July 2009


This morning was the worst morning yet in regard to fainting.  I don’t recall that she fainted during the trips to the commode during the night and in the morning.  When she got up, we made it through pills and her usual yogurt, juice, and today she chose a granola bar from the other regular options. 

Then the fainting began in earnest.  She fainted every time she stood up even to transfer from the dining room chair to the transfer chair.  What was most concerning to me was that after moving her in the transfer chair to her usual spot by the little table to watch television, she fainted.  She was sitting in the chair, had not gotten up and down, but was just sitting and went out cold. 

Orthostatic Hypotension is the blood vessels not constricting when a person stands up, allowing gravity to keep most of the blood in the lower part of the body, slowly reducing the blood flow to the brain.  She was just sitting down.  She had not gotten up. 

Of course, after she came out of that syncope, she insisted on standing up, and fainted every time.  I asked her if she wanted to lay down for a nap, but she was determined not to do that today. 

She decided that she wanted to get dressed.  I rolled her into the bedroom.  When she stood up, she fainted again. When she has fainted, sometimes when she comes around, her eyes shut tightly, her lips purse and she sort of twists her head to the side.  That usually means that she has shut down and can only lie down and nap.  This time I asked her again if she wanted to lie down, expecting either a yes or no answer.  She said no.  I asked if she wanted to get dressed.  She said yes.  She was determined.  I managed to get her transferred to the bed to begin the process of taking off her top to get dressed. 

She fainted again just sitting on the bed.  This time I just arranged her on the bed, covered her with the sheet and she stayed out and slept for a time.  She did not sleep quite as long as on other days, maybe an hour or hour and a half. 

When she woke up, she was better.  While she still fainted, she could stand up longer and did so more in accord with the pattern of previous days.  The rest of the day has continued the pattern of the last couple of weeks.  She was able to function.  As has been so recently, I could not really leave the room to speak of, since she continued to be in pop-up mode.  She could walk eight or ten feet, but then needed to sit down. 

The Cardiologist’s office called this morning to respond to my request about increasing the Midodrine, the medicine that raises her blood pressure to minimize the syncopes due to the Orthostatic Hypotension.  The suggestion was to increase each of the three doses in the day by 50%.  Instead of one pill, one pill, and then a half pill four hours apart, it could be increased to one and a half pills, one and a half pills and one pill four hours apart. 

Normally I would titrate the increase over a few days.  After this morning, I decided to make the full change right away.  The noon and suppertime doses have been increased.  Tomorrow morning that dose will be increased.  My hope is that this will move us back over the threshold to a more manageable pattern.  We live very close to the margins of functionality. 

We should know pretty soon if the change will take us back to the version of normal we were experiencing a couple of weeks ago.  We may have to adapt to a new normal.  We prefer the old normal to this new one that seems to be trying to emerge. 

If you want to write a comment about this or any of the posts on this blog, look to the column on the right side of this page, titled “Recent Posts,”  click on the name of a post and you will find a box at the end of that article in which you can write a comment.  Clicking on the title of the post you are reading will accomplish the same thing.  Comments are appreciated.

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Today was a little better, but not much.  So far, the decline is having more of a permanent than a temporary feel.  As always, tomorrow things may change.

It’s all about the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).  I have just been looking at some online information about the ANS, the Parasympathetic Nervous System, a subset of the ANS, and Acetycholine, a basic Neurotransmitter that communicates messages to various parts of the body.

Sounds technical, but for me it has very practical implications.  The messages that are communicated from the ANS impact the movement of the iris/pupil in the eyes, the glands, sweating, the mucosa (nose running and drooling), the smooth muscles of the heart, the vascular system and its capacity to constrict and dilate blood vessels, the alimentary canal from top to bottom, food entering, begin digested and waste leaving, bladder function and urine production.

The list of actions under the control of the Autonomic Nervous System is a list of Mary Ann’s Problems.

We have gone to the Optometrist many times to try to get glasses that will fix her eyes ability to focus and make reading possible.  Her eyes and those of many with Parkinson’s will not cooperate.  Changes in glasses have no impact on the problem.  It is a combination of the ability to concentrate and the eyes inability to function normally.

There is hardly need to say again just how debilitating the daily sweats are when they come.  The fact the the ANS acetylcholine transmitter talks to the sweat glands and other glands in the body is very revealing.

Mary Ann’s nose has been running constantly for a decade.  We buy four ten packs of Kleenexes when we go to Sam’s Club.

