The Beginning of the Story

Dementia and it’s early sign is the topic of today: so I will get the useful link UP FRONT: Early Alzheimer’s Symptoms.

When did I know that my mother had a problem? Many people want to know when it started, and the better question is ‘When did my mother’s memory problems start FOR ME?’

At my sister’s Grad School commencement.

Mom threw a bit of a cake and punch back at their home in Northeast Ohio. Simple. Just my little family, sis and the parents. When it was all over, Mom put the leftover grad paper plates in a paper bag, set them on the dining room table and walked away. Passing back through the dining room, she looked at the bag and said, “What’s that?”

“The paper plates, Mom.”


I didn’t think anything of it until the next time she passed through the dining room. “What’s in that bag?”

“Grad plates. From the cake.”


Third time through. “What’s in the bag?”

“MOM! Plates!” and then it hit me. And I got all cold. And I said nothing. Not until I was on the plane on the way back to Georgia. I said to my husband the fears I had, what I had begun to suspect. I wept about what I remembered happening to my grandmother, about how she forgot me eventually, and then my mother was also lost to my grandma’s mind. How I feared that happening to my child.

When I got home and called dad and relayed the incident about the plates. He said, “Oh, good. One of you girls finally noticed. I thought it was me. This has been going on for a couple of years…”

Years… and he said nothing.

And I quietly got angry. Years. Years? YEARS! and he did NOTHING? (as if there was much he could have done, that he would have known to have done???) I wanted to be mad about it (watch how quick I boulder through the 5 -stages of grief!) and Dad sure looked suitable as a target. Caution: it’s easy to get angry about this when it pops up. It’s easy to want to blame someone. As I said in my first post, when you go looking for spiritual gifts in dementia — you will likely find them. Same goes for blame, anger, resignation and humor in equal measure. What you seek here – you may just find. Careful what you look for.

And then it was real.

That was about 7 years ago.

Next up: What my mother had become since then.

Let’s get the pride out of the way first: I’ve just turned 40 and I have moved in with my parents.

*blink* Okay, not so bad. Why? My Spouse and I have parted company, and I don’t have a job, so I can’t get an apartment. It is what it is. Now I am here, just in time to help my folks out.

My Dad has recently been sidetracked with a brain bleed that has left him a bit goofy, a touch wobbly, and with a vision problem that will keep him from driving for a bit. He will recover — likely in full — in 6-12 weeks, so this is going to be okay. It’s not lost on me that just when he needed me, I’m there. My best friend said, “I see the hand of God in this.” I think I do, too, but I don’t know if that hand isn’t to some extent flipping me the one finger rebuttal. But I rather like that God has a sense of humor. Which brings me to my mother.

Mom can’t help my Dad. It’s been years since she could. My mother has mild cognitive impairment. She’s losing her memory. I’m told it’s not Alzheimer’s, but really, it’s a difference without much of a distinction. Her short term memory is nearly gone, and she has started losing some of the older memories as well. Her mother had it and a score of her other family members had/have it as well. The family tree is littered with it and Alzheimer’s. I think some day it may happen to me. My two girls. So, I am going to write about it, because that’s what I do. I’m a writer. Without a job. Who is 40-years old. Living with her parents. Watching her mother slowly become the essence of her nature.

More on that as we go along. But for today – I want to get some links out there:

We aren’t too far from Emory University, a place that is doing ALL KINDS of research into memory and issues with memory. Take a look at their Cognitive Evaluation.

One of the things that I found helpful to me a few years ago when all this started, was a Mensa Annual Gathering talk called Spiritual Gifts of Dementia. I don’t think this slideshow is the same one – but it is similar, and I found that when you go looking for spiritual gifts, you often find them. I will also talk about this in upcoming posts as well.

And we will need to laugh – or we will just end up crying sometimes. Jokes. Bring on the JOKES!

I look forward to reflecting here – I will tag all of these posts with: Life with Mom.


It never rains but it POURS

SO, also today, a new video link from an interview with one of my favorite writers — Jean Marie Ward. This is from Spring 2013 – at RavenCon. Enjoy! http://buzzymag.com/emilie-p-bush-interview/

Crossroads is coming this week! Check out their interview with me!
I’m really looking forward to this, as Crossroads Writers Conference is one of the BEST conferences I do all year – OH, who am I kidding. It IS the best!
See you there.

Well – It’s the night of the month I like going out best: Dinner with the church ladies, Pat, Becky, and Claire.

We FINALLY got to go to the 1910 Public house, a restaurant in Old Town Lilburn that has been AGES in the opening. Just about everyone in Lilburn wants this place to be a hit. Old Town had just about shriveled up and died after the Blue Rooster closed. The service at Blue Rooster was horrid, but the food was good, the sweets AMAZING and the price and the hours were just right. Now, the 1910 Public house lives in the same location, but the building has been completely gutted and remodeled into a modern space.

