Monday, August 31, 2015

Learning a New Recipe

Mom writes:

"I MIGHT be learning a few things.  This morning, I was asked 'Do you know how to make ice tea?'  I told her I did.  'Do you want some?'

Before we left this morning, I put water on to boil.  I knew to turn off the stove when the water boiled and dropped in a couple of teabags.  Then, about 10 am, I poured it into a pitcher and put that into the fridge.  She wasn't sure if she wanted iced tea for dinner but I poured it anyway.

Given time, I can figure out how to cook something."


Mom's tone was amused through this exchange.  Lyn's question was not asking if Mom had the skills or knowledge.  It was how Lyn could piece together her request for the tea.

Mentally, I have the feeling that Lyn is about 6 - 8 years old and this exchange kind of seals it for me.  When Lyn was 11 - 13, she knew how to make iced tea and had helped make it many times.  It was because she forgot to turn off the stove before dropping in the tea bags that our house burnt down.  The trauma of that day had blocked that memory from her but she used to know that the house had burnt.

More than that though, as I watched her interact with my youngest child, I realized his 8 year old brain had clearly exceeded hers.  He tried to share his knowledge with her and tried to get her to share facts with him.  I had seen the same thing happen with my older son.  Fortunately, my younger is less pedantic and more compassionate which allowed for the exchange to happen without feelings getting hurt.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Predicting the Future

I wish I was as skilled as Carnac the Magnificent in predicting the future.


I would hold an envelope to my head and declare "Saliva and thinking tests!"  Upon ripping open the envelope, I would find the question "What may help us identify Alzheimer's before the onset of symptoms."  We'll see if the predictions come true.  I've got reasons to hope.

Saliva test may predict Alzheimer's before symptoms appear

New Study Says Memory and Thinking Tests Could Signal Alzheimer's Up To 18 Years Early

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Momento Mori

Momento mori originally were contemplations on mortality which could be expressed in art, literature and music.  With the advent of photography, the term came to include postmortem portraits.     While delayed in Texas while en route home from visiting Mom and Lyn, I encountered a momento mori in an unexpected location.  I had taken my younger son out to dinner and the restaurant was decorated with random black and white photographs from ages past.  The portrait I spotted was of a set of deceased triplets with a man who I presume is the father of the children.


I asked the waiter if he knew the story behind the portrait.  He didn't know the term and only knew a designer had hung it when the restaurant was being decorated.  I explained the term and pointed out that the children in the picture were deceased.  The poor waiter shuddered but allowed me to quickly take a picture with my cell phone.

Interestingly, Mom had passed me a momento mori just a day or two before this encounter.  She gave me a picture of my Great Grandmother in her casket.  Mom insisted she really didn't need this family treasure any longer.


I've contemplated memento mori before but these two really got me to thinking.  Today, we (or at least I) tend to generalize any keepsake or memento that helps you remember the deceased into the memento mori category.  If we go with this broader definition, then there's quite a bit of momento mori still in use today.  When my Grandfather passed, I asked for his hat so I could keep it as something to remember him by.    His hat serves this purpose to me.

Memorial items have a long tradition, especially jewelry.    You can have memorial jewelry made.  For a time, it was popular to include a lock of the deceased's hair in the jewelry.  Today, you can reserve some of Grandma's cremains to have an artificial diamond made or have her thumb print made into a piece of jewelry.

Memorial boxes have become increasingly popular as well.  Some objects like my Grandfather's hat don't fit nicely into an album of family photos.  The boxes allow you to bring together a small collection of items which all have sentimental significance to help ease the grieving process.  When an infant dies, particularly a new born, many hospitals are now providing the grieving parents with a small box containing a picture of the infant, a beanie, booties and a swaddling blanket.

I've seen aprons and stuffed teddy bears made from a treasured article of clothing such as a man's dress shirt or his favorite flannel shirt.  These items too are made as memento mori.

Slightly different but very closely related is the use of tattoos.  The individual who gets a memorial tattoo is permanently altering their body with reminder of the one they've loved and lost.  The process of designing the tattoo and getting the tattoo as well as the significance of the art helps the individual deal with the grief of their loss.  The tattoos will be discussed many times in the future, allowing memories of the deceased to be recalled and shared with anyone who asks about the tattoo.

