Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey

Welcome Irene Olson #wouldyourather

159 Comments

Today I’m excited to welcome friend, author, blogger and advocate, Irene Olson. Honestly, I can’t recall how or where Irene and I connected, but she’s been a tremendous support to me and my father during our caregiver journey. I admire Irene for her willingness to share her own personal experience with Alzheimer’s and its ever-changing effects on family dynamics. Thanks for playing along, Irene!

 

Would you rather live in the middle of nowhere, with no people or stores within a 10-mile radius, or live in a busy city?

 

That’s an easy one for me because I currently live in a rural area 10 miles from Seattle, WA in a neighborhood where I can’t see my next-door neighbors’ houses because of the forest-like environment that surrounds me. My husband and I love to hike but when we are not able to do so, our 3-mile walks through our neighborhood give us the sense of being in the wilderness without having to get in a car to travel there. But I am also a sociable person so knowing that many of my family members reside in the same state where I live, gives me warm fuzzies because I know a hug with them is just a short distance away.

 

Would you rather have someone clean for you or have someone cook for you?

 

I really don’t mind the process of cleaning as it gives me great satisfaction to witness the transformation from dust bunnies that hide in every corner of my house, to nary a dust particle in sight. And I’ll let you in on a secret…our three-year-old grandson’s fingerprints on our windows bring me joy, a joy that prevents me from wiping their existence from my purview more often than not. Someday the little guy’s fingers won’t be so little and most likely the joy in discovering bigger prints won’t compare to the feelings upon coming across them now. COOKING is something I really don’t enjoy so if someone could create menus and dishes that knock my socks off, I would sign up for that service faster than you could imagine. I am blessed, however, with a husband who cooks far better than I – a feat I attribute to him being an engineer by trade. He just knows how to combine ingredients to make them shine almost as bright as my smile when I taste them!

 

Would you rather be able to take back anything you say or hear any conversation that is about you?

 

If it were possible to take back thoughtless or ill-conceived words, that would be a gift I would choose above all else. I have certainly grown wiser and more careful in my later years but my earlier years weren’t nearly as thoughtful. Full transparency: as a college freshman, I was missing my family and my then boyfriend very much. On a Friday night while studying with my dorm room open, three young men knocked on my door and one of them exclaimed, “Why is someone as pretty as you stuck inside tonight?” Instead of accepting that very generous compliment, my emotions got the worst of me so my response to this innocent young man was, “I babysit kids taller than you!” Hurtful and inexcusable words that cannot be taken back. I still grieve having said those words forty-eight years ago; I just hope he hasn’t had to live with those same words all these years later. I hope you all won’t judge me for my past sins – I have judged myself far worse than any punishment you could ever mete out.

 

Would you rather publish one insanely great-selling book and never write again, or publish a string of 15 average-selling books over a 20-year period?

One best seller would really float my boat, especially if the title was Requiem for the Status Quo, written to honor my father’s Alzheimer’s journey, and those similarly taxed with the disease as a patient or a caregiver. I am friends with several authors who say they can’t help but write – I am not one of those authors. I am working on a project right now that greatly inspires me to get it out there for public consumption – but unless another idea/theme enthuses me as much as Requiem or my current work-in-progress (WIP), that novel may be my last published piece. Perhaps if I started writing for publication in my 30s or 40s I might feel differently, but that was not the case, so I’m quite certain my WIP will be my publishing swan song of sorts.

Would you rather never be able to write or never be able to read?

 

Write. Hands. Down. I read non-fiction and fiction every day and have done so for more decades than I can count. Reading brings me joy, even when its offerings sometimes bring me to tears. I don’t necessarily read to escape, but I most definitely read to re-situate myself elsewhere. I think there’s a difference. I love my life, but I am not averse to experiencing something other than my personal journey. If I can learn from the successes and mistakes of others, just as I have learned from my own peaks and pitfalls, then I have complimented the writings of others, just as their words have complemented my own life.

 

 

Bio: Irene Frances Olson writes from passion and experience. She was her father’s caregiver during his struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, and would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Having previously worked in the assisted living and memory care industry, she was not new to the disease—nor was her family immune.

