Sunday, December 7, 2014

Please Understand Me

The little girl, of a dear friend, has cerebral palsy.  Like me, she suffered a traumatic brain injury. But, her disability is far more life changing, even life-threatening at times. She cannot eat regular food, because she cannot chew or swallow properly.  She cannot talk, because she doesn't have the muscle control necessary to use her tongue.  Yet, she has a light in her eyes that tells me she is aware of her world, knows she is loved, and still finds joy and laughter in life.

Yet, I bet part of her wants to scream, "Please understand me!"

Those of you that know me are aware that I am articulate, even too much so, at times.  I have no trouble speaking my mind.  Yet, I have had individuals treat me as if I am a child, be condescending, and sometimes downright rude or mean.

I bring this up, because I want the people I know, and care about, to please understand me.

Today was the first Sunday in at least a month that I have been able to go to church.  It was a wonderful morning.  But, it got me to thinking about how life has changed for me over the years.  One year, I got an award for perfect Sunday school attendance.  I can remember, as an adult, scraping the snow off my car, so I could go to church.

Those days are gone, and so much more.  I am not quite ready for the rest home, yet.  But, just in the past few years, my life has changed so much, and not for the better.  I am not complaining.  But, I do want you to understand.

First of all, having spastic muscles has never been a picnic. In fact, it has always been a pain in the butt!  Now, it is just a pain.  If I go out in the cold, whether it is snowy or not, my legs become so stiff they will not bend.  If you are strong enough to stuff me in a car on those days, you will probably have to break me to do it.  Also, if I manage to get out with help, the person assisting me is liable to freeze in the time it takes me to get in/out of the car. So, even a drop in temperature can keep me home.

Then, there is the swelling.  At first, it is just enough to freak out my mom and sister.  But, if I sit too long, without putting my feet up, my legs start to hurt.  Oddly enough, my hips usually start to hurt first.  So, I can't sit in the chair all day, like I used to.  I spend 90% of my days with my feet up, and sometimes elevated above my heart. It also means that I will not answer the door, unless I know you are coming.

If the cold or swelling doesn't get me, the arthritis does. A couple years ago, I was diagnosed with rapid onset aging.  My heart and lungs are fine, but my bones are older than dirt.  If the weather is about to change, I hurt. In fact, sometimes I hurt so much I take Tylenol with codeine. Then, I top that off with a prescription dose of Aleve.  I don't do this often, as it does wonders for my gut, if I am not careful.  But, when I do, it is pretty much "sweet dreams".  If I am awake, I have been told I have a tendency to slur my words or talk slower.  ???

Having bones older than dirt also means that I am more breakable.  So, that is why I don't work anymore, even though I seem like I should still be able to, on a good day.  I don't take chances I used to, getting in/out of the car, when it is slick or I am having a difficult day.

I used to go to church Sunday morning and evening.  I know those that feel that if you aren't there when the doors are open, your priorities are messed up; and, I am very uncomfortable knowing they feel that way.  Yes, even in the summer, I rarely go to church at night.  I just don't seem to have the energy to get out, and go through all the transitioning twice in one day.  When I have no choice, it is exhausting!  The next day, I am pretty much recuperating.

Last, but not least, I have never been a really good driver.  Using hand controls reduces reaction time. Couple that with how my brain processes stressful situations, and slowing with age, both my children would prefer I no longer drive. I don't need them to disable the car.  I handed over the keys. (I can't drive when medicated for sure.) So, unless it is an absolute emergency, I will not drive.  In fact, when Steven goes to college, the car goes with him.  I will depend on the senior bus to get me to doctor's appointments and such. (I have already started that.)  Of course, they do not run on the weekend.  So, church will definitely become a rare treat.

So, if you don't see me out and about, especially at church, please understand me.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Fight is On!

Yes, I finally have something worth posting about!  But, I wish I didn't, really.

As many of you know, I was denied Part D coverage, when I went on Medicare, because I wasn't 62 1/2.  Both Medicare and insurance companies told me the same thing.  So, over 2 years I have been paying between $250-$1200 a month for my medications.

The spike was when I was in the hospital in March.  The prescriptions that month were almost as much as my Medicare check.  It was then that I was told to fight for part D, because others who were not 62 1/2 had it.  I was misinformed, and needed to keep calling.

So, I called, and I called, and I called.  On lady even told me she was sorry, there was nothing she could do, and she hung up.  FINALLY, I got a supervisor that didn't blow me off.  He was on the phone with me for over an hour.  He told me what I should do.  He even gave me numbers to call for insurance companies that were most likely to help.

Unfortunately, I did not qualify for the early opt-in period, so I would have to wait until October 15th.
Seven months later, I was on the phone.  One insurance agency was no longer insuring for Part D.  Another was something else.  So, I went online and applied to the VERY FIRST insurance company I applied to, over 27 months ago.  Instead of talking to a person, I just sent in the application.

