Quips and Gigglesby Angie

9 Mar 2014
9:03 am

It’s been another quiet day so far with Mom, but we had the delight of hearing her audibly laugh at a quip Jim made.  We had been watching Mountain of the Lord, but Dad paused it so we could go have lunch.  He took Maggie from Mom’s hands and said, “We’ll just set her down so we can get you into the wheelchair, but maybe we’ll bring her over to the table while we have lunch.  Does Maggie want lunch?” Jim chimed in, “No, she’s stuffed.” Mom grinned and laughed along with everyone.  I was very happy to see it.

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Visitors and Theatricalsby Angie

8 Mar 2014
10:03 pm

This morning for breakfast, Louise made palacsintas and cinnamon-sauteed apples.  Mom was not her usual chipper self and was tired enough to take a nap after breakfast.

Around 11am, Jason & Tiffany arrived with their girls for a visit but since Mom was still asleep we played upstairs for a while and prepared a puppet show for Grandma Hoffman.  Once she was awake, Jim helped us transport and set up the puppet theater in the living room and we put on “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”

The girls went home after that for lunch and we tried to feed Mom as well.  We’ve been successful at helping her drink more today, but she is definitely eating less.  After lunch she spent some time out in the sunshine, first sitting on the back porch and then being wheeled up and down the street in Rover by Jim.

Finally, it was time for Louise to head out to the airport so we said our goodbyes and brought Mom in.  She was worn out but not sleepy, so we curled up on the couch and watched Finding Nemo.  Jon arrived shortly before it ended, and sat with us while we watched a couple of episodes of Studio C.  He’d had a long night and a long flight, though, so he went to take a nap for a while and Mom eventually said she wanted to lie down as well.

Jim helped her get comfortable on her side on the couch and sat with her for a minute to make sure she was comfortable.  I was behind the couch, looking down, and thought for a moment that she seemed to be trying to say something, but then I realized that she was actually mouthing the words to the song that was playing: an arrangement of “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee” by (“the other”) Roger Hoffman.  It was so sweet.

She rested until dinnertime.  We were initially a bit discouraged that we still couldn’t get her to eat much, and she was having trouble drinking the chocolate milk (Ensure) that her blood pressure medicine was mixed into. Jon apparently had the magic touch: she suddenly started drinking again very determinedly.  She finished the entire 8oz of liquid, and we were all very relieved.

All that determination took its toll — she wanted to go to sleep before 7pm.  Jim and Dad got her into bed and I knelt next to her and asked if she wanted the Family Prayer song.  She did, so I sang, and she wanted me to go on after that so I sang all the quiet primary songs and hymns I could think of.  Several times I saw her mouthing words again.  Once, I mixed up the words and her eyes widened – I could tell that she noticed.  Jim and Jon joined me after a while and we sang a few more before saying goodnight.  She said “Goodnight, Jim” and finally closed her eyes to sleep.


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Meeting Mistyby Angie

21 Feb 2014
5:02 pm

A lot has happened in a couple of hours!  We had a visit from Misty, an RN with Gentiva Hospice, who examined Mom and did an evaluation and then went over lots of paperwork with Dad.  The weekend nurse will be in tomorrow for a follow-up, and then we have set up some basic routine care a couple of times a week and have ordered a wheelchair, shower bench, and other supplies.

Misty will be our regular nurse and case manager – she was very sweet and helpful, and even left her cell phone number so we could call or text her anytime we need to.  The consensus around here is that we have a good feeling about this and that it’s definitely time to have the support and advice that hospice can offer.

One service that Gentiva offers is grief counseling for close family, even if you don’t live nearby.  Since someone has already expressed a possible need for that, I asked about whether that could be arranged over the phone.  Phone counseling can be arranged, but I learned that, because Gentiva has branches all over the country, anyone on their Bereavement List can make an appointment and be seen in person if they have a local branch nearby.  Jim did some research and found locations in CA, OR, and MA (not HI – sorry!).  Counseling can begin at any time now that Mom is receiving care, and is covered under the hospice services for 13 months following her passing.  If any of you in our family feel a need to utilize this, please feel free to talk to Dad and he can have Misty get you listed.

Mom is smiling and peaceful, and ever so obliging.  It is certainly a blessing that her wonderful personality has been distilled down to such a simple example of who she truly is: a cheerful, loving, grateful daughter of God.  We all love her very much, and her love for us is still constant and strong.  She called her children her crown jewels, and she is truly the burnished gold that holds us all together.

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A Mid-day Updateby Angie

21 Feb 2014
12:02 pm

Mom is very peaceful and quiet – more so than a few days ago, I think. She curled up with Dad on the couch for quite a while yesterday, and we’ve been having a difficult time uncurling her since then – she continues to lean way to the right. She has seemed almost sleepy much of the day, but “Smiles for Life” made her smile again last night, and she even tapped her toes to the music.

Rachel and I have been writing in Mom’s new journal. I’ll pick a designated place to leave it, so whenever someone is visiting they can add to it, too.

Yesterday I helped with some phone calls and visited a couple of hospice agencies. Today we got the ball rolling with Gentiva Hospice, and they should be sending out an RN to do a preliminary evaluation today if they can get the referral from Dr. Curtis processed within the next few hours.

Pam and Tom Dozier arrived last night, and it’s so wonderful to have them here. Rachel went home early this morning. We’ve watched some Olympics and Studio C, and then we took Mom out into the beautiful sunshine for her exercising. Pam is helping her eat lunch now.  I’m sure we’ll have more to add in a bit.

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Chest tube outby Jim

26 Oct 2013
5:10 pm

They just took out the chest tube since her drainage had been so low and it has been in a while.  It means she can move around a little easier, but besides that, there isn’t much difference.  Not much has changed, she is getting a little restless, though.  Tough to have to sit reclined like this for so long.

