Finding the Sunlight

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. ~ Helen Keller

Chauncey is a master at finding any ray of sunlight that streams into the house. Most cats are! This morning I paused as I passed through the living room. He was stretched out inside the front door in a rectangle of light that was just his size. His focus was on something other than me. I quickly headed upstairs to get my camera. How light reflects and refracts  fascinates me. The surprises that appear such as Chauncey’s silhouette on the floor or his face on the outside glass door cause me to smile.

The other interesting observation from this unscheduled photo shoot was I did not have time to change the surroundings and it did not matter. The first photo has three felines: Chauncey, a framed white cat and a white cat needlepoint pillow. In the end , it all worked out!

9-Year-Old Chauncey Boy Sees Himself

Thanks Chauncey. What a great way to start the day!


Message in a Baggie Love Story

May beauty always touch your life as beautifully as you have touched mine. ~Kenneth Kraft

“Whenever I spotted the message in a baggie, I flew down the stairs two or three steps at a time…..My heart fluttered, and my hands shook as I read Ken’s morning missive. Tears often dotted my face like rain drops beading on the baggie. One such tear-stained note”….Excerpt from Message in a Baggie.

I hope you had a special Valentine’s Day last week. Any day is the perfect day to show our appreciation and devotion to loved ones; that is why I am posting Message in a Baggie on February 19!

In 2016, I entered a love story contest and submitted Message in a Baggie. My true love short story can be read in less than three minutes by scrolling down to the third place winner at Past Loves.







A Vintage Happy Valentine’s Day

If you’ll cook up a liking for me
My Valentine
I’ll waiter round for you

I collect vintage valentines and all stuff feline. So here you go! This is an anthropomorphic valentine, circa 1930s. The diecut valentine stands 4 1/2″ tall and folds in four places. The manufacturer is unknown.

Look at that face!

Whimsical and fun with lots of detail


Poetry by Laura Ding-Edwards

The Tetons

The Mountain Poem

If the mountain seems too big today then climb a hill instead
if the morning brings you sadness it’s okay to stay in bed
if the day ahead weighs heavy and your plans feel like a curse
there’s no shame in re-arranging don’t make yourself feel worse
if a shower stings like needles and a bath feels like you’ll drown
if you haven’t washed your hair for days don’t throw away your crown
a day is not a lifetime a rest is not defeat
don’t think of it as failure just a quiet kind retreat
it’s okay to take a moment from an anxious fractured mind
the world will not stop turning while you get realigned
the mountain will still be there when you want to try again
so climb it in your own time and love yourself til then

Poem by Laura Ding-Edwards
Author and artist, Laura lives in rural Herefordshire. Her poetry book The Mountain was released in October 2019.  I discovered her Mountain poem posted on a Facebook support group that I follow. Although the poem does not specifically refer to Parkinson’s disease, I found line after line resonating with my chronic disease journey. My favorite thought is “a rest is not defeat…..just a quiet kind retreat.” Laura can be contacted at

Photograph by Linda A. Mohr
Joe and I visited the Grand Teton National Park in 2018. The spectcular snow capped mountain peaks are awe-inspiring. Yes, the Teton Mountains will be there whenever I want to return!


Merry Christmas Greeting

Heart to Heart

My sister Donna and I are postcard collectors. She likes Christmas, Easter, patriotic and presidential themes. I look for cats on cards during our treasure hunting jaunts. Categorized as ephemera, postcards typically are paper-based and printed for a short-term purpose. They are not expected to be kept, cherished or collected. This Christmas postcard was hand-delivered to Mrs Widmeier and written in pencil by May Kelsay. The  divided card was typical circa 1907-1915. Dated  Dec. 25, 1912, it has been kept for 107 years. Perhaps the card was even cherished! Now it is part of Donna’s collection.

Postcard Courtesy of Donna Donald’s Collection

The tranquil rural scene, paint brush sky and holly berry branch transport me in a split second to long ago memorable Christmas gatherings with my grandparents and parents.

