Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Fresh New Start

The A2Z challenge is finished. I am so proud. It is a Fresh Start for me.

I'm going to tell you about my day.

My day started with breakfast with BabyGirl at Ihop. We spent time catching up and munching. I really enjoy our time together. I realize not all children spend time with their parents. I know I am blessed. I really need to start to do the same with my Mom.

Then I went buy my Hospice patient some ice cream and went visit. She was sleeping. I gently called her name and she opened her eyes briefly but went right back to sleep. I stayed for about 20 minutes then left her a note.

After I had to go to the dreadful Wallyworld for a few things. As I was going through the door I noticed an elderly black man on one of the Walmart scooters. I saw him struggle. He was putting his collapsible rolling walker in the basket. 

I know how irritating it can be when good intentional strangers try to help so I stayed back and watched. He started going again so I figured he was okay. I passed him and said hello. I wasn't but a few feet ahead when I heard a bang. I turned around. His walker had fallen down. We caught each other eyes. He quietly asked if I could help.  I went maneuver the walker laying it down.

He said, "Oh thank you so much!" I assured him it was no problem.  I think we connected because we both have a disability. He seemed to be a proud man and I know it was hard to ask. It was a short exchange but it made my heart smile that I could help someone rather than someone helping me. I saw him rolling around when I left.

I went to the library to pick up my books on hold. I had one night without a book to read, it was terrible! I'm all set up now!

Oh, did I say I had my top on my car down letting the sun shine and wind blow in my hair. Oh yea!!! Now that's some good living and a delightful day!

Until next time….


BLOGGING CHALLENGE A2Z: Letter Z

ZIP-A-Dee-Doo-Dah
Here we are my fellow bloggers! This is the final letter of the challenge! It seems time have Zipped on by. At the beginning, I thought this was going to be a challenge that I would not finish. Here I am!  I am so happy to say I zigzagged along and made it to the end.


This song came to mind so I thought I'd share it with you as I sit back and make a toast to all of you. . It's been a zany ride!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

BLOGGING A2Z CHALLENGE: LETTER Y

YABBY


I was looking up words that start with the letter Y. I came across YABBY.

Yabby is a name Australians give to  crayfish of a certain genus. Crayfish is called crawfish in Southern Louisiana. We are known for boiled crawfish. I was unaware they grew elsewhere like Australia.

There are two types of Yabbies. There is freshwater Yabby which is caught in ponds, lakes, dams and rivers in Australia's Eastern states. They are caught by bait traps and string like in our area. They also are caught for food just like we do.

Then there is the marine tabby also called ghost shrimp. They are used for bait for fishing, especially in Queensland and New South Yales.

When I used to meet someone, especially the north and we talked about crayfish I was surprised that they used these delicious crustaceans as bait!



So there you go, we both learned something new today.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

BLOGGING AzZ CHALLENGE: LETTER X

XANAX

Xanax is used to treat different conditions such as anxiety, panic attacks and anxiety caused by depression. I have none of these. The reason why I take Xanax is for muscle craps due to Cerebral Palsy.

Years ago I had muscle cramp at the most  inopportune time. This may be a little too much information but it started to kill the mood quickly during intimacy. 

So Doc gave me the Xanax at a very low 0.5 mg dosage to see if it helped.  Thankfully it did. 

I get cramps in my hands, fingers, toes and calves. I get them mostly in my toes and calves. When they involve my calves it feels like a snake writhing through the muscle and wrapping around it and squeezes. It happens mostly at night when I get ready to fall asleep. I guess my body is relaxing but my muscles think otherwise.

I have had so many people tell me I need to drink more and my potassium is low etc etc. It is not true because I've had them since I was a child.

As a nurse I know Xanax is usually habit forming. Occasionally, I've stopped the Xanax on my own. I was either financially strapped or I get in the mood of just tired of all the medicines I take.

I went to a dermatologist recently and she was the very first doctor to ever to look at all my medications while  trying to prescribe something for me. She told me Xanax counteracts with many drugs. I told her I could get off it for a few days. She informed me with conviction that I could not do such a thing because my anxiety would certainly inflame. I told her I didn't take Xanax for anxiety. I took it for cramps. She still was convinced that if I stopped I would be anxious. Maybe she is right. I don't know. 

Of course, my insurance does not cover any muscle relaxants, so expense it is all mine.  But it helps with my cramps tremendously.

Do you take any medication for something that it is not usually used for?



Monday, April 27, 2015

BLOGGING CHALLENGE A2Z: LETTER W

WALKING


I've written  posts about the way I walk with Cerebral Palsy. I mostly describe it as I weeble, wobble but don't fall down, most of the time. I thought I'd give you more detail.  It is comical so you can laugh because you will be laughing WITH me.

I walk with an ataxic and spastic gait. It is similar to walking when you are drunk, clumsy and staggering with stiffly irregular steps.

The characteristics of an ataxic gait are:

Broad based-gait.
Lurching quality.
Difficulty with turning.
Difficulty walking a straight line.
Broad based posture

Spastic gait is characterized by moving in a stiff manner with the toes dragging.

I have them all pretty much.

I definitely don't walk a straight line. When I was a young adult, I was driving, speeding a little because I was upset with my then-boyfriend. A cop stopped me and wanted to do a sobriety test which was walking toe to heel in a straight line. I had to repeatedly tell him that I had Cerebral Palsy and it was impossible. After a few minutes I convinced him and he let me go. WHEW!

Some people say I walk bowlegged like a cowboy. Some people say I walk like a duck or penguin. Others say I walk with a limp. I guess they all could be accurate in a way. My legs are bent, bowlegged and stiff and I have a slouch posture

My feet drag but mainly my left. How do I know this? Because my shoes wear out on that foot more. I sometimes literally walk on my own feet causing my shoelaces to unlace. However, my wonderful Husband ties them for me in a way it doesn't happen as often. Before having him in my life, BabyGirl would retie them. It is embarrassing for a grown woman to have her child tie her shoes but its better than tripping and falling. I am just saying!

I don't like being  in a line that stops and goes. Like when I walk to receive Communion in church. I attempt to inconspicuously grab hold of a pew to keep me balanced sometimes. All I usually have to do is place my hand on a pew as I pass to get my bearings.  I know it is stupid to be embarrassed grabbing onto a pew but my pride gets in the way. I also have to concentrate to stay on my side because of my wide gait. It's frustrating for me sometimes but it is all worthwhile to receive Communion.

