Saturday, August 25, 2007


Life is, after all, a balance of energy. Some good, some bad, some happenings so insignificant that you hardly notice them, some so huge that they change the course of your life forever.

I had a terrible fall yesterday, coming into my house from outside. Somehow, the arm of the Batchair got caught as I was entering the house and was pushed up out of the way. The motion of the chair was altered and as it spun around, I was thrown over the side and onto the floor. I landed facedown, one leg twisted and pinned between the leg of the dining room table and the leg of a chair. My face smashed down onto the rug, my glasses, thank heavens, shot out in front of me and as the dust cleared, I realized I was in a very bad spot. I couldn't move or reach my phone and my caregiver, Barbara, who is not yet on full time, had left and wasn't due back for another hour.

Since my house sits back from the road, yelling was futile. In an effort to keep panic at bay, however, I hollered for help every five to 10 minutes and focused on taking deep breaths. I spent the time trying to keep the pain in my leg at a minimum, my head as comfortable as possible, tears in check and avoiding eating rug dirt. As I lay there I couldn't help but think about balance and how much I would appreciate something happening that would make the whole experience worth it.
Which brings me to what this post is really about, for not two hours after Barbara arrived and called 911, my caseworker called to tell me that we had been accepted for assistance. Barbara, who I will tell you about in another post for she is truly an angel, will now be with me 40 hours a week and I will no longer have to worry about my daily care or being alone should I run into trouble.
You see, balance. Usually events that balance each other don't come in succession, sometimes it even takes years, but yesterday I was eternally grateful for such a quick return.
As for my battered body, I'm going to need a little time. My face looks like I have been in a fight, the tendons in my knee have been torn and it is swollen and quite painful and I ache from stem to stern. Do I feel the balance was even? Hell yeah, I now have anangel by my side.
On another note, I want you all to know that I have been reading your blogs every day even though, with all the changes going on here, I haven't always had time to comment. In time we will develop a routine and I will have the pleasure of chatting with you every time I visit. In the meantime, thank you all so very much for your continued visits and support, you light up the good days and help carry me through the difficult ones.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I Want To Live

The following poem is dedicated to my family and the friends who, with their generosity on my 65th birthday, made it possible for me to keep my caregiver for another three weeks or so while we await the results of our application for caregiver assistance. It was also written in appreciation for all the things that they do to help make my life easier so that I may enjoy each day to the fullest. I love them all more than I could ever say and consider myself very blessed. I am not in this alone.

I want to live
For the bright smiles of my grandchildren
For sweet kisses and warm hugs
For the music of their laughter
For the perfect love in their hearts

I want to live
For the love of my daughters
For the joy and pleasure they bring to me
For everything we are and have been
For the perfect love in their hearts

I want to live
For the beauty of family
For a place of belonging worth waiting for
For the gift of having a home
With a perfect love in its heart

I want to live
For the precious gift of friendship
For the ones who have shared the ride
For those who have touched my life
With a perfect love in their hearts

I want to live
For the love of my husband
For the light in his eyes, his tender touch
For all that we are and all that we have
With a perfect love in our hearts

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Family, Birthdays and Viking Games

On Saturday we had a collective birthday party; mine, my husband's, who's birthday is today and his daughter's, Angela, who's birthday was last week. We had enough delectable food to feed a platoon and our laughter echoed through the Black River Valley from early afternoon until dark. The only person missing from these festivities was my grandson, Alex. He had organized a band concert at the skate park to raise money for park improvement and was busy organizing and performing.

That takes care of family and birthdays but I bet you are wondering about those Viking games, aren't you? My son-in-law, Rick, is responsible for that part of our fun. The game is called Kuub (no guarantee on the spelling) and involves everyone. We divide into two teams and rectangular blocks are lined up in front of each team, team one's blocks in front of team two and vice versa. The king is placed in the center. Batons are issued to the starting team and the object is to knock your blocks down. It's way more involved than this but there is no need to bore you with details, better I should tell you that there is much yelling and hand slapping, and enthusiastic Viking roars can be heard for miles. I referee.

Now for an explanation of photos: the following is Will's aunt Skip, our family matriarch and all-around good sport. At the age of 82, she still participates in our games and hilarity. Woo hoo aunt Skip!

This next picture is me with Sarah and Paige. My recently, enthusiastically highlighted hair was done by my daughter Deb and has been voted by the family, a success.

And here is team A lined up for a game of Kuub.

The man in the hat is my husband, the one in the dark shirt is Scott, his daughter's husband, the blue shirt is his cousin Michael and in the white shirt, Shawn, his son.

And this is Shawn's son, Ryan.

Here we have little Ryan's mom, Jacqui with their daughter Emily, sitting with Will's daughter, Angela.

