Saying in Focus: It’s Never to Late to Learn



Once more I must apologize for falling behind in posting to my blog. I had envisioned my retirement as a nice, leisurely time of life, maybe even having too much time on my hands, but that hasn’t been the case.

I have been able to slow down the progression of my pd  (parkinson’s disease) by keeping abreast of the latest developments and guidance from doctors and physical therapists and implementing them in my daily life.  Exercise of all kinds seems to be one of the most helpful tools, but it does take up time. Recently,  I happened on a website called http://www.invigoratept.com founded by Sarah King, a physical therapist. There is a wealth of information about exercise and nutrition on this site and I have joined Sarah in her challenge to exercise daily, for at least 2.5 hour a week. Today we begin week 3 of the 4 week challenge. She is also doing a series of live videos through her Invigorate Physical Therapy and Wellness Facebook page about nutrition and how what we eat affects pd. I’ve found her links to You Tube video sites of exercises developed specifically for pwp (people with parkinson’s) most helpful.

But physical exercise is only part of the picture. The brain must be exercised as well. My husband, Bill, and son, Steve, and I are into crossword puzzles and word games on our electronic devices, which help me slow down the ‘loss of words’ associated with pd.

I had never mastered Algebra in high school, so I purchased a book entitled “No Fear Algebra”and can actually say it is beginning to make some sense to me. Working out simple equations is like solving a puzzle.

I have always wanted to be able to draw, but was always too intimidated to take a class with other people. But I recently received one of the Great Courses videos – a gift from my husband – on “How to Draw”. This is perfect for me because I can pause the video as often as needed and I don’t have to rush or try to keep up with others. So far I have learned much about line and shape, aggregate shape, volume, figure-ground and positive – negative shape. There are thirty-six lectures with accompanying  lessons so it may be years before I finish.

Finally, throw in my interest in photography, poetry (see previous post for my latest) and reading, and that’s where the time goes. In a sense, having pd has determined the way my retirement will unfold, but if one has to combat a disease, why not learn a little something during the process? After all, it’s never too late to learn.


Staying In Focus: Their Future is In our Hands

Young Archeologists at Work.

My sister hit a home run when she gave my granddaughter a Smithsonian Archeology Kit for Christmas. It consists of a rectangular sunblock, goggles, a hammer and chisel, a paint brush and a magnifying glass. The aspiring archeologists “excavate” gem stones by gently tapping the chisel with the hammer and when one is discovered, carefully brush away the sand as the gem is removed from the sand block.

Both my seven-year old granddaughter and her five-year old brother had a blast searching for the gems. They unearthed 5 of the 11 gems buried in the block so far. Evelyn declared that science was the most fun and that she was going to be an archeologist/geologist/biologist because she wanted to go tomb hunting, find more hematite like the stone she had at home and work with germs. If anyone could achieve this trifecta, it would be Evelyn’

She is currently writing a “non-fiction” article about hookworms and other parasites, after reading about them in a book on the slimy side of science which Santa brought her for Christmas.  We gave her a laptop computer for Christmas, and she is already learning how to use windows 8, and drew her hook worm using a Paint program, and then inserted it into her Word file.

Although I am a proud grandmother who thinks her grandchildren  are the smartest and cutest on the planet, I know there are millions of other bright minds out there. Children who will grow up in a world where technology has exploded in its ability to transfer information, cure diseases, entertain us with the unimagined  ability to cross the boundaries between reality and the virtual world.

But I fear we are falling behind in preparing our children for this brave new world.  Our teachers are undervalued and underpaid, held to strict curriculum that allow for little in the way of creativity. This is boring for the students, and unpalatable for the best teachers. So they are leaving the profession in droves. Latest statistics show that 40% of those with advanced degrees never enter the classroom at all. Finland is reported to have the best school system in the world. Why are we not studying this model? Are we too arrogant to admit we can learn from someone else? If so, where does that leave my two future archeologists?

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Daily Prompt: Great Teachers/Staying in Focus: Passion Plays a Part

Daily Prompt: What Makes a Teacher Great?

Having been in the field of education for most of my life, either as a teacher myself or as a student, I believe that what makes a teacher great is a passion for her craft.  If I am not excited by the subject I am teaching, I will fail to ignite that spark in my students.  If I am not excited by the act of teaching itself, I will fail to spark a quest for knowledge within them, a spark which helps them to become active seekers of knowledge and not passive recipients. This is the key that can unlock their potential, open them up to new ideas and insights and place them on a path toward finding their own passion.

