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 April 2009

Swine Flu... Preparation (Day 1)

This morning I was talking to Brian about the Swine Flu. The first cases in Mass are just a couple of towns away from where we live.

So... like every New Englander getting ready for a storm, this one a potential flu storm, we're off to the supermarkets to stock up on fresh vegetables, frozen vegetables and chicken for chicken soup.

We figured we had better get to the stores before they close or something because no one can go to work at the stores.

Time to make sure to wash your hands A LOT. We're even breaking down and starting to use the hand sanitizer.

After today's shopping trip with the girls to stock up our cupboards, we're staying put at Camp Sue.

28 April 2009

License and Registration Please?

Today it is going to be a scorcher with temperatures in the 90's. Pretty darn hot for April in New England.

The nursing home where Uncle Al is living doesn't seem to have the air conditioning on yet and I was concerned that Uncle Al might get overheated if he stayed there today.

I called and picked him up at 8:30 this morning. He was excited to be going out today. The nurses appeared genuinely happy to see him going out too.

We got in Brian's car, I plugged in our home address in the navigation and off we went with the car leading the way which gives Uncle Al a sense of security.

Rt 128 was backed up so I took the 129 cut off in Wakefield. We were driving along, Uncle Al recognized where he was which made him feel good.

We were stopped at a light and a cop on a bicycle drove by us on the right and next thing I knew, “knock, knock, knock” on the window.

I looked up and there was the cop on the bike, PULLING US OVER! I was stopped at a light. I had NO idea what the hell I could have done wrong.

The cop said, “License and registration. You have an expired inspection sticker.”

I was like… ‘what? This is my husbands car, my air conditioning is broken in my truck, I did not want my uncle that I just picked up from the nursing home to be overheated.”

Uninterested in my story he said, “pull over there please” as he pointed to a parking lot.

Thank God I could find the registration in the glove box. I was a little nervous, but not a lot nervous.

I had to keep explaining to Uncle Al what was going on. I know the cop heard me. Uncle Al was telling me that I was handling it well.

It was pretty funny, as soon as I explained to him what was going on he'd ask me why we were in this parking spot again?

So… I started to laugh. I told him that we were getting a ticket, that I didn’t realize the car’s inspection sticker was expired. We both started to laugh. Again he asked me why we were parked… it went on for about 5 minutes, but seemed like an eternity.

The cop came back to the car window and handed me my license, registration and a WARNING. Oh, thank God!

I’ll see if I can take the car for an inspection today.

27 April 2009

Cooking with Fenugreek

This post, I will add to as I find more helpful links with recipes using Fenugreek in all its forms.

Fenugreek in the Garden

It's gardening season up here in New England, the trees have buds, leaves are sprouting and the song birds are extra noisy. It was a long and cold winter, the birds are clearly singing their praises to the Universe for the welcome change.

Even though I haven't posted anything about Fenugreek in awhile, I still love to read about it. This morning I did a google search on Fenugreek and the Lymphatic System. I wondered if the lymphatic system was the key to giving Fenugreek what appears to be magical properties.

In this article, it talked about using Fenugreek in culinary preparations. It mentioned growing Fenugreek and what the parts of the plant are good for.

The article states that the young leaves taste like peas and can be eaten in all sorts of recipes. I'm already beginning to think of ways that I can cook with Fenugreek.

Now, with my gardening tools in hand and a warm morning with a cool breeze, I'm ready to begin my next experiment with Fenugreek... grow it, prepare it and eat it!

23 April 2009

Happy Birthday Marty

All day yesterday, I wanted to write this post but was so wrapped up with my life, I never sat down and sent this special birthday wish to my dear brother Marty.

Happy Birthday Bro!


21 April 2009

Love is the answer

Today I didn't know what to write a blog post about until just now when I was talking to Brian with American Idol on in the background.

We started to talk about Uncle Al, our most frequent topic of conversation in this house these days.
Uncle Al's deepest wish is for his daughter Maryann and me to reconcile. At this point in time, we need a fucking miracle to occur, but I'm still holding out hope for Uncle Al. He has been praying for this for a couple of years now.

Maryann hates my guts... well, right now she does.

Tonight, Brian and I tried to figure out why Maryann has demonized me so much. I began to look back in my childhood.

Uncle Al travelled all the time. He was flying to Japan or somewhere in Asia. He was bringing back computer parts and building computers long before it was savvy. He was definitely way ahead of his time, that's why I love to show him the latest technology and have him talk to my sister Ann in Maine. Uncle Al loves talking to Ann. He even gets to see her dogs and what the house she built looks like. One day I'd love to take him up there for the weekend to visit. He'd absolutely LOVE Ann's place in Maine.

I digress.

So... back to what Brian and talked about.

When Uncle Al travelled, especially during school vacation week, he'd have me come to the house and be Maryann's playmate. I did have fun playing with Maryann. I am 3 years older and didn't meet her until she was 3 years old. I remember hearing Uncle Al tell my dad that he was afraid we'd give Maryann germs and make her sick.

Those times I visited, I always hung out with Aunt Janet. I loved her so much. I didn't know she was drinking all day, I just thought she was very funny. We used to watch Julia Childs while she cooked. I owe my fine cooking skills to Aunt Janet. She was the best. My husband thanks you! I thank you... it's one of my passions now.

I've been trying to understand why my cousin hates me so much. I never did anything to her, except wish 10 fold on her what she gave to her parents. I'm sorry... she pissed me off, she caught me at a point where I wanted to slap her. Siblings do that to eachother. Unfortunately, she doesn't get what family means. There's still time for her to give her dad great joy... this would be great if she realized it. Oh I'm praying that she reads my blog.

I can't apologize for who I am or the accomplishments I've made in life. I am who I am. I love who I have become in this life. I'm sorry that Maryann doesn't chose to see who I am... it's a bummer. Why? Not for me, for Uncle Al.

Uncle Al's dream is for Maryann, him and me to be in a room, like the old days when we were laughing and having fun.

For Uncle Al, I'm going to hold this thought. I'm going to forgive and forget and believe that it can happen. I will do all that I can to help Uncle Al manifest his dream... wanna help? Send us good happy thoughts.... it's all about love, LOVE rules... it's the answer.

