Sunday, August 29, 2010

After Katrina

After Katrina

This photo is of one of the two bridges over the Mississippi River at Vicksburg. I was never so proud of my small city as I was after Katrina.
Our people opened shelters, hearts, homes, and wallets. Local merchants would refuse to take money from evacuees for goods or services. Quite a few of our guests liked Vicksburg so much that they chose to stay and become part of our community.
Although Katrina brought out the worst in some, it brought out the best in many more.

Remembering Katrina

Remembering Katrina

Although I was 3 1/2 hours inland, the day Katrina hit was one of the scariest days of my life. Big trees fell all around my house, but, miraculously, none of them landed on it.
My sister was the first to get electricity, so we were 14 people, two dogs, and 1 cat all staying in her modest house. We could not get gasoline, fresh food was in short supply, and terrifying stories of people doing harm to each other for supplies were all over the news.
Fortunately, after about a month, my life pretty much returned to normal. My heart goes out to those still waiting.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mixed Blessing

Yesterday, I decided to take advantage of the improved hand control and vision I experience when I am on a higher dose of prednisone. Using my new Daniel Smith DuoChrome colors, I was able to a paint a "tone on tone" negative piece. The differences in these colors are subtle and harder to see than the brighter colors I normally use. 

A scan does not entirely reflect the richness or shine of these colors. They are proving to be a lot of fun to work with. Thanks to sales and free shipping, I can afford to splurge on some new art materials to play with. And the fun is just beginning!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Voice Verdict

Thankfully, I have no nodes or calluses on my vocal cords. But, my cords and voicebox are extremely inflamed. I will not be able to sing for several weeks. I will have to severely limit my speech as well. 

The worst part of this is actually the isolation it causes. As a speech therapist once told me, silence is not the way of our world. Writing notes is cumbersome and awkward and not always feasible. I am going to try to have my watercolor classes, because I can show them what to do without a lot of explaining. 

Prayers for healing and the restoration of my voice are appreciated. 

This too shall pass. 

Off to the Doc

After a month of coughing and sore throat, I am crying "uncle" and going to my wonderful ENT to get my vocal cords checked out. 

I want to sing!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sermon Notes

One of the many neat things I have been able to do on my iPhone is take sermon notes. I am not able to write in longhand quickly or legibly enough to do it any more. So, when I saw the "notes" application on my phone, using it for sermon notes seemed a logical thing to do. I have been doing this since last October. 

Now, sermon notes are not for everyone. But, for me, they keep me focused and I like being able to go back and recall the things that spoke to me that day in particular. 

This morning, I was kindly taken aside and told that some church members are distracted by my use of my iPhone and think that I am texting or surfing in church. Apparently, some of our members do not think it is possible for this 50 year old woman to use her iPhone keyboard quickly and efficiently enough to take sermon notes. 

Back when some of us tried to take sermon notes in longhand, we were criticized for writing in church. It is a no-win situation, I suppose.  I could try dragging my church into the 21st century, but that is probably futile. 

Since I am the person who loads the sermons on to the church website, I guess I can listen again and take my notes at home. 

But, it is just not the same. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Asthma, continued...

I guess I was hoping to be further along after three days of high dose steroids. Breathing is still something of a struggle. I am still coughing. And I am tired. 

I have not been able to really sing for almost a month and that is getting me down. It seems like the times I can sing are getting fewer and father between. Is singing really all but over for me at age 50? I know people who could still sing beautifully into their seventies and even eighties. I had always hoped and prayed to be one of them.

This has been a particularly hot and humid summer. Many of my asthmatic friends are complaining of the same difficulties. I am not alone. But, most of them are not singers. 

When my hands cooperate, art is helping to fill the void that not being able to sing leaves in my soul. 

But my soul needs to sing again. 


Wednesday, August 18, 2010


After 3 weeks of constant, not always effective use of my rescue inhaler, I have finally bitten the bullet and let my pulmonologist increase my prednisone to see if I can get this pesky asthma under control. 

Increased prednisone is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it gives me more energy, I have less chronic pain, and I breathe so much more freely. The downside is the feeling of being "hyper", sleep disturbance, and weight gain.  And I get pretty cranky when I wean back down to my normal dose. May have to send Bill off camping for a couple of days. 

But, since breathing is pretty important, I will take the bad with the good and do the prednisone dance. 

Sunday, August 08, 2010


When I began a counseling internship at the local mental health agency back in 1998, one of the first people I met was Pennie. 

Pennie had not been out of school for long, but she was an excellent counselor. Pretty and vivacious, she helped keep things loose in a job that could have extremely tense moments. I could go in Pennie's office, close the door behind me, and let off some steam. She always knew she could do the same. 

We worked together through the breakup of her first marriage, the suicide of one of my friends, my grandmother's death,  Pennie's remarriage and the birth of her son. 

When Pennie left, things were never quite the same at the mental health. She lives in Texas now, but we have stayed in touch by phone, email, Facebook, and face to face when she comes to Mississippi to visit family.  We can still crack each other up with just a word or two. 

Last week, Pennie had a mild stroke. It has been determined that this was due to a hole in her heart. She has surgery to repair that in the morning.  

So, tonight I am praying for successful surgery, complete recovery, and many more laughs. 


No, unfortunately, I am not talking about the weather, but a nasty summer cold that has hung on for two weeks now. 

Complicating matters, of course, are my friends MG and asthma. And the extreme heat has played its part. I have had a couple of days where even my inhaler has not been very effective in restoring free breathing. That is when I get just a tad bit scared. 

So, I have spent the past two days on the couch. I am going to attempt to venture as far as church this morning, which will, no doubt, be followed by an afternoon of rest. 

Fall is coming? Right?

Monday, August 02, 2010

Mitch Miller

I imagine a number of people are remembering Mitch Miller today. And I have a feeling that our memories are going to be almost identical. 

I can remember being 4 or 5 and sitting in front of my grandmothers old black and white Zenith TV with the rabbit ears on top. Supper might have been one of those old Swanson TV dinners, served on folding metal TV trays. My personal favorite was the roast beef. That dinner, in itself, was quite a treat at the time.

Then, the entire family would sit down in front of the TV. And we kids would literally be IN FRONT of the TV. I don't  ever remember any grownup telling us to move away from the screen. And we ALL sang along with Mitch and followed that ubiquitous bouncing ball. "When You Wore a Tulip" is still one of my favorites. 

I have to wonder if ol' Mitch is up in Heaven, leading a chorus of angels, perhaps? 

May 21st

May 21st is the day I have scheduled to get my second hip replaced.  I am not looking forward to the process, but I know that in the lon...