Thursday, January 31, 2013

Coconut Oil Revisited

Take time to view  Tradition of Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil video. These are the people I buy our coconut oil from and their video is informative. Loving Your Guts blog is giving away expensive coconut oil here. Go there soon to enter. I also have a link to Tropical Traditions at the bottom right of this blog.

Here is a research link from Dr. Mary Newport, where I first got this information. Happy Birthday, Dr. Newport--today is her birthday!
Use Wih Oatmeal, Stews, Casseroles
If there is something I can put coconut oil in, I usually do. My adaptation for coconut oil toasted cheese sandwiches on this blog has had many hits as has Mary Newport's information. .

My Station Where I Put Make Coconut Fudge

Most often now, however, I just make coconut oil fudge from Dr. Newport's book. This fudge is my husband's "go to" food for breakfast and for lunch. I give him two cubes at each meal. Sometimes he gets some with his ice cream at night as well. It is half dark chocolate chips (dark chocolate is an antioxidant) and Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil. After melting together equal amounts of the two ingredients in the microwave, I mash with a potato masher and put in ice cube trays. Once frozen, I pop out the cubes and store in the refrigerator. I have a "station" (concept from The House That Cleans Itself)  for making it in my kitchen.

This oil calms my husband and perhaps slows down the Alzheimer's. It is controversial, but finally Johnny Byrd Alzheimer's Center is doing research on it. When this center first diagnoised my husband, they smiled at my use of it--like I am crazy. Now they are doing a research study. Yes, my husband is slowly going downhill, but maybe not as much as you would expect.

Coconut oil has all kinds of benefits, not just for Alzheimer's patients. It apparently is an antibiotic. My copy of The Coconut Oil Miracle is loaned out and for good reason.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Troubling Quote

Saw in a classroom
Not my problem,
not my business,
nothing to do with me.  

Have you heard this one? So many live by this philosophy. Then cancer strikes. Then Alzheimer's strikes. Then a loved one dies. Or is missing.
Sure it's true we cannot take on the problems of this world. We are limited  with time and resources.
The LORD is not limited in resources. Sometimes we are the resources that help. At the very least we can have a prayer list and remember others in prayer. Philippins 2:4 reads, Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

LORD, help me to care as you care for this world and its problems.  Give me heart. Put wings to my care also. Amen.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Junk Bunkers Don't Belong in The House That Cleans Itself

Junk bunkers kill progress. It's the truth. You think it looks neat, but you DO have to go through what is in them. Here are some of my junk bunkers I am no longer using on my husband's pool table.

Not Going to Use These
Quick! I got them off of the cleaned pool table. In the background at the top right on the floor you can barely see two black hanging folders boxes that I actually use in teaching. Those black hanging folders contain back-up plans should my LCD projector break or the electricity go out while I am teaching a class.

Here are some pictures from stores that sell junk bunkers.


Hobby Lobby

I also posted a picture of junk bunkers from Staples on December 4th. Sometimes I bought those junk bunkers from such stores. I think that maybe Flylady coined that term, but often I got them from yard sales thinking I had a real "find"! You certainly cannot dust them!

Just wait until I tackle Area # 7 of  our home--the guest bedroom. I always use it for junk, and when we have company I hide the junk elsewhere. Why before his Alzheimer's my husband built shelves on the wall for my junk baskets! How unsightly! Like our master bedroom, Area # 4, the guest bedroom will take a lot of time. I am embarrassed to show you, but I will show the before pictures when the after pictures are done for Area #7. Please be patient with me, because I do work outside the home--4 1/2 days substituting in public schools next week and then Saturday teaching six hours of a class for DUI offenders. (So glad that I can work when I want to or need to for income.)

By the way, Area # 6, the Dining room and Family Room, is as done as can be now. Again the carpets need to be cleaned, and I would like to have the fireplace inspected for safety because in the 12 years we have lived here we have never had a fire in it, although hubby says we have. Alzheimer's twists your memory.

It was a pleasure to have company last week. I showed the dining room table in the private Facebook group for The House That Cleans Itself. You need to be dedicated to your home to get into that Facebook group and it helps to read the book. The new edition of this book will be coming out  in February and I will review it on this blog.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Interview of My Husband

From Pinterest

One of the reasons I appreciate Joe so much over at his blog (see Carol's blogging friends), is that he lets me know how it is for him with his Alzheimer's. Now this disease is different for everyone who has it, but Joe gives me a clue. I have reviewed his book here and here and together we worked on guidelines here.

So here is an interview of my husband on Thursday. Hubby was scheduled to go to our chiropractor because his knee  cap popped out on Monday. He even had to be wheeled into the chiropractor's office on Monday and had trouble getting off his spot on the couch later on Monday.

