Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Stroll with me

My previous post featured images from a batch of Hubby’s photos circa 2016 that I recently discovered on my computer. 

His photos stirred up memories, and your visits and comments strengthened my urge to continue the stroll down memory lane.

I picture strolling as a pleasant walk, a carefree saunter. My walking experiences these days usually give me pleasure, but they are not totally carefree. 

Instead, keeping my stroke affected leg and foot lifting and landing when and where needed is not automatic. It requires concentration but is well worth the effort. 

A mental stroll is not without challenges either. But my memory bank is filled to the brim with precious memories of the help of God and the kindnesses of wonderful relatives, friends and strangers. And that includes those individuals I enjoy digital strolling with down their own memory lanes via their blogs. 

Here's to future strolls, both yours and mine. And may blessings surround you in bright times and not so bright times. 

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Monday, August 19, 2019

Giving Memories Away


(Photos by Hubby)
Life changes.
Pre-stroke, I had enjoyed plunking away on my old upright piano, a long-ago gift from my parents. I was never proficient, but playing my favorite hymns was a pleasure. 

I also enjoyed when our sons and one of our daughters-in-law would entertain us with classic favorites. Our grandkids in their earliest years followed their parents’ example. 

They loved to bang away, “performing” their made-up music for parents and grandparents. And when our gifted nephew visited, he would make that piano sing.
The new owner and his friends stabilize
the piano for a safe move.

When we built our new drastically downsized home, we knew my old upright piano had to go.

But where? There is not a great demand for upright pianos, even as a give-away, and even if, like ours, it is in excellent condition. Plus it is an exceedingly heavy instrument requiring lots of muscle and special handling to transport without the piano or a person getting injured. 

I wanted it to go to a good home. It had been a fixture in our home for almost 50 years.

We were pondering that one day at our favorite local coffee shop when a conversation at the next table alerted me that one of the ladies was a piano teacher. 

Who better to steer us to someone who wanted a piano? She visited our home to check it out with one of her students. She and the student gave it a thumbs up. With her help that piano was eventually on its way to a new home with one of her adult students.

I can't deny that my heart ached at seeing it go.  But I was happy in the hope that it is bringing joy in its new home.


Ready to go. Goodby old friend!
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Friday, August 16, 2019

Strokes for Strokes

 A postcard came in the mail inviting me and a guest or guests to a “Strokes for Strokes” paint party for stroke survivors.

I have little artistic talent. When the paint party craze overtook our town about a decade ago, I successfully avoided them for several years. Then our granddaughter’s birthday paint party introduced me to the process.

We joined the other adults and our granddaughter and her friends at a charming backyard cottage repurposed as “Mud Pies and Masterpieces.”

A dozen little girls enthusiastically—and noisily, followed the stroke by stroke instructions and example of the adult who was leading them in creation of Hello Kitty on their canvases.

Although they replicated the Hello Kitty character with varying degrees of precision, all were recognizable.

Once they all completed their final stroke and signed their masterpieces, they moved to the veranda for birthday fare while their paintings dried. 

That birthday party experience dispelled my automatic avoidance of paint parties. Hubby agreed to go with me to the party sponsored by the American Heart Association.

On the designated Saturday we made our way to a spacious lobby in the newly constructed building of a local orthopaedic clinic. Tables filled the space with easels holding 11x14 canvases ready for guests. 

Brinn, paint party entrepreneur
As soon as we were ushered to a table, Brinn, owner of the paint party business booked for the event, asked if we wanted a blank canvas or one of the ones with half a valentine heart that had “petals” around its outer edge. 

Hubby chose blank, I chose heart. 

Brinn was well prepared for individuals with mobility issues like mine. 

“What colors would you like,” she queried. 

“Bold, really bold,” I responded. 

She came back with a Styrofoam plate that had bright blobs of red, turquoise, orange and yellow on it. In no time I was engrossed. I loved coloring books as a child. This was like coloring but more fun. 

Once started, I realized I also wanted pink. When Brinn checked on us, I asked for two additional paints--white and a little black.

Hubby whipped his creation out in a flurry of lines then moved on to what was enticing him more than painting--the refreshment tables loaded with an abundant array of goodies.
Hubby’s masterpiece


Once I finished, I walked around with my rollator, admiring the paintings of other stroke survivors and their guests. It was clear there were experienced, well-trained artists as well as creative, if untrained, folks in the crowd. 

As I returned and was initialing my masterpiece, two of the volunteers were making the rounds with encouraging words. The older one, a retired psychiatrist, gave me a quick analysis of what my color choices said about me—which I can’t remember now. 