The problems Mary Ann has with her heart may or may not have anything to do with the ANS, but certainly her life long problem with high blood pressure and now low blood pressure does.  The ability of the blood vessels to constrict when standing up is governed by the ANS as it connects with the smooth muscles around the blood vessels.  That ability is compromised by the disease and medications.

The workings of the alimentary canal are an obvious problem as Mary Ann has struggled with constipation for most of her life, now worsened by the Parkinson’s and meds as the smooth muscles around that canal slow.

The frequent urination and incontinence are on the list of bodily functions impacted by the Autonomic Nervous System.  Our lives are dominated by the actions of that canal.

I guess it doesn’t really make any difference that I can see the connection between Mary Ann’s many non-motor symptoms and the Autonomic Nervous system, but somehow it seems helpful to put some of the pieces together.  I don’t like it any better, but I understand it better.

One thing that is clearer to me is that there is not a whole lot we can do about the decline that is happening.  The Autonomic Nervous System governs involuntary actions.  We can’t decide to make it work better.  It has a mind of its own.

It is just confirmation of the obvious: we are not in control.  We can watch and react, we can whine and complain, but we can’t fix it.   We are left to live with it.  That is what we are doing.

If you want to write a comment about this or any of the posts on this blog, look to the column on the right side of this page, titled “Recent Posts,”  click on the name of a post and you will find a box at the end of that article in which you can write a comment.  Clicking on the title of the post you are reading will accomplish the same thing.  Comments are appreciated.

This morning Mary Ann began the day feeling very weak and wobbly.  She had fainted more than once during the night at commode times.  She fainted more than once this morning.  She took her pills with juice and yogurt, but was not interested in the usual cereal afterward.  She just wanted to go back to bed.  She slept for a couple of hours. 

For the rest of the day, she has been able to walk only very short distances until she either fainted or couldn’t go any farther needing to sit down.  She did manage to get to the car so that we could, using the wheelchair as usual, head to Perkin’s for pancakes. 

While she was restless and in popping-up mode after that through suppertime, she still could not walk more than a few feet without having to sit down.  That, of course, meant I was also in popping up mode. 

Today has not been unlike many days in the last couple of weeks.  She did seem weaker even than prior days in that period.  The question is the one that is always at least in the wings but now has moved to center stage again.  Is this a temporary decline or a permanent one, a new plateau on the journey down the Parkinson’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease Dementia path? 

I realize that worrying about whether it is permanent or temporary accomplishes nothing, but it just seems to be time for a little fretting on the matter.  What is especially of concern with this disease is the rate of decline.  We understand there is one direction this is going.  The rate at which it is traveling is at issue. 

The hallucinations are becoming stronger and more relentless, and the fainting is returning with a vengeance.  Moments of confusion seem to be more frequent.  All of those things are around all the time, so the challenge is to measure their intensity and frequency.   That is easier said than done since changes for the better and for the worse are incremental and seldom consistent.  

It is hard to know when the change is enough to warrant calling the Cardiologist or Neurologist.  If we do, what will either of them do that is not already being done?  We know the cost to be paid in destructive side effects if we raise levels of medication to control the problems as they worsen. 

There is no stopping the progression of this disease.  None of the medications currently available have the p0wer to slow the disease process, at least by the time the disease reaches this stage.  We have pretty well exhausted the options for controling the symptoms.  We are now left to the vagaries of the the daily and weekly and monthly ups and downs of the disease itself. 

There may be a change for the better coming, who knows, certainly not I.  We will continue to do as much as seems doable.  We have a major trip scheduled at the end of this month.  My hope is that the current apparent decline does not put that in jeopardy.   Maybe this time, what goes down will come up again on this roller coaster ride. 

If you want to write a comment about this or any of the posts on this blog, look to the column on the right side of this page, titled “Recent Posts,”  click on the name of a post and you will find a box at the end of that article in which you can write a comment.  Clicking on the title of the post you are reading will accomplish the same thing.  Comments are appreciated.

The phone started ringing early (for us) on the Fourth of July.  The first call was from the Funeral Director to obtain the new Pastor’s phone number.  The second call was from the new Pastor on a much needed vacation with his family from whom he has been separated most of the time for the last five months.  He asked me if I would do the funeral.  Since I served the congregation for over twelve years until I retired almost exactly a year ago, I know the family well.  I agreed to do the service.

I have now been reminded how difficult it had come to be just to do the basics of the ministry before I retired.  Even with the Volunteers who have been so willing to stay with Mary Ann, scheduling appointments and meeting times on short notice is beyond complex.  

Just the phone calls are sometimes difficult to handle since Mary Ann’s need for help often comes with little warning, no matter what I am engaged in.  Completing a phone call, especially a long one, is sometimes virtually impossible due to a fall or a bathroom need. 

This family includes one of those who has Volunteered with Mary Ann in the past, so she suggested that the first planning meeting be at our house.   That eliminated the need for trying to get a Volunteer on the Fourth of July weekend with less than 24 hours notice.   The meeting was scheduled for 2pm.  The morning routine started fairly late in the morning.  The morning fainting spells began and a long nap meant that getting Mary Ann dressed came early in the afternoon.  I needed to make a meal.  The ingredients for a Quiche were in the house and ready to go. 

I started during her nap and moved sort of methodically completing each step before going on to the next.  I knew if I had hot pans cooking bacon and preheating oven and sauteeing onions and egg mixture and softening cream cheese all going at once, along with Mary Ann’s multiple requests, all needing to be done before the family arrived, the stress on this inexperienced and unskilled cook would be explosive.  The timing worked out so that the Quiche would not be done before they came.  Mary Ann needed something else to eat since she had not had anything to eat since pill time about an hour before the nap began.  I tried to postpone the meeting but could not get through to them. 

I managed to get my clothes changed for the meeting, the Quiche in the oven and scrambled eggs made from the leftover egg mixture, onions, bacon and cheese for Mary Ann to eat. 

When the family came, we met on the back deck while Mary Ann was eating and the Quiche was cooking.  I left the meeting periodically to check on Mary Ann, adjust the oven temperature, and take the Quiche out of the oven.

Understand, the meeting was with parents who had just lost their adult son.  One of their daughters, his sister, was with us.  Ministering to people in such painful circumstances demands full attention.  People deserve that kind attention when they are in such powerful grief.  The Son who died had lost a daughter at two and a half years of age many years ago.  The pain of losing that Granddaughter was still fresh after all the years.  Mom had lost her mother when she was just a little girl.  Those feelings remain intense. 

It is important to be there for people in times of such grief, in this case in multiple layers, listening intently and responding in ways that validate the pain and help provide a framework with which to handle it.  It is hard to do that while running back and forth to deal with another center of focus equally complex. 

Today reminded me why I made the decision to retire.  Doing a responsible job serving the people of the Congregation and being there for Mary Ann at a time of such need simply had moved beyond the limits of my ability. 

This week will include another very substantial meeting with the family to process feelings and gain information for the message at the funeral.  There is already a Volunteer scheduled at a time that was workable for the family.  There will be a number of hours after Mary Ann is in bed writing that message.  I have just completed the plan for how the service will be done, putting the pieces together so that a service folder can be prepared. 

For the funeral itself, Volunteers are simply not available (at least not so far) since some will be attending the funeral.  Mary Ann may be able to attend, but will need someone to help her during the time I am attending to the service and its preparations.  If she attends the service, that Volunteer is in place.  If she cannot go, I will need to arrange a paid agency person to serve as backup.  That may or may not work out. 

On Sunday afternoon I will be conducting the Ordination Service for a young man who has completed training and internship and will begin serving a congregation in Iowa the following week.  The plans for a companion for Mary Ann and an agency backup are now in place. 

The convergence of work needs and Caregiving needs is something that some who read this blog are experiencing.   To you I say, if you think what you are doing is impossible, you are right.  You are doing it and will continue to do it.  As I look back, I have no idea how I survived.  Those of you who are working full or part time and Caregiving also have no answer to give when someone who knows what you are doing asks, “How do you do it?”

I am being reminded this week why I retired.  I am grateful that I could, and glad that I did.  Mary Ann and I need every hour of every day just to deal with what the Parkinson’s and Parkinson’s Disease Dementia.  We are full time care partners.  It is what we are called to do. 

If you want to write a comment about this or any of the posts on this blog, look to the column on the right side of this page, titled “Recent Posts,”  click on the name of a post and you will find a box at the end of that article in which you can write a comment.  Clicking on the title of the post you are reading will accomplish the same thing.  Comments are appreciated.