20 April 2009

How I Got Hooked on Writing

I went to St. Mary's Grammar School in Lynn for the first 9 years of my formal education. I hated the uniforms with a passion, but my mom loved them because there was never a question about what we were going to wear to school in the morning. (pictured to the left is the first time we met in 1979, the month after my father died of pancreatic cancer, Corinne flew out to spend some time with my family and me.)

In 3rd grade, 1968, a girl in my class, Maureen Martel had an Aunt who was a nun in Honolulu, Hawaii. I think it was St. John's, (Corinne, correct me where I'm wrong) where my friend's Aunt taught 3rd grade, was your teacher Sr. Dora?

My friends Aunt had an idea to start a pen pal exchange with my class in Lynn, Massachusetts. She had her students write "Dear Pen Pal" letters.

My fellow classmate brought the package of letters to my teacher, who separated the letters between boys and girls. She had all of us line up in 2 lines, single file, boys on one side, girls on the other.

Sr. Theresa (I think that was her name) turned the letters upside down and had each student take a letter off the top. I remember how excited I was to have a letter from a girl who wrote a long letter. Immediately I dashed back to my desk and started to write to my new pen pal, Corinne Ragasa.

Corinne and I wrote a lot. Each time one of the students in class would get a letter from their pen pal, they'd bring it to class and read it aloud. I was always standing in front of class reading aloud, my letters from Corinne. One day it stopped because I was the last kid standing.

I won the best prize of all, a friend who is as dear to me as any member of my family. I'm grateful for my friendship with Corinne, it's because of her that I learned how to put my thoughts onto paper. Thank you! My life is richer having you in my life.

18 April 2009

Bacci, my Polish Grammy

I've been getting pretty nostalgic reading my dad's hand written journals. Every time I sit and read his writing, I feel like he's here with me. He had such neat penmanship, you can tell he is a product of Catholic School.

My father loved his mother. He brought us to see her every Sunday, right up until the day Bacci died.

Bacci is pictured to the left at a Christmas Eve celebration at my house in 1968.

Here's a journal entry that my dad wrote about his mom. Bacci was living with us for a short time after a hospital stay, dad wrote this while Bacci sat and watched.

Sunday, April 30, 1972

My Dairy

I am writing this journal with my mother sitting to the left of me. I told her how I have written about her and she cried with a silent joy.

My mother is in constant pain. She has an ulcer on her leg and skin cancer on her nose. The remarkable thing about her is that she will not quit.

She loves to come over to my house and get together with the children and my wife.

She told me how the pain in her leg gets to be so bad that she will not say anything to my sister Jay until she is asleep. Only then she will get up during the night and change the bandage and apply the medicine the doctor gave her.

I cannot look at any woman and say they are the weaker sex because my mother is the living example of all the women in the world, "God bless them."

17 April 2009

Being a stubborn elder is pretty stupid, if you ask me

On Wednesday, I went shopping with all the girls in my elder gang. Jay, my mom and my mother in law. I didn't get Uncle Al on Wednesday, Jay isn't very healthy and I needed to give her my undivided attention.

Jay was walking slower than Tim Conway on the old Carol Burnet Show! My mother and my ML were walking way ahead. They usually have trouble keeping up with me, today, they were walking way ahead of me.

Rachel really likes my dear old Aunt Jay... what's not to like about Jay? Actually, the more I get to know Rachel, the more I see Jay in her.

Rachel has been researching on the internet all of Jay's drugs. None of us understand what conditions Jay has. All we get from Jay is that "her heart is dying", "Her heart has dry blood (?)" "She can't drink water because it turns to salt." (??) I'm so confused!!!

Her ankles were swollen on Wednesday. I did put her feet in my hands and give her healing Reiki energy, she really needed it. She let me do it.

Her face is puffy with red blotches. I'm a bit worried about this symptom.

Rachel is freaked because Jay had CHF and she's being treated with meds for someone who's had a heart attack. Here's one of the articles that Rachel found by the American Heart Association and printed out for me to read,

What has me worried about Jay is she's sicker than I can ever remember seeing her. Jay was the one to walk EVERYWHERE just until maybe a year ago when she was put on all the damn drugs.

Who puts an 85 year old woman on Coumadin and Toprol? Toprol caused my mom to hallucinate so badly that she thought that she was jumping over a river but was jumping out of bed and banging her head on her night stand. I've lived through my mom screaming through the house about babies... nothing like being awakened at 2am by your horrified mom screaming about a baby that needed help. I'm so glad that is over.

Jay is weak. I'm worried for her life.

Today, I called her to check to see how she was doing. I apologized in advanced for butting my nose into her business but I had to speak my mind. I told her that I love her so much and worry about her health. Her puffy face and blotchy face could be an early symptom of a more serious condition. Her swollen ankles... not good. Her blocked ears? Not sure it's wax build up like her nurse told her.

I've asked her if we could go see her doctor with her, she said, "no." She won't let anyone go with her. Today, I felt driven to tell her that she needs to let someone in our family go with her, if it's not me it needs to be Linda, my cousin, the woman who lived with her for so many years before she got married recently to an awesome man, Maniac Mike Keenan.

I love Mike. You can see his website here - he plays music for Homeless Veterans and Veterans Homes - and my house of course. He was on Jerry Springer, singing a song about "When Jerry Wins an Emmy" Very funny.

Ok... I started to digress, maybe I've been hanging out with the old folks too long. I need a good day out on the golf course VERY SOON.

I told Jay exactly what was on my mind. I told her what Rachel had learned through her research and even told her "Rachel told me to tell you... " stuff while Rachel stood on the other side of the room smiling and grinning. Rachel wants her to go to Mass General NOW. Like me she believes that she needs to be in the hospital.

Instead, she lives alone with her cats upstairs from my newly married young cousin.

I cried on the phone with Jay earlier today. I was pleading with her to call the doctor. She told me that she was eating lunch. I didn't let that stop me. I told her how worried I was because she is sicker than I've ever seen her and if these doctors are so good, why isn't she well? Then she tells me that the doctors tell her that her heart is dying... that she is old... what the fuck is that all about?!

Jay had Congestive Heart Failure. She should be in similar shape as my mom and my mother in law, who both had CHF attacks. The moms are doing awesome. Jay on the other hand is dying and I'm not going to let that happen. She doesn't want to die. I asked her today. She said NO.

