Thursday, December 28, 2017

Last Letter

This was two years ago at the MTC in Provo
Perry completes his mission on Tuesday.  He will fly home and we will all be at the airport to meet him.  To say we are excited is such an understatement!  Can't wait to post pictures of him at the airport.  He sent the following email this week.  So proud of what a wonderful young man he has grown to be these last two years--especially because he was pretty awesome before he went.    Welcome home grandson!

Dear Friends and Family,
As some of you are likely aware, my mission will come to a conclusion this Tuesday, and as such this will be my last weekly email. These last two years have been spectacular, I don’t think there has been any other time in my life during which I have learned so much or had so many spiritual experiences. 
Throughout my mission I have met some awesome people, been in great places, and had opportunities to do incredible things. I’m grateful to have spent these last two years in Kentuckiana; there’s no place I’d rather have spent this time.
Without a doubt, I have learned a lot on my mission, but one thing in particular which stands out to me is the importance of keeping our testimonies fueled. It’s not hard to do, yet when one allows their testimony to die down or extinguish, it is substantially more difficult to rekindle the fire.
Maintaining and growing our testimonies is not excessively difficult. For the most part, we know what we need to do, and as we strive to keep the commandments and do what God has asked of us, the spirit will help us to follow Him. He only expects us to do our best. 
This week has gone pretty well. Christmas was great and this morning we had the opportunity to go to the temple. It was really good. I will miss the Louisville Temple, but I look forward to attending other temples.
I have no doubt that this week will be gone before I know it. But I plan to make the most of it. I recently was thinking about what I want to do in the remainder of my mission and although I have not been perfect, I have no regrets from my mission. Even my mistakes have been learning experiences and I am glad for the knowledge which they provided me.
I hope that you all have a wonderful year. I look forward to the chance I have to move on and continue following our Savior Jesus Christ. I still have a lot to learn, but everything will work out as I put work into everything I do.
Have a happy new year.
-Elder Scott Perry Duncan

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Eve

It is so wonderful to prepare something special and this Christmas Eve dinner was especially nice. Thanks again Pinterest!  I think my favorite was the Christmas tree napkin fold and the name cards with the gift box that held a yummy piece of candy.  Ham, scalloped potatoes, three layer Christmas jello, Andy and Angela spinach and citrus salad, fresh cranberry sauce, roasted asparagus and corn on the cob, and home made crescent rolls and orange butter.  The finishing touch was a Christmas trifle.  All I can say is yum!  Thanks Andy for sharing the Christmas story and for leading us in our favorite Christmas carols.  Merry Christmas!


Ava has been taking dance lessons for quite some time and on Saturday we were able to see her dance recital.  She was just great!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Thanks Ellis!

This week Ellis came over and replaced the brakes on our car.  By himself!  I love my grandkids and I am always so pleased when I see that their parents have taught them how to work and how to serve others.  I am sad that I didn't get a picture of him working away!


                 The most important work you will ever do will be                      within the walls of your own home.
                                                              President Harold B. Lee

Monday, December 18, 2017

Happy Hanukkah!

No, there is no ancestor that we are aware of that is Jewish.  Although I admire their tenacity very much!  A few years ago we started having a Hanukkah dinner because I read an article in Woman's Day about the perfect Hanukkah dinner and wanted to try it.  It was a huge hit and we continued each year to enjoy this meal together. There is nothing that beats a good latke!  Thanks Andy,Angela,Caleb, Ellis, and Ava for joining us for one of our fun traditions.

Waiting for our company

Love the Party Store

Sour Cream Donuts with Vanilla Creme Filling

Ellis lit the Menorah candles for us

Angela made this beautiful Challah bread.  It was wonderful!

I've Got a Runner!

