Thanks for following along to the end of this post. May you go with God!
It was 70*F this afternoon! I decided to lie on the grass and watch the clouds pass between the budding limbs of our river birch and the neighbor’s trees. The warm rays felt so good, I felt winter melting away!
The birds are getting used to me being outside again and have been coming closer. I wish I could describe the glorious yellow of the goldfinches sitting in the trees and visiting the feeders. I can’t stop taking photos of them. Their color reminds me of rich, farm fresh, creamy butter.
Not to be outdone, the cardinals have been showy and coming to the yard a lot. It’s incredible that one bird can have so many shades of red. Some of their breast feathers seem shimmery, as if tipped with frost when the sun hits them just right.
Since taking up photography two years ago, I have tried to get a good picture of a carolina chickadee. Somehow their glimmering black eyes always manage to get lost and blend in with the strip of black feathers on their heads. Well, today I found success! I’m right well pleased with this picture.
Trees, shrubs, and flowers are coming alive and it won’t be long until hubby can add a bit of landscaping to the backyard. I can’t wait to get some flowers planted that will attract not only birds but butterflies too.
Thanks for stopping by. May God be with you. ❤️, Amy
WARNING: The following is an extremely exaggerated, fanciful description of a much less exciting story. No one was injured in the actual exploit. Names are not used to protect the identity of those involved.
She opened the top drawer of her cabinet and paused thoughtfully. She ran her fingers over the neatly aligned collection of scissors of various sizes, thicknesses, brands, and purposes. Nothing there seemed quite right. Suddenly, I saw the flash of inspiration turn her usually dull, milky-garnet eyes into lustrous gems. She quickly closed the drawer, bent down, reached under the cabinet, and pulled out a large plastic case. I heard the release of two clasps as she opened it on the ground directly behind me. Strangely, I noticed a faint whiff of gasoline mix with the scent of hairspray, botanical shampoos, and foamy mousses.
With absolutely no warning and the simultaneous feeling of fight or flight that only true terror can create, the whine of a two-stroke, single engine weed eater filled the retail space. The din reverberated off the mirrors, tiled floor, and rows of adjustable metal chairs. A deafening “thunk-tunk, thunk-tunk, thunk-tunk” whirred into life and ramped up into a high pitched scream just over my right shoulder. It swiftly came closer until I felt the very hair on my neck begin to move. I could tell the length of trimmer string was too long and was flicking past the protective case, like the tongue of a cobra tasting the air. Instinctively, I pulled away from the droning sound and was nearly out of the chair when I heard the stylist’s voice filtering somewhere through the bedlam. “Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing. I’ve done this hundreds of times and you’re going to love it!”.
Was she like a chainsaw artist and could sculpt ordinary hair into a beautiful pixie cut with this outrageously deadly tool? After all, I’d shown her a picture of what I wanted. Wasn’t that her license hanging right in front of me on the mirror saying she knew what she was doing?
It’s strange how much faith we put in a little slip of paper with an embossed seal. It gave me the courage to sit back down. As I felt the first chunk of hair whacked off, I squeezed my eyes as tightly as I could and hoped for the best. Thirty minutes passed and I was still alive when she told me she was done.
Because it was a really tired MS day and I didn’t want to be out any longer than absolutely necessary, I got a wet cut without having her blow out my hair and style it. I don’t know if she was trying to cover up the mess, but she showed the back of my hair to me through a small hand mirror. The little bit I saw looked pretty short but okay.
When I was about 10 years old I remember my Mom telling the stylist to cut my uber thick, long, blonde hair into something more manageable. Somehow the lady translated that into a female mullet. I cried uncontrollably until Mom took me back an hour later and had the stylist rid all traces of Liza Minnelli from my head. I haven’t felt like crying about my hair for 40 years. I tell that story because this is what I saw when I got a closer, fuller view in the mirror at home…
Obviously, I couldn’t leave it like that and I certainly wasn’t going to go back and let her take another whack at it (😜😂). Though I’ve trimmed up my own hair before, this was way beyond my skills. Besides, it’s hard to see what you’re doing through misty eyes. So, I ended up going to my Hubby’s barber. Though I had to wait my turn for two hours, he was able to get me in on the same day as the disast-hair and, well, see for yourself…
Ahh, much better! Hey, local friends, do you have any recommendations for a good stylist who can handle short hair?
Photos from the last few weeks.
