My dad did some amazing things for me. One of them is that he helped me move to Santa Barbara, California. I graduated at 21 years old in Finance from University of Illinois in '97 when there was a big technology boom. I had five job offers as companies were hiring people like crazy. I remember the two best offers were from, EDS and Unisys. With the Unisys job offer, I could live in Chicago, my home town, but I had to travel Monday through Thursday. With the EDS offer, I had to move to the client site and I had to go on their two year system engineer development program. I said I would go with EDS if I liked the city that I was going to move to. They asked me about Kansas City, I said no. They asked me about Detroit, I said no. Finally they asked me about Santa Barbara, CA to work with the clients Delco and Litton. Delco makes turrets for army tanks and Litton makes rockets. EDS, also known as Electronic Data Systems was the company that Ross Perot started. I took the offer in Santa Barbara, CA and I was super excited!!! First thing that I had to do was look it up because I had no idea where it was in California. It was on the beach and I can learn to surf!!!! Hooray! The pictures of Santa Barbara were so beautiful. There was lots of fighting at home especially with my brothers and I was thrilled to get away. Far away. Santa Barbara, CA was over 2000 miles away from home for me.
The problem was how do I move my car there and my stuff? I decided to drive there. "Over my dead body", my dad said. He was afraid for me. "Oh yes I am" I said. I was always super independent. My mom used to call me a GDI, God Damn Independent, because I had no fear. I wanted to see the world and I had a lot of excitement about doing it. "I'm coming with you", my dad said. "Oh dad, you worry about everything", I said. "You have no idea what kind of danger you can fall into", he said. I was so happy! He really did do a lot for me, including driving me to my new home in California. I packed my Honda Accord up with as much as I could fit in the back seat and the trunk and we were off. I said my goodbyes to everyone including that boy that I was in love with in college. We were hugging and crying for a long time before I left. I was young and I wanted to explore. Adventure awaited.
We drove down the long winding driveway waving goodbye and were on the road. I love road trips!
Isn't this the greatest dad? He just nodded his head. He was a good sport and we visited a friend for dinner in St Louis who made us huge steaks. This was before my vegan days. Then we drove some more from there before getting a hotel in Kansas City. We got breakfast and took off right away. All he could talk about was some horrible accounting job assignment that he was put on in Haines, Kansas. We hit the flat lands and saw nothing but tumble weeds for hours. As far as he was concerned, we could flush Kansas down the toilet. He had a crude sense of humor but of course this was only because this part of the drive wasn't as pretty as the rest.
Next we went to see another friend who lived in Gunnison, CO where she went to college. I made my poor dad take the long way with all my stops. I was just so excited to see some things along the way. My friend worked in a bar and we went out all night while my dad went to bed early to prepare for the drive. The next morning I was cursing to myself that I would never drink again as I nursed my hangover with some water while I struggled to sleep on the arm rest trying to hide from the sun. My dad had no mercy to let me sleep in longer, "let's go" he said. He would giggle at my misery. Actually this was the time that he really loved to tease me the most calling me a snake with a huge giggle. Next he wanted to go the four corners in the US. It's where you can lay down and put one arm in one state and the other arm in the other state and one leg in a different state and the other leg in a different state. You have 4 body parts in four different states. You snap a photo and hit the road. We saw some beautiful colored rock formations in Arizona and spent the night in the Arizona desert. When we woke up we through Monument Valley. I was loving out trip.
Of course we had to stop at the Grand Canyon on the way. When am I ever going to be in this area again dad? He agreed and we went. When we got to the Canyon, he told me about a joke where you could jump down from one rock to another and it would look like you were falling into the canyon. I thought this was hilarious so we took a bunch of pictures together "falling" into the canyon. He couldn't handle watching me pretend to fall into the canyon any longer and walked back to the car. "What's going on dad" I asked. He said that he loved me too much and he couldn't stand the thought of me really falling into that canyon and getting hurt. I stopped joking and we take off. He has a real soft tender side to him. This was the part that I loved the most.
Before you know it we were in the Mojave Desert in the middle of the afternoon in summer. There is absolutely nothing to look at for hours and hours. "Are we there yet?" I kept thinking. They had call boxes every mile or so because so many cars break down in the desert. "That will never happen to me", I thought. Putt, putt, putt...my car breaks down in the middle of the Mojave Desert! My dad was right in that dangerous stuff could happen and it did. We walk to a call box as it was pre-cell phones. "Watch out for rattle snakes" he said! "OMG, I'm going to die" I said. He just laughed his silly laugh. Ugh, we were so close!!! The tow truck driver picks us up and all three of us had to squish into the front of his truck. He towed my Honda to a mechanic in Barstow, CA. On the drive there he was telling us about his other job as a mortician and all about embalming bodies. Yikes!!!!! He talked frankly about it as if it was no big deal. Normally I wouldn't have been scared by this but the fact that we were stranded in the desert listening to the details of a morticians job was scary. My poor dad, the things I put him through.
We made it back to Barstow where we dropped my car off at a mechanic. We had to stay at the hotel next door. It was crazy. We thought it would be a simple fix. My ignitor coils melted. The mechanic needed parts but had to go to LA to get them. We stayed in the hotel for about three nights waiting and then said let's get a rental car and go. So we get a rental car and drive the rest of the way to Santa Barbara. I had to get to work on time and I spent too much time on the road. I didn't want to miss my first day. My mom flew out and picked up the part they needed in LA then drove out to Barstow and gave the mechanic the part. "Here, fix it now" she said. She was upset and felt it was a scam to get you to stay at the hotels and use a rental car longer. Then she drove my car the rest of the way to Santa Barbara, CA. My mom saved the day.
My parents dropped me off at the most adorable beach hotel with a big sunflower room with kitchenette two blocks from the beach. The company was paying for me to stay there for a month until I found a rental. Santa Barbara, CA lived up to its gorgeous reputation. In my opinion, it is the most beautiful city in California. It has the only east west mountain range in the state of California, blocking the smog from LA. The city is on the ocean and the Santa Ynez mountains are right behind you. I ended up renting a room from a rooms for rent ad and started my first job out of college at EDS at 21 in Santa Barbara, CA. I can't believe I'm here, I would think. This place is like a dream come true. And it was, for awhile. I have to offer huge gratitude to my parents who helped me so much with this move. They were the best. There were lots of happy moments. This was one of them. Santa Barbara was a Spanish city with white buildings, red tile roofs and flowers everywhere. It has the best sunsets and the most beautiful downtown with outdoor malls, plazas and yummy restaurants. I was in heaven! Much, peace, love and happiness you all. Does this remind you of any road trips? I hope it brings back fond memories!
I started writing when I was 18 years old when I was in college at the University of Illinois. I fell madly in love with a boy from my high school who went to the University of Iowa, 4 hours away. It was a time before cell phones and dormitory life. There was so much to do at the University that I didn't spend much time in my room which made it hard to coordinate phone calls. We literally had to make appointments to talk. Another way that we shared our love for each other was through love letters. I was so completely caught off guard with falling for this guy. I dated but I didn't have the deep feelings like I had for this one. We didn't try, it just happened. He sent me the first love letter and I was giddy beyond belief skipping around twirling my "I Dream of Jeannie" high pony tail. It was amazing how his words could light me up like a Christmas tree star. In his first letter he told me how special I was. This may seem like a simple thing to say to someone but at this time in my life, he had no idea how much this meant to me. Nobody ever told me that besides my parents before. I would hug the letters, smell his cologne and re-read them like they were the most precious pieces of paper that I have ever touched.
I would read them to my roommate as we would giggle with joy after each loving word. I would throw myself down on my pillow holding the letters to my heart saying his name, over and over again in a soft whisper. "You lucky bitch", my roommate would say. She made me laugh so hard. I had the best roommate ever who was just as excited as I was with each new letter. I began to write him back. I was never so open and vulnerable. It was so fun to tell someone how much they meant to you and it be mutual. I started to get more creative with the letters by changing colors of my markers with each new sentence. I added perfume and I kissed each envelope with gobs of red lipstick. I decorated the envelopes with sparkly puffy paint that took a whole night to dry and then I would flip it over and puffy paint the other side. These were some of the most colorful, sparkly, smelly letters that I have ever scene. He would write me back with something even more sweet. Before I knew it we were making cassette tapes for each other with our favorite love songs on them and sending them in the letters along with dried up roses. He was my baby and I told him this all the time.