This is how we develop a generation of thinkers, of active minds capable of problem solving. This is how we develop our future leaders, founders of future corporations, scientists, medical researchers, musicians, and writers, those who will lead our country into a positive future. We need then now more than ever.

How does a great teacher make this connection with her students?  She grabs their attention with enthusiasm, communicated by her voice and actions.  She fills the air with expectation. She often begins a lesson or a new topic by asking questions and not by supplying all the answers, guiding her students into discovering the answers for themselves. She keeps them on their feet, never knowing what to expect next. She engages them, draws them into discussion, and lets them anticipate what will happen next. More often than not, she uses humor, too, which is  an invaluable tool. Let’s face it, if we look back and name a great teacher, those with a sense of humor stand out.

When was in high school, I took a social studies class. Rather than drone on and on about culture, economy and government, the teacher divided us into countries. We named our country, chose a form of government, developed a culture and then, given a budget to start things up, off we went. We quickly gained insights into the difficulty involved, especially as aggressive, militant states could declare war on us at any time. How much to budget the military? Do we do less for our schools? How about medical research, jobs for the people? Keep an eye out for inflation, overspending. Send money to areas devastated by flood. How much foreign help should we provide? That I can remember this class so clearly some 44 years later is a testament to its impact on me. I can now say, “Thank you, Mr. Courter, you were a great teacher!

I think it would behoove our universities and teacher colleges to pay more attention to developing this ability to communicate with enthusiasm, with curriculum materials that challenge and excite as well as convey knowledge, to approach teaching in an active, not passive, way.

Is it more important that I know Columbus discovered America in 1492 or that we risk civil unrest if we wage constant war without provocation?

A classroom screening of the musical 1776 can teach far more about the angst of nation building than all the textbooks combined. After that viewing, have students act out key scenes, rewrite key scenes  or write an essay on how one change in the Declaration of Independence could have changed history. Would it have been for better or worse? Students, tell me.

Children come to school naturally hungry for knowledge, a hunger which will diminish without being fed. It is a great teacher that recognizes this and answers the call with passion

Daily Prompt: Fifteen Credits:Staying in Focus: Memories in Black and White (Notebooks)

 Daily Prompt: Fifteen Credits

Another semester is starting. If you are  in school are you looking forward to starting classes? If you’re out of school, what do you miss about it — or are you glad those days are over? 

Memories in Black and White (Notebooks)

Although I often felt sad at the passing of summer, those long, sunny days of swimming, fishing, hiking or lying in a hammock reading the afternoon away, there was always a special anticipation which came with the arrival of September. We started school  after Labor Day, and so September brings to mind change, replacing summer’s freedom and ease with routine and schedules.

We would go to a store named Gellman’s to pick up our uniforms, to a shoe store for black and white saddle shoes and then to the Ben Franklin’s  or Woolworths for pencils and paper, black and white notebooks, and fountain pens and cartridges (remember them?  No ballpoint pens allowed in my school). To this day I cannot walk past a display of school supplies without getting that nostalgic feeling.  I can remember having a Dr. Kildaire pencil-case and a Monkees lunchbox.  Am I dating myself here?

I can remember opening that new black and white notebook, all the pages crisp and clean, that first page representing a new beginning, full of possibilities, a new year of learning waiting to be written. I remember how carefully I would write on that first page, practicing my Palmer method handwriting.  By the time the notebook was filled, it was dog-eared and tired, the excitement of a new school year-long past and replaced by dreams of Christmas vacation.

While in school our lives have clearly marked milestones. The beginning of the school year in September, Christmas and Easter vacations, the last day of school followed by an endless summer. Once out of school the years run together, and one day you find yourself gazing nostalgically at the school supplies in Staples.  Dr. Kildaire is long gone, and now vampires and zombies cover the spiral notebooks which have replaced the old black and whites.

Do I miss the start of a new school year? I guess, so, as I have just enrolled in an online course provided by my local community college. Some things change and some remain the same, and guess what? I can still find a black and white notebook wedged between the vampires and zombies. Now, I if I can only find that fountain pen!


school picture grade 8

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my first black and white notebooks


kindergarten homework

Staying in Focus: Final Thoughts and What I Learned on My Summer Vacation

Some final thoughts and musings on the best vacation ever. And what I learned on my summer vacation this year.

