Saturday, September 28, 2019

The Butterfly's Secret


Yesterday morning, in between buying Mom new socks and visiting her for lunch, I took a break and went briefly to Alpine Groves Park, an old homestead and wilderness area in the small community of Switzerland. The butterfly garden there is always buzzing.


I found this orange gulf fritillary (above and top) making the scene...


...as well as this zebra longwing.


And I learned something interesting about the long-tailed skipper, which I showed you in yesterday's post. It seems like a relatively drab brown butterfly -- until you look at its body. You can see a hint of its coloring in the photo above. The body and head are bright, iridescent blue. I've been seeing these butterflies practically my whole life but I had no idea they were hiding blue lingerie underneath their brown overcoats.

When I picked up Mom's new socks yesterday, I also bought Target gift cards for the two beauticians who work in the salon at her retirement community. They still deserve more -- possibly a humanitarian Nobel Prize -- after Mom's extreme mani/pedi experience. But gift cards are the best I can do.

Mom and I ate lunch in the small dining room in her unit. (I offered to take her to the main cafeteria, where she'd been eating before her move, but she said no -- which I take as another sign that she's settled.) To my surprise we sang the national anthem and recited the pledge of allegiance before the meal. I don't know what the heck that was about, unless it's simply a "memory exercise" meant to benefit the patients. Why do I have to declare my allegiance to the United States before I'm permitted to eat my roast beef au jus and peach cobbler? Then they put on some Frank Sinatra, and I was fine with that. As I told Mom, "Frank Sinatra makes everything better!"

As you can imagine, eating at a table in the memory unit is a strange experience. People don't say much, and when they do, it often doesn't quite make sense. Conversation is limited, to say the least!

Last night, my stepsister and her husband drove up from Tampa and visited. We went back to our favorite riverfront restaurant...


...and once again I had the crab cakes. I'm in a Florida rut!

Now, my work here is done, at least for the time being. I'm taking to the air at 2:40 p.m. this afternoon -- back to Atlanta and then on to London, where I'll arrive tomorrow morning. Mom is settled and seems happy, and thank goodness for that. We'll visit her once more this morning after breakfast.

I just have to try to get everything back in my suitcase. I'm not taking much additional stuff home -- just two boxes of family slide photos, a tablecloth I brought Mom years ago from Madagascar, and a pig-shaped wooden cutting board she made at summer camp as a girl. (Even though another cutting board is the last thing we need.) You know that expression, "When pigs fly!" Well, this one will be.

I can't wait to get back to sleeping in my own bed!

21 comments:

Marty said...

I've been away from the Land of Blog, so I just got caught up on your mom's big move. It looks like everything went pretty smoothly, thank heaven. You and your brother have accomplished so much. Good to know that you can return to London with an easy mind. Safe travels!

Alphie Soup said...

Beautiful butterflies. When I first glanced at the long tailed skipper yesterday I thought it was a humming bird. Wrong!
The beauticians are sure to appreciate the gift cards.
As for eating out in the memory unit - it's a whole, new world. I spent a week, a couple of years ago in an aged care home, recuperating after surgery. Every day at breakfast was a challenge. One resident was particular about about boundaries at the table and made sure I didn't encroach on any part of the table that she saw as hers. The man didn't say a word and simply forgot to eat his breakfast, unless prompted. It was a real eye opener on sharing with people who experience life in a very different way.
So, task accomplished. Breathe in. Breathe out. Relax. Home is not too far away.
Alphie

Colette said...

Nice job, Steve!

gz said...

Lovely butterflies.. inspiring.
Looks like your mum is in a good place so you can sleep easy. Safe journey home.

Ms. Moon said...

The national anthem and the pledge of allegiance? No. That's just wrong.
Weird, too.
May you and the pig fly safely home. And now you need a vacation.

crafty cat corner said...

Safe journey Steve.
Briony
x

ellen abbott said...

I think I would have inquired of the staff about the national anthem and pledge. I'm glad to hear the there has been no drama and your mom seems fine with the new situation. have a safe journey home.

Linda Sue said...

memory unit, pretty sure that pledging and star spangling is an exercise, at least it was not the lord's prayer. They could have made it more fun with "One potato, two potato..." The moth shots are fabulous! Dyke butterflies, I love them! My older brother made that same pig board when he was about six years old in cub scouts. I wish I had it.Good save, sir! Happy travels!

Joanne said...

Your butterfly photos are beautiful. The colorations and markings of butterflies are so intricate. They really are special creatures.

I think the gift cards were a great idea and will be much appreciated. So glad your Mom is feeling good about her new home. The smaller dining room sounds much cozier than the main cafeteria.



robin andrea said...

Beautiful butterfly photos and a nice respite. I am really surprised (blown away) about the pledge of allegiance and national anthem. That's crazy. My mom would've flipped over that stuff. Your gift cards are really so thoughtful, makes me wish I had done the same for some of my mom's caregivers. Safe travels home, Steve.

The Bug said...

I love that zebra butterfly! I don’t think I’ve seen one before. I had to laugh at the national anthem & pledge & then peach cobbler - I’ve been craving peach cobbler ever since Nancy Pelosi made the big announcement. Ha!

e said...

When I did memory exercises on an elder unit day program, I actually did the one potato, two potato that Linda Sue suggested...They actually relaxed and laughed a bit...Peach cobbler and roast beef...has your Mom gained weight eating there? Safe Travels.

jenny_o said...

Love your description of blue lingerie under a brown overcoat for that moth!

My dad wasn't in the memory wing of the nursing home, but most people still had cognitive issues of some kind. I ate with my dad from time to time, and it was always interesting and often awkward. The very first time I ate there, one man at the table kept greeting me over and over: "Hi there! You're so pretty!" (I'm not, for the record.) I struggled with finding a way to respond that would satisfy him and make him stop (oh god please stop) but realized after awhile that it didn't matter WHAT I said, it wasn't going to stop. So I just smiled and said thank you every time. It kinda made my day in some strange way :)

Catalyst said...

Pretty butterfly pictures. I still don't know why they weren't called flutter-bys but I guess I'll go to my death wondering that. Your mom seems to have adapted to her move amazingly well. Have a safe trip home. I'm sure Dave can't wait to see that pig shaped cutting board!

Sharon said...

Safe travels! I'm sure it will be nice to be home. It always is. The butterfly photos are great. I was editing butterfly photos just this morning from my last trip to the botanical garden. They are such wonders of nature. I always thought it would be a long time before pigs would fly but, apparently not so long after all! :-)

My life so far said...

It's difficult having a parent with dementia. You lose them twice.

I'm glad your mum is safe and well cared for and your photos are lovely.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I can well imagine a bee garden "buzzing" but butterflies are usually very quiet indeed. Have a safe flight back to Blighty after a job well done.

Red said...

You've done a tough job. a few butterflies make it better. Safe trip home.

Edna B said...

You have a safe trip home Steve. You and your brother have done a wonderful joh getting Mom moved and safe and happy to boot! Those butterflies are gorgeous. Maybe you can do video phone chats with your mom with a little help from your brother. She might like that. Happy travels, hugs, Edna B.

Jennifer said...

I'm sure the pledge and the song were part of the memory care environment...and as someone else said, at least it wasn't a prayer!

You've done a good job getting your mom settled in. Safe travels back to London and get yourself some well deserved rest.

Frances said...

Welcome back......sorry about the weather!