Sunday, May 30, 2021

My Bad

In a May 17 post about my botox treatments, I attributed the absence of a photo of the actual injection to Hubby's squeamishness about needles.

I was wrong, wrong, wrong! In spite of his needle aversion, he did record the first of the injections on my left arm and hand before he escaped. About three days ago I saw the photo below on my iPhone.

Life enriching injection

When I saw it I apologized to Hubby for my erroneous post. I also realized that I, too, have an aversion to watching the actual administration of the Botox shots. 

That photo gives me the creeps!


Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Childhood Influences

My elementary school years were filled with wonderful teachers who were a positive influence on my life.

Mrs. Collins, my fourth grade teacher, was one of my favorites. Looking back, I don’t think phonics was ever on the official curriculum at my school. 

That didn't stop Mrs. Collins. She taught phonics anyway with enthusiasm and a creative flair that often resulted in boisterous sessions filled with laughter and fun.

She introduced me to all sorts of mental tricks for spelling accurately. Her mnemonics helped me navigate the English language. 

Her enthusiasm nurtured my budding fascination with expression through the written word, and I soaked up her every word as gospel.

One afternoon she asked another girl and me to stay and help with some after-school tasks. We worked hard, thrilled to be asked. When we were finished we happily basked in our teacher’s praise and appreciation.

In those days I was an extremely skinny, shy, conscientious rule follower. Somewhere along the way that year, I had gotten the impression that at the end of the school day, we were supposed to take every single one of our textbooks home and study. 

For weeks my school day ended with me packing my book bag and lugging all my textbooks the five or six blocks home. That day, though, I blurted “Could I leave some of my textbooks in my desk?”

“Oh, honey, you don’t need to take all your books home,” Mrs. Collins said, and gave me a hug. I listened, stunned, as she explained that she had been encouraging those students who NEVER took a book home and regularly failed to complete homework assignments. 

I went home happy that day with no textbooks, just a couple of books I was reading for fun. Those for-fun books were nearly as hefty as some of our textbooks. 

But they didn’t seem to weigh anything at all!


Sunday, May 23, 2021

I'm Not a Robot

Having a bit of frustration with those CAPTCHA "Verify This" photos recently. 

If the items are small and/or dark I can rarely discern whether or not the correct item is there or not. My glasses don't help. 

My current strategy is skipping to another set until a photo appears of something close up that spills over into more than one square.

That's working for me so far. 

May all your plans for this week work out for you! Every blessing.


Thursday, May 20, 2021

Uh Oh!

Oops! Someone didn't notice the "Low Clearance" sign on a huge oak tree limb that extended over the intersection of Jackson Avenue and Calhoun Street in our town's historic district. 

I wondered if the dismantled limb of that live oak and displacement of the sign that was on that limb resulted from someone texting while driving, talking on their cell phone, or a distracted driver's trailering a ginormous boat to the harbor's boat launch. 

That injured live oak took me back more than three decades ago when I had an encounter with one of those huge boats and its owner. 

My stint as a reporter had acquainted me with the town's militant garden club matrons determined to protect those stately trees that lined the main street of the small downtown business area. 

Walking back to my office from getting the daily report from police and fire departments, I was aghast to see a blatant attack in progress on a defenseless live oak by a guy standing on a huge boat trailered behind a pickup. He was sawing away at a large limb arching over the main street and blocking his boat's progress.

There were a number of other routes to the harbor's boat launch. I got his attention and suggested he take one of those alternate routes that had wider streets and fewer oaks near the street.  He was dismissive. I bolted for my office nearby and called the police I had talked to only minutes before. 

I don't know whether those officers truly valued live oaks or just didn't want to tangle with the women who wielded major influence in the close-knit community. I do know the law arrived promptly and halted the unauthorized amputation.

Back to the present. 

During the five years in our current home, we are often at that intersection with the low-clearance warning. It is tight with vehicles parked in front of a church and the parish's elementary school. And a number of the older homes across from the church have on-street parking as well. 

Traveling that route often involves stopping two or three car lengths from the intersection and waiting for an oncoming vehicle to clear the intersection. But everyone always seems polite and not in a big hurry. 

