I read, I write, I learn. I’m forever dedicated to my curiosity. Blog: https://www.renovatorlife.com Twitter: @BonnieJohnson

She’s disappearing right before my eyes

Faded, blurry photo of a woman with Alzheimer’s disease.
Photo by Author

There’s nothing anyone can do to stop it. It starts slowly at first, leaving little clues that something's not quite right. By the time we fully understood what was happening, it was already well on its way to stealing her from us.

Like an old faded Polaroid picture, the person I’ve known my entire life is receding into a wispy outline of herself. Alzheimer’s shrinks people. Did you know that? Her body seems half the size it used to be.

Food battles

Eating is not interesting to her anymore. She would rather eat chocolate than a proper meal. Who can blame her…


Even when it’s hidden behind a mask, you can still feel a smile

Woman’s face with a huge smile
Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy on Unsplash

I once read somewhere that smiling at someone was like blowing them a kiss from your soul. What a lovely thought, but how do we do that with masks pulled tight over our smile-makers.

I want to blow kisses from my soul. I yearn to catch kisses blown my way from other souls too.

Here we are in a pandemic — still. How can we send these kisses from our souls through layers of cloth?

Smile with your eyes, of course. Smize. It’s a thing.

smize /smīz/

INFORMAL

verb

assume a playful or alluring expression of the eyes. …


Just like popular memes, they’re really hard to miss

Image for post
DappurDanMan/Imgur

Warning: I’m about to call to your attention a strange phenomenon which, once you are aware of it, will present itself everywhere. Like the Bernie meme. If you’re ok with that, read on.

I see them almost nightly while watching the news. Last night, for example, there was a story on clear-cutting old-growth forests. They interviewed someone from The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. His last name was Forest. Of course it was. They’re everywhere and you’ll notice them when you pay attention.

I’m talking about aptronyms.

Ap·tro·nym

/ˈaptrəˌnim/

noun

a person’s name that is…


You can’t ignore grief but maybe you can deflate it a little

Drawing of a woman with a red tear coming from her eye.
“The Five Stages of Grief” by Flickr user Cocomariposa. Used under Creative Commons license.

I’ve stopped and started this story a dozen times. Where to begin? How much to share? Who wants to read about grief, anyway?

Here’s the thing. It’s unavoidable. In your life, the cruel icy hand of loss will reach out and touch you one day, if it hasn’t already.

Grief is deeply personal and unique to everyone who meets it. Despite all the ways it differs, there is a recognition. I might glimpse it in your eyes. You might perceive it in mine.

We can all agree it hurts like hell.

A little background

Seven years ago, my husband's daughter, my step-daughter, passed…


Naked woman wrapped in barbed wire.
Image by efes from Pixabay

A letter of apology

Dear Body,

You’re pissed. I’m getting the message loud and clear — now. I’m sorry it took this long for me to finally hear you. When I look back, I can see how you were sending me clues about how unhappy you were, but I kept ignoring them. I’m sorry.

In my defense, I thought I was doing right by you. Remember how I quit dairy for you? I know, again, I should have done that many, many years before I did. I hope you understand how hard that was for me. I mean, quitting cheese? I love cheese. I…


A lesson on how to nip hatred in the bud

Protester with sign that reads Hate Makes You Ugly
Credit: Flickr/Fibonacci Blue. CC BY 2.0.

How often have you listened to someone and thought, I don’t like what you say? Or worse, watched them and thought, I don’t like what you do?

I hope you don’t experience this too often with people you know personally. If you watch the daily news coverage, I’ll bet the answer would be — daily. I’m a news junkie and catch myself thinking I don’t like you every day. That can’t be good.

I know people who have vowed to look away. They don’t watch news coverage at all anymore…


We need to strengthen our tolerance for the unknown

Young girl covers her eyes.
Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash

We live in a highly predictable world, but it wasn’t always this way. Our ancestors faced unknowns around every corner, and they did it with grace. If tolerance for uncertainty was a muscle, they used it and built up some impressive bulk. We’ve let that muscle wither and atrophy.

How did we get so soft?

Today we have apps to predict almost everything, weather, traffic, book recommendations, music, you name it, there’s an app for it. Most of us enjoy the comfort of knowing what to expect and when. Then the pandemic hit and boom, we’re left struggling with an intolerance of uncertainty.

“Fear and anxiety…


They say hearing is the last sense to go, so choose carefully

water flowing down a stream
Photo by Carson Vara on Unsplash

So many people have died recently because of COVID-19 and most would have died alone. What was the last thing they heard before they passed, I wonder?

The sterile sounds of medical equipment alarms and beeps are likely the last sounds they heard. Perhaps the reassurances and a few kind words from nurses and doctor's right before their intubation? Not ideal. Not altogether soothing either, I would imagine.

When I envision myself in their bedsheets, I’m terrified and sad. So it’s got me thinking about what sounds I’d…


Low pressure days feel heavier, yes, but could I also be SAD?

Image for post
Image by the author

Whenever the clouds are really low like this, I feel the weight of them pushing down on me. Am I imagining this or is it an actual phenomenon?

I read an article once that claimed lower pressure means less oxygen in the atmosphere, which means less oxygen in the body, and that can make us feel sluggish. I don’t know if there is a valid science behind that, but it feels possible. Or maybe it’s just an excuse to be lazy on a grey day.

I took the…


Lately, so many people disappoint me.

A woman who appears disappointed.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

I know during these trying times it’s more popular to tout positivity. I shouldn’t nitpick but — you knew there was a but — I have been more disappointed with people lately than I can recall ever having been before.

When I say they disappoint me, what I really mean is they’ve let me down. Or at least they’ve let down my expectations of them and that’s on me.

“Expectation is the root of all heartache.”

I thought I knew these people. I thought they were kind, rational humans. Didn’t they used to be?

If it weren’t for Trump or…

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