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.

Hello? Are You There?

In some ways, it is the cruelest of diseases.

Mom looks much like she has always looked. She has the same personality in most ways, too. Mom was always stubborn; now she can be downright petulant (especially with matters of health care). She still seems to recognize her loved ones, although if we aren't standing in front of her, she doesn't know how old we are. It's a conundrum: in her mind's eye, her sister is still as she was back in the 1950s, and yet she knows I am a grown woman and I was born in the 60s. Time is no longer a linear thing for Mom. I suspect it is also true that Mom doesn't always know us as well as she pretends, but she's a hella-good faker.

She can't attend to her personal needs anymore. She can't cook, or remember her hygiene or to take her medicine. She doesn't remember anything for more than a few minutes and even those long-ago memories are becoming jumbled: one story melds with another, making new stories. One of the most stubborn and independent people  have ever known , now Mom needs to be told to rinse the shampoo from her hair, or to flush. She repeats herself about every 15 minutes, all day, every day. All day, every day. All day, every day.

But then she will say or do something for a brief shining moment, She's MOM again. For that moment, all the decisions we've made of late are called into question. "Is she really so bad off? Does she really need to be moved to a facility? Maybe she's OK..." The moment never lasts, though. The little window closes, and we are shut out again.

We stand by, her children and her family, and watch her slowly slipping behind a great wall of confusion and watching her dignity dwindle. We're watching Alzheimer's disease take our Mom from us.