Weekend Coffee Share

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that the weather here along Lake Michigan has been the usual autumn type – cold and raining, cold but with some sun, and even a day that was pretty nice.  I’d tell you that the weather keeps me homebound from here on out, due to my intolerance of cold/hot weather.  I need a happy medium or the MS symptoms come raging flare up on me causing a never-ending pile of symptoms, from numbness and tingling, to vision problems (more than I already have), and a list of other things, too lengthy to mention.

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If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that tomorrow’s birthday comes with a variety of feelings.  I still get that excited child, who loves birthday parties and trick-or-treating, feeling, which makes me excited, despite my aging body.  These days, there is a birthday cake, if I bake it myself.  I don’t get a lot of that trick-or-treating excitement, because these days, the kids go trick-or-treating on Sunday afternoon, in the light, with barely a costume much more than a painted face.  I’d tell you how ages years ago, we went trick-or-treating on Halloween night (after that birthday party), without the fear of being preyed upon.  I’d tell you how we lived out in the boonies in the country, so my mother had to pile the three of us kids, plus any left-over party kids, and she would drive us from house to house, as the houses could be as much as half a mile apart.  I’d tell you how when I was in elementary school, all the kids were dressed up, and in the afternoon we would parade down through the town, and back again, with parents lining both sides of the road (we didn’t have streets).  Also, my mother would bake her famous chocolate frosted drops (a delicious chocolate cookie, with a topping of chocolate, and she would bring them to my class so that we could have that treat, before we paraded down into the town and back.  All the teachers wanted her recipe.  I tried to make them once and it was a horrible disaster.  Now, baking cookies from a wheelchair is just too messy and too much work for the clean-up afterwards.

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you how the next few days I get depressed, because that excited birthday response, is a big lead-up to a huge downfall, when my birthday is over the depression comes a calling, because that excitement I had as a child, and still feel as a post-middle-aged woman, always rushes in, because at best, the only real family I have anymore is two brothers and their wives, and the sons of my youngest brother’s wife.  Then there is my other brother and his wife, along with a host of 13 cousins, many second-cousins, and even third-cousins, whom are growing up fast faster than I am growing old.  My other brother never calls, emails or texts me, even when I initiate the contact between us.  I’d tell you that the name ‘Van Benschoten’ in my branch of the family tree, will end when the three of us are gone, because they had no children of their own, as well as myself, who has never even been married – not to say that means I couldn’t have children, being unmarried, but vowed long ago that I would not have children because I knew I would most likely treat them the same way I was treated, and I don’t want to put that on the shoulders of my children.  I would also tell you that a host of cousins, second and third cousins, will wish me a happy birthday on Facebook, and that makes me feel warm inside.  Have a great week and I’ll have you over for coffee again next week!

Weekend Coffee Share

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’ve been feeling rushed, though I had no obligations during the week.  I’d tell you that time is just rushing toward the end of the month (8 days, not counting today), and for me another birthday.  I don’t know why they seem to be coming faster and faster, and the numbers just are rushing up that ladder, to meet my maker and account for myself in front of Him.  I’d also tell you not to worry, I do accept that fact, but I don’t plan on going up that ladder this soon. It does seem that I won’t be able to define myself as ‘middle-aged’ for much longer, but will be progressing into the ‘senior’ category.  But I worry not.  I’ll try to graciously let the man hold the door open, so that I can get my chair in without it getting schmooshed.  (Spellcheck is trying to tell me that is not the correct spelling, but it’s not offering me any other word).  I did get schmooshed one day, when I was headed in for a cup of coffee.  I wanted to report it to the manager, but he conveniently was absent, but would be given the message when he returned.  And guess what!  He never called me back, even though I called them over and over again.  Side note here, while I was writing the part about McDonald’s’ doors, a McDonald’s ad started on Pandora.  I didn’t pay it much attention, and they weren’t advertising their coffee.

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I only have a week left, before that birthday (hush, don’t say it aloud) arrives.  I’d tell you there is a funny little blurb surrounding that day, because I was born two months early – on Halloween day, smack dab in the middle of the day.  It was convenient for my dad, because that year Halloween fell on a Saturday, so he didn’t miss too much work due to  my birth.  I would tell you that I didn’t lag behind with growth, though I did have to spend my first week on earth, in an incubator.  I’d tell you how before 1960, they used pure oxygen in incubators, and a fair amount of babies grew up blind.  I am fortunate in that I wasn’t in there very long, so the damage to my eyes is minimal, but visible to the opthamologist when he dilates my eyes.  One year, the eye doctor asked how premature I had been when born.  He could see damage to blood vessels in the back of my eyes.  I have been wearing glasses since I was 7.  I would tell you that I tried contacts during the early 1990’s, but due to astigmatism, I had to wear rigid, gas permeable contacts, and even then I had a difficult time removing them because they would form a suction to my eyes.  After a year or so, I gave up.  Now I’m too old to worry about vanity.  In fact, I’m wearing no-line trifocals, with a pair of (purple) reading glasses nearby.  I’m wearing a dark, pink pair of glasses, but I’m due to go to the Opthamalogist (apparently I’m never going to be able to spell that without the help of a dictionary (Wait.  Does anyone actually use those big, old books anymore?  Do I even own one?)  We would laugh about that for a bit.

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee,  I would tell you that the coming week is also be difficult due to the fact that my depression will be triggered by the end of the math, as it was at the beginning of the month on the 1st, because my mother passed away four years ago that day.  I’d tell you that becoming depressed over that doesn’t really make any sense, because my mother was one of my abusers, during childhood, and even so as an adult.  I’d tell you that there is a good side to all of this.  A few years after my father died in 2004, my mother met, and moved in with another man, though they never married.  I call him my step-dad, even though my mother is gone.  He is about the only person that calls me, to just hear me and know that I am ok.  Neither of my brothers call me, but the youngest one still is in touch, as is his wife, who texts me any old time (a couple of weeks ago, while I was leading Bible study, a minion started laughing and telling me that I had a text message and it was my sister-in-law.  I will try to keep busy and upbeat (?!) this week, and not thinking too much about my birthday throughout the week.  I would also tell you to have a good week.

Weekend Coffee Share

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you I had a wonderful week of competition with other disabled veterans, in San Antonio, TX.  I’d also tell you the driver of the express coach to O’Hare, loaded me aboard the bus, then waved me off when I started to ask how much for the fare.  I’d tell you I made it to the airport in plenty of time, and breezed through security, without the usual hassle that I’ve experienced in the past, as a wheelchair user.  I would also tell you, that while waiting at the gate, the airline lady came over to me, and told me that a gentleman in first class was offering me his seat, if I would like it.  Well . . . yeah!  They were giving me drinks throughout the entire flight, as well as a choice of meals to choose from.  I had a delicious Asian Salad.  I would tell you about my experience, once I reached San Antonio.  I made it from the gate to the shuttle buses if a good amount of time, since I had packed light, with only one carry-on bag, my laptop, and my CPAP machine.  After waiting a considerable length of time, a shuttle with a wheelchair lift finally arrived, but they weren’t going to take me and had to go in and check that out.  He finally decided he could take me.  He opened the back door and let the lift down to the pavement.  I rolled on and he pushed the button.  The front end of the lift started to rise, but the back stubbornly remained on the ground, and the front would go sliding back to the ground.  I got off, he tried the lift again, and it still wouldn’t go up – without me even being on it.  I was afraid I had broken as my humongous large chair probably weighs close to 400 pounds, and that’s without me in it.  He finally got me aboard and we were off.

 Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I did my best throughout the three events I took part in, one each day of competition.  I played table tennis first, and I did well in the first round, but not as well as during warm-up.  I would tell you that I got pounded to the pavement floor by a competitor, who it turns out just happens to belong to a national table tennis team.  He must practice for hours on end each day.  I didn’t think that was a fair go-around, but I gracefully rolled away, and joined my friends on the sidelines, one of whom had my phone, and took some very good pictures.  I would tell you that my second event was bocce ball.  I made it through the first two rounds, and then lost to the person I had played against, two years earlier, at an exhibition event for bocce ball.  I believe I lost to him then, as well.  Also, I don’t remember seeing any other women playing, but I could be mistaken.  The air rifle event, was really rough on me, physically.  The MS has progressed (probably why they call it “progressive”) and I couldn’t hold the rifle still enough to even see the entire target, much less those tiny little dots I was to aim for.  They got a stand for the air rifle, and one of the volunteers helped to adjust the sight, so that I could actually see the individual dots I was to aim for.  Another volunteer was helping, by putting each pellet in the rifle, and telling me which dot I was to be aiming at for my next shot, and telling me how far off I was with each shot.  I did a poor job hitting those targets, and didn’t even stick around to see what my final score was.  I would also tell you that the trip home wasn’t nearly as pleasant as the first flight.  We took off late, arrived late, and I waited about an hour for them to bring my chair to me.  I missed my shuttle bus and was screaming scrambling through O’Hare, trying to find the shuttle bus, and when I took the elevator to garage level – twice.  When I finally got to the ticket counter, the fare was $27, and I had $25 on me.  I ended up giving her the $25 in cash, and putting the remaining $2 on my debit card, as I wasn’t too sure about how much was left in my checking account.  The lift on the next bus was broken.

Image result for CoffeeIf were having coffee, I would tell you that the beginning of October is kind of bittersweet.  My mother passed away, four years ago, on the 1st of October.  I would also tell you that the end of the month not only brings Halloween, but a Halloween birthday as well.  When I was in elementary school, she would bake her famous ‘chocolate drop cookies’ and bring them to my school, so I could share them with my class.  All my teachers wanted the recipe of those cookies.  I  like birthdays, except these last few years, my age is starting to seem surreal, uncertain at times, and higher than it was a year ago.  I would tell you how, throughout the years when I was a kid, my mother would throw a ‘surprise’ birthday party, then we would all pile into the car to go Trick-or-Treating, after it got dark!  Imagine that.  We had to use a car, because we lived way out in the country in upstate New York, and the nearest neighbors were up to several miles away.  I would tell you that I always enjoyed those birthdays, and somewhere deep inside, that child who had wonderful birthdays and Christmas’s, is still buried deep within me, and that part of me, I might never let go of.  I would also tell you to have a great week.

Anxiety

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that this past week was too easy, and this coming week is going to be too difficult.  This past week, I didn’t have a care in the world.  I had no appointments to worry about, no transportation arrangements to be made, I didn’t even have to leave the building.  I’d tell you I had a great time, sitting outside in the beautiful September weather.  The only thing I needed to do was get a haircut, which I finally did on Friday.

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that this coming week is going to be busier.  I have to make all the final arrangements for transportation from my little corner of SE Wisconsin, to San Antonio, where it is still blazing hot.  But I have to wear jeans and sometimes even a long-sleeved shirt, because I have to spend each entire day in an air-conditioned building, that feels like the back of your local butcher’s freezer.  I wonder if we have a local butcher….  I’d tell you that I will be doing a variety of different adaptive sports for disabled veterans.  I’d tell you that I am going to be shooting an air rifle at a target that is ten miles meters away, and I can’t ever get the sights on the rifle lined up with the tiny ten dots that I’m supposed to be shooting at.  Then I will be playing table tennis, which is one of my favorites.  The last event I will be doing is Bocce Ball, which I first played in San Antonio, two years ago.  I have played since, and my skills are improving with every event I attend.

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my anxiety level is rising towards the roof with every breath I take.  I would also tell you that I made a mistake on my airline reservation, and they so kindly charged me an extra $200 for that little.  I would also tell you that I learned a lesson about airline reservations, and that is to wait until I have all the schedule information.  I found it was entirely wrong both going and coming back.  To change the reservation again,  the freaking airline so kindly charged me another extra $200, so now I’ve paid just about enough to fly there and back – twice!  Maybe next year I’ll stay home for that event, and try going somewhere else where it isn’t quite as hot.  Maybe the Winter Sports Clinic in Colorado, where I can learn how to ski?

Weekend Coffee Share

Image result for coffee imagesIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you it has been quite a week that I went through.  It was another week without any appointments, which is still so hard for me to get used to.  I would tell you that I wrote a post every day this past week, as I take part in the Taboo Word Challenge that is being run by Eric, over at All In A Dad’s Work.  I must have gotten distracted by something and I never came back and finished this post.