I was so happy to be accepted!  I will still be paying over $40 a month for my most expensive medication, $50 for the insurance, and whatever the co-pays are for the others.  But, it will definitely save me money.  It was worth the fight, it was taken care of.

So I thought!

I received a letter last week that I was going to have to pay a penalty of $8.90 a month, because I did not get part D when I first got on Medicare!  Are you kidding me!

The Fight is On!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

You Get Paid!

When I was student teaching, eons ago, I spent a lot of time encouraging students to try a little harder.  One day, I told a student to think of it as his job, for now.  He needed to work now, so he could qualify for a better job later.

He immediately piped up and told me that it was easy for me to say. "You Get Paid!"

He was very surprised to learn, as did some of the other students, that I did not get paid.  In fact, as a student teacher I was paying for the privilege to be their teacher.  I paid for 9-15 hour days, being ignored, to be a disciplinarian, deal with disillusioned students and their often even more disillusioned parents, go to after school events, meetings, and all while still taking classes of my own and being a single parent.

Today, someone posted this on FaceBook, from the Ohio Teacher's Assoc.;

I can honestly say, from personal experience, that this applies to everyone that deserves to be a teacher.  The teachers I worked with that got to school right before the first bell, and left as soon as the classroom was empty, were NOT the good teachers.

The good teachers always tried to be early, relaxed and prepared, before any kid got to the classroom.  The good teachers stayed late to grade, tutor, help kids make up missed material, etc.  A good teacher is involved in after-school programs, summer activities, etc.  ALL teachers MUST continue their education, even after certification, to stay certified.  The classes and the time are at the teacher's own expense.

I tell you this, because I would like to give praise where it is due, regarding my son's teachers, especially in the band department.  He has other great teachers as well; but, these go WAY BEYOND.

My son is usually at the school by 6:30 am.  The band teacher is already there, for the kids that want to practice before school.  Multiple band teachers, on their own time, have helped students prepare for auditions for honor bands, of which their are several. The band teachers hold summer camps, in/out of town, for kids that want to stay involved, and maintain or improve their skills over the summer.

During marching season, students and secondary band teachers are at the school every weekday, until at least 5 pm.  Of course, it is much later on Football game nights.  During concert season there are evening performances, which include setting up and tearing down.  Some kids will go early and stay late to help with this very time consuming chore.  All students are encouraged to help;  But, most show up right before the concert and race out afterwards. Often, the few kids and teachers that stay don't get home until after 9 pm. -sometimes later.   

Did I mention that out-of-town band trips?  While the school district helps a lot, much of the expense of honor band trips, state competitions, etc. come out of the band instructors' own pockets.  It also involves packing and unpacking very expensive equipment, very early days and late nights, traveling with and taking care of students around the clock- even unexpected hospital visits.

Last, but not least, there are the private FREE lessons, for the students who, like them, want to share the love of music.

Both my daughter and son have chosen music for their future careers. in one form or another.  They have both put in LOTS of extra hours toward their goals.  But, the teachers have matched or exceeded those hours, in order to help and encourage them.

It makes me so very sad, when I hear of schools that are discontinuing their music programs, due to budget cuts.  Both of my kids have learned so much more than music. It has taught them discipline, responsibility, caring, patience, kindness, and more.

I am deeply grateful for all of the good teachers I had and the ones that have blessed my children over the years.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In Everything Give Thanks

1 Thessalonians 5:18New International Version (NIV)

18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Generally, my life is boring.  I don't have much to write about, because one day just seems to run into the next.  But, the last couple of weeks have been a little too interesting- both good and bad. So, when I look back on those days, I think of this verse, and hope that I have remembered to give thanks in all circumstances.
There have been some really difficult days.  My mom and my aunt are both dealing with some serious health issues.  Both have spent some time in the hospital; both had close calls.
Although I naturally pray for them to get better, I also realize the close calls could have gone south, fast.  How can I be thankful?  Well, it wasn't too hard.  I am so thankful for their faith and love of God, and passing it down to their children.  I knew exactly where they would be for eternity, if/when God calls them home.  So, even when I was very sad, and trying not to be worried, I could be very thankful.
God things have also happened this last week.  Months of practice paid off. My son would get up at 5 am, so he could use the school practice rooms before school.  Marching band practice lasted until 5 pm, and then there were games or private lessons to attend.  He was burning his candle at both ends.  But, their band came in 1st, with a superior rating and 4 of 6 of the caption awards.  If you know anything about marching band, you know this is a BIG DEAL.
Monday, he also found out that he was accepted to an International Honors Band.  He, and seven other students, will be traveling to Washington state next month.
Again, I am thankful. He has worked very hard toward this goal. I am grateful that God has given him this ability.  It might also lead to scholarship opportunities, which would be such a blessing.

