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.

27 January 2011

I Have Become My Mother's Mother

My mom has a UTI.  I should have know it's the reason she was peeing and pooping in inappropriate places.  UTI's tend to make her more confused and less agreeable to anything that I may say.  It's frustrating as a Care Giver to have to live through the NO's that were typically YES answers.

I may call an ambulance today, to take her to the hospital.  She can't wake up and she looks like death is near.  Getting her to swallow one pill, her antibiotic, was like pulling eye teeth without any anesthetic!  She isn't eating much which is making me lean toward calling 911 to take her where she can get the right care.  I am making her chicken soup for lunch.  If she doesn't eat, then my next move is to call the professionals to take over today.

It's so damn stressful for me when she's sick; I feel like I've failed, although I know in my heart that I've done all that I can.

I really don't know how Care Givers do what they do, day in and day out.  I don't even know how I did what I did for so long.  All I know is that I'm done.

I broke a promise to myself and I feel bad.  I promised that when my mom got to this point, she would move out.  I never ever wanted to change a diaper nor did I want to spend my free days cleaning up shit and pee off my floors and walls.

I would have had kids if I wanted to experience diapers, pewk, shit and pee ... a choice that I made long ago, that motherhood was not for me.  However, here I am... the Universe has played a trick on me.  I have become my mother's mother... God help me.

26 January 2011

Song About Mom Going to a Home

Today, I looked at a home that was perfect for my mother.

My mom is on the list.

Song about our coming change....

Lyrics by Brian,
(Song sung to the tune of Green Acres)

Sunnnnnnnnnnnnnny Acres is the place to be,
Freedoms coming for you and me!
Life's gonna be so fun and calm,
Not just for us but also for your wacky mom...

Rocky the Squirrel... He Is Still Alive!

My last post was on Friday last week.  I wrote about a squirrel that fell out of a tree during a snow storm.  I was clearing the driveway of snow when the Adventures of Rocky the Frozen Squirrel began.

Here's the post for anyone who missed it.  The Adventures of Rocky the Frozen Squirrel.

Today, I was clearing more snow and treating the ice on the driveway so that no one slips and falls.  I heard squirrel sounds coming from the squirrel's 2 room condo.

Rocky, he is still alive!

The temperatures were extremely cold, below zero for a couple of days and nights.  Nights that seemed to become even colder when the sun went down.  I had become ill with the flu and wasn't feeling well enough to tramp through the snow to see if Rocky the Squirrel was still alive or just a frozen corpse in the box.

Sunday last week, after juicing myself up with chicken soup made with Astragulas and taking homeopathic remedy oscillococcinum, I ventured out to look in the boxes that I had set up for the injured squirrel.

Walking toward the box, he heard my steps and made a sound.  I heard him.  Carefully, I peeked inside the box, not wanting to startle him.  I had visions of myself running around with a squirrel attached to my face like Bill Murray in the move Caddyshack; the scene where the gopher jumped out of its hole and attached itself to Bill's face.

Rocky survived the coldest part of the cold snap.

All around and into the box are squirrel prints.  I think Rocky likes his new home.  Let's just hope he goes back up into the trees when his injured leg heals and doesn't decide that he wants to move in with us.

21 January 2011

The Adventures of Rocky, the Frozen Squirrel

Ah, winter in New England... you gotta just hate it if you are a woodland creature.

It finally stopped snowing so I went out with my husband's snow blower and began the snow removal.  The plow ridge at the end of the drive was starting to freeze up, it was about 2 feet high and very heavy.

A gust of wind came and the next thing I knew my forehead was frozen by a blast of fine snow.  I saw a little squirrel, it fell out of the tree.  It laid in the road, stunned but he got up.  He tried to jump up the huge snow bank but he didn't have the strength to make the jump.

The squirrel saw me and began running toward me.  It was so cute.  I decided to name him Rocky (like Rocky and Bullwinkle from a cartoon that I watched as a child.)

I continued snow blowing.  Rocky wasn't frightened.  He kept stopping and huddling, licking his little frozen paws.  Rocky noticed the single path leading from our open garage door to the street, the path that I had made with the first pass of the snow blower.  Rocky, smart little Rocky, began running up the driveway and heading for the open garage.

"NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!'  I screamed and ran ahead to the garage and closed the door immediately.

Rocky sat at the garage door as if to be begging to be let in.  He was suffering.  His eyes were bugging out of his little head.  I felt so badly for the rodent; I couldn't kill it.

Finally, I thought about getting a box.  If I could get Rocky to go in the box, he could at least find relief from the frozen ground.  I talked to him.  "Rocky, you gotta climb in the box, dude.  Come on, I promise not to hurt you."

I pushed the box closer and he walked inside.  I tipped the box over and closed the lid.  Poor Rocky, he had no idea what was going on, but I assured him that he would be OK.

I put the box near a tree so that Rocky could climb the tree branches and make it back to his nest in one of the mammoth white pines that surround our house.

Continuing my snow removal, I thought of Rocky and how he must be hungry.  I had some old sunflower seed that I was going to feed the birds, but Rocky was the lucky boy today... I put the container in the box with him.

I went back to my snow clearing.  I heard Rocky chirping in the box.  He was giving his buddies the call telling them all that he hit the mother load with bird seed.  No one came.

I thought about Rocky a bit more and how he must be freezing.  I know that wild animals huddle in winter to keep warm.  He had no one to huddle with him; he would surely die if he didn't have something warm to rest on.

In our garage I had a bigger box and an old down pillow.  I made Rocky a 2 room condo with a big down feather bed for him to huddle and get warm.  The mercury is going way down over the next couple of days.  Will Rocky make it?  I don't know but I do know we gave him a shot at survival.

Who knows if Rocky will remember today if he survives, but if he does, I do hope he stays far away from our house or one of our cats will surely hunt him for sport.

And that my dear readers is the adventure of Rocky the frozen squirrel.

20 January 2011

Bye Ma... See You At 2:30!

Every morning at 5 AM, I wake up and if my mom isn't up yet, I wake her up.  I love it when I get to wake her instead of her waking me.  

First, I give her one teaspoon of liquid medicine from our Naturopath Doctor.  It is a combination of olive leaf extract, rauwolfia and dogwood.  It tastes bad.  Keeping it in the fridge makes it taste less bad... my mom, she drinks it down in her blue shot glass.  We follow it up with a teaspoon of raw organic honey.

Next, she takes small supplements of fish oil, B12 and CoQ10; fortunately, she can still swallow little pills.

Followed by her morning supplements, she has oatmeal.  I mix 1/4 cup dry oatmeal with 2 tablespoons of Phosphyltidal Choline; 1/2 cup of water and microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds.  I then add one teaspoon of Brain Powder to the oatmeal, after cooking so that the amino acids remain effective.   I heat a handful of blueberries for 20 seconds, to take the chill off and then add it to the oatmeal.  A little bit of Coconut Milk put on top and my mom's breakfast is ready.

My mom loves her morning oatmeal.  The Brain Powder works wonderfully, giving her clearer cognition.  She is able to use the toilet by herself after she has had the dose of amino acids... a true blessing for me.  Who knows how long self-toileting will last but I am grateful nonetheless.  

Coffee and a banana complete the meal, leaving her satisfied and ready for a full day at the Day Program.

Clean up and dressing are not my favorite time of the day.  It entails my wiping my mother's ass with a wet cloth to make sure that she doesn't get shit on her fresh clean cloths.  Clean diaper, pants, shirt and socks.  I do her hair, add accessories to her outfit and she's ready for Martha to pick her up at 7 AM.

My favorite time of the day is when my mom is walking out the door, carrying her designer lunch bag as she greets her driver.  

Smiling and Waving I sing, "Bye Ma... See you at 2:30!"  

18 January 2011

Arugula and Warmed Hazelnut Dressing

Arugula and Warmed Hazelnut Dressing
with Roasted Chicken
I enjoy a good salad for dinner.  Personally, I've noticed that when I eat a light dinner with all vegetables, I sleep better.  I've also noticed, when my mom eats vegetables for dinner, she has a better nights rest too and a better following day.

Last night, I made a new salad dressing and thought I'd share it with readers of my blog.


12 raw hazelnuts (shelled)
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp Boar's Head Deli Mustard (or any coarse mustard - Dijon mustard works well too.)
1 Tsp Raw Honey
1 medium lemon (juiced)

Arugula (Baby Arugula is very tender and less bitter)
12 Cherry or Grape tomatoes cut in half
Sea Salt


Wash and spin dry the Arugula.  Add the Arugula and cut tomatoes to a large bowl.  Lightly salt the Arugula and tomatoes.  Toss with salad tongs.  Set aside.

In a small skillet (I like to use a cast iron skillet) heat the pan and add the 12 hazelnuts.  Pan roast the hazelnuts so the skins on the nuts will easily flake off when rubbed in a towel.  The skins will turn dark brown. Remove from the skillet and place on a clean kitchen towel to cool.  Rub the nuts in the towel to remove the skins from the nuts, it should come off easily.  Don't worry about getting all the skin off all nuts, it's OK to leave a little skin on the nuts.

Chop the nuts.

Measure out the ingredients.  (very important because you need to move quick once the oil is heated.)

Wipe out the skillet.  Heat the oil on a medium heat.  Add the chopped nuts when the oil is heated and fry the nuts, tossing in the oil.  The nuts will become a light brown color.  Add the mustard (gently, it will splatter and can burn you.)  Mix the mustard around.  Add the vinegar, lemon juice and raw honey.  Stir around to mix all the ingredients.

Pour the warmed salad dressing over the arugula and tomato.  Toss with tongs to coat the arugula and tomato with the salad dressing.  The warmed dressing will wilt the arugula.

You can use feta cheese or grated asiago cheese as a garnish.  I've also added sliced roasted chicken breast which makes it a balanced meal.

17 January 2011

Sue's Gluten Free Pressure Cooker American Chop Suey

American Chop Suey is one of my favorite winter time comfort foods.  My elderly friend Aggie from years ago taught me how to make this dish; often she'd make it for me as a thank you because I would take her food shopping, to visit her ailing husband in the VA hospital in Jamaica Plain or for helping her with her at home kidney dialysis treatments.

I've modified this dish a bit from Aggies original recipe, I've made it gluten free since my system can't handle gluten food items.


2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 lb 93% ground beef
6-7 cloves of garlic
Medium onion chopped coarse in 1" pieces
2 Celery stalks chopped
2 Tbsp Chopped fresh Cilantro
1 Green Pepper cut in 1" pieces
1 Red Pepper cut in 1" pieces
1 Tsp. Thyme (dry)
1 Tsp Oregano (dry)
1 16 oz can organic diced tomatoes
1 16 oz can organic tomato puree
1 cup dry gluten free elbow macaroni (Tinkyada brand - brown rice is my favorite.)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Grated Asiago cheese for a garnish


Pre-cut and measure all ingredients.

Place the oil in the bottom of a large pressure cooker and heat the oil.

Add the ground beef and allow the beef to cook into clumps of meat, do not mix the burger in the pan so that it separates into small bits.  The chunks of beef makes the dish especially good.  Allow the beef to slightly brown on one side before flipping to brown the other side.

Once the meat is in brown clumps, add the garlic allowing 30 seconds for the flavors to release.  Add all vegetables listed except the tomatoes, those go in last after adding the seasonings.

Add the seasonings. Stir around gently to mix the flavors.

Add the tomatoes.  Stir gently to mix.

Add the cup of dry gluten free pasta and mix around.

Cook on medium heat until the pressure cooker hisses (about 10 minutes.)  Turn the heat off and allow the pressure cooker to come down to room pressure by itself.

Warning:  Do not over fill the pressure cooker or you will burn the bottom of your pan and the food.  If your pressure cooker is small, cut this recipe in half.

15 January 2011

Kale and Garlic Chips

Kale and Garlic Chips
Like most people, I was one who would walk into a store like Whole Foods and become enamored by blast of color that would hit me as I walked through the door.  Orange, red, green of every shade would instantly put me into a peaceful state.  Immediately I would begin to ask myself a question... "What do I want to make?"

Kale is bountiful in the supermarkets so I tend to buy a lot of it.  The red kale looked fresh so I picked up a bunch of red kale with the intention of making Kale and Garlic Chips.  These go great with a sandwich or as a mindless snack to eat in front of the TV.

Kale is good for your brain and Garlic is good to lower your blood pressure.