After her father’s 2007 death from Alzheimer’s disease, Ms. Olson worked as an Alzheimer’s Association support meeting facilitator and concurrently, she worked for the State of Washington as a Long-Term Care Ombudsman (LTC) – an advocate for adults living in LTC settings. The author maintains a blog www.babyboomersandmore.com, also known as Living: the ultimate team sport, focused primarily on elder issues, and her writing journey can be found on her author website: www.irenefrancesolson.com. Irene hopes to make a difference in the lives of others by writing novels that encourage those who just might need another cheerleader in their corner. Her latest and most joyful role as of late is as a grandmother to her grandson and a future grandmother to his sister or brother that will enter her world in September.

 

Author: Jill Weatherholt

My name is Jill Weatherholt and I’m a writer. I have a full-time job, but at night and on the weekend, I pursue my passion, writing. I write contemporary stories about love, friendship and forgiveness. I started this blog as a way to share my journey toward publication and to create a community for other new writers and artists. Raised in the Washington, DC area, I’ve lived in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2004. I hold a degree in Psychology from George Mason University and a Certification in Paralegal Studies from Duke University. I write stories filled with love, faith and happy endings for Harlequin Love Inspired. What can I say...I love happy endings. My sixth book Searching for Home will be in stores December 28, 2021, details can be found at JillWeatherholt.com. I've sold seven sweet romance stories to Woman's World Magazine. I was the first place winner in the Dream Quest One Short Story Contest in the Winter 2014-2015 competition. In 2014, I placed second in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest. I was also a top ten finalist in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest in 2012 and 2013. I’m a 2010, 2012 and 2016 winner of the National Novel Writing Month Contest. I love to connect with readers. Visit me at jillweatherholt.com and sign-up for my newsletter. Follow me on Amazon.com and Bookbub.com.

159 thoughts on “Welcome Irene Olson #wouldyourather

  1. Nice to meet you, Irene. I enjoyed reading your answers. Thanks for the introduction, Jill. 🙂

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  2. An interesting interview, Jill and Irene. Fresh and open. Thank you both.

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  3. I enjoyed following this conversation very much Jill and Irene. And it contains the best reason I have ever heard for not cleaning windows 😀

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  4. An honest and uplifting interview. Thank you, Irene and Jill. Irene I love your reply for not cleaning windows. ❤

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  5. Thank you for another interesting interview and introduction. Like others, I also enjoyed Irene’s explanation for not cleaning her windows. (I just don’t like cleaning. 😀)

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  6. Nice to meet you, Irene. Those were tough questions!

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  7. Ms. Olson has some very interesting answers. But then again, you did ask some intriguing questions!

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  8. Nice to meet you here, Irene. Your answers to the questions ring true with me. Jill asks some deep questions, doesn’t she?

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  9. What an interesting interview…….I really enjoyed it. Nice to meet you, Irene, and always good to hear from sweet Jill! Blessings on you both~~

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  10. I have to agree, Irene – what a gift it would be to take back words. I have a long list I could get started with, lol.

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  11. Jill, as always a wonderful interview and hi Irene, how nice to meet you. I loved your thoughts and can tell you’re a woman who writes and lives from her heart, in every way. Such great answers to Jill’s questions and I particularly resonated with the fact that you’d happily relinquish the cooking to your husband. “He just knows how to combine ingredients to make them shine almost as bright as my smile when I taste them!” That’s exactly the way it is in my home. Stay well and warmest wishes to you both from down under. 😊

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  12. Great interview. I, too, leave the fingerprints of our two years old (almost three years old) grandson on the windows. I love seeing his little fingerprints and I just can’t wipe them away. 🙂

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  13. Great interview and it sounds like a very good book. We deal with so much as our parents age…no easy answers! We want so much to do the right thing, but it is a complicated affair. Anyway, I think this is a book I might very much want to read!

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    • You are so right. We can anticipate what some of the challenges may be but can never be prepared for all of them. I think it’s helpful reading about the failures, and the successes, to get a clear sense of the reality that awaits so many. I know throughout my life that the pitfalls I have encountered have taught me volumes.

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    • Hi Linda, I think you would really enjoy Irene’s book. I recommend it to anyone touched by Alzheimer’s or in a position of being a caregiver. Thanks so much for stopping by. Stay well and enjoy your weekend!

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  14. Great answers and it’s great to meet you!

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  15. What a sweet idea…letting your grandchildren’s figure prints linger on the window. So true that time will wipe away their smallness. I’m with you when it comes to reading and writing. Reading re-situates me too! I love how you expressed it that way.

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    • I’m glad my comments resonated with you, Lynn. How fortunate we are to have so many reading resources available to us! May your resituating continue to bless you.