MyHubby is usually behind me in the Communion line. I feel he is no use until I am literally on the floor. I don't blame him. When we first got together, as everyone who first gets to know me, tried to rescue me. When I tripped or lost my balance flailing my arms in the air, he used to try to grab me. I told him if I needed his help I would tell him and told him to stop. When you live with someone like me, you get used to it. At times when I land on the ground or floor I ask him why he didn't catch me. He shakes his head and says he can't win. He is right. I'm so lucky he loves me! 

I hate crowds and avoid them at all costs. People stop and go or in a hurry and push around me. It is so annoying when people stop in the middle of a crowded area to chat.  Lately I take MyHubby's hand, if we are not already holding hands and pretty much barrel through saying, "EXCUSE ME!" I get the 'Who in the hell are you?' look until they look at my legs and they usually move quickly like I have the plague. 

One little tap or even a breeze can knock me off balance.  

When  I feel or hear people behind me, a lot of times I try to step aside so they can pass because there is nothing worse than having people at your heels. I'm sure most of us with some kind of walking deformity can relate. I am happy to say on occasion some people  are reluctant to seem rude and refuse until I convince them it is okay.  I don't walk fast. I never did and I never will.  I think I walk fast sometimes but there is always someone faster than me. Hubby walks really fast. However, from day one we've always held hands. I think it helps both of us. It helps me with the support and it helps Hubby to walk my pace.

Here is one friendly suggestion for all of you. When you come across someone slower than you, stay at distance behind them. Say EXCUSE me and allow them to move out of your way. If they don't, find a way to go around them far enough not to brush against them. Because REALLY, most of us would like to walk fast just as you but it just ain't gonna happen!

Standing up for a while causes me to go off balance and sway. Yes, I know. Weird. I usually try to find a place to sit if I can. Standing then stepping can bring me to tripping with those arms in the air!

For whatever reason I have not figured out why it happens but I have what I call wobbly days and good days. Getting out of a bed or chair is hilarious sometimes! I  push myself up and fall back down a few times until I get on my two feet. Once I am on my feet I okay. My Hubby will help me stay on my feet by placing his hand on my back for support.  On wobbly days, its the same getting up but my balance is off a lot more.  I am all over the place on those days. The other day I was getting up on a bad day and I had to hurry to go to the bathroom. I finally got on my feet. When I made the first step, my balance threw me towards the wall headfirst. Luckily I caught myself.

Hubby and I laugh. I always laugh at myself. Hubby laughs with me but sometimes he says it just looks funny. 

Walking in between something tight is difficult, especially moving objects or people. When I move into a new home, I always look at the kitchen's layout.  I do most of the cooking. It's a catch 22. I like all the appliances especially the sink and stove close so I don't have to walk with a heavy pot far. Because of the way I walk, water sloshes all over and I need to be careful. Also I figure out how many turns I have to take to get from point A to B. I eventually adapt and there is no second thought of what I am doing.

I always think if I'm in the kitchen and I lose my balance I have something to grab on if everything is close by. But on the other hand, if I lose my balance and don't catch myself I could fall and hit my head. Hubby is always concerned about that when I am alone. MyBabyGirl has always been concerned about that too, not only in the kitchen.

I always have a rule for myself, if I am walking with a dish or pot or anything and I lose my balance. It is not going to be me falling down which results in broken dishes or supper on the floor. Broken dishes  happened so many times I cannot count. I think supper landed on the floor maybe once or twice.

Do not ever ask me to walk backward or sideways. I mean really! I can't walk straight and balanced moving forward, what do you expect? Just the other day, Hubby and I were trying to move a big object and at first he had me pulling. He ran over my foot by the way and that hurt! But anyway I told him to switch. It was so much better.

I hope I was able to paint a picture of how I walk and stand. You may think wow she has a challenge every day. But don't! Yes, I am aware of the way I walk and trip etc  but don't think about it. I just do what I have to do.

Until next time…

Saturday, April 25, 2015

BLOGGING A2Z CHALLENGE: LETTER V

    VAN HALEN AND VILLAGE PEOPLE


I know these are two completely different bands, one from the disco era and the other a rock band. I love all kinds of music, mostly from the 70's through the 90's. I like country, Classic Rock, and disco.

The Village People members were:

Erik Anzalone, the biker
Felipe Rose, the Native American
Jim Newman, the cowboy.
 Ray Simpson, the Cop
Billy Whitefield, Construction worker
Alex Briley, the soldier.

Two of my favorite songs  were Y.M.C.A and Macho Man. It was in the disco era. Yea, it shows my age for  sure. They were upbeat and sang tunes that made you want to get on your feet and dance. Remember the dance when the letters were formed with our arms?





Van Halen is another one of my favorites. The members were :

Eddie Van Halen, guitarist and vocalist.
David Lee Roth, Vocalist
Alex Van Halen, Drummer
Michael Anthony, Bassist



My favorite songs are Jump and You Really Got Me. I thought Eddie was so adorable. He was a fantastic guitarist. Love his solo above.

I hope these videos work because I've been having trouble getting them to work.

What are some of your favorite bands?



Friday, April 24, 2015

BLOGGING A2Z CHALLENGE: LETTER U

Undertaking This Challenge

I felt Uneasy Undertaking this challenge.  It was an Uphill battle because I Usually don't post every single day. I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to think of anything to write. 

I want to thank the hosts for making this challenge and allowing me to participate They were always Upbeat and encouraging in the posts and comments.

I met a lot of new bloggers with Unique and interesting blogs. I have subscribed to some. I have made new friends. I appreciate everyone who stopped by my blog and commented. HUGS!

I'm somewhat sad the end is near. At the same time I'm Upbeat that I can say I actually finished a Challenge! On the last day I will Uncork a bottle of wine and toast a cheer to all the challengers who finished!


Thursday, April 23, 2015

BLOGGING CHALLENGE: LETTER T

TABASCO

Tabasco is a hot sauce that was first created in 1868 by Mr. Ed McIlhenny. 