When I first started contemplating this post, I initially thought I would declare there would be no momento mori stemming from Lyn's passing whenever that may be.  I can't make that statement.  I've previously written about possibly getting another tattoo which would use the language of flowers to indicate memory and loss.  (I've already got tattoos which represent the members of my household.)  I'll probably keep some personal belonging of Lyn's.  I also have all of my pictures of her though I have no intention of taking a postmortem picture of her.

Memento mori have a place in helping people deal with grief even if we sometimes forget that connection or the meaning of an object.

(Note: This blog was written while Monty Python's _The Meaning of Life_ played in the background.)


Monday, August 24, 2015

Not Saying Goodbye

Lyn hates goodbyes.  She refuses to say them to us.  She used to cry when taking us to the airports but would wait until we got out of the car.  It became too hard on her to go to the airport and we stopped taking her.  When we started having to rent a car, we could just drive ourselves and this helped ease our transition out of the house for her.

This year, we noticed that her upset at our pending departure came earlier than previous years.  My family had a staggered departure due to work issues.  My husband had to leave mid-week.  My youngest and I returned on the weekend and my eldest stayed for an extra week.  She cried the day before my husband left.  She cried the day before my youngest and I flew out.  She cried the day before my eldest flew out.


She cries a lot of days.  She cries when she's tired or angry or just confused.  If next year's visit needs a staggered set of departures, would I reconsider to ease the tears?  I don't know.  A year from now is a long time and a lot of change can happen with an Alzheimer's patient in that time.

I hate that we cause her tears but so much does.  We cannot walk on eggshells to prevent it.  As long as we think the visits are good for Mom and or Lyn, we'll continue them.  So, I can't see that we'll stop the visits though it is reality that we'll have to continue to make adjustments as we go.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Games that We Play

Lyn loves games.  She always has.  I cannot convey just how many hours I have spent playing Uno because she wanted to and she was good at it.  I came to hate the game and would actively refuse to play it for about a decade.

When we visit, Lyn still likes to play games.  It helps her pass the time and allows her to feel engaged.  We now have to walk her through each step.  If we play Old Maid (which we did), we have to help her identify the card pairs.  If we play Uno (which we did), we have to ask her for the type of cards she can play.  "Do you have a blue card or a seven or a wild card?"  She's able to follow the question enough that most of the time, she can pick a card from her hand or know to reach to the draw pile.

Playing games with Lyn doesn't mean the rules to the game are the same as you expect when you play with someone else.  The rules are distinctly designed now to let her win the majority of the time.  She doesn't change the rules for who wins at bowling.  The same is not true of card games.  If the purpose is to have the fewest points at the end of the round, she says the highest points holder is the winner.  At least she's consistent, the person with the highest points wins.  Knowing that, she now wins at Uno, just in a different way than when she used to.  We go along with it because we don't see a need to upset her.

When it comes to bowling, she still mops the floor with us.

Another strike!

Never doubt her bowling skills

Memory Match is tough

Animal Rummy is not her favorite

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

This Girl

This girl is so important to keeping Lyn engaged.
This girl has devoted herself to my sister.
This girl is love and gentle kisses.
This girl gets Lyn to laugh and play.
This girl is worth her weight in gold.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Petroglyphs

When we were kids, visiting the Petroglyph National Monument was a big deal.  It felt like a long drive and a tough hike to see the petroglyphs which we did once a year or so.  Now, the city has grown so much that it is a 10 minute drive from Mom's home.  We hadn't gone in years and decided it was wroth a trip out there.  It was a beautiful day and we were just minutes away.

We swung into the visitors center and discovered the parking lot was packed due to a special event with a Senator visiting to publicly announce his support of a conservation initiative.  Lyn was able to find a seat on a bench despite the crowd to watch the Eagle Dancer who was the final agenda item for the event.  We were then able to access the Visitor's Center where we learned that the best path for someone with a cane was the Boca Negra loop, two miles up the road.  So back in the car and up to Boca Negra it was!

Looking up the bluff at Boca Negra


Boca Negra
We all started up the path a Boca Negra.  It was steeper than we realized, rising a couple of hundred feet in a short distance.  Lyn made it about 100 feet up the path before she panicked and had to be helped down.  At the base of the hill, there was a shade shelter with seating.  Mom led here there and told the rest of us to take our time.  It turned out to be the best decision.  The path is narrow and rough.  There's no way Lyn could have successfully managed the ascent to the top and the descent would have been a dangerous venture.  I'm not sure Mom's knees would have made it either.