1. One of the things I enjoy the most about cruises is the escape. Just for a little while,  I am transported into a different world. A world where food is prepared for me, served elegantly,  and I don’t have to clean up afterward.  A world where my bed is made in the morning,  turned down at night, with a chocolate resting on my pillow. I can be pampered  at the spa, or relax  in the hot tub after a long day of sightseeing while I watch movies under the stars. In the theatre, talented singers and dancers entertain me. Numerous clubs offer after dinner drinks, trivia games, karaoke, dancing and entertainment.  A little TLC is welcome every now and then and the cruise lines have this down to a science.

2. I love waking up each morning somewhere else!

3. And the ships themselves, tastefully decorated and impeccably clean. I applaud the Princess and Holland America Lines for their excellence in this regard. Until I saw one up close , I had no idea how big these ships are and my admiration also goes to the captain and the crew who manage to steer these floating hotels.4

4. On this cruise I had the opportunity to complete a  “Walk on the Deck for the Cure,” in honor of my mother and my friend, Debbi, who are fighting breast cancer. I applaud the social director who set this up  and gave us  a chance to be socially involved while on the high seas. We had to complete 6 circuits of the ship to make the 5K goal. I was proud of myself, at 60 and with Parkinson’s disease , to have completed the walk. Below is a picture of me, still standing! A wonderful opportunity to take part in such a worthy cause.

5. In addition to making each moment of our cruise one to remember, the cruise line was so helpful in transporting us to our hotel in London, and two days later driving us out to the airport  for our flight home.

6. One of the nicest advantages of taking a cruise is the fellowship we quickly develop with the other passengers and the crew as well. A few dinners in the dining room, playing trivia in the lounges and taking excursions, and the faces begin to look familiar and  a camaraderie soon develops.

On our cruise last year , our social director, John, pointed out how, during the cruise, for a week people from all over the world spent time together aboard ship, shared a dinner table and conversation and  were considerate of  each other.   In other words, we all got along and if we could do it for a week, certainly  the rest of the world could do it , too, if they reall.y tried. This year our cruise lasted 12 days and again, people got along. Perhaps the answer is putting everyone on a cruise ship – wouldn’t that be fun! But we  can’t stay on vacation forever, and we need to find ways to be tolerant and accepting of others in the everyday world.

And what I learned on my summer vacation this year is just how similar we all are, no matter where we call home I was sitting in the Edinburgh Castle in Scotland,  finishing my soft drink and just watching the people walk by, and I thought, you know, I can’t tell if this group walking by is English, or Canadian or Australian. They are just  people enjoying  a tour of the castle on a sunny afternoon in Scotland. Mothers pushed their babies in strollers, backpacks were slung over shoulders, young people wore jeans and T-shirts, most of them with some sort of “smart” electronic device in their hands.

I realized, then, that what seemed most different about the countries we visited was not the people, but the scenery. Basically, people are just people wherever you go. Our similarities are far more numerous than our differences. I didn’t feel like  a stranger in a strange land, I felt a part of the people gathered here at the castle . Later in the trip, on a walk through Green Park in London, there were people playing frisbee, and soccer, people sitting on lawn chairs and resting on blankets spread on the ground just enjoying  a warm summer night in England, a scene I’m sure was repeated all over the globe that day.

I wonder why it is so hard for us to  celebrate our shared humanity,? Why not build on those things we share – families, home, life, love and watch the differences shrink away? As my friend from Liverpool once wrote “You may say I’m a dreamer..”  Maybe one  day dreams like this will become  reality.  But until then, I’ll remember , with fondness, the people I had a chance to meet and share a wonderful experience with, once upon a time, on a cruise. Here are some pictures of the beautiful Caribbean Princess, which carried us away and brought us together, if only for a little while.

Still standing after the 5K walk the deck for the cure

Still standing after the 5K walk the deck for the cure

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Staying in Focus: The Island of Flowers


St. Peter Port, Guernsey

When I first looked over the itinerary for our British Isle cruise, I was excited to discover that our first port of call would be the island of Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands. The reason for my excitement about this was because I had recently read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society  by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows . (Excellent Read). The novel takes place in 1946 when a young journalist strikes up a friendship,via letter writing, with a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and soon  begins to receive letters from others on the island, all relating their stories and experiences during the Nazi Occupation during WWII.