In 2009 after mother passed away, my  siblings Donna, Larry, Steve and sister-in-law Judy and I continued the traditional get-together where we grew up and Steve now lives. We added a few twists such as reindeer antlers, gigantic eyewear for photo shoots, fun-filled stockings and baked Alaska. A tradition that remained was decorating the twelve-foot tree adorned with mother’s impressive collection of red and gold ornaments. No bows, no tinsel, just beautiful ornaments and white lights.

Since 2009, I have missed one country Christmas in 2015. This year will make the second time as Mr. Parkinson’s agenda kept me from traveling. I will sadly miss everyone, kitties included. Joe reminded me when I had to cancel the flight that things change. Oh, he is right!

But I also know “what will never change is our cherished time together and our heartfelt love for one another.”

Merry Christmas!



10th Annual ABCs of Gratitude 2019

I cannot be in this breathtaking scene and be unhappy. Omni Grove Park Inn, Asheville, NC

In 2010, I created my first ABCs of Gratitude list.  I look forward to this project every November. The simple yet thought-provoking exercise is a unique way to reflect on the year. I label a sheet of paper A through Z and  fill in with blessings.

According to Ingrid King gratitude is a wonderful way to raise your vibration and shift your energy. The vibration of gratitude is a powerful force. It can shift your mood and your thoughts from a place of scarcity to a place of abundance. Wayne Dyer believed that if you get to a place of gratitude you will experience peace. Be in a state of gratitude for everything because there is something to learn in everything. Be grateful even for the pain because there are lessons to be learned.

In keeping with my annual Thanksgiving month tradition, my 2019  blessings are listed below. I always compare my list to prior years. Some years have more peaks, and other years have more valleys. But, I always find 26 blessings.

My ABCs of Gratitude for 2019

Auction…Midwest country the best

Biltmore Estate…tea and 63 Christmas trees


Crossnore…sponsor 7 children at Crossnore School & Children’s Home

DAR…school committee state award

Exercise…Parkinson’s meds

Friends…long leisurely lunch visits

Grove Park Inn…stay in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Room

Heaven Sent Anthology…Rose and the Six Kittens

Book Cover

Interview…Davis Phinney Parkinson’s Ambassador

July… Missouri Vacation

Kice…summer visit with my 7th & 8th grade teacher

Teacher and Student

Love…of family, friends and Joe

Micanopy…historic Florida “antiques” town

Nine-Years-Old…birthday siblings



Okun MD…movement disorder specialist

Pink Boxing Gloves…KitKat is my name

Wanna Fight?

Quiet Time…read, reflect, rest

Rock Steady Boxing…trainer Shanda

Sixty-Nine…birthday party at Teapots & Treasures

A specialty–Orange Cake

Tent House…termites be gone

University of FL…movement disorder center of excellence

Victoria Vacation…sister Donna

The Two Sisters

Writing…profiling creative people with Parkinson’s

Artist Michele Keir-Rhode Island

X-rays…Dr. Cohn

Yoga Class…balance benefit

Zone Out…when being creative

What are  you thankful for today and for this year?


Where’s the Ground Turkey?

I think the next best thing to solving a problem is finding some humor in it. ~ Frank A. Clark


I am eating breakfast at the dining table. Glancing into the kitchen, I notice the stack of cans.

“Did you put the ground turkey in the freezer or refrigerator yesterday,” I call out to Joe.

“What made you think of that?”

“I am going to make turkey chili today and just planning ahead.”

“Well, I thought you were handling the chili.”

“I took the cans of tomatoes, sauce and beans out of the grocery bag yesterday.  I did not unpack the turkey.”

I hear the freezer door open and close a few seconds later. Then Joe rummages through the refrigerator drawers. He does not find the turkey. I go to the kitchen.

“Maybe it was left at the store. Sometimes the cashier puts meat in plastic and sets aside and no one sees it,” I suggest.

Joe had packed the two bags of groceries. “Lesson learned. Have to pay attention every moment!” he says in exasperation. He turns his attention to the pantry and scans the shelves. I am quiet. But anything is possible—especially in this household! My housekeeper told me she once left Windex inside a client’s refrigerator. They called her, wondering why?

“Maybe I put it in the wrong cart.” I speculate. “But you were right behind me with the cart while I selected the turkey. Then we went to seafood counter next. The receipt will tell us.”

Joe retrieves the receipt. The ground turkey made it to the cashier, $4.95.

“Not the first time this has ever happened. Publix won’t give you a hard time. Hey this is a don’t sweat the small stuff moment!”

But I know he will go to the store immediately. He is aggravated with himself. I open the refrigerator door. The ground turkey package is on top of a carton of eggs. Joe returns to the kitchen in disbelief! We chuckle that it took the two of us to find the turkey.

“Someday, they will take us away together!” I burst out laughing.



My Self-Care Plan for Flu Season

Why I Get a Flu Shot

Getting a flu shot is part of my self-care plan. The most at risk for serious flu complications are young children, pregnant women, adults over 65 and those with chronic medical conditions. Since I fall in two of these categories, the vaccine is important to me as any stress such as suffering with flu may exacerbate my Parkinson’s symptoms. I might also get pneumonia and be hospitalized.

Being exposed to flu virus happens easily in a variety of scenarios. But we are often unaware how or when or where. Imagine I am shopping in my favorite retail store and trying on clothes. Each time I go in and out of the dressing room, my hand turns the germy door knob. What I don’t know is that the person in the dressing room before me sneezed in their hand. However, touching the contaminated door knob will not make me sick unless I touch my face. But shopping is tiring, and I remove my glasses for a minute and rub my eyes. Bingo! The germs have an entry point into my body.  I can also be exposed to flu virus respiratory droplets when infected people cough, sneeze, or talk, if I am nearby.

October is considered the start of flu season. December through February is usually the most active months. I live less than five minutes from Walgreen’s, so there is no excuse to put this errand off. On Monday, November 4, I got a flu shot. My Walgreen’s branch built a little medical room with a door that closes next to the pharmacy last month. The pharmacist gave me an easy form to complete with a half dozen questions such as “are you feeling sick today.” Less than ten minutes later I am out of the store. My upper right arm was a little sore in the evening, but by the second day, I did not notice it.

How Does the Shot Work?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests it takes two to four weeks for the antibodies to build up and provide immune system protection against the strains of flu included in the vaccine. So that is why it’s recommended that if you plan to get a flu shot, earlier in the fall is better than later. For example, getting a shot two days before Thanksgiving and flying to a family gathering the next day is not going to protect you that quickly.

The flu vaccine protects you from contracting upper respiratory flu. Common symptoms include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, sniffles, achiness and fatigue. You may get other strains of flu despite the shot, but may be less severe. The vaccine does not protect you from getting stomach flu. Encouraging other members of your household or your Parkinson’s caregiver to get a flu shot will be added protection for you.

Hand Sanitizer

Besides having a flu shot, here are some additional ways to decrease the risk of infection. I carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer gel in my purse to use in public when washing my hands is impossible or inconvenient. After I order and return the menu in restaurants, I sanitize my hands. Sanitizer dispensers displayed in medical and dental offices, grocery stores, gyms and airports remind me of the importance of clean hands.

When I have the opportunity to scrub my hands with soap and water in a public restroom, I try to leave without touching the door handle. If that is impossible, I use a clean tissue to touch the door handle. Otherwise, I sanitize my hands.

Tips to Minimize Exposure

  • Eat at home more in December, January and February
  • Go to your favorite buffet restaurant after flu season
  • Avoid large crowds when possible
  • Avoid touching your face since germs commonly enter through eyes and nose
  • Stay home a little more than usual (but only for flu season! Parkinson’s people need to socialize)
  • Avoid eating communal snacks often found at holiday and office parties
  • Avoid public water fountains
  • Combine errands so you can accomplish more, but be out less
  • Sanitize hands after credit card transactions or money exchanges
  • Ask yourself if it is really necessary to go out now
  • Use online shopping
  • Avoid shaking hands when possible
  • Sanitize hands after touching elevator buttons or holding onto railings, transportation poles and escalators
  • Disinfect hotspots in home and/or office that are perfect for transferring germs: railings, faucet handles, coffee pot handle, door knobs, door handles, refrigerator handles, cabinet handles, light switches, microwave buttons, telephone handset, smart phone screen, keyboard, mouse, tablet, printer button
  • Wash hand towels and kitchen towels often
  • Replace fabric handbag with leather or vinyl which can easily be wiped down

For more information about high risk groups and the flu, visit Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Question:  What do you do that helps to decrease risk of getting the flu?