The Window

Image result for coffeeIf we were having coffee, I would tell you about an interesting situation happening with my living room window.  When I was still living on the 2nd floor of my building, after living there for 16 years, we got new owners who chose to do some remodeling in the building.  This remodeling included a second elevator, which I was two doors away from, new windows which were to be more energy-efficient (they’re not), and a completely remodeled kitchen.  

Image result for coffeeIf we were having coffee,  I would tell you that the remake to my kitchen was wonderful, with new appliances and new cabinets, including a Lazy-Susan cabinet in the lower corner of the kitchen.  This gave us more cabinet space, and a stove which required a physics major, to figure out how to use the oven.  I am not a physics major, and it did take me some time to figure out how to even pre-heat the oven.  The microwave still got a lot of use, and pizzas were ordered in.  The Lazy-Susan was filled to the max with canned goods, which made them easier for me to reach from my wheelchair.  This remodeling was done in December, including the installation of the new windows, which were framed in white, and easily removed, to clean them on the outside.  As far a being energy-efficient . . . the cold air still came through those new windows.

Image result for coffeeIf we were having coffee, I would tell you that I really liked my new kitchen, but after living in my apartment for over 16 years, a handicap-accessible apartment on the first floor became available, and my name was next on the list.  I jumped at the chance to finally move into an apartment, where I could actually roll up under the sink to wash some dishes, and sitting in the middle of the kitchen, I could grab things right out of the fridge, grab a pot or pan, get water, or pop something into the microwave (I had a new stove with different features than the one upstairs).  I would tell you how after only two days in my new apartment, I shattered the glass front of the oven door (I did learn that I was the 3rd person to do that and next time it would be $142 to fix it.  I had to call a friend to come down and sweep up all the glass which completely covered the kitchen floor, and even strayed onto the carpeting in the living room.

Image result for coffeeIf we were having coffee, I would tell you that my cat loved the move, as she could now sit in the window at the ground floor level, closer to all the critters that ran, flew, or walked by the window.  I would tell you how I almost had a heart attack the first time she saw a squirrel on the window sill, digging in my newly planted flower box.  When she saw that squirrel, she made a running leap into the window screen, which promptly popped out of the window, and out went the cat.  My cat is not an outdoor cat, and she had no idea how to deal with where she now found herself.  I would tell you that I raced outside and around to the backside of the window, and snatched up the cat before she even saw me coming.  I would also tell you that I had to rearrange my living room a bit, to prevent her from popping out of the window again, and find someone who could pop the screen back in place.  I would also tell you that I now get very nervous anytime someone or something passes by my windows.  My cat is now 10 years old, and the only time she had ever been outside, was when she was in her crate, being taken to the vet.  I also keep the windows closed and the air on, more than I needed to upstairs.  Other than that incident, moving down here has been great.  I’m still not sure, though, what I’m supposed to do with the cabinets above the refrigerator.  Anyone have any ideas?

Weekend Coffee Share

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I would tell you that I had a great, if tiring week.  I spent Tuesday thru Thursday in Chicago, for the Valor Games Midwest.  This is an adaptive sports event for veterans and active duty personnel who are physically disabled, or blind, or have PTSD, which I can tell you is very disabling, or traumatic brain injury.  I signed up for the field event throwing the discus and hand cycling only, as I didn’t want to trigger the MS due to the extra fatigue I might experience.

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I would tell you that I was so worried about making travel connections, I google-mapped my route from the bus that took me to another bus that took me to a train Image result for Trainthat took me to a bus that took me to Soldier Field, in Chicago.  My travel and connections all went well.  The discus throw earned me a Gold medal Gold Medal
and the hand cycling earned me a silver medal, IMAG0017which was so unexpected that I had to wait for my chair to power up so that I could roll up the second place ramp, to receive the silver medal.

I would tell you that when I saw the pictures of myself on that podium, I felt much older, because of how grey my hair has become.  But after a bit, I realized that color of my hair didn’t necessarily match the age of my body, or my abilities.  I was also inspired to do some strengthening of my upper body, and continue to compete in these, and other adaptive sports for disabled persons, veteran or not.

