Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I could be in a funk, but I'm not. I'm trying to look honestly at myself and what I am doing and not doing. What I have done and not done. Mostly with respect to my job search.
- I was given the opportunity to meet up with a venture capitalist to figure out how to get a job in a startup that was a little farther along and needed staff. I took several days (or was it a week?) to get back to him with information. Shoot myself in the foot.
- I go to networking events and don't convey passion or energy.
- I've written very boring cover letters.
- I'm passive - or rather too passive to get myself a job.
Oh, there's more I'm sure, but I have to go make money!

And speaking of funky - plants in the Joshua Tree desert. Not sure what it is!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

And, get this! They even let you....

Have pets!
NOT have sex. Though I'm sure that's not forbidden...

We have successfully found a solution (short term) for my mom. She will be staying at a Sunrise facility in the assisted living section. It's so nice to have a happy solution after MUCH craziness. One facility wanted to place her in the memory care ward/reminiscence ward/make up your own euphemism and had no rooms in that area. This one placed her in regular assisted living with supports. So, she will be there for a month, and then we'll figure out what to do then.

My sister was telling me this morning about the facility and how nice people were. She mentioned the strange sight of a group of 4 or five people (4 women and 1 guy) sitting around the table. They were playing poker (thankfully not strip poker). In the middle of this the priest comes around. The game stops for a moment and each person gets communion and the game resumes. Funny.

After that story my sister said with much excitement, and get THIS! They even let you have xxx. I swear I heard the latter and had to ask again. I just laughed and laughed.

So, things are good for at least a couple weeks. Then, we figure out what happens from there. But short term she gets what she needs. And my brother got to go home after spending 10 days providing nonstop care. I can't even imagine. My involvement was half of what his was and I was exhausted. My sister told me the story of their Thursday night. She and my two nieces sat around the dinner table, each of them crying. Obviously it's been stressful on everyone. My sister took them to the beach on Friday which was good for all of them.

Happy weekend!

Monday, May 23, 2011

This is Not the Story You Think it Is...
A Season of Unlikely Happiness
a memoir
Laura Munson

I quoted something from this last week or the week before. The story of a different approach to adversity. A specific adversity - her husband saying he wanted to leave her. It was interesting to read this approach and to compare it to how I might have reacted, and how many others might have reacted. I don't know how I feel about it quite honestly. What she did required much patience and understanding, and to live in that moment and keep that in mind is a tremendous challenge.

Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead
The Frank Meeink Story as told to Jody M. Roy

It was great to read this as I was home dealing with my mom. Such hardship he lived with - a great steadying book for me. In a weird sense.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I have 7 minutes

I'm allowing myself 7 minutes to write this. :-)

Flying back last night I thought of all the things I wanted to say here.

How I stepped back from thinking about her as my mom so I could stay together to do what needed to be done.

How I don't really know her all that well, as a person. At least from speaking with her. Conversation isn't a big thing in my family. But I know that she's the type of person that shares her box of oranges with the downstairs neighbor because she knows what they do to help her. I know that when the neighbor called their insurance to cover their beeehinds (I asked them if they had turned off the light in the basement because that what my mom said and wondered if she knew what was going on. The guy admitted it.) there's no way she would ever think to try and sue them. Even that night she said it wasn't their fault. And it wasn't. I know that she keeps all birthdays and anniversaries in mind for everyone she knows and sends cards (or at least used to). I know that she's stubborn and proud, and that that makes this all difficult. I know she's scared.

And so am I. I almost started crying on the plane last night, but instead I cleared my mind by reading the 400 page romance novel I had bought in the airport as a treat to myself. Finished it just as we were landing.

I really don't know how seniors keep everything straight. It's making all our minds spin with everything that's going on.

I know that she has 6 kids who love her and who are working together to find a solution. As the visiting nurse said, far too many older people have noone, either at all , or who cares.

And we continue to work on solutions.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Joining the club

I have a profound respect not only for my sister but also for all the people who work full time beyond their normal life to take care of an aging parent.

I'm in NJ helping out my mother. I originally came to offer support to my sister, but the night I arrived I stopped at my sister's to say hello, and just as I was leaving she got a call from my mom's neighbor - my mom had fallen in the basement.

Two days later she is home. Oh, she broke a bone in her hand, so she has a splint. Boy, it's hard learning to navigate all the systems and taking care of your life while doing so. I haven't worked since I left CA (and thus I don't get paid). Hospitals throw old people for loops, so it's been hard seeing my mom so out of it - no knowing where she was, etc. Luckily she always has known who I was.

Now the bigger questions come of what's her next phase in life. I've talked to a number of doctors and two social workers, and still not sure what's happening. We want to give her time at home to see how she does, and then figure out level of support - be it 24 hour, or whether it can be less. Gotta look into Lifeline. "help, I can't get up!"

It's been two overwhelming days, and thank goodness there's six of us. I can't imagine doing all this by myself.

But, now I have to sleep since I have no idea when my mom will get up and thus I'll need to get up.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cupcake Karma

A second weekend in Yosemite, climbing with a friend. We just finished a short climb and packing up to head home, and a woman chats us up to learn about climbing. Soon after she comes over and hands us two tangelos from her friend's tree. Cupcake Karma! I very much prefer tangelos over cupcakes. They really are wonderful. If you've never had one (and I have never had one before this past month) they are worth trying to find and try. Yum.

