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Monday, October 9, 2023

"Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't." [At long last: An Update re my unintended hiatus from Blogger]

I am well aware that it has been over a year since my last post here on Blogger where I spoke about the fate of the Autumn clematis which at that time grew in my garden. I also stated, "However, given my new battle with Neurofibromatosis (NF) and the limitations this brings, it may be quite a while before I can tell my flora's stories. Plus I need to concentrate on raising awareness about NF which I hope to do through my book project, Imperfect Strangers."

During this unintended hiatus from publishing posts on my blog, I have had one trauma after another non-stop, mostly related to my having NF (multiple surgeries and treatments for which I'll spare you the details).

Please know, I've missed working on my blog and am quite humbled by the fact that people have contacted me re when, and if, I planned to return to this endeavor that I've been involved in since December 2009.

At this juncture I don't know if I'll be able to fully return to my blog for my computer is no longer functioning as it should. I was able to use a computer to create this posting but that may be an only one time deal.  

Meanwhile, I've been very involved in finding ways to get a new machine and will continue to try and make that happen, not only for my blog, but for my book project, which has been on hold due to what is going on with my machine.

This situation has also disrupted my ability to procure assignments with the on-line publication that I had been writing assignments for: narratives accompanied my photographs. 

It also has prevented me from being active with uploading new work to my venue on fineartamerica

In any event, I’m not particularly superstitious, but now that I'm posting this update, please let me confess, that I did find it interesting that a little bird spent time in my garden (this past December and January) as I attempted to get through these new hurdles with Neurofibromatosis.

The creature I am speaking of is a ruby-crowned kinglet, "a small bird with a big spirit." An image of my visitor visiting my garden can be seen atop this posting as well as in the copies of photos I took of him that are directly below.

Ruby-crowned kinglets are known for courage, strength, as well as determination and have been considered to be a symbol of hope and renewal. Birders concur, the ruby-crowned kinglet reminds us that no matter what challenges we face in life, we can overcome them and they remind us to never give up on our dreams and to remain positive in the face of adversity, for this tiny creature sings (as do many birds) even in the darkest times, reminding us that hope and joy can be found.

Many weeks have passed since this creature visited me, yet I'm still hoping the truism re the presence of such a bird holds, and that I will be able to return to my project. 

It was a very recent encounter that I had which reinforced what I feel is a a need for my book project to come to fruition. Here is what occurred:

One of the sons of the owner of the building where I live pointed to my face and in an unkind manner (although I've been the target of much worse comments and questions) asked about my bumps. 

This is something I "should" be used to at this stage of my life, but there are days when encounters such as this get me down, while other times I can brush off them off. As an old candy bar commerical jingle (composed by Peter, Paul and Mary) proclaims, "Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't."

In any event, a video of my book project's intent was posted last September on You Tube as well as Vimeo and the response was very encouraging as evidenced by copies of comments that are posted below:


With all of these testimonials, now, more than ever, I hope to move forward with my "Imperfect Strangers" project.

Thanks again to all my readers of this blog for checking in during my absence from posting.  

I hope to continue doing it again, but what with my health and technology issues, it may be sporadic, so feel free to check my smaller updates as well as my "stories" on Facebook.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Influenced by NNM's Autumn Clematis!

It has been eight months since my last post here on Blogger and that entry was just to let folks know my web-designer, Chris Deatherage, had made changes to my website

Prior to that posting I had become very sporadic in publishing my blog posts which was out of characer for me. For after years of being very dedicated to regularly offering excellent written content that was accompanied by my photographs and or videos — I even received an award for my endeavors and an image of it can be found on my right sidebar — circumstances, upon circumstances beyond my control, interfered with my being able to produce content for this venue.

Those circumstances were mostly due to new and severe consequences of my battles with Neurofibromatosis (NF) a medical condition I've had since birth, which is discussed in one of my first blog posts as well as in many posts thereafter. (NF is also the subject of my book project, Imperfect Strangers.) A short video introducing the book can be viewed on Vimeo and/or You Tube.

