Toilet Paper And a Silk Sleep Hat

Created by Crystal Cawley of Portland, Maine

Before I could say a word, the hubby said, “Remind you of Grandma?”

“Yes,” I answered softly as memories of my mother came flooding in.

For as long as I can remember, Mother wrapped her hair in toilet paper and covered it with a silk sleep hat every night.  From week to week when she had it washed and set again not a hair moved.  If she could feel the wind blow through her hair she’d fuss that it was making her hair a mess.  Still, not a hair moved, and I don’t remember ever touching her hair as that was an unspoken no.

As time passed and I first married and then had children, this ritual continued and it became a family joke, not because we disapproved but because we found it humorous that Mother’s concern was always about her hair.   It was as if it defined who she was, and maybe it did.

So for years the ritual continued.  Then came the time when I would stop in to visit her after she’d had dinner.  Sometimes she’d be in her gown playing solitaire or what she thought to be solitaire, but more often than not she’d already be in bed asleep despite the early hour.  What was missing was the sleep hat.

For some reason I found that very upsetting.  Her hair fixation was a part of life and seeing it become unkempt caused me to feel a little ungrounded.  I began going over a little earlier to wrap her hair and cover it with the sleep hat.  She’d question why and I’d answer lamely that it was to keep her hair from getting messed up.  She’d respond that it would be OK in the morning after she brushed it.  That didn’t happen.

It was something so simple but so significant that let me know that things were changing at a faster pace than I was prepared for.  I had accepted the diagnosis of dementia, but as long as things continued in a somewhat normal fashion I had no idea what that really meant.  Knowledge came quickly, and as any of you who have dealt with dementia know, the  deteriorating process is emotionally painful.  In her lucid moments, Mother said often, “Sometimes I think I’m losing my mind.”  She was, but right until the end I had her hair done and in the few hours that it stayed nice, I could pretend that things were as they always had been.

Today is Mother’s birthday, and I hope she doesn’t mind that I have shared this little story.  Her years of protecting her hair with toilet paper and a silk sleep hat are an endearing memory.  Who knows, one of these days I may take up the habit!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

What’s Ahead?

2017, a new year that has gotten here faster than I would have wished.  Now that it’s in place, like many of you, I’m wondering what’s ahead.  Is it more exercise, less food and drink, you know, the things we always swear to address?  Experience has taught me that resolutions are something I rarely keep, at least not all of them, so I don’t make them anymore.

img_8444Today, I was in Pier One checking out its Christmas sale.   Walking out empty handed, this sign caught my eye. Before pulling out my iPhone to snap a photo, I thought about the words and how they could well define my goals for 2017.  There’s nothing here that requires sacrifice, but that doesn’t mean there is no challenge.  That being said I’m going to start now incorporating these words into the way I live.  Maybe they will work for you, too.

Happy New Year!

Over and Done!

Christmas is over and done, and I have to confess to that being a relief.  In the days leading up to the holiday, I have to fight off being blue.

FamilyIt makes me sad that our small family,  which now includes sons-in-law and grandchildren, is rarely all together during the holiday season.

9780740784323_p0_v1_s192x300I miss reading The Night Before Christmas to kids

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand leaving cookies and milk for Santa.

I experience sadness remembering the people who are part of Christmases past and wish that I weren’t the only member of my original family still here.

But enough of that.   Today is a new day and with it the blues disappear.

HoustonI will enjoy time in Houston while awaiting the return to Maine

Roque Island, Mainewhere there is boating, exploring islands and spending time with family and friends.

lobsterWithout question I will eat more lobster!

Most of all, I plan to live each day to the fullest, to be grateful for what good health allows me to do, and to give lots of hugs!  That should get me through the months until next Christmas when I’ll probably again feel a little blue.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind


I am very lucky to live in two places: Houston, Texas and Rockport, Maine.  We have just returned to Houston and, oh, what a difference.  Many of those differences make reentry something of a challenge.

Office View HoustonHouston is big and with that comes lots of traffic.  

HoustonRight now I drive the freeways with my heart in my mouth, fearful of changing lanes and intimidated by 18 wheelers closing in urging me to speed up or waiting to pass me by.  

img_7502That is quite a contrast to Maine where most of the roads are two lanes with 50 MPH speed limit which makes driving a bit more leisurely to say nothing of being more scenic.

img_8259As different as it is, there are things I like about being in Houston.  High on the list is Costco where I always come out with much more than  I meant to purchase.  That was especially true on this first visit when having access to so much was overwhelming!

img_8314I like that Houston winter is green with lots of blooming things, the way Maine is in summer.  By the time we leave Maine, most of the color is gone and the landscape takes a break until spring when it reawakens.

img_8332Returning to Houston means going to St. Paul’s UMC, a church I’ve loved for many years.  I appreciate its timeless Gothic architecture, the peacefulness I feel there, the way it provides opportunity for discovering your own faith walk and that it is open to all people.