Today was the follow-up appointment. I came home from substitute teaching at 3:30 and said he had 45 minutes to shower and shave. 45 minutes later neither was done. He  forgot about the appointment even with gentle reminders. Finally he went into our bedroom to get ready, changing his clothes, shaving and freshening up. I called the chiropractor to say we would be late and drove him there. Next I took him for a haircut.

We went to dinner at a long-time Plant City diner, Snellgroves, across the street from the above sign.  A meal out seems to be the best way to talk with him and I wanted to interview my husband. I just got the salad bar and he got meatloaf, mashed potatoes and the salad bar, my choice for him as he always has me choose. Steaks will be too tough for him especially when we reheat the meal at home and so we have mashed potatoes and meatloaf in the frig now. Rarely does he finish a meal any more. He did eat his salad at the diner, and as usual had ice cream when he came home--legendary treat for Alzheimer's patients I am told.

At the diner he observed my pad of paper. It's for my seminary paper on caregiving, I said. It is, but it is also for this blog. He has superficial knowledge that I am doing my counseling dissertation on caregiving and no idea about this four-year-old blog. So here is the interview with DH--dear husband for short.

Thursday Night

Me: Are you aware that I am both your wife and your caregiver?

DG: Yes, if you say so. You are my wife.

Me: Do I make sense to you?

DH: Yes. (He of late often says that I don't make sense and say too much at once. I really have to be disciplined when I talk with him. The schedule on his clipboard is really a big help.)

Me: What do you like about me? (Hoping for a real romantic answer here, folks, or at least that he likes his new DVD coffee table that I wrote about the last post.)

DH: You feed me.

Me: What do you think about my insisting you take pills.

DH: It's a pain in the ass!

Me: Yes, you forgot today. (I had to leave early to substitute in high school.)

DH: You didn't put it out. (I had it out for him and reminded him when I called him at noon.)

Me: Do you like how I am working on the house. (The House That Cleans Itself series on this blog)

DH: I have no complaints on the house. (Alzheimer's patients love their own home.)

Me: Do you have any questions to ask me?

DH: No.

Me: How do you feel about having short-term memory?

DH: I don't have any problems with my memory, but I'm tired just getting out in the car. . . . I'm in the time of my life where I want everything easy.

Me: Like not camping anymore?

DH: Camping drove me nuts.

Me: Do you want to give up mowing the lawn?

DH: Maybe so.

Me: Can you teach me to use the riding lawn mower?

DH: I don't want my wife to have to mow the lawn.  It's hard for me to get out and exert myself. How old am I?

Me: 75.  Do you want me to get someone to mow the lawn now?

DH: Yes. How old am I now?

Me: 75.

DH: I'm in good health. I don't see [Jake] as much as I would like to.

Me: You were with him at the Senior Center on Tuesday.

DH: I didn't remember.

Me: You go there with him every Tuesday.

DH: I am at that point in my life where what happens happens and I don't have to remember. (I think that this is brilliant. Wish that we all had that godly contentment!)

Me: You take it as it comes.

DH: I kick back and relax! I'd be lost without you.

Me: I'd be sad without you! You are so much more important than our dog Ziggy.

DH: It's amazing how much Ziggy interacts with us That's why I've always had dogs. It would be lonely without them. (I do not believe hubby will leave our home because we don't put a leash on Ziggy to walk him. We just take him out in our large fenced back yard. Also, since the crash in 2010 we do not own two cars now.)

This Morning

Me: When we went to dinner last night, you suggested we get someone to mow the lawn.
DH: No, I can mow the lawn. It's easy just sitting on the lawn mower to mow it. (So many times he forgets what he decides. Hmmm. That lawn! Oh well, it is Area # 9 to work on here, but those weeds are growing even in winter.)

I am off to substitute teach in a middle school today.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Status Report on The House That Cleans Itself

Hooray and hallelujah! Got Google pictures figured out! I can again download through my computer. You upload to the Picasa Web Album and then the the blog post. * 

Review. Last September I start applying steps from The House That Cleans Itself, by Mindy Starns Clark. Mrs. Clark sends 15 free books that I distribute to those who want a copy. One even gets mailed to Australia and one to Israel. Mrs. Clark suggests you prioritize your messes and make a map. I did this here, my first post in this series where you can actually see pictures of the house being transformed to one that is easier to clean.
Before Living Room
Today's report completes Area Five and begins Area Six. When I got the rest of the extra books out of the living room, Area Five, I put away a few Christmas decorations and dusted. Because there is no coat closet for guests in our home, I had two decorative hooks installed on either side of the piano where guests can hang up their coats.

