it’s the humidity

The classic American summer begins on Memorial Day (May 30) and ends on Labor Day (early September), which puts the Fourth of July pretty much in the middle. Close up of a huge, yellow sunflower. Yellow petals with an amber center.
Mix Florida with July 4th, and the result is a hot day. The forecast for Florida every day, every summer is the same: 90’s and thunderstorms.

One summer we went to Las Vegas. “It won’t be hot here because the humidity is low.” It was hot.

There is a point to all this. For many of us who are heat sensitive, whether it be due to multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, paralysis, or any number of chronic diseases, summer can be a difficult time. “Do you want to meet on the patio at the Crooked Can about 5:30?” In hopes of a miracle, I check the forecast. “I’d love to if we could make it later. Say October?”

So when those of us in your group of summer loving, heat wilting friends seem to be in hibernation, we actually are. Unlike Las Vegas, however, it is not hot in Florida. “It’s not the heat; it’s the humidity.”

On this auspicious American holiday I thank you for stopping by. The air conditioner is humming along nicely, and the thunderstorm missed us, so all is well. I love your comments. What are your thoughts on summer?

Picture: Close up of a huge sunflower. It has yellow petals and an amber center.

 

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A safe port if you need it

Close up of Leprechaun on the sidewalk. He is wearing a blue hat with black band and large buckle, has huge, green eyes, a big smile, red beard, and green suit.

We all like to travel. Be if halfway around the world or to the next town, there is a bit of wanderlust in all of us. Most of us, anyway. Explore places we’ve not been, encounter new things, make friends. It’s all so grand.

And it can also be tiring. A few years ago Sandy and I took a cruise from Harwich to Boston. One of the stops was Cork, where our accessible tour drove us around a bit, twice past what they called the “insane asylum,” and dropped us at a woolen mill store. It was nice but not for 3 hours. It was a tiring day.

The next day we were in Dublin. Determined not to let this day slip away, we explored beautiful Trinity College and then boarded a hop on, hop off tour. Things went well until we finished the Guinness tour and had to push up a long hill of bricks and cobbles. Once at the top we waited for the tour trolley. And we waited. Finally a full trolly came along and said the one for us had broken down and they would be along in about 30 minutes. So we stood, I sat, on the corner with some other people in the windy cold.

Having finished the tour, we wanted to explore Grafton Street with its shops and flower markets and then finish in St. Steven’s Green. Problem… By now we are tired and hungry and in need of a rest stop. Where do we go? It’s all so pretty but nowhere to stop. Flower market with cut flowers. They are on rustic, wooden crates and look artful and creative. Small sign reads Celtic Cart.

Ah ha! Behold, McDonald’s! A small burger, some fries, a Diet Coke, and a restroom. We have visited McDonald’s around the world. We’ve had McLobster, McPizza, and Taiwan’s best seller, the QPC. The point is, it is great to explore. But fatigue, especially for someone with a chronic disease like MS or fibromyalgia, can intrude on the day. It is okay to stop, rest, and take advantage of a familiar, friendly port. Not everything has to be new and exciting for the day to be a success.

Thanks for stopping by. I always appreciate your comments. Which brings up another topic. I perceive we are having some mechanical issues with Popping Wheelies and your ability to Like or Comment. I hope these appear for you in both your subscription email and on the blog. If they don’t, please click the title of the particular blog post, a new one will appear, and you can Like or Comment. We are working on the problem, and two kind people from WordPress are helping. I apologize if things aren’t as we want, but we are working on it. Thank you for your patience.

Pictures: Top photo is large and features a leprechaun wearing a blue hat with a black band and large, silver buckle. He has large, green eyes and a red beard, and he is smiling brightly. Second photo is a small flower stand with cut flowers nicely displayed on rustic, wooden crates. There is a small sign reading Celtic Cart.

 

Sun, rain, and bargains

George is in his wheelchair. Blond hair is a bit messed. He is holding a large shopping bag, 2 large black plastic bags, and a large green bag. He is wearing glasses, a blue shirt with white stripes, white shorts, and flip flops.Everyone loves a bargain, and everyone needs things. Thus arose the outlet mall. In Orlando there is a boulevard call International Drive. It runs from Universal Studios on the north to Sea World on the south.  But there is a spur going east from the north terminus, and that, my friends, is where you’ll find the largest outlet mall in the Southeast.