I really loved him so much. I couldn't stop laughing whenever I was with him. He would somehow borrow a car and drive down during the craziest snow blizzards just to see me for one night. I couldn't believe someone would do all this just for me. We would stay up all night not wanting to waste a single minute. It was tricky in that I had a roommate. We would hang out at the bars as late as they stayed open and then we would make out in the dorm lounge all night. I would try to stay out of my dorm room until the morning. There was a serious lack of privacy most of the time that we dated. It seemed impossible to be alone with him but when we were, it was magical.
He used to surprise visit me. There would be times where I couldn't see him for 6 weeks and I would be walking down the quad and would see a Detroit Tigers hat with this duck tape on the back just like his hat. I would stop dead in my tracks while he would jump out of a bush. I would scream and hug him and cry. I missed him so much. He surprised me many times. One time I just got out of the shower and he called and he said hang on. So I did. I was at my sorority house where my room was on a floor with nothing but other female only dorm rooms. I hear a knock on my door and he burst into the room. "Surprise", he would run in with a handful of balloons, flowers, hugs and kisses. I completely fell over on the bed screaming with shock. He always got me. I was never prepared for his surprises as he was very creative. He would laugh and laugh and laugh and I would laugh too. He was hilariously fun. Of course we had no place to stay so I had to sneak him into the sorority house at night. He showered there in the middle of the night wearing my robe and towel on his head. He just needed to hide his hairy chest! At least I had a private room while my roommate slept in the dorm room filled with bunk beds.
I wish we could have gone to the same schools. Transferring was not an option for me as my parents refused to pay an out of state tuition. They also wanted me to graduate in 4 years and there was a lot of pressure to finish on time. I was happy to be in school as my home life was at the height of fighting. I wanted to do anything to stay away from home. This also created more issues because during summer breaks we had an opportunity to be together in our home town but I wanted to stay in summer school over going home again. He stayed with me one summer and it was a blast living with him. I felt like a real adult, playing house with him, making meals together. The distance wore on us over time but the love letters kept our college romance alive. We did every romantic thing you could imagine. I didn't even know I liked romance so much until it was happening and we were creatively coming up with more and more romantic things. I openly admitted that I was cheesy. I often said I was like cheese whiz! I could write about this forever.
One time I made him a candle lite dinner in a hotel room with flowers, beautiful music and a homemade meal. I made the dinner in my sorority kitchen the night before. I pre-made everything including the salad with salad dressing. I made every cooking mistake you could think of. He politely ate my droopy lettuce and I pretended like everything was delicious, just like I imagined this special night would be. My stomach starting gurgle with the worst pains ever. I felt a fart coming on and squeezed as hard as I could. I surrendered and ran to the bathroom with the worst diarrhea afterwards in this tiny hotel room. I turned on the water and tried to be quiet pretending like nothing was wrong. My only give away was that I was in the bathroom for like a half an hour. Every time I thought I was done, more came. How embarrassing!!! He thought it was funny. "OH MY GOD", was all I could think. I was humiliated that this happened during my special romantic dinner with him. He loved me anyway and we had the best night despite my cooking fouls. I will never put salad dressing on a salad the night before again! NEVER EVER!
Recalling these memories still makes me shine. Honestly I was laughing through writing this whole post. I started writing with love and the joy has never left me. As I continue to write, I pour my whole heart and love onto the page. In my opinion, that is the only way to write. Many times I have cried and laughed through my posts, scared to press post but I do it anyway. I want to live. I want to write. I want to love. We are no longer together but he holds a very special place in my heart. He always did. Peace, love & light beautiful people! Tell me, did you ever write love letters? I'd love to know:)
One of the first weekends of my yoga teacher training we opened up our dialogue. We were just casually talking about something I can't remember but I remember saying "I don't trust anyone." I said it pretty casually without really realizing the impact of this statement. It just slipped off my tongue so somehow it was in me. We were sitting in a circle and my teacher had me look at everyone and say "I don't trust you". I was thinking this is ridiculous but I went ahead with the exercise anyway. I started to go around the circle and said "I don't trust you". Then I looked at the next person and said "I don't trust you". And the next, "I don't trust you". And the next, "I don't trust you". I continued on until I said it to everyone in the room. By the end I was in tears. I did have trust issues. The realization of this fact hit me like a brick wall. Let's face it, if you are an adult, chances are that you have gotten hurt at some point in your life. In the process of protecting ourselves we energetically shut down. Or at least I did.
As I was going around in the circle and saying "I don't trust you", different reasons popped into my head on why I didn't trust them. My mind was brilliant at coming up with little stories of fear that weren't true. They were just my imagination and they weren't real. The problem not trusting anyone is that you are spending a lot of time alone as relationships are built on trust. When we were doing this trust exercise, what I really was saying is that I want to trust you but I'm scared. I wanted to open up to this new group of people. I was dealing with serious issues and I needed to be able to be open about what I was dealing with because I was having a hard time doing it alone. If we stop taking risks on trusting people then we are missing out on a lot of joy. Our relationships make us feel happy. Love makes us feel happy. We need each other to hold hands with as we go through turbulent stages of life as well as share in our successes. Our lives become more rich when we open ourselves up, trust and love one another.
Throughout the yoga teacher training, we all opened our hearts and worked through all of our chakras, the yoga sutras, Bhagavad Gita as well as energy work. Once I realized that I really didn't trust anyone, I made a conscious effort to take a chance on this beautiful group of people. I opened up my heart and I talked about my healing journey as I was actively making changes to improve my relationships and life. Our group bonded and we became close because we learned to trust each other. I learned that everyone is scared to some degree to open up. I was ready and simply went for it and I'm so glad that I did. Really connecting with someone is so special. When it happens and it is real, somehow we don't feel so alone. Life becomes more interesting and people are absolutely fascinating. I love learning about other people's lives. We yearn to be known and to be heard.
When we learn to authentically connect with each other like this on a deeper level then everything else seems boring. Who really likes shallow small talk? I mean, it's ok for a little bit but then it's simply more fun to really connect. Life is real. Life has many ups and downs. Life becomes more joyful when we have people to share our ride with. I learned to trust this group of people and love them. And yes, life became better. I'm glad that I got over my trust issues. I'm glad that I took a chance. I moved from Chicago to Clermont, FL and I was lacking depth in my new relationships. I was lonely. I really wanted real friendships with people whom I can really care about and love. I wanted community in this new town that I was living in. Take a chance and open up. Yes you might get hurt but don't stop being kind and loving. You will find your people if you keep trying. As Michael Singer, the author of The Untethered Soul says, "go into new situations with a beginner's mind. Don't let past experiences affect new ones." I'm so glad that I did this yoga teacher training. I feel joy despite the obstacles that I am facing. Much peace, love and light to you all. What do you think about this post? Does it resonate with you? Please feel free to comment as I really do want to know you.
When I was about 16 years old I was searching my dad's office for something, I can't remember. I open his roll top desk, open all the little drawers inside and then opened a side drawer. He used to lock this desk but for some reason it was open. I was innocently looking for something office related. Instead I found a letter in an envelope. For some reason I pulled it out, I don't remember why. This was 27 years ago for me. I read the letter and it was a note that said, "I wish I was a better dad. I wish I was a better husband. I wish I made more money at work. I wish I was a better looking man. I wish"...and it was a list like this then went on the full page. At the end "I don't know how to do better. I am not good enough." At the end it said "I want to kill myself". It devastated me. I quickly folded the letter and put it back so that no one would find out that I accidentally found it. I never told anyone that I found that letter. It scared me down to my bones. I was in a panic and was thinking, "when". I still have time to tell him that he is enough, he can change anything that he is unhappy about and that I love him. I was dedicated to being his friend and help him find happiness.
