Saying Goodbye to Blogging

I’m coming here to say that after thinking long and hard, I’m pretty sure I’m saying goodbye to blogging.  It’s not what I want by any means.  It’s been fun but I’ll be very frank and tell you that I’m feeling quite frustrated.

Though I haven’t posted in a while, I guess you can say I’ve spent weeks “behind the scenes” trying to post.  Hours upon hours have been spent trying to correct “some problems” I’m having with this blog and I’ve gotten nowhere.  Frustrated does not begin to even describe how I’m feeling.   I realized I’ve gotten nowhere and I feel all these hours I’ve spent on this have been wasted.

Several weeks ago, while attempting to post a blog, WordPress would not allow me to post any photos.  After going to my media library, I found a message saying:

Looks like you have used 3.0 GB on your 3.0 GB upload limit (100%).  Since you are close to your limit, you might want to consider purchasing a WordPress.com Premium Plan.  With the upgrade, you’ll be able to upload mp3, m4a, wav, and ogg audio files (great for podcasting).

I’ve never even heard of m4a, wav, and ogg.  I have NO desire to do podcasting or try to figure out the more complicated Premium blogs.  I just don’t need all the bells and whistles of the premium blogs.  I need simple!

I realize I post photos with just about every blog I post.  Sometimes a lot of photos.  It’s something I just like to do.  I’m just a visual person and I do like those visuals, just as I prefer to read blogs with photos (it kinda breaks up the monotony of reading I guess?).  I realize I could continue on with just writing and not posting photos but I just don’t think I’d like that one bit.  I want my blog to be visually appealing.

Recently I spent some time in my media library as it seems my storage space was just suddenly gone which I didn’t understand.  I quickly noticed that there were sections of photos that for some odd reason were in duplicate or triplicate or repeated 5-6 times.  AHA!  I’d see several photos in multiples, and then scroll down some more, and there would be 5, 6, or 7 photos.  Again and again, this pattern repeated itself.   So yeah, I can see WHY I have no storage space left.

At first I believed this would be a simple fix.  I would just go in and delete the duplicated photos and presto, I’d free up some space!  So I started deleting these “extra” photos.   I also was deleting some photos I had uploaded that I never used.  In short, I spent hours upon hours and I didn’t make a dent.  It’s slow going, as I had to make sure I was only deleting the extra photos and not photos in a post that I needed there.  Since I’ve been blogging since 2010, it was taking a while!   Then I realized that even though I was deleting EXTRA photos (that for some reason just decided to show up in multiples), it removed those photos from my blog posts!  Aaarrgghhh!!   Which meant I spent even more time (time I really didn’t have) going back to all those posts and adding the photos back in.  So the more time I spend in trying to correct this problem, the bigger mess I’m making.  I’m tired and I’m frustrated.  I’m done messing with it all.

I’m feeling right now that if I spent every waking minute I have left on this earth, I’d never finish, or get it all corrected.  It’s messed up beyond what I’m able “to fix.”  And if that isn’t frustrating enough, all the hours I’ve spent deleting extra photos from my media library hasn’t freed up one iota of space!!

Now I’m seeing blog posts that say that all new “free” WP blogs only have o.5 GB of storage space (500 MB).  That’s quite a drastic drop from 3 GB.  The old predated blogs will keep their 3 GB.  WordPress Pro is an option but it is $15/month or $180 a year and gives you 50 GB storage space.   That’s a little more than I want to spend for a very complicated blog with bells and whistles that I know I will never use or need.  Actually, if truth be told, the thought of starting an entire new blog makes me nauseous.  So I’m pretty sure I won’t be doing that.  My husband is encouraging me to not give up blogging (he knows I love it so), and to start another new blog.  But seeing that new blogs now have so little storage space, and premium blogs are more than I need, it’s looking like neither is a viable option for me.