Late last night, my daughter called to say that someone ran into her parked car.  The girl had insurance, so she wasn't too worried. The car would be fixed up like new.  
Well, I am not sure what the girl was doing.  She wasn't drunk.  Was she texting? 
Unfortunately, when my daughter took it to the garage today, he said that the car was going to be totaled.  The girl had done even more damage to the underside of the car that we can't see.
My girl called, so sad.  You see, this car is really special.  The day before she got her driver's license, she won this car in a drawing.  The school district and car dealership had teamed up to encourage kids to strive for perfect attendance. She was one of the few that qualified for the car.
I am sad for my daughter; but, I can still give thanks.  This car was a Godsend! I couldn't help her get a decent car before college.  It has been a wonderful car for her.  Also, she wasn't in the car, when the girl hit it. No one was hurt.  It is just really sad.  She took good care of it, and it only had 35,000 miles on it.  It would probably have lasted her another 10 years.

Another sad thing happened in the last week.  My great-niece, who isn't even 2 1/2 fell and broke her arm.  As a parent, there is nothing worse than when your baby is sick or hurt, and you can't make it better.  Again, our family gives thanks, because this sweet girl isn't in pain.  In fact, it hasn't slowed her down much. We are thankful that the doc set the bone well.
About yesterday, while waiting for the doc to check her arm, my niece had this to say:

"Everyone was charmed and heartbroken by the little lady with the broken arm.  In fact, when people would crouch down and say, "oooooooooh what happened?" Her response was, "I broke my arm, but I be okay. I got my mommy."

It was actually what this little lady said that got me thinking.  She said she would be okay, because she had her mother.  We can learn a lot from that seemingly simple statement.

How many times have we been hurt or sad?  How many times have we complained to God, for even the smallest things. Some people even blame God, when life gets tough.  Instead, why not believe and say:

I'll be okay.  I have my Father.

In everything give thanks.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pocket Corners

How do you make your bed?

With my physical challenges, making the bed is exercise.

I love clean sheets.  I hate changing them.

I love my adjustable bed; but, getting the sheets to stay has been almost impossible.  Since I push and pull myself off/on the bed, the sheet often comes with me.

A few years ago, I got bed garters.  However, this posed a problem as well.  I had to lift the corner of the mattress, clip it to the edge of the sheet, and close the clip with one hand.  I had to do this twice on each corner.

Putting the first two corners of the sheet on the bed isn't very difficult.  But, in order to stretch the sheet over opposite corners means actually laying on my stomach on the bed, rolling around to pull the sheet, and hoping I have it stretched far enough.  Then, if it just pops off, the first time I get off /on the bed, I get to do it all over again.

A few months ago, I found the solution to a lifetime of bed-making woes. I found a home hospital bed sheet with pocket corners, on

Instead of elastic gathers on the sides of the sheet, the elastic is on the bottom and the top of the bed sheet.  In addition, it has pocket corners that fit more firmly to the mattress. Finally, a sheet that stays on the bed as long as I want it to!  It is a simple pleasure, or comfort, that most people probably don't even consider.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Wonderful Weekend.

This weekend was wonderful!  My sister, her daughter, and my great-nieces came to see my mom.  My daughter also came home for the weekend!

Of course, it went way too fast!  I was feeling a bit nostalgic, watching my little nieces and thinking back to when my kids were little.  (My "baby" is going to be 17 this week!)

I also got to babysit my friend's dog, which used to be my dog. (Long story) So, I felt blessed.

However, I am also a bit sad.  Now that my girl is working full-time, she doesn't get a long Christmas break.  With the iffy weather in this part of the country, it is highly unlikely that we will be able to spend Christmas together.  It will be my first Christmas without my girl, since she was born.

On the other hand, I am very grateful that she has some really good friends.  She won;t have to spend the holiday alone; and, she will not be risking her neck on slick highways.

I am so proud of both my children.  They are nice people.  God truly has really blessed me, in so many ways!

My heart is full!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Think Positive

Yes, I know.  I should think positive.  After all, God is in control. Besides, as long as I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food I am rich.  Right?

Well, I must confess, there are just days it is a little more difficult than others to think positive.

Wednesday was a very ouchie day.  What didn't ache just downright hurt!  Well, my head was fine.  By the time it started snowing, in the summer, I was feeling much better, physically.  But, the 1-3 inches predicted was more like 8+.

Thinking positive, I reminded myself that I didn't have to go out into the storm; we can always use the moisture; by tomorrow afternoon, it would be gone.

Then today happened.

Steven's birthday is in less than 2 weeks.  So, I ordered his present.  I am making something for 2 different babies that will need mailed.  So, I signed up with the post office to start printing my own postage, since going to the Post Office is difficult.  For $10, they are sending me a scale for small packages.  I figured that was a good deal.  I was very pleased.  When the projects are done, I just need to stick them in padded envelopes or something, and stick them in the mailbox.  I was pleased with myself, until . . .

My computer screen turned into about a thousand colorful lines across the screen!  Ugh!!!

It happened a couple of times last night.  I forgot about it, until it happened this morning at least 4 times.  I turned the computer off, turned it back on, and they went away.  But, they were soon back. With pictures and files on my computer that I don't want to lose, I found my external hard drive and started backing EVERYTHING up.  This has been going on for at least 2-3 hours, and it is only half done!

