Wednesday, April 29, 2015

ICE CREAM AND DOGS-MY FAVORITE THINGS

Okay, before you get completely grossed out by the title of this blog post as in why would I want to discuss ice cream and dogs in the same post, let me explain. I think they both provide some of the same benefits. Both offer us comfort in times of stress and both can brighten our day if we are feeling down. At this facility they allow both dogs and ice cream, sometimes at the same time.

The ice cream social takes place six days a week, from two-thirty to three o'clock, in an area in the lobby that has the look and feel of a quaint ice cream parlor. Someone from the activities department is behind the counter dishing out delicious scoops of ice cream. Sure, there is Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry, but who can resist trying  flavors named Caramel Caribou, Moose Tracks or Blueberry Waffle Cone? My personal favorites are Orange-Pineapple and Coffee. There are three different flavors to choose from each day. There are even days when milkshakes and root beer floats are served up. Every Wednesday is the popcorn social. Popcorn is made in a movie theater style popcorn machine and served in bags. The socials are a place to visit with other residents. I have met other residents and enjoyed talking with them while eating my ice cream.

Sundays are when not only is there ice cream, but you might see the dogs from Love on a Leash during that time too These dogs and their owners go through training to become.pet therapy dogs. I have written blogs in the past about the benefits of bringing dogs into facilities, but now that I reside in one, I know firsthand how much these visits mean. These dogs are gentile, loving creatures whose owners make sure you get to spend time with each dog. I have difficulty reaching down to pet some of the dogs, so the bigger dogs are better for me as they can stand or sit at the side of my chair and I can pet them easily. Love on a Leash visits on Sundays and Tuesdays. I wish they came everyday.

I couldn't end this post without telling you about another dog who comes every Monday with his owner, Jane. His name is Harvey. Harvey is all black, black fur, black eyes. Jane holds Harvey in her arms and when I talk to him he gives the impression that he can't be bothered and turns his face away. I continue to talk soothingly to him and pet his paw. Last Monday as I was doing this, Harvey put his paw on my arm. Jane said, 'He must like you. He rarely does that to anyone." Then, he turned his face. We were almost nose to nose. For a minute I thought he was going to give me a kiss on the nose, but he just sniffed. "Did he just give you a kiss?" Jane asked. "Almost." I told her. She was amazed because he never kisses anyone. I know my nose kiss is coming. I'll be patient Harvey.

Dogs and ice cream. You can't be sad when a dog is around or when eating ice cream. Both make people happy. That's why they are two of my favorite things.








Wednesday, April 22, 2015

MY JOURNEY TO LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER 2015

I have been a fan of Listen to Your Mother since the very first show in St. Louis. I love it because it pays tribute to mothers as well as anyone who takes on the role of a mother in a child's life. The stories are sad, happy, humorous, they cover every emotion, but most of all, they are real. I don't have children, but each year, as I sat in the audience listening, there was always something in each story that reminded me of the relationship I'd had with my mom and by the end of the show I usually had tears in my eyes because the stories I'd heard were so moving. I wished I could pay tribute to my mother in such a meaningful way, but there was no way I could do it because I don't like to speak in front of people. Believe me, when I do, it is not pretty,so I put the idea out of my mind.

Then, one Sunday afternoon, when I was alone in my house I sat at my laptop and began typing.  I wrote from my heart about my mother, our relationship and what she meant to me. An hour later I had written my essay, 

I went to the website, sat there looking at it for quite a while. Then, even though I knew they wouldn't choose my story, I hit the submit button. It was done.

I forgot about it until one morning when I checked my email. There was an email from one of the producers telling me I had been chosen to audition. I couldn't believe it. When the night of my audition came,I was nervous, but Ellie, Laura and  Naomi, the producers, put me at ease.  I auditioned thinking it was just for fun and there was no way I would be chosen to be in the cast.

But I was. I couldn't believe it. I was thrilled beyond words. Sadly, rehearsal schedules and my caregiver schedules  didn't fit together. I had to drop out. I sat in the audience last year wishing I had been able to share my story.

The day of the show last year, Laura told me how much they had wanted me in the cast. "Wherever you are next year we will find a way to share your story." They found a way to make me feel less nervous and turned my dream of being a member of the LTYM cast into a reality.

Being in this show is about more than paying tribute to mothers. For me it's about acceptance, the fulfillment of a dream and support. The support of the producers who thought my story was good enough to be a part of the show. I want to thank them for finding a way for me to tell it that is comfortable for me.

Please come to the show if you can. Each cast member  has a unique story.Stories you won't want to miss.

To order tickets go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/3rd-annual-listen-to-your-mother-show-st-louis-tickets-15505132268