I love to write, and I’ve enjoyed blogging.  I was still learning.  Some things I never got right, like long rambling posts (like this one)!  And I’m sure I murdered the King’s English more than a few times – mistakes that probably had my mother rolling in her grave.  I try but I’m no English major and though English was one of my favorite subjects in school, it certainly wasn’t one of my best.  I’m not ashamed to tell you I’ve shed some tears over this decision and that I’ve prayed hard about it.  I’m sad at the thought of giving up my blog.  I don’t quit things easily so that should tell you something.  Blogging is one of the biggest enjoyments in my life since my empty nest.  But I think it’s time for this old gal to find another hobby (and that’s not going to be easy at almost 63 years of age).  I felt like I was finally getting up my courage to tell some hard stories, some important stories that may have helped other people.  But I figured God had other plans.  After I first prayed about it, I picked up a Joyce Meyer devotional and after reading it, it was like I was punched in the gut.  The devotional was all about not quitting.  It was about finding encouragement when you feel discouragement.  It was about getting “reassigned” when you feel resigned.  Was this God telling me to not quit?  And then it hit me, that maybe it’s not God who is telling me to give it up, but actually the devil who is the one not wanting me to tell these other stories that might offer help and encouragement to others.  I honestly don’t know.  I’m so confused.  How do you know?  Maybe I just overthink things too much.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not smart enough to go with a Premium Plan since I struggle enough with just this basic non-customized blog.  I’ve never claimed to be tech savy.  In fact, I’m quite the opposite.   Remember, I grew up with black and white TV, transistor radios, and rotary wall phones.  I STILL don’t have a smart phone (Yeah, I think I’m the last person on the planet who doesn’t own one and doesn’t WANT to own one).  I’ve heard the customized blogs are pretty complicated and probably way beyond my capabilities.  So yeah, right now, that does not even feel like an option for me.  Remember, I’m Wilma Flintstone who read WordPress for Dummies when I started THIS blog and didn’t understand 3/4 of what I read.  I was so lost.  The thought of starting all over turns my stomach.  This is just MY opinion, but I distinctly get the idea that WP wants to cater to the business/professional bloggers and not the more simple hobby bloggers like myself.  And I do understand that!  It’s money for them.  The free options are not very appealing and maybe that’s their intention (again my opinion).  Maybe I need to visit other blogging platforms but for now, I’m just tired.

So I guess this is goodbye.  I apologize for this long rambling and disorganized post.  It’s been fun while it lasted (almost 12 years as I started this blog in August of 2010).  I appreciate the few who read this blog regularly and those who occasionally commented.  That always meant a lot and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I have met SO many nice and wonderful people through blogging and though I’ve never met them, I feel we’re friends.  I’ll miss blogging terribly and I’ll miss you too.  💔 Broken Heart Emoji - What Emoji 🧐

Gail 💔 Broken Heart Emoji - What Emoji 🧐

Posted in Blogging, Change, Hobbies, writing | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

A Prayer for Ukraine

Image

Posted in God, prayer | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Adele- Easy on Me

Lyrics

There ain’t no gold in this river
That I’ve been washin’ my hands in forever
I know there is hope in these waters
But I can’t bring myself to swim
When I am drowning in this silence
Baby, let me in

Go easy on me, baby
I was still a child
Didn’t get the chance to
Feel the world around me
I had no time to choose
What I chose to do
So go easy on me

There ain’t no room for things to change
When we are both so deeply stuck in our ways
You can’t deny how hard I have tried
I changed who I was to put you both first
But now I give up

Go easy on me, baby
I was still a child
Didn’t get the chance to
Feel the world around me
Had no time to choose
What I chose to do
So go easy on me

I had good intentions
And the highest hopes
But I know right now
That probably doesn’t even show

Go easy on me, baby
I was still a child
I didn’t get the chance to
Feel the world around me
I had no time to choose
What I chose to do
So go easy on me

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Southerners and Snow

Twice lately, I’ve read comments by northerners about how southerners can’t drive in the snow.  I tire of this every year.  These type comments always tends to rub me the wrong way.  I don’t feel they completely understand our conditions and our situation here.  First of all, in the grand scheme of things, we don’t get much snow anymore (in middle Tennessee that is).  When we do get snow, it’s usually an inch or two or a dusting.  We can go years without getting any accumulating snow.  For example, my two sons grew up with only one or maybe two snows that were actually deep enough that they could ride sleds in.  I think they got to build one snowman when they were kids.  That’s all!  I hated that for them and felt they were cheated.  I grew up here and it seems we got quite a bit more snow back in those days and every winter the neighborhood kids had a blast in the snow sled riding, building snowmen and snow forts.  It’s a fun part of growing up that I feel my kids missed out on.  While we don’t get much snow here now, what we do get, is ice – freezing rain, and sleet.  When I was growing up, I remember people using snow tires or putting chains on their tires.  My boyfriend (who later became my husband) had studded tires.  He taught me to change a tire when we were dating when he was over at my house and it began snowing hard and he decided to put his snow tires on before heading home.  My father watched us out the living room window and decided he liked this boy I was dating!  But I don’t see that here anymore (snow tires or chains).  Because snow tires aren’t cheap and it snows so infrequently here, who wants to spend money on them when most years you won’t even need them?  When it does snow, it’s usually sleets beforehand and so there’s a layer of ice underneath the snow.  So yes, I get it that people in the north do have a lot more experience driving in the snow.  And no, we in the south aren’t used to driving in the snow because we. don’t. get. much. snow.  How could we get used to it and be experienced snow drivers when we get it so infrequently?

