It’s not the fault of your set

fullsizeoutput_142c

It’s a test pattern. Many of you probably have never seen one. Every TV station had one. Last month it became relevant in our subject of living life on wheels. We turned off the cable TV! What a relief!

In our family room we have a nice cabinet with an ugly plastic machine on it that never gets used. Between November and May we turned it on four times and didn’t watch it on two of those. With a phone call and a trip to the cable office to return the converter, we became $99 per month richer. (Richer being a literary term only.) We are now free to get TV the way the pioneers did it, snag it out of the air. Here is where the test pattern comes back into our discussion.

I knew what all those lines, circles, and numbers were for and could use them if some time machine were to take me back to 1958. TV station engineers broadcast the test pattern and adjusted the picture to make everything true to form. The portrait of the Indian Chief was to test clarity and sharpness of faces, which to this day appear on most shows. By turning off the cable we took a small step toward the test pattern. All we have to do now is buy a small antenna and get local weather free.

And of course there is the high speed internet and the toys that let us be our own TV programmers. And DVD’s. And the OFF button. So how has this worked out? In the last week we have watched the first season of WKRP in Cincinnati.

If you turn off the cable and don’t get 400 channels, “it’s not the fault of your set.” Thanks so much for joining me on our trip back in time. I always love to read your comments and share them with our community.

Picture is a large TV test pattern. It matches the standard TV format shape. It has a grid pattern and a large circle with a smaller circle in the center with lines of different contrast in all directions. In the corners are small circles similar to the center circle. In the largest circle is a portrait of an Indian Chief. If it sounds confusing, you have it right. It is.

 

Saturday selfie

fullsizeoutput_142a

Oh, the much maligned selfie! It has become an art form in itself. But let’s start with a confession. I took the picture on Friday with the intention of writing on Saturday. This leads us to today, Sunday, and the actual topic. It’s about life on wheels and the less than glamorous things that happen. And the blog entries that didn’t happen.

I have not forgotten you. In fact I think of y’all every day and am thankful for each of you. Why has blogging not happened? In a nutshell, this invincible, wheelie warrior has taken some arrows (watched Avatar last night, hence the arrows thought) and is rolling backwards instead of forward. Hey, I said it was about life on wheels, the ugly with the awesome.

About 6 weeks ago I was removing the cover off the neighborhood pool’s lift chair when I felt a sudden pain that felt like someone had chopped my arm with an ax. As it turned out, that’s about what happened. I ruptured the bicep of my right (dominant) arm. The tendon ripped totally off the shoulder. Whack!

Now we have a paraplegic with a serious issue, as my arms are how I move around the mall – and do the essentials of daily living. Let us not forget the uninvited guest that moved in long ago called multiple sclerosis. MS does not like to be disturbed. The injury poked my MS with a big stick. Not good.

The heat has been oppressive with no rain for months (yes, no rain in Florida). Heat + MS = Fatigue. Multiply that by tendon and nerve damage, and we have ourselves a fight. Literally every MS symptom, you can find the list online or just ask me, has flared up.

The sunflowers are in the form of seeds. The potting soil is in the form of a bag in the garage. So you get a selfie instead of sunflowers. Sorry about that. I’m doing therapy every day and going to the office weekly. Yesterday we did Target. Today I cleaned the wheelchair you see in the picture. It’s my backup, and it has to be kept running, too.

Life on wheels. It’s time to get on with things, adapt as we have all done before and will do again, and keep on moving. I do think I’ll try forwards instead of backwards. What do you think?

Thank you for stopping by, and I’ll try to do better at writing and sharing.

Photo is a mirror selfie. Summer blond hair, round glasses with light brown tint, blue and white polo shirt, white canvas pants, and my favorite blue and white Converse All Stars, loosely laced. Titanium wheelchair with red casters, wood plank floor.

If you’re a mom

Happy Mother’s Day! You are the heart and soul of our families, and you are the glue that bonds the family. And to any single dads, Happy Mother’s Day, as well. You do the job of both parents. Wishing you all a joyful day.

Photo is a purple wildflower in foreground with dark green foliage behind.

Final thoughts & the missing blog

FullSizeRender_1

Has it been too long to add final thoughts to our series on Around the World in 27 Days? I asked and was told it’s not too late. We returned home very tired. I don’t think I realized  how tired. In dealing with paraplegia and all the issues with MS, fatigue remains my most disabling problem.

Thanks to all who followed along with us and to those who joined along the way. You are genuinely appreciated. Somehow, someway, part of an entry went missing, and I’d like to fill in the gap, as it was an interesting day.

London in the winter is wet. We were prepared with a simple itinerary that took into account a rainy day. We jumped in a black taxi and were at the Victoria and Albert Museum at opening time.

FullSizeRender The exhibits were incredible. This is the Archangel Gabriel. I believe it dates from the 1600’s.

A trend in museums is to have some tactile exhibits. The V&A is no exception.DSCN1637 In the photo below I am touching a vase that is also from the 1600’s. There is a complete explanation in Braille. There are several such exhibits throughout the museum.

 

 

Of course on a rainy dFullSizeRender_2ay, there is the matter of lunch. Lunch at the V&A is affordable and in a beautiful room. The special of the day was one of my absolute favorites, leek and potato soup. Indeed, it was the best soup I’ve ever had. We were at a table for six, which was the only one available. We invited two ladies to join us and were treated to an interesting and pleasant conversation.

Have we covered everything? Not by a long shot, but there is a limit. I think we have reached  that limit on this topic. I always welcome your comments and will try to respond. I also am beginning to explore the blogs of my new friends. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support in this. Thanks especially to my wife and best friend Sandy. She makes travel and life in general a joy. I am blessed to have her in my life.