Hubby and I call it the "scenic route." We enjoy the changing of seasons evident in the landscaping around homes. 

Whether changes are from storms or from homeowners new or longtime giving their homes and landscapes makeovers, there is always something new to see. 

I guess deriving such pleasure from a simple drive--or taking brief strolls down memory lane--is sure evidence of old age! 

P.S. What is an easy way to insert an arrow beside the dangling "low clearance" sign in the photo above? The time of day wasn't the best light for that sign to pop out.

I tried tinkering with the "insert special characters" feature on blogger to put an arrow pointing to the sign, but evidently that feature is above my blogging IQ level!

Have a great weekend!





Monday, May 17, 2021

Thank Goodness for Botox

It's not as bad as it looks!

Every three or four months I have botox injections to relieve the spasticity that severely limits movement of my left hand and arm. 

For one of the appointments last year I asked my neurologist if Hubby could take photos of the whole process for my blog. 

My doctor was okay with the idea, but I had overlooked a crucial element. Hubby has an extreme aversion to needles. I just hadn't realized that aversion included needles not intended for him.

That particular needle my neurologist is holding was just one of about half a dozen needles scheduled for my left arm and hand. What isn't in the picture is me stretched out on the examination table. 

That day I realized that I have my own category of needle aversion. Observing a single injection or a single needle for drawing blood has never bothered me. I had never really watched the actual botox sticks though. And I don't want to.

So there is no pictorial record of the treatment that allows me to continue finding new ways to put my stroke-affected left arm and hand to use. But I did get the photo below of those dreaded needles!

Although things on my left side are far from normal, even slight improvements give me a greater ability to contribute to our home. Hubby still does most of the work indoors and outdoors.  But laundry and other mundane tasks have gone from being a chore pre-stroke to a source of encouragement and a sense of accomplishment for me now.

Blessings abound!

P.S. Even though I have had those injections for about seven or more years, I am embarrassed to confess I never could remember if they came around every three months or every four months. I also never counted the exact number of injections until I took the photo above prior to my most recent Botox session. 

In pursuit of precision I checked my calendar. Now it's imprinted in my memory. Those shots roll around every three months. 


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Help for the Asking

At the height of COVID, those mandated restrictions plus long-standing stroke-related issues dramatically decreased my in-person encounters with other human beings.

Email, Facetime, phone conversations and texting are just not the same as hugs and a good visit.

But peace from worry about how my kids and grands were really doing came through prayer. 

Especially comforting were prayers that I had encountered in reading the Bible through each year. 

Here's one of my favorites for family and friends, especially when I don't know specifically what challenges they are currently facing:

Ephesians 3:16-21NIV: "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. 

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:16-21NIV

Long on words and long on assurance. What a freedom from worry to be able to trust God with my loved ones!


Monday, May 10, 2021

Covid Affects Wildlife Visitors?

Hubby continues feeding the wildlife in our north yard. His usual breakfast guests are birds, raccoons and box turtles.

We have seen several changes among the raccoons since COVID. The number of early morning raccoon diners has diminished from as many as 16 to about four or five. 

We have been watching one of them for several weeks as its coat has gradually changed color so much that we are calling it Blondie.

Blondie, left, visits Hubby's diner.

COVID-19 has probably shut down the raccoon hair salon, and Blondie can’t get a touch up to sport the hue of its pre-Covid self.

Another change is escalation of physical skirmishes. We have seen brief altercations between two raccoons before, but the losing combatant would retreat a short distance then continue chowing down.

That has dramatically changed. I haven’t researched it yet. My guess, though, is that it is probably also due to COVID-19, since so many changes these days are required by the powers that be. 

Just as in the human population, the dominant raccoon is either an elected raccoon official, an appointed enforcer or a private critter citizen who has assumed the role of shaming others into compliance. 

Of course, the raccoons are all compliant in the mask department. But up until the enforcer/shamer appeared, they would often be bunched together. Most times they were even bumping into each other as they gobbled the dry dog food Hubby had tossed out.

