Fall break, finally!

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I need a break – badly. It looks like that is going to happen. It has been very hot here all summer without any let up in the heat. In July I wrote about the Florida summer. ( it’s the humidity ) I am pleased to say that autumn is bringing a bit of relief. I’ve stayed inside with the overworked air conditioner,  but it and I are going to being spending less time together. When? Let’s try now!

The days are getting shorter, the light more slanted. It is time for me to just roll back and take a break. As we speak my camera battery is on the charger. More time with the old camera and less time with the computer. More time reading and less time stressing. The rest of October is mine. I’m claiming it for Sandy and myself.

I’m going to find a winding path, a city street, an old church. Something other than the daily grind. Look at the ocean, share some small plates. With my Kindle loaded, it is time for an adventure.

Please bear with me when I get behind again because I surely will. Please know that your comments and blogs will be read, just maybe not on schedule for a few days. Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate your comments – and your patience!

What is your favorite season? Do you love fall or dread it? There seems to be no in between.

Picture: A paved path winds through a park with grass and trees still wet after a rain. A mist hangs in the background. 

Stinky and Dirty

A swamp in shades of greed with long afternoon shadows. There is a central area of moss covered water with trees on both sides.

Stinky and Dirty… Am I describing this beautiful Florida swamp? I’m talking about the cartoon that is currently playing on our seldom used TV. Stinky is a brown garbage truck, whilst Dirty is a yellow backhoe loader. They are best friends and the heroes of the series. It’s one of my grandson’s favorite shows. Our family is visiting from Taiwan. It is an exciting and blessed time and one of the reasons I’ve been a bit absent.

A couple of weeks ago we met up in Asheville, North Carolina and spent five days with our little guy while Mom and Dad attended a class. Wow! Five year olds have more energy than I remembered from being a parent. Or is it that I’m considerably older? Can’t be that, can it?

The summer has been another hot one here in Florida. It seems like there is an appointment or something every morning, and then it storms in the afternoon. Pool time has been non-existent. I love the pool because I can move freely when gravity is removed. It’s liberating.

It is a gray, gloomy afternoon. Thunder is crashing around us as we speak. Matches my mood. It just hasn’t been a great day. Sometimes I think I paint a rosy picture when in fact there are not-so-good days, as well. Such is the nature of life and especially of life with Multiple Sclerosis. My lesions are almost entirely spinal cord, but I am still blessed with the usual myriad of symptoms.

So while stinky and dirty is how my day feels, Stinky and Dirty are a bright spot reminding me of the love and joy inside that little guy and the hope of all our futures. Wishing you a Stinky and Dirty kind of day!

Thank you for stopping by. As I warned in the Popping Wheelies premise, “…you are about to find out.” Life is good, the future is fine, and there will be some clouds and thunder.

Picture: Large picture of a Florida swamp. It is shades of green with long, late afternoon shadows. In the center is an area of moss-covered water. Trees are on both sides. 

 

Replanting and writing again

Portrait framed photo with newly planted, but large, crotons along the edge of a brick patio with a white, Greek type statue at the far end.I’ve been planting again, and hopefully writing will happen, too. In the post Winter solstice and the patio  I showed some crotons and dusty millers that we put out before Christmas to replace those that died in Hurricane Irma. All except the dusty miller froze out during the record cold that followed.

With the arrival of spring, we are not so pressed for time and have planted the beginnings of a hedge of rosemary. This friendly herb will grow tall, likes the sun, and be tolerant when I don’t get it watered. I hope.Foreground is a brick patio, raised above the lawn, that has planters with hand high rosemary plants. Receeding is an ornamental grass, and at the end a dusty miller plant.

In the front, Sandy and I have been trimming up a potted bush whose name I haven’t a clue. It is green with red blooms and flourishes in Central Florida. In front of it I replaced two red pentas that also died in the freeze. Tall, ornamental green plant with red blossoms in the shape of small trumpets hanging down. Very bottom shows 2 small pentas.

Writing again… I have a “new” writing table. Finding one hasn’t been quick, though I’ve wanted one for some time. My legs just barely fit under it, but how much clearance do I need? They fit. And the table fits the style of our home. It even fit the budget.

So things are happening slowly and, to be inaccurate, surely. Thank you for stopping by. I am always grateful that you did and love for you to make comments.

Off white, antique distressed table. It has 43 shallow drawers and turned wooden legs. On the table are a green desk lamp, writing pad with sharpie, reading glasses, laptop computer, large Donald Duck mug, antique looking magnifying glass, a coaster, and a tray for mail.

Here’s a little smile for those who managed to read this far. It’s a bloom on our magnolia tree, which is just off the patio in the back.