After Living Room

I have put away my Swedish nativity scene on my sheet music stand which was up all year. I love Swedish things and have a Pinterest Board I share with a cousin called "Swedish Things". There are two angels left on the piano. Might change out what is on the piano from time to time. What needs to be finished in the living room? New mini-blinds and again the rug cleaned.  Time to play the piano more now!

Hot spot for catching things
Here you see "before pictures" of the family room/living room, Area Six. This long room has a fireplace and big TV on the living room end. The den is on the dining room side, with the kitchen/ laundry room jutting out from the dining area and a convenient door to the garage which houses our gas guzzler SUV. So clutter ends at this hub of the house as you can imagine. Fairly often I clean up the dining room table, but this pictured wall opposite the kitchen is a disaster currently.

When area is finished, let the entertaining begin! I can put out a buffet on a covered pool table and use the dining room table and card tables for places for people to sit.

On the other end of this long room is a very long seating area that used to be an L-shaped couch. The middle section was removed, and this useful but old couch includes a queen-size pull out bed useful for company. Recessed lights were added some time ago.

Unsafe "Coffee Table" by Hubby
Safety is a huge consideration for the Alzheimer's ready home. My husband watches a great deal of movies on our TV and our dog is right by his side. While I am gone hubby is able to operate the DVD and video players in the family room side of Area Six. Now his collection has grown considerably. It overflowed the small coffee table with the racks along side the coffee table.  Not a safe situation and I have been known to knock over a rack while hubby swears at the mess I have created. Should he become unstable on his feet when he gets up, he could fall and injure himself. He does not want to walk to a vertical stand to get a DVD. He wants it all there by him while he sits in his spot on a long couch. He even has a pillow in back and a pillow for his rear end. We will not change this. But the dog can be retrained. His water and food dish do not need to be in this area because someone could trip over them. .

Hubby and I were having breakfast on Saturday, January 12, at Buddy Freddy's, a local Plant City landmark. I asked him about his shabby coffee table and vertical racks overrun with DVDs. Would he like to check out Ikea furniture for another coffee table? He was agreeable. We went to Ikea in Tampa and he sat on a comfortable couch while I went shopping. (He knows he can call me on my cell if he needs something and he doesn't like walking.) I took a picture with my iPhone when I found what I thought we were looking for and went and showed him the picture. The furniture has two long shelves and I choose the black model. He said yes to my selection and after lunch, the box for his new coffee table was slid into our SUV. It is actually a stand for a TV, to be repurposed for hubby's coffee table.

Ikea solution for a coffee table/DVD storage
At 3:30 that Saturday we met our friends Sally and Jake for a movie in Plant City. After the movie Sally and Jake came over for an impromptu dinner that included Swedish meatballs from Ikea and coconut muffins I had made with coconut flour, coconut oil and dark chocolate. Jake put the wheels on hubby's new coffee table and then he came over for the day on Monday to work on it.

It turns out it was very complicated task to complete the assembly and Jake sort of gave up working on it I observed when I came home from substitute teaching that Monday. The pictured instructions were not written in Alzheimer's; two other languages were involved in the pictured instructions that did not include English words--Swedes designed it and Chinese manufactured it. You needed a lot of carpentry experience to put the dowels and screws in the right places. Wednesday Jake's son came over and finished the coffee table and a few other projects. We aren't telling Jake that his son finished the job, because of Jake's MPS. What is MPS? Male Pride Syndrome. With Jake's memory, he will just think he put our coffee table together and again we will thank him for his help and he did indeed help, the wonderful gentleman that he is. My husband is wonderful also, in that he will keep secret who really put this together. Hubby is already enjoying it as you see below. This is his furniture. Also below you see my paper clutter by the fireplace that I work on while hubby watches TV.

More Safe Coffee Table My Husband Loves
Now Tuesday in the middle of the coffee table being put together, we had the meltdown written about earlier. That day hubby decided that he no longer wanted to go to the Senior Center with Jake on Tuesdays. Jake could just always hang out at our house, hubby reasoned. Well hubby has forgotten about his meltdown and rebellion and yes indeed will continue to go with his buddy Jake to the Senior Center on Tuesdays. Problem solved.

When all the "hot spots" and clutter in the family room/dining Area 6 get solved and dusted, we will be ready to entertain for dinner and playing pool without my embarrassment. Yeah!