It was a perfect time to be on the deck.  The temperature was in the high 70’s and there was a breeze blowing.  There were some hazy clouds occasionally filtering the bright sunshine.  The deck was partly in the shade and partly in the sun.  The sound of the splashing waterfall echoed providing accompaniment to the raucus squawking of Grackles and Blue Jays.  I read and thought and pondered and read and pondered some more.  It was a wonderful couple of hours.

I got Mary Ann’ s breakfast and pills done; then showered, shaved (yes, even though I wear a beard), and dressed.  The plan was to head to the grocery and then out to eat.  She stood up from the transfer chair for a moment and flopped down into it.  Whatever the switch is that turns off her ability to function, it switched her off.  The plan dissipated and a long nap ensued. 

Adapting quickly to a change in plans has never been easy for me.  If I got into my mind what we were going to do, frustration was my usual response to being derailed, a disabling frustration, leaving me grumpy and annoyed.   Today, video monitor in hand, I just headed out to the deck and had a great time.  In some ways I am learning to cope with the vagaries of the Parkinson’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease Dementia.

When Mary Ann awakened from her nap, I got her dressed and ready to head out for lunch.  When we started the often endless task of picking a place to eat, she popped up with one we had not been to in years, Red Robin.  It seems to cater to the younger crowd, with a sort of boisterous atmosphere and very expensive burgers. 

I was happy that a decision came so quickly.  I mentioned the possibility of splitting a sandwich since they are large and costly.  I remember the first time we ate there.  It had just opened and there were lots of folks waiting for lunch.  Our name was on the list, but it seemed that others who had come after us were being seated.  I went in and asked why we had been waiting so long.  Somehow our name had been skipped.   As we were being seated, a manager came over and said that because of the long wait, lunch would be on them.  That was music to these frugal ears (big, but frugal).  Giddy with the thought of it, I decided to buy a beer, a Black and Tan (Guinness and Bass in the same glass).  As I was enjoying my beer, a bartender came by with a Black and Tan looking for the person who had ordered it.  He concluded that there had been some confusion, and I might as well have it.  While I just couldn’t manage to get two full beers down in one sitting (college days are over), it felt sort of luxurious to have them both sitting there for me to enjoy.  We had just had two full meals, a Coke for Mary Ann and a couple of imported draft beers for three dollars and change.  Yes, I did leave a tip based on the full price had we paid for the meals. 

This time we weren’t so lucky.  We got seated right away.  I had talked about our splitting a burger before we went in.  Then as we looked at the menu, both interested in the Salmon burger (made with a Salmon filet, not a salmon patty), I asked Mary Ann if we should go ahead and split the sandwich.  She always eats half and we take the other half home.  The burgers at Red Robin are between ten and eleven dollars each.   She said no.  It surprised me, since her normal response would have been yes.   I asked again just to be sure I hadn’t misunderstood.  She again said no. 

We ordered the two meals.  She finds it easiest to eat a sandwich if I cut it in half, and then cut the half in half again.  A quarter of a sandwich is about all she can manage to hold with her hands.  The fingers stiffen and lose dexterity when she is trying to hold on to something.  When she was working on the second quarter, she said, “I thought you were going to eat the other half.”  I am not sure exactly what happened that we miscommunicated so badly.  Red Robins are particularly noisy, and Mary Ann’s voice is very soft due to the Parkinson’s.  Most of the time I end up reading her lips when we are communicating in public, or in the car (can be challenging when driving).  It was annoying to think that we were paying eleven more dollars than we needed to, but I have come to be better at accepting and adapting.

One thing, however, that I cannot seem to accept, to which I struggle to adapt, is the messiness that goes with the dexterity problems.  I find it very hard to deal with my reaction to seeing the sandwich squeezed in her hand until most of it falls on the table her lap or the plate, sauce running through her fingers and down her arm.   Notice that what is hard to accept is not the messiness, but my reaction to it.  The reaction is internal.  My actions were attempts at helping her get the sandwich pieces back in her hand, suggesting she use the fork, then afterward cleaning her hands with napkins and a wipe from her purse.  I know she was uncomfortable with the cleaning I did, since it seemed that she was looking around to see if anyone was watching.

The messiness bothers me more than it does Mary Ann.  Part of it is that I happen to have grown up in a family with a Dad who was meticulous about eating habits.  Part of it is that Mary Ann doesn’t have the view that I have from across the table.  She is focused on getting the food into her mouth.  I see what doesn’t get there. 

