Rocking on the porch

Panoramic view from George's glider. Potted grasses, empty planters, a bright blue bench, empty planters, a white, Greek statue. In the lawn is a tree without leaves. Sky is deep blue with white clouds.

Day 6

This evening marks six days of officially Staying Home. More to come, of course. The only question is for how long. In the interim, Sandy and I are rocking on the porch. We both have health conditions that put us at risk, and we are staying home. Social distance, as it were. Talking to our neighbor from a respectable 30 feet!

Sandy in a blue and white glider chair. She has red hair, a light green t-shirt, white shorts, and glasses.

It isn’t that we don’t have things to do. We do, indeed. Who wants to do “projects” when the spring that finally arrived is beckoning on the back porch? We have watched the sunrise and the sunsets. I’ve taken some pictures of the ordinary. These things become beautiful if we wait for the light and take our time. It has been rather refreshing.

Natural pottery colored planter in the form of an antique truck. In the bed is a large, soft cactus plant that overflows the sides. The morning light is angling across the plant and front of the truck.

 

 

Sometimes we need to follow local events and ignore the hype and misery of the press. This is one of those times. We are trying!

George is in his blue and white glider. Beyond is his wheelchair. He has blond hair, sunglasses, and is wearing a blue, classic Mickey Mouse t-shirt, and dark blue shorts.

 

 

It’s not like I don’t have anything to do. I need to take advantage of this nice weather to spray liquid fertilizer on the shrubs. Then I need to fix the weed sprayer and eliminate the pesky plants that we don’t want. Ironing! If I ironed the summer shirts that have been waiting since fall, I’d have some crisp cotton and linen to wear whilst staying home.

A word about small business ingenuity

Two loaves of freshly baked bread. Each is wrapped in a clear wrapper with the type of bread printed on the label. White on the left and wheat on the right. They are on a wooden cutting board on the granite countertop.

The grocery stores are picked clean. There is literally no bread to be found, for example. (And I promise I won’t mention the toilet paper crisis.) Meanwhile restaurants are empty with the fallout being that our small town, wholesale, French bakery needs customers. They posted on the local Rants and Raves Facebook group that beginning today they would have bread and sweet breads available. And cookies. They created a drive thru system of ordering and picking up bread at the first entrance and paying at the second entrance. Employees are wearing gloves and masks. They report a steady line all day today. Tomorrow they will expand the menu. The public gets bread. The bakers get work. Win, win! The bread is delicious, and the cookies (biscuits for y’all in the UK) are soft and yummy. Chocolate chunk, peanut butter, and oatmeal raisin. Awesome! We did leave the house for this fresh, wholesome product delivered in a safe manner outdoors.

Tomorrow, day 7

Maybe tomorrow will bring fertilized plants, dead weeds, wrinkle-free shirts, a clean floor, and dust-free furniture. Maybe it will bring more quality time together on the back porch. What do you think it will be? If you guess quality time, you will be right, for sure. With Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn directly above in the crystal clear sky, Sandy and I bid you Good Evening Sandy in the evening, in the glider.and wish you and your families health, safety, and quality time together. And before I stop, we’d like to say a big THANK YOU to all of our first responders, medical people, and everyone who are working so hard, taking chances to protest the rest of us. And let us not forget their families. Blessings. ūüôŹ

 

Picture Descriptions:  Main photo is a panoramic view from George’s glider. Potted grasses, empty planters, a bright blue bench, empty planters, a white, Greek statue. In the lawn is a tree without leaves. Sky is deep blue with white clouds. Second photo is Sandy in a blue and white glider chair. She has red hair, a light green t-shirt, white shorts, and glasses. Third photo is a natural pottery colored planter in the form of an antique truck. In the bed is a large, soft cactus plant that overflows the sides. The morning light is angling across the plant and front of the truck. Fourth photo shows George is in his blue and white glider. Beyond is his wheelchair. He has blond hair and is wearing sunglasses, a blue, classic Mickey Mouse t-shirt, and dark blue shorts. Fifth photo shows 2 loaves of freshly baked bread. Each is wrapped in a clear wrapper with the type of bread printed on the label. White on the left and wheat on the right. They are on a wooden cutting board on the granite countertop. Final photo shows Sandy in the evening, in the glider.