Lately, though, the enforcer/shamer attacks the raccoon diners. It drives most, if not all the other raccoons away, effectively creating social distancing. 

And surprise, surprise, it secures all the food for itself.

UPDATE: My researching of blonde(blond) raccoons has so far only turned up mentions of blonde raccoons that were born blonde. I have found one mention of aging raccoons' coats fading but nothing about a regular gray raccoon gradually turning blonde. 

Blondie remains a puzzle for me, and she has not shown up lately. The diner visitors lately continue to number four or five and have been a mostly peaceful lot with no unusual squabbles at feeding time, regardless of coat color. 



Thursday, May 6, 2021


Evidence of coastal Mississippi's occasional harsh weather conditions

Live oaks are icons of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. 

The live oak above on Scenic Drive in Pass Christian is not the largest or most damaged survivor of sometimes harsh conditions, but Hubby couldn't resist photographing its gnarled and broken limbs against a background of blue sky and white sand beach. 

His spontaneous photo session in early March punctuated a Sunday drive to Pass Christian's Cat Island Coffee House.

Once there we settled down to enjoy the view of Mississippi Sound and the city's harbor across U.S 90 from the coffee shop. 

Enjoyment of a vanilla latte for him and hot Earl Grey tea for me was heightened by our drinks being served in actual ceramic cups. 

No styrofoam except for to-go orders. Seems to taste just a tad better in those generous-sized ceramic cups! 

Our Sunday drive was a triple pleasure: 

--a photo to help me resurrect my blog,
--a visit to one of our favorite coffee shops, 

--and visual pleasures of water, white sand beach, graceful old homes that survived Hurricane Katrina, and evidence of new construction on lots where homes did not survive Katrina.


Tuesday, May 4, 2021


Recently I took a week off from my current round of physical therapy for a leisurely week of travel with Hubby. Somehow plans morphed into a busy week of meetings and impromptu gatherings, all enjoyable, but not resembling travel.

We did make one 18-mile jaunt to fulfill a desire I have had for awhile: a visit to the Model Train Museum in Gulfport, Mississippi.

A busy day at the museum

We forgot that local schools were out for the week after Easter. Kids from toddlers to teens were exploring the museum's indoor and outdoor exhibits with parents. 

Entry was through the modest building that had housed the museum in its early years. It was packed with people. They were moving around the extensive layout of model trains. The trains were in continuous motion. 

One of numerous model train displays

It was worth the visit but what captivated me just as much were amazing Lego displays on shelves against the walls. 

The pathway was narrow between the trains and the Legos. Definitely not rollater friendly. Hubby took my rollater back to our van. I wound up trapped for a while beside two young Lego fans of about 8 and 11 years old. 

The situation was a perfect opportunity for people watching. Those boys were totally engrossed in evaluating the objects of their enthusiasm and documenting their favorite Lego constructions with identical kid friendly cameras.

They were charming and sparked a bit of nostalgia for when our two oldest grandsons were into Legos.   

The museum had expanded to cover most of an entire block. It included outdoor exhibits, a train ride and several more buildings packed with displays of model trains as well as photos and memorabilia of Gulfport's railroad history. 

There was even a toddler area with train engine riding toys kids could sit on and push around the tracks. A couple of two-year-old boys were making their trains go, go, go under their parents' watchful eyes.  

The Lego creations from Star Wars battleships to the Taj Mahal shared display space with the model train exhibits throughout. 

I appreciated that Hubby willingly took pictures for me. I was disappointed, though, that I didn't even think to ask him to get images of those fantastic Legos.

After the third exhibit hall, I had depleted my energy. We spotted an exit, and I waited inside while Hubby made the trek to move our van closer to the exit.

While I waited I watched a lady nearby manipulating pieces of cardboard and chatting with four guys standing around her work space. They offered me a chair. What a relief! 

Of course I had to find out who they were and what they were doing. They were volunteers in the initial stage of starting construction of a new display. Evidently enthusiastic volunteers and visitors' donations keep the trains running.

And now the museum will soon be expanding operations even more to an additional building across the street.

Glad we went. It was a fascinating experience. 

Fascinating and exhausting.