Bocce on the beach


So I think these retired folk are in some sort of league at the beach resort behind them. Jason and I saw them playing bocce a month or so ago. Basically from what I can decipher, they draw lines in the sand about 40 yards apart then they try to get closest to that line without crossing it. But the sand here is really compacted and things roll forever. Looks like fun though.

New Years Polar Bear Dive




So as many of you know Jason and I have an annual tradition to jump into freezing cold water on New Year’s Day, washing away the crud from the year before. Sometimes this is in a sanctioned event for charity or an improvised body of water. This year we were in Phoenix so we substituted the Atlantic for our friend Judy’s pool. She took these of us as we dunked our heads three times for good luck and then skeedadalled out.

Ann - You guys are nuts.
Tho. I am sure the pool in Phx was more warmer than the Atlantic.

Kate Gardiner - actually not by much. they are both around 40 degrees. but thanks for appreciating our insanity. :O)!

Tim Cook - I was going to rank on you for being in the southwest where it is probably warmer…but it has not dropped below 40 up here for several weeks now, so I am not sure I us New Englanders have much room to boast right now.

Monday morning beach

Here are some snippetes from my beach walk this morning. I try to walk as often as possible. It has been cold and rainy most of last week so I didn’t get to do much. I’m really going to start making more of an effort to remember my point and shoot. I would have shot more video today but ran out of space on the card.

I like to think of this as God’s bubble bath. I did not speed the video up any. The bubbles were just quivering that fast in the wind.

These birds fascinate me. They aren’t gulls, I don’t think, and they all remind me of the bird version of Grampa Munster.

I do hate it when people feed the gulls as they fly overhead. Mostly because I have been a poop victim. But it made for a nice photo today.

Anonymous - very nice!!!

Trying to catch up


So I was cleaning off my desktop today and found this photo. I’ve been meaning to post it. This is Jason and I with Jimmy Johnson and his crew chief along with the 2007 trophy at the end of the year banquet in NYC. It gets bigger if you click on it. More to come I swear!

Ann - Cool!

Erica Kern - You look beautiful!

Tim Cook - Are those cardboard cut-outs?

I saw things like that at Vegas, that may not be the REAL Jimmy Johnson.

Good to see you back up on the blog…and yes, I am jellous.

Hello all, so sorry it has been an epically long time since i posted. I’m in Florida now at least until 12/18 and then off to Phx through the New Year. Just got back from NYC and Conn. for Thanksgiving and the end of the year NASCAR banquet. Had lots of fun! I’ll put some pix up later.

Cheers!

Ann - LOVE your thank you card.

And yes, I will send you what I read at the ceremony. I keep meaning to do that.

The craziness begins

So this will be my last post for awhile. I am shipping my computer off tomorrow so that it has a head start on me going to Connecticut. I leave for Conn. on Wed. Only 12 days until the wedding!!! I have so much left to do it is a bit overwhelming. I will try and post before the wedding and I’ll try to once we are on our honeymoon. Hopefully we will be able to hit an internet cafe to do some updates. Although if you are watching the news, half of Greece is chard right now so hopefully that will work out ok. Wish me luck!!!

Ann - KATE!!!!
We are here at the inn using their great Wi-Fi. See you tomorrow–or really today since it is 1 a.m.

Love to knit

Today was another knitting brunch with my knitting friends. Leah, Robert and Oliver didn’t come because Robert wasn’t feeling well. But Erica, Penny and I got a lot done on our respective projects. I worked on a little craft project for the wedding and did some knitting. Erica worked on her epic quilt for her sister and Penny scrapbooked. We were wondering Ann, whether you are still scrapbooking since you took up knitting. I bet you still were, Erica and Penny had their doubts.

Ann - Dang, I wish I coulda been knitting wtih you guys!
I have’t been scrapbooking lately. But it doesn’t really have anything to do with the knitting. When we first moved here I had nowhere to scrapbook. Our place was tiny. Now I have a little more room. I need to buy a card table to set up for my scrapbooking. There is so much I want to scrapbook.

no news is good news

so everything is going along smoothly for the moment. my aunt connie has decided to come to conn. for the wedding which makes me super happy. flying is not her favorite thing but i’m glad she took a dose of braveness!

all for now!

