On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

Life in the waiting room | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on October 15, 2019:

YuckDavid had an endoscopic examination of his upper GI tract last week. The doctor was concerned because of some recent weight fluctuations. She ordered the test in spite of our explanations that he had stepped on the scale wearing a jacket with a cell phone, wallet, and other weighty items in the pockets during one visit and a T-shirt the next time. So, Friday morning we left the house in the driving rain and made the trek to the VA in Dallas. The traffic was backed up, the parking lot was full except in the very back, and the day surgery was the building where we weren’t, but we made it within minutes of our scheduled arrival time.

David checked in, and I was sent to the waiting room while he was prepped for his procedure. After he had changed into a pair of khaki scrub pants and some over-sized hospital socks and the nurse had put an IV into his hand, I was allowed to visit with him for a few minutes. It was a simple procedure, but it was still hard to go back to the waiting room, leaving him in the hands of strangers. Still, the waiting room provided some interesting diversions while I waited. (more…)

How a writer gets even | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on September 10, 2019:

Seeing myself in a bookKnowing a writer can be dangerous. You never know when you’ll see yourself in print. I learned that when my son Christian wrote his first novel at 16 years old. I recognized myself in the over-protective mother who woke her son each morning with a cheerful Good morning, sunshine. Over the years I’ve seen my politics and religion displayed to the world. I’ve cringed as my failed marriage was discussed, and I’ve cried when he thanked me in one of his first published books for showing him what it means to be a person of faith. There’s always payback though. He showed up a lot in my memoir and even more often in my blog. Maybe that’s why I started to write. As the saying goes, don’t get mad, get even.

When I began to write my first book, I worried about what people would think if I wrote about them. That’s part of being a co-dependent, always wanting everybody to be happy. My memoirs aren’t of the Mommy, Dearest type, but the people in my life aren’t perfect. When writing about real people, I never write in anger, and I write gently but truthfully, following the Apostle Paul’s admonition to speak the truth in love.

That kind of writing can be difficult when the subject is caregiving. Dad would have beenToo many socks mortified to know that I wrote about his hygiene issues, and Mom would have been embarrassed for people to know that she sometimes put four socks on one foot and two on the other. But that was part of the truth about caregiving, and I told my stories in hopes that other caregivers would be encouraged to know they’re not alone, inspired to continue living in spite of hardships, and maybe even be amused by some of the ridiculous situations that dementia causes. Based on the responses I’ve received, those hopes have been realized.

So far I’ve not had any complaints from people who have become part of any of my books. Hopefully, that means I haven’t offended anyone and not that they are quietly plotting revenge. As I’ve expanded my writing platform to include frequent blogs and a weekly newspaper column, I’ve received much more feedback from people who recognize themselves in print. Responses range from an excited I made the paper to an increased discretion in my presence. One particularly long conversation at the Senior Center about what kind of screws one of the guys was going to purchase at Hooten’s after lunch ended up as a City Girl column. For a while after that, any time someone started to say something interesting, the speaker would look at me with caution and say, “Don’t write about this.” One of the most direct confrontations I’ve had, though, came one evening several years ago.

“It’s for you,” David said as he held his cell phone out to me.

I knew who it had to be. It was our RV friend who always calls just as we’re sitting down to dinner. But why did he want to talk to me instead of to David?

“Hi,” I said. “What up?”

“Shame on you for quoting me in your blog,” he said.

“But I didn’t use your name,” I said.

“Right, but I know what I said.”

I heard a smile in his voice and laughed with him.

“I was just reading your blog and had to call you. Go enjoy your dinner, and I’ll talk to you later.”

killing characterI’ve continued to write about what I know and who I know. And to my dear RV friend, here you are once again – and no, I’m not ashamed. I’ll make you a promise. If you decide to become a writer, feel free to write about me as long as you speak the truth in love. I promise not to get mad – but I might get even. And one more word of warning – since I’ve expanded my repertoire to include fiction, I have other weapons in my arsenal. If you make me mad, I’ll write you into one of my books as the main villain, and I’ll kill you off!