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have a quiet week ahead, with only one appointment.  I hope she doesn’t end the session early because she is ill again.  I would tell you that having BPD causes me to feel as though I’m being abandoned when she cancels an appointment, that I take it as though she does it on purpose, because she knows that it’s a day on which I have an appointment with her, and it has happened several times.  This, among other thought patterns, is something that I am now aware of what the truth is, and that I just have to convince the little me it doesn’t have anything to do with me.  I would also tell you that I have inappropriate emotional responses, that these are exaggerated and that I have a negativity in myself that causes low self-worth, negativity, and inadequacy, especially when problem solving.

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I would tell you that you are part of the new world I have let happen, in my blogosphere, people that I didn’t even know, read the thoughts and reactions and behaviors I have experienced and still do to some extent, and opened myself up to the comments and support of these people, and that I now feel as though I’ve known you all for the four-plus years that this blog has been my outlet.  You help me to believe in myself, that I can accomplish great things, in my writing and also in the things I try to do, even if the thought of it scares me or seems impossible.  The impossible is becoming possible, and I thank you all for your help.

If We Were Having Coffee

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that it has been a long week.  I have not been able to go anywhere, due to the heat and humidity.  Fortunately, I didn’t have any appointments to go to during the week.  I’d tell you that I have a fascinating (at least to me) idea for a new blog I’d like to start, as well as some changes to the looks (Not the content!) of this blog.  I’d tell you I spent a tremendous amount of time, playing Sudoku online, as I play that to try the repair some of the deficits in cognitive ability due to nerve damage on my brain from MS, by stimulating new nerves to take the place of the damaged nerves, with new ones (not sure that has helped).

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee,  I’d tell you that I spent Friday baking goodies for us to eat with our coffee.  I’d tell you I made a delicious carrot cake with cream cheese icing, and molasses cookies (because they are my all-time favorite, after chocolate),  but the cookies were burned because I forgot to set the timer on these newfangled stoves they put in here.  The weather here has turned a bit cool after the storms went through, and I had to put on jeans for the first time all summer.  The air conditioner is off and the cat is enjoying the open window.  Unfortunately, my flowers in the window boxes on the sills did not fare well due to me or the weather (I’d rather blame the weather).  I may have to try something different next year.

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I have an exciting week ahead.  I will be going to Chicago for three days, for the 2016 Valor Games Midwest.  These games have been adapted for veterans with many different types of disabilities, ranging from Archery to Tandem Cycling (for the ones who cannot see), as well as Field events, Indoor Rowing, and some exhibition sports that we can try out, and see if it is something we would like to pursue.  I’d tell you that since I’m either sitting, or in bed for the night, I don’t get much exercise, except when I use my manual chair when someone gives me a ride somewhere.  So I play adaptive sports in the summer, both for the competition, the wish to push myself a little further, to meet up with old friends, or just cheer for our teammates.  I’d tell you I went to Salt Lake City the end of June, into July, and that I won a bronze medal in 9-ball, a silver medal in bowling, and a gold medal for the Power Slalom, which is just a fancy way to say an obstacle course for power wheelchair.  I’d tell you that I don’t do it for the medals, but for the competition with friends I’ve met over the years, conversations by the pool that can last half the night, and the opportunity to travel all over the US.  I’ve been to events from the western part to the state to the eastern part, and I have yet to visit a city I haven’t liked, except for maybe the heat.  I’d also tell you that in September I’m going to San Antonio for the Valor Games Southwest.  This will be my third year going, but this year is the first year that I’ve had to pay for everything myself.  I was charged an extra $200 for my flight, because I changed my departure day to return home, from Friday to Thursday.  Then I turned out I had the return flight scheduled on the correct day the first day, but my departure from home was a day early.  So I cancelled the reservation entirely (BIG mistake) and applied for a refund for the entire trip.  I then made a new reservation, on the correct days, but was later informed that I would not be receiving a refund at all from the first reservation.  Any ideas how I can do that??  I would also tell you that I won’t be posting much this week, due to my travels.  And I would tell you to have a great week!