I need to call her in the morning to see if she changed her mind about getting a second opinion and apologize for nosing in. I never ever nose in to Jay's health business but for some reason, I feel that if I don't say something, I'll be attending a Catholic Funeral very soon.... my wish is to see Jay happy and health, shopping and having fun with me, my mom and my mom in love.

How to Make Cole Slaw

My dad loved creating with food. I think this is where I picked up my talent, from dear Dad.

Today's post is an excerpt from Dad's lost diary, he tells us how to make Cole Slaw that is flavored with a story about his good friend Angelo.

Wednesday, April 26, 1972

My Diary

Easter was approaching and I made all the cole slaw and grated the horse radish for the entire family.

Angelo asked me to make him some cole slaw. I grated the cabbage and carrots and one little onion for flavor. One table spoon of mayonnaise, a half a cup of vinegar and salad oil. I mixed it with a ladle and chilled it in the refrigerator.

Angelo said, "Instead of grating an onion, grate a hole bud of garlic." I said, "Angelo, your whole house will smell of garlic." He said, "I'm Italian and I LOVE garlic!" I said, "are you sure?" He said, "YES!" "OK" I said and I made the cole slaw with garlic.

Angelo's wife, Anna was so furious with Angelo that she was ready to throw him out of the house.

16 April 2009

Go with God

After reconnecting with my friend Roseanne, I started to open up to a page in my dad's hand written journal. Following is the entry that I had opened the note pages...

Friday, March 24, 1972

My Dairy, by Ed Jarmulowicz

Today is my birthday and rather than write about my day, instead this day reminds me of the same date nine years back.

I was at the bakery, working on the machines, preparing them to withstand the thousands of loaves of bread that they must wrap.

A call from my wife informed me that Pa was very sick and is not expected to live. That eight hour day felt like sixteen as I was anxious to get to Chelsea.

The Priest and Doctor had left Pa, leaving Ma and Jay in an unsure state of mind.

I talked with my father and told him that I would take him for a ride on Saturday. This bit of news cheered him up enough , so that he ate some chicken soup.

I came over to Chelsea every day to change the bedding and help my mother in giving my father a sponge bath.

On Wednesday morning, my mother looked in on my father and said, "Melka, do you love me?" his wife replied. "Martin, I'll always love you." Upon this assurance, her husband said, "Stay with God." His eyes closed in a peaceful sleep, never to awaken again. Ma leaned over and kissed him on the forehead and in a silent whisper said, "Go with God."

The ride I had promised on Saturday, was fulfilled with a ride to the cemetery.

* Melka (Emelia - Me-ill-ka)

Key to keeping Dementia symptoms in check

The senior folks need to exercise and move. The days my mom doesn't exercise she has people coming into her room that she can only see.

Last Saturday she asked me if I got "housekeeping" and forgot to tell her about it. She said a woman came through her room saying, "housekeeping!"

Nope, no housekeeping Ma... I'm it, I'd definitely know about it if we had cleaning people.

Yesterday she walked for hours with my ML and my Aunt Jay as we searched for a pair of shoes for Jay.

Last night, no one showed up. She said to me, "Yup, exercising is the key to keeping "the people" away."

Sensible Shoes Rock

I don't know, call me crazy, but I felt compelled to take Jay out shopping for shoes today. Her little feet looked mangled in her old and tired shoes. My Jay! She looks so frail and tired.

Today, while out having lunch with Jay, my mother and my mother in law (who loves Jay) I asked Jay if she'd let me go to the doctors with her. I told her that I can't believe how sick she is and I know it's because of the drugs she's on. I also told her that she can't believe the doctors because it is the doctors who nearly killed my mother. The drugs that they had my mother on were horrible. Jay is on some horrible medication and I have to help her to understand how bad they are.

The blessing in all of this is that my Mother in Law is keen with the computer and doing research. She loves to solve a puzzle. All week, since Easter Sunday when she asked Jay what she was taking for meds, she has been researching the drugs. All week, while I've been putting drops in my ML's eyes (she had cataract surgery) she has been telling me about what she's learning about the drugs that Jay is taking.

Thank God my ML is backing me 100% on my push for me to be involved in Jay's healthcare. My mom too... but she's been a big fan of mine for a while anyway.

Jay didn't say much, but she definitely listened to me when I explained to her how the doctors are deceived by the pharmaceutical sales people. They get "prizes" for pushing the newest drug. The drug will then cause a side effect, which will cause them to give you another drug. Eventually, you get so sick you feel like you are going to die. But, you don't have to feel that way. Look at my mother. Remember how sick she was? Look at how healthy she is now. Can you remember when she looked so good?

Jay didn't say anything, she just looked at my mother and at me. I think I'm getting through. I told her that I want her to be healthy up until the day she decides to take her last breath.

From our sort of heavy lunch, we went out to buy Jay a pair of shoes. First we went to the Mall. We parked as close to the shoe store inside, The Walking Company, as we could. None of us realized how slowly Jay walks. I was shocked. She is so frail looking. I wanted to pick her up and carry her. I came close but I know that would have pissed her off and I don't want to piss off Jay.

We went to the expensive store and then to a discount shoe store. We found a nice pair of shoes in the discount store that were comfortable. Jay was happy. She kept talking about putting Mazola oil on a sock and stuffing it in the shoe to stretch it. I questioned the practice. She heard it from some lady who she goes to church with. The lady told her that her grandmother used to put mazola oil on a sock and stuff it in her shoes to soften the shoe.

I said to Jay... "you know, that would probably work with leather but I'm not so sure about vinyl." No sense trying to explain myself, she already had her mind made up that she was going to put Mazola oil in her new shoes.

Oh ya... while we were out my ML said, "You know we should check KMart." I was like, "Kmart? Are you serious? My father was a shoe die maker, he taught me that you need to wear good shoes on your feet. You don't find those in Kmart."

We went to 3 stores and found 1 pair of shoes that were adequate. Nothing was great.

We got home after hours of driving around with 3 women in their 80's. I mentally set myself up for it so it wasn't as bad as it sounds.

