Parent is Also a Verb 3/14/23

Photo by Grevin Kivi on

Parent is a verb – until it’s not. At some point, the light turns red. Stop. Your job is done whether it feels like it or not, whether or not the results meet your expectations.

Over the teen years, the parenting light should turn yellow. Our sons and daughters should be gaining independence all their lives by making choices, creating space between themselves and parents, and finding out about their own identities. This can be a gradual separation, long before the light turns red or slamming on the brakes when the “child” turns 18 and begins making choices over which you have no legal control.

This is not to say all parenting screeches to a halt on the day the kid turns 18. I am saying that having reached the magical age of 18, that kid decides when your influence comes to an end. As painful as it may be to birth a new life into your family, it can be equally as difficult to let that life go out on its own.

Both of my sons lived with and relied on us past their 18th birthday. I did hear through them that some of their friends were told by parents that they had to move out as soon as they turned 18. My guys went to college and worked while living at home. Each of them have used poor judgment but one son has made riskier choices and the consequences have slowed down his forward motion.

When a medical or legal issue comes up, a clarity comes as a parent lives through not being able to make those choices for an adult child and not even being able to sway them to your way of thinking. You’ve had this weighty responsibility on your shoulders for at least 18 years but here you are now; not only has that weight been lifted, it’s been taken away from you.

The job of parent has an end date. The goal of the job is to end it. Your emotions will never end and you may well parent as a verb, only when asked hopefully, providing support during stressful times, but there are also seasons of life when loving an adult daughter or son is stepping back.

This is where I find myself. I know from my education and experience that the best thing I can do for my adult son, as he negotiates life, is to listen. I want to hear what he’s thinking. So, I’m not going to judge, demean, or try to argue him out of his decisions. We have good discussions so I will question and listen more than I talk. Instead of telling him what’s wrong with his plan, I ask him questions about his ideas so he is in a position to explain and defend. Continued questioning will lead him to look at what he’s doing. He may hear himself say something he hadn’t thought before or seeds may be planted that produce in the future. It may not move the needle presently but this is a much more effective way of having a healthy discussion with an adult than reverting to strategies from years ago. You’re more likely to maintain your relationship and obtain information by respectful questioning versus telling/lecturing/haranguing.

Lessons might have to be learned the hard way, and here I’m talking about my husband and I figuring out how to approach or react to situations wherein we may feel disappointed, sad, angry, confused, and/or helpless regarding the direction an adult son is choosing. I’ll express my thoughts and emotions if they’re welcomed into the discussion and, for sure later on my own. For us, we won’t provide any money or co-sign for anything, but they always have a soft place to land.

Have I disagreed with choices made by my sons? Indeed. Do their decisions increase in impact and consequence? Oh, yes, they do. I’m going to love, emotionally support, and listen to my adult children, emphasis on adult.

The Socratic Method

The Socratic Method, as outlined in Plato’s Thaeatetus, is a process of questioning that inspires critical thinking. Primarily the method was designed for moral and philosophical enquiry but the technique has been used in many other fields. The strength of the Socratic approach lies in its ability to challenge assumptions and negative thought patterns.

The heart of the Socratic teaching method is asking questions. Commonly described as a dialogue between student and teacher, the Socratic Method starts with provocative questions from the teacher. Students engage not just by answering those questions but by asking questions of their own. Resilient Educator

Sara’s education and experience: B.A. Ed; M.S. Counseling; teacher grades K & 2/3, educator for childcare providers, training in Positive Discipline and Growing, parent educator, program director of crisis nursery, including parent support, staff management & training, stay home mom 16 years with two sons born 19 months apart, medical transcription for 10 years in order to stay home, substitute teacher grades K through 12. Blogs about a wide variety of topics on

Who Dat?

Falling. Falling. Falling.

Vertigo, loss of balance, leg weakness, trembling, tripping, collapsing, losing my place in space.

Bumping, bruising, knocking, whacking, breaking.

This past week, I got out of bed around midnight to use the bathroom. After taking a few steps and feeling unstable, I stood still. Planted both feet flat on the floor. Still, I fell. I reached for the door jamb to grab in an effort to break the fall, but the fall broke me. No bones, but took me down hard.

My husband woke up from the noise and came to help. I got up on all fours but fell over. Paused for a few and then was able to crawl to the bed. The same ankle I broke in a fall nearly a year ago was source of the worst pain.

The left ankle swelled up and hurt badly. Got into doctor the next day and x-rays showed no fracture. With the titanium plate and many screws, my orthopedic surgeon had assured me it would be very difficult to break that ankle again. Ligaments and soft tissue remain painful and probably will for a bit.

Accepting new images of myself has been a struggle at each bend in the road. Decreasing abilities, both physical and cognitive, have caused such pain. Now, I can’t even be sure that I’ll be stable and safe standing on my own two feet without moving. I can’t be sure I can stand on my own two feet and not fall. I’m saying, “WTAF?”

The newest self-image adjustment involves accepting that I have to use walking assistance ALWAYS. There will be no days where I can decide it’ll probably be okay just to walk down the hall. I didn’t even make it to the hall.

I love my new hickory cane, but didn’t think I would become utterly dependent on it. I’m considering sitting down on the floor if I feel the “wave” or “sway” in my body.

Moving independently is no longer an option for me. Not occasionally or frequently, but always.

Inspirational quote “Falling down is an accident.Staying down is a choice”on forest background with vintage filter

Yeah, okay. I gotta get back up. Sometimes rising up is not possible. Right now, I am down. This, my whole condition sucks so f*cking bad. I hate this.

How to be careful, avoiding falls, increasing stability when even standing still isn’t safe?

I don’t think of myself as an old lady but I’m sure people below the age of 40 probably do. Whether my age qualifies me or not, my life does. At this point, I feel like giving in. Look there, I’m even going to end a sentence with a preposition and I don’t care.