Ann - Glad to hear that.
And glad to hear your aunt is coming to the wedding. Tell her a few drinks before the flight (and during) will calm her nerves.

Kate Gardiner - except she would slowly slide under the seat in front of her!

Use it or lose it

So today I helped my friend Chris shoot a wedding up here in phx. It has been a month since I even picked up my camera and I felt very out of sorts. I was technically off all day in my exposures and shooting rhythm. I have to find a way to really work my camera back into my daily life. I haven’t wanted to shoot a single frame of my father during all of this, mostly because I don’t want to remember a single moment of this summer down the road. Actually that isn’t true. The time I’ve spent with my friend Deb and her family as well as Erica has been truly wonderful. Plus the time with my aunt has been a blessing for both of us. She hasn’t had anyone to really go shopping or out to lunch with since my mom died. She and I went to the mall on Thursday and it was really lovely. I’ve also gotten to reconnect with my friend Kathi from high school which has been great. I’m hoping to start this architectural project next week for a local firm so maybe that will be a bit rewarding.

A little bit of lightness

So I feel a bit lighter these days since the new caregivers have arrived. Dad likes both women and they seem to be catching on really quickly to his likes and dislikes not to mention the fact that he isn’t putting them through the wringer. The last guy he didn’t like so he made his life a living hell. I’ve spent the last two days shopping and i LOVED it. Therefore the lightness.

Jennifer - yay shopping! if only shopping could cure everything. neither one of us would have problems then ;o) i’m glad you found some help that your dad can deal with.

Ann - so glad to hear that you have some help.
glad you got to do stuff for yourself

Come and go

So the first care giver has left the building. His name was Ray and was pretty much a dud. Dad didn’t really care for him and berated him every moment he could. I was willing to let him stay a week before I said anything to the organization because dad is pretty demanding and I didn’t know how on the ball these people were supposed to be. The gal they sent over the weekend was even worse but she was only a temporary so I didn’t get too up in arms about her. I think she said two words to my dad and he was instantly hating her as well. Not to mention she had no skills in the kitchen and I should have been paid for her shift since I did all the work. Ray came back on Monday and it was equally as tense. Then he just didn’t show up yesterday morning. The company is hugely embarrassed to the point where they are calling me almost every hour apologizing and making sure I’m satisfied. Honestly it is getting to the point where they are making it worse by tripping over themselves.

They sent a new woman today. I’m keeping my fingers crossed because she is very nice, in her 50’s and knows how to cook and grow things outside. We shall see about the evening gal. It is a different person so not sure what that will be like. I would say that will be the more difficult of the two shifts.

Hot cats!


Jason and I took a stab at swing dancing while he was here. It was a beautiful night and I only got stepped on once! Thought we looked pretty hip so it deserved its own post. Jason was here for a week and it went by so fast. Dropped him off at the airport this morning for a flight to Providence via Chicago for another race in Connecticut and Long Island over the weekend. It meant so much to me to have him here this week. Only 36 days until the wedding!!!

Photos! Photos!








Here are photos from my birthday bash at Chase Field/BOB where the DBacks beat the Braves. Jason and I were joined by Deb, David, Kayla and Jacob as well as our friends Erica and Casey. It was a great day.

Ann - OH MY GAWD! Kayla is so big!!!!
Looked like a fun day.

Kate Gardiner - it was a fun day! and yes kayla is getting very big. can’t wait for you to see them next month!

31 and counting

I had a wonderful birthday today! Thank you to everyone that called, emailed and text messaged me today. As well as my wonderful friend Ann who knitted me a towel and sent me a goodie from William Sonoma! Oh and the birthday love from Aunt Janny was most appreciated as well. Jason is here in Phx this week which has been lovely. I feel like I have been able to relax for the first time in months. We went to a Diamondbacks game today with Deb, David, the kids and my friends Erica and Casey. The Dbacks won which was cool since neither Jason nor I have ever been to a major league or minor league game where the home team won. We were convinced we were going follow Pete Rose into the baseball hall of fame, banned from baseball. Must go to sleep now, will try to post pix from today tomorrow.

Ann - You were actually going to get knitted potholders, too. But that project didn’t work out so well. I had to use cotton yarn and three strands of it. After 2 rows I would have to take a break and give my hands some recovery time. I am gonna try to adjust the pattern and see if I can make it easier.
Glad to hear you had a great day. And I didn’t realize that you and Jason were such bad luck for baseball hometeams. 🙂

Erica Kern - I’m so glad you are blogging again! I hadn’t looked in a while so I had a lot of catching up to do…althought now that we are in the same city again I already knew a lot of the information! Although the circumstance isn’t the best, it is so nice to have you in Phoenix again! You are an loyal, loving daughter and doing an amazing job with your dad. You should be proud of yourself for stepping up to the plate in such a loving, respectful way. (P.S. – It was fun to spend your b-day with you too!).

Ann - Tell Erica that SHE NEEDS to start blogging again. I might boycott her blog–3 months!!!!!

A relatively good day

Today we had three doctor related appointments starting at 9am. I thought for sure by the end of the day, Dad would be ready to pass out, but honestly I think he had more energy because he didn’t sleep all day. We saw his chiropractor first who did a bunch of massage, then off to the cardiologist for a check up. Dad’s blood pressure is still below 100 so the doc tweaked some of his medication. But other than that the cardiologist thought Dad was doing well.

Next we went down to St. Joe’s for a follow up ultrasound on the clot in Dad’s right leg. It is still there and it’s not any worse but the radiology tech wouldn’t say if it is better. Dad can’t take blood thinners the way other people who have clots do since he is such a fall risk. Just today he was walking through a door, snagged a bit of his arm on the door frame and started bleeding. So obviously he doesn’t even need to fall to bleed.

It rained like crazy here about 4pm when we were trying to leave the hospital. It has been a long time since I saw rain like that here. It happens all the time in Connecticut. But seeing people wading in knee high water to cross the street in a desert is just weird. Phoenix needed the rain though and it made the temp stay below 90 degrees which is unheard of for late July.

Ann - Glad to hear things are coming along.

Curt checked Tucson’s weather the other day and it was 88. I had to guess it was monsoon keeping the temp low.
I remember as a kid after a big storm my brother and I would wade in the water and run around. Probably totally unsafe–but whatever.
I have gotten caught in a few nasty and very wet storms.

Setback

So last night I was coming back inside from lighting the barbecue in time to see dad go crashing to the floor. He was feeling pretty good yesterday so he decided to take off from his chair without his walker. Then I guess he decided he should go back and get it. The turning process didn’t go well and I there was no way I could get to him before he went down. He’s ok for the most part. He ripped the skin away from his elbow. Not bad enough to need stitches but pretty ugly looking. Our friend Judy, whose a nurse, came over and said that if we weren’t concerned with the aesthetic aspect of a scar she didn’t think we needed to worry about stitches. I think we are past that at this point.

It made me very angry that he decided he was all better and didn’t need the walker. I then caught him again last night being ocd and trying to accordion fold the bedspread while only balancing against the bed with one hand and no walker. Just as I got to him he got tangled up in his feet and started to fall. Fortunately I was right there and was able to hip check him, changing his course so he fell on the bed instead of the floor. Despite only weighing 141 lbs. right now, he is still too heavy for me. I had a hard time picking him up off the floor when he fell the first time yesterday. We have these old library stools around our house that my mom got when she worked at the library. So I used one of the short ones from a kid’s table to put dad on so I didn’t have to lift him very high. But there was still an instant where I thought I wasn’t going to be able to make it which would have been bad.

I have an appointment with an in-home care agency on Tues. to start finding a replacement for me in his care giving. He is just so much more cognisant when he is at home compared to other places. Even at the doctor’s office he is much more confused. So I guess as long as he can afford it, we are going to try and make this work instead of the carehome.

Ann - I am so sorry Kate.
I am glad you are going to get some help at home. You can’t do it all by yourself.
I wish I was there to help you in whatever you needed.

