Just a Few Days Later

I finally finished the Fairy Book!

This was fun to do and I dragged it out as long as possible. Now I will dig out another of Lorraine’s books and start on a new theme playing off her contact leaf printed pages.

And inspired by Kent’s calendar pages I added lots of designs in the Marks Book.

I started a landscape this morning using these marks to delineate the sections of hills and trees, etc. Another fun idea.

The sun has been deceiving. It is cold with the wind and Lee seems to be stuck inside with constant trips out to see if it got warmer. I stop whatever I am doing to help him in or out of his coat and hat and gloves every fifteen minutes until he gives up and stays in. There is nothing we have come up with to keep him occupied inside that has the appeal of going outside.

Starting this week we will have a caregiver coming in for four to five hours on Monday,  Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons. Hopefully I can get to some sewing and reading.

Here is his inside lap buddy.

Til later.



A New Long Blog

Dreary day today. Lee is sweeping leaves in the background near the apartment while we wait for our Thursday lunch company.  She came full of sensible ideas like, I may want to add another day for having a caregiver come so I can get some reading done, sew up my new fabrics, finish a short story…..and more.  I never think of these things on my own anymore. And she is the only one I have to talk to in person to bounce around ideas. Tomorrow I will make some inquiries as to additional time scheduling.

In the mail yesterday, another friend sent what was a calendar with each month having different marks. So inspiring and thoughtful to have him think of me and my marks book. Such great ideas for filling spaces.

And another friend in Australia sent me an image of Scottie Wilson’s work. He was likely the first to start the outsider art movement with his art. Collected by Picasso and others. I see and understand his compulsion to fill spaces with marks and he is definitely worth looking up on Google.

I wonder if Gory was influenced by Wilson. What I also like is how he tentatively adds color to the marked sections. I don’t like colored pencils because they are somewhat garish but I do remember buying some that were greyed down with graphite I think ,,,..might start using those slowly, very slowly. They would be easy to add to my pen collection. Better than messy watercolors on my lap.

Anyway here are the drawings in the marks book since I left the little girl on the rock.

She peeks out the window.

Sees this.

And the dragon continues for a few more pages.

How fun is that…turn the short page over and the back leg lines up with the front leg.

I have no idea what to draw next. Maybe she sees more out the window…maybe an endless line of little kids…maybe another animal….maybe something else altogether.

Another friend sent me this image in messenger. It is a woodblock print by Jan Mankes, a Dutch painter who only lived to be thirty years old…tuberculosis.  His work is stunning and worth a look up on Google. This particular image is full of the necessary repetitive marks to make a convincing background for the raven.

His paintings are just as captivating.

And now on to something totally different. On our conference calls with our kids and friend, Marla, each Wednesday evening and Sunday morning, are also about having a drink together. Our daughter’s partner made the suggestion of flavoring vodka for our Bloody Marys..one of the drinks of choice Sunday morning. So I took a bottle of vodka and shared it across several one pint bottles.

Left to right are bay leaf, rosemary, orange rind, and bacon fat. Sunday morning while they are showing off their Bloody Mary concoctions with olives, cheese, bacon, etc., I will be having my bacon fat infused vodka in my own drink of V8, dill pickle juice, celery seed, Worcestershire, tabasco, and pickled asparagus. Lee will be staying with V8. For those not aware, V8 is a highly seasoned tomato juice.

Right now Lee is napping and I am having a scotch. Dinner will be pasta and something yet to be determined.

If I am going to sew, I will need to move the sewing machine, iron and ironing board over to the apartment. Easily done. The fabrics, notions, material and threads go over as well. Then I can stop wondering when I am ever going to get to those lovely linens.

All twenty books have been sent to Australia and this morning four were sent out to California, St. Louis and Georgia. Six left for family and friends. It feels good to have the thoughts in words on pages and in the hands of those who were so encouraging.

More later…

Things That Come Into Focus

This is a Cooper’s hawk outside the apartment window. I could not get it zoomed in closer. Beautiful bird. Sometimes it takes awhile for things to come into focus.  A different point of view can help.  Putting some distance certainly has helped during Covid times.

The other day I was talking to a friend who comes to eat lunch with us once a week. She, the cleaning lady and caregivers are the only ones to come into the house. We talk a long time about whatever needs discussing. She listened attentively to my poetry about living with dementia and received a copy of a prototype for the book. We share similar views on politics and rage equally at our pathetic excuse for leaders of the free world here in the United States. We share books even though I have little time to read.

She gave me this one months ago and I had no time to give it the attention it deserves. I loaned it to a neighbor. This is how it came back.

