The Reader will - I hope - understand the urgency of my writing diaries in order to document the process of sliding into dementia in the form of Alzheimer's Disease.
Therefore, there are likely to be errors in spelling and syntax, and the clarity of the writing may suffer somewhat as things proceed. As of now, this will be the format, and I likely will just continue on this one page since I am noticing increasing difficulties with formatting this website, compared to the relative ease previously.
So, off we go. Hang in there! I invite you to accompany me on this exciting, interesting, and terrifying journey.
May 16, 2020
As I launch this effort, I have no idea how it will end, how it will be received, or if it is of any use at all to others.
I have surveyed much of the literature on dementia and Alzheimer's Disease (not the same, but I will use them interchangeably), and have chosen to use the term "dementia" since it is clearer in meaning and shorter in length, and even somewhat provocative.
I embarked on this to help me maintain my sanity and writing ability as long as possible, to make it accessible to others at no cost, and to contribute something to the understanding of this disease from the standpoint of the one having the experience.
I shall fully wield my weapons of humor, truth, provocation, and (hopefully) wry wit. I apologize if a bit of anger, despair, or fear creeps in occasionally, but after all, I am human, for the most part.
We shall see, or rather, YOU shall see, as without feedback I will not know.
I am having major computer problems due to two things:
a. Internet service in the prairie south of Santa Fe where we live is not akin to Silicon Valley by a long shot.
b. I do, after all, have dementia.
Also, typing is a chore now, and I have no idea how far down the road I will get. But it keeps me (relatively) sane, if not totally lucid.
I will use humor as much as possible, and if it offends you, too bad. It's my website, after all.
My experience so far is that it is progressing very rapidly, I am having increasing difficulty in seemingly simple chores, I have to redo much of what I do, I get easily frustrated, but rather than give up I'm proceeding to document the experience. The speed of the onset surprises me most of all; I thought it was a lengthy process. But then, I always did proceed quickly, and perhaps too rapidly for my own and others good.
I decided yesterday (as I write this) to give up my lifelong hobby of model railroading ( https://www.turquoiseline.com/ ) in order to create this website, both as therapy, and to add to the body of knowledge of this terrible and frustrating disease. Doing that is one of the greatest disappointments of my life -- so far. You can thank me later. It is one of the major turning points of my life.
Let's move on while I still have some sense of humor; I do hope to retain it as long as possible.
More entries will come as the muse makes them available, and I shall endeavor to change the date on the website cover to allow that to be easily seen.
June 3, 2020
Liz and I met with our doctor who specializes in memory issues, and who is building an excellent reputation as a patient-centered expert in dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. We agreed that adding Namenda to my current Aricept prescription would be advisable. Our half hour session was excellent, quite instructive, and we are lucky to have such a highly interactive specialist to assist us through the coming difficult times.
We have challenges ahead, both Liz and myself, but are committed to do what is best for both of us, not just for me. I want to make this as easy on Liz as possible.
June 7, 2020
Plan of Action
This past week Liz and I met with our specialist physician in memory issues, a young woman (to me, at least) who is quite outgoing, intelligent, humorous, and forthright. (Kind of like me, he said with humor and humility.) We had a half hour session, and we brought her up to date on my "conditions" and how we were handling it. She is about half my age and twice as smart. In summary, we are growing more concerned about my short term memory, and adjusting our lives to work around that, with Liz taking on more responsibility then before, particularly in financial matters, which is a great blow to my fragile masculine ego. So I am learning patience and humility - albeit very slowly. It simply is what it is, and that is that. (I specialize in homilies to fend off the terror.)
However, there is peace in acceptance, along with a disquieting knowledge that life is changing, and will continue to do so. I simply try to be in the moment - a Herculean task for me - and let it go and enjoy what is.
I've have started today (as I write this) taking Namenda, the second of the three current prescription drugs available to slow down the process, so this is as good as it gets. Having said that, and I do joke endlessly as always, there is peace with acceptance. My primary concern is with Liz, and our relationship grows closer each day, and we both get value from the acceptance and forgiveness. (Interesting how those words keep popping up.)
In addition, I have had some experience using the online program Lumosity, with which I have had previous experience. It has excellent databases and a reputation to support its assertion that daily online practice will in fact increase mental acuity in a number of areas, including memory. I finish last in short term memory compared with the universe of others who take the program (it's worldwide, and provides excellent data on variations based on location and other factors). I find it fascinating, it appeals to my competitive instinct, and I do reasonably well in all areas except short term memory. Somehow I am not surprised.
I have also started using AARP's memory resources available to AARP members, and find that is provides a somewhat different approach compared to Lumosity, with a bit more data and information and many exercises. The two sources (Lumosity and AARP) seem to provide me with great opportunities for practice to improve (or slow down the onslaught of) memory issues. Each provides sufficient feedback to measure any sort of progress, or regress, that the user might desire. I recommend them both if you are a senior, whether experiencing memory issue or not.
I did later on give up on using Lumosity and the AARP program, for no particular reason other than I wanted to spend time doing other things. I suppose this could be called "throwing in the towel" to use some athletic jargon.
As Walter Cronkite used to say (most of you will remember him): "And that's the way it is."
July 8, 2020
I'm now beginning to become more aware of those episodes where I just can't recall something. Most of the time I'm aware of not remembering - if you can imagine such a thing - but more and more I'm not aware that I am not remembering anything. Put another way, and to greatly simplify, I'm losing my memory. Right now, it's minor, and Liz is there to remind me and to fall back upon if needed, but this is ominous, unexpected, and somewhat terrifying. I have only been officially "demented" (if you will) for about a year, and I somehow thought I might die at the age of 120 about the same time I forgot my name. It appears that it is happening faster.
There is no pain or any other difficulty, but not remembering - when one realizes that is happening - is sort of like being awash in an ocean with no land in sight, and trying to recall just how one swims, if that concept is even present.
At some point, I assume the self-consciousness about this disease will pass away, and I will be just a blob of protoplasm, albeit a living breathing one taking up space on the planet. And I do know I am in good company.
It could get very "interesting," but I doubt I will have the ability to describe it, or maybe I will. I'll keep on plugging away for a while, as it keeps me entertained and active.
In my earlier website www.myjourneytowardpeace.com , I mentioned a much earlier episode with an old and very dear friend, in which we discussed some experience which we both agreed was "interesting." He then smiled and said, yes, interesting can be a euphemism for "stark terror." We both laughed uproariously. The best I can do now is smile knowingly.
July 22, 2020
As we move together along this path, I notice more and more signs of memory loss; not debilitating, but concerning to me and to Liz. It's been about a year since the diagnosis. There is nothing to be done but accept and move forward, but I find I'm easily embarrassed by these lapses, and yet I've learned that the uncomfortable feeling is simply my ego telling me that I have some issues, which of course I should not have, and the only solution is to accept what is and "go with the flow." It sounds so easy, yet is being experienced by me as quite difficult; this uncomfortable feeling that I am proceeding down a slippery slope that leads to total memory loss. It is a dark and foreboding experience.
I had a dramatic and unsettling experience this morning that I want to describe as best I can while the memory is fresh. While in a conversation at home with Liz, I was suddenly transported mentally and experientially into what I can only describe as an "alternate" universe. Nothing exceptional seemed to precipitate it, other than that Liz and I were in a conversation that required recalling the past and planning the future, as part of the process to decide what to do.
What happened during the next few minutes and lasting over an hour is that I lost all track of my past and my future, and could neither recall anything nor project any thing into the future. The experience was of my being absolutely alone in the universe, while seeing that I was still talking to Liz, and struggling to get my mind (always a supportive and responsive organ that theoretically supplies all the information needed to live life) to recall, plan, assess, think, observe, and all of that stuff that passes for "existence" in my world.
It was a space of nothing in the past, and nothing in the future. I was alone, stranded, struggling to "think" (whatever that is) and to format a plan of operation to get through the next minute, hour, day and forward through life. However, I did not exist, in the sense that there was no memory, no past, not sure, only the present. I was totally and utterly one, by my self, nothing had ever happened, nothing will ever happen. The great fear was this: What if this is how I will be the rest of my life?
Liz noticed something unusual, asked what was happening, and I did my best to get out some insufficient words, barely explaining the terror. It went on for a while, and I decided to take our dog Giordi for his usual walk, and found that all was recognizable, but there was no past or future. The fear that shook my very foundations was that I would always be like this, forever, and that my life as it had existed, and who I thought I was, was irretrievably gone, and I did not know who I was.
Now, many reading this, if they have done any amount of inner or spiritual work, might recognize this as an opportunity for enlightenment. I saw it as positive proof of my endarkenment, and a massive cognitive dissonance and a view into the dark pit of insanity, from which there would be no escape.
So I continued, returned to the house (Liz had left), and I looked at Giordi and wondered if he knew what was going on. I wasn't sure what had happened, but clearly expected that the news was not good, whatever it was or would be.
Without belaboring the episode, I did finally choose somehow the option of returning, and now, several hours later, can write about it rationally (whatever the hell THAT means).
That is as close to a religious or transcendental experience I have had, and I have had some humdingers in my time on the planet. The experience is still with me, as I sit here writing this. Stark terror and hopeless meaninglessness barely describes it, even now.
Liz and I have discussed in theory - some time in the future, when appropriate and agreed upon - to intervene in the process of degradation of my memory and terminate the decline. I have no idea of how I will know that it is time, but I have a strong sense that it will be obvious to both of us, and we will both have to agree, and find an appropriate plan that is easy and able to be executed with minimal collateral damage and concern for the impact on our friends and family and community.
Looking back at the previous paragraph, I am no longer sure that the solution outlined would be proper, appropriate, or even useful. Yet I always want to have that option available; I have built my life around the precept that I am in charge and responsible for my life, even if others see evidence of my irresponsibility. That fiction helps me get through the day.
I know far less now than I did when I got up this morning, but the opportunities for life have expanded many-fold, as opposed to being "shut off" which was my first fear.
Of course, I greatly fear that vast unknown, but expect (maybe "hope" is a better word) that the fear and terror will be easily handled at that time, appropriately, and it will be a peaceful rest I will enter. I am very clear that I do not want to be a "vegetable", unable to be aware of what is happening, and am simply guessing at what the experience will be; few have come back from behind that final curtain with verifiable and understandable reports on the experience.
Of course, this may just be my mind unhinged from reality and nothing of the sort will happen. But it will be "interesting" as we used to say. I'll endeavor to let the Reader know in some way that I have not yet figured out. Little mental exercises like this keep me humble, which is easier and easier to experience as time passes.
I recall a now a time in my earlier life when I was sampling many of the various "growth" movements, and what I have just described can only be summarized by one word, or term, that was used in some of those therapies, movements, or courses, and that is "mind-fucking." It remains the appropriate word to this day.
Life is good, even if not always experienced as such. And that is another gem that I tucked away previously, and it is quite meaningful to me now.
July 30, 2020
I does appear that the end of civilization is rapidly approaching, as measured by the daily exhaustive coverage of all the horror, terror, insanity, and stupidity being publicly exhibited practically everywhere.
(Thanks. I needed that. I am also serious.)
The rapid breakdown of civilized society, seemingly everywhere, leads me to think that the end is near, that I have lost all my perspective and humor, or that I have finally become irretrievably insane. It could be all of those.
What has happened to us? Where are the adults? What does it all mean? Are there no sane people left on the planet? I fear that perhaps I am the only one who sees where this is all going (psychologists will have a field day with that expressed thought).
My question to myself, as always, is what will be the ultimate result of the horrific violence and mob mentality exhibited by the mindless morons who love violence and seem to find their life's meaning in destruction? Did their mommies not love them? Was someone rude to them once? Are they "speaking truth to power" to bring back an old inane mob chant?
I do not know. I am now an old man (77, and never thought I would make it this far), think sometimes like a 20 year old all filled with rage and anger at how the world will not treat me the way I want to be treated (okay, some 30 year old children are like that, also, and even the occasional 77 year old).
Having been through similar although not identical experiences before, my comforting thought is that this is just another phase of life, and it will all turn out okay. To which my mind says: Bullshit! We as a nation have turned a corner into a very dark place, and this will not end well. But that's the grouchy old man whispering inside this childlike view that I maintain that it will all be okay, someday, maybe. Even I, the eternal optimist, do not believe that.
Okay, enough morbid ranting. Someone will come and save us all. My greatest fear is that he has come, and is being vilified and rejected, in favor of violence and chaos. Was it too much TV in their younger years, did their mommy not love them enough, or were they poisoned mentally, morally, and spiritually by the "system", whatever the hell THAT is?
Psychologists say that anger and depression are two sides of the same coin. I would like to leave my depression, but fear the result, while denying the possibility.
August 14, 2020
And So It Proceeds
As of now, I have seen a remarkable decline in my ability to recall specific memories that I know have existed before, but yet cannot easily remember details.
As an example, I will recall that something happened in the past, or some action was taken by me, yet I cannot recall details of that happening or event. It is as if there is a space in my memory cells or brain that used to be occupied by the memory of that specific event, and I am aware that something happened to me or I took some action, yet I cannot recall the details or specifics. It is similar to a computer that has a memory bank with addresses that I can get to, but there is no information in there. I know there SHOULD be something there, but there is not, and I cannot recall later what specifically was there. It is like entering an empty home with no furniture or color or form or content, yet part of me knows there was something there, but cannot be retrieved, and as far as my experience goes, is likely not to be able to be retrieved.