Mary Ann did not choose to have limited dexterity.  All she wants to do is eat.  She does what is necessary to get that task accomplished.  My struggle is not with her messiness, it is with my inability to just take it in stride and ignore it.  I am self-conscious for her, when she is not.  I am embarrassed for her, when she is not.  It is hard to admit this, since she is the one living with the Parkinson’s and its impact on her ability to simply enjoy a meal.  I feel very petty.  In this regard, she is healthier than I am.   At least I have the sense not to allow my feelings to stop us from going out.  

Anyway, when we go out to eat, I don’t have to cook and clean up.  With that payoff, bring on the messiness! 

If you want to write a comment about this or any of the posts on this blog, look to the column on the right side of this page, titled “Recent Posts,”  click on the name of a post and you will find a box at the end of that article in which you can write a comment.  Clicking on the title of the post you are reading will accomplish the same thing.  Comments are appreciated.

Tonight we met a couple who have just received the diagnosis, Parkinson’s.  It was their first time at the Parkinson’s Disease Support Group.  I will speak only in general terms since I did not ask for permission to discuss their situation here.  As I listened to what they have been going through in incorporating the diagnosis into their lives, I couldn’t help but remember twenty-two years ago, when Mary Ann and I were in our early to mid-forties and the diagnosis came.

The couple tonight had been spending much time and energy trying to look forward, trying to determine what to do to prepare for what is to come.  There is so much information available now. I don’t know what the status of the Internet was twenty-two years ago, but, since we didn’t have a computer, its status is irrelevant to what we experienced then.

Information was hard to come by.  What was pretty unnerving was that the first Neurologists we saw didn’t seem to have much information either.  It isn’t that the disease had not been identified long before 1987.  The Neurologists we went to at first were not specialists in Parkinson’s.  Their staffs knew only the basics.  Since every presentation of Parkinson’s is different in each person, the basics seemed more harmful than helpful since they didn’t always fit Mary Ann’s experience of the disease.

During those early years, we did make occasional trips to Kansas City from Oklahoma City either to attend a Parkinson’s Symposium, or visit the Kansas University Medical Center’s Parkinson’s Clinic.  There we discovered a Neurologist and Staff who actually knew about Parkinson’s.  What was so frustrating to us as we went to the Neurologists in OKC was the discovery that we had come to know  more about Parkinson’s than the Neurologists and their staffs there.

Even at that, the knowledge of Parkinson’s in 1987 pales in comparison to what is known about it now, especially the non-motor symptoms.  I have talked about this before in other posts on this blog.  The question that has come to mind tonight is, what would we have done differently, how would our experience these twenty-two years have been different had we known then what we know now?

We talked tonight about the challenges that lie ahead for this couple.  They have worked very hard at anticipating and preparing.  They have searched the Internet and found lots of information, information that was not available when Mary Ann was diagnosed.  They have one of the best Neurologist’s around, one who specializes in Parkinson’s Disease.  Their situation is much more challenging than ours since both of them are dealing with physical problems.  The current Caregiver (now diagnosed with Parkinson’s) is likely to be needing care as time goes by. The one who has been receiving care is likely to need to become not only more independent but able to help the current Caregiver.

With the diagnosis only months old, it is hard for them to imagine how they will deal with what is to come.  When Mary Ann was diagnosed, we had no idea what we were getting into.  We did not have but a tiny fraction of the information these folks have.  The question wandering around in my head is what would we have done differently had we known what they already know, had we known what we now know.

The answer that first pops into my mind is, nothing, we would have done nothing differently had we known then what we know now.  Even with all the knowledge we have gathered over twenty-two years of listening and reading and learning, we still don’t know what lies ahead!

As we have lived out each day for all these years, we have used common sense based on the information available.  We found our way to a good doctor.  We paid attention and tuned in to the treatments and medications and reasons for them.  We went to the symposia and continued to read and learn.  When we moved we got a home that was fairly handicapped friendly and then increased that accessibility as soon as we could afford to do so.  At each step along the way, we made choices that accepted the most likely progression of the disease, choices that seemed to make sense.

We could not and cannot know what lies ahead.  We can simply create an environment friendly to our situation and trust that we will make good decisions as the days and weeks unfold.  We can only do what we have the knowledge and resources necessary to do them.  That is more than enough to do.  Yes, it means thinking about financial issues so that things are in place to the degree possible.  It means developing contingency plans within reason.  We cannot cover every potentiality.  We simply can’t.  We have had to accept that.  No one can know what lies ahead, nor is it possible to have every base covered.