The computer still works fine.  It is the screen.  But, if it goes out, how can I tell when things are done?  So far, so good!

I have spent the last 3-4 hours shopping for a new computer.  I looked at refurbished ones.  But, they are almost as expensive as the new ones.  There is no way to tell whether the previous owner just didn't like it, so they are selling it as used; or, was there a major repair job?

Now, I am using my kindle to blog.  It works great.  But, even with my glasses, the print is very small.  Since I am starting to freelance again, it isn't what I need to write, proof and post professional articles.  Plus, I can't send bulk emails, or work on the church website with my kindle.

So, once the backup is done.  I need to get on the church website and get what I can finished, before my computer conks out on me for a 5th time. Who knows if it will be the last?

I looked at 3 reputable sites for a laptop.  I found one that was just over $200.  What a deal!  Then, I read the cusomer reviews.  The keyboard vibrates, when typing.  There was something about what you can see, underneath one of the keys.  Another advised to be sure and purchase the repair plan, as the keyboard was VERY flimsy.  Maybe it wasn't such a deal after all.

I finally settled on a computer that was just a bit more.  It doesn't have an optical drive; but, I usually watch tv and movies on Netflix anyway.  If I miss watching our collection of DVDs, I can always purchase an external drive later. They are not very expensive and a lot less than what it would cost, if it comes installed in the computer.

Guess this just means I will have to spend more time writing articles. Surely, I will come to a point when I can actually spend less and save more.  Right?? Think positve!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

It's Coming!

Play eerie music now.  It's coming!  I can feel it in my bones.

I feel like having a pity party.  If you don't want to join me, I will party all by myself.

We are expecting snow tomorrow night and Thursday morning.  Snow, mind you!  We barely had a summer! What happened to Fall?

Ok!  Get out your teenie-weenie violins.  If I thought crying would help, I would.

Thank goodness for my house, my electric blanket, and my furry friends who like to snuggle at my feet.

I just have one question:  Why is winter 3x longer than the other 3 seasons combined???

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Recently, it seems like I have been bleeding money.  It has been one un-budgeted expense after another.  I am not complaining.  It just is what it is.

The last major bleeder, (sorry Mom), was the vet.  Just in the last week and a half, over $700.  But, it has been a bit of a struggle, since I was in the hospital, and my new and pricey prescriptions.

Anyway, I was told, when I went on disability that I could work up to 20 hours a week to supplement our income.  However, since I was self-employed, she would not recommend it.  Because I would not have the proper pay stubs to prove I wasn't working/earning too much.

Obviously, we need some kind of supplement to keep up with all of these unexpected expenses.  So, I have decided to go back to writing part-time.  I am signing up with a company that takes a percentage of what I make.  But, they send out W-2's.  So, I can prove I am not taking advantage of disability.

Now, if you think I will all of a sudden be rolling in dough, forget it.  The articles requested are posted by category, and it is basically first come, first serve, unless a client really likes your work and asks for you.  That rarely happens, in my experience.  Most articles are cheap for the consumer, which means $5-10 for me.  If it takes me an hour to write them, and some require research, I am still making less than minimum wage.

However, I can choose how much I want to write.  So, if I am having a bad pain day, I just won't write.  This is a very uncertain means of earning money.  But, English and writing is my thing.

So, even if I could just make a few extra bucks a month, it would help pay down some bills.  So, wish me luck.  If you are the praying sort, I am good with that.

I am starting over from scratch, without the resources, and clients, I once had as a freelance writer, so I had to reapply and send a test article. It is virtually applying for a job.  A few years ago, they readily accepted me as an author.  But, they also rate your work.  The better my rating, the more the client has to pay for an article.

I am a bit anxious to hear from them and get started.  I am not worried. (There is a difference.) I know God has always taken care of us. But, it seems He was waiting for me to talk to Him.  Once I did, the plan came to mind for short and long-term goals.

The prep work was my day.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Positively Pitiful Pup

It seems like I have been bleeding money, since last Spring. I am sure you know how it is.  The latest drain on my wallet was a very expensive trip to the doggie dentist. I wish I had taken a video; but, he was having a bit of trouble standing, after he got back home.  He walked a bit like a drunk doggie.

He was very wierd.  He wanted "Grandma" back, when she dropped him off, even though she was the one that took him to the vet for me.  He wouldn't settle down and just go to sleep.  He wanted to be outside.  In fact, he spent most of the afternoon sitting, and swaying, in the breeze.  It was kinda funny to watch, if he hadn't been so pitiful.

Almost 10, he had to have his teeth worked on, because it was to the point of possibly influencing his overall health.  Some of his teeth fell out, when they were cleaning them; still others had to be pulled.  But, I was definitely surprised to get a call in the middle of the procedure and asked, "Does your dog chew on rocks?"

What dog chews on rocks? Why?  His canines were fractured, as were some others, I think.  What in the world?  Then, I remembered.  As a young dog, he used to chew on the chain link fence, trying to get out to terrorize the neighborhood. "That would explain it!"

After 3 days, he seems just fine.  It is a real wrestling match to try to get him to swallow antibiotic capsules.  He is no dummy! He will tuck the pill somewhere, swallow a  few times, until I let him go, and spit the thing on the floor. Then, we have to go through it all again, assuming I can catch him!

Of course, he can't eat kibble for 2 weeks.  So, he gets the yummy canned soft stuff.  You would think he would be quicker about the pill process, since good eats follow.

Then, we have the added problem of our huge black cat.  I can keep the cat food up, where the dog can't get it; but, I can't keep the cat away from the yummy dog food.  So. . .  I give him a blob of canned cat food.  He gulps it down so quick, now. Thus, he still has time to help Goobie finish his, since he is a slow eater. (Wonder what dog food will do to a cat?)

Goobie and I have both learned a few things.  He knows to back away at breakfast and supper time, because Mom is going to try and poke one of those nasty pills down my throat.  Mom's bed makes a good napkin, especially the once-clean white sheets.

I have learned to ask the vet for liquid meds, if he ever needs them.  It is easier to mix with food, and he won't bite it open, making me taste the particles that escape into my air space.  Also, if I ever have another dog, it will be smaller and not built like a tank. (I don't know about him, but I feel like I have had a workout, by the time he swallows his medicine!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Bit of Adventure and a Smidgen of Bravery

Today was a bit of adventure.  It was the first time I went out shopping with my electric wheelchair.

Now, it might not seem like a big deal to some; but, I am usually with someone, have my manual chair, and my own car.

First, I went to have a bagel for brunch with a wonderful lady. Then, we buzzed over to a craft store.  After visiting and looking at stuff, it was time from my friend to go.  But, I wasn't done yet.

I needed to go to the pet store and pick up some soft doggy food.  My furry companion is having dental surgery tomorrow.  Actually, he is having his teeth cleaned.  Some are likely to fall out; still others may need extracting.  He will definitely not feel up to his hard nuggets for a bit.

When I rolled into the store, a nice worker asked what I was looking for, and walked with me to get what I needed.  When I made the purchase, the clerk was kind enough to put the cans in the backpack on the back of my chair.

Of course, Hastings bookstore and coffee shop was right next door.  Well, I knew I would have to wait a bit for the senior bus to come get me.  So I went and got a peach/mango smoothie to pass the time.  Yum!  I probably haven't had that flavor for a couple of years.

I did have to wait quite a while for the wheelchair accessible ride.  During the lunch hour, they are booked solid.  It was a nice day, so I got some vitamin D, while watching people come and go.

I did feel rather conspicuous.  But, I had my smoothie and my Kindle, so I was good.  I felt a bit brave too.  It wasn't like going to Bible study, where I know everyone.  It wasn't even like going to the hospital or the doctor.  I was by myself, just sitting there, while strangers walked past.  I am sure I got a few looks, and probably some unheard comments.  However, I went shopping with my electric wheelchair.

I was very glad to be home and put my feet up.  But, I did something I have never done before.  Yes!  It was all good.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Unconditional Love

If we are lucky, we have family that love us unconditionally.  In other words, even at our worst, they still love us, even if they don't like us very much at certain times.

Who do you know that loves you like none other?

Do they possess any of these qualities:

  • Greets you, every time you walk through the door, as if they haven't seen you in next to forever.
  • Wants to hang out with you all day, even if you are crabby.
  • Quick to forgive.
  • Stays constantly by your side, especially when you are sick or sad.
  • Fasts, until he/she knows you are home safe and sound.
  • Adjusts to your abilities or schedules, without complaint.
  • Is sad, when you can't be together.
I have a friend like that. He is my constant companion. He and his little cohort in mischief are often in the same room I occupy.  When, I have my feet up, this is not an uncommon site:

Monday, August 25, 2014


Oi!  It is cold outside!  It's not quite like winter.  But, it reminds you that it is coming!

Ugh!  Where did the summer go?  I wait for at least 6 months, each day looking forward to the warm weather; and, it is almost gone.

Sunday, I wore layers, including a winter sweater.  This morning, I turned on the heater,  and turned up my electric blanket, even though I was dressed in flannel.

We have had around 2 inches of rain, in the last week.  My joints felt this last night.

I try not to complain.  But, I must say, my body is not looking forward to the winter months.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Project 1 and Project 2

When they were small, I read Dr. Seuss books to my kids.  My daughter especially loved them.  I read to her, until my voice gave out, all the time.

Do you remember Thing 1 and Thing 2?  You couldn't tell them apart, except for their shirts.

Well, I thought of them this morning.  I am working on Project 1 and Project 2. Right now, I tell them apart by the color.

Show me a picture, you say?

Not yet.

When I am done, I will be glad to share, assuming they turn out.