It is as if part of me is missing, which I would call "memory." It is quite stunning and fearsome, as if part of me is missing, and at this point, will likely not be retrieved. I am losing my Self, if by self I mean a memory of some information or an action I know I have taken, but it has no form. There is only an empty cave. I do not know if that cave will even remain as I continue to try to find its contents later on, or if that too will disappear. I fear the latter, and hope for the former.
This makes it difficult to plan, learn, work, play, or do anything that once gave me pleasure, or information, or insights, but I do know that I do not remember; at this point I know something is missing. It will be interesting to see if even that knowledge that something is missing is retained, or if that memory also goes. I am not yet frightened, still looking at it all as an academic exercise, but I suspect that this too will pass and I will be left with no memory of a missing memory, if you follow me.
This is highly uncharted territory for me, and writing about is is my only possible response in an effort to stem the terror that is beginning to present itself.
So why am I doing this exercise? Partially to provide some structure to a fearsome happening, partially because I am curious, and partially because I hope that some good will come of this for others. I am not necessarily an altruistic person, usually preferring to gain something from physical or existential pain, and it does seem as if the universe is not playing "fair" with me, as I would imagine most people would feel in this or other similar situation. However, as someone once said: "Life is not fair." That is one of the most useful phrases that I have ever heard uttered.
All this can be summarized by: "Why me, O Lord, why me?" And as the old all purpose answer comes, the response is "because you piss me off!" (That is an old sophomoric joke, among some of my friends from the very distant past.)
Another very irritating issue I am dealing with is that I type quite fast, and where I live outside of Santa Fe on the prairie, the internet bandwidth is nothing even close to what the civilized world expects daily, and I end up retyping almost all of everything I write a second time while waiting for the pixels to come flooding through the ether to allow my precious thoughts to be soaked up by the omnipresent Readers who are wondering what dementia is really like. At this point, early in the jokester's game, I am not impressed and do not recommend it. There are easier ways to go crazy.
I have no children, so this will likely be my legacy. Or possibly a miracle cure could happen next week. I am not counting on the second possibility, and took steps many years ago to forgo the first possibility.
August 18, 2020
Short Term Memory
Like most people, my short term memory has decreased as have gotten older. Now, at 77, it seems to evaporate more and more each day. The problem presents itself as difficulty in sustaining a usable and cogent train of thought. It is as if the train leaves the station, starts rolling along, and suddenly the tracks that guide the flanged wheels in a particular direction suddenly disappear, and there my thought process is, not knowing where to go. When I am speaking, it is embarrassing, but less so when I am typing (I gave up on writing cursive a long time ago because it was too slow and I was too sloppy), and out here on the Santa Fe prairie, the internet speed is so slow that sometimes I take a short nap while waiting for the words to appear on my computer screen. All of this makes me appear, to me, as slow and dumb. Since appearance is everything, I suppose I actually am. And of course, I spend much time in denial to lessen the blow to my fragile ego.
Okay, enough complaints; at least I am living, not always as I had expected to be living, but I take what I can get and appreciate (almost) everything. Life is a far different experience without the ability to communicate, which is the understatement of all time.
August 20, 2020
I am amazed at how rapidly changes are coming. I notice day-to-day differences, quite fearsome and concerning, in activities I normally can breeze through, and now I'm finding that simple thinking, drawing lessons from events, making decisions, all are becoming difficult.
My fear is that there is no going back, and I will not be able to continue this blog, which is doubly difficult due to limited bandwidth out here on the prairie. I type way faster than the computer and speed will allow, to the extent that I forget where I was going with thoughts while I wait for the fonts to magically appear on the screen.
Liz has been wonderful through all this, very understanding, and likely freaked out by all the changes, while doing her best to manage all the many activities she has to do in order to keep up our seven acres of paradise, and I do what she says, but do not do it very well. I fear that I have no options other than ending it all, which is a coward's way out, and hopefully those thoughts will subside as this particular day goes on.
I see our society self-destructing, I see chaos, violence, and stupidity being shown daily throughout the country, and there seems to be no end. I no longer recognize our country. I think this is a classical description of "depression" and I do not recommend it. :-) ("Little humor there," as George Gobel used to say, which was a droll way to say there IS a little humor there, if you are open to it.) Almost every one reading this will not know who George Gobel was, or appreciate his sense of humor (he was an early 1950's very droll television comedian).
I have so much to do and say, and it does not appear to me that I can continue much longer.
As I write this, it occurred to me that this was the time, almost exactly sixty years ago, when my parents died precisely 30 days apart, and my life changed forever, from living a miserable existence in a tenement-like apartment in Louisville, to being swept through two funerals and moving eight blocks to the Speed Scientific School at the University in Louisville to start a new life with new friends, who remain that way to this day. That move saved my life. I do know that I will die living where I am now, which is as I prefer it. Even at seventy-seven years old, I had hoped for a bit more time being conscious, aware, and wielding my humor and wit and love a little bit longer. However, it has been a good run, as the old saying goes. It is not the result that I fear, but the transition.
August 24, 2020
Werner Erhard used to say "look at life as an opportunity rather than as a predicament," which is very near the top of my list of useful platitudes. I almost constantly throughout the day try to gain some useful information from the various incidents relating to my declining short term memory.
I lose memory agility noticeably, to me, almost on a weekly basis, sometimes faster. It's small, somewhat marginal, yet significant over weeks and certainly months. I am attempting to accelerate those things I want to do, those items I need to attend to, while experiencing the increasing ability I am gaining to appreciate the miracle of life and simple existence. I do not do much long range planning any more, preferring to do what is in front of me rather than beyond me. As always, I'm looking for the greatest payoff for effort expended. Once an engineer, always an engineer.
It's as if I am on a mad mission to correct my errors, accept all my faults, make amends when possible, and the hardest of all, to forgive myself for not meeting my expectations. I wonder what life would have been like had I started this, say, 70 years earlier. And then I think: Perhaps I did.
August 27, 2020
Off We Go!
As I prepare for the somewhat murky next steps, I am continuing to disassemble my best and last effort in my lifelong hobby of model railroading ( www.turquoiseline.com ). This presents itself as a major step, and acknowledgement that it is ending an activity that provided great challenge and joy over the years, and tearing it out and putting it in the dumpster is a very Zen-like process for me, in that it is another step in accepting that all things must pass and we must move ahead into an uncertain future. It is the hardest and at the same time the most useful of all these difficult steps, as I know it ultimately leads to peace. (I hope!)