Mr. McIlhenny mixed up fully aged red peppers, salt from the salt mine and the highest quality distilled vinegar and formed this hot sauce. It is hot and spicy. The recipe has never changed. It is that good! 

I remember my sister worked at the Pepper Factory as a teenager. They used to grow the peppers here. However, they only grow for the seed stock and then it is transported to Central and South America because of the predictable weather and farmland available there. 

It is sold in 165 countries. Bottles are sent with the presidential seal to be served on the Air Force One. Bottles are also included in the Meals, ready to eat(MRE) for all of the armed forces. 

What I think is even cooler is that the company (McIlhenny) is one of the few companies to have received the royal warrant of appointment that certifies the company as a supplier to Queen Elizabeth II.  
It is fascinating imaging the little bottle from my childhood island is shipped all over the world including the Royal Family. How cool is that?!!

You can put Tabasco on anything. I put it on just about everything I eat whether it be pizza, eggs, rice and gravy, burgers, sandwiches. The use of it is endless.

I remember my parents threatening to put Tabasco in our mouths for saying a curse word.  I did it to BabyGirl once because she just would not stop saying a particular word after being told not to. I put a minuscule dab of Tabasco on her tongue and I felt so bad immediately after. Milk helps the burn but it takes a while if you put it directly on your tongue.

I noticed there are a variety of them such as chiptole, habanero, mild and garlic to name a few. They have Tabasco chili which is delicious along with other food products you can find at the Tabasco Country Store on Avery Island either when you tour or online.

I highly recommend a tour if you are visiting the area or just want an outing.

Do you use Tabasco?  If so, what do you put it on?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

BLOGGING A2Z CHALLENGE: LETTER S

SMOTHERED SAUSAGE, Gravy, Rice and SWEET Peas

Here is something to whet your appetite. I cook this often and it is so good.

I buy either Cajun or Hot Fresh Sausage from Winn Dixie. Then I cook it in a gravy and have it with rice and sweet peas.

Here's MY recipe.

Main Ingredients:

I lb Fresh sausage. (They also have the original).
1 cup of Seasoning blend
A tablespoon of Roux (I go the easy way and use Savoie's Dark Roux).
A tsp of olive oil.

After the oil is heated brown the sausage on all sides.
Add seasonings and sautee until clear
Cut sausage into bite size pieces.
Add water and Roux.
Simmer for about 45 minutes, until sausage is cooked.
Add one capful of Savoy's Browning Sauce or Kitchen Bouquet. 
To thicken gravy, I mix 1 tbsp corn starch and cold water until it is pasty. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.
Season to taste. I use a tsp Cayenne Pepper and Tony Chachere's.



Tuesday, April 21, 2015

BLOGGING A2Z CHALLENGE: LETTER R

READING RELIGION OR NOT

In my church there are many ways to be 'servants' to our Lord. To name a few: Ushers, Eucharist Ministers and Readers (there is a more proper term for this but this is easier).

The Readers read the scriptures of the Bible. I LOVE to read. I have thought of being a reader for a while. How hard can it be, right? You walk up and read the tagged Scriptures.

However, I've had two fears.

1) No one will be able to understand me. I feel like I can speak just fine. My family and friends can understand me! But then I reason, I can't understand the readers they have sometimes. I just follow in the book.

2) The steps to the altar could be an obstacle. I already have coordination problems with my two feet on flat ground. Steps are okay if there is a rail. Yes, on almost a daily basis, I flail my arms in the air to keep my balance but I get by. I don't fall often.

I discussed it with Hubby so many times. Of course, he said I can only try.

Lo and behold the church we've been going to had Reader training information in the bulletins for three weeks. I kept going back and forth with Hubby and God if I should try this. MyHubby decided he would go check it out and suggested just to go and see what it is about. I agreed. It is the only way I'll know. It'll be my answer.

I knew there was more than just walking up and reading but I figured I could do whatever it takes.

As Father spoke he pointed to the ramp on the side to the altar for those who have "bad knees" and unable to walk up the step. My fear of the steps faded. One challenge down, one more to go!

He pointed out that our voice had to be projected but not shouting. He said we had to be loud enough and clear for everyone to hear which goes without saying, I guess. There were other instructions (a whole page) of dos and don'ts that are irrelevant for this post and are not an issue for me.

He told eight of us to go to the altar with our handout and the others went to the back of the church. The ones who were on the altar had to read a passage on the handout without a mic. The ones in the back had to give 'constructive feedback."

After the first eight read and received their criticism which for the most part was not bad, it was my turn to go to the altar. I walked down the aisle with the others and when I got to the step, I was able to climb it. Clumsily, but my normal clumsily. Besides there's the other alternative, the ramp. YAY! 

The criticisms of the others were the same as the first group.  But they were able to correct it the second time. When Hubby read his, they criticized that he read too fast. He talks fast so that was no surprise. He just needs to practice reading slower. Everyone could hear his booming voice!

Then it was my turn.

I was nervous.

I read it. In my ears it was clear to me.

A few people gently said it was difficult to understand me. But then there was this one old fellow who abruptly yelled out, " I did not understand one word she said!"  I thought okay he could have said it in a better tone. It was like he was exasperated. No one was criticized like I was. I figured I would get some of it but not that rudely.

Father asked me to go to the mic and redo it. It was embarrassing. Here we go again. Let's single out the disabled girl. Honestly, I don't think Father didn't mean it that way. He was just trying to help. So I went to the mic and reread it. That grumpy old man said the same thing TWICE. I think I heard it the first mister!

Throughout the exercise, the couple who makes the schedule  and obviously has been a Reader for a long time said that they do get feedback from the congregation and if they get negative feedback regularly they don't put you on the schedule.  If no one can understand you, its no use being a reader because you have to be understood as some don't use the book so they are relying on hearing you. Father echoed the same. I thought that is their problem if they don't use the book.

Our church preaches that we should be active in the church community and serve God. But then they turn around and say you can't read God's Scripture because of someone elses opinion?  Our faith wonders why so many leave it.  

As I write this, I'm thinking we're all God's children. He loves us all. He wants us to be his servants. So who are they to say that those who want to cannot read in God's house because of a speech defect or any other reason? I wouldn't doubt if someone just didn't like you, they would not put you on the list to read.

