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.

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Ramblings on my paraversary

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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.

 

 

Beautiful Pandora

Portrait of a beautiful young lady with blue skin and long, dark hair.

Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom has been on our radar for months. Summer in Florida is not the time for someone living with MS to be out, so we waited. The weather finally cooled. It was worth the wait!

It was a cool day, so my available energy was good. There is a long hill just after the park entrance. “Let’s see if I can push this.” Indeed, I did. I kept up with young families pushing strollers, so that was encouraging. (I’ve been rehabbing my shoulder and arm all summer.)

It’s the South, y’all, and for lunch we had a Southern favorite, pulled pork on mac and cheese with a side of cole slaw. And a big ol’ Diet Coke. We ate in a shelter house by the lake at the Flame Tree Barbecue.

Then on to Pandora. One of the most popular features is meeting the beautiful, blue skinned warrior Neytiri. The vegetation is awesome.

It’s afternoon and time for a break. Sandy went to get something to drink. “If you see something really neat, get that if you’d like.” She did! Behold! Chocolate mousse plus blueberry and lemon. If you are going to indulge, this is the way.

We explored a bit more and wisely decided to call it a day whilst my limited energy was still holding out. Next time we are going to do the ride and see the River of Lights.

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Thank you for stopping by. As always, I love your comments. I’d also be delighted if you subscribe. Coming soon, Epcot Food and Wine.

Pictures: Top photo is a close up of Neytire. She has clear, blue skin and beautiful, long hair. First composite photo has vegetation. A red plant resembling a croton only with fan leaves and a large yellow plant in the shape of a pineapple set amidst luscious ferns. Second composite are a chocolate mousse, a blue and yellow mousse, and then Sandy siting back and enjoying her soda. Final picture is George in my wheelchair, left leg on the footrest, right leg forward and on the ground, wearing an orange hat, bright green shirt, jeans shorts, and blue flip flops. (Yes, it’s a tad bit colorful!)

 

Popping wheelies in the hurricane

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“One if by land and two if by sea.” What is the signal for something coming by land and by sea? We in Florida are looking down the barrel of a nasty hurricane. I’m in the middle of the peninsula about 60 miles (96 km) from either coast – and therefore close to both.

We have worked for days preparing, and this morning the first bands of wind and clouds arrived. The first wind driven rain arrived at noon. How does a paraplegic prepare? What extra precautions do we have to take to accommodate wheeling through this safely?

First things first, and that means food and water. We had sent our “hurricane kit” to Houston, so we started over. Canned soup with pull tabs, protein bars, 2 loaves of bread, and a big jar of cheese puffs. Additional water, orange flavored carbonated water, and some Coke Vanilla Zero. Then we went back for paper products and that necessary stuff. It was a lot of trips between the car and the kitchen. Sandy lifted the reusable bags out of the car, and I trucked them in on my lap.

Having taken care of ourselves, we moved outside. I lifted the small and medium pots off the patio, and Sandy carried them to the protection of the covered and screened lanai. Thank goodness for good neighbors. IMG_0427.JPGThey lifted what would could not lift and reached what we could not reach. The flowers you saw in The Empty Pots no longer grace the patio. It’s devoid of everything. Then we moved to the front of the house and repeated the process.

 

Books! Too heavy if we’d have to leave. Ebooks, yes! Lots of them. Audiobooks. Are three enough? Maybe not. Charge our electronic devices. Do we really have that many? I’m guessing you have several, as well.

Pffft. As I roll past the kitchen island the sound came from my left tire. Flat. Fortunately, in a moment of brilliance, I had ordered spare tubes. I can change a tire if needed and proceeded to try. That was a no go. Enter again a good neighbor. An excellent bicyclist, he picked up the wheel, tube, and tire and proceeded to change it with just his hands.