Rachel came into the kitchen while I was preparing dinner and she said, 'I have a pair of shoes, in Jay's size that I got from Kmart. I know you hate kmart shoes so I wanted to ask you before I showed Jay the shoes. " I said, "Show her. I must apologize for being so snotty about KMart shoes, they are perfect for what Jay needs. Bring the shoes to her, I bet she will be wicked excited."

So... off Rachel went with the shoes in her closet to offer to Jay. Wouldn't you know, the shoes fit her perfectly and were very comfortable. My husband came home when all 3 women were oooing and ahhhhing over the perfection of the closet shoes. He greeted them... they all said, "hello" and went back to the shoe conversation. It was pretty funny to hear my husband give his rendition. No warm welcome home for him... there was a shoe discussion going on. He definitely didn't understand our shoe quest. It was like a marathon.

I whipped up a great dinner for all 3 of them and had them eat at my kitchen table. My mother wanted to be in her room in front of the tv, she had enough of Jay. Rachel was gracious and had dinner. She likes Jay so I think she really wanted to have dinner with her.

I drove Jay home and we talked about a lot of things. It was a nice drive back to Chelsea. Jay is very alert. Her body is weak from the drugs her doctors are feeding her.

When I drove Jay home tonight I reiterated that I want her to come live with me when she feels that she can't do it for herself anymore. I told her that I'd even go to church with her. Heck, I could sit in the back of the church and meditate. I'd be guaranteed alone time. Wooo Hooo!

Jay was so happy. She got 2 new pairs of shoes. We had an excellent shoe sales person at L.L. Bean try to fit Jay's twisted feet. You know, those damn shoes from the 30's and 40's destroyed her petite little feet. The sales person told me where to go to get Jay the shoes that she needs. We'll go next week.

Anyway... I'm grateful that my dad taught me about shoe die making. He taught me how to identify a good pair of shoes. Today, I have really nice feet. Thanks Dad! Sensible shoes rock.

15 April 2009

My First Best Friend

I grew up a poor white girl, but I never knew I was poor. My heritage is Polish and Italian. My first best friend in this world was Roseanne Muccio. She lived next door.

Her father was pretty strict. I remember feeling sad that she couldn't come out and play with me. She always had to do her homework first. Her brother always had to practice his accordion. I loved it when it was summer. I'd sit on my back stairs and listen to him. He was really good. I loved listening to David play music. I always thought he was cool.

My friend Roseanne, she was the best. She loved to laugh. She was always silly. We made a good team because I was a good laugher. Ask anyone who knows me... I still am. I suppose it's a gift.

Recently, Joanne found me on FaceBook. She sent me a note asking me if I was who I am... of course I am who I am. About a month ago I was thinking of my first best friend, Roseanne. I started to look for her. I couldn't remember her married name. My internet searches were not very fruitful.

Since technology failed me I decided to use my personal power to find my friend. I sent out an intention to the Universe, I asked the Universe to find her... then I forgot about it. I was pretty excited when Joanne contacted me. She found me because I am connected with my cousin Louise who grew up in the same neighborhood. I love the internet. With out this awesome communication tool, I'd never be reconnected with my friend Roseanne.

She was an awesome first best friend. I cried my eyes out when she moved away. I think I was about 9 or so when her family moved to Salem. I was devastated. I can remember all those fun times we had, playing hopscotch, double dutch and my all time favorite, stringing beads. Sitting on the Mpelkas back porch, chatting away like old ladies, stringing beads that we bought in a head shop. I never knew it was a head shop... they just had freakin awesome beads.

Roseanne's dad was really strict, but he was my dad's best friend. They used to go fishing, cast surfing in Marblehead. All I remember from the story my dad told was "Baracuda in the watah!"

Oh, there was a story when Angelo (Roseanne's dad) knew some priest at some holy shrine not far from where we lived. They had some swans that needed to be captured and taken away. Angelo jumped on this and said, "I'll do it!"

He came home and told my dad about the swans. Next thing we all know, my dad is off to Lasallete shrine in Topsfield ready to capture the swans. I wanted to go REALLY badly. My dad wouldn't let me go. He did let my little brother Marty go. I was so pissed off. Not sure if Roseanne was peeved, but I sure was.

My dad did later write this in a daily journal that he was keeping, I've scanned the original document in my dad's handwriting. I have so many pages about Angelo, my dad wrote about him a lot. I need to share these writings with my very first best friend.... Roseanne.

So... What is my dear friend Roseanne doing now? She's retired from the military (thank God) and caring for her little grand baby with spina bifada. She has her own quilting business (my hobby!) and you can see her work or order a beautiful quilt from her here at this website.

I knew Roseanne as a child, she totally rocked, she was very creative... no wonder I liked her. I love the pictures of her quilting work. Definitely hire her to make you a quilt. She has wicked good energy (as we say in the Boston area.)

Wicked happy to have found my first best friend after 40 years. It's been a long time but now it feels like no time has passed. Yay!

I have so many more Angelo stories. My dad found him amusing and wrote about it.

13 April 2009

How I Got Ropped into a Senior Dance

New England is really beautiful in Spring. It was a bright sunny day and the buds are just beginning to form on the trees. The winter was long up here this year. The snow seemed to take forever to melt, but it did.

Thank God for the persistence of nature to change seasons. It's proof that all things can change, especially if we wait a minute.

My dad always used to say to me when I was upset as a kid, "Susie, wait a minute, things will change, nothing ever stays the same." Oh... if he only knew how much those words helped me get through tough times in my life.

I picked up Uncle Al at 9:15 am and off we went to my house. My mom was all dressed and ready to run out the door when we got home, she couldn't wait to get over to the Senior Center. It is an incredible place for Seniors. She went on Thursday last week and won 22 bucks playing Bingo. She loves the Senior Center, it is a way for her to win money... Yay Josie!

We went to the Senior Center with Uncle Al. At first he thought we were taking him into another nursing home. He planted his feet in the ground and turned into a 200 pound weight, he wasn't going a step further.

My mom coaxed him and promised him that it was "her Senior Center" and it is really nice. Uncle Al went in, still a bit hesitant.

Once inside, the receptionists who greeted us were awesome. They showed my mom how to wave her ID card and check in and they got an ID card for Uncle Al where they took his picture. One of the receptionists was our tour guide, she was really sweet and worked really well with Seniors.