Father said that we could go to the church and practice. But after it was over I went scratch my name off the list. I can practice all I want but it is not going to change my speech.

I usually don't give up or let anyone tell me what I can or can't do. But I feel this is totally out of my control.

I'm not going to lie. It hurts. I can't get it out of my head. Memories of kids teasing me and shunning me as a child came back.

I knew this very thing could happen. But I thought others would be more understanding, compassionate and have more patience than this. No, they had not shunned me yet but I just have the gut feeling I won't have a chance. I'd spend all my time and energy practicing and getting over anxiety just to be unfairly judged and deleted from the list. 

Is there something wrong with this or is it just me?

As the day goes by it still hurts but it is starting to turn into anger.

I talked to BabyGirl about it and she reminded me that people have to get used to my talking. Some of her friends would tell her they didn't understand me until they got to know me and hear me more. She suggested I do it and show them.

However, I am done with it.  All my life I have been judged by the way I walk and talk. I know everyone has been judged by someone at some point in their life. But I refuse to be judged in this environment.

Maybe I am WRONG in feeling that way. But it is the way I feel.

The whole scenario bugs the heck out of me. I know I won't be a Reader. But I need it to be known how I felt for when the next person comes along with similar issues, the Priest will take it into consideration and handle it better. I'm still on the thinking phase of how I am going to go about it.

Have you ever felt let down by people of your own faith who should have supported you? What are your thoughts about this whole process?

Monday, April 20, 2015

BLOGGING A2Z CHALLENGE LETTER Q

QUIETNESS

Before we moved on our almost 3 acres on the outskirts of a country bumpkin town, we lived in an apartment in the city. As I stated on previous posts our neighbors were obnoxious and noisy. I understand with so many people you will hear noise but it was excessive. We were miserable and stressed. The people above us was constantly stomping. It was never-ending

We were finally able to get out of there.

It is so nice to sit here in my chair and not hear stomping above me or kids yelling etc. I hear 'natural' sounds. Dogs bark occasionally. Cars pass by on the highway. People mowing their lawns.  Birds are chirping. But otherwise it is so quiet, especially at night.

I know some people like background noise like the TV or the radio. Not me. I like the quiet.

We've been here almost 3 years.

At night, we lay our heads on our pillows and I listen.  It is quiet and I just smile to myself.

Sometimes, I whisper to Hubby, "Listen!"

The first few times he would listen and ask curiously, "What?"

My reply, "That's just it! Quietness!"


Saturday, April 18, 2015

BLOGGING A2Z CHALLENGE: LETTER P

PIZZA

I have been reformatting my blog, changing layout and colors. Please! Please! Please! Give me HONEST feedback. Are the colors or fonts hurting your eyes? Are the fonts easy on your eyes or should they be bigger?  Is there too much on the sidebar? ANY and all honest feedback is appreciated. No worries I can take constructive criticism.
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Hubby and I love pizza. We have it at least once a week. But we don't buy from Dominoes or other restaurants. 

I personally like pizza with all the meats, bell peppers, onions, jalapenos, olives and mushrooms. Hubby does not like the peppers or onions. So we compromise.

We go to Walmart's Deli and buy their extra-large Ultimate Meat Pizza. We also buy a can of mushroom pieces and stems and a can of black lives. We spread them evenly and bake as directed on the box.  Oooh! La! LA!  It is delicious! It costs a total of about 11 bucks!

If you haven't tried it you should.

What do you like on your pizza?




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Friday, April 17, 2015

BLOGGING A2Z CHALLENGE: LETTER O

OUTSIDE

First, I need to apologize for my post yesterday. I wasn't into it because when I wrote it I was not feeling well, had too much going on and lost focus. I had been one letter ahead in the challenge but now I'm not. Crap!

Anyway, have you noticed how kids are not playing outside as much as we did?

I remember I couldn't wait to be able to go outside and play. On summer vacation and weekends I would wake up, have breakfast and I was out the door taking a break for meals. Staying inside was boring.

I rode my bike and played with the kids in the neighborhood. We played some kind of ball, Indians and Cowboys, tag, made mud pies, etc.

If it was raining, I would run to our screen porch or find some kind of cover to wait for the rain to stop.

We know children live near by because we've seen them coming and going. They also have a jungle gym outside. But we never see them playing.

I understand many parents are concerned about their safety. But that's when parenting comes in.  I admit I was overprotective with Babygirl but I used to let her play outside. I kept a close eye on her and if she was going play at a neighbor's she had to let me know she was going elsewhere and check in.

I was reading some research and it showed many benefits of going outside.

It provides Vitamin D from the sun which helps with moods, energy levels, memory and overall health.

It promotes problem solving. One example is if they are building something they have to figure out the best way to do it.

Stimulates the imagination. I remember BabyGIrl and I went outside and looked at the sky and pointed out what we saw.

Nowadays, research show more children are staying inside watching TV, playing videos and searching the internet.  Experts say obesity and other health issues as well as behavioral problems are on a rise because kids are sedentary.

According to a study in the past two decades an average child spends as few as 30 minutes in unstructured play each day and more than 7 hours per day in front of an electronic screen. WOW!

It's mind blowing seeing how things have changed. I remember being outside when the street lights would come on and a few minutes before or after I would hear my dad whistle for me to go in. I was listening for it while I was trying to get those few extra minutes outside.

How many hours did you play outside? How many hours does your children play outside? Think about that for a bit.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

BLOGGING A2Z CHALLENGE: LETTER N

 NURSING


I knew I wanted to be a nurse when I was a child. I wanted to be like the nurses who took care of me. God evidently had other plans as I was only able to work for a couple of years.

I worked in the hospital after nursing school for a year and figured out really fast that part of nursing was NOT for me. I didn't like the constant change of patients.

I went into geriatric nursing. I loved working with the elderly.

A lot of people would ask me how I could work at a nursing home. Some said it was grim and disgusting.

Yea, I know nursing homes get a bad reputation. But not all are grim and disgusting.

A lot of people think it is a place for them to just die. Maybe it is the last place where they live but it doesn't mean they are going to die any faster.

Most times people put their loved ones in a nursing home because they can't take care of them.  There is no where else for them to go.

What tore my heart was when family members placed their loved ones in the nursing home and forgot about them. It broke my heart on holidays when there were a few that had no where to go. No one called. No one visited.

People tend to forget the people in the nursing homes are HUMAN.

I enjoyed listening to their stories and their wisdom.

The residents of the nursing home was unforgettable. They all had their own personalities.

Not everything was peaches and cream. There were some who were grumpy or difficult to deal with. We had to deal with state regulations and the people who managed the nursing home. The reason I kept going back was the residents.

Mrs Catina was a resident. She was a very small lady who walked hunched back. Confused and senile, but the cutest little thing.  One of my coworkers said I was going to be like her when I grew old. She would come to the desk and asked where she was at. We had to bring her back to her room too many times to count.

An African-American soft-spoken gentleman would shuffle slowly. He was one of my favorites. He would smile at us with his gummy smile. He never married and I think his uncle took care of what he needed. But he was one of those who were alone on holidays mostly. He was always bumming cigarettes.

The smokers shared their cigarettes and lighter when the others would run out.

There was Vivian who would run away. Many times motorists would bring her back when they saw her walking the highway a few blocks away. She was something else! She was senile as well and the words that would come out of her mouth like a sailor. She had us laughing every day. It was sorta sad to see her personality change so drastically.

Oh my! There are so many more I can write about. Hopefully, you can understand why I loved these people.

Nursing was rewarding and I know I made a difference in at least one of their lives.  Many have made a difference in my life!










Wednesday, April 15, 2015

BLOGGING A2Z CHALLENGE: LETTER M

MONKEY CLIMBING UP MY LEG

I won't lie that when I finally became pregnant with my child I had no idea how I was going to carry her and do things Moms do. However, I knew I was capable and would have to adapt things my way. I also hoped the child would adapt as well.

When BabyGirl was 10 months old I had to have major surgery. It was logical for BabyGirl and I to go live with my parents since her father worked a lot and both of us needed care 24/7.  

BabyGirl was crawling by then and lifting herself up to stand. I couldn't bend and pick her up because of the surgical cut. One day, she wanted me to hold her, she indistinctively climbed up my leg just like a monkey. 

That moment made me come to the realization that SHE adapted to me. 

When I recovered from surgery and we were back home, it continued whether I was sitting or standing.   It would be one of those things that my daughter and I would do. She grew up with strong legs and arms and I truly believe it was because of her climbing me.

Kids amazingly adapt to all situations. In this case, my daughter sensed what was difficult for me to do and she made it easier.

Her nickname used to be Munkie. 

Does anyone remember this little song?  BabyGirl and I enjoyed this little song. 


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

BLOGGING A2Z CHALLENGE: LETTER L

LAYLA


I had a whole different post written for letter "L". However, I decided to do change it. I want to talk about my BabyGirl, Layla Ruth.

In many posts, I speak about her as BabyGirl who is really not technically a BABY anymore. As parents our children are always our babies. God blessed me with one child and I graciously thank him for giving HER to me.

She is 22 years old who has been through so much.  She was born to a disabled Mom. She was bullied at school. You can read about her father, who is not a typical father, on previous posts . She had to deal with her father and I divorcing. She worked a full time job and went to college and was in the honors classes.

I am so very proud of her.

She is a college graduate and just took the test to get into Grad school for her degree to work with kids with chronic pain. which she knows a lot about with her should and kneel problems.


She has a love in her life who seems to let her be her own person and loves her deeply.

I sometimes look at her pictures and cry.

Cry for the past pains she went through

Cry because I am so proud of her for the young independent strong woman she has become.

Cry because I KNOW how special our relationship is as mother/daughter and am so very thankful.

And no I did not get her name from Eric Clapton's song. I thought of the name before someone told me about it. I actually saw Leighla in a baby names book but I wanted to make it easy on her when she learned to spell her name.

I love you Layla!

Monday, April 13, 2015

BLOGGING A2Z CHALLENGE: LETTER K

KALEIDOSCOPES, ETC

I am so glad we had a break on Sunday before the letter K!  I could think of some words that begin with K like kangaroo, kissing, kitchen, ketchup, kitten, koala, and kit. I just couldn't come up with anything interesting to say about them. I turned to my helpful friends and family on Facebook. After I read all their suggestions I thought of kaleidoscope no one had mentioned. (Sorry but don't stop reading yet!)

Why did I think of kaleidoscope? When I was a kid I had a kaleidoscope. I remember putting my eye to the hole looking at all the colors and patterns. It was entertaining and a mystery to my little brain.



Have you done or seen something over and over again without any thought. Then something changes and you realize how….ahhhh what is the word I wanna use? 

I can't come up with the word so I'll say you realize how beneficial  it was to you. 

When I closed my eyes I used to see bright lights in patterns like a kaleidoscope as well as the same bright lights in forms of a ray of lights shooting towards me as an adult. I know it may seem odd but seeing the lights was calming as I fell asleep. I looked forward to see the bright colors, especially after a long rough day.

However, last September, I was diagnosed with Glaucoma. "SIGH" Yet, another diagnosis to add to my long medical history list.

I had changed optometrists because I was not comfortable with them and being it was a big chain store, I never saw the same one. So I went to a local optometrist. She saw something unusual but she wanted to give it a few months to see if anything changed so she could get my baseline. After 3 visits she concluded that I indeed have the beginning stages of Glaucoma. She prescribed eye drops.

I have often wondered how bad it would have gotten if I had stayed at the previous optometrist. 

Since I've been putting eye drops I do not see my kaleidoscope. It's been stressing me because when I close my eyes I want to see the lights, not darkness with a flash of light every once in a while. I strain to see them and it frustrates me even more. I know. It's strange. 

On another hand, I wonder maybe the lights I saw were not normal??  On my next visit I will discuss this with her for sure.

----
Since my friends were nice enough to think and give suggestions I want to share them with you.

KINKY; The guy was being funny but it is a word but I don't think I want to get into that one.

Kites: I remember flying one!

Kickass: I thought of my daughter with this one as she is a black belt and did kickass. 

Kingdom and Kingpin: No idea where I would go with that. My first thought was Lion King then Games of Thrones.

Kick and Kicken-I may share my experience about kick in another post after the challenge.

Krazy and Kajun- No such word in dictionary. I guess people wanted change the spelling of a word to meet their needs. I know a lot of places and products with that spelling. Krazy Glue, a song by Lil Wayne, " Krazy", Kajun's sisters, Kajun Audio etc.

Krewe: Pronounce as "crew". It is an organization that puts on balls and parades during Carnival season. There are 100's of Krewes in these parts.

KKK: Klu Klux Klan: I remember hearing stories about them.

KATC and KLFY: Two local TV stations.

Kingfish (Huey P. Long) and and Robert Kennon: Previous governors of Louisiana.

Konriko: Oldest rice mill and store in New Iberia, La.

Kaplan: Southwest La. town

K-Paul's Kitchen-It's obviously a restaurant owned by Chef Paul Prudhomme in New Orleans.

There was also a lovely lady and fellow blogger, Sarah from OverthinkingMom who shared a website that is multifunctional

There was also Karma, kindness, "know" thyself, kerchief, kinfolk, kin, knowledge, karaoke, Kentwood (Water). I probably did, but I hope I didn't miss anyone. I'm sorry if I did.

So there you go folks! Moving on to letter L…

Saturday, April 11, 2015

BLOGGING CHALLENGE A 2 Z: LETTER J

JUNGLE GARDENS 

Since I've mentioned Jungle Gardens on Avery Island I think I need to share some information about it.

In the 1890's, Mr  E.A. McIlhenny aka"Ned" founded a bird colony later named "Bird City". The way he did that was at one time there were hunters killing thousands of egrets to make women's feather hats.  Mr. Ned caught 8 baby egrets and raised them in captivity on the island. In the fall, he released them to migrate across the Gulf of Mexico. In the spring they came back along with other flying species. The migration continues to this day. 

Mr. Ned loved rare plants and flowers beautifying the island even more. Through the years he has planted hundreds of varieties of flowers such as junipers, azaleas and camellias under live oak trees.

Today the Jungle Gardens is an 170 acre botanical garden and Bird City. It is a tourist attraction and you can see it all on a 5 mile drive.

Two of Ned's friends surprised Ned in the 1930's by sending him a Buddha by rail. Ned built a long forest pond, an arched bridge and enclosed glass temple for this sacred statue. Around the temple, he created "seven hills of knowledge" covering them with azaleas, camellias, sansaqua and bamboos. Buddha is the centerpiece of the Jungle Gardens.



Admiring the beauty of the gardens you can see raccoons, alligators and deer.

In elementary school, visiting the Jungle Gardens was a yearly field trip. We had picnics on the grounds and played in a specified area. As young children, we did not appreciate the beauty we had around us. When I was older I went back and the beauty was breathtaking.

It's about 10 miles from the nearest city which is New Iberia. 

I forgot to mention that to get on Avery Island you have to pay $1 per car. It is used to assist in coastal restoration and conservation projects. When we lived on the island we had a sticker on our cars so when we passed the toll booth, the operator would just let us in. We always waved. For the life of me I can't remember all the operators except for Mr. Walter. I'm sure someone will help me out. I remember another man. I can see his face but can't recall his name.

Anyway, the Jungle Gardens are opened 7 days a week and inexpensive.

As I sit here I think how awesome it was that I lived on the island and a tourist attraction at that. How many people can say that?!

Friday, April 10, 2015

BLOGGING CHALLENGE A2Z LETTER I

                                IDIOT

No, this is not about my ex . I've said so much about that idiot that I'm done. I come to realize he is not worth another word. This is about another idiot. One like I have encountered so many times through the years. I understand some are just plain ignorant and you can't get through them but I feel I have to at least try. 

I was at the country store last week. I noticed an elderly man sitting in his Buick in a van accessible handicapped parking space.

It is one of my pet peeves when people park in a handicapped parking space illegally. I have a handicapped parking placard because I AM handicapped (or disabled, whatever you wish to call it, except crippled).





I nonchalantly checked his license plate, his dash board and rearview mirror and didn't see any signs of him being legally parked.

I smiled and pointed at the Handicapped Parking sign raising my shoulders and hands up flat. "What gives?" my gesture communicated.


He rolled down his window stuck his head out impatiently asking "What?!"

I gently pointed out that he was parked illegally pointing at the sign.

He huffed and threw his arms air like Shoo..

I thought, "Oh no, you did NOT."  It made me determined and confirmed this man needed to be educated.

Fuming but calmly I informed him, "Sir, you are not supposed to be parking there." Obviously he had not understood my gestures. I always give the person the benefit of the doubt at first.

He barked, "It is none of your damn business."

I protested, "Yes it is because I have a legal right to park there, you don't!"

He shook his head mumbling incoherently.  Then, "I'm waiting for my wife," he exclaimed.

 "Is she handicapped?" I inquired, "If so where is your placard?"

By then there were a very shoppers and employees who had stopped and were watching or just watched as they were going in and out of the store.  I hadn't noticed it until I saw he had noticed. He decides to go down one more level.

He yells louder than he had before, "No! She is not handicapped but we're old. Go away cripple!"

I hate that word with a passion. Maybe I should have walked away.

However, it just made me want to press my point more clearly. I declared, "Oh I'm going to go away. But I am going to take note of your license plate and next time I'll call the police. It is s a $275 fine for the first offense."

As I walked around and acted like I was putting it in my phone he got out of his truck. Oh! Oh!

But surprisingly, I was not intimidated. I guess I was too angry by that time and looking at his age and size I knew although I can't run fast I knew I could get away from him. Besides I hoped at least one of the gawkers would come to my rescue. If they didn't, I could hold my own.

I quickly walked back to the sidewalk on the other side of where he was.

He was huffing and yelled, "You f---g cripple! Get away from my car! I could tell he was very angry and uncomfortable with people passing, stopping and watching and just wanted me to go away. 

If he had said that without the derogatory cripple I would have chalked it up to pure ignorance and left.

But he did. Again. Cripple just gets under my skin. I guess because kids used to tease me and laugh, "You're crippled!" "You walk funny." I hear older people say it but not directly at me.

So he was going to hear what I had to say. I argued, "If the $275 fine doesn't pause you next time, think about this! You are sitting in an handicapped space, a van accessible at that and  a person who is truly DISABLED comes to shop and they can't get out of their van or car because people like you take their space? Furthermore, I don't even park in a VAN accessible handicap parking space because there are reasons for the yellow lines."

