Wednesday, January 31, 2024



Before the holidays, I bought myself a Christmas present. I happen to like Bailey’s in my coffee, and I found the perfect gift set. One gift set combined a bottle of Bailey’s with a clear coffee cup.

The clear coffee cup reminded me of a business trip Jim and I took to San Antonio, Texas. We stayed at a swanky hotel that served their delicious coffee in clear cups. Jim and I both enjoyed spending time in the lobby drinking cups of coffee to relax. It’s a good memory from one of our adventures.

Anyone who knows me well is aware that the only way I ever start my day is with a good cup of coffee. My pot is on an automatic timer so that I don’t have to do anything but pour the coffee in the cup. On my best days, I get to drink my first cup of coffee in complete silence.

Last week, I rolled out of bed one morning, grabbed my clear cup, put in creamer, and poured a cup of coffee. As I headed to the couch in the kitchen, I lifted the coffee to my lips and before I took my first drink, I realized I had the measuring cup instead of my Bailey’s cup. One good thing about the measuring cup—it has a spout so it was easy to transfer one transparent cup to the other.

The advantage of a transparent cup is that you can see the goodness of the coffee within. Another observation is that I could also clearly see the coffee in the measuring cup, but it didn’t meet my expectations.

People aren’t usually very transparent. Wouldn’t it be awful if your thoughts appeared in bubbles over your head for others to see? So many hurtful things are better left unspoken.

Dementia can erase a person’s filter, and they may say exactly what they think. After Jim quit smoking, he would tell complete strangers, “You better quit smoking those damned cigarettes!” It was what he thought, and it came out of his mouth. I’m sure he was trying to help, but he forgot how huffy he would have been if someone had said such a thing to him when he was still smoking.

Transparency in a relationship means that you can trust your partner, spouse, or friend to be honest with you. You know what to expect and you aren’t trying to guess what another’s motives are. A transparent relationship has open communication and you are confident enough to share your honest feelings and opinions.

Some of us are lucky enough to find soul mates, soul sisters, or friends that can lift your spirits just to hear their voice on the phone. I feel fortunate to have increased my circle of loved ones over the years.

Too often older people can feel isolated and depressed because they suffer the loss of people they love. The most difficult challenge in life is to go on living after a devastating loss. You wake up feeling normal, and then like a lightning bolt your heart takes a direct hit when you remember that you will never see your loved one again. Love hurts, but love heals.

Transparency is an honorable way to live when tempered with love and kindness. Whether your truth is as beautiful as a crystal clear coffee mug or as practical as a transparent measuring cup, life is good when you are loved for being your own unique self.


Copyright © Jan 2024 by L.S. Fisher


Clean Slate

 Although January is almost over, I couldn’t help but think about how nice it would be to start the New Year off with a clean slate. Some people attempt this by making resolutions and giving themselves mental pep talks to be a better person.

The hard part about starting with a clean slate is that we cannot let go of the baggage we drag along behind us. We can’t stop thinking about our mistakes, insecurities, and failures. We can’t forgive ourselves, much less others.

And what about that grudge? Who is it hurting?

A person with Alzheimer’s has a clean slate in some ways. The most recent memories are the first to go. A woman who was in our support group many years ago was disturbed because her husband didn’t recognize her and thought he was married to his first wife who had passed away. He would say, “Who are you and why are you in my house?” When she told him that she was his wife, he didn’t believe her. In his mind, the woman he had married wasn’t the stranger living in his house. Another man would wander away from his home and show up on his ex-wife’s doorstep. She would invite him in for coffee and call his current wife to come and get him.

These men did not remember why they were no longer married to the same woman they were married to in their younger years. The slate had been wiped clean of the problems that brought about the demise of their first marriage.

Jim and I married young and it was the first marriage for both of us. I never knew the consternation caused by being wiped from his memory. The flip side of the clean slate for recent events is that early memories can return with an unusual clarity. Jim’s PTSD worsened and Vietnam seemed to be in his recent past rather than the distant past where it belonged.

Babies begin life with a clean slate, but early in their development, their slates become intertwined with the world around them. A child’s impressionable mind and curiosity shapes the ideals, beliefs, biases, and personality traits that will last a lifetime. Some people who begin life with bad influences will later learn to reset and change their lives for the better. Genetics and environment muddy our slates.

Wouldn’t it be great to wake up in the morning and begin the day with a clean slate? If we could just mentally wipe away the wrongs we have done and the hurts that we carry in our hearts, we could begin life anew.

It is much easier for me to forgive others than it is to forgive myself. The saddest part of life is when you don’t get a chance to right a wrong. Some people are fragile and it doesn’t take a lot to break them. I will admit that I don’t have a lot of patience with people who habitually look for the negative or are offended when no offense was intended.

I don’t get my feelings hurt easily. I’ve always said that if someone really wants to insult me, they better be blunt and bold; otherwise, I’ll assume they accidently misspoke. That’s about as close as I get to a clean slate.

I don’t mentally rehash insults or snubs, and they fade into the recesses of my mind to be forever banished. I’ve had people apologize to me for some minor incident that I had not only forgave and forgot, but also forgot that I forgave.

Life is much more enjoyable without drama. The best way to stop drama is to wipe the slate clean and start over.  

Copyright © Jan 2024 by L.S. Fisher


Sunday, January 14, 2024

Baby, It's Cold Outside


Maybe the cold arctic blast shouldn’t be a surprise since I have always lived in the psychotic state of Missouri, nicknamed Misery at times. We are enduring the days of wind chills, snow, ice, cancellations, and danger of frostbite.

I am thankful that I no longer have to drive to work in this kind of miserable weather. I’m a competent bad weather driver, but other drivers make me nervous. I only drive in bad weather when it is necessary.

Jim, on the other hand, loved to drive in bad weather. He liked to “break” the roads, and if we got stuck, he knew someone would come along with a tractor and pull us out. It suited me to have Jim chauffeur me when our roads were drifted or icy.

I was never as confident as Jim when it came to driving on slick roads. When he was in the early stages of dementia, I had him drive me to work a few times.

As Jim’s dementia progressed, so did my worry that he would wander off in inclement weather and die from exposure. As we struggled with the nursing home question, Jim’s wandering was a big consideration. “If he wanders off in the wintertime,” I told my sons, “we may not get to make the nursing home decision.”

Wandering is common among persons with dementia. Among the top dangers is that a person who wanders may die from harsh weather exposure. Caregivers should be vigilant, especially during extreme weather conditions. A precaution that can be taken for those who wander would be to invest in a device that provides a location for the individual. For example, a caregiver or family member could invest in a wristwatch with GPS tracking for their loved one.

Falls are another danger associated with wintertime. I was  Miss Slippy-Slidey but Jim was  sure footed. He was always good to hang on to me to keep me from falling. After Jim passed away, I was walking across the yard and slipped and fell on the ice. My feet flew out from under me and I landed flat on my back, slamming my head down on the ice. I told my sister-in-law that I “broke my head” and I didn’t feel like it was an exaggeration.    

Now, my biggest issue with the weather is taking the dog out. When I took her out this morning in -20 wind chills, I layered layers on my layers. My dog has a thick fur coat and looks at snow as entertainment. She roams around sniffing at the snow, running though a snowdrift, or catching the scent of some animal under the hedges. She sets the tone for our outings and never seems to be in a hurry.

Last night, I took the dog out after dark, and as we wandered through the freshly fallen snow, I realized that I had forgotten my phone. I knew Harold was asleep on the couch and that if I fell…Well, let’s just say that I was extra, extra careful.

Caution is good this time of year, but you can’t afford to lose your momentum. Jim used to tackle the hills near our house by “taking a run at it.” He said, “If you keep steady momentum, you don’t spin your tires.”

Think about it: building momentum and getting good traction could be a life lesson.


Copyright © Jan 2024 by L.S. Fisher