And last, but not least, my daughter Laura on the far right,daughter Debbie and son-in-law, Debbie's husband, Rick.

Below that,Shawn and Jacqui's cats, Rascal and Bubbles

Friday, August 10, 2007


Today is my 65th birthday and although I know 65 is no longer old, it's time enough to have an endless stream of memories. Memories that, as anyone who is getting older knows, pop into your head at the strangest times and without provocation. Following, are a few of mine.

I remember television when it was relatively new. I watched old black-and-white cartoons; one that comes to mind is Steamboat Willie starring the original Mickey Mouse. The next shows I remember watching are Roy Rogers, Fury, Hopalong Cassidy, Buck Rogers and in later years, the Mickey Mouse club. A special treat was watching the magic of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers tripping the light fantastic, and who could forget I Love Lucy?

I recall clunky black phones with party lines; they have morphed into slim cordless cells that play music. Cars the size of hippos, that were easy and inexpensive to repair, have slimmed down and lightened up and put you into debt every time you go to the garage.

I was born during World War II, have lived through many wars and protested one. Make that two, I still have some protest left in me.

I have seen a man walk on the moon, pictures of our universe that have changed the way we think and the computer age change the way we communicate.

I am proud to say that I was on the front lines of the women's movement, and although we have a ways to go in some areas, we have accomplished a lot. As have African Americans. I know that hate and prejudice for those who are different still motivates many to behave with cruelty and even violence; ignorant, mean people will always be part of the human condition. But over time many have listened to the voice of reason and we are doing better.

Over the years, like everyone else, I have had my share of joys and sorrows, successes and failures. Friends have come and gone and some have stayed, I have lost at love on the way to my husband, Will, and I have lost one family only to gain another. All in all, it's been a hell of a ride so far and I will be grateful always for the gift of memory.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

On Going To Camp

Like everyone else, I'm rather tired of the heat and humidity. I love summer and I certainly don't want to wish my days away, God knows. But with ALS, the hot sticky weather is very debilitating and I've had to stay inside with the AC running for days on end. And even with the monotonous drone of the air conditioner filling our days, that nasty, thick air works it's evil and saps my strength.
I am, by nature, a fairly even tempered individual. A glass half full kind of person. BUT, after suffering through an intestinal bug, on top of the insufferable weather last week, by Saturday I was some kind of fed up and cranky! I was ready to fire up the Batchair and run over the first person who crossed my path.

Blessedly, by Sunday, the air had changed and we were given the gift of a crystal-clear, crisp and moderately tempered Vermont summer day. Knowing how much I needed a change, my dear husband suggested that we go to camp. So, doing our imitation of the Clampetts, we packed all my necessary gear into the back of the Subaru and headed to Eagleshead Mountain.

It was the most incredible day. The sky was a vibrant shade of robin's egg blue, the deep greens of high summer glistened under a lemon sun, trees danced to the rhythm of a gentle breeze and all was well in my world. While my husband mowed the lawn, I basked in the day, breathing in the sweet fragrance of freshly mown grass as I watched two red tail hawks circling above.
I read for a while and when my husband was done we indulged in pleasant conversation and companionable silences as we listened to the sighing, whispering wind, the rattle and creak of branch against branch and the piercing call of the hawks

I came home calm and renewed.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Sisters - Renewed Relationships

I am the oldest of five children by quite a few years. I'm older than my brother by six years, my sister by ten years, and my half-sisters, identical twins, by seventeen years. I don't wish to be melodramatic, but need to say by way of history, that our childhood, lived in upper middle-class America, was an existence set in comfort but steeped in evil.

Raised by a mother who was, among other things, a sociopath, we grew up in a vortex of rage and abuse. Our fathers, who were of the generation of men who believed that raising children was women's work, were either physically or mentally absent from the arena.

I adored my young siblings but over time the combination of maternal propaganda, aimed at keeping us from being close, and the differences in our ages drove us apart.

It has been almost twenty years since I have seen any of them and my brother is lost to me, probably forever. Possibly one of the twins, also. But in early spring a miracle happened and my sister, the other twin, got in touch with me and came to see me. Part of the reason she came was because she was in hopes that I would have some information about our mother that might help her twin through a bad time. The other reason she came was to get to know me

It turned out to be a joyous reunion, myths were dispelled and love and friendship bloomed. It wasn't long before my sister, the one who is ten years younger, made the same trip with the same results.

They have come to visit a number of times since the initial get together, a lengthy journey for them both, and I finally understand the joy of sisterhood that my daughters have always shared. They help me fight my battle with love and constant support and have changed my life in immeasurable ways. Their love is gentle and kind, their hearts huge and they are both incredible women. What's more,I get to shower them with the love I have held in my heart for them all these years.