Disclaimer

I am not a doctor. I am providing information based on experiences that my mom has with natural remedies. The purpose of this blog is to help folks to educate themselves. Use this information with your own discernment.

30 May 2009

Shawn and the Lobster

Last summer Brian and I had our wedding party. We got married in April after I got laid off from my job. We had our party on our original wedding date of July 19 at my brother Marty and Patricia's house. It was an awesome party.

My pen pal Corinne, her daughter Cherie and Cherie's friend Shawn came out for the party. Cherie and Shawn flew out to Boston a week before to help with organizing the event.

What's a trip to New England with out lobstah?

Shawn wanted to learn how to cook a lobster so I gave her instructions. Here is the video we had taken.
video

27 May 2009

Fenugreek: Topical uses... does it cure carbuncles?

For decades I've had "fat balls" form on my legs, never sure why, I just chalked it up to one more thing that I inherited from my parents.

Most of my siblings and at least one of my nephews has fat balls develop under their skin.

Last night I couldn't sleep so I woke up and decided to read the internet. Someone came to my blog from an interesting site, so I clicked on the site and learned about carbuncles and fenugreek.

To my absolute amazement... Fenugreek was listed as a cure for carbuncles (fat balls.) The article suggested to make a poultice from the seed and put it on the infected area. It gave instructions to boil the seed for 10 minutes and then make a paste which you put on the fat ball (carbuncle.)

Here's an excerpt from a book that talks about Fenugreek and how it's good for the under the skin infections. The book is a Veterinary Clinical book, hey we're all animals in a sense!

Fenugreek cures carbuncles, boils and skin issues.

So this morning I thought, hmmm... I wonder if my extract in a bottle will work? I dropped one drop on my fat ball that was not showing any signs of expelling the crap inside and rubbed it into the skin. 2 hours later, I looked at it and it is beginning to form a head.

Excited, I took a picture (I'll spare you for now), ran to the medicine cabinet and got a bandage which I proceeded to put 6 drops of fenugreek seed extract . I put the bandage over the little fat ball.

Stay tuned for the data from my experiment of Fenugreek as a topical agent to help fight skin infections.

26 May 2009

I'm diabetic, can I eat pasta?

Last week my favorite ocean critters were on sale at the supermarket... lobster, five bucks a pound. Wooo Hooo!

Donna came over and took Ma out for the day, they were going shopping for chairs, shoes, a purse and lobster. Ma came home with 6 lobsters while Donna had a successful shopping day finding a nice purse and a pair of L.L. Bean sneakers for $25 after using a coupon that I had tucked in my purse for months. I was pretty happy to see the $10 coupon get used before it expired.

The only way I ever ate lobster was cooked in a marinara sauce that Anna Muccio taught my parents how to make back when we were neighbors.

I promise to write a post about how to make Lobster the Anna Muccio way in another post.

So....

I cooked up the marinara sauce with all organic tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil and oregano. When the sauce was ready, I apologized to the lobsters, put them to sleep and then dropped them one at a time into the sauce to cook.

The house had a fine aroma permeating the rooms which got everyone's hunger revved up. My mom was psyched out of her mind because we were having pasta.

She always served us pasta with the marinara sauce on it while the lobsters cooled, but since she's diabetic, we've pretty much cut pasta out of our diet. It was to be a treat for her.

I was a bit concerned about how she'd react to the pasta, if it would make her see "the man" or "the lady" or kittens or babies... who knows, but I figured screw it, she's nearly 80 years old, let's give pasta a shot.

I took 1 cup cooked thin spaghetti pasta and poured 1 cup of marinara sauce over it. I shucked her lobster and put the sweet meat so that it circled the pasta. I dropped 6 drops of fenugreek extract onto some of the whole tomato chunks. Next, I sprinkled some parmesan cheese and delivered my mom her dinner.

Her blood sugar started out at 90, so I figured we had a good base. We checked her sugar readings in the morning and it was 106. She didn't see anyone or anything and had loads of energy the next day.

With all that energy, I gave her my laundry to wash, dry and fold.

25 May 2009

Fenugreek: Fights diabetes, heart disease, obesity AND DEMENTIA!