Christmas at the Magic Kingdom

Close up of Cinderella's Castle. Soaring palace of gray stones and bright blue tiled turrets. There is a golden spire on top. On the front is a clock.

Cinderella’s Castle, a thing of beauty and the centerpiece of Disney’s Magic Kingdom. We all need a bit of magic in our lives, and there is no better place to find it than here. Christmas is special in the Magic Kingdom. Main Street brings back the joy of the old downtowns where Christmas was a world of lights, bows, and hope.

This is the post that nearly didn’t happen, and even tonight I cannot re-create the way I was feeling having returned from a day of fantasy and fun. I’d like to share with you, though, the things that I saw and loved and maybe impart a bit of how I felt.

Frontal view of an old car. It has a red hood, gold headlights, and a black cloth top. Cinderella's Castle in in the background. There are 2 dancers on the left.

We arrived early, having eaten a light breakfast at home. Between the parking lot and the entrance is Bay Lake, a huge lake created from the previous marsh land by Walt Disney for the express purpose of broadening the experience and separating the “magic” from the world. He designed two ways to cross, futuristic monorail or historical replicas of the Staton Island Ferries. Town square is first, then Main Street, and at the other end is   the beautiful castle.

After visiting the Confectioner’s shop and bypassing the throngs at Starbuck’s (it is somewhat camouflaged), we decided the course of least resistance would be brunch at The Plaza Restaurant. A 2 story, white columned building with a brilliant painted gold ceiling on the second floor porch.the Plaza Restaurant. The perfect start to the day, it avoided the necessity of the lines for “fast” food. Then we just let ourselves drift where the mood took us. Back through the shops, then in front of the castle. Having been there many times, we have no need to see it all in one trip.   It is fun to stop, find a bench or even someplace to lean, and watch the people. Some are in a rush, some in awe, and more Disney Christmas shirts than I can remember seeing before. Harper's Mill is a tall, iron red mill complete with a working water wheel. Behind are dense, green trees. Below is the reflection the entire mill in calm water.

A short walk from the plaza is perhaps my favorite thing in the Magic Kingdom, as you will note from the huge photo. Harper’s Mill is on Tom Sawyer’s Island across from Frontierland. It’s magic, folks. You can cross miles and years in a few minutes. Harper’s Mill is one of the timeless and classic originals from the park’s opening, and people continue to stop and just watch the water falling over the water wheel.

Close up of the Haunted Mansion. Red brick with chimneys on either end and a round turret with a bat weathervane on top. The right side of the mansion includes a glass solarium.

The Haunted Mansion is where the voice of the late Thurl Ravenscroft invites you to “Step into the dead… center of the room” and later intones that there are 99 ghosts living here, “Would you like to join them?”

A huge, fully blooming bougainvillea is in the foreground with the Crystal Palace behind. Some will see the bougainvillea primarily, some the Crystal Palace.

Press on leisurely, cross the bridges, and find yourself at the beautiful Crystal Palace. Dining there is an incredible experience. Stunningly beautiful inside and out. It currently operates as character meals, and a dear friend recently told me it was a wonderful experience for her family.

For us it was time to call it a day. We like to visit a park and explore part of it leisurely. Living closely gives us that luxury. We took our time on Main Street, bought a couple of T-shirts, of course, and savored the day. In the above photos I am taking a photo of a window display with the tiny camera I’d brought for fun and the result, a close up of Miss Daisy Duck.

In the previous blog I expressed my frustration that the photos I wanted were not recognized. That spontaneously resolved within about a day. Don’t ask me why or what happened. Anyway, I’ve tried to express how we felt that day last week. Disney is where families and couples, young and old, like to come, and the Magic Kingdom remains special. Thank you for joining us on this day, albeit late. Sandy and I wish you joy this season and beyond. Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas from Florida.