Also, remember that the south doesn’t have the advantage of snowplows, like in the north, to clear our roads for us.  When you only get a few snowfalls a year and usually that’s an inch or two, it doesn’t make sense for cities to invest in snowplows and other snow clearing equipment.  It’s just not cost effective.  Our residential streets are never cleared.  Main roads might get salted or brined but residential roads aren’t touched.  Our grocery stores and shopping center parking lots aren’t cleared either.  Some stores will put salt down on their side walks and occasionally in their parking lots but that’s about it.  I heard on the radio a couple of weeks ago, that the brine that is used here on the roads is no longer effective below 18 degrees, that at 17 degrees it will begin freezing.  Also, our snowfalls are usually wet and heavy.  Walk on that stuff or drive on it one time, and it pats it down and freezes it into very slick ice.  We usually don’t get the type snow that is dry that you can just brush away.  And oh yeah, there’s those pesky hills and curves here.   My husband and I can’t even get out of our neighborhood when we get ice or snow, as we have not one, but two steep hills to climb to get out of here.  And the first hill is entirely shaded and gets no sun, so it’s slow to melt.  No one comes and cleans those hills for us.  We’ve been snowed in and not been able to go anywhere or get off our street for a week or more.  Our mailman will not deliver on our street when it ices up.  We’ve gone long periods of not getting a paper or our mail delivered.

Snow Plow, Snow, Winter Service

You won’t see this in the south. I’ve lived here 61 years and never seen one yet.

No, we don’t feel comfortable driving on icy roads (because that’s usually what they are…. ice)!  I feel nothing shameful in admitting that.  I sure don’t feel comfortable driving on what is equivalent to an ice skating rink.  I don’t think too many northerners would admit being too great at that skill either!  And yes, sometimes we do go running to the store for bread and milk and whatever else we need because with our wet and heavy snows and our ICE, we often have power lines snap and break which results in power failures.  I admit, some people do freak out at the mention of snow and act silly.  I blame the media for all those empty store shelves sometimes because they can sure stir up a lot of hype.  We do make fun of the bread and milk runs here sometimes too.  I remember one particular bad ice storm we experienced when our kids were small and we were without both power OR water for almost a week.  That was not fun.   I’ve known people who have gone without power for much longer than that.

Many years ago, when my kids were in school, (one in elementary school and one in middle school), our county got a new director of schools.  The word was that he was from up north or had lived up north where they got lots of snow (I never knew if that all was true, but that’s what I was told) and that he thought it was absolutely idiotic that we closed our schools here with just the forecast of snow.  He made the comment that HE would not be closing schools here for snow.  What he did not understand, was that we get mostly ice here and not much snow.  He did not understand that we have no snow plows to clear our roads.  He also didn’t understand there are hills here in Tennessee.  Hills, cars, and ice are a dangerous combination.  So one day a big ice/snow storm was predicted.  He stuck to his guns and did as he said and he did not close schools.  It began snowing soon after school started.  Roads were getting bad fast.  Ice had fallen too.  School sidewalks and parking lots were nothing but ice rinks.  When schools were finally dismissed an hour or so early that day (which was much, much too late), buses got stranded and some wrecked.  Parents, who were told to come get their kids, went off in ditches and got stranded and weren’t able to reach their kids.  Some got hurt.  Traffic became gridlocked due to accidents, keeping many more parents from being able to reach their kids.  Imagine driving on an ice skating rink.  That’s what it was like that day.  Teachers fell on sidewalks and broke arms.  It. Was. A. Mess.  

Thankfully, the bus driver for my youngest son’s elementary school, called me and asked if my husband could meet her at the top of our subdivision.  They had ordered ALL buses back to the school immediately, and she had to turn around and go back.  She was not about to attempt to go down our steep hills anyway.  So her plan was to drop all the neighborhood kids off at the entrance to our subdivision, and she asked if we might see to it that all the children made it to their homes safely.  My husband did just that and each child got home safely.  Our other son at middle school was still waiting for us to pick him up as the same bus driver normally ran that route after the elementary school route was completed.  But buses were now grounded.  What normally would be a 20 minute round trip to the middle school and back, ended up taking my husband three hours.  This was before cell phones.  I was a nervous wreck not knowing if he was off in a ditch or had made it to the school.  He didn’t have any trouble and reported he slid only once but he saw multiple wrecks and cars off in ditches.  It was bad.  He made it to the school and picked up our son as well as our nephew and got them home safely.  Some parents never made it.  Most kids who were stranded at school were still there well into the night.  Food had to be brought in to feed them.  To say that parents were scared, distraught, and angry is an understatement.  The director’s office was inundated with phone calls the next week. I heard even that the above mentioned director of schools ironically ended up in a ditch during this storm.

Let’s just say, from that point on, that director of schools made sure that our county schools closed for snow.

