Showing posts from December, 2019


My Dad's toolbox, labeled in his engineer handwriting, sits in a corner of the basement, keeping company with an overwhelming amount of hoarded screws, nails, tools, and devices that are older than me, perhaps, and useful only to an engineer or laborer.

Every time I go near the area I whisper hello to my father.  It's a direct connection with him.  The last person to touch anything was my dad. The last person to use those tools was my dad.  It's bittersweet. 

The toolbox broke me tonight as I finished up laundry in the basement. I stood silently in front of it, reading the post-it notes.  

I open a drawer.  Yes, the label is accurate.  That toolbox is the only organized thing down here. 

My fingers brush a staple gun.  Dad's tool.  Dad's label.  I began to cry.

He was a brilliant man. Dad could design a sound system for a church in less than an afternoon, his precise writing gracing the blueprints.  He never used a stencil. Just a ruler to make certain it was precisely…

VAMC DAY: Acupuncture

Today is a VAMC day. Acupuncture. Yay. It's a shame our funds are low; we could do a nice dinner out otherwise.

 I've been up since 7 AM.  Laundry almost done, dogs played with, breakfast and coffee had, and Better Half actually got up early and joined us.

In a very hot house. Good grief! 73 is a bit too much for us.


Well, we didn't make it.  We got as far as Weirton before I could no longer tolerate my back pain. We turned around, went to the ER, and they drugged me.

OCD DAY: After Christmas Affairs

T'was the day after Christmas
And all through the house
Rolled poofs of dog fur
As big as a mouse.

The carpets were coated,
the dining room, too,
And Mum was sleeping -
What was I to do?

It's difficult to live
with a Compulsive Disorder.
The fur - it mocks me so!
I feel like a hoarder!

The counters were wiped
As quick as I could,
Though I wiped them last night
As anyone should.

The clock struck 9
And I could take it no more.
Out came the dust mop
to tackle the floor.

Suck all the fur!
Then clean out the vac.
Wash all the filters,
Tap out the dust sack.

My mother awoke and
came down the stairs
A bit irritated
By my cleaning affairs.

I skulked to our bedroom.
Oh God! How obscene!
It's a small space to share
With another human being.

Mountains of laundry,
A layer of dust,
The carpet is dirty,
I confess I was sussed.

And so I shall clean
While the husband's away,
To make it tidy for him
If he comes home today.

Because there he sits
In his hospital room
All tidy and co…

HOME DELIGHTS: Cranberry-Orange Glazed Poultry

A holiday meal isn't as good without the proper recipe. Sadly, I couldn't find my copy so I had scramble this week. And wouldn't you know it, but Hummingbird had it copied on one of her forums. Salvation all the way from Germany.


Cranberry-Orange Glazed Poultry
This is aGiada De Laurentiis recipe that circulates through the Fam.We've used it not only for turkey, but on chicken, Cornish game hens, and duck as well. We boil the unused bones/meat with celery and carrot tops and onion cores (the stuff you usually throw away), and freeze the broth (in ice cube form) for soups or anywhere that asks for a small amount of chicken stock.  Because the turkey is cut up beforehand, you don't have to worry about a large roaster or roasting pan taking up valuable space.

Total Time: 3 hr 35 min (for full sized turkey)5
Prep: 1 hr
Inactive: 35 min
Cook: 2 hr
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Intermediate


One 11-pound turkey, cut i…

CHRISTMAS MORNING: the delightful quiet

It's the most wonderful time of the year.  Per the norm, someone in this family is in the hospital.  Crazy, no? This makes three years running.

Of course, last year was our most frightening yet. Mum had open heart surgery the day before. They had her heavily sedated and hooked up to a gaggle of loud machines, so there wasn't much point in bringing her dinner.

Dad's passing has dwindled us down to just three. This is Better Half's turn.  We shipped him off to the ER yesterday for his two-day holiday vacation. He's in good spirits. He reminded me so at 8:30 this morning.

And, of course, I didn't get to bed much before 4 this morning, thanks to the dogs and general stress.

But, hey, the downstairs is almost totally clean! Yay!

I've hauled Better Half's laptop downstairs, added a bed for the dogs and some toys, made myself some coffee, and have taken ownership of Dad's chair. It feels good to be out of the tiny bedroom we share.

Angus chose to curl up i…


Something to make my Better Half smile:

REFLECTIONS: my Dad's cremation

Thank you to all that have expressed their condolences, and for giving me space to mourn. It's appreciated so very much.
I've spent the week helping my mom sort the downstairs. Well, I offer help. She lets me do small things but she wants to tackle the most. I give her space. We tackle the upstairs next... my dad's office (aka gadget collection) will take a week itself.
Dad's obituary was published locally yesterday.
Today was Dad's cremation.
I've attended a few of these. Some of my departed friends didn't have family. They were thrown out of their families because they were gay, or abused, or had a parent with a substance abuse problem. The family didn't care about their death. No funeral. The city would cremate them. I'd ask the crematorium if I could attend.
There I was,  teenage Punkchick clad in my leather jacket and with my 'hawk respectfully combed back, singing "Nearer my God to thee" or "Amazing Grace". It was how I …

REFLECTIONS: the night my father died

My father passed away today at 6:25 PM.

I haven't mentally processed it completely.  As with all my unpublished posts over the last few months, I can't focus on what I want to say. Whether it's just my "fibro fog" or simply that I'm not ready to let go fully... I'm not capable of writing his tribute just yet.

Grief is natural, of course. The difference between a sudden death and slow death have bearing on how we accept that death and experience our grief.

For families of those that decline over time, there's an opportunity to say all that needs to be said. Most mentally prepare for the eventual loss. This doesn't make it any easier when that time comes.

Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross proposed the five stages of grief (denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) in her 1969 book On Death and Dying. People who are grieving do not necessarily go through the stages in the same order or experience all of them.

I've cycled through them …

REFLECTIONS: My father's hands

I have always loved my father's hands. They healed, they taught, they comforted.

Calluses and scars are an eternal testament to his hard work. Though he was an engineer, he was hands-on for most of his projects.  He worked for Paramount Sound, which meant he was busy in ways the public never saw. He also worked for Hannon Engineering. There was a third company in California, but I can't recall the name. Radiophone Engineering, I think.

Regardless, his work took him abroad during my childhood. Whether it was designing and installing a sound system for Caesar's Palace, a fire system for the Kennedy Space Center, a comms system for South Korea's parliament building... he experienced more things than most of us, and always brought me back a souvenir.  And, when he worked for LVW in Colorado, they sent him to California to troubleshoot, and he brought back sand from my favorite beach.

I thought of these wonderful memories as I sat beside him today, holding his hand in the …