I didn’t expect to find the city of flowers on the island, however. I can describe St. Peter Port in no other way because flowers are everywhere you look – in baskets and wheel barrows, on fences and walls, spilling out of window boxes and hanging from every lamppost along the harbor. The local craftspeople were selling their wares, fresh made ice  cream from a local dairy tempted us all and the buildings and homes were picturesque, colorful and charming.

When we first arrived, the island was completely fogged in and we had to wait for clearance, so the tenders ferrying us to shore, could find their way. But soon the sun dismissed the fog and the mists rose, and we could see the island under  a bright blue sky.

island of flowers

we approach an island
shrouded in mists
like Avalon in King Arthur tales
we wait for the sun
to appear  and dismiss
the curtain of fog
and give us  a glimpse
of the island hidden
behind the white veil…

the picturesque city
of St. Peter Port
on the isle of Guernsey
a colorful village
filled with flowers –
flowers that  spill
from  round baskets
and overfill planters;
they hang from fences
and decorate lampposts
we see them in barrels
and along winding roads
filling wheel barrows
and teasing our noses
with delicate scents
the charm of this place
will stay long with me
and I’ll remember so dearly
St. Peter Port city
on the isle of Guernsey
with flowers  so pretty…
    –     pc 2013

An interesting face about Guernsey. It is not part of the British Empire, but rather a possession of the royal monarch herself.I promised you flavor, and St. Peter Port,  Guernsey has more flavor of color than Baskin Robbins has of ice cream. Enjoy a taste!!

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Staying in Focus: Daily Prompt:You Have the Power/My Law

Daily Prompt: You have the power to enact one law. What would it be?

My suggestion for the one law I would enact is from  a poem by Robert Fulghum. It has 16 precepts which we have already learned, but need to adopt and follow. Imagine how many other laws would not be needed, if we all followed these. Think of how much more fun life would be.

                                           “All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten”

by Robert Fulghum

Most of what I really need
To know about how to live
And what to do and how to be
I learned in kindergarten.
Wisdom was not at the top
Of the graduate school mountain,
But there in the sandpile at Sunday school.

These are the things I learned:

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life –
Learn some and think some
And draw and paint and sing and dance
and play and work everyday some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world,
Watch out for traffic,
Hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.

Enactment of the 16 precepts to this law would solve  many personal, domestic and international problem Take, share, for instance. We all share this one planet and are equally responsible for its care and protection. Clean up your mess covers  everything from litter to oil spills to air  pollution and nuclear reactor meltdowns. What affects one part of the planet affects us all. And as we share this one planet, should a calamity occur, we should all pitch in and share in the clean-up. Play fair would refer to following these laws,  and cover everything from a baseball game to an International summit. Play fair and your reputation for honesty becomes well-regarded. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.,and  take a nap each afternoon, Imagine if Congress did this,they might actually be in the right mood to legislate something. People at work would be refreshed, medical staff rested  and ready to finish the day with energy and competency and students wouldn’t fall asleep in class. Don’t take things that don’t belong to you. This covers  everything from petty theft to imperial aggression. Saying your sorry when you hurt someone would go  along way to better relationships in the home, the neighborhood, the nation, the world. Wash your hands before you eat could forestall transmission of everything from the common cold to a pandemic. Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance some and play and work some every day – just think how much more fun life would be for everyone from children to parents, doctors, lawyers, politicians, seniors, even presidents  because everyone needs to have fun and delight in their day.

When you go out in traffic (go out into the world), watch out for each other. When we take on the world, it’s nice to have someone with us, when we propose laws its nice to have bipartisan support. When we’re about to make a stupid mistake, it is nice to have someone there to counsel us.  Remember the saying, Together we stand, divided we fall.  That is truer now more than ever If our families  are to thrive, we must work together.. If we are to succeed as a nation we must shed the divisiveness that now predominates. As a people, citizens of the world, we must find a way to live peacefully despite differences in culture or faith. We must HOLD HANDS AND STICK TOGETHER. As proud as I am of people who come together in times of disaster to help the victims, be it a natural disaster, such as Hurricane Katrina, or the tsunami that hit Japan, or a terrorist act like  9/11 or New Town, I often wonder why such coöperation and fellowship cannot continue in times of calm , or everyday life. Sad, I think, that it takes a disaster to bring us together.

Flush.  One of my favorites. I take it to mean think of  who come after you, consider other people’s needs, not just your own. Don’t leave work undone that others have to do for you. Suit up and be responsible  and considerate. It all goes back to the sharing and working together because if we do not we’ll miss out on the wonder. Be aware of Wonder, for it is all around you, in the plants and the animals, in the stars and the sky, in concepts as huge as the universe and as small as an atom. Wonder fills the soul with delight, fuels hope and happiness  and  helps us to realize that   we have  what it takes  to help each other along, because we learned it in kindergarten.