We lived in a big house but we often hung out in the small sunroom in the corner of the house. We had a hammock hanging from the walls and a hammock chair swing overlooking our yard. There was a tv in the corner of the room. My dad was often drinking beer, I think it was Old Style. I would sit back in the sunroom with him and talk about life. I would ask him lots of questions about life, what to major in, where to go to college, etc. He would tell me how unhappy he was. My father suffered with depression for a very long time. Most of his adult life. He always seemed sad to me. He told me that life was cruelly lonely. I was thinking, how can that be, you got me, my brothers and mom. At this time, my brothers were starting to fight and get into mischief. I was up to my own shenanigan's but I was better at hiding it. We move to a new town when I was 15 and they were 11, 11, 13 and 18. He was frustrated and said he had no control over them and didn't know what to do. He was unhappy with my mother. They used to have terrible screaming fights. When I was younger, I remember my mother calling the cops on my dad. We spent hours talking about how unhappy he was. I didn't know it at the time but this is called "emotional incest". Emotional incest is when a parent looks to their child for emotional support or treats them more like a partner than a child. The problems that he was going through were too heavy for me to deal with, I was just a kid really. I was dedicated to making my father happy so that he wouldn't kill himself. The fear was real for me but somehow I blocked it out and never talked about that letter.
To make matters worse, my mom would sneak around the door of the sunroom and hear my father complaining about his marriage to me. She would get furious and would scream at him to "go hang out with your other wife". It was devastatingly cruel. I couldn't tell her what I was worried about and now I didn't trust her. I really should have been talking to an adult about what I was going through but clearly not either of them. I felt fear for my father and betrayed by my mother. My mother did work super hard and she expected everyone to help. Specifically I remember her coming home with groceries and if we didn't stop and help her right away then we were screamed at. Now that I'm an adult, I understand why she was tired and needed help. I just didn't see it as a kid. I just saw my mom as someone that I couldn't trust because I never knew when she would turn on me. Of course she's my mom and I loved her. She has a very likable side to her and I often wanted a better relationship with her than I did. I graduated at 17 years old and was off to college shortly after this incident.
The reason that I think of this now is because my dad is very sick and I keep having all these flashbacks. I also want better relationships in my life and I am doing some self inquiry on where I seemed to be stuck. My ex-husband was depressed most of the time that I was married to him. I think I thought I could save him too. Maybe his sadness is what attracted me to him. It was so familiar. I was thinking about this because even though I have a lot of people around me in my life, I somehow found myself feeling lonely tonight. Maybe it was just the first time that I have been alone at night in some time. Lately my mom is here or my children. My mom is in Chicago and my kids are at their dads and I got to meditate for the first time in awhile. As I meditate I have these panicky urges to do something. I resist them because I know that doing something is just distracting me from dealing with myself. I want to go clean my house, go check out this new/used bedroom set for my girl, visit my dad, hang with my ex and kids. Instead, I do nothing. I just breath and tears roll down my face. Sometimes I feel like I did all this spiritual work on death and I'm ok about my dad's situation but lately I feel sad. It seems to come and go in waves. You never really seem to get over it. It just seems to hurt less over time.
I've been able to visit my dad alone at his Assisted Care Facility, Crain's Lodge. When I see him, he is so docile and weak and I never saw him be aggressive. I don't doubt it if the care facility says that he has been. When I am with him he is tenderly sweet. His speech is so disoriented but it sometimes ends with, "this is what you have to do. See?" He is still trying to parent me even though he is sick with Alzheimer's and can barely sit up or stand up. He talks in a really soft kind voice. When I see him lately he is hunched over really bad. When I come in, I crouch down by his feet and tell him about my day or I try to move him to the couch or take him for a walk. The other day I helped to feed him soup because the spoon kept going on an angle and spilling the broth everywhere. He was hungry. I plan to ask the facility what his medication is because when I first moved him there he was moving around a lot better. I must be coming right when he gets his medicine or they up'ed his medicine. Either way, I talk as nice as I can to him and I often hug him and tell him I love him. I know he can read my energy even if he can remember me. He seems to remember me but he can't say my name. I often remind him, "I'm Amy, your daughter".
I am reading a book called "The End of Alzheimer's" and this book gave me some hope. Sometimes hope feels like a wicked thing but it's all we have. This book talks about how switching to a mostly plant based diet, can help stop or reverse Alzheimer's. No dairy, no soda, no fatty treats like cakes, cookies or ice cream, no trans fats or fried foods, no alcohol, or processed foods. Basically eat clean. If you do eat meat then this book recommends that it only be a condiment. I personally recommend getting off of it. If I agree with everything in this book or not, it doesn't matter. The bottom line is that they were specific case studies of people who reversed or stopped their Alzheimer's. I got a glimmer of hope. I know I can help my dad if I can take him home with me. The only thing is that I need help with him. He needs 24 hour care. I feel like this is his only hope. The assisted care facility, Crain's Lodge, feeds everyone a basic Standard American Diet, SAD diet. The use white bread, desserts and sugary drinks. It's all typical American fare. He'll never get better there. If I bring him home then I also have to deal with my mom's own eating addictions. I think she'll give him whatever he wants. She doesn't believe me.
I can't help but to wonder if his condition can improve with diet change. I can help him improve this significantly. I feel like at this point, he has nothing to lose, everything to gain. He will still be a handful so I would have to hire help on care.com. This hope that I feel is the same hope that I felt with trying to help my dad when I first found his suicide note. I can help but I also need help. I would have to add combination locks on my doors and hire a caretaker. I still can't help but to feel like I can't give up on my dad. It's his life. He is young. He deserves better. He would do anything for me. Alzheimer's is a terrible disease. He is robbed of everything that is him. When he is loved, then he is absolutely the kindest, most gentle person I know. He needs help eating, dressing, bathing, going potty, everything. His disoriented speech is a big thing that I notice. He wants to talk but he can't seem to get it out. He also wants to walk, all the time. I would have to walk him everyday. I just worry about being stuck to my house.
After my meditation I was reflecting on how I would talk to my dad as a kid and try to "help" him by being his friend. I was thinking that despite all my efforts to make him happy, I now realize that no one can make you feel anything. He had to find happiness all on his own. Besides, thinking back, my advice that my adolescent self was giving him was terrible. I often told him, "just get divorced", problem solved I thought. What was nagging him was his soul. His soul needed to be healed. As I realize that he had to find his own happiness, so do I. I am searching somewhere deep inside and breathing. You know, it is nice to be alone once in awhile. I feel better already. Thank you for listening. I love you all. Peace. Pray. Love. And please eat more fruits, vegetables and get 15 minutes in the sun for vitamin D as much as you can. It's in the book:)
Have you had any experiences with flying monkey's working on behalf of a narcissist? I personally experienced and saw this happen to me and a dear friend of mine. It's scary to think that there are people out there who intentionally try to hurt you especially when you have done nothing to warrant this abuse. Abuse is exactly what it is too. Narcissism is a spiritual reality in which the person operates on a lower level (using their primitive brain). They lack empathy. They are all about their own success, getting ahead and not caring who they hurt. A flying monkey works for the narcissist and may pretend to be your friend only to report back to a narcissist. A flying monkey might also not even know they are working for a narcissist, especially if the narcissist is a skilled covert narcissist. The narcissist can often play victim to and blame the innocent target. The narcissist is spreading a smear campaign against the target and flying monkeys do whatever the narcissist says out of fear of being ousted from "The Group". I often think about the power of "The Group" and how good people will do things that are not so kind in efforts to belong to "The Group". "The Group" leader, a charismatic narcissist, is often a very likable person that people want to be friends with. They overlook the evil things that the narcissist has done simply to be liked by this leader and the power of their group. Creating awareness can help protect you from abuse. This term is not formally used or taught in medical practice but it's real. If you find yourself in this type of situation then you can recognize it and do things to get out of an unhealthy situation. Find people who really love you and who do things to elevate you. If you energetically feel negativity from someone then trust your instincts. Protect yourself because not everyone is evolved enough yet to know that love is god. Love is at the core of our being and our natural state. If anything feels the opposite of love then stay away. Famous narcissists are: Adolph Hitler, Ted Bundy, OJ Simpson and Kim Kardashian. The term Flying Monkeys is defined in the dictionary:
The definition according to Wikipedia is:
"Flying monkeys or apaths, is a term used in popular psychology mainly in the context of narcissistic abuse. They are people who act on behalf of a narcissist to a third party, usually for an abusive purpose (e.g. smear campaign). The phrase has also been used to refer to people who act on behalf of a psychopath, for a similar purpose. The term is not formally used in medical practice or teaching.
Abuse by proxy (or proxy abuse) is a closely related or synonymous concept. The term is from the flying monkeys used by the Wicked Witch of the West in the 1939 film Wizard of Oz to carry out evil deeds on her behalf."
