Journal: August 9, 2009 – Words

Sunday, August 9, 2009: Was sitting by myself, and started to laugh out loud. My crazy speech patterns have been just that, crazy. I owe my existence to a stubborn, creative part of my brain that is helping her shrinking alter-ego. So while I don’t miss math and bill paying too much (oh that brings a big smile to my face) I appreciate the coping skills God has given me.

Once, Nick was driving and I saw a pedestrian dart out. Searching for the word, I blurted out “Hark! Hark! A pedestrain cometh! Do halt!” He said, “you mean ‘stop’?!” Yes, I had meant that but the simple words elude me.

Another time, totally lost in the city of Cincinnati, I called my personal GPS – Greg – and said I didn’t know where I was. “I have no directional plate,” I lamented. “Directional plate?” “Yes, you know a gazeteer.” “You mean a map?” and yes I did, but again it was gone. He then ‘rode with me’ on my cell phone many a time, getting me to my church clients, to my hotel.

Reading has become mystical, too. I was re-reading “The Shack” and suddenly the word hamburger was everywhere. Hamburger? I thought. What the hey? So I closed the book, did other things, came back and there it was again throughout the paragraph. A few days later, my daughters were cleaning out my fridge, and they found 4 or 5 stacks of hamburger, that I kept impulsively buying, to make stuffed cabbage with. So, now I know that whatever is on my mind inserts itself anywhere. To say “I need to plant my hamburger” means I have hamburger on my mind but was intent to plant my flowers. But knowing that gives me a clue of what I want to do, and now, like Nancy Drew, I will write down the clues. There may be yet another way to cope with this.

Have a good hamburger, and God bless!!

Love, Vicki

My gal pals gave me the lazy woman’s way to do stuffed cabbage. In a lasagne pan, layer cabbage, hamburger mixture, tomato sauce and repeat. It sounds so easy I may hamburger it today.

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Journal: July 17, 2009 – The Diagnosis

I sat before Dr. Bazoki, with Beth, and we conversed like over coffee. “Your mother has an amazingly brilliant mind,” she said. “It may have kept her alive to this point.” Our jaws slung low. “I believe it is Frontal Temporal Dementia – FTD/Picks.” and she said she would eat her hat, if it wasn’t. We sat there stunned. Beth began to weep. “I was so afraid it was Alzheimers,” she said, quaking. “I was so afraid we were all at risk. Thank you! Oh, Thank You!!” and I watched, not here nor there, as she amazed me with her deep grief being relieved.

I had dreamt it too, of course, but no one in our family had Alzheimers, so I cast it away. Pooh. But niggling in my brain was my grandmother and great-grandmother who died of dementia, but – hey – it’s not Alzheimers, right? Oh, not so right.

Watching my daugher weep, I gazed – apart from all this – just watched like a bystander. Surely, this was the better? But no. It is more lethal than anything we’d ever heard of: Parkinsons, ALS, epilepsy and Alheizmers. What the heck?? What the HEY??!!

You need to look at hospice, and assisted care facilities, Dr. Bazocki said. We were already nodding – like Geppeto and his puppets. Uh huh, we said, glassing over. And wear your C-PAP, she said. We thought it was because she had Dr. Quimby’s chart in front of her. But no. Last Friday she said to wear the scary mask to keep my brain alive, nothing to do with sleeping.

So, have I passed along a deadly gene to them that will rear it’s ugly head in their 40’s? I do not know. I only know I could take down mountains, slay anything brought in front of me with my slicing wit, my amazing creativity. And they are dying.

I lost my job, the only job ever fired from, because I could not do it. Oh, I tried. I stayed up 24/7 trying, but I failed. And I was fired. And hospitalized twice. And felt the hand of God had left me in a demented state.