Kate Gardiner - thanks ann,
i appreciate knowing that people are reading my blog and I’m hoping it spawns conversations with everyone’s own parents. i am lucky in that my parents did do a lot of planning for this time in their lives. it could be so much worse if they hadn’t properly prepared financially. you just can never prepare for the logistical and emotional aspects of this issue.

saddness

today my dad woke up very confused. he thought it was sunday and was dressed and knocking on my bedroom door at 6:15. i didn’t know why he was up, just thought he felt like getting up early. at 10 min to 7am he said, well are you ready to go? go where? church. dad, it’s saturday. it is? once i convinced him that it truly was saturday, he slumped into a quietness that lasted all morning. his chiropractor sent us home with a vibrating massage thing for me to use on his back this weekend because dad’s muscles are so stoved up. by the end of the 15 min i felt so jumpy and pretty much did the rest of the morning. i went to a yoga class at 11am and could feel the saddness creeping in. the saddness is exactly what my dad had been displaying all morning. i really think the massage i gave him let the bad chi in.

i’ve heard that massage therapists have this problem from time to time. the cares and troubles of whomever they are massaging, transfers into them. the bad chi travels from their clients into them. i’m assuming they know how to get rid of it. wish i did.

sorry i haven’t posted any photos for such a long time. this is the most unphotographic period of my life. never thought that would happen.

A wonderful weekend

Today was my first day back on the daddy detail after a wonderful carefree weekend in Newport. My bridesmaid Jacqueline and her amazing mother-in-law, Joan, hosted an elegant luncheon on Sat for my bridal shower. The weather was gorgeous (75 degrees and sunny) so we devoured carmelized brie, mixed greens w/strawberries, chicken salad on croissants, and to-die-for chocolate cupcakes out on their deck. Not to mention endless white wine spritzers. I felt incredibly loved. Good friends, good weather, good gifts, good beach and good booze. Could not have asked for anything better.

Ann - That does sound wonderful.
And you definitely deserve it.

Guilt and its many forms

So today I finally made it to the gym. I’ve been kind of letting my dad believe that I have these important errands I have to run which means he has to stay at the care home. I know I need to do things for myself like go to the gym or out to coffee with a friend just for my own sanity. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have guilt. I was talking to my friend the other day who has two kids. I told her that at least she and her husband have jobs that they HAVE to go to so the kids have to go to daycare. But I could be at the house and sometimes am at the house when he is stuck over at the care home. I don’t really tell him I come back here to work on the computer or make calls since in theory he could be here while I’m doing it. But it isn’t that simple. Just like those who work from home can’t get crap done when their kids are around. Something else always needs your attention. So far he actually seems ok to leave alone for a little bit. I went to the grocery store on Sat. for an hour and a half. I made him promise me that he would not get out of the bed. He sits on the side of the bed and uses a urinal so the whole bathroom thing is less of an issue. I leave the phone with him with my number printed in big numbers, the newspaper, his walkman and the remote. But the whole time I’m gone, I’m worried about whether he has gotten up or not.

My friend and I decided though that taking care of kids is way easier than taking care of someone who used to be a functioning adult. If one of her kids does something they aren’t supposed to, she can just send them to their room or ground them. I can’t do much about it if Dad refuses to do something. I will say the one liberating thing about my new role as caregiver is that the stupid shit he always wanted me to do as a kid I don’t have to do anymore. For example, he always wanted me to put all the things that needed to go on the table for dinner onto this tray. I hated the tray. It was heavy and things had a tendency to teeter off it and I just didn’t like it. We used to go 8 rounds all the time over this dumb tray. But early this week I was setting the table and he said you know it would be much more efficient if you used the tray. I replied that I was 30 years old, on verge of getting married, a professional photographer and now 24 hour caregiver, and if I didn’t want to use the damn tray there was nothing he could do about it. So there. It was nice. :O)

Ann - OK, I had to laugh at your last graf.
I totally can understand the guilt. Probably has a lot to do with growing up Catholic. 🙂
But yes, you do need to do things for yourself and give yourself a break.
Can you hire someone to come over and help at the house?
And I owe you a phone call.