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Straight off the CATWALK in ROAM..

Vague Issue 1

Posted 12 years, 9 months ago at 5:42 am.

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No stopping RuthDear Diary,

I’m running into behavioral problems with Ruth. First of all she REFUSES to act like a Grandmother and I have to repeatedly ask her to slump a bit more when she walks because if she does, my posture will no longer resemble that of an orangutan comparatively. Maybe people might actually think that she’s fragile and needs to be seated at the restaurant ASAP if she were to stop throwing her bless-ed shoulders back and holding her head up as if there was a string attached to it anchored to the heavens above. Also we need to work on the social graces. Tone it down. Stop it with the whole.. huge toothy smile, bright eye routine with the added “pleased to meet you” hand shake (Strong hand shake.) For the Love of GOD Woman! It’s NOT working for us RUTH! People have expectations of an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s especially one who’s had it for..fifteen years..and NEWS FLASH. You’re not meeting them.

How do I reward this NEGATIVE behavior? I go shopping for my quasi elderly mother-in-law at Loehmans. That’s what I do. Pretty much everything left hanging in her closet is:

A. Not HERS. I think it’s Blanche’s stuff. I remember the day she and Ruth tried to escape Happy Daze Assisted Living and Blanche was wearing this exact, chartreuse rayon pant suit.

B. Dyed the previously mentioned* nasty Breast fed babies NUMBER TWO yellow color by staff.

C. Has shrunk from size 12 to size 4. This one is sketchy because I actually think Ruth has ballooned from size 12 to a size 16, but I would NEVER tell her that. So, THEY SHRUNK..GOT IT?

There is something in the smell of brand new clothes that makes Ruth absolutely giddy; almost bordering on a kind of “high”(which for the record I know NOTHING about). Even now, when I go shopping I make sure not to inhale. I went into Loehmans focused on the task that lay before me; find Ruth sweaters and tops.. in a size X-Large ironclad pastel. “Ummm how about this?” I coo to myself as I hold up this seasons Black Dolce Corset and white pants. Puuur-fect. This could work..where could I wear it. “He-l-l-o maze I help oow?” I look up to see this tall blond sales woman doing the quick ass-essment of yours truly. “No..I umm.. I’m looking for my mother-in-law today.” “What does SHE DO?” comes the reply. I don’t blame her.

Ruth was thrilled with her new accouterments. I showed up with a full shopping bag of nifty goodies. This was enough to send her over the moon. The best part? The cutting (ripping/pulling) of the cords and the announcement and discussion of sale price obtained versus what I might have paid regularly. I tend to OVERSTATE a tad just for dramatic flair.

May I remind all the lovely ladies of MY SANDWICH GENERATION that “The better they look..the better we FEEL..the better THEY feel.” Ruth has always been one to take great pride in how she looks. Her outward appearance always matched her inside fabric (total beauty, grace and dignity.) With this in attention, on top of everything else, goes to seeing that Ruth looks the way she would want to look if she were 100% cognizant. Hmmm. Maybe she won’t like that Dolce corset after all and it will be mine..ALL mine!

Click. Flash.


*Please see blog: When Bad Clothes Happen to Good People

Posted 12 years, 9 months ago at 4:28 am.


Full E Cupped

Full CupsDear Diary,

I think Marilyn Monroe’s measurements were something like 36-24-36. We really can’t be 100% sure if the “girls” were enhanced or not, but legend has it that she was just one of those with incredible genetic karma. No stuff, puff or done naturally. Just like US. Hey. BOTOX is a natural substance.

Ruth is also one of those “natural” beauties. She’s never been one to flaunt it in your face, she just quietly works it so that everyone is aware of her “high hottie-ness.” Ruth also has never had any (much) work done and let me tell you..there is not ONE woman at Happy Daze Assisted Living who wouldn’t give her dentures to look like her. Alzheimer’s is extremely inconsequential when you look like..AACK! WHAT ARE THOSE! “Holy Mother of Pam where did these come from?” I’m fixated on two humongous mountains of boobage protruding from Ruth’s chest and before I can stop myself, I’ve got one in each hand.. coping a feel like nobodies business. “What do you have in here?” I say, baffled by what I might possibly find. “I don’t know what I have..I don’t think anythings any different then what it’s been for the last eighty-two years.” Uhhh..Believe me, you have never had a 62 inch chest.

Time for you dear mothers of MY SANDWICH GENERATION to have a nice visual. I’m standing in the hallway and Jo and Roger (casually dating) are chillin’ on a bench watching the fish do..whatever it is they do. I am reaching down Ruth’s Lavender, short sleeve, button down chambray shirt, pulling balled up socks..yes..socks out of her brassiere. One pair, two pairs, three, oh come on.. four.. and that’s just on the LEFT. Over on the right (where there usually lives a gel filled prosthetic) is nothing pair, two etc. I’m throwing them on the floor and trying not to experience what the majority of residents do on a regular basis..incontinence, because I’m laughing so hard thus increasing my risk.

After gathering up all the laundry we head back to Granny’s abode in search of previously mentioned “filled cutlet” to re-insert back into Ruth’s now deflated under-thing. I don’t ever remember the game of hide and seek being as challenging as it is when it’s “Grandma’s” turn to hide. I start with the obvious places..potted plant, pillow case (you never know..maybe she used it to cradle her neck.) and hand bags. I even looked in the garbage can, reasoning that maybe she pulled it out of her bra and thought it was stuffing to keep her bra well shaped and chucked it. “AH HA!” I win! Guess where it was?

I know better than to allow my kids’ shirts and pants into the laundry machine without checking the insides for treasures or tissue or ROCKS. Ruth’s lovely $250 “treasure” was neatly stashed away in the dirty clothes pile, folded up in..drum roll..a DEPENDS Undergarment bag. Best hiding place EVER.. except maybe the time my little brother Ja..uh, ne-v-er mind.

May your cup always be half FULL!


Posted 12 years, 9 months ago at 9:18 pm.

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Cut Out DollDear Diary,

Today was out to lunch day with Ruth’s BFF’s. These are the amazing “we knew her when” girls. They pinkie swore to be together forever.. through thick or thin and they sure as heck weren’t about to let a little Alzheimer’s STAND in THEIR way. No. There would be no wavering from their solemn pre-teen twelve year old promise, to do the monthly lunch and analysis. Sure, the analysis part or the conversation has changed a bit, from: “Did YOU see that man Sylvia was with? I think his name is Ted. I heard he’s quite the dresser; an amazing guy in..bridge. Now, it’s more apt to sound like: ” You recall who Sylvia married? I think his name was Fred. Well, he married a girl MUCH younger and now he’s nearly dead.”

I look back fondly on that song from Girl Scouts that we used to sing at Camp We-pee-woods? We’d raise our young soulful voices in unison, as we sat around the fire scorching marshmallows..”Make new friends, but keep the ol-d-d-d. One is sil-ver and the o-th-er’s gold.” We’d sing it again.. over and over. Each refrain with even more strength and conviction than the next. It touched us deeply and then we were OVER it. It’s amazing the killer instinct that surfaces when fifteen girls are forced to compete for three sinks?

This latter instinct is alive and well over at Camp Dementia. One minute Ruth’s all “Wanda is my new best friend. We sit for hours pouring out our hearts to one another about very deep and personal issues.” Fast forward one hour, “I can’t STAND that WANDA..who does she think SHE is anyway? All she talks about is her son the doctor this..and her son the doctor that.”

ME: (stupidly) So, why don’t you talk about your kids? (Here I go, setting myself up for the ego buster blow to the chops.)

RUTH: Why? What have THEY done? They’re NOT doctors.

Already, I know I am not going to win this. If there is one thing I have learned over the years is DO NOT approach a detonated TIME BOMB. I have a little feeling that this might escalate if I don’t go in for the diffuse and dash. How can I describe this’s a little like that game we used to play in the days when we could run around in our neighborhoods UN-supervised without threat of kidnapping. The game was called DING DONG DITCH.

“Ruth! Lets go get dressed to see Barb and Bell?” Good..she’s taking the bait. Slowly granny shuffles down the hall, but luck is not with us today. Guess who’s set to pass us on the right? Harriet.. arch nemesis to the Ruthster. The-day-just-got Suck-ier. Feh!

I’m not sure how the black with white stripe sweater got over Ruth’s head but it was not going to come off. I’m sweating and pulling and stretching that knit to try and gently inch it over big hair girl to NO AVAIL. Ruth has her hands up in the air with her face covered by garment and guess who walks in? Yup!

It was a nice sweater may it R.I.P. I ended up having to CUT Ruth out of it.

Ah..the joys of eldercare are to numerous to count.

Girlfriends of MY SANDWICH GENERATION we have to pinkie swear..right here and now..that we promise to stick together forever and ever. Let’s always look out for one another and make each other giggle..not only during the peaks..but in the deepest valleys. Together we can face adversity and remember to look for the sweetness in all that we do.

You’re all precious GOLD!


Posted 12 years, 10 months ago at 9:48 pm.

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Sleeping..Doughnut Disturb

DoughnutsDear Diary,

Ruth is the Paris Hilton of the Dementia floor; if there’s a good party, Granny will be there…if there isn’t one then she’ll m-a-k-e one happen around her. It really makes no difference if all the OTHER residents are asleep in their beds.. all it takes is a loud knock on her girlfriend’s doors or a shout out, “WHERE IS EVERYBODY?” at 2:00 am, to get the party STARTED. If they don’t come out then she’s going in and kick those grannies into full gear. Then it’s all lampshades on heads and whooping and hollering (table dancing is a thing of the past..not too distant past I hear for FAYE) and the joint is in full swing. This can go on till the wee hours of the morning and then it’s the WALK OF SHAME back down the hall to find the right BEDROOM. This can be as difficult for Ruth as it is for Paris..but RUTH has an EXCUSE.. Sundowning. I would actually rename this term Sunupping, because no respectable diva/ rock-star would be caught a party that starts before 7:00pm. I guess the term is used for the people who like to start the party early..a little pre-game confusion (understandable given agonizing decisions made over shoes and dress) that continues throughout the night (also understandable given difficult venue choices..Shirley’s room first then Greta’s? Marie’s at 1:00am followed by Nancy’s at 3:00am?).

Let’s be clear that Ruth doesn’t do this every night. How could she and still look so fab in the morning? It’s too bad that her roommates look exhausted..dark circles under bloodshot eyes and all hung over and half asleep on their walkers. They shuffle in to the dining room complaining all the while of the lights being too bright and their table mates breathing being too loud. When I walk in it’s one collective GGGRRROOOAAAN! Thanks guys..nice warm greeting whats the matter two hours NOT ENOUGH sleep for you?
Ruth can pull these all nighters just like a pro and the up side is no paparazzi snapping photos on cell phones. Just the aides, journaling away all the exploits of my Ruth and her wild ways.

Sisters of MY SANDWICH GENERATION many of you pledged sororities at one time or another. I was a Sigma Kappa; Ruth’s a Gramma Pi Dementia. Really what is the difference? Nothing beats an all nighter..we laughed, joked and gossiped and in the morning we’d get dressed for class, grab some coffee and doughnuts and get on with the day. Ruth’s “HOUSE” for the SENIOR GRAMMA pledges, is not such a bad way of life. Plus, just like us..they never remember that it ever happened.



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Posted 12 years, 10 months ago at 5:37 pm.

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