Pictures:   Main photo is a close up of Cinderella’s Castle. Soaring palace of gray stones and bright blue tiled turrets. There is a golden spire on top. On the front is a clock. Second is a frontal view of an old car. It has a red hood, gold headlights, and a black cloth top. Cinderella’s Castle in in the background. There are 2 dancers on the left. Third is the Plaza Restaurant. It is a 2 story, white columned structure with a brilliant gold ceiling on the second floor. Fourth is Harper’s Mill is a tall, iron red mill complete with a working water wheel. Behind are dense, green trees. Below is the reflection the entire mill in calm water. Fifth is a close up of the Haunted Mansion. Red brick with chimneys on either end and a round turret with a bat weathervane on top. The right side of the mansion includes a glass solarium. Sixth is a huge, fully blooming bougainvillea is in the foreground with the Crystal Palace behind. Some will see the bougainvillea primarily, some the Crystal Palace.

 

Waiting for a turtle

6 large bottles of spring water. In the foreground are an aluminum Florida Gators glass, a large, clear glass with beach chairs, and a stack of red, plastic cups.

The monster turtle

Have you ever waited for a turtle? A turtle that you can’t see but are told it is big and mean and getting bigger and meaner? And it’s going to walk right over your house? The turtle has a name – Dorian. It is a big hurricane that formed in the Atlantic ages ago and has been taking its sweet time on its trek. The forecast track put my house directly in Turtle Dorian’s path. We’ve been preparing for days.

I’ve experienced hurricanes that came too close, some that missed entirely, and too many tropical storms to mention. Only once was I scared, and that was during Charley, which came through at over 100mph in the middle of the night. All that having been said, never turn your back on a tropical system. But how slow can this thing move?

We are already stocked up with food that can be eaten cold, water, flashlights, a lantern, and numerous batteries. Over the past few days we’ve gassed the car, filled the bathtub with water, bolstered the supply of protein bars, and bought the most important thing to anyone who has weathered out one of these storms – comfort foods, aka snacks. Still waiting for the turtle. Snack and comfort food. A large box of Corn Chex, a huge jar of cheese puffs, tack chips, and powdered sugar donuts.

It’s looking the other way

Yesterday the National Hurricane Center began moving the forecast track of Turtle Dorian to the east. They admit they really don’t know. We are told that Central Florida can “stand down.” We are getting missed? Maybe. Tropical storm, but likely no more. We shall see.

I ask you a question: What should we do with all those bags of goodies? Do we wait for Dorian? Do we put them back in case the next turtle is more of a hare? Do we dutifully eat the stuff we’d normally not buy? Meanwhile, I think it’s time for a protein shake.

Where have you been, George?

Please accept my apology for being somewhat absent, both from writing and commenting you your blogs. I’m working to catch up. My family lives in Taiwan and is home for a month most summers. Plans got a little crazy, but the result was that I got to spend some quality time with my 6 year old grandson! Splash pads, coloring, LEGO’S, and chicken restaurants with indoor playgrounds. We built a robot “Daddy” with LEGO’S and put a tree on his head. Laughed ’till we cried!

Thank you for stopping by. I always appreciate your Likes and Comments. But what are we to do with all that comfort food if the turtle stays out in the ocean?

Images: Main photo: 6 large bottles of spring water. In the foreground are an aluminum Florida Gators glass, a large, clear glass with beach chairs, and a stack of red, plastic cups.  Second photo:Snack and comfort food. A large box of Corn Chex, a huge jar of cheese puffs, tack chips, and powdered sugar donuts.

Beat the heat? No, but…

A hot, hazy sunset. The white sun is setting below a cloud bank is an orange sky.

The ad on radio fairly screamed, “Beat the heat this summer.” How exactly are we going to do that? Answer: We aren’t, but we can live with it. As I sit at my writing table I can think of several things to do about summer or year ’round in tropical areas. I’ll do these randomly off the top of my hatless head. (I don’t wear my hat in the house, which, by the way, is nicely air conditioned.)

Screen shot from a phone showing the weather for a city, Clermont. It shows Partly Cloudy, 94 degrees. The forecast for 3 days is for sun and thunderstorms with highs in the 90's. There is a notation written on it, pointing to the 94 that says, "34C."
As we enter July, much of the Northern Hemisphere will experience several weeks of hot temperatures and bright sun. For anyone with a neurological disease such as multiple sclerosis or fibromyalgia, the summer heat means fatigue is a problem. For those with light skin, sunburn is a serious matter. Let us not forget that darker skin can burn, as well. Para and quadriplegics who do not regulate heat in the paralyzed areas face the serious danger of over-heating.

