Our 59th Anniversary

Kate and I celebrated our 59th wedding anniversary on May 31 last week. We gave up giving presents to each other many years ago. We concentrate on sharing special experiences together. That has often involved travel. Alzheimer’s ended that, but we always seem to find other ways to celebrate by being together. This anniversary week brought us an abundance of joyful moments.

It was highlighted by several particular events. One of those happened a week ago Saturday afternoon. I had just returned from lunch. Kate was resting in her recliner. I pulled up a chair beside her and started playing some of our favorite songs. For almost an hour, we held hands as we listened to the music. She closed her eyes, smiled, and ran her fingers over my hand. We forgot all that is going on in the world around us and enjoyed the music and being together.

Another happened on the following Tuesday, the day of our anniversary. I’ve looked forward to this for some time and have reminded Kate frequently over the past few weeks. She couldn’t remember, of course, but I hoped that my reminders might ring a bell when I wished her a Happy Anniversary. It was National Smile Day, and she smiled all day long. She was awake early, more alert, and more talkative. The following day was similar, so the day after she needed to rest and did so pretty much all day. She bounced back the next day.

Another thing made the week an especially good one. We had a new caregiver (Regina) Monday through Thursday. She had been with us one other time for just a couple of hours, and I had been impressed with the way she related to Kate. She sang and talked with her. That was most unusual. We’ve had only two or three others that I know have taken the time to connect with her.

Last week, she was here for four 8-hour days. At first, it looked like Kate was a little unsure of her, but on the third day, I got a surprise. I had been working on my computer in another room when I took a break to check on her. Regina had pulled up a chair beside Kate’s recliner, and they were holding hands. She told me that Kate had initiated the contact. It was a beautiful thing to see. Kate seemed perfectly comfortable with her. It reminded me of the way she relates to me.

There were more good times throughout the weekend. Kate had an especially joyful experience with music on Saturday. We had just returned to the apartment after an early dinner. I turned on one of her favorite albums by the Susquehanna Chorale. It includes songs like ”Loch Lomond,” “Danny Boy,” “Shenandoah,” ”Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” and “Deep River.” She attempted to mouth the words of the songs and moved her head with the rhythm of the music. She was deeply moved by the music. I took pictures of her response along with several videos that I passed along to our family. It’s hard for me to express how wonderful it is for me to see her so happy. Music continues to be a powerful source of pleasure and therapy for both of us.

My expectations for our anniversary celebration were not high, but it was a week punctuated with joyful moments. “Living with Alzheimer’s” is not easy, but moments like those we experienced last week lift our spirits and sustain us during more challenging times. I am very grateful.

An Amazing Day

Twelve weeks ago today, Kate suffered a mild stroke. I’m glad to say that she continues to recover although her speech has not returned to its pre-stroke level. She doesn’t speak much at all. When she does, it is not usually intelligible. Most of her speech is in stock phrases or words like “Fine, how are you?” or “Yes, I am.” Sometimes she speaks words in a whisper. That is especially true when we sing together. She really just mouths the words.

Not every day is alike. That has been true during the past three or four years as she moved to the late stages of Alzheimer’s. Throughout this time, I have written about many of our good days. This past Saturday was one of those. It was exciting for me, our caregiver, and the residents and staff who had contact with her.

Let me put that in perspective. Three years ago, I might have said it was a great day. That would probably have related to how cheerful she had been. She can no longer do many of the things she could do then; however, within the context of our lives now, yesterday was truly amazing. It wasn’t that she was just cheerful. She was more alert. Most importantly, she seemed at ease.

It started out much like other mornings. She was awake early but didn’t say a word and went back to sleep. I took my morning walk in the living room. When I finished, I noticed her eyes were open. I thought she might be “up” for the day, but she was tired and rested until the caregiver came shortly afternoon when I left for lunch.