Staying in Focus: A Walk on the Wild Side

As a part of our ongoing quest for knowledge,  my friend, Linda, and I took a walk on the wild side recently. Or more accurately, we took a walk among the wildlife.  We visited the Duke Lemur Center and enjoyed a guided tour around the beautiful setting of the  center,  meeting several of the inhabitants along the way.  Who knew  Durham had  an 85 acre Lemur sanctuary hidden away among the trees?

The tour began with a short video  about the lemurs. We learned that they evolved in isolation on the island of Madagascar (off the coast of Africa) and flourished, as they had few natural predators. Until the arrival of humans, that is. Since then many species of the lemurs have become extinct and many are now endangered, as their habitat continues to diminish. This group of lemurs (about 233) make up the largest population of lemurs outside of Madagascar.

The purpose of the center is to study the lemurs in as  natural a way as possible to understand their physiology and social habits and then work to apply this knowledge to conserve the species in the wild.  The lemurs are not touched by anyone  except medical staff when necessary, so they keep their natural habits and behaviors.

It wa s a bit of  a challenge to get pictures through 2 layers of chain link  fencing, but here are a few of the lemurs we met. The first picture here  is of a blue-eyed black lemur. At one point in their evolution, a group of black lemurs became isolated from the others and developed blue eyes. This fellow’s name is Elvis. We also met Olivier!IMG_0899

 Below, a couple of babies hitch a ride clinging to mama’s back.IMG_0896a

Next we have some ring- tailed lemurs frolicking in the forest. Notice how high they hold their long tails. That is so they can be seen as they run in the tall grasses of their habitat in Madagascar. I liked the ring -tails best.

IMG_0902 The  various species of lemurs at the center are named  along  a variety of themes. They have the soda pop group, which included two lemurs we met, Canada Dry and Ginger Ale, another group had  Egyptian  names, and then there was Charlie, more formally known as  Charlemagne and, of course,  the blue-eyed group.  Next we have a family group – those


babies  sure ‘stick” close to their mama! The habitat designed to house the lemurs  at the center is lovely.IMG_0875 

Linda and I throughly enjoyed our visit to the Duke Lemur Center.We are never  too old to learn , especially about the other creatures who share this planet with us.Our thanks to our tour guide, Becky, for sharing her knowledge of the lemurs with us.

I couldn’t leave without picking up a few lemurs for my grandkids, and one for me . I decided to use the theme approach to naming them and since this is my Gone With the Wind weekend in Atlanta with my friend Kathi, I went with Scarlett, Rhett and AshleyIMG_0879! If you get a chance, check the lemurs out. It’s  a great way to spend a sunny day!IMG_0834_1


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Staying in Focus: LIfe is the Journey

Daily Prompt: JourneyIMG_9657

We all on a journey because life is the greatest journey we will ever take.. Where we began and where we end is not the focus of life, but the journey through it is. What have I learned in my 60 year journey through life so far? I’ve learned that there will be joy as surely a there will be tears. There will be success  and there  will be failure. There will be moments of fear and acts of heroism. There will be days when I think  I’ve  had just about all I can take,  and days so beautiful I never want to see  them  end. I’ve learned that my life experience is up to me. I can make choices and I can make changes. The journey is not always  a straight line from beginning to end.  Sideroads and hidden paths sometimes confuse my progression, other times lead me to new experiences that help me grow.

Take my Parkinson’s disease, for instance. Never that one coming. A bit of a roadblock,  it has become my constant  companion for six years now, and  it has, of course,caused me to make some changes in the direction I was going on my journey before PD. As John Lennon so wisely observed, Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans. My advice is  make plans, but make them out of silly putty,  so they can stretch in whatever direction your journey requires. PD may have slowed me  down, but my journey continues and I am moving forward.

Let me add that the journey will  provide opportunities for mystery and promise, challenge and  despair, triumph and heartbreak. Life is not a journey for the timid or the weak. It is a journey of discovery, of finding a way past the roadblocks, meeting the challenges,  finding the opportunities to be magnificent.  Discovering who you are and what you are capable of achieving  is the quest of the journey.

I try to take my journey one step at a time, not so intent on trying to see what is coming that I miss what is, right now.  If I am mindful, when my journey is complete, I will have the memories of a life well-lived; if not, I’ll be filled with regret for all those lost opportunities to make my life matter , to embrace my journey. no matter where it leads or how it challenges me. I intend to complete my journey with no regrets.

So, perhaps, I will see you out there on the road,. Our journeys intersect and mix with others constantly. May your journey be just what you need it to be. may you be what your journey needs you to be – magnificent.

Focus On: Challenges, and Gratitude

It has been a year of challenge for us, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get better any time soon. Mom wasn’t able to tolerate the pill form of the chemo, and now, after a week or so to recover from that protocol, she is starting weekly intravenous chemo, which will more than likely cause her to lose her hair as well as having to weather the same side effects .as before – mouth sores, diarrhea and nausea.  We explained the situation as clearly we could, and she is determined to try again.

We are born with an innate strength to survive and hang on to life as long as we can, to struggle to beat the odds for a little more time. Time to be with family and friends, time to enjoy what this world has to offer.

When I wake up in the morning, the world seems full of possibility. I sit in my favorite chair in my “snuggery” and watch the sun rise. It does so, like clockwork, and everyday we can count on it to be there . The birds awaken and the sweet morning air is filled with their cheerful song. We are surrounded by gifts too great to count, and too often we fail to express the gratitude we should have for them.

Sadly, life, the greatest gift of all, is often treated with the least amount of reverence and care and we are bombarded daily by the news of yet another war, another murder, another threat  to our lives and our well-being. It’s no wonder so many people are depressed and anxious.

I look at my mother, at 90, facing the fight of her life, for her life, with a strength I can only hope to emulate as my disease progresses. Her current battle has me looking my own mortality right in the face. I can either crumble before it, or refuse to be intimidated, and continue to find joy in the things I’ve always loved – my writing, my  photography, gardening and nature, the joy I find in this beautiful world, in the people I love and who love me  in return. Time passes too quickly not to grasp at joy and happiness while we can.

Michael J. Fox once said, “Parkinson’s disease is the gift which just keeps on taking.” With his characteristic, positive insight, he can acknowledge that even within the diagnosis of a progressive disease,there can be  found a hidden gift. In his  case the diagnosis was a wake-up call. He was, at the time, partying a little too hard, his train on the wrong track. In his book, Lucky Man, he says, “I am no longer the person described in this chapter, and I am forever grateful for that. I would never want to go back to that life – a sheltered, narrow existence fueled by fear and made livable by insulation, isolation, and self-indulgence. It was a life lived in a bubble, but bubbles, being the most fragile constructions, are easily destroyed. All it takes is a little finger.” He goes on to explain that absent this neurophysiological catastrophe, he would have never have embarked on the journey he has taken, or been so profoundly enriched. I am not yet at the point of saying I am glad I have PD, but I admit I am more conscious of the gifts I have been given, and  am grateful for them. Right now, I am grateful for the meds that keep me moving and the researchers working on finding a cure.

At some point most of us will be faced  with a serious challenge. Some of us will win, and some of us will lose, but most of us will have fought the good fight and will know when it is time to let it go. My mother is prepared to take another stab at fighting this disease. With her fortitude, I think she can make it, but I also think she’ll know when enough is enough.  I know I will have a hard time dealing with that and I ardently hope that it is much later than sooner,  In the meantime, we will make the most of our precious moments, and  express gratitude for what we have, right now.. My gift to you, this poem, on gratitude: Take some time to think about what you are most grateful for, and  tomorrow morning, when the sun rises again and the world is full of possibilities, go out and find them.

With Gratitude…

For sweeping skies of crystal blue
And mighty mountains standing tallPhoto06_1 - Copy
For the new grown green of early spring
And the brightly colored leaves of fall
For butterflies and singing birds
Morning light and summer showers
For treasured books, filled with words
A special place to read for hours
For Christmas trees and twinkling lights
For gathering with those most dear
For silent snow that frosts the night
And dreams of peace to conquer fear
For delicate flowers and a star-spangled sky
For the marvel that is our universeIMG_7633
For the sense of wonder as we try
To unravel things mysterious
For the light and warmth of the golden sun
For ocean waves that rush to shore
For spending time just having fun
with my close friends, whom I adore
For the doctors who take care of me
For my family, how I love them so
For the best of times, most certainly
and for all there is to learn and know
And all the things still left to do
I’ filled with heartfelt gratitude.
                       -pc 2012