We walked down a hall and then music began playing. It caught Uncle Al's attention, he went into the room. They were having a Senior Dance. The place was hopping at 1 in the afternoon with a bunch of blue hairs fighting over the few men in the room. Uncle Al stood at the back of the room with me and started to dance. He now LOVES the Senior Center too.

The tour guide told us that we could go to the dance. Uncle Al was all over that like white on rice. How could I say, "Ooops, sorry Uncle Al, there will be NO dancing for you?" So... I agreed to go to the dance with my mother and my Uncle. I figure while I'm at it I'll invite all my old folk relatives.

I invited my Mother in Law, she'll go if my Aunt Jay goes. I'll call my Aunt Rose and see if she wants to come too.

Of course I'll bring my video camera along. The Senior Dance post will surely be funny.

A new member of the Elder Gang

Easter Sunday was not like it was 40 years ago. People are too busy to stop and look at the treasures they have in their own families.

Yesterday, I had the elder folks over for Easter Lunch. I picked Uncle Al up at 9 am. He was all dressed up, he looked great. From there, we drove to Chelsea to pick up my Aunt Jay.

Jay never had kids. She was my grandmothers caregiver. I suppose she taught me at a young age through her actions that we need to take care of our parents.

Maybe it was a combination of Jay's influence and visiting my mom's mother in the Mental Institution in Gardner, MA when I was about 9. The hospital in Gardner freaked me out.

Jay is super Catholic, so much so that she is known to make up her own new rules about the religion. What I find to be VERY funny is that Jay goes to church EVERY DAY of the year except on EASTER! She went to Easter Mass on Saturday afternoon. Is it because Easter is what she considers amateur night? For Jay, is going to church on Easter Sunday like a seasoned drinker going out drinking green beer on St. Patty's day?

The old folks had a great time. Uncle Al even sang and gave a message which I'll save for another post.

12 April 2009

Have you ever had an OBE?

Yesterday while my mother in law and I were waiting for time to pass between eye drops, Rachel said, "have you ever had an out of body experience?"

I replied, "As a mater of fact, I HAVE!"

At this point I began to explain to her what my first OBE was like. I was sleeping. I was in a half dream state and half wake state when I got a little nervous, something didn't feel right. I got up and turned on the light. Nothing happened. I tried it again. Again, nothing. I looked at the outlet and saw the lamp was plugged in. I thought to myself, Shit, the bulb blew out.

All of a sudden I experienced a big bright white light pull me backward and then I started to spin really fast while on my back. I could see myself spinning, I was hovering over my body watching myself spin like a top. I didn't like the feeling so I yelled, "Stop!" I woke up in a daze, laying perfectly still like a board. The first thing I did was try the light switch on the lamp, it came on immediately.

I then told her that I believe my mission for this lifetime is to help the elderly and the sick to feel peace at the time of their passing. I explained to her how my dad told me on his death bed that death isn't anything to be afraid of because we are all energy and energy can never be destroyed, it just transforms into something else.

That's when she said, "Will you teach me how to have an Out of Body Experience?" Of course I said yes. Stay tuned - I'll give her a hypnosis session to help her experience an OBE and then I'll write about it.

11 April 2009

We did it!

One year ago today, Brian and I had our shot gun wedding of the 21st Century kind... I was laid off from my job and needed health insurance. I know this sounds a bit crass, but we had planned on getting married on July 19th, the 5th year anniversary of our first date. April, July... no real difference so Brian arranged the whole thing. Me? I was too much of a mess from losing my job. I was totally freaked out with how I was going to keep paying the mortgage.

We knew we needed to sell my house and fast! My mom and the cat moved in with Brian, me and his mom on April 30th. The day I had all the TV shut off is the day I had my mom move. It was late in the afternoon. I had her new bedroom all swanky and looking like a 5 star hotel.

I walked into my old house and said, "Ok Ma, it's moving day. Pack up the stuff you really need and let's go to your new house. " She was stunned but packed her little bag while I looked for the cat carry case. No way was Savita the Cat going to ride in the car without a case.

Couldn't find the case so we went to Wal-Mart and bought one. All they had was a gargantuan carrier for a dog. It was marked down so we thought we had a bargain. Now I know the cat hated the ride from our old house to the new place, cats like to be enclosed, it makes them feel safe. Sorry cat.

My mom loved her new room. Then, she began to hate it. She locked herself up in her room and became depressed. What a challenge overcoming an elderly mom who is on pharmaceuticals and depressed. But, we did it - different post for another time.

My mother in law hated me at first. She would try to pick fights with me. It was the silent battle to be woman of the house. Who knew? My entire life I had control of my own life, owned a house and was my moms caregiver during her sickest part of her life. Now, I had a new husband AND a mother-in-law... how did I survive?

I spent days at my house, cleaning it and prepping it for sale. I even went and became an accredited ASP Home Stager so that I could stage my house and sell it for top dollar in a sagging Real Estate Market. You can see the video that I made to promote my house through my Realtors website.

The house sold fast and for more than the first Realtor that I spoke to told me. Yay. What a relief to have the house gone. I did learn that I absolutely LOVE staging homes for sale so I'm starting my own business. It's been slow starting with all the elder care but I do believe I've got my mom to a point where she's self sufficient and I'll have more time to move toward my goals.

The holidays came and we had parties with family. The fun was starting for us. Maybe this year we can have a honeymoon or get to play more golf. Golfing is an awesome activity, to me it's meditation in motion. Golfing season is here and we already played 9 in mid-March! We're off to a good start.

Today, is our one year anniversary. Every time I watch my wedding video, I cry happy tears. I LOVED my wedding. Brian planned it in 5 days. My sister came through with flowers on the morning of the wedding. It was awesome. My nephew did the camera work, too bad I forgot to take the camera off night vision. It did give a good effect. If you want to see our first wedding, you can watch it here.

I must say, in this whole year, things have changed A LOT.

My mom is now sleeping through the night and healthier than she's been in decades. My mother in law now loves me. I never took her bait when she was being mean to me. I just gave her more love and was even nicer to her. The meaner she was toward me the nicer I was toward her. One day she said to me, "Why are you being so nice to me?" I said, "Why not?" Then I gave her a hug and told her that I love her. That was the turning point.

Ok, I'm also a wicked good cook and I make meals that are not only tasty but beautiful. Every time I gave her her dinner, it smiled at her.