Flying monkeys can be anyone who believes the narcissist's fake persona including the narcissist's spouse, child, friend, sibling or cousin. According to popular psychology author Angela Atkinson, flying monkeys are usually unwittingly manipulated people who believe the smears about the victim although they may be another narcissist working in tandem.
According to narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) author Sam Vaknin, and other writers, proxy abusers can come from a number or sources:
The flying monkey does the narcissist’s bidding to inflict additional torment on the target. It may consist of spying, spreading gossip, threatening, painting the narcissist as the victim (victim playing) and the target as the perpetrator (victim blaming). Despite this, the narcissist does not hesitate to make flying monkeys his or her scapegoats when and if needed.
The flying monkeys may make it seem like the narcissist is not really involved, and they likely have no idea that they are being used. Multiple flying monkeys act as a mobbing force against a victim. In divorce conflicts, the children can be used by one party as a weapon against the other party.
Motives behind the narcissist's support group can be multiple. Service providers may be seduced by the narcissist's charm into taking a one-sided perspective. Family members may in good faith attempt to sort out the "problematic one". The codependent may seek to participate in the narcissist's omnipotence, or use them as sanction for their own aggressive instincts. Alternatively, others may simply be swept up by force of personality to define the situation along the narcissist's own lines."
Currently my house is under construction for remodeling. I am normally a very frugal person who doesn't spend much money on myself. At one point, I almost sold my house because there was so much work to be done to it. My mom needed help and moved in and that was how I made the decision to upgrade my house. With my mom there, I wanted it nice. She was going through a lot being separated from her husband who is in an assisted care facility. I had the original kitchen and bath in my house from the early 90's. It wasn't bad but it also wasn't that beautiful serene environment that made me happy to come home to. My mom is at the house full time and I have 2 children who spend a lot of time at the house. I also do a lot of work out of my house. The choice to invest into my house seemed like a no brainer. Moving cost money and the housing market is at a high point. It would cost me a lot to move and I would have to spend a lot to get what I wanted. I saw a lot of places and the taxes were also a lot higher. I decided with the decline of my parents health, that I needed to stay put. It was too much stress for me to deal with their illness, raise two kids, work and move.
I had a friend come to my house who is a designer, Silvana. Asking her to come visit was the best decision ever. I have fixed up the house a lot already and in the process, some things turned out great and I also made mistakes. I wanted to avoid anymore costly mistakes. She walked in the house and immediately was eyeing things up and down saying "um hum". When you walked into my house before, you walked into a cheap white tile foyer. Then if you looked left and right, those two rooms were forest green carpet, yucky! It you looked straight ahead you can see where I took out the maroon red carpet and put vinyl wood flooring down. I loved this vinyl flooring but in Florida, it would be better to put tile. In the kids bedroom I had tan carpet. My bedroom, the same ugly forest green. In the kitchen there was more cheap white tile. I honestly hated it. I wasn't sure how to fix it or what to do. Silvana's first suggestion was to not break up the flooring. She said I should do the same flooring throughout the whole first floor and choose a light color to make the smaller rooms look bigger. I followed her advice and all I can say is WOW! It is amazing what flooring can do for the look of your house. This will also be helpful for my mom with a walker as there won't be any transitions. I'm also adding in grab bars in the bathroom for her.
Silvana said that nothing goes in the house. She said when I walk in from the outside it was very warm light tan and then when you walked inside the rooms were a very rich terra cotta color. If you kept walking then I switched to cool colors with light blue. The rest of the house had cool colors and the lanai switched back to the warm light tan. She recommended to keep the theme of the house the same. If I wanted cool colors then keep cool colors throughout. I changed the terra cotta walls in the front rooms to a very light gray and a slightly darker gray to match the floors and to make the rooms look bigger. I changed the living room and kitchen to a white wash color with a light gray accent wall. White wash looks better with gray than off white she says. My bathroom and kitchen have been gutted and should be installed within the next few weeks. I have white cabinets, stainless appliances and a soft gray quartz counter with subtle sparkles being installed. I can't wait for the sparkles! Sparkles brings me joy!
New wall colors, new flooring, new kitchens and bathrooms are THE BEST! I spent so much time calling plumbers over the past few years to come over to fix leaks. I had electricians to the house. I hired carpet cleaners, I painted the house myself 2 times and still somehow couldn't get it right. My friend Silvana said, spend the money. The house is the most important thing. It's where you live and it should be a calm, serene sanctuary that you look forward to coming home to. "It will change everything for you", she says. "Your moods will be happier, your productivity will be more and it will feel good." Right now everything is still a mess but I am bursting with excitement as I see one thing put back to place at a time. Honestly, I hired a good contractor if you ask me. I got lucky and so far I'm having a very positive experience. There is someone at the house everyday working. The whole project will finish faster than expected and overall, I'm thrilled! I'm finally creating this amazing beautiful place to live in that I've always wanted.
I love the light colors. Silvana says, keep it simple. Do only two tones, with light colors. Then you can always add accent pieces with color if I want. Keep the calm simple two tone look. I love the windows that overlook all the trees in the backyard. She says to get simple wood furniture to bring the outside inside the house. Don't buy bulky couches with big arm rests. Buy furniture with simple lines and furniture that isn't so big as it uses up so much space. I'm already planning on swapping out my king bed for a queen and bringing in smaller furniture. I also swapped out the ceiling fans and light fixtures so that everything matches the theme of the house. It's going to be great! Step by step, it's coming together. There is a lot of stress in my life right now dealing with two aging parents and two small children however, I'm glad that I'm doing something for myself! This brings me joy and this is what is balancing the chaos.
If you have ever wanted to improve your house but you are on the fence then all I can say is, do it! You are worth it. Silvana was right, it has changed my moods. I feel grounded like I can grow strong roots and enjoy a beautiful creative space. I can't wait to show you the final product. Sending you lots of love and light! Besos!
P.S. If you also want a consultation from my friend Silvana, then it's worth it! Here is her website with contact information: silvanaliving.com . She tells me, "You see how important it is to LOVE where you live. To me it's an important base for a joyful life. It's where your inspiration starts!" Thank you Silvana, love you very much plus I'm inspired!
Also, my contractor Carlos Jimenez, from Fix Plus has been doing a great job! I will post some more photos soon and you can see for yourself:)
My mom retired with a full pension when she was 55 from teaching Special Education for 35 years with her PhD. They owned their house outright and wanted adventure. They did everything the "right" way and had a beautiful retirement cruising the world. My mother generously took me and my children on one of her world cruises. She felt like a cruise around the world was better than any education I could get. They would go on a cruise for a few months and come back to their home in The Villages for a few months. My dad was the former President of the Woodshop in The Villages, his playground. He would often come back, go to the Woodshop and carve caricature dolls of silly people. He has a childlike sense of humor. His house has stuffed animals everywhere, on the entertainment system, on his nightstand, on the shelf above the hallway to the bathroom in his bedroom. My mother fell in love with Bridge. It was a dream retirement where they could wake up every morning and decide what they wanted to do for the day. They never had to worry about money as those pension checks religiously kept coming.
My brother, Eric, worked for United Airlines so my mom, a skilled bargain hunter, got 1/2 off her cruises. About four years ago my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. This was devastating for him to know he had Alzheimer's. If we ever talked about it he would often burst into uncontrollable tears. This was very strange for me to see as this was my father, the smartest and strongest man I knew. He was an absolute genius. He loved things like his telescope, outer space, wood carving, science, history books and art. As he would often say, "I'm a happening dude.". He also had a wicked sense of humor. He was wittier then heck with his sassy comebacks if anyone was heckling him. He always loved a good heckle. He had a heart wrenching softness to his self deprecating humor. He would often say if you don't want to hurt anyone but you wanted to make a joke then make one about yourself. Everyone loves a good laugh. When I was younger, I used to crawl into bed with my parents and watch tv in between them. My dad would bring out one of his favorite stuffed animals, Betsy the cow, and talk like Betsy. He had different voices for many of these prized stuffed animals. He was like a big kid.
