About you


Crazy Cat Lady
Dear Going North

It's always a good thing when I see your posts which now seem too few and too far between. Did I miss something? Is your Mom now living with you? As I remember you lived in different cities? I hope all is well. Take care. How are the cats? Is one Thomas? How is he? How are you? How is your Mom?
My mom broke her good hip back in April, and due to comorbidities such as kidney failure, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), spinal stenosis, and shot knees that cannot be replaced to her health issues, she didn't recover well from the hip replacement necessitated by the fracture. She is mostly housebound and I split my time between her apartment in NE IL and mine on the outskirts of Milwaukee. I'm doing OK-ish, also arthritic, spinal stenosis, etc, and shot knees, and chronically stressed out, but managing. I just havn't had time to post as much as i"d like, though still read as I can. My sister is a waitress and if she doesn't work she doesn't get paid. She and my mother are both ill right now. I'm the piker with a head cold up against a COPDer and an asthmatic with major crud. My sister is going to Taiwan to see her son/daughter in law and new grandchild shortly. So, more falls on me. I am obviously a great aunt and quite besotted. My mother, at 85, is over the moon, of course.
I've got a good case of shoemaker;s children going on. Mom's apartment is clean, mom is cared for, etc. My place is the pits, orange guy in profile picture, Thomas, is now 16, has health issues, but HE is taken care of. Can't say so much for myself or my place,which is a pit. Actually I don't know what I'd do without that cat.

I'm around and will try to focus more, but am, as Copa and our other Jewish friends might understand, suffering from a chaic shortage (my get up and go has got up and left. I'm sort of chronically exhausted and in pain. I do have a smart phone, don't use a phone keyboard easily or rapidly. The good news is that my mother and I are very close these days, not so much my sister who has her issues still. Both of us have "awkward personalities, my sister addictive as well, and we share care of my mother to a degree. Anyway, I do still live in the same place, just not home as much as I should be, and catching up on sleep and cat cuddles when I am home.


Crazy Cat Lady
Thomas is the big orange hairy sucker in that photo. He's hanging in. Has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and should've been in congestive heart failure a year ago. Luckily he can't read his prognosis. He's still unmedicated and other than getting out of breath a bit easier, is doing pretty well. Arthritic beyond belief though and his kidneys have just started the long downhill slide. Thomas and I lost Squeaky in Oct at the age of 14. She had had oodles of kittens before being rescued at around five, which made her very high risk for mammary cancer. Despite all the boobs in the house being checked monthly, a small lump was missed. The cancer had spread extensively to her lungs by the time the primary tumor was found and she had to be euthanized for humane reasons. Because there was a degree of tension between Thomas and Squeaky despite the cute picture, and because Thomas seemed much more relaxed as a single cat, I decided that Thomas will remain a single cat for the rest of his life. We fight with keeping weight on him, and with keeping his colon working, and he is starting to show slight signs of senility, but despite that he is still my demanding, snuggly, bestest boy, and I love him dearly. I'm cool with him occasionally getting lost in the apartment in the wee hours and yelling to be rescued. Or forgetting what he's doing in the middle of doing it. In human years he's around 84, and while my 85 yr old mother is still plenty sharp, not all folks, human or otherwise, are at that age.


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Thomas, is now 16
Great to read the update Going. Does somebody come in to watch Thomas when you go to your Mom's? I can only imagine how stressful it is to coordinate. I have a hard time just maintaining.

Based upon my personal experience that you and your sister can coordinate at all around care of your Mom, is a major big deal. My sister and I could not.

Take care, Going. I wish all of it was easier. For you, for me, for all of us.


Crazy Cat Lady
I am home often enough that Thomas gets by without a pet sitter, which would only scare him silly. I have long acting pain medications for him, and multiple fountains, feeders, etc. He's pristine when it comes to litterpans, of which I have multiples.

I just get mugged by an attention starved cat when I walk in the door.

Normally, it's very do-able, just rough right now due to mom being sick, and my sister heading off to Taiwan, leaving me doing more than my usual amount of caregiving for a bit.

Mom can take care of herself in terms of rudimentary meals, etc., but needs help showering, can't clean and such, and sleeps very poorly at night, which leads to her sleeping during the day.

She does have sleep apnea, but is unable to wear any type of mask without having panic attacks (Severe PTSD from the Blitz and having to wear a gas mask as a small child. There are other effects as well, night terrors, etc.)

One good thing is that she is now on a low dose of lexapro, which she needed forty years ago, and has done wonders for her.

It's just hard as I have my own issues, feel scraped pretty darned thin at the moment. Tomorrow at mom's should be fun as she's quite deaf and I'm losing my voice with this darned cold. So, she won't be able hear me, and tends to lower her voice if my voice is "lowered" (or shot), and my hearing isn't great, either. Ugh...


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she is now on a low dose of lexapro, which she needed forty years ago, and has done wonders for her.
You're a loving daughter, Going. Do you drive to your Mom's? I have no sense of the distances there. It would seem to me that it would be a hard, hard drive in the Winter.

Would your mother tolerate a home health aide who wasn't a daughter? I think there may be help through Medicare if the doctor prescribes it. With M's father, a nurse and an aide came a couple times a week, at least I think so. If there was this benefit and she was open to it, it would be a help, I think.