Here's how you make it:

Wash the Kale under cold water and spin dry the leaves (or dab with a paper towel.)
Cut the rib of a stem off the Kale with a sharp knife, leaving only the leaves.
Mince 6-8 cloves of garlic
2 Tbs of Olive Oil
Sea salt to taste

Heat the oven to 350 F.

In a large sauce pot put the Olive Oil and heat.  Add the minced garlic and stir around for about 30 seconds.  Add the Kale and toss with tongs to mix the olive oil and garlic in to the kale.  Cook the Kale until it turns to a bright green color.

Place the kale in a single layer on a cookie sheet, add a little sea salt and cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the Kale becomes brittle.

Let cool and eat like chips.

11 January 2011

Why Virtual Support Groups Are Crucial For Care Givers

Art by Steve Dean
My blog began as a vehicle to help me share information with my family and anyone else who cared to read about my health discoveries.

Health discoveries that my mom helped me to find because she had health problems to solve.  We solved one issue at a time which I documented here within the pages of this blog over the last 2 plus years.

I've met lots of very nice Care Givers because of my blog.  We have become a virtual support group for each other, reading each others blog posts and commenting with words of encouragement when they are needed.

Care Givers live a challenging life.  Often we are all left standing in a stagnant pool that gets stinkier the longer we stand in it.  Our feet set in the mud, often immobilizing us, leaving us wonder how the hell we are going to get out by ourselves.  Fortunately, Care Giver Bloggers help each other ... it's phenomenal.

It's during these times when I feel overwhelmed with Care Giving that one of my Internet Support Group friends comes to my rescue.  They'll leave me a comment that brightens my day and feeds me the fortitude to keep on keeping on even when things seem so dark.  These are the folks who hold the light for me so that I can see my way to a bit of peace; sometimes I hold the light for them.  We have an unspoken sisterhood (or brotherhood) with each other that makes coping with our duties much easier.

Last week, I wrote about my mom and the Invisible Bathroom.  One of my blogger friends emailed me and told me what she does for her mom to help avoid some toileting mishaps.  Her advice was spot on.

I need to share what I have learned with others who one day may stumble upon my words in a frantic search to solve a similar incontinence problem with a loved one.

Jan lives in the UK and cares for her mom with Alzheimer's in her home with her husband.  We have a common bond, we are care givers.  Through the power of the internet and email, Jan and I have become good friends, she is a sweet soul.

In an email, Jan told me what she does to help her mom who had a similar toileting issue; the bathroom went missing.  Jan recommended leaving a low watt light on in my mom's bedroom and a low watt light of similar strength in the bathroom.

I gave this idea a shot, I was hopeful.  I did keep a low wattage light on in mom's bedroom at night but the bathroom I had left the bright bathroom light on every night.  No wonder my mom couldn't see the toilet.  The light was too bright leaving her blind to the room with the toilet.  For months my mom has walked past the bathroom attached to her bedroom, piddling all over the house and sometimes, even leaving a turd trail for me to clean in the morning.

Now, since I put an equal strength light in the bathroom as is in her bedroom, my mom is able to find the toilet in the middle of the night!  I haven't had to clean pee or shit off the floors in several days since I used the light trick.

Thanks to my newest blogger friend Jan, my problem of cleaning up after my mom has appeared to come to an end.  Thank you Jan.  I'm grateful for your friendship; your advice was awesome.

Virtual support groups are key to helping their fellow Care Giver who is isolated wade through the muck and get to dry land.  I love my virtual support group.  Thank you all for holding the light when it was too dark for me to see.

09 January 2011

Attention Rt. 3A Drivers... I Refuse to be Bullied

There is one main road where I live that is the most stressful road that I've ever driven because folks make a one lane road into a two lane freeway!

I drive a truck about the same size as the gray truck in the picture.  One false move and a potential car wreck is in the future of some unsuspecting travelers. Pot holes are like land mines, sneaking up on unsuspecting motorists.  Danger prevails especially when vehicles swerve to avoid a direct hit with the hole; often the direct hit is with another vehicle.  The mentality around this stretch of road sucks and I am on a mission to change how people drive on it.

I have driven out of my way to avoid travelling route 3A.  I never liked it because people are aggressive on this road, definite road bullies; true Massholes.

Because I drive a big truck, I have taken it upon myself to change how people drive on this road.  No longer do I avoid taking this road; I am now deliberate with using it to get from point A to point B.

I drive in the center of the road.  Fuck the assholes who snuggle the nose of their cars up my tail to the left or right in an attempt to bully me into pulling over.  I am now saying NO to the road bullies.

I drive the speed limit. I watch for cars pulling out of local stores.  I pay attention to my environment and I drive in the center of the small road.

It's been six months since I first decided to take control over this road, driving in a single lane as it was designed so many years ago.  Yesterday we traveled down the road in a single lane of traffic and many people followed me.  No one tried to tail gate me and get me to push over to the left or right.  It was more peaceful and satisfying to feel that I had taken control over the road bullies.

Rt. 3A does not scare me anymore because I don't allow aggressive drivers to intimidate me; especially drivers in small cars.   I drive in the center of the single lane.  I refuse to buy in to the lunacy of driving with less than 6 inches between me and the car or truck next to me.  It's stressful and does not feel safe.

Attention Rt. 3A driver, I refuse to be bullied just so that you can get 5 feet in front of me and step on your brakes.  If you can't be nice when you drive, take the bus.

07 January 2011

The Invisible Bathroom

My mom has had trouble finding the bathroom for quite some time, it's as though it's invisible to her.  Often she walks right past her bathroom and roams around the house looking for it.  Accidents typically occur, leaving a mess to be cleaned as soon as the sun comes up.

This morning, I woke up and checked on my mom who was still sleeping.  I poked my head in the bathroom and saw her diaper on the floor.  I put it into her small pail.  I moved the pail and it was heavy, even though it appeared empty.  My mom, she pee'd in the bucket!  This small little bucket on the floor, she was able to use as a toilet.

A couple of days ago I bought her a new toilet seat.  It's elevated and has handles.  I don't think she likes it.  Yesterday morning she pee'd all over the bathroom floor.  Last night she was complaining of a backache and told me that she fell in the bathroom, slipping on her pee the night before last.  It was difficult for her to get off the floor, but she did before I woke up and checked on her.

My mom's behaviors are very difficult since I had given her gluten free treats.  She is happy while she's eating the treats but a couple hours after ingesting them, she becomes agitated and crazier than usual.  Yesterday, I found her pulling her pants down in the den and getting ready to sit on the chair and relieve herself.  "NO!"  Is all I could scream as I grabbed her arm and guided her down the hall to her bathroom.

As much as I would love to keep my mom home with me until the end of her life, I just can't do it.  She is too disagreeable with me and fights me every step of the way, especially when I'm doing all that I can to avoid having her shit or piss on the floor.

I am stressed out; there is no joy left with caring for my mother.  She is a huge burden.  My mom wants what she wants, period.  She believes that she is still "the mother" and in charge; obviously she isn't.

I woke up praying the Our Father this morning, followed by a few Hail Mary's.  I'm scared for my mom.  I'm tired.  I pray that I find the right place for her to live sooner than later.

It's difficult to see my mom naked, shitting and peeing in inappropriate places.  She refuses help, expecting only me to help her... I can't do it.  All I can do is pray for a miracle and hope God is listening.  God, are you listening?  Can you at least allow her to see her bathroom and remember how to use it?  Thank you.

06 January 2011

I See It In Her Eyes

Over the last few days, I've looked at pictures from a year ago.  My mom, her eyes were brighter, she appeared to have more of a twinkle in her eyes.  Now, the light seems to be dimming; could she be preparing for her final departure from this life?

It's hard to say, we never know when the end will come for any of us, it just happens when it happens.  For a Care Giver of someone with dementia, the time can linger... a very long goodbye that creates incredible stress in our lives.

Poop and pee are daily challenges.  Always in the middle of the night my mom seems to pull off her diaper and mess on the floor.  She gets confused.  Half awake she believes she's on the toilet and begins to empty her bladder.  The sensation of pee on her feet always seems to wake her fully, making a traveling mess as she is frantic to find the toilet.

Yesterday, somehow she had shit on her hands.  Fortunately Belkis was here and was able to wash her up.  My mom made a mess in her pants, she missed the toilet.  It was not pretty.