Parkinson’s Differs in Gender

If you’ve seen one person with Parkinson’s, you’ve seen one person with Parkinson’s. 

A recent literature review by Italian scientists was published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, July 2019, describing how Parkinson’s disease affects men and women differently.

PD is a slowly progressive disorder that affects movement, muscle control and balance. It is the second most common age-related, neurodegenerative disorder, affecting about 3% of the population by the age of 65 and up to 5% of individuals over 85 years of age.

Male PD Differences and Risk Factors

  • Twice as likely to be diagnosed with PD
  • Slow or rigid movement is dominant symptom when first diagnosed (bradykinesia)
  • More serious postural problems
  • Abnormal severe forward flexion of the trunk when standing or walking (camptocormia))
  • Freezing of gait develops later, when one gets “stuck” in place and temporarily cannot move feet forward
  • Severe drooling
  • Worse general cognitive abilities
  • Executive function deficits (attention and working memory)
  • Mild cognitive impairment (MCI)  and its more rapid progression in the severe stage of the disease (MCI often precedes dementia)
  • Control disorders such as pathological gambling and hypersexuality
  • Low body mass index (<18.5) which is strongly associated with reduced survival time, is significant only in men
  • Reduction of life satisfaction in second half of life

Female PD Differences and Risk Factors

  • Tremor is usually the dominant sign when first diagnosed and is associated with recurrent falls and more severe pain syndromes
  • More apt to develop postural instability
  • Less likely to have specialist care such as neurologist
  • May take higher medication doses due to lower body weight leading to dyskinesia
  • More rapid disease progression with lower survival rate
  • Non-motor symptoms such as fatigue, depression, restless legs, constipation, pain, loss of taste or smell, weight change and excessive sweating are more common and severe
  • Higher predisposition to critical swallowing difficulties (dysphagia)
  • PD with dementia has a greater impact on life expectancy
  • Impaired visuospatial function
  • Perform better on verbal fluency and cognition tests
  • Less likely to have an informal caregiver support from spouse, family or friend
  • More apt to use paid caregiver services

The familiar comment: If you’ve seen one person with Parkinson’s, you’ve seen one person with Parkinson’s still rings true. A male and a female will not experience PD in the same way. Neither will two females or two males!

“It is becoming increasingly evident that PD differs in women and men,” said lead author Fabio Blandini, M.D., scientific director of the IRCCS Mondino Foundation, National Institute of Neurology, Pavia, Italy. “Recent research findings suggest that biological sex also impacts on disease risk factors and, potentially, on molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of PD.”

Studies in this area are under-represented, both from the clinical and research perspective, especially for females. We are still far away from the actual understanding of what underlies such differences. Only then can we develop tailored interventions that meet distinct requirements of men and women with PD.

If you would like to read the the abstract of this literature survey, it can be found at Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.


Once Upon A Time

One may make their house a palace of sham, or they can make it a home, a refuge.

Mark Twain

This photo is one of my favorite autumn shots that I captured in Hannibal, Missouri. A Mississippi river town, Hannibal is built on the bluffs. As I passed through Hannibal from the St. Louis Airport on October 23, 2009, I spotted this fabulous historic house. I was on my way back to attend Uncle Glen’s funeral and welcomed a momentary distraction. I pulled into a KFC parking lot, got out of the car and studied the view. An incredible house in its day was discreetly hidden behind nature’s fiery handiwork. The boarded-up windows concealed memories. The portico appeared unstable. A single black bird perched on an antenna was the only visible sign of activity. I wanted to see  the front of the house, the driveway, the front door and more. I wished I could explore room by room. Who built this magnificent structure? Who lived here?  Who passed away here? What was their story?

When I see abandoned property like this one, I am sad that the signs and sounds of life have burned out. However, I find beauty in the overgrown vegetation that embraces the house, in the portico that is hanging on and in the mysterious black bird keeping watch over someone perhaps!

As I continued my journey to the family farm, the awe-inspiring autumn colors reminded me that in the midst of grief and loss,  beauty still exists.



Photo Credit:  Linda A. Mohr