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    • I know! Isn’t that so sweet, Lynn? I’m not a grandmother, but I would hope I’d let the finger prints remain and not be a mean ole granny who tells the child to stop touching the glass! 🙂 I also loved Irene’s remarks about reading. It’s so true! Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the weekend!

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  16. What great questions! Jill, I don’t know how you keep coming up with them. Irene, I love your answer to where you live. You are exactly where I’d love to be!

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  17. What a lovely interview with Irene! Irene, I need your cleaning skills! 😀 😁
    So many people have parents or grandparents with Alzheimer’s. Your book is sorely needed. (My grandmother had it.)

    Thank you for hosting, Jill! Have a great weekend, Jill and Irene.

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    • May you have a great weekend as well! Yes, with so many worldwide diagnosed with some sort of dementia, I fear this disease m won’t be going away any time soon. I am privileged to be able to honor my father with my fictionalized family story.

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    • Thanks for stopping by L. Marie! If you haven’t read Irene’s book, you should check it out. It’s a wonderful story. Have a great weekend!

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  18. Jill is always gracious in offering insightful interviews, but you, Irene, also have given thoughtful answers. One response in particular gave me pause: I don’t necessarily read to escape, but I most definitely read to re-situate myself elsewhere.”

    I hadn’t thought of it that way before. Like you, I do love my life, but I like to peer into someone else’s life too – or setting – especially if it’s somewhere I have not visited. I live in a preserve with palms and pines in Florida, but I have visited Washington state, where my husband’s relatives live – so beautiful with such stately evergreens.

    And, yes, I do empathize with your journey. My brilliant aunt suffered with Alzheimer’s for nearly 10 years in her nineties. While I was not her long-term caregiver. I helped manage her finances, took care of her when she broke her hip, and got pneumonia, and helped clear-out her over-stuffed house after her passing.

    Blessings to you as you continue to promote your book, Irene. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Marian. Sometimes when I have a lengthy reading session, I lift up my head and am surprised to find myself in my reading chair instead of elsewhere. What a delight. You did a wonderful service helping your aunt during her times of need. Caregivers are heroes: so are you. Bless you.

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    • I agree Marian. Irene’s answers were quite introspective. And here I thought I really knew her. 🙂 This is why I love these interviews! You were a tremendous help to your aunt. I think we connected around the time you were blogging about clearing out her home. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thought, Marian. Enjoy the weekend and stay well!

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  19. Nice to meet you Irene. Thank you for sharing your story and helping other caregivers.

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  20. Hi Irene, It’s nice to meet you here, thank you Jill for introducing such a kind and loving author to us. Her observations about the fingerprints of her grandson on the windows went straight to my heart. I could also connect with that guilt of saying words impulsively and then wishing all your life to take them back. Lovely answers Irene. Wishing you great success with your new venture.

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    • Your response warms heart! We are all imperfect beings, just trying to do our best with what we’ve been given. I’ve carried that guilt for some time but during that time, I have also prayed the recipient of my impulsive words wasn’t irreparably harmed. We do better when we know better – don’t we?

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    • It’s been my pleasure, Balroop. I felt the exact same way when I read Irene’s answer about her grandson’s fingerprints. ❤ Thank you for your lovely comment. Enjoy your weekend.

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  21. I really enjoyed Irene’s answers. I understand the grandchildren fingerprints and that’s sweet. Irene should forgive herself for the comment. If that boy was anything like me he heard a lot worse. When in college I remember seeing a college girl at the side of the road with a flat. I pulled off and asked if I could help. She said, “What are you triple-A?” “Not today.” was my reply and I got back in my car. Yes, I remember the incident but felt pretty cool driving away. I’m sure that boy had a good chuckle as well.

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  22. My first thoughts after just reading this interview is “I wish Irene was sitting at my kitchen nook RIGHT NOW – I have a million questions I’d like to ask her, a shoulder I’d like to cry on a bit, and funny stories that I have a feeling both of us could share with each other. Irene – I don’t know you but I like you SO MUCH after reading your answers (plus, any friend of Jill’s is a friend of mine). 🙂 My mom lived with dementia for six years, and the journey was long and arduous and not for sissies. My brother and I sure could have used someone like you to talk with and help us on this journey.
    On a cheerier topic, I have little ‘marks’ throughout our usually neat/clean home that I relish, like the etchings on our wooded kitchen table that occurred when a grandchild wrote her name on paper but pressed the pencil so hard, it left an indelible signature on said table. Priceless. 🙂