A Boca Negra petroglymp
 While my family and I continued to the top and back down, Mom and Lyn rested in the shade and chatted with a family visiting from out of state.  There were two more paths at Boca Negra, but Lyn was done for the day.

Monday, August 17, 2015

An Off Day

When Lyn woke up on Friday, we could tell it was an off day.   Her shuffle down the hall was a wide-stanced sliding of the feet.  Individual steps were not taken and her feet were not lifted.  We had planned to go to Santa Fe and she still wanted to go.  Her mood was off, a bit more surly.  She was starting the day tired and dull.

Since we wanted to drive North, Mom suggested we go through the drive-up for breakfast burritos.  My little one refers to this as the Burrito Shop.  Lyn indicated she didn't want a burrito so Mom fixed her a bowl of oatmeal.  Mom tucked a granola bar into Lyn's purse in case she needed a snack later on.  As soon as we hopped in the car, Lyn ate her granola bar.  Five minutes later, we were in the drive up deciding on the numbers of #8 (egg, bacon, cheese and hashbrowns) or #9 (egg, bacon, cheese, hashbrowns and green chile) burritos needed.  Lyn chimed in.

"Well... I'll just... I'm just saying... Maybe next time..."

"Do you want a burrito, too?"  Mom asked, her eyes getting big.  I was a bit surprised as well.  She'd essentially eaten two breakfasts already.

"Yes!"

So we ordered a #8 for Lyn.  She wasn't hungry.  I'm not sure if she really remembered eating breakfast but we were eating and she felt it was necessary for her to eat as well.  She announced halfway through hers that she was eating slowly to take her time.  I think she was eating slowly because she was full.

On the drive to Santa Fe

I love these views

We drove up to town and viewed the International Museum of Folk Art.  The museum is fascinating and I've not been there since... well, I'm pretty sure it was nearly 30 years ago.  The museum is the result of one couple's passion for collecting folk art as they travelled the world.

Created by the museum's founder

A cow from Japan
My little one was wanting to spin and bounce around.  Kiddo wisely choose to hang with Grandma as we wandered through the displays.  My eldest stuck with me and we viewed the displays pretty quickly.

Why the rush?

Lyn is not amused by museums
Lyn doesn't care for museums.  She was also vey unstable.  Having forgotten her cane, she opted to sit in a chair and wait for us.  The museum has smooth paths leading to it and no significant stairs within.  Despite this, she was uncomfortable walking more than 20 feet unaided.  Even standing still was tough.  She would suddenly have to step backwards to regain her balance or else she would fall.

The next gallery had no benches.  She went through it holding onto Mom.  We didn't linger.  She sat on a bench outside the third gallery.  We kept our viewing of the pottery from the American South to under 5 minutes.

We had to help her to the car and almost had to help her in it.  She wasn't exaggerating her movements.  We had promised her we would stop at a favorite cafe and went there next.  She needed help from the car to the table.  The only step up was the curb.  When her food arrived, she was upset that her fries were cold.  Mom and I both reached over to pluck fries from her plate to check.  They were perfect, toasty without burning.  It took both of us assurning her that the fries were good for her to accept them with a shrug and a curled lip.  Halfway through her meal, she declared "I don't like the pink," referring to the hamburger she was eating.  The restaurant's noise and activity level was overwhelming to her and by the end of the meal, she was clearly struggling.  She also needed help on the return to the car after the meal.

From there, the plan was to return home.  She was worn out.  There were tears on the way home.  There were tears again when we got home.  She was struggling with her vision.  She was upset that I was scheduled to fly home the next day.  She wanted a nap but wouldn't let herself give in.  She was in bed by 6pm.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Misunderstandings

One of the interesting things about spending time with Mom is the time we get to talk.  She tells me more stoies when we're in face to face conversation than when we're on the phone or chatting via Skype.  Those conversations tend to focus on the immediate events.  The conversations we have face-to-face allow us time to delve family history or topics deeper than a day's bowling scores.