The neighbor asked if she could cut the back because she was having a hard time opening it to read. I thought she just meant splitting the paper spine in the middle. No, she obviously meant cutting all the pages loose from the point she stopped making the effort. It came back to me with a flimsy rubber band holding it all together. It would be near impossible for me to share it with someone else.  My daughter’s partner had a new one sent as soon as he saw the damage and said, “Never, ever loan this person another book.”   I won’t.

I know we are all different. But one thing I have learned this past year of isolation with Covid and the past few years living with dementia is just how different and how little I want to be bothered with being understanding. Today is an “Enough” day!

Lee is having teeth problems. Sometime in the past year or so he has not brushed the back ones so well. Brushes what he sees and I was not watching closely enough. I thought, “body memory” would be enough. Now he is losing a bridge on one side and needs surgery to remove another bad tooth. Of course, the surgeon can not even give a consultation until 9 March. Covid issues again. So today Lee complained of loose teeth. I asked if he was in pain. No. Is something broken off? No. So I called the dentist on his private cell on a Sunday. He called back and will check his book as soon as he gets into the office tomorrow. “How early are you and Lee up?” 5:30 am without fail. “Oh.” I will call when I get to the office and check the book.”

And here is the part I will prepare myself to hear from that dentist tomorrow. “Sandy, I told you when Lee was in here a few weeks ago, no more sugars, carbohydrates and  bread!” “These things will ruin what he has left.”  Well, what else is there! For someone with dementia now is not the best time to totally alter his eating routine.

And you know what? This morning I found two dozen uncooked molasses cookies our daughter left in our freezer. I baked them and had Lee sit in front of the oven so he could feel the heat and smell them cooking. Then we shared one! I am sure to hear about it as the dentist is most likely going to sniff it out tomorrow when he looks in there.

Earlier this week we looked in every drawer and cupboard to find where Lee has hidden two pairs of gloves and his sunglasses. These are precious to him and he wants to make sure they are with him when he goes “home”. They may well have taken the trip by themselves as we simply cannot find them anywhere. I gave him a new pair of work gloves from my hidden stash and he is happy. Don’t know what I will do when the sun comes out and he gets obsessed with finding his glasses. I only have one pair of those on hold because they are expensive. Maybe he will locate his hiding place.

It is a scotch night for sure today. Too bad it takes me an hour to drink one good scotch or I’d have a couple. By the time I get through all the interruptions it takes an hour and a half to two hours to get that one scotch doing me any good. But holding that glass in my hand…one Lee made from a sauvignon blanc wine bottle with another to match for my friend from Canada to drink scotch with….brings back such good memories of her so that all other issues seem to pale in that particular glow of good times.

I keep going in the marks book

Neurotic marks during the impeachment trial.

I think the little girl should just stay on the rock and not get tangled up with other kids today.

So far I have sent twenty books to Australia

.Here is the introduction:

Introduction to Trusting the Tether Line

We have shared a life of over fifty years with the last few 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.


Thank you for checking in today…




Covid Second Shots and Fun Memories

We got our second shots two days ago and I only had a sore arm where the shot went in. Lee was fine the first day but yesterday was totally out of it. He shook in the afternoon, could not comprehend simple questions and just had a bad day. Our doctor assured us that side effects can be flu-like and happen up to two days after the shot. This morning Lee is back to his normal and is walking around the driveway with his rain hat on.

The other night I had a fun dream about one of the only friends I ever had who could me laugh out loud. We laughed in the dream and I woke smiling at the memories of our funny times. So I dropped her a message asking if she remembered how we shared details of our dreams over thirty-five years ago. And told her what a pleasure it was to share another good time together in my dreams. She immediately got back to me with a message of love and maybe a future trip to see us. Of course it would be after covid restrictions and might not even happen but I am still chuckling as I remember even more things we found so funny years and years ago. I really hope I dream of her again for another good laugh.

Yesterday a friend from St. Louis sent me a package of these.

Three Australian hankies! On bad days I can snivel away on a kangaroo, koala or map of that so missed country. They would also be fun to stitch into after they get softened and faded with use.

And the outcome of Mr. Snowman.

The last page of that signature gave way to anxious doodles yesterday and this morning as I watched to see how Lee was doing.


It sort of looks like a visual of “things fall apart’. and that is how it is some days.

Today a friend shows up with a pizza for our lunch. When she says, “What can I bring you?” Sometimes you just have to say, “Pizza!”

I still need to find the writing about the young girl who just did not quite fit in. It would be fun to try to capture that in a line drawing narrative.

It is sort of like this poem I wrote and then did a limited edition of tiny books with it.


The Position of Periphery

Our place is somewhere on an edge

away from those centered and focused.


It is a not-belonging place

with expansive views


where we are mobile

and deliberately uncommitted.


Free to choose and change,

we remain inaccessible  –  transient.


Free from doors closing behind us

and the constraints of expectation.


Here on the periphery we can

try on the skins of otherness


….and then discard at will.



Til later….