Fenugreek fights diabetes, heart disease, obesity and dementia/Alzheimer's.

Today I came across this article by Keith Scott, MD. It seems to back up what I have been observing with my mom. Fenugreek seems to be improving her memory and minimizing her dementia episodes.

No more Cheeseburgers... PLEASE!

Ah, Memorial Day weekend... yay!

I'm actually getting my garden and yard work done on schedule for a lush summer backyard. The birds even seem happier now that I have some mulch down and the cat screamed "OUT!" at me this morning.

With the Memorial Day weekend, my mom and I went to the Butcher and picked up some meats that we could cook on the grill. I was hungry when I went shopping, which I know is not a good idea when trying to keep weight down. So, I saw the beautiful hamburg patties and bought a package, even though I knew they were much higher in fat than the boneless chicken breast. My mom was psyched because she hasn't had a burger in ages.

Mom woke up regular time yesterday with a great blood glucose reading, 105. She had her usual oatmeal with 3-4 drops of fenugreek and a cup of coffee and cream with 2 drops. Her morning was awesome. We had a nice clear conversation and I told her that after lunch we would go to cash in her lottery scratch ticket winnings from the tickets my brother Marty gave her for Mother's Day.

GREAT! So I thought.

I fired up the grill and put on burgers that I'd make into cheeseburgers. mmmmm. I hadn't had a burger in so long that smelling it cook was better than actually eating it. I made my mom a cheeseburger and she was thrilled.

Not so fast Josie....

About 30 minutes after lunch I told my mom that we'd head out to the store to cash in her tickets. She started to whisper to me about "the lady" in the corner. I was like, "Huh? Cut that out Ma. Stop joking. It's not night time, you shouldn't be hallucinating."

Next she started to tell me that someone "stole" her tickets off her desk. I had just seen them there before lunch so I had no idea where she may have put them for safe keeping.

Instead of arguing with her about where she put the tickets, I began to help her search for them. I said out loud, "If I were Ma, where would I hide something." She's a tucker, always tucking something into any empty spot on a shelf or book or draw. When you have a bunch of spots with stuff tucked, the search turns into a search for a needle in a haystack.

Yesterday was no different. We looked high and low. I even left her for awhile looking for the tickets while I went to the fabric store with Rachel. While we were gone, she found the tickets. Yay!

Well, their recovery was short lived. Within 15 minutes, we were heading out the door and I asked my mom, "so, where are those lottery tickets." "uhhhh, I don't know, someone stole them."

WHAT?!

Again we begin to search for the lost winning tickets. I found all the loser tickets and asked her why she isn't throwing them away. Her answer, "they could be winners." I checked them again, for about the 10th time and assured her that they were losers. Nope. In her mind she believed they could magically turn into winners. I'd love to see that, it sounds like a nice trick.

Once again, we found the tickets. This time I made her put them into a special zipper section of her purse.

In her weird backdoor logic sort of way she said, "Well, I'm only cashing in one ticket at a time." I couldn't understand why and I knew there was no way I was looking for those damn tickets again so I insisted that she cash in every winning ticket so that she doesn't need to worry about losing them again.

Super... off to the store we go with the tickets in hand.

I needed a few things at the supermarket so I had my mom go to the service desk to cash in her winning tickets. One at a time she handed the girl behind the desk a ticket. Each one is a loser from her "loser pile of tickets!"

I asked her where her winning ones were and I noticed them in her front zipper part of her purse. I tried to tell her about them being there but she waved me off.

Ok... you are on your own with those damn tickets. (Thanks Marty!)

While Josie was busy with her tickets I went to pick up a few things that we needed for dinner. I told her that I'd meet her in the front of the store. When I was going through the check out I saw her still standing in the same place talking to the girl. I looked away for 1 minutes and SHE WAS GONE!

Oh NO! Now I need to go in search of not only the tickets but MY MOTHER! If I had a dollar for every time I had to look for my mother in a supermarket, I'd be wealthy. I suppose the added benefit of searching for her in a supermarket is I get a little extra walking exercise.

I left my cart with my paid purchases in the shopping cart at the front of the store while I walked up and down the aisles in search of Josie. Eventually I found her, tucked behind a huge display of cereal boxes, with her purse open and her LOTTERY TICKETS still in her hands.