I personally do better in the heat than the cold, but I still have to manage it. Along the way I’ve read some very good tips and learned a few on my own, sometimes the hard way.

These are some things that come to mind in no particular order that can help. The byword of summer is Hydrate. Hydrate, hydrate. I can’t say it enough. Water is generally considered the perfect hydration drink. I like my water either filtered or natural spring water and cold. I cannot comment on sports drinks with any authority. If I get too hot, I like a couple of them. Please note that energy drinks are not considered hydration drinks.

A simple, yet effective, tool for keeping cooler and reducing light is the hat. There are hats of all styles. For light and heat we are concerned with three things: the color, the brim, and the material. My wife Sandy wearing a soft blue and white striped hat with a large, floppy brim. She has on a matching top, dark sunglasses, and long, light colored hair.

  • Lighter colors reflect light and heat. A white hat will let less heat get to the head than a black one. A dark color on the underside of the brim, however, will help with light that is reflected off of sidewalks and bright surfaces.
  • Brims can be wide (think summer straw hat), turned down (rain hat), or just in front (baseball cap). Wider defects light off of a wider skin area, whilst turned down offers good protection for the sensitive skin on top of the ears. The ubiquitous baseball cap is practical, relatively inexpensive, and comes in a myriad of logos. A friend who was helping me clean out my closet asked, “How many of those hats do you really need.?”
  • Material speaks for itself. A light cotton will be cooler than wool or felt. I have a cooling hat that has a wide brim, dark green underneath, and looks silly (my wife disagrees about silly). It can make my day outside possible.

Much the same can be said for clothing. Light colors reflect light and thus heat. Before moving to Florida I’d never have teamed a white shirt with khaki pants or shorts. It is common, and I quickly found out why. Fabrics that breathe are cooler, and looser is also cooler.

I know this will give you the perfect excuse to go out any buy that white Porsche you’ve been wanting. The color of your car makes a huge difference to its interior temperature. When we come out of the grocery a black car in the Florida sun will be 40 degrees (22C, I think) hotter than a white car. Either way, it is best to air it out and let cooler, fresher air flow through before getting in.¬†Please don’t ever leave children or pets in the car.

Lighter to reflect light, dark to keep it out of our eyes, fresh air, and water. Now go find a nice air conditioned spot and get back to the book you’re reading!

How do you keep cool in summer? Let’s share ideas and things that work for each of us.

And that photo at the very top? That was the actual color of a Caribbean sunset, not a filter. The day got very hot. Thank you for stopping by. I hope I’ve not sounded too much like a physics professor, except maybe my high school physics teacher who made even physics fun.

George

Picture Descriptions: Top photo shows a¬†hot, hazy sunset. The white sun is setting below a cloud bank is an orange sky. ¬†The second photo shows a screen shot from a phone showing the weather forecast. Currently 94 degrees. The forecast for 3 days is for sun and thunderstorms with highs in the 90’s. There is a notation written on it, pointing to the 94 that says, “34C.” ¬†Third photo has my wife Sandy wearing a soft blue and white striped hat with a large, floppy brim. She has on a matching top, dark sunglasses, and has long, light colored hair.

The Amish bakery

Front of a bakery. The entire front is made of doors and windows with individual panes. The trim is painted bright red. There is cutout of an Amish lady with white hair, black bonnet, blue dress, and black apron. She is holding a basket with a napkin and cookies. Below is a sign that reads, "Fresh Amish Pies and Cookies.

Do you ever simply need to get away from the daily routine? A simple outing? We visited a small town an hour from our home. It was not a thrilling, or even particularly successful visit. Then we found a small Amish bakery and deli. I’ll tell you about lunch, but first…