Belkis said to me, "The cat shit on the floor, I cleaned it up."  I looked at Savita, sitting on the chair and replied, "No, that had to be my mom.  Our cats never crap on the floor, ever."  Belkis still believed it was the cat who pooped.

My mom, she tried to tell Belkis that she pooped on the floor accidentally.  Belkis insisted with my mom that it was the cat.  My mom's reply, "Oh ya, it had to be the cat."

When I was helping my mom to her bedroom I said to her, "Oh, what about that cat shitting on the floor?"  My mom laughed so hard that she had to hold on to me so that she didn't fall over.  She loved blaming the cat for her accident.  She also enjoyed that Belkis blamed the cat and not her.

It's sad to see my mom decline.  Typically it's a gradual change but I'm noticing a big change in her state of being.  I don't know if it's because I'm lightening up on her diet, letting her eat things that I typically would have said NO WAY you can't have that.  Food definitely affects her mental state.

Depriving her of foods that she wants to eat also plays on her mood.  She is happier eating sandwiches when she goes to school.  I found a gluten free bread that is phenomenal, Udi's is the brand.  I have even broken down and gotten her gluten free cookies so that she can have cookie snacks with her friends at school.  She is enjoying herself more during the day, but she's also hallucinating a lot more too.

My mom is having more difficulty finding words, even with acupuncture.  Is it the junk food that I'm allowing her to eat?  I don't know for sure but I am making an assumption that the food is dimming her light.

Life is better for me than it was a year ago because I have consistent and real help.  My mom is out of the house every day during the week, off to a day program where she gets to socialize and talk with real people.  She loves going to school, well she likes it once she gets there; just like a kid.

Her end is coming.  I can see it in her eyes.

Ed: the last picture I had taken of him before he passed.
You can see it in his eyes.  
Once I read that when a person begins to look up toward our perceived third eye, it means that the end is near.  I always look at people's eyes.  My brother Ed, before he died, we could see the whites of his eyes a lot more than normal; it appeared that he was looking up toward Heaven.  Could this have been a clue that Ed would be leaving soon?  I don't know but Ed is now dead.

I'm ready for my Care Giving days to come to an end.  A feeling that is bitter sweet.  I know that once I'm free, it means that mom has finally passed through the veil and joined all those she has been longing to be with for such a long time.  I am sad to see my mom leave.  It's been oppressive caring for her over the last few years, watching her decline and slip away is heavy.

I can see it in her eyes.  I miss my mom.  I know that she's gone, that I'll never be able to speak to her again, not like the old days.  I care for a stranger most days, occasionally my mom pops in but she's coming around less and less.

Life as a Care Giver has taught me volumes.  I'm ready for the next chapter of my new life to begin, a chapter that I will make count because we just never know when our eyes will point toward the sky.

02 January 2011

The Power of Gratitude

Care Giving makes it difficult to be grateful for anything because the day to day responsibilities of Care Giving are intense.

The power of gratitude is strong and I know from experience that when I am grateful for whatever comes into my  life, I tend to attract more grateful moments to show gratitude.

The converse is true too, bitch and moan and more bitching and moaning opportunities will present themselves.  It's a simple law of nature known as the law of attraction.

Care Giving is way too hard on me personally since my mom began projectile crapping all over the house.  I know that she can't control herself, it's just part of her illness.  However, even though I know that she isn't shitting on the floor on purpose, I still get upset.

Raising my fist toward the Heavens I have screamed ... WHY ME?!  Unfortunately, the Universe keeps answering my question with more of the same.  For the New Year, I am changing how I perceive my mom's daily gifts.  {wink}

I've noticed that when I get upset, it just brings on more upsetting moments, more crap, more NO's, more events that bring me to tears.  I need to break this horrible thinking because it is not serving me, it's only making my Care Giving more difficult to handle.

The Power of Gratitude

The mind is a powerful tool.  It can either make our lives feel full of love and joy or it can give us the perception that the world is coming to an end.  It's all perception, everything in life is based on how we view our current situation, it's only as real as our minds make it.  I know this but still I fall into the trap of negative thinking which manifests into all things that suck.