Good Day to You, Sir

Don’t know what kind of funk I’m in but I think will be quiet for some time. It’s not that I chose a break. It chose me. I really think I’ll be back on here but I have no idea when. I think of you, people who’ve taken the time to read one post or many and I don’t want anyone wondering what’s going on (Invisible Pain). I’ll write again when the break leaves me. ❤

Merry Christmas ’22

Photo by Tim Mossholder on

Despite not finding this holiday season very merry, I do wish for others an abundance of love, belonging, comfort and cheer. Whether with family or friends, hopefully you have a warm day, literally and figuratively. I’m unwell, we didn’t decorate because the year of remodeling and mother-in-law moving in have exhausted all of us. We have a home with power, no travel plans run amok, and my husband has delicious dishes planned for breakfast and dinner. I feel merriless but guilty about it. Does that count?

What Do I Owe?

Tough. Feeling rough. In my head, “I just don’t care. I’m over it, don’t want to do this.” For the record, I’m not thinking about ending my life. I don’t care enough about it to take action.

At the end of September last, I was hopeful a medication change would provide some relief, even a little. Walking down the street or going out to eat might be possible. And I imagined. Transitioning meds is a pain in the ass and, in the end, the new rx didn’t work.

That was it, my last medical strategy. There were no more prescriptions to try. Neuropsychological testing isn’t available to me because the handful in the area don’t take my insurance.

Accepting chronic illness, chronic pain and limitations settled into me. I know, after a very long time with it, I just recently broke down the last wall. I think. My counselor has been encouraging me for quite a while to apply for para transit, which would come to my house and transport me in a van similar to a bus ride. I’ve been dragging my feet (ha ha, just made myself chuckle) because I still had hope I was going to be more independent. I was also unsure I’d be approved because the SSI disability has determined I’m not.

Well now, coming to terms, I decided to pursue public transit for disabled folks. My doctor supported my application, signing it right away. I signed and mailed it to the public transit company. I started imagining solo trips to see my mom, restarting massage therapy, scheduling regular chiropractic visits, and even just going to sit in a park, which was my counselor’s suggestion. I’ve got a new, beautiful cane to assist me in my adventures. I was pretty sure I’d be approved and I hoped.

This morning, the transit company representative called to let me know my address is outside the service area. If I could get myself three miles from my home, I could get picked up. She commiserated along with me, finishing my sentence when I said, “If I could get three miles, I wouldn’t need …” The woman was very sweet, saying she’d change the area if she could and she was so sorry. I appreciated her.

The call ended and then the tears came. I’d been sure I’d qualify and really visualized what it was going to be like. I’d actually gone beyond hoping. Now, it felt like the last ray went down. My husband immediately began reassuring me but I didn’t want to hear it. Fuck. This. is. it.

Now, I feel like throwing in the towel, not bothering with any more attempts to construct an independent life for myself. In my mind, “I’ll just stay shitty. Not going to work at being cheerful and positive about my life.” Why? It takes work to appear to my husband and to communicate with friends and family as though all’s well.

Do I, a chronically ill person with pain daily, do I owe it to my loved ones to struggle to put a positive spin on it? I have to deal with the illness and pain. Am I also responsible to make others around me comfortable? Do I owe them? Whether I do or not, right now I can’t.

An Early Gift for Me

Maybe read the post, “Fair to Middling, Cinderella to the Ball,” published on May 25, 2022 for background.

Photo by KoolShooters on

Some of my readers may remember the work banquet Wolf and I attended last spring, for which I overprepared, and the review of said event involving one of my husband’s coworker’s wives. We’re calling her Debbie. In a nutshell, when I saw she’d rearranged the name cards in order for us to sit together at that dinner, I’d known that evening was doomed.

A couple weeks ago, when my husband’s work Christmas party came around, I was prepared in a different way. My husband would enter the restaurant first and lead us to seats that were not beside or across from Debbie. I even enlisted one of Wolf’s coworkers, a friend, to sit away from her and save seats for us. When I said I didn’t want to sit near Debbie, our friend didn’t miss a beat, “Not wanting to sit with Debbie Downer and listen to her?”

A few minutes before party time, we left our hotel room to walk across the street to the Italian restaurant. I thought if we got there early, we’d have an easier time navigating the seating. We headed to the elevators on the 17th floor, and guess who joined us for the ride down. Debbie entered after me and stood beside me, shoulder-to-shoulder. She was on my left. As we were all getting settled, Debbie put one of her long, manicured nails IN MY EAR and “tickled?” I drew back and looked at her saying, “Don’t.” She laughed and as soon as I turned facing forward, she DID IT AGAIN, putting her finger in my ear. Not the outermost structures of the ear or the lobe, but INSIDE near the entrance. I looked at her and said, “Knock it off.” She laughed and, once I looked ahead, SHE DID IT A THIRD TIME!!! WTAF? I faced her and said, “Stop. I’m serious.” She responded, “I see that.” There was no more involvement between us as the elevator reached the lobby level.

Debbie, her husband, and another couple from Wolf’s work exited and walked to the left, heading to the main corridor, fully decorated, to reach the front doors at the other end of the lobby. My husband and I moved to the right, and we took the less traveled hallway passing the spa, gym, and pool. We walked slowly and even stopped for a few moments. We were definitely lagging behind Debbie and others going to the event.

Unfortunately, when we reached the restaurant, they weren’t yet ready for our party. (hah, see what I did there?) I moved to a chair to get off my feet while we waited. After a few minutes, Debbie came over and sat in the other chair in the small waiting area. I didn’t look at her or speak to her. I studiously enjoyed all the Christmas decor in the mall of shops, cafe, and our estabishment. I could see Debbie in my peripheral vision attempting to make eye contact, but I was concentrating on those beautiful Christmas trimmings.

When we were welcomed to our seats at two long tables in the back room, Debbie and her husband were ahead of us. They took seats at the table on the left. Wolf and I didn’t think our friend had arrived and saved seats because he wasn’t ahead of us in the group being led through the restaurant. My husband took seats for us at the right side table, facing away from the other. Eventually, we did see that our friend had been seated early and saved seats, but comme ci comme ca.

