Ely was wonderful!
What a great town.
A hardscrabble sort of old town at the end of the road heading North.
After Ely, it's the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
You can take Highway One back out to the North shore of Lake Superior if you want to make the loop, but I don't know what Highway One is like in the winter.
The way I went was through Cloquet and Virginia like my family's done it for many many years, always with the destination of our old cabin on beautiful Lake Vermilion.
The cabin's been sold and redone into an unrecognizable big modern place, these many years now too.
When I've been up North recently it's been to share my book and my music.
It's been to work hard and try to connect with people over my story of living up there when I was a girl.
My shows this past weekend were not sold out, but they were well attended.
I'm thrilled that people are getting to know my albums and my book, this blog, and my small handwritten books.
I'm all out of t shirts again!
But every story has a challenge and right now my Mom is having a hard time.
She's been feeling disoriented and hearing things.
She's getting afraid of being in her apartment by herself.
This week my daughter Nina and I are going to do what we can to help the situation, including looking at places for her to live that would be closer to where we live now.
She's still out in the little town where we used to live, but we've all moved, so she's isolated.
We're going to start figuring it out this week, but it's going to be a process, that's for sure.
I want to be touring as much as possible so we need to get her in a better situation if we can before I'm gone a lot again.
She's always had trouble with paranoia, but at eighty-five it seems that dementia is complicating a mental condition she's had all her life.
It's much like what my brother had, and he was diagnosed in his forties with paranoid schizophrenia.
It used to be frightening and so disheartening to talk to my brother and hear how his hallucinations were taking over.
At first he would still be able to tell the difference and he'd tell me that he was hearing weird stuff at night.
Then he started saying that there were people organizing his assassination.
Then he just talked about that stuff constantly and never came out of it any more.
He hated the medications that made him lucid again.
That's how he became a wandering homeless person.
He didn't want to take the medications so he ran away from the program I helped him get into.
And he told me he didn't want to be there and he would take his chances as a raving madman.
He said that to me when he was completely lucid from the medications.
So, it was a choice he made.
With my mother, it's very different, although maybe not so different.
She doesn't want to take any anti-psychotic drugs because on the labels she reads that it says a person should be supervised when taking this.
She lives alone in her apartment and she sort of thinks there are people in her building out to get her so she is afraid to ask any of them for help.
Her building isn't equipped with a night time staff or assisted care at all.
But the medication her doctor prescribed does say it can cause serious side effects and can make a person suddenly suicidal.
She's never been suicidal.
She's frightened of being alone and taking the medication and having some kind of bad feelings.
I don't blame her.
I have offered to stay in her apartment with her this week for a few nights to help her get a sense of reality.
She doesn't want me to be exposed to the bad things happening in her apartment.
She's got a pretty strong sense that this stuff is really happening now.
She nicely told me yesterday, during one of the six or seven half hour conversations I had with her by phone, that I need to have my mind clear to be able to play my shows and that she doesn't want me to be exposed to what's going on.
Well, that's actually very nice of her.
That's how my brother was too.
He used to tell me he didn't want me to see him like that so he was going to run away.
I don't know.
I have no answers.
But it falls on my shoulders to handle my mother's situation.
My children are very helpful and caring but they aren't responsible for her, I am.
She likes my ex husband the doctor, and he is very kind to her, but it's not his responsibility and he knows that too.
My daughter Nina is going to help me with this and hopefully we can move my mother somewhere closer that has a night time staff of some kind.
We'll start looking with my Mom today.
In the meantime I went to my screenwriting class again last night after my long drive home from Ely.
The class is 6:30-9:30pm and often goes until nearly ten.
It's worth every minute, it's so interesting to me.
I'm writing scenes and they're turning out pretty well.
I love it.
I don't know where it's leading but I love it.
Also, I did all the shoveling when I got home after my class.
That's nice because it looks nice now this morning and both of the gates to the back garden and out to the alley are cleared as well.
I love managing snow that way, just me and my snow shovel, very fun.
Rob will put it off and let it turn to an icy mess.
Nina apparently will too, if not prompted.
But I've always been a hard worker and I like everything to be neat and orderly.
It's one of the ways I've had all my life of proving to myself that I'm not crazy like my relatives.
So far so good.
I'm grateful for a lot of things right now in my life, so many things to be grateful for, and let's add sanity to the list.
Love from Minnesnowta.