New Author Webpage



Meanderings and Muses isn't going anywhere.

BUT -

I do have a new webpage which will focus mostly on my writing.

If you're interested in reading more about my books, anthologies, and events, please click over to

There are a few videos of me reading from "Whimsey: A Novel," and from other favorite authors' work.

With more videos still to come.

The new page is a work in progress with plans for still more to come
- I'm just still trying to figure out exactly what that might be -
so check back from time to time, please.

See you there!


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Shane Gericke's THE FURY



My friend, Shane Gericke, lost his best friend/wife of almost 40 years to cancer this week. His new book, THE FURY, comes out tomorrow.

He would normally be doing some serious promotion right about now, but life has a way of changing our plans without our permission.

I hope you'll consider buying his latest thriller from your favorite bookstore. If it's anything like his others, we're all in for a heck of a ride.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Grrrrrrrrrr



Is everybody on God's green earth as sick to death of this woman as I am?  

She says it's her belief in God that is keeping her from doing the job she is paid to do. 

Here's what I say to her - "Honey? You're embarrassing God. You're embarrassing yourself. You're embarrassing the State of Kentucky and the rest of us who have to read about your hateful idiot self day after day after day. Remember reading the words "Love Thy Neighbor?" Step down. Go home. You're just one more attention whore looking for a few minutes of fame. And you're a fool."

I do not care how many times this idiot woman has been married.

I've been married more than once myself.

What I do care about is the fact that she's been allowed to collect her $80,000 salary while refusing to do her job.

And that the taxpayers are the people paying it.

She's been allowed to humiliate people who have walked into her office requesting a SERVICE that she is under obligation to provide.

Those people matter.

Her hypocrisy knows no bounds.

According to her brand of "Christianity," she has committed adultery because in the eyes of "her" Lord she is and always will be married to that first dude she married even though legally she is divorced.

I had this little bit of filth thrown in my face about myself by a former Facebook friend (who is also a relative. She'll always be a relative, but she will never be a friend).

Anyway.

This person, according to her beliefs, ain't gonna make into heaven anyway, so she might as well have saved her county some money and issued those marriage licenses. 

Unless, of course, she hasn't read her bible as thoroughly as perhaps she should have.

HOWEVER.

What I care about more than any of that is that this country has become a country where this kind of ridiculous behavior can even happen.  And NOT be corrected immediately.

WTF??!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Demand A Plan


I want politicians in this country to prove to me that they are not paid puppets of the NRA.

I want them to DO SOMETHING! 


Today's NRA is NOT the NRA it once was.


These people are all about profits and hearing the ca-ching, ca-ching of the cash registers. 


Lives Matter.









Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny




There are a lot of Louse Penny fans out there.  We're diehard, staunch, loyal, devoted and steadfast.

So - you guys? 

If you haven't already, you're going to want to buy her latest right now.

I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy and I promise you're not going to be disappointed.  (pfft - as if!).

It's impossible for someone like me with no reviewing skills to talk about Ms. Penny's work without spoilers, so I don't even try.

But, I will say this.  In "The Nature of the Beast," we learn some new things.

Don't you love how this author can keep surprising us??  

Book after book, still fresh and still able to make us care more and more about this group of quirky, lovable people inhabiting Three Pines.

I laughed out loud, I put the book down  to ponder thoughts, and I cried rivers.  Because that's what we do when we read Louise Penny's words.  She touches our deepest selves like no one else.

The woman is a treasure.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Breakfast










ode

[ohd] 
 


noun
1.
a lyric poem typically of elaborate or irregular metrical form and expressive of exalted or enthusiastic emotion.
2.
(originally) a poem intended to be sung.



Well, here's my own kinda photographic ode to my favorite meal of the day, which can (and should!) be eaten at any time during the day (or night).


Especially good when shared with your favorite guy.







Yum.

Life is good.



Friday, August 21, 2015

Today





Today has been a good day.