One day we did a 5 pitch climb, with the first and last pitches being a 5.8. It was my choice to do that 5.8 finish on a 5.6 climb. It looked doable. A little while later, picture me, standing on a small bump on the rock, shuffling weight back and forth, holding on to a small hold, 10-15 feet above my last piece, no places for gear within reach. Move one foot and a hand to the right, shift weight, become really scared, move back. Shake out one leg. Shake out the other. Move one foot and hand to the left, become really scared, move back.

I stood there for at least 20 minutes doing this. My partner was mostly silent and let me just try to figure out what to do. He offered the suggestion of moving left. It had the best footing, but it was a high step and the hold I'd be reaching for wasn't all that good. He suggested down climbing. I looked down and thought about it, but realized I likely couldn't do it without falling, or so I thought.

So, the choice was either up or down. Try a move, or jump off and do a controlled fall.

Given that choice, I had to try.

And I made it.

Yes, I do this for fun. It still amazes me sometimes that that is the case. But it is true.

And, oh, that roofie area at the end that he said had so much gear? Nope. Not so much. One decent nut, and that was it. But, I did the weird traverse heel hook flop onto belly move and made it. To find, again, no gear. At that point I was just like 'what the hell?' and just went to the top.

I don't normally drink after exercising (climbing/skiing/etc) but this day was an exception. Pint of beer and a blueberry lemonade that turned into a lemonade with vodka. Nice buzzzz...

I must admit when I heard the rain in the middle of the night, my first thought was "oh, good, I don't have to climb tomorrow".

But of course we did... :-)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Marie Curie Zombie

From the web page xkcd.com.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Ding-dong mom

As my sister likes to call her, recently.

So, my mom has decided it's ok to walk half a mile to the store despite the fact that she used to rarely make it around the block. Or despite the fact that the last time she walked to the store she was 10 years younger.

First time she did it she was spaced out for days. My sister called her one day and my mom had never gotten out of her PJ's and didn't know when she ate and it was 5:00 pm or so.

Second time, yesterday, she fell and was sent to the emergency room and got 10 stitches and a broken nose. Thankfully she had her cell phone which we had saved 'Emergency' number.

So, I'm going next Wed for a week to see if I can help set up a situation that works for her. Hopefully she's been scared straight a little. We don't need her falling and breaking her hip either at home or outside.

If you have any ideas for solutions, I'm open to them! So far I have:
- have a bulletin board with days of the week and what she's doing
- set up a ride in the van to the senior center Mon,Wed,Fri where she can get a cheap lunch (trouble is, she has to go from 8-1)
- she currently takes a van Tues/Thurs to go volunteer at a thrift store.
- teach her to take naps in the afternoon
- have her carry her cell all the time on her person, and charge it every night
My siblings and I each have a day to call her 3x a day to make sure she has eaten.

She needs to stay at home as long as possible, or at least the next 6 months. It would be too hard to move into assisted living right now.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Books seek you out or you seek them?

"While we're being cynical, let me add here that yes, I am well aware that there is far worse suffering than this. And yes, 'tis true that I grew up in tennis whites at a fancy-ass Chicago country club, went to a New England prep school, and was a debutante, for that matter. But I'm here to tell you that those things don't make it any easier to be happy. Not happy in the way I mean happy. Not free. In fact, those things can make it easier to pretend that you're happy. There's suffering in pretending. Suffering is a relative term, and is only as important as it ultimately pertains to you--that is, if we want to change the world. And I do. But before we can do that, we have to start with what we can control and be responsible for, and that's good ol' number one."

This is Not the Story You Think it Is...
A Season of Unlikely Happiness
a memoir

Laura Munson

Monday, May 2, 2011

You can always regret something

But as you know, I try to choose not to.

So, this weekend I was in Yosemite, and had leftover cupcakes from the birthday celebration for my friend’s wife. I was going to bring them all home to M, but noticed a bunch of climbers sorting gear either before or after doing El Capitan. I walked over: “This is going to sound kind of weird, but I was wondering if you wanted some cupcakes.” They were ALL over them. One guy said he wished he had his camera to capture the moment. I felt bad for one dude who didn’t want one. He may have been vegetarian or vegan or gluten free, and I should have offered him an orange or a gluten free brownie that I happened to have in the car. Ah well, at least a couple enjoyed.

Other moments from the weekend:
- did ONE 2-3 pitch climb that should have taken 2 hours and it took us 4-5 because of the incredibly slow climbers ahead of us. Apparently they timed the woman breaking down the belay station and it took her 30 minutes just to do that. I was waiting there to set up the anchor to bring people up, so I didn't notice. But my god, that's a long time. But, at least there's amazing views while you sit and wait. It was a great climb btw, and also we benefitted because they had just set up the rappel (through a stream/waterfall) and they let us use their rope. My friends were very uptight by that point because their wives had given them 4 hours or so away from the kids and it ended up being 6. Below are the irritated men.

- a bear broke into someone's car at the campsite near us
- apparently rock fell in the middle of the night (spring freeze/thaw cycle)
- it was rather surreal to hear the grind of the big garbage truck heading towards the dumpster, the lifting of the dumpster, the big bang bang bang, and lowering of the dumpster interspersed with blaring music: John Denver singing Leaving on a Jet Plane.

And finally,,,

I can regret not checking the lens to see if it was dirty so I wouldn't have had the fuzzy spot in the photo, but then my picture is unique... A study in contrasts, that's it!!!