Aaaahhhh, there it was. My early gift was not having to sit next to Debbie. Last spring I was offended by her comments regarding her daughter’s fiancé and was sure this night, if I were trapped, Debbie would have regaled me with stories from the summer wedding. The fiancé happens to be black, which she informed me of while assuring “it would be okay” to which I said with a tone, “Yes, I’m sure it will be.” I can only imagine comments she’d make when reporting on the ceremony.

Wolf took me back to the hotel room after the meal and returned for the gift exchange. Debbie approached him and said, “Sara’s really mad at me, huh?” My husband is talented in letting remarks go unaddressed.

At the next work event, it’s most likely Debbie will try to make up for her weird, inappropriate elevator behavior. Whatever. If she makes ONE comment about the race of her son-in-law or his family, I’m ready. My response will be, “Do you really mean to tell me you think skin color determines the worth of a person???” I will not hold back to be polite. Perhaps she will recognize that I’m not merely disturbed by her finger in my ear but hold deeper animosity toward her.

This is the New Loo!

If you’ve been following along, I am happy to present my remodeled bathroom! Still lighting and electrical to address but I am now using my beautiful little spa. First a look back at “before.”

My tiny box of a shower hiding behind that partial wall, a dark, low-ceilinged closet.

Now, beautiful tile, higher ceiling, grab bar, bench, niches, and shelves. Love it!!!

Towel and turban hang here. Little spa touch.

Shelving and medicine cabinet for much more storage.

This vanity is the first thing I bought because I fell in love. It was amazing to find the perfect piece I’d pictured in my head for ages! Everything else was planned/chosen accordingly.

It did take six months to get from demo to full usefulness. The tile held up the progress along the way, because this was a side job for expert tile setters. My husband is a commercial flooring and tile project manager; he talked one of his best teams into doing my little bathroom. Perfection.

The tile for the rest of the floor is the field tile here on the shower walls and it’s also used for base. Backsplash at my vanity will be the accent tile.

So, there it is, my readers. I have my longed-for, long-awaited beautiful en suite spa! What a wonderful Christmas gift.

p.s. If you’re interested in seeing more of the before, “A New Loo” post from July is filled with excitement for this project, which I thought would be done late August/early September.

p.p.s. I wish Ashley Peterson could see. She cheered me on when I got discouraged.

Parent is Also a Verb 12/5/22


When my children were young, they were given many gifts. When you take into account grandparents, aunts & uncles, mom & dad and, of course, Santa; the number of presents under the tree seems to increase exponentially as Christmas nears. Little ones are teased by the accumulation. When can we open them??? Wind up the pre-holiday buzz with each new deposit!

As traditions take hold, I would encourage you to think seriously about what you want the season of Christmas to mean to your family. To avoid the entitled attitude the yearly deluge of presents gives rise to, think first about your family sharing love. How does that look for you and yours?

Instead of buying everything on the wish lists, you might let Santa provide the most favoritest, gotta have gift. You can gift number two on the list and a few more of the less desired items. Ask extended family to buy just one present (Oh, I know how grandparents can be!), focusing on quality over quantity. If they’re devastated, encourage them to buy whatever they’d like but then give the gifts over time to celebrate New Year’s, Valentines, etc…? Suggest that instead of numerous presents, they start their own special tradition with their grandchild by taking them to see bright lights around town, having a gourmet hot chocolate, or helping them to buy presents for their siblings and parents. Because my best friend from middle school had kids bookending the ages of mine, we started a family to family tradition of buying each other beautiful, traditional, meaningful, or just plain fun Christmas books. We did this in lieu of giving presents to each other’s children individually. Such a great collection was built which was so fun for us to see and read again year after year.

For my family, I took packages as they arrived and put them in a room where I could close the door. If one of my son’s asked, “What’s that?” I’d tell them it’s gifts for our family from ____ but it’s not time for them yet. I wanted for us to decorate together, decorate cookies, mark time on the advent calendar. On Christmas Eve day, if they were at preschool or elementary school, I’d put the presents out when they weren’t with me. If that couldn’t happen, I’d get them going on their favorite toys or games and manage it while they weren’t looking. The last option was putting them out after they’d gone to sleep that evening. It was sooo exciting for them when they saw the packages under the lights of the Christmas tree, regardless of the number. And there were many a Christmas Eve that my husband was up late putting together the indoor basketball that rang its bells and flashed its lights, the multi-use game table with foosball table, which was popular all the way through high school. So, I’m not the grinch. When I could, during the crazy Christmas consumer derby, I tried to think about what I wanted to give my children which was lottsa love, a smattering of activities together, and simply periods of my undivided attention.

Another way to share the spirit of the holidays is to buy a gift or two for families less fortunate. I also had my sons go through their toys before Christmas, or just after, and sort them in bags to give away, throw away, or keep. Taking them with you to a donation site, let’s them see the concrete way their choices are a generosity to other kids without many toys.

If you want a stronger antidote to the me-me-me virus, try putting a lot of toys in a box for later. It’s their next time box. You could start with or without their assistance. Then when they’re playing and ask, “Hey, where’s that ____?” You just say it’s for next time. After a month, two or three, bring out the next time box. If a toy wasn’t missed and there’s not much interest in it, that could go in a “give away” bag. Then, the idea is the next time toys come out and the half that had been available takes their place in the “next time” box. This certainly is something you work out for your family’s style, and I wouldn’t expect sleep-with, favorite, have-to-have toys or games to go away. I sometimes did it on my own and some toys just disappeared. Interesting to see how long it took them to notice. When they did, I’d assure them those things are in our next time box, and we would play with them another time. With my kids, if I was lucky, when they couldn’t find something and looked to me, I’d smile like “you found a secret, you’re onto something,” I’d get their smile back making sure I knew they were onto me; sometimes we’d even nod our heads and give the “I’m watching you” sign to each other. It was a good distraction from a bad, mad, rainy, boring day to bring out that next time box. Joy was had by all – every two or three months.

