Thursday, January 25, 2007

Wouldja like some cheese with that whine?

Happy freakin Thursday! I'm feeling a little frustrated and whiny this morning. Why you ask? Well lemme tellya. First of all, I'm feeling like a sandwich. not ham or turkey...although I've felt like a total turkey off and on this week too. DH has been gone for a week now. He's on a shoot for National Geographic out in the middle of the Bering Sea. Think cold, sleet, hurricane force winds, on a little boat in the big ocean. I worry about him. Intrepid soul that he is.....he loves his shoots with Nat Geo...and he was the original junior adventure boy when we were first married oh so long ago. (He's climbed McKinley, hangs out of helicopters, etc...everything to get the dazzling videography viewers have come to expect..and he's good at good in fact that he's won a couple of Emmy awards...but I digress) . Anyways...besides our teenage DD, my 90 year old grandma Clara has lived with us for the past 4 years. She's a pretty good old gal. She was my primary stable sane influence growing up. When she called and said she couldn't live by herself anymore and didn't want to go to a nursing home and could she come stay with us (i.e. moving from Oklahoma) neither of us batted an eye. We had NO earthly idea how huge of an impact it would make on our lives. She's really in fairly good health for 90. Has some pretty severe mobility problems though...uses her rolling walker with a sit down seat so she can sit every 30 feet or so (CHF) and a wheelchair for going out shopping. We made some adjustments in our home...i.e. toilet seat riser, grab bars along the highway, extra safe oil space heater for her room (she likes her temperatures in the 80-90 range). She lived alone for 35 years (widowed) prior to moving in with us, and although she's my "grandma" by marriage, she never had/raised children of her own (she babysat me after school until I was about 10) so her family dynamics understanding and social skills are rusty She is very very shy so refuses (even when I've gone with her) to chat up any other seniors at the nearby senior center when we've gone for lunch or to play Bingo or other of the senior social events there. DH and I are not church goers (and we were both raised Catholic)..Grandma Clara is staunchly Southern Baptist. I've offered to take her to church, but she doesn't get moving/dressed until noon most days...and often stays in her jammies until 3p or so. I take her to get her hair done and go shopping at Wallyworld or JoAnns every other Saturday. She likes to ride the cart around and examine everything...but if I get out of her line of vision she stops dead still and starts to get very anxious. She's kind of messy.(But am I.) She's become much more easily irritated, argumentative and snappish with me over the past several months. Things like medication refills are frustrating because she waits until the last damn day then says "I need my prescriptions' and does them one at a freakin time so someone has to go to the store every couple of days for a week and then again the following week (7 dif Rx's). I tried to "takeover" her meds and it was extremely upsetting for her. So I let it go...pretty much... She gets confused easily and is forgetful at times. I know it's hard to lose your independence, especially after making it all on your own for over 3 decades (she had her own upholstery shop and did all the work herself including lifting sofas up onto trestles and all up until she was 82...just a little slower by that time). She argues that she could still drive if we would let her (AAAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHH)......... Even though we've put in special shower chair with slide over safety seat etc.......after months and months....with our cold weather, regular showering is very challenging, ...she does "clean up" daily though......let it go.....I finally had a housecall podiatrist come to do her feet because foot hygiene becomes so problematic when you can' move well. ...and she resisted and resisted...but I badgered and just did it...and her feet look better at least....i hope they feel better.
Add to the recipe one hormonal teenager, and a menopausal maniac (me)....without benefit of DH's support and assistance for several days..........Usually if DH is going to be gone for a while (he travels fairly regularly) I am able to rearrange my full time work schedule, take extra time off, get coverage for night call for my moms that are due....etc...not this time. I didn't get home until after 8p night before last and of course....everyone's still waiting for dinner (DD offered to fix grandma Clara a sandwich...but she won't eat sandwiches for dinner)...crap...sometimes I get to feeling a little overwhelmed. DD is really helpful, doing laundry, feeding critters, shoveling snow, etc...but she still has her 15yr old angst and outbursts. I expect DH home early next week. It will of course depend on when they get into Dutch Harbor and weather and when a plane can get out of Dutch back to Anchorage...I miss him. I've gotten all of my January moms delivered already. My next mom due is Feb 20 and she's a first timer so may go later. I'm covering hospital nights beginning Sat. so am off tomorrow. I think I'll go visit my friend R and have tea and maybe visit Fantastic Fibers out in Palmer for a little more yarny retail therapy. (I just ordered 3 bags of mohair from't wait til it gets here!) know, I'm in a better mood already. Blogging and journaling are just such good (cheap...and editable....therapy! So your reward for reading this far are a few pictures of some more of my doll collection. These are by native artist Kathleen Westlake, faces are carved from cottonwood or birch, very detailed clothing using calico prints, glass beads, and various animal skins. The dance fans held by one doll are replicas of the dance fans I have framed in the last photo.Dance fans are made from split and woven beach grasses and trimmed with caribou hair. Thanks for checking in and I'll check in again soon!



Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, Lisa, what a lot going on. At least you have some time until your next delivery. Have some REAL wine in the meantime! Your grandma is so blessed to have you there for here, but knowing that doesn't make it easier during her low periods, I know. Hang in there, I'm sending good vibes your way. Thanks for telling us about your husband. What an interesting job he has; you must be so proud of him.

Anonymous said...

The dolls are SO Barbara Lavallee, who I love!

You know, the Southern Baptists have Sunday NIGHT church too. Maybe she should try that???

I had no idea your DH did photo stuff for NG-we want to know when to run to the newstand/flip on the TV.

And you are doing a great job. Quit beating yourself up. Go make chili. Or soup.

Kathleen Westlake said...

Hi Lisa,
Im Kathleen Westlake, while I'm very honored to have my name mentioned in your blog, regrettably, the dolls you posted are not mine. However, I do know who made them! They were made by Shellee Chamberlain. She is originally from Bethel, and lives in Anchorage. I live in Kotzebue, but I was born in Nome, and I lived there until I was 7. that's where Shelee and I met when we were little girls, and she's been one of my best friends ever since. I'm Inupiaq, and she's Yupik. Nome is in the middle of our ancestral homes, and we met in the middle! Both of us have won many awards for our dolls and have received much acclaim. We lost touch for many years after both of us moved from Nome, and met again at the Native Arts and Crafts Fair at the Fur Rendezvous in the late 90s. I hope I've been helpful :)
Kathleen Westlake

Shelee Chamberlain said...

Hi Kathy is partially correct. I made the drummer. My mother Margaret Abraham-Stiefel made the other three.

My mom's dolls can be found on facebook on a page called 907 Yup'ik Dolls. I have a facebook page as well called Creative Impressions by Panruk.

Thanks Kathy for clarifying the mix-up on the dolls. ;)