I will parenthetically add at this point that the twenty cubic yard dumpster containing my past in the form of a model railroad was transported our home in the early part of September, all supervised by me, as always. I took a photo of it leaving, and had the thought: There goes my childhood. It was not a somber moment, but very useful to me.
September 1, 2020
I have noticed over the past week and especially the last few days a rapid progression in the dementia, as evidenced by difficulties in short term memory (long term memory is still intact), which results in, among other things, not following a train of thought in an inner conversation and even in conversations with others. I will simply forget what the subject was that I was speaking or thinking about just prior to the episode. This does not yet quite present itself in conversation as much as in memory, but it is quite disconcerting. I also notice I get angrier sooner than I would have otherwise when I realize that I cannot easily follow a train of thought or a conversation.
This is quite surprising to me since my earlier research seemed to indicate this was a longer process. However, I started this "blog", if you will, about three and one-half months ago, and now - to myself - it seems that is quite rapid. My initial diagnosis was about a year ago as I write this. I try not to agonize over this, and simply take what comes, but the terror is that I now realize that my life, at least as I had experienced it, is over for all intents and purposes. That is, if I cannot follow a conversation or train of thought easily, then how am I to communicate, and if I cannot communicate, then what are the implications of living that way? And I do not like the answers that come to me.
However, I'll continue this writing until I find that I cannot, or will not, or something else interferes with my plan.
I at this point am laughing to myself about the idealized epitome of human awareness - at least in the countercultural seventies, when I was quite excited about a new way of living and perceiving and being, based around being "in the moment." I now find that always being in the moment has disadvantages, as it is almost impossible to live entirely in the moment, due to certain physical realities of life. And I understand the intellectual argument that one can do both, but I have not been successful at completely integrating those two concepts into my own personal reality (ignoring the philosophical concept of the definition of reality and the relationship with personal perception).
Yet, I seem to write better than I speak (or is it the other way around?) and at this point such sophistry does not amuse me. I will further say that I find many more things humorous than I ever did, and seem to be mostly laughing as I find out what this journey is teaching me. So far, at least.
It may also be true that I am simply a blowhard and like to write and read my own stuff. Most writers like their stuff, otherwise, why do it? How does one really know? One way is if you are speaking to others, and they keep looking at the door, or checking the time, or nervously titter, you might be a blowhard. I have significant experiences in all those areas, and the only thing between me and suicide is a sense of humor, a profound respect for the sanctity of life, and a failing memory.
Finally, for this particular moment, I find that I no longer take my Self seriously, and that knowledge makes my life far easier to live, and much more fun to be with other people, at least until they nervously look at each other, roll their eyes, and check their watch or smart phone.
September 6, 2020
I quite often think I am done or have completed something, and later realize that I in fact am not finished, and there is more to say or do. This has been consistent throughout my life and remains so to this day - so far.
What I have realized this week is that the dementia is advancing rapidly, in that my short term memory loss is getting worse, making it difficult to do those things that I used to do quite easily almost without thought, and now I have to frequently pause to remember my train of thought in order to proceed. So I stop, start, stop, start, and wonder in between those words where you see the commas. It's almost as if there are two of me inside, one quite engaged and intelligent, the other a lazy slug of sorts who cannot remember which solar system he inhabits. As if it mattered, of course, so when that thought comes, I do realize I haven't totally lost it, only part of it. It's still not good news to me.
And the slowness of the internet south of Santa Fe is appropriate only for "hunt and peckers," or smart phones with dumb games on them. There is no alternative, and I suppose I could do something else, except nothing else appeals to me, since my writing about my dementia has become vehicle for that last spurt of energy that I shall hurl into this world with the hopes that God will let me into His heaven ( I believe in God only if I am allowed to define Him/Her). Then I remember I have no cosmic or religious beliefs in those particular areas (yet a substantial amount in other areas), and perhaps I should just play Canasta the rest of my life. If you do not know what Canasta is, you should promptly shut down this website and do something far more interesting.
Okay, enough drivel for today. I am approaching the end, feel great, but do not want to continue to plod this course much further, in all senses of that phrase. However, this writing is what is keeping me alive at this point, as it gives my life purpose (other than torturing the Reader endlessly) and another reason to get up each morning other than to feed my dog Giordi and cat Bella, and see Liz once again, and that lets me see myself as altruistic instead of merely taking up space on the planet and whining and complaining through my laptop computer.
And I know enough to know that at some point, each human on the planet inevitably wakes up and asks him/her self that acid question: "What's The Point?" You will know that has happened when these postings permanently stop. And so as General Douglas MacArthur famously said in WWII: "I Shall Return."
September 10, 2020
I am now beginning to notice significant difficulties with short term memory, which seems to be gradually increasing. My long term memory is intact, my ability to laugh at the absurdity of writing about this - which is almost impossible to describe, yet I keep trying - remains the same, but there is seemingly a constant physical sensation of fullness in my brain, which is either new, or not noticed before. No pain, just a full feeling as if someone snatched the memory cells from my brain but left everything else mostly intact.
My greatest fear now is that at some point I will no longer be able to write, and I fear that period of adjustment (similar to how I have mostly feared change in the past), as that great unknown is scary. But so far I choose life over alternatives, and that is a good thing.
My primary palliative in my life has been alcoholic spirits, beginning at age 15. I further noticed this morning while going through my increasingly complex assortment of medicine and pills that many labels say "Avoid Alcohol." Funny how I never noticed those before. Am I subconsciously attempting to accelerate the final result?
I now recognize that there may be other methods to deal with the changes, particularly since my body seems to be rebelling, and so I somewhat fear the transition (likely the understatement of all time). All I can do is accept what is, and play with alternate possibilities, and keep an open mind as long as I can. At some point this will change, and I am sure of that, if nothing else.
I wrote what I thought was the final episode of this work below about a week ago. Since that time I have added and changed much of what I have written. I am keeping this following paragraph intact as a reminder of the power of life, and as a not-so-gentle pinprick to my ego and sense of self-importance.
September 20, 2020
Not Finished Yet
I keep thinking there is nothing to add to what I have already written, yet bizarre and incredulous thoughts keep popping into my fertile brain. (I will admit that the word "fertile" can be expanded into the word "fertilizer," which possibly will be viewed by some Readers as the inspiration for my writing.) I neither admit nor deny this possibility. I only know that these writings of mine at this point in my journey seem to be appropriate for my well-being and sanity.
Within the last few weeks I have completely demolished my model railroad, representing the culmination of a lifetime preoccupation with railroads. Further information is available at www.turquoiseline.com . Within that website is a photo of the interior of the building which I had constructed about three years ago to house my final and best efforts at creating a miniature railroad. It has now, as of today, been converted to a "real" studio, complete with all the necessary items to continue to write and avail the world of my penetrating insights into life, love, morality, politics, and humor. It is the ultimate "man cave" in all senses of the word, helped along considerably by my wife Liz Dunn to create a space where she will not constantly bothered by my Neanderthal opinions of life, love, and the coming apocalypse, with the fervent hope that my dog Giordi will be able to make sense of my meandering and prolific demented brain.