He yelled (He kept yelling and I talked in a normal tone which made him even angrier!), "There aint nobody in a van!"

I asked, "How in the hell do you know?" Do you know everyone in town? When they go shopping?"

He thought for a moment and then asked, "Where do you live?"

Weird irrelevant question. I answered, "Why does it matter where I live?"

He grunted.

His wife walks out at that moment and asked him what he was doing out of the car.

He spoke French so I didn't understand what he said

She looks at me embarrassingly and explained, "I was only in there for a minute."

I felt defeated. "People like you just don't get it. How can you sleep at night?" I grumbled.

They just stared at me.

Smiling the woman exclaimed, "You're getting bent out of shape for nothing."

I repeated everything I told her husband. I told her I could call the police right now, and I did have  their license plate number so even if they left I had witnesses.The $275 fine wiped that smile off her face.  

She sighed and walked to the car and got in. The man and I were just staring each other down. 

His wife shouted something and he raised his middler finger to me and yelled, "Damned Cripple!"  

I yelled, "Idiotic Asshole!"

I know! I was taught better than that and I shouldn't have gone down to their level but I was at my breaking point.

We went our separate ways.

Some employees applauded me for standing up to him. Shoppers gave me high 5's. Some said, "Good for you." By the time I got to the cash register, the word had spread.  People were congratulating me, telling me I was a go getter, an inspiration etc.

I don't feel like I've done anything to be congratulated or to be an inspiration. I was just trying to make another aware of something they obviously didn't think about.

Now, I feel it was a hopeless cause I felt deflated.

I was bummed. I lived all those childhood teasing in in my head all day. 

I feel he didn't get it. He is one of those that I feel I have failed to put my point across. I guess I can't help all idiots. 



Thursday, April 9, 2015

Blogging A to Z Challenge-Letter H

Hospice

I wrote this post a few weeks ago after I visited my first patient as a Hospice Volunteer. I had been restless for years and missed my nursing although its been about 20 years. I had tried being a Big Sister  at Big Brothers and Big Sisters but nothing every worked out. I think they sincerely looked for a match but just couldn't find one. 


I prayed and searched for something to do to help others. My Mom has been a Hospice Volunteer for over 10 years and she suggested maybe I could look into it. I was hesitant but eventually I went to an inservice.  During the presentations I became excited and thought this may be the answer.  There are so many ways to volunteer and they didn't seem to be pushy and overwhelming. The Volunteer Coordinator is such a sweetheart. Everyone I've met has been welcoming and warm.



After a few months of waiting I was finally assigned to  my new patient. I ok'd this post with my volunteer coordinator. As long as I don't use names or specifics I am okay I can share my experience. 


A frail white-haired elderly lady (She will be called Sweetie) was sitting up in a hospital bed unsteadily holding an emesis basin to her chin. Her oxygen cannula was dangling out of one nostril. Her breathing was labored. Tears were flowing down her cheeks from bloodshot eyes. Her skin was pale and her emaciated body was covered with a red and white flowered comforter. 

My nursing instincts kicked in. I increased my step to her bedside. I offered to help her hold the emesis basin. She looked at me curiously as she shakily pushed the emesis basin to me. I found a tissue and dabbed at her tears.


The nausea seemed to have passed after a few minutes. I then introduced myself as a volunteer from the local Hospice. After telling her I was there for her, I asked her if she wanted me to stay. A nurse walked in at that moment as Sweetie said no. But the nurse reiterated what I said. Sweetie's eyes got big as it registered and said breathlessly, "Oh, okay." I guess she did not understand me the first time, which is nothing new.

She offered me to sit on the bed with her. She was having trouble talking and seemed anxious. I helped her put her nasal cannula back on.

For those who don't know what a nasal cannula is. It is an oxygen mask but there are only two prongs for the nostrils instead of a mask covering most of the face.

I gently told her she did not have to say a word. I just wanted to be there for her. I wanted her to be comfortable. But if she needed anything to just say so.

She smiled. I could tell she was uncomfortable physically but I did not want to make her talk asking her questions. I reminded myself that silence is golden and I'm there just to be present if nothing else, what I was taught in training.

I wanted to wrap her in my arms and hold her. My heart became heavy.

I told her to nod yes or no if was okay if I held her hand. She nodded yes.

I held her hand.  I rubbed it gently with my other. There was a comfortable silence between us.

She was restless. Her eyes would flutter shut like she was going to fall asleep but then it seemed she was fighting sleep and her eyes would fly open.

She started sharing a little bit about her family dozing between. She also moaned as she held her stomach. She said she was hurting so bad the night before that she didn't fall asleep before 4 am. We chatted a little.

I felt so helpless. I do not like that feeling. 

I rubbed her hand and softly instructed her to close her eyes. I told her I would be here when she woke up.

I continued to rub her hand. I saw her breathing slow down and her whole body relaxed. She was asleep still holding my hand.

I had this big lump in my chest. I so very much wanted to cry. I don't know why.

As she slept I looked at her face from time to time relieved that she was getting some sleep and her pain had eased some.  I had so many thoughts.

--I could be looking at my parents.

--She could be my mother-in-law.

--Why do I want to cry?

--Keep it together, Lisa!

--There are millions of elderly like Sweetie and no one cares.

--Our government takes care of the illegal aliens but they take away from our elderly, who deserves it more.

--Don't cry!

--I remembered some of my geriatric patients I took care of through the years as a nurse.

--Is this what we have to look forward to when we age?

--Looking at the oxygen tank I thought this could be me in the future. It probably will be.

--I thought about when God takes Sweetie home, how peaceful she will be. She will be pain free.

--I prayed. A LOT

--I also angrily asked God why such suffering for so many people including this Sweet Lady and my cousin Payton. He has heard similar questions from me through the years. He must be tired of it by now!

--What could I do to make her feel more comfortable?

I know I can't make her feel comfortable physically. All I can do is be there for her. That is a main goal being a Hospice Volunteer. She slept for about 45 minutes. She woke up and smiled. I could tell she was going back to sleep so I said goodbye.

