This week’s Sunday haiku to my mother.
Morning is sunny;
another sweltering day
is in the forecast.
Belle has her zoo shift,
and a friend’s birthday party
in her day’s schedule.
There’s packing to do,
for Orientation week
The countdown begins.
She is quite eager,
and at the same time, fearful
of what awaits her.
The future is calling
her heart and mind, as we watch
with proud, trembling hearts.
* * *
During one recent Sunday Dinner With Friends ® the conversational topic veered to the health issues of aging parents.  When I shared my concerns over my elderly mother’s ongoing physical and cognitive decline, friend MW recommended the book Learning to Speak Alzheimer’s. Subtitled A Groundbreaking Approach for Everyone Dealing with the Disease, the book’s focus is not on the causes/origins of Alzheimer’s. Instead, author  Joanne Koenig Coste presents a practical approach – a comprehensive method called habilitation – to help family and caregivers enhance communication with those beset by a disease that progressively robs them of their ability to understand and be understood. The book offers practical tips on how to “step into their world” – interestingly, also a mantra of by improvisational theater groups  – as in, how to understand and relate to those patients who must live with their changing, diminishing sense of reality.
Although my mother does not have Alzheimer’s disease, my friend pointed out that my description of my mother’s difficulties are similar to those experienced by Alzheimer’s patients:
* Short (or long) term memory loss
* Difficulty performing familiar tasks
* Problems with language
* Disorientation to time and place
* Poor or declining judgment
* Problems with abstract thinking
* misplacing things
* mood and behavior changes
* loss of initiative
* personality changes
I don’t need to scare you with the statistics, but sooner or later most of us are going to be dealing with some form of dementia, whether via a spouse or family member’s diagnosis, or just losing it after one too many Comcast customer service calls.
I was glad MW recommended the book. Moiself in turn passes on that recommendation to y’all. I found the book’s advice compassionate, accessible, applicable – even somewhat Zen, in that it stresses learning to live in the moment and trying to understand the afflicted person’s reality.
The Ticking Meter
My head feels like an old depot, worn by time and tears.
No more locomotives passing through, café filled with tales and baggage.
The old depot’s barren now.
There has been a great brain robbery. 
* * *
The dementia train could stop at my depot; who knows what the future holds? Until that time, I will stick with my philosophy: the more you rant, the longer you live. 
Speaking of which:
Department of Needs No Further Comment
Last week, Jorge Mario Bergoglio aka Pope Francis, leader of the largest Christian denomination in the world, whose headquarters in the Vatican City is a “sprawling financial empire” that holds billions of shares in the most powerful international corporations such as Gulf Oil, Shell, General Motors, Bethlehem Steel, General Electric, International Business Machines, and whose various museums house art collections of inestimable value, embarked on his first tour of Asian countries, during which he urged Asian youth to reject materialism.
* * *
To Hoist or not to Hoist
He was hoisted on his own petard.
I heard someone on the light rail use that Hamlet-ian expression last week. He was sitting behind me on the train; I only caught bits and pieces of his (you guessed it) cell phone conversation, so I’m not sure if he used the phrase correctly.
But, really – does anyone use it correctly? Even Shakespeare, who supposedly invented its modern usage?
I’m not sure if I’ve ever been hoisted on or by my own petard. It is, however, my dream to be hosted by Jean Luc Picard.
* * *
Happy (one-day-belated) Birthday to MH
The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.
* * *
May you keep all the ages you’ve been that you’d like to keep, hoist off the rest on the petards of your choice, and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
 After the requisite political rants and fart jokes.
 and health care sonsultant, whose husband died from early-onset Alzheimer’s.
 For teaching budding actors and comedians how to enter a skit someone else has started.
 From Learning to Speak Alzheimer’s.
 Or it just seems longer, to everyone around you.