Dark green magnolia leaves surround a large, white bloom.

Top photo: Raised, brick patio with planters along the edge and a Greek style, white statue in the background. Planters contain new crotons, a tall grass, and some dusty millers. Second photo shows the same planters in close up with new, hand high rosemary plants, an ornamental grass, and a dusty miller that survived the freeze. Third photo is a large plant with long green leaves and red, trumpet-like blooms hanging down with 2 small pentas at the bottom. Fourth photo is a writing table, well worn off-white color, turned wooden legs, and 3 drawers. On the table are a writing lamp with green glass shade, writing tablet with Sharpie, reading glasses, laptop computer, large Donald Duck mug, antique style magnifying glass, and a tray for mail. 

Orange hat and sunglasses

George is sitting in front of lush vegetation with a waterfall. He is sidewalk in the wheelchair with the front foot on the ground. Wearing an orange hat, bright green shirt, jeans shorts, and flip flops.

It has been awhile, and I apologize. Things have not gone exactly smoothly. After reacting to a new medicine in October, one side effect led to another as I felt like I was on a downward spiral. My multiple sclerosis reared its ugly head, as well. A few weeks ago my doctor and I agreed that it was time to stop all new things and let my body clear itself. It has been slow, but I think we see progress.

I had hoped to be back in the gym and on my bike, but stretching and light exercise are as far as I’ve gotten so far. With spring suddenly here (remember I’m in Florida) I feel better, and the pool will soon be ready. Next week I’m going to get some sun, fresh air, and relaxation. I’ll have new books on my Kindle and audiobooks on my phone. I’m not going to stress over anything. This is it. Do it, George.

Sometimes things go badly. The point is to try and keep our heads clear and our spirits up. Sandy has been my guiding angel. Several of you have done much to help, too. Things are looking better, thank you.

By the way, I realize that clothing combination is not exactly “correct.” Sometimes it is good to simply have fun and disregard what someone else might think. There is a fun person inside all of us just wanting to be given the chance.

And thanks for stopping by. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to share with you. I appreciate your comments, too.

Picture shows George in front of lush foliage with a waterfall. He is wearing an orange hat, brown sunglasses, bright green shirt, jeans shorts, and flip flops. He is sideways in his wheelchair with one foot forward and on the ground.

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

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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.

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.

The empty pots

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It’s a truck load of flowers, and it is delivering a load of pleasure. Or is it? What do we see or feel or smell?

Near our truck are pots of flowers, fragrant and a delight on the patio.

But next to the truck is a planter of pots whose flowers could not take the Florida summer heat. Or maybe I didn’t water them like I should have. IMG_0349.JPG

What do we choose? Do we   dwell on the empty pots, or do we smell the flowers? It is all too easy, and I think maybe even natural, to say, “That bare spot is ugly,” when there is so much to enjoy.

This is something that I am having to tell myself over and over, literally every day as I try to rehab my arm and shoulder. How much can I get back? How much function can I, as a full time wheelie, hope to regain? The point here is that moan and groan while there is beauty and love around us is just not the answer.

I hope y’all are doing well and having a good summer. Thank you for stopping by, and I always appreciate your comments and will try to answer. You are the flowers in my garden.

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Photos: Top is a concrete planter in the shape of an old time truck with a bed of red pentas. Second is a row of circles, each featuring a healthy and attractive plant. Third is a large photo of a concrete planter with three empty pots. Bottom is an explosion of Mexican heather that is loving our hot, humid summer.

Patience – Thank You

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She waited; we waited. The beautiful tiger.We went to Animal Kingdom on Monday. It was wall to wall people. No doubt the park was at capacity. As usual, though, there are times when you can find a peaceful place away from the herd. Whilst the crowds pressed against the window, she kept her distance. She waited, and they lost patience and left.

Sandy and I quietly moved to the window and waited. There she was, looking at us from over the hill. Satisfied that she could patrol in peace, she moved into our viewing area. Satisfied that waiting was going to pay off, we remained quiet and still.

For several minutes she patrolled her territory near the window. More people came, and she quietly sauntered back over the hill. We knew she was there, but our private audience was over.

There are times I get hopelessly frustrated when I cannot get to something or see over obstacles or people. If I’m patient and work around the situation, often good things will happen. We all have limitations, some more obvious than others, but if we are patient and believe we can accomplish much.

Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate each of you. And thank you for your patience as I went too long without writing. I had an unwelcome guest sharing my body in the form of MS fatigue. I’m hoping it left and went back to wherever it came from in the first place.

Top photo shows a hill with a wooded area opening onto a clearing. The tiger is looking over the hill directly at us. The next two photos show the tiger pacing back and forth in front of us.