A couple of days later I returned for another visit and she was more comfortable. Because Hospice was called I know Sweetie is at the end of her journey on earth. But I am honored to be included in her journey.

God s graciously given me this opportunity. Nearly every day I miss my nursing, some days more than others.  Being a Hospice Volunteer is a little different but it gives the same reward.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Blogging A to Z Challenge-Letter G

Gators

Living on the island there were alligators in the Jungle Gardens. I'll explain in more detail what the Jungle Gardens are for Letter J so stay tuned!


Gators (Alligators) appear intimidating, don't they?



They were in the gardens with a fence around a vast area where they could roam but not enter the  community. I say 'were' because things could have changed since the last time I visited a long time ago.

As kids, we felt invincible and rode around the area to see if we could see one. Also, to go my friend's house I had to pass the area. I was scared alone. I always thought if one ate me how would my parents know? HA!

Our parents would tell us if we saw one, to move fast and if by chance it started chasing us, to ride our bikes or run fast zigzagging. The zigzagging would cause the gator to flip itself on the side.

However, I just googled it. Zigzagging is not true. So much for our parents always being right. (BabyGirl if you read this, there is an exception, I am always right!). According to my source,  its because the "shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and that's the fastest."  Okay, that was sorta common sense.

They run fast but only for short distances. If you encounter one, it is likely you may be in their territory and he wants you go away so he chases you.

No one was ever attacked by a gator on the island that I am aware of.

A couple of times I saw them about 100 yards in the grass by a railroad track. They had escaped, crossed the road and were just laying there in the sun.

Interestingly, they don't see humans as prey because of our size.

However, if you see them in the water, do not go in! They may see your arm or leg as a smaller and vulnerable prey and think it is food.

If you are attacked, FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE! Do not give up! As any other assailant, go for the eyes! Also, a gator usually bites and releases. During the release, it's a crucial time to get away!!

The average size for a male is 11.2 feet and the average female is 8 feet. A large one can weigh up to half a ton pounds. Yea, they'll squish you like a bug!!

Some alligators live up to 50 years old.

About 5 million are spread around our awesome country but the majority of them are in Florida and Louisiana.

Their homes are usually in freshwater environments like ponds, swamps and wetlands to name a few.

They are mostly hunted for their skins. The skins are used to make purses, boots, wallets and all kinds of other cool stuff.

Their meat is also used for food, usually deep-fried in this area. It can be cooked in other different ways.

One Saturday my family was in the car on our way to church. There was an alligator crossing the road. He took his sweet time but he eventually got to the other side and we went on our way. It was an experience I've never forgotten.

Imagine, in the car, seeing a gigantic creature (in a child's eyes) as long as the width of the road obstructing your path, moving slowly across the road? That is not an ordinary event.

There you go! You now know something about Gators!  They are interesting creatures, I think!



Tuesday, April 7, 2015

BLOGGING A TO Z: F

FRAMPTON

Everyone loves some kind of music. There are so many genres nowadays. I love Classic Rock. One of my favorite performers is PETER FRAMPTON. I saw him in concert 3-4 times. 

I had the poster shown below upon my wall. I loved his dreamy eyes and those gorgeous messy blond curls. I laid in my bed sometimes staring at him dreaming of my fingers running through the curls. Hey! Remember I was a teenager!





Many years later, I saw him on a talk show and his hair was GONE. I yelled "Oh NO!" I don't know if he cut it off or it naturally fell out. I was so disappointed.

He plays awesome guitar as well. 



What is your favorite genre music? Who was your McDreamy?

Monday, April 6, 2015

BLOGGING A TO Z CHALLENGE: LETTER E-ENSURE

ENSURE

I hope everyone had a nice Easter. It rained but I woke up to a cooked roast in my crock pot. How cool is that? Hubby and I spent it quietly at home.

My fellow bloggers and I have made a week in the Blogging A to Z Challenge.  I have to say it has been a challenge but I think I am in a rhythm. Some of you may assume that my challenge theme is Cajun. I guess it is in a way. But my theme is ME! I want to share more bits and pieces of my life. 

Ensure No, it is not about the verb I will talk about.  It is an adult's drink that provides balance nutrition.

When I was a geriatric nurse I gave the elderly Ensure. Some just didn't want to eat. Some couldn't eat. Some had a continuous tube feeding. Many wanted it because it just tasted good. 

I personally thought it had a bad smell. Maybe because at the time it was only Vanilla.

Through the years the company, Abbot,  developed many different flavors and varieties: Strawberry, Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Butter Pecan, Ensure Active Health, Ensure Active Heart Health, and Ensure Active Muscle Health, etc. They even have it in the clear form now.

It comes in powder form and 6- or 16- pack bottles.

A few years ago I became ill and lost over 20 pounds. My usual weight is about 95-100 pounds. The weight loss was a real concern. I know most of you struggle with losing weight. Don't hate because it is just as hard to gain the weight. 

When we finally figured out the problem and knowing it is hard for me to gain weight, the doctor told me to drink Ensure three times a day.  I dreaded it. I wanted to puke remembering the smell. While I was in the hospital they gave me different flavors for me to try. Creamy Chocolate was my favorite.

However, when I went to buy it, the cost was a problem. I wrote to Abbot Company and they sent me coupons. I was hoping they would give me some free but oh well. The coupons did help.

I have seen a 6 pack cost up to 10 bucks and a 16 pack cost up to 40 bucks. The cheapest I have found were at Amazon. It is a 16-pack costing $19.97. I did the Math. If I drank it 3 times a day it would cost me $119 a month. 

I just can't afford that much money so I buy 2 16-packs a month and drink one a day. My weight is back up where it should be. 

It's a shame that health food and drinks are more expensive than junk food. That subject is a whole new post.

You can also make shakes with the Ensure.

I also wonder if there is something addictive in it. Before I started buying two 16 packs I would run out in the middle of the month.  I craved it until I bought some more.

Every time I buy I wonder why these companies only have 16 pack. They have to know doctors tell the patients to drink it three times a day so why don't they offer a 90-pack or even a 30-pack. It makes no sense to me. Yes, I did ask them in a letter but they never gave me an answer. They just offered coupons. 

"Toasting with my bottle of Ensure to all of you awesome readers " CHEERS!