For most people I know, taking time out to sit down and eat lunch at a sunny spot of their kitchen table and pick up the mystery book they’ve been reading is not a big deal.
For me, it’s an event.
So, on Sunday, when she finally fell asleep after a day and a half of constant crying and moaning and whining and refusing to respond to any comfort, I finally had a few moments of quiet. And sunlight.
Her bouts of wordless whining are like Chinese water torture. At times like these I feel like I’m losing it. I threaten to go off my antidepressants and have a nervous breakdown just so that I can get some extended peace and quiet. Just so that I no longer have to live every day under the tyranny of her dementia. I am trying to convince my brother that she needs antidepressants. Dementia and depression are often all mixed up together.
When I start feeling like that I go into the garage, close the door, and loudly vocalize my anger, my frustration, my restlessness, my powerlessness.
But Sunday, there was sunlight and quiet, so after lunch, I scooted outside to walk up and down the long crunchy-leafed driveway, picking up tree limbs tossed there by the wind a few days earlier and meditating on the creative projects I will someday do when this trying crying time is over.
I take my little camera and stomp around the property, looking for roots, old roots that will become part of one of the projects I’m imagining that I will get to do someday.
I find several large trees that had been unearthed 30 years ago when the land was cleared to build the house. Good old roots.
I’m intrigued by a huge mound of unearthed rotting tree roots. In the afternoon shadows, forms and shapes emerge that become almost abstract art. “Autumn Art,” I muse.
And, maybe this, a watercolor.
In case you’re wondering what’s in my colorful sunny luncheon dish, it’s a concoction I make periodically when I get a hankering for food with flavor. (Cooking for my mother means no spices — she thinks the specs are bugs — so it’s basically onion powder and garlic powder and not too much of those because she has a sensitive stomach.)
So, every once in a while, I make a big bowl of assorted healthy stuff that I refrigerate and eat for days on end. The basis of it comes from jars: marinated zucchini, roasted sweet red peppers, green and black olives; a small can of diced oregano and garlic flavored tomatoes; frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, corn) that I partially cook and then marinate while still warm in whatever vinaigrette salad dressing I have on hand; chick peas (which I also warm and throw in the marinade); chopped red onions. Then I mix it all together, adding some of the liquid from the jarred ingredients so that I get the tangy taste I crave, and I put the very large container in the refrigerator and every once in a while give it all a good mixing.
When I want to have some for lunch, I add other last-minute ingredients (whatever I have on hand), such as mushrooms, chunks of fresh mozzarella, pepperoni, salami, and even walnuts.
Obviously, my life is so devoid of flavor that I obsess on food. At least I don’t drink.