The best part of reentry is returning to my house in the area that has been home to the hubby and me since we’ve been married.  (One of these days I will have to tell you the story of how this house got me elected to office or at least how I think it helped.)

Rockport Pano 6X18

As different as it is, I enjoy the time we spend in Houston, but I must confess that I do miss waking up in the morning, turning my head and looking out on Rockport Harbor.

Rockport Harbor

No matter the season, no matter whether it’s sunny or foggy, I love the view, the activity 

winter/lobster boatsand the sight and sound of lobster boats going out for the day’s work.  The most I see upon waking in Houston is the fence that separates our and the neighbor’s property.

Despite their differences, I am lucky to live in Houston and Rockport, and each helps me appreciate the other a little more.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind


Wow Us Wednesday

What’s It Wednesday

Morning Time

When it comes to morning, I’m not a get up and go kind of girl.  No, I’d rather ease into the day, gather my thoughts and have a couple of hours of quiet time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis time of year no place is better for that than the screened porch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith a first cup of coffee and a few books, I settle in to take notice of the new day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASometimes it is so quiet I hear nothing but the fountain gurgling, but it doesn’t stay that way for long.

Soon the doves are cooing, and I listen wondering what it is they are saying to one another.  Overhead I hear the sound of an airplane and I imagine the people aboard and wonder where and why they are going.  There is the occasional whir of a helicopter, a possible indicator of a life flight or a news crew heading to cover breaking news.  Cars pass by and I can tell by their speed how much of a hurry the driver is in.

All those  sounds are familiar.  What is new is the miracle of spring.  

redbud treeEvery day buds turn to leaves or flowers

wildflowersand butterflies begin gathering nectar for what I hope will be delicious honey.

All around me is color, none more beautiful than the azaleas bursting with it, and I want to take as much in as possible because they won’t be here too long.

As each new day begins, I welcome it with appreciation and there is little that can interrupt my morning time which sets the tone for the rest of the day.

i so appreciate your visit and especially the comments you leave behind

It’s a New Year


2016….a brand new year, and I’m sitting here wondering what happened to the last 12 months and how it was possible for the days, weeks and months to fly by so quickly.   Has it always been so or did time seem to move slower when we were younger?  I seem to remember thinking Christmas or my birthday took forever to come or that school would never be out.  Now one thing merges into another before I can blink.

I’ll not begin the new year with a list of resolutions.  I’ve never been very good at keeping them anyway.  Instead, what I wish to focus on is living each day to the fullest, finding good in the gift of life, being present in each moment rather than looking back or thinking about the future. I want to be aware of all that is around me, to say I love you to people who are important in my life, to forgive and be forgiven, to make a difference in the places I touch. Sounds pretty simple, huhn?  Somehow I’m thinking that may not be the case.

How about you?  What are your thoughts as you enter 2016?  I hope that as the days, weeks, months pass we will share some of what is important and meaningful in our lives and that we find richness in each new experience.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

WalMart…A Different Look

I bring the boys here in the dead of winter when the weather is awful and they’re bored, and I come here when I want to be alone.  My mother and I come here when we want to talk privately, and Bertie and I come here when we feel like seeing people. I come here when the air conditioner goes out in the summer and I buy popcorn and just walk around. Most of the times I can remember that Howard and I were actually getting along he’d ask me if I wanted to go to Wal Mart with him, and we’d look at stuff we wanted to buy and talk about it—wouldn’t it be nice to have a Cuisinart, wouldn’t it be nice to have a sixty four piece sprocket set.  It’s a very romantic place, really.

Funny how words can be so transporting as well as entertaining. They have the power to take you to a different place or make you wonder at what you have overlooked in real life. This paragraph from a book whose title I can’t remember did just that for me.

 imagesNow I have to confess I’m not much of a Walmart shopper, but when I’m in Maine there are limited shopping opportunities.When I’m looking for something specific like material for holiday napkins or embroidery thread or paper towels and toilet paper or….well, you get the picture….I go to Walmart.

Anyway, when I read these words so many images came to mind and I began wondering about people who I’d seen on my few trips to Walmart.  Were they bored or looking for an opportunity to be alone?  Were they escaping an uncomfortable environment or sharing a special moment with a loved one?  Were they wishing for things they didn’t have?  I guess I will never know, but in finding the scrap of paper where I had copied this paragraph, I had to laugh at one of my own memories.

One lazy, rainy Sunday afternoon I asked the hubby if he wanted to go on an adventure.  Where to? he asked.  Walmart I answered.  He looked at me like I’d lost my marbles and then, I suppose to humor me, he said OK.  It was a brand new store, huge, and as it turned out we did have quite an adventure just trying to find our way around and laughing at why we were there.  

Was it a romantic outing?  Maybe. Had we just become Walmart shoppers?  No, because we’ve not been back but the afternoon  gave us a shared memory that we can chuckle about.

Life, isn’t is just full of the funniest things?

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind