Shannon Ingram's Place

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Location: Orange County/CA

Musings of a woman who left her corporate career to become a caregiver for elderly parents, wrote a book and found her way back to corporate - with love, instead of fear, leading the way. Now working at my Alma Mater, UC Irvine, as Marketing and Communications Director for the School of Biological Sciences.

Friday, February 26, 2010

New Silverado Pet

Well, here's our little Bailey - now an official Silverado pet! He went to live at the Silverado Senior Living - Newport-Mesa community last week and everyone LOVES him. Somehow I just know that Mom and Jack are very happy that their puppy is being well cared-for and is going to enjoy spending the rest of his life with seniors, which is what he's been accustomed to since he was 12 weeks old. This is a photo of him with his new "mom," Liana, Silverado Administrator. Bailey joins another little white dog named Woofie, who came from a rescue organization, and a sweet big greyhound, plus cats, birds and lots of wonderful people. Gary's six weeks of putting Bailey through a training and diet program had good results - he's down to 15.5 lbs and no longer has "accidents." We feel so GOOD!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Win a Book at

Click on this link to go to a wonderful site called - and there is a contest to win one of my books! Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bailey Needs a New Loving Home

Little Bailey dog needs a new home. We cannot keep him because it's been way too much to care for the little poodle in addition to our own two dogs and two cats. Thankfully, Gary has trained him well this past month. Bailey is housebroken and enjoys time in his crate. He no longer barks except when someone walks by the front of the house, which is ok because he's just being a watch dog. He's still portly, but with exercise, low fat food and very few treats, he's losing weight. He walks well and still loves to rest in a warm lap whenever possible.

I'm hoping that one of our Silverado communities might be able to take Bailey. If not, we will seek an older person or couple to treat him the way my mom and dad always did - as their baby! It breaks my heart to part with him....but it's the right thing to do. That being said, I will not release him to "just anybody" or to the humane society or a poodle rescue group. I know the right person will come along soon.

Please hold a good thought for Bailey!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

My Uncle Cy...

Throughout my life, there has always been one man I could depend on to be strong, supportive, intelligent, wise, loving and fun. No, he wasn’t my father or my stepdad, Jack. He is my mom’s “little bubba,” pictured with her above, my remarkable “Uncle Cy,” also known as “Dick MacNair.” In my experience, no one could ever match his talent for listening. He asked questions and listened to my answers. He always had empathy. And he and his wife, my late dear Aunt Carla, were the people who kept our extended family together. They kept in touch with all of the cousins and organized family reunions to be sure we stayed connected.

Today my amazing uncle is “winding down” at the Board and Care where he resides, and is on hospice after a massive stroke last week that took away his ability to talk. He may have only hours to live. This is particularly hard for me because of losing Mom less than a month ago, but it’s hard for everyone in our family because he has been our "glue."

I think perhaps the best tribute to Uncle Cy will be for all of his beloved children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to commit to carry on with the reunions and other opportunities to gather our family together, even if we hardly know one another now. I’ve loved spending time with my cousins in recent years, even though it’s mostly been at sad occasions like funerals. We had a great summer party two years ago. Uncle Cy would want us to do that again!

I know my mom, stepdad, grandmother and Uncle Cy’s beautiful Carla are going to be right there to greet him when he “crosses over,” probably with drinks in hand! They loved their cocktails. Tonight I’m going to sit by myself and enjoy the thought of them toasting each other and the fulfilling lives they enjoyed so much and I’m going to focus on my gratitude to be part of such a brilliant family.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Cruising through Grief

Spent a week at sea on the "WomanSage Cares" Cruise for Caregivers. I thought it would be restful, but it was extremely busy, a bit stressful, and now I need a think I need a vacation. Unfortunately, no vacation is in sight, so I'm back in the office.

Nothing - I mean NOTHING - prepared me for the loss of my mom. I miss her every day. It's similar to how I felt after losing my first husband. Mom had been on Silverado Hospice for almost a year, so we definitely had time to get used to the idea of her passing. The "idea" and the "real thing" are quite different. There were days when I was so OVER being a family caregiver that I actually hoped the end would come sooner rather than later. I eat those words every day since Mom died. I miss her that much! And I'm proud to say it. She was a sensational human being, even when she was being difficult.

Gary is very understanding and patient with my grief. He continues to take good care of Mom's dog, Bailey, who might just be a "pygmy sheep." I had to post this photo of him. He weighed 17.2 pounds when we took him to the vet after Gary retrieved him from Mom's apartment. He should weigh 7 pounds. The vet told us we needed to put him on a diet, but that he should only lose a half pound a month. Then he took Bailey to a back room and cleaned out his "poopy glands," as I call them. Whoa! We put the dog back on the scale on our way out and he was down to 16.5 pounds. Gary whooped, "All right, Bailey - there's your weight loss for January!" It made me laugh. I'm still laughing and Bailey is still losing a little weight every week. He can walk now without falling on his tummy because his legs are getting stronger and his girth smaller. Plus he's doing much better in the housebreaking department. Gary is crate training him and Bailey has had only had two "accidents" in almost a month. Gary's relationship with Bailey brightens my spirits. I love watching them walk around the backyard together - big guy and little dog - very funny. I'm happy Bailey is doing so well and I think Mom must be happy about that too.

The past couple of nights are the first ones I've slept through in weeks. Even the gentle rocking of the ship which usually puts me right to sleep didn't do the trick on the cruise. The best day was spent in Ensenada with our friends, Linda, Bob, Kym and Greg. I'm not allowed to post any photos of that day, but the copious laughter did help me sleep pretty well that night!