Last night, before dinner, Mom and I were able to talk about our feelings of how we're doing as Moms and caregivers of individuals with special needs.  She has really been struck by how similar the behavior my sister has is to the behavior exhibited by my youngest.  I've noted it before but I think this week was a bit eye opening for her.  We talked about how there are times when we catch ourselves wondering if we're crazy, if they're exaggerating their issues for attention, if we get behavior that they don't give to others.  Both have anxiety-based behavior.  Both are manipulative and try to be controlling because it makes them feel safe.  Neither can express their emotions clearly or even identify them very well.  Neither are able to routinely able to engage in an appropriate emitional manner and can easily shut down and disconnect as a defense mechanism.  Both strive to be the center of attention and can lay on the charm when it is of use to them.

The causes of these challenging behaviors are very different despite the similarity we see.  One is intellectually disabled and has Alzheimer's.  The other is an abuse survivor and on the RAD spectrum.  This causes misunderstandings between them.

At the end of the day, Lyn may walk by my son and say "Hi."   He may respond with "Please stop."  That small exchange can lead to hurt feelings and confusion.  Lyn greets you with "Hi" multiple times a day.  It can be an opening salvo to an attempt to play.  In her mind, it is a safe and effective greeting no matter if she's spent the whole day with you.  My son, who's now starting to exceed his aunt's mental capacity, knows she uses it as a play opener and responds with "Please stop" because he doesn't want to engage.

We've worked hard with him to get him to use those two words as a polite way to end an activity he's not interested in continuing.  It has taken many, many repeated applications to get him to see that he can set boundaries and have them respected.  Unfortunately, Lyn doesn't remember or understand this.  She perceives a rejection, no matter how politely issued, and she's hurt by it.

She's still able to tell me that something's bothering her and she can sort of tell me what happened if she addresses it immediately after it happens.  I definitely have to listen and fill in details.  When I ask my son what happened and he confirms what I've pieced together, I can explain to him that Aunt Lyn didn't understand why he said "Please stop."  I can explain that they have misunderstood each other.  While an apology shouldn't be necessary for something like this, I do encourage it.  It is good practice for him to learn that others may need a bit more compassion sometimes.  The apology is accepted and smoothes her ruffled feathers.  She offers a one armed hug and then seems to remember that a smile may be helpful.  However, in this case, she's not sure what the smile should look like and ends up just kind of baring her teeth and squinting her eyes.  If I was little, I might find it creepy and I suspect he does.  He won't tell me if that's what he actually feels.

When Mom and I are caring for our respective children individually, these situations are few and far between.  When we're together, she and I find we have to help them negotiate their exchanges to keep things going even relatively smoothly.  We have to subtly build in time for them to have breaks from each other.

It can be tiring.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Caveats

Conversations with Lyn are full of caveats and interjections.  She has a hard time keeping track of what she's saying and uses them as fillers while she's scrambling to figure out how to finish a sentence or convey a thought.  Skype doesn't allow me to clearly capture this but my cell phone proves useful when I'm with her.  The problem is that she'll usually make the best comments or examples of what I'm looking for after I stop recording.  Ah well.  We don't have cameras following her 24/7.

There are increasing occurrances of phrases like "What I mean is...", "Let me just say...", "The other month...", "You go that way and ...".  I just heard her say "I know..." six times in trying to make a single sentence to my husband.  She used to be good at conveying directions and letting you know where something is located.  She no longer has any clue.  If she had ever driven, I would seriously worry and have to take away her keys.  Fortunately, we're not faced with that.

Her hand movements are also greatly reduced in variety.  She will use a single finger point.  She will cross her fingers to signify a quote.  Most commonly, she uses a flattened hand with somewhat played fingers.  There's not much else.

Here's just a small example.  Her point was that she had done a good job on making a list for us to consider.

video

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Duck Pond Portraits

On Sunday, we met up with a friend of Mom's at the duck pond on the campus of UNM.  It is a quiet spot on the edge of campus which is frequently used by people getting portraits made.



He had offered to take some family portraits and we gladly accepted.  He had done some for us two years ago and indicated that he thought updated ones were in order.  It is amazing how much kids can grow and change in two years.  Two years ago, my eldest was shorter than me.  Now, the kid is at least as tall as his father if not taller.

It was a lovely morning and we found him quickly and easily.  Lyn brought her cane, knowing we would be stepping off the sidewalks.

We posed for pictures at the top of a rock strewn hill.  There were pines and cottonwoods providing ample shade.  The hardest part of this portrait session was ignoring the humming birds which flitted between the branches around us.  We had to keep reminding Lyn to look at the camera because the movement of a bird would distract her.  From there, we moved over the bridge to change the background.  That area was festooned with sparrows.