These are practices that met our family’s need to navigate the season without focusing on presents and me-me-me.

Sara’s education and experience: B.A. Ed; M.S. Counseling; teacher grades K & 2/3, educator for childcare providers, training in Positive Discipline and Growing, parent educator, program director of crisis nursery, including parent support, staff management & training, stay home mom 16 years with two sons born 19 months apart, medical transcription for 10 years in order to stay home, substitute teacher grades K through 12. Blogs about a wide variety of topics on

Watching the Machinery Break Down

Can you imagine how proud the farmer pictured was? This equipment was built in 1938 and looks like it’s of good use. Would you expect that piece of machinery to be running still in 2022? If you could get the engine started, its performance, if any, would certainly not compare with the earlier years.

My mom was born in 1938. She’s 84 and tired. I’m not saying my mom is going through her end stage. I’m pretty sure, though, that she’s on the path there. Aren’t we all for that matter?

When experiencing the death of a loved one, so many emotions and thoughts move with you through those final weeks or days, if you’re blessed to know ahead of time that you are losing a family member or friend. Something that struck me in the final days of my dad’s life reappeared for me yesterday. I’m not saying my mom is down to her final months, weeks or days. Who knows?

One of the perspectives that I saw was the very literal break down of the machinery. The parts are worn out, acknowledgement that one is moving into a new phase of life, the end, whether it will last a short time or long, and the functional capabilities of a dying person collapse as the stopping of one part affects another. I don’t mean this in a sick, macabre way, but seeing the machine break down is fascinating. Yes, at the same time it’s so painful and sad; but when you come up for air, witnessing the process is as meaningful as you make it for them or you.

Hold a hand, smooth lotion over hands and arms. My sister sang favorite hymns to our grandma when she was near the end. Play the music they love. Be open to communicating about what’s happening. Yes, it is very hard to speak about what’s occurring; but the needs of the loved one outweighs your comfort or discomfort. Even if you’re nervous or fearful, sit beside the one who is fading. Provide them with much love and comfort as they make the journey. Don’t let them feel alone and scared.

p.s. I know I pledged to avoid fibro or ? (can’t remember the other thing) for a while. This is not a post about fibro but another downer maybe, if that’s how someone takes it. I have three or four not-sad posts started as drafts. It is my plan to post a couple of those before Christmas. We shall see.

p.p.s. Apologies if this post doesn’t flow smoothly. My brain is not at 100% these days. I’ve been having trouble telling right from left lately, for crying out loud. To prevent confusion, I am reminded that my wedding ring is on my left. Okay, okay. That’s just a couple of sentences about fibro and that’s just if you’ve read all the way through.

Parent is Also a Verb 11/28/22

Candy canes and popcorn chains

Ribbons and bows with pretty boxes below

What does your Christmas look like? Do you have family traditions from your childhood you’re now incorporating into the individual, couple, or all-in-with-kids Christmas you’re designing? Or not. Intentionally free of those reminders? Hanukkah? Kwanzaa? Doing your own thing?

I propose that having family traditions is a very good thing. Not any in particular, in my mind. Ones that make sense to you. Going together for a family drive to see lights and decorations, choose a tree, play in the snow and then drink some cocoa? Decorating cookies, putting up decorations (many made at school) indoors and out?

My husband and I were free to make our own traditions, as my parents were quite flexible once grandchildren arrived, especially; and my in-laws were all a thousand miles away. My father started a Christmas Eve tradition during my teen years (youngest of three daughters) which is kinda funny because he was an atheist; we had steak and seafood for dinner on Christmas Eve. My husband and I have continued the surf ‘n turf each of the 30 years we’ve been married. Popular with all. Ha ha

Tell you what, holidays change once you have children so this it’s a great opportunity to decide how you want to do things. Some that we kept up or chose were custom decoration on stockings upon arrival, angel on top of the tree, bead garlands, wreaths on the front door, both inside and out. The best tradition we had for the youngest years was a visit to the same Santa every year until my boys declined, when the oldest was nine. Such fun to have the exact same Santa in the picture year after year. Without a doubt, that is the favorite part of Christmas each year for all of us, looking back. So sweet.

Many “traditions” wandered in and out, lasting just a few years. From the time our sons were early grade school, I took down all the pictures, both large and small, in our living room, wrapped them to look like presents, and put them back up. Until my health started to unwind. I loved picking out the wrapping for next year’s Christmas when there are sales just after. The next year I’d get a great “surprise” when I retrieved that paper in early December!

We went together every year to get a live Christmas tree at a farm nearby, then an outdoor tree lot, and eventually an artificial tree for which my husband stood in line at 6 am on Black Friday, waiting two hours to get a really good deal on a great looking prelit fake tree, and he got the last one! Score! That tree has been really good at pretending for a decade plus. Now, the kids are gone and I’m not physically able to decorate. We do have some wonderful, solid Christmas decor my parents gave our family over the years including a really large nutcracker, a chess set, angels for the mantle and a beautifully lit, in motion little train and track snowglobe.

No matter how big or small, cost free or spending extra, extra for the season, generational or new, traditions are important because they provide a ribbon of continuity through these people we call family. The joy of having traditions will reveal itself when your loved ones begin to reminisce about holidays past. When I was a child, I loved decorating sugar cookies in holiday shapes, so I brought that into my sons’ experience. The second year in, they have a sense of anticipation when the ingredients were assembled. Some traditions take longer to be appreciated but may be sweeter for having needed time to age. My adult sons sharing their Christmas memories make all the mess, time, frazzle, and impatience, theirs and mine, worth it.