In December 2018 my parents were medically evacuated off of their 3 month Asian cruise ship. At this point my parents have been retired for almost 15 years and spent the past 8 years going on river cruises, cruises around different continents and cruises around the world. It sounded lavish to me but my mom said it was cheaper for her to cruise than any assisted care facility. On the cruise ships, they did their laundry, made their food, cleaned their room, everything. It made it a lot easier to care for my dad on the ship. If he wondered and got lost then he couldn't go too far. He was medically evacuated off the ship after a three month Asian cruise on their way home in Hawaii. My father was having incontinence. He started peeing in the hallways and literally dropped his drawers and pooped on the roof deck. I don't know if he forgot where the bathrooms were or what but it happened. He would never do anything like this when he was healthy. I know my mom was cruising with his as long as she could until she couldn't anymore. She often uses a walker and she would leave it outside her room before she would leave and he sometimes would see it and take off down the hallway. I wonder if this was another one of his jokes or if it was his disease. Either way, my mom was left there helplessly shouting for him to come back.
She said it was a nightmare trying to get home from Hawaii. She has her own illnesses with Parkinson's, Crohn's Disease and kidney stones. She ended up flying to Chicago to see my brother's Brent, Eric & Kirt, she was worried this would be my father's last trip in his hometown. Then she flew to Rochester, MN to go to Mayo Clinic. She has been going to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN for years. While in Chicago, my dad boarded an EL train by himself and ended up in a suburb on the south side an hour away. My mother had to file a missing person's report to find him. In Minnesota he left the hospital where she was getting treated and my dad was picked up by the police. Finally she flew home and was in the middle of selling her house in The Villages. She was going to move in with my older brother, Keith and he helped her find an assisted care facility in Safety Harbor, FL where he lives. My brother started an addition on his home so that she had her own bedroom near my father's home. In the meantime she needed a place to live and moved in with me as her house in The Villages, FL sold. While living with me, she loved the kids and she also liked that my job was more flexible and part time so she decided to stay with me. I never thought I would be living with my mother again, lol. My brother, 6 months later is still dealing with a construction project for an addition gone wrong, poor guy. He hired the wrong contractor. I told him she can stay but we needed to move my dad for two reasons. First he was being really sedated at the home where he was at. Second, I wanted her to stop driving 2 hours one way, 4 hours round trip to see him. It wasn't safe for her to drive so far to see him in her condition.
For my older brother, Keith and I, this was the start of our journey with taking care of our parents. The roles have been shifting. We are now more the parents while my parents are more the dependents. It has been an emotional journey especially as I learn more about Alzheimer's and that devastating side effects of the disease. It's terrible to hear that people can suffer with it for 9+ years. When they were medically evacuated, I felt a deep sadness. My dad was my friend. I used to walk with him and talk about life. I knew, we would no longer have our talks. He used to help me with everything. He helped me paint my house, coached my softball, took me on vacations, helped me with my school work, picked me up and dropped me off so many times amongst so many things. We used to wrestle, me and my four brothers as we all used to team up in efforts to take my dad down. He would be crying with laughter on our front lawn as we flexed our kid muscles and jumped on his back. He was careful with us and we loved it. Memories come to me in flashbacks now as I am with him in the silence. His speech has been the biggest thing to go as he can no longer remember all the words that he wants to say. I can only imagine his frustration. I'm currently in the middle of his care. He is now at Crain's Lodge in Clermont, Florida in their memory care. It has been a big adjustment for my mom to be separated from my father. She spent 47 years sleeping next to him now having to learn to sleep alone. I think for her, nights are the hardest as she misses him. I occasionally watch a girl movie with her to bond so that she isn't so lonely. During the days she can now visit him. For now, there is peace.
I am happy that they got to travel before all this happened. Overall, I am blessed. I just graduated my 300 hour yoga teacher training and at my yoga class where we were getting our certificates, my mom knocked on the door. She surprised me by bringing my dad to see me graduate. She said, "Amy, your father would have done anything for you. He would have wanted to be there." I was his baby girl, his only girl. Thankfully one of the students works with memory care patients and helped him find a seat while our graduation certificates were being handed out as tears rolled off my cheeks. This whole year I've been fighting to not cry but when it happens then it comes out silently but heavy. It was very touching to have my dad there and my mom never ceases to surprise me. She can be tough but she can also be super sweet and soft. She tells me she is so proud of me. As one of my Thai yoga clients says, "Nobody will love you more." Isn't that the truth? Peace.
AsHello beautiful people,
I just finished creating this new Assisted Thai Yoga video. Yes, I have to work, lol! I'm really putting in a lot of effort to grow my business and to share the healing art of Assisted Thai Yoga. I truly know this service will help so many people as it helps to lengthen the body, remove energy blockages and stretch the muscles, all in a therapeutic setting. I met this beautiful couple at an event that I worked and they offered to barter Assisted Thai yoga for filming my video. Yay! This video is my foundational flow in fast time. This session is normally 90 minutes but I did the flow quickly so you can see the full flow. Who wants to sit through 90 minutes, right? Many people ask me what Assisted Thai Yoga is and there is no better way to describe it other than to simply show you.
I was first introduced to Thai Yoga in my 200 hour teacher training. A few months later, I met a friend who was trying to book an appointment with a lady in New York who does Thai work and he couldn't get in for over a month because the service was in demand! Once people try it, I often get people who want to come back again and again. It's different than a massage in that I don't use oil. You keep your cloths on. I use a Thai mat on the ground verses a massage table. It's a little more interactive than a massage because it involves three dimensional yoga stretches verses a two dimensional service. If you haven't tried it then it's simply a MUST. I really mean that. You haven't spoiled yourself yet like you will during an Assisted Thai Yoga treatment. It's the ultimate in self care as there is something about holding onto your issues in your tissues. When the body opens then we can release that tension that is binding us up. There is also something healing about a loving touch. We want to be connected so much and it's amazing what a nurturing touch can do. I often feel bonded with my clients right away as I feel their wounds. I haven't worked with one person who isn't suffering in some way. People are either holding onto emotional wounds or there is an injury or tightness that they are working through. I really want to help people heal themselves. I want to see my clients happy, healthy and thriving. It's my life passion and there is nothing more exciting to me that to see my clients transform into the beautiful loving healthy souls that they are, healed.
After my friend told me that he couldn't get an appointment in New York for a month, I was curious. I started to do a lot of research and I came across a video by Michael Sitzer. He had a fast time video and I was super impressed by his work. When you want to provide a great service, you find a great teacher. I watched tons of videos and Michael's was one of the best. I had to go to this teacher. I saw that he had workshops in Atlanta, GA and I instantly booked and drove back and forth there a few weekends and another in Asheville, NC. Training was a beautiful experience. We often live our lives guarded, almost as if we are waiting to get hurt. During training, everyone was so open, eager and giving. Everyone, soaked up the information and generously showered each other with so much love and kindness. It really was a beautiful experience. I love it and I'm super happy to share it all with you now.
I presented the Assisted Thai Yoga sessions to Gina Keefe at One Yoga & Fitness and being the pioneer that she is, she offered her space for me to do sessions. This was a new service that the studio has never seen before. How can I encourage people to try it? How can I show people how awesome this service is? Live demonstrations are honestly one of the best ways to see what to expect. The other way is to show you with a video so that if you missed a live demo then you still have an opportunity to check it out.
Assisted Thai Yoga is a combination acupressure of Chinese Sen energy lines, Indian Ayurvedic Yoga postures and a Buddhist Loving Kindness meditation. You get to simply walk onto the mat with comfortable cloths, ideally without buttons or zippers for obvious reasons, and bliss out. This time is yours, undistracted with a therapeutic healer focused 100% on your well being. I can't think of anything more incredible than that.
Come see me. Let me take excellent care of you. I want to help you relax and enjoy this beautiful art. Call or text me today to make an appointment, 352-603-0025. Much Love & Light!
