Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Gardener's Cottage-Asheville, NC

Painting by Bee Sieburg

I get asked all the time what are my favorite spots in Asheville. I can say that without a doubt my favorite store in my hometown is the Gardener's Cottage in Biltmore Village. 
I am slightly biased because my mother used to work at this beautiful shop. I even registered here. The owner is a friend and it is my bright happy spot whenever I come in town for a visit. This store is a treasure box of gifts, flowers, plants and love. 

Libby and her sister Laura purchased the shop from owner Bee Sieburg and her daughter Molly Courcelle. You might recognize those two names; they are both exquisite artists and have a studio in the Wedge building. One of these days I am going to commission Bee to paint our Wedding location and commission Molly to paint the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Libby was like a second daughter to my Mom and this shop was catnip for her. My Mom loved arranging flowers, taking care of plants and had a slight addiction to candles and notecards that I have inherited.
My beautiful Mom in the shop many seasons ago.

Libby is graciously donating a portion of her proceeds on this Saturday September 16th to my Walk to End Alzheimer's. Please consider stopping by to pick something up! She has the best gifts, the most gorgeous maidenhair ferns and probably Asheville's biggest collection of stunning moss covered pots. 
Libby also creates the most unique and elegant flower arrangements and can design anything for any occasion!

Here is what Libby wrote about Mom:
Barbara Boylan is a very special person to me.  When my sister and I first took over The Gardener's Cottage in 2004, Barbara was one of the first to join our team and she quickly became like family.  She always had a way of making everything feel like home with her warmth, vibrant enthusiasm and her genuine way of connecting with people.  
All of you who know Barbara and any who even briefly met her at the shop know her ability to make you instantly feel welcome and special.  She worked with us for over 3 years and always showed up each day with a smile...(and usually some kind of baked good!)  Most notably, due to her New Orleans roots, she never forgot to bring in a king cake for Mardi Gras each year...a tradition I carry on to this day but is nowhere near the same! These are the little things that make me smile when I think of Barbara...not to mention her love for all things garden and flower related as well as her talent for making things beautiful. 

Here are some photos that don't even touch on how magical this place is!

34 All Souls Crescent (right beside Starbucks at the Biltmore House entrance)
Monday through Saturday 10-5pm

Charlotte friends if you want to call in an order I can deliver for you! Please consider shopping this wonderful store this Saturday!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

10 Things to Order on Amazon Prime Before Irma

If you don't live in FL....(sorry family!)

My iPhone dies faster than the first hot chick in a James Bond Movie. We have several of these always charging. As my brother says..ABC! (Always be Charging)

You won't hear your kids for at least 15 minutes.

Now I'm just looking up random shit. But these look fun.

9. Mr. Beams. $29.99 He just sounds amazing

A favorite in our house and peanut/treenut free.

I could keep going but I need to save money for Winestore. Matt hold a case of Leese Fitch Cab for me! If you call either store they will put it right in your car! 
Blakeney (704) 443 2944
Southpark (704) 442 4024

Monday, August 28, 2017

Update on Mom.

Mom has a dedicated PA taking care of her now since she has declined so much. The outlook isn't good, but that's what happens with this disease. We are past the point of playing music for an "awakening". We are past showing photos. We are past stuffed animals and face-timing. Eye contact is rare.

Her PA called Dad to give him an update on Thursday. Mom is declining rapidly. She is pocketing her food. Mom is a chipmunk. If that makes you smile at all. Mom is one of the Chipettes. She is having problems swallowing and likely already aspirating. She is losing weight, and her mood is flat. Soon eating will be too difficult. Most people familiar with dementia/Alzheimer's patients recommend AGAINST a feeding tube. What exactly, at this point, are you prolonging? Your selfish desire to see this person? The feeding tubes can become infected and agitate the person more than they already are. So at this point she will continue to lose weight and possibly aspirate, or pneumonia, or stroke...etc.

I'm guessing less than six months. It's probably much sooner than that. We know. We know it's coming. We know she is dying. But to have someone tell you it's closer is hard. I bawled. I wanted to drive up and brush her hair and feed her pudding and hug her. But she doesn't know me and I wouldn't be a comfort. She winces when you rub her head. She winces when she tries to swallow her favorite frozen frappuccino. And I have a job and kids and First Grade and well, responsibilities. Epitome of the sandwich generation right here. I feel like I'm failing both slices of bread.