And, so, the value of traditions, whether holiday, camping in summer, sports, etc., is that it provides a sense of belonging, which is incredibly necessary. If we don’t feel as though we belong, 100%, no reservations in our family or friends group, we will seek it. Perhaps we look into the fridge for it or into a bottle or in a group of people who will take us in, though might not bring out our best. This applies equally to your children. If they’re not getting it from you, they’ll figure out a way to numb that ache or, worse, they’ll just feel it gnawing inside and feed it with anger, violence, self-harm or be on the news for all the wrong reasons.

This is a call to action – parent is also a verb, ya know. Start with a couple easy traditions to try out this year. You’re not committing to a lifetime. Your family gets to choose. Seize the opportunity!

Sara’s education and experience: B.A. Ed; M.S. Counseling; teacher grades K & 2/3, educator for childcare providers, training in Positive Discipline and Growing, parent educator, program director of crisis nursery, including parent support, staff management & training, stay home mom 16 years with two sons born 19 months apart, medical transcription for 10 years in order to stay home, substitute teacher grades K through 12. Blogs about a wide variety of topics on

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo by Kranthi Remala on

Thankful. Receiving blessings. Acknowledging what’s good and right in our lives. I am most thankful for my family and friends, Their love sustains me. I am grateful for our dog, my constant companion. Having food to eat, a warm house, operating vehicles, medical insurance, a comfortable bed, and a safe neighborhood make me one of the luckiest people in the world. I’m appreciating life today.

Whatever your Thanksgiving Day holds, my sincerest hope for you is that you are able to appreciate your life, whatever it is. I am thankful for you.

What Would You Like?

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Caesar, chef, spinach, chopped, taco, spring…..salad! I love some good greens as a side or as the meal itself. How about a store-bought garlic roll requiring just a couple minutes in the microwave? You must pick one salad and one brand of rolls. Do you want to eat those two foods over & over & over?

My mother-in-law shops at Wal-Mart where my husband and I choose not to do any business. Not long after she moved in, about as soon as she felt comfortable driving to the closest Wal-Mart, (This was the first place she really wanted to reach solo.) she brought home a few, varied, individually packaged salads as well as some garlic dinner rolls in a foil bag. Unaware that Karen had purchased the salads, I was pleasantly surprised to find them in our fridge. She has her own refrigerator downstairs and, so, keeps things there. I told my husband I enjoyed having a salad for lunch. He explained his mom had brought those home and he didn’t know why she put them upstairs. He must’ve mentioned that I ate and enjoyed the salad. Likewise, after having the rolls with a dinner my husband made, we commented that they were good and thanked her for providing them.

Oh my gawd. The woman obviously took note that the first salad I’d eaten was a caesar salad because she buys them every time she goes to Wal-Mart for anything, caesar salads and packages of the garlic rolls. Personally, I try not to eat caesar’s often because the dressing is high in fat. Additionally, I limit the amount of bread in my diet, including dinners. How to politely request she stop bringing these home???

Why does she purchase these, and only these, foods every f*cking time she comes back from that megastore? What do you think? Why do you think she’s doing this? Feel free to let me know in the comments.

My take? This reminds me of the period of time when my sister-in-law was dying of ALS. Early days, she was able to eat and continued to handle intake by mouth for a fairly long time. When my father-in-law failed from ALS, he lost his ability to swallow quickly. Yes, as rare as it is, ALS is genetic in my husband’s family. Anyhoo, and I will get back to salads and rolls, my mother-in-law lived a couple hours north of her daughter. Her effort to “do her part” was coming down every other Saturday, though they were retired and could’ve come weekdays and/or more frequently, to sit on the couch after bringing Steph some food she enjoyed. That was it. She didn’t offer to help or provide respite for the other 24/7 caregivers, including my husband’s stepmother. She sat on the sofa for about three hours, she and her husband talking, talking, talking about people and things, mostly of no import, and then they would go home.

My mother-in-law said she couldn’t leave her husband home alone, but she could’ve. They couldn’t stay more than a few hours because of the pets at home, which had been Steph’s, and they couldn’t drive in the dark. There was absolutely no effort to care physically for her daughter, come on a weekday to run errands or pick up necessaryy equipment/items, or stay the night to allow those regular caregivers a night off. She decided what showing a mother’s love in these circumstances looked like and that was final. Whenever the opportunity presented itself, she reported that she brought food. This routine was followed, being altered only when chewing was no longer possible.

Then, my sister-in-law could not eat. My mother-in-law expressed to me she didn’t know what to do what to do for her. She discussed the foods she’d brought, the history of Steph having mentioned these, where she and her husband went to pick them up, and how much my sister-in-law loved it, all of this to show she did go out of her way, literally. Given that no food could be offered any longer, I explained that she couldn’t show her love that way anymore. She immediately responded by saying something like, “Yeah, but she really loved those fish & chips,” or burrito, or whatever. As I tried to nudge her away, she clung to how well she’d done bringing delicious treats.

Finally, I interrupted and told her in no uncertain terms, she needed to move on, that she could not express her love of my SIL by providing food purchased at a fast food joint any longer. I encouraged her to help care for her daughter. She said, “Yeah, but I don’t know how and I don’t want to get in the way.” To which, I explained she could massage Steph’s feet or lotion her hands. My SIL loved having fingers run through her hair with nails lightly raked across her scalp. I felt like these activities weren’t invasive, so as not to be uncomfortable for my MIL (as though that was important). And again she spoke of bringing food and how much joy that had provided. It was painful to see her resistance to suggestions of how to care for her only daughter and, worse, seeming to avoid touching my SIL other than a kiss hello and one for goodbye. What are your thoughts about why she didn’t?

My MIL couldn’t imagine ways to show love to her dying daughter that my SIL would appreciate. I don’t think she gave it a thought. Even when I provided examples, the only perspective through which she cared to view my SIL’s illness and approaching death was her own. She cannot or will not stretch outside her well-defined, solidly-walled box.

Returning to the present, of course, we’d thanked her for those very first contributions and politely appreciated how good they were. That was it. It felt good to her. She was contributing and everybody knew it. She’s locked in. There is no need to look for other ways to contribute, not even other foods that might be enjoyed. She found the routine that’s easy and makes her feel good, and stopped there. Why is this?