My point is: Northerners are used to snow.  The south isn’t.  So yes, northerners do have much more experience driving in the snow than southerners.  I’ll ask it again: How can we get that experience when we rarely get snow here?  I honestly don’t know what’s so hard to understand about that.  I read a blog yesterday and the blogger called us “idiots” and had a few other choice words for the way southerners handle driving in the snow.  It was hateful and unkind.  I’ve seen the most skilled northern drivers come here for a visit and wreck or end up in ditches here in the south because our icy, unplowed, unsalted, and hilly roads ended up being a little too much for them too.  One driver from New Jersey told me he would never again make fun of how southerners drive in the snow, that it took him just one time of driving on our icy roads to “get it.”

Please, let’s be kind.

Gail

Posted in Weather, winter | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

The Dangers of Black Ice

My husband and I were having a conversation the other day and we both mentioned that neither one of us went outside with the last snow we had that covered the ground, streets, and our driveway.  Here in the south where we live, we don’t get much snow.  The average annual snowfall for the city I live in is only about 5 inches.  We’ve actually had more snow here in January (8 inches) than we’ve had in years.  Here we often get ice or ice under a layer of snow.  It’s also not uncommon for us to get black ice.  Let me tell you, it makes for dangerous walking and driving.

I used to love to get out and walk in the snow, especially on moonlit nights.  Not anymore.  My husband commented he doesn’t like to get out in it either.  I asked him if this meant that we are just getting old.  His answer was that he just didn’t feel as sure-footed walking on wet or slippery surfaces since he had his hip replacement.  And yes, he and I both fear falling.  I remember both before and after his surgery, the orthopedist really stressed for him NOT to fall.  It was told to him over and over, that falling wasn’t an option.  The nurses told him this as well as his physical therapists.  When they would tell him this, I was puzzled, because after all, most falls are accidents and most people don’t “plan” to fall or fall on purpose.  I just thought it sounded rather stupid anytime someone would tell him not to fall.  But whatever.

One year ago on Valentines Day, we had an ice storm.  Our news stations ran this story and video and it makes me cringe every time I watch it.  It made an impression on me and my husband.  It’s a video of a young couple who were on their way to go work out in a gym.  Unbeknownst to them, there is a layer of black ice on their front porch steps (which are kinda similar to our front porch steps).  Watch what happens.

I think it was the man’s gut instinct to help her and so he reacted and went down too.  Ouch!  They were bruised and banged up but thankfully, they weren’t hurt seriously.  Can you imagine if that would have been an older couple in their 70s 80s or 90s?  Or what if someone was carrying a baby in their arms?  Yikes!

That same day, I went out to empty our trash.  There was black ice on our pea gravel concrete driveway.  I discovered that the hard way.  Like this couple, I was clueless that there was any ice whatsoever.  I slipped and slid and skated right into those trash cans and did a dance to keep from falling.  Thankfully, I caught myself on the handle of the trash bin and didn’t fall.  I noticed the top of our trash bins were covered with a thick glaze of ice.  The streets, like my driveway, looked totally innocuous, but they were just like this porch.  Scary.

So yeah, this is why hubby and I don’t venture out much now when we do get ice or snow.  We think of this video.

Gail

Posted in Aging, winter | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Things I’m Loving These Days

I hope everyone is staying warm on this cold January day!  I was so happy to see the sun today and it lifted my spirits.  It’s melting the last of our little snowfall we got 2 days ago.  We’ve had four snowfalls in January which is very unusual for us here in the south.  Our snowfall for January has already exceeded our average annual snowfall which is only 5 inches We’ve had 8-9 inches fall in 3 weeks which is rare.

1. Stevia Sweet Drops

I really like these flavored coffee drops but they are getting increasingly hard to find in the stores, especially the chocolate.  I’ve also found some of the flavors in glass dropper bottles but they are also very hard to find.  I haven’t found the coconut yet in the stores and that’s what I want to try.  Yum!

2.  Owl Mug

My sweet sister-in-law gave me this owl mug for Christmas and I just love it….  It’s so dainty!  I drink my nightly cup of lemon tea in it.  I love the little round box it came in too!  I love owls.

3.  Twelve Coffees of Christmas

My mother-in-law gave me this set of coffees for Christmas.  Each packet makes 8-10 cups so it’s a lot of coffee!  I’m the only coffee drinker in this family so this will last me a good long while.  I’ve tried three of them so far and have liked them all.  I drink a lot more coffee in the winter because it seems I’m always cold.

4.  Live Stream Camera in the Namib Desert in Namibia Africa

I stumbled across this camera several weeks ago and quickly got addicted.  It’s a livestream of a waterhole in the Namib desert.  Right now they seem to be having some technological problems and the camera is down a lot.  The camera is on day and night and it’s been interesting!  I’ve seen giraffes, hyenas, ostriches, cheetahs, bat-eared foxes, warthogs, jackals, oryx, two wild horses, a family of porcupines, springbok, steenbok, wildebeest, zebras, owls, cape hares, hawks, and other birds I can’t identify yet.  It’s usually a very busy place and I’ve learned so much watching this cam.  I’ve seen fights and breeding among the Oryx, a few storms, many beautiful sunrises and sunsets, and even some humans.  I just love this live cam and can’t get enough!

5.  Cat Reading Book to Mouse Figurine

When I saw this darling little figurine in a catalog, I had to have it.  Isn’t it adorable?  I put it in my guest room on the little antique washstand by the bed and it’s perfect!

Gail

Posted in Things I'm Loving These Days | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

And 2022 Comes in With a Bang…

I always tend to get a little giddy at the start of a brand new year.  I feel like I have a clean slate in front of me and that everything’s new and fresh and I’m somehow starting over.  I used to make New Year’s resolutions.  The typical things people resolve to do at the New year were on my list, like losing weight, exercising more, and eating healthier.  And you can bet there was always a resolution about being more organized and clearing the clutter from my life (especially the basement clutter).  Year after year, I failed at those resolutions.  Yes, sometimes progress was made.  Some weight was lost or some clutter was cleared and the basement got a little cleaner, but overall, I always ended up feeling like I had failed.  I quit making resolutions.

This New Years, I made plans for 2022.  I thought maybe I had failed at those resolutions because I didn’t plan well and wasn’t organized.  So I sat down with a 2022 planner calendar and planned month by month.  My plans mostly had to do with how I was going to go room to room and declutter and make changes.  I had resources in place to help me.  I had books on clutter removal,  housecleaning books, and home organization.  I made lists on rooms I wanted to redo.   I had diet books, exercising books, and books on eating healthier.  I dug up a diet log and planned to log every snack, every meal I ate, and everything I drank.  I made an exercise plan.  I was going to walk everyday for one.  I even had plans for my blog.  I wanted to blog more and get over my writer’s block.  I decided I would follow some advice I once read for writer’s block in a blogging book for writers.  That advice was to use an editorial calendar.  What is an editorial calendar you ask?  An editorial calendar is simply a plan of what you’re going to blog about, and when.  I had a list of blogging ideas.  I started planning and filling in my editorial calendar.

New Year’s Eve came and went and it was a quiet one at this house.  We ate some snacks and watched some TV.  We celebrated and toasted with our usual sparkling grape juice.  I went outside a few times and caught some of the fireworks going off all around us.  I felt good and told myself that this was going to be a great year!

It’s been a tradition for us to start a jigsaw puzzle at the New Year, so my oldest son (who was home for 2 weeks for the holidays) and I began to work on this puzzle.

Just barely two days into January, I was sitting on the couch snacking on pretzels and broke a crown off a front incisor.  My heart sank because this meant a trip to the dentist.  My regular dentist, who I just adored and went to for many years, knew this tooth as being a problem child.  He knew all about my complicated dental history and all about the anxiety I feel when going to the dentist. He was so caring and compassionate and he made my visits easier.  But he retired in 2020 soon after COVID came onto the scene.  I miss him terribly.

I called the dental office the following Monday and they worked me in for Tuesday morning.  The new dentist was very nice and explained things well.  The bad news is that part of my tooth broke off inside the crown.  It was not a simple matter of gluing it back on.  It was no simple fix at all.  After giving me some options, it was decided that a bridge was the way to go.  Ugh.  It would require some dental surgery.  The central incisor tooth next to the affected tooth which was to be involved in the bridge, was cracked (a long vertical crack running the length of the tooth).  So this tooth would need some attention too.  They scheduled me to begin the work the following morning and told me to expect to be there for several hours.

I was at the dentist bright and early at 8 am the next day.  I was in that chair for 4 1/2 hours.  I had the broken tooth extracted and a bone graft done, stitches placed, and three crowns.  I had impressions and the temporary bridge placed.  The dentist explained that the cracked tooth ended up having some decay and while he was drilling and cleaning it up, a small pinpoint area of pulp was exposed so he went ahead and gave me a referral to see an endodontist to be evaluated for a possible root canal.   He said I may or may not need one, that we would have to wait and see if there was any pain or sensitivity in that tooth.  It seems whenever I have any dental work done, I always end up with some sort of problem or complication that requires more work.  This is part of the reason I’m always full of anxiety when I go to the dentist.

Towards the very end of the visit, I began itching.  I didn’t think that much about it and didn’t even mention it to the dental staff.  The itching became much worse on the short drive home.  But by the time I got home and looked in the mirror, I had a sunburn type rash on my abdomen, sides, back, and chest, and also had started developing hives.  I was having an allergic reaction to something.  I immediately popped a 25 mg Benadryl tablet.

I’ll skip the details, but this allergic reaction landed me on the floor of the shower hollering for my husband, because my blood pressure dropped and I got dizzy and weak and knew I was going to faint.  I remember thinking while I was laying on the shower floor that people can die from an allergic reaction and I prayed that God would please not let me die on the shower floor.  Hubby is a nurse and he got me out and into the bed and gave me another Benadryl as the hives were getting worse.  I felt better once I was laying down in bed and fell asleep.

