Monday, November 30, 2009

Afternoon light

The light was particularly lovely today near sunset.

Last night "Help.
All my teddy bears are cold."
She had thrown off all the covers.

And today "Tasted like elixir of the gods. The water."

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Beautiful pattern

A modest little arrangement, but charming.

Last night
"Is that Mina? We need to make a pattern, a beautiful pattern."
"We can make it out of newspaper. Fold it twice."

She taught me to sew, we would cut out patterns in fabric together, I would sew what I could, and she would do the hard parts, until I learned enough to do them myself.

Early in this visit we looked at some of my patterns online. We didn't get a chance to look at the newer fabric designs.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Her cats, her bed

Her bed, with its denim cover, is now in the breakfast room, since she's been in a hospital bed since the beginning of the week.

And the cats, who used to sleep on it with her, are back on it.

This is Sugar Mouse and his relative, Mousie.

She said today
"Help me hold my teddy bear.
Help me hold myself together."

And "I don't understand what's going on. Elaborate hoax?"

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Boats & a boat

Another iconic picture, with the changeable light.

Last night she said "I thought that the water was by allotment, and that my allotment was almost out. I think that water allotment is scary."

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

I don't think we ever sat on this bench

Very calm, very bright, very cold.

Yesterday she said "I didn't think you were real."

And today,
"I'm tired, I want to go to sleep, but I don't want to waste my time with you."

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009


My brothers are here for a few days. I spent the morning sitting with her, (and falling asleep leaning on one of her teddy bears against the bars of the hospital bed) while they were out running errands. She is saying interesting things.

This afternoon I cooked, while the Hospice volunteer was here. But I got called in to her room: "She took my bear!" me - your favorite bear is right here. "Show me all the bears!"

Later she said 
"I've gotta let go, I've gotta relax & let go. 
Don't you relax."

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Looking out

The Kitten cat, looking out the window. This morning it was at an orange cat on the path. And tonight, for several minutes, there was a Stellar jay perched on the swingset, out in the dark looking in, screaming at the cat.

She said today "No more medicine. No, no more. It was too much medicine which got me into this mess."

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

There are gardens here

Beautiful gardens, with flowers still blooming. I'm sure I saw Rosa chinensis mutabilis, still with lots of flowers.

"Are you my daughter?" Yes
"How old are you?" 59
"No, how old are you?" Yes that's my age.
"It doesn't seem possible."

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The tide has turned

Long ago when I was a marine biology grad student in Oregon, I used to go down to the coast at least once every 2 weeks for the lowest tides, at new moon & full moon. During fall & winter the lowest lows are about 10:00 at night, in the spring & summer 5:00 in the morning.

I'd be out there alone, in the winter at night walking or wading on sand in shallow water to a rock sticking out of the sand, close in to shore, looking for the small algae & its sacoglossans I was supposed to be working on. In the summer it was much harder to find, and dawn would catch me far out in the rocky intertidal, kneeling down looking at the sides of rocks. Then it used to take me three low tides to find one piece of algae.

That sounds a little dangerous, but in fact I was never caught by surprise from behind by a large wave, because I was listening very hard for them.

And because I was listening for those extra large waves, I discovered that I could hear the tide change and start to come back in, whispering over the rocks.

The tide has turned for my mother now, she's going out with the waves.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A new art form

I think we should recognize a new ephemeral art form: beach arrangement. Sometimes, in the smaller pieces, we might add an item. Or not. This one gets lots of points for potential energy.

This is the first time I've gotten to walk out on the beach.

She said Sunday "Is this the real world?"
"It feels like some weird dream. Are you my daughter? Is this my house? Is Tiger the only cat I've got left?"

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

What a noble mind

What a noble mind is here o'erthrown.

She was her class valedictorian in high school, and went to Berkeley at 17. She got a degree in Chemistry, and then during World War II was on the Manhattan Project. She met my Dad there, and after the war they got married on Groundhog Day, and went to graduate school at Brown University, where she was the first woman to get a PhD in Chemistry.