I would call Jewish Family Services. Their social workers help families coordinate services for "aging in place." I recognize you want to do what you can. But wouldn't some help, help? I know many Jewish Family Service locations have in-home trauma counseling, because so many of the very old have trauma histories. Your mother sounds so engaged with life, she might find this interesting and stimulating.

I brought my mother home to me, and was completely overwhelmed. I am making it a point to have the resources to relocate somewhere where I can get help when I need it--hopefully--before it's too late.
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I don't know what I'm like. Except I feel hollowed out by life. I have become my suffering, or in better moments, the shell that tries to avoid it. There feels little else. I'll feel better tomorrow.


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I don't know what I'm like. Except I feel hollowed out by life. I have become my suffering, or in better moments, the shell that tries to avoid it. There feels little else. I'll feel better tomorrow.
Copa, you don’t sound like you are doing well. I hope you are feeling better now! Is everything okay with you?


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Dear HMBgal

I loved reading about you and your life, especially the coffee roasting, which I had never heard about as a diy endeavor at least for right now, right here.

Since reading your post I have been reading of nothing else. I think I'll get an air popper at Walmart. There is an inexpensive brand that seems suitable. I want to do expresso roast or French roast. May I ask you what kinds of beans you get and where? And why did you decide on the old-fashioned popping pan versus an air popper? I read it creates a lot of smoke? True/False?

I just love, love, love this idea.

I would love a good expresso machine too. But so, so expensive, no?

Thank you again. The picture you drew of yourself and life inspires and touches me. PS I have a NOOK too.
Well aren't you sweet?! Yes, I do roast with a popcorn popper, but not the air popcorn popper because while it works, it's not what it was designed for and it just doesn't roast enough for me, nor can you control the roast as much. I like to roast a pound or so at a time. Sweet Maria's sells (website) a Victorio popcorn popper that I use. I roast to what it called City Roast plus. Dark, but not lots of oils on the surface. Sweet Maria's has a good visual picture at the top of their landing page to give you an idea about that. You have to stand there and stir for 10 minutes or so (I stir and read). Yes, there's smoke but my kitchen has a window close to the stove and a I turn on the fan over my stove. I've never set off the smoke alarm, which is pretty touchy. I roast my decaf first because there's no chaff (this tasteless, lightweight stuff that comes off beans as they roast), and while those are cooling in a colander, I roast my regular beans. There's chaff off of those, but you toss the beans between a couple bowls and the chaff blows away into your garden. But yes, your house will smell of coffee for the the day. My family doesn't mind it. If you get said popcorn popper at Sweet Maria's, they will throw in a few pounds of free beans, which is nice. Lots of videos on their website to get you started, too. You can get started roasting for about $65-75USD. I live about 30 miles away from them and if I drive over to pick up my supplies, there's no shipping costs. But, I hate crossing the bridge and paying toll, so I just have stuff shipped.

I pretty much use only my espresso machine and make a few lattes a day for myself. I roast a pound or so (3 cups) of decaf and a pound or so of regular every 8-10 days. And yes, I have the Rocket Appartamento espresso machine, which is on the mid-to pricey side. You really do get what you pay for. I like a good thick froth and I want to pull my shots and foam at the same time, so I have what they call a heat exchanger machine. Those are more spendy and speedy. You could get away with a lower priced machine that you pull your shot first, then the machine recovers a little so you can steam. When I retired, I got a couple double paychecks and paid about $1,700 USD for it. Shipping was free and they threw in a $100 gift certificate. Before that, I had a Nuova Simonelli Oscar, which I had overhauled and gave to my daughter. I bought that machine over 10 years ago and it's been a workhorse.

You'll need a decent grinder too. If the grind isn't right, ain't nothing going to go right. I have the Rocky Rancilio grinder, maybe $375 or so?), which is a mid-to lower priced, but it's a good quality one. They also make a nice little starter espresso machine. I get my machinery (grinder, espresso machines) from Seattle Coffee Gear. They have a good warranty, which I have had to use once.

It's fun, I love roasting for gifts for family and to bring as hostess gifts (as long as they have coffee grinders). And it's easy to get sucked into upgraditis. But, good equipment lasts a long time and buying lattes at Starbucks and Peet's is super expensive, too. So, hey. It's cheaper than buying fancy clothes and shoes, and I always tease by husband saying it keeps me out of bars. Snort.


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I don't know what I'm like. Except I feel hollowed out by life. I have become my suffering, or in better moments, the shell that tries to avoid it. There feels little else. I'll feel better tomorrow.
Copa, you sound...distressed? Hopeless maybe? This post worries me. Are you okay? You can p.m. if you don't want to post. I know I don't pop on here as much as I used to but I still want to know you're okay.


“No story is a straight line... ".
I don't know what I'm like. Except I feel hollowed out by life. I have become my suffering, or in better moments, the shell that tries to avoid it. There feels little else. I'll feel better tomorrow.
We are all Our Suffering at times...an army of invincible warriors, holding the line in a war we can't win, with enemies we can't see.
White flags that we can't wave because
there's no one to surrender to.

But today is another day. A new day...