Hello beautiful people, I have to write about the good news too! The good news is that I just finished my 300 Hour Yoga Teacher training!!! Hooray! I'm super excited about finishing this amazing course with our teacher Shelly Kwiatkouski from Hot House Yoga in Ormond Beach. Shelly drove in from out of town one weekend a month to One Yoga & Fitness in Clermont for almost a year! We focused on anatomy, the chakras, Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Sutras, energy healings, sequencing, adjusting, assisting, breathing, meditating and breaking our hearts open so we could heal. It has been a wild healing journey for me. I walked into the yoga teacher training just wanting to do a handstand, lol! I had no idea what I was in for. We spent Fridays 5-9, Saturdays 8am-8pm and Sundays 8am-5pm working on our skills. This was a deep journey for me because I walked into this yoga training feeling like I already did so much self healing work that I thought I was done. I didn't know how much more I had to go. Every weekend I walked into the room with these girls just wanting to not cry and hold my shit together. Every weekend I unraveled and sobbed my heart out. It seemed like the tears wouldn't end. I didn't realize how broken and hurt I was. This beautiful and amazing group of people listened, held my hand and supported me while I healed one aspect of my life at a time. I'll be forever grateful for this beautiful experience of love and friendship. It wasn't an easy process for me but I needed it and I didn't know I needed it. After every weekend I would research videos on spiritual growth like I was hungry for it. I felt like it was the only way to find happiness for me so I was willing to work. I want a happy life. Shelly has a way of pushing your buttons in order to jump you forward and get you out of old patterns. It was uncomfortable at times because I didn't always agree but I did always respect the other opinion and I meditated on everything. I'm glad that I did it.
I selfishly wanted to do teacher training with Shelly because I loved her sequencing. I rallied some recruits together and told Gina the owner at One Yoga that we needed to do this training after it was originally passed over a few months back. I thought we could get enough people. She agreed and I invited some of these beautiful souls to go on this journey with me. 2 people didn't finish but they helped so much as well during the time that they were there. Shelly is an advanced teacher and while she claims that anatomy isn't her strength, it's definitely a strong point for her. She can choreograph a routine that twists you into all sorts of challenging shapes while she creatively stimulates your brain leaving you wondering what the heck will come next. After one of her classes your body aches for that savasana as you think what just happened. I would think "ok, I've seen it all" with her but she seemed to have an endless supply of tricks in her goody bag, keeping you wanting to know what else does she got. Let's just say, 14 plus years of yoga experience leaves you with a big goody bag. Shelly has super long hair down to her butt and somehow she can teach a class while demo'ing everything without messing all that hair up. She twists it into a bun, teaches and let's it all flow down as if nothing happened afterwards. Of course I don't have a picture with Shelly to show you but I'll get one:)
When you finish a 200 hour yoga teacher training then you can teach yoga. After a 300 hour yoga teacher training and your 200 hour yoga teacher training then you are a full 500 hour yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance and you can teach teachers. I've also got a 100 hour training for Bikram, 40 hours for a hot training and 60 hours for thai yoga training too. All this training can get expensive! I'm done with the big trainings for now. I'm very excited for all that has yet to come and I feel a grounding that I haven't felt in a long time. Something is anchoring me down while the chaos of life swirls around me. I found peace.
Namaste beautiful yogis. If you haven't tried my private Assisted Thai Yoga treatment then what the heck are you waiting for? I promise it will be a very therapeutic healing experience that will help you feel blissful afterwards. It's better than a massage in my opinion and if you haven't tried it then you haven't lived yet:) . It's the ultimate in self care. I'm teaching classes at One Yoga & Fitness in Clermont, FL. I would love to see you on the mat. Yoga is for everybody so please don't feel intimidated if you've never tried it before. I just did a thai session with a girl who said she couldn't climb stairs because the arthritis in her knees hurt her so bad. Yoga helped to heal her knees and now she has no issues climbing stairs. That is amazing. That is why I do what I do. That is something that I want to give to everyone:) . Come see me and let's work on it together:) . I offer privates if you don't like being in a big group setting. Much love to you all. Peace out beautiful people! I have a feeling that life is going to get good. Yes I have so much going on with taking care of my parents but I'm happy to do it despite the stress that I feel at times. This doesn't mean that I don't have a bad day, because I do. When I get super stressed out I think to myself. All I have to do is stop. Yes it's that simple. Stop. Find the quiet and listen. I love you. I hope you feel inspired to invest in yourself because you are worth it.
Alzheimer's is such a devastating disease for everyone involved. The other day my father was evicted from Benton House Assisted Living in Clermont because he was violent with staff. He twisted a caretaker's arms twice and punched a caretaker in the ear after a diaper change. It happened with a night nurse that I never met before so I don't really know what happened other than word of mouth. I have never witnessed any of this violence in any way from him but more than one person has told me and it is a known side affect of the disease so I believe it. When I see him, he seems so unstable and weak getting up and down that it seems hard for me to see him having the strength to hurt someone. I'm sure he was being sedated at Evergreen Manor in Safety Harbor, FL to help make his behavior more manageable. It's tough to know he is healthier not being sedated but I also understand that he can't be hurting staff. There has to be a balance with the medication so that he is only getting the minimum amount to keep him manageable. After what happened, I understand that his medication will need to be increased. I spent the night looking up Alzheimer's and violence. It is usually caused by fear. The best way to handle it is to try to alleviate their fear. The fear could have been from past traumas, the current situation or fear from a change in surroundings because Alzheimer's affects the short term memory where the long term memory is still available. A person with Alzheimer's can get confused, disoriented and scared in a new place because they can't remember the new place or why they are there or who the new people are that they are surrounded by. I wonder how much staff is trained on Alzheimer's and violence to help alleviate the patients fear to prevent violent outbursts. If a staff member is short or impatient during a diaper change then yes, this could create a fearful situation especially for my father as he is so unstable with standing. He is afraid to fall.
We were able to move him to Crain's Lodge in Clermont thankfully and they have the possibility of converting over to medicaid after 18 months where Benton House didn't have that option. It's really an emotional roller coaster with worry that I have over the situation. I worry that he will get kicked out of his new home. I worry about the cost. I worry about the medication being too much or too little. I worry about my mother's illness with Parkinson's. I worry about raising my children in a way where they don't have to worry or feel the worry that I'm feeling. I normally write everyday but I was frozen with anxiety. I couldn't sleep well at night and then I was exhausted during the day. I had to ask my neighbor to help me move my father's furniture out of Benton House and into Crain's Lodge. He forgot his tools so I'm asking staff to see if maintenance has a power drill and a wrench. I quickly move as I also have my 4 year old with me. I ask him to follow me back and forth to the car. Thankfully it's only a few trips. I load up my mother's car with all of his personal belongings and I drive to Crain's Lodge. We unload everything and I keep accidentally trying to leave the facility without the nurse buzzing me out and I set off the alarm. The facility is on lockdown with memory care because patients are escape risks. I move everything into Crain's Lodge with my son following me back and forth having to ring the doorbell each time and scanned out each time. I'm so lucky that my son is such a sweet boy and listened the whole time. The staff also helped me and they were great too. They run to their maintenance department and get a drill and a wrench for me. I put together the bed with the maintenance man and on my way out my son screams some of his full out soprano screams. "What is the matter?" I say. "He says he's mad at me because that's his bed and he says that he doesn't love me anymore." He's only 4 and I know he doesn't know what he's saying so I pick him up and talk sweet to him and tell him that we will buy him a better bed. I hold him but he refuses my hugs. I feel frustration with trying to help and keeping everyone happy. My mother has Parkinson's which is a form of dementia as well and she is on the verge of needing care. The cost of these facilities is outrageous. I drop off my son at his dad's house and go to work.
I teach my advanced yoga class. I have to admit, it wasn't my best class. It also wasn't the worst. My students are the best and even though I'm the teacher in the class, I'm learning from them. They work so hard and are always such good sports about trying something new. I'm glad I could push through teaching the class as I always feel so much better afterwards. I love connecting with my students. After I help to teach the high school class yoga. I could have gone home but I feel less stress at the yoga studio. We finish up at 8:30pm and I go home.
When I walk into the door I smell feces. I don't have any pets. My house is under construction with new flooring, kitchen and bath with handicap bars for my mom. She is sleeping in my daughter's room. I know she was exhausted as the day was hectic for her too. I tell her something smells and she hurries up and goes to the bathroom. Her stoma bag exploded. She had her colon removed due to Crohn's disease a few years ago and there is a lot of special care needed for a stoma. First of all, it has to be changed regularly and if there is gas then it needs to be released or the bag fills with gas. If you don't change it regularly then it explodes everywhere. My mom is in the bathroom cleaning up. She is half asleep. I run into the bedroom and change the sheets. Why did I keep all my father's stuffed animals? I have like 30 on the bed! Ahhhhh! I take everything off and rinse the spots before putting it in the washer. I rinse my mom's cloths and wash everything. I make the bed and leave the stuffed animals in the closet. My mom wants me to organize them but I'm exhausted. I have to help her change her stoma bag. She showers. Then, she holds paper towels over her small intestine that sticks out of her belly to prevent anything else from coming out. We have to put this putty around the stoma ring so that it seals the bag closed. Then we have to powder her intestine so it doesn't stick. It's hard for her to powder the bottom. Then we peel the back of the sticker off to stick the bag onto her belly. We go to bed exhausted. I'm glad my dad is moved and everything is taken care of, for now.
