Published in the Rains County Leader on November 3, 2022:
You know your weekend wasn’t very exciting when you have to look on Facebook to see what you did that was worth writing about. Even then, it’s often not what you did that is interesting but rather the reactions of your Internet friends.
I’ve mentioned before that our neighbor David Perkins has raised quite a garden this year. One of his most successful crops was cucumbers. We had lots of salads, especially tomato and cucumber, and I made several batches of cucumbers and onions in vinegar. Perkins and I even worked together and made eight pints of bread and butter pickles. But after a while, the cucumbers get too big for pickles, and neighbors begin to run when they see you approaching with another offering of excess produce. Then Gennell brought her annual treat of candied cucumbers to the Senior Center, and I was inspired to try some myself.
I searched Google, my favorite cookbook, for a recipe and was a little intimidated when I discovered the long process involved in making these tasty treats. But keeping in mind that I learned to ride a motorcycle when I was fifty-two and published my first book after I began collecting Social Security, I tackled the project.
Connections | by Linda Brendle
Published in the Rains County Leader on May 25, 2021:
Writing is all about communication – about sharing thoughts and ideas through the written word – and about the connections that are made through that sharing. A writer often doesn’t know when those connections happen, but one of my favorite parts of writing is when a reader reaches out through a review, a comment on a blog or Facebook post, or an email to let me know about a connection.
An early connection happened when I was just beginning to be active on social media. Facebook groups had not yet popped up, at least not in the numbers that exist now, so I contributed occasional articles to several independent websites. One article was about my anger as a caregiver. I admitted lashing out in frustration and anger at my Mom when I first began caring for her only to realize later that my anger, and the underlying fear, were really about the Alzheimer’s that was taking her away from me in a way I could neither understand nor control.
Shortly after the article went live, I received a comment from a young woman whose mother had suffered a fatal heart attack many years before when she was a teenager. The older daughter had driven them all to the hospital, and the teen was confused by her sister’s apparent anger at her mother. After the mother’s death, the sisters were not completely estranged, but they never talked about the situation, and their relationship had not been the same. After reading my article, the younger woman approached her sister, and they talked. After exploring their feelings and reactions on that night that had changed their lives so many years before, healing began and their relationship was restored. Although we exchanged a few more comments, we didn’t strike up a friendship. Still, those written words established a point of connection based our similar experiences.
Published in the Rains County Leader on August 18, 2020:
A Tale of Two Cities, the epic historical novel by Charles Dickens, begins with a famous opening sentence: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. If you ask most people which of these two choices would best describe 2020 so far, a huge majority would probably choose the latter. Up until last week, I would have readily agreed – but now I’m not so sure.
One night I couldn’t go to sleep, so I left David deep in the land of Nod and went into the living room. After reading for a while, I picked up my phone and began scrolling through some of the posts I don’t usually take the time to look at during the day. Fortunately, few political or controversial posts show up on my timeline – probably because of the type of posts I respond to. Whatever the reason, most of what I get are photos of birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, weddings and other family gatherings. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on January 1, 2019:
I spend too much time on Facebook. I don’t stay up until the wee hours looking at cute kittens or comparing what actors looked like then and now, but I do lose writing time, cleaning time, and other productive moments while keeping up with the current activities of my family and friends. Still, I do occasionally find little bits of inspiration like the one I saw on Sunday.
One of my friends posted a cartoon in which two mouse-like creatures were perched on the three-dimensional numerals “2019.” The first mouse was standing with his arms crossed, worry lines around his eyes, and drops of sweat popping off his forehead. The second was on his knees with an eager look on his face as he dug into the surface of the big zero. Their conversation went like this: (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on July 25, 2017:
As children, finding joy is as simple as picking a dandelion or coaxing Daddy into being the Tickle Monster for a few minutes. As the years pass, however, joy sometimes becomes more elusive. More joints hurt, more friends develop debilitating or terminal illnesses, and social calendars have more dates for funerals than for weddings. Joy is still possible, but it takes more work, and it sometimes requires an attitude adjustment.
If you’ve spent any time on Facebook, you know it can be a joyless place if you’re not very selective about what you read. Some users post nothing but political tirades and negative news while others give more information than most of us want to know about their long list of medical complaints, medications, and procedures. I’m all for being well informed and also for keeping up with friends and praying for them in their times of need. However, caution is necessary in order to keep all that negativity from sucking all the joy out of life. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on February 7, 2017:
It’s almost impossible to avoid politics in this day and time – especially on Facebook. Last week I saw a picture of cows standing behind a barbed-wire fence with a red arrow pointing to the fence post. The caption read “A non-political post. You’re welcome!” I thought it was cute, and it seemed innocuous enough, so I shared it. Several people “liked” it, and a few people shared it – but two of my friends actually made political comments about it.
I’m as political as anyone, but I have yet to see a political exchange in which one participant has influenced another participant to change his or her mind – at least about politics. I was, however, involved in an email exchange that changed someone’s opinion about me. (more…)
The Ghost of Christmas Present
Thursday afternoon I posted a “Bah Humbug” Facebook comment about a local radio station that has changed its format to all Christmas music for the duration. To say that my brother loves Christmas would be a huge understatement. In fact, he makes the Ghost of Christmas Present look like Scrooge, and he took exception to my comment and those of some of my friends. This was his last entry: Can anybody explain to my simple mind the abject travesty of playing Christmas music and putting up lights in the first half of November? I’m really having a hard time with all this negativity!
I started to respond, but realized it was going to involve more typing than I wanted to do on my phone, so I shifted into blogger mode and started thinking in terms of a post. After mulling through a few thoughts that seemed familiar, I realized that I wrote how I feel about the holidays in 2011. It was well received, so I posted it again last year. Now, for what is becoming a Life After Caregiving tradition, here’s the 3rd annual posting of “Feeling the Holiday Spirit.”
Yesterday one of my Facebook friends posted this question: Am I the only one not feeling the holiday spirit? I left a witty, social network kind of reply, but I’ve been thinking about it since then. Am I feeing the holiday spirit? My first question is which holiday are we talking about? My next question is what does the holiday spirit feel like? (more…)
Mom and me.
When trying to decide what to write about this morning, I pulled out my “Sources” file and looked for ideas. After 300+ blog posts, it’s sometimes a challenge to come up with something new and fresh. There’s a new game on Facebook involving a list of things your friends might not know about you. I considered writing something like that, but at this point, anything I haven’t already written about myself is probably something I don’t want to reveal, so I went back to the file.
One item that caught my eye was an article on the Alzheimer’s Association website called “101 Activities.” It offers simple suggestions of things to do with your Alzheimer’ patient like listening to music, coloring a picture, or tossing a ball. There is no further explanation and no warning of how these simple activities might backfire. However, as you might imagine, I have a couple of tales that might give a caregiver pause before engaging in some of the activities. (more…)