The next morning I still had itching and some red splotchy areas of petechial hemorrhages, but my hives were gone.  When I called the dentist and told him what was going on, he said he thought I was having a reaction to the preservatives in the local anesthetic (bupivacaine).  He said it happens sometimes, keep taking the Benadryl, and he was glad that my husband was a nurse.  He told me I was in the chair a long time and had had a lot of local anesthetic.  The rash totally disappeared on about the third day but I itched for a solid week.

Back in 2004, I was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia.  The trigeminal nerve is a large nerve in your head (one of the cranial nerves) that starts near your ear and splits off into three branches that go to the eye, cheek and jaw.  Different things can cause trigeminal neuralgia and dental work is a common cause.  When I had it back in 2004, it was the worst pain I’d ever experienced.  I’ve had 2 babies, a kidney stone, a broken arm, and a broken tailbone, and none of that came close to the pain of trigeminal neuralgia.  I ended up seeing five different doctors- a dentist, oral surgeon, endodontist, my primary care doctor, and a neurologist.  They were all in agreement that it was trigeminal neuralgia.  The neurologist told me he needed to rule out Multiple Sclerosis, since  TN can often be an early sign of that.  I had brain MRIs, bloodwork, and a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) where they did  tests on my cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).  I ended up NOT having MS.  I was put on Gabapentin (Neurontin) and my pain stopped.  Ibuprofen helped too.

My previous dentist once told me that TN is the worst pain known to man.  I would agree!  He also told me it’s often called “the suicide disease.”  I told him I could sure see why!  I was warned it is usually a recurring condition and it might come back.  So you see, when you have trigeminal neuralgia, you live with a certain degree of anxiety because you wait in fear for that pain to hit you again.  It hits hard and fast, and it’s the deepest, most intense pain you could ever imagine.

A few days after this recent dental work and the allergic reaction, the trigeminal neuralgia reared its ugly head.  It had been over 17 years since my previous episode.  I recognized it immediately.  Sometimes before you get TN pain you will have numbness and tingling in your face.  I had that again and the exact same pain I’d had in 2004 and in the same areas of my face: my jaw extending down into my neck, my cheek, around my eye and just under my nose.  It was agonizing.  It leaves you just crying and begging for the pain to stop.  I called my primary care doctor who prescribed the Neurontin again.   I took 800 mg (prescription strength) of Ibuprofen three times a day.

I told my husband I don’t care to have dental work done anymore unless it is a life or death situation.   The problem is, I have to go back in mid February to get my permanent bridge.  I worry about another allergic reaction as well as the TN returning.  I was told I would be given local anesthetic injections again but the dentist said he will not use the same drug he used last time.  And I’m still not sure if I will need a root canal.  I haven’t seen the endodontist yet as I’m waiting for the trigeminal nerve to settle back down and heal.

I haven’t walked or exercised at all this month due to the pain and because I have a cold sensitivity in that area where the temporary bridge is.  Cold can bring TN pain on and believe me, I will do just about ANYTHING to avoid that pain.  Exercising gets my heart pounding and the surgical area in my mouth throbbing.  I’ve been outside and just a few inhalations of cold air about does me in.  I can’t drink anything cold so these days I’m drinking lots of hot coffee and tea.  Needless to say, so far, nothing has been accomplished or marked off for January in my planner.  My year has not gotten off to a very good start.

During all this dental drama, the dryer quit running.  And then my youngest son called to tell me he was sick and had tested positive for COVID.  It’s his second confirmed case of it.  This time his wife got it too.  I broke down and cried when I hung up the phone from him. I cried because  we were just a couple of weeks into the year and I felt like 2022 was already going to top 2020 and 2021 as far as bad things happening.  I wouldn’t have thought that possible.  Thankfully, my son and daughter-in-law are recovered and doing fine now.

So yeah, 2022 came in with a bang.  I guess things happen though and I have to keep working on having a positive attitude.  I’ll just be glad when all this dental work is over.

Gail ♥

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Holiday Lights at Cheekwood

I recently visited Cheekwood Estates and Gardens for their Holiday Lights display.  Cheekwood is a beautiful 1930s estate, and once the former home of Leslie and Mabel Cheek (for its history, click on the above link).  It has 55 acres of cultivated gardens and today the public can visit its botanical gardens, arboretum, and museum.

In late November through early January, they have Holiday Lights At Cheekwood, which consists of a million lights on a one mile path outside.  The estate has a few Christmas decorations as well.  My sister had free tickets as Cheekwood is one of the many places she volunteers, so again, she invited me to see the lights.

It was a cold night when we went so we made sure we dressed warmly in coats, hats and gloves.  I’m including some photos, because after all, don’t we all enjoy looking at Christmas lights this time of year?