Meanwhile, I miss days of posting because I am working on Project 1 and Project 2, while watching Netflix, listening to books, listening to audio Bible lessons, and playing games on my Kindle. Often, I am doing 2 things at once.  Sometimes, I have to quit, because my eyes are just too tired.

I do wish I could crochet as fast as my sister.  I think I would be done by now and on to Project 3.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Eyes Have It!

Today was a wee expensive. But,  it was well worth it.

A few weeks ago, we assume the cat knocked Steven's glasses off the table.  By the time they were discovered, he found them beyond repair.  It was time for both of us to have an eye exam anyway, so I made the appointment.

For Steven, it meant contacts, so he could see TODAY.  I will order his glasses tomorrow.

Contacts weren't part of the original plan. But, I didn't need a new prescription, and he shouldn't be driving half blind, so it worked out.  He is very pleased.  It will make marching band much easier this year. (He's a band geek.  This is a very important detail.)

For myself, the appointment today was more for my peace of mind.  My sister was diagnosed with macular degeneration last year. My aunt has been struggling with this stealer of vision for years.  An avid reader, it makes me sad to see my aunt struggle to read, while trying to do everything medically possible to keep what vision she still has left.

Since this disease tends to run in families, it is something to watch for. Although doctors are not absolutely positive it will help prevent the onset of eye disease, people who are getting older should take vitamins that are specifically beneficial to the eyes:  Ocuvite or ICaps.

If the vitamins do help stave off the onset of eye disease, it is a very small price to pay to save vision.  Even if they are still uncertain as to the total benefit, I know it can't hurt.

For now, other than the need for glasses, my eyes are healthy.  I thank God for that.

Monday, August 18, 2014

"Meet Me in St. Louis"

Today, I took a trip to St. Louis, MO.  While it was a very intense journey, and I had incentive to go there, it wasn't a very pleasant journey, at times. Once undertake n, the journey had to be completed.

People were in danger; others were in pain.  Some people, along the way, did their best to do the right thing; meanwhile, others were just plain bad.

At times, I had to stop and take a rest from traveling.  Sometimes, I was so focused on the trip, and the people I met along the way, I couldn't stop.

Thankfully, I reached the end of my journey, before the wee hours of the morning.

I Read a Book!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Learned Something

Strike: Definition: to tear down the set of a musical or play.

Also:  It can take hours!
            Power tools come in handy

Saturday, August 16, 2014

My Book

In years past, I have had a few people ask me about writing a book.  I have given it serious consideration. But, since I started the blog about Living with Cerebral Palsy, I was asked to read a couple of books.  The books were about them living with cerebral palsy.  So, how many books do we need out there about the subject?

No.  what I am talking about today is the old saying, "Don't judge a book by its cover."

Let me explain.  This summer has been absolutely wonderful for Steven.  It has been bands, band camps, and musicals. He got his driver's license, so he can just pick up and go, when he needs to be somewhere.

I have been so glad that my son has had all of these opportunities to learn and grow musically, especially since he wants to make it a career.

But, I have been frustrated with the other side of the coin. Steven is not here to do his chores, and help me with things I cannot do.  For instance, the lawn has been mowed twice this summer. I can't do it.  I can't afford to hire someone else to do it. Steven is too busy.  Even when he is home, he doesn't want to spend his spare time doing chores.

Thus, the weeds got out of control.  I bought spray and a weeder.  But, I cannot do it myself.  The spray sat in my entryway for 2 months, because Steven was worried about me getting it on myself or tracking it in the house with the wheelchair. I finally decided I could at least kill the ones I could reach from the wheelchair.  (It made me feel good to at least try.)  Now, I need him to whack them down, and spray what I couldn't reach.) My yard looks really pitiful.

I gave up inviting people to the house years ago.  My carpet always has black cat hair on it; the cats literally clawed my furniture to pieces, and there is just stuff everywhere.  I try to keep my mess to my room.  I always have stuff on either side of my bed, so I don't have to get up, when I want to do something.  But, I have been slightly depressed all summer, because I wish the rest of the house was company ready.

I LOVE going to my mom's.  Everything has its place, and everything is in its place. I wish my house was like that. I wish people could just drop by, and me not feel embarrassed or ashamed.

My sister and her husband have offered to finance a housekeeper to come and vacuum, mop, and clean the bathrooms.  I love their generous spirits.  But, I can't ask anyone to come over and help me clean, when my son doesn't mind the mess, and feels no need to pick up.

I am looking forward to the day, when I don't have cat fur in the house, and my friends allergic to cats can come visit.  I look forward to the day, when I have only a couple of rooms to take care of, and any mess is mine to pick up.  At the same time, I know I will cry buckets, when my nest is empty. I will probably even miss music stuff all over the living room, the art supplies covering the bar, and even the lovable cat that makes carpet cleaning a nightmare.

I really am a social person.  I wish I had the ability and energy to have an company-worthy home. I would love to invite people over for a meal, a snack and some games, whatever.