Sundays is always the hardest day for Scott because we don't maintain the routine that he is use to. Unfortunately this Sunday his confusion reared it's ugly head!  We had invited Andy and Angela and the kids over to celebrate our traditional Hanukkah dinner and I had just finished making some creamed filled donuts when he started getting upset and wanted to go.  I explained that we couldn't go to the store (see an earlier post about that!) because it was Sunday but that didn't help.  I finally agreed that we could go to his walking place which seemed to pacify him.  I drove him down and waited while he took his short walk.  Once that was done we came back home.  Within 15 minutes he started pacing and told me he needed to go to the store but I told him no.  He started throwing the pillows because he said I wouldn't listen to him.  He then threatened to go without me.  He walked out the door and then came right back in.  He demanded that I let him go which I said that he was welcome to take a walk on our street.  He then left again and I followed him out to the front yard.  He walked up to the corner and then turned around and looked at me.  I waved for him to come back and he turned around and disappeared around the corner (serves me right!).  I went in and got the car keys and went to find him.  He was on the main street in our neighborhood walking down the middle of the road.  When he saw me he stopped and came over to the car and got right in.  I asked him where he was going and he replied by pointing and saying, "to there, and there, and there." He seemed calmer and we returned home.  I went back into the kitchen and he sat down and watched the television.  I went out into the garage to get a bowl from the cabinet.  When I came back he was gone.  I thought he had gone to the bathroom but when he didn't come back I went to check on him and he was gone again.  I got into the car and this time I found him almost to the Jess Ranch area down the road and decided that I would just watch and see where he would go.  Unfortunately, a nice lady stopped and he was ready to get in her car so I drove over to her car.  When Scott saw me he came to me and got into the car.  This time I wasn't quite so patient and told him I was really mad at him because he didn't tell me he was going anywhere.  He was sorry and so was I--but I was mostly scared.  Once we got home I told him again never to leave the house without telling me.  I know that this will happen again and talked to Andy and Angela about putting an alarm on our front door which I am looking into right now.  I now have him wearing his med alert wrist band all the time just in case I don't find him as quickly as I have so far.  I now have much empathy for these young mothers who have a runner in their family.  They are lucky though, because their runner isn't tall enough to reach the lock!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


Today we had Ava and Caleb and Ellis over.  It was a perfect time to do some gingerbread boy decorating. I appreciated that Ellis was willing to join in with his younger siblings. They all did a great job!

Ava's Creations

Caleb's Creations

Ellis' Creations

Sunday, December 10, 2017


     "Looking forward with an eternal perspective gives one hope,                             a reason to look up and feel gratitude for                                                             even the smallest bit of light."
                                                                     Rosemary M. Wixom


I haven't written much lately because it seems like so much is the same.  I realize that in spite of trying to be knowledgeable about Alzheimers I am never really prepared when something new occurs.  I told Amy that when that happens I am so stressed and upset until one day I just realize it is what it is and the grieving for the latest loss is doable.  Not fun, but doable!  Dad has started to get angry and sometimes threatening.  It isn't so much directed at me but it is frightening just the same.  His ability to converse is so limited now which I can tell it is painful for him.  Completing a sentence rarely happens and sometimes he will start telling me something and a bird might fly by and he will throw the word bird into the mix.  I think the anger he is expressing is just frustration because he can't tell me what he wants or what he feels.  I find myself agreeing with him even though I have no idea what he is talking about because I don't want him to feel any worse then he already does.  Sleeping is a little better.  I think he doesn't get up as early because it is too cold so he may get out of bed but comes right back in and waits until I am ready to get up.  He still loves to go out throughout the day and although he always wants to go to a store it isn't a particularly positive experience. The minute we walk in he wants to leave so browsing around isn't a good distraction anymore.  I miss the browsing!  After two different doctors appointments that didn't go very well I was concerned about taking him with me to get the oil changed.  Angela offered to have him stay with her while I went to the Lube and Tune down the street.  He wouldn't have any part of it and I gave up and brought him with me.  The people there were so nice and I explained that he didn't wait well because of his illness so would it be okay if we just stayed in the car until they were ready to change the oil.  Not only did they say that was fine but they had us stay in the car while they worked on it.  The young man was wonderful and although dad was a little upset that "nothing was happening" he handled it really well and liked seeing them moving around the car.  Perry sent me a link to a video last week called "Enduring Love."  It was a tear jerker but it reminded me that in spite of what is happening we can do this together.  Love does conquer all!  And I do love my sweet husband.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

It's Done!

I am so excited that Andy was able to put in a back splash in our kitchen.  With Angela's help I got the perfect tile to fit perfectly with our new white cabinets.  Love how they turned out.  We have been so blessed by our children for so many reasons.  Thank you Andy for helping me make our kitchen exactly what I had hoped it would be!

Thursday, November 30, 2017


Never forget--the family is one place where you are always wanted!
Ward Cleaver

Had to share this quote.  Can you tell we watch Leave It To Beaver every day?!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Good News!