In any event, I won't go into details of my forced hiatus from blogging (at least not within this post) for it was my seeing Nancy Nelson Mancini's photograph of her Sweet Autumn Clematis (a copy of it is posted atop this posting) that brought back bittersweet memories of my own beloved Sweet Autumn Clematis vines that I got in either 2004 or 2005, and ultimately blogged about in 2010 in an entry where I described their back story, (which I encourage you to read it and check out the pictures included in that post). 

Moreover, my Autumn Clematis vines were subsequently featured in my first garden-themed movie, The Kiwi Speaks! Fifteen Minutes of Fame... almost, which can be viewed on Vimeo and/or You Tube.

These vines ultimately survived being in two major garden upheavals (due to a couple of renovations ordered by my landlord) and one of those upheavls is discussed in volume two of my three hardcover book series, Words In Our Beak.

But getting back to NNM's image of her Autumn Clematis and my saying that seeing it evoked bittersweet memories, the reason for this is, as is that now, approximantely eighteen years of having these vines in my garden, they are gone.

I hadn't relized what a loss this has been for me until I saw NNM's image, and recalled my memories of having Autumn Clematis vines which never did well again after being hacked by my lanlord in 2021.

He had hacked the Autumn Clematis while standing on the building's rooftop and leaning over it to chop away my vines, This was not a safe action for him to take with my vines or with himself as he could've fallen off the building's rooftop.

Moreover, he had assaulted my Beech Tree, ruining her shape. 

The results of these violent actions are indicated in the red-bordered shapes which I've attached to the image directly above. It is also included in a post here on Blogger that I published at the time of the incident. It will still take quite sometime for the Beech Tree to regain her shape which she probably will, but the fate of my Autumn Clematis has not been good.

Initally, Juan V was able to redirect the vines' path and nudge them to grow on a custom built trellis as seen in the two pictures directly below.

But unfortunately they were begining to pull on the string lights that provide a "canopy" over my garden. I was concerned that the vines, given their strength, could yank down my string lights... 

... (which might cause a fire) and that fact, coupled with the truth that vines can harm brick and mortar, convinced me to have my Autumn Clematis vines (I had two) removed. 

For now in their place, a Clematis tangutica (she is indicated by an arrow affixed to the next photo) has been planted. She is a much less aggressive vine, but I feel she looks swallowed up by the big container and it will be quite some time before she eases into it. 

A couple of Amsonia plants have been placed there to keep the new vine company (as also seen in the next picture where a circle has been drawn around them)...

... but I don't like the look of their foliage, so I may need to plant something else there.

Not having my Autumn clematis is a big loss, yet I realize that is what happens when one gardens. Over the years, I've learned it's best to appreciate the flora when they are around as I certainly do, by meeting their needs for water and fertilizer, as well as by helping them to tell their stories through  my blog posts, my movies and my books.

However, given my new battle with NF and the limitations this brings, it may be quite a while before I can tell my flora's stories. Plus I need to concentrate on raising awareness about NF which I hope to do through my book project, Imperfect Strangers.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Today, 2/02/22, is known as Twos-day! Tuesday's Truths WK 230

Welcome to my two hundred and thirtieth segement of Tuesdy's Truths.  I realize my last  post re this series was published on November 16th 2021, a little over two months ago and that particular post was published soon after I had an accident which resulted in my needing to have a surgical procedure known as Open Reduction/Internal Fixation Surgery.

Upon discharge from that surgery I had to wear a pump for a couple of days...

.... unfortunately something with the pump malfunctioned and I nearly died as a result.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Christmas Eve 2021

Today, in the wee hours of Christmas Eve morning in NYC we probably had the most snow we will get for this year's holiday.

Glad I got a glimpse of how it looked in my garden, which as you may know, is the setting for all my books that have Words In Our Beak in their title.

Friday, December 10, 2021

With Thanks to "B THE DIFFERENCE"...

It has been a number of weeks since I've posted content other than "news" re additions to my collections on FAA (Fine Art America) which is not typical for me.

I truly detest promotion-based blog posts, yet recognize that it is a very necessary part of being a freelance writer and artist.

Having said this, please allow me to bring you up to speed, which I’ve had on my to do list since mid November 2021, as I wanted to let my readers know I've had another life disruption... but thankfully one of the consequences has led to a true blessing bestowed on me by the B THE DIFFERENCE foundation.

B THE DIFFERENCE's logo (seen directly above) is a turtle, which is a creature with whom I've identified (featuring these animals here on Blogger and in my book, IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS).

The foundation, B THE DIFFERENCE is back from the holidays and I am most grateful to be a recipient of their generosity.

So, dear reader, upon reading this, you may be asking, what is B THE DIFFERENCE?

It is an organization which was founded in October 2011 by Stephanie and Jessica Merritt to honor the memory of their brother, Brandon, and they have shared the fact that Brandon was 8 months old he was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis (NF), a disease targeting the nervous system by developing tumors on nerve endings. 

As readers of this blog undoubtedly know, NF, is a disease that I was born with (which is discussed in one of my first blog posts as well as in many posts thereafter); and my having it, has impacted my life on many levels, some of which is described in my book project Imperfect Strangers.

It can be viewed on Vimeo and/or You Tube.

Evidently Brandon never asked "Why me?" when NF compromised his ability to play sports and interact with children his age—if anything (according to his family), Brandon's physical disabilities allowed his personality to become incredibly nurturing and sensitive.

I must confess that there were times I did allow NF to restrict me, perhaps that's because I grew up in a different era, or maybe I'm just a complainer at heart.

BUT I digress...from my "explanation" re my uncharacteristic absence here on Blogger:

The following photos of me were taken at an Emergency Room in NYC (Mount Sinai, 59th Street) on Saturday, November 13th, 2021.

At the urging of CITY MD, I had gone to the emergency room on that day because I had fallen the evening prior and my symptoms were worsening. 

Here is the situation:

As I said, I had an accident on Friday, November 12th, and sustained an injury.

Turns out I had a proximal humeral fracture, which, as you may know refers to a break involving the area surrounding the humeral head, commonly known as the ball of the shoulder’s ball-and-socket joint. 

Brittle bones are a symptom of Neurofibromatosis and I've broken many bones in my lifetime, including the first month of 2020 when I broke my Greater tuberosity! So it was not all that surprising for me to learn the extent of my recent injury to my arm.

In any event, the following day, after a brief visit to CITY MD, I received advice to go to the emergency room where I spent 4-5 hours undergoing X-rays which determined the type of injury I now have. 

The upshot is I saw an orthopedist that following Monday who is associated with Mount Sinai hospital and he confirmed the severity of my fracture and the need for me to have Open Reduction Internal Fixation Surgery (ORIF)

BUT this surgery could not be done until 11-22-2021 as I needed to go to appointments for medical and COVID clearances which I did, and I’ve now had that procedure!

One of the after surgery “needs” that the doctor and anesthesiologist recommended for me was to wear a pump for a period of five-six days to release opioids in increments in a safe manner, but ultimately my pump (unbeknowest to me) was cutting off my oxygen leaving me nearly unable to speak and cutting off air circulation.

The pump was originally set to be removed permanently on Thanksgiving morning and I had made arrangements for someone to help me with this, but due to the potential danger I was experiencing (inability to speak and inability to breathe) its immediate removal was mandated.

Because the pump was on my back I could not get to it easily and the doctor warned me I could rip a  “proper” catheter if I did not to it exactly right.

But be that as it may, I was able to pull the device off which gave me much needed relief.

Then on 12-1-2021, two weeks after my surgery, my bandages were removed.

During one of the days following surgery (I've lost tract of specifics), and, out of the blue, I received a phone call from Aisling Rice (Director of Operations at B The Difference), who had heard about my plight with Neurofibromatosis through someone who actively reads my blog posts and whom I am in touch with by phone and/or email but have never met.

The fact that I had suffered an injury involving my arm had nothing to do with why I was contacted... it was just serendipity, or evidence that perhaps my guardian angel is working after all... for I've now been informed that I am the recipent of a generous grant (from B The Difference) to cover part of a medical need.

I am so grateful for this and I've applied their monies towards an outstanding balance of a dental procedure. 

Hopefully one day when I'm in better shape, I will be able to make contributions to others as B the Differnce has done for so many. To learn more about B the Difference, please click here.

Meanwhile, since my arm's movement is compromised, a turtle in Central Park is the one giving B the Difference a HIGH 5!