I'm still unemployed. It's the dawning of gardening season. I'm an accredited ASP Home Stager. I am in love with my husband and have an awesome family. Life is good. Even in the crappiest of economies, we can be happy. All we have to do is change our mind. Think differently about whatever it is that makes you sad. It's like that old cliche, turning a frown inside out.

Make yourself change your mind today and think about all the really great stuff going on in your life, even if it is very small, if you focus on good, more good will come to you.

Peace out. Happy Anniversary to Brian and me... YAY! We made it through the first year.

How to Use Fenugreek as a Weightloss Aide

I've been fascinated with the uses of Fenugreek.

Fenugreek is great for weight loss. If you take a couple of drops in herbal tea or drink a cup of Fenugreek tea on an empty stomach, it will suppress your appetite so that you don't eat so much.

Happy Weight Loss!

09 April 2009

Me and my shadow

This morning I got up fairly early so I went and checked on my mom. She looked like she was sleeping... then I thought hmmm, is she breathing? For a few seconds I didn't see her breathing which sort of got my heart racing a little.

I quietly said, "Ma? Ma?"

No response.

She had the light on next to her bed so I shut it off and went back upstairs to make myself a cup of tea and write a post on my blog.

About an hour later I went back to see if she was awake and if she wanted a cup of tea. She was awake and then said, "You know, the strangest thing happened. The lady showed up and turned off my light. She didn't say anything. I laid here as still as I could and kept my eyes closed."

That's when I said, "Ma, I'm the lady. I shut off your light. I was checking to see if you were breathing - you were so I left you alone."

I then told her that if the vision has a shadow, the person is real. I proceeded to walk around the room in the dim light and showed her my shadow. My advice to her was, "Make sure you look for the shadow!"

Who needs pharmaceuticals?!

Fenugreek is an incredible plant. My mother is so much more healthier since she started to drink the tea and use the extract drops. I actually use the extract drops to lower the glycemic level in foods that I make with carbohydrates like oatmeal and oat flour.

I've learned that Fenugreek definitely controls diabetes. In fact, I am beginning to believe that it can cure Diabetes. I know this is a grand statement but I am watching first hand how this awesome herb can heal a debilitating disease like diabetes.

Fenugreek, unlike the pharmaceutical concoctions people take to "manage" diabetes, doesn't have side effects. That's right... NO ILL SIDE EFFECTS! The side effects of fenugreek are, thinner blood - cleaner arteries and weight loss to name 2 that I've experienced first hand. It also lowers the bad cholesterol... now how cool is this herb?!

I found this article Effect of fenugreek seeds on blood glucose and serum lipids in type I diabetes which gives more scientific data about Fenugreek and Diabetes.

My mom's blood sugar levels were in the 125 - 135 range every morning with out insulin or fenugreek. We were controlling her blood sugar through diet and exercise. It was really hard for both of us.

Once she started to take the herb Fenugreek in tea and extract forms, her blood sugar readings in the morning have dropped gradually. They went to a steady 120 for a week, and dropped to about 119... etc. Now, her sugar readings are a constant 114 with the help of Fenugreek.

What does it do? It seems to fix the pancreas so that it can produce its own insulin. It also keeps the carbs and sugars that we eat from spiking blood sugars.

Here's a good article that does a good job explaining Fenugreek, where it comes from and what benefits it possesses Fenugreek’s New Role Lies in Blood Sugar and Cholesterol Control

08 April 2009

Reiki - the Chi Quotient

Chi... what is it? You may have heard about it at one time along your travels, but what is it?

Chi is our energy life force, it's the Universal energy that is stored in your body in order to keep your life healthy. When you feel sick, sad or out of sorts, you are probably low on Chi.

There are many things that you can do to restore your Chi-quotient by yourself, meditate, exercise or laugh, to name a few. Or you could visit a Reiki Practitioner for a Reiki session. You can find out more about Reiki by visiting the Reiki.org website.

I've been using Reiki on my mom for nearly a decade. I'm a trained Reiki Master and have seen the power of the human touch on people who are out of balance both physically and emotionally.

Uncle Al is benefiting from Reiki. He is walking better and his mental clarity is improving. He has more lucid moments and fewer episodes of memory loss. It's awesome to see his spirit waking up.

One day, I hope to see Uncle Al like he was the last time he visited my house in 2000. He wants his memory back and I believe that I can help him find it through a balanced MIND BODY and SPIRIT.

It would be great to give him a job around the house, he wants one very badly. His goal is to sit on the lawn tractor and cut the lawn. Every day we are moving closer to this goal.

Stay tuned for video of Uncle Al riding the lawn tractor for the first time.

07 April 2009

Health Benefits of Fenugreek - yes, there's MORE!

I remembered that my mom told me she had a kidney stone based on some tests that she had several months ago. They said they were going to wait and let it just pass. It got me thinking... hmmm, I wonder if Fenugreek will take care of the stones.

I did a google search and found this -Health Benefits of Fenugreek

Fenugreek, in my opinion, cures everything!

I'm so happy, I could do the jig

Even though it was raining like mad here yesterday, I went to get Uncle Al because I had promised him on Friday that I'd get him on Monday. He was waiting for me and all so happy when he saw me walk through the door.

Off we went.

Uncle Al, beaming from ear to ear with a big smile. We got outside and I said, "Gee Uncle Al, you are walking very sure footed. You are doing great!" That's when he said, "I'm so happy, I could do the jig. Let me show you how strong I am." All of a sudden, he jumped up into the air and tried to click his heals together. Nearly falling to his knees, he busted out laughing. Once I knew he was OK, I started to laugh too.

It surely set the tone for the day, having Uncle Al trying to "do the jig."

The drive to my house he was very chatty. Reading every road sign and telling me that I'm going in the right direction and that the nav in the car was correct in its instructions.

Once we arrived home, he went and hung out with my mom. I brought them tea and a low glycemic oatmeal cookie. He rolled his eyes in delight... mmmmm'ing through each bite.

During one of my trips downstairs to check on Uncle Al and my mom I saw my mom and Uncle Al standing over her sewing box, Uncle Al holding the tape measure trying to read it because my mom had just told him that he had a 36" leg, even in his slightly demented state, he knew that was crazy! My mom kept insisting that she was right because, "she measured." Uncle Al is only 5 foot tall, so having a 36" leg on a pair of pants would make him have a freaky and short torso.

I then took the tape measure and did the dreaded inseam measurement. My mom stood by chuckling, she thought it was one of the funniest things she ever saw, outside of my giving Uncle Al a shower. His inseam is 24", now that's more like it!

Once I measured the 24" inseam I measured the outside length from his waist to the floor and it was 36", so that's where she got the screwy measurement.

A couple of hours went by and my mom finishes her job of hand sewing the hem on Uncle Al's pants. Well, I should have taken a picture, one leg was way shorter than the other. Uncle Al didn't want to hurt my mom's feelings so he let her try to dress him up. They had lots of laughs.

When I tucked Uncle Al in at the home last night, I said, "go to sleep and dream happy thoughts and think about Josie hemming your pants." He laughed a good hearty laugh and then said, "I dream of living with all of you people one day. I love you so much." He took my hand and kissed it.

06 April 2009

Ma's Instruction Manual

Over the weekend I caught a break from caregiving when my sister took mom to her house for the weekend. Unfortunately, my husband is sick, his timing sort of sucked, but those are the breaks.

Mom loves visiting her kids, especially now that she's got control of her mind. The only trouble is her blood sugar doesn't remain constant in the teens when she goes visiting.

This morning her sugar was 163! Ma, what did you eat?

So, today she's back on her healthful eating plan and exercising on the treadmill.

Here's mom's instruction manual.


Check blood sugar (this tells you how many drops go into the oatmeal - 2 drops is usually good if she wakes up with sugar readings in the 120's or teens.

Each drop lowers her sugar about 15 points.

Make sure she has breakfast by 8am. It should be oatmeal with 1/4 cup of blueberries, a little milk and 2 drops of fennugreek.

Check blood sugar at 10 and if it's in the low 100's, give her a piece of fruit with a cup of ginger tea.

Lunch at noon. The meal should be dark leafy greens to help keep the blood alkaline. Acidic blood is not good for your health, it is what causes dis-ease in the body.

Afternoon snack at 2. Do the same thing as you do at 10am, check sugar readings and give a snack. could be one of the low glycemic oatmeal cookies that I make for her. (recipe will follow in the printed manual.)

Dinner by 6pm. fish, chicken, turkey - we rarely eat beef or pork... this should be served up with lots of vegetables.

Instead of bread, use Joseph's Lavash bread, it's only got 7g of Carbs and it doesn't raise Ma's sugar levels. These wraps make awesome sandwiches. I'll make one for you and you'll never go back to sub rolls or bread again!

The best rule to follow with Ma's diet for even BG readings is no bread, no pasta and no preservatives (nothing in a box that has more than 5 ingredients.)

Ma's meds...

Morning - 6 pills

1 Krill Oil
1 Apple Polyphenol
1 81 mg aspirin
1 Vitamin D
1 CoQ10
1 20 mg Lisinopril (HB pill)

Before bed - 2 pills

1 Norvasc 10 mg (HB pill)
1 Melatonin 30 mg

During the day if her sugar levels are up, give her a cup of Fenugreek tea or put 2 drops of fenugreek into a different flavored tea that she likes, usually she asks for ginger tea.


Since Ma was diagnosed with sleep apnea and has a problem using the mask, we found the Sona Pillow at Brookstone's. We bought one for Ma (me too) and now neither of us has apnea episodes at night. I'll show you how to use the pillow or you can read how to use it in this review that I found that tells you how to use the Sona Pillow.

05 April 2009

Why do I care?

Today I was asked by a friend, "Why do you care so much about your Uncle?"

I didn't have to think twice for an answer, it was simple. The reason I care is because both him and my mom were abandoned when they were little. Their dad died when my mom was 6 and my Uncle was 9. Their mom lost the house and they slept in church pews. Somehow they ended up at relatives homes and my mom's mother was committed to a mental institution along with their older sister.

My mom often told me the story how she lived with different relatives, one of them was Louise of Louise's Ravioli's. Eventually, when she was in High School she got a job caring for a doctor's children. She lived with them.

As time went on, she became a really good dancer and danced at the Ocean View in Revere. Uncle Al went too. That's where my mom met my dad. At first she didn't like him, but he was persistent.

They got married. Al went to live with them until he got on his feet. He got a job and was able to find his own place. Uncle Al was introduced to my father's sister and his cousin. The plan was for Al to hook up with my father's sister. Instead, he fell for my dad's cousin. He married her.

They could never have kids so they adopted a little girl that they loved so deeply, more than anything in this world.

Janet died about 10 years ago. Maryann moved home to live with her dad. She got married. Brought her husband to live with her and her dad. She cried for a baby. Had invitro several times and now has a beautiful little girl. She locked her dad up and ran for the hills.

Now, Uncle Al sits in the home waiting for me to arrive and take him out. I'll get him tomorrow.
So, why do I do it... why do I care? Because my mom and her brother lost their parents at a very young age, they didn't have anyone who gave 2 shits about them... I refuse to let them die in the same way. I want them to go out with dignity, knowing that they have a family that loves them very much. I want them to see that they made a huge difference in this world, that their lives have (had) purpose.

04 April 2009

Oh no... is she ...?

Last night I made dinner for the moms like I always do. They both love eating in their rooms and watching their big TV's so I serve them dinner in their rooms.

Yesterday, I brought Rachel her dinner and she was slumped in her chair. It freaked me out. I did remain calm, sort of. Those of you who know me personally will know that this was a huge feat for me, to remain calm.

I called her name a few times, each time I got a little more anxious... rachel? Rachel? RACHEL??????? I looked to see if she was breathing and she was so I knew she wasn't dead. Thank God.

My heart was pounding. She gave me an incredible Adrenalin rush. I'm not keen on finding her dead... hell, I'm not keen on finding anyone dead!

She woke and said, "Wow! I'm tired. I never do that."

My entire childhood I always worried about my parents dying. My father used to wake up in the middle of the night trying to catch his breath. It scared me when I was little, so much so that I would wake up at night and check to see if they were both breathing. To this day, I do the same thing with both my mom and my mother in law, check to see if they're breathing. I suppose old habits die hard.

