Sunday, November 30, 2008

My grandma's frenemy

So, my 88-year-old grandma is in the nursing home. (Not making light of that because there's nothing funny about needing help getting around due to limited sight/mobility.) She still has her wits about her, though, and we're all grateful for that. However, it does cause some difficulty when it comes to making friends with the other residents. There just aren't many to pick from who can carry on a conversation. Therefore, grandma is usually stuck with a lady we'll call "Millie".

Millie is like the octogenarian's version of a junior high frenemy. My grandma really can't stand her, but they have to stick together because no one else can A)hear B)speak and C)remember what they heard or spoke one hour later. Here's a few of the highlights of life with Millie.
  • Last week she cried all through supper because some people were not sitting in their assigned seats and she would like to "just sit wherever she pleased too." When pressed by my grandma about where she'd like to sit instead, she admitted she liked just where she was (because she can see everyone who comes in and talk about them). But man, did it ruin her night that other people moved one seat over.
  • When my grandma spent the afternoons outside this summer and got tan hands as a result, Millie bragged about her own hands. "Look at my white skin, I am a real lady." Hate to break it to you, Mil, but no modeling agency is going to be calling you anytime soon to do a hand cream commercial.
  • Millie is convince my grandma will fall into ill health if she doesn't drink the syrup that comes with the canned peaches they have every night. Yep, I'm sure that makes all the difference and not the 17 pills you each take every day.
  • Millie listens to 7 sermons every Sunday and is convinced those who only listen to 4 need to be saved.
  • The first time I had a real conversation with her, she used three different racial slurs in our 15 minute conversation. Hello, the 1940's called and they want their inappropriate lingo back.
  • Elderly people thrive on bragging about their kids/grandkids/distant relative's accomplishments. Millie's granddaughter spent a semester in the Congo delivering twins or something. The story loses a bit of steam when she adds "Now she lives in Des Moines." My grandma usually one-ups her with "My grandson and his wife just got back from Mt. Everest and called the other night from Ecuador." (actually true)
  • Millie scolded one of the other residents one too many times during the popcorn popping for movie night. The lady slapped her on the cheek and said "You know, Millie, I've never liked you and I never will."  Smackdown at the nursing home people, and Florence is taking names.
Millie is infamous for scolding other residents, tweaking their cheeks, and complaining about everything from the thinness of the soup to the nurse who wouldn't give her the constipation medicine she desired. But the fact is that she is a valuable companion to my grandma, providing conversation, shared memories of life in their small town, and a sounding board for the daily aches and pains of growing old.  Plus, if she didn't have a frenemy like Millie, what would my grandma have to complain about?

Gingerbread Houses 2008

This is the gingerbread farm I made to display at the Winterfest Contest this year. The gingerbread barn is covered in Strawberry Rips Licorice Belts with Watermelon Rip Rolls on the roof. Claus & Co. Lollipops provide the faces of Farmer Santa, Rudolph, and the Elf farm hands. Licorice Dreams provide fence posts and apple EIFFEL bonbons fill the reindeer's feeding trough. The silo is made of crispy rice with a waffle bowl top. I hope the community has fun looking at all the samples (and entries) in the Gingerbread House Contest we are sponsoring!

The sample house I made for this year's contest, made to look like the posters created by one of our Designers. The trees are made of Rips Licorice and the boulders around the house are EIFFEL bonbons. The soldiers are gummy candy from our Elfworks Candy 'n Canes.

Here's the sample indoor scene I made. The fireplace is made of EIFFEL bonbons with Rips licorice stockings hung on the gingerbread mantle. A Santa-shaped 'Polar Pals' marshmallow lollipop is delivering presents to put under the Rips Licorice tree (with jellybean lights).  Rainbow Reaction Rip Rolls provide a colorful rug and curtains to complete the room.