When I returned home, Kate was in her recliner. I walked over and got on my knees beside her. She was alert and gave me a big smile. For the next thirty minutes, I talked to her. I told her how much I liked her smile and that everyone else does as well. I reminded her of our college days, our first date, and some of the experiences we had had during our marriage. She didn’t say much, but it was more than I have heard in months. She made it clear that she understood what I was saying. The caregiver and I were excited.

We went downstairs for our afternoon ice cream and ran into several residents who spoke to her. Each time, she responded with a smile and a word or two. The residents seemed excited as well. She continued to respond to both staff and residents at dinner. Some of them had never heard her speak.

After the caregiver left that night, we had the best evening we’ve had since before her stroke. We have been watching music videos on YouTube for four or five years now, so I’m always looking for new ones. I don’t know what prompted me, but I did a search for TCU’s school song, our alma mater. I found multiple variations sung at football games, a student jazz group, a chorus of music students, and the university band. We lay in bed singing along with them. We had a good time, and Kate laughed a good bit.

When I felt it was time to move on, I brought up a 2012 BBC PROMS concert that was a two-hour performance of Broadway music. We have watched it a number of times before, but Kate was especially attentive that night. For much of that time, my head was on her shoulder, and we held hands. It was a perfect end to an amazing day.

More Special Moments

I don’t want to sound like the proverbial “broken record,” but Kate continues to be happy and to provide me with special moments. Knowing that this may not always be the case in the future, I guess I want to make a point of how well things are going right now.

Yesterday was a very good day. Kate was awake early, just before 8:00, and I spent the morning with her. When I returned from Rotary, she was still cheerful and talkative. She was glad to see me, and we talked a lot between then and our afternoon ice cream break.

It was after dinner when the first special moment occurred. It was the birthday of one of her childhood friends from Texas. I suggested we call her. Kate doesn’t usually express much interest in phone calls, but she thought it was a good idea. With most phone calls, she doesn’t say much. I’m always prepared to do what I can to prompt her and did some of that yesterday. The big surprise was how well she did. Not everything she said was understandable or made sense, but she was able to express her feelings toward her friend and convey how much she enjoyed talking with her.

That had gone so well that I decided to call one of her other childhood friends. She wasn’t home, so we left a message. I began the message by telling her that we were sorry to miss her and would try to call another time. Then I talked to Kate about her friend and gave her several prompts like, “I’m sorry we didn’t get to speak with her. That would have been nice, wouldn’t it?” To which she replied, “Wonderful.” It wasn’t a lengthy message, but once again, Kate rose to the occasion. I feel sure her friend will want to keep that message for a long time.

I couldn’t stop then. I recalled that a cousin of hers had recently asked me to call anytime Kate was up to it. This seemed like a great time, and it was. We talked for 10 minutes, and Kate was an active participant. By this time, what she said was more rooted in delusions, but I know her cousin understood and appreciated every word. It was a great conversation for all three of us.

After that call, we still had time before we needed to get Kate ready for bed, so I put on the album that mesmerized her when I played it a few weeks ago. It had the same effect this time. It was a very touching moment for both of us. She sang along with the music. That involved mostly whispering her own approximations of the lyrics but in sync with the rhythm of each song. We held hands for most of that time and, at one point, she took my hand and held it tightly in both of hers. Although much is lost with Alzheimer’s, both of us enjoy keeping romance alive. I am grateful.

The Good Times Continue

I’m far from predicting what the future holds for us in 2022, but I know that 2021 ended well and that the first two weeks of the new year have been filled with good times. I don’t mean every moment is the way I would want, but I am amazed at how comfortable Kate has become. The best way I can approach an understanding of the change is to resort to the most important lesson I’ve learned while “Living with Alzheimer’s.” It’s something I picked up from The Dementia Handbook by Judy Cornish. She maintains that all is not lost with dementia. People living with dementia lose their rational thought processes or abilities, but they retain their intuitive thought or abilities. Rational thought involves our ability to remember names, places, events, and processes (how to do things). Intuitive thought involves our ability to experience the world directly through our senses.

