Monday, February 24, 2020

Tomorrow is Mardi Gras

My participation in this year's Mardi Gras season so far has been indulging in a few bites of scrumptious king cake with strawberry and cream cheese filling. 

Last year instead of parades and crowds, we celebrated with a mid-morning visit to a Mardi Gras exhibit of elaborate costumes and masks at our town’s cultural center.


 The masking Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans create  colorful, intricately decorated costumes each year.

Their creations are part of a tradition that pays homage to the south Louisiana native Americans who helped  “Maroons,” most of West African descent, who were escapees from enslavement on plantations.





The masking Indian tradition has been maintained in the New Orleans African American community since the 1800s.


Design and construction begins about a year or more before Mardi Gras. The finished items, from head to toe, are heavy with intricate beadwork and other embellishments.

The design, construction and parading in the flamboyant works of art portray "liberation, self-determination and freedom of expression," according to the exhibit displays.


Let the good times roll! 


More on the tradition and history of Mardi Gras Indians here.


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Friday, February 14, 2020

My Guys with Beards

Hubby and our sons Walt, left, and Jeremy

Beards are apparently a family affair for us these days. Hubby’s facial hair dates back to an extended van adventure in 1977.

Our only son at the time was 5-year-old Walt, and now he also sports a beard. His adopting the style was out of necessity during recovery after extensive carpal-tunnel surgery late last year. 

I am interested to see whether the facial hair will be long-term or not.

Jeremy, eight years younger than his brother, has cultivated facial hair for a while now. I think he looks rather dashing.

My mother was a fan of clean-shaven faces. I have no problem with most beards. I like their beards, but I love those guys with or without hair on face . . . or head! 

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Thursday, February 6, 2020

Popular Path


A memory recorded in sand


Even though rain and cold have kept Hubby and me off our town’s paved beach walk lately, my iPhone photo of September 22, 2019, supplies a happy memory.

Hope your February will be filled with blue skies and precious moments!
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Sunday, January 26, 2020

Dr. Google

Ouch!

Hubby was clearing a spot on our wooded property when he heard a distinct pop accompanied by pain in his right arm. 

He came inside and I found him seated, looking so shaky and stressed that it scared me. His explanation about what had happened assured me his condition wasn’t life-threatening.

He chose not to go for local medical attention. Instead he opened his laptop and consulted “Dr. Google.” His search confirmed what he suspected. A tendon had “popped” loose. The site he consulted noted six to eight weeks healing time.

He’s almost finished his fourth week and avoids movements that cause pain. I guess a computer search is better than nothing, but I agree with a physician’s online article outlining how to be sure your online sources for medical information are reliable.

Reliable or not, Dr. Google is busy. When I searched “Dr. Google” the results numbered about 7,430,000,000.

Usually I go to .gov or .edu sites or well-known sources such as Mayo Clinic. But that article made me aware that I need to pay a bit more attention to the reliability of online sources of information before making even minor decisions about health.

Among my most helpful sources, though, are fellow bloggers’ accounts of their experiences.

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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Hot Tea Month

Hubby and I entered our favorite coffee shop and moved to greet some of our fellow "regulars." 

Then he helped me settle in at a table. This visit was a to be a computer day. 

The agenda for him was coffee and reacquainting himself with his laptop fresh from the local Broken Gadget repair shop. My agenda was chamomile tea and blogging. We both opened our computers.



"January is Hot Tea Month in the United States and Canada," he announced, staring at the notification on his computer screen. He is well aware of my I enjoyment of hot-tea. 

A bit of internet searching revealed Hot Tea Day, January 12. I mostly drink chamomile hot tea now, but I am still a fan of the "real," caffeinated variety that the Hot Tea Month is celebrating. 



I have yet to satisfy my curiosity about what tea trade association or tea company developed and launched the January hot tea marketing campaign. 

Internet searching turned up a bunch of tea industry organizations and articles with tips on how to celebrate hot tea month. But I was unsuccessful in identifying who exactly was behind the campaign.

Some national day and month observances are humorous; some historical, some noteworthy; some obviously a commercial gambit. 

Even some of those that are aimed at opening my wallet are interesting. But I am mostly oblivious to the ever-proliferating national day and month observances. 

When someone pointed out National S'Mores Day though, it did make me crave the gooey goodness of a s'more consumed beside a campfire. 

Any national day or week observances light your fire?




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Friday, January 10, 2020

Where Are My Readers?

A Sticky Problem Solver

Nobody told me I would still be making adjustments two years after my 2017 cataract surgery.  

Nothing big, just irritating. I had worn glasses since the fifth grade. My nearsightedness worsened through the years, but at age 70 I could still see close up. Of course I had to take my glasses off to read or see anything else close up.

 That all changed with cataract surgery. 

Now I have to have readers of one strength for reading and a different strength for my laptop computer.

And therein lies the aggravation. I have several pair for reading, two for the purses I use most often and one for the fanny pack I often wear at home. That had been working okay.

But when I would take a break from the laptop, I was automatically carrying that pair of glasses with me and setting them down someplace where I would be sure to find them. Ha! I don't think such a place exists in our home.

Whether a few minutes, hours or days later that I next used the laptop, I had to search with mounting frustration. And, of course, if we packed up the computers for use anywhere beyond our own home, I would forget to take those glasses. 

