Stripping away the rose colored glasses of denial concerning my reality. Getting in touch with truth. Reaching out to others in empathy concerning their reality and their walk to truth.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Balancing act ~ number one priority!

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"Balance is something I can only glimpse, as I go from one extreme to another." (Quote: my brother, Ben.)

Quite the profound statement! In 1988, when my brother said this in a  recovery meeting for addicts, I almost dismissed it. Still it stuck in my head, circling for many months until a year later I joined  him in attending meetings. At the first of September, Ben celebrates 28 years free from drug addiction. On October 4th, I'll celebrate 27 years! He has been a great support in my recovery.

Ironically, he's been living with me for the month of August, while his new apartment is completed. It has been pleasant to have him here. I almost hate to see him go, but he's not a kid... he must have his own space... and me too. Living alone for five years has had its pros and cons, but I love the peace and quiet.

He gets "home" every day and then walks 4 miles. Ben knows I'm in physical therapy and again, his support has been appreciated. He has no judgment of the simplicity off my assigned exercises. As he said last week, "You've got to start somewhere and gradually increase as time passes. (It has taken me a year to work up to 4 miles.) Take your time. You'll get there, Dixie."

I know he is right. He and his wife have decided to divorce. I have hesitated to even mention what I'm experiencing, but I know he must "see" some of the physical struggle that daily life is for me... right now. And that brings me to the positive side... he knows I'll work hard to regain the "me" that I was... not so long ago. The divorce is upsetting to me... I cannot choose sides, as I love them both. So I try to avoid dwelling on it, moving on with my own battle. No, I can't help but get a little teary-eyed thinking about them.... but for now, I'm on a journey that needs my full focus.

So where am I now? After 5 therapy sessions I know how bad my situation is. Balance is the one thing we all need. It helps us walk and do tasks, ranging from the simplest to the hardest. It is also something that I'm having to regain... a slow battle. I have two therapists. One is helping me regain strength in my left leg and arm. The other is working on my balance issue... but actually the two must go hand in hand.

I've chosen to do my exercises 4 times daily, though it's not required by my therapists. Still it speeds the process and that makes me happy... I have a sense of accomplishment. and isn't that important? I get tired, and rest between the toughest exercises. There are six  exercise treatments this week, two more than last week! Hopefully before the end of August, I'll be able to walk in the yard alone. I have to be able to keep my balance on level ground first. I'm grateful to have a large patio! My yard is not level, so it's a "no man's land" for now. :(

So to close this, I refer back to brother Ben's quote... "Balance is something I can only glimpse, as I go from one extreme to another."

I hope your frustrations are few or at the very least, manageable. I hope you have balance, be it in your mental, physical,  emotional, or spiritual realms! Know that I miss you, and pray for my blog friends every day (smile).

Love, Dixie

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Slowly but surely... healing

Hello! I'm still here, and trying not to get depressed over the slow progress. 

The last test the neurologist ordered showed my right, carotid artery blocked. It's inoperable, yet a most amazing thing happened. Smaller arteries expanded and took over the task. I'm getting enough blood because of that. He also said some new arteries have grown... I didn't know the body could do that. Did you?

Setting therapy appointments has been difficult, as I'm not driving but relying on my god-daughter to help me. On Monday, August 8th, we went for my evaluation for physical therapy. There was a battery of 14 tests. the best score is 56 points - I scored 46! The therapist was very excited and told me I should be able to fully regain my balance, coordination, and lost skills. Though I went in with a lack of confidence... now I feel somewhat relieved. 

The physical therapist has also arranged for me to meet with an occupational therapist too. This hopefully will help me regain my typing and painting skills. Life has been a bit boring, and I might add, a bit scary. Three blogs are sitting idle, and I have a couple paintings that are waiting to be finished!  So finally - I'm scheduled for therapy! Beginning this Friday, August 12th, I'll be learning things to help regain my "normal" life.  The great part is - I get to stay home and do specific exercises for my situation. No rehab center is necessary.

I never realized how the left and right sides of the body work together, while also working independently. It's quite amazing!

Because I have a serious balance issue, I've had to let go of the yard work. Not to be discouraged, I decided to put new plants in clay pots. Both plants need trellises to grow on, so the next task is building something simple to let them climb. 

The Loofah plant fruit can be eaten if picked while still young and tender. I understand it has a taste  like cucumber or zucchini.  If you wait to  harvest later the fruit becomes "loofah sponge," which is my goal. My plant is about 16 inches now, but this photo is how it looked earlier on.

The Passion Flower plant has fruit that is also edible. Have you ever had passion fruit?

I'll close now. Typing is still such a chore. I miss all of you, and thank you for the prayers, and keeping me in your thoughts. While I'm online this week, I'll try to visit everyone!

Thank you, (smile).

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Update and Vacation for July

My last post stated I would be seeing a neurologist on June 24th. Well, that happened, and there's bad news and good news. 

Here's the bad news. The stroke I mentioned during a previous post actually happened last fall - some eight months ago now. My regular MD thought all of my issues were caused by a vitamin D deficiency. However, once my D level returned to normal, the issues had still not completely cleared. I went for an MRI, which showed evidence of a stroke.

The neurologist questioned why it took so long for me to have an appointment with him - eight months! I didn't have an answer; I think he might want to contact my regular MD, and I told him that. At this point in time the only thing to do, regarding this event, is to go for physical evaluation and therapy. I hoping to regain strength and usage of my left hand, arm, and more stability in walking. So July will be filled with lots of appointments for therapy.