I drove to Newland to Cranberry House and was struck once more with just how lovely the drive is and how many interesting spots there are between here and there. 

I would have enjoyed the trip to and from on visits to my mom, and I doubt I would have ever tired of the drive. 

But. 

Since my mom is no longer there, I'm blessed to have made some friends who are there. 

I will always think of Gigi, Kathy and Rhianon as "Hazel's Angels."

And because I didn't have a single place I needed to rush to, I stopped at almost every place I had been promising myself I would stop "one of these days." Today was finally that day, and it was nice. 

And I am so happy I had my camera with me, which isn't really that unusual, but sometimes - sometimes I walk out of the house without it and regret it every minute I'm gone.

And I'm also happy there's meatloaf left over from last night's supper and I can fix myself a meatloaf sandwich.

Life is good.

But there's a lesson behind all this.

The lesson is this.

I've missed a lot of opportunities to take some time to stop whatever it was I was doing.  I've missed some fabulous photo ops.  

I'm lucky though regarding this trip from Boone to Newland and back.

It's close enough that I can get a "re-do" whenever the urge strikes.

Sometimes, though, we even pass up the chances for a "re-do."

I think it's important to remember that we really don't have to be doing something we think of as important or critical or necessary all the time.

Sometimes it's alright to just "be."

To just allow yourself time to stop at that little place on the side of the road and see if it's as interesting as you think it might be.

It's okay to pull off the side of the road and take a picture of the sky just 'cause.


And I'm going to try to remember to do these things more often.

I don't think we're put here on this earth to rush through life, or work through life. 


I need to remember to sometimes allow myself to just be. 


Here's a few of the things I took a little bit of time to enjoy today.  

A few places I finally stopped at, and a few places I just wanted to photograph.









































Life is good.  I want to remember to live it.


















   

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Sometimes you just have to laugh . . .



Sometimes we have to just roll with the punches. Roll our eyes and laugh. Right?

And try to remember the saying "it's all about the story."

Here's my story about mailing off a few packages.


My mom loved her bling.

So yes, I guess I get my love of jewelry honestly - she taught me well.

And started those lessons early.

I've written about how much I loved my childhood home, The Arcade Apartments a/k/a "Home of My Heart."

I re-post this Father's Day post almost every year.

And I know you've already read about Mr. Devoe, and indulge me when I repeat myself. 

There was a jewelry store owned by Mr. & Mrs. Henry DeVoe in the lobby of the Arcade. Sometimes on Saturdays they would babysit me while Mother did the grocery shopping if Dad had to work. It was the beginning of my love affair with jewelry. Mr. DeVoe was my buddy - he opened my first charge account. Remember the silver bands we called "Friendship Rings?" They were $1.00. Sterling silver bands for $1.00. Can you imagine? Well, I loved those, but would lose them often. He would let me charge one and pay him on installments out of my allowance. About the time I'd have one paid off, I'd lose it and he would let me charge another one.

The first thing we brought home from Mother's apartment was her jewelry "box."




As you can imagine, going through this was hard.

But also quite lovely.

I sincerely doubt there was ever a piece of furniture that held more memories.  Not much of any value because we've never been a family of means, but we sure have always known how to collect some pretty sparkly memories.


I found pieces I thought were long lost, including a locket with matching earrings my dad gave my mom before I was born.  It has a teeny little picture of my dad inside.





I found cheap little abalone shell rings I had bought for her on The Boardwalk of Ocean City, MD when I was a little girl.  (Adjustable, no less.  ;-)  )





So many treasures.

So many memories.

I found pieces that family and friends had given her over the years.

I cried over some of the pieces.  Pieces that Donald would choose and wrap and give her for Christmas every year.  That was the gift she would save until last to open.  He always chose well.  She was always pleased.






I found fun and lovely and whimsical and silly pieces.  Many, like the dachshund pin to honor our much beloved Uncus, that she had had since forever.  She had a fondness for watches and I remember her wearing this Minnie Mouse watch often.






I found lots of rhinestones.

Lots of big dramatic pieces

Lots of tigers and parrots and dragonflies and bees, oh my.





Did I mention how my mama loved her bling?


I decided to share much of it with family and close friends, so I spent some time sorting pieces into piles. 

I chose carefully.

I boxed them up and labeled them.

A couple boxes have already been sent and received.



Then I fell behind, 

but, some are now finally on their way. 


Whether the recipients actually receive what I intended to send them is another story.

Most of the boxes are quite small since most contain only jewelry.

I taped them up really well (really, really well), but then put them in padded envelopes (which I also taped really, really well - the recipients going to kill me, except most of them are well aware of how wild I can get with a roll of tape in my hands).

But when I got to my favorite shipping place, good folks who have taken good care of our packages for as long as we've been in Boone, with 15 packages (many of which are in really, really well-taped padded envelopes) discussions take place.

After much discussion among many people, the decision is reached that everyone would feel much more comfortable about those well-taped padded envelopes being in boxes.

So three different people get busy putting those well-taped padded envelopes into boxes which are stuffed to capacity with bubble wrap and then taped (really well).

However.

I am not feeling totally warm and fuzzy about the labeling.

There "may" have been too many hands in that kitchen.

So.

I had to drop everyone an email asking that they let me know when they receive their package, and to let me know what might actually be in "their" package because I have a feeling we may have to do some re-sorting.  (Cross your fingers that I'm wrong!)

My friend Cat made me hoot when she wrote back that this could possibly turn into a big ol' transcontinental scavenger hunt.  One of the things Hazel Wilkinson loved best about Cat is her wicked and spot-on sense of humor.

We'll all have to stay tuned for the rest of the story . . . 



(Harley choosing his favorite piece)



Saturday, August 8, 2015

When the Clock Strikes Midnight by Margaret Maron






When the Clock Strikes Midnight
by Margaret Maron

We know what happened to Cinderella when she stayed too long at the ball. The clock struck midnight, her golden carriage became a pumpkin, her white horses turned back into white mice and her beautiful ballgown became rags.

Several years ago, when my newly published colleagues and I were members of the "freshman class," we noticed that several of the "senior class"—male and female both—had stayed too long the ball. They had written strong books with sparkling characters, but now they were older and tired, and their books no longer sparkled. They seemed to be phoning it in. As someone who grew up on a farm, it was like watching cows endlessly chewing the same cud. We promised ourselves that we wouldn't be like that. We would quit before we tarnished our reputations. Indeed, three of us made a pact: if that began to happen to one of us, the other two would come and put her out of her misery.

Bootlegger's Daughter, my first Judge Deborah Knott book, was published in 1992. Long Upon the Land, which will publish next week, is the 20th. (The title comes from the Fifth Commandment: "Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days shall be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.") In that first book, Deborah was running for a seat on the district court bench. She was single, impulsive and apt to leap before she looked. In the past twenty-odd years, she has matured, married, and become a mother. She has held court from the coast to the mountains and back again and the books have allowed me to examine various aspects of life in North Carolina, both social and political.

I had thought that last year's book, Designated Daughters, would be the last, but then I realized that there was one loose end I had never tied up to my own satisfaction: how did her parents meet and marry and what was the story behind her mother's cigarette lighter that all of her brothers wanted? All along, Deborah's known that her parents were very much in love and that their marriage was strong despite their differences. But Sue Stephenson was the daughter of a respected attorney, a town girl who would have made her debut in long white gloves and a gauzy white gown had the war not intervened. She had graduated from high school and spent a year in college. Kezzie Knott was a semi-illiterate moonshiner who barely finished the eighth grade and was a widower with eight small boys, to boot. 


 Like me, Deborah was curious about how they could defy convention and marry. Long Upon the Land satisfies my curiosity and leaves me content in knowing that this really is the last book I'll write about her.