* Paying $2.49 a month to have more picture space. See

Dear Abby Goodbye

From S. F. Chronicle
Goodbye Abby!
A final letter to a dear lady
by Greg Asimakoupoulos
Used by permission*

News of your death has filled me with a bittersweet feeling
I'm glad you've been released from the bandit of dementia
that mercilessly robbed you of your memories and joie de vivre.
Nonetheless, I'm sad just the same.
Our world is less bright without your brilliant smile.

Thank you for a lifetime of advice giving
all the while taking the risk of being misunderstood.
You must have known from the start that speaking your mind
with the hope of touching another's heart has a price tag.

I started reading your column when I was just a kid.
As I recall, it's what got me started reading the newspaper to begin with.
I didn't always agree with you, but your concise and candid replies
were fun to read and taught me about responsibility and relationships.

Your columns modeled how to reach out to those who reach out to you.
With humor and insight, you found a way to benefit countless readers
while personally relating to a single individual.
Your winsome writing inspired me to do the same.

And so I keep trying.
Writing and reaching with the hope of helping others
while encouraging them to listen to their heart and do the right thing.
With fingers on the home row of my keyboard,
I peck away hunting to find the success that marked your life
Rest in peace, Pauline Phillips.
You were a dear, indeed!
Goodbye Abby!

A grateful reader.

* Used by permission from

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Father of Star of Les Miserables Has Advanced Alzheimer's

To read about Hugh Jackman's father having advanced Alzheimer's, click here. Hugh of course is a star in the "Les Miserables" movie.

I sent a note to Mr. Jackman (via George Vradenburg of USAgainstAlzheimer' on my Facebook page and have already received a thank you from Mr. Vradenburg.*

Amazing film, Les Miserables, and I loved the book years so so many years ago. Loved the musical movie, the images, the message of forgiveness and Hugh Jackman's acting.

Hubby and I saw this film in Plant City last Wednesday afternoon. It was only $6 a person and there were maybe five people in the theater including us. Not sure how much culture we have here in this Southern town or if it was just a bad time.

During the three hour movie hubby just kept asking when we were going to leave this movie. Something would happen in the film, and he would say is it over?  First he told me that I owed him four movie choices. Then he raised it to six movie choices that I owed him. I kept feeding us popcorn--not a good choice.

Hubby loves the idea of going to a movie, since he watches them at home. The problem in going to a theater with him is finding just the right movie for him. I thought "Lincoln" would work because he likes the History Channel, but he didn't like it.

This is where we are with Alzheimer's. Selecting movies is like selecting a meal at a restaurant. He always has me select. Easier to select meals than movies. Starting to select his clothes now also.


* If you are my Facebook friend, you can click on my Facebook link on my wall. Or you can click on "Like" Plant City Lady at top right and the link is on there as well. You do not have to be a Facebook friend to "Like" this blog on Facebook and then it will appear in your feed when a new post comes up in case you do not have a blog dashboard. (People who are following The House That Cleans Itself  most of whom have that book have a private Facebook group where I am posting pictures I can no longer post because Google doesn't take pictures from my computer any longer.)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Meltdown and Meditation

On rare occasions hubby gets really mad and then forgets about it the next day.  He even had me in tears by the end of Tuesday. His meltdown on Tuesday was about not wanting to go with Jake to the Senior Center. I could  also tell you in vivid details about the other two meltdowns with me since dementia came. One I wrote about here.

Anger goes with the territory of the loved one with dementia. I put a distress signal up on Facebook. The result was that my husband's ex called me and wanted to counsel me and I talked with her in another room away from my husband. It was so sweet that she called. She told me my husband used to be angry a lot in their 25 years of marriage. So maybe I can't blame it all on the Alzheimer's. It is the sin nature that we all have. When I came out of the room after the phone call to make dinner, my husband asked me if I were having an affair and I answered of course not.

Anger is in my husband.  I know this when we are in the car and I am driving. The traffic makes him so impatient. He swears--didn't when I married him.

Anger is in me. The students I substituted for on Thursday were difficult. My authority as the adult in charge meant nothing. I had two students fight in homeroom, and then the last period there was a theft of property and much rumbling. Today I go to an inner city school where my raps and good reputation do not work.  It seems the administrators do not handle problems at the school I am going to today. LORD, help me be the adult today when I substitute. This is the last day of midterms here and everyone is stressed.

The cold of winter is finally in Florida. Last night I started getting angry and told hubby that it hurt me when he promises things and doesn't do them. This was part of my distressed call on FB. (I hate it when others kvetch on FB, but I did it myself before I took my Facebook cry of distress off.) I yelled at hubby last night--very uncharacteristic of me.

Can't you remember to check your clipboard
and do the things on there?!

He had  forgotten his lunch again, and forgotten his shower. Furthermore he asked me to remind him to mow the lawn before the cold spell that we now have. Day after day he has forgotten to mow at least part of the lawn and gets angry when I suggest we hire someone to mow our 3/4 acre of grass. Can I ever get it through my head that with his dementia he can't remember? I hate the NAGGING WIFE I am.

Can I take my shower in the morning? he asked.

You will forget in the morning I snapped. He took his shower last night. He also put a dish in the dishwasher--something I can't remember he has ever done in our 13 years of marriage. I do not gloat at my short-lived victory, because it's me with the sin problem again.

"Get rid of all bitterness, rage anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you." Ephesians 4:31, 32

Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ.  Forgive MY anger. Thanks that you came to forgive me and help me. LORD, I need you. Help me be joyful today. In Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Beginning Area 5 of The House That Cleans Itself

Today I am staying home to be with hubby, work on the house and attend to my "to do" list. I better make this post short.

Books, books and more books!  And how to part with them! Our den used to have more books before the pool table. We gave away several floor-to-ceiling bookcases of hubby's theological books and sold others to Baker Book House. That was five years ago before Alzheimer's was officially in the picture.

Now it is my books I am dealing with. Novels can be sold and checked out from the public library. Other books can go to Mae's Bookstore Paperback Exchange--right across the street from the above sign in Plant City.  

Books have ended up by the piano in our living room, my current room to work on. I posted this picture in the private The House That Cleans Itself group on Facebook. You can ask to join that group if you too are working on your home and we are Facebook friends. Start by "Liking" at the top right of this blog.

Some books are really good for "re-gifting".  For example, I have been taking subject area books to school when I substitute. I brought books and materials for teaching English to other languages when I substituted in one of those ESOL classes recently; boy was I glad because there were no lesson plans and I had something to do. Yesterday I gave five books to the Reading Coach at a middle school where I taught. By the way, yesterday I was delighted to talk with a teacher who has been through this book and the system is working for her and she is working the system.

Some books I might use on this blog--health books for example. What to do? I am putting them in one of my now empty bins and storing them under the pool table.  Flylady in an e-mail says this week,


I exceeded the limit on photos on Google and am trying to see what I can do about it. I can post pictures that I have already posted, but not new ones from my computer. This is such a shame because the last post with pictures of the master bedroom here has had 86 views to date. Also, on advice from several trusted people am looking into monetizing this blog. Any suggestions for photos and monetizing?
Added mid January 2013: Picasa Web Album allows me to download from my computer. Still trying to decide on monetizing, especially since I am now paying $2.49 a month to add more pictures.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Demented Humor

So yesterday our esteemed pastor is preaching and I really have to go to the bathroom. I whisper to my husband where I am going. When I return to my seat in the pew, he whispers to me that everyone could hear me pee [not true], but that not to worry he told our pastor to preach louder.

At night and sometimes during the day I wear braces on my wrists due to my carpal tunnel. He told his great grandson that I wear these because I beat up on my husband. The great grandson instructed me to be nicer to my husband. The demented humor of a person with dementia. I tell ya!

If life doesn't go smoothly, hubby gets angry. He gets angry at other drivers as if they can help the traffic and are being inconsiderate of him as a passenger in our car. I am his calming influence because I understand it is not the non-swearing hubby I married, but it is his disease. I can use distraction often. I have also learned that he doesn't remember that he got angry about something. It is soon gone like all other memories.

Let's go out for dinner, I suggest, when he seems to have lost his good humor. It works. He begins to show the humor I love. We blow the straw paper off at each other often to the amusement of the waiter or other diners.

December 22nd we did that with our straws at Chilli's in the Tampa Airport. The people at the next table started laughing.  I asked them if they would like to laugh some more and then I ended up singing "Southern Wonderland" with the next table. I passed out copies of my lyrics and led this nearby table in song. When you are 68 you have the right to a little eccentric fun, I figured.

Hubby recalled about my leading singing in a restaurant.  Jake and I just hid then, he told me. I laughed at his recollection, but didn't correct him. Jake wasn't with us when we ate before our economy flight, even though Jake and Sally had driven us to the airport.

Jake and DH always tease each other. Today Sally and I are both substitute teaching and Jake will hang out here, assembling our new Ikea coffee table (for area # 6 in the house improvement). They won't remember all the funny things they tease each other about, but Sally and I can just image!

