A lawnmower, an older woman, a Mexican immigrant and the police

It sounds like the title of a bad joke.  But it’s a real story.My husband and I were walking our dogs in our neighborhood the other day.  “Hey!” Jane* called.  “Do you live in this neighborhood?”  “Yes” my husband said.  Later, he told me that as he said this, he steeled himself for some complaint about our dogs.  My husband and I have 2 adopted shelter dogs, each has their own “special qualities”.  Veritable “bulls in a china shop”, and not welcome at the neighborhood dog party.

kales@umich.eduA lawnmower, an older woman, a Mexican immigrant and the police
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Found in Translation

Hello (or Cheers) from London.  I am here (and in other places in the UK and Ireland) for one month of my 6-month sabbatical.  I am meeting with dementia experts to learn about their research into managing the behavioral symptoms of dementia.  There are many parallels with our work at Michigan into finding ways to better integrate non-pharmacologic treatments and target medications for these symptoms.  I suspect some exciting collaborations to come from these meetings.

kales@umich.eduFound in Translation
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Happy Sweet and Salty Mother’s Day

There’s a lot of sweet (and rightfully so) on my Facebook feed today.  Wonderful and lovely pictures of friends’ moms and friends’ kids.  But this morning, I am feeling a bit “salty” (my favorite new coffee drink from the Songbird café here in Ann Arbor is rosemary sea salt latte—it sounds weird, but the sweet and salty flavor is wonderful and delicious).  And to me, sweet and salty captures being a mom.

kales@umich.eduHappy Sweet and Salty Mother’s Day
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The Power of Being Heard

The other day my daughter Tasia was telling me about some things going on with friends in high school that were troubling her.  I listened briefly and then immediately jumped into “problem-solving” mode.  She stopped me short, “Mom, I don’t want you to solve this for me…I just want you to listen and nod your head.”  I laughed and made some exaggerated head nods and she replied “Yes!  Just keep doing that!”.

kales@umich.eduThe Power of Being Heard
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“Bad to the Bone” or Broken Brain?

On the day I was born
The nurses all gathered ’round
And they gazed in wide wonder
At the joy they had found
The head nurse spoke up
Said “leave this one alone”
She could tell right away
That I was bad to the bone
–George Thorogood, “Bad to the Bone”

kales@umich.edu“Bad to the Bone” or Broken Brain?
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Bocce with Beth

If I didn’t know my Thea (Aunt) Beth was real, I would think that some writer had made her up as “the favorite Aunt” character in a cozy novel.  Warm, sweet, loving, full of hugs.  Visit her condo in Florida (2 doors down from my folks’), you get a piece of chocolate, a deconstruction of the last Downton Abbey episode, and a lowdown on all the best spots to hit in the area for boutique shopping. 

kales@umich.eduBocce with Beth
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Planes, Training, and Automobiles.

Remember the 1980’s Steve Martin/John Candy movie about a businessman trying to get somewhere?  Kind of like what yesterday was like for the Kales/Gibson family.  But before we get to that, let’s rewind to Thursday.  That is when Tasia, my perfectionist, highly-organized, 16 year-old daughter entered the kitchen looking like the weight of the world was showing on her beautiful face.

kales@umich.eduPlanes, Training, and Automobiles.
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Insomnia and Orange Juice

Disclaimer: This post is NOT about the effects of orange juice on sleep.  If you are looking for information on that particular topic, look elsewhere on the internet 😉

A year or so ago, I was at a professional conference held at a beautiful property in Georgia.  By coincidence, my snowbird parents called me and told me that they would be driving through that very town on their way back to Michigan from Florida. 

kales@umich.eduInsomnia and Orange Juice
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(DO) Talk to Strangers.

It’s New Years Day and it’s been an orgy of football at our house (“The one day I get to monopolize the TV all day!” says my husband gleefully.).  After watching for a while (and mostly munching on the delicious Chex mix that Patrick makes to go with the New Year’s football), I escape to my study for a break.  Surfing the internet, I come across a lovely video segment that hit me just the right way to start off the New Year.  The segment portrays a photographer, Richard Renaldi, who finds strangers on the street and poses them in warm embraces.

kales@umich.edu(DO) Talk to Strangers.
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