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    • Awww, I wish I was sitting in your kitchen too! And I agree, any friend of Jill’s is a friend of mine. I wish I could have been the shoulder you cried on and the friend who would have gladly provided wisdom, gleaned from my personal experience. Caregiving is definitely not for sissies. My book is fiction but painfully based on my own personal stories and those of others with whom I came in contact over the years. I had much emotional and spiritual support from my brother and sister. The protagonist in my novel did not have that from her brother – a situation I wanted to portray because too often, family members are quick to judge but reticent to offer assistance. Armchair quarterbacks are rarely of any great help, right?

      I am glad my grandson’s fingerprints resonates with you. Now that this post has been published, I can update my bio by stating that my next grandchild will be a girl! The gender reveal occurred last week and she will be born the 3rd week of September.

      Thank you for stopping by, and I hope we’ll meet again!

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      • I have five grandsons who I love like the sun and one granddaughter who is the moon and the stars. I’m so glad you will get the experience of having a grand girl!
        Good to hear you say that about your siblings. My brother and I over the past five years have become closer than we ever were and it’s one of the blessings that we received through my mom’s dementia.

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    • Thank you for your heartfelt comment, Pam. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, Irene is selfless with her time to help others coping with the challenges of being a caregiver. How nice it we could all be sitting at your kitchen nook, sharing stories and of course, watching the hummingbirds. As for your beautiful granddaughter, maybe you can pass that table on to her when she’s older. Enjoy you weekend! I have something I’m going to email to you. ❤

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  23. So nice to meet you here, Irene. The work you do is so important. Thank you! As you mentioned, I believe those grandchild fingerprints are worth leaving on the glass for a time. Precious reminders. I like your thought that reading provides for “re-situating” ourselves. Exactly!

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  24. It’s wonderful to meet you here, Irene. I greatly appreciated your candid answers. I look forward to reading more from you.

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  25. Hi Irene – it’s so nice to get to know you better. I also chose reading over writing and if it ever came up, a one and done best seller would be okay with me! Oh the things we say as college fresh(wo)men – oh my. We have all had our gaffes! Thanks for hosting Irene here, Jill. I hope you both have nice weekends!

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  26. Another awesome #wouldyourather interview! Irene, I am blessed with a husband who cooks much better and with such creative flair as well. Enjoyed getting to know you better. Waving to both of you and wishing you a fabulous weekend. 🥰

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  27. Lovely meeting Irene on your blog today, Jill. I really enjoy your #WouldYouRathers and getting to know some awesome new friends. ❤ Have a wonderful weekend, Irene and Jill!

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  28. I enjoyed meeting Irene and getting to know a little about her and her book.

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  29. Wow, Irene! I can’t believe you remember that encounter with the guy at your dorm in college. What’s even more amazing is that this is probably the only time, or one of few times, that you might have hurt someone. While painful to you (I doubt this man still remembers it after 45 years), people do and say much meaner things to each other; I’m sure you’re forgiven and you have suffered from it enough.

    It sounds like you live in a wonderful area and I second the appreciation of a husband who cooks! 🙂

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  30. Loved your answers, Irene.
    Clean windows must take a backseat to tiny hand prints!

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  31. Pleased to meet you, Irene! An interesting and wonderful interview, Jill. Thank you for introducing Irene Olson to your readers. I enjoyed reading the answers. She is an awesome person!

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  32. So wonderful to meet you, Irene. I enjoyed your responses and your sweet images of your grandson. How wonderful your husband cooks. Mine claims he can scramble eggs, but I’m not sure. 😀

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  33. Great answers from Irene. I especially enjoyed the grandson’s fingerprints. How sweet is that! And I can relate. Another fun “Would you Rather,” Jill. So much fun. 🙂 I hope both of you have a wonderful, safe week. ❤

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  34. Nice to meet Irene, Jill. I must be very difficult to watch a parent suffering from Alzheimer’s. My mom had breast cancer in 2014 and that was bad enough for me. I hope I will be spared anything else. I told my mom this past week that A Ghost and His Gold might be my last book. Then I told her today that I have an idea for a book of South African historical short stories and a children’s book featuring fondant cats. The same may happen to Irene.

