Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Mom Update

It’s been a while since I wrote anything about my mom. If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve probably noticed a number of posts recently about long nights in the ER with her. I appreciate the kind concerns and prayers from friends and family. But while I know they’re well intended, the “hope she gets well soon” sentiments cut like a finely honed blade.

Mom isn’t going to get well. She has good days and bad. More and more of the latter. Today’s “good days” are about the same as the bad ones a couple months ago. She has vascular dementia.

In addition to her mental slippage, her legs have grown weak and uncooperative, adding to her pre-existing balance issues. We plead with her to call for assistance to get out of bed. Unfortunately, she can’t remember that she’s had numerable falls lately, so she continues to try to get up and around on her own, resulting in more falls.

And in more trips to the ER.

She has dislocated her right hip twice now. She’s hit her head more times than I can count. But she takes it in stride for the most part. And, except for the hip dislocations, she doesn’t complain of any pain. A blessing to be sure.

She knows family members. Most of the time, at least. There are days when she gets a blank look in her eyes, and I have doubts, but most of the time she clearly knows us.

What she never knows is what time of the day it is, what day of the week it is, that Tuesday follows Monday. She sometimes sees things that aren’t there or misinterprets what she does see.

The staff at her nursing home is wonderful. They do their utmost to keep her safe, but she’s a fast little old woman…in bed asleep one moment then you blink and she’s out of bed, in the bathroom, and on the floor. So please don’t tell me I should move her to someplace else because of her falls. Short of hiring someone who doesn’t sleep or need bathroom breaks to sit and watch her 24/7, there is no way to completely avoid the mishaps. We’re in the process of getting an alarm for her bed, which I hope will at least help them catch her before she gets too far.

Anyhow, this is my life for now. Yes, I’m doing my best to take care of myself during this stressful time. No, I’m not always successful. Yes, I am deeply grateful for your thoughts, your prayers, and your kind words.

But no, Mom isn’t going to get well soon. However, I do appreciate the sentiment.

Mom, December 2013

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Autumn in the Country

We finally have some fall color (and fog) around here, even as temperatures climbed into the 80s yesterday.

I have no doubt that one good rain and wind storm will strip the trees bare, so we need to enjoy the fleeting moment while it lasts.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Bouchercon 2016--Part 3

Saturday morning, I attended another fun panel. This one was on spying and included my pal John Lawton.

I was so excited for my Pittsburgh Sisters in Crime Mary "Liz Milliron" Sutton and Paula Smith for making it into Blood on the Bayou, the Bouchercon anthology, I couldn't wait for the signing. I know how hard they've worked and it's great to see that hard work rewarded.

I had to rush from the anthology signing to my own panel.

The Henery Press gang met for drinks in the very crowded and very loud bar.

Then I headed down the street to my friend Ellen Byron's new book launch party. That's me and Eleanor Jones helping with promotion.

And for me, that wrapped up my New Orleans experience. I retreated to my room to pack for my early flight home.

Thanks to everyone who worked so tirelessly to put this convention together. It was a blast!

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Bouchercon 2016--Part 2

Friday at Bouchercon started with more beignets and another fun panel.

My pals, the Wicked Cozies held a get-together. Always great to hang out with this gang.

Then Martha, Susan, and I took off into the sweltering French Quarter for a long walk. I do mean sweltering. I think New Orleans may have been the place to inspire tattooed makeup, because the normal stuff melts off in minutes. We won't talk about my hair. Anyway, we had a great walk in spite of the muggies.

Loved this vintage clothing store!

I've seen this place on NCIS: New Orleans!

Susan Thibadeau snapping photos of the riverboat.

This street performer was fabulous, but he would have gotten a better donation had he not yelled at me for not putting my money in the can quickly enough.

Martha along the Mississippi River.

Heading back to the hotel, of course a trio of crime writers would spot a police vehicle!

To be continued...

Friday, October 07, 2016

Bouchercon 2016--Part 1

It's been a busy month. My trip to New Orleans for Bouchercon, library tour, various appointments and meetings... So yes, I'm late with my NOLA recap, but here are some of my photos and memories from the Big Easy.

Wednesday was my travel day. Had to stop and grab a picture of one of the Pittsburgh Airport statues: the Immaculate Reception with Franco Harris.

My sister in crime and critique partner Mary Sutton a.k.a. Liz Milliron and her hubby were on the same flight. Nice to have travel buddies.

The flights were smooth and on time. Here's my less-than-spectacular view from my room, but at least I was at the end of a hall, so it was quiet. This became more important as the week went along.

We went for a short stroll around the narrow streets of the French Quarter.

On Thursday, Bouchercon officially began. I had my first beignets for breakfast with Kaye Barley and Dave Magayna. Yummy! Great company too! Then it was time to take in some panels.

That's Kaye, the photographer, being photographed while photographing the panel.

The book room was awesome.

With a Vengeance sighting.

Did I mention Mary Sutton a.k.a Liz Milliron has a short story in Blood on the Bayou, the Bouchercon anthology? She got her hands on the book for the first time Thursday morning, I was there to share the moment and the squeals and to get some pictures.

Thursday afternoon, my room mate, Martha Reed, arrived. First stop was the Bourbon House with Susan Thibadeau and Martha. I discovered...I LIKE bourbon!

  I already knew I liked creme brulee.

Another panel, this one with another sister in crime, Rebecca Drake (second from right) who is also part of the Writing Pittsburgh tour I'm on.

We rounded up a few close friends for dinner at the Creole House.

Opening ceremonies wrapped up the evening...for me.

The parties went on into the wee hours for others. But this gal crashed. The joys of jet lag.

To be continued...