So, if you drive by my house and think nobody cares, or if you come to visit, and I would rather take you out for coffee, please "don't judge my book by its cover".  If I could, I would have a house and yard like my mom. (Her house, no matter where she lives, always feels like home.)  Inside, I really am a neat person. or at least I want to be..

Friday, August 15, 2014


Less than 3 months ago, I wrote about my quest to find the best affordable mattress pad for my adjustable bed. I spent quite a long time reading reviews, especially from those that spent a lot of time propped up in a bed.

I finally settled on a rotating air mattress.  The reviews were good, and it didn't cost an arm and a leg.

However, it has been less than satisfactory.  It took some getting used to, just to sleep on basically big air bubbles.  I finally added an egg crate mattress to the top.  It was much more comfy. But, it created a big problem for me.  When I scooted off the bed, the egg crate came too.

I actually slid to the floor one day, because the egg crate was so far over the edge, when I was trying to transfer to the wheelchair.  I even had Steven help rearrange my room, so I could pull the mattress pads one way or the other, before transitioning back into the bed.

Unfortunately, it didn't help much.  When I tried to pull the egg crate pad back over the bubble pad, it wouldn't slide well. I ended up tearing holes in the egg crate pad.  After a week or two of this exercise, I gave up and threw the egg crate pad away.

I decided I just had to get used to the bubble pad.  Unfortunately it was also difficult to get sheets to stay on the bed.  They would pop loose of the main mattress, making the bubble pad pop up and curl at the corners.  So, if I was sitting, the pad would be curling in my peripheral vision. Putting sheets on has always been a challenging exercise, even under the best of circumstances.  I surrendered!!

Instead, I have been using quilts, back side up, so they feel like a sheet.  At least when the quilt shifts, it is fairly easy to shift it back, and I don't have to lift the mattress.  Most of the time, this works okay, not great, just okay. But, I did develop a blister on the back of my leg a few weeks ago.  I am guessing it was from rubbing against the edge of the bubble pad or rubbing when the quilt shifts away.  UGH!!

Then, a few nights ago, I started hearing this hissing sound. I checked the connections on the air pump.  Still hissing. Last night, I just got close to the mattress and started pushing on the individual bubbles, until I felt cool air against my fingers.  There is a tiny little hole, I can barely see, where one of the bubbles connects to a seam.  So, when the pump ran, it began hissing!

Are you serious!  It hasn't even been 3 months!!  I borrowed a piece of duct tape from Steven,  and put it over the seam, between 2 bubbles. I know it's a temporary fix.  At least the hissing has stopped for now!

What next??!!  I think I will just invest in a cheap egg crate pad.  I found out  they do come 4 inches thick, so maybe my bum and back won't complain too loud. By itself, I should be able to slide it back onto the regular mattress, before I crawl back on the bed.

In the meantime, I will continue sleeping on bubble wrap, until the duct tape won't work, and it starts hissing at me again.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Taxi Please!

A couple of days ago, I wrote about role reversal and not driving so much anymore.  When Steven goes to college, I won't even have a car.  Since walking or riding a bicycle isn't an option, it was time to start transitioning to another mode of transportation.

For the last couple of years, since my shoulders have started to bother me, I have avoided going places alone.  Since I have to use the manual wheelchair, away from home, it means pulling it over my lap.  It isn't usually very hard to deposit it into the passenger seat.  I basically just roll the wheels over my lap, with the seat in the recline position.  But, when I get where I am going, it still means using my arms to roll along.  It doesn't take long, before my shoulders are complaining.

So, even though we can share the car for the next couple of years, I have started calling the Senior Center.  For only $2 one-way, they will pick up seniors or the disabled.  (Actually, they will pick up anyone.  But, "regular" people have to pay more.) As long as clients can live with the rules, it is a good deal.

  1. Call  at least 24 hours in advance
  2. Be flexible. Their schedule might already be full.  So, if it is a doctor's appointment, or something you cannot miss, schedule ASAP.
  3. Grocery shopping is limited to two bags. So, if you need more, call a friend.
  4. Weekends, you are on your own.
I have already used them to go for doctor's appointments and to attend a ladies Bible class.  I haven't called them to go shopping, yet.  But, I will.  When I live alone, the two bag limit shouldn't be a big deal.  I will just need to plan ahead. Since you can order groceries online now, it will only be for items like milk, eggs, etc.

In short, it will work out calling for a taxi.  Plus, I can use my electric wheelchair, which helps a lot. It kinda makes me want to hitch a ride to Wal-Mart, just so I can buzz around.

At least I won't have to worry about car payments, gassing the car, repairs, and insurance.  My only concern is getting to/from church.  But, for now, I still have my chauffeur.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Enough Already!

Have you ever opened your eyes, first thing in the morning, and thought "Enough Already!"  For me, this morning was it!

I hate it in the summer, when I wake with my hair stuck to the back of my neck.  I don't like it when my hair gets in my eyes, or when it is still out of control, even after brushing it.

So, I got up, let the dog out, and grabbed the scissors.  I knew it was going to be at least a few days, before I could get my hair cut. Enough already!  I was fed up to the point of being daring.

This is the end result:
I feel so much better!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Do You Remember ...?

Yesterday, my son handed me the keys to the car and asked, "Do you remember how to drive?"

For 22 years, I have been chauffeuring.I drove my kids to doctor's appointments, school events (LOTS of school events), church activities, grocery store, and wherever else we needed to go.

Although not particularly excited about it, I insisted that my son finally get his driver's license this summer.  He had so many activities he wanted to participate in, (band, band, and more band) that I would have been picking him up and dropping him off almost every day.  Oftentimes, it would be several trips a day.

I am so happy that he is a very conscientious driver.  In fact, he is very quick to mention the least little infraction.  Do not go over the speed limit, even one mile, if he is in the car!

I gave him his own key and told him to take good care of the car, because it was the only graduation present I could give him, when he went off to college.

Since that day, there has definitely been a role reversal.  He drives me where I need to go.  In fact, it actually makes it easier, and faster, if I just give him the shopping list and send him to the store.

Both of my children are glad that I do not drive very much any longer.  I must confess that I am not the best driver.  With hand controls and CP, my reaction time is slower.

So, the only reason I have the keys is because Steven was going to be out of town for a few days. I didn't want to leave the car at the school, or be without transportation, just in case.  It really doesn't make that much difference, since I rarely go anywhere.

Another day and he will be wanting the keys back.  How did my "babies" grow up so fast?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Are You Seeing Double?

Usually, if  you are seeing double, you might have an anger management problem, or you have suffered some injury and need to visit the emergency room RIGHT NOW.

However, before you rush off, you might be seeing double, if you normally read my blog Living with Cerebral Palsy.

In November, I will be asked to renew my subscription with GoDaddy. Having blogged for 7 years, it was just one of those yearly bills I paid.  For the first 4 years, it was something I did for my freelance writing business.  Then, 2 years ago, a lawyer asked if he could advertise on my personal blog for a fee.

I charged him a minimal fee, since it wasn't a business blog.  It was more than enough to cover my yearly expenses to maintain the blog.  However, after I had paid the fee last year, he opted to no longer pay the monthly fees for 2014.  I am sure he was helping me out, as well as advertising for legal services for parents of children suffering from brain injuries at birth.  But, if it wasn't bringing him new clients, it was not worth continuing.

Now that I am no longer working, and on a fixed income, I also can no longer justify paying for a domain and name, when Blogspot is free.  Since I have no idea if the site will remain active after December, it is time to establish a new blog, and start building some clout with the search engines. (I learned that, while I was a freelance writer.)

So for yesterday and today, you may think you are seeing double, as I will also be publishing the same post on Living with Cerebral Palsy.  For those of you that have been faithfully following my less than faithful posting, and get notified when I publish something new, it is time to make a change.

Starting tomorrow, you can still keep up with my life, answers to questions I have been asked, and often somewhat boring posts Me and Cerebral Palsy.  It is still me, just free.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Under the Black Flag

Yesterday, we sailed away, under the black flag of The Pirates of Penzance.

My mom, aunt and I enjoyed the matinee performance of the community theatre.  The cast included preschoolers, students, adults, parents, and probably even grandparents.  They have been working hard for weeks to get ready.

During the final casting call, my son was asked to join the orchestra pit.  They needed a trumpet player, and another member of the pit crew knew he would fit the bill. Less than an hour later, after being asked to rush down to the school, he became part of his first musical theatre performance.

Since the pit was also part of the set, the musicians also had to be in costume.  Much to his relief, he did not have to wear makeup, because he was in the back row.  But, he had a marvelous time, with all of the cast and crew.  
Believe it or not, that is his real hair.  He isn't allowed to cut it, until after the final performance next weekend.

The pit crew included both students, adults, and community members, just like the cast.

The Pirates of Penzance is a nonsensical (isn't that a fun word?) musical that is a love story of sorts.  It is hard to say exactly, because much of the play is just fun.

For me, it also became an opportunity to meet other parents and cast members.  I wouldn't have this close up of my son, but for a nice women who was also there to support her son and watch his performance.

Her son was king of the pirates.  He was great!  I have seen him act before.  In talking to his mom, he is interested in pursuing the preforming arts, as mine wants to continue with his music.

It was so kind of her to friend me on FaceBook and take pictures of my son as well.

Even before the musical started, I experienced the kindness of a stranger, (aka. a friend I haven't met yet).  When I went to pay for my ticket, one of the mom's was standing there with extra tickets in her hand.  Although it would have been worth much more than the charge of admission, and I would have gladly paid, she offered me one of her extra tickets.  (There are still some very kind and caring people in this world.)

As a side-note, the pirate king's mother asked my son for his autograph, after the performance.  (his first)
If you are local, it is well-worth the $5 cost of admission.  You still have 3 chances to sail under the black flag of fun-7pm next Friday, and 1pm and 7pm next Saturday, in the north campus auditorium.