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    • Writing is something we can’t avoid, most of the time. I find very little inspiration during these isolating times when one would think writing – and the time it takes to write – should be considered a gift, handed into our laps. I will publish my WIP, that is for certain…and maybe if I don’t publish another book after that one, I’ll beef up my blog posts on my personal and author websites. Bless you all greatly this coming week!

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    • Thank you for stopping by to meet Irene, Robbie. I’m glad you enjoyed the interview. Yes, Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease and sadly, one you don’t recover from. I’m happy your mother is well. Have a good week ahead.

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  35. Jill, thank you for introducing Irene to us; I am now following her blog. Her book sounds interesting, as I can relate, having had a parent who also suffered with Alzheimer’s disease.

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    • It’s my pleasure, Jennifer. I think you’d enjoy reading her book given your experience with the disease. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’re doing well.

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    • Hi, Jennifer! So glad Jill was the delightful vehicle by which we get to meet. I am sorry you too had an Alzheimer’s experience in the family. Those of us with similar experiences are in a group that is growing by the minute, unfortunately. Please be well and stay well.

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      • You are correct that our group is growing, and the thought of that is disturbing, to say the least. If ever there was more study needed to combat Alzheimer’s disease, it’s now. Thank you for your well wishes, Irene. I wish the same for you. Take care!

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  36. It’s wonderful to meet you here, Irene. I appreciated your candid answers. It takes compassion, patience, and courage to take care of family members with Alzheimer’s. I look forward to reading more from you. Thank you Jill for introducing Irene to us.

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  37. Lovely and heartfelt interview, Jill and Irene. I too, have some words I regret saying in my past, though I haven’t lived with them for 48 years. As a mom to little sticky fingerprints, I don’t relish finding them everywhere, but my mom oohs and aahs over them as if they’re little treasures. Perhaps when I’m older and those fingerprints belong to grandchildren, I’ll rejoice as well.

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  38. Hi Jill. Thank you for introducing us to Irene. ❤️

    Nice to meet you, Irene. I love Seattle and the area around the city. We have been there many times over the years. A great point on knowing your family is close by. It is a comforting feeling. I get it on the grandson’s fingerprints. Our grandchildren turned our toy area upside down when they were here over two months ago. I don’t want to clean up since I love the memory of them being here.

    Very interesting answer on never being able to write or read. A thought-provoking, very wise and profound last sentence. Thank you for a wonderful post!

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  39. It is very nice to meet you, Irene. I really enjoyed reading your answers to Jill’s questions. Thank you for the introduction, Jill and another ‘Would You Rather..’ experience!

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  40. Thank you for this interesting and fun interview, Irene and Jill.

    I know how well about cleaning the fingerprints, Irene. My older granddaughter is two and a half, and the younger granddaughter is seven weeks. I missed flying to visit them for three months now because of COVID-19. The last time they came to visit us was more than a year ago and I still keep the little set up with the play area for Autumn my granddaughter. I keep them to treasure the fun moments we had.

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  41. Thanks so much for the introduction to Irene, Jill! I spent many years caring for my mom. She had “traces” of dementia, but not full-blown. Other health concerns, such as CHF, COPD, and diabetes, made caring for her difficult. Dealing with Medicare is a nightmare I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Beautiful interview.

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    • It’s my pleasure, Kate! I’m happy you enjoyed the interview with Irene. I’m really sorry to hear you had such a difficult time caring for your mother. Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your weekend!

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  42. The family caregiver has so much with which to deal. I am sorry, Kate, that those challenges came your way. Be well and stay well.

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  43. So lovely to meet you, Irene. Your response here really touched my heart: “If it were possible to take back thoughtless or ill-conceived words, that would be a gift I would choose above all else.” I’m right there with you and, like you, remember keenly all those thoughtless words later. I’d like to be free of that and to free anyone of the pain I caused them. Thank you, Jill, for hosting another wonderful interview. Irene, you are an inspiration!

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  44. It’s all about the sharing, isn’t it? Problems can seem insurmountable but there’s always someone who’s walked that path, and it can help so much to know we can get through it all, with grace and our own sanity. Irene sounds a very wise lady and I’m glad she’s been able to help you, Jill. 🙂 🙂

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  45. I so enjoy these questions–the questions themselves are intriguing, the answers are all thought-provoking, and then I get to add my own answers, too. It’s a three-fer?

    My husband is also an engineer and an excellent cook. He’s terrible at cleaning, but he made homemade pop tarts today. I’ll take that over mad vacuuming skills any day.

    Liked by 1 person

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