spookyevilone: (Default)
In 2009, I did the Alzheimer's Memory Walk and the team I was part of raised nearly $3k.
In 2010, my mother died of Alzheimer's and I didn't do the Walk.. or anything, really.. for the remainder of the year.
In 2011, I am sponsoring a team for the Alzheimer's Walk for a Cure.

In honour of Sir Terry Pratchett, one of my favourite authors, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2007:

Team Discworld

Where: Bloomington, MN
When: Saturday, September 24, 2011
What: Walking the 1 mile or 3 mile course
Cosplay? Cosplay or jeans and t-shirts. It's all good. I'm going to be dressing as Beggar Queen Molly.
I wanna join the team! Click HERE and sign up.
I wanna support the team! Click HERE to make a monetary donation. If you can't throw some spare change our way, please help by spreading the word. I would love to have a huge crowd of Discworld fans show up for the walk.

I'm working with some MN SF/F conventions to see about getting space to pimp the team, but I'm starting late in the game for convention season, so we'll see what I can pull together.

Mom.

Aug. 19th, 2010 07:07 pm
spookyevilone: (Default)
The Planting of the Mom has been rescheduled to Spring. My sister is not coping.

On the up side, it gives me time to plot.

I'm thinking.. Cemetery Ninja Gardening - cover the cardboard box with wildflower seed paper. My mother was obsessed with flowers. She would highly approve. Cremains don't get buried too far down, so this has a chance of being a viable project. Even if it doesn't work, she'd be buried with seeds of flowers wrapped in paper - mummified seeds, if you will. Like Egyptian antique royalty.. only.. seeds instead of spouses, cats, and crocodiles.
spookyevilone: (bruegel-death)
People in my family need to stop dying. I'm running out of ideas for things to do with the cremains.

Most of Mom will be buried. I want some of the cremains to do something with, as a memorial.

Ideas thus far:

1. Wooden sundial with a drilled-out core for ashes, capped with a bronze plaque.
2. Borosilicate glass pendant or orb with ashes inclusions - problem being, I haven't found a glassworker who does borosilicate. I'm a klutz. If it's any sort of regular lampwork glass, it will be shattered, and then I'll cry.
3. Carbonizing the cremains, adding them to metal, having the metal turned into a sculpture. I don't know if this can be done, but have emailed a smith to find out.
4. Mixing her with clay, making a flower pot, and planting irises in it.

I also have a lock of her hair that I have no idea what to do with. My best idea for that is to make it into tiny, thin braids and put it inside lead came and make a stained glass suncatcher. Except that requires room to work on glass, and I don't have the space or the equipment.

bleh. I am at a loss.

Irony is..

Jul. 12th, 2010 07:39 am
spookyevilone: (Default)
My mother and my father's sister dying on the same day, hours apart. The two women hated each other like poison.

*sigh* Seriously, universe? Seriously?
spookyevilone: (Default)
Sister: *calls, agitated* Mom's really .. out of it tonight. She's talking but it's nonsense.
Me: Almost as if she has dementia.
Sister: She keeps saying she ought to have named me hammer because I'm a tool? What does that mean?
Me: *DIES LAUGHING*

All Mom told ME tonight was that she loved me and not to have the car out too late. Ok, Mom. I love you, too, and I promise I'll be home by 10.
spookyevilone: (Default)
Today is my mother's 76th birthday. I went to go see her, partly out of duty and partly to spite my sister and partly because Mom's old and I may not get to see her for much longer. It was painful, but surprisingly pleasant. As pleasant as an evening spent with two bigots, my sister who can't sit still or shut up - literally, and a house full of parrots. Current count: 2 Hyacinth Macaws, 1 Amazon Grey, 1 yellow headed green, 1 ugly green 'plucks all his feathers off', 1 Jenday Conure, and 1 sulphur crested cockatoo.

My mother has to be spoon fed now. At one point, my sister said, "Mom! You have to eat!" and my mother snapped right back, "NO I DON'T!" I laughed, because that moment was pure Mom.

I got to listen to a rant on how all the bad in MN right now is the fault of 'those damn Somali immigrants' by one of my sister's friends. They're to blame for everything, including the new sports stadiums. Then my sister's other friend showed up and went off about Obama. She said something - by this time, I was mostly tuning her out - and used the word 'negro'. My mother immediately snapped, "DON'T use that WORD!" My sister tried to apologize, saying Mom didn't know what she was saying. I reminded her that Mom hated that word. My mother was against identifying people by the colour of their skin. If it had to be done, they were 'people of colour'. Not black, not red, not purple - never an identified colour, just 'of colour'. You never used 'negro' or the other n-word in my house, because my mother would set you right so fast your head would spin. How anyone could ever forget that about my mother, I do not understand.

My sister's friend used it a second time and Mom did the same thing, more angrily this time. "DON'T use THAT WORD!" Some things are so ingrained, etched so deeply into her mind, that they exist beyond the disease that's turning her brain to oatmeal. That was neat to see, but also kind of horrible. I don't want to think of her trapped in there.

Other statements:
While telling my sister that Jamie cut his hair short, Mom ejected, "Jamie.. he's a good kid."

While I was trying to help feed her, "Who are you?" "Mom, I'm [Peregrine]." "[Peregrine]." (said with relief). I jokingly asked if I was a good kid too, and she gave me the "Are you dumb?" look and ejected, "You were ALWAYS a good kid!" Thanks, Mom.

It was good to see her, and the semi-lucid moments were kind of nice, but it was also kind of horrible. It's hard to look at the zombie shell and acknowledge that it was my mother. She doesn't look the same - physically, there have been huge changes. Her face has become all sunken in. She can't wear dentures anymore and her nose has changed shape. Probably due to the mini-strokes she keeps having. The muscle tone is just.. off. When I was little, Mom taught me how to carve "apple people" - you carve an apple into a generic 'face' shape and let it wither and it looks like a little old person. That's what my mother looks like now. Her eyes are still the same, but they're empty except for the brief sparks of confusion. Bright blue spots of emptiness in a tiny, withered face. My sister let Mom's hair grow out to its natural colour, and the colour's changed. My mother had white blonde hair, then dishwater blonde hair, then grey/blonde hair and then she bleached it back to white blonde. Her hair is now a strange, mousey brownish grey. It's actually quite pretty, but it's very, very odd.

It's weird, looking at her now. There's a vague fear of "That could be me someday", although realistically it's not likely. Technically, she doesn't have Alzheimer's. She has CMI, which is directly tied to uncontrolled diabetes. I don't have the same risk factors my mother did. I'm not diabetic. I also don't smoke a pack a day like my mother did for most of her life. I'm also not, nor have I ever been, an alcoholic, nor did I do any other recreational things that would have impaired my brain cells. Unless you count the SCA.

My mother's living her worst nightmare, and I just wish it would end for her. Peacefully, quietly, while she still has any dignity left at all. The brain rot has already taken her independence and most of her faculties, and nearly all of her memories. I felt a bit like a traitor tonight, for being glad to see the tiny little sparks of Mom. She had a good night tonight, though.

Happy birthday, Mom. I love you. Always.
spookyevilone: (Default)
One year while I was living in Boston, my mother got the urge to buy all my friends Christmas cards.

In June.

She called and asked for names and addresses, and at the time I was amused but also kind of annoyed. She hadn't met any of them. I was kind of disturbed that they'd be getting mail from my mom, because What Would They Think?! There were two guys especially that OMG might think I liked them! Can't have that! (Hey, I can have my girl moments just as much as any other girl. I do have two X chromosomes.)

Mom asked about Josh. "Mom, Josh is Jewish. He doesn't celebrate Christmas, he celebrates Chanaukah." (Which I can never spell right.) "Oh," said Mom sadly, "I don't know if I could find Chanaukah cards." "Mom, it's June. You might have a better chance closer to the holiday." "But.. if I don't start looking NOW.. Well, what about John? I could get his card, at least.."

"Mom," said a very exasperated me, "John's a Satanist." He was. He is. He's a nice guy but, y'know, not down with the Christ figure.

"TARA!" my mother shot right back in this shocked tone of voice, "Even SATANISTS celebrate CHRISTMAS!" She wasn't asking. She was telling me.

I laughed so hard I choked. Then I had to explain that John, before he was a Satanist, had also been Jewish. So, still not down with the Christ figure.

My mother went on a disgruntled quest for Chanaukah cards. She eventually found some, or badgered the Hallmark store into ordering some. Then she was quite pleased with herself, that now she could send appropriate cards to my friends.

This is my mother.

IIRC, that was the year she bought her coworker - a Harvard Law grad, who was black - an Ebonics Christmas Card. My mother had no idea what Ebonics was, and the card had a really nice painting of a black Jesus on the front. Keep in mind, my mother referred to black people as 'people of colour' my entire life. So when I saw the greeting inside the card, I choked and tried to get her to not give it. I cringed when she gave it anyway, but her friend took it well. Mom never understood why I was horrified. She was just so happy she didn't have to give her black friend a card with a white Jesus on it. And now Hallmark had a whole SECTION .. "Mom, did you read what it said inside?" "Well, it doesn't matter what it says inside, does it? Nobody reads that part anyway. It matters what was meant by it."

This is also my mother.
spookyevilone: (Default)
This, unlike most things in this blog, is something not funny, snide, or sarcastic. I don't recall ever hitting up my audience for cash before, but I consider this cause worthwhile and will be pimping it on every presence I have on the intardnetzweb.

I'm participating in the 2009 Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk.

My mother suffers from a degenerative brain condition very like Alzheimer's, though hers was due to uncontrolled diabetes. Her brain is, at this point, oatmeal. She is nonverbal, incontinent, and mostly non-responsive. There is nothing anyone can do but watch and wait for her body to die, and that could take another 20 years. It has been.. for lack of a sufficiently awful word.. horrible.

I'm joining the Walk because the Association has many programs to help both individuals suffering from Alzheimer's and the families forced to watch the decline of their loved one as this progressive, degenerative disease slowly erodes their mind. (The mind of the victim or the mind of the family - take your pick. I know for my part, it's made me pretty damn crazy with frustration, watching my mother slip away and knowing there's nothing anyone can do to halt it.)

Please contribute to my efforts in the Walk, if you have the funds to spare. My goal is to raise $750.


Click Here to Donate

My personal Walk page - Canadian motif because la Mama is.
spookyevilone: (Default)
Kraft Multigrain Macaroni and Cheese. "It's Healthier!" exclaims the package, in cheerful fonts. Are they saying that the previous incarnations of Mac and Cheese were not healthy? Or that higher sodium in the cheese sauce mix is healthier than the lower sodium regular cheese sauce mix? Am I being rudely disabused of all their previous advertising tolling the healthfulness of 8 oz of real milk per box, or the fact that they use real cheddar cheese instead of the imaginary kind?

Why do I never see advertising for Kraft that's based on real-life data? "Kraft - Remember when you were a picky eater as a child? We do." or "Kraft - choose it cuz you're poor and it's FORTIFIED!" or "Kraft Dinner - it's not cooking, really!" Are there actually people in the world who choose Kraft Dinner because they think it's healthy? Or even a healthier choice in the boxed dinner category? Do people ever read the box and see that it's meant to be served as a side dish, in 1/4c portions? Has it ever, in the history of the product, been served in this manner?

Things to ponder as I make lunch. It was chosen because my head hurts, which makes chewing difficult, and lo, I am out of soup. It also reminds me of when I was a child - my mother would make this horrid concoction with macaroni and cheese and a can of cream of mushroom soup. If she was feeling particularly festive, there'd be matchstick potatoes or french fried onion bits on top. Since I loathe anything resembling the stereotypical "Minnesota Hotdish", I would pitch fits unless I was allowed to take my portion before the goop was added. My mother made mac and cheese, but she always seemed to hate it. It wasn't until I was older that I realized she hated what it represented. At the time, we were on welfare and it was one of the things food stamps paid for. My mom was a 50's housewife. I don't think the meaning of dinner ever really changed for her. Dinner was a meal you cooked, and it had meat and vegetables and starch and bread. Having dinner come out of a box was cheating.

It's still cheating. It's also something I can eat today, so I'm going to have it in spite of the mental image of my mother curling her lip at it.

Or maybe because of that.

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