Dancing Lights of Trains

Someone spent a lot of time on these train displays which were really spectacular.  It was hard getting a good photo of the trains as they moved quite fast!

On The Walk to the Mansion

The Estate

When I was a young girl in Girl scouts, my troop used to visit Cheekwood every year.  For many years, Cheekwood displayed their Christmas trees from around the world and it was a very popular place to visit at the holidays.  They stopped doing the Christmas tree display many years ago.  The mansion did have a few Christmas decorations.  I was glad the mansion was requiring masks (and grateful they were very strict about it and asking unmasked people to leave) and I was also thankful it was not crowded inside when we were there, otherwise I would have skipped the indoor part).

My sister

This was a 20 ft. live orchid tree!

 On the Grounds of the Estate

A lovely fountain

How did they get lights under the water?

The moon between the branches

Outside the horse stables

This year they added a Holiday Marketplace

Inside the Holiday marketplace

Behind the mansion, they had several s’more fire pits

Peppermint path

The photo did not do this justice. It was a shimmering, sparkling array of fall colors. So beautiful!

I hope you enjoyed the lights.  Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Gail

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Nashville Zoo Visit

Tis the season to be busy and busy it has been!  I’m finally getting around to posting about my trip to the Nashville Zoo which was way back on November 8th.  My oldest sister, who is retired now, volunteers there and had some free passes so invited me to come along for a day at the zoo.  It was a really nice day to take a zoo stroll (it was a particularly warm November day and was about 71 degrees).

The Nashville zoo is located six miles south of downtown Nashville.  It is an AZA- accredited facility.  The zoo has developed only about 90 of its 188 acres of land and is involved with international conservation and research efforts to save threatened species.

Enjoy the photos!  These are just a few!

Hyacinth Macaw

Hyacinth Macaws

Stanley Cranes

White-cheeked Gibbons

White-cheeked Gibbons

Siamang

Southern White Rhinoceros

Southern White Rhinoceros. This guy was massive.

Red River Hog

We had a late fall in Middle TN and for a while, I thought the leaves were going to fall off the trees before they turned colors.  But they finally did turn and I have to say, it was very much worth the wait.  These maple trees at the zoo were stunningly gorgeous!!  They took my breath away.

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake. Adults usually reach lengths of 4-5 feet and weigh 4-5 pounds!

Same rattlesnake from another zoo visit in April 2018.  Check out that rattle!

Short-tailed, Leaf-nosed Bat. I wish my photography skills were better as I couldn’t figure out how to get a good pic of these bats… my most favorite animals at the entire zoo. I could watch them for hours. So interesting!

Caiman Lizard. The Nashville Zoo is one of the most successful breeding institutions for the caiman lizard. Caiman lizards are threatened in the wild due to illegal trade for their skins, therefore there is a strong need for their conservation and protection.

Piranha.  I think these fish are so pretty.  They sparkle!

Galapagos Tortoise (I believe)

I loved the coat coloration pattern of these goats!

Alpacas

Flamingos

Flamingos

Clouded Leopard.

Clouded Leopard

Red Pandas

My sister and I ate lunch at the zoo at outdoor tables. We had the pleasure of dining with this beautiful onlooker. I was told the peacocks had all just came through a molt.

I don’t remember what the name of this tree was but it was a beautiful golden color. It was a member of the yew family.

I believe this is a Rhinoceros Iguana.

Mexican Beaded Lizard

Kangaroo with Joey in pouch

The Joey was restless and clearly wanted out to explore.  It did come out but mom was nervous and I could tell she really wanted her baby back in the safety of her pouch.  She turned it around and was encouraging it to get back in.  It did climb back in so wasn’t out long.

This is Matilda, an older female Kangaroo. Matilda only had one front leg. I don’t know the story on how she lost her leg

Meerkat

Meerkats checking out the intruders

I was a little disappointed that despite it being a beautiful and warm day, that the giraffe exhibit was closed.  No explanation except signage saying the exhibit was closed, but we later found out they had received a new giraffe to the zoo so the giraffes were in quarantine.

I’m including some giraffe photos from another visit in April of 2018.

It was a nice day and I enjoyed the visit to the zoo.  Do you enjoy visiting the zoo?  If so, what is your favorite animal to see?

Gail

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October Ramblings

I’m loving this autumn season despite our lack of color here in the southeast.  It was just two days ago that I first noticed a hint of red color in some of the maple trees in the neighborhood.  It just hasn’t been cool enough here to see much of a change in the leaves.  It’s another thing  I’ve noticed that’s different since my childhood days of growing up in the southeast.  We used to get lots of snow.  We very rarely do now.  We used to have vibrant, colorful autumns here.  We don’t now.  I’m hoping this year won’t be like years past where the leaves just turn brown and drop to the ground before any appreciable colors appear, but it’s looking like it might do just that.  I’ve been meaning to get out to the local state park for a fall walk, but between hubby taking a bad fall on the driveway a few days ago which caused a trip to the ER and a CT of his head (all was fine but it put quite a damper on the last few days of his vacation) and the rainy weather the past few days, I haven’t made it to that park.  I’m recovering from a back injury as well.