 

Blessings,

Linda

Fallen Angel Salvage

Tatia’s Tattoo

Mom’s Long Goodbye

A Long and Winding Road

Easiest pasta salad? Right! by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on September 3, 2019:

Whats for dinnerEvery Friday night for the past several years, David and I have attended a home Bible study with several friends from our church. As the name implies, we meet at the home of someone in the group where we share a meal, praises and prayer requests, and Bible study. On Mondays, I send out a group email that includes the prayer list and a link to the food sign-up sheet for the next Friday.

Early last week, Brenda signed up for the main dish with a notation that said “not sure what yet.” Being the witty writer that I am, I signed up for a salad with the added quip of “something to go with what Brenda makes.” A couple of days later she changed her post to “baby back ribs,” and since I didn’t want to settle for one of my default offerings of cole slaw or broccoli salad, I went to Google. (more…)

The Best Part about Getting Older | by Linda Brendle

BFOR FB Banner

BFOR Blog Blitz – Day #29

Meme for BFOR 0829 postSeveral days ago my 16-year-old grand niece posted this meme on Facebook, and I responded with the obligatory laughing emoticon. I remember when I was her age, and our generational slogan was “Don’t trust anyone over thirty.” I never really felt that distrust, but I did feel like anyone who was thirty was pretty much past their prime. Now that I’m well over twice that age, my perspective has changed. I no longer feel like there’s nothing good about getting older. In fact, I have found it to be quite enjoyable, and here are some reasons why.

Fashion

I’ve never been what you’d call a fashionista, but there was a time when I tried to keephigh heeled boots up with current trends in clothes, make-up, hairstyles, and especially shoes. I loved shoes and would have had a pair to go with every outfit if I had the budget for it. After my brother told me I walked like an elephant when I strode past him in my first pair of three-inch heels, I practiced long and hard until I could glide in a pair of stilettos with nary a turned ankle. I did manage to turn a few heads, though.

After several decades, back surgery, and months of physical therapy, I had to modify my heel height. I mourned the loss until I stumbled into a conversation with some of the younger women in my office. They were all sporting fashionable boots with four-inch spikes and were comparing blisters and foot pain. I mumbled words of sympathy as I stood, comfortably smug in my sensible mid-heel pumps, and thought, “I’m so glad I’ve reached the age where I don’t have to do that anymore.”

Discounts

senior citizen discountIf you enjoy spending money, one of the really fun parts of becoming a senior citizen is the discounts. My first encounter with this truth was shortly after my fiftieth birthday. The rolling over of another decade had been hard on me. I had just moved to a new town for a new job, so I was feeling old and alone. Then, I went to the bank to open a new account and discovered that, because of my advanced age, I qualified for free checking. That was when I decided that getting older wasn’t so bad after all. Since then, I’ve discovered that many businesses offer senior discounts including restaurants, movies, hotels, hair stylists, and even grocery stores. If all I have to do to get lower prices is live long enough to have gray hair and wrinkles, I’m all for that.

Grandchildren

I probably should have put this one first, but I wrote this in no particular order. Proverbs

T and Zoe 081319

These are mine!

17:6 says “Grandchildren are the crown of the aged,” and that was before Facebook gave us a worldwide place to brag about them. It is the privilege – and duty – of grandparents to love, dote on, indulge, and totally spoil the youngest generation without the burden of day-to-day reality. There is no way to describe the feeling when your son hands you his firstborn and says, “Meet your grandson.”

 

Slower pace

One of my favorite aspects of being older is the slower pace. I’ve always been more of a tortoise than a hare, and after many years of running to keep up, it feels as if life is finally slowing down to match my pace. Much of that is by hare reading a bookchoice as my husband and I have left city life in favor of a small town in East Texas where the two most exciting events of the year are Founder’s Day and the County Fair. I worked part-time at my church until the first of this year, but even then my hours were flexible enough that I gave up setting an alarm clock. Now that I’m retired, I rarely schedule anything before 9:00 or 10:00 am, and slow and easy is the order of the day at the Brendle household.