Today I was working on something and Grandpa walked over to where I was and said, "Elaine, you're nice.  I decided to like you!"

Sunday, November 26, 2017


If you are on the right path, it will always be uphill.
The Lord is anxious to lead us to the safety of higher ground.
Elder Henry B. Eyring

Keeps Getting Better

I remember my dad telling one of my brothers that he didn't lay brick his whole life so his son could be a bricklayer.  He wanted him to go to college and do something more with his life.  He told me he wanted all of us to be better than he was.  I know he would be so proud of what each of us have accomplished.  I have felt the same way about our kids.  I wanted them to be better than we were.  And I know that is exactly what has happened.  Bill and Cathy, Andy and Angela, Ben and Becky, and Christian and Amy are so much more than we could have hoped for.  I believe they are now hoping that their children will be better than them and it is so exciting to me to see that their hopes and dreams for their children are coming true.  Each generation just keeps getting better and better.  Heavenly Father must be so proud of his children who from the beginning have gotten better and better.

Journal Prompt

Since we are finishing out November I decided to address a prompt I had used earlier.  It was to make a list of things you're thankful for.  I am still thankful for those but today I wanted to address that again.  I am thankful for perspective.  In Google the definition of perspective is the way that one looks at something.  As I am getting older I love perspective because it is like putting together a big puzzle.  You look for similar colors, shapes, or objects so that you can make a big picture. And in fact sometimes you think you found the right piece and then continue putting the puzzle together.  But then you look back and realize that piece didn't go there!  I have realized lately that I am coming to terms with perspective in my life.  Part of that perspective is understanding what was important and what wasn't really as big a deal as I may have thought it was at a different time in my life.  Our lives have changed drastically and yet there are so many things about the change that have fascinated me.  I was given a prompting while we were on our mission that the area I needed to improve in my life was to be kind.  It is embarrassing to think that I needed to be told that and yet in retrospective I was not particularly kind.  Without that prompting I don't think I could have taken care of Scott the way he would need to be taken care of.  I am learning patience and I express gratitude often to Heavenly Father for helping me understand kindness.  I have learned to forgive and forget and even more important I have the perspective to understand the end from the beginning.  It is hard to watch Scott lose his sense of self, to be able to express his thoughts and feelings, to feel peace and calm when he is overwhelmed by noise, change, or unexplained fear.  Yet in spite of that he has a constant and that constant is me.  When he reaches out in the night he has me beside him to pat his face or rub his arm.  When he can't remember what a toothbrush is or what he is suppose to do with it he has me beside him showing him.  When he shaves for a minute but doesn't know what to do I am able to take his razor and finish cleaning his face.  When he takes a bite or two and says he is full I am able to encourage him to try a little more.  My perspective is that I know that when we meet again on the other side of the veil the most important piece of the puzzle is the last one and then the picture is complete and Scott will be whole again.

New Floors!

It has been a little busy at Grandpa and Grandma's house.  I have to continually remind myself that I am not 29 years old any more!  After this my knees have been reminding me of that every single day--and they keep saying, "we are 99!"  When we moved into our house just over a year ago I took some of the money left over and bought laminate flooring with the thought that Andy would put them in when he had some extra time.  Joke was on me because he is so busy that the year has gone and the flooring was still waiting in the sun-room.  About three weeks ago our newest neighbors had new flooring put in their house and so I asked the contractor doing it to give me the cost of putting the flooring in our house.  The cost was so much less than I had anticipated that I asked him to put us on his schedule.  I then got busy and took off all the baseboard in the rooms where the laminate was going in.  I removed nails, washed the baseboards and then repainted them.  In one day the floors were done and looked so beautiful I was ready to cry!  I then started putting baseboards back in and was in agony by the time the last one was installed--but it was so worth a little discomfort.  I told Angela that I finally feel like we have a clean house.  Although Andy didn't do it he has done so much to help us this past year that I have nothing to complain about.  Before to much longer I will show you the new back-splash he is putting in our kitchen!

Thanks Ellis & Andy for
moving the furniture!
The floor guys were exceptional
and FAST!

Finished Project!  Now the sun-room!

