A few random thoughts

sunrise in the desert
Sunrise view from our backyard.

I turned off the ads.

Did you notice the difference? I turned off the ads on my blog. At one time, years ago, I thought I could make money blogging. So far that is not the case. Blogging is a creative release to express my personal thoughts and feelings. When I first turned on the ads, a blogger told me it interfered with her loading my blog. She said she enjoyed my writing but was no longer going to follow me because of ads.

That should have been my first clue to end the ads.

WordPress help is helpful! I entered a chat box because I couldn’t figure out where or how to control the ads. Within a minute I was given a link to make the change.

I get really upset when my kids get in a fight with me or my husband.

We’ve had a few unpleasant conversations with our kids lately. One was yesterday and it really tears me apart. I feel like a failure as a parent and everything I tried to instill in my kids is for naught. I was surprised to get a phone call this morning with an apology. I’m grateful for that.

It’s hard to go to the pool when the weather is cold.

I’m making myself go at least two days a week. But when it’s dropping to the low 40s it’s hard! I don’t want to get in my bathing suit let alone get in the pool. I do feel better when it’s over. I reward myself with a long hot shower!

I swam yesterday and I never warmed up. I was chilled. Usually the hardest part is getting in or out of the pool than after a few laps you feel warm. My face and arms felt cold the entire time I swam.

Do you have ads on your blog? Why or why not? Would you stop following a blog because of ads?

What’s your major?

Olive the pretty kitty.

My pretty kitty Olive sitting on the back of a sofa. No, this photo has nothing to do with my post.

I saw an article that said that many college graduates regret their major. The number one regret was journalism.

I was Communications Major in Editorial Journalism from the University of Washington in Seattle.

I enjoyed the experience. During my last year of school I was assigned to be a reporter at a local paper. I reported to the editor and worked there five days a week. I turned in my articles to my professor to be graded.

Then, I went to the state Capitol and was assigned to a local paper as a stringer. I’d write three and four articles a day about the goings on at the state Capitol. We were a group of 12 journalism students living and working together.

When I got into the workforce I had a nice portfolio of news clips. I ended up in Public Relations and wrote stories and newsletters I was assigned. I soon found out it was a LOW paying job. Especially my first one. I was making less than $1,000 a month in the mid 1980s.

The article from CNN listed these majors as the ones graduates most regret:

PERSONAL FINANCE

The top 10 most-regretted college majors — and the degrees graduates wish they had pursued instead

PUBLISHED SAT, NOV 12 20228:00 AM EST
Jessica Dickler. https://www.cnbc.com/2022/11/12/the-top-10-most-regretted-college-majors.html

The article states that people who make more money are more satisfied with their majors. Who’d have thunk it? Read the article HERE to find out what the top 10 favorite majors are.

What was your major? Would you select something else if you had a chance?

Testing my Bird Buddy

Bird Buddy smart bird feeder

My Bird Buddy arrived.

My son told me about Bird Buddy. The company he works for helped get it off the ground. It took more than a year to arrive due to supply chain issues.

I was almost ready to give up on it. I ordered one for myself and one for my dad — for last year’s Christmas presents. Now it’s here in time for this year’s Christmas.

I had difficulty with the assembly. Putting one little screw in the back of the camera to fasten it to the bird feeder got the better of me. I have shaky hands so I asked my husband to give it a try. He was able to get it done.

Also, the solar panel roof had to be plugged into the camera but the space was so tiny that my fingers got in the way. I managed after many tries.

Screenshot from the Bird Buddy website.

What so special about Bird Buddy? It’s a smart bird feeder that takes photos of birds who come to visit. It also identifies them. You can live stream from your phone, too. It sends notifications when visitors arrive. Plus, I ordered mine with a solar roof, so I shouldn’t have to take it inside to charge it.

One way to describe a Bird Buddy is a bird feeder with a solar powered Ring Camera.

Now all I need are some bird visitors.

Bird Buddy box

This is the box it came in. It was mostly assembled except for the two things I mentioned above. I had to charge the camera and pair it with my iphone. That went smoothly.