So from my point of view, at this point, it's all good. As astounding and perhaps useful insights occur to me, I will attempt to continue these writings as I deem useful to share. Or they just may be my warped opinion. Or both.
September 21, 2020
On The Other Hand
It did not take long for the Muse to once again whisper in my ear (although this time the dear thing was shouting at me in a very loud voice). The whisper, although thunderous and wanting to be heard and acted upon, said something like: "It is time." And nothing else.
It was not in those exact words, but did have that meaning. So while pondering this, some events occurred which have caused me to question what I am doing, why am I doing it, to what end, and is this what I want and what is best for that whiny little brat in me that keeps second guessing my approach to life. Sometimes I listen and learn, sometimes I pull away and do not learn, and some times I just want to give up.
My life is both opening up to possibilities, good and bad, and getting more constricted and restricted by the necessity to deal with the physical realities of dementia and forgetfulness. I am noticing that I am not remembering well, which causes me - and particularly my wife Liz - great consternation, often resulting in anger and distress on both our parts. I know that I should be bigger than the petulant little child I sometimes can be, yet the will to do that is not as strong as it used to be. I have fantasies of "the great escape" which takes many forms ( I can very easily fantasize about "the way out" without having any real motivation or intention to take that next step, whatever it may be.)
The worst thing, for me, is that I am dependent on others, for the first time in sixty years or so. That means, to me, no choice, no opportunity to do what I think is best (whether or not it really is best does not actually matter), and I now finally realize my ability to easily choose my course of action is understandably restricted. For me, that is the worst of everything. I am no longer my own person, not who I was, and not what I wanted to be.
It is said that acceptance is the path to peace. I am finding that acceptance very hard, for I have to put myself in the care and judgement of others, which is the first time in sixty years that has happened. And I find it a soul-less, stark, lonely place, devoid of meaning.
Now, after that, I will assure the Reader (especially any who know me) that I am not (yet) suicidal, and I'm only playing with concepts, not plans. I have no philosophical problem with suicide, but I greatly fear that I might miss out on something important that would be revealed by continuing to live. I do believe that, and You will be among those to know should I change my mind. (For those reading this who do not understand my dark humor, I ask that you immediately put down the telephone.) I wouldn't miss the future for the world!
September 27, 2020
A Simple Misunderstanding
Today my wife Liz and I were working around the house and she asked me to do a few things, as is usual. We have a small dry-erase white board on the refrigerator to help me remember my assigned duties, which helps immensely, as somehow I tend to forget what she assigns more easily than I forget other tasks, for some unknown reasons.
The note she put up said something like "clean out from the hall closet the things you will no longer need and we can donate them to Goodwill or some other organization." So of course was distraught that this was asked due to my impending demise from the effects of my dementia, which surely was coming, but obviously a bit faster than I had planned.
I thought it was a bit premature, but decided to soldier on, with a stiff upper lip, and agree to start clearing out my things, although I had planned on being around a bit longer than Liz had planned. As the rage and petulance built, I wondered if she knew something I did not, but thought this was normal as it would be important at some point to get my "stuff" disposed of so Liz could continue with her life (after the proper grieving period, of course), and I thought it would be brave of me to do that.
Inwardly, I was seething, distraught, angry, hurt, and all those things men can be when confronted with the idea of one's their impending death. However, I thought I should set an example to others of how to properly do this, and decided to do what she asked (thinking "don't worry about me, I'll be okay and just get out of your way soon enough so you can move on into the rest of your life." Amazingly, I did all that in record time, trying not to feel hurt, as only petulant misunderstood poor males can act, while feeling very sorry for myself.
Harrumph, I thought! Damned if I'll show any emotion!
It turned out that later on I found out that she had said that in order to make space for new winter clothes for me (I have lost a lot of weight, bringing me down to what physicians refer to as "normal" weight), which somehow failed to register in my enfeebled brain, leading to the misunderstanding of all time. I somehow believed the worst of the interaction, rather than the best. We talked about it, all was well, we laughed, and I went to my studio with my tail between my legs to contemplate yet another newly found mystery of life.
Life is funny sometimes, in between the tragedies.
September 28, 2020
Things seem to be moving along rapidly, to my surprise and consternation.
Things have felt a bit strange today, starting with my trip to Sam's Club for some shopping, which I have done for a while (my wife Liz often does that, sometimes with me, most often without me now). As I approached the part of the main road in Santa Fe where Sam's is located, I did not find what I expected. I thought I had miscalculated and I would shortly come upon the turnoff. However, I did not see it, and then I came upon a cross street, which I then recognized as the place where Sam's is located. Well, I thought, only a temporary lapse, obviously.
I went about my shopping duties (it has been a month of more - maybe two - since I have been there) and I found I could not recall where certain items were (Sam's is notorious for not marking where items are, in my opinion) and I struggled to find certain items, to no avail. I began to panic, could not find any employees to help me, and over the next hour wandered around aimlessly hoping to find what I was seeking. As the store began to fill up with customers and employees, I began asking for help (extremely difficult for a middle aged male who was able in his youth to navigate almost around the world while at sea), and all fell into place. I was quite distressed, and thought that this is the first major sign of a significant turning point in my descent into dementia.
Later on I took my dog Giordi for a short walk, and it seemed as if it were a different place that I had seen the hundreds of previous times along that route. I knew where I was, but the experience and character of the walk was different. As I began to ponder this unusual circumstance, it occurred to me that this must be what Alzheimer's Disease is like. No pain, no confusion, but an awareness of a difference in the experience, texture, and awareness of new surroundings that I was quite used to.
I was at peace with it, and realized this was what the descent would be like, and would probably deepen as times passes. I reflected on a relatively recent Clint Eastwood movie, the name of which I cannot recall, where he uttered the now immortal phrase "don't let the old man in" when referring to aging and senility. The old man had silently slipped in the back door, while I wasn't looking.
So, it actually is happening. It is not terribly unpleasant, but quite disturbing, as the experience I am having contradicts my belief system about my invincibility and invulnerability. And I was reminded of an old phrase we used as a joke when we were younger: "Life is tough, then you die." I had always hoped to hold that as a joke and not a conclusion.
My immediate thought, and one that has been with me for a while, is that I will cheat the Grim Reaper. I have not yet figured out how to do that. I intend to if at all possible.