After they graduated, Dad went to teach at Washington State College. In those postwar days, when women were being shoved out of the jobs they had done so well during the war, anti-nepotism rules said that she could not work under the same dean as her husband, so that meant she couldn't teach in Math, Physics or Chemistry, all of which she was qualified for. A neighboring college had an opening for someone to teach Thermodynamics, which she had taken. Instead, they hired a man with a Master's who was taking it from my Dad while teaching it next door. And you know that in those days, a man with a Master's degree was not cheaper than a woman with a PhD.

So she worked odd jobs in many departments while raising their kids, and it was only long later that she got to teach in Chemistry, after suing the university. Their loss all those years; she was an excellent teacher. After Dad died, she went to law school at the University of Washington, at age 60. (She said she wished she had done it while she was "young & brilliant".) Then she worked at the EPA on a pesticide project that used both the law & chemistry.

She ran for state legislature twice (this news photo was taken then), and was one of the few people who actually enjoy the process of running. She was on her state board of medical examiners for years, and president of her local water board.

And now she asks the same question 5 times in 5 minutes, and never remembers the answers.
She said yesterday "How am I supposed to know whether I want to drink more milk or not?"

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday the 13th crows

I had not realised the date earlier, one loses track, but these neighborhood crows make a colorful appropriate picture with the fallen leaves and the green green grass.

On Sunday she said "I feel like I'm in Never-Never Land."
But in the morning she said "I dreamed I was sentenced to the electric chair".

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The iconic coastal picture

Apparently aware of his responsibilities to the coastal visitor, he posed for several minutes as the light came and went, giving me time to try for a picture.

Last night she thought for an hour I was someone she had invited for supper.

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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Tiger is trying to help

This is Tiger sitting on my mother's lap. She got him from me in maybe 1996. (I called him Musketeer.) When I said that she had gotten him from me, she said, smiling "Oh, is he the one I stole from you?"

She had been down visiting me, and actually I had offered him, because I had lots of cats then, from feeding the feral cats behind work. When she refused though, I was glad, because I liked him a lot. But then, after I had left for work on the day she was leaving, he jumped into her arms - and she just took him.

The pictures she sent showed him all ruffled right after the 2-day drive, and then calmed down and at home.

She and everyone said he had been skittish and shy here recently, but once I was here he came out and sat on her & my & others' laps.

She is seeing purple shadows on the orange cat; they changed her medicine.

11-16-09 He's spent several weeks sitting mostly on her lap at the table (well she was feeding him her food), and sleeping beside her on her bed.

She said (and she doesn't remember what's wrong) "Tiger is trying to help. He doesn't know what he can do, but he is trying so hard to help."

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Friday, November 06, 2009

The view from here

The view can be beautiful, especially when there is light. Most mornings there is a break under the clouds & over the mountains to the east, and a bright colorful sunrise. A couple of mornings when that didn't happen, it was so dark at 7:00 am that we wondered if our clocks were wrong.

This is her view (the one remaining view between the trees she planted) to the northwest. There is some sun on this beach in the morning, and I can see the tide change here.

I haven't yet had a chance to get down to the beach when the tide is low enough to walk out on the sand. In fact, I've only gotten out for a walk a couple of times so far.

She is seeing the bathroom floor as shiny, and thinks it's flooded and doesn't want to go in there.

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

There are cats

There are cats living in this house which are beginning to be viewable. This is the least shy of them. Mom calls her Kitten. (Slightly out-of-date name...) She may have been the kitten Mom wanted which led her to import the feral mama cat to begin with.

And this other little one, half-grown size, Mom calls Kitten-kitten, or her little white kitten. Since the coloring is lynx-point siamese with white underside, this one must have been almost white when born.
They were sleeping on her bed, maybe still do, secretly.

I think I might call the large one Patches. Mom had a book about a horse when she was a kid, with that name. And the little one Sugar Mouse. There's a third one, gray & white, with the same tail as Sugar Mouse - gray striped with tiny white tip.

She fell down in the bathroom about 2:00 am Sunday night - unhurt, apparently. She said "Kerplunk" when I got there.

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