Hubby was still sampling the goodies, and I will never know what the psychiatrist would have said about his painting. But I found his painting intriguing. The more I looked at the details I saw that every stroke was purposeful. But if it was a self-portrait, it was definitely a bit creepy.


My fun with paint

The younger volunteer said she really liked the feathers on the bird in my painting. I gave her a polite “Thank you.” 

I refrained from telling her how disappointed I was. I thought I had successfully captured the character of a flashy, deceptive serpent, maybe even the infamous one from the Garden of Eden.

And just that quickly my career as an artist was over! But it was fun for the hour it lasted.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Local Library Blues


Libraries offer just about something for everyone, and our public library is no exception.

Mississippi bluesman Bill Abel

One of my favorite events was bluesman Bill Abel’s evening program about Mississippi Delta blues music, instruments and history. 

The large meeting room was not a typical venue for blues, but Abel owned it. The soft-spoken, life-long Delta resident is passionate about music, especially the blues. He spiced his study of the work of music historians with his personal experiences with famous Delta bluesmen. 

Abel brought with him an assortment of guitars from his collection, including homemade cigar box guitars typical of those that black sharecroppers of the Mississippi Delta created from materials on hand or available at little or no cost.
Abel on cigar-box guitar
He demonstrated—and entertained—on both. Turns out he is also an excellent teller of tales as well as an accomplished musician. 

His musical tour of the development, rhythms and nuances of Delta blues was a welcomed excursion into new territory for me.

Looking Back: I took the photos in this post a year ago. I was no where near adapting to my iPhone camera. Fuzzy photos and frustration ruled. Frustration still accompanies my one-handed efforts but not as much. Now I'm having fun. Progress!

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Friday, August 9, 2019

View from Front Beach

An exercise in joy

August 8 last year a contingent of my coastal Virginia relatives accompanied me on a beach walk during their visit with Hubby and me.

All eight of us savored the view of the sunset as we hiked the paved beach path. 

But the greatest pleasure was being with my brother, my sister-in-law, their two daughters and their spouses, plus my brother’s first grandbaby. 

They stayed with us several days that were filled with catching up, sightseeing, enjoying good food and playing with the little one. 

We only see them about once or twice a year, and my tear ducts definitely worked overtime when we waved goodbye. 

Now I am looking forward to a trip to Virginia that Hubby and I are planning to visit them, but we are waiting until the weather is cooler. 

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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Not a Fashion Statement


Earring mishap
Earrings are usually the only jewelry I wear these days. 

I enjoy earrings, and Hubby is an expert at keeping me supplied with pairs we both like.

But I freaked when I glanced at the mismatched pair above. Somehow I had slipped those on and never checked a mirror—for a whole day!

Blunders with accessories seemed to be a pattern even before my hemorrhagic stroke in 2011. I never felt comfortable wearing bracelets, although I am not sure why. 

I did like wearing necklaces, though. But I was a danger to myself, others and especially the necklaces. If there was a way to snag a necklace on some inanimate object, I did it. Or on an animate object. Or on another person, moving or not. But I persisted.

I never dreamed a benefit of a stroke would be losing my desire to wear necklaces. 

The only jewelry items I miss wearing since then are my wedding and engagement rings. I rarely took them off. But my affected left hand started swelling a month after the stroke. 

I had to have the rings cut off. Our local jeweler did the honors. In spite of my fears it was a simple and painless process. Now the rings are safely tucked away. 

I have toyed with the idea of having that jeweler create earrings out of them, but even though I cannot wear the rings, they still give me a happy feeling just as they are.

I’ll just continue to stick with earrings, hoping that I do a better job checking to be sure they match! 


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Friday, August 2, 2019

Lessons for a lifetime

My father cited the verses below as he introduced a much younger me to financial common sense. “Don’t sign a note with ANYBODY, whether best friend or a family member.” 

Proverbs 6:1-2KJV My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger, Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.

Daddy's lessons were never long, just a conversation, usually with a snippet of family history about the unwise actions of some adult I was acquainted with. Sometimes it was about missteps he or my mother had made. Sometimes it was about other respected adults that populated my list of people I loved. 

Those in this particular object lesson had not followed Proverbs 6:1-2 at some point earlier in life. The fact that they had learned from their unfortunate, expensive and painful choices was evident and made the lesson more powerful to me. 

Throughout those growing up years, he often interspersed our daily interactions with Proverbs 6:1-2 reminders and other practical Bible verses that helped shape who I am today.

Even though I ignored some of his precepts and had to learn their truth through my own foolish and uncomfortable experiences, I am so thankful for those lessons.
In 1978 Biblica, formerly the New York Bible Society, published the full New International Version Bible and made the Bible available in more modern English. Here are those Proverbs verses from the NIV:

Proverbs 6:1-2NIV My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth.

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