Rolling again, it was time to prepare the wheelchair. You might ask why something so important was left to last. I don’t need electricity to prep the chair, and flat tires aside, it is something that doesn’t require help from our friends. Make sure tires are aired, chair cleaned, front casters rolling well. My cushion is washable, and I’d washed it last week when electricity was certain.

Well in advance of hurricane season I had talked with our county Emergency Management people about accessible shelters and transportation. They advised me to stay in my solid home if at all possible but to call if I need transportation. Never ride out a hurricane in a mobile or manufactured home. Just don’t.

We are experiencing outer bands 12 hours before we will receive tropical storm force winds and 24 hours ahead of hurricane force winds. And in a wonderful moment after a band of wind driven rain. a rainbow appeared. We’ll be fine!

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Pictures: Top photo is the statue of a lady holding grapes in front of a dark, leaden sky. Center photo shows the brick patio with everything removed. The final picture is the same statue taken through a rain soaked screen with a rainbow beside her. By the way, her name is Gina.

Wheelies and waves

fullsizeoutput_149b.jpegI love ships – cruise ships. Big ones, small ones, new ones, and old ones if they’ve been refurbished. Cruises are our escape. Escape from the grocery, pharmacy, hardware store, watering plants, and running the robot on the floors. Escape to flip flops.

Oh, wait! I wear flip flops for everything. Let’s try this… Take my flip flops, my wheels, and my camera and go somewhere. Somewhere stress free and laid back and accessible. What is more accessible than the ocean if you have a beautiful ship?

Two weeks ago we drove to Port Canaveral and headed for the Caribbean. Sandy and I cruise differently than what one might expect. This week, for example, we actually used the dining room. My tux consisted of a shirt with buttons and soft, brown pants with the drawstring tucked in out of sight. And I wore socks!

This beauty is new and large. Very large with lots of carpet. Did someone find a sale at Captain Ollie’s Carpet Outlet? Wheelchairs don’t like carpet. I got pushed a lot more than I like. But other areas are nice and smooth with the freedom to roam around, get  a coconut cooler, hit the Coke Freestyle machine, and shop. I love to shop. This trip I bought some sunscreen and some spray aloe. I said shop. It takes money to actually buy!

DSCN1835We relaxed in the pool. Why are ship’s pools not accessible? Getting back into the wheelchair takes some doing. The lifeguards offered assistance. The water was warm and the fountains fun.

My favorite stop was the beach party. DSCN1801Caribbean. August. Hot. But the sidewalk is paved close to the water, there was a great breeze, and the lunch was fun. I didn’t attempt the sand. fullsizeoutput_1499.jpeg

You can make a cruise into whatever you want. Flip flops or ties. To this wheelie, the sea is the place to be.

Thank you for sailing with us. It is always a pleasure having you here. Try out the new Follow button!

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Pictures: The opening photo is a blown out flip flop with a repair tag that reads Flip Flop Repair Shop; Customer, Jimmy Buffet; Address, Margaritaville; Service Required, Fix blown out flip flop. – Small photo on the right shows a small, round pool with overhead fountains. Next pictures are of Sandy behind a life preserver and George under a palm tree on the beach. – Final picture is a large photo of George sitting partially turned in the wheelchair, in front of a cut out of a huge butterfly.

Where’s the Follow button?

DSCN1183 Last evening I received a nice message from my friend, Sassy Wyatt who writes the wonderful blog Thinking Out Loud. She was trying to find the Follow button. I knew it must have been there at one time. Nope, not there. Only by accident did I discover how to access it. This had to be fixed. And fixed it is. I cleaned up the side panel, simplified it, and added a nice, easy to find Follow button. If you are new here, I invite you to try it out! Meanwhile,  here is the link to Thinking Out Loud. I think you will like it, and I suggest you check it out. Thinking Out Loud

Thank you for stopping by. I always welcome your comments. By the way, Sandy and I just returned from a cruise. More on that soon.

Small photo at the top is a purple oval against a black background. Actually it is a light fixture from a cruise ship.