Monday, May 11, 2009

Independence Challenge - Year 2 - Week 2

I had a great Mother's Day. I picked up my Mom on Sunday morning and took her to my church for Flower Communion, which she enjoyed. Then we went home, where DD12 had made us brunch waffles from baking mix I made in advance, breakfast sausages from the market, orange juice, tea, a cut-up pineapple, giant strawberries for garnish, and a pan of brownies. Then we watched a movie together, the funny-but-forgettable Bedtime Stories with Adam Sandler.

Saturday, DH and I went out and saw Star Trek, followed by late lunch in a new Mexican place that we liked a lot, the Plaza Azteca near the Berkshire Mall. I had carnitas, and the roast pork was to-die-for.

DD12 gifted me a recipe book. She took down all the frequently-used recipes I had printed out and taped up on the cupboard doors, punched holes in them, and put them in a binder for me. She gave my mother some marigold starts they planted at school. DH gave me a bag of very good Australian licorice he got in Philadelphia at a stand in the Reading Terminal Market. We all gave my mom dark chocolate in various forms, her favorite.

DD16 sent me a Mother's Day greeting via Facebook, which included a coupon for 4 hours of yard work, or 3 hours of Attic Cleaning. Poor girl, I will be taking her up on that pretty quickly.

I feel deprived of gardening. My backyard is a mess. I've basically ignored it completely since last fall, not even doing a complete fall clean-up. But Mother Nature doesn't depend on human intervention, happily, and the perennials are coming up nicely. If I would just cut the grass, you should even see them. And I will do that, as soon as I remember to pick up the grass shears from the sharpening place - where I left them last fall. ~sigh~

Harvested: Nothing yet. The alley is full of shiny new plantain I could harvest for medical use, but I am restraining myself. Focus, focus, focus.

Preserved: Nothing. I made a big batch of whole wheat baking mix, but it got used pretty quickly.

Reduced Waste: I bought a watermelon - what was I thinking?! It's too early. They came from Texas. Not sweet at all. Composted most of it. That will teach me to ignore my "in season" rule.

I am trying to save my favorite 4-quart saucepan. I fell asleep a couple weeks ago, while applesauce was cooking on low. I woke up in my chair a few hours later, to the smell of burnt sugar. No smoke, but the blackened apples were carbonized to the pan bottom. I managed to chisel it out with a putty knife and a screwdriver, but there is still black stuff burned on after scouring with a Brillo pad and trying oven cleaner. I still want to save it, but I don't know what else to try. Anyone have suggestions?

There is massive paper and cardboard recycling. Sorting is going a little faster at Mom's, where generates lots of paper trash and empty boxes. We are also sorting here at home as we pack to move this summer. I put out 10 bags of paper recycling last week. I know I can shred and compost it, but I am not starting that until we get moved and I can set up a workable shredding station.

Prepped and Stored: The packing is getting us more organized and de-cluttered, which I think of as preparation. It's easier to evaluate what you really need to keep when you know you will have to move it to a storage unit, and then later move it again.

Community Food Systems: A family from church had a house fire, and the mom of the family recently had hand surgery. We are trying to pitch in with gluten-free meals for a family of three. I am making 2 quarts of curried split pea soup with ham. Interesting how many of my recipes involve gluten, when I start looking at them. I think I will ask if they like yogurt, too - I could make them some of that.

Eaten: We continue to eat from the freezer and pantry. I do buy dairy, cheese, bread, and produce each week, plus odds and ends like pretzels and crackers. That turkey last week made a lot of meals, but we are now sick of turkey. Turkey sandwiches, turkey curry, turkey and gravy with mashed, etc.

Last week, I took Mom to the doctor, to talk about her various issues. It was revealing. She had forgotten the things the doctor said last time, and lost two prescriptions. He also had the report from the pyschiatrist visit. She is going to have some testing to see if we can narrow down the source of her memory loss and confusion. I take her to get a lot of bloodwork today, and an MRI on Wednesday.

I feel a little bit of hope. If it is not Alzheimer's, there is a chance that she will continue on in her current pleasantly-vague condition, with the capacity to enjoy things, instead of descending more quickly into the less pleasant stages of dementia. Maybe there is time left for some happiness, after we clean up her house. We are going to start a new medication this coming week, Luvox, to see if it helps her anxiety and compulsive behaviors. Wish us luck.


Marie said...

Thanks for the update. What a nice mother's day!

I have lettuce and parsely growing in fish boxes. Thanks for the tip on these containers. They look like little flower boxes. Everyone is surprised when I tell them what they really are.

Anonymous said...

That sounds like a really nice mothers' day. On growing things, have you tried sprouting? Its fast, and its a way to still see things growing/eating freshly grown food.... plus, pretty easy to do anywhere.
No thoughts about the pan, sorry about that. Hang in there with your mother.... good thoughts your way, for all of you.

eunice said...

sending many good thoughts your way for you and yours.

what kind of pan do you have? if it's oven safe and your oven has a self-cleaning setting (meaning it goes all the way up to 900ºF/482ºC), i'd burn that sucker off.

i have also used a paste of baking soda, add some vinegar to fizz, and let it soak for a few hours or overnight and then filled the pan with water and let it boil for a few minutes. scrape off the black stuff with scrubby pad or even a wooden spoon. repeat as necessary. you have to be careful if the pot is aluminum, however, as it will react to both the vinegar and the baking soda. perhaps just repeat boiling by itself will work.

Peter the RAIN BARREL DUDE said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter the RAIN BARREL DUDE said...

Hey, I was looking at your "things to do" list and the top one is something rather special to me! I am the rain barrel man. actually my name is Peter Daniels and I make rain barrels out of recycled 55 gallon food grade barrels that were previously used( they held soda pop syrup) Anyway check out my blog and web site.

If I can help you out I would love to! Thanks Peter

Anonymous said...

The stories of your mom are always so interesting. I hope you and the doctor can help her out. My grandma has had dementia (diagnosed) for the last 6 years, but her memory loss started years earlier. Once she was diagnosed and started on medication (don't know which one), and started having home health aides in twice a day to make sure she ate, took her pills, etc., she has stabilized very well. She remains pleasant and has not had personality changes, so that is good. I hope the same for your mom!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the mystery series recommendation--I will be looking for those when I head to the library tomorrow.

You sound very busy, as usual. I hope your mother is doing ok, and that the doctors visit was positive. As far as the pot is concerned, I once had something similar happen when a friend tried to show me the best way to make popcorn and scorched the bottom of my biggest saucepan. I used the baking soda paste recommended by another commenter and a TON of steel wool. Also, time. I was ok with it looking a little cruddy and eventually it came 100% clean (I was a poor college student at the time, so the option to get a new pan never really existed...)

stefe said...

I am losing my grandma to Alzheimers right now. I remember those days of her forgetting and finally unable to care for herself. Grandpa takes care of her in her final days at home. Thank goodness your mother has you. Sure do miss you on your blog as well. Come back and talk to us soon!