Sunday, November 19, 2017


                                I testify that BAD DAYS come to an END,                                                       that FAITH always TRIUMPHS, and                                        that HEAVENLY PROMISES are ALWAYS KEPT.
Elder Holland

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Aunt Bev

We have loved having Bill and Bev come over and spend time with us.  Something else I especially love about Bev is how sweet she is to our grandkids.  She puts me to shame when it comes to nurturing the imagination of kids.  I have often thought as I watched her what a phenomenal teacher she must have been. These pictures show Duncan and Aunt Bev having a great time at a Mexican food restaurant in Gilbert in October.  She is the best!
Duncan had to have a picture of him with the skeleton.

Then he wanted her to have her picture taken--and she let him take the picture!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Piano Recital

Ava had her piano recital on Saturday.  We waited out in the foyer until she was ready to perform and then we stood at the back so we could hear her.  I was amazed at how well she did and how accomplished she is becoming.  It is nice to have some of our grandkids close by so we can participate in the wonderful activities they are a part of.  I was able to make the cupcakes for the refreshments after the performance and had a good time baking and frosting.  I was happy with how well they turned out!

Mint chocolate, Lemon, Lime, and Strawberry!

Good Job Ellis!

Football season ended on Friday.  I am especially proud of Ellis for going outside of his comfort zone and learning how to play football.  I think towards the end he was counting the minutes until it was over so he could get on with his life!

Halloween Dinner

It is a little out of place but Andy sent me some pictures he took when they came for a Halloween dinner last Monday.  With the help of Pinterest I had a great time planning a taco dinner with spider bowls, treats and games.
The bowls were spiders!

I made candy apples  that
actually turned out!


                         God is the gardener here.                        He knows what He wants you to be.
Hugh B Brown

Trust Me

One of the things that I have thought about a lot this week was something I say to Scott almost daily. Nothing makes sense to him and even in our house he is concerned about people who are watching him or who are in the back yard or where we are when we drive around town.  I do try to explain to him but most of the time he is beyond frustrated and afraid.  At those moments I often just tell him that he has to "trust me." You know, that often is the only thing that will help him calm down.  The phrase "trust me" kept coming into my mind and then I realized that Heavenly Father is saying to us each day, trust me!  I know that He knows the end from the beginning and knowing that brings me such comfort as I daily do things that I never expected I would have to do.  It sounds funny but for over 40 years I might have had to take the trash out once or twice.  Now if the trash is to go out it is up to me, along with many other things.  One night I was in the kitchen cleaning up after a particularly difficult day and I realized something.  I am doing everything that has to be done around here and I can.  It made me think of the story in the Book of Mormon.  I would give you exact scriptures but I don't have Scott to tell me anymore!  There is a community of people who are under the rule of the Lamanites and they continue to increase the tasks that the people are required to do. But they call upon God and he doesn't take away the burden, he increases their ability to do their work.  I do feel often as I maneuver through each day that the burden isn't more than I can do and in fact I often take great joy in the knowledge that I'm not doing this by myself--because Heavenly Father loves me, and he loves Scott.  And each day I get to be reminded that I can trust Him.


It looks like dad isn't enjoying this experience but he did a really good job.  After he was all hooked up to the machine the technician told him that he would have to wait for 30 minutes and stay still.  I wasn't very hopeful that this was going to go well but he was a champ!  Earlier in the week we had an appointment with a neurologist in Apple Valley and he wanted to check his brain activity.  I suspect I could tell him more than the test could but we will get the results at our next visit at the end of the month.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Halloween 2017

I only got costume pictures from the California Duncans but I will add the rest when I get them.  Angela amazes me every year with her creativity.
A DJ and a Pusheen Cat!

A pretty handsome senior citizen!

From the Arizona Whitneys we see a Harry Potter extravaganza!
Lincoln and Graham were muggles!
And from the North Dakota Duncans

Mad Scientist!

Pizza Delivery Man!

                                                                                                                                                                                          And from the Utah Duncans we have Abby who was the "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie."  Unfortunately for Will he had the flu and had no interest in trick or treating this year.
Cutest Mouse Ever! 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Wednesday Quote

Heavenly Father has perfect foresight, knows each of us, and                    knows our future.  He knows what difficulties we will pass through.                                      He sent His Son to suffer so that He would know                                               how to succor us in all our trials.
                                                                    Henry B. Eyring 

Update on Dad

I haven't written lately about how dad is doing and thought I would give you a quick report.  Overall he is doing well and his anxiety level has decreased significantly which is good for both of us.  His health is good and although we have a neurologist appointment coming up on Tuesday and another appointment with a dermatologist the following week, all is well.  The neurologist appointment is just to monitor his seizure meds which seem to be working really well.  No more seizures so far!  The dermatologist appointment is to check a small growth on his face.  It seems to be getting a little bigger and a little red around the bump.  I often see him rubbing it and I worry that it may be a little sore.

