How old we become…

Isn’t it odd how old we become on the outside while inside we still feel like a twenty-year-old? That is my one observation having spent some days visiting with my dad.

His dementia has progressed at a frightening rate. So much so, that we had no choice but to bring him back to the nursing home where he feels happy. For me, it was a tough decision in one way, because I remember his reluctance to consider going in for respite eighteen months ago and his refusal to move mum to a local nursing home. However, I was happy knowing that, he is safer with many carers around him than just one of us with him twenty-four seven.

It is now two weeks since he moved house, and the weight has lifted from my shoulders, years and layers of stress are falling away and I have gained a little weight. Dad too is experiencing a lightening of years as he takes part in musical afternoons, dancing with anyone who is willing to risk getting their feet shuffled on, or squashed. His bright cheery “Hello,” gains him smiles and conversation. He is taking part in art classes, and on Wednesday of this week, he was a baker hoping to enjoy tea and queen cakes which he had helped to whip up and bake.

Just like Bob he is managing to hold on to his good humour and winning ways.

I Should Know Better

You would think I would know better, this is a sentence I repeat over and over. For instance newly married we stupidly believed if we work hard, save a few euro and life will run smoothly. Rubbish. The government simply creates new fiendish taxes and we are caught in a  loop. 

Life is what you make of it – true. But if you keep your life simple and try to help others, everyone thinks you are amazing until you have that one mili second of a slip up and you are the worlds worst ejit.

If it throws lemons – make lemonade. – Difficult but possible. Then the stupid government discovers you made lemonade and they tax it.

Smile and the whole world smiles with you. – No, they simply look at you and wonder why is that idiot is smiling? Is she laughing at me? Either way you, the smiler are in big trouble – Run.

All in all it leads to the same thing – I should know better. In fact I should do what Bob does, nothing  and live in the moment. In other words dream!

Why rush? We all get there in the end. Besides I have a cute face!

This Simple Life

I believed, stupidly, that life would get easier as we age.

This is not the case and no one escapes, in this writers life.

I always wanted to write, that is a given with me, so I blog.

I am not competitive but have learned that button once pushed does not easily switch off. I try to get to the gym  2 or 3 times a week, to offset the bad habits I have i.e. slouching over a computer screen,  and the inherited family traits of heart disease, diabetes, epilepsy and high blood pressure. And have discovered it is addictive, sociable and exhausting but good.

As kids, we were brought up believing it is good to give back, so I volunteer.

I work with Ellie, who being a collie is all about being busy. Working with her led me to find a lab who also likes to work and now she has two sons who live to find anything I care to hide.

I almost forgot, I work not a full week but I work and now help to take care of Dad.

Add that into the mix along with a reluctance to say no and there is an explosion waiting to happen.

So I have decided to cut back but on what?  Housework is the tempting answer to that question, but I am a woman and we are programmed to only ignore the dust for so long.

Yes, this simple life I crave is a dream.

So any suggestions or advice would be gratefully received, mulled over and … tried out for a month or two.

Perhaps I should follow Bob’s example.

 

#Dementia

This one word is putting fear into me. My dad has vascular dementia and we are learning how to deal with another curve ball that life is throwing at us. No one is left unaffected by this horrible condition.

It is odd how often we live in blind ignorance until we are thrust into a situation and then we learn we are only one small unit amongst thousands who are learning how to cope with this condition.

I did not inherit his great intelligence and it is this intelligence that we now see fading behind a mask of sorrow and fear that he is learning to deal with. Dad was never an emotional man, he was always the calm voice of reason. The solid base. Now, this base is quivering under the multitude of questions he and we face.

So I am turning to all readers to ask for tricks and tips on how to lighten his load. His apologies are becoming more frequent, as are some silly incidents, i.e.,

Open the fridge door to discover all of the dinner dishes stacked (unwashed on the shelves).Open the  hot stove / oven door to find items of clothing sitting on the shelf being baked.

 

The washing machine last week was lined in white plastic, which I resorted to hoovering, the flakes to remove them.

Our solutions include:

We have posted notices on doors etc listing the what to do when leaving the house.

There are notices appearing on microwaves, seats, notebooks, computers as we try to make things easier for him to cope.

Remove all evidence of bills paid, as he worries about money which he no longer understands.

Have a series of carers in the house at meal times and as often as we can, we arrive in ones to nudge and coax him into a sense of normality.

So, again I appeal to all who read or notice my strange rambling blog all pieces of advice big and small will be chewed on, thought over and acted upon.

IMG_9941

So why post a picture of a sunflower? To give us all something sunny to look forward to, especially as Bob is asleep, again.

Cleaning house

I started cleaning a press and discovered a box of sketches I had put away.  I have always wanted to paint and some day I will but for now it is only odd bits I sketch and pretend to be an artist. I keep saying when I grow up (?) I will paint and draw.

Bob on a skateboard !

 

A box full of paper made me want to draw and doodle again. Have you ever had a nostalgic moment like this?

A learning curve – being published.

As some of you know, The Runaway Schoolhouse is in print and on kindle for the past few months. (The first few pages are here on this site for you to read, if you like).runaway_schoolhouse_cover_Latest_151031

I believed, foolishly, that this achievement was 9/10’s of the job done.

I was wrong. It is the first step.

I have received much help, thanks to all who have offered advice and support to me. And I have learnt that in today’s world. a writer has to become a Jack-of-all-trades. The greatest hurdle is Marketing and in this I thank Emu Ink.ie and Laurence O’Bryan, the founder of BooksGoSocial.com

But I still have to spend time, marketing the book. I have also been told that book reviews are gold to writers. Hence the Giveaways and the pleading or requests for reviews on Goodreads and Amazon etc.

I have given away 15 books, in the hope reviews will result.  But I am curious as to how other children’s writers find book reviews. So any help, or advice will definitely be appreciated by me.

Blogging delights me and writing is a passion. I consider myself lucky if one or two people read a post and am amazed if the stats alert me that a post is doing well and 15 + readers have been on my site.

Life is funny isn’t it, some of us dream of winning the lottery but bloggers simply dream of being acknowledged and read.

Maria’s Stuff: Mission Statement – Do we have one?

I have been reading a lot about blogging, and have stumbled upon a simple enough statement that makes sense on reading it – Every blog should have a mission statement. It, I am told, will help keep us on track towards our goal. This led me to ask: what is my goal? What is Bob’s goal?

I looked at Bob

Hisilicon K3

and smiled. His goals are simple; eat, sleep and be hugged.

Ellie’s are different, as everyone knows, her life revolves around tennis balls, socks, being busy and…. Bob.

ippellie large with socks in mouth

Which leaves me.  I sat at the keyboard fingers poised struggling to find the elusive mission statement.

Thoughts were flitting through my head working on a treadmill as I struggled with a mission statement.

I started blogging to get me writing, improve my photography skills and have fun. In the past ten years my children have flitted past the ages of 21, so I reasoned, I should have plenty of free time. However, time is being gulped up by many part time volunteering ventures, working part time, dog training for S & R, and all the usual wifely duties. I wonder if I am doing too much flitting and not enough focusing. Trouble is what do I cut out to make time for writing etc? They are all good causes, and worse still – I have fun attempting to do what I can.

So I will start again:  My blog is about finding fun while helping others and writing about it because at the end of the day age is simply a number it doesn’t define us neither should it limit us or stop us exploring this incredible world. Phew! It is a mouthful.

Perhaps I should try again?

Does anyone have a simple mission statement?

Besides Bob!

img_0182

 

A photo to make you smile and some words to make us all think.

Hisilicon K3

Irish dog trainer

We are only human.

I was brought up to help, in the house, in the yard, wherever help was needed we all got stuck in and did the work. So I suppose volunteering was a natural thing in our house. We were encouraged to help on committee’s once we had reached the magic number of years , eighteen.

I tell you this not to boast or brag but it as a simple matter of fact. However I have lately discovered that helping is not often enough. For many judge you on what they see, or a stupid spur of the minute comment or worse on a mistake, a wrong judgement call. If I had the power to influence a whole mess of people I think it would to be simply to remind them that we are all human. And as humans we are bound to fail, to disappoint or act rashly every once in a while.

However, as I have no super power I can only keep trying and that is another human trait, to be stubborn to never give up.

How about you has there been a time in your life that you wish you could wind the clock back, bite back those words, smile instead of moan? And what super power would you wish for?

reindeer 6

Bob in Super-Bob mode.

How Bob arrived.

A co-worker of my husband asked, “would you be interested in a 2 year old dog?”

The question caught him out, as he kindly asked what kind of dog. Fast forward to the weekend and we went to see this Norwegian Elkhound. Bob was bought for a lady in her eighties. But he was too big, too strong and heedless.

We arrived at the house in the country and were greeted by Bob, front paws on the top of the gate and hind ones planted firmly on the ground. He took one look at us and smiled. I think he was saying, gotcha!

He was correct. He had us from that goofy smile and ceaseless tail wagging.

He came home with us quietly. We stopped to buy leash, bowls, dog food etc. And then the trouble started. He decided he would be boss and eat everything in sight. Wellington boots, shoes or slippers weren’t good enough they were simply a starter. What he liked was the tough teeth crunching wooden posts, his kennel and finally his coupe de resistance, the electric gate leads.

As everyone knows he obviously survived the electricity but didn’t go back for seconds. The reason being the wires were encased in plastic casing then a metal casing. In fact everything we thought he might eat was encased, or locked away or hidden.

Luckily he mellowed as he settled down though he never lost that heedlessness making teaching him a very big challenge. In the end though I think he has been the teacher.img_0201

Take this idea I had for photos of him and Ellie.

I had everything set up then he decided he wasn’t in the mood for modelling.

On this occasion I didn’t give in.

bob-and-ellie-ever-after

It isn’t easy getting the bow in place, getting him to allow it to sit there was the big problem.

img_0200

 

There is that look on his face again, wouldn’t you love to know what he was thinking?

 

Be Careful what you wish for –

Be careful what you wish for, Isabella’s fairy godmother whispered in Isalbella’s ear.

Isabella ignored her because that is what isabella does best –  ignores people.

“Someday,” her best friend Betty said, “someday you will find out what it is like to be ignored.”

Tonight Isabella was having fun, it was the annual harvest festival ball, a fundraiser for a local children’s charity. Most people attending had borrowed or rented their costumes, giving as much as they could towards the charity but not Isabella. She had spent a weeks wage on her designer dress. She delighted in letting those around her know of this fact. Everyone admired her dress, as she expected. Then she noticed the tone the comments of admiration were being delivered in ,like a fond parent would say to a spoilt child, in order to avoid the nasty experience of a tantrum.

You are imagining it, Isabella decided. Concentrate on the ball and looking amazing, like always. So she did, she didn’t help the elderly lady find a chair, she simply pushed past and demanded that the host of the ball dance with her.  He did so with reluctance and plenty of people noticed but not Isabella.

She failed to help Betty when she felt faint due to lack of food and over excitement.Betty had given up her free time to help get the decorations in place. Isabella had been busy getting her hair and make up done.

“Just sit there Betty, you will be fine.”  Isabella commanded.

So Betty sat and promptly slid off the chair cracking her arm off a table in the process.

All of these events were witnessed by Isabella’s fairy godmother Grainne who was usually a patient, loving and forgiving fairy godmother but tonight her patience was wearing thin. She paid a visit to her boss. When she left the office an hour later she was grinning like a child.

When Grainne returned to Isabella’s side she was not surprised to see that everyone, except Isabella ,was feeling sorry and sympathetic towards Betty who was gone to hospital to have her arm x rayed. The conversation was about dreams and wishes. Isabella declared she would wish for time to stay still, because she loved evenings like this, where everyone was in good form and nothing bad was said and everything was simply fabulous and really perfect.

As soon as she uttered the words the world about her shimmered and glowed. People moved about her but failed to hear her speak. She asked for a fresh drink from a passing barman but he merely continued on walking.  This won’t do, Isabella decided.  She tried to move and discovered she couldn’t. She appeared to be stuck.

This is not funny, she thought and tried with all her might to shout, kick or squirm.

All about her the party continued on, the band was replaced by a dj and people danced around her. One or two commented on the very life like statue that sparkled and glowed but no one saw the tormented eyes that shone out at them. No one except Grainne. She wondered when she would be ordered to release Isabella from the spell but hoped it wouldn’t be for a long time because for Grainne that would be simply “fabulous and perfect”.

I know you know