Mary Duan here. I’ve been known to send out emails that vacillate between passive-aggressive (i.e., “Please read this email in its entirety,”) to straight-up aggressive (i.e., “Clearly you did not read my previous email”). And with that in mind, today’s newsletter intro will vacillate between those as well—only because I really, really want you to read this message in its entirety and consider taking action that will benefit your brain and belly.
First, I recently spent a fantastic couple of hours on the patio at Peet’s in Monterey, talking with Alyson Kuhn, and I could have easily spent a couple of more. Kuhn spent her career working in the business of print and then transitioned to writing. She and gerontologist Jane Mahakian published a book in February on the truly difficult subject of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Titled I Hear You: Talking and Listening to People with Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias, it’s a book I wish I’d had several years ago, when a family member was diagnosed with vascular dementia and we entered the impossible and frustrating world of caring for someone slowly losing their memories and their independence.
The conversation with Kuhn was rich and deep—and frustrating because I only had 500 words in our print edition to write about it. The book she and Mahakian wrote is full of practical wisdom that Kuhn gleaned from the years she and her siblings spent caring for their mother, and that Mahakian gleaned from her career in caring for the elderly, and specifically those living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Kuhn spoke about the tough decision-making process her family went through. When it became clear her mother could no longer live independently, they went to a neurologist—and her mother, Caroline, became nervous because she felt her control was being undermined. As Kuhn relates it, the neurologist sat with her mother and talked about that independence. The doctor held up her hands, wide apart, and told her to think about living somewhere with a full-time staff as giving up just a little bit of independence around the edges—and she moved her hands only slightly together. But if something happened—for example, if she fell and injured herself while alone—it could mean losing every bit of independence. And at that, the doctor placed her hands together to signify that loss.
Here’s why all of this is important now: At 4pm tomorrow, May 7, Kuhn will speak about the book in a virtual event sponsored by the Monterey Public Library. The talk will encompass the book and Kuhn’s experiences, and offer some of that practical wisdom about how to promote purposeful living, preserve independence, interpret behavior and develop care plans. You can join by Zoom or listen in by phone, but in either case, pre-register with the library at monterey.org/library or by calling 646-3933.
Second thing: Remember Stone Creek Kitchen? Remember the paella Fridays and the curried chicken salad on raisin bread? Of course you do. You also remember the sad news that founders Kristina Scrivani and Linda Hanger announced in December that come February, they were closing up shop.
Now Scrivani is launching a new endeavor, in conjunction with Russo’s Wholesale Produce in Del Rey Oaks, to offer Friday to-go catering of some of Stone Creek’s greatest hits, paella included. The bad news: You had to pre-order by noon today for pick-up tomorrow. The good news is that you can catch up and, on Monday, put in an order for next week (hit stonecreekkristina.com for the menu). And pay attention to the Weekly’s Eat+Drink section next week as well, where we’ll give you a bigger look at plans Scrivani is conjuring with Russo’s to bring something new and fresh and interesting to DRO.