03 April 2009

He's there... I know he's there!

My poor mom, she still believes there's a man peeking at her through doors that are cracked open a bit.

Nope, no man Ma.

This morning my husband had a brilliant idea. He suggested that I ask her if the cat is sleeping next to her when she sees the man.

I did ask my mom the question and she said, "Yes." I replied, "Ma, do you think the cat is going to stay laying here asleep if there's a man peeking through the door? Savita is the scardiest cat in the world, she'd be long gone. So, as long as the cat is sleeping next to you on the bed, then there's no man.

Let's hope the cat begins to serve a useful purpose other than looking cute and setting you up for a good scratch from her right hook.

02 April 2009

Shhhhh... the man's in there!

Yesterday was an interesting day. I spent a good chunk of it reassuring my mom that she wasn't getting screwed by the credit card company and her bank. I suppose it serves me right showing her MSNBC. She watches it all day long.

My mom was pretty upset yesterday morning. For some reason she thought she had to go bankrupt because she didn't see any way out of her debt.

She doesn't have a lot of debt and doesn't have any rent or living expenses since my husband and I take care of it for her. Bankruptcy definitely wasn't the answer. It would be nothing more than a royal pain in my ass, driving to talk to a lawyer.

So... little Josie wouldn't let the bankruptcy idea go. I found her in her room reading the phone book, looking for a lawyer. I said to her, "Make sure you set up for someone to take you to the lawyer before you call and make an appointment. I'm against it so I won't be your wheels. Sorry about that."

I saw how upset she was and I asked her, "Why do you think you need to go bankrupt?"

She showed me the 2 letters she got and they were about the same bill. She believed she was being double billed, but she wasn't. One letter was talking about the repayment plan with a reduced interest rate and the other was her statement showing that we made a payment.

I called the CC company, she talked to them and I thought everything was OK. Then, I went back to doing my thing. A short time later I went back downstairs and she was all worked up about the bank. She thought they "stole" 200 bucks. After some research, she had written a check out of sequence and had forgotten why. Super... problem solved!

Like I do every day, I made the moms and me lunch and brought Josie her salad wrap. She ate it and then she dozed off in her chair. That's when THE MAN showed up. he always comes when she's either sleep deprived or stressed out. Yesterday she was both. I found out later that she hadn't been sleeping the last couple of nights, even with the Melatonin!

It was early afternoon when I stopped in to see my mom. She was wide eyed. I knew immediately that she had a hallucination. I noticed her bathroom door shut as she was mouthing the words to me... "He's in there!" as she pointed to the door.

I said, "What? Who's in there?" I thought... hmmm, my mother in law? Why would she use Jo's toilet? My mom was so convincing that I began to believe her. I turned on the bathroom light and said, 'Ok, I'm going in!" My mom said, "NO! Oh NO!"

I opened the door.

No one was there.

My mom said, "I KNEW that once you came and opened the door he wouldn't be there."

I said, "yes, because he isn't. It's your mind creating it. You know how the dogs that are on Dog Whisperer get so focused on something that they become obsessed and seem crazy? Well, you are doing something similar. You are focusing on assumptions and your mind is making other assumptions and before you know it you've created a reality that only exists in your mind.

Make sure to look for the shadows and that will let you know if someone is real. More importantly, relax. Let the worry go, you don't have to worry about anything, these are your golden years to enjoy, so for God's sake will you enjoy em?!

01 April 2009

Rich Girl, Poor Girl

Once upon a time there were 2 little girls that loved each other like sisters. They were cousins.

One little girl was an only child who was given EVERYTHING that she wanted, but was not given love. The other little girl had a lot of brothers and sisters with very little money but she was given lots of love.

The little girl who got everything soon became spoiled rotten, temper tantrums and all. She grew up to be a mean spirited individual, caring only for herself.

The other little girl never asked for anything because she knew her parents didn't have the money. Instead, she used her imagination and made her toys... dolls made out of cloths pins and paper mache. She had a lot of fun.

The little girl who got anything that she wanted always wanted what the poor little girl had, happiness. She thought it could be bought, so she demanded to have everything that this little girl got. She never found happiness in the things that her parents bought for her.

As the years went on, the rich girl continued to search for happiness. The poor girl search for people to share her happiness with because she had more than she needed herself. The poor girl wanted to give the rich girl some of her happiness, because she remembered the pact that they made as children, to be sisters, to help each other through thick and thin. But, the rich girl was too suspicious.

Because the little rich girl grew up with out much love in her life, she became blind to love. Her heart closed and was not able to love, not even herself.

Time went on and the little rich girl had a baby. Her father paid for every invitro procedure because he wanted to give her the one thing that no one could give her, a baby. There were several tries, each costing thousands of dollars.

The poor girl, she grew up, went to college, got a great job, bought a house and then moved her aging mom in to live with her. She got married to an awesome man who loved her as much as she loved him. They enjoyed each others company and laughed a lot.

The rich girl, as soon as she had her baby, had her dad committed to a nursing home. She took over his assets while he sat in a nursing home, waiting for her to call or visit. She never did.

Rich girl kept her dad away from his family, especially the poor girl. She kept him isolated as he began to age.

Poor girl didn't care what rich girl thought, so she went to visit her Uncle. He loved her visits. He always asked for his daughter and asked her if his daughter still loved him. Poor girl couldn't answer his question, all she could do was reassure him that she did.

Rich girl got angry. Very angry when she found out that the poor girl was visiting her dad. She began to harrass her dad and gave him an ultimatum, me or her.

Poor girl and her Uncle talked about it and poor girl said, "Uncle, she is your daughter. it is not right for me to take her dad away from her. Let's part ways now and know that I love you."

Poor girl went away so that the rich girl could visit her father, after all, that was the deal.

Rich girl never visited. Uncle became depressed and suicidal.

Poor girl went to visit and brought sunshine to Uncle. He loved to sing and dance. Poor girl made Uncle laugh all the time.

Poor girl realized that she was not poor, but very rich, rich with peace, happiness and love in her heart.

Morale of the story:

Don't give your kids everything that they want. Let them learn NO. If you give them everything they will never learn how to use their own minds to create a beautiful reality for themselves. Instead, they will be left floundering wondering why the world sucks so badly for them while everyone else seems to be sailing along.