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November 8/Full Moon
Election Day, Big Forehead, Mom Update, and Various Things to Read
Today is Election Day
Update About Mom:
She is still at home. Being cared for by her favorite person in her favorite spot. He has lots of helpers with a regular schedule and the staffing levels have finally increased enough that he has a few hours of respite everyday. He could use a week off again, not that he’s said that, it just feels as if it’s about time.
Mom is doing better than she was. She is still in her bed and not able to communicate. But she is more comfortable. And her hair and skin and eyes look healthy. She is more relaxed and feisty, even if she is not really either relaxed nor feisty, it is just into comparison to how she was. It’s not clear she knows me when I come to help out during the times the caregivers can’t make it, but she may know her daily caregivers, and she certainly knows Bill (Will).
It’s hard to see her because the expression on her face makes her seem mad at me and often she won’t meet my eyes. This still has the power to trigger that familiar feeling that she is mad at me, even though there’s no way to know what is going on in her head. The fact that I know it makes my reaction is not based on a present moment situation leads me to tamp down the feeling. And there cycles the guilt and resistance, making it is hard to find things to chatter to her in the moment. That seems to be how Alzheimer’s devours its many victims.
She still eats. For a long time it was liquid food from syringes. Juice from a straw. Spooned yogurt and homemade applesauce that Bill and caregiver Kathy had made. But recently someone discovered if you hand her a glass with smoothie in it, she will drink it up and if you hand her a piece of peanut butter toast, she will eat that too.
I will let you know if anything changes. I trust you will let me know if you have questions.
Update On The Podcast:
I had planned on creating a practice specifically for election day, but my work life balance is way out of whack and Sunday morning when I was planing to write, we discovered that the freezer was no longer frozen and it had been way too long since the fridge had been cleaned anyway. So that was a hard day that had me reevaluating my plans after many hard days of trying to ignore the fact that I couldn’t do it all. But the reality is, I can do much more than I could ever do before, so there is that.
Democracy As Spiritual Practice:
You know I like this idea. It comes from the post linked below.
As polls open and voting begins, I want to say being an energized and active citizen takes effort. Election Day is the day the effort is most visible. It takes discipline to show up for the greater good, to put aside greed, anger, and delusion and do the research to make an informed decision. I thank my mom for modeling how to be an engaged citizen. But I also thank my public school education, my liberal arts collage, and the free press, all of which seem to be on the line these days.
Below is a post from The Cottage written by Diana Butler Bass. She is someone who I have been following for a little while now. She explores faith and spirituality from a Christian perspective. She includes scripture and practice from a point of view that I rounds out my inputs. I have been especially interested in her writing about the history of the Evangelical Movement as it hits close to home. Just last night she shared this post about Democracy as Spiritual Practice. It of course resonated with me so I am sharing it with you, along with a few other things I read this week. Let me know what you think.
Hope this day treats us all well.
Much love, Tina.
More resources for further reading if you want need things to distract yourself as you wait for election results:
I appreciated this history of Walz’s term as Governor: https://minnesotareformer.com/2022/11/01/walz-minnesota-is-better-off-than-four-years-ago-and-still-has-room-to-grow/
This is a report about a contest happening in my own hometown. I asked my mom in relatively recent years, many years into her onset of Alzheimer’s what made her love the Baudler’s so much. She said, “Because they were so liberal.” I think this is good context for this article: https://minnesotareformer.com/2022/11/03/a-purple-candidate-in-an-increasingly-red-district/
This is a crabby and unimpressed report of the things that have been accomplished by Biden’s congress despite the narrow advantage the dems have had over the past 2 years: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/the-do-something-congress-ison-a-roll/2022/07/28/1f444fb6-0e71-11ed-88e8-c58dc3dbaee2_story.html
Finally here is an article about Tina Smith, who is not up for election today. It is a deep dive into her day to day service and also her background by Iowa reporter Liz Lenz, find her Substack here. She was the former Mayor Rybek’s Chief of Staff, Lieutenant Governor to Mark Dayton, and took over for Al Frankon when he stepped down after allegations resigned. https://mspmag.com/arts-and-culture/senator-tina-smith/