Finally an idea surfaced: use Velcro to attach an eyeglass case to the computer. And it would have to be easy to use with one hand. Walmart supplied the case. Hubby wrangled the Velcro into place. I did the test drive. 


Now my laptop eyeglasses are automatically right where I can grab them before I even open my laptop.

Frustration banished!


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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Wednesday Blessings

I am lying flat on my back in a Dynasplint contraption that stretches my left shoulder. It's a bit uncomfortable but offers a wonderful 20 minutes for reflecting on right-this-minute blessings.

Blessing No. 1: Right now I am enjoying our third day straight of gorgeous blue, blue skies. I can see sky, tree tops and the occasional squirrel and bird as I lie on our window seat with windows to my right and at my feet.

Oops! There goes my timer. I am writing the rest of this post on my laptop.

Here's the rest of my right-this-minute blessings:

Blessing No. 2: The window seats in our downsized house that connect me to God's beautiful world when weather or therapy exercises keep me inside.

Now I am cheating a bit, but I have to add a few more.

Blessing No. 3: An occupational rehab therapist who worked tirelessly in those early months after my 2011 hemorrhagic stroke to secure the Dynasplint and other devices to help me unlock my affected left side.  

Blessing No. 4: A husband who is patient and diligent in helping me get into position on the "bed" of the Dynasplint.

He then straps my left arm into a sturdy sleeve. It is attached to the mechanism calibrated to pull my arm back and stretch that affected shoulder.

Blessing No. 5: A right hand that still works. Flat on my back I could still hold my iPad mini and type with my thumb. 

At the end of 20 minutes I had the first paragraph written and had started on the second.  

The above were not my only blessings, but I have limited them to what I was thinking in my 20-minutes with one exception, Blessing No. 6: Getting out of the Dynasplint and switching to my laptop.

That was an interesting experiment but I think I will stick with my usual activities when in that device. Some days it's praying through my list of friends, family and specific requests I have received. Other days I read books on my iPad mini or just watch the world through those windows.  



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Saturday, January 4, 2020

Our Late Christmas

We celebrated Christmas with Hubby’s extended family the day after Thanksgiving this year and with our immediate family three days after Christmas. 

Benefit No.1 of that schedule: December was much more relaxed. 

Our gang

December 28 we met for a Christmas breakfast at the Harbor House. Whatever the season, the reason, or just because, breakfast at the Harbor House has been a family tradition from the time our sons were children. Now the grandkids are fans, too.

Benefit No. 2: Shopping after Christmas for 2019 Christmas gifts offered bargains galore. Bargains appeal to this frugal-minded family, whether givers or receivers.

What were Santa's elves drinking!

With the Walmart bargain of Christmas hilarity above, our son and family may have made Hubby a viable candidate for winning my neuro rehab’s December 2020 Christmas apparel competition. 

Benefit No. 3: By December 28, everyone had had their fill of wonderful traditional Christmas fare and tasty leftovers. Our late Christmas menu did not include turkey and dressing, ham, and green bean casserole. We were all ready for Baboo* to make some of his homemade pizza. Yum!

*When Luke, our oldest grandchild, started talking, he referred to his paternal grandfather as "Baboo." Neither parents nor grandparents have ever figured out how Luke the toddler came up with Baboo. Now, of course, their grandfather is Baboo to all six grands, ages nine through16.

Benefit No. 4: The last few months have been packed with activity, especially for daughter-in-law Sarah with her hectic teaching and mom schedules. The slower pace between Christmas and the new year offered a chance to catch up with loved ones. 

Thank you, Sarah.

She knows I love cut flowers. They are guilt-free. I don’t have to be concerned about killing an innocent, unsuspecting potted plant.


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A Family Affair


South Mississippi Ballet Theatre (SMBT) was responsible for the Nutcracker production we attended December 14. It is our granddaughters’ ballet home.

Their mom is also a ballet instructor there after her day of teaching physics at our three oldest grands’ high school. I marvel at the range of her teaching expertise. 


Our “Nutcracker” family in character for the party scene

From left are daughter-in-law Sarah, grandsons Nate and Luke, ballerina granddaughters Stella and Charlie, and son Walt.

With the participation of our son and grandsons as “dads” in the party scene, the whole family was involved. 

It was no small commitment: Multiple rehearsals and six performances, three at an out-of-town venue. And that was while continuing daytime responsibilities of jobs and school. 

The guys also had to engage in ballroom dancing with their assigned partners, moms of the ballet students.

As grandparents we were appropriately impressed by the matinee performance in Mannoni Theatre at the University of Southern Mississippi, Hubby’s alma mater. 

Having observed the granddaughters’ in Nutcracker productions by other studios, even my untrained eye could see that this one was at an entirely different level.

And yes, I am a proud Nana.

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Thursday, January 2, 2020

More Memories: Drafted!


Nutcracker Recruits

Our daughter-in-law Sarah recruited our son and grandsons to fill the roles of “dads” for a party scene in a December production of the Nutcracker ballet.  

A male-to-male talk from their dad convinced them to participate for the benefit of their sisters and mom, all involved in and passionate about classical ballet.  

They were good sports about appearing in the ballet and in costume, especially when they learned that the extensive rehearsals and performances fulfilled an entire semester’s worth of community service hours required by their high school.

This mom and nana thinks maturity looks good on all three of our guys. 

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