Over the years, I’ve discovered my mother-in-law is quite concrete. She doesn’t use her imagination or try to do things outside her comfort zone. As an example, with her three grandkids living at a distance, for birthdays and holidays over decades MIL has sent cards with cash, explaining it would be difficult for her to shop, wrap, and send gifts. Our sons did look forward to her cards, for sure, but I knew she was avoiding having to ask or think about what they might enjoy at each stage in growing up, make the effort to shop and, additionally, she didn’t like wrapping and sending things. Probably, she’s never even considered the delight unwrapping a gift would have given her grandchildren when they were young, outweighing the minor inconvenience on her part.

A few days ago, my niece gave birth to twin boys. I told MIL I’d had so much fun shopping for baby boy items online, having sent them directly to my niece. She said, “Oh, I don’t shop online and if I shopped here at a store I’d go nuts, but then I’d have to wrap and send them. I sent a card with cash so they can buy what they want.” This is my dead sister-in-law’s only child and she’s got a baby registry at a nationwide store.

Years ago when she was here for my son’s high school graduation, I watched her play checkers against her engineer husband and it was very revealing. I may even have been the one who suggested they play. This was the first time in her life she’d played checkers. She had trouble following how one can move on the board, experienced frustration very quickly when she had difficulty, and was a sore loser. She doesn’t play games, ever, and I’m sure she won’t play checkers again.

Thus, we find ourselves in a touchy situation. How do we communicate to her that we don’t want her to keep bringing home caesar salads and garlic rolls. My husband liked the rolls first time around, but they are getting really old even for him; we still have two packages we haven’t used. Maybe I sound unappreciative to you and I am now. I appreciated her specific contributions early on, but I didn’t imagine that thanking her would result in these same items coming home every time she stops at her big box store of choice. Does she imagine we would want to eat these same foods repeatedly? No, she doesn’t imagine and it works for her. Should we not say anything? Let salads and rolls pile up? Keep eating them so she feels good? Oh, the hurt feelings she will most likely suffer at the suggestion we don’t want to keep eating these same things every few days. What would you say, or would you?

My German MIL lives with us now. Forever. We could handle this relatively petty situation by ignoring it, if she was just here for a few months; but shouldn’t we deal with these uncomfortable encounters rather than just acting to avoid them? Her concrete, self-centered thinking is going nowhere. And neither is my frustration with it. This is illustrative of how she will be handling any number of circumstances over the next many years. Any recommendations on how to handle thorny, every day topics are greatly appreciated. And on we go….

What’s Up, Doc?

All right, readers;

I’m going to do my best to to write about anything except fibromyalgia, depression, or suicide in the coming weeks. Those that follow along will know I’ve been preoccupied with an unsuccessful medication switch and return to original. Back to where I was at the beginning of September, I’ll appreciate the pain it covers as it reaches treatment level, having seen how I feel without it.

Upcoming holidays will no doubt give me fodder, especially my husband’s work Christmas event. New posts about parenting are on my mind, and I’ll continue letting you in on how it’s going with my German mother-in-law living with us.

In the past, I’ve kept my blog apolitical for the most part. Faced with government/top secret documents found at Mar-a-Lage and Trump running for president again, I’ll do whatever I can, in my small way, to prevent Trump from returning to the White House. Patriotism, honesty, integrity, and trust will motivate my political perspective and my vote. Maybe I should put a CAUTION: when I write on this topic.

Reaching out to readers who visit my blog has been very constructive for me; it energizes me and lifts me up despite fatigue, mental fog, and muscle spasms. Of course, I never know who or how many will see a particular missive, but I write as though a few close friends are interested in what I have to say. Thank you, my friend.

Whoop, There It Is

Warning: This post includes discussion of suicide. If you need help, call 988 to speak with a mental health professional right now.

This tattoo was a symbol of choosing life when I committed to my first real ink art in November of 2021. Suicidal ideation has been a close companion daily for many years, and I’m so tired of the weighing and wondering all aspects of what it would mean to escape the darkness and pain. The choice wasn’t made during a time when things were looking up; there hasn’t been one of those. It was made while wading through difficult, sick days, to once and for all stop the roiling of thoughts about taking the final act or not to act.

The last post I published laid bare the pain of accepting my circumstances. This is it. So, now, there it is – I made a commitment to choosing life nearly a year ago. I made that promise to myself. Whether I chose life out of love to friends & family, fear of the unknown, or the desire to stop ruminating on suicide is of no concern. Consideration was given and an option selected. Move on, I said to myself.

As I searched through my pictures for one to illustrate my fatigue and hopelessness, I came across this promise tattooed to myself. It’s forever on my leg, but I don’t give it much thought. I’m going to plug back into that earlier frame of mind. When recurring thoughts about whether or not to complete suicide travel through my mind, I will turn my attention to these flowers. Not only that, when despair settles in due to pain, nausea, vertigo, depression and/or anxiety, this tattoo will give me permission to untether those concerns. They don’t deserve my attention. Now, whether or not I can follow the path I’m trying to plow, I have no idea.

Major relief has been achieved by my visit to my mother yesterday. I decided if I’m going to go somewhere in spite of my condition, my mom’s new place would be first. She’s in her 80’s and, last August, moved out of the home she shared with my late father. There’s no reason to wait until cross-town travel is “easier” or “better.” It’s not going to be. My tattoo can be a reminder of this, too. The trip to my mom’s was great! It was soothing to my soul. She has a nice, bright apartment and is content. I’d been spending a lot of my time feeling like a shitty daughter because I haven’t been able to assist with the sale of her old house or the move. I’m not able to drive her to appointments. Seeing her in her new home helps me breathe more easily.

Did the hour round-trip as a passenger cause increased pain? Yes, it did. Seemed all of the muscles that are most likely to spasm joined together and cramped all at once. I also experienced vertigo and nausea. No surprise. Today is definitely for recovery, maybe tomorrow too. Though, in truth, an outsider would have difficulty seeing a difference between those and “normal” days. I’ll be asking for my husband to help me more than usual; there it is.