And today, I know I have somethiing called “Frontal Temporal Dementia – PICKS Disease” and last fall I was told I have a slow growing syndrome with my eyes, called Fuch’s Syndrome, where the liquid in my eyes dries up, not unlike my brain, which has been atrophying. The 6 moves in 4 years; the 3 new jobs all of it killiing me softly with their song, killing me softly…

I want to hit something, to rail against the unfairness of it all. Did I not give up my family to serve the Church?!! Did I not give away my nights and my days for pedophiliacs, church slaughters, Terry Schiavo, the late JPII, the new B16? Damn. And for what? I ask myself.

So much to take in. So many roads to take. I think it’s gonna take some time. Maybe all I need is time.


Long lonely nights, with no muse in sight, I sit on the couch waiting for the first light of day. And it comes slowly and it brings bird song, and morning breezes through the window, ruffling the curtains, the hair on my damp forehead. “It will be ok” she says. “It will be ok.” And I trust the dawn, but yet fear the night.

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Summer Thanksgiving


Good morning, Papa, Sofia, and Jesse. Just want to take a moment as I wipe the sand from my sleepy eyes to thank you for the sweet birdsong alarm clock and your gentle touch in the breeze from my open window. Through the lace of my curtains I can see your sun rise (pun intended, grin). Stretching is my first prayer to you, and with every thought, movement, emotion we’ll stay connected in our prayer chat.

Not knowing what the day will bring I lift up to you my thoughts, actions, joys & sadness, laughter & tears, curiosity and stillness, naps and activity, facebook and twitterers, and most of all my family and extended family. Protect them, cuddle us in the palm of your hand, smile upon us and delight in us. Tonight, gather us onto your lap for a gentle bedtime story, tuck us in knowing you are snugged in with us, covering us up, being our nightlite.

Let my actions remind people of Dorothy Day, Erma Bombeck, Mom & Dad, and most of all may they see you in me.

I pray for the intentions in my heart, to not be discouraged by not working, being disabled, but be grateful that my family will always feed me and house me, which is so much more than others have today. I pray for peace, to serve justly, and to walk humbly with you, my God.

Thank you for my faith, values, family and friends. I look forward to seeing you throughout the day in them.

Gotta eat now, but you know where I am, which is more than I can say somedays.


Is there anything more wonderful to wake up with the sun rising? Whether up all night trying to sleep, ruffling through bills & shut off notices, or taking care of collicky babies, or looking at the face of the person next to you, surviving the night into light is life resurrection.

Living room morning light. Just want to run out and give God a hug on days like today.

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Today I Took a Bouquet of My Humility to the Village of Dewitt

Saturday, May 16, 2009: I’ve worked since I was 7, at my Aunt Zoe Borcher’s “Canoe Inn” livery (and later, fine dining) at Stephan’s Bridge in Grayling, MI. I’ve worked for the Catholic church since I was 11. I am 60. It has been a long and tangled relationship for us both.

Receiving the news from my bone doctor, following a fall (Fall, 2008) from the 2nd step of my stairs, I bravely said I was ready (physically, after the surgeries and physical therapy) to come back to work. Oh. I was soo not ready. In denial about encroaching scar tissue from a closed head injury, it was not my leg, fibia nor knee that impeded me from going back to work. No. It was the concussion I had received during that time. My 3rd since the life altering accident on Cinco de Mayo in Phoenix, when a woman on her cell phone ran a red light, and T-boned me, spinning me out of this hemisphere, and impacting me – yet – to this day.

I couldn’t read, nor recognize numbers. I was a software technician for a Catholic software company. If I could not do my job, I would lose it. My co-workers saved me. And DOS, bless her heart. By memory, I could assemble the issue. “Touch, F, S, and select G, general census”, I would say. When it became more intricate than that my cubicle pals would come up and wave at me and say “transfer it” to them. The monitor to me was so frightening. But Paul and Stacy and Bruce and Joe/Lupe/Karen would swoop in, take those calls and no one knew the difference. To you all, without you I could not have survived. And to Nick, whose wild 14 year old driver’s license brought me to work each day. (You know you loved waiting in the receptionist’ room, oglng Teresa!!)

