Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Hondo Kitty
We went down to Las Cruces today to meet with an neurologist.  He wants to do a PET CT.  My mother isn't too sure about it. 

The neurologist said that the eating problems we were experiencing were "normal".  As long as my father is stimulated and gets what he wants to eat,he will.  He said he will do better the more he is out of the house and visiting with people.  He also told us that the directional problems we were experiencing were quite normal.  Said it is the first in a long series of things that would happen. 

I suspect I was a little impatient today.  He was very chatty, repeatedly.  I know I should not have been so impatient with him, but I guess I was.  When he's like this you can't have any sort of a discussion with anyone - just him.  Now I know why my mother is so frustrated at times!

So we discussed - repeatedly
  1. Did I pick up the mail?
  2. Had I paid the property taxes?
  3. What was the name of the realtor here in Ruidsoso?
  4. Was the insurance all paid?
  5. Did he have any mail?
  6. Was I sure the property taxes had been paid?
  7. How did I know the property taxes had been paid?
  8. When had I last picked up the mail?
  9. Had I paid the property taxes?
  10. Were the taxes on the I-85 property paid?
At least the or four times....!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Did We Go to Church Today?

My father and Doc Annala
Some days are worse than others.  Today my father wasn't sure if he went to church or not.  Then again, every time I talk to him, he asks if I've picked up the mail. 

It makes sense.  For years his business was dependent upon the mail.  The other day I simply left the stuff that I would have thrown out, and put it in the stack of mail for him.  It left my mother in tears, but he was satisfied.

On the other hand, when we had Easter lunch with the Annalas, he did quite well.  Once again my theory that the stimulation of being around someone other than my mother and I is very good for him - is right.   Now it is getting my mother out of her gardening rut.  Yea, it's that time of year - again.

One of these days I am going to work out my theory of putting a large magnetic calendar on the back of the fridge.  I don't know if it will work.  I do know the approach of handling things like one would a hyper-active child may just work - for awhile.

The next problem - dealing with his eating!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"Your Father Is Not Paying Attention to Anything I Say"

How Sadie Spends Much of Her Day
Thus spake my mother. 

"Your father is not paying attention.  He's not grasping anything I say.  I must tell him three or four times, and still he pays no attention to me."

I asked if he had on his hearing aids.  He's deaf as a post.  My mother assured me that he did.  She was terribly worried because he was not focusing on anything.  Was he getting worse?

She called later. 

Yes, there is a punchline to this story.

He wasn't wearing his hearing aids!

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Another Princess Sadie Glamor Shot!
I think my mother and I have learned something about my father's condition.  The more he is around people he knows (besides us), and out and about, the better he does.  We went to Roswell on Friday.  He did quite well, very with it.  They went out with their friends today after church.  He enjoyed it, did quite well there.

My mother would be a recluse if allowed.  Her reclusive tendencies are not good for either she nor my father.  Now the idea is to keep them doing stuff, meeting people, and interacting with their friends. 

Yesterday I went down to SP to pick up the things I'd sent home with the parents when those fires were raging around my condo.  Some of the things had been put in the storage building.  My mother suggested APR bring my Durango around so we could load it.

It took forever.  When he finally arrived (a block across the yard) he pulled in between the building and the property fence.  My mother would not allow him to drive on her attempts at growing grass, so he had to back out, between the building and the fence. 

We have realized there is now a problem with judgment - and that's why he's not allowed to drive on the highway.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

That Man Could Not Drive!

My father and Steve Elliott behind Steve's museum in Tombstone. 
While the parents were up on Meechem shopping at Lawrence Brothers, my mother was suddenly hit with an earache and dizziness. They were meeting me at Cattle Baron for lunch.  It wasn't that far.  She had no choice but to let my father drive.

Wrong move!

When it came to making the turn from Meechem onto Suddreth, he went into the other lane and nearly ran a guy off the road. 

As soon as they reached Cattle Baron, and my mother waited for him to park, she told me what he did.  She said the guy nearly had a wreck avoiding him.

That's when you pull the plug on driving.  No more.  No more tries.  It's over.

The way I know it's over is because all my poor father could do was complain about how bad the road was.  The turn wasn't good.  The other driver was terrible. This has always been part of my list to decide when either parent needed to stop driving.

It's normal, when you screw up, to give a sheepish little wave and admit you screwed up - and be thankful you did not cause a wreck.  When you blame the other person for your screw up, it's time to turn in the keys.

My father has been driving since he was about 12 or so.  This is terribly sad.  He is/was an incredible driver, logging so darn many miles between South Carolina and Florida over a forty year period.  He still thinks he can drive.  We keep telling him it is on  his medical records - no driving.  (Actually he can drive if we are with him, and we think he can - forget that).

Nana told him if he wanted to drive, now his insurance rates would go way up.  Since Glenn, her son, is our agent, that helped, for the day.  The poor thing just doesn't remember why he can no longer drive.

It is so sad.  There are times when life just plain old sucks.  This is one of them.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How Long Is the Company Staying?

How Sadie Stays Out of Trouble!
My father has called four times in the past three hours.  He's quite puzzled about things today.  The first time he called he was sort of okay. 

The second he was a little confused.  He wondered where the company was. 

The third time he called he was telling me about their company.  He'd just woken from a nap and was not quite sure where he was.  His cousins were visiting.  He did not know my mother. 

He told me how good his supper was.  I asked him why he didn't like his fries.  My mother was terribly upset because he refused to eat the fries she made.  He said they were wonderful!  When I called to talk to her, she was in tears. 

Today was a bad day.  With luck he will do better tomorrow.

On the other hand, Sadie had a great day.  Miss Scarlet was on the counter eating cat food.  Her tail was dangling below the counter.  Yea, you know the rest of the story.  Sadie pulled her tail.  She let out a screech and went through the window onto the porch.

Sadie had a great time!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Taking Advantage (of)

Sadie Gets a Time Out
When my father was first diagnosed, his GP told us there would be times when people would take advantage of him, financially.   It's a little scary.  His disposition has changed.  When he was a little kid, in school, in the Snow White play, he was type-cast as Grumpy. He's almost happy, which is weird.  He's always been too trusting of people.  Now, thought, it's starting to show.
Today, the parents had lunch with some of their friends from church.  I try to skip out of church and encourage them to hang with their own buds, so to speak.  They  need to socialize without me being anywhere near them.  Jordan, who was having lunch with them, told my mother to try not correcting him if at all possible.  We talked about it this afternoon.  Sounds like a great idea.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fire, Fire

Sunday afternoon some dimwit was burning trash in a sustained wind of at least 30MPH, with about 15% humidity, in an area where fire restrictions were already in place. 

You guessed it - voila! 
 Up in Flames!
To date 10,000 acres, 5 homes, and shattered nerves (mine among them).

The View From My Front Door on Sunday!
My father is having a difficult time grasping the geography of the situation.  He's not quite sure if where I live has been harmed by fire.  When I talked to him today, he wanted me to check out the house and see if it were alright.  Where was I staying?  Would I stop in to see he and my mother when I headed home?

They were up here on Sunday, to evacuate Rums, who is enjoying his evacuation, hanging with Princess Sadie.  He saw the flames that were maybe 100 feet or so from my complex.  I think that may be confusing him.

It is so sad.  He knows he's confused, says he is, but doesn't quite figure it out.  He's not had a good week.  It's primarily a directional thing.  He just doesn't "get" where he's living.  I'm beginning to believe he thinks we're traveling.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

There's a Video in the Car, Right and Rachel Chasing Cars

I hate Santa Fe.  I hate it more than I hate any one thing or any single place in the world.

Yesterday, the parents were once again arguing.  My father just knew the previous Cadillac had a DVD and screen in it.  She couldn't get him to realize that they have never had one.  "You deal with it," she told me.

"We have had a car that plays movies," my father told me.

"This one does, but only when it isn't moving," I said.

"Rachel showed us how to do that, but wasn't there one in the car when we went to Taos?" he asked.

About 8 years ago, Fourth of July week, we all went to Taos.  Rachel and Laura rode with me in the Durango.  My father and Dustin rode with Tom in his car.  Cathy and my mother were in the Bug.

Things were fine for awhile, then Rachel pulled out her Macbook and started playing Moulin Rouge.  She plugged it into my sound system, driving me out of my mind.  Critics may have been kind, but I swear it is the most miserable movie I've had the misfortune to have forced down my throat.  It was vile.

Once upon a time, when my mother was growing up in Florida her father, my Grandfather Froehlich (Grandy) would threaten to through the blasted gall-durn radio into the canal (across the drive from the house) if they did not a) turn it off or b) turn down the sound.  That became the standard joke - turn it off or I'll throw it into the canal!

On that fateful day, I fully understood my grandfather's threat.  I told Rachel if she did not put on her earplugs, I was going to toss the DVD down the canyon! 

Naturally she was quite annoyed with me.

This incident was followed by my getting lost in Santa Fe.  I lose my mind in Santa Fe.  It makes no sense.  The people are rude, the roads are insane.  It is a place not fit for human occupation or consumption. 

I was having my usual mental breakdown when Rachel grabbed my street map and quickly navigated our little caravan out of the damn town.  Within minutes we were on the right road, heading to Chimayo, where we were stopping for lunch.

Once again the insane music began.  I was still trying to recover from my usual 'I hate Santa Fe' attack.  We had turned onto Hwy 76, which is a charming two lane road that winds around a hill side, past galleries and classic New Mexico vistas.

Traffic stopped.

Some idiot was trying to move a mobile  home down the narrow road.  We did not move for 15 minutes.  I was having another breakdown over the blasted music.  Rachel, being the typical American teen (at the time) flounced out of the Durango to ride with her mother. 

Laura, who had been quiet all this time, sitting in the back, told me to lock the doors. 

I did.

My sister locked her doors.

Rachel laughed and then stomped her foot as she came back to the Durango.  She could not get in.

She went to her father's car.

He locked the doors.

She came back to get in my car.

Doors locked.

Couldn't get in her mother's car.

Traffic began moving - very slowly.

Rachel had no choice but to begin running along the side of the road, chasing cars.

Cars honked.  People in houses came out to laugh and wave.

She became a little irate.

Traffic moved faster.

She ran faster.

Finally her father stopped long enough to let her in his car.

A good time was had by all but Rachel.

My father started laughing.  "So the DVD player was in your Durango in Rachel's computer.  That was one of the funniest things I ever saw."

It is quite strange what he remembers and how.  Once he gets it straight, he's usually quite good about it.

Once Rachel was back in one of the cars, and we finally had lunch, we went to the little church El Santuario de Chimayo, known as the Lourdes of America.  My mother was suffering with a severely injured finger that was causing her to be in constant pain.  At the little church she prayed for healing for her finger.

The following morning she realized she had no pain in the finger.  Nothing hurt!  While it would require some interesting surgery a few months later, she never again had the horrible pain she had lived with for months.

Lent and Family

Also Posted at The Pink Flamingo

Lent is my favorite part of the Christian year. I have been known to make a few jokes about what I'm giving up, etc, but I like Lent. It is a time when we do some serious soul searching. I like Advent, but Lent is something special, to me.

It is not about 'giving up things for Lent'. This year I don't even miss the soda I'm not drinking. A few years ago Fr. Peter said we give up things in order to improve our lives, and not to make a show. I now find myself agreeing with it.

I am an Easter person, to the point where I've been known to argue with with members of the clergy about the importance of Easter over Christmas. As Christians, I don't think we make a big enough deal about Easter and the implications for our lives. I still can't get over the fact that a person would willingly choose the horror of one of the most violent deaths conceived by man's inhumanity. I can't get over that a person who knew what was coming would chose that death. Imagine, being the one absolutely perfect person ever, knowing what lies ahead, and going along with it - with grace.

As Christians, I swear we don't pay enough attention to this.

The Pink Flamingo has said very little about the problems my family has been facing during the past six weeks. Rather than go into a litany of what has happened, I've put it into a blog, The Pink Flamingo's Father.

It is not a quirk of fate that the timing of this, and another major family crises has occurred right about Lent. These past six weeks have been some of the most difficult in my life, from a family perspective. It has literally been the changing of the guard. I've had to face the fact that my parents have reached the point where I'm now in charge. It is forcing me to accept the one thing I've avoided my entire life - growing up!

Thursday night was one of the darkest nights of my faith. It was like everything was piling up on top of me with the parents, and everything else. I reached out to a very wise woman, who had once told me to look to the Laments in the Psalms. I wasn't quite sure how to get to the Laments on the Kindle, so I just started reading Psalms. I managed to read about 30 of them, but Psalm 22 was like someone throwing a bucket of cold water in my face.

Psalm 22
Plea for Deliverance from Suffering and Hostility
To the leader: according to The Deer of the Dawn. A Psalm of David.

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;
and by night, but find no rest.

3 Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4 In you our ancestors trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried, and were saved;
in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.

6 But I am a worm, and not human;
scorned by others, and despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock at me;
they make mouths at me, they shake their heads;
8 ‘Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver—
let him rescue the one in whom he delights!’

9 Yet it was you who took me from the womb;
you kept me safe on my mother’s breast.
10 On you I was cast from my birth,
and since my mother bore me you have been my God.
11 Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.

12 Many bulls encircle me,
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13 they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion.

14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
15 my mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.

16 For dogs are all around me;
a company of evildoers encircles me.
My hands and feet have shrivelled;
17 I can count all my bones.
They stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my clothes among themselves,
and for my clothing they cast lots.

19 But you, O Lord, do not be far away!
O my help, come quickly to my aid!
20 Deliver my soul from the sword,
my life from the power of the dog!
21 Save me from the mouth of the lion!

From the horns of the wild oxen you have rescued me.
22 I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters;
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him;
stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24 For he did not despise or abhor
the affliction of the afflicted;
he did not hide his face from me,
but heard when I cried to him.

25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
my vows I will pay before those who fear him.
26 The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek him shall praise the Lord.
May your hearts live for ever!

27 All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the Lord;
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before him.
28 For dominion belongs to the Lord,
and he rules over the nations.

29 To him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
and I shall live for him.
30 Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord,
31 and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn,
saying that he has done it.

Those words did it for me, like that bucket of ice cold water.

I am so busy complaining about my problems that I don't realize the Lord has a plan for us all. David wrote that Psalm that was literally a prophecy about Christ's crucifixion.

How dare I complain? So, my life isn't perfect. I'm not getting my way. My heartache is nothing.

Consider the case of one former James Bond.
"..."God has been good to me. My faith has been good to me in the moments of deepest suffering, doubt and fear. It is a constant, the language of prayer … I might not have got my sums right from the Christian Brothers or might not have got the greatest learning of literature from them but I certainly got a strapping amount of faith."

Brosnan also feels that faith will help the Irish people escape the gloom and doom of recession.

"But there is one thing that the people of Ireland know how to do and that is to survive. You have to keep your faith and stay optimistic,” he feels...."