Sandy and I each needed some shoes. More correctly, she needed shoes and I needed flip flops (plus, of course, an article or two of clothing). The 6 o’clock alarm is silenced at 5:45 and we don’t get an early start. It’s 10:30 when we arrive. Big mistake. We got the last wheelchair accessible space, and it was in a lot at the far end from the shoes.

By 11:30 we had “bought 6 and got 3 free,” but not shoes, and we were at the food court. Breakfast had been skimpy, and there were seats. We opted for Panera. Sandy had salad. I had half a sandwich, a small salad, and a gallon of the ginger, hibiscus, whatever iced tea. Shoes? Well, there’s this shirt in a window and a clattery cart going by. “Go in there,” I called to Sandy over the noise.  Somehow  I managed to emerge with just the shirt. On to shoes.

“Does the buy on, get 60% off the second apply if we buy 4?” A bit later we emerged with the large green bag filled with plastic shoes and flip flops. Then it was on to real shoes for Sandy. One style she liked fit well, the other didn’t. Calling the trip a success, we began the trek back toward the car in the 94 degree (34 Celsius) summer sun.Light green background with large, red print reads, Outlet mall. Got 2 things I needed and 5 things I didn't. Think of the money I saved.

Behold, Nautica. “Can I look in there? We can cool down.” So cooled down and 6 more articles of clothing in the bag, we plunged into the rising heat. Why are outlet malls so hot or so cold? Halfway to the car we encountered Starbucks and a grande, iced green tea.

As we are clearing the heaviest of the metro traffic, there is lightning up ahead. By Lake County, we met the rain. Wow! A good thing happened, though. The rain removed the bugs the $13 car wash had fail to cut.

Before I put any of it away, several things are going to leave my closet. We spent the better part of today in there. At least it was air conditioned and dry.

Thank you for stopping by and joining us in the sun and rain. I love to read your comments.

Pictures: Main picture: George is in his wheelchair looking into a shopping bag. He is holding that bag, 2 large black, plastic bags, and a large green bag. His blond hair is messed. He is wearing glasses, a blue shirt with white stripes, white shorts, and flip flops. Smaller photo: Light green background with large, red print reading, “Outlet mall. Got 2 things I needed and 5 things I didn’t. Think of the money I saved.

 

Roaming around Animal Kingdom

A green sign reading Disney's Animal Kingdom with a large number 20 to the left.

It is hard to imagine that Disney’s Animal Kingdom is 20 years old. Today Sandy and I went to what is becoming our favorite amongst the Florida theme parks. A few months ago I wrote about our visit to Beautiful Pandora. (Click or tap the link to read that entry.)

This time we visited Asia and Africa. Let’s digress… Animal Kingdom is huge. Most Disney parks take more than 1 day to truly experience. Today was the most people we have seen since Christmas Day a few years ago, so we chose quality over quantity and made no effort to explore the whole park.

The side of a building with a sign reading Brass Pots, an old light fixture, and 3 well worn brass pots.Lunch is not for the person with a thin wallet. My $15 Kobe burger with fries was actually quite good with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and an authentic asian pickle. Sandy’s $11 honey chicken was excellent with tender white meat, nicely seasoned. No one ever said a good lunch in a theme park is cheap. We got a nice, outdoor table nestled between some lovely plants and the “market” that touts brass pots. We took our time and enjoyed watching people.

Selfie with George and Sandy. George is wearing a large, straw hat, sunglasses, and green V-neck tee. Sandy has her long hair down and is wearing sunglasses and a striped top.After a bit of shopping came a difficult decision. Left past the soft serve ice cream truck toward Expedition Everest or right past the Dole Whip stand at the edge of Harambe in Africa. We have good soft serve near home, so Africa it was. After a stop for more hydration, we decided to work our way toward the exit. I’d pushed myself much of the time, and there is only so much energy for my MS and me to share.

An area of greenery featuring orchids with yellow flowers.
The vegetation was beautiful, of course, but the spring greens were at peak today. Orchids, as well. Next time we might be well rested and go in the evening. And where will be eat dinner? Starbucks for a turkey sandwich? Maybe. You never know.

Thank you for stopping by. I am so thankful when you do. It was a fun day, and I’m glad Sandy and I got to share it with you. By the way, the temperature reached 88 degrees (31 degrees Celsius). It was definitely warm.