If you have it in you to say some prayers for my parents then please do so. Send them love, warmth, peace and anything else that can alleviate fear. I really believe that energetically we all can help in some way. My parents are just two people suffering with these awful diseases. Memory care is full at the assisted care facilities and there is a whole population of Alzheimer's patients and caretakers that also need some energetic love. From my perspective, the more you take care of yourself, the more you won't need help from your loved ones. My parents diet was what I call the SAD diet or Standard American Diet with processed foods, heavy animal products, dairy, fried foods, soda, sweets, alcohol, etc. There are many theories on the cause of this disease, round up, diet, clean water, etc. The one aspect that we do have control over is our diets. Nutrition plays a huge roll, no doubt in my mind. This is a newer disease in the era of fast, processed, genetically modified, drug & hormone induced food. I teach plant based nutrition because I know how much it helps to increase the autoimmune system to avoid autoimmune diseases. Everything I do is because of the love that I have for my parents and so that I can help prevent others from suffering.
I was trying to get my dad to look up in this photo but he wouldn't. People who know my dad in this picture would immediately see that he has lost a lot of weight. His checks are sunken in and typically my dad was chubby. He didn't start to gray for the longest time and it seems only within the past couple years that his hair has gotten more gray. He is starting to roll his lips under his teeth and I never saw him do that before. He will listen to me more than he will a caretaker. Today a caretaker tried to change his diaper and he got upset. I told him "it's ok dad, she is going to help you" and he calmed down. I walked into the bathroom with him to put him at ease and the caretaker expertly took off his depends and put a new one on with his pants around his ankles the whole time while he was standing. That was pretty good. She slipped it around his shoe and then up the pant legs and then did the pant leg first and then looped it around the shoe and then pulled them up. We try to go quickly to make it as easy on him as possible.
Today was my parents wedding anniversary but I didn't get a good photo of them. My mom took him to Target with her and then Benton House put flowers on the table and made a nice lunch for their wedding anniversary. My mom is hilarious. When you walk into this place, people are quiet and looking around a lot. There is some conversation but I'm sure that runs dry after you see the same people day on end. My mom makes announcements offering Italian Icee's for everyone. She bought two boxes at the store. She starts passing them out and the caretaker has to help her as some patients are diabetic and can't have it. River my son was all giggles in the home. Everyone is watching him and I think he enjoys the attention. He was sitting on bouncy balls and throwing them back and forth to me. We were laughing and playing. He comes by me and I kiss him everywhere and say "Why are you so yummy?" He has this crazy soprano scream so I have to be careful that he's not too loud. One of the caretakers says she just loves his laugh.
My dad walks and walks and walks circles around the place. He is restless and it is almost impossible to get him to sit down. He tries to open all the doors to the place and goes in other people's rooms. What is he looking for and why can't he sit down? Why does he like to move so much? Alzheimer's Disease is the worst if you ask me. The level of care that he needs is a lot. He's still in there and looks semi-healthy but his brain is gone. My mom and I both know that moves into a new facility are difficult so we visit everyday to help put him at ease. My mom took two trips today, all morning and the evening to help my dad adjust.
She really loves him and I can only imagine how hard it is for her to lose her best friend and husband. One of the things that she says is the most difficult is sleeping alone. Up until 5 months ago she slept next to him for 48 years. That's a big change. Last night my 2 kids slept with her but she said River somehow ended up with his feet in her face. I just laugh because I've been there. I co-slept with my babies. My mom loves the babies but they are getting big and they like to sleep horizontal, upside down, diagonal, like a star and any other position that somehow wakes you up. Bottom line, I can't sleep next to them as cute as they are. My little girl begs me to sleep with her and sometimes I will lay with them and as soon as they fall asleep, I stealth like slither off the bed and into my own room. My mom enjoys sleeping with them and kept saying how happy she was that they were sleeping with her. The day before yesterday my mom slept a full 5 hours and woke for a bit and then slept 5 more hours. She was totally relaxed and hasn't slept like that since she moved in with me in January. She is awake in the middle of the night often. I think she was relaxed to know my dad is in good hands. Overall the decision to move my dad to Clermont just feels right. I hope it goes well. Peace out my friends. Much love to you all.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of assisting a room full of high school sport teams experiencing their first yoga class. The room was still warm from teaching my advanced power vinyasa even though we opened the doors. It's getting hot in the Florida summers. I was wet with sweat from the previous class and I dry mop the sweat off the floor. The kids walked into the room and immediately started moaning and groaning about the heat. I was laughing because this was after we cooled the room off. It's still warm. Eventually these kids will grow to love the heat in a yoga room.
They place their mats on the floor and I don't know what to expect. For some reason I assume that because they are athletes that yoga will be easy for them. We ask the students to tell us their experience with yoga and many of them have never done it before. We start them in a standing position and the first thing that I notice is that their posture needs help. Many of them roll their feet into their arches which will affect their knees and hips later in life. We go over the basics of every position so that they know proper alignment when they start flowing. This prevents injury. When they do a forward fold, I'm surprised how inflexible they are. Bend your knees in a forward fold in the beginning to protect your spine. They come down to all fours and we teach them cat and cow pose. There is a simple lack of body awareness with isolating movements like your pelvis or widening your scapula. I teach them the difference between pronate and supinating the shoulders. They eagerly learn, grown and say how it's already helping. One kid says, "I can touch my toes. I have never been able to do this before." I am humbled as a teacher as I watch my teacher Gina Keefe expertly guide beginner beginners how to do the basics of yoga. Rebecca, the other assistant and I say to each other, "I'm so happy Gina is teaching the first one." I learn that I have to go way back to the beginning and teach the basics of every pose. I learn from the students how I can better serve. I also see how badly yoga is needed for our youth. These kids deserve to have healthy bodies. Yoga can do that for them. The need is urgent in my opinion.
The students were great and as I watch them I wonder, "Why isn't yoga taught in school"? These kids need it! They are developing their bodies, growing into their bones and yoga can help set them up for proper body alignment for the rest of their lives. Many of these athletes are so tight that I'm surprised that they haven't already gotten injured. I imagine how these problems grow as people age into adults. Yoga can save them from so many injuries, give them a better range of motion and create a body awareness that I think everyone needs. We live in our skin. The more that we know and understand how our parts work then the less pain that we have. We can live a life of joy, pain free if we are properly guided. Most importantly for these athletes, yoga can help them take off in their sports. As a former triathlete and marathon runner myself, I wish I had yoga. I was taking off in my sports but injuries slowed me down. I know this could have been prevented with proper training and yoga.
I am inspired by the willingness of these kids to get out of their comfort zone and try. They worked hard and many of them are soaking wet with sweat after class. They are gracious after they leave and I mentally think what I can teach these students so that they can be successful. I hope this program continues. I can thank their coach Paul for bringing them to the studio for these kids to experience their first class. For me, yoga has changed my life but that is for another post. For now, I'm just happy to learn and help. I'm excited to foster the excitement and curiosity of yoga for these students. Let the healing begin.
My dad's name is Wayne Charles Hendricks. My mother's name is Irene Marganelli Hendricks. Marganelli is her maiden name since she doesn't have a middle name. My maiden name is Amy Lynn Hendricks. Now, it's Amy Lynn Hager. I never changed it after my divorce so that my last name is the same as my kids. I have four brothers and I am the only girl. 3 of my brothers still live in Chicago, Brent, Eric and Kirt Wayne Hendricks. My oldest brother Keith lives in Safety Harbor, Florida. My dad moved into Benton House Assisted Living facility in Clermont, Florida last night. I saw him this morning and he looks good! I asked him if he feels better than he did at the other place and he said "Oh God, yes". He is alert, I can ask him questions and he responds. Overall he looks A LOT better. He went to the bathroom on his own too! I'm so happy. He likes to walk so we walked outside around the courtyard and sat outside on the rocking chairs where my son River ran to the door and back to mommy's finger that tickles his armpits. He giggles and laughs and my dad says that he likes him. Everyone at the home loves seeing a child in the home and River plays with everything. He throws a beach ball at me and I throw it back and he just keeps on laughing and playing. I stayed for an hour and then went back to my house. I'm exhausted.