Our typical day has involved a short trip where he takes his daily walk and then we run a few errands and then about 3 p.m. he would start getting agitated so we would go for another drive.  On Sunday we went to church and came home and never left the house the rest of the day.  Since then he hasn't wanted to go any where in the afternoon.  I love that but yesterday I needed to go to the store and when I told him we needed to go out he wasn't very happy with me!  I did convince him to come with me when I told him we could get an ice cream at McD's!  His memory is definitely in decline and today I understood a warning they have talked about in the various stages of the disease.   We went into Winco to get a few things and I needed to use the bathroom.  I took him over to a bench that was just outside of the women's bathroom and told him to stay there while I used the bathroom. When I came out a few minutes later he was gone.  I looked around and caught a glimpse of him leaving the store!  I hurried after him and thankfully he was behind an older gentleman who was walking slow.   If I hadn't seen him go out the door I may have gone back into the grocery area and I don't know what he would have done then.  Bill and Bev bought him a med-alert wrist band and I haven't had him wear it unless we were going out of town but now I will have him put it on whenever we leave the house just in case he does wander off.  Another interesting new thing is that two days in the last week he complained that he was wet. He was wet enough that I thought me must have spilled something but in further checking he was sweating like crazy!  He was just sitting on the couch so nothing would explain it.  It happened again today so I went online and sure enough Alzheimer patients can have a condition that causes extreme perspiration.  Who would have thought of that!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Missionary Service

In Perry's email for the week he mentioned that they did a service project at a house built in the 1800's. They removed over a ton of plaster from a ceiling that was 20 feet high.  I loved the missionary badges that were covered with a film of plaster dust!  I also love how hard they work with or without their suits on.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Grandpa and Owen


Today we drove to Irvine and picked up one of our good lookin' grandsons so we could have lunch with him.  Owen is super busy but we so appreciated him taking some time out to spend time with us today.We introduced him to Habit Burger which probably isn't the best place for a college student to get hooked on but at the same time it is nice to go some place that you wouldn't normally go to.  He and grandpa enjoyed the Santa Barbara Burger with grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and avocado on grilled french bread.  I stuck to the basic cheeseburger.  It was a treat to hear what was happening in his life--especially because it is all good!  Keep up the good work Owen.  We are so proud of you!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Wednesday Quote

Obviously things are pretty dull around here!  Here is my quote for the week.

               "He who notes the fall of the sparrow surely hears                           the pleadings of our hearts."
President Thomas S. Monson

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Five Words

The journal prompt for this time was--describe your day in 5 words.  This is easy for me--EVERY DAY IS AN ADVENTURE!

Wednesday Quote

Be the reason someone smiles today!

The Clip Joint!

The last time I took Scott to the barber shop he didn't handle it very well.  I had put it off as long as I could but today was the day to face our Goliath!  On the way there I had an idea that actually worked.  I had him wait in the car and then I went in and talked to the lady who cuts his hair.  I let her know that he was in the car and I would keep him there until she was done with the hair cut she was giving.  I then went back to the car and told him that she would come out and get him when it was his time for a haircut.  Fortunately, there was a little toddler getting his hair cut and he could see her working on him and he enjoyed that a lot.  Once finished she came out and waved for us to come in.  It was great and she was (and is) always very nice to Scott.  He only asked me once if he could get up and when I told him she was almost done he handled it pretty well.  I love people who come into your life (if only briefly) who are willing to go the extra mile and show compassion for a sweet man who in different circumstances would have been the perfect customer!

Monday, October 9, 2017


In Perry's weekly letter from his mission he included a talk he had given to the missionaries in his District.  I am proud of his commitment to serve as a missionary and have been touched by how much he has grown as he has served the Lord.  I thought I would share the talk.