This year, 2011, I chose to be grateful and feed gratitude so that it spreads through out my life bringing with it more moments that I can be grateful.  I feel that I need to do something to change how much my life seems to suck lately.  I've experienced that life is a state of mind.

A big thank you to the Universe for all the times this year that I felt joyful.   Thank you to all the people in my life that brought me a lift when I needed it the most.

Top of the list is my husband.  I'm grateful to have such an understanding and loving life partner.  I'm grateful for all that he does to keep us all safe with a roof over our heads and food on the table.  I am grateful for the love and friendship that we share. He is my best friend; I am grateful to have a friend who loves me like he does.

Next come all of my siblings and cousins, especially Maryann.

My sister Ann.  We mended our relationship this year... I am grateful for my sister and the book that fell off the shelf when she walked by... a book that opened a door that I believed was shut forever.  I'm grateful that my sister forgave me for all the mean things that I had believed and said.  I love her.

Ann, she came through for me in a big way this year.  She was instrumental in helping get our mom acclimated to Adult Day Healthcare; she paid for a companion one day a week who took my mom to the day program.  My mom, she now goes to "school" every day by herself and loves it because of the help that I received from Ann.

I'm grateful for Marty and Patricia.  My brother and sister-in-law who took in my frail Aunt Jay.  I couldn't care for her in my home, my plate was too full.  I worried.  I cried.  I prayed.

My prayer was answered with one simple sentence, "Jay is coming to live with us!"  I love my brother and Patricia.  I'm grateful that they were able to forgive me and my sharp tongue.

Donna.  I'm grateful for the time my sister Donna had given throughout the year.  Thank you Donna.  I'm grateful for the time you were able to give and spend with Ma.  Sorry that I have a knack for pissing you off; I didn't show gratitude for what you WERE able to do to help me, no wonder you got upset.  I love you, Donna and appreciate all of your time.

I'm grateful for Maryann and Dan, her husband.  My cousin has always been as close to me as a sister.  I'm grateful that she forgave me.  I'm grateful that our friendship is restored and that we talk.

I missed her and am grateful to have her around now during challenging family times.  Maryann is the ONLY ONE who knows what I am living through, I am grateful for her and Dan's wisdom.

My little cousin, Uncle Al's Lil' Princess... I'm grateful for her existence.  Her presence makes me smile and laugh, she reminds me not to take life too seriously.  I am grateful for her imagination and her enthusiasm for life.

My nephews.

I'm grateful to have them all in my life.  I know we don't see each other all that often but when we do, I am grateful for the affection they give to me.  I love you guys.

I love all of my nephews, niece-in-law and significant others.  I am grateful that they read my blog so that they can understand "the crazy gene."

I'm grateful for my Great Nephew.  He fills my heart with joy.  I love his face and his big personality.  I look forward to the years when he knows who I am.  I am grateful for his bright smile.

My niece, Amy.  I am grateful that she is back in my life.  I'm grateful for her summer visits with Gram and the memories we were able to capture for posterities sake.

I'm grateful for my cousins Joan and Louise, April and Dewey and of course their little guy.

I'm grateful that I have a few of my Aunts and Uncle alive to share life events.  Thank you for all the love you gave me when I was growing up, I am grateful.

I am grateful that my Mother-in-law doesn't need more help and can do things for herself.  I'm grateful that she chose to give birth to my husband; I'd be lost without him.
I'm grateful for Dr. Barton and his gentle and holistic approach to treating my mom's illness.   I'm grateful for acupuncture and herbal remedies, they both help give my mom better days.

I am grateful for Shinnerpunch and his review of my blog.  He gave me insight into myself through his review (you can read the review here.)  His critique has helped me to be a better person, I'm not so quick to write a scathing blog post if someone pisses me off.  I write the posts now, often they go unpublished.  I am grateful for his time and advice.  Thank you.

I am grateful.  I'm grateful for Elder Services and our Care Manager, David.  I'm grateful for Belkis, my mom's Home Care Attendant and Companion.  I'm grateful for the All Care Adult Day Health Program and all the nurses and aides that take care of my mom during the week.

I'm grateful for everything, even the little things.

Gratitude begets gratitude.  I feel better already, just writing this post.  I'm grateful for my blog and all who read it.

Thank you and Happy New Year, 2011!