Photos: Top picture is the Victoria and Albert Museum taken in the courtyard. It has quit raining, and the building is gleaming in the round reflection pool. Second picture is a colorful statue of the Archangel Gabriel. Below that is George touching the vase. Final picture is a china plate and bowl with leek and potato soup and a slice of bread.

Awe in Westminster Abby

IMG_0477.JPG

I intended to write this entry last night, but the events of yesterday in London changed what I want to say. First, Sandy and I offer our thoughts and prayers to those affected in yesterday’s terrorist attack and to the entire city where we have been treated so wonderfully, during the Paralympics 5 years ago and again this month.

On our last full day we took one of the wonderful black taxis (all of them are accessible!) to Westminster Abby. In Roger Miller’s catchy words, “Westminster Abby, the Tower of Big Ben, the rosy red cheeks of the little children.” We explored the area in front of the Abby and around Parliament. About 15 minutes before opening we went over to the entrance and joined the queue that was just forming. A delightful gentleman showed us where to wait and said they would take us in through the accessible doors as soon as the Abby was open.

Photography is not allowed in the Abby, and I fully agree with that position. The Abby cannot be photographed. There is such a cornucopia of sensory input that just one cannot do it justice. I could not believe I was sitting in the very place that William was crowned in 1066 and every monarch since. Where Royals married and others were buried.

The nave is long and splendid with stone arches. I could hear the sounds in the arches far above and gauge the height. As we entered the transepts, the sound changed. It became more open, huge. The stone floor gently rocked my titanium chair, and there are plaques and crypts.

After touring we went to the cafe in the Cloisters. Tea and carrot cake. DSCN1742Then we explored some more, took our leave, and went over to Parliament. This is the exact area where yesterday’s attack occurred. The news and the pictures are surreal and heartbreaking. This is a happy place where people patiently wait their turn to take a selfie in front of Parliament. There were young couples, children, ladies on a girl’s day out, and even Floridians bundled against the cold. This is the meeting place where Commoners and Royalty stand.

Enough with the cold and damp, let’s play with Lego’s and find a pub. So away in another black taxi, and soon we were at the Lego Store in Leicester Square. DSCN1765

Pub time! The greeter/traffic director at the Lego Store said we would find some good pubs if we headed a bit south, so off we were to find a local eatery. In London finding a decent pub is simple. Soon we were enjoying pints of Carling and fish sandwiches. IMG_0490

At dinner time we were thinking maybe something light. The hotel’s restaurant/bar had chicken fajitas on the appetizer menu. In London? OK, why not? Hey Texas, y’all down there need to take notice. Paired with a Foster’s, the chef did this to perfection.

And then it was time to go home. Day 27 of Around the World in 27 Days was only hours away. This has been so much fun for me. The quality time with Sandy, the wonderful time with our family and friends in Taiwan, meeting our new grandson Cameron, sightseeing and sharing tables with Londoners who seemingly never meet a stranger. It has been fun having YOU along. Thank you for reading, for Liking, for commenting.

We have picked up some new subscribers, too! As we get things sorted out at home I will be looking you up, checking out your blogs. And thinking about a cruise. I’m always thinking about a cruise.

Images: At the top is a large image, almost Gothic in style, of a gnarled tree in winter in front of the face of the clock in the Queen Elizabeth II Tower. Then George at Tea  in a long, arched room.  A large picture of George wearing a red raincoat in a Lego train car. Finally Sandy ordering in a pub.

Return to Lotus Lake

87265050-83bb-473e-a204-ca7f4006ca89

When we were in Taiwan 3 years ago, one of the things that was most memorable was beautiful Lotus Lake (or Lotus Pond, as some prefer). We arranged to have more time this trip. Cliff let Sandy and me out; then he and Cameron joined us in the early afternoon. There is a temple built in 1681 and restored in 1977 along with the twin pagodas of the dragon and the tiger. Each are 7 stories tall and are connected to land by a 9 section bridge. You enter the dragon’s mouth and exit through the tiger. (‘Tis not wheelchair accessible inside.) Magnificent statures as tall as the pagodas are also in the lake. Everything is done with exquisite detail.

The day was quite warm and humid, so Sandy and I visited one of the small fruit markets that are in front of the temple and got some cold water from the ancient Coca-Cola machine. The kind lady invited us to sit under her umbrella. Before leaving we bought more water, and we got bananas after Cliff and Cameron joined us.

I was fascinated by what is essentially tether tennis. The ball is attached to a very long, elastic cord and secured to the ground by a heavy weight. You serve and return underhanded a la Pickle Ball. Had it not been for size and weight, which we are trying to reduce, not increase, I’d have bought the set from the nice lady who was demonstrating it on the square near the pagodas.

With due apology to my visually impaired friends who might not see the pictures well, the site does warrant a small gallery.

Thank you for reading, and please feel welcome to comment. Today, by the way, was an easy day with a quick trip to Carrefour’s grocery before lunch. Carrefour is the French company that is the parent company of Trader Joe’s and Aldi. Pizza for dinner!

Top image shows the huge green dragon and tiger. Below are smaller images of some monuments along with Sandy selecting our water from the old Coke cooler and a fisherman with his net.

Field trip

Image is a very worn, antique 35mm camera.

Camera ready. Got our bus passes. Popping Wheelies is going on a field trip. 

Before we go anywhere, I’d like to thank our friends Mike, Tamika, and Winston the Bulldog for so graciously house sitting, as they have done in the past. We know they will take care of it, and Winston is not one I’d like to cross!

Are you coming with us? You are certainly invited. Where, you ask? We will start out going northwest and then west. Maybe Defuniac Springs, maybe farther. We might keep going and go all the way around the globe. Let’s get packed, and in about a week we will take this show on the road! And don’t forget something to read. Stay tuned.