We have had some beautiful birds at the feeders this week. These are a few of my favorites.
I had a moderate amount of energy on Monday so I decided to squander it by going to the lake near our house. (And I do mean squander. I’m still recovering 😒.) Though it was still a bit cold, the sun was shining and it felt good to sit in it by the edge of the water. The lake was still frozen over but the ducks and geese didn’t seem to care.
I’ve been practicing using portrait mode with my camera this week. It’s impossible to take a bad picture of these two beauties 😻!
I get the next dose of Ocrevus for my MS on Monday of this coming week. I have to wait three months after I get the infusion, but then I will FINALLY be able to get a Covid vaccine, Lord willing. I wish you health and happiness! ❤️, Amy
This weekend, from the comfort of our own living room, I joined bird enthusiasts from around the world to count species and track their populations in a group effort sponsored by The Audubon Society and led by The Cornell Lab. The app “eBird” made it easy-peasy as I watched birds come to our backyard feeders. There was a cool global map that lit up in real time as people from around the world turned in their lists. The most flashes were in North America, Europe, and Asia during the times I looked, but I saw some from Australia and South America too. I kept data from Friday through today, Monday. I saw the most birds Sunday with 15 different varieties and a total count of 42 individuals in about 45 minutes. I imagine the freezing temps and constant snow made for a larger than normal number of birds at our feeders. You can see a bit of the progression of the storm in the pictures below.
I plan to continue to keep track of the birds that visit us using the eBird app, it was fun. And, you know I will be taking more bird pics soon! Thanks for stopping by! ❤️Amy
I don’t like “doctor day”. I have one with my neurologist every six months, at least. I had one today. Although she is the best doctor I have ever had, has seen me through some really rough MS transition periods, and I like her as a person, I dread going to see her. Though I live with MS and all the limitations it enforces daily, seeing a doctor specifically for the disease always brings the horribleness of it to the fore.
Firstly, I drove myself to the appointment, which required two days of vigilant rest in order to scrape enough energy together to do so safely. I got home completely drained and, six hours later, I’m still sitting in the recliner exhausted.
My walking is worse so I get to go to physical therapy…again. I’ve had P.T. several times over the last 30 years – something else to drive to. It’s worth a shot though if they can help fix the hitch in my “get along”, causing pain in my hips and spasms in my legs. I know I need to work on my balance and coordination, as well.
We discussed my bladder and the medicine change the urologist suggested – it’s always fun to talk about your bladder. She said she wished there was something to do for the interminable, insufferable MS fatigue but it’s just part of it. And, despite my trouble walking and the need for a cane, she said I’m lucky to still be able to walk after 30 years. She said it’s likely due to the fact that I have dauntlessly exercised in some form or fashion nearly every day for the duration of my diagnosis. Nearly all her other patients have moved to motorized wheelchairs this late in the game.
I’m going to get my next Ocrevus infusion the first of March, Lord willing. My doctor told me to continue to stay away from people from now until four weeks after I get the medicine, after which it should be safe to get the Covid vaccine (if I can find one available). As an aside, there was a lot of initial concern over whether Covid vaccines would be safe for people taking immunosuppressant MS drugs. Thankfully, it has been deemed safe and, though they may blunt the full effect, they still seem to work their magic.
Seeing my neurologist is a reminder of all the fear and uncertainty that surrounds the future living with multiple sclerosis. I wake up every day wondering what kind of day it will be. Will I be able to walk? Am I going to have enough energy to make lunch and dinner? I try to take it one day at a time, and I usually succeed. However, when I see the doctor I have to look back over the last six months or year and compare how I am now to how I was then. The last several years, as the disease has slowly progressed, I see changes that are not pleasant to look at but over which I have no control.
No one knows what the future holds, I know that. It may or may not be as bad as I fear it could be. I pray for a cure. Realistically, I think they will have to figure out what causes it in the first place before there’s a cure. It’s hard to win against an unknown, moving target. So much more is known now than ever before and there are some solid theories about what triggers the onset and drives the progression of MS. I hope I live to see the day when no one else dreads “doctor day” because of multiple sclerosis.
I’ve got a case of The Blahs, not to be confused with The Blues – which I don’t have.
MS has been busy fatiguing me of late without allowing me to pursue much sewing or exploring around to enjoy photo taking. The weather has turned cooler so most of my bird watching has been through the windows instead of on the back patio. I did get a few snaps with my phone of the cats doing cute things. Well, they’re cute to me, anyway.
After a long 35 year battle with breast cancer, my stepmother passed away a couple of weeks ago. She had suffered so much that it was a blessing to know her pain was over and she had gone to her heavenly reward. Of course, my sister and her family came up from Texas for a few days in two consecutive weeks. They got to say “goodbye” the first week and were here for the funeral later the following week.
I’ve been putting a lot of puzzles together while listening to Charles Dickens novels. So far, Bleak House and A Tale of Two Cities (both of which made me cry) have been my favorites. I just finished Great Expectations and am only three hours (out of 23) into The Old Curiosity Shop. I have A Christmas Carol, Nicholas Nickleby, and The Pickwick Papers waiting in the wings. I’ve read some of these before but am enjoying how they sound as audiobooks with wonderful readers speaking life into the characters as they do all the different voices.
(American) Thanksgiving will be a much smaller affair than usual but we’re looking forward to seeing my Dad and my step-sister’s family. In the true spirit of the holiday, they are each bring a couple of dishes while hubby and I do the rest. Despite all the troubles in the world around us, we have so many blessings for which to give thanks. I hope you find many blessings to be thankful for too.
God be with you. ❤️ Amy
We’ve seen the perfect blend of summery sun and rain here in Southwest Missouri this past week. We’re usually roasting in nearly 100*F/38*C by this time in August, but we’ve had gorgeous 77-80*F/21-27*C days. Thanks to the recent weather, nature is lush and bursting with color all over the place around us! The forecast says it will only last another day or two, but it has been a delicious treat while it lasts and a balm for these many months during Covid-19.
A large forested area lies both north and south of our neighborhood with a good sized river about a mile down the road. It has both a well-maintained river access spot and, a little further down the road, an old, reallocated bridge that serves as the entrance for a greenways trail that winds through and circles our city. Additionally, our neighborhood has a little landscaped lake with a walking path, bridge, water feature, bird houses, and a bench along the shore. On Wednesday of this last week MS kindly lent me a decent enough day that I drove to the river in the morning and spent some time soaking in the views from the bridge at the trail’s head. After lunch, I headed off for a lovely, cane-assisted stroll around the lake. There were butterflies everywhere in both places! They somehow managed to lift my spirits on their tiny little wings and carry them about as they soared around and flitted and fluttered here and there. Similarly, as I rested a couple of times on my way around the lake in the afternoon, I found myself smiling as I tried to follow the dizzying courses of dozens of dragonflies going nowhere and everywhere at once. What funny little creatures! Oh, and don’t worry, there are plenty of bird and cat photos below too😻!
This past Friday was an exciting day when…my new camera arrived!!! As you peruse the photos below, see if you can guess which ones I took with my point-and-shoot and which ones were with my new DSLR. The new camera inspired me to branch out and find a new photo editing app to play around with. It’s pretty safe to say I have a lot to learn. As an example, I hadn’t been messing around with the camera for more than five minutes before I realized I needed to invest in a more versatile lens. Some lessons are pricey 😉! No worries though, I am having fun and can’t wait to learn and grow my skills (and lens collection!). It was time for the upgrade because I needed another sit-down hobby to add to my arsenal of things to do when the MS monster has me lashed to the couch.
Speaking of MS, my next Ocrevus infusion is at the end of this month. Let’s see, this will be my second full dose which means I’ve been on it for 18 months. For the first time since starting it I think I’m experiencing the “crap gap” I’ve heard other MSers describe just before their next dose. My already ridiculous fatigue intermixed with poor balance, endurance, gait, bladder issues, clumsiness, sluggish word finding, and occasional cog-fog have all ratcheted up to the next level over the last few days. I hope topping the tank with more O-juice knocks my symptoms back down to the previous notch.
Part I: Riparian and Lakeside Entertainment
Here we are at the end of another blog. I looked back and realized I have been posting weekly lately. I didn’t mean to, or not mean to, it just happened. Will there be another blog next week? Maybe, I guess we will both have to wait and see😁. Either way, I’m glad you stopped by for a look-see. May God be with you! Amy
There I was having a perfectly good day last Saturday riding around with my hubby as he ran into a couple of stores for our weekly shopping, when all of a sudden I felt a familiar pain in my lower tummy. Within just a few minutes I felt the next stage of an all too familiar urge hit and I knew before we made it home I had a UTI.