 

 

Photos: Top photo is a green sign reading Disney’s Animal Kingdom with a large number 20 to the left. Second photo is the side of a building with a sign reading Brass Pots, an old light fixture, and 3 well worn brass pots. Third photo is the required selfie with George and Sandy. George is wearing a large, straw hat, sunglasses, and green V-neck tee. Sandy has her long hair down and is wearing sunglasses and a striped top. Fourth picture is an area of greenery featuring orchids with yellow flowers.

 

Better times

It is an old photo that I’d found, taken in the 1950’s in London. This reminds me of a quieter time, people feeling safe. It also reminds me of a time in my life when I felt vulnerable, criticized. There is no utopia, neither now nor in the past. It is a reminder to accept our blessings and know that we have a future as individuals and together.

To those of you in the cold and snow, please continue to be vigilant and safe. I understand and care.

Thank you for reading as I ramble through life on wheels. As you can see, it’s not all about wheels, but more about life.

Picture is an old black and white street scene taken on a bridge in London. There are only a few people, walking on a snow packed sidewalk. There is a black car piled high with snow and a double decker bus in the background.

Ramblings on my paraversary

Converse1

New Converse were at the top of my Christmas wish list this year. Whilst my white ones remain pristine (remember they seldom even touch the ground), the blue ones are my absolute favorites. They are sun-faded and worn on the inside. I’ll pair the old ones with my old jeans!

Twenty-four years ago tomorrow came the dramatic words about never walking again – except they weren’t dramatic. In a room that I remember as quiet and private, the doctor simply explained. We talked of progress and wheelchairs and adapting as we go.

Change and adapt have been the bywords over the 24 years, and I see no end to that. We have moved, made new friends, helped some people, and have been helped by many we’ve met along the trail.

My world has been expanded so much after something that seemed so terrible. In the last few years there has been a tendency for people who have varying disabilities to become friends and work together for our common goals. Let’s keep that going.

Thanks to every one of you for your friendship, your support, and your kindness. Not just to me, but to each other. Another year will make a quarter century of living on wheels. I wonder what “adapt” will mean this year. I’ll let you know. Thank you again.

Picture: George’s feet in new blue and white Converse All-Star’s, loosely laced. They are on the footrest of his wheelchair. The pavement is brick.

Winter solstice and the patio

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Earlier this year I wrote about the empty pot and suggested we should view the full ones instead. The empty pots By the end of summer and damage to the plants in Hurricane Irma there was almost nothing left. All the pots were empty. The winter solstice here in Florida means a time of cooler weather and a break from the seemingly endless summer. We used this time to plant anew. Even added a fresh coat of paint to the old lawn furniture.

fullsizeoutput_173bAs the days get longer I’m hoping to make more progress in working through my arm and shoulder woes, get through the reaction to a prescription med, and begin to feel almost human again. Like the new plantings in the old pots, this is the time to grow again.

The flowers were available when we first planted, but they were not a really good idea. They were delicate in the heat and attracted bees to which I am highly allergic. Now we have colorful perennials that should  take the heat and the cold and be okay if (when) I miss a day of watering.

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We still have the aloe, rosemary, and oregano, as those perennials literally weathered the storm. And in the front of the house the small rose is blooming.

As I was watering this morning, a songbird landed in the top of the elm and began singing. (Does anyone know what this bird is? White tip tail; I think it might be a mockingbird, as is sounds very much like a sparrow.) In Florida the beginning of winter was a new beginning on the patio and I hope in my life. fullsizeoutput_173a

My family will be arriving from Taiwan just before Christmas. Sandy and I are excited beyond words and feeling truly blessed. We wish all of you the joy of Christmas. Thank you so very much for stopping by and for your support. You are awesome!

Media: The top photo shows 3 small and 1 large planter with a red, ornamental grass, colorful crotons, and a tall tai plant; green bushes a behind. Below on the right is the edge of the brick patio with planters of grasses and crotons leading to the statue (her name is Gina) that has graced our patio for years. Then below on the left is the truck planter now planted with succulents. Center are the herbs, aloe plant, and the rose that is beside the front walkway. The final picture is a songbird in the top of a drake (Chinese) elm that has mostly lost its leaves for the winter. The bird is gray with white on the breast and has white on the tips of the tail that can be seen in flight.