October 1, 2020
Wrapping Things Up
At the request of Liz, and with my knowledge and acceptance that it is the right and necessary thing to do, I have been sorting through my personal possessions (clothing, momentos, etc.) and deciding which to donate to Goodwill, what can go to others, and what goes in the trash. I have been in situations where this has not been done in advance of the impending death (flash: we all face impending death, the only difference being how much times passes before that event and how prepared we are), and it is quite difficult for those remaining.
So I have gone through my personal items (my model railroad has been gone over a month, and I write this from the studio ("man-cave") that I created with Liz's help in the studio building that housed it). I have now fixed it up into a terrific office space (no wet bar - yet) and could live here if necessary. The only things it lacks is a toilet and a spittoon. I did rough-in for a potential toilet when building this three years ago, but it is not connected to the septic system - a small but very important detail. I also have the New Mexico prairie directly outside for emergencies.
So I am as prepared as anyone can be, hoping not to burden those who will remain, and I actually have a feeling of peace and acceptance by doing so. However, all my previous distractions are now gone, leaving only a comfortable space and my desk and laptop, from which I inflict my thoughts and opinions on an increasingly discordant and repulsive world, sociologically speaking. I will now likely lose way over half my Readers when I say I hope to live to see Trump inaugurated. Sorry to see those Readers go. Or they could stick around and rub it in if he loses. If he doesn't, I would not like to be around anyway for the results. Please do not send marauding hordes to my home, as I have defenses. 😊
I will be doing three Zoom sessions starting next week with a therapist assigned by my insurance company for God knows what reason (likely to ameliorate my inner pain, along with reducing ongoing expenses for them), and I support that and fully understand and am grateful for it. I have met my therapist personally once and had instant rapport with him, in that I believe I can say whatever I want and he will not be disturbed or offended, which is increasingly rare in my universe. He has my weird and unusual sense of humor to boot, which is no small matter, plus he is a whole lot smarter than me.
What I most desire is a peaceful, quick, and uneventful end, at a time and place of my choosing. I have no fear nor dread of that event, which greatly surprises me. I actually seek that, and do not know if that will be possible. I some time ago gave my one gun, a 38 caliber S&W chrome plated revolver, if you have to ask) to my wife, and she refuses to give it back, so there is no alternative other than a "natural" death, whatever the hell THAT means. My fertile brain (and given that I am a lifelong railroad fan) suggested that standing in front of a fast moving heavy freight train might be a possibility, but in checking the nearby venues found they were all heavily fenced off (likely for roaming cattle, suicidal humans, and corporate liability). Worse, it could be messy, and if I made a mistake, I might live to regret it. There seems to be little published on those methods to be useful to me. I have read a book that is very difficult to obtain called "The Peaceful Pill" which would be my preferred solution, but am not counting on that, yet would very much welcome the opportunity.
So, here I sit, typing away on the slowest internet connection in the known universe, awaiting the future. It sort of reminds me of all my previous lives.
Some reading this might be asking: "Why all this? Why not go with the flow?" The simplest answer is that I have very seldom gone with the flow, preferring to listen to what is inside me for for answers to my questions. I have been fortunate to meet people who have helped me find those answers, and you know who you are. If I haven't before (and I have), I thank you now.
Warning: I may not be finished with this website, but you will have to check it out to get the answer to the question that you have not yet asked.
October 2, 2020
What A Difference A Day Makes
The second line to this old song is "twenty four little hours", and in a somewhat different context, this applies to what I write after my previous entry above.
I seemed to awaken this morning into a very different universe than I left upon going to bed last night. All seems as it should be, by which I mean it is okay, I think it all not only will be okay, but has always been okay, and always will be okay, whatever happens. And I wonder, as I often do, what if this is all there is, by which I mean, it is okay as it is? That is indeed, for me, a life changing and highly illuminating thought.
My head is clear, my senses are sharp, I feel great, and am willing to accept whatever God or Providence or the Universe throws my way. Why is it different now than it was yesterday? What changed? Where did that come from? How do I regain it? How can I keep it? And in all that grasping for The Answer and The Meaning comes . . . . Nothing.
So that must be the answer: Nothing. Zen masters must be smiling now. And I further thought: I must tell others, perhaps start a movement, write a book, build a shrine, teach others, shout it from the rooftops, and then I see the same circular pattern, endlessly repeating itself. The Life Source will not be denied, only forgotten and often misused (do not ask how I know that last part).
And it is again, as it always has been, and always will be, okay.
October 7, 2020
As a planner, organizer, and occasional control freak, I always try to look ahead, imagine the possibilities for the future among the many available choices, and select the best course in accordance with my criteria for selection.
Here are some of my concerns for the future as the disease progresses, and I list them not necessarily in their order of importance:
a. Allow only minimal damage to the future and comfort of those I leave behind, including Liz, our animals, my friends, and Liz's family and friends, and if you insist, all of humanity.
b. Be as painless, non-messy, and damage-free emotionally and physically as much as a possible for me and for others.
c. Make sure advance planning has taken place so that the transition for those remaining as easy as possible. This has been accomplished long ago.
Given those self-imposed requirements, I would like to somewhat control the situation in all ways, so that minimal drama and damage is inflicted upon others. Gee, is that too much to ask?
I have chosen - in consultation with Liz and some others - as free a painless suicide as possible. Part of the reason is my experience with death, dying, and funerals, and the consequent emotions of all types, often due to denial, lack of planning and preparation, inability or unwillingness of the living to accept what is happening, and the usual drama and guilt among those left behind. Death is the final act of living, and I believe it should have the same considerations and given the same importance as living.
I want to fully prepare, and then act upon those preparations and my wishes. I do not want to linger in bed, say endless goodbyes, including all those things that people wait to say until the soon-to-be deceased is about to "shuffle off the mortal coil," as Shakespeare so aptly put it. Waiting until the subject of the end is about to die makes no sense to me. A party would be nice if I can still drink alcohol or imbibe some edible plant, and acceptable even if not.
So I am considering a big party (without the dancing girls), but know that it would likely fall flat, be expensive, and require a fair amount of said alcohol, given who my friends are. (Some may think I have an alcohol problem, but I deny everything, of course). So I would like to go in peace surrounded, if it be that way, with my closest loved ones. That will not require a very large space, one of the key considerations. Then it's off to the crematorium to contribute my remaining essence to the universe and help fill the landfill, my last and perhaps most glorious contribution.
So the question is: How to do that?
I would like to depart in a state of ease, grace, love, happiness, and comfort (wouldn't we all?). I am now searching for ways and methods, and all have issues, difficulties, and problems, and I won't list them as they are obvious. It is quite difficult in the state of New Mexico to do what I want to do, but would be possible in Oregon, from which I moved. Only problem with Oregon is the fact that I am not a citizen, and the final services might be interrupted by the frequent "peaceful" destructive rioters roving through the more populated areas of the state, as of this writing.