Overall the past few days have been very emotionally draining. All I want to do is sleep. My mom came to see him after me and had lunch with Wayne. It's $7 for her to have lunch at the facility and I think she will do this from now on so that she can eat with my dad and not have to shop, cook and clean. It just feels right to have him here. He has a much nicer bed and we added pictures to remind him of home. He said that "it's nice". Then he said "Let's get out of here". I told him yes, that once my house is finished with construction then he can come home to visit. My mom likes it there and the whole staff came to introduce themselves. Everyone's energy was very light and upbeat which makes me happy. Tomorrow is my parent's 48th anniversary. I'm happy they get to spend it together. Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad! I love you! Peace Love & Light.
Hooray my dad is moved into Benton House! He is now about 15 minutes from me and I can visit him!!! Yay!!!!! I am happy and hopeful that this home works out for him. They have a beautiful facility and it is significantly nicer than his old home. There are more activities and the place has a happier vibration to it. He is close enough to come home for visits and I have some time to spend with him. He is a lot weaker but I'm going to try to take him on walks, his favorite activity with me. I didn't see it but the hospital in Safety Harbor, FL said that he walks well with a walker. I think this will save me a fall and he will be able to get out. Clermont has a beautiful lake front with a bike path that I hope to show him. The hospital said that he was stabilized but was a little agitated with the new surroundings. They said it is disorienting for an Alzheimer's patient to move so I feel this is normal. I haven't seen him yet believe it or not! This was like an all day affair today.
My mom has an 8am doctor appointment with a dentist and a 10am doctor appointment with a Neurologist for her Parkinson's and then we had a noon appointment at Benton House to sign paperwork. We had a novel to fill out. It really felt like a mammoth task to move him. We needed to get 1823 forms from the hospital, should we resuscitate or not forms, what does he like to eat, how does he like to wake up, power of attorney forms and finally furniture! They don't offer furniture so I gave him my son's bed and dresser set. I will buy my son a new set, I needed something fast. I have a Prius and my Darrel, my ex-husband has a Highlander. I see my neighbor Carl across the street getting his mail in his pickup truck. I run across the street and ask him if he can help us move his bed and some belongings. He was the most gracious angel ever who offered to help and wouldn't accept anything more than a handshake. I get out my drill and my ex has the wrench and we are drilling and unscrewing the bolts from the bed. Piece by piece we take it out to the truck. He has a tarp to keep things nice and off we go.
My mom drives separate because she has to shop for a mattress pad in case he wets the bed and an extra set of sheets and towels. Darrel drives separate with the kids and right before we were going to leave, my daughter bumps her head hard on my other neighbor, Elizabeth's coffee table. She comes home crying and we are alarmed. We put ice on her head and leave. She calms down in the car and both kids fall asleep. We get to Benton House and unload the truck through the back door while Carl watches the kids in the car that is still running for air conditioning. I drill the bed back together and Darrel tightens the bolts. I have to remember the code to get out of the place with every trip as memory care is on lock down so patients don't wander and get lost. Darrel takes the kids home and Carl & I drive to the front and spot my mom. She is worn down and is parked outside. I know she is in pain after 6 and I simply run out to the car and start carrying things in with Carl. I see her as I pass and she can barely talk and is super wobbly with her walk. She needs to rest. The home gets a wheel chair for her. I know she is in pain but I can't help but to feel like she puts on an extra pity show when she is around people. I feel guilty even saying this but I often see her walking up and down the hill in my yard with a hose watering the plants and she is fine. She does get worn down at night because she gets up so early so who knows. I put on the mattress pad, the sheets and the comforter and put away some of his things. Tomorrow I may bring the dresser for his cloths as my mom packed him a huge suitcase. He doesn't need all this stuff, but she wants it nice. We bring a big family picture from home so he sees something that he is familiar with. He has a roommate who seems nice but was sleeping the whole time. We have to be quiet and keep the light off for him.
During this whole time we are calling back and forth to the hospital for my dad to get his final check ups and discharge papers. The hospital provided transportation for my dad to get to the home so after we left the home around 7ish he was still an hour away. I run back to Darrel's house to check on the kids and bring them food. They are asleep and I quietly put on their pull-ups. I kiss them goodnight and go home. My mom wants to go back to the home to greet him but she falls asleep. I can wake her but I don't. She will be able to help him better if she gets a good night sleep. I turn off the tv, get her a glass of water and turn on a nightlight. Sweet dreams for now. In the morning, we go to see my dad!!!!
Tomorrow, the contractors tear out my kitchen tiles and continue to finish the flooring in the living room. The office is painted and the room looks amazing!!! I painted the walls a light gray color and the small room looks so much bigger. Today was a busy day but there are lots of good things happening. Energetically, I feel better making sure my dad is with my mom and that he is well cared for. Even though his speech is disoriented, energetically I feel his soul. I know he feels mine too. We silently connect and I feel his love. Sleep tight Prince Wayne. I'll see you soon. Peace and love.
"Mommy, my tummy hurts." "We'll be back at the house in 2 minutes baby." "Mommy I'm going to throw up." We pull into the driveway and I stop. "Open the door Pepper and throw up outside." "Mommy I can't." Blaaaahhhhhh! Blaaaaaaahhhhh! Blaaaaaaaaahhhhh! OMG! Projectile vomits flies all over my car. You gotta be kidding me. I run around to her door faster than Speedy Gonzales and take her out of the car and lean her over the grass. She stops. "Why didn't you open the door." "I couldn't." I had the child proof on the darn cars! Aaaahhhhh! Red slime and chewed grapes are slimed all over the passenger seat and in between the seat and the console. She seemed to find all the cracks. There is toys all over the floor covered in vomit. And there is vomit on the carpet. My kids haven't thrown up in a long time. My daughter sometimes gets car sick but she hasn't thrown up in like forever. I got a bucket of water and a rag to clean this one as I peel one slimed toy after another out of the car and hose it off. Seriously you all, moms do so much! She says she's sorry sheepishly. I look at her with love, reach my hands out to her neck and jokingly strangle her. She laughs and I say I still love her but I don't like her yucky throw up. I clean the mess and we all relax again. That wasn't fun.
My dad has been at the hospital the past 3 1/2 days. The hospital is going to transport him to an Assisted Care Facility in Clermont, Florida where my mom and I live tomorrow. They reduced his medication and he is doing better except he has a bad headache. I'm sure weaning him from some of his medication has it's side affects. I am happy that he will be only 15 minutes away. Now my mom can stop driving so far to see him. It is too far for her to drive alone. It costs more money but I think that it might be cheaper in the long run if it avoids an accident. Plus this new home is way nicer than his old place. I also saw their lunches and I was impressed with their food as it looked fresh. Everyone was raving about the food so I'm sure my dad will be happy about that. We have to buy him a bed and move his personal belongings. He doesn't talk a lot anymore. I'm looking forward to taking him on walks. They do have a courtyard loop that he can walk outside with pretty plants. Inside they have lots of activities that they do with the patients. I hope he adjusts well. I know it is always stressful for an Alzheimer patient to change their surroundings.
I wouldn't have done it if I didn't think that both my parents would be better off. I also think it takes the pressure off of my brother in Tampa. He has already helped tremendously and now it's my turn. He has a construction mess to fix with hiring the wrong contractors for an addition on his house for my mom. Now he'll have more time to focus on getting that fixed. He also won't have to deal with the responsibility of the details of my father's death whenever the time comes. It's hard to even say the word death but it's on everyone's minds, especially mine. I've been learning from it and seeing how it's making me focus on the important things in life. Right now, that is my family, my career and my friends. Death makes the time that we spend during life even more important.
Tomorrow, the flooring contractor comes to install more of my new floors. They are going to paint the office and then I get to have that room back. Next week the contractors come to re-do the kitchen. The new kitchen is going to be awesome. I don't know what I'm going to do without a kitchen for a month while they work! I hope they diligently hurry. Overall, I am blessed. I feel really good about the change in my dad's home and the remodeling of my home. Overall, I'm happy. Sending you all love and light! Peace!
Hello beautiful people, This is my health blog designed to encourage you to live your best life. Hopefully my experiences will positively influence your life somehow!