Confused, I asked her why she didn't cash them in? She said, "The girl told me that they were all losers." I knew they weren't all losers. I took the stack from her and saw the winners. I had her stand at my shopping cart in front of the store while I took the tickets to cash them in for her.

I went to a different girl. I got my mom her $110 in cash. The lottery tickets were gone. Yay! I won't spend another day searching for those darn tickets.

This was totally unusual, to have my mom behaving demented with normal blood sugar. Then it occurred to me... THE CHEESEBURGER... THE FAT IN THE CHEESEBURGER.

I remember watching the Alzheimer's Project and they described Amyloid-beta and how plaque gets around the neurons in the brain of elderly people with dementia/alzheimers which keeps prevents a synapse from occurring between ganglions or something like that.


Amyloid beta (Aβ or Abeta) is a peptide of 39–43 amino acids that appear to be the main constituent of amyloid plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients. Similar plaques appear in some variants of Lewy body dementia and in inclusion body myositis, a muscle disease.

This morning I am convinced that high fat intake is NOT GOOD for anyone, especially old people with dementia or Alzheimer's. The fat totally screws with their thought process and in my mom's case, caused her to hallucinate in the middle of the day.

Continued from my post yesterday I have a new rule...

Rule 10: No FAT. If you have fat, you MUST have a cup of Fenugreek tea to counteract the fat absorption.

I did a google search on the words "does animal fat aggravate dementia in elderly"

What I found was not surprising news... animal fat does aggravate dementia.

Here's an abstract that I found on the subject where they used mice in the study. High-fat diet aggravates amyloid-beta and tau pathologies in the 3xTg-AD mouse model

Ok, so my mom isn't a mouse but she is a mammal and the effects on her brain from eating a fatty cheeseburger sort of substantiates the claims of this abstract.

More observations will follow about the reactions of different foods on how my mom thinks and behaves.

All I know is NO MORE CHEESEBURGERS, PLEASE!

24 May 2009

How to tell your doctor about Fenugreek use for Diabetes


Western Medicine, in my opinion has become very corrupt with doctors who are owned by the pharmaceutical companies. How many times have you heard a doctor say to an elderly person (or yourself for that matter) " here, try this new pill."

Over the years the doctors have been pushing pills that the handsome pharmaceutical sales reps have been totting for the suits in executive offices in the ivory towers. If you ask me, it's a bit of a scam on people, especially those cholesterol lowering drugs which cause more harm and illness that you end up on a pharma-go-wheel, taking more drugs.

I know this for a fact because I watched my little old mom take "new pills" for something that was ailing her. My family and I watched our mom (and Gram) become demented and sicker. It was a hard time of my life when my mom was really sick and I was working full time traveling around the country on planes going to sales meetings. Looking back, I can't believe that I left my mother alone in the house every week when I'd leave on Monday and return on Friday.

Personally, I lived through having her screaming through the house about a baby falling or people in her room. She'd sleep walk (or I should say scream!) My husband (before we were married) experienced the episodes and several times we were woken in the middle of the night to rush Jo to the emergency room. It got to the point where I knew everyone in the ER at our little hospital. Regular every day life doesn't require that you get to know the entire staff in an Emergency Room... I knew something was wrong.

Our mom's heart was slowing down, it was stopping. She had stopped taking Toprol because it was causing her to hallucinate and scream through the night. She would dream about jumping over a river when she was on this drug and instead she'd jump out of bed, hurting herself in the process. Jo didn't want to live like this so I told her that if she didn't want to take the drugs she didn't have to. I called her cardiologist and told him that she wanted to stop taking Toprol. The doctor freaked out. I told him it was what my mother wanted. I was warned that her heart would stop. I told my mom the warning and she didn't care, she wanted to stop taking Toprol because it made her feel worse than ever. She did.

Within a week she had a problem breathing and was very light headed and faint. She had no energy. That's when we took her to the ER.

Like everything in life that you don't take care of, things snow balled to the point where my mom believed that she was dying so she said her goodbye's to Brian and me. It totally freaked me out so I threw myself on her and begged her to live.

