Last Blog of 2020

Patrick taking Lee down to feed the animals the day before he went back home. It was a good two weeks of having him here. The two of them worked daily in the shop on turning wine bottles into glasses and wind chimes. Patrick also got to do a bit of wood turning. Lee’s biggest and I think only job was running the vacuum after any dust that showed up. Instead of the shop triggering memories of all the things he used to do, Lee seems to think the shop is Patrick’s shop and he gets to help keep it clean when Patrick is using it.

Thinking Lee might take a sad turn after Patrick left, I filled yesterday with making lasagna for the freezer, baking banana bread and letting him vacuum the dead fern leaves out on the porch. This morning while the cleaning lady was here I took him for a drive out to the dam where we walked in better weather and before Covid. The caregiver is here now and I have several hours to write.

Speaking of which I now have the finished Trusting the Tether Line book. The only change I might make is increasing the font size…what is a 9 in Book Antiqua is a smaller 9 in Garamond. It can not be much larger because one of the poems has just enough length for one page but not enough to make it look right on two pages. Funny how all those types of things go into the decisions of how you want a book to look and feel.

Cover with heavy card stock. Hard covers would make the book feel more distant from the reader.

There are two signatures of six folios each. As a friend pointed out, “You can always do a volume 2 if you are not through writing on this subject.”

The tether line starts on the title page and continues through the last page. I had to run all the tether lines on the pages first…both sides of the paper. And because my printer had not been used in awhile, the ink bursts out even though I cleaned the heads twice. That process used up even more ink, not to mention paper, so now I am waiting for my order from Epson to arrive before I can make more of this book.

Only the tether line appears on the left side. I like the feel of this book in the hand. I like the words. Here is the introduction that appears on the first page after the title page. No Pages are numbered because there is no need to think of the order of things.

Introduction to Trusting the Tether Line

We have shared a life of over fifty years with the last several in the company of dementia.

The diagnosis brought shock, grief, anger and fear of how we were going to make it through all the changes that had to be made. Our lives were not just interrupted but irrevocably altered to meet the needs of the one afflicted and the other left coping.

I needed to find ways to help me deal with all the new responsibilities. At first I stitched endlessly into a rotting linen shawl trying to make it whole again. Holding onto that cloth and being covered by it at the same time was comforting.  Next I traced the outline of my hands six times in a sketchbook and slowly filled the space inside with drawings of the things he could no longer do. By doing this I could actually see how much I was needed and how much I was taking care of.  After that I began to write poetry that was a short glimpse into our lives.

Friends encouraged me to write about living with dementia because it might be helpful to others. The best I have to offer is the sharing of those poems.

Of course that introduction is laid out to properly fit onto the narrow page.

And the newest short poem I wanted on the last page.

I wish

I wish, I wish, I wish

I wish, I wish….

until I don’t


I wish

I had known

that would happen.


I would like to find a way to get this book into print but the format of the pages matters to the content, so not sure if that would even be possible. In the meantime because I have this precious time for writing, I am thinking of doing a volume of short stories. It will let me go back to that town in North Carolina from Kind Gestures and visit some women I miss. And there are those notes of overheard conversations in diners, the overworked tools in the kitchen that have so many memories and experiences, and on and on….

There is so much more than Lee and me to put on paper.

Til later..


Between Christmas and New Year

Christmas morning with snow and hungry deer.  Lee did not think much of the change in weather.

It should all be gone by this evening as the forecast is for high 50s today. I think it looks nice coming down but then just want it to go away so I can get out of the driveway. The solution is to bake Anzac cookies and drink red wine.

I have been trying to be loose and do some writing in my new sketchbook. It is not as easy as doing the graphite drawings and haiku. I end up just staring at the pages….but did manage to make some marks and a cat with a brush in the avocado ink.

But I have been able to do much more writing. The poetry book has enough poems and is laid out in folios with their tether lines. Problem is that my printer has not been used in so long it gums up after so many pages being printed. Then I need to stop and put it on “clean” which uses loads of ink. But I will get there.

Here are a couple of new poems written this week.


I used to know people.

But not anymore.

We lost touch

when my life changed.


It took a while to notice

they were not there

when I could

have used them.


What happened is

I used them up

in the good times

and nothing’s left for the bad.


There Are Days

There are days when

there is nothing left to give.

And isn’t it always the case

that on those days

someone wants you to

do something,

fix something,

clean something,

talk about something,

make something,

explain something.

think about something.


And all you can do is

try not to show

how little you care

about their somethings.

So now there are enough for a small book that gives a perspective of how things can be when life changes living with dementia.