We left home, crossed Sugarloaf Mountain, the highest spot on the Florida peninsula at 312 feet above sea level, circumvented Lake Apopka, and arrived in Mt. Dora. A small town, noted for its quaint shops and eateries, it is usually bustling. It is also extremely hilly. We have gone before but never were able to get an accessible parking space. We arrived in town, passed a picturesque church, and spotted an old shelter house. Perhaps there would be parking there. Yes! In the back was a space. We ate our mid-morning snack as we watched a rousing game of pickle ball. Shopping time. We trudged up and down hills over a few blocks. There were some interesting antiques and some fun things for the garden. An old cooler resembling a Volkswagen Bus from the 1960's. It is blue with a white stripe and front. On the front is a peace sign. The lid is open, and the inside is painted black.We didn’t buy anything. Manual wheelchairs are not fond of steep hills and rough curb cuts, but we made it. What we didn’t find was a lunch place that struck our fancy. It was only noon, and we decided to explore in the car. If we didn’t find lunch other than a chain, we’d go home and have a protein shake.¬†

Aha! A small building with red windows and doors. “Amish Bakery and Deli.” There were bright red tables and chairs on the small porch and in the front lawn. I opted for the pastrami, and Sandy chose the chicken salad, both on freshly baked ciabatta bread. Lean pastrami piled on ciabatta bread. It is cut in half, and top center is a small cup of macaroni salad.Ten dollars each seemed a bit high until we learned this included the sandwich, a side of macaroni salad, a bag of healthy potato chips, a warm chocolate chip cookie, and our choice of beverage. Yum. Each lunch comes is a red box that makes its own carrying handle.¬†We ate half of our sandwiches, our macaroni salads, spit a bag of chips, and ate the rest for dinner.¬†

Life on wheels. It has its challenges but can be very rewarding if we keep searching and enjoy the simple things. 

Thank you for stopping by and sharing a common day with Sandy and me. I enjoy your comments and questions. In the works are some pictures and descriptions of the repeat of an ill-fated vacation that was very successful this time, but I got overwhelmed with things at home and haven’t finished it yet.¬†

Picture descriptions: Main photo is the front of a bakery. The entire front is made of doors and windows with individual panes. The trim is painted bright red. There is cutout of an Amish lady with white hair, black bonnet, blue dress, and black apron. She is holding a basket with a napkin and cookies. Below is a sign that reads, “Fresh Amish Pies and Cookies.” Second picture is an old cooler resembling a Volkswagen Bus from the 1960’s. It is blue with a white stripe and front. On the front is a peace sign. The lid is open, and the inside is painted black. Third picture is of ¬†lean pastrami on ciabatta bread. It is cut in half. Top center is a small cup of macaroni salad.¬†

Directing our own show – take 2

This is a revised version of a post from earlier in the week. It did not seem to generate much enthusiasm, and I took it down. Several people have encouraged me to re-post it. Perhaps this time I will express myself better. Thanks to all!

Out and about

George is in his wheelchair, at home, with shopping bags from Skechers, Nautica and a brilliant green bag. He has blond hair, wire rimmed glasses with an orangish tine, a blue T-shirt with white stripes, and he has removed his shoes.
As I share some thoughts with you on a warm, Sunday afternoon, I am sitting on my lanai. In Florida that is a part of the house under roof but open and screened. It is quiet and peaceful. But we don’t live only at home. We go out, and we interact with other people.

Those of us with a visible disability, or our family and friends, know that people look at us. I’ve become used to looks and stares, but it took time. They are going to look. People will naturally look at anyone or anything unusual. What happens, though, when it comes time for us to interact with them?

Our audience is watching

Those of us who use wheelchairs, and I’ve learned white canes also, seem to come under some kind of scrutiny. I’ve read that people in service and retail are often, sadly, apprehensive. They don’t know what to expect or what to do. Hence, the Just Say Hi campaign.

As we approach someone, we become the director of our own personal play. Do we look friendly? Do we look clean? Do we look alert? It is to our benefit to put people at ease.

Some tips I’ve learned

  • Adaptive equipment needs to be kept clean. It is an extension of ourselves.
  • Bling is good. My wheelchair is natural titanium, a silver gray. When it’s clean, it looks spiffy. I added bright blue tires and translucent blue casters. A gentleman in Saint Lucia recently told me that the sun through my casters made them positively glow.
  • Dress for the occasion, and wear what works for us. In the first picture I’d been shopping. In every store we went in I was welcomed and treated nicely. Obviously, from the load of goodies. Clothes need to fit and colors coordinate.
  • Smile and say Hi. Just Say Hi goes both ways, though if we can’t see the person well, we might not want to intrude.