The photographer is familiar with Lyn and was able to get her engaged.  The best smile of the day came when he askeed to take pictures of her by herself.


He asked her to stand by a bench, knowing she was a little unstable.  She picked her pose and turned on the charm.


I had to chuckle to myself because she was clearly doing some of the balance issues for effect.  How do I know?  As we headed back to our cars, I watched how she used her cane when she thought no one was looking.



Yeah, she can be a stinker.  



Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Deciding What to Do

After returning from the ranch, Lyn wanted to make sure we decided what we were going to do during our visit.  She had been preparing her list over the past several months.



As we helped her identify each word, she would return to the top of the list and started over.  Her letter formation is still very good.  She's only able to print in all capital letters, but it is completely ledgible.  She's no longer able to read or sound out the words she wrote.  She's also not able to write anything without someone spelling out each letter to her.  If you say the letter, she can print it.


It took a while, but we got through the full list.  Tons of repitition occurred but she felt like we had come to a workable consensus.  We didn't have to call in my husband to help negotiate if she was unhappy.   We now have a plan for the week and she's content.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Visiting 7MSN

When someone tells you that they live 7 Miles South of Nowhere, you need to believe them.  They are speaking truth.  When they offer to email you directions from the airport and to meet you at a certain mile marker, don't blithely respond that you'll have your cell phones and can use a mapping app to get there.  You'll just hear giggles.  There are places in this world that are on a map but have no service and no formal address.  Our adventure on Saturday took us miles down a dirt road and over a condemned bridge to just such a location.

The condemned bridge in the middle of nowhere


I've read the 7MSN blog for years now and have loved the pictures and stories the author tells about her herd and her life living amongst the swallows and antelope.  I have admired her resourceful approach to problems and her appreciation for the beauty which surrounds her home.  



We were honored to receive an invitation to drive out and meet her and the herd if we felt Lyn was up for it.  With the help of a bit of chemistry and preplanned timing, we felt such a visit was possible.  We agreed to meet at the side of the road at 11, have lunch together, meet the herd and head out by early afternoon.  From our perspective, the visit was a great success!  Our hostess was gracious and patient.  She laughed with us and guided us through the interactions with her herd.

George, Carson and Lucy
 
Mom and Lyn meet Alan


Her dog, horse and donkeys all allowed us to love on them.  Her horse, Hank, decided my husband was a good scratching post.  George backed into me and pinned me against Alan to demand I scratch his butt.

Lucy is saddle trained.  Carson saddled her so we could ride around the corral.  Lyn decided she didn't want to try riding, saying "My riding days are over."  Lucy was fine with the idea of riding as long as the person on her back weighed less than 60 lbs.  She was perfectly coorperative and gave rides to my little one.  When I tried to climb up, she moaned.  Moaned!  I realize I'm carrying a few more pounds than I like but one could have some seriously wounded pride when a donkey objects to you being there.  All my kind words about how beautiful she is would not move her.  She didn't verbally object to my husband but she also wouldn't move for him either.  We respected her opinions on the matter and quickly got down.  Her house, her rules, afterall.

To make amends, we offered up sliced watermelon and apples.

Lucy and Hank demand offerings

George, Alan and Lucy are lined up and ready

Those lips!

Hank is eager for melon
Our attempts to make amends were greedily accepted.  Those faces were all saying "GIVE ME IT!"  Hank got to lick the bowl clean because he's the head of the herd.  My hand got washed too in the process.

Smooch, Carson's dog, was a complete love.  She barked at us when we arrived but quickly accepted our presence in her space.  She was playful, happy and gentle, allowing each of us to love on her.  At one point, she put her paws on the bench Lyn was sitting on and tried to stretch up to give her a kiss.  We brought her a toy which she gleefully tossed about.  Smooched lives up to her name, offering kisses.

Smooch
A few hours after meeting up at the designated mile marker, Lyn was clear that it was time to go.  We said our good byes, promised to visit again and started on our way back to town.  I'm SO glad Carson and I connected through her blog.  She's a lovely lady!  Her herd were all so sweet.  We felt welcomed from the moment we opened our car door.  Here's hoping to another visit when we come out next year!

