experiencing community from inside the apartment?

Can we feel like we are part of the community if we are not physically engaging it?

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It was cold. It was dark. It was crowded. The lighting of the Washington Monument in early December is a tradition in Baltimore. Many people wander over to the Monument to eat, drink and be merry. Yet, dragging Mom out of her cozy chair on a cold evening seemed inordinately cruel. So, like last year, we watched the proceedings from my living room window. The Monument lights – about four blocks away – were turned on and fireworks filled the sky. We drank hot chocolate, ate cookies and ooh’d and aah’d at the fireworks. But, I couldn’t help but be disappointed that we weren’t more engaged.  Continue reading “experiencing community from inside the apartment?”

clearing out and letting go

It’s amazing how much we can live without … remembering that is really important and sometimes really sad …

clothes-2150834_1280Even in a small space, there are things to sell, give away, donate or throw away. When Mom came to live with me, she mailed several boxes of clothes, craft supplies, etc. and I found homes for them in the closet or in drawers. I sorted through my things to make space for whatever she sent down. This meant that some of my things were put out for anyone to take while other items were donated to organizations helping: women fleeing domestic violence or homeless people in Baltimore or veterans who need assistance or shelter-bound animals seeking a home. Of course, some items were thrown away, having already given their all. Item A needed space so Item B had to go.  Continue reading “clearing out and letting go”

o christmas tree!

Christmas is a link to memories past and to simple happiness …

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I’ve always decorated (somewhat) for Christmas. I’ve always had a tree and put out some holiday knick knacks. My mother LOVES Christmas. Loves decorating. Loves the tree lights. Therefore, my efforts had to increase substantially this year!  Continue reading “o christmas tree!”

carving out a space for Mom

Everyone needs their own space but we also need to have a cohesive flow throughout this small space.

fairy-tale-2229620_1280Finding room in a one-bedroom apartment for another sleeping area was a little challenging. After fighting with the cat for space during renovations, I held my breath about adding another person into the mix. But at least my mother doesn’t bite or scratch!  Continue reading “carving out a space for Mom”

ripping up carpeting and jazzing up a bathroom

Finding that the end reward isn’t necessarily about the product but the satisfaction in sharing. Sickeningly sweet sentiment, I know ….

bathroom-1432362_1280March and April 2016 were busy months, as wood floors replaced old carpeting and the half bath began its transformation. I found myself looking at the calendar, as April and my mother’s arrival loomed in the not-too-distant future.  Continue reading “ripping up carpeting and jazzing up a bathroom”

my kingdom for a walk-in shower

The road to beauty is paved with sledgehammers, miles of pipe and vindictive cats.

renovation-1262389_1280To prepare for my mother’s arrival, several renovation projects needed to be undertaken. The first room to go under the sledgehammer was my bathroom – the only full bathroom in the apartment. It was December 5th, 2015 … the last time I would sleep in my bedroom until early March of the following year.  Continue reading “my kingdom for a walk-in shower”

the first year is the hardest, isn’t it?

Though we obviously knew each other, when mom came to live with my cat and me, there was a whole other level of “getting to know you” for all three of us.

welcome-to-our-home-1205888_1920In April 2016, at age 87, my mother took the courageous step of moving from the northern New York village where she had lived for more than 70 years to live with me in Baltimore. This was amazing for several reasons: she has many good friends in NY, she doesn’t have friends living in Baltimore, she has lived alone for more than 40 years and she is fiercely independent. She also was self-aware enough to realize that living alone was no longer working very well. She gave away or sold nearly everything she owned and moved into my (rather small) apartment to live with me and my cat. Continue reading “the first year is the hardest, isn’t it?”