People with dementia can still appreciate what they see, hear, taste, touch, or smell. Our senses open the door to many everyday pleasures. We’re at the end of a year of major changes in our lives (COVID and moving from our home to a retirement community), I believe Kate has grown accustomed to the daily routine of our lives. She senses that the things that frightened her before aren’t so bad at all.

This is apparent in two ways. First, she no longer experiences fright or anger when we bathe her, change her, dress her, or get her out of bed and into her recliner or wheelchair. Increasingly, she accepts the bumps that occur when we push her wheelchair over thresholds or minor changes in levels of the surfaces of floors in the hallways of our buildings.

Second, she is more comfortable with other residents and staff we meet when we leave the apartment. She is more likely to respond to them when they greet her or ask how she is doing. The caregivers and I were stunned at first but are getting used to hearing her say, “Fine, how are you?” One afternoon this week a resident passed by while we were getting ice cream. Kate was facing me with her back to him when I said, “Hi, Richard.” Kate, who doesn’t know him at all, said, “How ya doing, Richard?”

Shortly after that, another resident stopped and talked with us. At one point, she said she was thinking about going somewhere. Kate, who I thought was not listening to our conversation, said, “Let’s go right now.”

Mornings represent the greatest challenge for Kate. The toughest days are those when her mind is blank. She doesn’t know who she is, who I am, where she is, or what she is supposed to do. Fortunately, those don’t occur every morning. More typically, she is simply not fully awake. At these times, she may or may not remember my name or relationship. Most days, she doesn’t want to talk much.

In the same way (via her senses) she has learned over the past year that she doesn’t need to be afraid of everything, each day she also gradually seems to feel more comfortable with her surroundings and the people she is with. She is almost always at ease when it’s time for ice cream around 3:30. She enjoys her dinner and is usually quite comfortable and happy.

The evening is still the best time of the day for us. It’s just the two of us. Kate is often tired after the caregiver leaves around 6:30 and sometimes rests for as long as an hour. That’s my time to watch the news and take my shower. She’s usually awake after that, and we watch YouTube videos until time to turn out the lights. It’s a very special time for us. It’s a moment in the day when each of us expresses our love for the other. It’s not stretching at all to say it’s romantic.

So, I continue to feel good as we begin the new year. Of course, I don’t have any idea of what lies ahead, but I’m satisfied that we have made the most of our time together while “Living with Alzheimer’s.” I expect we’ll continue to do that regardless of what happens.

A Late, but Welcomed, Christmas Present from Kate

It’s no secret to those who know me that music has been of great importance to Kate and me while “Living with Alzheimer’s.” As always, we have loved enjoyed Christmas music throughout the holidays.

Last night after dinner, I decided it was time to play some of our non-seasonal favorites. What followed was almost a full hour during which Kate was almost mesmerized by the music. In no time, she was smiling, mouthing the words, and moving her head and hands in time with the music. She was much more animated than she has ever been in the past. We only stopped because it was time to get her ready for bed before the caregiver left.

Her caregiver and I were amazed, and I was enjoying it so much that I didn’t think about taking a video. Fortunately, the caregiver motioned me to do just that. I took a number of videos that will be a precious memory of these moments.

After the caregiver left, there was a bonus. We continued to enjoy music and conversation in bed. We’ve had a “Very Merry Christmas.”

Special Moments With Family

Although Kate is generally happy, her mood varies more at this stage of her Alzheimer’s than it has in the past. Sometimes, like Monday, she’s in an especially good mood. I treasure those moments as a gift from her.

She was awake before 7:00 that day and remained awake until going to bed that night. I took a short break for breakfast, but I didn’t take my morning walk, check email, or read the paper. I was engrossed by her happiness and wanted to enjoy every minute of it.

After her morning meds and something to eat, I got in bed beside her and turned on a mix of YouTube videos of highlights from concerts by Andre Rieu, his orchestra, singers, and dancers. Watching videos like this has been the centerpiece of our evening activity following dinner for at least the past five years.

