Saturday, February 13, 2016

Valentine's Day and suicide

Sarah gave a lovely Valentine's Day open house today for girl friends of all ages.  The food looked and tasted delicious and I saw many people I love.

One of them was Emily, who sat by me and we had a great discussion on killing ourselves and how it should be done.  She had an idea that I hadn't thought of: injecting yourself with a weed killer.  Instantaneous results.  What weed killer I wanted to know.

"I'll email it to you," she said. "Oh no, we can't have a paper trail. I'll just have to whisper it to you."

No, we can't have a paper trail. One of us may want to run for president one day.

You have to do this yourself and preferably in a motel, so that your relatives aren't put in jail. Leave a friendly note.

We agreed Tylenol was a bad idea.  Not fast enough. It could fail or you could just die slowly of ugly liver failure.

Pills.  You've got to know your pills and which combinations.  I told her that Bernie Madoff and his wife took a fistful of Ambien, but they both woke up the next day. Sometimes, the universe insists you face the music.

Also if you plan your own death, you wouldn't plan anything that might make you vomit. Seriously, I'd rather be dead than vomit.

Anyway, it was just the kind of dark conversation I like the day before Valentine's Day at a women's afternoon light lunch.

Sally let me paint her toenails. Sarah sent me home with food.

Tom bought us roses to mark the day.

Happy Valentines Day, everyone.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Tab choir rehearsal

There's so many advantages in living downtown and one of the best is the Tab Choir rehearsals on Thursday nights.  They're open to the public from 7:30 to 9:30 in the tabernacle. Most people leave after the first hour.

That means they missed the Mahler's 8th rehearsal, which we thought was well worth the wait.

We went early to shop for some miscellaneous items and ended up at the Blue Lemon for drinks where low and behold we ran into Dan Bryner and then Christine and Bill.  A happy surprise.

We came out to a light snow. I'm loving winter this year. The snow, the cold, the lying in my beddy under warm blankets and watching the snow fall from our bedroom window.  The Capitol all lit up at night.

In the morning little dark birds cluster on the branches of skeletal trees. Do they see me standing on the other side of the window in my nightgown?

Do they ever ask why?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The corner garden

This is my corner garden, a backdrop of greens with one flowering pot, which will change from
time to time.

The best part of deep winter is when the forced bulb flowers show up in nurseries and grocery stores. Is there anything happier than daffodils?

The fern in the front recently replaced a gorgeous Maidenfern that I accidentally killed by spraying it with alcohol.

How is that possible, you wonder.

Tom and I share an art room (it's actually the master bedroom; we sleep in the second, smaller bedroom).  We have two art desks that face each other and it is filled with our art supplies including
two clear spray bottles of water and (this, I didn't know) one clear spray bottle of unidentified alcohol.

Every night, I sprayed the delicate Maidenfern with water. It required extra care, and it liked my attention. (Yes, I communicate with plants).

Then one morning the Maidenfern was dried and curled up and since plants are not suicidal, I went about finding what had happened.  It only took a short examination of the three "water" bottles.

The plant now fills up my kitchen sink where I keep thinking my watering and spraying will reverse the damage.  If not, I will cut it down and see if it will come up again.

Such is the life of an indoor farmer.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The perpetual fear of Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's runs in my mother's side of the family. She had it, two sisters had it, and one brother has it now. One brother had Parkinson's, which may or may not be related.

These don't make for good odds. Merrilee's funeral brought this all to the forefront.  One of her early signs was severe anxiety, which was unusual for her. She went to therapy for help. I have been anxious all my life, but the last two years, my anxiety has been over the top. I went to therapy last year.

So Alzheimer's is a big fear.

My biggest fear is that Tom and I are getting it at the same time, and that we are going to leave our kids with a huge mess of care-taking that will exhaust them. They will forget that we were ever charming, humorous people.

Just as I wrote that, I heard one of my sons say, "When were you ever charming?"

Shut up.

You can look up the ten early signs of Alzheimer's yourself.

This is what I notice about Tom and me:

--We find it more difficult to organize and carry out plans. Both of us hate cooking anything.
--Mood changes. We have turned into different people than we once were.
--Inappropriate behavior. (Not that we've ever been the most appropriate people on earth--that was never the goal).
--Whatever was ditzy is now ditzier.
--Some loss of spatial and facial recognition.
--A serious disinterest in social engagement.
--Repeating stories ad infinitum. ( I find that a lot of older people have lost their whole sense of pacing when it comes to storytelling. Not quite the same thing, as repeating, but annoying none the less.)
--Paranoia where there was none before.

