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    “Somebody Stole My Iron” made it to the Best Alzheimer’s Books of All Time

    I’m excited to announce that  Somebody Stole My Iron: A Family Memoir of Dementia was selected for BookAuthority’s Best Alzheimer’s Books of All Time. BookAuthority collects and ranks the best books in the world, and it is a great honor to get this kind of recognition. Thank you, dear readers, for all your support!

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    Meet Julie, narrator of “Maggie: A Journey of Love, Loss and Survival” Audiobook

    Julie from Mathilda Joy Productions has joined me today for an interview about narrating audiobooks. Julie, I’m so pleased to have you as a guest on my website! Before we get started, I’d like to publicly thank you for doing such a fantastic job narrating Maggie, turning the written story into an audiobook. Your voice was perfect for the job, right down to the Irish accent for a couple of the characters. I’d like to know more about the whole narration process, so I have a few questions I’d like to ask you. Let’s get started! First of all, how did you come up with the lovely name Mathilda Joy Productions for your business?…

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    Order By Numerals

    By Vicki Tapia I gravitate toward an orderly life. Perhaps it was instilled in me by my mother as a small child. Repeat after me: A place for all things and all things in their place. Numbers have always been the constant in my life through which I can find a wee bit of harmony in a disorderly universe. I am often unconsciously lining up numbers; adding, subtracting or multiplying them. I believe that five minus four equals one. People have been known to say to me, “You should have been a bean-counter.” I find numbers to be calming. They ground me. If she were this age, what age was…

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    My Idiosyncrasy Revealed

    By Vicki Tapia While I’ve always felt I don’t quite “fit in,” a couple of years ago I learned I actually do share an oddity with about one percent of the world’s population. I am a synesthete, meaning I experience grapheme-color synesthesia. Huh? What is that? Is it contagious? Is it dangerous? Well, no, it is neither. Grapheme-color synesthesia means my perception of letters and numerals is associated with color. Yes, that’s correct. Whenever I think of a letter, word or number, it has a color or hue in my mind. This perception has been with me as far back as I can remember, is involuntary and completely consistent over…

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    Live in the Moment

    An ever-growing realization of the finiteness of life can leave me feeling blue. I accept the fact I ought to be prepared to depart this existence at any moment, and the odds of that moment arriving increase with each and every birthday. Although this information is not breaking news, for some reason lately, I’m more acutely aware of the possibility. I suspect the heightened awareness of my mortality may have something to do with holiday memories of departed loved ones. A trail of trickling tears can be set off by sentiments in a book or news article, something someone says or does, thinking about my kids or grandkids or by…

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    Calling Mom

    Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? Houses decked out with sparkly lights, framing trees shimmering through living room windows . . . ‘Tis the season. I can almost taste Mom’s homemade almond roca, peanut brittle or fudge. Mmm . . . This time of year, I especially miss my mom. Truthfully, I remember only a handful of times during our lives that we didn’t spend Christmas together, so I suppose it’s natural to feel a void. If we can’t be together, I wish I might at least call her up to hear her voice, but sadly acknowledge this possibility disappeared with her passing ten years ago. Perhaps I should have…

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    Memories and Musings

    Lately, I’ve been nostalgic for the 1950’s, the decade of my early childhood. I daydream about life then, remembering the holidays with oodles of relatives crowding into our kitchen and around the dining table, first to eat and later, to talk or play cards. Sifting through my memories, I remember it as a simpler time, filled with love, delicious food, laughter and conversation. This year, as is our custom, we spent Thanksgiving with my son and family, who live across town. My daughter-in-law’s entire family joined us so, mimicking my childhood, fifteen of us crowded around two tables stretched out to be one. After we’d all had our fill of…

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    Opportunity

    By Vicki Tapia Opportunity: a favorable, appropriate, or advantageous combination of circumstances; a chance or prospect What would life be like without opportunity? I find the thought rather bleak. Opportunity can be sought after, but it can also seek us. Opportunity sought me when I became the family caregiver for both my parents, who had dementia. How often do we look at a person with dementia and see…well, see a demented person? As yet, there’s no way to slow or stop the progression of this devastating disease, so how could we possibly reframe it as an opportunity in, and of, itself?  Can we not only learn to accept the person’s…

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    Empathy? Kindness? Say, what?

    His comment raised the hackles on the back of my neck and my thoughts turned dark. I visualized the bold headline: “Author Attacks Book-Signing Attendee!” With a slight shiver, I decided it best to continue smiling, nodding and change the subject at the earliest possible moment. People had begun wending their way toward a seat in the outdoor pavilion, the event nearly ready to commence. An elderly gentleman accompanied by his wife most likely wished himself home watching a baseball game on T.V.  I’d already listened to him insult her earlier in a condescending tone of voice when she asked him a question.  I watched out of the corner of…

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    Two Notes To Self

    It’s been two years now since a young man came to our front door on a Saturday afternoon to ask if it would be okay if he stood on our stencil-painted brick steps to propose to his girlfriend the following weekend (read Huff Post story here). Steps are steps, right? Well, maybe not. What appeared as a series of steps to my husband and me had transformed into a magical destination for someone else. Perception. Imagination. What one person perceives as utilitarian — a means to move from here to there — another person imagines as a work of art, worthy to be the stage for the most important question he’s ever…