The good news is that by acting responsibly, doing the best we can with the information and resources available to us as each day goes by, we have the best chance of dealing with whatever contingency may come.  There are no guarantees in life.  I am hardly the first one to come to that conclusion.  It is a truism.  By giving up the illusion that we can anticipate and prepare for every problem the diagnosis will produce in the future, we are free to live the day we are in with some peace and enough energy to deal with whatever that day brings.

The couple tonight had come to that conclusion after working very hard at assessing what the future will bring and preparing for it now. They will clearly make the best of a very difficult situation.

What lies ahead?  We have some clues, but only clues.  We won’t know what actually lies ahead until it happens.  Doing the best today with what we know, dealing responsibly now with what is actually happening, doing what we can today to position ourselves for what seems likely to come is not only a productive way to live, but it gives us the best chance of being able to deal with whatever it is that does lie ahead.

If you want to write a comment about this or any of the posts on this blog, look to the column on the right side of this page, titled “Recent Posts,”  click on the name of a post and you will find a box at the end of that article in which you can write a comment.  Clicking on the title of the post you are reading will accomplish the same thing.  Comments are appreciated.

We headed out for a ride in the lush green countryside, through bean fields, wheat stubble after harvest, freshly mown hay being rolled into large round bales, gently rolling hills as far as the eye could see.  The day was warm and sunny with comfortably low humidity.  We took our time as we traveled to Harveyville, Kansas, a thriving metropolis populated with 136 male and 114 female humans and at least a two cats.  One of the cats is huge, by far the largest cat I have ever seen — friendly, but as usual, in charge of the Jepson Pottery Studio.

The studio is filled with hundreds of finished pieces as well as many that are in various stages on their way to completion.  Owner Barry was busy at the wheel turning some unusual looking vases (I think), interacting with two of his four young adult children while he worked.

We had taken to him a dinner plate we purchased at a Medical Supply store. The plate is made of some sort of very sturdy plastic, functional, but hardly pleasing to look at.  It is obviously a plate for use by those with dexterity problems.  The center of the plate is about a half inch deep providing a wall against which the food can be pushed to get it on the fork or spoon.  Without that deep lip, the food often just slides off the edge of the plate on to the table or Mary Ann’s lap or the floor.  The plastic plate is very light, demanding a piece of Dycem (www.dycem.com/), given us by our Occupational Therapist, to keep the plate from slipping.

He made one plate for us to try.  It worked.  Today we picked up five more plates so that we will always have a couple clean for both of us to use. They look great.  Mary Ann had picked the colors, a deep red with an uneven thin blue area around the rim. The plates are heavy, so no Dycem is needed.

We had already gotten four of the chili bowls with handles made with the same colors.  Those bowls have sides high enough so that, as with the plates, the spoon can be pushed against the side to get the cereal on the spoon without sliding over the edge.  I had often needed to feed her the cereal especially when she got to the last one third of the contents of the bowl.  With the chili bowl, I seldom have to help. She can use the handle to tip the bowl, making it easier to get the last of the cereal on the spoon and into her mouth.

He also made us some deep salad bowls, that, along with the chili bowls, can be used for ice cream should that be necessary. By the way, after picking up the ceramics, we drove another half hour or so to stop at the Braum’s in Emporia for hot fudge Sundaes with pecans.

I recognize that it would have been cheaper to use the functional plastic plates.  It is also true that just because Mary Ann has Parkinson’s Disease does not mean the aesthetics of our environment are no longer relevant.  If anything, they are more relevant.  We have less opportunity to get out and see beauty since we are at home most of the time.  We choose to have a quality of life that is nurturing and stimulating.  Objects of beauty are not just unnecessary extravagances but are visual cues that our life together is not just a matter of getting by until we die.

For some reason, Mary Ann did not at all warm up to the idea of using one of the plates to hold birdseed and be placed on one of the flat rocks in the waterfall area in our back yard.  It would look so great!

Today I encouraged Barry Jepson to set up a small area in the shows he does all over the country, an area with items that are user friendly for those with physical limitations.  Since it is a very busy time for him, he is not yet ready to put these new plates on his web site, but hopefully it will happen soon.

If you want to write a comment about this or any of the posts on this blog, look to the column on the right side of this page, titled “Recent Posts,”  click on the name of a post and you will find a box at the end of that article in which you can write a comment.  Clicking on the title of the post you are reading will accomplish the same thing.  Comments are appreciated.

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