I love the humor!  Humor works!
Thank you, LORD, for humor in the midst of this Alzheimer's journey with our loved ones.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Principles from The House That Cleans Itself

Author Mindy Clark Starns gives ten principles in her book The House That Cleans Itself:
  1. Change the area to fit the behavior. I used this principle in the den. I sew there and so bins of material are under the pool table, whereas they used to be in the guest bedroom my husband called "The Craft Room". I want to use up material for quilts and other projects and so what I need is right there. The ironing board and iron are on the wall in a corner of the den ready for sewing.
  2. Change the behavior to fit the areas, but only after you've changed the areas as much as possible. Where I used to put on makeup in a bathroom, now I put on makeup at the vanity in the master bedroom and enjoy sitting down to do so. Before that vanity just collected stuff to dust.
  3. Control your expected messy areas and sight zones. Flylady calls the messy areas hot spots. Baskets/stations that can be taken out are tucked away in the bathroom cabinet. I found that when I don't know where to put something, it ended up on the dining room table. When I have places for items and put them away, I am controlling those messy areas. The rooms in our home flow from the living room to the family room/dining room to the den. You see it all when you come visit.
  4. Think up and away. By getting rid of kitchen items I can put things away and there are places to put items. Hooks in the living room for coats compensate for no coat closet. I now hang up clothes or put them in the laundry basket.
  5. Think like a housecleaning service. Have less junk bunkers, bins, baskets and what is called organizing in many magazines and on Pinterest. Have less horizontal surfaces that are cluttered.
  6. Emphasize simplicity. Books can be checked out from the library or put on a Nook or Kindle. A house doesn't have to be a library. Having less clothes makes so much sense, especially after dieting.
  7. Engineer convenience. The stacking shelf in the den makes filing an ongoing project.
  8. Utilize the power of beauty. With less stuff, the beauty shines forth.
  9. Camouflage wherever possible. Suitcases are tucked in a corner in the master bedroom. Blankets cover a small book case in the master bedroom so it looks like a blanket stand.
  10. Do everything with an eye toward maintenance. When I have entertained in the past, all the clutter went to bedrooms, the workshop or the garage. That was extra steps for sure. No more, no more.
I think it is important to add these principles for an Alzheimer's ready home:
  1. Leave items where the loved one is used to finding them.
  2. Simplify for safety.
  3. Make changes in the early stages of Alzheimer's when the loved one can get used to a new routine.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


From Facebook
 The more you do something, the more it becomes a good or bad habit. I teach about habits when I teach a class for DUI offenders. I often use this anonymous quote.
I am your constant companion. I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden. I will push you onward or drag you down to failure. I am completely at your command. Half the things you do, you might just as well turn over to me and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed—you must merely be firm with me. Show me exactly how you want something done, and after a few lessons, I will do it automatically. I am the servant of all great men, and alas, or all failures as well. Those who are great, I have made great. Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine plus the intelligence of a man. You may run me for a profit or run me for ruin—it makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me, and I will place the world at your feet. Be easy with me, and I will destroy you. Who am I?
I am Habit.
So I worked on a new habit today--getting to my substitute job ahead of time. It felt good. But it is not a habit yet. Often times there is a situation at home such as my husband taking his morning pills and I barely make it to school in time or have to call to say I am on my way. They are happy that I call and that I come to cover a class. But how much better to get somewhere on time! I am also realizing when hubby and I go somewhere and have to be there by a certain time, plan to leave in plenty of time. Time means so little to him--I have to be the time keeper.

Today I substituted in a Math in high school. After taking roll in first period I noticed a young lady in the corner of the room and noise was coming from an obvious cell phone. I went over to her, observed that her cell phone was plugged into the wall to charge it and asked her to put it up. She said she couldn't turn it off or she would lose her game. It turns out that she entered my classroom and acted like she was enrolled in that class.  After she was removed the other students said that she must be a new student and one reflected that she only comes there when there is a substitute! Her cell phone is her habit--a bad one. She may skip her first period to go find a substitute, park herself in that class, and charge her cell there. Hopefully her bad habit was busted today.

21 days to change to a new habit I have heard. When someone has Alzheimer's it may be more than 21 days. I put a little love note in my husband's morning pills now to get him motivated to take those pills before I leave the house. I also take my pills at the same time. He does remember that I ended up in the hospital when I took his pills, so I say take you pills so I don't accidentally take yours again. This habit is a constant struggle.

I have also heard to establish routines early in Alzheimer's. I got my husband an electric shaver for Christmas. Now getting him to use it is a real struggle. It would be safer for him to use this instead of shaving with a razor. He doesn't always want to shave every day and it seems to me that he can use his charged shaver while he sits and watches TV. This is not his habit, but my struggle. He may win this one, like he keeps winning not wanting to mow the lawn. My patience is tried again and again.

But then, again, I struggle with some of my own habits, like recording the food that I eat ("tracking") for Weight Watchers and my housekeeping habits.

People in the classes for DUI offenders that I teach get the following quotes about habits on my Power Point presentation:
  • “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are alone supreme.”               --Calvin Coolidge
  • "We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons."-- Jim Rohn

    • "The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail."--Napoleon Hill
    • "This one step—choosing a goal and sticking to it—changes everything."--Scott Reed
    • "Things start out as hopes and end up as habits."--Lillian Hellman

    Lord, give me patience with my husband
    and persistence with my own habits.
    I can change more than he can.

    Monday, January 7, 2013

    Master Bedroom Finished for Now

    Ziggy's Stuff
    November 20th I showed more of the mess in the fourth area to be organized--the master bedroom.  This room is finished for now. It is not perfect, but so much improved. I will be moving on to the living room next week.

    While I was working here one day, dog Ziggy seemed to work with me. He found dog food on the floor to clean up (he ate it) and took out and organized some of his toys by his bed. I think this dog is bright. Hubby's stuff was left "as is" to capitalize on his abilities to function in stage one of Alzheimer's. He never was really messy anyway and in our wonderful walk-in closet he hangs up his clothes on his side and knows where to get them. It's me and my area of the room that had to change as you might see if you click on that red November 20 above.


    You can see at the above left that I have closets stuffed with clothes and it was hard to see what I had to wear and so I would keep wearing the same things often. (At first I had that clothes rack pictured at the very bottom left!) Instead at the right I have a top shelf for accessories, a middle shelf for tops I am currently wearing and the bottom self for slacks I am currently wearing. In back of the desk are two stacked bins for clothes I am not currently wearing. You can't see these bins, but they are located right where I would put them up in the closet or in the drawers. Until The House That Cleans Itself I never considered putting clothes away in bins because we live in such a mild climate here in Florida. Clothes to donate were put in the car. Some material from clothes that are too big will be used in quilts planned if it fits that project.

    We are truly blessed with this large master bedroom, but the house does not have some storage. Below left  you see a player box and CD music that used to be in the den. Music is so important for the Alzheimer's patient. A TV is also pictured. However, there are suitcases at the left that do not need to be out in our bedroom. Instead. they have been tucked into the corner below right behind that rocker on my husband's side of the bed.
    What needs to be done since I began here November 3rd? There is a nice mirrored vanity between matching cabinets and it needs an electrical plug for curlers and a hair dryer instead of the extension cord I use; maybe when the house was built in the early 1960s women didn't use these. That will call for an electrician. The curtains need to be washed and the rugs cleaned. I mentioned sorting through my clothes after I finish losing weight. There are too many books in the house and a book collection from the bedroom and the den is now temporarily in the living room. The book case below still needs work, and a "blanket stand" hides books below. I am giving you the before and after in this corner and ready to move on to the living room.  Hubby says he likes how I have cleaned my side of the bedroom and I know that one day down the road when I take care of him in this room because he is in a later stage of Alzheimer's it will work for both of us.

    Before with much behind
    No longer am I embarrassed
    about the master bedroom. 

    Saturday, January 5, 2013

    "With a Little Help From My Friends"

    I don't have a great singing voice, but what the heck! Two times I have sung these lyrics at Weight Watchers--once maybe five years ago and once in 2012. The karaoke version of it accompanies me and others who sing it with me. Now I am a life time Weight Watcher member, having made my goal maybe 40 years ago when you had to have liver once a week, didn't have to exercise, and couldn't eat fat at all. Weight Watchers has improved so much over the years. I love the newest point system (2012) and the 360 degrees current 2013 emphasis on Tracking, Spaces and Routines. This wise emphasis fits with so much of my life now--the house and the discipline of being a caregiver.

    I  reflect that we need support groups and people in our life--a little help from our friends. So without further ado, here are my Weight Watcher lyrics to "With a Little Help From My Friends":
    Once upon a time with big belly and hips
    I lost some 50 unwanted pounds
    Once a week liver for fake diamond chips
    To Weight Watchers the first of many rounds
    I get by with a little help from my friends.

    Jamoca Almond Fudge from a place called Baskins
    Can you strand up and look in mirrors?
    With 3-D, First Place and thinking of Atkins
    Try several diets over the years.
    I get by with a little help from my friends
    I’m gonna try with a little help from my friends
    I’ll get slim with a little help from my friends.

    Do I need any diet?
    Not really I don’t think so
    What I need is a “live it”
    To Weight Watchers I go.
    Where would you go for some common sense advice
    At Weight Watcher’s meeting you’ll be gooving
    With point calculator eat beans and rice
    Remember to keep those hips movin’

    I get by with a little help from my friends
    I’m gonna try with a little help from my friends
    I’ll get slim with a little help from my friends.

