbrush is on the coffee table, I throw that away (secret) and haul out the children's toothbrushes I bought (cunning plan - if she is five mentally, appeal to that age!) and get her to brush her teeth before we go.

We have breakfast at Rick's Diner. The Belgian waffle, bacon, and scrambled eggs is decided upon. She nicely refuses my offer to cut up her waffle and manages to divide it into fourths with a fork. Loses next step. Then picks it up and eats it like a sandwich. I pour syrup in a bowl for dipping. She likes that. I catch the woman at the next table looking at Mom like she's a loon. (She may be, but she's my loon.) I resist giving her the stink eye and just smile and shrug. Whatever lady.

Afterward, we head to Target for Diet Pepsi and make a sloooowwww circuit around the store. She gets a pair of linen walking shorts and a black tee shirt.

Wonder what she'll layer those with?


Lupus (updated)

Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body). Chronic means that the signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years. In lupus, something goes wrong with your immune system, which is the part of the body that fights off viruses, bacteria, and germs ("foreign invaders," like the flu). Normally our immune system produces proteins called antibodies that protect the body from these invaders. Autoimmune means your immune system cannot tell the difference between these foreign invaders and your body’s healthy tissues ("auto" means "self") and creates autoantibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue. These autoantibodies cause inflammation, pain, and damage in various parts of the body.
(Excerpt From Lupus Foundation of America

This is my niece Samantha, aka Sam, in 2008 - three months before being diagnosed with Lupus (the day before her seventh birthday).

This is my niece Sam, during her steroid treatment for Lupus.

Thankfully, she responded well to the steroid treatment and is off them, but it was a long year. She only takes Cellcept now (people who've had an organ transplant take it as well) and it seems the lupus is in remission.

She'll be doing the Lupus Walk in Milwaukee on June 12.

Hornet in the House!

You know about my mother's phobia of all things reptilian, here's mine: spheksophobia. I'll give you a moment to look that up...[Jeopardy theme song plays]...okay, done?

So the landscaper comes over Friday night and as we go down the front steps I notice something suspicious looking on the soffit - right by the front door.
"What is that?!", knowing full well what it was.
He replies, "You don't want to know. But maybe it's empty."

Now that's a bit like telling a woman in labor her contraction is almost over - she knows better.

Of course it was the beginning of a hornet's nest. I berate myself for not listening to my little inner voice and calling the bug man sooner. Ugh. And I have to go back in the house right past it! Double holy mother of pearl ugh.

Saturday, after fortifying myself with a german chocolate cupcake from A Southern Season (delicious by the way), I buy a can of 25% more, newer spray from Harris Teeter (because you cannot have enough of this) and head across the street to ask my neighbor if she's willing to do the deed since the bug man can't come until...MONDAY!!! It could be the size of a football field by then!!

Thank god she was willing to come over and save me. One hornet dies at the scene, another one flies off, which creeps me out. But I put it out of my mind and head off to Duke Chapel with friends for the "Sparks of Divinity" concert by the Women's Voices Choir. Beautiful setting and a great concert.

Back at home, I'm puttering around in my jammies, when I spy something on the living room floor. I move in to investigate.



In my house.

(I actually have goosebumps remembering). HOW DID IT GET IN HERE?! HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN IN HERE?! Okay, don't panic - wait, TOO LATE!!
The cats are nonchalant, so maybe it's dead. Oscar helps me by swiping it with his paw as he walks past. Thanks Oscar! It rears up in this crazy ninja hornet move. NOOOOOO!!!

Find a bucket, gather some reserve of courage and throw the bucket over the hornet. Finn comes over to investigate...NO FINN DON'T TOUCH IT!! Don't move the bucket. (I'm hissing now. Can hornets hear?) Good kitty. Where's that piece of cardboard? Summon even more courage and slide cardboard under bucket. Part of one of its legs is poking out, which really interested Finn. Noooo...(dissolve into sobbing).
Now carry it outside, put it on the deck and run back inside. Obsess for several hours over how it got in (did it come in on ME?!), how long it's been in here, and if there are more. Freak out when two of the cats become very interested in the bottom of the floor lamp, but it was only a spider. I can deal with spiders.

I had the heebie-jeebies for hours. A piece of my hair fell out of the headband when I was washing my face and I screamed and jumped about a foot off the ground. I hate this part of spring in North Carolina.

And hell yes, the bucket is still on the deck.