We are all at phases of our lives which contain a lot of uncertainties. None of us know  how things are going to work out either next transfer or in 5 years. As such it becomes easy to fear the unknown. This fear is nearly universal, but is not of God. Elder Tad R. Callister taught "the Lord’s counsel for us today is similar to that given to Mary and Joseph: 'Be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you'". 
We each have unique concerns and trials in our individual lives, but the one thing common among all of God's children is His love and desire for our peace and joy. Consequently, he has given us common commandments to aid us in our plight for spiritual comfort. He has asked us fast and pray oft, to study the scripture, and to be patient. Before James' admonition to ask God found in James 1:5, he speaks of patience. Surely, this is no coincidence. 
Patience is just as requisite in receiving guidance from God as is asking for it in the first place. It is rare that we receive instant answers to our prayers. Likewise, it is rare that we receive instant deliverance from our transgressions, adversities, or concerns.  Typically, when we face hard things in our lives we ask for help to change our circumstances or to eliminate the problems and then we set to work to do our part. God expects and appreciates our efforts to flee from adversity. But there are occasions on which God has instead asked us to endure patiently as we remain in those same difficulties. Nevertheless, we must never lose hope or cease striving for deliverance. To endure is not a passive action. Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught: "Patience is not indifference. Actually, it means caring very much but being willing, nevertheless, to submit to the Lord and to what the scriptures call the ‘process of time'". 
It is my sincere hope that each of us might have the faith and patience to "fear not" in whatever trials are currently or will inevitably befall us. I know that God will always deliver us from the furnace of affliction, but there are times in which He allows those very flames to temper us that we might resist the evil by which we are constantly surrounded. I bear testimony that the Lord is aware of our trials and needs and that we can always turn to Him.


The Whitneys and the California Duncans are at the beach for the next three days celebrating their Fall break.  On Friday Amy and Christian and their kids came and spent two days with us.  On Saturday Angela and Amy and the girls (plus Graham!) went to Los Angeles to the American Girl store to celebrate Ava's birthday.  They each took their American Girl dolls and they visited the beauty shop where their dolls got their hair done.  While they were there all the guys gathered at our house.  Most of the time Caleb and Duncan had a marathon Lego building day while Lincoln and Ellis worked on a merit badge on sailing so they could meet
with a counselor in San Diego on Monday in preparation for sailing on Tuesday.  Andy and Christian caught up on what was happening with them and Grandpa and I just loved being around enjoying all the camaraderie!  I love it when our grandkids get together and work, laugh, and play together.


I am smiling as I think about what I am going to write about.  My life is about as routine as it can get.  In the morning I get up and then I take Scott into the bathroom when we both brush our teeth (I brush mine while he does his so he can remember how) and then I get his pills and spend some time convincing him that he has to put them in his mouth and then swallow them with the water in the cup that is in his hand.  From there we head to the closet where I help him undress and then redress for the day ahead.  That usually involves a little coaxing because he always thinks I am mad at him and gets upset that I am continually taking his pajamas away when he tries to put them back on.  From there I set him on a chair in the bedroom so he can put his shoes and socks on while I hurry and make our bed and then get myself dressed.  From there we go to the kitchen so I can make his breakfast.  While he is eating I now do an exercise program from a DVD I have because I can't go walk with my friend anymore.  Once that is over I clean up his dishes and then he watches Leave it to Beaver and then Perry Mason.  When Perry is over we drive over to his walking spot for his daily walk.  If we have any errands we do those afterwards and then head back home for lunch and Death Valley Days until about 1:00 when he is ready to take short ride.  Then back home for more TV and then at 3:00 he is ready for another drive which usually involves a visit to McDonald's for an ice cream cone.  Then we come home to more television and then dinner.  More TV until about 8 p.m. when he needs help getting his pajamas on.  The same situation happens each evening as in the morning because he is now upset that I want him to take off his shoes and socks and clothes!  About 8:30 we go back in and I give him his pills for the night and usually around 9 he is settled into bed for the night.

Where is the irony you might ask?  Remember when you thought you would never catch up on your laundry? Remember when you were on the fast track running as fast as you could--but never getting any where? Remember when you longed to just have some quiet time to yourself?  Remember wondering if you would ever be able to go to the bathroom without someone standing outside the door yelling at you?  Well the irony of my life is that I get so excited when there are enough dirty clothes in the hamper so I can actually have something to do.  I am excited when I see the microwave is dirty!  Woo Hoo the bathrooms need cleaning and the sheets need washing.  I am tickled pink when the kitchen floor needs to be mopped.  When I see something on Pinterest that I want to do--I am ecstatic!  And now that Fall is upon us I have already got the Halloween  decorations out and know exactly what I will be doing to decorate for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines Day, and any other holidays coming up!  I have an brand new painted front door with a cute hello sticker on it and the hearth on our fireplace has a fresh coat of paint.  That my friends is irony!

Friday, October 6, 2017

A Best Friend

The journal prompt for this time is "your best friend".  I have been blessed with several friends that I could write about but lately I have thought so much about Barbara Walker for many reasons.  I met Barb when she and Barry brought their family to Victorville because he had been stationed at George Air Force Base.  At that time we were young parents with children ranging from 2 to about 9 years old.  She was one of the most positive people I had ever met and still is to this day.  We spent hours together either at her house or at mine and we often met in the middle at Center Street Park.  I loved that when we got together she would pull out a slip of paper with things she wanted to talk to me about.  She IS the best.  A short time after they moved here they split our ward and I was sure that would probably end our time together and I was so sad.  I remember her saying, "ward boundaries don't break up friendships!" and that proved to be so.  Barry eventually received orders to Germany and off they went to a new adventure and I was brokenhearted.  I didn't need to be because we continued to keep in touch through Christmas newsletters and over the years we were reunited for brief visits.  Barb always called me "angel Elaine" which humbled me because she was the true angel in our relationship.  I think back on many of our special memories and the Walker family was a part of those.  We have shared mission experiences, wedding receptions, Scott's retirement party and even meeting together on our way in or out of town at a restaurant for a quick catch up.  Now Barbara is taking care of Barry as he deals with the brain tumor he has and I am taking care of Scott as he progresses through his Alzheimer's diagnosis.  She has cheered me on and I hope that I have at times done the same for her.  I read a quote that said, "As we grow up, we realize it is less important to have lots of friends, and more important to have real ones."  Thank you Barb for being my real friend!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Quote of the Week for me!

"Each of us must go through certain experiences to become more like our Savior.  In the school of mortality, the tutor is often pain and tribulation,  but the lessons are meant to refine and bless us, and strengthen us, not destroy us."  
Elder Robert D. Hales

Monday, October 2, 2017

Conference Sunday

I love Sundays!  But I have to admit my two favorite Sundays of the year are in October and April when we get to enjoy General Conference.  Besides the spiritual feast, we have had a tradition for years of having Andy and Angela and the kids over for the Sunday sessions.  I always enjoy providing a little bit of feast for breakfast and lunch!  The best part is truly just having us all sit together and listen to the members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelves Apostles teach us.  So grateful that Heavenly Father continues to give us guidance and direction through his chosen servants.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Thank You

We have so many wonderful family members who continually step up and offer to help us.  While in Phoenix for Scott's doctors appointment we had a visit from Bill, Bev, and David.  We enjoyed a nice visit and dinner before they headed back to Sierra Vista.  I had asked David if he knew what was a good electric razor to buy because shaving has become a bit of a challenge with Scott.  Today a UPS man delivered a box from David.  In it was probably the very top of the line Norelco Razor and a collection of every Perry Mason show on CDs! Once it was charged I showed Scott how it worked and he got busy.  A weeks worth of an unshaven face, in just a few minutes, was as soft as a baby's bum!  David has always been so generous. When Amy was born he went to Penney's and I think he bought every dress in the baby department.  I don't think she wore the same dress more than once for at least two months.  Thank you brother for the special gifts.  It was truly a blessing and you are too!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Favorite

On my journal prompt I was to choose a favorite quote that I like right now.  I chose the following one for this week.
God doesn't give us what we can handle,
God helps us handle what we are given.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Grieving Disease

I have another name for Alzheimer's disease.  I call it the grieving disease.  It seems to me that when I start dealing with one aspect of Scott's illness something comes along that makes me take ten steps back.  This usually involves tears and adjustments and eventually acceptance.  Acceptance until something else about Scott is lost to me.  I honestly don't know how people who don't have a belief in Heavenly Father are able to deal with all that is required in helping a loved one make this journey of forgetting.

Arizona Update

The good news is we made it to Arizona in one piece and your dad handled the drive extremely well.  We stopped several times and I had him walk around a little.  I also switched between music channels and he seemed to enjoy the music.  In fact several times he sang along and was clapping.