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Kayleigh’s Wedding in San Diegoby Angie

10 Sep 2012
2:09 pm

The beautiful San Diego Temple

We had a wonderful experience this weekend in San Deigo for the wedding of a dear friend, Kayleigh Rose Torres…now Mrs. Evan Kidwell. We carpooled down with the Mills family: Kelly & Joleen, their daughter Amber, and Kelly’s mother Edna. Kelly has a brother living in Upland (~2 hours north of San Diego), so we drove that far Friday night and were welcomed by Dean and his family. It was so kind and gracious of them to let us stay!

Saturday morning, we left early and made it to San Diego with plenty of time. The temple is absolutely beautiful and built in a fascinating way: lots of angles, huge windows and skylights, and even a lovely little atrium in the central hallway of the third floor. The Sealing Room was small but full, and the Sealing itself was one of the most insightful I’ve ever attended. I took away several principles that I hope to apply more fully in my own life and marriage. Here are a few of my favorites:

– “If you want the best husband in the world, be the best wife in the world…and vice versa.”
– “You can’t be in the temple every day, but you can have a temple experience every day of your life – every time you get dressed to begin your day.”
– “We need to be spiritually nourished on a daily basis, and so do our marriages: We nourish one another not only with prayers and scripture study, but also with words and notes of love and encouragement, especially “Please,” “Thank You,” “I’m sorry,” and “I love you.”

That evening, at a lovely country club in the hills above the city, Kayleigh’s YSA bishop led their ring ceremony. He had wonderful, fun counsel to give as well, including the injunction to treat their marriage like a brand new car: Take good care of it, fix it up when things go wrong, and patch it up when it gets little scrapes & dings. If you do, down the road you won’t have a run-down old beater, you’ll have a pristine classic worth even more than when you first got it.

A reception followed, including dinner, toasts, and dancing. When the DJ announced the “Anniversary Dance,” he asked all married couples to come to the floor. About 30 seconds apart, he dismissed first the couple married less than one day, then those less than five years, then those less than ten years, and so on until they narrowed it down to the longest-married couple in the room, who had been married for 53 years. The DJ asked what was the secret to being happily married so long. The husband said, “My wife’s grandmother told her on the morning of their wedding that all she needed to do was treat her husband like he was her favorite little boy: love him, take care of him, and give him milk and cookies sometimes…That sure worked for me!” His wife then replied, “Also, you keep a good sense of humor.”

We spent that night in a nearby Marriott Residence Inn, then visited a 9:00 Sacrament Meeting on Sunday morning.  It was a combined meeting for a regular ward and the local Deaf Branch, so there was an interpreter on the stand for the talks, and an ASL conductor to lead us in signing the hymns. And, who should be speaking that day in that ward but the San Diego Temple President and his wife!  Sister Yeager told a story about a man who took his two grandsons for a drive in the nearby hills. After an hour of circuitous travel, they stopped to take in the view. He asked the boys, “Do you boys know where we are?” They shook their heads. He said, “Do you think we’re lost?” One of the boys pointed out over the valley to the bright building that was the temple and answered, “Grandpa, you are never lost when you can see the temple!” It is really true.  Also, she brought up the Bible Dictionary reference that only a home compares to a temple in sacredness, and continued on the idea of our homes being like the temple: Ideally, they will be a place of love and peace, clean and orderly, filled with uplifting images and music. She ended by quoting President Monson, “Temples are more than stone & mortar…They are the all-important, crowning blessing of membership in Christ’s Church.” My testimony of the blessings of the temple has been strengthened in so many ways over this weekend.

Amber, Joleen, & Edna

We returned to the hotel to have a late breakfast, pack up, and check out (and report the ants in our hotel room – ew), before driving to Upland once more. We spent a couple of hours with the Mills’ family again and enjoyed a delicious dinner of homemade fajitas before finally heading home. Despite the break in our driving, we all started to go a little stir crazy after a while, so Jim spent some time helping Amber with her Calculus homework, amazing us all with his Mathmagician skills and tricks. At one point, Edna said, “He’s speaking an entirely different language, I’m sure of it!”  We finally arrived home as the sky was darkening, and were welcomed by a sleepy, purring cat who was thrilled to no longer be home alone.

Salad Gardenby Angie

27 Mar 2011
4:03 pm

The heat wave in January that I posted about didn’t last, and it’s been very cold and wet here. However, I’ve still managed to make some progress in my backyard! In addition to my herb garden, I now have a little “salad garden” right outside our back door. Between the two containers, I have 6 baby romaine, 6 sierra lettuce (a variety of red leaf), 6 sugar snap pea plants, and one each of arugula, sorrel, and stevia.

Confession time… At the nursery, i actually went over the whole table of lettuce-like seedlings and tasted each one so I would only be buying things I would actually eat. I just pulled off little leaves near the edge – in a couple of cases, I picked one that was starting to come off anyway! And, yeah, I ate them right there in the nursery. They’re really good about organic growing and no pesticides on veggies and stuff, so I don’t think I’m in danger of dying… There were only two that I tasted and didn’t buy, one of which was radicchio, which I now know I REALLY don’t like. I wanted to get spinach, too, but they didn’t have any seedlings. I may start some spinach from seed.

It’s funny – growing up, I somehow thought that all kinds of lettuce just tasted the same – like a whole lot of nothing. Like it was just a neutral canvas for THE REST of the salad to sit in. The only considerations were how green it was (Mom says greener is healthier) and how crispy it was (Dad likes it crunchier). I guess my taste buds are finally growing up!

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