Fun Fact: One of the most common symptoms of MS is bladder control problems. The bladder has spasms and won’t empty completely causing frequency and urgency. Because the bladder won’t empty completely, MSers get a UTI very easily.
Anyway, my suspicion was validated at urgent care that same Saturday afternoon and I came home with the usual round of antibiotics and some Azo to ease the pain. I typically feel better within 24 hours, but when things felt worse by Sunday evening I knew we needed to go back to see what was going on.
A kidney infection was what was going on. I got a different script for a stronger antibiotic for the next seven days and then a thigh-full of another one. They warned me it would hurt as they added Lidocaine to the concoction and said it would take about 30-40 seconds to give because it was “thick”. I made it through the shot, but then nearly passed out 🥴. My blood pressure dropped too low very suddenly, I got all sweaty, and felt myself going. No big deal, I recovered and they let me go within another 30 minutes. Passing out was nothing compared to the pain throbbing through my thigh! With hubby dragging me by one arm and my cane propping me up to stay vertical with the other, I limped and whimpered my way to the car and thought, “That shot better be worth it!”
I’ve had lots of UTIs, but this was my first kidney infection; I wasn’t quite ready for how hard it kept hitting and how long it took to feel better. By Wednesday I knew I was going to live and felt back to my normal self on Thursday.
During the time it took to recover, I didn’t do much. I filled the lethargic days by hanging out with and generally loving around on the cats, reading an Inspector Morse mystery, listening to Dickens’ Bleak House, putting some puzzles together on my favorite puzzles app, and sleeping a lot. Finally, on Thursday and Friday, I ventured back out on the patio for short bits in the mornings and evenings – to avoid the heat, another no-no when you have MS – and even managed to muster the energy to sew a cute little tunic with an adorable cat print for myself!
There is a river just a mile and a half down the road from our house with a lovely bridge and trail from which to admire nature. Hubby humoured me and took me for a while around noon on Friday. Though I can’t walk the trail anymore, we traversed the bridge and took in all the special delights that fill the senses when around running water. Birds chirping, breezes blowing, water rippling, the faint whiff of fish in the air, the sight and smell of earth and dirt eroding, tree roots erupting on trails down to the river banks, and the beauty of wildflowers clustered along the banks and in the undergrowth, or definitely blooming in solitary confidence and glory.
It feels so good to feel better! It was a good reminder to appreciate my general health, despite the MS. I’d take a lot of crummy MS days over going through that again any time soon. I hope you enjoy the pictures below and are able to get a sense of their feel and place for the ones not captioned.
I hope you have a wonderful week ahead. God be with you! ❤️
I didn’t know MS recruited, but it seems that it recently acquired the mythical legend Hercules to it’s dark side. I guess he took a shine to my electric toothbrush because it certainly feels like I am in an all-out, do or die wrestling match against some kind of superhuman force the entire two minutes it runs. Oral hygiene shouldn’t require a 10 minute power nap to recover from, right? It’s been so long since I’ve experienced “normal” energy that I can’t remember.
Anywho… despite insipid fatigue, life has crept quite happily along. Because I have the best hubby and sister in the world, they each drove ten hours both ways (!) so I could spend a week staying with my sister in Texas. We didn’t do anything or go anywhere because CV-19 is crazy in Austin at the moment, but we had fun anyway and I love spending time with them all.
(L-R) chocolate, raspberry-white chocolate cheesecake, red velvet, lemon.
Other than having to start a diet when I got home, everything else fell back into place like I had never left. I still have the sweetest hubby and cats one could ask for and the birds are as photogenic as ever. Oh, and a squirrel has found the feeders. He’s cute now but he probably won’t be if he decides to invite his friends.
A few days have been nice enough I have been able to spend time outside, but heat and MS don’t mix so I’ve been indoors a lot more than I would like. I’ve had extra entrenched primary MS fatigue which has made it hard to do much. (Primary fatigue is thought to be due to nerve messages from your brain and spinal cord having to navigate the areas of damage caused by your MS. It takes more energy to send and deliver messages to other parts of the body, like the muscles in your arms and legs, causing a build-up of fatigue. – mstrust.org.uk). However, it feels good to be back home and I have books that need reading, shows that need watching, puzzles that need putting together, music that needs listening to, and apps that need playing.
Stay safe and God be with you!