Meanwhile, as a preventive measure, I have to have other tests, as ordered by the neurologist. An echo cardiogram, and CT scan are scheduled this month as well.
This may sound crazy, but I was so relieved to hear this news. It could have been so much worse. Thoughts of other illnesses or situations were stressful, even though I tried to remain calm and positive. I'm sure you understand. To me this is good news.

I've been absent from this blog so much but I've tried to keep up with my joke blog and my Battle of the Bands blog. I'm taking a vacation from all three blogs for the month of July. My health is the focus. Thank you for your patience, kind words, and positive thoughts. I will try to visit everyone even though I won't post this month. 

Thank you!


Saturday, June 4, 2016

Quick update

My rose bush is beautiful right now.

I take short walks around the yard ~
It's good to keep moving.
Even when it's physically hard~
Each day I'm improving.

Typing now with seven fingers ~
Instead of five.
Crazy mobility lingers ~
Still it's good to be alive.

Update: I have a June 24th appointment to see a neurologist. My left hand, arm, and leg still have issues. It gets frustrating but I try to remain hopeful and cheerful. I'm so blessed in other ways.

We're definitely into warm weather. It rains every other day, and then turns muggy and humid. I put the air conditioning on, around 75 degrees... for this week at least. Where I live might be in the 90's one week, but then back to the 70s the next week. It's always been like this for as long as I can remember.

My hope is that everyone is healthy and enjoying life. If you are battling something, let me know so I can keep you in my thoughts, (smile). Please bear with me. I'm not writing much lately. I hope that will change soon. Be well.


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Giving up my wicked ways... baking on the straight and narrow!

Last Thursday, I wrote of my intent to bake a German Chocolate cake for a neighbor. You remember, I accidentally grabbed the wrong box. When I got home I discovered I'd grabbed Devil's Food cake... big mistake since the neighbor doesn't like that particular cake. (I think I may have muttered a couple of impolite words under my breath.)

I'm leaving behind my wicked ways. I'll be baking on the straight and narrow. This cake is so simple, it's possible a 'caveman' could do it. If i could find a caveman, I'd experiment and let you know. It's a rare day when someone cooks or bakes for me. Maybe an Angel's Food cake will change my luck?

From Betty Crocker - Angel Food/Pineapple in Tube Pan

1 box Betty Crocker™ white angel food cake mix 

1 can (20 oz) crushed pineapple in juice, undrained

1 - Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 10-inch tube pan with cooking spray.
2 -  In large bowl, beat dry angel food cake mix and crushed pineapple on low speed 30 seconds; beat on medium speed 1 minute. Pour into pan.

3 -  Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool completely upside down as directed on cake mix box, at least 1 hour. Run knife around edges; turn cooled cake out onto serving plate. Use serrated knife to cut into slices.

No tube pan? Go for this recipe instead:

Take a box of Angel Food Cake mix (just the contents of the box, no need to follow the directions on the box), & combine it with a 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple in its own juice.

(No need to use a mixer, just stir it with a spoon) When you do this, something magical happens. 

The mixture starts to froth & it turns into an amazingly airy, fluffy bowl of deliciousness right before your eyes.

Once it's all mixed up, grease and simply pour it into a 9 x 13 cake pan & bake 350 for 30 minutes.

Well, I'm off to call the neighbor... wish me luck! I'm hoping I won't be spending another week eating cake alone. Then again, I can have my cake and eat it too, right?!!

Just for you:

Do you like Angel Food or does that Devil's Food excite you more? Sure, I really want to know!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Queen of Boo-boos strikes again!

If you have neighbors like I have, you like doing things for them, right? What if the good intention flops? Here's the story of how I became the Queen of Boo-boos:

The intent was to make a birthday cake for my neighbor... German Chocolate... sounded yummy to me. I have this terrible habit when shopping. I'll look at the item on the shelf, decide that's what I want, but then I grab the box right behind the front row box. You understand that, right? However, I didn't get German Chocolate cake mix. What? That particular box had been placed in the row of Devil's Food cake mixes. So what I got was... yep, Devil's Food! Ha! Then, wouldn't you know... the neighbor doesn't like Devil's Food cake!! So I'll make it for someone else, or at a later date for a holiday. Problem solved.

It turns out that he really wants a plain, but homemade Pound cake. It's not hard to make, but I've discovered I have a another problem. To make a Pound cake you really need a mixer; doing it by hand is outrageously difficult, (frown). 

Three years before, the Queen of Boo-boos found her beater wands but couldn't find the hand mixer. So what did I do? I had tossed out the two beater wands. (Why keep them if I have no mixer? Sounds reasonable, right?) So I'm going to make the Pound cake and guess what I found? Geez Louise, the mixer was in a cabinet I rarely, if ever, use.. So now I have a hand mixer and no beater wands!!! (I m absolutely not a hoarder but in this case I wish I'd given it more thought.)

The neighbor has generously offered to purchase me a hand mixer.  Being the suspicious type, I wonder if I'll be "urged" to make him cakes or other stuff now? Oh, what to do? Do I accept his offer or seek out recipes that don't require a mixer?

What's your opinion? 
Yes or no to his offer? 
Have you ever had an experience along this line? 
Do you toss out stuff thinking you may never need it? 
Are you a Queen or King of Boo-boos?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Nosy Rose

My little red rose ~
Sweet scent for my nose.
You're already blooming ~
After that slight grooming.

This little rose bush is a true delight. A couple of snips and it performs beautifully. It will get slightly larger than a 'patio rose' bush... perfect for my flowerbed. This summer I intend to try rooting a few cuttings. The more the merrier and the cheerier, I say!

Do you like roses? If not, what do you find most appealing?

Bonus points: