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.