During the past year or so, she’s been much less attentive to the videos themselves but continued to enjoy the music. I attribute this to the difficulty she has in knowing where to focus her eyes. She has the same problem when I show her pictures in an album or on the TV. Several times lately, I’ve been encouraged when I played YouTube videos of puppies doing cute things and discovered that they caught her attention at least for a moment. On Monday, as we watched together, she was engaged with both the music and the videos themselves. More than that, she was enthusiastic and expressed her pleasure repeatedly for almost three hours until the caregiver arrived, and I went to my Rotary meeting.

I was especially pleased that our son, Kevin, was with us and got to partake of most of the morning. He came for a visit last Thursday. The visit itself was special in that Kate’s brother, Ken, and his wife, Virginia, as well as our daughter, Jesse, were also with us. I was somewhat like a parent during this time, hoping that all of them would get a good understanding of how Kate is doing and why I say that we continue to enjoy life and each other. I am satisfied they did.

Monday morning stands out, but there were other moments over the weekend that were also special. Among them was a moment when I read Kate a resolution that our church had adopted in recognition of her service as the church librarian for 19 years. It’s been years since she has been able to remember this. When I remind her of her service, she usually recalls it with pride. It pleased her to hear me read this gift of appreciation from the church.

On Sunday, Jesse had a her own special moment when she got in bed with Kate and took a video of a brief conversation between the two of them. It was as special for her as Monday’s experience was for me.

Sunday afternoon, Kate and I shared another special moment when I handed her a stuffed bear that Ken’s wife had made for her. She didn’t say a word; they weren’t needed. She held the bear tightly in her arms and against her face for a full 15-20 minutes. It was a touching moment that I was able to capture on video.

The past few days with family went very well. Every one of us clearly recognized Kate’s decline, but we were all able to accept her as she is and convey our love for her. I think she would say that was the most special gift we could offer.

The Perfect Gift

Fifty-eight years ago today, Kate and I tied the knot. We vowed “to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, . . . to love and to cherish till death do us part.” Like most couples, I don’t think we fully appreciated what that meant. We do now and recognize that our lives have been richer because we found each other.

It’s a day to celebrate although I don’t know what lies ahead. It’s been more than five years since she remembered our anniversary, but I remember, and we celebrate each one. We’ve never put much effort into giving gifts to each other. Our emphasis has been on spending time together. For many years, we celebrated with a trip to Charleston, South Carolina, during their annual Spoleto Festival. Our grandest celebration was for our fiftieth, a week with our children and grandchildren in the Grand Tetons of Wyoming.

During the past few years, we’ve gone out to eat. This year we are in our new home, and she is in bed about twenty hours of the day. Since our move, I’ve been ordering a carry-out meal from the dining room each night. That’s what I’ll do this evening.

I know that some of you may think this is sad. In some ways you are right, but, overall, we have much to celebrate. We still enjoy being together, and I plan to reflect on many of our memories to remind Kate of them. While I said we haven’t generally exchanged gifts, I made one for her this year, a 95-page photo book that includes photos from the “Happy Moments” we have shared.

And what will be Kate’s gift to me? You might say, “Nothing,” but that wouldn’t be true. It will be the same one she gives to me almost every day, her own expression of love. That is something she can’t plan. That’s impossible with Alzheimer’s, and there’s no way I can be assured that she will respond that way today. That won’t matter because yesterday she gave me the very best gift of all. She was happy all day long. It was her best day since before Thanksgiving six months ago when she came home from the hospital after a bout with COVID.

She usually sleeps until noon or close to it, but she was awake before 8:00 and very cheerful. After her morning meds, I gave her a serving of mandarin oranges, something she has always liked. Expecting that she would go back to sleep, I turned on some soothing music. She was still awake at 10:15. Normally, her first meal of the day would be served by the caregiver after she arrives at noon. I decided she needed something to eat and fixed her some scrambled eggs.