Two guys in wheelchairs

George is sitting on the balcony of a cruise ship taking a photo with a small camera. He has rimless glasses with a gray tint. He is wearing a bright green polo shirt.On a recent cruise, as people were starting to board the ship, I heard a greeter say on her radio, “There are two guys in wheelchairs down here. The guy going by me now looks like he can handle things nicely.” Sandy and I smiled.

Thank you for stopping by. I’d very much like to hear your thoughts on this and if I’ve been of any encouragement to you.

Picture descriptions: In the top photo George is in his chair, loaded with shopping bags. He has medium length blond hair, almost round wire glasses with reddish-orange lenses, a blue shirt with narrow, white stripes, white short pants, and has removed his shoes. In the second picture George is taking a photo from his ship cabin’s balcony with a small camera after boarding. He is sitting up straight and is wearing small, rimless glasses with a gray tint and a bright green polo shirt.

A day at Christmas

A very large topiary of Mickey Mouse pouring water into a large jug with water then cascading down other containers. He is wearing a red Santa hat with a white, fur band. There are planters of poinsettias beside and a tree, still with leaves, behind.What do you do when you are married to your best friend, have the things you truly need, and Christmas is coming? What do I buy for Sandy? What does Sandy buy for me?

It wasn’t so hard when we were friends in college. We didn’t have any money, so we each bought a simple, thoughtful gift. Then came the years when we worked downtown and had the ability to shop alone. The gifts expanded. Things began to change when we moved into our own office, worked together, and were blessed with a child.

Neither of us had the opportunity to shop alone, and neither of us really needed much. Thus was born the Day Together at Christmas. Each year we took a day off, and while our son was in school we went for a day together. We helped each other select a personal Christmas gift. It was a magical day to which we both looked forward each year. Time together, a nice lunch, and the fun of shopping together. “You would look really good in this.” “Would you like to have that Snoopy sweater?” George is sitting in front of a display of large tree ornaments and is surrounded by rotted poinsettias and other blooming flowers. He is wearing a green shirt, jeans, white Converse shoes, and a tan visor.

Sandy is standing between, slightly to the front of, 2 snowmen. Each is made of white and red balls. The female has a red hat, and the male has a black top hat. Sandy is wearing a green top, white jeans, and blue skimmers.The Day Together continues. Saturday we went to Disney Springs, and it was a wonderful day. Warm and sunny. Lunch outside at Blaze Pizza. We split a nice salad and a small pizza. We drank Coke Zero, watched the people, and listened to the joyful music and chatter of thousands of tourists. And just talked with each other about Christmas and nice things.

Then it was off to walk (and roll) around and enjoy the holiday decorations. There is a huge Christmas tree in the square that is without a doubt the most marvelous Christmas tree I’ve ever seen. Huge balls, each lighted by an Edison bulb, prisms, and mirrors make the tree unique.The top portion of a large Christmas tree rising above the rooftops. It has massive ornaments lit with Edison light bulbs. At the top of the photo, in the foreground are two palm fronds from a nearby tree.A couple of times we stopped and enjoyed the day in the sun. As we were headed toward the car in the late afternoon, I saw a new stand that I wanted to visit. Thirty minutes later it was starting to get dark, so we decided to stay and see the lights. Back to Blaze Pizza! (We like their pizza!) After looking at the lights, which were reminiscent of the small towns in which we grew up, we headed home. Long, long day. Together at Christmas. With all else put aside, we gave ourselves the best gift of all, a day together to celebrate our lives together and the blessings of this amazing season.

I wish each of you a Happy Hanukkah and a Merry Christmas. May you be blessed with joy and love.

Pictures: Top photo is a large topiary of Mickey Mouse. He is pouring water into a large jug. The water is then cascading from container to container. He is wearing a red Santa hat with a white, fur band. Photo on the left is Sandy sanding in front of 2 large snowmen. They are made of white and red balls. The female has a red hat, and the male has a black top hat. Sandy is wearing a green shirt, white jeans, and blue skimmers. Photo on the right is George sitting in front of some large tree ornaments and surrounded by potted poinsettias and other blooming plants. He is wearing a green shirt, jeans, white Converse shoes, and a tan visor. Fourth photo is the top portion of a large Christmas tree rising above the rooftops.