So, let’s start with the space. Saying the paint is still fresh is an understatement. Two of the ladies in our party in white blouses ended up with stains on their elbows from the table varnish (Clair was in short sleeves and I was wearing black). Oh, dear. Not good. The indoor seating area bustled with activity and conversation – a bit too noisy at times. The bare walls, metal chairs and wood tables absorbed little of the sound. The outside seating seemed a whole different experience. Things on the patio were cool and relaxed. If the weather is good — sit outside.

The waiter was attentive, never was there an empty glass, and the menu had a good variety. Rolls came to the table, but they were nothing to write home about. (I asked the owner about them when he visited us at the table – “Are those made on site?” He said everything is made fresh there, or at his other restaurant SPRIG. They bring the rolls in from there.)

I ordered two small plates: chicken livers (with peanut butter grits, grilled pear, and celery root coleslaw) and fried pickles. I. Love. Chicken livers. And these were good. The peanut butter grits were interesting, and the flavor went well with the mellowness of the livers, but mostly it didn’t make me moan with delight. The slaw and pears – again were good, but not great. I was a bit disappointed in the pickles. I didn’t care for the SWEET pickle flavor. I like a fried dill pickle. I’ve been craving a fried pickles for weeks and was a bit let down. They were thin and limp. They were just okay.

Becky and Pat both got the pasta primavera. The presentation delighted the eye, but the flavor lacked that special something. It should have been better. Pat enjoyed hers, but didn’t rave about it, and Becky took a few bits and decided that she would enjoy it more at home with some added spices. Not a giant win for Pat, and not even close for Becky.

Claire ordered the black-eyed pea salad. Beautiful. A colorful display on the plate, but again, no OOOOOhhhhs or AAAAaaaahhhhs. The portions were moderate, the price also. I enjoyed my chicken livers, but anything up off “aweful” will do for me when it comes to chicken livers. The rest of the gang isn’t so sure they will come back. We REALLY want a good restaurant in Old Town. So on that point alone, we will come at least once more.

We discussed THE great restaurant in Lilburn – Three Blind Mice – which is just up the road a piece and wondered if we’d gotten too spoiled by that wonderful place. But the sum of our dinner really was – Meh, 1910 Public House was just OKAY.

The New Cover for the book!

Coal City Steam

We’ve got a cover….

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Come to the Steampunk side of my LIFE!!!!

Coal City Steam

We’re on a duck hunt! Send us pictures of your ducks! CoalCitySteam@gmail.com. We’re sharing pictures of GREAT ducks all around – REALLY want some Red White and Blue duckies for Patriot Day tomorrow.
So what you got?

Here’s our first contribution! From a fan of the Duck Sharron Parker:

Click on over to LIKE Steamduck on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter @CoalCitySteam – WHY? because we are going to be giving some stuff away – and we are going to have GREAT duckies up to and through the launch of Steamduck Learns to FLY!

(get funky with me now) WE WANT THE DUCK! GOTTA HAVE THAT DUCK! WE WANT THE DUCK!… (bopping away with a quack and waddle!)

Now – a sneak peak of Steamduck in the NEW BOOK – he’s with his buddy GOOSE.

Oh, HOLD on… Just an old Navy buddy there…. Take me to Duck or…

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The Duck will RISE!

If you haven’t already – go buy my first children’s book. Go on… we’ll wait…..

Got it? Oh, good. Happy to sign it for you next time I see you. AND NOW — you are ready for:

Join us as we attempt to make the bestseller lists again on 10-10-2012 with our new book – Steamduck Learns to FLY! Thanks for your support!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Happy Good Friday! I hope everyone has a restful holiday. We are entering the conference season, and there are a lot of large conferences coming up soon. So, today I’d like to relay my disaster experience with my first conference and then offer the powerful lessons I learned.

Remember, I made all the dumb mistakes so you don’t have to.

I have to say that I have attended quite a few conferences, and the DFW Writer’s Workshop folk have been one of the best (It was also my first, so it will always hold a dear spot in my heart). This year the keynote speaker is New York Times Best-Selling Author James Rollins. The DFWWWW Conference has a history of selling out early, so seriously, buy your slot NOW.  You’ll thank me later. DFW offers an amazing variety of classes, taught by some of the best talent in the industry.

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Coal City Steam

It was a blast to launch and see the book go from over 100,000th in the sales rankings on AMAZON to it’s highest point of #471. That was awesome. That was better than I thought it would do. But… we’re coming down. It’s natural. It is what it is. Kev prefers not to watch the slide. He  told me not to do the reverse play by play, and that’s probably wise. But I still look at the rankings every day. It’s in the 10-20K range now – still very respectable for the kind of publishing we are.

Kevin and I shrug and say – this is a marathon, not a sprint, and in the long run, our books – yes bookS, as we have already started working on the next two – will become a body of work that will stand for some time. A good launch is nice…

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