The not as good news was the visit to the doctor.  It was probably the most frustrating experience I have had in a long time.  I know there is not a positive outcome with Alzheimer's but I knew less coming out than I had already known going in.  The one thing that I did learn was that 10% of Alzheimer patients have seizures. That means that he will have to take seizure medicine from now on.  Dad has lost a lot of weight and so the doctor wants to switch him to another medication that will make him more sleepy but will improve his appetite. I am uncomfortable with that possibility.  The nurse took him in and did a series of tests but the doctor didn't tell me anything about what the results were.  His only telling question was "do we have long term care insurance?"  I guess it is good that I read everything I see about Alzheimer's so I know what is happening and what is coming next but without that information I would have left without any help at all.  The seizure has taken a toll on him.  The week before the seizure I was noticing he was really getting more mellow and our four drives each day had gone down to two (mostly instigated by me because he didn't seem to care.)  He is now very lethargic and doesn't seem to be aware of things around him.  I suspect that is the affects of the seizure medicine.  The dose he is on is the lowest they give.  Now the doctor wants to switch from one medication that is supposed to make him even more tired so I am not sure about that.  On Wednesday of next week I have a doctors appointment here so I plan to talk to him about maybe keeping the old medication if the new one creates more problems.

We came home this morning and the trip was also very uneventful.  It was so nice spending a little time with Christian and Amy and the kids.  Bill, Bev, and David came up from Sierra Vista and we all went to dinner together so that was also a special treat.  I told the doctor that we won't be coming back (not because I was mad at him--but I was!) but I know that there really is nothing more he will be able to do and putting dad through the trip just doesn't seem worth it.  

Sunday, September 17, 2017


I always think I am getting the hang of Scott's Alzheimer disease and then I get thrown a curve!  This morning at 6:50 I am dozing in and out of sleep when all of the sudden Scott makes the most horrible sound. It was so bad that I literally jumped out of bed.  I then experienced the most painful sight that I could have ever imagined.  The seizure lasted for about four minutes and ended with
his eyes rolled into the back of his head and blood oozing out of his mouth.  Not something I want to ever experience again.  After a number (7 in fact) of hours in the ER he was released with a prescription for anti-seizure meds and an appointment to see his regular doctor tomorrow.  The doctor in the ER thinks that his seizure was caused because of dehydration.  I suspect that is true because getting him to eat very much or drink enough water has become a real challenge.  Bless his heart he doesn't remember a thing about any of this but unfortunately, I don't think I will ever forget the terror I felt!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Dear Elaine,

Senior Class Picture 1967-1968
My journal prompt that I decided to do was, write a letter to teenage you.  I have spent the week thinking about this and it is actually pretty hard, but here goes!

Dear Elaine,

You are a teenager now but I have such good news for you.  When you get to be 67 years old you won't remember much about the drama, the embarrassing moments, the old boy friend, or how much you think you hate school.  Honestly I don't think you even have to wait that long to realize that those few years were just a brief moment.  All the friends that were so important then will be a vague memory and by now you realize that your best friends turned out to be your brothers and sisters.  Now when I think of being a teenager I remember how wonderful it felt the first time my dad gave me the car keys.  I also remember how awful I felt when I got pulled over by a policeman for making an improper lane change.  I had to tell my dad about it because my little sister was in the car and I knew she would if I didn't.  Guess what--that was when I saw a side of my dad I hadn't noticed before.  He wasn't mad and in fact--he smiled and said, "I bet you won't do that again."  Even at 67 I never make an improper lane change!  I remember my first job and how rich I felt when I got my paycheck.  I remember gaining a testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which meant that everything had a purpose and a wonderful outcome in the end.  Another thing that happened to me as a teenager was that I had the ability to help other people and do nice things for them. Sad to realize it took so long.  I guess the most important thing I want you to know is that life just kept moving on in spite of the times when I was overwhelmed with insecurity.  I wasn't a popular girl but I do remember having some really nice friends and loved spending time with them.  I am embarrassed to remember that I had a boyfriend who would bring me home after a date and then go over to another girl's house and hang out with her because her parents didn't have a curfew like mine.  Even though I heard about it from other people I chose to ignore it because I just wanted to have a boyfriend.  I know pretty sad--but in the end I got stronger and gained a sense of self and still remember how empowered I felt when I finally told him not to come around any more because I was way to good for him!  You see life just kept going on and it got better and better--not necessarily easier and easier.  The experiences you have as a teenager helps you learn how to cope with the uncomfortable, treasure the positives, and enjoy the journey that will be ahead for you.
Don't give up!  Don't give in! And don't worry because when you are 67 you will find that you have chosen the better part.

Love, Elaine