Still, we try to clobber each other each day at Parcheesi.  I've made a wonderful indoor garden in one corner. He's painting and keeps up with friends on Facebook and Gmail. We still like each other.

A day at a time.

Pacing, pacing.

Monday, January 25, 2016

RIP Merrilee Preece

Merrilee died of Alzheimer's at the age of 72.  She was exactly a year minus one day younger than I am. I knew her in high school but not well.  She was beautiful, generous, smart, humorous, and athletic.  She was a cheerleader, a prom queen, a nurse, a teacher, a tennis coach, wife, and mother of six.

If I had only known her in high school, I probably would not have felt compelled to go to the funeral, but I was in her ward for less than two years and I remember a conversation that we had after church one Sunday.  A conversation that made me realize (again) how we live in our own realities.

I told her that I wanted to be her when I grew up. She really was quite perfect.

Then she told me how she wanted to be me. She wanted to do what I did: write and draw and sing.  She told me she was the only person she knew who didn't get into A-Cappella in high school and it had ruined her for singing.

Well, I doubt it ruined her one twit, but I realized she was telling me a high school failure story, and I wouldn't have dreamed that she had any high school failure stories.

Everyone has a high school failure story. What made her so likable was that she was willing to tell me hers.

The best story told at the funeral:

Her son took a nursing class from her when he was a Freshman at East High. He was anxious that she might embarrass him in some way.

One day, she did.  She brought in a capped urine sample, a full cup, and held it up in front of the class. Immediately, he went into anxiety mode. His mother was holding urine in front of his high school class.

 Whose urine was it?  It must be hers!  She was holding her own urine in front of his high school class.

She said that she had added a urine additive that she bought at a local camping store that purified the urine so that you could drink it in a camping emergency.

"Some of you need extra points for this class," she said.  "I will give them to you if you take a sip of this purified urine."

Her son may have uttered, "No, no, no, Mom, no."

The class sat, stunned.

Then one brave girl said she needed extra points and would do it.  And she did.

The class writhed with empathy.

A long pause and another girl got up.  And then another. (According to Merrilee's son, these were all beautiful girls).

It turned out that it was Yellow Mellow with a few raisins in it.  I love that disgusting detail of the raisins.

A great teaching moment!  I wish I'd thought of bringing a urine sample to one of my classes.

I googled urine additives.  Don't do it.

I sat next to my friend, Helen Poelman, who was also a cheerleader. I worked with Merrilee's sister,  the beautiful and accomplished, DeeAnn, in Relief Society.  She was a cheerleader too.

I am a friend to cheerleaders, both living and dead.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

10 light suggestions for overcoming January depression

1. Don't expect anything and you won't be disappointed.

2. Read Psalms 88.  It's the best.

3. Make cookies for supper. No one will object.

4. Look at yourself in the mirror when you cry.

5. Tell your husband that you think you're transgender.

6. Just decide to vote for Donald Trump so you don't have to worry about the elections anymore.

7. Make your bed, so that you can feel smug.

8. Set a record for how long you can wear the same underwear day after day.

9. Spray your houseplants with glitter.

10. Go to the emergency room of the hospital and tell them you have chest pain. It's like a little overnight vacation.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Hotel Utah, where I go to church

 I know it's the Joseph Smith Building.  I know it hasn't been the Hotel Utah since 1987, but it's a ghost that doesn't go away.

We walk a block and a half and go up to the mezzanine into what I can only describe as a Mormon Baroque chapel decorated with gold fruit trim. I'm a little awed by the opulence.  Sunday School is in a room with gold framed oil paintings of all the prophets.  And Relief Society is in a room that directly looks out onto the Salt Lake temple. It's a little surreal.

The congregation is made up of mostly old people and then young marrieds and professionals.  These are apartment/condo dwellers. Very nice, friendly people. We are known for being nice. Mostly nice.

It's a little like going to church at the monastery at Melk. The Mormon version, except there are no candles.

The first two rows are saved for Maria Theresa and her entourage.

What I especially like about this photo (1964) is that you can see the old Desert Gym on the right. That's where I learned to swim. I wish I could revisit the Deseret Gym like I get to revisit the Hotel Utah on Sunday mornings.