Unexpectedly, my mental function took quite a hit. My ability to find words, think clearly, and operate my phone or laptop were all seriously impacted. I’m still working through the brain bog. Overall, very much worth the price to embrace my mom. Next weekend, I’m going to try going out to breakfast.

I asked my husband if it was important to him that I go out and do things. He explained that having seen what fibro flares do to me, it’s not high on his list of priorities. He said it wasn’t worth it to him to have me suffer for it. He gets it. We’ll see how breakfast goes next week. On and on and on and on goes life.

Thanks for listening – you know what I mean.

This Is It

In some cases, the difficult questions do eventually cul-de-sac into answers, whether we like them or not. One of my most challenging quests has been to find relief for my fibromyalgia. Is there anything out there that will address the whole enchilada? The answer has become quite clear. No more wondering or searching.

This chronic illness is here to stay and nothing will actually address the overall effect it has on me and my life. Following an MRI in September and an unsuccessful attempt to switch from my fibro med to a very popular one benefitting many folks, the medical answer is clear. There is no “cure” or “solution.” The best I will do is treat symptoms.

After many, many years, the unanswered question is resolved for me. Instead of waiting until I feel better, I must go ahead with whatever activity I desire, just knowing I will need a couple days afterwards to recover. I’ll pace myself with no more than one outing a week for now and see how it goes.

A new phase of my chronic illness begins, ignoring my symptoms to do things that hurt. My first activity in this new vein is visiting my mother in her new place. My husband will drive because I don’t think I can actually drive the distance without my muscles seizing. I’m rarely able to load or empty the dishwasher completely pain and spasm free.

While I’m not excited (about anything really), I will begin doing activities I hoped to do after I’d found some kind of relief. How painful will it be? We’ll see.

‘We wake up and take the indicated action.’ 

Christina Applegate has multiple sclerosis. She’s had it for a while. In an article, (link below) she spoke briefly about her experience since being diagnosed. The quote above shares a perspective of one of her M.S. friends.

“…It’s been a tough road. But as we all know, the road keeps going. Unless some a**hole blocks it. As one of my friends with MS said, ‘We wake up and take the indicated action.’ And that’s what I do.”

As I accept that the new medication I’ve tried recently, after transitioning from one med I’ve taken for years, is not for me (It actually gave me worse fibro symptoms,) and the MRI scan from September shows nothing that would contribute, I get it. This is my fibro life. Of course, now I’m reverse engineering the med switch to return to the rx that was working, per doctor’s orders. I wasn’t aware of the pain it covered until I stopped it. Because I still have a very hard time just functioning daily doesn’t mean I’m not benefitting. I was actually unknowingly enjoying an absence of arthritic pain in my thumbs, neck, and back. I wasn’t having daily, severe headaches. I’m sure there’s more but I’m tired.

As was the case with the original switcheroo, my blog writing may vary. I’m going to wake up each day and take the indicated action.

Searching for Peace

Caution: Frank discussion of suicide. If you need help, call 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline to speak to mental health professionals.

She danced and traveled. She was an accomplished psychiatric nurse and author. A searcher, she was seeking answers, solutions, alternatives. She provided support, encouragement, friendship and love to more people than we’ll ever know. She suffered clinical depression and it was fatal.

Her manner of death was suicide but the cause of death should be listed as depression. When you have an incurable case of major depression and the treatments don’t seriously alleviate your pain and darkness. when self-care isn’t enough, the desire for peace doesn’t cease.

People say you have to accept your circumstance and make the most of it. For some people, the only way to optimize is to stop. Stop everything.

My friend, Ashley Peterson, previously wrote on her blog at that her prior suicide attempts occurred when the unlivability of her illness outweighed concern about hurting others. That must be exactly what unfolded on October 9, 2022.

Wanting to avoid causing pain to my wonderful family and friend is, for all intents and purposes, what keeps me from choosing to end my life when I come to those forks in the road. Intermittently over the years, I’ve thought about suicide. How? When? Where? Not a serious consideration of ‘this door or that?’ but quite similar to thinking about an upcoming trip or an event, rolling over possibilities, including imagining the pain it would cause. I think, “Yeah, but people die everyday. Families and friends are suffering loss all the freakin’ time. They’ll grieve, but they’ll get over it. Whereas, I am not able get over fibromyalgia or depression. There is no end to my grief.” During the darkest hours of this punishing depression, I come to that damn fork in the road. Do I check out, put an end to the torture? Fnally opting for the one treatment I know for sure will end the burdens of me and provide peace, whatever that looks like OR do I delay the upset and heartache that will descend upon my family and friends as soon as mine rests. Because I am incredibly empathic, I can feel the magnitude of the sadness that would result for my husband, sons, mom, sisters, close friends. I’ve lived to love these people and cannot bring myself to visit darkness upon them. I’m not going to be responsible for causing sorrow to the people for whom I’ve been weaving love and compassion all these years. In the end, so far, I find myself not choosing in order to choose,

Although I’ve become exceedingly familiar with depression and suicidal thoughts over the past 20+ years suicide I’ve never understood copycat suicides. Until now. I AM NOT SUICIDAL, just to be clear. My lovely friend chose suicide on October 9, though I didn’t learn of it until October 29. I am devastated, but I also know Ashley came to a place that was unlivable. Yes, she knew it would rock the world for those of us who love her, share with her, exchange support with her, but it couldn’t be avoided.

And then I think, “If Ashley, a psychiatric nurse who traveled the world alone, wrote books, blogged, provided crucial support to others daily, if she couldn’t find any other way, I’m really not going to be able to cure my disease or even get seriously on top. What chance do I have?” There comes the choice between Door A or Door B. The copycat suicides are people who have already been suffering and considering how to get out of the pain. It’s been mulled over and over. Then, they see a person with whom they identify, decide enough. When Ashley died, I thought to myself, “I’m going to end up there anyway. If it’s permissible for this amazing person to choose peace over depression, maybe I can, too.” I wonder. Yesterday, I made the choice to not linger. I know the longer I ruminate over the life and death of Ashley, the harder it will be to change course.

