Saturday, February 28, 2009

Thanks, Ana, For My New Blog Design!

I've had his new design for about a month now and love it! Ana, at http://chica-pumuckl-designs.blogspot.com/ designed it for me. I just told her what colors I wanted to go with and that I'd like a nice picture at the top with the cats under it. She sent me the sample first so I could view it and let her know if there was anything I wanted changed. She's so nice to work with and very patient with this old, clueless person when it comes to blog designing and HTML codes.

I love the header picture which captures the essence of what this blog is all about and the navigation bar she added which I always wanted but didn't know how to do. Now you can just click on one of those tabs to go right to my other two blogs or see all my customer reviews that are on Amazon, or to read about all my dad's cats.

I also like how she was able to make the two wide columns at the top so I can have my posts start higher up on the page and still have my "Welcome to my Page" and my guest book right up there too where people can actually see it. Hopefully more will sign in now.

When I modified it after it was done with green titles for the posts, she immediately let me know I shouldn't do that because it didn't really look good with the color scheme even though I thought it would make the titles stand out a little more. See, if when she's done, she still is there to offer her expert advice, which, as you can see, I followed.

Paying was conveniently handled through PayPal. If you're looking for a new blog design without a lot of hassle on your part, I highly recommend you contact Ana!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

What's In Your Wallet? (Writer's Workshop)

When my dad died, I looked all over for his wallet but couldn't find it. I looked in his dresser drawer where he always kept it and it wasn't there! I looked in the box where he kept his money and it wasn't there. I looked on the dining room table that he always used as his main "headquarters" but it wasn't there either. It turned out he had it on him, in his pant's pocket when he died but I didn't find it. At the time, I was very distraught and didn't even think about going through his pockets.

Because he died at home and hadn't been to the doctor in the last month, the coroner's office had to be called to determine the cause of death and sign the death certificate. Normally, his regular physician could sign but in January, the day of his appointment, he had diarrhea and so we had to cancel it. The weather was so cold and snowy that he held off scheduling another one. Since he wasn't very steady walking and his legs were pretty weak, he didn't want to go out if it was icy which made sense. However, the paramedics and a cop grilled me with a lot of questions, implying that I might have killed him! It's regular procedure to investigate to make sure no one came in and killed him. The house had to be sealed and I wasn't even allowed in to feed his upstairs cats for a day so I put out extra food and water for them.

His body was taken to the Coroner's office so I didn't get his wallet back until after his funeral. The Coroner sent it to the funeral home so I had to go there yet again. He only had $30 in it (which is more than I have in mine by the way) but I cried when I saw what else was in there. He had a picture of my mom from when they were engaged (1948) and two of me from when I was in first grade (1958) and my high school graduation picture (1970)!
Tears of joy welled up in my eyes. I realized at that particular moment how much he loved us and felt very blessed. It was such a great thing to find in his wallet. My mom had died six years before him but he never, ever showed any interest in any other woman.

I have his picture on my desk at work and by my computer at home. I have our family picture on top of my wardrobe and like seeing these every day. I miss both my parents very much and probably always will the rest of my days, but life goes on and one day we'll be together again. In the meantime, I find great comfort in knowing they are in heaven together with Jesus my Lord, with new bodies and no more pain or sorrow. What a wonderful God we have who made this possible and gives us hope. (I Thessalonians 4:13-18, I Corinthians 15:42-58, I Peter 1:3-9, Rev. 21:4--"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.")

Do you carry a picture of your loved ones with you? Come to think of it, I need to add a picture of Gerard in my wallet. If I die before him, I'm sure it will please him to know I loved him enough to carry his picture with me (I have one of my first cat, Moe--better add Gerard!).

UPDATED 2/19/10: Writing about one of your February pictures was a prompt for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop this week.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Day Dad Died, God Gave Me Special Cat Time (Writer's Workshop-Blindsided!)

Friday, February 16, 2007 started out like any other day. I was glad it was Friday and we would get donuts at work. I fed cats at 5 a.m. as usual and then had my devotions with Spunky Doodle jumping up on the table letting me pet her. Gerard brought Moe up and put him on my lap, and he stayed! It was amazing. He sat nice on my lap and let me pet him which he just never does. Spunky was on the table. Gerard took a picture, but by the time he got up, Spunky had jumped off but still got Moe and me. That was very unusual! It was as though God knew I would be having a hard day and He just gave me a very nice morning. As you can see, my day started out great, but then it went downhill really fast and became the worst day of my life!

When got to dad’s, house was dark so I figured he got up late again. I had to go in the upstairs door because the lock was broke on the downstairs one and only dad could get it open. He usually had it unlocked for me so at this point I’m getting a bit worried. I found him in the bathroom on the floor and his head resting on the tub. I called 911 right away with my coat still on. They told me an ambulance was on the way but had to check his breathing and see if he was conscious--he wasn’t. Felt cold and couldn’t find a pulse or feel his chest moving or feel any air coming out his nose. They told me I had to try to do CPR but couldn’t even get him on his back. Sort of wedged in and couldn’t close his mouth. I figured he was dead. EMS got there quickly, took one look at him and knew right away he had been dead for awhile.

This was a terrible day. I knew it would come but didn't expect it so soon. I was actually happy for dad because his suffering was over but I felt very sad for me because I loved him so much and starting making a list in my head of all the things I needed to do--it was quite overwhelming. He died somewhere between 10:30 p.m. the night before and 6:50 a.m. I thanked God for the special morning cat time though, it really was the highlight of my day!

UPDATED 2/16/09: For more about how God helped me, check out "Don't Tell Me God Doesn't Exist--He's My Joy And Strength" at http://zemeks.blogspot.com/2009/02/dont-tell-me-god-doesnt-exist-hes-my.html


I'm using this old post for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop prompt: Who blind-sided you? Write about a time someone caught you totally off guard.

To find out more about my book and why I wrote it, read the Foreword here.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I'm So Stupid!

"I'm So Stupid!"

I remember my dad would bang the table and yell "I'm so stupid!" when he'd be clutsy and drop things or if he'd accidentally knock over his milk. This kind of thing happened more as he got older, but I guess he got to the point where is wasn't so unusual anymore so he didn't bang the table as much as he did when he was younger.

I find myself yelling the same thing, plus "How can I be so stupid???" when I put my pizza slices in my Tupperware container for lunch to eat at work the next day and instead of putting it in the refrigerator, I put it in the cupboard! Can you believe it? Sounds like the beginning of Alzheimer's, doesn't it? I was thinking ahead about what I was going to do instead of thinking about what I was doing. I not only did this once, but twice!!

I am not alone though. My husband, Gerard, said exactly the same thing when he threw away the L.L. Bean catalog with a $10 coupon in it that could have been used on our next order which he forgot was in there!
UPDATE 2/14/09: I should mention (due to Mountain Woman's comment) that I did mention this when I ordered something and they were very nice and still took the $10 off my order. They said they have these coupons on file. I love L.L. Bean!

If you are interested in finding out what living with someone with Alzheimer's is like or if you are in that situation and could use some encouragement, help, advice or assistance, "Measure of the Heart" by Ellen Geist is a book you should read.

What about you? Do you get mad at yourself and say "I'm so stupid!" or "How can I be so stupid?" or is it just us?

"My Funny Dad, Harry" Book Giveaway

Congratulations to all the winners of the giveaway for "My Funny Dad, Harry" at Red Pine Mountain. I am so happy that four of my regular commenters won! Read what Tim thought of is at Everyday Living.