    Do I need any diet?
    Not really I don’t think so
    What I need is a “live it”
    To Weight Watchers I go.
    I get by with a little help from my friends
    I’m gonna try with a little help from my friends
    I’ll get slim with a little help from my friends.
    So great to be back at Weight Watchers for my 7 am Saturday morning meeting today. I hadn't been there in three weeks. I was down 6/10 of a pound, even though I had stopped tracking well after the holidays and being out of town. I expected to be up 5 pounds, but I guess Weight Watcher habits are rubbing off on me. The meeting was so inspirational and I just rejoiced at the victories of others. My weight loss has been slow, but my health benefits are tremendous--my exercise can improve, but not with my carpal tunnel now. I do want that health to be my husband's caregiver all his days and will continue to plan healthy meals for us.

    Now if you follow this blog, you know that I wrote lyrics at the beginning of December to another song. "Southern Wonderland". I sang this song to friends and even strangers in December. For example, the next table at the Tampa Airport (before we departed for Christmas with my husband's son and family) all sang with me when I gave them printed copies of "Southern Wonderland". I talked about this last week and DH said he and Jake just hid when I sang in public at the airport. Now Jake wasn't at the airport restaurant, but Jake is so important to my husband. He is getting by with a little help from Jake, even if Jake isn't there!

    I get by with help from Sally as well. Both Sally and I also get by with help from our monthly Alzheimer's Association meetings. DH knows what we go to, but Jake just thinks Sally and I have a Bible study that day.

    Certainly New Years is a time to reflect on how we are getting by. Oprah is quoted as saying in new Weight Watcher literature,

    Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.

    I get by with my Daily Audio Bible study and podcast. For maybe five years I have been going through the whole Bible by listening and often reading the selection. Today on the way to Weight Watchers (a 25 min. drive), I heard on the Daily Audio Bible podcast in my car about Abraham (the start of our current world problems) and the Beatitudes (Christ's example and Way).  Scripture and prayer help me bravely face being a caregiver. The LORD is my help.

    This year I hope to add budgeting (especially knocking down credit card balances) to my life, even making gifts and quilts from some of the materials I already have as I cut down on the volume of stuff at the house. See The House That Cleans Itself posts. Not sure who will be my budgeting buddy. Any volunteers?

    Thursday, January 3, 2013

    Check the Manual, Check the Playbook

    Several years ago Linda Fisher wrote a post on hearing Coach Broyles and his family. The Coach has a Playbook for Alzheimer's Caregivers.See

    That playbook looked like a book I needed to read. Fortunately Karen later sent it to me. Karen's mom passes away from Alzheimer's and this book had helped her. We met when I started writing on her blog and she wrote here.

    Playbook. Linda writes that the family treat each repeat question with respect as if it were the first question. Yep, I do that. I let my husband initiate conversations so I don't frustrate him. I prayed last night because it was my turn to pray on even days. Then he asked me to pray again because he forgot that I had. This was my precious time to tell our LORD new praise and requests even though I had prayed several minutes ago. We always hold hands when we pray at night.  I am writing my own playbook on what works with him.

    Romans 8:1,9,16,17; Colossians 1:9,24; 2 Corinthians 1:5-7, 9:8; Psalm 41, 31:9-13; Leviticus 19:32; John 14:17, 16:13; Galatians 4:6; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19; 2 Timothy 1:14; and Ephesians 1:17 are some of the verses highlighted in this book.

    Here is the poem from Coach Broyles Playbook for Alzheimer’s Caregivers (author unknown)

    Do not ask me to remember.
    Don't try to make me understand.
    Let me rest and know you're with me.
    Kiss my cheek and hold my hand.

    I'm confused beyond your concept.
    I am sad and sick and lost.
    All I know is that I need you.
    To be with me at all cost.

    Do not lose your patience with me.
    Do not scold or curse or cry.
    I can't help the way I'm acting.
    Can't be different 'though I try.

    Just remember that I need you.
    That the best of me is gone.
    Please don't fail to stand beside me.
    Love me 'til my life is done.

    I will be there, sweetheart!

    Wednesday, January 2, 2013

    Dana's Husband, Steve, Passed Away Last Night

    Dana reported on her blog the passing of her husband, Steve, last night in California. Steve had early-on-set Alzheimer's and recently she reported on Facebook his address where he would like out his remaining days as he had moved from their home this last year because his care was beyond Dana.

    Let's all join in our sympathies to this remarkable woman and her family. We know that Steve now has a better address. Pray for Dana in the days ahead.