I wanted her to see Brian and me get married. I also began to give her alternative healing (Reiki and Prema Healing) that I had learned over the years. We rushed her to the ER once more... only this time it was her last ER visit.

The story for my mom has a happy ending - she got a pacemaker and soon began feeling stronger.

Brian even proposed to me in front of my mom on my 47th birthday. It was sunset and Brian had asked me to come and sit on the deck. He looked so worried and scared I immediately got scared. I thought he was going to tell me that he had a terminal illness or something. Then he got down on his knee and showed me this beautiful classic diamond ring as he asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes. My mom was watching through the back slider to the deck. I turned around and saw her crying... we were all crying. It was such an awesome proposal. I'm grateful that my mom was there to witness Brian proposing to me, it was a beautiful moment in time for all of us.

All of this drama occurred 2 years ago.

My mom began to cut out her meds. She was on so many drugs that made her feel sick and messed up her thinking.

In my opinion, my mother had drug induced dementia. Because she had a new lease on life I began to pay more attention to my mother's diet (mine too.) We cut out all "sugar free" products. Here's an article about the sugar substitute Splenda (poison!)

The more I studied and read about nutrition and the junk we are all being fed in pretty bright boxes, I began to realize that the shit in the pretty bright boxes could be killing us all!

In the mix of everything over the last 2 years, I was fortunate enough to get laid off from my job. At the time it didn't seem like a good thing but now I know that because of this life altering event, other things were able to take place in my life that allowed me to focus on health.

I found the secret to curing my mom is to look at her health from a 360 view - mind, body and spirit. For her mind training, I use hypnosis on her. I make sure that she is calm and relaxed so that her mind doesn't create scary illusions when she's half way between wake and sleep.

Body, we looked at every medicine that she was on and asked why am I on this to her doctors. Some of the drugs she should have stopped taking years before a doctor told her that she didn't need to take the med any longer.

She was on hydralazine for her heart. It was supposed to help chest pains. She hadn't had chest pains for 3 years! After her pacemaker she didn't have any pains but was still taking the drug. My mom was complaining of lightheadedness so I looked at the side effects of the drug, yup, it was the culprit to her ailments. She stopped taking it and she began to feel better. An added bonus is her hair is growing back! She was becoming bald from this drug and didn't feel pretty at all.

Gradually we got her off the meds that were making her sick. We also began to take her off insulin because the doses she was on were way to high. She was eating so that she could take her insulin. She was gaining more weight and not very happy.

Those who live with insulin dependent diabetics know that they can be very grouchy and irritable. The diabetic can't really help themselves, it just comes with the disease. Diabetics also tend to withdraw socially which leads to depression.

Dementia sets in eventually where the person becomes depressed and paranoid. They begin to believe that they are seeing people and things. It's frustrating for the demented mind to know that no one can see what they are seeing. In my mom's case, she was freaked out and worried that she had "the crazy gene."

(My entire life she told me about the 'crazy gene' in her family, now I know it must have been dementia.)

Lastly, there's spirit - feeding ones soul with music and positive imagery through hypnosis and alternative energy healing lifts ones spirit. When our soul is happy we have a good sense of well-being that carries throughout the entire body. Having a happy spirit is like having a good mixture of super glue holding everything together.

How we got my mom off the insulin needle

Doctors are not very receptive to natural cures, the doctors that are into natural cures are like finding a needle in a hay stack.

My mother didn't want to take insulin so I told her that I'd help her get off the needle. Here's how we did it.

Rule 1: No Bread, No Pasta, No Preservatives. Stop eating anything in a box with preservatives.

Rule 2: Eat fish 3 or more times per week

Rule 3: Load up with dark green leafy vegetables. They lower the acidity of your blood making it more alkaline. When the blood is alkaline it can remove waste and pass oxygen to the cells more easily. Lower alkalinity also seems to help my mom keep her blood sugar lower and her mind is more sharp (less dementia symptoms.)

Rule 4: Sleep. Make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep a night. Go to bed at the same time.

Rule 5: Shut off the lights and the TV (or set a timer to shut it off for you after you fall asleep.) The light seems to effect the pineal gland which is responsible for producing melatonin, the natural sleep hormone. When we get older we produce less of it so taking 1 tablet of melatonin (my mom takes 3mg) helps to keep your internal lights out for the night. Because melatonin is a natural hormone that our bodies produce, there are no ill side effects.