Blogging is how I knew Ashley. So this blog post is how I’m grieving her and grieving loss of hope. These are thoughts that have emerged from, literally, decades of suicidal thinking. A person can have suicidal thinking without being suicidal.

To anyone at the fork in the road, for the first time or the 100th, far be it from me to offer advice but I can provide support. Call 988 to talk with a mental health professional about what’s going on in your life. All I can say is, for me, I don’t choose. My choice is to not choose this way or that at the fork. I suppose I just hang out there, breathe, and write – or play a mindless game, or tweet, tribel, talk, tv; anything to distract. There are periods of my life where suicidal thinking just glances off my day and I don’t go down deep enough for suicidal thinking to overcome, wrap me up, forcing me to choose again. There is hope for less. Though, all of this is just this person’s experience.


Sensitive post w/discussion about suicide.

Photo by Pixabay on

My friend & fellow blogger, Ashley Peterson, isn’t with us anymore and I’m so damn sad. She befriended me in my early blog days three years ago. She (I don’t want to use past tense) was amazing. Her website is She wrote posts and books, did movie reviews, shared her struggles, and was incredibly supportive to a lot of people who were suffering, too. I love her. While I’m incredibly heartbroken right now, I equally understand and honor her choice. It does stir up a lot of thoughts and emotions in me, but Ashley would say “Ugh” and say something perfectly encouraging. I miss her.

Peace to Ashley


Photo by Pixabay on

After completing the difficult transition from one fibromyalgia medication to another, my doctor and I had a virtual follow-up appointment. I absolutely LOVE virtual visits from the comfort of my home. This one, though, was quite discouraging.

I’d read that many people react to this new med right away but some take a few weeks to feel results. It’s been that long . Because I want this new solution so bad, I continue looking for signs this prescription is helping, even though it has been a month and pain has not subsided. For example, I have a bad headache for at least part of each day, which I wasn’t suffering while on the old med. Herein lies the rub. Are the headaches from quitting the old rx, a regular fibro phase of a symptom, or side effect of new rx? Whatever the cause, there is a wide range of character of pain at sites throughout my body.

As I scanned the notes I’d taken over the past few weeks (I’m learning) and reported my pain and possible side effects, my doc asked what I wanted to do. When I questioned her about the possibility the new med is just taking longer, she was not convinced. “We can try longer if you want but it doesn’t seem like it’s working.” I decided to take the new med one more month at a slightly higher dose than typically prescribed. At that point, I will know for sure if it’s effective for me.

What this means/where this leaves me: Following testing I underwent in September and now this attempted medication switch, there is a level of comfort in knowing I’ve tried what I can medically. Then I really think about that – I’ve tried what I can medically. I feel less hope than I did before these efforts.

Rather than looking for treatment, I must explore how I want and am able to live my fibro life. However, when I “plan” what I’m going to do and how often, (stretching, walking, etc.), inevitably a wrench is thrown in the works. Before I decide how I’d like to spend my days, considerable thought will go into how I structure any kind of routine and what Plan B means.


p.s. After increasing the dosage, I’m having adverse side effects. Calling doc on Monday to see about switching back to previous med.

Fibro & More Fibro

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In the midst of transitioning from one fibromyalgia to another, I am feeling fibro. The fatigue is very heavy. Use of muscle relaxer and/or a med to take for nausea cause extra tiredness so, of late, I’m very reluctant to take either because it just lays me out. Not having much, if any, response to the new med as well as avoidance of treatment prescriptions combine to cause a full fibro slate of symptoms.

“Which symptoms are in response to discontinuing one long-term prescription, fibro lay bare, or side effects from starting the new?” Hell if I know.

Recently, I saw a post somewhere asking people to share which symptom of fibromyalgia they find most surprising, one of the respondents answered by saying that fibromyalgia leads to so many problems, she can’t tell what’s a fibro symptom apart from other issues. I agree with her answer but it’s not so high on the surpriso-meter for me.

Predicting continued widespread pain following my diagnosis, I hadn’t anticipated the sick feeling that develops over the day typically, though can be there upon waking, is so hard to describe. I may look fine but the fibro sickness, for me, feels uncomfortable in my chest but it’s not the flu, nausea at the diaphragm and stomach but not from eating something ‘bad’ as well as general feelings of malaise and fatigue but no fever.

In early days, I wouldn’t have guessed that I’d be experiencing this “sick.” Maybe I’m doing when the sun comes up and I’ve moved some, best time of day for me, and then suddenly I’m miserably ill. The rx I use for nausea is prescribed for chemo patients. The muscle relaxer is quite strong as well and I usually end up needing to take it at some point in the day. The anti nausea remedy is necessary in waves.

“You’re not going anywhere or doing anything. Take the medication you require, and so what if it knocks you out?” I say to myself. In the evening, I sleep about 11 hours on average, though with a couple trips to the restroom. Snoozing for two hours in the afternoon, the usual length of a “nap,” erases a good fraction of my time going nowhere. Not that missing two hours of my agenda is a bad thing.

I’m not sure why I resist it so, the respite beginning at one or two o’clock. One reason I do identify is that it’s nearly impossible for me to escape the dozing mindscape even after my eyes open. It causes me to stay awake an hour or two later which ver y often results in a late sleep-in the next morning. “So what?” I don’t know. Maybe it’s an effort to control something.

It may take weeks for me to feel the full effect of my the new med but I wanted to react right away. I hope it does kick in at some point. If this medication isn’t helpful, I will despair.

So, just checking in for a minute. I’m generally in a cruddy condition; not proofreading right now but publishing anyway and don’t know how long it will be before I write again. Hope this finds you well.

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