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  • Writer's pictureMiriam Green

I Screwed Up

I inadvertently broke one of my precepts on taking care of an individual with Alzheimer's. I took Mom to Ikea. You might not think that's such a terrible thing, but the large, crowded, noisy store was too much for her. Did I mention Ikea was having a sale? I put myself first. I wanted to be there.

Here is a link to my five precepts on caring for someone with Alzheimer's.

Yup. Precept no. 4: Sheild them as much as possible.

Mom's bewilderment started in the car park. What were all these cars doing there, she wondered. Cars to Mom are horrible, dangerous beasts. Mom has true fear about being around cars and crossing roads. She clung to me as we weaved our way through the cars. Several times she just stopped cold in fear. She reminded me of a startled deer caught in the headlights.

When we got inside (ah, blessed air aconditioning), there were people going in all directions, up and down the escalataors and through the large display area. We should have left then, but I thought I could still salvage the trip by being her guide to some of the fun things on display.

Standing in the food line, making choices, navigating the cafeteria, all left her worried and pale. The chatter of hundreds of people felt threatening. At least there were several of us to guide her through this. My daughter Liora was with us (and we did manage to buy some good deals).

When we got back to the apartment, Mom went to lie down. I followed her into the bedroom, banging my arm against the door. "Are you ok?" she asked solicitiousy. I cuddled next to her and we joked and laughed. Any damage I might have done schlepping her into an unfriendly environment was forgotten.

There are still places we can visit. The outdoor pedestrian mall with it's friendly cafes. Or the local mall--wide open halls and much less crowded than Ikea. Even the busy city streets are a better place to go as they are more familiar to her. We just have to avoid the crowds. And the noise. And the cars.

This week marks the nine days preceding Tisha b'Av, the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av that commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. As part of our preparation for this day of mourning, we abstain from eating meat. That's just fine with me. We've been eating fish and quiche and lentil dishes, and we're all satisfied. If you're still craving meat, though, here's an easy vegetarian recipe that may just do the trick.

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

These mushrooms are great hamburger substitutes. Serve them on buns with all the fixings. Or, enjoy them in the marinade fresh off the grill.

4 portobello mushrooms

1/4 cup oil

3 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp honey or date honey

3-4 cloves garlic crushed

3 Tbsp chives chopped

Salt and pepper to taste


In a small bowl, combine oil, vinegar, honey and spices. Pour over washed mushrooms and marinate for up a minimum of one hour. Grill for about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

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