We did have a surprise visit from old friends who brought a basket of treats that included a single malt scotch. Most welcome on all counts. Our son is here until Tuesday and has been a great help keeping Lee working with him in the shop. It will be difficult when he leaves but the caregiver can help me with that.

All for now….til later….


Notes From the Antepenultimate Day Before Christmas

We are waiting for the Dollar General store to open a few days ago. I asked if I could get something for him while I was in there and got this look.

The store keeper that morning told me the old lady next door died and left four chickens. One was killed by a car, two wandered away and this one stayed to mess up her sidewalk. It made me think of the things we old ladies leave behind. She also probably had a garage full of empty boxes waiting for energy and enthusiasm to arrive together.

Yesterday I got the oil changed in the car. A pushy maskless old woman made a point of letting me know she and an old man were ahead of me. I asked the guy behind the counter how long it would take to do their two oil changes….”at least forty minutes.” I said I would do my grocery shopping and return later rather than wait outside because the waiting area is confined.

At the grocery store the check out woman (another older woman) said she loved my hair.

“Where do you get it done? I was going to let mine go like yours but my son wanted me to meet his future mother in law, so I still color it blonde and keep it long until then.”

Whatever she was admiring is not combed and each strand left up there seeks its own location. I passed on the name of my hair cutter (NOT stylist) before packing cheese, crackers, wine, beer and other covid era necessities in my cart.

It appears that Christmas dinner this year is going to be corned beef and cabbage! I can’t really remember the last time I had that but Lee and Patrick will be most happy with the leftover meat for sandwiches. And the best part is there is nothing about that meal to trigger thoughts of Christmases past.

Back at the oil change place, the friendly man behind the counter seemed glad to see me back, told me that a dead deer across the road had not been picked up yet, that I could wait in the warmth of my car and a man would come and get the keys in twenty minutes. Done and dusted! $42 was all it cost. I told him he should consider raising his prices because the cost of getting that warning sign off my dash is a relief. And I suspect it is to other old ladies having to see one more thing that needs tending.

Anyway the morning was a good one between the compliments on my hair and the man waiting for a dead deer to be taken care of while he gets the warning off my dash. So good that I remembered to buy a box of chocolates for the ladies at the drive through window of the bank. They ask why I do it every year and I tell them that they never fail to give me money when I ask.

Seems to me that when you throw in that sassy rooster, there is a good short story in the above tales of the morning.

And because Patrick showed up with a bag full of apples that seemed a bit soft, I made the following:

Wonton wrapped fritters and….

Puff pastry apple tarts. Smearing the bottom with ricotta before piling on cinnamon sugared apples makes them quite tasty. My folding skills match the hurriedness to get this year behind us!

And this morning I finished coloring in the first short page of a new sketchbook. Earth pigments from here and black ink pen…no pencil but waiting to figure out what to put on page two. It will come.

And some more stitching on the fox.

I have one piece of this pathetic paper left and I think it has to have a bat on it. Perfect night critter!

And a perfect find for this time of year among the writing prompts:


If I could change something about my son/daughter/mother/father it would be

It would not be anything.

Any influence I had in changing something in my daughter or son is gone. It likely wasn’t there in the first place. They came the way they are. Born that way, immune to change and unaware that there was any need to.

And if there was any opportunity to change one or both of my parents, I would not do that either. Who knows if that change would not have altered me in some way…would have made me into someone else.

Enough for now….I need to get to writing.

Best wishes for the holidays and new year…..


The Final Drawings a Day with Haiku and More

Lee’s dark woolen socks

that he has worn for more years

than I can recall.


My knotted up socks

fresh from the second drawer down

in my own dresser.


Marion Matthews

sent me two of her sewn masks

each one with two sides.


The opposite side

of the mask on facing page

is Eucalyptus!


More Eucalyptus

are on one side of this cloth

covid fighter mask.


The final Haiku

with  drawing a day is now

completely finished!


I have also made a second new sketching and writing book that is like the other one with short and long pages.

I used some rusted papers from my over-filled drawers and found tubular decorated wooden beads to add to the front stitch of the coptic binding. I am starting with this one…black pen and earth pigments but no words yet. Just doodling.

And the latest Fairy Book page.

There are only a few more pages in this book before I start another contact printed book from Lorraine….maybe bugs next time.

I am still writing poetry for the Trusting the Tether Line book.

Familiar Rhythms

I cling to the old familiar

rhythms of routine.


I know every step needed

to keep us both in motion.


But what will happen

when this song ends


and I have to let go?

That is all for now…I will do another one tomorrow.