Thank you so much for opening your gate to us, Carson!  It was a good day for us and we hope you enjoyed our crazy little family too.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Heading Home


Do you ever stop thinking of your home town as "home"?  I've lived in Virginia for 24 years and I still think of New Mexico as home.  

It's that time of year for my family and I to make our annual pilgrimage to NM.  I hear the chile harvest has come in early and I'm honestly looking forward to the smell of roasting green chile.  They're having a monsoon this year and we might have rain.  That may not seem exciting but they've had drought for years and the state will be as close to green as it gets.  

We know we'll visit Carson at her ranch, have portraits made and go bowling.  We know we'll go by "the burrito store" so my little one can get a burrito through the drive up.  Of course, the real New Mexicans in the car forgo the chile but the rest of us indulge.  The Virginians will eat chile with nearly everything as though a week's worth of chile should last us through the year.  (It doesn't.)  

I know we'll have to sit down with Lyn to review the list of activities she's been composing for months to pick a few things to do.  There's no way we can do them all.  If Lyn objects, I'll get my husband to tell her it is OK and she'll believe him.  Work necessitated a change in our schedule for the first time that I can recall.  Some of the things we wanted to do have had to be set aside this year.  It just gives us more to select from next year.

We'll see Mom and Lyn before we sleep tonight and we're looking forward to it.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Corn Harvest

One of Mom's brother's called to let her know he had started his corn harvest.  Did she and Lyn want any fresh corn?  Of course!  There's nothing as good as something fresh picked.  So, they quickly jumped in the car to drive over to his house.


It's funny.  In looking at this picture, I can see the family resemblance between them.  I've never really noticed that before.

Sharing your corn with someone is a small thing but it delighted both Mom and Lyn.  Because Lyn was so smiley, Mom asked if she could take their picture and if my uncle was OK with us posting it on the blog.  He didn't mind and followed up with a statement that is typical of him.  "I'm not hiding from anyone."


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Postcards Part 4

Our annual visit to NM is just around the corner.  Our time with Mom and Lyn will be a bit disjointed as we won't all be staying for the same amount of time.  I think we tried to maximize how many times Mom gets to go to the airport to facilitate flights.

One of my goals for our visit is to pick up some postcards to send to her when we get back.  Yes, I know they'll be New Mexico postcards but if I'm now sending her cards from all of the places I travel, then I kind of have to send her some from NM even though she lives there, right?  It only seems like the right thing to do.

I'm very excited that one of our day trips is to visit Carson and the herd over at the 7MSN ranch!  Lyn knows we're going but she doesn't know what we have planned.  Mule riding is one the agenda!  Perhaps I'll print off a picture or two from Carson's For You page and make some postcards to send to Lyn.

Who doesn't like getting a picture of some cute asses in the mail?  :D

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Postcards Part 3

While out at the beach over a recent weekend, I picked up two postcards.  One is for Lyn.  The other is for Mom.  They arrived on the same day last week.  Lyn was excited to see a postcard.  That quickly changed when she realized the second card was not for her.  She really didn't say much but her expression conveyed displeasure 

The card I sent Mom had a picture of two naked toddlers on the beach with their backs to the camera.  One child was seated and one was standing.  The standing child's rear was covered by two strategically placed sand dollars.  The card said something about finally having found a nude beach.  Mom read the card to her and then had to explain what it meant.  Lyn was not happy.  She turned on her heel, as much as se can these days, and stomped off to her room.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Postcards Part 2

Lyn received another postcard last week.  This one was from a former neighbor who visited with Mom and Lyn on a very regular basis.  Lyn liked this neighbor.

When the card arrived, Lyn insisted it was from me.  The sender had printed everything to try to make it easier for Lyn to read.  Mom showed Lyn the name and asked if it was from me and Lyn insisted repeatedly that it was.  Mom tried comparing the writing and the names on this card with a post card Lyn had previously received from me.  Again, Lyn insisted they were both from me.  She was unable to read the words or recognize the differences in names, spellings or handwriting styles.

Mom explained it was from the neighbor who had moved away.  "Oh, yeah."  Lyn responded.  However, from the blank look in her eyes, Mom could tell that Lyn had no idea to who Mom referred.  Mom referenced the little dog the neighbor owned and got an "I know" but could again tell she had no idea and was covering.  Mom pointed out the house they used to live in and said it was nice for the neighbor to send Lyn a post card.

Lyn was surprised!  "She did?!"