Thinking in Words

My sister tends to think in numbers. My husband is a visual person, and can instantly conjure a complex mental picture of almost anything (mixed blessing, to be sure!).
Me, I think in words. I can't remember not being able to read. Word search puzzles? Those are a no-brainer, because the words buried in the jumble of letters practically scream out to me. Often, when I glance at a paper, a misspelled word will pop out before I've even started reading. I love words. 
I love how some words sound like the sound they represent: Crack. Whisper. Meow. Huff. 
I love the silliness of some words. Wiggle. Smooch. Fluff.
I love profanity, when it's well-placed. I love words of simplicity and beauty. Rose. Love. Joy. Pray. I love the words for food, too. Enchilada. Sauerbraten. Pickle. Smorgasbord. Nectarine. Succotash. (Hate succotash, love the word.)
Since I am a person who is endlessly entertained by words, I also love names. I'm always curious about them, where they come from, how common or uncommon are they, and so on. In my part of the world, we are fairly close to the Navajo Reservation and some of my customers have great surnames thanks to their unique heritage: Manymules, Bigthumb, Tsinnijinni. I love the mellifluous pairing of a beautiful first name to a melodious surname. And I love the way a name reflects the hopes and dreams of the parent who bestowed the name. Girls named Rachel and Hannah and Sarah probably have parents who wanted them to be lovely, gentle, charming women. Name your son after your grandfather, and you are sending a cosmic wish into the universe: let some of Grandpa's best qualities come back into the family through this new life. 
I also love the silly, simple joy that I feel when I learn a new word, especially if it is a word I can really use. We visited my father-in-law recently. He's a DIY guy to the extreme and will use whatever bit of anything to do any project, before he'll go to the Home Depot and buy the right thing. From where I sat on the patio, I could see eight different kinds of fencing. 
When I returned from that trip, the word-of-the-day email waiting in my inbox was "bricolage"
I love words. They make me smile.

Wine to Try - Chenin Blanc

I haven't visited this topic in a while. I've been in more of a Guinness mood of late. But last night I had the last glass from a bottle of very-affordable, ever so pleasant Beringer Chenin Blanc.
Yes, Beringer is in the "cheap wine" section at our local grocer, and that is one of my favorite places to start. I am fully in favor of cheap wines and if I ever run for president, it will be on that platform. I am a big fan of affordable, happy, shiny wines like this. Beringer also makes a wonderfully nice White Merlot that makes my skirt fly up. 

Beringer Chenin Blanc is a basic standby for me, especially now that the weather is warming up to tan lines and cool tubs. It is light, fruity, easy on the palate, and it doesn't pack such a punch that I end up embarrassing myself. (Like I really need wine to help me with that....)

If you feel like slipping into a sassy white bikini and a giant, floppy sunhat (maybe in a lovely shade of coral), and munching on a chilled fruit salad, this would be the perfect wine to sip in the sun. Or even guzzle, which is what I'm rating it.... A GUZZLE! 

My disclaimer:
Bear in mind that no one connected with any of the wineries I might mention here knows who I am. Of course, if they appreciate what I have to say and want to forward along cases of wine, I won't mind. I won't hold my breath, waiting for that day, either. :-)

My rating system:
Sip: a nice wine, goes deliciously with (or IN) food. I enjoyed it.
Guzzle: my idea of a nice sociable wine. The kind of thing I am happy to drink out of cheap plastic cups, sitting around the campfire, or out of a cool stemless glass while enjoying the company of someone I care about.
White Elephant: it isn't like drinking kerosene, exactly, but does not suit my taste. I'll pass it along to someone who might like it. This rating will mean more to you if you agree with my Sip and Guzzle ratings!
Drain-O: this stuff could hurt someone, so I'll send it to the wastewater treatment plant, via the kitchen drain. Maybe it will disinfect the p-trap, while it's in there

The Forever Now

It is NOW.
It is always now, and there is nothing else but now.

It's always now for all of us, of course, but the forever now-ness of Mom's world is something I had never contemplated before.

Dementia means that the flowers I brought her an hour ago are now forgotten. She sees the flowers again, but they remind her of nothing.
The bad news of her sister's passing is also forgotten.

She can no longer remember how to bathe or toilet alone.
The indignity of needing help for her hygiene is quickly forgotten.

She has always been a picky eater. I mean SOOOO picky.
That doesn't matter anymore. If she enjoyed the food, she relishes it for the moment and forgets it. If she didn't like it, she forgets that quickly and eats it anyway.

She has lost her independence,
but she lives in the moment and so there is nothing to adjust to.

She has lost the power of her own stubborn will,
but she feels like a houseguest in the home and so is generally compliant and yielding.

Her world narrows down to a few things. They are important, basic, primal things: food, warmth, kindness, a warm smile.

She isn't fully present in any moment, but neither is she distracted or troubled. Sometimes she is petulant, or playful, or passive. She can be ornery. She can be sweet. No matter her mood, she simply IS.

For the time being, she simply is.

Can't See it Anyway

You can't see it, even if you look.

It isn't like an illness that shows easily from the outside. You can tell at a glance that some people are struggling with their health: you can see their walker, the effects of chemo, their oxygen tank or even just the pallor of a person who isn't well.

What if you can't see it? When you first meet a person in the early- to mid-stages of Alzheimer's disease, you might not believe what their family says. I am sure it is true for people who suffer from depression, chronic pain or other illnesses that what they feel like inside is not reflected on the outside. At all. Does that person go through the motions of everyday life, knowing that no one can see? I imagine it must feel like being somewhat invisible. And even though most of us wouldn't want everyone to be able to see all our troubles just by glancing at us, it still must be something that makes a person feel somehow distanced from other people.

I wonder every day, what does she know? Does Mom know what is slipping? Does she realize how diminished her capacity has become? Is she, I hope, in a cognitive fog that dulls the glaring absence of who she was and what she knew and how she thought? Is she sick enough to not know how sick she is?

There are no answers.