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 coffee mugIf we were having coffee, I would tell you about that squirrel.  During the week, I would look up from my laptop and see a squirrel on my windowsill.  I spotted it about the Image result for Catsame time as did my cat.  I am so glad the window has been closed throughout the week, due to the drop in temperature that we had.  I’d tell you how that squirrel causes my cat to come running from, I don’t even know where, race through the room and up in the Image result for squirrelwindow.  An occasional bird also causes that reaction from her.  I am always afraid that she is going to go right the window screen, and out on the ground. Fortunately, not that the temperature is cooler, the window has been closed, and I can stop worrying about the screen popping out, right along with the cat.  That squirrel has also left a little pile, of what I first thought was dirt, but appears to have shell pieces and other whatnot in it.  It looks like just a pile of dirt.

Image result for coffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I have finally started going back to church.  Last night was the second week in a row, and I have been asked to do an additional bit of work for the church.  I now run the Power Point presentation, which contains the words to the worship songs, so there is no need for hymnals in the backs of the pews.  This is a good thing, since we don’t have pews, but just rows of chairs on a gym floor.  I’d tell you how I started going to this church just one month later, from it’s beginnings in a rental arrangement with Image result for chairsanother church.  Since those early beginnings, we have moved three times, in eight years.  We moved from one church building to another, and that place became too small, due to the growth in numbers of churchgoers.  I’d tell you how we moved to a new location, with a larger sanctuary and adequate space for growth.  Unfortunately, due to the passing of the pastor at that location, the bills didn’t get paid and the church was closed after the electricity was cut off.  The first week after that happened, we didn’t have a church service, because we had no place to meet.  Then came another location, with rows of chairs on a gym floor, and that is where we have been since then.

Image result for paper coffee cupIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you how this church is not like the church your grandma went to.  The pastor, who has a beard which has grown to mid-chest level, and long hair, which is tied back in a pony tail.  He comes in wearing any shirt, possibly the one that he has worn all day, a pair of baggy blue jeans, and a leather vest, covered with pins and patches on the front, and the church logo on the back.  I’d tell you that if you were not a regular churchgoer, you would be surprised and feel comfortable there.  We are a biker church.  The church tagline is, “You don’t Image result for bikershave to ride to come inside!”  We don’t sing regular, but instead sing contemporary Christian songs, as well as some well-remembered songs from the 70’s and 80’s, which have had some of the words changed, to make it a song we would sing in church, as well as take home with you, in your head.  I would tell you that the pastor does not preach from the Bible, but rather teaches us about what the Bible has to say.  There is a mixture of messages, some or most of which often causes laughter.  I would tell you how, if you didn’t go to church (something I did throughout the entire summer), but wanted to know a little more about church,  if you came and listened to my pastor give his message, you are quite likely to come back again.  We are jeans and leather friendly, but you can wear most anything you feel comfortable in, as long as you are actually wearing clothes.  I would tell you that the way he gives his sermon, you learn about what is written in the Bible, as well as how it applies to us, even today, and have a website which I (as the church’s Webmaster), have revised, and then re-designed, and is chock-full of information about our church.  I would tell you that I’m going to do yet more redesigning of our church website, making it suitable not only for your computer, but also your tablet and even your phone.  I am going to be working on that project this afternoon, and hopefully will get it all working the way we all would like.

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.

Weekend Coffee Share

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I would tell you how my therapy visit was somewhat unsettling.  What am I saying here?  She made me angry.  She made me feel as though I were under attack.  She stressed for about ten minutes, how she spent more time with me than with any other client that she saw.  Was that a complaint?  Does that mean I’m a problem?  Should I be seeing her less often than twice a month?  I should hope not.  She has been my lifeline to my sanity for the past year and a half or more.  I was nearly devastated when she changed my appointments from once a week to twice a month.  And now I have to show up with a notebook, prepared with exactly what I should be talking about that day.  If she hadn’t done so much to bring me so far . . . 

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that this weekend has been one filled with anxiety, last-minute trips to the dollar store for mini versions of toiletries, so that I can travel this week, with only one carry-on bag, my laptop (no matter how hard I try, the decision to leave it at home never lasts) and my CPAP machine.  I don’t want to be tired all day long, because I had a poor nights sleep due to sleep apnea.  I’m trying to avoid 1) Trying to push around my big suitcase, while toting a carry-on, laptop and CPAP machine,  2) Having to wait in baggage claim until my bag finally appears and possibly missing my bus home from the airport on the return trip, and 3) Loading up with all this extra stuff I can do without.  All of this from a wheelchair.  True, it is a power chair, but that in itself is trouble as it causes me to be the last one off the plane, then often having to wait for my chair to appear, which could be a bit of a lengthy time coming home, at O’Hare.  And there is always the risk of damage to my chair, as it is a 400 pound power chair and the baggage handlers in Chicago just never seem to get it right, even though I’ve traveled to and from there for a few years.  I could not possibly tote around all that baggage while trying to push myself around in a manual wheelchair.

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffeeI’d tell you about all the exciting things I’ll be doing this week (not including the airports).  I will be checking into the hotel in the evening, and then checking in for the Valor Games Southwest, in San Antonio, TX.  I’d tell you how the elevator has a glass wall which looks out on the inner square garden.  There is also a hot tub, which I cannot go into due to heat sensitivity from MS, and a wonderful pool, lit up at night from under the water.  It is such a wonderful feeling to immerse myself into that cool water, after a hot day waiting to get on and off buses, which are transporting us back and forth from the game venues and the hotel.  I believe my first event will be with the air rifle.  I have rifled through my closets, looking for the eye patch needed to cover my dominant eye, so I am not struggling to keep my non-dominant eye open while aiming at a target which is 10 miles meters away.  And I also have to be wearing my glasses to do this.  I would tell you that another event I’ll be taking part in, is table tennis, a sport which I have played just about every year for the past 8 years.  My last event is Boccia Ball, which I first tried in San Antonio, on my first trip there two years ago.  It has since become an event in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games.  The Valor Games do not require that you be in a wheelchair, but just that you have a VA-certified qualifying disability.  I guess mine qualifies, as this is the third year I’ve been accepted to these games.  I’d tell you that just last month I competed in the Valor Games Midwest, in Chicago, where I earned a gold medal in the discus, and a silver medal in hand-cycling.  This is a sport that I’m looking into pursuing on a full-time basis.  And I’d tell you I’ll spend every evening (if I have any energy left) in the pool, and then trying to find a couple of people to drag me out of the pool, as I can’t get myself out with my legs.  I would tell you that I’ll be getting little sleep for the next 5 days, and that’s okay.  I’ll fill you all in with my results, next weekend.

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?