Besides, not only do I not want to be left standing in rags beside a rotten pumpkin and a handful of mice, my friends take their promises very seriously!


 
* * *




Born and bred in North Carolina where the piedmont meets the sandhills, I grew up on a modest two-mule tobacco farm that has been in the family for over a hundred years. Tobacco is no longer grown on the farm, but the memories linger — the singing, the laughter, the gossip that went on at the bench as those rank green leaves came from the field, the bliss of an icy cold drink bottle pressed to a hot sweaty face, getting up at dawn to help “take out” a barn, the sweet smell of soft golden leaves as they’re being readied for auction. Working in tobacco is one of those life experiences I’m glad to have had. I’m even gladder that it’s something I’ll never have to do again.

After high school came two years of college before a summer job at the Pentagon led to marriage, a tour of duty in Italy, then several years in my husband’s native Brooklyn. I had always loved writing and for the first few years, wrote nothing but short stories and very bad poetry. (The legendary Ruth Cavin of St. Martin’s Press once said of the silly verses I write to celebrate various friends “It's doggerel, Margaret. But inspired doggerel.” I was immensely flattered.)

Eventually, I backed into writing novels about NYPD Lt. Sigrid Harald, mysteries set against the New York City art world. Living there let me see how the city is a collection of villages, each with its own vitality and distinct ambiance, vibrant and ever-changing. But once I had settled back into North Carolina, love of my native state and a desire to write out of current experiences led to the creation of District Court Judge Deborah Knott, the opinionated daughter of a crusty old ex-bootlegger and youngest sibling of eleven older brothers. (I was one of only three, so no, I’m not writing about my own family.)

We’ve been back on a corner of the family land for many years now. My city-born husband discovered he prefers goldfinches, rabbits, and the occasional quiet deer to yellow cabs, concrete, and a city that never sleeps. A son, a daughter-in-law, and two granddaughters are icing on our cake.

Why mysteries? Quite honestly, when I first chose this genre, it was because I thought I had nothing to say and the classic mystery novel had a form that would let me write without any burden of trying to be profound. All I had to do was entertain. But once I began writing about North Carolina, I realized that there was nothing I couldn’t say in this most flexible form.


 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Thank you


I'd like to thank each of you for all the kind thoughts and good wishes you've been sending our way.

Each and every email, Facebook message, comments left here at Meanderings and Muses, each phone call, card and letter that has arrived and continue to arrive means more than I have words to say.


Each is a treasure both Don​ and I will hold in our hearts forever.



 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Plans for a memorial service for my mom






There are no words to express what I feel for what you all have given me these past weeks. Please know I will never forget the love you've shared during this time when I have felt lost and broken. I will miss my mother for the rest of my life, but knowing she's with my dad again makes me smile. He's been waiting for his dancing partner for a very long time and I know the two of them did one of their jitterbugs they were so, so good at as he escorted her through those pearly gates. She's surrounded by friends and family she's been missing and I feel at peace knowing that she's home and in a better place.


Some of you have written to ask about a service for my mom.

We're not planning an immediate service, but there will be something in the future.

She requested cremation, and some "Hazel Ashes" will find their way here, there and yonder in some of her favorite places over time.

Right now what we're thinking is that we will take some of her remains to Atlanta to be placed next to daddy.

Probably there will just be an informal graveside service.

I will let everyone know details, of course.  

Right now, we just don't know when that might be.

For those who are unable to attend, I'm hoping you'll raise a glass at the time of the service and share a thought or two of my mom with those of us who are there.

And no, it doesn't have to be her drink of choice - some of us just don't like Diet Pepsi.


obituary - http://www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com/obituary.php?name=1485





Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The End of the Journey





Mary Hazel Messick Wilkinson

November 2, 1926 - July 28, 2015





Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Mom Update

Cannon Memorial Hospital
Monday, July 27, 2015


Mother's sleeping fairly comfortably.  Her breathing is very labored at times, but she seems peaceful.


When I look over and see her with bruises all over her arms from necessary tubes and IVs and an oxygen mask over her face it makes me unbearably sad.


This is the woman I see in my mind and in my heart - always.








A woman with great style, an irreverent sense of humor and a wonderfully earthy laugh that comes from deep within her soul, and up from the very soles of her feet.  

One who lived her life by the words - - - 

"Do no harm, but take no shit."

She has taught me much.




Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday Update



Know what I love?

That I can sit in a corner in Panera's with a cup of coffee, a 4 Cheese Souffle and have a good cry without anyone noticing.


Sitting here catching up on all the email, Facebook comments and messages that each of you has taken the time to send me and I have no words to tell you how much they all mean. Even typing that makes me feel less than adequate in my gratitude and thanks.


Donald is at home waiting for the internet technician to arrive and hopefully, get us hooked up again. 


Mother is having a comfortable day. No signs of restless anxiety today.


I've just left her apartment in Blowing Rock where we're making pretty good progress with the packing. Someone bought some of her furniture, took some and will be back in a few days for the rest.


And now - home.


Love to all.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Mother Update


I am late with Mother updates.

We've been without internet service at home since Thursday (technician is supposed to come tomorrow - fingers crossed). 

I want to once again thank you all for the continued prayers and support. 

As of today, my mom is still at Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville but is now in Hospice care. 

Today she has been  resting comfortably.

Yesterday was a tough day.


Prayers now for comfort and peace for my mom, please.

I'm with her and she is, right now, amazingly aware, sweet but groggy and in God's hands.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Today Mom Update



Sitting here at Cannon Memorial Hospital thinking about what a great hospital this is.

And watching my mom sleep.

She tells me sleeping is the best thing a person can do for pneumonia. Who's gonna argue with that?

They just brought her lunch and she's not interested, but I have to say - it looks and smells good enough (seriously!) that I may have to dig in. Roast pork, carrots, baked potato with butter & sour cream available (lots of each). Milk (which I'm already drinking) and vanilla ice cream (which doesn't stand a chance of melting with me around).

Her breathing is much less labored than it was last night, her color is good, she tells me she loves me and that I'm a sweet daughter.

So.

today?

life is good.



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Need some prayers, please



One of Mother's favorite staff members at her new home, Cranberry House, noticed that Mother seemed to not be feeling so great last night.

This morning, they got her showered and dressed and she seemed okay.  A few  hours later though, she told Kathy she was not feeling well.

Kathy said she was looked pale and just not quite right. 

Gigi (administrator, former nurse for many years) checked her vitals, realized she was wheezing badly, running a fever and in distress.  They called the EMTs who were there in 4 minutes and they took her to Cannon Memorial.

When I got to Cannon Memorial they had her in the ER, had determined she had pneumonia and possibly congestive heart failure and fluid in her lungs.

She's been admitted and is resting comfortably.  She is aware of where she is, who I am and was calm as a cucumber.   She does not like the oxygen mask, but when the ER nurse explained that they were giving her a breathing treatment and the mask was necessary she said, "oh, well.  I guess that makes sense.  Okay.  It can stay."

I went by Cranberry House earlier today with the car loaded down and that's when I learned the news about Mother.  

Her room is looking wonderful.  With Kathy and Gigi and Rhinnanon's and the rest of the staff's help, it is looking and feeling like home.  Mother's major complaint about her new living quarters has nothing to do with the living quarters, but with the poor choice of clothes I chose to take.  They're all too damned tight says she, so today I bought her some new, cute, but bigger clothes.

She should be much happier when she gets back to Cranberry.

Send some prayers and good thoughts, please.


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Continuing the journey . . .



Yesterday we started doing some packing up at my mom's old apartment. Took a few pieces of her furniture, some clothes and necessities to her new place for her.

She is bouncing back and forth between being okay with things and being very angry. Anyone believing all 88 year old women might be docile in a situation like this? Uh uh, no.

The staff continues to be amazingly kind, professional and just awesome in so, so many ways. (and quite good and open at giving much needed hugs to devastated family members in addition to everything else).

They understand, loads more than I, how hard it would be.

My mom has lived in her little apartment in Blowing Rock, NC for almost 20 years.

Alone and independently and quite content.

Up until just the past few weeks she's cooked, she's cleaned, she's washed dishes, paid bills, taken out her trash, bathed.  All normal, every day things we all take for granted.

In only the past few weeks she's been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, become unable to do most of the physical things she was able to do, and been moved to a new and strange place filled with people she doesn't know.

She'll be going through an adjustment period consisting of now having everything scheduled - her medications, her bathing, her meals, etc.

Personally, I cannot even imagine.

So, although Don Barley and I know she's now where she needs to be, it's hard. And harder for her than for us.

Still tons to pack up and to do at the Blowing Rock apartment.

But not today.

Today is our day of rest.

Please continue sending prayers and good thoughts - every single one is appreciated and every single one helps.

Friday, July 17, 2015

My Mom - Today


Every day I learn something new about loving an Alzheimer's patient.

Mostly, it's that, for me, this person who looks like my mom and sometimes acts like my mom, isn't the woman I've known so well and loved so much for 66 years.

My mom is in there, but so is someone else.

It's that person that sometimes gets really angry with me that I'm heartbroken about.


Donald and I have learned not to get upset or be hurt by things that are said one minute, because they've been forgotten the next.


We've learned not to try to remind her to take her pills because that's a ridiculous assumption on our part.


We've learned not to tell her what day her next doctor's appointment is.


So, today we knew we were scheduled to move into the care facility we found and are impressed with.  We knew but we didn't mention it to her.


Mother had been excited about it too. 


Until the next day, when she wasn't.



So.  Frankly, we had no idea how today would go.


We didn't know if she would remember that she had been excited about it.


Or that she would remember getting mad at us for interfering in her life and making decisions for her.


As it happened, everything just magically unfolded.


She had to have a TB test before the facility would accept her, so we went by her doctor's office on the way to the facility.

But before we did that, I was helping her get dressed and she had a weepy spell because she needed someone to help her.

And she looked at me and said, "will you take me to the nursing home today, please?"  I've stopped saying "no, it's not a nursing home - it's so much better!"  Because, with her generation, that what it was.  Nursing homes.  

I did not know she had just had this same conversation with Donald in the living room because I was busy running around on the sly throwing clothes, nighties, robes, undies, medications, etc. into a bag so we could just take her to the care facility after leaving the doctor's office and hope for the best.

She relieved us of the guilt of feeling as though we were kidnapping her and forcing her someplace she didn't want to go.

After finishing up at the doctor's office and on the drive to the facility, she was fine.  SO much finer than I had anticipated and hoped for!  It was a pleasant drive.  

She and Harley sat in the backseat and conversed and took care of one another.

So.   

Mother was ready to make this transition today and the timing could not have been better.  We were blessed with serendipity.

Because, as I've come to realize, what she remembers now may not be the case even 15 minutes from now, so I think all the good thoughts and prayers everyone has been sending helped more than any of us can really know.

The only really hard part was when we got ready to leave her this afternoon - hard for her, hard for us.

But we're going back tomorrow to take some more of her clothes, some books and some framed photos for her dresser.

Still lots to do to make her space "hers," but we're getting there. Baby steps.

At least now I know she's in a safe place with some of the kindest people imaginable.

The facility is really nice, lots of little rooms with comfy furniture scattered about for folks who want a little quiet time, and some larger activity rooms. Tonight was movie night and they were watching Annie.

I don't know what they were serving for dinner, but lunch was baked chicken, half a baked potato, creamed corn and chocolate pie for dessert.

When we got Mother to her room today, the staff had put some orchids on her bedside table for her, and a sign in the window welcoming her. 

And there's a hummingbird feeder and regular bird feeder right outside her window. 

We have all already fallen in love with some of the staff who have been taking really good care of my mom - some very special folks. 

And they all fell in love with Harley today!

Today was one of the good days.

And to make even better, we arrived home to find flowers on our doorstep from our friend (who we haven't even met in person yet!), Lesa Holstine.





Aren't they scrumptious?!

Friends.

Irreplaceable, treasured friends.

They make our hearts sing at the most unexpected moments, don't they?

And make a gray day a whole lot sunnier.




Wednesday, July 15, 2015

the other side of the good day coin . . .




And then there are days like today that wipe days like yesterday right off the calendar like they might never have happened. My heart is broken. Mother's good day was replaced with today's "No. I am not going anywhere, and no I did NOT say that I would. And no, I did not tell anyone what color I wanted the walls painted at that place. Why are you making all this up and upsetting me?"




Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Continuing the journey with my mom - Good News Day!

Today has been a good day. 

A very, very good day.

Mother finally got her new hearing aid.  I'm not even going to attempt to describe the difference.  It is not a complete night/day difference, but it IS a difference of watching mouths open and close while not truly hearing to now actually hearing again.  If not perfectly.

The memory prescription does seem to be working.  Surprisingly well.  Another biggie.

And -

Two people from the assisted living center came for a visit after the hearing aid man's visit.  Mother and the hearing aid man (whose name is Tom) met when we first moved here.  He's been a good friend to her and to me and Donald over the years.

As soon as he left, two young women came in to do the assessment needed for Mother's move.

They are both very professional, but both cute and full of personality and had won Mother's heart within the first 20 minutes.  They showed pictures of the facility, asked her a bunch of questions in such an easy conversational manner that she was immediately at ease.  Told her about the facility and what they would do for her in helping her keep her independence - not usurp it.

To condense a two hour meeting, which did not feel one bit like a meeting, to one short description.  How 'bout - "YAY!"

Mother, while at first, very distressed about feeling as though we had taken things into our own hands without consulting her, came to understand why and agreed that she would not have been up to doing the research necessary, and finally said that yes, she knew this was the right move and that it was time.

So.

Donald and I go tomorrow.  He will measure her room to see just how much of her furniture we can take, along with some of her cherished and much loved sit-abouts.  They asked her what color she wanted her walls painted and it will be freshly painted when she moves in.

While Donald is measuring, I will be spending the time filling out the necessary paperwork.  I was warned that it would take us about an hour and a half.

They asked Mother if she wanted to move in this week and she said, sure - she was ready.

So.  She will be (Good Lord Willing and The Creek Don't Rise!) moving in this coming Friday.

We won't be able to move everything between now and then, but I've been talking with the manager of the apartment complex she now lives in and he's not going to rush us right out of there, and has assured us we can take our time (I'm sure that would have its limits, but he's being very kind and really sweet about it all).  There are some things in her apartment that we're going to be giving to some of the residents there.  Mother has made some very good friends there, and one neighbor, in particular, has done a huge amount of good things for her and many of the other residents there as well over the years. His washing machine recently died, so we're going to give him Mother's.  Someone else will get the dryer if they want it, but it just happens to have recently broken.

The facility staff workers visiting with us told Mother they knew she would be the Belle of the Ball at her new home, and any of you who know her know exactly how they reached that conclusion.  She was at her very shiny  brightest today.

Now.  

Now, is when I have to remind myself of the reality of all of this and tamper down my enthusiasm because come Friday when we go to pick her up, who knows, she may say "hell no, I'm not going."  

But, she will, and it will be good.

It will be very, very good.

Thank you all for the notes (keep 'em coming, I PROMISE I will write back, and I know you understand why I haven't yet), thank you for the good thoughts and all the prayers.  Keep them coming, please.

(and here's the next bit of that unsolicited advice I promised not to give - forgive me.  Get those Power of Attorney forms completed ASAP.  Not just financial, but health and guardianship - do it do it do it).