The absolutely best part about this slower pace is that there is plenty of time for reading. I’ve always been a reader, slipping off into the living room with a book while the rest of the family was gathered around the TV or getting lost in a library book instead of cramming for a test during study hall. Now no one questions the time I spend reading or writing. In fact, the mental exercise is encouraged as a way of keeping the older brain active and healthy.

BFOR

One thing I’ve realized as I’ve gotten older is that there are more books than I’ll be able senior citizen readingto read in my lifetime, so I have to choose wisely. I was thrilled when I came across BFOR on Facebook. Books for Older Readers (BFOR) is a group that was established in October 2017 to promote books with older protagonists and/or themes such as ‘second chances’ which tend to appeal to readers in mid-life or beyond.

BFOR has a website where you can find lists of books and authors that will appeal to all ages but have a special attraction to those of us in middle age and beyond because of the age of the characters and/or the subject matter. The book lists feature short descriptions, book covers, and buy links. BFOR also has a Facebook Group where you can interact with other authors and readers who share your interests and concerns.

Website http://www.booksforolderreaders.co.uk/home/4594074088

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/196728670867979/

So, this is my answer to my grand niece’s question. What would your answer be? What do you think is the best part of growing older?

Blessings,

Linda

Fallen Angel Salvage

Tatia’s Tattoo

Mom’s Long Goodbye

A Long and Winding Road

Cool, Clear Water | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on August 6, 2019:

faucetwater-275x300In a First World Country like the United States, we tend to take the availability of safe, potable water for granted. Sure, there are complaints about chemical additives and other impurities in our tap water, and we spend millions on water filters and bottled water. In fact, we have specialty waters like artesian water, iceberg water, mountain water, mineral water, flavored water, vitamin water and so forth. But still, we assume water will come out of our faucets – until it doesn’t.

Last week I was coming home from a grocery store run when I passed some work in progress on the side of the road around the curve from our place. There was a backhoe as well as several city trucks that said something about “distribution” on the side. They were working in front of a house-in-progress, so I assumed they were bringing in water. As it turned out, I was right. (more…)

Kitty Meets a Fan | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 30, 2019:

Greta GarboKitty is not a celebrity who seeks the spotlight. She is more like Greta Garbo, the Swedish-American movie star of the 1920’s and 30’s who is famous for the line, I want to be alone. Unlike some family pets who never meet a stranger, Kitty hides under the bed when visitors come, and even though she tries to sneak outside occasionally, she seems to prefer watching life go by from behind a pane of glass. However, the rules and regulations of society don’t favor the sensitivities of the recluse, and this week she had to go out into the world.

When she makes it outside, Kitty seems to be a prime target for fleas and other insects that make a furry feline itch. Even when she stays indoors, the pests seem to make it inside, possibly hitching a ride on jeans or shoes. Regardless of how they get there, Kitty is very aware of their presence, and so are we when she chooses to scratch in the middle of the bed at 3:00 am or when she evicts the little varmints into the couch or the carpet. (more…)

More Front Porch Antics | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on Tuesday, May 28, 2019:

Rocker in the makingWhen I left you last week, David and I were both tired and sore from a week of climbing and crawling around on a ladder and porch railings to paint and to mount sheets of foam insulation on the ceiling of our new front porch. This week we had several days to rest and recuperate.

Monday we drove to Fort Worth to attend our grandson’s jazz band concert. An amazing performance was presented by all the students, especially by Mattias who I still can’t believe is in high school. We spent the night to avoid getting home well past the witching hour. It also allowed us to visit over breakfast and lunch before heading for home.

The schedule for the rest of the week was full, but by Saturday we were out of excuses. Well, I had one excuse – an online book event that required a bit of promo work. While I was on the computer, David put on his work clothes and headed outside. It wasn’t more than five minutes when I heard him calling me. (more…)

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