So if the "peaceful pill" is not available to me, the only other likely acceptable solution would be refusal by me of nutrition and water until my demise (otherwise known as starving one's self), which could be from three days to over two weeks (a long time), and making sure there was documentation that it was my choice to protect those left behind from overly zealous guardians of civil society. I understand from written sources that the desire for food and water subsides and ultimately ceases, but I do not know if the four to twelve days that would take would be something I could do. One might say I'm looking for an easy way out, as always. Any confidential suggestion are welcomed, other than "drop dead."
So now, I simply do not know. Liz and I are exploring through various organizations and online information sources the options, and it is my fervent hope that some sort of peaceful pill can be obtained to facilitate my wishes.
October 8, 2020
Off The Ledge
Yesterday I received a few emails from friends who regularly read this blog, essentially saying "don't do it." I was a bit puzzled at the meaning, and reread the passage above dated October 7, and realized I had not been as precise and crisp in the perceived meaning as I like to be. Hence the title of this blog entry.
I then checked the stats on reader views of my website (WIX makes it easy, as I describe a bit later in this blog) and saw that there was more traffic on my website yesterday than in any other single day in its existence. So I reread what I had written, and as the old joke goes, I began to see the problem.
First, I have no intention to commit suicide in the near future, and most likely, never. I was merely thinking out loud (which to me is the purpose of a blog, since I receive no revenue from this). I do reserve the right to change my mind, and most likely will not announce it on this website, or for that matter, any other website.
I think some may have thought I was ready to go soon, hence the title of this entry, referring to the old days when people would jump from a skyscraper's ledge to the street below, in the best Hollywood dramatic style. So, first, there are no skyscrapers around these parts in New Mexico, and if there were, there would be no ledges as they are now cost-prohibitive, and even if there were and they were used for that purpose, some lawyer would sue the developer or builder of the skyscraper after the tragic event and no one would ever make that construction mistake again. Too much "Hollywood" infuses our society, and I mean that in many, many ways.
So I'm likely to be around for a while. I do not reject the possibly that in the distant future I may once again take responsibility for my life in a way to allow me to end it on my terms for good reason (and it will be my decision alone, in consultation with my wife Liz), and will not be messy nor dramatic, but definitely final.
I'm having way too much pleasure and fun in living, even if I cannot remember what I "should" remember. And my mind is certainly capable of holding diametrically opposed thoughts in my head without driving me crazy, which some say is a sign of a great intellect, and others say is a sign of demented crazy thinking. I prefer the former explanation.
And as Bette Davis once famously said in on of her old movies: "Fasten your seat belts; it's likely to be a bumpy ride."
October 11, 2020
I had a lengthy experience today that seems to have given me a new stunning insight into what I call reality, by which I mean how I experience what is happening around me. I no longer claim nor think that "reality" is real. That is another book, and there are many out there.
After my morning walk and some necessary chores (aren't they all?), I found that my head was feeling "funny." By that I mean that there was the feeling like a numbness, not exactly pain, but something that was not familiar to me. I have had hangovers that reminded me of this feeling, but nothing exactly like this one. Something was different about this.
And so my fertile mind went automatically into overdrive, and vivid imaginations told me that "something" was happening. I rapidly went through my mental inventory of horrible diseases and physical emergencies to categorize my experience. None came, nor were any offered. So, of course, it dawned on me that I likely was either dying or about to encounter what is sometimes called a "spiritual experience," which although not welcomed, could at least be useful as I plod along from day to day.
Thinking quickly, I surmised that the best place to be when this forthcoming experience occurred would be in bed, which at least was comfortable, and I might catch some more needed sleep at the same time. So I proceed to lay down, close my eyes, get comfortable, and for the next ten or fifteen minutes I experienced bliss, wonder, and complete acceptance in a way I can recall rarely - if ever - experiencing before.
It was as if the keys to the kingdom came floating into my brain, I saw the opportunity, and embraced it. Or more accurately, it embraced me. Sounds corny, but what I experienced was a harmony and communication with all living beings and lifeforms. All was one, integrated, purposeful, meaningless, and perfect. All the drama that was taking up the space that my mind inhabits was gone, and was now seen by me as simply stories to be told, which had nothing to do with who I was.
As I had somewhat frivolously written earlier in this work, it was all okay, always has been okay, and always will be okay; I was simply yet profoundly the creator and simultaneously the recipient of the wisdom of the universe, delivered very directly in a way that even I could understand.
At that point, all was clear, acceptable, peaceful, and I was left with no desire for anything else, other than what I was experiencing, and whatever happened was okay and perfect.
All that was left to do now was to accept that peace.
Naturally for me, I of course thought what a great topic that would make in this work you are reading, so I got up, went to the studio, sat down, and happened to notice that there was a single fly that had gotten in somehow (likely through my door when it opened), and so I then thought that once I get the fly out, then I can proceed to write about this wonderful experience and share it with others. The fly would not cooperate, and no matter how long the door was open the fly would not leave. Thinking no mere fly would interfere with my enlightenment, I went into the house, got a fly swatter, and proceed to attempt to squash it, albeit humanely in the service of The Truth. Then I forgot my train of thought until the next locomotive came along the track with additional goodies that would be good things to do. And so it goes, over and over. As the title of the fifties television show said: This Is Your Life.
Now, parenthetically, I am opposed to killing any living beings (unless of course it is absolutely necessary in the service of God and/or country, as this obviously was). And it/him/her would not cooperate, and it kept eluding me, refusing to fly though the now wide-open door, and I sit here twenty minutes later, typing this, and the damned fly occasionally buzzes my head and lands on my nose, with a barely perceptible wry smile on his little smirking mouth. And I again thought: This Is Your Life.
And so: There it all was, played out in real time, with no witnesses other than me, the fly, and the universe, and all of us laughing and nodding together.
October 14, 2020
Today I began, or more likely continued, to notice some impairment in my mental faculties, primarily in the memory area, which most likely is happening in my other cognitive areas. I perceive my wit and humor to still be sharp (sometimes too much so for polite society, which I often avoid), but I do not make the instant connections between words, thoughts, and phrases as I used to.
It does seem as if my writing is not yet suffering (only those who read it suffer), but my former incisive ability to extract truth from what passed for information in the various media I view, and could almost instantly conclude useful lessons from, seems to be diminishing, and my memory for sure is not as it used to be, which is a category more and more of my faculties seem to fall into. (Forgive my dangling propositions and endless run-on sentences, but I have a sense of urgency.) But at least I can still write incredibly lengthy sentences which still have a point, however arduous to find and understand by the Reader. I call that fun; others call it torture. You get to choose.
I had a second session with my therapist online today (Zoom) and the technology did not work well for me. It always has before. Obviously, I thought, Zoom isn't what it used to be. Next I thought maybe it is not Zoom in that category, but my brain. I like the Zoom explanation much better, but that is obviously a dead-end street, and they have better lawyers.
I am finding that my mind and brain seem to be more flexible in being open to more possibilities, and the phrase "making a silk purse out of a sow's ear," which for those of you under fifty makes no sense at all, as most everything in the world now does not make sense to grizzled and seasoned veterans of the culture wars, a group which includes me, although they did try to banish me at one point to no avail. I'm here for the duration. Duration of what, I do not know.
To my horror, I am finding that creating this specific blog is highly entertaining and satisfying for me, in that once I start typing, connections and phrases and meanings seem to pop up out of nowhere to my great amusement and discomfort, and quite often embarrassment. If this be insanity, make the most of it, some character out of a movie or a novel once said, with a different noun and meaning. Sometimes I picture myself on the back cover of the world's greatest book (this one), with my heavy woolen knit sweater with leather elbow patches, smoking the inevitable pipe, with my arm around my very thoughtful and adoring dog by my side, nodding peacefully and slowly into the camera.
So I ponder, worry, think, speculate, fret, and experience many other thoughts which do nothing other than to waste my time while providing fodder for this writing. Sort of like life, in a way.
So, tally ho, damn the torpedoes (with proper apologies to Admiral Farragut in Mobile Bay), and open your minds. It could get much worse - or much better. We shall see.
(Parenthetical thought: It could be that my considerable and powerful prescribed medications I am taking might have something to do with my fluidity of thoughts. I prefer that explanation to the others which are less flattering. Children: Do not try this at home, or anywhere else.)
October 18, 2020
Rearranging My Space (Part 1)
The subtitle above is meant in many ways, and is the result of some interesting and enlivening thoughts and ideas which I had last night as I lay awake in the early morning hours in the dark, with my brain and thoughts whirling around.
When the muse hits me at these hours, I think that this particular thought or idea or realization needs to go into this blog, as God has whispered (sometimes quite loudly to me) the secret to life in this particular part of the universe that I now inhabit. Whether there are other alternate ones I will leave to others to think about, and at this point, it does not seem important to me, as I am doing all I can to handle this specific universe that is within me and without me, in all meanings of that particular phrase.
As I lay in the darkness for an hour or two each morning, my brain is fertile (knowing that fertilizing requires growth and decay and lots and lots of fertilizer, all of which I have much of these days). And of course, as I sit down in the early dawn to write on this every few days, most often the essence and the meaning and the specifics have gone away, leaving me only with a faint memory of the Secret Of Living which I prepare to share with humanity.
However, all that usually remains from the visit by the Ghost of Christmas Future, as Charles Dickens might write it, most often contain the words peace, forgiveness, acceptance, optimism, and always, always, gratitude. As for sharing it with humanity, it would require far more than the very few readers who occasionally visit this website. I will say to those of you who do, that Wix (my website host) has all the data that I would ever need to verify that I have readers, and the world will have to await another prophet or teacher or bringer of truth, love, and forgiveness for the final answer, assuming there is one. On the other hand, maybe those prophets have already come and gone, and have left their wisdom in secret places, or even pronounced them publicly, or tacked them to the church door or even tenement halls, or most likely everyone already knows all of that and only has to remember, which is the hard part, at least for me. And, as always, it is all okay.
It is a theme that reverberates loudly within me, each day, and I feel honored, exhilarated, and quite thankful. It is always there, always has been, always will be, and it only requires my attention and acceptance, as it does for all of us.
October 18, 2020
Rearranging My Space (Part 2)
I am an inveterate mover, having lived in many places here in the United States and in Europe. (In proof reading this I noticed that I typed "lied" instead of "lived" in the previous sentence, instead of the corrected and current word "lived," which is obviously a simple mistake, and has no meaning whatsoever. I am in a physical and mental place now where I will thankfully and peacefully die, if I am lucky, or at least carefully plan ahead. Yesterday the muse or holy spirit or another good idea (choose one) came to me and said: Time to rearrange your "space!"
My astrological sign is "Cancer" which often connotes being especially connected to one's "space" or living area. In this particular context near Santa Fe, I built a studio (others built it, I designed it) adjacent to the house we bought, but not "too" close, so that coming to my studio requires maybe a 100 foot walk outside through an enclosed courtyard.
The studio (sounds better than "shack" or "hobby room" or "man-cave," and after all, I am near Santa Fe) is roughly 14 x 20 feet and is perfect for my needs, which have changed now that the model railroad I built is now gone (www.turquoiseline.com). In thinking about this, a sudden inspiration allowed me to see that totally reorienting the location of the desk, chair, plant, bookshelves, and other accouterments of an office, would dramatically change the use, the views, and the feeling of the space. I am in the middle of that now. Doing so has dramatically changed - it seems as of now - my life, my outlook, my happiness, and my future goals. All that my moving my mental and physical furniture around! What a concept! It is yours (the concept) to use as you see fit. All is now roughly 180 degrees reoriented from before. All seems different, and better, two terms which I have often confused.
All that remains is to actually do all that, and move from concept to reality, where almost all great ideas get lost or forgotten or broken down or abandoned. Stay tuned.
October 21, 2020
Metrics and Miscellaneous Information
Periodically I briefly review what I have written so far to see how it is weathering my constantly changing situation, to identify grammatical or other errors in light of developments, and to get a feel for the direction of my comments. I recently found a number of grammatical errors, which to me are close to being unforgivable, and I have attempted to make corrections, always realizing that I do not catch them all. My apologies for my imperfections, many of which I dare not reveal in a public forum.
In addition, my website platform Wix (I highly recommend it) provides useful information as to the readership of this website, arranged by almost any metric or subject you can imagine. Without going into a lot of detail, I have found to my surprise that there are almost one hundred distinct readers in total, from all over the United States and China, and while some skim a few pages and leave, many return over and over again. It does appear that people learn of this website by word of mouth or some other mysterious way (Google?). Of course, any good website metrics include names, addresses, phone numbers, the names of children and the schools they attend, which church attended, if any, and political affiliation, plus any illicit assignations during the course of one's life. Given all that information, I have determined that I can now retire with the money I will make with that information through bribery, so my work here is done, as someone once famously said.
If you have come this far, you will realize that what I wrote in the preceding paragraph above, with the exception of the first two sentences, is my idea of humor and is not true. I have found a little humor and levity helps me as much as all these pills I am taking - I think. I apologize if you have not read closely enough to learn that yet.
I'm increasingly noticing some impairment in my ability to quickly analyze and form conclusions from disparate data and information, which makes me feel and likely appear dumber than I usually am. I attribute that to my dementia, rather than aging, but do not know which is predominant, and at this point, I do not care.
(To Be Continued)