I read an article recently about how you need to be there for people more after the funeral. I imagine that to be true. The pomp and circumstance is over and they are truly alone at that point. But with a disease like this you need people all the way through. It feels needy and selfish and horrible for saying, well yeah I need your support. Still. Year 5. Still need you. Hey, I'm still here, grieving. Hello? I hate it. It's an unfair burden to my loved ones to have to feel like they should support this marathon of grief. But it's not my fault. And it's not Mom's. And it is a MARATHON. Nancy Reagan called it the long goodbye and she couldn't be more correct. 

I'm sure my husband is sick of it. Updates turn me into a blubbering mess. I'm already a Pisces so I'm doubly screwed. People say I'm handling this with grace and courage and I don't think that is true. The only kudos I will give to myself is that I am telling the truth, and being authentic. And hopefully showing a REAL representation of what it is like to lose your Mother to Alzheimer's.

Monday, August 21, 2017

10 Things to Do Before Your Parents Get Sick

Photo via the talented and dear Kristen Lequire

1. Funeral Arrangements. 
This is a no-brainer but you wouldn't believe how many people don't ask this. We are somewhat creepy when it comes to this and talk about it all the time. Know the flowers they want, the specific hymns, where they want to be buried/cremated and sprinkled...etc. Specific color for church? I'm thinking of wearing Mom's favorite color, green, for hers. 

2. Play 20 questions. 
Ask them things you don't know. What is their favorite recipe? Hilarious stories from College? Best friend? Favorite drink and how in the hell did they learn to like Scotch? Stories from their travels pre kids.  If you google this there are tons of ideas. Here is one.

3. Ask them to tell stories about their grandparents or parents. 
My Grandmother Katharine Ford Braselman (Boylan) at Rockbrook Camp in the 30's. The short one. ;)

I wish I knew my Grandparents but they all died when I was a baby. We had lunch with a friend of the family a few years ago and she told me hysterical stories how my grandmother would have "Tacky Daiquiri Parties" when it would rain too much in the mountains. All her friends would come over and wear hats and drink all afternoon. And don't get me started on my grandfather. I was a third generation Rockbrook Girl following my grandmother pictured above and then my Aunt Kathleen.

4. Get a tad invasive and ask about life insurance, wills, etc.
While our parents' finances shouldn't be our business, make sure they are someone's business. Program the family's financial advisor/lawyer...etc in your phone. Or download their outlook info at work. I cannot stress the importance of an elder care lawyer if your family is dealing with an Alzheimer's or Dementia diagnosis. Ours was a lifesaver.

5. Order one of these books and have them record their voices. 
I waited to long to do this. 

Under the Same Moon on Amazon $32.95

6. Get pictures and videos of them with your children.
I am so very thankful I invited my friend Kristen to come take pictures of my Mom with the kids while she was still able. I don't have many great videos but I do have this one below and I will cherish it forever. Amelie was barely a month and now she is almost three and can sing this along with me. I remember my parents coming home from a night out and singing this to me.

7. Find out what medications they are on and know your family medical history. 
When my Dad was admitted to the hospital for emergency surgery they came to me asking for his prescription list. This was when we noticed Mom wasn't herself because she couldn't name a single one. His list is LONG and I now have this stored in my phone so I know dosage/names/etc. 

8. Ask them to send your kids postcards or letters from their travels. 
I ordered this for both grandfathers for Father's Day to send to the kids. You can buy here. One of my favorite things my In-laws do is to send our kids postcards from all of their trips. We have probably hundreds from South America, Switzerland, and New Zealand. My kids don't get to see them too often but these notes let them know they are thinking of them.

9. Have them make a plan for their jewelry. 
We didn't have a real plan for Mom's (she didn't have a lot) but I know she would have loved to hand down a few things to Charlotte and Amelie.

10. Time and Attention.
Tell them how much they mean to you. Visit them more. This picture above is from when I drove up early on Mother's Day to surprise Mom. Go to Paper Source or Baggie Goose or that awesome Ace Hardware type place in Atlanta and buy a funny card. Buy a dirty card. Send anything. Snail mail is seriously the best and always will be. Call them. Print off a bunch of pictures of your kids and send it to them. Put your phone down when you  have a meal with them. Go on Amazon right now and send your Mom something. Anything. Send a Candle. Send a book. Forward this post to her and tell her you miss her. 

Does anybody have anything to add? I would love to hear your ideas and will add as they come in.