By being proud, and fearful of losing my job if my disability was more than my right leg, but my left hemisphere, I lost my job at the diocese. I could not perform it any more. (My pride went before my ‘fall’ you could say.)

Today, thinking I could ‘pay it forward’ to those who have been kind to me, and that I could make a living from it from my veranda, I created my Campbell’s soup bouquets. Confident that owner’s of the economy defying village of DeWitt merchants, I saddled up my used Amazon box, filled with small bouquets in soup cans, olive jars, wine bottles, and walked down to propose my dream. Would they be interested in accepting my gift and let me know when I replaced it next week, and how customers viewed these humble offerings. My first stop was the DeWitt Pharmacy, which highlights works about DeWitt, local artists, and folklore of the region. Confident, I gave them my Campbell’s soup bouquet.

“Would you be willing to just accept this gift of appreciation for all the kindnesses you have afforded me, as I recuperate from a difficult time in my life?”, I said. “I am unemployed and disabled and want to test this market. I am not asking you to sell this, I just want your customer’s reactions seeing it. In fact, if someone comes in – really down – please, give this to them. Call me, and I will replace it.”

They said “No.” No? Not paying it forward, nada.

Sam’s resturant said ‘yes’, the IGA party store said ‘yes’ and called me – this same day – to pick up the cans, wine y liquor bottles they were collecting for me. And I replaced their flowers. They gave them to someone who was going to buy a bottle of liquor to drown the shame of unemployment, but took the “Mario Olives” bouquet instead.

Thank you, Jesus, for walking with me on a long, arduous journey of one.


Try the Chicken Noodle if your soul has a cold. Very nice. (Pick out the flowers tho’) ;o)

Finding something beautiful in what we would cast off, isn’t that what we all are called to do?

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St. Dymphna, Pray for Me

Friday, May 15, 2009: One day, when I was 30, I saw a dear old man in front of the grocery store looking around for something. I went over to him and asked if I could help. He said he’d lost his car keys and had looked every where, retracing his steps. I walked over to the car door, and handed him the keys he’d left in the lock. Chagrined, he asked how I knew to look there. “I do that all the time,” I replied. How old are you, he asked. I told him, and he said “Wow, I’m 87 but you’re really going to be a mess!!”

He was right. Now, it’s not the keys but playing hide and seek with my car. My SUV, all white, big. Silly Mazda. It appears somehow it moved itself from the front parking lot to the back parking lot. And, it likes airport parking immensely. Particulary in Detroit, where I get hours of enjoyment going back into the baggage claim area, with both hands full of luggage, equipment and things drug (?) from the last convention. Detroit’s motto should be: “Heed where you park. Note on your stub ‘you cannot get there from here’.

Dymphna, you are still stuck with me, aren’t you? I knew it. 100 years ago, while setting up for mass, I looked in the trash and here was a plaster of paris statue. Intrigued I pulled her out, and at the base was her name, Dymphna. I was smitten. I dragged her to my 2nd job, at a real estate office.

I was working at Century 21 in Grayling, where my boss, Sandy Thompson, took a bite out my rear end each day (still had lots of junk in that trunk, so it wasn’t all it could have been). I looked up Dymph (we are close friends) and found out she was the patron of fits and seizures. That works for me, I thought. Where she held a book, I perched my business cards. And, she fit in very well there, just as I thought she would.

Through the years I dragged Dymph to 3 dioceses, 2 software companies and a magazine. And… she fit in!

These days of unemployment, she still fits. Dymphie, over here. I cannot find my car… Where are my keys? (sigh).


You can learn about this sweetie saint at Poor thing, lost her head. No, I won’t digress into “head over heels” sick jokes. No. Really.

Oh, this is where they are. Silly Vicki. ;o)

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