Rule 6: Exercise your mind and body every day

Rule 7: Socialize. Get out and be with people. Laugh.

Rule 8: Take Fenugreek every day. Just 3-4 drops of extract in oatmeal in the morning with a cup of tea with lunch and dinner (with 2-3 drops depending on the blood sugar reading - each drop lowers sugar levels by 15 points.

Rule 9: Keep good records. Keep a food diary and make notes on your blood sugar before and after meals.

Once my mom and I incorporated these nine rules into our lives a miracle occurred. My mom's blood sugar appears to be stable. Every morning at fasting her blood sugar is between 90 and 120. Before lunch and dinner it's about 100 - 115, usually it's 105. By using Fenugreek extract every day, her blood sugar is under control.

Why is this so amazing? Glad you asked.

My mom, during her days of being on 10 different pharmaceuticals and 2 different types of insulin, Humilin 70/30 in the morning - 32 units and Humilin N in the evening, 42 units. This is a lot of insulin. Her blood sugar readings were always high. 165 used to be "good."

She'd take insulin and her blood sugar would plummet. She'd get the shakes and become totally disoriented. (and she was driving at the time!) She'd begin to eat everything in sight to raise her sugar levels. The only problem, she wouldn't stop eating and then her sugar would go way high. The roller coaster of high and low blood sugar seemed to effect her thinking. She was becoming more and more demented.

My mom should have been admitted to a nursing home. I couldn't send her to one because when I was 8 they took us to see her mom in a nursing home/mental institution (our Gram had the crazy gene.) I swore to God that I'd never put my parents in a place like that because it was so damn scary.

Looking back I have no idea how we got through the crazy times. I suppose I just did what I felt that I needed to do and did it.

The nice thing about naturally lowering your blood sugar with fenugreek is that it also seems to help other ailments, blood pressure.

My mom always had high blood pressure. Again, 160 something over 90 was considered "good." She was on 2 different HB meds and still got these high readings. After losing 60 pounds, exercising every day with Wii Fit or walking in the mall, cutting out breads, pasta and preservatives and eating organically grown produce, her blood pressure now averages 130/60.

She also had high cholesterol. Doctors were freaking out that she wasn't on any Cholesterol lowering meds. The drugs caused her muscle pains and aches, they made her feel lousy. I also read studies that the drug wastes muscle and in my opinion the last thing you want for an elderly person is for a drug to waste their muscles.

I did have this argument with my mom's new cardiologist. He pretty much called me a wacko. That's when I asked him what special deals the pharmaceutical sales rep is providing him by having him push the "newest" cholesterol med? I haven't seen this doctor in several months, we see him next week. It should prove interesting now that my mom is healthier than she's been in 30 years.

Last week my mom and I visited her Vascular doctor. He is the one doctor of hers that seem progressive and would be open to hearing about an alternative to treating my mom's conditions. I printed out a bunch of articles and medical abstracts to bring to the doctor. I also brought him a bottle of the extract so that he could see what it looked like. I also told him where I bought it.

I didn't have to tell him much about the results of her taking Fenugreek. He read one extract and was intrigued. He kept the papers that I had given to him. He was going to do more research on his own and pick up some at his local Whole Foods because he has an issue with high cholesterol.

I absolutely love this doctor. He really cares about the health of his patients and he doesn't push pharma meds. He also ordered a whole bunch of blood tests so that he can compare her numbers in January of '09 (before Fenugreek) with the results from now (after Fenugreek.)

On the exterior, my mother looks awesome. She feels great. Her mind is sharpening. She doesn't get lost. Never has low blood sugar episodes. Is sleeping through the night and is actually going to the local Senior Center to socialize.

All of this was possible because we got her off the pharma-go-wheel and back into a happy and healthy life where she can once again enjoy her family, especially her new great grand son.

Here is the new Jo with 2 of her grandsons and her great grandson.







22 May 2009

A real SENIOR Prom

Today is the first Annual Senior Prom at the nursing home... I'm Uncle Al's date. I am charging my camera battery in order to capture the events.

Stay tuned.

As I promised... here's the video and pictures from Uncle Al's SENIOR Prom.


video

19 May 2009

Dancin' with the Seniors

Everyone younger than 59 needs to go to a Senior Center Dance at 11 in the morning and see how the old folks live. It's eye opening.

I went yesterday with my mom and Uncle Al. It was a scream. Those old folks sure do know how to have fun. Most of the attendees were women. I told Uncle Al that his odds were REALLY good with all these women at the dance. He gave out a hearty laugh and turned red in the face. I think I was reading his mind.

Of course I video taped the event in order to capture it for the record.

You've surely all have been waiting patiently for it!

Ma and Uncle Al go to the Senior Dance

video

18 May 2009

Divide and Conquer


I've been getting pretty good at taking care of Uncle Al and my mom. Both have dementia, my mom's is very mild so she can still do things like picking out vegetables in the supermarket. It makes her happy, which is always good.

Yesterday I picked up Uncle Al for the day. As usual, I arrived immediately after breakfast and off we went to my house.

Our first stop was the supermarket. I had written 2 lists, one for my mom and one for Uncle Al and me. Uncle Al needed to walk so I took him up and down the aisles looking for the few items that I needed to prepare the meals for the day. He loves shopping and pushing the cart. You can definitely see the family resemblance in this picture - brother and sister pushing grocery carts... very cute.

From there we went home, I made lunch and then I took Uncle Al to the local Hardware store to give him a feeling of freedom and roam the aisles "alone." He thought he was alone but I was watching him. He had so much fun. Especially when I walked up to where he was and he started to explain to me what a Ball Peen Hammer is. I think I spelled the name of the tool correctly.

Here I am standing in the middle of the hardware store with Al and he's explaining to me what a Ball peen hammer is and how it gives you more force because it's so heavy. Then he looked at me with an embarrassed look. I said, "Uncle Al, what's wrong?" He said quietly, "What am I doing? I'm explaining tools to you like you were a man!" I said, 'So... that shows that you are not a male chauvinist.' He smiled and we walked a little more.

During the trip to the hardware store he kept telling me that he needed to get a job and that he wanted to work in this store. He had a blast at the hardware store.

Today's big event that we've all been waiting for, Uncle Al more than my mom and me... the big dance at the Senior Center here in town. Woooo Hooo! Sure will have a good post after the dance... stay tuned.


16 May 2009

Cremation... how much does it cost?

A couple of days ago I got an email from my penpal. It's always great to get a note from her. This one note I thought would be a great email post.

Here it is...

Hey Sue,

I just wanted to ask you a question about cremations. When your brother Ed passed away, how much did it cost to have him cremated and sent back to you? One of the Soccer Association guys sells cremation services and I'm going to discuss some 'plans' with him, or rather, he is trying to sell me something.

I want to be cremated and have my ashes scattered in the ocean in Hawaii.

He's quoting me a price of $1650 for the cremation and have the ashes delivered to my home, the trip to Hawaii and ceremony would all be extra. If I'm living in Hawaii when it happens, then it will be easier!

Just wondering about all of this. One of Ron's good friends passed away from cancer recently so I'm realizing that it's gonna happen no matter what.

I'll write you a nice long email about all the excitement going on in my life. Hope the elders are not making you too insane. :)

Aloha,

Corinne


It has been just about 8 years since Ed died on a white water rafting trip with our nephews, niece and a few of their friends. Here's a picture of them acting out what happened during Ed's Celebration of Life party.

I didn't remember how much it all cost so I asked my sister Ann. She remembered that it was around 1300 bucks and she's even seen it as low as 800 dollars. Not sure if it's more on the other coast.


I do remember that you need to get permission to dump ashes into the ocean because we thought about doing it with Ed's ashes. Instead, Ed now sits on top of a hill in Washington, Maine in his own little 3 season screen house. Time to visit Ed in the shed!

15 May 2009

Happy Birthday Donna!


(Picture taken by our nearly 80 yr old mom... she said, "The picture is fuzzy." She snapped it - this is the result.)

Today started out as a cloudy and rainy day. I saw the date and realized it was my sister Donna's birthday. My mom was aching to go somewhere. I was too. Somewhere with out the responsibility of Al was on my mind.

It was about 10:30am when I said to my mom, come on, let's go surprise Donna at work. We'll bring her some flowers and if she can, we'll take her to lunch.

GREAT!

Off we drove to the Court House where Donna is a clerk.

On the way I needed to stop at the post office (my mom needed to mail a letter) and I needed to get to the bank.

I took the wrong turn out of our neighborhood and we missed both the post office and the bank. My little mom tried to tell me I was going the wrong way but I didn't listen.

We drove all the way to the town where Donna works and didn't see one bank that was ours. Damn!

My mom stopped at her little credit union to get some money. She was taking forever in there so I decided to call Don on her cellphone.

How our call went...

(me) "Hi Don!"
(Don) "Wait a minute."

few seconds go by and then I hear,

"Hi Sue."

I said, "Hi Don... Happy Birthday!"

Don..."Is that why you are calling?"

me.."Yes. Happy Birthday!"

Don.."Aw, that was nice."

Me.."what time do you do lunch?"

Don." 12"
me." Hey, do you have plans with your work friends?"
Don. "No."
Me. "Great. Want to go to lunch with Ma and me?"
Don. "Really? "
Me. "Ya, we're like 2 minutes from you."
Don. "Great! I'll see you at noon."

I went into the bank to check on my mom and told her the plan. She was pretty psyched.

Fortunately, it was the lunch hour so there were lots of empty spots in front of the court house. I saw Don through the window... she gave a big wave. Loads of cops were watching us through the window... it felt weird but the truck looked awesome, Brian just had it detailed for me. My ride was pimped and looked like a damn white stallion. I absolutely LOVE my truck. Anyway... getting lost in my truck, sorry about that.

Don came out and I jumped out of my truck to hug her and open the door to the back seat for her to get in.

Prancing down the stairs was a little kid from next door, only 35 years later. I couldn't believe it. He used to be part of the little gang of little kids who followed me around. I remember teaching a lot of them how to sew and make stuff out of shit we'd find around the neighborhood. Anyway, he's now a court officer.

I tried to get his picture but he ran away before I could get the camera. I was bummed. I will be back though when he least expects it and I will take his picture with me.

Anyway...

Don came out and we went out for Vietnamese food. Man, great restaurant... awesome food. Very inexpensive.

Here's a picture of Donna with Josie...

13 May 2009

The Piano Across the Street

On Monday, I called Uncle Al and he said, "When are you coming to get me?"

I said, "Can I come get you now and take you out? Ask the nurse for me."

Al did and the nurse said, "Sure!"

I was there at the home to get Al 45 minutes later.

Al was thrilled to be going out with me. It was a bright sunny day and he was clearer than he's been in weeks. It was night and day from how he was on Friday.

Al, my mom and I were heading out to for a ride when Uncle Al spotted the piano across the street.

The neighbors are moving and they put their piano on the curb with a FREE sign taped to it.

Fortunately I had my camera with me so I video'd Uncle Al trying to convince me that we needed this piano.


video

For the last 2 days he's been telling me how valuable the piano is and we need to find a home for it.

This morning I woke up and the piano was gone, it found a home. Boy will Uncle Al be happy that the piano was rescued.

09 May 2009

Uncle Al's Bucket List: Go to Revere Beach

Uncle Al has been a big fan of Revere Beach since his younger days when he used to work and play down there.

For months he's been talking about Revere Beach and even some of his inmate friends call him "Revere Beach."

Who knows how long any of us have to live, it's the reason that I like to live life to the fullest and leave no stones unturned. Life is fun, if you open your eyes and heart.

So... yesterday I drove Uncle Al and my mom down to Revere Beach. Uncle Al and my mom reminisced about dancing at the Ocean View. As we drove by the location where the old dance hall used to sit, my mom said, "That's the spot on this Earth where I met your father."

I heard stories of how my mom danced a lot. She even got to the point where she was dancing every night of the week. Uncle Al pipped up and added that Jo was a fantastic dancer and she taught him how to dance.

Uncle Al became alive as he reminisced. He told me about the place where they watched "the submarine races." then he added that it was the place where he proposed to his girlfriend, Janet.

When we got to the end of the beach, I pulled over the car. Uncle Al looked at me as he got out of the car and said, "This is where I proposed!"

All I had was my cellphone camera, so I took a memento picture to remind us of the day we went for a ride down Revere Beach.


07 May 2009

Cool Hand Reflexology Guide

I have always been interested in Reflexology of the hands and feet. Basically, the idea behind reflexology is that the hands and feet have pressure points which can be pressed to help sooth the ailment.

Here is a cool application that allows you to roll your mouse over the hands and see where the points are for all areas of the body. Give it a try!

06 May 2009

My Magic Mary


About 11 years ago when I bought my first house, my dear Aunt Jay bought me a white plastic Virgin Mary statue. I love Mother Mary and Jay wanted to be the one to give the statue for my garden.

My brother in law, Steve Dean (check his work out at http://www.stevedeanart.com ) being the talented artist that he is, painted my white plastic Mary. He even painted her toe nails red, which sort of horrified his little mom, Catherine. I still remember Catherine asking Steve why he painted her nails, he said, "Because they were there." How can you argue with that logic?

Anyway, over the years, Mary stood in my back yard. Somedays she stood tall, other days she was face down on the ground because the wind blew her over. I can't tell you how many times my mom made me trudge out into the snow to stand her back up, but I did it and it was a lot.

Mary had another name for awhile, some called her Scary Mary when the paint on her face began to chip off and her nose was smashed in from hitting the ground so many times.

One Sunday several years ago, I decided to paint Mary. I gave her a fresh coat and she sparkled. Her scary face was no longer scary... it was radiant. Well, as radiant as it could be with a paint job.

Even when the paint was chipping on her plastic face, I still would go and talk to Mary. I'd ask her for help for every one and everything. She always answered my requests. I began to call her "My Magic Mary."

Now, when Uncle Al comes for a visit, I bring him over to where Magic Mary stands proudly in our back yard. He blesses her and himself as he says a little prayer. Now, she's out of the wind, nestled nicely so that she doesn't fall down and smash her face like an alcoholic who's had one too many whiskey's.

She does need a new paint job, a task that I think I'll do this Sunday, in honor of Mother's Day. I think I'll even paint her toe nails bright red in honor of Steve and Catherine.

05 May 2009

The so-called news

This afternoon I took a break from work and decided to watch MSNBC while I dined. I nearly choked on my food when I saw the newscaster start to laugh.

I couldn't understand why she was laughing. They never came back and told us like they always promise but never do. Thank God for the DVR. I hit rewind to see what the person was saying just before she laughed, I knew they were not going to return with a reason.

Playing the video back, I realized that she was laughing about a pork comment ... and her mind obviously went into the gutter to make her laugh like she did on the air.

Definitely an awkward moment for her coworker.

I made a crappy video just so you can see it.


video

02 May 2009

My Silent Prayer to the Hawk Spirit

Last week I refilled all of my bird feeders around the yard when I found the 50 pound bag in the garage that I had forgotten about.

I could hear the birds joy with finally getting seed, it brought all the pretty birds back. Cardinals, wood peckers, gold finch and others that I don't remember the names. Unfortunately, it also brought back the dang Red Squirrels.

Looking out the kitchen window while preparing vegetables the other day, I noticed the tiny red squirrels chasing the birds away from the feeders... even the woodpecker! This got me mad so I looked out the window and up to the sky and said... OH GREAT HAWK SPIRIT, COME AND GET YOUR DINNER OF RED SQUIRREL, I'VE BEEN FATTENING THEM UP FOR YOU ALL WINTER.

Well, the next day I looked out my window and our Hawk returned! You can see it here ... at the very end you will see the squirrel scare the Hawk. So much for the Hawk's squirrel dinner, it must be a vegetarian hawk who only eats worms.


video

Last year when I moved in to my new house, the same Hawk visited my back yard every day, twice a day, morning and dusk. I was able to capture it on video before it left. You can see it here - the Hawk, the Squirrel and the Cat.

Now, the cat won't go into the back yard, is horrified of ceiling fans and will only go as far as the deck. My cat is a scaredy cat.