After that, I sat up in bed with her, and we looked through her “Big Sister” album, a photo book that her brother Ken made for her three years ago. She can’t follow the photos, but she does respond to my commentary. It was a special moment for us because she hasn’t responded well to any of her photo books in months. We were both happy.

When the caregiver arrived, I left for lunch at Andriana’s, our regular Sunday lunch place for several years. I’ve been going by myself during the past six months. It’s a treat that I look forward to each week.

Kate was in her recliner when I got home. The caregiver told me that she had been easy to handle changing her, getting her dressed, and out of bed. She was still cheerful, but relaxed, and enjoying the music I put on before going. It was a great afternoon to be outside. The temperature was in the low-70s, and we went out on the balcony where we remained until time for an early dinner. Getting her out of the recliner and into her wheelchair is not something Kate likes, but she handled it as though it was something she enjoyed.

I know the dining room didn’t plan it for our anniversary, but they had 8-ounce filets for dinner. We enjoyed every bite. When it was time to get ready for bed, she didn’t protest when we lifted her out of her wheelchair and into the bed. Even more surprisingly, she didn’t protest when we got her into her night clothes.

Our day ended on a high note as well. We watched a couple of YouTube videos of piano concertos before I turned on an old CBS program about the filming of The Sound of Music. It is hard for her to follow the visuals, but I gave my own commentary that included references to places we had visited in Salzburg ten years ago.

It was a day in which we simply enjoyed being together. To me that was a perfect gift.

A Happy Easter

I should preface this post by saying that I don’t want my readers to think our lives are all smooth sailing. They are not. We experience many of the same or similar challenges that are common among people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. I wish Kate had never received her diagnosis, but she did. From the beginning we wanted to make the most of a bad situation, and we have.

During the past ten years, our lives have become smaller in that we can’t do as many things as we used to. The surprising thing to me is that we continue to enjoy life and each other, and some moments, even days, are very special. I reported on one of those in my previous post. Since then, except for a few moments, we’ve had a series of good days. That was capped off by a very nice Easter.

Kate is usually asleep when her caregivers arrive at 11:00. Yesterday, she would have been late for a sunrise service, but she was awake before 9:00. Like other mornings recently, she smiled when I went into the room. In fact, that has become the norm sometime in the past few months. She displayed no sign of confusion or fright. I’m not sure she knew my name, but it was clear that she recognized me. Except for my knowing she is confined to bed without our help, she seemed as normal as she was before Alzheimer’s entered our lives.

Because she was up early, I was able to take care of a few things that we usually do after the caregiver arrives. That included getting her meds, yogurt, and juice. After that she wanted to rest a while. Once the caregiver was here, I cooked her breakfast. We gave her a little break and then changed her and got her out of bed and into her wheelchair.

Kate and her caregiver watched an Andre Rieu concert on YouTube while I went to lunch at Andriana’s, something I have been doing almost every Sunday for the past few months. It’s different going without Kate, but I enjoy the whole experience. I always get one of two of my favorite salads with blackened salmon. We’ve eaten there on Sundays for years. We know the servers and they know us. In addition to our regular server who is very attentive, several others always stop by the table to say hello and check on Kate. Yesterday, one of them was especially excited to tell me that she is in her thirteenth week of her first pregnancy, and she’s going to have a boy. The manager brought my salad, and we chatted briefly. Since I’ve been going alone, I’ve also ordered a meal that Kate and I can split for dinner.

Yesterday was as near perfect a day as it gets. The temperature was in the low-to-mid-70s, and the dogwoods and azaleas in our back yard are in full bloom. When I got home, we took Kate outside on the patio.

Even in the mid-70s, it can get hot when seated in direct sunlight, but we sat in a shady spot that was just right. The first couple of times we took Kate outside, the caregiver and I clearly had a good time. We think Kate did as well, but she was not very demonstrative. The last two times she has enjoyed the change in scenery, and yesterday, she was enthusiastic. She loved looking at the new growth of leaves on the trees as well as colorful flowers. It was a pleasant experience for the three of us.

We went inside for dinner ninety minutes later. The dinner itself was also good. Kate always enjoys her food, and this time was no exception. Then we took her back to the bedroom and got her ready for bed. Kate was tired and rested while I listened to Tchaikovsky’s fourth and sixth symphonies on YouTube. Kate wasn’t talkative, but we both enjoyed the music and being together. It was a nice end to a very Happy Easter.

Our Own Christmas Story

Very early in the pandemic, I learned the following expression concerning our plight. “We may be in the same storm, but we are not in the same boat.” That struck a chord with me. I believe it holds for just about every obstacle we encounter in life. I definitely believe it applies to people’s experience with Alzheimer’s. Our situations are very diverse. Some people’s experience is like being in a “leaky canoe” while others may be like traveling on an “ocean liner. As regular readers know, Kate and I have been fortunate to face her Alzheimer’s as if we were in a battleship safe from the harsh storms that sink smaller boats.

With that in mind, you might ask what this year’s Christmas was like for us. Judging by the number of Christmas cards, phone calls as well as the flowers and goodies we received, quite a few people may have thought the most fitting piece of Christmas music for us would be “In the Bleak Midwinter.” (One of my all-time favorites, by the way.) Had I thought about it, I might have felt the same way. Kate is in the last stage of Alzheimer’s and bedridden for four weeks related to her recent experience with COVID. Not only that, but we were going to celebrate the day alone except for Kate’s caregiver. As it turned out, we had a joy-filled day.

As usual, I was up early, had breakfast and took a 60-minute walk. I had a relaxing morning before going to wake Kate about 11:15. Her eyes were open when I got to her bedside, and she greeted me with a big smile, just the kind of beginning I like. I took care of her morning meds. Then I served her breakfast in bed. Of course, that isn’t exactly special when you have been in bed for a month as she has, but she still loves her food. Now that I am crushing her pills, even that is a pleasant event for her. I always put it in yogurt or apple sauce. I don’t even tell her she is taking medicine. I just say, “I’ve got a treat for you.”

When the caregiver arrived, it was time to change her. Neither Kate nor the caregivers and I like to face this. She is no longer as combative as she was the first couple of weeks, but it is still something she dislikes and resists. Yesterday was also a day to change the sheet as well, so we did it all at the same time. That is something that is especially disturbing for Kate, but it went relatively smoothly.

The afternoon went very well. Kate was quite talkative even though that involved a lot of delusions. I sat up in bed with her almost the entire time while we watched several Christmas musical programs on YouTube. During one of them, I pointed out that all the musicians in the orchestra were wearing Santa caps. Kate didn’t know what I was talking about, so I put on my own that I wear each year when ringing the Salvation Army bells.

After the caregiver left, we had our Christmas dinner. The meal itself was quite good. I arranged for it through a caterer we have used since near the beginning of the pandemic, usually on a Friday night. Her menu for Christmas was a generous portion of beef tenderloin accompanied by sweet potatoes gratin, twice-baked potato, and green beans. The dessert was an assortment of goodies including fudge, baklava, chocolate mint brownies, and Christmas cookies. We indulged ourselves but still have some leftovers for another meal tonight.

We had a good meal, and both of us enjoyed every bite. The setting itself was nothing to write home about. Kate, of course, was in bed. I stood by the bed and fed her while eating my dinner between her bites. In some ways, one might compare the glamour of the situation to the Parker family’s Chinese dinner in A Christmas Story. The big difference was that Kate and I were having a good time.

After dinner, we watched a portion of It’s a Wonderful Life. Kate was engaged as I tried to explain what was going on; however, I decided to move on to something else and scrolled through the TV schedule. I saw that The Wizard of Oz had just started and turned to that. As I had done with the previous movie, I explained what was happening throughout. She was so engaged that she didn’t want to stop when I first said it was time for us to go to bed. We ended up watching over half of it before calling it a night.

What could have been a depressing way to spend our Christmas Day turned out to be one I will remember fondly. We were together and very happy.

Still Having Good Times

I hope I’ve made it clear that Kate and I face more issues to deal with than at any other time since her diagnosis. I am also happy to say what I have said before. We still enjoy life and each other. This past weekend is an excellent example.

Saturday morning she was slow to get up. That meant we didn’t get to have our regular lunch at Andriana’s. Ordinarily, that would not have been a problem. We would simply have had a late lunch; however, this time I wanted to attend a virtual memorial service for a church friend who died unexpectedly. It started at 2:00, and I knew we would be unable to get home in time.

As it turned out, Kate hadn’t quite finished her lunch when it started. I had expected to have finished eating and that she would rest while I watched the service. Instead we watched it together at the kitchen table. She had no idea who our friend was, nor was she able to follow everything that was said. That didn’t keep her from finding the service to be meaningful. She was especially moved by the music and prayers. Periodically, she reached her hand out to me. When she does this, I put one hand on top of hers. She puts her other hand on mine, and I top it off with my other hand.

I have often attended services for other church friends but haven’t been able to do so for a while because they have always conflicted with my responsibilities for Kate. Before that, I had been touched by memorial services because they made me think of a time when we would have one for her. Given that, it isn’t surprising that I found both the service and Kate’s response equally touching. It was a special time for the two of us.

Thirty minutes later, we had a Zoom call with our son Kevin. That, too, was special. Most of his calls are on the phone, and often Kate has been resting or in bed for the night. The result is that she isn’t up for a conversation. To be sure, a Zoom call is a little confusing for her. Her vision problem is part of the reason. She has a hard time seeing anyone on a Zoom call. In addition, is the fact that she can’t quite comprehend that she could be seeing someone on a call. It took a while at the beginning of the call to get her to look at the computer screen and see Kevin. Even after that, she drifted away from the screen.

The good thing is that we were able to talk comfortably. Some of the time, she and I talked to each other. I felt that was a good thing in that Kevin was able to catch a glimpse of the way we relate to each other. It was very much like it would have been if he were not on the line. It was an hour of pleasure for the two of us and, hopefully, for Kevin as well.

The rest of the afternoon and evening went well, and we have added something new to our evenings. I ‘ve been reading a bedtime story just before turning out the lights. I started with The Velveteen Rabbit, but that is a little long. I learned about Love You Forever from a Twitter friend. His wife is in memory care now and still likes it. It is much shorter, and I found that Kate likes it as well. It is short enough that I added I’ve Loved You Since Forever by Hoda Kotb who wrote it for her adopted daughter. Together the two books work out just right for a bedtime story. I plan to add a few more. It’s a nice way to end the day.

Sunday was also a good day. Kate was ready to get up at 8:30. That gave me enough time to get her breakfast, spend a little quality time with her, and let her rest before lunch. The highlight came while we were still at the kitchen table after breakfast. I’ve mentioned before that she often cleans up her plate, but I don’t believe I have said much more than that. She uses her index finger to pick up the final specks of food and put them in her mouth. There are always some things she doesn’t like. She puts those on the table or her placemat.

She did something different yesterday. She likes to arrange things and often changes the arrangement of items on her bedside table and dresser. Not too long ago I reported on her food art. That was when she spent time placing her napkin, utensils, glass, and food in various places on her plate and placement. Yesterday, she did something similar.

I made cheese toast for her using Dave’s “PowerSeed” bread. As the name suggests, it is loaded with seeds, and a lot inevitably fall on the plate or placemat. I noticed her carefully studying her plate. She was arranging the fallen seeds on her plate along with her fork and one remaining bite of cheese toast. I complimented her on her artistic eye as she continued to arrange and re-arrange. She enjoys things like this, and I enjoy seeing her entertain herself. This and other simple pleasures provide us with plenty of good times.