Live stream from Bird Buddy

This is a screenshot of a livestream from my phone. The Bird Buddy looks back at our home. It’s a pretty good camera. Come on birds — I’m waiting.

Have you ever heard of a smart bird feeder before? Have you ever participated in crowdfunding? For what type of product?

Gila woodpecker in my bird buddy

My first visitor. A Gila Woodpecker. Of course. They are bully birds that drain the nectar from my hummingbird feeder, create nests in our saguaro and scare other birds away.

What is going on Arizona?

Olive doesn't like it when I leave
When the suitcase comes out, Olive isn’t happy.

I was so excited about voting for the first time in Arizona. But now I’m not happy. As of Thursday, less than 70% of the ballots have been counted.

We don’t know the outcome. I remember knowing who won elections by 8 or 9 p.m. for decades.

There were 70 out of 223 polling places that had issues with tabulators and printers. How did that happen?

Unfortunately, I am losing confidence in the election results. I wish they’d at least give hourly updates of the vote count. But they are releasing one vote count at 6 p.m. each day. Then to confuse things even more, some reporters are releasing counts, but where are they getting the information? All day Wednesday they counted and they only added 6% to the vote count. Now Maricopa County announced they have 400,000 outstanding ballots and won’t finish counting them until sometime next week!

What is going on?

Do you have confidence in your state elections? Were there any snafus or weird stuff going on like in Arizona?

Two more thoughts

Utah and UW friends

My BFF from the University of Washington and me during one of her visits to our home.

Without my friends I would have been lost.

I’m talking about my recent visit with my mom. In case you missed it, I wrote about it HERE. It was difficult to find my mom in skilled nursing and to see how drastically she’s aged since my last visit.

I stayed with my best friend from college who lives six miles from my mom’s assisted living. Lots of times I stay in a small hotel close by. It’s not that nice, but affordable. It was so much better to come back each day to my friends’ comfy house and not be alone.

My BFF’s husband loves to cook and he shopped and prepared my favorite foods. The first night he made steamed clams, garlic bread and a delicious salad. Last time I visited, we went to Pike Place Market and I bought clams, which he cooked. They remembered how much I enjoyed them which was touching. I suppose they didn’t forget after I kept asking if they wanted the clams on their plates! They surrendered them to me.

steamed clams from Pike Place Market

It was so comforting to not stay by myself and to be able to relax and talk with close friends each day and tell them about my mom. I don’t know what I would have done without them.

The power of music.

One day my mom was kind of out of it. When I walked into her room, she was asleep. She woke up and said “Who are you and what do you want?” I was standing over her bed. To be fair, she didn’t have her glasses on and was groggy.

I got her out of bed and helped her sit in a chair while I sat on her walker. I turned on the TV, but she wasn’t interested and stared down at her hands.

I remembered my brother told me that she perked up listening to music. Mom was a coloratura soprano opera singer. My brother played her Joan Sutherland, a famous coloratura soprano, on his phone and he said Mom sang along with her. I played her favorite songs from Don McClean including Vincent, American Pie, And I Love You So, and Castles in the Air on my phone. She owned every one of McClean’s albums and played them over and over when I was a child.

After a few minutes of listening, my mom began to sing along. The music moved her and made her more alert. She focused on getting out of her chair to walk to her old room. I was amazed at the power of music and the effect it had on her.

“And I Love You So”

And I love you so
The people ask me how
How I’ve lived till now
I tell them “I don’t know”

I guess they understand
How lonely life has been
But life began again
The day you took my hand

And yes I know how lonely life can be
The shadows follow me
And the night won’t set me free
But I don’t let the evening get me down
Now that you’re around me

And you love me too
Your thoughts are just for me
You set my spirit free
I’m happy that you do

The book of life is brief
And once a page is read
All but love is dead
This is my belief

And yes I know how loveless life can be
The shadows follow me
And the night won’t set me free
But I don’t let the evening bring me down
Now that you’re around me

And I love you so
The people ask me how
How I’ve lived till now
I tell them “I don’t know”

One of my mom’s all time favorite artists and songs.

What are your thoughts about the power of friendships and the power of music? Do you have any examples of how they’ve added to your life?

Why was my daughter so annoyed with me?

My kids not wanting me to take their pic.
My kids not wanting me to take their pic.

I wrote this years ago, when I was visiting my mom in assisted living near Seattle. After visiting Mom last week, I wanted to repost this.

Why is my daughter so annoyed with me?

I understand how she feels. After all, I was once 19 years old. I remember it very clearly.

When I was that age, everything my mom did, I found unbelievably annoying.

I’ll never forget sitting with her in the car, getting ready to shop at Bellevue Square. She had parked the car. She was fumbling through her purse, making sure she had what she needed. She reapplied her lipstick. Dug through her purse for her wallet to look through credit cards. Searched several times to check where she placed the keys.

Mom and me in the early 90s, big perm.
Mom and me in the early ’90s Like my perm? My mom’s curls are natural.

Would we never leave the car? Would I be stuck all day? I must have said something to her quite snippy or flat out mean. A few tears rolled down her cheeks. Which made me more upset with her.

Isn’t it a sad feeling, transitioning from a mom who could do no wrong—from changing diapers, to cooking their favorite spaghetti, to taping treasured colorings on the fridge that were made just for you—to being the person of their abject disdain?

It’s a tough new role. Let me tell you.

But, having gone through these feelings myself, I understand. I’m visiting my mom this week in her assisted living center. I talked about it with her, what I’m going through now, and what I felt like when I was 19. Fortunately, she doesn’t remember me ever being a snarky 19-year-old.

For some reason, I’ve gained more patience throughout my life and that has been a blessing. I’ve also learned forgiveness.

Something else I’ve learned through years of parenting — this too shall pass.

It’s called independence and freedom. We want our children to grow and become separate human beings who can stand on their own. They need to separate from us. A good time to do that is during their senior year of high school, or their freshman year of college. They need to. I keep telling myself that.

However, we also want to be treated with respect, and once again—someday—to be cherished.

A beach day with my daughter.
A beach day with my daughter.

Have your children been annoyed with you? Do you remember being annoyed with your parents? What were the reasons why?

Use it or lose it

This was my lunch at Sushi Oto, where I used to go with my mom.

My mom wasn’t in her room when I arrived at her assisted living facility.

Her name was still on the door. Her things were inside. I took a quick roam around to the dining room and living rooms to see if I could find her.

I stopped at a nurses’ station and was informed that she was upstairs in “Skilled Nursing.”

My brother had told me that they were going to move her there eventually. He fought against it for two years. But I didn’t know they finally moved her. She had fallen several times, she wasn’t walking and she’s incontinent — so she went to the next level of care.

When she first moved in, she was in a two-bedroom apartment on campus that didn’t have help. Then she was moved into a studio room when she need more help with daily tasks.

I found her upstairs in the skilled nursing floor. The rooms are all the same. Two hospital beds with a curtain in between.

Her roommate came out from behind the curtain, wearing nothing but adult diapers. I mean stark naked except for pull ups. She spoke gibberish and my mom dove under her blankets to hide.

I went to the nurses station and said, “The woman in my mother’s room is talking to me and I don’t understand what she needs.”

“Oh, don’t mind her. She has severe Alzheimer’s. I’ll send someone to check on her,” the attendant said.

Two staff members came in and profusely apologized to me as the naked geriatric patient was standing at my side.

“Miss Helen, where are your clothes?” she was asked.

They moved her back to her side of the curtain and got her dressed.

My mom needs physical help, but mentally she is not as far gone as most of the people I saw on the skilled nursing floor. She has trouble with short term memory but enjoys laughing and has a great sense of humor.

During my last visit, we played croquet and I took her out to lunch for sushi. We played cards in the card room, went to Bingo and chair yoga. This visit, she demanded that I take her back to her old room. I told her if she could walk to the elevator, I would take her there. She walked about ten yards with her walker and said, “I can’t do it.”

What a reminder for me to get out and move. I’m heartbroken at how quickly my mom has aged since my last visit.

When our parents age, do you find it heartbreaking too?