I visited both my sons in Alabama recently.  I was missing them a lot.  My husband and oldest son did some work around his house like pressure washing and staining his deck, pressure washing the vinyl siding on his house and the sidewalk, and some tree and bush trimming.  I baked pumpkin muffins, did some cleaning inside, and caught up on some reading.  Son #2 came by with his wife the first night we were there and we had dinner together and visited.  We also had dinner at their house the night before we left.  It was good seeing everybody.

I’ve been reading  After All, which is Mary Tyler Moore’s first autobiography.  She wrote it in 1995.  The older I get, the more I seem to enjoy reading memoirs and I really enjoyed reading this book.  It was a page turner with short chapters which I liked.

I grew up watching her on The Dick Van Dyke Show (which ran five seasons from 1961-1966) and The Mary Tyler Moore show (which ran seven seasons from 1970-1977).  I’ve recently been binge watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show and I had forgotten just how much I loved that show.  While some of it is dated, it’s still good to watch a good clean comedy sitcom with fantastic actors/actresses.  It has made me realize how “raunchy” TV shows are today.

Watching it had me wondering about Mary Tyler Moore so I decided to read her first memoir.  I’ll confess that after reading some of the one star reviews, I almost didn’t read the book, but decided to anyway and am very glad that I did.  A lot of the readers who gave the book a bad review commented that it was depressing and that MTM was a negative person who whined a lot.  I really didn’t see it that way at all!  She told it like it was and didn’t hold anything back.  She told about the good and the bad.  She did not have an easy childhood and grew up with an alcoholic mother and a very distant father whose approval she was always trying to win, even in her adulthood.  Perhaps people who didn’t grow up in an alcoholic household don’t know how that affects a child and the dysfunction it causes.  She battled alcohol addiction and lost a younger sister to a drug and alcohol overdose, and a couple of years later, lost her son to an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.  She also lost a brother to kidney cancer.  Mary Tyler Moore sought treatment for her alcohol addiction at the Betty Ford Center and later also gave up her smoking habit.  She overcame a lot in her life.  She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in her early thirties and suffered the side effects from that later in life.  Anyway, I loved this book and especially the last chapter, which was just so beautiful (I won’t give it away but she told the story of a horse she once owned that she named after her brother and she used the story as a metaphor for her entire life).  It was so touching that I read it twice and I must say, it made me tearful.  That last chapter is what made me give it a five star rating.

I think I’ll read Mary Tyler Moore’s second autobiography now,  Growing Up Again: Life, Loves, and Oh Yeah, Diabetes, which focuses more on her life with Type 1 diabetes.   She wrote it in 2009.

I have been remembering Halloween and how much I love this day.  I have so many happy memories of Halloween when I was growing up and we had such  a great neighborhood for celebrating.  I fondly remember Halloween parties, my father always carving a jack-o-lantern the night before Halloween with my sisters and I gathered around him.  My mother would always display it on the mantle top table in the living room picture window or on the front porch.  My father always took my sisters and me and a few neighborhood kids trick-or-treating after my mother fed us a dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade chili.   One year there was a neighborhood hay ride.  Halloween always brings back a tinge of the sadness of the empty nest though, as our family had so much fun decorating, coming up with costumes, trick-or-treating, Halloween parties, and reading Halloween books.  I do miss those days.  We also had fun traditions of going to pumpkin farms every year, where we would go on a hay ride, visit a pumpkin patch and take on a challenging corn maze.  We live very close to The Hermitage (home of Andrew Jackson) and a few times we went to Hauntings at the Hermitage which had a lot of fun Halloween activities – trick or treating, picking a pumpkin from a large pumpkin patch and picking cotton out in the cotton field.  A tour of the mansion was also part of the evening where the tour guides told ghost stories of the Hermitage.  The evening ended with a haunted hay ride through the woods.  You haven’t lived until you’ve zoomed through the woods with an intoxicated hay ride driver who decides it would be fun to turn the lights of the tractor out!

Today the sun is out for the first time in days.  I’m baking some pumpkin bread and making a pumpkin pie.  I’ll make a pot of chili for dinner since that was always a Halloween tradition when I was growing up.  I’m not expecting any trick-or-treaters as we live in a hilly neighborhood that isn’t real trick-or-treat friendly.  Besides, all the kids on this street have grown up.  But my candles and jack-0-lanterns will all be lit, and I have candy ready should any little spooks come by!

I wish you all a very Happy Halloween!

Gail 

Posted in Autumn, Halloween, Ramblings | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments